Home of a mother, wife, writer

Morgan strode out of the courtroom, his steps heavy, his mood almost as much so. The man beside him was silent as they headed through the courthouse. Until they reached the steps outside. “I’m sorry, Morgan,” Brian said.

“I just can’t believe it. Why would he side with her?”

Brian sighed. “Because there are still some judges who believe a child is better off with their mother. Even if all the evidence points to the contrary. And it’s not custody. You still have that. It’s just visitation.”

“Unsupervised visitation,” Morgan grumbled. “The last time Raina was with her unsupervised, she ended up with a broken arm. She doesn’t want Raina, she only wants to use her as a weapon against me.”

“And I am sorry for that,” Brian said. “We can take her back to court, but there’s no guarantee that the outcome will be any different. She made a convincing portrayal of contrition for her past mistakes. If I hadn’t seen the uglier side of her during this whole debacle, I might have believed it myself.”

“So, you don’t think she’s really changed? That she’ll do the same things all over again.”

“It’s a very good possibility,” Brian said. “And if she does, she’ll be lucky to keep even supervised visitation.”

Morgan just hoped his daughter wasn’t hurt by the fallout of that.

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Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write a story dealing with societal worldbuilding. This might not be quite what the prompt was going for, but it’s some plotting for the next novel in my Kurztown series. There’s been bits and pieces of this through the last few books, but I’m finally going to get around to writing Morgan’s story.

Welcome back to another visit with the Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop for anyone who likes to write. I’m making progress on Hawk’s story, but I’m still going to share from Staring at the Sun through the end of this month. I have 10 sentences from a couple scenes after last week’s. Icarus and Cassie were out riding and stopped at the local grocery store where they ran into her estranged husband(who is not a nice guy). This is from the husband’s POV. Hartson/Grady = Icarus. henry= the husband

“Come on,” she said softly, “he’s not going to do anything to us. We’ve done nothing wrong.”

“Don’t be so sure, Cassandra. I’m going to take that gang down.”

Hartson looked about ready to snarl something at him again, but Cassandra gave his arm a little tug. Grady turned toward her, and Henry was taken by surprise at the warmth in his eyes. “Come on,” she said again, “we’ll go. He’s not worth it.”

Those words had the air rushing from his lungs, then a fire started to build inside him, but the two of them were already climbing back on the bike. They might be getting away today, but he would find a way to take them down; all of them.

Why does he have such a problem with Grady? Why does he call the Riders a gang? Is he going to cause trouble for them?

In some related news, I made up a cover for Dance with the Devil Friday. And I’ll be starting to post it to Wattpad next week. For now, here’s the cover and the summary I put up on Wattpad for it.

Damon, better known as Devil in his new life, has fought the enemy, but nothing has been a bigger battle than his feelings for his best friend, Hawk. Surrendering to them could mean losing his place with the Riders of Justice, more family to him than the one he was born into. And he isn’t sure he could take that.
But, finding a way to be together is a mission Hawk isn’t willing to retreat from. Will Devil have to choose between the man he loves and the family he’s made? Or will he be able to find a way to have it all?

“All I was asking,” Carisa said, “was what made you buy this place. It wasn’t a judgment, Carlos. I’m just curious.”

Her brother relaxed slightly. She really hadn’t meant for the question to sound judgmental, but that was apparently how it had come out. Or at least how he had heard it. Did he really still think she was so much like her father? She’d have thought he’d have known better by now.

“Before I bought this place,” Carlos said, “I was working as a cook at another restaurant. Aberto hired a lot of people just out of prison. Gave ’em a chance. One chance. If you screwed up, broke one of his rules, you were gone. Roman and Cristine knew him and helped get me a job as a dishwasher there when I was released. Roman had already done enough by getting me a very reduced sentence. This was so much more than what he had to do.”

“Because Tereza asked him to help you. And he promised to do what he could as long as she didn’t see you again.” She knew that part of the story.

His lips curled up a little. “Yeah. It was smart. We would have ruined each other back then.” But, he ran a thumb over the ring on his left hand. They were married now and so happy. She was happy for her brother. Even if she was a little jealous, too.  “Anyway, Aberto was killed in a drive-by and his place shut down. I’d been thinking of opening my own place by that time, and Cristine helped me get started.”

