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.

Flash Fic Friday

**This week’s prompt is a barn dance. Enjoy!**

“Are you kidding me right now?”

David just smirked and turned off the car. I knew something was up when he’d driven me out outside town, and was more suspicious when he pulled onto the old Haverly Property. The place had been abandoned for years, but it had recently been purchased and turned into an event center. I couldn’t imagine what we were doing there. But the mass amount of cars, the strings of lights, and the wide open barn doors made me nervous.

Even from where we were at the far end of the gravel parking lot, I could hear the music. Banjos, fiddles…and was that a steel guitar? For a moment, I debated refusing to get out of the car. But David took the decision out of my hands when he came around, opened my door, and leaned down with  a sexy grin.

“Come on, Brian. It’ll be fun.”

I scowled at him, but allowed him to take my hand and pull me up. I didn’t exactly drag my feet as we walked closer, but I sure wasn’t hurrying. When I heard the announcer calling out dance steps, I stopped dead and turned to him.

He just wiggled his eyebrows and tugged me along.

I had to admit the place looked nice. Classic country chic that skirted the line of too kitschy without going over. Dozens of people were laughing and dancing, the floor packed with couples. A lot of them were het, but there were a good handful of same sex couples as well. I hadn’t been nervous–David would never put us in a dangerous situation–but it was still nice to see. If the music wasn’t so loud, if the chambray shirted man on stage wasn’t twanging out directions, I might have actually enjoyed it.

“Relax, Bri.” David spoke right in my ear, his voice low. He knew that got to me, made me shiver, and he was doing it on purpose. My resolve melted a little when I turned and looked into his dark eyes. He had this way of looking at me that never failed to effect me. Affection and love, twined with a little bit of amusement. All he had to do was look at me, and I was his, all over again.

And bringing me to a barn dance? That was completely David. He was always looking for weird, different, or interesting things for us to do. He was adamant we didn’t get stuck in a rut. We’d been together since we were sixteen, and he was the only man I ever loved. I was the only one for him too. It hadn’t been easy, and we’d had some epic arguments. The worst resulted in us staying apart for a whole week. In the end, we always worked it out.

Twenty years together, and he was determined our relationship wouldn’t go stale. Hence a surprise barn dance.

When the song ended, and the announcer called out another, David took my hand. I made a show of dragging my feet and rolling my eyes, but I took my place in line opposite him. He blew me a kiss, and mouthed “thank you.”

I just smiled, and as the new song began, tried to follow the steps. Seeing that look on his face was worth it.

What’s Going On

Okay, so a little update for all those who are interested.

–As I announced late last week, Lost Souls Found has been contracted and will be out next spring. I’m so excited about this story! I love series (as I’ve talked about before) and I’m thrilled with this book.

Somebody to Die For is in with the publisher. It’s the third in the Requiem Inc series. Waiting is hard!

–I’ve broken ground on a new story, which does not yet have a title (because titling is hard too!). This one has some heavier themes, but not too much, because this is me. The basic story has been percolating in my head for months now, and I finally had the missing piece to make it settle into place.

–And of course, upcoming releases!

*Hearts and Hazelnuts is out on November 29, 2017. I’ll be sharing cover and teasers very soon!

*A Timely Gift is part of the Advent Calendar. Individual release is December 1st, but if you’ve ordered the set, it’ll be a surprise one day in your inbox. (I adore this story more than I have words.)

*Ghost of a Chance is out in January. Dreamspun Beyond line. If you’ve got a subscription, it’ll arrive on release day. Otherwise, look for it on it’s own then. The cover is being designed now, and I can’t wait to see it. The love I have for this story is sort of ridiculous, but Blake and Derek were a long time coming, so I’m super excited. Plus, paperback!

Flash Fic Friday

**Today’s prompt: a hot air balloon ride. Enjoy!**

Balloonfest. My favorite weekend of the year. For three days–well the afternoons and well into the evening–I wandered around, eating delicious food, talking with vendors and operators, and taking at least one ride in a balloon. Two if I could manage it, but reservations were tight. It had been my passion since I was a child, and I still loved it. Someday, I’d save enough for my own balloon. Until then, I would take what I could get.

If I was very lucky, I’d get to go up with an operator I knew, and they’d let me have a turn at flying the thing.

This was the fourth year Liam had come with me. The first time had been our first date, and he’d been terrified of going up. He didn’t like heights. But he’d done it anyway, though he’d been relieved when we finally touched back down. Later, when I asked him why he’d done it when he’d obviously been so scared, he gave me a small, sweet smile.

