Working for the Dead

promptly penned

Welcome to May’s Promptly Penned. If you’ve never encountered this before, two members of our blogging group give us either dialogue or a scenario and we write a short piece. This month the prompt is:

He is a hitman for the supernatural, because sometimes, ghosts need revenge so they can rest in peace.

And with that, I hope you enjoy!

 

“Hurry! It’s over here.”

Dekker glanced at the woman who accompanied him. What the fuck? He’d been doing the job for a very long time and he didn’t need a newbie along. He knew where they were going. He knew what to do once they reached the destination. He was the best. That’s why he was the one currently walking through the darkness. Where they were going wasn’t for amateurs.

“Are you listening?”

“Lady, you’ve been yammering at me non-stop for over an hour. I can do nothing but hear you. Tell me again why you’re here?”

“You’ll see. Now pick up the pace.”

A growl rumbled out of his throat and he grit his teeth to pull back. The otherness inside of him loved the hunt. This too was another reason he was the best. Though one had nothing to do with the job itself. It was actually the length of time he’d been at it. Most headsman lasted twenty or thirty years, but Dekker had only been hitting his stride at that point. When you were good at something why give it up? Now he was entering his . . . two hundred and fifteenth year? Really? It almost gave him pause, but let it go. Now was not the time.

“Hey, are you awake?” the woman shouted back at him. “You’re really slow. Come on.”

He approached the dark house as the woman practically danced in place. Or, she would have if her feet actually touched the ground. Something about the spirit plane being just slightly off of the human. Either way, ghost always floated.

Ignoring her, Dekker held out his hand and the front door unlocked. He stepped into a living room and listened. He heard nothing, but knew people were home. He could feel the life force of two humans in the house. Following, the way a blood hound did a scent, he tracked through the living room and into a kitchen. A door, tucked discretely in a corner, flared bright to his eyes. The one he sought was there.

As he approached, the door opened before him. Once a headsman caught the scent, nothing stood in the way. He moved down the steps and could scent blood, old and new flavoring the air. The basement was dark and dingy. And empty. He knew this wasn’t all there was to see, since he was never wrong.

“Over here,” the ghost called. “It’s over here.”

“Lady-” he began.

“Kim, my name is Kim. You have to hurry. He’ll kill her too.”

Dekker hated complications and this was going to become one. He wasn’t supposed to interfere. Go in, do the job and leave. The other inside of him wanted to kill both humans. Dekker knew he couldn’t. That would spell the end of him doing the job. He’d done a lot of stuff he wasn’t proud of, but he’d never killed an innocent. Ever.

He stepped forward and the door swung open. The man had obviously sound-proofed the room because a woman was screaming. Pain such pain tainted the air. And fury. So much fury. It touched the other in him, pulled at it.

She was petite and, at first, he thought she was a child. Not until he got a good look at her did, he realize she was a grown woman. A woman who was tied to a table and covered in blood. Her own blood. Cuts ran the over her body. Shallow cuts and deep ones. Still though she fought. She pulled at the bindings on her hands and feet as the man calmly stood beside her holding a bloody blade.

Dekker stepped forward and her eyes flicked to him, then held. Deep blue green, like the ocean on a crystal-clear day. She shouldn’t have seen him, not with the shadows cloaking him, but she did. And in that instant, he and the other calmed. He understood.

Pulling the shadows away, he cleared his throat. The man with the blade spun and staggered.

“Who are you? How did you get in here?”

No matter how long he did the job, Dekker was always vaguely surprised with the stupid questions that popped out of people’s mouths. Nevertheless, he did what he’d been trained to do so many years before. First, announce who he was and why he was there.

“I’m Dekker, Headsman for the Supernatural. Tom Phillips, your name was brought before the tribunal by twenty individuals. Upon studying the case, you are found guilty. I am here to carry out the sentence.”

The man blinked. “What? Nothing you say makes sense.”

He pulled a gun out and fired point blank into Dekker. Dekker, for his part, never moved. Humans had tried to kill him before. It never worked. He always carried out the sentence.

The man, Tom Phillips, fired three more times until the gun clicked. Empty.

