Writing the somewhat sequel to The Apartment on Parker Street and have a good idea to recycle an old short story, make a few tweaks to dates and add a whole lot to bring it up to novel length, and turn it into the third installment. So far so good. Strong characters are developing, I’m intermittently reading several books for research purposes that I’m enjoying, and I have solid titles for both. I’m liking these developments.
Tag Archives: novels
Omg. Just signed up for NaNoWriMo. I’ve tried for two years and never made it. But I’m going really try to write every day during my lunch break this month. The novel I started is going to be WAY longer than the target 50k but since I plan on breaking it up into three sections anyway, I’m aiming to finish Book One by the end of the month.
And yes, I know I signed up four days late. But I’m going to try.
…when you read the second novel from an author you loved years ago and hate said second novel. Gahahdmrockwndcsndaaa!!
I read Anne Easter Smith’s A Rose for the Crown when I was about fifteen and could not put it down. Now being twenty-two I’m reading her second novel Daughter of York and am seriously struggling. I don’t know if it’s my changed/older perspective, the writing itself, the slow character and plot development, or the fact that I have a cold and am pumped full of NyQuil at the moment (which is undoubtedly playing a huge role. Btw, please attribute any spelling errors in this post to that fact) but I’m not into this novel. The age-old conundrum: Too much telling where I would enjoy more showing.
Example: A sentence reads “Edward reacted angrily,” and then launches into a description of his actions. So my question is, why include that sentence at all? His table-hurling, mug-smashing and insult-throwing would inform me of such an angry reaction without spelling it out so simply.
I also seriously dislike her overuse of the word “was.” It’s a fluff word and she’s got it printed about five times per page. “Margaret was perplexed.” “Margaret was elated.” “Margaret was devastated.” It points back to what I lamented in the previous paragraph: telling too much. I once had a writing instructor tell me that if you used “was” more than four times in a chapter, you used it too much and you had better think of more inventive descriptions of actions.
I’m not saying telling is an ineffective method of writing. At times it’s extremely useful, like of you’re relating backstory or action that took place far away from the central characters. But if you’re smack in the middle of the book where everything is happening to the characters at that moment, readers want to see it go down.
I guess all this ranting means I’ve been in the publishing world long enough to never be able to read without overly critical examinations ever again.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and if any of you have read this book or this author, please share your sentiments.
NyQuil kicking in. Good night.
I’ve reached a milestone in editing what was formerly Ensnared and is now The Apartment on Parker Street. I bumped the 32,000 word novella up to 50,001, granting it official novel status. Boo and yah.
Plus I still have a few scenes left to write. The grand old thing will eventually be over 50,001!!
Miss Rosemary pats self on the back.
So I know my last few posts have not necessarily concerned writing per se, and the reason for that being, I have not written much in the past week. I’m working on that, but I’ve been stuck in a bit of a dry spell which is ironic since New York decided to honor all its residents of Irish decent and rain like freaking hell for two weeks straight. Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the green becoming greener since it really is my best color, however all the Yankee games have been messed up resulting in a 4 hour rain delay on the ONE DAY ALL SEASON I GOT TICKETS FOR MY WHOLE FAMILY!
Sorry, this event occurred a few days ago, but I’m still a bit bitter if you couldn’t tell.
Moving on the Relevant Topics, I believe I have discovered the Reason behind the Writing Rut: I’m sick of my story.
GASP! What did you say, Miss Rosemary? You are tired of Laura’s Letters, the one novel that has been with you the longest and features the imaginary man with whom you are passionately in love?
Well, yes quite frankly, I am. I’ve been focused on trying to finish this damn novel for so long that it’s all coming out forced. I’m forcing the story out, not letting it force me to stay awake until four in the morning because it so desperately wants to be written. My slight affliction with OCD doesn’t help; it prevents me from skipping little not so exciting scenes in the middle and jumping to the very exciting scenes in the end which is turning all scenes into forced scenes. This thing would be finished if I wrote what popped into my head when it popped into my head. I also think my plots would not change as much if I just wrote them down already instead of waiting for them to come chronologically in the story. But no, I cannot allow myself to do that, that would make sense.
