Tag Archives: Paranormal 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

 

Guardian of the Deep is the G in A-Z

Thanks, CHRYS N. JAY!

Fellow author Chrys N. Jay performs marvels this month with the A-Z blog challenge. I blog only 2-3 times per week— can you imagine producing a post every day? Kudos to her! I am so in awe of her commitment and dedication to this blog project. My paranormal fantasy romance Guardian of the Deep is featured there as the G of A-Z. I am pleased to share Sam and Layla’s love story with you. If you are intrigued by the idea of a succubus and dark guardian falling in love, pop over to the site of CHRYS N. JAY!

Meanwhile, Marigold minds the house here. 

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

 

Fae Friday: Amp up Your Fantasy Novel with Spirit Horses

The Fomorians, Duncan 1912

By John Duncan [Public domain],The Fomorians via Wikimedia Commons

Fantasy creatures come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. Regardless of the fantasy genre you write, whether paranormal as my books are, or high, low, historical, dark, urban, etc., there may come a time when you are in need of a little extra something. Done right, spirit horses can be an espresso shot to a story. Here’s a peek at a few. Keep in mind that the fae horses often share attributes and can exist in various locales under different names. Using one of these enables you to create exotic settings, but there is also the opportunity to have the creature show up closer to home in a more normal setting. Many readers appreciate blended mythologies where the author adds a new or surprising aspect to age old stories. I love to do this in my books.

The Phooka, Pooka, Puca, Pwca (and various other spellings) is a Celtic fairy horse of capricious character, sometimes beneficial to humans, but usually dangerous and deadly. One small, benign herd paid nightly visits to help a farmer’s son bring in the crops after being perceived in their willowy incandescent form. Years later at the boy’s wedding, the Phooka presented him with a magical drink to ensure his matrimonial happiness.

More often, the Phooka are portrayed as ravaging, wild, and fearsome creatures with long, jagged teeth and chains around their necks. They have a particular grudge against travelers and make it their business to lure them to their deaths. At times their nature is dark, flesh eating, and vampiric.

Not only does the Phooka appear as a horse, but it can also shapeshift into a bull, hare, and human form. The name of Shakepeare’s Puck is related to the root word of Phooka. In the movie, Harvey, the name of Jimmy Stewart’s 6 foot tall imaginary rabbit friend is referred to as a Pooka.

The Geetoe (or Gitto, Gryphon, Griffin, and Griffith) is a Welsh fairy creature with an equine head and body of a goat. Their particular brand of malice is to blight crops in the field. These creatures possess the power of human speech and laughter. However, they dislike humans and go out of their way to cause harm. They loathe children most of all and do their best to entice them into misdeeds and danger. A Geetoe’s power arises at night and extends only between Samhain (Halloween) and Beltane (May Day). The remainder of the year the creatures reside in Fairyland.

Thekelpie large

Herbert James Draper [Public domain], The Kelpie via Wikimedia Commons

Water horses can be especially interesting. One type is the Scottish Kelpie, which lives in or near rivers and streams. Kelpies are generally more whimsical and unpredictable than evil. They do not tend to stalk their prey. However, they are not to be taken lightly. Humans who venture too close are fair game. Kelpies will often maim and drown their victims, and sometimes devour them. Kelpies often take the form of a beautiful woman.

A Nuggle is a variety of water horse from the Orkney Islands. It is chock full of mischief but not evil in the sense of dangerous or demonic. It can be recognized by its odd tail that resembles a wheel.

Another type of water horse is the ominous Each-Uisge. This malevolent creature favors fresh water lakes, and many sightings have occurred in Scotland. The most famous example is Nessie or the Loch Ness Monster. The Each-Uisge can not only take the shape of a horse but also of a man or predatory bird. When in man shape, the Each-Uisge is handsome, compelling, and deadly to those who come near. In the olden days country folk knew to beware of a solitary person loitering near a body of water. A human can ride the Each-Usige when it’s in horse shape, but if horse and rider approach water, it is bad news for the human. The skin of the creature develops a bonding power that grips the human, not allowing dismount. The Each-Uisage will then plunge down into the depths, taking the rider to his death.

