• Join 701 other followers

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Most Recent Posts

  • What I’m writing about

  • Archives

Cover Reveal: Lab Rats

Lab Rats is coming February 11, 2020! Pre-order here.

Everything changes the moment heartthrob Justin Carson shifts from human to Were Wolf on live television and is subsequently captured.

Dr. Benjamin Wells is tapped by the government to create a test from Justin’s blood intended to identify anyone who might be a Were. Dr. Diana Lutz is the Were Wolf sent by the Were leaders to stop him, and to find and hopefully free Justin, her twin. The only thing stronger than Diana and Ben’s mutual dislike of each other is their sudden attraction. Soon that attraction explodes, and in the same moment Ben learns the truth about his heritage—he’s part Wolf, and Diana is his mate.

As they race to be the first to discover the blood test and prevent the other organizations from endangering all Weres, Ben must decide whose side he’s on. Will he betray his people? How far is Diana willing to go to save her brother, and what is she willing to sacrifice?

CW—violence is committed against the captive Wolf by the soldiers holding him captive

Cover by Spotondesigners on Fiverr

Anorexia, or where I've been

Guys, I have to be honest with you that 2019 kicked my ass from start to finish. I had significant depressive episodes, and I was battling and losing to anorexia. It’s been a lot of therapy, and my medication is still being adjusted. There was also a lot of energy absorbed by the usual–chronic pain, parenting, etc.

I stopped posting here because I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t maintain the facade that everything was okay when my life was the farthest thing from okay. Not the lowest point of my life, but it’s among them.

I’ve decided to share my story in hopes that it might help someone else. I was not educated about how fat people can still be anorexic—in fact, I joked that I could be “anorexic” until I was actually anorexic. I thought of anorexia as something that happens to teenagers, not mothers in their forties.

I have a long history with hating my body, and I have been restricting since I was young, although never like this. Primarily my restricting has been the other component of my eating disorder–what’s called Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, or ARFID.

The restricting that turned into full blown anorexia started by accident in the summer of 2018—what a therapist called momorexia, because I was eating small bites on the go, stopping at the first hint of fullness because I was super busy. I lost weight, and since I was losing at a “safe” pace of 8-ish pounds a month, or 2-ish a week, I shrugged off my initial concerns that maybe the weight loss wasn’t such a good thing, or, more to the point, that it wasn’t happening safely. I kept restricting further and further, taking every less bite of food as a moral victory. After all, I’ve been in a body that has weighed 200+ pounds for the past twenty years, and every doctor I’ve talked to from my back surgeon to my pcps have urged me to lose weight. I’ve done dieting. I’ve done exercising until I hurt myself. But I never was able to move the needle much at all (because, as science tells us, our bodies tend to have a set point weight, and it’s really hard to move that needle when it’s possible at all) until restricting.

When I told my doctor that maybe I wasn’t being safe in late November (by which point I was eating less than I ever had, and my weight has never been about overeating). She told me to eat at least 1200 calories a day and it would be fine. AT LEAST. My fucked up brain said if 1200 is good, under 1200 is better. After all, it’s not like I’m losing weight too fast.

Then I began counting calories explicitly. Weighing food. Measuring food. Then my weight plateaued in February 2019. Then came the spreadsheet, and the game I played with myself, which was effectively “how few calories can Delilah eat without having dizzy spells?” In April I blew up at my therapist over eating—the first time she’d seen me fully lose my composure in nearly four years of weekly or bi-weekly therapy. I ended up confessing everything. She talked to a colleague who specializes in eating disorders. The colleague strongly urged me to seek evaluation and treatment. I made an appointment with Stanford’s eating disorder clinic for evaluation, but I also made an appointment with a plastic surgeon. I knew how many pounds I was away from “overweight” as opposed to “obese.” I was constantly getting positive feedback.

I shopped in straight sizes for the first time ever as an adult. Clothes became a way I compensated myself for all the awful shit I was putting myself through. But I was a pretty absent mom because I was so exhausted all the time because I wasn’t eating.

