Friday, 30 September 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters story, Fearful Heart, 400 words of #flashfiction.

My #RomanticFridayWriters story this week is a short, worked-over excerpt from my WIP, The Last Cowboy, set on the island of Nantucket, MASS.. The MC, Shakira, has been sexually assaulted at the beginning of the novel, and she and the detective working on her case, Byron, have developed a, er, very close friendship.

Fearful Heart

She roused out of sleep, shaded her eyes from the melting sun.
‘Want company?’
‘Sure! Come!’
She expected him to toss his bike and walk down the cliff steps, but no. He took the steps like a teenager, bump, bump, bump, standing in the pedals. Just a boy under that stern police facade.
He loomed over her, a sea god with his golden hair, floaty white shirt and khaki boardies.
‘No helmet? No shoes? Aren’t you the rebel then?’
He smiled and flopped on the sand beside her.
 ‘What brings you, Mr Detective, the perfect weather?’
‘Hmm. Walk?’
 Byron stood and took her hand, pulling her up like she was fairy dust.  
They walked. The beach was alive with rosa rugosa bushes, tupelo trees and tall grasses.
‘Ow!’ Shakira stumbled.
‘Pesky plum bush caught me.’
‘Let’s see,’ Byron crouched.
‘Please don’t...’
‘No bother.’ He tweaked her skirt. ‘Nasty gash. Must hurt like hell.’
Shakira trembled.
‘God, I’m sorry. What a clot I am. It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.’
‘I know. It’s not you.’
‘Okay. Let’s wash it.’
When they got to the water blood was running down her leg.
Shakira looked at the red stream, remembering.
‘Mind if I wash it?’ Byron asked, ‘Salt water’s great.’
‘Fine. Go ahead.’ She held her breath.
Byron bunched her dress with one hand and cupped seawater on her leg with the other. Relief.
‘That’s got it.’ He reached into his pocket for a handkerchief.
‘Sit down while I tie it,’ he said, stopping at a sandy knoll.
 ‘You’ll live,’ he said, gently pressing the wound. Kind eyes, yet she saw something else, a flicker…
‘Byron, I…’
‘Shakira, I…’
Both laughed.
‘Kiss me Byron.’
He raised his eyebrows. 'I'm not sure...'
His kiss was gentle and sweet, fragrant as wild roses open to the sun. When the kiss was over he drew her close and they sat, bathed by the sun’s rays.
Shakira couldn’t stop her tears.
‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.’
‘Don’t be sorry.’
‘Then why..?’
‘Because your kiss made me happy. Why am I happy?’
‘You’ve every right to be happy. If anyone deserves happiness, it’s you.’
He kissed her tears, healing her with his touch.
She opened her eyes and saw blue sparkling waters shielded by tall grasses that waved like soft green silk.
‘I didn’t think I was ready for that,’ she whispered.

 398 words, FCA.


I hope you enjoyed my short extract to fit the theme for the week, Fearful Heart. To read more #RFWer stories, click on the badge at the top of the right sidebar.


  1. Hi Denise

    Your hero seems very gallant and caring and I can see why your heroine would be smitten.

    I too had problems with my new comment system and am now back to the old blogger one.

  2. He's adorable! A perfect piece for the theme - both her fears and her yearnings are played out here. I love it.

  3. What a nice guy. And a law man!

  4. I loved this. Your descriptions of the surrounding area were wonderful and your characters came to life.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

  5. So sweet and light! The most gentle treatment of fearful heart I could imagine. I really like it.

  6. Such a sensitive little piece! All fears washed away tenderly with salt-swept water! Lovely.

  7. Love a hero being heroic. A sea god, even better. And her courage in deciding to ask him to kiss her - in his position, he never would have pressed it.

    Love that you continue with the roses theme.

  8. Good dialog. Romantic. Subtle fear. I don't know any men like this, but that's another story.

  9. Madeleine: Thanks. I'm so disappointed about the comment system.

    Margo: Yes, isn't he adorable!

    John: Well, I'm sure there's some nice lawmen out there.

    Nancy: Thanks. I love description as you know.

    Ruth: Thanks for that.

    babyrocka: Glad you got the symbolism.

    Beverly: You get it. I was expecting a tirade about a cop in his position not allowed to have a relationship in this situation, thus the 'I'm not sure...'

    Scheherazade: Well I don't know any either, but heck this is fiction...


  10. You named your character Byron? Who does that? Oh wait, I did!

  11. Alex, we had this conversation. My Byron came first and he lives in another world, snark, snark!


  12. I really like this simile: "His kiss was gentle and sweet, fragrant as wild roses open to the sun." The only one I don't like is: "pulling her up like she was fairy dust." I can't quite see this. But that's my only criticism. The piece is excellent, my friend!

