Monday, April 25, 2016

A little taste of Dead Beat Dates & Deities

Hello, readers!

Well, Dead Beat Dates & Deities is written! My beta readers have had it since April 7th. I've heard back from almost all of them, and I've gotten a lot of positive feedback. I'll start working on my final edits May 1st when I have all the readers' notes back. I thought you all might like a little sneak peek before the official release on May 21st. 

I had a great cover reveal on Facebook yesterday. I had more than 200 guests! I was amazed! I have some of the best readers in the world. I'm very excited about this cover, and now that it's been officially revealed, I'm going to post it here because I love sharing it.

Click to enlarge
Isn't Eros beautiful?!?! This is what the front cover will look like for the eBook:



Now one more thing before I hand over the first chapter of Dead Beat Dates & Deities. Here is the book trailer I unveiled yesterday at the cover reveal: 


Okay, here it is ... chapter one. Please leave me a comment, let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!

Dead Beat Dates
&
Deities
Goddess of Tornado Alley Series
BOOK ONE

J.C. Wing

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Dead Beat Dates & Deities – Goddess of Tornado Alley Series Book One
©2016 by Jennifer C. Wing. All Rights Reserved.

1

“You’ve got to be kidding with this,” Frank muttered as she scrawled her signature across the bottom of the lengthy receipt. “Eighty bucks, and for what?” The pen rolled close to the edge of the table. Frank didn’t reach for it to put it back in the sticky, alcohol covered folder that still held her Visa. Instead, she shoved both the receipt and the credit card into her bag and scooted awkwardly across the booth. She glanced over her shoulder and blew out a sigh of relief when she didn’t spot Ben anywhere between the enormous potted plant near the restrooms and their table. She decided to get out while the getting was good.

Her legs didn’t engage quite as quickly as she would have liked them to and she stared down at them in irritation. The feet she saw were undoubtedly familiar, but the black Gianvito Rossi pumps wrapped around them were brand spanking new. The sight of the shoes briefly took the edge off of her annoyance. For a few seconds they distracted her from the catastrophic state of her love life, and this evening in particular where she’d just endured a real stinker of a date at the Habanero Hotspot. The restaurant was what the town of Sparrow had to offer in Mexican cuisine. It wasn’t fancy, but it was convenient considering it was situated in the busiest part of Pleasant Valley Mall. Frank’s meal had been mediocre at best. The whole experience had left her with a moderate buzz from three margaritas and a blazing case of heartburn. She smiled at her feet. At least she still had the shoes.

Frank wore her collection of dates like a string of unfashionable pearls draped around her neck. The necklace had grown longer and uglier throughout the eleven years since her high school graduation. Each man that asked her out held such promise at first. At least that’s what Frank liked to tell herself once things went all pear shaped at each date’s disastrous conclusion. There had been lawyers, businessmen, web designers and even a couple of doctors thrown into the mix. She’d dated a veterinarian, a horticulturist and a museum curator. There had been a Channel Three weather forecaster who stuttered terribly unless he was talking about air streams, Ball lightning or sustained winds. She’d had to stop watching Channel Three news after that. If it was going to snow, someone else could tell her about it.

Try as she might, and she had tried, it was hard to forget the guy who drank four martinis’ before admitting to Frank that he’d been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for seven years. It turned out that he believed the group to be nothing more than a well-organized cult, but there was always people dropping in and out of meetings making it a great place to meet women. Frank was fairly certain she’d seen and heard it all, so when Ben had informed her halfway through their meal at the Hotspot that he’d forgotten his wallet, she’d simply slumped against the back of the red vinyl covered booth in silent defeat. A truly good date would be the only thing at this point to get Frank’s attention, and that had happened, well … never.

Frank reached up and tucked a frizzing strand of dark brown hair behind her ear as she walked across the mall’s main corridor. A glance at her phone informed her that it was not quite eight. The stores lined up on both sides of her were brightly lit and enjoying a booming rush of after holiday business. She moved quickly, occasionally glancing behind her to make sure Ben hadn’t returned from the bathroom. It would be just like him to decide he’d like some ice cream from the food court. No Ben in sight. So far so good.

