Flash Fic Friday

**This week’s prompt is for a wolf and a love confession. Enjoy!**

The radio crackled to life and Lou’s tinny voice sounded in the empty office. “He’s at it again.”

Cooper closed his eyes, worry seeping into his gut. He stood and grabbed the two-way radio, keying the mic on his way out the door. “I’m on my way.”

He pushed through the office door and beelined for his ATV. As director for the wild life rehabilitation facility, he had his own, while the rest of the staff shared. The place was almost seven hundred acres, it wasn’t like he could walk everywhere. And when he needed to get to an enclosure in a hurry, it was best he didn’t have to wait around for someone else to pick him up. Like now.

The timber wolf in question was a recent addition. The large male had been found in severely undernourished, covered with sores, and trapped in a tiny cage on some “collector’s” back property. He hadn’t been the only animal there, but the others–a black bear, a cougar, and Siberian tiger–were settling in fine. Eating, playing, healing. This wolf, however, continually became agitated, throwing himself at the fence of his enclosure, and snarling at anything that crossed his path. Cooper thought it was perhaps the twenty by twenty foot space still felt like a cage. But the staff couldn’t chance putting him somewhere larger.

But when the wolf got like this, Cooper’s presence seemed to calm him. No one could explain it. It didn’t make any sense, really.  Only Cooper could manage to soothe him. So Cooper rushed, knowing that the faster he got to the enclosure, the sooner the wolf would chill. Being that tense, that on guard, was detrimental to the wolf’s healing, and Cooper needed to know the wolf was okay.

He arrived a few minutes later, and jumped off the ATV the moment he brought it to a screeching halt. He didn’t even bother to walk around the enclosure, just went right up to the fence and got as close as he could. It took a moment for the wolf to realize he was there. But the moment he did, the wolf’s posture relaxed, and he padded over, his head held up and sniffing the air. He let out a whine/howl like noise, and sat right in front of the chain link, before laying down, head on his paws. He kept his gaze trained on Cooper but he was no longer agitated.

Cooper felt the inexplicable urge to reach through the chain link and touch the soft looking fur. Rub his fingers around those ears, along the broad head. But he knew better. For as docile as the wolf seemed in that moment, as he got every time Cooper came near, he was still a wild animal. Putting his fingers into the cage meant that Cooper would most likely be pulling back a stump. So he resisted the urge, though he sat on the ground almost close enough to touch. The wolf huffed out a breath, those amber eyes fixed pointedly on Cooper.

Three months this had been going on. Ever since Cooper and the staff had taken in the rescues from the horrible situation in which they found them, this wolf had been making strides in his recovery only to be set back with bouts of aggression, becoming territorial, and snarling and snapping. Cooper was at his wits end. Despite having worked with and rehabilitated dozens of wolves over the years, this male continued to stump him. While he wasn’t getting worse, he wasn’t getting better either.

So if Cooper sitting at the edge of his enclosure, doing nothing but being, helped this wolf, Cooper was beyond willing to do it. He’d do whatever it took to get this wolf back on the road to recovery, healthy and strong. He might not ever be able to go back in the wild, but he could be healthy and happy. And at this point, that’s all Cooper wanted. He’d been sitting here every couple of days for three months now. He’d do it every couple of days for the rest the wolf’s life if necessary

He leaned closer, keeping his gaze fixed on the wolf without making it a direct challenge. He did his best to keep his posture as non-threatening as possible. Slowly, Cooper breathed out, and whispered, “I’m not giving up on you. We’ll get you fixed up. I promise.” Cooper could swear the wolf’s ears pricked forward so Cooper said exactly what he was feeling. “I love you, buddy. It’s going to be fine.”

The wolf pushed up onto his feet, howled, whined, gave an all mighty shake, and shifted into a man.

Cooper stared at the naked man where his beloved wolf had once been. “Holy. Shit.”

 

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Flash Fic Friday

**The prompt this week features the Eli and Chase from my newest release Enchanted Love! You can find buy links here, if you haven’t already. The prompt: a lost item and a replacement. Enjoy!**

It was irrational to be so upset. I knew that. And yet, I couldn’t stop the dismay that bubbled in my chest, or the ridiculous tears that prickled in my eyes. My breath was coming out in fast pants as I searched. Ripping apart our luggage, tossing things aside, moving the same piles over and over, convinced if I just shook out the right pair of pants or looked under the right shirt, there they’d be.

“Baby.” Chase’s voice was low and soothing, but I ignore him, tossing more clothes over my shoulder as I went through another pile I’d already pawed through at least a dozen times.

“Eli, sweetheart. Calm down.”

“Don’t,” I bit out, voice low, tone menacing.

He sighed, and I could hear the pain in it. Even knowing it was not because my words hurt him, and instead because he was upset that I was upset didn’t do anything to help. I groaned out my frustration, and pushed my hands through my hair, turning in a circle, trying to see if there was something I hadn’t gone through yet.

“Where did you last see them?” Chase tried, that patient tone meant to soothe. I tried to rein in my emotions enough to answer him.

