Where did 2013 go? Did I blink and miss it? It certainly feels that way. The majority of this year has been wonderful so perhaps that’s why 2013 disappeared faster than a block of chocolate does at my house on any day ending in ‘y’.
As much as I would love to scream from the rooftops ‘I’m a published writer’, it hasn’t been my year to receive ‘the call’. However, I’m proud of my results in the competitions I’ve entered. Two wins at Claytons, (a scene and a sensual tension paragraph.) One was for a chapter critique. A First and a Highly Commended with the Capricorn Writers and Friends competition and another First place in my local writers group competition definitely left me on a high and in some cases, with a little extra cash for more paper and ink. :)
There are still a few competitions ahead of me, but they belong to the 2014 season. I’ve also added a short story for your reading pleasure. The first half of the story is the winning entry from the Claytons’ bathtub scene challenge. I had my cowboy’s point of view, so it’s only fair that I add my lady’s. No explicit warning this time, dear readers, just to prove I can behave myself on occasion. :)
Before the story begins, I’d like to share my writing goals for 2014. I have a novella to edit and another to complete. The second novella is the one I’m writing under the guidance of Ms Bette Shiels. So far, she has been full of praise, but she pulls me up for my mistakes too. Somewhere in there I have the Little Gems competition and a novel to edit that I must admit I’ve neglected. I don’t know if 2014 will be the year I can finally say I am a published writer, but I’ll be doing my best to get there. In the meantime I’ll practise my exhilarated screaming and hope the neighbours don’t get the wrong idea.
So, all the best to you all for the festive season. May you enjoy time with your loved ones, have a wonderful new year and may many great books find their way into your hands. :)
Jeff scrunched the rag between his hands to wipe the remaining grease from his fingers. He looked at the darkening sky and knew it wouldn’t be long before the storm hit. Heading toward the house, he’d circumnavigated the barn and was halfway across the yard before he spied her.
Bent over the old bathtub her father had converted into a feeding trough when they were young was the magnificent view of Abby’s denim-covered rear. In an instant he was transported to the first time he’d seen that bottom jiggling as she grudgingly completed her task.
Closer. Closer. One more step. Freeze!
Jeff held his breath as she paused to wipe a strand of hair from her eyes. When Abby resumed her task, he closed in on the oblivious girl. As she worked the hard bristles of the brush along the side of the bathtub trying to loosen stubborn, half chewed clumps of feed from their cast iron confines, he edged closer, her discontented grumbles covering his footfalls.
She bent over; her little legs supported precariously by little more than a toe hold on the muddy ground as she reached deeper into the tub. The temptation was too much. Jeff took the final step, placed both hands firmly on her back and pushed.
There was a screech, a thud and then a thunderous roar as Abby came up for air.
‘Jefferson Malcolm Davies! When I get my hands on you...’
He looked over his shoulder as he ran, his reward, the sight of a bedraggled girl climbing out of the bathtub only to step onto a freshly laid cow pat. His peal of breath-robbing laughter drowned her indignant cries as she slipped and hit the ground with a thud. He scrambled over the fence and bolted across the paddock with Abby’s promises of revenge still ringing in his ears.
She made good on that promise too. His stomach recoiled as if he could still taste the huntsman she’d stuffed inside one of his sandwiches at school. It hadn’t stopped him. To sneak up on Abby as she griped and groaned about her most hated chore was his favourite pastime. Sometimes she’d catch him and her revenge would be swift, but usually Abby would be covered in slop and, if he was lucky, sliding into another cow pat to complete the hilarity.
Jeff hadn’t seen her since he was eighteen and Abby, having just turned fifteen, left for boarding school and then college in the city. Busy with work, competing in rodeos and romancing the pretty girls in town, he never gave Abby a passing thought. He’d heard she was back. When he collected a part for her father’s motorbike, the town was abuzz with the news of little Abby all grown up. Every male from eighteen to forty had a stupid look on his face when her name was mentioned in the pub where he stopped for lunch, and now here she was, grumbling as she cleaned the bathtub that was little more than a rusted-out shell.
He grinned. Tossing the rag aside, he contemplated giving her a little push; just to show her that she was still bratty little Abby to him but the girl he knew had gone. In her place was a woman of lush curves and legs that went on forever. Even her vocabulary was more colourful than he remembered. Temptation of a different kind called to him as he watched her work.
