Crossing Double

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Contemporary Romance

A Heartbreaker Novel, Book 3

Published: October 16, 2018

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Brent Keiser, a certified genius, and forensic accountant work for the FBI mostly because of their awesome retirement plan. Growing up homeless with a ditzy mother can make a guy be a little obsessive in the saving for the future department. But just once, he’d like to get out in the field, maybe actually fire a gun or chase after a bad guy like the other agents. Although, solving crimes with his calculator is statistically much safer, and he’d live to enjoy that house on the beach he saves for each payday.

Sara Chapman used to be a card-carrying member of the Hollywood rich kid pack, but after serving community service, she said goodbye to her spoiled friends. Seeing the plight of the homeless up close and personal gave her a new direction. But that doesn’t deter the annoying paparazzi. Her parents were the famous ones, not her. Sara’s only recent claim to fame was for having the most embarrassing public break up in the history of the entire world. Unfortunately, they don’t give Oscars for those, so she is trying to keep her head down and to stay as far away from single men as possible.

But then Sara becomes unknowingly tangled up in Brent’s money laundering case against her father. When it becomes hard to tell the good guys from the bad, she turns to Brent for help. While on the run for their lives, the built, nerdy accountant with magnificent abs, transforms into her personal superhero. Opposites in almost every way, will Brent see her as his Kryptonite or his Lois Lane?


Other Books in the Heartbreaker Series:

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Seeing Double

A Heartbreaker Novel, Book 1

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Published: August 2017

 Dani Botelli has vowed to step out of her demanding movie star mother’s shadow and is determined to start a new chapter in her life. But two men vying for her attention are making for double the trouble. There’s Jake, her police detective almost-ex who wasn’t so hot as a husband but still has the hots for Dani. And as usual, he needs her intuition and visions to help him solve a crime. Then there’s her high school crush, Michael, a former NFL pro who’s now her mom’s hunky lawyer.

Working alongside Jake, while keeping her special gifts under wraps, is proving to be more dangerous than Dani realized. She needs to stay out of harm’s way—and out of Jake’s flirtatious path—long enough to find out if Michael is the one. But will her hard-to-explain hunches be the secret that comes between them?

A National Reader’s Choice Award finalist.

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Dealing Double

A Heartbreaker Novel, Book 2

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Published: February 2018

Falling in love can leave anyone feeling a little exposed…

Archaeologist Gabby Knight has been living under an assumed identity to steer clear of her mobster father’s enemies. But when she suspects her father of plotting to steal a priceless statue buried in New Mexico, she risks everything and sets out for the desert to beat him to it—and to save him from making a grave mistake. Breaking into a secluded cabin to wait out a blizzard, she’s not worried about visitors. It’s not like anyone would be traveling in this kind of weather…right?

Wrong. Detective Jake Morris has been ordered to take an overdue vacation, so he’s looking for some quiet time in the isolated retreat. But getting clobbered over the head by an auburn-haired firecracker wielding a cast-iron pan wasn’t the relaxing start he had in mind. Using a lot of charm and a little help from his prophetic ex-wife, Dani, he soon discovers who the sexy intruder really is.

Serving justice is in Jake’s blood, so he can’t help but join Gabby on her quest to protect the statue and catch a thief. To properly do his job, Jake knows he can flirt but better not fall. After all, what kind of future could a cop and a mobster’s daughter hope to have?

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About the Author

Tamra Baumann is an award-winning author of light-hearted contemporary romance. A reality-show junkie, she justifies her addiction by telling others she’s scouting for potential character material. She adamantly denies she’s actually living vicariously in their closets. Tamra resides with her real-life characters—her husband, kids, and their allergy-ridden dog—in the sunny Southwest. Visit her online at www.tamrabaumann.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/author.tamra.baumann.

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Twilight’s Last Glory

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Sci-fi Mystery/Thriller

Date Published: September 2018

Publisher: Star Born Publishing LLC


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A global spectacle of triumph and anguish. A grand pageant of violence and drama. In the future, it is more than just a game, and a mysterious secret society will use it to change the world. America’s game has become the world’s favorite pastime, and she is not just the WFFL’s latest superstar but the future of humanity!

“Perkins pens eclectic and unpredictable works of fantasy that will keep readers clawing through the pages!” Amazon Self-Publishing Review

“Thrilling commentary on politics, sociology with a touch of supernatural and sci-fi!” Scarlett Jensen, Amazon *****

In a world secretly ruled by an organized crime pyramid known as the Octagonal, and while a legend who harbors a dark secret strives for one last shot at glory in the twilight of his career, crime lord Gigi Salerno is the sinister hand casting the ultimate fate of victory or defeat. And, he will utilize any means necessary to ensure the Octagonal remains in control of the world’s most popular game.  But when a brilliant team doctor envisions WFFL rosters filled out with AI, Salerno’s masters secretly decide he’s expendable.

Now threatened by the intrepid ambitions of a young sports columnist determined to expose the Octagonal, and faced with the covert maneuvering of a once trustworthy lieutenant and the conflicted loyalties of an unscrupulous general manager, Salerno is faced with a dilemma: he may have to befriend one of his enemies to vanquish his double-crossing masters.

Will he survive long enough to capture what he desires most – the reluctant affections of a beautiful woman?

About the Author

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In just two short years as an independently published author, Massachusetts native Stephen Perkins’ thrilling, entertaining, thought-provoking, and sometimes controversial novels have rapidly gained a loyal and rabid audience. While enjoying the books, and for a unique perspective on the news of the world, be sure to check out the blog that is fast becoming everyone’s new source for real alternative news, Newsspellcom.org! Or, stop by for a visit on Twitter @ Twitter.com @RAGEOFWORDS. To discover more exciting titles by Stephen Perkins, go now to amazon.com/author/stephenperkins

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Bolshevik Legacy

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Thriller

Bolshevik Legacy: The Intrasyn Conspiracy

Publisher: Partridge India

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The year is 2007. The architect of the collapse of Soviet Russia, Yorbachev, and his protégé Pushkin’s, international trading conglomerate, Intrasyn, has grown with revenues in billions of dollars. Intrasyn’s members are now in positions of influence in Russia’s, Ukarain’s and Belarussian’s armed forces and the administration.

