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Archive for May, 2017

Story a Day: Day 31 – “Your Book”

Silas kept the bag clutched under his arm as he opened the door and stepped inside. “Honeys, I’m home,” he called out.

He heard a soft giggle from the kitchen and headed that way. They’d traded the apartment him and Jeremiah had shared the last several years for one with a bigger master bedroom and a small bedroom Corrin had turned into an office. There was no need for separate bedrooms when the three of them spent most nights in the same bed.

Silas stepped into the kitchen and saw Corrin leaning back against the counter, Jeremiah pressed right up to her, his hands under her shirt. Nope, never mind. The shirt was gone now, tossed back behind him.

“You two couldn’t wait, huh?” he asked, placing the bag on the table and stepping up behind Jeremiah. “Didn’t think I might want to join the party.”

Corrin smiled at him, just shy of a grin. “Nothing’s stopping you now, is it?”

He buried his mouth against the back of Jeremiah’s neck, smothering his own grin. She was in a saucy mood today. He loved it.

Corrin reached around Jeremiah, her hand sliding over Silas’ hip. He grasped it and squeezed gently. He was pressed close enough to Jeremiah to feel his groan when both their mouths were on his skin.

Silas released Corrin’s hands and slid his under Jeremiah’s shirt. “Not fair for Corrin to be the only one without clothes,” he said as he pulled it over the man’s head.

“I vote we all lose them,” Corrin said.

Silas laughed and winked at her. “It’s like we share a brain or something. I knew there was a reason I liked you.”

“Then maybe we should take this out of the kitchen,” Jeremiah suggested, his voice roughened. The sound sent a warm shiver down Silas’ spine.

Silas stepped back and waited for his two lovers to join him. But, as they headed for the bedroom, Corrin froze. “What’d you get at the bookstore?” she asked.

“Oh, right,” he said. “I was going to show you that. Shelby wanted me to see if they had a book she’s been looking for, and I saw that while I was there. I wasn’t sure they’d carry it, but there were actually two copies. I bought one of them.”

Obviously, he thought. Idiot. He didn’t even know why he was nervous. He wasn’t the one who had written the book. But, he didn’t know what Corrin would think about him buying a copy.

“They didn’t,” she said, and he wasn’t sure if she was excited or anxious. Then, she was tearing into the bag and pulling the book out. She let out a laugh, that had maybe a slight tinge of hysteria to it. “I can’t believe this. I mean, I already have my copy of it, but I never thought a store around here would carry it.” She grinned as she looked down at the book cover, the name ‘Corrin Riley’ printed right under the title.

He glanced over at Jeremiah and saw a grin on his face, too. He wondered if Corrin knew how proud they were of her. She flipped through the book, seeming to revel in the feel of the pages against her hand. She stopped at one of the last pages. She let out another little laugh then read “Corrin Riley resides with her boyfriends…I still can’t get over that they did include the plural form.”

“You did say this publisher was inclusive. Our living situation shouldn’t be that big a deal,” Jeremiah said.

She smiled. “True. Otherwise they might not have accepted my genderqueer fairies in a poly relationship story. But, that’s fiction.”

“And our life isn’t,” Silas said. “And they respect that.” He took the book from her and set it back on the table. “Now, I believe we were in the middle of something.”

She laughed and leaned in to press her lips to his. Jeremiah wrapped his arms around her waist from behind her, his fingers brushing over Silas’ belt. “I do so love being in the middle of you two,” she said.

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

Last day of Story a Day and today’s prompt was to write about a writer. These characters are from a novel I drafted earlier in the year. A little something of a “after the happy ever after” moment. 🙂

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Writing Wednesday: End of May

It’s been a pretty good week so far. Sunday, my MIL came out to the house to watch the kids and the husband and I got on the motorcycle and went for our first ride of the season. It was nice to finally get out. We got hit with a few raindrops when we were almost home, but we mostly beat the rain. We’d planned to have a fire out in the yard that night, but all the wood we have was wet and it started thundering again while husband was trying to get it going. So we had to cancel that. Maybe next weekend.

Monday I thought would be a lazy day. But, we ended up going to a friend’s so husband could help cut down a tree. Then, we had to haul some mattresses around for some family members of his(I won’t get into all the drama surrounding that). We did get some free, fresh eggs out of that, though. And then we went and got ice cream for dinner. I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but I did get some.

Yesterday was back to the normal routine. At least for the next week. Then, the kids will be home for the summer, and I’ll have to see what my routine looks like. It may not be too different since they can pretty play outside by themselves(I do check on them periodically, but they don’t need me out there constantly).

Now, since it is Wednesday, it’s time to share another snippet for WiPPet Wednesday!! Today I’m working on Heart of Christmas, a novella in my BC Security series. I still don’t have a lot for this one(less than 1k so far), but I can share a little bit. This is from the very first scene.  26 sentences(31-5) for today. Alaina is walking with her cousin, Sean. They’re on his family’s farm. And her brother, Declan, you may have met in snippets of Protecting the Heart. He’ll be showing up a little later.

