Friday, December 8, 2017

First Chapter of Re-launch "Clever As The Devil"





Music was wafting through the air from a relic jukebox, blissfully unaware that there was such a thing as Spotify. I watched the red neon light flash out the bar window, a beacon for the light foot traffic passing by. On the inside, the ambience was more dim and subdued, although I thought that the word ‘ambience’ was pushing it for this place. I gulped the last of my drink and signaled for the waitress. The week had either been full of rain, dark clouds threatening to rain or the vague gray nothingness that overcast days bring. It was like the rain hadn’t washed away any of the dirt in East Alton, it had just worn away all the colors.
Today was the day I dreaded every year. I closed my eyes and exhaled, trying to expel the weight I felt. I saw my father, Douglas. When I was little, I would have him read Sherlock Holmes stories for me at bedtime. I had little use for the silly fairy tales my friends wanted to indulge in. Not that I had a lot of friends growing up. I was either too fat, too smart or once I had gotten some spine, way too sarcastic. I remembered when he would quiz me on whatever TV mystery show we were watching, in a casual race to see who could figure out who had committed the crime. And then there was the time when I was in third grade and I saw him on the living room couch, working on something.
What are you doing?” I asked, bouncing next to him on the couch.
He smiled and lowered the booklet and pencil he had in his hands. “I’m working on this cryptogram, honey.”
I had to be in the middle of whatever dad was doing, so I climbed into his lap so I could see. “What’s a cryptogram?”
Well, I’m trying to work out what the words are in these mixed up groups of letters.”
Oh! Like an anagram!”
Kinda like that, but this works on a principle called a letter substitution cipher.”
I had never heard of that before, so I repeated the words and he smiled. “Here, let me show you.” He said.
Dad then showed me how he would guess at certain words based on their length and placement in the phrase. “For instance, a three letter word at the beginning at a sentence is ‘The’ most of the time. So I would put those letters in those blanks and then see where else they will go based on what letter are under the blanks. Then, its just a matter of going from there and see what you can figure out.”
I pointed at the booklet. “Can I do one?” I had to try it. It was a puzzle, it looked like a challenge and it was something Dad was doing.
Sure, honey.” He tore out a page from the middle of the booklet and got another pencil from his shirt pocket. I knelt on the floor and put the paper down on the coffee table and started to work.
Mom walked in a little later and saw us working with our pencils. “And what are you two doing?”
We’re working on cryptograms!” I exclaimed.
Her mother chuckled and shook her head. “Well, of course you are.” Mom was great with numbers, being an accountant, but she never did really understand me, and to be honest, I don’t remember her really trying.
The memory dissipated with the sound of someone clearing their throat. It was the waitress and it looked like she had been there awhile. I motioned for her to get me another. I looked at my phone to check the time. I had drifted in the bar around 6 and it was 9:30 now. Just as I set it down, it vibrated. With a quick look, I saw it was Mom calling. I tapped ‘ignore’ on the phone, which was hardly satisfying. I wanted it to be the type of phone that I could pick up to answer, just so I could slam it down to hang up. I didn’t know what mom was thinking. The betrayal, not only to me, but to Dad, a detective with the East Alton Police
I took a deep breath and rubbed my eyes. Dad and his partner, Dean Smith, had been investigating the local drug ring for awhile. He got a call after dinner letting him know that a lead he had uncovered led to the discovery of their main hideout. An abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town and he and Dean went with a SWAT team to check it out.
It was raining early the next morning and I woke up with a start. Thunder rumbled overhead as I looked out my window. His car wasn’t in the driveway. I checked my clock to see it was about three in the morning. I got out of bed and went to my parents’ bedroom. I creaked the door open to peek inside. Mom was alone in bed, sleeping. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck start to rise as I walked to the living room. It was empty and the only sound in the room was the ticking of the clock on the wall. I walked up to the dining room table, where Dad had left some work files. Glancing through them, I found towards the bottom, a cryptogram magazine that me and dad were working. There was a knock on the door. My heart skipped a beat as I ran to answer it, getting ready to tease Dad for forgetting his keys. But when I opened it, it wasn’t Dad. It was Dean. There were two uniforms standing behind him with their eyes downcast. Police lights were flashing red and blue everywhere and when I saw Dean’s face, I knew. Dean started talking to me and I just looked at him in shock, taking in what he saying, but it was like I was underwater and everyone else was far away. Even when Dean took me in his arms because I was crying, I still felt so alone. I was sixteen. And today was was the tenth anniversary of that day.
When I opened my eyes, my drink was there in front of me, like magic. I swallowed my first sip, a hearty exhale coming afterwards. I was nursing a robust and healthy buzz and it was just what I needed. Well, that and something else. The hazy numbness was comforting, but it wasn’t enough. Every time I thought I had drowned out the pain, it would rise again and wrench my insides. Anger, sadness and disappointment, all rolled up in one. And from the several chewed up swizzle sticks scattered on the table, I knew there was quite a bit of frustration mixed up in there too. During the last week, I had kept to myself, turning down invitations for lunch from Bobby and even playful come-ons from Katrina and Derrick, two of my favorites I would see from time to time.
But tonight. Something woke me up tonight. I slipped into my siren red dress with a neckline that plunged just north of obscenity charges. The red of the dress matched my hair. The dress also hugged my ample thighs, which helped my strut get its share of appreciative glances. I got in my car and turned the key. And now, I was in this bar drinking whiskey and cokes like there was going to be a shortage of ice tomorrow. Not that I needed ice to drink. Or a glass. Or anymore, a particularly good reason.
I was taking another sip, when I spied him over the rim of the glass. He was dressed as sharp as the crease in the dark slacks he wore. Black jacket, white shirt, no tie. The bartender had just put his drink in front of him. He looked around and I caught his eye. I smiled and set my drink on the table. I purposely put it down in a straight line in front of me, so his eyes would follow the glass and see the front of my dress. I love my cleavage and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I admire it often and from the look on the man’s face, he liked it as well. I have an hourglass figure with about 30 extra minutes worth of sand added to it and I love every pound. And no one will ever hate me half as much as I don’t care.
The man scanned the bar and then his eyes drifted back to me. I leaned forward in my chair and raised my eyebrows, as if asking a question. The man smiled, grabbed his drink and walked toward my table.
Is this chair taken?” He asked, pointing to one at my table.
It is now,” I said. “My name’s Kimber, Kimber Cassidy.” I extended my hand.
He smiled and shook my hand. “My name’s David, its a pleasure to meet you.”
The pleasure is mine.” I had taken more stock of him when he walked over. He walked with purpose, back straight. He had no wedding ring and when I could get a closer look, no tan line either. No animal hair on his clothes and no signs of excessive wear. His dress was refined, not fussy. A simple gold watch adorned his wrist and he had one ring, worn on his right index finger. I placed his age around upper-30’s, maybe early 40’s and he looked to be corporate, maybe middle to upper management. Banking, I decided.
He pulled the chair out and sat down. “Have you been here awhile?”
For a bit.”
I’m sorry, I didn’t even bother to ask, were you waiting for somebody?”
For you,” I said, taking a sip of my drink, smirking
Is that so?”
On most days, I would have something clever to say, but it was late in the evening and I was about six drinks in, so I made do with “Yep”. I couldn’t help but notice the way he spoke. His pronunciation was clipped and precise, but his vowels sounds were American.
