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In The Flesh Ch 37: Dark Paranormal Romance in Progress. Enjoy!

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_nIt’s Friday! Time for chapter 37 of In The Flesh, in which Michael gives Susan a break.

There’s only one more episode of In The Flesh left, so be sure to mark next Friday on your calendar for the big finish!

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.

 

 

Missed Out on Any of the story? Follow these links to IN THE FLESH so far:

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 31Part 32Part 33Part 34, Part 35, Part 36. 

 

You can also read In The Flesh on Wattpad.  

 

In The Flesh Chapter 37

“Talia said this is where you’d be.” Michael sat down next to me on a rock in the last of the afternoon sunlight. “She also said Alonso doesn’t know you’re here.”

“I got tired of everyone watching me like I might explode or my head might start spinning in circles. I had to get out of there.” I nodded to the cavern behind me. Alonso’s still worried about my tolerance of sunlight. That’s why I’m here in the mouth of the cave. If I suddenly smell burning flesh, I’ll make a dive for it. Where were you?” I asked, hoping I didn’t sound as pouty as I felt. “You left in a hurry.”

“I’ve been home making a few arrangements.”

“I see,” I said, but I didn’t. I didn’t see at all. I thought after last night we’d reconnected and made everything right, that after last night we’d stopped pushing each other away, and yet it felt like Michael couldn’t get away from High View fast enough after the Guardian revealed himself. I suppose I couldn’t really blame him. It was bad enough to watch your girlfriend become a vampire, but a vampire with a resident demon was surely a bridge too far – even for an angel.

“I had an important delivery,” he said. “And I had workers coming to help install the blackout blinds. I 2015-09-04 16.16.05 HDRdidn’t want to put it off any longer.” Before I could do more than offer a surprised glance, he continued. “I was trying to make the house more vampire-friendly back before I knew you could tolerate sunlight.” He shrugged and looked down at his hands folded in his lap. “I had to do something constructive or go crazy when you … when you wouldn’t let me near you. Anyway, I suppose all that’s irrelevant now, but the blinds had already been paid for and they seemed like a good idea – you know, just in case you do suddenly smell burning flesh.” He stood and offered me his hand pulling me to my feet. “Come with me, Susan. Come back to my place with me. I want you to see what I’ve done, but mostly I just want you to myself. Oh I know you’ve got to spend time with Alonso, and I’ll make sure you’re back first thing in the morning. It kills me that there are things the vampire can do for you that I can’t, but at the end of the day when he’s finished your lessons, I want you in my house. I want you in my bed, in my arms, and I don’t want to wake up with half the vampire menagerie and a gorgon poking their noses in the door to see what we’ve got up to during the night.”

“Alonso won’t like it and neither will Magda,” I said.

“I don’t care. Do you?’

I squared my shoulders and huffed out an exaggerated breath. “Nope! I’m sick of caring what everyone thinks is best for me. I’m not a child, and I’m tired of being treated like one. Let’s go.” When I tugged him back toward the cave, he shook his head. “I know a short cut to the Jeep. I parked it off the property so we could sneak away. They won’t even miss us.”

“Of course they’ll miss us,” I said. “We can’t even sneeze without someone knowing.”

“Well then they’ll surely appreciate a few less sneezes around High View.”

It was just a walk across the meadow and then we were heading down Honister Pass, and I was away from High View for the first time since my new life had begun. We didn’t talk much. There seemed less need to now that we bore each other’s mark. That he wanted me to be with him, that he’d planned and prepared, even hoped when things weren’t looking very promising, that was enough for now.

At his house, there had been several changes, but the most obvious was the Las Vegas-style blackout blinds in Michael’s bedroom, just inside and above its lovely French doors. “I guarantee no sunlight will touch your alabaster skin through those monsters,” he said stroking my cheek with the back of his hand. “I know it’s not an issue under the circumstances, but just in case. And the basement, well I can have it made up any way you like if you’d feel safer there – you know a study for you to write in, a library. I’ve even drawn up plans to have the basement loo turned into a nice bathroom with a spa tub. We can even move the bedroom down there if you want — just to be sure.”

P1020199“Alonso’s the worry wart, not me. I believe the Guardian won’t let anything happen to him and therefore he won’t let anything happen to me either.”

“Yeah, well I didn’t know that before this morning, did I? So that really didn’t figure into my plan.”

“Your plan.” I sat down on the edge of the mattress, feeling weak kneed all of a sudden. “Michael, are asking me to move in with you?”

He sat down next to me and folded my hand in his. “You can’t go back to your old life, Susan. You’ve burned all the bridges in a major way.”

“Writing and being a vampire aren’t mutually exclusive,” I said. “In fact, under the circumstances, no one would know the difference even if I worked side by side with them — not unless I got hungry and decided to have a little sip from one of my colleagues.” Then I thought about my tiny closet of a flat in Brixton that took the lion’s share, and then some, of my income just so I could live alone, and –technically live in London. The truth was, I didn’t want to go back. The truth was I couldn’t help feeling excited about the life ahead of me now, even as the thought terrified me.

“That’s not the point.” He gave my hand a squeeze. “You belong to the Consortium now, and Magda will want to keep an eye on you. I reckon she’s already making arrangements to have your flat lease terminated. She’ll want you to stay with the vampire until he teaches you the ropes, though what that means is up for question now that you’ve become prison warden for the Guardian.”

“That doesn’t answer my question. Are you asking me to move in with you?”

