Free Halloween “come back next year” signs!

Hello, book buddies! Halloween approacheth, and though it’s not my favorite holiday, I do always like to see the cute costumes on the kids. This year, however, we’re opting out in the name of safety. If you’re like us, here’s a cute printable to put up on your door to let people know you care.

And in case you missed it, I recently wrote a quarantine short story involving all your Timber Falls favs! You can give it a read here or listen to it here. Happy spooky days, book buddies!

Drop Dead: A Timber Falls short story

A blue Victorian house is set against a bright blue sky. The title reads "Drop Dead by Fiona West." There are pine branches around the Kindle.

Hey there, book buddy! Thanks for stopping by. This is a deleted scene from my upcoming book, Just Getting Started, which features Lizzie Painter and Chase Carpenter. It hasn’t been edited or proofread, because there just wasn’t room for it in the book. If you prefer, you can also listen to my podcast below, which is the same material (with significantly less eye strain). Hope you enjoy it!

Episode 6: Drop Dead, a deleted scene from Just Getting Started From Timber Falls, With Love: A Romance Fiction Podcast

In this deleted scene, Lizzie is called to Hattie's house to investigate a prowler…who is not at all what Lizzie expected. — Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/fromtimberfallswithlove/support

“There’s a small matter that I need taken care of, quietly,” Captain Hansen said, sliding her a yellow slip of paper. “That’s the address. There’s reports of a prowler.” 

“Who’s going with me?” 

He smiled. “If it’s who I think it is, I don’t think you’ll need backup.” He looked at his watch. “Yep, the timing is about right. And if I’m retiring, you might as well get used to this part of the job.” 

Lizzie pondered his words all the way to the house. She got out of the cruiser and frowned. This was the right address, but this was…Hattie’s house? She looked down at the handwriting, but she’d gotten it right. She opened the chain-link gate and walked up the sidewalk. 

“Hello.” A male voice out of the darkness startled her, and Lizzie put a hand on her chest involuntarily, resisting the urge to reach for her service weapon. 

“I’m Deputy Painter. And who might you be?” 

“Stuart Bagsby, at your service.” 

“At my service?” 

“Of course,” he said, getting to his feet from where he’d been sitting against the house. “Any friend of Hattie’s is a friend of mine.” He wobbled a little bit, and Lizzie reached out a hand to steady him. His hand was cold despite the summer weather. She glanced up at the porch light, wondering why Hattie hadn’t called her to change it if it wasn’t working. Surely she didn’t know this man was out here or she would’ve been more hospitable. “It’s my semi-annual visit, you know. Was Captain Hansen busy tonight?” 

Lizzie cocked her head. She had no idea what this guy was talking about, but then, his last name rang a bell. “Wait, Bagsby? As in, Hattie Meyer-Bagsby?” 

He took off his hat and made a little bow to her. “That’s exactly right. Davis was my brother.” 

“I see.” She squinted through the stained glass in the front door. “Does Hattie know you’re out here?” 

“Oh yes,” he chuckled. “She certainly knows. I believe that’s why she’s called you.” 

You’re the prowler?” Lizzie looked him up and down; he was wearing Bermuda shorts that weren’t doing his wrinkly knees any favors and a rather loud Hawaiian shirt with red parrots printed all over it, but other than that, he seemed perfectly harmless. 

“Why are you out here? Is she not going to let you…” Lizzie’s voice trailed off as she noticed the sadness behind his eyes. She straightened her shoulders. How ridiculous. She was getting to the bottom of this right now. Lizzie knocked on the front door, using the horseshoe knocker that she’d always admired. No one came. The lights were on; Lizzie could even hear the television on softly through the open bedroom window at the front of the house. 

“Hattie?” She called, backing up until she could see the upper level. “You home?” 

“Nope,” a curt voice responded. She didn’t come to the window. 

