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Archive for April, 2017

Sunday Summary: End of April

It’s the end of April, which means the end of Camp NaNoWriMo, the end of the A-Z challenge, and for me the end of 2 WiPs. Yep, two. I finished Playing with Fire on Friday. And I actually finished Staring at the Sun earlier in the week, though the last scene just went up on my blog today as the final post for the A-Z Challenge. I don’t really have much else to say here, so I’ll get right to it.

Plotting

  • Heart of Christmas – finish Story Toolkit, Outline in scrivener
  • Still BurningBrainstorm, Character back stories, plot summary, through Story Toolkit: Romance Arc –  Finished the protagonist sheets for both main characters, the antagonist, & supporting characters, character arc, and the romance arc. 9/22 sections for the Toolkit. I wrote another Stream of Consciousness post with these characters that gives just a hint of Jess’ issues coming into the story

Writing

  • Playing with Fire – Add 73000 words/66 scenes(some of these include bits from my Just Jot It posts in January, they may be fleshed out to scenes of their own or merged into other scenes, but I’m counting them all for right now). – 53714 words/70 finished scenes for the month, 11270 words/15 scenes this week. I merged two planned scenes together then cut out the last 2 I had planned before the epilogue because it seemed like they wouldn’t really be needed, and I could accomplish what I had planned for them in that epilogue. I ended up about 20k below what I’d planned, but I may end up adding more during revisions.
    • “I don’t give a damn about the world,” Silas said. And Jeremiah was in perfect agreement about that. “Only what we think, what we feel matters. Out there we can just all be friends or however you want to pair us up. I’ll be the third wheel to them forever if that’s what it takes. Just don’t make any of us choose in here.”
  • Side Projects – add 4000 words between all projects. – 5363/4000 words for the month, 1598 words this week.
    • Preggers – 264 words – But, she did go in, her gaze scanning until she found Marika again. She was smiling at another woman who had a hand resting on a rather large baby bump. Something moved through Lyndi at that. She wasn’t sure if it was the sight of what her future held for her, or that smile on Marika’s face. One a part of her wished was aimed her way.
    • Dougal & Shae – 114 words – Maybe if he figured that out, he’d be able to stop obsessing about it. And her. And maybe not, he thought as he saw the man walking toward the bar. *What could Shae’s brother want with him now?
    • Hang On – 102 words – It bothered me probably more than it should. And definitely more than I’d ever admit. Especially to him.
    • Tavin & Haiwee  – 115 words – And from the rough sounds from down below, not treating the horse in the best way. It wasn’t anything unusual. And like every time he saw it, Tavin wanted to thrash the lad the way he did the horse.
    • Mason & Lila – 211 words – Mason knew the truth without Brian saying anything. His father hadn’t allowed his mother to give Brian money, or he’d spent it all on alcohol over the weekend. Either way, his friend didn’t have it now. Mason took the cup of fruit from his tray and set it in front of Brian along with his spoon without a word. It wasn’t much, but he knew Brian wouldn’t accept more. *I already knew how bad Brian’s past was, and I still want to give him a big hug, and maybe a good meal.
    • Midas’ Daughter – 124 words – Her boots slid slightly in the wet grass, but she managed to find her footing again. She usually didn’t come out until the sun had risen enough to dry most of the dew from the grass. But, if she’d waited longer to leave her room, she’d have to miss yet one more day of riding. And she might truly start to lose her mind.
    • Patrick & Sarah – 111 words – Which meant no more trips to town until it was done. His work still wouldn’t be over, though it would be less intense then. Which would give him time for those trips. And hopefully some courting. If Sarah would have him. 
    • Roman – 177 words – “You have to,” she insisted. “He didn’t do anything. Please,” she said, her voice wavering on the word. “Please help him. He doesn’t deserve to rot in jail. He saw his sister murdered, isn’t that punishment enough?”
    • Mike & Fadil – 145 words – Fadil Asker pulled his car into the small parking lot beside the town’s pharmacy. He looked back down at the list his mother had given to him before leaving the house. He was sure this was only the first of many errands she’d have him running.  *I don’t think he’s going to mind this errand pretty soon. hehe.
    • Hawk – 128 words – He cursed to himself and turned back to his bike. He didn’t know why his father had been on his mind so much lately. The man had made his feeling about Hawk clear years ago. They hadn’t had anything to do with each other since. 
    • Jacob & Matthew – 107 words – But, he’d needed to make sure no one saw him leave the room Matthew had rented the night before. He knew Matthew would go back to sleep and leave in a couple more hours. No one should realize they’d left the same room with so much time between. 

