Friday, October 31, 2014

“I'll Be Waiting (San Juan Island Stories #6)” by Wendy Lynn Clark (Short Story)





Genre: Contemporary Romance

Type of Short Story: Short Story

Summary: For five years Skylar has awaited this moment--the return of her high school crush from his tour of duty in Afghanistan and the opportunity to learn if the sweet, silent and serious helicopter pilot shares her dream of the future.

Excerpt:

“Skylar. You’re late.”

Luke’s serious voice tickled her eardrums, jolted her system like a warm finger sliding up her spine. Skylar swayed and turned to face him, mouth reacting before her mind could catch up. “You look great.”

His eyes made familiar crescents to match his beautiful smile. “Thanks.”

He did look great. Better than his last pictures taken in front of his new Black Hawk. The same dark brown eyes focused on her like only she existed on the roof; his hair, a flat Ice Man sheared cleanly up the sides made her want to dig in her fingers; and the adult muscle tone in that hard body perfectly filled his creased, off-duty jeans and starched, THIS WE’LL DEFEND T-shirt.

Skylar’s mouth went dry, and the crowd faded away and her chest ached. Ached for the boy she hadn’t made hers and again for the man that she had already lost.

“Sorry I missed you earlier. I made some wrong assumptions about…well, a lot of things, I guess.” The words stuck in her throat and she blinked back tears. “Congratulations.”

His gaze flicked over her shoulder, and Skylar’s followed…into the now empty space where his fiancée had been standing moments before.

“She brought it up on the boat,” he said. “Nothing’s settled.” His voice sounded flat.

“She seems really nice.” Skylar hugged her bag tight to her chest. “My boyfriend planned this big, suspicious dinner with all of our friends and family, but I put him off until after. But, he’s a really great guy, too, and so I’m sure we’ll both be super happy.”

Luke’s eyebrows lowered.

She didn’t mean to make him feel bad. Just because he hadn’t told her he had a fiancée or even a girlfriend—

Her chest hitched. Losing it. She was definitely losing it.

She pressed her cold hands against her collarbone. Her eyes burned. Oh God. She dashed away the moisture and turned, ready to run for the ladder, or possibly she could just throw herself off the edge. “See you at the ten-year reunion, maybe.”

His hand shot out and closed over her wrist, and he pulled her away from everyone into a dark corner of the roof. “Skylar.”

Buy this story on Amazon or read more by this author on her site.

Friday, October 24, 2014

"This Is What He Should Have Said" by Brian Olsen (Short Story)



Genre:  Fiction, Humor

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  Bradford worries constantly that any new people he meets will find him boring. By and large, his fears are justified. When his co-workers invite him to a casual night out at a bar, Bradford finds making conversation to be as painful as ever. Will he realize how much his life of solitude is costing him before it’s too late?

Excerpt:

Bradford Smith worried constantly that any new people he met would find him boring. By and large, his worries were justified. His life had been full of rich, interesting events he could have drawn upon, but entering into conversation with someone for the first time instantly filled him with anxiety. He was sure that nothing he had to say could possibly be of interest to anyone and so he shied away from talking about himself, his life, anything that had ever happened to him or anything that might ever happen to him and instead steered all conversation towards the mundane. As a consequence, anyone unfortunate enough to be stuck speaking with him would soon find themselves bored silly and attempt to bring the conversation to a close as quickly as possible.

One Friday evening in September, he was in a trendy, expensive bar with some co-workers. Soft lights, recessed into the dark wood paneled walls, gave the room a warm, comfortable glow. Bradford and his companions had taken over four neighboring tables in the center of the bar. It was still early, and there were few other customers, but the sounds of his co-workers’ laughter and friendly conversation made the bar seem full.

Bradford usually declined invitations to socialize with his fellow employees, but he was tired of eating lunch by himself every day. He hadn’t made any close friends since graduating from college several years earlier and so had quickly accepted the offer to socialize before he could talk himself out of it.