Then came the first week of June. I ended up in the ER for pain we thought was a kidney infection, but was actually a cyst on an ovary. But as they ran tests, they found that my potassium was extremely low–even dangerously so. I was given a mega dose, and told to follow up with my doctor. Then came the multi-day nausea (which I now suspect was a series of worsening panic attacks as there is a clear pattern between nausea and anxiety attacks for me) and dry heaving, during which I ate virtually nothing and threw up what I did eat and drink.

I got evaluated by the eating disorder team, and it didn’t go well.

But the real bottom of the barrel, and the reason I ended up getting help was that I collapsed at my older daughter’s fifth grade graduation. I felt like shit—I could barely pay attention because it felt like there was something on my chest and that I was struggling to breathe normally. I survived through it, although I remember nothing beyond what I was physically experiencing, which took over everything. When the room started telescoping, I told my husband that I needed to leave and go to the hospital. He agreed, and I went to the car while he went find our daughter and tell her what was happening and why we were leaving. At the car I started feeling really faint, and staggered to the front office where I asked them to call 911. I got taken away, dehydrated, mid massive panic attack (the source of the chest pains, most likely, based on tests), and on the verge of fainting in an ambulance. Instead of celebrating graduation with my daughter.

For what it’s worth, my daughter is so understanding of all of it–which almost makes it worse. She’s forgiven me. I have yet to forgive myself.

Inpatient treatment was recommended, but I was able to find what’s called a partial hospitalization program near me. Partial hospitalization was a six and a half hour a day commitment, but I could live at home. I’d go there, eat lunch (supervised), do two hours of therapy, eat a snack (supervised), two hours of therapy, dinner (supervised), then home. I was at that level of treatment for pretty much the entire summer, initially six days a week, although I moved to five pretty quickly.

I have mixed feelings about my treatment program, but I can’t deny that they saved me from a far worse fate–despite being 180 pounds, despite losing at a safe rate—I was courting heart damage and death with my actions. I developed and still have a problem with being orthostatic (blood pressure changes dramatically when moving from laying to standing, which can cause fainting among other things) because of it.

I went several months without treatment and began to backslide.

In late 2019 I was able to connect with an eating disorder specialist and dietician, and I am currently working with them to pursue recovery.

Were there any bright points? Lab Rats was 90% edited during 2019. I started leading my younger daughter’s Girl Scout troop. I had a short story in an anthology. I wrote the forward for an anthology put out by Jayhenge (again, I’ll highlight that in another post). But that’s about it.

So how to move forward when I’m not quite out of the woods yet either eating disorder or mental health meds-wise? Well, I started 2020 by putting Lab Rats up for pre-order (I’ll do a promotional post with an excerpt another day), so that feels significant.

Writing feels foreign to me as I’m really out of practice. I didn’t write much of anything new for 2019–editing Lab Rats was all I could manage. But I’m starting again, and even if it feels hard and stilted and sucky at least it’s happening.

Season’s Change

I should have posted this several months ago. I’m dealing with some really intense personal stuff this year, and when it isn’t kicking my ass emotionally, it’s lobbing grenades into my plans. I may or may not post again specifically to talk about what’s going on with me, but that’s for another day.

Anyways, I’m sorry I’m just sharing this now, but I’m in a new anthology! If you remember, I loved Chemical [se]X when I read it and reviewed it in December of 2014. After I reviewed it, I told the editor, Oleander, that if she ever did a volume two to please let me know. She did better than that, and asked me if I wanted to contribute!

I first heard the song Persephone years ago after a friend shared his Escape Key album with me. Michelle Dockrey wrote the song. The line “They all forget I had a choice, y’know/I could’ve chosen not to eat or drink” clicked for me. I knew that one day I would write my take on Persephone.

Hey, guess what I wrote for an anthology about aphrodisiac chocolates?

I changed the pomegranate into a chocolate with a pomegranate filling and I had a story where eating chocolate would be a key part of the larger story. I could’ve gone with other myths (my oldest daughter’s middle name is Athena), but it made sense to do Persephone/Hades.

Rape of Prosperina by Benini
Often also called Rape of Persephone

I’ve never liked how passive Persephone is often written. So I knew that my Persephone would be in the model of Michelle Dockrey’s. She would make a choice, rather than have choices made by other people about her life. When it came to Hades, I remembered that he didn’t only create Tartarus, but also the Elysian Fields.

