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Heidi Lyn's' Love at First Blight

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Kathryn Lewison's The Missing Item
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Anne Marble's Lady Jane and the Elusive Tome
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(the following entries can be found on this 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 next page)
Lady Pen's Dear Romance Readers & Writers

Purple Prose as written by Susan Brewster:

Olovia OR The Woman who Loved Men
who Loved a Woman who Loved Men

Part One - Serial style Gothic Redneck Romance

It was a dark and stormy night. Olovia had only been on her own without a man for six point two hours, and she could feel the aching need rising in her blood. The storm seemed to fill the room, reminding her of all the loves that were meant to be forever and had filled her life with such joy; the loves that really just needed another chance. And there had been a “whole lotta love” to put it in the vernacular.

When she was very young, it was Dillon. Okay, so he was a hobo that worked in the trainyards for pennies, but she knew if they had just had a real chance, it would have worked. If only! She thought of Dillon on this dark and stormy night. He was the start of something big!

But thoughts of Dillon reminded her of Jack. In terms of monetary gains Jack was way up the food chain from Dillon, as Jack had flipped burgers at McDonalds. Jack, she knew, was THE ONE. If only there hadn’t been that horrific grease fire, she knew it would have lasted. But really, how could she have stayed with a man with no face? Maybe she should look him up; she’d heard there were new developments in plastic surgery. Really, how could she live without the love they had shared over french fries and ketchup?

“I’ll call Jane. She’ll know who I can talk to about that plastic surgery. I’ll do it tomorrow!” Olovia vowed with a fierce exhalation during one of the flashes of lightning.

However, thoughts of Jane reminded her of all that she owed Jane. Not just the $762.50 for that weekend they went to Atlantic City, but all the nice people Jane had introduced Olovia to. “Oh, remember…” thought Olovia. And off she went on a tangent again, thinking of Michael, Michael, oh, so sweet. Kissing Michael was always an incredible event. Michael was like candy bars melting in the car…sweet, sticky and hot. Michael worked at Baskin-Robbins and could really bring a lot of fun and games to the hot fudge sauce that he bought retail from his supplier. Michael wasn’t a lot brighter than Olovia and didn’t realize he could buy it wholesale.

But thoughts of hot fudge and suppliers reminded Olovia she needed to call the beauty supply store in the morning. She was almost out of her favorite hairspray/gel/shellac called “Holds it Higher than a Kite” and knew she needed to look her best. Tomorrow she was going out to breakfast with Stan. Stan really had to be the best man she knew. He had such a great job at the ACE Hardware store. His work in the plumbing and heating department was so interesting she could listen to him discuss PVC pipe for hours. Of course, that was a good thing because he did talk about PVC pipe incessantly. That was okay though. Olovia knew that a man in such a fine position of responsibility needed to have relief from the stress of his high-powered job.

“I better call Renee now. If I forget to get my hair gel, it could be a catastrophe! Maybe Renee could stop on her way home and drop it off. Oh, I know Stan is the one! We are meant to be! I know it, I know it!”

And Olovia started dreaming of the time when she would be a joy and comfort to Stan every day after his hard work and efforts in the world of plumbing brought him home to her. “I know if we just work at this, it will be the relationship that makes Oprah’s show for Romance of A Lifetime.”

So Olovia kept a thought in her head long enough to pick up the phone and call Renee at Blondes R Us, the hair supply store across town. Olovia and Renee had met when Olovia had a hair emergency of major proportions on her way to a lunch date with Ralph. Without Renee, Olovia didn’t know how she would have survived such a catastrophe. The blonde cream rinse had mixed tragically with the blonde highlights rinse and the Super High shellac and the pale brown streaks rinse to make Olovia’s head look like a pile of dogshit. And that wasn’t dogshit by a poodle, no, no. It was a pile by a St. Bernard the size of Kevin’s.

Well, Renee had known just what to do when Olovia came to the store that day, and their friendship grew from that point on. It lasted through Ralph and Kevin and Jim and George and Lou and Ricky and Benjamin and Junior and Tim and Harold and John and Scott and Tom and Jeff and that was only the first month of the friendship.

“Renee? Are you still at the store?” asked Olovia. Considering she had just dialed Blondes R Us, Renee had picked up the phone and said, “Blondes R Us, Renee speaking,” this seemed a little redundant. But that was Olovia. Her TSTL syndrome sometimes crossed wires with her blonde genes and everything went to hell from there.

“Yes, honey. I am here still. What’s up?” Renee asked at the other end of the line. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know, but Olovia was both a good friend and an incredibly important customer. Just the dogshit hair episode alone had kept Renee’s store in the black for weeks. Renee figured a couple more emergencies like that one and she could franchise.

