Can You Vague That Up For Me?

Bronwyn Green's Random Thoughts

Wordless Wednesday: Comfort

 

 

These are just a few of the things I think of when I think of comfort. (Breaking the rules with captions. Like usual.)

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The swing my husband built me is one of my favorite comfort things. Just the act of quietly swinging is soothing.

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Being by the water, particularly when the waves are rolling in has always brought me comfort. This is Lake Michigan on a particularly turbulent day.

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So has the scent of lilacs.

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And cuddly kitties.

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I love this lantern. It’s warm glow always makes me feel a little more peaceful than I did, before I lit the candle on the inside.

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Knitting is so comforting – both the act of knitting and listening to the clacking of the needles of someone else doing it.

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And there’s probably nothing more comforting than being all cwtched up in sweaters that my mama knitted for me.

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Here’s a closeup of some of the main patterns. Also, that one on the bottom left isn’t that orange in real life. The actual color is how it looks up above. It was just really sunny out when I took them out to photograph them.

Be sure to check the other authors’ posts to see what they find comforting.

Jess

Torrance

 

Flash Fiction #42 – Losing My Religion

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This month, our song fic is R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion. Here are the lyrics and video.

And because this story is on my mind, I’m gonna try to make these lyrics bend to my will. Or something. If you’d like to read the previous parts of the story, here are links to parts one and two.

Hollis blinked at the man who’d followed her down into the sub-basement of the university library then blinked again.

She didn’t know what to process first–the fact that he hadn’t fallen for her diversionary tactic, he knew and recognized her scent, the welcome news that she’d aced her midterms, or that the guy who’d starred in far too many a mid-class daydream was threatening to report her to campus security.

For someone who made a point to  stay on the fringes, and kept to corners, this felt entirely too much like having spotlight trained on her.

“So, basically you’re blackmailing me?” she snapped.

Eoin frowned. “It sounds so sordid when you say it like that.”

She glared at him and tried to ignore the way his eyes twinkled as he watched her. He was enjoying this entirely too much.

He nodded toward the door. “You’ve unlocked it. Are we just going to stand out here all night, or are we goin’ in?”

She tried to ignore the way his Irish accent thickened in his excitement and settled low in her stomach. “Do you know what’s behind the door?”

“Do you?” he countered.

She shook her head. Her hand was suddenly clammy on the doorknob. “Maybe we shouldn’t.

He crossed his arms over his chest. “It’s Friday night. You got something better to do, love? Maybe kegstands with the Sigma Pis?”

She opened her mouth to respond, but she noticed the light above the elevator blinking red. “Shit.”

Eoin whirled to look then turned back to her. “Either we go in, or we take a trip to campus security.”

“Okay, so we’re doing this,” she muttered under her breath and pushed open the door praying she wasn’t walking into a horde of ravening zombies or about to fall into a bottomless pit.

He pushed in behind her, and they quickly and quietly shut the door. What sounded like an automatic locking mechanism tumbled smoothly over. They both pressed against the door and listened for sounds that they’d been spotted. But there was nothing.

She glanced up at Eoin, and he put a finger to his lips. Just as he did, someone on the other side rattled the doorknob. Hollis gasped and he quickly clamped one hand around the back of her neck and the other one over her mouth, and lowered his forehead to hers. “Shhh.”

She met his gaze and nodded at his barely audible warning to show she’d heard and understood.

He slowly removed his hands, and they both turned to see where they’d ended up. “Fuck me,” he muttered.

Be sure to check out Jess‘ post.

Elena Johansen has a new book out today! YAY!

I’ve got awesome news to share! My girl, Elena, has a new book out – the next one in her What We Need dystopian series. I loved the first one and definitely recommend it. I’m really excited to make time in my schedule to read this one, too!

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Before we get to the blurb and excerpts for this, I asked Elena a few questions.

Did you notice any big differences in the writing process between WWNtS and WWNtD? 

Major, major differences. First, I wrote WWNtS over multiple partial drafts over the better part of a year, trying out different perspectives and structures until I found the one I was happiest with—only then did I actually finish a full story draft. WWNtD, I briefly outlined before NaNoWriMo last year, then planted my butt in the chair and wrote in one draft over roughly six weeks during NaNo and the early part of December. It was a brutal experience, but it was absolutely what I needed to get into a productive mindset, rather than dithering about until inspiration struck. Inspiration strikes all the time, more than I want it to, in fact, but the important part is doing the work.

(Agreed!)

Now that you have the first two completed, will there be any changes in the way you approach the third book?

I’m still refining my overall process, but the most important thing so far has been quadruple-checking everything. I’m already into revisions on book three, and because of the changes I made during the rewriting stages on book two, I’m coming across continuity issues I didn’t anticipate, on top of the changes I already knew I had to make. It’s tedious, but necessary.

I think that no matter the genre, most authors tend to learn things about themselves as they create their stories. Would you say that’s been the case for you? And if so, and if you’re comfortable sharing, what would you say you’ve learned? 

While I hope I’ve managed to move away from the self-insert characters of my youth, I’ve learned that my best characters are going to be like me in at least some ways, because the shortest route to writing someone real is to write from experience. I gave Paul what I consider one of my best strengths, open-heartedness. I make friends quickly, always have, and while he may be a bit more stubborn about it than I am (I would have backed off from someone as hostile as Nina was in the early days) it’s still a piece of me. Nina, on the other hand, got my tendency toward anxiety, and her sense of humor is definitely modeled after mine.

So the challenge is investing enough of myself into them to bring them to life, while not making them clones of myself, or of each other—that’s where inspiration comes in, and other people I know, and any number of character-development exercises and lists of traits and flaws and motivations.

(This is a fantastic answer. I love these insights!)

If you found yourself in the midst of a dystopian world, what are the top five objects you’d want to have on your person at all times?

A flashlight. A water bottle or canteen. Some kind of blunt-force-type weapon; I have no formal weapons training, so I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a gun, and knives are just as dangerous to an untrained attacker as they are to the attackee, but I think I could manage a baseball bat or a length of sturdy pipe. Dental floss, both for the obvious reasons, and because it’d be handy to have something string-like packaged with its own cutter. And, because I’m me, I’d still want a book or two.

(I’m so pathetic, the first thing I thought of was lip balm. You’d survive a lot longer than I would!)

 

Would you want to find a place where you could hole up try to defend it, or would you keep moving to see what was out there? 

