Teasers – Short Stories by Christene

Book Release {THE UNSAID}

Posted by on Oct 11, 2016 in Book Reviews, My Blog Posts, Press Updates, Teasers | 0 comments

I’m checking in to share some news with you! Aaron Blaylock, author of the popular adventure novel THE LAND OF LOOK BEHIND is releasing a new book this month. It’s called, THE UNSAID. I had the privilege of reading it early on and can’t wait of you to take a look at the awesome finished product. THE UNSAID is a story about Maggie and Eric. Maggie is an unborn spirit who records every single thought that comes out of the typical dude that Eric is. There’s body odor, snarky commentary, charity and thoughtfulness. I loved getting to know Eric and seeing his inner dialogue. Have you ever gazed at your sweetheart (who is a guy) and asked, “What are you thinking?” I know, I know, you’re hoping for some romantic Mr. Darcy to start spewing sonnets, but he usually says something like, “That dinner was good, but it gave me gas. You might want to scoot over.” Yep, that’s kind of what we’re looking at here. Maggie catalogues Eric’s thoughts every waking moment, including when he meets the new temp at work, a cute girl with a shy side. As Eric gets to know Lindsey and their relationship develops, we come to understand a bit of the inner struggle that Lindsey has going on. In one moment of crisis, Eric struggles to heed the promptings of the spirit that could be a matter of life or death and Maggie takes matters into her own hands. This action puts her directly in Eric’s mind and could possibly keep her from ever having a body of her own. With so much at stake, Maggie and Eric have to find some equilibrium in order to make things work. You’ll have to pick up a copy of Aaron’s book to see how it all ends. I promise you won’t be disappointed. THE UNSAID is funny, poignant and thought provoking. It really made me think about the things going on in my head and the words I say out loud. It made me reconsider how I spend my time. If someone was recording my every waking moment, would they die of absolute boredom when I waste time scrolling through Facebook or pinning an entire new wardrobe? And what really happens to all the things you leave unsaid? You can go grab a copy of Aaron’s latest book here. You can also learn more about Aaron from his blog here.  Oh, and take a peek at the back cover. It’s my first blurb! Eeeek! In another dose of exciting news (brace yourselves!) my 2nd Snowflake Falls Inn novel will be coming out in November! Cookie Girl Christmas won a Swoony Award for Best Christmas Romance. I can’t wait to see what this book does.  It’s a matching of wits, a battle of guitars, and flaring of tempers. For Journey Miller, social media queen in hiding, Cody Blake is everything that is wrong with country music. When he appears at her refuge in Snowflake Falls to complete his required community service, he’s fresh out of rehab and comes complete with bad attitude. After a little tumble in the mud (Oops! Did she do that?) and a few midnight chats, Journey realizes that maybe Cody isn’t a total lost cause. And just maybe, she can let him into her...

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Ah, Jane

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Book Status, My Blog Posts, Teasers | 0 comments

I love the comedy and romantics that go on between the lovely Emma and her dear friend Miss Smith as she endeavors to find her a perfect match. A twist on Jane Austen’s most humorous writing is what I had in mind with my own Regency romance (deep in revisions as we speak!!). One of my favorite scenes from this story inspired a scene in my own novel, A HEART SO BROKEN. It’s when Mr. Knightley reproves Emma after her unkindness to Ms. Bates at the strawberry picking party. He pulls her up short, not because he delights in finding fault with her, but because he cares about her and the influence she has on her community. In A HEART SO BROKEN, Jenna has stumbled upon an inconvenient truth, something that Cooper neglected to tell her and for which she cannot seem to forgive him. After a summer of recovery she is on the precipice of launching back into the darkness. Cooper’s older brother and her friend, Jackson, comes upon her on a dark mountain road and has the audacity to put her in her place: I started to protest, but Jackson cut me off. “Look, I know you’ve got it. You’re strong, you’re capable, you don’t need anyone else. We’ve all got the message loud and clear. But there’s going to come a moment when you have to let yourself be rescued, not just from jerks like Colt, but from this whole mess.” “I don’t need rescuing,” I said angrily. “You wouldn’t understand.” “Sure, because I’ve never lost anything, have I Jenna?” He shook his head in disgust. “You know, all this time I have you the benefit of a doubt. I treated you like a sister because I knew how amazing you were. But now I can see you’re just a selfish, hurt little girl. Isn’t that why you never said ‘I love you’ back?” “That’s none of your business,” I snapped. “When I find my little brother wandering around broken hearted, it becomes my business,” Jackson said, “just like it becomes my business when jerks like Colt try to take advantage of a girl I respected.” The past tense of the word made me cringe, but I didn’t let it show. Everything he said made me want to crawl under a rock, but there was no way I was giving in. “You didn’t say it because the whole time, you were looking for an escape clause. The minute things got real, you bailed. I don’t care if you get mad and hash it out, but you didn’t ask questions. You didn’t fight for it. You ran away from the guy who’s been there this whole time, holding your hand and drying your tears. And you know what? I feel sorry for you. Because you’re never going to have a life worth living until you learn to forgive.” Want to find out what happens next? Go get your copy of A HEART SO BROKEN paperback or e-book and clear your calendar. Already read it? Take a minute and share your thoughts at Goodreads, Amazon, or here on my website! Reviews are an author’s best friend....

