#WritingChallenge: What’s in the box?

by Deirdre McCluskey

This month at So You Think You Can Write has been all about conflict, and you’ve all been working hard to make sure your conflict’s captivating and your characters are authentically motivated. So this week’s challenge is for fun (but will stretch your creative muscles too!)

No Harlequin romance categories epitomize fun, fantasy, escape and glamour like the passion series: Harlequin Presents, Harlequin Desire and Harlequin Dare! So if you Desire to get away from it all, we Dare you to let your imagination fly as we Present this week’s challenge:

Your hero and heroine are both billionaires living in the same luxury condo tower. They each get a notice that a delivery has arrived – but the concierge transposed the suite numbers so they get the wrong package. H&H agree to meet to exchange parcels. Tell us:

  • What’s in the box(es)?
  • What’s the first thing she (or he – pick one) says when she opens the door?

Post your fun fantasy parcel pickup in the comments below any time between now and Sunday, October 1, 2017, and we’ll check back with you on Monday!

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Comments

    • Kimber Li

      Billionaires are boring, old, and they get away with crap just because they have money. I really don’t understand the sex appeal.

      But, a cowboy poured into blue jeans, maybe held up in a fancy hotel due to crazy circumstances like Crocodile Dundee, now that would be hilarious. And there’s nothing sexier than a sense of humor.
      Okay, I know. A cowboy’s in the big city because he’s been named in a billionaire’s will because he saved his life out in the middle of Texas years before. His highest hopes is a new horse, ’cause the old guy raised racehorses in Kentucky. But, the old guy leaves a sum to each of his selfish, hateful heirs and the billions and the horse ranch to the cowboy. Maybe the rich chick who gets the box goes after him because he’s suddenly rich, but he rejects her. ‘Cause he’s got enough sense to know a gold-digger when he sees one. But, then, she really does fall in love him and somehow must convince him it’s real or die with a broken heart.

      There you go. That’s the best I got.

  1. It’s been a while since I’ve read any of the passion lines, and I’ve never written about billionaires. But I’m always game to try something new. Actually this was fun. I’m a little nervous at being the first one to post, but here goes.

    At precisely the agreed upon time a knock sounded at Caitlin’s door. Reasonably sure it was Jonathan, she took the box her assistant had left on the coffee table in her condo to the door with her. The contents had overwhelmed her. The man had expensive taste.

    She opened the door. They had never met, but he held a box that looked the right size for her anticipated parcel. He hadn’t opened it, thank goodness.

    When he saw she had unwrapped her box, his face looked crestfallen. “You opened it?”

    “I thought it was mine.” She held it out to him, then pulled it back when he would have grabbed it and probably ran. Eying the long length of him, the broad shoulders, she estimated his size. Much bigger than she had expected. “It doesn’t look your size.”

    “It’s for my sister.”

    “Your sister.” She raised her eyebrows at him. “Red silk lingerie and fur-covered handcuffs. Isn’t that a bit kinky from a brother?”

    “So that’s what it is.” The tops of his ears turned red and he gave the box she held a glare. “My brother-in-law sends her birthday gifts to me because she always opens them early.”

    “Ah.” Nodding at the package he held, she extended her hand farther. “I’ll trade you.”

    He hugged the box to him. “You know what’s in mine. What’s in here?”

    She smiled. “Antique pistols.”

    He scrutinized her a moment. “Dangerous woman.”

    Not yet. She still had to redesign the pistols for modern ammunition. But let him think that. “They’re safe.” Which was more than she could say for her next contract hit.

  2. Jacqueline Burrows

    Even though she’d been expecting it, the ring of the doorbell made her jump. Exactly seven. The man was punctual. Leaving his delivery on the small table in the hall, she hurried to answer her door, hoping he hadn’t opened the delivery meant for her. Damn the concierge for getting them mixed up.
    ‘Hello. I’ve come to collect my champagne, as arranged. And,’ he rattled the small box he had brought with him and grinned at her suggestively, ‘return your delivery. I wondered if you might be in need of it tonight, and I hate to leave a lady in need.’ The box had been opened.
    Despite her intention to act cool and aloof, a rush of heat spread up her neck to her face, causing his grin to widen. Her neighbour was annoyingly sexy and utterly in control of the situation.
    She knew there was nothing to be embarrassed about; a lot of women used vibrators. She was a CEO at the top of her game, and worked long hours. She didn’t have time for relationships. Not that she wouldn’t welcome the real thing for a change. But her handsome neighbour was the last person she wanted to have handled it. She imaged him taking it out of the box, examining it, and the heat spread to an entirely different part of her anatomy.
    He was still grinning and she had to say something to show she was unconcerned at his evident delight in her embarrassment.
    ‘Shame about the champagne. Louis Roederer is one of my favourite brands. I’m rather reluctant to let it go.’ She smiled lazily and the light in his eyes turned darker.
    ‘In that case, I may have a proposition for you.’
    ‘Oh?’
    ‘Why don’t we combine our deliveries? Come back to my suite for a meal – I love cooking and hate to eat alone. We can crack open the champagne and then I can assist you with trying out your new toy.’
    ‘You’re very forward.’
    ‘And you are extremely beautiful.’
    She turned and sashayed to the small table to collect the champagne. When she returned he watched her to see what she would do.
    ‘Lead on,’ she purred.

  3. He knew she’d come to him. Before he even had the chance to call, Kellen Bradley knew.

    Dare Jennings was as beautiful and as strong as she appeared in all the endorsement ads she once did for the WNBA until injury sidelined her. Now it seemed she either designed women’s lingerie or had an obsession with it if what he found in the wrongly delivered package he shouldn’t have opened was any indication.
    But Kellen had, and at the combination of her name on the address label and the contents, his body had flamed and his brain concocted all kinds of fiery images of the two of them together. Her wearing the pale pink thong and plunging bra and her without. Pale pink was definitely his new favorite color.

    And now with her at his door, as tall as he and she was barefoot, his body flamed again. He never expected strong shoulders and firm thighs, not to mention the bare feet, to be such a turn-on. She was tough and could probably knock him on his ass with a light shove if he so much as looked at her sideways, but damn he wanted her.
    She looked from him to the package then back up with deep brown eyes, though he thought her gaze lingered on his mouth for the barest of seconds.

    “Are you going to give it to me or what?” Dare’s voice was as smooth as the skin she bared in a tank top and shorts appeared to be.

    Kellen’s groin tightened as he imagined her glorious brown hair skimming his chest as she lay on top of him. “Oh yeah.” He rasped, not daring to add the rest of what he was thinking for fear she really would knock him on his ass and he’d miss out on the chance to have the two of them tangling the sheets in his bed.

