Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Fighting For All(Soul Match #5) by Morticia Knight


Aliens from the planet Alashar invade Earth and in an aggressive battle, take over the world. But they’ve underestimated the power of humans. It has nothing to do with human weapons or their cunning ability to fight back. It’s the beauty of their souls that holds the true power. As each soul matched alien pair meets their destined human, the balance on Earth shifts. Amidst rebellion and unlikely alliances, a new world is born. One where the total power exchange is shared between three instead of two.

Summary:
Bravery will lead you to your destiny.

The human and alien rebellion is at hand, but those who have already arrived at the secret military facility are without the one who has inspired them to stand against the Nall. Chris, the human chosen by the Alasharian spiritual leader, Sha Sha Ar, has been missing since the escape to the hideout. Those who have never seen Chris before, have only heard tales of his visions, begin to doubt his existence. Fear spreads through the group as humans and Alasharians alike wonder if they’re all doomed, that maybe Chris is a fantasy or has already fallen at the hands of the Nall.

Graham, Morgan and their Alasharian matches stand before the worried group to reassure them that Chris is real. They’ve barely begun to speak when they are forced to fight an unexpected foe. But before the final battle against the Nall and the Void begins, all must search within themselves to discover what part they will play to achieve their destiny—and to summon the bravery they’ll need to see it through.

Reader Advisory: This book contains graphic battle scene violence and medical play, as well as references to rape and torture. There is also a scene involving urethral sounds.


Morgan gasped, then exhaled on a low moan as he came for the third time that day. He barely had a drop of seed left and he was exhausted. Only this time, the drain on his energy seemed different, less all-consuming. Is the bonding almost over? Equal parts relief and sadness filled him at the realization. I shouldn’t be selfish. The danger and uncertainty that surrounded them—and the mystery over why Chris, Lasar and Nary were taking so long to arrive at the hideout—didn’t give him the right to wish that he and his Alasharian matches could stay within the joyous bubble the sealing process had demanded of their bodies.

Rama tugged Morgan close to his chest and Hallosh wrapped his body around Morgan’s back, embracing them both. They were a mess of cum and sweat, never having taken the time to clean up after their previous romp. Instead, they’d fallen asleep on the jumble of blankets and mattresses that took up most of the floor space in the private cubicle where they’d chosen to complete their soul match bonding. Morgan was sore in all the right places and in a few he wished he weren’t. The past several days had been stressful and exhausting in the underground military facility where they remained in hiding, the only respite being the pull of the soul match between him and his Alasharian mates. Their bonding had been his only comfort.

“Ahna Rama?” Morgan idly played with one of the golden beads intertwined in a thick tuft of Rama’s black hair. “What happens when the bond between us is complete?”

“We’ll care about things other than sex, food and sleep.” Rama chuckled. “I honestly never dreamed it would be like this, be so overpowering.”

Hallosh yawned as he snuggled closer. “Agreed. Although I suppose it’s not so much that we haven’t cared about anything else, just that it’s been such a challenge to do anything about it.”

Morgan’s stomach clenched whenever talk shifted to the looming battle that was ahead of them all, human and Alasharian alike. His Ahna Rama had been a celebrated warrior for many years, a Rahna to the fighters who served under him. And while his other Ahna, Hallosh, was not a warrior but an ex-advisor to the Nall, he was still strong and able to fight. All males and females of both races who had the ability to battle would be called upon. Morgan wanted his mates to do their part, but the bonding process between them had depleted their reserves. Fear for the beings he loved so much, who he’d only now begun to share a life with, never entirely left his mind.

“Easy, Nasha.” Rama pressed his lips to Morgan’s head. “We will protect you with our lives.”

Hallosh nuzzled Morgan’s neck. “Yes, love. We would never let anyone near you.”

Morgan fought back the tears that were forming. “But who will protect both of you? I want to help, want to know my Ahnas will also be safe.”

“I am strong and so is Hallosh. There will be a part for you to play, Nasha. But it won’t be in battle.”

Morgan huffed. “I know how you see me, Ahna Rama. I’ve been weak and afraid since the invasion began. My behavior when I first went to live with you was just as bad. Yet when I consider what my life would be like if something were to happen to either one of you? That is more terrifying to me than any physical harm I might face.”

