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Posts tagged ‘Flames’

Fiction Friday: Dougal & Shae

It’s the end of January which means it’s time to share the beginning of the last of my back story novellas. I’m not sure I’ll be sharing more of these, at least not here. I do have other ideas for them, though. I may talk more about that another time, as I firm up those plans. But for now, here’s the first scene of Dougal & Shae’s story(Flames).

Dougal Magaldi scanned the room around him from behind the bar. He’d only been in town a couple weeks now. He was just glad he’d been able to find a job so quickly. His father hadn’t wanted to leave home, and the pub they’d been running together the last two years. But, it hadn’t taken him long to realize he couldn’t work for his father.

He loved the stubborn old bastard, but he couldn’t work for the man. And he really didn’t want to have to go crawling back, saying he’d failed just as his father had predicted. But, he’d landed this job, so he wouldn’t have to think about that. At least not yet, not as long as he could hold onto the job and his apartment.

The clientele here was definitely different from what he was used to at the family pub. A bit rougher. Not nearly as many couple and families. A lot more men, and women, on the prowl. And more troublemakers among them.

He looked at a couple of them right now. They hadn’t done anything just yet, but they were throwing back the drinks quite hard. But, even though he’d only worked behind the bar the last couple years, he’d spent most of his life in the pub. He’d gotten good at pinpointing the riffraff from those just out to have a good time.

These two definitely fell into that first group. Nothing he could do unless they actually started causing a problem, though. And from what he’d seen so far, his boss wouldn’t take action until it went almost too far. Nothing he could do about that either. All he could do was his job.

Two men came up and leaned against the bar. These didn’t seem so much like troublemakers, and Dougal offered a smile as one held up two fingers and said, “Guinness.”

His smile widened. “Ah, a couple Irish lads,” he said, a burr in his voice as he reached into the cooler for the bottles. He always seemed to pick it up when he visited his mother’s family. But, he’d been back from Scotland for a few weeks now. He would have thought it would’ve faded again by now.

”And you’re a Scottish one,” one of the men said, grinning at him.

“Born there,” he admitted. “Came over when I was three. Just went back to visit family recently, though.”

“Our father came over from the Old Country when he was a teen,” the other man said.

Our father. Brothers, then. He supposed he could see it now. One of them went rigid at a commotion down the bar. Dougal glanced that way and saw the men he’d pinned as troublemakers. And that’s just what they were doing now…making trouble.

The taller of the two men in front of him sighed. “And here I thought we were off duty.”

“Donny,” the other man said, “it’s not our fight. Maybe they’ll…”

A beer bottle went flying before he could even finish the sentence. “Sure, Dev, maybe they will. Come on.”

Dougal watched as they started to wade in to the fight and debated whether he should step in or call the cops. His boss would hate that second option, but when he saw the flash of a knife, his debate was over.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday – In/Out

Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt is to use in/out. One or the other or both somewhere in the post. The only project I haven’t worked on this week is Crash and Burn(previously only referred to as Brann’s story or Brann & Jaya). This comes right after last week’s piece I wrote. I tried continuing that scene yesterday, and couldn’t figure out how to pick it up. I think because that scene was over, and I just didn’t realize it. So, we’ll be switching into Jaya’s POV now.

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Jaya left her hand in Brann’s for a moment longer than necessary for a greeting. But, she didn’t want to let go. Ridiculous. She’d just met the man. She couldn’t really feel anything for him. But, he hadn’t take his eyes from hers yet.

“Care for a dance?” he asked.

She hesitated for a moment. She really wasn’t much of a dancer. She knew exactly what to do when she was in the back of an ambulance, but in almost any other situation, she wasn’t nearly as sure of herself. She couldn’t see the same being said of him. he looked perfectly at ease with himself. What would he say if she started tripping over her own feet out there?

She heard Caitie snicker from behind Brann and wondered what that was about. But, she found herself nodding. He pulled her out to the dance floor and brought one hand to her waist. He didn’t seem to want to release that hand, though. Maybe he felt the same way she did.

“I’ll apologize in advance,” he said.

She was almost too drawn in to that honey-smooth voice to process what he’d said. “Why would you apologize?”

The song changed, another slow, romantic tune at least, and they started to move with it. And only a few beats into the song, she felt a sharp pain in her toes. Brann winced. “That’s why,” he said. “Sorry about my big clumsy feet. I don’t always seem to know where I’m putting them.”

