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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Three Snippets from Unexpected Blind Date – Joanne Rawson


Frankly, if you asked me six months ago if I would give up my Tuesday quiz night with the girls, or go on a blind date, then my answer would undoubtedly have been, “Blind dates are so tacky. They are definitely for the desperate.” From the age of sixteen I have had fourteen years of dating, ten boyfriends, six of them lovers and, up until a year ago, had been in a four-year relationship that hit more icebergs than the Titanic. No, my blind date love boat days have well and truly sailed. I am so over men.

However, two weeks ago, Glenda, Nell, Christine and I, hit Cupids Cave—Nottingham’s notorious Saturday night hot spot for eighteen to twenty year old blushing brides to be, celebrating their last weekend of freedom. It was reluctant moral support for Glenda, who had been press ganged into her younger sister’s hen night. Like every member of our group, Glenda was proud not to be married.

Tucked away in a corner, I was not sure if I was more depressed that we were the oldest women in the club, or that I recognised so many of my ex pupils I had taught biology to in the past few years. At least three acknowledged me, flashing their diamond solitaires under my nose. They may not have found any ecological break-through, but one thing was certain, they had discovered a biological phenomenon that was oblivion to me, how to get a man and keep him.

Snivelling into my fifth Sex on the Beach cocktail, I began wallowing in a state of drunken remorse. Leaping from my bar stool I declared the fate of my future. “I will never have sex again, let alone have sex on a beach.”

“Of course you won’t, sweetie,” slurred Christine, pulling me back down. “You’re in a friggin nightclub full of friggin loved up women.” As Christine had told us a thousand times already tonight, a club with no men was sad as someone going into a wine bar and ordering coffee. “No offense, Glenda, but I need to find a club with some hot blooded men, and show those bad boys a good time.”

Nell, thirty-nine, a suffragette for women’s lib, now on her third pitcher of margaritas, for herself, slammed down her glass. “Sod it. It’s against all my princ—princ—oh bugger it.” She took a breath to stifle a hiccup. “Princ—iples, but the time is right for you, Grace, to meet Adrian. He has been with us only a few months at the nut house.” The nut house being our name for Fur Tree Mental health clinic, where Nell worked as a drama therapist. “He is single, thirty eight, very fit, plays a lot of sports, and owns his own house, and the catch is this; all he wants is a good time. Hell, if he was a woman I’d make a play for him myself.”

I shook my head vigorously. “No, no, no. No blind dates,”

Somewhere between my second and third tequila slammer, the girls had quashed all my issues of concern, emphasising all he wanted was a good time. And, as Glenda, quite rightly pointed out, “Jeez, Grace, you don’t have to marry the man.” I found myself agreeing to meet Adrian.
The night of my date with Adrian, did not start good. I was already tense and sceptical about what I had let myself into, and to make matters worse, my head of department called an emergency meeting that was now running over schedule. So, when the announcement my proposal for the renovation of the greenhouses I used for my botany classes had been overruled to bring the prep rooms up to date, my normal quiet persona left my colleagues gobsmacked as I stormed out of the staff room, bellowing, “Come on, this is a Nottingham High School, not bloody C.S.I Miami.”
The traffic was horrendous, and when I finally arrived home, with just enough time to shower and throw on some clothes, my bundle of joy, Minnie, a puppy I had bought to replace men, showed how insulted she felt about being left all day on her own. She had turned my kitchen into a minefield of poop.
Contemplating my wardrobe, I played back my two messages. One from Mum, enquiring about Minnie, and how had she coped on her first day at home alone. I shouted at the answer phone that I would be dropping her off in the morning. Mum continued.
“Dad has taught me how to wave the net.”
“Surf mum, its surf the net,” I howled. The other day she asked where she could buy a twitter.
“I have a Jamie Oliver recipe for chicken in a bread crust. I thought I would try it out on Sunday. Did I tell you Fran and George would be coming to dinner too?”
Great, that meant their forty-year-old bachelor son, Theodore, would be there, a complete and utter dork. He still lived at home, worked as a librarian in town and spent his weekend doing charcoal rubbings of tombstones. He still suffered from teenage acne, and had a big crush on Kylie—the eighties years. No doubt, I would have to suffer him drooling opposite me, over his chicken breast, trying to be suggestive, asking if I would like to pop around and see his etchings.
Next message was my extremely fertile elder sister, “How you still have the energy for this dating stuff I do not know.”
No neither do I, I thought, as I rummaged through my drawer wondering if I should go for white Sloggies or Victoria Secret black lace.
My sister continued, “I went last night to a session of stretch class. I tell you I have never felt so embarrassed, all single thirty something women, with big men agendas, just like yourself. I tell you these women lay on the floor, concaved stomachs, and pert breasts, just like you. So, when I finally managed to get down with what bit of dignity I could muster, my stomach spread across my hips making them look twice the size, and my drooping breasts after breastfeeding five ravenous babies, hung like deflated air balloons under my arm pits.”
It was awful I know, but I could not help but laugh, as I imagined my rounded four foot nothing sister in Colin’s t-shirt and her leggings.
“When I got back,” she continued, “Colin said why bother, who did I have to impress with a flat stomach and pert boobs? I think he’s right. Oh! Have to go. James is spreading peanut butter on Colin’s Clapton CD. Oh, by the way, can you babysit next Friday? Some work do of Colin’s we’ll be attending. Please say you will. It means I can wear proper clothes without spit up on them, and make up. Do you know how long it’s been since I blow-dried my hair? Call me.”
Throwing myself down onto my bed, now I was even more depressed. Part of me today did not want to go tonight, but what if Adrian was the one, and I had blown him off? My only option left would be to marry Theodore, have a brood of charcoal rubbing, acne children, surf the net for ideas for Sunday lunch with drooping breasts, and hips the size of battle ships, looking forward to someone babysitting so I could look and feel human, for one night. Freaked out by what could be my future, I leaped up off the bed, and ran to my closet. It was time to break out the sex clothes. Forget the jeans and jumper, this was a crisis, we’re talking animal print and leather.
I took a table next to two elderly women with blue rinses and pearls, and a businessperson reading his newspaper—I assumed he was a businessman—I could only see his legs, but the trousers said they were part of a suit and expensive at that. I pondered on the wine menu, nearly dropping with heart failure at the price of one glass, as I wondered how much money Adrian earned in a year. Ordering a glass of house white, I thought tonight better be worth it. I could have stayed at home and bought a whole bottle, for the price of one glass. I noticed a man standing in the bar, eyeing the tables in my area. He was of average height, and surprisingly tasty, the clean cut, suave city type, not at all what I had imagined Adrian to look like. He gave me a smile, so I raised myself slightly from my chair, the biggest smile on my face. Not bad, not bad at all. Things could be starting to look up. Then Mr Suave waved, and gave the most mind-blowing smile, the only sort you would see in a soppy Chic Flick. I was sure I could hear Barry White singing in the background. Ok, so Mr Suave thought the same as me, tonight was totally worth it. I was now standing, moving myself away from the table so Mr Suave could embrace me, and tell me how wonderful I looked. It took one millisecond to check I still looked as hot as I was feeling, when I felt the light brush of his arm on mine.
“Sorry,” he said as he bypassed me, for the hot blonde sitting behind me.
“No, it was my fault. I thought I saw my friend, but I was mistaken.” I realised I was talking to myself, sat back down and spotted two eyes, regarding me over the top of a newspaper.
A glass and a half of chardonnay later, I had been waiting for over half an hour for Adrian to arrive. I began to feel slightly uncomfortable as I caught the looks of pity from Tyler, from behind the bar, and the entertainment value I had given Helen and Yvette. If Adrian didn’t turn up soon, I would be the talk of the sixth form common room. To make matters worse, the man at the next table had dropped his paper a couple of times to glance my way, and the last time as he turned the page, it felt a little longer than necessary.
I pulled out my mobile, and in a fury punched out Nell’s number. “Typical, her damn answer machine,” I muttered, drumming my fingers impatiently on the table, waiting for the message to finish. “Well thank you very much. You should have stuck to your principals. Adrian has not shown. You can tell him from me, he’s just like the rest of them, a complete ass.”
I must have said this a little too loud, as once again the man dropped his paper slightly, and gave me an amused smile. I was mortified. Not only had a complete stranger heard but Yvette and Helen, too. I’d been stood up by my blind date.
Glancing back at the gentleman who was still watching me, I felt obligated to say something to him. “Sorry if I’ve disturbed you, I was supposed to meet someone, and they haven’t shown up.”
“So I heard. What a fool he must be.” His eyes never left mine.
* * * *
When I first noticed him watching me I didn’t take much interest, now I felt compelled to look at him. Well ring-a-ding-ding. He was in his forties, thick brown hair, not too short and not too long, just how I liked it, and chocolate brown eyes. His smooth, slightly bronzed face obviously from a winter holiday, showed no signs of stubble.
“Let me buy you a drink?” Without waiting for an answer, he called over a waiter and ordered a glass of wine for me, and a whiskey for himself. The easiness of the question, made me wonder if he did this all the time; it was one thing meeting someone on a blind date, but I’m not in the habit of being chatted up by a cheating husband. Well, he had to be married since he was too hot to be single. Let’s face it. Over the last few months, I had found out all the best men out there were either married or gay.
He must have sensed my hesitation as he quickly said, in his deep husky voice. “Don’t worry. I’m not married, and I’m not in the habit of asking attractive women for a drink, unless we have been formally introduced, but I feel I need to restore your faith that not all males are, what was it you said, asses?”
I couldn’t help but smile at his perception. What a bummer he was likely gay. No, he oozed testosterone, so what was left? He didn’t look like a murderer or rapist, but then again I’d never met any.
A waitress promptly placed a drink in front of me. I was astounded when the words came out so confidently, “It would be rude of me to say no. Will you join me?”
Moving from his table, he towered over me. He was much taller than I’d expected. I could feel my stomach churn as my eyes wandered over his lean hips, up to a flat stomach, and a strong chest covered with a crisp white shirt and black waistcoat. Before sitting, he offered his hand. As I shook it, mine seemed so small, and fragile inside his that was strong and firm. “Oliver, Oliver Holland.”
The name rang a bell, but for the life of me, I couldn’t think why. “Grace Worthing.”
“Yes, I know.” He leaned back with ease in his chair and took a long swig of his drink, his eyes watching my every move over the top of his glass.
“Have we met?” Part of me wanted to say if I’d met him then I surely would have remembered.
“Your father and I go to the same club. I mentioned to him I was taking my father’s place on the board of governors at Parks High School. He said you worked there.”
“But how did you know it was me?”
“He showed me a picture of you. Very proud he is of you, and he has good reason too.”
Then the penny dropped. “You’re Holland of Holland Builders?” I was sitting opposite the man who built luxury houses with swimming pools and stables.
“Well actually my father does, I’m just a boring surveyor.” He leaned over the table and looked deep into my eyes. “What I am more interested in is why you felt the need to go on a blind date?”
“And what makes you think it was a blind date?”
“By the way you shot up in your seat, a hopeful look on your face, when you saw that male enter, followed by the disappointment on your face, when he joined the voluptuous blonde.”
“Are you saying that I couldn’t pull a man like that? That he wouldn’t look twice at me?”
My forthright question seemed to entertain him. “I was making no judgment on him, and his choice of women. It was you and your reaction that fascinated me.” Again, he sat back, as if waiting for me to reply with another candid question. However, I was not taking the bait. Let Mr Smarty Pants make his own assumption.
“Ok, when you first saw him, you looked surprised, as if he wasn’t what you were expecting and, to be honest, so was I.”
Midway between taking a sip of my wine, I began to laugh, well actually snort, only to be horrified as wine shot out of my nose. Now that’s why I didn’t have a date with Mr Suave. Oliver, without any embarrassment or a word, gallantly passed me a napkin. Composed and wine snot free, I smiled civilly. “Well, Oliver, for a man who has only seen a photograph of me, you certainly seem to think you know me. So what surprised me about him? I’m very eager to hear.” “Hair product, and quite obviously, dyed, no hair is that black.”
“Sorry, what was that?” I had to ask the question again, because as silly as it sounded, as Mr Suave glided across the room to Barry singing Your My Everything, that had been the first thing that had gone through my head. Too much hair gel, and definitely dyed.
Oliver repeated the answer, and went on to say, “You just don’t seem the kind of woman who would go out with a man who spent more time on his hair than you, that’s all.”
Instinctively my hand went to my boring, straight, shoulder length brown hair, pushing it behind my ears.

Amazon Kindle  Amazon UK     Smashwords    Nook      KOBO
You can also find this book in Life’s Unexpected Adventures Anthology Volume One PRINT and Ebook
Chic-Lit  Short
Heat Level: 3 Boiling
Sensual, yet more explicit love scenes, and the language may be more graphic and direct.

Showcase The Talbot Trilogy By - Melange Author Tori L. Ridgewood

Mist and Midnight
The Talbot Trilogy, Prequel
* Also available in ebook & print formats in the anthology "Midnight Thirsts"
Stalked by a cruel and relentless vampire, Charlotte is on the run. Fleeing the city, the powers of magick her only protection, she couldn't afford to fall for the hot modern prospector Pike Mahonen. Can she avoid temptation in a small town, to keep them both safe?
Contemporary Paranormal Vampires Witches
Heat Level: 3 Boiling
Sensual, yet more explicit love scenes, and the language may be more graphic and direct.

Wind and Shadows

The Talbot Trilogy, Book one
by Tori L. Ridgewood
Rayvin Woods, photographer and natural witch. She just wanted to start her life over again after a series of misadventures. She didn't count on rekindling a lost love when she came home to Talbot...or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life.
Grant Michaels, police officer. He thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger...but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it's too late?
Malcolm de Sade, cunning vampire, imprisoned underground for a year by Charlotte Fanning and Pike Mahonen ("Mist and Midnight", Midnight Thirsts). His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town...
Amazon Kindle
Contemporary Paranormal Vampires Witches
Heat Level: 3 Boiling
Sensual, yet more explicit love scenes, and the language may be more graphic and direct.

Blood and Fire

The Talbot Trilogy, Book Two

What chance does one witch have against five vampires? Alone, not much. But Rayvin's allies are gathering… The battle between good and evil supernatural forces heats up in the long, cold November nights of the former mining town. But how will Rayvin's motley crew of spellcasters and shapeshifters cope when they discover the threat they face is even greater than they imagined?





Contemporary Paranormal Vampires Witches
Heat Level: 3 Boiling
Sensual, yet more explicit love scenes, and the language may be more graphic and direct.


Crystal and Wand

The Talbot Trilogy, Book Three

Lovers reunite, and are torn apart. Bloodthirsty fiends battle for control of an army of the undead. With the community of Talbot frozen under layers of ice and snow, the domination of the vampire coven seems certain, but in the eye of the storm, the witches and the vampire hunters search desperately for the means to bring an end to the violence that threatens to take over more than one small, sleepy town. Will Rayvin and Charlotte be able to work together, combining their skills in magick, to prevent the loss of more innocent lives?




Contemporary Paranormal Vampires Witches
Heat Level: 3 Boiling
Sensual, yet more explicit love scenes, and the language may be more graphic and direct.


OTHER STORIES ON MELANGE BOOKS Click onto  Tori’s author page at Melange Books

Tori L. Ridgewood is a collector and teller of stories; a dedicated wife, mother, and high-school teacher; and is a practicing Wiccan. She enjoys reading, needlecraft, and overthinking movies.

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Three Snippet's from Learner Mum By Joanne Rawson


 I love my life, my routine. There is absolutely nothing I would change, but then one weekend, I had a phone call that was about to change not only my sacred weekend but a part of me, too. For you to fully understand where I am coming from, let me tell you a little about myself, I promise it won’t take long.

 I come from a very religious background. Regardless of my parents’ preaching hellfire and brimstone, I have spent my entire life rebelling, unlike my younger sister, Wendy, the role model of morality, who has done it all by the big black book: courted, engaged, married and now raising a family. Although I am a successful freelance journalist slash writer, when I introduced Steve to my parents, straight away they knew he was the ideal husband for their then-twenty five year old daughter. Finally, I had found a man who could add stability to my life of debauchery. Steve is a morning presenter on one of Nottingham’s local radio stations, and the only son of Clive Rutherford, MD and Susan Rutherford, a respected paediatrician.

 However, Steve and I have been living in what my parents call ‘sin,’ for the past eight years. We are so happy with our life, but to their disappointment, there are no signs of wedding bells or the patter of tiny feet on the horizon. Why?

 Because, I hate babies. Well, perhaps hate is a little strong, and honestly speaking, how can I hate something I don’t know a bloody thing about? Don’t misunderstand me, of course I’m fully aware of the biological know how, of how one gets a baby. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of the practical, but NEVER, NEVER, have I been tempted in the least to follow the experiment through. I personally think all men’s willies should be tattooed with a baby warning, like the stickers you see about dogs and Christmas in the back of a car window. It should read: A kid is for life, not for one night of sex.

 Another thing, what is all this crap about my biological clock ticking, or we just know when we are ready to start a family? So, what do these people do? One night they are sitting watching their nightly soaps and the wife instead of saying, “Shall I defrost a chicken for dinner tomorrow?” says, “I think we should start a family.” Then the husband considers for a moment, during an advert, and replies, “O.K. love, but after I’ve watched the news.”

So now, you know that I, Polly Wilkins, am not in the least bit maternal.



 I rolled over gasping for breath. Reaching out my arm, I grabbed my mobile, seeing WENDY on the screen of my phone. “This better be bloody important, to interrupt my Saturday morning sex.”

I knew that this would make my prissy sister cringe on the other end of the phone. Well, why wouldn’t it? This was a woman who referred to sex as, “relations.”

 “I’ll come straight to the point then,” said Wendy.

“Funny, that’s just what Steve was about to say!” I gave a smutty laugh down the phone, knowing that her face would now be pulsating with embarrassment, and her heart rate elevated at the mere thought of people copulating at this hour of the day.

“Yes, well, that’s hardly something one should share. Polly, I need you to listen. Brian has this two-day conference in Dublin. Normally, I stay at home, but this time partners have to attend. There is this gala dinner where Brian will get at least one award, and the Dublin CEO wants to meet us both. There is a big promotion coming up over there…..”

I was becoming agitated at how long my sister was taking. “Stop,” I interrupted. “Is this going to be a long conversation? If it is then I need to know, because my carnal desires are going off the boil here, Wendy.”

 “You can be so crass, Polly. Mum is laid up with her back. Dad can’t get coverage at work. Polly, I need you to watch Josh.”

For a moment, I was speechless, and then I broke out into hysterical laughter. “Sorry, Wendy, for one minute I thought you asked me to watch Josh.”

 “I did.”

Steve was being annoying, trying to grab the phone from me. I pushed him away, guessing the look on my face said I was now in no mood. I said with anxiety, “Either this is a joke or Wendy is drunk, but she has just asked me to look after Josh for two days.”

Steve rolled back onto his side of the bed, cracking up with laughter. Through the laughing I could just make out, “She must be drunk.”

 “Wendy, are you ok? Is this some kind of after birth depression?”

Wendy gave a heavy sigh. “I think you mean postnatal depression, and no, I went through that after Josh was born. He’s nearly a year old.”

 “Really, he’s one? Is this why you are depressed? Because, I always thought he was a little slow.”

 “Polly,” Wendy screamed at me over the phone line. “Josh is average for his age. Now will you blinking well help me out or not?”

I sat bolt upright in bed. I could feel my heart beating faster, the tightness in my chest constricting my every breath. I was the last person my sister would ask to look after her first-born. Hell, Wendy knew that I couldn’t even look after their goldfish for a week without killing them. How the hell could I keep a baby alive?

 Now that I was hyperventilating, Steve took control, as Steve always did when it came to my family.

 Reassuring Wendy, Steve told her everything would be fine. Steve had learned the art of pacifying the Wilkins family down to a tee. It was amazing how just the calmness of his voice, and the serenity on his face, could get them to agree to anything when it came to me.

 As he put the phone down, a wave of hysteria took over me, and I screamed, “What the hell were you thinking? Neither of us have any idea about bloody babies!’ Feeling a churning in my tummy, I ran to the bathroom to puke.
This was not me. I am Polly Wilkins, the independent career woman, a free spirit, who never lets anything get the better of her. Yet knowing it still did not stop the tears and mashed potato falling in globs from my chin, as I pulled congealed dinner out of my hair. All I wanted to do was lock the bathroom door, draw a hot bubble bath, and try to forget about today, in the hope that when I emerged fresh and revived, I would find Steve starting to prepare dinner and that it had all been a very bad dream. But I couldn’t. I left Josh, much as myself, covered in food, yet as happy as a pig in muck, grinding a rusk into the remains of his dinner on his tray. Shoving my head under the shower, I quickly rinsed my hair, grabbed a towel, and wrapped it around my head.
* * * *
As I walked down the hallway, it hit me like a smack in the chops. “Oh my God, what is that smell?” Had old Mr Thompson’s cat sneaked into the flat again? Or worse, Mr Thompson himself, both were renowned for roaming the corridors, and wandering into any flat where they found the door unlocked? I’m not saying Mr T., like his cat, left a steaming package in a corner, or peed up a chair leg; let’s just say a quick hello to Mr T. left your eyes stinging from the pungent ammonia pong. Only last month, I had padded naked out of the shower to find Mr T. sitting on the sofa watching another gruelling rerun of Murder She Wrote. Needless to say, that social call not only cost us an arm and a leg in steam cleaning, but now left me trying to avoid Mr T., who, when he looked at me, obviously only saw me naked.
Wandering around the lounge, I could not find any cat poop, and the smell definitely was not as strong in here. When I retraced my steps back to the hall, it seemed to be coming from the kitchen. Strangely, as I got nearer to Josh, the smell got increasingly worse. I didn’t need to be Einstein to know, seeing the strain on Josh’s face, what was happening down there in the depths of his nappy.
I looked up to the heavens above, hoping that someone up there would know what to do in this moment of sheer need. “Please, if you really have any feelings for my weak stomach, Steve will walk through that door right now.”
I looked at the door, willing it to open. I had to think fast on my feet. After all, wasn’t that what mothers did in emergency situations like these? They would spin around, and turn into Wonder Mum, or in my case, Blunder Woman. Whatever. I had to get Josh out of his cackey nappy, not only for my sake, this was surely a hazard to the environment. It was then I spied my rubber gloves. “Good, now those will come in useful, it’s bound to be messy down there.” Just thinking about it made my tummy churn. Then, like resolving a mathematical equation, I pulled open a kitchen drawer. Rifling through, I found what I was looking for: a surgical mask. Steve had bought each of us one for our trip to Asia, when the scares were on about bird flu. Togged up in my rubber gloves and mask, I took Josh to the changing mat, holding him way out at arm’s length. Josh had a worried look on his face, not quite making out what was happening, and why his strange aunt seemed to resemble the masked person who had brought him out into the world. Perhaps he thought I was about to push him back. Believe me, if Wendy had walked into the room then, I would have.
Things were going fine. Josh seemed happy to lie there, as I took off his trousers. Then, peeling back the little plastic tabs, and opening up his nappy, I took one whiff, and instantly began to retch. “This is definitely not what I have just fed you. Dear God in Heaven, what does my sister feed this child, fertilizer?” I began to pull the nappy away from Josh. “Yuck, yuck, yuck,” I whined, trying not to look, but at the same time, trying to roll the nappy, yet the sticky tabs just would not stick. The last thing I wanted was it to unfold and... “Oh! I can’t bear to think what is inside.” Grabbing Steve’s golfing magazine, I wrapped the nappy inside. “There, that will teach him to leave me.” And then it happened, something that I was not expecting: a fountain of pee shot into the air. Jeeze, could this day get any worse? Josh, with a load off his mind, was visibly enjoying his freedom, his little legs kicking in glee—well, let’s face it, how would you like to walk around all day with a cowpat stuck to your bum?
Through the gagging and the heaving, I was managing to clean his bum, when the telephone rang. “You just stay there,” I instructed Josh, keeping one hand firmly on his tummy, as I reached for the phone.
“Hi, it’s me,” my sister said. By the sounds of her happy, slightly slurred voice, she’d had a pre-dinner sherry. “Just thought I would call and see how things are going.”
“Oh, it’s all tickety-boo here.” My response sounded more sarcastic than I’d planned, but hopefully Wendy’s one sherry had numbed her perception.
“Sorry, Polly, this is a really bad line, you sound muffled. Perhaps it’s being overseas.”
Yes, the Croft’s Original had kicked in. I had forgotten the furthest Wendy had dared venture on her travels was Jersey, and then she had worried about drinking the water, and if the food would be different. After all, Jersey had French connections. Fighting to take my mask off, my towel fell over my face in the process. My hair now felt like cardboard, from not washing all of the food out.
“So I thought I would just say goodnight to my little munchkin.”
My heart skipped a beat as I looked around frantically. Josh had disappeared off his changing mat. “He’s not here, because…” Come on, think, Polly think, what would Wonder Mum say? I had now jumped up searching for my nephew under cushion covers, behind the sofa, “…because, he’s already asleep. You know, after a full day playing with his aunt Polly, the little darling is knackered.”
“Oh, bless his little cotton sock. So give him a big kiss from me when you see him.”
“Oh, I certainly will. ‘Bye,” I said, and abruptly ended the phone call.
I scanned the room for the little fellow—well—he could hardly have gone far, but in the next few minutes he’d made it far enough to make my lounge look like a war zone. There was a mighty crash, and the tower of CDS fell to the floor, followed by a chortle. I dashed over to find Josh, crawling over Steve’s pride collection, making his way towards my bookcase. Before I had a chance to stop him, he began pulling out my cherished books. He picked up my treasured copy of Little Women, and began sucking the cover. In all the excitement, and nappyless, I could not help and smile as Josh peed on Steve’s autographed copy of Tony Jacklin’s autobiography.

