Guest: Siobhan Kinkade

Hello, world!
Nice to meet you all!  My name is Siobhan Kinkade, and I’m here today on Sam’s blog for some shameless self-promotion.  My next book, She-Wolf is set to release Thursday, September 29th, through Sugar & Spice Press, and will be available through the SSP Website, Amazon’s Kindle Store, All Romance eBooks, and various other eBook retailers..  Have a look below at the cover and excerpt, and enjoy the show!
Oh, yeah…everyone can find me in various places, such as Facebook, Twitter, and My Blog.

The Blurb:

It is almost the full moon, and werewolf Mira Winterborn is feeling restless. Research has failed her, and she is convinced that no matter what happens, there is no way to stop the change. But when her best friend invites her out for a late night on the town, she finds herself drawn to the bad-boy in the corner as a likely candidate for a final experiment. Unfortunately, he’s there to kill her.
Rune Morwyn is a hunter, working to repay a blood debt. Mira is to be his last mark, but she makes him a bizarre offer that seems too good to be true. Is the wild attraction between them enough to upset her curse, and what will happen if he lets his normally guarded heart go?

The Excerpt:

Mira had never seen the bar packed quite so tightly before. Their normally deserted hole-in-the-wall was hopping. Maybe the full moon was affecting more than just her tonight? Not likely, but she let herself believe it anyway to quell the frustration rising in her chest.
As soon as they were through the ID check, Tempest was gone into the crowd with little more than a peck on the cheek and a backward wave, leaving Mira standing in the doorway alone. The deep throb of industrial music filled her ears and her body, its heavy melody thumping all the way to her center. She had learned from experience that it was useless to try and fight the rhythmic bump of the drum machines. The beat took hold and she found herself swaying under its control, feeling the effects of her surroundings begin rip away her inhibitions and her anger.
Maybe Tempest was right…maybe Mira could find someone to take home. Even if the attraction wasn’t strong enough to stop the change, or if he wasn’t into the whole ritual sex-while-asking-the-cosmos-for-favors thing, at least she could have a little fun, scratch the itch building in her belly, and distract herself for a while.
Yeah…and frogs fell from the sky daily.
As Mira passed, the men around her turned to watch her, sizing her up with obvious appreciation as she slipped and slid against their sides and around other men and women. She watched them with equal interest, making determinations based on her gut instincts as she passed.
Too young…too old…too much hair…too fragile…BINGO.
She spotted him at the back of the building, close to the DJ’s pedestal. He leaned against the wall, a beer in hand. He looked like he was at the extreme edge of boredom as he turned that disinterested gaze toward her. The second their gazes connected, she felt the effect of his presence lash through her body. A shiver of delight wormed its way down her spine and seated firmly in her belly, sprouting tendrils of warmth that twisted around her insides and drew her forward.
He seemed to feel it too. The look of boredom disappeared from his face, replaced by an odd mixture of tension and amusement. He abandoned his station and his drink, and started toward her. The look on his face was feral; he appeared almost as wild as she felt.
Another were?
Not likely. She sniffed at the air and picked up no trace of her kind in the building. He had to be human, or she’d have known it already.
As he neared her, she realized how big he was…tall, broad-shouldered, with formfitting leather pants and a tight, black T-shirt that showcased a well-defined body, perfect for clinging to. Deep-set, silver gray eyes held her gaze with laserlike precision and shoulder-length black hair to match her own framed his face in a messy, I’m-a-man-and-I-don’t-care shag.
So this is animal magnetism, she thought as they met without a word and fell into step with the music. He did not ask her name, and she didn’t offer it, content only to be here with him in this moment, moving together in a time-old mating ritual. He towered over her; she was of average height, but the top of her head scarcely came up to his shoulder. The smell of aftershave curled around her, the familiar, sexy smell pinging against her senses and upping her pulse considerably. She wanted to reach up and draw her fingers across his jaw to test the give in those sinfully crafted lips. Mira couldn’t take her eyes off of him, and delighted in the fact that he seemed inclined to watch her as well. A dark, wicked smile curled his lips as he stared down at her.

