Tag Archives: free reads

Tuesday Tales: Writing Flowers

Don’t you love spooky movies set in rambling old houses where the heroine finds a secret passageway or hidden room?

Welcome to Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a book hungry troop that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today our prompt is a picture of flowers. My excerpt is from one of my books in progress, Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s.  Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Hannah stumbled into the room, a maze of impressions bombarding her senses. Pastel, lacy, feminine. Her hand fluttered over her heart. She stood by the bed, her vision blurred. A secret room. A small bedroom hidden inside a larger one.

Nate’s voice broke her trance. “You all right?”

She swallowed, and then nodded. “This is too much. How did you know?”

“When you sent me up here to measure the bedrooms on this side, I saw the dimensions were off on one.” His hands tumbled the screwdriver as he spoke. “Why? There was no closet cutting in, nothing telling on the other side. Why shave a few feet off one of the three?”

“A hidden room would never have occurred to me.”

His head tilted to one side. “I remembered a secret compartment in an old desk of my grandfather’s. The drawers all looked the same, but when you measured, one was slightly smaller. There was a hidey hole in the back.”

“You thought of it this morning? Why didn’t you come and get me?”

“You had company, remember? And my boss doesn’t like holes in the wall.” He gave her a conspiratorial wink. “If I was going to barge in with an axe, I had to find the right spot.”

She stared at the opening, crinkling her brow. “But it’s perfectly rectangular.”

“I didn’t have to maul more than a couple square inches. There’s a spring mechanism.” He pointed to the hardware sticking up. “Smart as hell.”

“Why would someone go to all this trouble?” The dainty vanity compelled her attention. She ran her hand over a crocheted doily. “Oh, there’s something underneath.” She drew out a handkerchief.  A small gasp escaped her lips. “A flower keepsake.” She held it up to him. The bud lay against the fine white linen like a drop of dried blood.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the picture prompt flowers. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Lake

Welcome to Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a book hungry troop that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today our word prompt is lake. This week I’m leaving the vintage romance for a bit and going back to work on one of my soothing (to me) action packed fantasies. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Helle’s domain was the last place Rhade wanted to visit. When the Goddess of the Underworld summoned, you never knew whether it was for tea and scones or to scourge you bloody. Maybe you’d get out in one piece, or maybe thirteen. The pulse in his throat thudded at the sight of her grim expression.

The tautness of her face indicated disturbing emotions rippling beneath the surface. Flaxen hair framed strong cheekbones. Her wintry gray eyes glittered. In presentation she reminded him of the showcase fountain bearing secret passageway to her palace. An icy lake spurted jets of fire that rose and then crashed in startling and unpredictable abandon.

The Valkyrie's Vigil

Edward Robert Hughes [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Stern soldiers flanked her.

She extended the tips of her fingers. “Warrior.” The provocative scent of Lily of the Valley wafted into his nostrils.

He bowed his head to bestow a respectful kiss. “Divine One, how may I be of service?”

“Come with me.” She swiveled, and a bodyguard advanced beside her. She thrust out a palm. “Halt. You shall remain here.”

The uniformed man appeared bewildered. “But Divine One, your safety is my utmost responsibility. I beg you—”

Her visage turned fearsome. “Stay, I say. I will speak to the warrior in private.”

Beckoning Rhade to follow, she led him beyond the luxurious front rooms, down endless long corridors, and deep into the tunnels circling her cavernous domain. The pathways spiraled and coiled. He doubted even his well-honed sense of direction would save him if she abandoned him here.

What did she have to discuss that her own trusted guard could not hear? A surge of adrenalin sizzled through his body. He had never ventured this far inside Helle’s mysterious netherworld. She appeared to be leading him deep into her innermost sanctum.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt lake and the quick trip to the Underworld. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Tuesday Tales: Writing Number

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Welcome to Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a book hungry troop that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today our word prompt is number. My excerpt is from one of my books in progress, Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Hannah cringed at the disbelief on Meg’s face and the eyebrows that were about to take flight. Protest would only fuel the fire. Might as well sing a different number. She pretended to brush grains of sand from her thighs. “To tell the truth, Nate has been on my mind today, but only because of what happened last night.”

Meg lurched up, her eyes wide. “What happened?”

“My resident haint made an appearance.”

“You mean you and Nate actually saw the ghost?”

She shrugged. “No so much saw as saw the effects of.

The teaser was met with a flurry of arm flailing. “Tell me this minute.”

“I had gone up to the attic to look around and straighten…”

“The fortune teller warned you not to go up there.”

“I have to take an inventory for the bank. You know how shoddy the sale papers were.”

“Then you should have waited for Nate to go with you.”

“He was late coming to work. Do you want to know what happened or not?”