Aha! You’ve found a clever way to ask me if I’m more like Paul or Nina. I’m honestly more in the middle—to me, it would depend on who I was with, and what conditions were like wherever we were. I’d bow to reason, or failing that, go with the group decision. But on my own, I think my natural inclination would be to hole up and nest, to make someplace comfortable to live and reasonably defensible.

(That’s me. Sneaky and tricksy.) 

What’s coming up next for you?

I’m still working on book three, and I hope to have this draft done by November, so that…

(You got this.)

Do you have plans for what you’ll be writing once this series is done? 

…I can participate in NaNoWriMo again to kickstart my next project. I’ve been faithfully jotting down all my plot bunnies while I’ve been working on the What We Need series, and I’m hoping to read through all my notes and decide which one comes next. Though in all honesty, there is one leading the pack. Is it too soon to write about more musicians? Because I’ve also got librarians, nature witches, artists, or gamers on standby. Or a new idea could hit me before then, we’ll see.

(I don’t think it’s ever too soon to write about musicians. However, I’d be totally on board with librarians, nature witches, artists, and gamers.)

Here’s a little more about the awesomeness that is Elena:

Elena Johansen pursued a lot of interests in her life before she decided she really should have been a writer all along.

Now she is one. That whole rock-star thing probably wouldn’t have worked out, anyway.

She lives in Michigan with her husband.

Want to know more? Visit her at elenajohansen.com.

And be sure to check out her social media! Tumblr * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Here’s the blurb:

Planning a future is a tricky thing, more difficult than picking the best route off a map–especially when the world lies in ruins.

 Paul doesn’t have any doubts about Nina. She chose to follow him, and to love him, more every day. Life on the road will never be easy, but with her by his side, he can do anything.

 Nina never hoped for much, before the plague, or after. Having Paul to love, and to love her, was more than she’d expected. No matter what else is wrong, being with him feels right, and she sets aside her armor to let him in.

 But when Nina reveals her deepest secrets, Paul realizes the life he hopes to have some day might be out of his reach.

 And when Paul shows her his darkest side, the piece of himself he can’t accept, Nina wonders if she’ll lose the man she loves to his own demons.

 Will Paul and Nina allow the struggles of their pasts to define their future?

 What We Need to Decide continues their story, begun in What We Need to Survive, following them as they face the dangers of a world that isn’t as empty as it seems, and the challenges of forging a strong bond under the worst conditions.

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Chapter One – Destination

October 12th, 6:35 pm – OH-93, south of Oak Hill

Nina sat beside Paul in front of the fire and waited for him to tell her what was on his mind.

She sensed something weighing on him. His distant expression was more than the unfocused gaze of someone staring into the leaping flames. He peered through it, past it, as if trying to see into the future. The slight furrow of his brow meant he didn’t care for whatever chain of events he conjured up.

He’d been quiet all afternoon while they’d foraged for food in Oak Hill. With a solid set of wheels underneath them, they didn’t need to stop in every town to hunt for supplies. But when they’d found a small grocery next to the highway with no obvious signs of damage, Paul had pulled into the parking lot and suggested they investigate.

They’d found a case of energy bars and more honey-roasted peanuts than they could eat in a week. Not that Nina wouldn’t try.

They hadn’t talked much as they scanned the aisles by the beam of Paul’s flashlight. Without the hum of the air conditioners, the electric whine of the fluorescent lights overhead, or the bland pop music playing on the radio, their voices had echoed through the cavernous building.

Though no one would hear them, Paul had whispered, and so had she.

He wasn’t whispering anymore. He was silent, almost brooding.

Nina had needed time to get used to his easy, talkative nature at first—his effortless charm inviting her in, and how he kept trying to be her friend when she couldn’t admit she wanted one. Since they’d gone beyond friendship, she was having equal trouble getting used to his silences. He’d admitted to worrying he talked too much sometimes, or he’d bore her, so he overcompensated by shutting up for hours. And sometimes, he was just tired.

This quiet between them as they sat together at the fire seemed thoughtful.

Emulating Paul’s endless patience with her was a challenge, but Nina wanted to try. She sat beside him without fidgeting or filling the silence with small talk. She was terrible at small talk anyway—if she dove into it, Paul would suspect he was making her anxious.

Instead of demanding he spill his secrets, which tempted her, Nina made herself do something practical, something useful. Diverting her circling thoughts with activity wasn’t new—she’d done it plenty to calm her mind before she and Paul had gotten together.

But she still thought of him as the practical one, the one ready for any eventuality. She had to play catch-up, learning to be as self-reliant and self-assured as he was.

Their spare gear was stored in the back of the pickup truck. They’d already built the fire and eaten dinner, but they hadn’t pitched the tent yet. By the way the western sky was blazing orange and pink, sunset was no more than half an hour away. Nina wasn’t practiced enough at camping to be comfortable setting up the tent by firelight. She lifted it out of the truck bed and scanned the site for the best spot.

When Paul noticed what she was doing, he jumped to his feet to help. Together they cleared a space and put up the tent, a two-person dome barely long enough for Paul to stretch out in. They had one sleeping bag between them, which got unrolled, unzipped, and laid flat to serve as a mattress. Their blankets went on top, though they had no pillows. Nina supposed they could have taken theirs from the house when they left, but neither of them had thought to, and they hadn’t found new ones.

After they finished, Paul plunked himself back down at the fire. Not sure what else to do, Nina joined him. He draped his arm over her shoulders, and she leaned her head against his chest, grateful for the contact. But he was still silent, and she still didn’t know how to ask what was making him so somber.

Before long, she was dozing off.

“You should go to bed,” Paul told her after the third time she jerked her head up to keep from falling completely asleep.

A good idea, but it could be a better one. “Come with?” Nina asked, her voice small and sleepy.

He shook his head, trailing the backs of his fingers over her cheek. “I’ll be in soon.”

Nina’s skin heated from the caress more than from the warmth of the fire. After a few days together on the road, Paul’s casual affection finally felt natural to her. Building that part of their relationship was easier when they were alone together, with no one watching and driving Nina crazy with nerves.

But she sighed when she settled into their thin, inadequate bed, alone and not nearly warm enough without Paul beside her. Summer was giving way to fall, and already the nights were far colder than she thought they’d be. She curled herself tightly, pulled her blanket up to her chin, and tried not to worry. The sudden feeling of distance between her and Paul kept her too tense to sleep. She wanted the warmth of his body and the solid comfort of his presence.

