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When Mourning Becomes Joy

Happy Blissemas, everyone!

For those of you who don’t know about Blissemas, a quick refresher. The season of Blissemas starts on the 1st December and will finish on the 24th December. Every day of Blissemas a different author will post up gems of delight in the guise of festive stories, excerpts, recipes, hints and tips and this year one lucky winner will receive a Kindle Voyage! Click here to find out how you can join in the Blissemas celebration and increase your chance of winning.

 

 

I love Blissemas! I always find it a time to be thankful for all of the blessings of the year and a chance to look forward with hope to all that will be in the New Year. But sometimes things don’t go as planned, and sometimes the joy of the season is mixed with tears and sadness, mourning and loss. I lost my brother to cancer on December 21st. It’s been fifteen years ago now, and I still remember the Christmas that followed as one of the richest, deepest Christmases, one of the ones in which I had the most to be thankful for of any I’ve ever had.

 

My husband and I were living abroad at the time. We’d gotten used to spending our holidays away from family, as so many people have, and while it was always a good experience for us, it had become very insular. At the news of my brother’s death – not unexpected, we were on the next plane to Colorado, and what could have easily become one of the worst Christmases of my life became a Christmas filled with wonder and love and appreciation for all that’s good in my life.

 

It was bitterly cold and snowing when we landed at Stapleton International Airport outside Denver after flying forever. We were met by old friends I’d not seen in years, who had heard the news of my brother’s death and insisted we spend the night with them before we headed over the treacherous mountain pass. They took us to their home, fed us, gave us a warm place to stay for the night along with a much-needed dose of laughter and good conversation. In the morning after a good breakfast, they insisted that for the trip over the mountains to my brother’s house in Wyoming, and for the duration of our stay in the Rockies, we take their four-wheel drive SUV instead of trusting to a rental. They drove the mountain roads in winter, and they were always prepared.

 

We arrived safely at my brother’s house in very rural Wyoming to find the whole family already gathered and the house full of food brought in by neighbors and friends. That night before the funeral, we put up the tree, something my husband and I hadn’t done in a long time, but something we all did together for my brother’s first grandchild, who was four at the time and just old enough to miss his papa and to delight in the magic of Christmas. It had been a long time since I’d seen the wonder of Christmas through a child’s eyes, and I found myself delighting in Timothy’s delight and remembering how it had been when I was a kid.

 

At the funeral, there were old friends, friends I hadn’t seen since childhood, all with memories to share of times they had spent with my brother and with all of our family. Some of them came back to my brother’s house afterwards and we all laughed and reminisced and remembered not only the best of my brother’s life – but how far we had all come in our own journeys and just how much we all had to be thankful for.

 

Christmas morning dawned just as bitterly cold as the rest of our time there had been, but with a dusting of new snow – the dry kind with more sparkle than substance, shining like diamonds in the cold winter sun. We all shared in Timothy’s excitement as he opened his gifts, as he laughed and squealed. One particular gift, I recall was a bowling ball – possibly a bit much for a four year old, but not for a four year old from a family who had a passion for bowling. “This is from Papa,” my sister-in-law told him.

 

“I miss Papa,” he said, looking down at the ball he held in his lap.

 

In a strange way, I think I felt my brother’s presence more that Christmas than I ever did when I was a child. We were not close then, and we understood little about each other. Before my brother became bedridden, he had successfully hunted elk that year with his friends, which meant he’d left the freezer well stocked for his family. He had also had time to make sure there was plenty of wood laid in for the winter. The house had a fireplace and a wood-burning stove. My brother was old school – fourteen years my senior, and caring for his family meant keeping them warm and well-fed. I know, that’s what every parent sees as their responsibility to their family, but in the open spaces of rural Wyoming, in the dead of winter, those basics were taken much more literally than they are for those of us living in a more urban setting.

 

Two days after Christmas, we set off back over the pass to catch our flight back to England. As we watched the smoke from the chimney and loaded our borrowed SUV, we walked past the woodpile. Probably every house in a community that was no more than a dozen homes spread over probably twice that many miles had a woodpile, but for me, it symbolized my brother’s last act of caring for his family.

