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Monday, June 27, 2011

Journal Entry

I've been keeping a journal of things that inspire me and little ideas I get. Well, the other night was so beautiful that my journal entry almost captured the incredible feeling.

Day: …I’ve lost count

Last night I drove up to the dam. I walked out on it, feeling stupid. Why was I tempting the fates? It was somewhere between eleven and midnight, just tempting the fates. There were a few other cars up there, hardly a person to be seen.

Despite my valid fears of rape, abduction and/or death, as soon as I was in the wind I could no longer question my motives. My sanity, perhaps, but not my motives.

What is it about that place that calls to me? Sings to me…so deeply. Just standing there with the wind stinging my eyes, whipping my carefully styled hair into a frenzy. I have never felt so calm, so right with the world.

Only a little way below, the waters of the lake lapped at the dam, begging for release. The dam stood solid and firm though, no mere waters could bring it down. The pride that was evident in its tall, strong structure was echoed in the view from the other side. The valley stretched out. It’s night time magnificence outshone any beauty that could be found within during the day.

I stood still, yet wavering. How could I keep my eyes open when they were assaulted with such wicked perfection? But worse, how could I possibly close them?

The wind was speaking to me and I strained to understand the words. It tossed my hair in frustration when I did not understand immediately. I listened harder and when I felt that I understood, such peace flowed throughout me. I felt that I must collapse, so I leaned against a light pillar.

It was all that I could do to suck in deep breaths of the lake air. The stars were glorious overhead. Their peace was in the extravagant normalcy of their being. Yes, I could see them from my apartment if I chose. But who could appreciate them more from there, than I did from atop the dam?

It was long minutes before I could convince myself to leave. Already I am full of foolish ideas of returning, though hopefully at a slightly less dangerous hour.


It is was this night that I had an inkling for a new book. And in the days since it has blossomed.

Now Hiring @ Shanco: Snarky Assistant

It has recently been brought to my attention that, as a writer, I should have an Assistant to help organize my projects and obligations as well as buck me up and give advice. After reading an interview of fellow author and witnessing the actions of her own assistant, I know that my assistant cannot be just any random person off the street. I must have a, what I call, Snarky Assistant.

This is not a position easily filled, and I do not expect to do so quickly. Therefore this job posting will be open until filled, without a 'fill-by' date. I will not settle for less than what I want and need. If that means I am my own Snarky Assistant for a time, then I will live (rather unorganized, but I will live.)

If you do not feel that you can fill the post, but know someone who may, I urge you to inform me.

Thank you for your time and reading,

Shannon A Hiner

Position Key: Snarky Assistant

Job Duties:

  • Preview & Critique all written works of S.A. Hiner.
  • Schedule and execute all necessary appointments, interviews, and promotions.
  • Make unplanned trips to the cafĂ© for tea and/or coffee.
  • Keep the same odd hours as the writer, or not mind being woken at odd hours.
  • Have a store of original, uplifting speeches of varying degrees ready at will.
  • Unplanned trips to inspirational sites, such as the river, the dam, the woods, etc.
  • The ability to quote poetry appropriately and accurately.
  • You must understand the writer to a degree that is uncanny, knowing what advice is needed, even if the writer does not want to hear it.

Experience & Education:

  • Experience critiquing writing.
  • A wide interest and knowledge base in random facts.
  • A tested IQ of 120 or better.
  • Uncommon sense
  • Some college preferred, though life-experience is valued more highly.

Necessary Interests:

  • Must love reading, especially of the fantasy and light romance genres.
  • An interest in Astrology is a plus.
  • Knowledge of plot and character archetypes.

Attitudal Features:

  • Trustworthiness is a key requirement for this position. You are likely to see and hear many things that are neither meant, nor appropriate for public knowledge.
  • You should be a witty, slightly sarcastic person who is not offended by biting cynicism.
  • Must be highly intelligent with the sense to apply that intelligence to life in a meaningful way.
  • Stubbornness, not to an extreme, will help you.
  • You should be a generally positive person, not prone to depression.
  • Slobs, personally and physically, need not apply (the writer is a clean-freak).


