Welcome to One Ugly Mug #Password #NewRelease #RomanticThriller

Welcome friends! Today, Staci Troilo is back with her latest release, Password. She’s got a great behind-the-scenes glimpse of the fictional bar she created for use in the story (how can you not love a place called One Ugly Mug?).

I’m always jazzed when Staci has a new book, because I know I’ll get to disappear into the pages of a riveting tale. Password is no exception. You can read my complete 5-star review on Amazon, but I’ll leave you with this snippet of my impressions:

“The twists and turns in this novel really surprised me. Not only do we get two great lead characters who experience plenty of romantic ups and downs, but the story is chock full of suspense, and a mystery that will keep you guessing right up until the end.”

And now, here’s Staci with . . .

Welcome to One Ugly Mug

Thanks for inviting me here today, Mae. I appreciate having a chance to talk to your readers about my new novel. Hi, everybody!

You remember how pretty much every Cheers episode had a scene showing Norm walk in.

He says, “Hey, everybody.”

And they all say, “Norm!” in return.

It is, after all, the place where everybody knows his name.

Keep that image in mind. Now, make the bar a little darker, a little edgier. Dangerous enough that families don’t stop in for the chicken wings but clean enough that feet don’t stick to the floor and the bathrooms don’t look like crime scenes. Imagine many of the patrons are affiliated with the government, but they’re not postal worker Cliff Clavin types. Rather, they’re current and former special forces types.

You’re picturing One Ugly Mug.

shot of bar with with stools, glasses, bottles, beer signs

This fictional bar, set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the local hangout for the guys of Nightforce Security and their military buddies who sometimes come to town to visit.

The waitresses wear whatever they like. Most choose jeans or shorts and button-downs or t-shirts. Even the youngest, flirtiest of them doesn’t wear Hooters-style clothes, but you can be darn sure no one would dare proposition a waitress who chose to. Bouncers aren’t necessary at One Ugly Mug. The patrons take care of each other. And if it happens to be a slow day, the bartender has it covered.

What’s his story, you ask? Well, we’ll learn more about him as the series goes on. He’s only in the periphery in Password. Not named, not even referred to. But we know he’s there… someone has to mix the drinks. He’s a mysterious and compelling guy. I’m looking forward to digging into his background.

When the Nightforce guys get antsy, they can play pool or shoot darts. There’s never a live band, never karaoke (God forbid), but there is the occasional rendition of a song belted out by a too-tipsy barfly. The retro jukebox in the corner is regularly fed quarters. Classic rock is pretty much the only choice. Rap is only allowed if the guys are celebrating the end of a mission or if the bartender has the day off. (For the record, that doesn’t happen often.) Because the guys respect him so much, they never play rap at One Ugly Mug when he’s there. Well, it’s part respect and part the fact that the most recent rap track put in the jukebox was the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right”. In fact, no songs, rap or otherwise, have been added since the bar opened in the 1980s.

There are private booths, semi-private tables, and of course there are always stools where a patron can belly up to the bar. The lighting is dim, the banter is smart, and it’s a good thing One Ugly Mug is so compelling. Why? Because it’s going to be a frequent location in the Nightforce Security series.

book cover for Password, a romantic thriller by Staci TroiloBlurb:

Some passwords protect more than just secrets.

Danny Caruso was glad to be back in the United States, back to his regular job. Back to his comfortable routine of all work and no play. But when his friend Mac asks a favor of him, he can’t refuse. He owes the guy everything. So he accepts the job, even though it means a twenty-four/seven protection detail guarding a particularly exacerbating—and beautiful—woman.

Braelyn Edwards is careful to stay out of the spotlight, preferring to hide in the background and skip the trappings of a vibrant social life. But her privacy is threatened when there’s an attempt on her life and a bodyguard is foisted on her. Compounding problems? He doesn’t just want to protect her. He wants to investigate every detail of her life, starting with her top-secret job.

Danny casts his sights on Charlie Park, her coworker, her partner… the one man who knows all Braelyn’s secrets. She’s frustrated by the distrust until she realizes jealousy fuels Danny’s suspicions as much as instinct and proof. One of them is right about Charlie—but by the time they figure it out, it may be too late to save their relationship. And Braelyn’s life.

