Dubrovnik Show and Tell

Most of you know that Mr. Grace and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a great Christmas escape to Dubrovnik, Croatia. If I’ve not written about what a fantastic week it was, what an excellent way to spend Christmas, it’s probably because I’m still trying to get my head around the experience. This was a return visit for us because when we went last year, I tore a meniscus in my knee our second full day there and had to depend on tour buses and taxis, missing out on the best part of any place, which is the walking. Well, we most definitely made up for it this year with miles and miles of fabulous walks. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I decided to make today’s post a Show and Tell, and I’m going to share a bit of what we learned about Dubrovnik. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Dubrovnik this trip meant warmth and sunshine.

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Dubrovnik was a medieval walled city-state that rivaled Venice, and it was independent until Napoleon invaded. That glorious wall still surrounds the city, and you can actually walk on top of it around the whole of old town.

 

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Dubrovnik is build on some serious hills

 

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Dubrovnik has a cool fort.

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Cats like Dubrovnik, and apparently, Dubrovnik likes cats.

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Two words Adriatic Sea!

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The Adriatic Sea means fab fresh seafood. Cat’s like that.

 
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Great statuary!

 

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Some mythological

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Some churchy

 

IMG_4890 Some very naughty

 

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Some practical

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Some in Grave yards

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Some just fun

 

The local holiday cuisine can be enjoyed at kiosks in the sunshine. I did mention the sunshine, didn’t I?

 

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The party’s all in Old Town on Christmas Eve. Party till midnight, then go to mass.

 

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The sunny days mean clear, moonlit nights.

 

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Clear moonlit nights mean a view of Venus on the horizon in the morning and  … more sunshine!

 

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And coffee! On the balcony! In the sunshine!

 

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Dalmatian wine! Just saying … on the balcony in the evening!

 

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Lots ofCroatian Beer. Has to happen. (It was sunny and hot)

 

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More Great Coffee!

 

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Great walking!

 

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Fabulous architecture!

 

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Waking up to sunshine! Again!

 

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More great walking … in the sunshine! Ain’t no map for this!

 

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Great views!

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Lots of inspiration for future stories.

 

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Ha! That was the short version! We both came home rested, happy, inspired and down a couple of pounds from all the delicious walking. Now THAT’s a great anniversary and Christmas gift!

 

 

In The Flesh Ch 33: Dark Paranormal Romance in Progress. Enjoy!

 

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It’s Friday! Time for chapter 33 of In The Flesh, in which Susan comes back to herself with a lot to learn.

There are only a few more episodes of In The Flesh left, so be sure to mark Fridays on your calendar, and hold on to your hats because things are getting wild.

 

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.

 

 

Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16, Part 17Part 18Part 19Part 20Part 21Part 22Part 23Part 24Part 25 Part 26Part 27Part 28Part 29, Part 30Part 31, Part 32.

 

You can also read In The Flesh on Wattpad.  

 

In The Flesh Chapter 33

I don’t remember much of the next few days. Occasionally I would realize that Alonso or Magda were in the room with me, but mostly my focus was on whoever served as my meal. The rest of the time I slept somewhere beyond the dream world, truly the sleep of the dead, I suppose. But I always woke ravenous, always beyond the grasp of my own rationality, always beyond the grasp of my own control. Most of the time I wasn’t familiar with whoever fed me, and as long there was a source of blood, I didn’t really care who they were. When my conscience did rear it’s seriously brow-beaten head, whoever was with me at the time would assure me that Michael was all right and that I had not killed or permanently maimed anyone. On the third day, I came back to myself, my whole body tingling, especially my tongue and lips, which were pressed against the open vein at Talia’s wrist. I gave a little shutter that could have possibly been an orgasm, after all, Talia was a succubus. As I eased myself away from her wrist with a quick lap of my tongue to seal the wound, the world righted itself and I was able to exert some control.

“Welcome back,” she said, with a wicked smile. “We were beginning to think you would drain us all and all of Magda’s household too before you were finally sated.” She glanced down at the inside of her wrist. “If you can resist my blood, sweet little Scribe, then I reckon you’re well on your way to learning some control.”

My stomach growled and she nodded down to it. “You’ll have to learn to manage the hunger. It’ll get easier with time and practice, but it never goes away, or so Alonso tells me. You were lucky to have his strength as well as Magda’s and Michael’s.” She shrugged, “and yours truly of course, to keep you and everyone around you safe. You’ve been pretty much out of control for the last three days.”

There was a soft knock on the door and Alonso pushed his way into the room, offering a huge smile when he saw me sitting up in the bed. “How do you feel, darling girl?”

431px-Medusa_Mascaron_(New_York,_NY)            “Different,” was the only reply I could think of, and that was an answer no one would have understood better than Alonso Darlington.

