Chocolate for Christmas – Day 1

I enjoyed doing the coffee quotes so much in October that I decided to take Christmas week to focus on chocolate in a similar way.  So here’s my offering for Day 1: a chocolate cinquain.

CHOCOLATE BON BONSAlexas_Fotos

It’s bliss
To think about.
Even more bliss to taste.
I just can’t seem to get enough:
Choc’late!

 

 


photo: courtesy of Alexas_Fotos @ pixabay.com

Daily Post Prompt: Bliss

 

 

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Simon Stone Mystery – Daily Post Prompt

CHAPTER ONE

Deanna Forbes sat straight in the uncomfortable wooden chair. She kept her shoulders back and her right leg crossed over her left knee, making sure to hold her foot perfectly still. That effort, along with the pleasant expression on her face, cost her considerable energy, but she was a strong-willed woman and had had a lot of practice at maintaining proper demeanor.

Her ash blond hair, blunt cut to just below her jawline, was shiny smooth and added to her cool, collected composure. Only her gray eyes darted from place to place, taking in all the details of her surroundings and keeping up with her rapidly shifting thoughts.

“Now, Ms Forbes,” Detective Simon Stone addressed her from the opposite side of the table where they sat in the interrogation room. Her eyes focused totally on him as he continued. “I have here your earlier statement that you were with friends at a private party the evening Peter Crandell was shot, but so far, our office hasn’t been able to make contact with any of these – uh – friends.” As he said the last word, his left eyebrow lifted in a question, and his blue eyes pinned her.

The implication that real friendship was somewhat lacking here wasn’t lost on Deanna, but she couldn’t seem to keep herself from focusing on those eyes – well – on his whole appearance, which was commandingly attractive: dark complexion, black, wavy hair, and strong brows – all accented by the most brilliantly blue eyes she’d ever seen on a man. This meeting was the second time she’d sat with Simon Stone for questioning, and both times his extravagant good looks and his virile, no-nonsense manner, coupled with a surprisingly melodious voice, had interfered with her efforts to concentrate. That wasn’t good — not good at all. She needed all her wits about her for this one.

“Well, Detective Stone, as I explained in my original statement, it was a bon voyage party, and two of the couples were sailing that night. The other two couples live in Montrose, some 100 miles from here, so God only knows where they may be by this week. Besides – as I also said previously – you won’t find anyone who honestly thinks I had a motive for killing Peter Crandell. Why on earth would I want poor Peter dead?”

“I don’t know that you did want him dead, Ms Forbes. But right now we can’t rule out anyone who knew him, and an alibi for your whereabouts at the time of death is crucial.” There was a knock at the door of the interrogation room, and Stone got up to answer it. After the briefest whispered conversation, he turned to Deanna. “Excuse me a moment, Ms Forbes. I’ll be right back with you.” He then stepped out into the hall to continue the conversation.

After a good five minutes, he returned with a smile on his face. “Well, good news: “ he said, closing the door and returning to his seat at the table, “our men have finally made contact with one of the couples from the bon voyage party. They have corroborated your alibi completely, so it looks as though you’re free to go. I’m sorry we had to detain you so long.”

Deanna smiled widely. “That is good news, Detective. And I’m glad to know you think so too. I’d hate to have you believe I was guilty of such a terrible act as shooting someone.”

“Just because we question a person doesn’t necessarily mean we believe they committed the crime, Ms Forbes. But in cases like this, there are usually a number of people who are possible suspects until we can find good reason to eliminate them from the list.”

“I understand, Detective Stone. But I want to make sure I have the facts right: You are saying that your department no longer consider me a suspect in the shooting of Peter Crandell. Is that correct?”

Stone smiled. “You are correct, Ms Forbes,” he said and rose from his chair.

Deanna rose as well, and on a sudden impulse, she said, “Well … now that we’ve got all that matter cleared up, I wonder if you might consider having dinner with me tomorrow evening, Detective Stone. I feel I’d like to get to know you better.”

Stone’s first response was one of surprise, but it registered only momentarily. His easy smile replaced it, a smile that reached his eyes, and Deanna suddenly realized that it was that smile that came from deep inside of him that made him particularly attractive.

“I should be free tomorrow evening ─ barring some unexpected homicide, that is,” he said with a grin. “Do you have a particular place in mind?”

“I like dining at The Captain’s Table in the restored lighthouse a little south of the city. Do you know it?”

“Yes, I’m familiar with it. I enjoy it myself. Shall I pick you up?”

“It’s probably better if I meet you there. Say 7:00?”

“Fine. I’ll look forward to it, Ms Forbes.”

Deanna smiled widely again. “Why don’t you just call me Dee? All my friends do, and I think we could become friends now that this nasty murder business is behind us.”

“Well, then, Dee,” he said moving to the door and holding it open for her, “I’ll see you at The Captain’s Table at 7:00 tomorrow evening.”

“Good bye Detective Stone.” She smiled again and gave him a questioning look. “Perhaps you’ll give me permission to call you Simon when we meet for dinner.”

“Perhaps I shall,” he answered with a teasing grin. Deanna turned and walked out of the office and exited the police station without looking back. Keeping her back straight and her head up was second nature to her; smiling at everyone she passed didn’t come quite so naturally. However, she was determined not to let that smile slip until she was well out of sight of any law enforcement officers.

Simon Stone returned to his own desk and filled out his report on the interrogation – but he didn’t sign off on it. Instead, he entered Deanna Forbes’ name into a data base he used only when the normal sites failed to give him satisfactory information. He waited, holding his breath.

In the meantime, Deanna Forbes sat behind the wheel of her Lexus. Driving back to her home, she questioned her own sanity. Why on earth had she invited Simon Stone to dinner? Well, she knew the answer on the surface, of course: he was stunning, sexy, and captivating. He was also dangerous, but she had lived with danger most of her life.

Having been raised by a drunken father who came home to beat up on his wife and two kids on a regular basis ─ and then living with a grandmother who ran a gambling casino, with all the attending crime element casinos attracted ─ she was no stranger to dealing with danger and its threats to her own peace and security. In fact, sometimes she wondered if she had become too comfortable with danger. Maybe that’s why she’d never stuck with any relationships in the past that didn’t carry with them any kind of threat.

She shrugged her shoulders now. Oh well, her die was cast. She was having dinner with a man who, up until an hour ago, had considered her a possible murderer. Come to think of it, he hadn’t told her which couple had corroborated her alibi for that night. Of course, all six of the other guests had been so drunk that they couldn’t have been sure about who was there and who wasn’t.

One thing about most of her friends: they were so irresponsible in their own lives that they didn’t think twice about checking up on anyone else to make sure they weren’t doing something they shouldn’t be doing. It would never occur to them that one of their guests might have slipped away from the group long enough to put old Peter away and slipped right back into the crowd as if nothing had transpired except a trip to the bathroom.


INNOCENT FRONT COVER = AMAZONThe mystery continues in book #1 of the Simon Stone Detective Series.
Read all of INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. Available in paperback and digital at Amazon.

 

Daily Post Prompt: Mystery

 

 

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Daily Post Prompt: Cusp


WOMAN AT WINDOW LOOKING BACK


THE CROOKED CUSP OF LOVE

I was just on the cusp of deciding
When everything went so awry.
How could they be so hateful to me?
I can’t do a thing now but cry.

I’d dated Sebastian on Mondays,
And Thursdays were his days as well.
Then Trevor had Wednesdays and Fridays,
And Raymond thought weekends were swell.

We’d gone along happily – I thought,
Until they demanded I choose.
Well, you can imagine my chagrin
At having them give me such news.

I told them I’d have to have some time
To make a decision so hard.
But every time I thought I’d made one,
I couldn’t quite settle my heart.

It’s been only six months – this process;
Each day I did several hours spend.
Now I’m just on the cusp of decision,
But they’ve run off and married my friends!

 


Daily Post prompt: cusp

 

 

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Daily Post Prompt: Minimal, you say?

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MOUNTAIN CLIMBER edited for blog

Minimal, you say.
Is that like – just enough?
Does that mean there’s no need to go
Beyond the basic stuff?

Minimal, you say.
Do barely what’s required?
Exactly what I saw in print
The day that I was hired?

I see thing differently.
To me the minimalists
Are shirkers, slackers, slothful souls.
Who live just to exist.

To live a life worthwhile
Requires a finer sense.
One must in all endeavors strive
To offer excellence.

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*If we make a habit of doing only the minimal that is required of us, we end up living a minimal life.*


To participate in today’s prompt visit Daily Post.

 

 

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Daily Post Prompt: Abstract Art According to Hillbillies

`ART WITH BLACK

Two Hillbillies in an Art Museum:

“What is it?”

“It’s an abstract.”

“A what?”

“An abstract. You know – that’s where somebody who thinks he’s an artist takes a canvas and slops a bunch of paint onto it in weird patterns. Then somebody else who thinks he’s an art expert comes along and says it represents that artist’s feelin’s when he was rejected by his lover or it represents man’s inhumanity to man, or somethin’ like that.

“Where’d you learn that?”

“We got Internet up on our mountain now. I been readin’ about all kinds a stuff. I come to this one place on there with all these god-awful weird pictures, so I stopped to find out what they was all about.”

“And it told all about these here abstracts?”

“Right. And purty dern boring stuff if you ask me.”

“Hmmmm. Ain’t there any abstracts that say somethin’ positive?”

“Oh, yeah, there’s a few that are supposed to represent man’s great intelligence or his overpowerin’ love for the world or that kind of thing. But, according to this here report I read, the real value of an abstract is supposed to be that each separate person who sees it will give it his own — a — interpretation I think they called it — based on his own personality and life experiences.”

“Hmmmmmmm. So what do you think this one represents?”

“I have to go to the outhouse, and I’d better get there quick.”

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Daily Post Prompt: Panoply

IRKSOME ASSIGNMENT

MAN'S FACE, FINGER ON CHINI must write a post using “panoply.”
But I’m stuck and a little confused.
For it isn’t a world I use commonly,
For with snobb’ry I feel it’s infused.

I did look up its definition
Just to make sure I wasn’t quite wrong.
Now I’m even more sure it’s pretentious,
For it’s synonym list is quite long.

Now, I’m likely to use the word “trappings,”
Or “collection,” or even “array.”
And in reference to a suit of armor,
Well – “armor” is just what I’d say.

I find this prompt most aggravating.
It offers no useful rewards.
To describe just how irksome I find it
Takes a literal panoply of words.


 

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Daily Post Prompt: Radical

For today’s prompt, I decided nothing could fit better than the logo for the ministry the Lord called me to establish a few years ago.  I’ll also include the link to its Facebook Page in case you’d like to know more about it.

radical-logo-new-darkened-w-get-radical-text

 


Do participate, visit the Daily Post here.

 

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Daily Post Prompt: Island

LIGHTHOUSE WITH FOGThe fog’s especially heavy tonight. I can’t see three feet past the door, so I guess it’s a good time to stay inside and write this letter. The lighthouse on the island has sounded the foghorn every two minutes for hours now.

I haven’t been back to the island since that night. In some ways, I wish I had moved away when you did. I’m sure it’s a lot easier on you not having to look out across the water and see that island every day. I know the spot is overgrown now, but I can still pick it out as clearly as if we’d left a marker. And hearing that blasted horn blow every time the fog moves in really gets on my nerves.

Tonight it’s as thick out there as it was the night we buried him. I often wonder what would have happened if the fog had lifted in time for someone to see us digging the grave. But, of course, that wasn’t likely to happen. Once the dratted stuff moves in, it clings to us like a shroud for hours on end.

I wish you were sitting here with me, sharing a bottle of our favorite whiskey. I hate being alone with my thoughts. I’m always chilled and shaky when there’s fog. It feels as if something’s choking me. I wonder if that’s how he felt as we tightened that rope around his neck until he stopped breathing. I know if I could hear your voice now, you’d tell me to stop being so fanciful.

I wish you were here with me. I hate fog.

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To participate in this prompt, visit The Daily Post.

 

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Daily Post Prompt: Countless

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Exif JPEG
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THE DECISION

`I’ve thought about you countless times this past year. I sometimes wish I hadn’t been so hasty to make the decision. There are days when I wake up thinking how good it would be to still have you beside me for a few hours. And, of course, every time I make the curried chicken casserole I think about you. It’s downright lonely in the kitchen these days. And I don’t even cook most of the time. I do carry-out.

I don’t order from our favorite Chinese place, though, and I don’t go in there anymore because they almost always ask me, with sadness in their eyes, how I’m doing now that you’re gone. That gentle couple who own the place really got to like you. I think you were probably their favorite customer during the three years we ate there. I miss the Chinese place, and some of the other haunts we made our own. But I’m finding new interests and new friends, and things will work out.

But — sometimes — on a summer evening — when the windows are open to the gentle night air and someone’s laughter floats across the breeze, it reminds me of your laugh. I think that’s one of the things I miss most about you. You were so abandoned when you thought something was funny. You never held back.

But then, as well as I can remember, you never held back on any emotion. And that fact, of course, is what finally led me to make my decision. You just couldn’t seem to hold back on your feelings for all the other men in your life — even my best friend — a man who I’d thought would have my back through thick and thin — especially after all we’d been through together in the war. But you were just too much for him. He fell just like all the others. And so I made the decision.

Yeah — as I consider it all again now — I know it was the right thing to do. It put a stop to the hurting for me and for all the rest of ’em too.

The only thing is that — on nights like tonight — with the fragrance of the roses you planted drifting in from the garden — and the radio playing an old song we used to dance to — well — I have to admit to myself at least — I do feel just a little sorry that I poisoned you.

 

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Daily Post Prompts: Shadow – ‘The Beast’

BULL SILLHOUETTE EDITED -NEGATIVEThe sun was low in the sky and to my back. I lay on the ground, looking up at the clouds and turning them into all sorts of things. One looked very much like a turtle. One like a smiley face, since it had two holes where the blue peaked through, giving it eyes, and another opening that really did look surprisingly like a grin on a child’s face. One of the clouds looked a little like an old school teacher I’d had who wore her hair piled high on her head in a beehive style. Boy, did that thought give way to pondering where time has gone.

