Our winners from yesterday are Christine (email@example.com) and Jane Lavigne Congratulations and good luck to today's entrants!
Although we came up with the idea for this anthology while we were together in New Orleans, and we brainstormed titles to some degree we didn't really discuss our stories with each other very much until they were more or less done. So any random similarities (and there were several) are purely serendipitous.
Here are excerpts from our next three stories...
Ghost of a Chance by Sydney Somers
“What was that?”
She heard the smile in his voice, but it only stoked the anger brewing inside her. The unexpected emotion eroded the shock at finding herself face to face with the man who broke her heart.
“I stopped by your room, but you weren’t there.”
Her head snapped up. “You knew I was here?”
He nodded, carrying the broken plate to the garbage can. “I never thought you’d actually come. Figured you’d cancel once you knew…” he trailed off, his brows drawing together. “You didn’t know, did you?” He stopped opposite her.
“You arranged this?” He’d left messages before, though not for a few weeks, but she wouldn’t have imagined he’d pull something like this.
Sam’s hand closed around hers, and her eyes nearly slid shut at the tingling warmth that spread across her skin.
Then she remembered how mad she was, how devastated she’d been.
“So no one gets hurt.” That heartbreaking smile was back in his voice, and she glanced at the hand that gently pried the largest chunk of broken glass from her fingers, then meet his eyes.
He set the glass on the counter, then took the bottle of wine from her as well. “I’d rather not play the odds.”
“Thinking about hiding the knives too?”
He shrugged. “Frying pans are closer. I’m assuming you’d go for those first.”
There he was, the devil who’d been ruining her set. He stood with legs apart, hands gripping a saxophone, lips wrapped around the mouthpiece. At least he wasn’t singing at the moment, but his sax playing was just as bad. The man had no technique whatsoever. He just threw notes out there as if they were cheap Mardi Gras beads. Fast and raw, the notes scampered up and down the scale. The dancing crowd gyrated right along with the madman, faster and faster, as if they’d all die if they stopped – or even slowed down.
Then he pulled the sax out of his mouth and yanked the mike to his lips. And Arrietta came close to fainting. The man was … what were the right words? He was like some kind of god -- the pagan kind. He had black hair, thick as blackstrap molasses, with a shiver of black stubble on his jaw. His eyes glittered like midnight swamp water, like alligators sidling alongside bayou skiffs, like wild Southern belles throwing tossing up their skirts on a hot summer night. Every naughty thought, every dangerous, spontaneous impulse gleamed in those eyes. And every woman in the place knew it.
No Beignet Left Behind by Erin Nicholas
On first glance, she didn’t seem that different from all the other beauties of the ball, but there was something about how curls were escaping her updo, and the streak of dust on the hem of the dress, and most especially the way she was wrapping a beignet in a paper napkin—and putting it in her purse—that made it impossible for him to look away. When she added a second beignet, he was intrigued. When her purse wouldn’t zip completely shut over the contents, he was smitten.