I’m sharing samples from the books in the “good fortune changes lives” box set Luck of the Draw -13 Lucky Romance and Suspense novellas. This set contains 13 wonderful, eclectic stories revolving around taking chances and winning!
Luck of the Draw is an Amazon exclusive that contains all new stories and will be released May 11.
For a very limited time this set is selling for only 99c.
For a very limited time this set is selling for only 99c.
You can pre-order your box set of Luck of the Draw here:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2mDLXQS
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2nhRgZG
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2mb43xn
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2mXFpPM
Today I share with you Chapter 1 of Love in the World of Make Believe from Janis Susan May. Enjoy the read!
I can’t do this again, Edith thought. Not again.
“I don’t think so. Not tonight.”
“Oh, come on,” Tiffany said enthusiastically, drawing a brush through her already perfect hair. “It’ll be fun. Dick says the band is simply wild.”
If anyone asks you to dance. In spite of her mutinous thoughts Edith struggled to keep a pleasant smile on her face. “No, I’d better not. I’ve got some things to do at home.”
Tiffany frowned. “What? Wash your underwear? Rearrange your kitchen cabinets? Read?” She made the last sound almost unwholesome. “Like you do every night? Come on, Edith. There’ll be lots of guys here. You can meet someone. The place is simply crawling with good looking men.”
Edith couldn’t help staring at Tiffany. Could she be that blind? Tiffany was petite and gorgeous, with a knockout figure. Her dark gold hair was naturally curly, her eyes a velvet brown and she had a personality that wouldn’t stop. Of course she would think there were lots of men there, that she could meet someone. Tiffany could meet men anywhere any time. Tiffany’s problem was keeping them away.
It was different for Edith. Plain, brown haired, blue-eyed Edith. Fat Edith. Edith who was smart, Edith who was funny, Edith who couldn’t get a date. Edith who was tired of watching the pretty skinny girls who didn’t have a brain in their head getting dates and getting married while she – while girls like her, smart girls, unpretty girls, imperfect girls – fat girls – sat in the shadows, sipped their drinks and tried to pretend that it didn’t hurt to be ignored.
“No, I’m just going to go home.” Edith clicked ‘Close Down’ on her computer and pushed the keyboard tray back under the desk. One thing about working at Titan Assurance was that it was easy to quit on the dot of five. The work was never finished, so there was no need to stay to clean something up.
“Oh, come on… It’s not like anyone is going to find you hiding in your apartment.” Tiffany dropped the brush into the desk drawer and slammed it shut.
“They haven’t found me at any of the clubs either.”
And they never would, Edith added mentally, though she would never, could never say it. Somehow she had to hang onto a shred of hope that sometime somewhere she could have a happy ending.
That wasn’t the end of it, of course. Tiffany kept at her all the way down in the elevator, going from urging to begging to whining to bitching, but this time none of them worked; Edith stood firm.
“Tiffany, I’m going home. I hope you have a good time tonight. You can tell me all about on Monday.”
“I wouldn’t have to tell you if you were there,” she sulked. “See if I try to help you again.”
Buttoning her jacket against the sudden blast of outside air, Edith wished she could be so lucky. Winter might be over, but spring hadn’t yet arrived. It would be really cool before morning. “See you Monday,” she said as she turned and escaped down the street to where she had parked her car.
Most people hated driving through Dallas’ horrific rush hour traffic, and Edith was no exception. Again trying to improve her, Tiffany had tried to convince Edith to move into one of the new and fashionable apartments in the trendy Uptown area that bordered the center of the city. She’d be close to everything, Tiffany had said; she’d be able to walk for groceries and stuff, Tiffany had said; she’d be able to take mass transportation to and from work, Tiffany had said.
Who, Edith has wondered, wanted to walk any more than they absolutely had to in the suffocating heat of a Dallas summer, or in the occasional ice storms of a Dallas winter? Once Edith had even said that the trouble with mass transportation was that you had to ride with the masses. Naturally Tiffany had taken offense at that, calling Edith an elitist and a snob.
Maybe I am, Edith had reflected, but she didn’t care. She preferred the freedom and the safety of her car. At least in her car she was protected from the baleful, pitying, revolted looks of people.
Edith’s apartment was an old one, almost twice as large as the trendy Uptown place Tiffany had. It overlooked the large central garden and, while it didn’t have a lot of the modern conveniences the newer places did, it suited her. She appreciated it every time she came home.
Minou sat perfectly still in the kitchen, projecting an air of displeasure without moving a muscle.
“Hungry, are you?”
It was a useless question. The scrawny old cat was always hungry. Dropping her coat and purse on the couch, Edith walked through the kitchen to the cat food cupboard and fixed Minou’s evening meal. Like every night it was a hearty one of canned cat food and vegetables and like every night the cat wolfed it down. Then Edith refilled the almost-empty dry food bowl and water dish and, going into the bathroom, scooped out the litter box.
Now what to do for the rest of the weekend. She really should do some laundry, but her kitchen cabinets were immaculate, as was the rest of her apartment. There was a new recipe for fudge she had been wanting to try, but some niggling little voice kept her back. She didn’t need any sweets. She couldn’t lose weight if she made sweets.
And that was such a distasteful line of thought. She was who she was, and would be no matter what she weighed. Her personality wouldn’t change. Neither would her knowledge or her abilities. It said more about others than about her that they would value her more if she were slim.
At least now she didn’t have to go anywhere or see anyone until Monday morning if she didn’t want to. Giving a sigh of relief, Edith shucked off her workaday clothes and pulled on her favorite caftan. Of lightweight printed silky fabric, it swirled around her and made her feel almost as if she didn’t have anything on. In deep winter she exchanged it for sweats, which weren’t nearly as comfortable but they were warm.
