I’d set a deadline for the release of A Blog Affair for the summer. But with many interruptions, life got in the way. So, I’ve set a new release date for early Fall 2017. This novel has been challenging but little by little it’s coming together.
Excerpt from A Blog Affair
I never leave recruits alone their first night. But Ted’s urgent text message leaves me only one alternative, to deliver Allison to trusty associates. Although it’s my job to induct students, I’d rather be with Ted tonight. No one paints a more wholesome picture of fun evenings entertaining wealthy clientele better than me. A well-paid opportunity they’d never find as students. And to assuage recruit’s concerns, discreetly, I insist it’s their choice to provide more personal services.
Don’t get me wrong, I have some scruples, although acquired from wayward parents. I was raised in a white, Dutch Colonial in Chevy Chase Maryland, a home painted dreamy shades of pastel, with white trim and wainscoting—a quintessential Jane Austen English cottage. Rooms overrun with flowers, romantic décor, library and bedrooms inundated with erudite books. My parents provided a simple life on their modest university salary, but money was never scarce. My father born of money inherited a trust fund he seldom touched. Money invested wisely and used for special occasions—summer vacations, dance and equestrian classes, birthdays, holidays, and now my college tuition.
Loving to the point of annoying, my parents never argued, but I sensed discontent. At moments, I thought words would unleash explosive, but mom would walk away and return stoic. Dad the constant pacifier would brighten momentary silence with some horrendous joke or comical tale. My parents, cordial to the point of discomfort, hid discontent well. I suspect for my benefit. Years later, our private universe, camouflaged pastel—flowers, aromatic meals, worldly conversations, and treasured novels—burst foul when I discovered my loving parent’s philandering ways. I justified their deceit quietly, never showing any disquiet. An innate psychologist, I theorized their common shared passion—love for literature and their daughter—wasn’t enough to satisfy passionate needs. I inferred secret lovers kept them together all these years. My parent’s marital deceit taught me an occasional lie is necessary and sexual needs aren’t bound by marriage.
Philandering parents and countless romantic novels launched teenage promiscuity. At the age of fifteen, my first sexual experience occurred with a man old enough to be my father, my dad’s best friend. I fell painfully in love with a man who introduced me to another world befitting my ideology. There was no pursuer in this chase, merely a secret tango of stolen glances; coy smiles, light touches, and occasional hugs which appeared innocent. One summer day, when my parents and his family vacationed together at Shelter Cove Marina on Hilton Head South Carolina, incessant flirtation turned physical. I’ll never forget the adrenaline rush as he took me in the trawler. Below deck, the small bunk heaved with our quick actions. Above, my parent’s and his wife’s voices, tinged with Mojito bliss, echoed audibly. My inexperienced clawing, frantic beneath his experienced touch, climaxed in a delightful squeal, and a rush that brought no relief, only exasperation, and insatiable need.
We dressed quickly and emerged on deck. My mother waved me toward a middle-aged clutch of professors, who couldn’t dispense with university talk on vacation. Mom smiled, brushed windblown hair from my eyes, and placed a cold drink in my hand. The scent of orange blossoms escaped on a breeze from glistening, suntanned bodies. Without an ounce of remorse, I delighted in my newfound identity, my lost virginity. Several times that summer my new lover and I stole away to hidden places, but those minutes together was never enough. In the middle of the night, we’d find relief on a dark beach. For three summers on Shelter Cove, the clandestine affair persisted. Not even my father, his best friend, suspected the illicit union. That was my first deceit.
With time, I’ve reconciled morality and promiscuity with philosophical studies. After all, wasn’t it Maslow who identified intimacy as a psychological necessity on the Hierarchy of Needs? As I see it, sex is as much a priority as food, water, and security. We’re providing a service much like Starbucks just not on every corner. After two years of inducting recruits, I’m finding the mission rather thrilling. I’m not doing this for Ted, but to fulfill an unquenchable thirst. I suspect the adrenaline rush from my first sexual encounter triggered a surge I can’t switch off.
Before I approach a target, I consider client’s wishes—a young, attractive face and physique. For days, I play a mental game of studying and discerning students inclined or disinclined to participate. I have to say, I’ve become an expert. With the right words, I can sway a few reluctant recruits. I’m not forcing their arms, just dangling a tease too sweet to resist. Generally, I induct twenty percent of the students I recruit, the other eighty percent are too ethical for an affair they perceive degrading. But sometimes the intellectual ones are money hungry and will leap at a chance to make a thousand bucks each night.
But I suspect Allison might be a difficult persuasion. All the more reason I wish not to leave her side. But I must attend another matter. Reassuringly, I pat her on the shoulder and place her in the hands of another Pennington. I can only imagine her alarm with my abandonment, but Ted’s urgent text message commanded I come immediately to our special place, a room on the second floor. After our last heated exchange, I believe he’s ready to forgive angry threats to reveal an illicit three-year affair with an underage girl if he didn’t abide my wishes. Threats I’ve made on several occasions with no real intent are merely a lover’s tantrum for attention. He knows I would never jeopardize our affair. My threats are innocent longings for something unattainable. Besides, I refuse to ruin a family, a lifelong friendship, and my parent’s reputation. The discovery of Ted’s true identity would shatter Poppy’s world. For her sake, I wish I could walk away, end it all, but it’s too late.
Copyright 2017 by E. Denise Billups
Book Cover Design: E. Denise Billups
Photo of Colonial House: Courtesy of Pinterest