An Excerpt from Book 3 of my NEWLY COMPLETED Tinseltown Temptress Series

from Chapter 1 of  Screwed Over ~

Relieved to have completed the requisite physical activities for her assignment, Cassie couldn’t wait to get out of the costume, shower and sleep forever. But riding down in the elevator she began to worry about all of the little things that can go wrong when an extremely wasted person is left alone. Sure, Dagmar had been fine when Cassie left her snoring away on her stomach, and sure, her unobservant bandmates should have returned from the closed down club hours ago. But she couldn’t think of a single reason (other than walking around barefoot, with crazy hair, no mask on and half a Catwoman costume mostly laced up around her oversexed body) not to put her mind at ease and check on her new friend. Cassie watched the doors open and close again on her floor then she rode back up. As she got closer to the girls’ suite, she could hear the faint, muffled sound of a man’s voice raised in anger. She pressed her ear to the door but couldn’t make out any words. There was definitely a man in there shouting. Stupidly scared that somehow Dagmar had let some asshole breach the security of her room, Cassie pounded on the door like the police.

The man’s voice approached the door and Cassie heard, “. . . that will have to satisfy me until morning then.”

The door swung open three inches, bouncing a bit on the chain, to reveal an angry, red faced MH. Cassie’s jaw dropped. He sputtered for a minute, his mouth having a hard time keeping up with his brain, before saying, “YOU?!?” and slamming the door shut.

Cassie was so shocked to see him she didn’t even react. Running for the stairs might have been prudent. Instead, she just stood there in her bare-ass-feet, mouth hanging open, awaiting whatever was about to befall her. She heard the chain clear the latch. MH whipped the door back open and stood rooted in place, a meter away from Cassie.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, words careful but very slightly slower than normal, anger held tight behind his beautiful, blue-green eyes. He hadn’t shaved in days and Cassie yearned to reach out and stroke the rough stubble that covered much of his face and neck.

“I’m here to check on Dagmar. Is she okay?”

Shaking his head back and forth for a couple of breaths he finally sighed, his shoulders sinking. He leaned back into the room and grabbed a handy trash can, wedging it in the door before joining Cassie in the hall.

“Let me understand. You send me a cryptic fucking text message about my sister needing me, and I rush up here as fast as I fucking can. Silly me, I assumed she’d be awake and you’d still be here to explain what the fuck you were doing spending time with my fucking sister in the first fucking place.”

He waited for her to say something. She didn’t.

He continued, “Only Dagmar is passed out here alone. Has no idea who you are really. She will only say that Selina saved her, is her knight in shining leather. Which I didn’t understand fully until now.”

He looked Cassie up and down, open lust coupled with disgust. Her blood sped up in her veins, the sound of it rushing behind her ears.

“She won’t even consider that you might have been involved, that this was all an elaborate setup to make you look like a hero.”

Cassie felt that one like a knife to her sternum. “Did you tell her that?”

“I suggested it.”

“Why?”

“Maybe you did set all this up just to get to me.” He leaned away from her to see her face better in the sparsely lit hallway. “Did you seriously think I would be stupid enough to fuck you again?”

The brighter light glaring into his face revealed to Cassie just how drunk he was and she cursed her rotten luck at finding him like this.

“Did you think that saving my sister from some unidentified thugs would make me fall harder for you?”

He took a step closer. The veins on his neck bulged out as he clenched his jaw.

Cassie did not want to hear another thing. “Stop.”

“Why?” He mimicked her voice, the way she had sounded asking him the same thing only moments before. “You dressed up like my favorite, Catwoman,” his fingers rose to flick at the mask that she’d rolled up and tied down to her shoulder. “You thought since I’m already hooked you could jerk the line and I would fall totally under your spell. Treacherous snake.”

He took another step closer, and this time Cassie retreated a half step back.

“Look, I didn’t even know you were here, let alone that you like Catwoman. Do you think I have access to your diary or something?”

“Bullshit.”

“You aren’t on a panel and none of your friends on social media have posted anything about this con. Get over yourself.”

“Except Dagmar.”

“What?”

“Dagmar must have posted all sorts of things about coming here. Why are you messing with my family?”

“M, I swear. I did not know either of you were going to be anywhere near this con. I met her by accident. I only got her away from those guys because I was terrified of what I saw going down.”

The muscles in his face relaxed a little. He leaned back out of the light and slouched against the wall.

Cassie went on to drive the point home while he was still interested in listening. “I didn’t know you were here.”

MH swallowed while readjusting his thinking to the idea. The implications of what that meant about Cassie’s true agenda here at the con, namely giving some other celebrity a magic carpet ride, occurred to him seconds later. His eyes narrowed and his hands curled into fists.