What do you do during the day, Miss Kimber?”
I’m in between jobs at the moment, so right now, I’m enjoying a life of leisure.” The polite euphemism for unemployed was correct. I had quit my job at the city paper and was working to get my private investigation license from the state. In the meantime, the jobs hadn’t exactly been rolling in. But I had saved a good amount of my salary while I was employed and was doing okay for now. “And you?”
I’m an executive in a banking firm and I just got a promotion.”
I high-fived myself in my head. “Congratulations, so you’re out celebrating?”
I am.”
Alone?”
David looked down. “I was working late today, just now got out and most everybody else had already left.”
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.”
But my name’s David,” he said, smiling.
For this evening’s performance, you will be played by a man named Jack.”
I think I’ll stick with David.” He said, taking a sip of his drink.
Okay David, tell me something fun about yourself and prove me wrong.”
He thought for awhile. “My fingers are double jointed?”
Lame.”
I think me and a cousin of mine share a birthday?”
Next, you’ll tell me the highlight of your life was when you had the spotlight in Bankers’ Monthly five years back.”
I had forgotten about that!”
I laughed and shook my head. David smiled back. After some thought, he said, “Okay, the Bible says, Adam AND Eve, so I date both,” he said and shrugged, taking a drink.
I raised her eyebrows. “So the banker is bi.”
David nodded, smiling.
I wouldn’t have guessed that. My radar must be off this evening.”
Really?”
I’m pretty good at observation. I’ve noticed your speech, the way you pronounce things.”
He smiled.
I’d say either you’re not from here or you are and you moved to another part of the country, perhaps up east. Or maybe even out of the country, maybe the UK.”
I’m impressed, hun,” he said, taking a drink, “I was born here in East Alton, but when I was 3, the company my father worked for transferred him to England. We moved there and that’s where I went to school, although most of the time, I was in the LD classrooms.”
You have a learning disability?”
That’s what they thought. I tested out when I got into what they call secondary education over there.”
You were around 11 when you got out?”
He nodded. “I did pretty well after that and was about to go to uni there, but then my dad got transferred back, so ended up going to college here.”
They thought I had a learning disability,” I said. “They put me in LD classes, but after a couple of years, they realized, I was just lazy and hated doing homework.”
David chuckled. “After your astute observation, I would have to say, you’re impressive.”
I lifted my drink. “I’m good.”
David pointed to a man sitting at the bar. “Tell me about him.”
I took a sip and glanced at the man David was pointing at. “He was here when I arrived and has been nursing several drinks. He’s putting them away at a good clip, and he’s three drinks on me, so I’m sure he’s on his way to oblivion if he keeps this up.”
Plus, who knows how many he had before you arrived.”
I nodded. “He’s in his fifties and he used to be married.”
Used to be?”
He piqued my interest when I first got here and sat down, so I went up the bar next to him to refresh my drink and took a glance. His fingers are swollen and thick and on his left ring finger is a deep impression of where a ring used to be.” What I didn’t say is the reason he got my attention was his rate of drinking and his manner of movement, which told me he was pretty wasted as it was. I got the bartender’s attention and gave him a twenty to get the guy a cab when it came time to eighty-six him.
Perhaps recently divorced.” David suggested.
Or widowed. He’s had that suit for quite awhile, both the style and pilling on the fabric say so. From the style of haircut, I’d say he’s been going to the same barber for years. He wears a wrist watch, he has horn rimmed glasses, if he has a cell, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were a flip phone.”
David nodded.
Overall, he appears to be a man resistant to change. He longs for the good old days and is full of nostalgia for how things used to be.”
Perhaps he is widowed. That would explain a lot of what you said.”
I shrugged. “It would. It’s a matter of probabilities.”
David thought a bit, while he stared at his drink. He then looked back at me, smiling. “You’re just a regular Sherlock Holmes.”
I smiled and straightened my back. “With an impressive rack to boot.”
There are many things to appreciate about you, honey.”
I smirked and leaned over to him. It served dual purposes, one, to give him a good view. Two, to whisper in his ear certain things that anyone else would think twice to whisper in a man’s ear.
David took a good peek, listened to what I had to say and chuckled. “Is it okay if I finish my drink first?”
I shrugged again. “It’s whatever. If you’re thirsty, I think I can take care of that too.”
David downed the rest of his drink in one gulp. “You tell me where we’re going, honey. Lead the way.”
===
I went to the bar to get blitzed, so I didn’t stray too far from home. Now that I had made a catch, it made sense to just take the short trip back to my duplex and have him follow me. Once we were inside, there wasn’t a lot of small talk. We both knew what the other wanted. Enveloped in a tight embrace, he nibbled on my lips and when he gave my bottom lip a tender bite, I raked my fingernails down his back. He moaned in my mouth and made quick work of unzipping my dress. I did the same with his pants and pretty soon, most of the important pieces of clothing were on the floor.
Most of what followed in my bedroom was the kind of passionate sloppiness that comes from alcohol and deep seated need. His kisses found my favorite spots, behind my ear, down my neck, while his fingers explored my body. I loved the weight of his body on top of me and how he felt inside me. My hands clutched his back as I released all my tension. The combination of my buzz and my long delayed release sent me flying for a bit and my eyes took awhile to come back to focus. He plopped down beside me, laying on his back.
Raising my arms above my head, I stretched the kind of stretch that takes it all out of you, leaving you feeling drained, relaxed and satisfied at the same time. I was still on my dreamy orgasm high when I closed my eyes. And they stayed that way till the phone and the morning sunlight opened them the next morning.
===
I fumbled for my phone, the ringing disrupting my dreams. I looked at the display and saw that it was Dean.
Hello? Dean?” I sat on the edge of my bed, holding my head.
Hey Sparky. I know its a little early, but I needed to give you a heads up. A contact I have at the station alerted me that the police are going to be calling you soon.”
I squinted my eyes. “What for?” I looked back on my bed. David wasn’t there. I walked into the living room and saw that his clothes were gone and no note. Not that I was expecting one.
Where were you last night?” Dean asked.
On a date.” I walked to the bedroom to grab my robe.
Who with?”
What? Why?” I put my robe on and then rubbed my forehead, trying to piece together why the police would be interested.
What was his or her name?”
David.”
David Andrews?” Dean asked.
I shrugged. “Sure, he looked like an Andrews.”
Dammit Sparky, this is serious.”
Can you tell me what’s going on, please?”
A man named Calvin Dunbar was found dead this morning, an apparent suicide. One of his work associates was a David Andrews, who used you as an alibi for his whereabouts last night.”
I took the phone from my ear and looked toward the ceiling. Are you fucking kidding me? I just wanted to get shitfaced, ending up getting lucky and now I’m involved in an investiga--
I put the phone back up to my ear. “You said it was a suicide. Why are the police investigating it?”
I said apparent suicide. I need to get off the phone, they’ll be calling you any minute. Get your facts straight and then call me back when they’re finished with you.”
I hung up and sighed. Dammit, I should have known better. The minute I reached for that dress last night before going out, I should have just slapped my hand, got drunk at home and called one of my favorites over. Or at least, rubbed one out in the shower. I shook my head. Then the phone rang.
Hello?”
Hello, is a,” the caller paused while he shuffled papers, “Kimber Cassidy there?”
This is Kimber.”
Good morning Miss Cassidy, this is Lou Matthews, detective with the East Alton Police. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions.”