Guest: Angelina Rain

Hello and welcome Angelina Rain to my site. She has so graciously agreed to be interviewed. 
So lets begin…
1) First, tell us a little about yourself so the readers know who you are?
I was reading a lot of books by my favorite authors and after a while it seemed like they were all the same story over and over. I started coming up with plot twists and characters that entertained me more then the books I was reading. So, I started writing.
2) What made you decide to write? Was it something you accidentally began? Or what you wanted to do? Or annoying character who refused to leave until their story was told?
Actually, all my favorite New York Times Bestselling author’s were starting to mass produce crap and I was in dire need for an entertaining story, so I wrote one for myself. It was crap, but I realized that I really enjoyed making up my own characters and plots. The more I wrote, the better I got.
3) I love hearing about first acceptances as an aspiring writer and now that I am e-published, I still love hearing about them. So tell us about that first acceptance.
I’ve been writing for pleasure for a while, but about a year ago, I decided to write with the intent of publishing. I figured that if it takes me a couple of years to get my first acceptance, I should start submitting now. As it happened, I wrote my first real story and sent it out to a few publishers. My goal was to get a revise and resubmit email. Imagine how shocked I was when I got a contract offer instead. I reread the email like ten times before I was certain that I wasn’t dreaming.
4) Tell us about your current release? Where can readers buy it from?
My current release (although not my first published book) is the first book I submitted and contracted. It’s entitled INTIMATE HEALING and it could be purchased from Sapphire Blue Publishing.
5) What are you currently writing?
Nothing really. The last couple of months in my life have been like a real soap opera so I haven’t had time to write. I have a lot of WIP’s started and many more brewing in my head so I’m sure you’ll see something from me soon.
6) What inspires you most when you write?
I do a lot of daydreaming and imagining. I call that plot development. Food helps too. When all else fails, I listen to music or stare at the painting over my computer desk. It’s of a log cabin on a lake, with mountains on the clouds. Very beautiful. It makes me think of authors like Nora Roberts (my idol) and really inspires me to write like her.
7)What experiences have you had working with your publisher/s?
I had a great experience. I’m published with two publishers. I can’t say much about Sapphire Blue as I haven’t had that much experience with them.
My other publisher, Evernight Publishing, has been a dream come true. They are so professional and author friendly. All their staff and fellow authors are super nice. I love that place!
8) What are you reading now?
I’m reading a book by a fellow Evernight Publishing author. After publishing with them, I started to read a lot of their books. They are all so good!
9)What are your guilty pleasures?
I love mint chocolate, animals, good Italian food (and men).  In books, my guilty pleasure is a second chance at love storyline along with hot kinky sex.
10)What would be your advice, if any, for other aspiring authors?
Write what you love and forget about the sales. There are so many authors that will concentrate on writing what sells, but they aren’t writing from the heart. I would rather read a book that’s original as opposed to a copy of another book that sold well. We can all follow trends, but what fun is that when you could set them instead. So set those trends and write that original book.
INTIMATE HEALING
It’s been fourteen years since Jordan Powell ended her relationship with Nate Thrillson and she is still not over him. She never expected to see him again.
Nate is hiding a deadly secret and plans to live out the rest of his life alone. When he is assigned as head investigator to a missing dogs case he doesn’t expect to be working so closely with the town veterinarian, Jordan.
 As they work together to discover who is kidnapping these dogs, old feelings are brought to the surface. Can they be together again or will other problems force them apart?

SNEAK PEEK:

“And another thing.”
She stood in front of him and crossed her arms over her chest. “What?”
He grabbed onto her forearms forcing her arms to fall stiffly to her sides and pushed her back against the wall. Her heart started to race and one look into his lust filled eyes, made her body warm. Her breath caught in her throat. Slamming his body into hers, Nate’s lips hovered over hers and he kissed her passionately. His hands traveled up to the back of her neck and caressed it softly as he deepened the kiss.
Heat exploded all over her body. She should stop him, stop herself. This was so wrong. They hadn’t seen each other in so long. It was too soon to share such a passionate kiss. But it felt incredibly right.
He pulled away slowly.
She panted, trying to catch her breath. Jordan couldn’t tear her gaze away from him. Nate stared back at her.
Nate smiled. “Miss me?” He winked at her and walked past her. Once he opened the door, Nate glanced back at her.
“Not a bit,” she lied. Oh, she had missed his kisses, and the way he made her boil with passion.

