It’s Time For Another…Writing Challenge!

Writing Challenge BubbleAfter yesterday’s amazing SYTYCW boot camp, we hope you’re ready to put all the fabulous tips and advice you learnt to the test in this week’s #WritingChallenge!

Set up a forced-proximity romance!

Over to you on all the delicious details – who, where, how & why!

Enjoy, and we can’t wait to read them all on Monday!

Happy Writing!
The Sold Editors x

215 replies on “It’s Time For Another…Writing Challenge!”

Hi everyone! I was camping this weekend and just got back. I managed to read most of everyone’s stuff and it was soooo good. Now I can respond because I have WiFi!!!

Steel. It clinked. Like the handcuffs pinching Roarke Callum’s wrists. It also had a tendency to glint. Just like those damn sexy eyes piercing into his.
Roarke held her stare and twisted his hands at his back to test the hold of the handcuffs, trying not to draw attention to the movement. His jaw clenched. She’d strapped the jokers tight. And it sure as hell didn’t help his pride to know they were his own.
He shifted and drew his knees up, acutely aware of his nudity.
“You wanna take these things off now?”
She didn’t respond.
He surveyed her relaxed pose. Her arms hung loose and low around the back of the wood chair she straddled. Long legs splayed across each side. Legs that had been wrapped tight around his hips just minutes ago.
His blood rushed at the memory, chest tightening with regret. He’d intended to wait. Hold out until things settled before he took things to another level with her. Hadn’t wanted to muddy the waters between them. Not when he’d planned to plunge deep the second he was free.
Roarke sucked in a shaky breath at her numb expression. It didn’t matter what he wanted. Or what she wanted —no matter how much he wanted to give it to her. There was a job to do.
And she already knew.
His throat tightened but he forced a flirtatious grin. He was such a bastard. “Come on, baby. If you wanted to play, all you had to do was ask.”
She smiled then. A slow, sensuous spread of her mouth that drew up with cynical corners. “I’m not your baby. And I’m done playing.”
Roarke’s gut roiled. “Okay,” he said softly.
He propped up on an elbow and rolled to a seated position, letting his thick thighs fall off the side of her bed and his feet hit the scuffed floor.
“Let’s talk, Angel.” He tempered his tone, hoping it reached deep. To the place she’d let him in.
Her head tilted, the thick strands of her raven hair cascading like silk over the pale curve of her shoulder.
“That’s a strange name for me, don’t you think?” A humorless laugh burst past her lips. “Dear ol’ dirty dad’s got a sick sense of humor.” Those steel eyes blurred, flooding with pain. “Bet all you little boys in blue get a kick out of that one.”
Roarke’s jaw clenched so tight he thought his teeth would shatter. “You’re not a damned thing like your da—”
“What’s your name?” Her chin jutted. “Your real one?”
The knuckles she’d wrapped tight around the chair’s back turned white.
He tensed, clamping his mouth shut to trap the words trying to tear out of his throat.
“Not gonna tell me?” She slammed to her feet, crossing the room to glare down at him. “Bet you never threw a leg over a bike in your life until you came here.”
Roarke swallowed hard, jerking his eyes away from the tremors rippling across the soft skin of her stomach. He stiffened his neck to prevent himself from dipping his head and pressing his face against it. To comfort her. To find comfort.
Damned if he wouldn’t give everything he had to go back. Spare her all of this.
His mouth twisted.
Bastard.
The warmth of her palm cupped his jaw, her thumb drifting across his bottom lip. “If I noticed, don’t you think they did too?”
He froze, eyes shooting to hers. A wet streak marred the flush on her cheek and a tear settled in the corner of her mouth.
Clearing his throat, he husked, “Take em off, Angel. We’ll talk and figure this out.”
Her features turned to stone and her fingertips tightened, making him wince.
“No.” The tip of her tongue shot out, sweeping across her lips and catching the salty drop. “You’ll stay here. And I’ll figure it out.”
The soft beam of moonlight slipping through the beaten blinds caressed the stiff line of her spine as she left the room.
The door shut. A bolt shot home. Roarke shot to his feet.

Attention-grabbing scene, April. “Angel” seems like she could be a real kick a**!

Nice setup, character interplay, and scene writing. Part of a longer ms? If not, why not turn it into one? 🙂

Thanks, Chris 🙂
Not part of a ms but thinking about continuing it. Great thing about these challenges- it helps you stretch your comfort zone & test other genres.

If this one’s stretching your comfort zone, April, or you testing another genre — Bravo!

OMG phew – what a steamy, intense scene! Nothing says forced proximity like some handcuffs 🙂 Love the drama and the emotion, great writing!

Love the power dynamic, her strength – and her utter vulnerability! Really enjoyed this 🙂

April, this is FANTASTIC! Your writing is incredible, absolutely incredible! I love the set up and I love your characters! You had me hooked on every single word, eager to know what was going to unfold. Some very beautiful descriptions too. 🙂

Thank you for the kind comments!
Calida- I think the writer in me can live off yours for a year! 🙂

“They are lighting that fire to put us in it,” Falcon’s statement and the way his amber eyes continued to watch their captors sent a cold shiver down Olivia’s spine despite the fact sweat was beading along her hairline.
“I don’t want to die,” she whispered. Then she tried like hell to move her arms enough to allow even a slight amount of blood to enter her fingers. The more she struggled, the more the ropes burned and the more of her breasts were exposed and pushing against Falcon’s body. Her jerky movements hiked her skirt high around her hips and further wedged Falcon’s thighs between her legs. She was damned if she did, damned if she didn’t.
“You’ve gotten us out of worse scrapes than this. What are you waiting for?” she breathed.
“Maybe I’m not in a hurry to be untied from you,” he said barely above a whisper, a hint of mischief glinting his eyes.
“Falcon, I swear, when I get myself untied I’m going to hand you over to the Apaches myself.”
A shuffle of feet moved dirt in their direction and Olivia immediately clamped her mouth shut and pushed her face deep into Falcon’s chest. Fear pounded her heart and blood rushed painfully past her ears. Maybe this time they’d pushed their luck too far. Maybe this was too much for Falcon’s cunning ways to escape.
“What are the words you use when you hold another’s spirit deep inside your heart?” Olivia’s eyes flew open as she tried to comprehend what Falcon was rambling about. “This isn’t the time for an English lesson!”
“Just tell me,” he said as his body tensed sharply against hers.
“Love, I think you’re thinking about the word love.”
“Yeah, that’s the one. Say it to me and I’ll save you from your spirit walk.”
The sound of footsteps were getting closer and the fire was hot enough now that they were both drenched with sweat.
“Are you crazy?”
“Say it.”
“I love you, I love you. Now dammit, get us out of here!”

You had me at the first quote here, Elle. Compelling unfolding scene, too.

I could really “see” Olivia and Falcon and the situation in which they found themselves.

Grit, danger, and forced-proximity romance, with spunky character chemistry — it’s all here.

Loved Falcon’s coolness under the circumstances: “Maybe I’m not in a hurry to be untied from you.” — Classic! And Olivia’s biting retort to hand him over to the Apaches herself. — How in sync!

An entertaining bit of writing. 🙂

Such a swoon-worthy hero, Elle! I too, love the line about him being in no hurry to be untied from Olivia! Great chemistry between them both! 🙂

What a wonderfully inventive and unique take on forced proximity – love it! Also, what a great hero – hats off to a man who can still flirt in the direst of circumstances!

Thank you everyone for the nice comments. All these flashes are so strong. Great job to all our authors. 🙂

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to go traipsing out to the Catskills in search of the best-selling author. But he’d missed a meeting with her boss, and he couldn’t be reached by phone. The fact that he was the most exciting writer Delilah Sams had read in a very long time had nothing to do with her volunteering to make the three hour trek from New York City. Never mind that she’d read in the gossip columns that he was recently back on the market, after a disastrous six month relationship with a gorgeous model. No, she was simply doing her job – his deadline was next week, and there was a major revision needed on his latest literary masterpiece. That was all.

But the weather wasn’t cooperating any more than Delilah’s nerves as she navigated the SUV up the mountain road, her hopes of beating the predicted early autumn hurricane shot to Hell. No less than four hours after leaving the city, Delilah found her destination – thanks to her trusty GPS.
She had to park her car on the side of the narrow dirt road and walk down the nearly washed-out driveway. Thank goodness there was a flickering light coming from the tiny cabin, barely visible through the trees and the blowing rain. She sucked in a shivering breath, steeling herself as she bravely knocked on the wooden door. It swung open and Delilah’s thoughts went blank. She nearly melted into the icy blue glare of the man she’d only ever peeked at from a distance, the few times he’d breezed into her place of business to talk to Claire.
He stared at her incredulously.

“Who are you? Are you lost…or crazy? Or both?”

“I’m…” The cold rain took her breath and she was soaked to the bone. “I’m here for Claire,” she shouted, finally finding her voice. She struggled to pull the notes from her soft leather briefcase. Her hands shook as he took them from her. “I’ve got to go now…”

Warm, strong fingers caught her wrist as she turned to leave. Then, to her complete humiliation, a huge gust of wind blew against her back, pushing her right into the arms of Savior Kane.

He pulled her inside, his eyes sweeping over her, warming her from the inside out as he held her close. “I can’t, in good conscience, let you leave now.”

Fantastic atmosphere & engrossing set up! Really enjoyed this, Gina. Hope you decide to continue it- I’d be 1st in line to read Claire’s story.
🙂

This comes across as though it could be a full ms, Gina — there’s a lot here with which you can work.

I found the beginning paragraphs a bit long, but you wormed in nice atmosphere and the piece segued into an “I want more.” 🙂

She’s clearly a heroine with guts! Love how isolated they will be, especially with such terrible weather… I hope he enjoys his surprise visitor!

Oooh – something makes me think he didn’t want to be reached, and now they’re alone, together (!) – sparks could fly?!

Oh my god. I love this! I love native american books. I saw that you write them during the bootcamp in one of your posts. I havent read enough of them. I love the heat and the “save you from your spirit walk.” It was fun to read!!

(For the second time, Violet has run out on her own wedding and Nick, her long time crush and dead brother’s best friend, is there to rescue her. Nick promised her brother he’d look out for her. They’re in the car driving away from the church.)

‘By the way, I’ve got your luggage in the boot.’
Violet bristled. ‘You were that sure of yourself?’
‘No. I was that sure of you.’
She reached out and mockingly punched Nick’s shoulder. ‘The sooner you’re out of my life the better, Captain Somersby.’ Lies, all lies.
Her heart was breaking. She crossed her arms over her chest to hold in all the shattered pieces.
Out the corner of her eye she saw Nick peer at her, then back to the road. He did it again. Twice. ‘What? You’re looking at me funny.’
‘How does it feel, to have fallen off those ridiculously high heels? Again.’
‘I wondered when you’d get around to having a dig.’ One at a time, she scuffed off her cream platforms, then lifted her feet up to the dash and wiggled toes resembling bright red cherries.
Nick shook his head.
Embarrassed, she fiddled with the small crystal beads on her gown. ‘So, now everyone thinks I ran out on my fiancée for⎯that you and me⎯that something’s going on with us. We’ll be tomorrow’s tabloid fodder, you know.’
Nick raised one speculative eyebrow. ‘I could say you should have thought about that when you made the decision to run, but I won’t. Don’t pick now to give a damn what anyone thinks, Violet. Work on what happens from here.’
For a girl who was brought up to think image was everything, that was going to be a stretch.
‘Like it or not, I promised Harry I’d look out for you like⎯like family.’ The word family came out as though it were something foreign.
Violet’s heart squeezed tight as she slung her head back and faked a laughed. Then she hiccupped and a sneaky surge of regret and guilt started burning her throat. Tears pressed behind her eyes but she forbid them to tip over the brink.
She couldn’t cry. The last thing she wanted was to prove she needed looking after. Then again… a seed of an idea sprouted.
She moistened her lips. ‘So what does this looking out for me, entail?’
Nick’s gaze briefly slid from the road. ‘Not letting you go until I’m happy you’ll survive out in the big bad world.’
That little sprout suddenly ballooned. She’d lost her brother, no way was she ready to lose Nick too. He may be focused and broody, but he also had a soft squishy side. But mostly he was loyal. It was that unstinting loyalty to her brother she had to work on if things were to change between them.
As she read it, if she behaved, Nick would leave her to her own devices. Misbehave and he’d be right there. By. Her. Side. Keeping her out of trouble.
Decisions, decisions…

Enjoyable read, Margie. Your have a genuine writing style that translates well to the page. Nice car-ride set up. Both Violet and Nick come through as real — as does the drive and the “close” situation.

I liked the little nuances you slipped in that revealed character — e.g., Violet’s placing of her feet on the dash and playing with her gown’s beads — these gave me more of a sense of personality, without you “telling” me.

Nice term of phrase throughout, too. For example: “heart squeezed tight”; “gaze slid from the road” — descriptive visuals that prodded focus.

Hmm, the “By Her Side” words slipped in at the end. Your WIP’s title? 😉

What’s not to love about a protective brother’s-best-friend hero? They’re my fave! A fun, intriguing twist on forced proximity – I hope Nick realises what he’s letting himself in for!

Beautifully written, Margie. Very emotive. Love the way he’s going to be there for her, looking out for her. I wonder what she’s going to decide. 😉

“Missy. My name is Missy. Short for Artemisia.” Why had she told him that? Maybe because of the dark. Smothering, airless, with an aftertaste of dust and plaster.
He moved, lifting the weight of his body, easing away from her, just a fraction. He was big. She remembered that much before the shaking began and the building tumbled around them both. He’d dragged her to the stairwell, ducking ceiling tiles as they rained down over the empty cubicles. Thankfully most of her colleagues had gone for the night.
“You were named for a plant?” His warm breath, redolent of coffee, brushed her face.
“No. A Greek Warrior Queen.”
He chuckled, a slightly breathless sound and she wondered if he was hurt.
“I’m Alex. Short for Alexander. Also Greek.” He shifted again. “Am I too heavy?”
“No.” The bulk of him, covering her, was comforting more than anything. He must be supporting his upper body on his elbows, each side of her. She didn’t want to think about the way the rest of him was cradled between her legs. It was too disturbing, despite the encroaching fear.
It was the silence mostly. The sirens sounded far away, muffled by the enclosing rubble. Cement and steel.
“Don’t worry. They’ll come for us.”
He seemed to know what she was thinking, but perhaps he was thinking the same things. Wondering if their last minutes would be enclosed in a tiny space embraced by a stranger. If the building collapsed they could be entombed and some archaeologist might dig them up and assume they were lovers. If only they were. Stupid thought. Was she going crazy from oxygen starvation? She sucked in a deep breath and coughed as the dust particles hit her lungs.
“Steady.” His voice was deep and husky. How much of the husk came from the foul air she didn’t know but she liked it. Liked the smell of him, a touch of citrus aftershave and clean sweat. Not the ideal way to meet a man. He was out of her league anyway.
“When we get out of here, I’m going to take you to dinner. I could go a steak right now.”
That sounded so good. And not just the steak. “Did you have plans?”
“No. I’m new in town. Looking to get to know the locals.” He sounded like he might be smiling. “This is a good start.”
Hardly. She knew once he got a good look at her he wouldn’t think so. But it was a comforting thought right now.
“What about you, Missy? Anyone special who might be worried?”
“Only my cats.” Kill me now. As if he needed to know she was some pathetic cat lady. “There are only two of them.” As if that weren’t plenty.
“I had a cat when I was a kid. Self-sufficient beasts. They’ll be all right.”
Why was this happening? The perfect man lands in her lap…literally, and they most likely will be dead by morning if the aftershocks destabilize the building.
He moved and a finger traced the line of her jaw. “We won’t be, you know. They’ll dig us out and we’ll have that meal and after that…well we might be able to find somewhere a little more comfortable than this to…get to know each other.

Loved this, Fiona! Especially the bit about entombed lovers- brought that breathtaking news pic to mind. Lots of chemistry & perfect set up!

You seem to have gotten more comfortable writing as the scene unfolded.

I liked that the piece slowed some. It enabled a bit more clarity. That also gave the characters further room to “spread some of their wings.”

Nice use of the dark environment. It helped to keep reader focus on the actions and wonderings of the characters, as they clawed toward escape.

What a great, fun way to use a natural disaster to bring a couple together! Really nice dialogue and a lovely sense of gentle sensuality building between them.

Stunning job, Fi! I got sucked right in. Was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t get reading, lol.

Goodness, Fiona! Loved this SO much! Loved the set up, loved the atmosphere, loved the characters and loved the build up of sensual tension. Found the line about, some archeologist finding them and thinking they were lovers, brilliant and unforgettable. Another fantastic piece of writing, Fiona! 🙂

The lights flickered. The slow graunching sound of the elevator, as it screeched to a halt, filled the air. No this can’t be. Katherine closed her eyes, instinctively wrapping her arms around her midsection, although the growing belly prevented her from wrapping her arms around her the way she wanted to, the way she needed to. She tried calming herself down by taking deep, cleansing breaths, but couldn’t shake the feeling of dread that clawed at the back of her neck and caused her skin to prickle. She was trapped. Trapped in an elevator. And to make matters worse, she was trapped with—

“Kate, are you alright?”

Trapped in an elevator with the man who she was running from. Her fiancé—former fiancé, she corrected. No she was not alright. She wanted nothing more than to get into her car and drive home, change into some sweat pants and disappear for a week or forever. She continued breathing in the good air while releasing the bad air that currently had her heart racing and tension gripping her shoulders.

“Katherine? Is everything alright? Is it the baby?”

She felt his hand touch her. His fingers interlock with hers. His thumb gently massaging the platinum pave double diamond halo engagement ring he’d presented her a few years ago, in the study of their home.

No it isn’t the baby, she wanted to yell, snatching her hand away. For a man who was a neurosurgeon, Christopher was pretty dense in the head. She snapped her head up to stare into his hazel eyes with their flecks of green and gold and felt her breath hitch in her throat. Damn him and his beautiful eyes. She instantly remembered the day they met ten years ago when they collided in a bakery downtown. The day she fell in love with him. But that was then, and this is now. Get it together Kate. You’re no good for him.

Christopher continued to stare down into the face of the woman he loved, concern lacing his features. He waited for her to speak, but noticed how pale she’d become and the sweat that now dotted her hairline. This was not how he envisioned running into Katherine again. She was still as beautiful as the day he met her ten years ago, but the one startling fact was plain and simple—she was pregnant. And judging by how far along she looked, he knew the unborn child was his.

So many different emotions crossed his mind. Anger. Resentment. Betrayal. Fear. He had so many questions. How far along was she? Did she ever plan to tell him? When did she find out? Why did she leave him? But first, he needed to calm her down. She’d always had a fear of enclosed spaces and knew that inside she was probably panicking.

“Why are you here?” Katherine asked, snatching away from him to stand in a faraway corner.

He wouldn’t admit that her rejection stung more than anything he’d ever experienced in his whole lifetime. He wouldn’t allow her to see that. He was taught at an early age that emotions were optional. It was why he grew up without hugs and kisses from his parents, though they were constant figures in his life. He’d gotten more love from his nanny than his mother.

Shaking the painful thoughts away, he moved towards the elevator panel and pressed the alarm button, ignoring her question. If anything, he should be the one asking the questions. When nothing happened he turned to face her, just as she released an eardrum shattering scream and doubled over, grabbing her stomach.

“What—what’s wrong?” He rushed to her side.

“I think my water just broke.”

Excellent tension, Kimmie! And so much emotion right off the bat- thoroughly enjoyed!
🙂

Really wonderful, Kimmie. Nice writing. Good scene.

You created a fine “locked-in” feeling in the elevator.

Good characters, interplay, and just enough back story for me to understand some of the “why” here.

You had me caring about Katherine and Christopher. You had me wondering about their relationship. At the end, I wanted to know more.

Good entertaining stuff! 🙂

…and congratulations, Kimmie, on your Synopsis for “Recipe of Love” being picked as one of the six for critique during Bootcamp. 🙂

You sure know how to create a high-stakes forced proximity scenario – I hope that means Christopher gets to deliver his own baby?! Because how cool would that be! Fun, dramatic and with lots of emotions bubbling away under the surface.

Anne knew she was being a fool, hadn’t she always been told never to venture from home on moonless nights? It was well known that smugglers favoured these dark nights. It was equally well known that they were a ruthless lot, prepared to do anything to preserve their anonymity and avoid the hangman’s rope. Most sensible people simply shut their curtains and closed their ears to the sounds of footsteps in the streets and the whispers of furtive conversation. But not her, she had suspected her brother was involved and she had refused to believe his denials. She knew she had to see for herself.
Standing on the beach in the shadows of the huge cliffs, she watched the smugglers unload their contraband from a small boat into a waiting wagon. She could not see her brother and with a feeling of relief, she thanked the heavens that he had told the truth. Silently she turned, creeping back along the beach, staying in the deep shadows of the cliffs. Suddenly her retreat was stalled by a powerful arm, clamped around her waist, hauling her backwards. She let out a startled scream which was quickly stifled by a rough hand across her mouth and she was carried across the beach to be unceremoniously dumped on the sand before the group of smugglers.
“I caught her spying Captain, do you want me to cut her throat?” A rough voice said.
Anne felt sick with fear, what a fool she had been taking such a risk, why had she not just trusted her brother? Now it seemed she was about to pay the ultimate price for her distrust.
The man they called Captain, turned towards them, his darkly handsome face unreadable. Slowly he looked Anne up and down and she shivered under his intense, speculative gaze. For a moment their eyes locked, and she felt her heart skip a beat.
“Bring her to the ship. She comes with us” he said finally.
“No!” She cried, suddenly finding her voice “You can’t do this! This is the 18th century, you can’t just go around kidnapping people…” but at a look from him, her protests trailed off into silence.
“You come with us or we find a more permanent way to silence you, I will not risk you betraying us to the law- it is your choice.” He replied in a low, dangerous voice.
Looking up at him, she cursed inwardly. This was a choice that was no choice, what else could she do but agree to go with him?

Awesome! Love a good captive story- Itching to see what happens with Captain on the ship!
🙂

Thanks April, I just can’t resist a captive love story – as my overloaded bookshelves will all too easily prove 😉

Arrrgh ~ is the handsome Captain a villain, or a hero? Would love to know the rest of his story! Great set-up! 🙂

I would say he would be a seductive, dark, dangerous hero… The kind of man mothers warn their daughters about!

Your engaging writing style and captive premise held me, Karen. Gripping! 🙂 But I didn’t see a positive relationship about to develop.

Your Heroine is to be “kidnapped” and is also told by Captain to either come along or be “silenced permanently.”

Unless you’re using “silenced permanently” as a euphemism — and I don’t think that you are, considering what you’ve already wonderfully set up — the idea of “this” Captain and Heroine’s presumed, forthcoming relationship didn’t fly with me. Captain has already, basically, said that he’d kill her.

For me, you have established the Heroine’s fear as a key point here. Out of fear of death, she will, presumably, go along with Captain to the ship.

Thus, after that, any budding relationship between Captain and Heroine will always be questionable — i.e., Is Heroine with Captain because she fears him and thus engages in a love relationship out of fear, subconsciously or otherwise?

I don’t think fear — or suspected fear — is a good foundation for which your Heroine here should run through this swashbuckling-like plot with Captain — if that is your intent.

My two cents: Perhaps have another “spy” (hero) in line with Heroine before the ruthless Captain. Then Hero plunges himself and Heroine into the sea for a daring escape. The plot can then deal with H/h running from the mad Captain and his men for whatever reason.

I loved the “This is the 18 century, you just can’t go around kidnapping people.”

I loved that line too! Loved this, Karen – the idea of starting with an apparently villainous hero, and then pealing away the layers to reveal his vulnerability and a deep-down good guy – that really appeals!

And thank you, you are right, I was going for the dark dangerous hero actually turning out to be a good man as the story developes angle… I can’t resist the redemption of a bad boy!;-)

Hurrah for a good kidnapping!! Love the smuggling set up too, it’s exciting and dramatic.

Jelena blinked awake and startled. She managed to fall asleep on the stone floor of that silly lighthouse her friends insisted on visiting. Probably not surprising after all she’d been through for the last few months.
A tall shadow emerged from the darkness with a torch.Closer up she made out long hair and distressed clothing.Surely she hadn’t travelled back in time for real instead of just for a music video. She pulled herself up and asked cautiously.
“Are you a pirate ghost?”
“No, I”m Jim, an archeologist. I work here when the tourists leave.” He launched into a description of how he excavated the building for old seafaring junk. She yawned. No wonder she fell asleep. The tour guide had been equally as boring.
She didn’t bother to introduce herself. Everyone on the planet recognised her. She descended the narrow spiral stairs to the rough wooden door. The incongruously modern lock wouldn’t budge.
She sensed Jim behind her in the dark.
“Please let me out?”
“Did you not hear what I said. The doors are on a time lock because of the rare items displayed here. They won’t open until nine tomorrow.”
She rooted her phone from her bag but it appeared dead. The same applied to her tablet and smart watch.
She raised her voice against the sound of the crashing waves. “Where’s the phone, internet?”
“No signal here. Walls too thick.” He turned to go back up the stairs.”By the way, what’s your name?”

Ooh, forced proximity AND opposites attract – what fun! Jim will have his work cut out with Jelena, can’t wait to see how she starts to realize she’s onto a winner with him 🙂

Ha! Love her assumption that he MUST know who he she is, only for him not to have a clue (or a care!) ;p

“Siobhan stop being a drama queen,” he yells, following me into the bathroom
“Don’t you think I have every right to be?” I ask turning to face him. I arch an eyebrow at him following me. “Erm, have you ever heard of personal space Matthew?”
Matthew looks around bewildered when he realises where we are. “Oh, sorry, I’ll…” He takes two paces and the door slams shut in his face and we here the lock turn. “Nathan, open the bloody door,” he yells.
Nathan laughs at the other side of the door. “Not until you two sort this out. I hate it when mummy and daddy fight.”
I stifle a giggle. Nathan really knows how to push Matthews buttons the wrong way. To look at them you really wouldn’t believe they are brothers. Matthew is tall well over six feet with jet black hair and dark chocolate eyes. Nathan is just as tall but the opposite in looks with blonde hair and piercing blue eyes.
“Nathan you’re in deep shit when I get outta here,” Matthew yells.
“Sort it out bro and it will be worth it. I will be back in ten minutes.” Nathan replies and then there is silence.
“He’s left us,” Matthew tells me, turning around and I can see the anger in his eyes.
“I gathered that,” I snap. “Why don’t you just break down the door?”
“Siobhan this door is three hundred years old.”
“About the same age as you are then.”
I look around the huge bathroom; the toilet is on the opposite wall from the spacious bath that would easily fit two. This could so easily be a bathroom of a hotel and I’ve never realised how opulent it is before.
“Can we talk about this?” Matthew asks.
“What’s to talk about, you lied to me for twelve months? You promised me you wouldn’t lie to me,” I cry, I can’t stop the tears from falling and in an instant Matthew is in front of me lifting my chin to look at him. I weakly try to slap his hand away knowing that it is a useless effort. He grabs it in his big hand and it sends a shiver down my spine.
“I never lied to you, I just didn’t fill in the blanks,” he replies, his hand touching my cheek. “I’m sorry I never told you everything but I thought it was easier this way.” We are so close and I breathe in his smell it’s a smell I have come to love over the last twelve months. Desire pools in the bottom of my stomach. Whenever I am with him I always feel protected but today I feel threatened in a way I never thought that I would around him. “Sweetheart, I can feel your fear and also your desire, you know I would never hurt you right?”
“Euew, why did you have to tell me that?”
“I want you to feel safe, I will always protect you.”
“It’s too late your protection feels like a betrayal, you’ve hurt me by not trusting me with your biggest secret.” I say turning my back on him and walking away.
I lean on the sink and run the tap to wash my face. Matthew spins me around and pushes me back against the sink, I can feel the water splashing my back but it does nothing to cool my desire. His strong hands are on my shoulders and I tingle at his touch. I look up into his eyes they are a mixture of chocolate and red, but I can see the desire in his eyes too. Matthew crashes his mouth down on mine and for a moment I am taken aback but I can’t help returning his kiss, his mouth is persistent and making my own tingle. Instinctively my arms slide around his neck and run my hands through his dark hair. Matthew breaks our kiss and I whimper at the loss of his touch.
“You don’t know how long I have wanted to do that. Can you handle this?” he asks.
“Do you mean us, this or that you are a five hundred year old vampire?” I ask my voice unsteady.
“Both? Siobhan you have filled my senses for so long, do you know how hard it has been for me to stay away but I can’t, I won’t. I want you like I have never wanted anyone before.” His hands cup my face and his thumbs stroke away the tears that flow down my face.
“I don’t know, but I’m willing to try,” I reply, I lift my hand to touch his face. “Does this mean I will have to become a vampire?”
He laughs his deep laugh and pulls me closer, “No, it doesn’t. It does mean that when we get out of here I am taking you to bed and making love to you. Your smell is driving me crazy.” My desire hitches up a notch and my breath catches in my throat. He rubs his thumb over my lip. “These will be really sore later. Nathan is here and I’m going to kill him.”
“Leave it, it worked it got us to talk.”
I hear the lock click as Nathan puts the key in the door. “Are mummy and daddy talking now?” he asks chuckling.
“Yes Nathan, now open the damn door,” I snap.
The door flies open and hits the wall behind. “Ops sorry don’t know my own strength,” he tells us laughing.
Matthew grabs my hand and pulls me along behind him stopping before Nathan. “We will speak later,” he says glaring at Nathan. “C’mon sweetheart, we don’t want to be disturbed Nate, by ANYONE.” His fingers lace through mine and he lifts my hand to his lips. “We have some making up to do.” I gulp and follow him down the corridor to his bedroom; Matthew slams the door behind us…

I love vampire novels. And I loved the heat between the two. And how his brother locked them in the bathroom!

Who wouldn’t want to be trapped in a bathroom with this sexy vampire?! Like the twist on the forced proximity, as well as the anger and simmer you’ve built up. Really fun!

First person is tough. Could you keep this up for an entire ms, with the same panache?

There are several meaningful exchanges here in a short gulp, and there’s not much time for a reader to really breathe or to digest what is happening. I think — at this pace — that’s something that can work against you writing the complete ms.

Also, the scene had me understand that Nathan was Matthew’s brother. If that’s the case, how can Siobhan and Matthew be the “mummy and daddy” of Nathan, when Matthew is Nathan’s brother? Is Nathan only using the “mummy and daddy” phrase tongue-in-cheek? If so, I think you need to explain/show that.

Also, if Matthew’s a vampire, couldn’t he just “puff” the door down? The fact that he says it’s a door that’s “300” years old, led me to believe that he “doesn’t” want to break it down because of history. But then he is blazing mad at Nathan and threatens him violently.

Matthew’s anger at Nathan, and his being reserved when it comes to breaking down the door, just didn’t ring true for me. Too much of a “mood” difference between the two — brother and door.

Overall, nice work.

— Good to see an Editor-Selected, co-Author Challenge Synopsis Writer submit to the this Writing Challenge, too. Congratulations, Jo! Looks like you’re working on all cylinders! 🙂

I was wondering what the “three hundred year old door/as old as you” exchange was all about, lol. Nice twist.

The Lights Off Broadway

Kristi studied Brad as he stepped about the stage. He seemed confused, but why? He knew where Romeo’s mark was, after all, he’d directed others who had played the part.

“Okay,” Kristi said. “You win. I’ll direct.” She stomped up the stage steps and began instructing him. “Now, Brad. No one wants these two to get together. They can’t. They’re from different worlds. But — ”

“I know the story, Kristi,” he interrupted. “Just go up in the balcony and do your thing.”

“Excuse me?”

He rolled his hand over in the air saying, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?… You know.”

“Right.” She slapped her left backhand into her right palm. She was glad that at least he knew the line. But he was the theatre’s director. Could he also act?…

When Kristi reached the top of the balcony, she leaned over it and called down, “Okay. I’m ready.”

“All right then,” he shouted up at her. “Go ahead!”

But Kristi didn’t say her line.

Brad sighed and lowered the script in his hand to his side. “I’m sorry, okay? Just say your line…please?”

No reply.

Brad inched forward with concern on his face. “Kristi?”

“The…balcony’s shaking a little.”

Brad stopped and sighed again. “Okay. ‘I’ll’ play Juliet.” He started making his way toward the balcony’s steps.

“No, no,” said Kristi, quickly leaning back over the balcony. “It’s just me. I’m nervous.”

“Mark said he checked it before he left. Can we get on with this please?”

But with two balconies having already fallen during previous performances, Kristi wasn’t about to take the “all’s okay” words of a carpenter who had just quit on her. With scrupulous eyes, she looked over the balcony. But could she really spot signs of trouble? Or, was she being worried for no reason?

“Do you want me to come up there?”

“Only if you want to play Juliet,” she teased back, giggling, then went deep into thought, visualizing her line and said, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

Answering wholeheartedly, Brad called, “Deny thy father and refuse thy — ”

“Braad!” she whined. “Those are my lines!”

“Oh…right.”

“This isn’t going to work. I knew it,” she said, her face falling into her hands. “You’re going to mess it all up tomorrow. What are we going to do?”

But Brad didn’t respond. He only stepped slowly toward the balcony-supporting posts. Had that been a “crack” he heard?

Kristi leaned over the balcony with displeasure on her face. “What are you doing? Leaving? Oh, that’s just great. Can’t take a little criticism, huh?”

“Kristi, get down here,” he said softly, as though speaking louder would only hasten what he feared was happening.

“But we haven’t finish the scene.”

“Now,” he said, hearing another “crack.”

She sighed, rolling her eyes. “Come on, Brad. We don’t have much time to rehearse.”

She was stubborn all right. Brad knew that first hand. But that was Kristi’s nature and it made her tough. She had to be that way, in order to have survived on her own for the past eight years in New York City — ever since she’d left the orphanage. She placed her hands on the banister of the balcony and waited for Brad’s line — fully determined not to leave her spot.

“Now, Kristi!”

“Don’t shout at me!”

“THE BALCONY’S FALLING!” he yelled, stepping back into her view.

“Oh, yeah, right,” she mocked, crossing her arms. “Just tell me that you don’t know your lines. Make it easy on yourself.”

Just then, Kristi heard a “crack” from under the balcony. Her face wrinkled worry. “Brad?…”

But as Kristi spun to make her way down the balcony steps, the ten-foot high wooden supports buckled, then snapped into two.

“BRAD!” she screamed, falling to the balcony’s floor, then quickly stood.

“JUMP!” Brad yelled as the support beams crumbled from under the balcony and began to crash down toward him.

Hurtling the balcony’s rail, Kristi leapt from the plunging wooden structure.

Brad took a quick step back, another to his right. Positioned perfectly, he caught her in his arms and leapt from the stage in one fell swoop.

When all was over, the manmade structure was in ruins amid a dust-filled cloud.

“Are you hurt?” Brad asked, his voice shrieking with concern, as he looked at a blank-faced Kristi in his arms. “Kristi?” he continued urgently, when she didn’t respond.

“Oh, Brad,” she uttered in the slightest whisper, reaching up to touch his face.

He pulled her closer to himself. “Thank God you’re all right.”

“Thanks to you,” she said, feeling safe within his powerful arms.

“Don’t do that to me again,” he huffed, his adrenaline beginning to subside. “That idiot, Mark! Where the hell did he learn carpentry?” He glanced at the rubble, then quickly snapped, “But Rick was in here alone, too.”

Rick Martin, the mysterious lawyer that was going to help save Financially-Strapped Artistic Director Kristi Platt and her small, failing off-Broadway theatre. And all Kristi had to do was let Rick’s ailing client believe that she was his granddaughter. Innocent enough. But although why Kristi was getting the money troubled her, the feelings she was having for Rick were overriding her reservations for not going through with the lawyer’s plan.

“Ohh…you’re impossible, Brad Summers!” Kristi spat, standing. “Rick had nothing to do with this!”

“But you could’ve been killed, Kristi.”

“Stop exaggerating. I was only ten feet up.”

“Okay, I’m sorry. Come on,” he said, loosely getting hold of her arm. “Sit down and relax.”

“Let go of me.” She tugged free. Then her face turned pale, her knees buckled.

Brad rushed over, catching her before her body hit the floor.

Safe in Brad’s arms, Kristi came around. Then her mind whirled with thoughts of Rick walking into the theatre, seeing the destruction, and canceling his agreement of giving her the money needed to save their playhouse. She had to convince Rick not to do that.

Slight sounds of what Brad took as happy comfort, were coming from Kristi. The sweet scent of her body teased at his nose. The personality in his pants lifted. Were his dreams of becoming one with her about to come true?

“Did you say something?” she asked, smiling tenderly with her eyes closed.

Too involved with his own thoughts of being with Kristi, Brad wasn’t concerned with her aimless question. But was his thinking about her in a sexual way — after such a harrowing experience — wrong? Or, was this fate unfolding?…

Brad tossed her a silent kiss. When Kristi enhanced her grip around his neck, he thought it was only because she felt what he’d just sent her. His heart pounded, pulse quickened, waistline personality intensified. Leaning down to kiss her soft full lips, he wasn’t concerned that she’d pull away — her facial expression said that she wouldn’t.

“I wanted you the first time I saw you, Kristi,” he whispered, then pressed his lips to hers, as though setting himself to puff life back into her with CPR.

She welcomed him with an opened mouth.

Her taste was delicious. More potent than he’d imagined and he lowered their bodies to the floor.

“Oh, Kristi,” he sighed, breaking their kiss, his cheek falling to hers.

With closed eyes, she raked her hands through his untamed, dark hair.

He smothered his mouth back over hers.

She pulled at his shirt.

Why was it so easy? Brad wondered. Why hadn’t he done this before? Why hadn’t Kristi ever made it clear that she felt like this about him, too, instead of telling him that he was only like a brother to her?

But Brad was too excited now to realize any answers. His impulse wanted action. He plunged his tongue into her hot mouth and whirled it around hers. As she wrapped her arms around his strong upper body, he felt her firm chest pressing on his. It was only a matter of time before he lifted her shirt off.

Deep sounds of ecstasy escaped Kristi’s mouth. She began to writhe her hips slowly, intensifying Brad’s aching for her.

“Don’t stop,” she gasped.

He peeked at her, and as he spied her pleasantly-pained face, his thoughts for why this was happening began to spiral again. If their kiss here was fate unfolding, then their love relationship should have time to develop, he argued with himself. After a conversation at dinner, a walk on the beach, or some time dating — but not after Kristi was just almost…killed!

So, although Brad longed to continue, he chose to pull back.

“Did I do something wrong, Rick?” Kristi asked sweetly, her eyes still closed.

Brad’s face contorted. “Is that who you thought I was?” he asked, both embarrassed and upset.

“Brad?!” she exclaimed, then wiggled from him. Standing, she batted down her disheveled clothes and ran her hands through her messed hair. She knew from that moment on, she couldn’t look at him. She’d always thought of him as her brother. What was she doing kissing him like a boyfriend?

“That’s right,” he scoffed. “‘Brad.'”

Was that why she didn’t object to the kiss? She thought he was Rick?…

Although their kissing encounter was proving a bit disturbing — because of the brother-sister relationship they’d had for the past eight years — the awkwardness of the situation helped turn a wheel in Brad’s head. He’d wanted Kristi for so long, and for so long, she’d told him that he was only like a brother to her. Now, the first time they kissed as more than friends, she calls him Rick?! What was going on?

He watched as Kristi wiped her backhand over her lips and said, “It’s a…good thing I know…CPR.”

“Yeah. Good thing,” she said in wavering agreement, still unable to look at him.

But was Brad giving himself enough credit? He’d felt the way Kristi had just kissed him. Was her heat, really, only the result of her thinking he was Rick? Or, was there another reason why she’d given herself to him the way that she just did?

Great chemistry! Lots of different paths this could take for Brad & Kristi in a full story.
🙂

Poor Brad! I always route for the friend. I felt so sorry for the guy!
Congrats on getting picked for the Bootcamp!

Glad Brad got you that way, Karen. 😉

Thanks — Doing the Synopsis for Bootcamp was a blast; getting picked an honor.

We’re predicting some tough times ahead for these two as they work their way towards their happy-ever-after! Love that Brad and Kristi’s kiss shifts their relationship dynamic, although wonder whether the mention of ‘Rick’ complicates things a little – readers will want to feel your sexy hero can kiss away the memory of any other men! Just a thought 🙂

Brilliant setup, Chris! Loved that you used Romeo and Juliet 🙂 Could actually feel the shift in their relationship after the kiss! A great piece of writing, Chris! 🙂

Really appreciated, Calida! I had hoped that Romeo & Juliet, as an intertwined backdrop, would connect. 🙂

Like the fact she half-saves herself, and then he gets to her. Can just see them appearing as the cloud of dust dissipates…and then that put down of hers. Fun.

1942

Her kiss was unhurried, and boundless, and sensual. It reached deep inside him making him, for one long moment, forget everything else. Around them, all the bustle and revelry faded away.

His fear faded away.

And then the two couples who had spilled out of the opulent room, kissing and giggling and in various states of undress, stumbled their separate ways down the ornate corridors to find private rooms, and the two of them were left alone again.

Heroine drew back from him immediately, her eyes locking with his, the warning in them as clear as if she’d said the words before she glanced up and down the now-empty hallway.

“We’re clear. Let’s get out of this hell-hole,” she muttered in perfect English. “Damned brothels have never had it so good since France became Occupied.”

Hero didn’t answer. Every time he’d carried out a raid in his RAF Halifax, he’d passed over these cities, never once thinking that there were sumptuous bawdy houses down there which were being filled with decor and art plundered from Eastern Europe. Gifts from the Nazis to the wealthy madams who served them.

But then again, when his plane had been shot down and he’d been trapped in the Perspex nose-cone, locked in a terminal nose-dive, he hadn’t thought he’d see much else ever again. Time had almost stood-still as he watched, mesmerised by the ground coming up to meet him. But still he hadn’t given up. And then he was free, pulling his ‘chute and almost sailing down behind the fireball of his fallen plane.

“The roof is that way,” he gestured to a set of attic stairs around a corner.

Heroine snorted.

“If you think I’m going to let you talk me into leaping across one more rickety Parisian roof-top, to fall through another skylight, you can think again.”

She had more fight that a Supermarine Spitfire, he thought. Maybe that was what he’d call her from now on. His little Spitfire. He grinned, the phrase had a nice, unique ring to it.

She caught his grin and scowled.

“Whatever you’re thinking. Stop. Nom de Dieu, I should have left you caught in that tree for the German search party to find.”

Yes, definitely his Spitfire.

Except she wasn’t his. And she already had a nickname. The Germans called her the Little Brown Squirrel and the Gestapo had already put a ransom on this formidable Resistance woman’s head of two million francs. It was said that she had personally killed hundreds, even one SS guard with a single chop to his neck to avoid the airman she was protecting that time from being captured.

If anyone could get him safely back to Britain, it was Little Brown Squirrel. And he needed to get back. Without delay or distraction.

When the safe house she’d been hiding him in had been raided less than an hour ago, she had leapt into action with a calm force. If he was caught, he would probably be executed on the spot. If she was caught, she would likely be tortured first. But that didn’t seem to faze her. And when they had fallen through the skylight above, a stick of lipstick and a strategic rip of her clothing had transformed her into the most wanton of women.

Famously scornful of romantic entanglements when there was “a more pressing patriotic duty to do’, Hero nevertheless doubted most men could keep up with her.

“If you don’t want to go across the roof tops, there’s only one other thing for it,” he listened in at a nearby door.

“And what did you have in mind, bubble dancer?”

He arched an eyebrow at her then eased the door open and snuck inside. Her faint gasp audible as he ducked out of the hallway.

Crawling across the floor it didn’t take him long to locate the inebriated German’s uniform, occupied at the guy was, in the bed above him. Hauling it on, he snuck back outside, greeted by an expression of pure fury.

“If we’re not going up, then we’re walking straight out the door.” Straight out into the streets full of Germans conducting a door to door search, looking for *them*.

A broad grin spread slowly across her face.

“You’ve got gumption, airman,” she tucked her body under his arm, trusting his bold plan as they made their way to the brothel’s main entrance. “I like that.”

“You do, huh, Spitfire?”

“Spitfire, my backside. Just get your drunken soldier legs on, and get ready to kiss me for all you’re worth.”

Great setting and set-up! I really enjoyed this, Charlotte. And I want to see that KISS!! 😉

I loved the ending. It was interesting. Lots of history. This would make a great book.

Love the WWII backdrop – instant drama! – and the brothel setting is unique too. Both of these characters are clearly super brave and daring, would love to know what happens after their escape!

Fabulous set-up, Charlotte! Loved the way he decided, “Yes, definitely his Spitfire.” You’ve set the wartime atmosphere wonderfully. And I absolutely LOVE the last line! 🙂

“I’m ready if you are!”

Samantha stared at the socks on the sandaled feet beside her and tried to inhale as much oxygen through her nose without laughing. Bent over, and hands on her knees, she knew she was going to have to make a decision fast! Her heart raced at the sight of the fast moving water way below them. It was deep, but she didn’t think it was that deep! The sounds of dogs were hot on their heels and unfortunately for them, their heels were firmly dug deep in the dirt at the top of cliff.

“Okay. Let’s go,” she said, standing upright. “I’m ready.” She bravely took three quick breaths and gripped his arm as her legs got ready in a strong jump stance.

“Wait.”

“What now?”

“I forgot. I don’t like heights.” He smiled sheepishly and then gripped her arm while turning pale.

“You just figured that out now? You were the one who ran us over here!” she yelled at him, the rushing water below drowning out her growls. “I wanted to run the other way!” she said and glared at him. “Well, it’s too late now! We gotta jump! How’s your swimming?” She asked, glancing him up at down.

“Oh,” he said proudly. “I’m good there. Strong in fact.”

His chest puffed up a little and she smirked. “Good then. Jump!”

He shook his head.

“Fine, then we’ll just stand here and wait until the dogs get here and they can toss you around like a bloody chew toy! Bye!” She went to jump and his face fell. He breathed a sigh of relief when he realized she was just joking and she shook her head. That’s when she pushed him. She watched him flap his arms and scream as he free fell to the raging water below. She waited, peeking over the edge just until she saw him surface and start to swim. Good, she thought and smirked. It was deep enough.
The dogs were close now, probably only a couple of campsites away. She wished she’d had time to grab a sweater or at least some shoes. Oh, well, she thought and jumped.

Her heart leapt out of her ribcage, but she caught it and rammed it back in to her chest. If there was anything she learned while living with her father was there was never time for fear when you were on the run. You could be afraid later, he would always tell her. The water slapped her body hard as she torpedoed into the water. She opened her eyes, the water rushing all around her. Her hair swirled up, down and around her face and the bubbles from her breath left her and floated up, way up. When she finally stopped falling, she took long strong strides in the water with her arms, kicking with her legs until she surfaced.

He was there at the side of a bank, his arm outreached to her for her to grab on to. She almost did, but then she noticed something. She grabbed a tree root instead wedged deep into the sandy bank. The water was calmer, but it was still deep.

“Grab my hand!” Water dripped off him as he looked back up at the police and their dogs barking hysterically. “Hurry!”

“Close your eyes, first.”

“Seriously? For what?” Her bikini top float passed her and he slowly grinned. His brows rose quickly as he thought of something. He left her for a few seconds and searched the brush for the loose branch he had seen earlier. Deserved her right for pushing him! She wasn’t so brave now, was she? He ran up the river, dunk the branch in and snagged the bikini just in time. Ha! He pulled the branch in and snatched the bikini off and shoved it in his shorts pocket. He dropped the branch and ran back, but she wasn’t there!

“I’m over here!”

He turned around and saw her face, her body hiding in a brush behind a tree. “You climbed up by yourself? But how? I was gone like two seconds!”

“I have my ways,” she said. “Now give me my bikini top.”

“No way. It’s mine. You pushed me.”

“Because you’re a big fat wimp, and you almost got us killed!”

He reached in his pocket and pulled out the top and dangled it over the edge of the river.

“No….okay….I’m sorry!” she shrieked. Damn, she had a big mouth! Her dad said she was going to have to keep it shut or she was going to piss off the wrong person! “…Look, I’m just scared,” she offered, deciding to switch tactics. “Don’t do it….” She rolled her eyes and took a deep breath, and held it. “Please…”

“You’re not scared. You people don’t get scared. You people scare other people…to death!”

He had a point. People didn’t mess with her family. “What people,” she asked softly. “What are you talking about? I’m just a girl.”

“A girl with a killer for a father who’s in jail and you now have all his money! And why the hell would you go camping? God! And sun bathing? Who does this? You’re supposed to be on the run!”

She shrugged even though he couldn’t see. She liked camping and she liked the sun. Her father hated camping. And man this guy had a squeaky voice. She would like to circle her hands around his neck until he dropped her top. Then she would lace it back up and walk away while he tried to catch his breath. “So…I’ll share it with you…” she smiled sweetly and pouted her lips, the kind of smile she gave her father when she wanted something. It had always worked.

“Sure, you will. But I have something else in mind. I take you to the woman who hired me to get her money back and then I walk away a rich man.”

She rolled her eyes. Who the hell would hire him? He wore socks with sandals, was being chased by the cops same as her and fell clumsily out of a tree back in her campsite! He was the ones who attracted the attention of the park rangers. If they hadn’t recognized him, she would still be sunbathing! She just thought he was some creepy stalker and was just biding her time until she figured out what to do with him. He was kind of cute and she hadn’t had any in a while. So sue her. “So, why are you running from the cops?”

“Well, one, because I want the reward and I need you for that. And secondly, well…I sort of have a few outstanding speeding tickets.”

“Oh, my God, really?” she asked and laughed. “How many?”

“Fifty.”

Small peanuts, for a small man. “So can I have my bikini back?”

“No. Let’s get something straight. I am not your friend. Just because we were holding hands while we were running doesn’t mean I like you. It meant I didn’t want you running from me.”

“I’m so sad.” She pouted. Loser.

He arched his brows, not knowing what to think. Her eyes were deadpan, like she had no soul. She was one scary little hot bikinied creature and he wished she would come out of her hiding place so he could see more of her than just her face. She was like a snake with a human head lurking in the bush. He shivered. “Come out of there,” he said dryly and then looked back up at the cliff. The police and dogs were gone, which meant they were coming around some other place and he didn’t know the area like they did.

“Fine.” She walked out, her hands cupping her breasts, but barely covering them. She watched him swallow as she walked right up to him and then dropped her arms. He looked down, only because he was a man and couldn’t help himself. She could see he was having a tough time of it and that kind of turned her on. She grinned as she did her own scanning. He had a nice chest. Crappy shirt, but luckily for her it was wet and he looked strong underneath. He had thick arms like he worked out for the ladies. She was impressed. She reached out and trailed a finger over his flat stomach where the shirt covered a tight quivering belly. “Not bad.”

“Not bad yourself,” he said and almost coughed when she trailed lower.

She smiled. “Want to get lucky?” she asked and bit her lip.
“Ah…I don’t think we have time…Wait a minute he said and stepped back. No! What is wrong with you? Here, take your damn top!” He looked at his hands. “Hey!”

“You mean…this top?” she asked, dangling it in front of him.

“You’re quick…”

“You have no idea. So…you want to? You know…” she waggled her brows. “I’m thinking…you’re pretty quick too.” She grinned and licked her lips.

“You’re also really creepy. So…no.”

She laughed as she pulled the bikini over her head and tied the back while he watched her. “Come on, Sweet stuff. We better go.” She grabbed his hand and started to run.

shove- “Good…it was deep enough.” LOL! My kind of gumption in a heroine! Thoroughly enjoyed this!
🙂

I liked the sense of urgency that you created here, Karen. That played out well in this scene. I also liked Samantha’s “push” — spitfire Heroine. 🙂

Initially, I took Samantha and Hero (is there a reason why Hero has no name when Heroine does?) as fugitives on the run — due to the dogs chasing after them.

But then Hero reveals that he’s running because of 50 parking tickets. Why would the police be chasing him with dogs for that? If it’s just because Hero’s in tow with Samantha, and she’s actually the one being chased, I think you need to make that more clear.

Still, the scene also reveals that Samantha’s father is in jail for murder, but gives no real indication of why the police would be chasing her with dogs, either. The scene just reveals that she is Hero’s “reward money.” I think you need some more explanation here for better scene continuity and strength.

Good foundation. Likable characters. Fun read.

Thanks Chris. You’re right, I forgot his name. oops. And yes the 50 tickets was pretty lame. lol. I need to think that one through a little more, if I decide to go with this. I don’t usually write these type of books. I went to a writing course where the mystery/thriller writers were thinking way outside the box. I wasn’t even in their league. I crept away silently after listening for a half hour.
Thanks for all your comments Chris. It was helpful. The girl was nuts and it was fun writing how she would react, but I would not want to be her friend. Nope. But she does intrigue me…lol.

