WEP August Challenge: Spectacular Settings

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Photograph that magically inspires serenity, hope, spiritual bliss, and helps me write the next chapter in Forbidden.

Trail at Chickakoo, Alberta, Canada

Paragraph:  Okay, I’m being bad. I’m sharing more than a paragraph. Ignore if you’re pressed for time.

I looiStock_000014665836_ExtraSmallk forward to your comments on this piece from my WIP, FORBIDDEN – suspense / romance novel. This setting takes place on a small aircraft. Eliza and Captain Sharif are travelling over the mountains to his home in Rumi (fictitious). Buzz is the pilot.

In this scene I’ve attempted to describe Sharif’s internal emotional struggle to keep his feelings under control. He is a devout Muslim, moderate in his interpretation of Sharia Law. He endeavors to maintain a professional distance from her. He has ensured Miss MacKay is clear that his relationship with her is strictly as a police officer and that he is looking forward to the day he can be rid of her. From Eliza MacKay’s point of view, she has fought her attraction to Sharif, seeing him as just another cheating male.

Buzz adjusted his speed and configured the Phoenix to climb. The mountain loomed another one hundred fifty miles in the distance. Snow in the higher elevations glistened in the morning sun among the jagged peaks.

“Better have a seat, Sharif. Going to get rough. Buckle up your friend, too” Buzz  turned to check on Miss MacKay. “Shit, what is she doing?”

She stood at the tail section in the aisle, wobbling with the aircraft’s sliding on the wind currents. Her bare back faced the men. She appeared to be looking for something in her backpack.

Captain KhanSharif lunged to stand behind her, blocking the pilots’ view of the indecent woman.

“What are you doing?” he growled at her. “You can’t do this here.” He grabbed her arms as the plane bounced and shuddered. “This is not permitted.”

“I spilled hot coffee on my shirt. It burned like crazy. Just give me two minutes to change into a clean shirt.” Eliza shrugged him off. “Turn around.”

“You’re indecent.” Sharif knew he should tear his eyes away, turn around. The shape of her back, the soft shoulders, and her curves reminded him of the undulating terrain of the Sahara. The waistband of her pants rested low on her hips. Fighting his body’s traitorous desires, Sharif growled, “Get into the bathroom.”

“Too damn small.” Eliza snatched a black lace camisole from her backpack and held it against her chest. “Go back to Buzz. I’ll be properly dressed in two minutes.” The plane lurched to the right. Eliza lost her balance and placed her feet farther apart.

Sharif grabbed her around the waist and pulled her back snug against his chest. He whispered into her ear. “Eliza, when are you going to stop tormenting me?” He half hoped she didn’t hear his confession above the roar of the twin engines.

“Do you want me to shut off who I am?”

He felt her body tense as if preparing to fight him off, then melt into his wall of muscle and bone. As her head fell back to rest against his shoulder, her lips touched the pulse in his throat.

The intimacy threw him into panic. In the span of one breath, he felt the old inclination to shun the pleasure, even to feel repulsed by the bliss. Allah forbids. His drive to be honorable refused to allow the lie. He could no longer deny that Eliza, the impetuous and insane woman who had the audacity to expose his humanity, had become as dear as if she was his wife.

“No, never,” he said placing a brief kiss on corner of her mouth. Though he met her a mere month ago, he knew her as if they had spent a lifetime together.  He knew the cadence of her voice, the swing of her stride, and the nuances of her moods. He marveled at the light that shimmered in her hair and lived in her eyes. He knew the capricious scent of her body, and could spy on her thoughts through the tilt of her head and curve of her mouth. He found it mystifying at the depth he understood this woman, like no other. Wanted her, like no other.

The warmth of her body spread like a warm breeze into his. Numbed by isolation and practiced sacrifice, fragments of his passion flared out of control. Hashim Sharif moaned. He couldn’t tell where his body ended and hers began. The dim light of the aircraft cabin sighed over her shoulders. If not for the lace camisole concealing her most alluring charms, his lust would have ruled his actions.

Over the years, the words, I love you, had become mute, lost under the weight of perceived duty and disconnect with his emotions. He was Captain Sharif, the noble Muslim warrior. He was not Hashim Sharif, the good man, worthy of Eliza MacKay.

Soft and warm, her hands covered his. Sharif shivered with need – to declare to man and Allah, Eliza was his. A violent shake of the aircraft shattered his lustful intentions. Sharif straightened, and wrestled the cop back into control. Love was for people not running for their lives.


