SONG FLASH FICTION ~ AUGUST Ghost by Halsey

OMG… everyone sit down. I actually wrote this ahead of time. I know… no one is more shocked than me, but… once I saw the lyrics, the story just popped into my head. And it’s great, because I’m actually camping with my daughter as we speak. We decided to do a last minute mom-daughter adventure. Hopefully, it’s as awesome as I think it’ll be…

Anyway, the song is GHOST by Halsey. I’ve never heard it before, but I enjoyed it. You can listen to it below…

For the story, I have jumped into Lucifer’s head. It’s sort of an outtake between him and Michael and a bit of a setup for Lucifer’s book… not sure when that will be but most likely next year. Anyway, here’s the resulting story…

“Lucifer.”

Lucifer groaned inwardly, closing his eyes as Michael’s voice echoed inside his mind. While he generally enjoyed being a thorn in Michael’s psyche, now wasn’t the time for the other angel to turn the tables and tap into Lucifer’s. “Christ, Mikey, if I’d known you’d use this connection to check up on me every fucking time I ventured to my sanctuary, I never would have made it in the first place. It’s bad enough you ‘sense’ me traveling through the wards.”

A hesitant sigh sounded from his brother, followed by a long, slow breath. “I’m not checking up on you. Not, really.”

Lucifer laughed. “So, you’re inside my head because you wanted to chat? And to think I was still planning on kicking your ass the next time we met.”

“Must you make it so hard? Every time?”

“Try telling me the truth, and maybe I’ll be more reasonable.”

“I’m not lying. I didn’t call out to you as a means of spying on you. I just wanted…”

Lucifer stilled at the desperate quality in Michael’s voice. He hadn’t heard that tone since his big brother had pleaded with him to bow before humanity—that last peaceful moment before he’d been cast out.

Lucifer straightened, ignoring the indignant huff of the woman sleeping beside him. He didn’t often bring humans to his sanctuary, but tonight was different. He’d wanted to escape—to pretend for a few precious hours that he wasn’t an outcast. That somewhere, someone missed him—felt the same empty hollow in the pit of their stomach, as if a piece was missing.

He glanced at the woman. She resembled Grace—same golden shade of hair, with delicate features and pale skin. But that’s where the similarities ended. And he knew, he could parade an endless number of women through his door, each one a better replica than the one before, but none of them would be her—that her soul was forever lost to him.

“Lucifer?”

He released a weary breath. “I’m still here. Can’t really go anywhere, can I?” He chuckled. “Okay, you’ve got my attention. Why did you ring me up if you’re not trying pinpoint my exact location?”

Silence stretched between them until Michael grunted. “I told Grey this was a bad idea. That there was just too much…shit between us. But you know how Fae are—forever optimistic, especially where family is concerned.”

“You’ve lost me, brother. What has your mate got to do with you chattering away inside my head?”

“Grey thinks we should…talk more. About regular stuff. Try to bridge this gap between us.”

Lucifer chuckled. “Your faery prince thinks we should be besties? How quaint.”

“He didn’t…seriously, Lucifer? Must you mock everything and everyone?”

“Need I remind you that until Gabriel’s fire mage decided to summon my ass from the fiery depths of Hell, in a desperate attempt to stop Abbadon from torching all of humanity, I hadn’t seen any of you since… Well, since the night Dad tossed me out. Which was on this very night, a few thousand years ago, if you’re keeping track.”

“Fuck… Tonight’s the anniversary?” He sighed. “I didn’t…”

“Whatever. Though I’m glad that bit of grace I left inside you has loosened that stick you used to have shoved up your ass. Or maybe Greyson did that. Tell me, how is mated life treating you?”

Lucifer’s stomach clenched as the words rolled off his tongue. What the Hell was he doing? The last thing he needed was to be reminded of what he’d really lost that night so long ago—who’d he’d lost.

Michael’s sharp intake of breath drew his attention. “Are you…okay?”

“I thought you wanted to talk about regular things?”

“I do, it’s just…even for you, you sound…off.” Michael murmured something Lucifer couldn’t make out. “It’s the anniversary, isn’t it? I should have realized…”

“It’s been a couple of millennia. I think the initial shock is over.”

But the pain of losing Grace—the part of his soul he knew he’d never find again, even if his father ever forgave him. If Lucifer was ever welcomed back home—that never lessened. Never stop poking at him. It was the one festering wound he couldn’t heal.

“You say that, but…all those echoed thoughts in your head I’m picking up on… I don’t believe you. I think it’s still as fresh as it always was. And I think it will be until you get back what you lost.”

“No one can give me back what I lost, Michael. Not even Father.”

“That’s not true. There’s always a way back home.”

“Is that why you think I’m upset? Because I can’t go home? Christ, I don’t think any of you ever truly knew me.”

“But…what else is there?”

“As if you don’t know.”

“Know what?”

There was no mistaking the tightness in Michael’s voice. The edge of fear that hadn’t been there before.

Lucifer huffed. “You really don’t know?”

“I’ll say it again. Know what? Dad cast you into Hell. What else is there to know?”

