Welcome to my Fun Reads page! Basically, what we have here, will be relatively short pieces that are just for the hell of it. Some may be related to books I have out or in progress. Some may be independent of anything else. Enjoy : )
This is a short story I’d been mulling for a bit. Currently, it’s available on Wattpad, but I will likely get it out in other ways as soon as I can.
“Trucker Callie Flores gives pregnant damsel in distress Astrid a lift. But there’s something a bit off along the I-5 corridor.”
Once Upon a Time, There Was a Girl Named Sasha…
This bit is a prequel, of sorts, to Caught in Amber. After reading CiA, KatieBabs asked for a little something about how Sasha met Guy. Here you go, Katie!
Sasha swayed to the pounding music. The buzz of the alcohol made the flashing lights of the club more garish than when she and Jess first got past the bouncer at the door an hour ago. The heat of too-close bodies soaked into her clothes, her skin, but she couldn’t have been happier to be anywhere else this very moment.
Their lack of status among the underground young and rich should have had them trudging back into the cold Nevarro night, but they got lucky. The guy at the door of The Morrissey had slid his oily gaze up their legs to where the material of their skirts barely covered their crotches and let them in. Maybe he thought they’d be grateful and do something with him later.
Right. After two years of side-stepping slags and basement stroke parties, they’d finally met someone who could point out the hottest parties in the most exclusive clubs. He’d gotten them into a few of the more recent ‘digs, including this Founder’s Day bash hosted by some rich businessman.
The crowd moved Sasha toward the dance floor whether she wanted to go or not. She rose onto her tip-toes to see over the heads of others, but to no avail. Where the hell were Jess and Warren? They’d gone to the bar to get more drinks three songs ago.
Another song, louder and faster, blasted over the dance floor. The crowd cheered when they recognized the first measures of the popular tune.
“Dance with me,” someone yelled in her ear as he grabbed her arm.
Sasha started to resist—being man-handled wasn’t her thing—then decided she wouldn’t mind dancing until Jess and Warren made their way back to her. Hell, why shouldn’t she enjoy herself?
The guy who’d grabbed her wasn’t much older than her own twenty Earth Standard years. And even under the flashing lights, his head whipping back and forth to the music, he looked kind of cute. It was difficult to see for sure, but his light-colored shirt and dark trousers appeared to be good quality. That was another thing Sasha and Jess had learned: quality clothing definitely told more about a person’s status than what came out of their mouth. Lies abounded on the party circuit, but a good pair of shoes and designer togs meant you were somebody.
Sasha moved in time with him, arms raised or sliding along her body in a suggestive display that would have had her parents gripping their chests in horror.
You’re not under their roof anymore, she reminded herself. Have fun! That’s what’s life’s about, right?
The guy smiled, his dark eyes shining with an almost feral glint that made Sasha’s gut tighten, and not in a good way.
He leaned closer as they danced. “What’s your name?” he yelled to be heard over the music.
“Sasha,” she replied. “What’s yours?”
“Marco.” He moved back a half step and gave her an appraising look. It felt like his gaze went right to her skin. “You’ve got some sweet moves. Wanna to see where the real party is happening?”
Score! Just what she and Jess had been after, but could she trust this man?
Sasha glanced around the club, hoping to catch sight of her friend. Damn it, where was she? They were in this together, weren’t they? Why did Jess have to pick now to go off with Warren and do God-knew what?
She smiled. “Sure.”
Marco grinned back and laid his hot hand on her shoulder. “This way.”
He guided her through the dancers and past the crowd near the bar. Sasha half turned to try to find Jess again. Marco slid his arm around her waist and drew her close.
“I’m looking for my friends,” she said.
He brushed his lips against her ear and she shuddered. “You can find them later. This is a limited time offer.”
Damn. Jess would kill her if she passed up the opportunity to up their cred in the party circuit. If it was legit, maybe Sasha could make nice and get Jess and Warren in later. Besides, if he turned out to be a jerk, the one-shot stunner stick in her purse would knock him on his ass long enough for her to get away.
She relaxed against Marco’s side, and he gave her a reassuring squeeze. “Good girl.”
They exited the main room of the club through the double doors that led to a small bar area. The doors shut behind them, leaving a residual throb of music in her ears. Cooler air chilled the sweat on her brow, and Sasha swiped her hand across her forehead.
The bartender glanced up and nodded. Two men and a woman sat at the bar. One of the men, a beefy sort in a black suit, turned toward them. He gave her and Marco a narrow-eyed glare.
Marco sneered. “Relax, Jake. Guy knows.”
Guy? Guy who?
He steered her down a paneled hallway. At an unmarked door, Marco released her and straightened his clothing. He ran his fingers through his black hair. Whoever this Guy was, Marco wanted to be presentable, so she’d better follow along.
Sasha smoothed her blouse and skirt. She wished she could check her hair, especially after dancing, but so be it. A nervous flutter tickled her stomach and she pressed her hand there. Maybe he was taking her to see the host. God, she wished Jess was here.
“You okay, sweetness?” Marco asked. “Not gonna throw up or anything, are you?”
“No, I’m good. Do I look okay?”
He gave her a slow head-to-toe and that wicked, feral grin returned. “You look fucking amazing. Come on.”
Marco levered the door handle. Inside the private room, a group of no more than a dozen chatted and laughed. The low-key atmosphere was decibels quieter than the pounding beat of the main club, and the occupants at least ten years older. Sasha stepped inside. A cinnamon-citrus aroma tickled her nose. Someone’s perfume or cologne? Something in the food? She’d smelled it before, at a couple of the ‘digs she and Jess had hit.
Tables were laden with plates and platters of food, bottles and glasses of drink. Scattered around the room were identical delicate white bowls that contained an orange-brown residue.
“Now’s not the time for business,” a masculine tenor said a little too loudly, as if making a point. Sasha’s gaze immediately jumped to where he stood and her breath caught. A tall, blond man wearing a gray shirt open at the throat and dark gray trousers had his hand clamped on a shorter man’s shoulder. The blond grinned at the crowd, who had all turned to him. The shorter man smiled, but it seemed to be more nervous than genuine to Sasha. “This is a Founder’s Day party,” the blond continued. “We’ll talk business later.”
He gave the man a little push toward the buffet table, and his genial grin faltered. Annoyance or true anger? It was gone so fast, Sasha couldn’t be sure.
“Guy,” Marco called out as he pressed his palm against Sasha’s lower back. “I got her.”
Flickering movement caught her eye and Sasha looked up at the screens displayed around the room. The dance floor of the club from several angles as well as one of the quiet front room. None had sound coming from them, only light and movement.
Marco drew her to a stop, and Sasha looked up in to a pair of cobalt blue eyes. Guy smiled. He was beautiful. Strong, square jaw. High cheek bones. A lock of wavy blond hair fell across his forehead. He slicked it back then offered her his other hand.
She took his hand. Large and warm, it enveloped hers with a firm gentleness that set her at ease and excited her all at once. “Sasha. Thanks for inviting me.”
Now she understood what had happened. Guy, whoever he was, had seen her on the club monitors and sent Marco to bring her back here. An electric thrill shimmered over her. God, Jess would be so jealous.
Guy shrugged and winked. “Always looking to have the prettiest girls at my parties.” He released her hand and gestured toward the food and drink. “Can I offer you something?”
“I’m a little thirsty after dancing,” she said eying the bottles of wine and liquor.
He guided her to a table and poured a generous amount of white wine into a goblet. “This is one of my favorites.”
Sasha took the glass and sipped. Sweet, but not cloying, it went down smooth and she had to stop herself from gulping.
Watch it, girl. This man has class and money. Guzzling his wine makes you look like the bumpkin you left back in Traynor.
She lowered the glass and smiled. “Delicious. Do you often have private parties here?”
Guy chuckled. “I’m part owner of The Morrissey and hang out here once in a while. Do you like it?”
Sasha blinked up at him. “This is your club? Your party?”
Shit. Not just some rich guy at the club, but the host of one of the least advertised—and therefore most sought-after—events in Pandalus for the holiday party circuit.
He shrugged again, looking almost embarrassed. “Yeah. Come on over and sit with me. I’d like to get to know you a little more, Sasha.”
She sank into the cushions of a short couch in front of a fireplace. Was that a real fire burning with real wood? If not, it was the best damn holo she’d ever seen or felt. Guy sat beside her, close but not too close, and extended his arm behind her among the back of the couch.
