Sweet Nothings–11/30/13 All Wrapped Up ~ The Present

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“Let me whisper sweet nothings in your ear.”

Welcome back to Sweet Nothings!  It’s a little shadow of Sweet Saturday Samples, until that sweet treat starts back up.  Until that happens, here’s a little weekly blog where you can post a “sweet” excerpt  (PG 13 or milder) from one of your works.  Remember: please  hold the excerpt to 350 words or less. But if your cutting needs just a few more words, that’s okay too.  I won’t be counting. LOL

From now through Christmas I’ll be sharing excerpts from Christmas stories, although you are free to share any excerpt as long as it’s PG-13. 🙂

Today’s “Sweet Nothing” is from the beginning of my Christmas short story The Present, one of four short stories in my Christmas collection All Wrapped Up.

Christmas_wrap“I won’t do it, Janice.  You can do your own dirty work.”  Tessa Avery turned the vacuum cleaner back on and returned to cleaning the carpet in her sister’s living room.  She stared at the noisy thing as she pushed it back and forth so violently she almost took out a small end table.  Don’t look her in the eye.  It’s all over if you make eye contact.

Sudden silence descended as the vacuum stopped dead.  Tessa whirled around to find Janice holding the disconnected plug.  “You will do it or I won’t pay you for the month.”

It was a threat Tessa had to respect.  Unemployed for six months, she counted heavily on the money she got from cleaning her sister’s apartment.  But this was going too far.  “It’s not in the job description, Jan.”

“It is now.”

“Look, just call and tell him you don’t want to see him any more.”

“I can’t do that.  He’s flying back from California and won’t be in touch until after seven o’clock tonight.  At which time I will be dancing with that hunky Kevin at the office Christmas party.  I don’t plan to be home before one o’clock.”  Her eyes glittered like cold stars.  “If I’m really lucky, I won’t be home at all.  So when Hal shows up, you can just tell him I decided we weren’t right for each other.”

“This is low even for you, Jan.”

Her sister stared at her, beady-eyed, as she waggled the cord back and forth.  “Up to you, Tess.  Stay here, let Hal down for me, and there’ll be a nice bonus in your envelope.  Leave and….”  Janice’s smile could have wilted the poinsettias.  “Well, I can always find another cleaning lady.  It’s two days before Christmas.  If you want it to be a merry one, I suggest you stay.” 

She bent and plugged the vacuum back in, so the sudden noise masked the “Bitch!” that slipped out of  Tessa’s mouth.  Janice headed to the bedroom, leaving Tess to contemplate the merits of sororicide and starvation.  At least they feed you in prison.

Okay, so now it’s your turn to share a “Sweet Nothing.” 🙂

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19 Responses to Sweet Nothings–11/30/13 All Wrapped Up ~ The Present

  1. Daisy Banks says:

    Fabulous excerpts, and Jenna, I am looking forward to reading you story. I hope this snippet isn’t to late to join the fun.
    Christmas is all about gifts and the giving of them. This unedited and new section from To Eternity, my follow up to my story Timeless published by Lyrical Press is all about a gift.
    360 words. I do hope that’s OK.

    “I… You don’t need to give me things,” she whispered lost in his dark gaze. “I love you. I’m not here because of…” She looked down at his strong palm over hers and the flash of gilded ribbons from the box she held.
    “My love, indulge me. Allow me to offer you the trinkets I wish to give you.”
    She grimaced. “When you put it like that. What is it? I’ve not had a trinket since my Gran sent me a pack of building block pieces.”
    He nodded with a smile and let her hand go. “Open it. Sadly, I have to say it doesn’t have the intellectual charm and challenge of building blocks.”
    She eased the ribbons away and opened the silver paper. Inside was a leather box embossed with the jeweler’s name, obvious, and her stomach quivered. Lifting her gaze to his she gave a small shake of her head. “The one and only time, Magnus.” She opened the box and caught her breath at the diamonds and emeralds sparkling in the firelight. A moment of disbelief hit. She flashed her glance to his.
    He smiled, but not in any expectant way, he didn’t anticipate her shock, awe… Or anything. Magnus simply looked satisfied.
    “Put it on, dearest. Please?”
    “It’s so beautiful. It’s not the kind of thing I’d normally wear with a bath robe,” she whispered and lifted it from the velvet inner. Exquisite, flawless, utterly gorgeous and too damned expensive for her to even think about, she slipped the bracelet over her wrist like a bangle, having no need to open the catch. She ran a finger over the cool gems.
    “Let me see.” He lifted her wrist and tweaked at the safety chain. “Wear it for a day or two, if it seems too loose I can take it back and see if they can adjust it.”
    She shook her head. “No,” she whispered. “It’s perfect.”
    “Sian, look at me?”
    She did.
    “My love, these are just stones, rocks if you will. They have an intrinsic value because of what they are. They are nothing in comparison to you. I want you to remember that.”

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  2. gemmabrocato says:

    As always, this was excellent. The only holiday type story I have is my only attempt at Sci-Fi. I thought I’d pull this one out for you from The Magic of Mistletoe.

