The Easter bunny has brought something a little bit special–and a little bit naughty–to the blog for you today. In preparation for the launch of his new (erotica) book, One Shade of Red, talented author Scott Bury is gracing us with an excerpt. He promised me that the excerpt he provided would be something I wouldn’t be embarrassed to read with my wife in the room…I told him he must not know my wife very well.
Without further ado, here’s Scott.
The One Shade of Red launch blog tour
Guest post by Scott Bury
Bruce Blake is one of the most generous people I know. He’s helped me develop my new book, One Shade of Red; he posted the cover during the cover reveal last week; and now, he’s jumped on the Launch Blog Tour. Saying “thanks” isn’t enough, but for now, it’s all I can do.
Bruce’s readers are smart, so I don’t have to tell you that One Shade of Red is a spoof of the incomprehensibly bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey.
To create a parody, I turned the concept upside down. The narrator is the naive, under-confident university student, Damian Serr; and the slightly older mentor figure is the beautiful, smart and independent businesswoman, Alexis Rosse. Alexis teaches Damian about business —and about that mysterious other thing between women and men.
This excerpt comes from Chapter 6, “Building the Client Base”: Alexis has set up appointments for Damian. All he has to do is make the sales. When it comes to Mrs. Casales, though, Damian’s not sure what he has just sold.
One Shade of Red launches April 2 on Amazon, iTunes/iBookstore, Smashwords and other fine e-tailers. For links, visit Scottswrittenwords.blogspot.com.
The previous stop on the tour was March 30, on Dawn Torrens’ My Books & I.
The next stop, April 1, is David Cassidy’s blog, Because Life is a Really Good Story .
Chapter 6: Building the Client Base
I had to drive all the way to Etobicoke for the last appointment that Alexis had set up for me. The only good thing about driving across Toronto in midday is that it’s not as bad as driving during rush hour.
Another tree-lined avenue, another brick house; I knew it could not be as ridiculously overpriced as the mansions in Rosedale, but it was still an expensive area, close to the subway, with expensive cars and luxury SUVs in the driveways. I checked my list: Mrs. Casales.
As I pressed the doorbell, I imagined Salma Hayek coming to the door. Instead, Mrs. Casales was a slightly overweight young woman wearing a long print skirt and a loose top. Her messy, light-brown hair was tied with a bandana.
I just wanted to step into the air conditioning, but Mrs. Casales wanted to shake my hand, first. “Ah, PoolGeeks?”
“Good afternoon, ma’am,” I said in the best door-to-door salesman voice I could muster in the heat. “My name is Damian. I’m here to give you an estimate.” It was now one p.m., and all I could think about was air conditioning.
Instead, Mrs. Casales led me around the house, jaws chattering and hips swaying the whole way. “I’m so glad that Alexis told me about you. We used to do it ourselves, but we get so busy in the summer and now that the kids are bigger and aren’t at home as much, well, it was all too easy to get careless. And that led to the pool getting, well, a little gross from time to time. I just hope your rates are reasonable!”
Mrs. Casales kept talking as I inspected the long oval pool. After Alexis had made me clean hers twice, I got a book on pool maintenance. By this time, I knew how to recognize the signs of repeated attempts to rectify pool neglect with nothing but chlorine shocks: there were about a million leaves and dead bugs floating on the surface and yellow scum clinging all around the sides. Scratched and dented chairs were scattered among toys on the pool deck. A shaggy mutt slept in the shade of a messy looking shrub.
I made a show of walking around, looking at the pump and the filters, inspecting the ladder and the deck. I said “mmm-hmm” whenever it sounded like Mrs. Casales wanted me to and scribbled on my clip-board.
My brain kept alternating between two thoughts: that I should charge Mrs. Casales extra for being so dirty, and Alexis in her string bikini.
And then a third thought intruded: Alexis not in her string bikini.
“So, what do you think?” startled me.
I handed Mrs. Casales the estimate sheet. “I think I’ll have to be here for most of Friday morning, and then at least twice a week after that,” I said, trying to sound friendly, professional and reassuring all at once. I failed.
“Oh, my,” Mrs. Casales said when she read the estimate.
How to say this without insulting her? “I’ll need to do a fair bit of work just to catch up on the season,” I said. I stepped closer to her, wondering what her hair would be like if I pulled off that stupid bandana.
She leaned forward to sit on a deck chair and I looked down at her cleavage. I wasn’t certain, but I did not see a bra.
Mrs. Casales sighed and looked to the side, fanning herself with my estimate.
Don’t get cocky, my brain warned. You got two easy sales from beginner’s luck and Mrs. Rosse. You may have to bargain with this one.
But she’s such a pig! I told my brain. That estimate is fair. I’ll have to spend a lot of time here just cleaning up their mess.
Mrs. Casales sighed again. “Do you have any references besides Alexis? Mrs. Rosse, I mean?”
