Silly Stories

The stories here are written in response to writing prompts. You'll find a bit of silliness, and I hope you might even laugh a bit when you read them. These impromptu stories are always fun to write. Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Love Spells - Chapter 5

Here's the next chapter of Love Spells.

To read previous chapters, click on the links below:

"Ellie! Ellie!"

She heard someone calling her name but couldn't identify the voice. Was it even real? She couldn't be sure. It was only when someone grabbed her arms and dragged her away from the heat and smoke that she knew she was not dreaming. She tried to look at her rescuer, but the thick, acrid smoke burned and stung her eyes.

“Climb down,” the man instructed, pushing her toward the railing of the balcony. “It’s only a short drop. You won’t hurt yourself.” He left her standing there alone.

She forced her eyes open and looked toward the doorway, ringed in flame. The man who’d saved her now slithered through the entrance, crawling below the billowing smoke. Ellie coughed. Her nose itched and her lungs burned.

Her face burned, too -- from sheer embarrassment. How could she have been so foolish? So careless? As so often happened, her thoughts of David had taken possession and she’d lost all good sense.

She still stood near the railing, staring at the doorway. She saw a pair of blanket-covered hands reach out and press against the doorframe, quickly smothering the flames. Moments later, the fire was extinguished and Stefan Blackwell stepped through the sooty, blackened opening.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“I told you to climb down. Are you all right?”

“Yes, but why are you here?”

“Fate, I suppose.” He grinned. “A psychic connection, maybe? I must have known you were in trouble.”

Ellie gasped. “But -- how?”

Stefan laughed. “Actually, I was returning your handbag. You left it at the shop earlier.” He came to the railing and pointed to the grass below. “I dropped it there when I saw the fire and realized what was happening.”

This man must think her a complete idiot! Losing her handbag, setting her apartment on fire...and performing nightly rituals to win back an unfaithful lover. What foolishness!

Staring down at the wooden slats of the deck, she stammered her thanks.

Stefan shrugged off her words. “Glad I was able to help. Like I said, it must have been fate that brought me here at just the right time.” He took a step toward her. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

“Shaken up, but otherwise fine, I think.” Ellie looked at his smoke-smudged cheeks. “What about you?” Funny, but she’d never noticed before how attractive Stefan was. Seeing him now in the pale moonlight, she trembled slightly. He seemed to almost glow.

“I’ll survive. I always do.” He touched a hand to his forehead in a salute, then swung his long legs over the railing. He dropped to the ground, picked up Ellie’s bag, and tossed it up. “Got it?”

“Yes, thank you. For everything.”

She stood watching as Stefan disappeared into the darkness of the night.

With a sigh, Ellie stepped inside. Although the fire had frightened her out of her wits, it had actually done little damage -- thanks to Stefan Blackwell’s fortuitous arrival on the scene. She winced when she glanced at her makeshift altar, the silk scarf now covered with globs of melted pink wax. Bending down, she touched the paper where she’d written David’s name along with her own. The charred page crinkled and fell to pieces in her hand.

How fitting. Just like our relationship.

Ellie squeezed her eyes shut. Earlier, when she’d been at Stefan’s shop, he’d spoken to her of signs and symbols. She could learn much by simply observing, he’d said. At once, she recognized the truth behind his words -- and behind the calamitous events of the night.

Maybe her love for David was too hot for her to handle.

Maybe winning him back could be a dangerous thing.

And maybe Stefan Blackwell had come into her life for a reason.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Love Spells - Chapter 4

Welcome! With this week's Tuesday's Tales prompt -- sky -- I've returned to Love Spells. I hope you enjoy this chapter.

If you're new to the story and would like to read previous chapters, you can click on the links below:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3


Ellie stood in the center of the room and glanced about. A small desk piled with books and papers sat against the far wall next to a few metal folding chairs. A shaggy, thread-bare carpet graced the scarred floor. Sky charts and drawings of constellations hung on the dull gray walls, giving it more the air of a stuffy schoolroom than a place where magic could happen. Ellie tried to hide her disappointment.

"Not what you were expecting, is it?" Stefan asked. Amusement danced in his sky-blue eyes.

She met his gaze with a forth-right look. "No, not at all. The grimoire I have says you need an altar, and the four elements. . ." Thoughts rattled through her head. Perhaps the wood plank flooring could represent earth, and surely the open window with the gentle breezing wafting in would symbolize air. But fire? Water?

Stefan laughed. "Don't believe everything you read, Ellie. True magic comes from within, and real power comes when you know who you are. That's the foundation of all magic, and wise men have taught that truth throughout the ages. Know thyself." The warmth of his smile soothed her. "It's only when people doubt themselves that they need rules to follow." He gestured toward the chairs, and for the next hour, he sat beside Ellie and talked to her of wondrous possibilities.