He blinked, struggled to recall why he was there and then he was moving again. He didn’t know why he put his arms around her waist rather than carry out the push he intended. And it was hard to say who was more surprised when she spun around and crushed a spectacular pair of breasts into the hard wall of his chest.
Neither spoke as the first drops of rain fell. Abby gazed at him, her expression changing from startled anger to pleasant surprise. The rain grew heavier, soaking them in icy liquid. He couldn’t help but notice the way the dampening material of her t-shirt clung to her skin. She smiled when she caught him staring and stepped closer. Surprised, he’d stepped backward. Abby followed. He raised an eyebrow. Abby looked past him at the barn and her grin widened as she looked back at him. The heavens opened as they raced toward shelter.
‘You were going to push me, weren’t you?’
Jeff couldn’t help himself. He nodded and gave her a lopsided grin, the one that melted many a girl’s heart.
‘You realise that means revenge, right?’
His hat went sailing across the barn and disappeared behind a stack of hay bales. The snick of leather moving across material sounded as his belt slid from his jeans and coiled on the ground like an angry snake. She pushed him back onto the pile of blankets they kept for the horses and pulled off his boots, the mischievous grin never leaving her beautiful face. Abby moved so she was straddling him, her eyes widening when she realised she had his full, and straining, attention.
With deliberate slowness she leaned forward to undo the top button of his shirt but he was too engrossed with the splendid view he had of her cleavage to notice. It wasn’t until she was pulling out his shirt, unbuttoning, and then lowering the zipper of his jeans that he figured he’d caught on to her little game.
Jeff raised his hips and manoeuvred so the denim inched down to reveal a pelvic area well-muscled from years of physical labour. He was keen to see just how far she’d take this ‘revenge’ of hers. Any second now he was sure she’d bolt like some skittish mare and head for the safety of the house. He told himself he could handle that eventuality, but he couldn’t ignore that inner voice that prayed she wouldn’t.
Whenever she thought of Jeff, visions of a tall, thin boy with shaggy hair and a penchant for mischief would fill her vision. Years of torment by his hand made her teeth grit, her eyes narrow and her hands clench into tight fists of fury. Sure, she’d retaliated. She knew he’d never forgiven her for the huntsman flavoured sandwich at school, but he never saw her as anything more than his best friend’s bratty little sister. Well, all that was about to change.
Abby changed into the denim shorts she’d worn at fifteen. They were snug and a little higher cut than she remembered, but they made her legs look exquisite. She reached for a dark coloured t-shirt then paused when she heard a distant rumble of thunder. A glance out her bedroom window had her rushing back to her suitcase and picking out a white t-shirt instead. Never let it be said that not-so-little Abigail Wentworth didn’t take advantage of situations as they presented themselves.
Barefoot and brush in hand, Abby poured her concentration into scrubbing the tub. For the first few minutes she listened hard, waiting for Jeff to come around the corner. Busy checking her dad’s motorbike, he hadn’t noticed Abby as she passed. As the time stretched, she became angry. What was taking him so long? The increasing rumble of thunder must surely make him emerge from the shed and come around to her side of the barn to see how close the storm was. Her plan wasn’t going to work if he stayed where he was. No, he had to see her like this. He had to remember those years of torment at this very spot beside the old bathtub. And when he came close, whether it was to gloat or to engage her in conversation, he’d never know what hit him.
Engrossed in her pretence of cleaning the tub and her infuriation that Jeff hadn’t noticed her, Abby didn’t know anyone was behind her until a pair of strong, tanned arms encircled her waist.
Startled, she twirled in the man’s embrace. It wasn’t until she rested her palms on his biceps to push herself away from him that she realised who was holding her. Unsure whether he’d pressed her closer or she’d moved forward, Abby held her breath when the softness of her breasts crushed against him.
Neither spoke as the first drops of rain fell. Jeff stared at her, his expression changing from pleasant surprise to one of pure lust. Her stiffening nipples weren’t because of the chill rain soaking her now transparent t-shirt. It was the heat of his gaze coiling them into hard peaks. She released a sigh as his embrace loosened. Inwardly she smiled. Her plan was working. She could see how uncomfortable Jeff was, how hard he fought to keep his eyes from her chest only to look straight back there again. He was struggling with his desire and Abby knew it. She grinned and stepped closer. He stepped back so suddenly he almost let her go. Abby was quick to follow. In answer to his raised eyebrow her grin evolved into a come-hither smile as she looked toward the barn and then back at him.