“As I was saying,” Dekker continued, as though he was never interrupted. “The tribunal has granted the twenty individuals their due. Do you have anything to say in your own defense?”

Tom screamed and rushed forward. Dekker held up a hand freezing the human in his tracks.

“Since you don’t, I will administer justice.”

Darkness shot from his hand and encompassed the man who had been Tom Phillips. The human began to scream, then, was silent. Wiped away in a blink.

“Can you help me?”

Dekker moved to the woman’s side and released her bonds. “Tell me your name.”

The ghost who had accompanied him appeared. “Her name is Grace. She’s my best friend. Please help her.”

Shrugging out of his coat, he draped it around Grace’s body and picked her up. He’d help her, of course he would. Grace was his. His to protect. In a flash, he was gone leaving only emptiness.

Now check out what my friend Siobhan did with it.

 

Best lesson I’ve learned . . .

 

learning-lessons

This week our topic is the best lesson we’ve learned from a work of fiction. Truthfully, the very first book that popped into my head was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. My lesson: don’t be all sweet and self-sacrificing because you’ll die early, just like Beth. You laugh, but I remember reading this book at maybe 9 or so and I just didn’t like Beth. She was just too goody-goody for me. Then, like that, she died. So, yeah, no being good for me.

That was only reinforced with The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The main girl, Mary, was a total brat and I loved her. First, she didn’t die. Then, she got to go live in a huge house, make friends, and hang out in a secret garden. Bam! Being a brat totally paid off for her. To this day, TSG is still my favorite book of all time.

Another book was Jane Eyre. Lesson: don’t fall for some brooding man who lives in a crumbling house because he’ll have a mad wife locked in the attic. So, yeah that one saved me from heartache and the possibility of dying tragically.

Truly, the real lesson is don’t believe everything someone tells you. Rochester totally lied to her about his wife. Jerk. Oh then he had the nerve to ask her to run away with him and pretend to be his wife. Assface. In the end, he’s blind and sad and she goes back to him. Uhhh, no. Once a liar always a liar.

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In the midst of reading the classics I was also reading romance novels. Romance novels written in the 70s. Yeah if you don’t know what special little snowflakes these books were, you so have to check them out. Young virgin heroine, much older “hero” who treats her horrible and often rapes her then proclaims in the end that he’d always loved her. Bleck!!  From reading these books, I learned my most valuable lesson and it was:

I can write better than this!

Yep, that was it. Even at 12 I realized I could write way better than what I was reading. In fact, as I read, I was rewriting the book in my head to the way it should have been. Strong, older heroines. Alpha males who loved and cherished their partners. Action and adventure they took on as a team.

Now go visit Bronwyn and see what big lesson(s) she learned.

To the Stars!

flash header

 

may

Welcome to May!! The image we’re writing to this month is an awesome SciFi scene. I was a bit stumped at first, but then remembered the hint of an idea I came up with about  . . . 8 years ago. Hope you enjoy!

 

The meeting room of the Dyson City-State Directorate was huge and imposing. Lush carpeting, marble floors, and an authentic wooden table spoke of absolute wealth. However, it was a wall of floor to ceiling windows that let a visitor know he or she was in the presence of power. The windows displayed a view of the connected walkways, travel tube and buildings of the upper echelon, as well as the top of the dome that protected the city. It truly was an amazing and awe-inspiring sight. Of course, no one in the room noticed the view, they were all too busy yelling and arguing. Executrix Katrill Owen, leader of the directorate and thus Dyson itself, eased back in her chair. She had been in the job less than a handful of days and the council was beginning to realize she could not be controlled. She wondered how long it would be before they tried to murder her as they had her father.

Katrill leaned forward and rapped on the table. The room quieted immediately. “It seems to me a trade agreement with the other city-states would be in our best interest, especially Vorn. We have technology and they have room to grow. If we trade our tech for some of their dome space we can only come out the winner.”

