Saturday Night Serenade–Cat 4? Why Not?

Happy Labor Day! There’s nothing like a three-day weekend. Unless you’re under threat of a catastrophic natural disaster.

For a while there, things were looking exceedingly dicey here in south Florida what with Hurricane Dorian lurking out there in the Atlantic. Friday morning, Al Roker showed a projected path that had the storm hitting West Palm Beach as a Cat 4 sometime on Monday.

Which, if you know our current situation, was just Donkey Kong chucking another barrel at us. We’re supposed to be closing on our house on Friday. If the storm hit late Monday into Tuesday and we continued to have tropical storm weather through Wednesday, there’s not a chance in the world we’d be able to close on time.

And we can’t secure a place to move until we have the proceeds from the closing. But now that things seem to be settling down a bit, and my apologies to the Carolinas, we may just have a path to the next adventure for us.

We have a line on a short-term rental that will allow us to bring Jack, our 85-lb. rescue German shepherd, and that will work until the end of October, when seasonal rates kick in and we’ll have to find something else.

Fingers crossed, by that time, Mr. R will have secured a full-time position back in television news and we’ll be on our way. So if you know of any stations that need a kick-ass news photog or video editor, just saying…

Thanks for taking this journey with us–your positive thoughts mean the world to us.

I hope you enjoy my cheeky virtual middle finger to effing Cat 4 Dorian. If you’re in the storm’s path, be safe. And be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Days and Nights

Happy August!
Around here, everyone’s getting ready to head back to school, but for me, August has always been about long, hot, lazy summer days.

And Love Shack is the perfect summer song. Don’t you wish there was a place you could go and just cut loose, forgetting all your troubles?

Tonight, let’s just push aside all the stress and deadlines. We’ll enjoy a cold one or three and create our own funky little place.

Be sure to hug the ones you love. Happy Saturday night!

Update on our situation:
We’ve had a couple dozen people tour the house. Everyone seems to like it, they all say the asking price is fair, but we have no offers. Not even a low-ball, ‘let’s negotiate’ offer. So that’s discouraging.

We did find a temporary transportation solution to the end of our car lease in a couple of weeks, so that’s good news.

Fingers crossed, the house goes under contract soon.

Saturday Night Serenade–Perfect

Thanks to a Fandango gift card left from Christmas, Mr. R and I ventured to the movies last weekend to see Yesterday, the romantic comedy that features songs from the Beatles. Despite some less than glowing reviews, we enjoyed the movie. The story is sweet, and obviously the music is great.

In the film, a young aspiring musician wakes up to find that he’s the only person in the world who remembers the Beatles. When he begins playing their songs, he becomes a huge sensation, even being tapped to open for Ed Sheeran in a world tour.

Have I mentioned that I love Ed Sheeran? And I love this song. There’s a hint of a throw-back, if you listen closely. Besides, it’s just a beautiful sentiment.

I’m craving a beautiful, peaceful song right now. Our lives are still in turmoil here at Chez R. The house is on the market and we’ve have several folks come by to look at it. No offers as yet, though. Fingers crossed, we’re under contract soon. Then we’ll have to figure out what’s next.

But for now, I’m going to take a deep breath and just enjoy the moment. We’ll keep you posted.

Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Stepping Stone

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. R was hit by a car in the Publix parking lot. He’s fine, he wasn’t hurt, really, but the most remarkable thing about it is that combined with all the other setbacks we’ve had recently, getting hit by a car wasn’t all that remarkable.

Over the past couple of years, the real estate business has kicked us in the teeth repeatedly. From the couple who was ready to sell their house then ‘2-more-weeks’ed us for TEN MONTHS, to they guy who has had signed contracts on 5 different houses and BACKED OUT OF EVERY ONE, and every wishy-washy client in between, we’ve grown increasingly behind in our financial obligations.

Then there’s the delightful person who tried to use our debit card in Miami. Lucky for us, they could’t guess the correct zip code. And both our cats died within two days.

