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The Salacious Scribes Mystery


by Louise Hathaway






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Copyright: Smashwords:

Louise Hathaway 2017





Chapter One


Never in a million years would I have imagined that when I joined a group of erotic romance writers, that one of us would be killed at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas. It had all started out so fun.

When I first heard that my writing group wanted to reserve a booth there, I couldn’t make up my mind if I wanted to go or not until my husband convinced me.

He said, “You gotta go. It’s a great venue. There will be plenty of people willing to pay for erotic romances.”

Good point! I thought.

You may ask why my husband is so liberal and supportive about me writing in this genre? The truth is that he loves my stories. Sometimes, he reads them aloud with me in bed, and we have extremely hot sex afterwards. Lucky me!

But—before I continue, I must tell you our ages. He is a smokin’ hot 63-year-old and I’m a year younger.

My life-long dream has always been to make money as a writer. It’s a tough field and the competition is fierce. My area of concentration in graduate school was 19th century British female writers like Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, and George Eliot. Unfortunately, these women writers were appreciated only after they had passed away.

I can’t help but wonder what my professors would say if they knew that I write erotic romances. I haven’t always written in this genre: I primarily write mysteries such as police procedurals and cozy, Agatha-Christie type whodunits.

My love affair with the written word started when I was a junior in high school and listened to my brother’s Bob Dylan’s albums over and over again.

I attempted to write in Dylan’s style. My poems were amateurish—to say the least; but I kept writing. I have a bit of confidence that I am an okay writer because my teachers often encouraged me when I was growing up. I hoped and prayed that someone would eventually recognize my potential and the money would soon start rolling in. The problem was that I couldn’t get a publisher to accept my stories.

After graduation, I made many trips to the post office to send out my short stories without success.

Fast forward to retirement four years ago, when one Sunday, as I was reading the L.A. Times, I came across an article about how indie writers were using websites like Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing to publish their books. I was surprised when I read that writers didn’t have to pay a cent. On Amazon, they earn 70% royalty for each book sold and Amazon keeps the other 30%.

On Smashwords, the royalty is even higher; so, I always start there. Their website teaches writers how to properly format their books. It just takes a little time and patience to get it right. Once approved by Smashwords, the book is then reviewed by their team of editors and, if it passes their inspection, it is then sent to other eBook stores such as Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books, Scribd (a subscription site like Netflix), and college and public libraries.

It sounded like a pretty great deal to me; so, I gave it a shot.

After a few years, I managed to write several more books and ended up making quite a tidy sum for my little creations.

After a while, I wanted to try something new and noticed how popular romance novels are and started reading some of the bestsellers in that genre. I think that the women who purchase these novels want an escape from their ordinary lives and need to fantasize about a knight in shining armor who appears from out of nowhere and comes to protect, rescue, and cherish them. Sounds good to me. I’ve always enjoyed reading the erotic romance novels by D. H. Lawrence, so I gave it a shot and wrote one myself.

The first erotic romance I wrote was a “Cougar” story under the pen name, “Sexy Sadie,” like the Beatle’s song. I wanted my story to be like the sweet and tender movie, The Summer of 42, which was about a young woman whose husband had just passed away and a teenager who worshiped her from afar. After a while, they reached out to each other and grew close. Never in a million years would I have imagined that someone would buy my book; let alone give it a 5-star review!

My next “smash hit” was about a sexy cop who lived in an apartment complex that had a shared laundry room who was angry about how the dryers were being left unattended for long periods of time by inconsiderate people who’d left their clothes in the dryer long after they were dry. Anger turned to curiosity when he opens the dryer to remove the “offender’s” clothing and discovers double d-cup bras, thong panties, and a sexy lace teddy amidst the rest of the clothes. He wonders who owns such enticing items and when a sexy teacher comes to retrieve her clothes, he’s definitely interested; but she is not a bit happy about a stranger man-handling her undies and leaves in a huff.

However, that night she remembers how sexy he looked in his uniform and wished she hadn’t been so angry. She has sexual fantasies about taking a bath with him. He imagines her starring in his funny and over-the-top XXX fantasies. This little 99 cent quickie became my number one best seller.

Some of the erotica authors in our group write stories that feature elements of bondage and submission; and so, whips, chains and handcuffs are part of their stories. Mine are a lot tamer, but I do like the whole idea of a power struggle between the sexes, role playing, masquerades parties, and resisting temptation.