“Oh Magda will find you a fantastic place, I have no doubt. She always does, and I know the vampire would keep you there as long as he could, but …”

“Michael, I’m not a charity case. I can bargain and negotiate for myself. I want to hear it from you. Do you want me here, or do you feel obligated because … well because Magda sent you to steal me.” I made quote marks around the word ‘steal’ with my fingers. “If you’re doing this out of — ”

Michael stopped my words with a kiss that felt as hungry and as voracious as I felt when I fed, pulling meBernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500 tightly to his chest, to the pounding of his heart, quite literally pulling me onto his lap. And for a moment, I forgot what the question had been. I forgot what planet we were on as his hands skimmed my back and then moved up to cup my head, stroke my hair and hold me close. When he pulled away breathless, he shook me slightly, as though he were trying to wake me up. “How can you even ask such a question, when having you with me is the one thing I’ve wanted for more lifetimes that you can imagine? Of course I want you here! I want you in my arms when I fall asleep; I want you in my arms when I wake up; I want you like the air I breathe, all the time, Susan! All the bloody time! If you don’t want to live here, if you want a place in which you’ve had a little more input in the choice and the decoration, that’s fine. Anywhere you like. Just say the word. I just want you, that’s all. I just want you.”

I stopped any further conversation with a single word of my own, a word which I breathed into his mouth and pressed deep onto his hard palette with my tongue. “Yes! Yes,” I repeated again and then again, as I pushed him back onto the bed and straddled him. After that it was a long time, a very long time, before either of us spoke again.

Long toward midnight we dozed in each other’s arms, and I dreamed. I dreamed of following a trail of blood, sparkling like a path of rubies on the snow. I followed the drip, drip, drip like a trail of breadcrumbs over the fells and into a deep tangle of woods. I followed it to the entrance of a cave, I followed it deep underground to a candlelit chamber where shadows danced like phantasms against the stone. There it ended in a stain on the cave floor that looked inky black beneath the pale body of a man curled on his side, face toward the wall. Before I could see who he was and if he still lived, there was a groan deeper in the cave beyond the play of candle flame. When my eyes adjusted to the gloom, I saw another man chained to the wall — arms spread wide, shoulders slumped, bare back sheened in sweat. It wasn’t until then that I saw the third man, only a silhouette that, try though I might, my dream vision could not resolve. “I’ve been waiting for you, scribe,” he said softly, and his voice crawled over my skin like I’d walked through a heavy spider’s web.

St Martha's Hill 3I woke with a jerk to find Michael raised on one elbow watching with concern. “Bad dreams?”

“Strange dreams.” I moved to lay my head on his chest and told him in as much detail as I could remember, unable to shake the feel of spider webs over my skin.

When I finished, he kissed the top of my ear and let out a slow even breath. “Do you think it was because of him – the Guardian?”

“I don’t know. Possibly. I mean there was a man chained in a deep cave, but nothing was very obvious, if it was about the Guardian. And why would there be three men?” I shrugged. “It probably should have been a nightmare, but even though I was in it, I watched it all from a distance. It didn’t feel like a nightmare. I don’t know what it felt like. Yes I do. It felt … almost prophetic. But then again, it was just a dream,” I added quickly, embarrassed at such a ludicrous idea.

“Have you talked to the Guardian since your first surprise visit?” he asked, his hand moving down to stroke my back.

“No, but I will. I mean I have to. He lives inside me, and that’s a real head job – even though I was prepared for it, or as prepared as I could possibly be. He’s right; the situation will take some getting used to for both of us. I can’t help but feel there are things he could tell me, things he could teach me. Whether he will or not, I don’t know, but the one thing I do know is that he’s intrigued by our situation. Very intrigued.” I decided not to add that I was too.

Michael lifted my chin so that our eyes met in the darkness. “Susan, it’s dangerous to trust him. You know that.”

“He’s with me twenty-four-seven now, Michael. I can’t ignore him. There are just things I need to know. I would feel better about our situation if I could discuss a few ground rules and ask a few questions. I just can’t believe that if I say nothing, ignore him, as he’s said I could, for the next however many years I have ahead of me, that he’ll be blissfully quiet. Clearly he doesn’t trust Magda. Not that he would have any reason to. I get that,” I gave a dismissive shrug. ‘But if I now belong to her, as it appears I do, if she wants me to do some nebulous work for her that has something to do with my abilities as a scribe – whatever the hell that means, well, I can’t think it’ll be a waltz in the park. I have … options – way more options than I had when I first came to Manchester to see Annie. And because of the Guardian, I have even more options than I would if I were just a vampire. I also have a whole new life – a double life — that I haven’t begun to understand yet, and like it or not, the Guardian is a permanent part of it.”

He pulled me on top of him and hugged me until I groaned. “All right, whatever it takes, whatever you feel you have to do, I’ll be here. You gave me back my life, Susan. You gave me the chance to share it with you, a chance I thought I’d lost forever. I’ll take that on whatever conditions I have to – vampire, demon and all. All I ask is that you don’t try to bear it all alone – what’s ahead of you, what the future holds. I know Magda, and I can help you deal with her. I know the Guardian probably better than anyone. Certainly I’m the only one who’s lived to tell the tale except for Annie, of course, who was just his pawn. And I know Alonso and his familiars. Everyone is quirky. Everyone has an agenda of some kind. I’m no different. But I know that all of us, everyone associated with the Consortium, we all want what’s best for you.” He curled a finger under my chin. “But I’m the one who loves you, Susan. I’ve loved you forever, and that’ll never change, no matter your choices. I want to be a part of your life. I want to be there to help you deal with whatever comes next. But mostly I hope that I can be there just because you want me by your side.”

