April 25, 2014

Storybook Menagerie - Birthday Edition!

Welcome to April's Storybook Menagerie. To celebrate my big 3-0 birthday, me and my special guest authors are giving away an extra special prize this month, so be sure to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below! 

Storybook Menagerie is a monthly blog segment in which I write the opening paragraphs to a flash fiction piece and ask fellow authors to continue the story in 300 words or less. So, let the storytelling begin! 

April's Prompt

What would you sacrifice to save the one you love?

The single thought chased itself in an endless circle, shrouding Dustin in inky blackness. If it meant a trade, a life for a life, he’d go willingly and without regret. What they wanted from him, though, what they demanded, was a fate far worse than death.

Staring through the stained and weathered window of the abandoned warehouse, he saw no way out, no other options. However he looked at it, he lost, but he couldn’t walk away, not this time.

Without turning, he hung his head, closed his eyes, and released the breath he'd been holding. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

“Do it now.”
Dustin Scalia turned to stare at the woman tied to the chair, ignoring the two other men in the room. His heart clenched at seeing the fear shining back at him from those beautiful brown eyes. He wanted to assure Maria that he would never hurt her. Wanted to tell her that everything would be okay, but he couldn’t.
Because it would be a lie if this didn’t go the way he planned.
Dustin owed his uncle Tony for taking him in when his parents had died, for giving him a purpose. He’d been an enforcer for the family for five years now, and never hesitated doing what needed to be done. There was only one rule he’d never broken, but they were asking—no, demanding—that he do so now.
He didn’t hurt children, or women.
Until now…
Maria Rosini was the daughter of their enemy, but she was far more than just a pawn in the war being waged between the two families. She was also the woman he loved.
She strained against the bindings holding her in place, spitting curses at him as he took the gun from his belt. She didn’t understand. None of them did.
“I’m sorry for what I have to do,” Dustin said, meaning it.
Her eyes narrowed, rage flashing hot. “I don’t believe you.”
“Enough of this,” Tony called out. “End it.”
Dustin spared him a glance, nodded then turned back to Maria. “Close your eyes, sweetheart.”
“Go to hell.”
That had a smile lifting one side of his lips. There was his girl. Staring into her eyes, Dustin raised his gun. Without warning, he turned, firing at his uncle and bodyguard, then watched dispassionately as their bodies hit the ground.
Take a journey into the future with 3013...

“You’re going to go out there without a weapon?  Dustin, that makes no sense.”   Trey once again looked out the window, and his bright blue eyes widened when he saw what was approaching.  No one was coming back from that.
Dustin looked at the man he had come to love over the past year. He didn’t want to leave him, but he had no choice. The only way was to surrender. Once he did that, they would leave Trey alone.
“I love you, Trey.”  Taking one last look at the blond haired, blue eyed man, Dustin opened the door to meet his fate, praying this sacrifice would be worth losing Trey forever.
Dustin slowly walked out of the beaten up farmhouse.  Outside, Victor Cree stood smiling. He knew he’d won this round and wanted to gloat. Dustin could feel it.
“I’m so glad you finally saw things my way.” As he stepped forward, his long black trench coat caught the breeze and fluttered behind him.
“No, like I had a choice. Just remember our deal, old man.”  Dustin would do anything to save Trey, even make a deal with Victor.
“My boy, a deal is always a deal.” He smiled, showing a row of pearly white fangs, and the light in his eyes promised Dustin would pay dearly for the deal he’d just struck.
Show and Tell -- Coming June 2014

“Turn and kneel.” A new voice came from behind him, one heavy with age and authority. Dustin found himself obeying without hesitation, as if the centuries since he had last served had never been.
The others had stepped back, leaving a solitary figure standing in the center of the warehouse. She had skin as cold and pale as marble and golden eyes that gleamed with the infernal light of the damned. On his knees, Dustin lifted his head and met her terrible gaze.
“She’ll be safe? With no memory of what happened?”
There was a brief glimmer of what might have been pity in the woman’s gaze. “You have my word, lycan. She will not remember anything about you, or our world. The council will have no further interest in her.”
“Then let’s get this over with.” He kept his tone respectful, but only barely.
“Indeed.” The woman held out her hand and one of the others hurried to her side, placing a length of gleaming metal chain in her upturned hand.
His collar.
Dustin gritted his teeth as she moved closer, his skin already itching at the thought of having to submit again. Three hundred years of servitude to the Counsel, that’s the price they had asked for Jessica’s life. He would be one of their enforcers, with everything he was subsumed by the magic of that damned collar, leaving him a prisoner in his own mind, with nothing but his memories to keep him sane.
He had once sworn that he would die before accepting a collar again. But that was before Jessica. She had taught him how to love again, and he would do anything to protect her, even if it meant she wouldn’t remember loving him.
Dustin would just have to remember for both of them.
The mission was simple...until fate stepped in.

