Saturday, August 10, 2013

If you haven't checked out the TLS Angst Contest entries because you just aren't sure which ones you really want to read and don't have time to read all of them... no worries. I've got a teaser from each entry for you and I'll be posting two a day, everyday until public voting opens on August 14th! This way, you can read all of them or just the ones that grab you! There are SO MANY excellent entries in this one contest that I'd hate for you all to miss out on this, so you can find me here, each day... hooking you up with some angsty teasers!

Let's go:

"There's no way they're sending all of our bags on this plane," Edward muttered to Whitlock as they squeezed down the aisle of an already crammed MD-80 aircraft. The plane was tiny, and almost every seat held an occupant. Their gear wasn't going to fit. Edward was certain of it.

Jasper crammed his oversized camouflaged backpack into the bin above their aisle, the door barely shutting over it. His train of thought closely matched Edward's. "It's out of our hands, man."

"Thank fuck for that," Edward said. Being the low man on the totem pole had its advantages.

"At least our asses won't be on the line with the Commander."

"Whatever, you know Sergeant Cullen can talk his way out of anything."

"I'm sure he's counting on it."

"This is such a bad idea."

The team had flown nonstop for days on end. They crossed deserts and oceans, continents and time zones, but the longest flight was the one from Denver to Washington. Perhaps it was the time they spent delayed on the tarmac, or the turbulence they encountered from start to finish. Regardless of why or how time seemed to drag, when they arrived in the small logging village of Port Angeles, Washington, the boys were beyond exhausted. They were lonely and homesick.

And eager to get completely wasted.

It was at that point the boys encountered their first stroke of good luck since departing Las Vegas six months ago. In a desolate town of loggers and snowplows, on the eve of a holiday no one wanted to spend alone, only a single place remained open for business: the bar. They dropped their bags off at a low-budget hotel, changed clothes, and headed straight there.

The crowd was minimal. While most people in Port Angeles spent their evening fulfilling Christmas Eve traditions, Whitlock, McCarty, Masen, and a few others did shots. They drank beer with lonely fisherman and loggers, exchanging war stories and letting their guard down for the first time in months. The only factor missing from the equation was the opposite sex, and when a small group of friends arrived later in the night, the boys encountered their second stroke of good luck.

There were three women, each in their lower twenties. Bella had just escaped from an awkward family get together with her father, their first Christmas Eve together in years. It didn't go well. Then again, for Bella, nothing ever did. Charlie didn't understand what his daughter was going through, despite having one time been in a similar situation himself. He didn't accept it, and he didn't support her—emotionally or financially. She was alone, at least for one night, and Alice and Rosalie were desperate to cheer up their friend. It was with that in mind that they slid up to the counter, ordering drinks and paying the rowdy airmen no mind.

The opposite could not be said. After six months of seeing women only in bulky, long-sleeved fatigues, McCarty's, Whitlock's, and Masen's eyes were becoming reacquainted with something they'd all missed. Skin. Curves. Long hair.

Sex appeal.

Bella in particular caught Edward's eye. Each of the men snuck glances at the thin brunette, their blood running red hot with the need for action. Edward didn't bother making his move. He was too shy to strike up a conversation, too intimidated to buy her a drink. As far as he assumed, he didn't stand a chance. The others were more aggressive. They were charming. And, unlike Edward, they did this sort of thing all the time.

"We'll get their tab."

McCarty had a fiancée back in Seattle. It was never meant to be anything serious, but a one night stand before he left led to an unwanted pregnancy, and Emmett tried to do the right thing. He just didn't try hard enough.

"No, you won't."

Rosalie didn't have time to play games. She wasn't at the bar to hook up or meet someone new. Her only concern was her friend, but when Emmett spoke again, he said the one thing that could break her resolve.

She was always a sucker for a man in uniform.

"C'mon, babe. I'm on my way home from Iraq. Humor me."

In a matter of no time, the conversation was struck. Stories were exaggerated. Six months in Iraq became twelve. No longer were they glorified security guards, but a team appointed to carry out special operations outside the wire. They talked out their asses, and the girls, especially Rosalie and Alice, hung on every word. Only Edward and Bella remained quiet and unengaged.

"And that old mutt, bless its heart," McCarty rambled, making the story up as he went along. "He didn't know what he was doing. What he was about to do. When we unstrapped that IED from his side, it did more than save our lives. It gave us a new perspective on this war we're fighting—not the one in Iraq, but the one for animal rights."

