Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fate's Call #10

You guys are gonna beat me for where I stopped this... *maniacal laugh* 
            Her hands shook as she ladled stew into a bowl. Erron’s heart was at a constant pound, her skin flushed. The two men at the table were silent, but disaster was imminent.
            She made it to them without tripping and set Jarek’s dinner down in front of him. He flashed a smile and offered thanks. Erron averted her gaze. Her father watched them, eyes narrowed. He said nothing, but a tremble slid down her spine.
            Hurrying back to the kitchen area of their cottage, she retrieved the bread she’d baked that morning. Norden always demanded a warm loaf with his meal, so she’d heated it by proximity to the fireplace.
            Erron took her seat after pouring mead for her father. Jarek stopped her and poured his own, as well as some for her, earning a glare from Norden. She held her breath, staring at the inviting bowl of rabbit stew. Steam wafted, the pleasant scent tickling her nose, but it only made her stomach clench tighter.
            As was typical for her father, conversation was scarce as he shoved food into his mouth. Jarek shifted on the seat next to her, but Erron screamed at herself not to look at him. If Norden assumed they had some familiarity, she’d pay for it later.
She bit back a gulp and shoved a spoonful of the thick stew into her mouth. Chew. Swallow. Normally one of her favorite meals, tonight Erron tasted nothing.
“This tastes very good, Erron, thank you,” Jarek said.
Meeting his eyes for only a moment, Erron gave a small smile. “Thank you,” she whispered.
Her father looked up. He said nothing, but snatched another piece of bread and tore off a bite.
She took a breath and made herself eat. The sooner they finished, the sooner Jarek would…well, what did he plan to do? He’d said he wanted to speak to her father about her hand in marriage. Would he just come out and say it?
Her heart skipped a beat. How could Erron make her father think she didn’t care either way? If he figured out she desired to marry Jarek, he would surely decline.
She’d never had a suitor before. What would Norden say?
Erron spared Jarek a glance. Heat crept up her neck as she caught his dark eyes. He was staring in her direction. She looked down, swirling her spoon in her bowl, swallowing hard.
What would the tanner say if her father said no?
I promised you in Dalunas Main I was coming for you, and I have. And I’m telling you now I’m not leaving you here, Erron. Memory conjured his words as if he leaned over and whispered them in her ear.
            He wouldn’t leave her. He wouldn’t…leave her? Her heart skipped a beat as fear settled over her. Would he leave her? Why did she care? This was her life, she was resigned to it. As she always had been…
            He won’t want you when he finds out the truth. She crushed her eyes closed, then forced a breath and sat taller. She was at the supper table. Her father was right next to her. She couldn’t give him cause to notice something wasn’t right with her.
            The hope Jarek instilled in her made her chest ache. Whether she stayed with Norden or went with her tanner, Erron would never be the same.
Evening meal was an awkward affair. Jarek had no idea what was going on other than the fact he didn’t like Erron with her eyes cast down, head bowed, much too silent.
His gut stayed clenched, his heart screaming the wrongness of the situation. What the hell was going on?
The food itself was great…the rabbit stew even tastier than Anais’s. Erron’s father said nothing, just stuffed spoonful after spoonful into his mouth, grunting from time to time. How could Erron eat around him every meal? It was unappetizing to watch him.
Jarek forced himself to eat slowly. He cut bread for Erron when he took a second helping and she thanked him quietly before gluing her eyes back to her bowl. She’d only looked at him once, and it was killing him.
In his experience, meals had always been a time to share the day with loved ones. Even before Anais had started cooking for him and his father regularly, their meals had been full of discussion. From what Jarek had seen tonight, Erron’s father treated her like a servant. He hadn’t even thanked her—for anything, the full mug, the bread on his trencher, and multiple bowls of stew. He ate, she bustled, leaving her food three times already.
Jarek clenched a fist, biting back a growl. The man was a bastard. No matter what he had to do, Jarek was taking her with him when he left.
He finished his meal, declining a second portion when Erron quietly offered. Jarek waited at the table seat in silence, his hands entwined on his lap.
Her father finished his third helping and finally leaned back in his chair. He drained his mug of mead and she refilled it without comment. Every action made Jarek even angrier. His blood was boiling by the time the older man met his gaze.
“So, what brings you here?” Erron’s father asked. “You’re a tanner by trade, if I remember?”
Be. Polite. Jarek nodded, forcing a smile. “Yes, sir. My father is a master and has taught me all he knows. Our goods are sought out all over Dalunas Main. I enjoy our work, and I hope to have my own shop one day.”
The fair haired man’s gaze didn’t waiver. He studied Jarek, saying nothing.
Jarek reminded himself he needed to gain favor with the bastard. He wanted to marry his daughter.
“You have not answered my question.”
Erron shoved her chair back from the table and scrambled to her feet. The move was a distraction for both men, and Jarek didn’t miss the glare her father threw her way. She lowered her head and Jarek clenched his jaw. Damn the man.
Her hands trembled as she grabbed and stacked the three empty bowls and plate that had held the loaf of bread. It took all he was made of to not reach for her, pull her close and comfort her. Once again, his instincts screamed that something was very wrong between her and her father. Erron was petrified.
Jarek forced his gaze back to the pale eyes that matched hers. Norden was staring back at him, his expression expectant.
“I intend to marry your daughter.”
Erron dropped the bowls, and one shattered. 


