Friday, December 26, 2014

Compromised (A Gene Bukowski Adventure Book 1)" by Piotr Mierzejewski (Novelette)

Genre:  Science Fiction Espionage

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  Follow the exploits of Gene Bukowski and his team from the International Security Assistance Force in this near future Science Fiction Espionage series. This is the first in the series and Gene's assignment is to extract a former witness, and his handler, before the Russian authorities can get their hands on them!


Zaliv Neelova, Russian Arctic

Sladjan Smukavec rubbed his gloved hands together in a vain attempt of staying warm, grateful that he had paid attention to the not so subtle suggestion that he pack for cold weather. Of course, if he were to be honest with himself the suggestion was more akin to a threat, but the sentiment was there. After all, he was a valuable asset to his employer, so it wasn't as if the thugs could do any harm. At least not until his usefulness ended, something he hoped would never eventuate. He just wished that they had told him how cold it would be when they first bundled him into a car. Resisting the urge to stomp his feet, he continued watching as people went about loading the long container vessel.

Then again, the thugs neglected to tell him where he had been taken in the first place.

One thing was certain however, this was no paradise.

Although, for a Russian this far north, it may as well be.

It was isolated, and the digital age seemed to be stuck in a time-warp, dating back sixty years. Of course, until recently he had no idea how long a reach his employers had, assuming that they were just thugs at best and a well organised syndicate at worst. This facility merely represented one avenue available to his employed, something the cybernetic-prostheses surgeon had no thought possible even in his wildest dreams. He continued staring, taking in the white netting and snow that covered most of the facility. Just never mind that the facility was a fully fledged seaport, with pens for nuclear submarines and an accompanying air strip housing state of the art fighter jets.

"I understand you've the best in the business," the woman next to Smukavec said, breaking the sombre moment. Smukavec blinked, and reminded himself who it was next to him. Marya Samsonova had once made history by being the first woman to have earned the position of commander-in-chief of the Russian Strategic Artillery Corps, and eventually rising to Minister of Defence. But that was before the current regime, which had singlehandedly reappointed senior military positions by men and women that were willing to work closer with Europe and the United States. Last he heard, Samsonova had been appointed as the Russian Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China. So yes, it was initially a bit of a shock seeing her waiting for him. Still, Smukavec knew he had to tread carefully.

"I was the best in the business, General," he said carefully.

Like with the weather, he had been told to watch how he addresses his employer. Yes, she may be a prominent politician and a reputable diplomat to boot, but she had resources that had impressed him--and scared the hell out of him. "But as with everything, the limelight I once enjoyed has moved on."

She pondered that statement quietly while watching the activity around them, and Smukavec tried not to dwell on the fact that he had once been the leading expert on cybernetic limbs and bio-neural operations. The techniques he had developed and technology patented had made him retire early, and make him rich beyond any expectation. It also got him into a lot of trouble later, especially when police arrested him for child pornography. That had been his undoing. It had been a humbling experience, a humiliating one at that. Neither the police nor the jury cared he had revolutionised medicine. All they cared about was that he liked watching children having intercourse.

Suddenly, she harrumphed. Smukavec tensed, reminding himself that the woman beside him controlled a criminal empire that reached beyond the city limits of Saint Petersburg. Finally, she glanced at him, and nodded to the anchored ship.

"There is a fully functional operating theatre aboard, along with the best med-techs and programmers in the Strategic Artillery Corps," she announced in a tone lacking the thick pronunciation so common of her countryman. "There are fifty of my finest men, Spetsnaz soldiers, aboard."

"For security?"


One should never question one's employer, and Smukavec did his best to remain calm, but wasn't about to fool himself. Still, he could not understand why he needed to know that Smaonova had attached fifty Special Forces operatives to the container ship. "No?"

"For augmentation, Doctor."

Suddenly, he froze. Of all the things she could have said, this one he least expected. Still, it made sense. In the time he had found himself employed by her, albeit indirectly, Smukavec had performed limited attachments of cybernetic-prostheses on the occasional thug who had their arm or leg shot off. Full on augmentation was tricky, challenging--and right up his alley. He sighed with relief. The healthier the person undergoing the procedure the better their chances of success. At least that was the general philosophy.

She glanced at him.

"Think of it as a pilot project," she then announced, and patted Smukavec on the shoulder with a woollen glove-wrapped hand. "If you successfully transform more than half of my men, you can assure yourself a long-term consultancy with my newly installed government."

