Sunday, April 25, 2010

Body Language Blogfest

Okay, this was a challenge. I picked a scene from The Beautiful People, which has been the MS of choice for the other blogfests I have participated in. In this particular scene my MC, Natalie, is stuck in a bad situation with one of the most powerful Mafioso's in the country.

He sat on the edge of an old, bare mattress decorated with a pattern that may have been popular twenty years earlier. It might as well have been a throne the way he sat there with authority, his back straight and shoulders squared. He didn’t say anything to me, just patted the empty space next to him, inviting me to sit. I stayed rooted to the floor and didn’t budge. He smiled at my defiance. Then he stood up and walked over until he was right in my face. I held my breath and turned my head away so I wouldn’t have to inhale his noxious odor. Grabbing my chin, he dug his fingers in and forced me to look at him. I glared back. He smiled, briefly, before kissing me. He pried my lips apart and invaded with his tongue. He might as well have shoved an ashtray in my mouth. I started to gag, bile rising in my throat. I placed my hands on his chest and tried to push him away. His arousal grew the more I struggled and he made sure to press against me as I protested. I lifted my knee up and hit him square in the balls. Instead of dropping into a fetal position, which is what I expected, he backhanded me again and I felt my lip split open. The pain was sudden and surprising, but I would take that over his ashtray lips on mine.

He shoved me against the door, my skull cracked hard on the wood. Dazed I shook my head to clear my vision. Mr. Genovese used his body weight to subdue me and attempted to rip my skirt off. His bare shoulder leaned in towards me so I bit, sinking my teeth into the flesh as deep and as hard as I could. He howled in what I thought was pain, but when he looked at me I saw a tobacco stained grin and anticipation in his eyes.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bar Scene Blogfest

I participated in the Murder Scene Blogfest yesterday and this bar scene is from the same manuscript (The Beautiful People). My murder scene is where my MC discovers that her brother is a soldier for the mob an her boyfriend, Dominic, is as well. This scene takes place before Natalie knows all of this and is in the beginning stages of falling in love with Dominic.

And action!

As I sat at the bar, zoning out, it dawned on me. I was beginning to like Dominic in more ways than just lust. Not good. Maybe he was right in distancing himself. I chugged my drink and stood up.

“Well, good night,” I said, hoping he couldn’t hear the panic in my voice. I walked up to the employee lounge to get my things. Brittany was getting ready to leave too.

“Hey Natalie! A bunch of us are going over to Blue, wanna come with?”

“Yes!” I jumped at the opportunity, grateful for the distraction.

We passed Grant on the way out and he seemed relieved that I would be hanging out with a bunch of girls. “Be careful,” he advised. “Call me if you need anything.” I rolled my eyes, but knew he would be the first to call if things got out of hand.

A huge line of people stood outside Blue. Many swayed in place and probably should have been home sleeping the booze off and not waiting to get into another club. I recognized several customers from Crimson as I walked past the line. I thought cutting in front seemed rude, but followed Brittany’s lead and we were ushered inside by the bouncer at the door.

Blue was bursting with people and steaming hot; the air heavy with perspiration and the stench of stale booze. We checked our coats at the coat check and filtered through the crowd to the bar. Once I had my drink, I spun around to people-watch and instead came face to chest with Dominic. Gin and tonic splashed all over my shirt.

“Shit!” I gasped as an ice cube dropped down the front and became lodged in my bra. I reached down to fish it out. Dominic seemed amused at the sight.

“I would have gotten that out for you,” he teased.

“So you’re talking to me now?” I countered. The smile vanished from his face.

“Er, yeah. Sorry about earlier. Your bro didn’t like us getting so friendly in the back of Miranda’s car last night.”

“That’s Grant for you.”

