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Currently viewing the category: "Author: Rose Anderson"

The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo by Rose Anderson

The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo

Ashkewheteasu, Book 1
by Rose Anderson

Calliope’s Writing Tablet


An immortal Native American shaman seeking to end his life, assumes the form of a wolf and gets hit by a car. Veterinarian Livie Rosalini doesn’t know the dog she’s taken into her home and grows to love is a magical being seeking to win her heart as a man.

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Chapter One

[Continue Reading…]

Loving Leonardo by Rose Anderson

Loving Leonardo
by Rose Anderson

Calliope’s Writing Tablet

eBook ASIN: B009LS3H6Q

Nicolas wonders if audacious Ellie is simply mad or plotting blackmail. Not only does she declare knowledge of his homosexuality, she wants him to save an unknown work of Leonardo da Vinci. Ellie’s marriage proposal redefines their long-held notions of love, and the book proves more than meets the eye.
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[Continue Reading…]

by Rose Anderson


eBook ISBN: 1-61034-560-6

After haunting his mansion for more than a century, the ghost of Dr. Jason Bowen watches the beautiful new owner as she settles in with plans of her own. It’s only natural. Any man with a pulse would turn his head to look at lovely Lanie O’Keefe, even this man without one.

Note: Prologue omitted.
Chapter One

“I’m so excited, Ben, look!” Lanie held out her trembling hand. “I’m shaking all over. I’ve never been inside the gate before.”
Looking up at the massive house with its several boarded windows and shutters barely attached, Ben Danowski turned to her in surprise. “Lanie, are you sayin’ you bought this place without looking inside?”
She laughed lightly. “Pretty reckless, huh?” She went on to explain how she’d loved the old place ever since she was a little girl. While other children called it haunted and broke windows, she’d dreamt it was her house, and now it was. She had yet to go inside but knew by the realtor’s paperwork the house was filled with whatever furnishings Margaret Mason, the last of her family, had left when she died.
What she didn’t mention was she felt she already knew every inch of the place because her dreams often took her here. She’d seen enough in those dreams that she didn’t need to see the inside before she signed the contract. As both tried to unload the property for nearly twenty-four years, her sight-unseen purchase had surprised and delighted the realtor and the bank president. It didn’t matter if the antiques of her dreams filled the house or if the rooms were empty. All that mattered was the house was hers.
Ben knew while old lady Mason lived, the house had been in pretty good condition and was closed up tight after she died. He told her, “I think you’re going to find the Bowen house is basically sound. Had it been any other house you were buying sight unseen, I’d say you’d bought a Pandora’s Box of trouble.” His father’s good friend Frank Wurley kept an eye on the house through all the years it had sat vacant. Living across the street like he did, Frank made a daily check for broken windows and most often was able to get them replaced within twenty-four hours. He gave up trying to keep up with the regularly vandalized atrium. But more than Lanie’s neighbor, Frank was the president at the First National Bank, which held the Bowen title in trust. They’d discussed the three unusual stipulations in Margaret Mason’s will. The house was never to be rented, and the bank was to use whatever monies necessary from the estate to keep it in livable condition for the next owner, whoever that turned out to be, and for however long it took to sell. The most unusual stipulation had only been revealed after the deed was signed over to Lanie. The remaining estate, everything left of the original Bowen and Mason holdings, would go to the new owner. But only after they restored the house to its former glory and resided in it themselves for no less than an entire year and a day.
Ben had to wonder about that unusual stipulation. As sizable as that estate might have been twenty years ago, few people today had the financial resources to invest in such a huge undertaking. That Lanie did was due entirely to her coming into an inheritance recently. From the local gossip, Margaret Mason made three odd additions to her will in her last month. Initially she was going to leave her estate to the church as she had no surviving relatives, but she’d called a meeting with Mr. Wurley and her lawyer.