He was only a few feet away, but it felt much farther.

Nina told herself she was overreacting, but it was still new to her, this intimacy of hearts, not just of bodies. Uncertainty ran rampant inside her head—she knew she should find out what was bothering him, but she didn’t know how, not without potentially making the problem worse.

Sometime later she woke, fuzzy-headed and night-blind, without realizing she had fallen asleep. Paul was in the tent. He’d put the fire out, so no light shone through the thin nylon walls, and in the dark, he’d bumped her getting into bed.

She made a complaining noise, and he kissed her hair as he gathered her in his arms. “Sorry, sweetheart. Go back to sleep.”

His heat thawed her chilled joints, and she melted closer to him. When she began to kiss her way up his neck, though, he pulled away.

“Not tonight, okay? It’s late, I think we both need the sleep instead.”

Nina laid her head on his shoulder, determined not to let him know by any sound or change in her breathing how even his gentle rejection stung. Not much, not unbearably, but she hadn’t expected the first time to be so soon. They’d made love in one form or another every night since they’d left, and more than once on a break from traveling during the day.

They were still new to each other, and both of them had been starved for real affection. Nina had a gnawing hunger in her, a craving for him she couldn’t seem to satisfy.

Until tonight, she hadn’t doubted Paul felt the same hunger. For those precious few days they’d had together at the house, it hadn’t mattered whose idea it had been to get naked. But on the road, Paul had been letting Nina make the first move. Either because it was his nature—which Nina didn’t believe, he was too passionate to sit back and wait for her every time—or because he was trying to be sensitive to her past. She remembered the horror in his expression when she’d told him about her time on the road with Darren, before they’d met.

She’d refused to go with Paul, at first, because of it.

Obviously, he remembered too, which made him hesitant.

Nina wiggled closer. Paul’s arms settled more snugly around her. His heart thumped beneath her cheek, steady and strong, a drum keeping time for the soft drone of the crickets outside.

He didn’t pull away.

Her anger and hurt eased with every reassuring thump in his chest. She could choose to hang onto them, or to let them go. Paul was trying to make her life easier by being undemanding. He was trying to keep her fears contained and quiet her anxieties.

And if he erred on the side of caution, wasn’t it another sign he cared?

With a deep sigh, she let it go, like dropping stones into a pond and watching until they sank out of sight. “Paul?” she whispered. “Are you still awake?”

“Hm?” he murmured, nuzzling her hair with his lips.

“I know you’re too tired to talk now, but something’s bothering you. Will you tell me soon? Because I’m worried about you.”

After a long pause, she wondered if he’d fallen asleep right when she’d finally figured out how to safely phrase her concerns. Then he said, “Not sure I’m ready to talk about it yet, sweetheart. Might be a bad idea.”

She pawed her hands up his body until she found his face, then drew him down to her for a kiss. A soft one, which she hoped he knew wasn’t asking for more. “Then think about it. Because I want to help.”

“All right, sweetheart.” He interrupted himself with a wide yawn. “I can do that.”

If he said anything else, Nina didn’t remember when she woke up in the morning. Early sunlight painted the far side of the tent a brighter shade of green. She rolled over to joke with Paul for letting her sleep past sunrise, but she was alone. Not even a memory of warmth came from his side of the bed.

Nina’s winter coat was draped over her, though, on top of her blanket. Paul must have done it when he woke up, and his care of her made her heart flutter, even if she wanted to be the one taking care of him.

When she emerged from the tent, shoving her hands down the arms of her coat, she found Paul sitting in the cab of the truck with the door still open, his feet on the step. His notebook was spread across his knee as he wrote. He wore his usual layers, shirt and sweater, plus his own winter coat, a rugged denim jacket, surprisingly warm and sturdy. Nina knew because she’d found it for him, delighted at the quilted lining and how it was big enough she’d drown in it. Which meant, she’d hoped, it might actually fit him.

It did, which made her happier than she’d expected to be.

Their coats had been stuffed in the back of the truck with their extra supplies, but the chill in the morning air must have prompted Paul to retrieve them. She hadn’t seen him wearing his yet, but the deep blue color, a few shades darker than his jeans, turned his hair a brighter gold. For a moment, she just stood in front of the tent and marveled at him, her long-legged songwriter with his shaggy hair and beautiful hands and quiet, considerate heart.

She’d had no idea love could feel this way. Maybe she should have tried it sooner.

But it wouldn’t have been with him, so it might have been all wrong.

When Paul lifted his bent head to smile at her, she couldn’t help returning his grin. Faint, dark circles shadowed his eyes, which made Nina wonder how long he’d lain awake the night before wrestling with whatever demons troubled him. But he kept smiling as he set his notebook on the dashboard and stretched out his arms, inviting her to step into them, holding her when she did.

“’Morning,” she said, muffled by his coat.

“Looks like you slept better than I did.” He kissed the top of her head.

She faced him, not sure what to say, and tried to keep the worry out of her expression. She didn’t want to ask again, because he might think she didn’t trust him to tell her when he was ready.

Despite her best efforts, some fraction of her inner turmoil must have lurked in her eyes, enough to crack the edges of his uncertainty. He squeezed her tighter for a moment, tight enough for her ribs to protest, then kissed her forehead before speaking. “I know we planned to avoid big cities,” he began. “And I still think we should. Except . . .”

“Except?” Nina prompted when he broke off, glancing away.

He closed his eyes for a heartbeat before meeting her gaze again. “I want to go home.”

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All the concerts. Well, all the ones I’ve seen anyway.

On August 26th, Jenny Trout, her seven year old daughter, and I drove to Chicago (Well, Jen drove. I covered my eyes a lot and hoped fervently that we’d return home to tell the tale. And that’s nothing against Jen’s driving. That’s because more than three lanes on an expressway and Chicago traffic freak me the fuck out.) to see the Billy Joel concert at Wrigley Field.

On the trip we talked about how her daughter was going to have a great first concert story. I mean, how many seven-year-olds have seen Billy Joel, anyway? Scratch that. How many seven-year-olds even know who Billy Joel is?

Anyway, we also talked about previous concerts we’d been to and decided to do a blog post about them. Jen’s might be in chronological order, but mine won’t be because I’m terrible at remembering stuff. Particularly remembering stuff in order.

But here it goes.

