Monday, December 24, 2007

Coming Together: Under Fire

It was only a few months ago when wildfires flared in California, scorching thousands of acres and destroying hundreds of homes. This Christmas will be quite different for those families who have to rebuild a home from the ashes.

You can help! A group of erotica writers, led by the impressive talents of Alessia Brio and Will Belegon, have come together for those devastated by the California wildfires. Coming Together: Under Fire features hot, sizzling erotica that will warm up your winter nights...and ultimately, help someone in need. All proceeds from Coming Together: Under Fire will be donated to the victims of nature's fiery wrath.

It comes in print and ebook, and is available now from Phaze. Click here to order yours.

Here's an excerpt from my story in Coming Together: Under Fire. Enjoy!

* * *

The End of the World
by Gwen Masters

Australia, 1978

The Gibson Desert was the end of the world.

I was certain of this. I stood on the hood of the old Land Rover, the one with the three useless canisters full of petrol in the back. I turned in a complete circle and gazed in every direction. The vast emptiness made me dizzy. There was nothing there. Nothing. Only the tracks from whence we came, and those were quickly disappearing under the weight of the wind. Australia was a big country with more sand than was good for it.

Patrick sat in the front seat and surveyed the map. He had a compass in his hand. His face looked grim.

“How much farther?” I asked. “Can we walk it?”

Patrick snorted with mirthless laughter. “Sure. In a bloody month or so.” He flung the map down on the passenger seat and yanked his hat down over his eyes. The floppy brim obscured all but his mouth, which was set in a long, thin line of annoyance.

We had set out from Alice Springs a few days earlier, determined to try our luck at the crossing. It was ridiculous to most, but to us it was necessary. We didn’t want to go along the conventional beaten path. A photographer and a writer, out in the middle of nowhere; it would make for a few good books. Besides that, it was a personal mission. We were working on the goals we had set for ourselves, and hopefully our failing marriage would keep stride with the victories.

It was working until that engine threw God-knows-what and stopped us dead in the middle of no-man’s land.

“You could help me here instead of getting so upset,” I snapped. “We have to think.”

“Okay.” Patrick yanked the hat off and slapped it on the dashboard. Dust and sand flew from it in a beige cloud. “Let’s think. We have a Rover that has gone belly-up. We have a radio that doesn’t fucking work. We have enough water to last for three days, no more. We are in the middle of the desert and the next outpost is four hundred clicks away. What do I think? I think we’re in a goddamn bloody mess, that’s what I think.”

“Three days of water?” I asked, dumbfounded.

“That’s what I said,” he said, spacing the words out as if I were slow.

“How the fuck did that happen?” My hands were on my hips and I was glaring at him. I knew what picture I made, and I knew he hated it. I didn’t care. Right now I was very close to hating him.

“It happened because I thought we would be there in time!” he exploded. “I’m not an outback photographer. I shoot runway models, for crying out loud. I eat catering. Not...not snake and snipe and whatever that bloody dog thing is—“



“You have never eaten dingo. Stop being melodramatic. I’m the only person out here and I’m not going to listen to your bullshit.” I leapt from the top of the Rover and landed smoothly on the sand. The heat of it immediately warmed the bottom of my boot. The sun wasn’t overhead yet, but she was well on her way.

Patrick slammed his hat against the dashboard again. I looked at the ground, where two pieces of metal lay in the narrowing shadows. Those had come from the engine. And I had no idea where they went or how to put them back. There were no tools in the Rover anyway.

We were well and stuck.

I climbed into the back of the Rover and unfastened the canvas tarp that served as a roof. Patrick watched as I rolled it across to the windshield and fastened it down. “That makes it hotter,” he complained.

“The sun is worse.”

“You would know,” he said snidely. “Why don’t you just call your Outback Jack ex-boyfriend to hop over on a wallaby and save us?”

I looked out over the desert, trying to think. “Camel.”


“You don’t ride wallaby, for God’s sake. You ride camel.”

Patrick snorted in annoyance. I watched the shadows and the wind gather together. This was a land of mirages. I wondered if I might see one. It would surely be better than the guy sitting next to me.

Patrick tapped a pen over and over against the steering wheel. The sound was maddening, but I wasn’t about to give in and snap at him about it. Fighting would not help matters. It wouldn’t help the situation we were in and it damn sure wouldn’t help our marriage. I was on the verge of being done with him for good, and I was almost certain Patrick would reach that point very soon. Perhaps even today.

Why the hell had I shacked up with him anyway? That’s all it had been. The sex with Patrick had been spectacular from the night we met – literally. I never fucked on the first date until Patrick. But it was so damn good, I couldn’t feel ashamed about it. One night led to a weekend and then a week and then six months later I was pregnant. The shotgun wedding was romantic enough, and then the miscarriage came three weeks later. Patrick and I were left with a marriage from which the foundation had disappeared.

We had battled it out for three years, which was about two years too long.

But the sex? Christ, it was good.

“What are you thinking about?” Patrick snapped out of the blue. I jerked back to reality.


“What? Outback Jack?”

I sneered at him. “I was thinking about what a good fuck you are,” I said bluntly. Even in the midday desert heat, I could see Patrick’s furious blush.


“What is the point in lying at this late date? We’re going to leave each other, you know. Our marriage is over. Our lives might be too. What good would it do to lie?”

Patrick glared at me and got out of the Rover. He took off at a slow jog, looking from side to side as he ran. So he was going to be the big hero. What was he looking for? Something I had been unable to see from standing on top of the Rover and gazing out over the gravel hills and sand dunes?

I couldn’t wait to divorce the pompous bastard.

* * *

Get the rest of the story and other hot erotica in Coming Together: Under Fire. The erotica will warm your body, and the giving will warm your heart.

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