Flash Fiction Friday: First Kiss

“Come on! What’s taking you so long?”

“What’s your rush?”

“I’m supposed to meet Carrie at Cinnabon at 2:00.”

I roll my eyes. Going shopping with my big brother and his girlfriend was not my choice, but my parents said I’m too young to go to the mall with my friends at this time of year. Yeah, it’s nearly Christmas and the mall will be packed.

I grab my coat, scarf and purse and follow Tommy out the door.

After circling the parking lot three times, we finally snag a spot. We arrive at Cinnabon at 2:10.

“Where’ve you been?” Carrie taps her toe.

“I had to bring Lucy.” Tommy tilts his head back and right.

Carrie peeks around. “Oh, hello, Lucy.”

“Hi.” I add a little wave and a smile, hoping to smooth her ruffled feathers.

Carrie grabs Tommy’s hand and tugs him a few feet away from me. She speaks to him quietly. Whatever she’s saying, I can tell she’s pleading with him about something.

He nods. She smiles. He puts his arm around her and gives a little squeeze, as he turns to face me.

“Lucy, didn’t you say some of your friends were coming to the mall this afternoon?”

“Yes. I’m hoping we’ll bump into them somewhere.”

“Well, why don’t you give one of them a call and we can be sure you meet up.”

“O-kay.” I pull my cell phone from my back pocket and dial Serena’s number. She answers after the second ring.

“Serena, this is Lucy. Are you in the mall? You are? Great! I’m in front of Cinnabon. Okay, see you soon.”

I hang up the phone as my brother watches and then, “Well?”

“Serena and Megan are just around the corner. They should be here any . . .”

“Lucy!” Two girls turn the corner and scream. They rush over and give me hugs as my brother rolls his eyes.

“So, what’s with your brother and the girl?” Serena whispers in my ear.

“Look, Lucy. Why don’t we set a time and place to meet and you can go with your friends and I can shop with Carrie?”

I raised an eyebrow at him. He must be joking. Dad would kill him if he found out, and I’m not sure I’d fare much better.

“I know what you’re thinking, and I promise if Mom and Dad find out, I’ll tell them it was my idea.”

“What’s the catch?”

“Catch? No catch. So how about we meet right back here at 4?”

My friends squeal and jump up and down.

“Okay, I guess.”

Carrie smiles and begins dragging Tommy down the mall. I’m still looking after them when Megan grabs my arm. “Let’s go. Todd, Randy and Jason are somewhere here in the mall. They want us to meet them for sodas in the food court.”

“No way!” My doubts have just been replaced by visions of a gorgeous guy, but my conscience poked me. Mom and Dad wouldn’t like this either.

We spent an hour with the guys in the food court. When we got up to leave, Todd pulled me aside.

“Lucy, I really think you’re cute. I’d like to spend more time with you. Would you go out with me?”

My heart was pounding so hard I thought it would leap out of my chest and my palms were sweaty. This was a dream come true.

“Um, a yeah, I’d like that, b-ut,” I stuttered.

“Is something wrong?”

Oh, those blue eyes! I could drown in them.

I lowered my head to look at the floor and heaved a big sigh. “This is gonna sound so lame.”

Todd placed a finger under my chin and gently lifted my head. “What is?”

“There’s nothing I’d like better than to go out with you, but my parents say I’m too young to date.” It all came out in a rush and I could feel the heat burning in my cheeks.

After a moment Todd smiled revealing his killer dimples. “There are ways around that.”

I wanted to follow him anywhere, but. “Oh, I don’t know.”

He leaned toward me and placed a soft, gentle kiss upon my lips. “Think about it.”

My knees were weak and I couldn’t utter a sound. I simply stared into those blue pools and nodded.

As soon as Todd walked away, Megan and Serena bounded over. “We saw that! He just kissed you! Oh! That’s too awesome!”

Yeah, too awesome and destined to be the first and last kiss I would ever receive from Todd.