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A Heart So Broken {Teaser}

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in Book Reviews, My Blog Posts, Teasers | 0 comments

So this morning, instead of going to preschool, my little Trouble is stuck in his room moping. I’m thinking about working out (totally going to do it after the next feeding session – totally), and in spirit of procrastination I’m blogging on a Tuesday, sharing a romantic teaser from my book A HEART SO BROKEN. Here’s the setup: Jenna Tucker has just returned home from losing her cast – the one she got while hanging with her bad boy boyfriend BEFORE she came to West Junction. Her boyfriend and her cast are finally history and Cooper, the hunky football star of this little town, brings her home after celebrating: “Thank you for tonight,” I said, looking up at him, wanting to tempt him and yet knowing I shouldn’t, “for everything.” He came closer, leaning in. I loved the smell of his cologne mixed with fire smoke. His lips touched mine so soft it was a whisper. Chills raced down my body. His arms wove around me, pulling me in close to him, the heat of our bodies burning through the chill of the night. My fingers wove into his hair. I wanted to pull him closer, but simultaneously, we pulled apart. He slid his hands back into his pockets, his face conflicted. I walked past him, secretly breathing deep for one more inhale of his beautiful smell. I felt his fingertips run lightly down my hair as I passed. With my hand on the doorknob I whispered, “Night, Cooper.” If you’re needing something spicy and sweet to warm up your winter night, check out A HEART SO BROKEN in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.com.    ...

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A Heart So Broken

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Book Status, My Blog Posts, Teasers | 0 comments

Still wondering if you should buy a copy of A Heart So Broken for the reader on your Christmas list? Here’s a little sneak peak of one of my favorite scenes from the book where Jenna confronts Jared, her old bad boy boyfriend: “I said your coming with me,” he said, grabbing my arm again. In that moment, instinct took over. In one fluid movement, I’d dodged his grasp and threw a right hook that connected with the bones in his nose. The nerves in my hand exploded in pain about the same time as the room when crazy. Blood spattered across my shirt. Someone screamed. I heard a string of filthy curses coming from Jared as he grabbed at his face. Jackson had me around the waist, pulling me out of the melee before I could get another punch in. My legs kicked out as he lifted me from the ground, connecting with Jared’s gut. Seconds later, Cooper had him in a head lock, with Colt rubbing his knuckles and every guy at the bar backing them up as they struggled out into the parkling lot. Somewhere in the periphery, someone dialed the sheriff. “Easy, little sister,” Jackson murmured as I struggled against his hold, adrenaline surging through me, “I think you got your point across.” “Let me go!” I cried. “Naw, let the guys finish this one off,” he said, deftly avoiding my flailing limbs, “Sheriff Wilkins will be here any minutes, and I have a feeling that kid won’t be showing his broken nose around here anytime soon.” Go here to order your copy!  ...

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Posted by on Dec 11, 2013 in Book Status, My Blog Posts, Teasers | 0 comments

If you’re wondering what to get your favorite reader, look no further! A Heart So Broken is available to order today! Happy...

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Writing Retreat

Posted by on Dec 2, 2013 in Book Status, My Blog Posts, Teasers | 0 comments

About a month before I had my baby, I was invited to be part of this amazing writing retreat that would whisk me away from my little hooligans for a full four days and plop me in the midst of writing heaven. There would be great food (always a must, right?), wonderful company, and plenty of devoted writing time. For anyone who is nearing the end of their pregnancy, you know I jumped at the chance to be a part of this weekend. First of all, I needed somewhere to focus my attention. I hadn’t written in months! AND I couldn’t think of a better group of writers to hang out with. While we were there, we did writing sprint competitions. Of course there was one queen of the sprints and I have to tell you, she truly motivated me to write like the wind. And write I did. Intent on finishing my Regency Romance, I wrote every day until completing it Saturday night! I was so thrilled! During the process, I kept running into blocks from my critical brain, asking me why in the world I thought I could write this, until one fellow author mentioned how she often has to remind herself that the first draft of anything is always less than stellar and in need of lots of TLC before it will become the polished beauty of a manuscript we’ll willingly let others read. How I needed to hear that! After working on revisions in one book or another, I’d forgotten how rough the first draft could be and how important it is to just keep writing and get the darn thing done so you can begin polishing it up. Other faves of the weekend included my driving companion, Jessie Humphries. I loved talking to her and getting her perspective on the whole publishing world. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the first installment of her YA Thriller available through Amazon.com coming this May. I visited with another author who talked about the pros of self publishing through Amazon. I learned SO much and these ladies were absolutely willing to share their thoughts and tips to success and I just loved them for it. Perhaps my favorite moment was one of the last nights when one cute lady was spinning tunes for us, another was dancing, and all the rest of us were enjoying a break from marathon writing with some great music. I could not have asked for a better weekend, or more successful one either. Here is the little excerpt I posted on FB that comes from my just finished book:  “I wish…” he stopped himself and I shivered at the closeness of his voice. I dared not turn to him. I would not be able to resist pulling him back into my arms, no matter how disastrous the results. Instead I felt his fingers gliding over my hair and the deep sigh of his breath against my skin. Closing my eyes didn’t help for his face loomed beneath them. “I could bear it all if only I knew I had not caused you pain.” “Then you have not,” I said firmly, forcing my voice to be steady. “You did not hurt me, Gilbert. It is only inconvenient with the summer so close to...