    Where was everyone? She had the distinctly uncomfortable feeling of being isolated on a ship full of people. Rhayne gripped her briefcase tighter and sped up. The portal in front of her opened with a quiet shushing sound as she approached. She entered a vestibule and saw bright lights and humans through the large windows in the doors at the opposite side. Relieved, she trotted toward the end of the hallway and burst through to the large bay on the other side as the doors once again slid open automatically.
    Directly into the path of a large cargo mover.
    Rhayne froze as the overladen airfloat bore down, her mouth opened in a silent scream. She was going to die on this transport ship without ever stepping foot on Kronos, not to mention Saturn.
    Her breath squeaked out in a rush as a strong arm grabbed her around the waist and swung her out of the path of crushing death. Her body went one direction while her briefcase flew the other, away from the screeching sound of the airbrakes engaging on the cargo float. A cacophony of other sounds erupted…men roaring warnings to watch out and breaking glass as boxes crashed to the floor with the sudden stop.
    Rhayne’s body came to rest between the solid wall behind her and a hard, muscular man-sized body that covered her, protecting her from falling boxes and shattering glass. The aroma of Cassini Ale was overpowering as the broken bottles released their contents onto the floor in front of them.
    “Are you okay?” A deep voice grated harshly in her ear. Warm breath tickled her cheek and she moved a hand up to rub the spot as she nodded her head. “What in Titan’s name are you doing in the cargo bay?”
    The large man eased away enough to give Rhayne her first glimpse of his rugged features. From the top of his perfectly shaped and completely bald head to strong brows, poised over eyes the color of Earth’s sky just before leaving the atmosphere, the flow of his face was mesmerizing. A shiny gold earring winked on his earlobe, an oddity in a society that had ceased mutilating their bodies with piercings and tattoos generations ago. Sharp cheekbones and a square jaw gave his a dangerous look Rhayne found particularly appealing.

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  3. lizaoconnor says:

    I don’t write christmas stories, so I feel left out. However all the excerpts provided were very good.

    Like

  4. What wonderful excerpts! I got stuck on Pinterest for hours today — writing shortened blurbs, blech. So no sweetness for me this week. But I love reading what others have to offer. Your Christmas stories are all so much fun, Jenna. This is a good reminder to put All Wrapped Up back to the top of my “read next” pile so I can have a second go-round with all those delightful characters.

    Like

  5. angieia says:

    I really enjoyed all of your stories in All Wrapped Up.

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  6. Very nice excerpt, Jenna. Here is mine from The Temptation of Lady Serena, which releases on January 2d.
    Early the next morning, Serena ordered a stable-boy to saddle Shamir.

    After he’d done as she bid, he glanced toward the stable. “I’ll just get your groom, Will, to go with ye, my lady.”

    Serena’s nerves were strung too tightly for company. She needed a good gallop this morning, and

    Will would slow her down. “No, I’ll be fine without him.”

    The boy helped her mount without arguing. After she’d cleared the stable yard, Serena cantered south up a rise and gazed out over the still barren fields. The frost was not as heavy this morning, nor the air quite as cold. It was late, but spring was coming. The land tugged at her. She’d rather be planting than dancing.

    A man on a large black horse appeared in the valley and stared up at her. He looked tall, but it was hard to tell at this distance. A breeze ruffled his fair hair as he rode toward her. After a few moments, Serena realized he was riding not simply in her direction, but to her. Her aunt had warned her not to ride alone. Was this man the reason for the warning? Whirling Shamir around, she gave the horse his head and rode back to her to aunt’s house as if someone was chasing her.

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  7. Sue says:

    My Christmas story is not rated PG so here’s a bit of The Soul Collector’s Second Chance, a paranormal urban fantasy romance.

    The fine gravel skittered under the pressure of my leather soles as I marched with purposeful long strides to the back of Charles’ house. A small smile played on my face in anticipation of telling my friend the good news. When I had called to ask if I could come over after the job Charles instructed me to go to the back patio.

    Charles looked up from the paper he was grading. “Gideon, there you are. What took you so long?”

    “I did the job and drove over from my place immediately. School has not let out yet I gather since you are still marking papers.”
    “Yes the last ones before the summer.” Charles loved his job but the paper work, not so much.
    Charles put his pen down, got up and gestured to me to sit on one of the recliners. Then he retrieved two beer from the cooler, brought one to me and sat with his on the other chair. After a large swallow he said, “Ah that hit the spot. I can tell you have something to say. What’s up?”
    “Yes it is true. I need your advice. I met a woman earlier today.”
    Charles uttered a surprised exclamation and beer gushed out of his mouth. He coughed repeatedly to clear his throat.
    “Well Gids” — I do not care for the nick name my friends have given me but there is no point in resisting— “why is it such news that you’ve met a woman?”
    I picked at the bottle’s label while I reflected. “I met her today while I was at a job site.” I waited for Charles to get the point. He watched me with a blank expression and motioned to carry on.
    “At the job site Charles….”
    His eyes widened. “You mean as you were in the process of transferring the soul from the client? That’s remarkable!”
    “Yes it is unusual.”
    “But humans can’t perceive the soul collectors when you are working. Beth told me this.”
    “Exactly.”
    “What happened?” His brow wrinkled in confusion.
    “She saw me with the client. When I finished the job I walked over to her, we talked and she intended to dial 911 to report the accident.” Charles offered a puzzled glance. “The client ran his vehicle into a hydro pole.” Charles nodded. I noticed his blonde hair was a shade darker than Phoebe’s. “But I persuaded her to go for a coffee with me to discuss it. She demanded that I explain about the light.”
    I now had his full attention.

    Like

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