When 50 Shades of Grey hit the bookstores, everyone was talking about it, so I read the entire trilogy. It was sexy, I’ll admit, but watching film and seeing the cruelty towards the young woman made me wonder why so many women were buying a book about a sadist in a good suit? Women adore bad boys apparently; especially rich ones. One of my friends asked, “How come it’s called “erotica” when a handsome rich guy hits a woman and it’s called a sex crime if a poor guy does the same thing?” Good question.

I read a few more of these types of novels and noticed that despite the violence towards the submissive young women, they read like love stories. The female main character is often a virgin and very “trainable” because she doesn’t have any other sexual experiences with which to compare. The power is in her hands because she has a “safe word” she can use to tell her “lover” to stop if the pain that he’s inflicting upon her becomes unbearable.

The men in these stories do not call themselves sadists: they want to be called “Dom’s” as in Dominant. They wear white dress shirts, Rolex watches, cuff links, tailored pants; and soft leather shoes. They prefer woman with small waists, large breasts, and perky high butt cheeks. They work out at the gym and want their “submissive” to do likewise.

As an erotic romance author, I walk a fine line: I want people to like what I’ve written and buy my books; but at the same time, I worry that they may want more from me than I’m willing to give. I can’t print some of messages men have sent my nom de plume, but one of the weirdest was this request: “I love you. Please send me pictures of parts of your body.”

What am I? A piece of meat? Yuk!



Chapter Two


So now, I’d hit the jackpot as a bona fide erotic romance writer and was going to Sin City to peddle my wares. But—what should I wear? I started out at Victoria Secret and tried on a sexy garter belt, thinking I might pair it with some fishnet stockings. It had been a long time since I’ve worn this type of lingerie and I didn’t know if my body was quite up to the task. I had packed on some weight around my tummy since my “Babe” days, so I was hoping to find one in my size. When I walked into the store, I noticed that most of the customers were teenagers or ladies in their twenties. I felt ridiculous already and hadn’t even tried on anything yet. I circled the store, looking at the bras and panties. The bras I’d fit into; the panties—no way. I love the look of black silk stockings: they’re just so classy. So instead of fishnets, I bought some thigh highs that I could wear with or without a garter belt on.

When I came home, I fixed my husband’s favorite dinner, Coq au Vin, and eagerly awaited greeting him at the door in my sexy new under garments. I wore a little black dress—well, mine was actually a big black dress—and did my best to look like Audrey Hepburn had in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I even bought cigarettes that I planned to smoke in a cigarette holder that I’d purchased for a Halloween party a few years ago when I dressed as Cruella de Vil. Candles were lit and dinner was on the table when I noticed the time: it was a half-hour later than when my husband usually came home. He’s always been considerate about calling home when he’s running late; so, I began to worry until the phone rang and he told me that he needed to work late.

“It should only be an hour,” he reassured me and I put dinner back in the refrigerator and opened a bottle of white wine and took my wine glass into the front room, put on one of my favorite 80s albums, and had a smoke. It had been a long time since I’d had a cigarette and could only finish half of it.

The phone rang again about an hour later and my husband said, “We need to get the subpoenas out tonight and our server keeps crashing.”

I understood his excuse: he works at the District Attorney’s IT department and if the subpoenas don’t go out, the bad guys who’d been arrested that day would be allowed to go free. By this time, I was getting hungry; so, I ate my portion of my husband’s favorite meal. I put dinner away and cued another album from the 80s on our vintage turn table. When he came home, I was asleep and sprawled out on the couch with my dress hiked up, looking like an old tart who’d seen better days.

Sensing someone in the room, I opened my eyes. Giving my husband a wide smile, I told him, “Hi, honey. You’re home at last!”

“Sorry I’m so late. I’m starving. What’s that delicious aroma?”

“Coq au Vin; your favorite.”

“I can’t wait,” he answered, kissing me on the forehead.

I nuzzled next to him, hiked my dress up, and pointed to my new black silk nylons that I had bought instead of fishnet stockings. In my most seductive voice, I asked, “So, what do you think of my new silk stockings?”

“Very nice.”

That’s it? I wanted details, so I asked, “What was the first thing you thought of when you saw me on the couch?”

“Truthfully?”

“Yes. Of course, always.”

Uh oh, I thought, fearing the worst.