Sure.” I knew better than to be evasive. Dad taught me to be open with them, but only answer what they ask, never volunteer information. I sat down at the dining table. “Can I ask what this is about?”
We’re doing some preliminary checking about something that happened last night. Does the name Calvin Dunbar ring a bell?”
No, should it?”
He ignored the question and asked, “Where were you last night?”
From about 6:30 till around 10:30, I was at the Green Derby.”
There was the sound of scribbled notes. “And then after that?”
I was at home with my date.”
What was the date’s name?”
I sighed. “All I know is David, I didn’t get his last name.”
More note scribbling. “Did he stay the whole night?”
I thought back. “The last time I looked at the clock, it was 12:30 and he was still here. When I woke up this morning, he was gone.”
When did you wake up?”
About fifteen minutes ago.”
You didn’t get your date’s last name?”
I squinted at the insinuation and picked up a pencil from the table. “No, I didn’t.”
I see.” He cleared his throat and made more hen scratches. “Did Dunbar’s name come up?”
No.”
And you were drinking, correct?”
Yes.”
How much? It sounds like your judgement may have been impaired, did you black out?”
I rolled my eyes andI deflected the question. “I can give you a physical description.”
Sure,tell me what you can remember.”
Drumming the eraser on the table, I said, “He was about my height, five ten, and a hundred and ninety pounds. Brown hair, blue eyes, clean shaven. His nails looked manicured and overall he had a neat, well-kept appearance. He had black shoes, shined, dark slacks and jacket, white shirt and no tie. He said his name was David and that he worked at a banking firm.”
Well, that sounds like our guy.”
Anything else?” I asked, tossing the pencil on the table.
One more thing.”
Yes?”
Aren’t you Douglas Cassidy’s kid?”
I blinked. What kind a hell question was that? “Yes,” I answered, “my dad was Douglas Cassidy.”
Wow,” he replied.
Wow?’
Well, its just that I remember when I just made detective, your dad and Dean Smith were the team to beat. Everyone on the force looked up to them. I remember your dad always bragging on you. Either it was some cryptogram you had solved, or some how you had figured out the end of the Holmes story he was reading you. Later on, when you were a teenager, sometimes he’d say how some observation you had made helped him with a break in a case.”
I cleared my throat, just wanting the call to be over.
Well, guess he’d be pretty proud of you now, huh? Thanks Miss Cassidy, if I need anything else, I’ll get ahold of you.”
My eyes narrowed as I ended the call and slammed the phone down on the table.
The phone rang again and I snatched it off the table. “What?”
Sparky? This is Dean.”
Hey.”
How did it go? Who talked to you?”
Lou Matthews.”
Crap.”
Yeah, tell me about it. Besides being a first class shmuck, what else can you tell me about him?”
Well, I remember when he first made detective, he had a female partner but, she didn’t last long.”
Let me guess, he was rude, ignorant, condescending, patronizing and sexist.”
Yeah, sounds about right.”
I shook my head and reached for the bottle of whiskey, but my pounding headache made me think twice about it. I grabbed the tea kettle instead and poured some water in it. “He went on about how my dad would brag on me and boy, times have changed, now that you’re drunk and can’t remember the last name of your ‘date’ last night, if you even knew it in the first place.”
Did you?” Dean asked.
That’s not the point, it’s none of his goddamn business! Mr. Matthews can suck my dick.” I slammed the kettle down on the oven burner, sloshing a little water from the spout. “Fucker,” I said under my breath. I flipped the whistler closed on the spout and turned the burner up.
Well, you gotta remember, after your father died, you went through a pretty rough period and it was on full display. I can’t tell you how many times I came to see you in holding and hear what kinda scrape you had gotten yourself into.”
Died, I thought, that’s nice. Dad was killed, in the line of duty. You should know Dean, you were there. I stopped what I was doing and realized I had been pacing the kitchen. I was in pain and pissed. Pissed at Lou, pissed at David whathisface, but mostly pissed at myself. Last night was stupid all the way around. I took some deep breaths to steady my hands and got a mug off the cabinet shelf. “I remember that. I guess I’m only as good as my last fuck up?”
Dean chuckled. “Something like that. And that goes for everybody else.”
Fan-fucking-tastic.” I mumbled, as the kettle started to whistle. I grabbed a teabag and tossed it in the mug. I turned the burner off, grabbed the kettle and poured some water into my mug, leaving some space to add milk after it was done steeping.
Sounds like you’re making yourself some tea?”
Yeah.”
You’re hungover, got a headache.”
Right you are, detective.”
What happened last night anyway? I mean, that’s not like you.”
I sighed. He was right. “I don’t know. I was restless, I guess. And horny.”
Why didn’t you call one of your friends over?”
Yeah, why didn’t I do that? “I don’t know.” I rubbed my head and added, “You know what yesterday was, right?”
I remember hun, I know its still rough for you, its rough for everybody.”
I snorted and thought of mom. Yeah, most everybody. I went to the fridge to get the milk. “What about this case? What’s up? What do you know?”
You first. Tell me everything you know about him.”
He’s circumcised,” I said, smirking. I stirred some milk in my tea and then took a sip.
Dean let out a breath. “Thanks for remembering that. Anything else?”
I went over all that I observed about him, including correctly intuiting that he was a banker. “He said he was out celebrating, although he was alone. I thought that was off.”
What was he celebrating?”
He said he had just gotten promoted.”
Wait a minute,” I heard shuffling papers as Dean looked over his notes, “he said he got a promotion?”
Yeah, he mentioned he was working late, so that’s why he was by himself and that didn’t feel right to me. It seemed more like he was avoiding something or just trying to forget.” It was then I realized why we had clicked. They were both there last night for the same reason.
I got news for ya. He didn’t get promoted, he was passed over.”
Passed over?” I began to take a sip of my tea, but suddenly put the mug back down, “For fuck’s sake.”
I’ll give you three guesses who got it instead and the first two don’t count.”
Calvin Dunbar.” I rubbed my forehead. It was still pounding. If he had lied about the promotion, what else did he lie about? “How did he die?”
There was no sign of struggle and no wounds on the body. He was found by his wife this morning, sitting at the dining room table, slumped over. There was a teacup nearby that was about empty.”
They’re going with poisoning?”
For right now. They took the teacup, what was left in it and of course, the toxicology reports from the autopsy will tell us more.”
Statistically speaking, men are more prone to commit suicide by firearms or hanging, women are more likely to use poison.”
Plus there was no note. Not that there’s a law saying you have to leave a suicide note before you off yourself, but…” Dean trailed off.
When are they putting time of death?”
Early morning, around two.”
Andrews didn’t do himself any favors using me as an alibi. I told Matthews the last time I looked at a clock, it said 12:30 and then didn’t wake back up til morning and he was gone.”
And you have no recollection as to when he might have left?”
I put my tea down again and tried to think. “No, to be honest, I passed out. I don’t remember.” I heard Dean write more down in his notes and it occurred to me to do the same. I shook my head, some private investigator I was. I grabbed my notebook and pen out of my purse. “They’re going with a murder investigation because of the method and there was no note?”
Actually, the wife, Linda Dunbar is pushing the story that its murder.”
I made a face. “She didn’t know that would make her a prime suspect?”
I don’t know whether she knew that or not, but it doesn’t much matter, her alibi’s pretty airtight. She’s been in Dallas for the past few days on business and had just gotten back this morning.”
I took some more notes and then stopped. “Did Dunbar have a life insurance policy?”
I thought of that too. He probably did, I’m sure they’re checking up on that.”
I put that on my to-do list as well. “Is there anything else I should know?”
Besides, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
And what exactly does that keep me from doing?”
Not a hell of a whole lot.”
That’s what I thought,” I giggled.
Just be careful Sparky.”
I will, Dean, I promise.”

