Serial Story: Rattlesnake Falls, Book 1, Ch. 12

This serial story is posted one chapter per week on Fridays, in unedited (draft) form. It may contain adult situations that might not be suitable for children. Thanks for reading, and enjoy! 

No, I still haven’t decided on the title. One should come to me eventually. Just gotta keep writing….

Rattlesnake Falls Book 1

Chapter 12

“Shelley. Hey. Time to wake up.”

Something nudged her thigh, and reluctantly she allowed herself to be pulled back to the present, but it still felt like a dream. Blinking her eyes until they would open all the way, she sat up and yawned. The road had turned to gravel, though the truck moved over it much more smoothly than her car had the day before.

“How long did I sleep?” She stowed the pillow back behind the seat and smoothed her hair as well as she could with her hands.

Dillon shrugged. “Long enough for us to be getting close to the spot where your tire blew. I can reach your car, if there are still things you need. It’s not going anywhere until a tow-truck can get out here. Andy, the guy who owns the garage in Rattlesnake Falls said he’d be out sometime later today or tomorrow.”

Shelley shook her head, not wanting to slow down for anything. “I’ve got my bag — thanks to you. Anything else can wait.”

Dillon nodded, and then pointed to her right. “There’s your car. Slid broadside right into those trees — you’re lucky the passenger side hit instead of the driver’s side.”

Shelley stared at the mangled mess as they drove by. It seemed so surreal, like it wasn’t even her car, but something tragic that had happened to someone else.

And now she was sitting here with someone who was still practically a stranger, going up into the mountains to rescue her cousin who was lost in the woods with another guy who was practically a stranger, on the stranger’s home turf.

If she’d been watching a horror movie with this plot, she’d have already left to avoid watching the whole killing-and-never-finding-their bodies scenario.

Considering she was living it, she had no choice but to keep moving forward. With any luck, it wouldn’t turn out to be a bloodbath.

The trees were getting denser and the road was climbing in front of them. Shelley felt like they were driving right into the mountain.

“So how does one go about buying a mountain resort?” she asked, leaning as far forward as she could to peer out the windshield at the thickening canopy above.

Dillon shrugged. “Knowing the right people helps.” The corner of his mouth turned up in a slight smirk. “And you may not have been completely wrong in your assessment the other night. I dabbled in a little IT work right out of college. In the bigger cities, it pays better than anything we could find around here. Spent a few years socking money away, came home, bought the camp.”

She nodded. “So you always knew that’s what you wanted to do though. Run the camp, I mean.”

“Yep. I never wanted to be stuck working in an office building somewhere looking at other office buildings. I always wanted to be outside, be close to nature and away from lots of other people. So I did as much time as I had to, and escaped.”

“I take it you knew the people who owned it before?”

He nodded. “Josie and Daniel Humbart. The camp started out as their homestead, and I spent a few weeks every summer up here with them when I was a kid. They always said that’s what gave them the idea to turn the place into a camp. So they could take more derelicts like me off their parent’s hands for a week or two every summer.” He turned to grin at her, and she could see the mischievous boy he’d been in those eyes and that knowing smile.

“Well that seems like an incredibly nice thing to do. I’m sure they were happy to pass it along to someone who would take care of it and keep it going.”

He nodded, eyes back on the road. “They lived up there with me for the first two years, showing me the ropes and making sure I could do okay with it. It was a sad day when those two took off. But we all knew it was coming.”

Shelley frowned. “They just packed up and left? Where did they go?”

“No one knows. They didn’t take anything with ‘em, not even a vehicle. Just stole away in the middle of the night and no one ever saw ‘em again.”

“Wow.” Shelley shook her head, watching as the road finally flatted out, and a huge green meadow full of green grass and white, purple and yellow wildflowers spread out in front of them, more mountains framing three sides. It was like driving through a gate into heaven, she thought, momentarily speechless.

“It is pretty spectacular, isn’t it?” Dillon pointed at something to their left and off in the distance. “That’s the main building right out there. There are small cabins up where the mountain swells, a kitchen and dining hall, a chapel, and an activities shed where we keep equipment.”

They were almost to the turnoff, and Shelley saw emergency vehicles parked haphazardly between buildings. As Dillon turned in, a uniformed officer stepped out of a car sitting just off the road.

Dillon pulled his wallet out of his pocket and set it on the seat before he brought the truck to a stop.

“Here we go,” he said, rolling down the window.

Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 13!

Like this post? Support your author (Amazon links):

Tempest | The Biker’s Wench (Fantasy Ranch Book 1) | MacKenzie Saves the World: A Comic Shop Romance

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Week 3

Whew! I kept up better this week, but I’m not sure the poems are any better (and some of the daily prompts were…difficult, as you might be able to tell from a few of the poems).

One more week to go – and next week’s post will be up sometime Sunday, as that’s the last day of the challenge (that way I can post the full week’s poems together).

