Just the Way You Aren’t by Lynda Simmons #giveaway #flashFiction

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BookCover_JustTheWayYouArentJust the Way You Aren’t
by Lynda Simmons

What happens when an everyday Cinderella makes a play for the prince?

A moment of madness. That’s all muralist Sunny Anderson expected when she donned a glittering mask and a fabulous gown to crash the gala at Manhattan’s newest boutique hotel. Project manager Michael Wolfe has no idea that the beauty staring up at the mural on the ballroom ceiling is also the artist who painted it. He’s captivated and she’s willing, but when their moment of madness on the sofa in his suite comes to an abrupt end, his princess is off and running, leaving nothing behind but a pair of earrings. He’s determined to find her again, but all he has to do is look closer at the woman painting the mural in his office to see that the one he needs is standing right in front of him.

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Read an excerpt from the book:

Sunny’s feet moved of their own accord and she stared straight ahead, horrified and thrilled at the same time. Wondering what she was playing at and not at all surprised when he fell into step beside her.

This was why she wasn’t ready to leave, she realized. She was enjoying herself too much. Enjoying the fact that as Sonja she could do anything or say anything. Be shocking and sexy, and make Michael Wolfe sit up and take notice.

She glanced over at him as they walked, feeling beauti­ful, powerful, but most of all desirable. Because if that wasn’t hunger she saw in those dark eyes, then she’d been out of circulation for far too long.

Which was a distinct possibility given that her last sexual encounter had been almost a year ago in the back of Vince Cerqua’s convertible when the top wasn’t the only thing that wouldn’t go up. She’d spent the drive home assuring him that it happened to men all the time; at least that was what she heard in the tearoom.

She felt her face warm, knowing instinctively that Michael’s top would never let him down. Not that she wanted to find out. Not really. Not now, at any rate.

“Where will you be going in the morning?” he asked.

“New Jersey.”

He drew his head back and she laughed. “There’s a theater group I’m rather fond of. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. I’m just a wanderer. Never in one place long enough to plant a garden as they say.”

“Is that what you’d like to do? Plant a garden?”

“Yes,” she said, slipping in a touch of Sunny, but staying true to Sonja. “Of course, with so many emerging artists, I’m not thinking about that right now.”

He stopped and took her hand. “What are you thinking about?”

Trouble. And sex. Mostly sex. For all the good it did her.

Truth to tell, Sunny wasn’t the kind to have a one-night stand. She was conservative in her thinking and cautious when it came to matters of the heart. She was the kind who delivered hampers at Christmas, painted faces at the community center on Halloween, and made sure her organ-donor card was signed. No question about it, she was Sunny the good: Balanced. Friendly. And utterly predictable.

But Sonja? Now there was a real vixen. A woman who traveled the world, took risks every day, and was never, ever predictable. It seemed a shame to make her leave the ball so early when she was only in town for one night. And Sunny had the rest of her life to spend being good.

Michael ran his thumb across hers and the pull was stron­ger than ever, bringing her back a step. After all, it wasn’t as though he was a total stranger, some masked man she picked up at the sushi bar. This was Michael Wolfe, Beast of Brighton, Terror of the Tradesmen. And she already knew he looked good without a shirt.

Maybe Hugh was right. Maybe a moment of madness was good for the soul.

The music changed again, the singer launching into a slow, sultry torch song that begged an answer to the question women had been asking for centuries: what is it with men and commitment?

Sunny had wrestled with that issue herself for years, convinced that the boy she’d loved too much would come back for her one day. Pale and contrite, wanting nothing more than to love her the way he should have all along. But commitment wasn’t on her mind at all when she twined her fingers with Michael’s and gave him Sonja’s best come-hither smile. “I’m thinking we should go to your place,” she said, and was sure she was floating as they headed for the door.


Flash Fiction:

Eight

The Calico Twins

I’m Calli and that’s my sister Coco. The CalliCoco twins, get it. Yeah, we thought it was lame too but it could have been sooo much worse. Besides, Ophelia was really nice and we’re really sad she’s dead. It’s just so gross seeing her at the bottom of the stairs all smelly and stuff, but Bernard’s been really nice to us. Inviting us to his apartment, giving us treats and listening when we talk. We know he just wants intel, but the others don’t like it when we talk.
“They don’t like it when we do anything,” Coco mutters.
But as they say on TV, that’s just because they don’t know us. So today we’re going to change all that, because having only Bernard and Old Tom for friends is getting, like, really boring.
Right now, a bunch of them are in Ophelia’s office, trying to figure out how to get from the window to the ground.
It’s so far, Coco and I were like, “just give it up,” but Newcomer was like, “I don’t think so,” and now Sneaky Manx or Lola or whatever she’s calling herself these days, has come up with a plan.
We can’t hear much from the hall, so Coco picks up the treats we brought as a peace offering, and we creep into the room and under a chair. Not so that we can tell Bernard what’s going on, either. We just want to be part of something else, you know.
“The plan is simple,” Sneaky Lola Manx says, “but it can only work if the love birds are willing to help.”
Is she kidding? What kind of cat asks birds for help? But everyone’s nodding and looking at the cage so maybe they know something about birds that we don’t.
“What’s involved in this plan?” one of the birds asks.
“See that screen in the window?” Lola Sneaky Manx asks. “If we make a hole in it, would you be willing to go through?”
The bird says, “Depends. What’s next?”
“Once you’re outside, you go to the kitchen window of the house next door. It’s right below this one. When the lady inside sees you, she’ll know something’s wrong. She’ll come over to tell Ophelia and the next thing you know, someone will be at the door to set us free.”
“Followed by cages and a trip to the animal shelter,” says Newcomer, who is standing awfully close to Fluffy, but we’ve thought something was going on there for a while.
“And then what?” Fluffy asks, her eyes getting all big.
“Then a chance at a new life in a new place,” Annie says and looks around the room. “You’re all young and lovely. Someone will take you home, I guarantee it.”
That includes us too, I guess, but cages are kind of creepy and I cuddle closer to Coco, both of us lying on top of the treats in case Old Tom comes around. Don’t need him snitching to Bernard. He’s been grouchy enough lately. And his apartment is starting to stink.
The birds agree to help and Sneaky Lola Manx says, “Now we need a hole in the screen, and those birds out of the cage.”
“I’ll start the hole,” Newcomer says and leaps up onto the rail in the middle of the window. Fluffy follows – talk about your love birds – and the two of them start clawing at the screen.
“We could use Scruffy on this,” Newcomer says. “Anyone seen him?”
“Not for a while,” Lola Manxy Sneak says as she circles beneath the cage.
“Wait, wait,” the birds holler, but she leaps anyway and grabs hold of the cage.
That thing starts swinging, the birds start squawking and sure enough, Old Tom comes lumbering up the stairs.
“What’s going on?” he growls.
Coco and I try to tell him the plan, but he says, “Leave those birds alone,” and walks away.
So rude. And also too late.
The cage and stand crash on the floor. Water and bird crap fly everywhere. But because the little food thingy broke, the birds can get free.
“We’re not coming out unless you guarantee safe passage to the window,” one says.
“And the seed box,” the other adds. “I am starving.”
Annie leaps up onto the desk, knocks over the seed box and tells them they’ll be safe.
Hunger is stronger than smarts I guess, because they crawl out of that little hole and fly up to the desk. Annie stands guard while they crunch seeds and Newcomer and Boots tear at that screen.
“Stop this right now!” Tom says, but nobody pays attention so why should I?
I pop out from under the chair. “We want to help.”
“Why?” Boots asks. “So you can report back to Bernard?” He waves me away. “Run along, and take Tommy boy with you.”
Old Tom gears up for a fight, but Newcomer says, “See if you can get through there,” to the birds, and everyone turns back to the window.
The first bird pokes at the hole a bit and then he’s through and flying around on the other side of the window. The second bird follows and now both of them are flying and all the cats are cheering and falling over each other to see what’s going on.
“Go to the kitchen window,” Newcomer hollers to the birds. “Right down there.”
“I need to see,” I tell Coco and make a running leap to the top of the bookcase beside the window.
“What are you doing up there?” Newcomer asks.
“I want to watch,” I say.
“And we brought treats,” my sister calls.
“What treats?” Old Tom asks.
“Chicken,” Coco says.
“We don’t have any chicken,” Annie says.
“The birds are in place,” Fluffy calls, and everyone forgets about our treats.
We’re all watching the birds hopping on the window ledge and tapping on the glass. It’s kind of cute really. Too bad that orange cat on the fence sees them too.


AuthorPhoto_LyndaSimmonsLynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.

With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat – a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman.

When she’s not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she’s found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her – like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!

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About Jen

I love all things supernatural and paranormal. Coffee addict. Book lover. Wise Ass. Read the rest of my ramblings at My Crafty Life

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Comments

  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Thanks for hosting! Cheers

  3. Thank you for the excerpt, it was great. Love the cover.

  4. Tara Hillis says:

    I think those birds are in trouble! Looking forward to tomorrow.

  5. Both installments are great!

  6. Love the way you show the age of the sisters by the use of ‘like’ – grin. I’m really addicted to this now! Looking forward to the next installment.

  7. Meredith Cox says:

    I love these cats! Can’t wait to read your book.

  8. Patrick Siu says:

    I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  9. interesting bio

  10. Aww, I hope the birds make it okay. I’m really into this story.

  11. The excerpt was great. The flash fiction was cool.

  12. Such beautifully mysterious cover!

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