thank you for inviting me over today to chat about the re-release of The Dark
Side. This series was my first attempt
to write anything more steamy than a birthday card and I was delighted with it.
I’ll always be proud of how well the books did and the fabulous reviews they
received. I am eternally grateful to Totally Bound for accepting them and for
taking a chance on the unpublished rookie I was back then.
So, if it
ain’t broke, why mend it?
wrote The Dark Side I had no idea if
anyone but me would ever read the books. I knew next to nothing about the world
of publishing or professional writing, so although my editor did a fabulous job
of making the books fit to be seen among decent folk (or should that be
indecent folk?) there were always aspects of the story I felt could be
improved. There were scenes I thought about writing but left out, and ways in
which I believed the connection between Nathan and Eva could be deepened. The
re-release was a rare opportunity to have my time again and complete the job.
new content in each of the three books, but I won’t spoil it by saying exactly
what. Suffice it to say we see yet another quirk in Eva’s already complex
nature, and aspects of Nathan which I hope will endear him to readers even
more. He’s a hard Dom, stern, demanding and insanely sexy. We lose none of
that, but the additional content helps to bring out his caring nature a little
also a whole new epilogue to conclude the story. This picks up a loose end
which always bothered me so I feel the series is better rounded now.
Rafflecopter for a chance to win ALL THREE BOOKS in the series. The competition
ends on 1 May.
Side trilogy charts the sensual journey of academic musician Eva Byrne as she
struggles to overcome painful shyness, sexual inhibition and personal tragedy.
Lonely, unsophisticated, desperately seeking love and approval, Eva is easy
prey for sensual and experienced Nathan Darke.
her submission, and he knows how to go about getting it. Eva is quickly caught
up by the whirlwind of his effortless seduction, though she has her own reasons
for agreeing to join him in his world of pain and pleasure, on the dark side.
fascinated and at the same time totally frustrated by his new submissive,
Nathan is increasingly drawn to her as she opens up in his hands and he
realises there is much, much more to his latest playmate than he ever could
Side charts the turbulent relationship between Eva and Nathan as their mutual
fascination builds. They both discover what surrender truly means as together
they explore the fragile bonds of desire, trust, risk and reward, and the
destructive power of betrayal.
Darkening(Book 1 Blurb)
where pain ends and pleasure begins?
chance of a new life out in the wilds of the Yorkshire moors sounds too good to
be true to shy musician Eva Byrne. Stifled and smothered within the cocoon of
her brilliant academic career, Eva yearns for something different. Something
real and exciting. Something she can feel.
Passion. Pleasure. She finds that sexy, enigmatic Nathan Darke can provide all
these and more when she moves into his home as violin tutor to his young
daughter. But Eva’s sensual encounters with her demanding, domineering new
employer quickly evoke her deepest fears, as he introduces her to the trauma of
submission and marks her with his particularly dark brand of love.
Eva’s natural curiosity and thirst for new experiences be enough to withstand
the sting of Nathan Darke’s exquisite touch? Will simple surrender be enough as
he challenges her every inhibition, taking her on an erotic journey of
self-discovery and liberation?
Darkening (Book 1 Excerpt)
He breaks the kiss to start
nibbling his way down my neck. As if not finding the angle to his liking, he
suddenly, effortlessly lifts me from the chair, turns and lays me down with my
bare back flat on the table top. He holds both of my wrists in one hand,
pinning them to the table above my head and, standing between my legs, leans
over to look down at me, stroking his other hand the length of my body from
neck to waist.
“Beautiful… Holy fuck, so
lovely,” he murmurs before he leans down to take my right nipple between his
I squeal, the shock jolting
through me even though I had sensed what he was about to do. His body weight
and his hand around my wrists hold me in place as he continues his work. The
sensation is everywhere, starting at my nipple, which is now painfully
engorged. The tingling pulses radiate out through my whole body, connecting as
if by some sort of internal electric current to that spot between my legs,
which is now drenched. It feels exquisite, acute, intense, forbidden and
overwhelming. I arch my back, pushing my breasts toward his mouth, his tongue,
his teeth, this source of ecstatic pleasure.
One or two ill-fated
fumblings from other students when I was a teenager at university did nothing
to prepare me for this. I have never, ever felt anything remotely like this before.
