June 6, 2017
by malindamartin
Comments Off on Where There’s Smoke!

Where There’s Smoke!

I’m so happy to announce the release of book four of the Castle Clubhouse Romance Series:

Where There’s Smoke

Enjoy this excerpt. To order, click here


As they walked into the hospital, Joe said, “Rog, just a warning. I’m not talking about my dream, so don’t bring it up, okay?”

Roger chuckled. “I hear you. I won’t say a word.”

Thankful, Joe led the way to the front desk, where their good friend, Nurse Clare Whitman stood, vigilant as ever in her role as head nurse. Seeing the men approach, the thin brunette that didn’t look her age of sixty-three beamed at them and put down her pencil. “I didn’t know you were out on a run.” She looked around them and said, “Lose your patient?”

Smiling, Roger said, “No. Just out for supplies. How you doing, Clare?”

“Right as rain. But I heard Joe’s been having trouble sleeping.”

Joe sighed and dramatically dropped his head, making Roger laugh. “He’s a little tired of discussing it.”

“I’ll bet. You know, a nice glass of milk before you go to bed might help you sleep. My father swore by it his entire life.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Joe muttered. Then to hopefully change the subject he said, “Hey, you got any of those extra-large bandages in the individual wrappers? They work great out in the field.”

Clare pulled out several files from the cabinet behind her. “Sure. In the supply room. How many can I mark you down for?”

“Joe, there’s Mrs. Brandon. I’m going to go ask her how her husband is. I’ll catch up with you.”

“No problem.” After requisitioning supplies from Clare, Joe walked to the large supply room at the back of the hospital. Inside, he first found an empty box and then started walking down the aisles, filling his box as if in his favorite big box store. He whistled a tune, happy to be working and delighted to be away from any talk about his dream.

He was so intent on what he was doing, he didn’t hear anyone in the next aisle over. When he turned the corner he ran so hard into another person that it sent the person tumbling down, her supplies falling all around her.

For a split second Joe was shocked that there had been another person, let alone that he’d collided with her. Then his mouth went dry and his eyes popped out of his head as he looked down to see a trim body in soft green scrubs, her face hidden by a wealth of beautiful wheat-colored hair pulled into a ponytail.

It was like a movie. Joe could hear the loud, building soundtrack playing in his mind as he waited for the woman to speak, to move. When she pushed her hair out of her eyes, she looked up and Joe lost all ability to speak. She was exquisite. Her face was slim, delicate even. Her eyes were a bright, emerald green that he’d never seen before. And her mouth. Her mouth! It was a beautiful rose pink, slightly open and inviting. Joe had never felt such a powerful attraction to a person in his life and as he studied the vision, he wondered how he’d been worthy of being in her presence.

Their eyes held for a moment, neither moving nor breathing.

Then like the needle of a record scratching through the beautiful soundtrack album, the vision spoke. Causing Joe to cringe.

“Well, thank you very much. That just made my day. Good thing I’m already in a hospital in case something’s broken.” As the woman dusted herself off and stood she looked at Joe, those green eyes sharp and glaring. “I thought you rescue guys were supposed to help emergencies, not create them.”

This was definitely not his dream girl.

The woman looked around and began picking up her supplies, trying to carry too much in her arms. Joe picked up his box of supplies that had fallen and watched as she tried to fit everything back in her arms. Finally, he said, “You know there are several boxes by the door. Why don’t you get one instead of trying to carrying everything?”

“Oh, he can talk. Incredible. Thanks for the tip, but I was doing fine before you came in here.” Using her hand to shoo him away she said, “Just go do your little fireman thing and leave the hospital to the professionals, huh?”

It was amazing how Joe could go from cheerful contentment to ethereal amazement to complete exasperation in the span of a few minutes. He watched as the woman continued to arrange things in her arms carefully, like building a house of cards.

An evil smile came over Joe’s face. He just couldn’t help himself. He reached down and picked up the last item the woman had been carrying, a jar of some sort of ointment. As the woman was carefully balancing her other burdens, Joe said, “Here, you forgot this one,” and placed the jar precariously on top of the other items.

As he’d thought, hoped really, everything in her arms fell again to the floor. She scowled at Joe, and if looks could kill, he’d be a pile of ashes on the floor about now. Trying to hold back a smirk, he said, “Aw. I’d stay and help you, but I have to go do my little fireman thing.” He started toward the door and said, “I’ll just leave it to the professionals.”

Then he walked out of the supply room, a huge smile on his face.

Clare and Roger were talking when he made it back to them. “Hey, I thought you were coming,” Joe said to his partner.

“Sorry. We got to talking about Mr. Branson and heart attack procedures. You get everything we need?”