She laughed and put her arms over his shoulders. And here she was sure he’d be so sure of himself. “Then, why did you ask me to dance?”

“Because ever since I saw you earlier, I wanted to spend some time with you. But, I thought you were here with one of the firefighters.” one side of his mouth ticked up at that. “Mark and Caitie set me straight on that one. I figured when you were dancing with that kid, he was who you were with.”

“Austin?” she asked with a laugh. “He’s like my little brother. And anyway, I’d never truly get between him and Jess. No matter how many times she breaks his heart.”

Brann shifted and finally looked away from her. What was that all about. He glanced back at her. “Sorry. I don’t like discussing other peoples’ relationships. It can get sticky.”

He’d looked away again, and she followed his gaze. Over to the bar set up in the corner of the room. “Who’s that?” she asked.

“My baby brother and one of his bartenders. That’s all I’ll say about it.”

She looked up at him again and thought he might look worried. But, she didn’t understand that at all. She thought it might be one of those sticky things he didn’t like to discuss, though.

You aren’t a firefighter, right?” she asked.

He let out a loud rolling laugh at that. “No,” he said, grinning down at her. “I’m not. Thank goodness for that. I heard I wouldn’t have a chance with you if that was the case.”

But, he wanted one? Beyond more than just this dance? She thought she could go for that.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Better Hope”

Welcome back for another Stream of Consciousness Saturday. I wasn’t quite sure what I’d use the prompt for this week, as I’ve met all my goals for the week already. Then, Linda commented on last week’s post, saying it made her want to read more. So, more Brann & Jaya it is. There’s a scene between last week’s and this one, but this one has us back in Brann’s POV, using the prompt of a word containing ‘ho’

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“That boy better hope he knows what he’s doing,” Mark muttered next to Caitie.

Brann looked out to the dance floor where his brother-in-law was staring. There she was, and she was dancing with one of the firefighters. He didn’t get what the problem was. She was allowed to dance with her date, right? She was a grown woman. he took a sip of his scotch. Yeah, she definitely looked like a grown woman.

Caitie patted Mark’s arm. “Don’t worry so much. he and Jess will figure this out.”

“Jess? That’s her name?” Brann asked before he’d planned to say the words. He felt his sister’s gaze on him and looked down into his glass.

“No,” she said, drawing out the word, and he was sure there was laughter in it. Okay, so he hadn’t been too subtle with his staring since her and that boy came out on the dance floor. “You’ve met Jess Hunter, remember. Nolan’s little sister.”

Right, Nolan, Mark’s best friend, practically a brother. So, since Mark had been welcomed into their family because of Caitie so had Nolan’s family.

Mark picked it up. “Jess and Austin have had an on and off thing going for a while. We never know where it stands. Though, if it was up to him, it would always be on, I think. and now, he’s dragging Jaya into it.”

“Jaya,” he murmured, liking the way the name sounded on his tongue. “Her date doesn’t mind?”

Caitie snorted. “Smooth, Brann, really smooth. And she’s not here with anyone.”

“But, I saw her sitting there with all the firefighters.”

“You know,” Mark said easily, “Kayla would kick your ass for assuming she wasn’t one of them.”

She hadn’t been dressed like the rest of the firefighters. And he’d caught his cousin’s wife’s temper before, so hopefully none of them would mention this. “Is she?”

Mark laughed. “No. She is a paramedic with the department, though. And she has a rule about not dating firefighters. She’s made that clear to anyone who’s tried to ask her.”

“Did you?” Caitie asked, poking him in the chest.

He held his hands up and laughed then drew her up for a kiss. Brann realized someone was standing beside him and turned to look. There was Jess Hunter, and she was scowling out at the dance floor. Brann hid his smile with another sip of scotch. Mark and Caitie seemed to be on to something.

Then, the song was over. Jaya leaned in close to Austin’s ear, but they were too far away for Brann to know what was really going on. Then, she was headed their way. His mouth went dry and his hands wet as he watched her approach. He took another sip to try to fix at least one of those issues. Then, she was right there in front of them and Caitie was grabbing her for an enthusiastic hug. Caitie did almost everything enthusiastically.

“Jaya,” Caitie said as she pulled away, “this is my second oldest brother, Brann. I know you’ve met Cormac before. Brann,” she said before Jaya could say anything about their oldest brother, “this is Jaya Mertz.”

Just barely he heard Mark murmur in her ear, “No matchmaking at our wedding.” But, Caitie only grinned.