“How about the part where I wasn’t alone?” He swung his legs over the edge of the bed then pushed to his feet. “Why did she have to pay for my choice? Explain that to me, big brother!”

“She?” His breathing kicked up. “I don’t understand. Who are you talking about?”

Lucifer groaned. He needed to derail this conversation. Now. “It doesn’t matter. No one can change what happened, and I have to spend eternity knowing she died because I wasn’t strong enough to save her.” He scrubbed a hand down his face. “I’m tired. And I’d rather spend the rest of this cursed night with the lovely lady sleeping in my bed, so… if we’re done here.”

“Lucifer. Please. Talk to me. Who died? Who fell with you?”

He chuckled. “If you really want to know, why don’t you go ask dear-ole Dad. I’m sure he’d love to chat. Say hi to Greyson for me. We’ll talk again.”

Lucifer cut off the connection, building a barrier even his father wouldn’t be able to break. Then he leaned against the wall, staring out the window at the starlit sky. Grace would have loved it here—the rocks. The moonlight. The endless silence. But he hadn’t gotten the chance to bring her. Just another regret to add to the list.

He raked his hand through his hair, watching a shooting star light up the sky, as a ghostly image of her wavered in the distance. His mind playing tricks on him as it did every year on this night. And if she seemed just a bit more real this time, it was only his imagination. She was lost, and despite her parting words, he’d never find her again.

 

Now please go and visit the other ladies. My apologies if I don’t have everyone listed who joined in. Camping means no wi-fi, lol. But I’m sure they will be listed.

Jessica  |  Bronwyn  |  Siobhan

Promptly Penned ~ August

The summer is half over… at least by school standards. I don’t want it to end! Sigh. It’s also time for another promptly penned. I’ve missed a couple of flash fictions, so… jumping in for this one. This month the prompt is…

S/he gripped the rim of the porcelin sink and tried to steady his/her hands.

“One last time,” s/he whispered to her/himself. One. Last. Time.

Once again it’s super late… I know. One day I shall be prepared, just like the goat/ram/sheep? in Hoodwinked. Promise. Today is NOT that day.

promptlypenned

“Christ, Shane, what’s taking so long? Everyone’s expecting an encore. You can’t just blow it off.”

Shane Driscoll glanced at his manager’s reflection in the mirror, instantly wanting to slap the judgmental look off the man’s face. Tom had no idea the toll simply performing had taken on Shane. Just thinking about having to walk back out on stage…

He suppressed the shiver that threatened to shake through him, splashing more cold water on his face. “I need another five minutes.”

Tom’s left eye twitched before he plastered on a fake smile. “I realize you’re probably tired—”

“Tired? I haven’t slept in the same crappy hotel room for two nights in a row since we left Montana four months ago. I told you I didn’t want to be gone that long, and you promised me you wouldn’t let it get out of control. Yet, here we are, balls deep in concert dates with no damn end in sight.”

“You can’t stay on the top of the charts if you don’t give your fans what they want, buddy.”

Shane glanced at the man. They weren’t buddies. Never had been.

Tom continued, apparently obvious to Shane’s glare. “And they want you strutting on stage—tight pair of jeans, that cocky smile of yours breaking hearts. Do you have any idea how crazy women are over you?”

Shane shook his head. “This isn’t what I wanted my music to become. It’s not supposed to be about whether or not my ass looks good in some denim, or if I’m sporting a six-pack. It’s about the melody, the lyrics. About making songs that matter.”

“The songs can matter once you’ve been at number one long enough no one will forget your name. Ever.” Tom moved a few steps closer. “You’re poised to be the next Johnny Cash. But that won’t happen if you hide away. So, drink, smoke, pray. Your choice, but get your ass back out for one more round. You’ve got a few days off after this one. You can hide all you want on the bus.”

Shane didn’t answer, watching the other man disappear out the door. Right. A few days off. On his way to another town. Another stage where his music got lost behind strobing lights and artificial fog. He’d told Tom he wanted to keep it simple. Him. His guitar. A backup band. Nothing fancy or fake. He just wanted to be…him. Shane Driscoll. Real. Unplugged. But Tom got caught up in the ugly side of the industry. The one ruled by money and fame. Shane just didn’t know if Tom had forgotten his roots, or simply never had any.

Shane took a calming breath, staring at his reflection again. Ten years. That’s how long he’d been chasing the neon lights, trying to make it big. He’d been thrilled when Tom had offered to take him on—make him a star. Not for the money or the fame, but for the chance to share his message. Hopefully inspire people to change for the better. But somewhere along the road, he’d taken a wrong turn, and his dream of using his music to make a difference had gotten lost.

Or maybe it was just him who’d gotten lost. Who’d forgotten what it was like growing up in a three bedroom shack with four other siblings all vying for a spot. How he’d had to work three part time jobs just to earn enough to help out his mom and still buy the guitar Mr. Wilson had set aside for him. It’d taken him six months, but he’d never regretted it. Hell, he still played it.