Styx  It was the first concert I ever saw. I was a kid – not as young as Wednesday, but pretty young. I was supposed to go with my mom, but she was heavily pregnant and no heavily pregnant person wants to navigate downtown Detroit and the Joe Louis Arena. In retrospect, I completely understand. At the time, I had to go with my then stepfather. We didn’t really get along. This was no exception.

Adam Ant Oh, yes, friends. You read that right. I was a young teen and quite in love with Adam Ant. Yeah…I know. It was the 80s. What do you want? However, I discovered something far better than Adam Ant at that show. And that was the opening act.

INXS opened for Adam Ant, and I learned many important things that night. I learned that a young Michael Hutchence was insanely fucking hot (even with the awful mullet). I learned that INXS should have been the featured band. Most importantly? I learned about lust.

Sister Rosine went on about lust constantly at school. It was a never ending litany of who was going to hell and why. The answer was all non-Catholics and everyone who had lust in their hearts. It was a Catholic high school, so…you know…pretty much everyone. I’d been lectured on the dangers of lust every day for a couple of years at this point and I was lust blah blah eternal damnation blah blah blah.

Then I saw Michael Hutchence. I saw Michael Hutchence sing. I saw Michael Hutchence dance. I saw Michael Hutchence and had a goddamn epiphany in the middle of “Don’t Change.” And that epiphany, you might wonder? It was: “Oh! This is what Sister Rosine was on about. There was lust in my heart. There was lust in my mind. And friends, there was most certainly lust in my pants. If Sister Rosine was to be believed, I was on the fast track to hell. And I was absolutely fine with that.

Marillion You know that show that you end up at because you’re dating a guy who thinks neo-progressive rock is a great idea? This was that show. Hi/lowlight: You pop out to go to the bathroom at the beginning of a song and discover that a bunch of other people had the same idea. It takes 22 minutes to get through the line and wash your hands and you come back and the band is only then moving into the key change before the big finish of that song.

The Who I didn’t actually go to this show. However, I did get tickets for it for my fiance for a wedding gift–he took his best man because I had a paralyzing fear of the Silverdome where they were playing. I now regret this choice. It was back in the day when Ticketmaster had a physical location that you had to go to. And the Ticketmaster employees were grumpy. as. fuck. about opening at 6 am to sell  concert tickets to a bunch of people who’d been lined up all damn night.  I’m including it because my brother and I spent the night outside in line with a bunch of Dead Heads and bikers and there was some chick in line next to me who’d recently changed her name to Cheyenne. Though, she took great pains to tell me that she’d chosen to spell it a better way. “Shy-Anne”. Shy-Anne, if you’re still out there somewhere, you were a fab line mate and I enjoyed talking women’s studies with you. And Spider, the biker, who saved my place in line so I could find the bathroom I so desperately needed at five am because the three porta potties that were there had been barfed all over – there wasn’t a place to step let alone sit. Spider, sir, you were a true gentleman.

Jethro Tull – It was a husband’s choice show that I ended up enjoying far more than I thought I would. Ian Anderson literally never stops moving.

Tracy Chapman – Syd Vicious, one of my daycare girlies, and I used to listen to Tracey Chapman all the time. As a surprise, her mom got three tickets to a show Chapman did at my favorite venue – the State Theater in Kalamazoo. Seriously, look at this place! It’s small – it only holds about 1500 people. But the architecture is gorgeous and the acoustics are great.

The concert was fantastic, too, and Syd, her mom and I had a wonderful time. I think the thing that surprised me the most was how incredibly tiny TracyChapman is. She’s got this giant, gorgeous voice but she’s downright wee.But she puts on a damn good show.

Tori Amos – I’ve seen Tori 4 times – the Little Earthquakes, Under the Pink, Boys for Pele and From the Choir Girl Hotel tours. All of the shows were memorable.  LE because she played the State Theater and there were maybe 200 people there, so she had us all move down front and she sat on the edge of the stage and talked to everyone – it was like having a concert in someone’s living room. For UtP, I was ginormously pregnant with my first child, and I was also a raging hormonal bitch. This concert was where I met one of my very dearest friends. And even though she met me when I was at my literal worst, 22 years later, we’re closer than ever. And the FtCGH was where I very nearly met Jenny Trout. I went to that concert then the next day I went to a writing conference and I was talking about the concert and Jen’s grandma overheard me and said that her granddaughter had been at that concert and she wanted us to meet because she thought we’d be great friends. As it turns out, she was absolutely right.

Rufus Wainwright – He opened for Tori and while he was super entertaining, he was also really drunk. I spent most of his set wondering if there was a way to get him into rehab.

Dar Williams – I’ve seen Dar 3 times and I adore her. Her shows are fun and quirky and thoroughly enjoyable. The first time I saw her, I was pregnant with my second kid. During my second favorite holiday song, The Christians and the Pagans, I felt my son move for the first time. Coincidentally (?), that’s always been one of his favorite songs and it still is.

Ani Difranco – I’ve seen Ani 5 times. Most of those times were with Roxanne, the friend I met during the Tori concert and once was with Jenny and my sister Cait. When I’m in the mood for angry chick music, Ani’s my go-to. She puts on a fabulous show. I do have some serious fucking questions about her opening acts though. I want to have a sit down with her and find out what her criteria is for choosing them, because holy hell, they have been, without exception, the literal fucking worst. Roxanne and I have it narrowed down to one of two choices. Either A.) She wants to make sure she looks amazing in comparison to the openers. Or B.) She feels sorry for them and she’s hoping that on the road, someone out there somewhere will love them enough that they’ll become a real band. I mean, for fuck’s sake, Drum and Tuba was one of her opening acts.

Drum and Tuba – Let me set the stage for you. There is a drum. There is a tuba. There are two gentlemen. One plays the drum. The other plays the tuba. For over a half hour. Maybe even 45 minutes. It’s fucking hard to be sure when your ears are bleeding and you’re praying for an end to your suffering.

Stevie Nicks – We’re not people who win things. Like ever. But somehow, my husband magically won tickets to a Stevie Nicks concert. She was just as delightfully Stevieish as she could be. Scarves. Shawls. Skirts, Tambourines. Spinning. Heels to high to wear safely. 10/10: Would see again.

Catie Curtis – My sister, Cait, took me to this show. It was just a nice little folk concert on the Lake Michigan shore. And I like a lot of Catie’s songs, so that was great. And hanging with Cait is always fun.

Brandi Carlile – Speaking of hanging with Cait, my sister took me to this concert, too. Awesome outdoor concert with lots of singing along and Cait getting the numbers of lots of girls. Literally happens wherever we go. They are moths. She’s the porchlight.

