Thursday teaser: The Crazy Girl’s Handbook

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This week’s crazy romance teaser is from the funny first volume of the Handbook romance series

By DelSheree Gladden

Pain blossomed in more than one spot as my elbows and palms hit the cement and my head whacked into the decorative stone edging that lined the grass. Thor yelped as my dead weight kept him from getting any farther, then doubled back to see what was wrong and stomped all over me at least three times before settling on my head. By the time my senses cleared, I was so tangled in leash and puppy I couldn’t even figure out where to start. My head and arms throbbing didn’t help at all.

“Thor, get off,” a firm voice said.

I thought I wanted to die when I got gum in my hair, or soda ice down my shirt, or an ice cream pedicure. Those were nothing compared to having to be rescued from an over-enthusiastic puppy by Roman Carpenter while covered in dirt, grass, and blood. It was a miracle I didn’t give up right then and just start crying. I loved my nephews, but I was never going to be able to show my face in this neighborhood again.

The heavy weight of the squirming—and rather large—puppy was finally removed from my face. I heard Roman ask one of the boys to hold the leash, but I kept my eyes closed out of pure shame. Not until a pair of hands pressed against my face did I even dare to breathe. Even then, it was a gasp at the urgency behind the touch.

“Greenly, are you okay?” Roman demanded.

The hint of worry in his voice forced me to peel my eyelids apart. I peeked up at him through half-opened eyes and was startled not to find him laughing at me again. There was real, honest fear in his expression and it left me speechless.

“Are you okay?” he repeated.

Breathe, Greenly. “Yeah, uh huh. Yep.”

He stared at me for a moment. Probably because I sounded ridiculous. “Are you sure?” he asked.

I tried to sit up in order to prove I was just fine. The sting of putting my hands on the ground made me hiss and I felt a little woozy when I tried to move.

“Whoa, whoa,” Roman said, which made me feel a little like a horse. “Don’t move. Let me help you.”

Great, just great. I tried again to sit up on my own. “Really, I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not,” Roman said as his arms slid beneath my arms and legs.

I experienced an irrational moment of panic, not because the idea of Roman carrying me off somewhere was frightening, but because being this close to him would expose everything about me I hadn’t already managed to bare. He lifted me easily and my breath caught as he adjusted his arms and I felt momentarily unsupported. Then his grip rolled me against his chest, to a place of absolute security. I don’t think I took a single breath as he walked up to the house.

About The Crazy Girl’s Handbook

Watching her two nephews and a puppy named Thor for the weekend was supposed to be fun for Greenly Kendrick. Sweating to death at a never-ending baseball game while getting gum in her hair, soda down her shirt, and an ice cream pedicure wasn’t part of the deal. Neither is finding out the best blind date she’s ever stood up is there to witness it all.

Longest. Weekend. Ever.

Except it doesn’t stop at one crazy weekend. Embarrassment turns into mortification, a head wound, and being patch up by her amused knight in shining armor.

Roman Carpenter can’t help laughing at Greenly’s mishaps, but for some reason, he sticks with her through it all. At least, until his ex-wife shows up and starts causing trouble. What started off as a strange, yet promising relationship, might be able to survive spiteful exes, but adding in a stalker that puts everyone on edge and pulls the police into the mix, might push everyone past their breaking point.

Get it on:

DelSheree Gladden

was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read.

Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by.

When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects at

And find her on social media

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Focus Friday: Doing Max Vinyl

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By Frederick Lee Brooke

DoingMaxVinyl-large
When it happened, Annie Ogden was staring at her screen, trying to understand how they assigned certain trucks to certain routes. Suddenly right on her screen the green rectangles that represented trucks all acquired thick white outlines. Then the trucks themselves turned white and became blank white shapes. Two seconds later, the white shapes and the entire gray background grid vanished entirely. All that was left was a solid blue screen.

The computer had crashed.

What came next she had never seen before. Slowly, one after another, four words in plain white type appeared on the blue background.

 

Tris. TRS. Without. I.

 

The cryptic message could not be clicked away. She touched her mouse. No cursor, nothing.