He’d made it pretty clear that he didn’t ever think about her. Avoiding eye contact, barely responding to her greetings and other efforts to converse with him. Yeah, it was obvious, so why couldn’t she just give up?
Too stubborn for anyone’s own good as her brother, Declan, would likely say.
Sean squeezed her shoulders as if he knew where her thoughts had gone. But how could he? It’s not like she’d ever admitted any of these feelings to anyone. That was just a way to be humiliated. She learned that lesson a long time ago. Thanks to her stepfather, when he’d abandoned her after driving her mother…she quickly cut that thought off. No need to bring herself down now.
“Those Dougherty boys,” Sean murmured, and she jerked her gaze to his.
Sean’s smile remained soft, but she cleared her throat. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He didn’t laugh this time, but she was pretty sure she could hear it in his voice when he said, “It took me a while to convince Braeden it was okay to love me, too. And Caelen has more standing in his way than Brae ever did.”
“I still don’t know what you’re talking about.” But her chest ached at the insinuation to a past she wasn’t aware of.
Sean’s lips curled up even more. “I think you do. But, I won’t pester you about it anymore. Mom will question what’s kept us from her table for so long.”
“Leave your mother alone,” Alaina said, a laugh in her voice. “She’s a saint for putting up with you for so long.”
He brushed his lips over her temple, and the gesture nearly brought tears to her eyes. “I know it,” he murmured.

Plotting

  • Still Burning finish Story Toolkit, Outline
  • Jayla & Carisa(Gilbert, Co #7) brainstorm, character back stories, plot summaryget through Story Toolkit: Supporting Characters – This is going onto the backburner for the moment. I’ll pick it back up once I finish Not Meant to Be.
  • High on Your Love(Kurztown #6) – brainstorm, character back stories, plot summary, Story Toolkit, Outline. – Finished writing Morgan’s back story, still need to type it up.

Writing

  • Not Meant to Be – Add 53000 words/28 scenes to finish 1st draft – 20681 words/23 scenes finished this month,
  • Still Burning(Hunter Family #4) – Write 70000 words/61 scenes – 1397 words/1 scene finished
  • Heart of Christmas(BC Security #3.5) – Write 30000 words/42 scenes – 935 words/1 scene finished, 190 words this week.
  • By the Gun – Write 50000 words/22 scenes to finish part/book 1(haven’t decided if I’ll write the book in 3 parts or make it 3 different books. Likely will decide when I finish the first part). – 3247 words/4 scenes, 2225 words/2 scenes this week
    • Diego was right, Luke knew. But, he’d always hoped the boy would lose sight of his vow for vengeance. That he would find something more fulfilling to life, as Luke had. If he was right about who he’d seen out there today, it was obvious that hadn’t happened. And that it never would.
  • Side Projects Add 4400 words between all projects – 12496/4400 words, 960 words this week
    • Patrick & Sarah – 219 words – He had to shake that thought off, too, or he might just find himself turning around and riding back to the farm. But, then he certainly would never have a chance with Sarah. And he really wanted to have that chance. Even if it never came to more than that. 
    • Dougal & Shae – 210 words – “Really? What do you plan to do? Drag your little sister out to a bar? Sure and she’d likely kick your arse for that, too.”“Oh, yes, she would,” he said, the grin not fading from his face. “But, that wasn’t my plan anyway. I came to extend an invitation to my parents’ place this weekend.”
    • Roman – 325 words – That would make this an even more precise job he’d have to do. And he wasn’t sure he could do that. The questions he’d planned to ask would likely tip Carlos right over the edge he was already walking. But, he didn’t see any way around it. Even if not for his case, he needed to know so they could help Tereza move on from the way she’d been living.
    • Midas’ Daughter – 206 words – If it was up to her, she’d just cancel the party. She hadn’t wanted it in the first place. But, she knew that wasn’t possible. Her father would never let her get away with it.

Editing

  • Flames of Renewal – CP Edits
  • In the Moonlight – Transfer from OneNote(on my Surface) to Scrivener(on my laptop) – 27 chapters(there’s actually 32, counting the epilogue, but I’d already started it before) – 27/27 chapters typed up.
  • Stained Blood – Adding this in as I’m starting to get chapters back from beta: Compile comments – 1/26 chapters. Got an email back from CP on this. No comments in the document for this version, but a lot of good things in the email.
  • Snow White Twist – Beta edits, rename, & submitcompiled notes from 1 beta reader to the main document. Still waiting to hear from other beta reader. Have a potential title for it as well. Still simmering on that, though.
  • Dance with the Devilread through, make revisions, & polish –  Polished 4/10 chapters.
  • Beta Read Read 58 chapters(total of 73, but that’s what I have left) & return to author

Blogging

  • Story a Day – Write 31 stories – 30/31 stories written, 3 this week. Still waiting for the final prompt.
    • Meeting Jonas – Isaac meets Jonas for first time. Warning for mention of child abuse & self-harm.
    • Memorial Day – Toby visits the cemetery to honor those who have been lost.
    • Your Call – Some back story to By the Gun. What will Luke do when there’s trouble immediately following Arcelia agreeing to marry him?

Reading

  • Listen: 5 books – 6/5 for the month,  this week
    • The Immortal Irishman(Timothy Egan) – I don’t read or listen to much non-fiction. But this one was the daily deal back on St. Patrick’s day and it combines two of my interests, Irish history and the Civil War. On Chapter 17/24. I’m really enjoying it and it’s inspiring me to pick up a story I wrote years ago and have replotted that takes place in the same time period.
    • Heartless(Gail Carriger) – Started this Monday morning. On Chapter 5/16
  • Read: 31 books – 30.5/31, 2 this week
    • Death at Peony House(Krista Walsh) – I started this Sunday afternoon. At 46%. This was still in my Unlimited folder, though I think the series is out of KU now. So this will be my “extra” book for now. Really enjoying it(so good incentive to finish my other books for the week and get back to it).
    • The Star-Touched Queen(Roshani Chokshi) – Started this Monday morning. Finished it Tuesday afternoon. Absolutely lovely.
    • A Copper Ridge Christmas(Maisey Yates) – Started this Tuesday morning. Finished it Tuesday afternoon. It was a quick, enjoyable read.
    • By the Hour(Roni Loren) – Started this Tuesday evening. At 18%

Crafting

  • Knit: Duo Cable Hat – Finished this Tuesday night. Now, putting the yarn away until at least September.