Another round of pounding sounded on his door, followed by the hollow echo of cheering voices. And he knew he couldn’t stall much longer. Not without going another ’round with Tom. And Shane wasn’t convinced he wouldn’t simply sock the other man in the eye before storming out. After all, this is what he’d wanted, wasn’t it?

He gripped the rim of the porcelin sink and tried to steady his hands. He’d figure out how to switch gears—get back to his roots. Find a way to make his music matter, again.

“Shane!”

He glanced at the door, smiling as Tom’s voice boomed through. Hell, yeah. He was going to make some drastic changes, and he’d start by getting himself a new manager. One who understood what his music truly meant to him. Who didn’t try to commercialize it for a heftier profit. Who had earned the right to call him buddy because they were.

He just had to make it through one more song.

“One last time,” he whispered to himself. One. Last. Time.

 

And that’s it for me. Now jump on over to Bronwyn and Jessica to see their stories.

 

Top 10 ~ Character Traits I Like Writing

Hi All. I’ve been AWAL for a bit…summer is just so busy. But I’m popping in for the monthly top 10. This month, it’s the Top 10 Character Traits I Like Writing… I’m sure there won’t be any shocking surprises here, lol, but let’s see. There’s no particular order to these, just what sprang to mind…

1 — Intelligent. I thoroughly enjoy writing characters who could be considered ‘gifted’ in this area, mostly because I find intelligence sexy. Just look at Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds… who doesn’t want to climb that man like a tree 🙂 Or Charlie Epps from Numbers…

2 — Brave. I think we all want to believe we’d have the courage to put our own lives in danger if needed. I enjoy carrying this over to my characters. Men and women who are willing to conquer their own fears and put it all on the line to save those in need.

3 — Adventurous. It’s no secret that all of my books involve action/adventure. Regardless of the genre, it’s in there, somewhere. And I think that’s because I enjoy activities that make your heart pound and your pulse race.

4 —Independant. Maybe it’s because I sometimes question my own, that it’s so important for my characters to have this. Sometimes, almost to a fault and they have to learn how to let others in. To get help…but that’s all part of the journey.

5 — Stubborn. But not because I’m stubborn. I’m not. No, seriously, I’m not.

6 — Funny. Who doesn’t find a sense of humour sexy as Hell? I think it’s one of the most important traits in a partner. Because being able to laugh when you really want to cry is a gift. It has a way of making everything better.

7 — Romantic. While I love my alpha men, well, alpha. I also think it’s important that they have a sense of romance. That they’re willing to dig into their softer side for their partner, male or female. Sometimes you have to make a fool of yourself to show just how much you care…

8 — Possessive. Okay… not always a great trait, but I do sometimes enjoy writing (usually guys, I know, I know. I’ll work on that) That are completely focused on their mate. I try not to have it cross the line into being jerks, but… there’s something innately hot about a guy who wants you all to himself… in theory. And not in every aspect of your life. There’s a fine line between being charmingly possessive and being an abusive stalker dude.

9 — Athletic. I think because it’s such a big and important part of my life, I have it cross over into my characters. They don’t all have to be martial arts specialists, or SEALs. But, most of them love to go for a run, lol… no one is surprised.

10 — Confident. Like intelligence, confidence is sexy. But I try to make sure my characters aren’t overly so… we all have situations that make us feel less than confident, and I think it’s important to show all sides of our characters.

 

And that’s all for me. Visit the other ladies and see what’s on their list.

Bronwyn  |  Gwendolyn  |  Deelylah

Promptly Penned ~ July

I love this month’s promptly penned. I just wish I knew what I was going to write, lol. So here’s the prompt, and the resulting story. I am revisiting Devlyn and Rkyer… there are some older posts, but…. as I left this to the last minute… let’s just jump right on in. Where I last left them, they were in Ryker’s car heading for a safe house… and neither were very happy about the new partnership….

Well, apparently, Rock Bottom has a basement. 

promptlypenned

“Dev.”

Devlyn blinked, startling awake to the gentle shift of her shoulder. She twisted to gaze at the hand cupped around her arm, the fuzzy feeling in her head making it hard to focus. The scenery faded, then cleared, Ryker’s lips pursing into a scowl.

He shook his head. “Seeing double? Or is it all just one big blur?”

She glared at him, cursing the decision when the small movement ignited a round of pain. It started in her head, then throbbed into her ribs, stealing any retort other than a strangled groan.

“Shit.” Ryker rounded the car, opening up her door. He leaned forward, scooping his hands under her thighs and around her back. “Wrap your arms around my neck.”

“What?” She grunted as he levered back, lifting her against his chest. “Damn it, Ryker, I can walk. A fact I told you back in Smither’s office.”

“The same office you barely made it out of before passing out? How could I forget?”

She groaned, reluctantly threading her fingers together behind his neck when he started walking. While she’d be a fool to believe things hadn’t changed in the months since she’d last seen him—that he could be the same man she’d fallen in love with—it was obvious he was still the same stubborn, white knight he’d always been. Even if his rescue was several months too late. Coupled with the fact she doubted she’d be able to support her own weight, made it annoyingly apparent that the bastard was right.