“Well, I have … a number of other clients,” I said. I tried not to lie, but it was hard to be honest and get the sale at the same time. “I’ll have to ask them if they’d give me references, though. You know, use their names.”
She looked at me for a moment, her head tilted to one side a little. “Are you sure there’s no discount for friends of Alexis Rosse?”
Does she mean what I hope she means? I wondered.
Stop being an ass, said my brain.
“Well, maybe I can take off … ten percent?”
She smiled a sunny smile that seemed to make the sun dimmer. It also made me even hotter. I wondered if it would be unprofessional to take off the jacket.
What the hell. I’m a pool boy. Or pool geek. Make that Pool Geek.
I slipped the jacket off, revealing huge sweat stains on my brand-new shirt. Mrs. Casales suppressed a laugh. “How about twenty-five percent off and I’ll make sure to bring you nice cold drinks when you’re here?”
I was mortified by my pit stains. “Okay,” I said weakly.
Defeated by perspiration. I felt like the dumb guy in all the commercials.
“Wait here,” she said, and went in the back door. I could see her moving in her kitchen, opening a refrigerator, and then the best sound possible in those circumstances.
She came back out with two open bottles of Heineken. “Let’s seal the deal with a drink,” she said, we clinked bottles.
The beer was a lifesaver. I drained two-thirds of the bottle in one shot. “Thank you, Mrs. Casales. I really needed a drink in this heat.”
“It’s important to stay hydrated. But beer won’t do that. Wait a minute.” She went back to the kitchen and came back with a tall glass of ice water. “Drink this down. You’ll feel much better.”
I drained it, and I did feel much better. A pressure across my forehead that I hadn’t been aware of until that moment eased. “Wow. Thanks very much.”
“You do have a water bottle to take with you when you work?” she asked. “They say it’s going to be a very hot summer.”
“Yes,” I lied. Water bottle. Buy a water bottle, shmuck.
Shut up, brain.
“When can you start?”
“Friday morning,” I said. I gave her the spiel about the deposit and payment. She pushed the estimate back to me to adjust the price, and I scratched it out and wrote in the 25 percent discount. She almost skipped into the house to fetch her chequebook, and as she let me out the gate, she paused to shake my hand.
“See you Friday.” Then she stood on tiptoe and kissed me on the cheek.
I did not know what to do. She giggled and shut the gate, separating us with sturdy, weather-greyed wood.
What is it about women and pool geeks?
I called Alexis from my car.
“I hope you’re not driving while talking on your phone,” she said. “I hear the police are clamping down on that this summer.”
“I have a hands-free system,” I lied. “I just thought I’d tell you, I got all three customers! They all said yes!
I had to add: “I gave Mrs. Casales a twenty-five percent discount, in return for cold drinks every time I’m there.”
“That’s all right. That’s just doing business, as my poor, late husband would say. And Leda needs a discount now and then. Her marriage just broke up.”
Was that the reason for the kiss? Another lonely, horny housewife needing to get it on with the pool boy?
Don’t be an ass, said my brain.
Women want the perfect man, so they can change him. But when university student Damian Serr discovers a rich, beautiful woman who’s voracious about sex, he doesn’t try to improve on perfection. It’s all that he can do to hold on for the ride.
Damian has always followed the rules, always tried to please others. At 20, he still dates the girl next door because his parents like her parents. When Nick, his university roommate, asks Damian to take over his pool-cleaning business so he can take an internship in London, Damian can’t say no — especially to Nick’s first and only client, a rich widow.
But widow Alexis Rosse is far from helpless or lonely. This beautiful financial genius is busy turning the markets upside-down, and she revels in sex wherever, whenever and with whomever she wants.
Over the summer, Alexis gives Damian an intense education. Day after day, she pushes him to his sexual limits. The only question he has is: will she break them?
“So well-written that it flows easily, hooking the reader right from the beginning. I had real problems to stop reading it.” — Cinta Garcia de la Rosa, author of A Foreigner in London and reviewer of Indie Authors You Want to Read.
“How nice it is to see a dude lit-style book! And well-written at that!” Lisa Jey Davis, “Ms. Cheevious”
“So hot, you’ll want your own pool boy.” — Charity Parkerson, author of The Society of Sinners
Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and novelist based in Ottawa, Canada. His articles have appeared in magazines in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia, including Macworld, the Financial Post, Applied Arts, the Globe and Mail and Graphic Arts Monthly.
One Shade of Red is his second novel to be published.
His first published novel is The Bones of the Earth, a fantasy set in the real time and place of eastern Europe of the sixth century. He has also published a short story, Sam, the Strawb Part (proceeds of which are donated to an autism charity), and a paranormal story, Dark Clouds. His work in progress is tentatively titled Walking from the Soviet Union, and tells the true story of a Canadian drafted into the Red Army during the Second World War, his escape from a German POW camp and his journey home.
Scott Bury lives in Ottawa with his lovely, supportive and long-suffering wife, two mighty sons and the orangest cat in history.