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Wednesday Randomness ~ The Perfect Lazy Day

Now, I know this is going to come as a shocking surprise to all, but I’m not much of a Lazy Day person. I know!!!! Honestly, I feel way better if I do at least an hour of something challengingly active. Running, kick boxing, hiking… I don’t care. For me, it makes the lounging around later that much sweeter…  but we all need rest days so..

My Perfect Lazy Day.

I’m a night owl, so, it would start with NO alarm. My god, I love waking up naturally. Now, I might not really sleep that much later but… definitely a bit of bed lounging would be nice. (If I had a significant other, nasty lovely things would be happening next.)

Tea. I need tea. An extra large Tim Horton’s steeped tea would be waiting for me… hopefully with a yogurt and berries.

I’d get comfy in my favorite chair and read for a while, because I love reading. And it’s something I don’t always make time for. But on this day, hell yeah.

Now, it’s a perfect day, that means perfect weather. So, I’d step outside and take the dog for a long walk. Nothing fills my inner peace jar like some quality time in the woods. No bugs. No sounds of technology. Just me, Bandit and nature. If I was really lucky, some time spent on the water would coincide with this. Kayaking along a lake or in the ocean… yeah, that’s perfect.

Having found inner peace (let me dream) I think I’d love to have a massage. All those knots and aches…oh yeah. Gone.

No perfect day would be complete without a bout of Netflix binging. Maybe it’s Supernatural. Maybe it’s the new season go RWBY. Or, maybe I’ll make a dent in all the episodes of Fairy Tale I haven’t gotten to, yet. But kicking back with one or more of the teenagers..(it’ll be Jared. It’s always Jared) is a great way to relax.

Someone else would make dinner (This never happens, but this is my dream, people. Don’t crush it.)

Thinking to end it off, a round of cards or some kind of game with the kids. We don’t play near enough, but it’s a laugh fest when we do.

I might spend the last couple of hours in bed, writing.

Now, if I had a partner… well, let’s just say there would be other items added in, but… since it’s easier to stroll across the plains of Mordor undetected than successfully date or find the special guy so…

 

And that’s pretty much it. I don’t have grandiose plans. I wonder what the other ladies have for their perfect day?

Bronwyn  ~  Jessica  ~  Jessica DLR

Gwendolyn  ~  Torrance

Song Fiction ~ Angel With a Shotgun

It’s February and in stunning West Coast fashion, we get a freaking snow storm. Not anything to do with this post, but…. I’m so over winter already. And we haven’t even had it that bad.

Anyway, this month’s song is Angel With a Shotgun, by The Cab. I’ve never heard of this song, or this band. But damn, one listen and I love this song… Kinda making me wish I was writing Lucifer right now! Though, he’s never expecting Heaven to take him back, lol. If you want to give the song a listen here’s the video. Despite really enjoying the tune, I’ve got nothing. Been thinking all day and still, nothing. And the one thought that springs to mind… well… not sure it fits the bill, but guess it’s what you’re gonna get. And it’s super short so… you’re welcome.

“Thank god, you’re here.”

Clay nearly tripped over his own feet as Sarah grabbed his hand and yanked him into the room. He stumbled to a halt, almost taking them both to the floor when she threw herself at him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders as she hyperventilated against his neck.

Clay held her close, stroking one hand down her hair. “Easy, sweetheart. Everything’s going to be okay.”

She stiffened then pulled back, swiping angrily at the tears dotting her cheeks. “Okay? Nothing is okay, Clay. And it won’t—” She gasped as shouts and screams sounded through the walls a second before loud crash shook the floor. “Oh, god. It’s starting, again.”

Clay eased forward, tugging her close, as he smiled against her hair. “Take a deep breath for me.”

“I can’t. I have to stop them.”

“You have to breathe for me, first. Come on.”

She hiccuped her next breath against his neck.

“Slower. Try to match mine.” He took a few deep breaths, relaxing when she finally calmed enough her chest rose and fell with his. “Better. Now, why don’t you stay in here for a few minutes and let me deal with this.”

She shook her head, eyes wide, her pale skin dotted with a light sweat. “I can’t let you do that. Shit, I never should have called you. But…I didn’t know who else to turn to? If my brother ever finds out how much I fucked this one, stupid thing up…”

“Shhh, you did the right thing. And Roy’s never gonna know. We’ll have this place back to normal long before he and Trixie get back. Promise.”

“How can you be so calm when you’re about to face…” She jumped when the something hit the wall just beside the closed door, glancing back at it. “They’re demons. Every. Single. One.”

“Then, I guess it’s a good thing I have some experience dealing with demons.”

She whipped her head around, staring at him as if she’d never seen him before. “Experience?”

“Just…trust me.” He pointed to the counter. “Is that up next?”

She nodded. “I tried once, already, but they swarmed me.”

“They’re like animals. They smell fear.”

