Brigham’s Recommendations – “Double Dutch Courage” by Helena Stone

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Sudden changes require great bravery. Can both men find the courage to be true to themselves and each other?

Blurb

Ronan Collins has spent most of his life in Dublin hiding who he really is. Coming out would hurt his mother, and Ronan isn’t going to be the second gay man to do that. When he receives news the father he has never known has died, leaving him both a house and a business in Amsterdam, he jumps on the opportunity to get to know the man who fathered him and to discover what he’s been denying himself for years.

Lucas Brandt thought he had it all when Paul Kelly offered him a job and rooms to live in. With Paul deceased he fears he may be about to lose both. He didn’t even know Paul had a son, and now this stranger is on his way from Dublin to pull the rug out from under Lucas’s feet.

The two men don’t expect to like each other, never mind feel attraction. With numerous reasons why hooking up would be a bad idea, why does giving in feel so much better? And is Ronan’s back story really as he’s always imagined it to be?

Excerpt:

Ronan seemed to search Lucas’s face for something, then lowered his gaze until Lucas was convinced he was staring at his lips. He mused that the sunshine had to be getting to him as the afternoon took on a dreamlike quality. Ronan licked his lips, the tip of his tongue tempting Lucas, teasing him. When Ronan leant forward Lucas wondered what was happening, whether he was imagining things. Surely Ronan wasn’t about to —

The soft press of Ronan’s lips against his elicited a sigh from Lucas. He would have been embarrassed about his reaction if he hadn’t been lost in the moment. It was the second time Ronan had taken him by surprise in this manner, except on this occasion he didn’t appear to have any intention of pulling back.

With so many reasons why this was the worst idea ever, it didn’t make any sense that the overriding thought running through his mind was more.

He cupped Ronan’s neck, keeping the pressure light, barely there. Ronan reacted as if Lucas had used force and pressed his lips firmer against his, parting them in the process.

Lucas was helpless against the onslaught. It had taken him days to stop obsessing about Ronan’s mouth after that quick, shy kiss a week earlier. There would be no coming back from this. He had no doubt he would end up hurt. Even as he had the thought, Lucas parted his own lips, slipped his tongue through the gap and tentatively caressed Ronan’s mouth.

“Oh.” Ronan’s soft exclamation meant his lips parted farther and Lucas took advantage. Fuck being sensible. Fuck worrying about tomorrow, or next week, or six months from today. He was here, now, and the tongue hesitantly exploring his was nothing like what he’d expected and everything he wanted it to be.

The kiss transported him back to his teenage years, to the first boy he’d ever kissed. Clumsy and with clashing teeth, it had been as awkward as it had been exciting. Pretty much as it was now, except this time it didn’t make sense.

He pulled back until the tips of their noses were the only parts of them still touching. Ronan’s lashes fluttered before he opened his eyes. They widened and he lowered his gaze.

“That bad, eh?” Ronan directed his words at the grass beneath their knees.

“Not bad.” Lucas tried to figure out what to say. Not sure what he was reacting to, he didn’t know which words to use either, so the truth would have to do. “It just brought back a memory of something I hadn’t thought about in ages.”

“Oh?”

Ronan still wouldn’t look at him and Lucas didn’t like it. He lifted Ronan’s chin with his index finger. “It reminded me of when I was fourteen and me and Hans, my best friend back then, decided to find out what the big deal about kissing was.”

“It was like your first kiss?” Ronan still tried to avoid meeting Lucas’s gaze.

“Yes.” Lucas smiled. He couldn’t believe Hans had slipped his mind. They’d done a lot of exploring together before Hans decided he was interested in girls after all. He got so lost in his reminiscence he almost missed the words Ronan muttered.

“Makes sense.”

It hit Lucas like a ton of bricks. Here was yet another reason why getting involved with Ronan was the worst idea ever. If he was right, he would be Ronan’s first in everything. The thought that Ronan’s inexperience might include kissing hadn’t crossed his mind until this moment. He wasn’t sure he could make that journey with Ronan without getting emotionally involved. He had to know for sure.

