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Archive for May, 2016

Writing Wednesday: Warming Up

It was pretty cool over the weekend and rainy. The last couple days, it’s been downright warm. Hopefully the weather balances out. The extremes are a bit too much for me.

He's got his blankie and duck? What else does a pup need?

He’s got his blankie and duck? What else does a pup need?

I saw a thing on Pinterest one day about how to write 5000 words in one day. I used to be able to do this. Lately, not so much. But, their schedule started at like 8 a.m. I usually start my writing day between 4-5 a.m. So, I printed out a weekly schedule and used the same basic idea to work out the best way it would work for me. Only on the first day of this. And I’ll probably only get about 4000 words. But, it’s still more than what I have been writing.

My new schedule. May rework it & possibly type it so things fit better

My new schedule. May rework it & possibly type it so things fit better

Anyway, today is Wednesday, which means time for another WiPPet snippet. Today I’m sharing from Carlos & Tereza’s story once again. I have the last 7 paragraphs(2+5) that I wrote last week. This week’s words are typed in the mywriteclub.com word sprints(which autosaves to dropbox), and I haven’t copied them into the document yet. Anyway, Tereza is talking to Carlos’ brother here, and he is being less than cooperative even though she’s trying to help him.

Tereza scowled at her client. What did he think? That she could pull off miracles? “But, I need your help for that. When all the evidence points to you as the one responsible, I need to find something to throw doubt on that. And I can’t do it all on my own.”

“Then, what good are you?”

Tereza sighed and dropped her head into her hands. He really was impossible. How was it he and Carlos were related? She knew the other man could be stubborn, but this? This went beyond anything she’d seen before. Tereza slapped her hands on the table and leaned closer to him. “Look. Do you want me to help or not? If not, I’ll tell your brother I did everything I could, but you decided to take the fall for something you didn’t do. Because if you don’t work with me, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. They have you sewn up pretty tight, and if that girl’s prognosis doesn’t change, that attempted murder charge is going to get bumped up.”

She caught a quick flicker of…something pass through his eyes. It wasn’t just fear, but what almost looked like pain. Or even grief. “She was more than just some girl you saw on the streets, wasn’t she? What’s she to you, Brent? Was she your girl?”

One corner of his mouth lifted in a snarl. “You don’t know a damn thing about it. She’s good. Damn it, she’s good. She wasn’t coming down there to slum it with me.”

It was the first real hint of anger, not just defensiveness, she’d seen from him. She definitely thought she was on the right track, then.

“But, you cared for her, didn’t you?”

Yeah, Brent is in a real mess here. But, will he let anyone help him out of it? Or will there be more trouble to come? (I’m sure you all can guess the answer to that last one).

Now, for the progress I’ve made so far this week:

  • Write/edit for 20 hours – 9 hours, 40 minutes. Still falling a little behind with this, but my new schedule should help. I’ve written 7323 words so far this week.
    • Ready When You Are – 2307 words
    • Paint Me a Picture – 1209 words
    • Carlos & Tereza – 2020 words(+1787 words on Story a Day piece)
    • Stained by Ashes – compiled notes for Chapter 2 into master document
    • Guarding the Heart – absolutely nothing! have to make notes so I keep settings consistent and yeah. Keep procrastinating
  • Dance with the Devil – get to 2000 words – no progress yet this week
  • Goin’ Down – get to 1750 words – no progress yet this week
  • Snow White Twist – get to 1500 words – no progress yet this week
  • Read: Storyworld First – get to 90% – I’m at 81%.
  • Read: Finish Priya in Heels(Ayesha Patel), Wild Man(Kristen Ashley), Forged in Stone(Alyssa Rose Ivy), Prophecy(Julie Anne Lindsey), & Sworn(Kate Sparkes) – Finished Priya in Heels(really enjoyed), Wild Man(liked it better than the first book, but still had some issues. Judging from excerpt of next book, not sure I’ll get it. If I do, it’ll probably be from the used book store. Whole 1st chapter was pretty much female lead referring to herself as a 2.5 and pretty much everyone else an 8 or up. I wanted to finish out the series, but I don’t know). I’m a little more than halfway through Forged in Stone and still not sure what I think of it. I’ll probably still finish it, though.
  • Loom: 2 Way Headband – I’ve got this started.
  • Story a Day: Finish 7 Stories – 3/7 stories finished. Right on track. You can read all of this month’s stories here(actually I still have to update with at least yesterday’s and today’s, but all the rest are there).
    • No Matter What – a bit with Kelan and stuff going down in the middle of Ready When You Are(okay, a little past the middle)
    • But Everything – a bit from Paint Me a Picture, getting toward some steaminess.
    • Believe in You – this is some of Carlos’ backstory.(I wrote this same piece earlier in the month, but this time it’s in 1st instead of 3rd)

A lot of green! And hoping to get to those reds sometime this week.