Smukavec paused, and regarded her anew. The current government in Moscow, led by one Alexander Ivanov, was labelled as the first true democratic entity since Yeltsin. Whilst it wasn't without its problems, the regime under Ivanov had modernised economic infrastructures and secured several trade and defence agreements with Brazil and Venezuela. Equally, Russia went from a second rate country to a formidable power once again. Why she wanted to replace something that was good for the country at large was a mystery to him. Still--

"New government, General?"

She nodded, and smiled. Not that there was any hint of humour in that smile, and Sladjan Smukavec suddenly felt a shiver go down his spine...

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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!


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.


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. 


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."
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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!


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.


“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?


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.


“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.


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.

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.


“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?


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!


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.

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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.


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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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.


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.

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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.


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.

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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.


"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.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

"Fine Wine (A Tale of the Assassin Without a Name #1)" by Scott Marlowe (Short Story)

Genre:  Fantasy

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  Abelard has made enemies. The Assassin Without a Name is sent to deal with him. But death isn't always the answer.

In this short introductory tale, an assassin makes a deal.


ABELARD ATE A LOT. THAT was why, after I'd slashed my knife across his belly, I half-expected his bulbous stomach, chock full of the tender roast, broccoli, soft rolls, and the most delicate shiraz I'd ever sampled—all served just an hour before by his fat merchantship's very own staff—to come tumbling out like a too swollen jellyfish. But something about the cut didn't feel right, and though Abelard clenched his hands to his gut and fell to his knees as I expected he would, there wasn't even a single, glistening trickle of gastric juice seeping out from between his fat fingers.

Seized by a moment of disbelief, Abelard gasped when realization of what had happened hit him. It's not every day a man falls prey to an assassin, especially after having just wined and dined said assassin at his own table. It's not a usual part of my fee, the wining and dining, but I don't pass it up when it can be arranged.

His lardship moaned, and fell to his back, still clutching his gut. Strange that there was no blood…

I sighed. Killing a man when he was down was too much work. Not very sporting, either. "Get up," I said.

"Why have you betrayed me, my friend?" Abelard asked between moans as he curled himself into the fetal position.

I'd passed myself off as a fellow merchant, come to the city to move some goods. "I did not betray you," I said, "for I was never loyal to you in the first place. Now, get up." It was a hard thing to ask of a man who'd just been eviscerated, but Abelard appeared to be holding his insides in well enough, so not completely out of boundaries, I thought.

"You've killed me, my dear, dear friend. I bleed, and soon I shall die."

I sighed again. I'd been warned about Abelard's theatrics.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

"Shadowcursed" by Gelo R. Fleisher (Novella)

Genre:  Fantasy

Type of Short Story:  Novella

Summary:   Bolen is a thief, plying his trade under the spires of an ancient and sprawling city. Worried that he's growing too old, Bolen has lined up a risky job, just to prove that he can still pull one off.

Tonight, he's going to break into a nobleman's vault and help himself to its contents. What he doesn't know is that inside is the key to a secret as old as the city itself.

Kings have killed for it, demons have coveted it, priests have prayed for it, and in a few moments it will be in his hands. And when it is, the adventure of his life will begin.


All through the city, the first signs of daylight made themselves known. Streaks of pale orange climbed the thatch and stone of its crooked skyline, and the night mists began their daily retreat back into the sea. As the fog burned away, the smell of salt water remained and soaked the pungent aromas of urban filth with a sour brine.

Over muddy streets matted with straw and excrement, bleary-eyed merchants carted their wares to market, and weary tradesmen shuffled off to fisheries and storehouses. City watchmen in their chainmail shirts, and apprentice mages in high-collared robes, watched the bustling crowd without interest.

Bolen’s eyes stung with sleepiness. The short, unassuming man was one of the hundreds wending their way between complaining oxen, chanting Sothay priests, and the upraised hands of beggars. His short, wiry frame moved unhurriedly, ignored by the lurching mob.

Bolen had lived his whole life amid the rhythms of the city and they comforted him, in a perverse way. It was a city of stolen dreams, his among them. Yet to see it stir, the same as it did every day, was like the taste of cheap wine on the lips of a drunk. No longer exhilarating or satisfying, but at least comforting in its reliability.

Buy this story on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Friday, August 29, 2014

"A Long Way Home" by Anna Drake (Novelette)

Genre:  Suspense

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  Newly minted widow, Angela Clark, learns that while her husband may be dead, her enemy is terrifyingly alive. Angela's challenge is deciding whether she wants to live or die.


