Members were invited to queue for the weekly weigh-in and while the first scramble took place, Andi hung back, wanting to put off the inevitable.
After the initial wave of declaring gains and losses, Andi thought she’d better hurry, as she didn’t want to be the last, when the whole room of people would be alert and watchful.
There were five in front, her heart hammered so fast she’d might as well have been waiting for the guillotine – didn’t the head weigh quite a few pounds?
Four in front – two pounds gained; their owner shuffles away in tears of misery.
Three in front – three pounds down brings a sigh of relief and a snatched card before a re-weigh was ordered.
Two in front – remained the same, prompting a giggle and admittance to only a smidgen of sin.
One in front – hesitancy, a guilty look – five pounds gained; there can be only shame and punishment.
Andi’s heart plummeted into her feet, sympathy oozing towards the scurrying retreating figure.
Then came Andi’s turn. She should have taken off her shoes, she thought, but then she always kept them on and she wanted a true reading, didn’t she?
There it stood, worse than the guillotine (at least with that you lost weight, she thought), those behind were becoming impatient.
There was no going back.
Beads of sweat crossed her forehead in sympathy with her palms.
She handed over the card, lifted her left leg, which suddenly felt like it was made of lead, onto the platform, followed with the right and closed her eyes, hoping that at least she hadn’t gained.Sydney Aaliyah Michelle
– HOPE FOR HER Whack.The force radiated through my whole body, followed by a stinging pain. A scream rang out, but not from me. The sound emitted from a deep dark place I didn’t want to visit. The pain emitted from her in waves and each one tore into my heart. The pain from her slap seemed insignificant compared to the pain in her eyes as she desperately tried to understand why I would treat her this way. I reached out and grabbed her, wrapped my arms around her waist. She resisted, pushing and punching my arms and shoulders. I wanted her to fight me—to hit me and scream and show me what I did to her. After a while, she collapsed in my arms, exhausted from fighting, but her sobs continued for several more minutes. My neck and chest dampened from her tears, and her whole body convulsed when she released an uncontrollable series of coughs. It shook us both, but I held on tight. The vibration of our bodies glued together made me hard, and I found it difficult to concentrate. I tried to push those thoughts out of my head. I wanted her to understand. It tore me up to know I caused her even an ounce of pain. I held her tight with one arm and stroked her back with the other. With each stroke, her body softened. As her last bit of energy drained, I turned us around and her back was up against my car. I placed my hands on her hips; she whimpered as I lifted her up and sat her on the trunk. Her damp hair stuck to her face, and I pushed it away. I wiped her eyes and lifted her chin. “How could you leave me like that?” she asked. The desperation in her voice fucked with my mind. I hated myself. “I’m sorry,” I whispered as my lips swept across her cheek. She tensed. I expressed my gratitude by kissing her other cheek. She whimpered, and my heart cracked. I kissed her forehead, dropped my hands to her waist, and her head fell forward without my support. “Why?” she asked. Her voice sounded defeated but defiant. She wanted an answer. She deserved an answer. “Since I met you, I’ve had the time of my life.” I kissed her jawline as I placed my hands on her thighs. “I’ve never met anyone like you before.” As my lips moved to her ear, she leaned into me. I pushed her legs apart. I wanted to hold her, get closer to her. She relaxed more with every kiss. “I want to be with you so bad.” When I reached her earlobe, I bit it, and she moaned. “Enjoy you as much as I can, for as long as I can because …eventually you’re going to leave me.” Anne Conley – THE FIXER UPPER
“What do you like?”
The blank look on her face would have been priceless, except he was angry. “What do you mean?” she asked.
Advancing on her, there on the street, he growled. “What do you enjoy doing, Maggie? When you get home after a stressful day, you take off your work clothes, slip on something more comfortable and do what? Watch TV? Call your friends? Play with your dog? Dust off your doll collection? What? What do you do that’s purely Maggie?”
Her jaw clenched, showing taut lines of her sharp features, making her cheek bones pop. “It’s Margaret.” Red stained her cheeks, and James relished the emotion he seemed to constantly evoke in her. “And it’s music. I get comfortable and listen to music. Loud music.”
