Monday, September 30, 2013


I have been interested in art since almost before I can remember. I was reprimanded for drawing with crayons on the dining room wall paper at about age 3 or 4. I spent a large part of my life focusing on raising four children so my love of art took a back seat to my other priorities. My youngest is 25 now and it is my turn to create to my heart's content-like I used to do at age 15 for hours in my bedroom. I started college at the non-traditional age of 38 and commuted an hour each way to the Maine College of Art for 7 years to get my degree. I got my BFA in 2000. A few years ago I was hired as a designer for a national wooden puzzle making company. A year ago I was introduced to digital drawing and I am currently exploring the medium enthusiastically. I've completed several series of illustrations for children's books.
Alien World or Peace On Earth Because We're All Green...
Alien Melody or Music is Music on Any World
 Alien Cosmos or Be One With The Universe

Alien Squash or DON'T FIT IN


ABOUT THE AUTHOR After growing up in the Pacific Northwest, A.T. Douglas ventured away from her quiet hometown for the bustle of college in the city of Boston.  Though she studied astronomy and was a science geek at heart, she always had a love for the written word and a story swirling in her head. It wasn't until she became addicted to the Young Adult/New Adult Contemporary Romance genres that she embraced her renewed passion for reading by self-publishing her debut novel, Someone to Listen.  Fueled by coffee and her love of music, she strives to turn daydreams and the realities of life into words the world can read.  Her writing is inspired by personal experiences and memories from her past.  She hopes to inspire others to break the silence and get their stories out into the world.   A.T. Douglas lives in New Hampshire with her husband and son and wishes desperately that there were more hours in the day for family, reading, and writing.

Abby wanted a fresh start, a new life thousands of miles away from her four difficult years of high school and the rumors that followed her.  As she begins her college experience in Boston, she finds friendship and love she didn’t expect, people who show her that she doesn’t have to be alone.
She is torn between two paths, inexplicably drawn to two completely different guys.  One understands her and reminds her of who she used to be, the broken shadow of a person wandering through life but not truly living.  The other is the key to her future, the guiding hand that she waited for years to pull her out of the darkness and into the light.
When Abby’s newfound happiness and renewed existence are threatened, everything changes.  She can fall back to that dark place within her or fight to save her future.
She faces the same struggle she has all along: getting someone to hear her, finding someone to believe her.
All she ever needed was someone to listen. Buy Link (exclusively on Amazon)

A.T. Douglas and her social media links



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Sunday, September 29, 2013

DREAM CHILD BOOK III by J.J. (James) DiBenedetto

Image of J.J. DiBenedettoDream Child interview continued

J.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve University, where as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then.
He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he's not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests.
The "Dreams" series is James' first published work.

-What authors inspire or influence your work?
Everyone I read, really.  I can’t think of any specific influences, but I know that my style is heavily influenced by what I’ve read.
As for inspiration, the biggest inspiration for getting these books finished and published was a friend of mine, Jennifer Povey, who sold her first novel last year.  Seeing her succeed pushed me to want to do it myself.
-Do you need visual media to describe people or places? (Some authors use pics. out of magazines)
No.  I can see my characters and location in my head pretty clearly.  I actually have trouble thinking of appropriate actors to “cast” my books.
-Favorite snack when writing.
Anything sweet.
-Do you have a Muse?
If so, I haven’t met them yet.
-Once a character is fully developed do you set them free or do they still dance around your mind?
Oh, they’re free, but they seem to want to stay in my mind anyway.  I need to start charging them rent!
- Is the Thesaurus one of your best writing friends?
Honestly, no.  I’ve got a pretty good vocabulary to begin with and I can usually come up with the right word on my own.

M first four books had been out for a month before the idea of audiobooks came up.  It wasn’t even my idea; my wife’s boss is just about legally blind, and she asked my wife if the Dream Series books were available on audio.  I had never thought about that, but the question put the idea in my head.  And I’m really grateful, because the audiobook experience has been nothing but positive.