Edward's eyes met Bella's for a split second. He looked for any indication that she knew they were being played, but saw none. Instead Bella smiled, and Edward's heart began to race. He flashed her his usual cheeky grin before bringing a bottle of Coors to his lips and downing almost the entire thing.

"We were lucky in that we succeeded in every single mission, but girls, there's still one final victory to be had. One more thing we must do."

As Bella, Alice, and Rosalie waited eagerly for an explanation, Edward wondered where McCarty could possibly be going with his absurd storyline.

He pointed in Edward's direction. "Our buddy Masen is still a virgin."

Darts in the Dark- Read more here:

I met him casually, with absolutely no indication of the havoc he'd wreak on my life. It was my first day at my new job, and I was nervous and excited. He was a salesman on the team, cocky and boisterous, and I could tell he was successful by the way he carried himself. He was good, and he knew it.

"Edward Cullen." He was cool and professional as he shook my hand.

"Bella Swan." No sooner had the words left my mouth when he ran off to talk to someone seemingly more important.

Every day, I'd see him in the office, too busy to stop and socialize with the new girl. He smiled occasionally at me, but that was the most I got. It got under my skin much more than I liked to admit. Who the hell did he think he was anyway? Was he really so busy he couldn't spare five minutes to talk? He was in sales, for Christ's sake. Talking and socializing is what salespeople do!

Things went on that way for several months, during which I got more and more acclimated. Although I was new, I was very successful and was making a good name for myself at the company. I had quite a few new friends on the team; it was starting to feel like home, comfortable. But where Edward was concerned, I ignored him. Two could play the game.

After only six months, I was one of the top performers, even getting nominated for the Rookie of the Year. Edward, of course, was the best performer in the office, but I wasn't far behind, and I was confident I would surpass him given enough time. The company's annual awards party was coming up, and I had no desire to go. Those things were always torture! If it weren't for my friend Alice, I would have declined and made some polite excuse. Instead, I found myself in a slinky black dress with four inch heels, hair pulled back and sprayed into oblivion, slamming martinis in Alice's living room as a "pre-party". If I was going to make it through the evening, I was going to need a little help from my reliable friend, Mr. Bombay.

"Do you know if Jasper's going to be there?" I asked between sips of my martini. Alice had been not-so-subtly chasing after him for months.

She nodded and flashed a wry smile. "Why do you think I'm wearing this?" She pointed to her very short and very tight red dress. "If he doesn't notice me in this, I'm screwed."

I laughed because she had no shame, and I had to give it to her, she looked amazing. It was true, though, if Jasper didn't notice her in that dress, he never would.

By the time we arrived at the hotel ballroom, I was feeling very happy and a little buzzed. Mr. Bombay had served me well, and I finally felt as if I could tolerate the festivities. It wasn't that I didn't like parties, but aside from my few friends, there really weren't that many people in the company I had any interest in. The idea of spending an entire night with my boss and his strange wife gave me hives.

Jasper arrived, and Alice's eyes were glued to him instantly. He came with Edward, and my stomach sank. I hoped Alice didn't expect me to be her wingwoman on this, because spending an evening with Edward would be torture. Even though I wanted her to be happy, I wasn't sure I could deal with Edward all night.

Watching Jasper walk up to us was comical. He looked like one of those cartoon characters whose eyes bugged out of his head when he saw a pretty girl. I almost burst out laughing. Alice smirked–the dress had worked magically.

"Wow, Alice," Jasper said as he went for a casual hug. "You look amazing!"

The smile on Alice's face said it all. The two of them started an instant conversation, and I knew right then my biggest fear had come true. There was no way Alice was leaving Jasper's side.

"Hi, Bella." Edward's voice was smooth and silky, which was completely unexpected. Every time I'd spoken with him, he'd had the Type A demeanor, brusque and firm.

Oh well, I thought. How bad can it be? At least he's better than my boss and his wife.

"Hi, Edward." I smiled and mustered as much sincerity and enthusiasm as I could. I might as well make the best of it.

We all went to the bar, and when Edward handed me a martini, his hand lingered a little longer than necessary as our fingers touched. His gaze deepened a little, into a smoldering and sexy look, and I suddenly felt butterflies inside. Had he felt it too? Had I imagined it?

The Kiss that Changed Everything- Read more here:

Please scroll through our previous blog posts for more teasers, and stay tuned, each day, for more.

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