So, due to this … let’s call it a Predicament … I have decided that Major Changes must be implemented.
The First Change
Laura’s Letters is being put aside for the Time Being. This Time Being may last one day, it may last one month, it may last one year. The conclusion is, I have to stop thinking about it and let other characters steer me for a while. I have three novels complete which are in desperate need of Revision.
As soon as I get home from work today, I will take up the task of finishing typing Damn Brits (a title which I hate but cannot think of a replacement for at the moment). This novel I began exactly two years ago, started revising and never finished. It is set in London, a place I do love despite their Snow Inadequacies (I’m sorry British readers. I will never be over it. Never) but I had only visited for three days when I wrote the original manuscript. Two years later I have lived in London. I know the great places. I know specific streets. I know the Underground lines. I’ve walked around the dodgy areas at night both completely clueless and completely pissed (both meanings of the term apply). What seems fake in the novel now, I can alter and authenticate.
The Second Change
When I do return to Laura’s Letters, I’m tackling it with a different approach. One of the other reasons this thing is not complete is that I have so much going on within it: two (possibly three) romances, brotherly tensions, mother-in-law problems, WWII, court intrigue, wealth vs. poverty, religious conflict, father/daughter struggles (for five different characters), kidnappings, maybe a death, 20th Century royalty, villains, heroes and ex-girlfriends to name a few. I’ve come to realize that this is going to be a Big-Ass Book. Like Margaret Mitchell or Diana Gabaldon big. I can’t decide if I want to cut it in pieces or leave it. The problem with breaking it up is, there’s no good place to cut it. The plots are very continuous and build too much to be fragmented. Big-Ass Book it is.
This means that I have to keep my storylines straight. Since I don’t write first drafts on the computer, but rather in journals, this presents a problem when one storyline is progressing more than another. Fortunately, in addition to OCD, I am afflicted also with a disease known as Impulse Buying. Many of you may suffer from it as well, and you will know that once you see THE pair of shoes you just HAVE to have them. For me, it’s not shoes. It’s journals. I believe I bought over ten journals in three and a half months while traipsing around Europe. I had to ship them home so my bags would not be overweight (they were overweight anyway, but that fact is irrelevant).
So I have plenty of journals. The New Plan is to devote one journal to a specific storyline and combine them all later, rather than attempt to write the whole thing as it will appear in novel form. Thomas and Laura’s romance is the crux of it all, hence I will write their story first. This also includes her conflicting emotions about the family who abandoned her, trying to live peaceably with Thomas’s mother, adjusting to his wealthy circle and recovering from abuse she suffered as a child. That could possibly be enough for two journals of itself so Nathan’s struggle to best his brother and eventual romance with Gemma will be a separate one. Lance’s battle to stay alive on the battlefield and battle his as of yet unnamed ex for custody of their daughter gets one too. And the bad guys just get thrown in everywhere.
There you have it. Major Changes and a Big-Ass Book.
What do you do when you want to finish a story but just can’t? How do you keep your intertwining storylines straight?
First let me rant on the fact that even though I am not yet published I know for a fact that I write better than a Number One UK bestseller. I just finished Stolen by Lesley Pearse, and honestly wouldn’t have if I hadn’t paid nine pounds equals fourteen dollars for it.
Plot = decent. Intriguing at parts but predictable all the way through. No surprises.
Characters = awful. Completely flat with nothing interesting about them. Readers know what kind of people they are from the first page which I HATE. People change, make characters change a little, jeeze Louise. And on top of that, they weren’t even likable. Protagonist, way to sappy. Protagonist’s best friend, total bitch, right down to no sympathy for 9/11 victims. Oh and by the way, Lesley, gay best friends are more than people who care about girls and want to take them shopping and fix their hair and say “honey.” The main man also, when trying to be sincere, told the protag something along the lines of “it’s all about you, babe.” How insincere is that!?!?! It’s just a line!!!! Guys use it to pick up chicks and it gets thrown in trashy romance novels you read as a guilty pleasure!!!!! It doesn’t belong in a work of literature about a woman trying to rebuild her life after an abduction!!!!! I literally rolled my eyes when I read it.