All rights reserved; copyright © C. A. Szarek. The text within may not be reproduced in whole or in part or distributed in any form whatsoever OR SOLD without first obtaining permission from the author.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: First Kiss

So, I am going to start participating in this "Six Sentence Sunday" thing that alot of peeps do. I think it will be fun!

This is from my WIP! :)

Hope you like it. Please let me know what you think!

He hadn’t intended to kiss her but as her soft, warm lips caressed his, Cole couldn’t have changed his mind even if he’d wanted to. Her curves hit his hard chest with enough impact that should have jarred him back into his head, but he was lost and overheated immediately. He wrapped her into a tight embrace and kissed her harder.
            She fought him, but his mouth was demanding over hers, and Andi opened for him, melted against him. She tasted sweeter than he imagined, like a ripe berries. Her tongue touched his, not tentative in the least.

I picked long sentences...yay. ;)

All rights reserved; copyright © C. A. Szarek. The text within may not be reproduced in whole or in part or distributed in any form whatsoever OR SOLD without first obtaining permission from the author.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fate's Call #9

Not much to say. Hope you enjoy!

“You…what?” Erron broke away from his grip on her shoulders and took a step back. She stumbled and the ground met her backside hard. She winced. Her head spun. There was no way her ears hadn’t deceived her. It was impossible Jarek had actually spoken of marriage.
 “Are you all right?” he asked. Erron gulped and nodded. “Not exactly the reaction I’d anticipated.” His face fell, but he took a step forward and offered her a hand.
She took it, her cheeks heating as he pulled her to her feet without effort. She’d hurt his feelings. “I’m sorry,” Erron whispered. “You…you…surprised me.” She avoided his dark eyes.
Even if she agreed to marry him at that moment, he’d never want her when he found out the truth. Her stomach flipped.
Erron bit her lip to stave off the threatening tears and brushed the dirt off the back of her dress.
“Look at me.” Jarek’s tone was firm and she couldn’t help but meet his gaze. The heated tenderness there made her heart pound. “I realize this is a shock. Honestly, it is to me as well. I…I…can’t explain it. You’re…perfect. I want you to be my wife.”
Her blush intensified and he took another step toward her. Erron’s heart shouted yes, and her head reminded her of how impossible the prospect was. He won’t want you when he finds out, a voice chided.
Jarek took her hand and she didn’t pull away. She ached to accept his proposal. With him, she could have a real future…love…children. Could it really be more than a dream? His handsome face blurred and she swayed on her feet. How was she going to deny him? Deny what she wanted? What would be worse, declining his offer or telling him the truth only to have him reject her? Either way, she lost him. Tears cascaded.
“Why are you crying?” he whispered. Jarek brushed her tears away with gentle fingers and Erron wanted to lean into him, fall into him.
What he’d said was true, they didn’t know each other, but…she was drawn to him. It wasn’t something she couldn’t explain, either.
She shook her head, unable to speak.
“Erron!” The boom of her father’s shout made her jump.
She and Jarek looked at the large blonde man at the same time, and Erron yanked her hand out of her tanner’s. She took a step away from him. Jarek shot her a look but said nothing.
Norden strode across the field. Even at a distance, she could feel his fury, see it in his expression. A tremble slid down her spine and her hands shook, so she made tight fists and planted her arms at her sides.
Jarek stepped in front of her, obscuring her from her father’s line of sight. She gulped and shifted. Being blocked, protected, from Norden would only make him angrier.