I ended the call and put the phone down. As I sipped my tea, I thought about the possibilities. If someone had murdered Dunbar, the strongest suspect would be David, given he had a possible motive. The wife was ruled out due to her alibi, but something didn’t feel right about that. Poison was a funny thing. You had to be there to fire a gun and stab a knife, but poison was different. The tea was starting to soothe my headache and I started to come up with a plan of attack. Seeing as David had been such a nice guy to involve me, I eagerly took the invitation to dig in a little more.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Just Desserts - short story

Just Desserts




   It was after the fifth time I told my son to clean up his room and the clear indication that it wasn't going to happen that I set on the unenviable task of doing it myself. With only the sole protection of yellow rubber dish-washing gloves to keep me alive, I told my wife I was going in.
  “Better you than me,” she encouraged and pushed me in the general direction. As I entered the room, I wondered if there was ever a smell as dank as the teenage male. I also wondered if I had smelled this bad and what gas masks my parents used to deal with it.
After I had excavated several dirty dinner plates turned science experiments from the area, I came upon a small wadded up white sack, the kind you would get from a bakery. I blinked as I remembered a time long ago, toward the end of elementary school. It involved me, a girl and a brownie. A frozen brownie.

***

I guess it was while Tommy Whitzberger was playing his rendition of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” on the accordion that I found out DeeAnn Smith liked me. I had just gotten off the stage where I’d performed my magic act for the 6th grade talent show at our elementary school. Getting used to the dark of the auditorium, I finally found a seat in the audience.
Mrs. McIntyre, my homeroom teacher, was emcee. She came on stage, clapping and said, “That was ‘The Great Howard’ and his wonderful magic act. Good job, Howard.” She then began the task of building up the anticipation in the audience for accordion rock wizardry.
I happened to sit next to Misty Oppenheimer, the school blabbermouth and one of DeeAnn’s friends. I really wasn't part of the “in crowd”, so didn't trade much on the gossip circuit. So I was surprised when she whispered in my ear. She told me that DeeAnn told her that she thought I was kinda cute. She went on breathlessly that she wasn't supposed to tell anybody, especially me. This is, of course, the one thing you never tell Misty Oppenheimer, but I guess DeeAnn hadn’t learned that at the time.
When I heard this I felt dizzy. My face flushed and my vision blurred. After the talent show, I went to one of the school restrooms and looked in the mirror to check myself. I was just sure I had come down with something. A disease that flares up whenever someone tells you you’re cute and you immediately start to turn ugly. A few years later, I would learn there is such a disease.
It’s called puberty.
The thought of a girl being remotely attracted to me really didn’t occur to me at all. I was simultaneously thrilled and terrified. I was happy because as far I as knew, this was the first time anyone had expressed an interest in me. It also terrified me because I did not want to screw this up. And if my life up to that point was any indication, there was a very good chance of that happening. I really don’t think the words ‘paralyzed with fear’ would be too far from what I was feeling. After all, I had been on this planet for almost 12 years now and this was my first. Who knows when the next one was going to come around.
When DeeAnn stopped by my house after school to again tell me how much she really enjoyed the magic show, the gray brain cells that processed this sort of thing came alive for the first time and wondered what the hell was going on. Immediately, they clumsily lurched into action. The first thought was realizing that sometimes DeeAnn came by my house on her way home from school. Then, these limp barely-used ganglia and neurons thought it would be a good idea to get her something. I went to the corner market. Flowers were too expensive on my lunch money budget and cards were too schmaltzy for my preteen idea of romance. A small fifteen-watt light bulb went off above my head when I thought of the bakery. I scanned the displays and settled on a brownie. To make it extra special, I had her name written on it with pink frosting. I have no idea why I thought this was significant. Like she was going to look at the brownie I gave her and wonder, “But is this for me? I don’t know, it doesn’t have my name on it.”
All things considered, I was a thoughtful, sweet, awkward, stuttering, sweating bucket of quivering nerves. What could possibly go wrong?
Since she passed by my house infrequently, I put the brownie in the freezer, so that it wouldn’t go bad. Weeks went by as my after-school-vigil-of-looking-for-DeeAnn droned on. I was getting tired, my eyes were getting sore and my brownie was getting frostbite. Then one day, there she was.
I ran to the fridge, grabbed the brownie, sped to the front door and yelled, “DeeAnn!” She stopped, turned around and smiled. And then everything moved in slow motion.
I wondered if she still liked me. I wondered if this had all been a joke. I wondered if perhaps she was allergic to brownies. I wondered if she was on a diet and if she was going to be offended and how dare I get her a dessert. All these fearful ‘what-if’ scenarios went through my head, and I panicked.
And in that panicked moment of brain vapor lock, I hurled a dense completely frozen brownie at the only girl who had, up to that time, expressed an interest in me and slammed the door.
Because, that makes sense.
I put my head in my hands. How could I be so stupid? What did I just do? She is probably not enjoying her brownie and basking in the knowledge of what a fine and sweet young man I am. She’s probably suffering a concussion, laying unconscious on my lawn, bleeding out as her friend screams with horror about the maniac who just beaned her schoolmate with a frozen dessert.
All of this was interrupted by a knock on the door. Was it DeeAnn? Was it her friend? Was it the police? I slowly opened the door.
It was DeeAnn.
I inexplicably feigned surprise (“Ohh, DeeAnn. What are you doing here?”). DeeAnn wanted to thank me for the gift as she ate (okay, sucked on) her frozen brownie. I said, no problem.
And that was it. That’s as far as it went. The next year was junior high, which had its own share of drama, hellish  anxiety concerning the other gender and fleeting moments of fun. And DeeAnn? She went the way of every other girl who’s had refrigerated rock-hard confections thrown at them.
Therapy.
And then Tommy Whitzberger. How was I to know she had a thing for accordion players?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Ballad of Keith and Judith Anderson

   In the Fall of 2014, I had about three short stories I'd written and I texted a published author and good friend of mine if there was a market for BDSM Erotica Short Stories. One thing led to another and I ended up self publishing "Pretty When You Cry", a collection of those short stories with a few others, under the pen name "Keith Anderson" in February 2015. I chose "Keith" because I had been called that half the time whenever anyone couldn't remember my name and Anderson, was the last name of a childhood friend, one of my favorite musicians (Laurie Anderson) and was fairly common like "Smith" which was the last name of the pen name of my friend, the published author.
   Shortly after publishing, my author friend said, put together a blurb, your buy links and the front cover image and post it to few book groups on FB.  Keep that up for awhile, then put a pin a twenty to its lapel, wish it luck as you send it off into the world and start work on your next book. Which I did, more or less. "Pretty When You Cry" by Keith Anderson got some attention and made some good sales and I got an offer from someone to be my PA and assemble a street team, which I took them up on. And that helped sales even more. And also attracted the attention of Blushing Books, which has been publishing spanking and BDSM fiction since the 90's on the Interwebs.
   Ever since FSOG, they had been inundated by submissions by people and they were abysmal. Seeing as how I was in the lifestyle, they were interested if I were writing a novel. I was and when I was done I send it to them in the fall of 2015. Lo and behold, they wanted to publish it. But there was a problem.
  They always had issues with romances and their readership if it was under a male pen name. The sales were always flat and were never received well. So, it would be a condition in my contract, that I would publish my novel (original title - "Kinky in Flatland", since renamed "Nadja's Choice") under a feminine pen name. For me, this was a simple business decision. I wrote under one fake name, I'll just write under another fake name, big deal. And so, "Nadja's Choice" was published under the pen name "Judith Anderson" in the beginning of 2016.
   And I'm certainly not the first to be asked this. Harold Lowry wrote romance novels involving country girls and rugged cowboys under the pen name Leigh Greenwood for over twenty five years. Thomas Elmer Huff was a best selling author of twenty three gothic romance novels under the names Edwina Marlow, Beatrice Parker, Katherine St. Clair and Jennifer Wilde. Bill Spence is a grandfather, father of four and WW II vet who published twenty two romance novels as Jessica Blair. Publishers asked him that he assume a female name in order to better the reception of his novels, which Bill didn't mind at all.
   I'm a slow writer and I wanted to build a list of credits, not split up my books between two names, so I re-published "Pretty When You Cry" under "Judith Anderson". I've since published two novels "Nadja's Choice" and "Smart As A Whip" with Blushing Books and a short story "Tongue in Geek" in "The First Annual Geeky Kink Anthology" with Riverdale Avenue Books under the pen name "Judith Anderson". "They Say Its Your Birthday" was published in "Confessions of a Spanking Author" by Blushing Books under "Keith Anderson".
   Now hopefully, I hope things are clear as mud. There are quite a number of people among the book groups here on FB who knew me as "Keith Anderson" and some who know me only as "Judith Anderson". I realize there was some confusion, so hopefully, this clears the air. Or not.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Book Spotlight : Jake's Redemption by Jean Kelso



