Nell's WIP, Secrets on a Train

Fountain Pen Day: Excerpt From My WIP

Honey, did you know today is Fountain Pen Day? the hubby asked earlier. I didn’t know, but I immediately asked him if he’d bought me another fountain pen to celebrate, but he got veeeeery busy all of a sudden so I guess the answer is no. 😁

But it sparked an idea for a blog post (even if my friend Holly Day usually is the one who’s celebrating all these weird days): I’m currently 7000 words or so into a story called Secrets on a Train for a Sugar or Spice submission call for my publisher, and there are a lot of fountain pens in that story. You know the old saying write what you know? Yeah, I took that and ran with it, so fountain pens. Lots and lots of them.

And so I thought you might like an excerpt? Keep in mind that it’s unedited and unfinished.

Excerpt:

Then he scrunches his eyebrows together. “No sugar-slush today?”

My frown returns, and I shake my head. “No time. I overslept.”

“Sit tight, I’ll be right back.”

I watch him disappear down the aisle, past the compartments, out of sight, as I shrug out of my coat and sit. He’s not gone for long; he returns carrying two cups of takeaway coffee and he sets the bigger one in front of me. With his lip curled up, he reaches into the pocket of his jacket and pulls out a handful of sugar packets.

“I don’t know how many you need, so a grabbed a bunch.”

I count them, and say, “Seven is a bit excessive, even for me.”

“Keep the rest. It can be your emergency supply.”

“It’s very thoughtful of you.” I grin, tear open three of the packets, and dump them into my coffee. He didn’t bring a spoon, so I swirl the cup around, hoping that the sugar will dissolve quickly. Then I gulp down two huge swallows, burning the roof of my mouth and my tongue, not caring one bit now that I finally have coffee. “Thank you,” I say again. “You’re a life savior.”

“You sure you don’t need more sugar?” he asks, his voice rumbling its way through me until every cell in my body resonate with it.

“Nah. I’m sweet enough as it is.” As soon as the stupidity is out of my mouth, I groan. “Can I take it back?”

Nick chuckles and shakes his head. “I’m afraid not. Besides, it’s true.”

“It’s not. I’m not sweet.”

“Oh, come on. You almost cried when I showed you the animal pictures yesterday. And you’ve brought me coffee for no reason the last two days. If that’s not sweet, I don’t know what is.”

I harrumph.

“Besides. I like sweet.” He takes a sip from his coffee.

“Oh?” I grab one of the sugar packets. “You want one?”

He wrinkles his nose. “Sugar in coffee is not sweet. It’s an abomination.”

“I could agree with you but then we’d both be wrong.”

He throws his head back and laughs, a dark, throaty sound. It rasps against my skin, finds its way into my belly, pools between my hips. God, I thought his voice affected me, but his laughter is a whole new level. I want to hear more of it.

“Where’s your pen?” I ask instead of jumping over the table and curling up in his lap like I really want to do.

“Do you have a fountain pen fetish or something?” He smirks.

“I didn’t until I met you.” I make a gimme motion with my fingers. “Come on. Show it to me.”

He nods and reaches into his inner pocket. “It was my grandfather’s favorite. The first time he used it was when he signed his marriage certificate, and since he and Gramma had a long, happy life together, he referred to it as his lucky pen.” Nick holds it out for me to see, his touch careful and affectionate. It’s a humble metal pen in a matte silver color with no frills. Just straight lines and functionality, a scratched surface that tells the story of a loved writing instrument that’s been in frequent use.

“Thank you for showing it to me. It’s my favorite, too.”

“Why?”

“Because I love the backstory. I love how much you love it.”