"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris ... then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway

Friday, 2 September 2011

#Romantic Friday Writers story - this week's theme - Heart Stopper!

Romantic Friday Writers is a blogfest every Friday co-ordinated by myself and Francine Howarth. It is a fun event, showcasing the work of many fine writers who write romantic flash fiction or poetry under 400 words to a given theme. Click on the icon in my sidebar or the link at the end of my post to check out others participating today or join the blogfest yourself. You will be most welcome. We are also found on twitter @RFWER. Each week we choose a runner up and a Featured Writer. 

Today's extract from my WIP is set at a party celebrating the opening of Ruby's hotel in Noosa Heads. Ruby, the heroine, has been romanced by Ito, a Japanese businessman, after her break up with the hero, Michael. Ito, of course, is up to no good...

The sensual tug of Van Morrison’s Days Like This percolated through Ruby, potent as the champagne she’d tasted earlier. Ito’s hand lightly clasped hers, the other warmed the arch of her back. She moved where he guided her, surrendering to the music and the dance.

She relaxed into him. His hands moved to cradle the back of her neck as he pulled her closer. When their lips met everything moved in slow motion as the velvety tones of the singer's voice filled the room and her head.

‘Ruby, I must have you tonight,’ he whispered. ‘I’ve been patient. Will you come to me when the dance is over?’

An answer trembled on her lips. Ito moved closer, then turned rigid in her arms. The music stopped. Silence held like a shaken heartbeat.

Ruby pulled away from Ito and turned towards the entrance.  She stood on tiptoe to see, shaky in her high heels. Her heart stopped its fluttery beat.

Framed in the doorway Ruby saw a vision glimmering in black silk, eyes like huge pools of liquid chocolate scanning the room. Her dark hair was swept upwards in a dramatic style that showed off the perfection of her face and the slender length of her creamy neck, smooth as alabaster. Diamonds glittered at her ears and throat, catching the light as she scanned the crowd.

Ruby shivered.  

This chiselled marble perfection must be Ito’s wife.

She had come for him.

Imperious head held high, the woman moved across the floor towards where Ruby and Ito stood rooted to the spot, clutching hands like doomed sailors. Couples parted like the Red Sea as the graceful creature slid by like a proud ship. As she drew closer to Ito and Ruby, Ruby recoiled from eyes as cold as black ice, cruel lips drawn in a scarlet slash.

Ruby felt Ito shudder as he dropped her hand.

Why didn’t someone wake her up from this nightmare? Ito stood beside her, his arms stiff, his face stony. Ruby wanted to run but her legs could scarcely hold her up. She shook like Marie Antoinette at the guillotine, waiting for the blade to drop.

‘And who is it this time, Ito-san? Which pretty little birdie have you snatched from the nest? Does she know you have a wife and children in Japan?’ Her pitiless gaze moved from Ito to Ruby.

‘Tell me, little red-headed girl, am I in time or am I too late?’

 Word count: 409  FCA.
To read more flash fiction of 400 words or less, with a romance element,  go here.



  1. I absolutely love that last line. I love it when wives turn up and naughty men turn to jelly :-)

  2. Ooooh...this excerpt is bewitching. I think you made me burn the fries for dinner tonight!

  3. Sarah: Thank you. Yeah!

    AA: Ha ha. Bewitched.


  4. Hey Denise - sorry I haven't visited in a while! Just wanted to stop by & say yay, we're in the same Romance group for the Campaign. :)

  5. Hi Trisha. I didn't know that. I'll be over to see what you're up to. Takes so long to get around. D

  6. oh dear, trouble in paradise!

  7. Hi.

    Oh hell! We're left hanging. Well, was she in time, or too late?

    Neat piece of sexual tension and daunting interruption!


  8. saved by the bell, uh wife!

  9. Kerrin: Indeed, lots.

    Francine: Ha. Well wouldn't you like to know?

    Al: Yeah, those wives will do it to ya!!


  10. Ooh that's a glass of cold water on poor Ruby's face.

    Well done. :-D

  11. La'Aussie I thought I was a follower and so sorry about the lapse. I wish it went on for 800 words...really I do, i feel bereft.

  12. Wow. A heart stopping description of the wife. I'm definitely worried about Ruby!

  13. Fabulous and heart-stopping. Well written, Denise. I want to read what happens next.

  14. Fabulous! And I absolutely love that last line. Thanks for sharing this :)

  15. I wouldn't be caught dead in that situation. My heart would probably have stopped from the first half with all that romancing! The ending would have sealed my fate. I like it.

  16. This piece was incredibly fluid to read (does that even make sense?... ) it slid into my eyes and formed images in my head so strongly I barely realised I was reading... and the wife was beautifully drawn!

  17. Misha: Great to see you again! Cold water, ha!

    Wendy: That happens with the follow. Glad you are now. Thanks for reading and wanting more.

    Madeleine: Thanks!

    Ruth: Yeah, she is a bit of a worry.

    Kiru: I'm glad you do.

    raelyn: Thanks.

    JL: Ha ha. Couldn't hack it huh?

    Laura: That's beautiful coming from you!


  18. The sexual tension builds beautifully, and then the cliff hanger. Well done, Denise!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  19. Hmmm, *did* Ruby know Ito was married? If she did, it makes her slightly less sympathetic a character. (Which may be what you want.)

    If she didn't, then this "...must be Ito’s wife." should be revealed via dialogue - he's got to whisper, "My wife," or something along those lines.

    The beautiful dragon lady certainly stops MY heart. Great job.

  20. Beverly thanks for helping me out there. Yes, Ruby does know it's his wife but of course she's been told the old story - he's divorcing her etc. So the reader's sympathies will remain with Ruby I think. D

  21. :-) I'll just bet Ito's heart stopped! Poor Ruby, that's a nasty situation brewing. This is written with good attention to detail, Denise.

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