Guest: Tessa Wanton

Hello and welcome Tessa Wanton to my site. She/He has so graciously agreed to be interviewed. 
So lets begin…
1) First, tell us a little about yourself so the readers know who you are? 
Hi Sam, thanks for speaking to me – so a little about myself? Well, I am a new writer, I’ve had lots of ideas and a burning urge to write for a very long time, but only took the plunge very recently. In my early years, I trained at University to be a composer, and creating art has always been the biggest part of who I am. In recent years I went back to singing in small groups. For me, picking up a piece of music, working with the other members of the choir to produce something exquisite in the shortest time possible is just so alluring for me. You know when it’s right when your audience just completely get sucked in to the moment you’ve created. In a nutshell, I live for music, writing, reading and keeping in touch with good friends, old and new, and living life for every second I’m given. SC: It is lovely to know a bit more about you. 
2) What made you decide to write? Was it something you accidentally began? Or what you wanted to do? Or annoying character who refused to leave until their story was told?
I’ve always loved to day dream and constantly have stories running through my head, and when earlier this year I was made redundant, I had lots of time on my hands when I wasn’t applying or interviewing for jobs. I started to research into different topics that I’d always been fascinated with, and stories started to shout at me that they needed to be written. Tess began her journey, and my next WIP also commenced in parallel.  
SC: At least you are having an opportunity to work with your craft
3) I love hearing about first acceptances as an aspiring writer and now that I am e-published, I still love hearing about them. So tell us about that first acceptance.  
My first experience is very recent so I can remember exactly how it happened! I had a ghost account on a lifestyle website, and I started to post snippets of ‘The Training of Tess’ testing out my ideas and just enjoying the process, thinking nothing more of it. I garnered a number of positive comments and Gina from Naughty Nights Press commented on a few of my instalments and suggested I finish up the story and submit it to them for consideration. Completely knocked off my feet by the thought, I couldn’t believe that anyone might want to read my stories, let alone think about parting with money for it however little that might be. I almost chickened out, but in a moment of madness I polished the story, added some more depth to the characters and flung it out to it’s fate. I had never been so terrified, I waited for the ‘thanks but no thanks’ or ‘hmmmmmm nice try, have you thought about keeping your day job?’, but much to my delight, the acceptance and contract came through quickly. What’s more the release date was also quick, so for the past few months I’ve been a ridiculously over excited nightmare!
SC: You have made me chuckle. This was a wonderful acceptance. Gina is a lovely woman. 
4) Tell us about your current release? Where can readers buy it from? 
My current release is ‘The Training of Tess’ and it can be purchased from 30th September 2011 from Amazon and Smashwords. The book is an exploration of a young woman who has always been fascinated with the world of BDSM, needing, craving, yearning to know more about what it means to be submissive. I wanted the book to connect with the readers on an emotional level, to identify with Tess and her Master and to feel like they are there with them. The BDSM lifestyle is not just about bruising and beating and degradation, there is such a deep connection which is made between a Master and their submissive. Care and love forms strongly in many partnerships because of the trust that is essential to fully immerse oneself in the training and experiences shared. It’s quite funny though, because so many who have read it have asked me if it is autobiographical. I’m still undecided whether to tell the truth, or just leave the reader guessing! Now – is that cruel? *laughs*
SC: Sounds fantastic. 
5) What are you currently writing? 
Currently I’m writing the second instalment of Tessa’s adventures, and also finishing off the WIP that I mentioned earlier. It’s still BDSM but definitely with a different twist to which I’m hoping my readers will enjoy. 
6) What inspires you most when you write? 
Inspiration for me comes from turning an idea which has attracted me over and over in my head, looking at it from all different perspectives, trying to spot something which might not be obvious at first. Trying to figure out what it was that caught my attention in the first place. I like to make people think – there really is nothing better than that moment when a revelation pops into your head and there’s that ‘OMG’ moment that you’ve figured out the answer for yourself. I live for that moment, that questioning, that ‘what if?’, and I hope I can do that for my readers too.
SC: Love it when that happens. 
7) What experiences have you had working with your publisher/s?
Well, I can honestly say that I’ve had a fantastic experience with my publishers Naughty Nights Press, and although I’ve not experienced any other publishers, if they’ll keep taking my work I see no reason to move on. They’ve been fantastically supportive, and seem to have the same level of ridiculously fizzy enthusiasm about the whole process that I have! The community they’ve introduced me to has opened a whole new world of fantastic writers to me, and so many wonderful new friends who now form part of my every day life. I think I’ve been incredibly lucky as I’ve heard some horror stories, but in my case, it’s like a dream come true.
8) What are you reading now? 
My current read is ‘Consider Phlebas’ by Iain M Banks. I love sci-fi, always have, and I’d always meant to read Iain M Banks but for some reason hadn’t. My Dad recommended it, so as I had been bought a Kindle for my birthday, I downloaded it and read it on my daily commute. I’m glad it’s a long series as I tend to devour books at a rate of knots.
9) What are your guilty pleasures? 
Oooh now you’re asking. I’m not sure there’s enough space for me to describe all of them, but I love mint choc chip ice cream, Chill DAB radio when I’m relaxing, hot baths with so much scented bath oil it takes extreme care to exit the bath for fear of slipping, incense sticks, Mathmos Lamps (I have rather a lot…) and shoes. Of all types and styles. I cannot get enough of shoes. And nail varnish. Hmm the more I think the more I could state, but I love life, so guilty pleasures? Why save them for special occasions, spoil yourself now! That sounds terribly indulgent doesn’t it?
SC: You’re a writer, you could always call it research lol 
10) What would be your advice, if any, for other aspiring authors? 
I would say that although it is easy to doubt yourself, you have to keep plugging away. Even with comments which seem nasty and negative, look for the positive and realise that there is always something that could be used for good, and prove them wrong. Life is one huge learning experience and as long as you’re learning then there will be improvement and progress. Just keep going, make sure that your voice is heard and reaches the audience that’s waiting patiently to hear what you have to say. 
This is for you to talk more about yourself, leave your blogging details, site details and generally promote yourself.
I am quite active in the social media scene because I love to keep in touch with people – the best resource that is out there for researching real life experiences. Please look me up and say hi, although the time differences around the world sometimes mean I can’t talk in real time, I’ll always reply eventually if you’re patient!
Twitter:- @DesireDarkly
FetLife:- Tessa_W

