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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Snow White Lies - Sarah J. Pepper #erotic #fairytale #adult #promotion

Chapter Two

Alias: Snow White
{New York City, Present Day}
Lipstick.
Coffee.
Sex.

My controversial answer to Forbes’ interview question about the hierarchy of what drives a business savvy empress, such as myself, had a backlash of epic proportions, but I’d be damned to apologize for it. As heir to White Industries, I’d seen my fair share of memos and partook in countless minutes in boring meeting rooms. Forget for a friggin’ second that many people consider business entrepreneurs manipulating psychopaths; I was a spectacle in the limelight without the manic stereotype. Granted, I wasn’t discouraging the press from creating juicy stories that piggybacked off of my quotes to the press. “No Comment” was basically a confession of guilt. However, it wasn’t all my doing.
What hadn’t been published was my explanation of why I thought lipstick, coffee, and sex drive worthy. One: confidence was a state of mind that some women, including myself, lacked when they didn’t look their best. Confidence sells—as does sex. However, that didn’t mean I encouraged bangin’ your way to the top of the CEO ladder. In business especially, selling yourself, or image rather, comes with any black tie affair. Lastly, coffee—the saving grace to every late night meeting, the jumpstart to each early morning, and the socially acceptable way to keep from falling asleep by people who have the personality of a constipated accountant.
A nondescript interviewer kept a pencil thin mic close to her face when she asked, “What are you looking for in a man? Personality? Money? Sex?”
“Who said I was looking for a man?” I teased while Henry, my long time makeup design artist, glued golden eyelashes between mine. The little hairs were heavy and made me sleepy, but it was worth the price of beauty, right? Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing misguided about feeling as beautiful on the outside as my badass self felt on the inside, but it didn’t have to involve an entire canister of gold glitter. At least the makeup artist smelled good. He was the personification of an Abercrombie scratch & sniff. Standing in front me so close the bulge in his pants damn near hit the seat, he got his hands all twisted up in my hair. I couldn’t help but to get a little turned on when he pulled, just ah-oh-so-little. But the real chemistry between us was that we were totally both into men.
The interviewer coughed, taking my attention off of the dick between my legs. “Nivea, we’ve—”
I laughed. “Only lovers are allowed to call me by my namesake, dear. Besides, Nivea means snow. So just call me by my pseudonym and relax. I’m not into formal interviews anyways. Besides, I’m not going to say anything that’ll get you into too much trouble.”
“Snow White, you sued the reporter from Forbes about a woman’s business hierarchy,” she stated and held up the mic like I was going to go ape shit at the mere mention of the magazine, and she was going to get it on tape.
“For slander,” I pointed out. “And we settled out of court so there is nothing for you to worry about… So what were we talking about? Sex? Money? The Big Apple? How come all the alleged prince charmings play for the other team?”
Henry smirked. In a British accent that cemented my appreciation for all things Blighty, he said, “I promise you love, not all the fit arses are gay.”
“Thanks for leaving me a few,” I said with a smile.
The interviewer held up her cell phone. On it was the home page of my blog, Confessions of a Big Apple Debutante. My latest post Butt Floss and Bondage: the shitty thoughts that go through a girl’s mind when sex is on the brain, was breaking the internet. My phone had been blowing up with all sorts of notifications about my nasty taste between the sheets. It couldn’t have been a coincidence that Vogue sent one of their own for a private interview only hours after I made the post.
“Or are you simply into men who know how to use a whipping stick?” the interviewer asked.
I leaned forward as if to tell a dark secret about my sex life. In a whisper, I said, “No comment.”
If everyone only knew that I could care less about all the fame and fortune. I would give a million dollars for one of the donuts on the table—the one with chocolate frosting and multi-colored sprinkles. For the better part of two hours, I’d been sitting in the hard studio chair getting dolled up for a photo-shoot that involved an albino lion. How the big paws related to jewelry, I hadn’t a clue. Whatever sells, right? Regardless, the king cat was the only reason I agreed to the shoot in the first place. I had a soft spot for the furry kind and was promised that the proceeds would be used to keep poachers from attacking more beautiful creatures. However, that was on the DL. I had a gag order clause in the contract with the magazine that the details about my humanitarian efforts wouldn’t be getting out. I didn’t need rumors that I had a soul getting out. I worked too damn hard to make sure that people thought I was the metaphoric love child of a spoiled brat and a heartless bitch.
Regardless of the state of my soul, what I wanted more than to snuggle up to the Mac Daddy of all Pussy Cats was to get my hands on one of the chocolates. Ugh! My stomach had been growling for the better part of an hour. Instead of complaining, I played my part of the most sought out bachelorette on the East Coast.