Excerpt:

She’d gone willingly to Apollo’s bed.  Sun was vital in the growth of plants.   But the sex had been….pedestrian.  Boring.  Uninspiring.  Just as she’d always found it.

“What’s wrong with me?” she whispered.

As if in reply, the ground started to shake. Soil exploded upward as a team of black stallions spewed forth.  The god driving the chariot was clad in unrelieved black from head to toe.  Surely he was hunting some poor lost soul.

Persephone’s breath was knocked from her body when Hades’ powerful arm snatched her.

“What are you doing?” Persephone gasped.

She was shocked when no trees bent to block her abduction, nor did sylphs step forth to attempt a rescue. The only sounds were the pounding of the stallion’s hooves and her own ragged sobs. The iron band of his arm held her tightly against him as the horses dove back into the underworld. 

They raced along the River Styx. Persephone remembered the stories she’d been told as a child—always keep a coin in your shoe in case you must pay Charon’s fee. Hades had no need of coins for passage. The stallions leapt the water with no more trouble than she might have had stepping over a small stream.

The landscape passed too quickly for her to comprehend what she was seeing.  At times she had the impression of tremendous beauty and peace while music swirled around the chariot. At others, paralyzing fear nibbled at her and cries of agony assaulted her ears.  They raced deeper into the Underworld until Persephone knew she would never find her way back to the river.

A building in the distance grew larger.  Black as obsidian, with turrets stabbing upward, the castle seemed no more welcoming than the god beside her. The stallions slowed to a stop by the entrance.  Hades hefted her over a shoulder and carried Persephone into the castle. She trembled like a sheaf of grain in a wind, too frightened and angry to speak.

It seemed as though Hades walked for hours before she was tossed onto a bed.

“Why? Hades, what purpose?” she asked, tears running down her face.

“Zeus said you can’t bring forth the harvest. He seemed to think that since the ground is dead around you, and the people are dead around me that we would be a perfect match.  He gave you to me in marriage.” Hades’ voice was emotionless.

“M-marriage?”  Her teeth chattered as his words set in.

“Yes.”

“What are you going to do to me?” she whispered.

“Nothing! I’m not interested in sporting with a terrified girl. Stay out of my way, wife.  In time, let’s hope that we can tolerate one another.” Hades frowned, before adding, “Don’t eat or drink anything. Keep out of the kitchen.” He left, kicking the door shut behind him.

Persephone shivered at the finality of the slam of the door. Fear dug into her skin like a bramble. Underneath the fear, though, there was relief. She wouldn’t have to receive the offerings of grain and flowers accompanied by pleas to warm the land for their plows.

From an Amazon review- Delilah Night’s take on Persephone, which had me hooked from the opening lines: “they forget I had a choice, you know. I could’ve not eaten.” I loved how deftly consent was woven into that tale which could’ve gone so easily into Belle & Beast terrain.

Buy it on

Playlist for Lab Rats

For me, music is essential to the creation of my story. Once I have an idea of who my characters are and the tentpoles of a new story, I’ll create a playlist for the book. Over the course of the writing, the list gets pared down to songs that are meaningful to me.

Here’s a list of five random songs from the Lab Rats playlist. I’ll try to give a spoiler free reason for them.

1-Lonely by Demi Lovato–There are many points where this song fits either of my leads. Ben grew up in an emotionally stunted borderline abusive family, and he keeps everyone at arm’s length and avoids personal connections. Diana is in the doghouse because her twin is the one who exposed the community, and as a result, she has to den by herself when she’s never lived apart from a pack.

2-It was Always You by Maroon Five–They’re fated mates. That’s pretty much it.

3-S&M by Rihanna–They don’t like each other very much and there’s definitely some semi-hate fucking as they first come together. While there’s not actually any BDSM, the song still spoke to me.

4-The Kiss from the soundtrack to The Last of the Mohicans movies–I was relatively young when I saw this movie, and the scene this music is from hit me hard. Since then, when I have an hungry, urgent kiss in a book, this song usually ends up in that list.

