Trope: older woman, younger man
Subgenre: interracial romance
Heat level: sensual
Sadie Jackson’s trip takes an interesting turn the night before she leaves Chicago. A chance encounter with a handsome stranger awakens her desires and just might change the entire course of her life.
Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5
“You said you’re here for work. What type of work do you do?” Mark asked.
They strolled down the sidewalk, abuzz with activity, as usual. Pedestrians passed back and forth from late night dinners or exploring the city on foot from one of the many hotels along the side streets. Chicago contained everything anyone could want—all sorts of entertainment, sporting events, diverse shopping options, and plenty of places to dine. To top it off, you got the big city feel but with a mid-western flavor. It was one of her favorite places to visit.
“I work in administration, at a university.”
“We have a little something in common, then.” He glanced at her.
“We do? Are you in administration, too?”
“No, but I’m an English professor at a small liberal arts college in California. I’m visiting my parents for the summer as I try to figure out where I want to teach next.”
“A man who knows his way with words. I better be careful around you. You’re not correcting my grammar as we speak, are you?”
“You don’t have a problem with grammar at all,” he said, giving her a sideways glance.
“How long have you been teaching?”
“Not very long. Only a couple of years since I earned my PhD.”
“In that case, you’re Dr. Mark.”
He chuckled. “Yes, and my mother is very proud, and after I earned my letters, she made sure to tell all her friends, everyone at church, even the people at the supermarket know I have a doctorate.”
They were both walking very slowly, as if neither of them wanted the conversation to end. As they neared the hotel where she stayed, Sadie experienced a sense of loss, as if they’d already parted ways. She already missed him, even though they’d only been chatting for a little while.
She stopped in front of the building, bright lights spilling from the doorway. “This is my hotel.”
He looked up at the brightly lit entrance, his face transforming into a thoughtful frown. “Would it be too much to ask you to continue walking with me, for just a few more minutes. I’ve been enjoying our conversation.”
The sincerity in his eyes moved her, but she also experienced another sensation. Doubt.
“Mark, let’s lay our cards on the table. What’s going on with you? Do you have some kind of older woman fetish?”
“Older woman fetish? Is that a thing?” Once again he looked amused.
“You’d be surprised what kind of fetishes there are. Look, this is all very flattering. And you’ve made me feel as if I’m quite the catch this evening, but this is where the game ends.”
“I don’t consider spending time with you a game, Olivia. I would like to get to know you better. I would even like for us to stay in touch, after you leave, if you’re willing.”
“You don’t even know where I live.”
He stepped closer. “Then why don’t you tell me.”
It was hard to ignore the chemistry between them, like a force of some kind, making her skin prickly and alive. “You could be a very dangerous man,” she whispered.
“What I feel is very dangerous,” he said, following her lead and speaking in a low tone. There was an earnestness in his voice and determination in the set of his square jaw. “There are charges going through me, and I can’t say that’s happened very often, can you? Do you feel any of what I feel, at all?”
Sadie swallowed, unsure how much to admit. After all, she barely knew Mark. She’d lied about her name, but didn’t see any point in lying about her attraction to him. “I know what you feel. I feel it too, and it hasn’t happened to me in a very long time.”
“When was the last time you were drawn to another person in the same way?”
“A long time ago when my husband was alive. He passed away five years ago.”
His brow wrinkled. “I’m sorry.”
Sadie looked down at her fingers. She continued to wear her wedding and engagement rings for two years after her husband passed away, but they were ringless now. “The time we had together were the best years of my life. Because of him I have two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. And he took very good care of me. I can’t complain.”
“He was a lucky man. I can already tell.”
Sadie laughed softly. “You must be quite the charmer at your college.”
“Like I said, when I see something I want, I tend to go after it.”
“And you want me.”
“ From the minute I saw you at the bar, although…I feel like I’ve known you before. Maybe that’s part of why the attraction is so deep. Maybe we met in another life…?”
“Then why didn’t you approach me sooner at the bar?”
“Because I knew when I approached, I couldn’t give you any old line. And to be honest, I didn’t expect you to leave so soon.”
