In The Flesh Part 11: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567I’m off to Eroticon this weekend with the lovely Lily Harlem, where we’ll be teaching our Crafting Creativity workshop. I hope to see you there, but whether you’re joining us or not, I’ve left you a little snippet of my own creativity. It’s time for more In The Flesh. It’s time for Part 11, and the plot definitely thickens.

Called from the depths of disturbingly sexy dreams, will Susan survive an ill-fated rescue mission? Welcome to part 11 of my dark paranormal story, In the Flesh. Angels and demons, gods and monsters, sex and terror; when the boundaries are not clear, the journey can be deadly. But can the price be worth the paying?

In the Flesh  is very dark paranormal erotica. When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.

 

Episode 11 in which there is a call for help in the middle of the night. Happy Reading! 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9, Part 10.

 

In The Flesh: Part 11

In that space between sleep and wakefulness, in that place where you’re never really sure what’s real and what you’re dark moon image_xl_6338206dreaming, I became conscious of someone fondling my breasts, someone with large hands, someone with very warm, expressive lips, someone who was both deliciously sloppy and yet surgically precise in eliciting desire far removed from both mouth and breasts. The love bite above my left nipple ached and tingled with the stimulation, and I arched and groaned and reached out in the darkness for Michael, in whose arms I’d fallen asleep after way more ravishing than I would have thought either of us could survive considering the day we’d just had. Then the buzzing of my phone dragged me into the waking world. I rolled over and fell out onto the floor, biting my tongue and cursing under my breath trying not to wake Michael and, at the same time, surprised that he was still sound asleep. I grabbed my handbag from where it sat on the floor next to the nightstand and fumbled for the phone, slipping into the bathroom to answer.

“Susan! Thank God I got you. I’m so sorry, I’m so, so sorry, Susan. I don’t know what happened, I can’t explain it, I was asleep by the altar one minute and then the next thing I knew I had a knife and I …” Annie’s voice on the other end of the device dissolved into wracking sobs, with me stupidly trying to calm her, trying to convince her that it was nothing, that it was no big deal that my best friend had come at me with a butcher knife. At last there was silence except for her breathing and snuffling. I sat naked on the commode, shaking as though I’d been out in the cold. It was nerves, I told myself, just nerves. She couldn’t get to me on the phone. He couldn’t get to me on the phone. And then Annie dropped the bomb.

“Susan, I need you to come get me. I need your help. I’m a mess, I know that now, and I need to leave. I need to get out of Chapel House for good before it’s too late.”

“All right.” My voice sounded breathless, unsteady, like it belonged to someone else. Christ, what was I saying? What was I agreeing to? Was I nuts? “Just let me wake up Michael and we’ll be there as soon as we can.”

There was silence on the other end of the phone, and for a second, I thought she had disconnected. “No, please don’t bring that man. You mustn’t. He’s dangerous, Susan. I know he’s charming and sexy, but he’s dangerous.” Her voice was wet with tears again, rising in desperation as she spoke. “He’ll hurt you. He’ll hurt us both. He isn’t who he says he is. Please, you have to come alone. It’s the only way I can get away from here.”

“Annie,” I drew a deep breath as much to calm the shakes as anything, “My car’s still at Chapel House. When rose imagesyou chased us away I had to leave it there. I can’t come for you without Michael’s help.”

“Yes you can! Take his lorry. I know you can drive it, at least as well as he can. Please! He’s got another car. He can come later and get it. Please, Susan, please! There’s no one else I can turn to.”

There was another long silence in which I could hear her crying in helpless gasps. I never could stand to hear her cry. “Look, I don’t even know where I am. I slept the whole way to Michael’s after we left Chapel House. My phone has a good GPS. I’ll set it and then let you know how soon I can be there. There shouldn’t be any traffic at this hour. Oh, and Annie, you meet me outside. I’m not going into that place again, do you understand? You meet me around by my car ready to go, or I’m not waiting. I’ll text you as soon as I’m close. OK? OK!”

“Yes! I’ll be there, I promise. Oh, Susan, thank you so much. And Susan, please hurry.” The line went dead.

