Welcome to my second Charity Sunday. In case you missed the debut of this feature lastmonth, it works like this. On the second Sunday of each month, I devote my blog to a specific charity or cause. I’ll talk a bit about the charity I’m supporting, plus give you links to find out more. Then I’ll give you a sexy excerpt. (I am, after all, an erotic author!) You’re invited to comment on the excerpt or the post.
For every comment I receive, I will donate one dollar to the specified charity.
This month, I’m supporting Rosie’s Place, a women’s shelter and helping community in Boston, Massachusetts. I’ve been a Rosie’s Place donor for nearly three decades. They’re a hands-on demonstration of the power of love and respect in action.
Rosie's Place was founded in 1974 as the first women’s shelter in the United States. Their mission is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that helps poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives.
Today, Rosie’s Place not only provides meals and shelter but also creates answers for 12,000 women a year through wide-ranging support, housing and education services. Rosie’s Place relies solely on the generous support of individuals, foundations and corporations and does not accept any city, state or federal funding. Thanks to these donations, 88 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to services for poor and homeless women.
There’s so much I love about Rosie’s Place: their deep personal commitment to women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds; their understanding that helping women means helping their kids, too; their creative programs to build skills and self-respect, as well as to raise money; their recognition that each woman has her own story and her own path, with no “one size fits all”.
I’ve never been homeless, but one of my good friends from university spent months on the street. Although she was a brilliant young woman who’d been accepted by an Ivy League school, she had a psychiatric condition that required regular medication. If she went off her meds, she started acting truly crazy. That was the genesis of her homeless period. For some reason, I really identified with her situation. I guess I realized we’re all susceptible to bad luck.
I’ve written a couple of stories featuring homeless characters, and have several more roughed out in my notebook. Here’s a bit from my holiday story Slush, a holiday romance which is currently free as part of Smashwords Summer Sale.
“You say you found me near a fancy car? A silver Beemer?”
The kid pulled off his mittens to warm his fingers over the flames. “Sorry – I wouldn’t know. I really didn’t notice. I was busy trying to get you into my cart.”
Ian patted the pockets of his fleece-lined leather coat, then shrugged it off his shoulders. Finally the place was starting to warm up. “Did you find my keys?” He rifled the pockets of his soaked trousers, with increasing urgency as he discovered every one was empty. “Where’s my phone? My wallet?”
The youth looked up, face rosy from the fire. “The muggers probably took ‘em. Anyone can see you’ve got plenty of dough.”
Panic seized Ian by the throat. His iPhone, his Cartier watch, his Hermes wallet, all gone. No money. No credit cards. No way to communicate with the outside world. “How – how do I know you didn’t steal them?” He lunged toward the figure near the fire, sure he could shake his belongings out of those rags.
That stare, stripping him to the bone. That laugh again, like a crystal bell ringing in the cramped, stuffy ex-garage. “Come on! If it was me who ripped you off, why would I bring you back to my place?”
Drained by his sudden exertion, Ian collapsed back onto the lumpy mattress. “Ah – um – of course you’re right. Sorry. Thank you. I do appreciate your help, really I do. I’m just tired, and disoriented, and so thirsty...”
The kid retrieved a chipped mug from one of the crates piled up against the wall, filled it from a spigot above them, and handed it to Ian. “Here you go.”
Ian sniffed at the liquid before he took a sip. It smelled a bit musty, but he needed it too badly to care.
“I managed to score some aspirin today, too. Think you could use it more than me.”
His host popped two white tablets into Ian’s palm. He peered down at them, dazed.
“By Jesus! You think I’m gonna poison you?”
“No, no, of course not.” He washed the medicine down with more of the water. Somehow he felt better already. “You’re very kind.”
The young man shrugged once more. “Anyone would do the same.”
Not me. If I saw you lying in the gutter, I wouldn’t look twice.
The thought gave him more pain than the throbbing lump at the back of his head. Was it really true?
“Lie down. Rest. You hungry?”
Ian interrogated his battered body. “Um – no, I don’t think so.”
“Well I am. Gotta get out of some of these clothes first, though. It’s getting pretty toasty in here.”
The kid yanked off his woolen cap. Ian gasped as masses of fine golden hair spilled down over those narrow shoulders.
“You – you’re a woman!”
“Yeah – you didn’t know?” Her peals of laughter made him blush with embarrassment. Rage simmered underneath. No doubt she thought him a fool. It was so obvious now – the slender body swaddled in second hand sweaters, the little hands, the delicate features and fair complexion... But who would have expected to find such a pretty girl in a place like this?
“I’m sorry,” she said, gulping air in an attempt to smother her hilarity. “I sometimes forget. I’m not exactly a glamor queen these days.” She gestured at her raggedy clothing. “You don’t mind if I take some of this off, do you?”
Stunned, Ian shook his head. She peeled off a stretched out hoodie, two sweaters and a flannel shirt. After prying off her sneakers, she shed her baggy dungarees. Now she wore nothing but off-white athletic socks, a grass-green tee shirt and the scarlet long johns. Both of the latter clung to her willowy form, making it quite clear there was nothing underneath.
Despite his exhaustion and the pain in his head, Ian’s cock stirred inside his damp, hand-tailored trousers. You bastard, he thought. She saves your life, probably, and all you can think of is fucking her.
She didn’t notice. She was surveying her own petite body, the green top and red bottoms. “Wow,” she chuckled. “I look really Christmassy, don’t I?”
Her merriment was infectious. “All you need is a pointy cap and you could be one of Santa’s elves,” he told her.
Her face lit up with delight. “Thanks. I’m Daisy, by the way. Should have introduced myself before and spared you the shock.”
“That’s okay. My name’s Ian.”
She fixed him with one of those direct stares. Her eyes were gray, he noticed, not the cornflower blue he would have expected given her hair.
“Maybe you should take off your own wet things, Ian. Wouldn’t want you to catch pneumonia, or anything – after all the work of dragging you back here!”
Head over to Smashwords and get your own copy of Slush, absolutely free. Before you go, though, I hope you’ll leave me a comment. Remember, I’ll donate one dollar to Rosie’s Place for every comment I receive. I hope you will help me spread the word, too.