The 2001
Purple Prose Parody Contest

July 15th, 2001:

We posted 20 entries in our fifth annual Purple Prose Parody Contest. Instead of announcing only one winner this time around, I am proud to announce two winners. Because AAR staff is permitted to enter this particular contest, I indicated early on that if one of their entries received the most votes, two winners would be proclaimed. That is precisely what happened - Marianne Stillings' Parody in Death received the most votes and we congratulate her. Which means that Andrea Geist's Brothers: The Cowboy is our other winner. Congratulations as well, Andrea! Here is what the winners had to say:

  • Marianne:
    I had a great time writing Parody In Death, and I'm pleased it was so well received. Thank you. All the entries were wonderful; what a talented group! Also, congratulations to Andrea Geist for her hilarious entry Brothers: The Cowboy. It had me in stitches.

  • Andrea Geist:
    I'm excited to hear I am a winner for the 2001 PPP Contest. I feel honored to be in the company of AAR's Marianne Stillings' Parody in Death, and prior years' winners like Marsha Canham.

    Now don't get me wrong, I love romance novels. I obviously read them all the time, thus my ability to poke fun. The Brothers: The Cowboy is a satire of series romances. It doesn't matter if the secondary characters are exciting or important to the story, the fortunate author has a contract. Maybe it's just contract envy on my part.

    At a recent RWA chapter meeting one of the published authors who writes categories about Cowboys was contracted for a series, her assigned topic was a sheik. This started me thinking and the next thing you know, I wrote a parody of a 3 book series, starting with a Cowboy, then a Navy Seal (Suzann Brockman has made Seals the perfect heroes), and a sheik. Add a few other silly items: like making love uncountable times throughout the night, hence poor Mamie had to leave, she was "sore", suddenly devoted daddies, and the quick set up for the next two books in the series. Voila! my satire.

    I love romance, so my parody must be 'contract envy'. Hopefully someday I'll be published and will see a parody based on one of my books.

If you'd prefer to go right to the entries now, please click here.

Based on feedback after last year's contest, and in an attempt to make the contest even better and to keep it from getting long in the tooth, we made additional changes this year. Last year one entry was more than 3,200 words, the equivalent of 16 types pages. Last year's winning entry was roughly 1,200 words; we made that our length limit for this year.

Also, rather than limiting the purple prose parody concept to simply love scenes, we expanded it and encouraged as well the parody of other romance novel scenes, including: epilogues; Regency Romance ball scenes; the first meeting in a "love at first sight" romance; the Big Mis; the prologue of a romantic suspense novel; a skanky sex scene between villains; or a draft proposal of a category romance publisher featuring things such as secret babies, cowboys, virgins, amnesiacs, etc. This expansion of the original purple prose parody was in addition to earlier expansions, such as homages to favorite romance authors as well as the "merge-matic" concept we began last year. We still haven't received a parody entitled Whitney, My Savage Love, but we can always hope!

Three lucky entrants, simply for sending in a submission, were awarded author-autographed books - they will be sent to Deb Meister, Kathryn Lewison, and Anna C. Bowling this week. The grand prize winner, of course, got to choose two books from our stash of author-autographed books - she has chosen Kathryn Shay's The Man Who Loved Christmas and Ronda Thompson's Isn't it Romantic?. Those books will be mailed as well this upcoming week.

You'll find the entries to the contest below. First, however, I'd like to share some of the comments we received about some of the submissions we received this year.

  • "There were four parodies that made me LOL, but while reading Parody In Death I laughed all the way through it! The sentence structure, the content and especiallly the names were (using Nora's words) 'a hoot'!" -- Sharon L

  • "I vote for Parody in Death by Marrianne Stillings. It certainly was a dead-on parody of the In Death series - and I made the mistake of reading it at work. Laughing out loud in front of your computer is somewhat frowned upon. I thought it was brilliantly done!" -- Kathleen Roesle-Blush

  • "Not only is Andrea's writing funny in Brothers: the Cowboy, she tagged the series set up and the suddenly happy daddy. She targeted the preoccupation with cowboys, navy seals, and shieks, the secret baby, and made me laugh." -- Delaney Ash

  • "This year's entries were particularly good. I believe opening up the definition of this contest to be parodies of romance in general has really freshened up the competition. As a longtime traditional Regency Romance reader, I really enjoyed the many parodies of that genre - A Waltz at Almacks! was particularly good, what with the incredibly overblown use of adjectives and the overattention to details of clothing!

