Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"It's in His Kiss" by Caitie Quinn (Novelette)

Genre:  Romance

Short Story Type:  Novelette

Summary:  Jenna’s been letting life pass her by as she works on her career. But, when she needs to do some research of this kissing kind, things may get a little more heated than she expected.

Research has never been so fun.

WARNING: This 10k short has no vampires, shape shifter or scorching sex, but it might make you snort your diet Coke out your nose.

The thick smoker-voice on the other end of the phone made demands I wanted to ignore. “It’s time for Chloe’s first kiss.”

“What? It can’t be,” I replied, pushing back the panic. “She’s far too young to be involved with boys.”

“Honey, she’s sixteen. Almost seventeen if I remember correctly.”

“But, kissing? Boys?” I shook my head against the receiver, my glasses clinking the earpiece. “I don’t think she’s ready.”

“No, Jenna. You’re not ready. But that doesn’t mean a teenaged girl doesn’t reach that point without us.”

I glared at my Hello Kitty phone, tempted to hang up and claim a bad connection.

“I think maybe a big school dance story line would be great,” Ely continued. “She’s co-captain of her soccer team and vice president of the junior class. Isn’t there anyone she’d be interested in?”

Ely Morgan, Agent Extraordinaire-slash-Pushiest-Woman-on-the-Planet, had never steered me wrong before – except maybe that one time with the now infamous author-photo-from-you-know-where – but still, good advice was there to be had. That didn’t mean I had to like it.

I collapsed back in my worn leather office chair, tempted to spin until I was dizzy. “It’s time?”

“Sugar, it’s past time.”

“I’m not sure.” It’s too soon. “Maybe I could work a potential love interest into the next book.” If anyone good enough crosses my word-processing fingers. “And then we can fold it into senior year.” Or college. Or never.

“I know you want to protect her, sweetie.” Ely's voice sounded muffled, the click-clack of a keyboard echoing in the background. Agent Extraordinaire was also Multitasking Empress.

The clatter from her phone hitting the ground told me I’d been right.

“Sorry about that,” Ely said. “You still there?”


“Ok, Jenna. Here’s the deal. Forest Oak won’t take another book unless Chloe matures a little. Your fan mail is from girls who grew up with her and, while a lot of them are shy or nerdy or untrusting or whatever it is keeping them from kissing a boy, that doesn’t mean they don’t want Chloe to. So the deal is, next book, out early fall, homecoming maybe. Chloe gets a kiss.”

I pushed back and spun, the phone cord wrapping around my neck. A sign perhaps?

“All right. I’ll do my best.”

“You always do, my little overachiever.”

Without a goodbye, Ely had hung up and gone on to her next seven multitasking events.

Untangling myself from Ms. Kitty’s tail, I opened the drawer where my writing notes were lovingly filed, alphabetized and color coordinated. The blue boy file was right where it was supposed to be, fourth back in the character notes, behind the pink girl folder but in front of the black folder of death — the place characters who didn’t work out went to die.

Marty O’Donnell — snob, dated best friend, dumped her for an underclassman…er, underclasswoman? Girl?

Mark Andersen — smelled funny, mentioned in three books.

Tony Baccio — funny, smart, cute. Friend's brother. Should be in college this fall.

Kevin Kline — currently dating best friend.

Slamming the blue folder closed, I considered transferring Chloe to a girls' boarding school run by nuns on an unchartered island. If I did that, I could add the blue folder to the black one and cut down on folders. It was economical. It made sense.

It would lose me a contract.

Grabbing Hello Kitty, I dialed Lisbeth Nardi’s number in desperation.


Lisbeth was the only person I knew who could get away with answering her phone like that. She was also the only one I knew who had kissed half the metro area.

“Lis, I need my character to get kissed. I need a guy and a kiss description.”

“Aren’t you supposed to write what you know?” I heard the laughter in her voice and knew she didn’t mean to be cruel. Unfortunately, she was also right.