He chuckled. “Damn, you haven’t lightened up at all, have you? I can practically hear you cussing my name. And yeah, you aren’t strong enough to walk so stop looking at me as if I’m the reason you’re barely coherent. This one wasn’t on me.”

“If it weren’t for this joint case, I’d be sitting on my couch, sipping Smithwicks right about now.”

“No, you’d either be dead in the hallway, or on a gurney at Mercy General.” He laughed again. “Or maybe, Smithers would have gotten Dr. Holloway to treat you at the facility. You know how much he loves stitching agents up.”

“Must you make this more of a train wreck than it already is? And I’d rather die than have that jerk treat me. He’s barely human enough to deal with corpses. Anything with a pulse is way out of his league.”

“Then shut up and let me fix your side. Then you can settle in and get some sleep.”

“Is that before or after I kick your ass?”

“Oh, sweetheart, I’d love to see you try. Right up until you bled out.”

“Buzzkill.”

Ryker snorted, shuffling her closer as he continued along a darkened walkway, stopping at a red door. He shifted her weight, then flashed a card over a keypad on the doorframe, twisting the handle once the light flashed green. The door swung inward, revealing only a wedge of wooden floor from the street lights, the rest of the interior still shrouded in shadows. Ryker pulled her closer, then twisted them sideways through the opening, kicking the door shut behind them.

“Lights.”

His voice echoed through the room, followed by the sudden flash of light as three lamps switched on. He smiled down at her, carrying her through the main area and into a darkened room beyond. Though, she didn’t need the added glow to know he’d taken her into his bedroom, then onto the bathroom, the lingering scent of his cologne a dead giveaway.

He placed her on the counter, waiting until she gave him a shove before moving back. He turned toward the door, flicking on the light then rummaging through a closet against the far wall. He emerged carrying a large red bag with a white cross stamped on the front.

“You think you can balance up there long enough for me to stitch that wound?”

“I’m not dead, yet, asshole. And I can stitch my own damn wound.”

He tsked when she tried to reach for the bag, nearly tumbling off the surface. “Are you determined to upgrade your concussion to the next level? Or are you really that pissed you’d sacrifice your safety just to attempt to piss me off. Prove to me you’ve got bigger balls?”

“Don’t have to prove what we both already know. And I don’t recall saying I’d play nice.”

“You said you’d play it my way.”

“I also said you were still at the top of my shit list. That hasn’t changed.”

His perfectly sculpted lips curled into a smile. “Then you’ll let me stitch your side so you’ll be alive to get your revenge.”

She sighed, wishing she had the strength to back up her challenge, but aware it was taking all of her focus just to stay awake. Fatigue made her muscles feel heavy as she stared at Ryker, finally shaking her head. “Damn it.”

“Is that a yes?”

“Don’t be an ass. Yes, it’s a yes. But only because I plan on being around to stab you in the heart, later.”

“Good to know you’ve found your motivation.” He grabbed the edge of her shirt. “Nice and easy.”

Devlyn scowled but lifted her arms, hissing out her next breath when the fabric pulled against her skin. Another firm jolt of pain throbbed through her ribs, and she closed her eyes against the burning sensation behind her lids.

Strong arms folded around her, drawing her against Ryker’s chest. Her palms landed on his pecs, the steady strum of his heart vibrating across her skin. God, how many times had she dreamt about holding him this way? Knowing he held far more than her body in his hands—that he held her heart. Her damn soul. And based on the telltale kick of her pulse, the heat warming her cheeks, the bastard still did.

His slow exhalation ruffled the hairs around her head. “I know how much you hate this. Just…can we not fight for five minutes?”

She relaxed against him, wishing it didn’t feel as good as it did. “Fine. You’ve got five minutes.”

“You always were a giver, Dev.”

She stuck her tongue out at him, regretting it the moment the tip brushed across his jaw as he shifted his grip. He arched one brow, his smug smile fueling her anger. She thought about smacking him when he eased back, his gaze falling to her side.

He frowned. “Shit. It’s bleeding again.”

He helped her lean against the wall before gently removing the gauze he’d wrapped around her. She inhaled against the fiery sensation each tug of her skin ignited along her ribs, making the room dim at the edges. It wasn’t until he’d bared the wound that she thought she might actually make it through the procedure without blacking out.

Ryker mumbled under his breath, readying a few supplies before holding up a needle. He tapped the clear liquid inside, removing any air bubbles as a bit of the fluid shot out from the tip. “Ready?”

She clenched her jaw, answering him with nothing more than a curt nod. He focused on her side, slipping the needle beneath her skin. More pain sparked to life, and she blinked to find herself gathered in his arms again, as he placed her on the bed.

She glanced around, a wave of dizziness spinning the room. “What happened? I thought you were going to stitch my side?”

Ryker sighed. “Already done. You passed out before I finished freezing it.”

She squinted to try to bring him into focus. “I did what?”

“Just sleep, Dev. Please.”

She collapsed against the mattress, groaning when the room circled again. “What about Slader? Those thumb drives?”

“They can wait.”

“Since when are you willing to put an assignment on hold?”

