Monday, April 14, 2014

A to Z Challenge: L is for Love

This year, I'm participating in the insane awesome A to Z blogging challenge, which entails posting EVERY SINGLE DAY during the month of April, except for Sundays. Each day's theme corresponds to a different day of the alphabet: 26 days, 26 posts. I'll be blogging each day this month on some aspect of my current work in progress (WIP).

L is for Love

Note: The excerpt here is definitely PG-13. Nothing explicit, but quite a lot suggested. Not appropriate for younger audiences! 

There are so many different kinds of love: even romantic love takes so many forms. Infatuation (as some of you recognized from that snippet I posted); obsessive love; young love; falling out of love; mature, generous love. My WIP is going to move through some of these different kinds, from Apollo's dramatic crushes in the Ancient Greek lifetime to, eventually, a truer, deeper, braver love between Nat and Taylor in the modern Australian lifetime.

That deeper love takes quite a lot of time and effort to get to, though, and there are a lot of bumps in the road along the way. Many times both of them are sure they'll never make it; in fact, they're shocked when they realize they even want to make it. Both Nat and Taylor have scars and baggage in their histories, and neither of them trusts easily.

Remember, Nat is a wanderer; she spends most of her time on the road on her motorcycle, and her affair with Taylor evolves during many visits over a long period of time. The format is always the same: she shows up at Taylor's farm without warning, stays for a while, and leaves again, without warning, over and over. Here's a snippet about one of her visits, told from Taylor's POV. In many ways, it's about the strange things we do and say when we love but are afraid, especially as our pasts get in the way. I know, it's ridiculously out of context and too long. Oh well...what are snippets for?? As always, I make no foolish promises about quality, and all standard disclaimers apply:
I was fixing fences the next time Nat showed up, months later. She rolled into the yard early one morning in a racket of rattling metal and whining gears, and took the bike right into the barn without saying a word. I heard the clatter but I was fields away, patching a rotting fence, and by the time I made it back she already had parts scattered across the floor. 
I leaned against the door and watched her work. “What’s broken this time?”
She flashed me a smile, and as always it was like squinting into the sun. “Everything,” she answered. “Of course. Stupid bloody thing.” She gave the chrome frame an affectionate pat, and then went back to work. Nothing else.
So I went back out into the fields and hammered planks into the fence with so much force that I splintered the wood, and had to go back to the shed and cut myself some new pieces, so that the whole thing took three times as long as it should have. By the time I’d finished putting away my tools, and was washing up for supper, I knew what I had to say, down to the last word. It didn't involve her staying. 
I went inside the house. “Nat?” I called, “I need to talk to you.” The whole house, though, was filled with the smell of herbs and the sizzle of fat; I walked into the kitchen to find Nat pulling a well-browned roast out of the oven. 
She blew her hair out of her eyes and gave me another brilliant smile, and said, “Perfect timing. Come and sit.”
I followed her into the dining room. There was salad and mashed potatoes and this still-sizzling roast, and glasses filled with red wine, and two places set. “I got the meat out of your freezer; I hope you don’t mind?” she asked, settling the steaming platter onto the table. “I wasn't sure if I’d have time to thaw and cook it before supper, but I managed.” 
I shook my head, and picked up a wine glass. “Ah,” she said, her eyes laughing at me, “That I brought with me. I know you don’t drink during the week but I thought I might convince you to make an exception.”
“What’s the occasion?” I asked.
“No occasion,” she said, sitting down at the table and spreading a napkin over her lap, and avoiding my eyes, “I just wanted some wine. Are you going to sit down or what?”
I did sit, and even though I knew better, I drank the wine, which was rich and strong and full of smoke, and set my head spinning. 
Nat started spooning food onto my plate. “What did you want to talk to me about?” she asked, dropping a mound of potatoes next to the giant slice of mutton in front of me. 
I watched her fill her own plate; it was the first chance I had to get a good look at her. She was thinner, too thin, her cheekbones standing out in her face, and there were heavy shadows under her eyes. “Oh. Nothing important,” I said. 
She looked up and caught me staring, and then looked back down at her plate, and she didn't ask me again. Instead, she started eating in silence, so I followed suit. I was about five bites in when she dropped her fork and gave me a look so bright I could feel the heat of it across the table, and then she grabbed my chin and kissed me. Before I knew what was happening, she was in my lap, unbuttoning my shirt. We did eat, later, but we had to reheat the food. I didn't get a chance to tell her how good it all tasted until the next day.   
The rest of those three days were just the same. She would disappear into the barn for hours at a time and couldn't spare me two words strung together, no matter what I said or asked, and then she’d come up behind me in the field, or suddenly get up from working on the bike, and have her hands inside my clothes so fast I didn't have time to blink. One time, just before supper on the third night, she came up behind me while I was washing my hands at the outdoor sink, and shoved her hand down my pants. I jumped about five feet in the air and grabbed her wrist, and turned around to face her, expecting to see her laughing, but her face was so intent and so full of naked desire that I ended up making love to her right there, where anyone driving by might have seen us. 