Dialogue = good when it wasn’t being preachy, which was 73% of the time.
Writing in general = I’m livid. All telling and no showing. Like at all. Every crucial bit of information was exposed by characters remembering what happened. “And then she recalled being chased by a shark and feeling terribly scared. It was a horrifying thing to go through. She felt he wasn’t being sincere and was completely put off by his nature. She just felt he wasn’t really a good person.” – Disclaimer, not a real quote, I’m angrily paraphrasing.
If you want a good book about a woman rebuilding her life after an abduction, check out Chevy Steven’s Still Missing. And no, I’m not a weirdo obssessed with abductions, I’m doing a little research for a story of my own.
Speaking of stories of my own, how about the excerpt I promised?
Well, here you are dear readers. Thank you for giving me over 10,000 hits. Remember I’m still trying to get on freshly pressed and gain a few more subscribers, so please pass me on!
Behold, a portion Chapter One of my favorite novel.
He had a knife at her throat.
“Not a sound,” he hissed in her ear.
Laura clenched her jaw and nodded, heart hammering. She couldn’t see him. He stood behind her, one arm wrapped around her torso, pinning her arms to her sides, the other pressing the cool, sharp blade to her neck.
Shouting – Schelt shouting – replaced the awful gunfire outside. Moonlight peeked through the cracks in the wooden barn walls, casting eerie shadows on the walls. Voices and heavy footfalls approached. Her captor swore.
It was that profanity that triggered something in her brain. She understood him. He spoke Taneian, her language, not Schelt, the enemy’s tongue. He was a Taneian soldier left behind during the retreat.
He’d be killed if the Schelts found him.
“Trap door,” she rasped.
“I said be quiet!” His grip on her tightened.
“There’s a trap door under Bessie.”
“The cow on the left. There’s a trap door under her stall. Opens to an extra storage room. You can hide.”
The barn doors creaked. A sliver of light spilled in and grew. Laura’s stomach plummeted. She had no desire to meet an armed Schelt soldier face to face.
Neither did her captor. He darted into Bessie’s stall, dragging her with him and groped around on the floor for the door. The prickly animal complied with people for once and shifted over. Before Laura had a chance to clamber down, he tossed her into the pitch darkness, leapt after her and closed them in. Bessie stomped above them. Her clunking almost drowned out the Schelts. Almost.
Barely able to see anything, Laura scooted back into a corner and hugged her knees to her chest. How had she gotten tangled into this mess? She’d been trudging home from the butcher’s when the fighting broke out. The Taneians – people who called the small island nation off the southwest coast of Ireland home – evidently unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow chuck the Schelts out of her small town, Titusville. Terrified a stray bullet would make her its target, she sprinted into the barn only to be grabbed from behind and threatened with a knife. Could she not have one moment of peace?
“Oh damn,” the man breathed.
“They saw you come in.”
“So? I’m nothing to them, did they see you?”
“I don’t think so, but they’re looking for …” His sentence hung incomplete, straining the little room with whatever he refrained from saying.
“Looking for what?”
She heard him swallow his discomfort. “Female … companionship.”
He blood iced. She dug her fingernails into her elbows, willing herself to relax. They wouldn’t find her here. They wouldn’t.
“I will not let them touch you.”
The intense sincerity in his voice surprised her. What was she to him? Nothing. They did not know each other. For all she knew, he could be after the same thing the Schelts were. Yet the way he promised to protect her … the fervor in his voice made it sound like he’d known her all his life and would die before he allowed anyone near her.
That one sentence wholly comforted her. She knew she was safe with him. Now that he had dropped the knife of course.
“I think they’re gone,” Thomas told the girl a few minutes later. He could hardly see the slip of a thing, but he heard her breathing in the corner. Even breaths now, not ragged and sporadic ones like before.
“Good,” she replied. “Is it safe to come out, do you think?”
“No. They could be just outside.” He’d be staying in this blessed secret sanctuary for as long as possible to avoid capture. If the Schelts found him, the heir to the Taneian throne, cowering like the cornered rabbit he was they’d have a field day.