To try to help make ends meet, in addition to writing, I’ve been teaching online for nearly a year. Mr. R has been using our only car, a lease, to drive Uber.

In a desperate attempt to save our home from foreclosure, we hired an attorney to help us file bankruptcy. Again, the day we signed the paperwork, that was the absolute least stressful part of that day. The leased car is due to be returned in August. The lawyer said not to worry about the final two payments, she’s rolling it into the bankruptcy. So we’ve blown way past the mileage limit driving it for Uber. It was a relief to think of no car payments.

Then the battery died. Long story short, we borrowed a battery charger from a friend and Mr. R stayed out all night driving Uber to earn enough money to replace a $120 battery on a car we’re giving back.

What we’ve realized, though, is that if we follow through with the bankruptcy, we’ll be chaining ourselves to an outrageously high mortgage payment for the next five years. Sure we can come up with the payment this month. But what about next month? And the month after that?

It just doesn’t make sense. What we’re realizing is that we have to get out from under the house. And Mr. R is planning to go back to television news while doing real estate part-time. Somewhere, there’s a new adventure waiting. And it doesn’t involve the level of stress we’ve lived with for the last two years.

So our house is on the market. Priced to sell quickly. We even have an Open House today.

Where are we going? I have no idea. But tonight’s song touches my soul. This ain’t no stumbling block. It’s just a stepping stone.

I hope you’re enjoying this fine summer weekend. Try to stay cool. And be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Dreamers

If it’s summer, it’s time for my lazy-days guilty pleasure, America’s Got Talent. I know. We shouldn’t love this show. The title isn’t even grammatically correct.

And do we really need to watch dudes getting shot out of cannons, dudes using their nipples to pull tractor-trailers, creepy contortionists, and mediocre magicians. I would say yes, because among all the rabble you find diamonds in the rough, dreamers, many of whom have put their dreams on hold while they got ‘real’ jobs and watched time go by.

One such contestant was Chris Klafford who appeared last week. His unique take on Imagine held the audience and judges spellbound. See what you think.

I think part of the show’s popularity is that most of us root for the underdog who gets a second chance. Because if a large Swede with skinny jeans and the voice of an angel gets his shot at his dreams, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us, too.

I hope you’re enjoying these ‘dog days’ of summer. Be sure to hug those you love. And maybe dare to dream a little.

Happy Saturday night!

Weekend Excerpt–HUNTER’S PRIDE

HUNTER’S PRIDE is OUT!

Redheads & Ranchers Book 2 is the story of corporate lawyer Poppy Chastain. Sent by her New York real estate development firm to Idaho, her mission is to convince fifth-generation cattle rancher Hunter McFall to sell a parcel of his ranch so Slade & Howell can put in an access road to the mountain property they plan on turning into a luxury resort.

Hunter will never agree to sell his land, but when he meets Poppy, he wants to show her exactly why he won’t. Somewhere along the way, they discover an explosive chemistry they never expected.

But behind the scenes, Slade & Howell is making plans to gain Hunter’s land by any means necessary. Can Hunter and Poppy’s love survive?

Here’s a teaser from HUNTER’S PRIDE:

Back at the ranch, Poppy took advantage of the huge master shower while Hunter saw to a few ranch matters that needed his attention.  Afterward, while he cleaned up for dinner, Poppy took care of some emails that had come in during their ride in the mountains. 

When they were both ready, Poppy insisted on stopping at the barn to see how the mother and calf were getting along.  Which was swimmingly.  Hunter commented that they’d be ready to join the rest of the herd in the next day or so.  Poppy snapped a few pictures then took Hunter’s hand and the pair headed for his big black Expedition. 

Country music played quietly in the background on the half-hour ride into McFall.  By the time they drove into town, the sun had set.  The parking lot at the North Star was about half-full.  Hunter managed to find a spot near the end of the first row.

“Hang on,” he said as he turned off the ignition.  “I’ll get your door.”

