Mmm… Today is dark and gloomy in my worlds. Rain is falling, the skies are gray and I can’t think of a better day to pen horror stories. Yes, believe it or not, Cassandre writes grizzly horror where blood and gore are second nature. That’s the entire concept around a collection of stories by 11 authors of The Edge Imprint from Booktrope. I wanted to highlight the true monster, the very beast that dwells within all of us.
It’s often said there’s a very fine line between good versus evil. I started writing about this very concept in high school given my love of Camelot. I simply expanded my notion. How many times have you honestly longed to beat, skewer or perhaps kill someone in the heat of the moment? Have you ever fantasized about doing wretched things to a co-worker or imagining a violent accident involving someone you hate? You know you have. We all have. I merely asked the various authors to join me in a feast of human flesh. After all, it’s that time of year. I’ll start with mine and over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’ll highlight the fabulous folks who agreed to come on a dark and dangerous journey. Come take a taste of…
THE INTERVIEW – CASSANDRE DAYNE
“Ms. Barnes? I think there’s something you need to see.”
“Does the Finance Director have a picture of you selling your soul to the Devil, Marcus?” Jennifer Barnes shifted in her seat, glaring at her assistant. She loathed interruptions. “You don’t understand? Are you fucking kidding me?
“Ms. Barnes, I’m sorry, but-“
Jennifer held up her hand, halting Betsy’s advance. “Well, grow some balls because I didn’t hire a prom queen. If you continue to have difficulty fulfilling my needs, I assure you, I can find someone else to fill your seat.” Ending the call, she closed her eyes briefly, imagining Marcus’ head stuffed and placed on her wall. Then again, he was no conquest. He was to everyone else a useless man, much like all the others in Tredegar Avionics. The majority of them would be unemployed by the end of the week. She eased her hand away from the phone and plastered on the perfect smile. “This better be good, Betsy. I have a hard deadline in less than an hour.”
“Jesus Christ. What?”
Betsy bit her lip as she walked closer to Jennifer’s desk. “I think you need to see this.” Shoving out her hands, she cringed, a nervous tick appearing in the corner of her mouth.
As Jennifer rose to her feet, she glanced at what appeared to be a newspaper. “Did we make the front page?” The stocks plummeting, Tredegar remained a constant disappointment to the Board of Directors, who’d only recently hired her to clean house. Her entire career was hinging on bringing a failing jet manufacturer back on track. The concept was daunting enough, let alone she’d been forced to deal with employees who offered little, if any, respect. Few women held a position of this nature.
“Ye… yes. Not in a way you would like. I don’t think. I mean, I don’t believe what the jerk said of course, but…” Betsy’s hand shook as she lifted her arm.
New CEO of Tredegar Avionics a Porn Star
“What… the… fuck?” Goosebumps popped along the back of Jennifer’s neck.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t know and I…” Betsy looked away.
“For the love of God, stop whining.” She scanned the article, seething as she read the words.
The newly hired Ms. Jennifer Barnes has a secret life, one that includes BDSM and bestiality, her best-selling books admired by many. Her rating on Goodreads indicates an impassioned appreciation by her fans. As a reporter, I have to wonder whether Tredegar Avionics was aware of her extracurricular activities and if so, what their motive is in bringing an immoral CEO to the forefront of a failing company. What were they thinking?
The words burned into the back of Jennifer’s mind. She wrapped her hand around the paper, her normally cool demeanor challenged.
Betsy fidgeted, moving back and forth from foot to foot. “They don’t know what they’re talking about. They don’t get it and—“
“Just stop. Just stop right now.” Jennifer read the rest of the article. While certain aspects of the rag piece were correct, the warped view of the fact she wrote erotic stories in her spare time was, at best, jaded.
“I’m sorry,” Betsy repeated as she took a step back. “The guy is an asshole. He does this to everyone in our community who steps outside of the box. Lying sack of shit.”
For the first time, the girl showed guts. Impressive. Jennifer shook her head as she finished the scathing article. The reporter had all but called her a whore. She didn’t need this bullshit. “It’s okay, Betsy.” She found the reporter’s name. “Devon Fields. Why does it
Betsy shrugged. “He’s the kind of journalist who can and will unearth dirt on anyone.”
“Fascinating. Sin and sex sells.” Jennifer could only see red. Challenging her character was reprehensible. The recognition kicked in. She’d read a few scathing pieces penned by Mr. Fields. What a loser.
“Do you want me to demand a retraction?”
“There’s no need. Devon I can handle.” Jennifer’s stomach was in knots. The Board was well aware of her books. She’d disclosed everything during the hiring process. Still, a question lingered in her mind. Would they stand behind her given the ridiculous notoriety?
“Are you certain? I have some contacts that might be able to help put the pressure on the worthless pig.” Betsy’s eyes opened wide. “I apologize. That was totally unprofessional of me.”
“No need for apologies.” Jennifer tossed the paper down on top of her desk. “Do me a favor and see if you can get ahold of Mr. Davidson. I think I need to have a talk with him.” The President of the Board was formidable, one of the reasons she had accepted the difficult position, but he was also conservative in nature. Bad press would only hurt their credibility. She had a terrible feeling this was just the beginning of the firestorm.
“Of course.” Betsy turned and walked to the door, her heels clipping against the tile. She stopped and looked over her shoulder. “Just for the record, if you don’t mind, I mean, I love your books. I’ve read three of them since you were hired.”
After Betsy left, Jennifer gripped the edge of her desk, her mind filled with nasty thoughts. “Great.” A myriad of vile, murderous images rushed through her brain, evil deeds she’d like to do to the wretched man. He deserved to be gutted for the act. Instead, she sat down at her desk, clicking on the Internet. There was one way to fight a condescending creep – find out every scandalous detail about his past. Everyone had something sordid lurking in the bowels of their lives. Everyone.
Thirty minutes later and she had a damn clear understanding of Devon Field’s tactics. He enjoyed ruining lives. He had no idea the tiger he faced. Snickering, she sat back in her chair, imagining various ways to ruin the man, and to destroy his rather tarnished reputation. Betsy was right. Devon was a glutinous swine.
Her phone buzzed. She looked down at the screen. The caller was unknown, but her gut told her who was trying to get hold of her. “Jennifer Barnes.”
“Ms. Barnes, this is Devon Fields. I hope you’ve had the opportunity to read my article in today’s Downtown Lifestyle.”
“Interesting piece. You certainly don’t believe in securing the facts.” Jennifer’s stomach churned.
“Facts? You are a writer, creating stories regarding the darker side of kink. Aren’t you?” Devon chuckled. “I adore the title, Whip Them Until They Succumb.”
You fucking freak. “Do you believe I’m going to give you a comment to something so tawdry?”
“Yes. That’s why I’m calling. I’m certain you’d like an opportunity to tell your side of the story. Now, wouldn’t you?”
His goading tone grated on her nerves. She swallowed the nasty words floating to the tip of her tongue. “I have nothing to say to unfounded information or a story hell bent on perpetuating a derisive environment. Nothing.”
“Ms. Barnes, with all due respect, I would assume that you’d want not only your employees, but those who are depending on your leadership skills to learn the details. You do need for them to know that the fact you enjoy whipping people in your off-time has nothing to do with your abilities to run a multi-million dollar operation. Now, don’t you?”
Now if you hunger for more, you’re going to have to purchase the book…
Kisses and whippings…