Hi, and welcome to my second Sunday Sampler where you're invited to leave a sample of your work and buy link in the comments. I hope you will. All those Kindle owners are always looking for good reads.
I'm a bit late getting my post up today, but being retired and half-senile...the days run together and I forget where I am in the week. *smile*
Amazon now. Books We Love was gracious enough to re-publish this work, after it spent three non-eventful years on a very problematic site. I really liked writing this story patterned after memories of my mother and father's courting days, and I'm proud of the end result.
Here's the blurb:
Previously published as Tender Return
Why won't Meagan Murphy's father allow her to date anyone in uniform? He must have reasons he hasn't shared, but contrary to Daddy's rules, Meg meets Ryan Cullen while volunteering at the USO and throws caution to the wind. Ryan only has a short time before his unit ships out, and Meagan intends to make the most of the time they have left together. His parting gift is a ring on her finger and a request that she wait for him to return. Will he make it home to ask permission for her hand. . .or are all those nightly radio newscasts about mounting casualties warning her to prepare for the worst?
Texas, March 1943
Meagan Murphy tapped her toe beneath the food-laden table despite the fact she’d been
hunched over it for hours, dishing out portions at the weekly USO dance. Preferring to find a partner and have a little fun, she methodically spooned mashed potatoes onto passing plates and eyed the “Jitterbuggers” on the floor.
“May I have some gravy please?” A deep voice drew her attention.
The eyes she looked into darkened, and his perfectly formed lips curved into a dimpled
smile. She cleared her throat and picked up the ladle. “Say when.”
“How about right after I polish off this chow.
“Excuse me?” She cocked a brow.
“You said, say when. I thought you were inviting me to dance.” He winked.
There was something about him—different from the other GIs. Flirting was a common
occurrence here, and she generally ignored it, but this brazen specimen piqued her interest. Still, she didn’t dare encourage him because her of her father’s presence at the dance. She rolled her eyes. “I meant tell me how much gravy you want on your potatoes.” Drizzling juice over his plate, she spoke in her best business-like tone.
“When!” He dabbed at a spot of gravy on the plate’s edge and flashed a smile. “Now,
about that dance…” He licked his finger clean.
The fellow behind him cast an impatient stare at her and thrummed his fingers on the
“You’re holding up the line,” she said to the flirt, her cheeks heating. Nerves clutched at
her stomach, stealing the appeal of the mingling food aromas.
“Tell me your name, and I’ll move along.” He stood firm.
“Meagan. Now scoot! You’re going to get us both into trouble.” She glanced across the
room to where her father sat, hating when he dropped in. His presence put a giant damper on the evening. Showing anything more than polite attention to men in uniform wasn’t tolerated. Daddy’s demand proved to be a test of her resilience…especially tonight. She turned her gaze back to the fellow who hadn’t budged.
“Name’s Ryan Cullen.” He finally moved on to the breadbasket but kept his stare focused
on her. “I’ll look for you when you’re done serving.”
Managing a weak smile, she pondered how to avoid him and an embarrassing explanation, then turned her attention away and waved to her mother and younger sister, Martha, who sat next to her father along the far wall. Thomas Murphy, a local councilman, fulfilled his civic duty by visiting once a month to show his support of the USO and their mission. Why did he have to pick tonight?
Her sister fidgeted and slumped in her chair. The look on her face screamed ‘bored to
tears.’ The situation wouldn’t be any different had Martha been older, because Daddy only
supported the troops to the extent that they stayed away from his daughters.
Meagan sighed. So much for dancing with Ryan Cullen. At least tonight. Hopefully, he’d
come next week when her father stayed home and listened to his infernal radio. She nibbled her lip and wondered if Ryan danced as good as he looked, but a fly buzzed too close to the food and interrupted her thoughts. She swatted at the annoying insect and planted her hand firmly in the remaining mashed potatoes. Hoping no one noticed, she swiped her mushy palm along her apron, gasping when she spied the dead insect within the handprint she left behind.
Luckily, her replacement showed up with a fresh bowl. “Time to take over,” Freida said.
“Thank goodness.” Megan snatched up and transferred the quarter-empty dish to the cart
behind the table. “My feet are screaming. See you next week.” She tossed her apron into a box then paused while she rubbed the small of her back and shrugged tired shoulders.
“Ready to dance?”
Ryan’s voice made her jump. “I-I can’t—”
“Can’t believe your good fortune? Can’t wait to dance with me?” He took her hand.
Her response to his arrogance dangled on her tongue, but disappeared when her sister
scurried over and elbowed her in the side. “Meg, Daddy says it’s time to go. You know you aren’t supposed to talk to strangers.” Martha twirled a braid and flashed a grin at Ryan.
Meagan withdrew her hand from Ryan’s as if a flame burned her palm then stooped until
her face was inches away from her sibling’s. “Really, why don’t you act your age? You’re
thirteen, not five,” she whispered.
Straightening, she turned her attention back to Ryan. “I’m sorry, but I have to go. Maybe
we can have that dance another time.” She lowered her lashes then yanked her sister by the arm toward where their parents waited. “Honestly,” Meagan chastised, “why do you insist on embarrassing me?”
Martha pulled free. “You liked him. I could tell. And if you don’t be nice to me, I’m
gonna tell Daddy you promised to dance with that fella.”
Meagan grabbed the brat’s hand and squeezed. “You will not say a word, got me?”