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The Best Laid Plans

The Golden Anidae is only 9 days away so here’s a freebie! This little short takes place from Dean’s perspective over  a scene in Midnight Ash. MidnightAsh2_850This consists of strong language and has not been professionally edited. Read at your own risk.

The Best Laid Plans

“There’ll have to be a change of plans,” Pat said as if his perfect little world wasn’t falling apart.

I understood the slight tick at the corner of Pat’s eye.  It was almost imperceptible but I knew Pat, knew what to look for.  Pat wanted to kill something, anything that moved to keep the Blushing Death safe.

“What plan?” the dangerous little mouse squeaked.

Danny glanced over at her with guilt written all over his face.  Stupid pup. She could eat Danny alive.  Her face flushed and the soft grey of her eyes swirled with anger, tugging at my insides.  The room filled with her, the soft floral, feminine scent mixed with the rich spiciness of her anger.  My cock hardened along my thigh as her scent permeated my brain, registering something deep in my synapses that I didn’t understand.  My wolf wanted to leap out to meet her, to run with her.  I fought to hold back my beast and keep control.  I had reacted to her like this from the first and it took everything I had not to rub up against her and mark her as mine.

Dear God, what is she?

She glanced over at me, her grey eyes churning with a secret. With a wicked smile on her face, that glint in her eye was as if she’d imagined something horrible in her mind and got satisfaction from it.  I liked that devious and predatory grin.  My wolf knew it for what it was, dangerous, protective, and mine.

Pat reached out and touched her, sliding his cold, dead hand against her cheek.  Something inside me wanted to rip that hand off. It didn’t make sense. Pat was my friend, had been for decades.

The Blushing Death jumped at his touch and my wolf was glad of it. Quicker than either I or Pat saw, she’d drew her knife.  The Blushing Death would never be a victim. She’d kill everyone and everything before she let that happen and I was glad of it. Humans didn’t live long in our world but then again, she wasn’t merely human.

Pat reached out, slow and cautious, touching her again. She dropped the knife but I could see the reluctance in her gaze.  I wished it was my hand on her cheek, wished I was comforting her.

Damn it!

Janey . . . I missed Janey.  That was all. I was lonely, so lonely.  Dahlia Sabin wasn’t mine.  She was Pat’s. My wolf growled deep in my being, arguing with my brain. She may be Pat’s but she would never be Danny’s.  That much, I knew for certain.  No matter how much that boy wanted it to be true, she would never be Danny’s.

“There’s something else?” Pat asked her.

“Later,” she said, turning to face the rest of the room with her shoulders back and her chin high.  That woman was every bit an Alpha and my cock throbbed at the thought of testing her.

“What’s the change in plan?  What’s the plan period?” she snapped, sliding that long silver blade back into it sheath.  I could read the tension in her body and something in me ached to ease it.  She caressed the blade as she would a lover, taking comfort from the weapon and her own sense of determination.  The Blushing Death was no shrinking violet and my cock twitched, imagining her fingers wrapped around my hard length, squeezing my shaft with the same tenderness.  My beast paced back and forth inside me like the caged animal it was, growling through my mind.  I was stronger than this.  I was stronger than whatever was tugging at my chest and riling up my beast.

“Alex and I had intended to confront the board in the Lebensblut New York offices to come up with a compromise,” Pat said with more words than needed. Too many words could get a guy in trouble. “I’d hoped we could stop this before it started.  Make amends somehow.  Now, I’m afraid we’re too late. We’ll make an appeal but I’m afraid that Dahlia needs to be protected.”

She was stiff, her hands balled into fists at her sides as if she wanted to punch everyone in the room. I couldn’t blame her.  Pat was heavy handed but he knew what he was doing.  She took a deep breath and forced her shoulders to relax.

“Okay.  I’ll need protection,” she agreed.

Before I could hold it in, I laughed.  Out loud. The raucous sound was so foreign, I startled myself.  Pat’s eyes were wider than dinner plates and I could almost see the wheels turning in her head.  She’d surprised everyone.  Including  me.

She and Pat both glared at me but I didn’t care.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d laughed.   It felt good.  Better than I remembered. Who was this woman? My heart raced in my chest and what I could only describe as fear churned in my gut. She’d made me feel things in the last five minutes that I hadn’t felt . . . ever. Not even with Janey.

“Is something amusing, Dean?” Pat hissed.  His jaw was tight and his tone clipped as he glared at me.  I didn’t care.  I enjoyed the light feeling in my chest and even the fear.

“You said she was unpredictable,” I answered through strangled laughter and sunk back into the couch, relaxing.  I liked her more than I knew was good for me.

Fantasy Football…ARGH!

I’m going to tell you a little secret. I live in Columbus Ohio and I don’t really like football. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone. I might get run out of town. This town lives and dies by OSU Football. That is our “professional” sports team. I’m not saying this because the payers are paid or anything, merely because this town treats it like any NFL team.