Brian Turner the chief of NATBAL reviews photographs of an undercover operation covering a safe house of Intrasyn and recognises Zhirnovsy, a key member of Intrasyn; included are reports of the assassinations of the Minister of the Interior of Belarus and the Security Chief of the Ukaraine.

Suspecting a larger conspiracy, he activates Markes a western mole secreted into Russia to investigate.

Markes’s investigation and his visits to Cerkessk which witnessed a horrendous massacre, alerts Intrasyn who assign Dudayev and Yevgany seasoned ex KGB agents to liquidate Markes, and his control Amalrek. Amalrek is killed in a botched kidnapping attempt and Markes with his cover blown, is on the run forcing Brian to activate another of his moles, Zonta.

Markes with Zonta’s help enters the island headquarters of Intrasyn, hacks the mainframe and discovers the plan to assassinate the President’s of the USA, Belarus, Russia and Ukrain at the signing of a Treaty at Kiev, and the more sinister plot to invade Europe.

Can Markes and Zonta prevent the assassinations of the Presidents and expose Intrasyn’s plans to dominate the world ?

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About the Author

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Cana has lived and worked in the United Kingdom and Germany and has travelled extensively across Europe, North Africa and the Far East where the ideas for his thrillers took shape.

He runs a marketing agency, but writing political thrillers is his passion. He has written , “ Bolshevik Legacy-The Intrasyn Conspiracy”, “The Neptune Sequel-Aftermath of Neptune Spear” and  “Beijing Islamabad Conspiracy-The Pyongang Connection’’. “Bolshevik Legacy-The Intrasyn Conspiracy ” and ‘’The Neptune Sequel-Aftermath of Neptune Spear’’ have received The Book Excellence Award in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Cana has a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

He has a Certificate in Cotton Classing & Marketing from the Memphis Cotton Exchange Cotton School, and a Certificate in Classing from the USDA, Memphis.

His other interests include building utility contraptions, one of which is a Head Side Support for use in Automobiles where he has received a UK patent GB 2331 454 B.

He enjoys fishing in the seas off Srilanka, Mauritius and India.

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Die, Sweet Di

 

 

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Suspense, Romantic Suspense

Date Published: May 2018

 

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Publisher: Painted Hearts Publishing

 

 

They told her one truth while hiding murder.

 

Knowing nothing more about her father than that he wasn’t the man she called Dad all her life, Diana wouldn’t have gone to claim her inheritance if her mother hadn’t insisted. To shut her up, she intended to do nothing more than to tell the lawyer to shove it. Step-siblings she never knew she had met her at the airport and misunderstood her suppressed demeanor as grief.

 

Telling her how happy they were that she was there, how they wanted her to stay and share their wealth, they tried to fool and manipulate her. The mansion wasn’t theirs left to them by their mother. The business that supported them wasn’t theirs. They were hers, left to her by her father. Furious over their deception, Diana planned her revenge with the help of new ally Steven. But could he be trusted?

 

When Steven’s lies come to the surface, Diana must decide if she should continue her plan for revenge on her own, or run for her life.

 

 

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About the Author

 

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Larion Wills, a multi-genre author, also writes under the name of Larriane Wills. From the present to the past in historical westerns, too far in the future with science fiction, she holds up to her tag given to her by one of her publishers of ‘two names, one author, thousands of stories’, although not all of them are in print, yet. Born in Oklahoma but raised in Arizona she feels a native to the state and has settled in the high desert country. In a quiet, rural area with a family who tolerates her writer’s single-mindedness, she presents us with a collection of unique contemporary romances, many laced with paranormal settings, all with strong characterizations and suspenseful plots, capable of dragging you into a story in a genre you thought you didn’t care for. Under her other pen of Larriane she writes science fiction and fantasy. At her website, http://www.larriane.com , you can keep abreast of releases under both pen names, keep up with new releases through various publishers.

 

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Designer Dogs

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Non-fiction, Humor

Date Published: September 1, 2018

Publisher: thirty8street

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Dr. P. J. Miller is back! Following his first installment, Cute Poodles, Sweet Old Ladies & Hugs, Dr. Miller has compiled another volume of truly awesome veterinary tales. Come along for the ride again as Dr. Miller delivers stories that feature colorful clients, endearing pets, his own beloved bulldog, and a hurricane. All the sassy hospital staff that readers came to love are back, including that special staff member who seems to work by her own particular standards of professionalism (you know the one). In Designer Dogs, Awkward Hugs & Pigeons, Dr. Miller goes behind the scenes of his veterinary practice to provide a true insider’s view into life as an animal doctor. Dr. Miller employs the same unique style of humorous storytelling that readers loved in his first novel. Hidden behind the humor, Dr. Miller gives a deeper glimpse into how emotional and strong the human-animal bond can be. A must read for any aspiring veterinary professional or animal lover.

About the Author


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Dr. P.J. Miller was born and raised in the heart of New York City, Midtown Manhattan. He did his undergraduate coursework at the University of Florida. In his third year at UF, he was accepted early into the prestigious Royal School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh Scotland. Dr. Miller graduated from Edinburgh in 1999. He has been practicing veterinary medicine in Central Florida for twenty years. Dr. Miller has been the owner of his own practice for over a decade. He lives with his wife and two children in Central Florida. He loves all animals, obviously, but is partial to bulldogs, chihuahuas, and cats that act like dogs. Like most transplanted New Yorkers, he’s still looking for that perfect slice of pizza

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F**k You, Your Honor

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Literary Fiction, Satire

Date Published: June 2017

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Publisher: Black Letter Editions

F*ck You, Your Honor is a satirical literary novel about a low-end attorney and real estate broker who is ordered by a judge to write a book to save his law license.

Attorney Darwyn “Wyn” VanWye is down on his luck. He squats in a foreclosed government-owned HUD home and conducts his law practice over his smart phone from a sports bar.

While attempting to reconcile with Amalia, his Argentine ex-wife, so his excessive alimony payments can be

terminated, Judge Solomon arbitrarily sanctions him for misconduct. Instead of a fine or jail time, the judge sentences him to write a sixty-five thousand word book about the “dignity and integrity” of the legal system. Wyn believes the judge is out to get him.

