Monday, February 27, 2012

Giveaway Winner

Last week, I offered a copy of Sandra Sookoo's shifter novel, "A Wolfish Scandal," as my giveaway. Picking a random name out of the hat, the winner is...

Jemrah!

Congratulations! I have your email, so expect a message from me soon!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! I had a short story come out at MLR on Friday for Valentine's Day, so this month, I'm spotlighting that. It's called Budding Hopes, and it's an m/m set in 1954 Baltimore. For this final six, I'm sharing their second kiss.

Their second kiss mimicked the first—the barest of touches, the hot rush of breath—but Hal added to it with the faint sweep of his tongue, tickling at the corner of Mark’s mouth. The sound Mark made could only be a whimper, the most primal, base response of a man about to receive what he desperately needed. In this case, it was Hal, and the knowledge that all the lusts that had driven Mark for years were on the cusp of satisfaction.

“I’ve thought about that,” Hal murmured. He still cupped Mark’s nape, forming the words along his mouth so Mark could feel them as well as hear. “I always used to worry you’d say something I missed because I was too busy staring at your mouth to listen.”


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I stopped for a bit working on this week because I thought I found my plot bunny for an upcoming pax at Amber Allure, but that didn't pan out, so I'm back to my vampires again.

-----

US Marine Curtis Lenske hung from the wooden cross on the opposite wall. His clothes had long since dried, and his once-white shirt was gray with grime. Blood caked his feet where they had caught on either the sand or something in the sea, but other than a few scratches along his heavily muscled arms and an abrasion over his left cheekbone, no other injuries marred his succulent body.

Felice hovered at the door, waiting for him to notice her presence. To the casual observer, his bowed head might indicate sleep, but she knew better. His telltale heart thudded too quickly to be unconscious, and the minute twitches of his fingers weren’t reactions to dreams. She itched to stand before him and drink him in, but this required patience. She had a strong feeling that Curtis Lenske was not a man who broke easily.

It took nearly five minutes of standing there silently for him to finally lift his head. When he did, he did so slowly, deliberately, like his skull weighed far more than the norm, and he stopped the second his icy blue eyes could meet hers through his lashes. There was no other reaction from him. No taunt. No smile. No grimace of fear. He merely waited, as she was, staring at her with the expectation that she would speak first.

Another five minutes passed where neither of them moved. In that five minutes, her nipples tightened to hard peaks and her stomach growled twice. She spoke only because she was hungry and for nothing else.

“No begging?”

He didn’t even blink. “For what?”

Felice shrugged. “To be set free, perhaps. Many men have hung from that particular cross and wept for their liberty. I would not presume that you’d stray far from your predecessors’ path.”

“But you didn’t let them go. Which means you’re not going to let me go. So again I ask you, for what?”

She liked his boldness. Confidence with a fearless attitude to back it up. It was no wonder Octavian had wanted this one as a prize. A disposition such as this combined with that physique made him quite valuable.

“What do they call you?” Long strides took her across the room, his scent more pungent with each step. By the time she stood in front of him, her mouth had watered twice and her pussy was wet. “If I’m going to keep you, I’d like to know what to call you.”

His penetrating eyes narrowed. “You know my name. You took my tags.”

“Your name and what you’re called are two entirely separate things.”

“And what do your vamp pals call you?”

“Mistress. A few have permission to use my name, but I try not to encourage that.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Little Black Bag

Looking at previous posts, you might think I'm addicted to shopping. I'm not. I promise.

I do, however, like to shop, so I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting sites.

Little Black Bag is the latest.

Basically, it takes the latest accessories craze and combines it with mystery bags and swap meets. You pick an item you want, then get two random items to go with it. You then have the option of trading items in your bag with other people to try and get three things you really want. You have a week to trade, and if you decide at the end you don't like it, you can choose to skip it entirely. You can even start over.

I shouldn't be having this much fun trying to get three things I like, lol. This is the bag I'm currently enamored with:On the other side, it says "fighter."

