Wednesday Randomness: Writing Pet Peeves

So this week, we’re talking about our writing pet peeves. What drives us up the wall when we read it. So I’m just going to jump right in.

Insta-love

This is first for a reason. I get instant attraction…find it hot to read. But as a reader, I need to be able to able to believe the main characters are falling in love. I cannot suspend belief when, within a short period of time together, they’re declaring their love.

infatuated

Similarly, when the hero and heroine (or hero and hero, heroine and heroes – any variation thereof) spend most of the book apart from each other? How can I believe there’s love there? And a mention of some time together “off screen” doesn’t cut it. Don’t tell me they bonded and are developing feelings for each other. I want to see it. That’s why I read romance, FFS.


Ass Claiming – The Final Frontier
AKA If you really, really, REALLY love me
you’ll let me do you up the butt

Okay, this one is…well, it’s a major pet peeve of mine. MAJOR. And I’ve read this in so many books by different authors, and I don’t know if it’s how they want it to come across – My guess would be no, but it really does.

The hero and heroine are together and falling in love and things are progressing…but the hero is obsessed with getting in the heroine’s backdoor. I mean, OBSESSED, thinking about it constantly, talking about it. And when she finally gives in and lets him do it…well, it’s the confirmation he needs that she really, really loves him.

cake drop


Hello?

Hello
Hey, I have characters talking to themselves, muttering and the like. And anyone who knows me can tell you I totally talk to myself. However, when a character is all alone talking aloud, info-dumping all over the place…. Nuh uh.

It isn’t believable and there are other ways to get that information to the reader. I guess info-dumping, in general, is a pet peeve of mine, now that I think about it. It’s lazy story-telling and having a character soliloquy-ing all over the place? It’s screams laziness.

GettheFOut


It doesn’t matter that there’s a gun in my face,
all I can think about is tappin’ that.

Are You Sitting Me

Now, I love me a sexy story. I love a story full of tension and characters unable to keep their hands off each other. Oh yeah… BUT, as in life, there is a time and place for such things. I’ll let you in on a secret – a situation fraught with danger, lives literally on the line, that sort of thing? Not the time and place to be all up in your head about how much you want to do someone. It certainly isn’t the time to be copping a feel. I don’t know about you, but if I have a gun all up in my face, I’m not thinking about sexy times. Even in an erotic romance, in certain scenes, SOME things take precedence over getting some.


Who the hell needs character development?

While it’s last on this list, it’s really high on my overall pet peeves list. Lack of character development. This can appear in a couple of ways. Either the character doesn’t change or grow in any way, which is boring and unrealistic. Or the character does a complete change that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever and we are supposed to just go along for the ride, even if it doesn’t make sense.

I think I’ve seen this more with heroes, to be honest, and I don’t know why that is. But a common scenario I’ve seen is the hero is super aggressive, gruff…kind of an A-hole to be honest. And seriously I don’t have a problem with a guy bordering on A-hole-ness if there are reasons for it and we get to see him grow and change and become better. But, what usually happens is when it comes time to get to the happily ever after, suddenly he is a changed man, for the better, of course, and off into the sunset he rides with his girl or guy. We don’t get to see the change, the reasons behind the change – it’s just suddenly there.

rossfreakout

And there you have it, in all my judge-y glory, my top writing pet peeves. o.O Make sure you go and check out what drives the other ladies up the wall. 🙂


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa
Kayleigh Jones | Kellie St. James Kris Norris

 

Wednesday Randomness: 2015 IN REVIEW – BEST MEMORIES OF THE LAST YEAR

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Saying goodbye to 2015…

Like any other year, 2015 was a mix. Good, bad, exciting, frustrating…but gonna focus on the good today, and then, gonna make 2016 even better. 🙂

JANUARY

I finished writing London Bound this month, and it was a hard won but fantastic accomplishment in my life. I was writing something I’d never written before and battling some serious self-doubt about it. Luckily, I have the best people in my life; they helped push and prod me along. And I’m so glad they did, because this is a book I’m very proud of.

FEBRUARYScreen Shot 2016-01-05 at 8.36.40 PM

This was about the time, after London Bound was completed, that Bronwyn and I first started talking about doing a series together, and the Bound series was born.