Both his mates cocooned him even more. Rama spoke against his ear, his deep voice low and soothing. “I know you are brave, sweet Nasha. I believe that’s the true reason you love the dragons in your stories so much. They’re strong and majestic.” He pressed his lips to Morgan’s head before continuing, “But it’s clear you also understand how important it is to me and Hallosh that you remain safe. If we were to be in battle, while also worrying over your safety, that’s what would make us weak. If you want us to be strong, you will obey your Ahnas.”

Morgan’s heart hammered. Just the hint of danger regarding his mates terrified him. Still, he needed to trust, submit to his Ahnas the way Rama said. Chris had helped explain the concept of the balancing between them all, how their mastery over him and his submission which was freely offered would combine to make them stronger than if they were on their own. His obedience would be more powerful than any other support he could give.

Morgan sighed, determined to stay resolute. “Yes, Ahnas. I’ll obey. But if there’s anything I can do to help, even if it’s not on the battlefield, even if it’s a chore that needs to be done here in the caves, I need to do it. I’ll go crazy if all I do is sit here and wait to find out whether you’re both okay.”

They fell silent, and Morgan imagined they were all contemplating what they’d shared. As much as he wanted to only dwell on the love and comfort of his mates, one enormous worry overshadowed everything else.

Chris.

In the days since they’d first arrived at the military facility, no communication from Chris or his matches, Lasar and Nary, had been received. Their own journey to the hideout had been treacherous, with one of the Nall’s battleships attempting to shoot them down. As it was, an Alasharian ally ship had been sacrificed to protect the others. What if Chris was shot down too? He didn’t want to give voice to his fear, didn’t want to consider the possibility that his cousin and closest friend might be gone. As it was, unease had spread throughout the hideout as humans and Alasharians whispered that their spiritual leader might be dead.

Hallosh and Rama both murmured reassurances to him, his worry undoubtedly strong enough in his spirit that they’d been able to see a picture in their minds of what saddened him. Rama angled back his head as he placed a finger under Morgan’s chin, encouraging him to lift it so he could capture his gaze.

“Sweet Nasha, it is much too soon to give up hope. Sha Sha Ar wouldn’t have chosen Chris if his soul hadn’t led him to your cousin. And he has two of the finest Alasharian warriors at his side. You mustn’t worry yourself—you’ll be no good to any of us if you make yourself sick. You need to remain strong for Chris’ mother and sisters. Don’t let them see your fear.”

Morgan gave a slight nod against the pillow as he held Rama’s gaze. “I’m trying. Before we left, Chris said something about how the Void would attempt to trick us, find our weaknesses and poison our minds that way. I wonder if this is what he meant? Because whenever I get too scared or too worried, that awful sensation of blackness that filled me at the execution starts to build.”

Rama furrowed his brow, his clear blue eyes radiating concern. “Have you been attacked again?”

Hallosh let out a low growl as he clutched Morgan tighter. Morgan covered Hallosh’s hand where he gripped his waist in an attempt to reassure him.

“No, nothing like that. It’s difficult to explain. The best way I can think of describing it would be like when you hear a far-off sound, but you can’t quite tell what it is.”

Rama still appeared uncertain. “Then why do you believe it’s connected to the Void?”

“Because the dread in the pit of my stomach is still there, and that unspeakable buzzing is like that far-off noise. I know it sounds crazy, but I think whatever that thing is, it’s trying to get to me still. But it can’t, because our bond is much too strong for it to penetrate.”

At last the corners of Rama’s lips curled up and the lines in his forehead smoothed. “Then you have your answer. The love we share will keep us all safe.” Rama gave him a wink. “And once we have more time to train you and you get a proper balancing session, you’ll feel even better.”

Morgan frowned. “I enjoyed the spanking and I’m always respectful.”

“Oh, Morgan.” Rama brushed his hair back from his forehead as Hallosh chuckled then pressed his lips to Morgan’s neck. “Of course you are. You’re perfect for us, a wonderful Nasha. But the balancing helps to maintain the peace within the match.”

“Yes, Nasha.” The deep rumble of Hallosh’s voice sounded next to his ear. “We are as we should be right now. Once the rebellion has been a success, we can build our life together, have numerous balancing sessions.” Hallosh nipped at Morgan’s earlobe. “And many, many revolutions of enjoying our bond.”

Rama crushed their mouths together and Morgan let the kiss envelop him before Hallosh joined in. The urgency of their connection as three brought the soul match hum alive. For the first time since the initial kiss had sparked their bonding, he wasn’t overtaken by the hum. It remained static, embracing them, but not compelling them to succumb to their desire.

Our bond is complete. Morgan held on to Rama’s and Hallosh’s words, as well as his own. He had to believe the soul match that entwined them together would be their biggest defense against the insidious force of the Void, the light that would eradicate the dark.

Otherwise, all who had bonded and those who were allies would be damned along with him and his mates.







Author Bio:
M/M Erotic Romance author Morticia Knight enjoys hot stories of men loving men forever after. They can be men in uniform, Doms and subs, rock stars or bikers - but they're all searching for the one (or two!) who was meant only for them.

When not indulging in her passion for books, she loves the outdoors, film and music. Once upon a time she was the singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She is currently working on more installments of Sin City Uniforms and The Hampton Road Club, as well as the follow-up to Bryan and Aubrey's story from Rockin' the Alternative.

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Fighting for All #5

Series

Release Blitz: Face the Music by KM Neuhold

Title: Face the Music
Author: KM Neuhold
Series: Replay #1
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: May 20, 2018
Summary:
Lincoln
I thought there was only one thing I needed to make me happy. I was so sure becoming a rock star would heal the dark corners inside me. But every time I walk onto the stage, with a roaring crowd screaming my name, all I can think about is the boy I left behind. All I want to do is rewind and make a different choice.

Jace
I thought I hated Lincoln when he ghosted me ten years ago and destroyed my heart. I thought I hated him when he wrote a chart-topping hit about our idyllic young love. But I’ve never hated him as much as I do right now, standing in front of me like he has every right to be in my world again. He’s not the rock god I thought he was...he’s still that same lost boy I used to love. Can I ever trust him with my heart again?

***Face the Music is the first book in the Replay series. Each book in the series will focus on a different band member getting a second chance at love. Each book can be read as a stand-alone. This book contains descriptions of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and sexy times.


The icy wind bites at my skin, but another swig of whiskey helps to chase the chill away. The air smells like snow. I do a mental calculation and realize it’s only two weeks until Christmas.

When I was a kid, I loved Christmas. This time of year felt so magical and joyful. The smell of cookies baking in the oven, the twinkling lights of the tree, making a wish list of presents you hope Santa will bring.

Another gulp from the bottle clenched in my numb fist. It stopped burning on the way down about a half hour ago, right around the time the far-off city lights started to blur.

There’s no magic now. My kitchen is empty of anyone baking any sort of treats. I can’t remember the last time I bothered to get a tree. They’re not much fun to decorate all on your own. Plus, what’s the point if no one else will be there to enjoy it with you? As for a wish list...there’s only one thing I’d put on that list and it’s something—someone—I had and tossed away too many years ago.

My legs are unsteady under me as I walk to the edge of my balcony to look down at the street below.

Certainly the fall would kill me. But who would care?

I can see the headline now…Rock star Jumps to Death from New York City Apartment.

But would they really care?

My bandmates might’ve cared a few years ago, before everything started falling apart, before we were at each other’s throats constantly.

If only I’d known the name of our band—Downward Spiral— would be so apt when we chose it. Maybe it was a bad omen, or a jinx. Maybe we were just cocky little pricks who were on top of the world and didn’t think anything could ever knock us off.

I wobble as I lean farther over the railing, testing the sturdiness.

I won’t really jump. That’s what I tell myself. That’s what I always tell myself when I get into these dark moods.

I try to lift the bottle to my lips again, but it slips through my fingers. I watch as it plummets downward and then shatters on the sidewalk below.

I teeter again against the railing before taking a step back and reaching into my pocket for a cigarette. I don’t even normally smoke, just when I’m drunk and sad.

I can only imagine what Jace would say if he could see me now.

Author Bio:
I'm an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Rip Cord - The Complete Trilogy by Jeanne St James


Title: Rip Cord
Author: Jeanne St James
Series: Rip Cord Trilogy #1-3
Genre: M/M Romance, Sports
Release Date: May 14, 2018
Cover Design: EmCat Designs

The Reunion #1
Summary:
Gil Davis hated high school. Ever the geek, he has no intentions of attending his 10th year class reunion. The last thing he wants is to relive the taunting and teasing he received during his teenage years. However, there is one thing he misses from high school: the star Varsity football player. The one he had a crush on from the first day he laid eyes on him. But the last thing he expects is the now pro football player to come back to their hometown to attend a lame high school reunion. Known as the Bad Boy of the NFL, Ripley “Rip” Cord, not only shows up, but shows up without a date and an eye for Gil.