“Of course you do. I would expect nothing else under the circumstances, but you also seem a little more yourself this evening.”

“Well she didn’t try to rip my throat out when I pulled away from her,” Talia said. When Alonso glared at her she only shrugged. “That’s what she’d been doing, isn’t it?”

“Your comments are not helpful, Talia.”

She heaved a hard-put-upon sigh. “Sadly honesty is seldom seen as helpful, even when it’s exactly what’s needed.” She kissed me lightly on the mouth, leaving a tingle in places far removed from my lips, then stood and left the room.

Before I could ask, Alonso answered my question. “Michael is fine, only frustrated and hurt that you won’t see him.”

The flood of relief was overshadowed by the gut wrench of knowing that I’d hurt him, that he didn’t understand why I had to keep him away. I blinked back tears at the sudden tug of loss. “You know why I won’t see him. I won’t put him at risk again.”

“He put himself at risk, darling girl, a thing which he would happily tell you if you would but allow it. Have you forgotten that he is an angel?”

“Of course I’ve not forgotten what he is, nor have I forgotten that I nearly killed him.”

“He could have pulled away from you at any time, Susan, but for his possessiveness. The foolish man wanted you to take only from him, a desire I can easily understand, being a rather possessive creature myself.” I could tell by the inward turn of his smile that he was thinking of Reese. “I fear your Angel is not pleased with the bond you now, of necessity, have with me.”

“You mean he nearly let himself be killed because of a stupid testosterone pissing contest?”

Alonso laughed quietly. “We men are strange creatures no matter if we are angels or demons. It is in our nature to view the world in terms of our territory and our possessions. It is in our nature to protect and provide for those we see as our own.”

“Even if it kills you?”

“My darling girl, in our eyes death is well-deserved if we are not men enough to take care of our own. If you are to understand your angel, you must learn this fact. And in all fairness, he should have been able to provide the nourishment you needed alone. He is strong enough, and as an angel he is quickly replenished of his life force and ready to meet your demands again. In truth, I would not have believed you could deplete him after I had fed you so well so recently. I have never known one so ravenous as you have been.”

“I’m sorry. I … I couldn’t control myself.” I was suddenly unable to meet his gaze, the heat of shame scorching my face. “It’s just that I’m always so hungry.”

“Do not be sorry, darling one. Creatures such as ourselves are not known for their control. And let us be candid, your circumstances are extenuating to say the least. We do not know the effects of what you have taken upon yourself yet.”

For the first time since Alonso made me, I had the presence of mind to remember why I had asked him to do such a thing, but I had no time to search inside myself to discover if the Guardian were there before Alonso continued. “I have brought you here in this safe place so that you may learn control, so that you may learn what is needed, so that you may learn to hunt properly when you must feed outside those who willingly serve as your source of nutrition, and so that you may give something back when you must do so. Sadly I had no one to teach me in the beginning, and if it had not been for Magda Gardener, I do not know what might have become of me.”

“So that’s how she knows about feeding from the heart’s blood.”Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500

He nodded. “I was little more than a revenant when she took me. When I came back to myself in my lucid moments, the horror of what I had done, the guilt sent me scurrying back into my darkness. She took me into her home, isolated me in a cave she had prepared for my needs and fed me of her own blood alone until I was calm enough and rational enough to learn control, and to learn to live with what I had become. In that time with her, I discovered that there are many creatures such as I– and not all of them vampires by any means. We must all learn to live with our own darkness and find a way forward – not to make amends, for we can never right the wrongs we have done no matter how many lifetimes our existence might be. But, instead, we must learn to live lives that are … of value in the present.” He held my gaze. “I have not killed for a very, very long time, my darling girl, but the memories of what I have done do not fade, just as I am sure Magda’s do not, nor will yours. My life lived well is my penance, and my joy, as yours will be, in time.”

“Why?” I asked. “Why would Magda do that? Why didn’t she just … you know, turn you to stone?”

This time his smile was edged with a bitter chuckle. “I believe I was very much hoping for a stake through the heart. I fear I would have single-handedly decimated a small village in the Yorkshire Dales if she hadn’t hunted me down, brought me back to Cumbria and taken me under her wing. You see, the village elders sought her out for that purpose. Mortals are nothing if not a cunning lot, and surprisingly good at overcoming insurmountable odds. Indeed, Magda could have ended my miserable existence, and easily. In fact I begged her to at least a thousand times during those dark days when she held me captive. You see, I owe her much.” As though he anticipated my next question, he waved a dismissive hand. “Oh it is always difficult to tell with Magda Gardener if her acts are done out of compassion or out of her own desires to add to the Consortium.” Another chuckle. “That’s what she calls those she has brought together when she’s putting, how is it you say, the proper spin on it, but we all just call ourselves Magda’s collection, of which both myself and the angel and now you, my darling girl, are a part.”