Even though I could have my pick of men, it wasn’t on the forefront of my mind. Food. It was a four letter word to most in the fashion world, but it was all I could do not to greedily gape at the smorgasbord of food on display. In the midst of drinking in the eye candy, a man in the shadows caught my attention. He was not your usual caterer; he had a fat content of less than five percent… Well, with as tight as his pants were, he was definitely fit. He looked like he’d just rolled out of bed and had that cute, college boy messy hair. He picked up the donut that I’d been eyeing and took a bite.
The prick!
He smirked and then gave me a wink.
“So there isn’t a current man filling the void in your love life?” the interviewer asked oh-so-innocently.
She’d caught me eye-fucking the donut boy. We both knew it. My hunger for sweets did not stop with sprinkled carbs. I wanted to believe in love, but my glutton for cynicism stopped me from over indulging.
“No one man could satisfy me,” I sassed off and then added. “Or no one has yet.”
“Is that a challenge?” she asked, jotting down notes from our conversation.
Before I bothered to answer, the photographer strolled into the dressing room. Few men could pull off a Gucci suit and a beanie hat while balancing a vintage camera in hand, but Christof Leitz shot in style.
His fashion sense wasn’t his only distinctive trait. His work was often referred to as “Prague refugee” as he began his photography career reenacting moments in the Czech Republic’s independence. Due to some much guarded political issues involving his work with film, he defected to the States. Like any renegade, he embraced the outlaw lifestyle. His blond hair was grown out long, and he’d tattooed his body up and down with what he called, “revolutionary inspired” ink.
When a camera wasn’t pressed to his eye, he’d sport epoch aviator sunglasses and capture blurred images with his cell phone. In NYC he was renowned for his paparazzi shots. In fact, Christof could make or break a career by the frequencies of his printed photos. So to say we had many a happenstance rendezvous would be a sound assumption.
“White? You’re my victim today?”
I squealed and raced off of the barstool. Forgetting that I was covered in glitter, I put my arms around him and gave a big squeeze. There were few men in my life that I swore off, and Christof was one of them. It’d be like screwing a stepfather. Yes, he might be hot, funny, and talented, but it was just wrong. Period. I kissed him on the cheek, leaving a bright red lipstick stain.
“I hardly recognized you since you aren’t hiding behind a bush.” I gave him a wink and nodded to his camera in hand. “I didn’t think you knew how to operate one of those things when there wasn’t a three foot long lens attached. Since when did you start whoring yourself out to the big-timers like Vogue?”
“I like pussies,” he said. “When I heard they were looking for a professional picture snapper for Bling’s ad that involved a fat cat, I couldn’t resist.”
“So if they were looking for a professional, why did they hire you?” I teased.
Henry grabbed me by my shoulders and pulled me off Christof. “White, I swear if you rub off any more of my Golden Goose Glitter on his designer suit I will strangle you with my hair extensions. Get your arse back on the stool so I can fix this mess you did with your lips!”
I let Henry drag me back to his domain so he could finish the beautification process. He worked overtime because the lion had arrived and I was due on set pronto. Finally when my skin was touched up and lipstick reapplied, Henry deemed me as beautiful as a modern day goddess and practically dragged me away from the mirrors so it didn’t look like I was too eager to pet the pretty cat. Nevertheless, I couldn’t hold back a squeal when I saw the majestic beast sprawled out on the wooden floor.
With curious caution, I approached the cat. Dressed in a little more than glitter and a diamond necklace that was worth most people’s salaries, I had virtually no protection if it decided to use his paws. Yet, I wasn’t worried. Animals didn’t seem to mind me, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t about to give them their respect. After giving me a sniff, the cat yawned. I didn’t know if it was his way of saying don’t mess with me or if he saw me as little threat. Either way, I took it as a sign that I could snuggle up next to him.
Christof had been already taking pictures of our meet n’ greet, and he didn’t stop while I got adjusted around the animal. The interviewer was on her game as well, not letting the animal give her worry.
“So you’re saying money does buy happiness?” she asked. “There is no use in finding Mr. Right?”
I laughed. “Mr. Right is an urban legend. He’s no more than a mythical creature Disney created to give little girls something to dream about only to have their hearts crushed when he doesn’t come-a-knockin’. No such man exists.”
“So do you ever think you’ll marry?” the interviewer asked. She stood behind the photographer so as to not interfere with the photography. “Being the most eligible bachelorette in New York, you’ll disappoint many suitors if you don’t.”
I glanced down at my left hand and pictured the phantom bling weighing down that finger. It was difficult to think of possible futures that didn’t involve me ending up in prison for the malicious crimes I planned. It was even more difficult to picture any man being able to put up with my public persona. And if by chance I managed to find that someone, when the camera lens was capped and the crowd dissipated could I actually be real with them. It was hard enough for me to be myself. I was much better at faking it. A permanent person who held the title: husband. Just thinking about pre-nups gave me an instant migraine.
“Doesn’t every girl dream of their wedding day?” I asked innocently as I looked back up at her and hoped she could see the venom in my expression. Most people backed off when I glared that way, but she wasn’t taking the bait.
