Tag Archives: #ChantaRand

A Mermaid’s Quest – Episode 1

 

By Chanta Rand

 

“Humans are greedy, manipulative creatures that crave chaos and glory. They are ungrateful, vile beings, incapable of goodness. They are conquerors by nature—ready to destroy every culture they come in contact with. Yet, we now find ourselves in the unfortunate position of relying on them to help perpetuate our species.”

Narissa waited patiently for Elnora, the leader of the Lemurian Council to finish her speech. Elnora glided back and forth, her milky eyes appraising the seven females summoned to the Council’s meeting room. She was frightening, not just because of her gills and rough scales. What was more alarming was Elnora’s position in the Council. She single-handedly made most of the decisions, which were readily agreed upon by the others. No one dared to oppose her.

Even when she was wrong.

As an older Hydronid, Elnora lacked the ability to morph into human form. That was probably why she judged man so harshly. From what Narissa had learned about humans, she didn’t entirely agree with Elnora. Hydronids, who would be considered mermaids by ancient humans, had a similar genetic makeup to human females. By despising humans, Elnora despised part of herself. It was this same type of inter-species hatred that had caused Lemurians to destroy themselves years ago.

“As despicable as these creatures are,” Elnora continued, “we share much of the same DNA. Thus, they are the most logical choice for breeding.” She hung her head. “I wish there were some other way, but we must lower our standards and mate with these pathetic animals to ensure our survival.

“Living miles beneath the sea, our underwater fortress has afforded us protection from enemies who cannot survive the depths and the darkness of our world. However,”—she turned, her long tail sweeping angrily behind her—“this sanctuary has also kept us isolated from other civilizations, with no one to help us through our bitter civil wars with the Octopi. We’ve been cut off from trade, resources, and all further growth.”

Several of the older council members nodded their agreement. They were all females who’d endured the loss of husbands, sons, and fathers in the last twenty years. Narissa’s father had been killed when she was a young child, so she felt the same pain as the others here.

“There have been no males in Lemuria for over two decades,” Elnora needlessly reminded them. “Our species cannot be left to die out. I simply will not allow it.” She studied the faces of the seven young women standing before her. “Each of you has been chosen to leave our world and mate with human males.”

Shocked reactions rippled through the room. Some of the women’s scales flattened against their bodies. Others streamed sulfurous, yellow bubbles from their gills—an obvious sign of distress.

Born to a Hydronid father and a half-human mother, Narissa was more human than any of the other women assembled. She’d always considered her ability to morph between shapes a curse, some sort of deformity she’d never wanted in the first place. Now, she realized she could easily navigate amongst humans. Still, the idea of breaking the water’s surface was terrifying. She might never come back!

The world above was rife with enemies and obstacles. Vicious octopi that could suck the life from her with their deadly tentacles. Toxins from man’s polluted water and oil slicks. Commercial fishing vessels with nets large enough to ensnare her.

“Through the merits of evolution, you have been given a wonderful gift,” Elnora said. “Your ability to morph into human form can help you infiltrate their world. It is only through this infiltration that you will be able to keep our species alive. “Find a human man to breed with. Any man! Drag him back here if you must. Our survival is in your hands.”

Narissa didn’t want to leave her watery haven, but to ensure the perpetuation of their species, she must mate with a human male. The only problem was, where would she find such a man?

 

 

Accidental Witch, Episode 5

Episode Five

By Chanta Rand

 

 

Mary stepped out of the limo and stood on shaky legs as Stirling clasped her hand in his. The man’s kiss had nearly made her knees buckle. She held on tight, hoping she didn’t fall and bust her ass wearing these five-inch stilettos. The sparkly pumps were a far cry from the comfortable sneakers she normally wore. Tonight her mission was dress to impress. By the way Stirling’s tongue was hanging out, she’d succeeded.

Before they could reach the door, a photographer sprang up like a jack-in-the-box to snap a photo of them. Stirling wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her close, settling into a picture-perfect pose. It wasn’t hard to smile, especially feeling the heat of Stirling’s palm scorching through the material of her dress. Desire snaked through her veins like liquid fire. She was still thinking about his promise to find out what her other lips tasted like. If his kiss was any indication, this man would live up to every fantasy she’d ever had about him.

