April 2019 – Photo Fic

It’s time for April’s flash fic. We’ve all be given the same photo and have to come up with a story based on the image. This is this month’s photo.

I’m visiting the world of my poor, so-very neglected serial, Your Lies, which I hope to have new chapters on very soon. It’s on my list!

This story isn’t about the hero or heroine of the serial but a follow up to a couple of flash fiction pieces I did from this world.

Awakening (from Male #1’s POV)
“Iowa” (Song Fic) (from Male #2’s POV)
Promptly Penned #15 (From Male #1’s POV)
The Conversation (From Male #1’s POV)

For this piece, I’m in Male #2’s POV. It’s just a short, little peice as I’m neck deep in my current work-in-progress. So here we go…


“Why don’t you just go and talk to him?” Delia nudged my shoulder. “You keep staring…and his friend left, so he’s alone, now.”

I sighed. “Don’t you recognize him? He’s steadfastly anti-magic, and I’m…” I cleared my throat and looked around, “a Sympathizer.”

She knew I was more than that, of course. That I was a Magic User, and if it were up to him, I’d not only only be banned from campus, but likely burned at the stake.

“Have you ever talked to him?” she asked quietly. “He hangs around Maddock, and you know he’s coming around, not seeing everything so black and white.”

I snorted. “He’s not Maddock. Yes, the anti-magic angle is a huge-ass deterrent, but it’s more than that.”

After a couple moments of silence, Delia touched my hand. “I’m listening.”

“We grew up together. Knew each other pretty well.” Despite the direction of my thoughts, my memories, I couldn’t help but smile. “God, I had the hugest crush on him. Then, one summer, it seemed like maybe all my lusty boyhood wishes were about to come true.”

Delia laughed softly, though it had an edge of sadness to it, because obviously, this didn’t have a happy ending.

“He asked me out. Fuck, I was so happy, so excited. Then, his sister died.”

“Oh.” Her gaze shifted over to where he sat, on his tablet, completely unaware that he was the subject of our conversation.

“I didn’t realize that was the end of it all, at first. It was horrible, yeah, and we didn’t go on our date, but I thought… Well, it doesnt matter what I thought. The next school year, he’d changed. He was completley different. He was suddenly tight with Nick and Kevin and Mark.”

She grimaced. I didn’t have to explain any farther. Those three were the most ardent, borderline violent of the anti-magic crowd here on campus.

“In high school, they weren’t as outspoken about magic, but they took great pleasure in tormenting me and anyone else they even suspected of being gay. I’m assuming he’s,” I jerked my head toward the other table, “firmly in the closet, now.”

“I’m so sorry,” she murmured, leaning into me. “That fucking sucks.”

“Yeah, it really does.” I pressed my lips together then sighed again. “I don’t think he’s…evil or anything. I don’t even think he’s like the crowd he hangs with. I wish I could figure out why he hangs with them. But I’ve long-accepted that nothing could ever happen with us.”

“But you still wish it could.”

I lifted a shoulder. “Does it matter?” I didn’t wait for her answer and stood, shouldering my bag. “Come on; we’re going to be late for class.”

She got to her feet, as well, then leaned to whisper in my ear. “You should know, though, that he’s been looking at you just as often as you’ve been looking at him. Maybe it’s not so hopeless.”

Swallowing the sudden lump in my throat, I glanced over. Sure enough, my gaze met his…and held for several long moments. Until he very deliberately looked away and angled his body away from us.

Anger eclipsed everything else I was feeling. The asshole. Without thinking, I let my magic free – just a bit – enough to knock his coffee cup from the edge of the table onto his lap. And all over his tablet.

Served him right, I thought as he jumped up, scrambling for the stack of napkins on the table. Delia pulled me none too gently from the coffee shop.

“Being an ass to him won’t change anything,” she admonished once we were outside. “And I’d guess it doesn’t make you stop wishing, does it?”

“Made me feel a little better, though.” At least for a little while.


Bronwyn Green | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

Wednesday Randomness: Promptly Penned #38

It’s time for a Promptly Penned post – we all get the same prompt and see what we come up with.

This prompt actually worked well with what I’m currently working on, so I went with it. 🙂 Short and sweet.

As always, the prompt itself will be in bold and red.


“So, how long is the silent treatment thing gonna last?”

Cam opened one eye to half-heartedly glare at Trent, who flopped onto the armchair across from where Cam lay on the sofa.

“I didn’t start it,” he said, knowing full well how childish he sounded, but at this point, he didn’t much care. “Go ask your boss. Since he obviously has all the answers.”

“Stubborn.”

“So I’ve been told.”

“One of you needs to give in first.” When Cam didn’t bother responding, Trent sighed loudly. “It’s driving the boss crazy, ya know? The two of you being at odds.”

“I don’t give a fuck.”

“Kid,” Trent drawled, you give so many fucks they’re visible from space. Just go talk to him, already. Put all of us out of our misery.”

“All of you?” Cam sat up. “Your misery?”

“Nobody likes it when Mom and Dad fight, Cameron.”

“Mom and—” He narrowed his eyes as the other man stood and headed toward the door. “I better not be the mom in this, Trent.”

“Well…” He opened the door, then turned and grinned at Cam. “You are prettier than the boss.”

He threw one of the couch pillows at the now closed door. Frustrated, he collapsed back onto the cushions. “I am not the mom.”


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

March 2019 – Photo Fic

It’s time for March’s flash fic. We’ve all be given the same photo and have to come up with a story based on the image. This is this month’s photo.


His fingers shook as he turned off the engine and stared out at the dirt road before him, cutting a wide swatch through the forest. Being in the closed vehicle didn’t protect him… He could feel this place. As he always could. It reached for him, now, trying to coax him out, eager to have him in its embrace, once again.

Too much, he thought, the pulsing mass of emotions pushing to get out. His skin ached, stretched too tight, as if trying to contain it all. Trying to hold back the magic that roiled within him, that fed on his emotions as if starving.

And, of course, it was. His magic had always been connected to what he felt, and he’d been cruel in denying it. He’d run from the place it thrived most, shutting down and becoming cold and calculating, just trying to survive, to get through one day to the next. Pretending his magic didn’t exist, ignoring the weakening thrum beneath his skin, in his effort to be normal, to be safe.

It had been so long, years, and his magic was ready to be let loose, to be reunited with this place. This painfully beautiful cradle of power and magic. Like was drawn to like, after all. And when he’d escaped the hell he’d found himself in, he’d gone as far away as he possibly could. Had chosen to exist in a place of concrete and steel and people, so many people pressing in from all sides. He’d severed his connection to this sacred place so completely, so severely—and his magic had withered.

And, now, it was time. He couldn’t avoid it any longer. Inhaling deeply, he opened the door and stepped out. He started down the road, no particular destination in mind. He was already where he needed to be.

He couldn’t hold back the quiet sob that escaped a few minutes later. His magic… Oh, his magic was singing, dancing through him, pressing outward, rejoicing.

The power of this place rose from the earth beneath his feet. He could hear it in the wind and moving branches and taste it in the moisture-heavy air he breathed. The scent of it flooded his senses—earthy and green and fresh. He could see it in the glow of the rising sun cutting through the trees and feel it in the warmth on his face.

All of it, all of those things coming together in a simple message that had him dropping to his knees.

Welcome home.


Bronwyn Green | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

Wednesday Randomness: Promptly Penned #37


It’s time for a Promptly Penned post – we all get the same prompt and see what we come up with. As always, the prompt itself will be in bold.


“So, performance reviews this week.”

Molly looked up as Leah, her friend and coworker, set two cups of coffee on the desk then flopped into the chair on the other side.

Dread settled heavily in Molly’s stomach, and she grimaced. “God, don’t remind me.”

“Don’t know what you’re worried about.” Leah waved a hand in front of her. “You seriously don’t think you’re going to get a bad one, are you?”

Lifting a shoulder, Molly dropped her gaze. She wasn’t worried about that—she was good at her job, and she knew it. It was just…awkward and humiliating.

“I…” She cleared her throat, face already flaming. “I had the dream, again.”

“What do— Oh! The dream!”

She rolled her eyes. “Yes The. Dream.”

“Well, what’s the problem, Mol? It’s not like you can control what you dream.”

“I know! You think, if I could, I would be dreaming that?” She dragged her palms over her face then leaned her head back against her chair, eyes closed. “For fuck’s sake, I don’t even like him!”

“Don’t have to like him to appreciate, my friend. And there is plenty to appreciate,” Leah drawled.

“Easy for you to say. You’re not having recurrent sex dreams about our boss then having to face him day in and day out. Come on, give me some real, serious advice how to de—” Her words dried up when she opened her eyes and caught a pair of amused chocolate-brown ones focused on her. Oh no…no, no, no. This couldn’t be happening.

“Ms. Halwell, my office in ten. Performance review.”

She nodded, still unable to speak, gaze shifting to her wide-eyed friend.

“Looking forward to it.”

The deep, gravelly murmur—eerily similar to the voice that echoed in her mind long after she woke—chased a shiver down her spine. She was so, so screwed.


Bronwyn Green | Kris Norris

February 2019 – Photo Fic

We’ve all be given the same photo and have to come up with a story based on the image. It’s always fun to see what everyone comes up with. 🙂

I’ve delved into the world of my (horribly neglected) serial, Your Lies. It isn’t about any of the main characters – just set in the same world.

Cora Hale stared at her reflection, ignoring her family’s voices behind her. This was the last place she wanted to be, but she didn’t have a choice.

She never had a choice.

It was just a fact of life, and she’d accept it.

“Cora.”

She jolted at her father’s voice and turned quickly.

“Come on,” he said, gesturing for her to join the rest of the family.

She nodded and crossed the room, stopping next to the couch her mother and two sisters sat on, waiting for instructions. They were having a family portrait done—immortalizing the perfect family before they sent her away. For her own good, they said. She’d get help with her “problem” then come back home, they claimed.

But she knew better.

She was getting locked up and was never going to be free, again. All because of her dreams. Dreams that came true. Something she had no control of.

She bit back a snort. When had she ever had control of anything? When had she ever really been free? She was getting sent away, but it was really just going from one prison to another.

“She’ll stand here,” her father said, waving away the photographer who had stepped forward with a murmured suggestion on positioning.

Ah, yes, standing to the side while the rest of the family sat together. Wouldn’t want anyone to think you were too close to the daughter who had magic—not that anyone knew, but just in case it ever got out. That was her father, always thinking ahead, protecting the family image. His image.

“All right, everyone look here. Smile.”

Cora lifted her gaze and stared at the camera, trying to smile but she suspected her expression wasn’t a picture of happiness. She blinked rapid after the flash went off.

“Cora, smile.”

She nearly stumbled back. That wasn’t her father’s voice. It’d come from behind the camera. She looked at the dark-haired man with stormy gray eyes intent on her. The corner of his mouth twitched slightly as he held her gaze.

“What—”

Whatever her father had been about to ask was cut off when the photographer waved a hand without looking away from Cora. Heart pounding, she glanced over and gasped as she saw her family slumped against the sofa, eyes closed, but chests raising and falling rhythmically.

“Are you ready?”

She turned back to the man…the Magic-user. He’d stepped away from the camera and was watching her, head tilted to the side slightly.

“Ready?” she whispered.

He reached out, hand open. “To be free.”


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kayleigh Jones

January 2019 – Song Fic – “God of the Ocean Tides” – Counting Crows

Time for a song fic. This month we’re working with “God of the Ocean Tides” by Counting Crows. Here’s a link, if you want a listen.

Kept it short and sweet, again, this time. This isn’t connect to any particular story, but it’s set in the same world as Tempted to Death, where there are paranormal creatures and a network of hunters and researchers.


“So…”

Bastian was impressed. He’d felt Owen’s gaze on him since they’d left town—it’d taken the other man a full half hour to speak. Yeah, impressed he’d waited that long, but also annoyed because Bastian knew what was coming.

“You gonna call her?”

Fingers tightening around the wheel, Bastian shook his head. “Nope.”

“Why not? You guys have history and seemed to be rekindling something…” Owen sighed. “You really want to spend the rest of your life with just me for companionship? ‘Cause I like you and all, Bas, better than most, but…”

“It’s what I signed up for.”

“That’s bullshit, and you know it. There are plenty of people in the network who have relationships and do their jobs.”

“Good for them,” Bastian snapped.

“All I’m saying is there’s no reason you and Callie couldn’t—”

“I think I’m a better judge of whether there’re reasons standing in my way,” he ground out, fingers aching, knuckles now white, on the wheel.

He didn’t want to think of all those reasons, right now. Not when he could still smell her, feel her, taste her. He’d been an idiot. Weak and stupid…and careless. He’d allowed himself to forget what he’d dedicated his life to, and that was unacceptable. Even for a short time, because it brought too much pain. For both of them.

Because how was she supposed to understand what he couldn’t tell her? She couldn’t know that he spent his days and nights hunting things most people didn’t believe in. That he had to be ruthless and focused in his work. That he’d given up more than he ever thought possible to do it. That he could never love her the way she wanted, the way she deserved.

Owen sighed. “So, that’s it, then? You move on, satisfied with the small amount of time you had with her, but refuse to go after any more?”

“Yep, that’s it,” Bastian replied—a mix of half-truth, half-lie.

Because satisfied, he most definitely was not. And he wouldn’t be, not really. He couldn’t love her the way she wanted, but he also couldn’t love her the way he wanted. Not if he was going to do the job he was called to do.

“So, while I appreciate the support and concern,” he continued, “do me a favor? Call in and see where we’re going next and what we’re up against.”

“Yeah…” Owen pulled out his cell but didn’t make the call immediately. “I didn’t mean to make it more difficult, man. Sorry.”

Gaze firmly on the road ahead, Bastian nodded. Yeah, me, too.


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kayleigh Jones
Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

Wednesday Randomness: Promptly Penned #36

It’s time for another Promptly Penned post – we all get the same prompt and see what we come up with. I can’t wait to see what the others have come up with, because this prompt made me laugh, even if I had a helluva time coming up with an actual story to go along with it.

For better or worse, this is what I came up with. Short and sweet, this time around.

As always, the prompt itself will be in bold.


Dread sat heavily in my stomach as I stared at Nick across the worn table. We’d met for lunch at our favorite diner – I’d been looking forward to it all day. This week had been hellish with both of us crazy busy with work. Other than muttered good nights while climbing into bed – if that – we hadn’t even had a chance to talk. Lunch today was supposed to change that.

But now… He had that distracted look – head tilted to the side, eyes slightly squinted, lines furrowing his brow, the corners of his mouth turned down – and he still hadn’t responded to my suggestion of a weekend away in the near future. The silence hanging between us was getting on my nerves.

I sighed and, propping my elbow on the table, rested my chin in my palm. After a moment, I nearly laughed. Oh, Nick was still ignoring me, but I’d figured out the distraction. The diner wasn’t very busy. Other than a few people sitting at the counter, the only other customers were a pair of guys two booths down from us. Two guys who were complaining loudly about the changes to Doctor Who.

Most wouldn’t assume it by just looking at Nick, who was well over six-foot, athletic and…well, hot as hell. But beneath the hunky exterior, my Nick was a sweetly nerdy guy and fanboy, who took disparaging his favorite TV show very seriously. Perhaps too seriously, at times.

Excuse me. I have to go make a scene.” He slid across the booth’s seat and stood before taking the few steps to stand beside the next booth over.

Shit. I scrambled after him. Not again.


Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

January 2019 – Photo Fic

First flash fic of the year. Yay! We’ve all be given the same photo and have to come up with a story to fit. Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Sometimes, I hated my job.

Okay, to be fair, I always hated my job. The necessity of it.  Though, I had to wonder, did being part of a secretly growing rebellion actually count a job? Or was it a mission? A quest? Or just a series of trying tasks shoved upon me in between having to fight for my life? And, in the end, did it fucking matter?

“I don’t understand.”

With a sigh, I shoved aside useless ponderings and focused on the task at hand. Vetting a possible recruit. Oh, joy. Glancing over at the man in the passenger seat, I stopped the car and put it in park.

Daniel Hartford, my latest assignment—cute, clean-cut, smart, a recent self-proclaimed Sympathizer of Magic-users.  He also happened to be the son of one of the most influential couples in the country. The Hartfords were old, old money…and very vocal in their staunchly anti-magic stance.

The leadership wanted to know if he was on the level, because if he was… Well, he could be a helluva asset with the access he had.

Which was why Daniel was now my problem.

He’d already been checked—I’d gone over the files last night—by several of the higher ups, and they liked what they’d seen, so they requested me.

The human lie detector.

I hated that they called me that. Never to my face of course. Because they avoided face to face with me as much as possible. And who wouldn’t? Feeling others’ emotions, knowing when someone was lying…seemed like a pretty awesome power to manifest, but in reality, it led to a very, very lonely life.