“So I messed up your plans.” She laughed. “Okay, Dr. Mark. You want to keep talking for a bit, let’s walk down to the waterfront.”
“I like that idea.”
He extended his arm and without hesitation, she took it. They strolled on past the hotel to continue their walk.
The power and strength of his muscles beneath the dress shirt sparked a thrill of excitement. Sadie smiled to herself. She sensed that before the night was over, she’d do something wicked and out-of-character, but anticipated the bad behavior nonetheless.
The other day I mentioned on Facebook that I'd be sharing a short story with you, and here it is. Five days, five episodes to greet you each morning. Hope you enjoy it!
Trope: older woman, younger man
Subgenre: interracial romance
Heat level: sensual
Sadie Jackson’s trip takes an interesting turn the night before she leaves Chicago. A chance encounter with a handsome stranger awakens her desires and just might change the entire course of her life.
Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5
He’d been staring at her for the past twenty minutes. Not in an impolite way, but definitely noticeable. Almost every time Sadie looked up, the man at the other end of the bar held her gaze until she averted her eyes. Other times, he seemed to study the glass of dark liquor cradled in one hand.
She looked at him because, well, he was a very attractive man. Neatly cut blonde hair, slightly darker facial hair, and no doubt a nice body beneath the powder blue dress shirt.
He looked about the same age as her son, in his late twenties or early thirties. For that reason, she couldn’t understand why he was even looking at her. She certainly wasn’t the most attractive woman in the place and was one of the most covered in her dark pants suit. Plenty of other women cast hungry glances in his direction and were closer to his age. So why her?
Ready to pay her tab, she waved over the bartender. Time for her to head back to the hotel. The conference was over, and this late-night drink had been a way for her to relax before going back to the room and getting ready for the trip home the next day.
“That’ll be all for you?” the bartender asked.
Sadie nodded. “I’d like to close out my tab.” It wasn’t much of a tab. Only two drinks, but that was enough to make her feel good and warm and relaxed enough to have a good night’s sleep.
The bartender drifted away and came back a few minutes later. “You’re all set.” He handed her the receipt and Sadie signed it.
She stood from the barstool and straightened her clothes, grabbed her purse, and came to a full stop. The younger man was standing right beside her.
“You’re not about to leave, are you?” His voice held a deep timbre, and now that they were closer, she saw his eyes were powder blue to match his shirt.
“As a matter fact, I am.” She couldn’t explain her reaction, but she immediately felt an electric connection to this man. He was much taller than her and much broader. About six-four, she guessed. Compared to her five-ten in heels, she felt as if she had to crane her neck back to look up at him.
“Are you saying I missed my chance?” A half smile lined the left corner of his mouth.
“Your chance for what?” Energy buzzed through her as she realized he had actually come over there to speak to her. He really had been checking her out.
“A chance for me to figure out where I know you from, because I do know you.”
She hadn’t heard a line like that in a long time. It was flattering that he would choose that way to approach her, but certainly not original. She was a little disappointed he didn’t have a much better line.
“You can do better than that, can’t you?” she asked, tilting her head to the side.
His smile broadened all the way across his lips this time. “I promise you it’s not a line. I feel like I’ve met you before.”
“Well, we haven’t met before. I think I would remember.” Sadie tucked the purse under her arm, signaling her desire to end the conversation and leave.
“You’re probably right. I like to think that I’d never forget a face like yours. Had I met you before, I would have remembered every single detail. Your voice, your style.”
His gaze ran over her from head to toe and the energy surged between them.
“My style? You mean the executive woman style, covered from neck to ankle?”
“You can’t deny that there’s something different about you when compared to the other women here. That’s another reason why I wanted to come over and talk to you.”
“Yes, there’s something different about me. I’m almost twice the age of every other woman in here, and you as well.”
His eyebrows shot to the ceiling. “You’re kidding.”
“I have a son your age, sweetie.”
“Is that supposed to mean something to me?”
“You would be better suited to one of the young ladies who’ve been eyeing you all night.”