“Well, I am going to breakfast with Stan tomorrow and I am almost out of Holds it Higher than a Kite. Can you stop on the way home and drop some off? I hope this isn’t a horrible inconvenience?” Olovia queried.

“Yea, I can stop by on the way home. It should only be another half-hour or so until I can leave. I’ll see you about nine-thirty? That is, if the storm doesn’t slow me down.” Renee replied.

“Oh, Renee, you are the best! The storm can’t stop you! It just can’t! I really need my gel!” Olovia exclaimed.

After finishing the call, Olovia started to put together supper for herself and Mitchell. She hadn’t seen Mitchell in what seemed like forever and wanted to make sure everything was just right for an intimate little get together for two. Or was it three or four? Mitch was a nice guy but with his multiple personality disorder she was never sure if she was with just him or not. It got a little wearing, but he was so nice when he was Mitch. Of course, intimacy was a little odd too; that time she was hollering “ Mitch, Mitch, give it to me, Mitch!” and his personality morphed into his Great Aunt Augusta was a little startling, to say the least. Who’d a thunk a ninety-two year old scripture quoting crone would have appeared at a moment like that? But really, a little time together and she knew they could make a really great future for the two or ten of them.

Suddenly, the power went out. While Olovia had focused her miniscule attention span on putting paper plates on the table to go with the leftover McDonald’s takeout forks and spoons and knives, the storm had begun to howl. “Oh no, what if Mitchell and all his many happy personas can’t get here? What will I do? Oh God! Renee has to get here with that gel, she really does!!!!” Olovia was frantically thinking. Actually, as she had two thoughts in a row, it was kind of a wonder that her circuits didn’t fry and her head didn’t explode but miracles do happen now and again.

As the stress and strain went through Olovia’s brain, there was a knock at the door. Olovia rushed to answer it and found a Sheriff’s Deputy standing there.

“I’m sorry to bother you, ma’am,” the deputy stated. “My name is Bubba Wrednek, and we need some assistance. There is a situation in the neighborhood tonight that I think you can help us with.”

“Come in, come in. What can I do?” asked Olovia.

“Well, first off, Renee from Blondes R Us got stuck when a tree fell down the street. She asked me to deliver this package of hair gel to you, and certainly I was more than happy to,” Bubba told Olovia.

“Also, as I said, we need your assistance. A friend of yours, Mitchell Whuuam I is having a spell and the medication isn’t helping so he’s out in the street saying if he doesn’t see you soon, he’s going to morph into Great Aunt Augusta at the next town council meeting. Well, this wouldn’t normally be a problem, but the storm has set a trailorpark between him there and you here and we are going to need to take you to him to calm him down.” Bubba continued.

“Oh, anything I can do! Especially for you, such a kind man you are! You brought me my hair gel in this horrible weather!” exclaimed Olovia. She went on, “And I need to get to Mitchell! He could be the Love of my Life! I might get on Oprah’s show!”

And so this tale comes to a close, with so many questions unanswered. Did the hair gel make it through the storm with enough potency to hold up Olovia’s hair as “High as a Kite” like the promise on the bottle? Would Stan make Olovia the love of his PVC-filled life? Would Mitchell make a spectacle of himself at the next town council meeting, by morphing into Great Aunt Augusta and reading from scripture as she was always doing, or would the love of his life, Olovia, bring him through to the safe harbor of her love? Would Bubba fall into the frenzy that was Olovia’s love life and marry her and have Wrednek’s with her? Would the visit to Mitchell where the trailorpark fell due to the incredible storm cause Olovia to meet a whole trailorpark of potential Romance of a Lifetime candidates? And if so, would Olovia date them all?

And really, the biggest question of all…how quickly will Renee be able to franchise due to Olovia’s hair care catastrophes?

Purple Prose as written by Nancy Lepano:

Murder in Mississippi

There was an ear splitting, unrelenting knock on the door. Terror wrapped it’s long, sweaty, fingers around her heart and squeezed unmercilessly. Six murders. Six murders in just three days. Six murders in just three days in the same hotel. It almost made her wonder why people were still staying there, in the Fates motel on 66th street. But hey, who was she to judge? After all, this was Amanda Lynn, and she was new to the town of Hotbox, Mississippi.

It still amazed her that it had been three weeks since she settled in Hotbox Mississippi, leaving her overprotective parents, alcoholic sister, unfulfilling job, and abusive, recently deceased first husband behind. But she had managed. She had gotten through, and she had gotten away. And she would get through this. This incessant, repetitive, horrid knocking sound.

