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NJDamschroder
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


becke_davis wrote:

Ooh, I'm worried about your eyes now! If they're bothering you PLEASE don't worry about us! You can come back and chat when your eyes aren't bothering you if that helps.

 

I do like your term "flyer" as opposed to "pantser." I've also heard it called "writing organically" - I like that, too.


Thanks, Becke. They're doing okay today. I just have try to be more moderate with the computer. Kinda tricky when my 4.5-hour day job is all computer, and my freelance job (3-4 hours a day) is all computer, and my "real" job (writing) is all computer. LOL

 

I like the term "writing organically" a lot, too. It's actually the most descriptive, and addresses the work directly. The story grows from itself, from the interactions of the characters and the events that occur. Whereas "plotter vs. pantser (flyer)" is about the author, not the story. :smileyhappy:

~~~~~
Natalie J. Damschroder
Author of High-Stakes Romantic Adventure and Paranormal Romance
Love with a Shot of Adrenaline
Author
NJDamschroder
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!

So what's everybody reading right now?

 

I confess I don't read much straight mystery anymore. I like Misty Simon's Ivy series (I hear she's working on another one!) and Karen Rose Smith just sold the first books in a mystery series, and I look forward to that (I like her romances). But I'm definitely much more into romantic suspense and romantic adventure.

 

A lot of paranormal romance is mystery/suspense/thriller based, too. Do you guys prefer your mysteries/thrillers/suspense with or without mystery elements? Are you a purist, a mashup lover, or somewhere in between?

 

Some of the books in this genre on my TBR pile right now:

 

Danger Zone and Dangerous Race by Dee J. Adams (a new author for me)

 

The Guns and Roses anthology by the Murder She Writes authors

 

Critical Condition by CJ Lyons (her Angels of Mercy series is great!)

 

Anyone have any good recommendations?

~~~~~
Natalie J. Damschroder
Author of High-Stakes Romantic Adventure and Paranormal Romance
Love with a Shot of Adrenaline
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


NJDamschroder wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

Ooh, I'm worried about your eyes now! If they're bothering you PLEASE don't worry about us! You can come back and chat when your eyes aren't bothering you if that helps.

 

I do like your term "flyer" as opposed to "pantser." I've also heard it called "writing organically" - I like that, too.


Thanks, Becke. They're doing okay today. I just have try to be more moderate with the computer. Kinda tricky when my 4.5-hour day job is all computer, and my freelance job (3-4 hours a day) is all computer, and my "real" job (writing) is all computer. LOL

 

I like the term "writing organically" a lot, too. It's actually the most descriptive, and addresses the work directly. The story grows from itself, from the interactions of the characters and the events that occur. Whereas "plotter vs. pantser (flyer)" is about the author, not the story. :smileyhappy:


Good point! 

 

Natalie - I forgot to ask if you'd be doing any book signings at Barnes & Noble stores this spring or summer. 

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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


NJDamschroder wrote:

So what's everybody reading right now?

 

I confess I don't read much straight mystery anymore. I like Misty Simon's Ivy series (I hear she's working on another one!) and Karen Rose Smith just sold the first books in a mystery series, and I look forward to that (I like her romances). But I'm definitely much more into romantic suspense and romantic adventure.

 

A lot of paranormal romance is mystery/suspense/thriller based, too. Do you guys prefer your mysteries/thrillers/suspense with or without mystery elements? Are you a purist, a mashup lover, or somewhere in between?

 

Some of the books in this genre on my TBR pile right now:

 

Danger Zone and Dangerous Race by Dee J. Adams (a new author for me)

 

The Guns and Roses anthology by the Murder She Writes authors

 

Critical Condition by CJ Lyons (her Angels of Mercy series is great!)

 

Anyone have any good recommendations?