I stared at the gentleman seated opposite me. Dark hair with wisps of gray at the temples. Aquiline nose. Narrow face. Expensive, tasteful suit, done up in a conservative, gray fabric. He wanted to know why I’d come.

“My husband, Jeffery,” I said, “died not quite a month ago. He was stabbed to death. He’d been walking home from our store after closing.”

Dr. Ivan Gregory placed his hands on his desk and nodded. “A violent death is always upsetting. But you say you’re not sleeping. You’re not eating. You need to understand those are normal reactions after what you’ve experienced. It will take you time to recover from this kind of shock. Grief has its stages.”

“But Jeff was murdered. Someone deliberately robbed him of life. Can you explain to me how I’m to get over something like that?”

Gregory offered me a reassuring smile. “I grant you murder complicates things. What you’re feeling at this moment is no doubt nearly overwhelming. But if you’re willing to put in the effort and time required, you can recover. You mention murder. So let’s begin with how you feel about your husband’s killer."

“Jeff was only thirty-four. We were deeply in love. We were thinking of starting a family. How do you think I feel?”

“Anger is normal under these circumstances. I take it the killer hasn’t been caught, then?”

“No.” My voice sounded strained even to my own ears. “Whoever did this is still running around out there. Free to do whatever they please.”

“And that bothers you?”

I leaned forward toward this man seated behind his wide, dark, teak desk. “Of course, it does. I know this doesn’t sound nice. But I want this killer hunted down. I want to be sitting there in court when the jury’s verdict is announced. I want to see the murderer flinch as he or she learns the price they’ll pay for taking my husband’s life.”

“I see.” Gregory scratched a few notes on his pad of paper before returning his gaze to my face. “There are websites online that can help you with this. They’re places where people left behind after a murder can share their stories with each other. Have you heard of such sites?”

“Actually, yes.” I repositioned myself in my chair. “I even have a list of some. My mother tracked them down. But I took that piece of paper she gave me and shoved it into a drawer. And I’ve never so much as looked at it since.”

“You don’t think visiting a few of the websites could be helpful to you?”

“No,” I said. Then I added in what was almost a whisper, “I’m not sure even sure I want to know.”

“You enjoy holding on to your anger?”

“Maybe,” I admitted. “At least this way, I feel something.”
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Friday, August 22, 2014

"Hustlers" by Claire Chilton (Novella)

Genre:  New Adult Romance

Type of Short Story:  Novella

Summary:  Her first heist was perfect until romance got in the way... 

Ellie Phillips doesn’t want to go to university. She wants to keep running cons with her father and her brother, Jimmy, just like she always has. When she strikes a deal with her dad to run the perfect heist, she bets her future on the result.

All she has to do is dig up the dirt on a shady millionaire. To do so, she needs to get into his hotel and snoop around. Unfortunately, when she runs into the mark’s son, Matt, and falls for him, she lets her guard down and everything starts to spiral out of control...


“We need to talk about you being more responsible.” Ellie Phillips widened her eyes when she heard her father’s voice echo through the Bluetooth device in her ear.

“Is now really the best time to discuss my future?” she asked as she scrambled through the tight space of an air vent. The silver shaft felt claustrophobic as she crawled through it, and every movement caused a metallic thunk to echo down it.

“It’s as good a time as any,” her father said.

She shook her head as she reached the grill at the end of the tunnel. “I really do think this could be a conversation for another day,” she muttered as she reached into the pocket of her black jeans and pulled out a small, electric screwdriver. She began unscrewing the vent.

“You’re eighteen now. It’s time you started thinking about taking on some responsibility. You can’t keep doing cons forever.”

“Why not? You did,” she muttered as she dropped the grill into the office below and then lowered herself out of the crawlspace in the roof and into the room beneath her.


“Nothing,” she mumbled as she dropped through the hole and landed in the middle of an open-plan office. She ducked down, crouching in the dark as she scanned the office with her pulse racing. The room was empty.

“I’d like you to start thinking about your future. I’d like you to start taking on a bit more responsibility.” Her father continued as she narrowed her eyes, checking for shadows moving on the walls. Nothing moved. She breathed a sigh. The alarms in the office were disabled, but she needed to make sure there weren’t any guards wandering around.

“I think you need to stay out of trouble and go to college.”

“What?” She widened her eyes again before lowering her voice to a whisper. “Are you getting senile dementia or something?”

“It’s a perfectly reasonable expectation that a father should have for his daughter.”