At the sight of Meg’s vehement nodding, Hannah continued. “To make a long story short, I hadn’t been up there five minutes when the music started again and the air suddenly smelled like jasmine, and then…” Her playful mood sobered at the memory. She stopped to swallow. “Something, someone touched my arm.”

“Oh, my ever lovin’ God. Old Sarah was right. The ghost is dangerous. What did you do?”

“I ran out to the landing and smack dab into Nate.”

A beatific smile hovered on Meg’s lips, and her voice turned soft. “And Nate comforted you.”

Hannah’s forehead crinkled. “How’d you know?”

“That’s what he would do. Did he investigate?”

“No, I wouldn’t let him. We went downstairs. But he heard the tinkling and smelled the jasmine.”

“Good. I’m glad it’s not just you.”

“You might clear me of hallucinating, but I don’t even want to think about his take on it.”

“You didn’t talk it out?”

Hannah shook her head. “I was a smidge upset, and then Buster came, so no.” She stood up. “Let’s go for another swim before Bryan gets back.”

A few minutes later the fickle ocean had them both laughing. Good natured fun heated her cheeks. The waves stroked her lotion into coconut scented beads. She didn’t care. The beach always took away her troubles, if only for a little while.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt number. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Tuesday Tales: Writing Hotel Window

Welcome to Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a book hungry troop that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today the picture prompts we selected from were types of windows. Mine reminded me of a hotel window. My excerpt is from one of my books in progress, Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Hannah breathed in the salty air. She hadn’t realized how much she had missed that uplifting scent. A purr of contentment vibrated across her lips.

From next to her on the car seat, Meg patted her arm. “Yep, I smell it, too. Nothing like beach air to shake out the cobwebs. You smell the salt, Bryan?”

The driver lifted a tanned hand from the wheel for emphasis. “I smell it five days a week, honey. Doesn’t do much for me anymore.”

Meg looked at Hannah and shook her head. “You ever hear such nonsense? Man gets to live on the beach five days out of seven and already takes it for granted.”

“Work on the beach, honey. Work. Through the week you won’t find me lying around on a big towel sipping drinks from paper cups like you two girls have planned.”

Photo by Alicia, copyright 2014

 

The slice of turquoise bobbing between buildings made Hannah’s heart beat faster. Soon Bryan turned between two hotels, driving out onto the bumpy white sand. An endless swatch of turquoise met a half globe of clearest blue, and the sight poured its majesty right down into her gut. 

The two women lugged out their numerous bags and began nesting in the sand as he drove off. Spreading out a towel, Hannah glanced up at the multi-story luxury hotel. Most of the drapes were still drawn, but one gave a wide open view of its occupant. A young woman clad in silk pajamas faced the window and stretched out her arms in exuberance. Despite puffy eyes that told of over indulgence last night, she obviously didn’t have a care in the wide world. Enjoying life. Vacationing here on her trust fund or her father’s money. A dull pain thudded between Hannah’s eyes. She pinched her brow. There before her loomed a mirror to her past. A phantom of her former life welcomed the morning rays. 

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the picture prompt of a hotel window. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Fly

Tuesday TalesTuesday Tales is a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a dedicated group that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today our word prompt is fly. My snippet is from a vintage paranormal romance set in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Miss Sarah’s words plucked at her gut like the sharp edge of a chisel. Laura squeezed her eyes shut. If only she could blot out the world that way. Forget everything clawing at her. Chimes of little girl voices floated through from the back porch. She opened her eyes, meeting the astute assessment of the woman sitting across from her with a direct look of her own. “Yes, I want to know about Jeffrey. Keep the quarter.”

The coin disappeared into the safety of the bosom. A capable hand scooped the pile of change out of the way and rested on the table, palm up. Fingers fluttered. “Let’s see.”

Laura’s hand trembled as she gave it over to Miss Sarah.

A light squeeze reassured her. “Be peaceable now. Sparks are gonna fly right out of that head of yours if you don’t take a hold.”

She pulled in a deep breath, let it out, and focused on the flame of the kerosene lamp. It had stopped sputtering and now took on a soft waving motion in the darkened kitchen. The purple spot near the tip pulled at her, and she let herself fall into it.

“Speak now. Tell me what you want to know.”

She swallowed. It was hard to find her voice. “I—I want to know how Jeffrey is. My husband. His letter is late.”

A thumb spun lightly over her palm, and the old woman’s pronouncement came out a wispy spiderweb. “Your husband. Jeffrey. Over the water in that Korea.”

“Yes.”

“I’m having trouble finding him. He’s not in his place. He’s—ah—there’s fighting.”

A gasp escaped her parched throat. “Is he–is he…?”

Silence stretched out for what seemed like a lifetime. “Hurt, but not dead.”

Not dead. Not dead. Not dead. “Will he be all right? When will he come home to us?”

Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Tuesday Tales: Writing Restaurant

Restaurant 7-25-2016Tuesday Tales is a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a dedicated group that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today we have a picture to spark our imaginations. My snippet is from a vintage paranormal romance set in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Laura dimmed the lights and shut off the engine. The car would need a good wash tomorrow. What a long, winding road Miss Sarah lived on, two miles of rock dust and another of Florida sugar sand. She peered toward the front porch. A dark figure floated from the shadows and moved toward her. She held her breath for a moment before realizing it was Old Man Ben, an uncle, grandfather, or some such.

Moonovergraveyard7-1-2015He thumbed open the car door. “Sarey be in the kitchen. She say go on in.”

Steps creaked under her low heels. A kerosene lamp spurted on the scrubbed oak table by Miss Sarah, augmenting flickers from the wood stove. A ghost of a smile played over the elderly woman’s features. Deep, dark eyes were already a bit glazed. People called it the sight. Whatever it was, hopefully it could ease her mind tonight. Her stomach clenched and twisted like a wet washcloth being squeezed dry.

She slipped into a chair, digging into her handbag and coming out with the handful of change she had emptied from the restaurant’s juke box. She piled it on the table and pushed it over. Her voice trembled. “I still haven’t heard from him.”

Miss Sarah’s palm hovered over the silver, moving back and forth in slow motion as if feeling without touching. Then her hand stilled, and deft fingers flicked up a quarter. Barely glancing at it, her eyes burned into Laura’s. “There’s a hole in this 1923 one.”

Laura’s throat burned. How had it become mixed in with the other coins? It never left her the little gold bag. She reached out. “1923? Give that back. That’s my lucky quarter.”

Miss Sarah remained motionless. “You want to know, or don’t you?”Tuesday Tales

Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Tuesday Tales: Writing Pencil

Tuesday TalesTuesday Tales is a weekly blog featuring talented authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a dedicated bunch that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today we have the word pencil to spark our imaginations. My snippet is from a draft dystopian. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Being yanked and squeezed through an inter-dimensional door the size of a straw knocked the wind out of me. When I could breathe again, I found myself lying face down on the floor beside my chair.

His Holiness hovered over me, along with the other members of the tribunal. “Give her some room.” Irritation turned his voice shrill.

I rolled over, crossed my feet, and came up in one smooth motion, grinning at him.

Like a wave of ants, the robed assembly glided back away from me. I never wanted to say “boo” so bad in my life. His Holiness, or Donkey Butt as I thought of him in my kinder moments, narrowed his colorless eyes. “Karise, your little episode has disrupted important proceedings.”

“Sorry, I have no control of what happens when the Anemoi take over.”

His flabby lips clamped into pencil stubs and then smacked open. “So you have declared before.” His expression said he’d love to toss me in the sub chamber and be done with me.

“Holiness, surely you do not question the ways of the Amenoi?”

He glanced around at the appalled faces of his cohorts and dipped his head in a token bow. “Not at all. Praise be the Anemoi.”

“Praise be the Anemoi,” chanted the group.

“I merely suggest we return to the matter at hand while the day is still upon us.”

I smiled inside, enjoying any small victory I could get against the old tyrant. “As you wish.” I made for the chair and then half turned as the door clanged open.

“Nein.” Martea scurried inside, carrying a small tankard. She stopped just inside the room. “Pardon, Holiness, but such a journey to the beyond requires a repast. Protocol demands it.”

He said nothing for several beats, and I was fearful Martea was headed for the sub chamber instead of me. After all, how did she know what had happened? Unless she had been eavesdropping, which was forbidden. Finally, he waved her forward, his countenance now shrunken in like a prune. “Very well. We shall reconvene tomorrow.” He eyed me directly. “Early tomorrow, Karise.”

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the dystopian snippet based on pencil. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Romance

Tuesday Tales: Writing Sun

Beach scene with sun 5-31-2016

Tuesday Tales is a weekly blog featuring authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a dedicated bunch that enjoys reading as much as you do. To spark our imaginations, today we could choose from among several beautiful outdoor scenes. I selected a picture of sunrise on the beach. My snippet is from an adventurous paranormal romance currently being reworked. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

The pre-dawn air hummed with energy. It rose from the crashing waves and shimmered like a mirage along the empty beach. Having just unlocked the door, Resa slid her bags inside and perched on the top step. Distant thunder rumbled, and a breeze cast a tickle of mist to her face. Were they in for an early morning shower? Her softened gaze followed the stirring waters out to the edge of nowhere. The dark gray hue lightened a shade above the magical seam where sea met sky. How far away that was. She sucked in a deep salty breath, mesmerized by the magic of the moment as the veil of night lifted.