For a moment, we both sat in silence, then he moved onto the bed next to me, unbuttoned his shirt and with a quick flick of a fingernail opened the vein above his heart, still holding my gaze. “In the days ahead of us, my little one, I will give you of myself, but a sip here and there, to strengthen our bond and to make you stronger. While others will be the source of your nourishment, what I can offer of myself will help you in what you must learn, and it will comfort and calm you as well.”

For the first time since my new life began, I didn’t lunge; for the first time, I let him gently guide me to the flow, which I savoured with light flicks of my tongue and pulls of my pursed lips.

He grunted softly. “You must be careful, my darling girl. The pleasure you receive from the taking is returned in kind, and while I am sure Reese would understand if I took you that way, living with a vampire and a succubus as he does, I am not sure I could forgive myself, and I am most certain your angel would not forgive me. In fact, I do believe he would seek out a stake for my heart.

I pulled away and sat up next to him. “I’m sorry. I –”

“Do not apologize, my darling. You must learn. I shall teach you. When you feed from your angel, you may take of his manhood, which will happily respond to your feeding, as you already know. In fact,” he offered me a wicked smile, “you may feed him from your heart’s blood,” he made a negating sign with his hand. “Only but a little, for he will not be able to take more without becoming intoxicated. A little, however, will pleasure both of you in ways you will find startlingly delightful.” He rebuttoned his shirt and wiped as smudge of his blood from my lips with the pad of his thumb, licking it off with a quick flick of his tongue, which made my heart race. “And now, my dear girl, there is someone here who very much wants to see you.”

There was a knock at the door and Magda stepped in with Annie at her side looking startlingly well, if 2015-09-04 16.17.13still quite thin. “I have given her but a little of my own blood to help her heal,” Alonso whispered next to my ear, or at least I thought he had, but then I realized I had heard his voice inside my head. “Yes, my darling Susan, there are other connections besides blood that we now share.” He nodded to Annie. “Go to her. You will not hurt her, of that I’m certain.”

The thought was barely complete before Annie broke from Magda’s solicitous hold on her arm and ran to the bed, throwing herself into my embrace. “You’re all right! Oh thank God you’re all right,” she sobbed against my shoulder. I could see the hammering of her pulse in the vein of her throat. I could smell the sweet flowery scent of her blood within. But inside my head, almost inside the centre of my chest, I could feel Alonso’s reassuring nod. So, gently, carefully, I pulled her closer and found myself sobbing in empathy. “You’re a vampire now?” She pulled back wiping her eyes and looking me over as though she expected me to flash my fangs – fangs which I wasn’t even sure I had, but surely I must, I had no problem getting to the source of blood offered from a wrist or a neck, and while Alonso had assured me that the vampires lack of reflection is only an old wives tale, I had not had the presence of mind to truly inspect myself for changes.

“I am, yes.” I found myself blushing.

“And you did that for me?” A huge tear rolled down her thin, but healthy looking cheek. “Oh Susan, I never meant for this to happen.”

“I know,” I pulled her back against my shoulder and let her cry. “It wasn’t your fault, Annie. It wasn’t your fault. If anyone is to blame it’s me, and I’m so, so sorry.”

“What has happened is no one’s fault,” Alonso said. “Blame will do no one any good in moving forward into a future that, while quite different from the one I’m sure we all anticipated, will be bright.”

“Come darling. We’d best leave our little scribe to get her rest.” Magda shot first me, and then Alonso a glance from beneath her glasses as she motioned to Annie.

“Can’t I stay just a little longer,” Annie protested. “Susan isn’t going to hurt me. Susan would never hurt me.”

“Best you don’t just now,” Alonso said, reaching to push her hair, which once again was a shiny golden blonde, away from her face. “Susan is just now coming back to herself, and she has much to learn about being what she now is if she is to remain safe and keep those around her safe.”

On an impulse, Annie leaned in and landed a kiss on my cheek, and I was suddenly overwhelmed by the dark moon image_xl_6338206scent of her, the powerful efforts of her blood to heal her, to restore her health, the fact that she lived and breathed and that her body held what I needed. I curled my fingers in her hair and pulled her close with more force than I intended. She gave a little Yelp of surprise, but threw her arms around me in a bear hug. There was no fear in her in spite of what I had become, in spite of the fact that I wanted to taste her blood with a need that was so close to physical my chest ached and my stomach clenched. With the preternatural senses I was still trying to get used to, I could not only see the tension tightening Magda and Alonso’s bodies, but I could feel the change in their breathing, in their blood pressure, even a change in the very scent of them. They were nervous. They were afraid, both tensing to pull Annie away from me should things go tits up, which I knew with the pounding of my own heart was a very real possibility.