Joe frowned thinking of the annoying woman he’d just left behind. “Yeah. Hey, Clare. You might want to check out the supply room. There’s someone masquerading as a health care worker back there. Very rude.”

“Hmm. I’ll check it out. Oh, before you two head out, I’d like you to meet someone.”

“Oh, yeah. Sharon said you were getting a new nurse,” Roger said. “Today her first day?”

Joe got a sinking sensation. Then to complete the feeling, he saw the obnoxious worker walking toward them, her arms filled with supplies. “Oh, no,” he muttered under his breath.

“There she is now. Chris, come say hello to two of the finest paramedics in L.A. County.” Clare rushed to take some of the woman’s burdens. Roger also went and received a smile from the woman. It irritated Joe.

When her eyes met Joe’s, her face completely shut down. She quickly looked back to Roger and said, “Nice to meet you.”

Clare began going on about the woman’s education and training. Apparently from some big hospital in Boston, Joe wasn’t paying attention. He was watching the woman avoid him. Which was fine to him.

“And you’re never going to believe this, but she’s—”

The walkie-talkie that Roger carried suddenly went off asking for Squad Fifteen’s status. They immediately left Clare and the woman and headed for their truck.

Joe said a quick prayer of thanks.

After the firemen left, Chris sighed in relief. That one man made her very uncomfortable. Maybe it was his eyes, intense and as brown as hot chocolate. Or it was the way his wavy hair framed a slim face with a smile that had literally made her go weak in the knees.

She mentally shook her head hard and tried to think of the smile as a smirk of superiority. Yeah, that was it. And very reminiscent of Graham, her last boyfriend. The last thing she needed in her life.

“Oh, thanks for the Vaseline,” Clare said, picking up the bottle of ointment that reminded Chris of the fireman’s manners.

“Sure, no problem.”

She started putting the supplies up at the desk, hoping to get the fireman out of her mind, but Clare wouldn’t let that happen. “You’ll like working with Roger and Joe. They really are two of the best. Not only that, they both have good hearts.” Clare continued working on her paperwork as she spoke. “If I was in trouble, I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have come help me.”

“Yeah, well I’m afraid I didn’t make too good an impression on one of them. The dark haired one.”


“Yeah. I’d just ignored another call from my brother, checking up on me, and I wasn’t in the best of moods when the fireman and I kinda . . . bumped into each other in the supply room.”

A slight grin appeared on Clare’s face. “Ah, the rude health care worker.”

Chris frowned. “Is that what he said? Well, he wasn’t much the gentleman, I can tell you that. Trying to tell me how to do my job.” She blew out a breath, admitting to herself she had been a little rude to the man.

“I’m sure you two will like each other, once you get to know each other. So you have everything you need? Settling in okay?”

Chris smiled. She’d been so blessed to find this position. After the rough time in Boston, L.A. was a dream come true. To be near family and away from the past. She finally felt that she could breathe. “Yeah. I got everything I need.”

“Good. You be sure and let me know how things are going. And come to me if you have trouble with anyone. Including likeable firefighter paramedics.”

The statement had her mind back on the man. Darn it! Then she frowned as she looked over at Clare. “Did I hear that they were with Company Fifteen?”

Clare chuckled and said, “That’s right.”


For your copy of Where There’s Smoke, click here.




May 14, 2017
by malindamartin
Comments Off on A SWEET ROMANCE LIFE – Broadway Style


There is nothing like musical theatre to make a person happy. The music, the dancing, the humor–it’s just my idea of a perfect evening.

My daughter and I went to NYC last week and saw three outstanding shows and as I thrilled to the spectacles, I thought about the way romance was portrayed in each performance.

The first show we saw was “Anastasia.” You may remember the musical cartoon movie years ago that the stage show is based on. The story is about a young woman who can’t remember that she’s the missing Russian princess. Two con men, one being the hero, takes her in and trains her in order to present her to the grandmother as the missing princess. The show was clean, delightful, and had a very positive message about love–sometimes it means sacrifice but it’s worth it in the end. The hero truly romanced Anastasia, no inappropriate scenes, just a feel good kind of story. I highly recommend it!



The next night we saw “Hello Dolly,” one of my all time favorite musicals. It tells the story of a matchmaker in the early 1900’s who decides to make her own match, unbeknownst to the man. It is wonderful, filled with memorable songs and hilarious lines. Like a good romance, you can’t wait to see how Dolly will finally catch Horace and the sweetness of the ending leaves you with a sigh and a smile–my definition of a truly great romance. Again, it’s interesting to see that Broadway doesn’t need racy humor or explicit scenes to portray a good story. It was a beautiful thing to see.