He reached them in moments, glaring at the tanner.
“Who’re—” Her father stared at Jarek, then growled. “I remember you. The alley.” His gaze swung from Erron and back to Jarek. She bit back a wince. “What’s going on here?”
Jarek cleared his throat and took a step toward Norden. They were almost equal in height, but her father outweighed him in bulk and muscle. “Sir, I would like to speak to you.”
“You are.” Norden’s eyes narrowed.
What if…Erron shook her head. No. Her father wouldn’t harm him. Usually to the outside world, her father actually had some manners. But from the look he was giving her, when Jarek left, she was in for it. He would accuse her of something horrible, or just flat out beat her. She wouldn’t dwell on what else he would do. He hadn’t demanded she come to his room in over a sevenday.
            Erron dug deep and took a step forward, stopping next to Jarek. If only she could have taken his hand. “Father, we should offer the tanner some hospitality. We’re in the field…”
            “I’m well aware of our location,” Norden snapped.
            Jarek said nothing, but his jaw tightened. Erron winced. If he stood up for her now, she would be the one to pay when he left.
            “The tanner is our guest,” she pressed, her heart thundering, her stomach tight and achy.
            Her father grunted. “I suppose so. Put Angus away. The sun sets soon. It’s almost time for you to prepare supper, anyway.”
            Norden turned on his heel without another word. He crossed the field and headed into the barn.
Jarek shot a look at her, and she shook her head. He took her cue and said nothing until Norden was well out of earshot, but his shoulders were tense and his fists clenched at his sides, his knuckles white. He was furious.
            She said nothing, returning to the plow and unhooking one side from Angus’s hitch. The old gelding nickered and she patted his rump.
Jarek handled the other side, his movements jerky. “I’m not leaving you here, no matter what he says.”
            Erron’s heart skipped a beat at the promise in his tone and bit her bottom lip. “This is my life, Jarek.”
            “And there’s something very wrong.”
            She shook her head.
            “I don’t like how he talks to you. And I don’t like how he snatched your arm the day we met.”
            Sliding her hand into Angus’s bridle, she tugged the gray horse toward the barn. “Come this way, but please keep your thoughts in your head. My father is in the barn. Leave the plow, I’ll get it later.”
            Jarek growled and grabbed her arm. Though his touch was urgent, he didn’t hurt her. “I promised you in Dalunas Main I was coming for you, and I have. And I’m telling you now I’m not leaving you here, Erron.”
            She stared at him, tears hot on her cheeks. “You won’t want me, Jarek.” Why the hell had she said that?
            “What are you talking about? I do want you. I want you to be my wife.”
            Shaking her head again, Erron swallowed back a sob. “You won’t for long.” It took all she was made of to turn away from him, square her shoulders and lead the old plow horse to his stall.
            Jarek followed, walking behind Angus, but his gaze burned her back. She could sense his heat behind her as if he was touching her.
Erron wanted to collapse in his arms. She wanted to feel his lips on hers again and his hard body tight against her. But even if her father agreed and gave her to him, he wouldn’t want her when he found out she was damaged. Impure.
            And when Jarek left, her spirit would go with him.


All rights reserved; copyright © C. A. Szarek. The text within may not be reproduced in whole or in part or distributed in any form whatsoever OR SOLD without first obtaining permission from the author.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fate's Call #8

This one was a toughy for me. The words were forced more than flowed. Hope you enjoy what I came up w/!

