It's our pleasure to welcome Louise Behiel to our blog with an excerpt from FAMILY TIES.. From Calgary, she is a writer, therapist, mother, grandmother and dog lover. I've read her book and can recommend it to anyone who likes a story with deep well developed characters. Louise, thank you for joining our blog this week and for sharing an excerpt of your book..Don't forget to leave Louise a comment when you finish reading her excerpt.
Back Cover Copy...Grayson Mills realized long ago that he’s unable to establish and sustain meaningful relationships - especially with women. He’s constructed a lifestyle that leaves him alone and his sexy new neighbor isn’t going to change his decision - especially since she has a horde of kids running around.
Child psychologist Andie Bowen has four foster children, all with high emotional needs. Andie’s committed to the children and she’s not going to upset them by getting involved with a man who could never accept her family.
But when an unknown assailant starts tormenting Andie’s family, Gray’s personal code demands that he protect his neighbor and her children. Surrounded by family, Gray’s long dormant childhood nightmares return, driving him to seek their meaning.
Together Andie and Gray will face his past,while struggling to keep her family safe and together they will forge Family Ties.
There went the neighborhood.
Grayson Mills turned onto Sunset Crescent just in time to see an orange and white moving van pulling away from the curb. It bounced its way down the street in cheerful indifference, taking the tranquility of the neighborhood along for the ride, leaving noise and mayhem in its place.
Gray slowed his red Ford pickup to a crawl while he surveyed the scene. He’d had a number of reasons for purchasing property in this up-scale fifty year-old area. The well-tended lawns and tall stately trees had appealed to him as much as the potential resale value of the faded yellow bungalow – but the average age of the population had been a factor as well. The majority of the Sunset Crescent homeowners were either retired, or close to it. That meant they spent their days in tranquil pursuits - gardening, reading, strolling the neighborhood, minding their own business. Not tearing around other people’s property while screaming at the top of their lungs.
Which was what the new arrivals were doing.
Gray shook his head in disgust. Right now, the entire area seemed to be filled with more kids than lawn ornaments. Two blond-haired, shorts clad youths chased a ball across his recently-landscaped yard, shrieking out high-pitched, earsplitting laugher as they smashed the tender grass and terrified the roses. A bare-foot, raven-haired teenage temptress, sporting hip-hugging blue jeans and a belly-baring black shirt sprawled across a lawn chair, a cell phone propped against her ear. A little girl in a pink dress jumped up and down on the sidewalk, her piercing squeals grating his eardrums.
Surely to God these weren’t his new neighbors.
Gray swung into his front drive, then slammed on the brakes as a once-white softball trickled across the pavement directly in front of him. An instant later one of the blond kids – the one in the brown striped shorts – dashed to retrieve it. “Christ,” Gray muttered. Who was supervising this mob? He checked out the brown two-story next door but there wasn’t an adult in sight. This swarm of kids must have parents. Where in hell were they?
Biting down frustration and worry, he waited while the boy grabbed the ball, flashed him a casual wave, and then raced back across the horrified grass. Gray released a relieved sigh as he eased his vehicle into place. He hadn’t expected his quiet neighborhood to be invaded. Granted, he’d been a little surprised when the elderly couple next door had decided to sell but he hadn’t anticipated a young family buying the place – certainly not one with dozens of children. Why hadn’t they bought a place in the suburbs where they belonged?
He slid out of the truck, gave the door a good slam closed then rested a hip against it while he yanked on his brown leather work gloves. The noise next door increased in volume but a woman’s voice called out for the children to come inside. Gray’s annoyance increased when they didn’t follow her directions.
If people insisted on having children, the least they could do was keep an eye on them. Who knew what could happen out here?
“Oh, crap,” he muttered as another thought crossed his mind – that empty pool in his own back yard. Fixing the fence around it was on his list of things to do – but he hadn’t planned on doing it right now. He’d been hoping to make some progress on remodeling the back bedroom – but that was going to have to wait. With all the kids roaming around he couldn’t risk one of them falling into the hole that had been a pool.
The shrieks next door grew in volume, then abated a tenth of a decibel as a dark-haired woman strolled out the front door to join the crowd, a small box in her hands.
One of the parents, Gray surmised. Good. It was about time someone took charge of the situation – although it was hard to believe that the curvy, dark-haired woman standing in the midst of the melee was the mother of all those kids - especially the teenager with the bright red lipstick. In her well-worn blue jeans and bright red tee shirt, with her hair pulled back into a pony-tail, she looked more like a teenage contemporary than a mother.
For a Mom, she sure looked relaxed, considering she had a horde of kids running around and was on the work end of a move. He hoped she’d organized her packing more than she’d organized her children. They were still racing around, yelling questions about someone staying for supper, what were they eating and how about a sleepover? The only quiet one of the bunch was the mousy-looking brown haired boy practically crazy-glued to Mom’s right leg.
Mrs. Mom was definitely an improvement over old Mrs. Watson who used to live there, even if she had a kid sticking to her leg. Wasn’t it a little strange for a kid that age to be hanging on to his mother like that? It didn’t seem to concern her though. She slid an absent hand over the back of the boy’s hair as she grinned at the teenager then tossed a ball to one of the others.
She noticed Gray. Looked right at him. Her gaze caught his. Her smile widened, warm, friendly and contagious. “Hi there,” she called out. She started toward him, with that little boy super glued to her leg. When she reached him she stuck out her hand. “I’m Andie Bowen. Please call me Andie. The kids and I just moved into one sixteen.”
“I noticed,” Gray’s fingers curled around her soft, cool palm. “I’m Grayson Mills. Gray.”
“Hi Gray.” She smelled like lemon polish and pine cleaner, the warmth of her smile swirled around him and caught him low. Which was darn surprising considering married women didn’t spark his interest at all.
Neither did kids. Especially noisy, out of control kids. He dropped her hand and stepped back.
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The link to this book is AMAZON.COM