She could learn much from this man – how to cast horoscopes, how to read cards, how to contact other planes of existence – but he could not teach her the one thing she most needed to know.

"Who are you, Ellie Crawford?" he asked.

She would have to learn that on her own, Ellie knew. The question, along with the memory of Stefan’s deep voice, haunted her as she sat before her altar that night. She had opened the windows to let in the sweet, lilac-scented breeze. She drew in a long, deep breath, but nothing could soothe her restless spirit.

All she had done that day, all the changes she had made, all she had learned...none of it meant anything, really. She knew what she wanted, and she knew who she wanted to be, but she couldn't say with certainty who she was at that precise moment.

A lonely young woman pining for lost love?

True, yes, but there must be more to her that this. She could not – would not – define herself through David and all she had lost.

But if she stripped away that love, cast off all the memories of David, what would be left of her? She feared she might find nothing at all.

Ellie sighed and took her place before her altar. The candle's flame glowed in the darkness, casting a circle of light around her. Earlier she'd plucked a bouquet of fresh lilacs, and all was in readiness for the ritual.

As she had done the night before, she wrote David's name upon a fresh sheet of paper. Beneath it, with trembling hand, she wrote her name. Once again, she joined the names with a heart and recited the magical words:

"Our fate is sealed and we are one. My heart has power. It is now done."

As she stared into the burning flame and thought again of David and their love, Ellie’s pulse raced. Her temples throbbed and a heaviness settled upon her chest. She could scarcely draw a breath.

Pain shot through her head when she jumped to her feet and rushed to the balcony. Throwing open the door, she drank in great gulps of air.

The perfect spring night quickly calmed her anxiety, and Ellie stood outside looking up into the dark night skies.

Stars, planets, suns and moons. Other worlds, perhaps. All spinning silently in the heavens, held in place by unseen forces, their movements guided by something indefinable and divine.

For a moment, she felt small and insignificant, one tiny speck of being lost among the vastness of the universe. In the next moment, she felt grand and important as realization came.

I am a part of this. The same invisible forces that hold the heavens in order are coursing through my body and blood.

Stefan had spoken of such power; now, for the first time, Ellie felt it for herself.

She closed her eyes and gave herself up to the night, feeling the wind as it swirled around her.

A sudden burst of light flashed through her consciousness.


Ellie turned.

Tongues of flame danced across the curtains, leaping from one edge of fabric to another. She’d placed her altar too close to the window. Inviting the night breeze inside had brought disaster.

Panic rose in her throat, shutting off her voice. Her desperate cry for help came out as no more than a feeble whisper.

Flames engulfed the doorway, hissing and crackling like fiery serpents about to strike.

Ellie looked up to the night sky again. Where was that divine connection now?

Her knees buckled. She collapsed in a heap as the fire edged ever closer.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Wrong Woman - Excerpt


When I read this week's prompt -- legs -- my thoughts went at once to this scene from The Wrong Woman. This historical romance is set in the mid-west in 1881. Will Loudon meant to abduct Honey Branson, his brother's fiance, but he stole the wrong woman -- Abigail Rose -- away from the train station. At this point in the story, he's learned Abigail's true identity and has promised to return her to Des Moines.

Excerpt from Chapter 6

Will could not remember ever hearing a sigh quite like the one Abigail emitted. Long, weary, tremulous, and somehow filled with a range of emotion that made him want to pull the confusing woman into his arms and promise her the sun, the moon, the stars, or whatever else it would take to make her stop hurting. Knowing that he was the cause of her despair only made matters worse. He would do whatever he must, he vowed to himself. Somehow he would find a way to fix the mess he'd made of her life.

He watched as she
schlumped across the room -- there was no other word for it. Her shoulders sagged beneath some unseen burden, her feet shuffled slowly across the hardwood floor, and the woebegone look upon her face would have made him laugh if he weren't so damned worried about her.

"I sppse I mmta swllb hnst withu." She stared down at her hands, neatly folded in her lap. Her voice was barely audible, her words unrecognizable.

"How's that again?" he asked. He yearned to go into the room, to sit on the bed beside her, and to offer what comfort he could. When he started to take a step toward her, warning alarms went off in his head. No way could he handle such a dangerously tempting situation. He forced himself to remain at the doorway.

"I said, I suppose I might as well be honest with you." This time, Abigail looked up as she spoke. Her voice wavered, but her words came out loud and clear. "I don't have any money. If you take me back to Des Moines, I'll be stranded there with no place to go."

Will scratched his jaw, the day's growth of beard irritating him. He'd have to shave later, he thought, suddenly wondering if he'd remembered to sharpen his razor, and had he bought shaving soap on his last trip into town? And had he --

"Did you hear what I said?"