5-I Hate Myself for Loving You by Joan Jett–again, they don’t like each other, but are attracted to each other from the very first day.

Is writing for fun, profit, or other?

Welcome to week 1 of 52 prompts from Marketing for Romance Writers.

This week’s question is Writing–Doing it for fun, profit, or other?

I’ve been telling stories as long as I can remember, so I’ve never been motivated by money. The problem with the word “fun” implies frivolity, and writing isn’t a frivolous act for me. I suppose that means I fall into the “other” category. Or at least I used to.

Turning professional has really exposed how much of writing is marketing, and how hard it can be to find an audience and to profit from your writing. Unless you’re Nora Roberts or Beverly Jenkins you can’t expect the money to come pouring in. So, sure, you can say you’re writing for the money, but I don’t know how long you’ll last if that is your motivating factor.

Is writing fun? Yes, although I hate editing. But when I get sucked into the worlds I’m creating and am in the story with my characters, I’m having a ton of fun (well, except when they make me cry, but even that is fun in its own way). I would argue that I wrote primarily for fun when I used to write drafts of stories, not really bother with editing, and then threw them up on websites like literotica. The comments stroked my ego, as did the numbers that told me how many people had read it.

The thing is that while writing is fun, there’s so much more involved with professionally doing it. You hold yourself to a much higher standard, you have beta readers, you go through drafts (don’t even get me started on how many drafts fucking Plunder has been through), and then you either submit to a company (who will expect you to market your own books) or you self-publish (which carries a lot of issues like formatting, making a cover, etc). It is time consuming and often draining. Marketing is where I struggle and, if anything, makes writing less fun for me.

So why bother? If editing is a hassle and marketing can be soul-sucking why do it for anything other than fun? I want to share my stories with the world, and I hope that I will eventually find my audience. I’m still a newborn when it comes to everything that isn’t writing.

I also don’t know how not to write. The stories grow inside me until I have no choice but to write them down. For me, writing is like reading–a compulsion, something as vital as breathing for me. I don’t know how not to do it. While I have taken breaks in writing, I’m still telling stories–to myself, to my kids, to the cats, whatever.

Why do you write?

Year in Review 2018

2018 was…a year.

As a political junkie, I feel exhausted. Being involved in politics as a member of the Singapore Country Committee of Democrats Abroad and doing some social media for the national organization was nothing like living in the US. From there, it was a matter of reading newspapers and such and getting a lot of information, but at a digestible pace. In the US, especially under our current regime, it’s like drinking water from a fire hose. And while I’m thrilled with the gains made in the midterm elections, I know the 2020 fight is right around the corner and I’m already tired.

I volunteered at my daughters’ school almost every week. It has made me miss some of the things I loved best about teaching. But I’ve also been reminded of all the things I hated about it. I’m still transferring my credential to California as a back-up option, and I could sub right now if I wanted to (my school is desperate for subs) but for me it’s a last resort, at least right now.

Those two things took me away from my writing a lot of the time. Not having a nanny has been an adjustment, and also took me away from my writing. But by the end of the year I started to find my balance.

I spent a lot of the year revising Plunder (yes, still) and my editor is just about halfway done with the edit on it. There will be one more revision after this to strengthen the opening, but it’s almost there.

NaNoWriMo kicked me into high gear. I wrote 80k words in 30 days, which was a huge positive. This is what I’m more or less capable of when I prioritize my writing. I wrote one shitty novel that I’m not sure is worth revising, and one really solid book that is already with an editor–Lab Rats. In December I wrote the sequel to Lab Rats, which is called The Lioness and the Mouse, which is currently with my betas. While I’m waiting on feedback for that, I’ve started the third book in the series, which is currently untitled.

My only publication in 2018 was For As Long as You Need Me in Blood in the Rain 4.

A vampire who only hunts men. A war veteran with PTSD. Will she be his death or his salvation?

Read a sample from For as Long as You Need Me here.

