Ripe and Ready

This was a fun little Valentine writing exercise. I used a WORD GENERATOR to pick some words that I had to use in a romance story. A roll of the dice and we’re given three characters, mine were a BANKER, A COWBOY, and A BASEBALL PLAYER. I need to work in the adjectives PICKY, FAMOUS and ANGRY. And the whole scene needs to take place in a TAXI CAB. Well, okay, here’s my Valentine’s story writtene especially for my visitors. Please enjoy …

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The taxi driver set the gray-haired woman’s two oversized suitcases on the sidewalk of the Plaza hotel and handed the happy chihuahua’s leash to the doorman. She folded two bucks in his hand with a wink and a smile as if the five percent tip were an overpayment. He bent and kissed her on the cheek. “Happy Valentine’s Day Mrs. Bozeman. I hope you enjoy your second honeymoon with your beau.”

A sweet blush crawled up her cheeks. “Forty-seven years ago today Mr. Bozeman asked me to be his girl. Pinned me right there in the hallway before he went on to win the high school state basketball championship.”

He already knew that. “I suspect he’s thinking he won a whole lot more.” He bent and kissed her velvet cheek before climbing back into the taxi cabMikal rarely came to earth in human form, but today Cupid’s army worked special magic on lost souls and broken hearts. And every once in awhile they got to check on some of their most successful cases. 

“Mister, hey mister.” The young boy dressed in a cowboy outfit standing on the sidewalk and banging on his passenger window couldn’t have been more than eight or nine. “I need your help.”

He rolled down the window. “I’ve got someone to pick up, kid.”

“You can’t. I’ve got something important for you to do. Real important.” Determination furrowed his brow.

Mikal had a schedule and with only six more hours until the portal closed, he didn’t really have time for complications. He absently picked up the Starbucks cup, a double iced cinnamon dolce latte with whipped cream, his one vice whenever he had to hang out on earth. He shot the kid an indifferent look. “Where do you need to go?” Children were Gabriel’s problem, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t get this lost kid back to his parents. 

“You really drive this thing? I mean, I don’t mean to be picky or anything, but I woulda thought angels could fly or something.”

Mikal choked, whipped cream spraying on the steering wheel. “What did you say?”

He leaned into the car through the open window. “Listen, I saw your glow from upstairs. And all these people are going all gooey when they see you.” He hooked a thumb over his shoulder as an angry couple stopped, looked at each other and apologized, falling into a hug and deep kiss. The kid was right. It was part of the magic he’d been gifted.

“So if you’re not an angel,” the boy said. “Then I’m expecting the Men in Black to show up any minute.”

No one but the dying and animals usually saw him. But this kid had certainly piqued his curiousity. “No aliens here. Get in.” He flipped the roof light off so people wouldn’t try to jump in with them. “What do you need?” he asked as the boy climbed into the front seat. “Are you mooning over some girl and you want her to pay attention to you at recess?”

The kid rolled his eyes. “Think I’d bother you for something stupid like that? Sheesh, it’s my parents. My mom came here to talk to my dad. He’s a famous baseball player.” He shrugged. “She doesn’t know I know. I mean, he doesn’t live with us or anything and I’ve never met him, just what I see when we watch his games.”

“But she told you about him?’

“Nah, she told me my dad and her were divorced after she became a banker. That was awhile after I was born. But the way she said it, I never really believed her. I found some letters from him last year hidden in the back of her closet.”

“You shouldn’t be snooping in someone else’s stuff.” Mikal took a deep pull of his coffee.

“I wasn’t. Honest.” The boy studied him. “You don’t have any connection with Santa or anything do you?”

Mikal swiped his mouth with the back of his hand to hide his smile. “No, different cloud entirely.”

“K, well then the truth was I was looking for something.” He shrugged. “It’s not so much that I miss having a dad, but my mom, she’s so sad all the time.”

Mikal sensed there was something the boy wasn’t telling him, but he waited him out.