 

That Christmas will always be a reminder for me that sometimes the very best of gifts come from the most painful places. Within the mourning, there was celebration, within the sadness there was joy, and surrounding the whole experience, there was love. That, I remember most of all.

 

Wishing you all celebration, joy and love this holiday season.

 *****

 

Here’s an outdoorsy wild wintery excerpt from the third of the Executive Decisions novel, The Exhibition. Enjoy!

 

The Exhibition: Book Three of the Executive Decision Series

Blurb:

Successful NYC gallery owner, Stacie Emerson, is ex-fiancée to one Thorne brother and ex-wife to the other. Though
the three have made peace, Ellison Thorne’s friend, wildlife photographer, Harris Walker, still doesn’t like her. When Stacie convinces Harris to exhibit his work for the opening of her new gallery she never intended to include him in her other more hazardous plans. But when those plans draw the attention of dangerous business tycoon, Terrance Jamison, Harris comes to her aid. In the shadow of a threat only Stacie understands, can she dare let Harris into her life and make room for love?

 

 The Exhibition Excerpt — Call of the Wild:

The sun was just staining the sky pink when they topped the rise that overlooked an outcropping of rocks opposite them on the other side of a narrow canyon. And there on a ledge were the two mountain lions. Harris could feel the tensing of Stacie’s body in the excitement he knew she felt because he felt it too. From the looks of the situation the female had been calling for a mate, and the male, who crouched on the outcropping just above her, had just arrived. Harris breathed deeply and slowly to steady his hands as he aimed the camera. He was so engrossed in the cats that it took him a second to realize Stacie had her own camera, and he couldn’t help feeling a swell of pride at just how calm she was, already shooting next to him. But then he reminded himself she’d grown up in the Russian wilderness. Beneath the big city venire, she was made of stern stuff. He leaned close to her. ‘This is my cat all right. See the little notch in her left ear, some old injury.’ His voice was less than a whisper, but she nodded that she understood.

 

And then the action began as the two cats went about the business of getting acquainted, the female stretched long and lean across the rock before the male, not unlike Harris had seen Dee’s two tabbies do when they found a particularly nice place to sunbathe. In the crisp quiet of the morning, they could hear the rumble of the purr emanating from the female’s throat. It was a feline act through and through as the two made little grunts and growls at each other and the male sniffed the female’s readiness. It didn’t take long until the female rolled back onto her belly and positioned herself, flicking her tail to one side and lifting her bottom.

 

Being privy to such an intimate act of nature, such an intensely wild and primordial act made Harris’s pulse thunder against his throat. Simply seeing the two cats together like this was an unparalleled privilege, but to share it with Stacie made him feel as though he had somehow offered it to up her, as though he’d had something to do with the cats’ presence here. It felt right on a level that he had no words for. If he were ever to share such an experience, it should be with her. It couldn’t be with anyone else.

 

At some point he realized Stacie was taking pictures of him as well as the cats. He could see the rapid rise and fall of her chest through the dark green fleece she wore. He could almost feel her intense concentration and her delight at sharing the experience, at watching the cats as they got on with creating the next generation. He loved that she’d made no nervous twitters, no off-handed remarks about the cats’ mating. Most people would have. Most people would have been uncomfortable with seeing something so raw, so blatantly and unashamedly sexual.

 

The sky had gone from pink to blue and the monochromatic world had brightened to subtle desert shades of tan and mauve and kaki bathing the cats in golden light as they stretched and preened. Then Stacie and Harris watched as they moved on silent feet single file off the ledge and disappeared into the canyon. They stood and watched long after the cats were gone, as though to move, or to speak would somehow destroy the moment. Harris understood. He sat for nearly an hour after photographing the female with her kittens, unable to move, unable to do anything but try to take in what he’d just witnessed.

 

It was Stacie sniffling that brought him back to reality. He turned to find tear streaming unabated down her cheeks. She offered an embarrassed smile and wiped at her eyes with the backs of her hands. ‘Amazing,’ she managed. ‘They were amazing, so beautiful and powerful and …’ She looked up into his eyes. ‘Thank you for bringing me here.’

 

‘It was a pleasure,’ Harris managed, resisting the urge to take her into his arms. What she was feeling had nothing to do with him, and he didn’t want to take away from it.