“Both Mr. Wurley and the lawyer tried talking her out of her refusal to rent until the property sold. In the end though, her lawyer wrote the codicil exactly so.” She looked at him, “The ‘live in the house for a year and a day’ thing is odd though, don’t you think?”
“It is.” Ben chuckled. “Especially since the locals say it’s haunted.”
Looking up at the sorry looking structure, Lanie laughed. “It does look the part, doesn’t it? So the deal is, if I can rustle up enough backbone to stay here that long, I guess I’ll be worthy to inherit the mysterious Bowen-Mason estate.”
“It could be sizable…”
“Or it could be nothing after this much time. The stock market hasn’t been doing too good for a while. But I’m not counting on there being anything anyway. If there is money coming after a year then great, it’ll go right into the clinic. If not…” She shrugged.
Lanie explained how she’d had several in-depth conversations with Mr. Wurley before she signed the contract. From all he’d said, she was sure any issues she’d find would be cosmetic. In the end she could repair or replace those things as needed. “He didn’t want me here until the end of the week, but the deed has been signed over and I’ve waited so long, I see no reason to wait another four days. He told me once he got the cleaning company in here it would be ‘turnkey ready’.”
I don’t know about that, Ben said to himself eyeing the house. There might be unforeseen issues with the plumbing, the roof, or anything else after twenty-plus years. In its heyday it was a grand old Victorian painted lady. In its present vandalized condition, it was the haunted Bowen Mansion. He thought he might as well toss the idea out there just in case. “You know, Lanie, you can always rebuild if you have to. A twelve-acre lot has loads of potential.”
She shook her head. “It would literally have to be condemned before I’d do that.”
He lifted an eyebrow at the structure. At least it wasn’t that bad.
Because the main gate at the front had an old iron lock whose keyhole was rusted over with no chance of opening, they walked along the stone wall until they came to the second gate that led to the long-forgotten walled garden tucked behind the dilapidated mansion. Knowing the iron gate at the far end of the stone wall had two halves chained together, Lanie had asked Ben to bring bolt cutters to make short work of getting inside. It was quite rusty and surprisingly noisy when she shoved it open. Unseen under the pile of debris a bloated raccoon carcass dragged along with the sweep of the gate, sending a sweet stench of rot into the air and leaving a swath of wriggling maggots in its wake.
Gagging, Lanie covered her mouth and nose with her hand and spoke through her fingers, “Oh yuck.
“Whew, that’s nasty. We’ll clean that up right away.”
Predictably the side of the house was in better condition than the façade which proved just too irresistible to rock-throwing vandals. To the side of the house sat a sorry-looking gazebo and the remains of what must have been an impressive Victorian clock garden with remnant spindly flowers waiting in turn for their hour to open. Having personal experience with clock gardens, Ben decided he’d take care of that project himself. The geometric-shaped hedge had overgrown but looked otherwise healthy and would benefit from careful pruning. The lilacs had dead sections, but new suckers had come up with the drenching rain the week before. Assessing, he knew his landscaping crew would make short work of the dozen or so acres surrounding the house, no more than five days for the work up front, seven at the most. The back yard and the gazebo would take longer, and he told her so.
She nodded. “I figured it would take time, it does look pretty bad.”
To Ben’s trained eye, the grounds looked far worse than they were. “I think you’ll be surprised when we’re done. It actually looks worse than it is.”
Directly behind the house they trudged through years of brush trying to get to the fountain. Lanie stood with her hands on her hips and shook her head in wonder. “I had no idea there were this many statues back here.” There had to be at least a dozen. Most were moss-covered marble, but several were bronzes with green patina.
Ben was surprised to see that many, surprised, too, they weren’t headless. “All this growth must have saved them from the vandals.” Holding a prickly raspberry cane out of Lanie’s way, he mentioned offhandedly, “I don’t think you’ll get fruit this year after we prune, but next year watch out, you’ll be up to your chin in berries.” Then, noticing the apple, plum and pear trees flowering at the far edge of the yard, he made a mental note to check their condition before he left.