Tony Bennett – Now, I fully admit, this wasn’t a concert on my radar. But Jen really wanted to go and so did her IDK BFF Jill – but neither of them drove at the time. So, I drove and we all went, and it was A.) a really great show. B.) an awesome fun time with Jen and Jill. C.) absolutely fascinating to watch these drunkass 60 year old women hooting and hollering at the stage and threatening to strip. 10/10 would totally do again.

Sarah McLaughlin, Suzanne Vega, and god help me, Miranda Lambert. When my Syd Vicious graduated high school, she wanted to go to Lilith Faire. And she wanted me and Cait to go with her and her mom. I’d never been, so I thought, sure – let’s do it. There were some extra tickets, so Syd’s mom told me to invite someone. So I invited Jen. I believe her response was, “Christ, no! Why the hell would I do that to myself?!” or something to that effect. There were a ton of acts there. But it was hot and beastly humid and you couldn’t bring water into the park and they were charging $9 a bottle for 16.9 oz. I don’t even want to admit how many bottles I bought. But I was dying. And mostly those smaller acts were all on the face of the sun, so we avoided them.

Suzanne Vega was good. So was Sarah McLaughlin. But JM&J, Miranda Lambert sounded like someone was trying to teach a really angry cat to sing. I mean, okay, I admit country music really isn’t my thing. But this was a whole ‘nother level of painful. You might wonder why we didn’t wander away to anywhere else during her set. Well, I’ll tell you. There was shade. There was shade and we were trying to keep from dying. The price of life? Miranda Fucking Lambert live with zero autotuning. Never again the Miranda Lambert times.

Fleetwood Mac – While Stevie Nicks was great and also free, I’ve always wanted to see Fleetwood Mac. I finally got my chance a couple of summers ago when my mom, Cait, of Cait’s BFF, Laura, and I drove down to Detroit. We ate supper in Greektown in my favorite dive restaurant that looks no different than it did when we lived near there when I was a preteen. And while we were trying to find our way to the Joe Louis Arena we drove by Mariner’s Church aka the Sailor’s Maritime Cathedral which meant we all simultaneously broke into song and sang that verse from The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. (There’s a reason Cait and Laura are BFFs.) Laura belongs in our tribe. But anyway, the show was absolutely amazing. I was surprised by the really diverse age range of the crowd. There were as many teenagers there as there were people my mom’s age. Sadly, I also discovered that my vertigo in places like that is worse than ever. I was probably right to skip The Who at the Silverdome.

Counting Crows – Counting Crows gets a bad rap, particularly from Jenny Trout. But I don’t care, I love them anyway, and I always will. So there.  However, when they were doing lots of touring in the 90s, we were broke as fuck and there was no Counting Crows for me. However, the same summer I saw Fleetwood Mac, I also got to see Counting Crows with Kayleigh Jones, because Kayleigh, unlike Jen, knows what’s up.

It was such a great show. The new stuff was surprisingly just as good as the old. Even the admittedly bizarre mash up of Round Here and Oh, My Darling Clementine worked. I’m not exactly sure how Adam Duritz’s brain works, but I find it fascinating. And I still think he’s brilliant fucking lyricist.

Toad the Wet Sprocket – Toad opened for Counting Crows and they were fab. They also had new songs to go with the old and they were great, too. But I’m pretty sure the lead singer is a vampire. I don’t think he’s aged at all. And I had a really great time with Kayleigh at the show.

Walk Off the Earth – My sister introduced me to WOTE in hopes of getting me off a Mumford and Sons kick because she loathes them. I still love Mumford and Sons, however, thanks to Cait, I love Walk Off the Earth, too! They’re innovative, fun, they write catchy as fuck music, and I absolutely adore them. My daughter and I went to see them a couple winters ago. We had to sit through three fucking AWFUL opening acts (I can only assume they’re following the Ani Difranco school of thought when it comes to choosing their openers.) However, the concert was so great that it erased almost all the memories of the openers from my mind. I remember being annoyed, but I can’t remember by whom. If you get a chance to see them, definitely do!

Billy Joel – Which brings us back to where this post started. I’ve loved Billy Joel since high school, but again. I’ve never been able to see him. That changed in August. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about seeing a concert at a baseball stadium. It seemed like it would be too big and crowded to really feel any connection to the music. It was big and it was definitely crowded, but there was an amazing sense of community there.

Despite my decidedly Catholic upbringing, I’m not religious. Pretty much the only thing I miss about church is singing with a group. I just really enjoy that. There’s a sense of connection that you don’t experience with too many other things. Because nearly everyone in the crowd knew all the words, everyone was singing. I was worried that it might detract from the concert experience. Not even a little. Honestly, I think it made it more fun. And it made it feel a lot like singing with a choir.

And holy shit, can that guy perform. He’s funny, charming, and he honest to god sounds just like he sounds in recordings.I would go see him again and again. But the best part of all was hanging with Jen and her daughter and the look on her daughter’s face when the show started–that was just magical.

Here’s Jen’s concert list. Who have you seen? What were some of your faves?

Promptly Penned: Pencils Down

Promptly Penned

Prompt:

In school, tests started with a class bell and ended with a “pencils down”, outside of school things weren’t so well defined.

 

This is a continuation of this story, but I’m pretty sure this will stand on it’s own if you don’t feel like going back and reading the other.

 

In school, tests started with a class bell and ended with a “pencils down”, outside of school things weren’t so well defined.

Like now, for instance. Things were so poorly defined, one might call them vague.

Or murky.

Perhaps hazy was better.

They were definitely pear-shaped.

And egg-splattered.

Bailey was positive that this had to be some sort of test from the universe. Why else would have mistaken her neighbor’s car for her stupid replacement roommate’s car? Why else would said neighbor–said ridiculously hot neighbor–have caught her throwing eggs at his car like she was some kind of twelve-year-old delinquent if it wasn’t a cosmic test? And she was pretty sure she’d failed. Miserably.

She waited until she heard Jack’s feet on the stairs and the sound of his door closing up above. It was a lot later than he usually came home on a weeknight. She hoped his change in schedule wasn’t somehow due to her trashing pelting his car with raw eggs.

Taking a deep breath, she climbed the stairs and knocked on his door. She could make out the sounds of mumbling and a creaking floor behind the door. Neither sounds helped her nerves at all.

The wooden door flew inward so quickly, the motion startled her, and she almost dropped her apology.