One lucky commenter will receive a free e-copy of, The Training of Tess

The Training of Tess by Tessa Wanton

Excerpt

Tessa fidgeted nervously as she smoothed the wrinkles from her figure-hugging pencil skirt. Shifting her gaze from the countryside rushing by, she glanced impatiently at her phone again; nothing. The last words she had read that morning from Him had been today is the day Tessa. She had scrolled up and down the list of messages she had received from Him countless times as she had sat there, double-checking and triple-checking to ensure that she would fulfill His instructions exactly. You will catch the 10:13 train to London, Victoria and alight when I tell you. You will then go to the front of the station and take the nearest taxi. Tell him to take you to Court Road. When you arrive there you will see two post boxes. Get out of the car, pay him and await instructions.
An involuntary shiver ran the full length of her spine as she sat on the train, waiting, anxious for that message. She perched on the edge of the seat, waiting for each stop, knowing she might have to dash for the door to make sure she didn’t miss the stop. Suddenly, her phone vibrated in her trembling hand. Now it said and with that Tessa stood and moved to the door. She appraised her reflection in the glass of the door – green satin blouse, black cardigan, black pencil skirt, sheer black nylons and her comfortable black slip on patent heels. He had requested she wear her turquoise underwear for their meeting, so Tessa had thought that accessorizing her flame red hair with a forest green blouse would also please Him. She had an insatiable need to please this man like nothing she had ever felt before.
He had crashed headlong into her life some three weeks earlier. Tessa had always been fascinated with the Dominant/submissive lifestyle, and she was – she felt, a very submissive person. In her real life people knew her as a feisty, headstrong and passionate woman; no one would ever have described her as submissive. But then she had learned over time, that being submissive didn’t mean she had to be a doormat, it meant to her that she wanted to hand over her control, her welfare, her safety, to someone else. Throughout her life she had maintained an iron grip on her personal control, organized to the extreme in her work and home life, highly respected in her profession as a Personal Assistant, so used to controlling others to ensure success. But what she truly wanted deep down inside, was a man who could take her to that special place of freedom she had heard and read so much about. To experience true freedom within her mind.
She had signed up to a BDSM lifestyle website to learn more about what it was to attain this ‘sub-space’ she had heard about. Peppering her profile with photographs she felt were ‘artistic’, and writing a personal passage about who she was had attracted plenty of admirers, but no one she had particularly connected with. She wasn’t looking to find a soul mate, or even a playmate, just someone to discuss her thoughts and passions and desires with. It was out of the blue that a message had dropped into her inbox. He handled each conversation they had with courtesy and interest, drawing more and more information out of her without her even realizing. Or maybe she did and she was already walking towards this man instinctively, already feeling the urge to please Him in any way He desired. She couldn’t place when her thoughts turned to Him entirely- it wasn’t long after they had started talking. He had even managed to find out where she worked, and after a few days of messaging back and forth, He called her anonymously at her desk. He had used a fake name to convince reception to pass Him through to her, and when He spoke, He had teased her with His low voice pressed to her ear. “Imagine this voice Tessa, speaking in your ear in person, knowing that whatever I say next, you must submit without question…” At that point Tessa felt the intense pangs of fear and panic that she had been hunted down so easily, what else did this man know about her in but a few days? She did not even know His name.
Two days later she met Him for the first time. She had just had a difficult meeting in the city and had been dropped off at the local car pool to collect her car when she had been pressed firmly against her door from behind.
“Hello Tessa” He had breathed in her ear, “I suggest you get in my car.” Near paralyzed with fear she turned slowly and looked straight into intense sparkling brown eyes, flecked with green, there was no way she would deny Him, all of her life-long fantasies were coming true. They had gone to a local park, where He had run His hands over her shaking body, entwined His fingers in her hair and pulled her to His lips where they kissed deeply and passionately, her body melting further with each kiss and caress. His hands were so gentle, but firm enough to know that there really was no escape. He worked over her clothed body, gradually relaxing her until He slipped His hand under her top and slid His fingers inside the lacy material of her bra, slowly releasing her right breast. Her heaving chest betrayed her fear and lust, a deep red flush creeping across her as He leaned in and sucked her nipple deep into His mouth. She moaned loudly, eyes closing and arching her back to push into Him, taking her so close to the edge of climax then instinctively stopping His exploration of her body. Pulling away from her, He held her gaze, fingers once more tightly wrapped in her hair.
“I am going to enjoy you,” He uttered as she gasped to regain her composure. Every word He spoke to her was like a lightning bolt straight to her sex. Deep and powerful, she had to know more about Him whatever the cost.

