Friday, December 19, 2014

"Reunions: An Anthology of Heartfelt Short Stories" by The Short Story and Flash Fiction Society (Short Stories)



Genre:  Psychological

Type of Short Story:  Short Story Anthology

Summary:  An anthology of heartfelt short stories about various reunions. Romantic reunions, friendly reunions, family reunions, all promise to trigger deep and intense emotions and keep you good company!

Excerpt:

It was four years before I returned home. I travelled the whole of the country but still I thought of Lucy. I became a man in that time, or so I thought from the dirt under my nails. My parents had started on a new family, with twin boys and another baby on the way. They were happy to welcome me in and offer me some food, but that was about it. I’d already taken enough out of them, and we all knew there was nothing they could do for me now.
The main street of town still looked the same, people still said hello as you went past.

Many faces I remembered either from school or from hanging around the street at night.

Those I didn’t know, they’d get to soon enough.This time I wanted to stay, I missed that feeling of belonging.That place where you got a nickname and didn’t know who gave it to you.

Buy this anthology here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

"The Hammer Falls - A Detective Lara Hammer Story - Book 1" by A.L. Steen (Short Story)



Genre:  Women's Mystery, Supernatural

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  The rough and rogue Detective Lara Hammer takes on the Ghoul King in Book One of this action packed short story adventure. Lara is a joke to her comrades and a secret asset to her Captain. Her methods are anything but subtle and Lara can, at times, be harsh, but she follows her own path. Most of the time, that path leads to great results when it comes to bringing down the scum of the city. This time, however, Detective Hammer may have overstepped in her enthusiasm to bring down the most powerful man around.

Excerpt:

Lara stared with wide eyes at the spot where her partner had stood only a few seconds before. A surprisingly small pile of grayish white ash on the hard cement floor marked his passing.

The demonic lawyer's eyes were still glowing with the murderous flames. He belched loudly, expelling smoke in a wispy black cloud. Then Kelvin Ashar, the blood thirsty piece of shit, smiled at her. Lara allowed the traumatized chill that ran across her warm porcelain skin to run its course.

"Now, Detective," the monster oozed, "shall we try this again? I'm not at all certain that your partner understood the terms of our agreement."

Lara took a staggering step forward.

"You slithering slimeball. You hellacious eel," she blurted.

Ashar's eyes flickered. He brought his fist to his mouth and coughed into it. When he opened his hand a writhing ball of fire sat in the palm. He casually rolled it around.

"Tsk, tsk, Lara. Is that any way to speak to your only friend in the world right now," he asked with a greasy smile creeping across his grizzled face.

"You just incinerated my lover," she screamed.

Kelvin snuffed out the fireball and covered his mouth in mock surprise.

"Oh dear," he exclaimed, not sounding in the least sincere. "When you said, partner, I assumed you meant in law enforcement. My bad. Here, let me make it all better," he slimed.

Buy this book on Amazon.

Friday, December 5, 2014

"Taken (Callisto Series - Book 1)" by Erica Conroy (Novella)



Genre:  Science Fiction Romance

Type of Short Story:  Novella

Summary:  Respect the enemy, fear his daughter in this fun Science Fiction Romance
Peace negotiations are easy right? Not when you're learning a language composed of hisses, growls and other guttural sounds. And that's not even the tough part for recently divorced diplomat Viktor Jacobs. No, that would be matching wits with the fiercely intelligent daughter of the opposing side. Between dodging her claws, avoiding a myriad of cultural taboos, and not accidentally getting married or killed, he has to somehow make the Lyrissians see that joining the Alliance of Worlds is the best choice for all of their futures. 

Excerpt:

Viktor's door chimed and he scowled. He exited the bathroom, glanced at the clock on the wall and stubbed his toe on the sofa as he made his way to the door. It opened to reveal not his friend Roger—the ship's commanding officer, whom he was expecting—but S'rea.

"What is that on your face?" she immediately asked.

"Haffin hehl," Viktor tried to reply around the toothbrush still in his mouth. He removed the toothbrush while his other hand checked that his towel was still firmly wrapped around his waist. "Shaving gel," he said again. He noticed her silent guard loitering in the corridor.

"You have no ridges," S'rea said, and reached out. Her touch along his shoulder was feather light, and he had to fight off the urge to shiver.

"Sorry to disappoint," he said, and stepped away from her. "What do you want, S'rea?"

"I want many things, U-man, but none of them are why I am here."

Viktor raised an eyebrow at her cryptic answer. "Sounds like something a man should hear with pants on. Take a seat. I'll be back in a second. Tell your babysitter to come on in."
Buy this story on Amazon.