“I can’t say I blame him. I’d probably do the same if my little sister started to get involved with someone like me.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing, he’s being a big brother. I get it.” He leaned over to order a drink sandwiching me between him and the bar. His closeness made my stomach flip. I shook my head slightly in an attempt to focus. Don’t do it Nat. Don’t start liking this guy, I warned myself. The counter dug into the small of my back so I shifted. This resulted in being pressed closer to Dominic. He looked me up and down. “I owe you a drink, don’t I?” He asked his voice soft and husky.

“Um, I guess so?” Minutes passed while we waited for the bartender to return with our drinks. Dominic kept me pinned.

“So what’s your story, Natalie?”

“Nothing terribly interesting, I’m afraid. I go to the University of the Arts and I’m graduating in May.”

“What are you studying?”

“My major is sculpture and my minor is painting. What about you, do you go to college?”

“I took a couple semesters, but college didn’t appeal to me. Besides, I’m going into the family business anyway.”

“What business is that?”

The bartender arrived and I never got an answer to the question. Dominic kept me pinned beneath him and he leaned down.

“I wanted to do this last night,” he whispered in my ear. I closed my eyes, anticipating his next move. Sure enough his lips found mine and he pulled me closer to him. I grabbed his bicep, which was flexed from holding me so close. This kiss was like nothing I had ever experienced. Not wet, not sloppy, it was…incredible. I stopped holding back and fell into the moment. The loud club ceased to exist. When we pulled apart I had to catch my breath. My insides were begging and pleading for more. I could very easily have taken Dominic back to my apartment, slept with him and then be done. I was about ready to propose this, but stopped myself as another realization hit me.

I wanted more than a one night fling.

We moved in at the same time for another kiss. Our lips had barely touched when Brittany emerged from the crowd, pulling me away from Dominic and onto the dance floor.

“Brittany, I was kind of in the middle of something back there,” I yelled over the music.

“Really?” She seemed oblivious, but I had a feeling she knew exactly what she was doing. I looked back towards the bar, but Dominic was gone. Damn.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Murder Scene Blogfest

When I saw that Anne Riley was hosting a Murder Scene Blogfest, I became intrigued. This is my first blogfest, but since my finished manuscript is about the Philly mob, I had more than one scene to choose from. My MC, Natalie, doesn't know that her brother, Grant, is a soldier for the mafia or that her boyfriend, Dominic, is either. In fact, Dominic's uncle is the mob boss. This is Chapter 13 (fitting number) where the truth is revealed in a rather graphic manner. The setting is what appears to be a condemned building form the outside, but is really an exclusive after hours club for the mob.

The ride was quiet. Dom’s dark eyebrows creased together forming a pensive expression. There was something on his mind that much I could tell. My repeated attempts to find out didn’t yield anything, sending my imagination into overdrive. Dominic navigated his Mustang down the dimly lit street. By the time he parked in front of the now familiar condemned building I was convinced he was going to break up with me. Once inside he placed his hand on the small of my back and guided me to the same small table where we always sat. Dominic went up to the bar and ordered drinks. He came back with a bottle of Dom Perignon and two champagne flutes. His face was brighter and the smile he flashed, reached his eyes.

“What the hell?”

“We’re celebrating.” He said as he popped the cork and poured the bubbly. He held up his flute to toast. “To us!” He clinked his glass against mine and we sipped. After a couple of glasses I was feeling the buzz. We were both laughing uncontrollably at anything. I rested my head on his shoulder to catch my breath.

Suddenly a commotion broke out in the back room. A bunch of men were yelling and the doorman, Sam, took off down the hall. Gunshots exploded and I hit the floor. Dominic hunched over me protectively. Our champagne bottle was on the floor having been knocked over when I bumped against the table. Several other patrons were crouched down in similar positions. Dominic made sure I was okay and then stood up.

“Where are you going?” I hissed, alarmed.

“To see what happened.”

“Are you crazy? You’re going to get shot!”

“Relax Nat. Everything’s fine.” He spun around and left the room.

