Dec 18 2013

Second Chance Layover — Part 14 (FREE Holiday Blog Serial)

Sandra Bunino and I have collaborated to bring you a FREE holiday blog serial that runs in 18 parts of usually less than 1000 words for each post—easy reading on your lunch break.

Prefer to read on a Kindle or Nook? No problem, just head over to Smashwords every Wednesday to download the first week’s posts (parts 1 – 4), last week’s (parts 5 – 9) and this week’s posts (parts 10-14), FREE! I also post the volumes on ARe on Thursdays. Really, there’s no excuse not to read this serial!

Of course, you can catch up here: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

And now, PART 14 of Second Chance Layover (Click title to read a quick summary of the story.)

Cover14Cal ~

We were treading in dangerous territory, but if we were going to have any sort of relationship, she had to know where I stood and why. “Your magazine ran a story about Renata.”

“When was this? I don’t remember any stories about her.”

“Probably not. She wasn’t major news, was only one of about ten women featured in an article about how the entertainment industry chews ingénues up and spits them out. The article ran about a year ago and had been relegated to the back pages. It hurt Renata. It hurt me.”

Charli’s face fell. “Oh my God. I am so sorry. Really, I am. But do you understand this is just a job. It’s not personal. We aren’t deliberately being malicious; we aren’t trying to harm anyone. Our stories are moral or cautionary tales, however, intended for the greater good.”

“How can you say that so calmly? This is Renata we’re talking about. Not some corn-fed homecoming queen who’s disappointed she didn’t get the lead in the latest Martin Scorsese flick.”

She stared at me, her lips parted as if gingerly picking through her brain for her next words. After diverting her gaze to the window and blinking a few times, she focused on me and in a soft voice said, “I do realize, but do you?”

“Charli…”

“Cal.” A soft sigh preceded a drop in her brows, a downturn in her lips.

We continued to stare at each other, neither of us yielding. I didn’t want to argue with her anymore, but I didn’t see any common ground for us.

“I guess I’d better get dressed and back to my room to grab my stuff. We have our flights to catch pretty soon,” she murmured pushing past me toward the pile of her clothes I’d made.

“Charli…”

War of SexesShe dropped the coverlet and stepped into her underwear. “Look. I think we need to agree to disagree.” Next came the bra. The sexual tension so thick and powerful the night before it had swallowed us whole in a single gulp, now coughed us back up like a phlegm ball. I had no answer for her. The bone-crushing pain of Renata’s death flowed too close to the surface of my emotions for me treat this as a simple disagreement, a bygone to be put aside. I couldn’t fathom the concept of her continuing to promote and profit from stories like the one they wrote about Renata, like the ones they wrote about a lot of famous people, many of whom I knew and respected.

“I don’t think I can,” I said without emotion.

All motion ceased. Charli’s jaw tightened and the light reflected off her eyes. “I see. This is not negotiable for you; no matter how incredible last night was, what I do for a living is a deal-breaker?”

I shook my head and squeezed my eyes shut. “I’m not saying that, Charli, but every time I think about… Every time I’m reminded of the machinery that ground Renata beneath its boot—”

“So I’m guilty by association of causing Renata’s death?”

“No! God! No! I didn’t mean that.” What the hell was I doing…saying? I scrubbed my hand over my face searching, stalling for time to find the eloquence so maddeningly out of reach, to find the words to make her understand but not drive her away. “Right now, the wounds are too fresh, too deep. I don’t think I can handle…. Your job is like sandpaper…” My head fell back and I silently cursed my utter lack of any persuasive arguments. What kind of lawyer was I if I couldn’t win what could be one of the most important arguments of my life? Think, Caleb, think. “There are other jobs, better jobs, for someone with your talent. Have you ever considered changing gears slightly? Maybe go into book publishing? With my new job, I’ll be working with the top literary agents and publishing houses in the country, in the world, even. I’ll bet tons of opportunities are at your fingertips. You’d still be writing fiction. It just wouldn’t be harmful.”

“That’s really insulting. I don’t think what I do is harmful. The world is a tough place, and those who thrust themselves under the public’s noses understand what they’re signing up for, or they should. Hell, do you know how many story tips actually come from the subject’s publicist? Sordid tips, embarrassing stories, stories that might result in jail time even.” She threw her hands up, eyes wild. “Doesn’t matter. Any publicity is good publicity, not that I write those sorts of stories. The Culture Spy is not on that level. We look for stories of interest to the general public. Yes, sometimes they are about glitzy, jaded celebrities, but most of the time, they’re about regular people in extraordinary circumstances with fantastic stories they want told! What’s so wrong about that?”

I ground my molars. How could she be so naive? “Do you think Renata wanted the story of her failed shot at fame showcased?”

Charli’s shoulders fell, and she closed her eyes, her forehead etched with trouble. “I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. Isn’t it possible Renata’s story was intended to make that teenager in Kansas, who’s thinking about dropping out of school and driving to Hollywood because she’s always been told she was pretty, reconsider?”Depression. young attractive woman with an awful migraine

“My sister should never have been a public service announcement. Please, Charli. Think about the downstream consequences.”

She stared at me, and as I studied her face, the shutters slowly dropped into place, closing off the Charli I thought I knew. “I guess there’s nothing more to be said here,” she murmured more to herself than to me.

Lips pressed into a smile, she walked silently to gather up her clothes and pull them on, while I watched. After she dressed, she raised up on her tiptoes and placed a soft kiss on my lips. Before I could reach out to draw her close, hold her in my arms and feel our hearts beating together, she slipped away and breezed out the door.

I stared at the closed door. A throbbing ache grew with each second ticking by on my wristwatch. When had the damn thing grown so loud? When had it become so fucking rigid and disapproving? And why did I have the crushing sense I’d just made the biggest mistake of my life?

***

Please be sure to come back tomorrow for Part 15!

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Dec 17 2013

Second Chance Layover — Part 13 (FREE Holiday Blog Serial)

Sandra Bunino and I have collaborated to bring you a FREE holiday blog serial that runs in 18 parts of usually less than 1000 words for each post—easy reading on your lunch break.

Prefer to read on a Kindle or Nook? No problem, just head over to Smashwords every Wednesday to download last week’s (parts 1 – 4) and this week’s (parts 5 – 9) volumes, FREE! I also post the volumes on ARe on Thursdays. Really, there’s no excuse not to read this serial!

Of course, you can catch up here: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

And now, PART 13 of Second Chance Layover (Click title to read a quick summary of the story.)

Cover13Cal ~

Duncan was going to kill me, but I didn’t care. I’d take any punch or blow and beg for more to keep Charli.

I gazed at the slumbering form next to me, a hot mess of tangled hair scattered over her pillow, lips full and pale, slightly parted. A warmth grew in my chest and expanded outward. She wasn’t just his sister, not any more. Oh sure, they had the same parents, but the woman beside me was no longer Duncan’s responsibility. Though logic told me Charli needed no one to babysit her, I couldn’t help the swell of protectiveness. Was lust or affection the source of the warmth?

The sheets had slipped below her breasts now presented in an appealing manner by an arm crooked beneath them. Those delectable curves roused me. I fought the urge to lean over and take a rosy nipple into my mouth, to drag her body against mine and press flesh against flesh. She seemed so small and vulnerable.

I didn’t want to wake her, but nature called.

I extricated myself from the bed sheets and slithered out of the bed. If Charli woke, she’d no doubt laugh at my maneuvers. Fortunately, she didn’t.

Tiptoeing into the bathroom was the easy part. Dodging the discarded clothing that might have rustled or tripped me was far tougher. On my way back, I picked up one of my socks and Charli’s thong that had landed in a cozy tangle like their owners. Call me a perv, but I couldn’t resist the compulsion to inhale Charli’s lingering scent—all woman.

Next came my button down shirt I folded up semi-neatly and lay on a nearby side chair. I didn’t dare risk fumbling around for a hanger. Besides, I’d be putting it back on soon.

One of my shoes lay upside-down near the door. No idea where its mate had ended up. Charli’s boots lay side by side at the foot of the bed.bigstock-High-heels-and-underwear-20110100

I glanced around for my pants. They lay in a collapsed figure-eight shaped accordion with my boxers spilling out over the waistband. Yeah, I’d been in a hurry. Charli’s jeans lay next to where I stood. I picked them up and began to fold them. A card fell from the pocket, a business card I discovered when I turned it over and read:

Charlotte Tierney, Associate Editor and Writer, Culture Spy Magazine.

The cold fingers of malaise danced along the back of my neck triggering a shudder. It couldn’t be true, had to be some sort of cosmic joke. Every word, every cold unfeeling sentence of the story of my sister’s descent from a failed starlet wannabe to a worn-out, over-exposed and drug-addled porn actress came rushing back. The article hadn’t been a long one, less than a page with side-by-side pictures from her acting portfolio to a still from one of her last adult flicks. The column’s author, Tiffany Greeley, a name I’d never forget nor its owner would I ever forgive, had implied Hollywood wasn’t for the weak of heart; it chewed up and spat out weak ingénues like a Darwinian predator.

And my beautiful, lovely Charli worked for this rag? What was she thinking? Renata was still alive when the “What Happened to Her” story ran. She’d seen it, had a copy of the loathsome rag lying on the floor next to her bed when I’d found her comatose and dying from the drug overdose. I would have sued Culture Spy’s asses except I knew I’d never win. A lawsuit would only drag Renata’s name through the mud. Again. All those cowardly yellow journalists—they were just as responsible for driving me out of Hollywood as the leeches that killed my sister.

Charli stirred and shifted. She sighed, but didn’t waken.

Her cell phone chimed, either an alarm or a call, I couldn’t tell.

Her eyes fluttered open and scanned the room. The corners of her mouth turned up when our gazes met. “Good morning. It’s time for us to get back to our terminal, isn’t it?” Charli, awake but groggy, sat up and rubbed her eyes. She reached for her cell phone on the nightstand, tapped and swiped the screen. “Henry’s texting me.”

“Who’s Henry?”

“He’s my boss. Probably wants to know how my assignment is going, even though he said he wouldn’t call me until after New Year’s.” She rolled her eyes.

I had to ask. “What’s your assignment?”

She winked and said, “Just a fluff piece. He wanted me to try out this online line matchmaking service for lonely airport layovers called Meet-And-Go dot com. Heard of it?” She chuckled. “Looks like I have a really juicy story.”

My hands clenched into fists. What a waste of all Charli’s brains and abilities. “Why do you work at a place like Culture Spy? You could do so much better.”

She snapped her phone shut, slipped out of the bed, naked, and walked toward me. I stepped back, and she stopped advancing. The stupid parts of me pleaded I was about to make a colossal mistake.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, hands on her hips, completely unself-conscious.

“I don’t like rags like the Culture Spy,” was all I could force out.

“Clearly. What’s all the hating about though?” She tugged the decorative coverlet off the foot of the bed to drape around her body like a towel.

A leak broke through. “Magazines like that don’t care who they hurt in the interest of getting a story. They employ aggressive paparazzi to hunt down and chase my clients.” My jaw ached from gritting my teeth so hard.

Charli cocked her head to the side. “I’m not paparazzo. We don’t employ those types of photographers and don’t buy photos from them.”bigstock-a-young-couple-in-bed-has-prob-45882310

Was she serious? I rolled my eyes. “Come on, Charli. I lived for years in Hollywood. That’s exactly what magazines like yours do. That’s exactly how they get their pictures.”

She crossed her arms at her chest. The muscles of her face tightened and her lips flattened. “We aren’t a Hollywood-centric magazine. We cover human interest stories, and yes, pop culture, but not just about movie and television stars. We don’t compete for those types of silly exposes.”

I crossed my arms too. We were at an impasse.

***

Please be sure to come back tomorrow for Part 14!

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Dec 16 2013

Second Chance Layover — Part 12 (FREE Holiday Blog Serial)

Sandra Bunino and I have collaborated to bring you a FREE holiday blog serial that runs in 18 parts of usually less than 1000 words for each post—easy reading on your lunch break.

Prefer to read on a Kindle or Nook? No problem, just head over to Smashwords every Wednesday to download last week’s (parts 1 – 4) and this week’s (parts 5 – 9) volumes, FREE! I also post the volumes on ARe on Thursdays. Really, there’s no excuse not to read this serial!

Of course, you can catch up here: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

And now, PART 12 of Second Chance Layover (Click title to read a quick summary of the story.)

ADULTS ONLY: Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 13 2013

Second Chance Layover — Part 11 (FREE Holiday Blog Serial)

Sandra Bunino and I have collaborated to bring you a FREE holiday blog serial that runs in 18 parts of usually less than 1000 words for each post—easy reading on your lunch break.

Prefer to read on a Kindle or Nook? No problem, just head over to Smashwords every Wednesday to download last week’s (parts 1 – 4) and this week’s (parts 5 – 9) volumes, FREE! I also post the volumes on ARe on Thursdays. Really, there’s no excuse not to read this serial!

Of course, you can catch up here: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

And now, PART 11 of Second Chance Layover (Click title to read a quick summary of the story.):

Cover11Cal ~

I shoved my room card into my pocket and headed to the elevator, the first step to making my way to the third floor, to room 312, to Charli’s room. I slapped my palm against the elevator button. What was taking the stupid thing so long?

What would she be wearing when she opened her door? Would she invite me in or would I have to finesse my way inside? Would she want to talk first, to get in the mood and shed any nerves, or would she expect me to pounce? A man could hope…. God did I hope.

An image of Charli stretched out naked on the crisp white sheets curled sensuously through my thoughts before slithering down my spine to tease my more primitive brain. The image expanded and took on the scent of coffee and lust. My mouth watered at the taste of her skin, her lips, her nipples, pink and taut with her arousal, her pussy wet and ready for me. Echoes of ecstasy joined the daydream.

I slammed the elevator button three more times. “Come on, come on.”

Maybe she’d have a sheet pulled up over her breasts. Maybe she’d lie on her bed, every inch of her delectable body exposed, and crook her finger at me. I’d take my time walking to her, fucking her with my eyes and fighting every instinct to leap on her and pound her into the mattress. Anticipation fizzed through my veins. Was the same hurricane of want overwhelming her?

The elevator dinged and the doors opened. Only a single occupant stood in the car, a lock of hair twirling between her fingers the only hint of nerves that couldn’t possibly be as jangled as mine.

Charli opened her mouth to speak. No words came out.bigstock-Couple-Has-Fun-Love-Eroticis-8963197

I charged into the elevator. I didn’t think. I didn’t weigh risk and reward or ponder consequences. I didn’t ask. I didn’t hesitate. I took.

I didn’t offer her the possibility of protesting, of saying “no”. She was in my arms before my brain even registered that I’d slammed her against the back wall of the elevator and was kissing the living daylights out of her.

And when the first coherent thoughts clawed their way through the red haze of lust and desire, I realized she held me as tightly as I held her. Her fingers gripped my hair and held my mouth against hers. She hitched a leg up around my hip. My hands cupped her luscious ass and lifted her up. Both legs wrapped around my waist. Adrenalin flooded my system and powered my muscles because she felt no heavier than a cat, a lithe languorous cat purring in my arms.

I plundered her mouth with my lips and tongue. God, she took everything I gave and returned it in multiples.

Between kisses, she squeezed out, “I didn’t—”

“I want you,” I said, my voice hoarse with need.

“Oh, thank God,” she said smiling. With both of her palms pressed against my cheeks, her forehead against mine, tiny puffs of air from her laughter caressed my mouth.

I kissed her again, taking my time, savoring her mouth, her scent, the smooth delicacy of her skin. All the tools in my seduction arsenal I wielded with deliberate intent. She molded her warm body to mine and moaned. More! my body urged in response. “I’m hungry for you,” I said half growling. I spun her around and out of the elevator.

English: Hotel key card holder. The holder con...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thankfully my room wasn’t far because I had a hot, snickering woman in my arms and a cock so fucking hard I wouldn’t even need my room key. I could smash down the door with the damned thing. It was practically clawing its way out of my pants to get at the feminine heat a few thin layers of clothing away. I was hornier than a sixteen year old with a stack of porn magazines, and if I didn’t get myself under control, she’d know it too.

Where was the blasted key to my room? Oh yeah, my pants pocket. I shifted and held her with one arm, just like fucking Superman, as I fished out the card and gave it a swipe. The door handle didn’t budge. Another swipe, another rejected entry attempt.

“Goddammit!” I swiped it again. Somebody hated me.

“Give it to me,” Charli said taking the card from my hand. One swipe with her magical touch, and the lock surrendered. She’d unlocked my Pandora’s box unleashing all that was wild and unholy.

***

Oh, that ended too quickly and too soon, didn’t it? And now we have to wait until Monday? Curses! Who planned the serial this way?? **snicker, snicker** Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait.

Please be sure to come back Monday for Part 12!  ;)

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Dec 12 2013

Second Chance Layover — Part 10 (FREE Holiday Blog Serial)

Sandra Bunino and I have collaborated to bring you a FREE holiday blog serial that runs in 18 parts of usually less than 1000 words for each post—easy reading on your lunch break.

Prefer to read on a Kindle or Nook? No problem, just head over to Smashwords every Wednesday to download last week’s (parts 1 – 4) and this week’s (parts 5 – 9) volumes, FREE! I also post the volumes on ARe on Thursdays. Really, there’s no excuse not to read this serial!