MARCHB1 - LONDON BOUND

Released London Bound. I love this book, and it was the start of the Bound series with Bronwyn. One of the best things of my 2015, IMO.

APRIL

Went home for a 2 long weekends in a row. One of the kiddos spent her spring break up there and I was transport. But it wasn’t just that. Nope, I got to spend quality time with my girl, see Mom and Dad as well as my sister and her family – including meeting my newest niece – and enjoy a bit of a break from “real life”. And don’t get to see my parents and siblings nearly enough. So this made me very happy.

MAYIMG_4486

Attended Austin Author Affair. Had a fantastic time! Saw old friends, made some new, met some fab people. A wonderful time, despite the crazy flight delays and time spent in the airport. Mostly because I didn’t mind the time in the airport since it meant more time with Bron, and we were able to do some fun planning with the Bound series.

JUNE

My oldest graduated this month. One of the proudest moments of my life – even if it makes me feel old. Add the fact my parents came into town, so it was another fantastic time with family and it was a highlight of my year.

RETREAT!!!!! This will always, always be on my Best of list for any year. Seriously. A week away with several of my favorite people in the world, relaxation, lots of writing, MONK MUFFINS (muffins made by monks that make us sing they are so good), laughing so, so much…. The only serious downside to this year was Norris wasn’t able to make it, but we texted her lots, sent her selfies, and she’d better be there this year (you hear that, Norris? DO YOU??)

JULY

Shockingly, camping is on the list this year. And anyone who knows me knows me saying camping and favorites in the same post… Well, it’s not likely to happen. But it did this year! We camped over fourth of July weekend with the hubs’ family, celebrated my birthday, and the best part, I was able to do it with all my kids. Oldest spends his summers away working but was able to get the time off to come and see us. It was the best. 🙂

AUGUST

What is becoming a yearly tradition – I spent a week at Bron’s house this summer. It was AWESOME. I was able to get a ton of writing done, made Bron ugly cry, visited with a bunch of other friends while there, wished some others were around to make it absolutely perfect, drank ciders, drooled over Colin Morgan (please, you can’t be surprised), bugged Bron’s family and warned them I’d be back. 🙂

IMG_0609 IMG_0612While there, I got my second tattoo (Got my first the year before when I was there – the hubs is a bit afraid THIS will become a yearly tradition 😉 ) I love it – it’s the sword that’s on my Albion covers. 🙂
AC 3 - EDGE OF DARKNESSReleased Edge of Darkness, book three of my Albion’s Circle series. This was a helluva hard book to write and finishing and releasing it was amazing.

SEPTEMBERB4 - NOTHING SERIOUS

Released Nothing Serious, book four of the Bound series and my second contribution. This was my first MM book I released, though I’ve written MMF menages, had MM couples featured in books – like Albion’s Circle books.

If I had to choose a favorite book/release of 2015, it would be this one. I fell in love with Jack and Aaron, and it was actually hard to write “The End” on this one. I didn’t want to say goodbye.

OCTOBERScreen Shot 2016-01-05 at 6.50.35 PM
Released Tempted to Death as part of a paranormal collection, Dark Pursuit, with some pretty fabulous ladies – Kris Norris, Paige Prince and Bronwyn Green. Tempted to Death was a fun book to write, a MMF menage, which is now available as a single title release.

NOVEMBER

Okay, November was a tough month. I was sicker than sick, was having a hard time finding the ever elusive balance, and as a result, not much happened writing wise.

writingshard

But I got through it, yeah? And started my game plan for 2016. So that’s a plus.

DECEMBER

I went home for Christmas. Being able to spend the holidays with my parents, my sister and her family was a fantastic way to round out the year.


Bronwyn Green |Gwendolyn Cease Jessica De La Rosa |Kayleigh Jones
Kellie St. James | Kris NorrisPaige Prince

Wednesday Randomness: I’m Thankful For…

THANKFUL

Celebrating Thanksgiving this week, we are thinking about the things in our lives we are thankful for.

I’m thankful for my husband…I made a damned good choice with that one, let me tell you. And I look forward to more years of being thankful for that man.

