Susan’s Snippets

This is the place snippets from my WIP come to be read 🙂 This way, on social media, you, the reader have the choice as to whether you want to read them or not, without spoiling any future fun.

Excerpt – Edge – my rock star novel WIP

Jory grunted, leaned over the keyboard and went back to hitting notes, re-testing his new lyrics, trying to find a more positive spin. After a few minutes, he scowled. They still sounded fucking awful. Too depressing even for him. His band mates and their fans deserved his best and he sure as fuck wasn’t meeting that goal right now. His phone pinged and immediately he went cold. The bile that always seemed to lurk in the back of his throat threatened to make a physical appearance. Jory picked up his phone, hands trembling. He’d learnt the hard way what ignoring text messages meant for him.
When are you coming home?  The name on the screen was innocuous enough – Dane – but the mere sight of it set Jory’s pulse racing, and his chest tighten.

Excerpt – Death by C*ck – book #2 in the Fetish Alley series

The man swung at Tate with his briefcase, but Tate dodged it nimbly and pushed the man to the ground, face first. “Give it up, you wanker,” he demanded. “You’re not fucking going anywhere. Just like there and take it like a man, you despicable shit-fucker.”
In his ear, there was a snort of amusement. “You really have to watch your language,” Clay chuckled quietly through the ear-piece. “There’s a whole team here rolling around on the floor in laughter, apart from Ellis, of course. He’s looking rather scandalised.”
“Yeah?” Tate smirked as he took delight in kneeling on his panting, now protesting victim. “Well, Ellis can suck my dick.”
He grinned at the indignant squawk he heard through the ear piece. Ellis Tremont was a valuable and well-liked member of the Mortimer Investigations team, but he was a bit of a prude. “I’ve just run half a fucking mile, doing the hard work, so you lot sitting in a comfy van can grin and bear a couple of choice words.” He snapped the handcuffs expertly on the man now lying docile and still.

Excerpt – ForFoxSake – book #1 in the Fetish Alley series

“This is the long way around,” Tate remarked as they traversed narrow cobbled streets filled with small shops and occasionally, a scrub of grass, overgrown and needing weeding. “It’s a bit of a mission, going this way but it gives us a half-a-mile work out.” He stopped short, Clay almost stumbling into him.
“I can’t fucking believe that’s still here,” Tate marvelled, staring at one of the murals. “I must have done that about fifteen years ago!”
Clay squinted at it, green eyes puzzled. “What the hell is it,” he said finally. “Did you have a psychotic break or something? It’s…very colourful.”
Tate snorted. “It’s a pizza slice. Can’t you see it? There’s sausage, that’s bacon, there’s the cheese…” his voice trailed off. “I was always hungry back then,” he said wistfully. “I tended to have food on my mind a lot.” He pushed a lock of hair away from his forehead. The close shaved head of his drug squad days had disappeared, and Tate now sported thick auburn hair with an annoying tendency to curl. Clay loved it. He said it gave him something to grip his fingers into when Tate blew him.
Clay laughed. “And look at you now, a health nut. You used to be a man who could put away two racks of ribs, half a chicken and then fill up the empty spot with chips and brown sauce.”
“Yeah, well, that was the old me,” Tate teased. “Now I keep healthier for those times when you’re ramming into me against the wall. A man needs to be seriously fit for that.”

