Alright, friends. I have been having a ton of fun participating in this January Spice Challenge in the We Write At Dawn discord.
And I've decided to share the excerpts for the scenes I've written here on my blog! I need more of my writing here, while I work on my projects page and work on getting my first contemporary romance self-pubbed, so I wanted to drop some teasers to get people interested!
These scenes will range from sweet to spicy and have a variety of pairings.
There will be a brief description and Content/Trigger/Spice Level warnings at the beginning of each post so you can choose whether to read it or not!
These are all still drafts, not polished work.
I talk a lot about my contemporary romances, but I haven't talked much about my backburner fantasy and other non-romance work. Fantasy is where I got my start, and one day I'll eventually come back to it and get something finished. I have finished first drafts, but the revisions are what have stopped me because they need so much work.
So this challenge has given me a chance to pull some scenes from some of my older works and completely revise them.
This first day's prompt First Kiss was perfect for me to go back to the urban fantasy work Phoenix Rising that I finished drafting in 2013-2014. It was also fun to see how much my writing has evolved since then. This scene, while it follows the general flow of the original scene, feels completely different than the original. And it made me really antsy to give these characters some more time and work on this world a bit so I can actually rewrite this book.
For some context, the female main character, Elizabeth (or Liz/Lizzie), is a 30-year old half-phoenix, but she doesn't know that. She knows she's different. She knows she has some strange abilities that she has to regularly hide, but she's not been aware of the broader supernatural world until recently. She's starting to suspect that she's not the only one who's a "weirdo."
Victor, the male supporting lead, is an Ancient being of mysterious origin. Even a mystery to me (that's some of the world-building I have to work on). He is dashingly handsome, rich, and is even mysterious in his every day life. Liz gets the feeling he's a type of real-life Indiana Jones, but she has no idea. He has taken an interest in Elizabeth, although she doesn't quite understand why, but eventually starts to expect it's because of what she is.
This scene takes place after he invites her to come to a museum exhibit opening event where some of his acquisitions are on display.
Without further ado, day 1!
Victor and Elizabeth from “Phoenix Rising”
Urban Fantasy || Revised scene || MF
[CWs and spice level: mention of alcohol, mild language, mention of parent death, sexual tension/kissing/innuendo]
The guests eventually begin to file out of the exhibit, and it’s clear that Victor is ready to make his exit as well. I hang on his arm as he thanks the staff and slips envelopes into their jacket pockets that I can only assume are full of cash. I smile and nod through goodnights, constantly pinching myself and expecting to wake up from this dream.
After his last stop to the bartender he leans over, his short beard tickling my ear, and whispers, “May I offer you a ride?”
Heat blossoms across my chest, envisioning a very different kind of ride, but I recover and quip, “What? No surprise limousine to whisk me back home?”
“You liked that, did you?” The corners of his lips twitch upwards into a sly half-smile.
“I certainly liked the Crown Royal in the mini bar. You’re a sneaky bastard, you know that right?”
Victor just grins and escorts me through the back of the museum, probably to avoid any more people wanting a moment of his time. I’m grateful for that, but the prospect of being alone with him is settling in, and it makes my short wedge heels feel like five inch high stilettos.
“How did you know I’d accept your invitation?” The question has been burning at the back of my mind since the limo showed up at my apartment a few hours earlier.
“I didn’t, of course. But here you are. And for that, I am glad.”
We exit into the brisk night air and stop at a sleek black Porsche a few spots away from the door that beeps its recognition as soon as we approach.
Of course he drives a Porsche. Why am I not surprised?
Victor opens the passenger door and the interior leather matches the paint in both color and luster. The temptation to ask if I can drive is strong, but I can’t drive a stick. Plus, Victor doesn’t seem like the type to relinquish his keys easily. I’ll have to settle for riding shotgun. The air of intrigue surrounding the man grows as I slide onto the cool leather and wait for him to join me, which feels like an eternity left with my racing thoughts.