Colin Phipps smiled at her. “Katrill you are new to the council and do not understand the nuances of the trade agreements. If you would allow me to take care of this—”

Katrill turned cold green eyes on him. “Mr. Phipps you are out of order. You do not have leave to call me by my first name. As for the trade agreements, I understand them quite well since I am the person who wrote them to begin with. If I wish your opinion or assistance I’ll ask, but I doubt that will happen.

“In any case,” she went on, “I’ve already spoken to Executrix Fallon of Vorn and we are in agreement. She and I signed the agreement this morning.”

“What?” Letham burst out. “You can’t do that.”

“Oh, yes I can. The Council is an advisory board only. I have full and absolute authority to make decisions. The agreement is good for every citizen of Dyson.”

Jathan Douglas, her uncle, cleared his throat. “Let us adjourn until next week. I’m sure we are all tired and coming back refreshed will be best for everyone.”

The assembly rose and bowed to Katrill, then filed out of the room. She relaxed back in her chair and enjoyed the silence of the room. When it was empty, the room was fairly pleasant. Of course, it never stayed empty for long when she was in residence. There were always people who wished to come and petition her for some favor or another. Too much, people wanted too much from her, took too much from her.

She stood quickly and paced to the window. The view was magnificent. Walkways lined with beautifully tended gardens created a framework for the sparkle of the dome itself. Katrill never tired of the view. But she wondered how the people, her people on the lower level survived. In her entire life, she had never been anywhere but on the top tier. She knew the building she currently occupied was hundreds of stories in the air, but she hadn’t ventured even ten down, ever. People called Grounders lived in the lower levels of the buildings. They were the caretakers of the buildings, ensuring nothing ever went wrong. The people who lived on the ground or the Stews, as it was called, eeked out a living best they could. Finally, there was the Underneath. Katrill shivered. She had heard stories of the people who lived in the underground labyrinth of Dyson. They were dangerous killers, thieves, answering only to themselves. These were her people, all of them, but how to help them.

The only people who were allowed to even gain an audience with her were the Echelon, the ruling class, and the elite rich of the city-state. And they imagined they could rule her, manipulate her. Never again, she told herself, never again would she allow herself to be taken advantage of, used as if she were nothing. Her father had done this and look where he ended up. Dead. She hadn’t had anything to do with it, contrary to the rumors. But she wasn’t sorry he was gone.

“Katrill.”

She rolled her eyes, once again, she was interrupted. “Yes, Mr. Phipps, what can I do for you?” She turned to face the man who had been her betrothed.  He was a handsome man, or that’s what people told her, with his carefully coiffed blond hair, blue eyes, and impeccable clothing choices. Colin knew exactly what to wear to show off his five-seven frame to its best. Katrill had never found him handsome. In fact, she found him fake and pretentious and a total bore. So, when her father was murdered, she had immediately broken off the marriage contract. Colin had been her father’s choice, never hers. Personally, if her father liked him so much, he should have married him. They would have been very happy together.

He smiled at her as if she were a small child needing to be placated. “I do not like how you speak to me in the meetings. Darling, people must see us as a team. Once we’re married and head the council together—”

“We are not getting married.” Katrill said, firmly. “We have already had this discussion.”  She hated that smile and the tone he used on her.

“Your father’s death has made you confused—”

“No, my father’s death made me happy. I do not wish to contract with you. I never wished it, but he insisted. He is no longer here and I am free to do what I wish. With whom I wish. You will only address me as Executrix, nothing more. You do not have my leave to use my first name, ever. Now get out and do not speak of this to me again.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “You’ll be sorry.”  He turned and huffed out of the room as Jathan reentered. He raised his eyebrows at Katrill and shook his head. “Your father never should have made a contract for you with that boy. He’s weak. You’d run right over him.”

She gave a slight smile. “But that’s the point. He’s weak and father wanted to control him.” She turned back to the windows. “So how are you this day?”

“Well as to be expected since my favorite niece is upset.”

She smiled at the older man and shrugged. “I’m your only niece, I believe.”

“That’s true.” He gave her a brief hug. “I worry about you. After what happened to your father, I don’t think it’s safe. You need some type of body guard, someone who can watch over you all the time.”