“I think I’m old enough to know what I’m better suited for. I know what I like when I see it, and I definitely like you. If you won’t have a drink with me, can I at least walk you out?”
“Very. I hate to think that I was slow to move and missed my chance to get to know you better. I’m Mark, by the way.”
Sadie opened her mouth to say her name, but at the last moment decided to exercise caution. She didn’t know this man. She didn’t get a creepy vibe from him, but one could never be too careful. The most charming man could be the most volatile under the right circumstance.
“Olivia,” she replied.
Amusement filled his eyes, as if he knew she’d given him a fake name. But what did he expect? She didn’t know him and had no intention of getting to know him better. No reason for her to give him her real name, although she suspected that he’d given her his.
“Are you ready to go, Olivia?”
“Yes. My hotel is a few blocks from here.”
“I’m here for work, and I leave tomorrow morning.”
“That’s too bad,” he said, with what sounded like genuine disappointment.
He made her feel quite special. She hadn’t felt that way in a long time. Not since the love of her life, her husband, passed away five years ago. Perhaps that was why she’d kept herself closed off since then. Bradley had been good at making her feel wanted and loved. Since his death, the efforts of other men came across as paltry substitutes, where they tried too hard or not hard enough. But this man—this younger man—displayed close to the right amount of effort.
They walked around the bar, and Mark fished a few bills from his wallet and slid them beneath his glass.
Like a gentleman, he opened the door and let her exit first. Definitely a plus, in her opinion.
Then they were walking down the street toward her hotel.
The Johnson Family series box set (books 1-3) will be available throughout the month of July for $3.99. However, you can get the series for only $2.99 until July 8th! Snag your copy now and make sure you tell a friend.
My next release is Wild Thoughts, book 3 of the Brooks Family series. Get ready for another sweet, sensual, passionate romance novel. This time, it's a fake relationship where two strong-willed characters fall madly in love.
I really enjoyed writing the scenes where I showed the relationship between Ella and her daughters. There was one scene that I'd written which didn't make it into the story because it just didn't fit. Instead of simply deleting it, I'm sharing it with you.
Her daughters wanted chocolate chip cookies and Ella wanted to them to be homemade, not the frozen kind you cut from a roll and place on a cookie sheet. They needed to be from scratch.
All the ingredients sat on the counter: eggs, flour, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, etc. An iPad propped on the counter displayed a recipe touted as the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe. The oven was preheated to 350 degrees, and she’d read through the recipe twice to make sure she understood all the steps.
The girls were certainly ready, both of them standing on stools, ready to act as assistants. Since she was the oldest at four, Sophia controlled the mixer, while Ella did as the instructions said, creaming the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together in the bowl. Then, one by one, she added eggs.
“Okay, the flour is next,” Ella announced.
"Mama, I want to do it," Hannah said.
“You're too little," Sophia said.
“No, I’m not,” Hannah snapped, turning her pleading eyes on Ella.
“Sophia, don’t tease your sister. Hannah, I’ll let you add one cup of flour, Sophia will add one, and I’ll add the other.”
She just needed to figure out which measuring cup to use. Ella stood with hands on her hips, staring inside the drawer that contained all manner of cooking utensils.
“I think these are the right ones,” she murmured to herself, picking up a set of stainless steel measuring cups. If memory served her correctly, these would be for dry ingredients while the glass cup was for wet.
All of a sudden, she heard Sophia screech behind her, “Look what you did!"
Ella swung toward her daughters and saw flour spilled across the counter and onto the floor. More than half the bag was now empty, and what didn’t make it onto the counter and floor made it into the mixing bowl. Way more than the three cups called for in the recipe.
“Hannah!” she scolded her daughter.
Tears shimmered in the little girl’s eyes and her bottom lip quivered. She dropped the bag to the floor and a cloud of flour puffed up between them.
“Oh goodness, you made a mess,” Ella said. But as she looked at her daughter, her socks and jeans and the base of the stool covered in white powder, she busted out laughing.
The girls stared at her as if she were crazy, and Hannah looked at her as if she wasn’t sure if she should laugh or follow through on the crying.