“I have cancer,” he said it so quietly as if the disease were his fault. Mikal could barely hear him over the rush of the traffic in the street. “I’m pretty sure I’m gonna die and I don’t want my mom to be all alone. I went looking to see if I could find something. And I came across all these gooshy letters and stuff from a guy named Kurt. He never mentioned me. I’m thinking he doesn’t know he has a son.” He toyed with the zipper on his windbreaker. “Kurt Dittrich is my mother’s favorite Yankee. She cheers for him at every game.”

“I’m not sure how I can help.” Mikal worked miracles, but not in such a short time if they were in different cities.

“You can help by making sure they fall in love again. Dur!” He shook his hands in the air. “What’s your job anyway?”

Mikal couldn’t help but laugh. “To bring people together. But they’ve got to at least be in the same place.”

“Yeah, well my mom’s here and my dad’s on his way.”

“How do you know?”

“I wrote to Kurt Dittrich and told him I was sick and I wanted to meet him and I’d be here at the Plaza today. Then I asked mom to take me to a broadway show on Valentine’s. She thinks I’m down here talking to the doorman and getting a cab.” His small hand wrapped around Mikal’s forearm and he covered it with his own, healing flowing directly into the child. The boy looked at their joined hands and smiled. “You just gotta use your angel magic and make them fall in love. Please, you just gotta. It’s my only chance.” Tears welled in his eyes.

“Jon! Jonathon Leavy!” A pretty blond in jeans and peacoat hurried out of the hotel. “Have you seen a little boy about this tall?” she asked the doorman.

“There she is,” the kid said. “Help me, please. Don’t let her leave until he gets here. Break your engine or something.” He opened the door and hopped out. “Please.” He waved his arm toward the door. “Mom, I’m right here.”

“Jon, you scared me right to–” She started toward them and barrelled into a man with a baseball cap and sunglasses, his head down. Their collision nearly knocked the woman over, but his strong arms wrapped around her waist and held her.

The man took off his glasses, his gaze going soft. “Kate? Kate Leavy?”

“Kurt Dittrich? It’s been … it’s been a really long time.”

“Yeah it has.” He brushed the hair from her face. “And you’ve grown even more beautiful.”

Even Jonathon could see the sappy way his mother looked at the man and he was pretty sure it had nothing to do with him being a famous baseball player. The angel had done his job. He turned to give him a thumbs up, but the taxi cab was gone. And he suspected … so was his cancer.

Copyright © Nina Pierce 2017
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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY ONE AND ALL

Welcome to Six Sentence Sunday. This week I’ve chosen six sentences from my novella set in a NY vineyard, Divine Deception. Since I just received my copies of the print anthology it’s include in, I thought I’d celebrate this Sunday.

This scene takes place after Nick, who’s coming back to sell the family vineyard meets the cellarmaster’s assistant, Francesca. Frankie’s desperately trying to save the failing vineyard … and her home.

“I’m sure Nick is hungry after his long motorcycle ride from the city streets of Philly where he works so darn hard making a living and carousing with women,” Frankie said.

“Pharmaceutical research sure as hell beats worrying about the weather and sugar content of grapes,” Nick snipped before shooting back the last of his wine and splashing another generous amount into his glass. It wasn’t how a gentleman enjoyed a fine vintage but tonight he neither felt like a gentleman nor a connoisseur of wines. Tonight, he’d ignore the elephant of bankruptcy swinging from the chandelier and suffer through this farce of a family dinner raging drunk. “Any Neanderthal can mash and ferment grapes. It doesn’t take a Mensa certificate to squeeze grape juice into a refractometer and test for sugar levels, Francesca.”

I always appreciate all the comments I receive every week. Thanks so much for taking time to let me know what you think of the six sentences. Click HERE to find other amazing authors participating in today.

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I LOVE release day! I love it even more when it’s a print book that’s being released. “Ripe and Ready” is an anthology that I’m privileged enough to share with Mardi Ballou, Kat Alexis and Alexis Canto. This book is a compellation of novellas in the “succulent” series including my novella Divine Deception.