Saturday, 4/15: Rejuvenation

There in the wasteland I heard the voices.
They called to me with whispered fervor
I could not ignore.

There flows a river in the cave, they murmured.
Immerse yourself in the dark damp womb.
Listen to the silence.

I found the maw and entered the gloom,
let the rushing black water infuse my soul.
Waited in meditation.

Anguish and anxiety considered a toll,
freely sacrificed to quiet the river roar.
Flood of emotion.

Silence at last reveals a musty, moist core
full of secrets stale as the dank, slimy ground.
A heart wide open.

Let everything out while there’s no one around,
examine, release, tidy up, empty out.
Listen to the voices.

Spirit renewed, it’s the end of a drought,
Rise and leave the dark damp behind.
Find light and laughter.

Sunday, 4/16: Piloting

Nothing above me and nothing below,
the wind is my playground
the sky is my home.

Swooping and swaying on currents unseen,
I catch a big air-wave
surf my mighty machine.

Roll left, then right, then into a dive,
my stomach jumps lightly
reminds me I’m alive.

Someday I’ll go higher, straight into the stars,
zero-gravity beckons,
and perhaps even Mars.

Monday, 4/17: If Only…

If only I could capture in words what I feel
and spin them into wonderous stories
when I sit down in the deep dark of night.

If only the thoughts that swirl and bounce
could be expressed in words and freely shared
when I need to be there for a friend.

If only all the sage wisdom of our ancenstors
could be collected in a bottle and used as vaccine
when idiocy touches people in the head.

If only there were a way to take a trip and
experience all the many lives we might have lived
when we made one choice over another, over another.

If only sleep was quick and deep and restful,
uninterrupted by demons or nightmares or cold feet
when my head finally settles heavy on the pillow.

Tuesday, 4/18: Shower Spectre

The shower is warm,
the curtain is tight,
a cool draft ‘crossed my body
brings no real delight.

A noiseless whisper
of soul brushing skin,
I shiver when touch comes,
spin ‘round again.

Who are you, I murmur,
and what do you want?
my shower is really
no place for a haunt.

No answer is given,
nor will ever be.
I suspect that my spectre
is only just me.

Wednesday, 4/19: The Perfect Cup

Open the bag,
inhale the fragrant leaves
deep and earthy, like fresh loam.

Fill the kettle,
with cold, fresh tap water,
wait for the heat and steam.

A china cup,
a pretty saucer, perhaps.
Or a thick mug, if you please.

The leaves dance,
plump up, unfurl and release,
steeping gentle in stainless steel mesh.

Savor the taste,
a robust feel on the tongue,
the rich, heady flavor of nature.

Thursday, 4/20: Mirror Dear

Who’s the fairest,
mirror dear?
I think the answer’s
all too clear.

Colored gray hair and
problem skin aside,
we both know who’s
witty and funny and wise.

Long shapely nails,
colored bright hues,
pale blue-gray eyes
and all sorts of tattoos.

Everyone needs
imperfections you know
but do we really need to mention those?

A thoughtful mind,
a logical brain,
boring to some,
but intelligence won’t wane.

No need to respond
mirror dear,
I think the answer’s
all too clear.

Friday, 4/21: Connections

There’s a moment in time,
one not often felt,
when you feel a soft rhyme,
that connects with someone else.

A look, a touch, a vibration of air,
a warmth that won’t ever let go,
that incredible knowledge you’re part of a pair,
and only the two of you know.

No matter the troubles,
or how far you may roam,
the safe, cozy bubble
of shared affection is always home.

Thanks for reading…feel free to share your own poems below. And stop back next Sunday for the last week’s worth of poetry!


Serial Story: Rattlesnake Falls, Book 1, Ch. 11

This serial story is posted one chapter per week on Fridays, in unedited (draft) form. It may contain adult situations that might not be suitable for children. Thanks for reading, and enjoy! 

No, I still haven’t decided on the title. One should come to me eventually. Just gotta keep writing….

Rattlesnake Falls Book 1

Chapter 11

“How long will it take to get there?” Shelley looked anxiously out the window as she and Dillon cruised down the highway at a cool ninety miles per hour. They’d just left the city limits, and while technically the speed limit was sixty on this stretch, she appreciated Dillon’s willingness to leave that in the dust, so to speak.

She just hoped they wouldn’t find Tabitha too late.

“A couple hours, give or take. You should try to rest, if you can. There’s a pillow just behind the seat.”

Shelley shook her head. “I appreciate that, but I couldn’t possibly sleep thinking about Tabby. How long has she been out there now? It seems like forever.”

“It was yesterday morning when she took off — you were at the hospital all night. Mike found the trail this morning, so she was on her own for at least twenty-four hours. Hopefully Mike has found her by now. I’m sure someone will call if there’s any news.”

