Monday, August 20, 2012

Island Surprise

Thanks so much for stopping by. This week's writing prompt is book.

     Claire stopped in the middle of the busy hotel lobby and thought what she needed to do next. She wanted to tell Nancy about the girl’s body that was found, but she was probably in a workshop. She knew Sam was hot on her heels, so she had to keep moving. She didn’t want to see him right now after what she’s just learned. She needed time to cool off. She had a great idea. She ducked into an elevator and headed for her room. Once inside, she threw her bag on the bed and started peeling off her clothes. She was going for a quick dip in the pool, outside of course, after she was in Hawaii, who wants to stay indoors. She put on her tasteful purple one piece halter suit and pulled on a large white tee shirt that was large enough to be a dress as a cover-up. She stepped into her sandals, grabbed a small wrist bag and headed back out the door.

     As she was walking down the hallway to the elevator, she stopped when she Sam’s smooth voice talking to people at the elevator bank.

     “Would you mind signing your book for me, Mr. Stewart? I’m a big fan of yours,” an older woman’s voice asked.

     “Well…” she heard the hesitation in his voice. “Yes, I’d be glad to sign it for you. What’s your name, dear?” 
     Even under the crazy circumstances, Claire wasn’t surprised to hear Sam stopping to give a fan an autograph. And it was perfect timing for her, she turned around and headed for the stairwell at the end of the hall. She ran so he wouldn’t see her. She opened the door, and walked down the emergency stairwell four floors to the main level.

     She was feeling pretty clever, and thought she even handled that situation like a character in one of Sam’s books. She just needed a little time to herself, and she really didn’t like how Sam knew that a body was found and didn’t share it with her right away. She knew it was too good to be true, she was better off leaving their relationship the way it was. Now she was sorry that she cared too much.

     She took off her cover-up, and put it and her wristlet on a lounge chair with a white beach towel from the towel caddy. She walked over to the diving board, her college swim team practice moves kicked in like body memory as she stepped to the end of the diving board, and bounced a few times before diving in. It wasn’t an Olympic worthy dive, but it was mostly vertical with little splash. Her old swim team coach would be pleased, especially since she hadn’t been in a pool in months. Her body adjusted to the water temperature right away, it was refreshing and just what she needed to clear her mind. She resurfaced and swam to the other side of the pool. Claire climbed out of the pool and was surprised when she heard a small round of applause for her pool performance. She looked around and waved a thank you to the onlookers. She walked back to her lounge chair, and was surprised to see Lacy sitting in a white bathing suit sitting next to her. Was this a coincidence or was Lacy tracking her?

     “Wow, I’m impressed, Claire. That was a great dive.” Lacy said looking at Claire behind thick over-sized black sunglasses.

     “Thanks, I did some swimming in college. Diving into a pool helps me to clear my mind.” Claire said while wrapping her towel around herself to dry off.

     “You don’t say.”

     Claire sat in her chair with towel around her. “Yeah, it sort of shakes things up, and then everything settles a bit, just like the water. It’s has such a calming effect.”

     “Are you nervous about anything? I mean are you pitching or anything at this conference?”

     “Well, I’m not pitching to anyone at the conference, but my mind is a bit preoccupied.”

     “Oh, well perhaps you should make another dive, maybe it’ll help.” The sun reflected off Lacy’s glasses and Claire couldn’t see the woman’s eyes if she wanted to.

     “I just saw on the news where a girl’s body was found on the small island next to this one.” She watched for Lacy’s reaction behind the giant shades.

     “What, oh that’s horrible. I can see what you mean, that’s upsetting to me too. Here in paradise and somebody’s murdered.”

     “I didn’t say she was murdered. They don’t know how she died yet.” She watched Lacy carefully. “But they will”

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Island Surprise - Continues

This excerpt is an excerpt from Island Surprise based on the included picture prompt. Dan and Lacy are walking along the beach at their hotel after their wedding and before Claire sees him on the island. 