So happy she could burst, Lanie smiled inside, She’d make jelly and jam and pie just like Mom and Pop taught her. After many pricks and jabs from thorny brush, they came at last to the once-stately fountain. Lanie peered into the circular moat around it. Figuring it would be harder to get bluegills like the fountain of her dreams had, she decided goldfish were a reasonable alternative. She gazed up at the ornate stonework with the rusty stains, recalling the sound it made when she’d dreamt about it. She was still smiling when she asked Ben, “Do you think it still works?”
The smile caught Ben by surprise, and he lost his tongue for a moment as any man with a pulse might. She was a very pretty young woman with her long black hair and bright blue eyes, but the smile was the icing on the cake. He eyed the debris-filled fountain. The rust streaks lent proof that it had worked once, and that meant it could again. He assured her, “Oh, sure, we can fix this. Kenny, my sister Bonnie’s husband, is a pro at fixing Victorian gadgets like this.” He pointed to the atrium. “And when that other stuff’s done, I’ll put him on the atrium plumbing too. You’ll need those pipes working in there.”
He made a mental note to wear steel-toed boots tomorrow. From what he saw on the outside, he could tell he was going to have to bite the bullet and remove as much of the atrium’s soil as possible. That needed to be done before his people got in there to see what plantings were salvageable and what needed to be replaced. It was just too dangerous to be working in soil filled with glass shards.
Silently counting to himself, Ben found at least two dozen broken panes from this vantage point alone. A thought came to him then. There was a plus side to all this destruction.
“Hmm. You know, kiddo, with all those broken panes to let the rain in, the hardier stuff could have survived. We might find some sizable trees in there.” Indeed, seeing it up close like he was, the greenery looked healthy and reached all the way to the top louvers.
“Wouldn’t that be nice?” She headed toward the door.
Pointing to several panes near the top that weren’t broken all the way through, Ben cautioned, “Hey, I’d feel a lot better if you waited until the cleanup is done. It’s too dangerous with all that glass ready to fall.” He made another mental note regarding hardhats from his brother Zack and wondered if a long length of PVC pipe could knock the top panes down.
Seeing the dagger-like panes herself, Lanie agreed.
Behind the atrium, she stepped onto the small wooden porch and dug for the key in her pocket. This moment was the realization of a dream. “Let’s hope for the best. Here’s goes…” Heart beating fast, she inserted the key into the deadbolt lock and opened the squeaky-hinged door.
The house gave off a faint, dry dusty musty smell often experienced in antique shops. Blown in through the years’ worth of hastily boarded up broken windows, the occasional dried leaf crunched under their feet as they went from room to room opening windows to air the place.
The parlor instantly brightened when Ben ran his hand down the wall, found the light switch, and turned on the art deco ceiling fixture and one of its matching wall sconces on either side of the mantel. Like the others, this room boasted complicated gingerbread ornamentation indicative of the overly decorated Victorian era, too. “Oh this is a nice place, Lanie. Needs lots of cleaning to be sure, but the features are intact. It’ll be a showcase again with a little TLC.”
“It will.” She had a lot of tender loving care to give it. It doesn’t look that bad. To him she added, “To be honest, I expected worse…”
“Well, they made things to last back then.” He peered into the drawing room. This room, as the others they’d passed, had shrouds and sheets covering the furniture, but the floor’s border of ebony and maple parquet was visible just around the edges of the old oriental carpet, and the beveled glass top panels on the long narrow windows were still intact. Pointing up, he said, “Now that should clean up nice.”
Her gaze followed. A hand-painted floral scene ran the entire span of all four walls and included one roosting bird, a peacock by the look of it, with a wall switch carefully set into its tail.
Running her hand over the painted tail feathers, she asked, “How can I clean this without ruining it, with the TSP Zack told me about?”
