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Contest Excerpt

Flamingo Jones
Women’s Contemporary Fiction (Romantic suspense)
80,000 words

Family – that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our innermost hearts, ever quite wish to.  ~Dodie Smith

The pink alarm clock bleated like a sheep in distress. Annie Steiner swatted in the direction of the sound, making contact with the snooze button. December sun sliced through the bedroom blinds, prying open her brown eyes.

“For crissakes, leave me alone,” she said, yanking her comforter over her head. The sun, like the alarm clock, didn’t listen. They conspired her awake. Tossing the covers aside, she rose from her bed like Frankenstein from his slab, outstretched arms flailing. Her left elbow caught the closet door on the way past.

“Sonofabitch!”

She rounded the corner into the bathroom and held her arm up in the mirror. Her grandmother appeared just above her elbow.

“Such language, young lady.”

“Sorry, Bubbe. But look at my arm!”

“It’s just a little bump on your funny bone.”

“You’re dead. You probably don’t remember what it feels like to bang your damned elbow.”

“This is how you speak to your grandmother?”

I’m sorry. I just…”

“Sweet girl, what’s wrong?”

“I eeked through Hannukah, then Christmas. I’m dreading New Year’s. I’m so tired of feeling like this.”

“Like what?”

“Alone. This house, this town… I feel alone, even in a room full of people.”

“Your uncle and I are always with you.”

Annie touched her hand to the glass. “No offense, but I’d like someone alive to talk to.” A few tears fell out, splashing on the sink.

“Don’t cry, bubbala. Everything is going to be fine. Some exciting times are just ahead for you.”

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