Posted in About the Book

Preview: Dance With Me by A.M. Heath

We’re only a week away from the release of the first book of the Art of Love series. Dance With Me releases April 8, 2019. I’ll share links to the blog tour, chat, and giveaway on the release day. But for now, here are the first two chapters of the novel. 
Enjoy! And remember, you can visit the companion post to the novel, featuring dance videos. This can be viewed before, during, or after reading the novel. 

Dancers Banner with date

1

Neil Fox:

2010; Marlow, Tennessee

    A lifetime of ballroom dancing had not only earned me countless awards, but today it was also offering an interview and a grand party to celebrate. I opened the door and held it for Arleen.
    She thanked me as she passed through, and together we stopped at the hotel desk, before being ushered into a private office.
    Upon entering the office, a young woman stood with a bright smile on her face. We swapped handshakes and introductions before settling down on the offered couch.
    Mackenzie Henderson typed out a few notes, then set up her recorder.
    “Miss Henderson,” I started, but the woman waved me off.
    “No, please just call me Mackenzie.”
    I gave her a nod. “With a lifetime of dancing, I’m not even sure where to start.”
    “I understand you were both competitors before 1959. I have a list of your accomplishments here in front of me. But what we’d really like to know is what happened in 59?”
    I flipped my gaze to Arleen. That was a loaded question.
    Arleen sent me a look that said she, too, was still uncertain of how to begin.
    We both looked to Mackenzie for direction.
    “Why don’t we start at the beginning?” she said. “Can you share with me your early impressions of Arleen?”
    I paused a moment.
    Arleen laid her hand on my arm. “Go ahead,” she gently prodded. “I’m not afraid.”
    I pulled in a breath and hoped I wasn’t making a mistake. “Alright, the truth is …”

2

Neil Fox:

1959; Marlow, Tennessee

    The truth was, I knew better than to look twice at Arleen Thatcher. That gal was trouble, if there ever was trouble.
    The temptress in heels sashayed past me, bumping me as she did so. She looked over her shoulder to be sure I’d noticed.
    I had. I wasn’t dead. But I also wasn’t stupid, which was more than I could say for my chums.
    Albert Jones groaned beside me, “That is some doll.”
    I rolled my eyes–eyes that were fixed onto the dance floor and not on Queen Arleen. Like I said, I knew better than to look twice.
    “If I had just one shot with her–”
    “You’d choke,” I cut in.
    Albert nudged my side with his elbow. “I betcha I could get farther with her than you.”
    I snorted. “I got better things to do.”
    “Well, I can’t think of any.”
    “What are you fellas talking about?” Ed Dower asked, wedging between us.
    “Arleen Thatcher,” Albert said, sounding more and more like a lovesick gal with each passing second.
    I didn’t have to look at Ed to know that the mention of Arleen’s name caught his attention. Ed had been her fan for some time now.
    “She purposely bumped into Neil a minute ago, but he’s still claiming he’s unaffected.”
    Ed jerked his head to me.
    I met his look.
    “She bumped you?” He sounded more jealous than curious.
    I didn’t have to work to downplay the moment. I knew what she was really after, and it wasn’t me. “You know how she is.”
    “No, but I’d like to,” Albert said in a throaty moan.
    I cut my eyes to him, a scowl tugging on my lips.
    “She was just trying to get in my head.”
    “I’d let her in my head,” Albert chimed in. “I’d let her in my bed–”
    “Give it a rest!” I cut in.
    Albert looked taken aback. “You got dibs on her or something?”
    I clenched my teeth, nostrils flaring.
    “Come on,” Ed said, gripping Albert by the shoulder. “You oughta know by now, he’s a square when it comes to talking about the babes.”
    Albert eyed me for a moment. “Well, I’m not a square. I’m gonna go talk to Arleen.”
    I watched him saunter off in her direction and rolled my eyes again.
    Ed looked at me, at Arleen, then back to me. “I know what you’re thinking, but, foolish or not, I’m going with him.”
    “Idiots,” I mumbled under my breath, as Ed jogged to join Albert. Couldn’t they recognize what was plain for everyone to see? Right this moment, Arleen stood on the arm of her current dance partner, Jett Finnegan, while she flirted and teased the throng of men surrounding them. Jett, as her boyfriend, should have been offended, but he wasn’t. The arrogant fool actually stood taller, knowing that everyone here wanted what he had. But he wouldn’t have her for long. She’d be bored of him soon enough, and she’d cut him loose, same as she had all the ones before him.
    I didn’t see the logic in getting mixed up with a gal like her. You couldn’t tame her.
    I strolled to the refreshment table, accepted a cup of water, and tried to put my focus back on the dance floor. It wasn’t much of a distraction, since we were between heats. A flurry of activity caught my attention from the right. And just like Moses parting the water, Queen Arleen parted the group of men and started in my direction. My instincts said to up and run like Joseph, but I liked to think I was made of stouter stuff, so I stood my ground. Who knows, maybe I was just dumber than Joseph.
    Arleen reached the table. She cast me a glance out of the corner of her eye and requested a cup of water from the uniformed attendant. Arleen stood in heels and a calf-length dress. Lavender tulle made an impressive bell shape that started around her slender waist. A tight bodice topped it off. Her dark brown hair was swept back, curls pinned in sparkling clips, and tiny white flowers woven through her locks like a crown. She eyed me with–if I were willing to be honest–the sharpest, most stunning shade of blue eyes I had yet seen. Her makeup, thick around the eyes, forced the color to practically pounce on you from across the room, competing only with the most kissable shade of red lips known to man. It was little wonder she had a following, but I was determined not to be numbered among them.
    “Where’s your partner?” she asked, eyes traveling across the room. I started to answer, but she added, “I sure hope she corrected that final spin.”
    I laughed, a short sort of laugh with my mouth closed and lips only tipped up on one side. “You’ll find out soon enough. What about your partner?”
    “What about him?” she asked, one brown brow perked up.
    “He looked a little shaky on his feet during your jive. Do you think he’s ready to waltz?”
     She snickered.
     It might have been a musical sound if I was willing to let myself fall for her charms, which I wasn’t.
    “Say, where is he anyway? I’ve never known you to be without male company for so long.”
     Arleen eyed me coyly. “I’m not without male company. I’m with you, aren’t I?” She batted her long lashes at me.
    “So you are. Why is that exactly?” Something sure smelled fishy.
    She shrugged her shoulder, an innocent–overly innocent–look in her eyes.
    My gut dropped. “They wouldn’t …”
    She grinned and wagged her head. With polished nails, she patted me on the chest, her touch burning, not comforting. “Now, now. Don’t have a cow. You know we agreed never to prank during a competition. Finnegan’s Studio likes to win fair and square.” Arleen gave a slight nudge of her head toward the back door. “The guys are out back having a smoke, and I thought I’d take the water with you instead,” she said, raising her paper cup in the air.
    Right. Smokes. That made sense. Arleen didn’t smoke. She was known for staying glued to a man’s arm the entire time, except when he smoked. I only knew that because I didn’t smoke either and often saw her when the room cleared. It was almost comical, really. People often smoked in the room, but somehow Queen Arleen had coaxed them into smoking outdoors. For the past five years, there hadn’t been a single smoke at one of these quarterly competitions. Like the Pied Piper, she had entranced them all into doing her bidding, and they did it happily. Not that I was complaining. I sure breathed easier since they had changed their smoking locations.
    I angled my cup to the attendant, and he refilled it and handed it back. “So, which one of you left the dead fish in our studio last week?”
    Arleen’s eyes sparkled. “Couldn’t say.”
    Despite myself, I laughed and shook my head. It was always the same between our studios. No one gave up the guilty. If we had lived in Chicago or New York City, our two studios might not have noticed one another. But in a small town such as Marlow, we couldn’t help but compete. Our rivaling studios were always trying to steal better dancers from one another, and, when that didn’t work, some other prank did.
    Arleen set her paper cup down and turned to me, sucking in a sharp breath. “Good luck out there.” We were both up for the waltz next.
    “You don’t have to pretend with me,” I said with a smirk.
    “Oh, I wasn’t pretending.” She leaned in. “When I beat you, I want to know I was beating you at your best.”
     I tipped my head back and laughed. “Darling, we’re about to sweep the floor with you and that lavender gown of yours.”
     Her trilling laughter followed after me as we parted ways, both to our respective corners and back to our partners. I had a competition to win.