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Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in Book Status, My Blog Posts, Teasers | 0 comments

The kids are back in school. My littlest is involved in preschool – a wonderful mess of coloring, fingerpaints and using scissors for the first time (well…officially. He’s already tried to cut hair around here, but we’re having selective memory loss on that one.) The best part is a couple hours every day of delicious silence. My belly is still swelling, making it harder to reach the keyboard, but I’m writing like no tomorrow. Gilbert and Amelia are thick into it and I can’t wait to see what happens to them. Check out my Facebook page for the latest teasers. They are tasty!  ...

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Run For Your Life {Short Story}

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in My Blog Posts, Short Stories | 3 comments

This is a short I did for a competition. It touches on a subject I have seen shades of in too many lives. I just want to say this. If you know someone who is struggling with any kind of domestic abuse, your kindness, confidence and listening ear could be the drop of goodness that turns the tide in their self confidence and gives them courage to run for their lives. If YOU are that person, there is help and hope…ALWAYS. Here are a couple of resources (please use a safe computer – libraries are great – to explore these options!): Safe Nest 646-4981 & 1-800-486-7282 Domestic Abuse Resources Run For Your Life It all started with a word. Written in block letters. Black ink pressed into nondescript white paper. That word was enough to break open the shell I’d been living in; the tattered and broken skin that surrounded me and kept me from feeling the sunlight on a bright day or the mists of rain that fell whenever the barometer dropped. My name is Hayley and I’m a survivor. Before that word I was certain I was the only one to scratch my way straight from hell, to endure the bloody abuse of another person’s fury and still have a beating heart. I thought for sure he was right. No one would ever love the ragged torn mess of my spirit trampled into the dirt. I didn’t even recognize it anymore. And then the woman with cornrows and skin the color of strongly brewed mocha pressed the torn off piece of paper into my palm. At the grocery halfway between the eggs and the orange juice, without saying a word. Only a flash of white teeth and colorful skirt. My body reacted to her touch, the beating of a hummingbird heart as fear clenched it. One of the effects of repeated abuse is the taste of dread that lingers in your mouth like bad medicine. But it was only a word I’d never seen before. I tucked it into my purse and snuck through the store hoping to be a chameleon, unseen, giving no cause for one more jealous outburst. The old bruises were covered, the cut on my lip where the force of his knuckles split it in two almost healed and covered with careful artistry. The art of hiding torture and I could win the academy award. When I got home he was gone so I could step to the sink and vomit my anxiety before hurrying to the computer. One word from a stranger – Sankofa. My hands began to tremble. I felt certain he could sense what I was thinking through the walls and down the street at the bar where he was gearing up for another round. This woman knew. Somehow she’d seen past my makeup job to the frightened refugee beneath. Her word was telling me to run for my life. The idea ignited a riot of nerves and rapid fire questions. Where would I go? Could I do it? What if he found me? Was he right? Was I stupid? Selfish? Repulsive? Useless? Did I even deserve to be free? The mirror over the sink looked back at me – a woman with terror etched into her skin. I could still...