I’m thankful for my kids, who are amazing, even on the most trying days. I’m lucky as hell to have made those four. 🙂

I’m thankful for the family I was born into and the one I’ve gained through marriage.

I’m thankful for the people, the friends, in my life who aren’t blood but who I’ve made my family.

I’m thankful to have a home and food and everything I need.

I’m thankful to be able to have things I want.

I’m thankful that I’m able to do what I love, every day. Even when it comes with difficulty and I bitch and moan – I know how freaking amazing it is that I get to write and create stories for a living.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Until next week…
~J


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa  | Kellie St. James 

 

November Photo Writing Prompt – Lying to Myself

photopromptThis month’s photo sparked another idea connected to my serial story, Your Lies

I’ve done other peices from Delia’s past – events that happen before the story in Your Lies.

The Lies Begin
Lying in Wait
The Lies We Tell

This wee story falls between “Lying in Wait” and “The Lies We Tell”.

11-2015 - AbandonedBarnLying to Myself

My nose twitched, and I sniffled as my eyes filled with tears. From the musty inside of the old barn. Not because I was upset. I mean, I was upset, but I could handle it. Especially now that I was here—alone, away from it all. I wasn’t going to break down, because what was the freaking point? Crying wasn’t going to bring Dad back. It wasn’t going to change my mom’s mind about anything or make anything better.

I just needed break. From the carefully worded lectures, from the looks she sent my way when she thought I couldn’t see, from her forced cheeriness every morning despite the fact I’d listened to her sobbing the night before and could see the evidence of it in her pale face and red-rimmed eyes.

When I’d gotten home from school today and faced the same questions she threw at me every day—Had anyone asked about Dad? Had anyone seemed suspicious? Had I been careful and kept my magic hidden?—I’d lost it.

My chest tightened, and my breath hitched painfully as I remembered the look on her face when I’d screamed at her to leave me alone. If I’d thought her pale before… Well, all color had drained from her face, her eyes had widened, and the hurt that filled her expression almost made me apologize then and there.

Almost.

Her hurt had been no match for my anger, my frustration, my pain. All of the things I hadn’t been able to show, what I was supposed to tuck away alongside my magic as we pretended our world hadn’t gone straight to hell when my dad disappeared.

I snorted humorlessly. It’d gone to hell long before that. That was just another thing we refused to acknowledge. Finding out I had magic, that I wasn’t normal… That had been when everything changed. When it had all started falling apart.

“Dee?”

I jolted as the sound of my friend’s voice. I sat up straighter, pressing my back against the rough wooden post behind me. Using the sleeves of my sweatshirt, that were pulled over my cold, shaky hands, I wiped away the tears that had spilled over then swiped across my nose. Disgusting? Yeah, but I hadn’t thought of grabbing tissues before yelling horrible things at my mom and running away like a little kid.

I saw Kyle through the cracks in the large barn doors before one of them swung open with a creaking groan.

“Dee,” he said, again, on a sigh, as he pulled the door shut behind him. Crossing to me, he lowered himself onto the filthy floor in front of me. Crossing his legs, he scooted closer until his knees bumped mine. “What’s wrong?”

Concern shone in his bright blue eyes, and even though I knew he had the best intentions, that he cared abut me, I couldn’t hold back the harsh bark of laughter.

And once that escaped, I couldn’t stop the hysterical laugher. It swelled grossly inside of me, shoved its way up my throat and spilled from my lips. I wrapped my arms around my middle and bent forward as I shook uncontrollably.

“What’s wrong?” I gasped. “What’s wrong?”

“Hey…” Kyle touched my shoulder gently.

I jerked upright and slapped Kyle’s hand away. He pressed his lips together and refused to look away from me as I struggled to catch my breath.

“It would be easier to ask what’s right, Kyle,” I snarled. “That’s an easy answer. Nothing.”

When he remained silent, his gaze steady on me, I slumped back and shook my head.

“What are you even doing here, anyway?”

The corner of his mouth quirked up. “Looking for you. Your mom called, said you ran off. She’s…she’s worried.”

“Sure she is.”

“Dee,” he admonished. “Don’t do that. She was practically crying on the phone. My mom was still talking to her, trying to calm her down, when I left.”