This was a view on the vengeance trope that worked a lot better for me, and I liked the way that Sam was more aware of what was going on than he initially seemed.“–Amazon Review

What will 2019 bring? For certain, I’ll be self publishing at least the first two books in my paranormal series. The series is currently unnamed–If you’re good at naming things like a series, reach out. Lab Rats’ publication will be dependent upon how long my editor needs, how long getting a cover takes, how difficult it is to format for Kindle Unlimited, that sort of thing. The biggest hindrance to publication, though, will probably be whether or not I enter it into a contest. The contest I’m considering means I can’t pub it until the summer.

At this point my goal is stay in the paranormal lane in 2019. I will definitely be spending 2019 revising/writing books two and three in my series. The other series I’ve worked on and will continue to work on are my North Pole Chronicles–the first three stories in that series are free on my website. I plan to turn the third story (Comet 2.0) into a full length novella, and work on the sequel. Both my Shifter series and my Reindeer series feature many different pairings, so I wanted to keep control of them and self-publish.

I am tired of Plunder. I still plan to revise the start to make it stronger, but I think that this editing pass will take care of everything but fixing that opening chapter. If there is any kindness in the universe, I can send Plunder off to a traditional publisher in 2019. I know I said 2018, but at this point, the date is going to be largely driven by my editor, which is fine, even if I am sick to death of that book.

I’m definitely considering editing another anthology, but I don’t have a theme that I’m particularly interested in at the moment.

 

 

Free Story–Petticoats and Push Up Bras

Here’s a holiday gift from me to you. Petticoats and Push Up Bras was inspired by my former job as a costumed tour guide at the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum, with a sprinkle of voyeurism, and a heroine who’s worried about the imminent zombie apocalypse. It’s a few years old, but a fun little free story.

Instead of a photo of the boat—here’s a picture of me at my former job. I can’t believe it’s been twenty years since then!

I’ll be back to do a year in review between now and Jan 1. Happy holidays!

 

Petticoats and Push Up Bras

Delilah Night

 

“Dump the tea!” My voice rang out in defiance of the British and their illegal taxes.

“Into the sea!” My brave revolutionaries chanted as they followed me down the gangway to the ship.

“Dump the tea!”

“Into the sea!”

“Follow me!” My lips curved, waiting for the tourists to take the bait.

“Into the sea!” They burst out into laughter.

As I led the final tour of the day toward the ship, I flashed Jeff a saucy smile. The period costumes made most of us look frumpy, but Jeff looked like he was born to wear a vest and cravat. Throw in a convincing British accent, and he was sex on a stick. He winked in return as he moved his group from the ship to the attached floating museum.

“Welcome to the Brig Beaver,” I paused for the inevitable snickers. Please let me keep a straight face this time. Of the three ships involved in the Boston Tea Party, they chose to get a replica made of The Beaver?

Setting the stage for the events of December 16, 1773 involved a great deal of theatrical shivering and emotional rhetoric. My group of patriots got into the spirit of things, shrieking their defiance of British taxation while tossing crates of tea into the waiting harbor. Afterward, I posed for pictures with guests from Kansas, Singapore, and Poland while other guests explored the Beaver. As the clock ticked toward closing, I gently herded them off the ship, through the museum, and into the gift shop.

“All clear! Nate and Diane, you opened, so head off,” Jeff called out. “Hannah, I’ll take the museum if you’ll close up the ship? I’ve hauled those damn tea crates back up to the deck so many times today I’d rather cut the ropes than do it again.”

“Sure.”

“My savior!” Jeff fell to one knee, hand over his heart.

“Uh huh.” Amused, I shook my head at his theatrics and headed back to the Beaver.

On board, I grabbed hold of the thick ropes, and hauled the four dripping Styrofoam crates of tea up for the night. I yanked canvas tarps over the hatches and tied them down.

The lapping of water against the ship as the tide came in drowned out the ambient urban noise. Some might find it peaceful. I found the lack of honking horns and screeching sirens disquieting.

Gingerly, I descended the steep stairs down into the hull. Unlike the original Beaver, our replica had an empty hull divided into two parts by a wall of faux wooden tea crates. Near the ladder was a sleeping berth, a table with a few replica artifacts, and some interactive exhibits. Behind the crates of tea was the small cargo hold showcasing ballast stones and wall displays with more information about the events pre- and post-Tea Party.

