Guest Author D.F.Krieger with Joy’s Edge

Hi all,

Well, it’s back to to the day job today, but at least I have the fab D.F. Krieger dropping in. She’s talking about genre and her brand new release, Joy’s Edge – which is part of the Coming in Hot Medical Romance Box Set (if there’s one thing better than a hot medical romance, it’s a whole bunch of them, right?).

 

What genre do you write in and why? What drew you to it? Have you come across any difficulties, pre-conceptions or judgements because of this, and if so how have you dealt with these?

df-author-picI’m actually glad you asked that. Believe it or not, I often write BDSM because I’m actually involved in the lifestyle. It upset me that there were so many books out there with preconceived ideas and notions of how BDSM works. Let me give you a couple of examples of the truth behind BDSM that you often see misrepresented. No one can just walk into a BDSM club like “Oops, teehee, I’m in a club where people are having sex? How did I get here?”

You are not allowed to touch anyone without permission. Even a sub. Especially someone else’s sub. If you do, you will get kicked out. Consent is a HUGE principle in BDSM. Period.

BDSM is not a guy beating a girl while he gets off. There are so many facets to BDSM, and so many different ways to practice. It’s a shame more people aren’t aware of it. Not all kinks are violent, nor are they “dirty.”

“No” means no, even in BDSM. The only time it doesn’t mean no is if the couple is in a scene and they’ve already agreed that no doesn’t mean no. If this is the case, I can guarantee you they’ve come up with a safe way to say a word that absolutely does mean “Stop right now. I’m not comfortable with this.” It’s called a safe word for a reason.

If you’ve never read BDSM, I suggest looking at certain authors, myself included, for a taste of the real thing. Cherise Sinclair is also a wonderful author and one day I’d like to grow up to write just as well as she does. Regardless, the point is, just because a book is popular, it doesn’t mean it’s an apt representation of its subject. Hope you’ll give us a chance to spank you via literature.

coming-in-hot-promo

That sounds like an offer that’s hard to refuse 😉 Check out the book details here:

cover-joys-edgeBlurb

Joy wants two things from life—to be the best damn veterinarian possible, and to meet a Dom who can handle her deepest desires. The problem is finding a man who knows the difference between “no” and “make me.”

When a new potential Dom starts messaging her on the kink site she frequents, she’s torn between making her dreams a reality or letting her desires be nothing more than talk.

Boxed Set Blurb: Get a dose of romance, STAT! **Brand New and Exclusive** novella to novel length books. Featuring NYT, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors, we’re Coming In Hot with paranormal to contemporary, and sizzling to seductive bedside manners by the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and more in this boxed set.

And you can get your hands on a copy here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I8BZ96C?tag=smarturl-20

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/coming-in-hot-paranormal-contemporary-medical-romance-boxed-set-gina-kincade/1124086188;jsessionid=639CA79D79BCD1333CFA3278AB459220.prodny_store01-atgap08?ean=2940153343822

Are: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cominginhotparanormalcontemporarymedicalromanceboxedset-2076531-166.html?referrer=56f81090895d0

Have a great week. Take care x

Guest Author – David Russell

Hi all,

Finally weekend and I must admit am rather relieved. Have been under the weather all week so looking forward to spending the next few days in bed lol! Since I’ll need some reading material for that though, I’m thrilled to have fellow UK author David Russell dropping in to talk about his latest release, Dreamtime Sensuality.

 

Thanks for being here, David 🙂 So, let’s start with you telling us a bit about yourself.

b. 1940. Resident in the UK. Writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance. Main poetry collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998); poems published in online International Times. Main speculative works High Wired On (2002); Rock Bottom (2005). Translation of Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013. Romances: Self’s Blossom; Explorations; Further Explorations; Therapy Rapture; Darlene, Fools’ Paradise, An Ecstatic Rendezvous, Dreamtime Sensuality (all pub Extasy (Devine Destinies). Self-published collection of erotic poetry and artwork, Sensual Rhapsody, 2015. Singer-songwriter/guitarist. Main CD albums Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. Many tracks on You Tube, under ‘Dave Russell’

Sounds like you definitely keep busy! Was there a specific moment where you first knew that you wanted to be a writer?

