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 the word stark, 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.
As Ivy ran ahead to chatter animatedly with a jean clad woman standing on the open front porch, Shale plodded through the crackling brown leaves and tall dried tufts of witch grass. Sandspurs stuck to her maxi skirt, and she lifted it to pluck off the irritating invaders. It had been smart to wear mid-calf boots. Keeping the skirt raised to prevent further attack, she pictured herself for a moment as a regal lady who habitually strolled with her gown coquettishly elevated. One in a satin concoction such as those that sent Ivy into shrieks and peals. Goddess, she was getting fanciful.
The heel of her boot tilted sideways on a grassy clump. She grimaced. Obviously she wasn’t so brilliant after all. Lucky she hadn’t turned her ankle. Low heeled boots would have been more appropriate for this neglected yard.
A ruddy cheeked woman in a red checked shirt stood in stark contrast to the peeling gray paint of the porch. Ivy had already entered the house by the time Shale approached the woman with her hand outstretched. “I’m Shale Delaney. Are you Gertrude Riley?”
The woman’s smile seemed genuine, even though the lines around her mouth and eyes gave Shale the impression of weariness. “One and the same. Folks call me Gert.”
Surprised by her sturdy grip, Shale glanced down at Gert’s brown, sun seasoned hand. The woman obviously enjoyed working outdoors. “You’ve already met my sister Ivy, I see,”
Gert’s springy gray curls bobbled. “Oh, yes, a breath of fresh air, isn’t she?”
Shale smiled and nodded. Though Ivy got on her nerves at times, she couldn’t deny her little sister tended to brighten up the world.
“I told her to go ahead and look around as much as she likes. The same goes for you. You said you wanted to look in the attic?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Pay no mind to my no account nephew if you run into him upstairs, nor to that Mister Zared either.” Gert’s tone fell and became sharper. “Just because the old homestead reverted to him doesn’t give him the right to one whit of anything inside my grandfather’s house. You take your time and see me if there’s something you hanker to buy. I’ll be hereabouts.”
“Will do. Thanks, Gert.” Shale slipped inside the creaky screen door, her covetous gaze on the staircase ahead. Her hand skittering along the weathered handrail, she hurried upward, and then came to a sudden stop at the sight of a tall, imposing figure. Her pulse accelerated as the man stepped in front of her, blocking her way up the stairs.
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Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance