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

November 2018 Photo Flash Fic

I hope the weekend was a fab one – I spent most of it being lazy. Gotta do that once in a while. 🙂 It’s time for November’s photo flash fic. This is the photo we’re working with:

“Mom? What’re we doing out here? Where are we going?”

This was not how I expected to spend my thirteenth birthday. Sure, we’d had the cake and ice cream, but we didn’t even get to the presents before my mom took my hand and pulled me outside with her. Now, she, my older sister, Petra, and I were walking through the woods. I was freezing, and it was just creepy out here. It was dark and foggy, and I could barely see where we were going. So, yeah, not exactly the birthday of my dreams.

Mom stopped suddenly. “We’re here.”

I looked around. Where was here? This peice of woods didn’t look any different than any we’d walked through already. I glanced at my sister but she was staring in the same direction as my mom was, and her jaw was tight. Good, at least someone else wasn’t happy with what was going on.

“It’s almost time,” Mom murmured then she turned to me, with a smile even I could tell wasn’t real. “Baby, you’re thirteen, now. It’s time for you to know.”

“Know what?”

“The women in our family have a gift -”

Petra snorted. “Gift? More like a curse. At least be honest with her, Mom.”

“Stop it,” Mom snapped. “You have only known for three years. One day, you will see this for the gift it is.”

Rolling her eyes, Petra shook her head. “Don’t count on it.”

With a sigh, Mom turned back to me. “Elena, this is a gift every woman in our family connects with on the day of their thirteenth birthday. It can seem scary, and it may be difficult to see it as a gift, especially when you’re so young, but it is. It’s a part of you, and part of why you are so very special.”

I shivered, not from the cold but because I had a feeling what was coming was going to change everything. And I didn’t want anything to change.

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“Look.” She gestured ahead of us. “What do you see?”

“Trees. We’re in the woods.”

“Look harder,” she said firmly, her fingers squeezing mine. “Focus.”

“On what?” I muttered. There was nothing there. It was trees and bushes and fog and– My eyes narrowed, and my breath caught. There was somthing there, something big…HUGE…in the mist. I jolted when cold fingers wrapped around my free hand. I turned to look at Petra and met her gaze. Her dark eyes glittered in the mist-muted moonlight… Was she crying?

“You’re not alone,” she whispered then faced foward, again.

As I turned back, my heart thundered, hurting my chest. Suddenly, it was as though the woods around us disappeared. Melted away to be replaced by gardens with pointy trees, like the kind on those big historical estates we visited on our last vacation, and beyond that a massive brick… House was too plain a word. It wasn’t quite a mansion, but it was much bigger than most of the houses around here.

I was about to ask my mom what the heck was going on when movement caught my attention. I blinked several times, and took half a step forward. People. There were people walking around the gardens, some close enough I could almost touch them. And they were all dressed…in costume? No, it was more like those people dressed like they were part of a reenactment or something.

“Mom?” I choked out. “What is this?”

“The past,” she said simply. “Our gift is our connection to the past.”


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Siobhan Muir

Wednesday Randomness: Promptly Penned #33

It’s time for another Promptly Penned post. We’re all given the same prompt and see where it takes us. The prompt itself is in CAPS in the post.

Closing my eyes, I braced my hands on the edge of the sink and dropped my head down. Everything hurt, I had blood everywhere – could still feel some dripping down my face – and it was taking everything in me not to puke my guts out. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Tonight had not gone as planned.

Plan? What plan? You had no plan!

Christ, I was hearing James’ damned voice in my head, now. I supposed it was appropriate since he hadn’t said a damned word since we’d gotten home. The silence was deafening, and apparently, my brain was going to make up for that.

“Hey.”

Yelping, I straightened, and immediately stumbled backwards. Would have ended up on my ass or cracking my head off the tub if James hadn’t stepped forward and steadied me.

“Sorry,” he murmured.

“Not your fault. Didn’t hear you come in.”

“Obviously.”

