I am honored to take part in the blog tour for ONE SHADE OF RED by Scott Bury. I am probably THE ONLY woman who has not read Fifty Shades of Grey, but heard all the hoopla about the young, naive girl who fell in love with the handsome rich guy, so I was eager to see how the story would unfold if the story was reversed.
All I can say from what I have read so far: “Ooh la la…”
The One Shade of Red blog tour
Thanks, CR, for hosting the Launch Blog Tour today!
Fourteen great bloggers have generously agreed to host the blog tour from March 26 and April 6.
One Shade of Red is my second novel, a sexy spoof of the biggest selling book ever. Whether you loved or hated Fifty Shades of Grey (by now, there can’t be anyone literate who has not read it), you’ll appreciate how I turn the story upside-down.
In One Shade, the hero is the naive and awkward university student, Damian Serr. He starts a pool-cleaning business to make money during the extremely hot summer of 2012 in Toronto. His only customer, the beautiful and independent businesswoman Alexis Rosse, decides to teach him a few lessons about business — and about that connection between women and men, too.
One Shade of Red launches April 2 on Amazon, iTunes/iBookstore, Smashwords and other fine e-tailers. For links, visit Scottswrittenwords.blogspot.com.
The previous stop on the tour was Charity Parkerson’s blog, The Sinner Author. [link: charity-thesinners.blogspot.com/]
Today’s excerpt is from Chapter 5, where Alexis teaches Damian how to shop, and dress, for success.
Chapter 5: Shopping
If you knocked me out and woke me up in a clothing store, but still blocked my eyes, I could tell you how expensive the store was. High-end stores smell different from cheap retail outlets.
No, it’s more than that: there is a pervasive feeling about an expensive store. It’s probably the sum of a whole lot of little touches: more expensive cleansers, more frequently used; plus a little perfume in the air.
I think more expensive clothes smell better than cheap clothes, too. They sure feel better against your skin.
I came to these conclusions at the third high-end men’s clothing store on Bloor Street that Alexis took me to. And it was still only 11 in the morning.
Alexis lay another sports coat over my outstretched arm. I started to feel impatient as she turned again to the salesman, who held out two pairs of dress pants.
“The one on the left will go nicely with that jacket,” the salesman said. He was a short, bald man with a prominent belly, probably my father’s age and flagrantly gay. The name-tag pinned to his blazer proclaimed him to be Wilson.
Wilson and Alexis wandered over to another part of the store to look at shirts, leaving me standing there like a tree bearing expensive men’s clothes for fruit.
I thought back over the morning. I had gotten up early, dressed in what I thought were nice clothes, gathered my pool-cleaning stuff and driven to Alexis’ house, ready to start meeting her friends and neighbours for pool-cleaning interviews.
“Oh, no, that won’t do at all,” were the first words out of Alexis’ mouth when she opened the door. Not even “good morning.”
“What’s wrong?” As usual, she was stunning, wearing a short skirt and a loose, light-blue blouse with a lot of puffs and folds around the front of the neckline. At first glance, the outfit was modest, but every time she moved the cloth would reveal a little more smooth, light-brown skin. My eyes followed curves, wishing they could continue under the clothing.
“Damian, you’re going to a series of job interviews. You need to present a professional image to offset the customers’ nervousness about letting a stranger into their homes. You can’t show up looking like a bum. Come on.”
“Where are we going?” She led me through the house to the garage, which held four different, expensive cars.
She picked out a red BMW convertible. She looked at me, standing by the door to the house as she stepped in. “Well, come on.” I shut the passenger door as the garage slid up silently and Alexis put the car in gear. A stick-shift, I noticed.
Alexis drives stick.
It was a short drive from Rosedale to Yorkville. Alexis apparently had a monthly parking spot under one of the big office buildings for shopping convenience. It figured. Alexis would not be seen in a shopping mall, let alone a big-box outlet. No, only the high-end cachet of Bloor Street and Yorkville Avenue for her.
Alexis practically danced down Bloor Street from store to store. They were all painted mild beige and gray, and arranged their clothes in neat piles on tables placed just so. There were no “Sale” or “50% OFF!” signs in these stores. No: if you want a bargain, go somewhere else.
In each store, Alexis ran her hands over the material, admired the cut or the stitching or God knows what, chatted with the sales clerks and cooed over new arrivals. She even put a fedora on my head at one point and laughed.
Eventually, she got serious in some store with a name that didn’t make any sense and started picking out things as if she really intended to buy some. Why hadn’t we just come here in the first place? I thought.
Don’t feel annoyed and resentful, said my brain. She’s buying me clothes — expensive clothes, at that.
The best I could feel was bored. Clothes are boring. You put them on to cover up, keep warm, protect yourself. Some of my friends wear them to make artistic or political statements: Occupy Toronto, or Mumford & Sons.
But now I had to Dress for Success.
“Damian!” Alexis’ musical voice carried across the store. “Try these on.”
I trudged toward the changing rooms. Wilson took the jackets from me and hung them near the changing-room door, while Alexis refilled my arms with pants and shirts. “Let’s try on a few combinations,” she said. To Wilson, she explained, “We’re looking for a confident, somewhat professional look, but also remember: he works with his hands.”
Wilson smiled and picked out a jacket. I stepped into the changing room as the front door chimed. It was the biggest changing room I had ever seen: there was a rack at one end to hold up the clothes you were trying, another rack presumably for the crap you came in wearing, and a wide bench. There was even a bowl of mints.
“Go ahead, tend to the new customer,” I heard Alexis say. “We’ll be here for a while. There are a lot of combinations to try.”
“Thank you, sweetie,” Wilson said. I heard him walk away and greet someone else.
I pulled off my clothes and dropped them on the floor, and paused to look at my body in the full-length mirror. I should have gotten a haircut, I thought, and dragged my fingers through it to try to smooth out the disobedient curls.
Even with slightly neater hair, the body in the mirror was too skinny. I held my arms out and I could no longer see my hands’ reflections. My legs were ridiculously long. Why couldn’t I have muscular legs like Patrick? At least my chest acne had cleared up.
The door opened a little and Alexis’ arm came in, holding a piece of cloth. “Here, try this, too,” she said.
I reached for her hand as she pushed her way inside. Startled, I stepped backward. She shoved the cloth into my mouth and pushed the door closed at the same time. It was wet and smelled …
It was her underwear. I dropped it and it slid down my chest.
Alexis locked the door and pushed her skirt down. “God, shopping makes me so horny,” she whispered.
Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and novelist based in Ottawa, Canada. His articles have appeared in magazines in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia, including Macworld, the Financial Post, Applied Arts, the Globe and Mail and Graphic Arts Monthly.
His first published novel is The Bones of the Earth, a fantasy set in the real time and place of eastern Europe of the sixth century. He has also published a short story, Sam, the Strawb Part (proceeds of which are donated to an autism charity), and a paranormal story, Dark Clouds. His work in progress is tentatively titled Walking from the Soviet Union, and tells the true story of a Canadian drafted into the Red Army during the Second World War, his escape from a German POW camp and his journey home.
Scott Bury lives in Ottawa with his lovely, supportive and long-suffering wife, two mighty sons and the orangest cat in history.
He can be found online at www.writtenword.ca, on his blog, Written Words [link: http://scottswrittenwords.blogspot.com/], on Twitter @ScottTheWriter, and on Facebook [link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scott-Bury-author/347727125260907/%5D