Universal Purchase Link

Password is the first story in the Nightforce Security Series. A sequel is already in the works. The next installment will be a novella released in March as part of Susan Stoker’s Special Forces Kindle World. So if this series interests you, you won’t have long to wait.

Author Staci Troilo in a candid poseAuthor Bio
Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Connect with Staci on Social Media:

Web | Blog | Newsletter | Facebook Group | Twitter | Facebook | Other Social Media Links


New release: Jewel in the Mud by Harmony Kent #Zen #StoryEmpireAuthor

It’s been a busy week here at From the Pen of Mae Clair with a number of friends rolling out new releases. Today, I’m happy to have Harmony Kent, one of my sister authors at Story Empire visit with her latest, Jewel in the Mud. The moment I heard the title I was intrigued. So, just what is this collection about and how did it come to fruition?

Harmony explains…

Banner for Jewel in the Mud, a collection of Zen musings by Harmony Kent


What inspired me to write Jewel in the Mud?
My life has been an interesting one and has provided many challenges, as well as seeing a lot of change—both internal and external. It sometimes feels as multi-genre as my books! Along the way, many people have told me that I inspire them. Such encounters led to me writing a series of Monday Musings on my blog, which proved incredibly popular. Seeing this response, and how much my readers valued my musings, I decided to make them into a book, along with a ‘thought for the week’, and Jewel in the Mud was born. It is my hope that this reaches even more people and inspires them in their lives.

for Jewel in the Mud, a collection of Zen musings by Harmony KentBook Blurb Jewel in the Mud
‘Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It relies solely on what you think.’

Have you ever felt angry? Upset? Hurt? Overwhelmed? Not up to it?

This book, with its pithy teachings based in Zen, will help you find the jewel in the inevitable mud of life rather than wallowing in that mud.

Not only does each day offer us a new start, a chance to press reset, but so does each and every breath. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be, and your history doesn’t have to keep you trapped. And nor do you have to waste endless energy on worrying about all that the future may bring.

Written in an engaging manner, Jewel in the Mud invites you to search within and make your world the way you want it to be. It doesn’t give you strict instructions or homework, but instead, invites you to dive deeper, search further, and question your assumptions.

The book has handy thoughts for the week, and can be read in one go, weekly, or dipped into at random. In short, it has been designed to fit in with you and your needs.

Learn how to take control of your life with these Zen Musings.

About the author: 
Harmony Kent is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour and quirky neighbours and refuses to admit to her age.

If you catch her at work, you’ll see she also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services. Not to mention being passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

Connect with Harmony at the following haunts:
Website | Amazon US Amazon UK | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Amazon US sales page Jewel: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078WDZ69K
Amazon UK sales page Jewel: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078WDZ69K


Mae Clair Presents: Daisy Banks and A Perfect Match #sci-fi #dystopian #romance

Today, I’m turning my blog over to my friend and sister author, Daisy Banks, who has brought along the characters from her newest release, A PERFECT MATCH. Sit back and enjoy as Daisy whisks us to a futuristic world and introduces a truly unique couple:


Thank you so much for inviting me onto the blog, Mae. I am still celebrating the release of my new story A Perfect Match, published by Taliesin Publishing.

This is the longest story I have ever written and a step toward a new genre for me as it has a touch of sci-fi about it. I found this story very hard to classify into one genre. It is a kind of romance, a love story, set in a futuristic world very different from our own. There are elements of a dystopian society and a lot of political maneuvering happens to keep my lead characters safe. I had a lot of fun writing this cross genre story.

I’ve decided to post an interview with Anwell and Varon, the hero and heroine in A Perfect Match.

This interview takes place in the story, so this is an excerpt too. I hope readers enjoy it.



Interview with Varon and Anwell.

Varon and Anwell sat enjoying the evening temperature and the sounds of the small fountain in the miniature lily ponds until Drimit announced their guest. Varon rose to welcome the reporter Nathan.

“I can’t tell you how grateful I am, Commander. You’ve a beautiful home.” Nathan took a seat opposite them. His pale blue gaze locked on Anwell. He gawked to the extent he almost missed grasping the goblet of water one of the slaves presented.