Editing

  • Stained Blood – Adjust chapters(some are really long after adding new scenes in), double-check for missing details, 50 search & destroy items, send to readers –  50/50 search & destroy items(cut 1277 words). And I got it sent out.
  • Snow White Twistrename, polish 48 search & destroy items, send to readers –I’ve already gotten it back from one of the beta readers and started going through the notes.
  • Flames of Renewal – CP Edits once I get it back – Talked to CP on Sunday. She said she should have this to me this week.
  • In the Moonlight – transfer from One Note to Scrivener(on two different computers)
  • Beta Read: I figured this was the best place to put this. I’ve read 15/73 chapters

Blogging

  • A-Z posts: Draft 13 posts 13/13 finished. 9500 words.
  • A-Z posts: Edit 18 posts – 18/18 – All posts are scheduled to go up now!
  • A-Z posts: Post 25 posts – 25/25 posted. You can find links to all current ones on my theme reveal post(I’m updating as they go live)

Reading

  • Listen: 5 books – 7/5,  3 this week
    • Emperor’s Edge(Lindsay Buroker) – I’ve actually read all these books, but I’ve been wanting to do a re-read, so I decided to start getting them in audio(which are only $1.99 since I have the ebooks). I’ll listen to these when I finish my other audiobook for the week. Loved it as much as the times I’ve read it.
    • Tracks of Her Tears(Melinda Leigh) – started this Monday morning. Finished it Monday afternoon. It was a short one(part of a series of novellas). Really enjoyed it.
    • Dark Currents(Lindsay Buroker) – Started this Tuesday morning. Finished it Friday morning. This is the second book in the Emperor’s Edge series.
    • A Thousand Pieces of You(Claudia Gray) – Started this Friday morning. It’s my second time listening to it. I finally got the second book in the series, and it had been a while since I listened to this one, so decided on a re-listen before I start the next one.
  • Read: 30 books – 30/30,  9 this week
    • Hammer of the Gods(Christina Ochs) – this is book 3 in her Desolate Empire series. I got the boxed set, but I’ve already read the first 2 separately, so I jumped right to this one on my phone. I’ll read it in the between moments. I’m on Chapter 106/166(If I counted right. The chapters are labeled with POV characters’ names instead of numbers).
    • A Rogue by Any Other Name(Sarah MacLean) – Started this last Tuesday afternoon. Finished it Saturday afternoon. Liked it but not sure if I’d continue the series if I hadn’t bought the next two books as well at a library sale.
    • Wild Card(Mari Carr) – Started this Sunday morning. Finished it Friday night. Enjoyed it.
    • Causing Havoc(Lori Foster) – Started this Monday morning. Finished it Thursday night. I’ve read her other MMA-inspired books that are basically spin-offs from this one, but I’m just now getting to this original series.
    • When You Got A Good Thing(Kait Nolan) – Started this Tuesday morning. Finished it Tuesday evening. Loved it so much. Think I’m going to love this series as much as I have her Wishful one.
    • The Crown’s Game(Evelyn Skye) – Started this Wednesday morning. Finished it Wednesday night. Wasn’t too sure at first, but I ended up getting really into it. And the end…gah, it just ripped  y heart out. The next book comes out in less than three weeks.
    • Out of Frame(Megan Erickson) – Started this Thursday morning. Finished it Thursday evening. Loved it so much(like the rest of the series, and pretty much everything she’s written). I bought the next book right away.
    • Going Hard(Cari Quinn) – Started this Friday afternoon. Finished it Friday evening. Enjoyed it.
    • On the Edge of Gone(Corrine Duyvis) – Read this Saturday morning. Liked it, but didn’t feel all that drawn in.
    • Dazzle Me(Juliana Haygert) – Read this one Saturday, too. Enjoyed it.

Crafting

  • Knit: Duo Cable Hat – 6 rounds of decrease done, but I ran out of yarn. and still haven’t gotten more.
  • Crochet: Crystal Drops Beanie
  • Loom: Newborn Loom Knit Baby Hat

And an update on how the round is going so far:

Plotting

  • Heart of Christmas(BC Security #3.5) – finish outlining
  • Still Burning(Hunter Family #4/Flames #7(?)) – Outline
  • Jayla’s Story(Gilbert, Co #7) – Outline
  • High on Your Love(Kurztown #6) – Outline

Writing

  • Playing with Fire – finish 1st draft
  • Not Meant to Be – finish 1st draft
  • By the Gun – finish 1st draft(I set this one aside a while ago, but hoping I can pick it back up)
  • Side Projects – add 12000 words between all projects.

Editing

  • Stained Blood – Polish and send back to CP and to beta(if anyone else wants to read, let me know)
  • Snow White Twist – Polish and sent to readers. Hopefully submit before the end of the round
  • Dance with the Devil – Revise and start posting to Wattpad
  • Flames of Renewal – Apply CP edits
  • In the Moonlight – Revise
  • Demons Rising – Revise

Blogging

  • A-Z posts: Draft 13 posts, edit & format 18 posts, post 25 posts
  • Story a Day: Write 31 stories

Reading

  • Listen: 12 books
  • Read: 90 books

Crafting

  • Knit: 3 projects
  • Crochet: 3 projects
  • Loom: 3 projects

And for May Goals:

Plotting

  • Still Burning – finish Outline
  • Jayla’s Story(Gilbert, Co #7) – get through Story Toolkit Supporting Characters

Writing

  • Not Meant to Be – Add 53000 words/28 scenes to finish 1st draft
  • Side Projects – Add 4400 words between all projects

Editing

  • Flames of Renewal – CP Edits
  • In the Moonlight – Transfer from OneNote(on my Surface) to Scrivener(on my laptop)
  • Snow White Twist – Beta edits, rename, & submit
  • Dance with the Devil – read through & make revisions

Blogging

  • Story a Day – Write 31 stories

Reading

  • Listen: 5 books
  • Read: 31 books

Crafting

  • Knit: Duo Cable Hat

A to Z: Z is for Zenith

Last time, we left Cassie and Icarus taking Henry down. And the state police showing up. Now, to what happens next for them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cassie held on to Grady as he rounded another curve on his bike. They’d been back at the clubhouse for nearly a week now. She could hardly believe he’d let go of her at all in that time. They hadn’t discussed much of what had happened. Or what was going to happen next. They’d just held onto each other as much as they could.