  4. Ellie hadn’t expected to open the door to a tall blonde surf god with a Baja gold tan and a ripped Ramones t shirt that clung tightly to granite hard muscles. Damn, she hadn’t even bothered to check the security camera, as she’d been expecting the Honourable Lord Maxwell Fairfax at eight pm sharp. At least that’s what Joe the concierge had told her when he’d called to apologise about the mix up with the parcels.
    And now she’d opened the door of her apartment to a complete stranger. And a dangerously sexy stranger at that.
    ‘Well this is a pleasant mistake. I’ve come for the parcel.’ He grinned, revealing perfectly white teeth and disarmingly cute dimples below his razor sharp cheekbones. She felt a feather light tingle of lust flutter through her. Taking a deep breath she tried to regain control of her senses.
    ‘Do you have I.D.?’ He must be from the courier company, but she needed to check. Her friends hadn’t nicknamed her Caref- Ellie for nothing.
    He seemed taken aback by her aloofness, but reached into the back pocket of his faded denims and produced a battered wallet.
    ‘Driving licence do you?’ He passed it to her and she gasped.
    ‘You’re Lord Maxwell Fairfax?’
    He grinned that sex god grin again. ‘Yeah, but everyone just calls me Max.’ And then he proffered a battered cardboard box. ‘Here’s your parcel. I’m afraid I opened it by mistake.’
    ‘That’s okay, I opened yours.’
    ‘No worries, did they send my screws?’
    ‘Erm, I think so.’
    ‘Did they send the galvanised ones, like I asked?’
    ‘I’m sorry, I’ve no idea, I was more worried about the axe.’ She couldn’t help the look of trepidation that crossed her delicate features and Max rushed to reassure her. ‘It’s okay, I’m not some mad axe murderer.’
    ‘That’s good to know.’
    ‘It’s an ice axe, for mountain climbing. I’m an explorer.’ And then he blatantly and deliberately undertook an explorative appraisal of her voluptuous figure, clad in navy Capri pants and an Audrey Hepburn style Breton top.
    Normally Ellie would have been tempted to slap his face but the word ‘explorer’ had ignited a number of possibilities in her brain. She was pulled out of her musings by his deep voice, that sounded like gravel on a very posh driveway covered in dark delicious honey.
    ‘By the way, I don’t suppose you’d mind telling me why you got a stuffed pussy through the post?’
    ‘It’s from my late Aunt Mimi’s estate. It’s her favourite cat, Boodles. It’s a clue.’
    ‘A clue to what?’
    Ellie considered what to tell him. She didn’t want to reveal that whilst Aunt Mimi’s will had left her millions of pounds in the bank, enabling her to buy this fabulous penthouse apartment in the heart of London’s exclusive Chelsea, her Aunt’s incredible jewel collection had not been so easily inherited. Fabulously eccentric Aunt Mimi had left a series of clues, and if Ellie wanted to find the jewels, she would have to solve them. But so far, they had posed challenges that were completely out of her comfort zone. What she needed was a partner. A big strong explorer type of partner…
    Max looked at her with a mischievous glint in the depths of his cobalt blue eyes. ‘A clue to what?’
    ‘A puzzle.’
    ‘I’m damn good at puzzles.’
    She felt an unwelcome surge of excitement as he subjected her to yet another brazenly admiring glance.
    ‘I bet you are,’ she said, as she opened the apartment door wide and then turning her back on him, she walked into the apartment, wondering whether he would accept the invitation …

  5. The doorbell peeled.

    Jon lifted his dark head and pulled off his glasses. He tossed them on to the contact and other papers spread out on his desk as he pushed back his chair and stood. The heavy oak office door was open, he strode through it.

    Jon turned right, down the hall to the front door that lead to the foyer and penthouse elevator.

    To the left of the door, sat the hall table. On it was the wronly delivered package. It belonged to the songwriter or actress who lived on the 5th floor, not the 15th. She had his parcel, a donation to the charity auction.

    “Sir?” A masculine voice said behind him.

    “Thanks, but I’ve got it, Davis.” Jon picked up the nondescript brown paper wrapped box.

    “Very good, sir.” Davis hovered in the background.

    Jon reminded himself getting the door was Davis’s job. This was going to take some getting used to.

    He grasped the lever and opened the condo door.

    A woman with a long mane of chestnut-brown hair stood there. Her indigo blue eyes, wide with trepidation. The shapely curves grabbed his attention. Until he noticed the woman held a white plastic shopping bag out in front of her. Well away from her impeccable white linen dress.

    “Stacy Youngblood?” Jon had a bad feeling about this.

    “Yes, Jonathon Steele?”

    “That’s me, would you like to come in, or do the exchange here?”

    “No, no,” Stacy said. She lifted her hand and offered him the bag hanging from her finger tips. “You must be busy. I’ll take my parcel and go.” One foot jiggled in it’s red high heel, driving the spike into the grout of the slate floor.

    “All right,” Jon offered her the box as he reached of the bag.

    The plastic parted and he caught a whiff of potent liquor.

    “What—,” he began.

    “I’m so sorry, I truely am.” Stacy backed away, using her parcel as a shield. “But it was dripping when I got it.” She depressed the elevator call button.

    Jon separated the handles and looked inside the bag. “This isn’t my Macallan ‘46.”

    “Oh, good. Then I’ll admit I did drop it.” And she made her escape.

    Davis looked over his shoulder at the mangled wooden box. “I believe, sir, this was Shiraz.”

    • Grace Thiele

      How intriguing! I so want to read on. Just one thought – rather than telling us about the butler and walking along the corridor, then have the heroine flee so quickly, is there any opportunity to have them spend a bit more time talking here? Just to get the chemistry on the page!