Narrowing my eyes at the dry drawl, I met his gaze in the mirror. “You need something?”

He stared for a good long minute or two then, reaching around me, he pulled open one of the cabinet drawers and withdrew the first aid kit. He motioned with his free hand. “Sit.”

Still watching him warily, I sat on the closed toilet as he opened the kit and began setting out supplies. He then grabbed a couple washclothes from the other drawer and wet them. As he was doing this, he caught my eye in the mirror.

“ALL THAT BLOOD LOOKS GOOD ON YOU, babe. IT REALLY BRINGS OUT YOUR EYES.”

“Smart ass,” I murmured.

He was trying to downplay everything, make me laugh – I knew that. But I wasn’t listening to his words, now. Because the slight catch of his voice, the stiffness in his posture, the tightness around his eyes were all telling another story.

He was freaked out.

A look I rarely saw on the man.

Shit.

When he turned toward me and lifted the washcloth, I caught his wrist. “I’m okay. I promise, I’m okay.”

He jerked out of my grasp and took a step back. Pressing his lips together, he closed his eyes. His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed audibly before taking several slow, deep breaths.

Then, those clear blue eyes were on me, bright and almost wild. “Well, I’m not.”

“Wha–” I cleared my throat as fear jumpstarted my heart and froze my skin with an instant prickling sweat. “What’s wrong?”

“If you’re going to keep ignoring everyone’s advice and feedback and keep doing shit on your own, I can’t…” He gestured between us. “I can’t do this.”

My mouth went dry. “Don’t…don’t say that.”

“I’ll still be here,” he said stiffly. “I said I’d help, and I will. I will always help protect you. But I can’t–” He broke off, mouth snapping shut.

Blood rushed in my ears, and I actually started to shake. If freaked out was a rare look for James, this – damp eyes, muscle twitching in his cheek from clenching his jaw, hands fisted at this sides and his posture no longer stiff, but…defeated – this was even rarer…and infinitely more unnerving.

“When I caught up to you,” he continued, voice quiet and rough, “you were on the ground, covered in blood and not moving. I thought you were dead… All because you’re too damned impulsive and believe invincible – and fuck if your friends will tell you otherwise because they’re under the same fucking misconception.”

“James, I’m sorry.”

“I know, but sorry isn’t going to save your life the next time. I know how important what you’re doing is to you. I get it, but you’re more important. Don’t you understand that?” He stepped forward and cupped my face, his hands cold and trembling. “You are more important. Losing you is going to destroy me.”

“You’re saying it like it’s a given, but it’s not,” I said quickly, desperately. “And, if you’re really staying, no matter what, I don’t see how not being with me would make it easier if something were to happen to me. It’s not like our relationship, or rather lack of, is suddenly going to wipe away the feelings you have.”

“It’s a given if you keep doing what you’re doing,” he countered then sighed, thumb skimming along my lower lip. “Nothing is going to wipe away my feelings for you, but I can distance myself, try to protect myself for the inevitable.”

I shook my head. “So, are you breaking up with me?”

“Are you going to admit you’re important, and start acting like it?”

“That sounds like emotional blackmail.” I stood, crowding into his space and settling my hands on his hips, and his fingers twitched against my face. Panic was still kicking my ass, but relief was quickly pushing it out. If we were done, he’d outright say it.

“Babe,” the corner of his mouth quirked up, even though his voice was still raspy with emotion, “I’m a thief, a criminal, and you’re surprised over a wee bit of emotional blackmail?”

I pressed even closer and rested my forehead on his shoulder. His arms came around me fully, and my chest ached as I heard him sniff. “Not really blackmail, just honesty…but still brutal.”

His embrace tightened momentarily before he let go. “We need to get you cleaned up.”


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Siobhan Muir

September 2018 Song Fic – “Need the Sun to Break” (Dark of Morning lyrics) – James Bay

This month’s song is James Bay’s “Need the Sun to Break”.