“This isn’t funny. I thought I was ready. That it would be simple. Play some games, be their friend, but…” She met his gaze. “They turned on me. And… I panicked.”

“This isn’t a typical day. Ron set you up to fail, you know that, right?”

She shrugged.

“Hey, you were smart enough to call for backup. That’s way more than most people would do. The war’s not over, yet.” He picked up the tray. “Do me a favor? Wait until it’s quiet then join me. And bring the cleaning supplies.”

Her mouth gaped open as he winked at her then headed for the door. “Clay!”

Clay paused at the threshold. “Yeah, sweetheart?”

“Why? Why are you doing this for me? Facing…them?”

He frowned. “Because I love you.”

A few more tears fell as she worked up a smile. “This might go beyond that.”

“Love’s a battlefield. If I wasn’t prepared to fight until the end, I never would have started.”

He turned, opened the door, then stepped into the living room. “All right, you little monsters. There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s armed with cake. Who wants a piece?”

See? Oh well, it’s what you got. Now, venture off to the others and enjoy their stories.

Bronwyn  ~  Jessica  ~  Siobhan

Promptly Penned ~ February Monsters

It’s Valentine’s Day, not that I celebrate it. Well, maybe if I actually had a boyfriend, I would, but… That’s okay. Now, I don’t have to worry about there being chocolate in the house 🙂  Anyway, this month’s prompt is an interesting one…

Her/His life changed when she/he learned the monsters were protecting her.

So, without further ado, here’s the resulting story…

Lexi ran down the narrow alleyway, lungs burning, the muscles in her legs starting to cramp. Every step felt heavier. Slower. As if the air had somehow thickened around her, pushing back against her as fiercely as she tried to forge ahead. Pain radiated up her side, settling with unforgiving force in her chest. She wouldn’t last more than another few minutes—not with the wound still oozing blood—staining her skin and clothes a dark red. She chanced a glance behind her. Two of the castle’s guards followed her through the twisting cobblestone roads, slowly gaining ground. She focused in front of her, wondering where the third guard was, when she caught a flicker of movement off to her left.

She leaned back, threw her feet out in front of her, and slid along the slick stones as the other guard’s sword swiped through the air where she should have been, the blade’s tip scoring the stone wall. Sparks glinted in the darkness before falling to the ground like dying fireflies. Lexi scrambled back to her feet, chanting the only spell she had the strength left to cast. Footsteps pounded the road behind her followed by the whoosh of a sword cutting through the air. The hairs on her neck prickled, and she closed her eyes, anticipating the strike when everything paused. She swallowed, glancing at the silver metal blade poised beside her neck. One inch. But it was enough.

The pain in her side flared, tripping her to her knee before she managed to stagger away, the bonds of the spell already weakening. She kept moving, one shaky step after another, until she reached the edge of the cemetery. Towering monoliths stretched out before her, the stone markers scattered across the field. A smile twitched her lips, and she took several more steps across the boundary before finally stopping. Shouts rang out behind her, the men’s voices drowned out by the sudden cackling of crows as they took flight, blocking out the glow of the moon before disappearing into the forest behind her. The guards clattered to a halt, swords raised, their heavy pants echoing through the night.

“Enough!” One of the men walked to the edge of the grounds, glancing at the gathering of headstones. “There’s nowhere left for you to hide, mage. Cross over, and I promise your death will be swift.”

She smiled, bracing against one of the graves when her legs trembled. “If you want my head that badly, sir, come and get it.”

The man narrowed his eyes, glancing at the crude barrier of stone and earth before looking back at his comrades. The others shook their heads, taking a noticeable step back.

The man huffed, then spun. “Do you really think a bunch of stories spun to scare children will stop me? This land is nothing more than a tribute to the dead. There are no such thing as monsters.”

Lexi cocked her head to the side. “If that’s truly what you believe, then, why am I still breathing?”

He shifted his weight to his other foot, once again, staring at the edge of the road. “You’re a fool. If, through some dark sorcery, the monsters are real, then you’re dead either way.”

“Then, I suppose there’s no need for you to take that final strike. Leave now, and you might live to try, again, another day.”

“You’re bluffing.”

He sneered at her, placed one foot on the muddy ground, then froze. His eyes widened, the white quickly eclipsing the black as shadows rose from beneath the ground, slowly taking shape. Growls filled the air as claws scratched across the rough stone. The guard scrambled away, joining the other men several feet back.

Lexi pushed off the headstone, motioning to the creatures amassing around her. “It would seem you’re mistaken. The monsters are quite real.”

His mouth hinged open, quickly replaced by a smug grin. “Then, you’re the one who’s made the mistake. I’m just sorry I won’t get to be the one to see justice served.”

“Justice? What do you know about justice? You serve an evil king who’d rather watch his people starve than lower his taxes. You kill women and children over crusts of bread. I’m afraid it’s me who will see justice served this night.”