I might have read about it, known the theoretical possibility was out there,
somewhere. Happening to other women—women who were attractive and had lush,
sexy bodies and soft, wavy hair. But this is here, now, happening to me.
I feel the hard table beneath
my shoulder blades as I writhe under his skilled lips, his expert tongue and
teeth, desperate for more. And he knows what he is about—he knows what I need
and he has more for me. Opening his mouth wider, he takes more of my breast in
and sucks hard, first one side then the other. He slides his free hand, palm
up, between my shoulders and the table to raise me up, giving him easier access
with his mouth, his tongue, his teeth. Gently grazing my now helplessly
sensitized nipples with his teeth, he suckles me relentlessly, nipping slightly
harder, just enough to hurt, maybe—I’m not sure where pain ends and pleasure
begins now. What does it matter, anyway? He can do whatever he wants to me as
long as he doesn’t stop.
He is no longer holding my
wrists—he has no need to because I’m lying boneless under him, spread across
his kitchen table, pleading wordlessly for…for what? More? Less? The ecstatic
pleasure tinged with a hint of pain is so intense now that I can only moan,
ride the waves of sensation pulsing from my breasts out through my fingers and
toes, each wave bigger, heavier, more compelling than the one before until I am
writhing with need.
“I can’t. Please, it’s too
much…” Is that me? Or someone else
“Yes, you can, you are.
Don’t fight it, sweetheart, come for me. Now. Come now.” His words—insistent,
soft and low, seductive—are breathed into my ear before he returns to my
breasts, nibbling and sucking mercilessly, building the tension, increasing the
sensations coursing through every part of me, winding me tighter and tighter
until I burst, screaming out loud as fireworks explode in my head, my groin,
everywhere as the earth shifts beneath me. My inner core clenches violently,
the wetness surely flooding across the table. I feel I am falling, floating as
the tension is released and I hear myself moan in delighted satisfaction,
drifting back down toward reality.
Me, the girl who can’t bear
to be touched. Somehow—God only knows how it happened—I have just spent the
last ten minutes spread out half naked on Nathan Darke’s kitchen table, his
hands and mouth all over me until I totally lost control, and he watched me
thrashing about in the throes of my very first orgasm, right in front of him. Christ! How wonderful, how intimate. How
unlike me. And he’s achieved all this without so much as a button of his coming
Darker(Book 2 Blurb)
outrun the secrets of her past, or is surrender her only choice?
Byrne’s first encounter with the darker side of Nathan Darke’s sensuality ends
in disaster. Frightened, hurt, betrayed, she struggles to regather her
shattered confidence—in him, and in herself.
to continue her journey of exploration and self-discovery, Eva has to convince
a skeptical Nathan that she’s worth the trouble. And that she can learn to
submit to him. When she is forced to reveal elements of her past she has
preferred to keep hidden, both her brilliance and her vulnerability are laid
bare. Will Nathan accept Eva as she is, and help her to become the woman she
longs to be, or will she face yet another rejection?
and intrigued in equal measure, Nathan has no idea how to deal with the
exquisitely enigmatic Eva Byrne. Should he cut his losses and run, or allow
their relationship to continue, and watch as Eva’s delicate beauty unfurls in
and ensnared by Nathan, Eva longs to taste what he offers and her erotic
journey continues. But how much will she have to surrender to him in order to
liberate her own desires?
Darker (Book 2 Excerpt)
We continue to stroll in
the direction of the waterfront once more, and arrive back at Nathan’s
apartment around midnight. As soon as the lift doors close he is on me, kissing
me, exploring my mouth with his tongue while pulling my shirt from my pants. Deftly
undoing the buttons, before I know it he has my hands caught behind my back,
tangled in the sleeves. Lifting his head to glance appreciatively at my new,
pink lacy bra he cups my breasts, squeezing gently, lowering his head to kiss
the mounds visible above the lace. “So sweet, Eva, so pretty,” he breathes, and
I vaguely wonder if he means my underwear or my body. Who cares? He flicks open
the front fastening of my bra to bare my breasts for his ministrations. With
his mouth and clever fingers my nipples are brought to swollen, aching hardness
before the lift arrives at the penthouse, and the doors glide open.