I managed with difficulty to squeeze out a poem in my early 20s.

Obviously things are flowing more easily now 😉 Do you have a particular writing routine, or any special rituals?

I try to keep up a mechanical minimum each day, so that the ground is always prepared for when the imagination is aroused.

Sounds like a good method. Tell us about the genre you write in, and what drew you to it.

I have three writing areas – literary journalism, speculative fiction/poetry and romance fiction. I was drawn to romance because it is an excellent de-stressing agent.

Can’t argue with that, there’s something very satisfying about finding someone’s happy ending! Are there any particular authors or books that have really inspired you?

In fiction generally, William Golding and Ben Okri, in the erotic area Anais Nin.

What five things could you never do without?

My eyesight

My hearing

My physical mobility

My computer

My sense of mission about my work.

I do like a literal list lol. So, tell us a bit about your new release.

It explores the theme of highly intelligent, but highly inhibited people who orchestrate self-liberating scenarios.

Wow, definitely sounds interesting. Where did your inspiration for it come from?

A combination of my own desires and experiences, those of people I knew, and books I found stimulating.

Sounds like a good combination. What did you find most enjoyable about writing it?

The feeling that I had sensual, tactile involvement in the action.

What was the hardest part about writing it?

Overcoming my own inhibitions.

Hehe, it can be a bit of a struggle sometimes. Who’s your favourite character in it? (I know, I know, favouritism!)

Hecate, my dreamy literary lady, who initiates an enactment of John Donne’s Elegy XIX

*runs away to look that up, fans self, comes back* Definitely on the steamy side then 😉 Why should we run out and buy it right now?

It should turn you on, fill you with desire and suspense and make you wish you were there (perhaps replaying some past peak experiences of your own)

Well, hopefully you’re convinced, check out the details here.

6Blurb

Many a dream can be realised with a little forethought. The characters in this quartet of stories are intelligent, sensitive and literary. They are also supremely voyeuristic and open-minded. Their intelligence is counterbalanced by inhibitions, which they can only lose by premeditated seduction scenarios, which relate intimately to their professional, creative and cultural lives. The great effort each couple puts into arranging a scenario seems to enhance the quality of the experience. A great source of inspiration for this and other works has been the novel The Girl Beneath the Lion by André Pieyre de Mandiargues.

And you can get your hands on a copy here:

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dreamtime-sensuality-david-russell/1120422576?ean=2940046200201

Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/index.cfm?disp=bookDetail&bookid=47878

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/480295

 

Have a good weekend x

 

Monday Catch Up

Hi all,

Apologies for the lack of posting over the weekend. My laptop still isn’t fixed and now my network cable for my desktop computer in on the blink so have had very little internet over the past few days. Yup, technology hates me and nope, I’m not coping well 😉 Still, at least I had a friend visiting so managed to have a nice catchup and not sit around moaning.

Well, up until all my computery things had a wobble it was quite a productive week. As you probably saw, I’ve released a new anthology last week (if not, please do check it out, all proceeds to charity), and have managed to do a repolish on a Christmas story that I’m wanting to re-release soon. I’m also writing a shiny new one to go with it (though admittedly that’s now going a little slower without the laptop lol). They’re both angel-themed, which is a bit of a change of pace for me from necromancers, witches and shifters, but I’m enjoying it.

I’m also hoping to have the free read prequel for Love Reawakened up very soon, just waiting on it coming back from a final checkover and then I have the cover and everything all ready to go. I know, I know, it’s taken ages – fingers crossed it’ll be worth it!

Anyway, if the posting this week is a little hit and miss, I apologise, and hopefully normal services will resume soon 🙂

Have a good Monday x

Off to Wonderland!

