Author Archives: Rose City Sisters

The Fork in the Road by Lynn Nicholas

The wedding couple were our colleagues. They seated you at my table. The evening was hot and humid—the wine cooling and delicious. I toasted the newlyweds, glass after glass. My professional reserve evaporated.

You waxed witty and teasing, and I leaned into you, giddy and laughing. You asked me to dance. I stood, unsteady. You proffered a supportive hand. Your arm slipped around my waist. I closed my eyes and drank in the scent of you: sun-washed cotton and spicey cologne.

I turned; our eyes locked. Wordless, our hearts signed an irrevocable, binding contract. That night, our paths converged.

Copyright © 2021 Lynn Nicholas All rights reserved

Lynn Nicholas’ first novel, Dancing Between the Beats, was published in 2019. Short fiction and poetry publication credits include Story Snacks and The Storyteller (published by Society of Southwestern Authors), Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, SandScript Arts & Literary Magazine, The Wild Word, Every Day Fiction, The Rose City Sisters, Wow! Women on Writing, Leaves of Ink, and the AARP Bulletin. Lynn is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Society of Southwestern Authors.

The New Normal by Paula Johnson

When the bot was out of beta, Lester knew he had a goldmine. By entering some keywords and a premise, he could generate a buzzword-laden business book in 24 hours. A few more clicks—and eleven bucks—bought a cover design from a digital sweatshop in a country with a name he could not pronounce.

Let the thought leaders do deep dives into topics du jour, thought Lester. He was happy in the shallow end, cranking out three books a month and knowing his innovative publishing model reflected unprecedented out-of-the-box thinking combined with agile, synergistic execution.

© Copyright 2021 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.

Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. Join her email list  and get invited to her book launch party!

Queen of Diamonds by Lynn Nicholas

Six paintings sold! Carey pumped her arms overhead and swayed to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.” Apropos. Her gamble on an unknown artist had paid off. Humming, Carey locked the gallery and set the alarm. The mess and champagne bottles could wait. Besides, a seat at Soboba’s Casino’s poker table, and a couple of martinis, would top off her night perfectly.
 
Except for the smokers loitering outside the dance clubs, the street was empty. The theater wasn’t out as yet. If she’d locked up an hour ago, she could have begged a lift to her car. Carey’s footsteps echoed on the pavement. The long walk to the dirt parking lot was unappealing, but tonight finding parking at all was pure luck.
 
After six blocks, the arts district merged with a once-stylish neighborhood awaiting gentrification. Carey’s feet rebelled in her narrow, new boots. But there it was, right after the fire hydrant—a cobbled alley she knew was a shortcut.
 
Carey hesitated at the entrance. During daylight hours this was just your typical graffitied alley, but after dark it was, well, dark.
 
“Drama queen,” she muttered. “What are the odds?”
 
Carey’s aching feet told her to shut up and take the shortcut. The overhead lamp in the parking lot beckoned from the far end of the alley. She straightened her spine and quickened her pace. Her high-heeled boots echoed on the rounded stones.
 
He stepped out of nowhere, blocking her path. Pale light from a high, semi-curtained window glinted off the garish chain around his neck.
 
“Hey there, hot mama. Slow down. Be easy.”

The man was skinny and twitchy. Tendrils of scraggly blond hair escaped his baseball cap. Carey fingered the car FOB in her coat pocket, wishing it was a mace canister.
 
“I don’t want no trouble, lady. So quick like, what’s in that fancy bag you carryin’?”
 
“Not much.” Her breath caught, and her voice wavered. “My driver’s license, mints, tissues, tampons….”
 
“Don’t dis me, woman. I’m asking nice. You got some coin?”
 
His smile twisted into a sneer—his breath rancid in her face.
 
“I have some twenties and a five. Maybe sixty-five dollars?”
 
Carey handed over both the cash and the breath mints.
 
“Hold up. What’s that flashin’ on your finger?” He held out a flattened palm.
 
The glitzy ring was just a bit of fun. The emeralds and diamonds were excellent fakes. If the punk needed to hold the winning hand, she’d fold. Carey sucked down the rising panic and managed a contrite expression. She twisted off the ring and wordlessly handed it over. A satisfied smirk stretched his cracked lips. Exhaling a relieved breath, Carey swept her long hair behind her ears. Her stomach clenched as she realized her mistake.
 
“You holdin’ out on me bitch? That bling in your ears the real deal?”
 