    "Love's Savage Gamble was a riot, and when I shared it with my dh (a great Yahtzee fan), he could not stop laughing. I also liked the way that Brothers: The Cowboy skewered so many of the details of the series romances. But my winning vote goes to The Humanitarian Hero. Anything that manages to parody both Regency romances and Suz Brockmann's SEAL series in one entry (while ribbing at the crummy Get Lucky cover, the penchant for bad use of titles in Regencies, and the lousy lemonade at Almack's) is deserving of my vote. Great work, Blythe!" -- Mary Lynne Neilsen

  • "I chose Desperate Hunger as my favorite because it was so original and unexpected." -- Meg Pirkle

  • "(My vote goes to) Murder in Mississippi - I liked the 'surprise ending.' You don't often get redneck cops murdering people with knives!" -- Nadia Evans

  • "I vote for Kyla Arden's "A Waltz at Almacks!" It was just so adjectively exciting!" -- Jane Quinn

  • "I vote for The Humanitarian Hero. The Chris Farley reference made me laugh out loud - and I was at work!" -- Julia Nelson

  • "I vote for Anne Marble's Lady Jane and the Elusive Tome. I L'edMAO at this one! Very good, very good." -- Amy

  • "My vote is for Marianne Stillings's Parody in Death. It was, quite simply, one of the funniest things I have read this year. I was reading it at work - good thing I have an office - and I couldn't stop laughing. It was so well done and so accurate that I couldn't look at the stash of J.D. Robb books on my keeper shelf without cracking up. (I eventually overcame that problem and reread the most recent one.) I liked everything about this one-the Canadian "eh," the painful consequences of the love scene, and especially, "Sometimes she sits for the dead, but that's only if she's really, really tired." (Ok, I am laughing again.) Everything about this one is right on target, and I loved it. I think I am going to go read it again!)

    "I also really enjoyed Kyla Arden's A Waltz at Almacks!. It would have had my vote if not for Parody in Death. I read a lot of regencies, and this one showcases what can happen when good regencies go bad. The sentences that go on and on and on are terrific and the details are very funny. I really enjoyed 'that horrible, fat, drooling Squire Stevens' and all the exclamation points, not to mention 'Lord Boredrake' and the heroine's 'cow-patty coloured eyes' with stubby eyelashes." -- Jen Campi

  • "Brothers: the Cowboy by Andrea Geist was the best. I think it was the Navy SEAL that did it. I really did laugh out loud. I enjoyed Andrea's the Introduction as well. Love at First Blight by Heidi Lyn was fabulously sick and deserves honorable mention!" -- Victoria McManus

  • "Well, I obviously want to vote for my own story (Murder in Mississippi), but I'm not too sure how this works. I wanted to cast votes for two others as well. Two that I loved, and thought were equally hysterical are Marianne Stillings' Love's Savage Gamble, and Andrea Geist's The Introduction. The former read better than many love scenes I've read in published works. It was extremely vivid, and had a wonderful end. I actually laughed oput loud in the middle of my office after reading it. The latter also was written beautifully, was quite funny, and I guess the best part about this one was I wanted it to keep going. It made a great beginning to an entire story and I was sorry when it ended." -- Nancy Lepano

Add your comments for later archiving on our Potpourri Message Board
Find a list of links to each of the 20 entries

Our Entries:

(the following entries can be found on this page)
Deb Meister's Desperate Hunger
Rachel Potter's Irish Eyes
Kyla Arden's A Waltz at Almacks!
Marianne Stillings' Love's Savage Gamble
Heidi Lyn's' Love at First Blight

(the following entries can be found on the second page)
Kathryn Lewison's The Missing Item
Blythe Barnhill's The Humanitarian Hero
Marianne Stillings' Parody in Death
Marcelle McCoy's Lord Leonard's Folly (Scene I)