Friday, November 28, 2014

"One Skid Mark" by April Ryder (Novelette)



Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  After being dumped by her live-in boyfriend, who she had supported through college, Hayley is tricked into trying out for the local roller derby team--the Selby Slammers.

At the try outs hilarity ensues when she leaves her mark on some of the hunky men in the inline hockey team practicing on the next rink over.

At least this time I didn't end up hungover with a tattoo on my butt--I mean--Hayley is a good girl, sweet, hard working girl that would never hurt a fly, let along her best friend, who often gets her drunk and permanently inked. Adam is such a stupid poopy-head!

Ahem, frog in my throat. I think I'm getting a migraine, so I better leave before I barf all over your expensive-looking shoes…bye!

Excerpt:

After the roller derby ended, some of the crowd changed out for the next event. My friend Adam hadn’t lied. Here were the boys and they were the local men’s inline hockey team. Instead of roller skates they wore inline ones. Adam explained it was very similar to field hockey he had played as a boy but more like ice hockey. As it turned out New Zealand even had ice hockey. Huh, learn something new every day.

Not long into the game I noticed some of the roller derby girls slip out of their changing room and join the front row of the audience to watch the men play. I didn’t blame them, especially not at half time when they retired to their respective corners and removed their helmets.

“Who knew men wearing so many clothes could be so hot,” Adam said in my ear and I blushed. Who, indeed.

I stuck a finger in my cowl neck and tried to shake some air in there. It wasn’t the temperature that had me overheating, but the right wing. He was like a god and I caught myself thinking thoughts I’d never thought about Paul.

“Love at first sight?” Adam asked.

I shook my head. “Maybe a crush.”

He laughed, put an arm around me and pulled me close. “Nice choice,” he said.

I sighed in appreciation of such a gorgeous man. I could look, but I knew I’d never be able to touch. Not a man like that. He was in a league of his own. He probably dated the roller derby girls. They were strong, confident and so sexy looking in their outfits. My eyes flicked to them and sure enough they were leaning over the barrier, hollering lewd suggestions. My crush--player number 7--laughed, waved and thrust his groin in their direction. Totally out of my league.

“He’s gay,” Adam said, interrupting my depressing thoughts.

“What?”

“He’s gotta be gay. He’s putting too much effort into it.”

“He can’t be gay,” I argued and when Adam looked at me I blushed furiously. “I mean, he’s totally checking those roller derby girls out.”

Adam stared at me, number 7, then the girls in question. “Here finish this, while I get us more beer,” he said.

I accepted Adam’s half-empty cup and watched him head toward the counter. The game was almost over by the time he returned.

“Where were you?” I asked when Adam appeared with more beer.

His smile worried me, especially when he didn’t answer. I was too close to drunk though to notice the warning signs. Stupid me.

Buy this story on Amazon.

Friday, November 21, 2014

"Corral Nocturne: A Novella" by Elisabeth Grace Foley (Novella)



Genre:  Western Romance

Type of Short Story: Novella

Summary:  Life on her brother’s ranch is lonely for Ellie Strickland. Ed’s ungracious manners and tight-fisted habits keep visitors away and his mother and sister close to home. But when Cole Newcomb, son of the wealthiest rancher in the county, meets Ellie by chance, he is struck by an unexpected impulse to rescue her from her solitude—and Ellie’s lonely summer is transformed.

When Cole asks her to go with him to the Fourth of July dance, Ellie is determined that nothing, from an old dress to Ed’s sour temper, will stand in her way. By the time the Fourth of July fireworks go off at midnight, will they herald only more heartache, or maybe—just maybe—a dream come true?

Excerpt:

Ellie finished feeding the chickens, and stood for a moment holding the empty basket, watching them cluck and scratch and search in the dust for the kernels of grain. Then she turned and walked across the yard toward the little weathered frame house. The house, the low-roofed barn, the corrals and sheds made a half-circle around the hard-packed dirt ranch yard, and the garden patch lay east of the house. Sheltered by low hills, the ranch lay down out of sight of the main road. Few people came down the rutted track to the Strickland place. Those who did came on business with Ed—buying a cow, as today, or perhaps to borrow a piece of farming equipment; and they seemed to come rather of necessity than choice. Their infrequent comings and goings did little to affect the daily round of life. Though only five miles from town, the ranch was for Ellie a lonely place.

It was not a particularly hard life they lived here, though for Ellie and her mother there were often irksome extra tasks arising from rather unnecessary scrimping and making do. Ed was ‘tight’; he grudged every bit of new wire for mending a broken fence; he kept his cows as short on grain as possible and then complained when they did not gain flesh like the other ranchers’ cattle; he would never buy a new shirt when an old one could be patched. He was apt to grumble over small extra items in his mother’s modest grocery lists, and Ellie had long since given up asking for anything for herself, knowing she would only hear the familiar response, “But what for? We don’t need it.”

