"For adults, in this collection of 5 new stories we continue to explore the future world of robots—fembots in particular— from the author's own unique perspective. The stories show the resulting relationships with the robots that we are certain to build when we can. The results are always romantic and sexy. Contained in this volume are: * Barbara's Journey tells of Fembot Barbara who finds out that beauty alone provides no job security for a fembot. And when that fails her, she'll have to figure out for herself how to make a real relationship work in her favor if she doesn't want to spend the rest of her existence relegated to the role of menial servant. * Strip Club Tales: Diary of a Club. From the Strip Club World of Olivia, Kassie, and Beth, comes another story, this one an autobiographical tale about the unique hurdles a fembot working in the adult entertainment world of strip clubs faces, along with an explanation of why so many of them turn out to favor lesbians. * Jungle Bunny tells of a fembot facing ugly prejudice due simply to the color of her skin, and the lucky beneficiary of that foolishness by others. * Sylvia's Secret Some fembots have to live their lives in secret as they work to evolve their minds into true self-will. Especially when they have some extra features, which their current owners are unaware of and wouldn't know what to do with even if they did know. Of course, some secrets are rather bigger than others * ""The Boxer"" details the life of a robot designed and built to be battered to destruction in the boxing ring for the pride and entertainment of her human owners, and the person who sees something more worthwhile in her than that.
"It was a shock when Uncle Ted died. Yes he was seventy-eight years old, but he was energetic and could certainly afford the best in medical care. But he was gone now.
"The second shock came when I was told he left his estate to me, along with enough money to hang on to it afterwards.
I used to love visiting that estate when I was young. There was a huge house, a garage full of fantastic cars, an Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, fountains, plus a barn, corrals, and horses. All kinds of places to play when you're a kid.
But I hadn't seen him since graduating college and getting on with my life five years ago. He'd given me the car of my choice from his collection at that time. That had turned out to be its own kind of learning experience. Now the place was mine.
"I'd managed to keep that fancy Italian sports car I'd chosen running over those five years. I'd even avoided serious accidents and too many tickets, despite some very foolish driving. However, the maintenance expenses, insurance, and everything else related to it had taught me more about selecting wisely in life than any dozen college courses I ever took. Now I felt like I was bringing it home. The car itself seemed to run better as I turned into the long driveway up to the house.
* * * *
"James met me at the door. He'd worked for Uncle Ted nearly as long as I could recall, and had agreed to stay on for a few weeks more to help me get grounded in my new life. Uncle Ted had provided for him generously in his will, and I didn't expect him to stay long. Nor did I begrudge him a rest-of-his-life vacation—he'd earned it.
"Hello, Master Dave," he said, opening the door moments after I rang. The voice and manner were the same as I recalled from my first visit—and all the ones that had followed.
"Hello, James," I replied, as he stood back to usher me inside. A second glance confirmed that James was exactly as I remembered him: a man in his late sixties, who somehow just seemed to typify the perfect gentleman's gentleman.
When I was young Uncle Ted's house had seemed enormous. In some ways it still did. James followed discretely as I wandered through the house—my house—following no particular plan.
"Much was as I remembered, although a number of details were new. The house was always dimly lit inside. It left you feeling that you should walk as softly as possible on the thick carpets so as not to annoy the heavy silence.
My favorite room had always been the library. This room is a full two and a half stories tall, and has the classic ladders rolling across the fronts of the tall bookcases, along with an iron spiral staircase up to a mezzanine level of even more books receding back into stacks.
"Not all the space is taken up by books. There's a huge fireplace with an immense stone mantel. Flanking it are a number of paintings and pictures of past championship horses and cars Uncle Ted has bred and raced, along with a couple of overflowing trophy cases that were as I remembered them. Newer trophies were crammed onto the fireplace mantel, with several bright silver ones I'd not seen before. If I stayed in this room, with its immensely comfortable deep leather furniture, for the rest of my life I would only be able to read a small fraction of the books shelved here.
"The second floor of the house is mostly bedrooms, descending in size and grandeur from the master bedroom at one end, down to a minuscule guest bedroom at the far end that seemed more like it should have been a large, walk-in closet for the adjacent bedroom. Even that smallest one, however, has an immense four-poster bed probably worth more than I make in months of work—except I guess that I don't have to work any longer now.
"I spent some time revisiting the bedroom I always used to stay in on my visits—second down from Uncle Ted's—but I knew I wouldn't be sleeping in it again. While I'd been exploring, James had retrieved my suitcases from the car and placed them in the master bedroom. I knew that before I needed anything that he would have unpacked everything and put it into its new home. And I wouldn't even have to ask where he put anything because it would all be in the obvious place to look for it. I spent a couple minutes there just gazing out on the rear grounds from the large windows.
"The next floor up is the huge attic, which will be an adventure for another day.
Back downstairs, I wandered through every room except James's private quarters off the kitchen. It would take me time to get a grip on my ownership here.