Finally, we saw “Phantom of the Opera.” Wow. I’ve seen it several times and the music, the voices, the costumes and scenery never fail to impress. The idea of romance is a little different in this one. You have the romance of Christine and Raoul, which is sweet and very romantic as they express their love for each other on the rooftop of the Opera House in Paris. Awww! Then you have the twisted love the Phantom has for Christine, carrying her away to his lair, encouraging her to “surrender to your darkest dreams.” Interesting that many “romance novels” seem to promote this thinking. To me, that’s not romance at all. I think Christine and Raoul had the right idea, and the way he shows his love at the end gave me another “awww.”



Three different plays, three different lessons in romance.

And two very happy theatre patrons!  🙂




May 2, 2017
by malindamartin
Comments Off on A Sweet Romance Life – Animal Kingdom with Biff

A Sweet Romance Life – Animal Kingdom with Biff

Through the years Biff and I have tried to continue the ritual of dating, as all successful couples do. There’s something vital in taking time to get away together, even if it’s only for an hour or two.


This weekend we visited Biff’s favorite Disney park, Animal Kingdom. It was a beautiful spring day here in Florida, which means that the temperature was a balmy 93. Yes, that’s right, 93. Looking around at the masses, I was thankful I wasn’t pulling little ones in my wake, instructing them to have a good time (although I did have to warn Biff about his attitude once).

Looking around I was amazed by the advertisements I saw everywhere on shirts, hats, even tattoos. Really? Smugly, I looked down and sighed. No ads on me. But before I could feel superior I noticed my tote bag. Caught. All right, I wear ads too. I guess it’s inevitable.


After seeing the “Flights of Wonder” show we had dinner at “Yak and Yeti” which is a wonderful (and air conditioned!) sit-down restaurant. Even if you don’t normally like Asian food, everything here is yummy and abundant. The fried rice bowl they gave me could have fed my family of seven.



The view from our table.




Biff had passes for us to ride the big rollercoaster “Expedition Everest” which is where we went next. I know, a rollercoaster after dinner? Yeah, we really didn’t think that through. Very evident after the first drop when my stomach said, “What the heck do you think you’re doing?” The picture taken of us going down the big drop was hilarious and predictable–me with a big smile on my face, screaming. And Biff, teeth clenched, holding on with white knuckles. But he goes on those rides with me because he knows how much I enjoy them. Ah, sweet romance.

I like this guy, Biff. Think I’ll keep him around.





January 3, 2017
by malindamartin
Comments Off on What I learned from my kids this Christmas

What I learned from my kids this Christmas


Another Christmas has come and gone and as I think back over special time spent with my family, my mind goes to Christmas morning when the seven of us were together in our family room, the Christmas tree lights shining, carols playing in the background, and I delight in the memory.

This year as we were exchanging gifts I had an epiphany. As always, we let one person at a time open a present, then oohed and aahed, commenting on the generosity of the giver.  I realized that during this process I was getting to know the people my children are becoming, by not only the presents they enjoyed, but the chatter among the family. I listened as I heard their likes, dislikes, hopes, and dreams. And I realized how much I liked each of my children as individuals. Priceless.

I also learned how much my children know about me, as each one did an outstanding job surprising and delighting their mom.

My daughter knows I love Mary Poppins, so she spoiled me with a “Parrot” mug and a IMG_3168movie poster. She included a tee shirt from a chocolate shop we visited together and she’d heard me say I liked.

My son knows I love to read. And the writer that inspires IMG_3166me the most is Debbie Macomber. So he gave me her newest Christmas paperback (which I quickly read the following two days!).

My son knows I love the Adam West Batman from my youth. He gave me an animation movie featuring the voices of Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar. IMG_3167Together, he and I watched it, laughing at the campy feel and old jokes (Holy Dialogue, Batman!!)

My son . . . okay, so I had to tell him what to get me. Twice. And text him a picture of the item on the Amazon site. And yes, he did order it a couple of days before Christmas, sure of the one day delivery for Amazon Prime IMG_3169customers. But he had it wrapped and under the tree for me Christmas morning.

My daughter knows I am a writer. My firstborn, she sees my heart, my struggles and my desires. She made this beautiful framed quote that says, “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. Nora Ephron.”


All of my children demonstrated something very important–that they listened. And I think that was the best Christmas present of all. 🙂


November 16, 2016
by malindamartin
Comments Off on Two new titles to choose from!

Two new titles to choose from!

I’m so excited to tell you about two new books available now.

The first is The Write One, the third book in the “Castle Clubhouse” series. If you’re familiar with the title it’s because this story was previously released with a different cover. It’s been updated and refreshed. The story is about Samuel Delaney, one of the actors from the “Castle Clubhouse” television show. He’s now a successful television star, living the life of TheWriteOne_FinalHRthe rich and famous. Victoria Adams is an introverted romance novelist who couldn’t care less about Samuel’s fame, which baffles him. But the members of “Castle Clubhouse” seem to be getting help in finding the love of their lives and this time it’s Samuel Delaney’s turn.

