Home of a mother, wife, writer

“Didn’t you ever play that game as a kid?”

Isaac looked at the other kid, not sure exactly how to answer that. This privileged kid wouldn’t understand. The only game he’d played as a kid had been the game of fear his father had been a master of.

Sometimes he felt like he still played it even though his father had been in prison for two years now.

“Just leave him alone,” another voice said from a desk to the right and just behind him. “Not everyone spent their formative years dicking around behind a computer.”

“You’re such an ass, Konner.” But the kid left Isaac alone, finally giving him a chance to put his books in his bag and get out of the classroom.

“Hey!” There was that voice again. His hand tightened on the strap of his messenger bag as he felt the man coming up behind him.

The kid came up behind him and tapped on his shoulder when he didn’t even slow down. Isaac spun around, one hand coming up between them.

“Easy,” Konner said. “I’m not going to do anything. You just left this under your desk.”

Isaac lowered his hand and took the sketch book from him. “Thanks,” he said.

“I’m heading over to the dining hall for lunch. You want to join me?”

He didn’t have any afternoon classes today, so he’d planned to go back to the Pellas to eat. They’d only been in classes for a week, and he’d not done anything on campus that could be called social. No matter how Cristine insisted he should.

Still, he found himself saying, “Sure. I can do that.”

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

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use the title of the book you’re currently reading or the one sitting closest to you when you’re ready to write your SoCS post and base your post on the title only. I just finished reading a book last night and haven’t started another one, but I am listening to Game of Fear by Robin Perini on audible. And that made me think of Isaac. He and Konner do have some connections to each other that they’ll find out about soon. Maybe I’ll be able to work that in to a future SOCS. 😉

I’m here with Chapter 8 of Dance with the Devil. Only two more to go after this one. Here’s the beginning of the chapter.

I started to think I’d never be able to move without some kind of pain. I wasn’t out of bed for more than using the bathroom for two days. Even then, someone had to accompany me in case I fell. It was humiliating. I should be able to at least handle that myself. The guys had to be looking down at me for my weakness. But, none of them acted all that different around me.

Except for Hawk. He’d been avoiding me since I’d first woken up. Sure, I saw him around the clubhouse from time to time, but he hardly spoke to me. I thought back to what Icarus told me. Was I hurting him that much? Didn’t he know he’d be better off without me anyway?

It didn’t matter. I had my arm out of the sling, and Medusa said it was strong enough I didn’t have to do the exercises she’d given me every day anymore. My ribs were all healed up, and I could run up and down the steps with hardly getting winded.

Now we were finally planning to go after the Crows. We’d been trying to avoid it. Even after they’d shot at Trace several months back. Icarus had wanted to hit back at them, but he didn’t want to bring more trouble down on us. We’d been taking things slowly, carefully.

They’d decided enough was enough. I hadn’t been involved with that meeting, since I had still barely been able to make it up and down the stairs without help. It didn’t matter. The vote had been almost unanimous. It was nice when the club came together like that.

I stepped out onto the porch. I could finally walk outside without having to have anyone help me. To not have to ask anyone if they can help me to sit out on the porch. I wasn’t going to take that for granted. It had been the most lowering thing.

At least that’s what I kept telling myself. This hollow feeling inside me didn’t have anything to do with Hawk. I didn’t miss him every day he wasn’t at my side. And whose fault was that anyway?

Mine. It was all mine. I’d pushed him away again and again. Why would I think he’d choose to stick around? He wasn’t some toy I could keep on a string, pulling him back when it suited me. He deserved so much more than that.

I stepped down off the porch, trying not to think too much about that. I had a new bike, and I’d finally be able to ride it. Waiting for Medusa to give me the all clear for that had been worse than anything I’d ever waited for before.

You can find the rest of the chapter here.

Yeah, I’m listening to the Hamilton soundtrack. Again. Hey, when I obsess about something, I go all in. 😉 And these lines get me every time:

How do you write like tomorrow won’t arrive

How do you write like you need it to survive

How do you write every second you’re alive, every second you’re alive, every second you’re alive.