2010; Marlow, Tennessee

     Mackenzie stared at me, mouth agape. Clearly, that wasn’t what she was expecting.
     Arleen grinned. “He’s only telling you his half of the story, don’t forget. I’m here to tell you the rest.”
     Mackenzie nodded her head numbly. “Well, let’s hear it.”

Dance With Me
Copyright © 2019 A.M. Heath
All rights reserved.

Dancer Friends

Dance 2 F

 

Will a new partnership tear their worlds apart … or will it be the piece they never knew was missing?

In 1959, Arleen Thatcher and Neil Fox are fierce competitors on the dance floor, so they’re the least likely pair to enter a televised competition together. But when rivaling studio owners decide to team up, the two find a partnership they never thought possible. 
Arleen’s reputation around town is reason enough for Neil to keep his distance from his new partner. But as Neil gets to know Arleen, he discovers a side of her few others have seen, one of dark family secrets and carefully-constructed facades.
God’s plan for their partnership may involve more than a single dance; it may be the key to the healing Arleen so desperately needs. 

The Art of Love series is compiled of stand-alone novels where the characters tell their own stories and love means so much more than passion.

You can pre-order your copy from Amazon or add it to your Goodreads’ shelf. 

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Posted in About the Book

Now Available: The Accident: An Epistolary Novella by A.M. Heath

It’s here! It’s finally here! The Accident is my first published novella, my first epistolary, and my 6th publication, so there’s much to celebrate. I can’t wait to introduce you to Chris, Ashlyn, and Danielle. I think you’ll find someone you can relate to between the three of them. We’ve all gone through difficult seasons or have experienced troubled relationships. Ashlyn and Danielle bring a lot of honest feelings to light in this novella. And Chris is such a sound word of wisdom to them both. I hope you’ll grab yourself a copy soon and enjoy it! Keep scrolling for a sneak peek. 

Accident 1600x2400Can a wrong number bring true love or only heartache? 

Ashlyn Conner’s life is spiraling out of control. She’s already lost her father, and now that her mom is battling thyroid cancer, she fears being orphaned at fifteen. When a friendly stranger texts the wrong number, Ashlyn finds a confidant she didn’t realize she needed. The more Ashlyn gets to know Chris Knowles, the more she’s convinced he could be the caring husband and loving father the Conner women so desperately need.

If only she’d been honest and hadn’t made him believe he was texting her mother, Danielle.

When the truth comes out, will she lose her friendship with Chris and damage her relationship with her mother? Or can God make something beautiful out of her lie?

Told through text messages and Ashlyn’s journal entries, The Accident is a heartwarming, family-centered story.

accident banner

The Accident is available on Kindle Unlimited or for purchase on Amazon. Ebook copies are .99 and paperback is coming soon. You can also add it to your Goodreads shelf.
I’m looking for bloggers for the upcoming blog tour. If you’re interested in reading and reviewing The Accident on your blog, please fill out the form. *Form closes on Jan 22, 2019.
And if you’re curious how a story can be told through text messages and journal entries, please enjoy this sneak peek … 

Chapter One

May 18, 2017

Chris 6:03 pm:

I’ve been in a car accident. They say I’ll live, but I’ll be in some pain for a while yet. My car on the other hand …

Chris 6:05 pm:

Oh, I’m in room 321 at the hospital.

Chris 9:36 pm:

Sis?

Danielle 9:39 pm:

I’m very sorry to hear about your accident! But, ummm, you’ve texted me three times tonight by mistake. Your sister didn’t get your messages.

I hope you feel better soon.

Chris 9:45 pm:

I’m terribly sorry! I had no idea! Here I was wondering why my sister didn’t bother to respond, and it’s because I’m an idiot. I’ll blame it on the pain meds. LOL

Danielle 9:47 pm:

LOL It’s no problem, I promise. I hope you finally got ahold of your sister.

Chris 9:48 pm:

I did. She was properly concerned and insisted on seeing me first thing in the morning. She also got a big kick out of my blunder. I still can’t believe I did that.

Danielle 9:53 pm:

It’s ok, really. I’m not bothered, but I am curious about something. How did you text the wrong number? Isn’t your sister in your contacts?

