Tag Archives: free reads

Tuesday Tales: Writing Truck

Tuesday 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 secret word is truck. My snippet is from a light paranormal set in the 1950s. The heroine works hard to make a living in her restaurant and raise her little daughter while awaiting the return of her husband from the Korean War. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

 

The iron pan of biscuits slid squarely into the center of the hot oven. Laura eased the door closed just as Nita came rushing in from the public space of the restaurant. Her round face beet red, she spluttered words in a hissing tone likely meant to pass as a whisper.

Laura straightened and whipped a kitchen towel up over her shoulder.

The hissing again, but this time discernable. “Doris Killingham! She’s right behind—”

The town’s imperious guide for all matters philanthropic and social waltzed into the long narrow room, having extended one beige gloved forefinger to allow passage through the swinging door. Her puce flowered dress and matching hat and handbag overpowered the lowly atmosphere of the well worked kitchen.

“How may I help you, Mrs. Killingham?” From the corner of her eye she saw Nita edge her way out to the customers. Chicken.

“You can tell me what my son was doing here alone with you last night.”

A fiery feeling warmed her throat, causing her words to come out rather stronger than she intended. “Why don’t you ask Wade why he stormed in here?”

“He’s still abed. The poor boy doesn’t sleep well. I’m on my way to prayer meeting and have no time for your nonsense. Why was he raising a ruckus?”

An exasperated sigh escaped her. “He said he wanted to voice his objection to my consulting with Miz Sarey.”

“Consulting with Miz Sarey? You mean about your husband?”

“Of course about my husband. I’m worried sick. Besides, almost everyone in town gets a palm read at one time or another. Haven’t you?”

The woman huffed. “Certainly not. I have no truck with fortune telling and the like.”

She folded the kitchen towel very carefully, ironing it with the side of her hand. “Miz Sarey uses her sight to help those in need.”

“I suppose you made payment for that bit of foolishness?”

“Excuse me, Mrs. Killingham, I know you mean well, but why is this your concern?”

“Two reasons, Laura Scott. One, as a business owner you have a responsibility to set an example and not go traipsing out on a devil’s errand. Two, just because your husband is off at war gives you no right to go spreading your scarlet nails into my boy.”

Those nails pressed into Laura’s two palms as she sought to contain her temper. “Wade and my Jeffrey are old school friends. He’s worried about his friend and trying to do right by him, granted in a heavy handed manner. It’s none of his business what I do. I told him that, and by damn, I’m telling you, too.”

“Well, try and provide a little proper guidance for some people!”

 

I hope you enjoyed my take on truck. 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 Chain

Tuesday 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 key word is chain. My snippet is from a light paranormal set in the 1950s.

The heroine works hard to make a living in her restaurant and raise her little daughter, while awaiting the return of her husband from the Korean War. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

 

Gripping the handle with both hands, she managed to lift the metal bucket only a couple of inches off the floor. It took a combination of sliding and lifting to maneuver it out the back door. She plunged the stringy mop into the water and then rung it out, propping it upside down against the wall. She kicked the bucket over onto the sand and jumped aside as some of the dirty suds streamed back toward her. Once it was empty, the outside spigot allowed for a thorough rinse, and she turned the bucket over to dry.

She rolled her shoulders. They ached pretty bad tonight. Maybe liniment would help, if she could reach the right spot with it and didn’t mind smelling like turpentine. Jeff was an angel at back massages. She missed his warm healing touch. She sank onto the bench and leaned back. The fan should dry the floor before long, and she could finally collapse into bed. Meantime, she’d close her eyes a minute.

A gravelly voice penetrated her respite. “Evening, Missus.”

Her eyes flew open. “Spur! My goodness, what are you doing back here in the dark?”

He indicated the narrow dirt road running behind the row of businesses. “Just on my evenin’ constitutional. Sorry if I startled you.”

Her lips curved in a smile. She had a soft spot for the old codger. “It’s all right. I’m waiting for the floor to dry.”

“What’s this?” He bent to pick up a trifold paper and handed it to her. “Letter from the mister?”

She took it with a sigh. “Fell out of my apron pocket I guess. No, it’s one of those idiotic chain letters. Seems to be the rage these days. This one’s from a third cousin I haven’t seen in years.”

A scowl crunched his eyebrows together. “Never heard of a chain letter. What’s it for?”

“Just stuff and nonsense. It says I have to pass on this rhyme to five people or bad luck will come. I meant to throw it away.”

“We don’t need bad luck at all, none of us, do we, Missus?”

Silence stretched over several beats. “No.”

“I’ll be on my way, Missus.” He tipped a nonexistent hat or gave a half salute, she couldn’t be sure, and ambled off.

Preoccupied, she muttered a farewell. Unfolding the paper, she reread the verse.

This comes with hope from me to you.
Five friends to seek for wishes true.
Good luck and fortune if you send you do.
Otherwise ill, and tidings blue.

Five friends. Spur was right. She didn’t need any bad luck.