 

‘I’d love to come back and try to find her after the kittens are born,’ she said.

 

It encouraged him that she was thinking in terms of the future, a future without Terrance Jamison. ‘I’m sure Doug’ll let us know when that happens. It’ll be three months, maybe a little more, before they’ll be born.’

 

‘In the dead of winter? That’s a harsh time to bring kittens into the world.’

 

‘Don’t worry. She’s up for it. Doug says she’s successfully raised at least two litters before the one I saw. She knows what she’s doing.’

 

Stacie looked after the cats again, and Harris couldn’t resist. He lifted his camera and took a couple of shots of her. When she flipped him off and then offered her usual teasing smile, he only shrugged and continued. ‘Just returning the favour.’

 

The blush that crawled up her throat made her look even more beautiful if that were possible. ‘Yes but you look outdoorsy and ruggedly handsome. I look all swollen-eyed and under-slept.’

 

He kept shooting. ‘To me you look beautiful. You belong here almost as much as those cats do.’

 

*****

 

Instead of shoving at him as he’d expected her to do, she curled a hard fist in his hair and ravaged his mouth with every bit as much ferocity as he had given her, pulling him still closer, rubbing her body against his, making him instantly and startlingly erect.

 

She snaked a hand down between them and savaged his fly until he feared for what lay beneath, until her fingers wriggled and dug their way into his walking trousers to possess his cock with a tight grip as though it were a weapon, one she were about to use to do serious damage.

 

He fumbled to return the favor, with her ripping at her own fly to make room for him, to guide his fingers down over her mons. Her eyes locked his in a devastating gaze that felt as though she could see right through him. ‘I need you to touch me there.’ Her voice was a breathless whisper. ‘Where I’m wet, where I’m open, where I’m always, always hungry for you.’ Her breath caught; her eyelids fluttered and she sucked her bottom lip as he found her cleft, wet and open as she’d promised. ‘You can’t tell me you don’t want to be like those cats.’ She guided his hand still further and manipulated it until first two, then three fingers pressed up into her. ‘You can’t tell me that when I present myself to you all hot and ready and begging for it, you don’t want to service my need. You can’t tell me you don’t want to get a little primal with that cock of yours.’ She gave him a hard squeeze and drove her hand up and down his length, thumbing the already abundant pre-cum over and around the tip until he gritted his teeth and held his breath while his hips bucked hard against her efforts.

He scissored her deep with three fingers and raked the silky slickness of her up and over her clitoris, and the sounds from the back of her throat easily resembled the sounds the female cougar made when the male mounted her. They wildly, madly fucked each other’s hands. The wind had risen and even on the clear morning, the chill left no doubt about lingering for more than the quickest of releases. Then she shifted, pressed her back hard against the stone and rested both of her hands on his shoulders. Before he could protest the removal of her fingers from his cock, she wrapped her legs around his waist, her still clothed crotch rubbing tight and insanely hot against his exposed cock as she began to rock and gyrate, and it was all happening way too fast.

 

‘Stacie I –’

 

‘Shut up, Harris,’ she spoke between chattering teeth. ‘I need to come, and so do you. You can fuck me properly when we get back to the SUV. It’s too damn cold to linger.’ With each sentence she ground against him, baring down with the extra leverage the cliff at her back afforded and, almost before the words were out of her mouth, she convulsed. Her spine stiffened and her shivers had nothing to do with the cold. Harris could stand no more. He felt the eruption deep in his groin. It might have been embarrassing had the circumstances been different, but as he tried to cover himself, tried to hide the results of Stacie’s hard ride, she shoved his hand away, pushed him back and practically fell into the space between them positioning herself so that she caught his release, all of it in her mouth. What could he say to that? What could he do but hold her there, helplessly grunting the weight of his need into the back of her throat. It was an act as intimate and as primal as the cougars mating on the rocks minutes ago. And sex, any kind of sex, with Stacie Emerson was worlds apart from any other sexual experiences he’d ever had. As she stood and wiped her mouth on the back of her hand, the look of hunger in her eyes, the promise of more sex to come in the SUV before the trip home couldn’t help but lighten the mood. As they straightened and tucked and donned their packs, he wondered if that was maybe why she did it. Whatever her reason, it definitely worked for him in ways he was still trying to get his head around.

