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Proof of Life Post

Exhaustion and life’s general frustrations can wreak havoc on a writer. Not to mention I’ve been sick. I’m slowly recovering from a mild case of writers block and as such I’m behind on every writing commitment. However, I’m back to writing and to prove it, I wanted to share two excerpts with my readers. The first is from my untiled new short story in the Pandora’s Intimate Encounters series and the other is from Book 2 in the Amelia Jones Private Detective Series. I hope you enjoy them 😉

Remember these are draft works in progress…

The Lights Came On

 

Craigslist. What a service. I don’t know when or who created it, but I’m glad they did. Usually I go on Craigslist to sell odds and ends from my apartment and the experience was OK. Put up an ad for the IKEA couch someone shows up, gives you cash, rinse and repeat. But this isn’t a story about buying on selling on Craigslist and we both know you didn’t come here for that anyway, now did you?

It all began after Janice and I broke up. I loved that woman, but we grew apart. Yeah, I could tell you about how toward the end I used to picture myself grabbing a pillow as I watched her sleep, or how I wanted to do her girlfriend to spite her, hell I would have even kept her mother company if I was really being vengeful. What? I know what you’re thinking, but if you saw her mom’s you would understand why I would even go there. Stunning isn’t a good enough word to describe Mrs. Parker. I’m going to take the mature approach when it comes to talking about Janice and me, I mean I could fill a novel talking about how upset I was when she said we needed space. Space? After 6 damn years of us being together, 3 of those in the same apartment, she finally decided she needed space. Personally, I think she needed Reginald her co-worker whom she started having all the late night projects with.

Like I was born yesterday or something? Come one, what do I look like? Oh yeah you don’t know right? For the record I’m 6’2, light-skinned, with hazel eyes, and I’m skinny as in gangly teen skinny, but overall, I guess you could say I’m all right. Or at least I was OK for Janice until I wasn’t. Damn I hate her guts. You know what still gets under my skin after all this time? It’s the not knowing. Maybe Reginald was giving it to my girl in the office on the copier or on the desk or maybe in the closest, or maybe he wasn’t. Possibly it’s my overactive imagination. Could be I’m not ruling anything out. But why did she want to leave after all that time we were together? Had to be something. I’m just saying….

Enough about Janice though, I hope she’s miserable with whomever she’s giving it up to these days. She had a good man, but heh, some people are stupid plain and simple. OK, seriously, I’m going to drop it and move on. This isn’t a story about Janice, it’s a story about what happened last week at the hotel. You know the fancy hotel at the National Harbor? I had to put it to paper, it’s one of those once in a lifetime stories that you want to relive and relate over and over until you die.

It all started on Craigslist like I said at the beginning. I was sitting in my apartment bored as hell. It was about 10pm and nothing was on TV so I picked up my iPad and started surfing the net. I don’t remember what made me think to go to Craigslist, but I’m glad I did. So I’m on Craigslist looking for free stuff. There’s literally this section on the site where people are just giving stuff away. I got a couch and a box spring that way once, so I was hoping for something good. Then for no reason at all, OK I’m lying, I was horny, I went to the personals area. The apartment seemed so big without Janice and OK I’ll admit it but no more, I missed her like hell. I felt empty inside and although I wasn’t looking for a relationship, I figured I might come across someone to maybe go to a movie with or something and see where that led. Actually, I wanted to find someone who wouldn’t mind skipping the movie altogether, and just getting to the or something part of the evening.

So I’m in the personals section and there’s this area called casual encounters. I didn’t know what the difference was at first, but as I started going through the ads, things became much clearer. Now for the benefit of those who have never ventured into the back alleys of Craigslist, let me tell you that it’s crazy what some people will put on the internet. Casual encounters is solely for those looking to hook up with no strings attached and as I sat there staring at one scantily clad ad after another, T and A on full display, the brain throbbing in my pants let me know that this was exactly the type of ads I needed in my life.