I should have realized something was wrong that Michael had slept through even that much of a disturbance, but I wasn’t at my best. And when I rifled through the basket on his nightstand where he kept his keys then stumbled into my clothes and he still didn’t wake up, I should have suspected something wasn’t right. I should have. But how the hell did I know how soundly the man slept? And though I half hoped my less than quiet efforts would wake him and force the issue, when they didn’t I found myself in his lorry alone driving south on the M40 toward Manchester, Chapel House programmed into the GPS on his dashboard. I remembered when I got in that I’d seen him stash it under the passenger seat when we went to the Little Chef. Annie was right. I could drive a small lorry with no problems. I’d driven a delivery van to help put myself through Uni. I stopped long enough to get a large coffee at an all-night petrol station and then it was a straight shot in the wee hours to Chapel House.

I tried not to think about that fact too much. I planned to park the lorry a few blocks away so Michael wouldn’t be at risk when he came for it. Then I would meet Annie at my car, shove her in, rev the engine and get the hell out of Dodge. There was no contingency plan. I could barely get my head around the idea that I was going back to that horrid place at all. But I was not, under any circumstances, going back inside, or into that damn maze of a garden either. I didn’t dare. Even thinking about it made the bite above my breast tingle and my nipples harden inside my bra. Michael’s mark. Would He find Michael’s mark offensive? Would it make any difference to Him. I had no intention of finding out. I gulped coffee, burnt my tongue and drove on with the radio cranked to keep me awake and to keep me from thinking about Him, about what I would do if He came for me, about what I would do if Annie showed up with a knife. Fuck, I didn’t even have Michael’s mobile number. But he would know. He would know where I’d gone, and I would come back as soon as I’d scooped up Annie, whether she liked it or not. I wasn’t sure how much I trusted Michael, knowing that he was an ex-angel and a thief, knowing his connection to Him, but at the moment, whether Annie liked it or not, he was my only ally.

I found a quiet place two blocks from Chapel House and parked the lorry just as intimations of dawn were St Teresa BerniniEl-extasis-de-Santa-Teresa4graying the night sky. I left the keys in the truck bed just beneath the edge of a toolbox under a tarp. It wasn’t a good sign when I called Annie and she didn’t answer. I left a message and a text that I would be at my car in two minutes. I would wait for her in the car no longer than five minutes, and then I was out of there. Best live to fight another day, I thought, shoving the phone into the pocket of my jeans and knuckling my car keys at the ready.

Chapel House was dark and silent, at least what little I could make out from beyond the overgrown garden where I’d parked my car what seemed like a hundred years ago now. I had already pulled up Annie’s number again by the time the car came into view with her nowhere in sight. “You’ve got five minutes to get your arse out here. Do you hear me? Five, starting now!” I disconnected and punched in a text with the same message. When I got to the car she still wasn’t there, and I wasn’t surprised. It took every ounce of self-control to keep from checking over my shoulder toward the garden gate. I felt certain I was being watched. I felt like my skin would crawl off of me as I got into the car and locked all the doors. Fat lot of good that would do, I was sure, but it still made me feel like I was doing something. Then I waited. Five minutes came and went then ten. Chapel House remained dark and there was no sign of my friend. I called again and texted. I had just started the engine to make my getaway and regroup when the phone rang. I yelped and jerked so hard that my neck popped like gun shot. I answered without greeting. “Annie, for fuck sake, where are you? I’m waiting. You have to come now.”

At first there was just sobbing, and I broke into goose flesh suspecting the worst. “Annie?”

She sniffled and I could hear her heavy breathing. “Susan, I’m sorry, I hurt my ankle. I can’t walk. I need you to come, please. I just want out of here, please come get me. I’m so, so sorry.”

“Sonovabitch,” I whispered beneath my breath. “What the hell did you do?”