Suddenly, I heard a branch crack behind me. Now, I’m not normally skittish, but this cracking sound was loud enough that I knew it must have been more than just the normal activity of birds or squirrels in the bushes. And, since I was in my own back yard, with a fence around the perimeter, there shouldn’t have been any other creatures – human or otherwise – setting foot beyond that fence uninvited. I didn’t welcome that sound.

I didn’t sit up immediately, but sort of rolled my head to look toward my left first – and saw nothing out of the ordinary. Then I rolled my head toward the right side, and on the ground beside me I saw the shadow of a huge head – not human – but obviously belonging to a beast of a different sort. My heartbeat went into double time, but I just lay there sort of frozen. As I watched, fighting down panic as well as I could, the shadow moved, coming forward and revealing the shoulder area, two legs, and an enormous frame.

I thought about praying, but the words stuck in my throat. I suppose I did manage a silent cry for help, but my primary thought was how to manage rising from my vulnerable position without seeming a threat to said beast and prompting a vicious attack on my person. I contemplated what I had available as a weapon. Well, there was a broken branch or two close by that had blown from a few surrounding trees during a recent windstorm. I glanced again to my left to see if I might be able to reach out for one without actually moving the rest of my body.

As I did so, I felt rather than saw the beast move closer to me. Frantically, I scanned the area to my left, but found no branches big enough to provide weaponry. Just small twigs and several old leaves. Not even a big rock. Finally, I decided that I couldn’t just lie there any longer. If I did so, I was obviously going to be dead meat, and just maybe my jumping up quickly would be enough to throw off the beast’s attention and give me time to start running.

Okay. I squeezed my eyes shut and psyched myself to do it, but just as I opened my eyes, the huge shadow suddenly loomed right over my head, and I knew it was hopeless to try to escape. I could hear it breathing in my ear. Then I really did decide to pray, because if this were to be my home-going, I wanted to be ready. I squeezed my eyes shut again, bracing myself for the impact of the attack, when to my greater shock, something sloppy wet took hold of my right ear. The next thing I knew something else cold and wet nudged me in the side of my neck. And then my face was being slathered with slobber from my chin to my temple. What was it doing? Tasting me to see if I merited being eaten?

I put my hand up to try to cover my face, and when I did, this little furry body just sort of threw itself at my hand and started whining and wriggling, trying to get my hand away. Well, the body attacking mine was so much smaller than I had anticipated that I decided I could open my eyes and chance a look. So I opened one eye and squinted between my fingers, which I still had pressed against my face, and what I saw brought me into a sitting position roaring with laughter.

The little yellow lab puppy who was pouncing me and trying to give me a bath in his saliva couldn’t have been more than three or four months old. So this was the beast I’d seen in shadow form? Surely I wasn’t foolish enough to have made a mistake like that. But upon making the effort to sit upright fully and look around me in all directions, I realized that, sure enough, this little pup and I were the sole occupants of my huge back yard. He was little enough he could have squeezed under the fence if he’d had a mind to. And on further reflection, I realized that considering how low in the sky the sun had been, if it had been shining just right on that little fellow’s body, he would have thrown a shadow many times larger than his real size.

I grabbed the little guy and took him onto my lap, giving him a few good scratches behind the ears and a thorough belly rub. While doing so, I thought about how so many of the problems in my life had looked bigger than life and had threatened to destroy me. But, in truth, when I had finally decided to stand up to them and look them square in the eye and recognize them for exactly what they were and nothing more, I had forced them to show their true identity. And when all was said and done, they were always smaller than I was, and I had eventually defeated every one of them.

I determined to make a lasting mental note of my experience that day and to remember the lesson I’d learned from that little fellow with the monster shadow: Never judge a problem – or a puppy – by its fearsome shadow.

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Daily Post Prompt: Abandoned – ‘Start Abandoning Things Today’

MAN LEAPING IN AIRAbandon your fears. Abandon your insecurities. Abandon your doubts. Abandon your past failures. Abandon the negative words others have spoken concerning your abilities or your future. Abandon the so-called ‘friends’ who do not help draw you to your best and highest.

Life is too short to live it in fear, doubt, and the faulty judgments of other people. If you’re going to get anything out of this life, you’re going to have to put a lot into it. And you can’t do that if you’re constantly afraid or second-guessing because of past failures or someone else’s opinions.

Stand up and lay hold of this day in faith. God made you, so He loves you. And because He made you, He obviously has a plan for you. So get hold of Him today (you can find Him by calling on Jesus Christ) and find out what His delightful plan is for your life. Then get started carrying it out.

Abandon what is negative, dark, and destructive. Seize what is positive, light, and life-giving. Then go out there and LIVE!

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Daily Post Prompt: Abandoned

 

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