I pulled him close and buried my face in his shoulder, next to the thudding of his pulse, resisting the urgeIn The Flesh 2 12006311_1476805985954344_6570546160088833292_n to lick him there possessively. “Of course I want you by my side or I wouldn’t be here in your bed right now. Maybe I haven’t loved you forever, but I promise you, I got around to it as soon as I possibly could
under some pretty trying circumstances, and like you, I’m not planning on going away. Will that do?”

He kissed me fervently and offered a smile that warmed me to the core, which always felt slightly chilled now that I was a vampire. “That’ll do, Susan. That’ll do just fine.” With that, he slid up into a sitting position, bare back pressed against the headboard. With what had become a rather expert flick of his nail, he opened the flow of his heart’s blood to me and pulled me close. As I fed next to the steady beat, beat, beat, even knowing how uncertain the future was, I felt happier than I could ever remember feeling. If Michael was with me, if we were together, then it would be all right. Deep in my chest in some nebulous place, I sensed the Guardian waiting, waiting to see what his future would be. Our uneasy truce, our sudden change of circumstances reminded me again that my uncertain future might be a lot of things, but it would most definitely not be boring.

 

In The Flesh: Ch 36: Dark Paranormal Romance in Progress. Enjoy!

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_nIt’s Friday! Time for chapter 36 of In The Flesh, in which Michael, Alonso, Magda and all the rest must learn to live with Susan’s permanent house guest.

There are only a two more episodes of In The Flesh left, so be sure to mark Fridays on your calendar, and don’t miss out!

 

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.

 

Missed Out on Any of the story? Follow these links to IN THE FLESH so far:

 

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 31Part 32Part 33, Part 34, Part 35

 

You can also read In The Flesh on Wattpad.  

 

 

In the Flesh Chapter 36

“What the hell are you doing?” We both yelled at the same time.rose images

“Are you crazy? Get off me!”

To which he responded, “are you out of your fucking mind?” In spite of my efforts to buck him off, he held me tightly beneath his body, smothered head to toe in the duvet.

“What’s going on? You two are supposed to be in the basement?” I heard the door crash against the back wall as it flew open and Reese burst in with Talia right on his heals, both talking at the same time.

Then I was airborne, hefted over Michael’s shoulder like a sack of potatoes, with Talia shouting, “Get her out of here! Get her out of her! Get her down to the basement, goddamn it! What the hell were you thinking?”

“I woke up and she was opening the shutters, standing right there in the sunlight. I’m serious.” Michael gave the door an angry kick shut that rattled my teeth.

“What the hell do you mean, she was standing in the sunlight,” Reese was saying. “She can’t stand in the sunlight. She’s a fucking vampire.”

“Put me down, damn it! Michael put me down.” No matter how much I shouted and wriggled they all ignored me.

“I swear it’s the truth.” Michael said.

“Put her down,” there was sudden silence in response to Magda’s voice that rose above the din, and I found myself unceremoniously deposited on the hard stone floor, wriggling frantically to get out from under the duvet. When I popped my head out, remembering I was naked and quickly snatching the fabric to my breasts, I found myself in the heavy stone corridor, the only light being from the electric sconces on the walls. I was surrounded by Reese, Talia, Magda and a very naked Michael, who knelt next to me and grabbed my face in his hand, turning it from side to side before I slapped him away.

“What the hell?” I said in response to all eyes on me.

“You were standing in the sunlight,” Michael responded, his voice trembled slightly and he swallowed hard, and for the first time, I realized how frightened he was. Then it all came rushing back to me, and I felt faint.

“It was him.” I managed, my voice none too steady. “It was the Guardian.” Suddenly everyone was silent and the air around me smelled of nervous adrenaline and more than a little bit of fear. “I was dreaming of sunlight and when I woke up the room was hot. I didn’t even think when I opened the shutters, not until he said that while he might be my prisoner, he refused to live in darkness.”

No one was willing to take my word for my immunity to sunlight, so Talia brought our clothes out of the dark moon image_xl_6338206

room for us – Michael not being willing to leave my side, and once we were dressed we all traipsed to the basement to where Alonso paced his study like a big cat in a cage. When he saw me, he pulled me into his arms, and both Michael and Reese bristled. Ignoring them completely, he stepped away just enough to take my face in his hand, turning it from side to side. “No damage?”

I shook my head, or at least tried to, but he held me firmly.

“You didn’t feel anything at all? No burning, no rash, no unusual heat?”

“I only felt what I would have felt before you changed me – the warmth of the sun on my face. Honestly, I didn’t even think about what I was doing until I heard the Guardian’s voice in my head and felt him move inside me as though he were trying to get comfortable.”

“And you think this was his doing?” Alonso asked.

“Oh for fuck sake, darling girl.” The Guardian spoke inside my head mocking Alonso. “Who else does he think it could possibly be? Are all vampires so dense?”

“It’s him. I’m certain,” I said, gladly taking the chair that Magda pushed under my arse just in time. “What did you do?” I asked the Guardian? “How did you protect me from the sun?” Everyone leaned close as though they expected a Regan moment straight from The Exorcist.

“First of all, you don’t have to speak out loud for me to hear you. I’m inside you, remember? Secondly, I’m indestructible, as far as I know. Therefore it only makes sense that my prison is protected by my presence.” He chuckled softly. “Believe me, my dear little Scribe, the irony of that is not lost on me.”