“I was in a hurry to meet you and I missed a step, came down wrong. I think I broke it.”Graveyard angel 1

“All right. All right! Tell me where you’re at and I’ll come get you.” If I were a praying woman, I would have been saying every prayer I knew. I was anyway, and making up a fair few as I shoved out of the car and headed into the lion’s den. She said she had left the front door unlocked. She said she was just inside. But she wasn’t. Fortunately the ambient light of the coming dawn and the fact that I’d had time to let my night vision adjust to the dark interior meant I could see all the way up the nave to the transept. There the pale glow of the setting moon shown off Annie’s hair, her frail body barely visible beneath the blankets of her pallet next to the altar. I held my breath and moved on tiptoes up the isle all the while feeling as though I were being watched from just beyond my peripheral vision. I sniffed quietly. There was no smell of burning garbage, no scent of jasmine or roses, just the smell of dust on aging stone, both overpowered by the smell of sleep and sex as I drew nearer where Annie lay.

For a terrifying moment, I thought she was dead. It was only as I knelt next to her and touched her cheek, which was unusually cold, that I saw the rise and fall of her chest beneath the duvet. Annie was sound asleep, her mobile phone clutched in one hand. I carefully pried it from her fingers and checked her calls. Sure enough, mine was the last number she’d called less than five minutes ago, I would guess, and yet she now slept like the dead, tracks of tears on her cheeks still visible in the anemic light of her mobile.

With goose bumps rippling over my arms and up my spine I leaned forward and shook her none too gently. “Annie! Annie wake up,” I whispered, “We have to go, now.” But she only moaned, rolled over and pulled the duvet tight around her. For a moment I knelt next to her wondering what the hell to do now. I couldn’t just leave her. I’d come all this way, and she was within my grasp. There didn’t seem to be any threat at the moment. Maybe there were times when He wasn’t paying attention, times when one could sneak in beneath His radar, so to speak, and if this were one of those times, I couldn’t afford not to take advantage.

“Annie!” I shook her again, harder. Still nothing. As an afterthought, I lifted the duvet and looked at her ankles beneath the light of my own mobile. Her feet were bare and dirty, ankles stick thin, but there was no bruising, no swelling, no trauma at all that I could see. I threw off the duvet entirely and saw that she wore a summer dress that fell below her knees. On the floor, she lay sprawled on a wrinkled sheet. Maybe I could drag her. She couldn’t weigh much now, and I was strong and well-muscled. I glanced behind me down the length of the nave. Surely I could make it, and then there was just pavement to the car. I could do it if I had to, and it certainly looked like I would have to.

I was just smoothing the sheet beneath her to ease my efforts when she grabbed my wrist in a vice grip and I yelped, the sound of my voice echoing across the transept. “What the hell are you doing here?” she asked. Her eyes were wide and black in the low light, as though they were empty.

“Jesus, Annie,” I tried to pull away but she held me tightly. “You know what I’m doing here. You fucking called 2015-06-30 11.27.42me to come get you.”

Even in the dim light, I could see the confusion clouding her expressive face. “Why would I do that?” she asked, still clenching my wrist with a hold I was certain would leave bruises. Then her lips curved into a beatific smile and she chuckled softly. “Oh yes, now I remember. He asked me to call you. He said when you got here, I could rest and he would punish you for your interference, and then he promised that when I woke up, when he’d finished with you, everything would be OK again.” Without another word, she released her hold on me, rolled over and was instantly sound asleep. I was left kneeling next to her not knowing whether to try and complete my task or to run like hell. A cool breeze ruffled the plastic sheeting over the altar, catching the frail moonlight like a ghost rising from the grave. The space around me was suddenly awash in the scent of roses, and I realized I was too late to do either.

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Myth Busting in the Big Apple

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I’m just back from another stonking trip to New York City, and I have to say without a doubt I am right up there with all of the masses who heart New York. I heart it more and more each time I visit, as I get to know it better. Raymond and I were joined again this year by his sister, my lovely sister-in-law, Cynthia, who accompanied me in terrorizing the town while Raymond was training in martial arts. The three of us enjoyed several discussions about how different the city was from our original expectations of the Big Apple. So here are a few of the myths busted by our first visit, but totally shattered by our second.

 

 

 

Myth: NYC stinks.

Truth: Only if you’re repulsed by the smell of every sort of freshly cooked food, including pizza by the slice and2015-07-19 13.25.45 bakeries that are a feast for the eyes as well as the nose and mouth! Seriously! Nose-gasms at every corner! Oh I was
told by a gentleman from New York State who’s been visiting the city on a regular basis for a number of years that it used to stink, but those days of olfactory nastiness are long gone, replaced with scents guaranteed to make your mouth water rather than your eyes.

