Welcome again! I hope everyone has had a great week so far. I’ve found for myself that I’ve had too much sleepiness and not enough alertness to get everything done that I needed to do. Thank goodness it’s Friday!
I have the pleasure of having another author from the ARe campaign, 28 Days of Heart, to raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association. If you haven’t checked these books out yet, hop on over to All Romance eBooks. You’ll be glad you did.
So, without further ado, here is today’s guest:
Hi there! Sylvia Shults here, the author of A Slightly Different Perfect. I’ve always been drawn to humorous romance, the goofier the story, the better. I figured this story would be perfect for a fundraiser celebrating the heart and all its quirks. What better way to nurture the heart than to write a story about the goddess of Love?
A Slightly Different Perfect is the story of a mousy fifth grade teacher, Trisha Gillespie, who gets turned into the goddess of love Aphrodite. In her new incarnation, she learns a valuable lesson about the price and the rewards of true love. Let’s take a peek at Trisha as she explores the perks of her new-found goddesshood….
I came through the wide double doors into the Springfield Elementary School gym, which was all decorated for the Spring Carnival. By some divine confluence of events, the Carnival was tonight, the very night I had been asked by Hera to go down to Earth.
Hera’s timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Here I was, the new goddess of love, smokin’ hot I might add, and I was totally, completely anonymous. Nobody knew me – ha! I could wander the gym all I wanted, eavesdrop on my coworkers (former coworkers!) to my heart’s content – not that I would ever do such a thing, of course, I do have some class – and not one of them would know that the sizzling package of hotness standing next to them was the formerly mousy little Miss Gillespie.
Oh my, this was going to be fun.
I strolled around the gym, giving little finger-waves to everyone who glanced my way. And let me tell you, there were a lot of glances. It was truly gratifying, and fabulous for the ego. I had to remind myself a couple of times that I was the goddess of love – me! And I deserved all this attention, yes I did.
I had gotten about halfway around the gym when I caught sight of Josie, who was manning the bake sale. A shadow fell over my whole “I’m the goddess of love and I rock” groove. I wished desperately that I could go over there and out myself to her, tell her that I really was the same old Trisha underneath my goddess glamour. But something stopped me.
That something, unfortunately, was the sight of Vince Turabian. He had changed out of his gym teacher uniform of t-shirt and shorts just half a size too small. Well, he still had the shorts on, but he had shucked the t-shirt in favor of…oh, I can’t even say it.
Okay, fine. Vince was wearing the most colorful, garish, loud Hawaiian shirt I had ever seen. It was a shirt with the volume turned all the way up. It looked like Don Ho’s bad acid trip. Native girls in grass skirts hid coyly behind palm trees, brandishing ukuleles at anyone unsuspecting enough to look at the shirt for more than three seconds. And did I mention the palm trees? Yeesh!
I blinked. My eyes were actually watering from the sight of that shirt. When I worked up the intestinal fortitude to look back at Vince, I realized he was standing across from Josie at the bake sale table. I watched him hand her money, which she managed quite neatly to take without letting him touch her hand – nice going, girl! Then Vince picked up a cupcake from the table. He unwrapped the plastic from the plate, set it down, and brought the cupcake to his grinning mouth. Before either Josie or I could react, Vince stuck out his tongue and licked a wad of frosting suggestively off the top of the cupcake.
Ewwww! My mind reeled at the sight of Vince’s frosting-covered tongue. I could see Josie’s shudder of revulsion from all the way across the room. I wished desperately that I could go right up to Josie, stand side by side with her, and put that horrible Vince in his place. But I couldn’t blow my cover. Outing myself as the former Trisha Gillespie was sure to have divine repercussions. And at the very least, people here would be awfully confused. I settled for a sympathetic shudder of my own. My lip curled in an involuntary wince of disgust.
That’s when I heard it, from off to my left.
“For the last time, Tyler, no, you cannot have a snow cone! You’ve already had two hotdogs, chips, and a brownie. Are you trying to make yourself sick?”
The frustration in the mother’s voice mirrored the irritation on my own mind. Belatedly, I thought, Oh crud. I’ll bet I did that. I was a goddess. Why wouldn’t my moods spill over and affect the mortals around me? It only made sense. I made an effort to calm myself down. Breathe, Trisha, in through the nose, out through the mouth…in with the good air, out with the bad air… In the middle of my calming mantra, I heard the mom say, in a much nicer voice, “Come on, kiddo. Let’s go find your sister, and then we’ll get in line for the rubber duck prize pool, okay?”