She nodded. “I know. I’m sorry. And I can’t believe I was out for so long. Or that I didn’t check my tires before I left home to come up here in the first place. If I had, we’d have been there already, and not lost nearly a whole day’s worth of light to look for her.” A stabbing pain shot through her side when she reached up to rub an eye. She didn’t make a sound, but couldn’t quite keep the sharp intake of air to herself.

“Does it hurt pretty bad?” Dillon glanced at her sideways, and she tried to play it cool.

“Not too bad, all things considered,” which was code, of course, for the fact that she wasn’t entirely sure she could raise her hand over her head again without passing out. “The doctor said it was just bruises.”

“Yeah, but they still hurt like crazy.” Dillon gave her a pointed look. “Do you always act this tough?”

Shelley narrowed her eyes at him. “I don’t act tough. Pain is mostly in our heads anyway — my dad said that once upon a time, so to speak. Guess I take him at his word for that.”

“There’s a certain logic to that,” he said, shooting her a lazy half-grin. “Is dear old dad still alive?”

“’Fraid not,” she said. “My dad died a few years back of a heart attack. The nurses say my mom died of a broken heart a few months later, but I’m not sure if I believe that or not. She did die, but they never could find a cause for her death.” Shelley breathed.

Dillon glanced at her with something other than the expected grief and pity.

“I’m sorry to hear that. It sounds like you loved them a lot.”

“Thank you.” Shelley looked out the window trying to figure out how to change the subject gracefully. The emotional stuff wasn’t her strong suit, and it was easier to avoid it when she could.

“I think I will rest for a little while, if you don’t mind.” She reached behind the seat, trying not to wince and found the pillow he’d said was there earlier. Turning away from him, she propped it against the door for her head and got as comfortable as she could.

Just a few minutes, she thought, and closed her eyes.

Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 12!

Like this post? Support your author (Amazon links):

Tempest | The Biker’s Wench (Fantasy Ranch Book 1) | MacKenzie Saves the World: A Comic Shop Romance

Priorities & Forced Balance

Last week wasn’t nearly as bad as the week before in general, which is kind of odd since work was decidedly difficult. The difference is, I dealt with it much better, and while I didn’t stay caught up all the time, I did prioritize a lot better. It’s amazing how much just setting solid priorities can alleviate so much stress – and allow us to get more done than we might otherwise.

The poetry challenge was especially “challenging” this past week, but I managed to end Saturday caught up for the week (I’m behind a poem again as of right now, but I’ll catch up tonight). Poetry is all about “flow” and ironically, fitting it into my schedule has been exactly that. Looking for the proper flow, so I can slot it into each day at some point.

I think I mentioned that I was trying to use some of my nightly knitting/crochet/TV time to catch some of the overflow, and my body told me very quickly that it was just not going to happen. My eyes went downhill again, my brain refused to work, and pretty much every night sitting there with the computer on my lap, I eventually just gave up and shut it while I finished my hour-long TV show.

Incidentally, we’ve been watching Iron Fist and Wynonna Earp on Netflix. Iron Fist is entertaining, but I highly, highly recommend Wynonna Earp. So, so good!

In any case, that hour is very necessary down-time, and my body & brain were quick to correct me when I tried to use it for work. So…it would appear that time is just as sacrosanct as my writing time. This week, I’ll get the knitting back out while watching TV.

My neck is healing, but very slowly, and I’m kind of to the point where it feels like it just needs gentle stretching and then to build up the muscle around that nerve to protect it from being pinched again. I have to be careful, as it still won’t really “work” at several angles, but I’ve started doing light weight training in my shoulders/arms again. We’ll see how that goes, but hopefully it will be helpful. Stupid neck.

In any case, my writing output increased again last week, and no matter how much this poetry thing stresses me out, I am *loving* what it’s doing as far as just getting me back in the daily writing habit. That right there was worth the cost of the workshop (though I’m obviously learning so much more…).

And for those who have been following along weekly – yes, my taxes are done and will be in the mail on April 18th. I’m not efiling because I owe the feds money, and they can just wait for my check to get there, thank you very much. This coming Friday night, I’m adding some dedicated bookkeeping time to my weekly business hours.

I’ve been thinking lately of pulling a couple of shelved drafts out and reworking them for publication. The basic plot is sound enough, but they need revision/additions to work. I do believe that might be something to work on after poetry month is over. I’m excited at the prospect, and I hate revising with a passion. So there’s gotta be something there, right? We’ll see.

Serial story chapter coming Friday, and another week’s worth of poems Saturday. Stay tuned!

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Week 2 Poems

Our National Poetry Month challenge continues…don’t forget to check out Carol’s poems too!

This week, I tried to be more descriptive. Description is my personal writing “unicorn”, if you will. I’m not good at it for several reasons I’ll discuss once I figure out how to do so, but in the meantime, I’m working on it. These are definitely more descriptive, but some of them are still pretty rough around the edges. Not too bad though, methinks…

Saturday, 4/8: Spring Fever (also featured on the BSB blog – a prompt story)

Thick strappy leaves wave merrily
propelled by warm fuzzy bodies
under bright spring sunshine.