This story can also be found in
Life’s Unexpected Adventures Anthology Volume One


Spooky Halloween Reads from Melange Books.

Spellbound 2011  

Spellbound at Midnight by Isabelle Kane & Audrey Tremaine
In the sultry Big Easy, Viole Godin is hired to restore Magnolia Place, an antebellum mansion which is crumbling under a mysterious curse. Marie Verret and her dangerously attractive grandson, Lucien, believe Viole is the key to ending the curse one magical Halloween night.

Room 1309.5 by John M. Mecom
Inspired by the works of Poe and Stephen King, Room 1309.5 is a story of revenge and despair. It is the author's first story to be published and received honorable mention in the Fifth Annual Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards.

Mansion of Nightmares by Walt Trizna
A mysterious mansion, long abandoned, harbors a past that claims those who enter. Then one day, by a stroke of luck, an intruder survives and uncovers its secret.

Ghost Taxi by Joanna Foreman
A man drowns heading for freedom in America, but his ghost is trapped. Washed up on the beach, the ghost is an illegal alien, not allowed to cross the street into Miami. A homeless man and a vacationing tourist search for his wife so the ghost can possess her.

Uncle Vernon by Jenny Twist
There's something very peculiar about Uncle Vernon. Nobody knows what he does in the cellar. But he's quite harmless, really. Isn't he?