“Since I thought you were going to die on me, ten minutes ago.” He cupped her jaw, stroking his thumb along her cheek. “Please sleep. I’ll get you something to eat once you wake up.”

Devlyn watched as he straightened, tucking the blankets around her shoulders. “Where are you going to sleep?”

His smile was nothing short of wicked. “Beside you. Afraid there’s only one bed and someone has to wake you up every few hours. Ensure that concussion of yours doesn’t get any worse.”

“Isn’t there a couch out there with your name on it?”

“The bed’s a king. There’s more than enough room for both of us without there being any awkward touching. And I’d rather not spend the next few days unable to move my damn neck.” He winked at her. “Figure one of us should be up to par to see that Slader doesn’t get the drop on us.”

“I’m more than par.”

He laughed. “I love that you’re still so damn feisty.” He shushed her with a finger over her lips. “Sleep.”

She frowned when he back away, watching him walk across the room until he reached the doorway. “Remember in the car when I said we’d hit rock bottom, but then you said things could always get worse?”

Ryker paused, glancing at her over his shoulder. “Yeah. So?”

“Well, apparently Rock Bottom has a basement.”

He smiled. “Then welcome to our brand new low. I suggest you get comfortable. I doubt we’ll be climbing out of this hell any time soon.”

 

And that’s it for me. Hop on over to the other ladies and see how they used the prompt.

Bronwyn  |  Jessica  |  Gwendolyn

Top 10 ~ Quotes

image001

I know this is going to sound shocking, but… I use movie quotes all the freaking time. I know, I know…so unlike me 🙂 So having to pick 10… it’s not really fair. I mean, I have quotes at the ready for most occasions. So… I might only use one once, but it’s the perfect one. However, in the spirit of playing along, I’ll try to name 10.

In no particular order…here are 10 quotes I’ve used more than once (okay, all the time).

1 – Who knew that trap door would lead me out here.  (Emperor’s new groove)

2 – Get on the horse. (Road to Eldorado)

3 – Do we hit anything with these guns? I hit a bird once. (Family Guy.)

4 – Can’t do it. Not today. The stars, aren’t in alignment. (Road to Eldorado)

5 – A dangerous pastime (I know). Crazy old Maurice… Beauty and the Beast.

6 – Come to the dark side. (Star Wars)

7 – Damn it, Jim, I’m a doctor not a …. fill in the blank for ANYTHING. (Star Trek)

8 – My old nemesis…stairs. (Kung fu Panda 2)

9 – I’ve heard it both ways. (Psych)

10 – Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his pie hole. (Supernatural)

Oh, I could go on and on. So many others I use… like Have you seen this man? From Deadpool. But, there’s 10, lol. Now check out the other ladies and see what they’re quoting.

Bronwyn  |  Gwendolyn  |  Deelylah

Wordless Wednesday

We all know my post will have many words, but… I will have photos, too, lol. This month is… a photo a day for a week… and I’m lucky enough to be spending the week with the awesome Jessica Jarman. So without further ado…

SATURDAY… (okay I arrived at midnight, but I’m counting it for Saturday, damn it) Brilliant views of San Fran on my flight to Minneapolis.

IMG_0554

SUNDAY…. My EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTING TRIP TO TIM HORTON’S USA!!!! LEARN FROM YOUR NORTHERN BROTHERS… QUICKLY. AND EARL GREY IS NOT FREAKING REGULAR TEA! IT’S JUST NOT!

IMG_0557

MONDAY… I arrived to discover this week is Shaun T week on Beachbody on Demand. I’m dying already…but oh the view.

FullSizeRender.jpg

TUESDAY… Release Day!!!!!! BLUE COLLAR COLLECTION is live on Amazon…including my story CABIN FEVER!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0722XRLPM

_BlueCollar

WEDNESDAY…. slutty brownies for the win… and they are. Very, very slutty. Jessica made the rule we had to say “whore” every time we took a bite. I said that word a lot.

IMG_0558.JPG

THURSDAY…Jess has been letting me use and abuse her Beachbody on Demand, and I’ve been giving Hard Corps a try. Tony Horton does not disappoint, folks. There’s no warm-up (he does warn you to do one or the available Cold Start if you want) and it’s truly Hard Core the entire time.

FRIDAY… Lunch with Jess and her hubby. At OUR place… (shhh, it’s a secret.) And packing to go to our annual retreat! Obviously Jess and I have our priorities.

51933601423__0109EE32-4068-4D3E-B69B-65B15535EB40.JPG

IMG_1715.JPG

I had to add some extras… my youngest, Syd, performed today. And here are some of the amazing photos of her and her bestie, Brynn. These two girls are incredible. So proud. Syd is the one upside down in the first, and the solo in the second. Then the lower one in the last two.

IMG_0034 IMG_0039 IMG_0042 IMG_0052

That’s it for me. Please hop on over to the other ladies to see what they posted.

Bronwyn  |  Jessica  |  Deelylah

Song Flash Fiction ~ Ghosts That We Knew

Okay, first off, it’s retreat week. Which means this is probably the only flash fiction post I’ve written in advance. Where I’m not trying to pull a story out of my ass at midnight, lol. Might be nice to make this a habit… who am I kidding? I’m too much of a procrastinator.