(the following entries can be found on the third page)
Anne Marble's Lady Jane and the Elusive Tome
Andrea Geist's The Introduction
Marcelle McCoy's Heavens Baby!
Doozie MacFloozie's Kitty's Illegitimate Baby Cowboy Twins, One With Amnesia
Violet Rupcich's Honey and Muffins
Andrea Geist's Brothers: The Cowboy

(the following entries can be found on the fourth page)
Susan Brewster's Olovia OR The Woman who Loved Men who Loved a Woman who Loved Men
Nancy Lepano's Murder in Mississippi
Anna C. Bowling's Too Stupid to Live
Victoria McManus' Pure Love

(the following entries can be found on the fifth page)
Lady Pen's Dear Romance Readers & Writers

Purple Prose as written by Deb Meister:

Desperate Hunger

It had been a long time since Matteo and Jill had been marooned on this deserted island. White beaches, orange sunsets. Blue azure water ebbed in and out of this gorgeous place. A school trip gone awry; all others died tragically, leaving only the teacher and her beloved student. Strangely, there were romance novels littered over the isle. Sadly, the combination of purple prose and blistering heat began to turn Mrs. Hilliard's head, and Quixotic thoughts invaded her once sensible mind. As the hot sun warmed her blood she finally gathered her courage and professed her love for her favorite student, without fear that she would get into trouble. But she knew she would have told him eventually anyway. Nothing, she thought, nothing would come between her and her young man! No matter if there were tightassed principals or petty laws - true love knew no age!

For Matteo, who hated how his name rhymes with Fabio, it was the worst trip he'd ever had. A steak lover, Matteo had gone without much food, much less any meat, since the day his fellow students perished in the sea. He sat and stared at Jill's plump body, running his tongue sensuously over his lips, wondering what it would be like to taste her. He walked to where she lay in the shade under the palm trees and with one hungry slow glance, imagined what he would do to that body with his mouth.

Feeling very warm from his long stroking stare, she parted her lips and whispered his name, only to be silenced by his finger as he began to stroke her spaghetti-like hair. Good God, he thought, her tattered clothing revealed a thigh that looked just as sweet as one of those fine Virginian honey cured hams.

He now sees why, for so many years, man had called those deliciously drooping mounds "melons." Those wrinkled orbs made his mouth water at the very thought of biting into the luscious cantaloupes to drown his thirst and appease his appetite. He was so hungry, starved, he hadn't been full for so long...

He began to trail his tongue down the side of her throat and couldn't help but to began nibbling while he followed that wonderful scent of meaty flesh that was she. She heard him groan; it was almost like the sound of grumbling stomach. As his nipping got more and more violent, she felt a sensation so ecstatic that it was close to pain. Her head felt woozy, as if blood has drained out of her as he continued down, down, down, suckling, licking, tasting, like a connoisseur of fine worldly cuisine.

Purple Prose as written by AAR Reviewer Rachel Potter:

Irish Eyes

Seamus squinted his eyes against the smoke. The room was dark and full of people dancing, drinking, milling about. No one had seen him yet, and he had to make certain no one did. It was imperative that no one saw him. Lives, a whole people, hung in the balance. The welfare of his beloved country depended on his prodigious spying abilities. Somewhere within the smoky darkness was his contact, but who he was Seamus had no idea. He was called the Cat, and Seamus assumed that he had been so named for his stealthy, steady ability to land on his feet in any situation. But no matter whom it was-the old crone rocking in the corner, the young hothead about to start a brawl, the merry dwarf leading the dancing - Seamus would find out.

All of a sudden a shot rang out, and several men in dark red military issue stalked through the low door. The men were all ghastly ugly, their faces and bodies were covered with old pockmarks, scars, oozing sores. If their uniforms hadn't given them away, Seamus would still have known them. Their very hideousness would have revealed them to be the English scum they were. Seamus slunk back into the darkest corner, assessing the situation with his shrewd, wizard-like abilities. The crowd grew still, hypnotized into a false calm by the sudden appearance of a primary color. The dancing ground to a halt, and the shrieking instruments ceased their wailing. Then a woman screamed, and someone had the presence to throw water on the low-burning peat fire. It sizzled out and the already dark cottage was plunged into blackness. Seamus felt an insistent tugging on his sleeve and a low voice said, "Here, through here. There be a back way." He followed the tugging and found himself being led outside and then behind the row of cottages, down a rocky path. It was quite dark outside, and all he could make out about the figure in front of him was the slightness of his form. A boy.