I don’t know exactly how it happened. It was all so fast, but I lowered my mouth just to kiss, just to touch that place where her heart beat in her throat with my lips, maybe with my tongue and then there was a moan that sounded like someone in agony, and I was suddenly on the far side of the bed up against the wall, trembling like a leaf in a Cumbrian storm.

Annie’s eyes were huge and round as Magda all but jerked her to her side and stepped back beyond the threshold with no less preternatural speed. But just as Magda pulled her through the door, Annie grabbed the molding and stopped progress long enough to turn to me. “I’ll see you soon, Susan. I think we’re long overdue for a girl’s night in, you know, a nice bottle of wine, a good chin wag? She can drink wine can’t she,” she asked Alonso.

He offered his usual calming smile. “Do not you worry my dear Annie, our Susan will be able to drink wine, though she may no longer find it’s taste to her liking.”In The Flesh 2 12006311_1476805985954344_6570546160088833292_n

Annie’s laugh was nearly a sob. “I can’t imagine Susan Innes ever being dead enough not to revel in a good glass of Malbec.” She blew me a kiss as Magda all but pulled her bodily through the door, and then
I found myself sobbing in Alonso’s arms, even as I smelled his confusion.

“My darling girl, whatever is the matter? Why are you weeping so? Do you not wish to enjoy a good chin wagging with dear Annie?”

“Of course I do,” I blubbered, “but you saw what just happened. You had to pull me off her. I’m not safe. I’m not safe!”

“Of course you’re not safe, my dear Scribe, and neither am I, but I promise you I did not pull you away from Annie. You backed away yourself, and a good thing the wall was stone or you would have gone right through it in your efforts to keep her safe.”

 

Paranormal Baddies: Why we Love ‘Em

As I approach the finale of In The Flesh, my online dark paranormal serial, I’m struck once again by waterhouse_apollo_and_daphnejust how much fun it is to write the baddies. In The Flesh is based on a very creepy short story I wrote a long time ago, a short story whose baddie didn’t even have a name. His lover thought he might actually be god! The idea of having a god for a lover, having a lover who is more than human and at the same time way less than human, who like the gods of mythology, considers himself above human law and ethics, never stops intriguing me. I revisited the idea in the Lakeland Witches novels and in the sequel serial novella, Demon Interrupted, as well as several other stories I’ve written. The baddie, of the short story is exactly the reason why I felt compelled to expand In The Flesh. At first, I planned only a novella, but the story was too big for even that, and the baddie opened up a whole new realm of questions to be answered. Just what makes a baddie, and how thin is the line between the monsters and the good guys? And more important still, why do we always on some deep level, want to fuck the baddies?

The best baddies, the ones I want to revisit over and over again, the ones I want to know more about, are the ones who are as intriguing and seductive as they are terrifying. The best baddies, the ones that I love most to read about or watch in the movies, are the ones by whom I’d secretly like to be seduced IF I could get away with it unscathed, which of course is always impossible. For a baddie to really work his magic in a novel, he has to entice the reader into the shadows. There needs to be something about him that we want. There needs to be depth and dimension that are well-rounded and dark enough to balance the hero in the seesaw of plot twists and turns that lead to the Happy Ever After. The best part about writing In The Flesh as a novel is that so many of the characters are ambiguous, so many of them could be viewed as monsters, and almost all of them walk a very thin line between hero and villain. That has made the novel one of the most exciting and fun works of fiction I’ve ever written.

Bernini's Hades and PersephoneI think the baddie has to do more than just make the hero shine. He also has to hold up the mirror that reflects back the hero’s own dark side. He has to elicit more than hate from the reader and the other characters. I think for a baddie to really make a plot sing, he has to elicit our own dark lusts and our own voyeuristic walk on the wild side. The baddie attracts us because he’s brave enough, bold enough, not to
care about convention, not to care about what civilised society expects. He’s quite comfortable with his dark side. And he gets what he wants because he doesn’t mind doing whatever he has to in order to get it. Of course none of us wants that for ourselves, and yet all of us want to know, vicariously through fiction, what that might feel like

As In The Flesh evolved from a short story to a novel, and the dark villain, though still nameless, acquired the title of the Guardian, I often found him terrifying to write because even in his darkest, most wicked moments, his logic seems to make perfect sense. His passions, lusts and desires seem so reasonable, and even when they don’t, the very conviction with which he believes them to be worthy makes everything he does seem almost sympathetic. Even as I wrote him in all his monstrosity, I found myself wanting to make excuses for him. I found myself wanting to redeem him somehow, and yet is there redemption for a proper baddie? Would they ever seek it out? If I’m being honest, it’s the villain’s darkness I love, and it’s his darkness that makes the fire of the hero and heroine burn brighter. It’s also the darkness that makes them question themselves and everything they believe in.