“You don’t want to use trisodium phosphate on that. That’s mainly used in kitchens where you have food oils adding to the grime or in heavily smoked in rooms. This really isn’t that bad, a little dull but not bad. Those colors should brighten up with a mild detergent, dish soap even. I wouldn’t use anything harsher than that.”
Room by room, they talked about what needed to be done inside and out for a time. Ben was a landscaper himself, but he had an entire family steeped in the trades from electrical to plumbing and everything in between. Ben’s father had been good friends with her Pop, so as far as Lanie was concerned the entire Danowski family came with the highest recommendation. With Ben and his whole clan working on it, her house would be as good as new.
She wished the Berglunds had lived to see her dream come true. It was her pop who’d told her anything was possible, and if this house was what she wanted, then they’d see her get a good start in life so she could realize that dream. And they did. With no children of their own, the elderly couple cared for her as if she were their own flesh and blood. They sent her to college and med school, and she lived by the values they instilled. She missed them terribly, and the carriage house would become the Berglund Free Clinic in their honor. She knew they’d be proud.
All arrangements had been made. The clinic would officially open its doors in September. Fortunately for her, three people, one doctor, two nurses, and one technician from the last clinic she worked at would be following her. The hours would be long at first, but they’d hire more people eventually.
Drawing her from her reverie, Ben repeated, “So how’s the roof? It looks like the second floor gables might need a few shingles.”
“Mr. Wurley told me the roof needed only minor repairs—some new flashing on the copper cupola and shingles in a few spots where that oak limb in the yard fell and tore them loose. The bank is taking care of those as one of the conditions of sale.” So far, the foundation was sound, as was the plumbing. After Ben’s brother took a look at the wiring, she’d have a better idea if the bank would be seeing to that, too. “I told him not to bother with the carriage house roof because we’re replacing it anyway.”
She was glad the bank was covering those repairs as part of Margaret Mason’s conditions of sale. After buying the house, she had enough money left in the bank to do the basics and get the clinic open. Anything else would have to wait until she sold stocks. The thought passed her mind briefly. She always had her birth father’s company to sell if she had to, but she didn’t want to do that. It was a connection to the man she wished she’d known.
James O’Keefe was her birth father, though she’d never known him. He’d recently passed away, leaving her his entire estate, including a textile business that had been in his family for several generations. He’d also left her a letter where she learned how he’d only recently discovered her existence. Her mother never told him she was pregnant, never told him he had a daughter. Rather she’d left in the middle of the night to run off with his best friend. That relationship didn’t work out, however, and her mother had a string of men in the first nine years of Lanie’s life.
They lived with various boyfriends in trailer homes, slept on mattresses in basements and one-room flophouses. After living in a car one summer, they eventually lived in the homeless shelter at night and spent their days at the McDonald’s asking people for money for food. Those were horrible days. Many of the same kids she attended school with saw her there, and kids could be so mean at times. By then drugs and alcohol had become an issue for her mother, and Family Services stepped in and found her a foster home with the Berglunds—a home she loved with all her heart. She’d never seen her birth mother again.
Her overjoyed father’s letter explained how, through a conversation with his onetime best friend’s sister, he discovered he had a daughter. But by then it was too late. His pancreatic cancer had moved too quickly. By the time they’d found her and arrangements could be made to meet, her father had died. She was his sole heir.
At the door Ben said, “Are you sure you want to stay here tonight? You can come home with me. Jilli’s away at scout camp, you know. You can sleep in her room, and I know Janice would love to see you.”
“Thanks, but no. I’ve waited half my life for this day.” She smiled brightly. “I’m going to sleep in my haunted house tonight!”