Moments later, clinging to his arm, she stepped through the door of the posh Palladium Club. Bittersweet sweet pride replaced passion as her eyes swept across her handiwork. Even beneath the dim light of the glittering chandeliers, she saw her stamp of classiness everywhere. She was responsible for everything—from the velvet, burgundy drapes parted with gold tassels to the gold tablecloths and white lily centrepieces. She’d even picked the venue. Her dumbass boss didn’t have the connections to secure a party here. Ironically, when she booked this place (at a substantial discount), she never thought she’d be attending with a man who made her panties wet.

A waiter approached, carrying a tray laden with flutes of Cristal champagne. Stirling plucked two flutes from the tray and passed one to her. If he kept this up, she’d be as drunk as her boss had falsely accused her of.

No sooner had she tipped the glass to her lips, did the man suddenly appear. His jaw dropped the moment he set eyes on her. Within seconds, his short, stubby legs stormed into her personal space.

“What are you doing here?” he demanded. “I thought I made it clear you no longer work for me.”

Before she could reply, Stirling’s six-foot-plus frame stepped in front of her boss. “I’m Stirling Drake. Ms. Reynolds is my date. Is there a problem?”

The frost in Stirling’s voice generated enough ice for an igloo.

“Oh, um…my mistake,” her boss stammered. “I, uh…didn’t realize—”

“Shouldn’t you be attending to the guests instead of harassing my date?”

If Little Napoleon were of fairer complexion, he would have turned beet red. But his coffee-color skin betrayed no emotion. Only the slight twitching of his right eye let her know he was pissed. She’d seen the tick plenty of times—because she was usually the one pissing him off.

“Yes, sir, Mr. Drake.” Her boss practically saluted. “Is there anything…else I can do for you?”

“You’ve done enough. In fact, the best part about you letting her go is that I get to have her all to myself.”

Her boss walked off, clearly flustered and embarrassed. Mary giggled, fighting the sudden throbbing between her legs. “What exactly do you have planned for me, Stirling Drake?”

A devilish grin crept across his handsome features. “Magic, baby. We’re going to make beautiful magic together.”

 

 

Days Of Auld Lang Syne, Episode 3

By Chanta Rand

 

Joanne stared at the hunk who’d brought back a flood of memories. Though she’d last seen him five years ago, she’d never forgotten her high school crush. He was a young man then, hovering on the precipice of adulthood. Now, he stood before her even more handsome, if that was possible. Dark, brown eyes. Sable hair. Dimples she could swim in. Hell, he could be a model if he really wanted. An errant breeze swept flurries of snow through the air. A lone snowflake landed on his feathery eyelashes, instantly melting into a diamond-like bead, glistening on the tips. The tiny drop melted into a pool of warm liquid—just liked she’d wanted to when she first saw him.

Get it together, girl!

“Okay,” she said, regaining her composure. “See you tomorrow.”

“Looking forward to it.” His frosted breath was in direct contrast to his heated gaze.

Shivers salsa-danced down her spine. The sensation had nothing to do with the cold temperatures. She was bundled up tighter than Ralphie’s brother on A Christmas Story.

As Shawn walked away, her eyes feasted on his impressive physique, following the heels of his tobacco-colored boots all the way to the dusting of shearling that ringed the back of his coat collar. The leather jacket stopped at his waist, showcasing his muscular backside through the corduroy pants he wore. His Burberry scarf flapped in the wind as he disappeared into the crowd.

The nervous churning of her stomach competed with the rapid-fire staccato of her heart. On her vlog she was fearless, outgoing, independent, and full of spirited advice. She talked about the latest fashion styles and the best ways to dress and impress a guy. Shawn was the very embodiment of the man she had in mind when she wrote each article. Every must-have dress she mentioned, every pair of designer shoes she drooled over, every hairstyle she recommended were all to catch the eye of a man like Shawn Davis.

He was high class personified. On top of that, the guy was super smart. She remembered throughout school that he was a brainiac. Math club. Chess club. Debate team. Back then she’d been quiet and shy, years away from breaking out of her shell. She’d stayed in the background watching the events of high school unfold as though everyone else were on stage and she was a spectator in the audience.

Now, Shawn Davis wanted to take her to dinner. She’d talked him into coffee instead. The thought of sitting through an entire meal, drowning in those dark pools he called eyes, was intimidating. What if she wasn’t smart enough? Good enough? Pretty enough?

Ay, papi. Who was that?”

Joanne turned to find her fourteen-year-old cousin, Yana, at her elbow, gawking in the direction Shawn was retreating. The girl’s eyes shone with appreciation.

“An old friend of mine.”

“Humph. With friends like that who needs lovers?”

Joanne gasped as Yana’s bubbly laughter floated up over the crowd of skaters. Joanne tweaked her on the nose. “Girl, he is too old for you.”

Even as she playfully scolded her cousin, Joanne recalled her first day of ninth grade—the day Shawn had walked into science class and sat in front of her. Her life had never been the same.

Yana adjusted her Betty Boop earmuffs over her thick mane of dark curls. “I heard the lyrics to a song once—age ain’t nothing but a number.”

“Yeah? Well the state of New York does not agree with you. There are laws against that sort of thing. And even if there weren’t, Tío Bernard would dispense his own justice. I can’t have your daddy mad at me.”

Yana grinned. “I’m just pulling your leg, cuz. I’m a sweet teenage girl attending a catholic, girls-only school. I steer far away from trouble.”

“Good.”

“For now, I will live vicariously through you.”

Joanne laughed. “Trust me, I am not living vicariously. I barely have time to do anything but write, eat, and sleep. That’s why I’m glad to be hanging out with you and Novia today—my two favorite cousins.”

“We’re glad to be hanging out with you, too, Jojo. This is going to be the best Christmas ever.”

At that moment, Novia glided by, arms wide open, face joyfully lifted up to the winter sky. “I’m the Queen of the World!” she announced.

Yana raced after her sister. Joanne cracked up at the girls’ antics. For the first time in months, she felt light-hearted. Maybe it was this place with its happy skaters. Maybe it was the holiday spirit. Or maybe it was the fact that she had a date with a hot guy.

Panic stabbed the center of her heart.

Dear God. It is a date. What am I doing?

She dug her cell phone from her coat pocket, and then used her teeth to pull off one of her gloves. She punched in a number she knew by heart. She needed reinforcements.

 

Exes and Ohhs: A Thanksgiving Romance

Episode Seven

By Valerie Twombly

Sugar stormed across the parking lot, searing tears streaming down her face. If that wasn’t enough, Mr. Tough Cop was hot on her heels.

“Sugar! What the hell did he mean by his daughter?”

She spun to face him, all fury and flame. “How many ways do I need to spell it out? Leave. Me. Alone! I’m not interested in dating you.” With a sigh, she added in a softer tone, “I’ve got enough damn trouble as it is.” She whirled, walked back through the door, and headed straight for the storeroom. She was a wreck of emotions. A ball of guilt filled her for not telling him he had a daughter. Then anger boiled just under the surface like the sun about to erupt. After all, he had left her and then made it perfectly clear he didn’t love her. Then there was her heart. How many lives did it have left? Broken to pieces when he’d deployed, fractured when he cut off communication, and today? Today it had shattered into a million fragments when she’d seen him again.

Damn it all to hell and back.

She still loved him. Heart, body, and soul.

“Sugar!” Her sister entered the room as pissed as a cat in a back alley fight.

“I know.” She pulled a tissue from her apron and blew, pushed her curls out of her face, and straightened her shoulders. “Sorry, I’ll be out in a sec.”

“Listen. I know your heart’s breaking, but you need to do what’s best for Sophie. That man has a right to know his daughter and she, her father.” Her eyes softened. “Give him a chance, Sugar. War is hell, and something tells me deep down he still loves you. Always has.”