“Good. As I said before, your pregnant wife is safe and as long as you don’t try and run to the police, I won’t be forced to kill her. And we both know that you don’t want that, do we? This is the only way we can assure you won’t run to the police and reveal our plans to the DEA. The deal is set tonight. All you have to do is show up for the exchange. Once the deal is done, we will let her go free.”
Dustin wanted to rip the piece of shit’s eyes out, but he knew that they wouldn’t hesitate to have her killed. It was all his fault he was in this situation, and his wife’s life was now at stake. He should have never gotten involved with the crooked bastards, but he needed the money, and he knew by working with the drug and money-laundering brothers that someday they would need him to do something that could jeopardize his life.  
He couldn’t even bare to look at them, knowing that they were holding her captive. “I just want to make sure that after tonight that her life will no longer be in danger or be harmed in any way after I do this for you.”
The man chuckled behind him, “You have my promise. Now that you work for me, you will no longer have the life you once led. You can no longer contact your loved ones or tell them where you are. And if you do, I won’t hesitate to have them all killed.”
Dustin would do anything to save her life and their baby that she carried. Even though he would never see them, it was a chance he had to take.  
A woman desperate to leave her past behind…two biker hunks eager to break down her barriers and start a new chapter as one.

Dustin finally turned and surveyed the group of militiamen standing in front of him.  He was out of that lifestyle now, having turned his rebellious self into a respected man many years ago.  Half a lifetime of proving that to himself and to that of his family were about to go up in smoke all because of a foolish woman who got herself into more trouble than a cat on it’s ninth life.  Regrettably, his love for her was stronger than his pride.
“Don’t do this, Dusty.”
Dustin had to close his eyes at the imprudent determination that laced Heidi’s voice.  Hadn’t he always known that she was reckless in her pursuit of a story?  After all, her reputation as an investigative journalist preceded her.  Her camera lay on the ground, the lens shattered like their lives had been the second she’d snuck into this compound.  He wouldn’t be able to look at her and do what he had to do, so he intentionally eyed the leader of this faction.
“I’ll take lead point on this raid, but only if you release her and I know she's safe.”  Dustin made eye contact with Jeremy Graft, ensuring that this man knew this wasn’t a bluff.  “If not, then kill us both now and quit wasting our time.”
Is it possible to renew one's faith in love?


He hated field hockey but, damn it all, it was Caleb’s thirtieth birthday and he’d given him cart blanche on their chosen activities. Normally he could get out of Caleb’s schemes to get him into whatever team sport he was interested end but not this time.

“The team needs you, Dustin,” Caleb said, solemnity written in every laugh-line of his face. 

He rolled his eyes. If Caleb really wanted to play Dustin’s pro-hockey player brother-in-law, then he had no choice but to save his gorgeous backside by going head to head with the big lug. He glanced over at Caleb’s grinning mug. 

“You’re lucky I love you,” he muttered. Guarding his brother-in-law to keep him from clobbering his lover was going to be next to impossible as soon as the ball hit the warehouse floor but, to save Caleb’s ego and his face, he was going to do it come hell or high water. 

Caleb winked at him. “I know, baby boy. I’ll give you a rub down later after a nice soak in the hot tub.” 

He had better. “A blow job wouldn’t be amiss either,” Dustin said.

“Hey, now, it’s my birthday.”
Happily ever after may come at a steeper price than either man is willing to pay to reach Forever’s End.


  1. Liked them all but Susan Hayes, Laurie Roma and Jana Downs continuations were my favs. Not nice to only ask us to choose one. ;-)

  2. Heh, I really loved Kalista Kyle and Jana Downs' prompt! :D eheh
    But... I didn't see Gabrielle's short... anyways, liked those two! XD

    This is really fun! I like seeing the different takes on the prompt. :3

    1. Since I write the Prompt, I didn't feel like it was really fair for me to write a continuation also. LOL!

  3. Well The storybook Menagerie was ok, I liked the prompt and I likes Laurie Roma selection. I did not wont to only choose one either. However, it is your Birthday and Blog so you gt to choose :) :) :) :)

  4. I really loved Kalista and Jana's prompts but I missed seeing one from Gabrielle. It was hard to choose one prompt though.

    1. Since I write the Prompt, I didn't feel like it was really fair for me to write a continuation also. LOL!

  5. Anonymous4/25/2014

    I loved "Forever's End" by Jana......Happy Birthday, Gabby!! We love ya!

    Jim Evans

  6. Anonymous4/25/2014

    Oops should have said I also liked Jana's writing prompt!

    Jim Evans

  7. It was so hard to choose..I liked them all, then narrowed it down to 3 which was hard then finally my answer..meanies..making us choose...;)

  8. You killed me making me choose Brie. You are so evel, but then I like you evel ;)

    Happy Birthday sweets!!!

  9. These are so much fun...Jana kills me. :)


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