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Read this thread. (I’m stunned they haven’t taken it down, the racism on it is absolutely nauseating). Be on the receiving end of that shit for a couple of decades then come again to ask me why anyone in their right mind would be welcoming them with open arms. They pushed us out. Rejected us. Treated us like absolute shit. I’ll never forget the fight my good friend Monica Jackson, God rest her soul, fought on this issue. I’l never forget the way I, and other authors like me were treated and continue to be treated. They made damned sure we had no access to mainstream publishing. Even as they ooh and aah over rock star romances, a sub genre Crystal Hubbard and I created nearly ten fucking years ago. So please, don’t tell me I should change my stance.

That thread is my own personal Kristallnacht. I’m pretty sure I’ll go to my grave thinking about it and a dozen more like it and worse. You pushed us out of publishing. Claimed we were inferior. Less than. Worthy of being ghettoized. Now that your perfect little world has been turned upside down, you show up here to push us out of our own house. Fuck no. This will not pass and yes I’m here to kick you out any way I can.

This is a genre we black women created from nothing. I remember deliberately buying books in the bookstore, not Walmart because I wanted to make sure they counted. I would buy every book on the shelf, despite my meager grad student income. I wanted publishers to know that there was an audience. I remember the love and compassion my readers have supported me with for nearly a decade now. Our readers are the salt of the earth, and surprise, surprise, no you’re not entitled to them. You haven’t earned them. And I know my mindset isn’t mainstream, but then y’all made goddamned sure I wasn’t mainstream either. So reap the whirlwind. Or not. I couldn’t  give a goddamn. Next.

There seems to be yet another bit of fuckery going on in my genre these days. Authors have been putting books with white characters in the IR/MC category on Amazon. And I’m here to say, if you do that you will be called on it. Readers will post reviews warning other readers about your deceitful bullshit, so it would behoove you not to do it. You always know that something has become popular and profitable when white folk show up to take it over. When folk like Suzanne Brockmann start claiming to have created t. Again, hell no. And don’t step to me about your tender fee-fees. Y’all didn’t give a shit about our feelings when you were claiming black folk don’t read. And it’s most recent iteration; black writers can’t write. Don’t bring any white women’s tears up in here. You will regret it.

And before some other kumbayah idiot comes along I know that white people have culture. I have advanced degrees in sociology, but I also know that for the purpose of the romance genre there’s never been a separate category for books about white people regardless of what countries or cultures they come from. White folk aren’t claiming not to be able to relate to books about white people, even when they’re fucking aliens or trees. Yet somehow they can’t relate to books by black authors. So, please, if you post some crap like that on my blog I will drag you like a dead body on The Walking Dead. You have been warned.

This genre was created by, and nurtured primarily by black women. We grew it from nothing. We have the best fans in the world. Fans who have gone through hell and back with us, and no you WILL NOT disrespect them. If left up to me I would absolutely ban anyone who isn’t black or brown from writing in the genre. However, if you insist on coming to our house, you will respect it. Period. Failure to do so will result in you being summarily dismissed.

GR_16x24

I know I say this every time, but this is my favorite cover. I told Whit I wanted Gabriel to look as though he was literally stepping off the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and damned if he didn’t nail it. I love my talented hubby so much.

Here’s the blurb and an excerpt for those who don’t remember it from before.

When Ryannon shows up on Gabriel’s doorstep claiming that he is an archangel with the power to trigger the Apocalypse and that he’s in danger from an End of Days cult he thinks she’s crazy — crazy hot — but still crazy. Despite being a trumpet player named Gabriel, the life he’s led has been anything but angelic, however he has no choice but to believe her especially since the cult is already in hot pursuit. He and Ryannon must go on the run to save themselves and dozens of others from the cult leader’s diabolical schemes. Even the desperate circumstances are not enough to dampen the fiery lust that pulls them together. Gabriel knows that Ryannon is the one for him, but he’s a player and always has been and Ryannon has no intention of being just another woman in his bed. Will they survive long enough to develop trust and find love, and somehow avoid inadvertently setting off the Apocalypse?

 

“No. No. Gabriel. I’m not a psychic, I’m a knower.”