It was like being a kid in a candy store. Women were posting pics that would make Larry Flynt proud with titles like “I need to be ate out”, “Must have at least 8in BBC” or “Can You Last all night?” I felt like I was 15 again reading my first porno. My lips were sandpaper dry. I licked them over and over as I stared at the screen. My hand was in my sweats so many times I almost took them off, grabbed the lotion, and just got show on the road. I didn’t respond to any of the ads the first night, because I thought it was kinda lame. I mean how do you respond to an ad like the ones I came across? “Yeah, umm I’d like to eat you out miss faceless pic stranger” or “Hi I’m Lance, I never actually measured my cock, but it might be 8 inches, but I don’t know about keeping up all night…” see my point? Lame as hell. After about 30 minutes of almost responding. I put the iPad down and to be perfectly honest grabbed the baby lotion, look that’s all I had, and got to work. The saddest part about the night was that as I leaned back, legs splayed, and pumping into my hand, I thought of Janice riding me. I fell asleep on the couch after I made myself cum twice. I was horny and it had been a couple months since I got any.

I could barely focus the next day on my shift at Best Buy. Every customer, every sale, was a blur to me. All I kept thinking about was Craigslist. I made up my mind that when I got home, I was going to find an ad that I liked, and reply to it. I was going to get me some off of Craigslist. Hilarious when you come to think of it.

So I got home that evening and one of the first things I did after throwing some ramen noodles in the microwave was bring up Craigslist. I was looking for the perfect ad. She had to be close, sexy, and not too picky. Which was harder than you think because those women were on Craigslist but asking for a man with 1 percent body fat and a cock that rested on his shoulder as he lay down. Who were these women? I guess men are different. If we had an ad on Craigslist looking for sex, I don’t think we’d be asking for a supermodel. It’s freaking Craigslist people get over yourselves! If you were so good looking in the first place, would you even have to have an ad?

Anyway, so I’m scrolling through one absurd ad after the next, when I see one that said “hottest parties around, respond for more info” in the ad there was a picture of an orgy that wasn’t a professional stock photo. It was obvious that the picture had been taken from a camera phone or something. So it had to be the real deal. Curiosity took over and I responded. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but it was something along the lines of “Hey my name is Lance, I’m 6’2, skinny build, and interested in your ad” or something like that. About 10 minutes later, I received an email from hot group parties and entertainment with the details. According to the flyer that was attached with their response, couples were free, but single men were 200 dollars. This included all the food, drinks, and women you eat and drink.

I read and reread the email. I thought it was a scam at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that it was probably legit. I responded to the email that I couldn’t attend the party they hosted that night, but if they kept me in the loop, maybe I would check them out some other time. I so wanted to go, but 200 dollars was too much money to pay for ass. It really was that simple. As a matter of principle, I couldn’t see myself even paying 50 dollars. OK, maybe if it were that cheap, but you’d have to be a desperate SOB to have to pay for sex. I hadn’t gotten to that level of desperation and I doubted I ever would. So I had to find another way in.

My brain wrestled over what I could do all night, and then the lights came on and the cobwebs vanished from my brain. A couple meant one male and one female coming to the party together. It didn’t necessarily mean that the pair had to be in a relationship and even if it did, how would they know? So all I had to do was find a girl crazy enough to go to an orgy with me pretending to be my girlfriend to get in. Luckily, I had someone in mind; I just had to find a way to approach her about it.

 

Amelia Jones Book 2

 

Chapter 1: A Brave New World

 

I pushed the alarm clock off the nightstand and got out of bed. My t-shirt, undies, and linen were ruined. I’d hoped the dreams were finally over. It had been months since I last dreamt of forest clearings and roses. “Matthew” I whispered as I surveyed the carnage in the bed. My therapist Tammie Adler had convinced me the worst was over. The Harold Case would be with me a little while longer it seemed.

I began seeing Tammie at the insistence of my parents three months after I was assaulted and nearly raped while undercover in the Bahamas. Their support and unconditional love helped ease the pain and emptiness I felt inside, but when it became clear that time wouldn’t be enough, they helped find Tammie.