One of the adventures we had on this visit was to take an open-bus tour of the city — well part of the city anyway — to get an overview for further exploration. We got caught 2015-07-16 14.14.40in a total downpour, and had the kinky (if you like that sort of thing) experience of doing half the tour wrapped in plastic, and I have to admit the drowned rat look was massively improved by our complimentary garbage-bag style Greyline Tours rain panchos. All that to say, even as the water rose around our feet on the floorboards of the upper deck, we sniffed and inhaled the mouthwatering scent of NYC. Which I also heart, BTW! And NYC-style pizza – I really heart that a lot!

 

Myth: NYC is dirty.

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Truth: Not from what I could see! As most of you know, I do a lot of my exploring on foot wherever I go, and the Big Apple was no exception. I believe you can never really know the soul of a place until you’ve walked it with the soles of your own feet. And though NYC is way to big for me to have completely taken in hoofing it, I did give it a gallant try and, up close and personal, I have to say New York is one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever visited. Mind you, I do feel I’ve not made a fair judgment until I can get more data. I’ll hopefully have an updated report on the city’s cleanliness next year.

 

 

 

 

 

Myth: People in NYC are rude.P1030715

Truth: In my own experience, nothing could be farther from the truth. In two visits to

NYC, I can’t count the number of times people have been kind, helpful and mostly just friendly. I’ve never asked
anyone for directions or advice or information of any kind who didn’t give it cheerfully. I’ve never engaged anyone in conversation who wasn’t friendly. I’ve had people make room for me in a crowded subway, I’ve had people simply engage me in light conversation. I’ve had people laugh with me and joke with me and, best of all, people always seem happy to share their feelings and experiences of their city. I learned a lot about the place in just that way.

 

2015-07-16 16.43.20Myth: NYC is easy to get lost in.

Truth: Two words: Grid layout. I’m an old fashion girl who still enjoys the feel of a map in my hot little hands, and armed with just a map and a landmark, I’ve managed to ‘stay found’ and end up where I intended to be with very little problem. NYC is laid out in a grid, so cross streets going north and south, east and west always give a clear picture of where you are. For me, the job of navigating the Big Apple was even easier because I always came in from Penn Station, and the first thing I looked for was the Empire
2015-07-17 14.38.47State Building. From there, the grid was my oyster – so to speak.

OK, I admit, that as a tourist, I’ve always found the open bus tours a helpful way of getting an overview of any city. I
quite often do that first, then get an idea of where to explore on foot. It works for me. However NYC is so big that there are five tour routes and several boat tours associated with the busses. That, of course, is not even
counting the Staten Island Ferry, which is free and gives some of the most amazing views of Manhattan imaginable. All that, plus the easy access to most parts of the city by the subway, and exploring is a piece of cake … from a very nice bakery … Having said all that, I have a lovely cousin who is convinced that getting lost isn’t a bad thing at all because you never know what you’d discover on the way to getting found again.

 

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Myth: NYC is a dangerous place.

Truth: Every place is a dangerous place, and that can easily be said of any city in the world. I remember being a little bit timid the first time I went into the city, and I discovered, to my surprise, that I felt right at home. I’ve been in big cities all over the world, and I often explore them alone on foot armed
with nothing but a map and a camera. That comes from tagging along with
my husband, who often works while I play, but even before I met him, I was exploring cities on my own. I personally find there’s nothing more empowering, no better way to make a city my friend that to follow my nose, 2015-07-20 10.56.18and my map. And NYC is easy on both. Common sense is the key in the Big Apple just like it is anywhere else I’ve ever been.

On both trips I’ve relished the days I’ve had to explore alone in a city that never fails to inspire. The very best parts of NYC are the opportunities to follow my nose, to get lost in the thoughts and ideas and inspiration that flow from being anonymous among the throngs. I get to be the invisible observer, a voyeur with a purpose.

 

Snippets of convo …
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Two young women talking in a coffee bar:

“Did he say anything about me?”

            “He did.”

            “So what did he say?”

            “You don’t want to know.”