And that leads me to the true job of the villain in a good read, the villain is there for the hero and heroineIn the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_n to spark against, the baddie is there to help the reader get a better picture of who the hero and heroine are. And the baddie is the knife and chisel that sculpts the hero and heroine into something better, something stronger.

And finally the villain is the reader’s (and the writer’s) voyeuristic walk on the dark side. We can go on that dark journey with the villain and we can go there safely, have a totally wicked time, and be back in time for dinner with the hero and heroine. And the Guardian promises to take both reader and writer on a seriously dark and terrifying, as well as outrageously sexy, journey.

 

There’s a new episode of In The Flesh up every Friday, and on Wattpad as well. You can read it in its entirety by following these links: In The Flesh, Wattpad.

 

 

 

Beginnings: Chapter 1 of Alonso Darlington’s Story: Landscapes

I’m doing a shameless selfie today. No, you’re eyes have not deceived you. There is no picture of me in soggy walking clothes or me with a gorgeous Scottish landscape behind me. I’m shamelessly promoting britboysonboys cover imageone of my own stories — well one of my own characters, actually — Alonso Darlington. I’m promoting Alonso or several reasons. First, he’s a fascinating character and I love to write about him. Second his novella, Landscapes, is a part of the Brit Boys: On Boys Book Bundle, which is now being promoted in conjunction with the new Brit Boys release, Brit Boys with Toys. And finally, Alonso Darlington has a staring role in my online serial, In The Flesh. The bloke gets around. Thought you might enjoy a little sneak peek of his story, from Landscapes.

 

Brit Boys: On Boys Bundle blurb:

From east to west and north to south, these British boys are having a blast in and out of the bedroom with the men of their dreams. They’re topping and bottoming from London to Cardiff, living out fantasies in the wildest fells and hooking up while serving HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

With passion and lust the name of the game, nothing is off limits. Throw in honed muscles, high-strength testosterone and an accent to die for and there is nothing they can’t do and no one they can’t get in this world or another.

Don’t miss Brit Boys: On Boys—a smokin’ hot box set, containing 147,000 words/440 pages of unforgettable M/M erotic romance from eight popular British authors.

 

Landscapes Blurb:

Alonso Darlington has a disturbing method of keeping landscaper, Reese Chambers, both safe from and oblivious to his dangerous lust for the man. But Reese isn’t easy to keep secrets from, and Alonso wants way more than to admire the man from afar. Can he risk a real relationship without risking Reese’s life?

 

Chapter 1 Back on British Soil

It wasn’t that Reese Chambers made my cock hard – though he did. It wasn’t that he was beautiful in a rugged, leather and stone sort of way – though he was. It was that Reese Chambers moved me in ways I had not been moved in a very long time, in ways that I, who never lacked just the right words to express myself, found my vocabulary inadequate to the task. Talia would call it an obsession, and maybe it was; from my first sight of him mantling his sketchpad like a bird of prey over a fresh kill, alone in the midst of the crowded pub, I could think of nothing else. It was my first night back on British soil. It is said that you can never go back home, and it had been a very long time for me. But the need to come home was in my blood like fever these past years, as were so many needs that never left me, but only sharpened with the passing of time.

Next to me, Talia droned on about suitable residences in Cumbria, about the leasing of a car and the Brit Boys: With Toysmaking of necessary renovations. The Twa Dogs was busy for a Monday night with tourist season past, but being invisible was sometimes easier in a crowd. As Talia talked business in softly accented English, the men at the bar gave her admiring glances. Along with the permeating waft of warm bodies and fermented barley, I smelled the subtle spice of curiosity and the yeasty bread scent of simmering lust from men who knew the woman they admired was out of their league. Besides being excellent at her job, Talia was good for keeping attention off me. But there was little less than a lightning bolt that would have taken my attention off Reese Chambers.

He sat at a table near the exit, sketching in an open pad, his pint gone wanting as he lost himself in his work. I admire people of focus; people whose work is also their calling. They seem to exist on a different plane from the rest of us, and no one or nothing outside can touch them. I very much wanted to touch Reese, to draw his attention away, to hear his voice, to perhaps solicit a smile from him, to know that for a moment his attention was on me. But I’m a cautious man, and time is always on my side. The anticipation of knowing Reese Chambers in itself was to be savoured, not unlike just that right amount of intoxication, when warmth and relaxation take one to the boarders of euphoria, but no further.

‘There are three places that might be suitable.’ I returned my attention to Talia. ‘One in the Borrowdale Valley and two near Ullswater. But perhaps you should consider going back to High View, after all it is your –’

‘Find out who he is.’ I nodded in Reese’s direction. Before Talia could protest, I continued. ‘I have a roof over my head, and I’ve fed. There’s nothing that can’t wait until tomorrow.’

