Jacky Dahlhaus lived in many countries, has worked many jobs, and tried many hobbies before she realized writing gave her such pleasure. She now loves to write paranormal fantasy stories full-time while delving into the human psyche with all its faults and mysteries.
Next to writing novels, Jacky helps indie authors by promoting them on her blog, writes an online newsletter/magazine, runs a writing club for adults and for children at the local library, and is a writer/director/producer for Aberdeenshire Film Productions.
When not busy with the above (which is rare nowadays), Jacky works on renovating her Scottish Victorian home, watches movies with her family, and tries to stop her two Jack Russells from barking for no good reason.
Jacky has written three novels, all books of the Suckers trilogy which is set in Maine, US, a novelette (the Prequel of the Suckers trilogy), and Short Shockers, a bundle of short stories. She is currently working on the first book of her next trilogy, this time set in Alaska.
You can connect with her via:
January 2019 (Theme: Romance or Not): An Evening to Remember
March 2019 (Theme: Carnival): Scoring
An Evening to Remember
Jessica put the key into the ignition of her white van, started the motor, and drove off. She had to maneuver between the arriving guests, most of them couples walking arm in arm. She felt a ping of jealousy. These people had enough money to stay at this fancy County House Hotel for a romantic Valentine weekend. One day, she and Ben would be able to afford staying here, but she’d have to fix a lot of leaking drains before her plumbing business would generate that amount of money. It would be a long time before she could afford to dine a five-course meal, have a massage, bathe in a spa, and sleep in a bed covered in rose petals. No, being a plumber, she never came home smelling of roses. Her husband didn’t either, being a garbage truck operator, so the pot couldn’t tell the kettle it was black. Fortunately, they had a loving relationship, and both had accepted their fate of leading a rather friendless existence.
She turned the van onto the freeway and checked the clock on the dashboard. It was a quarter past five. ‘Damn, I’ll be late,’ she thought. Ben had told her to come home on time today. He had a surprise for her. Jessica had racked her brain to think of what it could be. It was Valentine’s Day today. Most couples would be having a romantic dinner. But Jessica had no hopes of going to such a dinner. Ben hadn’t mentioned going out tonight. Besides, who’d want to have a romantic dinner sitting next to people smelling of rotted meat and sewerage?
The traffic was going slow. Jessica wondered if she should text Ben that she’d be late. Then again, the traffic was going slow enough for people to take photos of her, texting behind the wheel. She couldn’t afford a ticket. Not with the money they were making and the bills they had to pay. Not to mention the alimony Ben had to pay to his ex. They had to scrape everything together as it was. She honked the horn, hoping that this would speed up the traffic jam.
It was almost six p.m. when she finally parked the van in their driveway. Ben always parked his car in the street. ‘Less chance they’d burgle the van if it was parked in the drive,’ was his reasoning. ‘Ben’s such a sweetie,’ Jessica thought as she locked the van. As she entered the house, she noticed all the lights were out. A power failure perhaps? There were candles lit, though. Actually, there were a lot of candles lit. A frown crept on Jessica’s face. She cocked her head and heard music playing. Was that George Michael’s Careless Whisper?
She threw off her coat and walked into the dining room. There, she found an envelope on the table, leaning against a box of chocolates. On the box of chocolates, there was another small box. She stuffed one of the chocolates in her mouth then opened the letter. In it was a card, an invitation, it seemed.
‘You are cordially invited to an evening to remember’
That was all it said. She turned the card around, but there was nothing; no mentioning of place or time. It was Ben’s handwriting, so she guessed, as the music seemed to come from upstairs, that he was in their bedroom. A smile crept on her face. She quickly opened the little box. It contained a small bottle of perfume, her favorite. ‘We can’t afford this!’ was her first thought. Then, on second thought, she sprayed the fragrance behind her ears and on her wrists.
As Jessica went upstairs, she noticed rose petals strewn over the floor. Ben sure knew how to surprise her. She picked one up. It appeared to be synthetic. She sniffed it and smiled. He had infused them with the same perfume. She hurried up the stairs, eager to find her husband.