“I’m sure you’ll find ample ways to show your gratitude, my friend. Would you like some images first, or shall we answer your questions?” He stifled a chuckle at the reporter’s rapt gaze on his wife.

“If you don’t mind.” Nathan took a sip of his water, coughed and found his voice. “I’d prefer images at the end of the interview, if that’s agreeable to you both.”

“Of course.” Anwell settled back in her seat.

Varon glanced over, and she wore the bewitching sweet smile he found so alluring. “This, Nathan, is my wife, Lady Anwell.”

Nathan shoved the carved crystal water cup down, rose and offered a clumsy bow.

If Varon hadn’t known better he’d have laid good coin on this male having Netherling heritage.

“Lady Anwell, it’s a great privilege to meet you,” the reporter said.

“Thank you, but do sit and relax, Nathan. Varon and I, we’re all yours for the next hour.”

“There has been much interest in you in the city, my lady, since the announcement of your marriage to the commander. I’m honored to have this opportunity to talk with you.”

“It’s a pleasure. Varon and I know there has been a great deal of interest. Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising.”

Her smile could have melted the ice dragons of the Tranquil Crest, the first cold world he ever found. “Anwell is a phenomenon, Nathan. A female who has given up much to offer the people hopes for the future.”

The reporter nodded. He made a dashed line of notes. “Has it been difficult for you to adjust to life outside the Temple, my lady? Many Astans believe it must have been a great shock to be removed from the Temple precinct at your age.”

“Yes, the first day or two were very strange. I’ve just begun to explore life in the city,” she said and placed her hand on Varon’s. “But my husband has helped me so much.”

The memory of their first conversation in the litter splashed over him. How could I have been so cruel? He lifted her palm and placed a kiss on it. “My wife, I wish I could have given you as much as you deserve.” His assessment of her response found no resentment.

Tonight, her hazel eyes glowed, shining like pools of water in the stone cliffs at the nuptial retreat. He turned back, but not before deciding he would find a way to make his wife forget he once threatened to send her to the house in the mountains to live alone.

The reporter flashed a glance his way. “And you, Commander? If I may ask, did you find it difficult to surrender a bachelor’s life for that of a married man? Some say twenty-eight is far too young to be married. How do you feel about such statements, sir?”

“Anwell and I feel we’ve been blessed by the gods,” he said. “I am luckier than other males, but the populace already knows this. Of course, I recognize such an experience can’t be guaranteed for all. I am honored to be entrusted with Anwell by the gods and Lord Chardel.

“As to twenty eight being too young, I don’t think so. Anwell and I will have more time together than most Astan couples. The pleasures of the life of a bachelor have their charms, but I’ve discovered being a husband is a superior occupation. Is that enough for your readers, Nathan?”

The reporter nodded with a gulp. “Yes, sir. My thanks for your candor.”

Daisy Banks whisks you into a futuristic world, where you might fight for water, or offer up your freedom and become a slave for the promise of enough to drink. Passion and politics ripple through A Perfect Match where the enmity between the government leader, Lord Chardel and Commander Varon, head of the Astan water acquirement fleet, is at flashpoint. 

The enforced marriage of Anwell Nastor, a young Temple adept, to Commander Varon, not only breaks Astan religious rules, but could break untried hearts. This cruel ploy meant to silence Varon’s opposition to current circumstances in the city-state brings unexpected results. Through careful manipulation of the news links, Varon and his bride become the city’s most adored couple, but danger shadows their steps.

Join Anwell and Varon as they discover the power of A Perfect Match on their perilous journey in a world full of dangers and political intrigue.

Daisy Banks writes sensual and spicy romance in the Historical, Paranormal and Fantasy genres. An obsessive writer, Daisy is passionate about her stories. Her focus is to offer the best tale she can to readers. Daisy is married, with two grown up sons. She lives with her husband in a converted chapel in Shropshire, England.

Antiques and collecting entertain Daisy when she isn’t writing.