It was a pretty good month overall. Over 40,000 words written and crossed a few things off, though it seems I added even more. Hoping next month will be good as well.

Story a Day: Day 30 – “Your Call”

“Yes, Lucas, I will marry you.”

Lucas brought Arcelia’s hand to his lips, pressing them softly to her skin. Then, he rose back to his feet and drew her to her feet. He found he did not want to let her go. Not yet, maybe not ever. But, he needed to. He’d already informed her parents and older brother of his intentions. Now to tell them she had accepted.

They’d always accepted him and as more than just another ranch hand. They hadn’t denied his request to ask for her hand, even though he imagined they’d have someone else in mind for her. Another Mexican rancher perhaps. Not the son of Irish immigrants who had fled before they’d starved. But, they’d left it up to her to choose. And she had chosen him.

He finally released her and stepped back. But, she grabbed onto his hand again. Maybe she did not want to let him go yet either. Well, they could go spread the news together.

But, as they headed out of the parlor, there was a commotion near the front door. Lucas moved so Arcelia was behind him. He didn’t know just what was going on, but he’d protect her from whatever it was.

Then, he recognized the voice that shouted, “You cannot just keep me from seeing her.”

“Varick,” he muttered. That man had become such a thorn in his side. He knew Arcelia had tried to gently turn him away. But, the man never stayed gone.

“I do not wish to see him,” she said.

Without looking back, he reached for her hand and squeezed it. “Then, I will make sure he leaves. Just wait here.”

He stepped away from Arcelia and moved toward the front door. Both Diego and his father blocked the entrance to the house. He put a hand on Diego’s arm, and he shifted so Lucas could step through.

“I think it’s been made clear that you are not welcome here,” he told Varick.

The man sneered at him. “It is not your home. You only work here. You cannot tell me to go or stay. If Arcelia wants to see me-”

“She doesn’t,” Lucas informed him.

“That is not your call to make.”

“You are right. It’s not. It is Arcelia’s, and she has said she does not wish to see you. Right after she agreed to marry me.”

The other man’s body went rigid at that, his face turning dark as thunderclouds seemed to build in his eyes. “She did not. She is mine.”

“That is not the choice she made,” Lucas said, keeping his voice calm even as everything in him wanted to throw him at Varick and put a final stop to this.

“She will. Once you are dead, she will come right to me.”

Lucas rested a hand on the butt of one of his pistols. Even when going courting, he couldn’t risk leaving them behind. Not when Varick was in town. Or when someone else would decide to call him out and try to take his name as a gunfighter. It was a name he’d never wanted, but he had it now and couldn’t just get rid of it.

“That will not happen, Mr. Steinwehr,” Arcelia said from behind him, nearly making his heart stop. She should have stayed back where it was safe. But, she continued speaking and moving up beside him. “I have already asked you to leave me be. I would ask it again and for you to remain gone this time.”

“You will regret this,” Varick said, his eyes still burning like an icy fire. “I swear it.”

Lucas stood there until Varick had turned and walked away. He knew this wasn’t over. That man wouldn’t let it be until he had what he wanted. Diego swung the door shut then turned to him.

“You must go,” he said. “It won’t be safe for the two of you here any longer.”

“I won’t leave Arcelia behind. We’re getting married. Once that is done, we can find a place of our own. Somewhere she will be safe. Until then, I will not run.”

“I would not put it past that man to shoot you in the back rather than face you. Would you leave my sister with that grief?”

“I can’t just go,” he said, his voice raw. “I can’t leave her behind.”

Diego glanced at his parents then Arcelia, and getting nods from them as if they understood what he was thinking, he looked back to Lucas. “Then, you’ll marry now and take her with you. I’d rather my sister be away with you than dead or in his hands.”

Lucas looked over at Arcelia. “This is what you want?” he asked.

She reached out and took his hand. “I want to live a life with you. That is all. If this is the way it must be done, then it makes me happy.”

Lucas’ face softened and his shoulders dropped. he studied her face, making sure what she said was true. he could see no sign of her lying, though. So he nodded and turned to Diego. “Call for the priest then. We’ll have it done.”

He still didn’t like the idea of running from a problem. But, if it meant keeping Arcelia safe, that was just what he would do. he only hoped the trouble wouldn’t follow him to wherever they chose to make their new life.

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

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write a story with the Hansel and Gretel structure, with the life-changing moment at the beginning and everything following from that. This is some back story for a western I’m working on. It’s actually one I wrote years ago(I don’t think I have that version any longer & it’s probably just as well) and have recently re-plotted. I’ve had some trouble with it, but hoping it’s finally coming together for me.