“That’s why I need you. You can tell me how kissing a guy feels the first time.” Her earlier words still stung, so I added, “You’ve had plenty of experience in the first kiss department.”

A sigh blasted my ear. One of those declare-yourself-a-martyr sighs.

“First off Jenna, I think what you need to do is just get out there. Get your own first kisses. Get your own life.”

I could almost hear her shrug over the phone.

“Second, your character isn’t you. Her boyfriend is imaginary. He’s not going to convince her to go to the same college, propose the middle of junior year, stand her up at the altar because his frat brothers called him an idiot at the bachelor party the night before, and then try to convince her they should still have sex on the side. That stuff only happens to you.”

That was painful. True, but painful. And kind of rude. Okay, more than kind of, but I was feeling desperate.

“You’re no help.” If the queen of the pick-up couldn’t help me, I was out of luck.

“Oh, I’ll help all right,” she answered. “Actually, I wouldn’t miss this for the world. Meet me outside O’Leary’s at ten and I’ll be more help than you could have wished for.”

Buy this short story for the Kindle.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave" by Sibel Hodge (Novelette)

Genre:  Thriller

Short Story Type:  Novelette

Summary:  My name is Elena and I used to be a human being. Now I am a sex slave.

If you are reading this diary then I am either dead or I have managed to escape…


Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave is a gritty, gripping, and tear-jerking novella, inspired by real victims’ accounts and research into the sex trafficking underworld.

It is estimated that 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year – 80% of these are women and girls. (Source: U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007)