Then they’d kill him.
He leaned against the wall, heat from the woman warming his chilled body even though she sat as far away from him as the tiny space allowed. He closed his eyes, despair crashing over him like waves at his favorite ocean-side summer palace. He’d failed. His meticulously planned mission to liberate the occupied southern tip of his nation failed. He’d lost men. Too many good men had died for nothing; and now he, the embodiment of their hope, huddled in a spare storage room, abandoned on his own order to save more lives, only alive himself because of … of … he didn’t know her name.
“Thank you. You didn’t have to risk this for me.”
“I hardly had a choice with a knife pressed to my throat.”
“Touché. I’m Thomas.” Best omit the Crown Prince of Taneia that customarily accompanied his name. The less conspicuous he remained the better.
Besides, people in this town probably wouldn’t recognize him as the prince anyway. They isolated themselves, following many of their own laws, none of which contradicted royal law naturally, under their religious leader, the Shepherd. They paid their taxes and preferred to be left alone. No reports of abuse reached Rhocent, the capital city, save for Thomas’s mother’s accounts. All in all, they caused no trouble, content in their separateness.
But they were still his people. They were just as Taneian as he. That was what spurred his botched mission. He had a duty to protect all his citizens, especially from bloodthirsty Schelts who had thrown in their lot with that psychopath Hitler and his maniacal Germans …
“Thank you, Laura.”
“You’re on our side.”
He chuckled. “Yes, I’m on your side.”
They lapsed into uncomfortable silence. What else could he say? They’d be down here for at least another ten minutes; he refused to lift the trap door before then. He’d never realized how awkward it was to get to know someone in the dark.
As if she’d been thinking the same thing, he heard her shuffling around, hay swishing across the dirt floor and finally a metallic clank.
“Do you have a match? I found the oil lamp the Shepherd keeps down here.”
“I think so.” He fumbled in his pockets. No, the matchbook was in his pack. He shrugged it off and cried out, surprised at the searing pain in his side.
“Are you all right?”
Ears ringing and side burning, he grunted some kind of response. The pain brought back memory of a hand-to-hand combat. He’d won but not before the bastard got a good swipe at him with his bayonet. He grimaced. That’s why he was so cold. It had nothing to do with the chill in the air; he’d probably lost a great deal of blood by now. As if on cue, stars danced before his eyes like the ballerina he’d secretly been seeing after he found out about Maureen and the sailor. He leaned back against the wall, praying he wouldn’t pass out.
Warm hands cupped his face and guided him to the ground. “Relax,” a silky voice soothed. “You’ll be all right. Tell me where the matches are.”
Laura. That’s right, he was with the new woman Laura. And she needed matches for the lamp.
“Front pocket. First aid on … top in … the large one.”
In a few seconds she had the lamp lit. Thomas shut his eyes against the headache it triggered.
“Good Lord!” she exclaimed. “You need a doctor!”
“No doctor. They’ll find me. Stitch me.”
“But I can’t –”
“You have to.”
“I’m not a nurse.”
“You’re all I’ve got.”
“You need stitches.”
“There’s … sewing stuff for uniforms. It has to do.”
She hesitated, strangely quiet. Thomas almost thought something had happened to her until he heard her rustling in his pack.
“Don’t thank me yet. It’s going to hurt.”
“I’m a big boy.”
More next week!
I’m about to get sentimental. All men who are not interested in talking about their feelings or women who don’t want to listen to another woman whine should leave now.
You’re still here? Well thank you!
I’m not really going to whine about my (lack of) a love life, but I am going to draw connections between my writing and my personal life.
I don’t like to open up to people. In person that is. Blogging is a little different because other than hopefully meeting up with Barb, Lua and a few others whilst in the UK, I may or may not ever see any of you in person. And, for the most part, if you’re reading the writing blog, you’re a like-minded soul and feel the same way as I do about a good many things that I post.
But I only told my mom about this page a few weeks ago.
Yea. I know.