“I’m your first?”

The combination of shame and defeat Lucas read in Ronan’s expression tore at him. He didn’t need an answer. He also didn’t need to think about what to do next. Yes, he would end up getting hurt, but he’d deal with it. It wouldn’t be the first time or, in all likelihood, the last. He could be Ronan’s first and make it a good, a memorable, experience.

“I want to be your second, too.” He didn’t wait and pressed his lips back against Ronan’s before he could respond.

 

 

Kopstootje Meme

 

Review: 

I’ll be the first to admit, I am totally biased when it comes to Helena Stone’s books. We’re friends. I was staying at her home in Ireland when I beta read “Double Dutch Courage”. But biased or not, it’s a wonderful story.

“Double Dutch Courage” follows Ronan Collins from Dublin to Amsterdam as he learns about an inheritance left to him by his absent father, Paul, and begins to take the first steps toward being open about his attraction to men. Lucas Brant, Paul’s business partner and flatmate, helps guide Ronan along that path.

The author deftly weaves in Ronan’s discovery of Amsterdam through the story and it plays such a large role in the book, it needed to be mentioned. It’s wonderful and vivid and makes me want to travel there (more than I already did)!

This is a quiet story. Ronan’s journey doesn’t have huge, wildly dramatic twists and turns, but the gently unfolding self-discovery is no less compelling. The attraction between them and the building relationship is skillfully done and you’re rooting for them as Ronan overcomes those final obstacles and moves forward into the kind of future he’s always dreamed of.

“Double Dutch Courage” has wonderful characters, a fantastic setting, and a sweet romance. What more could any reader want?

Buy Links:

Amazon

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Leavin’ on a Jet Plane

Over a year ago, my mom said, “I’d like to hike somewhere with you before I’m too old.”

I semi-jokingly replied, “You find the budget, I’ll find the time!” Cause let’s be realistic, broke writer here.

Tonight we get on a plane on fly to Dublin.

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The trip has changed a little in that time. The original plan was for the two of us to hike across the country from Dublin to the West coast. A stress fracture in my mom’s foot derailed that plan fairly quickly, and we decided it would be nicer if we didn’t leave my dad at home.

But we’re still going from Dublin to the West coast (albeit in a car, and along the coast). There will be shorter day hikes and lots of time to explore the countryside.

And after three weeks, they’ll drop me off at Helena Stone’s house and I’ll stay with her and her husband for another two and a half weeks.  There will be writing of course, and day trips into Dublin to see places I’ve heard her talk about but barely imagined I’d visit.

I have a date with a very cool Irish guy I’ve been talking to for a few months. Long story, but suffice it to say when you post on an Irish message board you’ll find the Irish are a VERY friendly bunch.

The whole thing will be a working vacation—because I definitely can’t just take five and a half weeks off from writing—but I am so excited it’s ridiculous. I’ll definitely be on social media less, but I WILL take a ton of pictures.

It’s still a little surreal. I’m not sure it’s really sunk in that I’ll be staying in Ireland for almost six weeks. But my packed suitcase says otherwise and in a little over twelve hours, I’ll be leaving Toronto airport and heading straight for Dublin.

The real question is, am I ever going to want to come home?

Flash Fiction Monday – Red

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Kendra walked slowly along the driveway. Gravel dug into the bottoms of her feet, painting the rock with red with every step she took. The sounds of taunts still rang in her ears.

“Freak.”

“Dyke.”

“Psycho!”

“Killer!”

She’d heard them all before. Had been hearing the first three most of her life, although they’d gotten progressively nastier in the past six months. And it hurt worse when she’d tried so hard to be normal tonight. She’d dressed up in a pretty teal dress and let her mom take photos. She’d gone to prom with Kevin—her neighbor and best friend—and tried to pretend she was just like all the rest of the kids. But it had turned ugly fast. She’d gotten separated from Kevin at some point and now here she was, with bare, bloody feet, heading toward the last place she’d seen Dana alive.