There's a ton of designers, from Betsey Johnson to Kenneth Cole. Items include jewelry, handbags, hats, and home items. The site just launched, and right now, I'm playing around with my first bag. I haven't signed up for a monthly membership, but I can see it happening. I don't get time to go out and look for cute things very often, so online shopping? Always a win.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Giveaway - A Wolfish Scandal by Sandra Sookoo

I've got a ton of reasons for picking this week's giveaway title. First of all, it's from Liquid Silver, who I adore. They were the second publisher I ever signed with, and I've always been proud of being one of their authors. Second, Sandra, the author, is part of Six Sentence Sunday, which I love. And third, have you seen this cover? It's gorgeous!

Lyndal Carson's life is at a premium. Afflicted with a heart ailment wherein she can drop dead at any time, she makes a pact with herself to create one scandal and to really live before she dies. Tired of being a handmaiden to her family, she writes the letter that will change her destiny.

Grey Rutledge, a werewolf who is hounded by a reporter and haunted by memories, endeavors to provide a diversion large enough that the paper will forget its interest. He invites twelve women to his estate on the premise of choosing one of them for his mate. After losing his family, the only thing he wants is heirs and a woman by his side.

As the days go on, both Lyndal and Grey find that elusive piece missing from their lives. When their respective secrets are revealed, they both run the risk of losing everything. Danger catches them unaware during an innocent afternoon but it's what is decided as life hangs in the balance that will change their lives forever.


You can read an excerpt at Liquid Silver.

All you have to do to enter is comment to this post. That's it. Next Monday at 9am PST, I'll choose a comment at random to win.

You don't need an account to leave a comment, but if you don't have one, please consider leaving an email address you can be contacted at. That guarantees I can get a hold of you in case you win.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! I had a short story come out at MLR on Friday for Valentine's Day, so this month, I'm spotlighting that. It's called Budding Hopes, and it's an m/m set in 1954 Baltimore. At dinner, Mark has asked Hal if he'd ever consider leaving the shop. Hal explains how it's what he's always wanted to do.



“Not to a four-year-old. Dad would get home at the end of the day, and no matter how hard he’d scrubbed his hands at the shop, there was always dirt under his nails. Plus, he smelled like all the plants. Getting a hug at bedtime was like getting hugged by the outdoors.” His smile grew wistful. “I loved it.”


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I'm still working at Throne of Thralls, the het vampire story I posted the beginning to last week. Felice has blown up the boat of a rival vampire, but is sticking around as long as possible to make sure there wasn't a survivor...

-----

The others grew restless when the night began to warm. Sunrise approached, and none had fed. Felice had chosen her companions for this excursion carefully, but even they had their limits. The lack of bodies to wash to the shore and her command for diligence had taken its toll. She was about to give them leave to hunt in the last hour before dawn when a fresh scent caught her attention, and she stiffened, taking a step closer to the water.

Gerard immediately stepped forward as well. “What is it?” He craned his long neck, dark lanks of hair falling against his thin cheeks. “I don’t see anything.”

“Don’t look.” Felice closed her eyes and breathed in. “Smell.”

The others crowded around, too close for her comfort, but she was too absorbed by the incoming aromas to tell them to disperse. Blood, coppery and rich, pumping hard, pumping fast, spilling into the sea as quickly as it could gobble it up. Flesh, scorched and succulent, enough to make her taste buds water and her fangs itch. And sweat. Salty. Hot. The kind of sweat that came from muscles exerting themselves so strenuously that the body was forced to cooling measures.

Someone had survived the explosion. Someone who was now swimming to shore.

A human.

“Get back,” she hissed.

Immediately, they retreated, though the fresh prey tensed their reflexes so they stayed at the ready, just a couple meters behind her. Her features shifted, canines descending, eyes silvery as they turned to the edge of the water. As hungry as her minions were, the spoils were her to take, if she wished, and they knew that. Any moment now, the human would emerge from the sea, and she would know at a single glance whether it was worthy enough to feed from.

And there it was.

The sound of splashing water broke the calm first. Then came the pale slice of an arm through the surface, followed by the bob of a head. Someone fair. Another stroke. More details. The arm was powerful, a circlet of thorns tattooed around the biceps.

A man.

Felice smiled.

He reached the shallows and crawled rather than swam, coughing up water in one breath, gasping for air in the next. The muscle shirt he wore was no longer white, torn along the back and stained with soot and ash, and from his neck dangled silver dog tags that jingled in the silent night. Corded muscles bulged where his arms continued to work, and his dark blond hair was cropped to a mere stubble. Military. He had to be. He had the body of a soldier and the stamina of a fighter.