Rodriguez burst out of his office.

“Denial of service!” he shouted on the run, his door banging against the wall.

Whatever that meant.

He crossed through reception in three steps and disappeared into triage. Annie heard Rodriguez shouting orders as the door closed.

On her computer nothing reacted now, neither the mouse, nor the keyboard. Oh, well – she held the power button down a few seconds. The hammer approach, Michael used to say. When all else fails, power off. The screen with its strange message held for a few seconds. Then it switched off and the screen went blank.

In the distance she heard yelling. It was coming from the warehouse rooms, probably Rodriguez. She powered on once more. Only the blue screen, still frozen. No message this time.

She ignored the incoming calls, took off her headset, and walked into triage, and from there into testing. Over on the other side she spotted Roberto again.

“What’s going on? I had some weird stuff on my screen. Now my computer’s dead.”

“Lemme guess, something about Tris,” Roberto said.

“Yeah, that was a good one,” Murray said.

“Why did she leave this job? What can you guys tell me about her?”

“I don’t know, but my guess would be she’s getting her revenge on old Max today,” Murray said.

“You probably did it yourself, you old bomb-thrower,” Roberto said, punching Murray on the arm. Murray looked seriously offended and ready to fight. But they were interrupted by Rodriguez race-walking through the crowd.

“You,” he said, grabbing Murray’s arm, then Roberto’s, “and you. They need you down in the server room. Here’s your chance to show your stuff. You,” he steered Annie back toward reception. “Come back up front with me.”

“Sorry I left my desk, Mr. Rodriguez. My computer’s down.”

“Everything’s down. I need you manning the phones.”

“It freaked me out, that message.”

“What message?”

“Something about Tris. You didn’t see it?”

Rodriguez laughed, but it was a thin, forced laugh, not like he was really amused. “What a ditz. We’re TSR, not TRS. Looks like that tree-hugging bimbo’s dyslexic on top of all the rest.” He disappeared into his office.

Tree-hugging bimbo?

Annie had just got her headset back on when the little bell over the front door chimed. A man in a brown suit with a shaved head stood on the door, squinting at her. He had on a white shirt in this heat, and a green silk tie with birds.

“This is one hell of a place to locate.” He walked up to the desk and stuck out a hand. “Bob Olson from Sterling Accounting. I called earlier. Come to get my boss’s Thinkpad back.”

 About Doing Max Vinyl

Earth first. Okay, maybe second. Third? She’ll KILL you!
Max Vinyl’s type of success story can only happen in America. Rising from humble beginnings, he has reached the height of the computer recycling racket. Problem is, he’s using Lake Michigan as his own personal profit center. Even that wouldn’t have been a problem if his environmentalist girlfriend Tris hadn’t found out his dirty secret. And while Max is devastated by his love crashing down around him, he’s about to learn that the rage of a woman scorned packs far more firepower and potential for destruction than he had ever imagined.
Iraq War veteran Annie Ogden has spent three tormented months living in a cabin alone trying to re-discover her purpose in life. When two of Max’s thugs threaten Annie’s sister, she is dragged into his corrupt world in an unwitting alliance with the environmentalist, Tris. Which is really lousy news for Max. Will he hold up under the coordinated attacks of two furious women? As things spin completely out of control and complications mount, it’s all Max can do to stay one step ahead until it’s all he can do to stay alive!
A farce full of hysterics and chicanery, Frederick Lee Brooke’s first installment of the Annie Ogden mysteries is an incisive examination of corporate lunacy, greed and modern disconnection. Having received multiple four and five-star reviews on Amazon, Doing Max Vinyl: An Annie Ogden Mystery is loaded with razor-sharp dialogue, ingenious plotting and so much fun it should be illegal!

About Frederick Lee Brooke

Frederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and followed with Zombie Candy in 2012. The third book in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013. Fred’s new series, The Drone Wars, comprises three books, Saving Raine, Inferno, and a work in progress.

A resident of Switzerland, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He makes frequent trips to the United States to visit friends and family. Visit Fred on Facebook or Twitter.

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