He stepped back in shock but managed to recover quickly. That wasn’t an image he’d had of her, and damned if it didn’t take root in his mind and flourish. Maggie wearing panties and a t-shirt, bouncing around her house, singing into a hairbrush like a schoolgirl. Suddenly his pants were tight and warmth filled his body. “What sort of music?”
Now the red slashes on her cheeks deepened, and he felt her embarrassment—a palpable entity—thickening the air around them. “Sex Pistols, The Clash, Ramones,” she muttered, looking at the pavement under her feet.
“Punk? You’re a punk girl?” He relaxed. Finally. The utter embarrassment at her admission showed some passion, something she felt strongly about. “Sid Vicious gets you hot?” The flush spread to her chest, and under her shirt, and James itched to see exactly where it was going.
“Sure. He had a certain appeal. Before he killed his girlfriend.” With downcast eyes, and her blush rising, James ached to taste her, to feel her unwind in his arms, but her snide tone of voice stopped him.Elaine May
– LIES AND TRUTH
CHAPTER ONE Present Day
Isla could not remember a time where she did not awake from a nightmare, the fear she felt as she relived every horrid memory as fresh as the day it had happened. Perhaps when she was a child she had slept more peacefully.
Back then, her life had been simple; she had been so carefree when life had made sense. Now she was living in her own personal hell, and as far as she was aware there was no way out. This was her life, this was her reality, she hated every moment of it, and Isla knew deep in her soul there was no way to change it. Each night she was forced to go through the horrors which plagued her and relive every moment.
Her nightmares would always start the same way, and once they did, there was no way to stop them.
Lucy Gage – TIME TO BEGIN Reggie approached and his breath caught. Had he forgotten, in the short time they were apart, how beautiful she was? Apparently. She wore a steel-gray hoodie over a bright pink concert tee, which hugged her breasts. The shirt set off the bright pink of her hair. Faded black cargo pants called attention to the stripes of color in her hair, and he couldn’t help but think that she’d look stunning with it all coal-black. She could have been any retro-Punk fan, a Gwen Stefani wannabe, a Gen-Y’er trying to be different and failing because they looked like everyone else doing the same. But she was none of those things. The well-worn Doc Martens, the oddly-cute purse slung across her body, the lack of crazy jewelry – body or other – said that this was just Reggie, a girl who knew what she liked and didn’t give a damn if others agreed.
The only thing that belied such a concept was her angelic face, and Eddie knew that it advertised her trade. “What’s that look?” she asked as she stopped a few feet from him and shoved her hands into her pockets.
He slowly stepped closer to her. “Just happy to see you.”
“I haven’t been gone that long.”
“Long enough.”Susan Griscom – BEAUTIFULLY WOUNDED No more tears, I ordered myself. It’s over. Was he dead? I hoped he was dead. I had to have killed him. My emotions—convoluted with anger and fear—dominated my judgment, giving me courage to go on. I’d never considered myself weak, to allow a man to have such complete and utter control over me—to beat me whenever he had the whim. How the hell had that happened?
Well, that person was gone and I didn’t want to be weak anymore. I lifted my glasses, studied my eye again, and thought of my mother—she’d been weak, I remembered. The vision of my stepfather beating my mother to death invaded my mind. I was nine at the time, and sat cowering in the corner, praying he wouldn’t come for me when he’d finished with her. I’d watched him slap my mom around before, and she’d always been able to recover. But that last time, he’d gone too far. I watched as my mother fell to her knees, clutching her stomach as his foot came off the ground and struck her in the face. She’d fallen backwards and her head hit the edge of the red, brick hearth of the fireplace. I covered my eyes and screamed as blood spewed out all over the bricks and the worn out, dingy cream carpet. A neighbor heard the screaming and called the police. They’d gotten there in time for me, but too late for my mother.