Going off the chorus this time around:

I need the sun to break, you’ve woken up my heart
I’m shaking, all my luck could change
Been in the dark for weeks and I’ve realized you’re all I need
And I hope that I’m not too late,
I hope I’m not too late

This is gonna be a short one… Mostly due to the fact I’m a dirty procrastinator, and I have to get up early to run hubs to the airpot…and I desperately need sleep. LOL

So, here we go…


After the door closed and silence fell, I moved over to the coffee table and sat down facing the couch and the man stretched out on it. Exhaustion weighed heavily, but I couldn’t think of sleep. Not now.

I sighed and reached out to take Cam’s hand, cradling it between mine. This wasn’t how I expected our reunion to go. Oh, I hadn’t expected anything to go smoothly. I’m not an idiot. I’d imagined yelling, slammed doors, tense talks… And I’d hoped it would end with us back together. Hoped, not counted on.

Of course, I hadn’t expected to come back and find Cam in the middle of a shitstorm that defied all explanation. Now, my main focus wasn’t repairing the relationship I’d spectacularly ruined. It was keeping this man safe, keeping him alive.

Right now, though, the only thing I could do was wait for him to wake up. And hope he could fill in the blanks of what I already knew about his abduction, captivity, and what had happened since. And clue me in on how the fuck he was able to do what I’d seen him do earlier.

I leaned forward and brought his hand to my lips. Pressing my lips to his knuckles, I closed my eyes. After all that, we could figure us out. If there was an us… Until then, I could only hope, as I had been for months, that I wasn’t too late.


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

Wednesday Randomness: Promptly Penned #32

It’s time for September’s Promptly Penned. This month’s prompt is: You’re in an interrogation room. A man walks in and throws a bunch of photographs on the table in front of you. The photos are old and were taken at different points in history. You’re in each one. He demands to know who you are.

This was the perfect prompt to fit into my Albion’s Circle series. So, here we go.


~Merlin~

Eyes closed, I focused on my breathing. It was over, finally. I’d spent the last week cleaning up Mordred’s mess. Now, I could rest easily that nothing with his taint remained or influenced anyone or anything.

Of course, now that it was over, that meant I was alone. And nothing could distract me from that cruel fact. My chest ached as I drew in another long breath. It wasn’t the first time, and likely wouldn’t be the last. But I’d hoped. Even knowing, accepting, that we couldn’t come out of the ages old battle with Mordred without casualties, I’d still hoped and prayed that someone would be left behind with me. While preparing for the opposite.

But even preparing didn’t diminish the overwhelming press of anger and grief. Yes, we had prevailed—Mordred was defeated, again, this time around—but Annwyl was still lost. And Arthur…Morgana…the knights. I wouldn’t see them again until the next life. All I could do now was wait. And I hated every second of it.

“Mr. Eliad, thank you for coming in. I’m Detective Andrews.”

I opened my eyes, watching the tall, fair-haired man enter and close the door behind him. “You’re welcome, though I was hardly given a choice, detective.”

“Well,” he lifted one shoulder as he sat across from me, “thank you for coming in so calmly, then.”

“Mm hmm.” I folded my hands and rested them on the metal table and straightened in the less-than-comfortable chair. “Perhaps you could let me know what this is about?”

“You were seen near the site of the explosion in the warehouse district last week.” When I didn’t answer, he sighed and laid the folder he held on the surface between us. He withdrew a couple of photos and set them, one by one, in front of me. “You were caught on camera. You look injured, covered in dirt or soot.”

I glanced down at the pictures. Though grainy, they were clearly of me. And certainly not at my best. I met his gaze and lifted a brow, remaining silent.

“Could you tell me what you were doing in the area?” he asked.

“Just walking around.”

“Really?” He snorted. “You just happened to walking around an area that had practically been leveled, looking like you’d barely made it out of said area?”

“Yep.”

“Why were you so dirty, then? You strike me as a fairly well-kept person.” He gestured towards the clothing I currently wore then tapped one of the photos. “Nothing like this.”