“What the fuck is a… Wait. How did you know my name?”

She raised her hands, which caused the armload of bracelets she wore to jingle attractively. “Could we sit down? You don’t look so good, and…”

Gabriel gestured toward his battered sofa while he sat down in one of the mismatched chairs that flanked it. After ensuring the safety was engaged, he carefully placed the gun on the coffee table.

She nodded at the gun. “I’m glad you’ve got that. They’ll be back.”

“They who? Could you please tell me what you’re talking about?”

“The Redeemers are a cult.”

“You mean of the grape Kool-Aid, purple Nike variety?”

“I probably wouldn’t put it that way, but yeah, they’re a cult,” she said.

“And this pertains to me how?”

Ryannon leaned back on the sofa and crossed her legs, bringing Gabriel’s attention, which had been focused on the gamine beauty of her face, to her legs, and then he found he couldn’t look away. For such a tiny thing, her legs were surprisingly long and shapely, and set off by denim capris and wedge-heeled sandals, they all but made his mouth water. The light cotton blouse she wore over the capris was belted, emphasizing a tiny waist and small breasts.

“I suppose you could call the Redeemers a doomsday or End of Days cult. Their name is The Church of Jesus Christ With Redemption to Come.”

Gabriel sighed. “Ryannon, as much as I’m enjoying this conversation, not to mention the opportunity to check you out, I had a less than stellar night last night, and I had really looked forward to spending my day in bed making love to my ice pack. Now unless you want to take its place, could we please just get to the point?”

“They think you’re an apocalyptic trigger.”

Gabriel closed his eyes. No way in hell did he want to hear the rest of this bizarre story. She was batshit crazy, but also crazy-hot. He sighed. Why was that always the way? The hotter they were, the crazier they were. After a moment, he opened his eyes again. It wouldn’t be the first time his cock got him into trouble. If worse came to worst, he could always duct-tape her mouth.

“Do I want to know what the hell an apocalyptic trigger is?”

“They think you will signal the End of Days.”

Gabriel laid his head back on his chair. “See, you name a trumpet player Gabriel, and folks get all kinds of crazy ideas.”

“They want you to bring on the final battle of Armageddon.”

He couldn’t help but laugh. “So my mom is right. I am the Antichrist.”

Gabrielle Ludwig (USA)

bilde

I’m just going to drop this right here. I wouldn’t want this dude playing against my teenaged son, let alone my daughter.

 

Gabrielle Ludwig (USA).

ROW New Flyer

***Ahem*** Allow me to clear my throat a minute. Clearly some folk are confused. Or functionally illiterate. I don’t know or care which. Either way let me be clear; this post is for and about THE VICTIMS OF JOHN DOE. Period. There are plenty of blogs and Facebook pages and celebrities supporting that kid. I see none supporting his victims or calling the state of Connecticut on the fuckery that is their decision making. This is, and forever will be a transplaining-free zone. Let me be clear, my priority list is as follows: Black women and our children. Other women and their children. Everybody else. And no, I don’t consider males pickled in horse urine to be women. Indeed I consider their very existence to be an insult to womankind. So take that crap elsewhere, I’m not trying to hear it here.

***Sorry, I’m really out of pocket right now. Working on a big project, but I decided to change John’s name from Jane out of respect for women and the REAL Jane Doe’s, that is, his VICTIMS.***

There is a situation going on in Connecticut right now that has me so furious I can barely see straight. Essentially, there is a 5’8″ 180 17 year old boy who identifies as female. He’s been in the state’s custody since he was 12 years old. John Doe has a extensive history of violence, particularly of serious assault against females, staff and young girls. His story was in the news of late because the authorities in Connecticut placed him in an adult female prison after he assaulted a staff member and another resident at a facility in Massachusetts. This of course set off an explosion of trans activism. Harvey Fierstein wrote an op-ed protesting this young man being housed in an adult prison. So the authorities in Connecticut, despite this boy’s history of having assaulted more than a dozen women and girls capitulated and once again housed him with female juveniles. Well, to no one’s surprise, after less than two weeks in this facility, he has again attacked a staff member and another resident. This time the state grew a brain and placed him in a facility for juvenile males. Predictably the trans community is once again in an uproar. There is much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, yet somehow in the midst of all of this, the boy’s victims, you know, the women and girls he’s beaten the hell out of have been forgotten. Nobody cares about them. It’s much more important that his status as trans be honored. That no one commit the heinous crime of “misgendering” him.