“And how do you dream of yours?” she pressed on.
Dreaming was a delusion I gave up long ago... Another camera shot. I couldn’t think of a life where I wasn’t pretending. Camera shot. Dreaming of a life where a man would fit into it wasn’t fathomable.
“Do you ever dream about your father walking you down the aisle? Giving you away? The dance?” she asked.
I knew it shouldn’t have, but the mention of my father caught me off guard. I usually gave everyone enough to talk about; few people ever dropped his name anymore. I swallowed hard and turned and faced the lion so that Christof wouldn’t accidentally catch my grief on film. But turning toward the beast didn’t help. The lion’s amber eyes seemed to penetrate right through me. I closed my eyes so that I didn’t accidentally mess up and shed a tear. My father had been gone for years now, so why did my heart still ache like it was yesterday? The episodes happened less and less as years passed. With the help of a drug inducing hallucinogenic called Elixir, I could shy away from the hurt. I bit the inside of my mouth to take my mind off of the pain that would never heal fully. As if sensing my pain, the lion put his forehead on mine. The sincere gesture got to me. A tear escaped and slid down my cheek. I’d lost the battle.
The camera shutter echoed. It was a not-so-subtle reminder that my grief would be for public display. I needed to pull myself together.
“My father can only live in my dreams,” I said, hating that my voice wavered at the mention of dear ol’ dad.
Reality was a brutal bitch. My eyes watered. I hated it. After nearly a decade, you’d think I could keep my emotions in check. Camera shot. Camera shot. Camera shot. Great. Now my adverse reaction would be exploited by the magazine however they wanted. Camera shot. My father would never walk me down the aisle. Camera shot. My mother wouldn’t recognize me even if she was there. Camera shot. Marrying a man now would only trap me in my faux life forever.
Ugh! I needed to steer this interview back to a more favorable outcome. Fighting back another persistent tear, I closed my eyes and got back into the moment. Right now wasn’t a time to let people see the real me; not yet. When I opened my eyes, I bore a smartass smile.
“I can’t really think about marriage right now,” I said, raising my chin high. The lion followed suit. “I’m soon to be in complete control of the family business. That’s at the forefront of my mind…well, that and making sure our family’s good name gets all the publicity possible.”
“But if you could…” the interviewer pressed.
I crossed my arms. This chick would seriously not let it go. “I don’t dream of my wedding day in the same way most women do. I don’t care if I spill wine all over the white dress. Having a perfect Pinterest photo is so not on my mind. And I couldn’t care less about the hors d’oeuvres. My day will begin when the lights are finally turned off and everyone else is passed out. Do I care if he rips the corset off of me because he is too desperate to see what was hidden underneath? Hell, I pray that the ridiculously expensive dress will lay in ruins on the floor! I hope that he demands me to keep my eyes open so that I can see the affection in his as he makes sweet, passionate love to me. It is my hope that the man I will eventually say yes to will make me scream our last name until my voice goes hoarse. That is the part about my wedding that invades my dreams… Now, the tricky part: finding a man that fits the bill.”
The interviewer grinned. I finally gave her the meat she was looking for. “That’s one hell of a statement.”
“You can quote me on that: I challenge New York to find me Mr. Right…or at the very least a suitable mistress,” I said with a wink.
#
With a donut in hand, I stumbled into the changing room. My lipstick had to be smudged from making out with the flirtatious pastry boy. Totes worth it though. I took another gluttonous bite of the sweet heavenly sugar. Pushing the door closed with a kick of the heel, I embraced the solitude.
With the pastry between my teeth, I undid the bra clasp to let my girls hang free from beneath my dress. I swore that designers forgot about comfort at the price of beauty. I supposed that was their prerogative. Nothing comes for free.
I yanked out a wad of extensions from my hair and tossed them on the vanity. I shouted up a silent prayer, grateful that some genius thought up Spanx.
Edison bulbs encompassed the mirror set above the vanity. No matter how much I dodged mirrors, especially when I was squeezed into an itty bitty outfit, there was no avoiding them in dressing rooms. Everywhere I turned there was another one. Mirrors were my arch nemesis. I hated what I saw upon looking at them. They had the ability to lift my spirit or crush me like a roach. Nevertheless, I caught site of my reflection. It wasn’t vanity, but I did look positively beautiful. However, it had nothing to do with the hairdo or makeup. It sure as hell wasn’t the fat maker in my mouth. I set the donut on the vanity and wiped away the crumbs from my face.
What caught my eye was my tear stained cheek. There was a painful beauty to it. Why didn’t Christof notify Henry to come over and fix it? Oh hell, he probably thought the rawness of it was worth the disrupted makeup. I wasn’t known for being sappy in the public-eye. It was one of those rare photos of my humane side.
The longer I stared, the more I hoped one of the tear-stained, emotional photos would actually make the cut. People would interpret it how they wanted to, but I would know the truth. This was my reality. My opinion of love was drawn on my face.
I meant what I said; Mr. Right didn’t exist. But on the off chance he did, I hoped he’d see this photo.
And never come looking for me.

 

@sarahjpepper

Monday, June 29, 2015

Three Jewels - Chris Kalyta #promotion #erotic #adventure #fiction


Three Jewels
By Chris Kalyta

Three Jewels, an erotic adventure set at the beginning of Ancient Egypt's 3rd Dynasty, takes place in a land populated both by primitive people taking their first steps toward civilization and by mythology.  Evil Set has risen in Nubia and turns his gaze upon the gleaming treasure that is the Land of the Nile, and all he comes across fall under his spell.  As chaos threatens the very existence of Egypt, can Imhotep, King's Vizier, free his sovereign and all those he cares about from the iron grip of this immortal foe?  And what of the task set for Imhotep by the First Queen of Egypt?  Can he select one wife from three innocent women, knowing that the two he does not choose will be put to death?

Excerpt:
Imhotep's mind was awhirl as he left the King's chambers, and this was not the first time in his life that his mind had raced along so many roads at the same time.  He was surprised when a gentle hand interrupted his thoughts, though.  Few would dare to interrupt the king's vizier while he was concentrating, and he had often used this hallway because few others ventured along it.
"Imhotep," purred Queen Nefetra, as she stepped out from behind a column, her hand sliding across images of animal sacrifices.  She had changed clothes since Imhotep had spied her in the throne room, and her new attire was made of the most shear fabrics and lacked her normal ostentatious taste in jewellery, hiding no part of her from his wandering eyes.  "I had hoped to have a chance to talk with you."
Imhotep bowed low.  Then he stood straight.  "I am honoured, my Queen.  How can I be of service to King Netjerikhet's second wife?"
Her dark eyes flashed.  Then, she smiled.  "Have I not always been nice to you, Imhotep?  Nicer than cruel Nebti?"
He stiffened.  "Queen Hetephernebti has never been cruel to me.  I am honoured to serve so holy a family."
"You know what I speak of, Imhotep."  She walked slowly around him, but each warily kept their eyes on the other.  "Look at what she has subjected you to today.  You must choose a wife.  Two innocent girls are to be put to death, because you choose a third.  And such lovely young women!  How will that weigh upon you when their heads roll free upon the cold stone floor or when their limbs are twisted off by ravenous crocodiles?  Is that really the proper way to treat the king's vizier?"
"I am not privy to the plans of the king and queen.  One might as well ask to be privy to the thoughts of Ra, or Horus."
"Oh, come now.  A clever man such as you must have come to some conclusions about what passes through the minds of your masters."  She stopped in front of him and crossed her arms across her chest, lifting her breasts a little.  She smelled of exotic spices.  "Three women to stay with you, one after the other?  You, who has always been too occupied to enjoy the pleasures offered by my sex.  She means to sap your vitality, Imhotep.  She means to make you weaker, to render you impotent.  She fears your connections with the king.  Can you not see that?"
"I am loyal to the king."
She came closer and her breasts barely touched his robes.  She whispered, "Do you not see that we could be of service to each other?  Think on what might happen were my charms coupled with your intellect."  She leaned against him until he could feel her breasts press the fabric of his robes against his chest.  "We might make a hot fire together, Imhotep, a fire that would sweep across this land and leave a fertile soil in which we might plant our seed."
He took a step back, and suddenly remembered to breath.
"Think of what Egypt could be like, Imhotep.  And then come to me if you feel the need."
She gave him a sly smile, then slowly spun on her sandaled feet and walked away.  She did not look back.
Imhotep watched her go, then took several deep breaths and was glad for the fact that his robes hung loosely over his body.  Queen Nefetra had spoken blasphemy about the king, but she had also awoken something within Imhotep, at least temporarily.

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Snow White Lies - Twisted Fairytale Confession - Sarah J. Pepper #erotic #promotion #fairytale #book