Hi all,

I know, I’ve been terrible at keeping up with this blog lately! How has everyone been? While I’ve rather slipped on the updates I promise I have still been busy working – and have lots of news for you. 🙂

FrontWonderland1650

Firstly, my publisher, Breathless Press are having their 5th birthday and we’re all celebrating by heading off to Wonderland! Inspired by Lewis Carroll and Alice’s Adventures there is a series of short stories being released, both individually as ebook ‘flirts’ and as an anthology available in both paperback and special limited edition hardback under the title ‘Wonderland Tales’. (Isn’t the cover pretty?) The anthology is actually out today (woot!) and is available from the Breathless Press website.

 

My contribution is called, Follow the White Rabbit, and is set in Wonderland but showing an alternative story and obviously with my own twist on it. 🙂 It will be released as a standalone flirt on the 15th August – so just 2 weeks away!

 

Follow the White Rabbit 267x400

Blurb

In Wonderland the strange and magical is everyday, but when a woman who can’t remember her own name meets a shape-shifting cat, anything can happen.

Mary-Ann doesn’t remember her life before she wandered into the Woods of Forgetfulness. She doesn’t remember who she was, where she came from, or even her real name – and she’s given up on anyone coming to look for her. Now, she works for the White Rabbit, and if she’s not deliriously happy at least her life is content.

Until, that is, she comes across a Cheshire Cat, a rare shape-shifter, who may be about to turn her life upside down.

In Wonderland, things are rarely what they seem.

 

It’s available for pre-order now here so feel free to pop over and have a look, and stay tuned as I’m going to be running some Wonderland related events and giveaways over the next few weeks 🙂

Take care x

 

Weekend Writing Warriors – 23/02/2014

Hi all,

Well, it’s finally weekend and has been another busy week (hmm, when is it not lately lol?) Have been deep in the writing cave and finally finished the first draft of Psychic Shadows – woot! 🙂 Am going to give it a few weeks breathing space before starting on edits and expanding some bits but lots of other things to do in the meantime.

Today is also my first week joining in the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop and am excited to be involved 🙂 My 8 sentences are from ‘Tempting Sin’ – one of my stories in the My Bloody Valentine anthology. Hope you enjoy x

He released her. She knew she ought to rail at him, but instead her fingers crept to her swollen lips, feeling oddly bereft.
“I have watched you for a long time, Isaura. You are not meant to be on high, it is not where you belong.”
Isaura wanted to protest, but she had had the same doubts, the same questions herself lately.
“Where do I belong then?” she whispered.
He smiled at her, “With me.”
Shock went through her. “I can’t, I would have to fall.”

mybloodyvalentine_267x400

You can buy it at the following places:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Breathless Press

And don’t forget to check out the other great excerpts here

 

Happy Sunday x

My Sexy Saturday – 15th Feb 2014

Hi all,

It’s Saturday – which means time for the My Sexy Saturday blog hop! Hope everyone had a fun day yesterday, no matter what you got up to 🙂 It may not be a huge surprise that my excerpt this week is from the My Bloody Valentine anthology, which was released yesterday. I have two stories in it, and this is from ‘Siren’s Call’. My hero, Ciaran, is perhaps not your typical leading man – he’s insecure, inexperienced and has no luck with women. When he meets a mysterious woman on the beach in moonlight – his luck maybe about to change. However these stories are all dark romance, and things are not always what they seem 🙂

He meandered slowly, hands in his pockets. This would be a romantic situation if he only had someone to share it with. He scuffed his feet through the sandy pebbles. Yeah, right. His friends were always laughing at his bad luck with women, and that was if he even got up the courage to talk to them in the first place. Was it really his fault that he preferred books to sports, that he couldn’t lift weights to save his life—and he’d probably be just as skinny if he did?

Lost in his self-pity, at first he wasn’t sure what the shape on the rock was. When he actually made it out, he was convinced he must be seeing things. He slowly moved closer, mouth gaping in disbelief. Sitting on the rock, bathed in the moonlight, was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life. Her skin glowed pure white in the moonlight; her hair streamed down her back and over her breasts. She was slowly running a comb through it, and his eyes became glued to the motion. At the moment it lifted at the front, he caught a glimpse of perfectly formed alabaster breasts. When he managed to drag his eyes up to her face it was a vision, delicate and heart-shaped, with huge eyes and full, pouting lips that pursed as she hummed a haunting melody.