Get your copy at


The second book is the yearly “Christmas In Charity” story. I love, love, love these characters and look forward to sharing them with you each year. Christmas is always a wonderful time in Charity, a time for healing, for miracles, for love. Carol of the BellsThat’s what Carol Baker is going to find out in Carol Of The Bells. She’s secretly in love with Dr. Bradley Moore, famous scientist, professor, and resident of Charity. When they get to know each other as a result of working on a project together, the sparks fly. However, the recognition that Brad is getting along with the attention from the media could sabotage their relationship before it has a chance to start. Or it may make both of them confront fears, doubts, and what they really want in life. You can get your copy at

Hope you enjoy these sweet romance stories and please remember to leave a review on amazon and goodreads so others can find them.



October 12, 2016
by malindamartin
Comments Off on Romance Across Europe

Romance Across Europe

Our world is an amazing place and it’s such a gift when we can go outside of our own comfort zone and experience it.

Biff and I have just returned from a trip to Europe and although it’s good to be home, the memories will linger. The people, the places, the history . . . it was mind boggling and DSC04857fascinating.

But first, for those of you that played the “Where in the World are Malinda and Biff?” game on Facebook, thank you and here are the ten answers.

l. The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

2. Big Ben, London, England

3. St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England

4. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France

5. Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

6. Salzburg, Austria

7. Milan Cathedral, Duomo, Milan, ItalyDSC04815

8. Cinque Terre, Vernazza, Italy

9. Venice, Italy

10. Disneyland Paris

Traveling is so much fun, but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Biff and I had to learn to communicate without using English (or in the case of England, without using “American).  It DSC04391took a while to remember that if you wanted your food “to go” you say “take away.” We learned to say “hello” and “thank you” in four different languages. And, like in America, the large cities were fast and crowded and the small towns were friendly and calming.

And Disney knows how to run an amusement park even in a foreign country.

As we rode airplanes, cars, buses, boats, trains, and subways, I found myself studying the people. There really isn’t much difference–we all have the same interests, fears, problems, loves. It was easy to imagine romances between the banker riding the London metro and the singer performing on Portobello Road. Or a lonely American at a hotel on the Greek Island of Corfu and the handsome Greek hotel owner. Or maybe a tour guide in Salzburg and an Austrian Prince. Hmm. Sounds like the makings for a sweet romance story. I guess no matter where I am, my mind is writing a story.

DSC04731So my new goal is to combine traveling with writing. Bringing the beautiful settings to life in books, combined with a sweet love story. I’m hoping to share more with you in the next year.

In the meantime, where should I travel to next? Any ideas?





August 29, 2016
by malindamartin
Comments Off on HEARTBREAK!


It’s time for Adam, the youngest Beaumont son, to find the love of his life.

Adam Beaumont’s world is all about work and family. Family being his parents and siblings. Since having his heart demolished years ago, he’s given up on the dream of falling in love and settling down, which is okay with him. And now just as his career is on the verge of something big, she walks back into his life . . .

Carly Washington has never forgotten the man whose heart she broke. But surely in a city the size of Orlando they can avoid each other. When they happen to meet again, all the pain and guilt of her leaving returns doubled.HeartbreakFinal

They decide to be cordial, even friendly to each other, neither giving the other the chance to become important again. But when absurd accidents begin to happen to them, Adam’s determination to keep his heart in tact is put to the test as he yearns to protect Carly. And as they grow closer, can he help heal the breach between her and his family and at the same time keep his heart from breaking again?

Get you copy at


May 16, 2016
by malindamartin
Comments Off on Get the first book in the Castle Clubhouse Series for FREE!

Get the first book in the Castle Clubhouse Series for FREE!

Happy Monday!

With the publication of A Change Of Plans, the second Castle Clubhouse book, coming out in a few weeks, I have decided to make The Movie Star And The Mom, book one, available for free download. All you have to do to receive your copy is to leave your name and email address on the form at the right. TheMovieStarAndTheMomFinal


In addition to choosing your copy of The Movie Star And The Mom in the format of your choice, for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple, or PDF copy, you’ll also get all the information on my upcoming sweet romance releases. Don’t forget, the final installment of the Beaumont Family Series comes out in August. Another Castle Clubhouse book at the end of October. And of course, another visit to Charity, Florida in November. You don’t want to miss all the fun!


And remember, you can pre-order your copy of A Change Of Plans now for a AChangeOfPlans_200 special price of $0.99. Please take advantage of this as the price will go up on June 14.


