The 2006 Purple Prose Parody Contest

July 21st, 2006:ppp2006award

On June 7th we kicked off our tenth and final Purple Prose Parody Contest –  here all fifteen entries. Entried were limited to 1,500 words. Immedaitely after the submission deadline at midnight, July 5th, the voting period began, and ran through July 19th. And the winner is…

This feature is one of AAR’s hallmarks, and so much talent can be seen in each year’s entries. Many an entrant has admitted privately that they didn’t feel up to the challenge…until they met it, and in doing so had a whole lot of fun. As for those of us who read the entries, well, I caution against drinking while reading so as to avoid spit takes – that’s how funny these parodies can be.

Although love scene parodies remain the most frequent of entries, we encourage entrants each year to let their imaginations run wild. Homages to favorite authors, use of the “merge-matic” concept (Whitney, My Savage Love, anyone?), parodies of the Big Mis or Big Secret, homages to your favorite Chick Lit novel, big-city heroines giving it all up for her small-town sheriff, epilogues replete with characters from previous books in a series and multiple rugrats, or Regency ball scenes…there’s no end to what you might do in a winning entry. The only limit is the word count. Entries over the past several years have been limited to 1,500 words.

This year’s new twist is that we asked to see [purple prose] parodies based on the classics of literature. We asked entrants to think back to their high school days to some of those incredibly dry novels they didn’t like the first time around, and then visualize them “all sexed up” in a very purple way. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Entrants were not limited to parodying the Classics – but in case of a tie, where input from AAR’s editorial staff may come into play, it might have been the deciding factor.

Because we have our own merchandise to offer this year, the 2006 winner will receive a Snarky Heart totebag, a Vauxhall journal, and a Secret Language of Romance mug, three of our best designs as seen above, on your right.

Entries were limited to no more than 1,500 words and must have been received no later than midnight, July 5th. Only one vote per person was accepted – and entrants were advised that it’s really best to not have your entire family vote for you en masse.

The following entries can be found on this page

[fusion_accordion divider_line=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_toggle title=”A Worthy Hero by Emma Gads” open=”no”]

A Worthy Hero by Emma Gads

Rachel jumped as the knock came on the door. It was him. It had to be. Muting the TV with the remote, she leapt up from the couch and hurried out of her living room. In the entryway, she took a deep breath and put her best smile on. It didn’t matter that much, but she still wanted to make a good impression on the man who would be the love of her life. Her hero.

She flung open the door, more than ready to be swept off her feet.

She wasn’t.

This guy was definitely not the man of her dreams. He had spiky hair and a round face with a hint of a double chin. His faded jeans were a size too small, his shoes five years too old, and outlined underneath his bright orange football jersey was a definite paunch.

“Hey there,” he said cheerfully. “I just moved into the apartment next to you. Figured I’d come over and introduce myself. You know, since we’ll be sharing a wall and all that.”

“Oh.” She bit back a sigh, swallowing her disappointment. Where was her hero? “Well, that’s nice. I’m Rachel Walker.”

He stuck out his hand, his face lit up in a boyish smile. “Chase Devlin.”

“You’re kidding,” she blurted out. What was going on? Why would a name like that be wasted on a secondary character? “You’re not the hero of this story, are you?”

His smile fell, and he pulled back his hand. “Uh, yeah. I’m pretty sure I am.”

Rachel took a step back, studying him again from head to toe. “You can’t be! You’re pudgy! And you don’t dress well!”

He flushed and crossed his arms over his chest. Seeing his embarrassment, Rachel’s cheeks burned. She hadn’t meant to be so rude.

“So?” he said before she could apologize. “What’s unusual about that? I’m a pretty average guy.”

She shook her head. “Romance heroes aren’t average guys. They have to be physically perfect.”

“That’s not fair. There are plenty of chubby heroines. Readers even applaud them for being so realistic.”

“Yeah, well.” Rachel shrugged. “With the hero, it’s different. Women don’t want to read about average guys. It’s all about the fantasy.”

Chase gave a snort. “Right. So in this world, a woman doesn’t have to be model thin to catch a hot guy, but it’s okay for the hero to end up with an average kind of woman? That’s not cool.”

No, it wasn’t, but what could be done about it? No one would want to read a romance with a man like him. Heroines had to be intelligent, and heroes must be muscular–not forty pounds overweight!

“Who cares?” she said with a sigh. “Romances are written for women. Like I said, it’s all about the fantasy.”

His nostrils flared. He was getting annoyed now. “Okay. Sure. Why is it again that women dislike porn? Because it’s unrealistic and objectifies them, right?”

Rachel gasped. “Ohmygod, I can not believe you said the P word!”

“What, porn?”

“Romance is not porn,” she argued.

“I didn’t say it was. I’m just drawing a comparison here. You know, trying to get you to think a little. Can I come inside or what?”

“Sure.” She gestured for him to go in, and then she led the way back to the living room. While she sat down on her plush couch, he chose the loveseat.

“Look,” she said, “I’m not the one who makes up these rules. I’m just a fictional character.”

“Fine.” He stretched out, crossing his legs, indicating that he wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Which was just as well, because they had to figure this problem out. He was supposed to be her hero.

“So the rule is the hero has to be physically perfect in every way?” he asked.

She gave a nod. “Pretty much, yeah.”

“No exceptions?”

Rachel thought about it for a while. “Well, scars are usually okay. But only if they’re from doing something heroic. So, no falling off your bike when you were ten.”

“Can I be gimpy?”

“Um.” She winced. “Sure, but again, only if you were hurt doing something heroic.”

Chase’s eyes narrowed. “How about a wheelchair?”

“Oh, no way! If the author writes manipulative tearjerkers, the heroine can be in a wheelchair, but never the hero.”

He threw out his arms and looked down at himself. “So this isn’t going to work?”

“Nope.” Rachel gazed up at the ceiling and raised her voice. “Make him look like he could be on the cover of GQ, please!”

There was a zap and a whoosh, and suddenly she sat across from a guy who could be Hugh Jackman’s twin. Tall, athletic, chiseled features, and not an ounce of excess fat on him. He wore black, dressy pants and a blue sport shirt that was open at the collar. In short, he was sexy as hell.

And then it happened, what she’d been waiting for: Lust shot through her like liquid heat in her veins. This man she wanted. Badly.

“Hey! Neat!” he exclaimed as he looked down at himself, patting his face, his chest, his abs, and clearly liking what he found.

Then he frowned at her. “But what about you? You’re gorgeous. Aren’t you supposed to be chubbier? You know, ‘real women have curves’ and all that.”

Rachel wished she had a mirror so that she could describe herself for the readers. Not that she didn’t already know what she looked like. Long, smooth, chestnut hair; a heart-shaped face with blue eyes, full lips, and high cheekbones; a thin and fit body that was still curvaceous in the right places.

In short, she was nothing special.

“Nah,” she said. “I don’t really have any idea how beautiful I am. I actually think I’m pretty plain. So that makes it okay.”

“Right. That makes sense.” His eyebrows creased as he added, “I think.”

For a long while, they just stared at each other. He was so hot, the definition of sexy, and the air between them crackled with forced sexual tension.

Suddenly, he jumped to his feet. “So, what do we do now?”

“Wait for the author to come up with a plot, I guess.” She stood up as well. Should she..? Well, why not? They had nothing better to do.

“Hey,” she said, trying to sound casual, “in the meantime, we could practice having sex.”

“Now you’re talking.” He flashed a wicked grin and started toward her.

“Okay, there’s just one thing,” she said as he reached for her. “I’m a virgin.”

His arm fell again. He gave her a confused look. “Why?”

Rachel thought about it for a while. “You know, I’m not really sure.”

He sighed, exasperated. “Well, do you at least get to come?”

She perked up. “Of course! In fact, I’ll have multiple orgasms.”

That just seemed to confuse him even more. “I don’t really understand any of these rules,” he grumbled.

“That’s okay,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t think anyone does. But as long as you’re hot, it’ll work just fine.”

Chase smirked. “You know, I like the fact that you’re hot, too.”

Blushing, she couldn’t help but point out, “Yeah, but the author would make you think I was hot no matter what.”

“Oh.” His face fell. “Right.”

She stepped up and patted him on the arm. “Try not to ponder it too much.”

“Good idea.” And with that, he swept her up into his arms and carried her to the bedroom where they had the most amazing sex of their lives.

The author threw a couple of contrived internal conflicts at them as well as one monstrously big misunderstanding plus an evil and lecherous–but ultimately incompetent–villain. But love conquers all, and in the end, they got married and had half a dozen babies that grew up to be just as beautiful and worthy of a happily ever after as their parents.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”A Previously Undiscovered Adventure of Winnie the Pooh by Marianne McA ” open=”no”]

A Previously Undiscovered Adventure of Winnie the Pooh by Marianne McA 

Pooh was walking through the Hundred Acre wood one day singing a song that went like this:

  • If Trees
  • Had Knees
  • Would they curtsey…

And he was just trying to think of a good word to rhyme with curtsey and thinking that Guernsey wasn’t a very useful sort of word, when he stopped, because Tigger was sitting on the path in front of him looking somewhat disconsolate.

‘Hallo Tigger’ said Pooh.
‘Hallo Pooh’ replied Tigger, in a rather doleful voice.
Pooh thought for a moment. Then, as he was a bear with very little brain, he thought some more, so as to be sure.
‘Tigger, are you sad?’
Tigger looked at Pooh, with a very sad face, and said ‘Yes.’
‘Tigger, why are you sad?’ asked Pooh in a perhaps-I-can-help sort of voice.
Tigger looked sad for a moment more, then stopped looking sad and looked hopeful. ‘Do you know what ‘Erogenous’ means?’, he asked.
Pooh thought for a moment.
‘I think’, he said cautiously, ‘it’s a kind of duck that lives very far away.’
‘How far away?’
‘Very, very far, I think’ said Pooh.
Tigger looked very, very sad.
‘Kanga says that all I do is bounce, and bounce, and bounce.’
‘But that’s what Tiggers do best!’
‘I know.’ said Tigger, still sad. ‘But she says that bouncing is only good for Tiggers, and I must find her Erogenous, if I am going to live at her house and take my Strengthening Medicine.’
Pooh thought that they could have built an Erogenous trap, if the Erogenous hadn’t lived so very far away, but as it did, he thought the best thing would be to Consult a Wiser Brain, and he took Tigger to talk to Christopher Robin.

When they asked Christopher Robin about the Erogenous, he looked Very Wise, because he had been to Boarding School for six years, and Now he Knew Things.
‘Did Kanga say she had an Erogenous before?’ he asked.
Tigger looked worried.
Kanga had said a lot of things, and he wasn’t sure he remembered them all.
And then she had thrown some things, but none of them had looked like a duck, not even a duck from a long way away.
‘I think’ he said cautiously, ‘I think she had an Erogenous when she lived with Roo’s daddy, but now it’s gone.’
And he felt, just very quietly to himself, that it was unfair that Kanga wouldn’t let him bounce only because he couldn’t find her Erogenous.
Christopher Robin pondered, and then he looked thoughtful.
Pooh started to think that it had been a very long walk, and that it must be nearly time for elevenses, and he wondered if he should suggest they might stop looking for Kanga’s duck and share a smidgen of honey.
At last Christopher Robin said ‘I think Kanga has not lost her Erogenous, but perhaps because she is so very busy, she has misplaced it. Maybe tonight, when Roo is asleep, you could look for it.’
Tigger was silent for a while, and then he asked, in a very un-Tigger sort of quiet voice: ‘Where should I look for it?’
And Christopher Robin, who had been at Boarding School for six years, and had studied Biology, and who Knew Things, said ‘I expect Kangaroos keep their Erogenous in their pouches.’