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Hermes Online
by Rose Anderson


eBook ISBN: 1-61034-157-0

Brokenhearted Vivienne finds herself mired in self-doubt but an email from an enigmatic man known only as S challenges her to rediscover her sensuality. Their suggestive email exchange lead to erotic chat, cybersex leads to Skype, and C2C sends both into the arms of a love they’d believed lost forever.

Chapter One

“What a day,” I grumbled, feeling mentally exhausted and strained to my soul. Since Dan and I ended our relationship on that horrible note, nothing seemed to go right anymore. I lost a very important landmark today, one hundred fifty-four years old, a stately impressive mansion owned by an early prominent businessman in my area. It was perfect and haled back to a simpler time when people did the right thing, the good thing… The house would be coming down within the month, the second significant landmark lost in as many years. Why couldn’t they see? Did everything have to make way for progress? Was the new chain store really that necessary?
“See ya tomorrow, Vivienne, have a good night,” came a voice from across the parking lot aisle. I instantly recognized it as belonging to my assistant, Audrey.
“Damn it,” I muttered under my breath. I didn’t want anyone to see the tears welling in my eyes. I frantically tried to blink them away and mentally begged her not to come closer. Only half turning in her direction, I replied, “You too.” To my relief she got in her car and drove away.
In my emotional state I pressed the electronic car lock button a little too firmly and took a substantial chip out of my day-old manicure. My gaze flew to the damage. “Damn it!” I reiterated between clenched teeth. What else could go wrong? Opening the door to my Honda, I let my briefcase fly to the passenger side, but no sooner had the haphazard strap left my hand than it snagged my pantyhose, a new pair right out of the package just that morning.
“Ooh, come on.” I turned the key in the ignition, but instead of putting the car in gear, I put my finger in my mouth. The two pointy edges of my broken nail were sharp against my tongue, and the tears unshed a moment ago ran freely now. Eying the half-moon divot in my fingernail, I sat there thinking of the waste. What a waste had become my mantra as of late, right next to what a shame. Biting off the points, I pulled the lacquered bits from my tongue, rolled down the window, and scattered them to the parking lot as I drove home.
By the time I got there, I was drained. I just couldn’t seem to stop rehashing that meeting’s sad outcome sucking me out to sea like a riptide. After checking the pile of mail under the slot at the door and picking the grain from the chaff so to speak, I headed upstairs to take a long hot bath. My brain was now in overdrive, and my soul was hurting, in more ways than one.
An hour later, my comfort dinner of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my hand, I found myself at my desk looking for anything to take my mind off things for a while. I connected to my mail server. The familiar “You’ve got mail” voice came over my speaker, informing me my inbox was full. Yeah, I’ve been busy lately. My emails at home had taken a back seat to my more pressing emails at work.
“Junk.” I clicked a spam email away to the trash bin. “Junk.” Another followed. I read them off. “My mortgage can be better, eh? I’m pre-approved? Sure I am. Junk, Junk… No, thank you. Junk.”
I smiled seeing an email from Andrea. My best friend, an aspiring poet, occasionally sent me links to her most recent literary find but mostly sent me jokes and forwarded video clips of driving chimps or talking dogs. I could use a talking dog barking out I love you to the camera right about now. My aching heart and mind were just this far from seeing me seriously depressed with my head buried under the pillows in my dark bedroom for who knows how long.
Her email read:
Hey, Viv,
I thought you could use a diversion. And this is as diverting as they come!
P.S. You’re allowing Dan to steal your soul. Don’t, he’s an asshole. We’re going out if Kate and I have to come over there and drag you out in your jammies. I mean it. *hugs*
Too emotionally raw in that moment to reflect on her parting words. “You always sense when I’m feeling down.” Since I desperately needed a smile, I followed the link.
Wow. Talking dog take a back seat.
I wasn’t prepared for a link to an adult literature site and nearly forgot how to swallow my bite of sandwich. At a glance there were tens of thousands of stories in a range of topics authors posted for their myriad reasons. It didn’t appear to be a site that paid you for your work. Apparently people contributed what they wished to share. Taking a moment to reply to her find, I sent her an email sidestepping the soul-stealing comment.
