Flash Fiction February and March

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Welcome to the Romance Writers of Australia Flash Fiction for February and March! Our winner For February is Alison L Robson with ‘Tomorrow’ for the theme of ‘Second Chances’ and our winner for March is Kylie Maguire with ‘Loathe Thy Neighbour’ for the theme ‘Enemies to Lovers’.

Congratulations Alison and Kylie!

Please note that due to the ‘quick’ nature of flash fiction, our flash fiction entries are unedited by RWAus prior to publication.

Tommorrow by Alison L Robson

I feel my cheeks warm as he glances in my direction. My breath catches in my throat and I look down at my book. He has this effect over me every time I see him. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if he actually spoke to me. Or if I uttered even a single word in his direction.

What would I do if his hand brushed against mine as we passed each other? If we both reached for our coffees at the same time? I feel my cheeks flame as I imagine his touch, as I imagine his hands sliding down my skin, his coffee-scented breath on my cheek.

Is this what love at first sight feels like?

But I can’t look up. I know he’s still standing there, waiting for his cappuccino. The same thing he orders every morning. I pretend to be fascinated by my book, pretend that my every nerve ending isn’t completely in tune to him. I’m sure I can hear my heart beating. I keep my head down, not even stealing a glance in his direction until I hear the door of the café open and close and I know he’s gone.

I look up from under my eyelashes just to be sure he’s really left. I feel a mix of relief and despair wash over me. Relief that I didn’t embarrass myself this time, relief that I can relax and no longer feel my cheeks burn. But despair that he’s gone, again. Despair that today was not the day we spoke to each other, not the day I confess to waiting for him, every morning, so I can see him for a brief moment as he gets his morning coffee. Waiting for those five minutes that he’s near me, that I feel his presence deep in my soul.

Every day I wish and hope that I’ll finally have the courage to make eye contact and keep it for more than a split-second. But we’ve been doing this dance for two months. Monday to Friday, always at eight in the morning. He glances my way, I quickly look away, my cheeks ablaze.

Does he notice? Is he as shy as me?

There is always tomorrow, I assure myself as I tuck my book under my arm and I reach for my coffee. Tomorrow, a second chance. I will do it, I will hold his eye contact. I step out onto the footpath and smile to myself, maybe tomorrow I might even give him a smile.

I run into something hard, my coffee flying out of my hands and landing on the ground. I look up. It’s him. His eyes flash with concern and then a smile breaks out on his handsome face.

“Hi,” he says. “I’ve been working up the courage to ask you if I can buy you a coffee, I guess now is my chance.”

I nod my head and smile, holding eye contact. I guess today is the day.

Loathe Thy Neighbour by Kylie Maguire

A halo of dust trailed behind the flashy red Ute that was headed towards her.

Inwardly she groaned. What did this show off want now?

She used the pliers to tighten the wire through the post hole. Damn fence. Damn neighbour.

He parked the car and casually stepped out. All six foot of him. Dressed in his RM Williams shirt and dark jeans. New boots too, not worn in. Barely dirty. Like his hands.

Bloody city boy. Didn’t have a clue about farming.

“What happened?”

“What do you reckon?” She bit out. He leaned against the wooden post and tipped his cap back a fraction to look at her.

He shrugged then grinned. “Haven’t got a clue, but I reckon ya gonna tell me.”

She tied the wire around the post and knotted it as tight as she could before straightening. “You’re damn bull, that’s what happened. Broke through the fence. Again.”

“He’s not just any bull, he’s a prized stud.”

“Well that stud is over yonder somewhere having a grand old time servicing my cows.”

“He’s what?” The cheesy grin disappeared. “Shoot. Dad won’t be impressed. We charge a fee for him to …”

Abbey waved the pliers at him, “Don’t even think about sending me a service bill. This is the third time I’ve had to fix this fence because of your randy bull. How about you keep him on your property, be responsible and …”

“Whoa,” he held up both hands. “Am I detecting a little hostility? You’re not being very neighbourly Abs.”

He laughed.

She didn’t.

The husky sound made her insides quiver. She refused to be attracted to him. There were too many things about this wanna-be-cowboy that drove her insane.

“I’ll help fix the fence.”

“I can manage.”

He ignored her and climbed onto the fence.  He swung his leg over, and wobbled. The snapping wire twanged in the air as City boy slipped. He tumbled to the ground at her feet with a thud.

This time she laughed.

He propped himself up on his elbows, and grinned. Een with red dirt staining his clothes he was handsome.  “Help a guy up.”

She grumbled and held out her hand that was soon enveloped in much larger warm ones.

She swallowed as his hold on her tightened. The sooner he was on his feet, the sooner he could leave. 

It wasn’t to be.

He was tugging her towards him, knocking her off balance.

Shrieking as she tumbled onto hard muscled flesh. Air whooshed out of her lungs as strong arms enveloped her.  “Falling for me now?”

“Never,” she bit out. “I can’t stand you.”

He dragged her closer, until his mouth was inches from hers. “I don’t like you either,” he rasped before his lips touched hers.         

She was losing the battle. Forgetting the reasons to hate him. One taste would be alright. Wouldn’t it?

She could go back to hating him later.

Right now, this stud could do a little damage of his own.

Second Chance. Not a Chance by Kylie Maguire

Ethan Crawley was going to eat his words.

One last look, she smiled at her reflection. Perfect.

The slim fitting, flirty black dress hugged her curves in all the right places. Leather knee high boots. Her chocolate mane of unruly curls was twisted up in a knot on her head. Her makeup flawless.

The last place she wanted to be was at this ten-year reunion. Breathing the same air as her high school tormenters, making small talk. Not her idea of fun. 

Her boots clipped the wooden floor as she crossed to the entrance. Bouquets of flowers decorated the table.  She could hear soft music playing. Noisy conversations carried across the room.

Here goes nothing. She was greeted by Cherie and Holly, the event organisers. Both popular girls back in the day. Never short of boyfriends, always dressed in the latest fashions. Certainly never her friends.

“I’d like a name tag please,” she told them.  Pasting a smile to her lips as she waited. They didn’t have a clue who she was.

“You are … I can’t place you …” Holly admitted.

“Abigail Weston.”

Their mouths gaped open. Holly fumbled for the name tag that was at the bottom of the pile.

“I thought you weren’t coming,” Cherie added.

“My business trip was cancelled, so here I am.” Taking the badge, she pinned it to her top. “Thankyou.”

Abigail moved away, spying the conceited Ethan across the room. He was talking animatedly to the men he stood with. His good looks had not faded over time.

She made sure to cross the room directly in front of him. Stopping by the table with a large bowl of punch. 

She heard a low appreciative whistle. Typical. Followed by “Who is that?”

“I’m going to find out.” Ethan volunteered.

Her target had taken the bait.

Within seconds he’d sidled up beside her. His too strong aftershave filled her nostrils.  Overkill she thought.

He positioned himself so he could read her tag.

“Abigail?” his eyes bulged as his eyes roved over her body. “Abigail Weston?”

“That’s me.”

She continued to pour punch into her cup.

His hand touched her arm. Inwardly she cringed. He would never have bothered before.

“You look incredible. What are you up to these days? Let me guess … you’re a catwalk model?

We should catch up, have dinner and get to know each other properly. Call it a second chance.”

She wanted to roll her eyes.

Instead, Abigail leaned closer and whispered in his ear. “Ethan, I wouldn’t go out with you if you were the last man on earth.” Her words mimicked those he’d once taunted her with.

She grinned at the tall man walking towards them.  “Have you met my husband?”

“You’re married?” Ethan choked, eyes wide. “To him?”

“Happily so,” she replied and walked away.

The once computer nerd and freckly girl with braces and glasses were now a power couple. She smiled triumphantly. 

How the tables had turned.

Not everyone deserved a second chance.

‘Second Chances’ by Joanne Redden

How many wishes?’ Carys wondered, stepping out onto the balcony. Her body stilled with anticipation as she waited.

‘How many wishes had she made on the first evening star, hoping Leo Maxwell would fall in love with her?’ Hundreds?

The evenings she had faced when the chill factor seemed to rivalled zero. Or when the rain tumbled down in unforgiving sheets all so she could capture that first elusive twinkle.

‘And how many times had she chanted that magical childhood phrase?’

“Starlight. Star-bright. I wish I may. I wish I might have Leo Maxwell fall in love with me tonight,” Carys completed, her voice tinged with regret.

‘Oh, how naïve she had been.’

At sixteen, her fairy godmother had transformed her body from bony and awkward angles, sculpting them into more curvaceous ones. Ones that Leo Maxwell noticed.

Then there had been a party.

‘Trouble always started at parties, especially where alcohol was involved,’ Carys rued bitterly. But, worse, there had been a serpent living in her garden of Eden, bent on poisoning her relationship with Leo. Her best friend Eve. How ironic.

Her setup played out nicely.

A compromising position followed by bitter words and accusations. That had been all it had taken. Relationship done. The Maxwells moved and Eve slither off hopefully to the deepest pit in hell. The image was certainly appropriate.

Now here she was, five years later, attending yet another party. And another irony. Leo Maxwell was there. And she was trying to avoid him.

Carys watched as the last edges of sunlight tucked themselves beneath the horizon, bringing that magical moment closer. A slight flicker of silver captured her attention, followed by another, then the light pulsated, forming the first evening star.

“Star light,” Carys began.

“Star bright,” a masculine voice interrupted.

“Leo.” His name caught as a million regrets battered her. Harsh like the throes of a cyclone.

“The first star I see tonight,” he continued, gently turning her towards him.

‘Oh? Was she even breathing? Was he?’ The only audible sound between them seemed to be the crickets embarking on their nightly serenade.

“I wish I may. I wish I might,” Leo resumed, his voice husky. “Carys, what else would you have wished for?”

“That I could take everything I said back. That I believed you.” Her voice caught. ‘Oh, how she had wished she could have taken every second. Every accusation.’

“Do you Carys?” His question lingered as his fingers trace the curve of each eye, swiping each tear away.

“Yes,” she uttered with certainty. “Eve played on my insecurities to achieve what she wanted. You. I’ve never stopped loving you, Leo. Nor,” she continued, tilting her head towards the evening star.

“Stopped wishing for that second chance. I just had to grow up to achieve it.”

“We both did,” Leo agreed. “Because Carys, I have never stopped wishing either.”

His kiss filled her with joy as the evening star twinkled out with its blessing.

Maggots and Kisses by Joanne Redden

There was a malevolent glint in Colley Smith’s hazel eyes, Scott Jackson noticed. One that aroused his suspicions as he placed the covered plate on a table well away from the aggravating woman. He knew what aggravated her. Him.

An impromptu cow patty fight between the shearers and the stock hands had seen Colley hit by a semi ripe one he had launched. She then, ignoring his apology, released a volley of un-lady like language which flowed over her very desirable lips. From there, she embarked on a campaign of petty revenge, starting with a fresh cow patty in his bed. And he retaliated back. And so forth. But right now, he was too bloody tired from a long hard day’s graft, shearing cantankerous ewes, and rams. But the waves of animosity that wafted down towards him reinvigorated his suspicion. He knew what his meal should be; the traditional roast lamb, three veg and gravy, but suspected something else as he lifted the lid. Neither his meal, nor Colley, had disappointed as plump maggots wriggled their way through the congealing gravy, while others conquered ‘the Everest’ of lamb slices.

‘That bloody woman! This had gone too far and for too long.’ He slammed the lid down, cracking the plate, as he shoved the chair back.


Colley Smith’s lips curved with a predatory satisfaction as Scott Jackson sat down at his table.

‘Oh, there was no doubt he thought he was good looking.’ Tall with dark hair and coffee-coloured eyes, and enough well-defined muscles to make the average woman pause. But she wasn’t average. Plus, she knew what he was really like. Childish and immature. The cow patty incident had proved that. His apology, too, was pathetic and insincere. She hoped he would enjoy the ‘extra touch’ she had added to his meal. Her body tingled with anticipation as he lifted the lid.

‘Huh, take that!’ she wanted to crow.

‘Oh shit!’ Colley scrambled to her feet, overwhelmed by the vision of a very irate man storming towards her, and her escape route blocked. ‘Nope, her goose was well and truly cooked,’ as he grasped her shoulders. His breath was hot against her as his mouth commandeered hers.

Colly struggled against the pressure before opening up beneath the force of his kiss. He smelt of sheep, lanolin and tasted like coffee as she plummeted his mouth.

‘Oh, bloody hell! She was kissing Scott bloody Jackson. Cow patty, laughing Scott Jackson.’ With more force than she thought she could muster, she tore her mouth away, and shoved him backwards and ran.


‘Whoa!’ Scott Jackson staggered backwards. When he had stormed up to Colley, he had intended to berate her, not ruddy well, kiss her. Now, he couldn’t get the taste of her out of his mind and the wild way she responded to his kiss.

‘Huh! Maggots and kisses.’ A slow smile creased his lips as he left to pursue his quarry.

North and South by Emma Marsh

Seeing Actureo’s broad frame enter the party was a sure-fire way to ruin my night. I watch his emerald eyes scan the room and I know he’s seeking confirmation I’m here. They narrow as he finally spots me and to my horror he stalks over to me.

‘Actureo, what a pleasure,’ I say, my voice dripping in sarcasm.

‘Lix,’ he says, giving me a short bow. Although we’re constantly battling, we never forget formalities. ‘You shouldn’t be here.’

‘Funny. I was going to say the same thing about you.’

‘The host is a Northerner, from Piliapolis,’ he says stiffly. 

‘And his grain business on the border is looking to expand south, so he asked me here. As the guest of honour actually. Can’t you tell by my new gown?’ I’d worn a champagne-coloured silk dress, the material falling lightly on my body, accentuating every curve.

A satisfied smirk plays on my lips as I watch him take in my attire for the first time. I do love catching him off guard. In a split second we’re nose to nose, his breath hot on my face.

‘You always have an answer,’ he snarls.

‘And yet you continue to talk back. It must be infuriating for you, because it’s almost unbearable for me.’

‘Is that so?’

There’s something in his eyes that makes me stop. My breath catches in my throat. I’ve forgotten all about the party going on around us, the revellers watching our exchange out of the corner of their eyes. A throat clears behind me.

‘We should go somewhere more private,’ he says, his voice gravelly. 

Actureo turns without another word and walks out of a side door. I keep my eyes on the door, making sure I don’t make eye contact with anyone. They cannot question me. They cannot question us. We’re the High Praetor’s of Elaryia. Actureo for the North, and me for the South. The only person we answer to is the King.

My feet move of their own accord and as I turn the corner into the shadowy hallway, I smell Actureo before I see him, woody and intense. When my eyes adjust to the darkness, I see his smirk.

‘I knew you’d follow me.’

I roll my eyes. ‘You knew nothing.’

He steps closer, bright green eyes flashing in the night. With one hand on my waist he pushes me back against the wall.

‘What are you – ’ I start but I’m cut off by his lips. His kiss is hard against me and then steady, softening when he realises I’m not going to pull away. My hand snakes around the back of his neck, pulling him closer.

‘I knew you wanted me,’ he whispers in my ear.

‘There’s a very thin line between want and hate.’

‘I don’t think that’s how the proverb goes,’ he says, a grin slowly creeping across his face.

‘How can I believe a word you say anymore?’

I pull him close again, tired of talking. ‘You never did.’

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