Why do I keep writing to myself? Why am I not very bold about it? Why am I THE SAME EXACT WAY WITH MEN!?!?!?! Well, it’s just too darn close to me. Telling people about my writing is pretty much the same thing as bearing the innermost portion of myself for the world to see. And what if the world does not approve? Worse, what if my friends don’t approve? What if my mom doesn’t like it?!?!? (I can tell when she really likes things I write or if she’s just saying she does because she’s my mom.)
It’s the same with dating. You have to let the other interested party into a part of yourself you don’t normally show others in order to see if you really work together. And that is bloody terrifying.
A while back I was sitting at my desk at work when one of the other interns walked by. At the time I happened to be working on Wounded Soldier.
“Whatchya doin’?” he asked leaning over my desk, eyes hungry for a sneak peak at something he knew she should not see. The forbidden fruit takes many forms.
I slammed the notebook shut, the sound echoing off the walls, undoubtedly making all the other workers in cubicles down the hall jump. “NOTHING!” I said far to hastily and far too loudly. “I’m not doing anything!”
“Looks like you’re writing something.” The fox doesn’t give up that easily.
“Yeah. Um … just journaling.”
Now what would be so wrong with saying, “Just working on a story I’m writing?”
Well … that would mean … exposing myself. That would mean letting him into a place where my own mother barely has admittance. Only a few, and I do mean a very few, friends have had the honor of reading my material from beginning to end. Snippets here and there is one thing, excerpts on the blog is ok, and I started Ensnared with the intention of posting it on Serial Central so I couldn’t just chicken out and let the rest of the lovely ladies down! But to really let someone in? To tell them all about the stories that so enchant me and occupy every moment of my thoughts? To let him into such a personal space?
Dear God. Please give me any other option!
What’s the point of this post, Miss Rosemary, you ask? You’re all over the place today. Give me a break, it’s two thirty in the morning. But the point is, I have had a revelation which has enlightened me. It opened my eyes for the very first time. Whereas before I had no idea how I would find The Right Man and often fretted over living alone for the rest of my life like Jane Austen, I know now how I will be certain I have found The One, whenever he decides to enter my life stage left.
The One will be the man with whom I have no qualms sharing any of my writing.
He’d better be a bookworm.
I can’t write with music on.
I don’t know why, and don’t judge me. I just can’t. It ruins my concentration and I get sucked into the musicality of what is playing and I can never finish a piece and that’s why I’m not published and …
I may be over-exaggerating.
I hear from many writers how they sit down in their favorite spot in their favorite chair with their favorite snack and play their favorite music and then and only then can they begin penning their masterpiece. Some of them even make soundtracks for each individual story they are working on and play them at the appropriate places to inspire the appropriate writing.
Not so with this chick. I can’t even write a blog post with music on.
I know I’m weird. I already talked about that a few posts ago, and just for the record, if you are one of the people who can write with music and does make soundtracks for each of your pieces, I am not judging you. I envy you.
Because I wish I could draw inspiration from the music while it’s playing. It would certainly make the writing process less boring. I wish I could have swing music blasting from my speakers when Laura and Thomas go out on the town. I wish I could play tense songs when Holly is being chased by the kidnapper. I wish I could have soft love songs playing in the background while I write Derek and Candace’s wedding – doh! I just gave some of it away!
Well you probably already figured that anyway. But you don’t know the ending! Muahaha!
I have a different way of looking at the writing soundtrack. My characters directly interact with whatever song I happen to be listening to at the time they are floating around in my head. Even if the song is completely out of their time period (like “Bad Romance” and the 1940s) they still sing along and yell at/serenade each other with the lyrics.
For example. Currently in my car is a mix of Glee: The Music, Volume 3 and Journey to Regionals. The characters about whom I am thinking of late are Laura and Thomas. THeir setting? 1940s. The first song on my mix is a cover of “Hello, Goodbye.” L&T sing this song in the scene I am planning right now. It is certainly NOT a 40s song, but who cares? It’s my story.
