By: Tiffany Reisz

Chapter One

Something vibrated in Beatriz’s bed. This wasn’t an unusual occurrence, except that when vibrating happened in her bed, Beatriz was usually in the bed. She heard the buzzing from her bathroom and sighed.

“Don’t be John,” she said as she raced from the bathroom to the bed and started digging through her sheets. “I don’t have time for you today….”

She found her phone and glared at the screen.

“Me estás jodiendo?” she swore when she saw the name “John the Bastard” pop up on her screen. With a sigh she took the call, knowing he’d keep calling until she answered.

“John, I turned in everything three days ago.”

“I know, I know,” he said, sounding uncharacteristically apologetic. “But I need you.”

“I don’t like hearing those words from any man I’m not sleeping with.”

“Are you hitting on me, Bea?”

Beatriz sighed heavily into the phone and hoped it created ear-splitting feedback on the other end of the line.

“My cab is on its way right now,” Beatriz said. “I’m spending a week in Essex for my sister’s wedding. I don’t have time for this.”

“Not my problem,” he said, sounding like the old John the Bastard she knew. “Angie just called. Her column’s going to be late.”

“New boyfriend?”

“Medical crisis, Bea. Have some sympathy.”

“What’s her problem?”

“Carpal tunnel syndrome from too much masturbating.”

“Occupational hazard. I have no sympathy.”

“Bea, behave.”

“You’re stuttering, John.”

“Look, I’ll leave you alone. But I need a thousand words from you this week to fill Angie’s slot.”

“As much as I’d love to fill Angie’s slot, I’m a little busy this week doing wedding stuff with my family. Remember when I emailed you six months ago and said ‘Leave me alone the last week in August because my only sister is getting married’?”


“Well, I did. Family wedding time is not really the best time to be trying out new sex toys, okay?”

“I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t an emergency. And you don’t have to try out new toys. You can do a book review.”

Beatriz sighed.

“A book review? I don’t get orgasms doing book reviews.”

“You have to write me something, Bea.”

“Fine. As long as Angie promises to return the favor sometime.”

“Does this mean you’ll have at least a thousand words for me in my inbox by Sunday night?”

“Sometimes I think I’m kinky because I fantasize about slapping you. And then I realize I really just want to slap you.”

“Beatriz,” John said in a stern voice. “Pause and take one little moment to remember that I pay you four hundred dollars a month to review sex toys. In other words, I pay you to have orgasms. Are you thinking about that?”

Beatriz paused, took a moment and remembered.

“Okay, you have a point there. I’ll get you a book review. I have a stack of unopened envelopes from publishers on my desk anyway.”

“Good. Now give me your hotel address so I can send you this new box of stuff I want you to review by next Sunday.”

“This slapping fantasy has returned.”

Beatriz gave him the hotel information. Hotel Essex, Essex, New York, care of Claudia Spears—her sister, she reminded him, who was about to get married. As she finished giving him the address her waiting cab honked outside the front door of her brownstone.

“Gotta go. Cab’s here.”

“Have fun,” John said.

“Have fun writing a book review?”

“You’ll find a way to make it fun, Bea. You always do….”

Without another word Bea hung up on him and tossed the phone into her purse. She shouldered her bag, grabbed her suitcase and raced past the desk in her tiny home office. She had a stack of unopened bubble mailers on her chair that had been accumulating for weeks. The return address label on the top envelope read “Brown Paper Publishing.” She knew Brown Paper. A boutique press, they specialized in coffee table books on risqué subject matter. Great. Perfect. Wonderful. Lots of pictures and very little text. Easy review for a busy Bea.

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