After resisting the order, F*ck You, Your Honor is the book Wyn writes to hopefully save his law license. Will he succeed in placating the judge and winning back his ex-wife?

The book is loosely inspired by an article in the Wall Street Journal about a pharmaceutical executive who was sentenced by a Federal judge to write a book to show penance for lying to the Federal Trade Commission. The executive wrote the book, but instead of writing the reflective work the judge ordered, he denounced the unfairness of the legal system.

What if a lawyer was ordered to write a book like this? His first instinct would be to try to argue his way out of it.

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Excerpt

 29

Another day, I met a new prospective client at The Overtime who wanted to retain me to file for a divorce. I was talking to Cora who was busy with the lunch crowd when the prospect arrived thirty minutes early. I hate clients who are too punctual; it shows they are controlling. It’s rude. Here am I busy working on another case, and a prospective client comes in, and I feel the pressure of her waiting for me across The Overtime. But I immediately forgave her as soon as I saw her.

I must say, if ever I was tempted to start a sexual relationship with a client, this would be the one. After the case was

over, of course. I could easily see myself ridding my new client of her soon-to-be ex-husband, and, maybe months later, after enough time had passed… my thoughts wandered off for a second and then wandered back to the case. Although she was probably in her late thirties, she had aged well; beautiful lips, a sensual curved neck. She had a rich, Southern drawl.

As I introduced myself, she let out this warm vibe. I made her fill out the questionnaire while she waited. Questions about the date and history of the marriage, names and addresses, the number of children, any instances of domestic violence. All based on statutes and precedent that I would need to file her case.

I noticed by her questionnaire she lived in a prestigious area of overpriced bungalows and Tudors that surrounded a big park near downtown. The park had a lake and a boathouse. Amalia and I used to go down there some afternoons in the summers for picnics and free concerts. I think part of my attraction to her, however, subconsciously, she reminded me of Amalia.

I never really thought that I had a type. I guess I do. I never liked the competitive career women, and just as important, they never liked me.

This woman was warm and kind. She was of Spanish or Mexican origin, but unlike Amalia, she had been totally Americanized. She spoke perfect English, ate bland food at The Overtime, though she dressed flamboyantly. She worked as a branch manager in a bank. She complained about the inflated prices of real estate and the ridiculous number of Starbucks. On street corners. In grocery stores. In strip malls. Being a banker, I guess she did the math, and $6 a cup is a lot for a cup of coffee.

She confided her husband had not touched her in a year. Unbelievable! I wanted to leap out of my chair and kiss her. I hadn’t touched Amalia in over a year, either.

The first thing I did, I asked her if she and her husband could reconcile. There’s a ninety-one day waiting period for a divorce, to give the couple time to cool off, maybe go to counseling.

If the parties went through a divorce, I could make thousands of dollars. If the couple can’t get along in the divorce, and both get lawyers, a couple can blow through their life savings. If the parties reconcile, the divorce is either dismissed or never filed, and I earn, well, nothing. Amalia called this “chewing my paw.”

I thought again about my divorce. Some of the arguments with Amalia were just silly.

One time, we fought over a banana. I had left a banana on the kitchen counter the night before court to pack with my exhibit books. I usually brought a snack to help me through a whole day trial. Some judges allowed you to bring food into the courtroom to eat on the breaks; others didn’t. Without even telling me, she ate the last banana.

I have to admit, at the time, I was furious.

Another time, she packed me a lunch, put it in my briefcase, and took out my notebook with all my notes for a hearing. I appeared in court, totally unprepared. Sabotaged by Amalia. Lucky for me the case was continued. We went round and round as to who was at fault on this one.

My arguments with Amalia were passionate; never violent. They almost always ended in laughter. For a few years, we had a dog, Knuckles, though the dog eventually died. One day we took him to the vet. She wrote the dog’s name down on a form at the vet’s office: ‘Nuckles’. I informed her the word began with a silent K. The word didn’t register with her, and she had a hard time believing me. I can still hear her making the K sound, trying to pronounce it, trying to make sense of the word.

The English language mystified her. The next time she wrote out a grocery list, along with the milk and some more bananas, she asked me to pick up a package of ‘knoodles’.

I may not be the best one to give a guy marital advice, but still, here goes: Sleep with your wife from time to time. Be nice to her. Otherwise, keep your penis in your pants. These, along with financial difficulties, are the main causes of a divorce.

I explained the essence of a dissolution of marriage, showing off my knowledge with citations of statutes and case law. The first step after a divorce is filed—the parties exchange financial statements and supply the supporting documentation. I call this making the pie. Once you make the pie, you divide the pie, calculating how to fairly distribute the personal property, the assets and debts between the parties. Every asset is taken into account. From the smallest savings bond to the parties’ coin collection, each coin valued and divided coin by coin. The court will even divide the porn.

A divorce works like this: most lawyers review the financial documents, and based on the factors in the statute, calculate what their client is reasonably entitled to. Then they double it. So they will stay employed.

The most accurate definition of a divorce I copied from a well-respected, influential, and prestigious legal journal.

“A divorce is a domestic legal proceeding which takes a highly dysfunctional family, and legally divides it into two highly dysfunctional families.” That was the best definition I ever heard.

I gave her advice about the fundamentals of a divorce. There were statutes about temporary orders, how child support was calculated, parenting time was determined, alimony figured, property, pensions, and debts divided. Hopefully, there’s not much to fight about. If there are no children, thank God. That’s where people fight the most. They also fight about money, until they see how much money they will have to spend to fight about the money. First, a couple doesn’t need to agree to get a divorce. That hardly makes sense. If a couple cannot agree on who will pay the sewer bill, they cannot agree on the divorce. Second, if one party says the marriage is broken, it’s broken. End of story. Agreements of the parties or other court orders are enforced through contempt proceedings, which is an allegation of a deliberate violation of a court order under Rule 107. There are two types of contempt: punitive and remedial.

Remedial contempt is when the judge is mad enough at a party for violating a court order, he or she can put you in jail until you comply. Punitive contempt is when a judge is real mad, he or she can simply put you in jail. (Amazing, though, how a deadbeat dad who owes back child support, has no money, no job, no savings, and no prospects—through some miracle of math or accounting is able to purge a remedial contempt by coughing up ten thousand dollars after spending only one night in jail.)

