WIP Wednesday: Share What YOU Are Up To!

Hey, welcome to the first WIP Wednesday of 2017! On the first Wednesday of every month, I share a page or two of a work in progress and invite you to do the same in the comments section. You don’t need to be shy about sharing, because this is a critique-free zone for raw material (though encouraging words are always welcome, and good karma!)

If you had a holiday break, you may have gotten some writing done, or you may have just relaxed and enjoyed the holidays. Either way, good job!

During the holidays, I worked a few to several hours a day on a project for my day job, and I certainly wasn’t trying to do anything on my own projects. I did a little, anyway. I worked on The Equinox Stone, which is book two in my paranormal romance trilogy, and I even wrote a scene for book three because I couldn’t get it out of my head.

Here’s the book three scene!

 

 

Nic went down to the hotel lobby, almost empty at this hour. Jonathan sat at the bar. It would be awkward talking to him right after he’d walked in on Nic banging his ex-girlfriend, but he and Jonathan had both lived in the close confines of El Dédalo for a long while, and they knew that these kinds of things happened. Nic went over and sat down on the stool next to Jonathan, and the bartender lining wineglasses up on a shelf turned around. “What can I get you?”

Nic glanced at the bottle of beer in Jonathan’s hand. “Same as him.”

As the bartender got it, Jonathan said, “I was just going to grab the book. Sorry.”

“Not your fault.” The bartender set the bottle down and Nic handed him a ten-dollar bill. “Keep the change.”

Jonathan frowned, not looking at Nic. “You should stay away from Sophie.”

Nic’s blood pounded harder in his veins. He’d known that Jonathan was possessive, of course. If any other man as much as touched Cassie for any reason, the guy bristled. Nic hadn’t expected that to extend to Sophie, though. “Seriously? Nobody else gets to be with your ex, ever?”

“It’s not that. I want her to be happy. I just don’t think she’ll be happy with you.”

It was a kick in the gut. “You don’t think I’m good enough for someone you dumped.”

“What?” Jonathan gave him a look of disbelief, and then shook his head and muttered, “Christos, Nic, you’re good enough for anyone.” The praise caught him even more off guard. Jonathan took a drink of his beer. “In London, Sophie wanted you dead. She’d get furious with me for defending you. It’s why she broke up with me.

Back then, Jonathan had insisted again and again that given the witch’s shape-switching spell, Nic’s accidental killing of Sophie’s cousin Simon Federov could’ve happened to anybody. When Nic had renounced his Knighthood in his remorse, Jonathan had been a complete pain in the ass about it, arguing hard that it was the pointless loss of a valuable warrior. Even though Nic had just wanted to be left alone, he’d always love Jonathan for that.

“I knew you two fought about it,” he said. “I didn’t know it broke you up.”

“We had problems before that. But she was like a lunatic. She wouldn’t listen to reason.”

“She’s changed.”

“I gathered,” Jonathan said dryly. “But part of her might still blame you. She could make your life a living hell.”

Nic felt a smile tug at his lips. “You’re worried about me.”

“Even if this is a casual thing, it could turn into something serious.” Jonathan didn’t say that from personal experience, Nic knew. Hookups were completely incompatible with his friend’s nature.

“I don’t know if it’s serious,” Nic said, answering the question Jonathan had not quite asked. Whatever was between him and Sophie, though, it sure as hell wasn’t casual.

 

WIP Wednesday Bryn Donovan

 

Want to share a page or two? Or even just a paragraph? Please do it in the comments section! It’s totally fine if you want to link to your website or to your other work.

And if you don’t want to miss WIP Wednesdays, follow the blog if you aren’t already doing so — there’s a place to sign up on the lefthand side of the page. Thanks so much for reading, Happy New Year, and happy writing!

41 Replies to “WIP Wednesday: Share What YOU Are Up To!”

  1. That’s an intriguing scene, Bryn. No wonder you couldn’t get it out of your head! I really enjoy a good paranormal romance and you’ve definitely whetted my appetite here!
    I have been working with CP partners on my mermaid story and one of them suggested having Neri experience more culture shock. So I am playing around with the scene in which she eats her first human meal (from Edmund’s POV):
    The girl could have supped with the servants. Edmund didn’t have to bring her in here. Family dinners were awkward enough, the three of them scattered around the huge table making extra legwork for the servants. Father would pick at Edmund and mother would fuss over him, and Edmund himself would say something tactless or idiotic. It wasn’t enjoyable to be part of, and couldn’t be much fun to witness. Truly Edmund shouldn’t subject the girl to all that.
    But Father had said she was his responsibility. And Edmund had always taken his responsibilities quite seriously.
    Did that include getting her to eat? Because she wasn’t. She sat with her hands in her lap and furrowed her brow, watching the soup as if a frog were about to hop out of it.
    “Don’t you like soup?” Edmund asked.
    She cocked her head at him, but did not otherwise respond.
    Of course not. She understood the language, but apparently soup was an unfamiliar concept to her. It made no sense.
    Edmund couldn’t figure out yet whether she was beautiful or unnerving, with that pale skin and those enormous eyes, the way they tracked his every move. It wasn’t the adulation of a subject for her ruler, that Edmund was used to. This was more like being studied.
    “Well, try it, you might like it.” With great effort Edmund turned his attention to his soup, but watched her from the corner of his eye.
    The girl picked up her silver spoon, dipped it carefully into the soup, and brought a spoonful up to her mouth.
    Then she spat it back into her bowl.
    The queen patted her chest in alarm. “Good heavens!”
    The king laughed. “I should say that’s a no.”
    Edmund grimaced.
    The girl waved her hand over the steaming bowl and brought her other hand to her throat. She picked up the spoon and dipped it into the soup again.
    Edmund reached across the table and caught her hand. “No, don’t.”
    The spoon fell.
    The girl blinked at Edmund, lips parted. Her pupils were dilated, her wrist cold in his grasp, and he could feel her pulse, unless that was his own.
    The king cleared his throat, and it was broken.
    Edmund released the girl’s hand and looked away, feeling his face warm. “Let’s get you a fresh bowl.”

    1. I like this scene, I learn a lot about the personalities. My only question is when the king cleared his throat.. what was broken? I miss things a lot so if it’s there, ignore me.

  2. I enjoyed your scene Bryn, and it definitely makes me curious to know more of the history behind these characters and the future ahead. It’s always interesting to me to watch how human nature and animal instinct merge, even in real life.

    Here’s the latest scene in the first book of my Bounty Hunter series. It’s rural fantasy, but there’s a romantic tension building between the two main characters.
    ______________________________
    Tall grass rose above the windows on either side of the Jeep. We were parked in front of a tall set of padlocked gates. As he pulled the emergency brakes, he gave a small nod.
    “I’m impressed that you didn’t get carsick on all those curves and hills while reading.” Then he got out of the jeep and opened the back door to get his gear.
    “If you’re that easy to impress, I guess things are looking up,” I said as I unbuckled. “I thought maybe jumping into the river with the towline, or maybe even peeing in the woods might have done it.”
    Reaching around to the back I pulled my backpack into my lap and stuffed the guidelines book and my profile folder into it. My socks on the floorboard under the heater vent were dry now, so I untied my shoes so I could take them off and put the socks back on. The shirt on the backseat was still pretty soggy, though. I would tie it around my waist when I got out so it could dry better.
    “Leave the guidelines,” he said.
    “Why?” I asked. “I might need them when you go silent again.”
    “Suit yourself, then.”
    He opened the back passenger door on his side, grabbed his backpack off the seat next to mine, slammed the door and started wading through the raffia of last year’s bluestem grass.
    I got out opened the back door to get my agency-issued duffle bag. My backpack was still only half-full, so I transferred the few items in the duffle into that thinking I’d rather carry the one pack rather than both. It was heavy now, with my things stuffed in there and the book too. It probably weighed around forty pounds. I hoped we didn’t have to walk too far. The book added another ten pounds, for sure.
    I could take it out. For a few seconds I stood there waffling over the decision. Nah. If I took it out now, he’d take it as a coup. Hefting the pack onto my shoulders, I closed the door and look around.

    1. Thanks, Ima! You know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term “rural fantasy” before, and I loove it. I love the insight into the dynamic between the two characters at the end. And the details too (like the bluestem grass!)

      1. I saw the term somewhere a while back and loved it. “Urban fantasy” doesn’t really fit my genre because it’s set in rural locations not cities, but it’s the closest category I think Amazon has. Lucky for me, though, no one else thought of buying the ruralfantasy.com domain, so if it ever becomes a real genre, I’ll be happy 🙂

  3. I’m writing in a genre I’ve never written in before and an era that I don’t know but many readers probably do. (It’s 1967, Philadelphia). We are mid-scene. Narrator, Larry, and girlfriend, Barbara, have come home recently to a brick through the window but Barbara has hidden the note that was attached. Larry suspects that her past relationship was abusive and he doesn’t want to recreate that. The League is her civil rights group. Larry fancies himself a progressive who supports feminism, but we all know that people can be blind to their own sexism, so if you feel he’s somewhat sexist, he is. Sorry for all the lead-I’m new here. Please be honest but gentle.

    Over the coming months, no more bricks came through the window, but she started getting letters without return addresses on them at least once a week. I didn’t notice it at first because she was so consumed with catching the mail before I did, but the post isn’t something that’s easy to hide forever. I’d seen her take envelopes out of the stack here and there.

    I was worried. She wasn’t behaving any more comfortably since the brick. She seemed even more jittery than ever, actually. I wanted to believe her that Robert wasn’t involved, but who else could it have been? I was on the fence about confronting her again. But that question was resolved when she broke it off with me.

    “Why?”

    “I just need to be single now. With all the League happenings, it’s just not as safe as it was before.”

    “Barbs—”

    “Don’t call me that.”

    “—Barbara. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act three years ago! It’s safer now than it’s ever been.” Her face looked appalled. “There is plenty more work to do! I agree. Now that the League is focusing on the war. But we’re on the winning side now! Why now but not before? I love you!”

    “Just go. I don’t have to give you any reason.”

    “Of course you do. I’ve been faithful. I’ve been a good man to you.”

    “Well I told you why and you won’t accept it. And to be frank, women don’t answer to the men in their lives. I don’t owe you anything!”

    We were standing in the kitchen. I had come home from my last final exam in 1966. I guess she had been waiting for me to finish up. She had confronted me on my way in the door and my bag was by my feet now. She had set down a glass of red wine when I got home. I wonder how long she had been there waiting by the door and drinking wine. She must have thought I would just turn tail and walk back out.

    “You’re right. You owe me nothing. But can we sit down and just talk about it? Take a deep breath, discuss it, and then I’ll go.”

    We sat on the couch in silence for what must have been hours. The clock only moved forward a few ticks though. She calmed down and I followed suit, but she wouldn’t give up on the separation. For my safety. Boy, it was hard to read her sometimes. How many Barbaras are there in that woman and how many of them have I met?

    “I appreciate that you want to protect me. I love you, so of course I want to protect you, too.”

    “How could you protect me?” I wasn’t a patriarch or anything, but I wasn’t a lily.

    “Look. We don’t have to be a couple together. But I have nowhere to go anyway. Let me move into the office.”

    “No.”

    “Barbs.” She looked up at me with huge brown eyes. “I can’t just abandon you after I’ve dedicated myself to you. This hurts me, and I will worry myself to death about you.”

    “You’re right, Larry. You’re right. But what do you suggest? People will know you’re still here. You can’t hide letters that are addressed to you.” At the time, this didn’t seem nearly as paranoid as it should have.

    “I will change my address to the engineering department at Temple. I’m there almost every day. I start that research project with Dr. Kasper in the spring semester. I’ll have a key, I’ll see if I can get it early. That way I can get my mail over Christmas holidays.”

    “I don’t know.” She lit a cigarette for herself only.

    But she did agree to it. And I did move and acquire a key to the office at Temple. As the springtime commenced, I noted though that she was removing things from the mail stack more often than before. I thought that was strange; I wasn’t even checking it for my own post anymore. She also wasn’t hiding it so well. In fact as time went on, she looked more frazzled about it all.

    I found out why when I got home early one afternoon in March. There were two of those letters in the same day’s mail when I brought it in and I decided it was about time I had a look. One look was enough.

    March 14,1967
    Dearest Barbara,
    I don’t know why you haven’t written me back yet. You know how much I value our correspondence. It has been days and I haven’t heard from you since the ninth! The ninth, Barbara. Does that seem respectful? I write you every day. Every damn day Barbara.

    Is this because of that Lawrence person? Is he back in the picture? Because when we agreed that you would stay there and do your “work” until I could keep you with me, he was supposed to be gone. I see he’s still at Temple. Don’t lie to me. And don’t tell me it’s over. I know he still sees you. He at least sees you. He was there during the day last week. I saw him.

    I have the night off on the twenty-third. I will be in Philadelphia. I want to see you. I want to meet with you. It’s been weeks since we’ve met. And I do not want Lawrence, or your father or anyone else interrupting us this time. You promised me if I stayed here and saved for a place for us that you would be sweet to me. Well I haven’t had any candy in months, Barbara.

    When we were married you made me a promise. Keep your promise, Barbara.

    With determined affection
    Robby

    1. I enjoyed this passage. The final paragraphs certainly open the path to confrontation! This takes place in an era I haven’t studied much or read about in fiction, but offers a lot of promise to your story.

    2. Hi, Jacob! What an interesting time to set a story in. I love the idea of a character who thinks he’s woke (to use the parlance of our times, haha) but is blind to some of his own biases… that is fascinating, and it doesn’t keep him from being sympathetic. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Hi Bryn!

    Here’s a short scene from the sequel of Fantasy’s Tales: A One-way Gate. It’s a scene that I hope helps to describe the personalities of Morgan and June a little better. It takes place after a failed attempt to storm an enemy base, in which Morgan got hit with magic (or fire, fire magic). So that’s where June’s line comes from. It’s also a scene which sort of touches on the limits of what magic can do.

    ‘Do you ever think of what’s beyond life?’ June asked.

    ‘I do…sometimes. But to be honest, I don’t think there’s much beyond life. Except what happened to Odille.’

    ‘And CN too, don’t forget about her. But that doesn’t count. I mean, would there be a heaven or something?’

    Morgan lowered her head and looked at her shoes. ‘Don’t think so. But who knows, there aren’t many people who have defied death. If any at all.’

    June wiggled her bright red boots. ‘Odette the First has.’

    ‘Is being a shady ghost who only appears to someone who died a heroic death under rare circumstances really defying death?’ Morgan wondered.

    ‘Maybe…’ The sun made June’s eyes look even darker that usual. ‘Maybe it is, or maybe it’s just temporary defination. Defiation. Defiyniton. Something like that. By the way-’ she ran a finger across Morgan’s hair. ‘Do you now that like, half your hair is gone?’

    ‘Yeah.’ Morgan stroke the left side of her head. It was really uneven. ‘Fire got me good.’

    ‘Fire didn’t walk with you.’ June giggled.

    ‘What?’

    ‘It’s a movie.’ June leaned against Morgan, who put an arm around her. The rays of the sun were surprisingly warm. June’s hair tickled in Morgan’s nose. ‘What are you going to do about that?’

    ‘The hair? I think I’ll ask someone to use a growing spell on it. Odille knows some good ones.’

    ‘Or…you could shave it even shorter, be like a pirate. With hair on one side.’

    ‘Pirates have that?’

    ‘Well, not the one Odette told us the story about. But I think it would look cool on you.’

    1. That snippet’s really interesting! I’m getting fairytale-retelling vibes, and I dig it 🙂
      Keep up the good work!

    2. Hi Kiete, Happy New Year! Thanks so much for sharing this. I really liked: ‘”Is being a shady ghost who only appears to someone who died a heroic death under rare circumstances really defying death?” Nice scene.

  5. Very nice.
    I don’t really have any excerpts to share today. I finished my book, and I’m currently editing it before I give it to my grandmother to edit it. Details are my weakness, and the rough draft was only 45000 words. I’m currently going back and adding detail and emotion to all chapters. My female character is an empahth, so her scenes will have more emotional detail. And my male character has an unnatural ability to pay attention to every detail and has incredible mental focus – so all his scenes need to be hyper detailed. So far, I’m through chapter 9, and I’ve added another 3000 words, and it’s still not quite as detailed as I would like it. I have 25 chapters in total, so I’m pretty sure I can make it close to 80,000 by the time I’m finished. My beta readers have loved it so far, and have given me incredible feedback on where things were unclear and where I could definitely use more detail. My grandmother is excellent at detail, so when I get it to a certain point, and can go no further with it, I will hand it over to her. I’m so excited!!!!

    1. Hi Sara! Congratulations on finishing it! My first drafts are always lean, too — I’m always fleshing them out later. I think it’s so freaking cool that your grandmother edits for you!

  6. Thanks for sharing, Bryn! Kudos for tackling complex characters head-on. After some awesome support from my readers, I’m brainstorming a happily-ever-after sequel to my Mass Effect fan fiction, “Shakarian”:

    James sipped his second beer and leaned an elbow on the upstairs bar, watching the steady stream of guests come and go along the casino’s spiral staircase. This angle didn’t give him view of the other entrance, but there wasn’t any tension here—not like down in the wards, where refugees were either in silent shock or crying about the Reapers wiping out whole colonies, whole planets. He’d distracted some of them with poker this afternoon, purposely losing everything except his shirt, but he had to get away for a few hours.

    Too much time swimming in their desperation made him lose his edge, an edge he’d need when they hit that fuel depot at oh-eight-hundred tomorrow.

    Maybe the Silversun Strip was not the best place, either. His casual Alliance tee had got him a military discount instead of thrown out, but everything was so . . . clean. Smiling faces, sharp tuxes, slinky dresses. Like the war wasn’t happening. Like the human, turian, and asari homeworlds weren’t on fire. There wasn’t any desperation here.

    There wasn’t any care, either.

    His grip tightened on the glass bottle and he made himself carefully set it on the bar. He didn’t need to get hauled into Citadel Security for throwing a tantrum. His CO would not approve.

    As if his thoughts had conjured her, her laugh carried over the techno music.

    Shepard?

    Just an hour ago, she and Vakarian—covered in sweat, grime, and fatigue—had been distributing rations in the wards.

    He turned around to see the Commander and Garrus leaned on the opposite bar, foreheads almost touching, his gray skin silver against her cream skin in the flashing lights. The turian’s blue-and-gold dress uniform, rising impressively over his domed back, reminded James of Alliance blues.

    He shifted uncomfortably on his bar stool and tucked his tee shirt in tighter.

    Covered from neck, to wrist, to ankle, Kimberly was a glowing vision in a red pantsuit and pristine white satin shirt. She’d washed her face and combed her hair, but those ever-present honey-blonde wisps had escaped her bun again, caressing her curved neck like—

    Well, if she knew he was looking, she’d probably hit him with a singularity and shove him out the nearest airlock.

    She wore a spent slug on a gold chain around her neck. He’d not seen that before, but it seemed an odd accessory for a fancy evening. Maybe she always wore it; perhaps under her uniform?

    James looked down and chuckled: the toes of her black combat boots, polished and ready for inspection, peeked out from the hem of her fancy slacks.

    The music slipped into a tango. Her happy smile faded when Garrus took her hand and dragged her toward the dance floor. “No, no, no.”

    Garrus swept her into his arms and, despite her initial protest, she followed his lead. “You’ll pay for this later,” her voice was low, but James could pick it out of the crowd noises. Hers was the voice that saved his ass in every battle.

    And she was smiling again. Like Sol bursting over the horizon.

    “Promises, promises,” Garrus said, the deep, resonating echo unmistakably turian.

    A crowd gathered around Commander Shepard and Garrus Vakarian as the human and turian danced. James stood from his stool to keep the couple in sight as they gracefully stepped, swung, and dipped through a perfect tango, ending with her draped along his front, one powerful leg wrapped around his.

    The gawkers gave a spattering of applause and dispersed, returning to their drinks and gambling as the music changed to some techno from an asari dance club.

    Shepard caressed Garrus’ scarred mandible and leaned in to gently press their lips together.

    Something sharp twisted in James’ chest. He tossed a handful of credits on the bar and left without a backward glance.

    He’d see to it that they won tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. Until Kimberly and Garrus could go home again in peace.

    Thanks for reading! I’m DAfan7711 on Tumblr, Pinterest, and Archive of Our Own (AO3), where guests and registered users alike can read my stories.

