Friday, February 27, 2009
Her Perfect Family
By Ericka Scott
She climbed the stairs, her arthritic knees making almost as much noise as the wooden risers. She hadn’t been upstairs in years, but the sound of their laughter was irresistible. The children must be pleased with their new little brother.
She felt a small thrill of pleasure. All those years of longing. She’d almost given up hoping for another boy. Then, there he was at the park. She fell in love with his blond hair and chocolate brown eyes; he was destined to be hers. She brought the toddler home and settled him in the playroom. Her family was now complete: two boys and two girls. Perfect.
At the top of the stairs, a whirling dervish in the shape of a toddler careened into her. She scrabbled to hold on to the railing. Suddenly, the air around her was filled with voices. This time, they sounded anything but happy. Unseen fingers pried at her hands and a sharp intense pain shot up her right arm. It felt as if someone had bitten her! Her new son had backed off, staring at her. Inattentive, she let go of the bannister. With a yell, the boy ran at her. She gasped and stepped backward into darkness.
* * *
Lieutenant ‘Mack” McDonald had difficulty piecing together the abducted boy’s story. Was the woman’s death a premeditated attack or an accident? Could a three-year old really grasp the concept of death? He thought about his own little boy at home. It seemed incomprehensible. But the toddler now sitting quietly on the floor had been very clear.
“So you waited at the top of the stairs and then pushed her?”
The boy looked up and nodded without blinking “They said if I didn’t, I’d end up like them.”
Mack sighed. He’d searched the house; there was no sign that anyone but the old woman lived there. “Tell me again, who told you to push her?”
“Them.” The boy stood up, came over and took his hand before leading him to a window overlooking the overgrown lawn.
“Them,” the boy reiterated and pointed down. Mack could see the grass grew greener in three suspicious-looking spots. Oh, God. Graves?
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I've got a new release to heat up a cold winter day -
Will the man of her dreams live up to her fantasies?
On the eve of her birthday, Penny Granger is desperate to lose 'it' before she becomes a forty-year old virgin. After a sexy stranger drops his business card on her tray, she throws caution to the wind and fills out an application to e-bootycall.com. Time goes by with no response.
Is there really a shelf-life on virginity and once it’s old, no one wants it anymore? Then, on the eve of her ‘big day’, she gets a birthday surprise. For the sexy man she’s matched with is someone she's been fantasizing about for years. Her boss!
“You’re still a virgin?”
Belinda’s voice was way too loud in the diner, and heat rushed to my cheeks. I motioned for her to keep her voice down, but she didn’t appear to notice.
“How can that be? Your fortieth birthday is next week!”
A man at the table next to ours looked over with interest and caught my eye. Although he was dressed in a business suit, he didn’t fit in with any of the bankers, lawyers, or stock analysts who usually frequented this particular diner. He had a five o’clock shadow even though it was only ten in the morning, and his spiky brown hair was tipped with gold highlights. A small black ring pierced his eyebrow, and a diamond sparkled in the ear turned toward our conversation. I didn’t want to stare at him but out of the corner of my eye, I memorized his features to use later in a few of my fantasies.
I leaned across the table, hoping she would catch my drift that this was confidential information I didn’t want shared with the whole world. “I didn’t plan it this way. It just happened.”
Belinda’s brown eyes got a little wider and if anything, her voice grew louder. “But what about Rick? I thought you two had been making out! At least, that’s what you implied.”
Had I? Well, yes. I had mentioned a few details but that was last week—when Belinda and I were sitting in the booth at the back, away from prying eyes and ears. But did she have to bring this up today when all the tables were filled and we’d had to take a seat in the middle of the floor within sight and sound of the entire diner?
I prayed everyone was too busy enjoying the all-you-can-eat Friday buffet to pay any attention to us. Unfortunately, it appeared I wasn’t going to be that lucky.
Not only was the guy at the next table studying me with interest, our conversation had also caught the attention of other customers. One lady was so enthralled she stood in the aisle next to our table, openly listening. I wished a large earthquake would hit and the ground would swallow me up.
“Well, did you?” Belinda insisted.
“Of course, we did,” I mumbled. “And we got close to, um…doing it the other night, but when I told him I was a…” I dropped my voice to barely above a whisper, “virgin, he suddenly remembered he had to be somewhere and took off. I figure he probably thought I was saving it for marriage and had decided he was the one.”
“Do you think that’s why he broke up with you?” Belinda asked, then answered herself. “Of course it was. The M-word makes them head for the hills every time.” She gave me a knowing nod.
“But I didn’t mention marriage,” I protested. “I waited for him to call, then finally broke down and called him yesterday. He gave me the it isn't you, it's me speech and then said he’d met someone else.” I tried to shrug it off, but tears filled my eyes. Damn. I really wished I hadn’t responded to Belinda’s question about why I looked so sad. We only worked together; she wasn’t really my friend. Unfortunately, the heartache had been right there, on the surface, and had just spilled over.
“So, what are you going to do about your virginity? Don’t you want to lose it?”
“Yes. No,” I snapped out. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” When her expression went from interested to hurt, I tried to soften my words by adding a belated, “Please.”
“Sure.” She looked at her watch. “I’m due back anyway.” Without gathering up her tray, she flounced over to the door and left without even a backward glance or wave. Shit. There went another possible friendship.
I sighed and took another bite of my sandwich. It tasted like chewy cardboard. Oh, well. I had a pile of work on my desk so I, too, should probably return to the office.
While gathering Belinda's tray as well as my own, I was surprised by a touch on my arm.
It was Mr. Gorgeous from the table next to us.
“I have a solution for your…ahem…problem.”
Shit, the guy was coming on to me. Probably going to offer to help me lose my virginity. Not that I’d protest overmuch; he really was a hunk. But having him proposition me in the middle of the diner where I ate my lunch almost every day was too much. I pulled my arm away and tried to glare at him. Instead, I found myself smiling back at his contagious grin. Oh, heavens, I wasn’t desperate. Really. I fixed my face into some semblance of a disapproving look and walked away.
I could feel him walking beside me but didn’t want to encourage him. What if all these people saw me leave with him? They’d all think… Shit, I was going to have to find someplace else to eat every day.
But instead of following me all the way to the door, he slid a business card onto my tray and then headed back to his table.
I willed my feet to keep walking. Since I couldn’t very well dash out still carrying the remains of my lunch, I had to stop at the big red trash can near the door. The small white card on the bright blue tray taunted me. It would have been so easy to throw it away. However, at the last minute, I shoved it into my purse and fled back to the safety of my cubicle.
It wasn’t until five o’clock, when I was digging in my purse for my bus pass, that I really took a look at the card he had handed me.
Jason Bigelow—if that was his real name—was a relationship consultant for a company called e-bootycall.com. Discreet and Confidential was written in red right above the web address.
Was this the answer?
**********************************copyright 2009, Ericka Scott
Have a great Valentine's Day!