“Anyone home” a deep, authoritative voice asked. “This is Detective Time from the Hotbox PD. I have some questions to ask you”

“How do I know you’re really from the Police?” Amanda asked, voice quivering, hands shaking, feet twitching.

“Open the door and I’ll show you” he answered, innuendo lacing through his melodic voice.

That being a good enough answer for her, she slowly, cautiously opened the door, and found herself looking at the most strikingly, dangerously handsome man she had ever seen. Looking at him she felt her knees start to shake, her palms get sweaty, and she nearly forgot her resolution to give up men and devote her life to the Save the Whales campaign.

He cleared his throat, as soon as he was done undressing her with his eyes. “Again, my name is Detective Time. Detective Justin Time. I need to ask you your whereabouts for the past three days, when these brutal murders have taken place.”

Amanda wondered why he had chosen her, singled her out, found her of all people to ask about the killings. As if reading her mind he added,

“When we found the last body, there was a piece of paper with your name, address, height, weight, and directions to your house written on it, Thought you may have left it there for us to find you”

“No sir”, she answered. As he began moving closer to her she recognized raw desire burning deep within the depths of his green eyes. Eyes the color of pea soup when it just begins to cool.

“Well now, that’s good, cause I sure would hate to have to arrest anyone as pretty as you” he said and he reached his hand out to caress her rosy pink, soft, full, cheek. As he did, a shock of electricity jolted them both back. She had never before felt such a connection. Such a sexual charge, such a destined meeting between two kindred spirits brought together from a tragedy.

“Sorry” he rasped “I shuffle my feet when I walk”

It dawned on her then to wonder why he chose this lead to come to her house. To search her out. It seemed so obvious, all her information on a piece of paper, certainly he couldn’t be that thick to think finding the killer would be that obvious. He must have already exhausted all the other options, looking into the alibis of all the priests, teachers, town officials, men disguised as women, women disguised as men, cops with murky pasts, siblings with different biological parents of the victims, and the town sweethearts already, and come up empty handed. When she asked him this he answered,

“No. Why would I look into the alibi’s of those people?”

Good Lord, didn’t this man read fiction? Didn’t he know that these and not her were the most likely suspects? Or was there another reason burning deep within his loins. His eyes were still piercing through her soul. Looking, searching, devouring. Slowly she walked up to him, running her hand down his arm, feeling the bulging, protruding, ripples of his rock hard muscles. She stepped even closer, his breath hitched, his eyes clouded, his face paled as she reached for him. Bringing his head down closer to hers, she lightly, like a feather, or a dewdrop brushed her lips against his. He fisted his hand in her hair, and brought his mouth down on hers hard, fierce, demanding, sucking all the protests out of her. Her heart raced, she felt as if she was being sucked into a fog of desire, toes curling, knees buckling, she fell back quickly, startled by the rustling she heard out her back door.

“Wait right here for me” she whispered. “I think I heard something outside, I’m just going to check on it”

He knew he should go with her. After all, he was the cop, with the gun, the badge, the billy club, tear gas, handcuffs, and arrest warrant, but she just looked so damn pretty, with her cheeks all flushed he didn’t think he could move. Suddenly, an ear splitting, blood-curdling scream interrupted his thoughts coming from the back door of the one room cottage where Amanda had just exited. He rushed out, taking two long strides, and threw the door open in time to find his partner Det. Billy Bob John Jr., holding Amanda’s limp, lifeless, bloody body in one arm, a knife dripping with blood held high in the air as if about to strike in the other hand.

“Criminy, Billy Bob John Jr.!” Justin shouted, “What in the hell happened??”

“I just found her this way, I didn’t kill her, I know it looks that way, and if you check out my other alibis you’ll see I have none, but I swear it wasn’t me” he answered, and ran off into the woods behind the house. Odd, Justin thought. He’s a cop, why would he be running? I mean, it’s true, no one knew much about his past, but he just said he didn’t do it. Oh well, probably just doesn’t like the sight of blood. And even though the identity of the killer still eluded him, Justin figured out the clue. Amanda's information was left as a clue to show who the next victim was, not who the killer was. Man it annoys him when he figures out the clues too late. Falling to his knees, he cradled Amanda’s body, and began to weep. He wept for the loss of Amanda and all that they might have shared. He wept for the lives which will still be taken since he still can’t figure out who the murderer is. He wept for the whales. But most of all he wept because yet again, Detective Justin Time was too late.