For the first time since I was a little child, I am lost. I have no idea where I am, although I have not travelled far, so I must still be in Moldova. I remember getting lost at a busy market when I was about four years old. My mother turned away to haggle over vegetables with a stall holder, and I wandered off at the lure of something bright-coloured and pretty in the distance. In a sea of legs, I disappeared, and when I turned to look for my mother again, I could not find her. I screamed, of course, crying out for her. When eventually we were reunited, I hugged her tight and would not let her go. I followed her around for weeks afterwards so the same thing never happened again.
Now I am lost and my mother cannot help me. No amount of crying or screaming will get me out of here. I have tried.
I know what is going on. I have heard the stories from nearby villages but I never thought it could happen to me. You don’t, do you?
Trust. It is such a small word but it can have such a big effect on your life.
I trusted my best friend when she told me her boyfriend could get us both a job in a casino in Italy. I had no reason not to trust her. We have been friends since we could talk. In all this time I never thought she would betray me. Am I naïve or just stupid? I have a feeling I will wonder this a lot in the coming days.
There is nothing else to do at the moment but sit and think of a way out of here. Somehow, I fear it will be impossible, though. I have decided to keep this diary in case I never get out. It is hidden in my rucksack, in a gap underneath the lining at the bottom. If they find it, I will be in serious trouble. Maybe writing it will stop me going mad, and hopefully my family will eventually know what happened to me.
I can picture my mother’s wrinkled face and see my daughter Liliana’s gappy-toothed smile. Liliana is four years old, and she is my life. I need to survive for her, but they have told me if I try to escape, they will kill her and my mother. I have seen the cold hatred in their eyes as they described to me in detail exactly what they would do to them, and I know they would not hesitate to carry out their threats.
I should explain how I came to be locked in this small bedroom somewhere in Moldova, because I need you to know that none of this is my fault.
I am twenty-two years old and live in a poor village. Most people are living hand-to-mouth – maybe on less than a dollar a day. Moldova has a very high rate of unemployment, and they say it is one of the poorest countries in Europe. People in our village sold their kidneys on the black market just to keep them in food. They could make around $500 for one kidney. You can do the maths to know that is a fortune. I wonder how much the rate is for a sex slave.
Some people have sold their children to the slave gangs, too. I heard of one woman whose husband died. She had seven children she could not afford to feed anymore so she sold three of her daughters to the sex mafia. I always wondered what happened to her girls. Maybe they are here, in this place, and I will see them again.
How could she do that to her children? Her daughters would be better off dead than suffering what they must have to endure. If they are alive, they are surely in a living hell. I think of Liliana’s innocent face, the way she cuddles up to me for a story. She trusts me. How could I ever put her in danger? To save my other children? Is that a good enough reason?
Natalia, my so-called best friend, told me her boyfriend Andrei knew of some jobs working in a casino in Italywhere the wages were €500 a month. A month! Imagine so much money. Natalia said the casino would even pay our travelling fare.
I had it all figured out. Liliana could stay with my mother for a month, just until I got everything arranged inItaly. I would find a small apartment using my wages and bring them both to live with me. It would be perfect. A way out of this country to a world of new opportunities.
It was a very emotional goodbye with Liliana and my mother. Liliana held onto my legs and did not want to let go. We all cried so much. I promised them as soon as I got an apartment I would send for them and we would be together again. It would not be long, a month at the most.
I arranged to meet Natalia at the bus station in town. We were going to be picked up by a friend of Andrei who would drive us all the way to Italy. But when I found Natalia she told me there was a problem with her passport and she would not be able to go until it was sorted out. She talked me into going without her.
‘It will only be a week or so before I join you,’ she said. ‘Don’t worry, Andrei and his friend will look after you.’ She smiled and hugged me.
And I trusted her.
Andrei’s friend did not drive me to Italy. I am still somewhere in Moldova. I was blindfolded and handcuffed and threatened with death in the car before I arrived here with my captor. If I did not do what they ordered, they told me they would do unspeakable things to Liliana and my mother before they kill them. I cannot risk their lives so I must do what they tell me.
I am in a house, I think, in the country. There are no city noises here, only birds chirping. I never thought I would envy a bird, but I do. They are free to fly away from here, and I imagine I am a sparrow or an owl, launching myself through the windows to freedom. But there are bars on the windows and the shutters are closed, so there is no way for me to escape. I have tried the door but it is locked with a key and bolted from the outside. It is dark in my prison cell, and I think I have been here for about eight hours so it must be night time by now. I am in a whitewashed room about two metres square, and I am lying on an old mattress that smells of urine and filth, with my hands and feet in chains. There is a bucket in here for me to go to the toilet. No paper to use, though, and the thought of being unable to wipe myself disgusts me.
There are other girls here, too. I can hear them through the walls, crying and screaming. I want to talk to them; to get some comfort from knowing we are together, but I do not dare. If my captors hear me talking it may make them angry. Earlier I heard a door burst open nearby and a man’s voice yelling at one of the girls to be quiet. I heard slaps and punches, and her high-pitched screams that pierced my brain, even though my hands were pressed tightly over my ears. Now I hear just her soft sobs.
I know what happened; I could hear that, too. 

Buy this short story for the Kindle or read it on Smashwords.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Elfbitten: A Taryn Malloy Fantasy (Book 1)" by Leila Bryce Sin (Novella)

Genre:  Paranormal Erotica

Short Story Type:  Novella

Summary:  Taryn Malloy is a Bright Elf, her magic lives in her blood, fueled by sex and lust. Recovering from a terrible break-up, Taryn’s best friend, Roxy, decides it’s time for Taryn to get back in the game. She’s wallowed long enough and let her magic diminish to a dangerous level. Tonight, Roxy is taking Taryn out to a club that caters to the carnal needs of the supernatural community of their city. Roxy is determined to make Taryn forget about Cillian and she knows the only way to get over one elf is to get on top of another. A night of elves, fairies, vampires, revenge and more is exactly what Taryn needs.