The smartest thing any divorcing couple can do is sit down and work out a compromise. Settle some of the divorce or all of it ahead of getting the lawyers involved. Write it on a napkin and sign it. It doesn’t matter what form it is in.

A guy usually knows he has to share the assets of the marriage with his wife, especially if the wife is a housewife. A woman thinks differently. She doesn’t like to share. All of the assets are hers; all of the debts are his. That was the story of my divorce.

I gave my prospective client some good advice: “Empty all the bank accounts,” I suggested. “If you don’t, your husband certainly will. Once he finds out you are thinking about filing the divorce.”

This was sound legal reasoning. Before a divorce is filed, there are no court orders in place to protect the assets so the court can divide them fairly. One parent can run off with the children. Or abscond with all the assets and gamble them away in Las Vegas. Once the divorce is filed or if the money disappears in contemplation of the divorce, you will have to fully account for yourself and your finances.

About the Author

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In his junior year in college, Craig Chambers attended the University of Leeds in England. He did not attend a single class, traveled around Europe instead. He came back and took the final exams, only to be disappointed that he got a 1 in English. He later learned that “First Honors” was the highest grade.

In the ‘80s he became a real estate broker while he worked on developing his writing style. Chambers attended law school in the ‘90’s because he observed a real estate closing where the lawyer messed up the deal, but still charged a fee of $1,000. He figured he could mess up a real estate deal for a lot less than that. His literary satire on the legal system, F*ck You, Your Honor, was released in June, 2017. He resides in Littleton, CO.

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Haunted Hearts


Book: Haunted Hearts

Series: Holidays in Lake Point #12

Author: Sarah Cass

Publisher: Divine Roses Ink


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Synopsis


Bryce Templer pretends he’s a ‘love them and leave them’ guy—but it’s all made-up to protect his heart after his fiancée left him for his own brother. When he spots Jenna for the first time, he’s surprised to find himself intrigued. His cousin, Kyle, gets them into her ghost walk so he can see her again.


Jenna Vogel has always hidden her abilities as a sensitive in plain sight by giving ghost tours. When she first meets Bryce, she’s immediately attracted but alarm bells go off. Her sensitive nature has led her to try to ‘fix’ too many men, and she knows the last thing she needs to do is try to fix this one.


When Kyle pushes for a private session overnight, Jenna agrees even more reluctantly than Bryce. When Kyle is called away, leaving the pair alone, can Bryce and Jenna handle each other and all the things that go bump in the night? 


***All books in Holidays at Lake Point are standalone reads.


What Others Are Saying About Haunted Hearts


The diversity of subjects in this series as a whole is wide and therefore keeps the interest flowing throughout, the friendships and relationships in this small community tend to overflow and interlock with each other at various points which is also a bonus. Very enjoyable read.  ~Wendy Hodges


This was another great book written to pull you in wondering what their secrets are. ~Patricia Ann Blevins


This series is pretty good. Each book I have read is a stand alone story But brings back characters from other stories. Plenty of explicit sex scenes, so be warned. Still I have enjoyed several of these by this author and would buy them again. They are quick easy reads. ~ oldmodelT


***All reviews are located on http://www.amazon.com & http://www.goodreads.com


Holidays in Lake Point Series


Santa, Maybe


Deep-Fried Sweethearts


Stalled Independence


Witch Way 



A Thorough Thanksgiving


Eve’s New Year 


Heartstrings & Hockey Pucks 


Luck of the Cowgirl 


Stars, Stripes & Motorbikes


Free Falling


Love For Hire


Haunted Hearts


About Sarah Cass



Sarah Cass’ world is regularly turned upside down by her three special needs kids and loving mate, so she breaks genre barriers; dabbling in horror, straight fiction and urban fantasy.  She loves historicals and romance, and characters who are real and flawed, so she writes to understand what makes her fictional people tick.  And she lives for a happy ending – eventually. And enough twists to make it look like she enjoys her title of Queen of Trauma Drama a little too much.


An ADD tendency leaves her with a variety of interests that include singing, dancing, crafting, cooking, and being a photographer. She fights through the struggles of the day, knowing the battles are her crucible; she may emerge scarred, but always stronger.  The rhythms to her activities drive her words forward, pushing her through the labyrinths of the heart and the nightmares of the mind, driving her to find resolutions to her characters’ problems.


While busy creating worlds and characters as real to her as her own family, she leads an active online life with her blog, Redefining Perfect, which gives a real and sometimes raw glimpse into her life and art.  You can most often find her popping out her 140 characters in Twitter speak, and on Facebook.


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Chess Club Dropout by Lux Carmine

Title: Chess Club Dropout
Series: The Lone Wolves Series #1
Author: Lux Carmine
Genre: YA/Teen Romance/Contemporary Romance/NA Romance
Release Date: August 16, 2018


Everyone deserves a happy ending…At least the “good guys” do. That’s what the fairy tales want you to believe. But not everyone wants to live in a fairy tale. Not everyone believes in a happy ending. I certainly didn’t.

With the tragic loss of my mother and my grandmother I was sent away to live with my evil Aunt Sara. I had a new home, a new school and a huge hole in my heart. 

Trying to get back a piece of who I used to be before the tragedy, I decided to join the chess club. In my old school I was the geeky girl, the one who got straight A’s and never dared to break a rule. I was the girl who’d never been kissed and wondered if I ever would be. But when I was kicked out of chess club one fateful afternoon my life changed forever. 

That’s when I met them…

The Lone Wolves scooped me up and took me under their wings. Jason, Kevin, Mike, Billy and Steven were playing the leads in the school’s production of Grease and that’s where they shared something about themselves that they hadn’t shared with anyone. 

I felt I was in a fairy tale with them…but the secret we all shared had the ability to ruin my new life…

Would we be able to live happily ever after or were we the “villains?” 

** Chess Club Dropout is a contemporary young adult reverse harem novel that touches on first loves, cyberbullying, and other social issues.**

Lux Carmine is an American author who currently resides in Maryland. She studied Teaching in her home state, Virginia, before going on to spend several years traveling the States with her Army husband. She is a serious dog-lover, a practicing photographer and loves nothing more than to curl up with a feel-good swoon-worthy romance. 