“I know all that, Carlos. What I was wondering, why this place? This neighborhood. Isn’t this where you grew up?” It had to hold hard memories for him to deal with. It did for her, and she’d been young when her father had moved their mother, her and her only remaining sister to another city.

“That’s why. And I wanted to continue what Aberto had been doing. I was given a second chance, so I wanted to give that to others, too. And this place was available and in my budget.” His lips curled up even more at that. “You should have seen it. It was only a step above being condemned. It took a lot of work, but I turned it into this.”

“And it’s a good place.” She’d seen the good he’d done here, the people he’d helped. It wasn’t enough for her father to ever forgive him, but he was holding a grudge against Carlos that wasn’t his fault. So nothing would ever be enough.

He gave her a quick hug. “Thanks, little sis. I’d better get back in the kitchen or no one else will think so.”

She smiled as he did just that. She was so glad she’d re-connected with her brother, even if it had taken another death to do so. One had ripped them apart and one to bring them back together. But, nothing would take her from his life again. Nothing.

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I combined Story a Day and Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompts again. Story a Day was to focus on worldbuilding. So I decided to go with how Carlos did come to have his restaurant. And for Stream of Consciousness was to use all or nothing, Use one or both and bonus points if you start and end with one(or each) of them.

I know it’s been a while since I finished posting Come Back Down to Wattpad. Well, I finally have the next book, ready to start posting to Wattpad…next week. This week, though, I do have the cover to show you. If I ever do more with these than posting to Wattpad, I’ll be getting professional covers done. For now, these ones I make up on Canva work pretty well. Anyway, here’s Devil:

Next week, I’ll have Chapter 1 ready to share with you.

“Hello, Ms. Blakemore,” two young kids greeted her as she walked through the youth center.

She smiled and waved at them. This was so much different than her last teaching job. Of course, none of her students there would be seen in a place like this. They’d had nannies or whatever to watch them after school. And if they got into trouble, their parents got them out of it. She’d basically been a glorified babysitter there. Here she actually saw she made a difference. At the school and the time she put in here at the youth center.

Her father didn’t see it that way, but there were a lot of things they didn’t see the same these days.

She stepped into one of the rooms set up for those who needed a quieter environment to study. There were basketball courts outside and a small sparring area on the other side of the main room. She’d seen Toby over there along with his wife and their tiny baby. The cop was here several times a week helping those kids who needed that to get their aggression out in a safer way. She supposed he was her brother-in-law now since her brother had married his half-sister.

She wasn’t any help with the more physical activities, though. but, in here, she could usually be some help. As long as it wasn’t some really advanced math, she could usually help the kids get a grip on it. She might not have enough knowledge to teach a more specific subject. At least that’s how her dad seemed to see it. Not that she’d rather work with the younger kids.

She pushed that thought away, something she’d been doing more with anything that had to do with her father, and approached the only kid in the room. “Hello,” she greeted. “What are you working on? Do you need help?”

The girl looked up at her, serious brown eyes wide. Hadn’t anyone ever offered her that before? “That’s okay,” the girl whispered.

Usually if someone said they didn’t need anything, Carisa would move on. But, something about the girl pulled at her. maybe it was the tears she saw her battling back. Or maybe it was that she reminded Carisa of the vague memories she had of her oldest sister. Though Adriane had been younger than this girl when she died.

“I’ll be around if you do need anything. Or if you just want to talk.”

She’d just started to walk to the front of the room, when the girl spoke up. “My foster dad thinks I should just get this stuff. Just because he’s good at math and science. But I…I don’t,” she stammered. “That’s why I come here to do it. And my sister picks me up on Thursdays for dinner. My foster parents don’t really like her, even though she’s doing good now.”

Carisa smiled a little to herself. Apparently once the girl started talking, she just kept on going. She headed back to the girl’s desk and sat at the one next to her. “What’s your name? I’m Carisa. Or you can call me Ms. Blakemore. Either’s fine, but I prefer the first myself.”

“Alexa,” the girl said, looking shy now. Apparently it had been easier to talk to Carisa’s back.

“Well, Alexa, let’s see if we can help you work through these problems. Then, you’ll be done when your sister gets here.”

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Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write an interaction between the protagonist and a secondary character. This will either be before Jayla & Carisa’s story starts or right at the very beginning. Alexa’s older sister is Jayla, so this is setting up how her and Carisa will meet. Not sure how much they’ll like each other right off, though.