Poppy smiled to herself as she watched him walk around the SUV.  Hunter was always handsome.  Whether he was rain-soaked or working in the barn or naked by the fire, he was undeniably hot.  But tonight, in his dark jeans and white dress shirt, he was sex on legs.  She was suddenly ready to be back at the ranch.

As he opened her door, he smirked at her knowingly and briefly, she wondered if he could read her thoughts.

“You look amazing,” he said, holding her hand and helping her step out of the truck.

Poppy laughed lightly.  “You’ve seen this skirt and blouse before.  I wore it the first day I was here.”

“I’ve seen everything,” he murmured, his voice low and sexy.  “It’s still amazing.”

She rolled her eyes and blushed.  “Well, you look pretty hot yourself.”

He grinned at her.  “Do you think so?  I clean up okay?”

He held open the door, and she walked into the bar.  The place was fairly busy for a Thursday, and heads swiveled as Hunter followed closely behind her, directing her to the same booth they’d sat in her first night in town.  Starla nodded at them from her post behind the bar.  Classic rock served as a background for the buzz of conversation, occasionally punctuated by the clack of billiard balls on the other side of the room.

A young brunette approached them with a pair of menus.  “Hey, Hunter.”

He smiled at her.  “Hey, Lynnette.  How’s school?”

“Aw, you know.  I’m glad to be home for the summer.  Can I get you something to drink?”

“Let’s start with a couple of Jamesons, neat.  We’ll figure out what else we want.”

The server nodded.  “You’ve got it.”

“Jamesons?” Poppy asked as the girl walked away.

Hunter’s grin was boyish.  “Thought I might get you all liquored up so I can have my way with you later.”

“No liquor required for that. And I was figuring on having my way with you.”  She arched an eyebrow in challenge.

“Hot damn,” he breathed. 

Grinning, Poppy tried to ignore the curious stares of the good citizens of McFall as she perused the menu. 

Hunter, however, commented on it.  “Ever feel like you were in a damn fishbowl?”

“I wasn’t going to say anything, but, yeah, it’s a little uncomfortable.”

Hunter pursed his lips and shrugged slightly.  “I haven’t really brought a date here before. Not since Tara died, anyway.  I suppose folks are just curious.”

Poppy’s heart skipped a beat as she remembered her morning in Hunter’s office.  “That reminds me–”

The server’s voice startled her.  “Here you go.  Two Jamesons, neat.”  She placed the glasses in front of them.  “Are you ready to order?” 

Hunter looked to Poppy.  “Do you know what you want?”

She nodded.  “I’ll have the cheeseburger, medium-well, with swiss.”

“And for you?” the girl turned to Hunter.

He nodded.  “I’ll have the same.”

Feeling slightly shaky, Poppy sipped her whiskey, appreciating the burn as it trickled down the inside of her chest.

“You started to say something when Lynnette interrupted.”  He leaned forward on his forearms and watched her steadily.

“I almost forgot.  I meant to tell you something.”  She glanced up at him, breathing deeply as she tried to quell a slight tremble of nerves in her stomach.

“This morning, I opened your desk drawer looking for a notepad, and I found your wedding photo.  I didn’t mean to snoop, honestly, I didn’t.  I’m very sorry for invading your space like that.”

Hunter shrugged lightly.  “I told you to think of my office as your own.  You’re welcome to use anything you like.  Including anything you need out of the desk.  You don’t have to apologize.”

“I feel like I intruded, and I’m sorry.”  She risked a look in his direction.  “It was a beautiful photograph.”

He sipped his whiskey and stared down at the table.  “It was a beautiful day.”  He looked back up at her.  “That was almost ten years ago.”

Curiosity overwhelming her, Poppy decided to press forward.  “How did you two meet?”

Hunter gazed out across the room and sighed.  “We met at a bar.  Which isn’t as lame as it sounds.  I was dating a friend of hers, and a group of us had gotten together to hear a band down in Ketchum.  She was visiting from California.  We just clicked.”

