Thursday, December 17, 2009

A troublesome scene

From the WIP. It's a pivotal scene and I've had some real issues with it. Luckily, the lovely AW Purgies rode to my rescue and here's what I've done, thanks to their comments and suggestions.

for those who haven't read the first draft, some backstory. Evan is a Lieutenant in the 101st Airborne and he and his Captain have been lodging at Megan's house for a few months. Megan is a widow, her husband was killed 4 years earlier. The men are just about to leave for another location, a few weeks prior to D-Day.

All comments would be welcome....please!

Purgies rock!


Megan looked at Evan. He lingered in the kitchen doorway, his eyes dark.

”Good luck, Lieutenant.” She tried to make sense of why saying goodbye to him hurt her so much.

“Captain, will you give us a minute?” His hand curled around her wrist, a feather-light touch. Megan trembled.

"All right, but don't be too long."

“I won’t.”

Megan watched Evan close the door. His eyes never left her face.

“Are you all right?” She fidgeted with her sleeve and swallowed at the knot in her throat. This was too much like saying goodbye to John. This time, however, Megan knew what could happen. She was under no illusions about the dangers Evan was going to face. She looked at him and tried to find the words to say goodbye.

Evan leaned against the door. “No. I’m not all right.”

Before she could speak, his hands were in her hair, his mouth devoured hers. Megan put her hands on his chest with every intention of pushing him away. It was hard enough saying goodbye without this. She didn’t need another reason to miss him, to worry about him. This just made things worse. It created a tie that she wouldn’t be able to break.

Evan’s hands were insistent, warm on the small of her back, rushing down to her hips. He pulled her close, drowning her until the last of her reservations fell away. Megan gave in to him, opened her lips, curled her fingers into his hair. She trembled when he tightened his arm around her waist.

“God, Megan.” He sighed against her mouth.

Megan kissed him back. She molded herself to him and wept because he’d left it all too late. She cradled his face in her hands, savoring the feel of his skin beneath her fingers and the scent of him.

He covered her wet cheeks with fierce little kisses, pushing her hair away with shaking fingers. “Don’t cry. It’s hard enough to say goodbye as it is.”

“Why now?” She sobbed.

“I’m so sorry. I should’ve done something sooner, I should’ve said something. I hate that I didn’t have the guts until now. I love you, Megan. Forgive me. Please.” His hands wound through her hair. His mouth moved from her lips to her throat and back to her lips again. He left her boneless. She struggled for breath and for common sense.

“Damn you, Evan. It’s hard enough saying goodbye to you without this.” She pushed at him, her hands curled into fists. “How can you do this now? Why would you put me through all this again?”

“Please, Megan.” His breaths were quick and shallow. He touched his forehead to hers. “I tried not to fall in love with you. I know it’s wrong because of my marriage and because of the hurt you’ve already suffered. I might not come back. I couldn’t leave without telling you, without … this. I love you.”

His anguish tore at her. Megan let her hands uncurl. She rested against him, wrapped her arms around him, and cried. “I don’t want anything to happen to you. I don’t think I could bear it.”

“I’ll come back, I promise. I would do anything to come back to you.”

“Come on, Lieutenant.” Barlow’s voice was a faint demand beyond the door.

“Damn.” Evan kissed her again – a sweet, regretful kiss. “I’m sorry, honey, I have to go. I’m so sorry I waited until now.”

Megan touched his face. “So am I. Please be careful.” She wiped her eyes and looked at him, wanting to remember everything.

“I’ll miss you.” His hands fell away, leaving her standing in the chill of the hall.

“I’ll miss you too.” She would never forget the scent of him, of soap and aftershave.

He picked up his kit bag. “I’d better go.” His lips brushed her forehead.

Megan nodded, struggling for words. She watched him open the door and wanted to stop him, terrified that she would never see him again.

“Goodbye. I’ll see you soon.” Evan’s voice was hoarse.

“Take care.” She watched him walk down the path, into the cold, early morning drizzle. He waved when he climbed into the jeep and Megan stood on the step, waiting until it disappeared around the bend in the lane, before she gave in to her tears once more.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - A mooshy bit.

This is probably going to be the last teaser from 'Empty Places'. It's now gone into pre-revision limbo while I get the new WIP out of my system.