    1. Hi DAFan! Ahh, this is big fun, and you don’t need to know anything about Mass Effect to enjoy it. I especially loved:

      “His casual Alliance tee had got him a military discount instead of thrown out, but everything was so . . . clean. Smiling faces, sharp tuxes, slinky dresses. Like the war wasn’t happening. Like the human, turian, and asari homeworlds weren’t on fire. ”

      and

      “Well, if she knew he was looking, she’d probably hit him with a singularity and shove him out the nearest airlock.”

  7. Hi, Bryn! Thanks for sharing that snippet; it sounds really interesting!

    Here’s a bit from the fantasy story I’m working on.

    “Relax. I’m not here to kill you.” Zoya lowered her knife, satisfied that the skinny boy huddled in front of her was no threat.
    This didn’t soothe the fear in him at all. His wide eyes locked onto her like he expected a strike at any second. Even though she hadn’t moved except to put her knife down, in the obvious “I won’t strike you unless you provoke me” action. He was trying to hide it, but nothing escaped her eyes: not the subtle tremors, nor the barely-there breaths. The kid didn’t look quite human. More like a cornered animal.
    Good god, what’s happened to this boy?
    “You’re new here, aren’t you, kid?” She tried to instill calm into her voice: calm and curious, but not so curious that the kid felt like he was being interrogated.

    The kid raised himself up a little, suspicion scrawling itself into every frown-line in his face. “Why does it matter?”
    “Matters because the slums are dangerous for people who don’t know what they’re doing. Especially little boys who look like they come from money.”
    “I’m twelve.”
    “Oh wow. Accept my honest apologies. Had no idea you were so wise and aged.”
    The boy scowled, but didn’t argue. The annoyance rearranged his scrawny face into something less fearful, which was a relief.
    “Are you on your own?” Zoya asked next. “Or do I need to help you find your folks?”
    “Why would you help me? I’ve got nothing you want.”
    “Because you look like you need it.”
    The kid’s eyes flicked back to her knife-hand. At some point during the conversation, it had fallen back to her side, next to the open sheath on her belt. Next to all the other knives she’d stored up over the years.
    “Give me your knife.”
    That was a slap in the face. “What??”
    The kid opened and started to close his mouth, but sat up a little taller and cleared his throat. “Give me your knife,” he said with only a little waver in his voice, “and I’ll tell you. I need some collateral.”
    “Some what?”
    “Collateral.” He blinked at her, mouth pursing in confusion. “You know–stuff that will keep you accountable, so you won’t stab me in the back?”
    “Oh.”
    He gripped the knife and stood up, strangely dignified for a boy in hiding.

    -End of excerpt
    I wrote it a few weeks ago on a wild jag of writing passion, and I think it’s one of my favorite scenes in the story so far. There’s definitely a lot of improvement that can be done, but I’m excited to continue work on it!

  8. Hi Bryn, I enjoyed both last month’s (I hadn’t received a notification about that post hence no comments from me) and this month’s wips.

    Here’s the beginning of chapter 2 from my NaNoWriMo last year…

    ~*~*~*~*~

    For the past week, things have cruised along as they usually do. My landscaping business does not even ease off during winter, and Jonathon, leader of the Brisbane were-leopards and chairperson of the QTL always manages to give me the things he does not want to do. He is happy to make decisions but, unless the paperwork is higher up in importance, he shoves it my way. Like I do not have better things to do regardless of me being his Second in Command.

    With a sigh, I push away from my desk, lean back in the chair and rub my eyes hard. There are times I would like to pack Maria and myself up and leave it all behind. But, if we leave, there will be even less people out there helping the newly created therians and vampires whenever they get themselves into trouble.

    My musings are interrupted when my mobile rings. I do not recognise the number. “Hello, Antonio here.”

    “Um, hi. It’s Sarah here,” Her timid voice comes through clearly. “Do you still need volunteers? I’ve rearranged my timetable to help out during new and full moons and half of my evenings between those times.” She rushes on.

    Her words surprise me. The action of reorganising her schedule tells me how serious she is about helping. I had been half hoping that, by not hearing from her, she had thought twice about stepping deeper into our world.