Have a great week!




May 9, 2016
by malindamartin
Comments Off on A CHANGE OF PLANS


Coming June 7!

Famous singer Matthew Mackenzie has his life turned upside down when he reunites with his former co-star from Castle Clubhouse and childhood sweetheart Jennifer Van Dyke. Hope you enjoy Chapter One.



The music was electric and the drinks potent at the Manhattan dance club. The coldness of the January night seemed to be banned from the club, as everyone was intent on enjoying the evening. Jennifer Van Dyke would try to do the AChangeOfPlans_200same.

“Here’s your drink,” her good friend said, coming alongside her.

“Thanks, Carmen.” Jennifer sipped her cosmopolitan and scoped out the nightclub. Since opening in a Broadway musical six months ago, she hadn’t taken the opportunity to just go out and have fun. She really wasn’t sure she should be there now, but Carmen had insisted and Carmen had a knack for getting what she wanted.

“Wow. Check out the hottie at three o’clock. Yum, yum!” Carmen licked her lips as she stared at a man across the room.

Jennifer laughed. “I thought you were stuck on Jimmy,” Jennifer said referring to her friend’s current love interest.

“I am. But it doesn’t hurt for a girl to keep her options open.”

“Knowing how jealous Jimmy can get, I’d suggest you let that be all that you keep open,” Jennifer said with a grin.

A commotion rose from the other side of the club. Both girls turned to see what was going on. Squeals from women drown out the music as apparently some celebrity had joined the clubbers. Not able to see who the person was, Jennifer looked at Carmen and shrugged.

Things calmed down a little as the night progressed. Jennifer danced with a stockbroker, glad Carmen had talked her into an evening out. With Darrell, her casual boyfriend, out of town, she hadn’t done much of anything except work and sleep. It felt good to relax.

The music ended and she thanked her dance partner. The lead vocal for the performing band took the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen. We have a real treat for you tonight. We have a special guest that has agreed to come and sing a song for you, so please welcome, Grammy award-winning singer . . . Matthew Mackenzie!”

Jennifer’s head jerked up. As the applause roared in her head, she saw a familiar man walk on stage, grab a guitar, and take the microphone.

“Good evening. It’s great to be back in New York.” Cheers erupted along with shrieks from the females in the club. “I’d like to dedicate this song to all of you lovely women who make my job so . . . enjoyable. This one’s for you.” Then he launched into the classic hit “Pretty Woman.”

Jennifer froze. It was really him. She hadn’t seen Matthew Mackenzie in several years. Her heart sighed a little as she remembered the sweet romance they had enjoyed as teenagers. Of course, they had been so young. They had loved each other with all the heart and passion of innocent kids. Then the real world had called them—the music industry for him and the Broadway stage for her. With promises of “we’ll get together” they had parted.

Well, until they’d meet again at some event—a fundraiser, a concert, a wedding. And that fire between them would blaze once more. Her body heated remembering those encounters. Their intensity broke all charts, their passion consuming everything.

Until that event was over and they’d part. Again.

Just as well, Jennifer thought. Matt had no real interest in her, other than the physical. Nothing to build a real relationship on.

She turned back to the bar and sipped her drink, listening. His voice, as always, made her think of warm nights on the beach or cold nights in mountain hot tubs. Oh, yeah, she remembered one in particular in Aspen. She smiled then shook away the feeling, concentrating on the music.

He really did have a gift. Matthew was into the music, obviously enjoying it so much, it was impossible not to be caught up in the emotion. She turned, knowing that she’d see a boyish grin on his face.

As if she had conjured up his attention, Matt turned his head her way. His eyes flickered and then a smile broke across his face. Jennifer swallowed hard and turned quickly, drinking the rest of her cocktail. Her heart hammered in her chest. Had he recognized her? Surely not. He’d only seen her for a second and then through a darkened club. He probably saw a woman he considered flirting with. That was all.

The song ended to thunderous applause. Jennifer looked at her watch. She had a ballet class scheduled for early the next morning. The last thing she needed was to wake up bleary-eyed from not enough sleep and too much—

“Jen? That you?”

Jennifer turned to see Matt standing behind her. With her heart doing flips inside her chest, she tried to look cool, nonchalant. “Hey.”

Matt stood next to her and ordered a beer. He quickly signed autographs for the ardent fans who had followed him over. Then for a few moments he did nothing but look at her, as if measuring and examining her as a scientist might.

Uncomfortable, Jennifer finally said, “Found it yet?”


“Whatever it is you’re looking for,” she said, lifting an eyebrow.

He grinned. “I’m just amazed. I didn’t know you could become more beautiful than the last time I saw you.”