Jack looked at her, his face almost impassive except for the hard tilt of his lips. “Can I help you? If you needed to borrow eggs, I’m fresh out, too.”

She lifted the plate of cookies and muffins she’d made. “I wanted to apologize. I thought I was throwing eggs at Aaron’s car.”

Jack just stared at her.

“I suggest you and your boyfriend figure out a better way to work out your issues. Otherwise innocent bystanders end up smelling like rotten eggs by the end of the day from sitting in egg that managed to hit their seats through the open windows. It was a bit distracting for my students and my colleagues.”

Bailey closed her eyes and groaned. “I am so sorry. Also, he’s not my boyfriend. He’s my roommate’s idiot brother who’s subletting her room while she’s in Paris.”

“Let me guess, he’s not paying rent or any bills? Eating all your food?”

“You’ve heard the yelling, huh?” She sighed. “I’m sorry about that, too. Aaaaand this morning I discovered that his friends thought it would be great to steal my laptop, TV, and DVD player. I kinda snapped.”

Jack’s lips twitched. “If it’s any consolation, you’ve got a great arm.”

He surprised a laugh from her. She offered him the plate again. “I should give you these and let you get on with your night. I really am sorry.”

He took the plate and paused. “You’ve had a really shitty day, too . You wanna come in for a beer? And whatever smells so good under the foil?”

Have a beer with the hot neighbor or go back downstairs and deal with Aaron? Allison couldn’t get home back from France soon enough. “That would be great.”

He backed inside and she remembered the other thing she had for Jack. “Here,” she said, handing it to him.

“What’s this?”

She blushed. “A book of gift certificates for the carwash. Just in case.”

 

Be sure to check out the other authors’ Promptly Penned posts.

Jess

Jessica

Kris

Dear Future Me

Dear Future Me,

I have so many things to congratulate us for.

First off, good job not only getting rid of the toxic people in your life but also keeping them out. I know that probably hasn’t been as easy as you’d would have liked. We have a long history of not being able to say no to things.

Show me how to say no to this. Show me how to say no to this.

Oops. Sorry. Song break. I assume song lyrics are still taking up about 97% of your available brain space? Anyway, good job on learning to say no to bullshit.

And while we’re congratulating ourself (this whole verb tense and pronoun thing is tricky) on accomplishments, great job keeping up with that whole exercise/yoga program thing. Whatever it is you’re doing, keep it up. I’m guessing, since you’re me, you still hate sweating, but suck it up, it’s good for you.

And nice job knitting all those sweaters and mastering socks. I mean, from where I’m sitting, i’m only just getting to the neckline of my first sweater, and those socks I started on retreat this year can go fuck themselves. But I’m sure you’ve got that all sorted by now.

Oh, and well done finally finding that balance between writing and life. I’m sure that by now you’ve figured out how to successfully balance our busy as fuck daily life with that backlog of books we have plans to write.

You did do that, right? Right?!

Look, I’m trusting you to get this figured out. Because right now? I’ve got nothin’.

Sigh.

Anyway, if you haven’t gotten the above shit sorted, for the love of god, woman, get on that. I’m going to be catching up to you soon, and I’d prefer it if we both had a lot less stress when I get there.

See you on the other side of the war,

Present Me

 

Be sure to check out Jess, Gwen, and Jessica’s letters to their future selves.

Other posts in this series – Dear 16 Year Old Me – We Need to Talk

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

This summer has been crazy-busy. Like usual. I’m not sure how that happens, but as much as I’m longing for a break from the school year chaos and I think that summer will be full of relaxation and lazy days, it never really is. I’m not sure how that happens, but I usually hit the ground running and I don’t really stop.

There was our amazing Writers Retreat that I already blogged about.

The month after we home from that, we went back to the UP for our annual family vacation. We go with my dad, stepmom, one of my brothers and his fam, my two stepbrothers and their fams, and it’s a great time.

The lake we stay at is really peaceful and great for fishing. Not that I do that now that I’m not forced to. (Childhood vacations involves mandatory fishing for five hours a night.) But I love hanging out by the water and watching the sun rise and set. I also like a nice adult apple juice in my floaty chair in the lake (slathered with ALL the SPF Vampire in the world) while I visit with my SIL. I also (kind of ) learned to kayak. I’m terrible at it, but it’s fun, and I’ll do it again next year.

There was also much discussion of Broadway musicals. One of my nieces is utterly addicted, and it’s pretty much the most adorable thing in the history of ever. Needless to say, there was much singing of Hamilton by me and said niece and my nephew.

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Look how cute the cabins are and how peaceful the lake is!

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No filters – just a Upper Peninsula sunset progression our second night there.

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These ducks were my writing buddies. I just happened to catch a great shot of them landing.

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Our last night there. sigh

We went swimming in Lake Superior, which while chilly, wasn’t horrifyingly cold, but we were on the southern shore which is always warmer, and that was a blast. Lake Superior is my ultimate happy place. I love it up there.

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Lake Superior at Grand Marais

A week or so after we got back from the UP, I went to the airport and picked up my girl, Jess Jarman, and we had a glorious ten day visit. We hung with Jenny Trout and went out to supper with Jen, Jessica De La Rosa, and Kayleigh Jones. We also went to see one of my brothers compete in a local Highland Games competition. And we died in the godawful heat and humidity. But here’s my sweet boy doing his beast thing.

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Jess and I wrote at the super hipster coffee shop.

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We got new tattoos – here’s mine!

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Write day and night like you’re running out of time. 

We had date night at The Melting Pot – we decided we’re doing all cheese next time.

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In other summer fun news, I won an award! Well, technically, my book did! The Professor’s Student tied for first place with Lauren Gallagher’s  book, Kneel, Mr. President in the Passionate Plume contest!

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Check out the gorgeous charm Passionate Ink sent the winners! It’ll look so pretty on my bracelet.

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Write day and night like you’re running out of time. 

Let’s see…in other news, I finally figured out how to knit cables. They ended up being not nearly as difficult as I was afraid they were. I may get this sweater finished, yet.

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I finally got to see Billy Joel in concert! And better still? I got to go with Jenny Trout and her daughter, and it was fucking magical! I’d go see him again in a heartbeat.

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And last, but not least, I officiated at an amazing beach wedding on the shore of Lake Michigan. At some point, I may blog more about it. It ended up being an incredibly profound experience because of the people involved.

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Those are pretty much the highlights of the last few months. It’s been a great summer.