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The Lesbian and the Homophobic President

Title: The Lesbian and the Homophobic President
Author: Judy Ramsook
Genre: Lesbian Romance
Published: April 23, 2013
 
Romance, suspense, mystery, it’s all here.
“If some one stuck you somewhere for two months, you’d have a lot of thinking time on your hands too,” said Sandy. Little did Kelly know at the time how true those words from her former lover would turn out to be.
 
Kidnapped and placed on the isolated island of Acaboa, she could not single out a suspect- was it Will? Her homophobic acquaintance from school now President of the United States of America who wanted her out of the way so he could have Jackie, her best friend, all to himself.
Or could it be Jackie’s father who wanted her out of Jackie’s life because he considered Kelly to be a bad influence on his daughter.
And will Kelly get a chance to reveal to Jackie how she truly feels about her. 
 
Come and see for yourself in this tale of lesbian love sprinkled with deception, lust and lies.
Judy Ramsook was taking a mental note of a few anti gay comments a certain POTUS said while running for President in the early 2000s. And wondered what a fictitious one would do if he suddenly learned that a close family member were not only gay, but seeing a lesbian he knew and hated.

Judy Ramsook was born in San Fernando, Trinidad (Trinidad & Tobago) to East Indian parents. In the mid eighties she came to the USA where she attended San Antonio College and The University of Texas At San Antonio.
No stranger to accomplishments, by the age of 25, Judy had already published a poem in one of her country’s leading newspapers, The Guardian. And when she came to San Antonio, she was on the Dean’s List in the Spring of 1986 for having a 4.0 GPA.
In 2004 after publishing her first book, Karen’s Adventure, which is currently available on amazon.com in Ebook format as Princess Tide’s Adventure, Judy Ramsook kept on writing and posting articles on various websites such as: www.amchron.soundenterprises.net (formerly americanchronicles.com) www.ourecho.com and currently resides in San Antonio, Texas.
 
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The Misadventures of a Reluctant Traveller

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Fiction/Adventure
Date Published: September 30th
Publisher: Up and Up Media
 