After a minute the boy turned and ducked under a low-hanging branch, dragging Seamus into somewhere even darker. A cave. It was narrow, and its walls were jagged. He was just beginning to adjust his vision again to this new level of darkness when he heard a match being struck. A small lamp bobbed in a hand and then the boy carefully hung it on the wall. Seamus turned to look more carefully at him-and fell into his green, green eyes.

Her green eyes. Grass green, or green like the shoots of the new onions his mother had planted outside her cottage every year. Green like potato leaves murdered by the blight. Green like the Eire. He narrowed his eyes. "Do I know ye?" he asked.

"Nay," she said. "I've never seen ye before in me life." Her short black hair curled in a riotous fury around her tiny face. Looking at her was like peering into a black hole - the green sucked him into the black. He shook his head to clear it. Something rattled. He looked down to see her bending over. She had something clutched in her hand, something metal. It was making a low rattling noise. But his attention was distracted from the object in her hand by the shapeliness of her round little bum. He stared at it. It was so curved and soft. He'd have bet all the money in his pockets that both of those sweet little mushrooms would have fit in the palm of his manly hand. He reached out to touch it

She turned back around quickly and he snatched his hand back. She looked at him strangely and then focused all of her attention on him, as if suddenly there was something about him that interested her. "What be ye called?" she asked abruptly.

"Seamus," he said, as if in a trance. "Seamus O'Reilly O'Kelly. Be ye certain then that I'm not knowing ye? I would swear by the holy cross that yer face is familiar." He leaned over and fingered one of her hacked-off curls. It was soft and glossy and smelled ever so slightly of his home - that damp, potato-blighty smell. He inhaled deeply. "What be ye named?"

"I won't be telling ye that," she said darkly. "Because if I were telling, I'd have to be killing ye." Then she turned away from him and began twirling about that little metal object. It made more rattling sounds. And from far away, as faint as an echo, came another rattling sound. A signal.

Seamus frowned and turned her back to him, enjoying the feel of her soft shoulders through the tattered remnants of her clothing. "Tell me. By Saint Padraig, I swear I know ye. I've seen yer face me dreams." His thumbs began to move rhythmically against her collarbone.

She sighed and relaxed her body against him. "If ye must be calling me something, call me Seosaimhthin. It be one of me code names. That will have to be pleasing ye for now."

"Shoh-sa-veen," he repeated slowly. "How would ye be spelling that?"

She rolled her eyes at him and then pulled him to her fiercely, grabbing onto his damp lapels. "Shh," she said. "Just be closing yer fine Irish mouth, Seamus. I'm trying to keep me fantasy going here, and ye're making it a wee bit hard." She pushed her lips against his. "If ye weren't so unearthly handsome, and I weren't hoping so badly for tall children, I might just be" She trailed off and her tiny wet tongue explored the cave of his mouth. They kissed and kissed. And then just as suddenly, she pulled away from him. She looked up at him with saddened green eyes, eyes that looked just like the sea, and sighed. "Oh, Blessed Mary, save me," she said in a tight voice. "I do know ye."

He nodded dumbly.

"But yer name been't Seamus, it be Roibhilin." She frowned.

He shook his head dumbly. "Ro-bin? No, I'm not thinking so" But then visions of dark forests and evil sheriffs began to pelt him with high intensity. He stared again at the tiny vision before him. There was something about her that was so familiar, so damn familiar. He'd sensed it from the first light of the lamp. Then he remembered the feel of her soft hair; it had been blonde then, not black. But still... He opened his mouth and a rough voice croaked out a question, "Mairin?"

She began to sob and then she pulled him again to her and pressed her forehead tightly against his chest. "Roibhilin!" she said. "Roibhilin, I've found ye again, and now we can live as we always dreamed, now that we're not being stalked and terrorized by the evil English authorities"

He clasped her against him just as tightly, and then tilted her chin up so he could repossess her lips. She responded to him like a wild animal only just freed from its cage. And his last thought as they toppled to the floor in a frenzy was, I should be reminding her of the English forces ready to starve us, kill us, annihilate us like cockroaches, but I just need this night with her. This one night....