I lifted my hand in front of my face and snapped my fingers, watching the spark flash between my fingers.  I hadn’t been able to do even that much just this morning. Ever since Cillian and I had broken up – well, since he dumped me really – I had been on a total self-pity spiral. Roxy had come by every couple of days to make sure I was eating and showering, which of course I was. I was probably eating too much, but I hadn’t bothered to change into real clothes or leave my apartment. The plants around my place had started to die since I wasn’t tending them anymore and I couldn’t ask Roxy to waste perfectly good magic to bring them back to life for me.
This morning, six weeks to the day after my break up, Roxy had lost all patience with me and my pity party. She’d nearly ripped the door off the hinges when I wouldn’t roll out of bed to answer her demanding knock, her power ripping through my apartment, effectively knocking me out of the bed. Her eyes shined with magic and anger when she stormed into the bedroom, her hair floating on the waves of power emanating from her core.
“That is it, Taryn Malloy!” she yelled, stalking around the bed and grabbing me by the back of my nightshirt. “Cillian Moran is not worth this!” she dragged me across the floor until we reached the bathroom, I spun on my back when she let go so she could reach in and turn on the cold water tap of the shower. I tried to scramble to my feet, but because it had been so long since I had raised any power, she was faster and stronger than me by far and she simply grabbed my ankle and dragged me back. She picked me up around the waist and nearly tossed me into the shower, the icy water shocking me and stealing my breath in a gasp.
Roxy slammed the glass doors shut and held them there until I got to my feet and banged against the panel demanding to be let out. She slid one side open just long enough to rip the soaking shirt off of my body and push me back in.
“Wash!” she commanded, sliding the door shut in my face, cutting off my protests. Eventually I conceded and took the shower, if only to keep from freezing. When I got out, she gave me a towel and a robe and took to combing out the mess of tangles my hair had become.
“We’re going out tonight,” she said, pulling the brush through my hair as I sat at my vanity, cupping a mug of coffee between my hands. “You should’ve been able to fight back, or at least resist me, and you were as weak as a human, Taryn.”
“I know,” I muttered.
“Do you think he’s sitting at home wallowing in pain that you’re gone?”
“I wasn’t the one that left, Roxy.”
“Exactly. You’re giving him too much.”
“He doesn’t know what I’m doing.”
“Doesn’t matter,” she argued, setting the brush down on the tabletop. “You’re still acting this way for him; he doesn’t deserve that. How long did he say he’d been seeing the fairy whore?”
“Six months,” I whispered into my mug.
“And you were together for three years.”
“I know, Roxy!” I yelled, throwing my cup against the wall. It shattered into hundreds of ceramic pieces, the coffee splattering the wall, dripping to the floor. I had sprung to my feet without realizing it. My fists were balled so tightly my ragged nails were cutting into my palms. The scent of blood wafted up, making my mouth water. “You don’t think I know he’s been humiliating me for six fucking months? I know, Roxy!” I screamed. “He’s been fucking her all over town and everyone fucking knew but me! I’ve been here! In our home! Cooking for him, cleaning up for him, paying our bills, and he’s been out fucking her!” I was panting in my rage, my body was shaking with the effort to contain my pounding heart and Roxy stood there, calm and smiling.
“Good. It’s about damn time you got angry.” She turned away from me and walked into my closet, disappearing from sight. I blinked, coming back to my senses, wondering what she was doing, so I followed her in. When I got there, I found her laughing.
“Oh my gods, Tare, are these crotches from his pants?” she asked, holding up a handful of fabric.
“Yes, they are,” I said simply. The night Cillian had told me about his affair, after I had thrown him physically from the apartment and locked the door in his face, I had gone on a rampage destroying anything of his I could find. I spent about an hour on the floor of our closet cutting out the crotches of all the pants he hadn’t packed, crying my eyes out like an idiot.
“That’s brilliant,” Roxy said, dropping the sad scraps of fabric to the floor. She started rummaging through my closet until she came up with the outfit she wanted me to wear tonight, insisting that the best way to get over a man was to get under a new one.
Roxy never had to worry about getting over or under or next to a guy, refusing to ever commit to a relationship. After seeing what Cillian had done to me, she insisted it was just another example of why her way of life was the best. Staring at those scraps of fabric, I couldn’t really argue with her.  But I really thought Cillian and I had something; I really thought we were going to be married and live happily ever after. More embarrassing than that, I thought his strange behavior over the last few months was due to the fact he was finally going to propose. Even when he sat me down to talk that night, I thought that was the moment he was going to do it.
I closed my eyes against the memory and shook my head to clear it. I refused to play that scene over again. Roxy was right; I needed to at least make an attempt at getting my life back together. I felt the skin at my shoulder pull when I shook my head and touched the sore spot where the Hunter had bitten me. It sent a zing of power through my body, making me clench my thighs. I had been without my magic for too long. Having some measure of it back made me look back at the last six weeks with disgust. Yes, Cillian had been my world for the last three years, but look how easily he had cast me aside! And I nearly killed myself mourning the loss of our relationship. As a Bright Elf, I lived off of the magic created by life giving acts, like love and lust. Going six weeks secluded and alone, sad and despondent, had drained any magic I had stored before that awful night. If Roxy hadn’t done what she did this morning, I might’ve only had a couple more days to live.
I sat up straighter in my seat, squared my shoulders, and threw back the last swallow of my drink, the purple concoction stoking the fire in my belly and making my head swim briefly. I grabbed Roxy’s drink and slid off of the stool, landing light footed on the tile floor. I turned my head to look for Roxy, seeing her sitting in the shifter’s lap, the pixies crowded around them as she chatted happily, one arm draped around his shoulders. I was surprised to see her simply talking, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that didn’t last very long. I felt the tender skin on my shoulder pull again and realized I had no idea what the wound looked liked.
I turned for the door and, before I could stop myself, I looked over to the dark corner I had spied the vampire sitting in. He was gone. I felt a confusing sense of disappointment when I realized he wasn’t there. More terrifying than that, I realized, when I caught his eye, I had hoped he would approach me. I touched the bite mark again, sending a pleasant shiver through my body. I was feeling reckless tonight. 