Ella had simply wanted to spend quality time with her daughters and hopefully get some homemade chocolate chip cookies out of the deal. If they couldn’t have cookies, hey, maybe they could have a different kind of fun. She scooped flour from the counter in both hands and flung it at the girls.
They both squealed, and then a full-blown food fight broke out. Flour, eggs, and baking powder sailed through the air. There was plenty of screaming and laughter as they transformed the formerly spotless kitchen into a place that looked like a bakery had exploded. Flour and eggs were everywhere.
When they’d utilized all their food weapons, Ella collapsed onto the floor, her designer outfit covered in fine white dust, like her kids. Cracked eggs dripped onto the floor and lay smashed in the sink and on the counter. Somehow, none of them got pelted by the eggs.
"Mama, we made a mess," Sophia said, showing nothing but teeth.
“Yes. Yes, we did.” Ella looked around and burst out laughing again. The girls burst out laughing too, and they collapsed into a pile of giggles on the floor.
“Mrs. Newcomb's gonna be mad,” Sophia said.
“Well, we better not let her see," Ella said.
There weren’t so lucky. Ella heard the door open, and the girls did, too. They all three glanced at each other, guilty expressions collapsing as they fell out into another fit of giggles.
Mrs. Newcomb appeared in the doorway and gasped, her eyes going wide. Slowly, she set two tote bags filled with groceries on the counter.
"What happened?" the older woman asked, mouth hanging open.
"We were trying to make cookies." Ella laughed at the ridiculousness of what had occurred while she simply tried to bake.
"Did you make any?"
“No, but we had a good time anyway.”
Mrs. Newcomb’s expression softened. "Would you like me to make you some cookies?" she asked.
“Yes, but not right now. Maybe tomorrow you can, and we’d like to help you when you do.”
“All right, ma'am. I can do that."
“I’m going to get these two cleaned up.”
“And I’ll start on the kitchen.”
Ella stood and touched her housekeeper’s arm. “I’m sorry about the mess, but thank you.”
“Not a problem, ma’am.”
Ella clapped her hands. “Okay you two, let’s go! Into the bathroom with the two of you."
The girls squealed as she chased them down the hallway toward the bathroom they both shared, laughing the entire time. She ran a bath and got them cleaned up and changed into their pajamas. Once they were settled in front of the TV watching a cartoon show, she called down to the concierge, who had fresh chocolate chip cookies delivered from a local bakery and brought up. The delighted girls munched them with milk while they watched TV.
She stayed in their room, lounging on Hannah’s bed, until they both grew sleepy. She removed a cookie, with melted chocolate chips, from Hannah’s hand. She turned on the nightlight and turned off the TV. Then, using a tray, she gathered up the rest of the snacks and milk.
She was about to close the door when Sophia mumbled, “I had fun.” Her sleepy eyes looked up at her mother.
“I did, too.”
“Good night, Mama.”
“Good night, my love,” Ella whispered.
She made her way back over to the bed and kissed her daughter's plump cheek. She did the same to Hannah, who was out cold. Then she quietly closed the door and left.
Before, I shared 5 reasons to spend time on Goodreads, but is Goodreads the only site for book lovers? Au contraire, it is not! It may be the most well-known, but there are alternatives.
In the "olden" days, you had to go with what was available in the library or on the shelves of your bookstore. Harder still was finding like-minded people who shared your reading passion. You either had to start a book club or find a local one. Nowadays, it's exponentially easier to find both new titles and book clubs. There are now a myriad of websites available to book lovers where they can find titles and share their thoughts about the books they've read, or get insights and read reviews about the books they want to read.
One of such sites is Goodreads. Established in 2007, Goodreads is a social media site where passionate book lovers go to find new books to pursue. You can also find new releases and join “organically occurring” online book clubs for every topic under the sun. But Goodreads is just one of the many sites that targets bibliophiles. There are others that operate on a social network capacity, mainly to provide a community for book lovers. This makes it easier for people with similar tastes in books to find one another and forge a connection.
Here are a few of them:
LibraryThing boasts over 2,000,000 members and is an old faithful when it comes to cataloging and title management. Similar to Goodreads, LibraryThing helps you manage your book lists. It also connects you to people who have similar book interests. You may choose to keep your lists private or display your libraries. Either way, this site helps keep you organized. It not only helps you curate your books, but also catalogs your movies and music as well.
If you find that you can’t commit to a title just yet, LibraryThing will give you information about the book you're are eyeing. Each time you add a book to your library, LibraryThing will display an image of the cover, the publication date, the ISBN, and the list of other editions - for starters. LibraryThing can also tell you where you can buy copies of that book online.
It lets you check out the recommendations from other users and peek into their libraries. Here’s how LibraryThing builds their book lovers community. When someone shares the same interests in books as you do, you can personally request a book recommendation or a review from them. Get all the information you need about what your next book conquest will be with related book suggestions and user reviews.
While LibraryThing is akin to a social media platform for curating books and sharing your thoughts, Booklikes functions as a blog platform for book lovers. Similar to Goodreads and LibraryThing, Booklikes also lets you discover new titles by leading you to “book blogs”. You can also create shelves and organize your books into titles or reading status. Similarly, you can read and share reviews, post quotes, and post photos of your favorite authors.
One feature of Booklikes that none of the other sites mentioned have is the ability to create your own timeline. You can see when you've finished a book, add your favorite quote, and mark it as a milestone. This is especially useful to see what you have been reading at a particular time in your life.
Just like the first two, ReadGeek is also a social network for book lovers. ReadGeek is focused mainly on finding the next book for you. Algorithms are at work here, so you have to first rate the books you've read in order for ReadGeek to get to know your preferences. ReadGeek gives you recommendations based on your book tastes and lets you see what other members liked. It also lets you create a wishlist of books you’ve been dying to read and shows you where you can get them online.
One neat feature of ReadGeek is the rating flexibility. ReadGeek has a 10-star rating system that gives you more range in rating books than most book rating systems, which are usually just 5 stars.
What Should I Read Next
What Should I Read Next is a site that generates recommendations based on your favorite titles or authors. It's pretty straightforward. You type in the title or author of a book you've read and What Should I Read Next will generate a list of titles for you to explore. It’s fun to discover what other titles are available under your favorite genre.
There are a lot of sites devoted to book lovers and there are millions of members on these sites. Explore them! And don't let anybody tell you that nobody reads books anymore or that books are dead.
I previously mentioned some ways to thin out your book collection. When you have too many books and too little space, you might consider parting with them by either donating, selling, or sharing. For book lovers who want to go the donation route, there are charities that take used books and distribute them to beneficiaries that will appreciate your donation. Among these charities are Books for Soldiers, Books Through Bars, and Books To Prisoners. The booklist on their websites lists the most requested books so that you get an idea of what to donate, and you can make sure that the book you once loved will continue to help someone else.
If you just want to share your books with the local community, I have previously suggested setting up a Little Free Library where you and a few other book lovers can pool together your pre-loved books, house them in an accessible mini library, and share them with your local community.
I have also mentioned using online markets for selling your old books. The old faithfuls like eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon are the most popular bets for selling old books, as college students frequently scour these sites for reference material. Here are a few more suggestions on where to sell your old books.
Try Abe, Barnes and Noble, eCampus, Powells, Valore Books or Textbooks.com. These sites will fetch you a good price for your used books but have a few rigid conditions that should be followed. All six can pay you through Paypal. Make sure you have a PayPal account setup if you want to take this route. Some will cut you a check and some will give you store credit. If you make sure that the books you send are in good condition, selling them on these sites won’t be a problem. Books that have rips, tears, highlighting, or taped pages will get rejected. It is worth noting that Abe sends rejected books back but Powell does not.
If you're feeling charitable, here are a few more suggestions on where you can donate your used, pre-loved books. The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and the Reading Tree all accept used book donations. Check out their websites so that you can see where the local drop-off centers are located. This way, you won’t have to handle shipping or incur mailing costs, and you can benefit your local charity chapter.
Community centers and high school libraries are also some of the places that are in great need of books. If you have old classics, those could greatly benefit the high schools who need multiple copies of our favorite classic stories. Titles like Little Women, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Scarlet Letter, The Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, 1984, and Animal Farm are on every librarian's wishlist.
You might want to claim a tax deduction for charitable contributions so make sure that you get a receipt for your book donations. Make an itemized list of all the books you've donated and what condition they're in. This serves two purposes; you keep an inventory of your donations, and the list might come in handy during a tax audit.
Lastly, you can also do a fundraiser event where you and volunteers can set up a book drive to collect books and sell them at a book fair or a charity event. Be clear about what the proceeds will go towards. You'll find that a lot of people are willing to support a good cause.
Good luck with your library spring cleaning. Hopefully, you find one of these suggestions on what to do with your extra books helpful. Give your well loved books a new home and clear out some space for other items that will be new sources of joy in your life.
Do you like crossword puzzles? Using a free online tool, I created one for Just Friends (Johnson Family Book 3). So, how well do you remember the story? Give it a whirl.
1) Click the link and print the puzzle.
2) Fill in the answers.
3) The answer key is on the last page.
Once you're finished, come back and let me know how you did. Have fun!
Some of us have too much stuff. We think we want it, but in reality we don’t need so much. It starts out as an innocuous collection and like all things that start out harmlessly, stuff begins to pile up. Before you know it, it takes over your life.
Book lovers are notorious for having too many books. A big part of a book lover's life is spent collecting, or to an extreme sense, hoarding books and lugging them around as we move from house to house, city to city. If, like me, you're a book lover and have accumulated a huge number of books over the years, I have a few tips to spring clean your library and give your well-loved books a new home.
It will be very hard to part with your books. Believe me, I had to do it and it wasn't easy. I suggest you have a long hard think about which ones you want to give up. Start with the two copies of Harry Potter The Sorcerer’s Stone. Do you really need both the paperback and the hardbound edition? What you decide to part with is up to you, but think about these spring cleaning tips as a chance to share your favorite books with others who have the same passion for reading as you do.
Donate your books
Give the gift of education. A lot of libraries accept used book donations. Go to your favorite local library and ask about their book donation program. I donated a couple of boxes to Goodwill, so check them out, as well. Going local saves on shipping costs and benefits local families and charities. You would be doing your community a favor by sharing reading material. Kids would love your old Archie comic books and adults would love your Sidney Sheldon novels.
If you don’t mind the shipping cost of mailing your books, you can send them to extremely cool charities that share your reading advocacy. A good place to start is Books for Soldiers. Check out the soldiers' book request lists and see if you can find a match in your library. You can send not only books but also CDs and DVDs as a care package to troops overseas.
Other charities that you can send your old books to are Books for Africa, Books Through Bars, and Books To Prisoners. The Books Through Bars website lists the most requested reading material. Some inmates are very interested in higher education, and so it might be a great idea to donate your old textbooks to them. Other most requested books are Bibles and other spiritual guides, dictionaries, and Spanish books. If you're considering this option, make sure that your donations are paperback books, as hardbound books are not allowed inside prison facilities.
Sell your books
Speaking of textbooks, cull your overflowing book collection and make some extra money by selling your old textbooks on online markets such as eBay, Craigslist, or Amazon. College students looking to cut down on costs scour those sites for copies of reference materials and useful guides that they can buy for a fraction of the original price. I personally sold my books to Half Price Books and made a few extra dollars.
Share your books
Another way to share your old books is to set up a Little Free Library. The Little Free Library is a volunteer community-run library, usually housed in a small cabinet or structure that keeps the books safe from the elements. Neighbors and locals can pass by the Little Free Library, check out the titles on display, and get the books they want to read.
Do you have suggestions for other places where we can donate, sell, or share our extra books? Tell me in the comments below.
I wrote this story years ago and shared it on my old blog. I'm reposting it here for your enjoyment.
