Tuesday Tales is a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their WIPs based on word and picture prompts. Today’s prompt is new year, and the snippet is from a work in progress temporarily called by the heroine’s name, Shale. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.
The stairs leading to the attic were steep and cramped, as if to keep out Nosy Nellys like herself. Shale grinned. That was a moniker she could take to heart. Helping the spirit would mean looking in all the proverbial nooks and crannies until she found the diary. If it didn’t give her the answers she sought—what then? She’d find another way, no doubt. The Delaney sisters always did. She stepped up to the landing and turned to look down. The stairs had curved around, and she had a clear view of the bottom, though not the middle. There was no sign of Nicholai Zared, thank goddess, and the deafening quiet up here was a little spooky.
Stepping carefully through a maze of boxes and clutter, she made her way to a small clear area and stared around in amazement. A sinking feeling drew at her abdomen. She could spend weeks and not get through all this mess. She didn’t have weeks. Focus, Shale. A burning sensation hit her nostrils. A sneeze was coming on from the dust she had stirred. She closed her eyes and ripped out a good one, drawing a tissue from her pants pocket. Blinking away the moisture in her eyes, she sniffed and surveyed the rambling space. That decrepit looking desk glowing in a sunbeam full of dust motes was a good place to start, and she stepped over an orange crate to get to it.
Twenty minutes later she had piled up a century’s worth of recipes as well as electric bills back to the stone age, but no diary was in evidence. These old desks often had secret compartments, but she hadn’t found one. She had felt inside and beneath the drawers with only a splinter as a reward. Sucking the tip of her finger, she squatted down to view the low slung desk at eye level. An indention in the wood under one of the drawers caught her eye, just as a creak sounded on the stairs.
She rose in haste, bent over, and pretended to look through a wooden box on the floor. When Ivy peeked in at her, Shale exhaled in relief. “Oh, it’s you. Did you see anyone else on your way up here?”
“Nope. There’s a sexy hunk downstairs though. Boy, he could sizzle up a steak in the arctic.”
Exasperated, Shale cast her glance heavenward. Another of her sister’s instant lust attacks. Then heat prickled her cheeks as she recalled that her own reaction to the exotic Mr. Zared hadn’t been exactly lukewarm. “Ivy, stay by the door and keep a lookout. I don’t want anyone to see what I find—if I find anything.”
Her sister’s shoulders lifted in a delicate shrug, but she took up her assigned post with an air of listening down the stairs and still closely watching what Shale was doing.
Shale squatted down again, peering at the slight indention in the wood beneath the drawer. It could just be warped, but excitement fluttered in her stomach. Holding her breath, she pressed her thumb against the spot. Nothing happened. Biting her lip, she pressed again. A tiny slanted drawer popped open. She glanced over at Ivy, whose eyes gleamed in the dim light filtering through the slatted window. Shale reached in her hand and pulled from the cubbyhole something wrapped in a piece of dark green velvet. Her hand shaking, she brushed aside the fabric to reveal a small booklet. On the front was handwritten “Musings of Josette Dupuis, New Year’s Day, 1795.”
Ivy ‘s eyes widened. “You found it?”
Shale’s lips stretched into a smile.
Thanks so much for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.
Cheers, Good Reading, & Happy New Year!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance