I couldn’t help thinking of someone taking a tumble down those stairs. Maybe accidentally. Perhaps on purpose, from a good push.
Last year, my favorite sister got a hankering to pull up stakes and move to a new place. We spent several weeks scouting townhouses, looking for the perfect place for her to put down new roots.
One of the townhouses we went to was called Vistas De Sevilla located in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston.
As my sister talked to the sale associate, I roamed around the place and soon found myself on the second level. Standing at the top of the stairs, I looked down at each descending step leading to the tiled foyer and the door with its Mediterranean influences.
Chapter three of Flawless Mistake contains a very pivotal scene, a sort of point of no return for the main character.
In that scene, I knew I would need a nice set of stairs. When I wrote the scene—an excerpt of which is below—I imagined the stairway in that beautiful townhouse that my sister ended up not buying!
Ice shot through her veins, and she went numb, her mind contaminated by thoughts of Ben shooting her and then dumping her bullet-riddled body into the muddy waters of Buffalo Bayou.
“Don’t hide from me.”
His Island lilt was soft, and yet sinister, shaking her, rocking her just as fiercely as the many orgasms he’d given her when they’d made love.
Somehow, thinking about the sex they’d had gave her a strange, desperate hope. He’d made love to her as if his life depended on it, and at times, his caress seemed almost savage. But he’d been just as tender, giving her sweet, slow kisses in the most intimate places.
Maybe, just maybe, there was still part of him that cared for her. Maybe she could appeal to the tenderness and coax him into being the man who’d sat next to her on the park bench.
She didn’t know, but she had to try.
She couldn’t let him shoot her down like a dog in the street. She couldn’t—
Ben’s footsteps came closer to the back of the couch, slow and deliberate.
Slipping her arm through the handles of the purse, Spencer rose to her knees and crawled the length of the back of the couch, palms against the cool hardwood as she hurried to escape his approaching footsteps.
Hoping and praying he wouldn’t catch her, she advanced toward the end table and then crawled around it, stopping when she saw the archway leading out to the landing and trying to calculate the distance—
Fear washed over her.
Ben’s voice was too close, and when she glanced up over her shoulder, her terror was confirmed. Her mind in turmoil, Spencer crawled forward, all thoughts of trying to rationalize with Ben fleeing, being replaced by thoughts of escape.
Ben stepped in front of her, blocking her.
Cautious and trembling, Spencer lifted her eyes to stare at him and then rose to her feet. “Don’t hurt me, please …”
Frowning, Ben reached a hand toward her, but she stepped back, avoiding his grasp.
“Stay away from me!” she warned, and as she moved backward toward the chairs, she opened the purse and reached inside, feeling for the bear spray. “Please just let me go!”
Something sharp sliced her finger.
She’d forgotten about the dragon-hilt knife she’d put in her purse.
“You’re not going anywhere,” he said, stepping toward her and grabbing her arm.
“Let me go!” She wrapped her hand around the hilt of the knife, pulled it from the Coach purse, and plunged the knife toward him.
The blade sank into his abdomen, to the left of his navel.
He released her, cursing and trying to pull the knife from his gut.
Frantic, Spencer turned and sprinted toward the archway. From the landing, she headed down the stairs, not bothering to look back as she descended the staircase and stumbled down the steps.
In the foyer, she staggered to the front door.
With trembling fingers, she worked to unlock the deadbolt. Desperate to get out and fumbling with the lock, Spencer glanced behind her, looking up the stairs. Ben stood on the second floor landing, staggering as he stared down at her, the hilt of the dragon knife still protruding from his gut.
Seconds later, he dropped to his knees and tumbled down the steps.
Landing on the floor in the foyer, Ben rolled onto his back and stared up at her.
“Sweet girl …” he rasped. “Help me …”
Spencer turned from him, yanking the doorknob and twisting it.
Crying and ignoring Ben’s pleas for help, she pulled the door open and ran out of the house in a blind, terrified panic.