Now that the door was open, Poppy had to walk through.  “And she was a redhead.”

“She was.”

When he didn’t say anything more, she fidgeted with the edge of her napkin.  She had so many more questions, but the topic seemed to have dead-ended.  She sighed softly.  “Well, anyway, I’m sorry for getting into your personal business.”

“Hey.”  His voice was soft as he reached across the table.  She took his hand and squeezed it affectionately.   “My life is an open book.  Ask me about anything you like.  And I mean it when I say consider the ranch your home.  Use anything you need.  Open any drawers you like.”

Wide-eyed, Poppy regarded him for a moment.  “When she died, you must have been devastated.”

Briefly, Hunter squeezed his eyes shut.  “I was.  I was a mess.  Losing Tara, losing the baby…”  He shook his head.  “I was useless for a while.  But then I realized that I wasn’t doing anybody any good wallowing in self-pity.  I sure as hell wasn’t honoring their memory.” 

He chuckled lightly.  “Could be it was Rolly’s boot up my ass that finally got me moving again.”

“You loved her.”  Poppy’s voice was soft.

He nodded.  “I did. With all my heart.  I didn’t think anybody would ever be able to fill that emptiness in me.” 

He smiled across the table at her.  “Then this prissy little big-city lawyer showed up in her fancy clothes and her designer shoes.”

Poppy frowned slightly and leaned forward.  “Prissy?  Who are you calling prissy?”

“You, Ms. P.K. Chastain.  If the cow poo shoe fits…”  He gave her a wink. 

She had to smile.  Elbow on the table, she rested her chin on her hand before she risked her most burning question.  “I look a little bit like her.  Is that weird?”

His sigh was deep.  “It’s true, you both have red hair.  But Tara’s eyes were light brown.  Yours are much darker.  And you have a completely different spirit, which to me makes you different as night and day.”

“How is my spirit different?”

He shrugged slightly.  “Tara was kind of…quiet.  She was calm, practical.  Predictable, maybe.” 

He met her gaze, his eyes sparkling with emotion.  “You’re bold and audacious and passionate.  You are your own unique self.”

Her brow furrowed.  “Is that good?

“I wouldn’t change a thing about you.”

Poppy flushed with pleasure.  “Well…good!  Because what you see is what you get.”

The thump of upbeat seventies rock shifted to a slower country song and Hunter slid out of the booth.  “Come on,” he said, holding out his hand to Poppy.

She glanced up at him.

He quirked an eyebrow.  “If they’re going to be talking about us anyway, might as well give’em something to say.  Dance with me.”

HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks

HUNTER’S PRIDE
is on sale now at your favorite online bookseller.
It’s even available in paperback.
books2read.com/HuntersPride

Saturday Night Serenade–Going Home

I’m a happy girl.

I’m the mom of two incredible young men. Life hasn’t always been what it should be, and we’ve been through some hard times, not the least of which was living with a controlling narcissist, and dealing with the aftermath of divorce.

Each of us emerged damaged in our own ways. and we’ve worked to move forward. But it’s been a struggle, and my older son has had a hard time of it. Following high school, he drifted, finally ending up in the Air Force for a time. Full of anger and bitterness, he stayed away, refusing to keep in contact. In fact, I haven’t seen him in eight years.

Until three days ago.

Out of the blue, he responded to a Facebook message I sent him a month ago. He and his girlfriend were visiting her aunt in Tampa and it wasn’t going well. Naturally, I invited them to come here.

When I hugged him (maybe I squeezed him just a little too hard), he was shaking. I think he was afraid of how he’d be received. He’d convinced himself that I hated him.

A mom always loves her kids, no matter what. And we’ve had the nicest three days I’m had in a long time. Who says you can’t go home?

They’re leaving tonight for the 24-hour drive back to western Missouri. But we have plans to get together again soon. And I have his phone number. Like I said, I’m a happy girl

Be sure to hug those you love. Let them know you love them.

Happy Saturday night!