“Is he talking to you? What the hell is he saying?” Michael said.

I opened my mouth to respond, and in my head, I heard — almost felt — the clearing of the Guardian’s throat. “If you’ll allow it, little one, I can use your voice and save the tedious translation.” With the sense of my reluctance, he gave a little huff of indignation. “I am your prisoner, Susan, not the other way around. I can do nothing without your permission other than protect you, for to protect you is to protect myself. You may banish me to the silent depths of your unconscious mind for all of eternity and there I would be forced to remain, for you control the vessel that is my prison. You may silence me or seek me out at your will, but I would advise seeking me often and silencing me seldom, for I promise you that with the plans that bitch of a Gorgon has in mind for you, you may well find my help most useful, indeed.”

With a sense that I was somehow mentally laying a hand on the Guardian’s shoulder just to silence him 2015-06-30 11.27.42for a second, I spoke to those around me. “He’ll use my voice, and he’ll answer any questions you ask.” The second part was a definite command, and I had a definite sense that, though he bristled slightly, the Guardian took me at my word.

“How do we know he’s telling the truth?” Michael asked.

“Oh my darling, angel, it cuts me to the quick that you could doubt my veracity when I have pleasured your body and seen your innermost workings.”

Michael jumped back at the sound of my voice, only slightly changed, and yet unmistakably not mine. He nearly fell over Talia who, for once, wasn’t seeing the humour in the situation as she placed a hand on his arm to steady him. The Guardian smiled at the incident, a smile that no one but I could see, a smile that told me well he would make the best of his situation if I allowed it. When I gave him a silent warning, he offered the equivalent of a shrug, and then he continued. “I swear to you, I can tell no lies before my jailor. For you see, in truth I have at last achieved what I most longed for, flesh to house my intellect, my desires, a body to give me boundaries through which I may experience the world. Granted I did not expect that when I found a worthy vessel it would belong to a vampire, but then one must be careful what one wishes for, mustn’t one?”

“What do you want?” Alonso asked.

“What I want is to be free, but as far as prisons go, this one is by far better than the last, and I think the scribe shall find me a model prisoner.”

“Can you harm her in any way?” Michael asked, then he quickly added, “can you harm anyone?”

“I can do nothing of my own accord, and I assure you I am completely at the mercy of my jailor and the vessel in which I now reside. I can neither possess her or use her in any way, though I am at her beck and call, and she may use me as she sees fit.”

“So we’re supposed to believe that suddenly you’ll completely bend to Susan’s will in every way?” Magda asked.

A chuckle escaped my lips, and I felt almost like I’d suddenly belched rudely in public, to have laughed at Magda Gardener. “My options are to do absolutely nothing, to basically not interact at all with my jailor and the outside world she commands through the body which she inhabits, or to do as she asks and play as much of an active role in her existence as she will allow. I would think that would please you greatly, Gorgon, knowing your plans for her.”

2015-07-19 20.19.25“You don’t know my plans for her,” Magda answered as calmly as though the two were chatting over coffee.

“I can refuse to aid her, it is true. I am her prisoner, not her slave, but it would benefit me little to sulk when I was beaten fair and square by minds far less capable than my own.”

“Then the conditions of your imprisonment are mine to establish,” I said.

Fuck! It was like talking to myself. “Of course,” came the reply. “I would imagine we shall both take some getting used to, and you most certainly will be very preoccupied while your vampire teaches you how to exist as you now are.”

“Why didn’t we hear from you sooner? Why were you quiet?” Michael asked.

“I was, I suppose you could say, sulking. Also, I had neither been summoned nor was there any need for me to interact until an explanation became necessary for our little vampire’s astonishing tolerance for sunlight.”

Just then Cook arrived pushing a trolley laden with breakfast treats, and without thinking, I tore into a fresh croissant and had it half devoured before I realized everyone was staring at me. My response was his, over a shower of crumbs. “Oh of course she can eat food! She can eat it, and it will not harm her. She may even enjoy it if she chooses. How else shall she be able to interact believably with mortals? That is what you need, isn’t it, Gorgon?” Magda bristled but before she could respond, he continued. “However the food she eats will not nourish her. Nourishment, she can only get from blood, but since I am here for the long term, I would prefer to enjoy the taste of something other than … body fluids.”

“So she has the best of both worlds then?” Talia said.

“She has the body of a vampire with all that entails. She has the enhancements that one such as myself can give her – an attempt to decorate my cell, to make myself more comfortable, if you will. And of course, she still retains her own creative powers as a Scribe. Goodness me, our little Susan is very nearly the perfect being.”

Both Michael and Alonso growled, and this time there was an internal clucking of the tongue. “They are a possessive pair, your men, are they not, Scribe?”

That was for my ears only and I responded with an internal, “you have no idea!”

“I shall leave you all to your breakfast,” he said, once again using my voice. “Susan has only to summon me.”

“And will you be eavesdropping?” Michael asked.

“My dear angel, I am where I am. As I have said we will all have to get used to each other, and before you growl at me, I would remind you that this was the Scribe’s choice, her plan, and in all things there are consequences. She knew that and willingly took the risk. That being said, may I also remind you that you live and breathe because of her choice?” And just like that, he was gone. I had the feeling one has when one wakes up with a jerk in the middle of a dream of falling. For an instant everything went slightly out of focus, and when it came back, all eyes were still on me, and both Michael and Alonso were kneeling in
front of me.