She shook her head as she stood up and hurried over to the nearest computer terminal. “Given the current situation, I don’t think it’s a realistic expectation. Is Jimmy ready?”

“I’m ever-ready, sweetheart.” Jimmy’s voice echoed through the Bluetooth.

“You’re up,” she said as she switched on the computer and plugged in the USB. She brushed back a wisp of dark hair that had escaped her ponytail and was tickling her cheek.

“You need to stop being a little criminal and start thinking about your future,” her father said.

“I have a future.” She frowned at the shadows near the door then quickly crouched behind the desk when one of them moved. There was someone else here.

“You can’t con your way through life.”

“Why not? You did,” she whispered, staring at the door.

“Damnit, Ellie! I’m serious.”

“So am I. If you want me to be more responsible, let me manage this job.” She paused for a moment, unsure of why she’d said that. She didn’t really want to manage anything. It was about time she did, but she was reluctant to take on that kind of responsibility. Since she’d turned eighteen, her father had been nagging her to think about the future, and the only future she could envision was one as a hustler, just like her father.

She frowned at the shadows, and her pulse raced as she watched a large guard heading toward the open doorway.

Crap, maybe I should learn to manage breaking and entering first.

She closed her eyes for a second, mentally kicking herself. If he came into the office, he’d find the grate from the air vent on the floor. It wouldn’t take him long to work out she was in here.

“What’s going on?” her father asked.

“I might be busted,” she muttered out of the side of her mouth as the guard stepped into the room. She hitched her breath when he reached for the light switch.

Buy this book on Amazon.  Be sure to check out the author's website!

Friday, August 15, 2014

"Another Place" by Clare Young (Short Story)

Genre:  Children's Fantasy

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  A young boy, accompanied by his toys, goes on a quest to find his lost dog.


The bowl was empty and the basket was empty. When Tim came home from school, he found his father sitting at the kitchen table holding the red collar and leash.

“There’s something I have to tell you,” Tim’s father said, and Tim knew it must be bad because his father was sitting at the kitchen table, not on the living room sofa as he usually did. The kitchen table was for words and news and talks; the things his father was in charge of. Tim placed his backpack near the back door and sat at the table, waiting for his father to begin.

“Something has happened to Luke,” his father said, “which means that he’s gone somewhere. Somewhere nice, but somewhere he can never come back from.”

Tim thought for a while. “Like a holiday?”

“Not quite. On a holiday you come back home again, but Luke can’t come back home again,” Tim’s father cleared his throat and pushed the red collar and leash into the middle of the table.

“Why can’t he come back home again?” Tim asked. Perhaps Luke couldn’t come home because he was lost; he didn’t even have his collar with his name and phone number on it.

“Because,” Tim’s father paused, and Tim thought that maybe his father had taken Luke for a walk and then left him somewhere. “Because he can’t. At some point everyone goes to a place they can’t get back from. It will happen to me, your mother, and you one day. Today it has happened to Luke.”

“But where’s he gone?”

“Another place, far from here, where he has lots of friends and family. He won’t be lonely.”

Tim thought, and got upset, because Luke was his best friend so why would he want to leave? Tim left the kitchen table, ran upstairs and lay on his bed and cried. He cried because he couldn’t understand why Luke would want to leave; they had so much fun every day, apart from when Tim was more interested in playing with his toys.

After a while, Tim sat up and yelled out to the wooden Sailor boy, Steve, who stood on top of Tim’s bookshelf.

“It’s not fair!”

“What’s not fair Tim?” said the wooden Sailor Steve.

“Luke’s gone and he’s not coming back,” Tim said.

“Where Tim? Where has Luke gone?”

“I don’t know, somewhere else.”

“Oh, don’t cry my dear,” Daisy Rag Doll, climbing out from beneath the bed, joined in. “I’m sure we can find him.”

“I don’t know,” Tim said, wiping his nose on his sleeve.

Daisy Rag Doll climbed up on Tim’s bed and shuffled over to him.

“Don’t do that dear, use a handkerchief,” she said, handing him one of her own.

Tim wiped his nose properly, and wooden Sailor Steve climbed down from the bookcase to join Tim on his bed.

“I think he may be lost, and that’s why he can’t come back. Dad was holding his red collar and leash, and he...” Tim became upset again and buried his head between his knees.

“Now now Tim, don’t cry,” Daisy Rag Doll softly patted Tim on the back.

“If he is lost, then we can go find him. We shall find him!” Sailor Steve said

Buy this story on Amazon or Smashwords.

