This is a blog hop to celebrate love: lost, or found, or—both? Whether in short fiction, or a brief essay, or poetry, or even (especially for us Battle of the Bands participants) via a song, tell us a love story. Whether it’s of loss or a happily-ever-after is up to you—as is the genre. Sci-fi, thriller, comedy, memoir—it’s all good. “Love” is, after all, so much more than just “romance”. On Monday February 1st, it’s all about love, in all its forms. The only limit is your creativity.
The Lost & Found: Valentine’s Edition blog hop was born as a collaboration with Arlee Bird, and we’re thrilled to have enlisted fabulous help from co-hosts Denise Covey, Yolanda Renee, Elizabeth Seckman, and the Ninja Captain himself, Alex Cavanaugh.
Setting: Excerpt from FORBIDDEN, WIP
Word Count: 850
Critique comments welcomed
Scene: Captain Sharif and his quasi prisoner, Eliza, have been part of a international masacre cover-up. She is the sole witness that Sharif is required to keep hidden. Now being pursue by a hit man, they are heading to his family’s home in Rumi. They’re flying over the Rumi mountains in his friends jet.
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.
Sharif 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.
She turned to face him and flipped up her hair under the police cap. “There, no harm done.”
“You should have used the bathroom.” His voice was deep, still heavy with emotion – emotion over which he fought to regain a stranglehold and lure back into a prison. Sharif made an attempt to bolster his authority. He stood tall, shoulders back.
“What part of claustrophobia do you not understand?” Her scowl matched his.
He lifted his cap and slapped it back down. “Around my family, we’ll have to maintain physical distance at all times. No eye contact. No unnecessary conversation.”
Almost dreamlike, Eliza’s eyes and fingertips lightly followed the contour of his lower lip, cheek bones, and temple. She shivered and quickly withdrew her hand as if awakening with a start. She stepped back. “You’re the boss.” She smiled and patted his chest. “Anything you want, it shall be done.”