“Real?” Carey stifled her fear and forced her brain to shuffle possibilities. She affected a nonchalant camaraderie. “Depends who you ask.”
 
“Say what? Stop messin’ with me.” He took a step forward.
 
Carey stood her ground. Fingers trembling, she touched a bedazzled earlobe. A gift to herself, her VVS2 diamonds symbolized her hard-won success. Talking fast, she kept her tone conspiratorial.
 
“Here’s the thing. My boyfriend bought these. ‘Very expensive,’ he said. ‘Insure them.’ The appraiser laughed in my face. They’re worthless fakes. But, if they go missing, and I don’t file for insurance….” Carey lifted her chin. “Do you want to make another man look like a fool?”
 
The punk grabbed her arm, pulling her close. A look of confusion muddled his features.
 
“I don’t give a crap about—”
 
“Hey! You alright down there?” The male voice came from a balcony, three stories up.” A flashlight beam encircled them. “Need me to make a call, lady?”
 
Carey and the punk locked eyes. He gave her arm a menacing squeeze and backed into the shadows. 
 
“I’m okay now, thank you,” Carey shouted. Relief almost brought her to tears. “My car—that one at the end of the alley—could you keep your flashlight on me until I’m inside?” Car FOB in her palm, she ran as quickly as her heels would allow.
 
Carey locked the doors and hit the start button. Her bravado ebbed away, leaving her limp and drained. Her heartbeat resonated in her ears. She leaned her forehead on the steering wheel before facing herself in the rearview mirror. Her lips compressed. How could she have been so blasé and reckless? Light from the street lamp refracted off her prized earrings, and she smiled.
 
“The luck of the draw controls the game, and lady…you just pulled a diamond flush.”

Carey shifted the car into drive, hit the gas pedal, and moved forward.

© Copyright 2021 Lynn Nicholas. All rights reserved.


Lynn Nicholas’ first novel, Dancing Between the Beats, was published in 2019. Short fiction and poetry publication credits include Story Snacks and The Storyteller (published by Society of Southwestern Authors), Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, SandScript Arts & Literary Magazine, The Wild Word, Every Day Fiction, The Rose City Sisters, Wow! Women on Writing, Leaves of Ink, and the AARP Bulletin. Lynn is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Society of Southwestern Authors.

Mise en place or yours? by Paula Johnson

They met at a potluck and bonded over Larry’s incredible cookies. “Scharffen Berger,” he murmured later as he kissed Justine’s neck. “Chocolate chips…for adults only.” She fell hard when he explained how he ground his own flour from organic wheat.

He planned the perfect meal for popping the question: Arugula salad with figs, prosciutto, and truffle oil. Coq au Vin with homemade egg noodles. To finish? Dark chocolate semifreddo drizzled with salted caramel syrup.

She said yes to seconds, and to forever with him. No traditional fondant-entombed wedding cake for them—each table at the reception was presented with a Croquembouche.

© Copyright 2019 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
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Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. Join her email list  and get invited to her book launch party!

The Conference by Margaret Welsh

The little child sat between her smiling parents whose knees almost touched their chins. The teacher in black, reclined in a chair shaped like a purple shoe, gazed down at the family eager to hear about their first-grader; they paid for this privilege. Most couldn’t ignore the Scorpion’s tail waving languidly over the teacher’s head, but these parents did. The teacher spoke to the child in her baby voice: “Who are your friends here?” She asked, cocking her head like a bird. The child kept her gaze, not to be anathematized and said back “You?”

© Copyright 2018 Margaret Welsh. All rights reserved.
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Margaret Welsh is a certified yoga therapist and actress who lives in Los Angeles.

Empty Nest by Susan Miller

“Mommy! Look!”

From the yard I watch my daughter lift her wings and jump from the deck. She hovers for a moment then tumbles to the grass. Robin climbs back up the steps. I wave and smile.

“Mommy! Watch me!”

Face scrunched with concentration she spreads her wings and launches into the air. Sunlight filters through the membrane of her wings, casting glitter across the yard. I see her silhouette against the blue sky as she soars higher.

I hear her voice as it drifts from the clouds.

“Mommy! I did it! I can fly!”

© Copyright 2018 Susan Miller. All rights reserved. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

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Susan Miller lives in South Dakota in a Green House.  She loves yoga, weaving, gardening and genealogy.  In her free time, she travels, drinks craft beer and enjoys bird watching.  Susan is married and the mother of sons.