Story a Day: Day 25 – Believe in You

Today’s prompt was to change the POV of one of our previous stories. Since, I’ll be working on Carlos & Tereza’s story once again, I decided to do one of those ones. This one is some backstory that takes place about 20 years before the actual story. I wrote it in third person the first time, but switched it to first here and got into Carlos’ head a bit more.

I dropped the silverware on top of the rest of the dishes in the bus pan. Gathering up the rest of the trash from the table, I balled it all up together so it would be easier to throw away when I got to the kitchen. I gave a little shake of my head. They had certainly left a mess. I’d noticed most didn’t seem to care who would have to come by later and clean up after them.

I lifted the pan and turned from the table, my shoulders getting that itchy feeling between them, the hairs on my neck prickling. People were watching. It didn’t matter. I couldn’t let it matter. I took a deep breath and kept walking through the dining room.

It was nothing. People could look all they wanted. It didn’t mean a thing. I heard all the whispers anyway. They saw my tattoos and automatically assumed they knew everything about me. I must be some kind of thug, had probably done prison time, was likely dangerous and shouldn’t be working here.

I just wished it wasn’t all true.

I shouldered my way through the doors into the kitchen, dropping the pan on the shelf by those doors for the dishwasher to get to. The kid beside the sink jerked his head at me in greeting, but I only grunted back. I still didn’t know his name. I hadn’t bothered with any of that unless I needed to.

I’d only been here for about three weeks, and I knew it wasn’t the strength of my experience or references that got me the job. I didn’t have much of either of those. Only one reference had really mattered. Roman’s. And he’d done more than get me this job. If it wasn’t for him, I would have spent more than the one month in jail. And I would have this, or likely any, job. I wasn’t going to screw up that chance. Even if it was only to clear tables and wash dishes.

Even if I did still miss Tereza and Roman wouldn’t tell me anything except she was settling into her life with them.

I turned to grab another tub so I could clean yet another table off, but as I straightened again, I nearly collided with someone else. My first impulse still was to slam a fist into his face and pull a knife from my belt. Both would get me fired. The second would also, if I even carried one on me, get me sent back to jail.

I couldn’t afford either option.

I only let my lip curl at the tattoo of a wild cat on the other man’s bicep. Fuckin’ Pumas.

“Sorry,” I mumbled. Dios, that word tasted bitter on my tongue. I wasn’t really, but our boss had strict rules about fighting in the kitchen. I wasn’t risking my job for this pendejo.

The other man, Romello, sneered at me. “Just like a cowardly Coyote.”

I bristled at the words but picked up the bus pan I’d dropped during the collision and kept walking. It wasn’t worth it. I needed this job, this new start. The Pumas had taken enough from me, I couldn’t let them have this as well. So, I ignored the words meant to taunt me and walked back out into the dining room to clear another table.

***

I stepped out of the restaurant after clocking out and saw the three men waiting for me. One was little more than a boy, really, but Romello, the pendejo, had roped him in anyway. Romello himself stood right in the middle of them.

Great. Just great. Looked like we’d be fighting about this after all. I could always run, but I’d never done that before. And they’d just chase after me anyway.

I balled my fists and took a step forward. “What do you want? I was just goin’ home.”

“To your hovel, you mean?” Romello scoffed.

I doubted if his place was much, if any, better than my tiny apartment. But, I let the words pass. I really did just want to go home. “I don’t got a beef with you. I’m just trying to start a new life, like you. I just want to be left alone.”

Romello sneered at me again. “You’re nothing like me. You’re a Coyote.”

“Not anymore.” The words felt like a lie. Sure, I didn’t run with the gang any longer, but I wasn’t sure I’d ever stop feeling like a part of it.

Romello’s lip curled further, until he was nearly snarling. “You still ain’t washed the stink off.” Then, he was swinging at me.

I ducked the first punch, but the second caught me in the shoulder. I stumbled but found my footing quick enough. But the other two were on me a moment later. I got a few blows in myself, but I couldn’t fight off all three at once. I hit the ground but jumped right back to my feet. I wasn’t going down without one hell of a fight.

They meant to kill me. I could feel it in each of their strikes. I wasn’t just going to give up on this new life I’d been given.

I hit the ground again. I tried to get back up, but a boot connected with my ribs. More blows fell, stealing my breath, and I heard the snick of a knife opening. Then, sirens split the air, and the other men scattered. I got my knees under me and grabbed onto the closest thing I could find, a sign post, to get to my feet.

A hand closed around my arm. I tried jerking away, but metal snapped around my wrist before I could. The man’s words were barely more than a buzz in my head, but the actions were all too familiar to me. And my head was spinning too much to resist even if I’d planned to.

***

“You’re damn lucky they held you instead of taking you straight to booking.”