Flash Fiction Friday: Another Heart Broken

The door groaned and the floorboards creaked under Toby’s weight. Angela clung so close to him, he could feel her breath on his neck. “Isn’t this trespassing?” She whispered into his ear.

“This old house has been abandoned for years.” His voice echoed in the large foyer. “Realtors haven’t been able to sell it.” He gazed into her large chocolate brown eyes.

“Because the real estate market hasn’t been real good since the last recession.”

“Because it’s haunted.” He searched her face for a reaction.

She frowned. “Oh, come on. You don’t really believe in haunted houses, do you?”

“Don’t you?”

At that moment, footsteps sounded on the upstairs floor.

“Maybe we should go.” Angela turned toward the door.

Toby slid his arm around her waist and drew her close. “I thought you don’t believe in haunted houses.” The corners of his mouth hitched upward just a bit.

The door slammed shut. Angela’s body jerked in Toby’s arms. The sound of scratching came from a windowpane in the next room. Toby could feel Angela’s heart thumping against his chest.

“I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation for these noises.”

“Are you trying to convince me or yourself?” Toby nuzzled her ear and placed a kiss on her jawbone. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. I’ll protect you.”

He made a trail of soft, warm kisses down her neck.

Butterflies fluttered in her stomach, then Toby’s mouth claimed hers and for a moment she was lost in the desire that welled up within her.

When the kiss ended, Angela’s knees were weak. Toby took her hand and started toward the other room. Angela looked at the folded blankets under his arm and realization struck her. She stood still.

“What’s wrong?” Toby reached to brush the backs of his fingers down her cheek.

“I don’t want to do this.”

“That’s not what your lips and body told me just a moment ago.” He leaned to kiss her again, but she placed her hands firmly on his chest, keeping him at arm’s length.

“We’ve talked about this before. You agreed to wait until we’re married.”

“I know, but I can’t wait any longer. I’ll be leaving for college at the end of the summer and you have one more year of high school.”

“Yeah, and what will happen when you’re at college away from me?”

He flashed his irresistible grin. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

“Or college babes start flirting and the heart forgets.”

A hint of anger shone in his eyes. “Oh come on Angie. This isn’t the dark ages.”

The sting of tears threatened at the back of her eyes. “I gotta go.”

She turned.

“If you walk out that door, we’re through.”

She spun around, her chestnut waves becoming airborne before settling on her shoulders. Her eyes flashed. “Then this was your goal all along. I really thought you were different than the other guys. I’m sorry you aren’t what you said you were. Have a nice life.”

She ran out the door and down the block, slowing only as the tears blurred her vision so much she could barely see.

Were there no virtuous men left in the world?

 

 

Flash Fiction Friday: Unspoken Attraction

She stared into the water, her reflection the only thing looking back at her. She dipped her fingers into the cool wetness and traced the outline of her face. With her other hand her fingers combed through her long brown tresses.

She sighed deeply, then arose and walked into the nearest house, but not before he had noticed the tears glistening in her eyes.

Why was she so sad? What terrible hand had life dealt her and could someone like him ease her pain?

 

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books of X Genre” and I have decided to do the Romance genre. Now, this list includes books that aren’t “strictly” romance, but they all have romance in them. You can join Top Ten Tuesday too, just go to The Broke and the Bookish for all of the details.

My Top Ten Romance Books of All Time

Years ago, I read a lot of Harlequin Romance stories until I got tired of the predictability of them when I realized their plots were all basically the same. However, this book remains one very favorite Harlequin Romance book, and though I can’t really tell you much about it anymore, I do know that something about it made it stand out from all the rest to me. I hope to get a copy and re-read it soon.

2. 

If you’ve been following my TTT lists for long, you know that this book has popped up frequently. I LOVE this book!

