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Authors: Cj Paul

Tempted

Tempted

 

b
y
CJ Paul

 

Part
one
of the
Conquered
trilogy

 

Copyright 2012 CJ Paul

All rights reserved.

 

This ebook is licensed for
your personal enjoyment only.  Regardless of your level of enjoyment
(which is hopefully sky high)
, t
his ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.  If you would like to share this book with another person, please
do
purchase an additional copy for
as many
recipient
s as you would like – the more, the better, in fact
.  If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please
close your eyes, close
the document, and
return to
Amazon
to
purchase your
very
own
,
shiny, new
copy.  Thank you for respecting
the diligence
of this author
,
whose only goal in life is to delight you
.

Table of Contents

 

Section I (Chapters 1-13) – Satisfied by Design

Section II (Chapters 14-
37
) –
Coming
and Going

Section III (Chapters -
38-47
) –
Fall and Grace

The Author,
Other Books
and t
he Conquered Community

A peek at what’s to come

 

Chapter One

“I can’t go on like this, not after all that’s happened.
 
I mean, it isn’t as though
I haven’t tried.
 
It’s just
...
w
ithout him I have no reason to l
ive.
 
I don’t even want to live!
 
Without him
,
my life is n
othing.
 
It has no meaning.
 
I’
m just useless,” the caller concludes.

“Dear, you can never let the actions, words or even opinions of another color your view of yourself, even when it’s someone close to you,
especially
when it’s someone close to you.
 
You are a physician.
 
You are a mother.
 
You are a strong woman who can have the world by the tail,” I reply assuredly, all the while trying to remove a purring
,
long-haired feline from my
laptop
’s keyboard.
 

“Don’t let one misguided, confused, self-loathing male steal the confidence and self-appreciation you have spent your whole life cultivating.
 
You are entitled to every happiness this world has to offer.
 
And you need look no further than within yourself to find all the love and vali
dation you desire and deserve
...
and what’s more, you know it!”
I punctuate these last words as my foot gives an extra pull to the rope toy I am tugging
in order
to keep my bulldog pup fro
m barking while Mommy solves
the world’s relationship problems.

“You’re right, Claire.
 
I know you’re right.
 
I just never thought of it quite that
way.
 
Thank you so much.
 
Okay
.

I know what I have to do.
 

I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted.
 
I can’t thank you enough.
 
You always have the answers!
 
I don’t know what I would do without you and your show!
 
I love you!”


Mwah!
 
Okay
,
dears, that wraps up today’s
You Could be the One
segment of our show.
 
Join me next week when our topic will be
Indulging Your Inner Geisha.
 
If you missed any of our live broadcasts, you can always catch them again on Youtube or the homepage on our site.
 
And don’t forget to sign up in advance if you want to be part of our In-Studio Audience.
Have a great rest of the week and thanks for sharing the siren life with me, Claire Eden.
Ciao
for now.”

I smile and exhale a satisfied sigh as I cli
ck the exit music and remove my
headphones.
The week’s broadcast is done and I have the rest of the day to play hooky until next week’s pre-show prep starts all over again tomorrow.
 
Content with another life-transforming
episode
, and over the moon about my new sponsor, I shuffle my way to the kitchen to put the kettle on, trying not to trip in my voluminous Bugs Bunny slippers.
 
I readjust my red silk kimono robe, wanting nothing more than to settle in with a mug of Yorkshire Gold

one
lump, a generous splash of milk –
some chocolate hazelnut biscotti, and a comfortingly worn-out copy of
Anna Karenina
.
 
All in all, the perfect way to dispose of an inclement F
ebruary morning in Strawberry.

Life wasn’t always so cozy.
 
Until just recently
,
my days as a San Francisco radio talk show host were a barrage of meetings, traffic, politics and product placement.

Admittedly, when the radio station that had carried my talk show for eight years changed formats
,
I envisioned my world collapsing around my ears.
 
I was finally syndicated, finally in a groove
and
, let’s face it,
finally
successful.
 