I was an asset the leadership never hesitated to be use, but never someone they wanted to actually have around. Everyone had their secrets, after all. Even the good guys.

“Ms. Carter?”

Daniel’s soft query pulled me out of my head again, and I inwardly cursed my distraction. I had a job to do, and it was time to do it.

“I told you to call me Emma,” I reminded him. “I know this doesn’t make sense, but it will. Come on.”

I exited the car and waited for him to do the same before walking toward the house in front of us. Remaining silent as I lead him across the lawn and up the steps to the front door.

So far, I hadn’t sensed any deception from Daniel. So, that was good. Everything I’d gotten from him, so far, assured me he wasn’t an actual threat, a possible plant from the other side.

Didn’t mean that he was a strong ally, though. There was a world of difference between sympathizing with Magic-users and actually being willing to act and fight for them, sometimes in violent ways. Not to mention putting your own life at risk.

Before I’d give my approval, I had to be sure that there was more to Daniel Hartford than simply rejecting his parents’ beliefs and making an impulsive stand against them, because trusting him was a huge, huge risk. And, at this point, I had nothing to assure me of that the risk was worth taking. While he’d never publicly aligned himself with his parents’ stance on magic, neither had he ever shown any support for Magic-users. Not until two weeks ago, when he’d made contact with one of the more public Sympathizer groups and inquired about the cause.

It seemed like an unlikely first leap to me.

Turning the knob and pushing the unlocked door open, I gestured for him to enter. He frowned then moved past me…immediately gasping as he walked into chaos. Shock and confusion pulsed on the air between us as we moved through the main level.

The old house was, to put it simply, a disaster. Ransacked with no care for the destruction caused. The floor was littered with books, papers, toys…

“What happened here?” Daniel asked, stopping in the doorway to the back room. It’d once bene a library or an office. Now, like the rest of the house it was in shambles. He turned back toward me. “Look, I don’t know why you brought me here, but I’ve already jumped through enough hoops when all I want to do is help. If you’re not going to tell me—”

“The family that lived here was on the watch lists. Suspected of having magic,” I explained, though I knew he had to have heard of the blasted lists, given who his parents were. “Your father reported them—he worked with the husband, insisted the entire family be brought in for questioning.”

I tilted my head and concentrated. The shock radiating off him was genuine. He hadn’t known about this family, this incident.

Inhaling deeply, he looked around. “So, what happened? Did they… Did they resist back when the police came to get them? They used magic to fight back?”

“No.” I stepped closer, keeping my gaze locked on his face and my power centered on his every reaction. “They weren’t magic, Daniel. They went quietly, didn’t resist. They were questioned, again and again. Then, after days, they were supposedly released, but they never made it home.” I hesitated a moment, throat tight. ”Their bodies were found in shallow graves outside the city several weeks later.”

“No, no…” He shook his head then gestured around them. “This was a…raid…an invasion. If they went quietly, why— They were killed? You’re saying that they were killed because my father reported them, because there was just a suspicion that they had magic?”

As his emotions prickled hotly over my skin, I felt an inkling of regret for what I was doing but quickly squashed it. This was as much for him as the cause.

“Daniel, in the countless witch hunts in our history, very few of those killed, who had their lives and family destroyed, were actually magic. All it took was a suspicion, a rumor…” I reached into pocket and pulled out the small stack of photos, flicking them one by one, “Henry…Penny…Grant…and Lucy,” onto the floor in front of him. “They aren’t the first innocents to die, and they won’t be last.”

The color drained from his face as he stared down at the images, his throat working convulsively. He crouched down, tracing a trembling finger over the photo of four-year-old Lucy laughing at camera.

I backed away from him, overwhelmed by his sadness and anger, but determined to finish this, so we could both move on. “I understand that you don’t share your parents’ beliefs, Daniel. That much is obvious, but what you’re trying to sign up for is much more than standing on opposite sides of an issue.”

His head snapped up, and he glared at me fiercely. “I’m not an idiot.”

“No, you’re not,” I agreed. “From everything I’ve heard and seen, you’re incredibly smart with a world of opportunities. What I’m trying to say—rather poorly, I admit—is war is coming, Daniel. It’s inevitable, but you don’t have to be on the front lines. Most of us… We don’t have a choice. We’re fighting for basic rights, for our lives, but you’re lucky. You do have a choice. Being a Sympathizer doesn’t mean you have to risk everything, risk your life. No one would blame you for avoiding that.”

He looked back down then picked up the pictures, stacking them in one palm as he stood. He stared at the little girl, again, for a long, tense moment, then he tucked the photos in his back pocket. Clearing his throat, he walked over to me. I lifted my chin to meet his gaze, my own eyes stinging at the sight of the tears in his.

“I would,” he rasped. “I would blame me.”

Truth.


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kayleigh Jones
Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

Wednesday Randomness: Promptly Penned #35

It’s our final Promptly Penned of the year, and I have been waiting for this one for soooooo long. From the very beginning, this one sparked an idea for Bron and me. We have plans for some connected Bound books—written separately but connected and happening concurrently—and this prompt… Well, it brought forth two guys that I fell in love with from word one. So, our posts are similar but from differering POVs, giving you a taste of two heroes you’ll be seeing from us in the future.

The prompt will be in bold within the story.


Sam cursed under his breath—again—as he stumbled over his own freaking feet—again—and wondered—yes, AGAIN—why he wasn’t buried beneath the warm duvet, unconscious and blissfully thought-free.

But no. Instead of that wonderful escape from reality, he was up at the ass-crack of dawn, tripping like a drunk duck behind his older brother on a trail that clearly led to nowhere. And, because he’d woken late, he hadn’t even had a single cup of coffee. Seriously, up before the damned sun, and Ollie was bitching about being late. Late to where, exactly, Sam wanted to know. It wasn’t like the blasted hill beneath their feet gave a damn that they were treading upon it fifteen minutes later. At least then he’d be clear headed.

He tripped, yet again again—didn’t they have people clearing rocks off the trail? Fucking dangerous is what this was. This…this was not what he’d signed up for. Though, Ollie… Sam sighed, and a small smile curved his lips. Ollie was probably soaking it all up, getting almost high on freaking nature. This was his idea of heaven, no doubt.

Not for Sam. No, give him cities, night-life, clubs, a coffee shop on every corner, a nice enthusiastic fuck to— Nope, not thinking about that. No thinking of fucks, Samuel, enthusiastic or otherwise.

Of course, trying not to think of it…sure fire way to zero his thoughts on the very thing he wished would stay hidden behind the exhausted, hangover fog he’d been swimming in since falling out of bed.

Last night.

Which, he granted, had been rather enthusiastic. But it hadn’t been his finest hour. He grimaced—not that he’d lasted remotely that long. God, the guy had been so freaking pretty, too. Right down to his thick, flushed co— Sam grunted as he walked right into Ollie, nearly falling back on his ass.

“What’d you stop for?” he snapped.

Oliver turned, brows lifted. “I’m just enjoying how fucking gorgeous this is. I mean, look at this place.”

“I’ve been looking.” Sam gestured around them…at all the nothing. “Not a goddamn coffee shop anywhere.”

Oliver rolled his eyes and started walking again. “Being away from a city and all its conveniences isn’t going to kill you.”

Sam snorted and followed. “You don’t know that!”

“Rough night, I take it?”

Sam inhaled deeply through his nose, teeth grinding at the cheerful, amused tone. He liked his brother. Scratch that, he adored the hell out of him, but aside from their shared features, the two men had very little in common. Sam spent most of his life sincerely believing he’d been adopted. Some days, like today, he still clung to that theory as the only explanation for being in a family who thought outdoorsy shit was fun. Sam appreciated nature as much as the next person, he really did. He just didn’t need to be in it.

“My night was just fine, thank you very much.” Keep telling yourself that, Sammy-boy. It’s the morning I’m having trouble with.” He panted, curses bursting from his lips, as he righted himself, yet again, toes throbbing from where he’d kicked a large rock. “And what the hell is wrong with you that this is your idea of a good time?!”

“This is a great time. And besides, I did the London pub crawl with you when we first got here.”

“Um, excuse me, but that pub crawl was steeped in…in culture and history and shit! We drank at pubs that had been there for centuries. Can’t do that back home. We have trails and dirt and…and fucking rocks,” he kicked another out of his way half-heartedly, “at home, Ollie! And you’re missing the biggest draw of all, brother—there was beer at the pub crawl. There’s no beer here, Ollie. None. There is zero beer.”