Happy tails move this way and that
sending the occasional loose petal
flying free of its cup-like structure.

Red and yellow dominate the field.
A pleasant breeze ruffles ear-fur and
delights busy noses that sniff and seek.

Is there anything happier than soft
wigglebutts and bright fresh blossoms
on a warm spring day?

Sunday, 4/9: Bookkeeping (because…taxes)

What have I done?
Slacked off here, left off there,
shirked responsibility.

Need to fix this,
but there’s so much to do.
Just want to chuck it all.

Promises, every year,
to do better than the last.
Never happens.

Maybe next year.

Monday, 4/10: Morning Noise

It’s so loud —
the six am meeting of the
finely feathered & famished.

Like old friends,
they greet each other with
soulful salutations & song.

The sun rises
and the joyous treetop choir
summons the sleeping to stir.

But…it’s so loud!

Tuesday, 4/11: Lost It

It’s gone.
I don’t know where or how or when,
but it was here, and now it’s not.
I can’t believe I lost it.

I seek.
At home, at work, the car, the bed,
it simply vanished, so it seems.
I don’t know what to do.

I pine.
It was so lovely, useful, perfect.
Not sure what I’ll do without it.
But I must move on.

I buy.
It will be shiny, new, and updated.
This one as perfect as the last.
Maybe even better.

Wednesday 4/12: The Dentist (because…fillings)

It starts with a “pinch”
to numb out the pain.
A brief, quiet wait
until no feeling remains.

The man in white comes
blue mask and gloves donned.
I try to relax,
put my best game-face on.

The drill starts to whine,
burnt enamel fills my nose,
my fingers clench tight,
water & suction whoosh through a hose.

Above me four eyes,
quarters are tight,
gloved fingers, small tools
and that big too-bright light.

My tongue tries to hide
from the chemical tastes,
and the bite of a tool
weilded in haste.

All eventually ends
and my head spins to adjust
when they tip the chair upright
and wipe off the dust.

A necessary evil
this nightmare routine
but it happens less often
with good dental hygiene!

Thursday, 4/13: Daydreams

A wisp of wind swirls through newly born leaves,
green grass swishes softly in a warm summer breeze.

Air fresh and sweet caresses her skin,
she closes her eyes as the daydreams begin.

The hammock sways gently ‘tween two big birch trees,
the afternoon’s quiet save the low hum of bees.

Restless, she shifts, dreams of her paramour.
Does he dream of her too, the one she longs for?

Her heartbeat is loud, her adrenaline flows,
the mere thought of his touch makes her tingle and glow.

It’s all in her head, a fairy-tale ode,
another time, another life, another untaken road.

She opens her eyes, watches shadows diffuse,
waits for the stars to wish for her muse.

Friday, 4/14: A Bad Day

The alarm was off and so was I,
that long and fateful day.
It’s been awhile, so I can scoff,
but things were really gray.

Late to wake and late to work,
nary a sunshiny ray.
A server was down, tempers were up,
and many a nerve set to fray.

Car broke down and dog got sick,
the money drained away.
Dinner was burnt, rain came down,
and left no chance to play.

TV was awful and so was the news,
all touting political sway.
Too fried to write, to tired to read,
but sleep was respite from the grey.

Thanks for reading…feel free to share your own poems below. And stop back next Saturday for another week’s worth of poetry!

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Week 1 Poems

If you’ve read Monday’s post, you know that it’s National Poetry Month, and Carol and I decided on a whim (okay, she dared me) to do a Poem-a-Day challenge for the month of April. I signed up for a workshop here in town (I’m doing it online though, because time & people), and while I work to daily prompts (mostly), she’s decided to explore different poetry forms daily. If you click on her name, you’ll get to her blog, and she will be posting her weekly poems on Saturdays as well.

So, these Saturday posts will be a bit longer than normal, because they’ll contain an entire week’s worth of poetry – good, bad or ugly. Much like my serial stories, these are posted in draft form, though since I’m handwriting a lot of them and typing them back in, they’re getting at least minimal editing (hooray!).

Without further ado, I give you this week’s poems. Want to share some of yours? Feel free to paste or link to them in the comments!

Saturday 4/1: The Well

The well was dry, or so they thought
a bucket dropped in and brought back for naught.
Toss a coin down, wish on a prayer,
perhaps our dark secrets will disappear there.

Years after, the well still stands in a field
holding cursed coins and treasure appeal.
But for all who would visit, a sacrifice made,
another dark secret in the well must be laid.

Sunday 4/2: Mornings

It starts with a buzz
then another
harbinger of imminent doom.

The ship bell tolls loud
banishes sleep
summoned for immediate gloom.

Stumble into the kitchen
doggy duties
tea before leaving this room.

Down to the basement
sun salutation
illumination begins to bloom.

The shower runs warm
brainfog clearing
today no early tomb.