“I’d been gardening before my walk. It’s messy work.” I couldn’t hold back the smirk curving my mouth.

“Messy work?” He pursed his lips then nodded. Opening the folder, he continued, “I did some digging and found that you often find yourself around ‘messy work’. Nearby the wreckage of another explosion, the fallout of an earthquake that decimated half a city out west, evacuating another city from a horrendous flood…” As he spoke, he flipped picture after picture toward me.

I lifted one, stared at my own face—filthy, grief-stricken, exhausted. This photo was a copy of a one from decades ago. This was more than just a little digging, and something this detective—or anyone else—shouldn’t have access to.

“Where did you get these?” I demanded, voice soft and steady.

“That’s not important. What I want to know is how you’re in all these photos—because as impossible as it seems, they’re all of you! What did you have to do with the explosions last week? Good men and women died, and I want answers!” He slapped a palm on the stack of photos…and looked vaguely disappointed when I didn’t jump or outwardly react. “Mr. Eliad, you need to start talking. The truth now, not some inane tale of gardening and walks.”

“The truth?” I laughed harshly. “Okay, the truth is my name isn’t Eliad. I just took that name this time around. My first name is Merlin, though—I bet that seemed odd to you, right? Not exactly a common name, nowadays. Well, I wasn’t named for the famous wizard in all the stories. I am him. I am King Arthur’s Magical—yes, the King Arthur. And the truth that you want so desperately is nothing like those stories, which for the most part are ridiculous, and I had a hell of a fun time making them up.

“I, along with my king and others, are brought back to fight Mordred—another familiar name, yes?—and save this wretched Earth and its people, time and time again. That was what was happening last week, and that was just the final battle. This time, we’ve been fighting for months, and now, I am tired. I’ve lost people, as well, Detective Andrews, and now that the mission is complete, I would like my time to remember and grieve for those lost…including those good men and women you mentioned.”

“You’ve got to be—”

I waved a hand between us, and he froze. Rubbing my aching temples, I stared down at the photos. “Though it seems I’m not done cleaning up quite yet. Where did you get these photos?”

“They were mailed to me,” he responded woodenly.

“All of them? Even the ones from last week?”

“Yes.”

“Do you know who sent them?”

“No.” He shook his head. “They were in large envelope. There was no note, no return address. The lab wasn’t able to find any fingerprints on the envelope or the photos so it was all a dead end.”

“For you, maybe,” I murmured. “Do you have the envelope? The original photos you received?”

“Yes, in evidence.”

“Go get them, please.”

Without a word, he stood and left the room. I stacked the photos neatly and closed them back into the folder, annoyance filling me at the inconvenience of all of this. When Detective Andrews came back in, he immediately handed me the evidence bag containing the envelope and photos. I tucked that into the folder, as well, then pushed to my feet, taking all of it with me. I met the other man’s gaze and sighed.

“You seem like a good cop, following any lead. Unfortunately, this is one case that the truth isn’t going to be revealed. Can’t be.” I reached up and touched his forehead, muttering the memory spell quickly. “Forget the photos; they don’t exist. I came in today to tell you what I saw when I was out for a walk the night of the explosion.”

I dropped my hand and cleared my throat. Andrews blinked several times then took a step back, opening the door for me.

“Thank you again, Mr. Eliad, for coming in. We appreciate your help in the matter.”

“Of course.” I strode out the room, but before leaving the building, I went to bullpen and asked where Detective Andrews’ desk was. Then, walking by it on my way out, I spoke the spell that would erase any mention of me from the good detective’s notes—both written and on his computer.

I tightened my grip on the folder as I stepped into the bright sunlight. I needed to get back home and figure out who had sent these in.

It wasn’t quite over. The mess wasn’t completely cleaned up. My grief would wait…my ever-patient companion.


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

September 2018 Photo Flash Fiction

Hello, all! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. It’s time for another photo flash fic. This is the photo we’re working with today.

Tuning out the grumbling complaints coming from the backseat, she closed her eyes and breathed deeply. And held for several long seconds before slowly releasing.