Chapter One
Alias: Unknown
{New York City, 1771}
Déjà vu.
A red-headed beauty lay frozen on the dock of the most predominate shipping yard
in the New York Harbor. Large rope was strewn around her waist, which would be heavy enough to hold her petite body at the bottom of Hudson’s unconventional cemetery. However, her feet were submerged in buckets of cement to ensure she never surfaced. Aside from her cement shoes, she was dressed immaculately, wearing a corset black dress that highlighted her hour-glass figure. Each stitch was perfect, and the white lace was pressed smoothly against her skin. Her scarlet hair was done up in curls. The shine of her hair accentuated her shimmering ruby red lips. Her spectacles were water stained, but her olive green eyes still shone through. They were open, freezing the horror on her face from the moment she died.
Kneeling down beside her, he pressed down on the gaping gunshot wound on her chest. Gunpowder residue was dusted on his hand. Her skin was cold against his hand. It was too late. Nothing could be done. She belonged to the otherworld now.
A tear slipped from his eye when he closed hers. This woman had been important to him even though she wore an unfamiliar wedding band around her finger.
He tried to recall the night’s events that ended with the death of the mysterious woman. Nothing surfaced. Anything of significance escaped him. In fact, he couldn’t recall anything, not even his name.
Although he could not recall a specific time and place with her, vague memories of sliding his hands down her silky smooth skin fluttered in his thoughts. Her ghostly kiss lingered on his lips. The spark of unrelenting determination in her eyes surfaced when he closed his. Her laugh echoed in his ears like a haunting remembrance to what was—what they had been before… The harder he tried to remember, the more their phantom past slipped through the cracks in his mind.
“You are in debt to the Queen,” a dwarf said, standing behind the man, strumming his fingers on his spiked cane.
His miniature shadow cast onto the beautiful corpse. The dwarf bore a strong Anglo-Saxon genealogy and was well-dressed as any man would be who owned land and substantial coin. Dressed in black breeches and a yellow waistcoat, he appeared positively out of place in the shipyard. While the man couldn’t recall anything significant about himself, the dwarf’s reputation preceded him. He went simply by the Boss, leader of the Sons of Liberty.
Like any high profile leader, the Boss wasn’t alone. Armed with a Kentucky long rifle, another dwarf, who went by the alias Privateer, sat on the dock’s railing. His eyes were as green as the emerald necklace around the dead woman’s neck. His teeth were crooked. His fiery red hair was hidden under a top hat, yet the man was anything but a businessman. His clothes were only a little better than a beggar’s, but his dress wasn’t remarkable. Tattoos littered his skin. Only his face and hands were clean of the ink. His Irish descent was unmistakable. His mittens had the finger tips cut off, but the dwarf did not seem to notice or care about his complete lack of hygiene. He seemed rather concerned with scraping the dirt out from under his nails, all nine of them, with a rusted switchblade. Nonetheless, he knew that it wasn’t dirt. What lay under his nail beds was residue of coal. Practitioners who performed in the dark arts often referred to it as Elixir. Necromancers paid a small fortune just to get their hands on some of it. Those who didn’t practice dark magic sought it as a drug. The state of ecstasy the residue provided was immeasurable.
The two dwarves were demons of the notorious Seven: a mob of dwarves who practiced dark alchemy: aka, black magic. Their allegiance was only to the Queen, a powerful necromancer. She preferred to stay inconspicuous, allowing the Seven to do her bidding. They were noxious to society. Tales about the Seven and their corruption were common knowledge amongst necromancers, but nay mentioned amongst the mundanes—people who were oblivious to black magic.
“It’s time to dump the wench’s body,” the Boss said as casually as if he’d been informing them of tea time.
Fury filled the man’s heart when the Boss grinned smugly at the most beautiful corpse in the world. Hatred poured through him, and he wanted nothing more than to tie the rope around the dwarf’s ankles so that he and the woman may find their watery grave together.
“Awaiting your repayment to the Queen, you belong to us,” the Privateer said, jumping down beside the Boss and handed him the gun. “And until then, we don’t need you to expire before your debt is paid in full.”
Flipping out a switchblade made of bone, the Privateer advanced toward him. The dwarf swayed like a drunken bastard, like he didn’t know how to walk properly on land after acquiring his sea legs. He grabbed at the man’s arm.