The old Thompson house had been abandoned for years. She and Dana were the only ones who ever went there. They liked to poke around the gently decaying property and lay under the big old oak tree and kiss.

Kendra let out a sigh of relief as she reached the porch. The bare, rotting boards felt good on her feet after the sharp rocks. There was still caution tape on the doors and broken windows were boarded up. But Kendra knew the trick to getting through the back-entrance off the kitchen.

The floor in the dining room was mostly gone now, just a gaping hole where the scarred wooden boards had given way.  Kendra still didn’t know how it had happened. Or what had even happened. One minute she and Dana were exploring, joking about the fact that Dana was probably going to get tetanus from the cut on her hand, and then the floor was gone.

And so was Dana.

Kendra hadn’t been able to explain it to the police. Or the shrinks they’d sent her to. But they’d finally released her. There was no evidence that Kendra had done anything to her girlfriend.  Just rumor and suspicion. She hadn’t told them about the rest. The things no one would ever believe.

Kendra took a seat on the edge of the gaping hole. “Why didn’t you take me?” she whispered, voicing aloud the question that had been nagging at her ever since. “Why Dana? Why not me?”

She closed her eyes against the hot sting of tears. Cool, musty air wafted up from the basement. Her feet throbbed and she wondered if the faint drip, drip, drip came from a leaking pipe or the bloody soles.

A blast of warm, fresh air washed over her and, in the distance, Kendra could hear Dana’s laughter.


Sorry I haven’t been writing and posting flash fics much. I’ve been doing a ton of other writing though and I was glad to be able to join in this week!

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week!

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Flash Fiction Monday – No Rest for a Cowboy

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No Rest for a Cowboy

Danny’s breath steamed in the icy January air as he hefted another bale of hay and tossed it carefully over the edge of the hay loft. Panting, he stopped for a minute. His back ached from the strain and his cold, cramped fingers were sore from the twine digging in.

 Thunder rumbled through the air and Danny froze. Thunder? In January? That seemed unlikely, but if it wasn’t thunder, it was probably  …fuuuuuck

He ran to the window and saw over almost two dozen horses streaming out of the paddock and into the un-fenced portion of the ranch. He nearly shit himself. All that work. All that money. Wild horses attempting to return to the wild.

He thundered down the rickety steps and tore through the barn door, hollering for Abraham to come help. Danny was sure that their plan to buy mustangs to train for barrel racing and pleasure riding was about to go up in a cloud of dust. They’d spent every last penny to buy the ranch and the horses. If they lost the mustangs they were fucked.

Abraham caught up to him and grabbed his arm. “Hey, calm down, Danny. You’re just spooking them more.”

Danny froze and nodded tightly. “How are we going to get them back though, Abe?”

“Let’s grab some grain and a couple of lead ropes. We’ll have to try to lure them back with it, but I have a plan.”

An hour and a half later, wrung out from fear and adrenaline, Danny collapsed against his boyfriend’s chest. “I can’t believe that worked.”

“I told you.”

Danny gripped his boyfriend’s face and brought their foreheads together. Relief made him weak-kneed. “We could have lost all of the mustangs. But we didn’t.” Danny drew back to look Abraham in the eye. “Thank you. Without your cool head  …”

Abraham smiled and kissed him. “Now we know not to leave the gate unlatched.”

Danny groaned. “That was all me.”

“Hey, we’re a team, right?” A nose nudged Danny’s arm and he glanced over to see Lady, the chestnut mare who had established herself as leader of the herd.

Danny let go of Abe to rub behind her ears. “And it’s a good thing you’re in charge of these yahoos.” He gestured toward the rest of the horses who were crowding closer, searching for more grain. For a while, it had looked like utter chaos as the horses galloped, tails and manes streaming in the wind. They were gorgeous, no question about it, but terrifying as well and Danny had felt like he couldn’t breathe as he prayed none of the horses or him and Abe would be injured.

Abe’s plan to round them up had involved bribing Lady with grain to get close enough to throw a lead rope around her neck and walk her back into the paddock. The rest of the herd had reluctantly followed, the few stragglers coaxed in with a little grain.