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“Imagine not being able to sleep without worrying about which country you will wake up in…”
Tagden Fitts has a problem, besides his name. His sleepwalking self is a traveler; a past-time he would rather avoid and his travels are beginning to take over his life. Destroying any chance of a real relationship or career, he spends his time chasing after his own body, dreading the night when he will finally wake up in a situation too deep to handle.
From the Author:
“I wrote this story trying to imagine a character completely different from myself. Someone who hates travel, but is thrust into it without choice.”
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Excerpt
CHAPTER THREE
In a dark and dusty house in Vancouver, McKay is on his third beer even though it’s only around 7:00 a.m. What does time matter though when you have insomnia from pain and you’re on a disability pension?  To McKay, it doesn’t. Days blur into each other and what the sun and moon do is their own business. What does he care?
The disability pension keeps him alive at least, gives him enough to eat and pay bills, plus buy a few beers, but it doesn’t give him enough to really live. He has a decent amount of cash in the bank, but he’s willed that to a charity for orang-utans and feels guilty dipping into that too much. He’d also bought this house before “The Day,” so he has a good spot to rot while the world forgets about him.
McKay looks at the door. The only thing out there for him is a pity. He wishes he had a speech impediment or a more subtle disability than his disfigurement, but he wasn’t given the option at the time of selecting. Maybe if he’d gotten married before “The Day” he would have someone to keep him company, but the truth is, he doubts she would have stayed, and even if she had… what kind of life would this have been for her?
He was glad that Monica had left when she did. It cleared any guilt he would have had to feel for her if she hadn’t.
McKay places the beer down on the table beside the laptop and continues with the game he is playing. At least this keeps him occupied and preoccupied. A few weeks earlier he’d had to get rid of his television because the infomercials were making him suicidal and there was less and less stopping him from making that life-choice every day. Probably the only thing that he’d put on his list of likes is chatting on­-line with his friends around the globe.
He has a lot of chat rooms he likes to frequent, but his favorite ones are “I Can’t Sleep,” “Vancouver Cougars,” and “The Hunting Ground,” the latter a way to keep up with his old hunting buddies without them having to keep looking at the ground uncomfortably when they see him in person.
McKay finishes his beer and peels off the label, placing it in a pile beside his easy-chair on top of the bar-fridge, which he opens to crack open another beer.  He notices there’s only one case left. He’ll have to do some online shopping later on, but for now, he’s content to play his games and talk to people he’s never met before, imagining what it must be like to live in their lives.
He sighs and leans back, surveying the room that will most likely be his crypt. He wonders how long it will take before they find his corpse when he finally gives up and exits this game, one that he no longer sees as fun. He’s heard of cases where it’s been months before people were found dead in their homes—in some cases their pets had eaten parts of their remains, leaving a nasty surprise for the first person to stumble on the scene. This is the main reason McKay doesn’t want a dog. He doesn’t want to be The guy who was eaten by his dog after he died, but rather The heroic ex-firefighter who had saved many lives but finally took his own.
Actually, he’s kind of looking forward to his death. At least people will remember him for what he was, not for what he has become. Like most people, he’ll have many more friends after he dies than he’s had while living. He just has to choose a date to do it, and pray to God that nothing important happens on the same day, so he stands a chance of making the front page of at least one of the newspapers.
A few years ago he had moved all the furniture into the living room so that the two couches were on each of his sides, boxing him into a cozy nook.  He could put everything within easy reach.
He only showers when he has to go out; too rarely.  There’s enough space between him and the couch on his right for him to run off to the bathroom. He’d recline his chair to nap on the occasions when the meds kicked in and he could get in an hour or two before the pain from his old burns would wake him up.
The doctors tell him most of his pain is psychosomatic, as most of his nerves have ceased functioning, but this piece of academia doesn’t help him much. Even if they are feeding him placebos occasionally, which they could be, he needs that medication if only as something to do when the pain becomes too much.
With difficulty, McKay gets up, his legs asleep, to put some more wood on the fire.  He does this religiously, no matter what the climate. To him, wood chopping is like a hobby. He’s good with an ax.  In the Fire Department, you had to be, and he’d been known as a great firefighter even before “The Day.”  The day that house had collapsed with him inside it.
Stretching, he looks up at the awards he’s gotten over the years and stares at the last one, the one he got after “The Day.” Is it ironic that the award is printed on the flammable material? He doesn’t know. But he’d gladly surrender reams of awards to be able to have a girl look at him again without flinching.
The room suddenly feels like a shrine and he smiles (something he finds difficult in more ways than one), as he realizes that he’s made it into one. The deer heads, photos of hunting trips, awards for work, trophies for previous sporting achievements—these are not for him, but for the people that will find him. His last pat on his own back. Even the scrapbook with all the articles about himself, lying open at its last page on the couch, is waiting for someone to put in the final news clipping about his death.  That way, it’ll be an easy and complete document, to sum up his life for anyone who cares, be they researchers, book writers, or the stranger that will have to give his eulogy.
He doubts that anyone will contact any of his online friends and inform them when he does die, which saddens him a little. The closest people in the world to him are those he’s met in these chat rooms, including Foxy67, Night-Terrors Terry, and Somnambulist Tag. He’d even met a couple of them face to face a few times before. Obviously not Foxy67 though.  He preferred not to shatter her illusion of him. Hell, a five-minute meeting with him and she’d spend the rest of her forties in therapy, and he’s sure she’d rather use them being out there, targeting younger men.
Sitting back down in his chair, McKay opens the little fridge to his left and takes out a large stick of salami and a steak knife and starts cutting off a few bites to eat. His eyes flick for the fifth time today to the rifle that’s lying on the couch to his right. Long, polished and loaded, it sits there reminding him of what he needs to do, like a wife nagging about the bins that need to be taken out.
“Yes, yes, I see you,” he says aloud. “I haven’t forgotten you for a second. Just be patient, it will be soon. I just haven’t said goodbye to my friends yet.”
He sighs again and decides that maybe he should stop putting it off.  Just say goodbye to his friends as they come online. It’s been a slow news week. Now would be a good time.
Chewing on a piece of salami, knife in hand while staring at his rifle, McKay jumps as the green box behind his laptop starts to vibrate.
Terry Mien is in the jungle.  But he is not Terry Mien.  He is eleven years old and has a different name.  His parents died recently and didn’t die well. He is on his hands and knees, digging frantically with his hands. His fingers are bleeding.  He has really picked a bad spot.  This ground is hard and he doesn’t have much time. The tears in his eyes are partly because he’s thinking of his parents, partly because he is thinking of his stomach, and mostly because he’s just plain terrified.
In the background, he hears screams and gunfire, which tells him that everything is normal in his world.
Terry’s breathing is hard and the day is hot, but it always is in this country. Not that he has ever seen another land to compare it to. This is the only life he has known but the horror is fresh daily, like the milk he once used to drink. He remembers all the foods and drinks he had grown up with and this only makes him sadder. Now his life only contains rice, water, and pain.
His hole is nearly deep enough, maybe two inches.  He hears the men coming. They aren’t very subtle, these men (and they aren’t always men), as they come through the foliage, hacking at anything in their way. Their machetes are blunt and stained, well used and threatening.
