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Tuesday Tales: Writing Business

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 business. The excerpt is from a dark fantasy romance. Visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

 

An icy claw clenched her stomach.

What kind of crappy business had Atropos stuck her with? She was sick and tired of being given the bull crap jobs, while her three half-sisters lounged beachside, sipping mojitos, sandwiched between thong attired, ripped cabana boys. Well, that was how she imagined them anyway. It wasn’t like she received weekend invites.

Still, all they had to do was spin, measure, and cut. She had no job description aside from “as needed.” That meant she landed all the off the wall assignments in arcane hell holes she couldn’t even talk about later.

The snarling jaws of the lion head snapped her way, missing her forearm by an inch. She jumped back out of reach and steadied the revolver. She had always pictured Lamassus as serene and wise. A mixture of human and animal, often lion, bull, and winged creature, they guarded cities and palaces for councils and crowns. Set before the entrance to a dark region of the Underworld, this one displayed perverse tendencies. Its three heads were eagle, lion, and giant snake, all savage, and all determined to feast on her flesh. The apparent astral rope binding would not protect her if she stumbled too close.

“Are the bullets magic charged?”

At the sound of the gravelly voice, her chest tightened. She sank to one knee and peered around, but the Lamassu blocked out a major portion of the 360.

“If not, they’ll wound but won’t kill.”

The gun felt so good in her hand, too. Damn it! “I used my stash on rum soaked ghouls.”

“Too bad. Well, you might try a distraction.”

“Who the hell are you, and where?”

A cackle shot out. “I’m the least of your worries.”

Courtesy Free British Library Flickr

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt business. Thanks for stopping by. Make sure to visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Rain

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 picture prompt is rain. 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.

Branches rustled as a breeze kicked up. Thunder rumbled and rolled from the west.

“Storm’s moving in.” He kept his voice low. Her ear was next to his lips, the way she had nestled against him. Plus, sounds carried in the night, especially in a small town. The last thing he wanted was for her to pay some kind of penalty for spending time with him on the porch after ten at night. “Do you smell the rain, Hannah?”

She murmured in languid agreement.

Fast moving clouds blotted out the moon.

She straightened, peering out into the darkness. “Our full moon’s gone.”

He wanted to banish the disappointment from her tone and keep her beside him as long as possible. “Just during the squall. Do you like Florida thunderstorms?”

His heart picked up speed as she leaned back against him, nodding. “Yes, I love them. They soothe me, as long as the lightning is not directly overhead. How about you?”

“Yep, they give me a kick. Here comes the rain.”

A light sprinkle quickly turned into a torrent. He could barely make out the yellow porch light on the house across the way. A few drops of slanted rain misted onto his face. “Do you want to go–?” Something wet and furry streaked by, brushing against his pants leg. He jerked and circled his arms around her protectively. “What the–?”

“Oh my god.” Her hand flew to her chest. “Taffy, you scared the life out of me.” She patted his arm. “It’s just the neighborhood tabby. Nate, we’d better go inside.”

He stood. “I was about to ask you that when the fur ball attacked.”

“Now don’t grumble. That cat is good luck, so I hear.” 

“Mm, I bet.” He smiled at her concern for the feline, stood, and took her hand to usher her inside.

Lightning cracked, sharp and close. She jumped, and her hand trembled in his.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on a picture prompt of rain. 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 Firecracker

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 firecracker. 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.

The aroma of grilling hot dogs and sound of children having fun filled the air. Charcoal smoke spirals perched on make-do stands to keep away the mosquitoes. With dusk imminent, the blood suckers would soon follow. Hannah settled into the folding chair between Meg and Nate. “I didn’t expect there to be so many people here. You rounded down, didn’t you, Meg?”

“Don’t scold. Would you have come out if I mentioned this was the in place for 4th of July fireworks? They’re really spectacular here by the lake.”

Aware of Nate’s attention and his knee hovering a mere inch from hers, she merely offered a noncommittal murmur. She didn’t dare give a truthful response to Meg’s query. She would have come, if only to spend time with him away from their usual work environment.

Laura from the café’ emerged from the crowd, carrying two folding chairs, with little Gwennie in tow.

Meg piped up, cheery. “Made it, huh?” 

Nate and Roy stood, and greetings were exchanged. Roy scooped the chairs from Laura. “Let’s find you a good spot, boss lady.”

Laura looked a bit harried. “Thanks, Roy.”