I read everything! The problem is, I never catch up. I have 60+ books in my Nook TBR pile and a couple hundred in my paper TBR pile. I got tied up with a big garden writing assignment that stretched out over close to six weeks, and that really messed up my reading. I'm gradually getting back on track - there are soooo many books I want to read!

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optic_i
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Registered: ‎06-26-2011
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!

Hi Natalie,   What a good question !

 

What kind of mysteries do we like to read ? Well I like different types. Police procedural, Usually small town setting.  English inspectors in historical settings. Cozyish books in quaint settings. Gee I think I really choose the setting as a big part of the books I like to read. I like series books also,  I will read them all.

Author
NJDamschroder
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


becke_davis wrote:

 

Natalie - I forgot to ask if you'd be doing any book signings at Barnes & Noble stores this spring or summer. 


Actually, I have to start getting some set up. Under the Moon is being re-released in mass trade paperback and was one of B&N's selections for September, so I'll be doing some signings in September and October. Nothing scheduled yet, though.

~~~~~
Natalie J. Damschroder
Author of High-Stakes Romantic Adventure and Paranormal Romance
Love with a Shot of Adrenaline
Author
NJDamschroder
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


becke_davis wrote:

I read everything! The problem is, I never catch up. I have 60+ books in my Nook TBR pile and a couple hundred in my paper TBR pile. I got tied up with a big garden writing assignment that stretched out over close to six weeks, and that really messed up my reading. I'm gradually getting back on track - there are soooo many books I want to read!


Same here! I haven't counted lately, but I probably have somewhere around 50 books, print and e-book combined. I used to consistently have over 100. After I quit my day job in 2006, I was "good" and stopped buying new books, but started to panic when I got down to about 20. LOL. There are always great new ones coming out!

~~~~~
Natalie J. Damschroder
Author of High-Stakes Romantic Adventure and Paranormal Romance
Love with a Shot of Adrenaline
Author
NJDamschroder
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


optic_i wrote:

Hi Natalie,   What a good question !

 

What kind of mysteries do we like to read ? Well I like different types. Police procedural, Usually small town setting.  English inspectors in historical settings. Cozyish books in quaint settings. Gee I think I really choose the setting as a big part of the books I like to read. I like series books also,  I will read them all.


Setting is a HUGE factor in mysteries! One of my favorite mystery authors was Valerie Malmont. She set her books in South Central Pennsylvania, and the town definitely flavored the story. And where else could the JD Robb books be set but NYC? The futuristic details are so effortless. (Of course, after, what, 30 books, they would be! LOL)

~~~~~
Natalie J. Damschroder
Author of High-Stakes Romantic Adventure and Paranormal Romance
Love with a Shot of Adrenaline
Scribe
optic_i
Posts: 750
Registered: ‎06-26-2011
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!

Hi Natalie,

That is so true about the settings that a mystery is in. It really is a character of it's own sometimes. I feel the same way about movies. I remember when I first saw the movie Fargo I thought wow what a great setting and characters, a place were even the bad guys were treated well !  

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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


NJDamschroder wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

 

Natalie - I forgot to ask if you'd be doing any book signings at Barnes & Noble stores this spring or summer. 


Actually, I have to start getting some set up. Under the Moon is being re-released in mass trade paperback and was one of B&N's selections for September, so I'll be doing some signings in September and October. Nothing scheduled yet, though.


When you get them scheduled, let me know and I'll post the dates & locations here.

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


NJDamschroder wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

I read everything! The problem is, I never catch up. I have 60+ books in my Nook TBR pile and a couple hundred in my paper TBR pile. I got tied up with a big garden writing assignment that stretched out over close to six weeks, and that really messed up my reading. I'm gradually getting back on track - there are soooo many books I want to read!


Same here! I haven't counted lately, but I probably have somewhere around 50 books, print and e-book combined. I used to consistently have over 100. After I quit my day job in 2006, I was "good" and stopped buying new books, but started to panic when I got down to about 20. LOL. There are always great new ones coming out!


My husband jokes that our budget is shelter, food and clothing followed by books! He's not far wrong.

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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!

Natalie - What do you do when you Really Should Be Writing?

Author
NJDamschroder
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


optic_i wrote:

Hi Natalie,

That is so true about the settings that a mystery is in. It really is a character of it's own sometimes. I feel the same way about movies. I remember when I first saw the movie Fargo I thought wow what a great setting and characters, a place were even the bad guys were treated well !  


Fargo is a perfect example! :smileyhappy: Trenton in the Stephanie Plum series is another example, but one they didn't get as right in the movie as it is in the books.

 

a place were even the bad guys were treated well !

 

LOL!