Purple Prose as written by Kyla Arden:

A Waltz at Almacks!

Miss Gladys Countrymiss gasped in childlike, innocent, amazed awe as the fancy, well spring, well-lined, comfortable coach, competently pulled by four sleekly-muscled, midnight black, ebony, spirited and lively horses, drew even with the vast portals of that bastion to which all eligible young females in want of a husband desired entrance. Almacks! She, a country vicar’s middle, plump, plain, freckled daughter with straight brown hair that would not hold a curl unlike her beautiful blonde younger sister’s, was comfortably ensconced in a coach awaiting entrance into Almacks!

Gladie shivered with enthusiastic yet tremulous and apprehensive delight at the thought of the much desired and sought-after vouchers in the indigo reticule of her long-lost, well-off godmother who, although she hadn’t seen Gladie since the christening due to a small misunderstanding, was extremely desirous of launching her into the ton and contracting the perfect, ideal marriage for her long lost goddaughter. Gladie Countrymiss was to dance at Almacks! And, if all was as she had hoped and dreamed, Gladie would acquaint herself with any number of charming, eligible, well acquainted men of reasonable fortune, one of whom would fall madly, passionately, wildly in love with her, allowing her to realize her secret dream of a love-filled marriage like that of her parents, and gaining her younger, more beautiful, blonde, curly-haired sister admittance to society and a chance at a decent marriage, so neither of them would have to marry that horrible, fat, drooling Squire Stevens!

Descending slowly and carefully down from the carriage, holding her new, elegant, stylish, alabaster white ball gown, with sky blue periwinkles embroidered on the hem and neckline, in one delicate hand, encased in white alabaster gloves embroidered with sky blue periwinkles, Gladie’s cow-patty coloured eyes with short stubby eyelashes rounded with anxious anticipation at the glorious sight of the patronesses of Almacks, waiting inside the arched entranceway. Another tremulous shudder shook her from head to toe at the sight of their stern, unyielding faces.

“Have no fear, Gladys, my dear”, disclosed Lady Fairie. “ I am of the opinion that you will be granted permission for the waltz. Lady Jersey and I made our own come-outs together and I believe that she will look upon you with no small favour. You shall dance the waltz!”

“The waltz!” breathed Gladie. “Oh, my dear Godmother, do you indeed think I shall waltz tonight?” As they approached Lady Jersey, Gladie felt her butterfly-filled stomach plunge to the bottom of her new, alabaster white, dancing slippers, embroidered with sky blue periwinkles. “ But, Godmother, what if no gentleman should seek my hand for a waltz! For myself I should not care one jot, but the scandal would ruin my beautiful sister Elegantina’s chances of a decent marriage!”

After making their curtseys to the smiling Lady Jersey, who had indeed granted the charming long-lost goddaughter of her friend Lady Fairie permission to dance the waltz, they descended down the grand white marble staircase leading downwards into the vast, elegant, candlelit, crowded ballroom of Almacks!

“Have no fear, Gladys, my dear”, consoled Lady Fairie. “I have asked my nephew, Lord Boredrake, to solicit your hand for the waltz.”

As Gladie and her godmother, who was dressed in a dark plum, indigo ballgown and a matching turban decorated with four dyed, dark plum, indigo dodo feathers and a large, round, diamond-cut amethyst, reached the base of the grand white marble staircase, Gladie’s eyes locked with those of a man dressed unfashionably in black, with only his white cravat and the diamond pin nestled within its draping folds for colour, who approached them both, his eyes fixed on Gladie’s. Once he reached them, he bowed low, his gaze staying fixed upon hers.

“Very good, my dear Lucien”, pronounced Lady Fairie. “Miss Countrymiss, please allow me to present my dear nephew, Lord Boredrake.”

