First Argument

first time

We’re back to our brand new feature called “First Time” and this month we’re posting a first argument between characters. The piece is from a not-yet-published book called Entangled and it’s between Rowan Haggerty and Sergei Bukolov. They are speaking on the phone and he’s assuming all kinds of things that aren’t true. I’ll leave you all to read how Rowan handles it.  Hope you all enjoy!

 

“May I speak with Sergei Bukolov, then?”

“I’m sure the Voyevoda does not have time—”

She cut him off. “He needs to make time. This is about an extremely delicate matter, which your Knyaz will be furious about if you don’t let me speak to someone in authority.”

“Hold on one moment.”

Rowan heard clicking on the line. The fucker had better not have hung up on her.

“This is Bukolov.” A deep raspy male voice said. “Who is this?”

Rowan shivered. She was sure she knew the voice and it disturbed her now, just as it had nearly four years ago. Unless there was another man named Sergei with the same voice, this had to be the same man. Unless she was imaging it. That had to be it. There was no way the man she spoke with was the same man she’d worked with. The world wasn’t that small.

“Hello?”

Shit, get yourself together Haggerty.

“My name is Rowan Haggerty. I have a small child with me named Mikhail. He says his father is Vladimir Rodzianko.”

“What? This is impossible.”

“Mr. Bukolov, I pulled Mikhail out of a dangerous situation. He told me he was supposed to go to his grandparent’s house, but now he obviously wants to come home.”

“What do you want?”

“I want to get Mikhail back to his father safely.” She hoped the duh wasn’t too obvious in her voice.

“How much? How much do you want?”

Rowan tried not to get angry, but after everything that had happened, she was tired and pissed. She looked at the kid’s anxious face and forced a smile. “Hon, would you like to talk to Sergei?”

“Oh yes,” he nodded.

Rowan heard a quick intake of breath through the phone line as she handed it to Misha. “Here he is.”

Misha eagerly took the phone. “Sergei, it is me, Misha. I want to come home now.” He paused, obviously listening to the man on the phone. “Rowan saved me from the bad men. Aleksandr is dead. The bad men killed him. Olik, and Jaska were alive. I do not know if they are any longer. I think Jaska was a bad man too.” His eyes filled with tears and Rowan took his hand. “Rowan is like you and papa, she is a warrior. She got me away from the bad men.” He listened, shaking his head. “I don’t know.” He held the phone out to Rowan and crawled into her lap. She took the phone and held him close as he cried.

“I want this baby to come home. Are you going to help us or not?”

“Yes, I still do not understand how any of this happened but tell me where you are. I will come.”

“We can’t stay here and wait. I don’t want to take the chance. Where should we meet?”

“What do you mean?”

“People may be hunting us and I can’t stay here.”

“Fuck, I need to speak to Vlad. Give me your number so I can reach you.”

“Right now, I don’t know who to trust. So, give me your number and I’ll call you.”

He gave her a number and she memorized it. She hoped like hell this man could be trusted, but she was running out of options if she wanted to reach Rodzianko. If it came down to it, she’d kill Bukolov. She’d do whatever was necessary to protect Mikhail.

“As soon as we get some miles behind us, I’ll call.”

“By then, I will have spoken to Vlad.”

“Bukolov, don’t double cross us. If you make any move to hurt this child I’ll kill you.”

 

Ahhh, can’t you just feel the love?? Anyway go check out the other bloggers’ first arguments.

Jess      Bronwyn    Kris     Kayleigh     Siobhan

Wordless Wednesday February 2019

wordless

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for Wordless Wednesday . . . other than not be wordless, obviously. Then I thought about just how gray and horrible it’s been here for days and days. It either snows or rains (usually rains) pretty much every day. So, yeah, it’s time for beautiful flower pics. The pics are from botanical gardens I’ve visited over the last few years. Enjoy!

 

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Jessica     Bronwyn     Siobhan    Kayleigh

 

 

An Image in the Mirror

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february

I really like our flash fiction picture for February. It took me a bit to come up with a story, but one it hit I was off and running. Hope you like it.

Sophia stared at herself in the mirror. She saw a woman with cool eyes and serene features, but that wasn’t the reality. The reality was she was scared shitless. Who wouldn’t be when her parents were going to sell her to the highest bidder? Oh, no one called it that, of course. They were too classy to call the “coming out” ball an auction, but that’s what it was. Women, girls really, were paraded around for the wealthy Coadjutors to view and, if one was to his liking, he approached her parents or guardians to work out a deal.