“You? You’re the only one still stuck on sacred land. The one about to be killed by the very legends you’d hoped would save you.”

“Am I?” She turned when a massive bear-like creature stopped beside her, smiling up at it before focusing back on the men. “You see, this isn’t the first time I’ve come here. Several years ago, a man very much like yourself chased me in here, then left me to die. I nearly made it to the edge of the forest before passing out. When I awoke, I was surrounded by the beasts you see before you. That’s when I discovered an unusual truth.” She took another step. “The monsters, as you call them, are here to protect me.” She gave them a wry smile. “I’d start running if I were you.”

And that’s it for me. Please visit the rest of the ladies and see what they came up with.

Bronwyn ~ Jessica ~ Gwendolyn ~ Siobhan

Top Ten ~ Things I Should Do, But Don’t

The first Top Ten post of the new year… and it’s all in my new home at WordPress. So happy I made the leap. Here’s to having more fun making more sites, lol. Okay, now onto the post. I’m not taking this one as in a “what does society think I should do” because other than not being a psychopathic serial murderer, I think I’m a decent enough person. So, I don’t subscribe really to what society thinks I should or shouldn’t do. But there are lots of things I should do for myself. To make “me” better. And isn’t that what we’re all striving for? To be the best us? Here’s my list, but in no particular order because they are all things I should be doing…

  • Sleep more. Though, in my defense, it’s not always my fault, but… I know I often choose to skip out on sleep because that’s where I can get more time. I always say “I can sleep when I’m dead,” but better self-care in this area should happen.
  • Find balance. I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of person and often give up one thing to do another because I feel like I’m way behind or something. I’m working on this. I know I tend to go to extremes… though that might just be a personality trait, lol.
  • Learn to say “no” more. Pretty sure this doesn’t need an explanation. And this is a hard one for me.
  • Drink more water. I know… I’m better than I used to be but not where I know I should be.
  • Be more confident in myself. In some areas, I’m okay. Others….so not there. And we all know believing in yourself is half the battle.
  • Learn to slow down and appreciate things more. In the immortal words of Ferris Buller…

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in awhile, you might miss it.

  • Market my jobs better. I know I have to promote myself to sell books, to get more cover/graphic orders. I’m trying, bit it’s not something I enjoy, so it’s one thing that gets pushed aside. I really need to be better about this.
  • Learn to… Let it go, let it go… yes, sing with me. I’m getting better, but I still get bogged down by guilt or anger about something that already happened. Or… I get obsessively worried or worked up about something that hasn’t even happened, yet. (Did I mention I went to extremes?)
  • Make time for other interests. This is hard. Work is always there and with kids and interruptions, it feels like it takes ten hours to get in five. But, I should step away a bit more often. Get back to playing the piano or finally learn Spanish. Maybe take that kick-boxing class.
  • Be comfortable in my own skin. John Mayer has a new album out and there’s this song… In The Blood. One line there sums everything up perfectly…

And what about this feeling that I’m never good enough? Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?

And that’s it for me, folks. I wonder what the other ladies said and if I’m way off-mark, lol.

Jessica ~ Bronwyn ~ Siobhan ~ Deelylah ~ Gwendolyn ~ Torrance

Brain Dump

So, this is my first time doing a brain dump. I think I’ve elected not to do them, before. Now, I know why. It’s hard. I asked myself… what’s inside my head. The answer was a resounding NOTHING. Or… so much it’s just a high-pitched scream. 😀 But, I shall push through it. So, here’s my post. Oh and in case you didn’t notice, I gave the website a makeover and… made the jump to WordPress. Maybe that was the cause of my insomnia? hmmm….

INSOMNIA

This won’t be a complaint. I know lots of folks have issues sleeping. For the past twenty years it was kids. Now, well, now it’s just hormones and my brain refusing to shut down because of stress. Or whatever. I’ll admit, seeing my kids fall asleep on the couch and sleep through their alarms… makes me want to stab them just a bit. Maybe shove that irritating alarm noise up their asses… but I digress. I’ve come to appreciate this time as my quality “try to think up a plot” time. Or, “scratch the cat” time. Maybe even “stare at the ceiling” time.

Yes, I’ve tried my own kind of sleep aid.. Benadryl. That stuff knocks me out… but then I can barely get up the next morning, so I use it sparingly. I wait until I’m so grumpy that it’s do or die. But, in the spirit of being positive, here’s some fun visuals of my experience with insomnia. Enjoy…

This is how it begins…

 

So you stare some more figuring it has to end soon, eh?

 

Things get a bit…. heated.

 

Nothing seems to work.

 

Even the cat is against you.

 

No caption needed here, folks…

 

This is you until it passes…. still waiting…

 

And that’s it for me, folks. I’m just sitting here, rocking back and forth… waiting. go visit the others and see what they chatted about.

