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Four Bidding For Love (a novel)

I have been laboring for years on a secret project--an escapist entertainment entitled Four Bidding For Love. The novel is being serialized in the old-fashioned manner of weekly segments, published every Saturday. Those who want to read the rest without waiting for the serialization can buy the story on Kindle for a small low-fat mocha coffee, i.e. $3.00.

The serialization is based on the notion that people living through hard times naturally seek escapist entertainment--I know I do. (Screwball comedies were very popular in the 1930s Great Depression.)

It is a cliche that writers write the book they want to read themselves, and it is undoubtedly true, for this is the kind of book I want to read at the end of a long and tedious day: a deliciously distracting romantic romp.

(Those who find absurdist humor and adult situations offensive, please read no further.)

Part 1: The must-win auction (5/5/12)
    The antique kitchen timer issued its shrill warning, and Ross rushed to his computer with such haste....

Part 2: The Winning Bid and the Room of Doom (5/12/12)
    After considering her other wins, Ross concluded GreenDollGal would bid just over a round number....

Part 3: Winner's Euphoria (5/19/12)
    Across the Bay in San Francisco, the mood was considerably more ebullient....

Part 4: A Feverish Whirl of Evil Intentions (5/26/12)
    Ross's mind was a feverish whirl of evil intentions, for GreenDollGal had rejected his polite offer....

Part 5: Robin vs. the Axe Murderer (6/2/12)
    As Alexia recovered from the stunning last-second loss of The Thief of Bagdad poster to another online bidder, something about the winning bidder's screen name jogged her memory....

Part 6: Kylie Caves In (6/9/12)
    Ross was still savoring his winning bid for The Thief of Baghdad movie poster when Kylie's unique knock sounded on his door....

Part 7: Kylie's Blind Date (6/16/12)
    Kylie leaned down to read the email and Ross had to suppress a desire to pull his sweet-smelling friend into a passionate embrace that would thoroughly muss her damp locks. Even as he typed, he sighed inwardly and told himself, forget it....

Part 8: Alexia Whiffs Romance: All Strikes, No Hits (6/23/12)
    "There's an axe murderer after me, some online troll seeking revenge," Alexia said huskily, and Katy's eyes widened in surprise.....

Part 9: Robin's Nightmare (6/30/12)
    How did I get myself into this senseless Hell?

Part 10: Under Protest, Ross Cross-Dresses (7/7/12)
    Being late was not in Kylie's nature, and being more nervous than usual....

Part 11: Kylie, the Shocked Voyeur (7/14/12)
    Kylie glanced at the shelves of shoes and wondered if the sales lady who smiled at her was Alexia....

Part 12: Robin Imagines Kylie, Wrongly (7/21/12)
    A huge bearded specimen of humanity stepped directly from Robin's worst fears onto the house's front porch, and brandished a gleaming hand-axe.

Part 13: Robin Meets Kylie: Love AFS (8/5/12)
    His need for deliverance at fever pitch, he saw a slim chestnut-haired young woman in blue jeans and form-fitting blouse walk hurriedly up to the coffee booth and then slip off her sunglasses in a nervous scan of the patrons.

Part 14: The Smitten Negotiators(8/11/12)
    Both smitten negotiators turned round and scanned the plaza, perhaps sensing the surveillance they could not spot.

Part 15: A Beggar's Banquet(8/18/12)
    "Just to keep it interesting, let's say I demand not just this poster in exchange, but another toaster, too."

Part 16: The Negotiations Turn Nasty(8/25/12)
Alexia's voice fairly exploded out of the tiny device. "What did that horrid old beggar say to you?"

Part 17: A Very Mutual Dismay(9/1/12)
"Can you help me out of this contraption? It's cut off the circulation to my arms and I've gone numb."

Part 18: Sweet Payback(9/8/12)
Robin complied, and though he tried to avert his gaze, his attention was irresistibly drawn to her soft flesh, which reminded him most powerfully of Aphrodite come to life.

Part 19: Sweet Payback(9/15/12)
Handing Kylie a slightly smudged glass of celebratory Chenin Blanc, Ross exclaimed, "I apologize for my lack of faith--you really are an extremely crafty negotiator," and at the last second thought better of adding, "and a very dear sweet girl."

Part 20: Kylie's Painful Injury(9/22/12)
The trepidation of a second date is quite unlike the trepidation of the first, and in its own way, even more harrowing. For while both parties know within the first few moments of their first meeting if there is any spark between them, the second is fraught with a much greater uncertainty.

Part 21: The Oh-So-Critical Second Date(9/29/12)
Robin spotted Kylie standing outside the doors of the appointed cafe, and his heart rate leapt in anxious anticipation.

Part 22: Power Outage (10/6/12)
Kylie returned home and parked her car just as the streetlights sputtered and went dark, along with all the lighting in the buildings lining her street.

Part 23: The Mysterious Masseur (10/13/12)
Over-riding his better judgment, Robin had turned his minivan off the approach to the Bay Bridge and driven to Kylie's rooming house.