Monday 4/3: Ode to Bindweed (also posted on the Snake Bites blog for this week’s poetry prompt)

Solemn and quiet the brown earth lays,
newly exposed after winter abed,
waiting patiently for nutrients and UV rays,
to warm the dark soil and summon the dead.

Deep underneath, where no light penetrates,
the tiniest microbes wiggle and churn,
tough twisted roots begin to replicate
preparing for their evil master’s return.

The rake turns the soil, pulls back the top
tiny seeds scattered wide, a last ditch hope.
The rake cuts the roots, but they don’t ever stop
indeed they grow into stronger, deeper rope.

Those arrow-shaped leaves, the bell-shaped flowers
would surely be pretty at some other abode.
In this place the sight is one quite sour
akin to licking the back of a toad.

Tuesday, 4/4: Affairs of the Heart

Maybe we shouldn’t
do this.
It’s going to hurt.
It always does.

We could, I suppose
but then
if bliss fades away
we’ll be alone.

The thing about love
is that
it keeps coming back.
There’s no escape.

But sometimes it comes
for one
and not the other.
Longing is pain.

The heart is fickle
and so
often I don’t know
how to proceed.

Maybe we shouldn’t
but then
again maybe we

Wednesday, 4/5: Voices

It was there in the wasteland
of mid-afternoon that I heard
the voices.

They called to me with whispered
insistent ferver that I could
not ignore.

You want it, we know you do.
You know it’s true, so why don’t you?
They said.

Alas, no coin or paper
graces pocket, wallet or purse
this day.

Apologies, dear voices.
No sweet, or salt, or extra fizz
for us.

Thursday, 4/6: The Secret

Come sit closer
and I’ll tell you a tale
of something lost
something hidden
a curse on a gale.

I wouldn’t divulge
but my last breath is nigh
and someone must
know the secret
of how to survive.

Out back past the tree
where we had our first talk
a wooden box
buried shallow
with gold straps and lock.

Listen — do you hear?
The wind begins to blow.
The restless curse
comes closer now
but you need to know.

The box holds a key
that will open a door
in the basement
behind bookshelves
where rests our folklore.

As soon as I say
this next bit you must run.
Retrieve the key,
unseal the room.
My work here is done.

Hush now, don’t fear, child.
I’ve accepted my fate.
Find the gold tome,
chant the third verse.
Do not hesitate.

The curse, how she howls
like a wolf at the moon.
She comes for me,
go quickly now.
Save yourself from doom.

Friday, 4/7: How Handsome

How handsome you would look
in a puzzle-piece suit.
Jigsaw lines making pinstripes chaotic
and a tie sporting straight-edge simplicity.

When we’d walk down the street,
people would smile and laugh
and say that you’re very well put together.

How handsome you would look
in a crocheted woolen sweater.
Colorful twists of thick fiber knotted into
stylish cables, ribbing, and affectionate warmth.

When we’d walk down the street,
people would snuggle deeper into
their own coats and wish they could feel your softness.

How handsome you would look
in a paperback shirt.
Creamy white paper with black letters dancing
across your chest, and a kilt of colorful covers to match.

When we’d walk down the street,
people would attempt to read your
pages and peek between your covers.

Whew! A good, but challenging week, methinks. Next week, seven more poems. Anyone want to join in? It’s not too late…just start writing!

Serial Story: Rattlesnake Falls, Book 1, Ch. 9

This serial story is posted one chapter per week on Fridays, in unedited (draft) form. It may contain adult situations that might not be suitable for children. Thanks for reading, and enjoy! 

No, I still haven’t decided on the title. One should come to me eventually. Just gotta keep writing….

Rattlesnake Falls Book 1

Chapter 9

“Shelley? Can you hear me? Shelley — wake up!”

She groaned and tried to open her eyes, but couldn’t.

“Don’t wanna. Want to sleep,” she whispered, trying to roll over onto her side but her muscles wouldn’t cooperate.

Why couldn’t she move? And why was it freezing? And why did her entire body hurt like she’d been thrown off a cliff or hit by a truck or something?

With considerable effort, she forced her eyes open and quickly closed them against a bright light. Someone else pulled one eyelid up, and she tried to turn her head away as the blinding light flashed back over her eye. As quickly as that eyelid was released, the other was pulled back with a flash of light.

“Her pupils are responding.” The strange voice was close — too close, and Shelley tried to move away. Her muscles would just not work though. What the hell?

“That’s good, right? A good sign? Is she going to be okay?”

A voice Shelley recognized, finally. Thank God.

“Dillon? What happened? Why can’t I move?” She tentatively opened her eyes again, thankful that the bright light was gone. Dillon was staring down at her, along with another man she didn’t know, and a strange woman. Above them was an ivory ceiling of some sort, and the same ivory color continued down the walls where a bunch of metal cabinets were hung.

“You’re strapped to a backboard, ma’am,” the other man answered. “You were in a car accident, and took a nasty hit to the head. We need to take you to the hospital and have you checked out.”