He was seated next to a very nice young woman wearing a pretty yellow dress. She was a friend of one of his co-workers, and she had just introduced herself to Bradford. Her name was Amanda.

Bradford wanted to have a friendly conversation with someone.

This is what he should have said:

“I used to have a dress like that.”
Buy this story on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Futa...For Science!" by Caelia Portier (Short Story)



Genre:  Erotica

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  Dr. Turner starts her day making her rounds at the hospital, thinking it will be a day just like any other. But after she meets Cindy, Dr. Turner’s day is anything BUT routine! See, Cindy is a futa, and Dr. Turner has yet to encounter someone like Cindy during her years of practicing medicine! Fortunately, Cindy is awesome, in more ways than one. 

In addition to being a BBW, Cindy is more than willing to help Dr. Turner get “fluid” samples and specimens for research at the medical school. And, because Dr. Turner has impeccable bedside manners, she is more than willing to provide Cindy with all the assistance she needs to obtain those specimens!

Excerpt:

There was a small storage room off to the side of the lab where a gurney was stored. If anyone came into the lab and saw me in the storage room, I could just say I was taking a power nap. Doctors did this all the time, especially during long shifts. The dedicated doctor break room was on another floor of the hospital, and I didn’t have time to go there and do what I needed to do. Plus, there were usually several doctors there at any given time.

I entered the storage room and peeked back out, just to see if anyone had seen me go in. I slowly and quietly shut the door behind me. Unfortunately, there was no lock on the door. Dammit. I decided to go for it anyway. Plus, I had been in the lab for a while, and only two people came in there. No one went to the storage closet the entire time.

I hopped up on the gurney, leaned back and closed my eyes. The solitude and quiet was refreshing, and I briefly considered actually napping instead of what I originally had in mind. But my brain went back to Travis’s bulge. It had been several weeks since I had been properly laid, and I was horny.

Buy this story on Amazon.

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Masque of Shadow" by T. A. Miles (Novelette)



Genre:  Fantasy, Fairy Tale

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  Heartbroken over the premature death of her young sister, Estelle conceives a dark plan to recover Lunette's innocent soul from the thief she witnessed taking it. The price is higher than she anticipated, reaching far beyond the loss of her own innocence when she enters voluntarily into the realm of the Lord of Shadows, into a theater of madness constructed by the souls of the dead.

Excerpt:

Lord Pentigrel lounged upon his throne, dark lips smiling, eyes closed and lovely. He held a wine glass by its slender stem with one hand and rested his fair face against the other. “You’re almost finished?”

“Yes,” Estelle answered.

“And what inspires this delay?”

“Can you show me Lunette?”

The Lord of Shadows hesitated, still smiling. At length, he purred, “Yes. I can. And I shall, when I have seen the fruits of your labor.”

Estelle started to leave Pentigrel, then turned as a thought occurred to her. “Arakade has blue eyes.”

“Crystalline, yes,” Pentigrel said. “Quite lovely.”

“Why have you not simply taken his, or someone else’s?”

A shrug preceded his answer. “Because those eyes have not seen Heaven.”

“It seems that his eyes see only those ledgers,” Estelle commented quietly.

Buy this story on Amazon.

Friday, October 3, 2014

"The Goddard Affair (A Tale of the Assassin Without a Name #4)" Scott Marlowe (Short Story)



Genre:  Fantasy

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  The Assassin Without a Name is on the hunt, looking for the secret organizations which recently tried to kill him before they can try again. But the work of his trade doesn't stop just because of personal business, so when a new client named Walter Goddard comes around wishing to have a rival eliminated, the Assassin Without a Name takes the job.