She allowed my parents to attend the first several sessions seeing as I absolutely refused to have it any other way. However, she eventually convinced me that part of moving forward meant that I had to reassert some independence in my life and she helped me recover most of the confidence my ordeal had shattered. I like Tammie. She was always pleasant and helpful when I wasn’t, and forever ready to tear down a wild assertion or rogue idea I had adopted in a fit of anger. I confided in her my hopes, my fears, and many of my desires; the one subject of limits was my lycanthropy. It bothered me that I couldn’t share my secret with her, especially since she helped bring a feeling of security into my life. The topic of being a werewolf can never come up. Tammie’s figured out that I’m holding back and she warns that my refusal to let go hinders my recovery, but it’s a risk I have to take. I’ll have to remain partially healed.

Sometimes I imagine myself telling Tammie everything and waiting for her reaction. I like to go over in my mind how it would play out. Maybe she’d just think I was crazy and the trauma I suffered was greater than she had thought, or maybe she’d take me seriously and what? I never have a clear picture. I can see her running away screaming and I can see her calmly dealing with my condition. It’s all wishful thinking. The fantasies of a troubled, 25 year old, werewolf trying to make it in a world filled with normal people. Even then, I’m not so sure I’m as alone I claim to be.

When I’m not trying to get past Jim’s eager face hovering above me, my thoughts drift to the oddities surrounding the case that I haven’t been able to tell anyone not even my parents. Like the nature of my dreams and how they always involve me either running through the forest in my wolf form or in the familiar forest clearing pregnant and in the arms of who I now have come to believe must be my husband although that’s not technically correct, because I’m never me in the dream but someone else entirely. I’ve told her about Matthew and how I continually struggle to purge him from my system. I love him; I know it, even if that shouldn’t be possible and even though it could never be. Tammie tells me all this is normal, but the part I can never tell her is how otherworldly the attraction between us felt. It would reveal too much. Even now, not having him in my life makes me feel incomplete.

After the better part of six months Tammie suggested I try something different. She suggested I supplement my therapy. My inability to tell her everything being the obvious catalyst for her recommendation, she suggested I start going to a weekly meeting of women who like myself were victims of abuse. I bristled at this initially, but I’m glad I did.

I wanted to give Tammie a call. I wasn’t scheduled to meet with her for another 2 weeks, but it wouldn’t be the first time she had to squeeze me in for an emergency session. I had plenty of those when I began seeing Tammie regularly. That felt like ages ago. I almost screamed in frustration. My life had finally started to resemble something normal especially with Juanita in my life.

I sat in the back of the room, with my arms folded and held tight against my rib cage. I was on the alert for anything that could give me an excuse to run away. My emotions were all over the place I felt like I had made the wrong decision to show up. I spoke to no one only nodding ever so slightly when acknowledged by the other women in the room. We didn’t know what to expect, this was the first meeting. We were all tense, nervous, and some were afraid. A putrid mix of scents filled the air. The smell of rotting eggs, sour milk, molded bread, and swamp water made me nauseous. For the 9 millionth time in my life I thanked the quasi canine DNA flowing through my veins and wrinkled my nose as I tried to stop myself from retching off the scent of their pheromones.

Detective Juanita Sanchez walked in and her 5 foot 5 petite frame filled the room cutting through the atmosphere like a katana. Everyone froze in place. She had our full attention. Juanita set a baton, Taser, and service pistol down on the desk at the front of the classroom. They made the only sounds in the room, at least to human ears. I heard stifled gasps, irregular breathing, and increased heart rates.

“Good Evening Ladies. All of you are here because you are victims of varying kinds of assault.” This produced a round of audible gulps, fidgeting, and an intense return of the dreaded pre-Detective Sanchez scents. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of, I to have been a victim”. Everyone sat up in his or her seats. The small woman in the dark police uniform spoke in a tone that made me want to call BS on her claim that she was ever anyone’s victim. Her dark eyes met mine and seemed to bore right through me as if she knew exactly what I was thinking. The corner of her lips rose in a smile that both acknowledge and challenged my doubt. It was a defiant, confident smile, that let me know that whatever her story, Detective Sanchez was much more than what she appeared. She continued in a voice that seemed too large for a woman of her stature.