The two light bulbs cast a miserly glow, throwing most of below decks into shadow and darkness. Brimming with tourists, the space was claustrophobic. Empty, it was cavernous and creepy. Who knew what manner of creature was waiting for me just outside the small pools of light? I immediately regretted bingewatching season one of The Walking Dead last night.

“Scurvy wench, are you still down there?”

“Be up in a second,” I yelled back, relieved that my voice was steadier than my nerves.

I was surprised to hear Jeff’s footsteps on the deck overhead. He was typically more the “you do your task, I’ll do mine” type. All the same, I was grateful to see his boots appear as he climbed down. My imagination didn’t fixate upon things that went bump in the night around him, preferring far more pleasant nocturnal activities.

“Good tour today. You’ve really nailed the accent. The guests would never know you’re the noob,” Jeff commented. “What is this, your third week?”

“Yes, thanks. I’ve been working really hard on my tour,” I smiled at him.

Jeff glanced at my wrist. “Let me give you a tip? Don’t let Andrew see you wearing a Hello Kitty watch. He’ll be an ass and lecture you that it’s not period.”

Ugh, Drew, if I hear “not period,” one more freaking time…

“Seriously? Why is he so strict? Is he going to buy me a period timepiece?” I pulled off my white cap and shook my hair free as I rolled my eyes. “Am I going to get in trouble for mascara, too? Where’s the line?”

Jeff gave me a slow once over. “Who knows what infractions you’re committing under your petticoats, m’lady? I’d be happy to give you a full inspection. I’m pretty sure that you’re wearing a bra, but I’d have to remove your corset and shift to be sure. We can catalog all the items you need to remove to ensure your authenticity.”

“Jeff, I—”

When he pressed a kiss to my neck, my words blurred into a moan. His teeth scraped my skin as he bit down gently, then laved the spot with his tongue. “I’m just trying to keep you out of trouble.”

“Sure you are,” I panted.

Jeff took me by the hand and led me behind the crates to the cargo hold. His mouth burned a path down my neck to my collarbone as his clever hands unlaced my corset.

My lips met Jeff’s hungrily as my back collided with the hull. I pushed Jeff’s tri-corn hat from his head so I could fist my hands in his thick brown hair. He parted his lips to let me explore uncharted territory, and his tongue teased mine as his hands traveled over my cotton shift.

Jeff broke the kiss. He gently pulled at the shift’s neckline. Peering down, he shook his head. “I don’t think they had blue lace bras in the Colonies,” he tsked. “No Ye Olde Felicity’s Secret for the maidens to shop at. I think I’ll need to check under your skirts as well.”

My breathing was shallow, as if I were still corseted. It was one thing to flirt and make out with Jeff, but entirely another to take it that far. I wavered, tempted by the pulsing between my legs. My relationship was on the rocks…

Footsteps on the deck above reverberated above us.

“Zombies!” I squeaked.

Jeff did a double-take, not quite stifling a snicker, “Did you just say zombies?”

Andrew’s voice echoed through the hull. “I think you’ll find this is a great location for your company party. We’ll do the full show, and then some of my actors can circulate while others serve hors d’oeuvres. This way.”

Jeff and I peered around the tea crates. Red high heels slowly descended the steps.

Jeff pulled me backwards, covering my mouth. “Shhh! There’s no reason for them to look back here. The interesting displays are out there.”

“What’s the big deal? We can just tell them we were closing up the ship,” I hissed, about to stand up.

He tugged me back down. “It’s not the first time I’ve gotten caught closing up the ship. Drew won’t believe you. C’mon, Hannah, please?”

I reconsidered. It might be embarrassing for him to get caught (again). I had bigger problems to deal with, chief among them the secret that our boss was also my boyfriend.

Drew and I had been dating for a few weeks when I’d gotten laid off from my crappy retail gig.

“Why not come work for me? You’re a history major. It would be a good fit.”

Taking the job had seemed like a great idea at the time. I could earn money and work at a job related to my major and hang out with my adorable new boyfriend. What could possibly go wrong?

The job wasn’t the problem. Doing the show was a blast. I loved making the Tea Party and the American Revolution come alive for the guests. The major drawback of the job was Andrew.