Teaser Tuesday: In the Moonlight –

This will probably be the last teaser I share from In the Moonlight, at least for a little while. I’m currently typing up the last chapter and then I just have the epilogue left. So, I should be done with that this week, maybe even before the end of the month. For today, I have a bit from what I’ve been typing up this morning. Warning: There are spoilers in here, so if you don’t want to know who the bad guy is or what the end might look like, you may not want to read on(and of course, this is still a very rough draft, so things may change).

Nola squeezed my hand then once against stepped in front of m. What was she doing? She was not going to sacrifice herself for me. Not like Charlotte had done for Josephine. I hadn’t realized that’s what had happened until the thought went through my head. Almost like it had been put there.
I was not going to let that happen. Not to her. Not when things finally seemed to be going okay. I didn’t know how this could be happening. “You need to go,” I told him as I stepped up beside her again. From the corner of my eye, I could see her mouth turn up. Yeah, I thought we were on the same page. We’d do this as partners. That’s how we’d do everything from now on. I turned my attention back on Foss. “You aren’t welcome here. If you don’t turn around and walk right back out of here, I’ll call the police to see that you’re taken out.”
His sneer turned to more of a smirk. “They’ll never get here in time. And then this place will finally belong to my family. Like it should have all those years ago. If Josephine would have married my great-great-great grandfather like she was supposed to. He would have done it even after she’d betrayed him with that servant girl. All he needed was for her to produce an heir. Instead she tried to run off before he could accomplish that.”
“From what I’ve gathered, her managing to sleep with him would have been the accomplishment.”
That was the wrong this to say with a possibly deranged man with a gun standing in front of me. And I knew it as soon as his face hardened. He started to lift the gun. “You’re as bad as she was. You can’t just give me what I want, can you? This house should be mine! If she hadn’t betrayed him, it would have. My great-great grandfather would have been the heir to both families’ fortunes and her brother wouldn’t have felt forced to take on that whore and pass her son off as the heir. This should all be mine.” He took a step closer. “Even your father agrees with me.”
Those words were worse than the sight of the gun. I stumbled back a step. “He did send you here,” I finally managed to say. “I knew you were lying.”
“I didn’t lie,” he insisted. “Not that first time. But, when I realized there was strain there, I figured I could use it to my advantage. He’s willing to sign the house over to me. All I have to do is get you to go home where you belong.”
I laughed. Again, probably not the best thing to do in the face of a deranged man with a gun. Nola whispered my name, I could hear her fear in her voice. I had to find a way to get us out of this mess, or we might find both our bodies at the bottom of the stairs.
“You know, I said, trying to keep my voice as calm as possible, “You won’t get away with it like your ancestor did. We have things like DNA and ballistics that they didn’t have back in that time. You won’t have this house, because you’ll be sitting in a prison cell the rest of you life for double murder.”
The sneer had come back, and even my words didn’t make it leave his face. “Not when they think it’s a murder-suicide.”
“That’s never going to happen.”

Story a Day: Day 29 – Memorial Day

Toby stepped out of his car, leaning back in to grab the bag off the passenger seat. He locked the car and walked deeper into the cemetery. This had become routine. Not just today. He came here at least three times a year, to lay flowers on Edward’s grave.

Marrying Toby’s mom hadn’t meant Edward had to take him on as well. He could have just been a stepfather, but he’d been so much more than that. He’d saved Toby, and he wasn’t sure he’d ever thanked the man while he was living for doing that.

It wasn’t the main reason he was here today, but still he knelt in front of Edward’s grave and set the vase he’d brought long against the base of the headstone. “Thank you,” he said softly. “Not just for your service to this country, but for taking on a punk kid like me. You taught me everything I know about honor, integrity, and duty. I’m not sure I ever said thank you for making me the man I am. If I didn’t, I’m sorry.”

He stood there in silence for a moment then stepped back and retrieved his bag. He had a few other stones to visit. He headed toward a section of the cemetery where he knew too many of the people who were buried. As he approached, he saw another figure kneeling in front of one of the stones. It took him only another moment to recognize the man. he was a little surprised to see Patrick here. Maybe he shouldn’t be. The man was a veteran, too, and would likely want to honor those who had fallen just as Toby did. But, if he was visiting graves, he’d thought he’d do it back in New Mexico where he’d moved from recently.

He saw which grave he was kneeling before and took another step forward. He would have left the man alone, but it was one of the ones he’d come to visit anyway. “I served with him,” he said, taking another step toward the man and the grave.

Patrick looked up at him, and Toby had the feeling the other man had known he was there. “I went to school with him. He was a year ahead of me, but he was still a good friend. His parents moved up here right after he graduated. I heard about his death just as I was being deployed the first time.”

Toby could still remember that day. He didn’t think he’d ever forget. He’d lost many friends in one single ambush. “He was a good man,” Toby said, setting one of the small wreaths he carried against the stone.

“Yes,” Patrick said, “he always was.”

They started walking off together, and Toby glanced over at Patrick. “I figured you’d be going home for the holiday.”

Patrick glanced back at him and smiled a little. “This is home now. But, I get what you mean. I’ve said good-bye to the ones I’ve lost enough times. And the doctor put Kellie on bedrest. I didn’t want to leave town and leave her alone.”

Toby had heard Kellie was pregnant but not that she was having any issues. He needed to get out of his head and back to his friends. Especially those who were still living.

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

For today’s Story a Day, I went with a story specifically written for Memorial Day.

Story a Day: Day 28 – Meeting Jonas

Warning: Mentions of child abuse & self-harm in this one.