Chris 9:54 pm:

That’s a mystery to me. Darn phone lost everything during the accident. It was like a factory reboot or something. It was so weird. But I’m just glad it still works.

Anyway, I was texting from my memory … which turns out is as dependable as my phone.

Danielle 9:54 pm:

Weird. LOL

Chris 9:55 pm:

Definitely. But nothing about this night has been normal.

Danielle 9:55 pm:

Sounds like it.

How are you feeling? What happened? … If you don’t mind me asking.

Chris 9:57 pm:

Someone pulled out in front of me. I tried to stop in time but couldn’t. Unfortunately, I flipped the car over, got a lump on the side of my head (which is why they’re keeping me overnight), severely bruised some ribs, and broke my wrist.

Oh, my name is Chris Knowles, by the way.

Danielle 10:02 pm:

YIKES! I’m so sorry. That sounds dreadful.

And I’m Danielle Conner.

Chris 10:04 pm:

Thanks for keeping me company, Danielle. I probably should leave you alone now. It’s getting late.

Danielle 10:06 pm:

It’s no biggie on my end. I’m not ready to sleep, and there’s nothing on TV anyway. But I’m sure you could use the rest.

Chris 10:07 pm:

Are you kidding?! I work a night shift, so I’m used to being up during this time. The nurse would feel better if I slept, but I’m a little too wired for that. The energy drink I had just before the accident may be part of the reason.

Danielle 10:07 pm:

Is that where you were going when you had the accident?

Chris 10:08 pm:

Yep. I’ve been at the pencil factory for the past two years. And this just happened to be my last week on night shift. What a way to go out.

What about you? Why aren’t you rushing to bed like normal folks?

Danielle 10:09 pm:

LOL The simple of it is this: Life for me hasn’t been normal in far too long. Plus, I’m a bit of a night owl.

Ashlyn Conner’s Diary:

I lied! I still can’t believe I did it! I was sitting here, thumbing through the channels — there really should be more cool stuff on TV! Where did all the good stuff go, anyways? Like I want to watch another home remodeling show! Or worse, some old guys picking through cluttered barns for some worthless “treasure!” — Anyways, mom’s phone kept going off. I didn’t recognize the number, so I didn’t bother to answer it. There’s nothing worse than a wrong number who keeps texting you, so I finally answered it to set him straight. Turns out, it was someone trying to tell his sister that he was in the hospital!! What are the chances?! I felt bad for not answering him sooner, but how was I to know? We chatted for a bit. The guy says he’ll live and they’re only keeping him overnight for observation. Lucky! He said his name is Chris Knowles, but when it was my turn to give him my name, I panicked. I gave him Mom’s name instead. I really shouldn’t have done that! But, I mean, I know lying is a sin and all that, but Mom’s always on my case about not talking to strangers or giving out my name and stuff. Urg! I should have just stopped texting him … but I didn’t. I can’t explain it. He seemed … lonely. Don’t ask me how I know that. I just do.

Chapter Two

May 19, 2017

Chris 11:34 am:

You are not going to believe what just happened. I’m sitting here, waiting for my discharge papers, when this girl just walked into my room. LOL She just walked in as pretty as you please, then stopped in the middle of the room and stared at me. I asked her if I could do something for her, but she just stood there, then asked if this was Charlie’s room. When I told her it wasn’t, she apologized and took off like a rocket.

LOL Well, if I can dial the wrong number, then I suppose she can wander into the wrong room.

Danielle 11:41 am:

LOL That is so funny! Do these sorts of things always happen to you?

Chris 11:42 am:

Nope. But maybe I needed a little variety in my life. LOL

Danielle 11:45 am:

Maybe. LOL But I’ll stick to variety in my ice cream. I mean, variety in life isn’t always so pleasant.