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Without Knowing More

Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Short Stories, Teasers | 0 comments

A couple months ago, you might remember me feeling the jitters over a Short Short Story competition. 500 words, 1.5 hours, subject given on arrival. We had to use the phrase, “Today is my Friday” in our stories, but otherwise we were given full range of imagination. Here’s what I came up with. Enjoy! Without Knowing More by Christene Houston (c) October 2012   Nothing can prepare you for such scenes: the unexpected collision on a Vegas highway and the resulting maelstrom of the bodies involved. Jo worked on the little girl with damp blond curls, feeling a surge of protectiveness she’d never experienced before. A desperate urgency clawed at her as they raced to the hospital, puzzling Jo. At twenty-seven, Jo Erickson was well versed in politics of life saving. Distance meant safety. And yet… Stats. Doctors. Hallways. She stopped when she saw him. Dark blond curls disheveled from a sudden waking. Panic in his eyes when they caught hers. “Was that Ashley?” he asked, his hand extended toward Jo, the other pointing down the hall as if the motion of the disappearing gurney were ripping him in two. Boundaries, Jo. His eyes plead with her. “Who are you?” Jo knew better. She knew better than to care. This job could shred your heart if you weren’t careful. Yet, something made her step forward. “Noah Fielding. My sister…,” he gasped, an audible sound of his throat constricting around pain, “She was hit by a drunk driver. My niece was with her.” Jo tried to resist the feeling of being swept up, but failed. “That was her. Noah, I worked on Ashley. I can’t promise you anything, but I’m hopeful. Your sister…” Jo didn’t know how to tell him she was hovering near death. She didn’t have to. One look revealed everything her words couldn’t. “Can you sit with me?” Jo should have gone. Her team was waiting. “Today is my Friday,” she began, “I have a few hours, but I’ll be back.” Noah’s head popped up the moment she returned. “We lost her,” he murmured. Jo sank down into a crouch gasping for breath. She’d been so sure. “My sister…,” he finished. Her chest expanded knowing Ashley was still alive. “I’m sorry,” she said. Her hand was poised to comfort him, but she remembered they were strangers and paused. “You came back,” he said, wiping his eyes and looking into hers. Jo realized then that she was a mess of windblown hair and tired blue eyes. “You asked me to,” was all she could stammer. She couldn’t explain how she was drawn to this little scene, or to Ashley. It had never happened before and Jo was sure it never would again. She prayed it at least. “They said I could see her, but I’m afraid,” Noah said. “I don’t know why, but I’m going to ask you to help me.” Seconds ticked. “I don’t know why, but I will,” Jo said. “I don’t even know your name,” Noah said, standing up. He towered over Jo like a linebacker. “Jo,” she offered. He took her hand, “Jo, thank you.” There was a throbbing, a beating of hearts somehow connected by more than shared experience. Without a word they walked the hall and Jo felt a wash of reassurance...

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Short Short { Only A Minute }

Posted by on Aug 22, 2012 in My Blog Posts, Short Stories | 0 comments

Here’s a quick short with Cindy Davis’ subject idea – WalMart. 😉 Only A Minute By Christene Houston  A light glared into my eyes followed hard by the impact of two cars imploding. With a snap I looked at the checkout clerk surrounded by light. Only moments ago I’d been driving home from dinner with a friend when suddenly I stood in a quiet Walmart checkout line. The stillness made my skin prickle. “Did you find everything you need?” the woman inquired. My mind raced. The question held far more meaning than ever before, but I couldn’t place why. Something was wrong. I wasn’t supposed to be here. Another flash of light brought me back to the sound of sirens. Two cars lay steaming and broken. The gunpowder smoke of airbags hung in the air and the taste of blood trickled into my mouth. Why did I feel disconnected from the scene? That couldn’t possibly be good. Suddenly I remembered the car veering sharply into my lane. The last minute punch of the breaks, the manic swerve and an impact that devastated. “Layla…did you find it? Did you find everything you needed?” The woman’s voice around my name punctured the flashback, initiating a vision of my life in reverse, through scattered boyfriends, the half finished college degree, the friends lost and won, and the strained family relationships. I looked at the checker when the reel stopped, shocked by what I’d seen. My life felt wasted at this point, despite the busy days and endless commitments that kept me running. How could there be nothing to show for my twenty-four years? The woman watched my internal struggle with an air of infinite patience. “No….I haven’t,” I answered her finally. I’d been so busy avoiding pain and fear that I’d let everything worth living for slip between my fingers. Here at the checkout, I could see it clearly. “Do you need a minute?” she asked encouragingly. A minute. Maybe a thousand. A thousand minutes to do what was really important. I clutched at the idea with longing. Somewhere beyond my reach I could see the face of someone meant for me, waiting….and with that face were a small collection of others, tiny points of light that shone like sunbeams. In the periphery stood clusters of people, a display of the lives I could touch if I lived with a little purpose instead of the haphazard careening I’d been given to. “I do,” I said desperately, “I need a few minutes!” “I thought so,” the checker reached for the phone, pausing before pressing a button. Her eyes gripped mine, “We don’t have long before closing. Make it count.” Then into the phone, “We need some assistance on Lane 12!” Sound and pain came back in unison, but the pounding of my heart felt like a gift. “We got her back!” someone shouted nearby. “Alright, let’s move!” The world around me was chaos and order, broken metal and skilled hands. The recovery was slow and painful, but my eyes…my heart were focused…because I knew I only had a minute....

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