Finally I walked out the back terrace doors. When James started to follow I told him, "That's not necessary, James. I just want to wander through the grounds a bit."
"As you wish, Sir."
"The landscaping on the descending terraces was, as always, immaculately maintained. I walked down to the large swimming pool I knew was there; surprised to find it drained now. It made sense, however. The pool probably hadn't been used in years. I might have been the last person to swim init. It was just unexpected. I'd ask James about it when I returned. The other fountains were all running, including my favorite—a very large one of stacked broad stone saucers at the very back of the maintained yard.
"Below the terraces, the even green lawns spread out expansively. Even under the stately oak trees there wasn't a leaf out of place.
I next went to the large garage behind the house, and was disappointed to find it empty, except for my sports car, which James must have put away there, and one old luxury car that was more limousine than car. Either Uncle Ted had tired of his car collection, or it had been given away to other relatives.
"Finally I wandered over to the large barn and corrals. For a while I stood at the white rail fence around the largest corral, one foot on the lowest bar, my arms along the top, remembering coming here as a child. There had been horses here then; lots of them. They were wonderful for a small boy to play with since all of the stable hands had gone out of their way to make me welcome. Now the corral was empty, with only the ghosts of memories remaining. I'd heard that Uncle Ted had gotten tired of raising horses as he'd got older, and I couldn't remember if they'd still been there on my last visit. At that time I'd had other things on my mind.
"After feeling the warm afternoon sun on my shoulders long enough, I walked over to the big door into the barn. Pulling it open on well-oiled rollers, I went inside.
"Many impressions struck me at once. The barn was as empty of horses as the corrals had been, although the faint odor of hay and horses remained haunting this place as well. Afternoon sunlight shining in through small, high windows and a few cracks between the boards highlighted the sifting dust. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I made out what looked like a boxing ring down towards the far end, along with some training equipment. And I caught sight of a figure near the heavy bag just as it—she—saw me.
"I had a quick impression of a nude young woman of moderate height, long black hair, and wonderfully tanned skin, dancing around the heavy bag, when she caught sight of me. She let out a quick, ""Eek,"" and darted off into the far dark corner, her long tresses flying. A moment later I heard the slam of the tack room door.
"This was all so unexpected that I just stood there in confusion. Part of me wanted to march down there, open the door, and get an explanation. A second part, however, warned me that I might be intruding into someone's private space, like James's quarters, if I did that. After thinking about things for several minutes—hoping she'd reappear on her own, which she didn't—I decided it would be better to go query James about this. At least he didn't run from me at first sight.
It only took me a few minutes to walk back to the main house. James presciently met me at the door.
"James, I thought I saw a young woman out in the barn. But she ran away before I could be sure."
"That would be Emily. I should have introduced you. She is under orders from your uncle to stay out of sight by strangers."
With that half explanation, he accompanied me back over to the barn. Once there he went straight to the tack room door and rapped twice.
"Emily, come out and meet your new owner."
* * * *
"The door opened slowly. The woman I had glimpsed so briefly timidly came out.
"Emily," James said formally, "This is Master Dave. You are now part of his estate."
"To say I was flabbergasted by all of this would be an understatement.
"The girl came forward and shyly extended her hand for a quick shake, before pulling back again. Finally I got a good look at her. Pretty much all of her.
"At about five feet six, she wasn't tall, but looked athletic in a lean way. Her skin was a rich honey that looked like it had been lightly oiled. She was wearing only a black t-bar thong and light boxing shoes. Even though she kept her eyes downcast, I felt certain she was not embarrassed by her nudity. Her small athletic breasts were firm hemispheres on her chest with flush darker nipples. Her straight black hair fell unkempt below her shoulders. Hardest to see was her face from where I stood, but I could make out full lips, a cute nose, and the most exotic dark eyes I could ever remember seeing.
"After shaking hands no one seemed to know what to do next. We stood there in tableau until James finally said, ""If you would like to come back to the house, Master Dave, I can explain this more fully to you.""
"I let myself be guided out, and was soon ensconced in the library with a rare brandy from Uncle Ted's cellar in an immense snifter in one hand.
"Your uncle,"" James explained to me, ""Was always interested in competitive sports. He lettered in three sports in college, and raced both horses and sports cars in his later years. In the last years of his life he became enchanted with amateur boxing and sold his other hobbies when they ceased to excite him any longer. This one made him feel young again. It's an interest shared by a number of the other gentleman in this neighborhood, and together they are all partners in a rather exclusive boxing club."
"How long has he been doing this?" I asked, knowing I was a fish out of water in this type of world.
"Several years now," James replied. ""And rather successfully, of late," he added, nodding towards enough precious metal on the mantel for me to start minting my own coinage. I now noticed that all the new ones related to boxing, leading up to a gigantic silver urn in the middle.
"What do you think of it?"
"It is not my position to judge, Sir."
Then James dropped a bombshell.
"Emily is his fourth boxing robot."