2015 NaNoWriMo excerpt: "Seven Days"

Okay...full disclosure?

"Full disclosure" is my new favorite saying...

That said, full disclosure, I started the NaNoWriMo 2015 challenge with a great (!!) story idea. And then, in week two, and 20,000 words in, I lost interest in the story--okay, lost interest might be a bullshit excuse--I got lazy with the story and didn't want to continue unless I had a full outline, which I did not, because I decided a week before November 1st to participate. If those classes, resource books and seminars have taught me anything, it's not to waste time writing like a pantser because I detest editing. I know this about me.

Enzo...good lord

So yesterday, I had an epiphany...or more likely, I was obsessing about an actor and how much I'd like to "write a story about him" (yeah, that's it!). So, for those of you who are on the toilet, and have a few minutes to spare (btw, you're legs may fall asleep, it's under 2,000 words but that's still a healthy 7 pages of text with narrow margins, so stretch on the john, would ya?) here's an except from the mostly untitled but if I had to give it one I'd call it "Seven Days" attempt at a new adult/fantasy romance (a first!) with the following actor in the male lead role (aka Enzo from The Vampire Diaries....swoon):

 

 

 

 

Seven Days by Kelly Duff

Prologue

The note read:

Thanks, love.

Sorry about the mess.

Then the bullets began to fly.

I should back up, because the note wasn't really a note. It was a message written on a napkin underneath an empty pint glass.

At least Mr. Tall-Dark-and-British left a hefty tip of a crisp $20 bill; not that $20 would repair the damage to my tavern. I don't even know if insurance will cover it. Is there a clause for shootouts? Still, it was a nice gesture.

Truth be told, it wasn't my tavern, it belongs to my uncle, so it's a family thing. I'm the type of gal who takes pride in her work so maybe I feel a wee bit of ownership when it comes to running "Sal's Place."

Mr. T-D-B hadn't even said goodbye before vacating his spot at the end of the bar and I guess that would be because he never really left. He'd staked out a stall in the men's room, he'd tell me later.

Later, when we were in bed together.

Yeah, I slept with him. Did you not catch the tall, dark and British part?

Plus, he saved my life.

Cade Morgan saved me, Frankie Deluca, named Francesca after my grandmother, but I refuse to be called anything but Frankie because, come on, it's cool.

Plus, Frankie is about as tomboy as you can get for someone who was partial to playing in the mud with the other boys on the block versus wearing dresses and hosting tea parties.

I couldn't wait to roll in the mud with Cade Morgan.

The hours it took me to get to that point were as follows.

 

Chapter One

Like I said~bullets, actual goddamn bullets, zipped across the bar and next thing I knew I was being tackled by Mr. Tall-Dark-and-British.

Everything happened so fast at first, I didn't understand what was happening. The last of the patrons had left at two a.m. as usual. The overhead speakers played me through cleanup. Oh, how I love a little Linkin Park to motivate my ass to wash down the bar and get the hell home.

When I heard the first shot rang out, I was sure it was just a chair that had fallen. I'd stacked them pretty haphazardly in an attempt to clean up quickly.

I felt strong arms wrap around me, and down we went onto the hard rubber floor mat that stank of beer and some whiskey I'd spilled earlier.

At first, I thought T-D-B was attacking me.

"Stay down!" He yelled, pushing me against the mat hard enough I was sure those little drain holes would leave marks for a week.

From my vantage point, I could see he had a day's worth of stubble and a cleanly-shaven neck met. I don't know why this attribute caught my eye. There was other shit going on I should have been noticing, like shell casings and glass that rained on us.

"Francesca, You're always paying attention to the wrong things~always!" I could hear my dear departed mother reprimanding me, shaking her long finger with the perfectly painted red nail.

Well, Mom, what can I say? I like the scruffy ones.

"Cover your face!" The scruffy one yelled at me again.

I would've yelled back to ask what the holy hell was happening but the liquor bottles on the shelves behind the bar were getting clipped one by one, causing streams of booze to splash on us.