Cholla from Whipped Cream Reviews gave it 4 CHERRIES and said…

“Together, Nick and Frankie make a dynamic couple just waiting to explode… either with passion or into an argument. Banded together, along with Frankie’s mother, Carmine, I highly doubt that any obstacle could keep them from achieving their goal. In true Nina Pierce style, the story is chock full of emotion, family ties, and steamy, hot sex making for one heck of an enjoyable read.”

How about an EXCERPT:
Having Nick present while she visited with Joseph wasn’t really in her plans. Frankie had tried to talk Nick into taking the motorcycle to the hospital later in the morning but Margaret had come running down the granite steps swinging a picnic basket as Frankie was climbing into the truck. She handed it to Nick with two quick kisses on his cheeks and stood watching as he climbed into the passenger side of the cab and they pulled from the driveway.

Now they were headed into town, the midmorning sun hanging in an azure sky, its rays dancing on Seneca Lake. Normally Frankie would have loved a day like this but the cab seemed claustrophobic with Nick Gradin’s surly attitude sitting between them.

“It’s not my fault you didn’t know who I was,” she said quietly.

Turning to her, he cocked a skeptical eyebrow and crossed his arms over his chest.

“You knew your father had a stepdaughter.”

“And a child bride,” Nick remarked coldly. “I expected my stepsister to have pigtails and braces. Not…” His hand motioned up and down her torso.

“Well, you didn’t seem to mind the package yesterday.”

“Yesterday I thought you were Joseph’s assistant.”

“Funny, yesterday I thought you were a womanizing pig of a manwhore.” She shot him a patronizing smile. “Guess one of us was right.”

He frowned. “If you’ll recall, I wasn’t the one who came on to you in the field.”

“As I recall, it was you who was ready for action in the wine cellar.”

“I was simply reading the signals you were sending out.”

“Then you have a faulty GPS.”

“My wiring is just fine thank you.”

“I suppose you think it is, with all the woman you have tumbling into your posh Philadelphia bed.”

“Now what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Oh, as if you don’t know.”

“I have no idea what you’re…oh, this is stupid. Pull over here.” Nick motioned to a dirt road that led to a small alcove near the lake.

She’d been parking there once in high school.

“I’m not going to see Joseph until we clear this up and can at least be civil to each other,” he said.

Frankie acquiesced. He was right. It wouldn’t do Joseph any good to have them bickering in front of him. She turned the truck into the trees, their pumpkin and gold leaves floating passively on the gentle breeze. They bumped down the dirt tracks, the center lane overgrown with the dried weeds of summer. Frankie felt as if she was entering the lion’s mouth. Anger surrounded Nick like the cloud of dust trailing behind them. She had no idea why he was so pissed when she’d only spoken the truth.

Shoving the truck in park and shutting off the engine, Frankie stared out over the lake. Its cobalt surface rippled at the gentle touch of the fall breeze. Maybe this was the perfect place to help Nick see things her way. Though she hadn’t exactly started the conversation off in the right direction, maybe she could try again. “I think—”

As if he hadn’t heard her, Nick got out and slammed the door. Pacing in front of the truck, he pulled at his bottom lip, an angry scowl furrowing his brows. What the hell was his problem? Frankie got out and stalked after him. “For someone who wants to talk, you’re damn rude, you know that, Gradin?”

He grabbed her and pressed her against the front of truck, the solid planes of his chest trapping her. “I don’t know what my father told you about me but I do not—I repeat, do not—have a rotating door on my bedroom. There is no harem of beauties waiting for me in Philly. When I choose to sleep with a woman I like there to be a little chemistry between me and the lady.” His mouth came down hungrily on hers, his taste already familiar. When his tongue ran the seam of her lips, she had no choice but to open to his assault. Fisting his hand in her hair, Nick controlled the breath-stealing tempo while his other hand surrounded her breast, squeezing the sensitive flesh. Warm shocks of want shot straight to her pussy. Frankie’s hands seized the soft chambray of his shirt, her heart racing in her ears. Nick broke from her as abruptly as he began. “And there’s no denying our chemistry, Francesca.”
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