Bronwyn ~ Jessica ~ Siobhan ~ Torrance ~ Deelylah ~ Jessica DLR ~ Kellie

 

 

My Life Mission Statement

Well, I’m back to WordPress. Though, it definitely has more functionality. And as long as it works, I’m good.

So, this week’s random post is entitled… My Life Mission Statement. I’ll probably be way off on this. But here goes…

MISSION STATEMENT

Smile. Have fun. Life is better on the edge. If nothing else, try to leave each place better than when I came. I’ll only fail if I never try. Embrace the suck… there’s going to be a lot of it. Yes, there are stupid questions, but ask them, anyway. Somewhere between the base and the summit is why we climb—that applies to most things. Things can always get worse—this goes back to embracing the suck—but I’ll never know how strong I am if I don’t have to learn how to get back up. The struggle is real, but it’s worth it. And… remember that even if I fall flat on my face, I’m still, technically, moving forward.

Not even sure if that’s what was intended but that’s what you’re all getting. Now hop on over and read what the other ladies had to say… they might have even understood the question 🙂

Bronwyn ~ Jessica ~ Siobhan ~ Deelylah ~ Paige

Song Flash Fiction ~ Dog Days Are Over

Hi everyone and welcome to my shiny new site. Okay, it’s the same place, just with new window dressing.

So… I tried blogging from within my website program, but I couldn’t get the comments to work, so… I’ve redesigned a new WordPress theme. Hoping it’s close to my website. I added a nav bar to take you anywhere in my site, so… hoping it’s fairly seamless. Also, this is a repost of Monday. I just wanted it included in here.

Anyway, it’s time for our first song fiction of the year…yeah, I’m scared, too. I have no idea what kind of music there is. So, pray with me. It looks like the song this month is Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machines. I’ve heard this song a bunch of times, and looked at the lyrics. I still don’t freaking know if it’s supposed to be a happy song or a depressing one. Did love hit her and she’s good? But then why did she have to leave it all behind to survive? I choose to go with not so happy.

And no one is surprised…

Anyway, here’s the video if you want to give it a listen and the resulting story… OMG.. it’s short. Seriously. Short. You’re welcome for the third time.

It’s time.

Tyler closed his eyes, ignoring the looping message in his head—the one that had been screaming at him since he’d allowed Barry to sweet-talk him into coming back. Returning to their flat on the east side of the city. The one that still smelled of Barry’s cologne. That still held all their photographs on the mantle. Ty had pretended he hadn’t noticed them as they’d bumped their way down the hall, leaving a trail of clothes and token promises along the way. He’d even managed to block out the image of Barry tangled in the sheets with Ty’s so-called work buddy when Ty had stopped by for lunch two weeks ago to surprise Barry with take-out. An apology for missing their dinner the night before.

To think Ty had felt guilty over the long hours he’d put in. The endless shifts that never seemed to finish on time. That he’d actually contemplated taking the paramedic job at Barry’s factory, which guaranteed him regular hours. Nights at home.

Right. Nights he’d thought he’d been missed.

He glanced over his shoulder. Barry was out. Muscles slack. Lashes resting against sun-brozed skin. His face twitched in his sleep, creating a spiderweb of fine lines around his mouth and eyes before slowly fading as he relaxed, again. God, the man was stunning—thick blond hair, easy symmetrical features, and a square jaw covered in the right amount of scruff. It was easy to see why Ty had fallen for the man. Barry oozed sex appeal. It radiated from his body, sweated from his pores like an invisible pheromone. But it was all an illusion. Beneath the rippling muscles and roguish charm was nothing but bitter emptiness.

Or maybe that’s what Tyler had inside of him. He wasn’t sure. All he knew was that if he didn’t make a change—find the balls to leave and stay gone—he’d end up like a train stuck on the same dead-end track. No hope of ever getting off.

It’s time.

He palmed his ears, willing his inner voice to shut up. To just let him have one last moment. One more minute of pretending he wouldn’t be leaving the shattered pieces of his heart on the floor when he left. That a part of him wondered if he’d ever find someone who loved him for him. Who loved him not despite his flaws, but because of them. Or if he was the problem. If he’d somehow driven Barry to cheating.

Ty groaned at the thought. Now, he sounded like some love-sick teenager. He was thirty for Christ’s sake. He knew what made a healthy releationship and screwing around wasn’t anywhere on the list. All it took was one moment of clarity. A single chance to open one door while closing another.

Barry mumbled in his sleep, snuggling his ass against Ty’s thigh before drifting off, again. Ty clenched his jaw, savoring the heat of the other man’s skin for just a few more seconds before shifting his legs and swinging them over the edge of the bed. He moved slowly, setting the covers back over the other man once he’d managed to stand. To fight the urge to dive back under and put this off for another day. To believe the lies one more time.

No turning back.