Hey, An,
I like this one better than the Riverdance chimps! Thanks, I really needed it this week.
Scanning the site was an eye-opener. I was all for internet open source and freedom, and admittedly some titles caught my eye while others were just plain revolting to me. “Eww,” I said, seeing a particular nasty fetish title. Not for me. Nope, not that one either. Scrolling down I clicked on an intriguing title that led to a rather steamy story. Mmm. Nice. Diverting, yes it was. After reading two, I had a comfortable feeling brewing between my legs, and then suddenly the warm feeling became a bruise in the hollow of my belly. Dan.
Since Dan and I broke up, the thought of ever exposing myself to that kind of hurt again…well…I’d live in a cloister first. Thinking of him was like playing with those two martial arts sticks joined on one end with a linked chain. Nunchucks. The word popped into my head. Oh sure, you could hold them, but try to spin nunchucks like Jet Li, and more times than not, they caught you right in the armpit, forehead, or chin.
To sum up our two-year relationship, he told me I was dull in bed. Dull. So dull in fact he needed to have an affair. Needed to. That was funny coming from him. He thought exciting was a dish of hot wings, a full bag of potato chips, a twelve-pack of Bud, and bouncing breasts and ass cheeks on cheerleaders during halftime. What a thing to say. People define themselves by many things. And women put our own sex appeal in the top ten.
I pictured him in my mind’s eye, our bed sheet wrapped around his lower half, the smirking implant-breasted cheerleader naked in my bed. I heard his words again exactly as he yelled them and recalled how they pummeled me as I ran out the door and from my house in tears. They had an indelible quality, like a stain that wouldn’t wash out. “You are so dull I had to have sex with a real woman.”
“You never really knew me, asshole,” I said to the cosmos, hoping somewhere in Chicago the thought inspired a pigeon to crap on his head at the Bear’s game I was certain he was at tonight.
Needing to push that memory away, I read another submitted piece of erotica in an attempt to shove said asshole out of my mind. To my relief it wasn’t difficult, not when I’d chosen a story delineated as a hot read by the five chili peppers next to the title. “Ooh…steamy.”
At the end of each story, readers had a chance to leave a rating. I didn’t leave a message even though that was an option. Instead I gave it five out of five peppers. Swallowing the last bite of sandwich, I licked the grape jelly from my fingers and clicked on another title.
“Oh my.” I felt tingly all over, like I had been involved in a two-hour long foreplay. Ha, like Dan would ever consider such a thing. I left another five out of five. I wanted to leave a ten.
Out of the blue I found myself mentally adding an extra scene to the established character’s storyline. Yes, that would have wrapped it up better. A curious flutter tickled low in my belly. I was feeling sexual for just a moment, and the thought surprised me. I hadn’t felt sexy in nearly a year. I looked drab, I dressed drab, I felt drab. Of course my thoughts went back to Dan’s parting assessment. Feeling the old hurt anew, my imagination manifested a blob of pigeon poop on the end of the hotdog he was unknowingly going to bite. Shaking him away with the rest of my horrid day, I stared at the words on the screen, lost in thought.
Ages ago, at a time when I actually believed myself a sexual being, I’d written a story, a fanciful erotic romp full of compelling sensual imagery. My story was about seduction. Anyone can have sex, and as the story titles proved on my new favorite website, it came in many flavors. My story was meant to seduce, for like many women, I get turned on when seduction is involved. A few mouse clicks later, I found the buried Word document. “I knew this was in here somewhere.”
I grinned reading it. It was good. In fact it was better than the one I’d just given a five out of five. Looking for corrections, I only had to rephrase one sentence before I gave it a ten out of ten score. Rereading had me remembering the female power and confidence I once had. I also remembered the jade-eyed impetus that had me write such a thing, and the memories of happier days and abiding love ignited a little smile in my heart.