“Hmmm. Thought she’d be relieved to not have me around. Even if it’s only temporary,” I muttered, well aware I was in full-on self-pity mode. I just didn’t care.

“I know it’s been…tough, for both of you, but she loves you,” he said softly, reaching out for my hands. Shoving the sleeves out of his way, he wrapped his warm fingers around mine.

I didn’t say anything for a few long moments. I should have gone somewhere else. The old abandoned barn was on Kyle’s family’s property—where we’d always met up, especially to talk about magic, to let it out and play without fear. I should have realized this would be the first place he’d look if my mom asked. And, as mired in self-pity as I was, I didn’t want to add to what Kyle was going through. His dad had been taken the same night. We’d both lost our fathers, and he didn’t need to deal with my issues.

“Delia,” he said firmly. “Why’d you run?”

“It’s…” I gulped, swallowing the lump of tears that lodged in my throat, refusing to give in, again. “It’s fine. I’m fine.”

“Bullshit,” he bit out. “Talk to me.”

I shook my head, and his grip tightened almost painfully.

“Talk to me. Please.”

My eyes stung, and my lips trembled. God, he was stubborn. A damned dog with a bone, this one.

“I’m just tired,” I insisted. “Tired of hiding and pretending. Even though I know it’s necessary. And I’m tired of her…” A cry strangled my voice momentarily and I had to clear my throat a couple times before I could continue. “You should see the way she looks at me. Like she’s afraid. Of me. Of what I can do.”

He pulled suddenly, drawing me forward to tumble into his lap. His arms surrounded me, and he rested his chin on the top of my head. I gave in—just for a moment, I thought—and burrowed closer, resting my cheek against where his heart thumped steadily.

“She’s afraid for you,” he murmured. “Not of you. You’re not something to be feared, Dee. She knows that; she loves you.”

I squeezed my eyes closed. I didn’t doubt she loved me, but you could still fear something you loved. And I wasn’t wrong. I wasn’t misinterpreting the way she looked at me. I wished I was the normal child she wanted. Things would be so different, so much easier. Better. But I wasn’t. Pretending I was, shoving my magic down deep and effectively muzzling it, didn’t make it so. It only made it hurt. The ache consumed me from the inside out, devouring everything I was.

It was as though my magic wasn’t willing to let any part of me survive if I kept denying it.

I stayed curled up in Kyle’s arms for a while, his hands stroking over my hair and my back, his soft murmurs teasing my ears. I breathed deeply, evenly, focusing on calming myself. When I drew back and tilted my head to meet Kyle’s gaze, he smiled down at me.

“Better?” he whispered.

I nodded and forced my lips to curve. I must have been convincing because his eyes crinkled as his own smile widened.

“Ready to go home?” he asked in the same quiet tone.

Not even a little.

“Yup.” I leaned forward and kissed his cheek quickly before scrambling from his lap and to my feet.

We walked though the woods together, shoulders bumping periodically, from his family’s land into the small town we called home. When we approached my house, the front door opened, and my mom stepped out onto the porch. She wrung her hands in front of her as she watched us come up the pathway.

“Delia.” Her voice broke slightly. From worry, I told myself, not from fear.

“I’m sorry,” I said immediately. “I shouldn’t have said those things,” no matter how true, “and I shouldn’t have run off. I’m sorry, Mom.”

Her gaze flicked over to Kyle then back to me. “Are you all right?”

I nodded. “I’m fine. Just needed some time, but I’m good.”

A ghost of a smile touched her lips. “Good. Kyle, you’re welcome to stay for dinner, if you like.”

With that, she spun on her heel and went back inside.

“Do you want me to stay?” Kyle asked, his palm skimming the small of my back.

“You don’t have—”

“Do you want me to?” He nudged my side with his hip.

“Yeah, that’d be nice,” I admitted, not exactly anxious for him to leave.

“All right then. I’ll stay.” He tipped his head, eyes searching mine. “You’re sure you’re okay?”

“Yes. I’m much better. Apparently, I just needed some time alone and a good cry. And a quick cuddle with you.”

He chuckled as we climbed the steps and went into the house. Mom was setting the table, and as soon as we walked in, she started chatting. All very normal and happy. Except for the fact not a single word was directed at me. She didn’t even look at me. Oh, she glanced my way, but her gaze skimmed right past me. It was if I were invisible.

