Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Men for Hire anthology

The ‘Men for Hire’ anthology has now been released.

Here is an excerpt from my story in the anthology Marital Duties which sets the scene…

“Men for Hire agency, Gemma speaking. How may I help you?”
“May I speak to Jennifer, please?”
“I’m afraid she is out on urgent business at the moment. Can I assist in any way?”
He made a face. If her plan was to get him to talk to her, it wasn’t working.
“Umm. My name is Mr. Fletcher. I’ve just seen your email.”
“What email is that?” There was a pause as Gemma clearly checked her computer to ascertain which job he referred to. “Oh, yes. The one I sent first thing this morning.” The assistant seemed to be struggling not to laugh and Rob became even more convinced that he was the butt of their joke and wasn’t best pleased after the day he’d had.
About to snap at the girl to tell his wife that he’d talk to her when they got home, he didn’t get a chance to say anything when Gemma continued with a giggle. “Your wife must be very lonely to have requested our services.”
Rob was taken aback.
Your wife … our services?
“It’s not often we get requests of this sort and usually we turn them down.”
He was even more confused.
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
“She must have given the form to the owner of the firm directly. I’m afraid I didn’t see or speak to your wife—Mrs. Fletcher. But I saw her job request form on Jennifer’s desk this morning before she arrived and so I typed it up and sent it to you.”
Comprehension dawned and Rob started to relax, sitting back in his chair, a slight smile on his face. He guessed that Jennifer had completed the form for her own satisfaction, not intending it to be seen by anyone else. It now made perfect sense.
Rob started to chuckle, then something else occurred to him. Why didn’t Jennifer phone me after she had discovered the form had been emailed? Or maybe the ‘business’ she was attending to was more urgent than he thought.
“I was rather hoping Jennifer—Ms. Archer—would be in touch to give me more details about what the job entails. Do you know when she’ll be back?”
“Oh, Mr. Fletcher. I’m afraid she’s been dealing with an emergency at a client’s house.”
“Never mind. I’ll talk to her later.”
Gemma giggled. “But isn’t it obvious, Mr. Fletcher?”
Rob straightened up in his chair. “I beg your pardon?”
“What the job entails. Your wife clearly wants—oh, I’m not allowed to say. Well, let’s call it ‘husbandly duties’—the sort that a man agrees to when he gets married.”
“You mean, sex.” He wasn’t afraid to say.
He got a burst of loud girlish laughter in his ear, held the phone away for a moment, and wondered how Jennifer could stand her.
“Yes, but I don’t know why we took this job. We’re not an escort agency.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “For heaven’s sake, don’t tell anyone.”
Rob raised his eyebrows. “So, Gemma, what do you suggest I do?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, someone has just come through the door. Do phone again. I’m dying to know how this job turns out.”
Dropping the receiver back on the handset, Rob sighed. “I’ll bet you’re curious, little madam.” He would have to have words with Jennifer about her latest assistant. In the meantime, what was he going to do about the ridiculous job his wife had requested he undertake? He was annoyed that her silly little assistant was now party to the fact that they hardly ever had sex. Not that she seemed to be aware that Jennifer was ‘Mrs. Fletcher.’
He rested his elbows on the desk as he considered this—and how to get his own back on his wife. His eyes alighted on the remaining biscuits and that gave him an idea.
Okay, my love. I’m going to play you at your own game. I’ll do ‘husbandly tasks’ for you—just not the sort you think.

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