Talia’s cheekbones flushed with the rush of blood, and heaven knew how beautiful she was in such a state, porcelain pale skin, midnight blue eyes and hair, which was so close to black that no one but I would have noticed all of the other colours in her silken tresses. She knew what it was I asked of her, and she knew the delicate line she tread on the rare occasion when I did ask. A tremor passed up her long, straight spine, and a bloom of tiny goose bumps textured her bare arms. It would not be painless, what I asked, and I knew she feared it as much as she longed for it. I could hear the thud thud of her pulse in the thin, silken skin of her throat as she swallowed the sudden dryness of fear. ‘What do you want to know?’

I leaned forward to rake the tip of my thumb against the pulse point in her temple. ‘Everything, Talia. I want to know all of it. And when you know, come directly to me. I don’t care what time it is when you return.’

Only her eyelids fluttered her acknowledgment, for an anxious moment shuttering the brilliance of her eyes before she drank back her Merlot and excused herself to the ladies to freshen up.

I took little notice of her leave, but like a child left alone with the candy jar he couldn’t reach, I sat teasertemplate_BBoBKDtaking the object of my lust into my hungry senses, watching the muscles of his arms move beneath fine bronze skin as he sketched, watching the rapid rise and fall of his chest, as though what he sketched excited him, as though he were breathless from his engagement with it. His hair, unkempt and in need of a cut, was the colour of newly-forged bronze and the rapid shudder of his pulse against his throat made my lips tingle with the need to be pressed there where the life force flowed so close to the surface, there with his excitement, there with his passion. I licked my lips tasting the copper salt of my own sweat, and opened my mouth just slightly, just enough to take in the scent of him — the heat of his body, the cinnamon bite of his intense focus, and my cock shuddered heavily against my trousers. For a brief moment the sound of my own blood rushing through my body drown out the dart game behind me, the low drone of a football match on the big screen TV, the clink of glasses, the shuffle of feet. I heard only the rising of my blood and the scratching of his pencil against the rough-textured paper. For a moment, I sensed his own lust, harnessed tightly and focused through a needle’s eye on his creation and, God, I wanted that focus on me.

Before Talia returned, I stood to leave, and as I brushed passed him I smelled damp earth and verdant growth, I smelled a spark freshly kindled, and at the back of my throat I could taste his essence, as though passion itself had been distilled from the lusting creative force of the human soul. I inhaled once, then again, then I left the pub, having no idea just how powerful my lust for Reese Chambers really was, nor the sequence of events it would set off.

 

It was nearing dawn when Talia returned to our accommodations smelling of sex, as I knew she would if In The Flesh 2 12006311_1476805985954344_6570546160088833292_nshe were to obtain for me what I wanted. By then my blood burned in my veins, and my body felt too close to me, as though the flesh that I dwelt in suddenly conspired to crush me with its demands. And though I knew that Reese Chambers could not have refused her even if she had come to him as a toothless, foul-smelling hag, I hated her that he had poured himself into her body while I had been left with only my fantasies kindling my lust to an inferno.

Though my need was such that my flesh was fevered and my cock an insistent throb, until she returned, I held myself contained within skin that felt too thin. When she saw the state that I was in, she pulled the heavy drapes with an efficient tug, then with a nod of her head, motioned me to follow her down into the basement room that had been prepared for me. When she turned to me at the foot of the bed, before she could opened her kiss-bruised lips to speak, I took her mouth, starving for the first taste of him, the taste of his saliva, the taste of his blood, mixed with hers. She’d bitten him; he’d bitten her back. He was rough, and he liked to be treated rough, but he kept that to himself. He was embarrassed by it. His lips were slightly chapped from so much time in the sun and wind, and they’d slid against hers, suckling and stroking and pressing until her mouth opened to his. With ravenous laps of my tongue, I tasted him in her mouth, and she held back the moan of response, so I could hear the echoes of his groans, heavy with need he’d not satisfied in awhile, and I felt kinship in my own unsatisfied needs. Images of him flashed through my head. Christ, his eyes were green, dark green like the evergreen forests of the north, and he kept them open when he kissed her, taking her in with his eyes.