If you need receipts you can read the details of the case in a memorandum from the judge who heard the case. 

On behalf of the women and girls who have been victimized by this person I need y’all to do me a solid. I need y’all to contact DCF authorities in Connecticut and ask about those women and girls. Call, write, email, send a raven I don’t care, just let them know that those girls are not just punching bags for this boy to beat the hell out of any time he’s inclined. Including one staffer who was temporarily blinded by this him. Also ask and insist that women and girls be protected from being housed with a violent male who repeatedly attacks them. As always, please be polite, but yeah, this is absolutely absurd. But this is trans y’all. This is the whirlwind we reap when we jump on board with a “movement” we know jack about. Check the Gender Trender site. Don’t just go along with something because it sounds progressive. This is about as regressive and dangerous as it comes. We’ve got to stand up for women and girls before this boy kills somebody. Trans aren’t the only ones with voice. It’s past time we use ours.

 

Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS) – Pueblo Girl’s Program –

860-638-2408

1225 Silver Street, Middletown, CT 06457

Here’s the director of DCF:

Commissioner.dcf@ct.gov
Or write us at:
Commissioner’s Office
Department of Children and Families
505 Hudson Street
Hartford, CT 06106

Fly Ass Jacket

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My other favorite site, besides Anthro is Free People. Usually I can’t wear anything on the site, but I love the outfits and often try to find similar things in my size. I love this jacket and think it would look amazing with the pink skirt I plan to make. I love the dichotomy of something so military looking paired with something so frou-frou. I’d probably give this jacket a try, but I think it’s too short for my taste. I’m also looking for something a little more structured and work friendly. I do love the sleeve and ruffle detail on the back, though, but it’s a little young and trendy. I think I need something with a little more staying power. I’m looking for something similar though because I really like it.

Totally Rad Skirt

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During my daily visit to the Anthropologie site I came across this skirt. Isn’t it unbelievably gorgeous? And like most things at Anthro, insanely priced at $148. Even so, I probably would’ve bought it anyway, but the damned thing doesn’t come in an XL. After looking at it closely I realized it’s simply an A-line skirt which even with my limited sewing skills I can whip up pretty easily. Of course, the fabric is what makes it and I assumed it would cost $30 a yard. Which would make making it cost-prohibitive.

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Imagine my amazement when I came across this fabric at Fabric.com. And it’s only $13 a yard!!! Even buying four yards is less than $60 and I already have a pattern. Plus drafting an A-line is insanely easy, it’s only three pieces a waistband and a zipper. I will have to line it, and I haven’t done that since school but it should be okay.

I have no idea why all of a sudden I can’t stop making clothes. I made a maxi dress off Mimi’s site and I made a faux wrap blouse. I’m still not happy with the blouse. I loved the fabric before a cotton jersey, but I think for work I need a dressier knit. I also made a dirndl skirt out of some wonderful chiffon I bought last year. I plan to make a knock off DVF wrap dress out of some knock-off Missoni I bought last week. Inspired by the fabulous Erica B., of course.

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I don’t really have a place to sew aside for my dining room and that’s annoying when you have a toddler, but I’ve almost got him trained to keep his paws off my sewing machine, so it’s all good. My game plan is to master several fave patterns, a wrap dress, a faux wrap blouse and really well-fitting pair of pants and use those to build myself a wardrobe of stuff I love. I have never mastered pants, my mama ruined me in that respect because she was an absolute master of pants fitting. I believe with some patience though, I can get there.