At least successful enough to get my mom off my back about how I should get a ‘real’ job
, presumably
as a stenographer for some lecherous
,
misogynistic attorney in the city
,
instead of wasting my time playing BFF and confidante to my confused callers.
 

So when my own BFF, April, suggested that, rather th
an jumping off the Golden Gate B
ridge in dramatic despair, I should continue my show as a podcast, I jumped

at the chance, that is, not off the aforementioned bridge.

At first
,
I had no idea how to go about this podcasting business, so I tooled around San Francisco sizing up studio spaces.
 
Most were in the seediest environs imaginable, and all were arrogantly p
riced.
 
When I mentioned this to April she blithely remarked, “So broadcast from your home.
 
It’s free, you’ve just finished remodeling, you’re a home-body anyway, and did I mention it’s free?”

Yeh, there’s a good reason she’s my best friend.
 
Apparently Claire, the sage and helpful voice of reason, needs a reasonable voice of her own to turn to.

Of course, I can always consult the menagerie, specifically cat Jasper, bulldog pup Persephone, parakeets Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Legolas and Galadriel, and my endearing box turtle
,
Daphne.
 
When important decisions are to be made such as the most fetching ensemble to sport
,
or which color of toe polish to
apply
, I seek out their sapient advice.
 
After all, working from home means they are the only beings who see me socially. And their input is far m
ore positive than that of my mother
, who will not only find the non-existent fly in the ointment, but will turn any question I may ask her into an opportunity to bring up everything I’ve ever done wrong in
my
life.

She is still dismayed about the length of my hair.
 
In her estimation
,
no one over thirty should have hair past their shoulders.
 
Mine is what I wistfully describe as mermaid-length, or, more accurately, tuck-into-your pants length

provided the pants aren’t too low-cut.
 
Poor Mom is up in arms and determined to interject into every conversation the fact that she knows someone who could
do something
with my hair and give me a professional tv broadcaster coiff.
 
She always makes a point to add that she would be happy not only to make the appointment for me, but to pick up the tab as well!
 
Hint, hint.
 
Worse yet, she says I generally look like a widowed dowager because I most often knot my hair on top of my head and secure it with a chopstick, and I now wear reading glasses while at the computer, which is pretty much always.

Of course, the best part of the ongoing follicle feud is that it has momentarily diverted her from her usual crusade

that of finding me a man.
 
God forbid her daughter should be an independent,
self-made career girl and home
owner!
 
Without a man
,
it all amounts to nil in Mom’s eyes.

Truth be told, she’
s not the only one enthusiastically perched atop the ‘you need a man’ bandwagon.
 
Most of my friends are of the opinion that my social life is, at best, mildly pathetic.
 
The married ones, especially, find great purpose in their efforts to see me wed.
 
Quality of the groom rarely enters into the discussion.
 
The main objective seems to be the speed at which they can get me hitched, without the slightest thought for my ever after.
 
Most of these incessant well-meaner
s fear my becoming a ‘cat lady,’
 
and my quips about the fact that I have only one cat in my seven-pet family do little to assuage their vexation.

I often wonder about the hapless objects of my friends’ matchmaking.
 
Are my male counterparts also secretly rolling their eyes in frustration at the thought of being set up with yet another e-Harmony dropout?
 
Oh, how I remember that experience!
 
Danielle, my producer at the radio station, took it upon herself to enroll both of us in a 90-day free trial membership with that hugely successful online dating pool.
 
She conducted exte
nsive research on the top match
making sites
,
and was quite impressed with the
caliber
of males on eHarmony.
 
At least someone cares about quality control!

I actually connected with and ultimately met one very nice gentleman from the site.
 
We hit it off instantly

in a brother/sister sort of way.
 
We stayed in contact for a few years, swapping dating war stories and laughing uproariously over the really pitiful ones.
 
He always had something incredibly insightful and positive to share whenever I was dealing with some sort of guy drama or letdown.
 
We lost contact a couple years back when I changed my number, then lost my cell phone and all of its contacts.
 
Rather a liberating experience, in retrospect.

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