He repeated the mantra over in his head as he gathered his clothes, stopping to stare at Barry before heading for the door. Ty held his breath until he stepped into the night air. Rain blanketed the city, dulling the surrounding noises and hiding the usual glow of the moon. He tipped his head up, letting the drops wash down his face. This was it. The first step in a new journey. But this time, he wasn’t taking his heart with him. He was leaving it here. Broken. Used. Remnants of the man he’d been before he’d realized his own self-worth.

Run.

It sounded good. Sounded right. He didn’t need to run far. He’d call his buddy in Portland in the morning. Finally accept the job the other man had been offering for what seemed like forever. A new city. A new start. All he had to do was run.

And that’s it for me. Super short. You’re welcome. Please go visit the rest of the ladies who probably actually understood this song.

Bronwyn | Jessica | Siobhan | Gwendolyn | Deelylah

Promptly Penned ~ January

It’s a brand-new round of promptly penned, and they are just as awesome as last year’s. Here’s the prompt. I will fit it in “somewhere” in the story, lol. I hope you enjoy…

My apologies. It’s a long one. I wanted it to be short. I really did, but… sigh.

“Take one step closer to me, and I swear to God, I’ll drop this cake! I’ll do it! Don’t test me!”

promptlypenned

“How do I look?”

Trixie looked up from the glass of white wine death-clamped between her fingers and gave her best friend the once-over. Bard had his back to her, his body reflected in the long mirror in front of him. Crisp white shirt, grey vest, dark blue tie topped off with a black tux. How did her look? Fucking amazing. Good enough to eat.  Exactly the way she’d always envisioned he’d look on his wedding day, only… he wasn’t marrying her.

She bit back the bite of jealousy that burned her throat. She didn’t have any right to be jealous. As far as Bard knew, they were friends. Best friends. Drinking buddies. Road trip renegades. Hell, she’d even bailed his ass out of jail once when he’d gotten into a fight in some red-neck town with the local sheriff’s son.

But that was it. Not lovers. Not even friends with benefits, despite the signs she’d been throwing his way for—Christ? Ten years? Maybe twelve? The guy was brilliant when it came to architecture. Had created a stunning new wing for the marine museum. But he wouldn’t know a flirt or pass if it bit him in the ass.

In retrospect, she should have literally bitten him in the ass. At least that way he would have gotten the message. Or maybe he had and he’d pretended to be dense because he didn’t have any romantic feelings for her. Didn’t feel his skin tighten, his heart race. Didn’t feel as if his tongue was too thick to form words or that he was going to spontaneously combust if she rubbed up innocently against him one more time.

She smiled. “You look great. You’re gonna make Monica cry.”

He snorted. “Make her cry? Are we talking about the same woman, because I’m certain she’ll say my tie isn’t right, or my hair’s unruly.” He looked down. “Shit. Do these shoes go with this tux?”

Trixie choked on her next swig of alcohol. Damn, she couldn’t afford to waste any of it. The only way she was getting through this ceremony was with an obscene amount of ninety-proof in her system.

Bard frowned. “What’s so funny? Do they look that bad? Should I change them?”

She shook her head, muttering when a chunk of her updo let loose, dropping a curly mass of hair around her shoulder. Fuck, she couldn’t get her hair right with someone helping and Miss Perfect managed to hold all hers in with two freaking chop sticks.

Trixie shoved the hair out of her face as she sat up straighter. “I was laughing at you, not your shoes.”

The lines above his nose deepened. “Why?”

“Because you sound like a freaking girl. How many vaginas are there in your relationship? I thought it was only supposed to be Monica’s.”

“Not funny, Trix. This is important.”

“Getting married is important. Saying your vows and believing in them is important. Being so in love with your partner you’re blind to everyone else in the room is important. Who gives a crap if your shoes are shined properly? Besides, they’re black. They match everything.”

His face relaxed and his lips curved up. “Monica cares. About everything. About the color of the damn pocket square I’m supposed to wear.” He turned to face her. “What the fuck is a pocket square? Am I supposed to give it to her if she starts crying? Or if her mother does? If my mother? And why does it matter if the groomsmen and bridesmaids aren’t organized by height? It’s supposed to be about having your friends stand up with you. Not whether Nancy is taller than my brother.”

“Nancy is taller than everyone’s brother.”

“Right?” He toed at the floor. “You were supposed to be my best man.”

“Best woman. Person. I’m sure there’s a name for it.” She shrugged as she paced to the other side of the small antechamber. “It’s fine. I get it. It would have thrown off the whole balance of the wedding party. God forbid, I didn’t have anyone to dance with.”

“I would have danced with you.”

Trixie snapped her head around. Had she imagined the hint of longing in his voice? The slight gravelly tone she’d only ever heard him talk to his ‘dates’ with? She studied his face. Lips pinched tight, brows slightly furrowed. A slight blush colored his cheeks as he drew air in through his nose, the rhythm faster than usual.