“Is this what you were expecting to happen, Susan?” Alonso’s voice was now inside my head.

“I don’t know what I expected,” I replied.In The Flesh 2 12006311_1476805985954344_6570546160088833292_n

“Speak out loud so we can all hear, Vampire, or shut the fuck up,” Michael said. When Alonso looked at him with a raise eyebrow, he shrugged. “You’re not the only one connected to her.” He gently laid his hand above my left breast where, not only had he fed from me, but his mark thrummed stronger than ever against my heart, and I knew my mark on his chest did the same.

“I do apologise,” Alonso said, coming to his feet and moving back to stand by Reese. “It is often my custom to communicate non-verbally with those who belong to me.” Michael growled at that remark and Alonso smiled an internal smile that only I could see. Then he added in his best conciliatory tone. “But you are right. Now is not the time for secrets. I only wish to ascertain if our Scribe is unharmed.”

Before the testosterone pissing could start in again, I spoke up. “I’m fine. I’m just … well it’s a lot to take in, that’s all.”

 

In the Flesh Ch 35: Dark Paranormal Erotica in Progress. Enjoy!

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_n

It’s Friday! Time for chapter 35 of In The Flesh, in which Susan sees the light.

There are only three more episodes of In The Flesh left, so be sure to mark Fridays on your calendar. You won’t want to miss the exciting ending.

 

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.

 

 

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 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 31Part 32Part 33, Part 34. 

 

 

You can also read In The Flesh on Wattpad.  

 

 

In The Flesh Chapter 35

Michael’s groan was pure lust as I took the first deep taste of him, and with the taste of his heart’s blood, Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500for a split second, it wasn’t lust I felt. It was Michael’s agony at my death he was helpless to prevent. It was his anguish at me shutting him out, it was all the pent-up feelings of more lifetimes than I could imagine down through the ages when I only existed in his horrific knowledge of eternity in an instant, the agony of endless ages of waiting only to be denied. Alonso had warned me that there was so much more in the blood than just nourishment and lust, that the knowledge of the whole of a person’s existence was contained in the blood, and even beyond, the history of their people. He told me that a vampire could access such information in that first ravenous sip, but I’d never had the presence of mind to do so before, though I’d quite possibly taken only from people who knew how to shield their own inner workings. Alonso hadn’t yet taught me how to preserve the privacy of the person upon whom I fed, and Michael was suddenly wide open, laid completely bare to me in a rush of information that was heart breaking and terrifying and amazing all at once. There were glimpses of his relationship with the Guardian, there were flashes of him with Magda, there were images that made no sense in a context of anything that had ever been mortal. And then just a suddenly as it flooded my consciousness, it was gone. It was as though a heavy curtain had descended, and what remained was the pleasure of nourishment and lust twinned with the bond that I suddenly realized had not been broken by my death after all.

I acted more on instinct than on any real knowledge of what I did, tearing open the front of my blouse and ripping the bra as easily as I would a sheet of rice paper until my breasts were exposed. I sat up, still straddling him, and opened my own heart’s blood to him with a sharp flick of my nail, pulling him up to me to feed. To my delight, he took what I offered with a swirl of his tongue and an opening of his lips, and then he sucked hard and bit, just as he had when he had given me his mark. With a sharp cry of surprise, he pulled away enough to meet my gaze, lips wet with the sheen of my blood. “It’s still there. My mark.”

“Stronger than ever,” I said, nodding to the wound over his heart. “Because now you wear my mark as 2015-09-04 16.17.13well.” I pulled him back to me and felt the tight delicious, almost painful pull of his lips and nip of his teeth, and it was as though he did the same between my legs. I felt it down there as surely as if his face were pressed between my thighs, as surely as if he fed upon my most intimate self. Careful not to pull away just yet, I lifted my bottom and fumbled open the tight strain of his fly, feeling the hiss of his breath against my breast as I freed him, slid aside the crotch of my panties and guided him home with a deep groan the was a combine effort. And he truly was home as I rode him and he rose up to meet me, kneading and cupping my breasts while he suckled. How could I ever not have realized that he was my heart and my only home?

“Not too much,” I said pulling away, him following me up with a groan of protest. “Too much will make you drunk and I don’t want you drunk. I won’t be done with you for a very long time yet.”

He sealed the wound with a press of his tongue as he’d seen me do and offered an evil chuckle. “Then for your pleasure, I’ll do my best to stay sober, Susan.” With that, he guided me back to him. Again instinct took control with the first taste of him, and I sipped and licked and nipped until his whole pectoral muscle tensed and rose with each breath he took, each breath which now came in heavy gasps and sharp little pants as though he battled for control. His nipple rose tight and dark pink beneath the brush of my chin, and I broke free from my feeding occasionally to give it a worrying lick or a sharp nip just to hear him pant and moan, just to feel him surge inside of me before I returned to his vein.

His cock filled me so completely, and the glide and move of the two of us was so in sync, so deeply connected that time went away, that everything went away but Michael inside me – what I had craved and longed for the length of my own eternity, which seemed desperately long before Michael filled it.

I arched over his body, and with a large hand curled in my tangled hair, he held me tight to the wound at his heart as I took from the nourishing flow of him, all the while undulating and shifting against the powerful rise and fall of him beneath me.

“I won’t go away, Susan, so you best get used to it.” He fisted my hair and pulled me away just enough that I was forced to look up into his deep ocean eyes. “You’re mine. The vampire might be your maker, but I’m the one who waited an eternity for you. I’m the one who’ll feed you. I’m the one who’ll give you what you need. I’m the one who loves you.” He licked the taste of himself from my lips with a possessive tongue.