So what so I get from Thomas singing this song to Laura completely out of their time frame? Instead of “Hey, Lola,” he says, “Hey Laura” and changes all the other lyrics around to fit her. This is molto importante because she is furious with him right now, and without the personalized apology, she would take much longer to come around to forgiving him. Will it play out exactly this way in the novel? Of course not, L&T are not sixties hippies. Will he serenade her with a personalized song to regain her trust and good-will? You can bet your bottom dollar, he will!
As the CD continues, so does the story. When there is a passionate love ballad, they sing it to each other (aaw/gag). When we get to “A House is Not a Home” Laura makes the fateful decision to find the family who abandoned her. When we get to the Journey medleys, L&T sing “Anyway You Want It/ Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’” in a performance for their music class to stick it to one of his ex-girlfriends who doesn’t understand that he put a ring on Laura so she can’t have him anymore.
So there you have it. Though I don’t use the soundtrack in the conventional way most writers speak of, my music does inspire me; it dictates and aids my plots. Let me tell you, three hours of driving and singing every day all summer has given me plenty of time to plan and work out kinks.
What about you? How do you use music when you write?
Before I forget
Ollin has bestowed upon me The Spotlight Award. Well, shucks, Ollin, I didn’t have a speech prepared, but thanks so much! I pass it on to
Love you, ladies!
Melissa at The Undeveloped Story hosted a Poetry Weekend. I know I’m really cutting it close with the end of the weekend being about three and a half hours away as I post this, but here is what I came up with. It’s really short because I don’t usually write poetry, but I gave it my best shot. Thanks for the fun challenge!
I don't want you to ask me anymore.
We talked about it.
You're annoying me.
The more we discuss it,
The more it chafes,
The more it bothers.The more it hurts.The more it reminds me.I don't want to remember.I want to forget.Forget you.
Forget how you treated me.Leave it alone.
Everything is fine.
Rise from bed and determine to finish writing the scene one has been trying to write for the past two weeks. This is not to say one has not written at all in two weeks, just not as much as one would have liked.
Shower. Now this may seem insignificant to The Plan Concerning Writing, but in fact it is not. For how can one write if one does not have the scene down pat in one’s head? Unpreparedness is unacceptable. Proper planning is essential for proper writing.
*Fine so I don’t really do much proper planning, but I do enact the scenes and conversations in my head while I am by myself in the shower or the car or whatever. The aloneness makes it easier for me to work through kinks and figure out exactly where I want the story to go.*
Go to work. A serious bump in the road to writing.
Return home pumped from another hour and a half of internal planning via car ride. Totally ready to write this shiznit.
Stare ineffectually at a blank page, urging and coaxing the words to no avail, only jotting a few and drawing very little personal satisfaction from them.
Endeavor to find inspiration from veteran authors via one’s favorite books. Buryoneself in a world of another’s creation through their masterful words and pages.
Lose track of the time and fall asleep with book in hand.
Rise from bed …
*Note ~ The cycle can also occur in reverse when one is determined to finish reading a novel while engaged in an unofficial reading race with a best friend to finish an impeccable series first, only to be hindered by one’s own characters who will not leave one alone and insist on being written NOW. One loses the reading race but does not mind because of significant writing accomplishments.*
Which works for me because (though I would of course make the time) I don’t really have the time to type Rescue Me at the moment. So, if you really want to read that one, send everyone you know over to my site and get my hits up to 10,000. This could also be helped by my recent reactivation of my Twitter! You may have noticed the little green bird pulling a sign under my BlogLovin‘ button. So do what it says and tell your friends, follow me!
Sorry for the shameless plug. Without further ado, the excerpt Chapter Four. Necessary background information: Rosella’s job has sent her from NYC to London where she bumps into Julian who has recently been released from prison. He had been incarcerated for six years on false charges of killing his father, but is now scouring London in search of the real culprit.
Big Ben clanged noisily sending the pigeons squawking into the air and people scurrying along the sidewalks after they realized they were late. Rosella glared at the giant brown clock tower connected to the majestic British Parliament building.
She turned on her heel and stomped across the street toward Westminster Abbey. On any other day she would have been thrilled to be in London. In fact, as soon as tomorrow arrived, she’d most likely squeal in delight.
But not today.