I held my head in my hands, not even looking up at Roman. I didn’t feel too lucky about anything right now. The cops who had brought me in had slapped a Band-Aid over the cut on my forehead but that was it. My head was splitting, my ribs nearly screaming in agony, but I was stuck in this damn holding cell. The only lucky thing I could see was that when Romello and his buddies had been hauled in too, they’d been put in a separate cell.

“I didn’t start the fight, Roman. Romello and his buddies were waiting for me outside. He’s always baiting me.”

“That’s why you ignore him. I thought you wanted this job.”

“I do!” More pain shot through my head, and I drew back, digging the heels of my hands into my temples. Dios. How hard had I hit my head? “And  know, I probably lost it now.”

“If there weren’t witnesses who gave the same story as you, that would probably be true.”

At a gesture from Roman, a guard stepped forward and unlocked the cell door. The loud whine of it opening nearly had my head exploding. I squeezed my eyes shut as if that would help ward off the inevitable.

“Come on,” Roman said softly. “I’ll take you home. You’ll have to talk to Aberto in the morning about the job.”

I couldn’t think too much about that right now. Not when my head was splitting open and my ribs were on fire as I followed Roman out of the police station. Aberto’s place was known for giving released cons a second chance. He wasn’t known for giving ones for breaking his rules, though.

I just hoped he’d make an exception this time.

***

I stepped into the restaurant and winced at the bright lights. Roman had taken me by the hospital the night before. Head contusions and a couple cracked ribs. He’d stuck around until this morning, to make sure I woke up again. He really made sure of that, too, waking me several times during the night and asking me questions. When I flipped him off each time, he just laughed and left my bedroom again. Guess that was a sign to him my brain wasn’t too rattled.

They’d wrapped my ribs at the hospital and given me something for the headache, but it only helped so much. And these damn lights certainly didn’t.

Roman had said he’d already talked to Aberto this morning, so he’d be waiting for me. Now, I just had to plead my case. I knocked on the doorframe of the office even though the door was open, and my boss watched me approach. No point in taking any chances. Certainly not this morning.

“Come in, Armas,” my boss called out to me.

I stepped into the office and licked my lips, wishing they weren’t so dry. “Mr. Aberto-”

He held up a hand, and I came to an instant stop. I had to shove my hands in my pockets to keep him from seeing the way they trembled. I didn’t want to show any weakness now.

“You know I don’t allow any fighting in or around my restaurant.”

“Yes, sir.” I could barely get the words out. My throat and tongue felt so thick, I felt like there wasn’t room for anything else. “I can explain.”

“No explanation needed.”

My shoulders drooped at those words. That was it then. It was all over for me. I started to turn away but Aberto’s next words stopped me.

“I’ve seen the way you and Romello have been. And I’ve seem how you’ve handled it. I also talked to the person who reported the fight last night and said you were the one assaulted. I imagine you didn’t see any way around the fight.”

I shook my head. “Figured if I ran, they would’ve just chased me down.”

Aberto nodded as if he’d expected that. “Charges have been pressed. Romello will no longer have a job here.”

I swallowed hard. “And me, sir?” If I lost this job, I wasn’t sure what I’d do.

“Well,” he said, his lips curling up slightly, “I’m going to have an open position for a server. I’ve seen you’re a hard worker and seem determined to make your place here.”

I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. “Why?” I shouldn’t be questioning it. Shouldn’t risk him realizing he was making a mistake and change his mind.

“I see something in you,” Aberto said. “And I believe in the things I see. I believe in you, Carlos, and you should believe in you, too. Now, get on home and rest up. We can start your training tomorrow.”

 

Teaser Tuesday: Stained by Ashes

I got more comments back on Stained by Ashes from one of my beta readers this morning, so that’s what I’ll be sharing from today. A little bit from Chapter 2 and a hint of some trouble to come.

Adam lifted his hand in a wave to his boss and waited for the wagon to approach him. “Patrick, what are you doing out here? I was riding back to the ranch.”

“So soon? I wasn’t expecting you until sometime tomorrow, Adam.”

Adam shifted in the saddle, his shoulders lifting and falling again. “I didn’t stay as long as I planned.”

“I can see that.” He didn’t say more than that. Adam had told him about the last receptions he’d gotten there. “I’m heading into town for a meeting with the other ranchers. I planned to stock up on supplies before I headed back in the morning.”

“What are you meeting about?” Adam turned his horse so he rode beside the wagon. “Rustlers again?”

Patrick shook his head. “Homesteaders. Some of the ranchers, mostly the bigger operations, think they pose a problem.”

“Since when does making their own way pose a threat?”

“Never said I agreed.” He fell silent for a few minutes. “Most of the ranchers around here haven’t even purchased the land they claim. Twenty years ago they only had to build on it.”

“What about yours?”

Patrick shook his head. “Not when I first built here. I filed the deed later when more people came in. Will’s is filed, too. No one can take our land away without a fight.”