Buy this short story for the Kindle or check it out on allromanceebooks.com 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Falling" by Cecilia Gray (Novella)

Genre: Romance

Short Story Type: Novella

Summary: A paranormal contemporary romance novella with a feisty heroine, an immortal hero, and their wee trip to hell and back...

 The trouble with falling in love is the long drop down…

Alexis isn’t afraid of much. She’s never met a cliff she didn’t want to climb or a waterfall she wouldn’t plunge over. Yet when her fiancé leaves and takes her daring edge with him, she swears off love….

Until one wild night out at San Francisco’s latest hard-to-find, impossible-to-get-into new club where she discovers more than just a stiff drink awaits her inside, because the owner of this club is the sexiest man she’s ever met—and the most dangerous.

A few hundred years ago, Jason made a very bad bargain with a very vengeful goddess. Now it’s time for him to pay up, either with his soul… or his heart. And when one long look at Alexis makes him understand just how hellish a life of unrequited love could be, suddenly the alternative doesn’t sound so bad.

Only it turns out, the alternative isn’t just hellish—it is hell… and Alexis is the only one who can spring him loose. If, that is, she’s brave enough to try…


Little known fact about gods: We segregate like students in the crowded cafeteria of a bad teen movie.

Hindu Devas compete with the big G-O-D for center seating. Zeus and my Hollywood-hungry Hellenic crowd dominate a small yet mighty popular table. Our needy young Roman counterparts strut their stuff nearby
with Cupid often leading the catwalk. On and on down the pantheonic hierarchy.

No matter where gods sit, our tables—our realms—overflow with angels and animistic spirits and friends and enemies and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and sister-mothers and brother-uncles. Incestuous, creepy lot, we gods.

Like any high school cafeteria, our tables buzz with gossip and angst and drama that spill over onto our playground: Earth.

How I miss the action.