Flash Fiction #41 – Barbed Wire

photopromptBarbedWire

This is a continuation of a flash fiction I wrote at the beginning of the year. You can find part one here, but I think this will also stand alone.

I used to keep track of time since the day the Overlords came to earth. I stopped 267 days into the fifth year. I stopped counting the day I’d found my father. Until then, I thought I had something to fight for.

Despite the unkempt hair, the out of control beard, and the layers of filth, I recognized him immediately. But it wasn’t until feeding time that I was able to get close enough to speak to him.

He stared right through me as I ladled out the disgusting protein slop the Overlords called fuel for the people in line ahead of him. I doubted it tasted any better than the gas or diesel we used to use to run vehicles. It had taken a while, but I’d stopped missing thing like peaches and apples and hummus. But for some reason, on particularly hot nights, I’d wake up craving orange popsicles. I could practically taste the sugary tang of the artificial orange flavoring on my tongue.

As my dad drew closer, he shoved his bowl forward, obviously not recognizing me. I steadied the metal container, resting my fingers over his. He looked up at me then. He knew, like everyone in the camps did, that touching was forbidden. But there was no recognition in his gaze–only fear.

“Dad,” I whispered. “It’s me, Livvy.”

Yanking his hand back, the force of his movement spilled the gruel over both of our fingers. He met my eyes then, but there was nothing in his that gave any indication that he knew me. He tugged again, and I finally let go. The line had backed up. If it didn’t get moving again, the enforcers would be sent out, and I didn’t want either of us in their sites.

After I swallowed my portion of slop and cleared away the serving equipment, I spotted my father on the far side of the camp, near the area where the pots and ladles were washed. Since I’d served that evening, I wasn’t scheduled for dish duty, but I lifted the heavy pot from Karly, my coworker’s hands. “I’ll wash this, tonight.”

“Liv…this isn’t a good idea. If they catch us…”

“They won’t. Not as long as the right number of people are over there. It’s not like they can tell us apart without a scan. And they’re not going to expend the energy to do that.”

“Be careful.”

Nodding, I carried the pot toward the washing trough where my father stood staring through the fence at the sparse grass and bushes that struggled back to life once our captors had finally stopped burning everything green.

I shoved the pot in the cold, disgustingly greasy water. We were only allowed fresh water for washing every third night. This was not that night. I did my best to ignore the slimy feel of the water and inched closer to my father.

“Where are Sam and Max?”

He stiffened at the mention of their names, and I dreaded hearing whatever his answer would be. Alive or dead, there were no good choices, but I needed to know what had happened to my little brothers.

“Dead. First wave–looking for their sister.”

I couldn’t stop the gasp from escaping my lips. He turned to look at me then. Really look at me.

“The machines didn’t like that,” he continued. The recognition I’d longed for earlier was there. Though, now, I wished it wasn’t.

“What about mom?” I choked out.

“You know the machines don’t like carrying on. What do you think happened to her?”

The protein slop solidified into a rock in Liv’s stomach as her father whirled on her, hatred in his sunken eyes.

“If you’d come right home from school that day like you were supposed to, instead of seeing that boy, they’d all be alive right now.” He lunged for me, hands outstretched and expression nearly feral.

The interior fences topped with barbed wire that the Overlords used to contain those of us who were behaving in non-sanctioned ways, slid into place. They separated my father from me and everyone else in the compound. But that didn’t stop him. He tried to climb the fence to get at me. His hand closed around the barbed wire as an enforcer materialized and fired.

His body then his hand finally went slack and he slipped to the ground looking like a pile of dirty rags. That was when I stopped counting the days.

That’s it for me, today. Be sure to check out Jess and Norris‘ stories.

How I Create My Characters AKA The Children’s Book Proposal that Tanked: If You Give a Bron a Line of Dialogue

I feel like if you’ve been here any length of time, you probably know where this post is about to go. But if not, buckle up. We’re doing this thing.

I usually get a line of dialogue or a snippet of a scene rolling around inside my head. The first thing I do after that happens is figure out what kind of person would say or do the things pop into my brain.

For example, in In Bounds, the book that will be releasing soon, I had a line of dialogue in my head: “Butterscotch chips can’t dance with all that skirt.”

So, I had to rewind a little bit and ask myself: Who the hell would say that? And more importantly, why?

Remembering my former sister-in-law’s butterscotch colored bridesmaid dresses, I thought to myself: Someone who was forced to wear a hideous bridesmaid’s dress. That’s who.

That thought inevitably led to: If someone forced to wear a hideous bridesmaid’s dress felt like she couldn’t dance with all that skirt, what would she do? She’d lock herself in the bathroom stall at the reception and cut off the the bottom of the skirt to an appropriate danceable length, of course. With the nail scissor tool on the Swiss Army knife she keeps in her purse. For emergencies. Like dancing. 

Which led to: Who the hell would do that? 

Followed by the rapid realization of: A drunk person!

That answer only produced another question. What bridesmaid would get that drunk at her BFF’s wedding reception? But happily, it also produced an answer. Oh…one whose long term college boyfriend/fianceé dumped her the night before.  

Followed by another realization: You know what else that drunk, depressed, butterscotch chip of a bridesmaid might do? Hook up in a utility closet with the bride’s younger brother. Who’s hot. And has an English accent. And also really hot. And English. And plays sportsball.

And that, dear readers, is how I came up with the character of Ivy Wright, heroine of In Bounds AKA The Sportsball Book. 

After that initial fit of character creation, I realized that Ivy is an elementary school teacher and reading specialist. She’s also done her best to pretend the drunken hook-up  (12 years’ prior) with her best friend’s little brother never happened. She’s carrying around a lot of baggage from that time of her life, but she’s doing her best to push past it and move the hell on.

Once I’ve gotten that much down about a character, I start thinking about what she looks like. For me, the easiest way to do this is to cast a movie in my head. I know some writers refuse to use actors or other public figures as character inspiration, but I find it helpful to use existing sets of features and sometimes mannerisms. So, I pick someone she resembles. In Ivy’s case, it’s a slightly heavier Rose McIver with darker hair and gray eyes.

After that, I just let the rest of the story and her character unfold as I write it. I don’t use an outline, because clearly, that’s not how my brain works. I also don’t use those character sheets where you answer 75.7 trillion questions about your characters past, likes, dislikes, favorite childhood stuffie, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with those. I think they work great for some people. I’m just not those people. But, I am a big fan of sorting out the character’s goals, motivations, and conflicts in the first chapter or so. Sometimes, I know what they are as soon as I start the story – other times I figure them out along the way.