Rumors of Wars

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Lisa and I released this book back in January. We wrote it pseudonymously because it’s a genre change for us. It’s a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy. Those of you who’ve read our book Stolen, will recognize Grace and Parker as Perish, is Eshu, a time traveling, bounty hunting shape shifter. This is the first book in a series, the next book, Acts of Wars will be out early next year. We’re going to keep the original blog (www.cravenofwars.wordpress.com) for now, and park everything regarding the book there and on our own blogs.  Here’s the first chapter:

Chapter One
“Look son, it’s colder than a motherfucker out here, so I’m going to make this nice and simple.” Perish Blackburn paused and looked down at the terrified man she was dangling over the balcony thirty floors up. She tightened her grip when it went slack and the sudden quick rough movement against the waist-high stone barrier had chunks of the decrepit building falling off like so much rubble. She shook her head. It was the curse of most buildings in the city. Her victim let out a terrified yelp, and Perish tightened her hold some more. “Not to worry,” she said, making her voice as carefree as a breeze, “I won’t drop you.” She jiggled him a bit. “Yet.”

She took a sip of the vanilla soy chai latte she held in her other hand, and her mouth twisted in disgust. “Fuck. Now my tea’s gone cold. All right. It’s time to wrap this shit up. Post. Haste.” She shook him hard once in warning.

“You’re going to tell me what you did with Connie’s access codes or you’re going to have an unfortunate accident.” The man mumbled something but the late December wind swirling around the balcony made his words indecipherable. Her patience gone, Perish began bouncing him up and down yo-yo fashion. After just a few moments of this treatment, he began screaming at the top of his lungs. Satisfied, Perish placed her now-undrinkable beverage on the ledge and used both hands to pull him back onto the balcony.
He stood before her, literally shaking in his boots, too terrified to even piss his pants. He certainly wouldn’t be the first. God I love my work, she thought.

“You’re that crazy bounty hunter, aren’t you?” the man whined, still shivering more from fear than the cold. “I can’t believe Connie sent you after me.”

“Then clearly you don’t know your former business associate very well. Connie doesn’t tolerate thieves. Unless, of course, you were stealing for him. Now speak up. What the hell did you do with his codes?”

“I’ve got them!” Voice still quivering, the man quickly held his hands up to forestall her when she moved a step closer. “I’ve got them right here.” He hurried into the hotel room through the French doors and ran over to a small overnight case that was sitting on a chair. After opening the case he carefully pulled back the lining. “Here! Here it is,” he said, handing the flash drive to her.

Perish pulled a small tablet computer out of her backpack. With smoothly efficient movements she plugged the drive into the port and quickly pulled up the document. As she’d expected, the document contained a series of numbers that meant nothing to her and she quickly e-mailed it to her client to check its validity. While she waited for a response she continued to eye the man who’d been stupid enough to try to steal from Constantine Drakos. He was pale with dull brown eyes and matching hair. Not particularly large, he was of average height and build and somewhat shorter than her own six feet.

He was studying her as well, a look of incredulity on his face as his eyes roamed her thin frame. His gaze strayed back to her face. “How the hell does some skinny chick like you pick me up like that? What kinda shit is that?”

Perish’s smirk was self-directed. “Must be I got me some super powers, or some shit like that,” she said mockingly. Her good mood suddenly dim, she scowled at the computer screen, wishing Connie would hurry the hell up and get back to her with an answer.

The man spoke up again. “You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?” he squeaked.

Perish smiled, the fierceness of her expression making his eyes go wide with fear. “Unlike you, I always follow my client’s orders to the letter. As long as you give it up and haven’t tried to access the accounts…” She raised a brow in inquiry. He shook his head rapidly. “Then Connie said to let you go, and that’s what I’ll do.”

“But Connie owes me that money. By rights it should be mine.” The whine was back in his voice, but now there was a look of timid hope as well. “Hey. What’s say you let me go and I cut you in?”

Perish let her smile broaden. Why did they all think she was stupid? “Now why on earth would I want to do that? Connie’s a good client. Pays well and in cash. I never double-cross a client, especially one with such a vengeful streak.” She glanced down at her computer when it beeped to indicate she’d received an e-mail. She checked it to confirm that she had the desired information then slipped the device back into her backpack.

“You got off easy this time. If Connie has to send me after you again I’ll stomp you into a lovely inkblot. I hate do-overs.”
The man nodded his agreement as Perish turned to exit the hotel room. He flinched when she turned back.