I have been called many things, none fit to repeat except my name. Mhaya. For one hundred years, I’ve sat in the ungodly equivalent of a bathroom stall. Alone. Banished from Mount Olympus. Erased from human history.


Yes, moping. Having a grand cry. A self-indulgent wallow. I’m entitled. After all, I’m a goddess, if I haven’t mentioned it, and what is a goddess if she isn’t being worshipped?


But now that I’ve had my hissy fit, I want my seat back at the popular table, and by gods, I’m going to get it.

Read Cecilia Gray's short story on the Kindle. And check out her website.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Passing In The Night" by Michael Kingswood (Novelette)

Genre:  Science Fiction

Short Story Type:  Novelette

Summary:   The starliner Pericles is en route to earth from the Gliese system with a full load of passengers and cargo.  It's a journey of nearly ten years for those onboard the ship, and over twenty for those on earth.  The passengers pass the journey in cryo-suspension, but the crew can't all sleep the journey away.  Instead, they man the ship in year-long shifts.  Carlton is the day-shift pilot on duty in the middle of the transit, and expects a boring year with little to do but monitor instruments and occasionally make a small course correction.  Then the forward sensors detect an object ahead, moving too quickly to be a natural body like an asteroid.  When the object turns out to be a ship of unknown design, the ensuing encounter will change his and his shipmates' world forever.

Carlton was about to respond when the first few bars from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony emanated from the console on the wall and drew his attention. Each crewmember wore locator devices that allowed the ship’s internal sensors to keep track of them and forward calls wherever they were onboard. Beethoven’s Fifth was Carlton’s “ring tone”, to borrow a phrase from ancient Earth history.

He walked over to the console and tapped the screen. An automated message popped up. Forward sensors had detected something ahead. Carlton frowned in annoyance. Probably just another rogue asteroid crossing their path. All the same, he had to check it out.

“I gotta go back to the bridge, babe. Be back in a bit.”

Five minutes later, he floated up to his pilot’s console and woke it up with a tap on the screen. A couple taps later and he had the forward sensors called up. This was no asteroid. Whatever it was, it was big, about a light-hour ahead, and traveling on a near-collision course with them. The doppler readout indicated the object was traveling at .8c: slower than a starliner, but definitely not natural.

Carlton punched up the intercom to the command center.

“Yeah Carl. What’s up?”

“Better get up here, Cap’n.”

In the few minutes it took the Captain to get to the bridge, Carlton entered the commands to wake up the lower forward observation camera. Essentially a 4 meter telescope mounted beneath the bow of the ship, the camera, and its fellows mounted just aft of the bridge and above and below the main engines’ fuel tanks aft, was onboard for just this purpose.

The camera finished warming up and was beginning to zoom in on the approaching object when the Captain arrived at his side.

“Object ahead, Cap’n. Moving too fast to be an asteroid.”

Her eyes scanned the sensor readout quickly, and she nodded agreement.

“Another starliner?”

“Not supposed to be another until Haverly, next month. Besides, this thing’s too slow.”


The Captain’s words stuck in her throat as the image from the camera filled the screen. It was difficult to make out in the faint illumination from the distant stars, but it was definitely a vessel. It was of no design Carlton had ever seen, though, and he’d seen them all. No rings, no plasma engine nacelles. It was crescent-shaped, off-white in color, and tumbled slowly end over end through space.

“What the hell is that?” Carlton breathed.

Read Michael Kingswood's short story on the Kindle or on Smashwords.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Arthur's Story: A Love Story" by Kathleen Valentine (Novelette)

Genre:  Inspirational

Short Story Type:  Novelette

Summary:  At the turn of the century thirteen year old Arthur is left alone in New York City to fend for himself. His resourcefulness, industry, and good fortune contribute to creating a future -- but so does a mysterious "guardian angel". This is a "quietly wonderful" (Clair Higgins, "Queer Bent for the Tudor Gent") story about young Arthur Silver, his mentor Ralph Jonas who teaches him to create spectacular gardens, and the mysterious woman who made his new life possible. Heartwarming and inspirational.