Then he looked up. Eyes the color of blue ice found her unerringly in front of him, and his sensual mouth twisted into a scowl.

“Well, shit,” he muttered. “Another fucking vampire.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Release - Budding Hopes

In celebration of Valentine's Day, MLR released 16 stories last Friday, including one of mine. Budding Hopes is the story of a young doctor in 1954 Baltimore, who has developed somewhat of a crush on the shy, buff florist's son who has been slipping an extra flower into those he takes to his mother's grave every weekend.

For eight months, Dr. Mark Vance has been visiting Sheehan's Nursery to buy flowers for his mother's grave, and every week, Hal Sheehan slips an extra lily into the bunch. Mark would love nothing more than to get to know the gentle giant better, but in 1954 Baltimore, a man just doesn't ask another man out. His fears are compounded when a visit the day before Valentine's casts doubts on Hal's intentions. Maybe he really was meant to live a life of secrets. Or maybe he just needs the holiday to discover the best secret of them all.


Check it out!

Monday, February 13, 2012

E-book giveaway winner

And...it's time to announce the second winner of the day. Last week, I was giving away a copy of KC Kendrick's "Eye of the Beholder."

And the winner is...

Sarah!

I have your email, Sarah, so expect a message from me soon!

Cupid's Choice blog winner

What a great day! I'm going to have two winner posts today, one for the Cupid's Choice blog winner now, and the winner for last week's e-book giveaway that I'll do in 90 minutes (that means if I haven't posted a winner yet, you still have a chance to win, hint hint).

Thank you to everybody who stopped by and read my short story this past weekend. :) I love that little world Dan, Eliza, and Hart live in. I'm seriously debating treating it as a prequel and writing what happens with Dan and Eliza now. We'll see.

Thirty people left a comment. Picking a random number, the winner is...

Drea Becraft!!!

I've got your email, Drea. Expect a message from me soon!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! I had a short story come out at MLR on Friday for Valentine's Day, so this month, I'm spotlighting that. It's called Budding Hopes, and it's an m/m set in 1954 Baltimore. Last week, Hal tracked Mark down to give him the extra flower for his mother's grave when he missed him at the store. This happens almost immediately afterward.


His legs were wobbly, and his heart threatened to explode, but he’d spent the morning trying to convince both himself and a ghost that he could turn his back on everything he was. He’d had a miserable afternoon as a result. Hal had taken a risk by looking for him. Didn’t he owe Hal the same strength? He cleared this throat. “If I wanted to buy you dinner Monday night, as a thank you for the flower and the thoughtfulness…you’d be free?”


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cupid's Choice Blog Hop



Welcome to the Cupid's Choice Blog Hop! Thanks for stopping by today. If you've just stumbled upon my blog, well, this weekend, I'm taking part in a multi-author blog hop, celebrating Valentine's Day. If you're interested in following the whole hop, just follow this link to take you back to the hop's central page. A lot of excellent authors are participating, and there are a ton of prizes up for grabs. Go ahead! It'll be fun!

Today, I decided to write a short story inspired by prompts I was given. I say inspired by, because they were really out there, lol. Trying to find a way to make a cohesive story out of all of them would have been crazy. But I like what I came up with, and hopefully, you will, too. :)

Time's Up


When the digital clock mounted on his dashboard changed to 12:01, Dan's heartrate doubled, and his hands tightened on the wheel. Valentine's Day. This was it. He had one more stop to make, then he could drive back to the station, drop off his bus, and spend the next twenty-four hours scouring the streets of New York City. All he had was one day left to find her. It had to be enough.

The empty street loomed in front of him. It had rained all day, melting away the rest of the snow, and the road was dark and shiny from the moisture it refused to give up. His last stop was always abandoned, but he had to make it anyway. They had trackers on the buses now to ensure the drivers didn't skip anything. It didn't matter that he had one of the least traveled routes in the city, or that in the year he'd had this job, he'd not once picked anyone up at the battered bench. A stop was a stop. He'd pull up, open his doors, close them, and be on his way.