    “Hello, Sarah. Are you sure you really want to do this? The help line doesn’t necessarily mean you will be safe.” I have to make sure. Even help lines can get dangerous when the young ones are in the house and are having trouble controlling their changes / urges.

    “Yes. Just teach me what I need to know and do and I’ll do it.”

    She states it so simply. Sarah has impressed me already with what she had done and offered so far. I must admit, it will be interesting to see how well she handles the help line.

    “In that case, be here on the thirtieth around midday so I can show you the ropes and tell you what you need to know. Same house as last week and the address is on the card I gave you. If you change your mind, do let me know, Sarah.”

    “Thank you, Tony, I will but I won’t be changing my mind. See you next week and have a good day, bye.”

    “Thank you and you too. Bye, Sarah.”

    As the call ends, Maria walks in and, knowing she heard the end of the call at least, I fill her in.

    “Well, if we can’t keep her from being part of our world, the least we can do is educate her in the dos and don’ts of being around us.”

    I nod and hug my wife to me. So much can go wrong if we, and she, are not careful.

    1. Hi KC, Happy New Year! I don’t know what happened with the notifications on the last WIP Wednesday, and you weren’t the only one not to get one. So weird.

      I remember the earlier excerpt of this story – how interesting to see Sarah stepping up like that! I really like Antonio and Maria’s relationship, and how supernatural elements rub up against mundane ones (like paperwork!) in this. Thank you for sharing!

      1. Thank you, Bryn. Vampires and were-creatures are somewhat integrated into human society and I wanted to show that aspect of it. As for Maria and Antonio, despite the trials of their life, they have been showing me that their personal life is as close as ever. While Sarah is discovering a side to herself even she didn’t know about.

  9. DAAAANNNG, love the drama going on there!

    On that note, here’s some more drama! 😉 From Book three of my Atlantis trilogy:

    Gaius threw down his scroll onto his desk. “Are you mad?”

    Marcus stood in silence. Atlantis had put out feelers for volunteers as part of a secret mission. Neither needed to ask what the nature of the assignment. The Harappans were building new ships at their elusive ship yard faster than Rome could repair her damaged vessels. Even Atlantis could hardly keep up with the enemy’s efficiency. Something had to be done.

    The elder Duilius inhaled to calm himself. “This is a suicide mission. I realize you are upset over the death of your…woman. But that is no reason for you to make another serious mistake.”

    Marcus held his ground. “I’ve made my decision, admiral. Can you truly think of anyone better for the task?”

    “I can think of several officers with better credentials than you do, tribune.”

    “They don’t have my experience,” Marcus countered.

    Gaius’ cool demeanor began to crack. “I will not allow you to throw your life away simply because a barbarian woman was killed. This is war! We are Romans. It is our way of life.”

    “Yes, father, it is a part of life!” his son yelled back, deliberately refusing to acknowledge the insult to his wife. “You hinder the best interests of the Republic by refusing to send the most qualified soldier for this task!”

    “You think just because you’re my son that makes you the best?”

    “I am the best. On account of my own merits.”

    Now Gaius rose, locking his eyes with the younger man. “I should have you disciplined for insubordination.”

    Marcus bit his lip. That experience would prove most unpleasant. Punishment in the Roman military was harsh. Yet he held his ground. For the first time in his life, he no longer feared his father. He’d lost everything. Nothing to fear remained.

    Father and son shot bitter glares at each other, neither willing to give way.

    In the end, it was Gaius who backed down.

    He lost his son as a young centurion, the day he met that girl. Barbarian princess or no, she was an extraordinary lady. Even Æliana conceded to that. What might he have done if he’d lost his wife after such a short time together? Marcus dealt with his grief in the only way that he knew how—in a very Roman way.

    Who was he to deny the boy a part in a glorious mission for the Republic? His father? As his father, he should be proud of his courage. “Fine. You sail tomorrow with the tide.”

    Marcus’ face registered a flicker of surprise. Recovering, he saluted and left without another word.

    The admiral watched his only son charge out the door, conscious that the chasm between them had just widened, and at a loss as to how in Hades he might close it.

    He picked up the scroll from his desk and pretended to read the reports. Regret sank into him. I will never see him again.

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