#WritingChallenge: Snowed In!

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Happy January! The month that introduces you to fun terms like polar vortex, thundersnow, bombogenesis and  bomb cyclone. So how about embracing the cold (in your imagination, anyway) and writing a romantic winter forced-proximity scene?

Your heroine has booked a flight from Boston to Hawaii for an important pitch with a new client. Your hero, her business rival, is on the same flight for the same reason. Trouble is, all the flights are cancelled and they’re

SNOWED IN!!!

 

What happens next? Show (don’t tell) us in a brief scene/dialogue (3-5 paragraphs maximum.) Post your scene in the comments below between now and Sunday, January 14, 2018 and we’ll check back with you on Monday!

 

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  1. Claire fought to keep the scream inside. It could not be happening. This airline was her last hope, but they too weren’t flying. Not today. The counter agent had a panicked look on her face, and Claire forced a polite smile. It wasn’t the agent’s fault.
    This was supposed to be a stopover, just a change of planes. Madrid to Hawaii, Boston just a quick run from gate to gate. The meeting in Hawaii was the most important pitch of her career. She had to get there. But thanks to this “bomb cyclone” she was going to miss it.
    She turned, shoulders sagging in defeat. And then she saw him. She almost gasped out loud. He was reading the departure board, and she realized he must be on the same mission. She’d known this day would come, when he’d be competing against her, not working with her, but it still hurt.
    He turned to check the counter she was standing at, and their gazes locked. She could feel the heat, pooling low, just from his gaze, from her memories of that night. The night with him that had cost her her job, and sent her to a rival firm. It had almost been worth it. She could see the fire in his eyes, too, before he abruptly frowned and looked away.
    In spite of everything, she still wanted him. And she thought he wanted her too. A terrible, wonderful idea popped into her head, born of longing and desperation. Maybe she could use this, use them. Fate had stuck them here, together. This time, when a night of passion cost so much and only one of them could walk out a winner this time it would be her.

  2. “Can you check again?” Jared Tucker was giving the desk clerk what he obviously thought was his most winning smile; the one Stella imagined had tumbled dozens of desk clerks into bed up and down the country.
    “I’m sorry, sir, but there’s really nothing I can do,” the clerk gave a final shake of her head and turned to another customer.
    Stella grinned in spite of her predicament. Their shared predicament. The snow event that had grounded their flight from Boston to Hawaii, practically balmy compared to the ice glare Jared received from the American Airlines employee when he tried to get her attention again.
    “What’s the matter, Jared? The famous Tucker charm fallible after all?”
    Jared scowled as he snatched up his suit carrier.
    “Knock it off, Stella! You’re just worried I’ll get to Honolulu first. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to try to get some rest. Gonna need all my energy to schmooze Kiara away from Coopers, because I – for one – know exactly how charming you can be.”
    Stella bit her lip as he walked away, seemingly without a care in the world. One drunken kiss. Was he ever going to let her forget it? Mouth set, she turned on heel, making for the Hilton and The Very Last Room Available In Boston, when the sight of Jared’s six-foot three frame, squeezed uncomfortably across five airport seats, caught her eye.
    The click of heels on the polished floor grew louder, and Jared waited until he was sure the American Airlines clerk was standing right in front of him before opening his eyes. No doubt she’d left her desk to tell him that he couldn’t sleep there. But it wasn’t Miss AA. It was Stella, looking unsure and nervous, and as un-Stella like as he’d ever seen her.
    “I got a room. A twin room,” she hopped from one Louboutin heeled foot to the other, eyes darting around the terminal with nonchalance. “Or maybe you’d rather stay here. I couldn’t care less either way.”
    Then she turned away before he could reply, or she could wonder what on earth she was playing at.

    • Loved this dialogue, Jeanna! And you’ve done a great job of subtly building in backstory. My only editorial note: watch for shifting POV in such a small excerpt. Staying in Stella’s point of view for the entire scene will be less confusing for the reader, and have more impact.

    • Thanks Deidre. As soon as I read it back after I’d hit send, I noticed the pov shift. Should’ve definitely stayed in Stella’s pov – or possibly written it from Jared’s in the first place. Thanks again x

  3. The blowing snow obliterated the plane Sutton knew was out there. “So close, and yet so far,” she murmured. She put her hand on the terminal’s window, wincing at the cold glass under her palm. She’d left Boston with such high hopes. Now the only thing high was the city that trapped her. Note to self – take the flight to Honolulu through San Francisco instead of routing through Denver. Her shoulders slumped with a sigh. A moot point if she didn’t secure the Moe’uhane contract.
    “Don’t tell me you’re stymied. Can’t you just sprout wings and fly over? A little blizzard shouldn’t stop Super Sutton.”
    She straightened abruptly at the sound of the deep baritone just off her right shoulder. Sutton’s eyes shifted on the glass to see the reflection of the man towering over her. Mitch Dawson. The reason she’d taken the faster flight. The reason her previously stellar sales closing percentage was down in the last six months. The reason she’d squirmed in her seat during the five-hour flight. A futile effort to control the desire that festered at the sight of his muscular forearm below his rolled-up shirtsleeve, across the aisle, two rows ahead. The only thing she’d have desired more was to see what was on the computer screen in front of him.
    Sutton spoke to the tempest out the window, striving to ignore the one that swirled inside her at the whiff of his aftershave. “As long as I stymie you, it’s not a problem.” Mitch’s smile was faint, but visible in the reflection. He took a step closer. Gooseflesh prickled under her tailored jacket as his arm brushed her shoulder.
    “On what topic? Winning the contract?” His dark head dipped. The blonde curls around Sutton’s ear ruffled at his whisper. “Or winning you?”

  4. Chrissie

    Michaela held her hand up and grabbed the first Taxi to pull to the curb at the busy Boston Logan airport. Her gloved hand met with a masculine one on the car door handle.

    “Excuse me? This is my cab.” She glanced up and sucked in a breath of frosty air. Of all the people in Boston to run into, it had to be the entrepreneur stud who graced the cover of last month’s Men’s Magazine. She would never forget those steel blue eyes, thick chocolate hair, or well-muscled abs as he posed flexing them for a photographer. The conceited jerk.

    “I’ll share my cab, if you promise not to hit me with your flight bag.” His baritone voice was smooth and easy. He was in control of the situation.