That was all right, though. I could deal with. I could pretend and play along. I could lie. I was getting rather good at that, after all. It was my life, now.


Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James | Paige Prince

 

October Photo Prompt – Unwanted Guests

photoprompt

10-2015 - WomaninWhite

“You invited us here, Ms. Jamison. The contract is signed. We’ve spent a fair amount of money already on this special. There’s no backing out now.”

Lindsey’s jaw clenched and ached as she stared at the man who sat across from her on the large porch. Bradley Coulter—charming, charismatic, too freaking gorgeous for his own good and used to getting his way because of it.

She was going to kill Andrew for this, for putting her in this position. They’d planned on starting a bed and breakfast, opening up the house and grounds for events. Neither had wanted to lose the estate that had been in their family for generations, but this… This was going too far.

“Let me be clear, Mr. Coulter. I didn’t invite you here. My brother did.”

“Because he’s smart,” Bradley said pointedly. “Once this airs, you won’t have any openings for months.”

“Oh, yes,” she snapped. “I’ll so busy catering to a houseful of thrill seekers, looking for ghosts and spirits and who knows what else and making my life a living hell. Quite looking forward to that.”

He shrugged, a lazy movement that stretched the fabric of his t-shirt over his shoulders and torso in a way that was in no way appealing. Lindsey dragged her gaze away from him, unwilling to be like everyone else in the world who was so taken by his perfectly tousled golden hair, his dark blue eyes, his chiseled face and equally fit body. Of course, looking away from him only fuelled her anger and frustration more as she watched people—his people—all over the grounds. Placing cameras and microphones and whatever else they deemed necessary to find the paranormal bullshit they were looking for.

Her eyes were drawn to a woman just on the edge of the treeline. Her white dress stood in stark contrast against the dark trunks of the trees. Her thick hair—it looked black but could be brown—hung past her shoulders and blocked most of her face from view.

Lindsey shook her head. How was she supposed to deal with this? How was she supposed to do her job with this man and his crew all over the place?

“This really benefits everyone involved,” Bradley insisted. “And your brother did sign the contract, and since he owns the majority of the estate—”

“I’m well aware I have no say in whether you stay or not.” She pressed her fingers to her throbbing temples and took a deep breath.

“What exactly do you have against this, Ms. Jamison? Are you a skeptic?” he said, amusement dancing through his words.

“About you and what you do? Yes. I absolutely am. What you do is entertainment, stupid, mindless entertainment. It has its place, I’ll grant you that, but trying to explain every noise, every cold draft, every movement from the corner of your eye as evidence of ghosts?” She snorted. “Please. I don’t think so.”

She turned back to him and found his narrowed gaze firmly on her. The firm lips turned down in a fierce frown told her he didn’t like what the was hearing. So used to females simpering and falling all over him.

“And don’t even try to sell me on all the instruments and data you collect,” she warned. “All of that could be doctored—makes better viewing if you can spout off about EMF readings and all that, doesn’t it?”

“It could be doctored, yes,” he said slowly, “but it isn’t. I can show you, give you a demon—”

“Save yourself the effort. Not going to happen.” She took a deep breath and pushed to her feet. “I may not be able to make you leave, but I do have some say on things. You’ll be provided with a list of rooms that are off limits to you and your crew, and Andrew may have agreed to give an interview about the supposedly ghostly history of this place, but I will not be giving one. Nothing will change my mind on that, so don’t bother trying to charm me into one.”

She strode toward the steps and as she descended, he called out after her, “You should know, Ms. Coulter, I love a challenge.”

A spiral of heat twisted around her spine, and she hated herself for that.

“Be sure to tell your people not to trample my gardens,” she threw over her shoulder once she was certain she could maintain the cool air she wanted him to see. Needed him to see. “I’ll throttle them if they fuck up my hard work.”

Walking across the green, well-maintained lawn, Lindsey headed toward the treeline. Toward the woman who stood in the same place, looking around with a lost expression on her face. She met Lindsey’s gaze, brown eyes wide, as the distance between them shortened.

Stopping in front of the woman, Lindsey hesitated only a moment then asked, “Can I help you?”