It’s only when he takes my
elbow to tug me forward into the apartment that I realize my hands are
effectively tied behind my back, still caught up in my discarded blouse. I
wriggle, trying to free myself so I can kiss him back, hold him, but he smiles
down, knowingly. I realize he’s done this on purpose. And that he won’t free me
until he’s good and ready. After dropping a light kiss on my lips, he opens the
door to the apartment and gestures for me to enter before him.
Once inside, Nathan leaves
me standing, topless, in the middle of his living room as he goes over to the
fridge. Pulling out a chilled bottle of wine he quickly uncorks it and pours one
glass. Strolling back toward me, the glass in his right hand, his eyes are on
my breasts, admiring, lustful. I realize my usual inhibitions might be
diminishing, but have not yet disappeared as I wish I was better endowed,
curvier. Nathan doesn’t seem to mind, though, as with his free left hand he
cups and massages my breast whilst he reaches with his right hand, still
holding the glass, to curl it behind my neck. He pulls me close, kissing my
ear, nibbling the lobe before dropping his face to my neck.
“Christ, Eva, you are a
beautiful sight. Perfect. Exquisite.” He kisses me again before sipping the
“Would you like a drink,
I nod. “Yes, please. But
you’ll have to hold the glass.” I roll my shoulders to indicate my bound hands.
He smiles. “Ah, yes,
anything to be of service, Miss Byrne.”
He lifts the glass to my
lips, tipping a little of the crisp chilled liquid into my mouth before
immediately following it in with his tongue, tasting the wine before it
disappears down my throat.
“I do like to share, Miss
Byrne,” he murmurs before taking another sip himself. This time, though, he
catches my mouth in a deep, open-mouthed kiss, letting the liquid pour from his
tongue onto mine. It feels sensuous, intimate, delicious. I moan, swallow
quickly in surprised contentment.
Darkest(Book 3 Blurb)
past destroys Eva’s trust in her Master, can he win her back?
turbulent, complex relationship deepens, Nathan Darke is increasingly aware that
Eva Byrne has become much more to him than his submissive. She’s in his home,
in his family. And in his heart.
hasn’t found it easy to trust, to believe in herself and in a relationship that
might last. But happiness, once so elusive, is within her grasp. Nathan is her
Master, her lover and her soulmate.
no sooner do they manage to find a fragile balance between them—a way of
entwining both their worlds—and start to build a future than their past comes
crashing back to destroy their emerging love. Jealousy and hate brutally
shatter Eva’s and Nathan’s delicate trust in each other, and their life
overcome the crushing pain of betrayal and deceit to regain some sort of future
together, or are some wounds just too deep to heal? Are some risks too great?
Some rewards just not enough?
Darkest (Book 3 Excerpt)
“I just… I’ve never done
anything like this before. It feels sort of… Well, as if I shouldn’t be doing
it. On my own, that is.”
“Ah, but it’s the
forbidden that makes it so much fun. Lie back and enjoy, Miss Byrne. Let me
“I wish you were here.” My voice is small, thready,
needy. I miss him so much.
His tone is low, gentle, caressing. “I will be. Soon.
But I’m with you now in spirit, sweetheart. So, tell me what you’re doing at
“I’m lying on my bed, talking to you.”
“Smart-ass. I think you’re taking advantage of the
situation. If I was there you’d be lying across my knees, and your bottom would
be smarting for that little wisecrack.”
“Ah, yes. I’m sorry.”
“I think you mean you’re sorry, Sir. Okay, now, are you lying on your back?”
“Can you put your phone on speaker and leave it on the
pillow next to you? You’ll need both hands free for this.”
With a gulp I shove any embarrassment into a far
corner of my mind and decide to go for it, go with it. I push a few buttons and
lay the phone beside my head. “Okay, I’ve done that.”
“Open your legs wide and look at yourself in the
mirror on your wardrobe.”
“Do it, Eva.” His tone is firm, the command one to be
obeyed. So I do it. I obey.
I hadn’t even realized how strategically placed my
wardrobe was, but as I lie there, my thighs spread wide, I can see the lips of
my vagina, still gloriously naked following the Brazilian wax, glistening with
my own juices. Just waiting to be touched, and stroked, waiting to be gently
opened to slide a smooth, warm dildo inside me. Oh. Wow.