Only after the task is complete does he learn that Walter Goddard is a member of the Society for the Progression of Science and Technology, one of the very same organizations he's been seeking. At one of the society’s premiere technology galas, the Assassin Without a Name meets Gwendolyn Morgan, a beautiful widow who has run into problems of her own with the society. Not only does she believe the organization hired an assassin to murder her husband, but she’s certain she’s next. Convincing himself he’s only helping Gwendolyn in exchange for the society’s darkest secrets and not because of his part in making the woman into a widow, the Assassin Without a Name finds himself in the unusual role of protector as the society dispatches their Black Guard watchdogs to kill them both.

Excerpt:

I TOOK THE MARK OUT from behind. A gloved hand over his mouth, my knife plunged into his back, and it was all over for him.

“Make it look like a robbery,” my client had said.

So I hid inside the closet in Reynold Morgan’s study until he’d had enough of nodding off at his desk to finally call it a night. He’d made it halfway across the room when I sprang on him and took care of business. I waited until he’d expired to ease his body down—didn’t want him thrashing about or hitting the floor with a thump—before fulfilling the remainder of my client’s orders: make it look like the mark had surprised a burglar in the act, tried to stop him, and paid for his efforts with his life. The single wound to the back wasn’t enough to satisfy that requirement, so I stabbed him in the chest twice and sliced cuts onto one arm and both his hands. I wasn’t going to win any contests, but it was good enough.

The man who’d hired me hadn’t been specific about what to take, only that the items should be business-related. So I opened most of the desk drawers, rifled through and took some of the papers I found, and, last, grabbed the ledger the mark had left open on the desk. I knew from my research that Mr. Morgan had dealt in the production and sale of various commodity goods; the theft of his records pointed the finger at one or more professional rivals. Nothing out of the ordinary as far as business went in Alchester, and little chance anyone would suspect the crime was more personal in nature. Given the ruse I’d been instructed to stage, I didn’t see how it was anything but personal. But the reasons a client wants someone dead aren’t always relayed to me, and since it’s not my business to ask, I don’t.

With the job done, it was time for me to leave. The residence’s only other occupant, the wife, retired early most nights, and since it had all gone down with nary a whispered shout of alarm or scream of pain, I didn’t expect any trouble from her as I made my way out of the study, down the hallway, and to the same guest bedroom window I’d come in through earlier. From there it was an easy drop into a tangle of shrubbery, a quick jog down a darkened alley, and, after a quick removal of my mask, just like that I was back on the street as if out for nothing more than an evening stroll. A very late evening stroll, dressed all in black, with padded shoes and half a dozen weapons concealed throughout my person, but a stroll nonetheless.

Buy this story on Amazon.

Friday, September 26, 2014

"Night of Zealotry (A Tale of the Assassin Without a Name #3)" by Scott Marlowe (Short Story)



Genre:  Fantasy

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary: Take out the mark, retrieve the scroll, and avoid getting killed by his protection detail of Black Guard mercenaries. That was the job. Simple enough, or so the Assassin Without a Name thought, until he finds himself smack in the middle of three organizations all vying for possession of the item he just stole.

Of the three, the worst is the Jakaree, a group of fanatical priests willing to kill--and to use deadly technology--to fulfill their mysterious goals. But by making the Assassin Without a Name a target, they're about to get a lesson in death themselves from one of the best.

Excerpt:

MY PROFESSION IS ALL ABOUT finesse and skill. But sometimes, it’s about running—or in this case, sprinting—across rooftops, with a near-moonless night overhead and an angry host of Black Guard mercenaries giving chase. It’s one of those situations where you wonder how the hell you got into it, until you remember you signed up for this knowing full well the Guard’s reputation for vengeance. You see, they don’t like it when you kill someone under their protection. They like it even less when you do it right under their noses. I understand they’ve a reputation to maintain, but it’s not my job to help them maintain it. Nor is it to make this an easy chase for them. Hindered by their heavy armor, the distance between us was growing with each step. It didn’t help their cause that I knew these particular rooftops better than I knew the streets because I’d spent weeks studying and planning for this job. I knew which gables were hidden from the eyes of sentries. I knew which rooftops were no more than a leap away. I knew—

—when someone was about to crash into me. Too bad I realized it too late to avoid him. If the Black Guardsman was trying to bring us both down, he succeeded, tumbling us across the slanted rooftop and guaranteeing that our momentum was going to carry us right over the edge unless one of us did something. The Guardsman didn’t seem to have the first inkling of an idea, so I took it upon myself to detach my grappling hook from my belt, snap the prongs open, and scrape it along the cedar shingles until it stuck fast. Too bad my assailant didn’t have the sense to hold onto me. He kept sliding, right over the edge and into oblivion. I got myself up and started running again long before he’d hit the ground.

