Tuesday Tease: Deal with the Devil

51bMhhFklTLAnyone can make a Deal with the Devil. But what would it take to break one? Becca Patterson weaves a twisty-turny short-story tale about exactly that!

Thirty years ago, Delia sold her soul to the devil. It worked out well for her, and she still has ten years left to enjoy the fame and wealth she got from the deal. Now he’s come back and wants to renegotiate.

With a deep breath she plunged into the pool and surfaced about halfway down. The sunny day had become shadowed, though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The air felt frozen and not a single bird or critter broke the silence.

“You’re early,” she said before she saw the one responsible. “I still have ten years on my contract.”

“You have nine years, three hundred days, give or take a couple hours.” The man walked up to her in his always pristine suit that looked better than any designer had ever managed. They said only Jesus could walk on water. Maybe they were right, because the devil stood about an inch above the surface. “I remember how precise you were in that aspect of our contract, Delia Amber Rosso.”

The way he said her full name gave her the shivers. She swam to the side of the pool and levered herself out. “You’d think someone like you would heat the world rather than chill it. Aren’t you the one behind global warming?” Delia didn’t fear the devil. That contract bound him as tightly as it did her. She got luxury and fame for forty years then he got her soul. Not such a bad deal, but he couldn’t do anything to her for ten… no… nine years three hundred days. “Do you think you could tone it down a bit? I’m not dressed for hell freezing over.”

He scowled at her, but the warmth of the sun returned.

“So, since you can’t take me yet, what brings you around?” It never hurt to remind the devil of his limits. Those contracts of his were something to reckon with. She could attest to the power they had to grant wishes.

“I want to change our deal.” Delia stopped with the towel halfway to her hair. She had to have misheard that. The deal couldn’t change, he’d made that perfectly clear before she signed.

“No use begging or crying or trying to banish me by spiritual means.” He laughed that horrid nasally laugh. “Once you sign, that’s it. You get forty years to live with the benefits of a popular book then you come to me.”

“I said,” He pronounced the words with excessive precision, “I want to change our deal.”

“It’s a contract.” Delia turned to face him. “I’ve dealt with plenty of those over the past thirty years, even human made contracts are nearly impossible to break. You said it yourself that the contract couldn’t change.”

He laughed as he dropped into one of the lounge chairs. Still that horrible high pitched nasal laugh. “Precise as always. I did say that, because the thing you need to break a contract is an agreement to break the contract.”

*****

Sci-Fi and Fantasy are just two of Becca Patterson’s preferred genres. An author hailing from Minnesota, she has been writing for as long as she can remember, and takes much of her inspiration from the teenagers she works with. In her spare time, Becca enjoys making her husband laugh, and playing string with her three cats.

Website – https://becca.mreauowpublishing.com

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Becca-Patterson

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Mreauow

 

Advertisements

Challenge: Robin Hood

On Sunday, @Mreauow didn’t know what to write. So I threw out a challenge. Robin Hood with a few twists.

Maid Marian.jpg

I decided to partake in my own challenge, as I’d been watching Robin Hood: Men in Tights (my favorite version of Robin Hood). Anyway. Here’s my contribution to the challenge! (I haven’t edited this at all, just so you all know.)

“Marian, it would be my honor to have this dance with you.” The man held his hand out, and he stood in a half-bow, waiting for her to take his hand and accept his invitation. She caught her father’s disapproval at her lack of interest, but she didn’t care. The sheriff could wait for the rest of his life if he wanted. She didn’t desire Sheriff Knotts. Not when there was John Little Feather. She turned away from the sheriff and accepted a dance from a man she’d never met before.

She learned his name, but didn’t bother to remember it beyond the dance—it only served to insult the sheriff and slight her father. But she remembered his blue and yellow cavalry uniform and the sabre on his belt. He was a fair enough dancer, but the conversation bored her.

Her father’s party dragged on, and Marian wanted nothing more than escape. Escape from the pomp and circumstance, escape from the rules and acting like a lady every insufferable second of the day. After a quick glance over her shoulder, she slipped through the door and disappeared into the dark.

The woods had called to her for as long as she could remember, the sounds more natural to her than those of her father’s land. Crickets and frogs in the nearby lake, the slap of fish feeding on the surface. Occasionally, something would rustle in the brush, but it usually wasn’t much.

Though one time, it had been a bear. And an angry one at that. She still had the scars to prove it. For a while, she’d thought the scars had marred her supposedly unparalleled beauty. But then someone told her it proved she lived.

Not that she’d survived the attack, but rather that she hadn’t allowed her father to keep her from doing the things she wanted to do.

