Monday, June 18, 2012

More Than Friends

If love spells make your heart race, check out Like Hearts Enchanted from Circlet Press, which includes my story, "Violets."

My contribution is a sweet romance about how the act of casting a love spell sometimes reveals hidden truths about relationships that are already in place. Here's an excerpt:

Helen couldn’t understand why she felt so nervous. “Why don’t you sit down so I can start on this braid?”

“Oh my God, you can tell she’s a grandma! I am going to look ridiculous in a braid.”

“It’s impossible for you to look ridiculous.” Helen got Silvia’s brush from the bathroom and passed the cinnamon stick through the bristles several times. She took a deep breath and undid the loose knot holding Silvia’s hair to the base of her neck.

The hair dripped over Helen’s hands like black honey, clinging lightly to her white skin. Helen shuddered at the touch.

“What’s the matter?” Silvia said.

“Nothing. You have pretty hair.” Helen’s throat felt tight. She took the brush and ran it through the thick locks. She brushed with her right hand and smoothed and arranged Silvia’s hair with her left. She thought of old advice to brush hair a hundred strokes every night. She wanted to give Silvia’s a thousand strokes. She wanted to bury her face in it. Helen wondered if it was something about Silvia’s shampoo.

She set the brush down and let herself sink both hands into the hair, rubbing Silvia’s scalp through it. The old woman had said that the person casting the spell should focus on the beauty and desirability of the recipient. Helen massaged Silvia’s head, rubbing her thumbs lightly over her hairline and then sliding them to the base of her skull.

Aside from Silvia’s beauty, what did she love about her? It was hard to choose just one thing to focus on. Much as Helen hated the trouble that Silvia got into, she loved that nothing ever seemed to break her spirit. She brushed away violence and pain like gnats and went on laughing in the face of it all. Seeing her good humor in bad situations made Helen long to see her friend in a good situation. She imagined how Silvia would smile if all in her life were truly well. More than anything, Helen wanted to give that to her. A happy home. A kind and true lover in her bed. A person who would love her body and her beautiful, black hair, but also the bold woman inside, and the soft girl who peeked out occasionally.

A light moan from Silvia snapped Helen into reality. Silvia’s hair against her palms and the backs of her hands felt so smooth it made Helen want to cry. She rubbed Silvia’s head, putting all her love and admiration into the gesture. Silvia moaned again, and Helen felt she couldn’t breathe.

She lost all sense of time, until finally Silvia cleared her throat. “Helen? This is an amazing head massage, but is this all part of casting the spell?”

“Huh? Yeah. Your grandmother told me to focus on all the good and beautiful things about you.”

Silvia laughed softly. She reached behind her and laid her hand over Helen’s, making even that awkward gesture appear graceful. She stroked Helen’s hand lightly with her thumb. “You are the only person who could possibly do that for a full half hour.”

Helen held back the response that rose to her mouth. What would Silvia think if she told the truth? I was only getting started.

She felt dazed, as if the solution to a problem hovered in the air just in front of her. She shook herself and picked up the first ribbon.

If you'd like to read more, you can get the book here.

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