Excerpt  2 – ForFoxSake 

No sooner had they stepped through the doorway, into a wide Venetian-styled lobby with winding stairs and an air of luxurious sophistication, then Aurelio enveloped Clay in a hug, kissing both cheeks with enthusiasm. Too much bloody enthusiasm. Tate was sure he saw a hint of tongue brush Clay’s cheek before Aurelio stood back with a warm smile to take in his appearance.
“Hmm, still wearing that delicious Paco Rabanne, I see. I remember that smell well.”
Clay snorted in amusement. “Really, Relio? You’re going to piss the bull off to make him charge before we even get down to business?” He cast an affectionate look at Tate, who was trying hard not to punch Relio in the face.
Aurelio’s dark brown eyes twinkled with mischief. “Si, amor mio, you would expect nothing less.” He flashed a disarming smile at Tate. “You know I jest, yes? Clay has always had eyes for only you, my friend. I am Italian. It is a sacred duty to flirt with an ex-lover. Especially one as beautiful as your man here.”
Fuck. Just when Tate was beginning to think Aurelio might not be so bad after all, he had to say something like that. That punch in the face was becoming a dead cert.
Clay moved to stand in front of Tate and raised one enquiring eyebrow at Aurelio. “Is there somewhere else we can go and discuss what’s got you worried about Dixon’s death before Tate makes permanent changes to your pretty face?”

SHORT STORY serialised in my newsletter (in full) -Hell To Pay 

I didn’t quite know what to expect when the door opened – it was certainly not a very short, stooping bald man with a harelip and a distinct leery look in his eye. He beckoned me in as I stepped over the threshold into Hell.  The door slammed shut behind me as I turned to face the dwarf. He grinned, no mean feat for a man with a mouth like his.
‘Well?’ I demanded. ‘Where is he? He is supposed to be here, is he not?’  I looked around me with distaste at my surroundings. The room was dim and quiet, no light shining other than the dim flicker of dozen or so candles on a low table. It smelt like a sewer. I tried to hold my breath and not breathe in the aroma.
Oh, yes, Ma’am,’ the dwarf lisped. ’He’s been here quite a while, waiting for you. I believe you are late.’
‘It was no picnic getting down here to see him.’ I snapped. ‘I had outdated directions from your so-called ‘all knowing’ angel Gabriel, was accosted by a group of hanged men and to top it all, I met Jeffrey Dahmer in a really peckish mood! So your boss will just have to put up with the fact that I am half an hour late for our appointment!’
I was not usually so rude to prospective clients and as I said these words, I wondered whether I had gone too far. But it was too late to regret them now- the little man was gesturing with a gnarled finger to a narrow passageway towards the darkness of the room.
‘Please follow me,’ he murmured.’ Mind you don’t fall in the cesspool.’
His hunched figure disappeared into the dark recesses of the passage beyond. I clutched my briefcase close to my chest and followed him.  I was beginning to wonder if this client was worth it all.  Didn’t it sometimes pay you to let a lead pass you by and move onto the next one? Mentally I chided myself. Gaby, you’re in Sales, I echoed silently! Since when you did a damn about the quality of your leads? The envisaged pay cheque at the end of a closed deal was all the sustenance I needed sometimes to forget my qualms in taking on less than normal customers.
The tunnel down to wherever we were headed was damp and cold, the walls of the passage slimy with some disgusting gray growth. I tried to make sure that my Chanel suit avoided it at all costs. The thought of whatever goo was on those walls getting onto my cherished silk ensemble was too painful to think about. I already had a sneaky suspicion that my treasured snake skin pumps were treading in matter they had never been exposed to before.
‘How far do we still have to go? ‘I demanded to know.
‘We’re nearly at the Master’s dwelling,’ the oddity murmured. ’He likes to see people in his own environment-it makes him feel more comfortable.’
‘First rule of sales for a customer,’ I sneered.’ Meet the prospective Saleswoman on your own turf so they have the disadvantage. It won’t work with me, you know. I have a knack of making myself feel in control under any circumstances.’
The little man reached out to open a wooden door that we had finally reached at the end of the passage.  The door swung open silently.
‘The Master will see you now,’ he said politely.
I entered the dim room, my crocodile case clutched in front of me like a knight’s shield. The door shut behind me. I was alone. Or at least, I thought I was.
‘Good morning!’ A man’s booming voice echoed from the dark recesses of the room.
‘Good morning,’ I said coolly. ’I apologise for being late but there were extenuating circumstances.’
‘Aren’t there always!’ the voice said. ’Oh no, Mr. Devil, I didn’t mean to rip his head off, it was an accident, he made me mad. Oh please, Beelzebub, I couldn’t help popping the baby in the microwave, I thought it was a ready freeze pork dinner. I’ve heard all the excuses mankind can offer, and believe me, I don’t believe one of them.’
I strained my eyes trying to see the person behind the voice. All I could see was a huge desk, filled to capacity with what looked like cardboard folders. Candles flickered on the surface of the tabletop. A huge shadowy form sat behind the desk. I walked towards the visitor’s chair at the front of the table.  As I got closer, there was an unpleasant waft of air, like spoilt meat. I made a mental note that the next time I visited this customer I would bring some scented tissues with me. One stuck up each nostril should do the trick and to hell with the appearance.
‘I am glad you agreed to see me.’ I was into my sales pitch now, my familiar territory. ‘I think you will like some of the ideas I have to improve your image in the marketplace. I realise that there is a stigma attached to your establishment but I think that with some clever marketing ploys we can change that for the better.’ I put my briefcase down on the desk, and began taking out my laptop. I had been up all night scheming up ideas and was rather proud of my efforts.
‘That won’t work down here,’ the voice said. ‘We tend to have a little bit of a power problem down here- it takes a hell of a lot to keep those eternal damnation fires burning. I am looking into some alternatives. Can you believe some fool tried to sell me solar heating?’
I closed my laptop case in frustration.
‘Why don’t you have a seat?’ the voice suggested. ‘I think we should make ourselves comfortable whilst we talk over some of your ideas.
There was a dry chuckle. I looked around for something to wipe the seat with. There was a soft cloth on the desk and I picked it up and swept it across the seat. The cloth felt cool and tacky in my hands, and I wondered what kind of fabric could feel that way. It felt rather velvety and I could imagine a suit made out of the material going down quite well in my social circle. I held it up to the light as I sat down.
‘I wondered where that had got to,’ the figure said delightedly. ’I thought Perkins had taken it away from me. He does so like his little jokes. That belonged to someone we had down here once, sadly not with us anymore, he kind of fell apart. ‘
‘It’s very trendy, ‘I said, trying to ingratiate myself into his good books. ’There could be a market for this fabric up above. You should find yourself an agent.’
‘I had one once,’ said the voice reminiscently. ’He was called Buffalo Bill- you wouldn’t know him would you? He was a friend of Hannibal’s. I believe some rather stupid FBI agent managed to kill old Bill and he now resides down here with us. We tend to have a shortage of skin down here for him to practice his needlework on. Skin dries out down here at such high temperatures that it tends to flake. It’s really not a suitable medium. Too brittle.’
I looked at the object I was holding with horror and disgust, and threw it down at my feet with a shudder. ‘This is skin?’ I spluttered. ’Human skin?’
‘One man’s bread is another man’s poison,’ the voice chuckled. ‘It does provide some amusement down here. It can get very boring.’
As I sat, still shaken from what I had recently held in my hands and wishing there was somewhere to wash them, the figure stood up and leaned over the desk towards me.
‘Now. To business.’ it said.
In the light of the candles flickering on the desk, I now had the chance to see my customer face to face. It was not a pretty sight. My prospective customer was about 7 feet tall.  His torso seemed impossibly wide, with arms that hung at his sides like moveable tree trunks. The hands he rubbed together as if cold were huge, dinner plate size, with podgy fingers looking like sausages in casings that were too small. His ruddy face was pock marked by numerous scars and cicatrices.  He looked like a strong-arm wrestler that had escaped from a lunatic asylum, so gleeful and manic was his grin as he leaned towards me. I felt his hot fetid breath wash over my face and once again wished I had those tissues. He moved around the table until he stood in front of me, blocking the light from the candles.
‘You said you had some ideas?’ he queried silkily. ‘May I have the pleasure of being enlightened?’ He giggled at his words, as if enjoying a private joke.
‘I have the brief here with me,‘  I said shortly. ‘I read through your requirements listing and made some notes. I shall have to find my back up document copies, seeing as how my laptop is not being used. I have them here in my case.’
I pulled out my manila folder with the hard copy documents of my presentation. I mentally patted myself on the back for remembering to shove them in at the last minute, just in case. I laid out the six Power Point sheets on the desk, wincing as I saw the grease spots from whatever was on the table transfer themselves to my pristine clean pieces of white paper. He leaned closer to me, and inspected the sheets. I moved away slightly, feeling the rasp of his skin as his hand touched mine, softly, it could have been by accident, but I didn’t think so.
‘You said you wanted someone to try market your –section- a better place to be,‘
I began, warming to my pitch now. ‘You asked for a simple and effective marketing campaign that would make this-place- more acceptable to people above and that would shed some of the negative ideas that people had about where you are.’
‘You can say the word, dear,’ the Devil said softly. ‘Hell – that’s what we call it, and don’t go giving me any blurb about changing the name because that is simply not going to happen.’
‘I agree,’ I said curtly.  ‘I believe we have to re-market the idea not the name. Why change a household word?  Based on the market research done to date the trend towards people joining Hell is definitely on the increase. Murder is up 150% and the death penalty has been reinstated in over 13 countries this last year. You are definitely seeing more people ending up here that the numbers before.’
The Devil nodded his huge head in agreement. ‘We are indeed,’ he smiled. ‘But there still seems to be some negativity attached to getting here. I want people to be made to feel welcome, with open arms so to speak.’
‘I believe we have to create a more personable approach of you.‘ I was warming to my theme now. ‘The public has been afraid of you for too long. If we can run some posters or a TV commercial that will depict you more as a father figure and less than the bogeyman under the bed, I feel we will be on the right path. I even have a catch phrase for you.’ I paused for dramatic effect.  The Devil raised one eyebrow in anticipation.
‘Hell – your little piece of heaven.’ I announced in a low baritone, enjoying the ring of the words that had taken me all night to come up with. I thought at first he was shaking his head in the negative, not liking the idea, and it took me some time before I realised that he was shaking with mirth.
‘Your little piece of heaven,’ he chortled, his immense frame rocking to and fro. ‘Oh my, they won’t like that upstairs, will they? As true as it may be, it will not go down well, no sirreee, Bob!’
I watched him rather smugly, enjoying the sense of accomplishment in so pleasing this client.
‘I have some mock-ups here of what I think we should run,’ I carried on, laying out the storyboards upon the desk. ‘I thought we should go for a tried and tested formula to start with rather than anything too radical. There is a greater percentage of the ‘traditionals’ that this will appeal to as opposed to the more modern generation.’
The Devil managed to control his sense of amusement long enough to gaze at some of the boards with a piercing eye, taking in the details and asking questions that quite surprised me with their discernment. I suppose the traditional view of the Devil is one of fear and of loathing. One imagines that he is frightening to look at, with the stereotypical goat’s horns and a forked tail. My customer was none of these things – extremely ugly, yes, without a doubt, but quite educated and knowledgeable. He quite grew on you and I found myself regretting my earlier unfavorable impression.
I knew I had closed the deal when the Devil invited me to look at some of the other areas he thought he could improve. There was apparently a huge resistance to the Boiler Room, where some of the guests were delegated to spend some of their time depending on the severity of their crime.
‘They complain about the condition of their skin and they complain about the moisture!’ scoffed the Devil. ‘Up there,’ he gestured with his finger, ‘Ladies like you pay a fortune to have a chemical face peel. I would have thought they could be a little bit more grateful. Perhaps we can develop a campaign against the lines of ‘Tired of the old face, try a Replace!’ or something similar. What do you think, hmmm?’
I made a small fortune out of that account over the years I managed it. Of course, when I was finally a guest there myself, (nothing too serious, just a moment of road rage, and the end of one tiresome old lady who would insist on walking too slow across the crossing), the Devil commissioned me to be his own private Public Relations Officer. It was a position some of the others would have died for!
I’m still down here, still not used to the smell but the numbers have increased substantially since that first campaign.  I am pleased to say that I contributed to this success and will continue to do so unless Hell freezes over.  Perhaps I may meet you here one of these days – let’s do lunch!



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