There was no glow from the full moon to guide Marian, but she didn’t need light to know her way through these woods. The darkness called to her, beckoned her into the depths of a forest few dared to enter once, let alone repeatedly. The smell of the swamps gave way to a harvest under way.

She gave a sharp whistle to announce her arrival outside the small town of outlaws and outcasts hidden within the forest. She was home, and the man who held her attention would reveal himself in a moments’ time.

A hand grabbed her from behind and pulled her snug against a solid body. His greeting varied from meeting to meeting, but it was never any less thrilling than the last. Marian smiled and tilted her head as John’s mouth descended on the soft flesh.

The stubble at his chin scraped her skin. He pulled her tight against him. Adrenaline coursed through her. There would be a jailbreak in the darkness of the new moon. And she had the plans in her head.

“What are we hitting tonight, Robin?” John asked.

“We’re breaking Will out,” Marian replied. She loved it when John called her Robin. The respect he gave her, and enforced from the others in town was enough to put her in charge of the bandits.

John gathered her in his arms and mounted his horse, settling her across his lap. He sighed, and Marian turned to her face up to him. “And Lucas? Will we need him tonight?”

Marian caught the concern in his voice for the youngest of the Little Feather brothers.

“Not tonight, my love.” She rubbed her hand on his cheek. “Does it bother you that I’m better at it than you?”

Laughing, John shook his head. “Not at all.”

He brought his mouth down on Marian’s, and she sighed into the kiss, losing herself in the sensations of the man’s arms around her, and the way his lips fit against hers. She opened her mouth to him, and their tongues slid against each other, thrusting, stoking the fire only John had managed to light within her.

Oh, her father would kill John and everyone in the town if he knew she’d so much as looked at John Little Feather, let alone let him get his hands on her. But he’d made her feel so much more alive than Sheriff Knotts could even dream, he knew her in ways no other man ever could. He understood her spirit.

The black horse shifted beneath them, reminding them they had a task to complete before the night was over. And it didn’t involve the actions that went with her immoral desires.

But Will Scarlet was in jail, and it wasn’t going to end well for the brunette if they didn’t break her out before sunrise.

John guided the horse the rest of the way through the black forest to town, giving a sharp whistle as they approached. Another high-pitched whistle answered. Ten-year-old Shane MacDowell emerged from the darkness and helped Marian, then took the horse’s bridle while John hopped down.

“Thanks, Shane.”

“Keep him near,” Marian requested.

“Yes, miss.” Shane nodded as Marian and John turned to the town hall and pushed through the door.

Marian took a few minutes to greet everyone before she began with her plans for the night.

“Tonight, we get Will back,” she said.

“Where are they holding my wife?” Blake Scarlet demanded.

Marian studied those gathered, her gaze lingering on each of them before she answered. “Sherman Prairie.”

“That’s Sheriff Knotts,” someone grumbled from the back of the room.

“It is,” she acknowledged.

“How do we get around him?” Blake asked.

“We don’t.” All eyes turned to her and she smiled. “It’s no secret I go for long walks. This time, I decided to walk along the ravine and wouldn’t you know, I slipped down the embankment and turned my ankle a bit. Drop me close enough that I can get there quickly by foot, and I’ll have the good sheriff escort me home.”

“Will you join us tonight in celebration?” John’s black eyes were intent on her as he waited for her answer.

“Not tonight, John,” she said after a moment. She regretted that she wouldn’t be able to be there, but knew there was no way for her to sneak out a second time in one night. “I’ll have to play the injured damsel for a couple days.”

“And the rest of the plan?” Lucas asked.

“The deputies are no more than children. They won’t know what to do. Restrain them. Lock them in the cells. Won’t take but a moment to get Will out of there.”

“When do we leave?”

“Immediately.” She smiled. “While you’er at it, steal their horses.”

 

Now Available for Pre-Order!

Hopeless Romantic is now available for pre-order on Amazon for $0.99, and I’m super excited about it! You’ll get to see more of Hope and Eddie in next summer’s Playing with Fire, which will feature Angelo and Lucia!

03 Hopeless Romantic

Cover Reveal and an Announcement!

03 Hopeless RomanticToday marks a fantastic day for all of my loyal followers and fans! Well, okay, tomorrow might be a little bit better. But today, you get to see the cover for Hopeless Romantic, a fun little story about a down-on-her-luck accountant named Hope and a can’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover tattoo artist named Eddie. With a little help from a mythical entourage, anything is possible.

It’s big and beautiful and simple. The most excellent news is Hopeless Romantic (hopefully) goes is up for pre-sale on Amazon tomorrow, June 28th, and will be available for purchase on Tuesday, July 5th, for $0.99!

 

Book Release: Shift

A bit later than planned, but Shift is finally here, available on Amazon for $0.99.

