(WIP) The Bribe Piece

Remember when I was lamenting my inability to write earlier? Understandably so, this has been a very difficult year. It seems that has passed. Which is wonderful. I am a huge supporter of mental health and taking needed time off. Sometimes you need a break, and that’s okay. Honor what you need to heal. It makes these times of being able to write all the more valuable and, I think, productive.

Today, some of my friends are laughing in triumph as I wave my white flag at my Muse. I had promised up and down that The Love Bribe was a done deal. What began as my husband’s attempt at getting me to write (during one of those “I have nothing to write!” spells all authors go through) became a novella. A little romantic comedy I developed from a random prompt my husband found online to stop my infernal complaining. Hence, the book is dedicated to him.

Well, here it is: proof that my Muse is not only working for me again, she’s decided to make me bow to her will. Never mind the fact that I have two Steampunk short stories to finish and countless other stories needing attention. But we all know not to anger the Muse.

The Bribe Piece will be told from Mary’s perspective. For those who have read The Love Bribe you will get the meaning of the title right away. For those who haven’t I’m going to make a begging puppy face at you until you do. I am going to attempt to write this in a way that can be a story on its own, too. So it will be two books that stand on their own but are even better when you read them together.

“But what about Edward!” I hear you fans yell. Well, I know better than to stubbornly say I am DONE after Mary’s story. But I can say (probably provoking my muse) that I don’t have anything up my sleeve for him right now.

And now, before I haver any longer … the first chapter of The Bribe Piece.

Photo credit: Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Chapter One: The Phone Call

My phone informed me an unknown caller was trying to reach me. I wanted to ignore it, but I hadn’t seen my son in some time. If I ignored my phone, it would be even longer.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Hi, Mary. I…” the stranger trailed off.

I closed my eyes.

An unknown man calling me with feigned familiarity. No doubt trying to figure out what he was supposed to say next. I looked down at the book in my lap. I finally had made time to sit quietly on my couch and read. I could pretend, but why? What was the point anymore? I wanted to get back to my book.

I wanted to see my son.

“I have expected your call, why you not call sooner?” I asked, trying to mitigate how pronounced my accent became when I was upset.

I knew as I said it, it wasn’t the best response. I could hear him huffing out as he thought about what to say.

“I’ve been busy?” he asked more than told me; as if trying the excuse on for size to see if it worked for me.

“When are you to pick me up?”


Yes, I knew how this would go. I rubbed my temples and reminded myself to pick up more salve from the spa. It’s a wonder what herbs can do to release the tension these kinds of phone calls give me.

“Tomorrow is Friday. Good night for a date. You pick me up at six o’clock and wear something nice. I will tell you where we go when you get here.” I repeated my address to him as he fumbled around for something to write on, then hung up.

Why bother with any kind of false excitement over a date? I had run out of silly lies.

I got up to heat more water for tea.

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