I shoved aside the silk of her low bodice exposing her breasts, breasts that his hands had cupped. My nipples peeked to sharp aching points at the feel of his calloused thumbs raking, pressing and releasing. I breathed in his scent on her breasts, burying my face in her cleavage, licking the taste of salty, slightly picante maleness, sniffing and tasting until I could stand it no more. In one violent jerk, I tore the dress all the way down and shoved it off her shoulders, away from the flesh he had licked and kissed and mounted. I cried out at the feel of him, weight on one elbow, knee spreading her thighs, fingers opening her heaviness, anxious to penetrate, anxious to relieve his need. And then, with Talia free of clothing, Reese Chambers’ essence filled the room. Talia’s panties were still wet with his semen mixed with her humid desire, and I tore them from her and forced her onto her stomach, onto her hands and knees, so that it was not her face I saw, but his that I imagined. With hands on her hips, I raised her bottom in the air and spread her still swollen, still slippery folds with fingers made awkward by my arousal, letting the scent of his hot bread and honey release intoxicate me. Then I buried my face in her snatch and, as I ate his lust from her, I knew him.

He was Cumbrian born and bred, and his accent was the soft lilting sound of the fells. He was a landscaper and a gardener by trade. His hands held the magic of the earth and his mind conceived ideas for beautiful outdoor spaces; those he liked best were patterned after Renaissance and medieval gardens. He was homesick and heartsick. He’d gone to Surrey to work with his father because the money was good. But his father had died recently and he had returned home to Cumbria. He didn’t care if he had to work in a pub or muck stables. He wanted to be home. He missed the people and he missed the fells. He missed the simpler, more honest rhythms of life. He was shy, even a bit reclusive. He read voraciously and widely, he liked astronomy and he was afraid of snakes, though it embarrassed him to admit it. He hadn’t had sex in a long time, and found it better to have a wank session than a meaningless encounter. The facts of him, the details of his life raced at me in a flood I consumed ravenously with each lap of my tongue.

As I ate Talia I felt the shape of his face, the curve of his chin, the rise and fall of his chest as he had done the same. I felt the soft tuft of bronze curls nestled between the hard rise of his pecs and the courser, deeper curls that caressed his testicles and his cock when it was at rest, but it hadn’t been at rest. How many times had he taken her? He was thick enough to fill her and the friction of him inside was delicious and maddening. The shape of him – I wanted to caress the shape of him, with my hands, with my mouth, and the taking of his essence from Talia was an act of ripping away something that should have been mine. As I bruised her arse with kneading fingers and, as I licked the last of his release from her, she managed a breathless moan. ‘Take the rest. God, Alonso, take the rest, and release me.’

I could hold back no longer. I rose on my knees behind him, and now it was truly him I saw as clearly as if Talia had brought him to me physically. With one hand wrestling at my fly, the other fondled his tender opening, careful as he lay there beneath me, legs parted, bottom exposed. In my mind’s eye, I would be gentle. He had not been with a man before. That I would be his first excited far more than just my cock. In my mind’s eye, I would make it good for him. I would make love to him as not even Talia could do. But in reality I was once removed, ripping vicariously the love I wanted from a succubus, and I was unable to do so graciously or without malice. When my cock was free, I took her ruthlessly, the sound of her closely entwined pain and pleasure far away. And once I had penetrated her depths, I took the rest of what I wanted, a connection, a connection that I could hold on to. I ripped it from her as surely as if I had ripped her skin from her flesh, fisting her hair and yanking her head back, bruising her hips, biting her shoulders.

And when I had savaged her for having him, and yet blessed her that she had done such for me, when I In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_nhad ripped a release from her, then I felt him rising up, erect and needing to come, I felt him penetrating, deep and hard, varying his pace, torturing himself, torturing me as he had tortured her, as my own balls ached under their weight. The muscles of his buttocks clenched and released with each thrust and the look on his face as he came was pain and pleasure and vulnerability, and then distance. I took Talia cruelly, as she knew I would, punishing her for the betrayal that I had forced upon her even as every thrust, every bite, every bruising of her delicate skin, skin that smelled of his sweat, of his breath, of his semen, brought the reality of Reese Chambers, his pain, his dreams, his passion into me, deep into me. As she fucked him, I fucked her, by the very act, taking back from her what she had taken from him, every detail of who he was, alive with each thrust, with each bite, with each bruise that I dealt her.

And when I had used her up, taking from her every memory, every nuance of Reece Chambers, when she collapsed beneath me with a sob, I felt the brush of my own guilt, my own shame, as I always did when I used her so. I spoke gently to her, thanking her, calming her as I bathed her and gently cleaned the aftermath of me from her body. Then I lifted her in my arms and took her to her room. She was weakened from the experience, as she always was, and when she nuzzled in against my chest, I opened the small incision above my left nipple, and when the blood beaded up, I pulled her close so that she could feed and heal. I stroked her hair and watched, imagining that it were him feeding from me, and feeling myself hardening again at the thought.

When she was sated and sleeping peacefully, I watched her for a moment. She would need all of her strength in the days to come, for she would be my conduit. She would be my connection to Reese Chambers. I knew that above ground it was now full daylight, and I could now sleep with the essence of him against my flesh, in my flesh. And tomorrow, we would begin plans to move back to High View, where I would most definitely have need of a landscaper.