The Weekend #2
Summary:
Geek Gil Davis hasn’t heard a word from NFL player, Rip Cord, since hooking up at their class reunion. Then Rip calls him unexpectedly, he’s taking Gil to his cabin for a weekend of erotic exploration.

The Ever After #3
Summary:
When Rip Cordis kicked out of the NFL, he shows up unexpectedly at Gil Davis’ front door. With his career over, Rip’s finally ready for a future with Gil, if Gil’s willing to give him another chance.

NOTE: The Rip Cord trilogy was previously published as three separate novellas. It has now been combined into one edition. This is a gay second chance romance with a guaranteed HEA.


Ripley “Rip” Cord was just as tall as Gil remembered. Around five inches taller than him, not that Gil was a squirt. The football player was at least six foot two.

And every inch of him was muscle. Not lean muscle, but heavy muscle. Heavy, rounded, lickable muscle.

Gil glanced at Katie. “You’re drooling.”

Katie wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “As if you aren’t.”

Gil snagged her wrist and backpedaled until he rammed into something hard. It was the table with the place settings.

Gil peered over Katie’s shoulder to see if his klutziness had caught Rip’s attention.

Luckily it hadn’t. The man was completely surrounded by their old classmates clamoring for his attention.

Throughout the years, he’d followed Rip’s career in the newspapers, on the evening news, on ESPN.

And in the tabloids.

Rip was well-known. Unfortunately it was as the “bad boy” of the National Football League. He started out with a great career in the NFL, drafted straight out of college. He was one of the best wide receivers in the league, but it was all his rumored problems that kept him in the spotlight, not his stats.

And that famous wide receiver was here. Now.

“C’mon, Katie! Don’t stare.”

“Why?”

“Because—”

“Jesus, Gilly, because you have a crush on him!”

Heat crawled up Gil’s neck. He was glad the lights were turned down in the gymnasium. He didn’t want anyone seeing him blush.

Hell, he was twenty-eight years old. He shouldn’t be blushing. He felt seventeen all over again.

He pulled away from Katie to study the name cards remaining on the table. Of course, he read the same card over and over before Katie squealed.

“Oh. My. God.Here he comes!”

Gil nervously tugged Katie next to his side and threw an arm haphazardly around her shoulders.

“Ouch,” she yelped as her curly red hair got caught on the button of his cuff.

“Sorry,” he whispered and straightened up just as Rip arrived at the table.

Gil swore he saw spots. He was not going to faint. He was not going to faint.

His knees buckled, and he grabbed for the nearest solid thing: Rip.

Rip grasped his forearm and held Gil steady. “You all right, buddy?”
Gil looked up—and up—into deep blue eyes. Eyes he had never forgotten. To this day they haunted his dreams.

Dreams he usually woke up from with a raging hard-on.

Gil opened his mouth to answer, but nothing came out. Rip smacked him hard on the back.

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

Gil nodded.

“Did you find your name card yet?” Rip asked, flashing him a bright, white smile.

Gil shook his head.

Rip moved closer, almost hip to hip with Gil, to study the table of white folded cardstock. Gil fought the urge to lean in and nuzzle the larger man's neck, inhaling his manly scent. Roll around in it like a dog.

Hell, he'd probably end up sporting a black eye if he tried.

Author Bio:
JEANNE ST. JAMES is a USA Today bestselling romance author who loves an alpha male (or two). She was only thirteen when she started writing. Her first paid published piece was an erotic story in Playgirl magazine. Her first erotic romance novel, Banged Up, was published in 2009. She is happily owned by farting French bulldogs. She writes M/F, M/M, and M/M/F ménages. Want to read a sample of her work? Download a sampler book here.

To keep up with her busy release schedule check her website or sign up for her newsletter.


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Release Tour: Missing and Presumed Dead by Cherime MacFarlane

Title: Missing and Presumed Dead
Author: Cherime MacFarlane
Series: Chandler County
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sweet
Release Date: May 17, 2018
Summary:
Grant remembered waking in a hospital bed with Crystal's hand on his forehead. And no matter how hard he begged, the girl said she must leave. She needed to get away from her father and couldn't stay with his family due to the generations-long feud. Crystal joined the Army. So did he. Then he came home, ran for sheriff and won.