It didn’t look like it would be that way.  I looked into production companies and discovered just how expensive professional audio recording can be.  I was quoted prices of $300-$400 per hour of audio (and I was told the rule of thumb that 8,000-12,000 words equals one hour).  With a 96,000 word book, that worked out to anywhere between 8 and 12 hours…or $2,400 at the low end and $4,800 on the high end.  My budget did not include that – and that was for only one book, but I had FOUR.

Thankfully, one of the people I talked to, who kindly spent an hour on the phone with me explaining the audiobook world, told me about Amazon’s service, ACX (the Audiobook Creation Exchange).  You put your book up for audition, and potential narrators put themselves out there with samples of their work.  And, ideally, you connect with them.  The narrators set their own rates, and some of them will work for “royalty share” (no money up front, but you share all royalties with them 50/50). 

ACX has a great system to look for narrators – you have several variables you can select.  There are obvious ones like gender and language.  There’s also age (what age can the narrator portray, from child to elderly adult and everything in between), accent (50+ choices, some VERY specific), tone (anything from sultry to humorous to terrified, and many option in between) and genre of your book.  Using those choices, I narrowed my options down from the over 10,000 narrators on ACX to 20 or so.  I listened to their samples, chose the 5 I liked best, and reached out to them.

And one of them, the amazing Heather Jane Hogan ( contacted me back, liked the idea of the books, and agreed to narrate them for me.  She recorded the first fifteen minutes of the book – that’s the first checkpoint, when you can listen to make sure that you and your narrator are “on the same page.” 

I was blown away.  Heather did a better job than I imagined – she really brought the book to life in a way I didn’t dare to hope for.  Other than literally one or two words, there wasn’t a thing that I asked her to change.  And that was true for the rest of the book, when I received the files from her a month later. 

As a narrator, Heather made the production process not only easy, but enjoyable.  And ACX made the technical details and the business end of things simple and straightforward.  I am thrilled with how it’s all turned out, and we’re in the middle of recording book #2 in the Dream Series, “Dream Doctor” right now.

(I’ve got ten minute samples from both books at my website:

Dream Child Cover
“I would give anything to take this away from her.  I would gladly go back to having the nightmares myself – the very worst ones, the ones that had me waking up screaming in a pool of my own vomit – rather than see Lizzie go through this…” 
As a resident at Children’s Hospital, Sara can handle ninety hour workweeks, fighting to save her young patients from deadly childhood diseases.  But she’s about to be faced with a challenge that all her training and experience haven’t prepared her for: her four-year-old daughter has inherited her ability to see other people’s dreams…
“Dream Child” is the suspenseful third novel in the “Dreams” series.
Someone’s shaking my shoulders, yelling right in my face.  “Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!”
My eyes open, and I’m instantly wide awake when I see the panic in the face of my daughter.  I throw my arms around her and hug her to me.  “It’s OK, Lizzie.  Mommy’s here.  You’re safe,” I say with a calm I definitely don’t feel.
“I had another funny dream!”  Oh, God.  I – I remember now, I did, too.  But that’s not important, it can wait.
I keep holding Lizzie as tightly as I can.  “Can you be brave again, like before?  Tell Mommy all about it?”
She has to think about that.  I don’t blame her – I don’t feel especially brave right now myself.  But she finds her courage, takes a deep breath and launches straight into what she saw: “Billy, Billy from the train, he was in his bedroom.  He has a big model airplane, like how Uncle Bob makes.  And he was on his bed and his door was shut, but his mommy and daddy were yelling, I could hear them through the door.  Billy was crying.  He was really sad!  I couldn’t hear what they were saying, ‘cept it was bad, ‘cause they were both yelling and they sounded really mad.”
She stops and looks up at me, with a fear in her eyes that I’ve never seen there before.  I know exactly what she’s going to ask me.  “Mommy, do you and Daddy…?”
Thank God, no.  We rarely fight, and it’s funny – the worst one we ever did have was all whispers instead of shouts.  “No, honey.  We don’t yell like that at each other.  Some – uh, some grown-ups do, but your Daddy and I love each other very much, and we would never be like that.  And you know what?  We love you, too.”
Lizzie accepts that; I think she already knew it, but she wanted to be reassured.  “I’m glad, Mommy.  They were yelling really loud.  It was bad and Billy was crying and I wanted them to stop, and I tried to open the door and go tell them to be quiet ‘cause Billy was so sad and crying, but then I woke up.”
To my surprise, Lizzie is holding back tears, but it’s clearly taking a lot of effort.  I am so proud of her – I kiss her forehead, squeeze her tight.  “You are such a wonderful girl,” I tell her.  “You have such a big heart.  I’m – I don’t even know what to say.”  I’d love to think that she’s this way because of what she’s learned from Brian and me, but we can’t take credit for it.  It’s been inside her from the start.
Buy the Book!
Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)
Amazon UK (Kindle or Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook or Paperback)
Sony eReader
Apple iBookstore

