Welcome. This blog was started three years ago by four aspiring writers who are now three published authors of novels and short stories (Barbara Elsborg, Dawn Jackson, Arlene Webb) and one multiple award-winning writer (Laurie Green). We blog to keep readers updated on our new releases or other random topics. We hope you enjoy your stay. :] Coffee?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Clone Chapter 1 Part 2

I’m not sure how I made it across the border; through the one mile strip called no-man’s land. Everywhere the Earth was scorched and the ground littered with the remains of would be defectors. Bits and pieces of bone and flesh were strewn about. Hair flapped in the breeze like a banner, still attached to a scalp and stuck to a mummified mass that could only have been human once.

Rats and carrion birds ripped at fresh and not-so-fresh corpses. They hopped and scurried about, growing fat from the feast. The paid me little mind, their bellies too full to give a second glance. It was the one place between myself and freedom, but less frightening than where I’d been. Somehow, I navigated the hazards.

Now I huddled on a cot in a six by six cell, shivering from the cold. I hugged my arms to my body and rubbed. Darkness wrapped around me, but I could still see my breath. It danced in the inkiness like a ghost. I blew out again, watching the vapors twist and shift. For a while, it entertained me, but soon, I grew bored and restless. Had I escaped only to become prisoner again?

Before I could dwell longer on my situation, the door cracked open and light poured in. I sat up and dropped my feet to the floor. A woman walked through, followed by a tall man. I couldn’t see them well with the backlighting. I smiled.

They couldn’t do anything that hadn’t been done to me before. I’d escaped once. I could do it again. I braced myself for an attack, gripping the bunk so tight my hands went numb. I’d kill them. I’d found my free will and nobody would take that from me again.

“God, she looks just like her.” A man’s deep voice. He stepped forward and the lights came on. I threw my arm across my eyes to block the sharp stabbing pains.

“Do you think it’s the clone that killed the doctors and nurse over in Europia?” the woman asked.
“If it is, it’s our lucky day.” He walked up to the bars and wrapped his fingers around them, leaning in. “What do you say? Are you the clone they’re looking for?”

I stared into his eyes. A brave thing to look a human in the face. I didn’t care. I’d earned my freedom. I shifted my gaze to the floor, keeping my mouth shut. Would they kill me? Was it safe to talk?

“Are you the clone responsible?” His voice took on a demanding edge.

“Yes.” Rule number three was so ingrained I couldn’t stop. “I am.”

The man whistled under his breath. “Because of you, Europia is locking down. They’re afraid of a clone rebellion.” He chuckled. “Serves them right if you all turn on them.”

“I want to live,” I said.

“And you shall.” His words contained a tone of kindness. Something I’d only heard exchanged among the keepers, among families. I raised my gaze to his, wanting to get closer, wrap myself in his kind voice, revel in it, saturate my soul and feed the hunger for contact. He pulled a set of keys from his pocket and they jingled as he unlocked my cell. “Come with me.”

“Who are you?” His face was not what I expected. No hate, no anger or revulsion. Strong features that studied me, held my gaze without judgment. My heart jumped. He was different, this human.

“Dante. I’m a friend.”

Mind manipulation was a very real thing. A person could be twisted to become whoever they wanted you to be; given memories that were not their own. It was like a data download to the brain and often resulted in bouts of violence from the one who received the treatment. It had been the cause of murders and various other crimes and for that reason it was illegal on both sides of the planet.

I just learned to speak four languages fluently and received my doctorate in psychology.
I stared at my hands and they shook. I could tell you the rush of emotions is unlike anything you would expect, but living it is the only way to truly know.

Even now I battled the strange feelings. I knew what chocolate tasted like even though I’d never had it. Still, I could taste it in my mouth and my brain told me I had.

I studied Dante. He stood by the door to my new room. His arms were crossed and he hadn’t blinked in the last five minutes. Not once. The woman had left, but he remained, observing me in silence.

“Do you have any chocolate?” I needed to know. The demon memories in my head morphed larger, demanding it.

Dante reached into his pocket and pulled out a foil wrapped bar, holding it out.
Tremors rumbled through me. I eyed it. Waiting. Should I take it? I shifted my gaze to Dante who nodded.

I unfolded from where I sat and jumped up to snatch it from his hands and shred the wrapper. A sweet smell wafted up. My mouth watered. I ran it under my nose, inhaling, taking in the flavor I was certain it possessed. Sweet, earthy, I popped it in. It sat on my tongue melting. Yes. I laughed out and slid another piece between my lips.

I closed my eyes and let it dissolve, the sweet and bitter mingled in my mouth. A strange buzz came over me. My stomach fluttered and a tightening in my pelvis nearly took my breath. More emotions surged through me, sending my heart pounding frantically as it tried to keep up with them. I wasn’t sure of these strange feelings. I wasn’t prepared to open my eyes and find him still there.

Staring.