“In our suite. At Halekulani Hotel. The morning we left.”

Chase’s smile was wicked, and his eyes blazed with lust. That was enough to have me remembering it too. Our honeymoon in Hawaii had been amazing, and that morning, we’d packed in a rush because we’d overslept and were about to miss our flight. Overslept because we’d spent our last night making love so many times that neither of us could move. It had been more than twenty four hours, and I could still feel him inside me.

Chase cleared his throat, and his expression turned sorrowful. “Did you, uh, leave them?”

For a second, the sadness threatened to overwhelm me. I choked down my tears and sat heavily on the end of the bed.

“I must have,” I whispered.

He made a sympathetic sound and came closer. When I didn’t move, he sat beside me and pulled me into his arms. I curled against him, reveling in his warmth and tried not to cry.

“I’m sorry, baby.”

I nodded, my stubble scraping roughly against his t-shirt. I let out a sigh. They were only a pair of flip flops. Not even new. And I knew it was silly to be so upset about having lost them, but I just couldn’t help it. But I’d been wearing them the day I met Chase. Hell, I’d met the love of my life because of the flip flops. The sentimental value far outweighed the shoes, even as expensive as they were. It was all about what they meant to me, and not the flip flops themselves. I wrapped my arms around my husband, and let his strength shore me up in the face of my loss.

***

Three days later, I was surprised when I pushed through the door of our apartment and saw Chase sitting on the couch. Wednesdays were his late days, so I didn’t usually see him until at least nine. But there he was, looking freshly showered, and smiling wide enough I was afraid his face would crack. That was a smile I loved to see, and I found myself grinning in response. How had I been lucky enough to meet him, let alone get to call him mine forever?

“Hey, baby.” He stood up. “I got you something.”

“Oh yeah?” I waggled my eyebrows suggestively. Chase laughed, and I had to shake my head. Perhaps my try at seduction hadn’t been great. Usually all I had to do was smile at him and he was ready to take me to bed.

“After.” He chuckled again, then bent to pick up a box that had been laying on the couch. “Here.”

I looked into his eyes, curious, but he wasn’t giving anything away. With a shrug, I ripped off the paper to find a shoe box. My breath caught when I lifted the lid. Inside were a pair of flip flops exactly like the ones I’d lost. A perfect replica, even if they weren’t worn and beat to hell. I lifted one reverently, and the tears sprang to my eyes. I blinked fast.

Chase’s smile softened. “Well, you know. It’s not the same as the ones–”

“They’re perfect. Like exactly the same pair. How did you…?”

He walked closer and cupped my jaw, lifting my gaze to his. “They were the reason we met. I had no trouble finding them because every detail is burned into my brain.”

I tossed the shoes on the couch and threw myself into his arms, squeezing tightly even as I lifted so I could press my lips to his. The thought he’d put into the gift didn’t surprise me–that was Chase through and through–but that he’d taken such care touched me down to my soul. I already knew I’d made the right choice when I’d claimed him as mine. This just reaffirmed it.

“I love you, Sir Chase the Goodhearted.”

He grinned, then his smile turned wicked. “Wanna see my sword?”

I cackled and raced him to the bedroom.

No Pressure

Over the past six months, I’ve had looming deadlines (both publisher and self imposed) and I’ve felt a constant pressure to get things done. Some of that definitely worked to my advantage, forcing me to focus and work when otherwise I might have procrastinated far too long and things would have gone by the wayside. I’m very happy with the books I’ve written in that time (even if I’m still waiting to hear). But it was like a constant weight on my shoulders. My chest. An unrelenting pressure that colored every one of my thoughts and decisions.

That weight is gone.

I’m also so far ahead on some other things I do that I have no pressure there either.

On the one hand, that feels great! No constant worry and fretting about what I’m doing versus what I should be doing. About if I’m going to make deadline with all the other things that need to get done and have deadlines too. I’m all Maria on the Austrian hillside, running through the fields, arms outstretched and giddy.

However, there’s a downside too. I’m not as far along on new story as I wanted to be. And without the need to focus on just one thing, my lovely brain and muse are conspiring and running off in five other directions. Some of them might be completely fruitless too, so spending brain time thinking about then is a little bit wasteful. And yet, without the constant pressure to get certain things done, my brain is all over the place.

So yeah. I’m enjoying the freeing sensation, but I need to get it back on track. Because if I don’t, I won’t ever get another word written.

So that is what I shall do.

In the meantime, I have a new book out, and if you click here, you’ll find the blurb and all the buy links. And! Eli and Chase will be showing up this Friday for flash fic. So tune in here to see another scene with my new, and lovely, boys!

The Things

So! I had a book release! You can find all the buy links here for Enchanted Love.

If you’re looking for a short, very fluffy, fairy tale-esque kind of story, about two guys who meet each other at the right time, and just click, then Eli and Chase might just be the guys for you. For those of you familiar with my work, this is probably the sweetest thing I’ve ever written–even if there’s a good amount of heat too! Really, these guys are just lovely, and they love each other from almost the moment they meet. And I love them too.