Saturday, September 28, 2013


When Booth, under the guise of seeking spiritual advice, visits the President's medium to gather information about Lincoln's habits in order to kidnap him, a malevolent spirit begins to haunt and torment him, driving him to the brink of
insanity. A mysterious coin also appears out of nowhere, and returns every time Booth tries to discard it.
Each return of the bloodthirsty Roman coin brings increasingly terrifying events and eerie hauntings.In the midst of these strange visitations, Booth falls in love with Alice Grey, a beautiful actress who's hired by the government to spy on him. She’s torn between her love for Booth and her duty to protect the President from assassination.It is a 'dark' paranormal because a malevolent spirit haunts Booth to assassinate the 'tyrant' as in Julius Caesar. But since I believe every situation, no matter how foreboding, allows for humor, I've added a few lighter scenes that offer the reader some much-needed relief. How can Booth's plot not leave itself wide open for humor? It was pure comic farce, how he recruited this motley band of adoring disciples and gave them each an assignment in his absurd conspiracy. Yes, Booth sure gets what's coming to him in the end.

My passion for history has taken me to every setting of my historicals. The four-book “Yorkist Saga” and two time travels are set in England. After finishing the Italian vampire romance “A Bloody Good Cruise” I decided to write biographical novels with no fictional characters. I recently completed “President Washington’s Daughter”, about Eliza Jumel Burr, who made her way up from the streets of Providence to being the richest woman in New York City and wife of Vice President Aaron Burr. My latest work is “Give Us Liberty”, the story of Martha Washington as told by her “favorite servant,” her slave Oney Judge.

I won a Romantic Times Top Pick award for a previous novel, FAKIN' IT, and am the author of 13 paranormal and historical novels. I'm studying for a Master’s Degree in Archaeology, and own an engineering business with my husband Chris. A longtime member of Romance Writers of America’s NH chapter and the Richard III Society.
I'm a golfer, pianist, and sling a mean kettlebell. Fav bands are the B-52s, Stones, Ozzy, and the 60s rock n roll I grew up with. Rock n roll keeps me young!