Ellie sat down on the front steps and put the basket down beside her. Ed was out of sight, and it was not yet time to start the midday meal, so she sat still for a moment and let the fresh breeze from off the prairie brush her face and flutter the edge of her calico apron. It was quiet—peaceful and beautiful, with the near-noon sun shining on wildflowers bobbing in the long grasses stirred by the wind. But today the quiet only served to remind Ellie that hardly anybody came down the road to the Strickland place, and those who did come disliked Ed Strickland so much that they never paid attention to Ed’s sister.

Ellie sighed a little, and scuffed the toe of her boot in the dust. She was eighteen now. A lot of the girls she had gone to school with in the little one-room schoolhouse over on Catlin Creek had beaus by now, who escorted them to picnics and dances and took them out for buggy rides on Sundays. Ellie and her mother seldom went anywhere except occasionally to church, for Ed disliked social gatherings and didn’t like to spare the team from work for them to drive anywhere. So they were cut off, to a large degree, from the other women in the area, who had plenty of acquaintances among their neighbors to keep them busy, and knew very little about the Stricklands except what they heard their husbands and sons say of Ed. And as for young men…well, the men that came out here usually left with a sardonic expression like John Bentley’s, and hardly even noticed that Ed had a mother and sister.

Ellie put her chin in her hand and stared away up the double-rutted track to the main road, with the green grass waving softly in its center strip. She was a quiet, practical girl, who simply accepted the little trials of her life that she could do nothing about. She did not spend her time pining for a beau—it was not a real cause of heartache, or something that constantly occupied her thoughts. But there were days, like today, when the accumulated loneliness of months made her heart weigh heavy; when she wondered wistfully how the right kind of young man was ever going to find his way down the road to her isolated home—and once there, what there possibly was that could make him want to stay long enough for a second look.

“No man in his right mind would want Ed for a brother,” she said aloud to herself, and then added as an afterthought, “and I wouldn’t want to marry the other kind.”

And with this reflection she stood up, looked round again at the sunny and empty horizon—empty of either kind—and then picked up the basket and went up the steps into the house.

Buy this story on Amazon.

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Children of the Artificial Womb" by Edward Lange (Novelette)



Genre:  Science Fiction, Cyberpunk

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  Hector, a member of the Plasmid street gang and product of the artificial womb, is not doing well. His girlfriend is pregnant, his best friend is a murderous, technological genius and his gang boss is a violent bully. But when a once in a lifetime opportunity comes his way, Hector will have to choose between safety and freedom, in the dangerous world of gang warfare.

Excerpt:

“I’m pregnant.” Emma blurted out. Hector looked at her, even more confused than he was before.

“So what?” He asked. “You’ve been pregnant before. Just go to the clinic.”

Emma was silent for the first few moments after Hector asked his question. She looked away from him.

“What’s wrong with going to the clinic?” Hector asked.

“It’s your baby.” Emma said.

Hector stopped, and Emma stopped with him. For a few moments, they were both silent. They just stood on the street. Somewhere above them, a hover car flew over, and they could hear its rumbling engine. In a nearby alleyway, they could hear a homeless bum mumbling about giant rats and psychotic children.

“Are you sure?” He asked, breaking the silence.

“Yes.” Emma said.

“Is it at all possible that-”

“Hector, I haven’t been with anyone else but you for two months.”

“Two months?”

Emma shrugged. “Business has been kind of slow for a little while.”

Hector just nodded. His mind struggled to process the information.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“Yeah.” He didn’t quite feel like throwing up, but he did feel a little queasy. He wasn’t sure why though. “Why are you telling me this?”

“I…I thought you’d want to know.” Emma said.

“Well, I don’t need to know.”

“I just thought you might like to.”

“Why, what difference does it make?”

She didn’t say anything.

“Emma, we can’t keep it.”

“I know but…”

“But what?”

“You’ve never wanted to…?”

“No.” Hector said quickly.

Emma’s eyes went wide. She looked away from him. He could hear her begin to sniffle. He gently took her hand.

“I’m sorry.” He said.

“Why do you always have to be so aggressive?” the tears still streamed down her face.

“I’m sorry, it’s just...”

“Just what?”

“How could we take care of it? How would we feed it, where would it sleep? How could we pay for baby food? Where the hell do you even buy baby food?”

“Grocery store.” Emma said, meekly.

“We can’t keep it.”

“But wouldn’t it be nice to be normal?” It sounded almost like Emma was pleading. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a family, and live together?”

“We can’t do that, and having a kid won’t make it happen. If anything, it’ll just make things worse.”

“But maybe….”

