From now until Valentine's Day, the Manuscript Mavens are running a Choose Your Own Adventure® story, in which YOU vote on what happens next! Every morning brings a new author, from the Mavens to the just-sold, to the best-selling. And every night brings a new twist!
Who the hell would order a stripper on Valentine's Day?
Isn't it supposed to be a couple's holiday? Fancy dinner for two, a dozen roses, a bit of bubbly, maybe even a big rock. And definitely some hip-to-hip action later on.
But a stripper?
I shook my head at the woman standing at the door. "I'm sorry, you've got the wrong address."
She just looked at me blankly--probably because her eyes were so heavy with glittery blue eye shadow and false lashes she could barely keep them open, let alone focused. Her stringy blond hair was piled in whorls and swirls on the top of her head and the clothes she was wearing...well, let's just say, she looked like a schoolteacher, but that hint of fishnet stocking beneath her knee-length skirt, not to mention the four-inch leopard heels, sort of gave it away.
"I didn't order a stripper," I said. And even if I had...well, it wouldn't be a female.
Come to think of it, maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to have a stripper on Valentine's Day--especially if you, like me, didn't happen to have said Valentine.
This year anyway.
Ah, hell. Not even last year either.
That's what came with being a research assistant at a sleep lab. I spend all my waking hours watching people snore in their little comfy beds in our lab, and much of the day trying to keep the sunlight from blasting through my windows.
People who didn't know me might think I'm a vampire.
Which I'm not. And this isn't a story about vampires, in case you were wondering. I was just making a comparison.
Anyway, I looked at her again, tempted to wave my hand in front of her eyes to see if I could get a reaction. I didn't think she'd blinked once since I opened the door.
"Ma'am," I said again. "I didn't order a stripper. You'd better check the address and see where the mistake was. I'm sure someone," I couldn't help sounding dubious, "is waiting for you."
At last she spoke. Her cherry red lips, plumper than a velvet cushion, moved carefully, as if she was afraid her lipstick would smear. Based on the thickness of it, I'd say not a chance. She was wearing enough color and gloss to cover all of the Baywatch girls. And then some.
"Imelda Branchos?" she said. "1450 Madison Street?"
"Uh, that would be no," I replied. "This is 1450 Madison, but my name isn't Imelda." For some reason, an image of shoes popped in my head. Lots of shoes. "Someone must have written down the wrong address." I smiled a good-bye. "You'd probably better call your...dispatcher or john or whatever. Good luck."
I closed the door.
Why couldn't it have been a male stripper who came to the wrong address? Of course, with my luck, it'd be like the Friends episode where Danny DeVito showed up.
I was just settling back down with a new episode of Grey's Anatomy (one before Katherine Heigl started to get on my nerves) when the doorbell rang again.
I paused it, got up and thought for a moment how pathetic it was that here I sat, on Valentine's Day, watching made-up people save other made-up peoples' lives and falling in love with McDreamys.
I peered through the sidelight at the door. Well, hell-o there! A tall, extremely handsome specimen of male hunkness stood there. Very tall, very straight, and with the best nose I've ever seen on a guy.
I'm a schnozz girl. Because you know what they say about schnozzes, right? The same thing they say about a guy's feet.
I opened the door, keeping it chained (I may be easily distracted, but I'm not stupid). "Can I help you?" Oh, I'd sure like to!
A) He said, "Hello, I'm Bradley Bulky from StripWorld (We tease better than anyone!) and I have an...appointment (he gave me a sexy grin) with Imelda Branchos. I hope that's you." (His grin turned hotter.)
B) He moved and there was the silver barrel of a gun pointing right at my gut, through the crack of the door. "Well, well, Imelda Branchos. I've been looking for you for a long time. Open the door or I'll do it myself."
C) He flipped open his coat to show a gleaming gold badge that looked very official. And pecs that showed through his tight shirt. "Officer Galahad here. Do you live at this residence? Have you ordered a stripper?"
D) Before he could answer, a sharp ping sounded in the air, and something shot into the door that I was holding. Holy crap. A bullet. "Let me in!" he exclaimed, pushing at the door.
YOUR TURN: You decide what happens next! Leave your vote in the comments by 7pm EST (4pm Pacific) every day between now and Valentine's Day---Tomorrow's story continued by Jody Wallace with the twist YOU choose!
Today's installment brought to you by Colleen Gleason. Vote to win one of Colleen's books!
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