Purple Prose as written by Anna C. Bowling:

Too Stupid to Live

Bluestocking spinster Kate MacKenzie was hopelessly on the shelf at the age of twenty-seven. She had no prospects for a good marriage for herself or her equally bluestocking sisters, Annie, Mary and Nora. No matter how many colors of stockings they saw in the shops, they only bought blue ones. They were quadruplets and so alike that even they often could not tell each other apart. They were also all very bad with names, so checking each other's possessions for monograms rarely helped.

They had the sight, however, like all the women in their family for countless generations. Every morning when they woke up, they opened their eyes and there it was. Sight. They could also hear and smell. Touch was kind of iffy, depending on whether or not they remembered to take their gloves off first. They could all see tolerably well, except for Kate, who was nearsighted. That was also why she found herself on the shelf, having mistaken it for a very tall settee. The ladder had fallen down, and though her sisters were also attending the same house party as Kate, they were sequestered away in dusty libraries, reading forbidden and scandalous novels.

There were no books whatsoever on this particular shelf, which was why Kate had been able to sit there for the past three hours. The books were one shelf down, so Kate amused herself by knocking them to the floor with a kick of her slippered foot. Surely someone would hear the repeated thunks as the precious volumes plummeted to the floor.

Mere moments after the unabridged dictionary smacked into the antique desk chair, demolishing the priceless wood to a pile of kindling, the door flung open, admitting the tall, dark, sardonic form of Percival Sinister, the Duke of Slut. That was his actual title, which caused much giggling among the members of the ton (as well as pretty much everyone else,) but nobody would ever say it to his face. He was rumored to punch those who did. Kate had heard that the title dated back to some Norman ancestor, or maybe just some ancestor named Norman. The gossip was never clear on that. Being only zircons of the third water, the MacKenzie girls rarely got into the really good society balls.

Though Kate had never seen the Duke of Slut in person, the mere mention of his name caused her to blush from head to toe. The resulting color combination caused her blue stockings to appear purple, which was why he noticed her.

Bubba (Short for Beelzebub, which was what his insane mother had actually named him, even though his father was quite the devout Anglican) Sinister had eyes as blue as Kate's stockings, and hair as black as the cover of the black leather book he held in his large, manly hands.

Kate gulped. What was it Annie had said about the size of a man's hands? Or was it Mary who said it? She couldn't remember which one of them was the loose one. Spreading the fingers of her right hand wide, she ticked off the options one by one. There was the loose one, the tomboy one, the one who wanted to start a newspaper, and then there was...oh, bother. She never could remember which one of them had amnesia. "Halloo, down there," she called. "Is my bodice ripped?" The loose one usually had a ripped bodice.

Bubba's eyes grew smoky. He gave a violent cough and extinguished his cheroot. "No," he drawled, "but I could fix that if you want, Mary." He scowled, pulling at his cravat until his eyes bulged out. "Or Annie. Nora?"

"Try again," Kate teased, wiggling her toes. Bubba might have noticed, but she still had her shoes on, so the gesture was completely lost on him.

Bubba put down the book and raked a hand through his carefully brushed crop a la Brutus. Brutus, Kate knew, from eavesdropping on Annie telling Nora about how Mary liked to listen at servants' doors for the real dirt on their hosts, was the name of Bubba's valet. Or possibly his dog. The doors were pretty thick in Sinister Manor.

So, unfortunately, was Bubba. He started to leaf through the book he held, ignoring Kate with his eyes, though his manly form might soon tell a different story.

Kate fanned herself with her hand, though it was still tired from counting sisters. Something within her quickened as she watched Bubba turn the pages, wetting his thumb on his tongue each time. Oh, that she might be that thumb! She sighed. That was not possible, even if she wished really, really, really hard. She remembered that much when she and her sisters had all wished for their parents to not dump them on the doorstep of their endearingly dotty Aunt Dottie when they were eight years old. Everybody said Aunt Dottie drank a lot, but nobody had noticed such behaviour before the girls moved in.

Suddenly, Bubba looked up, his face a mask of pain and anguish. "What does k-i-s-s spell?" His finger paused on the page as he looked to Kate for the help that only she could give.

Kate scrunched her nose and closed her eyes. Blasted sight! Who could spell when all she wanted to do was feast her eyes on the way the dark blue superfine stretched across Bubba's super-fine shoulders.

K..., why, her own name started with K. Secure with the familiar letter, Kate brightened. Why, Bubba was spelling a word that was on nearly every page of the forbidden novels she and her sisters shared. "Kiss," she cried. "Kiss! It spells 'kiss.' Oh, Bubba, my darling, how very romantic!"

This, she knew, was the sign she had been waiting for; the cryptically romantic innuendo from a mysterious member of the nobility. It was how MacKenzie women trapped - erm - found, their husbands since time immemorial. The MacKenzies were known for their short memories, so really, anything beyond last Thursday counted as "immemorial."