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Take Off Your Mask" by Mary Pappas (Flash Fiction)

Genre: Drama

Type of Short Story:  Flash Fiction Collection

Summary:  People wear masks. They hide who they really are. Why do they do that? What is more painful, trying to take off the mask or keep on wearing it? 

Five women pretend to be something they are not in this fiction anthology.

Short stories about dangerous relationships.

Nothing is at it seems.


“Thank you, but my idea of having fun includes going home, reading a good book and sleeping early. Maybe some other time.’’

‘’For God’s sakes Brenda, why do you insist on living like a nun? How are you ever going to meet someone if you never go out?”

”I met enough men in my short life, Gina. I know how that story ends, so I don’t want to see a repeat.’’
“I know you have been hurt by those jerks who disappeared from your life with no explanation. But not all men are like that, Brenda! Somewhere out there, there is the right guy for you, but you have to go out to meet him!’’

“The right guy for me exists only in the romantic novels I read. So, I have actually met him. He will just never meet me.”

“You don’t really believe that, do you?’’

“I really do. Reality is scary, Gina. Sometimes, you have to make your own reality in order to survive.”

Buy this collection on Amazon.

Friday, August 1, 2014

"The Magnum Opus" by Deina Furth (Novelette)

Genre: Steampunk Science Fiction

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  Creating the perfect companion is Rastigan's dream--maybe even his obsession. For years, he has tinkered and planned, pouring his heart into his work as intensely as he pours scotch into his glass. But every machine that he builds falls short of his expectations. His work completely consumes his thoughts and time, leaving him a homebound hermit with nary a connection to the outside world. As the years press on, Rastigan seems doomed to live out remainder of his life as a solitary eccentric who finds companionship only with his favorite brand of booze.

Then he creates Evangeline. She far surpasses anything he's ever built in terms of complexity, intelligence, and of course, beauty. She's his most lifelike invention to date, and to him, she is perfect in every way--that is, until she begins to develop her own desires. As she begins to question the world around her, Rastigan fears he's once more out of the picture, doomed to be alone forever.

Has Rastigan finally found the companion he's yearned for in Evangeline? Or has his obsession with building his magnum opus gone too far?


Piano music drifted from a record player as Evangeline entered the den. She wore the dress Rastigan had requested. Sheer white fabric draped loosely across her shoulders and waist in layers that shifted and fluttered with her slightest movement, and it was so long that she had to gather her skirts to avoid tripping. When he saw her, Rastigan clapped his hands together and smiled warmly, apparently pleased, then he reached out to her, beckoning. Evangeline clutched her skirts tightly and carefully shuffled forward, stopping about two feet short of his trembling, open arms. That sensation. That vexing repulsion at discovering something she wished she hadn’t, and the desire to push it as far from herself as possible. What was it?

“You look lovelier than ever, my doll,” Rastigan said a little too loudly. He closed the gap between them and wrapped his arms around her waist, his movements looser and less controlled than before. He fumbled around, trying to place his hands properly for a dance, while his legs wobbled with the pull of the liquor. “Go on, now, put your arms around me,” he commanded.

Evangeline let her skirts loose and did as she was told, folding her hands together around the back of his neck. It was slick with sweat, and his greasy hair fell against the back of her hands, leaving trails of residue as it swished with his movements. Rastigan swayed from left to right, and back again, burying his head in her neck with a sigh as the notes swelled louder, enveloping the pair in the piano’s melancholy song. The fire burned brightly behind him, crackling softly with the music and casting oversized projections of their dancing silhouettes onto the walls.

It was still there. This feeling, this desire to get him away. To hurt him.

Where did it come from? Was it his drunkenness, his sloppy attempts to turn her into his entertainment? Or was it something deeper?

“You dance well,” he said, groggily. His words leaked from his mouth, the Ss and Ls oozing into a single slushy syllable. Evangeline kept her head facing forward, her eyes fixed on the way the shadows stretched and shrank in the flickering light above the fireplace, rather than look at her dance partner’s wilting, alcohol-touched face. Rastigan pressed his lips to her cheek, trying to draw her attention. When she didn’t respond, he slid his fingers up her waist and across her shoulders. He pulled his body away from her, wobbling as he went, and looked directly into her eyes. Evangeline stopped moving altogether, clenching her hands into fists, making her body stiff and distant.

That unremitting feeling.

