Tuesday, July 18, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - PICTURE PROMPT



It's picture prompt week! And we return to Breaker Winslow's story. Only 300 words this week.Thanks for coming. Don't forget to scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales.



The day Rick dreaded arrived all too soon. The carnival! The kissing booth had preyed on his mind. Some of the women would be attractive and kissing them would be a breeze. But what about the ones who weren’t? God forbid he made someone feel bad. In the old days, he wouldn’t give a damn, but now he had been tuned in to feelings in a new way. Couldn’t he pretend the woman he had to kiss was Miss America? But the truth about his acting skills was that he simply wasn’t that good.
What if  an ugly woman had bought twenty-five tickets? He’d pass out, that’s all. Holler, “Call 911” and keel over in a dead faint. That was his escape plan, and it gave him some peace. At least the booth was only open in the afternoon. He awoke to a lovely day and frowned to see his prayers for a sudden tornado or hurricane had not been answered. Only torrential rain could save him from a fate worse than death –kissing strange women. And what if they didn’t know about his accident and were horrified and repulsed when they saw him in the flesh? He shuddered. He’d quit. He’d just walk away.  
He retrieved the newspaper from his front porch. Rifling through to get to the weather report, his dismay grew when he read, “sunny, high of eighty-five, zero chance of rain.” He thought about the road leading out of town, the one that snaked along the river. He and Ollie could be packed up in an hour. Nope, no running away. He had to do it. He had sworn a dozen times he’d get Mindy for signing him up for this.
Breaker Winslow rises from the dead. Who’d a thought he’d play the heartthrob again?




Monday, July 10, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "EARTH" - "BREAK MY HEART"



We are back with Rick "Breaker" Winslow from 'Break My Heart". He's trying to get his head around being in the kissing booth. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. 
Thanks for stopping by.

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He woke up early the next morning. Panic set in. He had three months until the carnival. Maybe he could sell his house and move? The phone rang early. It was Dani.
“Well, well, the kissing fool.”
“Oh my God is this all over town already?”
“Of course. It’s a small place, Rick.”
“I know, I know, but can’t a guy have a minute to try and wiggle out of this?”
“Why?”
“With my face, no one will sign up.”
“Are you kidding? Jory told me she’s already sold fifty tickets.”
“Did you buy any?”
There was a moment of silence.
“Yep.”
“More than one?”
“Ten.”
He laughed. “You can have those for free. Come over. Any time.”
He heard her embarrassed laugh. “This is for charity.” She hoped he wouldn’t unearth the truth.
“It would be charitable for you to stop by now.”
She laughed
“Can’t blame me for trying.”
“I’ll see you Saturday.”
“Saturday?”
“You are coming to the chicken barbecue, aren’t you? It’s the annual one for the firehouse.”
“Carnivals, barbecues –all for the fire house? Can’t anyone afford to pay for anything in this town?”
“They’re fun. Just an excuse to get together. In a month, there’ll be a pancake breakfast, too.”
“Don’t tell me. Let me guess. To benefit the firehouse.”
She laughed. “Yep.”
“Do I have to go to all these things? Can’t I just send a check instead?”
“No! You have to go. Everyone does. People’ll wonder why you’re not there.”
“And I care about that, how?”
“You’re living in this town. Don’t piss people off unless you need to.”
“I need to.”
“Stop being a baby. Grow up, Rick. You’re pity party, temper tantrum is getting old. Get your butt to the barbecue. I’ll be there and so will most of the town.”
“If you’re going, I’ll go.”
“You’ve got to get over all this. Get back to life. Most people have crap to deal with in their lives…”
“Not like mine.”
“I’ll grant you, yours is much bigger. But still, you’re alive, healthy, rich – more than most people can say. Make a life for yourself and stop moping. You’re wasting time.”
He was silent.
“I’ll think about it.”
“I’ll see you at the barbecue. Gotta go.”
She hung up.
Rick filled his mug with fresh coffee and strolled outside on the deck, with Oliver trotting close behind. He grinned as he eased down on the rocker and watched the birds at the feeder. Ollie curled up in his bed and kept an eye on his master.
“Well, Ollie. We’re making progress. She wants us to come to the barbecue.” He glanced at the dog, who sneezed.

“Oh, wait! She bought ten of those awful kissing booth tickets. Guess she wants me to kiss her. You know, old fellow, I think that can be arranged. And I don’t have to wait for the carnival, either.” Rick downed the last of his beverage and took the pug on his morning walk. 