Washington City, November, 1864

I don’t believe in ghosts, Wilkes assured himself as he listened to the high keening of the medium. He shivered as a draft wafted over him. Smoky incense intensified the gloom. He wasn’t at this séance to seek omens or cryptic guidance from beyond the grave. He was attending this charade to learn of Abraham Lincoln’s future.
He still ached with grief over his boyhood friend’s death. A part of his soul died along with John Beall, who was everything the South stood for. Rage over the betrayal seized his heart and boiled his blood. How could Lincoln do this to another human being? How could the President look him in the eye and promise he’d let John live, then murder him?
Wilkes fought to subdue these emotions. No phantom held the answers he sought on this bone-chilling night, just the bird-like matron entranced before him, Nettie Colburn Maynard. The medium was Mrs. Lincoln’s spiritualist, famed for her evenings at the White House “bringing back” their dead boys, Eddie and Willie. Wilkes had to admit she put on a good show. One thing he appreciated was fine acting. But he was wary. The parlor felt haunted as shadows crept up the walls. The hairs at the back of his neck already stood on end, and a chill slithered through his body. Although his hands were icy, his palms sweated, making them even colder. The room stood silent and musty as a tomb. The dank staleness assaulted him. His throat aching for a trickle of brandy, he coughed.
Mrs. Maynard’s eyes were shut tight. His own gaze darted about, unable to settle. Candles flickered jagged shadows around the room. Wallpaper patterns swirled to impenetrable fog. And the curtains...did they flutter, even though the windows were closed?
“A spirit is present, Mr. Booth.” Her voice, almost a whisper, barely reached his ears. She exhaled feathery tendrils of steam in the eerie half-light. “It watches over you, seeks to guide you.” He felt her shoulders shake with violent tremors. “He was powerful in life, but more powerful in death, released of mortal frailty.”
Wilkes felt the dread of approaching harm, but sat too spellbound to get up and quit the whole thing. He guessed it was raw fear that kept him frozen in his seat. His voice, trained in delivery of lines, was suddenly struck silent. He had to admit she was gifted, the perfect witch for Macbeth. The funereal black dress draped her gaunt figure like a shroud. Shadowed by the pale flames, Mrs. Maynard played her role to perfection. Once again, he convinced himself it was all an act. But if it was real and some being from beyond really did hover over him…
Just then he realized his jaw was tightly clenched. He struggled to slacken it.
“He lived many centuries ago, Mr. Booth, and knew you by another name. He revisits you now, drawn close by your pain and grief. She shuddered again. Her grip crushed his hand, her knuckles white as bleached bone. “I feel his essence very forcefully, right there…” Her hands turned to ice. “Behind you…”
He nearly ripped a tendon snapping his neck around, but saw neither phantom nor flesh, just movement at the edge of his vision flickering up the wall. Threads of fear tickled at his nerves. Nothing was as it seemed. Turning to face her again, he felt foolish for succumbing to her trickery. An embarrassed blush heated his cheeks as the room temperature plummeted. He breathed deeply to calm his pounding heart.
“He will thrust you towards your true destiny, young man.”

Friday, September 27, 2013

KAYLEIGH ANNE KAVANAGH crazy lady and creator of “Passion for Books”

Kayleigh Anne KavanaghHey guys!

So you may have noticed I’m not your usual host... If you didn’t, SURPRISE! So who am I? and why am I here today?

Firstly I am Kayleigh Kavanagh, writer, crazy lady and creator of “Passion for Books”.

And I am here because I want to reach as many readers as possible. Now if you’re reading this blog, I assume you like reading ;)

My facebook group, Passion for books -

Are launching an online book club. Instead of people meeting up once a week to discuss the books, it is all being done online, meaning you can fit it in with your spare time.

Books are to be downloaded on a Monday (links provided) and reviewed the second Friday after. Giving you two weeks to read, re read if you so chose, and digest the book. Then on the 2nd Friday you are given the full weekend to discuss your thoughts on the book. Meaning no matter what you have going on – work, family, general everyday life, you have time to be involved, read and be social with other readers.

The books we read vary in genre, so one week it may be romance, the next horror, after that thriller, etc etc. the books are released every Monday, so there is a new book every week, but again you have two weeks to read each book, and you may not like every genre, so you can pick and choose which ones you want to read.

All the books are from smaller publishing houses and Indie authors. Rather than the mainstream books, we are starting trends rather than following them!

Sound like something you would be interested in?

Send your email address to –

Or come and visit us on facebook -

I look forward to seeing you all!

Kayleigh Anne Kavanagh
To all authors, if you would like to come along to my events –


And any bloggers who want to meet other bloggers, come along to my event –


Thursday, September 26, 2013

City of the Mirage by Jerome Brooke

The City of the Mirage


The City of the Mirage is ruled by the Divine Astarte. She has called the man who comes to be called the Conqueror to her service. Astarte was born on our own world.

