Guest Blogger: Marquessa Matthews; “Rock The Boat”

Hello my faithful readers! Today I’m coming to you with a tropical short story written by Marquessa Matthews!

I recently did a Q & A with her and I couldn’t wait to share this with you all! As I mentioned before, she has a great gift and her stories leave you wanting more!

Enjoy and be sure to check out her other fiction pieces!

Rock The Boat

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Photo credit: killerfemme / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

“It’s almost time to pack up and go, sleepyhead,” I heard someone whisper.

I slowly opened my eyes and was greeted by the sight of Delaney’s face upside down. Au naturel and from this vantage point, she was still stunning.

It had been the perfect day in Culebrita.

Emme and Delaney had spent a lot of time snorkeling together as if they had known each other much longer than just that weekend. And since Nate had insisted, we had also scouted out sea turtles with her since it was her first time. It was a perfect day in perfect company.

“How long was I out?” I groaned and squinted from the sunlight.

When my lounge chair had broken, I had wedged myself between Delaney’s sandy legs, leaning back so that my head rested comfortably on her stomach. She had tried to playfully shove me off but before I knew it, she was running her fingers though my hair, her nails grazing my scalp over and over again, putting me into such a relaxed state that I fell asleep.

“Over an hour. You were even snoring.”

From the glint in her eye, I knew her well enough to know that she was lying. I immediately looked around for Nate and pushed myself up from the chair. Emme and Ric were laughing as they watched Nate and Adrian demolishing the sandcastle they had spent so much time building just a few hours before. Boys being boys.

“I don’t snore. But you do,” I teased back. “What have you been up to?”

I propped myself up and scooted down to the lower part of the chair. I started brushing the sand off my arms and my legs.

“Let me help you.”

Delaney grabbed a towel and started dusting off my chest. I noticed her eyes trail slowly across my tattoo which always seemed to intrigue her. Her touch against my skin electrified me and I was immediately turned on. As always. My level of control was at its limit. I wanted her so badly. If I could, I would take her right then and there on this beach. But I had no choice but to wait for her signal. I took a deep breath and reigned in my thoughts of peeling off her bikini. When it finally happened, I just hoped that I could keep it together to savor the moment completely.

“I’m looking forward to a long hot shower as soon as we get back to the house. I’ve got sand in places where it really shouldn’t be.” Delaney laughed and swung her leg from around me. She jumped up and stood directly in front of me.

I grabbed her waist with both hands and gazed up at her. “I’ve got an idea. You, me, a shower…”

She tried to hold back a smile, knowing exactly how I’d wanted to finish that sentence.

“Alejandro…” she cut me off, trying to change the tone of where I wanted this conversation to go.

I pulled her in closer and kissed her soft stomach. “Laney, do you know how hard this is?”

In the distance and with Delaney’s back turned to them, I saw Emme and Ric raising their eyebrows and nodding at me like teenagers. It shouldn’t have mattered but it felt good to know that they approved of her. To distract the boys from us, Emme ushered the boys to start gathering up their toys to take back to the boat.

“I know, in more ways than one.” Delaney made a joke of it, a little embarrassed. “While you were napping, I was catching up on news feeds from home,” she said, getting back to my initial question. She placed a hand on my shoulder to steady herself as she took off her sandals.

I was confused. That didn’t sound right. “There’s no cell service out here.”

“I know. I downloaded it before we left.” Delaney readjusted her bikini. “I’m going for one last dip in paradise. Are you coming?” She dropped her cell into her beach bag and looked down at me with those pretty brown eyes.

“No, you go on ahead. You know, this doesn’t have to be our last time here. We can always take a trip back and visit a different beach.”

“I would love that.”

Delaney took off down the beach and into the water. Before I realized what I was doing, Delaney’s cell phone was in my hand. My instincts told me that I had nothing to worry about. But what if deep down I was wrong? It wouldn’t have been the first time. Marisol’s condescending and booming voice played over and over in my head – gold-digging women, don’t you trust them, especially around your son

I kept her cell low to the ground as I scrolled through its contents. Basic emails, text messages from her friends, her brother and one from a Tyler. Who was Tyler?

I’m sorry. I understand. But we need to talk when you get back. Ty.

Was he the reason Delaney was holding?

Just as she had said, there was no Facebook or Instagram on her phone. The only social media icon was Twitter and just she had said, it was mainly of headlines from Montreal, Toronto and San Juan. I hesitated a moment before I clicked on the photo icon and surfed through. Pictures of the plane ride to Culebra, the views from Ric and Emme’s place, shots from today with all of us in a variety of poses around the sandcastle we had all built together…The last pictures were cute ones of our feet together hanging off of the very chair I was sitting on, which she had to have taken while I was asleep – nothing that would really be worthy of selling to the media.

I instantly felt better and sighed in relief. Now, I felt stupid about having doubted her and I really wished I hadn’t snooped through her cell. Without even really realizing what I was doing, I continued scrolling through older pictures until I realized that someone was casting a shadow at my feet.

“Alejandro, what do you think you are doing?”

©2015 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

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Mommy Workout

Being a stay at home mom can be difficult with the kids taking up so much of my time. Now that my oldest has started kindergarten, it does make things easier and I’m able to find more time to get a workout in. Even if it is just thirty minutes. It’s really all you need as long as you’re giving it you’re all! 😊

I’m not saying it’s easy. My littlest one interrupts a lot but I just keep pushing through!!

Below is a peek at what my workouts look like. I don’t go to the gym, I do everything in my house 😉 so there really aren’t any excuses. Even if you only have ten minutes a day. You can find the time!! 😊

© Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review: The Wrath & The Dawn 

the wrath and the dawn.jpg Where do I even begin? For the past week I have been in a magical world of sandy plains and mysteriously beautiful dark haired and fearless characters.
My heart is overwhelmed with excitement and longing for more out of these characters that I have completely fallen for. I suppose I will simply do my best to survive until the sequel comes out. (Sigh)

Renee Ahdieh has truly created such a mesmerizing tale that will stay with me always, leaving me here with thoughts of Shahrzad & Khalid, the king who takes a wife only to have her killed at dawn. My oh my, what a story!!

This is an absolute MUST READ!! Allow yourself to be transported to this magical land filled with mystery, suspense, romance, and action.

Happy reading fellow book lovers!! 😉
Xo

© Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo, 2015.

Q & A with Marquessa Matthews

I have had the pleasure of chatting it up with one of my fellow bloggers and it has been a real treat getting to know more about her and her work! I thoroughly enjoy the flow of her writing and encourage you to check out her blog 🙂

One of my favorite pieces from her blog really left me wanting more and I simply can’t wait for the continuation of San Juan

So, without further delay, please continue reading for an amazing Q & A with Marquessa Matthews

1. Q: What inspired the tone for this beautifully subtle romance on this tropical island?

A: I’ve been visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico almost every year (and sometimes twice) since my early 20’s. From the moment I first visited, something about the island felt like “home” and it was more than just being surrounded by beautiful beaches. There is a palpable “vibe” to the island that I just simply love.

My “San Juan” piece was inspired from my March 2015 visit. It was a hot, humid and past midnight. I was sitting out on the balcony, hypnotized by the sounds of the ocean and watching a couple stroll down the beach hand in hand until I could no longer see them in the darkness.

That’s when I had the idea, “If I placed Delaney on a similar balcony with a similar view and a love interest, what would that scene look like?”

I knew it would somehow have to be romantic, with whispers of the possibility of things to come. Or not.  

2. Q: The connection between the two lovers was just enough to tease the readers and leave them wanting more. How do you prepare yourself to write a story such as this?

A: In all honesty, I can’t say that I “prepared” myself for writing this story. The “Delaney” character is one that has been rolling around in my head for a long while. Over time, I’ve created different potential storylines in my head for her – who she is, what’s her story so far and what makes her tick.