Having grown up in a small town as the youngest of four girls, Jean Kelso learned a lot about life. And one of her dreams was to write. In school, she excelled in short stories and silly poems that her teachers loved and she also came to realize that she loved helping people.

She went to college, became a nurse and met her dream man. They soon married and had kids. Her full-time nursing career pushed her writing to the side, but then fate intervened. Jean was diagnosed with cancer. While being laid up in treatment, her passion for writing returned and in 2014 self-published her first novel.

Thankfully now in remission, she continues to write novels and delight her readers with well-written stories full of romance and engaging characters.



In the spotlight today, is her newest release, "Jake's Redemption". At the age of twenty-eight Jake had seen and done it all, enjoyed a few of the perks, but mostly regretted every experience. He became a man he had sworn he would never become–an enforcer, just like his father. His father had pulled all the strings, and had all the control.

Sex, drugs, and fighting. Stealing, lying and cheating. That wasn’t the life he wanted. He wanted better. Then, betrayal from family turns his life upside down and the only source of scenery he has for the next seven years is from behind bars.

Now on parole, Jake Green wants to start over. New. Fresh. He wants to learn from his mistakes and fix his broken past, especially with his family. He will do anything to have it all.

Until he sees Devon–the one woman who sees Jake, the real man inside.

With Jake’s screwed up past, and a family so torn apart, can he and Devon work through everything together? Is Devon the angel he seeks, who can give him the redemption he craves and deserves?

Excerpt:

I’ve had seven years of thinking about my life, about the mistakes I’ve made. I have tattoos and scars to prove the errors of my ways. The only thinking I need to do now is to figure out how to make up for those wrongs. To make right to all those who deserve the best. The top of the list I suppose should be me. I need to do what is right for myself. To fix what was done wrong to me. I need to salvage my identity and make it, to make me who I really want to be. And that isn’t who I used to be. Too many years I did wrong. I can’t do wrong anymore. ~ Jake

Buy Jake's Redemption at these following stores!

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2ajD9ed

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Free Story from "Pretty When You Cry" Paperback now on sale for only $9.99!




   Here it is!  The free story I promised from the Revised and Expanded Edition of "Pretty When You Cry"! The original edition which only had 7 stories in it was a finalist for Best Book of the Year (2016) by the BDSM Writers Con.

   The new Revised and Expanded edition has TEN stories, plus prefaces that explain background details about every story that's included!  AND the paperback edition of this release is now on SALE for ONLY $9.99! And if you want your paperback signed, it'll be as easy as sending it to me and then I will sign, send it back to you at no additional cost!

Buy your copy now HERE (US) or HERE (UK) !

And now for the FREE story from this release!

==================================


THE GAME


I wrote this back in 2007 and it was my first piece of erotica. I was in between relationships and had started working as a desktop tech at an aviation plant. There was a workfloor where they did maintenance on aircraft engines, but also professional business floors where there was nothing but rows and rows of cubicles. My mind started wandering one slow day and this story came about. It was also posted up on my FL account back in 2009.”