“Oh, Evangeline, you remind me so much of my—”

Thunder interrupted his words, a crash so loud that the windows vibrated, and the entire room ignited with a white-hot luminescence that snuffed out the fire’s soft glow. In this light, his features looked harsh, angular. His eyes were wide, bloodshot and red rimmed, and his mouth curled into a grimace at the intensity of the storm, revealing his uneven and stained teeth.

For the first time, Evangeline could clearly see the fear inside him, the same fear his trembling voice had harbored the night before. As the flash faded, he broke away from her, holding his hand to his heart, clutching at his threadbare shirt. The force with which he pushed himself away nearly sent her tripping over her dress. Now he cowered like a child, his eyes darting about the room as if searching for monsters in the shadows.

Fat raindrops pounded against the windowpane, and another rumble of thunder tumbled through the room, softer this time.

“You-you may go, Eva,” he said.


She raised her hand and pointed at her chest, trying to gain his attention, seeking clarification.

But Rastigan had already collapsed into an armchair next to the hearth. He wrapped a trembling hand around the bottle of scotch he had placed on the table and pulled it to his lips.

Evangeline backed away slowly.



Who was it that she reminded him of?

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Friday, July 25, 2014

''Murder Horror Flash Fiction Stories'' Anthology (Flash Fiction)

Genre:  Horror

Type of Short Story:  Flash Fiction Anthology

Summary:  An anthology of horror flash fiction stories all involving a murder. Murder out of habit, impulsive murder, murder framed on someone else, murder carefully planned and executed.


What is that noise behind her? Footsteps? No, it can’t be. She is sure of that, however she is not turning back to check it out. She is fastening her pace even more.

But the noise behind her is not stopping. Someone or something is definitely behind her. Is she being followed? No, it can’t be. Maybe it is a stray dog, or a stray cat, or another person walking back home like she is. She is sure of that, however, she is no turning back to check it out. She is fastening her pace even more.

In less than 5 minutes she will be home she starts telling her scared heart that is beating fast. She is fastening her pace even more.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

"Knights of the Iron Dragon" by Edward Lange (Novelette)

Genre:  Steampunk

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  The Iron Dragons: flying, steam-powered battleships. Used by knights to fight the dragons that dwell in the sky.


It was only a few moments before the ship and the beast engaged in combat. The dragon made the first move, lunging at the cockpit with its snout wide-open. Lily dove the Iron Dragon downward, just as the beast’s jaws snapped shut. Behind her she could hear a chorus of metallic clicks, as the archers fired off their crossbows. The beast howled in pain, as the barrage of arrows crashed into its body. Though most had merely bounced off the creature’s scaly hide, enough had struck his soft underbelly that Lily could see droplets of blood fall down onto the windshield of the cockpit.

“Try to aim for the wings.” Harding said. “Crippling it will be easier than killing it.” The archers silently agreed, and continued their assault.

For the next several minutes, the knights of the iron dragon engaged the winged monstrosity that threatened their countrymen. The twin serpentine forms twisted in the sky, shining silver and green in the sunlight. The two combatants would often get so close that they’d appear as a single half-flesh, half-metal double helix in the sky.

They would swoop, and smack into each other, denting the metal on the air ship, and cutting the flesh of the monster. Through the various windows of the craft, Lily and the others were given dozens of up-close glimpses of the beast’s increasingly bloody body. Its stench dominated the cabin, to the point that it was the only thing the knights could smell, besides the blood, and the smoke from the engine.

The creature’s roars and growls eclipsed all other sounds. The knights in the craft felt like they were really and truly in the belly of the beast. All other sensations and life experiences had been supplanted by this dragon. It occupied all senses, and only its death or theirs would free them from its grasp.

Throughout the ordeal, Lily found her mind bombarded by memories of the last time she’d seen a dragon. Her nostrils could faintly smell her sister’s burnt corpse, and hear her final death cries. Tiptoeing around the edges of these flashbacks was the paralyzing terror and fear that Lily had felt at the time, and the threat that it would take over again. But Lily resisted. Throughout the ordeal, she kept herself focused on the task at hand, expertly dodging the beast’s attacks, while flying in close to give the archers clear shots. There had been a few moments when she wasn’t able to push these emotions back, and she felt them overwhelm her. But when these moments came, she simply did what she’d done at all other such times; drown it out with blind, undiluted hatred.

As the fight went on, the wings of both combatants became riddled with holes and tears. Both now had to struggle to stay airborne, but neither was in any immediate danger of falling out of the sky. The fight would go on.

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