Flash Fic Friday

**This week’s prompt is a long lost love. Enjoy!**

When I saw him, I was certain I was imagining it. It had been twenty years since he walked away from me, and in the intervening years, I’d hallucinated him in all sorts of places. He was never far from my thoughts, and I thought I saw him everywhere. But every time, it turned out to be another man; someone who was built the same, or had the same color hair, or a familiar looking jacket. It had never been Mark.¬†So I was used to thinking I saw him, and it not being him. The man down the street was not Mark.

Except why else would he be standing in the pouring rain, getting drenched, and staring at me like he saw a ghost?

My heart picked up, and I stood rooted to the spot as the man started walking swiftly toward me. He had a bit of a limp, his gait uneven, and he stepped carefully even as he picked up speed. I couldn’t move, because the closer he got, the more he looked like Mark. An older, much more worn version, but definitely Mark. And then the air stuttered in my lungs, because it was Mark, stopping two feet away from me, looking like a drowned rat with a broken heart.

“Daniel?” His voice was a croak.

Tears stung my eyes, and I tripped forward, awkwardly dosing him with rain off my large umbrella until I could shield him with it too. We stood close, staring at each other, breathing in each other’s air.

“Hi. Wow. Hi.”

Mark chuckled at my eloquence, but it sounded pained and raw. He took another step forward, so he was right in my space. He lifted a hand, but dropped it before he made contact with me. I wanted to throw my arms around him, because I couldn’t believe he was here.

At eighteen, we’d been desperately, madly in love. Hardly anyone knew–it wasn’t safe–but that hadn’t mattered. We’d made plans to run away together, to start a new life with each other as soon as we graduated college. But Mark had joined the Marines instead, without telling me first, and broke my heart into pieces when he went to Basic. He cut off all contact, and it took me weeks to function normally again. Everyone thought I missed my best friend. Which I did, but Mark was so much more than that to me.

“How are you?” I whispered.

Mark shrugged. “I didn’t think I’d ever see you again.”

I nodded, and blinked hard to clear the tears. I hadn’t either. I was fortunate his parents were still friends with my mom, because I’d gotten snippets of information over the years. I knew he’d been injured by an IED when he’d been deployed a few years ago, and that he’d gotten a medical discharge sometime later, but I didn’t dare ask for more info. I couldn’t seem too eager, and I didn’t know his situation with his parents.

“You look great,” he murmured, and this time he did touch me, the briefest ghost of fingertips along my cheek. I sighed, leaned closer catching a whiff of him under the rain and damp wool. Earthy, with a hint of citrus. God, that smell. I remembered it well. And for just a second, I was lost in memories. Of our bodies entwined, of long nights in each other’s arms. A horn honked, and I jerked back to the present.

“You look good, too. Tired, but good.” I smiled, and Mark did too.

“It hasn’t been easy,” he admitted with a hint of sadness. Then he cleared his throat. “I bet you have a husband and a passel of dogs and white picket fence now. All those things you dreamed off.”

“Well, I’ve got the dogs,” I said with a small laugh. “And the fence, but it’s wrought iron.”

Mark’s smile grew. “But no husband? Boyfriend? Partner?”

“No,” I said softly. “Not one of those.”

“Me either.”

I grinned, unable to stop myself. And then he gave a hard shiver, and I realized he was soaked and freezing.

“There’s a coffee shop,” I said, gesturing across the street. “Want to get warm and have something hot to drink? Catch up?”

He put his arm around me, then took the umbrella from my hand and held it over both of us. “There’s nothing I want more.”

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Update From the Attic

It’s been awhile, and that means it’s time for an update and what I’m working on post!

First things first! Hero Worship was originally released as part of an antho a few years ago. I love this story. Like an insane amount. I don’t know what it is about it, and it was one of the first I ever wrote, but Matt and Alex have a special place in my heart. I revisited them often in flash fics, because I never could quite let them go. So I’m super happy to say it’s going to be released as a single title in January with JMS Books. It’ll get some new polish and shine, and a pretty new cover. Anyone who hasn’t gotten the opportunity to read it before will finally get a second chance. (Specific info when I have it)

So there’s going to be a glut from me in the coming months. First we have Hearts and Hazelnuts, on November 29. I’m doing a cover reveal over on Joyfully Jay next Friday, and I can’t wait to show it off. Because it’s beautiful and I love it. Brooke Albrecht did an amazing job. I’m in the process of working with the publisher to set up a mini blog tour so I’ll post those when I know them.

Then there’s A Timely Gift, part of Dreamspinner’s Advent Calendar. On December 1st, it’ll be released as a standalone title. The whole set is up for preorder now, at a fantastic price, so if you want 31 great stories, one a day, delivered to your inbox, then head over and pick it up! And if only a few strike your fancy, they’ll all be available individually on the first.

In January, on the 16th, Ghost of a Chance will hit e-shelves. If you’ve already subscribed to the Dreamspun Beyond line, then you’ll get the book when it’s released. If not, you can get it (or any of the other titles) individually in ebook or paperback. I really love the cover for this one too, but I’m gonna keep that to myself for a little while longer. Closer to release date, I’ll share it. I feel like I’ve talked about this book a lot, but I love Blake and Derek, and I love their story. And it’s something just a little bit different, so that was extra fun. I can’t wait to share their story…and that of Sam and Michael, Lost Souls Found, which will be out in late spring. Though each book can be read as a standalone, and isn’t dependent on the other, there are cameos in both stories of all the characters, so it makes it a little bit more fun. (And a third for the series is currently under review by the publisher)

And, of course, as I mentioned, Hero Worship will also be re-released in January!

So what else has been going on? I worked through a little bit of burn out, and am currently penning another story, shifters this time. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself, just enjoying it as I write it, though I have a loose goal to get it done by mid November. I’ve always wanted to write shifters, but wanted to do it in a way that speaks to my own idea of how it works. And though one of my characters is a wolf, the other is a mountain lion, because I had to have a cat of some sort.

Oh, and I dye my own yarn now, a few of which are for sale, so if you’re interested, you can check out my Etsy shop! The names of the colorways are based on romance genres, Harry Potter themed, and Star Trek. So, that’s fun. heh.

Still no day job yet, but I’m making the best of it. Have an interview. We will see how it goes.

So that’s me in a nutshell right now. Hope everyone’s world is as shiny as it can be.

Flash Fic Friday

***Fall is finally in there air and my prompt this week is a Harvest Festival. Enjoy!**

Sweater weather. Crisp, cool air. The scent of decaying leaves and hay and cooking apples. I couldn’t stop grinning. This was my heaven.

The annual Harvest festival was my favorite place, and I made it a tradition to go every year. For hours I wandered the stalls, picking up knickknacks and treats, things I could only get from certain vendors at this one place and time. I made a day of it, and though I usually had a few people willing to meander with me, this year I was alone. I didn’t care. I could spend the whole day walking, looking, and chatting.

I’d already been there for a couple of hours and had made one trip back to my car to drop off overladen canvass bags. But I still had half of the festival to walk through. I passed by the games and rides–neither of those were why I was here–and headed down yet another row. It took me a better part of an hour, and I’d stopped and had a apple cider donut and picked up some fried dough, before I continued on.

And stopped dead when I saw the familiar banner on the last booth in the aisle.

The year before, I’d stopped at the booth because my sister was an avid knitter and she loved indie dyed yarns. In the process of picking her up a dark blue merino/angora blend, I’d met Kyle. He didn’t own the shop where the yarn was produced–that was his sister–but he’d been helping out. He was funny and engaging, and I stood there for more than fifteen minutes pretending to chose yarn just so I could chat with him. And after I made my purchase and his sister came back, Kyle and I had meandered to a copse of trees not far away.

The blow jobs had been spectacular.

We’d parted ways before exchanging more than names. I’d instantly regretted it, but by the time I got the courage up to go back to the stall, the yarn had been packed up and neither Kyle nor his sister were anywhere in sight. I’d thought about him occasionally over the past year, and my heart sped up a little, thinking I might see him again.

Would he be there? Would he remember me? Should I even wander over?

But my sister¬†did love the yarn, and I’d won Christmas by giving it to her last year. I couldn’t pass up the chance to get her that treat, and to maybe see Kyle again. I took a deep breath and walked over.

Kyle wasn’t there. Just his lovely sister who was happy to chat and help me make my selection. I tried not to let my disappointment show. Instead I picked out a gorgeous skein my sister would die over, and paid with a swipe of my card.

“Liam.”

I started, and then spun. Kyle stood there, his dark eyes hooded and a mischievous little smile on his lips. My heart stuttered, and I tried to control the crazy grin on my face.

“H-hi there.”

Kyle chuckled softly, and took a step so he was in my space.

“It’s nice to see you again. I’ve been looking for you, hoping I might.”

My eyes widened. “Really?”

He nodded, and then stepped in again. Any closer, and we’d be pressed together.

“Would you like to take a walk with me?” His smile turned soft. “We can head over to the Rev’s Barbecue booth. Have dinner?”

Now I couldn’t contain my grin. I wasn’t opposed to a repeat of last year, but dinner was so much better.

“I’d love to.”

Kyle glanced up. “You okay here, Krissy?”

I peered over my shoulder to see his sister smiling knowingly, and then she made a shooing gesture. Kyle chuckled again, then held out a hand in invitation. I didn’t hesitate to take it.

The Harvest Festival really was my favorite place to be.