Perish’s new smirk was smug and satisfied. “Relax. I just forgot about the message Connie told me to give you. He said for you to say hello to his sister. And don’t forget about his New Year’s Eve party.”

*****

Constantine Drakos looked like a Minoan bull, or at least how the mythological beast would look if someone tailored a five thousand dollar suit to fit him. A stocky man, he nonetheless had a certain elegance about him. If Perish didn’t know he was one of the most notorious arms dealers in the world she would have thought he was a wealthy financier — not that there was all that much difference between the two.

“So how is my esteemed brother-in-law?” he asked, rising from behind his desk as she entered his mahogany-paneled office.

“Still alive when I left him. More’s the pity,” Perish said and slid the flash drive across the massive heavily carved desk.

With reflexes that would have made him a frightening opponent in the boxing ring, Drakos caught the device before it slid off the edge of the desk. Then he laughed. “Oh, Perish. I had quite forgotten how much I enjoy your sense of humor.”

“It’s the only reason people keep me around.” She dropped down uninvited into the plush office chair and unceremoniously propped her jack-booted feet up on his desk.

“Had he used the codes to access my accounts?”

“Would he still be alive if he had? I guarantee satisfaction and your instructions were clear.”

“You know, Perish, you’re a woman after my own heart. Honestly if I had a few more of you—”

“You’d be fucked beyond all recognition. I don’t play well with others, Connie. I’ve told you that before. I’m not part of your crew and never will be.” Connie had been trying to recruit her forever. She’d heard his shtick so many times she could recite it verbatim. Now he’d start complaining about having to hire muscle. Of course, he still had plenty of knee-cappers on his payroll. He only called her in when a situation called for a certain…delicacy. That almost made her laugh out loud, so she focused her gaze on her steel-toed boots. Delicate was hardly an adjective she would normally associate with herself.

Drakos exhaled a heavy sigh then resumed sitting at the desk. “A man can always hope. I don’t understand this generation. In my day a young gun was happy to join an organization like mine. Now, Omerta is a joke. Hell, it might as well not even exist. Everybody talks when they shouldn’t, there’s no loyalty and every swinging Richard wants to be a freelancer. And there’s the damn barter system that seems to be gaining momentum…” He shook his head as if confused by the improbability of it all. “What the fuck? Do you know some guy actually asked for a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner in exchange for a job the other day? Where in the hell am I supposed to get my hands on something like that? And with gas costing almost as much as it does to educate a child, what does he think he’d run it on? What the fuck?” he exclaimed again with a confused look at Perish.

She shrugged tiredly. Connie was getting old and was always talking about the good old days. The time before the Die Off when things still made sense. Perish was too young to remember those days and was starting to think they were a figment of people’s imagination.

“What are you talking about, Connie? Half the people you have working for you are sharecroppers working for nothing but a roof over their heads.” she said.

Connie looked away as he shifted uncomfortably in his chair. “That’s not the same thing. I take care of my people,” he said indignantly.

Much as she wanted to Perish didn’t roll her eyes. She had to get paid, after all. “It’s not just you. Anyone who has money is fucking over poor and uneducated people. And since pretty much everybody is poor and uneducated, that’s a lot of fucking over.”

“It’s not the same thing. People are happy with what I’m giving them. This bartering shit is a joke.”

“You can say that because you have money. You might want to start getting with the program on that one, Connie. Nobody has cash anymore. You know that saying, ‘my money is funny’? Well, it’s not just a common phrase for people nowadays; money isn’t funny, it’s nonexistent. So they’re trying to take control of the chaos. It’s not rocket science. Hell, I barter myself sometimes.” Perish closed her mouth with a snap. She was starting to sound like Princess Buttercup. Clearly, she was more tired than she realized.

Connie leaned forward and stared at her with a narrow-eyed gaze. “What’s with you, huh? You’re starting to sound like one of those goddamned revolutionaries. You haven’t taken up with those fruitcakes, have you?”

Now she did roll her eyes. “What are you talking about? You’ve known me for ten years. The only thing I revolt against are people who don’t pay me. Otherwise, I’ve got too much shit to do.”