Shift 007

Welcome back to Anteros, where Cupid is going by Val, serving drinks instead of shooting arrows at unsuspecting patrons at the bar he tends.

Felix Barteau is back in Anteros, running his grandfather’s restaurant, Le Sainte Trinite. He expected the crew he used to run with to cause him problems. But he didn’t expect a foxy little lady to catch his attention.

Nikki Mason has returned to the one place she’s ever felt she belonged. Anteros and Abel Barteau have always held a special section of her heart. She hadn’t planned on a relationship at all when she pulled into town.

But between a runaway, secrets neither wants to share, and a little nudge from Cupid himself, Nikki and Felix find themselves in the one place they never expected to be: each other’s arms.

Also available on Amazon: Perfect Ten, for $0.99.

Procrastinations in Formatting

I haven’t talked much of this one, for some reason, probably because I’ve been a little brain-fried lately, plus there was the loss of dear, sweet, Lappytop, and subsequently the addition of Sunshine (the new lappytop, in case y’all missed that story) and also the loss of Word. Continue reading “Procrastinations in Formatting”

Sunday Snippets: Nerdgasm

Yes. I’ve named a story Nerdgasm. But that’s what kind of O it happens to be when you put a maritime engineer PhD student who is also working on a masters nuclear sciences together with a game coder from London (who just so happens to look and sound like Benedict Cumberbatch) and loves comic books. Unfortunately, these two won’t make their appearance until the next Winter volume. Continue reading “Sunday Snippets: Nerdgasm”

New Additions

And a smidgeon of rearranging too. I’ll start with the rearranging. Shift and Hopeless Romantic have been moved from the Bowman’s Inn section under the Stunted Growth tab to the Closed Books tab because, hey – they’ve been published! (To be fair, Shift was published in October 2015, and Hopeless Romantic was published on 2/7/2016)

I’ve also added three new pages to the Bowman’s Inn section of the Stunted Growth tab. Clowning Around, Playing with Fire, and Nerdgasm. Yes. Nerdgasm. Seriously, that’s the one I can’t wait to share with the world. *sigh* It’s for Winter. Next year. *sigh* It’s really hard because it’s going to be so much fun.

So yeah. Today’s been good. I got to cross three things off my to-do list. Who cares if they were at the bottom of my list of like… fifteen. I got stuff done!

 

Selection Sunday

On top of doing a once-monthly Sunday Snippet (as that seems to be about how often I remember to do it) I’m adding “Selection Sunday” into the rotation. Which is going to be book reviews. Which means I need to start reading more again, and new stuff.

So without further adieu, here is my review of Thoroughbred, by Ash Litton.

What a fantastic read! Although I am wondering where this is going to go, since the book is the first in a series.

A quick read, we come into a confrontation between Cal, a unicorn in a human body, and his parents. Mom and Dad are not impressed that his choice of mates isn’t another unicorn, and to top it off, *gasp* she’s not a virgin!

The story does end sooner than I wanted to, but that’s because Litton has drawn me into the world her characters inhabit well, given the short length of the story!

Also available from Litton are, Evening Hallow and, recently released, Comeuppance, available on multiple retailers, including Amazon and Smashwords.

To learn more about Ash, and to see what she’s up to, you can visit her website at ashlitton.com

I’m Not Slacking!

I promise! I’ve been a busy little bee, first and foremost, dealing with an under-the-weather little girl. BUT… I’ve also been deep in the revisions/editing process for my next Bowman’s Inn publication, Hopeless Romantic, which is now off to the publisher. (more on dates later)

On the same note, rights have officially reverted back to me on Perfect Ten, so I’ve been designing the cover and formatting for that to be released on it’s own. (It’s available for pre-order right now, on Amazon and Smashwords both, for $1.49, and will be released on February 15th, 2016)

I’ve also been working on revisions on another short story, Employee Benefits, which will kick off a series of shorts.

Then there’s finding the words for the story who’s blurb wrote itself (my Spring Bowman’s Inn story) and then I was also flooded with ideas for Summer (which will interweave tightly with Misty Carlisle’s Summer Bowman’s Inn – she’s new to the Bowman’s Inn with her Winter story, Hunting the Hunter) and Autumn. And Winter next year. Maybe if I can just crank all these out, I can get back to work on Dawngard and write all the scenes for that as well?

I am trying to set myself reminders to do my regular posts, however, it’s been rough going, and I forget to do things like that. Anyway – onward and upward!

PS: Pinterest hasn’t been helping, especially when I keep getting flooded with pins of the insanely hot Tom Hiddleston. Love that man. And yet I’ve never seen any of his movies. But he can read E.E. Cummings to me any day. All day. Every day. All the time. Whenever. Wherever. Just sayin’.