3. Her Christmas Hero (Home to Dover Series Book 6) by [Beatty, Lorraine]

Apparently, this is Book 6 in a series called “Home to Dover”. I did not know that when I read it, and I have not read any of the other books in the series, as I have not read a lot of Love Inspired books, but earlier this year, I read three Love Inspired Romance stories and this one was fantastic! Lorraine Beatty did an excellent job creating characters that I cared about and routed for and came to love. I would love to read more about the characters in this story.

4. Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope Book #1) by [Hedlund, Jody]

This is another book that has shown up on some of my other TTT lists. Again, I just love this book!

5. Kissed by a Cowboy (A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance) by [Clopton, Debra]

Again, this book is part of a series called the “Four of Hearts Ranch Romances”, and I have not read any of the other books in the series, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it has also appeared on previous TTT lists of mine.

6. The Promise: A Novel by [Steel, Danielle]

I used to collect and read all of Danielle Steel’s novels, but over the years, I fell behind on my collection and on reading them. However, The Promise remains one of my all time favorites.

7. Safe Harbour by [Steel, Danielle]

I really enjoyed this Danielle Steel novel as well.

8. Love Comes Softly (Love Comes Softly Book #1) by [Oke, Janette]

This is the first book in a fantastic series by Janette Oke. I have also shared this series in other TTT lists.

9. Message in a Bottle by [Sparks, Nicholas],  A Walk to Remember by [Sparks, Nicholas] and 

Okay, okay, I know I’m cheating, but it’s so hard to just pick 10. These three books by Nicholas Sparks are wonderful, and in my opinion like in most books that have had movies based on them, I believe all of these books are better than the movies, especially A Walk to Remember. I believe that the movies of Message in a Bottle and The Notebook held to the books’ story lines fairly well, but there were things that I felt were important in A Walk to Remember that the movie changed, left out, or compromised.

10. 

Yes, my last pick is also another cheat, but this series is so phenomenal, that there is no way to choose just one of these books as the favorite of the series. Dee Henderson did such a great job of creating incredibly realistic, believable characters that I came to love and feel that I really knew in these books that I was heartbroken to come to the end of the series. I would still love to see Dee Henderson write more about this wonderful characters. I look forward to re-reading this series in the not-too-distant future.

What genre did you choose for your TTT this week?

Flash Fiction Friday: Lila’s Quest

NOTE: For you diehard Flash Fictionalists, I warn you that this story is long. In my way of thinking it is still Flash Fiction because it does come in under 1,500 words; it is 1,488 words. It is longer than any of my other Flash Fiction works, but I just couldn’t tell this story in fewer words. I hope you will still be able to enjoy it.  🙂

 

Lila trekked through the woods and climbed Prodigious Mountain. She killed a bear along the way. She stood at the top of the mountain gazing down upon her destination, the golden city of Rema.

Lila began a long, steady climb down the face of Prodigious, placing her fingers and toes in small crevices along the way. About a quarter of the way down, she stopped on a small ledge, drank from her canteen, and ate from her pouch of jerky.

By the time she reached the halfway point, light was waning so she found another ledge and lay to sleep.

At the end of the next day, she reached the bottom of Prodigious Mountain and raised her hands in praise when she found a stream of cool, clean water. She dipped her bloody toes and fingers into the water, sighed at the welcome numbness the cold water effected. She ate the last of her jerky, drank her water and slept.

When she woke, she bathed in the stream, caught a fish she cooked over a fire, ate, filled her canteen and began the hike to Rema. She ran some distance in the morning before the heat of the day, and again when the day began to cool. She had to get to Rema soon. She may already be too late.

Lila reached the outskirts of the golden city as the sun was setting. She heard many voices, loud noises, saw many people. Lila hung back. She would rather face ten bears than a multitude of humans. She decided to stay among the trees outside the city until morning.

As she arose, she found the sun fairly high in the sky. I cannot get what I need and make it back before dark. I shall be forced to spend one more night near Rema.