Guest: Paige Turner

Hello and welcome Paige Turner to my site. She has so graciously agreed to be interviewed. 
So lets begin…
1) First, tell us a little about yourself so the readers know who you are? 
Hi, Sam! Thanks for having me! I really enjoyed Office Hours, and I’m looking forward to your next release.
I’m a brand new erotic romance author. My first release, Temporary Trouble, a ménage contemporary with touches of humour, was released on the 12th of September. My next book, Bone Idol, a male/male Victorian romance complete with scheming palaeontologists, sabotage and some very saucy scenes, is due out in December.
I’m absolutely thrilled to join Total-E-Bound’s stable of insanely talented authors – what great company to be in!
SC: Thank you so much. I’m pleased you liked Office Hours and Temporary Trouble sounds amazing. 
2) What made you decide to write? Was it something you accidentally began? Or what you wanted to do? Or annoying character who refused to leave until their story was told?
I’ve always enjoyed writing everything from children’s stories to horror novels, and I’ve always been a big fan of the steamier side of romance. So writing erotic romance was a natural next step for me.
I love being able to lose myself in make-believe situations and explore the world through the eyes of a couple of very naughty boys, a nineteenth-century scientist, or a moody private eye. And I love the fact that, no matter what my characters go through, I can always give them a happily-ever-after.
SC: I’m addicted to writing and to happily-ever-after.
3) I love hearing about first acceptances as an aspiring writer and now that I am e-published, I still love hearing about them. So tell us about that first acceptance.
My first acceptance was actually for Bone Idol, which will be my second release. I didn’t stop grinning for at least a week!
Now, with my first release out, I’m having a whole different set of exciting new experiences. I can’t pretend it isn’t a bit scary, but it’s wonderful at the same time.
SC: I have to say it took some time for me to realise my editor hadn’t got the wrong email address but when it sunk in, it was the most amazing feeling. 
4) Tell us about your current release? Where can readers buy it from?
Temporary Trouble is about Ben and Aaron, who are bored of the same old temping assignments. Playing practical jokes makes the job a bit less boring and keeps them out of more serious trouble …until their female boss catches Ben on the photocopier with his trousers down, and sees very clearly the sexual tension between the boys they haven’t quite admitted to themselves.
A good boss has to discipline her staff, and Ben has been a very naughty boy indeed. And what better job for her other temporary office boy, Aaron, than to help her administer the punishment Ben deserves?
You can buy Temporary Trouble, part of Total-E-Bound’s Tempting Temps series, here: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1391
And if you do, please submit a review!
5) What are you currently writing?
I have several projects on the go! A moody film-noir inspired thriller, a twisted fairytale, a collaboration on a horror story with a dear friend, and an epic historical that just seems to be getting longer and longer – not to mention about two dozen other ideas I’ve not had time to start on yet!
SC: I always like to keep several projects on the go. 
6) What inspires you most when you write?
Anything can spark off an idea – a conversation overheard on the bus, a daydream, mis-hearing or mis-reading something that leads to a double-take and an interesting “what if…?” I think history books and newspapers are the best sources for ideas – truth really is stranger than fiction sometimes.
7) What experiences have you had working with your publisher/s?
I can unequivocally say that Total-E-Bound are great people to work with. They’re friendly and helpful, committed to what they do, and their art department is absolutely fantastic. As far as I’m concerned, they produce the best cover art in the business!
8) What are you reading now?
At the moment I’m reading lots of research material for my epic historical WIP. It’s fascinating stuff.
9) What are your guilty pleasures?
Once upon a time I might have said romance novels, but now I get to read as many of them as I like and pretend they’re research! Other than that, chocolate, tea and afternoon naps – I lead a terribly exciting, rock-and-roll lifestyle.
10) What would be your advice, if any, for other aspiring authors?
Read a lot. When you’re reading, work out what you like and dislike about that book; what works and what doesn’t – then apply it to your own work. And write a lot! There are people who want to be writers but don’t actually want to write. That’s not going to work! You might not be writing to the standard you’d like. You might think you have a long way to go. But the only way to get there is to keep writing and getting better!
This is for you to talk more about yourself, leave your blogging details, site details and generally promote yourself.
Please follow my blog at www.paigeturnerwrites.wordpress.com for updates on my upcoming releases, musings from a fledgling erotic romance author, and the occasional anecdote about something endearing or infuriating my cat has done. I’m always happy to chat with anyone who drops by!
Temporary Trouble Blurb: 