    “Sorry, I’m not a flight attendant.”

    “No?” He glanced into the cab and signaled the driver to wait. “Well, what will it be?”

    She had to get to the hotel, and she didn’t care if it was by Taxi or sled dogs. “Sure.”

    He settled into the seat beside her and his aftershave caught her unawares. Bold, masculine and sexy. He might own the fastest growing advertising business in Boston, but he was no match for her years of hard, dedicated work that got her to the top. If she won the Hilo account, she would become the newest CEO at Kent & Sons Advertising. “Hilton, please.”

    “Me too.” He pulled his cellphone out and texted on it. “I got the last king room available. Apparently, they aren’t only booked solid, they’ve doubled up guests in rooms.”

    “I made my reservation in advance in case this storm got crazy. I won’t be sharing a room with anyone.” Did that make her sound like a crabby old spinster?

    “Smart woman.” He tucked his cellphone into his jacket pocket and held out his hand. “Max Braeburn.”

    “Sweet but tart like the apple?” She held back a laugh at his frown. It felt great to shoot an arrogant man down, once in a while, and show him she was in control. “Michaela Sanders.”

    “Well, Michaela, looks like this is gonna be one hell of a blizzard. We’ll be snowed in for at least 48 hours. Maybe more, until they can clear the runways after the storm. Are you ready?”

    “I’m up to a challenge. No fear here.” And I plan to win the Hilo account, no matter how good-looking or charming you are. Touché, Mr. Apple.

  5. Nothing had been going right with this trip. Her car had gotten a flat so she’d had to take a taxi and barely made it in time to check in for her flight. The handle on her bag chose today to rip away from its moorings just as she made it to the gate. And worst yet, the zipper chose that precise moment to fail when she went to pick it up tossing her clothing to the floor. She’d gathered up her clothing only to have a pair of her secret indulgence, a barely there scrap of lacy thong, held up in front of her nose by the worst possible person. Chad Marcus. Her rival. Her despised rival, thank you. Her ridiculously gorgeous and amazingly good smelling, ahem, much despised rival. And now, now they were both stuck in a Chicago airport because her connecting flight (and apparently his) was canceled due to a snow storm. Kyrie Bradley had the worst luck!
    Doing her best to ignore the man standing far too close to her shoulder, Kyrie set her elbow on the countertop and leaned toward the representative looking harried behind the service counter. “Isn’t there anything you can do?”
    “No, Ma’am.” Kyrie made a face at the term. She was far from a ma’am, thank you very much! She was 29, after all. Yes, it’s true that her bland business skirt suit left something to be desired with the way it hung on her body like she was wearing her mother’s clothing. And the curls that plagued her more than the brightness of her red hair refused to stay in that sensible bun she’d forced them into at the base of her neck sprung out around her head like a fiery halo. She felt a stirring at the side of the back of her neck and knew from the shiver that raced down her spine that Chad was close enough for his breath to stir the curls there. She cast a scathing look over her shoulder at him only to be rewarded with the brazenly flirtatious smile that was already planted on his lips. She quickly turned her widened eyes back to the young man behind the desk and continued to plead her case.
    Who would have ever thought Bentley and Hobbs’ bulldog would have such a sexy secret? Chad hadn’t been able to get the image that had been seared into his subconscious out of his mind. He could see the lacy black thong taunting him in its bold contrast to the woman standing between him and the counter. He couldn’t help himself in taunting her back by blowing warm breath on the back of her neck. He was quite pleased with himself and the shocked reaction he received when she had looked back at him. He’d never given her half a thought before today. He knew she was smart, organized, and determined. He had admired the fire he saw beneath the surface that went with all of that amazing hair. He always looked forward to the challenge she’d give him whenever they had to meet across a mutual client’s table. But now, now he was imagining her on the beaches of Hawaii wearing a scrap of a bikini that would rival the thong he’d chivalrously given back to her earlier.
    Kyrie was about to lose her temper. The representative obligated to provide her with some sort of accommodations didn’t have any to offer her. Nada, zip, zilch, nothing. Everything was already booked, he insisted, and she’d have to stay at the airport instead. Drawing her elbow back from the countertop and, ignoring the continually distracting presence behind her, turned away to look out over the seats that were already occupied with all the other stranded passengers. She had taken a single step away, conceded to her fate, when she heard the unsettlingly attractive baritone behind her. “I’m willing to share my room with you… for a price.”

  6. Ding
    Ding—ding—ding
    Jane Summerland wanted to turn around and strangle the guy sitting behind her on behalf of the flight attendant marching down the island with a grimace paralyzed on her face. They were all tired of sitting on the tarmac—two hours and not even a hint of taking off—but this guy was taking the irritation to a new level.
    “When are we taking off? I’ve already missed my connection and need to rebook the flight.”
    “Sir, just as I told you the last two times, the tower is waiting for the storm to clear a bit before they will allow us to take off. There’s zero visibility with the snow, and it’s not safe for us to move.”
    “Then tell the pilot to take up back to the gate. We shouldn’t have to sit here and be uncomfortable while the tower is trying to decide when to do their job.”
    “That would require that we move, sir.”
    “Mic drop for the lady,” Jane thought as the flight attendant moved back to the front of the plane.
    A deep chuckle rumbled next to her; she looked up from her phone. Her seatmate smiled and offered his bag of M&Ms.
    “Mic drop indeed,” he whispered.
    As her cheeks turned a dark shade of pink her girly bits heated up as well. She always had a thing for deep voices and blue eyes.
    “Did I use my outside voice? I thought I was talking to myself…inside my head; you know what I mean.”
    Again, with the chuckle and oh wow a dimple.
    “Matt,” he said as he extended his hand.
    “Jane. I can’t wait to get to Hawaii and out of the snow a few days.”
    “Really? I’m off to Hawaii as well. I’m going to Honolulu. You?”
    “Same. I have a pitch for a new client.”
    Two very dark and very manly eyebrows rose.
    “Person and Associates?”
    “How’d you know? No way, you’re The Matthew Wilson? I thought you would be old and bald.”
    She was getting addicted to the deep chuckles.
    “Crap that was my outside voice again.”