Several years ago, long before Dan trod on my soul, for shits and grins, I wrote a little story based on a conversation I had with friends one night. Of the six of us at the time, two were under-employed and one was unemployed. Inspired by a magnum of Pinot Grigio, we got to laughing about what they were qualified to do, and the topic turned to phone-sex operator. We laughed and toyed with how we’d answer the phone but really be doing dishes. “Yes, honey, I am taking a bath…all soapy and slick…” Or folding laundry in our sweats with the phone propped on our shoulder. “Yes, baby, I’m wearing a see-through negligee. Can’t you see my hard nipples?” Good god, what a hilarious night that was. With these happy thoughts, a sudden flight of fancy took me. I brought the literature site on screen once more and considered. I stared at the computer, talking to myself. Mine’s pretty good, creatively speaking. It’s better than half of the other stuff I’ve read in the last hour. That’s my opinion anyway. I was slowly convincing myself to post my story. Finally I said to the empty house, “I’ll do it.”
It took me a while to discover just how to make an account and upload my file, but I was pretty sure it went okay. I set the “accept comments” to yes, read one more erotic tale, then took myself to bed.
The next day went pretty much the same. It was all ordinances and requests for special variances so Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones could get their windows and roof on before winter. All in all my day went pretty well, filled as it was imagining how my story was received. Did I have chilis? How many? I liked it, but did anyone else? Dan flashed before my eyes and dashed cold water over me. Was it dull?
At home I settled down to dinner with a cardboard box of takeout, feeling a little lonely at that moment. Chinese should never be eaten alone. It should have company. It needs people to laugh with when you crack open your cookie and add the phrase “in the bedroom” to every fortune. I well knew the schedules of my friends. Unfortunately tonight I was on my own.
I powered up my computer to check my inbox. “You’ve got mail” came over the speaker. Wow. I had no less than a half dozen people comment on my story. How cool is this? I read them one by one:
I find your story extremely well written and provocative. I can clearly see the characters come to life. Post more please.
This was superb writing. You might think about publishing.
Very tight, well crafted. I am a fan. Post more please.
I warmed in the praise, and the yoke of “dull” felt a tad lighter on my shoulders. For the first time in a year I was beginning to feel sexual again. I read more, their words a sensual lifeline pulling me from a sea of negative self images.
This has to be one of the most creative concepts I have read on here. Thank you.
Well written and fascinating!
Out of nowhere the chimera raised its ugly head and whispered, “There are thousands of readers on this site and a mere handful responded. How bored were the others they passed you by without comment?” The chimera won. I shut the computer off and put on a movie, a love story. I watched the main couple interact but had my own story running simultaneously, my own movie flickering in the back of my brain. In it I was pointed at and ridiculed and told in no uncertain terms I was less because I wasn’t a plastic-breasted, ass-jiggling, porn-star cheerleader with a case of beer in one hand and a plate of hot wings in the other.
“Why?” I asked the lead actor, superimposing Dan’s face there. Why would another person end a relationship that way? Why not just be nice and say, “This isn’t working out. I wish you well”? Why eviscerate? Why diminish the other person’s psyche? I felt a hot tear on my cheek. It’s not that we were deeply in love, but I thought we were at least friends. I thought we were. I went to bed feeling more than a little low.
The following week was a busy one. Overloaded with meetings, requests for variances, and project deadlines as I was, my fan mail temporarily slipped my mind.
A bit of water-cooler conversation late afternoon on Thursday left me feeling particularly low. The first request for zoning information on the Hornsby property had come in and pen hadn’t even been put to paper to sign off on its demolition. Greedy speculators. Needless to say, Thursday was one of those really-need-a-pat-on-the-back days. I didn’t receive one at work, but the drive home had me thinking about checking the literature site. I found myself suddenly craving a good word and wished someone had read my story and liked it enough to write a nice review.