 

Bradley slumped back in his chair and watched the prickly Lindsey Jamison walk away. The gentle sway of her hips drew his gaze, and he wet his lips then sipped from the cup of coffee she’d offered him earlier—grudgingly, but good manners clearly had been bred into her very bones.

Her brother, Andrew, had warned Bradley that Lindsey wasn’t exactly happy with the arrangement—highlighting their family estate on his show—but he’d still been caught off guard at the open hostility from the woman.

He’d bring her around, though. He always did. This wasn’t the first time he’d come up against a hard case, and wouldn’t be the last.

Lindsey stopped along the edge of trees that lined the large yard. Setting his cup on the small table, Bradley leaned forward and watched. Even from the distance, he could see her lips moving. Then, she gestured, as if beckoning someone to follow her, and walked farther into the wooded area.

The back of his neck prickled. Perhaps she wasn’t a skeptic, at all, he thought, watching her disappear into the trees. Completely alone.


Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James | Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris

 

Wednesday Randomness: Things That Made Me Smile This Week

Happy Wednesday!

Today’s topic is what made us smile the past week. Fairly easy post – a good thing because things have gotten crazy busy!

So, let’s just get to it…

1. Family camping – I will bitch and moan about camping. It isn’t my favorite thing, BUT I love being with the hubs and kids, and that makes it all worth it.

2. It was my birthday over the weekend. 🙂 Even got cake. It was nice.

3. The oldest boy – who is away all summer working as a camp counselor – made it it for one night of camping. Not only did I get to see him, and I miss him like crazy, but I got to watch him connect with the rest of the family – who may not admit they miss him as readiy as I do were so happy to see him.

And there… short and sweet from me this week. Those are the things that made me happy and smile this past week

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Head on over and see what the other Wed ladies are smiling about…
Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James | Kris Norris

 

 

July Photo Prompt: Awakening

photopromptFor this prompt, I delved back into the world of my serial. But not with my heroine this time. It’s just in that world. For those interested, here are links for the other flash fiction peices that are kinda connected/set in that world:

The Lies Begin
Lying in Wait
The Lies We Tell

And the link to the chapters of the serial

Your Lies


In this peice, I wanted to explore how other people’s magic began…manifested for the first time, and what happens as a result… And this was what came out of that…

07-2015 - BarefootInFieldAwakening

Leaning back, I tilted my head, eyes closed against the brightness of the late autumn sun. I had fought against coming on this stupid ass picnic. I wanted to be out with my friends—not stuck out here with my parents, my sister and little brother. Even as Owen’s laugh echoed in the open space around us, I fought against the smile the kid usually put on my face.

It wasn’t that I didn’t care about my family. I totally did. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with them. I didn’t mind it, I guess. And Molly was leaving next week for college, so hanging out with her had actually been kind of nice. The problem was the way Mom and Dad hadn’t even asked if I had plans—which I had. Freaking important ones, too—intense green eyes, messy brown hair flashed in my mind, and my gut clenched, desire mixing with the anger churning—but those plans didn’t matter to them.

“You need to stop scowling, Squidge.” Molly flopped down beside me and nudged my shoulder with hers. “You’re going to scare the wee one.”

I flicked a glance toward her and rolled my eyes. Mom and Dad were running around with Owen and, damn it, the smile won.

“He’s not even paying attention to me, right now, you nag. And quit with the stupid Squidge, will ya?”

“Yeah, but it’s only a matter of time before he comes to his big ‘brudder’ and do you want to scar him for life?”

“You’re going to scar him before I do. You’re the one leaving.”

She sighed. “I know.” She sighed and leaned against me. “And you’ll always be my Squidge, so stop fighting it.”

I didn’t respond and we sat quietly for a while—Dad was holding Owen up to pick some mulberries from the trees on the edge of the field, and Mom was laughing, probably at his pudgy stained face. It was odd, being so much older than he was. Molly was eighteen, and I was just a year behind her, and Owen hadn’t come along until four years ago. I never asked my parents why there was such a gap, and I guess it didn’t matter. If Owen had been an accident, he was a happy one—for all of us.

“You’re mad at me,” Molly murmured. “That I’m leaving.”