“Now some of you may not believe that barely 3 years ago, I sat in your very seats” She winked at me.

“Trust me I know what it’s like to have your personal space violated, your trust manipulated, and your personal security made to feel like a thing of the past” My eyes began to water, I wasn’t the only one.

“I know what it’s like to sit in a classroom like this wondering if the person speaking at the front of the room can truly relate. I can ladies and I have the scars to prove it. Some are physical, but most are on the inside. I stand here as a testament that life goes on, things get better, and if instead of being a victim, you can be so much more.” Her lips curled up with childlike innocence on her girlish features became predatory and invoked a feeling of menace when combined with her intense glare.           “Take these instruments I have laid before me” She waved her hand across the table like a presenter on a game show.

“Ladies, I can assure you that you can trust again, feel secure again, and if all else fails, well…” She shrugged and looked down at the desk in an “awe shucks” kind of way and we all began to laugh. I knew in that instant that I had to get to know her.

I was thoroughly impressed and felt better about my attendance that night. I felt a connection to Detective Sanchez that I had never felt before and wanted to explore it. My lycanthropy prevented friendships growing up and most social interactions in my life, but I didn’t allow it to get in the way this time. We hit it off right away. After class, I stayed behind to speak with her and we haven’t stopped talking since.

I wanted call Juanita and tell her all about the resurgence of my dreams minus all the werewolfy stuff. That royally pissed me off when I thought about it. I couldn’t even tell my best friend about my other nature. Besides, Juanita was at work, anyway, and that probably was a good thing, in my emotional state I might tell her every detail.

Keeping my secret from her made me feel like less of a true friend. It made me feel deceitful. We shared so much, but this one thing I kept from her. If it weren’t for the relationship we had developed over the past few months I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now. I had become more comfortable in my skin, had plenty of control over the wolfing out aspects of my life, and was even capable of doing a great imitation of normal. I hadn’t had a close call or a slip up since the Bahamas.

Juanita deserved better from me, but I couldn’t tell her. That part of my life was reserved only for my parents and me. Which meant that the details of the Harold Case that pertained to my particular brand of weirdness was off limits and severally limited how much she could help me tie up some loose ends. Juanita for her part wasn’t stupid, and on multiple occasions accused me of holding back and impeding my recovery, which I always denied. More deception.

Friends, especially best friends, don’t keep secrets like this do they? My parents were split on the matter. Papa T thought that maybe one day I could tell Juanita everything, but Papa D was sure that such a revelation would be a nightmare if I tried. I just didn’t know. It ate at me every time we hung out or talked on the phone. I wish there was a werewolf support group, hell, I wish there were other were wolves. Then again, there had to be something else out there. Duma and Badrani came to mind.

I turned on the shower hoping to wash away my anxiety in the steaming hot water. The past flashed through my mind in a steady stream that made me grit my teeth and crush the bar of rose scented soap in my hand. Memories of being naked and restrained as Jim and Pierce prepared to rape me, Duma and Badrani’s cheetah scents, Elizabeth Harold and her acquaintance Mr. Eclipse…They invaded my mind with such force that I nearly fell.

My thoughts turned back to Eclipse the employer of my attempted rapists Jim and Pierce, as well as Rhonda the flame haired co-conspirator and Duma. He was also Matthew’s former business partner. The memory of Matthew forced me to think of intimacy I would never have and I swooned for the rush of emotion. I fought to steady myself and not empty my stomach. I tried to remind myself that I was in control. “I’m in control, I’m not a victim, and I’m the decider of my own fate.” I repeated the support group mantra over and over until the vertigo subsided.