“I know. But that kind of defeats the purpose. You’re supposed to be dancing with your bride.”

He nodded. “I know. I’ve seen enough sappy chick flicks to have it all down pat.”

“She made you watch wedding movies?”

“Endlessly. And not just me. The entire wedding party. It was one long weekend I will never get back. I thought my brother was going to bail.”

Trixie laughed. James, Bard’s brother, would never bail on his little brother’s wedding, even if James didn’t really agree. Like her, he didn’t understand what Bard saw in Monica. They were polar opposites Trixie was sure extended to a cellular level. Of course, for her, jealousy blurred reality, and she was big enough to admit she couldn’t have pictured Bard with anyone other than her.

She drew in a calming breath then moved over to him, reaching up to straight his tie. “You look great. Perfect. Just like everything else. I’ve already checked out the chapel room. The flowers are stunning and it smells great. Like roses and summer rain. And once you’re ready, I’ll go take one last look around the reception area—they were supposed to deliver the cake. I’ll make sure it’s flawless, like everything else is supposed to be. Okay?”

Bard smiled, wrapping his arms around her then dragging her in for a soul-crushing hug. God, just feeling his arms around her—his breath warm and spicy against her cheek, his chest heaving against hers—made the pain in her heart explode outwards until it took every ounce of strength she had just to breathe. To return the hug without taking it further—letting her lips graze his neck or rubbing against the slight bulge in his pants. She wasn’t sure if he was slightly aroused or just big—great. Now, she was picturing his cock.

Bard gave her a squeeze. “What would I do without you?”

She was more interested in what he’d do with her. To her.

Trixie cleared her throat as she stepped back once he’d dropped his arms, fighting back the burning sensation in her eyes. Shit. She never cried. “Crash and burn, for sure.”

Bard frowned. “Hey, are you okay?”

She cursed inwardly. She hadn’t really thought he’d notice. “Fine. Girls are supposed to cry at weddings.”

“But—”

She spun, the sharp tap of her heels cutting him off. “I’ll go check everything, again. Then, I’ll take me seat.” She paused at the doorway, glancing over her shoulder without making eye contact. “Congratulations, Bard. Monica’s a lucky lady.”

She left, walking as quickly as her damn shoes would let her. Why had she worn heels? It wasn’t as if she was in the wedding party. Monica had vetoed that the moment Bard had brought it up—had said he needed his best friend up there with him. Trixie still wasn’t sure why Bard hadn’t fought Monica’s decision. They were supposed to be equals, yet, he seemed content more times than not to let Monica make the decisions.

Which was just another indicator that Trixie and Bard never would have lasted. She didn’t want a guy who caved to her every whim. She wanted a man who called her on her bullshit. Who stood up for his beliefs, but who both expected and respected that she did the same. She’d always thought Bard was that kind of guy. He was in every other facet of his life, but with Monica…

Stop thinking about it, you ditz. He’s marrying her. In like thirty minutes, so…

Trixie walked into the reception area. All the table were elegantly decorated, with more flowers and ribbons—the gleaming silverware glinting off the massive chandelier hanging in the middle of the dance floor. It looked beautiful. Though, if she were honest with herself, it didn’t suit Bard. She’d always pictured him whirling through a Vegas chapel then spending the honeymoon gambling and fucking. Not necessarily in that order. But definitely not the Kardashian event Monica had arranged.

Trixie’s stomach roiled as she made her way toward the cake. Everything else seemed fine. One final inspection and she could say she’d done her best to ensure Bard’s day was as great as he deserved. Even if Monica didn’t want Trixie to be a part of it, she’d assured Bard she’d be there for him. And she had. Despite the toll it had taken on her heart.

She stopped in front of the cake, staring up at the multiple tiers of smooth perfection. A ceramic bride and groom decorated the top layer, and Trixie swore Monica had paid to have them resemble her and Bard.

Talk about overkill.

She leaned in when footsteps sounded behind her. She nearly bumped the damn cake as she spun, staring at Bard as he closed the distance, stopping a foot away. “What the hell, Bard? You’re supposed to be greeting the guests. Smiling and shaking hands.”

“You never cry. Least of all at a wedding when you can’t stand the bride, so out with it.”

Her mouth gaped open before she was able to shut it. “You’re getting married in…” She glanced at her watch. “…twenty minutes and you’re wondering why I had a few tears in my eyes?”

“I know you. Have known you since we were sixteen. You. Don’t. Cry.”

“So sue me for having a moment. Now, go out there and greet your guests. Everything’s fine in here. The wedding is going to go over without a hitch.”

He inched closer. “Tell me why you were crying.”

“It doesn’t matter. You need to go.”

Bard arched a brow then side-stepped around the table, grabbing the top tier of the wedding cake then holding it up.

Trixie inhaled. “What are you doing? I’ll never be able to put that back the way it was. Shit, Monica is going to freak!”