  6. I had so much fun with this, even though I feel yukky today. 🙂 My snippet:

    Stacy Duke yanked open the door and took a step back into her apartment. This was her neighbor? Now, the loud noise made complete sense. Every night right when she slipped under the covers, she would hear it—the moans, the grunts, noises too distinct not to know what was going on in the room beyond her bedroom wall. She was about to ask the superintendent if he could sound proof their walls or at the very least ask her neighbor to quit doing whatever it was he was doing in there. That’s what she got for owning a luxury apartment in a classic old building in New York City. Thin walls.
    “I have to apologize. I opened your box.”
    He looked surprised and then chuckled. “You did?”
    “By mistake, I assure you. I was so excited to get my package, I didn’t read the label first. I had to open it right away because it is perishable, just like this box is marked, only this one is yours.” She exchanged boxes with him.
    He had the decency to smile, a damn good smile that made heat rise to her cheeks. “It’s not what you think.”
    “I didn’t think anything.” Liar. She had distinct images of a guy looking just like he looked, standing totally nude in front of her wearing only this skimpy and oh-so-sexy pair of men’s edible underwear. Unless he was—
    “I’m not gay.”
    It was all she could do not to giggle at his expression. “I’m sure you’re not.”
    He met her gaze, straight forward and sincere. “If it helps, there’s a woman’s pair in here too, or should be. I like to play around when I have sex. Is that so bad?”
    Not at all. She liked to play around too, but it had been a while. And now, thanks to the delicious image of what his box held, she would never be able to listen to the moaning and groaning without seeing his well-built physique doing something as necessary as breathing and enjoying every last morsel.
    “I hope you didn’t shake my box, it’s…delicate.”
    His dark eyebrow quirked upwards and a sparkle lit his green eyes. “I take care with all delicate things.”
    Yeah, she bet he did. She tried not to think about who would be eating off that Passion Flower jock strap off his—none of her business. “Thanks for bringing this right away.”
    “No problem.”
    She turned and set the box on the coffee table. She’d been waiting for this shipment for weeks. She was told it would arrive by private courier because it was illegal to ship it most other ways. And she was going to be mad as hell if it wasn’t okay.
    “Fragile, eh?”
    “Yes…very.” She slit open the box and set it on the table, then carefully lifted out the small plastic container and slit the tape holding the lid closed. Everything good so far, moist cotton, carefully packed. Perfect.
    “Orchids?”
    She glanced over her shoulder at him, “Sorry, no boyfriend.”
    He was hovering but she didn’t care. She had to make sure this shipment was all right. “Chocolate dipped strawberries?”
    “Do you mind? You might want to step back a bit.”
    He shrugged those strong shoulders. Considering his box, he got quite the workout—nightly. “Just curious. Trying to be neighborly.”
    “Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’m a little worried about this guy.”
    “Huh?”
    The final piece of tape and she opened the lid. There in the middle of its dampened nesting spot was her Cyriopagopus lividus. He moved his front leg and raised it slightly. He was alive. Thank God. She swung around, plastic dish in hand “See why I was worried?”
    His suntanned face paled. Fear squinted his eyes and he pointed his finger. “Is that a—”
    “Cobalt blue Tarantula, yes. Isn’t he a beauty?” She took her eyes off the arachnid in time to see her neighbor’s eyes roll back before he passed out on her living room rug.

    • Elle Marlow

      LOL! I loved this.
      True story, I opened my back door one evening to see a tarantula riding a toad. It looked straight out of Steven King. NOPE SLAM.

    • Grace Thiele

      Hi Chrissie! i really enjoyed this- its got great humour, and feels really fresh for such a classic setting. Although just be careful about keeping your hero as alpha as possible – although it is very funny, fainting might risk undermining his masculinity for some readers!

    • Chrissie

      Thank you for the nice comments, Gracie! I was thinking hero could have a background similar to Indiana Jones? Where Indie was scared to death of snakes, but he was 100% macho male otherwise. Just thought this entry up on a whim but it could turn into a nice story. 🙂

  7. Marie Tuhart

    Thanks for a fun challenge.
    Melissa Conners jumped when the door bell rang. Who could be at her door at seven at night? Then she remembered it had to be the guy from the penthouse. Somehow the concierge delivered her package to him and his to her.
    She smoothed her hands down her jeans as she made her way to the door. Lord, she hoped he’d understand that she accidentally opened his box. When she saw the beautiful camera lens inside she’d known exactly who the box belonged to. Ryan Littleton. She glanced into the peep hole.
    Her breath caught in her throat. Oh my goodness, it was him, Ryan Littleton, world famous photographer standing at her doorstep. She hadn’t expected him to come down and pick up the package. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door.
    “Hi, thanks for coming down.” Melissa barely prevented herself from rolling her eyes at her inane words. Her gaze took in his wavy dark hair, intense blue eyes and tan skin. She took a breath before she went all fan-girl on the poor man.
    “Not a problem.” His British accent rolled over her skin in a silky caress.
    “I have your box right here.” She reached over to the side table and picked it up. “I’m sorry I opened it.”
    “Yes, well…” He lifted the bag he was carrying. “I opened yours as well and I must say I was intrigued.”
    “Intrigued?” She took the bag from him and then handed him his box. “What could be…” She looked in the bag. Oh crap. It was her Passion delivery.
    “Would you be game to having me photograph you in the lacy teddy and the restraints?”
    Melissa’s jaw dropped open. “Me?”
    “Yes, you.” His warm fingers cupped her chin. “I’ve been watching you for a while now, Melissa. I want you.”

    • Grace Thiele

      Hi Marie – thanks for this! It’s such an intriguing, sexy way to approach this challenge. You might like to think about whether he’d be so direct – you could focus more on what’s going through both of their minds at him opening her delivery, them trying to talk normally despite her embarrassment, tensions developing until they both give in to their desires.

  8. Isabella Lionel

    “Raul, what the hel—”
    “I sure hope you’re alone, otherwise, your guest has to leave now.” Raul San Antonio didn’t wait for Zara’s invitation into her condo, he swept in like the royal prince he was. He stopped in the middle of her living room, scanning his surroundings for this imagined guest he claimed she was entertaining. She stifled a sigh. She couldn’t stop staring at his back, those shoulders, those muscles she’d traced at her leisure and held onto in the height of passion rolled under his superbly tailored tuxedo.
    Zara closed the door behind her, still unsure if she was dreaming. Him. He was the last person she’d wanted to see. Not until… “You’re unbelievable, how dare you show up here like this?”
    He turned, crossing the room in a few purposeful strides, his deep brown eyes focused on her like a Golden Eagle locked in on its prey. She backed up a few steps before stopping as her gaze dropped to the small box in his hands. Her package, her heart gave a few swift kicks, without a doubt this was her package. She recognized the sender’s logo and she understood why her stormed in without as much as polite greeting. “It’s open,” she said, swallowing past the lump wedged at her throat. She knotted her trembling hands in front of her, urging her feet to keep her upright. By sheer bad luck, the concierge mixed up their packages. How did it happen? Considering her pricey condo didn’t stand a chance against the luxury and splendor of Raul’s penthouse on the top floor.
    “Why did you order these?” He shook the box, its contents rattled like her cat Mittens’ favorite toy when pawed around the living room like a hockey puck.
    “Give me it to me.” She reached for the box with both hands, but he was quick to keep the box way from her grasp.
    “I don’t think so,” he said, the corners of his sensuous mouth kick up in a mock of smile. Her tummy plunged with longing. He was forbidden fruit and that’s why she’d walked away from their whirlwind affair three weeks ago, before their chemistry turned into something more meaningful for her.
    “I have your package.” She looked past his shoulder, why had she waited this long to exchange their mixed-up parcels? But then, she’d never imagine he’d violate her privacy and opened a box that clearly belonged to her. Royalty or not, he had no right. “Give me mine, take yours and leave. Please.”
    “That’s all I wanted to hear.” He spun and went back into her living room settling into one of the sofa chairs.
    “What are you doing?” She went after him stopping a foot away, and glared at this arrogant man who made her want to throw herself at him without shame. He reduced her into mindless wanton. Everything about him made her want more than she knew he could give. “This isn’t remotely funny, Raul, get out, get out now before I call security.”
    “What about scandal, Zara? Isn’t your precious privacy of paramount concern to you anymore?” He tossed the package to the side, the contents, four smaller boxes, tumbled out on the supple leather. “Call security, call the cops, while you’re at it, call the press.” He picked up a hot pink box with the words ‘accurate pregnancy testing’ and held it out to her. “I’m not going anywhere until we confirm you’re having my baby.”