The police had only held him for a few hours, until they could sort out everthing that had happened. Cassie was sure her statement had gone a long way to getting Grady released as soon as he was. And the reason Henry was still sitting in a cell, despite his connection to the sheriff. Hopefully he would not be getting out for a long while. If ever again.

Jake and Daniel were sitting in another cell as accomplices. She hoped they wouldn’t be getting out, either. But, when they did, they wouldn’t have jobs in the sheriff’s department any longer. She could at least be thankful for that. Whether the sheriff had known what they were doing or not, he couldn’t very well back them and come out looking very good.

She wrapped her arms a little tighter around Icarus. “You okay back there?” he asked over his shoulder.

“Very okay,” she told him.

She caught the edge of his grin before he looked back toward the road. She hung on to him as they took the final turn to the lookout point they’d gone to almost twenty years ago. She had some rather fond memories of the place.

Grady stopped the bike and she slid off from behind him. By the time she’d removed her helmet, he was off the bike and pulling a blanket and small basket of food out of one of the saddlebags. The cook from the clubhouse had put together some sandwiches and things for them. She grabbed the two bottles of water they’d brought along and joined him where he’d laid out the blanket.

When they finished eating, Cassie leaned back against him, covering the hand he had resting on her stomach. “I was going to quit,” he said.

“What?” She tried to turn toward him, but he held her in place.

“I was going to quit the club. Take you, Birdie and Trace if they wanted, and go find somewhere we could all find peace. Would you want me to do that?”

She couldn’t believe he was asking her that. “Why would you do that? That club is so much of who you are. And I’ve seen the good you do for people. Why would you just give that up?”

“That doesn’t mean anything if I constantly have to worry about who’s going to come after you. You’re what matters to me, Cassie.”

“And you matter to me. I love you, Grady. Whether you’re here with the club or we go somewhere else and you find another way to help people. That’s what you’ve always wanted to do, though. Even before. You can’t give up doing that.”

He hugged her a little tighter to him. “I guess we’ll stay then. All I want right now is to spend the rest of my life with you. That sound good?”

Warmth flooded through her, and she couldn’t tone down her smile. “That sounds perfect to me.”

