May I introduce: Heather Gray "Just Dessert"

Just Dessert
By Heather Gray 
I've got another great author, and may I say friend, visiting my blog. Heather Gray is has been busy releasing one book after the other within the last twelve months, but she's here today talking about "Just Dessert"

1 – Where did you get the idea for “Just dessert” ?
Just Dessert is the second book in my Ladies of Larkspur series.  Mary, the heroine, has a cameo appearance in the first book, Mail Order Man.  The goal of that single appearance was to remind that heroine how good her life really was.  In writing the scene, though, I fell in love with Mary and desperately wanted her to have a happy ending.  (Her cameo appearance in Mail Order Man is a shortened version of the prologue to Just Dessert.)
After deciding she simply had to have her own story, I began to think about what Mary's life had been like up to that point and how deep her scars must be.  She would need a patient man, a loving and tender man who could see past her sometimes irrational reactions, but even then…even if she had the perfect man…the lessons she'd learned from life might prevent her from seeing it.  What would it take to open her eyes to how beautiful life could be?
And so a story was born.
2 – I love the comment in your blurb: “When you believe that everyone who ever loved you, including God, has abandoned you? You bake a pie, of course.” It sounds so very American to me. Is that something you do?
Ha!  I do love to bake, but for me it's more of a celebration.  I bake when something good has happened.  When it comes to drowning my sorrows or hiding from life, I have two fail-safes.  Expensive coffee and a good book.  (For average days I settle for plain ol' home-brewed coffee and a good book!)  J

3 – Tell us about your current project.
Redemption, the third book in my Ladies of Larkspur series, is in editing.  It should see the light of day sometime in the next 1-2 months.  The tagline is "Murder, mayhem, marriage, and a horse named Mutiny…"  The "mayhem" part covers a lot, too!  Everything from kidnapping to creative torture techniques.  (Who'd have thought that forcing someone to bathe would get them to spill all their closely kept secrets?)  It promises to be a fun adventure with enough suspense to keep it interesting!
In the meantime, I'm also working on a Regency novel for summer release.  It has a touch of espionage, a straight-laced hero who would much rather remain in the background, and a feisty heroine who is running from a lying solicitor and a dangerous betrothal contract.  The reluctant hero rescuing the daring damsel is only the start of their adventurous story.  The working title is The Jackal and His Jewel.

 Dessert…the perfect remedy when nothing in life seems to be going right.
What do you do when you are the sole protector of four children, your brothers and sisters? When each day is haunted by disappointment, disillusionment and desperation? When you believe that everyone who ever loved you, including God, has abandoned you?
You bake a pie, of course.
What do you do when you find a woman whose heart is consumed by fear? Who does not know how to trust? Who scoffs at your faith and throws your kindness back in your face?
You eat a pie, of course.
Heather Gray is the author of the Ladies of Larkspur inspirational western romance series, including Mail Order Man, Just Dessert, and soon-to-be-released Redemption.  Other titles include Ten Million Reasons, His Saving Grace, and Nowhere for Christmas – everything from Regency England to modern-day America.  Aside from a long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys are her relationship with her Savior and family.  She decided years ago that laughing is better than yelling.  This theme is prevalent in her writing where, through the highs and lows, her characters find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her. 
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Seventeen year old Mary Fitzgerald stepped up next to the deacon, a beautiful looking strawberry pie in her hands. Today was the day she started taking lasting steps to protect her family. Pa was passed out at home, having drunk so much there was no way he would be waking up to come to the festivities at the church today.
She had been taking care of and protecting her younger brothers and sisters, the four of them, as far back as she could remember, but her pa was getting meaner and nastier with each passing year. Her brothers were getting angrier and more volatile, too. It was important to get them all out from under Pa's thumb before her brothers were ruined for life, sentenced to turn into men like their pa.
Hoping to find a man willing to wed her and take her brothers and sisters in, too, Mary had entered herself in the dessert auction at a picnic hosted by the church. The auction was one of many events at the picnic, but it was the only one in which Mary was interested. Only eligible men were allowed to bid, and she hoped to use the auction to find a husband. How old, ugly or poor – Mary didn't care as long as he didn't beat or terrorize them. That was her highest hope, to find a man who did not cause her to cower, who did not break her bones, who would not harm her brothers and sisters. She had poured all her hopes for escape into making this pie to help her find a husband. Harboring no illusions about love, Mary didn't even really care if the man was kind; she only needed him not to be too terrible.
As the diminutive deacon with thinning grey hair was about to begin the bidding, Mary glanced up. Fear grabbed hold of her heart and squeezed so tight she thought she might faint right there. Neither the sea of curious faces nor the beautiful blue Idaho sky drew her attention. Pa was coming, and he looked madder'n a hot, hungry bull. Mary couldn't move. Her breath came in short, shallow gasps as she tried to stay conscious. She was terrified of this man. They had been so certain Pa would stay passed out all day, that he wouldn't be able to discover their plan until it was too late. The kids had all dressed in their finest clothes and promised to be on their best behavior – no small feat for the boys – and now here came Pa, ruining their chance for escape.
The deacon had not seen Mr. Fitzgerald yet and was taking a big breath in preparation to start the bidding. His mouth was still open, sucking in air, when the bellow came from the back of the crowd, "That's my young'un and ain't nobody biddin' on her pie! I ain't raisin' no harlot to get paid for her favors!"


  1. Oh, I do hope there is a happy ending here! What heart-breaking desperation in the girl.
    I wish you continued success with this and al of your works, Heather.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Tonette!

  2. I'm late in getting here -- but thank you for having me Iris!! :)

    1. Absolute pleasure, Heather. And considering that it is still "yesterday" over there, you're actually early ;-)