 

 

Available from:

eBook:

 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon AU

Amazon CA

iBooks UK

iBooks US

Kobobooks.com

Xcite Books

 

Print:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Powell’s

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Xcite Books

 

 

Blissemas Snogs in the Snow: Sexy Kisses and Naughty Fun Under the Mistletoe

bk-snogsinthesnow1

 

It’s time for Blissemas Snogs in the Snow, and here’s a bit of Christmas in the City from my novella, A Valentine for Christmas, which is a part of the Chariad Love Under the Mistletoe Collection. I’m offering a little snog of my own, a bit of a stocking stuffer (you see what I did there) Comment to enter, and I’ll send an eBook copy of any novel on my back list to the winner — from K D’s novels or Grace Marshall’s. Your choice. You can check out my Book Page to see what tickles your fancy. I promise, your stocking will be well stuffed!

AND! Don’t forget to check out the great stories, posts and giveaways, on Blissemas every day through the 24th of December. You won’t want to miss out on anything!

Happy Blissemas!

 

A Valentine for Christmas Blurb:

All work and no play, bah humbugging CEO, Gerard Jasper’s, anonymous Christmas gift is actually a Valentine — Moira ‘R.M.’ Valentine, the mysterious CEO of the Valentine Corporation. Moira’s walk on the wild side has accidentally landed her naked and bound with red ribbon under Gerard’s tree – not good when their companies are negotiating the deal of a lifetime. When two lonely people with enough baggage to fill a 747 come together for Christmas, the fireworks rivals New Years at Times Square, but can they overcome their pasts to give each other the true gift — a merger of hearts?

 

A Valentine for Christmas Excerpt:

It was late when Gerard got home – even later than he’d anticipated, but that was fine for him. Being tired enough to sleep for a week made facing the next few days a lot easier. He shoved out of his jacket and slung it over the ladder-back chair by the door, then loosened his tie, somehow not finding the strength to actually remove it completely. Ignoring the evergreen bunting strung across the balcony above the stairs, he made his way into his study. From the credenza across from his desk, he poured himself a neat whiskey then dropped into the Cordovan leather chair beside the fireplace. He tossed back the shot, then closed his eyes. He only intended to rest them for a few minutes before he went to the kitchen where he knew Olga had left food prepared for him. He’d specifically overseen the menu this time to make certain not a slice of turkey nor a smidge of cranberry sauce darkened the fridge. It was bad enough his apartment was decked out like Rockefeller Center, but at least he could dictate his own meals.

Yes, he had only planned to close his eyes for a minute, but it was a scuffling sound and a soft moan that startled him from sleep and from dreams of falling into deep, icy water. He opened his eyes and looked around. In the silence he could hear heavy breathing. There was another moan. He exhaled slowly and looked around the room. Carefully, cautiously, he leaned forward in the chair, wrapped his fingers around the poker in front of the fireplace, and pulled it free from its stand. Holding his breath, he came slowly to his feet.

There was more scuffling and a sharp, low grunt. It sounded as though it were coming from behind the Christmas tree. Fucking tree was a health hazard, a fire hazard, and Twyla never stopped to think that it was perfect for a thief to hide behind, though how the hell anyone could have gotten past his security was beyond him. He tightened his grip on the poker and raised it like a baseball bat. Bracing himself, he took a step forward, but the next moan he heard was decidedly feminine and it was definitely coming from under the tree! With a quick movement, he reached for the lamp near the chair and switched it on, and the moan became a little yelp of surprise.

Cariad Christmas 2014 Collection‘What the …’ Words died in his mouth as he lowered his arm and dropped the poker against the chair. He blinked twice then rubbed his eyes. Surely he still had to be dreaming. Thought this dream beat the hell out of the usual drowning dream. There was another moan and, as his eyes adjusted to the light, he realized it came from the woman lying on her side under the tree. She was completely naked except for the red velvet ribbons that seductively bound her wrists and her ankles. The only other thing she wore was a sprig of mistletoe pinned in the muss of thick, dark hair that fell over her shoulders, partially obscuring breasts that were obviously full enough to balance the rest of her figure that curved dangerously in all the right places. Even in that confused post-wake-up state, Gerard’s cock got the picture just fine. But what the hell was a naked woman doing tied up beneath his Christmas tree?