The door finally opens, and he gets in. His presence in such a small space is almost overwhelming to my senses. There’s no way to escape the desire to tap into that energy I feel brewing beneath the surface. To figure out who he really is.
I try to focus on the engine when it roars to life and Victor shifts it into gear, but the sheer energy radiating off of him is impossible to ignore now that it’s just us. I have to break the silence. “Next time, maybe a phone call or a visit to the bookstore would work better, rather than a mysterious letter with no way to RSVP.”
“I assumed you’d come if interested. Didn’t know if this was your type of scene.”
“Actually, I grew up with events like this. My mom was an artist, and a damn good one. She landed some museum exhibits, and I always attended her openings.”
“You speak of her as part of your past, why is that?” Victor steals a glance in my direction, and I look down at my hands, fiddling with her ring on my finger.
“My parents died earlier this year in that earthquake in California. It left me in a coma for weeks.” My voice falters as I swallow back the lump in my throat. I will not smear my mascara tonight. Not on the one night since my world changed that I decided to do something for myself.
“I’m sorry to bring it up.” Victor reaches over and places his enormous hand on top of mine and gives it a comforting squeeze. Butterflies awaken in my gut warring with the grief.
Don’t cry, Lizzie. You’ve got this. Be strong. I blot under my eyes with my free hand, willing the tears back into their ducts. “It’s okay. I’ve accepted it.” Mostly.
Maybe this change of mood is a blessing in disguise. The longer Victor’s hand holds mine, the more his primal energy sparks through me and threatens to bulldoze through every wall I’ve ever erected around my internal flame. Prolonged, direct, hot and sweaty contact with him will most certainly end with a burnt down apartment building. Tendrils of molten lava snake down my arm as I try desperately to stop them from curling around our entwined fingers, binding him to me.
Victor removes his hand from mine to shift gears, and I suck in air, wondering if he felt the fire coming for him like I can sense his ancient essence or if the car actually demanded his attention. Maybe my nervous energy scared him away. I want to ask him to put his hand back, but I settle for silence and stare out the window.
We eventually arrive at my building and swing into a parking spot. Victor exits the car without a word, and I take the first real, deep breath I’ve been able to manage since we got in the vehicle. The oppressiveness of his being gone. Without warning my car door opens, and I jump.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean for you to… I wasn’t waiting for you to do that.” I try to explain myself. That I don’t demand chivalry.
“Then what were you waiting on?” Victor extends a hand to me as I swing one leg out of the Porsche. I’m grateful for his assistance even if it means touching him again. My wobbly legs are unreliable to hoist me from the low profile of the sports car, and I barely escape tumbling into his arms as I stand.
“Just collecting my thoughts.” I force a smile. It’s not entirely untrue.
Victor stuffs his hands in his pockets as we make the short stroll towards the gate of the apartment complex. It’s for the best that I don’t touch him anymore, and I fumble in my clutch for my access card as we arrive all too soon.
Don’t let him come up… don’t let him come up. A broken record thrumming against my skull. Before I open the gate, I gather my resolve and turn to bid him a goodnight. But his fingers grasp my waist, right above my hips, stopping the words on my tongue.
“We were surrounded by people all night.” Victor’s voice is low and gravelly now, even for him. Eyes hooded with desire. I can’t bear to hold eye contact and suddenly his tie is the most interesting thing in the world. “I’d love to have some time to just sit and talk with you, Elizabeth.” My name is like an incantation on his breath. Melting away my willpower.
Sit and talk, my ass. Victor is staring at me like my lavender dress is already ripped to shreds on the floor. And I’d very much like to keep my favorite dress in one piece.
I resist the urge to clamp my fingers around the collar of his suit jacket to pull him into me. Victor trails a finger up my arm, tiny matches striking at every point he touches. Latching his finger under my chin, he lifts gently, bringing my gaze to meet his, and those strange golden eyes. I swear the power of the universe swirls behind them.
“Your eyes...” I stutter, caught under his spell.
“What about them?” he whispers.