She scowled at any Brit who crossed her path as she pressed through the streets. Today was just another day to them. There would be no celebrations. Actually, for them, today was probably a day of great shame. She smirked at that thought. Today was the day that reminded them of when a group of ragtag rabble-rousers kicked them in the ass and tossed them back to their side of the pond.
“Seriously,” she muttered to herself as she stalked down the street in the direction of her hotel, “what kind of American spends Independence Day in frigging Britain?”
She stopped at an intersection and tapped her foot impatiently waiting for her turn to walk. Jaywalking was legal in London, but, being a good American, she decided to adhere to the more sensible American laws and wait. A few people standing next to her shifted awkwardly and whispered to each other. Yeah, that’s right, she thought, whisper behind my back. Real mature. I don’t care. I’m independent.
“Excuse me, miss,” a young man standing to her right said in a deep British voice (but the Brits did speak well), “please don’t take this the wrong way, but do you have a death wish?”
She fixed him with and annoyed glower and was surprised to find him extremely attractive. His thick shaggy brown hair fell in unruly curls (well not quite curls, waves were a more accurate description) around his angular face. He had a strong jaw line and stood a full head taller than she with very broad shoulders and visible muscles through his t-shirt. She inwardly sighed in contentment, envisioning his thick arms wrapping around her and crushing her to him. Those arms could protect her and she could lay her cheek against him. His hands could easily swallow hers or, since in her mind they were still embracing, they could gently stroke her hair. She frowned when she saw his clear grey eyes looking at her with concern over his straight nose. She was having such a nice fantasy, wasn’t he?
She shook her head. Attractive with a sexy accent or not, he had just insulted her; she shouldn’t be prepared to melt in his arms. Figures. The best-looking men were always the biggest jerks.
“No, I do not have a death wish, and for the record, I took it the wrong way.” The little electronic person on the other side of the street flashed, indicating her turn to cross. She and a few others stepped off the curb. “Good day, sir,” she called over her shoulder.
To her dismay, he followed her. “I am only looking out for your safety, miss. You’re going to get shot.”
She gritted her teeth. “That is preposterous. I am not.”
“Yes, you are. Take off your shirt.”
She stumbled and nearly tumbled to the ground. “I beg your pardon?!” she shrieked.
“If you continue to wear that shirt, you will be shot. You have to change for your own safety.”
The car horn blaring at her, demanding they get out of the road drowned out the sound of her hand colliding with his face.
“Pervert!” she hollered stalking away from him. How dare he say such a thing to her! Had he no shame? Did he believe the standards of propriety applied to everyone but him? If he wanted to see topless women all he had to do was go to a porn site, not lewdly demand she remove her shirt on a public street corner! And all this time she’d believed British men were more genteel and possessed more class than the American ones. Obviously, she had been blatantly mistaken.
“Really, miss, you must!”
Good God he was still following her! She quickened her pace and dug around in her purse for her mace.
“You cannot parade around the streets of London wearing a shirt decorated with the United States flag that says ‘PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN’!”
Her fingers curled around the mace as she turned to confront him. “And why not? People wear shirts decorated with the Union Jack that say ‘PROUD TO BE BRITISH’ in Washington D.C. It is Independence Day and I am proud to be an American. This should not be an issue.”
“But it is an issue. You’re headed towards a bad section of the city. I can promise you some thug will attempt to beat you, or worse, because of your outfit.”
Letting go of her mace, she placed her hands on her hips. His eyes looked sincere. She felt confident enough in her ability to judge people’s character that he did not pose a threat to her; his eyes would have betrayed him if he did. However, that did not give him a free pass for his atrocious behavior.
“I thank you for your concern, but I think what this is really about is that you don’t like the visual reminder of how we tossed your sorry butts back to your side of the Atlantic. Twice.”
He bristled, eyes narrowing. “Once, to be accurate. The second time you didn’t really win. We were unable to send our full forces over to the States because we had more important things to deal with, like toppling Napoleon. Trust me, had we sincerely tried, the only lyrics to ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee,’ your national anthem, would be ‘God Save the Queen.’”