Ashlyn’s Diary:

I saw him! I couldn’t help myself!! I know I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t resist. I was sitting here in Ms. Amber’s room. She had hip surgery this morning. Momma said that she had brought us too many tuna casseroles not to go visit her. So we just happened to be at the hospital when Chris texted to say he was about to be discharged. It was my one shot to actually SEE the man that I was texting last night. He’s perfect for Momma!! He was sitting on the edge of his bed when I walked in — And I did walk in. I can hardly believe it, but I just walked into his room and stood there, staring at him, — and I could tell by the way his legs stretched out onto the floor and continued out that he was tall. My legs barely touch the floor. His hair is a sandy color. And his eyes looked green. He’s so handsome!! And his smile is so soft and welcoming. I can hardly put into words how he made me feel when he smiled at me. It was like coming home. LOL It’s funny now because Chris texted me about it right after I walked out. He just thought I was a confused kid. But he was really cool about it. In person, I could tell that he was surprised, but he offered to help me. Over the phone, he just laughed it off. I know it was wrong of me to continue to lie to him about who I really am, but it was comforting to know that he wasn’t just being nice to my face, you know? He meant it.

Chris 4:15 pm:

Danielle, I’ve had something on my mind all afternoon. I’m sorry for not asking sooner. Are you alright? I don’t know. Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but you mentioned twice that things weren’t so pleasant for you. I know I’m virtually a stranger to you and all, but I just want you to know that I can be a friend to you if you need. I can listen. And who knows, maybe talking to a stranger will be easier than talking to someone around you. Anyway, I don’t mean to scare you off or anything, but my offer stands. Take it or leave it; it’s your call.

Ashlyn’s Diary:

Chris asked me if everything was alright, and I didn’t know how to respond. I just sat there, curled up on the chair beside the window, and stared at the screen. Momma is asleep again. It’s one of her bad days, probably because she insisted on getting out today when she was already dragging. I hate seeing her like this.

People say that rest is a good thing, but it doesn’t feel good to watch her sleep this much. Seeing her so droopy all the time just reminds me of how sick she is and that she may never get better.

The doctor said her lack of energy is due to being off of her thyroid meds. He said she’ll feel much better after her treatment is over, but she has this long diet to endure first. He said it’s normal and that I shouldn’t panic, but he’s not standing by day in and day out, watching her fade away like this. It makes remission look impossible and death all the more certain.