Before she could reply, her sibling vanished back into the sea of customers. Her sister was right. Sugar owed her daughter. Her heart said to give him a chance. Her body begged her to slip into his arms and forget the last three years had ever happened. Her mind however, said to pack up and run. She closed her eyes and inhaled. After the rush was over, she’d head to their favorite spot. Something told her she’d find him walking the lake. As she exited out the door and into the breakfast crowd, she knew it was the right decision. She only hoped her heart didn’t stop beating completely.

As she slid by Beau, he gave her a wink. “Things will work out. They always do.”

She smiled. “Thanks, cuz.”

Her sister looked up from her note pad and gave a nod of approval. “You cut outa here in thirty. I’ll handle the rest.”

Then it was settled. In less than an hour, she’d likely make a fool of herself, but she’d sleep with a rattlesnake to ensure her daughter’s happiness.

 

 

Episode Eight

By Lena Hart

It took Sugar longer then she anticipated to leave the busy diner. As the breakfast rush began to die down, she jumped into her mother’s old station wagon, zipped through their small, beloved town of Hartsville, and headed straight toward Kissmee Lake. She hadn’t been down to their old spot in three years. Not since their last night together, when they had shared the most explosive moment of her life—and had created their daughter.

Sugar made it to the lake in time to see Jax sitting in his truck. The back lights glowed as he began to pull out of his parking spot.

Was he leaving?

For good?

The thought of not setting things right between them, of never seeing him again, sent her into a panic. Sugar whipped her station wagon alongside his. She barely had the key out of the ignition before she jumped out of the car and ran to his truck.

“Jax, wait!

Jax hit the breaks, a sort of stunned confusion on his handsome face. Sugar ran to the passenger side and climbed into the tall truck. He put the truck back into park and cut the engine.

“Sugar, what the hell? I could’ve hit you.”

She smiled at him, not at all bothered by his ferocious frown. She knew him and knew he only got that look when he was scared. “No, you wouldn’t have. You would never hurt me.”

His expression softened. “No, I wouldn’t.”

“Then why did you stop writing me?” Sugar hadn’t meant to blurt out those words, but his sudden cut of communication had torn her heart apart. She knew this moment wasn’t about her. It was for Sophie and having her daughter know her father, but Sugar was still hurt by his callous abandonment and needed to get the words off her chest. She glanced down at her hands and exhaled. “I know why you had to leave, Jax. I hated it, but I know you, and I know you could never turn your back on your responsibilities. But me? I never imagined you would turn your back on me.”

Her voice caught and Sugar kept her gaze averted as silence stretched between them. Suddenly, he opened the glove compartment and pulled out a small bundle of letters in varying degrees of wear. Without a word, he handed her the stack. Sugar stared down at them curiously before gingerly pulling them from his grasp.

“What are these?”

“My final letters to you.”

Sugar’s eyes snapped up to his. She knew what he meant by that. In that moment, the possibility that he would not be sitting next to her in his old pick-up truck, where they had share so many fiery moments, became a stark reality.

“Oh, Jax.”

He reached out and brushed the single tear that escaped from her lids. “Don’t cry, sweetheart. The last thing I ever wanted to do was cut you out of my life. But I couldn’t stand the thought of what my death might do to you. I didn’t want to put you through that kind of pain so I thought I could help you forget me. But I was a fool and caused us both unnecessary pain.” He nodded toward the letters in her hands. “I wrote you every chance I got after your last email. It was the only thing that kept me sane out there.” He paused then said gutturally, “No matter how much I tried, Sugar, I could never let you go.”

Tears brimmed her eyes as a series of emotions reeled through her, but she blinked them away. Glancing down at the letters, she flipped through each one, losing count after thirty. On the face of each letter was her name in his bold handwriting with exes and ohhs scribbled underneath. A quavering smile tugged at her lips. It was the same way she had signed off all her emails to him.

“Jax… I—”

Her words were cut short when a police cruiser pulled up behind his truck, flashing its bright red and blue lights. From the outline of the figure inside, Sugar could make out Officer Milhouse’s stocky frame.