He turned her toward him and took her mouth in a long kiss before laying her down on the blanket. Later, after watching the sun set, she climbed back on the bike behind him, and they headed back for the clubhouse. To their home. She knew this wasn’t the end. But, she was glad to have every moment she could with him. She wasn’t going to take another one for granted.

~~~~~~~~~

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I enjoyed taking you on it. There’s more in store for these characters. I should be starting to put Devil’s story(Dance with the Devil) up on Wattpad soon(you can read the first 2 stories there as well) and am just starting to write Hawk’s. I’m not sure whose will come after that.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Yard”

Jess walked into her parents’ back yard and looked around. It seemed everyone else was already here. All her brothers were scattered around, their significant others not far from them. Nolan’s two younger stepkids were running around, the oldest sitting near her mother and talking to Jess’ second oldest brother, Kelan.

And she was here all alone. Nothing unusual about that. She’d never thought she’d feel lonely around her family, but that’s exactly how she felt lately. And she was tired of it. She wasn’t going to let herself feel this way anymore. That’s all there was to it.

“Hey, Jess.”

She spun around to see Austin Melnik walking toward her. She barely held back a groan. Just what she didn’t need right now when she’d just made the decision to stop feeling things. Apparently her parents had invited more than family. As more people spilled into the yard, she thought they might have invited both fire departments for the day. Which was pretty much the same thing as family to them.

But, she could barely take her eyes off of Austin. And the pink bundle he carried. How long had he been here if he’d already got his hands on her baby niece. Her mouth went dry at the sight of how comfortable he was with her. “Melnik,” she greeted him, trying to keep her voice neutral.

But, his eyes narrowed, then his lips quirked up. As if he knew exactly what she was doing. Hell, he probably did. It wouldn’t be the first time he called her out on her bullshit. Damn those lips. Even now she wanted to kiss them.

So, she turned away and headed into the middle of her family. They would keep her safe from doing something stupid. Like falling for someone who deserved a lot better than her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use “yard”. I’m still plotting out Still Burning. This will probably take place before it starts or close to the beginning. Jess has quite a bit to work through.

WeWriWa: “Yell at Me”

Welcome back to another visit with the Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop for anyone who likes to write. I’m sharing the final snippet from Dance with the Devil today. The two groups have come to somewhat of a truce, and the Crows have agreed to let Hawk go. So, Devil’s going to free him.

I moved until I was kneeling in front of Hawk. I wanted to kiss him, but I needed to free his hands first. His face was bruised, they probably hadn’t taken him down easily. I sliced the knife through the ties around his wrists, then pulled at the tape around his mouth.

“You damn fool,” Hawk said then he was in my arms.

I heard snorts of disgust from the Crows, but I ignored them as I helped him get to his feet. “Let’s go,” I said. “You can yell at me later.”

There is one more scene after this, basically wrapping everything up. And by the time some of you read this, the final scene for Staring at the Sun may be posted. I’m starting to get Dance with the Devil ready to post on Wattpad then I’ll start putting Staring at the Sun up there too. And I’ll probably start to share from it next week. I’ve started writing Hawk’s story, but don’t have much of it yet.

A to Z: Y is for Your Love

Last time, we left Icarus ready to go and rescue Cassie. And Chief reminding him of priorities. Today we’re back with Cassie. Will she be able to get away? Read on! We’re almost done.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cassie opened her eyes to light streaming through the window Wraith had climbed through the night before. There was no one there now, though, she could feel someone watching from the doorway. Henry, she realized turning her head slightly. Her mouth was dry, and her stomach ached. They hadn’t given her anything to eat or drink since they’d grabbed her. And now her heart sank, knowing Grady still wasn’t here for her.

He was coming. He had to be.

Henry sauntered into the room, and she tried to force her body up into a sitting position. She got herself somewhat braced against the wall, but that was about the best she could do without the use of her hands. “You ready to start begging for that forgiveness yet, Cassandra?”

“I don’t need your forgiveness, Henry. You should be the one asking for it. You took advantage of a scared young girl who found herself pregnant and no way to get in touch with the father. And you held it against me every day. My trust in you, what I thought might be love. You used it to hurt me. And to hurt my son. No, I won’t ever ask you for forgiveness, Henry. And I’ll never give you mine.”

He was in front of her in two strides. His hand shot out and her head bounced off the wall from the slap. “Do not ever speak to me like that again, Cassandra. I beat it out of you once. I’ll do it again. Don’t doubt it.”

“Oh, I never have,” she said, wiping the blood from her mouth on the shoulder of her shirt.

He turned and started to leave the room. But, Cassie heard the roar of engines down the street and propped herself up on her elbows. That had to be Icarus. If it wasn’t, she didn’t know what she’d do. Henry had apparently heard it too. He sent a glare over his shoulder at her. “I’ll take care of that. Once he’s gone, you won’t have any other option but to apologize and accept what I offer you.”

“Never,” she spit at him.

“You’ll see,” he said and started out of the room.

No, she wouldn’t. She knew taking care of it didn’t mean sending Grady on his way. He would never go without her. Not again. Which meant Henry likely planned to kill him or smehow have him arrested. No. She couldn’t let that happen.

Cassie rolled onto her side and twisted her wrist around. She could feel it slicked with blood. The ties had already dug into her skin. And she felt it catch. She couldn’t just give up, though. Grady wouldn’t give up on her. Cassie bit her lip as pain seared through her hands, but then one of them was sliding out. She let the ring fall away from her wrist and and pushed herself up on the mattress.