Sophia knew her parents would hold out for a large payment since she was a virgin. It wasn’t a secret either since it said so right in the catalog that was handed out to each Coadjutor as he entered the enormous ballroom. If she could, Sophia would run away, but there wasn’t anyplace to go. Her parents owned her until they sold her to the highest bidder.

Closing her eyes, she breathed in and out of her nose, trying to get her pounding heart under control. It really wasn’t any use though since she was scared. Okay, she was terrified and deep breathing wasn’t going to fix that.

“What are you doing?” her mother whispered angrily in her ear. “Turn around and smile.”

Sophia looked at the woman who had given birth to her and felt nothing but contempt. From the moment she could understand anything, this woman had explained that she was a commodity. They were raising her to elevate themselves. That was it. So, they’d put money into her. Giving her dance and voice lessons, teaching her comportment all so that she could be sold into wealth and power.

Pinching the underside of her arm, hard, her mother yanked Sophia across the room to where her father waited. He stood next to a man older than he was and she crossed her fingers that they were just friends.

“Ah good,” her father said, with a smile. “This is our daughter, Sophia. She is only twenty-two and a virgin, so her power is untapped and ripe.”

Sophia forced herself to stand perfectly still because, she knew, if she moved at all, she would run. Run and never stop.

The man she didn’t know looked her up and down. “I will need to check. I cannot take your word that she’s a virgin. My Daimon would not be pleased if we were to offer for her then found out she’d already been taken.”

“Of course,” her father said, “I understand. I’ve already reserved a room.”

Before Sophia could react, her mother and father had her by the arms and were dragging her into a small room that held a shelf bolted to the wall and a chair.

“Don’t give him any problem, girl,” her father said and backed out the door.

The stranger gripped her chin in his large hand and tilted her face up. Turning her head left and right he studied her.

“You’re pretty enough,” he pronounced. “Now pull your dress up and sit on the table.”

“Excuse me?” she finally forced out.

“I need to check to see if you’re a virgin. Get on the table and spread your legs.”

Sophia stared at him. “Have you lost your mind? You are not going to touch me.”

He smiled. “Oh, I like a fighter. Yes, this will be quite good.”

He grabbed her and wrapped an arm around her waist and he tried to shove a hand up her dress. Sophia fought, but could feel his hand run along her leg. He began to pant and rub himself against her so she tried to kick out at him.

“That’s right,” he said, “yeah, squirm around and fight.”

Sophia held back a sob as she fought harder, then he released her as she staggered forward. Spinning, she found a man she didn’t know holding a knife to her assailant’s throat.

“Doesn’t look like she wants your hands on her,” the new man said conversationally.

“I don’t,” Sophia said.

“So, love, what do you want me to do to him?”

Without hesitating Sophia stepped forward, raised her dress and kicked the man who attempted to assault her right between the legs. Crying out, he dropped to the floor and cradled his genitals.

The unknown man smiled and bowed. “Well, I guess that fixed him. I’m Raiden.”

“Sophia,” she said and curtseyed.

He held out a hand. “Come, let’s get out of here.”

Smiling, she took his hand figuring anywhere was better than where she was.

 

Jessica     Bronwyn   Kayleigh

January 2019 Top 10

top 10

This month we are counting down our top 10 children’s books. This is going to be hard for me since I’ve read so many. Between being an elementary school teacher and then holding the title of kids’ lead at B&N my list is endless. I will attempt to give you my top favorites, though these are in no particular order, except the first one.

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My very favorite children’s book is: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I know I’ve talked about this book before,  but I can’t say enough good things about it. If you’ve never read it I say go and read it right now. I probably have, at least, 6 or 7 different copies as well as an ebook. I can now read it any time I need a pick-me-up

 

 

2 is Nancy Drew. I know it’s not a single book, but I love the series. I started reading them when I was probably eight and they remain a favorite.

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3 is Skippy Jon Jones. If you’ve never read it you’re missing out. When I was teaching, this was the book my kids wanted me to read to them. I think I read it like thirty times and, not only to my students, but to other classes too.

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4 is Harriet the Spy. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read this book. I loved the idea of her having a “secret” notebook she kept all her observations in. I had a notebook too, but I made up stories. Sort of the same thing.