Gwennie jumped up and down, pointing. “I want to sit by Judy and Sandy, Mommy.”

“All right, Darling. Over by the Smith twins would be great, Roy.”

Gwennie tugged on her mother’s blouse as they set off in a line. “Mommy, can I light a firecracker?”

“Good heavens no. You can have a sparkler.”

Roy soon returned, plunked into his chair, and popped the cooler lid. He passed beers to Meg and Nate. “Brewsky, Hannah?”

“No thanks. By chance any wine in there?”

“Nope, sorry. Hey, here are some cokes though. You sneak these in my cooler, Meg?”

“Of course I did, you big lummox. You know perfectly well Hannah hates beer.”

She leaned forward. “What kind do you have?”

Roy shifted bottles around. “Uh, looks like cherry, grape, and banana.”

“Banana, please.”

Roy popped off the cap and handed her the bumpy glass bottle. Banana scented fizz tickled her nose.

Meg pulled a sad face. “Sorry I didn’t think of wine, Hannah. You’re stuck with the soft stuff.”

Nate raised a brown. “Not necessarily. Go ahead and take a swallow, Hannah.”

Wondering what he was up to, she took a sip of her banana drink, while Nate retrieved a small flask from his back pocket.

Roy whistled. “Now why didn’t I think of that?”

Curiosity had her leaning his way. “What is it, Nate?”

“Gin. I don’t like the stuff, but you do. You game?”

Unable to resist the cockeyed grin that deepened his dimple, she passed him her drink bottle.

Holding his hand around the neck, he carefully poured a jot from the flask, shook the bottle, and used his thumb to keep it from spewing out. Once the concoction had settled, he returned it to Hannah.

She took a tentative sip. “Hmm, not bad. Definitely a kick.” She relaxed into the chair, pleasure tickling her insides. “Thanks, soldier.”

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

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Happy 4th of July!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Tuesday Tales: Writing Strap

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 strap. The excerpt is from a paranormal fantasy romance. Visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

She made her way to the side of the bed and sank down. Her muscles had turned to water. “What does he want with me?”

There was no reply to her question. Esme’ hung a garment bag on the back of the door, slid the zipper, and held up the contents. “This is for you to wear tonight.”

She eyed the gown. It looked soft, and the translucent, golden sheen of the fabric gave the impression it was fae woven. Patches and strips of sequins glittered here and there in strategic locations, but the dress was otherwise sheer. Some of her gumption returned. “Forget it. I’m not wearing that.”

Esme’ gave an impatient snort. “Don’t give me any trouble. Put it on, or Master will send in Konrad to stuff you into it.” The woman’s face pinched into a scowl. “For your own sake, mind your manners and do as you’re instructed.”

“Assuming I do put it on, what then? What am I expected to do?”

“You’re going onstage. Look fetching and desirable when you get there. It should be simple enough for the likes of you. I don’t even need to paint your face and pretty you up like I do some.”

Her heartbeat stopped for a moment and then commenced at double time. “Why?”

“For the club members. A batch of wealthy collectors will bid for you. How you get along after that is up to you.” Esme’ draped the outfit across the bed and handed Resa a pair of 3 inch heels.

She flung the shoes at the wall.

With a snarl the woman retrieved them. “Tantrums won’t help. Pull yourself up by your bra strap, girl. I don’t have time to mollycoddle. I’ve got two others to see to. All you have to do is make the audience happy. An agreeable demeanor will increase your price. More money, happier Master.”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt strap. Thanks for stopping by. Make sure to visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Hall Lurker

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. Our picture today came across to me as a hall lurker. My excerpt is from a horror flash that came to me in a dream. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

“Holy hell, what a storm.” I squeezed water into the waste basket from the fishtail of my cardigan. “I’m glad to be inside, but it’s freezing in here.” I turned and surveyed my husband and teenaged son. “You all right, Trevor?” I brushed the wet hair from my son’s eyes. He nodded. I felt his head. It wasn’t any clammier than mine.

I tapped my husband’s arm with the back of my fingers. “It was a good idea to ride out the rest of the storm in the museum.” He gave me a noncommittal grunt. Both he and Trevor looked a little pale. Jesus, I hope they’re not coming down with something. That’s all we need with vacation coming up.

My thoughts brightened at the signage to the right. “Hey, you two, look over there—it’s the sports section you were talking about. You said you wanted to see the Roger Maris display, honey, and it has a lot of other players as well. Other sports, too, not just baseball.”