I’d been on my own since I was eighteen, after enduring one foster home after another, never really fitting in. But at the tender age of fourteen I’d found my niche. An old discarded second-hand guitar I’d discovered in someone’s trash became my savior. As long as I had a guitar in my hands nothing else mattered. After a few months of living with some friends and several temporary gigs here and there, I’d been lucky enough to find a spot with a smalltime band singing and playing lead-guitar. They called themselves The Magic Crew. They were good too, on their way to stardom, and I was right there with them until Troy Harington showed up and swept me off my feet.
It seemed as if it had all been a dream as I thought about how he’d manipulated me into believing he loved me. Handsome? Oh yeah, he was handsome, with his six-foot muscle-bound frame and curly brown hair. He had dark blue eyes that could lure a fish out of the water, and lips that could talk their way in or out of any situation that might arise. Girls flocked to his side whenever he came around to listen to us play, begging him to dance with them. Like all the other girls, I’d found him irresistible, and he’d chosen me over all of them. How lucky. But I soon learned it was all a subterfuge when his charm turned to violent domination. Linda Kaye Parker – LEATHER CHAPS AND BROKEN PROMISES Jack lowered his head, capturing her mouth, crushing her to him.
“I need you.” He whispered against her moist lips.
“Hurry then.” She tightened her legs around his hips, and he stumbled toward the stairs.
“We might not make it if you don’t.” Kat giggled as Jack tripped on the landing.
“Oh we’ll make it.” He said. Taking two steps at a time. Her soft, sexy laugh intoxicating.
“Are you sure?” She whispered against his neck.
His breath caught in his throat, and he froze as her tongue danced along his ear.
“That’s not fair.” His voice cracked, and his knees shook with each stroke.
“Just remember, you brought this on yourself.” He said as he hoisted her up, tossing her over his shoulder.
“Jack, put me down. I’ll behave. I promise.” Kat’s voice dripped with sarcasm, His hand traced up her squirming thigh, and she shuttered, a faint moan escaping her lips. He lifted his hand, smacking down onto the tight denim that hugged the curves that teased him. Kat shrieked, and it echoed in the darkened staircase.
“You’re going to pay for that.” She said, laughing as he raced to the top.
Jack lowered her to the floor backing her against the bedroom door. Her heavy lashes shadowed her pink tinged cheeks. She glanced up, biting her lower lip, looking so damn sexy. Jack let go a low growl and pulled her close. His hand stroked the length of her back up to her slender neck. He wrapped her long blond curls in his hand and pulled her head to the side, revealing her silky bronzed neck. His lips trailed a path to her shoulder, and she shivered in his grasp.
“Two can play this game,” Kat murmured as her hand slipped into the waistband of his jeans. Jack kissed the hollow of her neck, pressing into her.
“Yah, but I’m so much better at it then you are.” His seductive tone spoke his intention as he opened the door, backing her in, kicking it closed behind them.
“Really, show me.” Kat sarcastically smiled up at him and winked. She stepped out of her black high heals, and backed up to his bed.
Jack froze as Kat lifted her T-shirt over her head. Her red lace bra dropped to the floor, and she shimmied out of her jeans. Her beauty taunted him. Jerking his shirt off, he kicked his boots across the hard wood floor. Grabbing his belt her warm hands stopped him.
“Let me, I always loved taking the buckle off my cowboy.”
She inched close, and he tensed as a battle of emotions fought inside him.
He stared at her shaking hands knowing she felt it to. She popped the button on his jeans and gently lowered the zipper. He stepped free from the last piece of clothing that separated them and gathered her into his arms.
His mouth covered hers, silencing the aroused cries, lowering her onto the bed.
– GAME CHANGERThe hotel the event would be held at was only two blocks away, so I was surprised when Liam wanted to drive rather than walk. Shrugging and not questioning his motives, I clambered into the car and settled back, sighing with the way the seat seemed to hug me. I appeared to be falling in love with this damn car.
Just when I thought Liam would start the engine, he let the keys dangle in the ignition and leaned over to me instead. My breath hitched as he reached across my body and grabbed the seatbelt, buckling it in place with a loud click.
Never backing away and hovering his face precariously close to mine, he said, “Safety first, beautiful Maci.”