No sooner had they taken refuge from the storm than Abby was stepping into his personal space.
‘You were going to push me, weren’t you?’
Desire coiled in her belly when he nodded, his trademark lopsided grin affecting her more than she wanted to admit. Still, she’d started this dare and she’d see it through.
‘You realise that means revenge, right?’
She didn’t give herself time to think. His hat and belt disappeared. The cold, wet cling of her t-shirt vanished as she peeled it off and threw it beside a pile of old blankets. Seconds later she was pushing Jeff back against the blankets and pulling off his socks and shoes. He didn’t protest. He seemed incapable of doing anything more than stare at her as she straddled him. She couldn’t contain her gasp of surprise when she realised her effect on him as he strained against her but there was no backing out now. She leaned forward, her fingers working the buttons of his shirt and pushing it back to reveal a cluster of muscles that brought the tip of her tongue to her lips. She couldn’t wait to taste him.
Her hands unsnapped the button, pausing only when she’d undone the zipper of his jeans.
Now what did she do? Should she keep going? Would he stop her? She’d been bratty little Abby to him for so long, would he even realise she was a grown woman with desires that threatened to overwhelm them both?
She raised her gaze to his, her uncertainty revealed. An all-too familiar smirk consumed him and then he was lifting his hips and easing his jeans down to reveal firm flesh that was every bit as enticing as his chest.
He was challenging her. She knew it from the way his smirk brought out the sparkle of mischief in his eyes. She normally saw that expression from a distance as he was running away from whatever prank he’d played on her. Up this close, that teasing look was overwhelming. A part of her wanted to stand and run for the safety of her room, but she’d never live it down if she did. Instead, she listened to the part of her that desired him, that wanted his touch. She latched on to that inner determination to be his equal, to carry out her plan. And when he stilled and gave her a look that was both wanton and hopeful, she knew she had him.
When she was flush against him and their lips met, Jeff no longer cared that this started as a game. There was no thought to besting bratty little Abby. The coolness of her rain-drenched skin burned into his. Already his body demanded release and she’d done no more than kiss him.
The thunder overhead was nothing to the shattering race of his heart, its clamour matched only by Abby’s. Rain peppered the tin roof like a million liquid missiles locked onto their metal target. His nostrils flared as the sharp, fresh hit of ozone mixed with the aroma of Abby’s enticing scent. He tried his best to ignore the sharp scratch of the hay pressing into his backside where his jeans and shirt parted ways. He wanted nothing more than to concentrate on pleasuring Abby and lose himself in the sensation of their bodies becoming one.
If it were at all possible, the pounding in his chest gained momentum when his thumbs hooked into the waistband of her shorts and tugged at them. It was hard to tell who was more agitated when she eased herself away from him long enough to undo the fastenings and divest herself of her clothing. The disappointment he felt at not getting to unwrap the gift she’d made of herself vanished when he realised she hadn’t been wearing underwear.
God damn it, he was going to come in his pants like a randy teenager.
A predatory growl emerged unbidden from his throat and he liked the look she gave him when he did it - startled and aroused all at once. He shifted and unfolded the topmost blanket with a dexterity that impressed them both. Deftly he drew her to him and eased her on to her back, assured she would not suffer the same discomfort he had. It was only when she laughed softly and her face glowed like a beacon that he realised moving the blanket had exposed a secret.
It took him a moment to realise what the little packet was and then it dawned on him that she’d planned this. Bratty little Abby who’d done nothing but swear revenge at him for as long as he could remember, the girl he thought would never look twice at him after so many years of torment wanted him. The girl whom he’d secretly adored and tried to forget since her fifteenth birthday and whom he’d never found an equal desired him. So many emotions filtered through his mind like the howling wind soaring through the barn’s eaves was.
Did she feel the same? What if this was more than just desire? What if she truly wanted him?
‘Are you sure about this?’
The words were out of his mouth before he could stop then. She wasn’t to know the thoughts churning through his head.
In answer, she retrieved the packet and placed it between her teeth, ripping the foil as if it were little more than tissue paper.
Before she could hand it to him, he was taking it from her fingers and putting it on. Then he swept her into a kiss that left them both dazed and breathless.
The thunder rumbled its approval, the rain a cascading applause. And the last thought that crossed Jeff’s mind as he whispered her name was the knowledge that Abby’s revenge was the sweetest he’d ever known.