The nameless man swiftly kicked the legs out from under the Privateer. Striking quickly, he man punched the dwarf’s nose, breaking it immediately. He twisted the boney switchblade out of his attacker’s hands. The switchblade was uncannily hot to the touch. But it was still a knife, regardless of the magic harbored within it. Thus, the man charged the other dwarf.
The Boss aimed the rifle at the man’s chest. Without hesitation, the man threw the switchblade at the dwarf. It stuck in the dwarf’s chest, but the little bastard didn’t fall.
“Calm down boy,” the Boss said and pulled the trigger.
The bullet punctured the man’s knee. Blood splattered. Bone shattered. He dropped and clutched his leg.
“Just kill me!” the man said through clenched teeth. “I’m bound to lose my leg if I don’t bleed out.”
“There will be no more dying today,” the Boss said, lowering the rifle. He pulled out the switchblade that was wedged in his chest and tossed it to the Privateer who was wiping his bloody nose on his shirt. His eyes were already swollen and bruising had taken up around his nose.
The Privateer kneeled beside him and pressed the switchblade against his neck. “Let’s try this again, shall we mate?”
He spat on the dwarf’s face. “Fuck off!” 
Enraged, the Privateer slammed the switchblade down on the man’s forearm. Moving quickly, the man grabbed the hilt of the blade and jerked it out of the dwarf’s hand.
“Best be on your way, chalker!” he yelled, pointing at the Privateer. “I will not be your cutting board!”
“How many bullet holes do you need before you smarten up and cooperate with us?” the Boss asked, humored as he tapped gunpowder into the barrel.
His lip curled. “More than one.”
“So be it,” the Boss said and fired again.
This time the bullet grazed the man’s hand. He dropped the switchblade. Acting quickly, the Privateer slammed his foot down on the man’s wrist and armed himself with the switchblade. The Boss followed suit. He withdrew a pistol and pointed it at the man’s head.
“It would be a pity to kill you,” the Boss promised. “A man of your stature would be useful to us.”
Cutting beside the previous stab wound, the Privateer jerked the blade in a cryptic rhythm. The blade tore through the man’s skin.
“It’s more effective if you whistle,” the Boss said dryly.
The Privateer stopped and withdrew the blade only to point it at the Boss. “Has your tattoo’s effectiveness worn off? No? Then shut it and let me work my talents on my own accord.”
The Boss tugged on the hem of his sleeve, covering the bit of tattoo peeking out from under his clothing. Satisfied with the Boss’s reaction, the Privateer dug the blade back into his arm. His blood turned black as it oozed to the surface. Ink poured from his veins. It crusted over in a matter of seconds. The dwarf had cut the current year into his skin; a jagged number the Seven was scratched over the top of the year. It was Seven’s brand.
The blackened blood flaked off. In its place was a tattoo instead of the cut marks. “What have you done?”
“I blessed you with the longevity of the gods.” The Privateer grinned, revealing his yellowed teeth. Bourbon was fragrant on his breath.
“You will not age a day until your debt is repaid,” an equally short Negro woman answered, walking up to the scene. She casually sipped tea from a white China cup like it was common to step over dead women on the docks.
She was dressed more prestigiously than the Boss. For a privileged woman of her color, she was a glaring minority, due greatly to the Dutch West India Company. Nearly half of the city’s population came here with shackles around their ankles. He may have carried a great disdain for the woman, but it wasn’t because of her cocoa-colored skin. He loathed slavery and the way it brought out the worst in people. Just like the other two, he knew who she was even though he couldn’t recall meeting her before. Her reputation superseded her. She was the infamous Widower.
Upon smelling the Privateer, she wrinkled her nose, and she handed him her cup of tea. Her fingertips were cased with underdeveloped birds’ beaks. They looked like claws from a demonic creature. “You stink like a whiskey barrel.”
“And you smell like a wench, darling,” the Privateer whispered like he would to a lover. “The good Doctor will go positively dumbstruck when she gets a sniff.”
She nodded to the bleeding man on the ground. “Am I to thank him for making you better looking?”
The Privateer’s lip curled. “He got lucky.”
She shoved the teacup against the Privateer’s chest. The Privateer pretended not to notice the rude gesture. The lingering scent of the morning tea was tempting enough. He raised it in the air in salute to thank her, and then downed it in one gulp. His blackened fingerprints dirtied the cup. He nonchalantly twirled it around on his finger, watching the Negro dwarf circling around him.