After watching the news she put a frozen pizza into the oven and, after due deliberation, a DVD into the player, then settled back to watch the first season of THE MAN FROM ALPHA ONE. Again.
Edith had been first in line to buy the box set when it had first come out. ALPHA ONE was her very favorite show and before the DVDs were available she watched every episode broadcast, no matter if she had to stay up half the night to catch an early-morning rerun. She had held her breath until the news was official that the series had been renewed for a second season. During the summer hiatus she had watched the DVDs of the first season until she knew every move, every line of dialogue, every slight mistake.
THE MAN FROM ALPHA ONE was the story of a man without a name and an uncanny ability to prevent crime. It was never clear if he were some sort of alien or an agent for a super-secret federal agency or something else, but he had unlimited resources and the ability to talk or fight his way out of every situation. He had a sometimes enemy, sometimes sidekick, a scarred and brutal-looking man with the single name of Talon who had the annoying habit of turning up just when needed. The show’s premise was silly, even to Edith’s uncritical eye, but she would have watched something much worse just so she could look at the star, Brick Daniels.
If there were ever a man to make a woman’s heart go pitter patter, it was Brick Daniels. Tall, well-muscled, and absolutely gorgeous, Brick Daniels looked like he had escaped from the cover of one of the romance novels Edith loved to read. Edith went to sleep every night with fantasies of Brick Daniels, fantasies that were incredibly romantic and on occasion more than slightly pornographic. She had even entered the ‘Win-A-Role on THE MAN FROM ALPHA ONE’ contest, working every night for over two weeks to write the absolutely perfect essay on why she would like to be on the show. Of course, there was no way on earth she’d ever win, but it did give her fantasies a new direction.
In them she fought alongside the enigmatic lead, touching his heart to where he at last realized she was the only woman in the world for him and they would live happily ever after. In her fantasies she was slim and beautiful and capable of all kinds of things. Of course Edith realized that Brick Daniels was an actor and that the TV show was fiction, but such realities didn’t affect her fantasies, where the two personalities – actor and role – sort of blended. What went on in her head, Edith decided, was no one’s business but her own.
Episode One was over and Edith had finished her pizza. Minou, accepting that she wasn’t going to get any more bits of cheese, had curled into a sleeping ball against Edith’s leg. Edith was just about to click the menu to watch Episode Two when the telephone rang.
Really, she thought angrily, if this is Tiffany trying to get me come join them I’ll murder her!
“Is this Miss Whiting? Miss Edith Whiting?” asked a cultured male voice that didn’t sound anything like any of the men Tiffany dated. It almost sounded familiar…
Probably, she thought, someone wanting to sell me something ridiculous, like a new car or a time share. Edith hated it when people tried to sell her stuff over her own phone.
“Yes, I’m Edith Whiting. Who’s this?”
“I’m Brick Daniels, and I’m delighted to tell you that you are the winner in the ‘Win-A-Role on THE MAN FROM ALPHA ONE’ contest.”
It seemed as if the floor simply dropped away from under Edith, leaving her floating. She won? This was Brick Daniels – BRICK DANIELS? – really talking to her? She was going to have a role on THE MAN FROM ALPHA ONE? She was going to appear alongside Brick Daniels? Maybe even be kissed…?
Reality came back with a slap. No, this had to be a joke. Things like this didn’t happen to people like her. She had been very careful not to tell anyone about entering, just because she knew some of the people at work would tease her unmercifully, but someone must have found out and was having a cruel laugh at her expense.
“Yeah. Sure,” she said, her words dripping with bitterness. “Go play your jokes somewhere else.”
“Really!” the voice crooned. It really did sound like Brick Daniels. Edith knew his voice and whoever this was really was very good. “It’s true. Your answer was the best, and believe me, we received thousands.”
“And thousands and thousands, and out of all of them you chose me. Right. Look, I don’t know who you are, but this isn’t funny. Why don’t you pick on someone of your own size.”
The voice on the other end of the phone sighed. “I was afraid you’d react like this. Normally we’d send a certified letter with the announcement and dates of the Dallas filming, but there were some schedule changes beyond our control and we had to fly in just a few minutes ago.”
Edith remained silent. She knew she should hang up on this sick joker, but somewhere in her mind burned a tiny spark of hope. There was no way Brick Daniels – BRICK DANIELS! – could really be talking to her, but maybe… maybe…
“Look, I don’t blame you for being suspicious, Miss Whiting. It’s very wise of you. What do you say I come and pick you up tomorrow afternoon at two o’clock and we’ll go down to the production office and get things started?”
Smart way to get out of any commitment, Edith thought. Aloud she said, “If you like,” then hung up the phone.
Brick Daniels was going to pick her up tomorrow afternoon.
Janis Susan May is a seventh-generation Texan and a third-generation wordsmith who writes mysteries as Janis Patterson, romances and other things as Janis Susan May, children’s books as Janis Susan Patterson and scholarly works as J.S.M. Patterson.
Formerly an actress and singer, a talent agent and Supervisor of Accessioning for a bio-genetic DNA testing lab, Janis has also been editor-in-chief of two multi-magazine publishing groups. She founded and was the original editor of The Newsletter of the North Texas Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt, which for the nine years of her reign was the international organization’s only monthly publication. Long interested in Egyptology, she was one of the founders of the North Texas ARCE chapter and was the closing speaker for the ARCE International Conference in Boston in 2005.
Janis and her husband live in Texas with an assortment of rescued furbabies.