Brandon Ringer slowly opened his eyes, completely disoriented as he tried to remember where he was. Whatever the location, it was pitch black, dank, and musty.
His head throbbed, a punishing beat that pounded throughout his skull. He groaned, lifting his head upright on his sore neck.
To alleviate the pain, he tried to cup his head in his hands and realized with a start that he couldn’t move. His eyes widened in panic. Suddenly, the throbbing pain increased as his heartbeat kicked into a frantic gallop at the realization that he was completely immobilized.
And his mouth was taped shut.
What the hell?
He struggled into full consciousness, now aware of the fact that he was in a seated position in a chair with armrests - completely naked.
Tape bound him to what felt like a wooden chair, wound from the top of his hair-sprinkled torso down to just above his hips. His hands were bound, secured tightly to the arms of the chair. His legs were open and bound to either side of the chair’s front legs.
As the fog in his brain cleared, the memories came flooding back.
He had attended the annual Halloween costume party held by a local law firm. The party was known all over town for bringing out the local who’s who and being a good place to make business and sexual connections. He had been interested in the latter.
Dressed as a Roman gladiator, Brandon had prowled the party looking for a woman interested in having fun for the night. After being shot down several times, he met a blonde wearing a mask across her eyes and a toga cinched over her shoulder. He moved in for the kill, introduced himself, and found out her name was Jill.
“You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked, pouting prettily.
“If we’ve met before, sweetheart, pardon my manners, and allow me to get reacquainted.” Smooth.
Unexpectedly, she invited him out to the privacy of her car. The last thing he remembered was opening the door for her, and…nothing. Nothing except…a blinding pain to the back of his head.
Wait a minute. That’s how he’d gotten here. Someone working with her had knocked him unconscious. They must have put him in the car and brought him here. But why?
As if on cue, a noise caught his attention. Light filtered through to what he now saw was an unfinished basement.
A bulb overhead suddenly illuminated the space. Footsteps on the stairs indicated more than one person. The door through which they’d entered closed. His heart began to beat faster, pumping so hard he was certain it would burst through his chest.
Then he saw her, coming toward him in her white toga, sans mask this time. Her eyes were no longer playful and teasing. Instead, they were glacier blue, devoid of all emotion. She looked angry. An attractive brunette trailed her, dressed in a black and white maid’s costume. He remembered her from the party.
Before he saw it coming, Jill slapped him hard across the face, twisting his head back. The jolt from the blow increased the pounding in his head to an almost unbearable pitch.
“You lying, cheating, son of a bitch!” Jill hissed.
What is she talking about?
She cast him a scathing look.
“You’ve really let yourself go,” the maid said. She shook her head. “You’ve lost weight, you’re pale.”
“That didn’t stop him from hitting on us,” Jill said, as if he wasn’t in the room. Whack! It landed in the same spot. Brandon felt dangerously close to passing out from the pain. “Your rap has gotten weak, too.”
They both giggled.
What was going on here? Brandon tried to talk, but only muffled tones could be heard behind the tape. He tried to jostle the chair. Nothing. They’d tightly secured him, and it seemed as if the chair was bolted to the cool concrete below his bare feet.
Jill laughed. “Nothing to say now?” she asked, leaning forward to look him in the eyes. Her voice sounded sweet like honey when she said, “You look scared, but you’re only getting what you deserve.”
Jill straightened and walked away, prompting the brunette to lean forward. In a menacing tone, she said, “You shouldn’t play games with women’s emotions. There are consequences.”
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any harm.
A whirring sound caught Brandon’s attention. Jill strolled back over to where he sat. She held an electric knife in her hand. He gulped.
“I knew you’d come to the party. I just had no idea how easy you’d make it for us.”
“You’ve been a bad boy, Barry. And now it’s time to pay,” the maid said.
Barry? Wait a minute…
Brandon’s eyes widened as Jill moved closer, the knife cutting through the air as she waved it in his face.
Sweat broke out on Brandon’s forehead and upper lip. His stomach muscles clenched and he began to fervently pray. He promised a multitude of changes in his life if God would get him out of this.