Before he could ask, the woman moaned again – louder this time – and doubled over as though she were in pain.

‘What is it? What’s wrong?’ he asked, dropping to his knees, forgetting the fact that this chick had invaded his privacy.

‘Oh, God!’ she gasped. ‘It’s my leg. I have a cramp. In my left hip and it’s making my butt numb.’ She bit back a curse that he was pretty sure would have curled his hair if she’d let it fly. But he figured perhaps she was on her best behavior – red ribbons, mistletoe, and all.

It was then that both he and his cock remembered, at exactly the same time, that she was tied up. He was in complete control. He settled on his haunches and folded his arms across his chest. ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ he asked.

She moaned again and tried to shift to a more comfortable position, which made her breasts bounce and her hair slide away to reveal nipples, darkened and stiff atop goose-fleshed areolae. ‘I’m your Christmas present.’

He blinked. ‘My what?’

‘Christmas present? You know, happy holidays, noel, peace on earth … ouch! Oh hell, that hurts.’ She hissed between barely parted lips and writhed in a way that should have made him sympathetic, but only made him hornier. ‘Could you please untie me so I can take care of this cramp?’

‘My Christmas present?’
‘Yup. Ouch! Ow! Please!’
‘From whom?’ Oh fuck, the more she shifted and

shimmied, the more her breasts bounced. They were exquisite, and the more they bounced, the more of his brain function rerouted itself to his cock.

‘I don’t know,’ she bit back. ‘It’s a surprise.’

‘Clearly,’ he said. ‘But how do I know you’re for real?’ Surely Terrill and Twyla wouldn’t be so cheeky. Would they? He quickly added, ‘How do I know that the minute I untie you, you won’t try shoot me and rob me?’

She gave him a sour look. ‘Seriously? Where would I put a gun?’

His eyes followed down the curves of her body to the

juncture between her legs with its tight nest of dark curls.

Whatever it was she was about to say, she swallowed it and offered a forced smile that was not quite coquettish, and all the sexier for it. ‘You’re welcome to frisk me.’ She nodded down over her belly. ‘Just please untie me so I can work out this damned cramp.’

He studied her for a long moment while she writhed and bit a full bottom lip he found himself wanting to taste. ‘It was pretty ballsy of someone, anyone really, to send me a prostitute as a Christmas present.’ He leaned forward. ‘I don’t need to buy sex, you know?’

‘I’m not a prostitute and you’re not buying me.’ She sucked back a sharp breath. ‘I’m a gift. Pleeeeese,’ she begged, ‘untie me.’

‘I don’t need a gift. I didn’t ask for a gift.’

‘Of course you didn’t ask. That’s why they call it a gift.’ She practically bounced off the floor as another wave of pain hit.

‘I still don’t trust you,’ he said. ‘But I don’t like to see a woman in pain either.’ He heaved a hard-put-upon sigh and leaned forward, pulling her into his arms. She yelped as he scrambled to his feet and moved to the leather sofa in front of the fireplace. But instead of laying her down on it, he sat and turned her over his knee. What the hell was he doing? He should untie her, toss her in a taxi, and send her on her way.

‘You’re gonna spank me?’ Her voice came out high pitched and breathy. ‘I haven’t done anything.’

‘Might do, if you give me any grief,’ he said, realizing too late that draped across his lap as she was, she could definitely feel his erection. Well she was naked, wasn’t she? And he was a healthy male. How the hell was he supposed to respond? Besides, it wasn’t like she hadn’t been expecting to make him hard. ‘So tell me now,’ he said, keeping his voice as neutral as he did in

the boardroom in spite of the message his body was giving, ‘where does it hurt?’

‘My left hip, part of my butt cheek, and my upper thigh, where I was lying against the floor.’ Before he could respond, she wriggled her exquisite bottom and his cock surged beneath her. He swallowed back a tight moan. If she really were a Christmas gift, even he had to admit, she was the best he could ever remember getting.