 

 

Episode Nine

By Chanta Rand

Jax hopped out of his truck, ready for battle. He’d had enough of this dude’s shit. He’d met plenty of guys like Milhouse overseas—all bluster and no balls. The only reason he got away with his intimidating behavior was because he was a big bully in a small town.

Jax knew all about taking down bullies. He’d done plenty of that for the last three years. He’d even had nightmares about it. One more bad dream wouldn’t matter. In fact, it’d be worth it to put a hurtin’ on this fool that he’d never forget.

One scuff-toed boot foot followed the other as Milhouse exited the cruiser. He stood, legs bowed like a wishbone. Son-of-a-bitch acted like he owned the world. A grim line occupied the place where his mouth should have been. Steel eyes shaded by the crisp brim of his cowboy hat bored into Jax.

The two stood face to face. Millhouse puffed his chest out. “Listen, buddy. You can’t just skip into my town trying to lay claim to something that’s clearly not yours.”

“Your town?”

“You heard me. Now, why don’t you slink back in your truck and get the hell out of here before I send you home with your tail between your legs?”

Jax tensed. “You think just because you’re wearing that tarnished badge I won’t kick your ass?”

Milhouse snatched the gold-tone metal from his lapel and flung it to the ground. “Badge is gone now, punk.” Then he unfastened his gun belt. It slid to the grass and landed with a soft thud on the grass. “It’s just you and me. Man to man. You sure you wanna tangle with—?”

Jax punched him square on the jaw. Milhouse’s head snapped back and then he fell forward, landing flat on his face on the carpet of grass. It was over before it began.

Jax’s warrior instinct kicked in. He stalked over to the cop’s unconscious body and used his foot to shove him onto his back. “Just like I thought. All talk.”

Sugar rushed forward. “Oh, my God! Is he dead?”

“No. But when he wakes up, he’ll wish he was.”

“Jax…” Sugar’s hand clasped his, her slender fingers lacing with his calloused ones. “Let’s just go, please,” she begged. “You can get in a lot of trouble for this.”

He shook his head, keeping his gaze pinned on Milhouse. “I defended my country. I can damn sure defend the woman I love.”

“You can’t just assault a—wait. You love me?”

He faced her, his heart wrenching at the flickers of hope dancing across her blue irises. Lord, she was beautiful. Beautiful and perfect and everything he wanted in a woman. In that moment, he knew he’d do anything to protect her, and the child he believed was his.

“Yes, I love you, Sugar Dennison. I think I loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you.” He brought her hand to his lips and pressed a tender kiss on her knuckles. “The whole time I was away, I prayed I’d get back to you. I went to bed thinking of you. I woke up wondering about you. Now that you’re standing before me in the flesh, I’m never gonna let anything separate us again.”

A single tear slid down her smooth cheek. “I thought you’d forgotten me.”

“Never.”

Her lips parted, begging to be kissed. He’d dreamed of those lips. Fantasized about her curvaceous body. Plotted what he would do if he ever saw her again. The memory of her had sustained him like water to a man in the desert. He leaned in, ready to show her just how much he’d missed her.

The sharp blast of a car horn waylaid his plans. Tires crunched gravel as a brown and white station wagon pulled into the parking lot. A face he recognized peered through the driver’s side window.

“Hey Mama,” Sugar called.

Mrs. Dennison’s shocked gaze flitted from Sugar to him. “Jax? Jax Brandon is that you?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

She stared at the lifeless figure on the ground. Jax knew he probably looked like Captain Morgan on steroids. Knee bent, sneaker firmly planted atop Milhouse’s sternum.

“Good Lord! What is your foot doing on that cop’s chest?”

Before he could answer, a beautiful, cherub-faced little girl with dark, bouncy curls caught his attention. She stared wide-eyed out of the back window. She took one look at him and then her little lips scrunched into a frown.

“Aw, shit,” he muttered.

“Hey,” Sugar elbowed him. “Watch your language in front of my mom—and my daughter.”