Copyright © 2013 Mary Hughes
All rights reserved
When she finally quit coughing, and he quit laughing, she
turned[MH1] her back on him. “You’re dangerous. First you try to
drown me, then you laugh. What if I needed CPR? You’d be laughing too hard.”
“CPR is for when your heart stops. You mean mouth‑to‑mouth.” Gentle fingers pulled at her shoulder.
would give him business. Without turning, she raised her voice and
injected her best professional whine, courtesy of Mel Pinlow .
She pulled away. “I saw Kulinahr while you were gone. Do you know that of all his so‑called friends, only one person has the guts to help him? After all the good he’s done for his country, he only has one ally? That’s criminal.”
“It’s not all that unusual, Vickie. Before he was a head of state. Now, he’s only a person.” He began caressing her neck
when she turned
[MH2] “Only a person? Since when has that become such a lowly occupation?” Acid tinged her voice.
“I didn’t say that. I merely meant
“What? That heads of state, no matter how ruthless, are more important that individuals? Isn’t that how we got Stalin and
all his[MH3] ilk?”
Cliff’s tone went cool. “If we are to discuss this instead of relaxing, kindly do not interrupt me. Especially do not assume to divine my meaning. Unless you can read minds?”
“Can’t you tell?”
Vickie was startled. Before she could even start to
make sense of that, her body was revving up,
indicating very loudly its desire to fully cooperate. Make love to her. Like on that steamy night in
Middle Yemen, his big body, bare‑chested and hot, pressing her into the
mattress, his mouth sweet and questing.
Ron used to do this,
too. Even though
he wasn’t especially interested , he would take
her to bed to shut her up. He called it making love, too. Only it wasn’t love‑making.
It was using her.
But, oh, how he used it.
Desperate to regain her control, Vickie did the first thing she could think of that would distract him. She
her half‑full glass of wine and threw
it over her shoulder.
She expected him to be angry.
She hoped he
would be angry, that cold anger that might let her regain her footing in the
emotional in whirlwind he caused. She
expected to be chopped into pieces small enough for Vickie‑salad sandwiches.
But Cliff was just staring at her, his face completely blank. She was confused for a moment, until she got a good look at his eyes. She could practically see his mind working,
so in tensely were his eyes glowing[MH7] .
Panic set in. No matter how well she had covered her emotions, that well‑oiled intellect of his would figure it out, if she let it.
She had forgotten his keen mind. She had to distract him, quickly. Again, she did the first thing she
It was a monumental Freudian slip.
She placed her palm behind his neck and pulled. [MH8]
He hesitated, so she opened her lips
closed her eyes .
He reacted like a starving man. His mouth closed on hers, hard. His hand came up against her back, and supported her as he leaned against her, bearing her down onto the blanket. Then he was covering her with his body, as he had that hot night in Middle Yemen, and his lips were making magic against hers.
She moaned, instantly reignited, and arched up against him, forgetting the reason she had tempted him in the first place. Now, there was only response, response to the hard, powerful body above, commanding her to yield, commanding her to open herself to him. His hand wrapped in her hair, pulling to turn her head. Her lips parted and he thrust his tongue deeply into her mouth.
would leave if she
acted like those love‑sick
she had to do was to pretend that she didn’t
really care, that her heart was invulnerable.
Yes, that was it. All she had to do was pretend that
he loved her, and
pretend that she didn’t love him.
Oh, God. Did she really love him?
Vickie didn’t realize she was crying until he sat her up, away from him. Without his body pressed into hers, the sun felt cold.
“What…what’s wrong?” she asked, grinding her fist into her eyes. But she knew. She was showing her weakness, showing it was impossible for her to fit into his high‑powered life style.
[MH1]turned is a fairly bland, inactive word. Especially if the action says volumes about the character/lovers' interactions, make it count.
[MH4]When I first started writing I was throwing characters at each other and letting their inner selves emerge. Sometimes that made them less than sympathetic. Conflict is good, but it must be escalated naturally not by the characters having a hair-trigger sarcasm gland.
[MH5]Going into writing, I had some generic character tells. Now, they work, which is why I use them. But it does get excessive. Sigh, smile, nod are things any character can do and they mean something to every reader. But I try to give my main characters a bit more individuality these days.