 

Young man behind me on the train talking on his mobile:

  “Dad, I underestimated how much money I needed. No! No, I’m find, I’m all right, don’t worry. I just 2015-07-17 20.58.55underestimated how much New York would cost.”

Visual inspiration:

A frantic- looking young woman decked out in evening wear at 10:30 in the morning, running to catch the subway.

Cynthia and I had great fun making up a story about her situation while we wandered around Midtown Manhattan.

 

 

P1030705There you go! Myths busted! In my opinion, there are two big dangers in NYC. The first is being too timid and missing the good stuff. I was shocked at the number of tourists I saw seeking out McDonalds or Sbarros (and yes tourists are as easy to pick out in NYC as they are the world over. I’m sure I am too, though I did remember to remove my bin-bag rain poncho when I left the tour bus.)2015-07-20 14.00.30

 
The second, and the biggie for me, is falling totally in love with the city, even as I’m melting in the 100 degree heat or
doing the back stroke in a glorified garbage bag in a rainstorm in an open topped bus. I’m a tourist. I know that’s completely different from living in a place and dealing with all the little niggles and irritations local folks deal with all the time, but then that’s part of the fun. I can have a love-affair with the Big Apple, let it tease me and entice me and seduce me for one week a year, and I can come home smug in the fact that I spent a delicious, inspiring, tantalizing few days in the arms of one of the coolest cities on the planet.

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Shibari Bondage Demonstration Presented by Fantasies & Realities

shibari 3 Moorita and Harriet F and R

 

The group is called Fantasies and Realities, and it’s the brain child of my dear friend, Paulina Sygulska, and her partner in crime, Harriet Waley-Cohen. And if you are a fan of tasteful kink, as they are, this special event on Wednesday 29 of July at Buddha Bar in London, Knightsbridge, is for you.

The event will highlight a stunning Shibari bondage demo and two talks on sexual awakening from male and female perspective. All of this sensual pleasure will be offered up with scrumptious oriental cuisine at one of the hottest restaurants in town, and topped off with burlesque and anonymous fantasy sharing to wrap up the night. What more could an intellectual pervert ask for?! 😉

Shibari 2 Moorita Harriet F and RBrought to you by Fantasies and Realities in collaboration with the award winning Buddha Bar, this is promising to be a most delicious night, a true feast for all the senses. At just £5 booking fee plus you buy your own dinner on the night (from as low as £30 per three course meal) it’s a STEAL and from what Paulina and Harriet tell me, those already on the guest list are so excited they can barely keep their knickers on 😉

Both couples and singles and all sexual orientations welcome. Book your place: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shibari-demonstration-erotica-talks-oriental-dining-experience-tickets-17692107570

 

I have to admit, I was totally intrigued by a group that would put together such a delicious evening, so I asked Paulina and Harriet to tell me a little mor about Fantasies & Realities, and here’s what Harriet had to say:

 

‘Fantasies & Realities was created after the first time that I gave a talk on using fantasy and erotica to spice up your sex life and deepen intimacy. Afterwards, many women approached me and said how much they wished that there was a safe, intimate and fun space for women to talk about their sexual desires, secret fantasies and experiences. The group was born and, since then, F&R has met monthly for our members to talk, share and enable each of us to open up fully to our inner fantasy worlds and desires.
‘I absolutely love getting together with everyone; each meet up something often surprising and totally wonderful will come out of it – whether its discovering that one member is obsessed with the fantasy of secretly watching others make love, or that one woman was asked on a first date if she’d indulge his fantasy of putting custard in her pants (yes, really!), or the walking in heels workshop where we all got to perfect our bedroom stiletto wiggle. It’s magical and beautiful and fun, not to mention how powerful it feels that we are all owning our sexuality and what that means for each of us so much more.’

 

 

Shibari1Moorita Paulina and Harriet

 

If you’re in the London area or want to make plans to be on the 29th of July, this is an event you won’t want to miss, a great opportunity to learn something new and share with like-minded people. Don’t miss the fun.

 

If you want to know more about Fantasies and Realities and read some of the fantasies check out www.fantasiesrealities.tumblr.com

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Abi’s House A Steal of a Summer Read from Jenny Kane!