Adam’s jaw clenched, and his hands tightened on the reins briefly. It was his most common reaction when someone mentioned the other man’s name. He liked William, really he did. They even formed a sort of friendship while working together in Colorado.

Still, every time he heard that name, he had that irrational spurt of jealousy. It made no sense.

Maggie had never been his.

Still hoping to have this out sometime this summer.

Story a Day: Day 24 – “But Everything”

Today’s prompt was to focus on genre. This one was easy for me when pretty much everything I write is some form of romance. And I’m at the perfect place in Paint Me a Picture to show that. In fact, with a few added sentences, I should be able to add this in to the current scene. Getting a little steamy at the end, but it’s more implied than explicit.

Kirsten closed the door softly behind her after shutting off the light, leaving only the soft glow of a nightlight on in her daughter’s room. It had been a long day, and Cora had even fought to stay awake.

Now, Kirsten looked around the apartment. It was still mostly clean. Cora had been at her grandparents’ all weekend, so there hadn’t been much of a chance for it to get messy after her cleaning spree Saturday morning. Which Rylan had helped her with. That still surprised her that he’d been so willing to do that. When she knew it wasn’t the only reason he’d come over. They’d gotten to that, too. Her body heated, just remembering.

Speaking of Rylan, she figured he’d be right behind them. He’d left the restaurant at the same time. She figured he’d be practically following them up the stairs. But, he still hadn’t shown up. Had he had second thoughts?

No. Not with the way he’d been looking at her at dinner. She couldn’t believe he’d just decide not to come over.

Well, at least that meant she’d have a chance to change and make sure her bedroom still looked decent. The thought of getting ready for her lover almost made her laugh, it was so strange. Four years ago, she thought she’d be content if another man never touched her, not after getting away from Kenny. But, Rylan was the opposite of everything he had been. He didn’t push, didn’t pressure, just took care with her.

But, he didn’t treat her like she was fragile, like she was afraid people would if they knew what Kenny had done to her. Instead he saw her strength and helped bring it out. He trusted it, even if he still would rather face her problems for her, but he seemed to know that wouldn’t work.

Kirsten had just finished changing into a satiny camisole and a pair of matching shorts and was pulling a brush through her hair when she heard a knock on her apartment door. She’d left it unlocked so he could just come in. But, of course, Rylan wouldn’t just assume he was welcome. He wasn’t like that, never had been since she’d first known him, when her brother had been married to Rylan’s sister. In fact, it had seemed like he’d always expected to not be welcome.

She pushed those thoughts out of her head and put the brush down before hurrying out to the door. “Come in,” she told the man who stood on the other side of the threshold. It looked like he’d taken the time to change as well, though he’d looked good for dinner, he looked even better now. His dark green shirt bringing out the flecks of green in his otherwise brown eyes. All the red stubble had been shaved from his jaw, though she did almost miss that, knowing the way it would feel against her skin.

His gaze caught on her, and heat flared in his eyes. Yeah, taking the time to change had been worth it.

“Is Cora still up?” he asked, taking a step forward.

That was his first question? It surprised her, though it probably shouldn’t. She knew he cared about her daughter as well. And it warmed a part of her she hadn’t quite realized was cold.

“No, she was worn out. She usually is after a weekend out at the ranch. My parents don’t exactly enforce a bedtime, and she spends almost all day outside with dad and Sophie.” Her little sister had been the only one of them who had wanted to stick around to work the ranch with their father. Jason probably would have, he still did the cowboy thing, if he and their father didn’t constantly butt heads.

Rylan seemed almost disappointed, surprising her once again. “I’d hoped to help tuck her in.” He must have seen the expression on her face, because he said, “I want that, too, Kirsten. Not just this thing between us but everything.”

Everything? It was too much. She was still too afraid of being swept away to give him everything. But, that didn’t mean she wouldn’t give him anything, or take anything from him. So, she pushed up so their mouths could line up and pressed her lips to his. “Come on in, Ry,” she murmured.

The disappointment left his face replaced by a heat she recognized. His hands went to her waist, and he pulled her closer, his mouth slipping to brush her jaw then down her neck. His hands slipped under the hem of her shirt, the tips of his fingers teasing her skin. Pleasure seared through her at his touch, and she wanted to drag him back to her bedroom. But, he seemed content to stand right where they were.

“Ry,” she finally whispered when she didn’t think she could take it anymore, “let’s go to bed.”

He lifted his head, his gaze catching hers. “Yes,” he said, “Let’s.”

Story a Day: Day 23 – No Matter What

Today’s prompt was to pay attention to the tone of your piece/use a tone you do well. Today’s “story” is really the next scene in Ready When You Are, which is at times serious, sweet, and even with some sexy thrown in. Right now we’re at one of the more serious sections, though.

