One Thousand Drops of Rain.

Since the release of the immensely popular — and exquisitely written — Fifty Shades of Grey, the reading public has been clamoring for the next big thing in romantic literature. Here, with a tale to satisfy every possible taste and predilection, is acclaimed author K.H. Daly, exclusively presenting the first chapter of One Thousand Drops of Rain.

Muscular CEO Byron Cloud removed the Grover doll from Katerina Gold's mouth.

"You have passed the test. Now we shall begin ... the reckoning," he intoned in a soft yet firm purr, his voice strikingly reminiscent of a Californian Alan Rickman.

"Holy heck," Katerina thought. "Holy heck." Stop. Rewind. How did this beautiful, mild-mannered virgin end up in this most titillating of scenarios?

Katerina Gold was fresh out of Juilliard, where she had double-majored in dance and violin. She knew the arts like the back of her hand, yet the art of love had eluded her.

"Sigh," she said to herself as she celebrated her graduation alone in her basement apartment. "Am I forever doomed to be a lonely virgin?" She fired up her trusty Macbook Pro, which had become her most faithful companion over the years. She caught a glimpse of her reflection in the screen just before the desktop flickered back to life. She was easily the most beautiful woman in New York City, with a winsome smile, a fulsome chest, and a lithesome dancer's physique. Yet her low self-esteem and social anxiety isolated her.

"No man is an island?" she mused to herself. "John Donne never said anything about women, I suppose..." She was also a literary genius. She navigated to her favorite website, FanFiction.net, and spent the most momentous night of her young life as she did most nights: reading the extended—and oft erotic—adventures of her favorite fictional characters into the wee hours. She finally fell asleep just as the first hints of sun began to creep through the expansive concrete jungle that was the majestic Portland skyline.

"That's it," she declared as she woke up hours later. "I've got to get out of this rut!" She collected herself and walked down to Burt's Beans, her local coffee joint.

"Hiya, gorgeous!" Burt said. Katerina smiled. Burt was always flattering her, but she knew he was innocent. A kindly old widower, Burt was more like a second father than the lecherous old creep she had once feared him to be. She laughed at the memory—how could she have gotten Burt so wrong?—but then winced as she turned the phrase "like a second father" over in her head. Katerina was an orphan. Her lip trembled as she relived the explosion that had snatched her parents' lives.

"Why the long face?" Burt inquired. "Hey, chin up. I'll make ya a deal: if I can get ya ta smile, you's gotta accept a latte on the house." She grinned. Burt could always get her to crack a smile.

Minutes later, she sat typing furiously as her latte cooled, pounding out a thrilling tale in Microsoft Word about a young dancer and violinist named Kathrynna being recruited to join the ladies of "Cleopatra 2525" in an erotic and thrilling adventure across time and space.

Katerina was so absorbed in her story that she didn't even notice the striking young man standing before her until he cleared his throat.

"Mind if I sit down?" he inquired. Katerina stammered something incomprehensible. She couldn't believe this adonis, with his bulging biceps, 6-foot-6 frame, and uncanny facial resemblance to a young Tom Berenger, would even give her a second glance. He sat.

"I couldn't help but notice how beautiful you were and how empty the chair across from you was," he said. Katerina blushed a deep crimson. He continued, "My name is Byron Cloud. I'm the CEO of Cloud Productions, a high-powered firm with many holdings. I am a man of wealth and refinement. But never have I seen such a beauty as you." As he was talking, Katerina couldn't help but notice an ATM receipt jutting out of his front pocket. He had over 30 billion dollars in the bank. He went on, "I want to make you mine."

Katerina gulped. "I–I don't know what to say," she stammered.

"Say yes," said the mysterious stranger.

"Holy moly, cheese and macaroni," Katerina thought. Before she knew what she was saying, she found her lips forming the word: "Yes."

Fast-forward to three weeks later. Katerina was in CEO Cloud's lair, signing the most erotic contract she had ever laid eyes upon."I, the undersigned, hereby authorize muscled billionaire Byron Cloud to have his way with me, every which way. This may include, but is not limited to: furryism, adult baby play, mermaidism, feederism, political roleplaying, dendrophilia, juggling/magic ..." The list went on and on like this, for pages.

Katerina felt a frisson of unexpected pleasure wrack her body as she signed away her right to object to anything laid out in the contract.

Mere hours later, she was encased in a papier-mache tree, her branches quivering as Byron Cloud performed erotic coin tricks before for her. "Watch closely," he teased, "as this stack of mere pennies, no more than a few nigh-worthless slugs of copper and zinc, undergoes the most sensual transformation of its life."

"Voilà," he said in flawless French—he was a master of all known languages as well—as he turned the pennies into quarters before Katerina's very eyes, which were only partially obscured by lush foliage. Katerina had never known such pleasure.

As the night dragged on, Katerina found herself swaddling the mighty executive in a soft, pink blanket emblazoned with the defiant image of Boots, Dora the Explorer's simian companion. "Goo goo," he cooed. "Ga ga. Baby want baba." Her loins ached as she fed him Pedialite from a comically oversized bottle.

On into the night they charged, plumbing the depths of the human sensual experience. Katerina donned an ill-fitting blazer, gray wig, and string of pearls. Byron stepped back. "My God, Katerina. If you aren't the spitting image of Golda Meir..." They debated Zionism until the first golden rays of the sun began to peek from the horizon.

Katerina and her Prince Charming indulged in every fetish known to man, a veritable checklist of pulse-pounding eroticism. When it finally came time to bid one another farewell, Katerina removed her lifelike horse mask and Byron Cloud turned off the television that displayed a live feed from a hidden camera in "Weird Al" Yankovic's dressing room.

"Until tomorrow," the powerfully built genius said, his loins still astir.

"Until tomorrow," said Katerina.

END OF CHAPTER ONE

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