Lizzie rolled her eyes. “Your brother-in-law is here.” There was a long silence, and Lizzie wasn’t sure if she should yell louder. The drumbeat of Hattie’s bare feet against the wooden stairs just inside the front door felt ominous, and the front door whipped open. 

“No, he’s not. My husband died, therefore, I don’t have a brother-in-law.” 

“Every year,” he muttered, rubbing a hand over his short silver hair. “Every stinking year.” He raised his voice. “Look, Harriet–” 

She pulled herself up ramrod straight. “It’s Hattie, you know it, Stu!” 

“I promised him, Hattie. I promised Davis I would check on you from time to time. So here I am. That’s all.” 

“Lizzie, would you please teach this man about telephones? Or the internet? Or letters?” The mention of letters had Lizzie’s heart picturing Chase’s perfect handwriting on yellow legal paper, and she hoped she wasn’t blushing. 

“You wouldn’t answer if I called,” Stuart predicted with a grin, as if he was enjoying this exchange. 

“You should go somewhere else and try it.” 

“You’re really not going to let me in?” 

“That’s correct. I told you six months ago not to come back. I don’t need checking on. Haven’t for years.” 

“I know he was old-fashioned, but he was my brother. It’s the only thing he asked of me when he died. Don’t make this difficult, please.” 

“Lizzie, can you please call Maggie to give this nice man a ride back to the airport? I’m sure he can find a flight to Orlando tonight.” 

“Oh, for God’s sake,” Stu laughed. “Are you really that mad about it? Still?” 

Hattie looked the man in the eye for the first time, then she silently turned on her heel, went back into the house and shut the door. 

“I really thought she would’ve gotten over it by now,” he murmured, as he stroked his stubble thoughtfully. 

“What happened?” 

“Oh,” he said, waving a careless hand, “I told her I’m in love with her.” 

Lizzie’s jaw dropped. “And she kicked you out?” 

He nodded ruefully. “Hasn’t spoken to me since. Turns out, it’s a mortal sin.” He chuckled to himself. “Sorry to have troubled you, miss. Pardon me; sorry to have troubled you, deputy.” 

“Can I drive you to a hotel? I think Rhea Devereaux sometimes rents a room to visitors…you’d get good Southern hospitality at her house.” 

“Oh, no.” Stu sat down on the porch swing. “If I leave now, she’ll just get even more set in her ways. No, I’m not leaving.” 

Lizzie frowned. She’d been called about a prowler, but he clearly did not mean Hattie any harm. Still, maybe she should take him to the station if he was trespassing. She knocked on the door again. 

“What?” Hattie called down faintly. 

“Do you want him arrested for trespassing?” 

Another long silence. “I suppose not.” 

She turned back to Stu. “Do you want the emergency blanket from my cruiser? I have several.” 

“Well, that’s very thoughtful, deputy. Thank you.” He walked with her to the car, and Lizzie felt her pocket buzz. 

Hattie: Is he leaving? 

It was rattling, seeing a woman who had self-assurance in spades so anxious. 

Lizzie: No. Just getting him a blanket. 

Hattie: For what? 

Lizzie: I think he’s going to sleep on your porch swing. Unless you want him arrested. 

There was another long silence. This one lasted long enough for Lizzie get him a granola bar, her green wool army blanket that she hoped she wasn’t giving up permanently (though he didn’t seem the type), and a bottle of water. 

Hattie: No. Let him be. Maybe after a long night out there, he’ll finally leave me alone. 

Lizzie: Is your porch light out? 

Hattie: No. Why? 

Lizzie: Just wondering. I’m taking off now. Give me a call if you need me again. 

Hattie: Okay. Have a good night, Lizzie Lou. 

Lizzie: You too. 

She put her phone away and gave the man on the porch a long look before getting back into her cruiser. Would wonders never cease…a secret admirer for the mayor? At her age? Lizzie chided herself immediately. Hattie was a wonderful person, and any man would be foolish to pass up a chance with her. Not that she was handing them out, apparently. As she backed out of the driveway, Lizzie saw the porch light go on, and Stuart called, “Thank you, Harriet!” 

