fiction

A Book You Regretted Buying

Every once in a while, I’d binge buy a bunch of books at my local Barnes & Noble, especially when I used to work there years ago. We used to get a pretty sweet employee discount that made it nearly impossible for me to save money.

The majority of books I bought were great (rather, still have the potential to be great — I have plenty on my to-be read list), but there are a couple that I remember that I do regret buying.

One book in particular I was certain I found in the fantasy section of the bookstore. I tend to gravitate towards fantasy, sci-fi, graphic novels, and the occasional YA. I stay away from the romance section. Romance as a sub-genre is fine and dandy, as long as it’s fluffy and not shoved down my throat, but the genre is not this asexual’s cup of tea. I prefer earl gray or chamomile with honey. The book in question was probably in the fantasy section due to involving a — or the? — devil.

I figured that romance would be part of the story, but I think my reasoning for picking up the book was that it may have some adventure in Hell or something. Give me mischief and trouble and magic and hellfire! Unfortunately, the book itself was more about a human woman trying to navigate her romantic entanglement with a — you guessed it — devil.

I tried to read it. Really. Yet, there were a few too many scenes glossing over how the characters were tumbling into bed (among some other, um, unsanitary places and the use of the devil’s tail) when the woman should probably have been figuring out how she got to this point in her life. She would begin to try to put down boundaries and explain how human life should work to her Boyfriend From Hell — like, you know, not killing her roommate’s cat — then he’d smirk and the nearest bed would be used.

It was not interesting.

I don’t even remember the title or the author of the book. I recall the cover a bit — some reds and whites, with a woman gazing up at a rugged-looking man, which honestly should have been my first clue about the story — and that it wasn’t a thick book. It’s been quite a while since I gave the book away to a thrift shop, hoping that maybe it would find a nice home with someone else who could give it proper attention.

The book was already donated before I realized that I gave a near-erotica story with the devil to the thrift shop attached to my church. Whoops.

…Maybe one of the older ladies who ran the place got a kick out of it.

Any books you’ve regretted buying?

September Flash Fiction Day 22 – 28

Part Four of my September Flash Fiction! The prompts can be found here. Please note that these are posted daily on my Tumblr, if you’d like to catch up with them there. Let me know what you think or if you are also following the prompts!

Day 22: Crunch

It was the crunch that made her shudder, the crunch that made her stomach somersault, the crunch that made her double-check her grip on her knife. There may have been safety in numbers during the end of the world, but her priority was herself whenever they came face-to-face with the distorted zombies. She felt awful that she could do nothing for him, that she could only crawl away with her own safety in mind as the zombies crunched down on flesh, but if the situation were reversed, she wouldn’t want him to pull any white knight heroics for her sake.

Day 23: Forage

They could forage for as long as they wanted during the day, but it was apparent every night that they could never find enough. “We need to leave,” was the general consensus. “There’s not enough food here any longer.” Still, the decision was made slowly, with backpacks and the few personal items they managed to save being meticulously packed away for days until there was no reason to stall any longer. As they looked back at the graves of perished friends while they shouldered their packs, they rationalized that their friends would have wanted them to move on and live.

Day 24: Crisp

The lines of Lee’s uniform were clean and crisp, as immaculate as he always needed to be. He took a deep breath as he stared at the mirror, praying that his eyes weren’t red-rimmed from grief. Despite the funeral, it wouldn’t do for the captain to be anything but stoic. He needed to be focused on his duty and keep his soldiers in line for the crowning ceremony. The country grieved for the fallen Crown Prince even as they scrutinized his brother, the next king. Lee may have failed the Crown Prince, but he would not with his brother.

Day 25: Gray

If there was one thing Carl never thought he would do in his life, it was following a wolf. The wolf was a young female, most likely trying to strike out on her own or was tossed out of her own pack for one reason or another. Upon finding him, she latched on, bonding to another outcast on the edges of the territory. Amid the tree line, the skyline was gray with the coming dawn, just like his mood. Nevertheless, he turned to follow the wolf when she barked for his attention to continue leading them through the trees.

Day 26: Maple

She understood why seasonal drinks were a thing, especially in the corporate world, but they were always a pain to create. A shot of this flavor here, sprinkles on this one, whipped cream at the bottom of the cup for that one… She was using precious brain space to memorize custom drink recipes rather than her spells. On the other hand, busying herself with creating complex drinks gave her a chance to test out spells. She smiled at the customer as she handed him his maple pecan latte, hoping that her confidence spell would mix well with the flavors.

Day 27: Blanket

“It’s the only one I have,” she said, shaking it. “Go ahead and take it.” The blanket, worn and thin, some of the corners fraying with use and time, was tossed to him. He murmured his thanks as he wrapped it around his shoulders. She went back to tending the campfire, the scent of roasting fish making his stomach nauseous. The fish was small, probably only enough for each of them to have a couple of bites, but he was willing to share his food if she was willing to share warmth. Sometimes war meant finding your own allies.

Day 28: Spice

The spice scent was so thick, he choked on the air as he entered the bazaar. Vendors hawked their wares, each competing for the attention of strangers wandering about. At the very least, his quarry was intelligent. It was difficult to distinguish his scent amid the bazaar’s chaos. Still, there was more than one way a werewolf could hunt down his prey. With a snarl to a vendor who had gotten a little too close, he stalked through the stalls, looking for anything out of place or any nooks that his prey could hide. He wouldn’t get away this time.

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