Shannon Stacey

May the Bard forgive me

So, the 2007 Brava Novella Contest has been announced, with a theme of “Reunited Lovers”. Well, me being me, I had to obsess about that for a while. Then I asked, on the Brava forum if that meant they had to have technically had sex the first time around. Yes, I know. I’m an idiot.

The response, straight from Kate Duffy:

The word is “lovers.” Reunited lovers.

But if you want to handle it some other way, be my guest.
Use your imagination, go crazy. Maybe they played Romeo and Juliet in a play.

(Can I just say that one of the things I like about Miss Duffy is her ability to just answer a question. I was involved for too long with people who didn’t dare give a straight answer without running it through 20 committees and a legal department and even then it was ambiguous at best.) So then there was talk of mocking, leading me to believe perhaps reuniting Romeo and Juliet wasn’t the most viable of premises. Oh darn.

Three things happened: 1) I’m working on two synopses simultaneously which is horribly cruel and unusual punishment for any writer, leaving me open to procrastination. 2) A line of dialogue popped into my head and stuck there, growing like a virus. And 3) My muse, Ezmerelda, is a total slut who will write anything.

And so, for the sake of very mild amusement (in the name of procrastination), click on the “read more” link to read my scene reuniting two people who were never lovers, but played them on the high school stage…

* * * * *

It took her a few seconds to notice him in the busy squad room, but his staring finally got her attention. Did she know him? Not somebody she’d dated because a woman wouldn’t forget drowning in eyes that blue.

Eyes that blue…and that Puckish smile. Holy shit, it was Antonio Orsino, from high school. He’d played Romeo to her Juliet in the English Lit production senior year.

“Hey, Celia,” he said when she gave him a wave. “Wherefore have thou been?”

So he remembered, too. “I’ve been around. What are you doing here?”

“I work here, in the Detective division. Toil, toil, and all that. What about you?”

She never would have pegged Orsino for a future cop. Other than an inexplicable interest in trying out for the role of Romeo, he’d been an unrepentant bad boy. “I’m filing a complaint. My contractor got pissed I back-charged him for a windowpane he smashed with his halogen work lamp and made some threats.”

“So you want us to investigate what light through yonder window breaks?”

Celia laughed and Antonio joined in. Had his laugh been that sexy back in high school? The whole package always had been—and still was. She remembered wishing back then they could jack Shakespeare’s play up to an R rating, but now R just might not be hot enough.

“Come on back,” he said, “and I’ll take your report. So no husband or boyfriend to kick his ass for you?”

She followed him back to his office, trying to keep her eyes off how good his ass looked in his jeans. Who knew detectives looked like that? “No,” she answered, not sure keeping her eyes on his back was any better. God, his shoulders had gotten broad in the last ten years. “How ‘bout you?”

“Nope. The course of true love never ran that smooth for me.” He closed his office door, then rummaged amidst the piles on his desk. When he found the paper he was looking for, he looked up at her. “You know, there should have been more kissing in Romeo and Juliet.”

Though his words echoed her own thoughts, Celia had absolutely no clue how to respond to that. “Such a tragedy.”

“I only tried out for the lead role because everybody knew you’d be Juliet.” He gestured for her to have a seat in a folding chair. “I thought there would be more kissing. One of the most famous couples ever, and the guy never made first base? I didn’t even get to cop a feel. I still have a thing for velvet, though.”

The metal chair was cold, but not nearly cold enough to cool the little flame he was fanning. If she’d known Antonio felt that way at the time, her Juliet would have let Romeo round second, steal third and make a break for home. “My mother warned me about you Montague types.”

“The lady doth protest too much,” he quoted, making her smile. “And you thought I wasn’t paying attention in rehearsals.”

“That’s from Hamlet.”

“Huh. Well, I guess that explains the C+ that shrew, Mrs. Minola, gave me.” He skimmed over the form. “Anyway, how ‘bout we skip all these boxes and I just kick the contractor’s ass for you?”

“How about you take me to dinner and we worry about the contractor tomorrow?”

He grinned, a naughty grin that made Celia want to get naked with him on a midsummer’s night. Or any night. Hell, morning was good, too.

“We can relive the old stage glory,” he said, “only with a little less star-crossed and a lot more kissing.”

“And give old Romeo an Extreme Makeover: Home Run Edition?”

“Mmmm…a play by any other name should feel so sweet.”

(Well, there’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back. But at the least the light breaking through yonder window is out of my head. Back to synopsizing. *weeps*)

13 comments to “May the Bard forgive me”

  1. Jaci Burton
      · March 7th, 2007 at 11:25 pm · Link

    I bow before your brilliance. This is freakin hysterical. If you don’t submit this I’m flying to NH and slapping the shit out of you.


  2. Shannon
      · March 7th, 2007 at 11:37 pm · Link

    Submit? :lmao:

    Now THAT’s hysterical.

  3. Jordan
      · March 8th, 2007 at 12:40 am · Link

    I agree with Jaci. This is terrific. :D

  4. May
      · March 8th, 2007 at 7:38 am · Link

    You have to finish this, Shannon! You can’t leave us hanging like that! It’s just wrong!

  5. Shannon
      · March 8th, 2007 at 11:33 am · Link


    There’s like a…0% chance of that being submitted anywhere. Trust me.

    But thank you. :kiss:

  6. May
      · March 8th, 2007 at 11:34 am · Link

    Heather Rae Scott is my nw hero.:clap::clap:


  7. Jackie Colt
      · March 8th, 2007 at 11:36 am · Link

    :clap: That is so funny,clever and I want to read the whole story. Made me wonder what you could do with “Once Upon a Midnight Dreary”..:type::cheer:Great stuff.

  8. Heather Rae Scott
      · March 8th, 2007 at 11:31 am · Link

    :clap: I agree with everyone up here.

    However, you know what. Don’t submit it, Shan. Because if you do, you’ll sell to Brava and make a lot of money because all of your fans will follow you. Nope. Don’t submit it at all. Don’t think about it.

    You’d do the same for me. :nod:

  9. Ann
      · March 8th, 2007 at 12:32 pm · Link

    You have to at least finish it on your blog:cry:. Otherwise I’m gonna be thinking up bad Shakespeare puns All Day (and I studied the Bard in grad school- so I can come up with some doozies :nod:). Seriously though, finish it and send it in. It’s a hoot!:cheer:
    P.S. Just so I can get them out of my system and get ready for work (sigh) I’m going to go smilie crazy briefly. Love those smilies!! :woot::cheer::boogie::clap:

  10. Charlene
      · March 8th, 2007 at 2:53 pm · Link

    What Jaci said. Do it, Shan, do it. And finish that novella, because damn. I need to read the rest! :whip:

  11. Tate
      · March 8th, 2007 at 4:28 pm · Link

    That was fun to read!

  12. Ferfelabat
      · March 8th, 2007 at 3:31 pm · Link

    Kate Duffy is one of the few editors who could actually get me off my ass to finish the two books I am writing. Love that woman. No bullshit about her.

  13. Shannon
      · March 8th, 2007 at 10:33 pm · Link

    I love “no bullshit” people, too, Ferfe.

    And thank y’all. :hug:

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