“Emma, baby, we can’t.”

She opened her mouth to say something, but stopped. She silently nodded, and began to wipe the tears from her face.

“I mean…” Hector struggled to pick his words. “Maybe…maybe one day we’ll have the money and…and we can do it. But now…we just can’t.”

“Okay.” Emma said.

“I’m sorry.”

“No, you’re right.”

He put his arm around her shoulders, and kissed her on the cheek. They walked the rest of the way to her building in silence. Neither of them said anything until they reached her front door.

"I’ll go to the clinic tomorrow.” She said.

“It’s for the best.” He said. She just nodded. He took her in his arms, and kissed her. She didn’t respond. She unlocked the door, and went inside. Hector stood on the street by himself, and felt his heart sink.


Buy this story on Amazon and be sure to check out the author's website.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Sweet Release" by Caelia Portier (Short Story)



Genre:  Erotica

Type of Short Story:  Short Story


Summary:  Cake batter will never taste the same.

Candace is on mission. As a pharmaceutical sales rep, she wants to find cupcakes to give to the doctors she’ll be visiting later in the day. She locates the F&F Cupcake Emporium, where she meets two sexy big beautiful bimbos, who just happen to be the purveyors of the most delectable sweet treats and sugary delights in the city! However, things turn a bit messy when all three girls end up in the kitchen. After a taste of the glittery gold and silver magical pink strawberry shortcake cupcake batter, there’s no turning back. Join the girls in the bakery of the F&F Cupcake Emporium, and you’ll be delighted to take a peek inside where the “magic” happens.


Excerpt:

I cruised to the heart of the Castro District. I had a feeling I would find a funky and eclectic cupcake shop in this neighborhood of the city. I had lived in San Francisco long enough to know the general feel of the stores and restaurants in each ‘hood, and, if there was a cupcake shop in the Castro, it would surely provide the unique and fun variety of cupcakes I was searching for. Nothing but the best for my doctors!

“Siri, cupcake shop in the Castro, San Francisco,” I instructed my phone. I loved technology.

After a few moments of “thinking,” the computerized female voice finally stated. “F&F Cupcake Emporium. Would you like the phone number, Candace?” I pushed “end” and sat the phone back down in my console. I knew exactly where F&F Cupcake Emporium was located in the Castro! I had completely forgotten about it, but then remembered reading a short article about it recently in some tourist rag that ended up in my mailbox. I vaguely recalled that two best friends own the store. I couldn’t remember their names, but both names started with an “F,” and they sold over twenty different varieties daily. I would surely find a great assortment of delicious treats for my doctors at this place!

Plus, I wanted to meet these purveyors of sugared treats. The article in the magazine showed a picture of both girls standing in front of an array of colorful cupcakes and delightful desserts! Both were blond, tall, voluptuous and beautiful. Thick blond hair, full lips, huge “maybe-or-maybe-not” real breasts, and fluttery eye lashes. They were much more “LA” than “San Francisco.” Fingers crossed they would be working there today so could meet these local “celebrities.” And, of course, I just might have to buy a few treats for myself.

“F&F Cupcake Emporium” was written in pink swirly letters above the small shop tucked in between a gay biker bar and the “Sit ’n Spin” Laundromat. I squeezed my car into a tight space across the street. Rockstar parking!

When I opened the door to F&F Cupcake Emporium, delicately twinkling bells welcomed my arrival. It was almost as if I had entered a candy land full of wonder! There was a counter to my right covered in sweets. Cakes, individually packaged brownies, and cookies of every flavor imaginable. A huge covered display case on the back wall revealed an assortment of cupcakes beyond my wildest dreams. The smell reminded me of my granny’s home when she made fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies when I was a child. The little shop was decorated in an array of pink, white and gold paisley. I laughed to myself when I thought about how this place was so cute and tiny and quaint, but they had named it an “Emporium.”

Finally, a tall curvy blond in clear six-inch stilettos, more apt for a strip club than a cupcake emporium, waltzed in through a door to the left, presumably leading to their kitchen, carrying a tray of blue and white cupcakes drizzled in bright red strawberry puree’. She was wearing a cute apron that matched the paisley walls, smacking her chewing gum and sticking her huge breasts out.

“Like! Oh my god! I did not see you standing there! Welcome to F&F Cupcake Emporium,” chimed the bleached blond enigma.

“Hey. Those look tasty. What ya’ got there?”

She looked down towards her breasts. “Oh, these? These are our July fifth holiday cupcakes. Blueberry and strawberry flavor, with a hint of Italian cream inside. They are ah-may-zing!” she sang.

“Oh, wowsahs! I might have to take a few of those! But I’m pretty sure the holiday is on the fourth!”

Buy this story on Amazon.