“The Queen has given you as a gift to us until you are able to fulfill your penance. Thus, you are to be Seven’s indentured servant—a lieutenant,” she lectured like the words had been spoken many times before. “In a matter of speaking, we own you.”
“’Tis a pity about the party you are planning with the Sons of Liberty, Boss. Brits make the best brew.” The Privateer tossed the Boss the empty cup.
The Boss was forced to lower the rifle or watch the expensive cup smash to pieces. He let go of the weapon so his fine China would not be destroyed. The Privateer snatched up the gun. Judging from his grin, the gun was exactly what he had wanted from the Boss. And he knew how to manipulate the situation so he’d get it. 
“The Queen insists upon the matter. Thus, I will convince the colonists to do what she asks,” the Boss replied, making his annoyance for the Privateer’s behavior clear in his voice.
The Irish dwarf aimed the gun at the nameless man’s head and said, “Pow!” He chuckled to himself and lowered the gun. “You are a man of nice things. Oh rubbish, I mean, you were a man of nice things. What was once yours is property of the Seven now.”
“Enough,” the Widower barked.
She walked up next to the man. Her black spectacles almost made her approachable, but damn it if he didn’t get chills when he caught glimpse of her white eyes. She stood in silence as she eyed the dead woman and her swollen belly. He hated that the Widower smiled with pleasure as she took in the sight of the corpse.
“We cannot call for the Doctor,” the Widower said, looking at the dead woman’s swollen belly. “An innocent has died.”
The Privateer rubbed the back of his neck. “An unfortunate casualty but necessary.”
“Let me deal with the Doctor. No one is to mention what happened,” the Boss said and then nodded to the nameless man. “Just take care of him, will you?”
She withdrew a locket from around her neck and pried it open with one of the beaks on her fingers. The locket was made of black glass. She whistled softly and then blew on it. Coal residue was cast into the air. Within the locket, smoke twirled around. The Widower’s spectacles mimicked the smoky twirl. She took them off, revealing red eyes. Widower was possessed.
She grabbed his thumb up and pressed it against the blackened glass. The moment his skin touched the glass, it shattered and cut his finger.
“Your future is undone, shattered like glass,” the Widower said in a voice that was not her own. Like her eyes, her voice sounded like it was coming from a different person. “You are the Queen’s property, until the fairest harlot whose skin is as white as snow and hair is as dark as night is sacrificed by your doing. Be warned. Lies spew from her blood-red lips, but she will give you a worthy epithet.”
He questioned, “A harlot will be my penance?”
“How am I to know? The Mirror only shows me a future, he doesn’t decipher it,” the Widower said, speaking once again in her normal voice. “When you find her, you are to bring the Queen her dead body.”
“We all do what the Queen requests. If she wants you to sacrifice a woman on her behalf that is exactly what you’ll do,” the Boss said gravely. “And the Seven will ensure that her wishes are met.”
With that, the Widower closed the locket. She reached for his left hand. He was shocked to see he had been wed-locked. She pried the piece of metal off of his ring finger. The dead woman bore a matching band on her finger. Had she been his wife? When he looked up at the Widower, she was slipping his ring between the chains around her locket. His ring melted with the chain until there was nothing to indicate he belonged to the deceased woman, other than the tan line around his ring finger.
“I must get going,” the Widower said. “The good Doctor wishes to have a word with me.”
“Send her my love,” the Privateer said with a wink.
“She’d rather catch scurvy than lay with you,” she retorted.
“She might get both as quickly as you spread yours,” the Privateer said, flashing his rotten teeth.
The Widower kicked the cement buckets into the river, dragging the woman below the waves. Acting upon instinct, he swung at her. When his fist collided with her face, it cracked. He stumbled away, unsure of what was happening. Chuckling venomously, the Widower’s skin flecked away and broke off in chunks. The moment they collided with the ground, each chunk turned into a blackbird. Her body continued to become more and more decrepit until there was nothing but coal cinders on the ground. Hundreds of blackbirds circled overhead a few times before flying off to the horizon.
“Come,” the Boss said. “There is much the Queen insists upon, and there are only the Seven of us.”