Lacy and Dan strolled along the beach hand in hand. Lacy squeezed his hand, tugging on his arm. “What’s wrong? You seem a bit preoccupied. The stress of the wedding is over. You should be relaxing now.”

“I’m just worried that Crystal will try something crazy.”

“Why? You paid her off, didn’t you?” Lacy threw her long black hair back, but the wind fought her.

Looking down at his bare feet in the sand Dan muttered. “Yeah, I gave her a check for 20,000 thousand, and said I’ll pay her more once the baby’s born. I told her I’ll support the baby. But I get feeling that it’s not going to be enough.”

As Dan looked out at the ocean waves illuminated by the moonlight, his mind returned to the day it all changed. The day his causal fling, Crystal Matheson told him she was pregnant, with his baby. He tried to play it off like it wasn't his at first.
Crystal looked up at him. “Come on Dan, I’m not seeing anyone but you, and you know it. I love you, and I thought you’d be happy about this. We’re going to have a baby. I so hope he looks like you, babe.” She said massaging his arm as they stood under the Stone Arch in Central Park two weeks earlier. 

Dan’s smartphone beeped. He pulled out the sporty cell and read the text message. A shot of adrenaline raced through his system when he saw the message was from Crystal.  I just checked into the hotel, babe. I’m in room 622. He exited the message, and jammed the phone in his the pocket of his chinos.

Lacy stepped back and watched his expression change to complete shock.

He faced her, eyes wide open. “She’s here.”

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Friday, August 10, 2012

This Just In... My Book Cover!!

I just received the book cover for my novella Love & The Economy, tentative release date September 2012, by Secret Cravings Publishing. I'm over the moon.
Cover artist Dawne Dominique did a fantastic job of capturing the flavor of the story.
I can't wait to get my edits!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Island Surprise Continues

Sam, Claire and Nancy have returned back to their hotel for the rest of the conference. This week's prompt is baseball. 

When Sam and Claire headed over the television lounge area, a baseball game was on the screen, the sound was muted. They stopped at the coffee bar and sat at two bar stools. Sam glanced up at the television again and saw that the local news interrupted the game. A crowd of uniformed and plain clothes police where at a wooded area, ‘Woman Found Dead’ read the caption under the scene.

           Sam stood up and took Claire's hand in his and held it tight, standing next in front of the bar. He could see the TV in the reflection of the walled mirrors that decorated the lounge area. He kept one eye on the reflection of the screen showing the crime scene and the other on Claire.
"So are you attending any workshops today?"
"I'm planning on going to a few." Claire looked at Sam with an odd expression on her face.
"Oh, great! Which ones are you going to?" Even though the screen was mounted on the wall behind the bar, he moved closer to her to hold her attention.            
            The coffee bar waitress approached them. "Would can I get for you two?"            
            Claire moved to the left so she could talk to the waitress around Sam. "I'll have a small mocha latte with soy milk." She smiled at the waitress and gave a questioning glance to Sam. He smiled at her and turned around to the face the waitress.
            "I'll have a medium regular coffee with half and half, please."
            "Okay, coming right up," the waitress said and went off the place the orders.
The scene was still on the screen with a reporter interviewing a police official. Sam turned back to Claire and attempted to block her view of tv again. "Would you like something else? They have danishes and things..."
            "We just had a big breakfast. I can't eat anything else."
             He need to continue the conversation. "You didn't say which workshops you're going today."
            "Why don't you sit. You're making me a little nervous. Is there something wrong?"

            Great, now she's suspiscious. Well you're not going to get academy award for this performance."No, I'm fine. I'll sit. I don't know I just feel a little wound up today." He sat on the stool next to her. He glanced up at the screen again and was relieved to see the camera was back on the anchor and they had moved on to the next story. He took a few deep breathes trying to reclaim his inner claim state. He didn't want Claire to see the story about the woman's body found, not just yet. He figured it was best to let the police do their thing, without getting involved. It bothered him that Claire might be involved in this as it is, he didn't want to attract unwanted attention from Dan if he was the involved in this. He had the feeling that Dan was indeed playing cat and mouse with them, and he certainly didn't want Claire or Nancy to know any more than they needed to. In his experience of reseraching criminals for his thrillers, he knew that they usually gave themselves away and that other people stepping in to play cop was usually a bad idea. It often lead to more murders when the killer thought he would be discovered.