I know that answer!! I’ve been feeling that way, especially this week. The words are coming and coming almost faster than I can manage to write them down. Even ones I haven’t started yet(yes, I’m looking at you Jonas & Isaac). I had to jot down notes just to get the characters to leave me alone until I can get to them. I’d actually got through all of Wednesday’s writing goals by Tuesday night. So, that’s how my week is going. 😀

And that leads in to WiPPet Wednesday!! Wooooo! Whatever It Takes was supposed to be Thursday’s project. But, I’ll be getting to that one in just a bit. It takes place about two years after Not Meant to Be. And speaking of Jonas and Isaac, you’ll get a peek at the directions they’re heading in this snippet. Their story will take place probably about 4-5 years after this. And last weekend, I wrote a bit that happened about 4 months earlier. For now I have 15 sentences(7+12+2+0+1-7) from the first scene of Whatever It Takes. Carisa is Carlos’ little sister, and they’re at his restaurant.

She knelt down to catch Pia then lifted her in her arms. She smiled at Jonas, who her niece had just abandoned. “I didn’t know you were home already,” she said. And she couldn’t help glancing past him. His shadow from the last two years was nowhere to be seen. “Is Isaac going to meet you here?”
His face went from warm to cold almost instantly. “No,” he said.
Shit. Well, she’d known they’d had a falling out before Jonas had left for boot camp, but she was sure they would have made things up by now. They had always seemed to work so well together. “He already left for college anyway,” Tereza said softly. But, Carisa could tell that wasn’t all.
“He’s going to a local one and still living with Roman and Cristine,” Jonas said, his eyes riveted to the floor. “Not like he’s all the way on the other side of the country or something.”

Yeah, Jonas isn’t taking the break up too well. I’m already figuring out how I’ll get them back together(those notes I mentioned above).

As for my progress this week:

Writing:

  • Heart of Christmas – 10000 words – 5292/10000 words, 2339 words this week. Posted a bit about this story on my Patreon(at the moment, I’m making all my content available for $1 monthly patrons, at least until I build up a following).
    • She let out a soft sigh as his lips pressed to hers. “Oh, aye,” she mimicked his accent. “Matches what I was thinking.”
  • Still Burning – 10000 words – 5102/10000 words, 2323 words this week
    • There was a flash of heat in his eyes then his lips quirked up. “Because I know us, Jess. I let you talk me into your bed, and we won’t have dinner. Or probably breakfast tomorrow. Except for the fact I got to work. And I really want to take you to dinner.”
  • Whatever It Takes – 10000 words – 2737/10000 words,
  • High on Loving You – 10000 words – 2824/10000 words,
  • By the Gun – 10000 words – 4997/10000 words, 2384 words this week
    • But, it was too late to change any of that. All they could do was move forward. And he finally felt like he was doing that.
  • Side Projects – 10000 words – 5240/10000 words, 2778 words this week. I’ve already met my goal on this for the week.
    • Midas’ Daughter – Flip glared over at him for a moment then returned his attention to Mr. Midas. James didn’t matter here, not if Mr. Midas decided he didn’t. “You might think I don’t have any power, but I also don’t have a lot to lose. You already destroyed what I could have had with her. All I have left here is a job.”
    • Patrick & Sarah – 283 words – The boy’s lip curled up into a sneer, a look that should not have fit on the face of a boy so young. “You and every other man in this town,” he said.
    • Tavin & Haiwee – 191 words – No,” she said, shaking her head. His mind must really have traveled far away. “Haiwee.”
    • Roman – 207 words – He sat beside her and followed her gaze to the television screen. Where the newscaster was wrapping up a story. And there was video of Carlos being led back to his cell. Well, that explained the tears. 
    • Dougal & Shae – 187 words – She let out a soft laugh but didn’t bother turning around. “Sure you didn’t. Don’t try to tell me Donnie didn’t send you out here to try to push us together once more.”
    • Jacob & Matthew – 250 words – “Oh, I responded to all of Pa’s letters,” Matthew told her. “I just didn’t send any of them here, as I figured you would throw them in the fire before letting him read them.” He glanced at the boy again and saw the confusion in his furrowed brow. Exchanging verbal blows with his stepmother would get him nowhere and only upset his little brother, so he took a step back. “I take it Pa is not at home today.”
    • Mike & Fadil – 327 words – “You aren’t an all-powerful being, Jess. Do you want me to keep Alexa a little longer until things settle down more?”
    • Preggers – 317 words – Missy gave them increasingly dirty looks every time she passed the table, but Lyndi didn’t seem to notice. So, Marika decided to ignore it as well. What she couldn’t ignore was how nervous the other woman seemed to grow as the minutes ticked away. 
    • Hawk – 220 words – I nodded, but I wasn’t sure what else to say about it. I thought it had been the worst thing to feel my father’s fists and feet slamming into me then having him pushing me out of his truck into a ditch and leaving me there. Until he’d shot at me.
    • Sean & Braeden – 227 words – He saw his parents exchange a glance and wish he’d decided to do that before they’d even sat down to eat. Like maybe as soon as he’d realized Braeden was here. He should have known that would only lead to disaster. 
    • Jared’s Stepfather – 196 words – But, he made the vow anyway. He didn’t care if it cost him his life. He would never let that man hurt Denise or hand her off to another man to do it. Not as long as he breathed.