Astarte rules a vast empire of the multiverse. Her race seeded many worlds with life over the eons. The Conqueror leads her legions to victory in a war against forces led by her brother.
A few words with the author.....

·        What is your book about?
 City of the Mirage is set far in the future - the Elder Race of Sol III - our own world - have seeded many worlds with life - The Dark Empire is ruled by the Great Queen, Astarte -
She is at war with rebels of her own race - she calls the Warrior to fight at her side.

·        What inspired you to write this particular story
My love of Fantasy

·        Describe your writing in three words.
Warrior ~ Queens ~ of the Empire 

·        Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track
I seek to see worlds of High Adventure, worlds of the multiverse.
            ·        Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know
I have seen them in the pages of the Illiad, Beowulf and the Gallic Wars. 
·        What authors inspire or influence your work?
Homer and the unnamed Bards of the past.

·        Favorite snack when writing.
Diet Coke

·        Do you have a Muse
Astarte tells her humble scribe her history.

·        Once a character is fully developed do you set them free or do they still dance around your mind
Yes. I see a history of the multiverse unfold.

·        Who gets to read your drafts before they're published
My editor.

·        Share with us your biggest hurdles in the writing process

·        Share the biggest hurdles in the marketing process.
·        What project(s) are you working on now.
I have a new series written as Kitti Katzz with erotic content.


·        Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers.
Come and hear the history of Astarte the Queen.

·        Thank you!!!   Where can readers find you and your book(s) online? 


Image of Jerome BrookeJerome Brooke lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He is the consort
of Jira, a princess of the lost Kingdom of Nan. He has written
The City of the Mirage (BtGN) and many other books.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

THE ART OF FORGETTING by Peter Palmieri/Guest Post Your Doctor’s Mistress


Peter Palmieri was raised in the eclectic port city of Trieste, Italy. He returned to the United States at the age of 14 with just a suitcase and an acoustic guitar. After attending public high school in San Diego, California, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Animal Physiology from the University of California, San Diego. He received his medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine and completed his pediatric training at the University of Chicago and Loyola University Medical Center. More recently, he was awarded a Healthcare MBA by The George Washington University. A former student of Robert McKee's Story seminar and the SMU Writer's Path program, and a two-time attendee of the SEAK Medical Fiction seminar taught by Tess Gerritsen and Michael Palmer, Peter is now busy practicing general pediatrics at a large academic medical center while working on his next medical suspense.
Genre: fiction: medical (medical suspense)
Publisher: self Release date: June 2013 Amazon Book Description: Dr. Lloyd Copeland is a young neurologist who is tormented by the conviction that he has inherited the severe, early-onset dementia that has plagued his family for generations – the very disease which spurred his father to take his own life when Lloyd was just a child. Withdrawn to a life of emotional detachment, he looks for solace in hollow sexual trysts as a way to escape his throbbing loneliness. Still, he clings to the hope that the highly controversial treatment for memory loss he’s been researching will free him from his family’s curse. But when odd mishaps take place in his laboratory, his research is blocked by a hospital review board headed by Erin Kennedy: a beautiful medical ethicist with a link to his troubled childhood. The fight to salvage his reputation and recover the hope for his own cure brings him face to face with sordid secrets that rock his very self-identity. And to make matters worse, he finds himself falling irretrievably in love with the very woman who seems intent on thwarting his efforts. Praise for The Art of Forgetting: "Read this one!" Bobby Garrison, Amazon Reviewer "Entertaining medical thriller!" Roy Benaroch, MD "The Art of Forgetting is unforgettable!" Apollonia D., Amazon Reviewer

Your Doctor’s Mistress 

In 1881, a recent graduate of the college of medicine of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland opened his practice in Portsmouth.  There he waited.  And waited.  His medical practice was far from prosperous.  But the long waits between patients afforded him the opportunity to pursue a passion he had discovered while still in school: writing stories. Most of his stories went unpublished.  Then, he modeled a character for a new story after the renowned physician, Joseph Bell (a former professor of his at Edinburgh) and the detective Sherlock Holmes was born.