She shifted her eyes to look at Dillon. “My car?”

He nodded. “You blew a tire. I got your bag, and I’ll see what I can do about the rest once we get you settled into the hospital. These guys are gonna knock you out for awhile — it’ll be a long ride to the hospital. I’ll be right behind you.”

She tried to nod, and then remembered she had to answer. But she remembered something else, too, and her eyes got wide.

“Tabitha! We were going to find her — she’s lost! You have to find her…”

She could feel him touch her arm, the warmth of his skin a welcome contrast to the cold of the backboard.

“Mike’s looking for her, and he’s one of the best trackers there is. He’ll find her, trust me. Might have found her already.”

Again, Shelley tried to nod, and her eyes welled up in frustration.

“Are you sure? I can’t…I can’t just leave her up there alone.” She blinked back tears, knowing he was probably right about Mike. Tabby wasn’t the kind to run too far — she’d hide first.


“Shelley, we need your consent to give you something to help you sleep during the trip. Trust me, you’ll want to sleep.”

She tried to shake her head no, and then tried to raise a hand to wipe the tears from her eyes. Unable to do either, she blinked fast to clear her eyes so she could at least look at the paramedic who was only trying to help.

“I don’t like drugs. Not even legal ones. I get weird side effects. Can I just have a couple ibuprofen? That will be plenty.”

The paramedic shook his head. “Sorry — we can’t give you pills orally while you’re immobilized. But as long as you’re not allergic to morphine, I can start a very light drip to keep you comfortable. It shouldn’t—“

“Cause any pain? Or course not. Give me weird side effects? Probably. But go ahead. Shoot me up. I’m already going nuts — might as well sleep through the rest.”

She looked at Dillon. “You really don’t have to follow me. I’ll be fine, and once they check me out and tell me that, I’ll be back up here in no time.” She felt the prick of the IV needle go in, and saw a bag with clear liquid hung up from the ceiling.

He chuckled. “Well, I’ll follow you anyway — if for nothing else than to give you a ride back to your car. Or what’s left of it, anyway.”

Shelley felt the fluid start flowing into her veins, an itchy feeling that wasn’t pleasant. Closing her eyes, she wondered how long the diagnostics were going to take. She had to get back as soon as she could.

For Tabitha.

Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 10!

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Serial Story: Rattlesnake Falls, Book 1, Ch. 8

This serial story is posted one chapter per week on Fridays, in unedited (draft) form. It may contain adult situations that might not be suitable for children. Thanks for reading, and enjoy! 

No, I still haven’t decided on the title. One should come to me eventually. Just gotta keep writing….

Rattlesnake Falls Book 1

Chapter 8

“Shelley? Are you awake? We should get moving — I think your friend is about out of patience. She’s already called twice this morning.”

She groaned, annoyed that the excitement of hearing Dillon’s voice through the door was tempored by the fact that apparently Tabby was being even more needy than normal and bugging the poor guy. Not to mention his mom.

“I’m up now,” she called, forcing herself upright. “Give me twenty minutes, and I’ll be ready to go.”

She heard the faint ringing of the landline in the background.

“Fifteen would be better.”

Dillon’s footsteps faded as Shelley slid out of bed and got her bag from the floor. Swinging it up to the cozy spot she’d just vacated, she fished out clean clothes and hurried to put them on. Tabby had better hope the trip was long enough for Shelley to cool off, because that girl was going to get one hell of a lecture when they saw each other again.

Shoving the t-shirt and shorts she’d worn to bed into a corner of the bag, she slipped on her shoes and did a quick check to make sure she hadn’t left anything.

Giving the book she’d spent way too much time finishing last night a quick half-smile, she turned and walked out the door. Dillon was on his way down the hall again, his expression serious.

“I know she can be a horrendous pain. I’m really sorry for the—“ Dillon shook his head and put his hands on her shoulders.

“I just talked to Mike. They had a fight after the last call, and Tabitha ran off. He’s trying to figure out which way she might have gone. Do you know if she’s ever been up here before?”

Shelley shook her head. “Never — she told me before she left. Are there trails that lead out of camp? She’d probably stay on the trails. She wouldn’t want to get lost. But she doesn’t always use her head either…” she pushed past Dillon. “We have to get up there. We have to find her!”

Aware of him behind her, she stalked out through the small kitchen and into the living room where Diane was sitting in an easy chair, her brows drawn together. She got up when Shelley came in and reached out a hand. Decorum was the only thing that made Shelley stop and take it.

“I’m sure they’ll find your friend, dear. Now you two drive safely. You can’t help her if you get hurt yourselves.”

Shelley mustered up a smile, and then leaned forward and kissed the woman on the cheek.

“Thank you. For everything. I hope we’ll see each other again soon.”

Dillon pulled his mom into a hug.
“We’ll be careful, Mom. I’ll let you know when we get to camp.”