After a few key slips and a computer crash, I finally got the spreadsheet for the Simpson account finished and could proudly say I was midway through the pile of crap on my desk. I slumped in my chair. It was late and I was the only one left in the cube farm on the third floor. At this rate, I’d never get finished with all of it today, but I had told my supervisor I would finish these spreadsheets before I went home. Me and my big fucking mouth.
I prided myself on being a fairly good worker. I paid attention to details and I wasn’t some ‘Barbie’ who put white-out on her computer screen. But I wasn’t above being distracted once in a while and one such distraction was working his way through the cubes tonight.
To say that he had matinee movie star looks, a chiseled chin, wavy coal black hair, ocean-blue eyes, broad shoulders, a massive chest and everything else in proportion would be like a horrible cliche in some vapid porn story. Besides, he wasn’t. He was tall, but bald, like he shaved it. The ocean-blue eyes were there, but they were behind wire-frame glasses. He certainly wasn’t muscle-bound, but he was trim and knew how to carry himself, which to be honest, seemed to be half the battle with most men. He didn’t walk around like a human question mark but more like an exclamation point, with his shoulders back and chest out. No dazzling smile, but definitely a cute grin with dimples that made my toes curl. He didn’t come out of the gate, charging a girl with gallons of testosterone, but sidled up next to me and talked softly. His voice was deep, rich and smooth. And his dimples, did I mention his dimples?
I remember when we first met. The network jack panel in my cube cracked when I moved a file cabinet against it and it needed replacing. Casey came up from the facilities office to take a look.
“I'm gonna need to get under your desk to inspect the damage.”
“Oh, do I need to get out of your way?”
“Well, they usually do, something about me being under their desks with their knee hemline skirts makes them nervous for some reason.” Cue his dazzling smile.
“Ah, I see,” I nodded, “and what if I buck the trend?”
“Ooo, a rebel, I love it.”
I giggled. “Well, seeing as I'm surrounded by gossips, I guess I'll move. We don't need people talking.”
“Speak for yourself, I always love giving people something to talk about.”
“Well then, you are someone I need to keep an eye on.”
Moving to duck under my desk, he said “Please do.” Cue more dimples and me melting as he got on his hands and knees to look under my desk and I could glance at that lovely cute butt of his.
Ever since then, whenever he was on the floor doing something, he would come by and flash those dimples and we would chat. He was the maintenance-person-jack-of-all-trades-sort, and I had a feeling he was overqualified for his job. But he seemed to enjoy where he was in life and I never questioned him about it. The cubes here were right up next to each other, so flirting and not have everyone talking took a bit of finesse, but we both seemed to be up to the challenge.
He was getting close to my cube and I was about to say hey, when the phone rang. Crap! I turned on my headset to take the call.
“McIntyre?” From that one word, I could tell the voice on the other end belonged to Mr. Wesson, the head of my department.
“Yes, sir?”
“Do you know where the information on the staff meeting this morning is?”
“Yes, Mr. Wesson, I can email that to you right now.”
“Well, that’s fine, but I was wanting to know…”
“Sir, it's on its way now to you. I included the minutes, those in attendance and the plan for the next meeting.”
“Okay, thank you, McIntyre, I’ll look it over.”
I always prided myself with ending phone calls quickly. They can end up being a quagmire of wasted time and that takes me away from actually working, or at least doing what I want to do most, like talk to a certain someone.
I stood up and looked around, but he was gone. Crap, I thought to myself, exercised my ninja phone skills for nothing. I sat down, dejected and sighed.
“Boo.”
I gave a jump and whirled around in my chair. He was standing behind me with that shit-eating grin on his face and those dimples.
“You about gave me a heart attack, Casey.”
He gave a quick smile and sat down on my desk. “I’m sorry hon, but it would’ve been okay, I am certified in CPR.”
“Oh, that wouldn’t stand for ‘Crappy Pickup Routine’, would it?”
Casey grabbed his chest in mock pain. “Oh! That hurt, baby. The thrill is gone, huh?”
I shook my head, giggling. “Hardly, it's just I’m still here and I don’t want to be. But I need to get this paperwork finished, so I’m stuck here. And if I keep getting phone calls like the one I just had, I’m never gonna get finished.”
“Well alright,” he said, as he grabbed the very ineffective stress ball off my desk and started tossing it in the air. “If that’s the case, then why don’t we play a game?”
“A game?”
“Yep, one I know you’ll enjoy.”
“Okay,” I said, pushing my keyboard drawer in and sitting back in my chair. “What are the rules, Mr. Hoyle?”
“Well, it starts with you sitting at your desk working with your spreadsheets--“
“Sounds incredibly boring.”
“And I’ll sit under your desk.”
I blinked.“Okay, sounds slightly less boring.”
“But I’m not doing anything.“
“Okay, now I’m back to being incredibly bored--“
“Until the phone rings, then I start making things interesting.”
“How interesting?”
“VERY interesting.”
“Well, okay, I just use my ever-reliable ninja phone skills, get off the phone and enjoy the--“
“Oh no no,” he interrupted, shaking his head, “when the phone calls ends, so do I.”
My jaw dropped. “Well, that’s just evil.”
“I know. That’s what makes it fun,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye.
“I don’t know.” I started, but then he put down the stress ball, swung his legs over the desk and ducked underneath. I had to stifle a giggle at the absurd suddenness. I took a quick glance around to make sure we were the only ones there.
“Hey, I didn’t say I was going to do this,” I weakly protested, “besides just watch, with my luck I won’t get another call for the rest of the--”
And then the phone rang.
It rang again and again.
A muffled voice came from under the desk. “Umm, are you gonna get that?”
I took a deep breath and turned on my headset.
“Hello, McIntyre?”, said the voice on the other end.
Oh god, it was Mr. Wesson again.