            "Maybe you should have a decaf coffee or some tea." Claire leaned into him a bit. He got a hint of her musky cologne looked down into her concerned face.
            "I'll be all right." Their eyes locked for a moment.
            The waitress returned with their coffees. "Can I get you anything else?"
            "No, thank you. This is just fine." Sam said to the waitress while still looking at Claire.
            "Okay. Are you two here for the writer's conference?
            "Yes, it's been great." Claire picked up her spoon the stir her latte.
             "Is this your first time in Hawaii?" The waitress started wiping the bar next to them.
            "Yes, it's our first time here. It's lovely and the hotel's great." said Sam
            "Yeah, just sorry you have to be here when we've had our first murder in like twenty years or more. It's just terrible. They just found that poor girl's body on the small island yesterday. I sure hope they get the creep who did it."
            Claire practically dropped her spoon on the bar.  "What? A girl found dead on the small island?"
            Sam's face went white. He sat motionless for a moment while his mind shifted gears.
            The waitress continued. "Yeah, the small island next to this one. They’re planning on building an extension of the hotel over there. It's been the top story on the island all day yesterday and last night."
            "Oh, no, I was right all along. Did you know anything about this?" Claire looked at Sam.
            "Of course not." He blurted out. He fumbled with his coffee cup, needing something to do with his hands before he started over gesturing which he did whenever he was nervous. The cup shook in his hand, spilling a bit of coffee on the bar.
The waitress came back and wiped it up. "Just an awful shame. I came here to get away from the senseless crime. And now this poor girl..."
            Sam wished the waitress would go away and shut up. His prayers were answered when a few people walked into the lounge and sat down at the other end of the bar. The waitress left them alone.
            “So it looks like Dan, our perfect host murdered someone. I knew I wasn’t seeing things.” Claire got up from her stool. “Are you sure you didn’t know anything about this, Sam?”
            “Well, I didn’t want to alarm you.” He looked down behind the bar avoiding her accusing brown eyes.
            “Alarm me?”
            “Yes, alarm you. Look at you, you’re ready to bolt out of here and do what? Confront Dan who could be involved in this.  Or are you going to the police, to tell them what? That you may have seen something, but you’re not really sure. This is a powerful man Claire, you have to tread lightly here. And I’m trying to help you and protect you.” He looked at her hand gripping the bar, and wanted to reach out and put his hand over hers.
            “When did you find out about the body?” She appeared to be calming down. She loosened her hand on the bar railing, but he could see her heart was still beating rapidly.
            “I found out last night at dinner.” He told Claire about his friend from the 14th Precinct calling him while they were dining with Dan and Lacy.
            “Wow, I just don’t know where to start, Sam. Why didn’t you tell me this last night?” She sat back down and looked at him. He met her gaze.
            “I thought about it, but you know last night was special. We were finally alone, even pretending to be a couple, which was fun. I really didn’t want to hit you with that kind of news.” He looked down at his hands around the coffee cup.
            “Why, because I’d be too distracted to give us a whirl? Since we were getting along so well together.”
            “Well, it’s not a bad thing, is it? It was something like that, Claire.”
            “I can’t believe this. You’d keep this important information from me, just so we could share a bed together and get closer.” She kept her voice low, which Sam was quite thankful for, but her eyes screamed. He saw the hurt in them, and his hands started to shake again. He released the cup.
Claire stood up, took her bag off the stool back, and put it over her shoulder. “I have to go,” she said quietly and left.
            “Wait, Claire…”
The waitress returned.
            “Can I get you anything else?”
            “No, thanks.” Sam reached in his pocket, pulled out a bill clip and put a ten dollar bill on the bar. He told the waitress to keep the change and went after Claire.

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