  1. Great excerpt! I totally want to read more with these two characters.

  2. Hmm, this is the kind of relationship that could be remarkably uncomplicated, but Taylor's feelings---the fact that he/she has them---are the sort to complicate for sure.

    1. Yup, exactly! I'm so glad that's clear. It certainly starts as uncomplicated, but it doesn't stay that way.

  3. Ahhh Lust mixed with love-great except and one wants to know where she was. You are right, Love is used is so many ways. I actually wrote about that in one of my insecure Writing Support Group:) Is this a book you are currently writing? or is it done??

  4. Sounds like a lot of chemistry between these two characters!

  5. Wonderful excerpt! Hot and intriguing. I'd love to beta read for you, when you get to that point. You're an excellent writer.

  6. Pretty much nailed that scene (no pun intended). :)

  7. Love is complicated . . . Right now I'm finishing Peter and have him caught between Charles and the return of his first love James . . .

  8. Great snip! Makes me wish we had more words for love, to express all those different states.

  9. Yikes. That was rather intense. I'm a huge fan of the love that endures, although it's often so much quieter than the stuff that sets movies and books aflame. Here's to real love, eh?

    True Heroes from A to Z

  10. Wonderful excerpt, Liz. Truly. Very intense and I am compelled to wonder how it will all unfold and deepen.

  11. Wait. What? You wrote about love of all things? =PPP

    I love your characters' chemistry. You convey each one's emotions well. Some of the best loves in life contain many different stages as they wax and wane.

  12. *fans self* Great scene! I love your descriptions--they are so rich!! (I think I've said that before, but it bears saying again!)

  13. Love in romance novels is often closer to the infatuation type...I've found in most of the books I've read, the characters barely get to know each other long enough to be "in love," but they say it nonetheless!

  14. Sounds like a strange but very hot relationship.

  15. That's a great excerpt...and now I want a glass of wine ;)

  16. Good snippet :). You sure are good at crafting vivid scenes.

  17. This would even work as a short story or flash. Excellent writing and you really create a sexy mood with deeper emotional undertones. Great excerpt.

  18. Ahh, such good tension, and it's eliciting great questions. Well done! :)

  19. This is a great excerpt! Love the tension. I want to read more! You have me wondering how things are going to turn out in their relationship....
    You are a very talented writer, Liz!

  20. I think I need to turn my fan on. I am glad they reheated the food - I hate to see good mutton go to waste.

  21. Just stopping by from the A-Z list to say "Hi" and wish you good luck with the rest of the challenge :)

    WOW! Your WIP sounds great! x

  22. This reminds me of Same Time Next Year.

    Great piece.

  23. Yikes, doesn't sound like a healthy relationship. Wonder how they work things out. Or don't.