“Who are you stalking this time? Or is it just open season?”

“Since Dagmar was able to fill you in on the evening’s activities, I’ll assume she’s well.” Cassie spun on her heel and took two steps toward the elevator.

“Hold on,” he said, using only one giant stride to reach her. He laid both his hands on the wall to either side of her head and leaned down in her face. “Or is your mission a fait d’acompli?”

Cassie couldn’t say a word and cursed her body for responding to his nearness with a rush of lust rather than the detached uncaring pose she wanted to show him. Something in her face must have given her away.

“Already scratched your itch then. Who is the unlucky bastard?” MH leaned in quite close to her, and she wondered if the crazy man was restraining himself from kissing her. “Maybe I could extend him my sympathies in advance of your article. Give him a little heads up before his life implodes.”

She finally found her voice. “Sorry, no advance spoilers without a premium membership. You’ll just have to read my next column.”

“Not good enough, Cassie.”

pre-order on Amazon or Smashwords ~ COMPLETED SERIES

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Wednesday Check-In: At least there’s Jensen Ackles

I never have enough time. Ever since my grandmother patiently explained to a very young little me that there is never a good reason for an imaginative person to allow themselves to be bored I’ve been keeping myself all sorts of busy. Sometimes, back in my pre-parent days, even busy doing nothing. But as of late I feel like themay17 race begins when I wake up five minutes before my alarm and ends when I lay down having only accomplished three quarters of my to-do list. On my good days! My small, super dependent roommates have been sick on and off this week and making me beautiful art.

 

I’ve been reading A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I’m only about a quarter in, but it is mesmerizing, terrifying, shocking, and revelatory so far. I highly may17brecommend educating yourself with this fine book. I don’t read that much non-fiction for fun, so an interesting experience to say the least. We started watching American Gods, of course, and it is amazing (my review). I would take any job Bryan Fuller wanted to give me. How does one apply to be an apprentice to a TV God? Hubs and I watched American Honey a few weeks ago and scenes and moments from it are still replaying in my head. It was engaging while we watched but I did not expect to still be thinking back on the film. Beautifully shot too. Also reading Bared To You, by Sylvia Day. That’s going about how you’d expect 😛

Maximus remains a doggie challenge, though I did get him to come to me for a treat when he got out of the yard a few days ago. Progress of a sort, I suppose.

I almost forgot! With all the stress and uncertainty in our world right now I wanted to recommend watching all the back seasons of Supernatural. For some reason, I find watching Sam and Dean Winchester driving around together and stabbing bad guys oddly therapeutic. Maybe you will too. All previous 1 million seasons are on Netflix for your tuning-out-your-brain needs.

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WIP is still Tinseltown Temptress #3 – Screwed Over. I’m loving this one the most of any of the books. So much touching back on various characters it’s like old home week every day on my keyboard. Cassie is … changing. Evolving, I guess, but it sounds pretentious. She is learning to prioritize.

Both my released books continue to get great reviews on Amazon. Book 1, Screw Up, is still at 99 cents and Book 2 remains on KU for a limited time😀 Click here to sign up for my newsletter if you want insider info and offers.

The sun is actually shining today, though it is still cold and VERY windy. Hope you’re on a warm, sunny beach right now. What are you reading?

Wednesday Check In – Does It Get Easier??

Taxes, child management, and job hunting have robbed me of all my time as of late. I have also been querying my paranormal romance novella. That process is not unlike the online application for the copywriting and video production jobs I’ve been looking at in the Detroit Metro area. Cover letters are getting easier to write quickly.

Haven’t been doing much reading beyond fanfic and children’s books (mythology and gross stuff are heavy favorites in my house). Being a filmmaker and horror fan from Michigan, MaximusI’ve always loved the Evil Dead film series. Hubs and I have been catching up on the tv series the last few weeks. Bruce Campbell is a revelation. We also very much enjoy how the overall tone of the films has followed through into the series. Pretty groovy. With mid-season starting up this month, the show I’m most looking forward to getting back to is Flash. But as far as I’m concerned they can just focus 85% of each episode on Iris/Barry. So adorable and hot.

We’re looking into training classes for Max. His strong doggie personality is a bit too much for me to handle on my own.

My ‘work at your own pace’ contracting class has turned into a ‘neglect cause your life is too full’ problem. I need to make a plan on how to finish the damn thing!

