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Two Snippets from Project Enterprise: The Short Stories

Ride along as two mysteries are solved and hearts are changed!

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Back when I thought I’d finished my Project Enterprise series, I was asked to contribute stories to two different anthologies. The rights returned to me when the publishing house closed and I bundled them together in my Project Enterprise: The Short Stories.

These stories are very different. One was written for a mystery anthology and the other for a steampunk anthology. 

Let’s start with “Men in Jeans.” I’ll explain how this one came to be in my “behind the book” feature on Friday, but for now, here’s the blurb for the story:

Richard Daniels thinks life can’t get any stranger than working at Area 51 until he gets assigned to find out where Houston area SF writer, Jilly Smith, gets the ideas for her books. Should be an easy assignment—if it weren’t for the dead guy in Jilly’s backyard and the non-business related ideas she’s giving him.

And here’s the snippet:

Rick applied some pressure to the doorbell. When nothing happened, he applied some more and held it for a twenty count. Just before they could consider their next step, they heard footsteps approaching the door.

There was a peep hole, so Rick held up his ID so she could see it.

The door didn’t open.

“What do you want?” The voice sounded muffled coming through the red door.

“We need to speak with you, Ms. Smith.”

The door opened a crack, the chain still on. Part of a face peered out the gap.

“Let me look at your ID.”

Rick put it in her hand. They weren’t FBI but she wouldn’t be able to tell. It was an authentic forgery.

“He doesn’t look FBI.”

Rick looked at Fyn. She was right. He’d crossed his arms over his chest and planted his feet, like someone who meant to stay as long as needed. If he’d really been FBI, the dreads would be long gone.

Rick tried to look safe and trustworthy. “You can call that number on the badge, ma’am. They’ll vouch for us.”

“I’m sure they will.” Her voice sounded a bit dry, a bit cynical.

Lady wasn’t a fool.

Another long pause, then the door closed—and opened again, this time without the chain. She stood in the opening. She had a cordless phone in her hand, her thumb on the speed dial. Just a guess, but he had a feeling nine-one-one was the number. Very smart lady. Pretty, too. Way better than her driver’s license photo, but then most people were. Green light spilled into the dim hallway, highlighting the fact that she was, well, hot. Great features, great body in shorts and a tee shirt. Bare feet, the toes painted same red as the door. She had gathered her hair into an untidy mass on top of her head, but silken strands escaped to curl against creamy skin.

Her eyes were so blue, they almost looked purple.

Not what he’d expected from a writer. Or ET. Now if she was Mata Hari…

* * *

The second story is called “Steam Time,” (yeah, not the best time in the world lol). I’ll also give more backstory for this story on Friday, but here’s the blurb:

Tobias Smith hadn’t planned to ride along with Dr. Everly and his Medicine Show, but they were heading in the same direction – Marfa. During the journey, Tobias quickly uncovers another surprising revelation – that Everly’s ‘son’ is not who ‘he’, or should he say ‘she’, appears to be! Tobias soon discovers he might not be as bad as he thought – in a good way – when he and Ani find themselves bumped into an alternate reality complete with an automaton gang and airships. 

Could Tobias be the hero, save the day and get the girl? Stranger things have happened in the award-winning Project Enterprise universe!

And here’s the snippet:

Moonlight bathed the rocky enclosure, deepening the shadows, though the tinaja gleamed where it formed a rock pool. She started to dismount, not averse to taking a drink, too, but Chance was there next to her, his big hands circling her waist and lifting her clear of Delphine like she was a baby or something.

A brief sense of soaring through the cool air didn’t end when she landed at his feet. With the horse at her back, the big man fencing her in, she should have felt worried, scared even. They were so close she almost brushed against him when she breathed. Not that she could breathe. All of her felt caught, not just by the hands at her waist, but by emotion welling up from a place so deep inside, she hadn’t known it was there. Was this how her Ma felt about her Pa? This wild, reckless yearning that dried her throat and sent her heart a racing? She should have been terrified. An odd time to realize this was the safest she’d felt since Ma passed.

His hand, his big man hand, drifted up to brush against her cheek, his touch light—though the skin had been roughened by work—and mighty gentle. Was this what it meant, to take the rough with the smooth?

“Have you ever been kissed, Ani?”

I hope you enjoyed both snippets and want to ride along as two mysteries are solved and hearts are changed!

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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