AH FB 99p sale ad

 

 

Jenny Kane’s latest novel, Abi’s House- a tale of Cornish sunshine, fish ‘n’ chips, friendship, new beginnings, and romance- is on special offer UNTIL SUNDAY 26th JULY, at the bargain price of either 99p or 99c!!!

Blurb

Newly widowed at barely thirty, Abi Carter is desperate to escape the Stepford Wives-style life that Luke, her late husband, had been so keen for her to live.

Abi decides to fulfil a lifelong dream. As a child on holiday in a Cornwall as a child she fell in love with a cottage – the prophetically named Abbey’s House. Now she is going to see if she can find the place again, relive the happy memories … maybe even buy a place of her own nearby?

On impulse Abi sets off to Cornwall, where a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Beth, like Abi, has a life-changing decision to make. Max, Beth’s best mate, is new to the village. He soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams … but things aren’t quite that simple. There’s the complicated life Abi left behind, including her late husband’s brother, Simon – a man with more than friendship on his mind … Will Abi’s house remain a dream, or will the bricks and mortar become a reality?

 

 

Abi's House_edited-1

 

Here are some of the lovely review’s Abi’s House has received…

A summer read as scrumptious as its Cornish backdrop. Brilliant!”

“This novel is a box of delights…the perfect escapist read…”

“Better than a Cornish Cream Tea…”

“Reading a Jenny Kane book is like opening a journal by a much loved friend…”

 

 

 

 

Get your copy Abi’s House at only 99p or 99c, from these links before 26th July

 

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

Happy reading, and huge thanks to Kd for helping me spread the word about my latest novel.

Jenny (aka Kay Jaybee)

www.jennykane.co.uk

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In The Flesh Part 10: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567How can Susan and Michael come to grips with the fact that they both want the same lover, a lover whose attentions are as deadly as they are intoxicating? Welcome to part 10 of my dark paranormal story, In the Flesh. Angels and demons, gods and monsters, sex and terror; when the boundaries are not clear, the journey can be deadly. But can the price be worth the paying?

In the Flesh  is very dark paranormal erotica. When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.

Episode 10 in which lovers must come to terms with their jealousy and stand together. Happy Reading! 

 

 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8, Part 9.

 

In the Flesh Part 10

“Wait a minute.” I jerked my hand away from Michael’s. “Let me get this straight, you gave up being an angel not because you were angry at god or the gods or whoever the hell it was you worked for. You gave up being an angel because you loved Him?”

“Oh, I stand completely by what I said earlier; all gods are bastards, and to serve them is folly. They have no loyalty but to their own pride.” He reached to push a strand of hair behind my ears and I shoved his hand away. He simply shrugged and continued. “I felt that way when I was sent off to babysit Him. Well that’s how I saw it at the time – me being sent off to serve a lesser being. I was a bit of an arrogant prick back then.” He offered a twitch of a smile. “Guess I learned a thing or two about who was the lesser being, didn’t I?”

“But you said you became human because you loved Him. Care to explain that?”

“Fuck, Susan, you make it sound like I’m a cheating husband or something. Yes, I became human because I loved Him, but if I hadn’t believed that I was giving him a gift, if I hadn’t believed that it was what he wanted more than anything, I don’t know if I would have done it, OK? I … I just don’t know.”

For a moment we sat in silence, him twisting the edge of the duvet between his fingers. At last he spoke, avoiding my rose imagesgaze. “I’m not sorry now. But for a long time … Well let’s just say it was a high price I paid.” Then he added, as though I needed further explanation, which I suppose I did, “He was so genuine, so unassuming with me. I was completely taken in, completely unaware of His deception until it was too late.”

I felt like I was invading his privacy. I felt like I was asking questions that were none of my business, and yet, my life was in this man’s hands, this ex-angel’s hands. So I asked anyway. “Why did He want you to become human? I would have thought as an angel you’d be able to … you know … a whole lot longer and you’d not … I don’t know … you’d not get tired. As an angel you’d have the stamina to keep up with Him.”

This time the laugh was bitter enough to make goose bumps rise on my arms. “He wanted the feel of humanity, He wanted the touch of flesh and blood, even though he could only have it vicariously. No matter how often he took me, no matter that I was as insatiable as he was, I still wasn’t flesh and blood. I didn’t know it at the time, but he’d already developed a dangerous lust for mortals. Later, much later, after the woman I work for had freed me from him, I came to realize that he fed off the humanity of his lovers.” The straight line of his jaw hardened like iron and his fists clenched. “He … He got off on using them up. It was only really good for him if he knew that in the end they would sacrifice themselves for him. A god complex, I suppose, but then who could argue with Him?” He glanced up at me then looked away. “I guess he finds human mortality more arousing than any other part of being corporeal. Probably because the bastard never has to experience it.”

“Jesus, this just keeps getting more and more convoluted,” I said. “Did you just say the woman you work for, the one you steal for, she saved you from him?”

Michael shoved to his feet and pulled me up off the bed too. “Look, can we continue this conversation later? I’m starving. For now why don’t you get dressed,” he nodded to my bag sitting next to the bathroom door. “You need to eat. We both do. When you’re ready, join me in the kitchen and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know. As much as I can anyway.” He turned and left without another word.

In the kitchen, I found him dumping spaghetti into a pot of boiling water. He looked up and offered a smile that belied
the serious situation in which we found ourselves. “Hope you like carbonara. I’m not a chef, but I don’t do bad with pasta.” He poured a glass of pinot grigio and handed it to me. Then he put me to work on a salad while he sautéed the pancetta. We worked in companionable silence, maybe both of us trying to pretend that we were just ordinary lovers with the munchies after hot sex, and the sex had been hot. My stomach bottomed at the thought of the mark he’s left above my breast, and then just as quickly I felt an overwhelming chill at the sight of the bruises on my biceps. I grabbed up the blue hoodie he had left carelessly draped over the back of a kitchen chair and wriggled into it. He shot me a pleased smile. He liked the idea of me wearing his clothes. I liked it too, but it was way less satisfying to know I wore them to cover bruises left by another would-be lover.

I didn’t want to talk about it. I wished we could both just forget it. I liked Michael. I liked the way he shot me admiring glances when he thought I wasn’t looking. I liked the way he brushed by me to get the strainer, casually resting a hand low on my back, a hand that lingered slightly longer than absolutely necessary, just long enough to become a fleeting caress, just long enough to make my pulse race and my nipples tighten. I liked the outdoorsy woodsy scent of him. I liked the heat of him, the solid feel of muscle and bone. I liked the presence of him close by, and I liked that we could be silent together without having to clutter the atmosphere with mindless drivel. But then again, when the time came to talk, as it most definitely would, I might actually have preferred that it should be mindless drivel instead of the topic that hung in the air like a dark cloud.

We made it through dinner with talk of his work and mine, with laughter and a few shy smiles and passing glances, Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500with a brush of knees and ankles beneath the table. By the time he pulled the chocolate chip ice cream out of the freezer, I was already hoping for round two between the sheets. Then I opened my mouth and blew it. “If you fuck me enough, will it make me forget about Him?” I hadn’t intended to say anything, but there it was, what I wanted and what I didn’t want all rolled into one ill-timed question.

He spoke around a large mouthful of ice cream. “Wouldn’t that be great? That’s a cure I could happily live with.”
I laid down my spoon, suddenly no longer hungry. “Are you talking about a cure for me or a cure for you?”
He held my gaze in a look that was anything but angelic, and for a second I could believe that there really wasn’t that much difference between angels and demons. Of course he was human now, Michael was. Wasn’t he? “I want you very much, Susan. I’m sure you haven’t missed the signs. But just like you, I want Him more, damn him to hell, but I do.”
I fought down the lump in my throat, surprised to find myself feeling hurt by such an admission. Surprised to find myself dangerously close to tears. But how could it really come as any surprise? “Then you’re not … over him?” It was a stupid question, and yet, I hoped I’d simply missed the cues.

He moved his chair closer to mine, the legs scraping across the slate floor, and very gently he chafed my arm. “I told you, Susan, no on gets over Him. If I had been only human, if I’d not had … help, I wouldn’t have survived. But surviving, living without Him is not the same thing as getting over Him.”

I pulled my arm away a bit more brusquely than I’d intended and forced a laugh I didn’t feel. “So we’re rivals then, are we?”

“I’d rather not think of us that way.”

I gulped the rest of my wine for courage and poured another glass. “I find it really strange that your … partner in crime would send you into the mouth of the dragon to steal whatever it is you’re supposed to steal. How does she expect you to survive it and walk away with her prize? You did tell her, didn’t you? I mean you did say she helped you get away from him.”

He cleared his throat and sat back in his chair. “Oh she knows, and yes, I’d be dead if she hadn’t helped me, but to be honest, I don’t think she cares all that much if I survive it or not.”

“Fuck,” I said under my breath. “Well then maybe you should let her go in after the plunder instead; maybe you should let her go up against Him, see how she likes it.”

This time he chuckled, and it was genuine. “As interesting as that might be to see, but I don’t think there’s even the slightest spark of attraction between the two of them. Haven’t you ever met someone that everyone else fancied like crazy, but you just couldn’t see why? Well, I’m pretty sure it would be like that between them. Remember, she’s the one who got me away from him.”

I shrugged. “Then it seems to me she’d be the perfect one for the job.”

“Trust me, she chose wisely in sending me.” He stood and took my hand. “But it doesn’t matter if we’re both hot for himGraveyard angel 1 or not. Right now, Susan, what matters is that I’m hot for you, and if I’m not mistaking, the feeling is mutual. Though it won’t make either of us forget Him, it’ll make us both stronger, and the bond between us stonger, and we both need all the strength we can get. Besides,” he ran a large hand through his hair and left it standing in soft spiky peaks I couldn’t resist reaching out to smooth, “I don’t want to think about Him, or her.” He pulled my hand to his lips and kissed my palm. “I’ve already had my ice cream.” He raked me with hungry eyes. “Now I want my dessert.” Without another word, he led me back upstairs, pausing at the bedroom door to kiss me thoroughly while ridding me of the hoodie and all items of clothing beneath, a favor I returned in kind, then kissing and groping and giggling, we stumbled to the bed. In the leisurely explorations that followed, it was a long time before either of us spoke, and besides our mouths were well occupied with tasks much more pleasant.

When at last my brain engaged through the thick fog of arousal, I remembered how to speak again. “This must be what sex before going to battle feels like,” I managed between efforts to breath. Michael didn’t answer. His tongue was well occupied between my legs. This time there would be no forcing the issue. This time I knew that he would make me beg for it before he took me, and he’d make it well worth the wait. This time I could be patient too and revel in the feel of him exploring me, pleasuring me, driving me to the point of no return. I tried to push the idea that this might just be a revenge fuck out of my head, but some thoughts push back harder than others. Did I really want to make Him jealous, I wondered. What would He do to me if I did? Was Michael thinking the same thing? “Am I your revenge fuck?” Damn it, why couldn’t I keep my mouth shut? He bit the inside of my upper thigh and I yelped as he came up, face shining with my wetness. “Possibly.” He wiped a forearm across his mouth, then gave each of my nipples a hard suck, wriggling in between my thighs with his knees before he thrust up into me and rose above me on his elbows to look down into my eyes. “But that shouldn’t worry you much. If we’re each others’ revenge fucks, then won’t we both go out of our way to make it so damn good that He’ll truly have something to be jealous over?”

I laughed in spite of myself and his kiss muffled the sound to a giggle that ended in a soft moan twinned by his own Psyche and Erosdeep-chested sounds of pleasure as he began to move inside me. And suddenly I wasn’t laughing, suddenly I was moving with him, thrusting up to meet his body, hands fisted against his hard shoulders, thighs straining to grip him tighter. Muscle. We were one giant muscle tensing and pumping and pushing with one goal – release. And as I convulsed against him, and he growled out his own orgasm, I realized that at the end of the day, the mutual release we sought was not from each other but from Him. The real question was whether or not we wanted that release bad enough to let go of what we both felt for Him and to do what had to be done. Was that even possible? As I lay there in his arms struggling to catch my breath, I suddenly realized that what neither of us could do alone, we just might be able to accomplish working together. But that thought was for after, after we’d both had some much-needed sleep.

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© 2015 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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