All the Wrong Places
“Rachel Kennedy.” The guy wearing hipster glasses and khakis that were an inch too short and showed off his mismatched argyle socks tapped a pencil against the clipboard in his hand and scanned the room. “Ugh, Rachel Kennedy. Going once, twice…”
“That’s me,” I shouted as I stood, crumpling the eviction notice into the bottom of my bag. I waved my hands in the air as if I feared he didn’t notice me in the sea of women in their mid-twenties all vying for the same part.
He gave me a once-over and shrugged. “Right this way, Miss Kennedy.”
Well, at least I didn’t get the snort of derision that directly translates into you don’t belong here that I often get. It’s a step in the right direction.
I smiled, my lucky, last season Louboutins clicking on the dingy, white, tiled floor as I walked past a dozen other hopefuls going through their pre-audition rituals. Some closed their eyes and mouthed their monologues. Others paced the floor. One actress, whom I’ve always admired, had her yoga mat out and was in the middle of a sun salutation.
I needed some yoga right now. Or Xanex. Something to ease my nerves from this audition and the frustration about the eviction notice I pulled out of the mailbox the other day. I know I’m not rolling in the dough—anymore, since Daddy told me it was time to live on my own money instead of his—but I paid my half of rent. There may not be petrol money or much food some months, but that rent cheque clears on the third of the month like clockwork. I knew my boyfriend, Mark, had been struggling to make his half because his hours had been cut at work. Our landlord was none too pleased, but he said he’d work with me. Turns out he’s a liar, because now we’re out on the streets in a week.
Straightening my back as I walked into the dark auditorium, I pushed all my anger and nerves aside. I needed to nail this audition. My career depended on it. I hadn’t had a show since Nunsense a year ago, and with that notice burning a hole in the bottom of my designer handbag, even more was riding on this. My big break had to come soon. My mother never made it as an actress, but by God, I was going to. I was going to live the dream she gave up for me. I knew she’d never see it, but I was still going to make her proud.
The click-clack of my heels gave way to a thunk-thunk as I stepped onto the honey-coloured wooden stage. Standing center stage, I focused on the orchestra pit. Staring back at me were three casting directors, and I had to swallow back the bile that crept up my throat. I wouldn’t have a chance in hell if I spewed on the casting directors. The only person who had ever chucked on a casting director and still landed the role was Cassandra Browne. Just thinking the thought of about her sent a shiver down my spine.
Taking a deep breath, I shook the nervous energy out of my hands.
“Whenever you’re ready, Ms. Kennedy,” said a familiar older man with a bushy monobrow. Directopillar. He had a reputation for being tough to impress. But I had impressed him when I landed Nunsense. I could do it again. No. I would do it again.
I glanced at the other two casting directors but didn’t recognise them. I closed my eyes and gathered everything in me before I opened my mouth.
“Well, Tommy has proposed to me again. Tommy really does nothing but propose to me.”
Fudge cookies! I messed up my accent.
I shuffled my feet as I debated continuing in the contrite southern accent that fell off my tongue like I meant to do it. Or should I stop altogether and ask for a redo? The former would be embarrassing, the latter unprofessional. There was no way to win here. Either way I went, I was a colossal screw-up.
Directopillar paused from taking notes and glared at me, a scowl on his face. I wouldn’t be surprised if his note read, Go back home to the States.
“Excuse me, Ms. Kennedy,” Directopillar said, his proper British accent mocking me. “You are aware An Ideal Husband is set in London, correct?”
“Yes, sir.” I nodded, avoiding eye contact. I didn’t want to see the disappointment painted on his face; the tone of his voice was disparaging enough. “I just thought it might be fun to put an American spin on it. Who better to make fun of than those in the American South?”
“We will not be changing the setting.” He cracked the pencil in his hand and tossed it over his shoulder. “I will give you one more chance—and know this is not a luxury I grant many people. Please start from the top.”
Grateful for the second attempt, I decided to move closer to them, so the emotion I portrayed wrapped them like a warm blanket, leaving them with a warm fuzzy that whispered, “Cast Rachel Kennedy,” for the rest of the afternoon.
I walked to the edge and dropped down to the stage, without showing the casting directors everything I owned—not that it mattered. My boyfriend, Mark, and I hadn’t had sex in so long, I think my hymen had grown back. All I needed was a pair of granny panties, and my transition back to virgin would be complete.