            Having attained literary prominence, Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle eventually left the practice of medicine, as did one of his contemporaries.  William Somerset Maugham left the medical profession after the success of his second novel, Liza of Lambeth, though he recognized how important his experiences as a physician had been to his growth as a writer.  “I saw how men died,” he wrote. “I saw how they bore pain. I saw what hope looked like, fear and relief…”

            Not all doctors abandon the practice of medicine for literary pursuits after attaining commercial success.  One of the greatest authors of the turn of the century explained his ambiguity with unique flair.  Dr. Anton Chekov wrote, “Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress; when I get tired of one I spend the night with the other.”

It seems an inescapable fact that, through the ages, physicians have been drawn to writing, if not to share the experiences of human drama they bear witness to, perhaps to make sense of it all. For many physicians, writing is not just a hobby; it’s a release, a catharsis.

So we should not be surprised by the ranks of physician-writers, from Robin Cook to Michael Crichton, from Tess Gerritsen to Michael Palmer, from Josh Bazell to Abraham Verghese. And please don’t be alarmed should you discover that your own physician spends his early mornings, his nights, his weekends in the embrace of this most seductive mistress. Though physicians don’t always make better writers, being writers undoubtedly helps make us more empathic physicians.


Peter Palmieri, M.D.

Author of The Art of Forgetting
Chapter 1 May 27, 2012 “Will you hand me the condom, Dr. Copeland?” “Don’t call me that” Lloyd said with a flat voice. The Asian girl sat straddled between his legs, facing him, stroking him slowly with both hands. She cocked her head to the side and flashed a licentious smile. “Why not? Does it make you feel dirty?” Lloyd stretched to reach the top of the nightstand, grabbed the square blue packet and tossed it with a jerk of his wrist. It spun, pitched and yawed, colliding on her bare bosom where she trapped it with one hand. “When’s your fiancé coming back?” Lloyd asked. The girl gave a playful frown. “I got it, Professor. Don’t worry. I’ll be a good little medical student and just shut up.” “I didn’t mean it like that.” “Yes you did. It’s okay. I don’t want anything from you, Lloyd.” Her voice was steady, composed. “I don’t need anything from you,” she opened the packet with her teeth, spit out the corner of foil, “except this right now.” She grabbed the base of his erect phallus a bit too firmly for his liking. “And when Craig flies back tomorrow, I won’t need this either.” Lloyd offered her a conciliatory smile but she didn’t look back. He could see that it pained her to have uttered her boyfriend’s name while she was in bed with another man. She rolled the condom on him with deliberate clinical professionalism, with the same concentration and detachment she might have used when practicing a medical procedure. Say what you will about medical students in the sack, Lloyd thought, they certainly weren’t squeamish. And they had few hang-ups when it came to the naked human body. Even the act of sex was often treated more like a didactic exercise rather than passionate love-making, which fit Lloyd just fine. Most other women had a natural inclination, almost a biological prerogative to form attachments after a roll on the hay – the nesting instinct. Screw them a couple of times and they’re romping around the apartment in your dress shirts, cooing in baby talk, dripping a sassy coziness as they smile that coy smile all girls learn by the time they’re twelve. Oh sure, it’s sexy as hell, but a sure sign that they’re marking their territory, exploring possibilities in their mind. Pretty soon they start to imagine a future together, they role-play like amateur improv actors to see how the relationship feels, how well it “fits”. The sight of a girl wearing his shirt, Lloyd knew, was diagnostic of emotional bonds congealing. But Alison would be all right. Lloyd had noticed her months ago when she rotated through the Neurology service – long silky black hair, sexy horn-rimmed glasses, low-cut blouse showing just enough cleavage to entice Lloyd to imagine the rest of her breasts. And then there was the way she looked at him when he gave impromptu talks on rounds, smiling at his jokes. No forced laughs like those idiots gunning for a better grade. When she completed the rotation, she