Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spellbound Excerpt

Spellbound is now available on Amazon.

When struggling film maker Connie Berringer goes to her local to drown her financial sorrows in cheap wine, mysterious stranger Jack Sinclair offers to buy her a drink claiming she’s beautiful. She begrudgingly accepts to ease her wallet, but is too smart to be fooled by the line. When the drink arrives, it’s not a beer, but a fifteen thousand dollar bottle of Grange Hermitage. Connie’s interest in Jack Sinclair dramatically changes, only to find he’s vanished.
Over the next few days Jack will turn up at the most unexpected moments rapidly becoming a crucial part of Connie’s world, and soon, an exciting adventure in the bedroom. Connie discovers a self in Jack’s arms she never knew, including the depths of passion she is capable of and the lengths Jack will go to stimulate that passion. Jack sees something in Connie he wants, but his search for it in the past will come back to haunt him, resurfacing as a threat to the new relationship he’s found.

Sophisticated, erotic, witty and tantalizing, Spellbound reaches into the broad sweep of the soul from the suspenseful drama of a homage to Hitchcock to the slow ticklish thrill of a completely romantic romance.


From Chapter One

Hundreds of them.
At least it seems like there are hundreds of them.
They’re ugly too.
And have barred teeth that snarl at me and taunt “You can't afford your lifestyle. You’re a bad person!”
It’s true. Not the bit about being bad (bills can be pretty nasty when they find their voice) but the living beyond my means bit. My problem is I want a place to live and food to eat and sometimes that’s too much to expect. I was spoiled by my mother, of course who led me to believe things like heaters in winter, three daily squares and a telephone are life’s necessities. I was obviously raised with a silver spoon.
At least that’s how this mountain of bills is making me feel, and for once sarcasm isn't helping. If I can't afford to eat and pay rent, something is horribly wrong.
The jury is out deliberating on the cause of my current woes, but there are two primary points of view:
1. This culture won’t pay artists a decent living while they are working and honing their craft.
2. A bright young law student, all her prospects ahead of her, throws everything down the toilet when she decides to leave her studies and take up a career in filmmaking despite her brilliant father’s excellent advice to play the game by the rules and not make life any harder than it has to be.
It will come as no surprise to find the first point is mine and the second is my Dad’s. However, I always had the idea I was a talented director, and winning first prize in the Independent Short Film Awards only fanned that flame, rather than quench it as Dad had hoped.
Yet, here I am. No funding, unable to find the cash to support myself as I work on my brilliant projects and no film job – not even as coffee girl on a set.
It is no mystery to my merchant banker father why great directors don’t want young, up-and-coming film makers anywhere near their sets.
To me it is a puzzle I will never solve.
However, the cold hard fact remains; I live in my dismally small apartment in Kings Cross in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I’m getting nothing like a job in film, let alone that great advance to build my brilliant film project that I just know deep inside will launch my career. I work in a cafe and I am now, officially at the end of the money I have “borrowed” from my Dad.
(He said never pay it back. I said it was a loan. He said if I would only ask I would never need money. I said I wanted to choose my own path in life. He said naturally if I accepted his financial assistance he would be compelled to offer me direction in other areas also. I told him it is a loan etc – you get the picture.)
I smile with sympathy at myself in the mirror. My large eyes, always a bit too big for my face appear more doeish than usual. I feel sorry for myself and embarrassed at the same time.
I haven’t been idle in the last few months since I took the loan from Dad. I wrote one full and proper script and three first drafts, all of which have something going for them. I made and submitted a short film for a local film festival. I even lowered my standards and directed one commercial, which took three days and for which I was paid a pathetic but gratefully welcome seven-hundred dollars. In short, I have been incredibly busy. I just haven’t made enough money. The most lucrative aspect of the past six months is working as a waitress, and that is nothing short of depressing.
Still, I don’t want to give up.
It’s an ugly thing to confess, but I’ll say it now. The look in my father’s eye when I tell him this lifelong “pipe dream” is over is all the impetus I need to get myself motivated again. I need my big break, that’s all.
No, not a break, I need to get real about the cash and then go back to the directing when I get more financial.
Gee! Even that admission is tough on the dream-ego. And I have a fairly healthy dream-ego.
With bills this high, and self-esteem this low, only one thing can provide the answer.
A drink.
I leave the bills splayed out on the kitchen table as a kind of future punishment for spending the twenty dollars in my wallet on red wine, knowing when I come home they will be there to ask where the money went. I reach for my coat, grab my bag and race out the door.

As soon as I walk into my usual hang-out, the roaring fire cheers me. I love this old pub with its red velveteen lounge chairs, the fireplace and the cheap red wine. I’m a little early, but soon the bar will be filled with all us “undiscovered” artistic geniuses - hell for some people, heaven for me. I’ll get sympathy for my theories on why no one will read my great scripts and forget the chiding reality of my bills for a blissful couple of hours. In the meantime, I intend to down a red wine and get on with reading a random book on Hitchcock I borrowed from the library two nights ago.
The cute bartender, complete with patented Aussie navy blue singlet and dusted blue jeans over a sculpted gay body turns and smiles when he sees me.
Ahhh - I’m home.
“Connie. You’re early lovey.” His face falls. “Tough day?”
“Let’s just say I had another domestic with my wallet.”
“Well, a bar is the best place for anyone who’s low on cash.” He grins and I’m understood and safe. “What’ll it be? A beer or a wine?”
“I’m gonna need red wine for this dilemma.”
“House special coming up, babe. How about I give you the happy hour price before happy hour? That’ll put a smile on your wallet.”
I give him my cutest “I-love-that-there’s-no-sexual-tension-cause-you’re-gay” smile and slam my fiver on the counter. For my pain I receive a hefty glass that’s probably over full and a buck fifty change.
Gotta love your local.

Second Excerpt of Chapter One, due tomorrow. 

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