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Alice Hall is a thirty-two-year-old writer at The Daily Chronicle. When Mr. White pays a visit to her boss and insists she visit Wonderland on assignment, Alice believes it to be a cruel joke. She soon discovers that Wonderland is nothing like what she read about as a child. The owner of the Queen of Tarts invites Alice inside, feeding her delightful sweets in hopes that Alice’s article will focus on her pastry shop. It is not only dessert that the owner of the Queen of Tarts feeds her but also stories of Baylor, the owner of the local pastry competitor, The Mad Batter. He may be hot and single, but he also has a reputation for having a secret club catering to special “Littles” hidden within town.
Will Alice be able to get an invitation to the secretive club and find the story that she desires to write? Despite the dangers, she is determined to satisfy her curiosity. Will her investigative skills be enough to keep her out of trouble, or will she find her bottom bared?
DISCLAIMER: A Taste of Wonderland is a modern romantic contemporary adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, and is intended only for adults. This novel features the spanking of adult women, elements of age play, as well as anal play, and power exchange. If any of these offend you, please do not purchase this book.
Alice Hall loved her job—on most days. Living in a small town made for many boring afternoons at the office. Alice worked at the Daily Chronicle, the local newspaper in town. She desired to see the world, travel abroad, and experience life outside of her hometown.
Sitting at her desk, she fingered through the pages of boring half-written articles she had started. None had enough charisma to be finished. There were no exciting stories to tell in Fayette. Maybe one day she would travel as far as Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. It was a city she had always wanted to venture to, but she was never anxious to travel alone. Flying made her stomach uneasy. Traveling by train was an option but vacationing alone did not seem exciting. Alice had no boyfriend, not that she didn’t wish to be tangled in the sheets with a hot guy, but her last relationship had been over six months ago. Lately the men she dated had bored her. Maybe it was Fayette. She needed desperately to get out of town, not that she’d venture far in search of a story. Their paper was for her town, not the city outside.
The elevator dinged and she felt her attention drawn toward the double doors as they opened. Alice was not usually so easily distracted but there had been something that made her stare curiously at the gentleman with a white suit and red coat stepping out onto the floor. Who was he? She sat at her desk, watching intently as he walked past her desk, paying her no attention. Approaching her boss’s office, he knocked promptly before stepping inside.
He had a white tuft of hair that was thinning and his skin was far paler than anyone she had seen in quite some time. Yes, it was winter but that did not discount his lack of color in his cheeks or face. She knew better than to think him albino but he was something…peculiar.
As quick as he had entered the office, the door opened and he retreated toward the elevator. Her boss had not escorted him and as the gray-haired gentleman passed by her desk, his spectacles pushed slightly back on his nose, he forced them closer to his eyes, nodding and smiling at Alice.
She felt a strange sense of confusion as he hit the button for the elevator and waited for the light to ding to alert him that his ride down was here.
“Alice!” her boss’s voice emanated through the floor as he ducked his head out of the office and into the hall, his short auburn hair and face of freckles calling her attention.
Upon hearing him sound her name, she stood promptly. “Yes, sir?” she asked, pushing away from her desk and down the narrow hallway as she approached his office. The newsroom was bubbling with excitement, but Alice hadn’t been directed at an assignment that she found engaging.
“What can I do for you?” She had learned from her mother to always be polite, especially when speaking with her boss, the editor-in-chief. It may not have always worked, but in most cases, a sense of respect got her far.
“Mr. Robert White has asked for one of our writers to do an article on his town. They have been struggling with tourism lately and thought that a piece in our paper might help appeal to a broader audience. In exchange, they will run a piece for us as well.”
Alice did not quite understand what he was asking her to do. “That is incredibly kind of them.”
“Yes, of course.” He seemed quite disinterested in her words. He fiddled through the pages on his oversized wooden desk, finding a blank sheet of paper. Tearing it in half, he scribbled down an address. “I want you to go to Wonderland, Alice. There is a story to tell and I am quite certain you will be able to find it.”
The smile faded from her face, the politeness disappearing all too quickly. “Excuse me?” Was he seriously sending her to Wonderland? It was a small town west of where they lived, an hour or so away.
“I want you to take the assignment. You have a great ability when it comes to story telling, and I think if there’s a tale to spin, you can do it. Mr. White wants more tourists to visit and help their local economy. He gave me the name of a woman, I can’t remember her name but the shop, that one no one can forget.”
Grumbling under her breath, she took the half-sheet of white paper, examining his handwriting.