“Your passion. Man, I’ve never seen anything like that. I wanting to be with you in the air was bigger than wanting to keep my feet on the ground.”

I fell in love with him right then and there. We’d been together ever since.

And he came with me every year, trailing behind me as I chatted and oohed and aahed. He was a quiet sort, my boyfriend. But he was always there for me, lending his support to my passion. I tried to do the same in return, but I wasn’t quite sure I managed it at the same level. He loved me just as hard as I loved him, though, so I figured it worked.

It was the last night, and Liam had surprised me with a reservation for a second balloon ride. I’d already been on one the morning before, but I was excited to go up again. Even more so that Liam was coming with me. I didn’t know who we’d be riding with, but Liam dragged me on with a singular determination As we got closer, I saw Linda and Joe, and my face broke out into a grin. The older couple had been flying at the fest for almost as long as I’d been going, and they were a happy, chatty sort of people that didn’t mind when I peppered them with questions. They were local too, and Linda had taught me everything I knew about flying. She was a master.

I loved their balloon too. It was beautiful. Rainbow colors arced in diamonds across the surface. I dreamed about this balloon.

I walked quicker, and made it to Linda’s side before Liam could catch up. He grinned and stood quietly to the side as I jumped in to help. Within a few minutes, we were in the air.

“You love this balloon, huh?” Liam’s voice was soft, but I was so focused on watching the world fall away from us, the sound made me jump.

I grinned. “Yeah.”

“It’s yours.”

I scoffed, and gave him a wry smile. “I wish.”

“It is.”

Linda’s voice startled me again, and I whirled around to face her. The basket shook a little, but held steady. She was smiling, and Joe stood at her side. He nodded.

I blinked. “What now?”

“Seth, you love this balloon as much as we do,” Linda began as she  laid a hand on my arm. “And we’ve decided to retire. We’re taking a cross country trip in the RV. So when we decided to sell, we thought of you first. Liam took us up on it.”

I whipped my head around, and Liam shrugged. “I ran into them on Friday, while you were chatting with Maurice. They asked if I thought you’d want to buy the balloon, take their place, and I made the decision to surprise you.” Liam glanced down, and bit his lip for a second before looking back up at me. “You’re not mad are you?”

“Mad?” I couldn’t breathe. “Are you serious?”

I vaguely registered the confused and concerned looks on their faces, but I had to sit down before I passed out. This was everything I’d ever wanted, and my tiny brain couldn’t process the hugeness of it.

Liam carefully knelt down beside me. “Seth?”

“For real?” I managed to get out. I pressed my hand against my heart. “It’s mine? You…you did this and it’s mine?”

“If you want it.” He still sounded nervous.

I reached out and pulled him toward me, hugging him hard.

“Yes.” I murmured as I kissed him. “Yes yes yes.”

Liam laughed, and held me tight. Joe chuckled, and the sound made me look over. Both he and Linda were looking on with indulgent smiles on their faces.

“Stand up, son. You’re missing the view.” Joe’s gruff voice got lost in the whoosh of the burner.

I did, slowly, but it was hard to take in the gorgeous sight of the night. Tears blurred my vision.

Liam took a step closer, and then murmured in my ear. “Just think, now you can do this whenever you want.”

I took his hand, squeezing it tight, and let the tears fall.

News!

I’m so very excited to announce that Lost Souls Found has been contracted! *confetti*

It’s the second book in the Requiem Inc series, which is part of the Dreamspun Beyond line.

So here’s a little background:

When I first conceived of the idea for the series, I knew there was a pair of brothers who both had the ghostwalker gene. Way back when, several years ago, Sam had a different name, but Michael was still Michael. And Sam pined for Michael in the very best way. So when I wrote Ghost of a Chance, I wrote in Sam having feelings for Michael not even knowing if I’d have a chance to write their story. But for me, it was integral to the characters. I put the feelings in, and hints as to Michael’s feelings as well, because I felt it needed to be there.

And then I took a chance and pitched it. Dreamspinner was on board with seeing it, so I wrote their story. And it was a challenge but in the best possible way. There was a lot I needed to accomplish with these guys, because of their connection and the length of time Sam had been crushing on Michael.

I think I succeeded in making it work. 🙂

I love these guys, and I love their story. They aren’t perfect by any means, and they both have some learning to do. But when they get to the end, they are solid in their love for one another, and in their life and future.

The book is slated for release in late spring, sometime in April or May of 2018. So those of you who read Ghost of a Chance, won’t have too long a wait to find out what happens to Sam and Michael!

I’m thrilled and excited. And I can’t wait for you to read this story.