Isaac shut off his alarm a minute before it would have sounded and slipped out of bed. He crept to the door and pulled it open enough he could listen for a moment. No sound came from the kitchen or living room. Or from his father’s bedroom down the other direction.

Good. The older man must still be sleeping after getting home from work. It was one thing Isaac liked about his father working this shift. If he could stay in the park most of the day, he only had to see his father for a few minutes before he left for work and he was still sleeping when Isaac slipped out of the house for the day.

After taking a shower and slipping into a shirt and pants, Isaac slid his bracelets onto his wrists, three on one hand, two on the other. The tips of his fingers brushed over the marks there, old scars, and he shivered a little. he pushed that feeling away, grabbed the small pack resting near his bedroom door, and headed out into the living room.

He stopped in the kitchen long enough to grab two granola bars, his breakfast and lunch, and head for the front door. Just as he reached it, his arm was yanked back. He barely kept from crying out and turned to look at his father. “I thought you were still sleeping.”

“So you thought you could just sneak out? I don’t think so.”

“I wasn’t sneaking,” Isaac said and instantly regretted it as his father’s grip on his arm tightened.

“Are you talking back to me, boy?”

“No, sir,” Isaac said, dropping his gaze to the floor. In these moments it was the only safe response.

And sometimes even that wasn’t enough.

***

Isaac snatched up his pack and walked as silently as he could down the hallway. He didn’t bother stopping in the kitchen today. He hadn’t taken a shower this morning either. Nothing that would risk waking his father before he got out of the house.

He had to get out today. The scars under his bracelets itched. He’d been so close to adding new ones the day before. He wasn’t completely sure what had stayed his hand. But, if he had to stay in this house another day with his father berating him, he wasn’t sure he’d make it.

He grabbed his shoes from beside the door, unlocked it, and stepped outside. He slipped on his shoes on the porch then hurried down the sidewalk. He glanced back once over his shoulder but the house remained dark and quiet. Good. It looked like he’d make it today.

He started to jog toward the park, but pain throbbed through his elbow, so he took it down to a quick walk, keeping his arm against his side. When he got to the park, it was still fairly quiet. There were some younger kids climbing on the playground equipment. He assumed it was their mother watching from a bench. He turned and headed away from that area, though, choosing a picnic table where he could see without being noticed too much.

He took a sketchpad out of his pack then drew out a couple pencils as well. He found a clean page in the book and put the tip of one pencil to it. He didn’t know how long he let his hand move over the page, sketching out the scene in front of him, shading in as he went. He’d put actual color to it later.

“Wow. That’s really good.”

Isaac’s hand jerked at the voice, the pencil scratching a line where he hadn’t meant for one. “Damn it,” he muttered, reaching for the eraser.

“Sorry,” the voice slightly behind him said. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I was just really impressed.”

Isaac finally put the eraser down. The line was faded even if not completely gone. A lot like his own scars. He turned to face the person who had come up behind him. And for a moment thought he lost all ability to speak himself.

The boy was beautiful. His skin was a light brown, not tanned but probably a sign of his Hispanic heritage. His eyes were dark, too, a dark, bitter chocolate. Isaac’s favorite kind, that his mother used to surprise him with when she could. His hair was nearly black, some of it falling into his face. Isaac’s fingers itched with the urge to turn the page and start sketching him. Then, the boy smiled, and it only made his face even more perfect.

“My name’s Jonas Pedera,” the kid said. “I think I’ve seen you around school. Aren’t you glad to be out for the summer?”

“Isaac Pollins,” he mumbled, not reaching for the kid’s outstretched hand. Isaac couldn’t believe Jonas actually recognized him. He did his best to blend into the background. He’d learned at an early age it was better to not be seen.

And Isaac doubted Jonas would believe the answer to his question. They’d only been out of school a little over a week, and Isaac was already counting down the days before they went back. His father couldn’t punish him for leaving the house to go to school.

Though he usually found another excuse for it.

Jonas was still smiling at him even though he’d dropped his hand to his side. Isaac finally averted his gaze from that beautiful face. He had to get out of here. If he got back to the house now, his dad might still be asleep and he wouldn’t get in any trouble. Or at least not as much.

He started pushing everything into his bag. “I’ve got to go,” he said, still not meeting Jonas’ eyes.

The other boy just watched him as he packed everything up. “I hope I’ll see you again,” Jonas said. “Will you be here tomorrow?”

“Maybe,” Isaac muttered. And he really wanted to be. He cringed when his elbow screamed as he threw on his pack and headed away. He saw Jonas furrow his brows but kept going. Maybe he could get back to the house without his father noticing.

But, his father was already waiting for him.

***

Five days. That was how long it had been since Isaac had been able to get to the park. He couldn’t risk leaving the house. If anyone had seen him, social services probably would have gotten called to the house again. And that would have only made matters worse.

So, he’d stayed in his room as much as he could. And now the bruises were fading. He probably shouldn’t risk it. His father’s anger was volatile lately. Maybe even more so than it had been right after his mother’s death. And it had been bad then.

But, he had to get out. Maybe he’d even get a chance to see Jonas again. That just might make it worth it. He’d sketched that face over and over, but it just wasn’t the same.

He stepped into the living room and saw his dad’s leg hanging over the end of the couch. He wasn’t working today which likely meant he’d drunk himself into a stupor as soon as he’d gotten home. It was the only time Isaac didn’t fear him, when he’d passed mean drunk right into unconsciousness.