The first thing he did when in office was open the file labeled Missing and Presumed Dead. No one had seen or heard from the mother of the Dane children in years. Did her husband kill her as Royce Dane said? If not, how did she disappear without a trace? But things take an odd twist when he discovers his mother's involvement.

Crystal likes everything about the man Grant is. But she isn't cut out for mixing in the upper echelon of Chandler County society. Her brother needs to know what happened to their mother, Crystal isn't so sure she cares. If her mother walked away from her children, Crystal doesn't need her now.


Crystal let the other passengers leave ahead of her. She needed a little time to psych herself up into getting off the plane. She wanted to see Gentry and meet the man who trundled her off to Alaska without a by-your-leave. But she didn't think Gentry would appreciate it if she busted his nose for him at first sight.

The line cleared out and only the crew remained. Time to get it over with. The whole thing bothered her. Without the structure of the Army to keep her on the straight and narrow, Crystal wondered how she would make it in the civvy world.

She pulled the O.D. green duffel out of the bin and followed the last of the passengers. The pilot said the weather was clear and a comfortable 43 degrees. A small snort followed that thought.

Comfortable for who? Dudes wrapped in two layers of down parkas? What did the man consider uncomfortable? No! Scratch that. A minus something probably, maybe in the low thirties.

With a sigh, she entered the long covered walkway leading to the interior of the terminal. She got a good look at the whole thing before they landed. The entire complex, runways and all would fit in the back corner of Atlanta's Hartsfield–Jackson airport without any fuss.

She followed the signs for the baggage claim area. Not that she had any baggage. Gentry said once she got past security, they would find her.

As soon as she got Gentry to herself, it would be time to spill the beans. Well, perhaps not all of it. The kid didn't need to know she set fire to the barn in a fit of rage. That would stay her secret.

Without the anonymity of her uniform, Crystal felt naked. Why in the hell did she let Royce and Uncle Thad talk her out of re-upping? She hadn't been drunk and just didn't get it.

Liar! Her mind screamed. She knew why. The phone call with Grant played all over again in her head. It was the part about her having a tight ass. She caught the warmth in his tone and figured he had to be smiling when he made the comment.

It was amazing how all airports had the same general layout. Ahead of her a large bank of windows stood on the other side of steps and escalators. Lots of people stood to the side as they waited for passengers to leave the secured area.

"Crystal! Hun!" That was all the warning she got before her baby sister slammed into her with arms wide.

The duffel hit the floor and Crystal wrapped both arms around the kid. With his hands stuffed in the pocket of his jeans, a guy with dark hair and equally dark eyes watched Gentry hug her.

Russ. That was the husband's name. The dude could play poker with the best of them. Crystal couldn't tell anything from a quick glance at his expression.

But her sister felt different. She must have put on about ten or fifteen pounds. Was she pregnant? Crystal sure hoped the hell not. Gentry was just a baby yet. She needed time to figure out who she was since getting out from under Augie's thumb.

Gentry turned to the guy with a smile on her face. "Russ, come and meet my sister."

When he walked forward and held out a hand, Crystal thought she caught sight of a wary expression in his dark eyes. Then he closed up tighter than hell.

That's okay, Alaska. I'm not sure I like your ass either. But for Gentry's sake, she planned to keep it all screwed in tight. The girl looked happy enough. If Gentry loved the little shit and didn't want to leave, so be it.

There would be other visits. If things didn't work out, they would all have a home at the Reynolds place. And that was the other reason she let them talk her out of enlisting again. Sheila. If Royce didn't get some kind of closure on the thing with their mother, the kid might lose what marbles he had left.

For now, she had a week to assess how Gentry was making out up here. The other two guys in Chandler County would want a full report on her findings. But it wouldn't do to alienate the husband right off.

Crystal shook his hand. She made the pressure just firm enough, but not like a wuss. She would treat him like a fresh out of school junior officer. Crystal could do that in her sleep.

She settled in the seat behind Russ. Gentry crawled into the extended cab with her. They had a few miles to go before they reached Homer. Then would come a boat ride to Seldovia. Crystal shook her head. It was a damn good thing she slept on the plane.