There wasn’t anything but the mattress in the room. Certainly nothing she could use as a weapon to help Icarus. She’d need to find something once she got out there. Henry had left the door unlocked, apparently thinking there was no way she could get free. She stepped out into the hallway, keeping an eye out for anything she could use. She found a heavy canister near the other end of the hallway. She almost dropped it but managed to hold on as she creeped forward.

“Let her go, Kearns.”

“Grady,” she murmured. That was his voice out on the front steps. He had come for her.

Henry just laughed. “You can’t actually think I’ll let you get your filthy hands on her again. She’s mine now, Hartson. You lost. Get used to it.”

“I haven’t lost anything. You will let her go. We have the state police waiting just down the road. If she doesn’t leave with us, it only takes one call, and they’ll be here to take you in on abduction charges and anything else they can find. I imagine they’re already at your house searching it for the drugs Trace told them about.”

Henry didn’t sound nervous when he laughed again. “Like I’m actually going to believe the state police are going to help a gang of outlaws like you.”

“You should. First we aren’t a gang or outlaws. And Eric Parnell still hs contacts in law enforcement. They believe what he tells them. And they’ll believe Cassie when she tells them you’ve held her against her will. Let her go now, and this won’t go so bad for you.”

“He’s right,” Cassie said, stepping forward. “I’ll tell them exactly what you’ve done to me and to Trace, Henry. I imagine you’d be lucky to make it out of prison. Especially if they knew what you’d done to a boy you raised as your son. Add in that you’re a cop, and I doubt you’d have any friends in prison. ”

Grady’s gaze snapped up to hers, and she could see the relief shine in his eyes. Henry jerked around to face her, his mouth falling open. “What are you doing? Put that damn thing down.”

“I will. If you let me go with him now.”

He laughed, and for the first ime it sounded a bit unhinged. “You can’t actually believe that will happen. I’ll never let you go again.”

The canister trembled in her hand but she raised it up. “I won’t stay. No matter what it takes, I will find a way to get away from you.”

“Get away from her, Kearns,” Grady yelled from just outside the door.

He didn’t though. Cassie swung the canister at him, knocking into his arm just as a shot sounded. She could barely hear Grady’s shout over the deafening echo. But, then he was at her side, holding onto her while still aiming his gun at Henry. Henry knelt on the ground, holding one wrist in his other hand. It seemed to be bent at an angle now.

“You’re all right?” Grady asked.

“I am now,” she said. “Your love had me holding on. I knew you wouldn’t let me go.”

“Never again,” he said, pressing a kiss to her mouth just before two state troopers pushed their way into the house.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So what’s next? Do Cassie and Grady get to live happily ever after? One more scene to go.

Fiction Friday: Midas’ Daughter – “Show Around”

I’m back with another scene from Midas’ Daughter. This is a pretty short one, and we’re in James’ head as Calla shows him around.

James followed Calla out into the yard. She’d practically disappeared the day before after that meeting in her father’s office. He was pretty sure he’d seen hurt, and possibly humiliation, flash through her eyes before she’d shut it down. He’d almost wanted to tell her he didn’t want her horse. That wasn’t what had caught his eye out there.
It had been her.
And he wanted her. If it took using her horse to have that happen, he’d be perfectly fine with that. She’d learn to get over it.
Her father had been perfectly clear about that. She was strong-willed, and it would take a firm hand to control her. Just like an unruly horse. In fact, that was almost exactly how her father had described her. A creature that needed to be handled, broken, and trained to do what you wanted.
It troubled him, but he couldn’t put his finger on exactly what part caused that reaction. He wanted a woman like his mother. Who his father had molded into just the woman he wanted. Even if it meant breaking her a little first.
Calla described the buildings they were passing. He didn’t really care. They wouldn’t be living here once they were married. He’d move her into his own place. She’d have to get used to it.
She stopped and spun around on him. “Are you paying any attention to what I’m saying? Or are you just watching my…my butt.”
It was kind of cute how she stammered over saying that. That sweetness would definitely serve her well as his wife. But, there were some things she’d have to get used to doing and saying. They had time for that, though.
“I’m paying attention,” he lied. He reached out and stroked a hand down her hair. “Keep on. You have my total attention.”
She scowled at him, and he wasn’t quite sure he’d pulled off the lie. Then, with a sigh, she turned back around and continued on the tour. But, she no longer said more than a cursory description of whatever they passed.
She hadn’t bought it as well as he had hoped. He’d have to get better at charming her. His father was not going to be happy if he screwed up and let this merger fall through.

I may be taking a break from posting from this for May as I’ll be writing short stories each day for the Story a Day challenge. But, I will pick it back up in June most likely.

A to Z: X is for By eXample

Last time, we left Cassie finding some hope that she’ll be free and safe again soon. Today we’re back with Icarus, who is finding his own hope.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Icarus couldn’t sleep. He’d given up on it around midnight, coming down to the living room instead. A few people had been around, but most of them gave him the space they could obviously tell he needed. He’d poured himself a glass of whiskey then continued to stare at it for the last couple hours. This was how it had strted befre too. The inability to sleep. Using alcohol and drugs to try to numb the pain. Then, Chief had arrested him. He didn’t want to know how far down that dark path he’d have gone if it hadn’t been for that.

He couldn’t do it again. He needed to keep a clear head so he could help bring Cassie home once they knew anything.

He finally set the glass aside when he saw Devil approaching him. “You think that’s better than going off half-cocked when the person you love is taken?” he asked, nodding at the glass.

Icarus shook his head. “No. Just another way of doing the foolish thing. Although your way did see Hawk safe. A lot better than this will for Cassie.”

“Only because you and the other guys were right behind me. And, speaking of Hawk, he and Wraith just got back. Chief is bringing them in here so you don’t miss any of it. He wanted me to clear the room out for now.”

“Then, I guess you’d better get to that.”