Kelan didn’t know what he should do. He’d been staring at the letter for too long and still couldn’t figure anything out. He wanted to call Oliver. He seemed to be able to comfort Kelan better than anyone. But, he’d already gotten the other man involved enough in this. Which was evident by this last note that had been left for him. He spends time with dangerous people. Something might happen to him.

No. Kelan couldn’t let that happen. Oliver hadn’t done anything wrong. Hell. Kelan hadn’t done anything wrong. And yet somehow he’d brought the attention of someone who wanted to make him pay for…something. That still wasn’t clear. But, the best thing Kelan could probably do was keep Oliver far away from it. He had enough problems of his own right now.

But, he definitely had to do something. He didn’t know who was leaving these notes for him, but there had to be someone who could find out. This was probably the first time he was truly glad to have a contact in the police department. An added bonus; she was Oliver’s cousin. And he knew how seriously Caitie took family. She’d do what it took to keep him safe. Hell, she was practically part of Kelan’s family, since her fiancé had been pretty much drawn into the family since he’d become friends with Kelan’s younger brother more than a decade earlier.

“Caitie,” he said when she answered. “It’s Kelan. Are you busy?”

“No,” she said, but she sounded a little breathless. Like she’d been running, or…he heard a deeper voice rumble through the line, though he couldn’t make out the words. Yeah, he didn’t want to think too much about what he’d interrupted, but heat still rushed up his neck and into his face. “I have today off,” she said after murmuring something to the other person, who he was sure was her fiancé, Mark. “We were actually about to head out in a few minutes to finish up some wedding stuff.”

Right. That was in less than two weeks now. It made him feel a little worse about calling her about this. “I’m sorry, but I think I might need help with something.”

“A pseudo-sister-in-law kind of help or the cop kind of help?”

He almost laughed at the way she cut right to it. But, none of this was very funny to him. “Definitely the latter,” he answered. “I was trying to ignore it, but now Oliver may be in trouble, too.”

“I can be there in less than ten minutes,” she said, and he could sense she’d already gone into cop mode, just by the way her voice hardened.

“Thanks, Caitie. I appreciate it.”

“You’re like a brother to Mark, and Oli’s my cousin. There’s nothing to thank me for.”

He appreciated it anyway, but he didn’t say it again before hanging up the phone. He just really hoped she could help with this problem. He didn’t know where else to turn to.

His phone chimed with a message as he headed to his bedroom to change out of the clothes he’d worn at school all day. He glanced at it, and something quickened through him at Oliver’s name on the screen. Going to be late at work, he read. Talk to you later?

He couldn’t help it. Despite everything else going on, the words sent a giddy thrill through him. He knew he needed to step back, put some distance between them, for Oliver’s sake. But, he wanted to talk to him. Wish he could just let Oliver hold him. Right now that’s all he wanted. But, he couldn’t let himself take even that. Not if it would put Oliver in danger.

Call me when you can, he typed back. We need to talk.

This was going to kill him, but he knew it needed to be done. He couldn’t let Oliver be dragged down into this  and pay for what someone saw as Kelan’s sins. He’d protect the other man no matter what it cost him.

Sunday Summary: Rainy Weekend

 

What I do when the words don't want to flow. Color a little, and it seems to free them up

What I do when the words don’t want to flow. Color a little, and it seems to free them up

So, it’s been raining pretty much all weekend. Friday was beautiful. And when we’d checked this weekend’s weather earlier in the week, it was supposed to be as well. Perfect, we thought. There was a ride we were doing with the club we ride with. In memory of a little boy who had died from cancer. Check the weather again later in the week. Chance of rain throughout Saturday. Well, okay, it might still not be too bad, looked like it was just going to be scattered showers. And we were running one of the stops for the poker run. We figured we’d start out with everyone then cut out early so we could get to our stop in time. Or at least ride up to the final stop once everyone else had gone through. Well, we didn’t make it to the beginning of the ride. But, we did ride to our stop because it was little more than a sprinkle when we left our house, and it’s less than 10 miles to where we set up. By the time we got there, though, we were pretty wet. And hardly anyone even showed up. They either cut out early, or completely bypassed us to go to the after party. Oh well. We rode the bike home and took the truck up to the after party. Which we didn’t stay too long at(too loud, too many people, and we had to get the kids from MIL’s and go home).

wp-1463930497625.jpg

Besides the rainy weather at the end, it was a pretty good week. Monday night we had the girl’s Spring concert. Friday the boy had his field trip, so I got the taste of what next year(when he’s in full-day Kindergarten) will be like. I managed to get everything on my to-do list done just a little before their bus got here in the afternoon. Also gives a good idea of what the best routine will be for me next year to make the best use of the time I’ll have to myself next year. First, though, we’ll have to get through summer vacation(less than 2 weeks before that starts).