WIP is still TT #3 – Screwed Over. But I have to get a couple of series related short stories out of the way first. I love doing the serious work on Cassie’s story. Can’t wait to wrap up the series with an amazing book. Revisions are going well, though rewrite is really the proper term for most of the book : It is going to be so great! I’m also doing more plotting and character work on my scifi series. Here’s a shot from its spot on my workboard:

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All that empty space under the light year stuff is where the scene cards go 😛

Both my released books continue to get great reviews on Amazon. Book 1, Screw Up, is still at 99 cents and Book 2 remains on KU for a limited time😀 Click here to sign up for my newsletter if you want insider info and offers.

The sun is actually shining today, though it is still cold and VERY windy. Hope your day is beautiful wherever you are. Happy Women’s Day! What are you reading?

Film Review | How to Love Straight Outta Compton and Women

set pic straight outta compton actors for MC Ren, DJ Yella, Easy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre

Straight Outta Compton promo pic

The representation of women in F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton can be viewed two ways. The first, most obvious assessment is that in a film that barely passes the Bechdel test (One woman tells another in the film’s opening scene, “Nah, I’m good,” in response to a non-verbal question of whether she would like to drink Easy-E’s unwanted forty.) the multitudes of silent, mostly naked, women strewn liberally throughout the nearly three hour run time are sexualized objects, and nothing more. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this biopic features more boobs than Boogie Nights and a lot more booty. A deeper message can be observed however, when examining the protagonist’s arcs for change and its impetuous. The lives of NWA’s members are profoundly shaped by the women in them, and though at times their influence wasn’t emphasized, they are the backbone of the story; providing the support the men need to excel and even triumph.

Treated as a side character, DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) is depicted as the biggest womanizer, hitting on every woman he interacts with and watching explicit porn in the tour bus’ main room as if it were completely innocuous programming. Just before an early showcase performance he jokes, “Can this motherfuckin Jerry Heller bring in more pussy? Cause that’s worth twenty percent.” The manager does just that for the guys of NWA, from which the conclusion could be drawn that DJ Yella, at least, felt his contractual arrangement with Heller (Paul Giamatti) was satisfactory.

Ice Cube, played convincingly with depth and finesse by his own son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., is driven by his need to provide for himself and his growing family. Though in the early tour scenes he is seen entertaining groupies, even dropping the line “Bye, Felicia” on a topless, hotel-room-ejected, exotic dancer years before penning Friday, he is the first NWA member to settle down into presumed blissful monogamy. His wife Kim (Alexandra Shipp) doesn’t have a big role, but is shown time and again nodding her full support and backing up her man’s plays with her unyieldingly protective body language. The filmmakers did a wonderful job here of showing without telling in just a few scenes what a motivating force this important woman was in his life.

As portrayed cleanly by Corey Hawkins, Dr. Dre’s experiences with women in the film are a contrast to Cube’s committed one, but tell the same story. At first, both his own mother (Lisa Renee Pitts) and his daughter’s mother, Lavetta (Aeriel Miranda) are critical of his choice to pursue a career in music without any significant financial gain or control over his own path. When he discovers that the mature relationship he desires with future wife Nicole (Elena Goode) is out of reach due to his violent associates and partying lifestyle, he changes his outlook and abandons that life in favor of fiscal independence and total creative control.

Lastly, the film’s presentation of the late Easy-E, played with heart-rending tenderness by Jason Mitchell, downplays the man’s misogynistic attitudes as a product of his surroundings and the folly of youth. His disgusted demeanor while spitting “You think I give a damn about a bitch? I ain’t a sucker,” while laying down Straight Outta Compton’s title track is one of utter sincerity even though he is usually shown with a woman close by his side. Though in real life he fathered children with several women, they are barely mentioned and the audience only meets one, the woman who became his wife, Tomika (Carra Patterson). Most tellingly, this woman radically alters the course of Easy-E’s life by presenting him with an accounting of his manager’s career long betrayal. When E confronts Heller, the man dismisses Tomika’s importance to E, calling her a groupie executive assistant, but Easy-E doesn’t take the woman-blaming-bait. Instead, he trusts the woman he loves and fires the man responsible for duping him for so long.

Watching the fictionalized account unfold, I couldn’t shake the idea that if Kim, Tomika and Nicole had just hashed out the group’s Jerry Heller problem over lunch NWA never would have split up. Only this movie isn’t about NWA’s wives, but the men themselves. So even though most of the film’s women weren’t rounded characters, at least Gray didn’t let them all become mere titillating backdrop. Some served as important personal confidants and support systems for the movie’s central characters, which highlights their importance to the group’s ever shifting dynamic. If, as their song Gangsta says, “life ain’t nothin but bitches and money,” then the men of NWA did well for themselves, finding both satisfaction with their bottom lines and love from the bottom of their hearts.