The boy quickly reaches into his pocket and takes out the item he needs to bury; his reading glasses. Despite the immediate threat to his life, he hesitates for a second, remembering how much his parents had gone through to buy these. Luckily for him they had fit well on his nose and hadn’t pinched, otherwise, he would have the tell-tale grooves on the bridge of his nose. His hands are still sore from rubbing them hard on trees, to make them look like the hands of a boy familiar with hard work.
He drops his glasses into the hole as he catches sight of the first of a large group of people hacking their way towards him and pushes the dirt down hard. He has no time to push some leaves over the dirt, for the first person in the lead spots him and yells to the rest of his group. The rest of the group rush over behind the first, a few, like the leader, holding rifles with bayonets, the rest running up with their machetes raised.
The boy has no way to escape and even less chance of defending himself as they approach, weapons raised, towards the bush he’s hiding behind. Terry is dizzy with terror, but he knows what he must do. He pulls his shorts down and pushes out a pitiful turd on the spot he has just dug.
Pushing aside the bush with his bayonet the leader is disgusted at what he sees and yells to the others to come over and look. They gather around, lowering their weapons and they all break into laughter. They point at his small penis and make fun of him. The boy just sits there with his head down, hoping that his secretion would keep them from looking around the area and discovering his fatal secret.
The man in the lead puts his bayonet under the boy’s chin and forces him to raise his head and look at him. Staring at his face, Mien realizes that this man is just a boy—maybe only a few years older than himself. He is sweating hard and the red rag tied around his head is saturated. His eyes are dead, a sure sign that, like everyone in this country, his mind has seen too much that it shouldn’t have.
“This is a fortunate day for you kid,” the boy-soldier says. “You might even wake up tomorrow. They gave me a chance—they let me live.  All I had to do was kill my parents and now I am a soldier, a leader. Do you have any family?”
“No, they all died of hunger,” the boy replies, his only lie being the way in which his family had died.
By pure coincidence the boy-soldiers stomach starts to rumble, making his face soften a little. “We’re all hungry man, but we’re still alive. Join us and live.”
The soldier reaches into his pocket and pulls out a red scrap of cloth, which he offers to the boy, hand outstretched. Mien stares at the hand with the cloth in it.  His eyes move upwards to the gash in the boy’s arm. It must have happened recently, maybe even this week, and it doesn’t seem to be healing. Most wounds don’t in this weather. He wonders if this boy is going to end up losing his arm, but then realizes the only way that’s going to happen is if there are any doctors left in the area to make an amputation. This, he doubts. This boy has no chance.
Then, something strange happens. The breeze stops.  The soldiers stop moving. Everything just sort of, stops. Terry looks around.  Nothing in the jungle is moving and none of the soldiers even seem to be breathing. A snap of a branch behind the soldiers tells him someone’s approaching and Terry is relieved to see it is his dead mother.
She walks up behind the soldier who still holds out the red rag and she puts her hand on his shoulder while staring at Terry. She stands still for a while, unblinking and a fly lands on her eyeball, which she pays no attention to. The jungle continues to hold its breath.
“He does die and soon, but he dies with his arm still attached,” she says quietly. “He and some of these boys get too brave and go to the border, looking for a fight with the Vietnamese. These boys are untrained and starving and they get cut down without much of a fight. None of us really had much of a chance, but some of us survive, like you. I hope you live to deserve it.”
“I miss you, Mother,” he says, wiping the tears from his eyes.  As he does, he now sees that she has a plastic bag over her head, which has been tied on with some electrical wire around her neck. Her breath takes the air out of the bag, the condensation making her face disappear from view.
“I miss you too, child,” comes the voice from within the bag, and his mother’s tears start to fill the bag, making it hard to tell whether she’ll suffocate, or drown from her own sadness.
Terry can watch no more and he puts his head in his hands, sobbing.
The acoustics around him suddenly change and he hears children laughing. He raises his head and sees a bunch of children running around and playing on the other side of a barbed wire fence. It seems like it’s a schoolyard, and Terry, whose name is once again Terry, isn’t crying anymore. He shouldn’t cry in public anymore.  He’s a forty-year-old man and he should act his age. He’s a lot taller now, nearly five-foot-ten, and the kids seem so small and innocent. He can’t believe happiness has returned to these parts. He’d believed the extremeness of what happened here would burn the earth and scar every generation to come, but it seems like things are moving on, maybe even progressing.
A smile comes to his face as he watches a girl chasing a boy around on the other side of the fence and he turns around to get back to what he was doing. Staring at the six-story-high pile of skulls, he goes back to analyzing each one of them.
The girl beside him is young, with a big smile, and she looks pretty in her flight-attendant outfit.
“Welcome back Mr Mien,” she says with her professional smile. “Is this business or pleasure?”
“I don’t know,” Terry answers.
“You have to answer sir, or we can’t let you in.”
“One of these skulls belongs to my mother.”
“So then, we’ll list your visit under pleasure,” she says, still beaming.
“Really? You sure that you don’t have any other options on your sheet?” Terry says, surprised.  “I mean this is so far from the pleasure that it’s almost business.”
“But you don’t have a business visa.”
“Fine!” he shouts. “Write whatever you like, I don’t care!”
Her smile falters and her words are firm. “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to lower your voice.”
“Sorry, this isn’t your fault,” Terry says, trying to calm down.  He takes a step back. As he does, he feels something under his heel snap and he looks down to see a piece of broken bone sticking out of the ground, with clothing still attached.  He looks back up at the skull-tower and curses. Now he’ll have to start again.
“I can help if you like,” the girl says, stepping forward and studying the polished, nameless pieces of the people who used to live here. “Hmm.” Her smile comes back. “If I was your mum’s dead, empty cranium, where would I be? Do you remember what her skull looked like?”
“No,” Terry replies.  “I never saw it.”
“Wait a minute, I think I found it. That one there,” she says, pointing upwards.
“Which one?” Terry covers his eyes with his hand, trying to block the sun.
The girl groans in annoyance and reaches into her pocket. She pulls out a small, red balloon and throws it at the tower. It hits a skull about a couple of meters above her head and the balloon explodes, covering a skull in dripping, thick, dark red liquid.
“That one!” she says, obviously proud of herself.
“Ah,” he says and stares at it, trying to recognize if it seemed familiar.
The skull, dripping red, slowly starts turning to face him, its teeth scraping on the skull below it, making a horrible grinding sound.  Its sockets are empty, but they are staring back at him.
Terry wakes up screaming, wrapped in his sheets. He grabs his chest and his head spins with adrenalin. He tries breathing but feels winded and it takes what feels like a decade for him to slow his heart, take deep breaths, and realize where he is.
His sheets are soaked with sweat, his pillow with tears. He sits on the end of the bed and breathes quietly, fighting to get control of his mind and body.
Turning his head, Terry looks at the alarm clock.  It’s nearly 7:00 a.m.                
At least it isn’t midnight, he thinks. He never gets back to sleep after one of these dreams. If dreams are what you call them. His doctors always referred to them as night-terrors, but unfortunately, besides having a name for it, the doctors didn’t seem very useful.
He’s run out of sleeping drugs again and it’s killing him. Unfortunately, most doctors are reluctant to hand out prescriptions for the drugs he needs unless he has physical pain. Even the dodgy doctors seem to give him a look, before telling him they’ll only help him out once.
He gets up, walks to his lounge-room in his boxer shorts, and crashes onto his leather couch, wishing it wasn’t leather as he sticks to it. This room he’s in is massive. The whole apartment is roughly the size of a large house and the views are incredible. The front windows all stare out at the Persian Gulf, while the back rooms look out over Dubai. He’s been here a while with wealth rolling in.  Real money.  Oil money. Long way from being the poor, useless boy he’d grown up as.