In this bit, Ellie and Duncan have got 'married' at the suggestion of Elder Obidiah, who believes that Ellie would be safe if she was with Duncan. Most of the chapter is ... um ... rather naughty. This is a little 'morning after' snippet.


It took a moment or two for Ellie to work out where she was. Early morning sunlight slipped through a gap in the curtains and fell across the bed. Duncan slept, curled up around her, his hand on her breast, one leg thrown over hers. She shifted, edging closer in the chill left by the rain. He mumbled in his sleep, his fingers brushed her nipple. Ellie bit her lip, feeling desire stir inside her. After her disastrous debut, she soon found her rhythm and learned what turned Duncan on. His inventiveness left her boneless and exhausted. After years of straightforward, good, old-fashioned marital sex, Duncan was an adventure. She blushed at the memories and wanted more. Ellie turned slowly in his arms and looked at him. The quilt had fallen back, revealing skin flushed with gold by the sunlight. His long eyelashes left crescent shadows on his cheeks. She touched his lips in wonder and his chin, the morning stubble rough beneath her fingers. He was beautiful and Ellie couldn’t believe that she was there and that his arms were around her.

Duncan stirred in his sleep. Ellie watched his eyelids flicker and waited. He smiled when his eyes found hers. “Hello.” He whispered.


He curled his hand around her fingers and kissed them. “Did you sleep all right?”

“Yes and you?”

He grinned. “Never better.”

Something inside Ellie turned slowly. Duncan’s eyes were amber in the light. Thoughts she couldn’t read moved through them. Words she wanted to say were caught in her throat. “Good.”

“It’s been a long time since I woke up wanting someone.” His voice was quiet. “The way I want you.”

“You do?”

“Oh yes.” He kissed her palm and then his lips moved to her wrist, lingering there.

Ellie quivered.

“You’re beautiful, Ellie.” He took his face in her hands and kissed her – a slow burning kiss, like a sleeping fire.

She wanted to weep, instead, she kissed him back, curling her fingers into his hair.

“The Prophet said you had to look after me, Ellie.” He smiled against her lips.


“Will you?” His hands moved over her, light, like water. His muscles rippled under her fingers and he sighed against her throat.

“Yes.” Ellie rose to his touch.

“Good.” He whispered. “Because I intend to look after you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - The Prophet Speaks

I'm done fiddling with the NaNo story for now because a Shiny New Idea is demanding my attention. So, I'm delving into research on the impact that a well-known Airborne Division had on a tiny village in Wiltshire. There's plenty to look at, and still some plotting to figure out. I know what the heart of the story is, but there's a lot to be done.

In the mean time, here's some more from the NaNo story. In this snippet, Ellie and Duncan go to church.


Eventually the congregation fell into a whispering silence, punctuated by the occasional cough or sniffle. A door opened beneath the mural and the Prophet, dressed in a black suit, walked through and climbed up to the pulpit. He gazed across the congregation and cleared his throat.

“It makes my heart burst to see so many beloved faces here today on this glorious Sabbath.” His hands curled around the carved edges of the pulpit. “I have much to say to you.”

Ellie realized that it was going to be a very long sermon. Duncan’s leg rested against hers and she was glad of the distraction.

“…as you know, we are engaged in a battle against the Federal Government, who want to destroy us. I have vowed that I will take away their representatives, one by one, until they have no choice but to either take a stand and fight us or leave the state of Arizona altogether. I am delighted to see one of those employees here today, in the company of Elder Obidiah. He has shown true, Christian charity in taking her under his roof and making her welcome, making her part of his family. Welcome to our Church, Eleanor.” His gaze fell on her.

Ellie managed a weak smile in return and looked down at her hands, wishing she could disappear.

“…Eleanor has fit well into our Community. I fear she is the exception to the rule. The other one is not so obliging…”

Obidiah’s sharp intake of breath made Ellie jump. This was clearly news to him too. Duncan’s hand crept over hers and, in spite of Obidiah’s raised eyebrow, remained defiantly there.

“What the hell has he done?” Obidiah whispered.

Duncan’s fingers curled through hers. He edged closer-a shield between her and the prophet.