So, the song is Ghosts That We Knew by Mumford and Sons. I’m familiar with their ‘radio’ titles but hadn’t heard this one. I liked this version, very acoustic. So, here’s the video if you’ve never heard it before, and the resulting story.

Of course, as I’m searching for something to write, I’ve decided to do a bit more with Devlyn and Ryker… none of which is in order to the other bits I’ve written, lol.

“Well?”

Ryker dragged his gaze away from the broken window to glance at Devlyn over his shoulder. She’d propped herself against one of the walls, cradling her left arm in her lap. Blood stained the bandage he’d tied around her shoulder, the red colour opening mocking him.

He cleared his head, focusing on the encroaching forest. “Nothing but trees.”

“Thinking unless you’re the freaking Predator, you won’t see anything until it’s on top of us.”

Ryker sighed. “You don’t have to remind me I let you down. Again.”

“That’s not what I said.”

“But it’s true.” He took another scan of the area, then moved over to her. “I need to check your shoulder. It doesn’t look like that patch job is working.”

She grabbed his hand when he thumbed her shirt. “It’s fine. Just…keep watch.”

“It’s not fine, and keeping watch won’t mean shit if you bleed out. It’s been long enough. We should be clear for a while.” He took her hand and placed it in her lap. “Stop being stubborn.”

Dev huffed. “I’m not being stubborn, I’m… Shit.”

She clenched her jaw as he eased back the cloth. The material caught a bit, stretching her skin before popping off, leaving two oozing holes puckered against her flesh.

“Fuck.” Ryker slipped off his jacket, then yanked his shirt over his head. Bits of thread fluttered to the floor as he ripped his shirt into strips, folding one up then placing it against the wounds. “The only upside to this whole thing is that at least the damn bullet ricocheted and came back out. Having it still in there…”

Devlyn closed her eyes, swallowing what sounded like a whimper. “Yeah. It’s a real ray of sunshine.”

Ryker made eye contact. “Having a hunk of lead lodged inside you? Definitely worse.” He pressed a bit harder, cursing under his breath when her breath hitched a her eyes rolled slightly. “You never should have done that.”

She blinked, focusing on his face. “Done what?”

“Seriously, Dev?”

She chuckled, the sound morphing into a grunt. “So, I was just supposed to let Slader kill you? Hide behind that car and watch you bleed out?”

“You could have—”

“What, Ryker? Reasoned with him? Talked him down? Or maybe you think I could have ninjaed my way through his men and taken them all out with my superior skills.”

“Taking a bullet for me…nearly getting yourself killed…” He shook his head. “We’re both damned lucky to be alive.”

She laughed, again. “I knew you’d pull me out of there. And it was a lucky hit on Slader’s part.”

“Second time that bastard has gotten the jump on you in the last few weeks.”

She glared at him. “Are you suggesting I’m losing my edge? Because I’m pretty sure you just thanked me for saving your ass.”

He smiled, enjoying the way her gaze followed the uplift of his mouth. Damn, but the girl was dangerous. Two weeks together and he felt as if he’d stepped backwards in time—as if he hadn’t screwed everything up by leaving. Not that she’d listened to him, yet. But being around her—it was like a slap in the face to everything he’d had, and let go.

He huffed. He hadn’t done it by choice. Not that it mattered. The outcome had been the same—he’d lost the other half of himself. The one woman he’d ever love.

He tucked some hair behind her ear. “Thank you.”

Her eyes widened, creases marring her brow before she shrugged her good shoulder. “Don’t get all sentimental on me. I’d just rather have the pleasure of shooting you, myself.”

“I thought you wanted to stick a knife through my…how did you put it?” He grinned. “Right. Cold withered heart.”

Her lips quirked, and his damn stomach flip-flopped. “I’m not above adapting.”

He thumbed her cheek, staring into the deep blue of her eyes. “Christ, you’re beautiful.”

Her expression softened. “Ryker.”

He silenced her with a gentle finger over her lips, the soft play of her skin only ratcheting up the uneasy roiling sensation in his gut. “Don’t. For just one minute can you stop being mad at me and let me look at you. Stop the bleeding and hold you.”

She furrowed her brow, her chin quivering for a moment before she visibly surrendered. “You’re not going to cry, are you?”

“You really are a piece of work, Dev.” He taped up the wound, satisfied he’d stemmed the bleeding enough she wouldn’t get any worse. Then he wrapped another few strips of his shirt around her shoulder, tying them in place. “You need to stay still for a bit. Give that a chance to heal before we move on.”

“Aren’t you worried Slader will find us?”

“Not my first time ditching a mark. We’ll be fine for the night. If he’d managed to track us down, he’d be knocking down our door as we speak.”

“Then why did you spend the last ten minutes staring out the damn window?”

“Are you determined to be difficult? Every freaking second of every day?”

Her eyes glassed over before she turned away. “This isn’t easy.”

He turned, scooting in beside her. She snapped her gaze back to him as he eased his arm around her, tucking her against his side, her head notched into his shoulder.