I was not an emotional time bomb anymore. I was stronger, more confident, and proved myself capable under exceptional odds. The Harold Case, as traumatic as it was, turned out to have some positive effects on me, outside of a financial windfall. My perception of myself was forever changed. I no longer hid behind false limitations. I wasn’t afraid of uncontrollable shape shifting. I decided how and when I changed. It took a traumatic experience for me to realize that the fear that governed my life for so long was mostly a myth.

As the dust settled in the weeks that followed my ordeal, I began to analyze the entire situation and for the first time began to understand and fully accept the extent of my control. It became clear to me as I relived each moment that in every instance where I should have expected a complete loss of control, nothing happened. There were some close calls, but I started to see a pattern. The less I dwelled on preventing myself from changing, the less likely I would, and the more I worked myself up struggling to stay in control, the less control I actually had.

It was as if a light went off in my mind upon this discovery, followed by immense sorrow as I lamented the lost years and life that could have been. Papa D the more security conscious of my parents and even Papa T, but to a lesser degree, aren’t ready to buy into my theory of control just yet, but they both admit that I am much more balanced than I used to be prior to the Harold Case. None of us discount the impact my therapy with Tammie, my support group, and especially Juanita have had on me as well.

Whatever’s keeping me from wolfing out is working and everyone’s glad for it. I’m trying to give up the life of a hermit, which makes my Papa T smile ear to ear while simultaneously giving Papa D heartburn. Some things never change. Juanita, who I suspect has a secret pact with Papa T, is working diligently to ensure that I indulge in other pursuits, specifically those having to do with the male species.

I have to give them credit where credit is due. They aren’t pushing too hard, even though they along with Tammie all agree that one way to deal with the emotional scarring I’m likely to carry for years to come, is to try to move on. I have more or less and readily admit that distracting myself with new ideas and adventures, have kept me from focusing on the pain I feel and the many sleepless nights that still occur when I least expect them.

I’m still leery of crowded places and as such, keep my excursions brief and on schedule. I have even had a few conversations with men, if you consider a reply to a question or a compliment, a conversation. I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready for anything more than that. Tammie envisions a world where I will be able to cope with my past and still have an active social life, filled with dates, and other activities, which probably means she’s on Papa T’s Christmas list. She’s even suggested I start slowly with a double date somewhere public like the park or a coffee shop.

I hope she isn’t holding her breath. Maybe my protests can’t last forever against a pro-dating crowd that outnumbers Papa D, and I, but I’m confident my resistance can hold them off at least another year before they attempt a nuclear strike.

Sometimes I try to envision what their version of life would look like except that what I could never share with them is that for me it includes Matthew Harold. I see him and me holding hands as we stroll through the park, conversing over a cup of coffee, or holding me in his arms as we watch a romantic movie. Matthew the man I truly desire and the man I must always avoid. Matthew Harold, the man who turned my life upside down before he ever met me. Regardless of the pain that thoughts of Matthew inevitably bring, I yearn for him. I want to see him again, be lost in his gaze, held in his arms, and caressed by his lips. It’s taken a great deal of discipline to pretend that these cravings don’t exist and much more to not act on them.

Fortunately, Matthew finally exercises some discipline of his own. At first, Tina Jackson, my sometime alias, received plenty of floral pick-up notices in her PO Box along with handwritten apologies, invitations to dinner, and phone call requests, but eventually, they stopped. I guess the lack of responses finally got to him. What bothers me most of all is that he’s gone without ever knowing my real name. I cried many nights wishing I could have responded to him.

Juanita, the Thelma to my Louise, or more accurately the Laverne to my Shirley, can never know of the pain I harbor as it relates to Matthew. I surely couldn’t tell my parents. I feel alone. Juanita and I are both the children of adoptive parents, detectives more or less, and had a hard time in our childhood. Outgoing, fearless, and not willing to let her past define her present or her future, Juanita’s what I wish I could be sometimes. I admire her more than she knows. My parents adore her especially Papa D who likes that she’s a cop. I assume he feels she can protect me, which is laughable when you think about it. Papa T likes that she’s convincing me to flower as he calls it, although I suspect he’s a tad bit jealous that he wasn’t able to crack my tough outer shell first. I wanted to give her full disclosure the first time we seriously discussed our pasts. I hated having to lie. Lying was what got me into the entire Harold drama in the first place.