Editing:

  • Stained Blood – Beta edits – Chapter 1/26, 0 this month
  • Flames of Renewal – CP edits
  • In the Moonlight – Read Through & Revise – Read through Chapter 13/32. And posted a teaser of this yesterday.
  • Hang OnPolish & Submit

Reading:

  • Listen: 5 books – 2/5, 1 this week
    • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue(Mackenzi Lee) – Started listening Thursday morning. Finished Monday afternoon. Loved this one so much.
    • When the Moon was Ours(Anna-Marie McLemore) – Started this Tuesday morning. On Chapter 20/47
  • Read: 30 books – 13/30, 3 this week
    • Winter of the Wolf(Christina Ochs) – Started this Saturday night. Finished it Sunday afternoon. Really enjoyed it, though I still can’t believe one of the characters she killed. 😥 Seriously, no one in this series is safe.
    • Dating Sarah Cooper(Siera Maley) – Started this Sunday evening. Finished it Sunday night. Really, really enjoyed this one.
    • Hard Justice(Lori Foster) – Started this Monday afternoon(after starting 2 other books and setting them aside). Finished it Tuesday night. Enjoyed it.

I’m getting to this rather late as our internet was out most of the morning. It seems to be staying connected for now, so I’m hoping to get this done without it going out again. Today I have the end of Chapter 11 from In the Moonlight. I’m still working on the read through(and this is actually the last chapter I’ve read from at this point). In this chapter, we meet a new character. I’ll leave it up to you what you think of him.