Unable to do much else, for she was much shaken by the boldness, directness and frankness of his gaze, Gladie curtsied, glad of the chance to gain some control over her boiling, turbulent and rolling emotions. It was him! The man who had so thoroughly kissed her last night in her godmother’s library after midnight when she had gone down to find a book to aid her sleep and with whom she had fallen deeply and passionately in love with after only one brief glance was none other than Lord Boredrake! Caught off guard, Gladie stared at him, her eyes burning, accusingly, waiting for him to expose her shameful, forward behavior of the previous evening, waiting for him to denounce her as…as…shameful and forward and to thus destroy all of Elegantina’s chances of happiness which were resting entirely on her. Oh, why had she not resisted his advances in the well stocked library last night? Oh, how she loved him!

“Charmed, my dear”, he spoke in the gravely, deep, pleasing voice she remembered from last night’s encounter that had remained in her mind long after she had broken free of his arms and run upstairs to breathlessly barricade herself in her room. “May I solicit your hand for the first waltz of the evening?”

“No, you may not, sir! I am fully engaged for this evening’s dances!”, she boldly exclaimed, without thinking of the consequences of her unthinkingly rude and impolite behaviour.

Disregarding the gasps and indrawn breaths from those around that had heard her rude and impolite words, as well as the shocked, unhappy and displeased countenance of her godmother who under normal circumstances Gladie longed to please, she turned to flee breathlessly from the grand and elegant ballroom. But before she could take more than one tiny step in her alabaster white dancing slippers, Lord Boredrake stepped swiftly and quickly into her path. He manfully claimed her white alabaster glove-encased hand, raised it to his lips, noted the delicate sky blue periwinkles, and declaimed, loudly enough to reach all of those around her, “My dear, as an engaged couple, we are entitled to dance together.”

“My dear Gladys,” quickly inserted Lady Fairie, “I fear that you have misinterpreted my words concerning respectable behaviour. You are allowed to dance two dances with him, my dear, as befits your lifelong betrothal.”

Gladie gaped stupidly at Lord Boredrake, at his unfashionably long coal black hair tied behind in a queue which reminded her of the tails of the horses drawing the carriage tonight, her eyes caught in his angry, mesmerizing, strangely attractive and compelling gaze, and felt a warm glowing feeling in areas in her abdomen that she had not realized existed until last night. Oh, how she loved him!

And now Gladie might be his beloved wife! She stilled, thinking over their two encounters. He had not said that he loved her. What if he was marrying her simply to avoid the scandal? Gladie could not bear that she had trapped him into a loveless union, and knew that she would slowly wither and die if he did not love her as she did him. But for her sister’s sake, she would marry him! Gladie gracefully nodded, smiled at her godmother, turned with Lord Boredrake - no, Lucien - and headed towards the dance floor and her first waltz at Almacks!

Purple Prose as written by AAR Reviewer Marianne Stillings:
(Marianne has written a second parody, which you can link to here)

Love's Savage Gamble

Lady Hermione scooped the dice into her trembling hand. Her heart slammed a violent tatoo against her breast as she shook the dice, the ivory cubes sliding against each other sensuously, erotically, the little clicking sounds matching the rapid beat of her pulse.

Dirk Dresdyn, Lord Hungwell, never took his eyes from the beautiful woman who had so boldly challenged him. "Lay the dice down, my lady, or suffer the consequences." The score sheet was damp from the moisture of his palm as he held the pen poised above the paper. Already, little droplets were forming at the tip, and he feared the ink would spurt forth onto the paper before he had a chance to score.

She readied to toss the dice, but at the last moment, held. "It comes down to this then, my lord? A single toss and the game is won or lost?"

"Toss? Lost? Poetry, my dear," he murmured as he moved forward to unbutton her blouse. "Sheer poetry, but a single toss is far less than I would have of you."

His long, elegant, tapered, masculine fingers with the well-trimmed clean nails continued on their journey down the buttons of Hermione's bodice. She leaned back, away from the table and let him do with her as he wished. Her breathing became a hungry panting as he shoved her skirts up around her hips. He groaned as he settled himself between her creamy thighs. Urging his own buttons to part, his heated manhood sprang into the cool evening air, shocking Hungwell's system, and thwanging hard against Hermione's soft skin.

Barely able to catch his breath, he put himself to her. "Throw the dice, my lady," he urged. "I must know the outcome. Throw the dice, and let the chips fall where they may. God, I must have you now!"

With a practiced flick of her wrist, Hermoine gave the dice a final toss. As Hungwell pushed her back into the soft, buttery luxury of the leather setee, Hermoine gave one last glance at what the dice had cost her - and a slow smile curved her lucious mouth.