His thoughts were elsewhere as he eased up to the curb, on a night not unlike this one, under a moon not unlike the full golden orb that hung high in the sky. He could feel the wind on his face, soft grass beneath his feet. Best of all, he could look to the side and see Eliza's sleek body racing next to him, the way her lithe muscles flexed beneath her silky pelt, the gleam in her eye when she'd glance over and find him watching her. It was his favorite fantasy, his best dream. The memory he clung to when he wondered if he'd ever see her again.

The door whispered open. He'd opened it automatically. Dan counted silently to ten, his obligatory wait for those who might be racing to catch him, and when nobody came panting up the stairs, reached for the button to close the door again.

A hand shot out and caught the metal frame before it could start to shut.

Dan's nerves leapt beneath his skin at the shock of getting a passenger, but he kept his features calm and even as he glanced down to greet his last fare. At least until he met the eyes of the last person on this earth he ever wanted to see again.

"No..." he said under his breath. His stomach rebelled, the coffee he'd been downing all night to stay awake threatening to come back up. Every hope he'd been clutching disintegrated into dust, his body locked as Warden Hart took the first step.

"H'lo, Dan."

In the year he'd been away from the reserve, nothing had changed about the man he feared encountering on a daily basis. Hart might not have run with his herd in decades, but his whipcord frame told any and all that he could still keep up if he ever had to take chase again. His head was bare, age spots mottling the smooth scalp, and the deep grooves etched around his mouth proved both his age and his normal good humor. Dan had always liked Hart. Everybody did. But all of that had changed when he'd been granted his reprieve and Hart assigned to his case.

"What're you doing here?" he blurted.

Hart looked pointedly at the clock Dan had been grateful for only moments before. "Time's up."

"No." This denial came out firmer than its predecessor. He'd found the strength to force the Elders into giving him the chance to go after Eliza. He sure as hell could stand up to one lousy Warden. "I have twenty-four hours yet."

Hart shook his head. "You know the deal."

"But I have one more day."

"No, you had until Valentine's Day. No specific time was ever set." He climbed another step. "And it's after midnight. Time's up."

Panic shot through him. The deadline had always been the big black cloud on the horizon, the marker by which he set his days. But being granted the reprieve had meant subjecting himself to the rules of the outside world. He'd been slipped into this life like it had always been his, Dan Anders, still single at thirty-two, a bus driver for most of his adult life. He had an apartment in Chinatown in a rent-controlled building, but he still had bills to pay, he still had to eat. That meant working forty-eight hour weeks and using his free time to search for Eliza in this city teeming with more humans than he'd ever seen before. His shifting abilities had been stripped from him, which meant he couldn't hunt her down the only way he knew how.

A year ago, he'd been confident he could find her anyway. They loved each other. She was his mate, even if the rest of the reserve refused to acknowledge it. That meant something.

Maybe it didn't mean enough. Because in three hundred and sixty five days, he hadn't been able to see her except in his dreams.

Warden Hart's presence took away his last real hope.

His shoulders slumped. "So what now? I have to go turn my bus in."

"Leave it."

"Here? They'll need it for tomorrow."

"That's not your problem anymore."

Of course not. The Elders could pull him out of the life they'd given him as easily as they'd put him in. Dan Anders would cease to exist, scrubbed from memories or maybe just killed off in some random act of violence like so many other faceless victims in the city.

When he glanced past Hart's shoulder, Hart shook his head. "I wouldn't try it. You know I'll catch you."

"You couldn't just go away for another few hours? Give me a chance here, Hart."

"You run, and the Elders will punish you when we get back to the reserve."

"I won't have Eliza. That's punishment enough."

The look in his eye was pure pity. "They don't have to hurt you to do it."

His meaning sank in, and Dan's nausea became its own entity. Eliza had been permanently banished from the reserve for seeing him behind her pack's back, but just because she no longer knew who or what she was didn't mean she was free of the Elders' power. "All right." Turning off the engine, he pocketed the keys. Hart cocked a brow at him, but Dan shook his head. "Nobody's stealing my bus."

Hart let it go, hopping back down to the curb to wait for Dan to join him. Every step Dan took was leaden, as heavy as his heart. He'd blown it. Eliza would never be his now.

The air was chilly, the wind brisk, cutting through his thin jacket and drawing goosebumps and shivers even after he pulled his coat tighter and buried his chin in the collar. "If you tell me we have to walk back to the reserve, you might as well kill me now," he bit out.