At first, Casey's fingers slowly slid up from my ankles to my calves and then to my thighs, his hands spreading my legs, they were firm but gentle and slow. I didn’t feel like I was being manhandled and I could feel my skirt slowly inch up my thighs as my legs separated. I had to take a deep breath as I felt myself start to get wet from his gentle attention. His fingertips softly tickled around my inner thighs like feathers. I had to keep from squirming too much so it wouldn't affect my speaking tone.
“I just wanted to go over some of the figures in the second spreadsheet for the Amalgamated account,” Mr. Wesson said.
“Yes, sir.” I tried to concentrate on bringing up the appropriate files as his fingers traced back down my legs to my calves, gently massaging, tickling around my ankles. I thought this might not be too bad to maintain, but then he did it. He kissed me on the inside of my leg, just above the knee.
“Now it seems like the figures for the third quarter are a little wonky, I want to make sure the equations are set right.”
I could feel his mouth gently kissing my skin, his breath warming my thigh and his goatee tickling my skin as his lips slowly nibbled their way up my leg, which helplessly started to shiver. “Um yes sir, well, I did double check those macros.”
Casey’s fingers gently ran up my right leg, his fingertips tickling their way to my knee and then further past. It was very hard to keep from squirming. I couldn’t help scooting my butt down to the edge of my chair to give him easy access. I knew I was gonna pay for it and honestly, I really didn't care.
In addition to trying to keep an ear out for the phone conversation, I wondered which would reach my pussy first, his lips or his fingers. I about lost it when I felt him slide the damp cotton of my panties aside and realized it was going to be a tie. His tongue licked up my wet lips and took its time licking around my clit while his fingers teased around my wet folds and easily slid in. Two, I was guessing, very slowly making their way into me, deeper as his tongue settled on licking my clit from side to side. I arched in my chair slightly, bearing down on the sensations and pressing my pussy against his tongue. My free hand balled into a fist, trying to maintain composure on the phone.
“Well, okay, are we sure we’re calculating the correct interest rate?”
His fingers inside me started into a rhythm, sliding in and out of me, gently moving deeper inside as I fumbled around with my mouse, trying to focus my eyes on my monitor. “Yes, Mr. Wesson, we are,” I said, struggling to keep my breathing in check.
I lurched against my desk quickly and then settled back, my chest heaving when I felt Casey arch his fingers, twisting them gently as they went in and out, his knuckles rubbing against my g-spot. His tongue was going to town on my clit, alternating between licking it up and down, side to side or teasing around it. Every so often he would gently suckle it into his mouth, making me fight the need to pound my balled fist into the desk.
I startled myself a bit when I realized I was rocking in my chair with no clear memory of when I started doing that. The twisty in-and-out of his fingers--thrusting harder now, coupled with his very hungry mouth--were just about to complete their mission. Letting my head fall back, I couldn’t help breathing deeper through my mouth, when I faintly heard.
“Well, okay, McIntyre, that’s all the information I need, I’ll let you get back to-- “
"No, no, no!!” I screamed.
“What?!?” Mr. Wesson said.
Casey really started working on me now, right when I really needed to think of a reason to continue the phone call. I simultaneously really loved him and hated him at the same time.
“Um, to be honest sir, I really think we need to go over the responsibilities that we in the accounting department have, um, those have changed recently and I think, I think I would really be remiss if I didn’t have those clear in my head.”
The only thing I had clear in my head was Casey's tongue slipping over my clit, tickling and teasing.
“Well, that’s a bit of a lengthy list, McIntyre, I don’t…”
“Please, please, Mr. Wesson,” I pleaded, perhaps a bit too desperately, “Go over them again.”
“Well okay. First off, there’s the matter of making sure the figures in the quarterly spreadsheets are...”
I reached down and held Casey's head against my wet hungry pussy, putting my feet up against the edge of the desk. I couldn’t believe how deep he was, how good he felt, how teasing and talented his tongue was. Most of all, I couldn’t believe how much he was in tune to me, he took notice of everything and memorized it, if he got any kind of reaction, he would do a few more licks on that side of my clit and then move on and then come back to it, like he was reading my mind. In the end, I’m not sure what I was doing, besides not letting his head go till he fucking finished, feeling the sweat bead on my skin, but I knew what it was all heading toward. Me arching back in my chair, bearing down on all the ecstasy thrilling through my body. I kept breathing, not holding it in, but spreading the amazing bliss all over, from my tight shoulders to my trembling calves.
After the waves slowly subsided, I collapsed in my chair, letting my feet fall to the floor. My head fell back and my eyes closed against the glare of fluorescent lights. My hand let go of Casey's head and went limp and my fist finally let go and relaxed, I wouldn’t be surprised if it started floating involuntarily in the air, its certainly what I felt like doing.
“…before the deadline and certainly before the quarterly business meetings, if those numbers aren’t there, then the whole department has egg on its face. Now, I’ve talked to the department heads about whittling this list down, because I know that sometimes it can all seem like a bit much.”
“Ohhhhhh,” I said slowly, dreamily, “that’s okay, Mr. Wesson.”
“Well, that’s good to hear, McIntyre, nice to have a team player. I’ll go ahead and let you go.”
I took a deep breath, turned off the headset and flipped it on the desk.
Casey slowly poked his head up, gingerly wiping his mouth and flashing happy dimples. “How was that?”
“It was…amazing,” I said, then shaking my head, “and horrible, and it was, god, it was fantastic.”
“Ready to do it again?”
I shook my head again in surprise. “No! No, of course I don’t want to do it again! I could have lost my job, my boss could’ve found out, I could’ve been fired.”
Casey just knelt there, smiling up at me.
“No, no, no,” I said, shaking my head, “never, ever, ever…we are NEVER doing that again!”