Back to Chris, I don’t know what to do about him. I want to talk to him, but how much can I say? How trustworthy is this man? Then again, he doesn’t know me or anyone I know, so what’s the harm in being honest with him?

~~~

I took a break for lunch. Food has a way of bringing clarity.

I’m going to text Chris back. I’ve decided that much. I still don’t know what I’ll say, or how I’ll get around to telling him that I’m not Danielle, but her daughter, or maybe I never will. But I can’t keep writing in a journal that doesn’t answer. Or waiting for a God who doesn’t speak. Chris will answer back at least, and that’s something more than I have right now.

 

Posted in About the Book

Preview: If Only It Were Yesterday by A.M. Heath

We’re only 1 week away from the release of my latest novel, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I can’t wait to put this one into your hands. 

The concept for the story grew out of my own life and the lesson I had to learn about idolizing history. If Only It Were Yesterday was written from the heart of a historical fiction fan TO the heart of a historical fiction fan. I hope you’ll find it entertaining as well as enlightening. Please, enjoy the first full chapter: 

ONE

All in the golden afternoon …

~ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Tell me that my love is welcomed. More than welcomed, tell me that it is desired. For you alone, I have overcome great odds. My longing to see your face was all that had sustained me when a great many others had perished–”

Oomph. Something solid bashed into my shoulder, knocking me off balance. The book containing my beloved Charlie Wesson and Eloise Carter crashed to the sidewalk at my feet.

Watch it!” a rather large and angry man yelled at me over his shoulder just as I gathered my bearings.

I stuttered a reply, but he didn’t hear it. It was just as well since what I had said didn’t make any sense. And worse yet, my book was dirty. I was at the best part, too. How could he be so rude?

I had stayed up way too late finishing A Shipwrecked Love, the novel in my hands, and my only desire was to reread the best scene before I returned it to the library. The scene where Eloise read Charlie’s love letter went down in history as one of my absolute favorite scenes in any book. I mentally added A Shipwrecked Love to my wish list for books I wanted to keep on my personal shelf at home. In order to do so, I would have to cross something else off the list since my apartment was too small for an extensive collection.

You should invest in an e-reader,” my friend, Shelby, had once said. “You could keep all the books you wanted, and it wouldn’t take up any space.”

An e-reader? Seriously? Me? It was like she didn’t know me at all. An e-reader was so cold and distant, while a book was warm and inviting. A book could very well hug you back if you were to fall asleep reading and it fell on your face, or if you rested it on your arm. Books were friendly.

And it was more than friendship.

Books were classic. Timeless.

E-readers were not.

In my mind, it really was that simple. E-readers were state-of-the-art, moving fast-forward. Don’t get me wrong. It’s 2016, and I use electricity. I own a laptop and a smartphone.

But I dream in candlelight.

I hugged the book to my chest with a sigh, looking out onto the busy square of Carroll, Tennessee, and wondered what it had looked like 100 years ago. Would my little shop have been standing? I looked behind me where Curiouser and Curiouser Antiques and Rare Gifts stood. My grandmother, and guardian, had passed away four years earlier, leaving me with an empty building and the encouragement to pursue my passion for history through antiques. I couldn’t live in the past as I had longed to do, but I found that I could still surround myself with the past. I lived above my store in the tiny apartment, so I was quite literally surrounded by antiques.

Turning forward again, I continued my walk to the library. In good weather, this walk was one of my favorite times of the day.

This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I breathed in the scent of fall and recited the verse again to myself for good measure.

The Grayson Library was a repurposed historic home just behind the square. Childhood memories and the smell of endless pages flooded my senses the moment I opened the heavy door. Lucy stood behind the counter and gave me a smile and a wiggle of her fingers. I smiled in return but kept the book in my arms and bypassed her station. Without a word, I stepped behind her and slipped through the door labeled, “Staff Only.” I wasn’t staff. However, this would be my dream job if things in the antique business came crashing down, which I prayed never happened. But I had an open invitation to visit the staff only areas. It didn’t matter what day or what time of the day, I was always welcome, and I knew there would be a tea party awaiting me.

I walked down the short hall and gave a tentative knock on Betty Tanner’s door, causing her gray head to lift and her eyes to fall upon me.

Lizzie, I was hoping you’d come today.” I didn’t mind that Betty was the only one who called me Lizzie. We had a special friendship. I was Liz to my friends and Elizabeth Cooke to the rest of the world.

I moved across the room and around the desk to give my grandmother’s most-cherished friend a hug. “You know I can’t stand to miss Tuesdays. The cupcake teapot is my favorite.”

Betty laughed as she took the five steps to the countertop she had installed behind her desk. I watched as she made the preparations for afternoon tea. She felt the weight of the kettle. Satisfied with the water level, she turned on her hot plate and set the kettle down. Then Betty reached into her cabinet for an extra setting, matching the cup, pot, creamer, and sugar bowl that already sat on her special tea table underneath the window. The cabinet held the other five tea sets. Betty had one set for each day of the week. Sunday’s set stayed at home since she never worked on Sundays. I knew she also had a nighttime set that she used while at home after work and, of course, special sets for each of the major holidays. An assortment of tea cookies remained hidden in her desk drawer for the harder days in life. And at least twenty flavors of tea sat in the drawer above them.