“Great line. Does that one get you results?” Jennifer teased.

“Actually, I’ve never used it.” Taking a big swig of his drink he added, “It was pretty good, at that.”

Jennifer grinned.

“When’s the last time I saw you, Jen? Awards show? Charity event?”

Jennifer knew exactly when it was, but she made a pretense of looking at the ceiling, thinking. “I believe it was at your brother’s wedding.”

“Oh, yeah. As I recall, we had a memorable encounter in the coat closet.”

Jennifer felt her face heat. She did not want to reminisce. After clearing her throat she said, “It . . . was a beautiful wedding.” After the closet incident, they’d danced. She still had dreams of being held in his arms, feeling his breath in her ear as he sang along with the dreamy ballad. Then the music had stopped, others demanded time with him, and Matthew had said he’d call later.

But he hadn’t.

No big deal, she had constantly told herself. There wasn’t anything between them other than a little heat. Nice, but that heat could end up burning her.

“So, how are Mitchell and Kelly?” Jennifer asked, referring to Matt’s brother and his wife.

“Great. They have two kids now, real cuties.” Matt glanced around and then leaned closer to her, his breath caressing her ear. “Hey, you know it’s really loud in here. Why don’t we go somewhere quiet, catch up?”

The hair on the back of Jennifer’s neck stood up. Matt was speaking in code and she knew it. What he really was saying was, “Let’s go somewhere so we can be alone and get . . . reacquainted.” She shook her head. “I don’t think so, Matt. I’ve got to be up really early in the morning.” She grabbed her purse and added, “In fact, I was just leaving.”

“Let me walk you out,” Matt said as he followed her.

“Really, that’s not—”

“Jennifer. I just want to talk to you. You know, find out how you’re doing, what’s going on in your life.”

She knew it was pointless to resist. If anything, Matthew Mackenzie was relentless. And she could admit she was curious about what he was doing. Sighing, she said, “Okay.” Was she an idiot? They’d not only been sweethearts but best friends when they appeared together on the children’s show Castle Clubhouse. She missed that friendship.

Jennifer nervously walked toward the front door and slid quickly away from the waiting group wanting to go in. Matt followed her, keeping his head down so that no one would recognize him. When they were several blocks away, in a quieter part of town, Matt began the conversation.

“So, I hear you’re tearing it up on Broadway.”

Not able to hide her pleasure that Matt actually knew what she was doing, she said, “Well, I’m working steadily. That’s good.”

“Come on, Jen. You’ve always been too modest. You were Belle in Beauty and the Beast for several years. Now that you’re Millie in the revival of Thoroughly Modern Millie, you have Broadway eating out of your hand.”

They continued walking slowly. “Well, I don’t know about that. I do know that I’m enjoying myself.” After a moment, Jennifer asked, “Are you? Enjoying yourself?”

Matt walked with his hands in his pockets, thinking. “Yes. I am. The success of ‘Mackenzie’ and being a part of that with my brothers prepared me for being on my own today. I love it.” She watched his eyes sparkled as he added, “Yes sir, Jen, I’m going to the top, the very top.”

“The top of what?”

“The top of everything!”

She chuckled. It was so like Matt. He wanted to do everything, to be the best at everything. He wouldn’t quit until he’d made it to that summit, she was sure of that.

They walked in silence and then he said, “We’ve come a long way since Castle Clubhouse. Although sometimes, I have to admit, I love to put on my Sir Matt crown and go through one of the old routines.”

Giggling, Jennifer said, “I’d love to see that.”

With a sly look in his eyes, Matt began to quietly sing one of the songs from the old show. She continued to giggle as he began a soft-shoe dance and pulled her hand, taking her along in the routine. They quietly sang and danced, continuing to look around to make sure no one was noticing them.

When the song and dance came to an end, they both laughed, as Matt pulled Jennifer in for a hug.

And held a little longer than necessary for a friendly embrace.

Jennifer pulled away quickly and looking up at him said, “Well, it’s been great seeing you, Matt. I’ve got to get going.” She walked to the corner and began looking for a cab, her breathing shallow.

“But it’s still early. Why don’t we go somewhere for coffee?”

Where were the cabs? You’d think New York wouldn’t have a shortage. Desperate, Jennifer thought of raising her skirt. Surely one would appear if she did that. “Some other time. Maybe the next time you’re in the city.” Thank God! A cab at last.

Matt helped her in. “I’ll be in town for a couple more days. Maybe we can get together tomorrow night.”

“I’ve got a show to do. Well, all the best. Goodbye, Matt.” Then she closed the door and the taxi took off. She leaned back in the seat and took a deep breath. That man was dangerous. Not only dangerous, but also dominant, overwhelming.

She knew all about that kind of man.