He straightened and turned around, and I felt a quick burst of heat. He was extremely attractive. Tall, but he filled out the suit he wore quite well. His light blond hair was brushed away from his face. I wondered how much gel it took to keep it all in place. And those brown eyes took up a little too much of his face, but that just made it better. He wasn’t perfect. My mouth went a little dry, but I forced myself to keep my head up, my eyes right on his.
“You’re Ms. Yasmin Reisner? The niece Adriane Reisner left this house to?”
He seemed surprised by that. He’d probably expected someone who’d looked as sophisticated as Aunt Adriane. Instead of me with my dark hair, some of it matted against my cheek. And I knew it would be snarled if I didn’t get it washed and brushed out soon.
“That’s right,” I told him. “I still do not know who you are, though.”
“Barret Foss,” he said, holding his hand out to her. “I told your butler that.”
I almost snorted at that. Aunt Adriane had never employed a butler. Most of the time she just answered the door for herself if Bailey wasn’t right there. But, I decided not to dissuade him of the notion for some reason. “A name does not tell me much, though. Like what you want of me.”
“I would think that would be obvious, Ms. Reisner.”
Even though I knew it wasn’t what he meant, I had to fight back a blush of my own. Thankfully, my darker skin helped hide that reaction. A lot more than it did Nola’s. Thinking about her sent a little zing through me. I wondered where she was right now. Maybe after I got rid of this guy, I could go find her. See what had happened the night before.
“I’m here about the house,” he said and brought my attention right back to him.
“What about it?” I asked, my voice low. “My great-aunt left it to me in her will. Not my father. So, if he’s sent you to-”
He held his hands up. “Nothing of the kind, Ms. Reisner. I don’t even know your father.”
“Right,” I said, not believing him. “Sure you don’t.”
“Truly,” he said. “I know a few things about him, but I’ve never met the man myself.”
Of course. Everyone knew a few things about my father. None that he was an asshole, cheated on his wife, and treated his only daughter like she had less worth than one of his vehicles he traded out at least once a year.
No, I wasn’t bitter at all when it came to my father.
“You really don’t know him?” I asked.
“No,” he said, still smiling at me. “You’ll still speak with me, won’t you?”
“If he didn’t send you up here, I’m more likely to talk to you. What do you want to know about the house?”
“Oh, I already know a lot about this house. What I want is to buy it from you.”

I had a pretty good start to the week, even with the holiday throwing some things off. Then, there was Thursday. It started off pretty well. Then, my computer started acting up. Kept saying it wasn’t responding and everything was running slow. Ended up restarting and I lost a whole scene from Whatever It Takes. Most of which I’d written on Wednesday, so I have no clue why it didn’t save(I don’t think I’ve ever had that problem with Scrivener before). Thankfully I had most of it saved in a document. Since I’m writing 5 different projects for Camp NaNo, whenever I finish my words for the day on each, I copy them into one document to make it easier to validate my count at the end of the month. So, I at least still had Wednesday’s words for that scene. I just had to retype the ~200 I’d written Thursday morning. It wasn’t a huge deal, but still a pain. At least after the restart it was working better.

Made a swing for the fire hydrant sprinkler with her helmet.

This weekend our town has ‘The Gathering at French Creek’, and Friday night they have fireworks. Our fire department has a food tent there(this year they brought back the chicken barbeque instead of the sausage and onions they’ve done the last couple years) and the Explorers post sells pop right next to it. My husband is an adviser for the Explorers, so he had to be there. He picked us up after work and we went in, met up with his mother and walked around. There was a paparazzi jewelry tent and the girl ended up getting 2 rings(they were $1 each). I don’t know where she gets it, I hate dressing up and wearing jewelry, and she loves it. Then, we ended up staying for the fireworks. I may have mentioned before that I really don’t like fireworks. My anxiety was already up before we even left the house, and there were way too many people there. So when the fireworks started going off, I was already on edge. And then my rational brain and anxiety brain start arguing. Which is basically:

Rational brain: They’re just fireworks. They aren’t going to kill you.

Anxiety: Yes. They will.

So, fun times.

The girl and her pup

Saturday was a pretty laidback day. Husband had to go back to the Gathering to work the tents again, but we stayed home. I got a lot of reading done and wrote another short back story for Jonas and Isaac(this one overlaps with a scene from Not Meant to Be). Today should be another laidback day, though we do need to go get groceries at some point.

Writing:

  • Heart of Christmas – 10000 words – 2953/10000 words, 2684 this week
    • “What do you want?” he cried, flinging his arms out, the keys flying as he pulled them back out. “You want me to say I wish he hadn’t come in and messed with you? That’s true. You want me to say I want to smash his face in? That’s true, too. You want me to admit the man who raised me is a drunken git, and now that he’s set his sights on you, I’m bloody well terrified.”
  • Still Burning – 10000 words – 2779/10000 words, 2379 this week
    • She’d known she wasn’t good for him. That she’d be a destroying force in his life. Which was why she kept trying to let him go. It didn’t seem to do anything good. They were like opposite ends of magnets, pulling back to each other, no matter how either of them fought it.
  • Whatever It Takes – 10000 words – 2737/10000 words, 2471 this week
    • “You’re listening to this again?” Alexa asked.
      “What? I like it.” And some of the songs felt like they fit her life so well. Particularly the one talking about living life on your knees and needing to rise up. She’d been there.
  • High on Loving You – 10000 words – 2824/10000 words, 2605 this week
    • “What’s up with Bry?” he asked.
      She shook her head. “He wants to talk to Dad first before he tells anyone else.”
      “But, he told you?” Morgan asked. He shouldn’t feel jealous that his brother had turned to their sister. They’d never really been confidantes.
  • By the Gun – 10000 words – 2613/10000 words, 2343 this week
    • There was no point going forward. But, he didn’t know if he could go back, either. How could he return without Rosalyn? How could he go on knowing he’d failed his family in so many ways?
  • Side Projects – 10000 words – 2462/10000 words, 2462 this week
    • Midas’ Daughter – 112 words “Calla isn’t yours,” Flip insisted, turning back just in time for James’ fist to hit his eye.
    • Hawk – 244 words – It hadn’t been the Corps that had taught me most of my surveillance techniques. It had been a survival skill in my childhood. The Corps had just helped me enhance and refine those techniques.
    • Jared’s Stepfather – 113 words – “But, what if he does it again. I don’t want you to get hurt again.”
    • Preggers – 217 words – “You deserve more than someone okay with who you are,” Marika said sharply. “They should love and be proud of every piece of who you are.”
    • Sean & Braeden – 174 words – He had to get out of there before he admitted the truth to Sean. That he’d loved him when they were still boys. And he’d never once stopped.
    • Mike & Fadil – 274 words – “Yes,” she said quickly, and he knew it was lie. But, she wouldn’t tell him if she did need something. Tough. He’d send her a check soon anyway. Like he did every month, even though it wasn’t court-ordered. 
    • Jacob & Matthew – 723 words(most of these are rewritten from a scene from Stained Blood) – Jacob wondered how many people did yet. It probably wouldn’t take long. The sheriff’s prodigal son returned would be big news.
    • Dougal & Shae – 120 words – She skirted around the edge of the kitchen and headed for the door leading out to the back yard. Maybe if she could get some air and solitude she’d be able to face people without wanting to punch the first person who spoke to her. *Shae’s got a bit of a temper there.
    • Roman – 154 words – He just wasn’t sure exactly how to do that. So, he left while she finished setting the table. He’d come back to what he needed to talk about later. It wouldn’t be a good time right now. It would only show her she really couldn’t trust him.
    • Tavin & Haiwee – 119 words – But, she couldn’t just leave him out there on his own.
    • Patrick & Sarah – 212 words – She looked up at him for a long moment, her eyes softening. Then, she stiffened and glanced down at Will. “Where’s your brother?” she asked, obviously realizing only one of her sons was there.

Editing:

  • Stained Blood – Beta edits – Chapter 1/26, 0 this month
  • Flames of Renewal – CP edits
  • In the Moonlight – Read Through & Revise – Read through Chapter 8/32
  • Hang OnPolish & Submit

Reading:

  • Listen: 5 books – 1/5
    • Bitterblue(Kristin Cashore) – Started this last Monday morning. Finished it Wednesday morning. Loved it.
    • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue(Mackenzi Lee) – downloaded this Wednesday morning. Started listening Thursday morning(would have started sooner but someone *coughShancough* got me hooked on the Hamilton soundtrack and was listening to that in the odd moments instead). On Chapter 14/30
  • Read: 30 books – 10/30, 8 this week
    • Speak No Evil(Allison Brennan) – Started this Sunday afternoon. Finished this Monday night. Really enjoyed it.
    • Knit Tight(Annabeth Albert) – Started this Monday night. Finished it Tuesday afternoon. Really enjoyed it.
    • Taking him On(Debbie McGowan) – Started this Tuesday evening. Finished it Wednesday evening. Loved it.
    • The Trouble with Goodbye(Sarra Cannon) – Read this Wednesday night. Liked it.
    • Song of Wishrock Harbor(Krista Walsh) – Started this Wednesday night. Finished it Thursday night. Loved this one.
    • It Started with a Kiss(Marina Adair) – Started this Thursday night. Finished it Friday evening. Loved it.
    • Protector(Becca J Campbell) – Started this Friday evening. Finished it Saturday afternoon. Enjoyed it.
    • Home Ice(Katie Kenyhercz) – Started this Saturday afternoon. Finished it Saturday evening. Enjoyed it.
    • Winter of the Wolf(Christina Ochs) – Started this Saturday night. At 14%