Spring came at last and Arthur resumed his habit of wandering the alleys that ran between the townhouses and mansions of the Upper East Side. Gardeners and housemaids grew accustomed to seeing the strange boy, usually with a gardening book in his hand, peering through fences at the plants coming in to bloom. He seemed like a nice enough boy, sturdy looking with longish fair hair that could do with a trim and clothes that were a little out of fashion but clean and of good quality. He’d stand outside the fence examining a flower or a tree then ruffle through the book in his hand until he found the picture that matched it. The gardeners were amused. One day, as Arthur knelt to examine a patch of chives that was glowing spiky and green in the April sunlight, Ralph Jonas, the gardener for the Wentworth Billingsly family stopped spading and addressed the boy. "Never seen chives before?”

The boy’s head snapped up and he grinned sheepishly. It was a very nice grin. “Yes, sir,” he said, “I just didn’t know that was their name.”

Jonas nodded slowly. “Like gardening, do you?”

The boy grinned again. “Yes, sir. Well, yes, I think I do.”

"You live around here?”

That seemed to startle the boy but he shook his head. Jonas knew about things like that. He knew about being embarrassed to say where you lived. He’d been through that himself.

"Want to give me a hand?”

Jonas thought later he’d never seen a face light up like that in all his days. “You’d a’thought I gave him a fifty dollar bill,” he told his friends at the tavern that night.

Arthur proved to be the happiest, most eager worker Ralph Jonas was ever to see. He spaded furrows and pulled up weeds and did every job Jonas gave him as though it was the most fun he’d ever had in his life. When Sophie, the kitchen maid brought them mugs of lemonade and pieces of fresh baked apple pie, the boy swallowed his in a few bites and then asked if he could go back to the work. The sun was low in the sky when Jonas told him it was time to stop.

'What’s your name, lad?” Jonas asked rummaging in the pocket of his work pants.

"Arthur, sir, Arthur Silver.”

"Well, Sir Arthur Silver, you did a fine day’s work. Here.” He held out a quarter and the boy looked up at him with enormous eyes.


"Take it,” Jonas said. He nodded toward the shed against the brick wall at the back of the garden. “You go in there and wash up now. And if you are back here tomorrow morning at sunup I’ll have another quarter for you at the end of the day.”

"Yes, sir!” Arthur thought that was the happiest evening of his life. He was going to be a gardener. Nothing seemed more wonderful.

Read Kathleen Valentine's short story on the Kindle or on Smashwords.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"The Mean Switch" by Loves Yawne (Novella)

Genre:  Young Adult

Short Story Type:  Novella

Summary:  Gabe was tormented since fifth grade by the king of the cronies, Ian. Unfortunately, Gabe's lack of confidence gets his best friend, Brandon, tangled in a web of hate. The Mean Switch chronicles Gabe's struggles, internal and external, with bullying. 

My dad and I walked into the only videogame store in the mall. There were always long lines of people, so we had to weave between bratty kids and punk teenagers. Swords, guns, zombies, robots, blood, and large breasted women: this was my section. That stupid “M” branded all the games and prevented me from buying any. Dad picked up a game with a girl on it and handed it to me.
“What do you see when you look at this?” The tone of his voice sounded like “the talk.”
I have been dreading this day ever since fifth grade. “A girl that could kick my ass.” Maybe I could get away with cursing around my dad or change the subject.
“I’ll let that one slide... You don’t see anything else?” He probed.
I definitely did not want to talk about penises and vaginas with my dad but avoiding it would have made the whole situation worse. “Yes, I see her very large breasts, if that is what you’re asking.”
“What do you think when you see them?”
“Really? We’re going to have the ‘talk’ in the middle of a video game store?” He looked confused. I put the game down and turned it over.
“No, no, no. I was, uh, just wondering, you know, talking, asking about the game.” The fumbled words did not help his case. This was embarrassing to say the least. Other people in the store started to stare.
“Uh. I wish I would just get kidnapped.”