“Tell me why you were crying.”

“Jesus, Bard, just…put the cake back the way you found it.” She moved toward him. “I can try to fix it. I—”

“Take one step closer to me, and I swear to God, I’ll drop this cake! I’ll do it! Don’t test me!”

She froze. She knew the look in his eyes. He was serious.

She held up her hands, palms facing him. “Okay. I won’t get any closer.”

“Now, tell me why you were crying. And not some lame ass excuse. I want the truth, Trix. I need the truth.”

Trixie crossed her arms. “Fine. You want the truth? Why not. It’s not like this day can get any worse for me. In fact, it’s pretty much an indicator of how the rest of my life is going to play out, at least where you’re concerned. I mean, if you didn’t have the balls to stand up to Monica about me being your best man, then I doubt we’ll be watching the Sunday game together any time soon. So…” She wiped at the sudden rush of moisture down her cheeks, uncertain if it was sad or angry tears. “I was crying because it guts me to think you’re marrying that…that…cold prissy rich girl. You weren’t supposed to last a month, let alone a year. And you definitely weren’t supposed to have some country club wedding a few months later. I don’t understand how you don’t see it. How utterly wrong you are for each other.” She shook her head. “You weren’t supposed to marry her. You were supposed to marry…”

She clamped her mouth shut.

He stared at her, eyes wide, lips slightly parted, when more footsteps sounded behind them. Trixie turned, sighing when it was James and not Monica.

James stared at the two of them, eyeing the cake before looking up at his brother. “I was wondering where you were. I have a message for you. Call me crazy, but this…” He waved at the cake. “I wasn’t expecting this.”

Bard seemed obvious to the fact he was still holding the damn cake, losing more bits of icing every time he shuffled his feet. “What were you expecting?”

“Honestly?” Jame smiled. “I was hoping you had Trixie pinned to some wall, pounding into her as if your life depended on it.”

Trixie choked on her next breath. “Excuse me?”

James laughed. “Please, even if I hadn’t heard every word you just said, I’m not blind. Unlike my brother, who wouldn’t know if a pretty girl was hitting on him if she punched him in the eye. I always thought you two would finally figure it out. Even if it was this late in the game.”

Trixie exhaled a shaky breath, glancing over at Bard, but he didn’t seem surprised. In fact, he looked relieved. “This is crazy. I never should have said anything. I’m so sorry. Just…give me the cake, and I’ll fix this. I’ll fix everything.”

Bard shook his head, handing James the cake and nearly dropping it in the process. Bard marched around the table, palming her face with his hands. “No. You won’t fix it. I will.”

He kissed her. In the middle of the damn reception room with guests filing in at the end of the hallway. Slid his tongue into her mouth, threaded his fingers through her messed-up hair and kissed her. Long. Deep. She lost track of time, of everything but the soft, warm feel of his lips on hers and everything slotted into place.

He gave her a smile as they parted. “Been wanting to do that for ten fucking years. Never had the balls to, though. Until now. So…answer me one more question. Were you going to say I was supposed to marry you?”

She stared into his blue eyes, looking for an answer that would make everything all right, but couldn’t stop the word, “Yes,” from slipping free.

He nodded. “Then, it’s time I made this right.”

James held up his hand. “Actually, bro, remember that part where I told you I had a message?” Bard nodded.

James laughed. “Looks like you weren’t the only one who got cold feet. Monica came looking for you. When she realized Trixie was in the change room with you, she said something about it being the last straw. That she’d told you it was either her or Trixie.”

Trixie gasped. “She actually said that? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Like I was ever giving you up.” Bard waved her shock away as he faced his brother. “So, what are you saying?”

James grinned. “She left. With Greg, actually. I’m pretty sure they’ve been humping on the side.”

Bard laughed. “So, you’re saying she already left me?”

Trixie cringed. “Damn, Bard, I’m—”

“Talk about a lucky break.” He held his hand out to his brother. “Don’t suppose I could borrow your car?”

James grinned. “I just filled her up.”

Bard jingled the keys, as he took her hand. “Don’t suppose you’re up for a road trip? Maybe Vegas?”

She gulped in a mouthful of air, running after him as he made for the rear door. “Vegas?”

“I’ve waited ten years to tell you I’m crazy in love with you. About time I something about it.”

 

And that’s it for me. Sorry for the epic chapter there. Anyway, if you haven’t already, go and visit the rest of the gang.

Bronwyn  |  Jessica  |  Siobhan  |  Deelylah  |  Jessica DLR

 

Wordless Wednesday

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday. This month, we get to choose what we wish to post, so sit back and enjoy a photo account of ~ SNOWSHOEING….

 

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We’re heading for those hills.
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White pine… my favorite pine tree.
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Close up of white pine needles.
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View from first plateau

 

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Sub alpine grand fir.