Gentry grabbed her hand and squeezed. "I'm so glad to see you. But why did you leave the service?"

With a grin, Crystal chucked her under the chin. "Royce, Uncle Thad and I are planning to make the old man and Johnny's life hell. And it's been a long time coming."

Author Bio:
I came to Alaska kicking and screaming in 1976, and I never want to leave. I cut firewood on shares for money to get through the winter. I swore I would not live above the Alaska Range because it was too cold there and wound up in the Copper River Basin where it got just a cold as Fairbanks.

My second husband, a Scot from Glasgow, was the love of my life. When I write Scots dialect, I experienced hearing it from my in-laws. Each time my husband got on the phone to Scotland after five seconds, I could hardly understand a word. I was my second husband's chief mechanic's helper and roadie.

I live in a cabin which is slowly being surrounded by the city and wish I were farther out. My cat and Husky-Collie mix dog are happy in our little slice of heaven called Alaska. In the silence of winter dreams of people and places provide a rich pool of ideas to explore.

As a reporter for the Copper Valley Views, Cherime MacFarlane received a letter of commendation from the Copper River Native Association for fair and balanced reporting.

Other Awards: Finalist in McGrath Book Awards 2017, Amazon Best Selling in Anthologies-twice and Hardest Working Author Award from Author Classified.


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Friday, May 18, 2018

📘🎥Friday's Film Adaptation🎥📘: Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild


Summary:
In the tradition of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess come Noel Streatfeild’s classic Shoes books. In this story, three orphan girls vow to make a name for themselves and find their own special talents. With hard work, fame just may be in the stars!

Pauline, Petrova, and Posy love their quiet life together. The girls are orphans who have been raised as sisters and when their new family needs money, the girls want to help. They decide to join the Children's Academy of Dancing and Stage Training to earn their keep. Each girl works hard following her dream. Pauline is destined for the movies. Posy is a born dancer. And Petrova? She finds she'd rather be a pilot than perform a pirouette.

This beautiful children's classic is perfect for girls who love to dream about ballet, friendship, and finding their own special talents. Adult readers may remember them as the "Shoes" books from You've Got Mail!



The Fossils became some of the busiest children in London. They got up at half-past seven and had breakfast at eight. After breakfast they did exercises with Theo for half an hour. At nine they began lessons. Posy did two hours’ reading, writing, and kindergarten work with Sylvia, and Pauline and Petrova did three hours with Doctor Jakes and Doctor Smith. They were very interesting lessons, but terribly hard work; for if Doctor Smith was teaching Pauline, Doctor Jakes taught Petrova, and the other way on, and as both doctors had spent their lives coaching people for terribly stiff examinations – though of course they taught quite easy things to the children – they never got the idea out of their minds that a stiff examination was a thing everybody had to pass some day. There was a little break of ten minutes in the middle of the morning when milk and biscuits were brought in; but after a day or two they were never eaten or drunk. Both doctors ahd lovely ideas about the sort of things to have in the middle of lessons – a meal they called a beaver. They took turns to get it ready. Sometimes it was chocolate with cream on it, and sometimes Doctor Jakes’ ginger drink, and once it was ice-cream soda; and the things to eat were never the same: queer biscuits, little one from Japan with delicate flowers painted on them in sugar, cakes from Vienna, and specialties of different kinds from all over England. They had their beavers sitting round the fire in either of the doctors’ rooms, and they had discussions which had nothing to do with lessons. At twelve o’clock they went for a walk with Nana or Sylvia. They liked it best when Sylvia took them. She had better ideas about walks; she thought the Park the place to go to, and thought it a good idea to take hoops and things to play with. Nana liked a nice clean walk up as far as the Victoria and Albert and back. On wet days Sylvia thought it a good plan to stay in and make toffee or be read out loud to. Nana thought nicely brought-up children ought to be out of the house between twelve and one, even on a wet day, and she took them to see the dolls’ houses in the Victoria and Albert. The children liked the dolls’ houses; but there are a lot of wet days in the winter, and they saw them a good deal. Pauline and Petrova had lunch with Sylvia, Posy had hers with Nana. After lunch they all had to take a book on their beds for half an hour. In the afternoons there was another walk, this one always with Nana. It lasted an hour, and as they had usually walked to the Victoria and Albert in the morning, they did not have to go there again, but took turns to choose where they went. Pauline liked walking where there were shops. Petrova liked the Earl’s Court Road, because there were three motor showrooms for her to look at. Posy liked to go towards the King’s Road, Chelsea, because on the way they passed a shop that sold puppies. They all liked Posy’s walk; but they did not choose it themselves because they knew she would. If Nana was not so sure that they must save and penny and walk they would have gone to much more exciting placesl for you can’t get far on your legs when there is only an hour, and that includes getting home again. Tea was in the nursery at a quarter to four, and at half past they went by the Piccadilly railway to Russell Square. They all liked going on the underground; but both Gloucester Road, where they got in, and Russell Square, where they got out, were those mean sort of stations that have lifts instead of moving staircases.