Queen of Tarts
17 Second Street
“You cannot be serious? Is this a joke?” Alice was not laughing. Did they think it funny to prank her? Her cheeks burned red and her blue eyes were wide with rage. “Just because my name is Alice does not make the fairy tale true.” Certainly she had her fair share of strange dreams involving Wonderland, but what child didn’t have dreams of fairy tales and nightmares of monsters? Alice was no different than any other girl, just less fortunate to live near a town with a namesake that would potentially kill her career. How would anyone take her article seriously?
“Do I look like I’m laughing?” he asked. “You are expected within twenty-four hours. I suggest you go home and pack. The story will not write itself, Alice.”
Was there anything left to say? She needed her job. Alice depended on it to pay her rent. Even though she lived in a small town, it did not mean there weren’t bills to pay and payments due every month. She missed the freedom of being a child with no responsibilities. Adulting was such hard work!
She cleaned up her desk, mostly by piling up her paperwork and stacking it neatly together before opting to shove it all into the top drawer on the right. It was easier than having to look at it when she returned, hopefully within a day or two. How long would it take to get an entertaining story that would drive tourism to Wonderland?
Shaking her head, she hated that she was forced to take on the article. It seemed cruel to put her on the assignment, given her name. There would be jokes, undoubtedly, from her coworkers and possibly even those in Wonderland.
Truth was Alice didn’t have many friends in Fayette. She hadn’t lived there all her life. No, she had moved to the small town upon the job offer. She needed a regular paycheck and had been given a decent offer, considering the cost of living wasn’t as awful as the city where she’d grown up.
She’d lost count of the time she’d spent in Fayette. One month turned to three, and before she knew it, she lived there five or so years. She dated men but hadn’t found anyone worth spending more than a few months with. Love had not found its way into her heart, and she had wondered for a short while if dating was a ridiculous endeavor with no merit. The men she had met were either liars, cheaters, or could not so much as hold a conversation. There wasn’t enough sex in the world to ignore any of the three issues and keep them around. It was easier to be single rather than date a man who was not worth her time.
She headed out of the office, not saying goodbye to anyone. Her colleagues were just that; people she saw but didn’t truly connect with. They didn’t so much as notice as she headed for the elevator. It was as though she were invisible to them. As a writer, she kept to herself, was forced to remain often enough at her desk that chitchat didn’t happen as she would have liked. Besides, the ladies who worked at the Daily Chronicle were too busy focusing on their children and the men wanting to get laid. It disgusted Alice. She did not feel as though she fit into this world.
Heading home, she packed an overnight bag with a few dresses that would keep her warm in December. She did not want to think of the holidays just a few weeks away. Christmas was coming swiftly and she had no one to spend it with. Thanksgiving had been her eating leftovers alone. She hadn’t bothered with making a turkey. Her culinary skills were subpar. The last class she’d taken regarding cooking had been home economics when she was in the eighth grade. She hadn’t touched a sewing machine since, and the idea of doing more than heating up leftovers was atrocious. She managed to eat decent meals by going out several times a week, and then she would bring home any food that she didn’t consume.
Alice punched into her GPS the address to Queen of Tarts. She could not believe that anyone would name their bakery such a ridiculous name and expect business. Did it work? Probably not since she was forced to try and help with tourism. Was all of Wonderland as cheesy as the bakery she was supposed to visit? She considered grabbing a bottle of wine on the way, needing a drink when she arrived in town. If the town were as quaint as it sounded, she might need an entire case of liquor to entertain her.
She drove west, following the directions on her phone until she entered the small town. Between Fayette and Wonderland, it was as though nothing existed except for empty fields that had been plowed and a light covering of snow that grazed the land.
Finding Main Street was simple enough seeing as how it happened to be the center of town. Making a quick right, Second Street was easy to navigate considering the street was not too long, and as she parked her bright red car, she noticed that there was an abundance of open spaces in the lot. It truly seemed that they were hoping for visitors. The town felt rather empty. Perhaps they needed an amusement park to encourage visitors to come to Wonderland. At least with rollercoaster rides there would be an attraction to visit. What could she possibly spin a story about?
Grabbing her purse from the car, she headed toward the pastry shop, Queen of Tarts. From the outside a giant wooden sign hung above the door, squeaking as the wind caressed her skin and chilled Alice, forcing her to walk quicker as she shuffled inside to get warm. The brick buildings outside were quite elegant with shop windows on the first floor and apartments upstairs. There was a quaint feeling to the town that she had never previously visited.
She opened the door and a bell attached to the handle chimed to announce her entrance. The heat of the bakery caressed her cheeks and tickled her nose. The sugary and buttery scent was wonderful, and so she breathed deeply in the sweet aroma, which made her mouth water almost immediately. When had she last eaten?