had met the minimal criteria Lloyd demanded of his medical student consorts. She was a) near the end of her fourth year with b) no plans to do another Neurology clerkship (so she would never be under him again, so to speak) and she c) had plans to leave the city upon graduation to do her residency elsewhere. But with Alison, Lloyd had hit the jackpot, the mega-lotto in terms of imprudent relations with a medical student. There was a fail-safe assurance – at least as fail-safe as these things ever get – that virtually guaranteed they would never become emotionally entangled. Alison was engaged. To be wed! This would be a strictly short-term, purely sexual affiliation. When they bumped into each other in the hospital lobby and she let it slip that Craig was heading east for a six-week trauma rotation, the die had been cast. They both knew at that moment how things would end. For the last two weeks he had volunteered to cover consults on the surgical ward where she was rotating. He made small talk with her, hovering just beyond the nurse’s station, not as attending to student, but as one colleague to another: a transparent but effective method of flattery. One particularly warm afternoon he invited her for coffee after work – a minimal commitment on her part. One small step for a woman, a giant leap towards Lloyd’s eight-hundred thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. She had gone home to change and arrived in a printed summer dress with spaghetti straps and a hem which rode up on her silky-smooth tanned thighs. Over Frappucinos, he insisted that she call him by his first name. Before parting they eagerly compared work schedules to arrange their next meeting. They agreed on a Sunday champagne brunch date. The forecast called for a hot, languid afternoon of bliss. And here they were, at last. Alison mounted him, her eyes fixed on his with a resolute intensity, biting her lower lip, her chest rolling with every breath. While on rounds at the hospital, Lloyd had tried to imagine her love-making face – a favorite hobby of his when studying women’s expressions. He pictured her grimacing, eyes tightened in an expression of sustained agony as she shrieked with pleasure. Instead, the first time this afternoon (with Lloyd on top) she had kept her eyes open, studying him the entire time. Instead of shrieking, she emitted a steady low pitched groan, like a loud purring. She projected a docile politeness – cautious and gracious. The result was a deliciously subdued climax which opened their eyes to the myriad, succulent, erotic possibilities and whet their appetite for more. Now she was grinding her pelvis with increasing forcefulness. The pretense of submission had evaporated. A drop of perspiration trickled between her breasts, gathering speed on its downward flow, then slowing as it found the shallow trench of the linea alba of her abdomen. Lloyd smeared it with his thumb, then brought his hands up to her breasts and smirked. She leaned forward and grabbed his shoulders, clenched her teeth. Lloyd swept his hands down her flanks and clutched the small of her back. She dug her nails in his shoulders and pushed harder still. She seemed intent on punishing him for the impudence of bringing up her fiancé. But if the price to pay was a little rough play, he was all for it. He brought his hands over her buttocks and pulled her to him with deep, lunging thrusts. She fell onto him, nibbled his lower lip, tugged at it with her teeth then licked it before nipping at it again. The last bite brought a sharp pang of pain, accentuated by its utter unexpectedness. Lloyd wrapped his arms around her, arched his back and spun her over. Her eyes widened with a sudden trepidation, those beautiful almond eyes. But as Lloyd continued his rhythmic thrusts every shred of apprehension vanished, her features relaxed. Lloyd’s beeper vibrated. It inched to the edge of the nightstand like a wind-up toy and tumbled onto the hardwood floor, buzzing at a higher pitch for just a few more seconds before zonking out. Lloyd and Alison exchanged a curious look of surprise and laughed, never stopping their love-making. At last, she wrapped her arms and legs around him as Lloyd collapsed and Alison convulsed with jolting twitches of ecstasy. Minutes later, after catching his breath, Lloyd sat up on the bed, leaned down to pluck his beeper off the floor and studied the number on the backlit screen. “I thought you weren’t on call today,” Alison said “I’m not. It’s the lab.” Alison rolled onto her side, propped on her elbow. “Did a mouse