“Going to dancing class,” Petrova said almost every day, “wouldn’t be so bad if only there was even one moving staircase.”

As soon as they got to the Academy they went down to the changing-room. There they shared a locker in which their rompers and practice-frocks and shoes were kept. Their rompers were royal blue with C.A. for Children’s Academy embroidered on the pockets. They wore their rompers for the first half-hour, and with them white socks and black patent-leather ankle-strapped shoes. In these clothes they did exercises and a little dancing which was known as “character”, and twice a week they worked at tap dancing. At the end of half an hour they hung towels round their necks (for they were supposed to get so hot they would need a wipe down) and went back to the changing-room and put on their white tarlatan practice-frocks. These were like overalls with no join down the back; the bodice had hooks and the frills of the skirt wrapped over and clipped. With this they wore white socks and white kid slippers. The work they did in these dresses they found dull, and it made their legs ache. They did not realize that the half-hour spent holding on to a bar and doing what they thoughts stupid exercises was very early training for ballet. Ballet to them meant wearing blocked shoes like the little pair that had come with Posy or such as the more advanced classes wore at school. Sometimes Madame Fidolia came in to watch their class, and directly she arrived they all let go of the practice-bar and curtsied to the floor saying “Madame”.

They got home at half-past six, and Posy went straight to bed. Sylvia reada to the other two for twenty minutes, and then Petrova had to go up, and at seven, Pauline. The lights were out by half-past and there was o more talking.

On Saturday mornings they worked from ten to one at the Academy. As well as special exercise classes and the ordinary dancing classes, there was singing, and one hour’s acting class. For these they wore the Academy overalls. They were of black sateen made from a Russian design, with high collars, and double-breasted, buttoning with large black buttons down the left side; round the waist they had wide black leather belts. With these they wore their white sandals.

Petrova, who hated clothes, found the everlasting changing an awful bore. Saturdays were the worst.

“Oh, I do hate Saturdays,” she said to Nana. “I get up in my jersey and skirt, and as soon as I get to the Academy I change everything, even put a vest on instead of my combinations, and wear those rompres; and then my practice-dress and the overall; and then back into my combinations and my skirt and jersey. I wish I was a savage and wore nothing.”

“That’s no way to talk,” Nana told her sternly. “Many a poor little child would be glad of the nice clothes you wear; and as for changing out of your combies, I’m glad you do; you wear holes in them fast enough without all the dancing in them.”

From the very beginning Madame took an interest in Posy. Every class that she came to watch she made her do some step alone. Posy had her shoes taken off one day and her instep looked at; Madame was so delighted at the shape and flexibility of her feet that she called the rest of the class to look at them. The rest of the class admired them while Madame was there, but secretly none of them could see anything about them different from their own. Pauline and Petrova thought it very bad for Posy to be made so conspicuous, and to teach her not to get cocky they called her “Posy-Pretty-Toes” all the way home. Posy hated it and at last burst into tears. Nana was very cross.

“That’s right, you two, tease poor little Posy; she can’t help Madame saying she has nice feet. It’s jealous, that’s what you are. Any more of your nonsense and you’ll go to bed half an hour early.”

“Why should we be jealous?” asked Petrova. “Who cares what feet look like? They are just useful things.”

Pauline giggled.

“Have you pretty feet, Nana?” She looked down at Nana’s square-teoed black shoes which she always wore.

“I have what God gave me,” Nana said reverently. “and they’re all I need, never having thoughts to dance in a ballet.”

The thought of Nana, who was very fat, dancing in a ballet made them all laugh so much that they forgot to call Posy “Pretty-Toes” again, and they were still laughing when they got home.

