Home > Pleasure Games (Games #5.5)

Pleasure Games (Games #5.5)
Author: Jessica Clare

PleasureGames
A Games Novella

Jessica Clare
Jill Myles


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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

 

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Blurb

 

 

Welcome To Eden

Where reality is whatever you wish it to be...

 

* * *

 

We are very pleased to issue your Invitation to Eden, an exciting series coming to you in 2014 from 27 of the biggest names in romance. Join us as we take you on an exciting adventure to Eden, where anything…and everything goes!

 


Blurb

Glass artisan Juno Ashmore’s bank account has hit the skids lately. When she’s invited to mysterious Eden to film the reality TV show Pleasures of Eden, she’s not interested. Swanky island location? Billionaire bachelor? No thanks. But when she hears the contestant payment fee of fifty thousand dollars — just for showing up, Pleasures of Eden suddenly sounds more interesting. Screw the billionaire bachelor! Juno will take the contestant fee and have herself a nice beach vacation.

But the billionaire bachelor is none other than Heathcliff Forester, the sexy, arrogant man who broke her heart in college. And Heathcliff’s made it clear that he’s not interested in any girl but Juno. In fact, it’s looking more and more like he’s rigged the entire show just to bring her into his arms again. It should make Juno furious, but all she can think about is what it’d be like to spend her nights in Eden in his bed…

 

 

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Chapter One

 

 

"The one that got away? Juno. Absolutely, 100% Juno." -- Heathcliff Forester, the Billionaire Bachelor, Pre-Show Interview

 


The end of the day was always a bit depressing in a glassblower's stall.

Not only were sand and mud trekked all over the floors, but there were inevitable bits of mystery glass which told me that someone had broken - and hastily stashed - another one of my products. After a bit of eyeball inventorying, I found the item: a broken cobalt globe peppered with bits of red calcite. Another thirty dollars down the tubes, I told myself with a sigh and swept up the pieces.

Of course, if the end of the day was a bummer, the end of faire season was even more of a let-down. I looked around my unsold inventory with a tiny frown. The small, dainty pieces of blown glass in the shapes of unicorns and dragons always sold. The tiny colorful frits - garbage glass I sold for a buck? Always. But my bigger, more artistic vases that comprised the bulk of my earnings? Not so much. People going to the faire would rather spend their money on candied nuts and turkey legs than a spiraling glass candlestick striped with variegated colors. I sighed at the thought, because one of those candlesticks would mean enough money to buy more silica and metal oxides to make new creations.

As it was, sales were so bad this year that I was considering taking a part time job. Which made me grumpier. Which made me sweep my hot shop clean with even more vigor.

"Juno," a cheery voice called. "Guess what I have!" A familiar figure appeared at the front of my open shop, darting between the wooden benches circling the furnace, where I gave hourly shows during faire season. Leona pushed forward, waving a piece of paper.

"Hey," I said to her, feeling sweaty and gross after a day of toiling in the hot sunlight in my booth. Leona ran a hair-braiding stall a few booths down and always managed to look adorably fresh despite the long hours in the blistering sun. She was wearing a wench costume but still managed to look wholesome and sweet despite the cleavage protruding from her leather corset. Today, her braid was an intricate coronet atop her head sprigged with tiny flowers and ribbons, and a long fishbone-braid tail trailing over one shoulder. "You look cute."

"Of course I do," Leona teased with a wink. "It's my job. But look at this! It's the new rules from the investors."

I groaned to myself and eyed the paper. "Do I even want to see?"

"Probably not," Leona agreed, a frown on her pretty, cherubic face. "It's a doozy."

"Well, now I really have to see," I told her, and took the paper she offered me.

It was no secret to anyone working at Windy Trees Renaissance Festival that times were hard. Park attendance had been falling off steadily for the last three years, and the owners kept raising ticket prices to try and make up for the fact, which just caused people to spend less on trinkets. Booth rents were raised, and it was becoming harder and harder to turn a profit. I'd considered looking for a new renaissance festival to call home, but everyone else was hundreds of miles away and a lot of places already had a glassblower. The ones that didn't welcomed me...as long as I brought my own furnaces and set-up, which was incredibly expensive.

So I stuck it out at Windy Trees, hoping for a turnaround.

Sadly, there was no such turnaround this year. Sales were worse than ever, and I cringed every time one of my glass works broke under the hands of a small child. Busted glass was a fact of life in my world, but instead of just accepting it, now I saw dollars and pennies going down the drain.

And then last week, we'd heard that the old owners had sold the faire to an investment company. Everyone was on edge, wondering what that would mean for those of us who depend on the faire for our livelihood. People like Leona lived out of their RVs and just went from faire to faire, making a living. Me, I was more stationary. The downtime between faires was used for creating the glass objects that would fill my shop for the next year. And it wasn't like my furnaces were portable anyhow.

If anyone was going to be screwed by new management, it was going to be me.

"Lots of bad news in this," Leona said, peering over my shoulder as I read. "I saw it and thought of you."

I scanned the legalese, looking for things that would affect me. There were new prices for booth rentals, of course, and because mine was one of the largest booths, my fees would be skyrocketing. I winced at the dollar amount. "I guess if they can bring in a lot more people, maybe the costs will be offset," I murmured as I read.

"Well, I hope that's the case, because we're also going to be paying for advertising."

"What?" I read further down. Sure enough, we were going to have to pay additional fees for local and radio advertising, fees for 'participating' on the website, and fees for photography. That was on top of my booth fees. "I...can't afford this."

"Did you see the dress code requirements?" Leona pointed out. "Full wench garb for every woman, and they request we do not repeat outfits. Do you know how much that's going to cost just to have new outfits for every workday?"

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