I’ve grown to accept that on Saturday’s between August and January, I’m watching football in one form or another and maybe even attending a game or two. I’m married and we all have to sacrifice for our spouses. But I was blessed because Sundays were relatively free of football. That is until this year. 

Ross was encouraged to be on a fantasy football team by one of our friends who has just plummeted to the bottom of my shit list – that’s right! I’m talking to you Mark Aaron! Sunday afternoons have become one game after the other as Ross stares at his “board” and watches his points compared to someone else.

The worst part of all of this, is that he’s got me watching that damned board too. I can’t help it! I have to win. I don’t have the personality to lose graciously and I won’t allow Ross to lose either. First, he has to beat Mark Aaron simply for ruining my Sundays. I feel that’s just fair. Second, I didn’t marry a loser! And finally, I wouldn’t tell him this but if he wins maybe he’ll join next year too and stay out of my hair on Sunday afternoons. We are incredibly unproductive when we are alone together. I might be able to get shit done!

Confrontations

Hi kiddies! I know I’m a day late. Nothing exciting happened in the last week but we are having a yard sale on Saturday so there’s the potential for alot of humorous incidents. In the mean time, I’m posting a little snippet from Midnight Ash. Its told from Dean’s point of view. This has not been professionally edited or reviewed so READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. If you want to read these little snippets earlier. Join my facebook group Damsel. Well, here goes.

Confrontations

I didn’t want her here. If Danny brought her into the Pack, Dahlia Sabin, the Blushing Death, would be a constant reminder of what I would never have. I sat on the bar, stiff, my body riddled with tension as I watched everything. Watched her.

Jackson and Kurt circled each other but I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. She stood just off to the side, rigid and at attention – a quiet intimidation in the background of a room full of dangerous beasts. Seeming like she was completely at ease, her hand rested on her cocked hip. I knew better. She had her hand ready for the draw. A knife was strapped at her back beneath the coat. I could smell the oil from the blade and had seen a glimpse of it in the darkened club. I could also smell her. The light floral scent of a shampoo or lotion mixed with her own natural scent was earthy and delicious. Grinding my teeth harder, I forced that smell from my nose.

She flung her golden blonde hair over her shoulder, out of her face and my cock jerked. What’s wrong with me? Danny’s my Beta, my friend, and a nice kid. More importantly, Dahlia Sabin was off limits. Pat didn’t share and neither did I.

Look at him! Coddling her. Trying to keep her out of harm’s way. Standing in front of her like she was weak.

The Blushing Death didn’t need coddled. She wasn’t weak or submissive. By the sidelong glances and irritated tension in her shoulders, I knew she’d had enough. She ground her teeth and the muscles in her neck tightened, strained. The angrier she got, the more her scent filled my nose. I wanted to make her angry and watch those grey eyes flash with emotion.

She turned on Danny, her fingers twitching as she fought not to draw that knife. Danny gazed down at her with a boyish, carefree smile I envied. It had been a long time since I’d been carefree. The Pack had needed me. Janey had needed me. When she’d been killed,I thought I’d lose his mind. But . . . the Pack had needed me.

I glanced away. Janey was gone. This woman could never, would never be mine. No matter how much I wanted her. Something deep inside me hummed with satisfaction every time she was near and that scared the shit out of me.

“Dahlia!” Danny bellowed and my ears perked up.

She sailed across the room as if she’d been shot from a cannon. My heart stopped as her limp body slammed into the floor. I fought not to jump from the bar and run to her. Gripping the edge of the bar, I squeezed until the wood cracked beneath my fingers. She wasn’t mine. She would never be mine. I had to remember that or everything I’d built would come tumbling down.

Midnight Ash Book Cover
Midnight Ash Book Cover

Reviews and Comments…BOOOOOO!

Okay, so we all know that goodreads.com is a book review site…right?

I had to read the Higher Education ? for my Higher Education Policy class and honestly, I had to put it down a few times to regain perspective. When I started to feel sorry for the way faculty were portrayed in this book, I took a step back and put the book away. If any of you don’t already know, I work at a major Big 10 University and am up to my neck in faculty and their self-centered bullshit every damned day. So, while reading this book, you can imagine my unease when I started to side with the faculty in this author’s arguments. After finishing the book with a bad taste still in my mouth, I wrote the following review on goodreads.

Higher Education?: How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids—and What We Can Do About It
by Andrew Hacker, Claudia Dreifus
7097994
Suzanne M.’s review Jul 12, 13 · edit
1 of 5 stars
Read on July 11, 2013

Working in Higher Education, I have a unique perspective on the issues presented in this book. On many points, they present valid concerns. As in any industry there are those who take advantage of the system and those that work tireless for their chosen profession. Categorizing all faculty into the former grouping is unfair. The condescending tone of their arguments and the lack of statistical data make their arguments hard to back up, making them seem angry and petulant.