She hated this day, this trip, this…this annual pilgrimage. So much. More than the kids behind her—even if they couldn’t imagine that—and for very, very different reasons.

She startled, eyes flying open as a warm, heavy hand settled on her thigh. Glancing over, she wondered what was going through his mind. He didn’t look at her, keeping focused on the road ahead, but his fingers pressed a bit more firmly, a silent message that he knew. He knew she was hurting. He knew she hated this. And he knew how important this was for all of them.

Eyes burning, she laid a hand over his, and he immediately turned his palm up to nestle against hers as their fingers intertwined.

They didn’t speak, though, and even the kids quieted, as they drew approached their destination. The silence was oppressive as the engine was shut off, and all of them just sat a moment.

“Come on.”

The hushed words from the driver’s seat spurred everyone into motion. She was the last one out, needing another couple moments to compose herself. Later, she could cry. Would cry. In the dark, wrapped in his arms, she would let go, and he would take it, like he always did.

She got out of the car and followed her family. Despite the heaviness over her, her lips quirked up slightly as she took in the sight of the tall, handsome figure of her husband, with their three children

“Where’s Mama?”

Her youngest daughter’s words floated on the air, and she quickened her stride so she could catch up.

“I’m here, baby.” She combed her fingers through the soft blonde curls as they continued.

Her breath caught as they rounded the corner. No matter how many times they came, no matter how many times she saw, she didn’t think she’d ever get over the horror that filled her every time.

The destruction before them… What had led to it… She trembled, and she couldn’t stop the tears that escaped.

“God,” her daughter—their oldest—huffed. “I don’t know why we have to be here. Every stupid year. Not like anything changes. Why couldn’t I have stayed home? This is so dumb.”

“We come to remember. Remember what happened, and what could happen again. And to remember those who were lost.” She spoke slowly, eyes still on the hollowed-out buildings mind on all the lives destroyed. Then, cutting her gaze to her daughter, who stared at her with eyes just like her father, she hardened her voice. “And to be grateful. Because of them, we’re free.”

“Mom—”

“Before all this,” she waved a hand around, “you would have to hide who you are. You wouldn’t have been free to be you. Your choice would have been to hide or to be persecuted. Or killed. Remember that when you think this is stupid.”

She swallowed thickly and walked a few feet away, closing her eyes against the tears, chest aching horribly. She needed to get it together. Falling apart wasn’t an option. Later, she reminded herself again. Not now, not when she could sense others coming—to also pay their respects and remember.

A soft caress on her cheek and a sweet smell pulled her out of her thoughts. She opened her eyes to find a bright daisy hovering in the air in front of her. She turned her head to watch as her eldest daughter, hand outstretched, lower lip caught between her teeth, manipulate the flower until it was tucked behind her mother’s ear.

“I’m sorry.”

“I know.”


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

July Song Fic – “A Mháire Bhruinneal” by Susan McKeown

Today’s Song Fic is inspired by “A Mháire Bhruinneal” by Susan McKeown.

I adore this song, but decided to write someone who didn’t care for this type of music… It got a bit heated. Rowr.

Saturday night. Hot as fuck. Ass going numb on the wooden bench. Mosquitos out for his blood. Too many freaking people around—and the smell? Beer, sweat and too much Axe body spray. Lovely. Music—Irish music, which he didn’t even like, for fuck’s sake—filling his ears.

Christ, why? Why did he do this to himself?

Bran didn’t even have the excuse of his sister dragging him here as he’d had the night before…and the weekend before. Oh, she would have—she followed most of the folk bands around the state to festivals and faires—but she’d had to work.

And, instead of taking his friends up on a couple drinks at the sports bar or spending the evening at home, Bran had gotten in his car to drive an hour and a half for another night of lively music that made him grit his teeth, being jostled by too many freaking people, and expensive, watered-down beer in plastic cups.

Why?