Which, as it turned out, was exactly true. Kanga had four Erogenous in her pouch, and every night after Tigger had had his Strengthening Medicine, he checked they were all still there, which made Kanga Very Happy, and then she let him bounce, which made Tigger Very Happy. And Pooh was Very Happy too, because he could walk in the Woods, thinking of a new Song.

An Erogenous is a duck,
That you need to find before you…

And he thought it was a Great Pity that ‘duck’ did not ryhme with ‘bounce’.

And then he thought that really, he’d rather have some honey.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”The Wild, the Innocent, & the Bow Street Shuffle by Larry Rogers” open=”no”]

The Wild, the Innocent, & the Bow Street Shuffle by Larry Rogers

Samuel Scoffin leered with Lucifer-like pride as he looked over the debauched, drunken multitude that trampled the carpets of his exclusive club. Scoffin’s Place was more than just another London gambling den. It was a high-class brothel – and a way of life. Without Scoffin’s, the British aristocracy would be forced to party in public. Such a sight could only confuse the obedient lower orders. Though he had been born beneath the rotting floor-boards of a grave-robbing prostitute’s humble outhouse, Samuel Scoffin didn’t believe in revolution. He believed in money. His fortune came from sensing the hunger for corruption that lurked within all human flesh.

Suddenly Samuel’s crooked nose twitched with alarm. An innocent woman had entered Scoffin’s. There! A golden-haired beauty in white, smiling and offering a gold sovereign to the hulking doorman. Outsiders were dangerous, and a man like Samuel Scoffin had lots of enemies. Only last week he had received an anonymous note saying, “I know all about you. And you’re going to get it.”

“What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” Samuel Scoffin knew how to use the weapons of wit and charm against upper class intruders, just as he used bricks and bottles against his own kind.

The blue-eyed beauty beamed at him. “Oh, Mr. Scoffin. How pleased I am to make your acquaintance! My name is Priscilla Sandalwood, and I’ve come to you for help. You see, I’m only an innocent country miss, but my twin sister Petunia just happens to be the most notorious courtesan in England. She’s gone missing, and I thought someone at Scoffin’s might have seen her. Being that this place is a magnet for corruption and evil, that is.”

“Thank you. But a high-priced bit of muslin like Petunia would work on her own, not at Scoffin’s,” Samuel pointed out. “I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong shop, miss. How did you hear of us?”

“Oh, Lady Shadwell told me all about you,” Priscilla confided eagerly. The wiry little man with the curly black hair and the shrewd green eyes was really quite attractive. Perhaps it was his broken nose, or his crooked teeth, or the way his skin was pitted all over with smallpox scars. Samuel Scoffin was so plainly a product of the rough London streets that Priscilla could almost smell the sin-ridden slums.

“You mean Annie?” Samuel felt a raw hurt at the very mention of the notorious society woman who had livened up his place in the old days. Annie Peppermill was respectable Lady Shadwell now, but Sam Scoffin knew the black-eyed beauty was still utterly shameless, uninhibited and completely without scruples. He missed her.

“Yes, Lady Shadwell told me you would help me. She told me all about the time you helped drug Lord Shadwell and tie him to the bed, and then you got everyone to watch while she – ”

“Enough!” Samuel grabbed Priscilla by the elbow and hurried her into his private office. He didn’t care who knew that he had helped wicked Annie trick naive Lord Shadwell into marrying her. But hearing Priscilla talk about what happened in bed made him hard. The girl’s innocence was very provocative. But wanting a virgin was like wanting a trip to the gallows.

“What do you want?” he asked, when they were alone together. Sam’s private office smelled of whiskey, money, and sex. Ordinarily the decadent aroma soothed his desires. But not tonight.

“Petunia’s last protector was Lord Bottomly.” Priscilla sat down at Samuel’s desk, crossing her legs at the ankles. “I know he’s a regular here. I want to pretend to be one of your girls, and lead him upstairs. Then you and I will question him.”

“I don’t take advantage of my customers,” Sam said bluntly. “I don’t put young ladies at risk. And I don’t much care what happened to your sister.”

“Oh, I see.” Priscilla got to her feet and rearranged her garments. “Perhaps in your world survival is all that matters. But in my world helping people comes first. Some call it the code. Others call it too stupid to live. But I’ll find Lord Bottomly on my own.”

Scoffin stood aside to let her pass. He was only being smart. But at the last minute something snapped. He kissed her instead.

“Oh, no you don’t!” Clear as a bell, the lusty voice of Annie Peppermill rang through the heated room.

“Garn!” Caught like a young lord with his hand up the chambermaid’s skirts, Sam spun around to see his fate. Dark-eyed Lady Shadwell stood in the doorway, along with her rich, golden-haired and adoring husband, three Bow Street Runners, and a clergyman.

All that’s missing is the hangman, he thought. “You set me up?”

Annie nodded. “I always repay my debts. You helped me catch the big prize.” She patted Lord Shadwell on the chest, and he beamed. “Besides, with you married, tales of my roguish past will soon fade. So I persuaded Priscilla you were a lost soul . . . and that you might know something about her sister’s disappearance. It was only after she set out alone to question you that I realized a rescue party might be in order.”

“But . . . didn’t you think I could handle Samuel Scoffin alone?” Priscilla asked. Her cheeks were flushed, her lips swollen.

She’ll want it every night when we’re married, Samuel told himself grimly. He edged towards the secret door in the corner of his study.

“You were splendid,” Annie said, smiling at the younger girl. “Once he’s married to you, Sam won’t want to do silly things anymore. Marriage can turn even a desperate character into quite a different person. Believe me, I know.”

“She knows,” Lord Shadwell said, with a satisfied smile.

“I’ve got to get out of here!” Samuel hollered. No street killer had ever scared him as much as the happy, dopey look on the face of Lord Shadwell. That was what marriage did to a man. Sam clawed at the escape hatch, only to have it swing in on him unexpectedly.

“I told you I knew all about you!” Lord Bottomly burst into the room, his red face contorted with rage. He had a beautiful blonde woman by the arm, and he was waving a big knife.

“Petunia!” Priscilla shrieked.

“What the devil is this, Bottomly?” Samuel was glad to be dealing with a knife-wielding maniac instead of his own emotions.

“You’re not really Samuel Scoffin! You’re my older brother’s long-lost son. You’re the real Lord Bottomly! But I won’t give up my title. I’ll kill you, and all your kind. Dirty, filthy, tempting us with sin –“

“Bugger off, you!” Feisty and fearless Petunia Sandalwood broke free while Lord Bottomly was bellowing threats. She stomped on his foot, elbowed him in the stomach, then jumped clear of his knife.

“Darling!” Priscilla hugged her twin sister.

“All right, my lord. I’ve answered to your kind all my life. Now you answer to me.” Samuel was unarmed, but his old friend Annie tossed him a heavy snow globe paperweight from his desk. He shook it up for effect, then moved into a low cat-crouch.

“Ugh!” Suddenly Lord Bottomly clutched his chest and collapsed in a heap. His knife went clattering harmlessly across the floor.

“Dead of a stroke,” Lord Shadwell said, looking over Samuel’s shoulder. “The strain of appearing out of nowhere and tying up all those plot threads, with no real motivation for his villainy, must have been too much for him.”

“No, it wasn’t that,” Samuel murmured, looking down at the dead man’s face. “He just couldn’t stop hating himself for being a sinner.”

“You’re a fine lot,” Lady Shadwell said cheerfully, turning to face the three Bow Street Runners. “I bring you along in case there’s trouble, and then you just stand there and watch. Why didn’t you help?”

The Runners all looked at the floor, shuffling their feet.

“Can’t take chances –“

“My wife would kill me – “

“Have to get home soon – “

“Samuel didn’t need any help,” Priscilla said, gently releasing her sister. “He’s wild, but he can be tamed.” She gave him a look. “Are you ready to be tame, dear?”

“No, but I’m ready to be married.” Samuel drank in the brave blonde virgin with the slightly swollen lips, realizing that he had only known her for an hour. But when he kissed her it felt like a lifetime.

“Yippee!” Lady Shadwell cried. “Drinks on the house!”

Everyone laughed except for Samuel and Priscilla, because they were still too busy kissing.

“Hey, little sister!” Petunia called out. “Are you sure you want to get married? You know a pair of twins like us would be quite a sex act.”

Priscilla stopped kissing long enough to look over her shoulder. Everyone wondered what such an innocent young lady would say.

“Ick,” she said.

THE END[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”The Monday Night Book Club by Cindy Wiser” open=”no”]

The Monday Night Book Club (In Homage to P&P, Jane Eyre, and Anna Karenina) by Cindy Wisener

Jane efficiently piled her plate of appetizers with a tempting selection of kidney pie, eel pie, and pie pie. It was her turn to play hostess for the Book Club and she wanted to make an impression with the most tempting delicacies Victorian England had to offer. Russian and Regency English hospitality had left her cold, although she had been too polite to let it show.

Elizabeth was the first to arrive. She had a glow about her. “We’ve done it!” she cried. “Darcy and I have settled things between us! The wedding plans are in the works!”

“My best wishes to you both, Lizzie. You may also congratulate me. Rochester and I have reached an understanding as well.”

A great sigh of despair was heard from the doorway. As Elizabeth and Jane turned to look for its source, Anna entered looking pinched and wan.

“How lovely for you both. I’m afraid Vronsky and I still have a few, (how do you say?) “bugs” to work out.”

“Actually, I don’t think we do say that,” said Lizzie, in confusion.

Anna sat down and buried her face in the arm of the sofa. Her shoulders began to heave.

Anxious to change the subject, Jane asked how Elizabeth had liked this week’s book, “How to Snag a Secret Sheik”.

“I found it ridiculous,” said Elizabeth. “If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the Big Mis. How could any logical young woman believe nasty rumors about a handsome, wealthy, eligible young man? I never listen to gossip myself.”

Anna looked up briefly, frowned and opened her mouth, but Jane spoke first, “The Big Mis wouldn’t have been so bad alone, but when the author tacked on a Big Secret as well, that was too much. How can a loving, caring relationship be built on secrets?”

Anna looked up from her bout of weeping once more to ask, bitterly, “How’s the crazy wife in the attic these days, Jane dear?”

“She’s dead,” said Jane crisply. “Exactly the best way for a crazy wife in the attic to be. Why do you ask?”

“Oh, I was just wondering if she had ‘coincidentally,’ (how do you say?) ‘kicked the bucket’ in time for your wedding.”

“Anna, I’m not sure to whom you refer, but I certainly don’t say.” Elizabeth began.

“I’ve told you before, Anna,” Jane inserted with icy civility, “When a girl is wandering the moors on the brink of death and a man finds her and he turns out to be her long-lost cousin whom the girl had never known existed, that’s not ‘coincidence’ – THAT’S FATE!”

“Girls!” Elizabeth twinkled, “Enough of that, please! No lady can be considered truly accomplished without a brush or two with coincidence and at least one more with fate. Anna, what did you think of the book’s ending?”

“Actually, I didn’t finish the book. I had a custody hearing to attend. I assume Brick and Downy marry and have an epilogue filled with children and family cricket games?”

“No, Downy’s uncle kills Brick in a crooked duel and marries Downy to her cousin Snidley in order to gain control of the treasure map hidden behind the wardrobe in the cottage left to Downy by her maternal great-aunt. I found the book’s title somewhat misleading.”

Anna’s already chalky skin lost the last trace of color it held. “No,” she hoarsely whispered. “NO! I must insist on a HEA! What is the point of pages and pages of impassioned internal dialogue and descriptions of fabric and hats and slyly manipulative butlers and valets without an HEA? Oh Downy!” she turned her face into the sofa pillow and began to weep again with renewed despair, “My sweet, sweet Downy.”

Elizabeth quickly moved to the sofa to rouse Anna from her vapors by lovingly patting her hair and rubbing her back. “Oh, Anna, love, you’ll have a HEA. We know you will, don’t we Jane?”

“Actually, the story Anna told us about the horse race left me with a decidedly nasty feeling. I have to be honest – it’s not in my nature to prevaricate. I don’t care for Vronsky and I never have.”

Anna’s mouth fell open as she stared. Elizabeth was horrified. “Jane! How could you! Anna needs our support now. She’s suffered for her immorality. She wasn’t fortunate enough to have a loving Darcy to set things right for her after her selfishness ruined her reputation and that of her entire family!”

“Hey!” said Anna, sitting up with great indignation. “I was in love!”

“Oh, my dear,” Elizabeth softly soothed, “You know only virgins are allowed to fall in love.”

Anna fell back against the cushions with resignation and defeat written plain on her face.

“You’re probably right. I’m lost now. The support of my friends was the only thing getting me through the nightmares, and now I’ve lost that too. Do you have any vodka?”

“What nightmares, dear?”

“I have a deadly fear of trains.”

Jane nodded with understanding and confided, “Orphanages.”

Elizabeth shuddered and whispered, “Officers.”[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”The Red Stiletto Sisterhood by jmc” open=”no”]

The Red Stiletto Sisterhood (In Homage To J.R. Ward) by jmc

I am Beyotch, fiercest of the Vampire, member of the Red Stiletto Sisterhood.** With my band of warrior-priestess sisters – Whench, Skankh, Harhpie, Tsukabus, and Piszed-offe — I protect our shrinking population.

Protect our vanishing kind from what? From fashion faux pas the depredations of mere mortal human women – lesser beings who somehow keep attracting the attentions of vampire males. Dark Hunters T have fallen to their lures. Carpathians have fallen to their lures as well. All around us in the romance genre, vampire tribes fall prey to them, leaving the female vampires alone and unmated.

It is a brutal, thankless task that my sisters and I undertake, protecting the weak flank of our people, but someone must do it. And do it with style. We have done so for nearly two centuries, and our mothers did so before us. For two hundred years, we have fought a losing battle, watching our men forsake vampire-kind for those useless humans. Leaving vampire women unmated, unbonded and unbearably horny. For what human man can possibly measure up to a vampire stud? The superior strength and stamina of a vampire are required in order to fully satisfy a female of our kind. Our men seem able to cross-breed without problem, but such is not the case for our women.

For years my place in the Sisterhood as fiercest warrior has been assured — for I am a true monster. When I feel extremes of emotion – pain, rage, jealousy, desire – my Beast emerges, a chimera, a dragon, a creature so fierce that even my sisters cringe before her. And she can only be satisfied by two things: theobroma (food of the gods — chocolate for you cretinous humans) and coitus vampirus (vampire sex, duh). How did the Beast come to be? It is a long, sad tale. The short version is that I presumed to issue a fashion citation to the Mother of All Things Chic. In her outraged offense for being penalized by a lesser vampire, the Mother laid upon me the Beast. And so I have endured, always at risk of transforming, of releasing the Beast.

Even after two hundred years of combating them, I never really understood how the males could betray us so – the humans were so . . . puny, so short-lived, so boring. Until –

I was out hunting, seeking a particularly vile specimen (a vampire-hunter who had recently turned into a supernatural in her own right, dangling her would-be charms before vamps and weres alike) in a club she was known to frequent when I was distracted. I was bored, tired of the perpetual work and the greed of humans; exhausted by the press of humanity (you sprawl so! And waste space.) When I caught a scent that distracted me, a scent that grabbed my attention and riveted it. Mmmmm. What was that smell? Gun oil. Bulgari cologne. And something else tantalizing. But from whom was the delicious smell emanating? I couldn’t sense any vamps nearby. But the scent was close. Mmmm. My fangs lengthened. My vampire hormones flooded my veins.

I followed the scent through the club, out the back to the parking lot. Imagine my shock, indeed the horror, when I found the scent coming from a human. A human male, armed to the teeth, preparing to enter a black SUV. Close trimmed black hair, mocha latte skin, accompanied by a large black man built like a tank and a woman -hiss!- blue eyes and curly brown hair.

Human! Attracted to a human! How could I be so betrayed by my senses!?! Attracted to the enemy, the infidel.

Teased by the scent of him, my hormones were raging. Mind frozen, dumb-founded, I stood in the alley as the SUV pulled away. The Beast surged, aching for release.

Dear goddess, the agony . . . the betrayal.

I have been paralyzed by desire and by disgust in the hours that have elapsed. I must find him. But how can I betray my Sisterhood and seek out a mere human? What will mating with him to do my status? Will my Sister card be revoked? Will he even be able to keep up with me? Will I be able to locate him again? I must, even if I have to track him down by scent alone.

**Not to be confused with the Blue-Tooth T Sisterhood, those vampires charged with dragging our people into the 21st century in terms of technology.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Wickedly Good by Laurel Osterkamp ” open=”no”]

Wickedly Good (A Chick Lit Version of Macbeth) by Laurel Osterkamp

It’s Monday morning. Girl’s poker night went a little long and I’m feeling the effect from one too many Cosmos. My philosophy has always been that Sunday night is still part of the weekend and should be treated as such. I’m beginning to rethink that idea now, seeing as how I’m thirtynothing, I can’t get into lower than a size twelve dress, my mom and I don’t get along, and I’m still single! Oh! I almost forgot. I also have a crappy job working at a major NYC publishing house (I’m in the HR department). Lately I’ve been thinking I should grow up, form some goals, and achieve them. It’s time to be slightly settled.

“Wendy! Snap to! I’ve never seen you looking so foul.” Helga, my direct superior, screams across the room at me, compounding my headache and rotten mood. There’s something about the martyred nasal quality of her voice that reminds of Satan in a designer outfit.

My co-worker Sabrina answers her with a chirp. “Helga, be fair. She’s not capable of much”. She shakes her blond head and tugs on her size two jeans as she speaks, and I suppress the urge to clobber her. Fair and foul, foul and fair – welcome to my planet.

Helga, Sabrina, and Wendy – together we’re the weird sisters of HR. Not just because we’re all weird, but because coincidentally, we’re named after famous – or infamous witches. Helga lives up to her name by being hideous in both looks and personality. Sabrina could be Melissa Joan Hart’s evil twin. And me, well, I’m Wendy the good little witch. Except I’m not so little, and I’m a good girl gone bad.

And how are we weird?

You’d be surprised at what working in an office with fluorescent lighting, no windows, and only the same two people to talk to all day can do to you. Sometimes when a new person strolls in we overwhelm him with our enthusiasm. And so what if we practice a little black magic from time to time? We’re three babes in captivity.

Our office door opens, and in strolls Mr. Mac. Mr. Mac is really high up here at Cawdor publishing. The only person above him is his best buddy Banquo, and Duncan Dunsinane, the president of the company. But Duncan is old and worn out, and there have been rumors about him retiring. Mr. Mac would be the natural successor. And what a yummy boss he would be! Brown wavy hair, piercing blue eyes, and a body that just won’t quit. Combine that with a sexy Scottish accent and witty personality, well, he’s the dream of every girl who’s urban, single, and loves shoe shopping. Hooking him in would be the perfect start to behaving like an adult.

“Good day ladies. I’m in a bit of a fix, and I need you to lend me a hand.”

Helga pipes in first. “All hail Mr. Mac, Publicity Director of Cawdor!”

Next chimes Sabrina. “All hail Mr. Mac, Vice President of publishing!”

Then I add in the final punch. “All hail Mr. Mac, you’ll be CEO pretty soon!”

Mr. Mac raises one eyebrow and gives us a crooked smile. “Right. Anyhow, it seems one our employees has misplaced her diary. She’ll be dreadfully embarrassed if it falls into the wrong hands. But there’s no name, only the initials – B.J. Any ideas who that might be? It says in here she’s a wee bit chubby. “

The door opens again and in comes Mr. Mac’s good friend, Banquo. Banquo is short, round, and bald. Supposedly he’s wickedly good at publishing, but I don’t have the urge to pour frapachino all over his body and lick it up the way I do with Mr. Mac. Banquo is just no Mr. Mac; he’s barely a Mr. Maybe.

“All hail Banquo, shorter than Mr. Mac, yet much taller!” cries Helga.

“All hail Banquo, not so successful as Mr. Mac, yet much more successful!” wails Sabrina.

“You will have sex, but nobody actually thinks you’re sexy.” I proclaim.

There’s an awkward pause as everybody looks at each other and nobody wants to speak. Darnit! Why do I open my mouth and say such silly things? I could probably lose my job for that last comment. Without a paycheck I’ll be saying goodbye to Jimmy Choo.

Banquo breaks the silence. “Um, thank you?” Then he turns to Mr. Mac. “Thane, did you hear? Duncan is in the hospital. He had a massive stroke this morning. The doctors say he probably won’t last the night.”

“You’re you’re joking, right?”

“Thane,” says Banquo, “I wouldn’t joke about something like that.”

Mr. Mac turns to Helga, Sabrina and me and gives us a suspicious look. “What are you ladies up to?” he asks.

Helga grabs her industrial sized bottle of whiteout and waves it around.

“Out, out damn spot,” she cries. Then a fog emerges from the bottle, and out of that fog comes an apparition. It’s a novel with a pink cover, and on that cover is a high heeled shoe and a martini glass.

“Open the book and see!” yells Helga.

“See!” cries Sabrina.

“Read the dang book!” I howl.

Banquo and Mr. Mac each look a little green, but Banquo steps forward first.

“What the heck,” he says, as he opens the book-like thing that is floating in front of him.

“What does it say?” Mr. Mac asks him.

“I think you’d better see for yourself,” Banquo responds.

Mr. Mac steps forward to inspect the book. As he does Helga, Sabrina and I dance in a circle around him, chanting.

“Double, double, flirt and fumble. Money earn, and humor be humble!”

We stop chanting as Mr. Mac speaks. “It says that no chick of chicken born shall ever harm me. I must say, I have no idea what that could possibly mean. Banquo, what do you think it means?”

But Banquo hasn’t been paying attention. He has turned his focus to me.

“You’re Wendy, right?”

“Yeah,” I respond with a smile and a wink. I’m starting to dig this not-so-perfect man.

“So you think I’m going to have sex?”

“No.” I say, deadpan. “I know you are going to have sex.”

He laughs. “You maybe want to get a drink sometime?”

“Sure. I’m busy tonight, but how about tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.” Mr. Mac says, but his voice trails off as the apparition disappears.

Banquo and I hit it off like a shopoholic in Manhattan. And lucky for me he’s good in bed. Also, Banquo recognized my talents right away and put me in a job in where I’d have some real input. Mr. Mac did make CEO, but he didn’t last long. Seems he fought me every step of the way as I tried to get Cawdor Publishing to market books which spoke to me – and all the other single urban women out there. Sure, dismiss my books as chick lit, I don’t mind. I may be a chick, but I’m not a chicken. And when I replaced Mr. Mac as CEO, he realized just how wickedly good I am.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Romeo and Juliet Wear Prada by Nana Massie” open=”no”]

Romeo and Juliet Wear Prada by Nana Massie

CHORUS
Two Midtown apartments, both lacking in dignity,
In Manhattan, where we lay our scene,
Blah, blah, blah, you know the story,
And if you don’t, go rent the movie.

ACT I. Scene I.

Benvolio.
My homie! What crawleth up your butt and died?

Romeo.
I am in love, and she putteth not out.

Benvolio.
They breaketh it down at the Capulet’s crib. Let us go.

Scene II. Capulet’s house.

Capulet.
My daughter is but twelve!

Paris.
Younger than she are happy mothers made.

Capulet.
Thou art sick.

[Exit. Enter Juliet, Nurse, Lady Capulet.]

Lady Capulet.
Tell me, Juliet,
How stands your disposition to be married?

Juliet.
‘Tis an honor I dream not of.

Lady Capulet.
Well, dream now: younger than you,
Ladies are already mothers.
Also, thou shouldst lose fifteen pounds.

Nurse.
Paris likes thou. He art dreamy.

Juliet.
He art an ass.

Lady Capulet.
Thou won’t do better unless thou layeth off the fudge.

Scene III. The Ball.

Romeo.
What lady is that, with yonder knight?
O, she doth give me a boner.
I never saw true hotness till this night.

Capulet.
Young Romeo?

Tybalt.
I’ll not endure him!

Romeo.
I brought a six-pack.

Capulet.
He stays.

[Romeo approaches Juliet]

Romeo.
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

Juliet.
That is the weirdest pickup line I’ve ever heard.

Romeo.
O, dear saint, let lips do what hands do

Juliet.
If you want a blowjob, just ask.

Nurse.
Go to your mother, the lady of the house.

Romeo.
Shiznat!

[Exits. Juliet returns.]

Juliet.
Who’s that foxy guy?

Nurse.
His name is Romeo
The only son of your great enemy.

Juliet.
My only love sprung from my only hate!

Nurse.
He’s a member of Hanson?

Juliet.
No, my other only hate.

Nurse.
Carrot Top?

Juliet.
The Montagues, dammit.

Nurse:
Right.

ACT II. Scene I. Capulet’s Garden.

Romeo.
But soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!

Author.
How the hell do you purple that?

Juliet.
Wherefore art thou Romeo?
What’s Montague? Not hand, nor foot,
Nor any other part belonging to a man.

Romeo.
Wait until you meet Monty Junior.

Juliet.
If they see thee, they will murder thee.

Romeo.
You’d better let me in then.

[Juliet meets Monty Junior. Lips do what hands do.]

Juliet.
I have no joy of this tonight;
Too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden;
Too like lightning
Ceasing to be ere it lightens.

Romeo
It happens to a lot of guys.

Juliet.
O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?

Romeo.
Stay but a little! I will come again!

Scene II. Morning.

Mercutio.
Came Romeo not home tonight?

Benvolio.
Not to his father’s.

Mercutio.
Oh snap!

[Fists are pounded. Exeunt. Enter Juliet, Nurse.]

Juliet.
Nurse, what says my love?

Nurse.
Hie you to Friar Lawrence’s cell;
There he will make you a wife.
Change your dress. You look like a heifer.

Scene III. Friar’s Cell.

Friar.
You put your finger where? No wonder she didn’t.

[Enter Juliet.]

Romeo
Let’s get hitched!

Scene IV. A Public Place.

Benvolio.
What is the first rule of being a Montague?

Mercutio.
You do not talk about being a Montague.

Benvolio.
The second?

Mercutio.
You DO NOT talk about being a Montague!

Benvolio.
And the third?

Mercutio.
If you see a Capulet, YOU MUST FIGHT.

[Tybalt schools Mercutio.]

Romeo.
Mercutio drunk again?

Tybalt.
Dead, actually.

Romeo.
Never liked him anyway.

Tybalt.
Also, the Yankees suck

Romeo.
Take that back or I kill you.

[Tybalt doesn’t. Romeo kills him.]

Romeo.
The prince will pardon me.

Benvolio.
The prince is a Mets fan!

Romeo.
O, I am fortune’s fool!

Scene V. Capulet’s House.

Nurse.
Romeo killed Tybalt.

Juliet
That will teach me to marry some dude I met at a party.

Nurse.
But Tybalt was asking for it. He killed Mercutio.

Juliet.
Can men not just talk about their problems?

Scene VI. Friar’s cell.

Nurse.
She still likes you.

Romeo.
After I killed a dude?

Nurse.
Yes.

Romeo.
Her cousin?

Nurse.
Yep.

Romeo.
Can I get an annulment on grounds of stupidity?

Friar.
Not if you boned.

Scene VI. Capulet’s House.

Capulet.
Juliet lov’d her kinsman Tybalt dearly.

Paris.
So this is a bad time to try to get in her pants?

Capulet.
You think??

Lady Capulet.
I think she will be rul’d in all respects by me.
Thursday let this wedding be.

Paris.
I would Thursday were tomorrow!

Capulet
Am I the only person who thinks this is utterly creepy?

Scene VII. Juliet’s Chamber

Juliet.
The nightingale, and not the lark,
Pierc’d the fearful hollow of thine ear.

Romeo.
I don’t give a damn what it was.
Having the hollow of your ear pierced friggin’ hurts.

[Enter Nurse]

Nurse.
Madam! Your lady mother comes.
The day is broke; be wary, look about,
And open a window, this place reeks of sex.

Romeo.
We forgot to use a condom. Call me if that’s a problem.

[Exits. Enter Lady Capulet.]

Lady Capulet.
What ails you?

Juliet.
I grieve.

Lady Capulet.
Grief maketh your eyes red and puffy
And your nose run with snot.
Enough. I bring joyful tidings.
Thursday morn, Paris shall marry thee.

Juliet.
I’d as soon starve.

Lady Capulet.
We don’t have that kind of time.

[Enter Capulet.]

Capulet.
Have you deliver’d our decree?

Lady Capulet.
She refuses!

Capulet.
I don’t like him either.

Lady Capulet.
Fie, fie!
Refusing such a gentleman,
Proportion’d as one would wish?
(More so, I add,
Than my daughter, who won’t quit carbs)
Help her not!
She gets not any younger.
And I want grandchildren.

[Exits.]

Juliet.
Can I not reason with her?

Capulet.
I’ve been trying for years.

[Exits.]

Juliet.
How shall this be prevented?

Nurse.
Why prevent it?
Two heads are better than one.

Juliet.
Eew.

ACT IV, Scene I. Friar’s Cell.

Juliet.
Help me, Friar.

Friar.
Here’s what you do.
Go home, be merry, give consent
To marry Paris. Tomorrow night,
Take thou this vial and this distilled liquor drink thou all.
Smelleth like Dubra
Kicketh like a mule.
By morning, thou dead shalt look and feel.

Juliet.
Truly?

Friar.
Last Friday drank I it
And woke I up in Greenwich Village
Wearing a French maid’s costume.

Juliet.
Sounds good to me.

Scene II: Juliet’s Bedchamber

Juliet.
Under lips and over gums,
Look out, liver, here it comes!

Scene III. Capulet’s House.

Nurse.
They call for quinces in the pastry.

Lady Capulet.
Are you nuts? Those drip with fat!
Go, waken Juliet.

[Juliet’s Chamber]

Nurse [looking at body] I am totally getting fired for this.

ACT IV, Scene I. Newark. A Street.

Romeo.
This place blows.

[Enter Balthasar.]

News from Manhattan!
How fares my Juliet?

Balthasar.
She bit it.

Romeo.
You’re crapping me.

Balthasar.
I wish.

[Enter Apothecary.]

Romeo
Ho! apothecary!

Apothecary.
Who calls?

Romeo.
Thou art poor;
There is forty bucks: let me have
A dram of poison.

Apothecary.
Such mortal drugs I have; but Newark’s law
Is death to any he that utters them.

Romeo.
For God’s sake, man,
This is Jersey.

Apothecary.
Eighty bucks.

Romeo.
Deal.

Scene II. A Churchyard.

[Enter Paris. Nobody asks what he’s doing in a graveyard with the dead body of his underage fiancée. Perhaps because nobody wants to know.] [Enter Romeo]

Romeo.
What the hell are you doing??

Paris.
I defy thy conjurations,
And apprehend thee for a felon here.

Romeo.
I’m not the one getting funky with a corpse!

[They fight. Paris dies. Nobody misses him.]

Romeo.
Ah, dear Juliet,
Here’s to my love! [Drinks.]–O true apothecary!
Thy drugs are . sweeeet.

[Enter Friar Lawrence, with a lantern, crow, and spade. After Paris, this seems normal.]

Romeo.
Friar!

Friar.
Greetings!

Romeo.
Please please please make the grass let go of my feet.

Friar.
What?

Romeo.
Please! Before it eats me!

Friar.
Are you okay?

Romeo [scratching self furiously].
Oh my God, I’m covered in ANTS!

[Romeo expires. Friar enters tomb. Juliet awakes.]

Juliet.
I know well where I should be,
And there I am, but where is my Romeo?

Friar.
Um, he’s outside.

Juliet.
What?

Friar.
The grass ate him. I’m so sorry.

[Exit Friar]

Juliet.
What’s here? a baggie, from my true love’s hand?
Drugs, I see, have been his timeless end:–
O churl! took all, and left no friendly hit
To help me after?

[Removes stiletto heel]

Juliet.
O happy dagger! This is thy sheath[stabs herself] There rest, and let me die.

[Enter Capulets, Montague, Prince, and Friar.]

Friar.
Juliet is dead.

Lady Capulet.
Tell us something we don’t know.

Friar.
And Romeo, and Paris.

Capulet.
That’s new.

Montague.
Alas, my wife too.

Friar.
I think we’re going to need another cemetery.

Prince.
I hold you, lords and lady, in contempt
An error ’tis which people here are dead.
If this childrearing was your best attempt,
I think perhaps you never should have bred.
For never was a story Darwinesque
Like this of Romeo and Juliet.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Brassy Belle’s Breakout! Texas Shady Ladies Trilogy #1 by Varina Martindale” open=”no”]

Brassy Belle’s Breakout! Texas Shady Ladies Trilogy #1 by Dana Filler Rust

Coming veiled from buying feathers at Yellow Rose, Texas’s millinery shop, Brassy Belle Bonner ran smack into Virgil Villayne locking eyes with Idie Claire –, the banker’s daughter – or trying to. It’s hard to lock eyes with a girl who keeps fluttering her lashes.

Belle grimaced. “Idie, you goose!” Belle could not pass without getting tobacco juice on the shoes reserved for trips outside Fancy’s bordello, so she waited and watched from behind her veil. Idie Claire was holding up a strip of pink dimity. “That will be on my basket’s handle!”

Virgil stopped trying to lock eyes long enough to study the fabric. “Pink. Sugar-sweet, just like you, Miss Idie Claire. I’ll bid on that at the picnic.” This drew a titter from Idie Claire that disgusted Belle. Meanwhile Virgil continued, “I do hope that half-breed, Creed Clayborn, won’t sully the occasion, even if he can afford to contribute to the school-building fund.”

“Oh, yes, I agree, Mr. Villayne! How distasteful!” Idie Claire trembled and gave a tremulous titter. “And don’t let those fallen women taint the picnic auction either!”

“Oh, Miss Idie Claire, those unwomanly women wouldn’t dream of coming!”

“Really? Well, we’ll just see if none of the doves gives to the school fund or spoils your precious picnic!”

Virgil bade Idie Claire farewell and crossed the street. Belle meant to walk away too. But a breeze lifted her veil, and she found herself staring into Idie Claire’s bluebonnet eyes. Idie Claire grimaced, but she threw the dimity strip at Belle. “Here. You take this rag. Don’t you dare tell Virgie, but I’m going to catch Creed for a fling at the picnic with a scarlet bow.”

“A fling? Virgie? Ugh! I never see him anymore. Miss Fancy thinks he’s too lowdown for her establishment. He visits Maggie’s Men’s Readin’ Parlor – to ‘read’.”

Idie Claire declared, “A bachelor must see to his needs, but he’ll stop the minute we’re married.”

“If you want Virgil so bad, why’d you tell him you was putting that dimity on your basket, if you ain’t going to? He won’t know to bid on yours.”

“None of your business.”

“But-” How’d she know about my and Creed’s plans for the picnic? Already, though, the spoiled girl had swirled away so quick her pink-flowered skirt’s bustle trembled as she hurried away up Rose Hill.

“Well, if that don’t beat all – and little chance to warn Creed, with him off sellin’ horses ’til Saturday! Drat that spoiled girl for upsetting my plans!” Creed was Belle’s one hope for getting out of what she had always hoped would be a temporary refuge from marrying Virgil, who would trap his wife at home and expect her to be his private harlot while visiting the one of Yellow Rose’s two brothels that would take him. Miss Fancy’s had kept her safe from harassment by her parents, who had urged her to marry Virgil for his money, gained through land speculation, “to keep your poor parents that you owe so much to out o’ the poorhouse.” Ma and Pa had done nothing to keep themselves out of the poorhouse, so Belle felt no obligation to them. Nor had she thought her chances of catching clap or syphilis any worse in a brothel than in Virgil’s home, so when her folks had screeched a whole evening at her for turning him down for the third time – never asking themselves why he sought a poor bride – Belle had run off to Miss Fancy’s. Rumors around town had told even the youngest residents that Virgil was unwelcome there.

After standing on the sidewalk fuming for a few minutes, Belle caught a kind, pitying look from the Baptist minister. She disliked pity, even from a man like Reverend Real. As she hurried away, she hatched a big-fat-hen-of-a-plan. She’d send Creed a note.

* * *

What a stir shook Yellow Rose’s townspeople when both the newest soiled dove and Creed Clayborn, son of a Scotch-Irishman and a Comanche woman, arrived at the picnic. The town’s surprise was equaled, however, by that of Virgil Villayne when the pink-bowed basket he won was Belle’s, and Creed Clayborn carried off Idie Claire’s. Fury left him tremulous, but then his face melted into a smile. He declared, “I cannot believe Miss Idie Claire misled me, but let’s eat!”

As Belle – and likely Idie Claire – expected, Virgil chose a shade tree within plain view of where Creed threw down Idie Claire’s pink tablecloth. Sitting down, Virgil took the sandwich that Belle passed him, as he stared at Idie Claire listening to Creed saying something. Rather, Virgil stared at Idie Claire’s Texas-sized bustle, shaking now with the rest of the angry woman. Virgil thought of Idie Claire’s backside. buried . somewhere . under at least two dozen tremulous, starched, pink ruffles. Was it as shapely as the bustle promised, or. “Yow-!”

“Now what ever’s the matter, Mr. Villayne?” Belle cooed.

“What’s in this sandwich, you hussy?”

“Why – your favorites. Deviled ham, pickled peppers, Arbuckle’s Best coffee beans, Greenleaf cigars-“

“Together?”

For answer she replaced the offending sandwich with a fried chicken breast, which she had too often heard him declare was his favorite piece. Virgil looked and smelled so thoroughly before tasting that he was in danger of smudging the lenses of the tiny, silver-rimmed spectacles that he wore only to make himself look educated in more than foreclosures and the fair but frail. Finally he took a Texas-sized bite and chewed with the gusto of a steam engine, dripping chicken fat down his jutting chin. only to shout again when his teeth decimated the haviñeros that the bordello’s cook had inserted.

Virgil grabbed the jug of iced lemonade from the picnic basket, heedless that Belle hadn’t drunk any. Virgil gulped down a dipperful and gained a Texas-sized pucker. He spat, “This isn’t lemonade.”

“No?”

Virgil hissed, “It’s my opinion this is straight lemon juice.”

“Well, I knew tart was your style. You spend enough time with tarts.”

“Why are you poisoning me?”

“Oh, none of that’s poison – just new, excitin’ flavors.”

“Exciting, my foot! Are you trying to get even with me for something?”

“That’s it to a T,” Belle replied, her voice tremulous with chuckling.

“For what? I didn’t make you go work in a brothel. You could’ve married me and lived in style in my mansion on Yellow Rose Hill – and had your folks there for Sunday dinners and your ma in to tea and-“

“And been no better than most any girl on Shady Row, just your own private lady of the evenin’ is all, but dressed as starched as Idie Claire’s bustle. Meantime you’d be a bigger slut than I am even working at Fancy’s. I’m getting even with you for dazzlin’ my folks with money they’d never see.”

“But how could you know I’d get your basket and not that lowdown half-breed? This pink dimity bow’s Idie Claire’s!”

“A little bird told me she’d put scarlet on hers.” A big, pink-tailed bird more like. “Don’t let Creed hear you called him lowdown. Here he comes now.”

There seemed no danger of Creed’s hearing anything as he swept down on them, trailing the still tremulous pinkness of Idie Claire. “Will somebody tell Miss Idie Claire here that it’s hoops right now, not bustles; they don’t come into fashion ’til after the big war over slavery we haven’t had yet?”

Creed swept Belle from under the tree and off to his hitched stallion. Fleetingly they heard Idie Claire and Virgil scolding each other, but the shrill voices died amid the pounding of Belle’s heart, the pounding of Creed’s through his chest against her neck as she sat the saddle in front of him, and the pounding of his stallion’s hoofs as they left the picnic grounds.

“Now tell me how all this happened,” Creed ordered. Belle explained that to Idie Claire, eating beside Creed would be a fling, and they shrieked with laughter. “Jehosephat! But why?”

* * *

Lingering later on her bordello’s porch, Fancy mused about her connection with Belle: Virgil Villayne. Fancy had been the first rancher’s daughter Virgil had tried to force into marriage to keep her family’s ranch. Others had chosen scandalous occupations over being Virgil’s private harlot. Miss Ima Goodie dealt cards in the strip faro parlor in Crooked Gulch. more scandalous in East Texas, Miss May-Bee Knot rode the abolitionist lecture circuit! Fancy wondered if any of them would ever elope with anyone as handsome as Creed and in-love enough to overlook her past. Fancy shook her head to clear it . but a story as unlikely as Brassy Belle’s lurked just over the hill. The premonition left Fancy tremulous.

** If you liked this story, try Dana Filler Rusts’s Ima Goodie’s Gamble! Texas Shady Ladies 2![/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Application for Employment as Romance Novel Heroine by Karen Franks” open=”no”]

Application for Employment as Romance Novel Heroine by Karen Franks

Instructions: Fill out to the best of your ability; if a question is not applicable, leave blank or write “N/A” in the appropriate place

1. Title (please circle one) [Highness] [Lady] [Miss] [Unknown]

2. Name (or “Unknown”)__________________________________________________________________

3. Address (please circle one): [Mayfair] [Cheapside] [A Sweet Little Cottage] [A Country Estate] [Unknown]

4. Your father is/was a (please circle one): [Royalty] [Nobleman] [Vicar] [Unknown]

5. a. If you circled “Royalty” or “Nobleman” as to your father, please place a check next to the most appropriate statement (otherwise, skip to “5b”):

  • ___My father was cold and distant and died when I was young; my guardian controls my every move;
  • ___My father is cold and distant; he controls my every move;
  • ___My father was kind and loving, but died when I was young; my guardian controls my every move;
  • ___My father is kind and loving, and just wants to make sure I’m taken care of, even if he does try to control my every move;
  • ___I never knew my father as he died tragically before I was born;

5.b. f you circled “Unknown” as to your father, please circle the reason: [Orphaned] [Bastard] [Amnesia]

i. If you circled “orphaned” please place a check by those responsible for raising you:

  • ___Kindly relations
  • ___Unkindly relations
  • ___Orphanage
  • ___I grew up on the streets and lived by my wits

ii. If you circled “bastard” please place a check by appropriate statement:

  • ___My mother engaged in a liaison with a nobleman and brought great shame on our family when she got with child so we had to move away and pretend that she was a widow;
  • ___My mother was raped and brought great shame on our family when she got with child so we had to move away and pretend that she was a widow;
  • ___My mother was the town prostitute and before she died she made me promise to move
  • away and pretend that she was a widow;
  • ___My mother was a member of the demimonde and her protector refused to acknowledge me;

iii If you circled “amnesia” please place a check by type:

  • ___My amnesia is total; I don’t remember ANYTHING;
  • ___My amnesia is partial. I can remember bits and pieces, but am unable to remember my name or where I’m from;
  • ___My amnesia appears to be limited to a specific traumatic event, but my future happiness and, indeed, my freedom depend upon discovery of the details of that event;
  • ___My amnesia is a ruse; I have a terrible secret that must be protected with my very life;

6. What is your marital status (please circle one): [Marriageable] [Widowed] [Spinster] [Abandoned]

7. a. If you circled “Widowed” please place a check by the appropriate statement:

  • ___My father married me off to an old roué to increase my family’s fortune/estates/influence;
  • ___My husband died a hero, in India/France/Spain/Other (please circle), whilst defending the Crown;
  • ___My husband was a Cyprian of the first water, and died under mysterious circumstances;
  • ___My husband was a rake and a scoundrel who was killed in a duel;

7.b. If you circled “Spinster” please place a check by the appropriate statement:

  • ___I secretly love a man I can never have and can’t bear to marry anyone else;
  • ___I was compromised, which ruined any chance I had to make a suitable match;
  • ___My betrothed cried off, which ruined any chance I had to make a suitable match;
  • ___After four Seasons, I simply gave up and went on the shelf. I guess I just didn’t take;
  • ___My family was too poor to give me a Season; now I’m too long in the tooth;

7.c. If you circled “Abandoned” please place a check by the appropriate statement:

  • ___My marriage was arranged; as my husband and I cannot abide each other’s company, we live apart;
  • ___My husband is a beastly man who prefers to live in Town where he can game and debauch to his heart’s content, while I live on a lonely country estate;
  • ___My husband and I had a terrible argument on our wedding night and he fled to the Continent; I know not where he is;

8.a. If you are a Widow, Spinster, or are Abandoned, how do you support yourself?

___I’m a governess;

___I’m a paid companion;

___I am currently a governess/paid companion, but I’ve saved some money and would like to go into trade;

___I have a secret avocation that no one knows about but which will be the ruination of me if I am ever discovered;

___Don’t be a nodcock–I’m an heiress;

9. Why do you want to be a Heroine in a romance novel?

  • ___I want to experience true love at least once in my life before I cock up my toes;
  • ___I made a cake of myself as a paid companion, and now none of the Ton will employ me;
  • ___being a governess to high-born but ill-behaved children makes me want to cosh their little heads with my reticule;
  • ___I am rather a bluestocking and I fear it’s the only way I will ever find a handsome, virile, and rich nobleman who will be enchanted with my hoydenish ways and willing to put up with my cheekiness;

10. What is your idea of the perfect Hero’s physical appearance?

  • ___Tall, broad shoulders and narrow hips; thick, lustrous blonde hair, with one lock falling rakishly across his forehead; mesmerizing green eyes and perfect lips which curve into a seductive smile; breathtakingly handsome in his waistcoat and breeches, but still alarmingly attractive even if I happen upon him while he is mucking out the stables;
  • ___Tall, broad shoulders and narrow hips; thick, lustrous black hair, with one lock falling rakishly across his forehead; startlingly blue eyes–blue like the sky in summer, and perfect lips which curve into a seductive smile; breathtakingly handsome in his uniform, and devastatingly attractiveeven if I happen upon him while he is swimming in the pond on his/my estate;

11. What about his personality?

  • ___I dearly desire a man who is brooding and passionate; one who is used to giving orders and having people obey them; one who fights his attraction to me because of his noble intentions, but finally succumbs in the end, as he realizes that I am his only one true love and that we belong together; I care not a whit if he is of noble blood or if he has a secret past, as long as he is of strong moral character; so that even if we anticipate our vows, he will protect my reputation and obtain a Special License so that we may marry with all due haste;
  • ___I adore a man who is outgoing and good natured; one who never takes anything seriously, but who hides a passionate nature; one who is entranced by me and sets out to win my heart, finally convincing me at the end that he is my only one true love and that we belong together; it matters not to me if he has a reputation as a rake, or even if he has a mistress; for he will have noble intentions and will find another protector for his doxy, and everyone knows that reformed rakes make the best husbands;

12. What do you think is your strongest attribute?

  • ___My dainty feet and delicate hands
  • ___My tumble of long, auburn tresses
  • ___My tumble of long, blonde tresses
  • ___My tumble of long, jet black tresses
  • ___My very kissable, heart-shaped lips
  • ___My soft, rosy cheeks
  • ___My mesmerizing, violet-colored eyes
  • ___My over-generous bosom
  • ___My cheekiness
  • ___My bravery under the most dire of circumstances
  • ___My secretly passionate nature
  • ___My fashion sense
  • ___My common sense
  • ___My innocence
  • ___My bluestocking ways
  • ___My hoydenish ways
  • ___My fortune/title
  • ___Other (please elaborate)___________________________________________________________

 

THANK YOU.

Due to the overwhelming number of responses we get, we are unable to contact you unless and until we have a position available. Should you be lucky enough to be selected to be a Heroine, a missive will be sent immediately by Bow Street runner.

[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”A Tumble in the Hay (In Homage to Animal Farm) by Emilie J. Conroy” open=”no”]

A Tumble in the Hay (In Homage to Animal Farm) by Emilie J. Conroy

In the barn the air hung thick in tremulous anticipation. The haystack stood in salute to forbidden love. Then, Mollie’s nervous eating habit seized her violently, and she began to take tiny nibbles from that golden love tribute.

Surely Napoleon’s black piggy eyes had witnessed the mad carmine haze of passionate wanting. Not even that pig could mistake Mollie’s bug-eyed longing glances at Benjamin. Maybe the others on Animal Farm thought Benjamin was nothing but an ass, but to Mollie, he was a stallion of manliness.

“Mollie!” Fred brayed, the noise floating on the slop-scented air.

“Benjamin!” Mollie neighed, tapping out the number of kisses she planned to give him with her left hoof. “Were you seen?”

“The pigs have spies everywhere,” Benjamin said, daring to curl her tail in his. “That simpkin Snowball asked me just today at the water trough why I appear to be fond of the two-leggeds.”

Mollie thought of the emerald, turquoise, and ivory ribbons in her mane. Without the two-leggeds to pamper her, what would she be? Why, she’d be no better than a workhorse! Mollie whinnied in disgust. “The two-leggeds have such beautiful things. And they have love!”

“Indeed, my little equine Venus. But Napoleon is ruthless. He will not cease until all things two-legged are broken and scrambled like yesterday’s eggs in the farmer’s skillet.”

Mollie sighed, the thick full curtain of her eyelashes veiling her eyes. “We would be better off as two leggeds, my love.”

“Rubbish!” Benjamin moved closer, heating her broadside with his own lust-powered furnace. “We shall love, Mollie, and we shall be the envy of Animal Farm. Now dispense with the foolishness and kiss me, seductress mare!”

Swept into the moment, a dust devil of aching need, Mollie surrendered and allowed Benjamin to become the horse’s ass.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”The Blue Line To Love (In Homage to Huckleberry Finn) by LinnieGayl” open=”no”]

The Blue Line To Love (In Homage to Huckleberry Finn) by LinnieGayl

Jim shoved through the throngs crowding onto the Blue Line at O’Hare. As if his day wasn’t bad enough. First, his chauffeur didn’t show up. Then, when he got to the front of the taxi line, he learned cab drivers weren’t taking credit cards. The L was his only way back to his gleaming Lake Shore penthouse.

As he pushed through the crowd, he noticed an elderly woman struggling to balance her bags. Jim stepped out of line to offer assistance. His mother may have been a prostitute, but she raised him to be a gentleman.

Jim reached out to take some of the woman’s bags. “Here Ma’m let me help.”

“Ma’m! I’ll show you Ma’m!” In a flash, she dropped her bags, and speared him with a four-inch Manalo heel, dropping him like a raw recruit to the ground. As he struggled to get up, the woman, walked off, muttering, “Do I have a stamp on my head announcing today’s my 30th birthday?”

Moments later, Jim snagged the last seat on the train. He glanced quickly at his seatmate and grimaced. Great, a dirty boy bundled up in an ugly brown blanket, with a baseball cap shoved low over his face – and a Cardinal’s cap at that. Jim moved as far from the boy as possible.

Suddenly, the great hulking beast shuddered to life, engines snorting like a huge bull, sending them hurtling toward the City, and sending Jim flying into the boy. In a flash, his throbbing manhood was as stiff as the seat on which he was perched.

What the hell? He’d been surrounded by men in the Seals. He wasn’t gay – not that there was anything wrong with being gay – but he liked women, short women, tall women, thin women, curvy women. He glared. “Boy, move over and give me some room.”

“Boy, I ain’t no boy!” The boy jumped up, threw his blanket into the aisle, and whipped off his Cardinal’s cap, sending flame red tresses cascading down to softly rounded nether cheeks. Violet orbs shot sparks of anger straight to Jim’s heart.

Jim reeled with shock. This wasn’t a boy, this was a woman, although there was nothing womanly about the words spouting from her bee-kissed lips. She was a little thing, over a foot shorter than he was, with womanly curves bursting from her tight red halter-top and low-rise jeans. “You’re a girl!”

“Of course I’m a girl. I’m Huckleberria Finnley.”

“Huckle- what?”

“Huckleberria Finnely.” She flashed a cheeky grin. “But you can call me Huck, everybody does.”

“What’s a sweet thing like you doing all by yourself?”

Huck stared into the windows to his soul, and realized she could trust him with her life. “I’ve run away,” she said sorrowfully.

Huck shrunk before his eyes. Jim wanted to protect her from whatever had caused her to run. All it would take was a call to Bullone, Cubone, and Soxone, and his former Seals team would spring into action. “From your parents?” Anger flashed in his jet black eyes.

Huck reached out and soothed his warrior face. “No, my Pap ran away long before I did. I’m running from the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson.”

Now that was a problem. A gentleman didn’t hit a lady, no matter what she’d done. But for his sweet Huck, he might make an exception. “What did they do to you?”

“They want to civilize me,” Huck said scornfully.

“Civilize you?” Maybe he didn’t understand her accent, clearly she came from somewhere far from Chicago.

Anger flashed in her violet orbs. “Yes! They want me to wear slacks!”

Jim looked at her long, long legs, legs that didn’t seem to stop, legs that probably came up to his waist or higher, legs that he wanted to have wrapped around his waist. “Slacks?”

Huck shook her head sorrowfully. “No jeans, no pants, just slacks.”

“Huh?” Maybe it was that foreign St. Louis accent.

“Don’t worry, it’s a girl thing. They even wanted me to wear twin sets and pearls.”

“That does sound tough.” Jim made a mental note to be careful about the clothes he bought for Huck. They could have years of arguments over clothes. Years meant for loving, not fighting. He’d have to save his mother’s pearls, his only keepsake, for their first daughter.

“You wouldn’t believe the music they made me listen to.” Huck’s flame red tresses bounced with animation.

“Long-hair music?”

“Yes! The Rolling Stones and the Beatles. What self-respecting 25-year old listens to stuff like that?” Her violet orbs flashed with indignation.

Jim gazed deeply into Huck’s violet orbs. Could it get any better than this? Here he was, with the hot, beautiful love of his life, and she was an older woman to boot. “Don’t worry sweet-thing, when we get to my penthouse, you can listen to anything you want.”

“Your penthouse?” Huck asked shyly.

Between Rosemont and Cumberland, they shared their life stories, agreeing to disagree about the best style of pizza, and the proper role of catsup on hotdogs.

The train lurched to a stop at Cumberland and emptied quickly, leaving them alone. Jim’s hooded eyes narrowed into slits – alone that was, except for two unsavory punks walking towards them. Jim began to whisper a warning to Huck, but it was too late.