The authors of this book also make wide generalizations regarding the functioning of universities. I’ve found {from my own baseless observations – LOL} that most faculty (as the author is) rarely understand the actual administrative processes or the reasons behind them. So to make accusations about the appropriateness of spending is a spurious assumption, riddled with holes.

Hacker bases much of their observations on Ivy League institutions. As many aspire to emulate these universities and colleges, the reality is that the actual number of students attending those institutions are minuscule compared to the greater college going population. How does this relate to the actual problems facing higher education? This book also ignores one of the fundamental issues with higher education today. The students and the parents.

If someone is looking for an accurate and representation of higher education and the problems plaguing us, this is not the book.

Now, as some of you may notice, I commented more on the tone of the book than the actual points the author made. Although I agree with the author’s concerns in most cases (our higher education system and K-12 system does need a hard look) – not necessarily the solutions, I commented mostly on the tone of the writing and the unsubstantiated assumptions. The author states that he and his co-author did not do statistical data collection to back up their conclusions but instead contacted colleagues around the country to gather their information. The anger that came through clear as a bell in their writing and voice made it seem more like the author was angry at the system for personal reasons than some higher purpose or championing the rights of students. The authors of this book also spent a great deal of time on college athletics (without doing any research…might I add) and basically condemned the entire practice, suggesting that perhaps college athletics should be dissolved altogether. Not once did the author take into account that sometimes, an athletic scholarship is the only way some kids are able to go to college. That was very aggravating.

A day or so goes by and then I get an email from goodreads. Someone has commented on my review. What?!? I was very excited and went straight to goodreads. I rarely post reviews (mostly because I can’t be bothered or don’t have the time. The book has to either be fantastic or suck big donkey balls for me to post an actual review), so when someone commented, I was ridiculously excited to see what they thought. Then I opened goodreads and read this…

message 1: by Peter Jul 13, 2013 03:58am
Peter I haven’t read the book and wouldn’t dispute your characterization of it, but it’s clear from where I stand as someone who studied the history of higher education for his Ph.D. and then taught in three institutions that higher education is led by people who are intent on preserving their privileged status at the expense of students and taxpayers. The fact is that the reality of education for too many students does not come close to the stated mission of the institutions they attend. As a result there needs to be an open national discussion about higher ed with the hopes that new leadership emerges and institutes needed reforms.

Okaaaaaay. So, here’s the thing. I wasn’t making a political statement. I didn’t even really discuss the state of higher education today and all the flaws in our educational system (cause believe me, there are quite a few). It was a simple book review. If you haven’t read the book…maybe you shouldn’t comment since you DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT! If you want to have a political discussion or a policy discussion, goodreads isn’t the place for that. Also, if your first statement is that you haven’t read the book on a book review site, that should be your first clue to not hit “post”.

Welcome to the Slanty Shanty

About 3 years ago, my husband and I bought our first house. We looked at alot of houses. I don’t like the suburbs. Having grown up in the country, I wanted to be as close to the city and downtown as possible. We looked in Grandview, Clintonville, and finally German Village. We ended up getting our first home just outside of German Village in Shumacher place.

We like to call it “ghetto adjacent”. But we are downtown, we have a yard the size of a yoga mat, and we have 2000 square feet in a lovely victorian brick home.  Upon moving in, we discovered several things.

1. None of the floors are level. They slope and curve as the house has settled. You may say, “So what.” This however, has several implications. First, a line of bookcases along the wall do not sit evenly. Each one of them needs to be shimmed at different levels. This makes the bookcases, at best, precarious and at worst, dangerous. The last bookcase, we got at a different time because we couldn’t fit them all in the car. The repercussions of this is that we couldn’t bolt it to the rest. Below is the result. Also, that’s right. Those are my Minnie ears. And you know what? They’re not my only pair!ImageImage

2. There is no subfloor. This means that if the light is on in the basement, you can see it through the slats above in the dining room. HA!

3. The walls are not flat…any of them. They are plaster and who ever did it must have been cross-eyed to the point of double vision. This means that hanging pictures or, really anything else is difficult. Let’s be honest, impossible.

So, we took this house on, understanding that there were some updates that needed to be done. So far, we’ve replaced about half of the windows (we couldn’t afford to do all of them), replaced some plumbing in the downstairs bathroom (it was galvanized pipe and wouldn’t fit any of the shower fixtures we bought), we’ve redone the kitchen (during that process we discovered one wall didn’t have studs – just two sheets of dry wall and then brick), and now its time for the garage.

The shenanigans have already begun. We’ve had to replace the door since we “accidentally” broke the window in the entry door. Glass is at this moment precariously situated in the door with painters tape holding it together as we wait for Lowe’s to come and install a new door. Although, its not like the thing was keeping out intruders or robbers before the glass got broken.Image Next, the garage roof which hasn’t been replaced in…oh, I don’t know – since the house was built in 1880. See all the up turned shingles…Yeah, that should be fun.Image

Stay tuned for the next installment of Adventures in the Slanty Shanty!