Spots danced before her eyes. The man was the most insolent person she had ever met! First he demands she strip for him and now he insults America? Oh, he’d picked a fight with the wrong patriotic woman.
“You know who says things like ‘if we had actually tried’? The loser. And that is not our national anthem. At least have the decency to get your facts straight before you slur us. Allow me to educate you in the American song.” He was in for it now. She took a deep breath, cleared her throat, and proceeded to belt at the top of her lungs: “Oooh say, can you seee/ By the dawn’s early liiiight/ What so prooouudly we haaailed/ At the twilight’s last gleaming?”
His jaw dropped farther than she though physically possible. Ha! Serves you right, you damn Brit! A few people who passed them paused to stare before averting their gaze and hurrying on their way. This was going much better than she’d anticipated. Look, all the color had completely drained from his face! Well why stop here? To the next verse! “Whose broad —”
“Stop! Enough!” He grabbed her arm and shook her. Fear chased the song out of her, drying her throat. Her hair stood on end. She should have kept hold of her mace.
“This is not funny and it is not a game. You’re acting recklessly, for no reason. You’re asking for trouble, and if you ask hard enough it will find you.”
“I appreciate your concern, but I do not need your help,” she whispered. Her voice was not yet capable of anything louder. “I am twenty-two years old and have managed just fine on my own —”
“A fact I find shocking.”
“— just like my fine nation.”
“Are we honestly back to this topic?”
“Yes. We are. I have one thing left to say.” Her stubborn Irish pride combined with her pushy Italian nature never allowed her to lose a fight. He was going down.
“And what is that?”
“A question actually.”
“I’m intrigued.” She scowled harder at his heavy sarcasm.
“Are we speaking German right now?”
He blinked at her incomprehensively. “Have you lost your mind?”
“It’s a simple question. Are we speaking German or not?”
“No, a fact I had previously thought self-evident.”
“Then you should be thanking me for saving you from Hitler rather than assaulting me in the middle of the street.”
“You personally did not defeat —”
“Is there a problem here? Miss, is this man bothering you?” a voice a few feet away called.
They looked up to see a police officer approaching. The Jerk dropped her arm as if it would contaminate him and backed away from her.
“Miss, I was only trying to help … I didn’t mean to … I don’t know what came over me, I don’t usually act so improperly, I apologize … and … and …”
With each step the officer took, he grew more and more nervous, fidgeting and stammering uncontrollably. If she’d thought all the color had drained from his face before, that was nothing compared to now. He looked like Caspar the Ghost.
“I should have you locked up.”
He turned his wide, panicked eyes on her. “Please don’t. I spent the last six years in prison and if you have them put me away now, they’ll never let me back out.”
Her pulse rate skyrocketed more than it did when she got to the top of a roller coaster hill. “Oh. My. God. You’re a criminal?!”
“No! I was falsely accused!”
“That’s what they all say!”
The officer would be upon them in only a few strides. “Please, miss, I’m begging you. My life literally rests in your hands.”
The officer stopped beside them. “Is there a problem?” he asked Rosella.
She looked at the stranger’s pale, pleading face. She should have him arrested. He’d made sexual demands of her and physically shaken her hard enough to give her a headache. Assault. But, now that she thought about it, it didn’t seem too bad. Her guy friends at home did much the same. Besides she had slapped him first. But the men at home were her friends. She did not know one shred of information about this man except that he had spent the last six years in jail. He had openly admitted to her that he’s done time. Was he a rapist? A murderer? Both? If she didn’t press charges, he might follow her and attack her. Or someone else. She could save her own and another woman’s life by pressing charges.
The imploring look in his eyes changed her mind. That look told her the one place he feared the most was prison. He couldn’t survive it again. She could feel his trepidation through that look. He was right. His fate rested in her hands. Could she, in good conscience, send him to his worst nightmare?
“No, officer,” she said finally. “This man is not bothering me. I was just leaving.”
“Very good then,” said the portly man, his stomach bouncing as he readjusted his nightstick. Rosella, ready to forget this incident and put it behind her, turned to walk away.
“You may want to change your shirt.”
Do tell me what you think, suggestions, comments, etc. Hope you enjoyed my chapter