 

Predictions from a Muddy Walk

IMG00118-20111113-1422“Lets take the route through the woods,” I said. “It’ll be safer, less muddy,” I said. Gawd, am I glad I’m married to a man who isn’t into ‘I told you so,’ cuz Wow! I think I actually came home with mud in my ears yesterday after our annual New Years Day walk. Although having said that, the downpour that we walked in the last third of the walk might have washed the mud out of my ears as while. It did wash most of the ten pounds of extra weight off my boots en route. Nice, easy cleanup that way.

As we got closer to finishing our walk — and we did manage a little over eight miles — I got to thinking that if I were a fortuneteller, I might consider how the first walk of the year goes to be an indication of what’s to come in the year ahead. And, actually, as a fortuneteller, I might do okay in this respect. Here’s what I figure.

 

Prediction One: Sometimes things won’t go according to plan

We approached the walk with enthusiasm, chatting about which route to take, because living in Surrey, as we do, we’re spoiled for choice. However England in the winter means LOTS OF RAIN and many of the paths turn into mud baths from December through to April. Prediction: Like every new year, like every new beginning, we approach with enthusiasm, we plan and scheme and take into account as many variables as possible, but there will be times in 2016, things just aren’t going to go according to plan. My logic for the choice of paths we took was sound. It made perfect sense to both of us to take a flatter path rather than a steeper, more treacherous one. We might have been safer, but we worked four times as hard just to stay on our feet. Never mind! We managed with lots of laughing and joking and a minimal amount of blue language from yours truly.

 

St Martha's Hill 2 23 novPrediction Two: Sometimes things will get messy

Prediction Two is very closely tied to prediction number one. Things will get messy. It’s a given. Might as well get used to it now and not let it get under my skin. I always let it get under my skin. I like things to go according to plan. I like to keep the mud off my boots, so to speak. So here is the warning sigh for the muddy bits. Be prepared K D! Take a couple of deep breaths, think peaceful thoughts because you know, as sure as you’re sitting here pounding out a blog post, that things will get messy.

 

Prediction Three: This too shall pass

Eventually, we came out of the woods onto solid ground – a paved road, actually, a part of a route we’d not walked in a while. We abandoned our original plan in favour of just getting out of the mud and then we remembered why we had enjoyed this particular forgotten route so much. There were great views of the Downs and solid footing – even a bit of cover by the trees when the rain properly set in. Our ordeal in the mud had put us in a reminiscing sort of mood, remembering all the walks that we’d had in which the weather or the circumstances were less than ideal and yet, when we ended up at the pub at the end of the day celebrating over a pint, some of those walks were the best ever. We decided we could write a book about those walks that went wrong and then turned glorious. Which leads me to prediction four for
2016.

 

raindrops 3Prediction Four: 2016 will result in new war stories

The best walking war stories we have are the ones from the most difficult walks. We never get tired of talking about them, and we always laugh and smile when we do. The best walking stories come from the most difficult walks because the most difficult walks challenge us and test us; some have made us really dig deep to see what we’re made of. Those are the ones that make us earn our pint. That goes with most of the challenges we face every year, and this year will be no exception. I have war stories from 2015; I’ll have them for 2016 as well. In fact, the very first one is a walking in the mud story from January 1st! Nietzsche might have said ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” but I say what doesn’t kill us will be worth a good laugh about over a pint when we get through it.

 

 

Prediction Five: Even if it gets messy, it’s gonna be good!

I’m basing that little prediction on the track record of the past … well … whole bunch of years of my life. I have to admit, I can be a bit of a ‘glass half empty’ sort of a girl from time to time. Fortunately I’m married to a ‘glass half full’ sort of guy so we balance each other out, and it’s good! Even at times when I’m up to me ears in the mud and the rain, it’s all good. That’s more than just taking into account that this too shall pass and that there’ll be beer or coffee or both waiting at the end of the tunnel. That’s the fact that all things being equal, I expect lessons along the way, and I also expect that some of them I’m not going to like very much. Usually those are the ones that I learn the most from. I don’t come out unscathed. I always come out with a few new battle scars and war stories, and I always find myself, at the end of the year, astounded that I made it through at all! What are the chances? I mean really? What are the chances of any of us really being here, and yet we are, and we laugh and we cry and we love and we fight and we squirm and we angst and we struggle through the mud, and we get there and we shine, at least a little, and that’s what we remember. That’s what matters. I have to say, I’m with Edna on this one!

 

 

 

Sun through trees NDW Nov 2011

 

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night,

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—

It gives a lovely light!

Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May there always be a nice pub and a pint at the end of your muddy walks in 2016.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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