Connect with Daisy at the following haunts:
Twitter @daisybanks12

Barns and Noble 

Taliesin Publishing  

Mae Clair Presents: Witness to My Heart by Loni Flowers #newrelease #contemporaryromance #giveaway

I’ve got a special guest on my blog today. Some of you know Loni Flowers, who has visited in the past, and who was one of the first friends I made when I ventured online in early 2012. I’m super jazzed to announce that Loni has a new contemporary romance release.

Let the Snoopy dancing commence and break out the bubbly! And, psst! . . . there’s a giveaway! 😀

Thanks so much for having me on the blog today, Mae. Truly an honor to be here… again! I can’t believe I’m here again with yet another novel to release. If someone told me five years ago that I was a writer and had would have three published novels, I would have laughed in their face.

Three books. That has to feel especially awesome. Give us the deets on your latest, please!

Today I’m so proud to release my newest novel, Witness to my Heart. It’s a contemporary romance with a touch of mystery. The main heroin, Abi, seeks shelter from the Witness Protection Program after witnessing a horrific crime. Staying away from all the pleasures life can give her, she meets a seductive and secretive man, Max Smith. He turns her whole world upside down and makes her question the way she’s living her life.WitnessToMyHeart_Front_500x750

As you know I’m very fond of romances with a twist of mystery. WITNESS TO MY HEART sounds especially yummy with a “seductive and secretive” hero. 🙂 Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?

I stepped out of my comfort zone with this novel. Writing my male lead, Max Smith has been my most favorite to date. He’s different than my other male character leads. Bringing sarcasm, sex-on-a-stick appeal, attitude, confidence and a sliver of sweetness, I thoroughly enjoyed his dialogue.

Ooo, he does sound appealing…just look at that cover! I sense romantic sparks all over the place. Without giving too much away, please share a bit about your favorite scene.

I’d have to say Max contributed to all of my favorite scenes. I could share one, but honestly, I have too many. There’s the pizza by the pool and an unexpected swim. Or the Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan movie marathon couch-snuggle. Or the heated exchanged in the park just before the rain started to fall. Or maybe the epic kiss against the elevator door….. see what I mean? There’s just too many to pick from!

Wow, such teasing! They all sound fantastic. I can’t wait to discover each of them. Can I get you to share a single sentence of dialogue you love?

One of my favorite lines: “…I just want to live without fear, love without consequence and not feel responsible for the actions my past can have on my future. I want to experience being me.

Very nice! Finally, I’d love for my readers to know you a bit better. When you’re not writing what do you do to unwind?

When I’m not writing, I’m either tending the my family’s needs, reading, or watching the 100 some-odd television shows I’ve recording on my DVR. I couldn’t function without my DVR! Besides reading to unwind from the day or to take a break from writing, I turn the TV on! My TV obsessions include: Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead… I could live off of those shows alone. I think they are two of the best shows on TV!

I am so deprived. I haven’t seen either. 😦 I really need to correct that soon. I’ve got a backlog of stuff on the DVR too, and of course I love to read. WITNESS TO MY HEART will be on my Kindle the moment I can snatch it up. Now for a few quick faves. Tell us your:

Favorite season:  Summer

Favorite ice cream flavor:  Mint Chocolate Chip

Food you never grow tired of:  Mac and Cheese

Sunset picnic or night on the town:  Sunset

Mountains or beach:  Beach

YAY! You chose mint chocolate chip as your favorite ice cream flavor. It’s mine too (although my husband fails to understand why, saying it tastes like mouthwash). I love all of your other answers too, especially the beach. I could live there. It’s even better when I have a good book to read like WITNESS TO MY HEART. 🙂 

Thanks for being my guest today Loni. It is always a pleasure to have you here.  Naturally I wish you much success and a gazillion sales.  

Connect with Loni Flowers at the following haunts: 

Author Loni FlowersAuthor Bio
Loni Flowers lives in Eastern North Carolina with her husband; two daughters, who never slow down for a second; and her couch-potato dogs, who only raise an eye when food’s around. She spends her days working a full-time professional job and when Loni isn’t there, you can find her playing on the internet. Chatting on Twitter and Facebook are her weaknesses! She loves to read and loves most genres, but she’s a definite sucker for a good romance story!