Ha! It worked! I really was an all-powerful goddess with the mojo to screw with – I mean influence people’s emotions. Yay me! I spent the next half an hour or so finding out exactly what my goddess powers could do. Filling my mind with sunny, happy thoughts, I wandered over to the Bozo Buckets. A young couple was at the front of the line, helping their kindergartener with what was probably her first game of Bozo Buckets ever. The parents were positively glowing with encouragement for their little one.
“Come on, Chrissie, you can do it!” the dad coached, while Mom stood by, smiling a bit anxiously. She crossed the fingers on both hands and held them up for her little girl to see. Chrissie, who was a tiny little thing even for kindergarten, leaned over and gently tossed the beanbag. It hit the rim of the fifth bucket with a soft plop, and toppled in.
Both parents just went nuts over this. I have to admit, I was pretty impressed myself. I don’t ever remember getting past Bucket #3. I grinned, and Dad knelt to give Chrissie a big hug. As she turned away to collect her prize, he stood up again, took his wife in his arms, and kissed her deeply.
Whoa! I thought. Betcha I did that too. Goddess juju rocks! After that, it got to be sort of a game. I walked around the gym, trying to guess how hard I would have to “push” a couple to nudge them into a full-blown PDA. It was a total blast, and I was really grooving on my newfound powers. It was like…hmm…it was like wishing for something really hard right before blowing out the candles on your birthday cake. Or like being filled with that warm, yearning feeling you get when you’re wishing on the first evening star in a darkening sky. But your wish comes true right in front of your eyes. It’s totally an instant gratification thing. I was having gobs of fun playing my little kissing games. I was so full of warm fuzzies – I felt like I was the middle scoop of ice cream in a banana split, with butterscotch and hot fudge sauce just oozing all around me.
So I guess what happened next was really my fault, for not taking things more seriously.
I had wandered back over to the bake sale. A couple was standing there, along with a kid. I recognized him as one of my students from a couple of years ago. Brett was looking nowhere in particular, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. He had a look on his face that told the world he was about to pass out and die of sheer embarrassment. His parents stood nearby, feeding each other bites of an oversized chocolate chip cookie and cooing to each other. But that wasn’t what had drawn my attention.
Vince was back on my radar, and I wasn’t happy about it. He was still at the bake sale table. I had to wonder if he’d been here the whole time, just hanging out annoying Josie. As I watched, though, he turned his back on her and headed my way, a predatory grin on his face. Behind the table, Josie was watching him walk away. The look on her face was a complicated mixture of relief and – wait, was that disappointment? Really? Or was I delusional and just imagining things?
Oh, of course it was. It had to be. It wasn’t that I wanted Vince to keep macking on Josie. I wouldn’t wish Vince on my worst enemy, let alone my best friend. But Josie didn’t deserve to be ignored, either, even by a mouth-breathing knuckle-dragger like Vince. It was kind of a “nobody puts Baby in a corner” moment for me.
What can I say? My best friend was getting the brush-off (boo hiss) from a skanky guy (umm – yay her?). I was confused. I was conflicted. That’s my only excuse for what happened next.
Okay. I want you to imagine something. I want you to imagine the righteous indignation you feel when something truly horribly unfair happens, something really outrageous, when you open your mouth and the very first thing that flies out is “Oh no he DIDN’T!” Like, “Oh, Simon did not just tell that poor girl she had a face made for radio!” Or, “Oh no, you did not just spill your chocolate-cherry martini down the front of my favorite white wool scoop-neck sweater!” Feel that incredulous shock, that stunned disbelief that morphs almost immediately into downright pissyness.
Now, turn it up to eleven. Ramp it up to goddess-size, baby. Go go go, full-tilt boogie, bring it ON!
I fixed Vince with my most withering stare, drew myself up to my full height, embraced my divinity, and prepared to let him have it. “Vince Turabian, you are such a SNAKE!”
I really need to think sometimes before I open my mouth.
I hope you enjoy A Slightly Different Perfect, and I do appreciate your support of the American Heart Association. See, my mom’s got heart disease – she had a heart attack a couple of years ago and had to have a stent put in – so this really is a cause that I support for personal reasons. Enjoy the story, support the AHA, and Goddess bless.
You can find Sylvia on her facebook fan page, Sparkleheart. Become a fan.
Thank you, Sylvia for being here.