So much for tomorrow's happy hour.

Then the music stopped. The power went out.

An onslaught of gunfire filled the room. I peeked up and saw my white knight fired back. I wondered how long before he ran out of bullets.

If only this would end.

Then, my prayers were answered. The shots abruptly stopped. The only sounds I heard were the tinkle of alcohol spilling from the shelves onto the floor and my new friend's heavy breathing.

"We need to get out of here." He stood, cautiously. He pounded his fist against the cash register drawer~something he'd obviously seen me do once or twice that night to open the damn thing~and pulled out all the bills, leaving the coins. All the while, his dark eyes darted around the place until they finally settled on me.

I was still sitting on the floor in damp jeans.

"Francesca~"

"How do you know my name?" How did he know my name?

"We don't have time for explanations. That was only the first wave, a warning if you will." He spoke as if his teeth were clenched or he was speaking out the side of his mouth. The words were like warm honey coating my ears. Again, sucker for the accent.

When he reached for me, I scooted backward. "Not so fast, Mate."

His eyes lit up at the endearment.

"I don't even know you. You just helped shoot up my bar." I got to my feet and brushed the seat of my jeans.

"I saved your life, Francesca. You really~"

"And, again, how do you know my name?" I threw my arms up and perused the room. It was a mess. Not to mention the dead body of a young man who was dressed in the oddest uniform. "Who the hell is that?"

"That was the man sent to kill you."

"Well, then we should call the police, don't ya think?" I reached in my pocket for my cellphone.

"Damn it, girl." His voice was close. He stood behind me. "I had really hoped I wouldn't have to do this the hard way."

Lights out.

 

Chapter Two

When I woke up, I was warm. Being cocooned in a fleece blanket will do that to you.

Soft music played and I felt movement.

In a car? I opened my eyes enough to make out shapes, and then opened them fully.

I was curled up in the back seat of an SUV and my new friend was driving. I could see his eyes in the rearview mirror.

Outside the windshield, I could see the night sky.

Shot at and now kidnapped? I mean, I've gotten myself into trouble a time or two but this took the cake.

"Are you hungry?" My chauffeur asked, looking at me in the rear view mirror.

"What?" I asked, sitting up, feeling the stiffness and pain at the base of my skull.

"Sorry, uh, I thought I heard you say you wanted cake." His eyes darted then focused on the road.

Had I said the thing about cake out loud? Had he knocked me out at the bar?

Everything seemed fuzzier than the blanket that swaddled me. Were my hands tied? I shrugged the blanket off my shoulders revealing that I was, indeed, bound at my wrists with oversized zip ties.

I shifted my legs. My ankles were also bound.

"Can you please remove these?" Worth a shot, right? "I mean, a girl loves a little bondage now and then."

The wide-eyed stare I got was filled with surprise for a moment. He blinked and shook his head. "Not until we're some place safe, Francesca."

I leaned forward, poking my head between the driver and passenger seats. A duffle bag occupied the passenger seat.

"Ok, look, if we're gonna be pals, you gotta stop calling me by my grandmother's name, capisce?" I sat back and looked out the window. We were on a highway. "It's Frankie."

"Fine." He sighed. "Frankie."

Well, when you say it like that, it makes me want you to remove more than these restraints.

The SUV jerked for a moment and he glanced into the mirror.

I'm sure I didn't just say all that out loud. Did I? I had to laugh at my uncertainty, which cost me another glance in the mirror.

At this point, one would think I'd be screaming my head off, considering my predicament. It's not every day one gets abducted after a gunfight. Yet, I was calm. As if somewhere in the back of my mind, someone was reassuring me I had nothing to fear. It wasn't the first time I'd felt that way. There had been many a scary moment in my life~this day may have topped them all but I felt I could trust this handsome stranger.

"Morgan." He seemed to answer the question before I even asked it. "Cade Morgan."