  9. Fiona Marsden

    “You don’t look pregnant.” Nathan cringed inwardly at his gaffe but the woman standing in her doorway didn’t bat an eyelash. Long, incredibly thick eyelashes framing eyes of a tropical ocean blue. He thrust the parcel at her but she turned away, heading down the hall. Nope, not looking pregnant at all. He liked the nipped in waist and curvy hips, accentuated by the exercise singlet and shorts. The long, toned legs and bare feet with bright pink painted nails proved the outfit wasn’t just for show. Presumably if she was pregnant, there was a guy somewhere in her life. Pity.
    She tossed the long thick plait of auburn hair over her shoulder as she paused at the door into what looked like the lounge area. A spark of humour lit her sombre expression. “You don’t look like you have trouble finding a girlfriend.”
    Touché.
    He followed her into the room and hesitated as the full impact of the view hit him. It was similar to his own but extended further around to the south. “How long have you lived here?”
    “I bought it off the plan, so pretty much since the building was completed.”
    “Six months.” And he hadn’t seen her once. Or her significant other. But the two penthouse apartments had their own private elevators, so it was logical.
    The book sat on the coffee table. “How to Get a Girlfriend.” It sat there accusingly, half unwrapped.
    She didn’t seem in a hurry, perching on the arm of the overstuffed cream leather couch. Nathan took her wave of a hand in the direction of the couch as an invitation and sat down. “It’s not for me. It’s for my kid brother. He turns eighteen this weekend. Kind of a joke.”
    The smile lit up her face. “That’s what they all say.”
    He could feel his own smile, kind of goofy, in response. “It’s my excuse…”
    “And you’re sticking with it.” She slid down onto the seat of the couch. “My name’s Darrel. Melanie Darrel.”
    He felt a jolt of surprise. “M.D. Architects?”
    “The very same. I know who you are. Nathan Darling of Darling Associates. Legal eagle.”
    “How did you know?” He was certain they’d never met. He would have remembered.
    “I know everyone who purchased off the plan.”
    “Your design?”
    She smiled, not smug but obviously proud. “Every last bolt and nut.”
    Impressive. “Congratulations.” He placed the package on the coffee table. “And I assume more personal congratulations are in order.”
    Melanie picked up the parcel and slid the book out onto her lap. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” She flipped a few pages and then fixed him with a hard stare. “You know, for a lawyer, you seem a little hasty.”
    “Not for you?”
    “My sister is expecting her first baby in about eight months.”
    He sighed with relief. “In that case, can I interest you in coming to a party?”
    “Your brother’s?”
    He nodded.
    “I presume you need to ensure he doesn’t think you need the advice in the book.”
    “Precisely.”
    “Accepted. I can’t have you shamed in front of your family.”
    He glanced down at the book on her lap. “I can’t guarantee you won’t need that one sometime in the future.”
    A delicate flush mantled her cheek bones. “You’re a forward planner. Perhaps I can believe in the legal eagle thing after all.”
    “Let’s say I’m open to possibilities.”
    “Something we have in common.”
    She smiled and he knew, at that moment, the future held great possibilities.

  10. Elle Marlow

    Kimber Li~ This one’s for you, babe. Because, the T.V. show, Dallas was all about sexy cowboy billionaires. 🙂

    Grayson opened the package on the bed and then tossed the weird, pink-cheetah cowboy boots to the floor. Damn, the old man had a twisted sense of humor. It was just like him to take this one last stab at his lifestyle. Disgusted, he pulled back the curtains to reveal a glowing Dallas skyline. His gaze landed on the tallest high-rise that sparkled like diamond against an inky-black sky.
    He swallowed hard. Inside that building, his father and about a dozen investors waited for him to appear to take over Banning Oil.
    He turned, removed his Stetson hat and placed it on the bed. He didn’t belong here. He belonged back in Arizona where a herd of pregnant Angus needed attention. Exhaling, he noticed the monkey suit that hung from a brass hook. As he peeled off his Wranglers, he mumbled to himself. Apparently, the condo not only came with the job, it came with the suit. Maybe, if he searched the bathroom he’ll get lucky and find a noose to put around his ever-lovin’ neck.
    He’d just pulled his T-shirt over his head when the doorbell chimed something that sounded like a harp being plucked–or a cat being killed, either way, he hated that too. But, he was expecting his father to send him the golden key to the company. He’d have to present the key to the board, a traditional, symbolic message that he was the new CEO.
    ***
    Callie rubbed her paws on her pink leotard as she used her shoulder to hit the door bell. She shouldn’t have opened the box. It was way to small to be boots, but her curiosity got the best of her. How was she going to explain this to the owner of Banning Oil? Omg, she thought moving to Dallas would mean a whole new her. Nope, she had a penchant for trouble, and here she went, her first night in her new condo looking for trouble of mega-sized proportions. Typical Callie. Her kitty costume itched and she was sure the whiskers on her face was going to make her sneeze. Maybe she’ll break the ice by saying Trick Or Treat. Anything, so this guy won’t get pissed at her for holding his golden key.
    The door swung open and she stepped back, blinking. The guy wore a frown and little else.
    “I think I opened the wrong box, I think I might have even rang the wrong door.”
    His blue eyes peered at the box trembling in her paw. “Nope. That’s mine.” He then turned to reveal a perfectly sculpted rear as he bent to retrieve her boots scattered on the floor. “These must be yours.”
    Her mouth went dry and the flame that heated her face was probably melting off her pussy-cat make-up. “Thanks. It’s Halloween and I…”
    “Right. Halloween,” he nodded. His eyes sparkling with humor that didn’t reach his voice.
    “Are you alright? You seem…uncomfortable,” she asked him. Well he did look uncomfortable even if he was sexier than hell.
    “Looks like you’re not the only one that has to put on a costume,” he replied, shifting his gaze to one helluva expensive Armani suit. “I have no idea where to even start with a contraption like that.
    “Want some help?”
    He raised an eye brow as he swept a gaze over her.
    “Are you declawed?”
    The End.

    Okay, this was silly, but I wanted to play. Thanks for letting me. 😛 Happy October, everyone. Elle.

  11. What’s in the box? A surprise (hopefully).

    Alex stepped off the elevator and glanced down at box he was holding. “For Her Pleasure” and a suggestively designed lotus flower adorned one corner. Ms. Torquetil, the owner of the penthouse, was inscribed on across the centre. He knew several of the women who owned places in the building, but this name was unfamiliar. He wondered if it was the pretty, diminutive blond he’d caught checking him out at the gym that morning and smiled to himself. Wouldn’t that be fortunate.

    He leaned in and knocked on the door, a burst of peremptory staccato.

    Whoever was on the other side of the door took her time answering, and he waited a few minutes. He wasn’t used to that.

    When the door opened, it was by someone so far removed from the diminutive blonde, he had to catch his breath. The woman standing in the door way was no stranger to the gym, only to him. She stood six feet tall (several inches of which were owed to her strappy red stiletto heels), her hair was a deep chestnut bordering on mahogany, her skin a rich bronzed honey, and her figure was full breasted, taught and lean. Her exquisite body was sheathed in a black leather cut-out bandage dress that commanded attention. She had his in full.

    He smiled, knowing she was evaluating him just as keenly as he was appraising her. The almost imperceptible flicker of expression told him she liked what she saw, but it was so brief, if he hadn’t known what to look for, he might have missed it.

    “I brought you your package,” he said, holding the box out for her.

    “Thank you,” her voice was cool and crisp. This was a woman who liked to be in control.

    He had no problem with that. He liked to be in control himself.

    “I couldn’t help but notice the label.” He’d googled the name of the company, it sold high-priced erotic toys on-line.

    Her head tilted fractionally to one side and she raised her brows in silent question: Was it any of his damn business? He sensed her admonishing him.

    “At first I thought pink fuzzy handcuffs, but now I see you I think red would be better.”

    She ran her tongue lightly over her bottom lip, and her mouth curved up in a slow knowing smile. She radiated confidence. She shook her head slightly and took a step forward, every movement compact, controlled, and highly sexual. Although she was tall, the top of her head just reached level with his chin.

    “Mr. Modetti, if I ever chose to use handcuffs on you they wouldn’t be the fuzzy kind,” she spoke slowly, every syllable enunciated with clear intent. “I design, make, and use, only the best BDSM equipment, and the handcuffs my company sells are all made from high tensile carbon polymer. If you want some cheap, tawdry toys, I suggest ordering from some company other than mine.” She took the box from his outstretched hand. “I returned your package to the concierge as soon as I saw it was misdirected.” She turned on her heel, entered her condo, closed the door, and clicked the lock.

    Alex stood for a moment, staring into empty space. He thought perhaps, at long last, he’d met his match. God, she was magnificent! He didn’t even know her first name.

  12. Dina van't Veer

    How on earth? Anna asked herself as she opened the box the concierge had handed her on her return from a walk with Bella, her rescued Labrador. Never thinking to look at the actual name and address on the box she realized the model and files weren’t the order of dog bones she’d been expecting.
    Quickly closing the box again she looked more closely at the address. It was the top floor of the building, directly above her new temporary residence. She saw the name and remembered having recently seen it in the gossip columns, Aiden Palmer. He was a huge international financial genius, who also seemed to have a busy social life. Most photos included a beautiful buxom blonde, usually an actress or heiress or some other person she would never cross paths with.
    Having recently moved into this impressive condo of her cousin, Hallie Fuller was still not familiar with the area. As a software developer she was used to being on her own. Her cousin Sammy had asked her to stay in the condo until her own contract in the Netherlands was over in four months.
    Grabbing the box she headed to the elevator and hit the up button. As the doors slid open Hallie stepped forward, right into the arms of someone stepping out. Looking up she gasped, Aiden Palmer. Those tabloid photos didn’t do him justice.
    Looking at the name on the box she carried he saw the name and realized the box held by the woman was his.
    Holding the box towards him she stuttered “I’ll tr-trade you?”
    This woman looked too tempting to just walk away from so quickly and so he quickly said, “I opened yours accidently also and see they are dog treats. Do you have a dog here?”
    “Yes” she’s in my cousin’s condo waiting for me” Hallie replied. Not wanting to waste his time she tried to exchange boxes.
    “Not so fast, I love dogs. I need to meet her”.
    How does this happen, Hallie wondered. Here is the most beautiful man she has seen and he is living upstairs and talking to her. These things don’t normally happen. Not wanting to seem rude she turned and indicated for him to follow.
    The smile on Aiden’s face grew wider. This was going to be fun trying to get her to become his next conquest.

    • Deirdre

      Our wrong box challenge provided a fun meet cute for your alpha hero. To get those sparks flying Dare/Desire/Presents style, you could make things harder for Aiden by matching him with an equally strong heroine. Thanks for participating in our challenge!

  13. Sophia West

    One Friday night, on her own again, and feeling lonely again, Bella Marsh has one or two glasses of wine too many and end up shopping online for sperm donors. She clicks a few times, closes her laptop and forgets all about it until, one evening six weeks later, she answers her door to Blair, the attractive guy living upstairs from her.
    Blair (clearing his throat): I believe I em, have the sperm you’re looking for.
    Bella (looking pointedly at Blairs crotch): I dare say you have…. But what’s in that parcel?

  14. Inside the condo, he set his bag and the package he’d picked up from the concierge on the hall table, before heading to his bar. He poured himself a scotch, neat, appreciating the expensive beverage as it slid down his throat, smoothly, warmly. It had been years, but sometimes he was still astonished at the luxuries he could now take for granted.
    Speaking of which, he returned to the hall table to check out the vintage port that had just arrived. It had been sent over by courier, and he wanted to hold in his hands, blow the dust off the bottle, and admire the color before setting it aside for the perfect opportunity to fully appreciate. He’d pulled off the wrapping paper before he realized this wasn’t his expensive port.
    It was books.
    Hardcover copies of an author, A.A. Smithers. He rarely read fiction, but he’d like the couple he’d read. In fact, the author was supposed to be at a benefit he was attending tomorrow night.
    He was expecting port, not books. He rifled through the wrapping to find out who’d been sending him books.
    No one. They were being sent to the condo across the hall, to E. Graham. The new neighbor.
    He raised his eyebrows. He caught a glimpse of his new neighbor. She definitely merited further acquaintance. He’d been intrigued, but hadn’t had time in the past week to learn more about her. Now he had a name. He carried the scrap of paper with the label on it to his home computer
    For a tech mogul, learning about someone online wasn’t difficult. But it didn’t take his skills to find out her information. She wasn’t just beautiful. She had recently taken over her father’s multinational media company. He looked at the discarded books, and smiled. He had the perfect opportunity to introduce himself now.

    He knocked on the door. When it opened, he was not disappointed. She was still wearing an expensive suit, but it must have been tailor made to hug her curves that way. He wanted to see in person the smile he’d seen on the computer screen.
    “I have some property of yours, and believe you have some of mine.” he offered, smiling at her.
    She frowned at him. “I’m sorry, but…” The door started to close.
    He pulled the books out from behind him. “I was given a package by the concierge, but it wasn’t the port I was expecting. I’m sorry, I opened it before finding the mistake. These books had your name on the package so I assume there was a mix-up.”
    Understanding swept across her face. “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t even look at the name on the package I picked up. Let me get that for you-”
    He interrupted. “Can I make a suggestion? I’m at a benefit with the author tomorrow. Perhaps I could get the books signed for you, and you could come celebrate with me and my port afterwards?”
    Her face lit up with a smile. It was better than he’d hoped. She opened the door further.
    “Come on in. I’m afraid my stepmother has already opened the bottle – she thought it was for her.”
    He paused. She had her stepmother with her, and the woman had opened his port? It was meant to be appreciated, not gulped down like cheap box wine. He hoped it hadn’t been sacrificed in vain. He could still get the books signed, and with that and the stolen port, she should feel in his debt.
    She called into the condo. “Alice, the books arrived across the hall and the port came to us by mistake. This is my new neighbor…”
    She turned to him, brows raised.
    “Ford, Ford Enderby.”
    Her head tilted. Her eyes widened slightly. Yes, she knew who he was. Knowing her story, he wasn’t surprised.
    “Mr. Enderby, this is my step-mother, Alice Smith. She’s in town for a benefit, and was supposed to sign those books for it. She writes under the pseudonym A.A. Smithers. Sounds like you two are going to the same dinner party tomorrow.”
    Picking up a bag from the hall table, she smiled again at Ford. “I’ve got a dinner myself tonight, so I’ll let you rescue your port with those books of hers. It was so nice to meet you, Mr. Enderby.”
    Ford kept his polite smile with an effort. His neighbor left, and he turned to meet her stepmother, and bestselling author.
    He hoped she’d enjoyed the port so that at least one of them was enjoying the evening.

    • Deirdre

      I liked your choice of books as a modest, but intriguing delivery – books can say so much about a person. I enjoyed how you made things tougher for your alpha hero. And the hints at the hero’s past (“sometimes he was still astonished at the luxuries he could now take for granted”) made me want to know more about him – nice!

  15. Jocelyn

    Nic pressed the doorbell, leaned a muscled shoulder against the marble wall of the hallway, and considered the contents of the carton propped on his forearm. A top-of-the-line Grigri, carabiners, chalk and bag, and some high-end climbing shoes. Exactly what he’d ordered from the same company. But the shoes weren’t his size. And his color choice hadn’t been bright turquoise. A quick check of the address had determined that the package should have gone to suite 69, instead of his 96. The concierge had been so mortified at the mix-up that she’d given Nic the suite owner’s phone number. A policy violation in their condo tower, where several million might get you a broom closet, just so you could say you lived at that address. But then, Nic was used to getting what he wanted. And it hadn’t taken much of an effort. He knew the concierge’s eyes lingered on him when he crossed the lobby.
    So he and suite owner 69 had agreed to meet and exchange packages. Nic’s lips quirked as his eyes flicked to the gold suite numbers chiseled into the marble. A very interesting number. Like the woman who’d moved into the tower a month ago. He, like all the men in the building, had noticed her. Unlike the concierge, he was more subtle in his interest.
    Which was why he’d paid the porter a year’s salary to mix up a delivery at some point. Nic had figured it would be Blue Apron that he fixed on his chef’s day off or something equivalent. Suite 69 would get his seared barramundi and sushi rice and he’d get her tarragon and mustard chicken. He hadn’t anticipated it happening with this particular shipment. Nic could only hope what’d gone erroneously to her door had been this week’s moussaka.
    With a muted click of the lock, the heavy door swung in. Nic straightened from the wall. Although he figured she’d had time to check him out via the discreet camera of the security system, he kept his eyes above her chin while meeting his fellow tower dweller – and business competitor – for the first time. Besides, he’d discreetly watched her enough that he knew what she looked like. It’d factored in a few of his recent fantasies.
    Brianna Morgan had tamed her dark brunette hair into a sleek chignon over her Harvard MBA-educated brain. A cobalt blue sheathe dress snugly echoed her body’s curves, leaving lissome limbs free. Lean, supple limbs that Nic now knew were capable as well as gorgeous – the gear in the box wasn’t for amateurs. He envisioned the lithe arms extended and the long legs stretched out, reaching rock to minuscule rock, as she lead climbed above him. His smile turned wolfish. He’d envisioned her above him in other ways, but he tried to tune those tantalizing thoughts out as he met her cool gaze.
    “Ms. Morgan. Thanks for meeting with me. I don’t know how this could have happened. They usually provide impeccable service.” Nic handed her the package. When she saw that it’d already been opened, something flickered in her eyes before she shot a discreet, calculating glance back to his face. It was quick, subtle. But Nic was the king of calculations and he’d recognized it.
    The woman might be a climber, but if she thought she’d be climbing into a business deal to acquire Pinnacle Products, she had another think coming.
    “I felt a bit like the evil step-sisters.”
    She frowned in confusion.
    Nic gestured with the box. “They didn’t fit.”
    She smiled. Nic stiffened at the unexpected impact. The sensation that went through him at the sight of her smile was like when one of his cams came loose while climbing and he went swinging into the air for a breathless moment before slamming into a rock wall.
    “From what I’ve heard, you’re more evil step-sister than prince charming.” Her voice didn’t help. It went through him like warmed brandy. Nic shifted slightly to better camouflage the effect its husky tone had on him.
    “Aw, don’t believe everything you hear. That’s just a fairy tale.”
    Her slender eyebrow rose in skepticism at his claim. She turned to a hall table to pick up a still-sealed container, providing Nic with an attractive profile view. Ah, the delights would be endless in getting horizontal or vertical with this woman. He wasn’t sure which would be his first pick, as long as both options stayed on the table.
    She handed him his package. It was the same size and company logo as the one he’d given her. “I didn’t open it. I’ve been busy.” There was a glint in her sea-blue eyes and a hint of a smirk on her lips. “It’s been a pleasure, Mr. Falcon. I imagine I’ll see you around.” The door swung silently shut, until the hard click of the lock. Like an exclamation point indicating the end of their conversation.
    Nic stared at the inlaid walnut in the door. It’d been hundreds of millions of dollars ago since a woman had made him this hot and bothered. He rested a calloused palm on the silky wood. “You bet you will, Ms. Morgan,” he murmured. “Particularly if you’re going after that sweet little company that I already think of as mine.” His fingers trailed down the door. Closing his eyes, Nic envisioned them gliding over the skin of the woman on the other side of the wooden barrier. “And nothing gets in the way of what I want.”

    • Deirdre

      Jocelyn, I enjoyed how you included the high-stakes hobbies, sexual banter and strong hero and heroine that we’re going for in Dare, Desire and Presents. And there’s some great conflict here, as the meeting doesn’t go quite as planned for your hero. Some nice lines too, particularly, “Brianna Morgan had tamed her dark brunette hair into a sleek chignon over her Harvard MBA-educated brain.” I wanted to know more about what happens between these two. Well done!

  16. Kathryn

    “Like what you see?” a low voice behind her said.
    The man came up behind her so quietly that he startled her. The painting hanging on the wall had caught her attention and Jenna knew better than to try to run. The man standing in the doorway was pointing a gun at her chest.
    “The painting is very good, the sunlight on the river and ah, you are quite wonderful,” she added, laughing softly.
    “I like it,” he said. “Any reason, I shouldn’t call the cops?”
    “I just wanted to…”
    “I don’t give a rat’s ass why you entered my apartment illegally,” he said.
    Jenna walked around the man and picked up a parcel sitting on a glass and chrome table.
    “Go ahead and call them. I will tell them you forced me into your apartment and, by the way, that’s my parcel, so you can add theft to the long list of crimes they will charge you with.”
    The girl was a cool one. “You think so?” he said.
    “Sure, there’s no reason for me to be here, “illegally”, as you put it.”
    She could get away with it he realized… The Apex Towers attracted people who made nine figures and had legal teams that could turn this into a debacle he might not win.
    There were two boxes on the table, one addressed to him and the other to someone else. The concierge told him that there was a mix-up in the deliveries.
    “So, you are Jenna Smith, in the north penthouse, the model?”
    “Sure am,” she said.
    “Lars Anders,” he said.
    “I don’t think I know you Mr. Anders,” she said.
    “Have dinner with me and we can find out more about each other, “he said. Like why you are in my apartment he thought to himself.
    “No!”
    “How about a bet, if I can guess what’s in your parcel, you have dinner with me?” he offered.
    Relief rippled through Jenna, she had no intention of going any further with this enigmatic man but no way would he guess what was in the box.
    Give me a hint,” he asked picking it up and shaking it.
    “Worth a lot, but full of air,” she told him “and that’s all I’m giving you.”
    “Three guesses,” he asked.
    She nodded waiting silently.
    The line of her jaw was beautiful, even if she was a liar.
    “I am hoping that it is a toaster, mine is broken and I could borrow it.”
    Her face was disdainful, so he tried again, “how about a first edition book, the bonfire of the vanities, perhaps, I can’t remember who wrote it.”
    “You’re being a little too…”
    “How about this, the box contains nothing?”
    “Nothing,” she said stubbornly, my box contains nothing, is that what you are saying?”
    “Yep.”
    “Open it!”
    She pulled off the wrapper. The box was empty.
    There was a smug look on his face, but he asked “what is it for?”
    “This is a prototype of a cardboard emergency shelter for pets in disaster areas; store it flat in your kit until you need it.” There was a picture of a dog on the box looking mournful but comfortable.
    “I designed it because loose pets often can’t stay at emergency shelters.”
    “Not just a pretty face, then?” he said.
    “No,” she said, laughing, “you win.”
    “What’s in your parcel?” she asked.
    “Popcorn, candied popcorn, I like it when I watch the game.”
    “Red Sox or Yankees?”
    “No contest,” he said walking into the living room.
    Looking at her box Jenna could see someone had expertly opened it before she had. She wasn’t the only one holding back.
    “What do you do, Mr. Annders?” she called.
    “Me, I’m a cop,” he said.

  17. Lakisha friday

    Yes! Her package has arrived. Robin barely gave the concierge time to put the box down as she ripped it open only to find it loaded with Styrofoam peanuts. She was expecting a birthday gift from her parents. What a disappointment. It was bad enough she had to spend her birthday alone but to not receive a gift from her parents was unacceptable. It was breaking tradition. Sure she’s got all the money she could ever want but it didn’t mean a thing really. Just doesn’t compare to the love that her parents put into a homemade gift.
    There came knock on the door and it is Winston Michaels standing there holding a large box and a small box on top of it. He saw the sad look on her face but she tried so hard to hide it.
    “I believe this is yours. He said, how it got mixed up I don’t know. You’re looking glassy eyed. What’s wrong?
    ” I’m fine. Robin replied, I thought – I was waiting on a package from my parents. Its nothing.
    “Its nothing? Winston made his way into her apartment. “Its something if you’re crying about it.” He sat the boxes down and handed her the small box.
    Robin opened the box and was relieved to see that she had gotten some of her favorite cookies: macadamia nut cookies and rocky mountain chocolate chip cookies from her parents and noticed he ate two cookies. One from each dessert. Enjoyed the cookies? She said coming to herself.
    Yeah, he said, i really like the chocolate chip ones.
    Winston, thank you for bringing these.
    No problem. Nobody deserves not to get something on their birthday.
    How’d you know? She asked him.
    ” Saw the card”, he said tapping on the big box. She realized she hadn’t given him his box yet even though it only had Styrofoam inside. Winston laughed. He played a joke on her. The box wasn’t exactly empty as he digs through and pulls out a pink leash.
    She noticed the holes on the other box and heard scratching sounds. Robin stood back and Winston chuckled opening the box.
    Robin screamed as he held the cutest, most adorable puppy she’d ever seen.
    Happy birthday. Winston said handing her the squirming puppy.
    This was the only way i could get close to you. Winston told her. You run from me every time.
    Sorry. Robin managed to say. I, uh, didn’t know if you’d want to talk to me. I’m a little nervous. Winston kissed her. Don’t be. He said. Robin wasn’t expecting that so she happily returned the kiss so thankful it turned out to be the best birthday ever.

    • Patience Bloom

      Dear Lakisha, Well, Winston is just about the nicest person ever and I wish he’d bring me a cat! 🙂 This is such a sweet scene and really brings out the romance. Nice!