The Jade Hunters
“The Modeling Session”
Taking a breath and turning to the box, Reggie put on the necklace. The bright yellow citrine was cold against her breast, a welcome chill to the flame building inside of her.
“Now, if you’ll sit on the couch and hand me your robe, we can get started.”
She did as Walker instructed, foolishly turning away from him as she took off her covering, as if doing so would shield her any more than facing him would. When she turned back, he was adjusting a nearby lamp and re-checking his camera, which he’d set on a tripod. She waited for him to finish, and when he looked up, she handed him the robe.
Those eyes again. Focused on her. “Are you ready, then?”
She smiled nervously. “As I’ll ever be.”
The professional in Walker took over at that point. He began to instruct her in a tone that could only be called “matter-of-fact.”
“Sit with the vase behind your right shoulder; cross your legs, look to the left … click click click … now the right click click …now straight at me. You … you are meeting your lover and you are wondering where he is … click click … now you are confident he is coming home to you…”
At one point he moved his tripod closer, adjusted one of the standing lights and leaned in to adjust the stone, which nestled within her cleavage. His hands brushed her skin as he straightened the chain and her body responded immediately, her nipples tightening. Fortunately, he didn’t comment on it.
He continued in that manner, directing her in a calm, dispassionate voice. She, on the other hand, was positively humming inside, titillated beyond belief that he was fully clothed and she was completely naked. What did he think of her? He had to be comparing her to the historic photos of her grandmother. Was she measuring up? She shivered involuntarily.
“Would you like me to turn up the heat?” he asked.
It can’t get much hotter than this, can it? Except if maybe you were naked, too. “No, I’m warm enough,” she managed.
After the citrine shot came the tigers. He retrieved them from the jewelry box, asked her to stand while she put them on. They reminded her of the theft and her simmering anger bubbled to the surface. “Will anyone know they aren’t the originals? I would be mortified if they could tell.”
He smiled slightly. “No one but us will know and I promise we’ll re-shoot with the real tigers once we get them back, all right?”
She smiled her relief. “That was the absolutely right thing to say.”
Then she froze because Walker had begun to put his hands in her hair. To do so he moved very close to her, close enough that their bodies almost touched.
“The original had Mandy’s hair up like so,” he said, carefully twisting and arranging her hair.
Oh, she thought, but said nothing. The scant space between them arced with electricity.
As he continued to fold her mane into a loose chignon, she took in his scent; it was a cross between leather and wood and male. She fought the urge to close the distance. How could he stand this? Was she the only one feeling this way?
He stepped back from her for a moment and tilted his head while he perused her. Then, smiling faintly, he pulled a few long hairpins out of his back pocket. She held her breath as he strategically placed them out of sight, his arms encircling her. She knew it wasn’t his intent, but still she felt protected; sheltered; even treasured.
Then it was over and he stepped back, once again examining his work. She let out a careful breath and cast about for something to say that wouldn’t betray how she was feeling. “How do you know how to do that?” she asked, almost afraid of the answer.
“Tricks of the trade. On a fashion shoot you’re working with two diametrically opposed concepts: perfection and time constraints. Fixing hair quickly helps bridge that gap. I always keep a few pins in my camera case out of habit.” His eyes gleaming wickedly, he leaned in as if to let her in on a secret. “They’re also good for keeping ties from flapping, applying glue to false eyelashes, and most importantly, closing half-empty Dorito bags.” He matched her smile briefly before stepping back and once again assuming a professional demeanor. “That should do it. Ready to continue?”
She nodded, unsure how much more of this she could take.
He captured several poses and then, as he’d done with the first stone, took the camera off its stand and took a series of hand-held shots from various angles. As he moved, he’d call out a running patter of gentle commands and comments like, “Look here,” “Turn quickly,” “That’s it” and “Give me sultry.”
He paused with his camera by his side. “You really have no idea, do you?” His voice held a touch of wonder and he murmured, almost to himself, “No idea at all.”
“They don’t trust you.” I interrupted, tapping my foot and making eyes at Ed in an attempt to get him over here. The guy looked terrified.
“This guy trusts me,” she said, nodding to Eddy who was slowly walking towards us. So slow he might as well have been walking backwards.
I gave her a look, my eyebrows twisting together. She beamed with a broader grin. Damn, all these Eternals were delusional.
