After the pre-order screwup, my self-published novel, The Sweet Taste of Revenge, is now available on Amazon! The introductory sale is for 99 cents. Less than a buck for a novel of just over 190,000 words. After a week, the price will increase to $3.99.
I’m happy to see this book published, as it is the effort of many, many months crafting it. Several years ago, I wrote a lot of erotic and romantic short stories, and some of them have grown into novels–since I found that I wanted to expand on what happened to the characters.
The Sweet Taste of Revenge is one of those. The short story grew during the past year, and I was interested to see what happened in Michelle Brower’s life after she discovered another woman’s hair on her husband’s shoulder.
Some days brought fluid writing, while other days brought doubts and much slower writing. Eventually, though, the doubts eased during the editing process. (I described my doubts in another post.)
And now, the book is complete and self-published on Amazon. A big breath of relief!
Here’s an excerpt — the first chapter — to hopefully whet your appetite:
Chapter 1. Strand of Hair
The blonde hair on her husband’s shoulder didn’t belong to Michelle Brower.
Michelle and Joe were reading in bed, their nightly routine after dinner and their favorite TV shows. Sometimes, though, Michelle went through the routine alone, when Joe worked late on a demanding project. He put in a lot of hours at Hannold Engineering in the hopes of advancing his career into upper management. That position shone brightly above him on the corporate ladder, and he was determined to climb the rungs.
The light from the nightstand’s lamp flitted across something on the fabric of light blue pajamas on Joe’s shoulder. Enough to catch Michelle’s attention out of the corner of her eye. At first, Michelle kept reading Dead Ringer, the suspense novel she was enjoying, in which Detective Baldwin was at a bar, nursing his fourth Jack Daniels while trying to make sense of clues found at yet another crime scene from the previous night.
But something on her husband’s shoulder kept twinkling in the light, like a lure drawing fish out of a lake’s depths and up to the surface. Michelle had to stop reading and find out what the thing was, so she reached over and pinched it off.
A long strand of blonde hair. It twirled from the grip of Michelle’s thumb and forefinger as she held it up.
Exhibit A, your honor. She didn’t think it then, but would eventually view the hair that way.
“This isn’t mine,” Michelle said while looking curiously at the hair. It was a simple, flat statement. Void of the intense emotion to come later.
After glancing at the hair, Joe shrugged, saying, “It’s probably from the dry cleaners.” Trying to pass off the hair as nothing.
“But I clean your PJs. Not the dry cleaners.”
“Who knows?” he wondered. “Hair gets everywhere. It’s probably from the hotel. God knows how many people go through hotel rooms.”
Hotel room. Atlanta. Joe recently came back from a business trip. The facts clicked together for Michelle. As if she hoped to emulate the hunky and damaged Detective Baldwin, who tried to click the facts together to discover the serial killer’s identity.
Joe pressed on: “You know hotels are like carousels. Thank God I’m not worried about germs. Otherwise, I’d wear gloves or a Haz-mat suit or something. You know, they never wash the bedspreads in hotels. They just put them right back on the bed. I bet those things are breeding grounds for germs. I try not to touch them at all. I don’t want to get sick and bring some nasty bug home to you. But I guess I can touch them by accident. It happens. That’s where the hair came from. Got to be.”
“Yeah. I guess so.”
Michelle had told him that tidbit about hotel bedspreads not being washed. She heard it from a girlfriend and passed it along to Joe.
And now, her husband used it as an excuse for another woman’s hair on his PJs. But Michelle wasn’t convinced. Call it intuition. Something about Joe’s tone of voice or his frown or maybe a shadow across his face.
No, there wasn’t really a shadow on his face. That appeared later, in her mind, as Michelle remembered the scene and tried to pick out details that showed her husband’s guilt.
Michelle tried to tell herself that the thoughts of Joe cheating were all in her imagination. She was looking too hard for suspicious behavior. Her perception was biased because she read too many detective novels. Maybe she wanted to find suspicious behavior, so she turned ordinary things into clues because she figured they should be guilty.
She laughed, thinking, Don’t be so worried. There’s nothing wrong. Joe’s not the cheating type. He’s devoted to you, and he’s a hard worker. All that traveling stressed him out. So don’t go looking for things that aren’t really there.
Still, another woman’s hair had actually been on her husband’s shoulder. A blonde woman’s hair wasn’t ordinary.
Discovering the first hair led to the need to decide how it got on the shoulder of Joe’s pajamas. Maybe Joe was right. He could’ve tossed his pajamas on the bed in a Atlanta hotel, and his PJs picked up a hair from a previous occupant.
Or maybe Joe was lying. The hair could’ve meant that her husband fucked some blonde bitch in his hotel bed, and she spent the night sleeping next to him. Maybe they even fucked a second time in the morning.
Because the blonde hair wasn’t the only suspicious thing. There was something different in how Joe acted. He was more enthusiastic in general. And it wasn’t merely because his business trip to Atlanta had broken up January’s winter doldrums.
Undoubtedly, the trip to Atlanta had jolted some electric juice in him. Michelle felt a nagging sense that Joe’s great mood after his trip was due to great sex. Like how Joe used to get when he and Michelle had a weekend packed with sex. After several rounds of wonderful love-making, Joe positively glowed with happiness and relaxation. The guy sported a wide grin that took many days of returning to his job and grinding at work to wear off.
He had that glow again. Like characters in a musical, just before they broke out into singing and dancing. That was it. Joe didn’t normally look like he was about to break out in song and dance, but he did now.
And it wasn’t from a weekend of having an orgasm marathon with his wife. Who was a brunette.
As much as Michelle denied Joe’s guilt, the clues pointing otherwise kept nagging at her. His effervescent mood. The blonde hair. His business trip to Atlanta.
Michelle imagined Joe sitting at a hotel bar, sipping on a bourbon and club soda. A long-legged femme fatale sauntered in, wearing a black dress that hugged her curves. Her dress was cut low and cut high where it mattered. Showing enough skin to capture your eyes and hold them there securely. Until you realized that you were staring, and you had to turn your head. Before someone called you a creep.
As the femme fatale sat on a bar stool, she pushed blonde hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear. Her long, straight hair flowed gently past her shoulders. Making all the men in the bar wonder how that hair would look when it was fanned out on a bed. Of course, after the bedspread was ripped off. Hotels never washed those things, and they were surely breeding grounds for germs.
Once the bedspread was ripped away, you could lay this hottie on the bed and see how her blonde hair looked all splayed about. You’d get to see how her body looked in various positions. Because her body and hair inspired lots of wicked fantasies.
All the men in the bar lusted after the blonde, as her smoky blue eyes drank them in. Her glossy red lips were parted just so, seeming to nearly say something—or kiss someone. If only a special someone would come.
Joe slid off his bar stool and went to the woman, as if drawn by a powerful magnet. He said in a scratchy voice, How about a cigarette, then a drink, then my hotel room? In that order.
A scene from an old, black-and-white noir movie, full of clichés. A blonde femme fatale and stilted dialogue. The scene was probably nowhere close to what actually happened to Joe in the hotel during his trip to Atlanta.
Michelle didn’t have a clue as to how Joe got started with the blonde. But she knew the story led to a long hair on the shoulder of her husband’s pajama top.