A seriously feisty heroine! If these two don’t kill each other first (!), they’re all set for some real sizzle. Might be nice to also see some flashes of vulnerability from them both too, so we can appreciate the personalities behind their bravado too.

So true. She’s so mean! lol.I had so much fun just letting loose with her. I’m like the polar opposite! I would never push anyone over the edge of the cliff! I don’t think I would even jump. Nope. Wouldn’t. So it was fun being someone different. Thanks for the comments editors! I honestly don’t know how I can make her vulnerable…she’s crazy! Maybe give her a sister? In a foster home who she visits? Or something like that. She buys a Teddy Bear for her? And while on the run, she tries to keep the Teddy clean and intact? Thanks editors!

Oh, my gosh, I love how she pushed him off the cliff. I was laughing so hard! I think you have a great premise for a story here, with a few tweaks!

Great characters, awesome set-up! You could even begin it where he falls out of the tree ~ that would be a bang of a start! Would love to see how this all works out. 😀

Thanks Gina! I was having a giggle at this. I’m wondering how I could do him falling out of the tree. I don’t think I’d stop laughing. He’s not exactly agile, is he? lol. And she’s a character! I’ve never done a woman like that before. It was fun! I didn’t even know if I could do this challenge! I was camping and thought…what the heck am I going to write?

Love your heroine, Karen! Very feisty! I too, love the part where she gives him a shove! 🙂

Thanks Calida. That part just popped into my head. I’m glad everyone liked that part. I was seriously wondering what everyone would think of me for writing that. But I kept thinking. Make her mean! Make her mean! So the guy is kind of pansy right now, but that’s because there’s such a huge contrast from her to him. He’s actually kind of sexy!

Oh this had me grinning all the way through! Just loved it! Especially her feistiness! I have to say I had assumed he was a reluctant bounty hunter and her his ex – and one of the crimes (out of desperation, of course haha) she’d committed had left him framed for it hahaha! – So, yep, you certainly caught my imagination – loved it!

Thanks Charlotte! See…that’s where I have tough time of it. Bounty Hunter! That’s brilliant!

Her ankle throbbed even more since standing to shake hands with him. She decided to ease off her shoe, her feet hidden behind the desk, her eyes squarely against his the whole time she maneuvered the shoe. She was sure he was none the wiser.

Janis stared directly into very delicately colored blue eyes. But there was nothing delicate about the individual. Lorin was very well put together, both in attire and physical attributes.

She thought how the beautiful people liked to stay together. Then she warned herself not to be so narrow-minded. Just because he was handsome and enjoyed the company of beautiful top models and “A” list actresses didn’t mean he was shallow. Just male, and taking it all in before he was too old to notice. Or to do anything about it.

“Thank you, Ms. Knight, for giving me this opportunity,” he said with a smile Janis found intriguing because Mark’s blue eyes brightened, somewhat, at his own comment, making her wonder just what he was really thinking. “Especially since your secretary informed me when I arrived that there had been an unexpected change of plans and our appointment was cancelled.”

“Yes, Janis said, trying her best to keep still in her seat so as not to induce any further pain in her ankle. “I really shouldn’t see you at all because I have a ‘plane to catch.” There was time enough to catch her flight. The truth was she’d seen him arrive to the reception area and had recognized him immediately from tabloids and tv — never mind social media. The femine side of her wanted to know more about him. The business side of her asked why she was wasting precious time. She’d already seen the perfect fit for her company. Besides, she was in no mood with a sprained ankle to interview anyone else. So why this man, she asked herself, for the third time. Why this man….

“You started this company from its infancy,” he began, confidently. “You had no trouble getting financial backing when you needed to expand because of your fine reputation as a businesswoman. You use no animals in your product testing. You are actively involved in trying to convince governments from around the world to stop animal testing. Bottom line…someone I could work with.”

“Tell me something I don’t know, Mr. Lorin.”

Hmmmm…I’m thinking rich, handsome Mark is gonna give Janis a run for her money. Promises to be very interesting…
🙂

Sorry for the spelling mistake and one or two missing quotation marks. After i posted “femine” instead of “feminine” i didn’t know how to correct the mistake on this blog. Actually i was writing without my glasses as i really don’t like the way my glasses fit on the bridge of my nose. I better keep my glasses on…at least while I’m trying to impress Harlequin editors.
Thanks all, so much.

Just got to the editor’s comments on my writing challenge submission as first thing this morning I bakes from scratch an apple crumble (organic apples I got on sale)…all the ingredients are organic right down to the sugar. I also made a beef stew from scratch…all organic ingredients and a lot of prep work with the veggies. Then the kitchen clean up and back to my travel writing articles.
P.S. This morning after hours of cooking I found Susan Mallery’s “girlfriend’s” Chicago event and contest to meet with the famous author. I didn’t enter the contest because I wasn’t sure I could get to the “windy” city. But the contest sure looks fabulous. Readers should enter. I loved hearing the video clip where Susan mentions that before she herself got the “call” in Aug 1990 she was told to stop sending in m.s. ’cause she was sending in too many! M.S. all turned down untill that first manuscript was accepted and published in August 1990. What I want to know is what tipped the acceptance scale? I’ve heard of Susan but had never heard her speak about her beginnings as a romance writer. What an exciting speaker. No holds barred, too. I loved it.

Love the tension between super-confident businesswoman Janis, and her inner, warier, side. Intriguing to think about where this story will go – I hope she gives Mark a run for his money!

Hi Sold Editors says: Thank-you for your comments. Would the story spoil for you if there is almost a murder? And yes, Mark gives just as hard a punch as does Janis…only in a completely different way. How often is there a writing challenge on this blog? Once a week?

Janis is no pushover; and, yes, Janis will give Mark a run for him money…and he has a lot of the stuff to afford to keep coming at her with his special brand of romance war. If there ever was a woman who didn’t know the real thing was right beside her, this woman takes the cake — broken wedding cake candles and all.

Think someone said this already (but I can’t find it…Fiona or Calida?!!!) But great twist on the power-dynamic!

It’s great to see the Heroine in a position of authority. So often, it’s the other way around!

Immune to the snow which was starting to come down heavier, Breanna pounded on the door with her puny fist.
The door wrenched open to reveal, Vincenzo Durante. A sexy billionaire who topped the Forbes ranking as one of the richest people in the world.
“What the hell?!” he barked, as Breanna barged past him into his Villa, which was situated in one of the most exclusive parts of Aspen.
“Care to explain this?” The petite red head demanded, thrusting a piece of damp paper under his nose.
“So you got the letter.” he said wryly. The last time they had met had been at a mutual friends masquerade ball, over a year ago. Motherhood seemed to agree with her. She was even more stunning than he remembered. And he remembered very well. Every second of that night they had spent discovering each other over and over again… Desire coiled in his gut at the mental images…
“Well? Are you going to tell me or what?” Breanna hissed, jerking him back to the present.
“The letter clearly speaks for itself. I want sole custody of my son.” He held her gaze, mesmerised by the flare of temper in her emerald eyes.
“What makes you think he’s yours?” Breanna, stated icily, her slender frame held rigid.
“When I found out you were pregnant, I did the maths.”
“Did you ever think you might have come to the wrong conclusion?” He didn’t miss the tense desperation in her voice. But he wasn’t going to be swayed by her show of vulnerability. He knew first hand what it was like to have a father who had no interest in you. Despite all the efforts you made to impress him, he still didn’t want to know. Rejection was a hard pill to swallow. As a youngster he’d overheard one of his many nannies which his father had employed to take care of his responsibility for him, refer to him as a damaged soul when he’d pushed her too far. He would walk over hot coal before he allowed anyone to refer to his flesh and blood as ‘damaged’. He would give his child everything it needed. Everything he never had.
“Anna…”
“Don’t call me that!” Her face flushed and her fists clenched at her sides. “My name is Breanna!”
“All it will take is a simple DNA test to prove what I already know.”
She blinked furiously before speaking. “We are practically strangers, we shared… only a few hours…”
“Very memorable hours…”
“Earlier that day I was dumped! I slept with you on the rebound!” she flung at him.
Vincenzo flinched. With his steely composure back in place, he stared down at her contemptuously. “I always get what I want , Anna. I want my child and I’m going to get him.”
He forced himself to remain immune to the pain which registered in her eyes.
“You are nothing but an emotionally bankrupt savage.” She bit out hoarsely.
Her words hit their mark, but he didn’t show it. “I can give him everything you can’t…”
“Materialistic things maybe, but not the love of a mother!”
“You make it sound like I’m cutting you out…”
“It’s exactly what you’re doing! And I’m not going to let it happen. You’ve made the mistake of underestimating me, Mr Durante!” She flung at him and yanked the door open only to be faced by a blizzard.
“And it looks like you underestimated the weather. You’re not going anywhere tonight, Anna.”