“Hello?” Alice said, calling out to anyone who might be running the small establishment. Had they not heard the bell upon her entrance? Her eyes glanced over the cute décor with hand-painted tarts on the walls and photographs of the baker’s custom creations. There were three small metal tables with glass tops and chairs for customers to sit and enjoy their snacks. The glass table tops even had a tart painted in the center, and on further inspection, Alice realized this to be the woman’s logo with her shop name painted in a circle around the tart.
“Sorry!” A woman’s voice echoed in the small space as her heels clicked on the tile flooring. She wore an apron covered in small tarts that fit quite perfectly with the theme of her shop. She was tall, exceptionally so and Alice had to glance down to see if the woman was, in fact, wearing heels that had given her the added height as she towered above Alice. Her heels were platforms that were painted with little tarts on the shoes, making them tackier. The woman clearly had an admiration of tarts.
Even the glass stalls that held food were decorated with miniature paintings of tarts. The store was every bit as quaint as the town, but there was no story in it to tell, as far as Alice could see.
“Can I help you?” the shop clerk asked. She had the reddest hair Alice had ever witnessed. Her eyes were like two black marbles, barely able to see her pupils with the darkened irises.
“Yes, my name is Alice Hall. I believe Mr. White was in contact with you about my coming to Wonderland?” Was Mr. White assuming that Alice would write a story on her little shop? It was cute but not divine enough to garner attention from an hour away to bring about new clientele. Though she had yet to try the tarts or any other pastries that sat behind the glass case.
“That’s right! I almost forgot you were coming.” She laughed softly, her cheeks turning nearly as red as her hair.
Alice did not quite know what was so funny, but she smiled politely.
“I’m Tara, the owner of Queen of Tarts. Robert, or rather Mr. White, was interested in you running a story on my shop. We thought it could liven the town by bringing in tourists for desserts so scrumptious that it will cause heads to roll.”
Alice glanced into the glass case. “The articles that I write come from what I experience. Do you have a sample of a tart that I might sample and review?” She was a reporter and though at times she was assigned puff pieces, she had never been much of a food critic. She preferred to write stories with facts, not offer up her opinion. Who cared what she thought?
Tara wiped the flour from her hands onto the apron, looking rather offended as she scoffed under her breath. “Right. Yes, of course.” She reached into the glass counter and retrieved a tart covered in gold glitter that was both fancy and looked delicious.
“Would you like the tart in a box to go or on a plate and have it here? We could chat for a while and I could give you the scoop on Wonderland,” Tara said.
Alice had nowhere else to go and the pastry shop owner was being incredibly kind to her. “Yes. I’ll sit down and eat here with you.”
“Great! Have a seat and I will bring it right over.”
Alice sat down, placing her purse on the floor. Her mouth watered as the aromas only seemed to further permeate the shop, making her stomach grumble. How could anyone step foot into such a store and not purchase a dessert? It was as though one could taste the sweetness in the air.
Tara approached the table with a hand-painted plate that held a small tart in the center and a shining silver fork to go along with it. Placing the plate onto the table, she sat down across from Alice. “Am I your first stop in Wonderland?” Tara asked.
Alice lifted the fork and took a bite of the tart, the taste savory and sweet as it tickled her tongue. What was in this dessert?
“Yes,” Alice mumbled between bites of tart. “Mr. White suggested that I visit with you first. Is there anyone else I should go visit next?”
“Mr. White owns an antique shop that specializes in pocket watches. You might find that entertaining. Though I must say that writing about my shop, Queen of Tarts, it would make a better story.”
Alice hungrily took another bite. She finished her tart and wiped her sticky fingers on a napkin, feeling quite thirsty. “Do you have something to drink?”
Tara headed to the refrigerator case and retrieved an antique bottle that required a bottle opener to pop the lid. She opened the drink, handing the blue fizzling liquid to Alice.
“What is this?” The outside of the bottle read “Drink Me.” She laughed, not waiting to hear Tara’s answer as she downed the sweet fruity liquid which eased the remainder of any fears she may have felt.
With a gulp, a warmth spread through Alice that made her tingle and giggle as though she were slightly tipsy. Her eyes were slanted with tiredness but she fought off the sensation to sleep. She had no bed and would require an hour’s drive home. Standing, Alice decided that it was time to go. Giggling, she could not contain her laughter as she found it hard to breathe.