“For two blocks?” I scoffed, trying to deny my inner delight at his closeness.
“For two blocks,” he affirmed just as his eyes began roaming over my body, landing on the slit that parted all the way up my left leg to mid-thigh. Extending his hand out, he traced a finger along my leg, right between the parted fabric.
“Non-date, Sir Liam,” I chided, reminding him of our agreement. Even though I turned him down verbally, I didn’t bother flinching or pushing him away. I honestly enjoyed his touch, like he was caressing a fragile item with adoration. But I needed to keep my wits about me if I planned to make it through the night with dry panties.
His fingers lingered on my skin just a bit longer, sending a chill through me at the thought of him lifting my dress and moving even higher.
“Liam,” I whispered, breathless and desperate for him to either increase his hold on my self-control or stop punishing me with such delicious torment.
“Right. Non-date,” he agreed as he retracted his hand. “I just can’t seem to act normal around you, Maci.”
Well, that statement seemed to send a whole new thrill through me, because it meant he wasn’t used to moving in on a girl so quickly and vigorously. I didn’t care much for players, so his masked confession had a grin spreading on my face before I realized it was happening.
“What’s so funny?” he asked, peeking over at me while pulling into traffic and making an immediate left.
“You. You said you can’t act normal around me, but I think normal is utterly boring.” His dimples made their appearance at my words, and I delighted in the fact that I could make him smile.
God, I’d barely wanted to come on this stupid non-date tonight, yet now I realized I was having a great time with him. I would be the first to admit I was wrong. Well, at least to myself. No need to admit it out loud and ruin our fun banter.
Felicia Tatum – ENTANGLED SOULS Her soft fingers curled around my arm, the sparkler shining as the sun hit from the window. She moaned softly, arching her back like a cat, instantly taking my mind from my memories to her soft body against me. Stretching beside me, her long legs untangled from mine. Her hands released my chest. I watched with fascination, my desire for her growing by the second. Her lids gently opened, revealing her bright, love-filled, brown peepers. I still couldn’t believe she was mine, she wanted me.
“Hi,” she said groggily, causing me to stir with need.
“Hey,” I replied, gazing over every part of her body. “I like this.”
She pulled the sheet to her shoulders, her insecurity getting the best of her. “Like what?”
I looped my finger over the edge, jerking the sheet away and completely off the bed. “Me. You. Naked.”
Leaning over, I grasped her fingers, locking them and placing our hands beside her head, lowering mine to capture her luscious lips for a kiss. Tongues collided and a rush of heat flowed through my body. Our night had been miraculous, even better than the first time we’d made love, but all I wanted to do was have her over and over again. I moved my lips to her neck, teasing her with my tongue. Silky skin contracted under my touch, her involuntary shudder visible. Her mouth parted as she sucked in a deep breath.
Ella Medler – TRIAL RUN
She wriggled into a skirt and t-shirt that felt a little crispy, but thankfully dry, and walked out of the shelter. The first thing she noticed was the absence of rain. The second was Rob’s head breaking through the surf. He gulped some air and dived, displaying a toned shoulder, back and a set of bare buttocks good enough to bite. He was gone for a minute, and then he came back up for air and stayed up, his hands clasped around two large crabs. The water swept around his shoulders as he walked slowly towards the shore. When he looked up, he spotted her, grinned wide and waved the crabs in the air.
Amelie smiled. Fresh crab for breakfast was better than ready-made meals any day. She began piling wood on the coals from the previous night’s fire, and then rushed over to her stash of toiletries and make-up and hurriedly scooped the lot of them into a bag and out of sight. She was determined they wouldn’t have the same argument today. Or ever, if she had anything to do with it.
Next time she looked over to the sea, her mouth fell open. Rob was still making his way out, the surf playing around his knees. She knew perfectly well what she’d find if she let her eyes travel up, she knew it and she also knew she shouldn’t allow herself to do it… but her eyes seemed to have a mind of their own.