I initially wrote the first draft of “San Juan” as a prologue/flash forward and there was absolutely no mention of “Alejandro”. I had purposely not mentioned a male character’s name because I was undecided as to who the “mystery man” would be in that scene – Dex, Tyler or Alejandro. I wanted tease it just enough for the reader to want to find out who she had chosen and how she had ended up in San Juan with him.

But the more I started to write, the more I realized that the storyline was too “big” and would be better suited in three parts. 

Now, I’m concentrating on the Delaney/Alejandro (part 3). The Dex/Delaney storyline (part 1) and the Delaney/Tyler storyline (part 2) will eventually follow and take readers to how Delaney ended up in San Juan. So in essence, my project plan is to create a mini-trilogy.  

3. Q: When writing a story like this, what do you hope your readers feel by the time they read the last line?

A: For any fiction that I write, by the time readers are at the last line, I try to make them feel as if they had been in the same room with the characters as the scene was unfolding.

Because of that, dialogue is very important to me. My brainstorming ideas are always heavily dialogue-based so my first goal is to make the readers feel as if they are eavesdropping on a personal conversation. Then, on my second go ’round, I try to create the “feel” to give the readers a bird’s eye view of the environment, like watching a scene unravel from a front row seat.

Personally, I love it when I read fiction that makes me feel as if I were like a fly on the wall.

4. Q: You mentioned you are working on a continuation, can you send us back to sandy beaches with a sneak peek into what might happen next with our lovers?

A:  I wish that I could send you back to sandy beaches after “San Juan” but I can’t! 🙂

As I mentioned before, it started off being a quick prologue/flash forward. But as I progressed in the writing of the other excerpts under my “The Story So Far” blog header, “San Juan” ended up better suited as part of a place to “end” as part of the unfolding of the story. Eventually, I will need to rewrite and tweak it for consistency with the scenes that precede it.

What I can give you is a sneak peak as to what Delaney may possibly be saying, “Okay” to at the end of that scene, which is either:

1.  staying the night;

2. accepting a suggestion for her to cancel her plane ticket back home; or

3. accepting a proposal for her to move in with him for the time left on her assignment;  

5. Q: Aside from San Juan, you have written other stories with a similar touch, would you consider putting together a book of short stories for publishing?

AThe other fiction stories that specifically touch on “Delaney” will eventually serve as a base for the other stories I have planned for her (part 1 & 2), all weaved together to create a “book”. I would love to be published one day and that is my ultimate goal. But for now, I am looking forward to see what kind of interesting situations I can get Delaney into. 

I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed working on it with Marquessa! Please be sure to visit her page and subscribe to stay updated with all her new posts!!

xo

© Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Early Bird

Morning began to creep through the blinds, tickling her lashes as she slowly opened her eyes to greet the morning sun. She gently slid herself out of bed, being careful not to wake anyone as she made her stealthy getaway.

All was quiet as she expected when she lightly stepped her feet down the stairs to begin her morning ritual.

Coffee.

Breakfast.

Calming music.

Yoga practice.

Meditation.

These elements in her mornings are what she craved and selfishly did not want to share. These were her tools to the start of a beautiful day, just for her.

She sat by the back sliding door where the sun rays beamed in to kiss her skin. She reveled in that warmth as she elongated her spine, spread her fingers wide, dove her nose to the sky, and filled her lungs with air.

 

early-bird-2Coming back down, she realized time was against her, the sounds of a bustling home would come too soon.

 

the-early-bird-1With a twist, she expanded her lungs and closed her eyes before letting it go. Twisting to the other side, she reached her fingers up to the sky, shooting for the clouds, feeling her body respond with ease when a sudden cry brought her back down to her mat.

“Mama!!”

“Mama!!”

“I’m coming, baby.” She called out as she rolled up her mat and exhaled heavily.

“Today will be a good day.” She told herself.

After each face was washed and every last tooth brushed, little footsteps danced across the wooden floors.

The early bird smiled as she looked upon these faces, filled with wonder and a hunger for the world that they would yet understand.

© Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.