I have this sort of tradition of taking release day off from the day job and spending the day working on something new while basking in the new release. But it was a Saturday, and after I took the pup for a walk, I was kind of in the mood to just chill. So that’s what I did. I read, I played some games, took a nap. And just generally enjoyed my Saturday, all the while feeling that happy feeling about my boys being out in the world. I don’t think that excitement is ever going to get old.

I hope it doesn’t anyway.

Another reason I didn’t write, though, is because I’m sort of stuck. I’ve had the next chapter in my head for a week or more now, but I can’t get the words on the page. The reason? I’m completely undecided as to whose POV the scene is from. I can make a good case for both my MCs and I see it from both POVs. Depending on who I choose, it could change the way the rest of the story is written. So I’m still trying to puzzle some things out before I get to the next step.

Also, still waiting to hear on other things.

So lots going on, lots coming up.

Release Day!!

Out now, for you reading pleasure!

Eli Brennan’s only joy comes from helping out the less fortunate. The rest of his life is less than satisfactory, and he certainly doesn’t believe in fairy tales.
Until he meets Chase Prinsen, whose winning smile and gorgeous muscles embody Eli’s idea of Prince Charming.
Chase sweeps Eli off his feet after an enchanting meeting on the stairs. Eli isn’t used to being special to anyone, but Chase makes him feel it. And with a little persuading, Chase may just be able to convince Eli they go together like foot and slipper.

Buy Links:

JMS Books   Amazon   Kobo   iBooks   BN

Flash Fic Friday

**This week’s prompt: a cowboy hat, a country music concert, and a kiss. Enjoy!**

If it weren’t for the cowboy hat, I wouldn’t be here.

No amount of pleading could have gotten me to come to this concert. No matter that Luke was my best friend in the world. Even the fact that I was harboring a pretty serious crush couldn’t have made me agree. He loved it, loved Florida Georgia Line, and had been looking forward to the show for months. Bought the tickets the moment they’d gone on sale, and had never wasted an opportunity to mention it. But it wasn’t my thing–I basically hated country music–and I refused every time he asked me to go with him.

“Please Jonah! I want you to come with me,” he repeated over again and again.

But I wouldn’t be swayed and kept refusing.

And then he walked into the living room, wearing a straw cowboy hat. The sides curled up, and he’d pulled the brim low. And that hat, combined with his tight-ass jeans and swagger, and I was sold. I couldn’t let him go out in public looking like that. Someone was sure to snap him up, touch him, and ….no. I couldn’t go there.

Luke in that hat was lethal and I needed to go with him to protect his virtue.

An hour in, and I had to admit it wasn’t so bad. The band had a bit of a rock/pop feel that blunted the worst of the twangier edges. I could deal with it. And Luke’s enjoyment was infectious. He was singing at the top of his lungs, and rocking out with the rest of the crowd.

I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

Suddenly he turned, that huge grin on his face, and he caught sight of me. I tried to look away, but I couldn’t make myself. And he didn’t seem to mind. Instead, his entire expression softened, and then, he reached up and pulled the hat off his head. The loud music wound down, and I barely caught the lyrics, something about being holy, when Luke leaned in. He was so close I could feel his body heat.

“Perfect song for this moment,” Luke said, his eyes blazing, and then he closed the distance between us. His mouth met mine, and I gasped. I could feel his grin as he kissed me.

Right there in the middle of a country music concert, with said music swelling around us, thousands of people singing along, Luke took me in his arms and kissed me until I couldn’t breathe.

Then he pulled back, smiled, and put his hat on my head.

“I’m keeping it,” I rumbled, edging closer, not wanting any distance between us.

“You know what they say about keeping a man’s hat, right?”

I shook my head, but my stomach swooped in anticipation.

“Means you’re his.”

“Works for me.”

The song ended and the crowd screamed and clapped. And as I stood there staring into Luke’s eyes, wearing Luke’s hat, it felt like they were cheering just for us.

The Siren Song of Sub Calls

If you’ve been following along for any length of time, you’re probably well aware that I’m a total sucker for sub calls. When I see that submission call from a publisher, my brain starts working overtime. Well, not every call, not every time. But when there’s one that catches my interest, I’m powerless to resist.

On Friday, I saw one that intrigued. And after about two seconds, and just a touch of googling, I was struck smack in the face with an idea.

I had this character already in my head. I mean, sometimes I see a name or a trait, and it sparks a character. So this guy was already in my head, just kind of hanging out, waiting for a story to belong to, and for someone to love. And when I saw the call, he immediately jumped into the story, and the plot started revolving, and within minutes, I had the basics. And a very punny title that I love to pieces. And now, just a few days later, I already have the first two chapters written.

A good sub call is always going to be my kryptonite.

So that’s the story that has my focus at the moment. The one the muse is pushing me on. The one that I can’t stop thinking about. Even though just last week I started a new story, this one has taken precedence.

It’s called One in Vermilion. It’s the story of Tru and Wyatt. And their dogs. And their baggage. And how they are eventually going to fall in love.

And I basically love the crap out of it already.