Contemporary romance is her writing genre of choice, but she’s not opposed to writing something different should an excellent idea strike.

Some of Loni’s favorite authors include: Kristan Higgins, Darynda Jones, Jill Shalvis,  L.J. Kentowski, Stefne Miller, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Karen Marie Moning, Nicholas Sparks, and Mae Clair… just to name a few.

Keep a low profile. That’s what Abigale Peterson was supposed to do, especially when the person she was being protected from was one of the world’s worst crime lords. After seven years in the Witness Protection Program, she felt no safer now than she did when she was seventeen. Revenge was rarely forgotten when it came to a professional criminal like Zerilli.

Low profiles meant no social life and definitely no love life.

Paranoia and lies became daily habits, going against everything Abigale believed in, but they kept her safe. They kept everyone safe.

Until a house fire puts her out of that safety and into the arms of a stranger. Max Smith is sexy, smart, and has major attitude. He’s the only one who seems to get her. He calms her fears and comforts her from her nightmares. But he also sees right through her lies.

Before Abigale can stop, she’s in too deep; confiding too much and breaking the one rule she promised herself to uphold: Never fall in love.

WITNESS TO MY HEART will be available for purchase on August 12th.  Mark your calendars! In the meantime, add it to your Goodreads list here.

Loni has a huge giveaway going on right now to celebrate the release of WITNESS TO MY HEART. You can win a gorgeous heart charm necklace and keychain, Amazon or B&N gift cards, paperback or ebook copies of her release, and signed swag. Comment below, and then click here to enter! 

Enjoy Romance and Mystery? Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair is Now Available!

I’m high-jacking Mythical Monday today so I can announce the publication of my latest release, ECLIPSE LAKE. I’m excited to kick off summer with a romantic mystery set at a sleepy lake resort in late June. The timing couldn’t be better!

That’s one of the benefits of indie-pubbing—being able to pick when you’ll release your novel. ECLIPSE LAKE is equal parts mystery and romance, a strong 50/50 mix of each. If you’ve visited my blog before, you’ve heard me babble about this title, but I’ll give you a run-down again anyway. 🙂

Book cover for Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair depicting a summer lake with rushes at sunset

Here’s the blurb:

Small towns hold the darkest secrets. 

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.

But memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.

Sound tempting?  ECLIPSE LAKE is a story about family relationships, forgiveness and redemption played against a backdrop of mystery and romance. You can snatch a Kindle copy from Amazon now. I hope to eventually release this title in print and will be uploading it to Smashwords as soon as I venture a bit further with my learning curve.

Look for a blog tour with fun giveaways down the road. In the meantime, I invite you to hop over to Amazon and discover the mystery and romance of ECLIPSE LAKE. I’d also love if you would add it to your Goodreads list, upping its exposure. This one is PG-13 but does contain some language. Dane Carlisle is a bit of a different type of hero for me . . . and he still made me swoon 😀

Book Spotlight: Almost Taken by Ana Fawkes

Hi, everyone! I have a new book to share with you today by author, Ana Fawkes.. ALMOST TAKEN is the first book in the series Two Weddings, One Funeral, & One Baby. Please check out the deets below!


From the bestselling author of By His Command comes a romance series that explores life, love, marriage, and death.

2w1f1bTwo Weddings, One Funeral, & One Baby


Jared Crowly was supposed to sell the apartment to the rich, powerful Harry Pitt and his beautiful girlfriend, Becky… not fall in love with Becky.

When Harry shows up to the apartment again, this time with a different woman donning an engagement ring, Jared is thrown into a world of deceit, and Harry threatens to tarnish Jared’s successful career.

Jared battles his emotions on what to do next, which only gets more complicated when he’s invited to be in the wedding party of a close friend whose fiancee has asked Becky to be a bridesmaid. Secrets will be bared and hearts will be broken, but can a new love overcome it all?


Don’t miss the second book in the Two Weddings, One Funeral, & One Baby series, titled Lifetime Proposal!

