Super Short

#SuperShort

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I’m doing things a little differently for this week’s #SuperShort. When I talked to my friend Addison the other day, I complained that my writing mojo was lost after my holiday vacation in Sweden, that I hadn’t prepared a Flash Fiction story for this week, and that I didn’t have any ideas for one. So, she offered to throw some prompt words at me.

I accepted, even if I’ve never used that method as inspiration before. These are the words she gave me (found here):

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They didn’t seem too impossible (like the words I sometimes throw at her on Fridays…but to my defense she asks for words and I’m just being a good, helpful friend…and she’s a pro at this 😁) so I mulled them over the whole day until an idea popped into my head.

And I’m so freaking proud of myself because I managed to incorporate all of them! I thought I’d might fix one or two, but not all five. Yay me!!

And thank you, Addison. I needed the virtual kick in the butt. 😁

Now, let’s get to the story, shall we?? (I might have taken some liberties with the words, but I figured it was allowed.)

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The First Meeting

I kept my gaze firmly on the winding road cutting through the woodlands even though it wasn’t car sickness that made my stomach twist in knots. We were alone, hadn’t met another car in ages, and Matt had stopped trying to talk to me several miles back, probably tired of my monosyllabic answers.

When my knee started its incessant bouncing for the tenth time the last five minutes, he reached over the center console and rested a hot palm on my thigh, stilling my leg with a light squeeze.

“Baby, you don’t need to be nervous,” he said.

I swallowed around a big lump in my throat that threatened to make its way into my mouth. “I know,” I croaked out. And I did. He’d told me many, many times. Mom is the nicest and most levelheaded person you’ll ever meet, he’d said. Heck, my dad even used to call her Mellow Meg. The silly nickname had elicited a smile from me but hadn’t really calmed me down. And now, less than five minutes before I would meet her, I had a hard time breathing.

It was the first time in my life I was going to meet the parents. Or parent, since Matt’s dad had died a year before we met. Thirty years old and scared to death to meet someone who apparently was the most agreeable person on God’s green earth and who had no problems whatsoever with Matt being gay if Matt was to be trusted. And he’d never lied to me before, so I had no reason to doubt him.

But it didn’t help. My own family had reacted badly when I came out, and I’d never met the parents of my only serious boyfriend before Matt because he wasn’t out to them. Meeting his family had never been an issue for the entire four years we’d been together.

Matt, on the other hand, was completely different. As soon as our relationship had turned serious, he’d wanted us to go see his mom. I want the two most important people in my life to meet, he’d said and curled his big body around mine where we’d lain in his cozy bed. His thick fingers had played with my treasure trail and short-circuited my brain, making it impossible for me to deny him anything.

Not that I’d ever been able to say no to him. Whenever I tried, he would just kiss me and kiss me and kiss me until my legs turned to spaghetti and a kaleidoscope of butterflies took up residence in my stomach. His warm brown eyes, his lush mouth, and his big hands with the thick fingers could convince me to do anything.

So here I was. About to meet his mom. Desperately hoping I wouldn’t faint like a damsel in distress on her doorstep.

Curling my hands into fists, I shuddered at their clamminess. I rubbed my palms on my pants because no one wanted to shake a sweaty hand.

A house materialized in the distance and my heart stumbled between two beats. The fist around my throat tightened.

What if Mrs. Johnson was fine with Matt being gay, but not him being with me? What if she didn’t like me? I wasn’t the most talkative of guys under normal circumstances. What if I did something to offend her? My parents had taught me manners, of course, how to be polite and correct when meeting new people, but nerves always made a knot out of my tongue and left me a stumbling mess.

My knee resumed its bouncing when Matt turned into the driveway leading up to the small, ranch-style house. It was surrounded by trees and looked nice and inviting. Like a real home. I groaned and ran my fingers through my hair.

Matt parked the car and got out after shooting me a quick smile. I followed him before I had time to change my mind and do something stupid, like climb over to the driver’s side and hightail it out of there. I trailed behind him on the path leading up to the house like a baby duck padding after its mama. Feeling just as small and vulnerable.

He didn’t knock when he stopped in front of the door. Instead, he turned to me and cupped my cheeks. And just like that, I could breathe easier. I looked up and met his gaze and the lump in my throat dissolved.

“Oh, baby,” he murmured as he leaned forward and nudged the tip of his nose against mine. “I promise she’ll love you.”

I bit my lower lip to stop it from trembling. How could he promise me something like that when my own mother had refused to speak to me for years because of who I was? How could he be so goddamned sure?

“And Ike?” He slid his hands down and ran his fingers through the short hairs on the back of my neck.

“Uh-huh?” Needing to be connected to him, I hooked my index finger in one of the belt loops of his faded jeans that made me want to fall to my knees and worship his muscular legs.

“Even if she doesn’t, it won’t change a thing. I love you. That’s all that matters.”

I tugged him closer and rose on my tippytoes so I could rest my cheek against his. “I love you, too, Matthew,” I whispered.