Okay- please tell me you’re entering this story in sytycw this year, Calida…???
Would LOVE to read it in its entirety! Great set up – I think I’m in love w/Vincenzo already & this promises to be one passionate tale!

Thank you so much, April! 🙂 Not sure what I’m going to enter into this years sytycw but after your lovely words, if I finish it in time, I might enter this one 🙂 xxx

I agree; she should enter this m.s. One of my sister’s had her only son taken from her during visitation rights…she never saw him again. Of course Anna’s story will end on a more happy note. But how does Anna get to the happy finish line as a winner in love? I’d read it.

I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your sister! How awful! I pray that one day she becomes reunited with him again.
Thank you for your kind words, May. I wish you and your sister well. 🙂 xoxoxo

So dramatic and passionate – these two strike real sparks off each other, it’s shaping up to be a real emotional rollercoaster of a read! What a great last line to end on too 🙂

Lively and filled with what is HD. Nice story set up, Calida.

Puny fist — love that!

Like the “spunky” in Anna — oops, “Breanna.” 😉 and the “powerful/in control” Vincenzo.

It didn’t ring true with me that Vincenzo — a billionaire — would answer his own door. But, very inventive.

Good hook end — the coming storm paves the way for a nice snowbound tale?…

Good job! 🙂

April, Fiona, Chris, Karen, thank you SO much for all your INCREDIBLY kind words! I feel really moved by your kindness! Thank you so so much! 🙂 xoxoxo

Thank-you and Merci for the comments. When i entered this writing challenge I forgot about a man I met a couple of decades ago who fits my story even better than Mark Lorin! There are so many ideas for a story always running around in this sometimes “bonkers” head of mine I do hope I’ll remember the “horse” man who owns one of the world’s finest equestrian companies and has two sides to his personally — has all the markings of the classic damaged-goods male that cannot help but melt your heart. But, for now I’ll try to do my best with Janis and Mark.

Jolted from sleep, Sam Fielding stared at the unfamiliar ceiling. Vertigo claimed his body as he scanned the room for a familiar shadow. His bed was in the wrong spot. Wait … not his bed. Not his room.

Outside, another car crunched through drifts and slipped on ice as headlights swiped across the window. Muffled thuds and curses signaled the surrender of another set of travelers.

Sam stood and stretched the kinks from his muscles. A few of them could be attributed to the lumpy mattress, but most had been caused by wrestling the truck’s steering wheel as he’d navigated through the blizzard. They’d finally given up for the night and found a room in a roadside motel.

He tiptoed into the bathroom and closed the door before he turned on the light. Still drowsy, he stood in front of the commode and balanced one hand on the towels hanging above it. Rather than nubby terry cloth, his fingers grazed damp silk.
He stared at the underwear, if you could call it that. It was mostly strategic bits of silk held together by lace and string. Sam stroked the fabric again before he forced his hand away. The panties weren’t his, just like their wearer wasn’t.

Turning out the light, he emerged into the room and washed his hands, hoping he wouldn’t wake Eliza in the adjoining bed. She’d been just as tense all day in the passenger seat, just as worried about their progress. Though she’d argued about stopping, she’d collapsed in exhaustion the minute her head had touched the pillow.

His eyes adjusted to the dark, and he could see the travel-sized items scattered across the vanity. They’d each used them earlier – him using the mouthwash while she’d brushed her teeth, her washing her face while he’d fumbled with the tiny stick of deodorant.

Out of habit, Sam looked in the mirror as he dried his hands. He shouldn’t have worried about stealth. Eliza was awake and at the window, watching it continue to snow.

“You might as well come … go back to bed,” he said as he stopped in the middle of the room. Awareness pooled low in his gut and gooseflesh rose on his naked skin. He was in his boxers, and she … now he knew she was naked under the tent-like shirt she’d scrounged from the gift shop. “Watching it snow won’t make it stop any quicker.”

“Do you think we’ll be able to leave in the morning?” she asked over her shoulder. The dim street lights reflected from her coal black hair and pale skin. “Will’s doctors said-”

“We’ll do our best, but it won’t do any good for us to end up in the beds next to him.”

Us in bed … don’t think that, moron.

It would do him no good to think about taking Eliza Grant to bed. She’d avoided him since childhood when he’d been determined to protect her from Will’s cockamamie adventures. Since then she’d chosen his younger brother for everything, and Will had done the same. They had a bond Sam could only explain by calling them a couple.

And it had never chafed until now.

“He’s alone Sam,” she warbled as she swiped her hand across her cheek.

Striding to her side, he turned her away from the window and pulled her into his arms. He’d couldn’t bear seeing her hurt. It had been the reason for their first argument and for his last argument with Will, just days ago. “He’ll be fine, Eliza.”

He had to be. Will was the only family Sam had left, and there were too many angry words left between them.

She tightened her arms around his waist. “He will be.”

Lifting her cheek from his chest, he held her chin in one hand while he dried her tears with the other. He was kissing her before he realized it, holding her close and sliding his tongue against hers – relishing that she smelled and tasted like him. He was the worst sort of cliché – the lonesome cowboy who’d fallen hard for the girl next door, the woman who loved his brother.

Wow – loved this! (Cowboys…swoon!) Very emotional and intriguing, and love how you set up the forbidden chemistry between them. Great writing!

LOVED this, Harriet! LOVE the sensual tension between them! Love the way he is compelled to kiss her! A brilliant piece of writing, Harriet! 🙂

Thank you, Calida! This is a WIP I’m trying to whip into shape. ::snort:: I’m so glad you liked it.

Lovely emotion, Harriet!
Go for it – get the first 3CHs off now – whipped full WIP or not! By the SOLDEditors response – they would look on it v. favourably. Capitalise! 🙂

Love this!! I wasn’t around this weekend for the challenge. Once I realized there was one, I had to find yours to read. :)You always bring it and bring it very well. Can’t wait to see what you enter in SYTYCW.

Sayyid Al-Salman stormed through the palace, his faithful aide, Catherine Moore, at his side. The scandal was about to hit the airways if he didn’t act fast. Something he couldn’t allow to happen. Opening both doors, he stepped in dressed in his royal robes and head-dress into his mother’s suite where his mother rose to her feet gracefully. Immaculately dressed as always.
“What are we going to do?” she asked softly. The only sign of nerves was the playing of the necklace around her neck. Sayyid paced the room hands behind his back. Catherine hovered nearby waiting.
“Stop it, of course. This could bring down our kingdom, if it comes out.”
“It will come out, you know that son. The way the internet is now nothing stays secret for long.”
“Rumours, and speculation, only. What I need is a new fiancé. It was never really announced who I was marrying. All hushed up until the unveiling tonight in front of the gathering.” He paused and looked across to the quiet, dark headed beauty, who was always at his side. Her baby blue eyes widened and run nervous hands down her tailored black dress. Modest, modern and very chic. Then to his mother. “What do you think?”
Amber Al-Salman glanced across to his personal secretary who had been at his side for the last three years. “Maybe. We could say we had been grooming her to have her place at your side.”
He crossed over to walk around her. “Yes, it could work. Yes, we will do it. Come.” He turned around and started walking out.
Catherine went after him, mind racing, heart pounding. They couldn’t be serious. Surely not. “Sayyid,” she called softly. He stopped to turn to her to have her pull up short and pointed behind her. “What was that all about?”
“I need a fiancé and you’re it.”
Her eyes widened. Lips parted in shock. “You can’t be serious!”
He frowned, perplexed. “I am Catherine. Deadly, and this is a very serious situation. We will announce our engagement, then after a while it will, of course, fall apart. Once all this has settled down.”
She swallowed hard and licked suddenly dry lips, her heart in her throat. “I can’t Sayyid. No one will believe you; a royal prince would never marry someone like me.” Her breathing became more laboured as panic rushed through her, breaking out into a cold sweat. “It’s impossible.”
“My country is at risk, the uncertainly could undermine us all. I can’t allow that Catherine and you will be well rewarded.”
She paled visibly. “I don’t want your money, sheikh, and how are you going to explain her?”
“A smoke screen. To keep our relationship a secret. What do you want Catherine? What can I give you to have you agreeing to this?” She looked at him, her heart pounding in her chest wanting to break free. The one thing he will never give her. His heart, his love. No, he wanted her to be a part of façade to save face, his country, which was going through a rough period. His forthcoming marriage was going to stabilise the situation. Followed by an heir. With the death of his father, others were trying to undermine his position as ruler. The coronation only days away. He was supposed to announce his engagement tonight until the princess had fled with his cousin. All hell had broken loose.
She took a deep breath because there was no choice. “I want nothing Sayyid. I will do it.”

My pleasure, Jan :)I agree, so many incredibly talented writers. Love this community. :)xxx

Thanks for all these super-fab forced proximity answers – we’ve so enjoyed reading them! This #WritingChallenge is now closed, but tune in on July 3rd for the next one!

I must say I had a blast reading everyone’s stories. I was on the edge of my seat. From smugglers to cowboys. It was absolutely amazing.

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