“Tell me what you see, Eva.” The voice is soft now, a
seductive whisper brushing my ear.
“I can see—me. All of me.”
“Tell me exactly what you see. Use any words you
“I see my—my vagina. And my clitoris. They’re very
“That’s good. Your slick, pink little cunt is one of
the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. And are you wet, Eva?”
“I, I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Find out for me now, love. Slide your hand down
there. Stroke your cunt just like I would if I was there with you. Tell me if
Despite what’s happening, despite my willing
participation, I am still a little shocked by the crude language. This is
explicit, even by Nathan’s standards. And it makes me hot as hell. He thinks
I’m beautiful. There. God!
Watching every movement in the mirror I slide my hand
along my stomach, trailing my fingertips across my lower abdomen to gently,
lightly probe between my legs. I deliberately skip over my clitoris, although I
can clearly see that hot, needy little nub starting to swell. Instead I run my
fingers around the entrance to my vagina, and gently dip the very end of my
middle finger inside.
“I, yes, Nathan. I’m wet. And, oh my God, this feels
so—decadent. I can’t believe I’m doing this. Talking to you like this. About
“Decadent? I like that, Eva. And does it feel good?”
I whisper. “So good.”
crow! I knew Eva was intelligent but WHOA! (OK no spoiler reveals).
The sex …
is bow-chica-wow-wow hot! Note to Eva - if you get tired I'll tag in for you!
Yes this is an erotic story but there is so much more than just sex. The soul
baring and secret revealings have me alternating between laughing, gasping and
Ashe Barker has definitely mastered the art of cliffhangers because just when I
think her books are going to end on a high note, BAM! there it is. I know I
will just be crushed to see this story end … an absolute must read and I do
highly recommend reading the Dark Side Trilogy.
fantastic third book. The ending was everything you could hope for. Ms Barker
knows what it takes to satisfy her readers, and she doesn't disappoint. My only
complaint is that there are no more books to read in this trilogy.
have enjoyed these three books so much that I would like his version of this
love story, please it would be nice.
an avid reader of fiction for many years, erotic and other genres. I still love
reading, the hotter the better. But now I have a good excuse for my guilty
I tend to
draw on my own experience to lend colour, detail and realism to my plots and
characters. An incident here, a chance remark there, a bizarre event or quirky
character, any of these can spark a story idea.
I live in
the North of England, on the edge of the Brontë moors. When not—which is not
very often these days - my time is divided between my role as resident taxi
driver for my teenage daughter, and caring for a menagerie of dogs,
tortoises. And a very grumpy
over thirty titles on general release with publishers on both sides of the
Atlantic, and I have several more in the pipeline. I write M/f, M/M, and
occasionally ring the changes with a little M/M/f. All my books feature BDSM. I
write explicit stories, always hot, but they offer far more than just sizzling
sex. I like to read about complex characters, and compelling plots, so that’s
what I write too.
I have a
pile of story ideas still to work through, and keep thinking of new ones at the
most unlikely moments, so you can expect to see a lot more from me.
Today I'm doing Galley Proof on Intended Mates 1: Lay Your Body Down... as soon as it's done I'll be sending it back to the amazing Annette S at MLRPress. I'm hoping that it's all okay and I don't have a ton of things to be fixed. I also have a release date : May 13.
Today at home is bin day so I've been running around all morning doing chores to get the bins ready... and because we live so far off the road I have like a 200 metre round walk to get the bins up for collection.
I was cooking the other day and went to test the chicken dish I was making for my daughter... when I dropped a piece of chicken on my bottom lip and ended up with a huge fricken blister. I hope it goes away soon, because it's a total pain--literally.
I've been busy as and getting nowhere. Sometimes I wish there was at least 6 more hours in every day so I can get all the chores done, and catch up on my writing. Or possibly an extra day in the week. I know I can't be the only one thinking this.
Just watching the news and another person has died because of a COWARD PUNCH. If you don't know what this is... it's when someone gets punched in the head...usually the back and the victim falls and hits their head on the ground. Too many people die because of idiots... I honestly don't understand why people do this shit. If you can't handle your drinking then don't fricken drink.