He rubbed the back of his neck, but then he nodded. "Yeah, I heard you. I'm just wishing I hadn't." A heavy silence fell over the room, growing more oppressive with each passing moment. Neither of them, it seemed, wanted to be the first to break it.

Finally Will got tired of waiting for Abigail to offer any explanation. "What do you mean, you don't have any money?" he asked. "I mean, seriously, how did you plan to get by in St. Paul?"

"My teaching contract included room and board."

"So you got on a train to Minnesota without a cent? What about food, Abigail? Or what if you had to buy new stockings?"

Stockings? Hell, why don't you ask her about her corset, too? Or her undergarments?

Will cleared this throat, forcing his thoughts away from her tempting body and back to the immediate problem. "You've got to have some money, Abigail." He didn't intend to sound so angry, but frustration put a harsh edge on his voice. "And what about yesterday?" he went on. "You said you had money in your handbag. Hell, you all but accused me of trying to steal it."

"My father gave me twenty dollars. For incidental expenses. Like stockings," she added, glaring up at him.

Will closed his eyes, trying not to imagine Abigail slowly drawing a pair of silk stockings on over her shapely legs. But it was hard not to imagine it. Very hard. He shifted awkwardly, wishing now that Abigail had on those blasted spectacles so she would not be able to see how aroused he'd become. Fortunately, she'd looked away. He seized on his growing anger in hopes of fighting off his lust.

"Twenty dollars is a lot of money. What happened to it? And don't dare try to blame me. I swear, I never opened your handbag."

"It wasn't in my handbag."

"But you just said--"

"I thought it was! That's where I put it, at first. But then, I took it out."

"Why would you do that?"

She shrugged, but thank goodness, she still didn't look up at him. Will saw her squeeze her hands together, her fingers so tightly clasped, the knuckles turned white.

"I was worried about losing it. My handbag, I mean. I sometimes can be a little forgetful. I wanted to be sure the money was safe."

"So, where did you put it?"

"In my valise," Abigail wailed. "I've lost everything. My job. My clothes. My money. And now, you want to take me back to Des Moines, dump me at the train station, and act like none of this ever happened. How could you?" she asked, looking up at him with a pleading expression that shook him up so bad, he felt he'd been turned inside out and put through a wringer like an old shirt on wash day. Might as well hang him up to dry now.

He took in a deep breath, gradually regaining control over both his mind and his body. His emotions weren't quite so easy to rein in, but he couldn't stay angry with Abigail Rose. Sure, she'd made a foolish mistake, but who was he to criticize her? Look at all the mistakes he'd made in his life.

Everybody made mistakes. What mattered was what a person did afterward.

"I'll make things right for you, Abigail. You've got my word on it."

"You won't send me away?"

He leaned his head back against the wood door frame and shut his eyes, knowing he was about to make a huge mistake. "No, I won't send you away."


I hope you've enjoyed this excerpt from The Wrong Woman.

To purchase The Wrong Woman for Kindle, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Love Spells - Chapter 3

New to the story?

Click on the links below to read previous chapters of "Love Spells"

Chapter 1

Chapter 2


To return to TUESDAY'S TALES, just CLICK HERE.

Chapter 3

"You look incredible."

"I do, don't I?" Ellie laughed and burst into a bright smile. She and Miranda had just left the salon. They stood together outside the little shop as a pleasant spring breeze wafted through the air. "Thanks, Miranda. This is just what I needed."

The two women had spent Saturday morning at Ellie's apartment, sorting though her drawers and closets. Throughout the afternoon, they'd shopped at boutiques and visited the salon. Now, with new clothes, a new haircut, and a fresh new face, Ellie looked...well, incredible. No other word for it.

A new look, a new life.

Startled by the voice, she turned and looked about. Miranda had not spoken. The words came from inside Ellie's head, or maybe from somewhere deep inside her heart.

But she didn't want a new life. She wanted the old life she'd had before – only better. Instead of a lying, cheating fiance, she wanted a man who would love only her, a man who could be trusted.

"I'm glad you've finally given up those ridiculous thoughts about getting David back. Honestly, Ellie, you should be glad he's gone. I never did like him much, you know."

"Really?" Ellie hadn't known. She'd always supposed Miranda and her other friends had approved of the relationship. It surprised her to know how wrong she'd been.

"You were always so wrapped up in him, always trying so hard to please him. You lost yourself, Ellie. You forgot who you were."

"I'm not sure I ever really knew who I was in the first place." As they walked along Carlysle Street, Ellie caught sight of herself in the plate-glass window of a shopfront.

"And now?" asked Miranda, stopping beside her.

"Now, I'm seeing possibilities." She didn't want to say anything about magic, about the powerful forces that had begun to stir inside of her. Miranda would never understand. "I can't explain it, really, but I feel as if I'm standing at a doorway, ready to step through to something new and exciting. I feel as though I can actually make something of myself. I can make my life all I want it to be."