They headed in that direction. Good. At least this day wouldn’t be a total loss.

I moved the opposite way toward the British monarchs. The mannequins were fascinating but a little creepy. Ethelred the Unready. Richard II looked like a sun god. Geez, Anne Bolelyn was a tiny sprite. People were crowding in on me. We were elbow to elbow in between the rows of mannequins. Where were they all coming from? Same idea as us I guess. Getting out of the storm.

It was too bright in here. All primary, red, blue, and yellow. The colors swirled, bleeding together, a psychedelic pinwheel. I blinked, feeling dizzy. I need to get away from these people. Need to go get my husband and son. I pushed through to an empty hallway just as the lights went out. A flash of lightning illuminated one lone figure lurking down at the end. 

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the hall lurker picture prompt. 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 Stone

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 stone. 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.

Meg looked up at her husband as they swayed to the music, her eyes gleaming. It was as if Rod had just done something amazing, like flown to the moon and back. A flicker of sensation tickled Hannah’s throat. Maybe she’d have that someday. Her lips twisted. Probably not. Her course was set. Had been since she left Miami. She had gotten herself into a deep hole. Very deep. All she could hope for was the plan to play out in her favor. Then she’d at least have the promise of a living.

She smiled at the returning laughing couple, thankful she could get out of her thoughts. “Looking pretty good out there, kids.”

Meg plopped into a seat and grabbed Hannah’s wrist. “Ooh, watch out. He’s coming your way.” The whisper made it seem like state secrets were at stake.

Rod gave her a look. “Don’t start your match making. Leave the poor guy alone, honey.”

Meg’s leer was wicked. “I’ll have you know I’m not doing a thing, except praying.”

Sure enough Nate approached their table, his eyes riveted on her. “Evenin’, Rod, Meg.” He never looked their way, but held out a hand to Hannah. “Care to cut a rug?”

His deep voice with that little backdoor rasp made her taste honey. She had never had a guy’s voice do that to her.

She placed her fingertips in his hand and stood. “What kind of dancing do you like to do, Nate?”

He let a beat pass, and then another. “Slow.”

It was a good thing she hadn’t worn a sheath dress. He might notice trembling legs or knees that functioned like jelly.

The band cooperated, or maybe he had put a bug in the head man’s ear for a couple of dreamy tunes. He folded her in his arms as if they’d been dancing partners for years.

She could almost believe she belonged there. She gazed up at him. “You’ve got style I never knew about.”

He flipped her hand over. A tiny furrow appeared on his brow. “Nice ring. What kind of stone is that?”

She eyed her fingers. What had she slipped on? “Oh it’s garnet. My birthstone.”

Courtesy Pixabay public domain free photos

His dimple deepened. When the song ended, he kept her within the circle of his arms.

“Oh, did you want to dance another, Nate?”

He drew her closer. His lips brushed against her ear. “I want more than a dance, but you’re not ready for that, Hannah Ross.”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt stone. 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 Hug

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 hug. My excerpt is from a new paranormal fantasy I’ve started. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

She held the electronic device to the edge of the door and waved it slowly up and down. She had paid good money for this little trickster. It performed efficiently, as expected. With a low muffled thud, the impressive metal door popped ajar. Marta checked her watch. Twelve minutes until the guard’s next rounds. More than enough time for her to get the prize.

Once inside, she positioned a special strip before pushing the door closed. Keeping her trek silent was accomplished by a death hug around her cross body tool bag. Moving like her cat Kali in hyper stealth mode, she made her way down the corridor and across the expanse of the Egyptian room. Ignoring the stunning displays of gold jewelry and ornate sarcophagi that normally enthralled her, she kept her focus on the mission. She exited the Egyptian room by means of a side door. From there it was a simple matter of a short hallway leading into what her quirky brain had termed Elysium since concocting this caper.

The Greek room looked sparse compared to some of the others. Items were only now being delivered, and displays took time to arrange. A few mesmerizing pieces had been already placed, however, and a set of comedy tragedy masks particularly called to her. Maybe she had enough time—no! Keep to the plan. She hadn’t been successful at this for years by deviating from a tried and true pattern. Take little. Leave a lot. Besides, she only dealt in jewelry.