She swallowed noisily. “What…”

“Shut up, Dev.”

Her breath hitched, and she stayed firm against him for several heartbeats before melting against him. Her breath feathered across his bare chest, the subtle caress easing the frantic beating of his heart. At least, for now, she was safe. Hurt, but safe.

Her hand landed on his ribs, each finger anchoring him more to her. “Fine. A truce. But just for tonight.”

He smiled against her hair, dropping a kiss on the top of her head. “A one-off.”

She took a few shuddering breaths, glancing up at him. “If we’re really having a truce, then I want you to do one thing for me.”

“What’s that?”

“Lie to me and tell me everything’s going to be all right.”

He wrapped his other arm around her, pulling her close. “Everything’s going to be all right. Promise.” He gave her another squeeze. “Close your eyes. You can go back to fantasizing about killing me in the morning.”

She hummed, snuggling against him. A soft sigh warmed his skin. “Or maybe, I’d rather just kiss you.”

He stilled. Had he really just heard her say she wanted to kiss him? He forced in a calming breath. “Devlyn?” He looked down at her when she didn’t answer, snorting at the contented look on her face as she slept against him. “Figures. Never could catch a break, could we, sweetheart? Sleep, because sooner or later, you’re going to listen, and I’m not going to stop until you’re mine. And this time, nothing will get between us.”

 

And that’s it for me. Please join the other ladies and see what they’ve written.

Bronwyn  |  Jessica  |  Siobhan  |  Deelylah

Promptly Penned ~ June

Woot! Getting close to retreat time. And I’m visiting with the amazing Jessica Jarman before we head to the UP. This week’s prompt is a fun one…

“Just call the police. No one has time for your Nancy Drew shenanigans.”

promptlypenned

“More popcorn?”

Jax glanced over at his friend—date, he supposed. At least, that’s what he hoped this was. Cason Sinclair had invited him over to watch movies and chill together on the couch, something the man hadn’t done before. And after nearly a year of trying to get Cason’s attention—to have him notice Jax as more than just a guy he studied with. The same guy who had helped the jackass pass Biochem202 this semester—Jax had just assumed he’d been firmly rooted in the friend zone.

Then, out of nowhere, Cason had called, stammered through ten minutes of random conversation before finally tossing out that he was hanging out watching movies, and that Jax should come over—hang with him.

Jax gave the man a guarded smile. “Sure.”

Cason grinned back, sweeping his gaze down Jax’s torso before grabbing the empty bowl and heading to the kitchen. Jax watched the man leave, studying the way the denim hugged his ass perfectly. Shit, it was as if Cason had painted the damn jeans on, the firm fabric hugging the man’s muscles perfectly.

Jax drew a deep breath, trying to still the raging heat simmering just beneath his skin. It’d been far too long since he’d been in a relationship—hell, since he’d had a date or even a one-night stand. And sitting beside the object of his fantasies for the past several months was taking a toll on him. He’d been trying to hide his growing hard-on for the past twenty minutes.

He glanced at the kitchen, smiling when he heard Cason singing softly to himself. Christ, even his voice was a turn-on, despite the fact he was slightly off-key. Jax sighed. The fact Cason had been able to walk off without adjusting himself seemed to suggest the attraction might be one-sided—Jax’s.

“Hope you like extra butter. And I put some seasoning mix on it.”

Jax jumped, glancing up at Cason. Shit, Jax had been so entranced in thought, he hadn’t heard the man walk back in. Damn, he’d probably been staring at Cason amble across the room the entire time with some goofy, love-sick expression on his face. Jax grabbed the bowl, nodding his thanks when Cason placed another beer on the coffee table in front of him.

Cason pursed his lips, looking somewhat divided before planting his ass on the cushion directly beside Jax—close enough their thighs touched. Jax tensed, swallowing past the sudden lump in his throat, as he made a point of shifting the popcorn bowl over so it was resting on both of their legs. If he didn’t cover his crotch, Cason would get a pretty telling view of just how much his ‘friend’ excited Jax.

He popped a few kernels in his mouth, coughing at the strong salt flavour. “Shit, Cas, are you trying to kill me?”

Cason focused on him, his smile making Jax’s heart race. “I like salt.”

“Apparently more than you like a healthy heart because I can feel my arteries hardening as we speak.”

Cas shrugged. “If you sweat enough, some salt is good for you.”

“Were you planning on having us go for a run next?”

Cas chuckled, wetting his lips. “Not a run.”

Heat billowed around Jax as Cas smiled, openly checking him out, before he turned back to the movie, shoving a fistful of popcorn into his mouth. Jax closed his eyes for a moment, physically pulling himself back, before staring at the television. He’d tuned the damn film out thirty minutes ago, far too occupied with wondering if Cas was remotely interested in him or if the guy regretted inviting Jax over.

Cas groaned beside him, shaking his head as he huffed. “Christ, who the hell wrote this movie?”

Jax laughed. “You were the one who picked it.”

“I thought it was more of a Jason Bourne kind of thing.”

“You mean instead of this jacked up chick flick?”