He entered her fully then and filled her and stretched her taut, and she screamed for all the world to hear, "Yahtzee! Oh my God, yahtzee! Yahtzee, yahtzee, yahtzeeeeeeee...!"

Purple Prose as written by Heidi Lyn:

Love at First Blight

They fell in love over dessert.

Over a chocolate, strawberry, whipped cream covered confection, that neither one bothered to sample after their eyes met across the proverbial crowded room. Their reactions were simultaneous and similar in the devastating impact upon their various senses. He experienced a churning in his belly as he felt his heart plunge to his stomach at the impact of her gaze; while she became dizzy, all the blood leaving her head in a mad dash to her heart and other, lower places.

This is ridiculous, she thought to herself, shaking her head as if to clear it I’m a modern woman, modern women do NOT swoon. Yet, she was unable to control her reaction to his devastating maleness. I must have him.

Although he was at least 200 ft away, she instinctively knew that his eyes were silvery gray, the color of moonlight reflecting on storm clouds. She watched with both trepidation and excitement as he rose from he seat, his intentions clear. His piercing gaze never left hers, never wavered in its intensity as he approached. In turn, she was mesmerized by both his look and the tumult of emotions that assaulted her. Her heart was racing; her limbs mysteriously weak as she thanked God she was already sitting for she knew her legs were incapable of supporting her.

At last he stood before her.

“Would you care to dance?” His voice was so hoarse with emotion it was unrecognizable and the tender question came out as more of a growl.

“I..wo…duh..OK.” Her tongue felt large and swollen in her dry, heated mouth.

“Would you rather wait?” He asked, unable to look away from her impossibly blue-green eyes, “You haven’t touched your dessert.”

“I’m allergic to strawberries!” She gasped, her heart racing. “What about yours?”

He smiled, “Me too.”

The fact that they shared so much in common only increased their sense of connection.

He reached for her hand and her feeling of lightheadedness increased. The weakness in her arms and legs seemed to increase. As he pressed her against his body, she could feel the ripple of steel-like muscles beneath the silk of his tuxedo. Every muscle in her body tightened, clenching almost painfully, in response to his heated flesh.

I’m on fire!, he thought, sweating, I’ve never felt such desire before!

As they danced, a fine sheen broke out on his forehead and upper lip, yet at the same time, goose bumps covered the column of his spine. His stomach continued it’s churning from the close contact of her delectable body. He noticed the fragile pallor of her perfect complexion as she trembled uncontrollably in his arms.

He knew in that instant he would kiss her.

Totally consumed by each other, they were unaware of the multitude of stares from the other guests. Neither of them had noticed that the band was on a break and they stood swaying drunkenly to their own internal music. In fact, it appeared as though they were braced against each other in their desirous embrace, unable to stand alone.

He lowered his head towards her, licking his hot, dry lips in preparation. She understood his intent and parted her lips, waiting breathlessly for the kiss she had waited a lifetime to receive.

Closer, his hot breath fanned her quivering lips. Her trembling increased, becoming violent in its intensity, her fingers and toes tingled unpleasantly. His stomach roiled and sweat ran in rivulets down his forehead, burning his eyes.

He brushed his lips across hers in a feather-like caress. He was so hot. She still trembled.

He could feel the stuttering, faltering beat of her heart against his own when, suddenly, awareness hit them both in a blinding flash of realization. It couldn’t be! Staring into each other’s eyes, they tried to deny what they knew to be true. These intense feelings and physical responses could only be one thing….

“Th-the chicken?” he rasped

“Yes!” she groaned.

As he collapsed, his mouth crushed down upon hers and they fell to the floor. Their last breaths mingling, rising into the heavens. Their bodies locked in an embrace for all eternity.

Slowly, reverently, the other, beef eating guests gathered around them as well, crying in joyous despair at what they had witnessed. A love so strong and pure that it could not survive this mortal coil? A love so complete and all encompassing that human flesh could not withstand the physical and emotional impact? Or, was it E-Coli from the slightly undercooked Coq-au-vin the two lovers had unwisely ordered?

Only an autopsy would tell.

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