Then he rolled with me pinning me beneath his massive body, and for the first time I realized just how Graveyard angel 2da8f31cc622c5a47d15ff0c4f1e114abpowerful he was, just how much control he had exerted in our lovemaking before I became a vampire just to keep from hurting me, or even killing me. As though that blood connection had somehow made him aware of my thoughts, he bent and nipped my own wound licking it hard enough to make me squirm with transferred pleasure while he never lost the rhythm, the subtle increase of speed as we drew near our release. “You can’t hurt me, Susan, I promise. At least not physically.”

He lowered his mouth, and took my nipples in turn, cupping and caressing my fullness with both gentleness and strength, and I held onto his arse, feeling the tensing and relaxing of fit, firm buttocks with each thrust. I couldn’t help it. I was unable to resist biting his neck – just a little nip – taking just a sip, intuiting what my feeding on him did to him, as he pressed deeper inside me and the rhythm became frantic, wild with power, filled with a hunger that had nothing to do with physical nourishment. I dug my nails into his back and bit harder and he grunted with some mix of pain and lust. “Oh dear God, Susan, I never want it to end, but I can’t hold back much longer.” His breath was warm and humid against my ear. “I want to know what it feels like to come while I feed you, to know that you possess me as completely as I possess you.”

Words – sometimes words are as powerful as touch; sometimes words are the tipping point, and they were this time. They were enough to send us both over the edge growling and grasping and trembling as though we would shake each other apart or dissolve completely into each other. Perhaps we did both. As I drifted in and out of consciousness, I was completely unaware of where my body ended and Michael’s began. He was still hard and I was still fully impaled and happy to remain that way.

He rolled to one side so that his weight wasn’t fully on top of me and fumbled behind him for the duvet from the overturned bed. He offered me a wicked smile as he pulled it free. “Does this make me your familiar?”

“Don’t know,” I replied hooking my leg around him, making sure he wasn’t going anywhere. “I haven’t had that lesson yet.”

“Not sure how I could get much more familiar,” he said giving my breast an enthusiastic knead.

“Me neither, but why don’t we give it our best try, just to be sure you’re familiar enough.”

He had just taken me in a kiss that promised to lead to far more serious things when there was a knock on the door and Michael barely got the duvet pulled over us before Talia shoved her way in ignoring his curse and my little yelp.

2015-06-30 11.27.42“Oh good! You haven’t killed him,” she said with a sunny smile. “I brought food.” She sat a large covered tray on the one sailors trunk that hadn’t been turned over with the bed and gave the room, and then us, a knowing once over. “Alonso figured you’d need it, Michael, if your little scribe hadn’t drained you completely dry. And he asks that I remind you not to linger too much longer before you head for the basement. Dawn will be coming soon.” Then she left, chuckling under her breath.

“That woman’s a pain in the arse,” Michael said, taking the cover from the tray and biting the end off a freshly baked Baggett.

“She’s a good kisser though. I’m just saying,” I said as he gave me the evil eye and shoved half the Baggett into his mouth like a hungry nestling.

“So’s Cook,” he spoke around his efforts to chew. “But that doesn’t mean I want you kissing him.”

“You’ve kissed Cook?” I scooted closer and lifted a lid off a steaming bowl of lamb stew, taking note that even though I used to love lamb stew, it was now like thinking of eating cardboard soaked in water.

He shrugged. “We were both drunk at the time, and he had made a fabulous Beef Wellington for dinner that night. Worthy of at least a good kiss.”

Once Michael had devoured everything on the tray, he ate me for dessert and then I returned the favour. At some point we’d managed to right the mattress, and tangle ourselves in the remaining bedding, but we didn’t quite manage the rest of the bed before Michael took me from behind, me on my knees, hair fisted in his hand like I was the horse and he was reining me under control. It’s quite possible that’s exactly what he was trying to do. It didn’t work. The control part, I mean.

“You kept your strength from me,” I said, when at last we collapsed on the mattress and he pulled me into a spoon position.

dark moon image_xl_6338206“I had no reason to tell you,” he said. “I’ve kept my strength from everyone except Magda. I had to in order to interact safely with humans. You’re all so fragile. Well you were,” he added, then he bit the side of my neck playfully. “Nice to be able to play rough, and even nicer not to have to wait for you to recover.” He stood and offered me his hand. “Come on, let’s get down to the basement and then we’ll pick up where we left off.” He gave his still erect penis a stroke with the other fist to demonstrate.

I gave him a tug and off balanced him back onto the mattress. “I can’t possibly leave without just one more little taste, and maybe one more little fuck. We have time. Besides, the shutters are drawn tight and we’re down behind the bed frame. Alonso’s just being a worry wart. We’ll be fine.” Before he could protest, I straddled him and guide him up inside me, and as he began to thrust and grind beneath me, I opened my vein for him to feed. A long time later we fell against each other in an awkward twin orgasm that had us half off the mattress onto the stone floor before we collapsed.

“Okay,” he mumbled in an intoxicated slur. “It’s off to the basement for you, young lady.” Then he was out cold, with me not far behind him.

Dreams of The fells sparkling in the summer sun roused me drenched in sweat and half smothered beneath the body of a sleeping Angel. My angel, I reminded myself, as the delicious memories of last night came rushing back to me along with the mouthwatering scent of our lovemaking and our blood. I stretched and shoved my way out from under Michael, who mumbled something incomprehensible from his own dream world and gave my nearest breast an unconscious grope before I leaned in and kisses him, and he aimed a half- conscious smacking of lips in my general direction.