The weight of the name hit me like a Louisville Slugger.

 

Chapter Three

Back before I was born~

Before my parents, Anthony and Giuliana, met~

Before my father was born to my grandmother "Nana Fran"~

Before Nana Fran ever met my grandfather "Papa Tony" DeLuca~

There was another~the love of Nana Fran's life.

Not that Papa Tony didn't make Nana Fran weak in her knees. He was, after all, one of the DeLuca boys of the Little Italy neighborhood in Chicago's near west side. All of the DeLuca boys were handsome, but Anthony II was, by far, superior in looks. Didn't hurt the DeLucas also came from money but Nana Fran said she never cared much for the fortune, it was love that mattered.

Still, at one time, there was someone else. Someone she loved deeply before she met Papa Tony, whom for a short period in her life, she never would have imagined a life without.

Nana Fran would always allude to the story of a gorgeous man she'd met in her early twenties. They had been together only a week, but in that week, they loved enough for a lifetime.

He had stolen her heart for seven days and took a little piece of it with him when he left. Whenever Nana Fran stated he left, I always assumed she meant he left Chicago, or maybe he enlisted. Boy, was I wrong.

On Nana Fran's deathbed, a bed I sat next to the last days of her life, she told me what she meant.

"Someday you'll meet a man, Frankie. A man who will show you the world inside his heart, one who will treat you as a precious gem. Don't take advantage of that situation as life is fleeting and you never know how long you've got. I know I always told you he left but I never told you why."

I'll never forget Nana Fran that day, struggling to sit up just the tiniest bit to lean in to me.

"My beloved saved my life in those seven days, and, at the end, died defending me."

I remember shaking my head a little, as if I were trying to clear out lake water in my ears but I hadn't been near that kind of water in years. I hated the water. My mother made sure of that when she drowned in it.

I asked Nana Fran what she meant, died defending~but she patted my hand and assured me.

"Someday, you'll meet your own Cade Morgan. We all do."

 

***

 

I moved around so much in the back seat, the SUV rocked side to side.

I had to get out of the zip ties, out of the car and away from this~this crazy person.

Now I was freaked out.

"Francesca~Frannie~Fran~" Cade Morgan pulled onto the shoulder, bringing the SUV to a screeching halt. "Frankie!"

He reached between the front seats and grabbed my arm, but I kept thrashing about. The damn blanket seemed to constrict around me tighter and tighter so I couldn't reach the door handle.

"Stop!" He unbuckled his seat belt and climbed through the seats. As he wrapped his arms around me, I had no choice but to submit.

Part of me wanted to go back to the way I felt before he told me his name. The calmer me that wasn't bothered by a little abduction, a little rough trade, or the potential for adventure. I mean, once you've seen your own mother drown in a sailing accident~thanks to her ignorant boyfriend who had never been sailing before~the definition of traumatic tends to amend itself.

"Who are you, really?" I asked, refusing to look at that chiseled face of his, fearing his looks would hypnotize me again. That had to be it, right? I mean, I've gone to bed with less handsome men for lesser reasons. This one was really trying to impress me with the gunfights and the rescuing and the domination with zip ties. Then he had to go and ruin it all by saying his name was the same name my Nana Fran whispered to me on her death bed. The name of her true love?

"I told you, it's Cade~"

"Stop that." I interrupted, risking a glance at him. Yeah, still pretty damn hot. I looked out the window.

"Stop what?" The honey voice again.

"All of it!" I jerked from his grasp and brought my knees up, wedging space between us.

I sat back against the car door and my mother's voice rang inside my head. Don't lean against car doors, Francesca. You never know when they might open and you'll fall out of the car and die. I pushed that exact image out of my mind, the one I always thought of when she'd say that to me when I was a kid. The one of me falling out of the car at seventy mph on the highway and my last thought~you were so right, mom~as my head smacked the pavement, because Mom always loved being right.

"Stop saying your name is~"

"Cade Morgan."

Defiant prick, ain't he?