Half Seen, Half Hidden by John Steiner
Nine dead. One missing. No suspects and no leads. What happened in the cabin outside Wilson Wyoming? Where and who is Mason Oliver? Deep within ourselves rests a greater mystery. Half Seen, Half Hidden traces the last three days of Mason Oliver and nine hitchhikers. Offering them shelter, Mason takes them to a secluded cabin. There they all sense the others aren't quite the strangers they seemed, and that they hold something extraordinary in common.

Telltale Signs by Tori L Ridgewood
Don't stay in the Dark Lake Museum after sunset! But Kate Elliot has a deadline to meet. Working overtime, she realizes she's not alone in the creepy old mansion...

The Origin of Fear by Tara Fox Hall
Four college friends mount an expedition to Latham's Landing-an abandoned island estate infamous for mysterious deaths-to gather pictures and inspiration for a thesis on the origin of fear.

Buy Ebook & Paperback:  Amazon

Paperback:  LULU


Holiday – Halloween Anthology Erotic

Heat Level: 4

Bloody Hot

Frequent, explicit love scenes described using graphic and direct language.
All Hallow's Evil
A John Seraph Mystery - #0.5
Before Family Ties, before Family Plots, John Seraph was an ordinary college student at Buffalo State College, until Halloween night when he came face-to-face with the Headless Rider of Buffalo State College. Now John needs to stop the Rider before he kills.
* Pumpkin image featured in cover art is used courtesy of Adam Smith @ - Check out his amazing work!
Mystery Suspense Thriller Short Holiday – Halloween Series
Heat Level: 0
The Corpulent Chiropteran
Wally, a reluctant vampire, faces a lonely life until he meets Bernice, but the evil Estrella has other ideas.
Holiday – Halloween Short Vampire
 Heat Level: 2 Simmering  Some love scenes. These are more sensual then graphic.


New Releases From Satin Romance

Mi Amor by Randi Perrin

There is no statute of limitations on the law of attraction.

Nine years ago, Crystal worked as a bartender at a dive in the middle of nowhere, Tennessee. The only good thing about her life was Johnny, the cute singer who played eighties covers until way after closing time. Unfortunately, daydreams about Johnny's chocolate eyes passed the time, but they didn’t get her out of that town.

Now she’s a workaholic defense attorney in Nashville. When she gets dragged out for a night of fun against her will, she’s surprised to run into Johnny. She’s even more surprised when he remembers her from nearly a decade before.

Can she kindle that romance that always burned deep down within her, or will the pressures of both their lives tear them apart?

Can he save her from herself or is she destined to live in the shadow of her failures for good?


Genre: Contemporary Romance | Novella

Pink Satin Romance Sensual

Ghosts of Past Loves by Nell DuVall

Love for their surviving spouses hold two spirits captive. Without corporeal bodies, how can phantoms influence their former spouses to live a full life and to love again?

Vic’s beloved wife Angie dies leaving him bereft and lost. Convinced he could never find another woman to love, he tries to drown his sorrows, but after six months, still heartbroken, he throws himself into his work.

Susan’s husband Jeff dies in a tragic car accident. His one regret is leaving her alone. She’s a survivor, but he knows she needs someone to love. Alone, she focuses on work and erasing all traces of Jeff.

Meanwhile, the spirits try to push Vic and Susan together, but it’s a difficult task when ghosts have no body or voice.

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Pink Satin Romance Sensual

Frog Chrous by Francesca May

Bella thinks she's sailing into paradise with the man of her dreams. How wrong could she be?

Bella is living and working on the glorious island of Bermuda, running away from a bad break up. When she meets the devilishly handsome Dante there's an undeniable spark between them but she's wary and keeps him at arms length.

A chain of unexpected events throw Dante and Bella together as they deliver the 'Black Orchid’ yacht back to its home on the Eastern Sea Board. She finds the Bermudian impossible to resist but will her decision to fall into his arms be something she will live to regret?

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Pink Satin Romance Sensual