“It’s sweltering in here,” I said, noting the sheen of perspiration on his brow. “No wonder I was dreamingIn The Flesh 2 12006311_1476805985954344_6570546160088833292_n of the fells in summer. We need some air.”

“Susan? Susan don’t!”

“Oh don’t worry. I’m not going far,” I called over my shoulder, as I threw open the shutter and flung the windows wide, taking in a breath of fresh fell air I didn’t really need, lifting my face to the cool breeze. As the sunlight struck me full on, a voice inside me all but erupted like the press of my heart against my chest, and something not unlike static electricity prickled over skin. I gasped for breath, for strength, for context as the voice filled every cell of my body. “I may well be your prisoner little Scribe, but I will not be kept in darkness.”

What happened next was over almost before it started. Michael exploded from the bed roaring like a wounded lion, and the next thing I knew, my world went dark, suffocatingly tight, and a heavy weight drove me to the floor with the force of a lorry.

 

In The Flesh Part 34: Dark Paranormal Romance in Progress. Enjoy!

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_n

It’s Friday! Time for chapter 34 of In The Flesh, in which Susan learns startling things about angels.

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 31Part 32, Part 33. 

 

You can also read In The Flesh on Wattpad.  

 

In The Flesh Chapter 34

“Talia said there was no indication of the Guardian being present when Susan fed from her, and she should be able to sense him if anyone could,” Magda said. “Even Alonso hasn’t been able to discover if he’s there. Certainly no one else who’s fed her felt anything unusual – aside from the obvious bloodletting, that is.”

I stepped back around the corner at the sound of Magda and Michael’s hushed conversation. I knew they were nervous about the fact that we’d had no clear evidence that the plan had worked, that the Guardian had been trapped inside me when I was changed. Since everyone had assured me that he couldn’t be killed, then the only possibility was that he was trapped or that he’d escaped — a possibility that we all feared more and more as each day past without any definite knowledge of his whereabouts. But then again, the truth was that none of us really knew what to expect. I listened in silence as only the dead could, knowing that if it had been Alonso and Talia talking, or even Reese, they would have known I was eavesdropping. Sadly the connection with Michael through his mark seemed not to work any longer. I assumed that was due to my change. Though in all fairness I’d been avoiding him like the plague, and the fear of a repeat of what that linked had allowed last time had prevented either of us from trying to connect, so I listened undetected.

“Is it possible he got away and is laying low until we least expect it?” Michael asked in a whisper I could Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500have never heard when I was mortal.

“I don’t see how he could have,” Magda replied. “If anything, Susan and Alonso’s plan was much better than ours. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it.”

Michael used some very colourful language in response to that. “Do you think that’s why she won’t see me, for fear the Guardian might still use the link between us?” Even in the quiet whisper, I heard the pain in his voice, pain that I knew I’d caused, pain that made me feel like my own heart had been ripped from my chest.

“She won’t see you because you were a fool last time she did. She doesn’t want to hurt you.”

More cursing. “She won’t! She won’t hurt me, but between the damn vampire and his people and you and yours, I can’t get close enough to tell her. I can’t get close enough to apologise.”

“Sorry, but that’s what she wanted. Besides, you know there are way more variables involved now that she’s a vampire, now that there’s been no evidence of the Guardian in over a week. Everyone is playing it safe. You’re at risk too, you know, after what he did to you through your link with her.”

He gave a bitter laugh. “Maybe there is no link, not any more. Not now that she’s …”

“Now that she’s dead?”

I don’t know if Michael flinched at Magda’s choice of terminology, but I did. I still couldn’t quite get used to the fact that while my heart most definitely beat, albeit much slower, I didn’t need to breathe. Alonso was teaching me, however, that the living were not comfortable when one did not respire, as he put it. Superfluous respiration was essential in order for a vampire to blend in with the living, so I respired, or at least when I remembered to, I respired. Respiration was only one of a million things I had to learn, unlearn, or relearn. I had to learn to slow my every movement so that it didn’t startle the living, so that I didn’t crash into things, break things, frighten the hell out of people, or seriously injure someone. I had to learn to hold objects gently in order not to crush them. I had to learn to touch things tentatively. I had to learn to move much more awkwardly than I was now actually capable of in order to blend in and not frighten mortals. I had to learn to live in the night and protect myself from the sunlight, and, most terrifying of all, I had to learn to manage the hunger so that I could feed without killing, even if I had to hunt to do it.

It was the learning to be gentle and handle things carefully that tripped me up in my attempt at eavesdropping. As I stepped back into the corner further out of their sight, I accidentally knocked over a small ceramic figurine setting on the edge of one of the many full bookshelves Alonso had liberally located around his home. In High View, one was never more than a few feet from a good selection of books. My reactions had improved to the point that catching the figurine before it hit the floor was no problem. The problem was holding the delicate figure of a horse and rider without crushing it. This I was learning to do, but it didn’t come automatically, and the thing shattered in my hand emitting a loud crack overshadowed by my hissed ‘son of a bitch’ as the shards bit into the flesh of my hand. Both Michael and Magda were on me instantly, reminding me with their own preternatural speed, that they were no more human than I was.

“Jesus! You’re bleeding!” Michael said taking my hand in his.