Waiting to start singing

Waiting to start singing

(woohoo! The video showed up. Wasn’t sure it would)

Now, for my progress for this week:

  • Write/edit for 20 hours – 18 hours, 25 minutes. Not too bad this week. Ended up with 12361 words for these projects.
    • Paint Me a Picture – 1839 words
    • Carlos & Tereza – 2244 words
    • Break on Me – 3780 words(this includes some earlier pieces I wrote that I worked into the WiP)
    • In the Moonlight – 1792 words
    • Protecting the Heart – 2706 words
    • Stained by Ashes – compiled beta notes for Chapter 1 so both betas’ notes are in same document.
    • Guarding the Heart – finished Scene Map, Timeline, & Revisions notecards.
  • Dance with the Devil – get to 1750 words – 1775 words
  • Goin’ Down – get to 1500 words – 1540 words
  • Snow White Twist – get to 1250 words – 1276 words
  • Read: Storyworld First – get t0 70% – made it to this point
  • Read: Edge of Darkness(K.L. Schwengel), Taking the Heat(Victoria Dahl), Shoulda Been a Cowboy(Maisey Yates), Landline(Rainbow Rowell), Heat Exchange(Shannon Stacey), & I See London(Chanel Cleeton) – finished all of these. Loved Landline and really enjoyed Heat Exchange. And I loved I See London, too. I started reading Priya in Heels(Ayesha Patel) but am only about 20% into it.
  • Crochet: Owl Granny Square – finished this wp-1463930490544.jpg
  • Story a Day: Finish 7 stories – finished all of these. If you want to read the rest of the stories, you can click on “Story a Day 2016” at the top of the page. They’re all listed out there(and links should all open in new tabs)
    • Painted – Twitter length story for Paint Me a Picture
    • Baby on Your Porch – A story ripped from the headlines and twisted to fit into Carlos & Tereza’s story
    • Perfect Coincidence – Story inspired by a painting, and Susan & Kendall show up in this for anyone who has been missing them(Also worked this into Break on Me)
    • Resident Ghost – Nola tells Yasmin about the ghost who is rumored to haunt Yasmin’s great-aunt’s house.
    • Nighthawk – Danica tells Declan all about her favorite superhero
    • Put the Brakes On – Some more tension between Gabriel & Erik(for anyone who read Wednesday’s snippet from Break on Me)
    • Not Again(take 2) – last  Saturday’s story(Not Again) told from Xavier’s POV.

Woohoo! Lots & lots of blue up there. Love those kinds of weeks. Now, goals for next week:

  • Write/edit for 20 hours
  • Dance with the Devil – get to 2000 words
  • Goin’ Down – get to 1750 words
  • Snow White Twist – get to 1500 words
  • Read: Storyworld First – get to 90%
  • Read: Finish Priya in Heels(Ayesha Patel), Wild Man(Kristen Ashley), Forged in Stone(Alyssa Rose Ivy), Prophecy(Julie Anne Lindsey), & Sworn(Kate Sparkes)
  • Loom: 2 Way Headband
  • Story a Day: Finish 7 Stories

Story a Day: Day 22 – Not Again(Take 2)

Today’s prompt was to take something from an earlier piece and do something different with it. Well, I decided to tell my sidekick story, Not Again, from Xavier’s POV this time. Dig into his thoughts a bit more. I have about to the halfway point of my outline drafted for Protecting the Heart(which this takes place during), once I get closer to having the end written, I’ll start outlining Piers & Xavier’s story, Defending the Heart.

Xavier didn’t have a clue what to do. He probably shouldn’t even be here. He was better at installing their security systems and even standing in as a bodyguard. But, Casey had told him to help Piers find any information that would help find that little girl. And that was more important than any of his feelings. He couldn’t help thinking about his niece, Josie. She was about the same age, and he knew how terrified his sister would be if something took her.

“Do you see that?”

Piers’ voice dragged him out of his thoughts, and he moved up behind him to see what he was pointing at on the screen. Even sitting, piers shoulders came nearly up to Xavier’s chest. A tingle went through him as his chest brushed over the back of those shoulders. He should move away, but he couldn’t make his feet to move.

He studied all the numbers on the screen and saw the same pattern Piers had. “Yeah, I do,” he said. “Just what are they up to?” And what did it have to do with Doug taking little Danica? “You ever call your boss that much?”

Piers didn’t respond at first, and Xavier worried his attempt at levity had been lost. They used to talk like this all the time, joke around, tease. And then he’d gone and screwed it all up.

“Do you?” Piers finally asked, lifting one eyebrow as he glanced back over his shoulder.

Something tightened in Xavier’s stomach. He wasn’t sure if it was the question or the way Piers looked at him. Either way, he could feel heat rising to his skin. Hopefully his darker coloring, from his Hispanic mother, hid at least some of it. “Jealous?” he asked, hoping the old teasing would hide more of it.