  • This position may be best filled by a live-in Snarky Assistant, your willingness in this aspect will be weighed for or against you.
  • This is not a paid position until the writer actually starts getting paid.

Benefits Include (but may not be limited to):

  • Prescreening of all of the writer’s books.
  • Trips to the movies/bookstore when inspiration is slow.
  • Homemade cake & cookies (and candy at Christmas!)
  • Homey-care when you are sick or hurt.
  • Optional Sunday dinners at the Hiner Compound. (other option being that this is your one guaranteed day off)
  • One other day off during the week is negotiable.

To Apply: Email, or Facebook message me. You should include prior experience as well as a response to all of the above statements.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Apartment 12- Carmen's Magical Llama

A new portion of Apartment 12 for your enjoyment!

Carmen’s Magical Llama

The sun was still high and the forest wasn't too thick at this point…we couldn't be too far from civilization, could we? I turned round and round, staring at the manzanita and oak trees.

"Let's face it guys, we're lost. There's no way we're going to find our way out of here anytime soon." I sighed and leaned against one of the trees.

The group of people behind me visibly sagged, they all believed I could lead them out. Why? How the hell was I supposed to know? When we went the wrong way they all just turned to me and expected me to magically find a way through the fricken forest. If anyone had asked me, I would have said it was damned annoying. Unfortunately, no one was asking me.

Someone I didn't recognize stood suddenly, gasped and pointed somewhere behind me. The others began to perk up. I turned around slowly. At first, I had no idea what they were so excited about, but then my eyes beheld the wonder. Standing very still, almost hiding behind one of the Manzanita, was a creamy white llama. Not just any llama though, he was the-

"The Magical Llama!" I exclaimed.

He looked at me and cocked his head to the side. Without notice he bounced a little, just a small jump to the side. I walked slowly toward him, it would not do to scare away the Magical Llama.

Again he bounced, but this time it was away from me. The crowd behind me seemed to hold their breath, afraid that I was scaring him, but I knew better…he was going to lead us out of the forest.

I grinned and started following him at a quicker pace. He was fast, that little hopping monster, but he never got too far away. Before I knew it we were standing in someone's backyard, between the swimming pool and the trampoline. I turned to the Magical Llama, he winked at me and I felt so happy.

"Thank you so much your Mysticalness, you've been such a help."

He walked toward me, slowly bending his neck…He would give me a gift. I knew the legends of the Llama. The next moment was worth waiting lifetimes for. I closed my eyes, afraid to meet his and then-

"Carma! Wake UP! NOW! That's the fifth time I've called you this afternoon!"

"Aghhhh! Vega! Didn't I tell you never to wake me up? How am I supposed to know what the

Magical Llama's eternal gift is if I'm not there to see it?!" I rolled over, diving under the pillows to hide from my roommate.

There was a pause in Vega's tirade, "You dreamed about the damn llama again?"

"Yes! And this time he was going to give me a gift and now I'll NEVER know what it was!"

I heard her take a deep breath, "Oh my God, Carma. Oh my God. You're late for work dumbass. Get up! I won't pay your half of the rent."

Thank you for reading! Your comments are welcome and appreciated!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Scrap Set! "Apartment 12"

Lately I have a new source of inspiration, and it's giving me some hilarious ideas! I also have some interesting older scraps on my computer with characters who I still connect with, I want them to have a longer time to shine.

I have decided to roll the ideas into one Scrap-Set. There will be a few continuing themes, but most of the scraps will be cute little blurbs. While many of these stories will probably be inspired by real events, names will be changed as well as places.

The stories take place around and between two roommates and a few of their friends at Pine St Place, an apartment building.

Without out (much) further ado, I introduce,

Apartment 12

Carmen leaned against the washing machine, engaged in a stare down with the timer. She had arrived on time, perfectly so. Well, she was one minute early at the most. Maybe two. Whatever. She was most certainly not five minutes early!

When a timer promised the load would only take 24 minutes, it had better mean it! She ran her tongue over her teeth. She was quite aware of how intimidating she appeared when she did that. Halfway across her pearly whites she grimaced suddenly. She needed to brush her teeth.