“Here, I think the sugar in that tart went straight to your head. Did you not eat dinner?” Tara asked, shaking her head. “I would not have given you an entire tart had I known you were such a lush.” The smile never seemed to leave her lips. “Thank heavens you are with me here and not over at Mad Batter’s place. He would have you tied up in his underground BDSM club and spanked for such naughty behavior.”
“The Mad Batter?” Alice asked, trying to make sense of what Tara was telling her. Could she trust this woman? She had given her something that made her feel…unlike herself. Had she been drugged? The fear and confusion dissipated as she seemed to wake up further, giggling with happiness as her body relaxed and allowed her to let go.
“Yes, my local competition. Baylor is a tyrant, hell-bent on stealing my business by swindling ladies into his club and pleasing them with more than just his charm.”
Alice did not quite know why that was a bad thing. “What makes him…mad? Is that the name of his shop?”
“Yes. It is Wonderland after all. We shall embrace who we are and why we have found our way here.”
What was Tara talking about? Did she really think she was Queen of Wonderland? Rubbing at her forehead Alice laughed, the more she tried to think, the more laughter bubbled up and sprung from her lips, causing her to hiccup quite loudly. Thank heavens she was not in the fantasy world of Wonderland or she would have had bubbles spilling from her lips.
“Come, Alice. It is growing late and with the giggles that you have, I think it would be wise to find you a place to sleep. You can stay with me. I have a sofa that is quite comfortable and a spare bedroom if you can make it up the stairs.”
“Of course I can make it up the stairs.” Alice stood and swayed, unsure how far a walk it was to Tara’s home. She could always get a hotel, though driving to one seemed a terrible idea at this hour and under her current condition. Again, the more she thought, the more laughter seemed to grow on her, making her double over, giggling uncontrollably.
Alice remembered her purse and Tara locked up the tart shop, escorting her outside and into the cold.
Shivering, her eyes widened as the cold air nipped at her skin. The jacket she wore was not enough to keep from freezing, her parka stored away at home for when it snowed. The air felt damp and cool enough that it could potentially snow, the sky a perfect shade of gray with clouds covering the skyline.
“I live only two blocks from here,” Tara said. “We can walk quickly. It won’t be too terrible.” Tara’s teeth chattered from the chill.
Alice could not remember the Wonderland she had read about as a child ever experiencing snow. Perhaps the fantasy world was much more pleasant with spring flowers and cute summer dresses that were short.
The long dark blue dress she wore covered her down to her toes, but she still felt chilled. Wearing leggings underneath and a wool coat overtop was not enough. She needed gloves and a hat, maybe that parka she didn’t bring.
Shivering, she walked beside Tara, the woman linking their arms together, using their body heat to warm each other up. “Do you worry about closing early?” Alice asked. The moment the question spilled past her lips, she doubled over laughing, her cheeks burning from the pain of joy.
“I doubt anyone would come this late. It’s nearly dinnertime. We sell better during the morning,” Tara said.
They walked from Second Street out to Main Street, past a shop that read The Mad Batter, which was painted on the window with an image of a cartoonish man stirring a bowl, his tongue hanging out slightly to the side. He wore a coat and hat, and would have seemed to be an image almost straight from The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, minus the bit with cooking. The store looked charming and Alice desired to taste what sweet treats they had to offer.
“Can we go inside?” Alice asked, forgetting her manners and that Tara had warned of the Mad Batter being her competition.
Tara groaned under her breath. “No. I am taking you home to sleep. Stay away from Baylor. I am telling you, Alice, he’s no good. His food probably has a dash of come, which is why it’s always super sticky and too salty to eat.”
Alice giggled uncontrollably. Did Tara say what she thought the woman had said? The idea was preposterous! “I am sure his food is up to code.”
Walking by the store, she glanced in through the window, catching sight of the handsome gentleman who was wiping the tables inside of his store. He glanced up, locking eyes on Alice. His eyes narrowed slightly and her heart momentarily skipped a beat. What was it about Baylor that she found alluring? Had it been the fact Tara had warned her to stay away from him, that he was a bad boy? He didn’t seem quite so bad as she made him out to be. He was handsome with his thick brown hair that flopped down into his eyes. He was tall and muscular. The black t-shirt he wore clung to his chest, making her wish he would take it off so that she could see what lay beneath it. He wore a pair of jeans that clung to his bottom and made her desire to undress him. Clearly it had been too long since Alice had been in bed with a man, making her think such delirious and heated thoughts about a gentleman she hadn’t even been acquainted with.
“Take me home,” Alice said, realizing she needed to find comfort in sleep. Perhaps tomorrow when her head was level she could pay him a visit, taste his pastries, and decide if there was a story to be told in Wonderland.