    • Lakisha friday

      Thanks so much Patience! I was aiming to be a little different on this cause it seemed like the rest were the same when it came to getting the wrong box but I wanted my guy to do it on purpose. Figured it be more special that way.

  18. Jan Van Engen

    Holding the box in her arm, Melanie Taylor nodded at the butler to open the door, knowing who it was. Her neighbour, who had received her box by mistake, and vice versa. She was in two minds about giving this one back. A Faberge egg wasn’t something she saw every day, even for her. In its crusted jewels and design, so well know for the Russian egg. The imperial one had been valued at 33 million pounds. Then again what she had been expecting is more precious than any Russian egg.
    A tall, dark headed man with angular striking features strode in, wearing a designer suit, Armani, if she wasn’t mistaken. And he wore it so well, lean and muscular, yet he had no box in his hand. They were supposed to exchange boxes.
    “Ms Taylor, I do believe you have something that belongs to me, no?” She removed the egg from the cushioned padded box.
    “You actually sent this through the mail?”
    “Net, my babushka did,” he shook his dark head. “You can imagine my surprise when my egg made a sound.” From his back, he brought around a Blue Russian kitten cradled in his large capable hand.
    “Oh, my baby,” she handed over his box and took her kitten, rubbing noses.
    “And you were concerned about an egg being sent through the mail.”
    “Special delivery, and not through normal postage.” She looked up and smiled. “Didn’t the holes in the box, give you a clue. Thank you for looking after him, Mr. Mikhailov.”
    “Please, Alexie.” His warm smile sent tingles through her. A first in a very long time.
    Her eyes widened, tucking coppery hair behind her ear. “Really, how interesting” a dark brow arched.
    “How so?” He enquired.
    “That is the name of this little one. Alexie.”
    “I never had a cat named after me before,” he noted amused, dark eyes twinkling. “Perhaps this is fate, no?”
    Oh, she hoped so. “How about sharing a coffee with me and tell me why your babussshaka, sorry, what is that actually?”
    “My grandmother and its babushka.”
    “Oh,” she mouthed. “Is it a real Faberge egg?”
    “Da.” Together they headed into the open planned living room with the best views of Hyde Park. He removed the precious egg and handed over to her as she placed down her kitten that pounced across the sofa, as she examined the egg.
    “I can’t wait to hear this story.”

  19. Ruby Mae O'Dell

    Gregory Jackson pulled his tie knot tighter and folded his collar down. He shuffled over to the full-length mirror in the corner and perused his outfit. The sight of himself in a tux and tie still seemed foreign to him. But he was determined to give this lifestyle a try–just to try to get a feel of his father’s life. He wanted to try to understand what his father had seen in this lifestyle that was better than living the simpler life with him and his mom.
    He surveyed his dad’s condo he had inherited. “Why, dad? Why did you desert your family? What was worth that?” Gregory mutter into the silent room.
    Shaking his head, he turned back to the mirror. Nothing was worth leaving your family and those that you love. But then, his father hadn’t been the only one. His fiance had left for this kind of life. Cassandra left him to become a big star, being a star in his eyes and heart wasn’t enough for her either.
    With a sigh, Gregory yanked the tie off and threw it to the floor. Losing the fancy-pants outfit, he put on a comfortable pair of jeans, western button-down, and his Stetson. Turning back to the mirror, he grinned. Ah, that was more like it. He grabbed the package from his nightstand and scurried out the door and to the elevator. He looked once again at his neighbour’s package. From his hometown, he still thought it a strange coincidence that he’d received the wrong package and that package happened to be shipped from his roots. Maybe he’d have something in common with his temporary neighbor and he could strike a friendship before heading home.
    He stepped off the elevator at the top floor and knocked on the door at the end.
    “Be right there!” A voice called from the other side.
    No, it wasn’t possible. But already, his heart was running a marathon. It sprinted across the finish-line and did a victory dance when the door swung open, confirming his thoughts. Cassandra Simmons, poured into sapphire blue gown, her golden hair in a regal bun a top her head, and her emerald eyes glimmering to match the gems in her ears, stood before him, rendering him speechless.
    His shock and disbelief mirrored on her porcelain face. “Greg? What are you doing here?”
    Still unable to find his voice, he lifted her package. Clearing his voice, he shook away the hypnosis holding his tongue and thoughts captive. “I so one with something about exchanging our mixed up packages. I didn’t know you lived here.”
    Her eyes downcast, she nodded. “Won’t you come in?”
    Nodding, he removed his Stetson and walked in. “Its been a long time Cassandra, how have Ya been?”
    She rubbed a delicate hand up her bare arm. “I’ve been well. I’m starring in an upcoming movie. It’s a romantic mystery.” She broke contact once again. “Let me grab your package.” She scurried down the hall, the rustling of her dress reaching his ears.
    She seemed as nervous as he was. He dropped into the leather sofa beside him and waited.
    Minutes later she waltzed back into the room, carrying his package. “Here you are.”
    Taking the proffered package, he handed Cassandra hers. “And here’s yours. I couldn’t help but notice it was from home. Still, I never dreamed the package was for you. It was addressed to Sandra Hugh.”
    A light giggle escaped her lips. “Momma likes to send me care packages using my most recent movie names.” She tore into the package, pulling out a lovely necklace and earring set her mom had undoubtedly made herself, and a Tupperware full of Mrs. Simmons’ famous chocolate chip cookies. A love filled smile graced Cassandra’s lips and he longed for time a past when she used to smile at him in such a way.
    Shoving those thoughts away, he tore his open. His stomach growled when he pulled out a large Tupperware filled his favorite treat–Momma’s homemade cinnamon rolls.
    “Are those what I think they are?” Cassandra asked.
    He nodded with a smile. “Yep, straight from Momma’s kitchen to the big city. Would you like one?”
    “Would I ever! Wait here, I’ll get us a couple glasses of milk.” She rushed toward the kitchen.
    Leaving Gregory to wonder, why was there still a longing in his heart for this woman who deserted him like Dad had deserted him and Momma? Could he possibly still love her regardless of the abandonment?

  20. Barbara (BJ) Wingate

    Whats in the box? Angela gets a notice that a package has been delivered for her. She has ordered something and believes that this is what she ordered so, when the concierge brings her the box, she opens it and is confused when she finds a book. A mystery book at that, by my of her favorite authors. She calls the concierge about the mix-up and is told her neighbor also got a package and they must have been delivered incorrectly. Smiling, she repacks the book, walks next door and knocks. When the door opens she is face to face with the author of the book. Her first and only words are: “Oh, it’s you!”