Four minutes left on the timer. Carmen took a deep breath and considered. Could she make it back to her apartment, up the stairs, brush her teeth and be back before the timer ran out? Unlikely. Would she try?

Sadly, yes.

She grinned suddenly and deserted the laundry room. Jogging over the gravel path, she listened as always to the sounds from other apartments. Most people were at work at one in the afternoon, but the ones who worked the night shift were just waking. Voices seeped through the walls. If you passed at the right times you could learn some very interesting details.

Apartment 9 had their air conditioner running which muddled the conversation taking place within. She could hear a man and a woman, but their words were indecipherable. Apartment 11 was still empty after the neighbors had moved out. Thank goodness they had, their animals had constantly been allowed to run amuck (emphasis on ‘muck’ please). The carpet cleaners had just left the day before, it had taken them hours to clean the place out. The smell of pine floor cleaner was so strong it had been wafting into Carmen and Vega’s apartment just up the stairs. Across from 11, she could hear the couple in 13 chatting about his new work schedule.

Carmen carefully mounted the stairs. The concrete steps were steep enough and she was clumsy enough she had no desire to take chances. Apartment 12 emitted no sounds, Vega said the two guys who lived there worked across town at a tire store during the day.

Opening the door to the apartment she closed it quickly and sprinted across to the bathroom. She wrenched open the top drawer while picking up her toothbrush with the other hand. In one fluid movement she had the cap open on the toothpaste and was squeezing a small amount on the brush. Turning the faucet on to cold she splashed some water on the brush and paste then jammed it into her mouth so hard she winced.

Ignoring the taste of blood, she brushed like a dancing marionette. After about one minute the fluoride was starting to burn a little. She spat out a wad of toothpaste and rinsed the brush. Grabbing the water bottle she kept on the counter she gulped to much and almost choked. The water shot up her nasal passages, and possibly all the way to her tear ducts as she felt them water. She spat it back out just as quickly and then proceeded to hack up her left lung.

When she was done she stood with her hands clutching the sides of the counter, heaving in air to her remaining lung. She wiped her face with the soft lavender towel that had seen too many of these episodes. Luckily, only a little of her makeup had been mussed. She wiped judiciously at the corner of her eyes, ridding them of the smeared liner.

After another ten seconds she was on her way back down the stairs. Jogging again, she made it back to the laundry room and slid to a halt in front of the washer. The timer mockingly displayed ‘0’. Carmen’s fists clenched and her eyes narrowed. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and glanced down at the time. She had only been gone for four minutes.

Yes, the washer was definitely messing with her.

“Grr!” She said loudly and hauled the door open. Reaching across to the dryer she opened its door as well. The transfer of clothes was longer and probably much more awkward than it had to be. Multiple times socks dropped to the dirty floor, further pleasing Carmen. She thought she finally had all of the clothes in the dryer when she turned around to see a pair of underwear also on the ground. Bright purple and covered in leopard print, they were unmistakably hers.

“Shit!” She hissed and snatched them up in an instant. She threw them in the dryer and slammed the door shut, looking around with embarrassment. Had anyone witnessed her display?

The apartments right next to the laundry room, 9 and 10 had their blinds closed. No one seemed to be out and about either. She sighed in relief and started popping the quarters into the machine. One dollar and a delicate button later, she was leaving the laundry room.

Without knowing why, she glanced up at apartment 10. The stair landing was littered with potted plants, wind chimes and a doormat that Carmen couldn’t read from below. The door had a beaded curtain and the whole landing was wrapped in mosquito netting.
The blinds in the front window were shaking slightly, as if something had tapped them. Or as if someone had been staring out.
Carmen's eyes narrowed and she walked back to her apartment even faster.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Complaint Unto The Cursor

Written yesterday, on my bed, staring at Sam's screen...
WARNING: Completely Random Material!)

Where does the will to write come from? Why does the dreaded Block occur?

As I sit, staring at the blinking cursor I ponder why I cannot write. I feel the draw to my computer screen…I have spent the last few hours pouring over notes and ideas. I have felt the keyboard whispering my name, pulling me closer. Still, as soon as I arrive here nothing comes to my fingertips. My brain knows the stories, knows the plot and the characters better than it knows my own life, but still nothing.