I watched the latest Star Wars movie... and loved it. I can't wait for the next one to be released. It was different then I expected, but enjoyable just the same.... What am I reading... Right now I'm reading two authors: Christine Feehan ~ Dark Carpathians... & Alexis Morgan ~ Paladins of Darkness I think reading no matter what has to be good for the brain, that and it helps me unwind after an exceptionally hectic day.
I think I may have signed up for Riveting Reads Australia for 2017... Actually it's kind of confusing. I sent in the application a couple of months ago and only just got the registration fee... To be honest, I'm not even sure what I've signed up for. I'm hoping the people in charge will send me out some info. I will fill you all in when I find out more.
I'm also all caught up on the housework, so I can sit down and write today. Though I do have to pop out in a little bit and sign some paperwork. Meeting up at the library as that's where a JP will be to witness our signatures.
I will be back to working on Lancaster's Way 3: Pre-loved... I need to seriously catch up on that story. I feel I have been slack of late, but the truth is I have been run off my feet with family commitments.
Okay, so the new story idea Guardians Of The Dragon Born 1: Cullen Arianan has won the battle to remain in my head for the day. So I'm giving myself one day to get as much as I can written before it gets put on the shelf and I get back to my other writing. I hate it when I get side tracked this way.
I don't really know much about the story yet except the Main characters are Cullen Arianan & Lucian (no last name as yet)
This is how I'm kind of picturing Lucian, but with sea green eyes. he appears to be in his early twenties, but is in fact over 3 Millennium years. All I know for certain is he is one of the ancient dragons who have been trapped in the heart of the mountain by a spell of some kind. I'm not sure what the spell was for, or why they were trapped. I just haven't gotten that far yet. I'm not even sure how many dragons are left and in need of rescuing. I guess I'll figure that out as I come to it. All I know Lucian has been waiting a very long time for the one person who could be his guardian to come along and set him free.
And this is kind how I see Cullen Arianan, running through his veins is the blood of the guardians from old. He and those like him have the ability to protect and sustain the Dragon Born they free from imprisonment. I'm guessing the story will be tracking down the other dragon born and their guardians, and hunting down whoever trapped them in the first place.
I figure I will let you all know when I actually know where this story is heading. Right now it's all up in the air and can meander down any path.
I must remember to start taking notes as I write my stories, it will make all those that follow much easier to keep track of what's going on.
My next chore in life is to work out how to get my daughter to go through her stuff stacked in the library since she moved home... I can no longer walk in there without tripping over everything.
I need to figure out a way to write the story I'm meant to and not get sidetracked by a new story idea like I have been for the last of days... whenever I'm flat out getting stuff done. new story ideas seep to flood my mind until I can do nothing but write down the basics so that i don't forget them. It drives me nuts... I have all the same characters, but three different versions of the story, I'm not even sure which storyline I will eventually go with.
A couple of songs or 4 that are stuck in my head ~ so enjoy.
Life is like an ice cream cone--when you thing you have it licked it drips all over you.
Today feels kind of like that. Not that I'm really complaining. because I mean, who the hell wants to listen... LOL.
So yesterday Emily and I did the yard work... I never realised how big 5 acres is until I had to mow and whipper-snip... buy the way I suck at the latter. I seen to be too short to hold that damn thing... Though my BIL tells me I can get a W-S on wheels I might have to look into it.
I hope to God winter hurries up and gets here. I am tired of the heat. Hell, I'd be grateful if we only got to the 20 degree mark Summer is so overrated
Today I have also been fixing/reworking the blurb for The Connelly Chronicles 2: Beautiful Goodbyes... I should also be receiving edits on Wardens Of The Guild 1: The Real You... though in essence today I will be working on Lancaster's Way 3: Pre-loved. though I lost my notes on the first two books so I have to go back and rewrite them.