“It reminded me of my mother when I used to come home and see her crashed out on the coach.” This was not welcome news. His mother had spent most of her time in the corner bar, smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and inviting strange men home.

After such discouragement, I started to panic: the convention was drawing near and I still didn’t know what to wear. I found a website that sold sexy corsets and bought one in pink. I ordered it “overnight delivery” since we were off to Vegas on the weekend. I figured I’d accentuate my bust line which had grown since my weight gain and bought a gypsy skirt to hide the lower part of my body. Accentuate the positive, as the song goes.

We had originally planned to have our cat boarded at the vet, but the night before we left, we had second thoughts and decided to bring her along with us. We had grown very attached to a black cat that we’d adopted from the shelter after hearing a story on TV about how many were abused around Halloween. When we saw her behind the cage at the shelter, our hearts warmed up to her right away and we’ve been practically inseparable ever since. We named her Spooky.

The three of us took off for Vegas and after a four-hour drive, we arrived at The Bellagio. The temperature was 110 at three o’clock in the afternoon, and when we stepped out of our air-conditioned car, we were hit with a blast of warm wind. Once inside, my first impression was cigarette smoke. My God; does everyone here smoke? We’re from California where nobody can smoke indoors and this was an assault upon my senses. My eyes felt dry already. The reception desk was teeming with tourists and there was a very long line. It zigged and zagged and made me feel as if I were standing in line at the airport. Many of the guests were told that their rooms weren’t available yet; so, they morosely sat on the sidelines, waiting for a text or phone call telling them that their room was ready. After a short wait, we finally got our room key; which brightened our spirits, to say the least. We discovered that to get to the guest elevators, we’d have to walk through the crowded casino, and the whirling cacophony of noises coming from various slot machines mixed with the squeals from happy winners was yet another assault on my senses. The smell of cigarettes made me feel slightly dizzy.

Once inside our quiet room, I felt a little better. Our room was on the 26th floor and we had a sensational view of the famous Bellagio fountains. Directly outside our window was the Eiffel Tower and Las Vegas’s version of Paris. I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like at night!

My husband and I looked out at the fountains and they put on a spectacular water show. Viewing them from the 26th floor was a real treat and much more impressive than the last time I saw them when I was standing at ground level on the sidewalk.

I put Spooky down next to the window and opened her carrier. She tentatively looked out for a minute and then after sniffing the air and finding it satisfactory, bounced out and leaped onto the bed. Curling up and closing her eyes, she gave the room her Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

After unpacking my suitcase, I got dressed for my “coming out party” at the convention. I needed my husband’s assistance with the corset. He had to truss me up like Scarlett O’Hara when her maid helped her get dressed for her rendezvous with Ashley Wilkes. After many attempts, my husband finally found my sweet spot: I look half-way decent and could still breathe. I put on a wide velvet collar that had a large ring dangling from it. It was the first time my husband had ever seen it and he asked, “What do you do with the ring?”

“You attach a leash and take me for a walk.”

“Sorry, hon. No can do.”

I rolled my eyes at him and said, “You don’t have to do it. I was just joking.”

“I’m not a big fan of all this sadomasochism stuff.”

“Neither am I, honey; but it’s what everyone wants to read these days.”

With that, I grabbed a pile of my books and headed out to the convention. My hubby escorted me there; and after kissing me goodbye said, “Good luck. I hope you sell lots of books! And be careful with those horney fans of yours! If anyone gives you any trouble, call me!”

“Thanks, honey,” I answered and kissed him on the cheek.

“Be careful,” he reminded me again.

“I promise I’ll be. Don’t forget to feed Spooky,” I told him and opened the door, took a deep breath, and prepared myself for the surreal world of the Vegas Adult Entertainment Expo.


Chapter Three


My husband left reluctantly. He’s always worried about my safety when I go to public events like this and cautions me not to start a dialog with any of my male Facebook followers. I have over 800 Facebook friends—can you believe it? It is a double-edged sword: I am trying to find customers for my books; but at the same time, I don’t like men treating me like a prostitute or a phone sex operator.

As time went on, my sales were so-so and I was beginning to think this jig was up until I received a very interesting email from a woman writer who invited me to participate in an erotica online book party. I was glad that she had written to me: her author’s rank on Amazon was high and her books were earning five star reviews galore. To this day, I don’t know how she found me. I had a lot to learn about marketing my book and she was a master at it. I sat-in on a few of these erotica book parties and they were a blast. There were funny games and prizes and everyone drank wine, got loose, laughed, and had a great time. The parties usually featured four or five writers who each had an hour to talk about their books. Soon, I was the writer being featured at these affairs.