The combination of the four inch heels on her new Italian shoes and the drinks she’d downed at dinner made the journey to the other end of the mall somewhat difficult. She found it fortuitous that Cupid’s Closet stood halfway between where she was standing and the exit of the mall. It might be best to wait a bit before climbing behind the wheel of her Jeep Liberty, she reasoned. Shopping for a half an hour would be a great way to clear her head. Besides, it was lingerie! What girl couldn’t use a few new pairs of panties? It just so happened that she’d received an email just this afternoon. Cupid’s Closet was having a big sale on their Aphrodite Ultra Sleek push up bras. She sighed when she looked down at her bust line and noticed the less than plentiful rise of cleavage that peeked out of her scoop neck sweater. It had already been an expensive trip to the mall. At least if she came home at the end of it with a bright purple bag filled with silky unmentionables she would have something worthwhile to show for it.

The atmosphere changed as soon as Frank was three feet inside the store. The d├ęcor was done in various shades of purple. Instead of the popular, upbeat tunes playing over the speakers in the mall proper, the little boutique was filled with a classical mix of strings and piano. The air smelled of perfumed lotions and flames danced upon the wicks of colorful candles. She could hear the bubbling of a stream further in. She snorted to herself when she realized it wasn’t a stream at all but a fountain at the far end of the store.

A white stone figure surrounded by a large, round pool stood among rows of neatly hung push up bras. Frank set off to find one, or maybe five, in her size. So intent was she on the lingerie that she failed to see either the wrinkle in the carpet below her feet or the middle-aged woman studying the price tags on the stack of boy shorts and demi-bras she held in her long, manicured fingers. Frank’s heel caught on the carpet. The rest of her body bumped hard into the woman who issued a loud gasp of surprise as Frank fell, her arms wind-milling around her. Bras and panties flew up in the air like confetti, and the bubbling sound of the fountain grew louder as she stumbled forward. Her body performed a swan dive, her legs bent at the knees and splayed in two different directions. One of her shoes flew clean off her foot landing seconds before she did in the pool of shimmering water.

The pain was sharp when it came, not in the middle but to the right side of her forehead. It was powerful enough to make her skull feel as though it was splitting into two unequal halves. She felt the cold splash as her body crumpled behind her head and fell into the water. There was a stillness, an unexpected lull where there was no music or noise of the fountain. It was utterly tranquil until Frank realized she wasn’t breathing. She pushed herself up to a sitting position and opened her mouth wide, dragging great breaths of watery air into her lungs.

“My goddess, you’re an embarrassment.”

Frank spluttered and coughed feeling the sting of water inside her nasal passages. Her head throbbed and a reasonable explanation as to why she was soaking wet from head to toe eluded her.

“Just look at you.”

She reached up to push sodden strands of hair from her eyes and realized she was in a tub. She had a marvelous bath tub in her townhouse. It was a wide oval, sunken and jetted. She owned just about every bath salt and bubbly concoction ever made, and spent a great deal of time in the watery haven after long days at the office. Wait, she thought to herself. This water was cold and it smelled funny, not at all like the flower and rain scented potions she liked to use.

“You’re a mess,” the voice chided. “I’d venture to guess that you are always a mess, but you’re even more so now. It’s fortunate for me that there are so many other mortals in your world nearly as messy as you that don’t belong to me.”

Frank couldn’t hear everything the voice was saying because she was coughing the water out of her lungs with a loud ferocity that nearly drowned it out.

“No doubt you’ll need a medic,” the voice continued. “You cut your head right open, and on my scallop shell, too. It’s not the nicest of statues, but definitely not the worst. I do believe you chipped it. Look, right there. You did. You chipped it.”

“What?” Frank’s voice was loud as she rubbed the water from her eyes, smearing the mascara she wore into dark smudges on her pale skin. When she looked around all she could see was a haze of purple light and the stream of water that bubbled over the lip of the statue. Maybe it was a trick of the light, or perhaps it was because she had wiped the contacts out of her eyes, but Frank was almost certain that the statue in the middle of the fountain was speaking to her. As unbelievable as it seemed, she could have sworn that the ivory sculpted woman was looking down at her with a disapproving scowl on her pretty and perfect face.