Who invented the cursor? They should be taken out and beaten.

It’s blinking taunts me. What’s the matter writer? Don’t you have anything to say? Yes, dammit! I have heaps to say, they are built up in my mind like piles of gold. Piles of refuse. What is the difference besides in the beholder? If one can look at a pile of gold and think it refuse, then cannot one look at a pile of refuse and see treasure?

Treasure of thought cannot be put down in anything but words. Words. Why dost thou elude me now?

Hours on my hands and all I feel is the pull of housework. Yes, I should be cleaning. I should be vacuuming…but instead I give my hours to a blank computer screen. Why, why can I not fill said screen with anything other than bizarre rambling?

My mind, filled with the desire to write, but not the words. I wander, directionless and tired, through the corridors of my thoughts. There is no one else here right now. No characters stopping me for a word or two, no beasties running rampant in need of proper caging.

Don’t I just know why. It has occurred to me, just this moment, that my characters and beasties must be quite a deal smarter than me.

Who takes the time to read anymore? Why should I write, if no one will read? Can my words be sustained simply on my own enjoyment alone? I know not. From the beginning I have had those willing to read and respond near me. It has been their encouragement that has drawn forth the stories…the thought of their eyes feasting on my words that has brought forth the most delicious chapters and morsels of phrase.

Without viewership my river of inspiration runs murky and sluggish. My desire to delve into the plumby dark depths ebbs and I sit idle..

Staring at the cursor...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kiss Me Pt II

This is the second part of the scrap inspired by Sixpence None the Richer's song Kiss Me. It gives you an even better of where the story is going...

As usual, if you enjoy, let me know!

Kiss Me Pt II

My mouth fell open of it's own accord. What was an Earl doing in the house of a mere Baron?!
The ‘Earl’ smiled at me, "It is a pleasure to meet you Miss Lalten."
I closed my mouth finally, saying by memory, "The pleasure is all mine monseiur."
Papa was smiling like he knew something wonderful, when in fact I was about to find out it was rather terrible.
Mama gave me a reassuring smile, "Samantha, the Earl has expressed an interest in marrying you."
"And we think it would be wonderful. It has been arranged." Papa finished.
My whole world came crashing down. Once again my mouth was left gaping. My eyes darted between the three people in the room. My papa's triumphant grin, mama's steady smile, the Earl’s smirk as he eyed me. Marriage? Arranged? An arranged marriage?! I couldn't handle the pressure of their expectant expressions. I stood and ran out of the room. I ran threw the halls of our manor. I ran up the stairs. I ran to my room. Flinging myself upon my bed, I felt my eyes stinging. I wasn't crying yet. My head felt confused and my temples pounded terribly. I had a horrible feeling in my stomach and I was suddenly very dizzy.
Marriage?! How could this be?! Marriage?! I was only 16! An earl?! Marriage to a earl at the age of 16?! How could this be happening to me?! Marriage?! To a earl?! I was hyperventilating and dry sobs were taking away my breath. I was trembling terribly and I felt a cold sweat steal over me.
I heard the door open, but I couldn't turn to see who it was. A hand touched my arm and it was like an electric shock through my body.
"Dear Lord," I heard my mama's voice, "She's gone into shock! Diana, go get some warm water and blankets! And tell Sally to bring some luke warm water! Now!"
Mama turned me over and when I saw her worried face I finally started crying. I couldn't speak through the tears and pain I felt. I just crumpled up my face and closed my eyes so I didn't have to look at her. Mama wrapped her arms around me in a warm hug and rocked me back and forth.
"Shhh, ma fille...We shouldn't have told you like that." She kissed the top of my head, "Hush now, it will be okay. The Earl is very rich and handsome, he will provide you a good home. You will have more than you could ever gain here. This is a better marriage for you than your Papa and I ever imagined for you."
"Mama, I can't!!" I finally managed to wail while clutching onto her shoulders and sobbing.
"You can, and you will, Samantha."
The maids came back then and I was made to drink a terrible tea. A warm, damp cloth was laid on my head, and lastly, I was covered with many blankets and told to sleep. For hours after they left I lay awake. I couldn't think very well, I just kept crying and pleading with God...I couldn't marry the Earl. I could never marry him, not when I was in love with Teddy. Not when Teddy was so dear to me. I couldn't! I just couldn't!
"I can't..." I whispered in a moan before finally falling asleep.