She hurried into the city. Many people did not notice her. Those who did, stared at the strange barefoot girl in fringed buckskin dress and kept their distance. She wandered the streets but didn’t know where to find what she was looking for. Finally, she saw a window filled with bottles and jars. She looked in the door, saw more bottles and jars on shelves behind a long counter.

She cautiously opened the door, stepped inside. As she padded to the counter, her eyes had to adjust to the dimness, deeper in the shop. At the counter, she looked up into the watery blue eyes of a tall, man with white hair and a white mustache.

The man cleared his throat, leaned toward her. “May I help you?”

Lila was too frightened to speak. She simply unfolded the paper she had taken from her pocket, laid it before him. He picked up a pair of spectacles, sniffed and read the word on the paper. His eyes grew round. His lower jaw dropped.

He regained his composure. “Young lady, are you a doctor?”

Lila shook her head.

“Then I’m afraid I cannot help you.”

The sting of tears threatened at the backs of Lila’s eyes. “Oh, please, but you must. It has taken me eight days to get here. The Father needs this medicine or he will die. I pray that I am not already too late.”

————————————————————————–

The curtain behind the man parted. A young man with pale, white skin peeked into the room. His eyes locked onto Lila’s long, silky black hair, her sun bronzed skin and her chocolate eyes. He saw fear and hurt in the chocolate pools.

“Edgar, is there a problem here?”

“Declan, you should not show yourself here.” The old man tried to usher the younger back behind the curtain.

“Edgar, I see a beautiful, young woman in distress.” The young man couldn’t seem to tear his eyes from Lila.

“Yes, well, she’s requesting a medication she is not authorized to purchase.”

“Oh, please, sir. I have money.” Lila held out two gold coins.

Declan moved forward. “Where did you get those?” He looked at Lila, eyebrow raised.

“From the Father. Please, I must return with this medicine soon. Time is running out.” The plea in her chocolate eyes gripped Declan’s heart. The ancient gold coins intrigued his mind.

“What is your name, my dear?” His voice, like velvet.

“Lila.”

“A beautiful name for a beautiful woman. Where are you from, Lila?” He leaned so close to her, she could feel his breath on her skin.

“I have traveled a long way by foot, sir. Eight days.”

“Don’t worry, my pet. We can help you. Edgar will get the medicine. You return just after dark and I will get you home with the medicine quickly and safely.” He took the coins from her hand, kissed her palm.

“Thank you, sir. I shall return after dark.”

————————————————————————–

Lila wondered at having to wait until dark. That would put her farther behind schedule, but she couldn’t bring herself to question the pale, young man. His kiss to her palm had made her stomach quiver, sent a shiver up her arm. There was something about him, something beckoned her.

The minute all light fled from the sky, Lila entered the shop, lit by a single candle. She tapped the little bell on the counter and Declan appeared.

“Lovely to see you again, Lila.” He held up a bottle, gave it a little shake.

She heard the pills move inside the bottle. She took the bottle from him and placed it carefully in the pocket of her buckskin dress. She turned to go, but Declan caught her wrist.

“This way.” He pulled her toward the curtained doorway.

When she tried to resist, he stopped, leaned close and spoke softly near her ear, “Remember I promised to get you home quickly and safely? Trust me.”

Lila trembled, but whether from fear or attraction, she did not know. She continued to follow him. They climbed a long, narrow, winding staircase, walked through a door onto a roof.

Lila froze at the sight of something she had never seen before. It was some kind of machine.

Declan wrapped an arm around her, drew her near. “Trust me, remember?”

She looked into his shining green eyes, nodded and allowed him to lead her to the machine.

They climbed inside a glass bubble. He showed her a strap to hold her into the seat, attached his own and flipped a few switches. A long arm began to spin noisily over their heads, he pulled a lever and the machine lifted. They were flying.

Lila hung on to the edges of her seat, her knuckles white, her body tense, but after a while, she looked at Declan, calm and in control of the machine, and allowed herself to relax a little. She looked down, squealed, pointed.