“This guy is terrified you are going to eat him. Eddy?” I asked when he was only about half way too us. “Do you trust her?”
He froze in place, taking one slow step back.
“I don’t know how to answer that. If I say no, will she kill me?” Poor Eddy was practically shaking in his boots. I didn’t blame him, Wynifred had always been an unknown.
So yeah, I guess still terrifying. Just terrifying and irritating.
“I haven’t killed anyone in a few hundred years, kid, and I used to be pretty good at it.”
Eddy took another step back, a tiny squeak echoing from behind one of the tents in the communal sleeping space we were traversing through.
“You enjoyed blowing people up?” I asked, regretting the question when she smiled.
“You enjoy turning buildings to rubble,” she shrugged, smiling again.
“I enjoy standing up to oppressors for the sake of my people.” It was taking everything in me not to throw her into the wall. But I wasn’t about to go throwing murderesses against walls if I wasn’t sure I could win.
“The thing about causes, kid, is that you have to make sure you are on the right side. The bad side looks just like the good one when you don’t know any better.”
“I know which side I’m on,” I said between the grit in my teeth, fists tight against my thighs. Maybe I could punch her.
“Sure you do, come find me after you’ve killed your third ‘tyrant’ and tell me if you still think so. Maybe we can go blow up buildings together. Or people. Guess it depends on how your revolution pans out.” She looked around her, again. The curious under mortals who had peeked out to stare at us retreating back into their holes.
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Boredom.” She shrugged her shoulders, the maniacal light vanishing from her eyes.
How in the hell was this a four-thousand-year-old immortal and mother of the headmaster to Imdalind Academy?
The Fixer Upper
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Who is excited like I am for 2019 OUAB!?! Just me? No, I see everyone talking about how excited they are and it makes me even more excited. These next 10 days are going to drag on. I am so excited to see all my favorite authors, and volunteers, everyone that comes to the event and be in the beautiful Frankenmuth Mi. Events start Friday July 19 with the panels and Awards Show, and run through Saturday July 20th with the book signing. This year's theme is Comic Book Bash, I know I cannot wait to see everyone in their costumes, as well as dressing up myself. I might be a little excited for the Awards show as Good Books & Tasty Morsels is an award nominee (EPPP!!). I will update you all with the winners out from all the categories, after this amazing weekend comes to a close.
I have lots to do to get ready for OUAB, I hope to see you all there!
*tickets for saturday's signing are still available at http://www.onceuponabookauthorsigning.com/tables--tickets-on-sale-now.html
Thanks and Enjoy!
Sci-fi Fantasy Thriller
Date Published: June 2019
Publisher: Star Born Publishing
From the dawn of mankind...
Through America's Civil War and into the distant future...
Two ancient gods have made romance and waged war...
After the Great Rapture...
Will Sky Parlor become their final battlefield?
Do we ever really die? Or, do we return to live again with those we knew before? In the future, will man and machine learn to procreate? For generations, the population of Sky Parlor has believed that, long ago, the lands beyond their domed city were made uninhabitable by the "Great Rapture".
When young Desmond Starr is appointed Alderman for Sky Parlor's borough of Columbia, he is guided by a benevolent spirit during a dream's strange vision and learns a hidden truth, exposing a shocking lie that has persisted for centuries. As rumors of a vast deception spread among Sky Parlor's population, the president and his governing "sustainability" council propose what appears to be the perfect but distracting solution: An inspiring journey to a mysterious and distant world!
But does this grand proposal mask an ulterior agenda? Will a rebellious young man discover his own fate is bound not only to Sky Parlor, but to the survival of humanity?
About the author:
NEW! The highly-anticipated kindle E-book release of science fiction/fantasy/supernatural/suspense/thriller Sky Parlor is now live on Amazon, with discounted print editions soon to follow later on this June! The new release promises to be a superlative edition to the growing popularity of author Stephen C. Perkins exciting, thrilling, and often controversial brand of literary fiction. After visiting amazon.com/author/stephenperkins for a complete list of his available titles, stop by for a visit and begin following the author on Twitter (Twitter.com@RAGEOFWORDS).
Get the complete series here!
The only thing I hate more about Luck than the fact that we’re forced to fuck every day to keep our sanity is his lack of dirty talk.
He refuses to talk to me or let me talk to him.