Shelley followed him out to the parking lot. “How long will it take to get there?” She opened the passenger door of her car and tossed the bag on the seat, shutting the door again.

Dillon reached for the door of his truck. “An hour and a half or so, depending on how your car takes the gravel. Don’t go any faster than you have to — I’ll slow down if you do, okay?”

She nodded and turned to go around to the driver’s side.


She turned at Dillon’s voice and cocked one eyebrow up.

“We’ll find her. Mike’s probably got her already.”

Shelley managed a wry smile. “Thanks. I’m sure you’re right.” She looked at him for a long, awkward moment and then half-turned, pointing to her door. “I…guess we should get going then.”

“I guess so.” He gave a rough laugh and managed to look both embarrassed and adorable at the same time. Shelley got in the car before he could see the warmth blooming in her own face.

Good grief, woman — get a grip! She followed him through town and out onto a two-lane highway, wondering just exactly where this trip would take her. She was attracted to the man, that was for sure. And it sure seemed like he was attracted to her too. But they were so different — their lives were so different. She knew people made that work every day, but she wasn’t sure how. It seemed like so much…work.

But relationships were always about work, she supposed. Lord knows her friendship with Tabitha wasn’t ever easy. She’d wondered on several occasions why she didn’t just move out and leave Tabby to her own devices. But she never went through with it. Maybe because Tabby was her oldest friend and the only person Shelley could pour her heart out to in the middle of the night and know that in the morning, her secret would be safe, and the best cure for a hangover would be sitting on her nightstand.

Dillon turned right onto a narrow gravel road and Shelley pulled her focus back to driving. The country they were passing through was beautiful, so green and lush with new spring growth. The fresh smell of rain still hung in the air, and she wondered if it had rained again this morning.

And if Tabitha was out in that forest somewhere, lost on the side of a mountain because she couldn’t control that damn temper of hers.

The constant vibration and shifting of the gravel road set her teeth on edge, and she gripped the steering wheel tightly for better control. Maybe Dillon was right. Maybe Mike had already found Tabby, and she was waiting at the camp already…

Shelley didn’t see the pothole, but she felt the front right tire hit it, and heard a loud pop.

Suddenly it felt like the whole right side of her car was sucked into a vortex of some sort, and she panicked, slamming her foot on the brake. As soon as she felt the back of the car slide sideways on the loose gravel, she knew that had been a collossal mistake. She yanked hard on the wheel, but it was too late. The world was spinning and she was at the center, hanging on to the wheel for dear life until the car slammed side-first into something hard with a jolt that smashed her body into the door before everything went dark.

Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 9!

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Tempest | The Biker’s Wench (Fantasy Ranch Book 1) | MacKenzie Saves the World: A Comic Shop Romance

A Really Good Day & Retirement Goals

I had some vacation time to either use or lose by the end of the month, so last Friday I played hooky from work. It was a fun and productive day, and I found myself wishing I could have more days like that, which is pretty odd for me with vacation days (I often end up wasting them).

I went to the archery range first, and…well, I didn’t do so well with the targets *and* ended up making my shoulder sore, which means my form was way, way off. I’m blaming it on the fact that it was morning, and I don’t generally do much of anything well in the mornings (aside from sleeping, anyway). It was still a lot of fun though, and nice not to have to worry too much about what time it was. In fact, I didn’t put my watch on once last Friday.

After that, I hit the tattoo shop (Ghosts of Grace Tattoo Collective), and while my tattoo artist wasn’t in yet, the new piercer was. I ordered some expensive but really high quality titanium bars for my industrial piercing (which will take four weeks to get in, so I’m glad I got them ordered now), which I’ve been wanting to do for awhile (I have rather small ears, so the shorter bars I need are hard to find online or off). Once those come in, Nicole can custom color them for me, which will be great fun, and I can get some matching sets of bars/hoops/curved bars for my various gauged piercings.

While I waited for Andrew to get in, I ran over to the grocery store to buy some frozen cut green beans for the dogs (I use them as treats, and we were out). It amused me to just buy the one bag of frozen veggies with cash. Apparently people don’t do that often, because the cashier looked at me a little strange. She could have asked, and I would have solved the mystery for her, but she didn’t, so she’ll just have to wonder…

Then back to the tattoo shop (we’re talking maybe three blocks away here, so not a long trip) to chat with Andrew and schedule my next session for late April. A reward for getting my taxes done (not that we ever get any money back to spend – we break even most years). He seemed excited to continue working up on my sort of Victorian skull cameo/lace arm, and I’m really excited to see what he comes up with for the upper half. It’s odd to think that in a few months, I’ll have a full tattoo sleeve (two to three more sessions). It’s an odd thing, to look at a blank piece of skin and know that soon, it will bear a piece of permanent artwork and will never be truly “bare” again. I absolutely want it, but it’s still sort of an odd thing to really wrap your brain around.