My adorable boyfriend turned out to enjoy the sound of his own voice more than anyone else’s. Worse, he was a dullard in the bedroom. I wanted to dump him, but I was worried that potential consequence of doing so was unemployment. I’d taken to praying to the Powerball Gods to free me from my dilemma. Sadly, the zombie apocalypse had better odds than hitting the jackpot.

“Will you be wearing one of those costumes? I can just picture you in tight black pants and an eye patch.”

Jeff rolled his eyes at me. “Not good at distinguishing historical events from Johnny Depp movies, is she?” he murmured in my ear.

“It’s not a pirate ship,” Drew said. “But I can threaten to make you walk the plank if you’re a bad girl.”

Gross. How fucking cheesy can you get?

“And what if I’m a good girl?” the woman purred.

Blech. You two deserve each other.

“This is like listening to terrible porn,” I whispered.

Jeff and I lay frozen behind the crates, listening to the activity on the other side. Drew and his paramour were noisy, slurpy kissers, but the sound was oddly arousing. Hearing them go at it reminded me of what Jeff’s lips had been doing to me moments earlier.

It seemed like we were going to be here for a while. I nibbled along Jeff’s jaw line to his lips. He quizzically raised an eyebrow at me. I nodded my assent. Our kisses, careful and quiet, echoed the kisses that were growing more heated at the other end of the ship.

I heard the metallic zing of a zipper. “Oh yeah, baby, take all of it,” Drew moaned.

“You have such a big cock,” she cooed. Rhythmic sucking and moaning ensued.

Such a big cock? She must be trying to get some kind of discount.

I’d been second-guessing hooking up with the hottest guy on the ship while my boyfriend was getting head from strangers? So he was just boring in bed with me? Any guilt I’d harbored before their arrival was now gone.

Fuck Drew.

I felt Jeff harden against me.

No, I decided, fuck Jeff.

“Are you wearing period underwear?” I questioned Jeff softly. Carefully, I slipped a hand between us. My fingers unlaced his trousers and slid inside. “Hmm…I think not.”

“I would. But going commando. In these. Would chafe. My favorite. Body parts,” his staccato whispers burst forth with each thrust of his hips against my hand.

“Hypocrite. I’ll have to give you ten lashes for that,” I murmured. “We’ll have to see if the cat-o-nine-tails on display really works.”

Jeff buried his face in my neck and moaned as his thrusts sped.

“Fuck. Don’t stop, baby!” Drew moaned. “Suck it!”

“Hannah,” Jeff groaned into my ear. “Suck it.”

I slithered down his body, careful not to bump the tea crates that kept us hidden. Freeing his cock from distinctly not-period red boxer briefs, I smiled in anticipation. I caught Jeff’s gaze and without looking away, l licked his cock from root to tip. My tongue made lazy circles around the head.

Jeff kept mouthing the word “please,” his expression growing more and more agonized. When I deep-throated him, he grabbed his tricorn hat off the floor and bit down on it to keep from making any sound.

“Christ, Hannah,” Jeff mumbled around the felt of his hat. “Your accent shouldn’t be the only oral talent on your resume.”

I heard the sound of things falling to the floor. “Up on the table, gorgeous. You’re not going to need that. No, leave the heels on, it’s wicked hot,” Drew said.

“It’s a front-clasp bra,” the woman instructed. “Mmmm, yes… Do that.”

“Come, here,” Jeff pulled me astride him. Taking his cues from the other couple, Jeff untied my shift, slipping it from my shoulders. Discarded, it pooled at my waist. “I see yours is not a front-clasp bra” he breathed in my ear. Jeff executed the kind of one-handed bra removal that only someone who’d had plenty of practice could manage.

My nipples puckered in the cool air of the hold. Jeff leaned forward to take one into his mouth. The warm tip of his tongue flicked my nipple as he sucked. His fingers tugged gently at my other nipple.

I pulled my skirts up. My pink thong was the only barrier between us.

“Leave the Doc Martens on…it’s wicked hot,” Jeff mocked Drew, causing me to stifle a laugh.