The next morning I didn't wake up until late. It was nearly two hours later than I should have lain in bed. Mama was in the room with me and a maid, Diana, immediately popped up to offer me a warm soup. I shook my head at it, I couldn't eat. I couldn't swallow anything. I looked at my Mama with all the pleading that filled my soul. She looked worried, her own gray eyes filled with regret.
"Mama?" I said.
"Yes dear?"
I bit my lip, with hope, "You don't want this match either?"
She looked away, "It is more than I ever dreamed for you."
"Mama, please answer my question..."
"The match is wonderful. Now, no more questions. I must go and take care of a few things." She left the room, her skirts swishing gracefully.
I felt my bottom lip tremble. Diana was still in the room. She had been my nursemaid when I was little, and my friend since I had become a young lady. I told her everything important to me, and she always listened. She was the only one on the manor that knew about Teddy and I. I turned to her, with tears on my cheeks, and broke down.
"Oh, poor dear!" She hugged me close, "There, there Sam, you'll be okay. It'll be alright. You'll see."
"But-but-Teddy!" I sobbed into her shoulder.
She stroked my hair, "Teddy is the son of a duke, and you are the daughter of a mere baron. You knew this day would come Samantha. Your little romance must end, for now you must do your part for the family by marrying. The Earl is a very good match love, more than your family ever expected."
"If I can marry a earl, why can't I marry an duke?!"
"Teddy must marry to a higher title Sam, you know that. He must marry a duchess or countess."
"I don't want him to marry anyone else Di!" I cried.
Diana sighed, "Well, he must. That is how Society is. You must deal with it and live on. Your family is depending on you, as the eldest, to make the best match. Therefore, you will."
"I wish our families were dirt poor! Then no one would care who we married!" I wiped my face, "I must go to him."
"No Sam, you can't." She shook her head, "You are engaged now. You cannot go gallivanting with boys now. You mustn’t see him again, it will only cause you both more pain."
"I must tell him Di! If he doesn't know he will think I don't care for him!"
"Perhaps it is better that way. Young people are rash, if he knows how much you care then he will do something stupid. You must stay here Samantha."
I sniffed, "At least let me tell him goodbye. I can tell him then that I cared, but, but," tears welled up in my eyes, "that now I am grown up. And-and, I must move on."
Diana took a deep breath, staring hard at me. I know she saw my sincerity when she nodded, "Do not be long Sam, your mother will want to start plans and such."
I threw my arms around her neck, "Thank you Diana! Thank you so much!"
After changing into some more sturdy clothes I fled the mansion and ran towards the woods.
When I reached our meeting spot Teddy wasn't there. I sat down on a large rock, shifting nervously. I kept going over my words, figuring out what to say, what he would believe. When he appeared, walking amongst the trees, I wanted to run to him as I usually would, but I held myself back. I chewed my lip tensely and kept my eyes on the ground.
I felt his arms go around my waist as he came up behind me. His head rested on my shoulder and he kissed my cheek. I wanted to lean into him and soak up the warmth his touch promised, but I remained stiff.
"Sam? What's wrong?" He came to kneel in front of me, capturing my hands before I could move them. He stared up into my eyes and I felt my heart breaking into pieces one chunk at a time,
"Have you been crying?! Sam, what's going on?!" He scooped me up into his arms and, for a minute, I felt whole.
I pushed him away gently, trying not to look up into his wonderful eyes, "I came to say goodbye Teddy."
"Goodbye?" he echoed hollowly.
"Yes, we can no longer be as we have been. It was fine for a while, but-but now I am much older. I must go home now-"
He grabbed my arms and forced me to look at me. I could see the depth of his hurt and confusion, "What are you talking about, Sam?! What's going on?!"
"I am sorry Teddy," I said steadily, "But we must stop seeing each other."
His mouth fell open, "Wha-Why?!"
"We must grow up and move on."
"Is this about that countess?! Sam, I told you! I'm not going to consent to marry anyone but you-"
"It's not about that Teddy!" I said forcefully. I struggled to get out of his grip, but it was futile, "This must stop! Let me go!"
"Sam, we love each other! Do you have any idea how little that happens anymore?! I can't just let that go-"
"You must!"
He let go of me suddenly, "Who told you to do this? Was it your father? Did he find out and-"
"Oh, just go away Teddy!" I yelled and ran off. I expected him to run after me, but I didn't hear his footsteps.
When I got back to our manor I locked myself in my room and wouldn't let anyone in, not even Diana. I stayed there for hours, ignoring anyone who pleaded at my door. Finally, my papa took his own key and unlocked the door. I was at my window seat, staring out into the forest and losing myself in the stars. He closed the door behind him and walked quietly to the window seat.
Despite being separated from him for the first eight years of my life, I was very close to my papa. My mama and I had lived in France until the Revolution. I was never told why we were there without papa, but I knew something terrible had put us there. Both of my parents were English, but being raised in France I had learned to speak French and had acquired the accent. When the Revolution came we fled to England and became established in my papa's house. Papa was a good man and had been the best father a girl could have since I had met him.
Now, he sat down on the window seat next to me, "Sammy," He was the only one I permitted to call me that, "Please talk to me Sammy."
I didn't look at him, but stared harder out the window, "I don't want to marry him."
"Why not? He is handsome, rich, titled and seems very kind."
"I do not love him."
"Sammy, love does not come around very often. Many learn to love after they are married."
I bit my lip, debating if I should tell him, "Papa? If I tell you something, will you promise not to be angry with me?"
"Of course dear."
"I'm in love with someone else." I looked at him finally, "Please don't be angry! I met him years ago, and at first we were just play mates...but, I-"
"Oh Samantha," My father rubbed a hand over his face, "You fell in love with a farmer, didn't you?"
I shook my head, "Worse Papa, the future Duke of Kingsmore."
I realize that Sam's reaction may have seemed overly dramatic, but keep in mind that she is only 16...I can remember freaking out that badly over even lesser things at that age.
As always, let me know what you think!