Piers didn’t respond, though. His face tightened just a moment before he turned back to face the computer. Xavier’s stomach dropped, and he squeezed his eyes shut. It shouldn’t hurt so much. It had been three years, and this was all his own fault anyway. He was the one who had screwed things up. Xavier shifted away, wishing distance would help. But, it hadn’t over the last few years. Why should it now?

“It would help to know what all they talked about on these phone calls,” Piers said, bringing Xavier’s attention back to the computer screen.

“You’re hacking skills can’t get us that?” Piers was about the only reason Xavier knew more than how to turn on a computer and run a search. He could do a lot more than that now. All those coding lessons had done good even though they’d always turned into make-out sessions.

Piers’ head tipped back, and Xavier was sure he was rolling his eyes, or at least looking up as if asking for some divine intervention for the heathen. He smirked a little at that.

“We don’t talk about that, remember?” Piers asked, and finally there was some amusement in his voice. Xavier had missed that. But, it disappeared again when Piers said, “And, no. Not without more equipment. It’s not a magic power.”

“Seems like it sometimes,” Xavier murmured.

Xavier saw red creep up the back of Piers’ neck at that, but the other man kept his eyes glued to the screen. “We should get the information we have to Declan. He won’t leave his woman, but he should see this.”

He knew Piers was right. And it would be better if they got out of here. He heard the printer start up and turned to grab the papers that came out of it. Piers nearly ran into him as he turned back around. Xavier had to step back, but the contact sent heat swimming through him. He bit down on his lip, as if that pain could ground him. And saw Piers’ eyes heat as they fell to his mouth. God. No. They could not do this. Not again.

“Come on,” Piers said, stepping around him. “We need to get them this information.”

Xavier followed him out of the apartment and couldn’t help checking out the rear view. It was as good as it had ever been. But, they couldn’t do this. All they ever did was hurt each other.

WeWriWa: ‘Nothing Should’

Welcome back to another edition of Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop for anyone who likes to write. I’m still sharing from Dance with the Devil. Moving down to the next scene. I’m going to end up catching up with myself if I’m not careful. I’ve got the first 8 sentences from the next scene today.

When we pulled up in front of the clubhouse, Icarus, Bull, Trace, and Birdie stood on the porch. I didn’t like the paleness in Birdie’s face. Not a lot scared her. Not after being raised by a bunch of bikers. Even before Icarus had joined the club, from the stories I’d heard, apparently he and Bull had been friends. And if Bull didn’t at least intimidate you, nothing should.

Which meant it was bad if she was scared now.

I kicked down the stand for my bike and swung my leg over, jerking the helmet off my head at almost the same time.

What has Birdie scared? And is Devil right to be concerned?(You’ll find out eventually. Maybe. *lets out evil laugh*)

And if you want to start reading the series from the beginning, I’m still putting Into the Sun up on Wattpad. Up to Chapter Four is on there now.

SOCS/Story a Day: Day 21 – Put the Brakes on

I combined my Stream of Consciousness Saturday post and Story a Day entry again today. The SOCS prompt was to use brake/break somewhere in it. And for Story a Day, it was to use the opening line: “Huh!” he said. “I never would have thought that would fit in there.” The next line came right to me and apparently I had these two in my head because it just rolled right out from there. I’ll probably end up fitting this in to the Break on Me WiP later on. Warning for mention of suicide.

“Huh!” he said. “I never would have thought that would fit in there.”

“That’s what he said.”

Gabriel looked over at his roommate and shook his head. “You are terrible, Erik.” But, he couldn’t be taken too seriously when he couldn’t wipe the smirk from his own face. “Can you grab a few of those papers over there. I’d like to have this place cleaned up before Lora gets here.”

“Who is this girl anyway?” Erik asked as he moved to help. “I haven’t seen you on a date since you let me move in.”

Gabriel was sure this could be a touchy subject, but as much as he’d like to put the brakes on it, it would be better to iron it all out now. He and Erik hooked up sometimes, late at night when neither of them could sleep. But, there was never more to it. He was afraid he hadn’t made it completely clear there never would be. He might be sexually attracted to me, but he’d only ever been in relationships with women. He didn’t see any of that changing. Even if Lora wasn’t here, he didn’t see him and Erik ever dating. He just hadn’t found the right way to break that to the other man.

“Erik, look-”

Erik waved a hand at him. “Don’t, Gabe, really. I know how things are. It’s fine.”

It wasn’t, though. He could see it in the tight lines of Erik’s shoulders as he turned to pick something else up. He’d never seen what they were doing as something shameful or even really a secret. Just because you didn’t tell everyone a thing didn’t make it a secret. Just private. And he had finally told his dad. And his siblings. They were the only ones who really mattered. It had gone better than he’d expected. He’d never been too worried about his siblings. Chris had been dating Susan when she realized she might love another girl–turned out she did. And he’d taken that well enough. His father had been the real surprise, but he never should have doubted him. He’d been worried about how it would affect them all working together, as much as what it would do to the family.