~~~~~
Natalie J. Damschroder
Author of High-Stakes Romantic Adventure and Paranormal Romance
Love with a Shot of Adrenaline
Author
NJDamschroder
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


becke_davis wrote:

When you get them scheduled, let me know and I'll post the dates & locations here.



Will do, thanks! :smileyhappy:

~~~~~
Natalie J. Damschroder
Author of High-Stakes Romantic Adventure and Paranormal Romance
Love with a Shot of Adrenaline
Author
NJDamschroder
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


becke_davis wrote:

My husband jokes that our budget is shelter, food and clothing followed by books! He's not far wrong.



LOL That's ours, too! And books are the one thing I *never* say no to the kids about. :smileyhappy:

~~~~~
Natalie J. Damschroder
Author of High-Stakes Romantic Adventure and Paranormal Romance
Love with a Shot of Adrenaline
Author
NJDamschroder
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


becke_davis wrote:

Natalie - What do you do when you Really Should Be Writing?


Gah, you're going to out me? LOL

 

The usual stuff, really. I tend to put my client work first, and that can end up eating away at my writing time. Even though I know better, I always feel like I'll write best if the little stuff is out of the way first. So I update the checkbook and sort the mail and pay bills and there's always, always promo stuff to do. Right now, one of my time-suckers is organizing some donations from Entangled Publishing authors to the Brenda Novak Auction for the Cure of Diabetes. That's such a worthy reason to not be writing! LOL

 

Thursdays are supposed to be my writing days, because I don't work my day job in a chiropractor's office. But I end up cleaning, running errands, and scheduling appointments instead. I need a lot more discipline! :smileyhappy:

~~~~~
Natalie J. Damschroder
Author of High-Stakes Romantic Adventure and Paranormal Romance
Love with a Shot of Adrenaline
Author
NJDamschroder
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎07-14-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!

Acceptable Risks  

 

Here's an excerpt from chapter two of my April 16 release:

 

Lark stood next to her father at Jason’s graveside, while the reverend said a few final words and the casket was lowered into the ground. All around them people wept, but aside from a moment in the church, while he gave the eulogy, her father hadn’t broken. Yet to anyone who knew him well, which included Lark and probably half the agents here, he looked ravaged. It didn’t help that her mother was buried here, a few feet away. He hadn’t so much as glanced at Kelly Madrassa’s grave. Simply because the memory compounded his pain? Or was it more complicated than that?

Her mother’s death hadn’t had the suddenness of Jason’s. They’d seen it coming, the awareness that she’d be gone from their lives pressing down until the grief crushed them. But this loss had shredded her father, ripped something out of him. She’d never doubted his strength ten years ago. Now…now, she was less sure.

She accepted condolences as the service ended and everyone moved off toward the cars lining the cemetery road. Minutes ticked past and her father didn’t move. Finally, chilled by the early-December air, she stepped closer and slid her hand into his.

“Daddy.”

The quiet word seemed to snap Matthew back into himself. “I’m sorry, Lark. We can go.” He folded his other hand over hers, but didn’t tear his eyes away from the grave.

“Take as long as you need.”

But he shook his head slightly and finally started walking. “I don’t think I can face the crowd at the house,” he admitted, scanning the sea of dark clothing ahead of them. “Would it be too much to ask you to step in?”

“Not at all.” She hesitated. “I didn’t see Jason’s parents.”

“No. They didn’t come.”

Lark recognized by his tone that it would do no good to ask why. “All right. Anything I need to know? If people ask about his…fall?”

He flinched, but shook his head.

He was silent as the limo glided through the streets of suburban Virginia back to his house. The heavy car seemed to cocoon them from the world, but it offered no comfort. Instead, it held in the broody darkness. Lark held her father’s hand, her gaze at the window, but not really seeing the world outside it.

She hadn’t known Jason that well. Once she left for college, their paths didn’t cross much. But she understood how important he was to her father. As important, in a different way, as her mother had been. Lark didn’t have anyone who meant that much to her, except her father.

When the car pulled into the circular drive, the house was already full. Her father’s assistant, Caitlyn, had arranged for the caterer and arrived early to let everyone in.

“Please pull around to the back of the house,” Matthew instructed the driver, who followed the narrow drive to the space in front of the garage. The driver got out and opened the door for them, accepting Matthew’s tip with a somber nod. Lark followed her father through the kitchen door into the tiny mudroom at the base of the back stairs.

“Thank you, sweetheart.” He kissed Lark’s cheek.

“Can I bring you anything?” she asked. “A plate of food, or a drink?”

“No, I’m fine. Just dealing with this—” he indicated the clusters of people in the kitchen and dining room,
“—is more than enough.” He disappeared up the stairs.

He wasn’t even close to fine. Lark blew out a breath and braced herself to circulate.

Over the next two hours, she accepted so many hugs her back ached, and no drink alleviated her dry mouth. Finally, everyone had left except the clean-up staff and Caitlyn. The assistant took a stack of plates out of Lark’s hands and set them back on the oak coffee table in the large living room. “Leave this stuff. That’s why we hired people. You should go rest.”

Lark rubbed her hand across her forehead, trying to ease the tightness that forecasted a headache. “You should. You were closer to Jason than I was.” She’d been so focused on her father, she hadn’t thought about that before. “You’ve done so much. I shouldn’t—”

Caitlyn waved her down, her smile wan. “The distraction helped. I’m a doer. That’s why I have this job in the first place.” She looked around at the now-clean living room. The cleaning staff had been discreet but quick, wiping down surfaces and whisking away debris. Sounds of swishing water and clinking glassware drifted out from the kitchen. “They should be done soon. Are you staying long?”

“Just another couple of days. I can’t miss more work than that, not right now.” Ralph, Lark’s boss, hadn’t even wanted to give her that much, but her fellowship trip to Indonesia had brought Botanical Medicality enough promising new source material to keep them in R&D funding for years. That gave her a little clout. But Ralph suspected she was working on some things on her own, they’d fought about it, and he hadn’t been in the mood to be generous when she requested time off. Her compound was developed from plants she’d obtained before going to work for BotMed, which fell outside the terms of her contract. She’d also sold it and wasn’t officially working on it now. Bottom line, though, was that she couldn’t afford to take extra time.

She looked up as her father entered, his shirt untucked and tie missing, hair mussed and the lines around his eyes strained. Guilt twisted her insides. He needed her. How could she leave him?

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize anyone else was still here. Caitlyn, thank you for everything.”

“It’s nothing. The least I could do.” She looked dissatisfied by the clichéd words.

“It’s a lot. And appreciated.” He looked at his watch. “You go on home. We’ll finish up here, and I’ll see you in the office on Monday.” As he walked her out, Lark thought maybe the time alone had helped him. His step seemed lighter, more natural. She started to follow, but held back when her phone rang. She checked the display—it was Carl.

“Hey, babe,” he said when she answered. “How you holding up?”

She sank onto the soft brown suede sofa, her legs and back aching. “All right. Better than my father.” Her feet had swelled inside the heels she rarely wore, and rejoiced when she toed them off. She barely held back a groan of pleasure.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t come down with you.”

“It’s really okay.” She’d never expected him to even offer. They’d only been dating a few months, and their relationship wasn’t that deep. “I wouldn’t have had much time for you, anyway. There were so many people.” They talked for a couple of minutes about the funeral and the work that had kept Carl from flying down from Boston with her. Lark quickly wrapped up the conversation when her father came back into the room.

Whatever lightness she’d thought she’d seen had disappeared, replaced by murky despair. He settled into one of the matching armchairs as if uncertain he’d be able to rise again. “I’m sorry I left you to deal with everyone,” he said.

“It’s all right.” She pushed to her feet and went to sit on the arm of the chair. “Do you want anything to eat? There’s still plenty of food.” She smoothed his hair and frowned when he felt warm to the touch. “Maybe some fruit, at least?”

“Not right now.”

She bit her tongue. Nagging wouldn’t force him to take care of himself. She’d have to be sneaky about it. But even then, she couldn’t force him to eat or sleep, and she was only going to be here a couple more days. Maybe she could talk him into coming up to visit her in Boston. A change of scene had to be good, and being away might make it easier for him to pull out of himself.

“Who was that on the phone?” he asked.

Lark chewed her lip, taken off guard. “Just a guy from my building.”

For the first time all day, her father looked straight at her. “Oh, yeah?” His mouth curved slightly. “Just a
guy, huh?”

Lark couldn’t help smiling back. “So far. Oh, stop,” she said when he raised his eyebrows. “It’s not serious, and probably won’t be. Don’t start with the whole ‘you need a partner’ thing.” The words reverberated in the room and struck her in the chest, bringing immediate regret. He’d lost both people in his life that he’d considered partners.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t—”

“I know.” He rested his hand reassuringly on her knee, but his gaze was troubled. “Lark, I hope you understand I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Our friendship was worth enduring this, and so was my life with your mother.”

“Of course I understand.” She was grateful for the sixteen years she’d had with her mother, too. But she’d never had a best friend or anyone else she loved as much as she loved her father. Chances were good she’d lose him someday—a thought that left her cold to the bone.

He lapsed into silence again, staring as hard at the floor as he’d stared at the coffin. His fingers plucked at the piping around the edge of the chair arm. Lark’s heart ached. Jason had been his best friend for ten years, and especially after her mother died, he’d been his rock. Now the only one he had to help him through was her. She was afraid she wasn’t up to the task.