“We’re not your family.” Carisa flinched at the words, even though they hadn’t been aimed at her. She chanced a glance over at her brother, the man she hadn’t seen in nearly twenty years. She only had vague memories of him, most of them likely influenced by her older sister’s stories. “You took one daughter from me,” her father continued. “Don’t even think I’m going to let you have a relationship with the others. I don’t care how much you claim you’ve changed. You’re still the punk kid you’ve always been.”

The words made Carisa want to cry. She couldn’t imagine how Carlos felt. She’d only been four when the oldest of her sisters had been killed. He’d been nineteen. But, he wasn’t the one who had killed her. She did know that much. Yet her father had always blamed him.

She took a step toward them, but the knot that always seemed to sit in her chest tightened and her hands shook as more angry words passed between the two men. She tried to drag in more air, but everything still felt too tight. She had to get out of here. She’d never been able to stand up to her father anyway. Why would now be any different?

She turned away from the group gathered at the graveside. The other brother she’d never really known had just been buried, but all she could think was that she had to get away. She couldn’t take anymore. She’d wanted to reconnect with Carlos, but not like this.

Maybe it was better this way. It’s not like it would change anything anyway.

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Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write a story where instead of accepting the challenge that takes them into the story, they turn away. This moment actually happens at the end of Shed Some Light(which is Carlos’ story). Except originally Carisa does combat her anxiety and faces her father, standing up for her brother. And they do re-connect. It causes problems with her father and she ends up moving closer to Carlos to have a relationship with her brother. Which wouldn’t have happened if she really did just turn away. Neither would the events of her story(which I’m still figuring out).

Story a Day: Day 17

Carisa stepped into the restaurant and looked around. She didn’t see her brother around anywhere, so he was probably back in the kitchen. Either that or his office. This place ran smoothly, and she figured there had to be a reason for that. Maybe it should come as a surprise, for the man who her father always claimed was a waste of space.

She shook her head a little at that. Her father refused to see all the ways Carlos had changed since he’d been a boy. He’d made mistakes and bad decisions, but he was a good man now. She just wasn’t sure her father would ever let himself see that.

She knew he wouldn’t mind if she stuck her head in the kitchen and let him know she was here. He’d probably even come out to join her if he wasn’t too busy. Instead she slipped into her usual table in the corner like any other customer would do. Of course, the waitress recognized her. So she imagined her brother would be out here soon anyway.

She looked around at the other tables and recognized some of the other regulars. Like Leo and Bryan, and their son, Isaiah. She couldn’t help smiling at the little boy, who didn’t look like either of his fathers. They’d adopted him when he’d still been an infant, and the love between them was so obvious. She’d never felt that from even her one father.

She knew he’d argue about that, he’d always been there, had never hit them, hadn’t abandoned them. He’d also never wanted to spend much time with his daughters, had exacting standards for their dress, behavior, schooling. And if they didn’t meet those standards even once, he didn’t let them forget. And insisted it meant they’d turn out like their brothers.

Right, because she got a B in one class meant she’d go out and join a gang.

She knew he’d taken Adriane’s death hard. But, that hadn’t been Carlos’ fault, not the way her father had always made it out to be. And certainly not a reason to abandon him and forbid her or her sister to ever speak to him again. She was glad she’d stopped obeying that one. It had been too late to get to know her other brother, Brent. But, she could have a relationship going forward with the brother she had left.

And here he came now, carrying her usual drink. He greeted Leo and Bryan, stopping long enough to tickle the boy in the high chair before continuing to her table. “Vanesa said you were here. It’s been a couple weeks since you stopped in. What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” she said. “I spent the last couple weeks of summer vacation visiting mom and Analise.” By the narrowing of his eyes, he’d noticed she hadn’t mention her father. He didn’t ask either.

“How are they?”

“Good. They want me to move back home. But, I like my job at the school here. A lot better than that private school Dad got me my first job at. I feel like I’m actually doing some good here.”

He smiled. “Then stay.”

“I plan to. It was just stressful having them argue about my life like they got a say. I wanted to come see you and be where I didn’t feel judged for my decisions.”

He smiled at her, looking pleased. “Do you know what you want? I’ll get it and join you for lunch.”

She was definitely glad she’d come here. Carlos never made her feel less than for the things she wanted. No matter what they were.

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