Herc is a psychotherapist dealing
with his own issues—not wanting to get out of bed after his partner leaves him
for another man—when a meteorite crashes into his car and leads to meeting the sexy,
new neighbor, astrophysicist Pyotr, who’s studying the recent spate of global
thought he had the perfect life: a great partner and a meaningful career as a
psychotherapist—until his partner left him a week ago and Herc became too
depressed to see his clients. When a random meteorite punched a tidy hole in
his car’s engine, it seemed like the world had it in for him, but bumping into
Pyotr, the handsome older man who’s moved in a couple of doors down and happens
to study things like falling stars, things might be looking up for Herc—and
more may be falling than the skies in this light-hearted, apocalyptic romance.
A Word From Atom
readers have been reading my latest book, Herc
& Pyotr, I’ve noticed some comments about the ages of my main
characters, and their age difference.
is a forty-four year-old, Asian-American psychotherapist. Pyotr is a
Russian-American astrophysicist in his mid-fifties. I didn’t think these
qualities, except for maybe their professions, were important enough to mention
while I promoted Herc & Pyotr,
but maybe I need to rethink that.
said before in other interviews and essays, I’m new to the genre of M/M and gay
romance. I assumed that having older characters, and an age difference between
them, wouldn’t be anything noteworthy, as it’s fairly common in the world of
gay men. It’s even a stereotype in Asian/Western pairings, with theories about
it stemming from Asian cultural respect for elders and the European cult of
youth coming together quite fortuitously. (Asians do tend to appear younger for
longer, but I’ve also noticed this Dorian
Gray effect where after a certain age, we age rapidly and go from smokin’
to be someone who falls into that stereotype, and have always preferred older
men. We could delve into some psychobabble about daddy issues, but let’s not
suck the joy out of this and instead, pump some of it in where it belongs: older
men have different sensibilities and get into different kinds of troubles in
novels than younger men do, and their potential for emotional maturity, wisdom,
and patience can be the anchor in a younger person’s storm when they’re paired
together in a story.
However, Herc & Pyotr isn’t about a huge age
difference. Pyotr, being over fifty, may qualify as a “daddy” in gay culture,
but if we’re counting years, Herc would be a daddy, too, being over forty. The
point isn’t that there’s a power differential in my story, though—it’s not a
daddy/boy or a daddy/son dynamic. It’s really just about two men who have lived
a while and learned a bit—and have now met and will try to love each other
despite the odds, for as long as they can (Herc
& Pyotr is part of MLR Press’s Storming Love series of disaster
romances, so there’s always a possibly world-ending catastrophe in the mix).
it’s unusual because many stories out there are about twenty- or
thirty-somethings getting their foot in the door of life—coming out of the
closet, leaving college, beginning adulthood, true love for the first time…It’s
fun and I love what I’ve read, and those are great ages for shenanigans (did
you know, the prefrontal cortex of the brain, responsible for decision-making,
emotional regulation, etc isn’t fully developed until age twenty-five? I kid
I wanted to offer readers was a taste of my
world. I want to add my voice into the fray with stories about forty-somethings
looking for love and finding it. I
want to show that our stories—the stories of anyone searching for love—are
worth telling, worth reading, and worth sharing. If we don’t tell a story about
it, does it exist? And if we do tell a story about it, will it exist more?
hope so. I write stories with themes that I want to explore, but until today, I
hadn’t fully realized that what I want to explore also means that it’s new or
unfamiliar territory to others. I’m not preaching to the choir with an oft-used
trope—I’m inviting people to commune
with me, as Maude put it in Harold and
Maude, with nature—with love in its many forms.
care of my car.
maintenance, oil changes, carwashes--the works. I figured I'd sell it one day,
and I didn't want it to have a scratch or a sticker to drop its value, let
alone anything wrong mechanically. Everything worked on it--the power windows,
radio, CD player...until today.
I said, staring at the fist-sized hole in the hood. I clicked my key fob and
turned off the alarm. A few of the neighbors came out and turned off their car
alarms, too, that had been set off by the very loud boom that
shook all of our windows early this spring morning.
Herc, what happened?" Nestori, my friend and neighbor down the way, stood
there with his blond bed head, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He wore a
rumpled white tee, sweatpants, and socks--we were dressed alike except I had
slippers. Maybe I appeared as lost as he did. Or worse, since I hadn't changed
my clothes since the beginning of the week.
don't know." I gawked at the smoking hole. "Lightning?" I pieced
together the evidence I had, and only came up with a timeline that started with
a crash, followed by my car alarm, then a couple of minutes later the
aforementioned boom, and finally the other cars being triggered. "A frozen
turd from an airplane?"
you serious? Holy shit."