He wouldn’t be waking up for a while. Hopefully when he did he wouldn’t notice Isaac was gone before he started drinking again.

Once Isaac reached the park, he couldn’t help looking around to see if Jonas was here again. No sign of him, though. Isaac shouldn’t feel so much disappointment at that. There was a group playing kickball in the field. he wondered if Jonas was with them. Part of him wanted to go and watch. But, he stayed at his table.

He was in the middle of sketching again when he heard him approach. He didn’t know how he knew it was Jonas, he hadn’t even heard him last time. But, he was smiling as he looked up. And watched as Jonas’ face fell.

“What happened?” Jonas asked as he dropped onto the bench beside Isaac. Then, he was reaching out to touch his cheek. “Who hurt you?”

Isaac dropped his gaze back to the table. “Nothing,” he said. He’d gotten good with that lie. Not that he was sure too many people believed it, but it came so easily now.

“If someone’s bothering you, you need to tell someone. My brother’s a cop-”

“No!” Isaac shouted before Jonas could say anymore. “You can’t say anything to him. You can’t.”

“Okay,” Jonas said, holding his hands up in front of him. “I won’t. But you should at least tell your dad, or someone else you trust. No one should get away with doing you like that.”

Isaac started laughing. And once he started, he couldn’t stop. Then, Jonas’ hand slid over his knee, and Isaac lifted his gaze to Jonas’. “You want me to tell me dad?” he said, still gasping from laughing so much. “You want me to tell my dad about my dad hitting me until I thought I was going to pass out.”

He saw Jonas’ face pale at that and wished he hadn’t said so much. And yet the words kept pouring out. “I’m sorry I don’t have a perfect family. No cop brother. Or a father who says he loves me every night like you.”

“My father’s dead,” Jonas said, his voice tight. “He was killed by a mugger ten years ago. My brother used to be in a gang, when he was even younger than me. And my mom was an addict, until she finally got clean shortly before meeting my dad and having my sister and me. So, no one has a perfect family, but no one should hurt you like that.”

Isaac told himself to move away from Jonas’s gentle fingers on his knee or the ones that grazed over his chin. But, he liked it too much. “You can’t tell anyone. It only makes it worse when they look into it then send me right back to him.”

Jonas’ gaze dropped, not promising to keep quiet. Then his fingers left Isaac’s skin, too. And Isaac looked down to see him pulling the sketchbook closer. “This is me,” he said as he flipped back through it. “A lot of me.”

Isaac felt his face warm and dropped his gaze again. Jonas reached out and lifted his chin. “It’s great,” he said. “You’re really talented.”

Isaac opened his mouth but everything he would say was tinged in his father’s voice. So, he shut it again. Jonas hand didn’t leave his chin, though. “Can I have one of them?” he asked.

Isaac nodded, not able to take his eyes off the other boy as he flipped through the pictures. He finally stopped at one, and Isaac found it hard to swallow. Once he had the image of Jonas in his head, he’d been able to transplant him into any situation. This was one he’d wanted to draw over and over.

“They look like they’re about to kiss,” Jonas said.

“It’s us,” Isaac managed to say. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have drawn that. You’re not-”

“I love it,” Jonas said. “I want this one. Can I have it?”

“Yes,” Isaac said without even thinking about it. Then, Jonas was moving even closer to him. He ran his thumb over Isaac’s jaw, and Isaac let out a long breath. Just like the picture he’d drawn, their mouth were only inches apart.

Before their lips could meet, though, there was a harsh yell from behind him. Jonas jerked back, but Isaac didn’t move. He recognized that voice. “I need to go,” he said, reaching for the sketchpad. He ripped out the picture and shoved it at Jonas.

Jonas reached out for his arm. “Just wait. Why don’t you come home with me. My mom won’t mind if you stay for dinner.”

Isaac wanted to. He so did. But, he knew better. “I can’t. The longer I wait, the worse it will be.”

Jonas snatched one of the pencils before Isaac could put it away. He ripped the corner off the sketch and scribbled something on it. “Call me,” he said. “Let me know you’re okay.”

He put the paper in the bag with everything else but didn’t make any promises.

***

Isaac sat in the middle of the bed, staring at the small piece of paper in his trembling fingers. His father had shoved him around a few times, but he’d managed to escape to his room without too much damage. He’d heard a lot of swearing and things crashing around in the living room, but other than shouting curses and slurs his way, his father had left him alone. And now it was quiet again.

Isaac picked up his phone and dialed the number on the paper. “Isaac?” the voice on the other end said. “Is that you.”

“Yeah, Jonas,” he said.

“Are you okay? I’ve been so worried. Did he hurt you?”

“No.” It wasn’t the complete truth, but Jonas didn’t need to know that. “And I think he’s passed out now. He won’t be awake until morning.”

Isaac could hear the breath Jonas blew out. “You could still come over,” Jonas said. “My mom won’t mind setting another plate out for dinner.”

“I’m not worth that,” he said quietly. Even though he knew it was his father’s words he was repeating. Useless. Worthless. A waste of space. Better off dead. And those were the kinder things he’d said.

Disparates.” Jonas said and made Isaac laugh, even though he wasn’t quite sure what the other boy had said. “You are worth it. Please come over. I’ll send you the address.”