Brann didn’t care about any of that as he took her hand. He didn’t want to let go. So, he asked, “Care to dance?”

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Screen

Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt is “screen” to use any way we want. I only have one more secondary project on my list to get done; one that’s been plotted for a while but I still haven’t started writing. At least the beginning of it takes place during the same time as Closing Time, which I just finished the first draft for.

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Brann Magaldi leaned against the wall, watching. His sister was a little busy right now, dancing circles around her new husband, but he was sure she’d be over soon enough to tell him to stop brooding. he wasn’t, not really. Just not in the desire to be in the middle of all this. He slipped his phone out and glanced at the screen. He’d resisted the urge to do that most of the night. No work tonight. That was the order their mother had given both him and his older brother. It wasn’t like either of them were on duty or even on call.

But, this case. It was driving him mad. It wasn’t even his case. He knew what his captain would tell him. He wasn’t a detective; it wasn’t his place to try to solve the crimes. But, the victims seemed to keep piling up. None of them saw their attacker. All of them woke up missing money, one had even had his boots stolen. None of them would be considered innocent by most people, but that didn’t change anything for Brann. He still wanted to stop whoever was going after them.

He felt a nudge to his side and almost dropped his phone. “Enough with the dour looks, brother,” Caitie said, grinning up at him. “It’s my wedding. We’re supposed to be celebrating.”

He put his phone away and tried to put away everything else as well, smiling at her. “I know, and you look beautiful. Radiant, even.”

Her grin widened then she tugged on his hand. “Come on. Dance. Enjoy the party. It’s the best gift you could give me.”

He cupped her cheek and kissed her forehead. “I’d give you whatever you deserve, sweet Caitie. But, you know you’d hate every minute of it if someone tried to pamper you.”

She laughed at that. “You do know me well, Brann. How about just one dance?”

“You don’t want me to dance with you. I’ll just step all over your feet.”

That brought out another laugh. “I think my feet are immune by now. I have been dancing with Mark. They may have erected a shield around themselves now.”

Brann let out a loud laugh at that. Mark might be a lot of things, strong brave, honorable, but graceful wasn’t among them. Especially around Caitie. “I think I’ll go get a drink instead of tormenting your feet some more.”

He left her with a kiss on the cheek and headed over to the bar in the corner of the room. it looked pretty slow there right now, only one other person waiting for a drink. His brother stood behind the bar, saying something to the bartender working with him. Brann knew Caitie had not asked Gio to work the wedding. She’d wanted a couple of his bartenders to work, since the one they’d hired had fallen through at the last minute. she’d been surprised when he showed up to work with just one other bartender, who had gotten set up while Gio was at the wedding itself.

It was always hard to figure out what Gio was thinking, and why he did things the way he did.

Now, though, from the way the other bartender flushed and looked quickly away from Gio, Brann could figure why he’d chosen this one to come with him. Just a flirtation, Brann told himself. Gio was like that, flirted with pretty much everyone. But, he thought he saw something in his brother’s eyes as he looked at the bartender. it made him a little uneasy. They all knew about the man’s past, what he’d done to someone they all considered close to family. But none of them had told Gio. It didn’t have any effect on how he did his job, but the way they interacted now worried Brann. What if he ended up hurting Gio, too?

A cheer going up from a nearby table drew his attention away from the bar. Mark and Caitie now stood in front of a table filled with people in dress uniforms. Almost all of them firefighters. At the other end, a couple were in different uniforms. Marine dress blues. Must be some of Mark’s old friends from his days in the Corps. But, it was the firefighters cheering now as Caitie straightened from the dip Mark had her in and leapt up to wrap her legs around his waist and continue the kiss he’d started. Brann started to turn away, he did not need to see his sister with her tongue down her husband’s throat or the way his hands–yeah, not even letting his thoughts go there.

But, someone else at the table caught his eye. Her black hair fell straight down her back. She wasn’t in a uniform, either, but a glimmering silver dress that seemed to hug around her. Her light brown skin seemed to glow against it. His breath caught as he stared at her. he had to get control of himself. She was sitting between two of the firefighters, and was most likely with one of them. He would never be the one to try to break up a relationship. Now matter how much he was instantly attracted to a woman.

It had never happened that fast before, though. But, he still told himself he could ignore it. So, he turned back to the bar and headed toward his brother. Who was laughing at something the other bartender must have said. Gio’s flirtations might make him uneasy, but he could deal with that more than lusting for a woman he couldn’t have.