Connie sighed and with a wave of his hand, dismissing the familiar conversation. “Anyway, I’ve made the usual arrangements for your payment. I trust that will be satisfactory. I have another small project for you—”

“I’m taking a break for a minute. I need a vacation. If it’s something that can wait, I’ll be happy to take care of it when I get back. Otherwise I can recommend someone for you.”

Drakos shook his head once. “No. I don’t want anyone else. I think it will wait. How long will you be gone?”

“About a month, but that’s not definite.” She lowered her feet from the desk and stood to leave the office.

“Oh, did my brother-in-law say whether they would be attending my New Year’s Eve party? I’d hate for this recent unpleasantness to put a damper on the holidays.”

Perish snorted softly. Family dynamics: she totally didn’t get them. Made her glad she didn’t have one, unless you counted Princess Buttercup. And she didn’t. Suddenly, her energy was gone and all she could think about was finding her bed. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure he’ll be there, but do me a favor, keep your important stuff locked up. Killing stupid people is warm weather work.”

*****

Aaron Hall had known it was going to be a bad day the moment he’d awakened that morning. He hadn’t wanted this particular job, but Gregor had insisted, and when Gregor insisted, you did what you were told, no questions asked. He shook his head. I’m just a simple telepath, he thought. There’s no way I should be on this job. This Perish Blackburn bitch sounded scary as hell. He sighed and looked at the young hothead sitting next to him in the driver’s seat. Gary, a new recruit and a clairvoyant with a bad attitude and an unfounded need to prove himself, had somehow gotten the cockeyed idea that they could bring the girl in themselves.

“I’m big, yes, but that doesn’t mean that I’m superman and willing to take stupid and unnecessary risks,” Aaron said suddenly, and smirked when Gary looked at him in surprise. “Forget I could read your mind?”

Gary scowled, but flushed guiltily. “I just don’t see why we have to sit out here freezing our asses off with no pay-off, that’s all. I mean, you saw her picture just like I did. She’s just some skinny chick who they think might have some talents. It would be easy to handle her.”

Aaron looked across the street at Perish’s house. The old two-story brick structure sat surrounded by at least a half-acre of city land and looked like a loner in the sparse urban landscape. The house and grounds were surrounded by a seven-foot black iron fence safeguarded with a coded lock and intercom. And he’d already counted at least four cameras. To his way of thinking, none of that information boded well for Gary and him.

“Oh, she’s got talents all right,” he murmured, his mind still on the security precautions taken for the house. “You can bet on that.” He shook his head again. “You just don’t get it, do you? It’s what the boss didn’t say that should make you worry. All he told us was to watch her because she could be useful to us.”

“Exactly. She could be.”

“Listen, kid. I’ve been with the Confederacy long enough to know that they aren’t going to send us out to watch a subject unless they already know just how useful that subject will be. It’s a waste of time. Hell, you’re clairvoyant. Can’t you just look and see what’s going to –”

“It only works if I have physical contact.”

Aaron suddenly chuckled. “Yes, I heard what you didn’t say,” he confirmed when Gary frowned at him again. “What? Shit, kid, you’re broadcasting like a radio frequency. I can’t help but hear,” he said and busted a gut laughing when he heard the words son of a bitch without Gary saying a word. “All right, all right, no need to get upset. And you can forget about kicking my ass. I might be older, but better men than you have tried to take me out, and lost the battle.”

“Whatever,” Gary muttered and went back to staring at the house.

After a few minutes of brooding silence, Aaron said, “So the old gift is wonky, huh? Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t? Shit, no wonder you’ve got such a big chip on your shoulder.”

“It’s not wonky.”

“Sounds like it is to me. But anyway, you’ll just have to trust me on this. We sit here and we wait and we watch. That’s all we do.”

“Fuck that,” Gary muttered.

“No! Fuck you, asshole!” Aaron said, his patience totally gone because he knew that Gary was planning to try and snatch the girl despite orders to the contrary. “I’m not going to let you screw up this op. I’m too fucking old to be letting some snot-nosed kid get me killed. Gregor has a reason for us being here, so just give me the damned camera and settle the fuck down.”