Cas frowned. “It’s not that bad…” He sighed. “It is, isn’t it?”

Jax smiled. “It’s okay. I’ve seen worse. Though these two…how are they still alive?”

“I know, right?” Cas cursed this time, shaking a finger at the screen. “Or for fuck’s sake. Just call the police. No one has time for your Nancy Drew shenanigans.”

Jax coughed, nearly spraying his beer across the table. “Nancy Drew shenanigans?”

Cas cringed, glancing at Jax. “Did I say that out loud?”

“Every word, buddy.” He knocked Cas’ shoulder with his. “It’s okay. I promise not to hold it against you, though coupled with your choice in movies…I’m starting to wonder if I know you at all.”

“Fuck off.”

“Is that an offer?”

Cas’ eyes widened and Jax groaned inwardly. Christ, he really needed to learn how to flirt, or simply shut up. He glanced away when Cas grabbed the bowl and plunked it on the table. Then he turned, laying one, broad hand on Jax’s thigh, his long fingers lightly scratching at his pants.

The man leaned in, stopping a breath away. “It is if you’d consider saying yes.”

Jax opened his mouth, then closed it.

Cas smiled, lifting his hand and thumbing Jax’s jaw. “Fuck you’re cute when you’re speechless. Your cheeks blush and you get these adorable creases above your nose.” He drew his finger along Jax’s lower lip. “Surely you’ve noticed how attracted I am to you. Hell, I’ve been sending you signals for months.”

Jax coughed again. “You’ve been sending me signals?”

“Do you really think I needed that much help passing Biochem?”

“I…” He frowned. “I’ve been trying to get your attention since last semester. How didn’t you notice?”

“Maybe because your idea of sending signals is, well, shitty.”

“And yours is about as good as this movie.”

Cas exhaled, another smile lifting his lips. “Fair. So how about I make things crystal clear.” He leaned in, brushing his mouth of Jax’s. Not quite enough to be called an actual kiss but more than enough to broadcast the man’s intentions. “I like you. A lot. In fact, I only went to the kitchen so I could adjust my damn dick because I’m about to rip through these jeans. So…here’s what I’d like to happen.” He made another pass. “We laugh our way through the rest of this horrible movie. Eat the popcorn and drink our beer. Then, I seduce you on this couch, then take you to my bed, where I plan on making you sweat all night long. And if I’m lucky, you’ll want to do the same damn thing tomorrow. And the next night. And the next.”

Jax arched a brow. “Only four nights?”

“And that’s why I can’t see straight when you’re in the room. And four nights is just the start if I have any say in it.” He nipped at Jax’s lip. “And I definitely want to have a say in it.”

Jax grinned. “Do you plan on yelling out Nancy Drew references again?”

“Maybe. But not while I’m making you yell my name.”

Jax swallowed, closing the last bit of distance. “Then you’ve got yourself a deal.”

 

And that’s it for me. Please join the other ladies for their stories…

Bronwyn  |  Jessica  |  Deelylah

TOP 10 ~ June

So excited. Later this week I’m off to visit fellow blogger and soul sister Jessica Jarman, then it’s cabin retreat time! I can’t wait. I so need some ladies only time.

Anyway, this month the top 10 countdown is ways I procrastinate. Me? Procrastinate? I think it’s way beyond simple procrastinating, but… we’ll play along. So, in no particular order, because it’s more what I’m in the mood for than anything else, lol.

Top10-06JUN

~ Netflix binge watching. Yes, I think I watched 10 seasons of Supernatural in less than two months. Probably more like 6 weeks. So…. putting Netflix on at all, is a great way to lose an hour, or two, or twenty-four!

~ Reading. Okay, sometimes it might honestly be for research or during some earned down time. But I often start reading as a way of avoiding a book where I’m stuck. It’s with the hope that it will give me inspiration, but often I just love reading.

~ Social media. I don’t think any explanation is needed. We all know FaceBook, Instagram or Pinterest are black holes that suck in entire day’s worth of time.

~ Exercise. Okay, not the actual exercise as I will never admit it’s not worth every minute. But, often, after a super long run, I’m so exhausted I end up doing absolutely nothing. Or, I binge on Netflix. See, I’m a multitasker.

~ Sleep. Naps. Whatever you want to call it. Sometimes I just need to zone out.

~ Computer wonderland. It might be online browsing or looking up information. Shopping. Whatever, but it’s not really social media related, or movie watching, so, it deserves to be its own category.

~ Photoshop. True, often this is the other half of my job. But I will use making graphics as a way to get out of writing. Again, especially if I’m stuck. Though it’s definitely not a waste of time, it does act as a barrier to getting words on the page.

~ Cleaning. This is a rarity but… on the odd occasion, it has happened.

~ Music. I still love just lying on the bed listening to tunes. Though it might lead to having a nap, lol, it’s another way to get out of doing anything productive.

~ Hanging with friends. While much needed, sometimes it’s a way of avoiding other priorities. Not a waste, but a definite time draw.

That’s it for me. Now check out the other ladies and see how they procrastinate.

Bronwyn  |  Jessica  |  Deelylah