Tag Archives: vintage 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 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 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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Tree

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 tree. 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 tossed down her pencil and pinched the bridge of her nose. Bookwork had never been her favorite pastime. A contemptuous chuckle escaped her lips. No one was around to hear her thoughts. Who did she think she was kidding? She’d never kept financial records in her life before she came here. Her gaze settled on the newly polished wooden floor. Shadows cast by the lone chandelier obscured the sheen. The long knives of dusk. She hated it and always made sure to be outside when it came. She wanted to absorb every last glimmer of sunlight. Let night fall like a curtain rather than fade like a song. Now the twilight always seemed to creep up on her before she could get to the open air.

She pushed the chair away from the desk. That air suddenly seemed a necessity. The screen door squeaked on her way to the outside landing, further unsettling her nerves. Why couldn’t Buster take care of things without her having to remind him? Her father would never have stood for it. Her father. His death already seemed a lifetime ago, the world she’d known a distant dream. Faded like the day. She sucked in a shaky breath. The faint scent of jasmine still lingered. If only she could figure that one out. The coming night cascaded around her. Stars popped out on the horizon, impatient. She had the strangest urge to push them back through their pinholes. The strident ring of the telephone drew her back inside.

“Hannah, this is Meg.”

“Oh, hi, Meg.”

“I’m on the calling tree for the PTA, and I wanted to give you the first chance before I start. We’re working on the Halloween fundraiser, and I remember you mentioned civic involvement. Do you want to be listed as a sponsor?”

“How much?”

“Five smackers for an individual but fifteen if you want the hotel listed.”

“Put me down for fifteen.”

“Great! Thanks so much, Hannah. That’ll put the curdle in Audrey Wyver’s tea.”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt tree. 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 Air

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 air. 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.

Roscoe trudged toward Nate with the obvious goal of getting in his face. “I don’t need any smart ass comments, boy. I asked you a question. What are you doing out here at the old cemetery?”

“Just looking around. Most of these graves are in pretty good condition to be so old.”

Roscoe gave him a sideways glance. “Cemetery Association takes care of that.”

“For a buck here and there from the family?”

The older man shrugged in apparent agreement.

“What about when there is no kin?” Nate nodded at a tilted marker half sunk into the ground. “Like that one. Cemetery Association just lets it go to hell?”

Roscoe’s eyes took on a mean squint. “What’s it to you? You’re a stranger in town poking his nose where it don’t belong. You and that snobby ass tart Hannah Ross. Nothing but trouble. Both you need to high tail it back where you came from.”

Nate clenched his fists and swallowed over the burning in his throat. Smashing the pompous air out of the man’s gut wouldn’t help matters. Will power couldn’t stop the words that poured through his lips. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you? She leaves without meeting the deadline, and all the cash plus the hotel reverts to you?”

Roscoe took a final drag and stomped out his cigarette. A satisfied grin spread out on his ruddy face. “So that’s what this is. She’s got your britches in such a wad you can’t see straight. Telling you tales about some robbery or another.” He waved an arm. “Well, go ahead. It’s your party. Look around all you want. Spend your fine Sunday afternoon with the corpses. Just remember one thing. I got my eye on you, Larkin. And on her.”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt air. 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 Stairs

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 we have a picture prompt of an empty room with winding stairs. 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 winding stairs led Hannah to the attic. Music tinkled, tinny sounding but louder. The jasmine fragrance was more palpable up here. A tingle ran down her spine. She swiveled around. No one behind her. The breath she’d been holding escaped in a whiny trickle. Squeezing her hands stilled their trembling. Now if she could hold off the urge to scamper back downstairs like a frightened mouse. 

Stepping carefully through a maze of boxes, she made her way toward a small wooden shutter. A breath of fresh air would calm her nerves. She didn’t remember seeing such a tiny window anytime she’d viewed the hotel from outside, but she was a little disoriented at the moment. Maybe it was obscured from outside somehow. Why would you have a hidden window though?

Clamping her teeth, she reached for the knob and tugged. Nothing happened. Frowning, she tried with both hands this time. The bottom of the shutter gaped open a hair, but the top refused to budge. Warped, blast it. What she needed was a case knife or, better yet, a screw driver. She glanced around at the boxes. Maybe there was something in one of them she could use to open the shutter. After a moment she shook her head at the way her overloaded brain ran around in circles. She’d deal with the stuck window later. It’s not like she was suffocating or anything. She had traipsed up here because her imagination had played a trick on her. This was her building and consequently her attic full of junk, regardless how it got here. Maybe there were even treasures among the motley piles. She may as well investigate.

She dragged a chair up to one of the largest boxes, determination settling in. All was quiet now. No more eerie music or jasmine. She inhaled a deep breath and let it out in one fell swoop. Ugh, dusty nostrils. Luckily she carried a handkerchief in her apron pocket. She dabbed at her nose, careful to keep it dainty. You never knew when someone was watching you, her mother had advised. No, that etiquette tip didn’t help a bit right now. She reached for a box lid.

The scent of jasmine flooded the room, swirling in on the sudden musical notes. In an instant the temperature plummeted. Icy tendrils snaked around her heart and squeezed. Jerking up, she knocked over the chair and ran headlong toward the door. On the landing, sunlight blinded her just as a dark figure loomed up in front. She screamed. Hands reached out to grab her shoulders.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on a picture prompt of a room with winding stairs. 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 Love

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you get to share it with someone special.

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 love. My excerpt is from Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Kneeling in the sparse grass, he ran his fingers over the smooth marble. It was a graceful monument, a work of art. He took in the flowing lines of the base, the scroll edged binding of the holy book resting on top. And above it all the sculpture that stirred the inner places he had closed off long ago. The curve of her bare arm. The unquenched sorrow of her mournful posture. The weeping angel sheltered the earthborn memory of the woman now gone. Although he had no idea of the countenance or figure of Iris de Pres, he could sense her reflected in the reverence of the tribute. A strong connection surged between her and the one who sought to immortalize her.

He shook off the strange feelings. Practical thoughts flicked to the cost of such a commission. She had been mightily important to someone. Was Spur more involved than he let on? What did he have to do with Iris de Pres and why was he so confounded close mouthed about the subject? He cursed beneath his breath. Why wouldn’t the old cuss just ride out here with him?

Pivoting on his heels, he maneuvered to the front of the gravestone. The inscription was in raised lettering on the base. Names and dates. Clear and simple. Hannah had been right. She died young. Only 26. And something else was written beneath that in tiny letters. He peered closer. The quiet dust made his eyes water, and he swiped a handkerchief over his face before looking again. He squeezed and then widened his eyes to clear his vision. My love, forsaken. A frown curled his brow. What the hell did that mean?

A motor sounded in the distance. He rose, moving away from the center of his interest. It was better to play it close to the chest than broadcast his business. Removing his watch, he made a show of rewinding it, keeping a sideways eye on the road.

A brand new 1954 Buick growled up and clenched into park. A red faced Roscoe Wyver barreled out, leaving the car door open. His voice boomed. “What the hell you doin’ out here, Larkin?”

He slid the watch back on his wrist. A grin sliced across his face. “Roscoe, that’s no way to treat the gears in that fine machine of yours. Grinds up the transmission real fast.”

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

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