“Hey, don’t tell me—”

“Shut up.” Aaron’s eyes were on the rearview mirror. He watched as a car slowly approached. “What kind of car did Gregor say she drives? A black GTO, right? This is her. Look at the finish on that thing. It don’t even shine. That’s a bad-ass car,” he said admiringly. “It looks vintage. I’m thinking she’s had it converted to fuel cell. Nobody’s dumb enough to be driving expensive ass gasoline.”

“Be cool,” he warned softly when Gary tensed.

Perish pulled up in front of the house the woman she’d called grandmother had left her. The house, a small trust and a letter that had completely turned her life upside down comprised the entire inheritance Abigail Blackburn had left her when she’d died. And Abigail was the last damn thing she wanted to tax her brain with after such a trying day, so Perish decided to concentrate on the two idiots in the black van. What the hell do they want?

Letting her vehicle idle, she decided to get out and punch in the code instead of speaking into the intercom. As she leisurely strolled to the gate, she kept her ears attuned. She’d noticed the van right away and her suspicions had instantly been raised. No one parked on her street. If they did, they didn’t stay for long. The look of her house, and the rumors about her usually kept them away.

“Back unknown, two in front, male, largest no taller than five eleven, two hundred, two hundred and twenty, both up to no fucking good,” she mumbled to herself. A feral anticipatory smile broke across her face, and suddenly she wasn’t tired anymore. “Come on boys, what d’ya say? Gonna give it a go?”

Head cocked, Aaron watched Perish, a frown of confusion on his face. And then comprehension dawned. Dismayed, he closed his eyes and threw his head back against the seat in resignation. “Shit,” he mumbled forlornly. “Not only is this chick not broadcasting, she’s blocking me from reading her.”

Gary looked at him impatiently. “So?”

“So, if she’s able to block me — and I’m not bragging mind you, but that’s a tough thing to do — then she’s a talent, a damned good one. It doesn’t even feel like she’s trying. I think it’s just automatic for her.”

Unimpressed, Gary just snorted and went back to watching Perish. “I still think I can take her, and now is the perfect time,” he said as he started the van.

“What? No, don’t be an idiot!” But it was too late, and an obedient observer of the Confederacy’s code of always having your partner’s back, Aaron prepared to engage in what he just knew was going to be sheer folly.

Perish heard tires screech and even smelled the rubber burn as the van hurtled across the street towards her. The running feet were no surprise and she was braced when two pairs of heavy hands fell on her shoulders. “Hello, boys,” she said. Quick as a snake, she whipped around, breaking the hold of the larger one, snatching the wrist of the other as in one continuous motion she bent her body into it and flipped him over her shoulder.

And so quickly that the bigger man still standing blinked and missed it, she had a fistful of his shirt, lifting him onto his toes. She pushed her face in his and smiled so that he saw her suddenly elongated canines. When he blinked again and stared at them, she gave him a smug look, pursed her lips and made a kissing sound. “Wanna play?” she purred. Tiger, I think. She concentrated, felt her face contorting and grinned when the man’s eyes went wide with shock as he watched her shifting bones flow underneath and make ripples in her smooth skin.

Her eyes turned yellow with black pinpoints. They began to glow. “Surprise, asshole.”

“Ohhhh, fuck…” Aaron’s heart rate accelerated and he felt slick, scared-shitless sweat roll down his back. He groaned in shock and dismay. Thick tufts of orange and black fur had begun to sprout out all over the woman’s face and his mind went blank with fright. I didn’t sign up for this. He tried to lock his knees, but they began to buckle anyway. He felt her hold tighten and she gave him a fierce shake so that he had no choice but to watch in terror. Her face was completely covered in fur now and whiskers were shooting out on either side of…oh, shit…now she had a muzzle! Fuck you, Gary! Aaron thought as he fought to hold his bladder in check.

Perish growled low in her throat and he heard the satisfaction in the sound. His eyes rolled to the back of his head, but she shook him again, driving them forward once more.

“Jesus,” he breathed just as she gave a mighty roar, the force of it blowing his head full of hair back, forcing him to close his eyes against the power of it and making it difficult for him to breathe. He felt as if he were walking into a windstorm. Tiger drool flew into his face, and finally, Aaron gave up the fight. He fainted.