Hart headed up the street, long strides forcing Dan to quicken his pace to keep up. "We have to get out of the city for the Elders to find us."

"Did you not hear the part about me not walking? It's freezing out here."

"Which is why we'll find a taxi."

Dan ground to a halt. "Are you nuts? No taxi is going to be in this neighborhood at this time of night."

Hart didn't speak. He just smiled and looked up the road.

Following his gaze was natural. Dan didn't know why he was surprised when the twin headlights approached their spot on the corner. The cab slowed, then stopped right in front of them.

Dan sighed. "You just have everything figured out, don't you?"

As the passenger window rolled down, Hart took a step back. "Something like that."

"Did one of you call for a ride?"

The husky alto erased the cold and the night and all the aches that had taken over in the time he'd stuck to his duty and pulled over for an empty stop. Slowly, Dan bent down and met the warm brown eyes he'd given up hope on ever seeing again. "That would be me," he said, hesitantly.

She looked past him at Hart, giving Dan the chance to sneak a peek at her ID on the dashboard. Eliza Jensen. Her golden-brown hair was pulled back into an unflattering ponytail, and she had shadows under her eyes like she never got quite enough sleep, but it was her, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

"You coming, too?" she asked of Hart.

"Not this time."

With a brisk nod, Eliza sat back in the driver's seat, the click of the back doors unlocking sharp against Dan's ears. He reached for the handle, but paused before opening it.

"What about...the reserve?"

Hart shrugged. "Looks to me like you did what you were tasked to do. I don't have the power to take you back now."

"I get to stay?"

"That's what it looks like."

He had the overwhelming urge to hug the crap out of Hart, but the cab was idling, and Eliza was too close to turn his back on now. He settled for a small wave and slid into the rear of the taxi.

"Your friend's going to freeze his ass off out there," Eliza commented once he was inside. "He sure he doesn't need a lift somewhere?"

"No, he'll be fine."

"Then what about you?"

He rattled off his address, unable to take his eyes off her, lest she disappear on him again. Though Eliza pulled away from the curb, her gaze continually jumped back to her rearview window, catching his every time.

"Have you been in my cab before?" she said. "You look familiar."

"I don't think so." He couldn't risk lying to her and getting caught out. He needed her trust. He needed her. "Maybe I just have one of those faces."

She smiled, and every second of misery of this last year without her was forgiven. "Maybe."

* * *


Hart watched the taxi turn the corner, ignoring the sudden presence of the man at his side.

"You're taking a big risk," Wolfe commented. "We're not supposed to interfere."

"The Elders gave them jobs that would make it impossible for them to find each other. I just gave them a fighting chance."

Wolfe nudged his shoulder. His size scared anyone with half a working brain cell, but Hart had known his fellow warden too long to be intimidated. "There will be repercussions, you know," Wolfe said.

"I know."

"And?"

The car was gone, with Dan and Eliza inside, fulfilling the Elders' demands, satisfying the kismet that had chosen to throw these two together as mates in spite of their opposing packs. Hart turned away and gave Wolfe a broad smile.

"It's worth it."

THE END


Remember those prizes I mentioned? I'm giving away a pound of See's truffles and a $10 Amazon gift card to a random commenter (unless you're outside of the US, in which case you'll receive a $30 Amazon gift card), as well as adding a copy of my m/m wolf shifter story, Moon-Touched to the Nook Touch we're giving away as a grand prize. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the tour!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Adding in the exercise


Now that my inlaws are back in England, and my life has resumed some of its (normal) routine, I have moved on to the next step of getting healthier.

Exercise.

It should be a four-letter word, shouldn't it?

I hate it, I'll admit it. Though I played baseball as a kid, I was a sprinter not a long distance runner. I'm good with exertion in short stints, very good even, but stamina and I are not good friends. There have been times in my life when I got onto the exercise bandwagon, but honestly, those were times when things were less hectic--before kids, before two transcontinental moves, before writing. Fitting exercise in these days is a lot harder than it used to be.

But my weight loss has plateaued. And I know it's better for me to be moving. And as much as I hate it, I need to find a way of scheduling it in.

It's not as difficult as it could be. A few years ago, my husband and I took the money we were shelling out for a gym and bought an elliptical machine for home. That was all we ever really used regularly at the gym anyway. It sits in the garage, complete with a shelf to set a laptop or iPad on to watch as it gets used.