He glanced back once and saw the woman put her hand on one of the men’s arms. He jerked his gaze back around.

He could really use that drink after all.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday – “drink”

Welcome back to another Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Today’s prompt is “drink”. The story I’ve been plotting out is perfect for this one, since most of it will take place in a pub. 🙂

“Can I get you something to drink?”

Cam didn’t like the look of the man leaning against the bar, but he wasn’t visibly intoxicated, so there wasn’t a reason for him to refuse him service. He wished there was. He’d just have to serve him as quick as possible and hopefully he’d go find a table and not be back up.

“Actually I’m here looking for someone.”

“Well, there are a lot of people out there,” Cam said, nodding toward the nearly full dining area. “Most of them already have company, though. I don’t know if they’ll be pleased to have you join them.”

He heard a snort behind him and instantly recognized it as Gio’s. Thankfully his boss didn’t have a problem with his sense of humor. He actually seemed to enjoy it at times. The man in front of him didn’t seem to, though. The corners of his mouth twitched down.

“I meant someone in particular. I need some information on him. Heard he was working here.”

He felt tension crackle out from behind him, and Gio stepped forward. “If you need information on one of my employees, I’d at least like to know who’s asking.”

“I don’t see why that matters. I just need to know if he’s here.”

“Then, I need to know who’s asking. You have ID?”

The man grumbled, but he drew out his wallet and showed his identification to Gio. Cam didn’t catch the name on it, but Gio’s tension didn’t ease, either. “You can buy a drink or you can go, Mr. Boyce,” he said as the man put the wallet back in his pocket.

“His brother’s trying to find him,” the man explained, and it twisted Cam’s stomach. No, this couldn’t be happening. “They’ve been estranged, but it’s important he find him now.”

“Then, maybe he should come himself. I don’t have to give you any information about my employees, though.”

The man looked over at Cam, and he knew. Elliot was looking for him. He apparently hadn’t run far enough. And Elliot hadn’t gotten he hint the last time he’d packed up and left. “Can I take my break now, Gio.”

“Sure thing,” Gio said, not taking his eyes off the man. “I’ll watch the bar for you.”

Cam hurried out from behind the bar and into the back room. He could just go. He didn’t want to leave Gio hanging, and things had been going so well for him here. But, he could let Elliot drag him to the place he’d been before. He didn’t have to go, he reminded himself. He’d been away from his family without contact for more than a dozen years. For good reason.

He wasn’t going to run, he decided. And he didn’t have to let his brother drag him anywhere, to another state or back to that state of mind. And if Elliot did come here, he’d tell him exactly that.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Class

Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday theme is ‘class’. I thought maybe I’d write more about Hawk and Devil(or Gavin and Damon as they used to be called), but instead I have something else. I just started plotting out a companion novella to my Flames series yesterday. So, these two are still in my head. Neither are actually firefighters(which the series revolves around). One is the brother of a character from Flames of Retribution. The other was actually an antagonist from Flames of Restoration. He wasn’t really a “bad guy”, but he did a not great thing that could have made things really bad for one of the characters. He knows he screwed up, and now maybe he has a second chance at his own “happy ever after.”

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“I guess I missed that class.

Gio threw his head back and laughed. Cam seemed to make him laugh every shift they worked together. It was part of why he made sure he wasn’t in the office whenever Cam was behind the bar. The bartender shot him a look now, coupled with a slightly shy smile. That wasn’t a side he showed very often, certainly not with the customers. At least not the male customers.

“Flirting isn’t that difficult,” Gio said. “You do it all the time.”

With the male customers. But Gio had noticed he was a bit reserved even there. Cam had told Gio when he’d hired the man there had been an issue with a customer where he’d worked before. Though he’d never gone into just what had happened. He was careful not to let any of that go too far, but some mile flirting didn’t cause problems.

“Has someone complained?” Cam asked, suddenly looking tense.

Gio placed his hand over the one Cam had braced against the bar. “No,” he said, his voice soft. “If it was something like that, we’d be having this conversation in my office. And if there was any weight behind the complaint, you’d be taking a hike.”

Gio tended to be soft-spoken, and people usually took that to mean he could be pushed around. But, not when it came to managing his father’s pub. They had a zero tolerance policy for drinking on the job and for sexual harassment. He didn’t mind the mild flirting, but if someone asked them to stop and they didn’t, they’d be gone. A ‘no’ or ‘stop’ meant just that to him.