My patroness told me about a writer’s contest hosted on a site called Bluebeard’s Dungeon. The keeper of the dungeon’s name was Mr. Bluebeard and his Facebook page contained naked pictures of women and men, usually wearing bondage gear. Many were handcuffed or tied with rope. Some of the pictures were very unsettling; especially the ones showing women locked in small cages. Also disturbing were the ones of men with their hands around a woman’s throat while having sex with her.

His website also included short stories written by a well-respected group of erotica writers known as “The Salacious Scribes”. I imagined his template for success was Hugh Hefner and his creation of Playboy Magazine—provide the readers with pornography and good articles (usually of a sexual nature); and the husbands would be able to defend themselves if their wives caught them red-handed.

“Creating a brand” is what many writers are told to do and Mr. Bluebeard was a master at it. His profile picture on Facebook was of the torso of a man wearing an expensive suit with a white shirt that was partially opened to reveal his washboard abs. The women on the site called him “Sir” or “Master” and they hung on his every word. If he recommended a book, his groupies would go out, purchase it, and tell all their friends about it. If he was planning a party on his website, he would create a sexy come-on video and count down the days to it.

After a while, he created a contest that I took part in. We were asked to write a short erotic tale of 1500 words and if we won, the prize would be that we would join the ranks of the Salacious Scribes. When I won, it was one of the happiest days of my life as a writer. None of us Salacious Scribes knew what Bluebeard looked like. He never showed his face and could be a woman for all we knew. Or a fat and slobby 40-year-old living in his mom’s basement in Pacoima. He liked to keep us guessing; until today, when he promised his fans that he’d make an appearance at the convention.


*******


But I’m getting ahead of myself. Bluebeard was alive and well that day when I met him at the convention.

After saying goodbye to my husband that day, I opened the door to the convention hall and made my way to my writing group’s booth loaded down with books. Once I caught my breath, I saw a good-looking man leading a naked young woman around by a leash. I had a feeling it was him and waved.

He walked over to me and said, “You must be Sexy Sadie.”

“Yes. That’s me,” I replied, barely containing my inner groupie. Wow! He was gorgeous; just as we ladies had imagined.

He told me, “Your name suits you. You are sexy, Sadie.”

“Wow! Thanks. Are you Mr. Bluebeard?”

“I most certainly am.” He looked at his naked companion and said, “She’s the one who wrote Hot for Teacher.”

“I love that book!”

Wow! Two compliments in a row. This is going to be a fun convention!

“Thanks for reading my book,” I told her.

“Sure,” she said and restlessly looked around at the others in the hall.

He sensed her impatience and told me, “I’ll see you later. Goodbye for now,” and they continued their stroll through the convention hall.

Hoping to see someone else I recognized, I forded my way through the masses. I saw adult film stars getting their pictures taken with fans and booths filled with adult DVD’s and multi-colored dildos and vibrators. I walked by one table that has rubber busts with very realistic looking half-way opened lips. I wondered what people did with them. Two barely-legal teenage girls were in a baby crib kissing each other. Before I start feeling too above-it-all and self-righteous, I had to remind myself that I am a player in this circus. Peddling my X-rated romance novels, I am part of the Sex Industry. Let’s face it—I sell smut.

Walking along, trying to take everything in, I almost stumble over a woman sitting in the aisle with her legs wide open.

“Watch where you are going!” she shouted at me.

Get out of the freggin’ aisle, I wanted to say, but figured it’s best to keep walking. Finally, I see a familiar face: Maggie May, a fellow Salacious Scribe, is sitting at a table in our designated booth. She is naked from the waist up except for some large circular pasties shaped like Hello Kitty. We are both the same age but she certainly doesn’t show it. At 62, she looks much younger, especially without a bra on. She really rocks those pasties. She could be on the cover of Playboy.

I tell her, “Damn! Girl—you are brave.”

She looked down at her breasts, “Is it too much? Maybe I should put my sweater on.”

“No way. Let’s show these young hotties and businessmen just how sexy 62 can be.”

She laughed, “What a circus, right?”

“I’ll say.” I sat down next to her and stacked my books on the table. “Have you seen anyone else from our group?”

“I saw Dee Cups.”


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