Jeff’s hand pulled my lacey excuse for underwear aside. His fingers waltzed over my clit. Biting my lips to keep quiet, I rocked my hips against him.

“Is it playing voyeur that’s got you so hot, or is it the risk of getting caught playing hide the musket?” Jeff’s breath was hot against my earlobe. His cock was hard as a length of iron against my thigh.

Ooh, that’s so good, Drew!” the girl moaned. “Fuck me!”

“Fuck me,” I echoed urgently.

“Good thing I was a boy scout.” Jeff reached into a knothole and pulled out a condom.

My eyes widened in surprise. There was a difference between hooking up on the ship and doing it so frequently that he kept supplies down here. By the time I had finished processing what he’d just seemingly pulled out of thin air (or, more accurately, thick wood) Jeff was repositioning me astride him. I hesitated for a moment.

“You’re the hottest chick I’ve ever had,” Drew grunted as the slap of skin on skin reverberated throughout the hull.

Now that’s just uncalled for.

Impaling myself on Jeff’s cock, I decided to give him a better ride than Drew had ever gotten from me.

“I doubt he’s had much opportunity for comparison,” Jeff murmured.

If only you knew, Jeff.

I moved cautiously, trying not to create the same loud noises giving away every thrust by the other couple. I circled my hips, pretending I was a stripper convincing a client that the champagne room would be worth the money.

“Do you wish I had you out there, bent over the captain’s table? Above deck, tied to the mast? A history major like you would probably love to get off in front of the Sam Adams portrait,” Jeff hissed as I took us higher.

“Why not go crazy and bend me over the display with the original tea chest in it?” I panted back, hips rocking.

“Christ, Hannah. Every time I’m in the museum from now on, that’s all I’m going to see.”

“Good.”

We were no longer completely silent, but the other couple seemed oblivious to us.

The woman’s moans from the other side of the boxes were starting to take on a bored tone. “Drew, that’s so good. Come for me, baby.”

That’s what I say when I want him to finish so I can masturbate once he’s gone home. Finding out that it’s more fizzle than sizzle with Drew, are we, mystery lady?

Jeff continued to describe crazy scenes. The gift shop’s contents, which has seemed like a jumbled mishmash of stereotypical souvenirs, now sounded positively pornographic.

“Want to hear more?” Jeff teased, pausing in his description.

“Yes, please,” I begged, eager for more.

Exactly what kind of mind did you need to come up with the idea to do that with a tea kettle? More to the point, how can I convince him to do it to me?

“Drew, yes, please!” She was losing enthusiasm fast.

“I’m going to come,” I whispered. “Cover my mouth, but keep talking.”

Jeff was mid-soliloquy describing all the places on the site he could tie me up using only a logo sweatshirt when my orgasm hit. It was the kind of typhoon whose monstrous waves were powerful enough to break apart the Beaver. I couldn’t help it, I moaned loud enough that Jeff’s hand didn’t adequately muffle it.

“Yeah, you love it, don’t you?” Drew groaned.

Thank God, he thought it was her.

“I can’t take much more! Come, please!” Her tone was taking on the same level of desperation the voyagers aboard the S. S. Minnow felt when their three hour tour turned into a multi-year stay on a desert island.

“I can’t take much more, Han. Can I come?” Jeff begged. I nodded enthusiastically.

“Baby!” Drew howled his orgasm.

“Hannah,” Jeff cried against my neck. I felt his body spasm as he came, and his head fell forward to rest upon my shoulder.

Jeff and I were still breathing heavily when Drew spoke.

“Fuck, that was hot. C’mon, I’ll take you up to my office,” Drew said. “We can sign the contracts and watch the playback from the security cameras.”

“Security cameras?” the woman sounded doubtful.

“Security cameras?” I gasped.

“I put in two after I caught one of my guys down here with chicks like, I dunno, six or seven times,” he laughed.

Jeff flinched. “Fuckfuckfuckfuck.”

“Wicked big pussyhound. He liked the captain’s table and behind the boxes over there. He must’ve found out because it’s been like three weeks and no action. But thanks to him we can see our own little video.”

I thought about the surprise waiting for him on the tape and cringed.

Hey, Zombies? You can start the apocalypse any time now.