It was a case of mistaken identity. He had been house-sitting for his brother, a successful attorney, of whom he’d always been jealous. His brother was in the south of France, living it up with his latest model girlfriend. Brandon had taken the ditched costume party invitation from the trash and decided to go as his brother. His twin brother, Barry.
“Where should we start?” Jill asked her companion.
“I say we save the best for last,” the brunette answered, looking pointedly between his open legs. “Let’s start with his fingers.”
He tried to move as the knife came closer, but there was nothing he could do.
Please, God, he prayed. Help me. I’m sorry I pretended to be Barry. Tell them I didn’t do whatever it is they’re angry about.
He moaned hysterically.
Somebody, tell them. I’m not Barry. I’m Brandon. I’m Brandon!
Share this with anyone you think would enjoy a short Halloween story. Be safe and have fun. Happy Halloween!
Some authors don’t like visiting Goodreads. But I find there’s a perfectly good reason to participate on the site, which was why it was created in the first place. Participate as a reader.
Goodreads has been around since 2007 and has been the go-to site for bibliophiles, from beginner level book enthusiasts to hardcore book collectors. It’s a virtual book club where people from all over the world can share reading lists, recommendations, and write reviews. According to Goodreads, they are “the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations.” A claim that’s hard to contest.
So what are some of the benefits of hanging out on Goodreads?
1. You can curate your list of books
If you haven’t checked it out yet, Goodreads is a good place to curate your own list of books by filing them into categories. Start by organizing them into the three default categories or shelves, namely: Read, Currently Reading, and Want to Read.
In your Read shelf, you record all the books you’ve previously read. This can serve as a reference for when you want to re-read books. Or, if you’ve been following a series, the list can serve as a reminder of which books you’ve read so far. You can also see how many people have read the same books you have and how they rated them.
In your Currently Reading shelf, list all the books you’ve started reading but haven’t finished. This is useful for people who are into reading challenges, where they set a goal of a specific number of books they plan to read during a calendar year.
In your Want to Read shelf, list all the books that are part of your reading wish list, aka the to-be-read (TBR) pile. This is particularly helpful if you have a thousand recommendations from friends and family, but for the life of you, can’t remember a single one of them. Having a wish list on Goodreads beats keeping a notepad on your phone. My personal TBR list is long, and I refer to my Goodreads list as a reminder of books I want to get the next time I visit a bookstore or browse online.
2. You can create your own shelves
Another cool feature of Goodreads is that you can create your own shelves. My shelves are pretty mundane. They include titles like contemporary romance, sensual, african-american romance, etc. Other members have created quirky shelves where they put their favorite books into re-read categories or list them as guiltypleasures, or the not-so-nice overrated-drivel.
3. You can discover new books
Goodreads’ main mission is to help their members find new books. Every time you view a book, Goodreads will show you reviews of it by your friends first and then will show you reviews from other members. This creates a strong sense of community, making Goodreads like being part of a worldwide book recommendation club. I’ve found quite a few new authors by scrolling through my friends’ updates.
4. You can discover new releases from your favorite authors
The platform helps you discover new releases from your favorite authors. You can use Goodreads to follow your favorite author’s work and also create shelves of all their previously released titles. You also have the opportunity to learn more about your favorite authors, their upcoming events, which books they love, what they’re currently reading, and genres they are particularly interested in.
5. You can join book groups
Keeping with the book lovers community theme, Goodreads has thousands of groups for book fans. They fall under hundreds of categories with featured groups displayed on the landing page. This is an avenue to ask questions or discuss common interests, tropes you love or hate, favorite authors, genres, writing styles, and just about anything under the sun. In groups, you may discover independent authors or start a discussion about your favorite book, author, or genre. And because some authors do hang out in Goodreads groups, you may get the opportunity to chat with them.
Other fun things Goodreads offers:
If you’re a book lover, you should definitely explore Goodreads. It’s currently available as an app on Android and iOS devices. By the way, check out my most recent reads on Goodreads, below.
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Available for a limited time
A box set of the Johnson Family series (books 1-3)
Royal Brides series