“Hi, my name is Huckleberria Finnley,” she said with a jaunty grin. “But you can call me Huck, everybody does.”

“Greetings and salutations, Ms. Huck,” said the older man. “My nom de plume is Duke, and my sidekick’s name is King,” he said, pointing to his younger companion.

“Well hi Duke and King, my friend here is Jim, and we’re heading off to his penthouse. Where are you going?”

“Penthouse did you say, my lady?” Duke asked slyly.

“Yeah, penthouse, what’s it to you?” Jim jumped in.

Duke gave Jim a cautious glance, and turned back to Huck. “Well, my lady, we’re heading to Navy Pier to do the Bard’s work, and could use some assistance getting there.”

Jim leapt to his feet and had King on the floor, and Duke’s arms behind his back before Huck could answer. “Look here you punks-“

Just in time, he caught Huck’s look of horror. Clearly, Seal ways weren’t for her. Jim eased his grip on Duke, took his foot off King’s back, and gave the punks his business card. “Go to the address on this card. My assistant Becky will find work for you.” The look of adoration Huck gave him would be worth adding two punks to his payroll.

As the men left the train at Montrose, with Duke muttering “sublime, sublime,” Huck yelled, “If you see my Pap, steer clear of him, he’s bad news!”

Huck turned back to Jim, in time to see pain mar his finely chiseled face. “What is it Jim?”

“You know how I told you about the Seals?”

“Right, you were a Seal before you became a multi-billionaire.”

“Well, on our last mission, to free TonWest-“

Huck’s violet orbs popped wide open. “I’ve heard of TonWest. Ain’t that the place way far from here where those crazy old ladies make everyone drink lemonade.”

Pain flashed across Jim’s face. “That’s the place.”

“What happened?” Concern shone from her heart-shaped face.

Jim shook his head and gently brushed one of her flame red tresses back from her face, lingering over her alabaster skin. “It’s too grim for a sweet thing like you. Let’s leave it that along with taking care of some evil rakes, the Seals took care of your Pap once and for all.”

Huck nodded knowingly. From what she’d read about the Seals, she knew Pap had suffered excruciating pain. That was good enough for her, and Jim had done it. “You’re the one, Jim.”

“The One – how did you know my code name?”

“I meant,” Huck began, and then smiled gently. Jim might be a bit of a dim bulb, but he was all hers. Jim would let her wear pants, would die for her, and would even let her listen to Panic! At the Disco. Plus, the killer body and face poetry could be written about didn’t hurt. To say nothing about his billions. “Never mind soldier, let’s get to your sparkling penthouse in the sky.”

“My friend, Judge Thatcher, will marry us this evening,” Jim said, as the train rumbled to a stop at Logan Square.

“But who’ll stand up for me?” Huck asked mournfully. “I don’t know anyone here in the big city.”

Jim smiled. “Don’t worry sweet-thing, my friend Tom and his Aunt Polly will stand up for us.”

Huck smiled hesitantly, “Do you think they’ll like me?”

“They’ll love you sweet-thing, as soon as we take care of this.” With one smooth, panther-like move, Jim snatched the Cardinal’s cap from her head, and sent it shooting like a bullet to the front of the train. “You can wear anything in Chicago, as long as it’s not a Cardinal’s cap.”[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Generic Erotic Paranormal by Summer Devon aka Kate Rothwell ” open=”no”]

Generic Erotic Paranormal by author Summer Devon aka Kate Rothwell

They met in a dark spot. Never mind where or which planet. It doesn’t matter. The only dark spot that matters was hers. Dark and moist. Longing, waiting to be filled.

“Hello,” she whispered and brushed his arm. Sparks of electricity danced where she touched him, allowing her to make out his craggy features for a brief moment. She saw his endless lust and it kindled hers faster than a greedy goddess accepts an offering from a supplicant, sucking need in. Dark and moist and aching and empty.

“Yes,” he murmured, understanding the deep yawning need in her single word of greeting and in her eyes that he could barely make out in the dark. Two of them, he was almost certain.

He seized her. “Mine” he growled.
“But I . . .” but his mouth covered hers.
She moaned as he pushed her against the wall. And then on the floor. Cream and pistoning. More cream. His. Hers. So much. From him. And then her. Screams swallowed. Groans allowed to escape into the dark. Rich scents of bodies in full, utter lust.

And then they dragged themselves to a softer surface. Doggy style. And then in what could have been her excretory canal. He only knew it was so tight. So tight. He exploded with an oath.

When he awoke from the coma, she was gone. And he did not know her name–only that he was not sated. Not by a long shot. He seized himself and thought of her. Dark and moist. “Mine,” he groaned at the instant of his release. “Forever.” Better, but he needed to find her. Again. And take her. His. Again.

Was she blonde? brunette? lizard? vampire? Nothing mattered except his ramrod certainty that she belonged to him. His.

He sniffed the ground, the walls, until he caught traces of her feminine scent and he set off, nose to the ground, in search of his property. He’d only heard three words total from her mouth, did not know so much as the color of her smooth skin–yes, good, he recalled smooth skin. A start. And sure as the four moons rise on Qu’derk, and he’d regain his kingdom from the villains who’d overthrown him, he’d find her.

He’d find her, whoever or whatever the hell she was.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”Love and Domino’s by Lauren Young” open=”no”]

Love and Domino’s by Lauren Young

Grace lie in bed, dressed in only her bubble-gum colored teddy. The sound of the Food Network played softly as Grace’s eyes blinked and darted, wondering what was happening to her.

“Eat,” her lover, Dan, whispered.

Before Grace can react, a hot tip pushed past her cherry red lips. She resisted at first, but once she recognized the flavor, she began chowing down like a starving junkyard hound. Grace drew her lips out to suck in more of the taste that was driving her mad like the mildly funny magazine she would see at the grocery store-with that dorky, gap-toothed grin and vacant eyes, God, she hated it!

But her mind wasn’t on teenaged literature at this moment. Her tongue was roving over the hot, gooey piece that was invading her mouth. Once Grace hit the distinct taste of sausage, Dan then jerked it away. Grace shrieked as the cheesy goodness oozed onto the valley between her ripened tomatoes.

With a devilish grin and a twinkle in his bell-pepper green eyes, Dan lowered his head to lap up the mess that stained her otherwise doughy-white skin. Grace threw her head up and over, half-laughing and half-groaning.

“That’s it, my sweet pepperoni,” Dan whispered, making Grace squirm and sigh.

“Your taste!” Grace cried urgently, “I want to taste you!”

Dan sucked the goodness through his lips, fully aware that Grace was enjoying this, but knew that she wasn’t done just yet-not until her timers popped through the sheer nightie and she was gooey on the inside.

Dan then peeled off the rest of the cheese from his piece and nestled it in his mouth. Grace could feel her breathing become chopped like garlic, but not as smelly, as Dan leaned forward, pressing the cheese-flesh against her lips and his meat-lovers’ special against her oven of femininity. Grace’s hunger escalated as she partook in more of Dan’s basil-flavored lips. Her eyes widened like dough bubbles in an oven as his meat-lovers’ special roasted inside her, sizzling and growing. It wasn’t long before the passion timer went, “Ding!” and Dan and Grace were shaken like mozzerella over a fresh pizza pie and drawing breaths harder than day-old crusts.

The couple were still fat and happy from their feast thirty minutes later. Dan turned to Grace, still dazed and licking the sauce from her lips. When she became aware of her surroundings, she sat up and stared down at the pizza box. Dan slid an arm around her shoulders.

“Next time, let’s order Chinese.”[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”The Romance of Romeo & Juliet, a Regency (with apologies to Shakespeare) by Elizabeth V.” open=”no”]

The Romance of Romeo & Juliet, a Regency (with apologies to Shakespeare) by Elizabeth V.

Prologue:
Two households, both alike in dignity,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
A quite nude virgin, deflowered is seen.
Star-cross’d lovers, the children of these foes,
Their lovers’ lust will end their parents’ rows.
Their scand-lus love, their parents’ rightful rage,
Are now these lines on this parody page;
The which if you with patient eyes attend,
What here shall miss, my toil shall strive to mend.

{Juliet is speaking with her nurse, as she dresses for the masquerade ball her parents are hosting for her introduction to society.}

Juliet:
Oh nurse, pray tell which suitors come for me.
What anticipation. Tonight, I dance;
I flirt. Then he and I, will finally,
Lock eyes, and I will know what true love is.
Dear mother, she has chosen the top three.
Which one, of hers, will be my love for life?
Who will it be? A handsome young viscount?
An old prestigious duke? A dutchess, me?!!
Fate will surely smile upon me tonight.
I am a Capulet; all will be right.

{At the ball, Romeo and friends look out over the ballroom from a balcony.}

Romeo:
Look there – that girl! Her smiling eyes, my heart!

Mercutio:
Ho Romeo. What eyes do you now see.
Tonight the mask’d ladies display their fine,
Fine attributes, all seen below their necks.
God Bless the wanton-ness the masks unmask.

Romeo:
No look, my friend. That light down yonder shines;
That is the East and she must be the sun.
I go to warm myself in her presence.

{Romeo weaves through the crowds towards Juliet who is flirting with several men. When he’s ten yards away, their eyes meet and lock. A waltz is beginning. Juliet offers Romeo her hand. He kisses it, then tucks it under his arm and leads her to the dance floor.}

Juliet:
Bold sir, my dances were all spoken for.

Romeo:
My lady, you ask’d me from ‘cross the room.
Your goss’mer hair, your sweet ripe flesh, call’d me.
Your lilting laugh demanded me to come.
You clearly can not blame me now, surely,
You see, obey your plea was all I did?

Juliet:
Bold sir, you claim too much. You say too much.
But oh, I like it. So, please do, go on!

{As they dance by the open doors leading to the garden, Romeo twirls them right out into the night.}

Romeo:
I think we need some air. To cool me off.
To hide your blush, as I tell of my lust.
Will you, with me, wander the garden path?

Juliet:
Good sir, I know this garden well. It’s mine.
But I would like meandering with you,
If you, your promise keep and talk of lust.
I have so much to learn, such as the words.
So much I want to say; how to begin?

Romeo:
My dear, just say what you would like to say.

Juliet:
Okay, I felt, while dancing, — your shaft!
It was — burgeoning, then quite rigid.
Look now, you are — bulging — down there.

Romeo:
Mmmmm, yes. And no, those words don’t quite suite you.
But lust is more action than dialogue.

Juliet:
Your apt student I’ll be, if you teach me.

Romeo:
Sweet girl, so sweet. You can’t know what you ask.
No matter, though. We’ll start your first lesson.
But we should not complete this course tonight.
Stop here in this alcove. Come close, look up,
That’s right, press your proud peaks against my chest.
Now let me taste those sweet, sweet lips, and then
Maybe our tongues can mate, as I’ve dreamt of.

{They are swept away with passion until Romeo pulls his face away from her swollen, well suckled breasts. Trying to ignore his throbbing member, he says:}

Romeo:
My dear, did you say this was your garden?

Juliet:
Why yes, you surely knew that I am she,
Whose home this is. And too, whose ball this is.
I am Miss Juliet Capulet. And you?