“Drop dead,” she yelled. 

“Don’t tempt me,” he yelled back. 

If you want more Lizzie, you can find her love story in Just Getting Started–it’s just $0.99 until it goes live in ten days, and you’ll get to meet her dog, Pancake! He’s my second favorite animal I’ve ever written.

Win a copy of More Than We Bargained For!

Hello book buddies! I’m giving away THREE (yes, three!) signed paperbacks on Goodreads as my little holiday gift to you. If you’ve been waiting for Starla’s story, this is it! So hop on over to Goodreads and make it happen for yourself, friend. It won’t redeem 2020, because nothing can, but still, who deserves it more? Nobody. I see you. Click here to throw your name in the virtual hat!

Good luck!

How Kyle would give out candy…

Photo by Daisy Anderson on Pexels.com

Kyle opened the door. “Yes?”

“Trick or treat!” Starla’s kids were on his front porch, holding out pillowcases. No tiny plastic pumpkin would do for them, apparently. He had to admire their ambition. 

He put his hands on his hips. “You don’t look very intimidating. Maybe I should take my chances with the trick.” 

“He’s kidding,” Ainsley said, pushing past him with the basket full of peanut-free, gluten-free chocolate bars she’s insisted on, not wanting to turn any child away. “You guys look so great!”

“What are you supposed to be?” Kyle asked Aiden. 

“I’m Bear Gryllis. See?” He held up a large stuffed snake that was wrapped around his shoulders. 

“You’d need more dirt on your face,” Kyle said. “Just saying.” 

“That’s a good point,” Aiden muttered, moving off toward his yard, presumably to find some. Kyle watched him, inwardly horrified; he’d meant brown face paint or something, not actual dirt. Starla rolled her eyes at them both from the end of the front walk, and Ainsley handed Kyle the basket as she wandered down the walk to talk to her friend. Emily held up her pillow case a little higher, a little insistently, as if she could feel her candy opportunity slipping away now that Ainsley had left.  

“I don’t have to ask what you are. And not that it matters, but I approve.” She was dressed as a taco, her foam costume comically unwieldy on such a small frame, yet realistic in its topping depictions. 

“They’re my favorite.” 

“I believe I’ve heard something about that,” Kyle replied. “Do you have any food allergies?” 

The girl’s eyes widened, and she shook her head. He held out the basket. “Then you can take one of these.” 

“Just one?” she pouted, and begrudgingly, Kyle tipped his head to one side. 

“Fine. Two pieces. But no more than that. And eat them on different days. I won’t be responsible for tooth decay.” 

Emily grinned up at him, assuredly the happiest little taco on the block. She was darn cute, Kyle thought. He’d been mulling over the idea of kids more lately for no discernible reason. Watching the smiling girl choose her pieces, he thought maybe he’d broach the subject with Ainsley. Just then, Aiden came galloping back up, his face smeared with mud. 


Kyle nodded and held out the basket, so revolted that he forgot to ask about allergies. Then again, maybe he’d hold off on the baby thing. 

If you like my autistic hero, Kyle, you can read about his love story in Must Be a Mistake. You can read more about Starla and her adorable, taco-loving kiddos in More Than We Bargained For, which is currently $0.99 until it launches on November 9th. Half the pre-order profits will be going toward victims of the fires in Oregon, so read for a good cause!

She’s not flirting, she’s just keeping up employer-employee relations.

Martina and Carter’s story is out today! I’m pumped for you guys to get to watch them bend back toward each other, repair what they broke, and fall back in love again. And they’ve got some lovely side characters as well. I really poured the emotion into this one, so I hope it’s satisfying. I also tried something new and did a playlist on Spotify for ambiance, so let me know if you enjoy that.

It’s in Kindle Unlimited now, or you can get it for just $0.99 for the next few days. After that, the price will go up, so don’t put it off. Enjoy those last few days of summer with a nice, sweet read!

Happy reading, book buddy!