Light trickled into the world, new, as if for the first time, billowing into orange and pink. As the sun bobbed from the sea, the waves brightened into slices of shifting golden glass. She squinted. Far out in the waters a ribbon of gold sparkled atop the surf. A sensation of needles pricked her hands, and she leapt up. Her breath hitched. What the hell? Something otherworldly approached.

The sparkle drew closer, skimming onto the beach and illuminating the sea grass into burning tendrils. It halted at her feet with a final surging loop like that of a bucking bronco. Water droplets doused over her, and Resa thrust out a palm. It seemed to be a blend of light and water.

The sparkle morphed into the shape of a horse with a rider atop. The water horse shimmered an aquamarine color, except the eyes, which were lapis. The rider dismounted, his curving lips spread into a grin.

Resa responded with one of her own. She rushed in for a hug. “Mercury, you big peacock. Do you always have to make such a dramatic entrance?”

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on sunrise on the beach. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales. Tuesday Tales

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Purple

Tuesday TalesTuesday Tales is a weekly blog featuring talented authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a dedicated bunch that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today’s word prompt is purple. My snippet is from an unedited vintage romance I’m working on set in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Jerking her apron strings tight and knotting them, Laura gritted her teeth at the audacity of the man. Flirting with a woman whose husband was overseas. Only someone like Wade Killingham would actually think she’d be interested. It turned her stomach. She made her way into the little sitting room that served them for everything but sleeping and couldn’t help but smile at the sight of her daughter. The pajama clad cherub lay tummy down on the fuzzy rug, bare feet dancing in the air while she colored intently.

Laura knelt down beside Emmie, admiring her artwork and drawing in soothing little girl scent. “What beautiful mountains, darling. I love how you colored them.”

“I made the purple kind Daddy likes. You know, in the song about America.”

“Oh, yes…the purple mountains. Good job, honey. And who is that standing in front?”

Giggles filled the air. “Daddy of course.”

“He’ll be tickled at your picture. Do you want to send it to him in our next letter?”

The little brow wrinkled. “Okay, but when will he be home, Mama?”

Only heaven and Uncle Sam knew that. “Soon, baby. I know you miss him. He misses you too.” She touched the wayward curls and stood. “It’s time for bed, Emmie. Put your crayons away and I’ll tuck you in.”

Nita appeared at the door, looking uncertain. “Oh, I uh…when you have a minute.”

Laura stood. “Yes, let’s go into the kitchen. Emmie is getting ready to hop in bed.”

Nita grinned down. “Night, Emmie. Sleep tight.”

More giggles. “And don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

Customer conversations filtered into the kitchen, as Laura turned off the burner from  under a pot of chili. “What is it, Nita? I’ll be back out front in a few.”

“It’s Wade. He’s come inside again. I just wanted to let you know.”

Laura’s stomach knotted. “You’d better get back out there before he barges through the swinging doors. And don’t worry. As soon as Emmie is in bed, I’ll handle the mule.”

Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Romance

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Save

Tuesday TalesTuesday Tales is a weekly blog featuring talented authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a dedicated bunch that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today we have the word save to spark our imaginations. My snippet is from an adventurous paranormal romance currently being reworked. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Her breath came in painful gasps. Resa sank on one knee to regain her bearing.

A few feet away Rhade crouched low, his muscular form ready for attack. His voice came low and deadly. “Save your hide, Sith. Let us pass.”

The Cat Sith had stilled and now faced him. With eyes narrowed and cunning, she seemed to measure her opponent. How much intelligence remained available to the creature while in animal form? Did her brain revert to a primitive state? She sensed the cat would strike soon. It was the nature of the beast to kill or be killed.
The Sith’s muscles rippled and her stance shifted. Damn it, she was preparing to lunge.

Slipping one hand into her leather pouch, Resa withdrew the small vial given to her by the Swamp Wytch. With trembling fingers she unscrewed the top. Please let her be helping Rhade instead of distracting or harming him. Steeling herself, she flung the vial of acrid liquid at the Sith. Straight to the eyes, right on target.

A heart curdling wail filled the contours of the cavern. The Sith shrieked as she dug at her eyes with curved talons. Her features contorted in agony. Finally, with an unsettling moan she collapsed to the ground, curling her body into a ball and covering her face with those huge, veiny wings. The air shimmered around her, and the next moment a woman sprawled there. Bloody tears streamed down her face. Her bloodshot gaze spewed hatred, but she remained motionless.

Rhade loomed over the cat woman, legs apart, his dagger pointed at the fallen creature.

A great gust of wind swept into the space, forming into a narrow twirling cone. It seemed to suck the oxygen out of the air, and Resa found it hard to breathe again. With popping and crackling noises, the spinning slowed. An angry voice boomed. “Who dares to harm my Sith?”

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the snippet. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance