Happy WIP Wednesday, everyone!
My participation has left something to be desired, but I promise you, it’s because I’ve been absolutely snowed under, with about a million balls I’m juggling at the same time.
Balls, ha ha. I’ve the sense of humour of a teenage boy.
Anyhoo, less about what I find funny and more about Twist – the next Erotic Collective anthology! If you like plot twists and all-around unexpectedness, you’ll love this bundle. It’s filled with sexy and smutty and completely unpredictable goodness.
My story in this collection is called A Touch of Blackmail. It features a dominant guy and a woman who’s blackmailing him for sex. Ahem. Of course, things aren’t quite what they seem…
(Side note: Tone-wise, this story is light and fun, and a lot closer to Storm’s tone than say, Assassin’s Revenge, which is darker. It’s a little confection of a story and I had a blast writing it.)
So let’s jump to the excerpt, shall we? Here’s the full Chapter 1.
A Touch of Blackmail by Tara Crescent
“Change of plans,” my friend Anna chirps into the phone. “We can’t meet at The Friendly Drinker.”
Oh thank heavens, I want to say. The Friendly Drinker is constantly on the brink of being shut down by the health department. Every time I eat there, I feel like I’m one forkful away from food poisoning. Or from spending the night kneeling next to the toilet, puking my guts out.
Though that might also be the drinking. Anna, Beth, Joan and I can pound it back, or we think we can. In our minds, we are trying to deny that adulthood is slowly encroaching, and our days of carefree drinking adventures are over.
“Why not?” I ask absently. An email has appeared in my inbox from Ted Ashburn. I sigh and look at the time. Almost seven on a Friday evening, and Theodore Philip Ashburn is sending me email. Jackass.
I ignore it and listen to Anna. “The place got shut down,” she says. “They found rats in the kitchen.”
Ugh. I shudder at that. I know some people have rats as pets. My brother Steve is one of them. He can never stop gushing about how intelligent they are. But I can never see them as anything but disease-carrying vermin, no matter how many times I watch Ratatouille.
“There’s a bar at the street corner,” I tell Anna. “How about there? My treat.”
I make sure to mention I’m paying. Anna is a struggling actress. Off-Broadway, walk-on parts, that kind of thing. Beth writes for a small magazine in Brooklyn. Money is always tight for these two. Hence the dirt-cheap pitchers at the Friendly Drinker.
“How expensive is it?” she asks directly. The four of us are open about money. Joan’s a lawyer and I’m an investment banker and we don’t struggle financially. Beth and Anna, on the other hand, live paycheck to paycheck. There’s an old Friends episode about this kind of thing – Ross and Monica and Chandler always want to go to expensive places, while Rachel, Phoebe and Joey can’t afford it. Us, we deal with it by being honest about our financial situations. We’ve been friends for a very, very long time. We aren’t going to let money come between us.
“Fifteen bucks for a mixed drink,” I reply. “Ten for a pint.”
“Well, fuck me,” she replies.
A beep sounds; I have yet another email from the infuriating Mr. Ashburn. I ignore it as well. “Anna,” I beg my friend. “I have another hour of work here before I can leave. Can we please go to the bar downstairs, and I will owe you for life?”
“Okay,” she agrees. “See you at eight?”
I look at the waiting emails. “Make it eight thirty,” I respond.