“Are you sure I can’t get you some food or other refreshment?” He nodded toward the coffee table in front of them. A platter of small sandwiches sat beside one of the white bowls. Not a just a bowl, but a mortar and pestle set.
She leaned forward and inhaled. The cinnamon-citrus bite of whatever was in the bowl made her nostrils and the back of her throat tingle. “What is that?”
Guy grinned, cocking his head. “You aren’t from here, are you?”
Sasha sat up. “I’ve been in Pandalus for a couple of years. I know my way around.”
He reached out and brushed the back of his fingers across her cheek. Normally, a stranger’s touch would have made her back away, but she didn’t move. “Sweetness, I would be more than happy to show you all there is to see of Pandalus.” He lowered his hand then picked up the bowl. “This is amber. You’ve never had it?”
Amber. She’d heard of it, had been offered a piece of a teaser cube at a party not long ago, but either the dose was too tiny or the amber hadn’t affected her. And it certainly hadn’t smelled like what Guy was offering. Maybe what she’d been exposed to had been cut with too many fillers to give her the rumored high.
“No,” she said. “There seems to be a good amount of it here though.”
Guy laughed and set the bowl back down. “You could say I have an in on the business. So. Tell me what brought you to Pandalus.”
For the next hour, Sasha and Guy talked about her growing up in Traynor. How she wanted out of podunk town living and her family’s disapproval. He understood her decision to see the world, though he also sympathized with her folks. He had no family, he told her, and expressed a wistful desire to have known them as he grew up.
Sasha’s heart broke—and melted—for the little boy he had been, growing up without his parents. As maddening as hers could be, she should feel grateful they were around, right?
Guy clapped his hands together and rose, dispelling the air of melancholy. “Enough of that,” he said, extending his hand toward her. “This is a holiday. Let’s have some fun.”
She took his hand. He helped her up and brought her close to his chest. The spicy aroma of his cologne and an underlying musk filled her. The corners of his blue eyes crinkled when he smiled at her.
“Come back to my place with me?”
Sasha blinked at him. She wasn’t so naive that she didn’t understand the implications of the invitation. Guy wanted her, and the surge of heat between her legs was too strong to deny.
Somewhere in the back of her brain, she knew she should comm Jess and let her know what was happening. But hell, Jess and Warren had disappeared without so much as a ping. Guy stroked the side of her hand with his thumb, and Sasha’s knees wobbled. She’d comm Jess later.
His smile broadened and he touched his lips to hers. A flick of his tongue prompted her to part her lips. He deepened the kiss, but just a little. No more than her old boyfriend had in their first clumsy back porch grope sessions. Guy’s kiss was sweet, almost shy.
He backed away, still smiling, and held her hand. “Good. Let’s go.”
No one in the room seemed to notice them slip out the door. Guy slid his arm around her waist as they walked down the hallway to the bar. The bartender and the man Marco had called Jake were talking quietly.
Jake turned around on his stool and stood. “Ready to go, boss?”
“Get our coats, will you?”
Sasha handed Jake the claim chit. He walked to the coat check and slid the chit into the slot. A panel, disguised to look like part of the wall, opened and her faux fur jacket was presented on a hanger. Jake handed it to Guy, then Guy held the jacket while Sasha slipped it on.
Such a gentleman.
Jake retrieved Guy’s long, wool coat. Guy shrugged into it, settling the expensive garment on his broad shoulders. He took her hand and they followed Jake out into the night. The luxury ground car was parked in front of The Morrissey, convenient access for a man of importance.
Jake opened the rear door. Guy helped her in, cautioning her to watch the icy ridge of the curb. She sat back against the butter-soft leather and he eased in beside her. Jake shut the door and made his way to the driver’s side.
They pulled onto the street. Through the tinted side windows, fireworks shot into the distant sky. Blue and white and green lights blossomed against velvet black. Guy leaned across her to watch, his hand on her bare knee as he gazed at the display.
He looks like a little boy, smiling like that.
Then Guy turned his head slightly, giving her a wicked look that was very grown up. His palm on her knee, he stroked a spot on the side that sent tendrils of fire up her thighs.
“Happy Founder’s Day,” he said, his voice low and sexy and full of promise.
She kissed him, her hand covering his and sliding it up her leg. “Happy Founder’s Day.”