It was at the acting classes that Pauline shone. The acting in their first term was entirely in mime. They acted whole fairy stories without saying a word. Whether she was a princess, or a peasant, or an old man, Pauline managed to make them real without any dressing up, but just in the way she moved.

Just before Christmas the school broke up for a month. All the senior girls were working in pantomimes, and for some time all those who were not old enough for licenses had felt very important. The children’s classes were moved from one room to another to make room for rehearsals, and the notice-board was covered with rehearsal calls. “All concered in the Rose Ballet, in room three at 4.30”. “The children appearing in Red Riding Hood, 5.30, room seven.” “The principals for the Jewel Ballet, 4 o’clock, room one.” And, as well, calls for the children stars. “Poppy: 10.30 with Madame Fidolia.” “Winifred: 12 o’clock with Madame Fidolia.”

Pauline, Petrova, and Posy would gaze in great awe at these names.

“Winifred,” one of them would say – “that’s the girl who wears a fur coat. Poppy is going to be Alice in Wonderland. She’s the one with the long hair.”

They would peep through the glass on the doors of the rooms where the rehearsals were taking place, and stare at the children who were already twelve and old enough to earn money.

“Not this Christmas, but the one after I shall be one of those children,” Pauline said enviously.

“Do you want to be?” Petrova asked in surprise. “I’m very glad I’m not twelve, except because of Garnie wanting money to look after us.”

Pauline watched the figures through the glass, the rows of white practice-dresses, and the rows of pink canvas ballet shoes.

“I don’t want to be them, exactly,” she explained, “but I want to be old enough not to dance, but to act. I’d like that.”

Posy could not see through the glass window without standing on her toes. Suddenly watching the ballet rehearsal she got up on to her points. She was only wearing her sandals, but she did not seem worried by the position. Pauline nudged Petrova.

“Look at Posy.”

Petrova looked. Then both of them tried to stand up on their toes, but they could not – it hurt. Posy was not looking at them; but she lolled against the door balanced on her points as easily as if they were her flat feet. Petrova said at last:

“Could you walk on your toes like that, Posy?”

Posy looked down at her feet as if surprised at the way they were behaving. Then she walked down teh passage. She was perfectly easy on her points, as though it was ordinary to walk on them. Pauline and Petrova did not show her how impressed they were, as they thought it would be bad for her. But on the way home, Pauline said:

“You know, Petrova, I do think Posy really has got rather nice little feet.”

Petrova nodded.

“I shouldn’t wonder if she danced terribly well.”

Film
The story of three orphan girls (Pauline, Petrova, and Posy), adopted by an eccentric explorer, Great Uncle Matthew, and his niece Sylvia, in 1930s London.

Release Date: December 26, 2007(BBC One)
Release Time: 85 minutes

Cast:
Emma Watson as Pauline Fossil
Lucy Watson as Young Pauline
Yasmin Paige as Petrova Fossil
Lucy Boynton as Posy Fossil
Richard Griffiths as Great Uncle Matthew Brown "Gum"
Victoria Wood as Nana
Emilia Fox as Sylvia Brown
Eileen Atkins as Madame Fidolia
Peter Bowles as Sir Donald Houghton
Marc Warren as Mr. John Simpson
Harriet Walter as Dr. Smith
Gemma Jones as Dr. Jakes
Lucy Cohu as Theodora "Theo" Dane
Heather Nicol as Winifred Bagnall
Mary Stockley as Miss Jay
Skye Bennett as a Young Sylvia
Don Gallagher as Mr. French
Annabella Anderson as a Pauline Fossil's friend
Nicolette Baker as young girl in red dress
Adrian Lester as Mr Sholsky



Author Bio:
Noel Streatfeild was born in Sussex in 1895 and was one of three sisters. Although she was considered the plain one she ended up leading the most glamorous and exciting life! After working in munitions factories and canteens for the armed forces when WWI broke out, Noel followed her dream of being on stage and went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she became a professional actress. She began writing children's books in 1931 and Ballet Shoes was published in 1936. She quickly became one of the most popular authors of her day. When she visited Puffin exhibitions, there were queues right out of the building and all the way down the Mall. She was one of the first winners of the Carnegie Medal and was awarded an OBE in 1983. Noel Streatfeild lived in London. She died in 1986.


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