~~~~~
Natalie J. Damschroder
Author of High-Stakes Romantic Adventure and Paranormal Romance
Love with a Shot of Adrenaline
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


NJDamschroder wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

Natalie - What do you do when you Really Should Be Writing?


Gah, you're going to out me? LOL

 

The usual stuff, really. I tend to put my client work first, and that can end up eating away at my writing time. Even though I know better, I always feel like I'll write best if the little stuff is out of the way first. So I update the checkbook and sort the mail and pay bills and there's always, always promo stuff to do. Right now, one of my time-suckers is organizing some donations from Entangled Publishing authors to the Brenda Novak Auction for the Cure of Diabetes. That's such a worthy reason to not be writing! LOL

 

Thursdays are supposed to be my writing days, because I don't work my day job in a chiropractor's office. But I end up cleaning, running errands, and scheduling appointments instead. I need a lot more discipline! :smileyhappy:


Oooh, thanks for mentioning Brenda's auction. Let's give it a plug!

 

http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/

 

I usually donate books and other things - this year I've got four items in the auction. Bidding starts May 1st!

 

 

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!


NJDamschroder wrote:

Acceptable Risks  

 

Here's an excerpt from chapter two of my April 16 release:

 

Lark stood next to her father at Jason’s graveside, while the reverend said a few final words and the casket was lowered into the ground. All around them people wept, but aside from a moment in the church, while he gave the eulogy, her father hadn’t broken. Yet to anyone who knew him well, which included Lark and probably half the agents here, he looked ravaged. It didn’t help that her mother was buried here, a few feet away. He hadn’t so much as glanced at Kelly Madrassa’s grave. Simply because the memory compounded his pain? Or was it more complicated than that?