“Stop right there!” one of the Guardsmen yelled from too close behind me.

Not likely.

I sprinted across the remainder of the rooftop and, with the mad scramble of booted feet in pursuit, jumped. The next rooftop was too far for me to reach. The mercs must have known that, for they let out a litany of curses, not out of concern for my safety, but because they thought I’d just committed suicide rather than face their tender mercies. I’d as much interest in the one as the other, and so I’d timed my jump to land precisely on an adjacent balcony instead. Easy enough to swing over the railing from there and lower myself to the next balcony below before the Guardsmen were able to look down, get over their surprise, and realize I was escaping.

I was almost to the ground when I heard one of them land with a crash at the starting point of my downward escape route. Black Guardsmen don’t lack for courage, I’ll give them that. But they do lack agility, for I was already at the bottom of the alley before the first of them had figured out how to even swing himself down one story.

Buy this story on Amazon.

Friday, September 19, 2014

"Killing the Dead (A Tale of the Assassin Without a Name #2)" by Scott Marlowe (Short Story)



Genre:  Fantasy

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  Some say the dead should stay dead. Not everyone agrees.

The priests purged one of their own with holy fire. Now they need the Assassin Without a Name to finish the job.

In this short tale, an assassin is hired to kill the already dead.

Excerpt:

"I AM AUTHORIZED TO OFFER you double your normal rate because this job is a bit…abnormal."

I put my wine glass down, letting the smoothness of the '74 Crusus Sabeler slide down my throat and settle in my stomach before I responded. "Abnormal how?"

I'd been enjoying a bottle of the Shiraz when I saw the man poke his way through the wineshop's front door. That he was looking for me, I'd no doubt, for after a quick scan of the room's interior he headed straight for my table, asked my permission to sit, then did so. Right away, I saw that there was something different about this gent. He was middle-aged, with the thinning pate and speckled gray to prove it. The skin of his face was white from lack of sun and he had the smooth and uncalloused hands of a scrivener or scholar. Neither profession earned enough to cover my fee. I was about to tell him so when he introduced himself. He said his name was Father Kem, here as a representative of a church whose name I promptly forgot. A holy man, come to see me? Abnormal indeed.

He'd arrived incognito, dressed in a white tailored shirt, embroidered vest, and plain trousers. Despite the lack of a cassock, I wondered for a brief moment if he'd come to absolve me of my sins. No such luck. He was here to add to them.

"We wish you to dispatch a man…who is already dead."

I narrowed my gaze at that, taking another sip of my wine and hoping it would make the words replaying in my mind clearer. It did not. "You want me to do what?"

Kem's lips turned in a brief smile. "I understand you may think me cracked. But, I assure you, the request is genuine, as is the proposed fee. The man you are to, ah, kill, is—was—named Ashunde Roe. He was a bishop amongst our clergy before he met his end. That end, as you might imagine, is of considerable importance, for Bishop Roe was purged."

That was the clergy's way of saying he'd been burned alive. It was a fate experienced by only the worst of sinners: dark witches, demon-mongers, necromancers, and probably some others I didn't want to know about.

"Ashunde strayed from our ranks," Kem said. "He was caught delving into the debaucheries of necromancy."

Ah, necromancy. I spent my time sending people to their graves. Necromancers spent their time raising them. A vicious cycle by anyone's measure.


Buy this story on Amazon.