 

I hope you enjoyed my take on chain. 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 Coat

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

The flame became a fire horse, its mane licking at her skin, searing her with its heat. She held on and rode the power. Nothing else mattered. She whirled around, slowly at first and then faster and faster until everything blurred. Energy rushed through the void in a frenzied dance.

Her lips opened, and song poured forth. Individual syllables flowed on a stream, and then shattered like glass into tiny particles, each containing the whole song. Darkness became light, blinding her with its glory. Light and song became one.

Her intent on Rhade, she rode the fire horse home.

She allowed time to compress again, and the sheer delight of the song and the experience expanded into ecstasy.

Another vortex opened, and the fabric of time swished toward her. She reached for it and was amazed to discern its individual atoms. Threads of all colors shimmered in her hands. She stopped, confused, as the vast array of choices overwhelmed her. Breathe. You can do this.

It was now or never. Her trembling fingers plucked on a thread of indigo sheen. Though gossamer, it hummed with power and vibrated as if attached to a great unseen force. Its energy flipped up tremendous waves, bucking her on a wild ride. As the tension cut into her fingers, she held on. To let go would mean the end of a dream and her life with Rhade.

Time bent and stretched, meandered and rushed, and then–there it was, the Emerald Coastline. Mother sea sloshed her froth onto the land, an offering of the goddess. Resa longed to be down there, feel the sea spray coat her body, the wet sand between her toes. Rhade’s body against her own.

Light filled her heart. Soon.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt coat. 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 Crush

It’s good to be back with Tuesday Tales, after the stress and aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Tuesday 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 book hungry troop that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today our word prompt is crush. The excerpt is from a paranormal fantasy romance. Visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Realization settled like a stone in her belly. She was in the hands of the dreaded Firbolg, mortal enemies of her lineage, the Tuath. She had to figure a way out of this predicament.

Her stomach roiled from nerves and the rough trip Rhade insisted was necessary to escape the enemy. Without warning, he swung her from the mount and leapt down beside her, still clasping her arm. Shouts pierced the air. Their two escorts reacted with urgency, unsheathing their weapons and rushing toward the din.

Rhade hauled her up an incline toward a row of large rounded boulders and shoved her through a crevice and into a tight, enclosed space, landing on top of her. “They could not have seen you. You’re safe for the moment.”

Breathing was hard with his weight atop her. She pushed up at him as best she could, but her wrists were still tied together. She scrubbed the cloth from between her lips, and managed a hoarse whisper. “Damn you, barbarian. Get off. Are you trying to crush me? Who’s after you now? The Tuath?”

Grunting, he shifted his muscular form and maneuvered to the narrow crevice, peering through. “It’s the Fomor, not the Tuath, damn your eyes. Didn’t you hear their war cry? I’ve a good mind to toss you out to them.”

Her heart thudded. “You said I was safe.”

Courtesy free Pixabay

“Your wagging tongue makes me reconsider.”

“You have no reason to fear me. I’m not the priestess you think I am.”

He snarled. “I fear no one.”

“There’s no reason to hate me either.”

Blue eyes flashed. “Have you forgotten I saw you at the battle of Boyne?  Face of an angel, heart of obsidian. Your lies won’t work on me.” His voice hardened. “And don’t try any magic either, if you want to live another day.”

His words swirled around her like strums of music. He thought she would use magic on him? Human manipulation was against all she had been taught. Her lips parted, and her gaze narrowed, sorting out possibilities. Damn right she would. She just had to figure out how.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt crush. 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 Bean

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 bean. My excerpt is from a new contemporary romance. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Her lips trembled, despite an effort to control her reactions. She held out the amulet. “This is on you. If anything happens to my brother…”

A warm hand squeezed hers. “Nothing will. The plan is in motion. All has been taken care of.”

She jerked away. “That’s how you manage everything, isn’t it? It’s got to be your way or no way.”

His jaw tightened. “What would you have me do? Allow you to proceed with sneaking onto the damn yacht? Sternin would grab the necklace and toss you and your brother overboard before you could blink.”

“You don’t know that.”

A brow lifted. “I know exactly how he operates. He’s a dangerous sonofabitch, and I’ll not let you anywhere near him.”

“It’s none of your business. The amulet doesn’t belong to you. Why are you butting in?”

 “It became my business when you tried to steal it from a friend of mine.”

The way his voice chilled made her temper flare. “Your lover, you mean.”

He looked unperturbed. “No, I mean a friend. The other is long past. In fact it was over almost before it began. I’ll not see a friend hurt, though, if I can prevent it.”

“Like me?”

“We were friends once, too, remember? You’ve got to trust me, Lissa.” His finger traced around her chin, and a faint scent of lime met her nostrils. “You used to. Can’t you do that now?”

She met his eyes. The funny thing was, she did. Despite everything, she knew he’d do his best to save her brother from Sternin. A breeze coming in from the harbor ruffled his usually immaculate hair. It made her want to reach up and touch it, and she had to clench her hands to her sides. “All right. But I have to know the details. How are you planning to keep the amulet safe while we pass off the fake one?”

A half chuckle escaped his lips. “Well, it’s not by hiring Mr. Bean to guard it.”

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt bean. 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 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