My heart skipped and another wave washed over me. His eyes were bottle green, like wet glass. Deep. Intelligent. The look they contained—my belly fluttered again.
Heat.

I exhaled slowly and felt my lower body clench and knot. More emotions. I bit the inside of my cheek and tasted blood. A sharp stabbing in my brain took my breath. Then just as quickly it was replaced with warmth.

I could barely draw a breath. I’d been denied feelings for so long, I couldn’t control them. I let my gaze slip back to Dante’s face. Right then—I felt–needful. I dropped the chocolate to the floor. He smiled and stepped into the room, kicking the door shut behind him.

“I…” Liquid heat pooled through my body, washing through me like lava. I could smell him, so intense the need. “I…” I grabbed his shirt and shoved him against the wall, ripping the front.

“Need.”

“Yes,” he said.

I didn’t know him, only his name, but I wanted him. I wanted him bad.

He bent his head to kiss me, his lips felt both soft and hard. I reached up and grasped his hair, clenching tight to hold him to me. Some from fear he’d break contact, most because of the hunger, the overwhelming high of… My heart cart wheeled.

“Please,” I broke from the kiss and whispered in his ear. I ground against him, rubbing like a cat in heat, needing to climb on him, in him, merge, meld and feed the need that pulsed through my body.

Closer. I hooked his belt loops and yanked him against my hips.
The taste of chocolate still teased my mouth. Combined with the taste of him… I groaned and reached for the front of his pants, driven past primal instinct.

Needing, wanting, taking.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Release from Barbara

Barbara's next novel, THE POWER OF LOVE, was released today by Ellora's Cave. Click on the image of the book cover to the right for a link to see the description and an excerpt (adults only website).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Some more.


Laurie will probably recognize this one. She's got the original.

Art
































During an author's chat today, we talked about art. I mentioned that I'm an artist. So as requested, I'll post some of my work. Most of this is pen and ink. My paintings are not digitized.

The mustang colt is watercolor pencil and Bic pen.
Enjoy,
Dawn

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dawn @ Savannah Chase's Blog

Dawn is the featured guest on Savannah Chase's blog today. You can read what she has to say about quickies...er, that is short stories...here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Clone Chapter 1, Part 1

Chapter 1

The cold from the steel table numbed my flesh. A stiffness settled in, leaching through my bones, making them ache to the marrow. I shivered and turned my head, watching while they worked. Precise, efficient, all without pause. They’d taken from me before and my body testified of their treatment, displaying scars and healing wounds like a topographical map.

The clanking of metal instruments echoed in the sterile environment, driving home how alone I really was, not that I had allusions of anything but.

The windowless room, surrounded by concrete blocks and frozen white was nothing short of a morgue, except I wasn’t dead.

Not yet.

They’d strapped an oxygen mask over my face. The gas burned my eyes, nose and mouth. The plastic visor fogged, but not enough that I couldn’t see what they were about to do and it didn’t matter. I couldn’t stop them.

I didn’t dare say anything. They could and would hurt me for one word. I tugged on the straps, all limbs secured except one. Tubes ran into that leg. They were filled with blood and fluid, all to keep my organs fresh. The liquid felt like ice where it entered my body and my leg turned blue in that spot.

So this was it. My life was to end, to save her child?

I balled my up my fists and took a deep breath, trying to think of anything but my fate. My eyes teared up from the concentrated oxygen, but maybe they teared up some because I didn’t want to die. I wanted to scream that I was human. I wanted to cry, but what would I cry for? They wouldn’t hear me. They wouldn’t care. So I watched and let rebellion seed.

The nurse set a bottle of liquid down on a wheeled stand near my feet. I unclenched my fists and felt the blood rush back to my fingers, then twisted my wrists in the restraints again. My heart jumped and I wiggled my wrist some more. They—my keepers, had been careless. An inch, perhaps more. It was enough.

I glanced at the bottle of liquid again. The soft murmur of voices filled the small room as the medical staff discussed my procedure. They didn’t bother to whisper as they discussed how they’d carve me up.

My heart, they’d take that first. My other organs could be frozen in a cyro-cell for use later. I turned to stare at them. A doctor caught my gaze and ceased talking. He nudged another beside him and the man yanked the curtain closed around my bed. The conversation continued.


The voices stopped, the clanking of tools ceased and they drew the curtain open again. A nurse with pasty skin and lipstick so red it could’ve been blood, checked my vitals on a monitor next to the bed. She offered no smile or apology for what they were about to do, instead she turned her back to retrieve more instruments and snatched up the bottle, sticking needle in the top. She glanced over her shoulder, drew liquid into the syringe and placed it on the tray by my feet. Her eyes lifted to one of the surgeons and she reached for a tube attached to my body.

“Should I start the anesthesia?”

“No. We’ll remove it while she’s awake. Take no chances the heart will be damaged. The child is prepped and waiting upstairs. I’ll work quickly.” He picked up a large scalpel. It gleamed at me as if it anticipated the taste of my flesh. This was the part I hated, the first sharp sting of pain. This time there wouldn’t be a dull ache to follow, keeping me awake for nights. The thought that I wouldn’t feel it frightened me more than the pain.