Juanita wasn’t completely in the dark. I told her many of the details and events surrounding the Harold Case, leaving out all the furry stuff and the obsessive yearning for a married man. She’s been using what resources and contacts she has to help me tie up the loose ends even though she doesn’t always know the real reasons why.

Duma, Badrani, and Rhonda seem to have disappeared into the ether. While I was in the Caribbean likely during the time of my near rape, Badrani turned in his resignation and disappeared. Duma was last seen leaving the Island in a private jet with a tacky dressed red head in tow, around the time I was breaking down Michelle’s door in search of revenge. Mr. Eclipse on the other hand is everywhere. One week he might be seen at a political fundraising dinner, another at a Hollywood premier, and recently he was spotted at posh restaurant in Manhattan with Mrs. Elizabeth Harold and other associates for dinner. When Juanita reported from a NYPD contact that bit of news, it took everything in me to calm down.

Then there was Matthew Harold. Beautiful, charming, rose scented Matthew. Matthew’s business no longer operates in the shadows as a private service for the wealthy. He’s severed ties with Eclipse, and according to Juanita’s reports, doing well for himself. Jessica, Matthew’s other business associate, apparently extended her vacation indefinitely, no one’s heard from her since.

Juanita is like a mad scientist when she replays the details I have divulged to her.

“I just don’t get it chica. How can so many disappear without a trace? I’m telling you, everything points to Eclipse and Mrs. Harold. You sure you’re telling me everything? There’s something missing here.”

“I always thought it was Mrs. Peacock in the Study with the candlestick!” I exclaimed once as she paced the floor. That earned me a thrown pillow that I easily avoided. To Juanita she served it up like an unsuspecting fastball and I admit it was a good throw, however from my point of view; the pillow seemed to take several hours to reach me. I could have gotten up and cooked dinner in the time it took to get me. OK maybe not dinner, a glass of water perhaps? Her flash of surprise was not lost on me.

Sometimes, the mysteries in life are not part of elaborate conspiracies. Often the answers are right in front of your face. I was set up plain and simple. I had to have been. We haven’t figured out all the details, but it’s the only thing that makes sense. Mr. Eclipse knows Elizabeth and Matthew Harold. Badrani, Duma, Rhonda, and maybe even Jessica work for him. He used Matthew as a pawn to get me involved for some reason and Mrs. Harold was either part of his plan or also a pawn. What we haven’t figured out is his motives. Who am I that an important man like Mr. Eclipse would go through all the trouble?

“It’s obviously you’re good looks mami” Juanita often jokes.

“Then why hasn’t he bothered with you?” I’d answer.

Then we go back and forth complimenting each other’s best features. My physique and runway model height, her dimples and curves. On and on, until we forget about the serious discussion and are lying on the floor from hysterics. When I’m not chasing ghosts, I’m with Juanita or my parents. It’s gotten to the point where she now joins me when I visit them. Almost like the sister I never had. I love her.

I sat at the kitchen table feeling secure in my bathrobe and ate a breakfast consisting of a rare T-bone steak, two sunny-side up eggs, toast, and a cup of Jasmine tea. All things considered, my life was more fulfilling than it had been a year ago.

I wanted to do something special for Juanita, but couldn’t decide what form my appreciation should take. Dinner and a movie sounded more like a date than anything else even if I invited my parents to balance things out. I thought about buying her a new gun since she adored them. I wasn’t a fan. I decided that I would discuss my plan with the master of ceremonies himself, Papa T, when I next spoke with him.

I had just finished washing my dishes when my iPhone vibrated on the glass table. I received a text from Juanita. “Is she telepathic too?” I laughed, but my smile faded when I read the text:

“Hey give me a call when you get this chica. One of my contacts just reached out to me and you’re not going to believe this. He gave me a lead on your girl Jessica, and it ain’t pretty.”

I picked up the phone and dialed Juanita’s number.

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