“Not mad.” And I wasn’t. At least, not at her. Maybe at the situation. With a healthy dose of self-pity. After all, she was only one who knew my secret. Well, not anymore. There was one other person who knew, now. But Molly was the only one I could really talk to.

“You should just tell them,” she said—as always, knowing what was on my mind. “It’s not going to change anything. They’re still going to love you, and they’ll accept you.”

“Are you going to tell them about you?” I snapped. I wasn’t the only one with a secret.

She stiffened. “It’s not the same thing, and you know it.”

“They may toe the anti-magic line, Mol, but if they knew—”

“I’m not going to argue about this, again.” She wrapped an arm around my shoulders and rested her head against mine.

“Then, don’t push me to tell them I’m…I’m gay if you’re not going to come out as a magic user. You don’t get to give me advice you’re not taking yourself. Not the way this works.”

“Man, you’re cranky today.” She pulled away and stared at me then her eyes widened. “Oh my God…it was today, wasn’t it? You were going to go out with him, today.”

I lifted a shoulder and looked away. “Doesn’t matter.”

“Of course it does. Can you meet him after? We won’t be here much longer, so you can—”

“He’s leaving tonight.” I glanced at my watch. “Leaving in about half an hour—on vacation with his family until school starts. This afternoon was the only time he had to go out.”

“Oh, Squidge, I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine.”

And I was nearly there in convincing myself it was. We’d already talked about seeing each other when he got back. It wasn’t as though anything was going to change in the next two weeks.

“Anyway,” I cleared my throat, “weren’t you supposed to be meeting friends about now? Big party, bonfire on the beach, tonight, yeah?”

“Yeah, but I don’t have to go.”

“For fuck’s sake, I don’t need you fussing over me. It’s the last chance you’re going to have to see most of them for a while. Go.”

“If you’re sure…”

“Go!” I repeated, playfully shoving her. “I’ll see you later.”

She stood, mussing my hair in retaliation before snagging her sandals off the blanket. She called out to my parents, who waved, before turning back to me.

“Least this family bit’s over, now. You have his number, right?”

“Yeah, I have his number.”

“So, text him. Flirt a bit. Just because you couldn’t go out today doesn’t mean there has to be radio silence until he comes back. Listen to your big sister. She knows what she’s talking about, and is about to do some serious flirting of her own tonight.”

With that, she started down the path along the woods, her dark hair and white dress blowing in the gentle breeze, her sandals dangling from her fingertips.

“Oh, tell me it isn’t with that jagweed Nick?” I called after her, shaking my head when her laughter was my only answer.

I shifted to get up but, suddenly, couldn’t move. My heart raced, and my breath caught in my throat as everything went black, Molly’s laughter still ringing in my ears. Then, even that faded. Replaced by crying. Molly sobbing. My throat closed, and ice filled my veins. I saw her…but not in the field. She was on the beach, stumbling along the waterline. Night had fallen, but the moon reflecting off the lake illuminated everything—every horrible thing. Her dress was torn, dirty, and her hair a wild mess around her pale face.

Rage roared as I saw the blood dripping from her temple down her cheek. What the hell had happened?

I tried to move, to call out, but I couldn’t. What was going on? It was like I was there…but not.

“Please,” Molly whimpered, stumbling and falling to her knees. Her fingers dug into the wet sand as she continued to try to get away… From what? From who?

“Lying cunt.” The snarled words were like a knife to my gut.

A large figure advanced on her, gaining ground, closing the distance between them.

“Filthy fucking magic user. You tricked me. Fooled me into wanting you.”

Nick. The guy Molly had been head over heels for the last several months.

“No, no. I didn’t, I swear I didn’t do any—” A scream cut her words off when he grabbed her ankle.

I wanted to look away but couldn’t as my sister was dragged backward, kicking and crying out. This couldn’t be happening. No way. This was some weird, fucked-up waking dream or something.

The sounds of splashing washed over me, and I, again, tried to look away, block out everything. Instead, the sight of Nick’s hands around Molly’s neck as he shoved her beneath the water’s surface filled my vision. Was now seared into my brain forever.

The whole time, as he held her down, Nick swore and cursed at her, blaming her for having to do this. And I just had to watch. I couldn’t do anything.