The man was glorious in his nakedness! Eyes locked on his crown jewels, well-defined and standing proud front and center even in his relaxed state, Amelie whimpered and grabbed onto a post. It wasn’t fair! How was she supposed to reject this rush of feeling when he looked like that?
She’d been in love with him for more than ten years of her life, and that was before she’d seen him naked. All that time, she’d fought hard to keep him out of her every thought and almost managed.
What was she supposed to do now? Until a few minutes ago she’d only known him clothed.
“Stop staring at me like that; you’re making me feel self-conscious.”
Rob had stopped just twenty inches or so in front of her. Amelie dropped her gaze at once, her skin tingling at the speed with which her blood rushed up to her face. Oh, God! He’d caught her staring! Could there be anything more mortifying to live through in a lifetime?
The two crabs landed on the sand between their feet, startling her. “Keep an eye on them while I put on my shorts,” Rob said.
“Keep an eye?” she repeated, watching the two creatures turn straight for the ocean without a second’s hesitation. They were pretty fast, too. “What exactly do you expect me to do?” she asked, sounding like a frightened little girl, even to her own ears. “I’m not touching them.”
Sarah M. Cradit – SURRENDER
Ana’s thoughts were currently floating around what happened with Clancy Sullivan. He was a senior, and a cousin of Oz’s. Clancy, with seemingly endless patience, had tirelessly vied for her attention over the past year. Where most boys eventually gave up, realizing Ana was not girlfriend material (or at least not like the other girls her age were), Clancy held strong in his pursuit.It would have been simpler had he been like some of the other crude boys who normally chased after her. But Clancy’s kindness always threatened to penetrate her well-armored heart. When he smiled at her, his whole face lit up, from his perpetually flushed cheeks, to his inquisitive blue eyes. His requests came from a place of sincerity, and left her feeling confused rather than exasperated. She knew she could do much worse, but that wasn’t the point. Why had she let him walk her home yesterday? Maybe it was the way he always smiled at her, whether his friends were around or not. Or perhaps she was simply tired of always saying no. Secretly, she sometimes wished she could return his affections. “See, this is nice,” Clancy had observed as they meandered through the Lower Garden District, down Prytania. Eight blocks. That’s all. Ana had merely smiled, lacking any engaging contribution to the small talk, something she’d never particularly enjoyed or excelled at. But then he’d laced his slightly damp hand tentatively through hers, and suddenly eight blocks seemed like eighty. Her toes curled in her shoes as they continued their walking, an involuntary mannerism; one of many Ana had developed to control anxiety. “Have you started Nelson’s assignment yet?” he queried, swinging their hands gently as they walked. The warmth of his large, soft hands distracted her in a way she didn’t understand. “Not really,” Ana replied, not adding the assignment wasn’t even a challenge for her. Immodesty was not only unbecoming, but it left her vulnerable to scrutiny. “We could study, together,” Clancy shyly suggested, his hopeful smile pleading from the periphery of her gaze. He really was handsome; truly was kind. “I’m working with Oz on it already,” she lied, quickly. “Oh.” His face fell. “My cousin is a lucky guy. He gets to see you all the time.” Yes, Ana thought. Though hanging out and doing nothing is hardly anything to be jealous of. When Clancy finally deposited her on the porch of her father’s Greek Revival on Second, she muttered an awkward, but still gracious, goodbye, hoping to disappear behind the oaken door before things could get any more uncomfortable. But then she’d dropped that book bag of hers in a completely ungraceful trip up the top stair. Before she’d gained her composure, Clancy was kneeling across from her, sliding books back in the bag, before tucking her hair behind her ears. When she looked up to thank him, he pressed his lips to hers in a hasty, impulsive kiss. His mouth was warm, soft, and unpredictably inviting. Ana surprised herself by not only letting him do it, but by lacing one hand over his shoulder, indicating she didn’t mind if the contact lasted. Ana was forced to admit, it wasn’t altogether unpleasant. She would always remember the moment she broke away, his periwinkle eyes sparkling at her, his smile, as always, genuine. Ana’s father once told her you could only really trust a man if he displayed the same emotions when no one was looking. He really does like me. She watched Clancy walk away, down the crumbling sidewalk. Once he disappeared from sight, she let out a shy, nervous giggle, pressing her hand to lips that, only moments ago, had been joined to his. Then she sighed, a long exhale which caused her shoulders to sag, as the weight of it hit her. Anasofiya, at sixteen, had experienced her first kiss. But it was with the wrong boy. The wrong Sullivan. Rachael Orman – HER RIDE Nearly gagging at the girls over the top advances, I grabbed her wrist gently. “Mind keeping the hands off the goods. Those are mine. Right, babe?”