He sighed then sipped his beer, cringing when the now piss warm liquid passed his lips. He fought the urge to spit it back into the cup. Barely. He stood, edged around people to one of the trash bins and chucked the drink in. He stood a moment, scanning the crowd, distracted enough that he jolted violently, knee knocking the bin a few inches, when a hand landed on his shoulder.

He spun around and found his gaze caught by amused blue eyes. His breath caught, and without a thought, he nodded when the dark-haired man beside him jerked his head to the side.

He followed the man—Thomas…brother of the girl currently singing on stage—through the labyrinth of tents, stalls and trailers, biting his lip as he watched the sway of narrow hips and a truly spectacular ass. Bran flexed his fingers… Christ that ass.

Ten minutes later, Bran had his answer. His back shoved against the hard metal of one of the trailers, his pants shoved past his hips and his hands buried in Thomas’ thick hair. Thomas’ hand—large and hot and deliciously calloused—was wrapped around both their cocks, stroking slow and maddeningly. His lips smoothed over Bran’s neck as Thomas pressed words and encouragements into the sweat-slick skin.

“That’s it, love,” he crooned, twisting around the cockheads in his grasp, pulling a gut-wrenching moan from Bran. “Come on, wanna feel you lose it… Love the sounds you make. Can’t wait to fuck you proper. You’d like that, yeah? My fat cock splitting you open? Hmmm?”

Bran opened his mouth, but all that escaped was garbled nonsense as Thomas sped up his strokes.

“Come back to my room after, Bran?” he murmured, nipping at the sensitive skin behind Bran’s ear. “Need more. More than just hands and cocks in the shadows… Stay the night. Fuck you good and proper. Fuck you through the bloody mattress…all…fucking…night.”

With a cry, Bran came hard, head falling back and thunking against the trailers. Thomas stroked a few more times then, shout muffled in Bran’s neck, came as well.

Bran shifted, dropping his head forward to rest his forehead on Thomas’ shoulder, and tried to catch his breath. His heart stuttered as soft gentle kisses peppered his neck, his jaw. Then, Thomas took his mouth—confidently but so fucking sweetly.

Yeah, Bran had his answer. Why did he do this to himself? One word—Thomas.


Bronwyn | Kris | Sarah

Wednesday Randomness: Promptly Penned #30

It’s time for another Promptly Penned post. We’re all given the same prompt and see where it takes us. The prompt itself is in CAPS in the post.

Cam braced his hands on the edge of the counter, leaning heavily, and let his head fall forward. Fuck, he hurt. Pain thrummed through his body with each heavy breath. Though, it was definitely better—marginally, but better—than when he first got home. One benefit of what the assholes had done to him was he seemed to heal much faster, now.

He huffed a humorless laugh, then groaned at the sharp stab of pain along his middle. Putting a positive spin on being abducted and experimented on for months was a bit much, even for him. Even if he was trying to do good with what they’d done to him, with the abilities he now had.

Straightening, he bit back another groan and moved to the freezer to grab an ice pack. Holding it tight against his side, he walked into the living room, where his friends were still talking loudly what had gone down that night.

Before he could join the conversation, the front door flew open, banging against the wall. Josh, Mat and Jazz all jumped to their feet as James strode into the room and slammed the door behind him.

James, who was Cam’s ex.

James, who was a thief. Not that Cam had known that…until it was too late.

A thief who had walked away from Cameron without a word, and now, had resurfaced, determined to step back into Cam’s life.

“What the fuck were you thinking, Cameron?” James said slowly and deliberately.

“Jamie,” Cam breathed.

“What the fuck are you thinking?” Mat snapped, stepping towards James. “You can’t just come busting in here!”

“Looks like I can,” James threw in his direction before turning back to Cam. “Are you trying to get yourself killed?”

Cam shook his head. “No, I—”

“You need to leave,” Josh said, hand on Mat’s arm, keeping him from moving any closer to James. “You’re not wanted here. You aren’t part of this.”