Isaac ran his fingers over his knee, the same spot Jonas had touched earlier. “Okay,” he said softly. Because for once he didn’t feel like all those things his father said he was. He might pay for it later, but Jonas actually seemed to like him. So he wasn’t going to let his fear of his father keep him from seeing what could be there.

He just really hoped it was worth it.

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

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write a story with a Cinderella story structure. When I was trying to figure out what to use for this one, Isaac started speaking to me. he showed up in one of my other novels, after him and Jonas met. So, this is going back before that. I may end up writing more of their story once they grow up a bit(I don’t really write much YA).

 

Sunday Summary: Coming Together

My new writing schedule seems to be coming together. So does that story I keep picking up and setting down again. Now, if only that internal alarm clock would stop malfunctioning. After Monday, it was working pretty well, getting me up between 4-5 in the morning, pretty usual for me. Saturday morning…a little after 1 a.m. And I couldn’t fall back to sleep. This morning I woke up a few times, way too early, but fell back asleep until about 6. So maybe this is getting me back on track.

Saturday morning we went out to breakfast, then looked at new grills. Our old one was only cooking on the back burners and Thursday when I went to use it, the hose fell right off the propane tank. Which explained why the flames suddenly went out. We ended up finding one we liked and it was even on sale, so we got it. After that, we went to the used book store, I turned in a small box of books, bringing my credit up to about $135. I got 5 books & the boy got 2. Cost me $15. The girl got a few books as well, but she had her own money(so did the boy, but he left his wallet in the truck). Then, we went and got groceries. Got more than we’d planned on, but I got some healthier snack stuff instead of the crap I usually snack on.

According to my phone’s health tracking app(which the Gear Fit band I have connects to), I got in twice my activity time yesterday. And this morning my knee is feeling swollen and achy. Yay? That seems to be the trade-off to actually doing something.

Plotting

  • Still Burning finish Story Toolkit, Outline
  • Jayla & Carisa(Gilbert, Co #7) brainstorm, character back stories, plot summaryget through Story Toolkit: Supporting Characters – This is going onto the backburner for the moment. I’ll pick it back up once I finish Not Meant to Be.
  • High on Your Love(Kurztown #6) – brainstorm, character back stories, plot summary, Story Toolkit, Outline. This is Morgan(Kendall’s brother) & Anna’s story. I’m not currently sure if it’s going to be a Christmas novella(since that is when it takes place) or a full-length novel. Guess that will depend on what the characters have to tell me. I got the mind maps done, and Morgan’s back story started.

Writing

  • Not Meant to Be – Add 53000 words/28 scenes to finish 1st draft – 20681 words/23 scenes finished this month, 1477 words/2 scenes finished this week
    • Why did Toby think she was so weak that she had to be protected on all sides? Couldn’t he see how miserable that made her? How she couldn’t stand the thought of him using himself as a shield for her. She wanted him to stand beside her, not in front of her. *Oh, Denise, for a man like Toby, love and protection are so wrapped together, he can’t separate them.
  • Still Burning(Hunter Family #4) – Write 70000 words/61 scenes – 1397 words/1 scene finished
    • He wondered if discussing the volunteers from the town’s other department counted toward the moratorium on fire talk. Or would that be sorted under girl problems? He shook his head. “No, it’s nothing.”
  • Heart of Christmas(BC Security #3.5) – Write 30000 words/42 scenes – 745 words/1 scene finished
    • “Those Dougherty boys,” Sean murmured, and she jerked her gaze to his.
      Sean’s smile remained soft, but she cleared her throat. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
  • By the Gun – Write 50000 words/22 scenes to finish part/book 1(haven’t decided if I’ll write the book in 3 parts or make it 3 different books. Likely will decide when I finish the first part). – 1022 words/2 scenes
    • No, it couldn’t be. He had to be wrong about what he’d just seen.
      Varick Steinwehr was dead. Luke had killed him.
  • Side Projects Add 4400 words between all projects – 11536/4400 words, 4911 words this week
    • Roman – 386 words – Carlos blinked then, and Roman saw it. Exactly what his boss had suggested. Pain and grief buried under the layer of anger. And it was a thin layer now that he looked closely. He wasn’t sure how Carlos would hold up if it was ripped away.
    • Tavin & Haiwee – 509 words – He wouldn’t have expected to be so sad about that. He had not even been home in five years. It should not make him want to mourn. And yet he did. His brother had moved his young family to the city, and they had a place there, and he was learning a new trade. It had to be enough. He wanted to invite them to come here, but what had he to offer them? Not even his own land.
    • Preggers – 323 words – But, it was. And that woman in there had started to reawaken it. That thought brought another sob. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I’m sorry, Darren.” She’d loved her husband and missed him so much. So how could she be having these feelings for someone else after only a few months? It wasn’t right.
    • Jacob & Matthew – 366 words – Barrett snorted softly as the woman headed away after he declined anything besides coffee. “What she wanted to offer you had nothing to do with food, my friend.”“As you should know, Barrett,” he said with barely a glance up at him. “Maybe you should go and tell her you have an appetite.” *This is pretty close to the beginning of Stained Blood. Soon, Barrett will only have an appetite for one woman, but he hasn’t met her yet.
    • Hang On – 345 words – We climbed as we had done most things since we became friends. Together.
    • Dougal & Shae – 245 words – That brought a deep chuckle from Donovan. “I doubt that’s all you are. Besides, if I threatened to knock your lights out for daring to look at my sister, that dear girl would kick my ass.”
    • Patrick & Sarah – 256 words – He tried not to think of that, or how out of place he felt in town, felt pretty much everywhere since coming back from the war, as he rode toward town. He’d much rather think about Sarah, about how the few smiles he’d gotten from her had filled him with light and warmth. How he wanted to make sure she was able to give away even more of them. 
    • Midas’ Daughter – 792 words – “Your father won’t be happy,” Flip told her.
      “Since when is he ever?” She moved around him but still managed to catch the way his lips curled up at that. It was the closest she ever seem to get to a smile from him these days. But, she would have sworn his hand brushed her arm as she passed.
    • Hawk – 583 words – If it was possible, Mr. Bentley’s grin widened. “The day you two stopped fighting what you felt for each other and accepted it.”
    • Mike & Fadil – 726 words – Fadil could only stare at the two of them. This man had a daughter? Now, Fadil really didn’t know what to think. If Mike was in a relationship, maybe he really hadn’t been checking Fadil out. Maybe he’d just been imagining all of that. And if he was in a relationship and had been checking him out, Fadil didn’t want anything to do with that. *making assumptions is never good, Fadil. You might just blow a chance at something. 😀
    • Mason & Lila – 380 words – From a distance, she heard a car door slam, but she didn’t step back from Mason. Whoever was visiting his parents didn’t matter to her. Only his lips on hers did. *Yeah, Lila, you may want to worry about that actually

