Born to Love Wild is a paranormal romance anthology from Stars and Stones Publishing.
Get it here from Stars and Stones
Or from Amazon
My story in Born to Love Wild is “The Flying Saltines”
When the Hudson River falls in love with a walking disaster of a teenager, can New York City survive?
Selection from “The Flying Saltines”
I’m so drunk I think I’m sober. And yet, I’m sprawled in the bathtub wearing my black jeans and an even darker shirt. The shower is on, but it’s only my torso and crotch under the icy spray. So that’s bracing. Pretty sure I screwed someone in the alley behind Taphouse in the last ten minutes. My hair reeks of lavender. The fuck? Lavender?
I stagger out of the slippery tub. Turn off the shower. Unstick my wet jeans and t-shirt and leave them in the tub. Cringe at my face in the mirror.
If some post-modern beatnik wielding a pair of gardening shears assaulted a photo-shoot of models then stitched their faces together backward, it might look somethin’ like my reflection.
And, to be clear, I mean that literally.
So I fix my Picasso-esk face, then squiggle a chunk of toothpaste stuck to the faucet. The alley behind Taphouse… Why can’t I remember anything? It’s not like me to forget details.
“Damn…” I brace my hand on the wall and sink through. Glasses are in debug mode. I mend the wall, then tap the glasses to day mode. Steady myself. Leave my wet clothes in the tub. Stumble into my apartment.
I expect darkness. Instead, I see Lum.
Frantic as ever, he digs through my cabinets. Orange beanie slipping on his head. Wet patches on the knees of his Carharts. He grins when he finds a bowl, a smile that shatters—
Not that he’s cute. His eyes bug too much, and he hasn’t got a shred of confidence. I mean, he’s my buddy. That’s all. Not cute.
“Uh, hi,” He freezes when he sees me. Right. Because I’m naked. “Didn’t you, um—”
I reach through the wall into my bedroom closet and grab my bathrobe. “What the hell you doin’ here, Lum?”
“I-I, well—” His smile cracks. He gestures at the bowl and milk on the counter without the calm to finish speaking. Somehow, he knocks a box of raisin bran out of the open cabinet. Bran rains onto the counter. As he fumbles to slide the cereal back into place, he tilts the box. Pours cereal into his hat.
Eventually, Lum hands me the broom and dustpan. It’s safest when I clean his messes. Crumbs tumble off his hat. “Yeah. Listen, there’s—actually, how are you feeling? Nice and sober?”
“Not remotely.” I sweep the crumbs onto the floor. “Why are you in my apartment?”
“Uh…” His eyes could swallow the world if he held them steady. Instead, they flicker toward my chest. “R-reality is kinda sprained.”
“Only a little. Um, I’ll show ya.” Lum tugs his stained and tortured shirt.
He opens the kitchen window over the fire escape. There’s a potted plant, and I’m frankly stunned he doesn’t knock it over. Instead, a flutter of insects swarms my kitchen.
Not insects. They’re too square, too white, too…crumbly.
“Lum. Is that saltine flyin’?”
Reveiws from Goodreads:
“Not every paranormal romance is a fairy tale, and this story hits you in the face with that knowledge right away, sucking you into the main character’s life and holding you hostage (willingly) so that you want more. It’s a bit disjointed, so was hard to follow the timeline, but it turns out that was the whole amazing point. I thoroughly enjoyed the romance-infused ridiculousness.”