He stepped forward, half-convinced that he was still in his bed, asleep. At any moment now he was going to wake up, probably after embarrassing himself like he had as a teenager. Instead, he saw her eyes widen in shock, the comb stilling in her long tresses as she looked at him with fear. For a moment, she seemed frozen before turning as though to run.

“Wait,” he cried out. “I won’t hurt you, please don’t go!”

The woman turned, her huge eyes lit with curiosity.

“I’m Ciaran,” he told her. “What’s your name?”

The woman rose gracefully from the rocks, and he gulped as he realized she was completely naked. She glided towards him and he tried to subtly adjust his pants as his body hardened uncomfortably.

mybloodyvalentine_267x400

You can buy it at the following places:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Breathless Press

I really hope you enjoy! I’m also giving away a free copy to someone who posts on my blog this week, so just leave me a comment for a chance to win.

If you’d like to check out the rest of the fab excerpts this week then check out the full list here.

Happy Saturday! x

My Bloody Valentine – Release Day!

Hi all,

Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s release day for me, so am very excited.
mybloodyvalentine_267x400
My Bloody Valentine is out with Breathless Press – I have two shorts in it:
Tempting Sin
Isaura is an angel, she should be above feelings of restlessness and desire. Yet one scorching kiss from a demon, and she’s tempted beyond belief. All she can think about is that she desperately wants more. But for that Isuara would need to fall from heaven, risking her body and her heart on the chance that she can tempt sin as well.

Siren’s Call
Ciaran is well aware that he’s not exactly God’s gift to women, so when a midnight stroll on the beach leads to the most beautiful woman he’d ever met jumping his bones then he fairly logically assumes he must be dreaming.
The fact that she disappears into thin air the next morning only adds to that, but Ciaran finds he just can’t let it go. He will do anything to see his mystery woman again. Anything.

I’ve also been reading the other stories in it over the past few days – and let me tell you I’m in some very talented company here. I’ve laughed, cried, been surprised, hidden under the covers and needed a cold shower! I will try and post a review up this weekend but in the meantime, let me just say it’s definitely what the Valentine’s Day fairy ordered 🙂

You can buy it at the following places:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Breathless Press

I really hope you enjoy it! I’m also going to give away a free copy this week, to be in with a chance to win then just leave me a comment and tell me what your plans are for Valentine’s Day. Do you go all out, or do you not bother? I must admit I tend to shy away from the whole commercial side of it so me and my other half don’t bother with the cards and flowers – but just having a chilled out night together and a few drinks is fine with me 🙂 Whatever you’ve got planned – have fun! x

Valentine’s Free Read – Part 4

Hi all,

Well, it’s almost Valentine’s Day. I’m very excited about the My Bloody Valentine anthology being released tomorrow, which I have two short reads in. I’ve also been busy with writes on Psychic Shadows and edits on a shifter novella that will hopefully be subbed somewhere soon. It’s all go!

Don’t worry though, I didn’t forget that I promised you the final part of my serial free read before Valentine’s Day 🙂 It does get a wee bit steamy, so consider this your warning! If you’re still here (lol) then read on…

Jess frowned, so he always felt like this, did he? It was just being in contact with any female after years of being locked away that had sent his libido into over-drive — even over someone like her. Before she could even finish that thought he had dragged her against him. A muffled squeak left her lips as she was brought up against the hard muscled wall of his chest but when she lifted her gaze to his the black eyes were furious.

“I have been trapped for three thousand years, and summoned over four hundred times in that period, and I have never felt this before.” He spat at her.

Before she could even process the wonder of that statement, his lips had covered hers with a burning intensity. He devoured her like a starving man, and she was helpless not to respond. Her arms snaked up around his neck, burrowing into his hair while she crushed her body against him, her nipples hardening against his chest and moisture already pooling between her legs. His large hands slid down to her ass, cupping her and pressing her against the growing evidence of his arousal and a whimper of longing escaped her lips. He pulled back, his breathing laboured.