They spent a little while checking the horses over, making sure none of them had injured their hooves or legs, but everyone appeared sound. Abe gave Marigold a pat on the rump. “Back to work, I guess.”

Danny groaned. “I just want to go take a long hot soak in the tub.”

“You have to finish getting some hay down and I have to check the fences.” Abe grinned and draped an arm over his shoulders. “No rest for a cowboy, I’m afraid.


Sorry I’ve been so intermittent about writing and posting flash fics. I was glad to be able to join in this week!

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week!

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Flash Fiction Monday – Whiskey and Need

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“We shouldn’t be doing this,” Rey said, but there was no conviction to his tone, just thick need, barely suppressed.

The garish light from the neon motel sign lit the side of Barrett’s face and highlighted the rugged handsomeness. Rey’s chest felt tight as he looked at his partner, Barrett. Partner in the Springfield police department, that is. Not his lover. Or at least they hadn’t been.

But their mouths were inches apart and Barrett’s grip on his shirt was tight.

They’d been skirting this moment for weeks now. Months of getting to know the man under the stoic façade, months of noticing the width of Barrett’s shoulders, the solidity and heat of his body, and months of fighting it. Weeks of wondering what his mouth tasted like. Days of being holed up in this motel together and trying not to stare at Barrett’s chest, broad and lightly furred, damp from the shower as he walked around the room in a towel.

“You think I don’t know that?” Barrett’s voice was a low rumble and Rey felt his gut clench as he imagined that sound in his ear as Rey pinned him to the bed.

No, he knew Barrett understood the dangers as well as he did: work conflict, the danger of being found out by their colleagues, Barrett’s family.

Barrett half-rose in his seat, pulling Rey toward him.

Rey’s head swam; his brain entirely incapable of rational thought anymore. The throb in his groin and the need in his chest overwhelmed everything else.  They shouldn’t  … and yet  …

Barrett’s mouth landed on his, tasting of whiskey and need.


 

This week’s flash is short, but hopefully sweet.

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I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

 

Flash Fiction Monday – And Owen Makes Three

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“You two are ridiculous.” Byron’s tone held a faint note of mingled annoyance and fondness.

“You love us.” Wade sat up and propped his hands on the concrete patio as he glanced up at his boyfriend. Bryon’s lanky good looks were set off by ripped jeans and a threadbare T-shirt. He was too damn good looking to be behind the camera, but he’d never liked having his picture taken. “Did you get a good shot?”

“Yes.” Byron settled the lens cap over the end of the zoom lens. “It’s adorable. And ridiculous.”

Wade turned to Owen and held out a fist. “We are adorable.” The cat head-butted his knuckles in agreement.

Byron chuckled. “I can’t get over how much that cat seems to understand. He’s so well-trained.”

The look Owen threw him was so disgusted Wade was grateful that Byron missed it. Shit, maybe he and Owen were going to have to be a bit more careful in the future.

“Cats are smart,” he said and held a hand out to Byron, who effortlessly pulled him to his feet.

“I know that.” Byron’s hands settled on his ass and squeezed, pulling their bodies closer together. “It’s just uncanny sometimes.”

Uncanny is right, Wade thought guiltily as Byron kissed him. If only he knew …

The kiss turned hot and needy and Wade’s thoughts were swept away in a haze of lust as Byron dragged him into the house and spread him out on the bed.

After, when they were spent and sweaty and sprawled on the bed in a post-sex haze that Byron brought up the subject again. “Look at that.” He pointed to Owen who sat on the dresser staring at them. “I would swear that cat is jealous. He’s always watching.”

Wade swallowed and tried to keep his voice light. “Come on, pets always do that. I had an ex whose cat used to lay on its belly and stare at us through the crack under the door when we had sex.”

“It’s weird.” Byron sounded vaguely disgruntled like he always did when they discussed this. “You know I like Owen, but the way he looks at me sometimes … I dunno. I would have sworn he was looking at my cock and licking his lips the other day.”