 

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Grand fir with a cedar tree.

 

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Climbing in snowshoes is not easy.
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Second level. Wish the yellow showed like it did in the sky.
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Hemlock… I think… Andrea?

 

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Highest part…

 

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Blocked by rocks, lol.

 

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Trying to show the slope. It was steep.

 

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Virgin snow… the reason we go.

 

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The path back.

 

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Partner in crime.

And that’s it for me. I had an awesome summit panorama, but freaking WordPress won’t import it so…. have fun with all the other ladies. And yeah, it wasn’t exactly wordless 🙂 No one is surprised.

Bronwyn  |  Jessica  |  Siobhan  |  Torrence  |  Jessica DLR  |  Paige  |  Gwendolyn

 

Flash Fiction ~ January Snowy Road

Welcome to 2018! it’s a new year and a new opportunity to make things happen. So, let’s start off the year of the dog right with a new flash fiction. Love the photo below. So pretty. Though, I’m over the snow. We usually don’t get too much, but we have several inches and I’m done, already, lol. It needs to just stay on the mountain where it belongs.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story. It’s a bit of insight into a side character in my upcoming release Midnight Ranger. Russel will be getting his own story… soon. Not sure when, but… And it’s short. No, seriously. Short. Really short. I know, I’m surprised, too.

Rural winter snowy landscape

Snow. Christ, how long had it been since he’d driven in snow?

Russel “Ice” Foster stared at the expanse of white powder covering the lonely road, wondering if he’d ever seen anything so pristine. So pure. Growing up in the Deep South, he hadn’t encountered snow until his PJ training. Oh yeah, he’d learned about the fucking cold pretty damn quickly. Nothing like a week in the Arctic to make those neurons fire—create permanent pathways that went on high alert whenever the temperature dropped below freezing. He couldn’t walk into an ice rink without having a few flashbacks of that training session.

Not that he’d been in an ice rink recently. Been anywhere other than where his next mission had taken him. And for the past decade, it had been the desert. The Sandbox, as it had been affectionally termed then on to Afghanistan. Heat. Sand. Dust that caked every damn inch for years on end. He’d had the occasional mountain rescue. Donned the odd parka and gloves. But nothing compared to the endless fields of snow he’d been driving through for the past few hours.

He scrubbed a hand down his face, shifted his truck into four-wheel drive, then started down the road. He hadn’t seen another vehicle since he’d pulled off the main interstate and onto some shit backroad in the middle of nowhere. Montana. Not exactly nowhere, but it felt like it. Endless miles with nothing but the odd ranch opening up the forest on either side. He’d checked the map a dozen times, even inputted the address into his GPS. He was definitely on the right road, even if he felt lost.

Lost.

Russel cursed the thought. He’d never imagined he’d ever feel that way, not after making a living out finding people. A life dedicated to the military. A lifetime’s worth of blood, sweat and determination to make it through Combat Rescue training. He’d been in the one percent of candidates that had actually reached the finish line. Had been on more covert rescue missions than he could count—dragging men back from places no one ever heard of. Missions that wouldn’t make the evening news. He was the guy who went in when special ops went down. Their only chance at a getting back alive. Sometimes with a team. Often, alone. Armed and ready to kill in order to bring his comrades back alive. He could navigate by the stars, some moss on the side of a tree. Hell, he’d once made his own sundial to get his bearings when a mission had gone sideways. And here he was, in the middle of Montana feeling lost.

He’d never considered a life beyond the service. Never imagined he’d have to learn how to integrate back into civilian life. He’d planned on rescuing guys until he either got old enough to retire, or got himself killed. Either was fine by him. He’d never been afraid of dying. Had made peace with it right from the start. And now he was faced with a life so foreign to him, he didn’t know where to start. How to fit in. All it took was one fucked up mission, and here he was. Out.

He glanced at the GPS, again. Just another ten miles and he’d reach Eagle Rock. A blip on the map. A town he’d miss if he closed his eyes for longer than a couple of seconds. And yet, it might be his only chance at salvation. A Hail Mary in a lifetime of rolling sevens.

He laughed. Out loud to the empty cabin. He’d been lucky he hadn’t landed up in jail. His ass rotting in some military prison for the next twenty years, so getting ousted—yeah, it had been the best option in a list full of ugly alternatives. Not that it had been justified. It hadn’t. And given the same situation, he’d do it all over, again. Exactly the same. He didn’t pull punches and he didn’t let his teammates down. Period. If saving that soldier’s life meant Russel had to make a new one for himself, it had been worth it. He had enough blood on his conscience. He didn’t need anymore.

The voice on his GPS broke the silence, calling out the next turn. He was nearly there. His last chance. One he needed to make count.

 

And that’s it for me, folks. Please hop on over and visit the other wonderful ladies.

Jessica  |  Bronwyn  |  Gwendolyn  |  Siobhan  |  Kayleigh