Monday, July 3, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "FIRECRACKER"


Welcome! This week's prompt is, aptly, firecracker. "Break My Heart" is back. I hope you enjoy this unedited excerpt. Thanks for stopping by. Scroll down for the link back to Tuesday Tales.


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A firecracker display over the lake kicked off the festivities the night before Pine Grove's Carnival Day. Rick parked his car, then met up with his cousin, Mindy and her husband, Drew. Relieved to be out and about in the dark, Rick put an arm around his cousin's shoulders. He hadn't been this relaxes around so many people in an age. 
"You're feeling good?" Mindy asked. 
"Yep. I love fireworks."
"It's more than that."
"I can hide in the dark."
"Ready for tomorrow?" Drew asked. 
"Tomorrow?"
"You know what' I'm talking about. The kissing booth," Drew chuckled.
"You're just jealous they didn't ask you."
"Yeah. Right. Married men are off limits. I did do it when I was singe. A couple of times."
Mindy's eyes widened. "You never told me that."
"Subject never came up," Drew responded. 
"I hear they've already sold a ton of tickets," Mindy said.
"You sure know how to spoil a good time,"
"Nervous?"
"Mortified."
Mindy hugged Rick. "You'll be a star. You always are."
He shrugged, wondering if Dani really bought tickets. Then he shuddered at the thought of having to kiss unattractive women he didn't even know.
"Stupid. I'll never trust you again," Rick said to his cousin.
"Just what the doctor ordered."
"Who? Dr. Dani?"
Mindy's eyes twinkled. "Yep. Among others."
Rick cast his gaze to his feet. She was the only reason he didn't bolt altogether. He relished the idea of kissing her, several times. A grin lit his face. 
"What's so funny?"
"Nothing."
"He's just figured out you did him the biggest favor of his life, Mindy."

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Monday, June 26, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "STRAP" - "BREAK MY HEART" #romance #lovestory #shortstory



Howdy! Thanks for stopping by. "Break My Heart" continues this week. 

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Rick's phone rang. His cousin.
“Are you inviting me to dinner?”
“No. Drew and I are going out. It’s date night.”
“Oh, damn.”
“Sorry. But I am calling with a great opportunity.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Why do I think this will involve either money from me or something unpleasant?”
“Don’t fuss. Pine Grove is having a carnival day.”
“Carnival Day? How quaint.”
“Don’t be obnoxious. Just listen. It’s for charity. We’re raising money for the volunteer fire department and ambulance service.”
“Don’t you pay your firemen?”
“No money.”
“Great. So if I have a fire, and someone doesn't happen to be eating dinner, my house might get saved.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! Of course they’d come. They are the best. Anyway, it’s a big deal and Jory Walker, the chair this year, asked me to ask you to volunteer for something.”
“Okay, okay. You convinced me. Put me down for something.”
“Don’t you want to know what the committees are?”
“No. Just sign me up for…hmm, two. Okay?”
“Okay. But you’ve got to do whatever I sign you up for, deal?”
“Deal. But you owe me a dinner. No, wait. Dinner and pancake breakfast.”
“Got it. Have a good night.”
She hung up too fast. Rick was suspicious, but what harm could there be in a carnival? None. A strapping man, Rick, figured lugging stuff, setting up a booth. Easy for him. 
He fed Oliver and heated up a frozen meal for himself.
Shirtless, he took his dinner to the table on the deck. Birds were still at the feeder. Who said he was eating alone? Hell, he had a host of company, goldfinches, woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees all consumed their evening meal with him.
When he finished, he poured a glass of wine and sat in the rocker. Ollie curled up in his deck bed and snored. The evening was peaceful until it was interrupted by a phone call. He didn’t recognize the number, so he answered.
“Mr. Winslow?”
“Yes. Who’s this?”
“Hi, I’m Jory Walker. Actually Jory Stephens. Newlywed and I forget that’s my name now.”
“Congratulations,” he said. The conversation was getting tedious fast.
“I’m the chair for the Carnival. I’m just calling to say thank you so much. I never thought you’d agree.”
“Really? I’m glad to help out. No problem.”
“When I asked Mindy what you were best at, she suggested this right away.”
Curious as to what his cousin thought his strength was, he had to ask.
“Really?”
“Yes,” the woman giggled, actually giggled on the other end of the phone. Now his curiosity was hitting an all-time high, and adrenaline pumped.
“Refresh my memory. What did she sign me up for again?”
“How could you forget? The kissing booth!”