  7. Gracie wasn’t generally the foot-stomping type, but this was too much. It was bad enough to be snowed in at Logan airport in Boston when she was supposed to be halfway to Hawaii by now; it was worse to be snowed in with no luggage. The harassed agent wasn’t much help.
    “I’m sorry miss, there’s not much we can do. The luggage must stay on the plane under federal law. I’ll have to ask you to get out of the line. There’s a gentleman waiting behind you and he’s been there quite a while.”
    Gracie looked in fury over her shoulder — and saw Milo staring back. She started.
    “What are you doing here?”
    “I’m throwing a dinner party,” said Milo wryly. “What do you think I’m doing here? I’m on my way to the tech conference in Honolulu and I’m snowed in just like everyone else.”
    Bumping into the man who had just weeks ago tried to steal her father’s IT company practically out from under her had thrown Gracie off-guard, but only for a second. She turned back to the agent.
    “There must be some alternative,” she said, trying for a sweeter tone.
    “Well, if you can get to JFK in New York in the next six hours, there’s a flight from there to Hawaii, direct. But there’s no buses leaving tonight and the trains are running late. You could try to drive, I guess.”
    Gracie’s licence had expired a few months earlier; she’d sold everything she had, including her car, to try to keep her family’s business afloat. The tech conference was her last chance to save it. She swallowed her pride, and turned back to Milo.
    “Feel like a road trip?”

  8. margie stewart

    ‘Snowed In With Her Ex…’

    ‘Toss you for it.’ Jake Mason flashed Tivoli Rae one of his signature grins that, like alcohol, headed straight to her knees. ‘Heads the room’s yours, tails we share.’ He raised an eyebrow. ‘I’m looking forward to seeing those cute bunny pyjamas again.’
    Really. Unbelievable. In the entire snowed-in state, she had to compete for the last room with the one person who stood in the way of her winning her dream client. The one person in the world she was desperate to avoid. Her ex.
    Leaning against the reception desk, Tiv crossed her arms and tilted her chin. ‘You always were a gambler. Too bad your luck’s about to run out, Jake.’
    He shot her a steely glare. ‘No, that’s you tomorrow if you stick to form and run when the going gets too hot.’
    Ouch, she deserved that. Heads or tails, she’d get a bed for the night. But no way could she avoid explaining why she ran out on him. Why she ignored his flood of phone calls and text messages. Why she had to do everything to win that client tomorrow.
    Swallowing hard, she blinked clearing her vision now a little misty. The coin spun in the air; heads–tails–heads. It seemed to tumble forever, before landing with a clink on the tile floor.
    Tiv stopped breathing.
    Tails…

  9. QueenBay

    Sophia alternated between trotting and running as she weaved her way through the throngs of people waiting to board their flights in the massive airport. She fought against the irritation that had started building before she left home, but it was winning. The city of Boston was no stranger to snow, but the fact was a winter blizzard had manifested out of nowhere, one worse than the forecasters could predict. The city could be shut down for days, from what they were anticipating. She hoped the flight would take off as scheduled. She couldn’t afford to miss this opportunity! She was probably the one, missing passenger on her flight and if she didn’t hurry, they would be taking off without her. As she rounded the corner to her flight’s departure gate, she stopped in her tracks at the sight of a line of people standing in front of the boarding attendant’s desk. A quick glance up at the lighted board gave her answer to her unvoiced question: all flights had been CANCELED.
    As she stood, frozen in the same spot, a very solid body rounded the corner and collided heavily with her, sending her bottled water, book for the flight and her tablet flying out of her grasp.
    “I’m so sorry, Miss. I am about to miss my flight,” a male voice appealed to her as she scrambled to rescue her tablet out of the path of feet as her assailant ran after the rolling bottle of water and picked up her book.
    “Don’t worry. You’re actually early,” she straightened to accept her things from the gentleman, not meeting his glance.
    “Sophie?” She looked up and into the cozily familiar hazel eyes that had haunted her dreams for the last five years. Just like always, they rendered her speechless….until the nagging memory floated up with the disgust she had nursed since the last time she been in his company. She still had a bone to pick with Gray Bennett, no matter how hot he was. He was actually hotter, if that were possible.
    “Hello, Gray. Thanks for picking these up for me, even though it was your fault. All the flights have been canceled,” she answered in the snippiest voice she could muster. How can you feel love AND hate for one person simultaneously?
    The surprise in his face quickly morphed into dismay.
    “What? I have to get to Hawaii as soon as possible. I have a deadline to meet and people to beat and that won’t happen if I don’t leave in the next few minutes,” he answered, as he pushed past her towards the line of people and headed straight to the front. She stomped after him, as the realization kicked in that he was one of the reps from the other competing companies her boss Evan had warned her were also vying for the partnership with one of the largest real estate companies on the island and in the world. Her company really needed this partnership and she wasn’t about to experience a repeat of the past, no matter what she had to do to ensure it.
    After a short heated exchange with the attendant at the boarding desk, Gray whirled around, and just missed bumping Sophia a second time, as she hopped out of harm’s way. Highly irritated, he ran his hand over his low cut hair and stared silently at her, his usually hazel eyes slightly darkened.
    “You wouldn’t happen to be headed to the Alexander and Baldwin partners’ meeting, would you?” She asked as nonchalantly as she could, but it sounded to her like her voice was part strangled.
    “As a matter of fact, I am and I am sure you are too, ” he responded confidently. Fixing her with an intense gaze, his left cheek lifted into a crooked smile as the agitation disappeared. It was the smile that hit her to her core and made her forget that he had betrayed her two years ago when he deceptively stole the highest profile client of her career right out from under her. His eyes did a quick dance from her head to her feet and the heat she felt from his perusal made her want to kick herself. He is the enemy, she silently scolded herself.
    “Listen, I’m sure all the hotels are booked by now. I happen to have a company apartment not too far from here if you need a place to stay. Or you could always play musical chairs when someone gets up to go to the restroom.” They both looked around at the filled seats as the airport teemed with frustrated would-be passengers.
    Sophia stared back at Gray, wondering if hers would be a decision she would look back on with regret.

  10. Marissa just had to make the hotel. She just had too. Running up the airport hallway with her high heels tip tapping on the tile floor, she raced with her suitcase dragging behind her. She was going so fast she didn’t see the gentlemen coming out of the right hallway. They bashed into each other, falling everywhere.

    “I’m so sorry. I was just going to the airport Marriott and I guess I didn’t watch where I was going.” Marissa said astonished.

    “No the fault is completely mine,” Peter remarked. “I’m was just thinking about being able to make my flight to Hawaii. It’s essential that I do. An important client is waiting on me, counting on me, to be there.” But when he looked up and saw that it was Marissa, he said, “What are you doing here, except ruining my plans?”

    She looked up as well. “Peter.” She spit the word out like it had the bad taste of shoe leather or ancient gum. “Hawaii? I’m going to Hawaii to meet an important client myself, the important client. By the way, you know I’m going to win don’t you?” She mentioned, a charming grin etched along her face.

    He was captivated. He remembered that look. He had seen it so many extraordinary times. When she had loved him and he had loved her. The relationship they shared seem to come back to him then: the warmth, the kindness, the caresses. His look softened. It had been a while.

    “Where were you going in such a hurry?” He asked, remembering her eyes, and the gazes they shared, together.
    “If you must know,” she said annoyed, “I was attempting to get to the hotel and see what rooms they had available. What with this storm, there will be no place else to go.” Now it was his turn to smile and when he did he held up a key, a hotel key.
    “Too late, I just got the last room. What a shame for you,” he expressed a bit too gleefully. But then he was immediately crestfallen at the anxiety written upon her face and her eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said, taking her hand and with that, hopefully her heart.

    Marissa just had to make the hotel. She just had too. Running up the airport hallway with her high heels tip tapping on the tile floor, she raced with her suitcase dragging behind her. She was going so fast she didn’t see the gentlemen coming out of the right hallway. They bashed into each other, falling everywhere.

    “I’m so sorry. I was just going to the airport Marriott and I guess I didn’t watch where I was going.” Marissa said astonished.

    “No the fault is completely mine,” Peter remarked. “I’m was just thinking about being able to make my flight to Hawaii. It’s essential that I do. An important client is waiting on me, counting on me, to be there.” But when he looked up and saw that it was Marissa, he said, “What are you doing here, except ruining my plans?”

    She looked up as well. “Peter.” She spit the word out like it had the bad taste of shoe leather or ancient gum. “Hawaii? I’m going to Hawaii to meet an important client myself, the important client. By the way, you know I’m going to win don’t you?” She mentioned, a charming grin etched along her face.

    He was captivated. He remembered that look. He had seen it so many extraordinary times. When she had loved him and he had loved her. The relationship they shared seem to come back to him then: the warmth, the kindness, the caresses. His look softened. It had been a while.

    “Where were you going in such a hurry?” He asked, remembering her eyes, and the gazes they shared, together.
    “If you must know,” she said annoyed, “I was attempting to get to the hotel and see what rooms they had available. What with this storm, there will be no place else to go.” Now it was his turn to smile and when he did he held up a key, a hotel key.
    “Too late, I just got the last room. What a shame for you,” he expressed a bit too gleefully. But then he was immediately crestfallen at the anxiety written upon her face and her eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said, taking her hand and with that, hopefully her heart.

    • “What are you doing here, except ruining my plans?” would be a great opening line! Never be afraid to jump straight into the scene and let the characters words and actions explain their emotions for the reader. Thanks for writing, Cheryl!

  11. Kimber Li

    The Tycoon & the Toymaker

    “We’re snowed in! We’ll never make it to the convention on time!” Peter watched the toymaker tucking her own blanket around a sleeping grandmother she did not know. “How can you be so calm?”

    “By focusing on the needs of others.” Lacey handed her newly bought and unopened bottle of water to a mother with a crying baby. “Not that I’d expect a selfish jackass, such as yourself, to comprehend that.” She rolled her eyes like a teenager and moved on to the next family camped out between chairs on the concourse. “Bobby told me you were once Sacred Code, but lost your way to greed. He doesn’t lie, but I haven’t seen any evidence of that truth in you yet.”

    Peter grumped and threw up his hands and walked away. There was no reasoning with the toymaker, she’d inherited her store. She couldn’t possibly comprehend what it took to build a business from the ground up.

    “Da-da!” Something latched on to his leg.

    Peter looked down into big brown eyes pooling with tears.

    The toddler gaped at him, probably realizing he wasn’t anyone’s dad. And then she let out a wail to pierce his spine.

    “Poppy! Poppy!” A skinny man in dreadlocks jerked around trash cans, baby barf down his back. “Poppy, oh my God, where are you?” He spun around, face washed with tears.

    Peter knelt beside the sobbing child and pointed to the distraught young father. “Is that your daddy?”

    “Da-da!”

    “Poppy!”

    Peter straightened on seeing the two rushing into each other’s arms. His face warmed in his own smile.

    “I saw that.”

    Peter looked down into Lacey’s clear green eyes.

    “Interesting how you’re suddenly not freaking out anymore.” She slipped her hand into his and led him away. “Come on, I found an extra bag of cookies.”

    Peter reveled in the warmth of her palm and followed.

  12. “What do you mean, that all the flights are cancelled? For heaven’s sake, it’s only a little snow! Where am I going to stay for the night?”
    “This “little snow” is enough to close down the whole airport, Miss! Please, be patient until further notice.” Said the clerk behind the information desk, gritting her teeth.
    “Thanks!” Murmured Stephanie and grabbed her rolling suitcase’s handler. “For nothing!”
    As she turned, accidentally bumped into a tall man standing behind.
    “I’m sorr…” Her voice trailed away as recognition hit her. “Mr Degall isn’t it?! In that case, I’m not sorry at all… ” Added in an acid tone of voice.
    “Stephanie.” He said and a cheeky grin transformed his handsome face into a teenage boy’s, who just got caught after his first kiss. “What a coincidence…”
    “Is that how you call stalking after me and trying to steal my business?”
    “Well, it’s a free country and it’s a simple competition. By the way, do you have plans for the evening?”
    “You mean instead of flying to Hawaii?! Just tell me, why are you so confident in yourself as not even showing a bit of a concern about our cancelled flight?!” Asked angrily, hands on hips, her face only inches apart from his.
    ” I would never turn down such an offer,” he said and the next second he bent and kissed her.
    From her astonishment her lips parted which allowed him to deepen their kiss until she grabbed his tie to regain her balance. When he released her she saw the same confusion on his face which surprised her even more than the warm sensation which raced through her veins from head to toe…
    Before she could comment, he tossed at her a magnetic keycard of the airports’ hotel.
    “It was the last accommodation for tonight and it has a cosy sofa. I can get a spare key from the reception.”
    “Why would you share it with me? Apart from my name and business plan you know close to nothing of me.”
    “Well, you know the saying of “know your enemy”! Truce for the night?”
    “Only for the night!”, she agreed and shook his extended hand.

  13. Marcie R

    “You know they are offering cots to those who don’t find a hotel room?” Which seemed to be over a hundred people Simon Devane thought as he looked around the terminal’s waiting area. He turned his attention back to Meredith Montgomery, who was slouched in one of the hard chairs hugging her laptop bag to her breasts, her carry-on tucked under her knees and serving as an extension to the chair. Even with the bad posture she looked ready to take on the Hawaii resort’s board members. Gray slacks, black winter coat, functional-yet-stylish black boots. Her brown hair was pulled back in a sleek ponytail, her make-up perfection on creamy skin, matte red lipstick on a full mouth, and long lashes over blue eyes that were as cold as the winter sky on a clear day. He wasn’t her favorite person, but damn if he didn’t want to turn that gaze into a fiery blue flame while he did wonderful and naughty things to her body. He fiddled with the change in his pocket to cover the adjustment of his slacks.

    “I’m comfortable where I’m at thanks.” She gave him the expected icy glare. “Don’t let me stop you from getting one.”

    “Oh, you didn’t.” Simon nodded at the fold-out cot at his side. “I’ll be over there if you change your mind and want to practice your presentation.” He gestured to his left, having noticed a corner behind a large potted plant that was surprisingly still empty. Probably because there were windows on both sides with a view of the snow-covered tarmac and would undoubtedly be cold. Meredith’s only response was a grunt, though she shifted in the chair, the laptop bag lowering a bit. The move gave Simon a slim view of a white blouse and skin. He was tempted to stand on his toes for a glimpse of cleavage but Meredith’s perennial glare had him staying flat-footed. Instead, he shrugged and walked away. Five minutes later, after he settled on the cot and had rolled his coat to use as a pillow, the sound of a fussy child filtered through the long leaves of the plant.

    Less than a minute after the whining began, Meredith pushed aside the leaves, looking a little frayed around the edges, her fingers clenching the strap of her laptop bag. “Move over.”

    Simon rolled to his side and patted the space beside him, earning himself another glare. He didn’t bother to stop his grin. “Take it or leave it.” With a huff she took it, and when she lay beside him with her back to his front, Simon had the surprising urge to hold on to her forever. And to let her win the account.

  14. Marcy Bassett-Kennedy

    “What do you mean there are no flights?” Marin noticed the shrill tone to her voice but at this point she was no longer able to control it. She absolutely had to get on a flight to Hawaii in the next twelve hours. Aloha, Hawaii’s newest hotel chain, was only take pitches from new ad agencies for one day. After losing the Tanner Toys account to Finn Reilly, her nemesis at one of the top agencies in Boston, she couldn’t afford to miss this opportunity. Her job depended on it.
    “Surely you’ve noticed the snow, Ma’am.” The woman’s hair was pulled back into a bun so tight her face puckered as she talked. “All flights are grounded until further notice.”
    Marin leaned across the counter toward the taut faced woman certain that she looked somewhat crazed but at this point she didn’t care. “And just how much further do you anticipate that notice to be?”
    “I really can’t say.” She tapped her fingers across her keyboard before adding, “But it looks like there is a flight to Hawaii at 7:15 this evening from—”
    “There is? That’s wonderful!” Why hadn’t she mentioned that in the first place? Marin let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding, “Go ahead a book me on that one.”
    “You didn’t let me finish, Ma’am. It’s flying out of Philadelphia. In good weather it takes approximately six hours to drive there, but with all this snow I’d add at least an hour. You’ll have to leave in the next half hour if you’re going to have a chance of making it there in time.”
    “Philadelphia?” Marin shook her head. “How am I supposed to get to Philadelphia? I took a cab here.”
    “Rental cars are booking up quickly but if you hurry—”
    “Book the flight,” Marin shouted as she rushed off to the rental car desk dragging her expertly packed carry-on bag behind her.
    Within minutes she stood panting at the rental car counter wishing she hadn’t stopped going to the gym. “I need a car to drive to Philadelphia,” she said between breaths. “Please.”
    “I’m sorry, honey,” the grandmotherly attendant said, “but that gentleman over there got the last car.”
    Marin followed her gaze to the man leaning casually against a wall fiddling with a GPS. Her heart dropped in her chest. Finn Reilly. Of course it was.
    He looked up at her and smiled a cocky grin. “Looks like you’ll be needing a favour from me.”

  15. Pat Steiner

    The plan formed as he walked across the massive terminal floor to locate Jessica. She was in fact where she had told AJ she would be, immersed in her IPad.

    “Bad news,” he said softly over her shoulder.

    She shuddered but did not turn around. “Let me guess, we’re not flying anywhere tonight.”

    “Bingo.” He reached around her to shoulder her carry-on. “They’re talking 24 hours. Now the good news is if we get moving like right now, we won’t have to spend the night in these seats.

    Another shudder. “Take me home then.”

    Fifteen minutes later AJ had guided the car out toward the freeway. A long glance over at her just before he committed to direction. “Listen I’m going to take another route. Maybe less traffic.”

    She was new to the state and with the black night broken only by the snow, she would not realize their direction.

    Away from the city, following the road up into the mountains. Jessica remained blissfully unaware, even dozing a little.

    Taking much longer than usual, AJ breathed a long sign of relief when he started the final 10 mile stretch of road. The problem was, the storm was right behind them, following them close like some evil cloud.

    At long last the house loomed ahead. The outside lights kicked on with his approach and the garage door opened slowly.

    “Jess wake up. We’re here.”

    “Great.” She yawned and stretched. “No need to walk me up. The doorman. . .” Only then did she realize ‘here’ in no way was her high rise building. “What . . .where. . .” she stammered, her eyes wide with apprehension that already bordered on annoyance soon to be fury.

    “Relax. It’s fine,” he tried, wanting to reach for her but keeping his hands just short of her. “This is my family’s place in the mountains. I brought us here thinking maybe we could try. . .that we needed some time. . . that without being interrupted. . ”

    She understood finally. Once they were well on their way to bringing about something special between them and then special had to stop. But she could not allow this to happen. “Take me home now.”

    He shook his head. “Sorry. Can’t.”

    “Yes you can,” she yelped. “Put the damn car in reverse and take me back. Now.”

    When he spoke, his voice was deadly calm. “The storm is right behind us and the wind is going to be putting all kinds of drifts across the road. We wouldn’t get far. And we’d probably be dead by morning.”

    Her eyes grew as wide as humanly possible. “Oh my god AJ do you know what you’ve done.” Her shriek filled the car. “I can’t be here. I have to be. . .AJ I’m not who you think. I have somewhere I have to be. AJ I’m an FBI agent on assignment.”

  16. Perfect Pitch
    “I’m in the middle of a what? Can you spell that?” Lauren held the cell phone to her ear while pulling the fashionable carryon down the concourse. Her attire signaled that put-together mirrored her professional motto. Grey pencil skirt and a crisp white blouse managed to showcase a willowy silhouette. “Why exactly do I care about a bombogenesis? I’m thirty minutes from boarding my plane for Hawaii…the place where winter weather phenomena bothers no one” Listen, Roger, I gotta dash. I’ll ring you when I land. Yes, of course, I have my pitch polished. I promise the Ackerman signed contract will be flying back home with me. Stop fretting.” Lauren tucked the phone into her designer leather handbag. The image of an attractive young woman with hair the shade of honey and freckles sprinkled across her cheeks reflected in the airport window’s glass, along with another all too familiar figure.
    Stefano closed the distance and allowed a smile to dress his face. “Hello Lauren. I hate to prick your ever-inflated ego bubble, but that polished pitch of yours is staying at Logan. The planes are grounded. Yes, it seems even your plane dares to sit idle on the tarmac. No doubt you’ll take some small pleasure hearing it happens to be my flight, too.”
    “You. And I thought this day couldn’t turn further south. Stefano Milan standing in my space and up to your usual lower than low sabotaging pranks. My flight is dandy, except for the fact you’re on it” Lauren headed toward her gate at an impressive clip with Stefano and his overrated Italian charm matching her stride. “Your little distracting ploy tells me your pitch to Ackerman has you worried it won’t impress. Scuttle around the coffee machine is your presentations have lost their zing.” Lauren refused to acknowledge the betraying flush moving down her body. Her face felt as hot as the tamale she’d just gobbled down in the cab. His green eyes danced on her every nerve.
    “Abbastanza. Enough.” Stefano’s anger fired first in his native tongue. “My zing happens to be stellar as always. You should mingle in more exciting places. Ah does that pretty flush tell me you’ve missed me? Missed us?” Stefano’s hand caressed her flaming cheeks. “No need to answer yet, but perhaps later. Go to the gate if you must and waste precious time to confirm the plane is sitting out the storm. However, you might like to know I’ve got an SUV rented and I’m heading to Philly where I’m booked on a flight to Maui. I’m making that meeting, Lauren. And because I thrive on competition, I’m inviting you to share the ride.” Stefano glanced at his gold watch. “You’ve got one minute to decide.”
    Lauren’s eyes caught the departure screen refresh with the words Flights Canceled trailing down by each flight number. She released a heavy sigh. “I’m trusting you determined the roads are passable before setting out on this insane adventure. I don’t relish being trapped in a vehicle with you during this bombo blizzard or whatever it’s called. Oh, all right, I’m in. I can’t miss this meeting. My promotion to senior advertising director is tied to winning the account.” No doubt he’d have her eating a big bitter bowl of crow in Philly by dinner time. She’d tasted his fare and still had the antacids on her nightstand. “Here’s the road rule. I’m in charge of the map if you want us to make Philly by tonight.”

    • Many thanks Deirdre. Aside: While sitting with writing chums at our favorite coffee house, I declared my 2018 resolution. The next novel that I yearn to write is for Harlequin. May my story and I prove worthy. You all radiate fun and for sure have healthy funny bones. I’ve been missing out.

  17. Ann Malley

    “You . . . you did this.” April Sanborne couldn’t care if anyone on the plane thought she was crazy or holding up the rush to get off. Mauna Loa Macadamia was supposed to be her’s and now she was stuck in Denver. Stuck in Denver in a turquoise linen suit that screamed idiot when set against the whiteout making the airlock windows appear shut. And tucked into a little wooly blanket, Sam McAlistaire, the lazy land shark whose pearly grin and last minute one-liners had clients spearing themselves, thought she’d pass him by? Think again.

    “I’m landing this one, McAlistaire, no matter what you do.”

    “What? What are you talking about?” Her competition burrowed deeper into his first-class seat giving her a sleepy once-over above his covers when realization struck. Aided by a turquoise pump to the shin but he had it coming. If not before then absolutely after the slow spreading appreciation that dimpled his tanned cheeks. “I didn’t see you board, April. I must have been working.”

    “Calling your minions?” She did sound crazy but so what. “I believe it.” The man never worked.

    “So, you think I caused this snow bomb? Wow.” He scooted up giving her another look that burned her cheeks. She’d kick him again but he’d probably like it. “Thanks. I had no idea you thought so highly of me.”

  18. Margaret

    Jade cringed as ‘Mandy’ by Barry Manilow started again over the tinny speakers. It was bad enough that she’d been stuck in the overcrowded terminal in Boston for most of the day, but to be tortured with that single song on loop was cruel. In addition to this, the handful of seats had been commandeered by a large group of hippies with their patchouli soaked rucksacks and oversized surfboards and she was relegated to a patch of cold floor near the vending machines.
    Looking at her watched, Jade sighed. Even if her plane could leave now, she’d never get to Honolulu in time for the board meeting. This was her one chance to wow them, leaving them no doubt that her company was more suited to the brief that that snake Brad Freedman. Now, he would have no competition and would be sure to win the contract.
    Jade stood and stretched. Finally, the payphones were available. She pushed her way past the businessmen in their fashionable brown suits and the students with their long hair and flared jean, searching her shoulder bag for change. Suddenly, her boot became tangled in the handle of a discarded bag and she went flying.
    Strong arms caught her, and Jade breathed in the delicious scent of Old Spice as she was put back on her feet. How could this man smell so good after being trapped here for hours?
    ‘I always said I’d sweep you off your feet one of these days,’ a deep voice intoned.
    Jade looked up, her relief quickly replaced with a flash of anger.
    ‘Brad Freedman!’ She pulled away and straightened her blouse. ‘What are you doing here? I thought your private jet would have left hours ago.’
    Brad chuckled deeply and bent down to pick up Jade’s bag.
    ‘The snow’s got us all stuck here. Though my pilot says it should clear in the next couple of hours. I just spoke with the board and they are happy to reconvene tomorrow.’
    ‘That’s great.’ Jade felt a sense of relief – she would still have a chance to prove herself. ‘I suppose I will go back-’
    ‘Back to the vending machine? No, I insist you wait this out in the lounge with me. There’s a martini with your name on it.’
    Before Jade could protest, Brad strode across the departures hall, grabbed Jade’s luggage and headed to the first-class lounge. Calculating that this would be the perfect opportunity to discover his pitch, Jade followed. Besides, she was thirsty.

    • Thank you for putting “Mandy” in my head for the rest of the day – not! This was a really fun read, although I did wonder what year it was with the reference to payphones and Old Spice. 😉 Great tension between your H&H. Thanks for writing!

  19. Dina van't Veer

    It seemed a million thoughts were streaming through her stressed mind. Of course the flight that had been delayed would be cancelled. Why not? Melanie shook her head, this storm sounded like the Lake Effect storms she had grown up with near Cleveland Ohio, it would be worse along the coast. How was she going to make it to Hawaii for a morning meeting? This meeting with Baxter and Associates was the biggest of her career, she had to make it. The flight clerk behind the counter had said all flights out of Boston were cancelled though. If she could get to Worchester there was a chance.
    Good thing she had shown up early for the flight in anticipation of poor weather. As she turned to walk towards the exit she turned right into Enzo Bruno. Oof, the wind was knocked out of her thanks to the impact with this attractive man who could regularly leave a woman short of breath, plus being her biggest rival and her biggest crush.
    “Steady” his deep sexy accented Italian voice made it through the foggy haze as she focused on his lips. Lips that had met hers just weeks before.
    “I’m guessing you’re attempting to make it to Hawaii also?” she asked. “Lot’s of luck!”
    “All flights cancelled, I know”. Of course he knew, he knew it all didn’t he. “Where are you staying? Have you found a room, I hear most hotels are full” he asked.
    Mandy nodded her agreement. Plan B had formed in her mind, the quick call she had made to Worchester Regional was a smart move. She had flown into the smaller airport before and knew there were small aircraft available for rental. Her problem now was driving to the airport almost an hour away, an airport who was not being as adversely effected by this impending storm.
    Brushing her crazy blonde hair from her eyes she felt the attraction was still there. Enzo was still holding her as she had knocked into him, she felt the heat of his hands through her business coat. It made her so aware of him, the man who had tried to buy her growing firm from her.
    “I’ve got a penthouse not far from here if you’re interested” Enzo smoothly added. “My driver is waiting for my flight to depart, he could easily take us there”.
    “Oh”, plan B would work. “How about your driver taking us to Worchester? Flights aren’t grounded there yet.” As much as she disliked sharing this information, she didn’t want to lose the chance, even if he was her competition.
    “The few flights from there are also booked”, Enzo informed her.
    “I know that also” Mandy agreed. “Trade Winds have a plane available. Yes, it’s a private company that leases the planes to qualified pilots, of which I’m one.”
    Not waiting to think any further he wrapped his hand around her elbow and propelled her towards the exit. This Mandy was quickly becoming a more tempting prize.

  20. Athina Antoniou

    “Has the flight to Hawaii definitely been cancelled?” asked Lauren, trying not to sound too desperate. So many things depended on her being able to pitch with these prospective clients and close the deal.
    “As I’ve already told you Miss Kingsley, there will be no flights out of Boston airport tonight because of the snowstorm,” the attendant replied.
    “It looks like we’re both going to miss our appointment, Miss Kingsley,” a mocking voice behind her said. He was standing so close, she could feel his breath on her hair. It sent tingles down her spine.
    She whirred around and came face to face with her business rival, Jake Sommers.
    “Well, if it isn’t the golden boy himself,” she replied. “You must be very keen to close this deal if you are going yourself, Mr. Sommers.”
    “The contract is practically ours, so you’re wasting your time going to Hawaii,” he said with confidence.
    Her green eyes flashed fire at him.
    “We’ll see about that,” she replied, walking away briskly.
    He kept up with her without any effort, and his amused chuckle infuriated her. In her haste she stumbled and his hand shot out, taking hold of her elbow and steadying her. She tried to pull her arm away, but he held her fast. He then stepped in front of her, effectively blocking her way.
    “There’s no need to be so defensive. Even though we’re from rival companies, we can still be friends,” he murmured.
    She seemed to have lost the ability to speak as he slowly lifted his other hand and his fingers gently touched her neck, where her pulse was beating wildly.
    The mocking smile left his lips as their stared into each other’s eyes. He lowered his head slowly and she held her breath …

  21. The plexiglass of the terminal’s only vending machine rattled from the frantic knocking of Millie’s manicured fist. A single neon-orange bag of Cheetos was trapped against a row of chocolate bars halfway down and, no matter what Millie did, it wasn’t budging. With the storm outside quickly turning into a blizzard, Millie wasn’t surprised when they announced her flights cancellation over the loudspeaker. Now, like the bag of Cheetos in the vending machine, Millie was trapped with no way to Hawaii, and no way home either. But Millie wasn’t the only one snowed in for the night; a crowd of travellers had settled into the seats behind her, and from that crowd a familiar face approached.
    “Millie Jones. Good to see you,” James said. He greeted her with his trademark grin, usually reserved only for clients, and nodded towards the boarding pass Millie was gripping. “Don’t tell me we’re on the same flight?”
    “Hawaii,” Millie said. She didn’t want to give James the satisfaction of a conversation and returned to her losing battle for a snack. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the hint.
    “Me too. I’m pitching to a new client,” he continued. Millie’s stomach dropped at the mention of a client, which had to be the same company she was meeting. This wasn’t going to be as easy as she thought. “Stress eating again?” James gave the machine one hard hit with his elbow and, like magic, the Cheetos fell.
    “You’re an ass,” Millie scoffed, provoking a laugh from James.
    “You’re welcome.”

  22. Zara stared at the electronic Departures sign with growing resignation. Red CANCELLED rectangles populated the right side of the board, almost matching the Arrivals sign hanging next to it.