And then the phone rang.

=======================

  I hope you enjoyed that and trust me, there's a LOT more where that come from!  I've had more people tell me to put a WARNING sticker on this book to NOT read it at work! LOL  :)

           Buy your copy now HERE (US) or HERE (UK) !













Monday, July 25, 2016

Book Spotlight : Taking The Stage by Paige Parsons



6 weeks of rehearsal, 6 weeks to get the lead actress on stage, and 6 weeks to fall in love. The only consistent thing in her life was time.



Her lying, cheating husband betrayed her. Devastated, she quit her teaching job. Now Robyn Rose isn't sure she has it in her to start over again in the only job she ever really enjoyed—the theatre.

But support for her penniless artistic future is limited, until she meets Joseph James Davis. He is the director of Robyn’s last-chance gig, and has some unique, over-his-lap sorts of ideas about what it takes to keep his stage manager on her best behavior. He also might just be her last chance at love.

Now, if only they can get their lead actress (who is also his ex-girlfriend) to take the stage without destroying their possibility at a future together.

Buy now on Amazon and Blushing Books!




Excerpt : 


“She’s not just actor crazy! She’s beyond psycho-diva-drama-queen crazy! She’s the kind of crazy that has an actual diagnosis. It comes with pills, twenty-four-hour watches, and small padded rooms. That bitch practically took my head off!”

Joseph stood next to the door, blocking escape by the ranting bundle bouncing around his office. He’d wrangled her into it after he came up on a scene right out of a movie—two beautiful women in the throes of an anything but beautiful cat fight. It was rounded out with co-stars and deck hands pulling the two of them apart.

“Don’t you stand there like I’m overreacting, because you know that I’m not. This has been coming for weeks! I blame you.”

“Excuse me?”

Joseph knew Roby’s feelings on just about everything, but he was still more than curious to see where she was going with this particular proclamation. She often had a poker face, but never a poker mouth, facts that usually led to heated discussions, and often her to a heated backside. This was not a new argument. He knew what she wanted. It was what she’d wanted since the first week Kat showed up. Roby wanted her gone. So, in that regard, he supposed she was right that it was his fault, because he had zero intent of sending their lead actress packing.

Buy now on Amazon and Blushing Books!


Bio : 


Paige Parsons is a creative Joan of all Trades, with her first love being theatre. However, theatre rarely paid the bills so, she's also worked as an educator, journalist, UPS customer service representative, and a receptionist at a record label.

Now living and working in Asia, Paige, a native New Yorker, has always loved the world of make believe and was a voracious reader and wild storyteller growing up.

She has been making up stories and getting them on paper for as long as she can remember and is always thrilled when someone expresses love for something she's written. After years of fear, and waiting for the right moment, she finished, submitted, and is thrilled to present her first full length novel.

She holds an undergraduate degree in Communication/English-Creative Writing and a graduate degree in Education and has spent the last 25 years collecting stories around the stage as an actress, stage manager, and production manager.


Paige loves to tell stories, read stories, and put stories up on the stage.