Editing

  • Flames of Renewal – CP Edits
  • In the Moonlight – Transfer from OneNote(on my Surface) to Scrivener(on my laptop) – 27 chapters(there’s actually 32, counting the epilogue, but I’d already started it before) – 24/27 chapters typed up.
  • Stained Blood – Adding this in as I’m starting to get chapters back from beta: Compile comments – 1/26 chapters.
  • Snow White Twist – Beta edits, rename, & submitcompiled notes from 1 beta reader to the main document(so I can put them all in one place when I get them back from other reader) for 8/8 chapters(1st 2 chapters done last month). Still waiting to hear from other beta reader. Have a potential title for it as well. Still simmering on that, though.
  • Dance with the Devilread through, make revisions, & polish – Applied 81/81 comments(not counting areas I highlighted, though those will be fixed as I go through, too). Polished 4/10 chapters.
  • Beta Read Read 58 chapters(total of 73, but that’s what I have left) & return to author – 58/58 chapters. Emailed it back late Wednesday morning.

Blogging

  • Story a Day – Write 31 stories – 27/31 stories written, 6 this week. Working on today’s right now.
    • Diner – Anna’s getting the diner kitchen ready for the day and gets a surprise visitor.
    • The List – Morgan tells his ex exactly what his problems with her are.
    • Hidden Message – Caelen writes a letter to Alaina with a hidden message, trying to explain why he acted the way he did(which I haven’t written that part, so I only have a vague idea of what he did).
    • Save Herself – Denise is determined to prove she can save herself this time.
    • Letters Home – Luke sends letters during several events in his life(back story for By the Gun)
    • Romance in the Air – a bit of a love story(obviously, not romantic) between mother and son & the start of a romantic entanglement between that son(Fadil) and Mike

Reading

  • Listen: 5 books – 6/5 for the month, 1 this week
    •  Conspiracy(Lindsay Buroker) – this is book 4 in her Emperor’s Edge series.
    • The Immortal Irishman(Timothy Egan) – I don’t read or listen to much non-fiction. But this one was the daily deal back on St. Patrick’s day and it combines two of my interests, Irish history and the Civil War. I’m really enjoying it and it’s inspiring to pick up a story I wrote years ago and have replotted that takes place in the same time period.
  • Read: 31 books – 28.5/31, 7.5 this week
    • Hometown Heartbreaker(Maisey Yates) – Finished this Sunday afternoon. Enjoyed it. I’m only counting it as half, since it was included in the back of another novel
    • Up in Flames(Sidney Bristol) – Finished this Sunday afternoon. Really enjoyed it. The next 2 books in the series are written by a different author, then this one wrote the fourth, so we’ll see how that goes.
    • Death at Peony House(Krista Walsh) – I started this Sunday afternoon. At 30%. This was still in my Unlimited folder, though I think the series is out of KU now. So this will be my “extra” book for now. Really enjoying it(so good incentive to finish my other books for the week and get back to it).
    • One Good Earl Deserves a Lover(Sara MacLean) – Started this Monday morning. Finished it Tuesday night. Really enjoyed it.
    • Before that Night(Violet Duke) – Started this Tuesday morning. Finished it Tuesday afternoon. Liked it.
    • Reckoning(Myndi Shafer) – Started this Wednesday morning. Finished it Wednesday evening. Not sure if it’s because it’s been a while since I read the last one, but this was just…eh. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really pull me in and it didn’t really feel like anything was happening through the first half. If it wasn’t the third book in the series, I might have just put it down.
    • Hard to Come By(Laura Kaye) – Started this Wednesday night. Really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to read Charlie & Jeremy’s story, which is the novella that comes next.
    • Tempt Me Like This(Bella Andre) – Started this Friday afternoon. Finished it on Saturday night. Liked it, but there wasn’t that “are they going to make it” moment, so it was kind of a let down.
    • Hostage to the Stars(Veronica Scott) – Started this Saturday morning. Finished it Saturday evening. Enjoyed it.

Crafting

  • Knit: Duo Cable Hat – Finished another 4 decrease rounds. 8 more to go.

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