That makes me ragey. Because dirty talk is my favorite and he won’t engage.
But one of these days…
“Come,” he commands me.
“Are you kidding?” I ask. “We just started.”
He slaps his hand over my mouth and the rage that was only imaginary two seconds ago manifests in all its glorious reality when I wrap my legs around his middle and squeeze him so tight with my thighs, he gasps.
Take that, asshole.
He glares at me, momentarily distracted. And I use that distraction to my advantage by twisting my body and flipping him over so he’s on his back.
He’s still inside me, the heads of both his cocks swollen in place. Locking us together until we come and relieve the lust hidden deep inside our genetically-matched souls.
My tits bounce on his chest and he grabs my hair, shoots me a warning glare.
I know what that glare says. Don’t make me bleed, Nyleena.
He shoots this look at me every time, and every time I take it as a challenge.
I raise my hand up.
“Don’t,” he growls.
“Oh,” I say. “He can speak. Tell me more,” I purr.
But I do it anyway.
I swipe my nails right down the side of his cheek and hiss at him like a feral cat.
He wraps his muscled arms around my upper body, squeezing me tight as he pulls me down on to his chest.
I’ll admit, Luck is strong. And when he gets me in a lock like this, there’s no way I can escape until he lets me.
But I don’t make it easy.
I squirm and twist in his grip. All the while his hips are thrusting up with powerful force. So hard that his balls are slapping against my clit.
This momentarily takes my mind off the forced submission and I float a little.
“Come,” he commands again, growling out the word in my ear. “Right. Fucking—”
The light locked up inside me pulses out in flickering waves at first. And then it stops just as his cocks contract inside me. My luminous flux holds steady for a moment so when his contractions are over, and his sperm is ready to explode into me, my flux knows what to do and it bursts into fractals of geometrically-shaped light that dance and crackle around our bodies. Electrifying them like charged ions flowing out from a sun on a matrix of deep, dark space-time.
He throws me over to the side, his cocks slipping out of me, dripping with our shared release, and breathes hard and heavy.
I lie there with eyes closed. Not caring that he just literally threw me away.
Because this is the best part.
I wait for him to tuck his dicks away, mumble out, “Thank you,” as he walks off and leaves me alone.
And then… I let out the last of my climax.
Because I never give him all of me.
I have one little hidden, secret surprise that he will never know about.
I open my eyes and come for real. Silver-laced lavender light shoots up and out, bouncing off the UV reflectors above the grass and flowers, and comes back down to blanket my body, and this entire secret garden, in a soft, purple glow.
And all the plants around me grow ten times taller from my sexy, lust-filled, nutritious light.
I lead the king down to the back entrance to the gardens, and we walk along between plots of dill, thyme, and chives. I wait, knowing he will speak when he is ready.
“How much does your mother confide in you?” he asks as we near the middle of the gardens.
I slide a look at him from the corner of my eye. “Enough. My lord.”
His lips quirk, the first true smile I have seen from him. “Is that honest?”
I pause beside a bed of borage. “How much do I need to know, my lord? You are here seeking a wife for your son.”
“I am,” he agrees. “How often do you participate in the discussions between your mother and the council?”
“I don’t, my lord. You should know I am not . . .” I hesitate, aware that I have no place telling this king what he should or should not know. Or jeopardizing such an alliance for my land.
I struggle to find an appropriate way to finish. “Not—it is not thought my place to attend such meetings.”
“You would never inherit the throne?”
I could inherit, it is true, but I doubt the council would allow it given my history—and certainly not now that I might marry into another royal family, one that would be happy to add our lands to their own. Either way, should my brother die, the council would certainly pass over me in favor of our nearest cousin. “It is unlikely,” I say finally.
“I doubt that,” the king says. “It has been my experience that even young men die. What you mean to say is your council would not accept you should your brother die without issue and you were yet unwed. Why?”
If he knows all the answers, why is he asking? I look him in the eye and quip, “Perhaps I am too honest, my lord.”
He laughs. “And too straightforward. You will have to learn to play with your words more.” He reaches out, his fingertips brushing my arm where my brother held me. I flinch back reflexively, as if the bruises have already darkened—as if he could see them through my sleeve. He watches me, his eyes glinting in the sunlight. “Once you are Menaiya’s,” he says, “your brother will never hurt you again.”
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