Thursday’s Throwback with Hope T. Dougherty

Mars…With Venus Rising

 A meddling horse, paper bag floors and a flying saucer on the town square. The little town of Mars has it all—including a brand new resident who might spell heartache for one of its own.

Twenty-something Penn Davenport yearns for an exciting life in the big city and wants to shed the label of orphan that she’s worn for years. To achieve that dream, she must pass the CPA exam then move away from the two aunts who reared her after her parents died in a plane crash.

When John Townsend—full of life and the joy of living—moves to town, he rattles Penn’s view of herself, her life, and her dreams…which isn’t such a bad thing until she falls for him…and discovers he’s a pilot.




Page 82

Penn considered the Tilt-a-Whirl. The cars spun and rocked and rolled up and down like a carousel. The spins looked fast sometimes. Other times the cars only rocked back and forth. Most of the riders howled with excitement, their heads tipped back and their mouths wide open.

Laughing, not screaming.

Maybe she could ride it. She’d try at least for the handsome man chuckling at the spinning cars full of people having fun. The ride attendant gave them a car to themselves. Nice.

John took her hand to help her inside the car. Very nice.

He gave her a pep talk as other cars filled and the seat bar clicked into place. “You’re going to love this.”

The platform cracked and began its slow rotation over the rollers, creating an up and down motion. She stole a glance at John with a this-isn’t-so-bad look.

He grinned.

Picking up speed, the ride pushed the car into a few partial spins. Feeling the centrifugal force pull her to the left then the right, Penn gripped the car and planted herself in the middle of the seat, willing herself not to sling into him.

A giggle tickled her throat. She bit her lip to stifle it. With the constant barrage of swinging back and forth and up and down, she gave up trying to corral her laughs. A steady stream of her chortles mingled with John’s chuckles.

Suddenly, the car twirled with a quick whipping motion sending her right into the whole length of him. He didn’t seem to mind. Instead, he grinned again, threw his arm around her shoulders, and pulled her tighter against him. “This way we can fight the force together.”

Oh, yeah. She liked the Tilt-a-Whirl.

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Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her publications include two novels, Irish Encounter and Mars…With Venus Rising, as well as nonfiction articles. A member of ACFW, RWA, and SinC, she writes for She and her husband live in North Carolina and enjoy visits with their two daughters and twin sons. Visit her at

2 thoughts on “Thursday’s Throwback with Hope T. Dougherty

  1. Thank you for being here today, Hope. Your book sounds great! I loved the excerpt. Love the interactions between the characters!

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