As I’m sure must be fairly apparent by now, I have ADD. Some days, it’s a fucking curse. Other days, it’s an absolute gift. It allows me to make connections that probably never would have happened for me if I were trying to do it in a more linear fashion. Storytelling is one of those occupations where weird leaps of logic or thought might mean you run face first into a wall. Or it might mean that you end up with a drunk, recent college grad who’s holed up in a too-small bathroom stall with a giant taffeta dress, the scissors tool on her Swiss Army knife, and the beginning to a story you’ve fallen in love with.

Thanks, brain. Let’s keep doing this.

Be sure to check out how Jessica and Torrance create their characters.

Behind the Scenes of My Current Project

Before I get to the actual post, I just wanted to say we’ve got a new blogger in our lineup! Torrance Sené has joined us! Yay, Torrance, and welcome!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this year has been rough writing-wise, but things are starting to pick up a little, and in a month or so, I’ll be releasing one of the next Bound books.

My next contribution to the series that Jess Jarman I write, is called The Sportsball Book. 

That is a lie. It’s actually called In Bounds. But I still call it The Sportsball Book. Because I’m not really into any kind of sports. And with the exception of baseball, which I get, but don’t really have any interest in, all the sports are sportsball to me. So I had some research help from a couple friends including Kayleigh Jones. Because she’s awesome. And knows about sportsball things.

The hero, Will Darby, is an injured football player (British football – not American) and his visiting his sister while he’s recovering from surgery. Also visiting his sister is one of her best friends, Ivy Wright. The same woman he had drunken sex in a closet with at his sister’s wedding, twelve years earlier.

Ivy’s in England staying with her friends and tutoring their kids after losing both her elementary teaching position and her husband to his affair earlier in the year. She’s horrified to see Will and is seriously hoping he doesn’t remember her. Unfortunately for her, he remembers everything. Which makes things super awkward since her BFF has noooooooo clue Ivy hooked up with her little brother. The BFF’s. Not Ivy’s. Ivy doesn’t have a little brother.

In case you were wondering, the above is in no way a blurb. I haven’t written that, yet.

In my head, Will looks a bit like Richard Madden. A sportsball playing Richard Madden.

And Ivy looks a lot like Rose McIver.

So…there’s some sportsball that happens in this book. And sex. Kind of a lot of it, really.

And angst. Because, really, what fun is a romance without some angst? And maybe some heartbreak?

The Sportsball Book will be out in about 6ish weeks. And I’ll be revealing the cover later, but trust me – Norris outdid herself. Again.

But here’s a short (unedited) excerpt from The Sportsball Book. 

“I don’t want to do my lessons.” The petulant child crossed her arms over chest and glared balefully at Ivy Wright. “I want to play footie with Uncle Wills.”

Ivy stared down at eight-year-old, Phoebe, her best friends’ daughter and one of her two pupils for the summer holiday. Well—her summer holiday, anyway. The children were currently attending classes, and she was tutoring them in their off hours. “I understand that, but we all have to do things in life that we don’t particularly care for.” And wasn’t that the understatement of the year? “Right now, you need to do your reading assignment. You can play soc—footie,” she corrected herself when Phoebe rolled her eyes, “with your uncle afterward.”

The uncle, in question, was slowly jogging down the hill toward them from the huge manor house. Jogging slowly, she assumed because his knee was in a brace. Ivy forced her features into a semblance of pure, professional detachment as the man drew closer. She hadn’t seen him since Caleb and Charlotte’s wedding reception, and she prayed to the deity of drunken hook-ups that Phoebe’s uncle didn’t remember her. It had been twelve years and zero contact. Chances were good that she might look vaguely familiar to him, but he’d never make the connection. At least, that was her fervent hope.

“It’s not fair,” Phoebe whined, stomping her foot.

“Few things are,” Ivy murmured. “Let’s get this over with, and you can run and sweat to your heart’s content.”

And Ivy could go back to the guesthouse she was occupying for the foreseeable future, crack open a book and a bottle of wine and think of a good excuse not to go to the main house for supper. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to have a meal with her friends and their children. However, she’d prefer to avoid as much contact with Charlotte’s brother, Will, as possible. The last thing Ivy needed to top off this shit sundae of a year was for him to remember her and that they’d had ridiculously tanked sex in a closet at his sister’s wedding. Well, she’d been drunk off her ass, anyway. She wasn’t sure about Will. Hell, she wasn’t even sure if he’d even been old enough to drink at the time.

A little hand tugged on Ivy’s, and she smiled down at Kit, Phoebe’s younger brother.

“Can I take this back to the house to finish reading it?” he asked.

She glanced at the dinosaur book he held. “Sure, honey. Go ahead.”

“Hey, Kit,” Will called to the little boy as he drew closer. “You want to kick the ball around while your sister does her lesson?”

Ivy tried to ignore the way the low timbre of Will’s voice combined with his English accent settled heavily in the pit of her stomach. She couldn’t remember if his voice had been that deep before, but the accent was the same. And there was something stupidly arousing about it.

She needed to shove that thought right away. There was nothing arousing about Will Darby. Nothing at all. Not his soccer—she corrected herself—football-chiseled body. Not the myriad tattoos curling down his arms and legs. Not the honey-streaked, too-long, brown hair pulled up in some kind of ridiculous man bun. Not the brilliant green eyes that currently watched her from beneath dark eyelashes or the short, trimmed beard that covered his beautifully sculpted face. And certainly not the large, broad hand he currently extended toward her.

“You’re Caleb’s friend, from the States,” he said with a devastating smile. “I’m Charlotte’s brother, Will.”

She reached out and shook his hand—his big, warm hand. The hand he’d clamped over her mouth as she’d orgasmed, muffling her scream in a broom closet at the wedding reception.

“Nice to meet you,” she said, forcing a smile and hoping he didn’t notice that she hadn’t offered her name. He didn’t look as if he recognized her, but the oddball name, Ivy, might be enough to ring a bell. Or maybe not. The man played professional football. He’d probably had enough concussions to knock any memory of her right out of his head. Was it wrong to hope that he’d had enough head injuries that was the case?

Okay – that’s it from me this week. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts by clicking their names.

Jess

Kayleigh

Torrance

Gwen

Jessica

Kris

Paige

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