Katrill sighed. “Uncle, we’ve been through this before. I do not want someone living with me, getting in my way.”

He paced about and Katrill smiled. Jathan Douglas was her mother’s only brother and Katrill loved him dearly. Since her mother had died when Katrill was very young, Jathan was the only connection she had to the woman who had given life to her. From image cubes, Katrill knew her uncle had the same white blond hair and clear green eyes. The same eyes her mother passed to Katrill. Though Katrill had chestnut hair, like her father, mores the pity.

“What about a Bio-Guard?”  Her uncle asked.

Katrill shrugged. “I don’t know much about them.”

“They are human animal hybrids specifically engineered to be whatever a person wishes. Some want just a pretty pet and others, like you, need protecting. From what I understand, once an imprint happens, they are loyal to the death.”

“Yes, but I don’t want anyone—”

“Katrill,” her uncle cut her off. “They are essentially animals. You feed and water them, and give them a place to sleep. It’s not as if you’re sharing your home with a person.”

Katrill sighed, her uncle worried about her so much. She understood why, she was the only link he had with his beloved sister. Maybe she should look into a Bio-Guard. What could it hurt? If she didn’t find something that pleased her, she could leave.

“Okay, I’ll check into it.”

Jathan smiled. “Good, good, that makes me feel much better. You need to start taking your safety more seriously especially since you plan on shaking up the status quo.”

She kissed his cheek. “How could I not since you worry so? I don’t want that.”  

Now head on over and see what Siobhan came up with.

First Kiss

first time

I love the First Time posts. If you’ve never seen one before it’s where we are given a first time scenario, such as first kiss and we give you a scene from either a current WIP, a book already pubbed or even just the beginning of an idea.

Today, I’m going to give you a first time kiss from the book I’m currently working on Entangled. Since it’s a menage and Rowan has two amazingly hot men in her life I had to chose one. I’ve already introduced Sergei, so this time I’m going with Vlad. Enjoy!

 

“What are we doing?” Rowan finally asked.

“We are learning about one another,” Vlad said. “My son loves you. You killed to protect him. You’re important to my voyevoda. You offered me your vein. And, I want to know your body.”

Rowan stared at him unsure of what to say. The look on her face brought laughter to Vlad’s face.

“You are a beautiful, desirable woman. Your scent is intoxicating. I want to taste you, take you.”

He moved slowly toward her until he slid between her thighs. Instinctively, her hands came up to his waist, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted to push him away or pull him closer. Slowly, he moved down until his lips touched her own. Warm, his lips were warm, and soft, so soft. She kept her eyes open and found he had too. They watched one another until he pulled away.

Rowan cupped his face. “Is this because of Sergei?” She had to ask, had to know. She still couldn’t believe these two amazing men wanted her. Vitala sometimes took humans as lovers, but those humans were extraordinary. They were models and actors, only the most beautiful, sensual. She was none of those things.

“Sergei has never taken a woman without me. For him, to do this with you, that makes you special.” Vlad leaned and spoke against her lips. “Now that I’ve tasted your blood, scented your arousal, I want you. It is now up to you. Will you take me into your body?”

Now go and check out what first kiss scenes the other bloggers have chosen.

Jess      Bronwyn     Kris     Siobhan     Kayleigh

April 2019 Brain Dump

new brain dump

I have a lot on my mind this month and it all has to do with self-care. I declared 2019 the Year of Self Care and I’ve been working on that. I had intended to post on it frequently, but, realized, I needed to take care of myself before I talked about it. Huh, how about that?

I’ve been taking steps and did want to share those with y’all. First, I did all the medical things I’ve been putting off pretty much forever. So far this year I’ve gone for a pap smear and had my very first colonoscopy. Eeeeesh! Both of these were yuck for different reasons. The colonoscopy’s prep is miserable. I won’t go into detail, but just suffice to say it sucked. The procedure wasn’t bad since I slept through it, but the recovery has been hard. I feel like the desert and can’t get enough water. This is still going on after 2 days. And I just feel woozy and yucky, which is the anesthetic working it’s way out of my system.