Her mother’s death hadn’t had the suddenness of Jason’s. They’d seen it coming, the awareness that she’d be gone from their lives pressing down until the grief crushed them. But this loss had shredded her father, ripped something out of him. She’d never doubted his strength ten years ago. Now…now, she was less sure.

She accepted condolences as the service ended and everyone moved off toward the cars lining the cemetery road. Minutes ticked past and her father didn’t move. Finally, chilled by the early-December air, she stepped closer and slid her hand into his.

“Daddy.”

The quiet word seemed to snap Matthew back into himself. “I’m sorry, Lark. We can go.” He folded his other hand over hers, but didn’t tear his eyes away from the grave.

“Take as long as you need.”

But he shook his head slightly and finally started walking. “I don’t think I can face the crowd at the house,” he admitted, scanning the sea of dark clothing ahead of them. “Would it be too much to ask you to step in?”

“Not at all.” She hesitated. “I didn’t see Jason’s parents.”

“No. They didn’t come.”

Lark recognized by his tone that it would do no good to ask why. “All right. Anything I need to know? If people ask about his…fall?”

He flinched, but shook his head.

He was silent as the limo glided through the streets of suburban Virginia back to his house. The heavy car seemed to cocoon them from the world, but it offered no comfort. Instead, it held in the broody darkness. Lark held her father’s hand, her gaze at the window, but not really seeing the world outside it.

She hadn’t known Jason that well. Once she left for college, their paths didn’t cross much. But she understood how important he was to her father. As important, in a different way, as her mother had been. Lark didn’t have anyone who meant that much to her, except her father.

When the car pulled into the circular drive, the house was already full. Her father’s assistant, Caitlyn, had arranged for the caterer and arrived early to let everyone in.

“Please pull around to the back of the house,” Matthew instructed the driver, who followed the narrow drive to the space in front of the garage. The driver got out and opened the door for them, accepting Matthew’s tip with a somber nod. Lark followed her father through the kitchen door into the tiny mudroom at the base of the back stairs.

“Thank you, sweetheart.” He kissed Lark’s cheek.

“Can I bring you anything?” she asked. “A plate of food, or a drink?”

“No, I’m fine. Just dealing with this—” he indicated the clusters of people in the kitchen and dining room,
“—is more than enough.” He disappeared up the stairs.

He wasn’t even close to fine. Lark blew out a breath and braced herself to circulate.

Over the next two hours, she accepted so many hugs her back ached, and no drink alleviated her dry mouth. Finally, everyone had left except the clean-up staff and Caitlyn. The assistant took a stack of plates out of Lark’s hands and set them back on the oak coffee table in the large living room. “Leave this stuff. That’s why we hired people. You should go rest.”

Lark rubbed her hand across her forehead, trying to ease the tightness that forecasted a headache. “You should. You were closer to Jason than I was.” She’d been so focused on her father, she hadn’t thought about that before. “You’ve done so much. I shouldn’t—”

Caitlyn waved her down, her smile wan. “The distraction helped. I’m a doer. That’s why I have this job in the first place.” She looked around at the now-clean living room. The cleaning staff had been discreet but quick, wiping down surfaces and whisking away debris. Sounds of swishing water and clinking glassware drifted out from the kitchen. “They should be done soon. Are you staying long?”

“Just another couple of days. I can’t miss more work than that, not right now.” Ralph, Lark’s boss, hadn’t even wanted to give her that much, but her fellowship trip to Indonesia had brought Botanical Medicality enough promising new source material to keep them in R&D funding for years. That gave her a little clout. But Ralph suspected she was working on some things on her own, they’d fought about it, and he hadn’t been in the mood to be generous when she requested time off. Her compound was developed from plants she’d obtained before going to work for BotMed, which fell outside the terms of her contract. She’d also sold it and wasn’t officially working on it now. Bottom line, though, was that she couldn’t afford to take extra time.