Of course, you can catch up here: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

And now, PART 10 of Second Chance Layover (Click title to read a quick summary of the story.):

Cover10Charli ~

Cal’s firm must have clout because we used the priority check in and whizzed right past the line of tired travelers. I peeked over at Cal as I checked in, admiring not only how deliciously he filled out his jeans, but also how sweet he was with the older woman behind the counter as he checked in. Our eyes met and he winked at me. I waited until he finished, and we walked to the elevator together.

“All set?” he asked.

“Yup. I’m in 312.” The elevator doors opened and we stepped in.

“I’m in 535. How about we get settled into our rooms and meet back down here in fifteen minutes for dinner. Are you hungry?” He gave me a look that made me think of anything but food. I stared back at him. The door opened and a couple with a crying baby walked in between us.

I stepped out of the elevator and mumbled something about meeting him downstairs in a few. Walking to my room, I glanced back to the sinful look in his eyes. I didn’t have too much experience in the ‘I want to rip your clothes off’ stare, at least directed at me. But I’d have bet a million he had just sent one in my direction. The butterflies doing flips in my stomach urged me to let him and do the same to him. I dragged my carryon through the door, turned on the light and sat on the bed.

No, I couldn’t do that. I laughed and headed to the bathroom with the toothbrush and paste the front desk gave me. The thought that entered my head was something Tiffany would do, not boring, predictable Charli. I turned on the water and unwrapped the bar of facial soap. Lathering the soap in my hands I thought of how my fingers would feel as they raked through his hair and ran down his back to his delectable ass. I washed and rinsed my face and stared at myself in the mirror. “What the hell,” I said to the reflection as I finished patting my face dry with a hand towel. I gave my teeth a quick brush and added an extra dab of toothpaste to the back of my tongue before finding my phone.

Texting Emoji

Texting Emoji (Photo credit: IntelFreePress)

Booty calls. I’d never made one. I turned on my phone and decided a booty text was much safer. I selected his number and after much thought, tapped out:

I’m not hungry for food.

I groaned after I hit send. What if I’d read his signals all wrong? What if I had just made a world-class fool of myself? The good news was I could slip out of the hotel undetected tomorrow morning and hide out in the terminal until my flight. I wouldn’t have to see him again, even if we lived in the same city. New York City’s hugeness almost guaranteed it.

***

Cal ~

Stupid key card took five swipes before the gremlin-infested contraption finally conceded defeat. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned skeleton keys? Electronic hotel keys and I had always had a love-hate relationship. Good thing the room justified the hassle.

I hoped Charli liked hers. If I’d had bigger balls, I’d have only mentioned a single room. Charli was nobody’s kid sister anymore. She had grown up independent and beautiful, and so sexy and desirable I ached thinking about her.

Back in the terminal, I had wanted to kiss her so badly, but what did she want? She took the offer of the second room without a second’s hesitation. Had I only imagined what I wanted to see in her eyes?

My phone chimed with an incoming text, probably the airline with an update for tomorrow’s departure. I pulled my phone out of my pocket, read the message and frowned.

Charlie had texted me, but what the hell did her message mean? She was standing me up for dinner? Did she get a better offer? From who? Shit!

I read her message again.

Wait a second. There was a Grand Canyon-sized difference between “I’m not hungry” and “I’m not hungry for food” depending on a man’s perspective. Those last two words offered much more room for interpretation.

Close up of woman biting her lip“Oh Charli, baby… do you mean what I think you mean?”

My dick piped up and assured me she did.

“Down boy!” I muttered. Only one way to find out. My fingers flew across the keys typing, “Lots of different kinds of hunger.”

No. That sounded like I wanted to debate. I clicked and held down the erase key until all the letters so artlessly splattered on my screen disappeared into cyber-nothingness.

“How about a drink then?” I typed. We had agreed to meet in fifteen minutes. If she wasn’t hungry, maybe she simply meant she wanted a drink. I could test the waters, make sure we were on the same page without seeming like a complete jerk if we weren’t.

My dick twitched with irritation. If the dumb beast could talk it would have whined at my chicken shit obtuseness.

I erased the text, smiled and typed, “I think we should explore this hunger of yours,” and hit send.

***

Want more? Of course you do! We’re getting to the spicy bits now. Admit it, that’s what you’ve been waiting for.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for Part 11!

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