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.

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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!”

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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.

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