She avoided eyeballing any other displays and made her way to the back of the room where delivery items were still boxed. Knowing exactly where to look was crucial. And she did. She levered the top off one of the large boxes and surveyed its contents. So many little cases and all containing treasures. Her throat closed up, and swallowing was difficult. She squeezed her gloved hands into fists to stop her itchy fingers from scarfing them all up. She sought out a small square case in a coppery color. Opening it, she gave a quick intake of breath. The necklace nestled like a harvest moon atop the red silk lining. She frowned. A splendid  ring lay adjacent in its folds. It hadn’t been there earlier when she scoped things out. Or was she so focused on the necklace and pushed for time that she simply didn’t see it? Sloppy.

She glanced at her watch. Two minutes left. She shut the case and slipped it into her pocket, and then reclosed the large container. Moving fast, she retraced her steps. Kali on a midnight run. She was securing the outside door when the glow of a flashlight bobbled down the hallway. She used the device again, this time to seal the lock.

Heart pounding, she ran down the alley to her car.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt hug. 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 Staple

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 staple. 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.

“Easy there, buddy.” Nate eased Spurge onto the settee.

“Ya’ll leaving?” The basset hound eyes seemed to be trying to focus.

“Nope. Not until I see you getting some shuteye. Lean back now.”

“Can’t even do what you want in your own house.” The grumbling ended with a fit of coughing. When that passed he took a shuddering breath and flopped backward. His eyes closed and then popped open. “I’m sorry, Miss Hannah. You needed me and I messed it all up.”

“Never mind about that, Spurge. Listen to Nate and get some rest.” She didn’t know what was worse, a railing Spurge or a maudlin one.

Nate was nothing if not determined. She found herself admiring the way he spoke matter of factly but with an air of quiet authority. Not everyone would take such time with a burnt out codger. “Feet up, buddy.”

Grunting, the old man complied, while a pillow was tucked under his grizzled head. The bleary eyes fluttered and then closed.

Nate waved her out of the living room and into the kitchenette. “You mind if we make sure he’s resting peaceably before we go?”

“Not at all.” She maintained the same low whisper he used.

He opened up the icebox and grimaced, causing Hannah to peek over his shoulder. It was nearly room temperature and all but empty except for a puddle, two shrunken lemons, and a quart of buttermilk. Her nose wrinkled at the blue mold.

The cabinets he checked were barren as well. Not a staple in sight. He seemed to be making mental notes of either what was there or what may be needed if Spurge woke up hungry. If he had his way, she was sure the old man would get his act together and eat some healthy food for a change.

Loud snoring erupted from the front room.

Nate’s lips spread into a grin, putting a twisty sensation in her stomach. Damn that dimple.

“We’re safe to leave him now.”

On the way out he turned Spurge on his side and spread a thin blanket over him. She followed him out into the cool night air.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt staple. 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 Cry

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 picture prompt is cry. 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.

The cry of a distressed blue jay pierced the dawn, and then another. Her gaze followed a flash of color. Probably babies were involved. She searched the tree line. There was no glimpse of any further confrontation, and no more outbursts. Just the pleasant muted hum of waking fauna. Cradling her cup, she enjoyed the last few sips in peace. How relaxing it would be to prolong these moments. She’d like to suspend early morning to an all-day languish of drinking coffee and musing around.

That was no longer possible. She wasn’t the girl with oodles of cash or even the dosh for a lazy day. Sighing, she returned inside. Thank goodness for the screen door. Lizards and bugs were Florida staples she could do without.

Her stack of laundry was back from Miss Sarah. Slipping a freshly starched apron over her head, she made her way to the big drawing room lugging a pail of soapy water and another of supplies. With a wry glance at her once lovely nails, she got busy. First using the feather duster on the wood furniture, she then delved into the bottle of polish. The oily aroma overpowered her breathing but gave the satisfaction it was working. By the time she had finished the major pieces, the outside crew was well underway with hammering noises. She began on the smaller tables. The wall clock chimed, and she craned her neck to see it was already nine o’clock. Nita was supposed to be here to scour the floor. Oh, good, there was the screen door now. She scrunched back down to the table legs. “In here, Nita.”

“Not Nita. Good morning.” Nate came in, his dark eyes seeking her out.

Butterflies by Fujishima Takeji

Butterflies By Fujishima Takeji (1867-1943) ([1]) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The sight of him caused a fluttering in her abdomen. His hair looked a bit rumpled, and wrinkles etched one cheek as if he’d been sleeping hard on it. She hoped his nights were more restful now. 

“Here.” He offered a hand to help her rise, and that one dimple deepened. “What’s Cinderella doing on the floor?”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the picture prompt cry. 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 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