We stood like that for several minutes. His breaths puffing against my cheek and his caressing fingers made me forget everything but him. His woodsy scent found its way into my nose and I inhaled him, taking his essence into my body. My darling Matt. Steady as a rock, and mellow like his mom.

When the knot in my stomach had untangled, I pressed my lips against his stubbly cheek before taking a step back. “I’m ready,” I said.

Together, we turned to the door. I lifted my hand and knocked.

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That was fun. So, leave me some words in the comments and I’ll try my best to incorporate them in a story. But please, leave more than one so I can be picky…if you decide to not play nice and leave me a word like skullduggery… or diaphanous or something equally evil  😁

While you do that, I’ll browse through Instagram and see if I can find something inspiring. It’s best to have a back-up plan, don’t you think? 😁

Happy Friday, everyone!

Release Blitz

Release blitz and #giveaway: Not All Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks by Rebecca Cohen

 

 
Length: 45,613 words
Cover Design: Brooke Albrecht
 
Blurb

Neither of them wants to fall in love, but getting exactly what they don’t want might be the best thing to ever happen to them.

Mark hopes his boredom with his current job will be alleviated by a short stint in Basel, Switzerland. When he meets Steffen, who struck out on his own from an old-money family to establish an IT firm, Mark expects some fun, great sex, and a clean break when his job is done. The arrangement is perfect for Steffen, who has been content with casual after a betrayal—and has a taste for British men after attending university in the UK. But as they explore the city’s rich history and traditions, Mark begins to see Steffen as much more than a tour guide with benefits. If he isn’t careful, the trip meant to break the lull in his career might end up breaking his heart instead….

Excerpt
Mark had two and a half months left in Basel, and the idea of several weeks of no strings attached sex was as exhilarating as it was nerve-racking. It was the kind of offer his younger self would’ve jumped at—but he wasn’t that man anymore, and he wasn’t sure he could be again. “I wouldn’t say reticence.”

“No? Then perhaps my English is rusty, as I do not have a better word for it.”

“Okay, you’ve a point. But you have to understand that it’s not every day that an attractive man states so bluntly that he wants to fuck me.”

“Then the men in the UK are stupid. Or you are not mixing with the right type of men.”

Steffen wasn’t completely wrong. The truth was he had spent his university days shagging about, enjoying the writhing mass of bodies in the clubs and gay bars. At the time he’d loved the anonymous and varied encounters, but then he’d decided he needed to grow up and join the adult world. Suit, tie, steady job, and long-term boyfriend, with cozy Friday nights in and dinners for two, not body shots and glory holes. “I gave up clubbing after university. These days I don’t go to the type of places where men go to keep things casual.”

Steffen seemed to consider his response before replying. “So it would be the fleeting nature of our encounters that would bother you?”

“Possibly. I suppose my needs changed, and I wanted more than the emptiness of another hollow shag.” It felt like an important admission, something he’d never talked about before, but it needed to be said to explain why he wasn’t dragging Steffen out of the restaurant and back to his lodgings. “The only one-night stand I’ve had in the last ten years turned into a yearlong relationship. I hadn’t planned it. It just sort of happened.”

Steffen waved a piece of veal in his direction. “I cannot give you permanence.”

“I’m not asking for it,” Mark added quickly, and he meant it.

“What I am hearing is you are not against the theory of enjoying a few weeks of fun before you return home. But equally, I am not convinced you are fully in favor either. If you do not wish this, we will finish our dinner, shake hands, and depart as friends. You are not beholden, either way.”

Steffen wasn’t offering an anonymous shag. It wasn’t thanks for the fuck, now fuck off, but instead something in the middle. Mark’s love life had been in the doldrums since John left, ostensibly because Mark’s job had eaten away any free time and John had decided enough was enough. He didn’t have any more free time now, and that wasn’t going to change, which would no doubt annoy any new boyfriend, so why not take Steffen up on his offer? He picked up his wine and took a sip of liquid courage. “Throw in being my personal tour guide of the city and I’m in.”

Steffen offered up his wineglass in a toast. “I plan to give Basel Tourism Office a run for their money.”

Mark copied and took a sip of his wine. Never had agreeing to sleep with someone felt so formal, borderline making a business deal. But somehow it didn’t feel wrong; instead it was as though he was entering something that didn’t require constant renegotiation. He would know where he stood with Steffen. Sex, hopefully very good sex, if he was lucky, and he suspected Steffen’s experience might make up for his own rusty skills and help polish them up nicely. “Let’s hope I don’t find you lacking—I’d hate to leave a terrible review on TripAdvisor.”

“Oh, there are plenty of people who can attest to my abilities.” Steffen waggled his eyebrows. “I will give you my personal guarantee that you will not find me wanting—in any capacity.”

Mark skewered the last piece of meat. “You’re certainly not lacking in confidence.”

“Have you only just noticed?”

 
Author Bio
 

Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and young son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

Blog: http://rebeccacohenwrites.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.cohen.710
Twitter: http://twitter.com/R_Cohen_writes

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