Devil gave a quick salute and went to do that. There were a few grumbles, but everyone else left the room. They’d be clued in as soon as they had a plan in place. Icarus had to smile a little despite everything. A big change had gone over Devil in just the last couple months. Ever since he’d stopped denying who he was and who he loved. He was definitely coming into his own, just like Icarus always thought he would.

Chief came in, Hawk and Wraith trailing behind him. Hawk nodded at Icarus, but his gaze didn’t leave Devil. Chief came straight to Icarus. “They found her,” he said.

His gaze shot back to Hawk, but the other man gestured toward Wraith. “He’s the one who talked to her. I wanted to take the guys on guard out and bring her out of there, but I was told I was acting just like my lover boy,” he said with a wink at Devil.

Icarus looked back to Wraith. “You really were able to talk to her?”

He nodded. “They had her alone in a room. I slipped in through the window. She was doing okay. I told her to hang on at least until morning. That we hadn’t abandoned her. That there was no way you wouldn’t come for her. She knows, man. She’ll be waiting for you.”

He took a deep breath then nodded. “Okay. What are we going to do?”

“You,” Chief said, pointing a finger at him, “are going to go up and get some sleep. You’ve always believed in leading by example. So, you need to start doing that. In the morning, you’ll take a few Riders, and you’ll get your woman back. You know what matters, Grady. Protecting the ones you love. That’s the example we lead by here. Justice only comes once that’s secured.”

Icarus drew in another deep breath. “You’re right, Chief. I forgot it a little bit, but you’re right. We get Cassie out of there, then I can worry about making sure he never comes after her again. He doesn’t get to take what I love wthout consequences.”

Chief sighed. “Not exactly what I meant, but close enough. Now, go up and sleep. All of you. We’ll get her back in the morning.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Will they get her back? Will Icarus get his justice?

A to Z: W is for Wraith

Last time we left Icarus ready to go after some vengeance once he gets Cassie back. Today we’re back with Cassie, and she ends up with a visitor.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cassie leaned her head back against the wall, forcing tears back once more. She’d gone along with Jake and Daniel easily enough. Not that she’d call it of her own free will. But, she hadn’t put up a fight. She hadn’t wanted Jake to take it out on Barbie if she’d fought back before they were away from the clubhouse. And as soon as it was out of sight, they’d pulled over, put a cloth around her eyes and tied her hands behind her back with something she figured was only a step away from zip ties. She couldn’t have fought back if she wanted to. And suddenly she had. But, even as she’d tried, one of them had hit her with the side of a fist, if she could guess by the feel of it. It had stunned her long enough for them to climb back into the front and pull onto the road.

She hadn’t even been buckled in, so she bounced around every time they hit a bump. And she swore Jake hit every bump he could as hard as possible. She didn’t have any way to brace herself or even see what was coming. She’d smacked her head on the window several times and the seat in front of her even more often. By the time the car stopped again, her head was throbbing and spinning, and she was sure she was going to be sick.

Neither of the men cared. They yanked her out of the car and shoved her up the walk toward the house. She fell twice, and they just handled her even rougher. Then, they’d left her alone in this room, but they had at least removed the blindfold. She wasn’t sure if she could have taken much more of that. Still she felt like she was going to lose it.

She didn’t have a clue how much time she’d been here. Except night hadn’t quite come yet. Where was Grady? Was he going to come for her? How would he even find her? What had Henry done to him? Told him? What was he going to do to her? When would he get here? Where was she? This wasn’t the house she’d shared with Henry for eighteen years.

All those questions kept circling in her head the longer she was forced to sit here. By the time something happened, she wasn’t sure she’d have any sanity left.

And that was probably their plan.

Cassie gasped as she saw something move in the window. She blinked, sure she had to have imagined it. Maybe this was how losing her mind started. Seeing things that weren’t really there, that couldn’t be there.

But, the face was still there. She blinked again and recognized it. She couldn’t remember his name, but she knew she’d seen him talking to Grady out at the clubhouse. What was it they called him? “Wraith,” she breathed out the name as it came to her.

Then, the window was sliding up, and he somehow made it inside. She didn’t know how. She wasn’t even sure she could have fit through it. “You came,” she said on a sob. “You all came for me.”

He smiled slightly but put a finger over his lips. “Icarus is losing his mind,” he said, his voice barely even a whisper. “There is no way he wouldn’t come for you. But, Hawk and I are only here for surveillance. We had to find where you were before the rest could come. But, they will come. You just have to hold out a little longer.”

“When?”

“Morning most likely. By the time Hawk and I get back and we hammer out a plan. But, we will be back for you.” He went still then pushed to his feet. “Morning,” he said again then nearly slithered out of the window, closing it again behind him.

A light feeling washed through her. She could make it through one night. Then, Grady would be here. He’d take her away from this. She wouldn’t have to suffer through that life again.

Then, she heard footsteps in the hall outside the door, and it nearly drowned out all that hope. “One night,” she whispered. “You can get through just one night.”

But once the door opened, Henry stepped through the room, and she wasn’t so sure about that any more. He sneered at her. “What a man you got for yourself, Cassandra. He hasn’t even tried to come after you.”

She held on to what Wraith had told her. And didn’t let Henry’s words dig in under her skin. Instead she held her head high. “You won’t get away with this. Not this time.”

He laughed. “I aleady have. I told him if anything happens to me, they’ll know just who to throw into the most secure cell possible. He’s not going to risk it. Not for you.”

“I’m not a kid anymore, Henry. I don’t believe every word you say, or that you’re trying to protect me. I believed it once, and you treated me worse than he ever could have. You won’t make me believe it again. He’ll be here. And you’ll be the one going down.”

“You just keep believing that. You’ll figure out the truth eventually. And you’ll come crawling on your knees for my forgiveness.” He paused for a moment, a wicked light coming into his eyes. “I might just grant it. If you beg enough.”