    BTW, I finally finished chapter three of my ghosted memoir (which I think will be broken into smaller chapters). It has taken me ALL WEEK!! At this rate.... (sigh).
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  13. Ann: I probably agree with you. I don't know why I left that simile. I've grown a bit since then, but it still does have a nice image. Ah, what's life without a bit of fairy dust?

    Just checked and you don't yet have chapter three up on your blog. Life wasn't meant to be easy, my friend, nor was writing memoirs, especially ghost writing one! Take it easy over there! Love to Jen.


  14. I rather liked the 'fairy dust' simile, but then - even though I hide it, I'm a bit pink and fluffy at heart :-)

    I think you handled a sensitive situation very well.

    Denise, mind if I ask you what problems you found with your new comment system, and which system it was?

  15. Sarah, it was Comment Luv Intense Debate. It failed to meet its promises even though 2 people commented it showed no comments and sent me emails instead, erk. I see some other bloggers have deleted it too. It obviously needs more work.


  16. I'd better keep an eye on my new system then, it's Intense debate too. So far, so good. The only one that I had that emailed me without appearing on the blog was one that needed moderating (I think it had a link in it), but I'll watch out for pitfalls! Sorry it didn't work for you.

  17. That's a great scene; the dialogue moved it along at a fast clip.

  18. Hello L'Aussie.
    Byron showed such tenderness by washing away her wounds. He seems good for her.
    Great scene setting & dialogue.

    I love flowers & the Rosa rugosa are gorgeous!

    P.S. Thanks for all your words of encouragement. Means a lot.
    Enjoy the weekend!

  19. Great dialogue and characters, Denise. 'Loved that Shakira was able to put her fears to one side and kiss gentleman Byron. It worked so well coming from her, because of his position. Loved how you did fear and romance together, with the fear ending on a positive note. Such a lovely twist on what it means to have a fearful heart and yet know when you are ready for love.

  20. Hi,

    Ha ha, a real knight in shining armour type. They don't happen by often enough, and when they do you gotta hold tight! Lovely snippet, and cute ending. ;)


  21. Wonderful piece. And I do love Mr Detective, he sounds really sweet. ;-)

  22. Aww, so sweet. Guess she was ready after all :-)

  23. Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments. Glad you like my characters.


  24. I like the descriptions of nature in this. Liked that term used where he draws her up like she was fairy dust. And that kiss...sweet, fragrant as wild roses...good stuff.

  25. So beautiful! The kiss is so sweet...

  26. Oh, I love it! Very atmospheric.

  27. Dear Deníse,
    Thank you so much for your encouraging comments on my post! Your kind words make it all worth the effort.

    Sorry that I'm so late with my round of comments. My 'Must-Do-List' has taken computer-time.

    Oh Denise, this is such a lovely text. I am right there with Shakira and Byron; I feel Shakira's happiness after so much fear and sadness. This passage is beautifully rendered and a perfect example of fear or the memory of fear in a truly romantic connection.

    I really like Byron, and am happy for Shakira to have met him. (Wish I could find a fellow like him!) He is so kind, patient and understanding.

    [Sigh] What a sweet kiss.

    I was waiting to fetch my new passport at the police station today and observed a fiftyish policeman behind the counter helping people with their applications. A young father with his three or four year old son went up to the counter to receive the little boy's passport. This care-worn, balding, grey-haired no-nonsense upholder of the law smiled at the little boy and asked him what his name was and if he had drawn a picture while he was waiting for his turn. The serious police-face became younger, warmer and happier when he spoke to the little boy. His face glowed. He had dimples in his cheeks when he smiled and I could see that he must have been handsome in the prime of his youth.

    There was something wrong with the computor-connection, so it took a little extra time. The officer's soft-spoken demeanour helped the child wait calmly and feel important.

    I think that you have captured that kind of genuine warmth and goodness in your description of Byron. This is the kind of love Shakira (or any sane woman) needs and longs for.

    Well done!

    I apologise for my spelling mistakes and typos. I'll get someone to proof-read my stories at a later stage, if the content in these texts prove to be worthy of submitting to a publisher. Right now, everything that I write for RFWers is just sketches and rough drafts; much of which is first thought of or dreamed about in Swedish.

    Is Byron based on a real person? What a dear sweet man.

    One more thing:
    There is something similar to The Northern Lights in your side of the planet, aurora australis, The Southern Lights. But I don't know how far south you have to be to see it. I saw aurora borealis just north of Stockholm.

    Best wishes,
    For the benefit of other readers:
    Anna's REWers Challenge No 21 'Fearful Heart'

  28. Talli: Thank you.

    Anna: Thank you for your support and for recognising Byron for what he is. I love your lawman story with the little boy and I imagine Byron with those best attributes of a policeman. No, he's not based on fact, he is purely in my imagination. Be nice to meet him though!

    You do so well with English not your first language. If I had to write stories in French (my second language) I'd never get anything written.



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