@sarahjpepper

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Affairs of Men's Hearts #gay #bookreview #sex #love

Welcome to BRB, everyone!

Affairs of Men’s Hearts written by Pablo Michaels is a compilation of four short stories, each a chapter from the author’s life threaded with imagination and his aptitude to write. The first two stories are the most thought provoking and insightful—true slices of life.
In Growing Up in My Hometown I met a gay man in his youth, and the trials and tribulations he faces when his sexuality isn’t considered socially acceptable. He is full of expression, uncertain and torn between what he desires and what he can actually have.
Then and Now took me on a journey filled with change, sexual experimentation, and personal need; an adult gay man’s perspective on his past and future. His certainty of who he is and the one man in particular he craves.
The Slumber Party is Benjie Fallon’s fight to get out from under his family’s suffocating oppression and initially create a life with the guy he’s crazy about, David. Whether up or down, he manages to survive, carving a path through the gay dating scene, nutty female neighbours and friends.
Pagan Knights of Cambria Nights is the most interesting of the four stories. Glenn Talbot and Bill Blake, long time lovers, travel to the Cambria Shores to celebrate their honeymoon. And while frolicking in the bed and on the beach, along with their dog Bradley, they meet a gay couple staying at same motel. The other men stare at them and aren’t overly friendly, and Billie feels threatened, but Glenn doesn’t seem as bothered. And what starts as a wonderful honeymoon turns into a bit of a nightmare.

The author put his heart and soul in every line on every page, and as a consequence the four shorts make up a great combination. Endearing, and a treat to read. Fear to lust and lust to love there is a little something for everyone.

Blak Rayne