21 thoughts on “WEP August Challenge: Spectacular Settings

  1. Hi Feather! Firstly, that trail at Chickakoo is gorgeous! The colours are so relaxing. I can see why you love it.
    Your excerpt from Forbidden is great. I was hooked all the way through and had no intention of stopping. Captain Sharif, the noble Muslim warrior, captured my attention. I could feel his conflict. You had great descriptions of your setting. And a great place to leave us hanging: ‘Love was for people not running for their lives.’ Wow. Give me some more!!

    Thanks for sharing with WEP! You’ve certainly fulfilled the brief!

    Denise 🙂


  2. I enjoyed this excerpt. It teases us to know what happens. I like the description of confined quarters and the intensity that brings to the Captain’s circumstances. Also, I love the picture you shared. It’s so peaceful on many levels. I can understand it bringing inspiration and hope. Thanks for sharing.


  3. I love woodlands and it’s so nice there is a bench there to rest and take a few moments, lovely picture. Your extract is enticing as we read about a man struggling with his emotions, his religion and presumably his upbringing against a woman who may or may not know what effect she is actually having on him. As Denise has said, we want more!


  4. Thanks for sharing, Feather. Sharif’s struggle between his feelings and his beliefs is poignant, and you do an excellent job of marrying the action and the internal struggle with the behavior of the plane.


  5. Feather
    I love the photograph of the Trail at Chickakoo. There is nothing more inspiring or relaxing as a walk among the trees, no matter the time of year. Lovely! Thank you for sharing.

    Your paragraph could have gone on and on, I’d never have stopped reading until ‘the end’, and even then, I’m certain I’d want the story to continue. The characters of Sharif and Eliza are so well drawn in such a short piece, I wanted, needed to know more. Such mystery the final words “Love was for people not running for their lives.” Instill. Exciting!

    The attraction so well described for Sharif, “he knew the cadence of her voice . . .” that entire paragraph is romance at its best. Breathtaking!

    Thanks for sharing Forbidden during the WEP Spectacular Settings Challenge. So delightful!


  6. lgkeltner

    I, like many others, enjoy the allure of things that are forbidden, and you’ve captured that wonderfully here. I feel like I know Sharif well from just this little bit, and I feel for him. Conflicts between duty and intense feelings like his always draw me in, and I wanted to keep reading!


  7. Feather, your excerpt is great. It makes me want to read the story. And I really love the image you chose; I want to step into that serene autumn park and walk along that trail. Thanks for sharing.


  8. raelenepurtill

    Hi Feather, I love the picture. Places like that do my heart good too.
    Your story excerpt was fast paced, could feel all sorts of tension – internal and external.
    and I loved the last line. It would make a great tag line for the book.


  9. Hi Feather!
    This was filled with turbulence… on more than one level… 🙂
    I felt the noble Captain’s confusion and I’m wondering whether Ms. Eliza is aware of the effect she’s having on him… probably.
    What better way to ramp up the tension, than in a confined space… it was palpable!
    Great excerpt!


  10. The forest trail reminded me of many I’ve walked, and enjoyed. I too take inspiration from surroundings like those.
    I liked the piece from the story. The characters are like chalk and cheese, but there is a sense of forbidden chemistry – a nicely built scene.


  11. What a beautiful photograph. Very intriguing excerpt too – his torment is very well described. I’d like to read on and find out whether he can keep resisting. 🙂


  12. Hi Feather,

    I read and loved this excerpt of your chapter. I could feel the struggle in Sharif to loyal to his faith and yet the anguished that he was not only sexually attracted but emotionally entwined with a woman that was not of his faith.
    Excellent job.


  13. The photograph of the trail is healing magic. How I would love to spend time there. Hours, days…
    Loved the tension in your excerpt. And the cliff you left us hanging on, has left me wanting more.


  14. Well, this certainly kept my attention, and shows that you have a gift for describing emotions that many men like to keep hidden. This story seems to promise that someone will eventually override their inhibitions. Well done.
    That image of the trail in Alberta is evocative, as if it holds unknown secrets as well. And since it’s from western Canada, my part of the continent, I am pleased that you have selected it. I live in British Columbia but have travelled to Alberta several times.


  15. The photo is simply beautiful, so enticing!

    Your excerpt captured Sharif’s inner conflict and passion, you had me hooked from the start. I hope he can overcome his inhibitions/situation and get his Eliza. Thanks for a great read.


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