He dropped his glass of wine and it shattered on the wood floor. 

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Monday, June 19, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - PICTURE PROMPT






Welcome! This is picture prompt week. We return to "Break My Heart" again this week. Don't forget to scroll down and return to Tuesday Tales with the link below. Thank you for stopping by. 


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After gassing up his car, Rick pulled into the parking lot by the post office. It was almost nine. Pine Grove had shut down for the night. 
He stopped to gaze at the magnificent sunset. He’d never noticed the sunset in Manhattan.  
He eased down on the bench to listen to the symphony of the crickets and frogs, as he watched the orange streaking across the sky fade into the horizon. It was safe to be out in the open, in tiny downtown Pine Grove. He didn't have to hide his face or make a run for it.
He sighed and smiled. Country life had it's good points. 
"Is that seat taken?" A feminine voice broke his reverie.
Glancing up, he spied Dr. Dani Henderson. 
"Nope. It's all yours," he said, sliding down to make room.
"Tough day?"
She nodded. 
"Want to talk about it?"
She shook her head.
"Someone die?"
"A puppy. Poisoned by accident in a careless house."
"I'm sorry." He touched her arm. 
"Doc Gregory at school told me I'd get inured after a while. It’s hard to believe."
The dim light from the street lamp reflected off a tear on her cheek. She swiped at it with her hand. 
He slid his arm around her shoulders and pulled her to him. 
"So what are you doing out here, alone, in the dark?"
"Walking it off."
He held her close and kissed the top of her head. 
"And you?" she asked, not moving from his embrace.
"Seeking the sunset and the quiet."
"Reformed city boy?"
"Perhaps."
Was he turning country? Ridiculous! Breaker Winslow, debonair, sophisticated, rich would always crave the heartbeat of the city. For this moment, the cool, fresh country air filled his lungs, and a beautiful woman filled his arms. And it was happiness itself.  

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Monday, June 12, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - "STONE" - "BREAK MY HEART" - #romance, #lovestory


Welcome! This week the word prompt is "stone". Rick Winslow is back in "Break My Heart". I hope you enjoy this unedited piece. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. Thank you for coming.

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“I’m not going to call a nurse. You’ll have to help,” she said, gathering materials from cabinets and drawers.
Rick wiped his face on his sleeve. “I’m here. Tell me what you want me to do.”
As the doctor examined the little fella, Rick stroked his head and spoke softly to him. The deep-voiced sweet words seemed to calm Oliver. Under the doctor’s instructions, Rick held the little beast still while she cleaned Ollie up, and closely examined his wound.
“How long before you brought him here? When did you find him?”
“I saw it happen, shot the bear, called you, then drove over.”
She glanced up at him. “Shot the bear?”
“Long story.”
“Later,” she said, returning her attention to Oliver.
Rick held the dog as she shaved his fur and stitched him up.
“He’ll have to stay here overnight.”
“Then I’m staying, too.”
She administered painkiller and antibiotics. “Now he’ll sleep. He’ll be fine here. Really. Go home. Get some rest.”
“No.”
She shook her head and rested her hands on her hips. “What do you think you can do?”
 “Just be here for him, with him. Whatever. I’m not going home.”
“Stubborn ass,” she muttered under her breath.
“I heard that.”
“I don’t care. You’re being a stubborn ass.”
She eased the sleeping dog gently into a cage and closed the door.
“It’s a new place. If he wakes up, he’ll be scared. I’m staying. Do you have a blanket I can borrow?”
“Sure. Go ahead. Be a pain in the ass. First you get me out of bed, then this.” She glared at him.
“Ollie got you out of bed.”
“Okay, yes. He did. But you could go quietly. But, no! The great Breaker Winslow has to make a big effing fuss in the middle of the night. Did you see the time? It’s almost three.”
“So what?”
“So what? I have to be up in four hours. I have a lot of animals to care for tomorrow.”
“Shall I relay your message to the bear? Ask him next time to please rip my dog to pieces during office hours?” He shifted his weight. “Rumors to the contrary, I don’t have a heart of stone.”
She put her hand on his arm. “I’m sorry. I’m just tired.”
He patted her hand. “I get it.”