Kate threw caution to the wind and nimbly hopped the three and a half feet from the shelf to the floor. "Yes, yes, I will kiss you!" She landed in a heap, her Grecian knot of fine brown hair coming undone and falling over her face.

Bubba closed the book, setting it on the now-empty shelf before coming to Kate's aid. "If," he said in a husky whisper, brandy fumes causing Kate to scoot backwards like a rapidly retreating sand crab, "you would care to meet me in the cemetery at midnight, I think I have an arrangement that would benefit us both."

Kate scooted back toward him like a rapidly advancing sand crab. The mere mention of the word 'arrangement' set her heart a-flutter. She hoped it was a floral arrangement, since the one she already had on her dresser was starting to wilt. "Oh, yes, dearest Bubba. I will come whenever you want." And she would, she vowed as she pressed her lips to his. He wasn't done talking, but she didn't care. What were directions when it came to love?

Purple Prose as written by Victoria McManus:

Pure Love

"I have won!" Samantha Seersucker purred, dancing about the living room of her expensive Manhattan highrise apartment that was furnished all in white and the fur of various small helpless animals. "Martha Goodgirl will never have Chest Pectoral as her husband! Never! Never! Never! I have made sure she will never trust him again! And he will give his business to me! To me! I will be the biggest silicon dildo supplier in the Upper West Side!" She paused. "Or supplier was that of the biggest silicon dildos? ...I forget."

The door to her apartment, made all of white marble, thudded open and cracked right down the middle, and Mutt Polartec strode in, his manly muscles rippling under his elegant Armani suit and his Tommy Hilfiger underwear and his fine leather shoes with little metal buckles. He'd somehow beaten up or bribed her faithful doorman Igor and climbed up the elevator shaft that she'd blocked with the bodies of her enemies! She had to run!

There was no where to run. Samantha Seersucker scooped up a clear-as-Austrian-crystal silicon dildo from her white marble sidetable and brandished it above her head. It was the "Yeah Baby" model from 1995, and possessed a titanium core, so it would be a good weapon if she only had a chance to use it. "Back off, Polartec! I don't care if you love Martha Goodgirl! She's ruined now, ruined I say, and you can just leave and take my broken door with you!"

Mutt Polartec stripped off his Armani silk exquisitely tailored to his manly and muscled form blazer and flung it to the white marble floor with an oath. (Samantha wasn't sure which oath. It was something about "I swear by Apollo the physician.") Then he ripped all the buttons off his vest, including the little gold watch chain that Samantha knew Martha Goodgirl had given him when they were toddlers playing together in the huge mansion of his stepparents who were also her adoptive parents, while Samantha had to scrub all the dirty pots down in the basement and out in the back yard until her hands were all red and raw and unable to wear a wedding ring. Then he ripped off his shirt and the buttons went everywhere, ping, ping, ping. Samantha threw the "Yeah Baby" at him and screamed, but he caught it in his big finely manicured hand and licked it. Her thighs turned to mush and so did her well-sculpted abdomen - damn that plastic surgeon anyway.

Mutt said, to her complete and utter and amazed surprise, "I swear by Apollo the physician, Martha Goodgirl can go somewhere...well, somewhere where I'm not. It's you I want, you, Samantha. It's always been you."

"Me?"

"You. In fact, I went over to Martha Goodgirl's house and kicked her fluffy brown puppy before I came here to be with you."

"Oh, Mutt," Samantha sighed, as she puddled to the hard marble floor, which was as hard as his rampant manhood which was now poking up out of the top of his Armani silk pants. "Come to me, you hunk of hot burning love! Take me now!"

With a groan Mutt ripped open his pants and his red-white-and-blue Tommy Hilfiger jockey shorts and pitched over and landed on her, his rearing manly sexual self leaving bruises on her skim milk-white flesh with its eagerness, like an eager little puppy that has heard a can opener and starts to hump your leg. He used his male strength-hood to tenderly unbutton her white cotton L.L. Bean shorts and perforate her fluid woman's parts that gushed for him. Samantha moaned soft woman's moans and flicked the switch on her video camera so she could relive this moment over and over in case he left her an hour from now. With a great cry, Mutt laved her panting breasts with his white fertile seed and then began it all again, loving and lusting and loving her, and lusting and loving some more, and even begging her plaintively to use the "Yeah Baby" on him, until the sun sank behind her huge plate glass windows that looked out on Central Park and the muggers came out, hopefully to attack Martha Goodgirl as she wandered by the reservoir, crying for her kicked, lost puppy.

The End

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