A snort escaped before Wade could stop it. “Seriously?”

“Yes!” Byron laughed. “It’s unnerving. I swear one of these days I’m going to find out he’s actually a shape-shifter or something.”

Wade flipped onto his stomach and stared at the wall. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

“Hey, what is it? You went all tense on me.”Byron’s hand slid across his back. “If the jokes about Owen are making you uncomfortable I’ll lay off. I know you get touchy about that.”

Wade glanced over at Owen who was still perched on the dresser, watching them intently. Wade gazed into his eyes, needing the reassurance that Owen was okay with him finally confessing the truth to Byron. Owen squeezed his eyes together tightly and gave him a quick, almost imperceptible nod.

Wade took a deep breath and let out with a shudder before he turned to Byron. “It’s not the jokes. But uh, there’s something I haven’t been honest about.”

“Okay?” Byron sounded apprehensive, and who could blame him.

“You know how I talked about the guy I was dating before you?”

“Tyler? Yeah.”

“Well, that wasn’t the whole truth. His last name was Tyler.” Byron blinked at him and a moment later the muffled thud of a cat hitting the bed. “His full name was Owen Tyler.”

Wade gently ran a hand down Owen’s soft back. “He disappeared one night and the police said Owen just vanished with a trace. For a while, they even thought I had something to do with it.A few days after the man disappeared, this beat-up tabby appeared at my doorstep. It took the cat a while to heal and even longer for me to accept the truth, but …”

Byron stared at him, open-mouthed.

“I know, it’s crazy,” Wade said weakly. “I can’t explain what happened. Owen—now that he’s a cat—and I found a way we could sort of communicate using those little magnetic refrigerator letters. He bats them around on the floor to make words when he really needs to tell me something. But the best we can figure is that he was cursed.”

“You’re telling me this whole time you’ve been in a relationship with me, you’ve still been living with your ex?” Byron gestured toward the cat. “Who is a fucking cat.”

“Yes?” Wade said. “I didn’t know how to tell you.”

Byron stared at Owen with an inscrutable expression. Wade could almost swear they were silently communicating like he and Owen did all the time.

“So,” Byron said, after what felt like hours, “Did you and Owen ever discuss polyamory? Because I think I may be able to help undo the curse, but I’m not losing the man I love in the process.”


This went over the usual word count, but it was difficult to set up and then conclude in 500 words. Big thanks to Helena for helping me figure out how to wrap it up.

Unfortunately, this has turned into another plot bunny for me. When am I ever going to get time to finish writing these stories??

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week!

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Flash Fiction Monday -Something New

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“How do you feel?” Raul asked.

Angelo burrowed closer, his cheek pressed against the soft black cotton of Raul’s T-shirt. “Drunk.”  His eyelids felt heavy and there was a strange and wonderful lightness in his head. Tension? Stress? He couldn’t remember what those things were. “High maybe? I dunno. Gooood.”

The rumble of Raul’s laugh under his ear was as warm and comforting as his hug. “It was okay then?”

“Okay?” Angelo wanted to sit upright and give Raul an incredulous look, but he was too content to move. “That was  … perfect. More than I expected.” He rubbed his cheek against Raul’s chest like a cat.

“I was so fucking scared. Despite the classes and all the research, I was scared shitless to actually hit you.”

“I know.” Angelo rubbed circles over Raul’s heart with his palm. That was why he’d trusted Raul to tie him up and flog him. There was no one more meticulous than Raul. He’d been so hesitant at first to bring it up with his partner. How did you tell a guy you wanted him to hit you? It wasn’t like there was anything wrong with their sex life. It was already amazing. Why mess with it? But the thought, the need, had nagged at him until he’d finally caved. To his relief, Raul had listened to him and told him he’d consider it.

It had taken months to get from that conversation to this point, because Raul never did anything halfway. Once he decided he wanted to try it, he’d thrown himself into it with the fervor of a starving man. Online research, classes, getting involved with the community, he’d taken part in it all. Angelo had been starting to worry that Raul was using “research” as an excuse to not actually act on the fantasies they’d discussed. Angelo worried too that Raul was just doing it to please him.