    “And there goes our final hope,” a familiar deep baritone voice muttered behind her on the left.

    “It’s official,” Zara agreed as the last few flight statuses changed to read the same negative outcome. “No flights are getting in or out tonight.” She shook her head. “And I was so looking forward to sipping a Mai Tai poolside.” She lifted one shoulder as other people around them groaned and complained as the board turned completely red.

    “What are your plans now?”

    Zara turned to look up at Samuel W. Kingston, head of technology and development for Vitic Advanced Warning Systems. She saw him a month ago at the trade show in Toronto, he gave the keynote address. The voice, the sardonic smile and dry humour won the crowd over then.

    Hello nemesis.

    “I was thinking about a cab, to go to a hotel. You?” They stood a couple feet apart, a tiny island of calm in an ocean of frustrated airline passengers, who streamed around them heading to the airline desks.

    “No cabs available. Or Uber for that matter.” Pewter eyes looked up from his smartphone and zeroed in on her. “I’m going to head to the lounge and wait until we can rebook.” He slipped his phone into his charcoal suit pocket. “You’re welcome to join me.”

    Zara felt a shiver danger slid over her as he watched steadily. She knew she should decline. Kingston was her company’s main competition when it came to AWS projects. Even talking to him was a bad idea, but there was something about the way he looked at her. Like he was daring her to accept his invitation, testing her maybe.

    What would it mean if she could get him to talk about Vitic’s technology presentation? She could get the inside edge. Or merely spend time with a man who was interesting and attractive. Like forbidden fruit.

    “I’ll buy you a Mai Tai,” he lifted one black eyebrow and unleashed his smile.

    “Sure, why not.”

    Satan, get behind me.

  23. Karen Sims

    All flights cancelled. Lauren scanned the departure board with a sinking feeling, unwilling to believe that she would miss out on the most important business meeting of her career. With her maternity leave fast approaching, she needed to secure the client in Hawaii and remind the agency of why she deserved her spot on the team. With a heavy sigh, Lauren pulled her small suitcase behind her. Scanning the overcrowded airport for a place to rest her swollen and aching feet, she drew in a quick breath when she spotted him. Lincoln Thomas, still looking as though he belonged on the cover of a magazine, still able to steal Lauren’s breath without effort. Quickly, she wrapped her heavy coat around her, looking for a place to duck from his line of vision. She wasn’t ready to face him, to try and explain why she had left him without explanation. She wasn’t even sure she knew the answer. “Lauren? ” She heard his heavy footsteps approaching from behind, but she didn’t stop.
    They had once made a formidable team, but when he moved to a different agency, he had become her biggest rival.
    “Lauren wait.” She felt his warm hand on her shoulder, gentle but firm. She turned to look into his questioning eyes as they drifted to her growing belly. She had not told him of the baby she was carrying. His baby. Looking into his concerned eyes, she felt a stabbing pang of guilt for keeping silent. Remembering why she had fallen in love with him, why she still loved him, she began to feel the floor sway beneath her. It felt as though a bomb cyclone had exploded in her heart.
    “Linc.” She latched onto his arm and he held her steady in a protective embrace. “We need to talk.”

  24. Sorry if this is too long.

    Jack finished his call as the young woman he recognized as Ellie Blackburn shut off her cell phone and slipped it into her purse. He came as close as he could to her without invading her personal space and scaring her off. This time she wouldn’t give him the slip and disappear. From the dejected look on her face he guessed she had failed to acquire a room for herself. “No luck?”

    “First all the flights are cancelled, now all the hotels are booked solid.” She dropped her carry-on bag to the floor beside her. “This blizzard has the whole eastern seaboard paralyzed. I can’t even get back home.”

    “Not surprising. Have you looked outside?” He waved toward the large plate glass windows. “You can’t see two feet in front of you.”

    She expelled a long breath. “Oh, Hawaii. Wish I was there already.”

    So he had anticipated her next move correctly. Resisting the urge to pat himself on the back, he knew overconfidence brewed carelessness. “That was your flight? Mine, too.”

    She eyed him suspiciously. “Jack Tanner. I thought I recognized you. I suppose you’re looking for investors through Inoke and Associates, too.”

    He smiled. “Hello, Ellie. Nice to see you again.”

    “I bet it is. And you didn’t answer my question. Never mind. Your avoidance tells me your answer. You always seem to go after whatever I have my eye on.”

    “I know you blame me for the Stewart deal, but I had nothing to do with it. They burned me too.”

    “Sure they did. That’s why you have backing from Chase Manhattan and I’m lucky if the hot dog vendor on the corner will give me credit. So save the sweet talk.”

    “Let me make it up to you.” He held up his cell phone showing the hotel reservation. “I managed to get a room. I’m willing to share.”

    She hesitated, looking around the crowded waiting area. He could almost read her mind by watching her expression. “That’s nice of you, but what’s in it for you?”

    Taking her down. Ending her reign of conspiracy and fraud. This time he would catch her in the act and before she realized the company he worked for was no more real than her own. “Just doing my good deed for the day.”

  25. Jack booked an Airbnb room to wait out the snow storm. All the surrounding hotels were fully-booked due to the storm. He glanced from his phone. Shara was furiously texting someone. It seems like she was on the verge of throwing her phone against the airport’s glass wall. If she did, she might get arrested and he’d hound it all over her for years to come. Now wouldn’t that give him an advantage?
    But he was a gentleman and he would never stoop that low. He took a picture, only because her angry expression was cute. Their years of bickering back and forth were enjoyable and he often looked forward to them but lately, he was looking at Shara as more than just a rival. She was more… well, his equal in all sense. She had wit and a strong sense of humor. Often, their frequent bumps turned to witty banter and when they reached the boardroom, it was a shark fest. Their predator was often the same client.
    The storm outside was relentless. His phone indicated that his Uber ride was just a minute away. “Hey, Shara? I’ve booked a room nearby. Want to split?” Not that Jack couldn’t afford the fifty dollars a night for a room but he was a gentleman and he didn’t want to leave her out in the cold.
    Defeated, she sighed. “Why not?”
    And that was the beginning of our merger.

    • Katie Gowrie

      Nice job expanding the premise, Maita! Don’t be afraid to dive right into the action/dialogue, instead of setting up with thoughts/narrative. Thanks for participating!