Buy Loves Yawne's short story for the Kindle or read it on Smashwords.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"The Crazy Old Lady In The Attic" by Kathleen Valentine (Novelette)

Genre:  Psychological Horror

Short Story Type:  Novelette

Summary: The townhouses on serene, elegant Beacon Hill in Boston are some of the most lavish and expensive in the country. When Stan and Mattie take up residence in the dark and crumbling five-story house that Mattie grew up in, and has just inherited from her grandmother, their plans are to clean it out, fix it up, sell it, and return to their quiet life on Cape Cod. Mattie is overwhelmed by the gowns, furs and jewels in GrammyLou's bedroom. Stan is amazed by the fifth-floor ballroom which has been locked up since the night of Mattie's father's thirtieth birthday party -- the party that ended in the car wreck that killed both of her parents. Now, as they set about sifting through GrammyLou's endless possessions they find mysterious things: a closet full of still-wrapped presents, a marked passage in her grandfather's Bible, and a secret drawer with disturbing content. Mattie soon learns that her entire life has been built on a foundation of lies... that she was raised in a house of horror, by a monster.

"Call me Ishmael," my father used to say. At the time I didn't realize that was the opening line of Moby Dick.

I was pretty little when we drove down to New Bedford and he took me to the Seaman's Bethel on Johnny Cake Hill. We sat in the pew with the plaque that identified it as Herman Melville's.

That's one of the few memories I have of my father, that trip to New Bedford. I don't remember my mother being with us though she probably was. Both of them died a year later on a wet and dismal February night as they were driving back from Boston. They'd been to Daddy's thirtieth birthday party at my grandmother's house on Beacon Hill - the house I subsequently went to live in and grow up in. The house my husband and I have come back to now.

"It's huge," Stan says as we walk up Mount Vernon Street. "Five stories? You lived here alone with your grandmother?"

"And Nell," I tell him. "GrammyLou's housekeeper."


It is a beautiful spring day. All the cherry trees in Boston Common are in full bloom and the air is warm and filled with the scent of lilacs and salt water from the harbor. Wisteria drips from the vines twining over the bowed windows which look dark and grubby.

"Three people in a house that size? All twelve of us lived in a place about as big as one floor of it."

"Well," I laugh, "there was the crazy old lady in the attic."

Stan turns and grins at me. "What?"

"It was sort of a joke between GrammyLou and me." I stare up at the six arched windows along the mansard roof at the top of GrammyLou's house. "Actually, there's a ballroom on the top floor. I grew up in the country and when I came to live here I was terrified of all the noise in the city. GrammyLou always told me not to be scared. It was just the crazy old lady in the attic acting up."

"A ballroom?" Stan can't get past that. "You had a ballroom?"

I shrug. "I've only been in it a few times. GrammyLou closed it up after Daddy's accident. They had a birthday party for him up there the night he died. She didn't even take down the decorations. She just locked the door and refused to ever go upstairs again." I take Stan's big arm and snuggle against him. He's my bulwark against a confusing world. "GrammyLou adored Daddy. She never recovered from his death."

Read Kathleen Valentine's short story on the Kindle or Smashwords.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Inspection" by Alain Gomez (Flash Fiction)

Genre: Humor

Short Story Type:  Flash Fiction


"It could use some fixing up, of course."

"They usually do," she observed cynically.

"It's a great location, though.  The water and power is all intact."

"The power lines are ancient.  I could never run my equipment from them!"

"But that's nothing if you consider all the potential.  Such a low price too!"

"I'll pass.  Where's the next place on your list?"

"It's right next door.  Cute little place called Mars.  You'll love this one, I'm sure."

Read Alain Gomez's short stories on the Kindle or Nook.