Cam seemed to relax a bit at that. Then, he turned to take an order from another customer. He didn’t flirt with this man, though. Gio recognized one of the firefighter’s his sister’s fiancé worked with. Did he have something against firefighters? or did he recognize the flirting might not be welcome. Gio knew all about being cautious around different people.

He watched as Cam drew two drafts with a  steady hand, but that same hand shook almost uncontrollably as he reached for a bottle of Rolling Rock in the cooler. Gio grabbed it for him setting it on the bar with the other drinks. “That it for you, Austin?” he asked since Cam had already turned away. What the hell was up with that?

“Yep. Looking forward to Caitie’s wedding.”

Gio smiled at the rookie firefighter. “So am I.”

When the man took the beers away, Gio turned back to Cam. “There a problem?”

Cam shook his head but wouldn’t meet his eyes. “Okay if I take my break now, though?”

“Yeah, sure. I’ve got things handled here for now.” But, he still watched Cam as he slipped out from behind the bar. Then, he turned his gaze to the table Austin had walked to. He knew all those men, particularly Nolan, his future brother-in-law’s best friend. They were all good guys. So, what had made Cam react like that to them?

He tried to push that thought away as he struck up a conversation with the next customer. But, it kept circling in his head for the rest of the night.

A-Z Challenge: W is for William Boroughs

W

William Boroughs watched each of the cars as they passed. Did they even still know how to get here? It had been years since his cousins had been up here to their grandparents’ place. And now they were moving here. Well, not here to his grandparents’, but not too far away.

Both of them.  Of course that wasn’t too surprising. Oliver and Emilia had always seemed to do everything together. He’d been fairly close with Oliver when they’d been growing up. At least as close as they could be. But, William’s older sister, Adia, had been even closer to Emilia. Maybe girls had an easier time of keeping in touch even when they weren’t nearby. But, he didn’t know anyone who was as close as the twins were. Not even his mom and Aunt Letizia, Oliver and Emilia’s mom. And they were twins, too.

Finally, he saw a car pull into the driveway and another one right behind it. That had to be them. Sure enough, Oliver stepped out of the first car and grinned at him. “God, Will, you’re a sight for sore eyes.

William glanced over his shoulder than back to Oliver. “Don’t let grandma hear you take the Lord’s name in vain like that. She’s not above boxing our ears.”

Oliver cringed. “It’s been a while since I’ve had to worry about that. Dad always refused to do church, and Mom didn’t fight him about it.”

William bit his tongue, very nearly literally, to keep from saying just what he, and most of the rest of the family, thought about Uncle Roderick. And what Aunt Lettie let him get away with. He’d hear the opinions soon enough. Not all of his relatives were so good at biting their own tongues.

Emilia came up beside her brother and smiled at William. “Let me guess,” she said, “everyone’s waiting for us in the house?”

“You got it,” William told her.

She glanced over at Oliver and squeezed his hand. “You okay?”

He wet his lips and nodded. “Yeah, sure. They can’t handle it any worse than Dad did. And might as well get it over with first.”

Oliver had confided in William years ago, so he understood his nerves. Especially walking in to a house full of Catholics. “Mom knows,” he said. “Your mom told her.”

Oliver froze in mid-step at that. “She did?”

“It wasn’t her place, but apparently your father refused to discuss it, and she needed someone who wouldn’t judge.”

“And she doesn’t?”

William shook his head. “Neither do I. Neither will Uncle Dougal. I can’t assure you of the rest, but you aren’t any less our family because you’re gay. You haven’t spent too much time around the Magaldi clan, but they’re a lot more accepting than your father.”

“Not from the way he’s always talked,” Oliver muttered.

“Well, maybe not of him. But, that’s because-”

“He’s an asshole,” Oliver and Emilia said at the same time.

William laughed. “Not quite what I was going to say. But, yeah, pretty much.”

“It’s okay,” Emilia said. “We know how he is, probably better than anyone else.”

William could see some of the family standing at the door already. “We’d better get inside,” he said, “before they all come out and mob us.” Oliver wiped his hands on his pants, and William patted his shoulder. “It’ll be all right. You’ll see.”

Note: Emilia and Oliver show up in Some Fools Never Learn, the second book in my Hunter Family series, a spin-off from my Flames series. That’s actually Emilia’s story, and I’m working on Oliver’s right now. William hasn’t actually shown up in any of the stories, but I have a family tree to try to keep all these families straight.

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