He knows he’s ranting, but what choice did he have, really? It was the ultimate distraction from things he’d rather not think about—it’s what he did, always. Not that his torrent of words was in any way stopping the humiliating little movie in his head of the night before. Nothing like acting like a fumbling teenager, from start to, God help him, premature finish, to cut a man down to size.

He lifted his gaze and stared at his brother’s back, happy to see the relaxed movements and the absence of tension in his shoulders. Of course Sam also used his ranting to distract others, too. And after everything that had happened before they’d come here, Ollie was much more deserving of a distraction than Sam was. His brother had been gutted by his break up with Gina. Not that he should still be that cheating bitch. Sam hadn’t been lying when he’d confronted her—if she hadn’t come clean about her fucking around, he would have laid it out for Ollie. He’d have hated every second of it, but no way in hell was he going to let his brother waste any more of his life on that woman.

Sam’s drunken pursuit of cock that ended in embarrassment didn’t rate high at all in the grand scheme of things. And hey, at least he still had dick-twitching memories of Mr. Pretty Boy. He was sure he’d pull those up front and center when jacking off in the future. Once the sting of said memories faded.

Ollie snorted and paused at the top of the hill to look back. “When we get back, I’ll buy you a pint at that pub down the street from Gram’s.”

Before he can respond, he stumbles again. And fine…just fine. He gets it—the universe hates him. He drops to his knees in the grass framing the narrow trail, flips over and starfishes on his back, staring at the lightening sky. “No need to bother, dear brother… This is my life now. I have climbed this hill, and now, I will die upon it.”

Oliver suddenly towered over him, unsuccessfully fighting a grin. He nudged Sam’s hip with his foot. “Shut up. We’ve only been hiking for twenty minutes.”

With a groan, Sam started to sit up, only to collapse again, spreading out even farther, bumping in to Ollie’s legs.

“Could you be more dramatic?” Oliver asked, nudging him again.

Oh, he did not just… Clenching his fists, Sam arched back, opened his mouth, and wailed wordlessly at all the stupid, stupid nature around them…that he would endure any time he had to because it made his brother so stupidly happy.

“That wasn’t a challenge!”


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease

Promptly Penned #34

It’s time for another Promptly Penned post. We’re all given the same prompt and see where it takes us. This week is a bit short and sweet and, dare I say, kinda fluffy (well, much fluffier than I could have done with this prompt LOL). Because that’s exactly what I needed, right now. 🙂 The prompt itself is in bold in the post.

“For God’s sake!” I shoved at his shoulder then, turning away from him, put distance between us. “I’m trying to have a conversation with you!”

“And I’m trying to subtly avoid it!” he shot back, amusement coloring his voice, like he was holding back laughter.

“Ass,” I muttered. “This is important to me, you know, and we have to talk about it eventually.”

“Didn’t think there was anything to discuss, really.”

I jerked away when he touched my arm, and his answering chuckle made my blood boil.

“Nothing to discuss? I don’t know why I even bother anymo—”

My words morphed into a startled yelp as he grabbed hold of me and hauled me back across the mattress. He wasted no time in getting me on my back and pinning me down. I narrowed my eyes at his stupid laughing face. Before I could say anything, his expression softened.

“Babe,” he sighed. “There’s nothing to discuss, because you’re not going anywhere. Of course I’m introducing you to my parents when they come for the holidays. I’m not hiding what we have. You’re not my dirty little secret, not ever.” He dropped a fast hard kiss on my mouth. “And you bother because you love me.”

I rolled my eyes at his exaggerated drawl but brought my arms around him, unable to hold back the low moan as he dragged his lips along my jaw.

“And I love you. Now,” he breathed the words against my arched neck, “let me show you how much. No more talk tonight, yeah?”

I made a small sound in the back of my throat. Not exactly a sound of agreement but close enough. Of course there was still loads to talk about. His parents were coming to visit. and they didn’t know about us yet. Didn’t know I was now officially living in their son’s house…where they would be staying for a full week.

I let out a shuddered breath as he kneed my legs apart and settled heavily between them, pressing me delciously into the bed. Tomorrow… Tomorrow was soon enough to talk about all that. And I could admit, even if just to myself, I didn’t exactly mind his method of avoidance.


Bronwyn Green | Siobhan Muir