After paperwork and dinner, I made a cup of tea and went to see if any comments had been posted. I felt a measure of panic when I looked for the title and it didn’t come up right away. The spectre of self-doubt looming over my shoulder immediately determined the site managers declared it “too dull, had to delete.” I was surprised to discover my story had been moved. Within a week it had a string of peppers and made the Hot List. More than that, I now had a dozen comments, and they were all very complimentary. One in particular stood out:
I long for a sensuous weaver, a sensual dreamer, a companion to write every hedonistic facet of human desire. Are you such a person? I wonder.
I stopped and reread. This was an intelligent person. In some respects the words written here might even be considered a challenge. I sent a coquettish reply, the words implying far more confidence than I really possessed.
I am intrigued. How shall we begin?
I bit my lip, debating to the last second if this was something I should do. What if this person wanted more? I wasn’t sure I liked the C2C world of the internet where computer cameras linked conversations—and come to think of it, I really wasn’t all that into chat either. Needing human interaction tonight, I eventually convinced myself that as long as this person stayed talking in email it would be fine. I clicked send.
The happy male voice announcing “You’ve got mail” over the speaker came loud enough to make me jump. The reply was so quick it startled me.
Dearest V,
Since I have pondered this a long while I shall move forward. I am going to tell you one thing about myself each time we correspond. I desire for you to take your sensual palette and lay the colors out for your use. Your character’s physical descriptions were perfect, and I find myself wondering if you paint from life. I couldn’t help but see the glimmer of heat reflected in your story and want that heat to scorch me. Are you up to this task?
Wow. Another challenge. I wrote back,
You have not yet told me “the one thing” yet. My paint box is waiting.
Once more the tiny envelope popped into my mailbox. “You’ve got mail.” He was on the computer at the same time as I was. Imagining that somehow he could see me there through the computer screen sent a small shiver up my back and across my shoulders.
Dearest V,
My eyes are green like Jonathan’s in your story. I would like you to be these eyes today. Describe yourself to me in full vivid color. Head to toe, V, leave nothing out. Dazzle me with your brilliance.
Green eyes. I smiled. I loved green eyes, especially ones that changed shades with the color of clothes or the mood. Sighing with my visual memory, I searched my mind for what he called my palette. The paints in my personal paint box had long since dried out. I reread the last email… Describe yourself to me in full vivid color. Did I even have anything beyond shades of gray anymore? I pictured Dan with erectile dysfunction. The thought added water to my dried-out paints.
Where to begin… I suppose we should start at the top and work our way down…
My hair is long and falls straight to the middle of my back with wispy bangs. The color is cinnamon, copper, golds, auburn, and reds. Not Irish setter-red nor ginger red but red-gold like autumn leaves.
My skin is alabaster, not pallid, not ashen but the faintest pale pink. I am all pinks and reds really…pink in places and rosy in others. My eyes are gray like the lining of a storm cloud. I stand five-foot-six and, at a medium build, weigh one hundred forty-three pounds.
I’m a rounded woman, not chunkily so. I’m round—round rumped, round breasted, defined waist. I have a spattering of freckles on my shoulders and nowhere else. A lover once said they were like stars sprinkled there.
I have smooth, lithe arms and long legs, and delicate feet with a frosted peach pedicure that matches my fingernails. Over my left breast close to my heart I possess a small indelible crescent moon and three twinkling stars of henna brown. Is this color enough?
I read it, and then, surprised by the image these simple words evoked, I read it again. I could see this color, yes, I did look this way, this was me. I wasn’t a black and white and gray being after all. These simple words I found to describe myself implied I was filled with color. With that realization making my heart beat faster, I clicked send.
There was no instant reply. I could feel it, feel the rise of doubt coming up like a bubble from a sinking submarine. But this time I pushed it away. I looked in my email’s sent folder and reread my painted description once more. To my surprise, my smile returned, and somewhere in my mind, a rainbow started to form—a monochrome rainbow, but a bridge across the pallor of my gray sky.

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