Just as suddenly as I was thrust into…whatever this was…I was sitting up gasping for air. I was tangled in something and began to struggle. I needed to find Molly, make sure she was all right. That’s all that mattered right now.

“Honey, stop, you’re going to hurt yourself.” My mom reached for something beside me. “I’ll just call the nurse in.”

“Mom?” I looked around frantically. What the hell? A hospital? “What happened?”

“You passed out and started convulsing. The doctors think it was some kind of seizure.” She smoothed her hand over my hair then cupped my face. “I was so scared, but you’re okay. You’re going to be okay.”

“Where’s Molly?” I demanded.

“Molly?” Mom frowned slightly. “She’s probably home by now. Dad went back with Owen once you were stable, and I tried to text her, but she didn’t answer. Her phone is probably dead; you know how she is.”

The indulgent chuckle did nothing to ease the tight coil of utter fear deep inside me. “She’s in trouble, Mom. I have to go. I have to go find her, now.”

I pushed against her, trying to get out of the bed. A man in scrubs walked in just as I was standing, despite Mom’s best efforts. Dizziness overcame me, and I grabbed the edge of the bed as I swayed.

“Hey, hey, now. You shouldn’t be up.” The nurse…or doctor?…rushed over and tried to push me back onto the bed, and I slapped his hands away.

He was fucking strong, but I fought against him. I yelled and screamed—I don’t even know if it made any sense, but I didn’t care. I needed to get to Molly before it was too late, before…

More people rushed into the room, and I cried out to my mom, who stood near the door, tears streaming down her face, hand over her mouth as they held me down and injected something into the IV attached to my arm.

“Find Molly…need to find her…” I forced past numb lips as darkness sucked me under again.

*****

Two weeks later, I stood beside my parents as Molly was lowered into the ground. My entire body trembled as I looked out over the sea of people who had come to her funeral, and fiery fury battered every cell in my body when my gaze settled on Nick. He dared to come here, had the nerve to be part of the search for Molly when she hadn’t come home. Everyone else thought her drowning was an accident. But I knew. I knew the truth.

I couldn’t do anything about it now—my parents were watching. Watching so fucking carefully since I’d had my “seizure” and freaked out at the hospital. One day, though, they wouldn’t be. One day, there would be no one watching, and I would end him. I forced myself to continue scanning the faces—not wanting to raise any suspicions by staring.

My heart skipped a beat when I met sad green eyes. He’d texted me every day, and I hadn’t answered. Lost in my grief and swimming in my rage.

I’d been so naïve, stupid. Blind to what was happening right in front of me and what needed to be done. And as a result, my sister was gone. Taken from me.

Green eyes still intent on me—now concern shining from them—I had to draw deep for the strength not to react and to drag my gaze away—break the connection. As much as it hurt, I couldn’t focus on him, or what we could have possibly had together, anymore.

How much could change in two weeks?

Everything.


Be sure to check out the other peices inspired by this month’s photo!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones
Kellie St. James Kris NorrisPaige Prince

 

Wednesday Randomness: 5 Words or Less – My WIP, My Characters, My Setting, My Conflict

5wordsorlessMy WIP – Made me LOVE writing again!

My Characters – Reborn, Magical, King & his knights

My Setting – Mostly a way overcrowded house

My Conflict – Enough to drive me crazy

🙂


Head on over to the other blogs and see what they came up with!
Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James | Paige Price

 

 

Wednesday Randomness: When I’m Stressed, I Relax By…

Happy Wednesday! This week’s topic is how we relax when we’re stressed. I imagine my list isn’t going to have anything shocking. LOL But here goes…

SleepAura-Comfy-Bed-Linen-1

Readimages-1

Veg out in front of the TVnetflix2

Glass of wine or a good ciderurlimages

Bath or a long, hot showerbubble-bath

Massage (doesn’t happen often enough, let me tell you!)massage

And that’s about it. When I’m stressed and need to relax, I do the above…on their own or a combination thereof (a bath + a good book + a glass of wine = a relaxed Jess)


Be sure to check out what the others do when they need a bit of relaxation. I know I will be…See what else I should be doing!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James | Kris Norris