I added that last week. My calves haven't completely forgiven me yet.

I'm alternating the elliptical with toning exercises while I watch TV at night. Often I would sit on the couch with some kind of craft project or my laptop while I watched, but I decided that I can use half an hour of that time to get on the floor and target those areas that need it.

My thighs aren't speaking to me, either.

That's okay. I know they will eventually. Because the rewards for doing this will eventually be noticeable.

Do you hate exercise as much as I do?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I've been finishing up other projects and doing editing, so my WIP Wednesday posts have slid to the wayside. However, I'm in the midst of a new project and getting back on track, so today, I'm sharing the opening of it. It's called "Throne of Thralls," and it's a het vampire erotic romance.

-----

Without a moon, the Mediterranean lapped like black ink against the sand, barely disturbing the fine grains. The tourists would be out in full force in the morning, and the sun would turn the sea into the crystal blue of postcards, but for now, everything on the Toulon beach was still and silent, including the small coterie of people staring out over the water. There were five in all, but Felice Dautin was the sole woman of the group. The night swallowed everything but her outline, and she held her head high as she kept her gaze fixed on the horizon.

Soon. She anticipated it would be a splendid display.

From the city behind her, the soft hum of sleeping humans tried to distract her from the passage of time, but as always, it failed. She had not risen to her position of power by being weak. Their wait might be precautionary at best, but it served its purpose. She would watch, unblinking, unfailing, until she witnessed the destruction she’d worked so hard to gain.

A human would have missed the explosion. It might have seen the flare of orange streak across the horizon, but the yacht was too far away from the shore to be visible, and the blast was sucked away by the distance.

But none of the five were human. And when the Serendipity detonated as Felice had planned, all five vampires heard it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Look, it's another blog hop!



So this weekend, I'll be taking part in a Valentine's Day blog hop with a whole host of other authors. Lots of stories, lots of fun, and oh yeah, a grand prize of a Nook Touch already loaded with our books! I'll be giving away something to a random commenter on my post as well, so you'll have lots of reasons to stop by. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Giveaway - Eye of the Beholder by KC Kendricks

I'm always glad to highlight releases from Amber Allure, so this week's giveaway is a short story from author KC Kendricks.

Some neighbors share more than others...

Andy Madison is city born and bred. Filling in for a friend at a coffee shop, Andy meets Ben Hardin and sparks fly. They spend a long, lazy Sunday afternoon together to get to know each other, and when they decide to let nature take its course, they go to Ben’s cozy apartment.

Ben’s taking his time becoming acclimated to his new life in the big city. He’s got a great job he loves, he’s making new friends, and his starter apartment has the most incredible views a young man could dream of. Ben’s discovered there’s more to admire than the arts, music and architecture. All he has to do is look out his window and across the narrow alley.

Andy thinks he’s seen it all living in the Big Apple, but what he spies through Ben’s window is something that can only be enjoyed by the eye of the beholder...


You can read an excerpt at Amber Allure.

All you have to do to enter is comment to this post. That's it. Next Monday at 9am PST, I'll choose a comment at random to win.

You don't need an account to leave a comment, but if you don't have one, please consider leaving an email address you can be contacted at. That guarantees I can get a hold of you in case you win.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! I have a short story coming out at MLR for Valentine's Day, so this month, I'm spotlighting that. It's called "Budding Hopes," and it's an m/m set in 1954 Baltimore. Dr. Mark Vance has been going to Sheehan's Nursery for the past eight months to buy flowers for his mother's grave, and every week, Hal Sheehan slips an extra lily into the bunch. When Hal misses him at the store one week, he tracks Mark down later that night to give him the extra flower.

Inside weren’t just some pretty petals that would flutter apart and die without the proper care. This was more fragile, more valuable than anything he could have imagined. It felt like hope. Hal had gone out of his way to seek Mark out, to make good on the unspoken promise they’d made to each other all those months ago, the first time Mark had opened the wrapped lilies and found one too many. Mark had returned to the shop the following week, wondering whether or not to say anything, lingering longer when Hal asked how his visit had gone, but he’d walked out without having mentioned a word of it. At the graveyard, he’d discovered the added flower again, and again the week after that.


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.