5 is the Little House books. I didn’t watch the TV show. I didn’t like it, but I loved the books. My favorite was These Happy Golden Years since it was the one where Laura and Almanzo fell in love. *sigh*

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6 is the book Auntie Claus, which I purchased when I was teaching. It’s all about children who discover their aunt is Santa’s sister.

 

 

 

 

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7 is Tuesday. This book is so clever and so imaginative. And it has no words, just pictures to tell the story. If you’ve never seen it I highly suggest you check it out.

 

 

 

8 is a Wrinkle in Time. I’ve read this whole series over and over and it never gets old. I also shared it with my students every year I taught.

9 is, of course, Harry Potter. Of course, I was an adult when the first one was published, but I was going into teaching so asked for The Sorcerer’s Stone for Christmas. My sister had never head of it, since the book has come out a few months before, but got it for me anyway.

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10 is The Borrowers. If you’ve never heard of the book it’s by an English author and was pubbed in the early 50s. I found the first one in my very tiny school library and instantly fell in love. The novel is all about a family of tiny people who live in the walls of a “human” house. So much fun.

 

 

 

Jessica     Bronwyn     Kris     Siobhan

January 2019 Brain Dump

brain dump

I have so many thing on my mind lately. The state of the world, politics, why is high fashion so weird . . .my thoughts are endless. But let me share just some of what’s on my mind.

If you know anything about me, you know that I’m a crafting crazy. I always say I’m a Jill of all trades, but Mistress of none. So, I knit, embroider, cross stitch, make jewelry, make my own spa stuff, help Sis when she messes with her miniature projects. Now, I’ve decided I want to teach myself to water color. Yeah, I know, but it’s just something I feel I need to do. I’m sure I’ll be crap at it, but I don’t care.

I’ve labeled this year the Year of Self-Care and I downloaded the coolest app called Stop Breathe Think and I love it. It’s meditation, but more than that. It has a journaling section and it walks you through yoga and falling asleep. It’s good stuff.

I’ve also decided to try and teach myself Spanish or reteach myself. I have this app called Duolingo and it’s really good. The lessons are super short and I like it too.

Why is it when you need to work a cat will insist on being cradled like a baby, but when you’re free the cat is nowhere to be found?

Why are the stories in the news always bad? Couldn’t we maybe have 1 good story to every 2 bad?

I still don’t understand how people can back the current president. The man is a liar. He lies so much I expect his pants to just burst into flames at any moment. If they did, that would be really funny.

Why do some people think that if the person in front of them stops at a stop sign they don’t have to stop for it? Are they special? Do they not see it? Do they not understand what STOP actually means?

Cold weather is stupid. That’s all. It’s just stupid. Once the holidays are over the weather needs to be sunny and 65.

If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t stay at my day job. Even though I like my day job, yeah, I’d be so done.

Wow, I think that’s about all for me. If you want to share a random thought, you are more than welcome to jot one in the comment section.

Jessica    Bronwyn     Kris

God of Ocean Tides

 

once upon a time

Welcome to the first flash fiction based on a song for 2019! Our song this months is called God of Ocean Tides by Counting Crows. If you don’t know it, which I didn’t, here a video for you to check out.

Also, I’m not a fan of the Counting Crows, especially when that horrible song Mr. Jones was played over and over on the radio. BUT, I like the title of this song and the imagery from the video. So, here’s my flash:

Blaire raised her face to the salty ocean breeze and breathed deep. The rhythmic roar of the waves combined with the starry night sky made the evening perfect. Okay, the man walking at her side holding her hand didn’t hurt either. She and Ryujin had met at a party on New Year’s Eve, a party she hadn’t wanted to attend, a party her friend Stacy had practically had to force her to go to. Stacy had told her all about the consultant who had come from Japan to work with Stacy’s husband’s company on their idea on how to get the plastic out of the oceans.

Blaire had reluctantly agreed, wanting to meet the man that even Tom, Stacy’s husband, gushed over. Ryujin Nakashi truly was gush worthy, from his shoulder length ink black hair to his sharp cheekbones to his startling ocean green eyes, the man was all that and a bag of chips. Yes, he was good-looking, but that hadn’t held Blaire’s attention. What did was the man’s brain. He was smart and funny and the two of them could sit for hours and just talk. Politics, religion, the newest science fiction movie, there wasn’t a subject they hadn’t covered.

Now, nearly eight months later Ryujin’s job was taking him back to Japan. She knew their time was limited, but eight months had seemed like such a long time. Not anymore. Not when eight months was now down to hours. Hours until he left. Hours until she wouldn’t see him anymore.