“Did you  … did you like it, or at least not hate it?” he asked hesitantly. A part of him just wanted to drift in the sleepy bliss that kept threatening to overtake him, but he had to know. Because he wanted this again, but not if it didn’t make Raul happy too.

Raul shifted and took Angelo’s hand and settled it over the hard length in his shorts. “What do you think?”


Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week!

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Flash Fiction Monday – No Joke

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Zach paused and nodded toward the sign on the chain link fence inside of the research facility. “Ya gotta wonder what made them put that up there. Somebody’s idea of a joke or what?”

DO NOT GIVE THE BISON PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES it read.

Gary answered with a non-committal grunt like he always did when Zach made stupid ass comments.  But the moment his back was turned, Gary shuddered and leaned on his rake. It was no joke. He’d been there that night when they’d run the experiment.

He’d seen things. Horrible things. Things that haunted his nightmares.

Those were no ordinary bison. They were demonic beats. Like minotaurs, but larger. He’d seen the red glow of their eyes and the way they’d transformed into lustful half-men.

“Just don’t forget what it says.” His voice was hoarse and scratchy.

Zach turned back to him with a puzzled frown. “What was that?”

“The sign. Don’t every fucking forget it.” He carefully raked the old, soiled straw toward the wheelbarrow. “It’s no joke, man.”


Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week!

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Flash Fiction Monday – Queen Cecile

In June of last year, I wrote a flash called Protector of the Night Spirits. The photo below sparked an idea and I’ve continued the story.

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Cecile closed her eyes. The small boat continued to glide forward through the water, sunlight glinting off its surface. She didn’t need to see the path ahead of her to guide the craft, or its precious cargo.

The war in Lyman city had been raging for nearly a year. Even with an ocean between them, Cecile had heard stories of the horrors taking place. The ministers and advisers had warned Cecile not to get involved, after all, it wasn’t their fight.

“Why should the people of Reddick risk their lives for the Lymanites?” they’d argued.

But as reports filtered in of magical creatures being captured and tortured, Cecile had grown increasingly heartsick. How could they sit there and do nothing? How could they allow that to happen? Wizards were nothing to be trifled with, but Cecile’s magic was older. Less showy, perhaps, but more powerful. How could she, as ruler, allow these atrocities to take place?

When the news spread that The Protector of the Night Spirits had been found, Cecile knew it was the sign she’d been hoping for.

Unwilling to risk her troops, she made a plan in secret. She sent messages to The Protector, using her flock of birds. It was the only communication she could be sure was safe from wizard monitoring.

In the wee hours of the night, Cecile had cloaked herself in invisibility and made for the shore. Alone. The sky had barely begun to lighten as the wooden craft, carrying a burlap wrapped seedling, had set out for Lyman. Now, at midday, the tree had grown toward the sky, thick-trunked with spreading, leafy branches. The small portal glowed within, its magic kindling.

It was dark by the time Cecile reached the far shore north of Lyman city. A lone figure stood on the beach. She was several years younger than Cecile, but her face looked worn and weary. Physically still a young girl, but mentally far from that. She was dressed as an aviator, covered in soot, and she greeted Cecile with a short, sharp nod.

“Your Majesty.”

Cecile stepped from the bow of the boat and held out a hand to young, weary Protector of the Night Spirits. “Call me Cecile. I’ve come to help.”

She shook it firmly. “Delia Caldwell.”

Cecile had no interest in wasting precious time. “I’ve brought the portal.”

For the first time, a crack appeared in Delia’s hardened demeanor. “You’ve come just in time, then. My plane was shot down yesterday and we can’t seem to get it running. I was beginning to lose hope,” Delia admitted.

Cecile lay a comforting hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Let’s sit and make our plan then. We have much work ahead of us to save the magical creatures of Lyman City.”


Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week!