Pussy. He heard her thought, heavy with disgust, just before he sank gratefully into unconsciousness.

Perish felt the power of the change crash through her and she roared again. Her grip was the only thing keeping the man from crumpling to the ground, so she let him go, tossing him a few feet so that he landed right in front of her car. Before his head hit snow-covered concrete, she was once again fully human. From start to finish, the change had taken less than a minute.

She looked over at the man she’d earlier tossed over her shoulder. The smell of urine and feces wafted from the ball he’d rolled himself into and she chuckled huskily and licked her lips. “Tell whoever sent you that next time I won’t play so nice.” She angrily punched in the code that opened the gates leading to her home. “Get your friend and get off my property.” The words were tossed carelessly over her shoulder as she strode back to her car.

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Porn is yet another one of those things I never gave much thought to. Don’t get me wrong, I have enough social science degrees to know the dangers of porn and sex work in general. My undergrad thesis was a study of dancers at a local strip club and their interactions with social service agencies. I talked to a lot of strippers. In my book Try a Little Tenderness, I tried to honestly convey as much of that world as I could. Those women were honest and forthright with me, and I tried to do right by them in my book. So yeah, I know all of the statistics and I know from professional interactions just how tragic it can be.

But it didn’t really come home until I had sons of my own. I’m horrified by what they will some day find on the computer. We have all the nanny protections on, but we all know a curious child can find a way around just about anything. The worst thing about it is that most of this stuff is not even “normal” sex anymore. As I’ve always maintained, porn is one of those things that we get desensitized to, requiring greater and greater stimulation to get the same buzz. The porn actresses with their dead eyes are just so horrific and the use of another human being’s body as a “thing” is not a mindset I ever want my sons exposed to. The use of porn is especially dangerous in a society where we socialize our boys to detach from and compartmentalize their emotions. That having feelings is somehow unmanly. This compartmentalization is the very thing that makes porn so attractive; sex without the messiness of dealing with an actual human being. It’s detrimental to women and absolutely devastating to our young men.

My husband and I have talked about this at length. He’s concerned as well. He jokes that I “ruined” porn for him a long time ago by telling him that most of those actresses were sexually abused as children. He was never a big consumer before and lost most of his interest after that. I certainly intend to tell my sons the same thing and explain the mentality/economic realities that leads so many women to “choose” sex work. We do our best to demonstrate that sex within the context of a loving healthy relationship is a good thing, and that using human beings as a masturbatory device is immoral and frankly gross.

I fear that this will not be enough. Just hanging out online I see so many young men who are clearly porn sick. Who’ve had their view of women and girls totally distorted by the pervasiveness of this industry. My husband points out that back in our day porn was much more difficult to acquire and that if it had been as readily available to him as it is to young men today, it would have had a devastating effect on him. He probably would’ve done nothing else but watch it. And that’s what I’m afraid of. I know so many men whose marriages and even careers have been destroyed by porn. It drives so much of the sexual sickness that has become commonplace. When I was growing up porn mainly consisted of sex. Even anal sex was shocking and I was a fully adult woman before I actually saw photos. Now we’ve reached the point that with one click of the mouse I can see women experiencing an unimaginable level of bodily harm. This connection between pain, humiliation and pleasure is a very dangerous one, especially in the developing young brain.

I’m not a prude or ignorant, I know my sons will be curious about sex and sexuality. (And BTW, could somebody PLEASE write a version of Our Bodies Ourselves for boys? Without all the, “this is the stuff you can’t talk to your parents about” rhetoric? I don’t want to reinforce that mindset. I could talk to my VERY old school mama about anything and I want my boys to feel the same way.) Sex and sexuality is a normal developmental stage, but how do I help them through this stage when so much of this garbage is so readily available? From the very beginning we have tried to raise them as loving, empathetic young men with a healthy respect for other human beings. Porn is the antithesis of this. A cancer that serves only to erode and undermine healthy adult relationships. We are using the only antidote we can think of for this insidious poison; a healthy adult relationship. My only question is, will it be enough?

 

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