The pap was worse. If you didn’t know I’m a survivor of sexual abuse so to say it’s hard is putting it mildly. Let’s just say the whole things sucked a big old bunch of donkey balls and we’ll leave it at that.

So, for positive steps. I found a really great meditation app I’ve been using called Stop, Breath, and Think. I really like it and it’s helped a lot. I was also turned on to a website by a really awesome friend of mine called the Pussy Portal. It’s this huge educational tool to help a woman regain her power and get healthy. I’ve been going through the classes and utterly love it. I think in this time of the #MeToo movement this website is so needed.

I’ve also been writing. So, yay for me!!! Reclaiming my power in a different way. If you have any questions about things I’ve done please leave me a comment below or email me at gwendolyncease@twc.com.

Bronwyn

 

Top Ten: Best Purchases Evah!!

top 10

Okay, so, as the header states, this is all about the best ten things we’ve ever purchased. Usually, I say that the list isn’t in any order, but this time it is . . . sort of. The top two purchases are where they need to be because, of the best purchases, these are the best of the best. EVAH!

In the #1 spot is my baby kitten Maeve! She just turned 4, if you can believe it. And I can honestly say I do not know what I’d do without her.

IMG_0871Even when she stands in front of the computer and rubs her face on me so I can’t work, I still love her to pieces. I’m kind of iffy when she knocks her water bowl over, but I still love even though I think about kicking her fuzzy butt.

Number 2 is the antibiotics I purchased last night. *face palm* I have a wicked UTI heading into a kidney infection and the pills are amazing. I didn’t care how much I had to pay, I felt that bad. Thankfully, they were only 14.00 and I’m feeling so much better, but, believe me, I would have paid way more.

Number 3 is my laptop. I can’t imagine what I’d do without it. I remember when I began to write on a computer and I thought it was sooooo hard. I needed to write it down first blah blah blah. Oh hell no. Putting pen to paper totally slows me down. Typing is the way to go and my laptop(s) have never failed me. Which leads me to:

Number 4 – Carbonite! If you don’t have it, you need to get it. The software automatically backs up my computer to a mysterious cloud. I will never lose stuff again, which I have done before. I think three laptops ago my computer crashed and it was all gone. All of it. That won’t happen to me now.

Number 5 is my Nook. I love books and have tons of them. Now I can have hundreds at my fingertips. When I go on vacation my luggage isn’t filled with ten to twelve physical books (I have done this before) but I just take my Nook and have hundreds and the ability to buy more right there with me. Magic!!

Number 6 is tickets for Colonial Williamsburg. I love this place! I’ve been three times and could go again tomorrow. I love history and the amazing stories of every day people and this is Williamsburg. The programming is great and the museum is fantastic. If you’ve never been, you should go.

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Number 7 is my very first cross stitch pattern. I got it because I thought it would make a great gift for a friend. Oh, and I kind of wanted to teach myself cross stitch. Yeah, see I truly didn’t know what I was doing. Anyway, once I started on the project I loved it. It’s very meditative. Following the pattern, find the color floss required, and making the stitches. I think I’ve made 5 or 6 thing so far and love it so much.

Number 8 are the first books in JD Robb’s In Death series, Nalini Singh’s Archangel and Psy/Changeling series, and Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series. I love these books!! No matter how crummy of a day, all I need to do is pick one of them up and I feel instantly better. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to them all.  Shelly’s especially still make me laugh out loud.

Number 9 is Scott Cunningham’s book Wicca: Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

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I believe the book was published in 1988 and was the first book I purchased about paganism. I had been interested before this and looked at the library and read books on the sly at the bookstore. I know I had Tarot cards while in high school since my Mom got them for me for my birthday, but this book truly opened my eyes to a practice I could truly believe in. Though I do not follow Wicca, this was the introduction to who I am today, and almost gave me permission to dive into this religion I felt so connected to.

Number 10 is my home. I love this place. It’s my shelter and my hide away. Sis and I have worked to make it cozy and it never fails to lift me up when I get here. Stepping through the door, it’s as if a weight lifts from my shoulder.

That’s all for me, now go and see what Bronwyn says are her best purchases.