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

 

Flash Fiction Monday – Protection

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I propped my boots on the desk. “It’s an awfully nice day to look so miserable.”

Christopher’s answering shrug was listless. His right arm was braced on the glass, forehead resting against it. His left hand pressing against the window as he looked longingly outside.  We’d been holed up in the same Miami motel room for the better part of two weeks and it was starting to get to us both. He was going stir-crazy and I was losing my tenuous grip on my restraint.

“It won’t be much longer,” I reassured him, praying that it was true.

The tone of his snort was practically an audible middle finger. He’d gotten good at communicating through grunts and wordless noises. In all my years working personal security, I’d never dealt with such a silent client. It was a shame too because he had a great voice.

“I wish you wouldn’t stand in front of the open window though. You know it’s dangerous.”

He sighed heavily. The muscles in his back rippled as he pushed off the window and straightened. “I’m tired, D.”

“I know.” What I didn’t know was why he insisted on calling me D. Dan wasn’t exactly a difficult name. Christopher’s nickname for me was the least of my problems, however. There was a well-connected mob boss after my client and my attraction to him was reaching unbearable levels.

He crossed the room and stood next to me. My gaze scanned up his lean, denim-clad thighs. I tried not to linger on the soft bulge near the fly or on the way the jeans sat obscenely low on his hips, showing off the sharp v of his lean musculature. Shirtless, his skin was smooth and nearly hairless, except under his arms. I’d think he waxed, but we’d been locked in this motel room for two weeks. Surely I would have noticed. Tattoos graced one hip and across his upper chest and arms. A woman’s name was written in script across his heart. I hadn’t had the courage to ask who she was, although after two weeks of living together I knew a hell of a lot more about Christopher Reese than I’d ever expected to.

I tore my gaze from his tattoos to look him in the eye. He stared down at me, expression blank. He had a beautiful face and wore facial hair like it was a designer accessory, but there was no denying the haunted look that lingered around his eyes.

“I loved her, you know?” Christopher’s fingertips skimmed the name over his heart. “I didn’t … I never meant for this to happen.” The expression in his hazel eyes pleaded for me to understand. I didn’t. He’d been curiously tight-lipped about exactly how we’d wound up in this situation. I’d gone from a cushy, if often boring, position of providing security for a Hollywood star to hiding out with him in a crummy motel room. Although I’d argued with him about keeping me in the dark about what had happened, he wouldn’t budge. Short of leaving him to fend for himself, there was little I could do. Reinforcements—in the form of my boss and mentor, Matt Healy—were on the way. All I had to do was keep him safe until Matt arrived.

Not to mention keep Christopher from going stir-crazy and keep myself from grabbing him and throwing him down on the nearest bed.

We were so fucked. And not in the way I’d like.

I nudged Christopher out of the way with my thigh and stood. “What do you want for lunch?”

“Sushi.” His tone was mournful. We were in a rundown motel in a sketchy part of Miami. We might only be a handful of miles from the ocean, but there wasn’t a sushi restaurant in sight. And certainly not one that delivered.

“Christopher …”

“I don’t give a fuck!” He rounded on me, jaw clenched and eyes hard and flinty looking. “I don’t give a flying fuck what we—“

His words were cut off by the loud pop of gunfire. Instinct and training kicked in and I grabbed Christopher’s shoulder, shoved him to the floor beside the bed, and covered his body with my own. “Keep your head down,” I hissed.

Outside, it was silent over the sound of our harsh breathing. I rose up enough to reach for the gun clipped to my belt and cursed when I realized I’d left it on the desk across the room. Do I have time to grab it? I wondered.

The scrape of a shoe on the concrete outside the door silenced any debate.

“Dan?” Christopher whispered.

I clapped a hand over his mouth and waited, heart pounding in my chest, for whatever was to come next.


I know that was a really mean way to end things, but there’s a good chance this is going to turn into a novel. In fact, it could wind up as the second book in a series. What do you think? Would you read it?

The good news is, my wrist held up while I swam and wrote almost 800 words today, so I think I’m on the mend!

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!