His golden eyebrows crinkled together, and then he grinned. "Oh."
be fair, it did fall from the sky." Everybody huddled closer to peer into
the puncture. "I don't know. I don't even know who I should call about
innocent question should've felt like a sucker punch, but the numbness from
seeing my killed car protected me. "He left last week. We're not together
Why didn't you say anything?"
you would've wanted to get me drunk and laid.
would've totally come over with a bottle of Jack and helped you get some D,
that's why I haven't seen him joggingfor a while." Pihla, the
widow who lived across the street, had the perkiest personality--and
breasts--in our neighborhood. "I thought he left on a businesstrip."
She wore a pink satin robe over a pink nightie with matching pink slippers. A
small, thin, gold cross on a gold chain stuck out sideways from her cleavage
and wobbled back and forth, unable to rest flat. Her son, Sami, clung to her
leg, his head just above her knee, avoiding eye contact like some toddlers do.
This suburban Madonna in pink held a mug of expensive coffee I could smell and
envy from where I stood, and rested her French manicured hand on her shy boy's
head. By the way she had batted her eyes at Jason during block parties, or how
she happened to pick up the morning paper from her driveway when he'd jog past,
I always thought she had a crush on my partner.
he didn't leave on a business trip. He just left me." I wondered if I died
inside my home from choking on a chicken bone while eating, single and alone,
how long it would take for my neighbors to notice my dead, bachelor body. I
thought I smelled something funny, one would say a week later. Jeez,
what happened? another would ask. Who the hell cares? my
ghost would spell out on a Ouija board, life sucks.
said a faintly accented voice from the crowd. Slavic, I would guess.
You think a meteor hit Herc's car?" Nestori asked. "How do you
the voice gently corrected. "It's a meteorite when it lands. I saw
everything as I was jogging this morning."
I mumbled. My geek brain fetched a personal wiki page from when I wrote a
report in sixth grade about asteroids crashing into Earth and destroying all
life, because I've always been a cheery person. The word "disaster"
comes from the Italian disastro, meaning "ill-starred
couldn't it have been a pretty shooting star that vaporized all sparkly in the
atmosphere, so I could make a wish? Instead, it'd dropped a deuce on my
perfectly maintained car.
in the hood gaped back at me, and I thought about the day Jason left. He had
requested I park on the street instead of in the garage, so he'd be able to get
his things out of the house without too much trouble.
make a wish anyway.
realistic, not like true love and a happy-ever-after ending with a handsome,
emotionally intelligent man, because that obviously doesn't happen. How about a
nice pair of shoes? Good shoes are more reliable than men.
sorry this happened," the voice said, this time to my left. "There
have been worldwide reports of meteor strikes over the past few weeks."
and came eye to eye with the concerned face of a middle-aged man only slightly
taller than me. He wore a red baseball cap and his black hair, lined with a few
strands of gray, escaped his hat around his ears and a little over his
forehead. His color-coordinated stubble, speckled with silver, defined a square
jaw and framed full lips. Perspiration darkened his loose, gray shirt, forming
something like a Rorschach inkblot in the center of his defined chest. Despite
the smell of engine oil and gasoline coming from my mortally wounded car, the
scent of his clean sweat cut through and woke me from my daze.
I'm Pyotr. I moved here last week." He offered me a firm handshake and a
smile, and returned to surveying the damage to my car, his hands on his hips.
"You should probably call your insurance and not your ex. I work from home
a few days a week, so if you need a ride, let me know? I live down the
street." He started running lightly in place. His feet were bare, which I
for the offer...Pee-yo-ter. I may take you up on it."
do." Pyotr smiled again, nodded a succinct farewell, and trotted off.
if you need a ride..." Nestori and a few neighbors offered, but I didn't
busy making an unrealistic wish. And it wasn't for shoes.
born to Chinese immigrant parents who thought it'd be a hoot to raise him as an
immigrant, too--so he grew up estranged in a familiar land, which gives him an
interesting perspective. He's named after a Japanese manga (comic book)
character, in case you were wondering.