Try though I might, the fact that Michael was touching me, the fact that his touch was as wonderful as I had remembered, as I had ached for it to be again, I couldn’t take my eyes off the racing of his pulse in the vein of his neck. “Leave it.” I jerked away. “It’s nothing. I’m fine. I have to go.” Magda, who never missed anything, already had her mobile out calling Alonso as I turned to flee. But as fast as I was, to my surprise, Michael was faster. He grabbed me by the arm in an effort to pull me back, ignoring Magda’s command to let me go.

“You’re not fine, Susan. It’s a bad cut. It needs tending.”

2015-09-04 16.17.13“I heal fast.” Or at least I hoped I did. “Now let me go.” Truth was the sight of my own blood and Michael’s attention to it both frightened me and aroused the hunger in me, a situation Alonso had warned me to be very careful in. And the crazy thing was I wanted to fuck Michael senseless almost as badly as I wanted to drink his sweet rich Angel blood down in thirsty gulps, almost as badly as I wanted to open the vein above the swell of my breast and fed him from my blood, make him drunk from my blood, drunk with lust for me. My nipples hardened to agonizing points pressing against the cotton of my blouse, and I wanted Michael with an ache that was physical. I wondered if Alonso knew that women could be every bit as possessive and protective of what belonged to us as men could. But we could be a hundred times more vicious if need be.

I shoved him away with such force that he landed with a hard wump up against the stone wall, and the oxygen left his lungs along with more colourful language. Then I turned to run. I barely made it to the stairs before he was on me, grabbing my arm and pulling me back to him with surprising strength. “You’re not going anywhere until we talk.”

I could smell his blood hot and earthy and summer berry sweet racing through his veins; I could smell my own blood already drying from the wound on my hand, now healed, and hunger — both physical and sexual nearly drove me to my knees. I mumbled something about me not being safe, as I elbowed him hard in the ribs, then turned and tore up the stairs with dangerous untested speed, Michael only a hair’s breadth behind me. Over our struggle I could hear Alonso on the phone arguing with Magda. Fucking hell if the man didn’t tell her to leave us alone, to let us sort it out! Dear God, was he out of his mind? How could he tell her that when he knew what it was like, when he’d been where I was and knew the worst?

At the top of the stairs, I shoved my way into the bedroom where I’d stayed before Alonso moved me underground for protection from the sunlight. It was a place I still liked to go after dark, to enjoy its exquisite view of the night sky. “Go away, Michael,” I yelled, slamming the door behind me. “You don’t know what I’m capable of. I nearly killed — ” My words died in my throat with a little yelp as I turned to find him already standing by the bed, hands fisted at his side, chest heaving, eyes blazing.

“And you don’t know what I’m capable of,” he replied, moving toward me so fast that even my preternatural vision couldn’t register his motion. He had me in his arms before I could even blink. “You think you’re the only one who struggles with power?” He pushed me against the wall and held me with one arm across my chest while he quite literally ripped his shirt off with the other hand. “I’m an angel, for fuck sake! And mortal or not, I’m still more than a match for any damn vampire. Didn’t your maker tell you that? Or was he just wanting to keep you all to himself?”

“Don’t you blame Alonso for this. The choice was mine to make. He didn’t want to, and you know damn good and well I nearly killed you – would have killed you if …” With a flick of his thumbnail, he opened the wound above his left nipple — with ease this time and, as the blood welled, I completely lost my train of thought as the ripe fruit scent of it overwhelmed my senses. I cried out and fumbled for the doorknob in a desperate attempt to get away, even as he held me firmly.

“You think I can’t handle you? You think you’re too much for me?” He curled his fingers in my hair at the base of my neck and reeled me into a kiss that would have been fatal if I hadn’t already been dead, then he pulled away breathing like he’d been running. “That’s the trouble with you damn vampires, you’re so fucking arrogant.”

I shoved him with enough force to send him careening backwards over the bed and on to the floor behind. “Oh, and you goddamned angel’s are so full of humility!”

“I didn’t say anything about humility.” With terrifying strength, he grabbed the heavy wooden bedframe, an antique that must have weighed as much as a small lorry, and turned it upside down with a loud crash. “Did you ever hear me say anything about humility?”

When I made another run for the door, he tackled me, pinned me on my stomach with my arm up behind my back, me screaming and fighting and bucking until I unseated him just long enough to roll over and crabwalk back toward the door, but before I could gain my footing, he was on me again. He In The Flesh 2 12006311_1476805985954344_6570546160088833292_nstraddled me, wrapped his legs around mine and spread me into Judo hold from which it was no trouble at all to feel his full erection. If that didn’t have my vampire heart racing, the blood running down his bare chest did, and just before he could get a solid judo hold on me, I bucked him off, shoved him back, his head hitting the edge of the upturned bed hard enough to cause a hissed stream of expletives before I straddled him with him cursing and roaring like an angry bear. The instincts of the predator took over even as the scent of our lust nearly overpowered the scent of blood. I ran the flat of my tongue up from the waistband of his jeans following the trail of fresh blood, careful not to miss a single drop as I lapped my way up to the wound. It was a shallow wound, enough to trickle freely without the danger of him bleeding out, enough to make me work for my snack, and it was a surprise to discover that it was just a snack, a very tasty snack, albeit. This was about play. This wasn’t about life and death. Even predators played, didn’t they? With a shock I realized, this was about sex, this was about possession. This was about the balance of power we had to find before we destroyed each other in ways that were far worse than the physical damage we could cause.

 

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

 

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_n

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.”

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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