Erron looked up when someone called her name. Her heart stopped. Jarek, astride a dark horse, was on the road at the edge of the field she was plowing with Angus. She pulled the old gray horse to a halt and he whinnied, but she ignored him, her eyes on the man who hadn’t left her thoughts at all in the sevenday she’d been home from Dalunas Main.
She glanced over her shoulder at the cottage she shared with her father. All was quiet, but would he come barging out at any moment? Erron shuddered and looked back at her tanner.
The smile on Jarek’s face made her body flush. She shoved the wisps of hair from her eyes and swiped at her sweaty face. She must look awful.
“Erron,” Jarek repeated, hopping down from his mount.
Was he real?
He laughed. “Yes, I’m real. I’m really here.”
Heat crept into her cheeks. She’d spoken aloud?
Jarek jumped the fence and landed beside her. Erron stared up into his dark eyes. She didn’t pull away when he gripped her hand and caressed the back of it with his thumb. The move was soothing and warmed her. But it left her wanting.
“I told you I’d come for you. Did you not believe me?”
“I don’t know what to say,” she whispered.
Jarek flashed a smile and leaned down. Yanking her into his arms, his mouth came down on hers. Erron had dreamed about this—her first real kiss. Reality was so much better.
With the first move of his lips over hers, Erron snaked her arms around his neck and Jarek pulled her closer. The warmth of his body consumed her and she inched even closer to him, opening her mouth under his. He pushed his tongue inside, touching hers. Erron tentatively returned the movement. Someone moaned. She melted against him, her knees shaking. Jarek tightened his arms around her and kissed her harder.
The hard ridge of his arousal pressed into her belly, but she wasn’t afraid, she was—excited. Erron wanted more. Her stomach flipped, warmth settling low, making her achy.
Jarek broke the kiss. Her head spun, and she gripped his arms hard to stay on her feet. He groaned as his eyes raked her face. “You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do that,” he breathed.
Erron blushed and looked away. Her eyes swept the field and she froze in his arms. Anyone could have seen them.
“What’s wrong?” Concern clouded his dark eyes.
She pulled away from him gently and Jarek released her. Erron was cold without his arms around her. She shivered.
“My father could have seen us.”
Jarek’s brows furrowed. “About that—”
“You wouldn’t understand.  You need to leave before he sees you.” Her words were rushed and she had to bite her bottom lip to keep it from trembling. Her vision blurred and Erron swallowed hard. She would not cry in front of him.
He crossed his arms over his chest, his expression dark. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Erron stared. What could she say?
“I wish to speak with your father, so let him see us.”
She shook her head and took a step back. The wooden plow handle hit her hip and she wobbled. Jarek’s hand shot out and steadied her. Her heart thundered in her ears, her blood rushing from her face in a wave.
“Tell me what’s wrong.”
“…doesn’t matter. Just go. Before he sees you.”
            Jarek stared at her. She was practically pushing him to his horse. What the hell? She wanted him to leave? The way she’d kissed him back returned his kiss couldn’t have been faked. She wanted him as much as he wanted her. Erron had been right there with him…until he’d told her he wanted to talk to her father. She hadn’t even asked him what he wanted to discuss. Her skin had paled out so much he’d feared she would pass out.
            He’d always known something was wrong. A daughter didn’t fear her father—and it was fear written all over Erron—like that without reason. But what was the reason?
            Cupping her shoulders, he shook her gently. “Erron, stop.” Her sky blue eyes went so wide the white of her eyes was visible all around.
            “Jarek…” Her voice shook, her body trembled beneath his hands, and she threw a glance over her shoulder, worrying her bottom lip.
            “I’m not going anywhere,” he answered, drawing her back into his arms. Her shoulders slumped and she collapsed against his chest. Jarek smoothed her hair. It felt so good to hold her he would take what he could get for now.
            “Why did you come?” she asked, the sound muffled against the fabric of his beige tunic.
            “For you, of course.”
            Pale eyes met his own. “Whatever for?”
            Jarek’s heart skipped a beat. What would she say to his confession? They didn’t know each other. They’d met literally two times, yet he was drawn to her with no explanation. Was it some latent magic? He could start fires and say a few spells, but nothing more.
He couldn’t see into the future, but this stunning girl was a part of his own as sure as a vision confirming it. There was no doubt. She didn’t love him. He didn’t love her. Jarek cared for her deeply, and once again, couldn’t name why if someone demanded it. Loving her would be without effort. And probably not too far off.
Jarek was enchanted with her, even in her current condition of too-pale skin and misty eyes, on the brink of tears that would kill him if she shed them.
“I want to marry you, Erron.” He took a deep breath and waited for her answer.


All rights reserved; copyright © C. A. Szarek. The text within may not be reproduced in whole or in part or distributed in any form whatsoever OR SOLD without first obtaining permission from the author.