“It’s really not you, Erik. It’s me. I’ve told you. I might be attracted to men, but I prefer women.”

“I know,” Erik shouted, throwing the remote he’d picked up across the room. “God. Can’t you ever just let anything drop? I said it was fine.”

But, it wasn’t and neither was Erik’s sudden burst of temper. But, Gabriel stood where he was. When Erik got like this, it was better not to approach him. This wasn’t even about the conversation they were having. Gabriel knew that, even though Erik wouldn’t admit it. It had a lot more to do with the fact Gabriel was still pushing about Erik going to talk to someone.

Gabriel drew in a breath and let it out again before going to pick up the remote. “I’m sorry. I just wanted things to be clear.”

“They’re perfectly clear to me. You don’t have to worry about that or me.” Gabriel watched as Erik drew in several breaths, apparently trying to calm himself.

Erik might think he didn’t need to worry about him, but Gabriel did anyway. “I’ve lost one friend because he refused to seek help after he came home. I don’t want to have to bury another.”

“I’m not Aaron,” Erik spit out. “I’m not going to kill myself.”

“I don’t think he thought he would, either. Not until it got to be too much.” He drew in a shuddering breath. It always hurt to talk about Aaron. Every damn time. And speaking of…”Her name’s Lora,” he said, answering Erik’s earlier question. He watched him process and try to catch up to the change in conversation. “And it isn’t a date. She’s only here because of the project the company is working on. And,” he added, glancing away, “she’s Aaron’s sister.” Just as much reason that he couldn’t go there.

Erik shifted away at that. “So, she probably already hates me.”

“What would make you say that? She doesn’t even know you.”

“Her brother did. And he made it perfectly clear what he thought of me. I wouldn’t doubt he told her. Weren’t they really close?”

“Yeah. But, you don’t know she’s like that. She never agreed with everything he thought. She does have a mind of her own, you know.”

“Right. Well, I think I’ll make myself scarce until she’s gone anyway.”

Gabriel watched Erik stalk away then let out a sigh. That hadn’t gone well. Hopefully his meeting with Lora would go better. He just needed to finish getting this place cleaned up.

Fiction Friday: Into the Sun – Chapter 4

It’s Friday again, which means time to share more from Into the Sun. I now have Chapter 4 up on Wattpad, but here’s the beginning of it.

I didn’t bother turning at the light, tentative knock on my door. “You can come in, Birdie,” I said as I finished putting the few clothes I’d taken out back into my saddlebags.

The door opened, but she didn’t say anything at first. I couldn’t even look at her, so I stared at the bags. God, I didn’t want to go, but could I really stay?

I didn’t know if I could stand him knowing the truth. All of them knowing. For the last nearly half hour, I’d been sitting on my bed, trying to decide what to do. Now that I had, I couldn’t let my plans change.

“Dad asked you to leave?” she finally asked, her voice barely more than a squeak. I hadn’t heard her sound like that before. Where had all her fire gone? “I told him we didn’t do anything. I’ll tell him-”

“He didn’t have to ask,” I told her. “It’s the best thing.”

“Why?” she demanded. “Why would it be best?”

I finally turned toward her, and she took a step back at whatever she saw in my eyes. “Because, if he’s really your dad,” I said, jerking my thumb toward the hallway, “I’m your brother. With the way you make me feel, that’s just wrong. And I don’t know how he can look at me knowing the woman who shattered his heart is my mother.”

“Cassandra,” she breathed. “That’s why he started searching for her again.” She stepped forward and put her hand on my arm. “You’re not my brother, Trace. There’s no blood between us.”

“How do you-”

She stopped my question by putting a finger over my lips. “I don’t know who my father is, but it’s not Icarus. He knows it, too. He just doesn’t like to admit it.” Her finger stroked down my face then she set it on my shoulder. “Our blood types don’t match up, Trace. We’re not related.”

“Then, why-”

“I could only hope to have fathered someone like her,” Icarus said as he stepped into the doorway. “Although, I’m seeing now, maybe I have. Even if I had nothing to do with the raising of him.”

He looked straight at me now. “I can still look at you, Trace. I had my suspicions from the start. It doesn’t change anything for me. I still want you here. Whether or not you stay is up to you. It’s always been up to you.”

“Why didn’t you ever try to find us?”

His eyes looked pained now. “I never knew about you, Trace. I did try to find her. Apparently the old man, whose name was not Grady by the way, hid her away before he kicked the bucket. If Hawk wasn’t so good at sniffing people out, I may not have found her now.”

“What do you mean his name wasn’t Grady?” I asked. “Mom said-”

“My name is Grady,” Icarus interrupted me. “So was my father, so technically she didn’t lie. Grady Evan Hartson. She named you after me.”

Now, go ahead and read the rest of Chapter 4(or the previous ones if you need to catch up). Feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think as well.

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