Today I’m hosting Pavarti K. Tyler and her newest project, Sugar & Salt (A Sugar House Novella).
After over a decade working in the sex industry, Janice Cane retains no illusions about the nature of relationships. Everyone lies and everyone wants something. Still, a part of her longs for a connection.
Speed-dating becomes her addiction, a place to find a man for the night when she needs a quick fix, and her last hope that true love may still be waiting around the next corner. When a mysterious man entices both her intellect and her lust, she becomes entangled in an affair more complicated than she’d expected.
Enter the world of The Sugar House. Here you’ll meet the illustrious Madam Janice Cane and her brood of men and women who will fulfill your every fantasy. But can they find a way to fulfill their own?
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“I don’t recycle.”
“You don’t recycle?” Janice leans back in her chair and sets her hands in her lap, looking across the small table separating her from the most recent visitor in tonight’s dating adventure. A smile cracks through her polished demeanor—at least this one offers something different.
“Correct, I don’t recycle.” The man smiles back, settling back into the armless black chair reserved for men participating in the speed-dating portion of the evening. His dark hair hangs haphazardly over his ears—too long to be contained, but not long enough to make a statement—much like the scruff of beard along his strong jaw.
“You have two minutes to talk to me and that’s your opener?”
“Yes, I think it is best in these situations to just put it right out there.”
“That you don’t recycle.”
“Yes.” He smiles a little wider and his green eyes sparkle.
He certainly entertains, which is more than any of the other would-be suitors had managed so far. Janice glances down to his shirt: tailored, top button undone, the taut line of a caramel collarbone.
“Is this the line you gave to everyone else you’ve spoken to tonight?” She raises her eyebrows, not taking the bait, but enjoying the banter enough to find out where it might lead.
“Did you tell everyone else you sat down with that you don’t recycle?”
“None of them seem as interesting as you.”
She reaches forward and takes a sip of wine. “I’m interesting?”
“Yes, you are.”
“And because I’m interesting, you decided to tell me you don’t recycle, instead of following the law and recycling to, you know, save the Earth?” She fingers the glass of wine and gazes at him, taking in the possibilities he presents. What is he telling her with this strange confession?
“What did you tell them?” She nods her head to the row of tables on her left, all hosting various versions of the same conversation.
“The other women you’ve spoken to tonight.” She takes another sip, savors the cool, dry taste of the Riesling, and sets her glass back on the table.
“Oh, them.” He shrugs with dismissive ease. “My name, where I grew up—you know, the things you’re supposed to talk about in situations like this.”
“But with me you’d rather talk about your contribution to landfills and wasting the resources needed to create new products when you could, like the rest of us, recycle.”
“Okay, I’ll bite. Why don’t you recycle?”
“I do have reasons for that, and I’ll tell you, but like you said, I only have two minutes, and I’d rather talk about why I decided to tell you and not, let’s say, Maureen D. in the red glasses over by the window.”
Janice follows his eyes to a typical speed dater sitting two tables down. Her suit doesn’t quite fit and her hair, probably well-coiffed at the beginning of the day, is pulled back into a tight pony tail. She has the look of a paralegal or receptionist.
“Yes, all right, tell me why you’re telling me this and no one else. Because I’m interesting, you said?”
“Yes, very interesting.”
“And from what do you infer that, since you made your proclamation against the Earth before I even said hello.”
“Because of your shoes.” The man settles back in his seat and becomes more alive, taking up more space.
She leans forward, pulled into his spell. “My shoes?”
“Yes, your shoes.” He offers a subtle nod, which jostles his hair. It’s not quite black, almost reddish, but dark and thick.
She shakes her head and pulls her thoughts away from running her fingers through his locks, yanking his head back, and exposing his throat and mouth. “And what interests you about my shoes?”
“It’s not the shoes per se, but what they tell me about you.”
“And that is?”
“Well, they tell me you’re interesting.” He raises one eyebrow—a genetic skill Janice didn’t inherit and always envied.
“You’re going to have to do better than that. You only have forty-five seconds left.” She takes another slow sip of wine.
“You come in here at the end of a work day, a Thursday, so for most of us, it’s getting to the end of the week and we’re tired. Most of the women wear heels—single women who dressed for work but took a little extra time to get ready before arriving tonight. Perhaps they undid an extra button in the cab on the way here. Most are dressed in business attire, but you’re in jeans, which tells me you’re either very powerful and can wear whatever you want, do something where the dress code is different, or had the time to go home and change.” He pauses, seemingly taking in her reaction.
She offers none. “Go on.”
“You didn’t go home to change, because you carry a briefcase, which means you have a job with some status. So again, you either do something a little unconventional, or—perhaps and—you are very powerful.”
“This analysis is about my clothes, not my shoes.”
“I’m not finished.” His voice drops low.
Janice leans closer to hear him. Her breathing becomes more rapid as she watches his eyes dip to the hint of cleavage revealed where her shirt opens.
“You’re running out of time.” She contains her growing interest, keeping any hint of eagerness out of her voice. Instead she dons a mask, hiding emotions behind a familiar veil of fact.
“I’ll speak faster.” Another smile breaks across his face, and he sips his drink for the first time, wasting the precious time ticking away between them. “So with jeans, a briefcase and the cut of your blouse, I’m thoroughly confused by you. Intrigued, but not quite to finding you interesting, until—”
“You see my shoes.”
“Until I see your shoes.”
“I don’t know much about shoes, especially women’s shoes, but I do know heels like yours aren’t easy to walk in, and looking around, the other women shift their weight as they stand, or adjust their legs because they’re tired and sore after a long day. I imagine many of them wear sneakers on the subway to keep their feet from aching. But not you.”
“No, not you. Your clothing is understated but elegant, your posture remains relaxed as man after man comes to speak with you, and when I sat down you re-crossed your legs.”
“I did?” The significance of this mystifies Janice, but she’s too far into his maze, too engaged in the trap of language he’s set to back away.
“Yes, you did. But you didn’t with the last few men you’ve spoken to.”
“You’ve been watching.” This pleases her.
“You were supposed to be talking to the woman in front of you.”
“About your name and where you grew up.”
“I spoke to them, but I was watching you.” He leans forward and places a hand on the table.
Her eyes trace the veins trailing from his forearm down to his long fingers. “And when you sat down and I re-crossed my legs you noticed my shoes.”
“And you find them interesting.”
“The bottom of your shoes is red.”
“Beneath your beauty hides a dangerous side. Mixed in with those designer jeans and that understated perfume is a woman looking for an adventure.” After delivering his diagnosis, he sips his drink again and glances at the clock on the far wall—the only indication he remembers why they are both there.
“You think so.”
“Maybe I just like these shoes and they came like this.” She shrugs, dismissing his analysis of her character.
“Maybe, but put it all together and it adds up to something—”
They lock eyes in combative silence and the bell rings, announcing the end of their time.
About Pavarti K. Tyler Award winning author of multi-cultural and transgressive literature, Pavarti K Tyler is an artist, wife, mother and number cruncher. She graduated Smith College in 1999 with a degree in Theatre. After graduation, she moved to New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off Broadway. Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry at several international law firms. She now lives with her husband, two daughters and one very large, very terrible dog. She keeps busy working with fabulous authors as the Director of Marketing at Novel Publicity and penning her next genre bending novel.
Connect with Pavarti at www.PavartiKTyler.com
About Sugar & Salt
Author Name: Pavarti K Tyler
Title: Sugar & Salt: A Sugar House Novella
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: 12/2/2013
Length: 40,000 Words
Watch for Book Two – Protecting Portia