Declan saw the clearing she pointed to and set the chopper down. They got out and ran out from under the propeller, holding hands.

As Lila moved to step beyond the clearing, she felt the pull on her arm. Declan had stopped. She looked at him.

“You go on. Save your father.”

“Will you wait for me?” She didn’t want to say goodbye to him.

Declan shook his head.

Lila ran into his arms, kissed his lips.

————————————————————————–

His lips returned her kiss hungrily. He longed for her. When their lips parted, he trailed kisses down her throat to that vulnerable spot at the base of one side of her neck and his mouth lingered there for a long moment. He inhaled the earthy smell of her, then he pushed her to arms length and released his grip.

“Go!”

She looked at him long enough for him to see the tears form in her chocolate eyes in the moonlight, then she turned and ran.

Declan climbed back into the helicopter, bereft and wishing, with every part of his being, that he could be merely human.

————————————————————————–

Lila ran all the way to the community of cabins in the woods with tears streaming down her cheeks. Her heart skipped a beat when she heard the whir of the long arm of the machine. A sob escaped her lips.

She brushed her tears away and rushed into the Father’s cabin. Raelin was by his side. She looked up when the door burst open.

“Is he . . .?” Lila couldn’t bring herself to finish the sentence.

Raelin looked down at the form of the man in the bed. “Lila has returned.”

The Father reached a hand toward Lila. She ran to him, dropped to her knees, and lay her head on his chest. Then she handed the bottle of pills to Raelin, who retrieved a glass of water from a nearby table. She placed a tablet between the old man’s lips and held his head up to drink. He swallowed.

Lila smiled and left the cabin. She ran all the way back to the clearing, hope urging her forward, but when she got there, the chopper was gone, and with it, her love, her heart.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the last line of Declan’s POV (before the last break). I’d also love to hear your thoughts on Lila’s community. Leave your comments below.

Flash Fiction Friday: Different Perspectives

“Where do you go to meet decent men in today’s world?” Tara leaned on the little cafe table.

Cheryl smiled. “The mall. Wear your skirt shorter or jeans tighter and necklines lower and purchase a bunch of stuff so you have your hands full of bags.”

“First of all, I’m not interested in selling myself, and what’s with hands full of bags?” Tara raised an eyebrow.

“If you’re not interested in selling, you’ll never find a buyer. It’s never failed to catch the interest of a good looking guy willing to help carry some of those bags.”

“Cheryl, I’m not interested in a one-night stand. I’m interested in finding someone who’s interested in so much more than that.”

“Tara, my girl, I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve met decent guys at the mall, but, obviously, we’re looking for different things. I’m not looking to get tied down forever.” Cheryl rolled her eyes.

“I’m sorry, Cheryl, but I thought you knew I don’t believe in that kind of intimacy outside of marriage, and honestly, I’m surprised even you get a guy’s face out of his portable electronic device long enough to notice you.”

“If you dress right, you can get their attention away from anything else.” Cheryl grinned.

Tara sighed and after eating a forkful of salad changed the conversation. They spoke of how things were going at their jobs through the rest of the meal. Then they paid their bills planned to meet again in another month and said their good-byes.

As Tara walked out of the cafe, a man with salt-and-pepper hair walked in, head down, looking at his smartphone. Before Tara could swerve out of the way, the man walked right into her.

“You really shouldn’t be walking while looking at your phone. You could hurt someone.” Tara’s face was red with anger.

The man looked up. “I’m so sorry. I’m sure you won’t believe this, but I’ve never done this before. It’s just that I needed to verify the time of my next appointment. I don’t want to be late getting back to the office. I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

Tara’s heart skipped a beat as she looked into the large, darkest chocolate brown eyes she had ever seen, and her annoyance seeped away.

The man’s brow wrinkled. “Are you all right?”

Tara cleared her throat. “I’m fine.” She lowered her eyes slowly, taking in the man’s navy blue suit and pale pink shirt, open at the neck, all the way down to his shiny, black dress shoes.