Enos continued, his eyes sweeping across the hushed congregation. “…My brothers and sisters, the die has been cast. We are now at war…”

Ellie didn’t want to hear any more, especially when the Prophet then went off on a long, rambling rant about the justness of holy wars. He spoke of wars between ancient, long forgotten tribes with Old Testament names, wars between Athens and Sparta, Rome and Carthage. The length of his rant was measured by the amount of fidgeting in the long-suffering congregation. She had no idea how long he spoke for because she was distracted by the seething males she was sitting between. Obidiah was a study in carefully contained rage, his eyes icy, his mouth set in a thin, hard line. Beside him, Deborah, the senior wife, regarded him with worry. Duncan’s palm was damp with perspiration, and his grip tightened on her hand. His eyes were narrowed as he watched Enos.

She had no idea how long the Prophet spoke for. It felt like forever. Her butt ached and the edge of the seat bit into her legs, no matter how often she shifted and fidgeted. The vast church was full of the whisper of restless worshippers. The sunlight had been swallowed by clouds, filling the place with shadows and a chill that Ellie couldn’t shake.

“…and so, my brothers and sisters, go home, enjoy the Sabbath with your families, embrace your loved ones. I will summon you when it is time.” With that, he stepped down from the pulpit, walked back to the door and disappeared.

“Bloody hell.” Duncan murmured.

“Bloody hell, indeed.” Obidiah’s voice was cold.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - Ellie gets a surprise

Well, that's it. The annual madness that is NaNo is over. I don't know if I'd do it again, I suppose it depends on whether I have an idea burning to be written. I enjoyed taking part, it kept me focused and the first draft of 'Empty Places' weighs in at a woefully short 56k at the moment. I know what needs to be done, but I'm taking a break from it for a while.

Anyhow, here's another snippet. Duncan has managed to smooth talk his way into the Compound as Ellie is about to find out.


“Here’s where we store the produce from our Community Garden.” Elder Ezikiel’s voice echoed across the small yard, hidden behind the tractor. Ellie kept working, assuming that someone was getting the Grand Tour. There were visitors, now and then, usually people seeking admittance into the Church and, occasionally, guests from other branches of Enos’ empire. She knew that spare produce ended up in restaurants in Show Low, along with beef from the Community’s herd and fish from the pond.

Ellie kept working. It always made the community look good if everyone pretended that it was business as usual. She also knew to keep herself as inconspicuous as possible. Obidiah had told her that it was best that way. It wasn’t as if anyone was going to walk boldly into the Compound to rescue her.

“We sell our surplus to restaurants in Show Low.” The guide said, his voice ringing through the shed.

“There’s a lot here.” The other voice tugged at Ellie. She paused, her hand curled around the handle of a basket. A little nagging memory, something good and impossible. She shook her head. He’d be long gone, back in his London apartment, no doubt writing a book about his travels. She sighed, ignoring the regretful twinge in the pit of her stomach. She tried not to think about how those two promised days might have turned out. Ellie bit back a sigh and turned back to the tomatoes.

“We’re lucky. We have good soil and the garden is in a sunny place. We manage to get the best out of it.”

“So I see.”

Something inside Ellie swooped. There was no mistaking that voice. She took a deep breath and bent to her task. It wouldn’t do if he recognized her and made a fuss. She hated to think of the consequences. It’s not like he’d be able to do anything to help her. Her hands shook as she pushed the punnets along the table. She counted them under her breath. Footsteps whispered across the floor of the shed. A raven wheeled above in the open sky, calling out before it fled towards the trees. The two men left the shed and stood on the edge of the garden. Ellie watched them out of the corner of her eye, trembling. He wore jeans and a white shirt, sleeves rolled up in the heat of the day. The sunlight glanced off his hair and she couldn’t stop herself from admiring the shape of him, the long thighs and narrow waist.

“Very impressive.”

“We are lucky to have very skilled gardeners.”

“Indeed.” The voices were getting closer. Too close and Ellie knew if she kept her head down it would look all wrong. She kept working, sorting through the tomatoes.

“Mrs. Freeman, how are you today.”

Fuck. She lifted her head and smiled. “I’m very well, thank you Elder Ezikiel.” Of all the damn days for Elder Ezikiel to actually talk to her on one of his tours, he had to pick this tour. She forced herself to look at Duncan. For a moment, she thought she saw the briefest flicker of recognition in his dark, unreadable eyes, before he nodded, wished her a good day and moved on. Moments later, she heard the golf cart whirr into life. She covered her face with her hands and sat, trembling for a long time.