Part 24: A Very Surprising Surprise (10/27/12)
To say her face registered shock would be a fantastic understatement.

Part 25: Fire! (11/3/12)
Undetected by the blissfully engaged young lovers across the hall, the one candle Ross had failed to completely extinguish had flickered back to life, guttering wax onto a loose pile of papers on his desk.

Part 26: Tragic Aftermath: A Night on Vonda's Sofa (11/10/12)
Water turns glossy pages into a pulpy sort of glue, and as a result all of Ross's magazine and catalog collection was irrevocably ruined.

Part 27: Second Thoughts of New Lovers (11/17/12)
What turned Kylie's troubled mind was not the fire, but doubts about Robin--not just about him, but about herself, and the utterly inexcusable way she'd invited him to bed her on what was essentially their second date.

Part 28: Low Spirits All Around (11/24/12)
Heaving a sigh, he bent down to pet Hanover the cat and then murmured out loud, "I'll have to tell her--but what if she says no?"

Part 29: An Allergic Change of Plan (12/1/12)
"This is how friends treat you in your hour of desperate need," he scowled as Kylie drove away. "Dump you on somebody else."

Part 30: "I have a huge weak spot for sexy neurotics." (12/8/12)
"How old is she, and how would you rate her sexiness?" Robin blushed warmly and then averted his gaze. "Early 30s, and very high."

Part 31: A Friend Is Lost (12/15/12)
Alexia's hands were trembling, and she gripped the steering wheel hard. It had been a terribly traumatic afternoon, and she wanted most of all to reach the comforts and solitude of her own home.

Part 32: The picture of youth innocent of her own beauty (12/22/12)
Dressed in a splendidly frilly scalloped lace white dress which played most prettily against her brown calves and contrasted equally prettily with her bronzed bare shoulders, Kylie was the picture of youth innocent of her own beauty.

Part 33: The see-saw of pleasure and loss (12/29/12)
Robin lifted Kylie's straw hat to gaze at her theatrically. "You look famished.”

Part 34: An unexpected and extremely unwelcome houseguest (1/6/13)
Given her keen anticipation of being home alone, Alexia did not welcome the lights on in her flat.

Part 35: Dinner, Confession and the Blossoming of Love (1/13/13)
While it is a romantic cliche that the avenue to a man's heart winds through his stomach, it is less acknowledged but equally true that the path to a woman's affections also runs through her stomach.

Part 36: Three things happen in the house on Green Street (1/26/13)
At this critical juncture of entwined sympathies and the intimacy of repressed emotions entrusted to another, three things happened in the house on Green Street, only one of which Ross and Alexia detected.

Part 37: When the pixies of romance are frustrated... (2/2/13)
Wrapping the large white towel around her, Alexia turned off the lights and flopped onto her soft pink comforter.

Part 38: The pixies celebrate victory (2/9/13)
Now the pixies were painfully aware that even their magic would fail if a couple's first kiss went awry, and they hovered over the pair anxiously, awaiting the verdict of Nature.

Part 39: A Karmic Lesson (2/16/13)
As Ross gazed at the tousled blond hair of his bedmate and felt her warmth beside him, it seemed the world was indeed improving in leaps and bounds he could not have imagined just a few days ago.

Part 40: The true wealth of a kind and loyal male heart (2/24/13)
Under Ross's genial questioning, Alexia revealed her hope to acquire a huge horde of classic movie posters from a friend.

Part 41: "I should have known there was a man in your life—look at your cute little green dress." (3/3/13)
The difference was so striking that Alexia wondered if she'd ever been with a man who was actually solicitous of her in the manner of R.T.

Part 42: Kylie: a wild poppy turning its iridescent orange blossom gaily to the sun (3/16/13)
If Alexia was like a winter bulb's first hesitant bud pushing up through the darkness of cool earth, Kylie was like a wild poppy turning its iridescent orange blossom gaily to the sun.

Part 43: Finally Free to Live Large (3/23/13)
Ross was putting the last hurried touches on the evening meal: spaghetti tossed with olive oil, steamed eggplant and parmesan cheese, served with plump scallops pan-fried in butter.

Part 44: A Shocking Revelation (3/30/13)
Once the meal was consumed, events ran faster than either expected.

Part 45: Ah, Romance: Once Burned, Twice Shy (4/13/13)
Fearing a retreat would raise Alexia's suspicions, Ross returned to her bedroom just as she exited the bathroom in a cloud of steam....

Part 46: An unstable elixir ready to boil over (5/4/13)
Afterward, just when Ross thought his luscious bedmate had fallen asleep, Alexia turned over and nestled against him.

A note of thanks to those who buy a book: As an independent writer, book sales are a substantial part of my income. I receive no funding from any university, trust fund, think-tank, shadowy C.I.A. front or government agency. Thank you for throwing caution and rationality to the winds and buying my work.

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