When jokes in work time turn into serious playtime.

For Ben and Aaron, bored of the same old temping assignments, playing practical jokes makes the job a bit less boring and keeps them out of more serious trouble. That is, until their female boss catches Ben on the photocopier with his trousers down, and sees the sexual tension the boys haven’t quite admitted to themselves.

A good boss has to discipline her staff, and Ben has been a very naughty boy indeed. And what better job for her other temporary office boy, Aaron, than to help her administer the punishment Ben deserves?

Tempting Excerpt: 

reathless and giggling, Ben Taylor and Aaron Jones leaned against one another, gulping for air. Aaron peered around the corner, ducking back when he saw a head turn their way. The ear-splitting, mechanical clamour of the fire alarm drowned out the sound of the pouring rain—rain that splattered the pavements and drenched their co-workers, who stood in a sodden, miserable huddle in the car park.

Half of them had grabbed coats as they’d left the building—the other half were hunched in short-sleeved blouses or shivered in damp cotton.

Aaron maintained a solemn expression for half a minute, his lips twitching, then dissolved into laughter again.

Ben straightened up and clapped Aaron on the back. “Come on. Let’s get out there before someone starts to get suspicious.”

Aaron gave him a luminous, lop-sided grin that dimpled one cheek, and suddenly Ben felt a little breathless again. He didn’t think about it, but instead slipped around the corner of the building and began to slosh across the car park, leaving his friend to follow.

A sullen group of smokers had broken off and were trying unsuccessfully to light their cigarettes in spite of the relentless downpour and the wind whipping the flames of their lighters out. Ben directed a completely artificial look of fellow-feeling their way.

The fire officer, Doreen, an uptight, skinny woman from HR whose hairstyle had been reduced to a soggy, straggling rat’s nest, gave them a harried look as she spotted them, and checked her watch. She ticked their names off the list on her clipboard, the waterlogged paper tearing under the pressure of her ballpoint pen.

Muttered complaints sounded through the crowd and Ben heard ‘fire-drill’ and ‘faulty bloody alarm’, but what he didn’t hear, to his smug delight, was ‘practical joke’. He winked at Aaron, and worked on projecting an air of disgruntlement. He didn’t want to stand out from the crowd by looking too cheerful.

The fact that his socks squelched unpleasantly inside his soaked-through shoes helped with that. Perhaps this hadn’t been their brightest idea ever—but it was definitely a successful prank, and that was what counted.

Okay, so it was childish. And he and Aaron, both in their mid-twenties, were old enough to know better. But temps got all the dull jobs—filing, photocopying, fetching coffee. Temps were easy to blame if something went wrong. Temps were paid minimum wage. Temps were…well, they were temporary. Disposable. They had to have some fun.