Romeo:
Oh no, you said, Miss Juliet Capulet?
What fate is this? I am a Montague.
I, Romeo, am your sworn enemy.
Blue balls! What should we do? What can we do?

Juliet:
A Montague? Yes, fate indeed. I dreamt
A viscount or a duke – you’ve more pow’r still.
But it can’t be. Dear Father’s great malice.
Oh shilly-shally. This lesson was fun.
Why I might die, if we do not keep on.

Romeo:
A tragedy, I could and should prevent.
For now, pretend only we two exist.
Come here, sit down, let’s put this bench to use.
No on my lap, I want to hold you close.
We’ll stoke our passion to a fire-y blaze.
I’ll touch you to make your love juices flow.

{And he did – until Juliet called out in quivering ecstasy. Then he adjusted his breeches, lifted her up, shifted her legs and lowered her back down inch by slow inch upon him.}

Juliet:
Oh, my. May I — move?

Romeo:
Yes, please. Do move.

{After quite a lot of moving, he held her hips down as he finally sheathed himself to the hilt and then shuddered greatly as his hot seed flooded into her. He muttered:}

Romeo:
Violent delights have violent ends.

Juliet:
Oh my! What name could do that end justice?

Romeo:
Climax, release, orgasm, completion,
Satisfaction, peaking, coming, but well,
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Tybalt:
Oh, Ju-li-et! Are you out here cousin?

Juliet:
Tybalt. My fierce cousin, he’s coming near!

{Tybalt rounds a corner in the garden and sees Juliet sitting astride Romeo with her dress bunched entirely around her waist.}

Tybalt:
What’s this? Oh Juliet, no! What have you done?
A Montague?!! Unhand her now you fiend,
Or I by God do swear, I will kill you.

Romeo:
Tybalt, slow down. Let’s act like gentlemen.

Tybalt:
You are no gentleman. Look what you’ve done.
Get dress’d, cousin. Go now. Leave this to me.

Juliet:
No, Tybalt.

Capulet:
Tybalt, my man your voice does carry so.
This is a ball. Did you forget our guests?
Amuse yourself with dancing, not snarling.

{Juliet’s father rounds the corner in the garden and takes in the scene before him. Romeo is helping Juliet with her dress which is much worse for wear. Capulet struggles to maintain control of his rage. He nods at Tybalt and moves towards Juliet.}

Tybalt:
You’ll honor me with your presence at dawn.
Justice will be serv’d on the dueling lawn.

{Capulet grabs Juliet and starts dragging her away.}

Capulet:
You’re dead to me. I have no child. A nun…

Romeo:
Good sirs, do wait and think, please hear me out.
A better way exists, another route.
Great merchant houses, both, our families,
Less feuding, and more revenue would please.
I love my Juliet and Juliet loves me;
I know the perfect ending that should be.
A great monopoly we could create,
If we could just set quick a wedding date!
Why, think how very glad we all could be;
A love match, a merger, one empire, see?!!

{And, of course, they did see.}

Epilogue:
And so, this Juliet and her Romeo,
End happily, as it should have been so.[/fusion_toggle][fusion_toggle title=”The Lover’s Flame: Awakened & Eternal (Dedicated to J.R. Ward) by Lynda Tisdell” open=”no”]

The Lover’s Flame: Awakened & Eternal (Dedicated to J.R. Ward) by Lynda Tisdell

“Damned vampires,” Angwish roared in silent telepathy to his adopted brother, nee Jules, now called Aannoyyyancce, his were-name. Angwish growled, “Vampires can increase their numbers just by attack. Not us. No. We need to reproduce, and there are damned few women who are entranced by those of us who feed by the dark of the moonless night.” Angwish felt a responsibility to his flock, and he had tried his best to find mates for them all. His enemies snidely accused him of procuring, but Angwish knew that was one sin of which he was innocent. The others, however, weighed heavily on his mind and soul, if he still had one.

Sympathetic to his brother, Aannoyyyancce listened, but then he trotted away, waving over his shoulder, relieved that he wasn’t the Laird of the Llamas, like Angwish. No, Aannoyyyancce thought, I have enough to worry about–just finding my own rare mate. “They’re writing songs of love, but not for me” looped around Aannoyyyancce’s brain. Other were-llamas listened to rap, but Aannoyyyancce knew every Cole Porter and George Gershwin song by heart. Sometimes they fought with the Village People and Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” but Porter and Gershwin usually won, as they did tonight. Aannoyyyancce sighed as he scampered into the television studio to film the Tell-a-Tubbies Return Special.

Angwish felt as if he weighed a thousand pounds–all of it responsibility for his flock, his brothers. Every day after 40 years, a single were-llama weakened until he melted if water was thrown on him. (Were-Llamas took only sponge baths). The Predators, searching in their desperate hatred for unmated 40 year old were-llamas, lugged hoses into Central Park on moonless nights, indiscriminately spraying. When they succeeded, the victims sometimes were heard to cry out, “Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! Melting! Oh–what a world–what a world! Who would have thought a Predator like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness? Ohhh. Ohhh.”

At 39 and 29/30, Angwish supposed his time was running out. It didn’t matter that so many of his brothers were jealous of him, the famous inventor of the chia-pet (inspired by distant memories of his mother). No, even if one is rich, one will die, he mused. Death held no sting to Angwish; in fact, sometimes he welcomed it. But he was not free to unshoulder this increasing burden of his brothers, united by their blood oath of pricking their fingers, mingling their blood, and crossing their hearts–in defiance of AIDS, so many years ago. Angwish knew that some whispered that he–an unmated were-llama– was not fit to govern. Influenced by Aannoyyyancce’s love of Rogers and Hart, Angwish would break out in song if he just IMAGINED meeting his mate. He now softly sang, “While I sit around, my love can scrub the floor / She’ll kiss me every hour or she’ll get the sack / and when I take a shower she can scrub my back / Isn’t it romantic?” Yes, it was romantic.

However, he also knew it was his own fault that he was single. Ever since his governess had slapped his hand when he had reached for the hot stove, he did not trust women. It had worsened when his younger sister had beaten him at hide-and-seek when he was 15, taunting, “Naaah, Naash, Naah, Naaah Naaah, Naaaah. Angwish can’t hhiiiddde.” He could still hear her disdain, even after all these years. But his most traumatic event, he knew after years of therapy, had been his first grade teacher, Miss Havisham, correcting him when he read. Corrected him aloud, in front of all the other children! He had worked decades to erase her voice, “It’s through, not though, Nigel,” his name so long ago.

Angwish shook his head. He could not go on in the past. He jerked himself forward, ambling along Wall Street at 5:00.

Suddenly, an scent broke through Angwish’s dark thoughts, an scent he had been looking for for a long, long time. Decades. The scent of peach, with a tad unwashed dog, a touch of garlic, and a hint of Mr. Clean. Where? Where? Where did that scent come from?

She was one woman who would save him from death. Who would help him rule. Who would have his little llamas. She, who would pack his lunches, iron his shirts, vacuum his rugs, cook his grass, run his Savile suits to the dry-cleansers, hand-wash his cashmere socks, dust the priceless Hummels in his spacious three-room apartment in the Dakota, shop for his organic fruits and vegetables at NoChemicalsForUs, re-grout the bathroom tile, and oh, yes, grace his bed. Angwish grinned at that. Now, where was she? He looked around, trying to spot her in this crowd of thousands, all going home at the end of a long day.

“Close your eyes. Let Hera guide you,” he told himself. Again, he smelled HER scent faintly, as he was bumped, eyes closed, guided by his faith. He careened off stockbrokers, collided into CEOs, ricocheted into police officers, until he caught HER scent again. He opened his eyes. And saw her. Hera, that fickle goddess, be praised! For the first time in months, Angwish smiled.

Annika was bent down, scratching her ankle. Pesky mosquitoes. And ticks. And gnats. Pesky, pesky, pesky. She took her giant bottle of Calamine lotion and dabbed another splat on her leg, over the pantyhose. Ahhh, instant relief, relief that allowed her to go on to the next bite. She really, really should stop running through Central Park grass. She supposed that was one reason for the “Stay Off the Grass” signs, but she needed to see and touch and smell and hear and taste nature. Looking up, after pulling up her bra strap back from her arm, she became riveted at the man, staring, smiling at her as he stood totally still, the cursing crowd still elbowing around him. He was looking at her? Don’t be silly, she told herself. She looked behind her. But no. He WAS looking at her. Really. Her, with her blue and green hair (her attempt to mix red and blonde highlights backfired), with her yellow yarn, replacing the bows on her broken glasses. (She really had not had time to go to Glasses-R-Us). Hoping that her latest creation, from her very own needle–her dress with the height-enhancing shoulder pads–would distract him from her mismatched sneaker and high heel, she smiled back. She knew she had looked a little better on other days. Just her luck. However, it could have been worse, she resolutely told herself. Her luck didn’t matter. He did.

He smiled back, bulldozed by the crowd, as he manfully stood, resolute, in front of her. He came closer. “I’m Angwish. I have been searching my whole life for you.”

“Angwish? The. . . inventor of . . . .the Chia-pet?” she breathed.

“Yes, but that’s not important now. You are,” he sighed with masculine intonation.

“But I . . . love . . . Chia-pets,” she burbled.

“And I love you,” he murmured. “I’ve been looking for you my whole life, sweetheart,” he repeated, manfully.

“Have . . . you?”

“Yes. But I knew you were the one, once I scented you.”

Annika demurely lowered her lashes, peering through them up at him. “Scented . . . me?
I . . . don’t. . . . understand. . . ” Angwish noticed that her intense emotion had changed the color of her eyes, from deep blue to brown. He didn’t know that she could smell him too. Smell his clean, clean bouquet, not of soap, but of the man himself. Clean, clean, she thought, that was it. Clean!

“You don’t need to understand, little one. You just need to come with me. Will you, sweetheart?”

As Annika licked her lower lip three times, Angwish tamped down his lusty response. It was too soon, damn it.

Annika smiled up at him. “Yes.” But then she hesitated. Angwish’s heart sank, yet he was fascinated and entranced, as she scratched under the yarn on the side of her face, and then on her leg, and then harder on her calf, and finally on her arm. “But . . . you . . . don’t . . . know. . . ” she trailed off.

“I know all I have to, Sweetheart. I know you are my true mate, my wife, my lover, my helpmate, by better-half, my psychologist, my housecleaner, my cook, my everything. Tell me, sweetheart.”

“I,. . . am . . . not . . . worthy . . . of you. I am . . . just a . . . little . . . CPA. . . with a double doctorate . . . in applied science . . . and . . . astrology. But you are. . . you are. . . the famous . . . and. . . powerful. . . inventor. I am. . . not . . . worthy.”

Sadly, Angwish smiled, touched by her lack of self-esteem. “That may be true, little one, but it doesn’t matter. You will marry me, then I will tell you my dreaded secret, and then we will live happily ever after.”

Annika smiled up at him, took his hand, and they started on their new life together. And Angwish’s prognostication was accurate. They did live happily ever after. After a few years.

Make your vote by midnight, July 19th[/fusion_toggle][/fusion_accordion]

histbut If you liked this parody, try this one!