People in this area knew him.  Anyone looking at him, his place, his job and the way he dresses, would think that he is successful. He doesn’t know, though, what that word is supposed to mean. To most people, he’s met successful seems to mean someone who makes a lot of cash. To him, however, the word means succeeding in all areas of life, and this is not the case with him.
Terry looks over to the pictures near the window. His daughter is smiling so happily that it can only be the smile of a child. His wife in the picture next to it is holding their daughter and she, too, has a smile on her face. He wonders how tall his daughter is now. He wonders how his wife’s jaw reconstruction went. He also wonders about which sex his other child is. The one he’s never met.
His nightmares have taken everything away from him. Well, nearly everything. He still has his millions. He still has this apartment too, for the time being, but once his cash runs out, and it will, he’ll have to sell this place and leave this country. He doubts that he’ll be able to find many more architectural jobs in this country after this contract ends. All that’s left to do will be the editing and printing out of the As-Builts, which his partner will probably end up doing, and then he’ll be on his own. Construction is slowing down.
He isn’t old enough to retire.
He doesn’t like sea travel, always sick on the yachts of his workmates.
He has no idea what the rest of his life might offer, but he’s sure it isn’t anything to look forward to.
Terry opens up his laptop to see whether McKay is online. He usually is. Terry types out a greeting and tells his friend that he hopes he is in good spirits. He also tells him the parts he can remember from his dream and how much he misses his family. He signs off after letting him know that he is okay, and that a walk on the beach will probably cheer him up. He closes the laptop and leans back. Time to get the day started.
After changing his sheets, showering and having some breakfast, Terry goes for a walk on the beach, as promised, and along the way waves back to all the rich people who recognize him. Young people run into the water as the day starts to heat up and he’s glad that there are those out there still enjoying their lives, if only for the present time.
He has lunch at one of his favorite spots and afterward goes into a cinema to catch any film that happens to be playing. He then wanders through some of the upper-class shopping-centers, content with the fact that he can afford anything here they have—happy that he wants none of it. By the time he gets home, it’s late afternoon and he sits down to a pizza and a glass of a Chilean Syrah.
The house is silent.  He leaves the lights off.  The only light in the room is coming through the curtains. He’s thinking of his future, halfway through a slice of Mexicana, when the green box under the television breaks the peace and starts to vibrate. He walks over to it and picks it up, surprised that it’s doing what it’s doing. It’s been a long time since he was needed by someone. He pushes the red button to stop the vibrating and then walks over to his laptop, pulls out the USB cable from the green box and plugs it in. So which one of the guys needs his help?
The fact that its Tagden doesn’t really surprise him, but what the hell is he doing in China again? Didn’t he say he hates it there?
Despite his confusion, Terry is thankful for the distraction. He goes into his room and gets out his suitcase.
Tina is bored. She wonders if people in the nearby cubicles know she is bored. She groans out loud. Now they know that Tina is bored.
“What’s wrong Tiny?” the annoying redhead Steven in the cubicle behind her asks.
“Worry about yourself Steven, that groan was open for comment to everyone but you.”
Steven opens his mouth, smiling.
“And if you say anything about making me groan, I’ll have you up on harassment charges!” Tina fires at him before he can speak.
Steven’s mouth closes and his head disappears back down into his cubicle.
Just as his head disappears, two more appear on the other sides of her cubicle like a game of Whack the Bunny.
“What’s wrong Tina,” her friend Jana says, pityingly, “The Man got you down?”
“Need a hug?” her effeminate friend Jamal offers.
“Just wanted everyone to know that I’m bored. It’s quicker and more efficient to let you guys know by groaning, rather than electronically. I probably saved some trees and all.”
“We’re all bored babe, we just have to keep ourselves busy, that way the day goes quicker,” Jamal says.
“Why does the homosexual get to call you babe, but when I do—”
“Shut up Steven!” everyone says in unison, even people who weren’t involved in the original conversation.
Steven’s head disappears again.
“So what do you have planned for the weekend, girl?” Jana asks.
“Hmmm… well… Friday night I’ve got a date with a guy I’ve been wanting to go out with for a really long time.”
“Really? Go on, tell us a little more. What’s he like, then?” asks Jana, as both her and Jamal lean further over her walls.
“Well, I met him online ages ago and he called me the other day and wants to meet up. He’s Australian. He’s actually flying here just to meet me. He travels a lot.”
“Got a photo you can show us?”
Tina opens up a folder on her computer and double clicks on an icon. A picture of a handsome guy with a cheeky smile comes up. He looks like he is embarrassed to be in the picture, but the fact that he’d sent it obviously meant that he liked the way it turned out.
“Dreamy,” says one of her friends, but Tina can’t work out which one.
“He’s really funny, smart and has got stacks of interesting travel stories. He posts me some of the weirdest gifts too, I swear. I don’t know how some of them even make it here. Gifts from all the countries he goes to. He’s very sweet.”
“Awww,” her friends say in unison.
“What does he do for work?” Jana asks.
“Well… I guess you could say he’s an entrepreneur. He’s always traveling and he’s always got cash, so I guess he’s good at what he does.”
“Maybe I should get my gear from him,” Jamal jokes.
“He’s not a bloody drug dealer, you knob,” Tina snaps, biting on his bait.
Jamal and Jana both crack up laughing, which makes Tina go red in the face.
“Aw c’mon, we’re just joking,” says Jana, trying to pacify her, and after a second she lightens up a little and smiles.
 Her friends’ eyes quickly dart around the office, looking for any sign of management.
“Anyway, I thought I asked you what you’re doing on the weekend, not just Friday,” Jana added.
“Well………..if Friday night goes well, I’ll probably have plans for the whole weekend,” Tina whispers.
“You slut!” Jamal whispers, and they all burst out laughing, trying unsuccessfully to keep it down.
“What? This guy might end up being a keeper. He’s got a very sexy, deep voice as well.  I think this is the guy I’ve been waiting for. Someone to take me out of this cubicle and see the world. Paris, Tokyo, New York. Anywhere that isn’t here. I know it’s a bit early to say this, but I think I’m in love.”
Steven’s head pops up, but when he sees the look the trio is firing at him his head slowly sinks down again.
“I can’t wait to see him. I hope he calls me sometime soon. Friday is ages away.”
The three friends go quiet for a second, each in their own world. Violently loud, something behind Tina’s monitor begins to vibrate. They all jump. Tina peeks behind her screen and pulls out a green box which is reverberating like a screaming, new-born square alien.
“What the hell is that?” Jana asks, frowning.
“I forgot that I even had this!” Tina answers, staring at it, trying to remember how she’d gotten it and what it was for. Then it dawns on her. She remembers who had given it to her. She remembers the significance of it going off like this. She remembers what she was supposed to do.
“I remember now,” she says, her face no longer excited. “Some loser I used to go out with gave me this. He wants me to drop everything and go help him ‘cause he’s in trouble.”
Tina’s hand extends and she lets the green cube drop into the small metal bin next to her. “As if, Tagden,” she whispers, angrily.
Her metal bin vibrates violently, causing everyone in the area to stop what they’re doing and stare. She sits with her arms crossed, glaring at her monitor. Finally, she can’t take it anymore and she searches quickly through her bin, trying to remember if Tag had ever mentioned anything about how to turn the stupid thing off.
About the Author

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Dean MacAllister runs a writer’s group in Melbourne, Australia. He writes novels and short fiction about the strange and unusual.
He loves to travel, scuba-diving, whiskey and once ate a tarantula. For more of his work visit Deanmacallister.com
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