His eyebrow quivers ever so slightly, but I don’t miss it. “Hmm. That’s a peculiar description.”
Have I revealed too much about myself? Revealed that there might be something more to me than meets the eye?
“From the moment I first saw you, your eyes beckoned to me.” His thumb caresses across my cheek. At least he didn’t ask me to explain my peculiar description.
I swallow hard. Of course my eyes beckoned to him. He’s hot as hell. Whose eyes wouldn’t try to get a piece of this man standing before me? The one whose thumbs are digging into my hip points. Who’s so close I can smell the wine we indulged in all evening on his breath.
I want to look away, but I’m caught up in his magnetism. Fighting like hell to break free but the pull is too strong.
“I’m sorry… you seem uncomfortable.” Victor takes a step back as I squirm under his gaze. My inward struggle must’ve manifested on my face.
The loss of connection wrecks me.
My key card and clutch clatter to the ground as I reach for him, fisting his suit jacket to pull him back and setting off a chain reaction. We crash together, and I’m already spent from the build-up, gasping for air against his lips.
My teeth graze his lower lip, and he forces me back against the gate with a grunt. I allow my hands to roam freely. One finds its way beneath his jacket while the other locks into his hair, pulling him into me like he’s my only lifeline in a tumultuous sea. His muscular arms could crush me in an instant, but they cradle me so gently against his broad chest as our tongues collide.
Instinctively I squeeze my thighs together, seeking relief from the ache building within, and whimper into his mouth. My mistake is immediately apparent as my walls crack, lending oxygen to the inferno, and I struggle to regain control.
Victor pulls away and searches my face, brushing an errant strand of hair out of my eyes. I’m grateful for the reprieve, barely hanging onto my sanity by a thread, and wonder again if he sensed something change in me.
Leaning in, he places the gentlest kiss against my forehead. A stark contrast to the lust-fueled moments just before. “You will be my undoing, Elizabeth,” he murmurs against my skin.
Or will you be mine? I bite my lower lip and lean my head back against the gate to stare up at him and contemplate the subtext that the tiny bit of knowledge I have about him allows.
“The feeling is mutual…” My voice comes out thin and shallow. If he only knew just how mutual. Just how close I was to coming undone right here on the sidewalk. But not in the way he might think.
Victor steps back and kneels to collect my discarded things. The image of him, this god of man, on his knees in front of me hitches my breath in my lungs. And it’s not lost on me how his gaze travels up my thighs and pauses at eye-level, with a faint lick of his lips before he rises to tower over me again.
“Are you sure I can’t stay a while longer?” He holds my belongings but doesn’t hand them to me.
“No, you’re not sure, or no I can’t stay?”
The cons to him coming inside greatly outnumber my selfish pros. Mustering all of my courage I confirm, “no, you can’t stay.”
I swear a look of disappointment crosses his face, and I’m not sure how to feel about that. “Thank you, for a wonderful evening,” I add. “And this? What just happened? Was amazing. I’ll be thinking about it all night, and probably all month. But I’m not ready for you to come up.”
“As you wish.” Victor leans past me to swipe my card, his proximity pushing me to the brink of changing my mind. Tensions palpable in the gap between us. The gate buzzes open, and he holds my clutch and the key out to me. I take my things, trying not to touch his fingers when I do, but he grasps my hand, gingerly kissing the back of it before letting it slip through his fingers.
I close the gate between us and stare, fighting against my yearning.
“I hope I’ll see you soon, ma cherie.”
“Goodnight, Victor.” I whisper.
I watch him walk away until he disappears inside his Porsche, never looking back. It’s best he doesn’t. I would’ve flung the gate open wide for him.
That man. He is too damn much for me to handle, but for once, I’m the moth and someone else is the flame.
And there you have it! I'd love to hear your thoughts on my excerpt for Day 1: First Kiss.
I will say don't get too attached to a Liz/Victor relationship. This book is an urban fantasy, not a capital R Romance.
Thanks for reading!