She was going to be sick. Even more so when he told the men, “Put her over on that mattress.”

She threw her body to the side as they came toward her. “No, she yelled. “You’re not putting your hands on me.”

“Don’t worry, sweet Cassandra, I don’t plan to. Like I said, not until you come crawling on your knees to me. But I figured even you would appreciate a soft place to sleep for the night. Tomorrow you can start working on that forgiveness.”

She held her tongue as Henry’s two men lifted her from the floor and dragged her over to the mattress, laughing as they just dropped a thin blanket over her. They didn’t even free her arms. So, she doubted she’d get any sleep anyway. But, that didn’t matter. If Henry did leave her alone, she would be fine. Grady would be here in the morning.

And then she could finally go home. With the only man she’d truly ever loved.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wow, I didn’t think I could hate Henry even more, but I achieved it with this one. Will Wraith come back with the other Riders in time? Why couldn’t hey just take her away now?

Writing Wednesday: Almost the End

…of the month & this WiP!! More on that second one later.

It’s warming up again, so Sunday and Monday I was out picking sticks up in the yard. We still have wood from the tree that came down last year, and about half a tree came down during another storm. So, there are a lot of sticks and other wood out there. I ended up using the wheelbarrow to move it around the house to our wood pile for about 3 hours on Sunday. And about 45 minutes on Monday(I’m totally counting that as my workout for the day).

On Monday I also started blocking out my time differently. I started using the odd hours for writing goals and working on everything else on my list during the even hours. I didn’t get quite everything done on my list, but I had also slept in(yes, 6 is sleeping in for me). And the only thing I really didn’t get done was my reading and crafting goals. So, it was still a good day. Tuesday went even better. I was done with most of the other goals before 9 a.m. Though I still had to carry over some of the reading to today(and 2 of those books were ones I didn’t finish last week. I’m weird about this. I start a new book every day then get caught up on the reading from before, unless I’m so into the book I *have* to finish it before moving on).

Today is Wednesday which means it’s WiPpet Time!! This will probably be the last one I share from Playing with Fire, at least for now. Today I have 10 paragraphs(4+2-6+2+0+1+7) of Silas talking to his younger sisters. And still denying what could be between him, Corrin & Silas.

His sisters practically ambushed him as he left the kitchen, though. He put Hadley in a light headlock. “Happy birthday, brat,” he said, planting a kiss on the end of her nose.
She shoved him away with a smile. “I’m not a kid anymore, Si.”
“I know. A whole fifteen years old. About time to send you to the nursing home.”
Shelby didn’t break a smile, though. “Why’d she come with Jeremiah?” she asked with little hesitation. “I thought he was your boyfriend.”
Silas dropped his arms to his sides. “What are you talking about, Shel? Jer’s never been my boyfriend. We’re just friends.”
She rolled her eyes. You could hardly tell she’d be eighteen in another six months. “You don’t actually expect us to believe that, do you? You’ve been in love with him since you were fifteen.”
“And how would you know? You were all of ten then.”
“I’m not stupid,” she said, rolling her eyes. “She’s going to ruin everything for you.”
“There’s nothing to ruin,” he said sharply. “And don’t talk about her like that. She’s a good person, and she’s had a rough time lately. They’re both just friends.”
And he strode away to go find those friends before his sisters could try to dig any deeper into his feelings.

Yep, just friends. Suuuuuuure. 😉

Plotting

  • Heart of Christmas – finish Story Toolkit, Outline in scrivener
  • Still BurningBrainstorm, Character back stories, plot summary, through Story Toolkit: Romance Arc –  Finished the protagonist sheets for both characters& the sheet for the antagonist. 6/22 sections for the Toolkit. And I wrote another Stream of Consciousness post for this.

Writing

  • Playing with Fire – Add 73000 words/66 scenes(some of these include bits from my Just Jot It posts in January, they may be fleshed out to scenes of their own or merged into other scenes, but I’m counting them all for right now). – 50998 words/66 finished scenes for the month, 8554 words/11 scenes this week. I still have at least 7 scenes to finish, so it will definitely end up with more than 66 scenes, but probably not 73000 words for the month.
  • Side Projects – add 4000 words between all projects. – 4571/4000 words for the month, 806 words this week.
    • Preggers – 264 words – But, she did go in, her gaze scanning until she found Marika again. She was smiling at another woman who had a hand resting on a rather large baby bump. Something moved through Lyndi at that. She wasn’t sure if it was the sight of what her future held for her, or that smile on Marika’s face. One a part of her wished was aimed her way.
    • Dougal & Shae – 114 words – Maybe if he figured that out, he’d be able to stop obsessing about it. And her. And maybe not, he thought as he saw the man walking toward the bar. *What could Shae’s brother want with him now? 😉
    • Hang On – 102 words – It bothered me probably more than it should. And definitely more than I’d ever admit. Especially to him. 
    • Tavin & Haiwee  – 115 words – And from the rough sounds from down below, not treating the horse in the best way. It wasn’t anything unusual. And like every time he saw it, Tavin wanted to thrash the lad the way he did the horse.
    • Mason & Lila – 211 words – Mason knew the truth without Brian saying anything. His father hadn’t allowed his mother to give Brian money, or he’d spent it all on alcohol over the weekend. Either way, his friend didn’t have it now. Mason took the cup of fruit from his tray and set it in front of Brian along with his spoon without a word. It wasn’t much, but he knew Brian wouldn’t accept more. *I already knew how bad Brian’s past was, and I still want to give him a big hug, and maybe a good meal.

Editing

  • Stained Blood Adjust chapters(some are really long after adding new scenes in), double-check for missing details, 50 search & destroy items, send to readers –  42/50 search & destroy items(cut 1136 words).
  • Snow White Twistrename, polish 48 search & destroy items, send to readers –If anyone else is interested in reading a f/f snow white retelling and offering feedback, I’ll send it to you, too. I’ve already gotten it back from one of the beta readers and started going through the notes.