And the last thing she wanted in her life was another dominant, overwhelming male.


It was dark when Jennifer made it to the theatre the next night. The lights of Broadway were already lit, evoking that magic it was famous for. There had been rain earlier in the day and the damp roads only added to the sparkle of all the lights on Times Square.

Jennifer loved coming to the theatre. There was always an air of excitement, of play. She felt a little guilty for taking money for doing something she loved so much.

Approaching her small dressing room, she passed Carmen’s and saw her busy with her makeup, her curly red hair piled high on her head. Carmen looked up and called to her.

“What happened to you last night? The last I saw of you, you were dancing with some guy. You didn’t . . .”

Leaning against the doorjamb, Jennifer said, “No. I just wanted to make it an early night. Ballet class this morning, which incidentally, you missed.”

Carmen laughed. “Jimmy showed up and . . . Yes, I did miss ballet this morning.” A smile curved her lips. “But it was so worth it.”

Chuckling, Jennifer said, “I bet. See you on stage.”

“Hey, wait! Did you see Matthew Mackenzie last night? You two were on that kids’ show together, weren’t you?”

Jennifer drew taut. “Yeah. We said ‘hi,’ talked for a few minutes. I’d better go and get ready.” Then before Carmen could ask any more questions, she hurried to her dressing room.

And there on the table was the biggest, most beautiful bouquet of red roses Jennifer had ever seen. The arrangement was so big it covered the entire top of her makeup table. Jennifer just stood there, gaping.

Carmen, clothed in her silk robe, came up behind her. Looking over Jennifer’s shoulders, she said, “They’re really something, aren’t they? I thought you said all you guys did was talk last night.”

Jennifer looked at her. “What?” Then walking to the flowers, she saw that the note had been opened. “Did you read the note?”

“Of course. How else could I find out who they were from?” Jennifer rolled her eyes. “Now tell me why this guy would send you red roses after only talking for a few minutes. He said, and I quote, ‘I’ll see you soon.’ What’s that all about?”

Jennifer opened the note and read, “To my favorite Broadway star. I’ll see you soon. Matt.” Jennifer held the note to her mouth, thinking.

“Well?” Carmen asked, her brows high, bouncing on her toes.

“Well what?”

“Well, is this guy interested in you?

“What? No! No, no, no. This is just Matt’s way. He likes to impress with big gifts, that’s all.”

“What’s that about seeing you soon?”

“It’s just his closing, his signoff. You know, ‘I’ll see you’ or ‘catch you later.’ Something like that. Now enough about Matt,” Jennifer said as she pushed Carmen out of her room. “I’ve got to get ready.” Alone in the room, Jennifer took a moment to touch the bright red blossoms. She took a whiff of their sweet fragrance. For one precious moment she remembered what it was like to be in love with Matt.

Then with a deep breath and a secret smile, she placed the arrangement on a little coffee table and turned to get ready for the show.


The packed house applauded loudly at the cast’s final curtain call. As always, Jennifer reveled in the adoration of the crowd. Walking back to her dressing room, she heard several cast members talking about someone famous being in the crowd. The women were sighing and positively drooling. Jennifer continued to her dressing room, not really interested in who had been in the audience.

Carefully, Jennifer took off her costume and wig. Then, wearing only her robe and a hair net, she sat to take off her heavy stage makeup. First, she rubbed cold cream all over her face and then reached for tissues to wipe it off. A knock on her door stopped her and had her looking up. “Yes?”

The door opened and to her chagrin, she looked up to see Matthew Mackenzie walking into her small dressing room. Instinctively, she closed her robe tighter. Then looking in the mirror and seeing her face white with cream, she let out a whimper and began to furiously wipe the cream off. “Matt. I didn’t know it was you.”

Matt calmly put his hand on her arm to stop her. “It’s okay. Take your time. You didn’t know I was coming backstage. I’ll just sit here and wait for you.” He headed to a small love seat, smugly looking at the roses.

“Wha-what are you doing here?” Jennifer said as she intentionally slowed down her hand, her mind, and her breathing.

“You said some other time for the coffee.” He grinned at her. “It’s some other time.”

Why was he just so charming? She should shoo him out. Just say that she wasn’t interested in seeing him again. But that would be a lie and he’d know it. She was always a lost cause when it came to Matthew Mackenzie.

“Okay. Just one cup and then you’ll be on your way, right?”

“Gosh, Jen. It almost sounds like you want to get rid of me.” Then pausing to think he added, “I didn’t even ask. Are you involved with someone?”

Jennifer considered that as she removed her makeup. She made up her mind. She wasn’t going to lie to him. “No. I am seeing someone, but we’re not really, um, involved. We’re just, you know, still at the friends stage.”