“Um, right.” Ellis was fighting a smile because he knew I was just trying to get rid of the bimbo. I stepped between his legs and put my hand flat against the center of his chest, under his cut.
“You can go now.” I looked over my shoulder at her as Ellis’ hands came to rest on each of my ass cheeks.
“He didn’t say anything about having a girlfriend.” The bimbo looked offended.
“Let me make it clearer for you.” I flicked a glance at her before leaning up on my toes, tilting my head and pressing my lips to Ellis’. I’d only meant for it to be a quick peck, but my body thought differently. The instant my lips met his, my entire body melted into his. My hand slid up his chest to sink into his hair. His hands gripped tightly onto my ass, pulling me against his erection that was digging into my belly. As his tongue gingerly slipped between my lips, one of his hands firmly slid up my back till it was wrapped around the back of my neck, pulling me into his body. Rachael Orman – ADDICT I wanted to be upset that she’d lied, but instead I felt a serene feeling settle over me. Something deep inside me —something I wasn’t even aware had been locked up — felt like it had finally been set free.
Seeing people tied up, being spanked, on leashes, doing sexual activities out in the open would probably feel awkward to most people. While at first it shocked me, the more I let it sink in, the more natural it felt. Going out with Jennifer had been an attempt to get me out of the sexual haze I normally lived in; instead it felt like I’d found the crowd I should have been spending my time with. People who would understand my desires and obsessions more than so-called normal people would. I’d never participated in anything like the BDSM-type activities around us, well except a little spanking. It’d been something I’d been curious about, but had no idea where to even dip my toe in. Jennifer had found it for me, apparently.
H.A. Kay – LOVE ME DOHe smiled understandingly and went back to looking at the camera screen. A few moments of silence ensued as my thoughts floated far away from the family sitting inside that I called my own to what my family might’ve been if my father was still alive. A wanton draft of winter wind blew through the trees and over us. I shivered with the sudden chill and braced myself.
“This is ridiculous!” I frowned. “I’m cold and spying on my own family.”
“Come here,” Zaed said setting his camera on the hard ground and very snuggly wrapped his arms around me from behind. “Better?”
It was lovely. He was warm, smelled divinely of Aqua Di Gio even at this hour and his strong arms were better than any blanket I’d ever used. The only problem was he was my cousin’s fiancé.
And it got worse.
“You smell of cigarettes.” He sniffed my hair.
“Stop smelling my hair, Zaed!” Damn that Vault! Every time I went there, I came out smelling of second hand smoke.
He chuckled. “Why do you smell of cigarettes? Do you smoke?”
“No!” I frowned. “It’s the bank, its – always full of smoke.”
“Okay,” he said and rested his chin comfortably on the top of my head.
I sat perfectly still for five seconds before realizing there was no easy way out of his grasp unless I told him to let go.
“Okay, you can let go now,” I said (hating it but knowing I had to).
He did and I stood up instantly.
“I’m going inside,” I said turning on my heel.
“Sophie, wait!” he said hurriedly and something bounced in my insides.
He stood up to his full height (Six-two to be exact, have I mentioned that before? Six-swoonful-two!), and placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Be safe, comrade.”
Oh, for heaven’s sake!
I rolled my eyes and walked away from him. It was perhaps at the third step by the front door that I realized he had called me Sophie instead of the usual Sophia. Coincidence? I shrugged and frowned at myself for even thinking it. Sophie and Sophia were hardly different names and too close to tell apart anyway.
I turned the handle and went inside the house.