  • Flames of Renewal – CP Edits once I get it back – Talked to CP on Sunday. She said she should have this to me this week.
  • In the Moonlight – transfer from One Note to Scrivener(on two different computers)
  • Beta Read: I figured this was the best place to put this. I’ve read 6/73 chapters

Blogging

  • A-Z posts: Draft 13 posts 13/13 finished. 9500 words.
  • A-Z posts: Edit 18 posts – 18/18 – All posts are scheduled to go up now!
  • A-Z posts: Post 25 posts – 21/25 posted. You can find links to all current ones on my theme reveal post(I’m updating as they go live)

Reading

  • Listen: 5 books – 6/5,  2 this week
    • Emperor’s Edge(Lindsay Buroker) – I’ve actually read all these books, but I’ve been wanting to do a re-read, so I decided to start getting them in audio(which are only $1.99 since I have the ebooks). I’ll listen to these when I finish my other audiobook for the week. Loved it as much as the times I’ve read it.
    • Tracks of Her Tears(Melinda Leigh) – started this Monday morning. Finished it Monday afternoon. It was a short one(part of a series of novellas). Really enjoyed it.
    • Dark Currents(Lindsay Buroker) – Started this Tuesday morning. This is the second book in the Emperor’s Edge series. I’m on Chapter 3.
  • Read: 30 books – 22/30,  1 this week
    • Hammer of the Gods(Christina Ochs) – this is book 3 in her Desolate Empire series. I got the boxed set, but I’ve already read the first 2 separately, so I jumped right to this one on my phone. I’ll read it in the between moments. I’m on Chapter 104/166(If I counted right. The chapters are labeled with POV characters’ names instead of numbers).
    • A Rogue by Any Other Name(Sarah MacLean) – Started this last Tuesday afternoon. On page 198/386.
    • Wild Card(Mari Carr) – Started this Sunday morning. At 34%
    • Causing Havoc(Lori Foster) – Started this Monday morning. On page 161/342. I’ve read her other MMA-inspired books that are basically spin-offs from this one, but I’m just now getting to this original series.
    • When You Got A Good Thing(Kait Nolan) – Started this Tuesday morning. Finished it Tuesday evening. Loved it so much. Think I’m going to love this series as much as I have her Wishful one.
    • The Crown’s Game(Evelyn Skye) – Started this Wednesday morning. Only at 6% so far.

Crafting

  • Knit: Duo Cable Hat – 6 rounds of decrease done, but I ran out of yarn. and still haven’t gotten more.
  • Crochet: Crystal Drops Beanie
  • Loom: Newborn Loom Knit Baby Hat

A to Z: V is for Vengeance

Last time, we left Icarus understanding exactly what had happened to Cassie. Today, we’re sticking with Icarus as he has to decide what to do next.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Icarus walked down the stairs, feeling about twice his true age. He hadn’t been able to clear his head. But, he knew he couldn’t waste a lot of time wallowing in his guilt and fear. They had to get Cassie back, and burying his head wouldn’t help accomplish that.

Birdie waited for him at the bottom of the stairs, and he could see the concern pinching her face. She was too young to be looking at him like that. It should be the other way around. “Where’s Trace?” he asked in an attempt to get the attention off him. The two of them were usually attached at the hip when they were at the clubhouse.

“Chief wanted to talk to him. About what happened when you were there. I don’t need to be told when I shouldn’t be litening in. It’s club business.” He studied her face, but other than gnwing at her lip, she didn’t show any sign of that being a problem. Still he had to be sure. If he did decide to quit, he wanted to know whether she’d feel she needed to stay or not.

“Are you okay with that?” he asked.

She shrugged one shoulder. “It is what it is. I’m more concerned with the bruise on his cheek, and the fact he winced when I hugged him.”

In the chaos of realizing Cassie had been taken, he’d almost forgotten about Trace falling. “He had the wind knocked out of him. I don’t think it was much worse than that.”

“It’s bad enough. I can’t believe that fucker put his hands on him again.”

Icarus’ lips twitched up at that. That was his girl, fiery to the last. “Never change,” he murmured, putting an arm around her shoulders.

“I don’t plan to,” she said, kissing his cheek. “I’m going to wait for Trace up in my room. You’ll get her back, Dad. I know you’ll do everything to make sure that happens.”

“I can’t let her go again,” he said. “Especially when she didn’t want to go this time either. And this time there’s more I can do about it.”

Birdie gave him another hug then went up the stairs and disappeared into her room. He felt a little steadier as he headed out of the house and saw Trace leaving Chief’s side. Before he reached him, the president called two of the other lingering men to him. Wraith and Hawk. He didn’t hear what Chief told them, but they both nodded and headed back for their bikes. He could imagine what orders Chief had given them, as they both had a strength with surveillance. And Wraith had always seemed to have an uncanny ability in finding people. Even more so than Hawk. They’d make a good team for this.

Icarus just wished he was going along. He wouldn’t be leaving without Cassie if they found where she was being kept, though. And he was sure Chief didn’t think that was the best way to go about it. He just wanted to get her back.

“Chief,” Icarus said, coming up beside him, “I’m sorry for earlier.”

“You have nothing to apologize for.”

“I lost it a bit.”

The older man let out a sound halfway between a snort and a laugh. “If that was you losing it, I’d like to have you at my side in a crisis. The woman you love was taken from you. I get it. I’ve never told you about Eric’s mother, but trust me when I say I get it. And I wasn’t able to get her back. Are you feeling better now at least?”

Icarus had never known much about Bull’s mother, except that she’d died when he was younger. But, even Chief’s vague explanation told him quite a bit. He didn’t really need to know more. And he stll had to answer Chief’s question. “Better? No. But, my head’s a little straighter.”

“Good. That’s all I can ask rght now.”

“You’re not going to keep me out of this. I’m going to get my vengeance, sir. You won’t keep me from that.”

“We’ve never been about vengeance, Grady.” Icarus knew the older man meant business when he used his real name. “It’s always been justice. That’s not going to change now.”

“And sometimes those are one and the same.”

“Sometimes,” Chief agreed. “Just make sure this is one of them before you take a step you’ll end up regretting.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Will Chief try to keep him out of it? Will Icarus get his vengeance? Or will he end up regretting his next step?

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