Friday, June 3, 2011

An example of how the song inspires the writer...

I wrote this piece a while back. Everytime I hear Sixpence None The Richer's Kiss Me, I think of this story. I haven't finished it yet, but someday I really want to.

The story is set in Victorian England, and will, someday, be my first attempt at the Historical Romance genre. There's more of this, if you like it!

Kiss Me

I ran through the fields as fast as I could, laughing whenever I had the breath. I kept running away from him, but I knew he was starting to gain on me. I tried to pick up my pace, but my breath was running out. As I went around a haystack I screamed, for there in front of me he was. I skidded to a halt and reversed direction as gracefully as I could. He laughed and followed me, only a few feet back now. I smiled as I was running, I was gaining on him again. Or so I thought. I turned to look again and it slowed me down. Then he was right behind me, reaching out to grab me.

His hands went around my waist and we yelled and laughed as we went tumbling to the ground. When I opened my eyes, I found myself laying in the field with his head right above me, sheilding the sunlight. He smiled down into my eyes and my heart skipped a few beats. He was so handsome with the sun at his back and his eyes sparkling. He had thick black hair, cut short as was the current style, and hazel green eyes. He had an honest face, and his jaw was starting show hints of a beard. He had high cheekbones and strong forehead. He was the spitting image of his father, except he smiled a lot more.

"I caught you Sam..." he smirked, "You know what happens when I catch you."

I rolled my eyes, "Considering that you always catch me...yes, I know what happens."

He leaned down a little and brushed his lips against mine. It sent a warm tingle through my entire body. After a moment he did it again and a little moan escaped me. When he kissed me more deeply, I reached around him to hold him closer. His hands curled in my hair, stroking the back of my neck. He nibbled on my lower lip for a minute, but then sighed suddenly.

He hugged me and buried his face in my hair, whispering, "I love you Sam."
I hugged him back, resting my head on his shoulder, "I wish it could be like this forever Teddy."

