October #ShortStory Challenge and #CoverReveal #mgtab


close up of hand over white background
Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

 

I thought I’d try my hand at a short story challenge!

This challenge comes to you via Didi Oviatt’s lovely blog. Pay her a visit, she’d love to hear from you 🙂

Didi’s challenge:

For the month of October, I challenge you writers out there to take the characters from your WIP and plug them into frightening scene with the theme of “bump in the night”. Have fun with it, as it IS a practice writing challenge, meant to polish your skills and introduce your characters in a fun way, apart from their original plot.

 

This is from Skating on Thin Ice, the story of an injured hockey player and the therapist he doesn’t want. Or does he? 🙂

Now seems like a good time for a cover reveal!

 

Skating on thin ice 5x8 FINAL

 

Who goes there?

Sam jerked awake, gasping. Her heart beat an urgent fight or flight warning, hands clenching the down duvet into a hard ball around her neck. She lay there for a moment, trying to hear over the raspiness of her own breathing. Nothing. The house was silent except for that silly cuckoo clock ticking off the endless minutes of the night.

She never slept well in strange places anyway, and today had been particularly stressful. Mac, The Hammer, Wanowski wasn’t making her job easy. He’d made it more than clear what he thought of therapists. Too bad he didn’t have a choice, the team managers called the shots- whether he liked it or not.

There it was again.

An eerie moan accompanied by a scratch, scratch, bam. Scratch, scratch, bam.

If Wanowski thought he was going to get rid of her that easily, he better think again. Sam rolled out of bed and grabbed the first defensive thing she could find, the hard cover book she’d borrowed from the den earlier.

The door creaked like an old woman’s knees, instantly ending any element of surprise she might have had. The hall was dark, quiet. Too quiet.

“Hel… hello?” she asked, her voice little more than a squeak. The book remained clenched to her chest, ready for… who knows what. She wished she hadn’t skipped those self-defense classes her best friend, Grace, had taken.

Mo-a-a-an.

The hair stood up and tried to run off her neck. Why hadn’t she just stayed in her warm, cozy bed hiding under the pillows like any other scaredy-cat would do?

Sam swallowed hard and stepped into the hall. “Not… not funny, Mac.” A set of glowing green eyes, halfway up the wall, turned her way. Sam screamed.

“What the hell?” Mac hollered from his room upstairs.

Not Mac then. 

The clunk of crutches on hard wood floors heralded her host’s arrival. The lights flicked on and Sam got an eyeful of rumpled, annoyed man glaring at her from the head of the staircase. Boxers never looked so good. The random thought warmed her cheeks.

“Do you make a habit of freaking out in the middle of the night? Doc? Because, I gotta tell you, it sucks.”

Embarrassed, she dropped the weapon/book to her side, noticed his narrowed gaze on her chest, and brought it up again. Right, her nightshirt was soft and comfortable, but white, and threadbare in spots.

Sam pointed down the hall. “Something was staring at me out of the wall,” she accused as though it was his fault.

“Ookay.” He looked at her like she was crazy before slowly, carefully making his way down the stairs on that bum knee. She’d feel bad if she didn’t get the feeling he was mocking her.

Mac stopped by the elegant sofa table cleared of everything except for a silver filigree picture frame. He straightened it on the table, his fingers almost caressing.

“Who is that?” Sam asked. She remembered seeing a younger, softer version of Wanowski, a beautiful woman smiling into his eyes, and a little boy in a stroller. His family, maybe? Where were they then?

Mac ignored her to bend at the waist, his broad back glinting under the brass and glass ceiling light. When he rose a big, black cat rested over one muscular forearm.

cat-2074514_640

“I think I found your ghost,” he murmured.

Sam smiled. “He’s gorgeous. Yours?” She moved hesitantly toward them. “Is he friendly?” She’d been bitten by a neighbor’s cat as a child and had never quite recovered from the experience.

Mac nodded, fondling the dark, silky-looking ears. “It’s a she. Cleo. And yes, she’s a pussycat.”

Sam giggled. The man was attractive when he wasn’t being a jerk. “When I heard those bumps in the night I wasn’t expecting a harmless feline. Or a badass hockey player to come to my rescue.”

His lips tilted in an almost smile. “How do you know the cat is harmless?”

Sam shrugged, her own lips flirting with a smile. She noticed he didn’t argue with his description. Badass, indeed. This was going to be an interesting two weeks.

He saved her life… Rescued by the Firefighter @CathLanigan #Romance #BookLove @PrismBookTours @HarlequinBooks



On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Rescued by the Firefighter
(Shores of Indian Lake #10)
By Catherine Lanigan
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
November 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

 

He saved her life…

But will he destroy her dreams?

Firefighter Rand Nelson is tall and handsome and has literally walked through an inferno for Beatrice Wilcox. He’s a hero…and that’s exactly the problem. Beatrice knows all too well the risks of loving a man with a dangerous career. But when Rand’s report threatens her beloved children’s camp, Beatrice can’t refuse his offer of help…even though she knows they’re both playing with fire.

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Excerpt

Indian Lake, Indiana

July

THE SUMMER NIGHT sounds of chirping tree frogs and cicadas drifted through the open screen window of Beatrice Wilcox’s sixty-year-old log cabin. Loving the wildlife melodies, she closed her eyes, her weary body spent from a long day with ten rowdy, sometimes frustratingly taciturn children and preteens.