After that, I headed home, had lunch with my husband and walked the dogs. And then while the dogs napped, I sat down with my laptop in our nice quiet house (construction down the street notwithstanding), and worked on a short story until it was time to feed the dogs and make dinner. I really enjoyed writing that story. I was in the zone, and it was flowing, and while it needs some clean-up work, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. You can read the draft version (under  one of my pseudonyms) on the BSB blog, if you’d like.

It was a really good day.

This is something like what I imagine retirement to be like. Wake up slow, maybe run some errands (or work on some household stuff), have lunch, get out and walk the dogs, and then sit and write for a few hours before dinner. Glorious!

When I was in high school, I always wanted to be in college, and I took a lot of time for granted. When I got to college, I just wanted to get out because I was working three, sometimes four jobs to pay my way through and taking several classes every semester. I barely slept, ate on the run, and could not *wait* to have a normal, 9-5 job where I could just go home in the evenings and crash.

Now I have my 9-6 job, I have my evenings for dinner, hobbies, working out and even a little writing, but I’m greedy. I want more time to be “mine” again. And that won’t happen until I’ve paid my dues and finally reach the golden age of retirement.

It’s good to have long-term goals, don’t you think?

Until then, I’ll try to have as many of these “really good days” as possible. I mean, I like my job, don’t get me wrong. But finally being able to set my own schedule is my “Eleanor” (or unicorn, if you prefer).

Hand in hand with that, I need to remember that while having a stockpile of vacation days is good, it’s kind of like collecting nice dishes and then only using them on special occasions. If you have something, you may as well use and enjoy it, rather than waiting for some special event or date.

More random vacation days, perhaps?

Serial Story: Rattlesnake Falls, Book 1, Ch. 7

This serial story is posted one chapter per week on Fridays, in unedited (draft) form. It may contain adult situations that might not be suitable for children. Thanks for reading, and enjoy! 

No, I still haven’t decided on the title. One should come to me eventually. Just gotta keep writing….

Rattlesnake Falls Book 1

Chapter 7

Not Dillon.

Shelley expelled the breath she’d taken in all at once, and she wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. She pulled the door open with a smile on her face just as Diane was turning away.

“I am awake – and that was so nice of you! You really didn’t have to go to the trouble, though. I could join you in the living room for tea, if you’ll have some too.” Shelley reached for the tray that the older woman held, wondering how she’d managed to carry it so far without dropping it.

Diane shook her head, a slight grin on her face. “Oh no. I have a cup in my room and a book waiting for me as well. So I’ll say goodnight, and sweet dreams.” She patted Shelley on the arm, and then made her way back down the hall with her careful, deliberate gait.

Shelley carried the tray to her bed and went back to shut the door, marveling at how competent her hostess was, even at her age. She wondered just how old Diane was, and made a mental note to ask Dillon the next time they were alone.

It was too cool to stay on top the covers, so she carefully moved the tray over and crawled between the sheets. The tea was a yellow-green color and smelled like mint, and there were two little lemon-yellow cookies sitting on the saucer. She smiled and shook her head. She’d never in her life met a woman who would serve a stranger tea and cookies before bed, much less make sure there was a book available to read. She honestly hadn’t thought people like that actually existed outside of books.

Her smile faded as she realized what kind of a role model Dillon had grown up with. And what he probably expected a woman to be like. Not that they had any kind of relationship of course, but…she was not the cook dinner every night and bake cookies on the weekend kind of girl. She could cook a little, of course, but she was much better with take-out menus. And baking…well, she hadn’t done that since she was a little girl.

Shelley fingered the quilt that Diane had loaned her. Handmade, of course. Her own mother hadn’t been crafty at all, and while Shelley always admired quilts and afghans and sweaters and rugs that people made, she’d never found herself with enough down time to even consider taking up any sort of hobby.

Leaning back against the simple, rustic wood headboard, she sipped her tea and wondered what it would have been like growing up in this environment, with this lifestyle. So different than the childhood she’d had in the city. Would she have been a good cook? Someone who could be fulfilled running the town post office, raising kids and making quilts?

She couldn’t imagine giving up her fast-paced life for such a small-town existence. Though the quiet of this little place was appealing, she had to admit. A little unsettling, perhaps, but definitely appealing.

It was at that very moment that a train rumbled by on the tracks that ran just outside the town. Her cup rattled against the saucer and she separated them, waiting for the bed to stop shimmying before she put them both back on the tray.

So much for peace and quiet.

She picked up the book and read the back, smiling as she realized it was a “sweet” romance from another era entirely by an author named Grace Livingston Hill. It was on the thinner side, and she leaned back and turned to the first page. One chapter, and then she’d go to sleep.

Maybe two.

The next thing she knew, someone was knocking on her door again, and sunlight was streaming in through a crack in the curtains.

Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 8!

Like this post? Support your author (Amazon links):

Tempest | The Biker’s Wench (Fantasy Ranch Book 1) | MacKenzie Saves the World: A Comic Shop Romance