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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

 

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