"Yeah, well, remember what they say." Miranda grinned and linked arms with Ellie. They began to walk again.

Ellie puzzled over the remark for a moment. Once again, she stopped. "What are you talking about? What do they say?"

"Be careful what you wish for. You might get it."

Ellie laughed. "I'll keep that in mind." Indeed. She would be very careful when she practiced her magic. She would keep her thoughts centered on the highest and best. With her love spells, she could not only win back David's heart, she could ensure his fidelity and devotion. With magic, she could do anything...couldn't she?

"How about we stop by Clancy's, have a few drinks, maybe throw a few darts?" Miranda asked. They'd come to the corner of Carlysle and 35th Street. The popular club was one of Miranda's favorites. She glanced at her wrist. "Four o'clock. Happy hour. Who knows, you might meet the man of your dreams."

Ellie shook her head. "Not now."

"Why not? You don't have anything better to do."

"Actually, I do have something planned." Ellie would be performing her ritual for the second night. She would not tell Miranda about that, of course. "You go on. Have fun at Clancy's. I can catch the bus from here." She gestured toward a nearby bus-stop.

A look of confusion swept across Miranda's face. Obviously she wanted to stop in at Clancy's but felt obligated to stay with Ellie and to see her safely home. "We don't have to stay long. We could just drop in for a minute or two."

Ellie placed a hand on her friend's arm. "Really, it's all right. Go ahead. Have a good time." She smiled. "It's been a long day. I'd like to go home, spend a little time...getting to know myself," she finished.

"Maybe that would be good. I mean it. You're changing, you know, right before my eyes." Her gaze swept over Ellie's small form. "I'm not talking about the new haircut, the new clothes, or the new shade of blush. I'm talking about you, about who you are. You've got a new attitude. I like it."

"So do I."

"It comes from throwing out the garbage." Miranda winked. "Seriously, girl, getting David out of your life was the best thing that could have happened. Your life is your own now. Make the most of it."

Ellie nodded. Let Miranda think whatever she wished. Let her go on believing David Cameron was part of the past. In time – once the magic happened – all would be right and there would be no need for explanations. Ellie's happiness would speak for itself.

But what if the magic doesn't happen? What if I get David back but he breaks my heart again? What if...?

Questions haunted her as she bid farewell to her friend and hurried away, headed not for the bus stop, but for a quaint little magic shop a few blocks away.


The bell above the door jangled. Ellie stepped inside, closed her eyes, and let herself be carried away with the gentle music and sweet, pungent aromas. She stood in the center of the store...waiting.

A woman's voice floated through the air. "May I help you?"

Ellie blinked and opened her eyes; a profound disappointment coursed through her from top to toe. She stared down at her shiny new shoes with their narrow heels, wondering why she'd chosen something so unlike her usual style. Suddenly she felt awkward and unsure. Maybe it wasn't good to make too many changes all at once.

"I -- , that is, I was –, I mean, where –"

The petite blonde standing before her smiled and nodded. "You're looking for Stefan, I suppose." She nodded toward a door at the back of the shop. "He's doing a life reading. Do you want to wait? It shouldn't be much longer."

"A life reading?" Ellie's heart raced. "What's that?"

The blonde picked up a brochure. "Stefan does a lot of readings. Tarot, life readings, numerology, past-life regression..." Her voice droned on, but Ellie was no longer listening. She'd grabbed the brochure and was eagerly reading.

She looked up when she heard footsteps. The door at the back of the shop stood open now, and the craggy-faced man she’d met before came out followed by an older woman. He spoke a few words to the woman as she left the shop. He then turned toward Ellie. A smile lit up his face.

“Hello, again. I remember you. You were here earlier in the week. How is everything going?”

At once, his voice soothed Ellie’s doubts and uncertainties. She nodded. “I started the ritual last night. I’ve already had surprising results. That’s why I came by. I wanted to tell you the magic was working.” She glanced at the brochure she held. “And I think I’d like to learn a little more...about the readings you do.”

He walked behind the counter and placed a hand on the petite blonde’s shoulder. Leaning down, he brushed a kiss at the top of her head. “Thanks, sis, for filling in. Would you mind watching the shop for a few minutes more?” He looked again toward Ellie. “Why don’t you come in back with me? It’s quiet, and I can tell you about the different readings. I offer a few classes, too.”

Ellie sucked in a deep breath. A strange excitement surged through her body. Her knees felt weak; her skin itself seemed to tingle.

“Classes?” she croaked. “I don’t know. Do you think I --“

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears,” he told her, extending a hand. “Stefan Blackwell at your service.”

He had read her mind, had answered her question before she’d even asked it. She marveled at the power the man possessed. Someday such power would be hers, as well.

"Ellie Crawford", she whispered.

He smiled, took hold of her hand, and led her through the open doorway.