When she left the room, Rick slid down, sitting cross-legged in front of the cage. He opened the door and pulled the towel resting on the dog up to cover more of him. It was cool in the room. Dani opened the door and tossed a fleece blanket at him.
“Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.”
“Is he going to be okay?”
“We’ll know more in the morning.”
“It is morning.”
“Shut up. You know what I mean.”
“Okay, okay.”
“Goodnight,” she said, disappearing back to her place. He spread out the blanket and stretched out, content to close his eyes and listen to the pug snore. Soon they were both asleep. 

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Monday, June 5, 2017

TUESDAY TALES - "PURPLE" - "BREAK MY HEART" CONTINUES


Welcome. Today our prompt is "purple". We're back in Pine Grove with "Break My Heart" again this week. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales and some fine stories. Thanks for coming. 


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After having been up late the night before because he was deeply involved in a suspenseful novel, Rick was beat. The prospect of walking Oliver overwhelmed him. Even the purple sunset didn't inspire energy. He wanted his bed.
“Tonight, you’re on your own, Ollie. Run out there, do your business and come back, buddy,” Rick said, opening the kitchen door.
The pooch stopped at the doorway, looked up at Rick and cocked his head.
“It’s all right. I think you’re old enough now to go out there on your own for a few minutes. Just be careful.”
The pug sauntered out the door and down the deck stairs to the lawn. Rick eased down onto the sofa and fell asleep. He hadn’t been out long before barking roused him. The high pitch told him it was Oliver. Yawning, he pushed to his feet and made his way to the door.
“Ollie! Stop that! Quiet!” he called as he eased through the door and out on the deck. But the barking continued. A deep growl grabbed his attention. Next came a garbage can flying through the air, and still the pug barked. Rick looked up in time to see a large bear rear up.

“Oliver! Come!” Rick shouted, but the dog paid him no mind. The pooch was intent on protecting his master and his home. “Oliver! Now!” Rick hollered, backing away from the end of the back deck as the bear advanced.
It leaned down and took one swipe with long, sharp claws at the dog. The creature scooped up the little pug and flung him against the house. The dog squealed, a sound that made Rick’s blood run cold.
His mind suddenly alert, he ran inside to get the gun Drew had given him. When he returned, seconds later, the bear loomed over Ollie. Fumbling with the ammo box, Rick attempted to load the weapon. With unsteady fingers, he managed to cram three bullets in, cock it and aim. The sound and motion distracted the bear from the injured pup. She turned toward Rick, who raised the gun. His hands were shaking too much to aim well. Regardless, he fired, and missed. Taking a deep breath, he took aim more carefully and pulled the trigger. That shot hit the bear, who backed away. Rick discharged the gun one more time, and the bear turned and loped back into the woods.

****

Rick ran down the steps to Oliver. Lying still, the pug’s breath came in shallow pants. Gingerly, Rick lifted his beloved pet up and carried him inside. He yanked his phone out of his back pocket and dialed the vet’s office. There was a recording.
“Fucking A!” 
He put down the phone, plucked a clean dish towel from the cabinet, and wrapped it around the bleeding dog.  Fear gripped his heart. He couldn’t lose this dog. Nabbing the car keys from the front hall table, he gripped the pug gently, but firmly and headed for his vehicle. He knew Dr. Henderson lived behind the clinic. It was common knowledge. The vet always lived close to the office to save time and be available for emergencies. Hell, this was certainly an emergency.
“Come on, buddy. We’re gonna get you fixed up. But you gotta hang in there. Don’t die, Ollie. Please, don’t die.”
Rick slammed the SUV into gear and floored it. He had Oliver, wrapped in a towel, in the front seat, held by the seatbelt. He roared out of his driveway and down the street. It was ten, dark and the town was quiet, so his racing through streets, and screeching around corners didn’t endanger anyone but Rick and poor, little Ollie.
When he arrived. He threw the car into park, turned the key, and jumped out. He retrieved the injured pug, cradling him in his arms. Not bothering with the front door, which he figured would take her forever to hear, he went around back.
There was a faint light glowing on one side. That must be her bedroom. She’s still up!
Hope grew in his heart. He banged on the door. Counted to three, then banged again.
“Coming, coming!”
He paced, hugging the pug to his chest. She opened the door, tying a sash around her waist.
“This had better be important,” she said, covering a yawn with her hand.
Words stuck in his throat. He simply thrust his arms toward her. “Fix him. Please.”
When she saw the whimpering pug, her eyes widened. “What happened?”
“Fix him.”
“I have to know…”
“A bear got him. A bear.” Tears forced their way through his defenses. “He was protecting me, the house. And a bear…” but he was crying too hard to talk. 

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