“Could it go past that stage into something more?”

“I don’t know. I’m not in any hurry, neither is he.”

Matt smiled. “Good. Then he wouldn’t mind two old friends getting together for coffee. You’re not seeing him tonight?”

“No. Darrell’s out of town. He works in the Diamond District and had a big jewelry show in Chicago.”

“Nice.” Matt looked at the roses he had sent.

Jennifer saw this and quickly said, “Thank you for the roses. That was very thoughtful.”

“You’re very welcome.” While he watched her removing her heavy stage makeup, there was a rap on the door followed by a head popping in. “I’ve got that hairbrush you wanted to borrow, Jennifer.” Carmen looked around the small dressing room, her eyes landing on the man comfortably seated on the couch. As she came into the room and absently put the brush on the makeup table she said, “Oh, I didn’t know you had company.”

Sure you didn’t, Jennifer thought. “Carmen Degata, I’d like you to meet Matthew Mackenzie. Matt, Carmen.”

Matt stood and, smiling, accepted Carmen’s outstretched hand. “It’s a pleasure. I enjoyed your performance in the show tonight.”

Carmen actually giggled. Jennifer thought it amazing the power Matt wielded over women. “Thank you. I’m glad you liked it. You know I used to have your picture on my bedroom wall. I had to kiss it every night before I went to bed.”

Being used to the sentiment, Matt accepted it with a nod. “I’m flattered that a woman of such immense talent and beauty would give me the time of day.”

Carmen’s eyes widened and she actually sighed. Jennifer stifled a chuckle.

“Carmen? Where are you?” came a voice in the hall.

Snapped back to the present, Carmen turned and called, “I’m in here, baby.”

A large, dark man came into the dressing room, betraying his gruff appearance with a silly grin on his face. He pulled Carmen to him and briefly kissed her, then turned to Jennifer and said, “Hey, Jenny. Great show.”

“Thanks, Jimmy. Have you met Matt?”

The huge man turned and, keeping Carmen under his arm, reached out to shake Matt’s hand. “Hey, how’s it going?”

“Not too bad.”

Looking at the adoring woman he was holding, he said, “You ready, honey?”

“Sure,” Carmen said without hesitation. Turning she said, “It was nice to meet you, Matt.” As the couple swung out of the room, Carmen gave Matt one last look and then glanced at Jennifer and wiggled her eyebrows.

Jennifer chuckled and rose to close the door behind them. “Good night, you two.”

“Nice couple.”

“Yeah. Jimmy’s a production assistant for the show. He’s really crazy about Carmen.”

“Not too hard to understand. She’s quite a looker.” A secret grin filled his face.

Ah, yes. There it was. The main reason nothing solid had ever developed between them. He was always on the prowl, always looking for a better time. Jennifer had felt she was only a stepping stone. Putting the thought behind her, Jennifer said, “Look, could you step into the hall and let me change clothes? Then we can go for that cup of coffee.”

And then I can send you away.


To preorder your copy at the special introductory price of $0.99 click here.

April 18, 2016
by malindamartin
Comments Off on Rochester! The Best of Romance

Rochester! The Best of Romance














For the past two weekends I’ve been privileged to be in the audience of my son’s play “Jane Eyre, the Musical.” Being unfamiliar with the story, I enjoyed learning the classic tale of hardship, forgiveness, and being “brave enough to love.”

In my never-ending quest for love stories with redeeming qualities, I was thrilled to discover this timeless tale.

Jane has a terrible childhood, orphaned and sent to a home where she is thought a liar. She befriends another young girl that teaches her the meaning of forgiveness, a lesson that stays with Jane all of her life.



Eventually, she travels to Thornfield Hall, to become governess of Adele, ward of the enigmatic Edward Rochester. The man is dark, full of secrets. (My son enjoyed playing a part so different from his own personality. Especially since he got to bully the other actors around. Something he doesn’t get to do much of, since he is the youngest in the family!)

Jane is drawn to help the suffering man and in the process the two become friends. Then all hell breaks loose. Of course. You didn’t think it would be smooth sailing for the two protagonists, did you?

I won’t spoil the story but I will say that both Jane and Rochester must reach inside of themselves to become better people. The ending is so satisfying that I wanted to enjoy it over and over.

If you’ve never read the book, seen the movie, enjoyed the musical, I highly encourage you to do so. I guarantee, the tears will flow.

This was my son’s last high school musical, since he will be graduating next month. Yikes! I’m so thrilled and thankful he was part of such a wonderful production.IMG_2166

Yes, his skin problem did clear up 🙂 Actually, it’s part of the  ending but no spoilers.



Long live sweet romance!!

Scan ME
Scan ME © Scan ME powered by Patrick