“Would you mind stepping over here, out of the doorway for a moment?” He gestured to his right.

Tara moved with him.

“Please forgive me. I’m not really so attached to my phone, but it is important for keeping my schedule. Since you’re exiting the cafe, I assume you’ve already had lunch, so would you be willing to meet me here tomorrow or Friday so I can buy you lunch and make it up to you?”

“Are you single?” Tara blurted out. “I mean, if you’re married, I wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression if they saw us together.” She felt her cheeks grow warm.

A smile passed over his lips. “No, I’m not married. My name is Paul Winston, and you are?”

“Tara Hollingsworth, and I’d be delighted to meet you here for lunch on Friday.” Then they parted ways, and Tara, with a little more hope in her heart, walked back to the place of her employment.

 

Flash Fiction Friday: Do You Believe in Romance?

Allison sat on the almost empty beach. She loved the beach in the fall, cool breeze blowing through her hair, the color of copper, and the waves crashing onto the sand. The seagulls drifted on the wind currents.

Allison didn’t come to the beach in the summer. She didn’t enjoy baking in the sun or seeing all of the scantily clad bodies greased and lying on blankets like meat on a grill.

She heard a child’s laughter, looked down the beach and saw a man and, what she assumed to be his son flying a kite. There was a golden retriever following the boy.

She returned to her book. Minutes later a shadow fell over her book. She looked up to see a man with golden blonde hair and blue eyes gazing down on her.

“What are you reading?”

Wuthering Heights.”

“Ah, a classic. A rather sad and depressing tale.”

“Yes, but I love the story, the romance.”

He smiled. “Do you believe romance is still alive here in this world?”

“I like to think that there are still people out there who believe and keep it alive.”

“Dad, look, dolphins.” A child’s voice called and the man turned.

So this man has a son. Allison sighed deeply and also looked and saw the dolphins swimming, bodies arched.

The man directed his attention back to Allison. “My name’s Mason Williams. That’s my son, Eli, he’s six years old, and our dog, Bruce.”

“Bruce?” Allison’s mouth turned up at the corners though she managed not to laugh.

“Yes, well, Eli loves Batman, but I told him that wasn’t really a good name for a dog, so since Batman is also Bruce Wayne, the dog became Bruce.” A large grin spread across his face and Allison decided he had a warm smile and engaging eyes.

“I’m Allison Baker.”

“You live around here or are you just visiting?”

“I live two hours from here in Hilldale.”

“Are you headed back to Hilldale today yet?” His eyes were bright as he gazed into hers.

Allison raised an eyebrow. “I’m sorry, but where are you going with this line of questioning?”

“I was hoping maybe you’d like to join me for dinner.”

She tilted her head to the right and pursed her lips, then,  “Uh, I, um, don’t know what to say.” Her eyes moved past him to the little boy again.

Mason chuckled. “Oh my, I guess I’m really out of practice. I’m sorry. I certainly don’t want you getting the wrong impression. Eli’s mom and I are divorced. I have custody of Eli but he’ll be going to his mom’s tonight and she’ll have him for the day tomorrow. She also gets him every other weekend. I didn’t mean to confuse you. It’s just I haven’t really dated much since the split.”

Allison relaxed her shoulders. “So, what made you decide to ask me out?”

His eyes sparkled and bore into hers. “The wind blowing strands of your hair as the sun was shining upon it gave it a fiery appearance. That’s what caught my eye, then when I asked about your book, I liked your answers. That made me want to get to know more about you.”

Allison was speechless. Could this man be the man she had been waiting for, dreaming of? No one had ever spoken to her as he did. His reference to her hair had a romantic air and he was honest about his divorce and his involvement with his son. Was he a true romantic? Why did his marriage fail?

“So, will you have dinner with me, Allison?”

His question jerked her back to reality. “I think I’d like that.”