 

Welcome back to another visit with the Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop for anyone who likes to write. I’m still sharing from Hawk’s story, and it still doesn’t have a title. I’ll have to come up with one eventually. But, for now, I have the beginning of the next scene(minus the first 3 sentences because I couldn’t make it all fit).

“You can pull off up here,” I told him as Devil sat up beside me. “There’s a place we can take shelter until dark, then we’ll go back for our bikes. You should probably get back and open the store.”

Mr. Bentley shook his head. “I am not a fool, boy. If that was your father, and I’m not doubting you, I’ve known him longer than you have, he’ll be waiting for me to show up. He’ll wait for me to lead him to you, if that’s really what he’s wanting. I won’t do it. The shop can rot for all I care. You’re what’s important.”

The question is: was it really Hawk’s father? What do they both know about him that makes them so sure? Will they be safe for the moment at least?

And I got Chapter 7 of Dance with the Devil posted if you want to get caught up on that.

“Well, aren’t you looking slick tonight.”

Jonas’  cheeks darkened, and Isaac loved being the one able to do that to him. What he said was true, though. Jonas did look slick in his tux tonight. Isaac slipped his arm through Jonas’ so they could walk in together. This moment was important to both of them and had been nearly two years coming. Most of their classmates knew they were together, but they hadn’t gone to any events together like this.

That was more his own fault than Jonas’. He’d been too afraid, that Jonas would end up leaving him. That the Pellas would kick him out. He should never have feared that one, though. They’d wanted to adopt him, but he hadn’t been able to accept that.

Now he let Jonas pull him out on the dance floor. They had three more months of time of nothing but time together. Then came college. That didn’t mean anything had to change for them, though. Did it? He was going to a college not far from here And Jonas, well, he still hadn’t said anything about where he planned to go.

“I’m going to miss moments like this when I head to basic training.”

Isaac jerked back from him at those words. “What kind of sick joke is that?” he asked, but Jonas wasn’t laughing.

“It’s not a joke,” Jonas said. “I mentioned that I was considering enlisting. It feels more right than going to more school.”

Isaac shook his head and took a step back from him. “I can’t believe this. Why would you do this?”

“Why wouldn’t I? I’m not cut out to be a student.”

“You know how I feel about it. My father-”

“Is an asshole. And not the epitome of how every soldier thinks. My brother served, too, and you don’t seem to have a problem with him. My dad did, too. I may have only been seven when he died, but I can still tell you he was a good man.”

Isaac threw his hands up and turned away. “I can’t do this.”

“You’re going to walk away from me because of this?”

Isaac turned back at the edge of the dance floor. “I can’t do it,” he said again. It’s all he could seem to get out through the fear closing in on him. “I can’t, Jonas. So, yes, I’m going to walk away.”

“How can it be that easy for you?”

Easy? He thought this was easy? It was one of the hardest things Isaac had ever made himself do. But he didn’t know if he could live with anything else.

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

The prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday was ‘ick’ either use it as part of a word or on its own. I’ve mostly just written about Jonas and Isaac getting together here. But the project I’m currently working on in this series takes place two years after the last one(where we first meet Jonas & Isaac) and we see they have broken up. And this is what led to that(I knew they’d break up, but I hadn’t known the reason behind it). If everything goes to plan, they’ll end up back together in another four or so years. But, I have three stories to finish in the series before I get there.

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