“Part of this? Part of this?” James’ voice rose. “You’re damned right I’m not part of this. This being the stupidest damned thing I’ve ever fucking seen.”

“I said—” Josh started.

“It’s bad enough you’re out trolling the streets, looking for trouble,” James continued, speaking over the other man, eyes intense and locked on Cam. “Now, you have these idiots, what? Listening to a police scanner,” he gestured toward the equipment on the counter, “and calling you on your fucking cell to tell you where to go for even more trouble? Not a smart way to do this, Cameron.”

Cam tried really, really fucking hard to suppress the shiver that traveled his spine. Christ, the man’s voice…even when he was all disapproving and lecturing. All right, maybe especially because he was, which made Cam a sick, sick man.

“If you insist on continuing with this…mission of yours, you need to be smarter about it. And this crew?” He gestured at Cam’s friends. “Fuck, it’s like you woke up and said, ‘OH, WELL, THE BEST OF THE BEST WEREN’T AVAILABLE…SO WE GOT THE BEST OF THE MEDIOCRE,’ and just ran with it.”

“Fuck you. Like we give a shit about your opinion,” Mat sneered. “You’re a criminal.”

James laughed—a short bitter sound. “Never claimed otherwise, but what you’re doing—or rather what he’s out there doing while you sit here with your thumbs up your asses and safe—is vigilantism, which is… Hmmm, what’s the word? Oh, right…illegal. And could you tell the class what people who do illegal things are called? No? Nothing? That would be criminals, you fuckwit.”

“It’s totally different!” Jazz protested, seeming to finally come of the state of shock she’d been in since James arrived. “We’re… Cam’s helping people.”

“Still illegal, sweetheart,” he snapped. “Get it through your thick skulls—this isn’t some comic book or action flick; Cameron is not some indestructible superhero.”

“Enough,” Cam pleaded, head pounding. When the bickering continued, he raised his voice. “Enough!” He sighed as all eyes turned to him then gestured to his friends. “You guys can head on home. Obviously, we’re done for tonight; I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

Mat gaped. “You can’t be serious!”

“We’re not leaving you alone with him,” Jazz added.

Cam rolled his eyes. “Yeah, you are. He’s not going to hurt me, and we clearly need to talk.”

James just moved over to lean against the wall, crossed his arms and smirked as Cam guided the protesting trio to the door. Once they were gone, Cam turned, jolting when he came face to face with James.

“You can’t—”

“Shhh.” James lifted a hand and gingerly touched Cam’s cheekbone. “Christ, look at you.”

“It’s not as bad as it looks.”

“And your ribs?” He pulled Cam’s hand and the icepack away before lifting the hem of Cam’s shirt. “Fuck.”

Cam looked down and cringed at the mottled black and blue marring his skin. Then gasped as James’ fingertips moved along his side, prodding gently.

“Don’t think any are broken,” he murmured, resting his palm hotly over the bruising and meeting Cam’s gaze. “You really can’t keep doing this, babe.”

Heart aching at the plea in the other man’s voice, Cam swallowed thickly. “I already told you, I need to do this. Some good has to come out of what happened to me.”

James inhaled deeply then brought his head down, resting his forehead against Cam’s. “Okay.”

“Okay?” Cam knew his friends would be yelling at him, right about now, about how the man had lied—by omission, but it still counted—and left him, breaking his heart. How his approval wasn’t something Cam needed. But despite all that, he found himself wanting it, anyway. And that wasn’t something he was going to examine. At least not tonight.

“Okay,” James said firmly, sliding his hand around to rest on the small of Cam’s back. “But not like this, anymore. You’re going to end up hurt again—or worse—and I can’t…I can’t let that happen. Let me help you.”

Mind racing, wondering how James could help, Cam quit fighting himself and slide his arms around James’ waist and leaned into him.

“Let me help keep you safe,” James whispered against Cam’s temple, lips tickling. “Please, babe.”

Closing his eyes, Cam gave the only answer he could when it came to James.

“Yes.”


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Siobhan Muir