“I’m sorry,” he muttered. “I told you I should go.”

“No,” she whispered, dragging his lips back against hers, her tongue slipping into his mouth and drawing a surprised groan from him.

She was shocked at herself, to be honest, she didn’t really do one-night stands, but she had never known anyone sent her blood racing like this man – or whatever the hell he was. More than that though, the pain in his voice when he talked made her heart ache for him. If he had only one night then they could make it one to remember.

“Are you sure?” His voice was incredulous, the wary hope on his face making her ache even more.

“Stay with me,” she murmured, and he dipped his head again.

His lips feathered against her cheek, down her throat, over her collar bone, before he drew back to pull her t-shirt over her head. His hands lightly ran over the satin cups of her bra, before he reached around her to unclasp it. Jess dropped her arms and it slipped to the floor. His hand shook slightly as he gently cupped her breasts, rubbing his thumbs over the aching nipples with a look of complete reverence on his face.

“You are so beautiful,” he murmured.

She opened her mouth to protest. Really, she was so not – she was short and overweight and her hair always frizzed when it wasn’t supposed to… then he bent and took her nipple in her mouth and any objections disappeared in a surge of pleasure. Her head fell back as she laced her hands into his hair, the soft locks sliding through her fingers as she clutched him against her. His lips slid lower, brushing over her stomach like butterfly wings and then his fingers hooked in the waistband of her pants, slipping them and her panties down her legs until she stepped out of them and stood naked before him. He glanced up at her under his brows, and his gaze turned wicked as he spread her legs apart and his tongue slipped between them.

Jess ceased thinking altogether, God damn the man was good! He literally devoured her, licking and sucking and lightly nipping until she was clutching at his shoulders just to hold herself up as she screamed out her release. She was barely floating back to earth when he was easing her down onto the thick rug. He had stripped off the tight pants, and damn he was just as gorgeous underneath them. Her hand slipped between them to caress and stroke his thick length and he groaned, his teeth setting.

“Later, honey,” he promised her, removing her hand and settling himself between her legs.

He covered her mouth with his against and she moaned against his lips as she felt him gently sliding between her legs. He treated her like she was china, carefully easing in and letting her get used to his fullness. That was not what she needed right now! Her arms wrapped around his, her legs lifted to hook around his hips and she rocked urgently against him. He groaned into her mouth.

“I’m trying to be gentle.” He told her crossly, “Isn’t that what human women want?”

Jess lightly bit on his ear. “Not this one. I won’t break, but I might die if you don’t fuck me, properly, right now.”

He gazed down at her a long moment, and she wasn’t sure if she had said the wrong thing, then the most amazing smile spread across his entire face. It transformed him, lit up the black eyes. He pulled out and she was about to protest, when he suddenly slammed his full length into her. Jess cried out as pleasure shot through her, and he began pounding into her, over and over, their flesh slapping together, their bodies sliding against one another. She could feel him getting more urgent as her own cries grew louder and her pleasure spiralled higher and higher. He gave one last desperate thrust and she exploded; her body shattering into a million pieces as she soared up to stars. She could feel him spilling inside her, his guttural groans mingling with her own. Then he was collapsing against her, his heavy weight deliciously crushing her as the tension slowly drained out of his body.

“Oh my God,” she managed to get out as she slowly managed to breath again. Nothing had ever come close to that for her before. It put the sexual relationship she’d shared with her ex into a pathetic pale shadow, and in a blaze of realisation she suddenly saw what she was doing. She was so hung up on him, on what he’d done to her, that she was missing out on the rest of her life. He was a dick, so why the hell was she letting him win by dwelling on him and not moving on to better things? To better people.

Her hand stroked through the dark hair of the man led on top of her. He had shown more care for her needs and her pleasure in the last hour then her ex had in their whole relationship. Her wish suddenly came back to her in startling clarity. Oh God, what had she done? Jess sat up suddenly and he came with her, his eyes concerned.