The nurse eyed the syringe. “That’s inhumane.”

“Inhumane is making that child wait for her heart. She could die.”

“Yes, doctor.” She grabbed a sponge soaked with iodine, scrubbed my chest and spread a clear film over my torso, wrapping me like a butcher’s meat package.

Condensation ran down the inside of my mask, clearing a path for my vision. I stared at the cart near my feet. Sadistic objects, all for killing, all for taking my life to give it to another. I shivered as the doctor studied my chest, certainly contemplating the best approach.

They’d no right. I couldn’t bear to watch, my eyes flitted to the cart again. There it sat, a simple glass container. I couldn’t read, so I didn’t know what it was. The words were foreign marks, patterns, and designs. If I should fight, now was the time. I shouldn’t go peacefully, but fight for my last breath, break the codes and disobey every law. Death would not come quietly, but with rage. For once in my life, I was determined to feel something other than fear.

My jaw clenched and I ground my teeth. I didn’t care what was in the bottle. My impending demise freed courage and strength I didn’t know I possessed. I focused all my will and thrashed out with my leg, kicking the bottle off the stand.

The nurse spun around, her eyes widened. A silent no formed on her lips. The scene ticked by in slow motion and seemed curious to watch. She dived for the bottle, missing it by inches. It shattered on the floor. Bits of glass and liquid bounced up, catching the light and glittering like fragmented jewels. Gas swirled around, reacting to the open air. A cloud rolled across the floor, spreading to blanket the tile surface. She slapped her hands over her face, dragging her fingers across her scarlet lips while she screamed, clawed, and smeared the scarlet all over her face.
Then silence. The sound of her screams and the air in her lungs had been stolen. I craned my neck to look. She’d gone motionless. Her eyes were popped wide, staring at the ceiling and broken vessels painted them as red as her lips. Dead perhaps?

I cared not.

A hissing sound filled the room as the gas rose. Bodies dropped to the floor. My would-be killers, thrashed, screamed and gasped like beached eels. One doctor turned to me, his mouth opened and closed as he tried to draw air. His arm extended and his fingers stretched. A plea for help covered his face. I shook my head as the light in his eyes faded.

His arm fell at the same time his chest stopped. A fitting end for a man who thought to harvest my organ’s while I lay awake.

A drop of condensation plopped down on my nose and tickled the surface as it raced for the tip. Giggles bubbled past my lips. I wiggled my hand out of the loose cuff with some difficulty, scraping on the strap and leaving some of my flesh behind. In a matter of moments, I unbuckled the other cuff and sat up to undo my ankle.

Looking down, I saw the tubes, attached like leeches to my leg. I grabbed the strands of loose spaghetti, closed my eyes and yanked.

Sharp stings, pain, all welcome feelings. Every sensation, every moment seemed a gift. I watched the blood trickle from the holes. From the ends of the tubes dangled silver needles, several inches long. All beautiful. My fingers opened and I watched the tubes roll out of my hand and fall to the floor with a wet plop.

The nurse appeared to be about my size, maybe a bit bigger. I stripped the clothes from her corpse and slipped into the unfamiliar garments, pulling her lab coat on after. They cloth was soft on my skin. A luxury I’d never experienced.

I looked up at a disc shaped mirror attached to the wall, and barely recognized myself. For all intents and purposes, I looked like them, a white-coated reaper.

Except for my chip.

I cocked my head to the side and saw it pulsing and cupped my hand over my cheek. Blue light blinked through my flesh, illuminating my tendons, vessels and outlining the bones. It would be hard to hide. Perhaps the coat was too obvious? I glanced around for my clothes and found them discarded in the rubbish. With deep regret, I changed. To escape I would leave wearing what I came with.

As a clone.

Invisible.

I made a choice that day. Giddiness spread over me as I realized I truly was free. The shock belt had been removed for surgery and with it, any control anyone had over me. I could make decisions, govern my life and I had a will of my own. So I made another choice.

I ran.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My First Reviews.

I just learned Coffee Time did a review of my story Why'd it Have to be Shorts?, in the Men in Shorts Anthology and was thrilled to learn overall we got a four cup rating. Why'd it Have to be Shorts will also, in the near future, be published as a stand-alone short at Ravenous Romance. You can down load these babies to your cell phone for a little lunch time read and they won't break the bank.

Here's the link to the review:

http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/Meninshorts.html

I also received a wonderful review from Sarah, over on her blog The Love Struck Novice for my short Cloaks, Daggers and Diapers, in the Hot Dads/DILF Anthology.

Here's the link to the review on Sarah's blog:

http://thelovestrucknovice.blogspot.com/2009/04/ummm-ill-take-piece-of-that.html
Thanks to both for the fantastic reviews.

Dawn