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A Good Year
by Tara Fox Hall
There's no Heaven ... like Hell.
Faced with losing Pandora Productions as well as her best friend Rebecca to the smarmy Paul, savvy film executive Debbie makes a pact with the demon Shaker, agreeing to bind herself to him as his human master in return for killing Paul and securing Pandora’s future. Yet even as Pandora gains accolades and renown, Debbie’s strong resolve begins to crumble under the weight of her actions. And the pleasure she finds in Shaker’s arms is becoming more than sex.
Is Debbie doomed to lose her heart as well as her soul to a demon who has only been waiting for the chance to claim both?
“To another fabulous year at Pandora Productions!” Mrs. Rebecca Pall said cheerily, flashing a red-lipped smile at her employees. Her husband Paul raised his glass, his expression slightly less enthusiastic.
If you only knew, Debbie thought, clapping with the others at her sides, the fake smile plastered on her face slipping the slightest fraction. You’re about to lose your company, along with your husband.
She had had to arrange it, of course. Paul hadn’t the guts to kill. His thrilling attributes were few and far between. Their affair hadn’t been one of lust, at least on Debbie’s part. Paul’s assets were what she lusted for: the multi-million dollar company called Pandora Productions that she had given her life to help build.
True, the idea of the film production company had been Rebecca’s, back when they were both students in business school and eager to make their mark on the world. Debbie had been reluctant, knowing how hard it was to launch a business in a normal economy, much less a recession. But Rebecca had been insistent that if they focused on quality content, superb editing, and cutting edge special effects, Pandora Productions could become not only a reality, but an ultra-successful one. Caught in the enthusiasm and drive of her new friend, Debbie had signed on. It was Debbie herself who in her zeal for mythology and legends had come up with the name Pandora Productions.
Rebecca had that gift, that charisma to draw people to her causes. With a few bright techs and film students. Pandora Productions had become a reality. Just a campus organization at first, it quickly became renowned for excellent short films. Then, in sophomore year, their short film about discrimination won second place at the Sundance Film Festival. More prestigious awards followed, as the films became longer and better, the result of investing in top-of-the-line equipment and more talent flocking to the Pandora name. Finally, with the epic fantasy Blue Daylight, Pandora Productions had won the coveted Gotham Award, the most prestigious American award available for independent films.
It hadn’t been a glamorous ascent, but the result of hours and years of hard work, skipped meals, all-nighters, and hard decisions. Rebecca and Debbie had been together through it all, side by side, the best of friends.
Then had come Paul Pall, a handsome film student five years younger than Debbie and Rebecca and eager to make his mark on the world. As his name suggested, he had cast a shadow not only on the company, but also on Debbie and Rebecca’s friendship.
Debbie had known that the insufferable Paul had his sights on the company she had slaved for, that all it represented to him was an easy future. She avoided him, and advised Rebecca to do the same. But her friend that had for years seen every pitfall and shyster for what they were was suddenly blind. Worse, Rebecca had turned against Debbie, accusing her of jealousy.
Debbie had thought about leaving, and starting over. She had the skills and the contacts. But why should she, after all the years she had put into Pandora? A decade had passed. The unrelenting work of building up a business that had been fine in her early twenties wasn’t something she was eager to repeat. No, Paul had to go.
Tara Fox Hall's writing credits include nonfiction, erotica, horror, suspense, action-adventure, children's stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice. All of her published children's stories to date are free reads on www.childrens-stories.net.
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