“What wrong, honey?” Pain suddenly crossed his face. “Do you regret just doing that?”

The look she shot him was incredulous. “Good God, no!” His body relaxed a little.

“What’s wrong then?”

“My wish, is it too late to change it?”

He smiled slowly. “I may have not quite completed it yet.”

She grinned at him, suddenly feeling giddy. “You may not?”

That adorable flush was on his cheeks again. “I hoped you might reconsider before the dawn came.” His voice was serious. “I didn’t want you to be stuck in revenge, you deserve so much more than that, Jessica. I want you to be happy, to find your true love.”

Her elation slowly faded, she actually couldn’t imagine feeling what she’d just felt with him with anyone else.

“Is there no way for you…” her voice trailed off and he shook his head sadly.

“I’m cursed, and that is my life. But you, you can have more than that. Just wish for it.”

She sighed sadly. “What do I do?”

He took her hand. “Just close your eyes. Wish to be happy, to find your true love and live the rest of your life with him.”

Jess closed her eyes, the images wavered through her unshed tears as she pictured her future. An odd humming filled the air and she see a glow building behind her eyes. She slowly opened them to see that the glow was coming from the bottle on the table. As she watched it rose into the air, spinning as coloured lights flashed and glowed from it. Drakal was staring at it, his mouth open and fear in his eyes. Then before their astonished gaze it shattered.

Drakal cried out in fear and shock. A shimmering dust spread out to float on air for a moment before slowly disappearing. He stared at a long moment, gently patting his body as though he was expecting it to disappear. He turned to Jess in shock.

“What did you do?”

She smiled at him. “I wished to be happy with my true love, and both me and the bottle knew that was you.”

She saw disbelief being replaced by a dawning joy and then his lips came crashing down on hers. She wrapped her arms around him, drawing him down closer, surrendering completely to his touch, and her future.

See, I couldn’t leave you the day before Valentine’s Day without a happy ending 🙂 I really hope you enjoyed it, and as always comments more than welcome.

Hearts on Fire Valentine’s Hop

HOFBlogHop2014Hi all,

Well, it’s almost Valentine’s Day and I’m taking part in the Hearts on Fire Valentine’s Hop, sponsored by Close Encounters of the Night Kind, Read Between the Lines and authors Eve Langlais, Victoria Danann and Kym Grosso. There are loads of prizes to giveaway, including signed paperbacks by all three authors and a grand prize of this gorgeous ruby heart pendant. RubyNecklace

For a chance to win, the organisers have shared their Top Favourite Romantic Movies. Simply share in the comments what you think number ten should be. Do you like the classics – maybe Dirty Dancing or an Officer and a Gentleman, what about something a little funny and unconventional like When Harry Met Sally or Juno, or a classic novel adaptation like Price and Prejudice. Let us know below.

TOP TEN FAV VALENTINES/ROMANTIC MOVIES

1. The Princess Bride – Eve (because I love a giggle with my romantic fairy tales)

2. Pretty Woman – Eve (gotta love a poor girl/rich guy flick)

3. Warm Bodies – Eve (Zombies can be sexy, lol)

4. Sabrina – Kym

5. The Proposal – Kym

6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall – Kym

7. A Walk in the Clouds – Victoria

8. The Notebook – Victoria

9. Made in Heaven – Victoria

10. _______________________ What’s yours?

And since it’s nearly Valentine’s Day and I’m looking forward to the release of the My Bloody Valentine anthology, including two of my short stories, then one person leaving a comment here will win a free ebook copy of it. mybloodyvalentine_267x400

Tempting Sin � Shelli Rosewarne

Sin is designed to be tempting, and sometimes not even an angel can resist.

Siren’s Call � Shelli Rosewarne

When Ciaran meets the mysterious Rae, he is convinced she is his dream woman. But what will he have to do to keep her?