When they’d started, they said they would keep things light, knowing it had an end date. Blaire had been totally good with that. She hadn’t been in the market for a long-term relationship. Her career as a lawyer was the most important thing in her life. She planned on making partner by the time she was thirty-five so she couldn’t afford distractions. Now, after eight months, she was in love for the first time ever and she would give up the idea of becoming a partner just to be with the man who walked beside her.

Not that she would ever tell him that. They’d said casual with an end date and she had no right to ask for more. To expect more.

“I love the ocean,” he said, his deep accented voice easing over her.

“I do too. I could live on the beach and be quite happy.”

“Really?” He stopped and turned to face her. “Would you really be happy living on a beach?”

Blaire looked out at the moon casting its silvery light over the waves and nodded. “Oh yes. When I first came to California. The very first day I was here. The first thing I did once I collected my luggage at the airport was come to the beach. I remember having beach posters hanging up in my room when I was a kid. I even asked my mom for a table top fountain for like my sixth birthday. I wanted the sound of water in my room.”

“Did you get it?”

“Oh no, water and electricity with a six-year-old. But mom did get me a sound machine that played ocean waves. I had it on all the time. I went to sleep with it and woke up with it.”

He smiled. “Now I understand all the fountains around your home and in your office.”

“I know it’s not the same, but it’s the closest I can come on a daily basis.”

He pulled her into his arms and kissed her. Damn, the man could kiss. She’d found that out on New Year’s Even too. Then she’d taken him home and found out what else he could do with sexy mouth.

He pulled back to cup her face in his hands and stare into her eyes. She mimicked him by cupping his face. They stood like this for long moments, just staring into each other’s eyes.

“I don’t want to leave you,” he whispered. “I know what we said—”

She interrupted him. “I feel the same way. I don’t want you to leave.” Then she took a chance and said the words she’d never said to a man before. “I love you.”

“I love you and I would stay with you here, but I have responsibilities at home.”

“I know,” she said.

“If I asked you to come with me. To my home. To leave your home. Your job. Everything.” He closed his eyes. “Too much to ask of you.”

Something in Blaire rose up. The something that she always listened to, no matter how crazy. It was the same knowing she had when she decided to move to California. Took a different train where she met her friend Stacy. The knowing that had guided her, her whole life.

“Ask me.”

“Will you come with me? Be mine? And I will be yours.”

“Yes, I will.”

He took her mouth in a kiss that was all teeth and tongues and passion. A kiss that always made her crazy for him. This man that she loved and was willing to give up everything for.

“In Japan,” he spoke against her lips, “there are stories about gods of the ocean. Dragon kings who live in cities deep, deep in the ocean. These dragons protect and guard their territories. One of these dragon kings is Ryujin, who rules a kingdom city in the North Pacific Ocean. He had many responsibilities, but no one to share them with. No one to call his own. Until now. Now Ryujin has Blaire who will live with him and love with him.”

She nodded slowly. “Yes, I will live with you and love with you. But I am very human.”

And why wasn’t she freaking out? Why wasn’t she calling him a liar and running away? Because she knew there was something different about him. She’s always known. Once again, her instincts had nudged her and so, she accepted.

“Not so much anymore.” He said and looked a bit embarrassed. “The last few months, when we had sex without a condom, my essence had begun to prepare you, especially since we…you…”

Blaire laughed. “When I went down on you.”

He ran his fingers through his hair. “Yes, that combined with the intercourse had begun to make changes to your body. And, before you ask, if I would have left in the morning these changes would have eventually gone away.”

“Would you have gone away?”

“No, I love you too much. Need you too much.”

“So, what do we do?”

“We leave, if you’re ready.”

“I am ready.”

He backed up from her and smiled then his figure blurred and changed. Blaire blinked her eyes to try to bring him back into focus, but where Ryujin had stood now stood a…dragon. A ginormous black dragon that slowly lowered his head until they could see eye to eye. His eyes were Ryujin’s eyes.

“Wow, you are utterly amazing.”

He nuzzled her gently with his snout and spoke. “Thank you.”

He turned his front paw over and in the midst of the talons was a pearlescent sphere.

“Step in and I will show you our home.”

Blaire stepped up and into the shape that reminded her of a soap bubble and, before she could blink, they were in the water. She knew, that no matter what life brought her, it would never be boring with her god of the ocean tides.

Now head on over and see what Jessica, Bronwyn, KrisSiobhan and Kayleigh have written.