I’m so excited! We have three entries this week – what a great way to start the new year 🙂
This week, we have some really interesting stories started. I’m kind of sad we only get to continue one – but that’s how the cookie crumbles. Read each one carefully and vote for your favorite!
Wendy Strain – @WendyStrain
“I can’t believe you pulled that off!” Ean was almost breathless as he tripped backwards through the open doorway, blue eyes glowing with admiration.
Alana, her face alight with triumph, followed just a few steps behind trying hard not to appear too smug.
“I knew it would work,” she crowed.
As soon as she was through the door, she spun and closed it behind her, closing her and Ean into the study for a little private celebration. Ean wrapped his arms around her waist and spun her in a slightly subdued circle.
“You’re brilliant!” He whisper-shouted into her ear.
Alana threw her head back, allowing her long hair to float like a chocolate cloud on the tiny wind they created, and enjoyed the moment. All the planning, all the hard work, the precise details, everything had to be exact and timing was everything. Even then, she hadn’t really been sure until moments ago.
Ean put her down, keeping his hands on her narrow waist. Even on her tiptoes, she still had to look up at him.
“How did you know?” he asked.
Alana knew exactly the moment Ean meant, the moment she finally stood her ground against Matthew.
She’d been so afraid when he stomped into the room, the big, black-haired man terrorizing everyone for miles around. Even though she’d been the one guaranteeing he’d have no choice but to confront her tonight, she could feel her heart beating in her throat at that moment and saw stars dancing in her periphery she was so frightened.
As expected, Matthew bellowed his demands through the ballroom, placing all her guests into immediate submission, and there she stood, all alone, a slim figure in a red velvet dress, attempting to make herself seem big.
But she’d done it. She’d defeated each of his arguments one by one, systematically leading up to her final triumph, the card he hadn’t known she held. She’d found out his secret and all it took was letting a few little words slip in just the right order at just the right time to turn the raging bull into a castrated calf.
Her brow wrinkled for a moment as she thought of how he might come back again, maybe stronger, but her moment of concern was interrupted as one of the guests stuck their head through the door.
“Are you two coming to join the celebration or what?”
Renee Tennis-McKinley – @2old2tap
Maia climbed the hand cut rock steps to the mouth of the cave. The hide covering the opening was stiff with cold. She worked her fingers underneath and pulled the frozen skin away from the rock. The glare of light off the frost covered grasses momentarily blinded her. Once her eyes adjusted, she scanned the surrounding field and the dense brush that lined the woods beyond.
She stepped cautiously into the open. The grasses were still dry and yellow under their glistening coat of icy crystals. She cast her gaze farther, inspecting the brush for the first signs. From the distance all she could see were naked limbs sparkling in the sunlight.
Pulling her robe tightly around her she set out across the field, her booted feet crunching the frozen stalks as she went. Halfway to the underbrush she stopped and sniffed the air. A hint of smile touched her lips and encouraged her to pick up her pace. She reached the brush and knelt to inspect the branches.
After brushing away the frost she carefully bent the twigs. They were supple in her grasp and without the frosty cover she could see the blush of new sap beginning to make it’s way upwards. She rose, brushing stray crystals from her robe as she hurried back to the cave.
Maia rushed down the steps into the main cavern. The rest of the clan had begun to wake. Glowing embers were fanned to flame as pots of water were set to heat. Small sacks of grains appeared at each fire, waiting for the boil. She wove between the daily routines quickly arriving at her own camp. Grandmother was measuring grain into the pot as Mother and Father tidied their tiny space.
“Father!” she called, “I’ve just been out. The blush has begun! Long dark is past!”
Her father looked up, relief loosening the frown from his forehead. At the same time the faces of the closest families turned her way.
“Are you sure, Maia?” he asked.
“Oh yes! I touched the branches, I could feel the warmth in them.” Maia grinned as the word spread.
Long absent laughter and animated chatter filled the cavern.
Father grabbed mother in a joyous hug followed by lifting Grandmother to twirling her in air while she blustered about old bones. Then he planted a kiss on Maia’s head and announced loudly, “Prepare the feast! It is time to celebrate the onset of spring!”
Stephanie Ayers – @theauthorSAM
The waiter held up the wine bottle and angled it towards the table. “This our finest red from Virginia, a cool, yet crisp concoction of red and white grape, aged to perfection, with a slight pucker.” He filled the four glasses with a thimbleful of wine, set the bottle down, and stepped back from the table. Four hands touched the stems and lifted them delicately, swirling the lush burgundy liquid within the glass gently.
“Mmm,” Odessa closed her eyes. “Excellent taste, Sabine. I had no idea you liked wine, let alone Italian.”
“I don’t, but tonight is about you. Vince sends his congratulations, by the way.”
“Where is he?”
“A late meeting. ‘A publisher’s work is never done,’ he claims. There’s always another author waiting for a response.”
Odessa patted Sabine’s arm in sympathy. “You’re all he talks about. He won’t let anyone peek at the book he’s writing, but I suspect it’s all about you.”
“Well, it’s your night, so let’s talk about you and A Night to Remember. So many thought you’d never do it, and here you are, a published author.” Sabine poured refills and raised her glass. The others joined her in the toast. “To Odessa Starr, soon to be best-selling author. May this be the first of many celebrations on your way to number 1.”
Odessa blushed and emptied her glass in one swallow. “Thank you.” Before she could say more, her cellphone lit up. She flipped it over. No name, but a local number appeared underneath it. “Hello?”
A man’s voice buzzed from the phone. The guests silenced.
“Who is this?” Distress cracked Odessa’s voice. The buzzing ended quickly. “Who? I don’t know an Asher Carrington.” Angry buzzing returned. “No, I don’t, sorry. You have the wrong number.”
Odessa ended the call and dropped the phone. Her hand shook as she picked up her glass and sipped, forgetting it was empty. Someone refilled her glass, and she drank, a thin line of blood red dribbling down her chin.
“Who got you so upset?”
“A man named Asher Carrington.”
“It’s just a name. I still don’t understand why you are upset.”
“Have any of you read the book, yet?” None of them had. Odessa held her glass out for more. Filled, she continued, “Asher Carrington is a fictional character in my story. A very evil and very dead character.”
Didn’t I say they were awesome?
Thanks to all the participants for taking the time to submit a piece – you guys are amazing!
Voting will be open until Sunday at 11:59PM EST. Be sure to share the voting post and show these authors some love!
As always, think happy thoughts!