It’s up for pre-release now at the Breathless Press site here.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e5c7d521/

Check out the other great stops on the hop here:
http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=361039

Happy Valentine’s Day! x

Cover Reveal and Valentine’s Free Read Part 2

Hi all,

So, another busy week on the writing front 🙂 Final looks and promo material have been sent back for the ‘My Bloody Valentine’ anthology and this is the finalised cover artwork. What do you think? 🙂mybloodyvalentine_267x400

I have two flash fiction pieces in it.

Tempting Sin

Sin is designed to be tempting, and sometimes not even an angel can resist.

Siren’s Call

When Ciaran meets the mysterious Rae, he is convinced she is his dream woman. But what will he have to do to keep her?

As you can see there’s also a lot of other very talented authors in there. I’m really excited to read their stories as well! As you may have guessed by the title it releases on Valentine’s Day, so stay tuned for more updates 🙂

Now, I did promise a part two to my Valentine’s themed free read. Hope you’re enjoying, comments and feedback always welcome 🙂

Jess surprised herself by reaching out and taking the parcel. It was small, wrapped in thick tissue and she unwrapped it to reveal a small jewelled bottle, much like an old-fashioned perfume bottle. She held it up to the light. It was slightly dusty but the colours were beautiful, and there was definitely some kind of liquid inside it. She shook it gently.

A wrinkled hand covered her own quickly.

“Not here,” the woman told her. “At the stroke of midnight on Valentine’s Day, you must open this bottle, and you will get the thing you want most.”

Jess felt her lips curve into a cynical smile. “Is that meant to be love?”

The woman smiled back, and her brown eyes were hard and sharp. “Only dreamers and idealists wish for love. We know better, don’t we, my dear? We know that love cannot be trusted and so we wish for something better.”

Jess felt her throat dry up, her gaze held hypnotically by the tiny old woman. “What do we wish for?” she whispered.

The woman cackled and released her hand. “Revenge.”

She turned back to the counter, and rummaging beneath it fished out two bottles of wine and a bottle of premium vodka, that she pushed into Jess’s surprised hands. Stammering her thanks, she dug out her purse, giving the woman a note for the beer. She tried to hand the small bottle back but the woman shook her head, packed all of them into a brown bag and ushered Jess to the door.

“The stroke of midnight,” she told her firmly. “Don’t forget.”

Before Jess could reply, she found herself pushed back onto the street, the door closing behind her and the tinkling of the bell ringing in her ears.

***

Jess downed the last of the wine in the glass as the last of the flesh-eating zombies disappeared from the screen. Okay, so it had been better than the corny romances on cable, but it hadn’t helped as much as she’d hoped. Now, if it had been Scott being attacked by the zombies that might have been a little more like it. She sighed, and now she was thinking about him again.

“Dickhead!” She cursed him out loud.

A single tear escaped though and she brushed it away furiously. He so didn’t deserve any more of her tears. She had given him everything, had thrown away job opportunities, better offers, stuck up for him to all her friends and family, and what did she get for it? Thrown aside and completely humiliated. She’d been picturing marriage and kids and the white picket fence. He’d been abusing her money and contacts and planning her replacement. She sighed, okay the wine wasn’t doing it tonight — she needed the vodka!

Rising up from the couch she picked up the brown paper bag on the table, and her fingers brushed against the smaller bottle. Drawing it out she examined it again, the liquid inside seemed to swirl in strange patterns, almost changing colour as she tilted and turned it. Jess glanced at her watch. Five minutes to midnight – okay, that was a slightly weird co-incidence. She took the vodka out, poured herself a glass, topped up with some coke, but all the time her eyes were on the jewelled bottle.

Slowly she picked up her glass and the bottle and walked back to the couch. She took a long draught from the glass and eyed her watch again. One minute. Was she really going to be this silly, go along with the word of a crazy old woman? She took another drink. It was Valentine’s Day, she was alone, no one was actually going to know if she did something silly like this were they? The digits clicked over and she put her glass down, took the small bottle in both hands – odd it actually felt warm now – and carefully pulled out the glass stopper.