What flavor today, Lizzie?”

Earl Grey. I just finished a book about a duke, and it has me thinking about Earl Grey tea.”

Betty laughed. “The duke reminded you of the earl?”

Well, you don’t have any duke tea, and he was sort of a nasty fellow. I think the earl will suit my mood.”

She shook her head in that good-natured sort of way that people often do when they know you’re just a bit crazy but they’re choosing not to call you out on it.

Speaking of nasty fellows, someone bumped into me on the way over. He knocked my book to the ground and didn’t even bother to say he was sorry. What happened to men and manners, anyway?”

Betty stopped, a tea bag dangling from her hand like a clock on a chain. “Book? Lizzie, were you reading again while you were walking down the sidewalk?”

She would point out the only part of the story I didn’t mention. “I might have been, but that’s not the point.”

She huffed. “Lizzie, you could have been hurt.”

But I wasn’t hurt.” Why was she not seeing the real issue here? “He bumped into me, and he had the nerve to yell at me for it when he should have apologized.”

Apologized?”

Yes, apologized. There was once a day when a man would never dream of bumping into a woman on the street without apologizing for it.”

But Lizzie, those days have passed, and it really does sound like you ran into him.”

You would think that someone as old as Betty would be more outraged at the decline in society. “I couldn’t really say if I did or didn’t run into him, but, again, that’s hardly the point. He should have apologized.”

She frowned. “Even if it was your fault?”

That’s just the point!”

What’s the point?”

It doesn’t matter who was at fault. He should have apologized. A simple sorry isn’t so hard.”

So, you’d want him to give you a fake apology, is that it?”

YES! A fake apology! That’s exactly what I wanted.” Now she was getting it!

Her gray brows turned in, and her frown deepened. “Lizzie, you really do live in another world.”

That’s just my point!”

Her shoulders fell. “What was your point again?”

Maybe she wasn’t really getting it after all. Okay. Now, I love Betty. I really do. But why was it that she was not following this conversation? With an exasperated sigh, I tried again. “My point is that it’s a crying shame that society has fallen so far that a man would actually yell at a woman on the street.” Betty opened her mouth to say something, so I held up my hands and “threw myself under the bus,” so to speak. “I know, I know, it was likely my fault. But just hear me out. If he would have apologized to me, as any good gentleman should, I would have quickly and gladly apologized to him and taken the full blame. I would have done it gladly, but he ruined it by yelling at me. What could I have possibly said then?”

You could have apologized,” Betty said flatly, finally setting the tea bag into the cup.

The words were gone from my head the moment he yelled at me. I just wish I lived in a simpler time. A time when men were manly, and, yet, they treated women with tender respect. A time when problems were simpler.”

And what time period do you think that is?”

What time period wasn’t it? I tilted my head in thought. “Just when did our society suddenly decline?”

When? It’s always been decaying.”

That seemed like an odd thing to say considering she’d witnessed some of those simpler times I was talking about. During her 82 years, Betty had attended the sock hops and had worn the poodle skirts. She had seen Elvis Presley on TV. Granted it was in black-and-white at first, but still! She had memories of a time when it was safe to walk to town, or stand outside and wait for the bus, or go to a public restroom. She could remember a time when our nation wasn’t ashamed to be considered a Christian nation. When the Ten Commandments were proudly sitting on government property. A time when babies weren’t pulled from their mother’s womb. A simpler time. A glorious time.

I couldn’t help myself. My mind wandered back even further. What would it have been like even before her time? When ladies still wore beautiful gowns, and men bowed over their hands in introduction? When our country was stable? When confusion and heartache didn’t paint the pages of every newspaper? When the nation went to church on Sundays, and the Bible was taught in schools?

I know God doesn’t make mistakes but, oh, how I wish He had seen fit to bring me to Earth during that time in history. I craved the peaceable times in our nation’s history. I suppose it’s why I only read historical fiction. Why would I want to read fiction about today when it was yesterday that I longed for?

I’m not dense. I’ve read enough to know that there were problems in the past. I’ve studied the Civil War. I know about the racial conflict that engulfed our nation. But I also know how easy it is to fix. Women’s right to vote is good. Segregation is bad. Prohibition confused me since what seemed so right somehow sparked a greater evil. I didn’t know how to answer that one problem. But the rest seemed manageable enough. Unlike this presidential election going on today. My social media was overwhelmed with the conflict surrounding the upcoming election. What I wouldn’t give to see one of our prior presidents on the ballot today.

My mouth almost watered at the thought of standing before a ballot with Abraham Lincoln listed as an option. Granted, I wouldn’t have been allowed to vote in 1860, but the fact remains that there were moments in our history when the choice was simple. Today, it was everything but simple.

AmazonLiz

Liz Cooke has two problems in life: Her social media is filled with brewing political conflict and her idea of a perfect man seems to have gone extinct a century ago. Inspired by the contents of an antique trunk, Liz dreams she time-travels to 1885. As she sets out to enjoy the Victorian era in all its glory, armed with knowledge gleaned through historical novels and period dramas, will she find the past to be all that she thought? And does the right man for her exist only in her dreams or has he been in her life all along?
Loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland, A.M. Heath brings you a fun read chock-full of humor and whimsy with a special message for the avid reader in all of us.

You can pre-order If Only It Were Yesterday. Or add it to your Goodreads list.