escape the asylum?” “Maybe. They’re smart mice.” “You should call.” Lloyd shrugged. “It can wait.” She brushed a finger down his spine, ever so lightly. “Really, you should call. I don’t mind.” Sensing his reluctance, she got up and walked towards the bathroom. “I gotta pee. Call the lab.” Lloyd looked at her as she walked away, her silky hair pulled over one shoulder. A sepia tattoo of a pair of luscious eyes adorned her lower back. Low, flat ass. Lloyd found it necessary to start finding faults in his lovers when it came time to start letting go. It was a form of debriefing he subjected himself to. A way to script his memories to preserve the raw physical aspects while air brushing away any lingering romantic vestige. There was Ingrid, for example, the German flight attendant with the looks of a supermodel in all respects. Well, almost all respects. Lloyd was startled when he saw her feet poking out from the bed sheets. Enormous, masculine feet replete with sparse dark hairs standing erect on her big toes like misplaced exclamation marks. Amanda had a sharp eye-tooth that gave her otherwise angelic face a menacing aspect when she smiled. Melanie was a beautiful brunette but she had shaved her pubic hair in a way that it reminded Lloyd of Hitler’s mustache. And Rachel’s peccadillo was to ask Lloyd (after the first sex date!) if he was going to call her. When he told her he would – and he almost meant it at that moment – she expressed an unjustifiable, downright sinister skepticism. “Will you really?” she asked. What nerve! How dare she doubt him! Such brazenness could not go unpunished. He never called her again. Lloyd turned on his phone. He scrolled down, found the programmed number for the lab and pressed, “Select”. As he listened to the ring tone, he picked up an old silver cigarette lighter from the surface of his nightstand, read the inscription etched on its face, then buried it in a drawer. By the time Lloyd ended the call, Alison had returned and was slipping on her panties. The soft light filtering through the curtains set her aglow. There was a fluid elegance in her movements which reminded Lloyd of a geisha. He pictured her on her wedding night, radiant, with clueless Craig looking dopey in a tuxedo with tails and an oversized clip-on bow tie. He imagined the two living in a quaint suburb, a German luxury SUV in the driveway, a golden retriever frolicking on a lush lawn, a baby carriage on the front porch. A tide of envy surged in Lloyd like bitter bile. An unwarranted enmity materialized towards the man who would have her in a way that Lloyd would never experience. A searing pain bore into him like a pang of hunger. It swelled as if propelled by every beat of his heart. He put the phone back on the nightstand. “Come here, Alison.” “What happened in the lab?” “A mouse bit a lab technician, but he’s fine.” “Who’s fine, the mouse or the technician?” “Both.” “But you meant the mouse.” “It’s not just any mouse. He’s maybe the smartest rodent in the world.” “I thought that was your distinction, Lloyd”. Lloyd put a hand over his heart and winced. “Now that really hurts.” Alison smiled. “Go check on your mice Lloyd.” “Where are you going?” “Look, I had fun. A lot of fun, but I think I should be going now.” “I have a split of Prosecco I could open,” Lloyd said. Alison reached for her bra; a pink lace number that looked brand new. Had she purchased it just for him? “God, no,” she said. “I should try to study a little tonight.” “What for? You already matched in Dermatology.” “So?” “So you can study the rest of your life.” She walked over and turned her back to him. “Can you help me with the bra?” “Sure.” He stood up behind her, slowly slipped the bra straps off her arms, cupped his hands over her breasts and nuzzled the nape of her neck. His lust had been fully sated but he felt an overwhelming urge to take her from Craig just one more time. “Lloyd! You’re such a bad boy!” “Let’s make love.” He was getting aroused again. “You haven’t had enough?” “Or we can just cuddle in bed,” he said feigning a perverted innocence. “No. I don’t think I can do that.” He pulled her closer so she could feel his erection against the small of her back. She brought her shoulders back and stood on tiptoes to raise her bottom and rub against him. They kneaded their bodies together in slow rolling waves. She placed a hand behind his head and combed his hair with her fingers. Lloyd bent down and tried to slip her panties off. She grabbed his hands and said, “Stop! Wait... let’s take a shower. I have things I want to do to you.”