"It will, love. Somehow, I'll find a way. Mother doesn't want anything arranged, and you know Father listens to her."

I scowled, "Only when he wants to. I don't think he would go along with us." I bit my lip, "Teddy? I heard something about a countess and her daughter..."

"Yes, indeed," he grimaced, "They're supposed to be calling on us next week. I'm afraid it's just as you fear, Father invited them to discuss more than just the weather." He sighed and touched my cheek. He pressed a kiss to my nose, cheeks, and then mouth...never wavering in intensity.

"But I love you Sammy," he said, "And no countess' daughter can change that."

I smiled and tweaked his nose, "Don't call me Sammy, or I'll call you Theodore."

He shuddered, "You wouldn't, would you?"

"Oh, I would." I leaned up to kiss him, "But I won't this time because I like you."

"So, you would call me that if you didn't like me?"

"Nope, I would call you Dora and have done with it."

His eyes widened as he grinned, "You are truly cruel to those you don't like. I'm so glad you like me."

I smiled tenderly, "I love you."

"All the better." He was going to kiss me again when we heard a door slam.

We both sprang apart and ran to hide behind a haystack. We stood there, close for a minute before anything else was heard. And then a gravelly, harsh voice rang out.

"Samantha?! Where ye be gel?! Yer Papa wants ye, ye bloomin' fool!"

I giggled, but Teddy put a hand over my mouth. I could see in his eyes that he wanted to laugh too. "Tomorrow" he mouthed and then removed his hand and quickly covered my mouth with his. His tongue barely caressed mine before he pushed me around the haystack and towards home. After the frantic, but wonderful, kiss my mind was a little joggled, and it took me a moment to know I should answer the yell.

"I'm right here Sally! I'm coming!" My cultured tones always annoyed Sally, who had been raised in Scotland, and I could hear her grumbling. I took one last look behind me, wishing I could go back to Teddy. He wasn't there any longer, probably already on his horse and nearly home. I sighed and entered the manor through the back kitchen door.

Cook was laboring over the stove. At my inquiring look, she pointed to the parlor with her big spoon. I thanked her and quickly hurried to the parlor. The door was closed when I got there, so I knocked and stood waiting for an answer. My papa opened the door and looked down at me.

"Good Lord girl!" he whispered fiercely, "What the devil have you been doing?! Get yourself up the stairs and right yourself. You look the image of a maid!" He shut the door hastily on me and I heard his voice inside saying cordially, "Just a maid saying our Samantha will be down in five minutes."

I frowned, this was strange. I shook off my feeling of foreboding and skipped up the stairs. I laughed at myself when I looked in the mirror. At the age of 16 I had long curly blonde hair and light gray eyes. Usually, when I hadn't been out all day with Teddy, my hair looked quite lovely, but now there was hay sticking out of it. My cheeks were flushed with excitement and my dress had dirt and hay hanging from it. My eyes were luminous with happiness though.

I changed out of the dirty dress and donned a pretty light green one. The dress was fairly plain, but it made me look nice and did wonders for my complexion. I brushed the hay out of my hair and settled it nicely with a half pony tail. I cleaned my hands and splashed some cold water on my face. When I looked presentable I hurried back down stairs and returned to the parlor door.

Almost before I knocked my papa opened the door again. He smiled in relief when he saw me. With a flourish he beckoned me into the nice room. I had always loved this room for it's warmth and character. The walls were a welcoming cream and there was comfy furniture everywhere. My mama was inside and she beckoned me to sit in a specific chair. There was a man directly across from the chair I was supposed to sit in. I didn't recognize him, but immediately I didn't like him. He gave me an uneasy feeling. Everything about him seemed dark. His hair, his eyes, his clothes and even his skin. He seemed to be in aged somewhere in his late twenties to early thirties. He smirked upon seeing me.

Uneasily, I took the seat. I looked between my mama and papa, wondering what this was all about. Papa closed the door, but didn't sit. Instead, he clapped his hands together.

"Samantha, I would like you to meet the Duke of Bridgerton."


Let me know what you think, and if you want to see more!