She looked up as her father entered, his shirt untucked and tie missing, hair mussed and the lines around his eyes strained. Guilt twisted her insides. He needed her. How could she leave him?

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize anyone else was still here. Caitlyn, thank you for everything.”

“It’s nothing. The least I could do.” She looked dissatisfied by the clichéd words.

“It’s a lot. And appreciated.” He looked at his watch. “You go on home. We’ll finish up here, and I’ll see you in the office on Monday.” As he walked her out, Lark thought maybe the time alone had helped him. His step seemed lighter, more natural. She started to follow, but held back when her phone rang. She checked the display—it was Carl.

“Hey, babe,” he said when she answered. “How you holding up?”

She sank onto the soft brown suede sofa, her legs and back aching. “All right. Better than my father.” Her feet had swelled inside the heels she rarely wore, and rejoiced when she toed them off. She barely held back a groan of pleasure.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t come down with you.”

“It’s really okay.” She’d never expected him to even offer. They’d only been dating a few months, and their relationship wasn’t that deep. “I wouldn’t have had much time for you, anyway. There were so many people.” They talked for a couple of minutes about the funeral and the work that had kept Carl from flying down from Boston with her. Lark quickly wrapped up the conversation when her father came back into the room.

Whatever lightness she’d thought she’d seen had disappeared, replaced by murky despair. He settled into one of the matching armchairs as if uncertain he’d be able to rise again. “I’m sorry I left you to deal with everyone,” he said.

“It’s all right.” She pushed to her feet and went to sit on the arm of the chair. “Do you want anything to eat? There’s still plenty of food.” She smoothed his hair and frowned when he felt warm to the touch. “Maybe some fruit, at least?”

“Not right now.”

She bit her tongue. Nagging wouldn’t force him to take care of himself. She’d have to be sneaky about it. But even then, she couldn’t force him to eat or sleep, and she was only going to be here a couple more days. Maybe she could talk him into coming up to visit her in Boston. A change of scene had to be good, and being away might make it easier for him to pull out of himself.

“Who was that on the phone?” he asked.

Lark chewed her lip, taken off guard. “Just a guy from my building.”

For the first time all day, her father looked straight at her. “Oh, yeah?” His mouth curved slightly. “Just a
guy, huh?”

Lark couldn’t help smiling back. “So far. Oh, stop,” she said when he raised his eyebrows. “It’s not serious, and probably won’t be. Don’t start with the whole ‘you need a partner’ thing.” The words reverberated in the room and struck her in the chest, bringing immediate regret. He’d lost both people in his life that he’d considered partners.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t—”

“I know.” He rested his hand reassuringly on her knee, but his gaze was troubled. “Lark, I hope you understand I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Our friendship was worth enduring this, and so was my life with your mother.”

“Of course I understand.” She was grateful for the sixteen years she’d had with her mother, too. But she’d never had a best friend or anyone else she loved as much as she loved her father. Chances were good she’d lose him someday—a thought that left her cold to the bone.

He lapsed into silence again, staring as hard at the floor as he’d stared at the coffin. His fingers plucked at the piping around the edge of the chair arm. Lark’s heart ached. Jason had been his best friend for ten years, and especially after her mother died, he’d been his rock. Now the only one he had to help him through was her. She was afraid she wasn’t up to the task.


Thanks so much for sharing this, Natalie! I LOVE excerpts - I buy a lot of books based on excerpts, and this is why!

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author Natalie J. Damschroder!

Natalie - Are you at the Romantic Times conference, by any chance? A lot of my friends are there but I couldn't make it this year. No RWA National for me, either, but I AM going to Malice Domestic for the first time.