But running this camp was her dream. She wanted to create a summer idyll for kids who faced challenges in their young lives, as she had when she’d been a camper herself as a child.

But how to pay for it? Worrying over money often kept her awake at night. Tonight being no exception.

She kicked the old patchwork quilt off her body. Then she flung her forearm over her brow. She was still wide awake.

Breathing a sigh, she sniffed the air. And froze. Then sniffed again.

“It…can’t be.”

Curling through the screen was pungent smoke. Not the smoke from a cigarette or cigar, or the acrid, bitter smoke from a country farmer burning garbage. This was clean smoke. The kind from burning vegetation.

Beatrice bolted upright in her bed, her eyes wide. She tossed aside the sheets and swung her legs to the rag rug she’d made herself that covered the painted concrete floor.

“No!”

Going to the window, she cranked the casement window open wide. The smell of smoke was unmistakable. “Not a fire. Not now. Not ever!”

Spinning around, she shoved her feet into her sneakers and grabbed her cell phone off the varnished tree-stump table.

“Please don’t let it be one of the cabins. Or the kitchen!” She raced out to her front porch, the wood screen door banging behind her. The yellow “bug” light on the front porch did a good job of keeping the mosquitoes and flies away, but unfortuntely gave little illumination. She leaned over the wide log railing that extended down the four steps to the gravel path that served as her sidewalk.

The camp consisted of ten sturdy small log cabins, with five on either side of the main dining hall and activities center. Up the hill at the end of the five cabins was a larger cabin that housed the male counselors, though right now there was only the one. Beatrice’s cabin was on the left side after the five girls’ cabins and a larger cabin for the female counselors.

Her eyes scoured the little cabins and the main hall. She saw nothing amiss.

Walking farther down the path, she stopped abruptly as a crimson glow illuminated the side of her face. She turned toward the forest that stretched for acres across the country road. “Oh, no!”

Forest fire.

The summer had been hot and dry with barely a sprinkle of rain in the past month. The Weather Channel had said it was the driest summer in Indian Lake history. This was Southern California weather, not northern Indiana weather. July was known for heat in Indiana, and even soared over one hundred degrees, but seldom did the region get this dry. In recent weeks, the corn was withering on the stalks. The leaves of the soybean crops were already turning golden six weeks ahead of normal.

She punched in 911 on her phone.

“What is your emergency?” the dispatcher asked.

“Fire! I’m at Indian Lake Youth Camp. Up Highway Thirty-Five. There’s fire in the woods across the road. It’s been so dry, I’m afraid the fire could move fast and head right for us.”

She looked around and saw the light in Maisie and Cindy’s cabin switch on. Cindy had just turned twenty-two, and though a year younger than Maisie, she possessed a child’s boundless energy. She was pulling a light sweatshirt over her head as she rushed out onto her porch.

Beatrice beckoned to Cindy, who started running toward her, her sneakers digging into the gravel with purpose.

Cindy’s streaked blond hair was clipped up on her head into a thick spike, making her look just like Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch cartoon. There was nothing comical about the fear in Cindy’s face, however. She pointed to the fire. “This is a nightmare.

 

 

 

Other Books in the Series

 

 

About the Author
Catherine Lanigan is the international bestselling and award-winning author of over forty-five published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile. Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into over twenty-four languages. Lanigan was tasked by the NotMYkid foundation to pen a collection of compelling and informative true stories of teen addicts. Ms. Lanigan’s SHORES OF INDIAN LAKE series for HARLEQUIN HEARTWARMING includes LOVE SHADOWS, HEART’S DESIRE , A FINE YEAR FOR LOVE, KATIA’S PROMISE, FEAR OF FALLING, SOPHIE’S PATH, PROTECTING THE SINGLE MOM, FAMILY OF HIS OWN, HIS BABY DILEMMA, RESCUED BY THE FIREFIGHTER and MY RACING HEART (2019).

Ms. Lanigan is a frequent speaker at literary functions and book conventions as well as inspiring audiences with her real stories of angelic intervention from her Angel Tales series of books. She is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and abuse and was honored by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Washington, D.C. She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including “Coast to Coast” and on television interview and talk show programs as well as blogs, podcasts and online radio interview programs. She writes a monthly blog for Heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.com.

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Tour Schedule

October 29th:
Launch
It’s All About the Romance
Uplifting Reads
October 30th:
Locks, Hooks and Books
Book by Book
October 31st:
E-Romance News
deal sharing aunt
Hearts & Scribbles
November 1st:
My Life Loves and Passion
Thoughts of a Blonde
November 2nd:
Kimber Li
Rockin’ Book Reviews
November 5th:
Stacking My Book Shelves!
Reading Is My SuperPower
November 6th:
underneath the covers
Singing Librarian Books
November 7th:
Jorie Loves A Story
Among the Reads
November 8th:
Harlie’s Books
Remembrancy
November 9th:
Teatime and Books
Inside The Mind of an Avid Reader
November 10th:
Grand Finale

 

Tour Giveaway

 

1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
1 winner will receive a print copy of RESCUED BY THE FIREFIGHTER (US only)
Ends November 14th

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