Fire Horses are unusual and perhaps the most fascinating type of spirit horse. In Greek mythology the god Helios drove four fire horses to guide the sun across the sky. The god of war, Ares, tamed a number of fire breathing horses. The Fire Horse is one of the sign designations in the Chinese zodiac. In my book Lord of Fire, the hero Gabriel rides a fire horse during one particularly harrowing part of the story. If you’re interested in reading how and why, grab your copy of my anthology, Dark Warriors. This paperback book also contains another of my paranormal fantasies, Time Singer.

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 Dice

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 dice. 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 savored the cherry from her Tom Collins and unscrewed the cap from the bottle of suntan lotion. “It’s been a while. You’d better squirt some more on your back, too, Meg.”

Her friend was sucking on ice chips. “Hand it over when you’re done then.” A slight pout formed on her bottom lip as she studied her watch. “It’s after one. I thought Bryan would be back by now.”

“He’ll show up soon.” She gave the small copper bottle to her friend. “I’ll run over to the tiki hut and get us another drink. Same kind?”

“Yeah, and get a bag of chips. We don’t want to get smashed before that nice lunch my husband promised us. I knew we should’ve stopped for breakfast along the way.” Meg dove a hand into her pocketbook.

Hannah stopped her. “My treat this time.” She drew some money from her billfold before standing and slipping into lilac sandals.

Photo by Alicia, copyright 2014

When she returned a few minutes later with the drinks and a bag of potato chips, she was surprised by the sight of Meg flashing her ring finger at two good looking young men. Her friend caught her gaze, looked a question, and Hannah responded with a stern shake of the head.

“Sorry, boys,” Meg drawled. “No dice. My friend and I aren’t looking for company today.”

Once they had sauntered off with good humored reluctance, Hannah lowered herself onto the blanket and grinned. “Can’t leave you alone for a minute, can I?”

Meg reached for the snack and drink. “They’re harmless. College boys skipping off from classes. Neither of them suited your fancy, eh?”

She shrugged. “Not really. You know I’m not interested in pursuing the opposite sex right now.”

“I know. I know. Work on your mind. You and my Bryan, two peas in a pod in that sense. I wonder though…”

The sweet sour nectar trickled down her throat. “About what?”

“Is someone else on your mind, Hannah? A tall, dark, and handsome ex-soldier maybe?”

Her pulse skipped a beat. “If you mean Nate Larkin, the man hasn’t crossed my mind all morning.”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt dice. 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 Lemon

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 lemon. 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.

 

At the sound of a commotion, Nate bounded up the stairs toward the attic landing. Hannah sped toward him, no hint of recognition on her features. He gripped her shoulders. When she tried to jerk away, he held on to keep her from tumbling down the stairs.

“Let me go!”

Her frenzied state alarmed him. “Calm down, Miss Ross. It’s Nate Larkin.”

She stared at him, unseeing.

“Hannah, it’s me. I’ve got you. You look like you’ve seen a ghost. What has happened?”

“Nate?” She collapsed against him.

He wrapped his arms around her, peering around with trained attention. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but he’d clear the space once he got her settled. No one would hurt her on his watch. Her nearness and soft warmth caught him off guard. His eyelids fluttered. The sugary lemon of her hair tantalized his senses. He breathed in the scent as if it were oxygen he’d been missing. Her body trembled. Protectiveness washed over him, merging with his heightened state.

After a few moments she pulled away. A rosy tint stained her cheeks. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Mr. Larkin. Please forgive me.”

“Nate.” He wouldn’t let her dismiss him. “You’re still distraught, Miss Ross. Come downstairs and sit down.” He maneuvered her down the steps. “Careful now.”

“I’m fine.”

He led her to the settee and lowered himself beside her, not wanting to loom over.

She focused on a spot on the wall and took several deep breaths. She seemed to gather in her distress, steeling her features into normalcy and calm. Only then did she turn her face to his. “I’m fine now. Truly. Thank you for your help. I’d better get busy. I have things to do.”

He raised a brow. “Not until you tell me what scared the daylights out of you.”

 

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

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