When she opened the bedroom door, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Ben had lit a multitude of candles and there was a warm glow in the room. He probably cranked up the thermostat as it was warmer in the room than the candles warranted. The bed was covered with towels. Rose petals were strewn on it in a heart shape. A pot of body butter stood next to it.
What attracted her sight, however, was Ben standing next to the bed, holding two glasses of bubbly wine, a tea towel draped over his arm. Yet, this wasn’t what was most memorable. Her husband stood dressed in a chamber maid costume. Black netting stockings, a very short black skirt, and tiny white apron. He even had one of those white thingies on his head and red lipstick on his lips.
Jessica put her hands to her mouth and giggled. She walked over to her husband who had a huge grin on his face.
“I really want to kiss you, but I’m not so sure about that red lipstick,” she said.
“Well, if that’s all you’re worried about…” He winked at his wife. “I ordered a butler costume, but things got mixed up and I had no time to exchange it. And regarding the lipstick, you’ll like it. You’re your cherry-flavored one.”
Without hesitation Jessica put her lips on her husband’s.
“Mmm, I do like it,” she said and licked her lips.
Ben handed her one of the glasses.
“Now, you better get undressed quickly because I’m afraid your bath water is getting rather cold.”
“Yeah, sorry about being late. Stupid rusty bolt.”
Jessica moved into the bathroom. On the dresser was another small parcel. It had ribbons to make it look bigger. Jessica picked it up. It was terribly light-weight.
“What’s this?” she asked.
Ben came up behind her and wrapped his arms around his wife.
“That, my dear,” he whispered in her ear, “is your costume.”
‘This truly is going to be an evening to remember,’ Jessica thought before she turned around to taste that cherry-flavored lipstick again.
March 2019: Scoring
The fairground buzzed with screams, cries, and laughter. Rollercoasters roared on their tracks, raising people’s hairs from speed and fear. Children cried when they dropped their ice cream or when dragged away from their favorite attraction by impatient parents. Adults laughed like giddy teenagers as they observed the opposite sex strutting their stuff.
Angelique observed Jack picking up the hammer of the strength tester. She giggled at the comments of the operator of the attraction.
“Can this man get it up? Come and watch to find out!” the voice of the skinny man dressed in black and wearing a top hat boomed into the crowd. “Can he raise it to impress his lady?”
Jack blushed, the redness spreading from his cheeks all the way down to his throat. He shrugged as he threw an embarrassed sideway glance at Angelique.
“What is your profession, good sir?” the black-clad operator asked Jack.
“I’m a pharmacist,” Jack replied.
Angelique’s face beamed with pride. She knew Jack had studied hard to get where he was and did very well, but he wasn’t a mousy-looking, feeble pharmacist who spent his spare time with his nose in the books. Oh no, Jack preferred to spend time in the gym, working his body, although the location for exercise had changed of late. Angelique reminded herself to change the bedsheets later.
“A pharmacist, ladies and gentlemen! Can this pill-pedler pop the puck all the way to the top? Can he get high? Can he satisfy his lady friend? Let’s find out right now!”
As the crowd gathered around, the pressure rose, in particular the pressure to perform. Jack had never had a problem performing, but then again, he had never had an audience that consisted of more than one person. Angelique stood to his right. Her natural red hair complemented her voluptuous lips, like it did down there. She bit her nails, anticipating the climax. Jack looked with adoration at those piano-playing fingers that did magic, making music sing in his ears when she stroked him with them. Their eyes made contact. He smiled a cheeky smile at her. Her eyes twinkled back.
Lifting the heavy hammer high above his head, Jack took a deep breath, making his arm and chest muscles stand out through his shirt. He was all pumped up. Everyone in the crowd held their breath. Even the operator refrained from talking as tension rose when Jack didn’t move.
Then, with a powerful thrust, Jack brought the hammer down. The puck shot up, ringing the bell at the top of the tower, indicating success. The crowd roared, and the operator went into overdrive.
“He did it! He scored! This is one man who, I have no doubt, will score again tonight! Give it a try! Show us what you’re made off!”
The operator’s words faded into the background as Angelique and Jack strolled off, arm in arm, high with excitement. They both knew Jack would score for a third time tonight.