I stood up slowly, on shaky legs to follow him. Acrid gun smoke clouded the air, tickling my throat. I peeked around the doorway and down the hall. My eyes saw the blood first. A pool crept outwards from a man lying on his back, motionless on the floor. The force of the bullet had knocked him backwards in his chair when it entered his head. What was left of his skull was the source of the pool of blood. I couldn’t look away. The slow creep hypnotized me. I could identify bits of bone; stark white islands in a red sea. Chunks of brain matter settled in the pool like gelatinous mounds. The dead man’s right arm was flung up over his head, damming the flow, which had already started to coagulate and collect in the grooves of the wooden floorboards. A gun lay a few inches from his open hand.

I wasn’t aware of the sets of eyes staring at me. The sound of my brother speaking broke my fixation, “What is she doing here?” There was an accusatory tone to his voice.

I looked up from the body and into the back room. Grant was standing on the other side of the table flanked by Dominic and Sam. All three were looking at me. Sam’s expression was of wariness, Dominic’s concern and Grant’s anger. I quickly broke eye contact and wished that I hadn’t. Two other men were lying face down on the table in smaller pools of blood. My eyes moved to Grant again, he was the only one holding a gun.

The vodka tonics and champagne I had earlier burned up the back of my throat forcing me to bend over and vomit onto the floor of the hallway. Dizzy, I reached one hand out against the wall for support. I wiped my mouth with the back of my other hand and stared at a spot on the floor that wasn’t covered in vomit or blood or brains. My heart thundered in my ears and I tried to slow my breathing. I needed to sit but was unable to move at first. Slowly, I slid down the wall and hugged my knees to my chest. I didn’t care that my skirt hiked up to reveal my thong. That really seemed inconsequential at the moment. I closed my eyes and willed myself to get a grip. The smell of the death and my barf wasn’t helping to clear my head, but I was eventually able to calm down and became vaguely aware of people talking in the bar area behind me. No one else had gotten up to investigate.

“Hey Uncle Al,” Dominic called down the hall, “Can you help Natalie for me?”
Dominic was trapped on the other side of the body and the lake of blood and couldn’t get to me. A tall, wiry man with salt and pepper hair and a goatee appeared at my side and helped me up. He wrapped his arm around my back in a fatherly gesture and helped me across to the bar. My legs were still shaking and I welcomed the bar stool. The bartender set a glass of ice water in front of me and I gingerly took a sip, grateful to wash down some of the bile residue. Uncle Al sat down next to me.

“How you doin’?” He asked.

“I…I don’t know how to answer that.” I honestly didn’t. I was scared sick, horrified at the gruesome scene I had just witnessed and in shock that my brother was responsible for the carnage. I was even more unnerved that everyone else was so calm. It was like nothing had ever happened. “I need something stronger than water.”

The bartender set a glass of cognac in front of me. I took a healthy swig and braced myself for it to come back up. Fortunately, it soothed my stomach instead and the warmth spread out through my muscles; acting as an anesthetic for my nerves.

“There. Feel better?” Uncle Al patted my hand. He must have seen me relax. I turned to look at him and saw the same green eyes as Dominic and Miranda, only lined with crow’s feet. His skin had an olive complexion, like Dominic.

“I do. Thank you.”

“You just sit here. That mess will be cleaned up in no time.” My hands started shaking again and I quickly took another sip. “I’m Dominic’s Uncle, Al Grabano.” He shook my trembling hand.

“I’m Natalie Ross.” It seemed to be an odd time for introductions. He was looking at my profile and I could feel him evaluating my behavior. Now that the initial shock had worn off and the booze had started to kick in I thought I was ready to process the situation, a little bit at a time. “What happened?” I asked, hesitantly.

“I think we better wait for Grant and Dominic to answer your questions.” We sat in silence. The smell of bleach wafted into the room and soon filled it up completely. Scrubbing sounds drifted down the hall and a door slammed a couple of times. The other men in the room carried on their conversations over drinks, oblivious to the activities around them. After the second glass of cognac my stomach burned a little and my eyelids grew heavy. I rested my head against my hand and dozed off.