Jack and Riley really aren’t engaged… or so Jack thinks. When Riley’s competitive family puts her on the spot about the ‘wedding’, she begs Jack to help her. But what starts as a pretend fling soon becomes real. When hands touch, eyes meet, and hearts melt, anything can happen… even making fantasy a reality…


Purchase ALMOST TAKEN from:
Barnes & Noble

Visit Ana on her site at AnaFawkes.com
Email Ana at AnaFawkes@gmail.com
Follow on Twitter @AnaFawkes
Sign up to receive alerts of news and new books: tinyurl.com/kvh8tcb


Something in Harry’s eyes didn’t seem right.  Nor Becky’s.  Jared reminded himself he was there to sell the apartment, not judge people, and not play mental matchmaker.

“So?” Becky asked, her eyes shifting from Harry to Jared.

“So…?” Jared asked and smiled.

He couldn’t help himself then as he started at the deep brown color of Becky’s eyes.  They had a twinkle about them, radiating something.

“So, what?” Harry chimed in, his uneasy voice able to ruin any pleasing moment.

“What comes next?” Becky asked.

Harry laughed.  He slipped his left hand around to Becky’s shoulder and squeezed.  “This is where the men talk.  Take another walk through the place, okay?”

Jared held his smile even though he felt Harry deserved a backhand to the face.  But that was typical Harry, always finding a way to demean people around him, especially women.  But yet women always went for him.  Whether it was the money, the sense of power, or the rough but attractive looks, Harry always had a woman.

Becky nodded and broke away from Harry, moving to the steps.

Jared turned and watched until Becky was out of sight.  When he looked back at Harry, Harry held up a finger.  They listened to the click-clack of Becky’s shoes until they were a distant sound.

“Okay, now we can talk,” Harry said.

“Fair enough.  Any questions…?”

“How’s the market treating you now?” Harry asked.

“The market?  Which one?”

“Ah, always the show off,” Harry waved a finger at Jared.  “See, that used to work in college but it’s not stable or viable now, is it?  You look like you’re still grabbing at a hundred straws, hoping one will be the money making one.”

“I’ve done okay,” Jared said.

“Just okay?”

Harry raised an eyebrow.  Jared knew the routine.  Harry wouldn’t come out and ask it, but his eyes said everything.

How desperate are you to sell this house?

Jared wasn’t exactly desperate…

“This has been on the market for six months,” Harry said.

“Owners moved out two months ago.”

“And you couldn’t move it?”

“Haven’t given it much thought.  The owners called me two weeks ago and said it was time to get aggressive.”

“Sure, sure,” Harry said.  “I get it.  Can we cut the shit, Jared, and figure this out?”

“Make an offer,” Jared said and closed the leather folder.  “You know the market.  You know the house.  You know the drill.  How many houses do you own now?”

“A few,” Harry said.  He turned and walked into the bedroom that Becky wanted to be her painting room.  He looked out the window and sighed.  “There’s not enough room for my cars though.”

“I’m sure you have a place for them already,” Jared said.

“Smart man,” Harry said.  “Tell you what.  Let me take Rebecca home and discuss this with her.  Privately.  Without the pressure” – Harry looked over his shoulder and smiled – “and good charm of yourself.”

“Fair enough,” Jared said, knowing damn well Harry wasn’t going to buy the place.

For a second he considered asking Harry what the hell the point was to even bring Becky here.  It had all been a waste of time.

Jared heard the sound of Becky climbing the steps again.  When he saw Becky he decided it hadn’t been that much of a waste of time.  He couldn’t remember the last time he saw someone as beautiful as Becky.  But when she breezed by him, seeking the comfort of Harry, he then understood what the entire thing had been.

An image.

Harry brought Becky to look at houses each time she thought about the future, hoping to keep her calm and once again, in check.  Just like the talk about planning on getting engaged.

“If you have any questions, give me a call,” Jared said.

“Of course,” Harry replied.

Becky looked at Harry like she had something to say.  Jared would have loved to hear what she had to say, but Harry already started walking.  When he passed him, Jared watched the fake happy couple disappear down the steps but not before Becky looked back and smiled.

Jared memorized the smile, from the way the right side of Becky’s mouth curled a little more than the left, to how she had little dimples, and how her eyes and smile went together in perfect harmony.

He shook his head. Jared was so used to memorizing features… that’s all it was, nothing else.