‘Ow! Ow! Ow!’ She interrupted his silent admiration with a squirm and a curse, her bottom shimmying and thrusting her hips close to his very intrigued erection. ‘Do something! It hurts!’

Awkwardly, not knowing where to touch first, he began by massaging handfuls of well-muscled, perfectly rounded female hip; the feel nearly took his breath away.

‘Oh God! Oh God! Ow! Ow! Oh God! A little more on my butt,’ then she glanced over her shoulder when he stopped massaging. ‘Look, either untie me and let me take care of it myself or massage. It hurts!’

‘You’re pretty bossy for a sub,’ he said. ‘Maybe I should spank you.’

‘I don’t care if you spank me, but just take care of the cramp first. Besides, who said I was a sub?’

‘Well, aren’t you? You were all tied up.’

She jerked and nearly bucked off his lap. ‘Look I’ll be a sub, I’ll be a Dom, I’ll bark like a dog if you want bk-snogsinthesnow-buttonme to, just please massage already!’

It didn’t take many kneading handfuls of pliant bottom and thigh before he realized his mistake. The more he massaged, the more she squirmed and moaned across his lap and the harder it became for him to ignore his growing need – especially not with her running commentary.

‘Oh God! Oh God, yes! That feels so good. Ah! Ooooh! Yessss!’

He was just about to relent and untie her in order to

preserve what remained of his dignity when she stopped moving, causing his hands to still on her bottom. Then she dragged in a shaky breath and gave a little wiggle. ‘Do you want me to take care of you?’

He was about to lie to her and tell her he was just fine, when she gave a hard shrug and fell off his lap. With a little grunt on impact, she maneuvered herself with way more grace than he could have imagined under the circumstances until she knelt in front of him, looking up at him with the bluest eyes he’d ever seen. Her breasts rose and fell as each humid breath bathed his lap in heat. She gave the slightest inclination of her head toward his crotch, and he was lost. The woman knelt at his feet, red velvet ribbons binding her ankles and her hands behind her back, in the perfect position of submission. With another nod of her head, a lock of shimmering chestnut hair fell over one eye from where it had been pinned beneath the sprig of mistletoe, and she sighed softly as he gave in and fumbled with his fly.
He was awkward, like a fucking teenager, as he maneuvered himself free, but this time her moan was not one of pain, and his own moan, as she took the length of him into her mouth, was a close twin. He rested an uncertain hand on her head, and she made a hungry sound deep in her chest as he pulled her further onto him. Yes, perhaps she was a gift, bound as she was, with only her mouth free for him to use as he saw fit. She was a vessel for his lust, a lust that was breathtakingly heavy after being sublimated so long. She was a vessel, breasts heaving, lips pursed, muscles straining, holding herself still, allowing him to use her. He fisted his hands in her hair and thrust up off the sofa, grinding and shifting into the tight grip of her mouth, controlling her, moving her forward and back, forward and back against the thick of him. Yes she was a vessel for his lust, and she was his. All his.

He made no apologies as he came in her mouth, even as she struggled to take him all in. He made no apologies for the tightening of his fist in her hair, for the fact that he had come so quickly and so hard, causing her to gag and swallow furiously several times before he collapsed back on the sofa, before she relaxed her mouth, released his well-worked cock, and rested her head in his lap, gasping for breath. For a time that could have been seconds, could have been hours, he leaned back against the sofa with his eyes closed, drifting. At some point the white-knuckled grip he’d had in her hair relaxed and opened and he began to stroke the cascading locks that were softer than silk, a repetitive motion that calmed him, took him away from himself as nothing had in a very long time. When he came back to the present, he could feel her warm, even breathing against his bare groin and, even though it couldn’t have been long, his cock was already responding to the thought of what this woman had just done to him, what she had allowed him to do to her, all against his better judgment. Okay, no matter what she said, she was still a prostitute – had to be. But she was a gift, a feisty, cheeky, sexy gift, who seemed to intuit exactly what he needed, and at least for now, she was all his. How pathetic was he that he grasped at such a gift, allowing himself refuge in something so contrived, something that was escapism and nothing else? Still, the long Mistletoeholiday weekend looming before him suddenly didn’t seem quite so endless.

When he leaned forward and kissed her head, she moaned softly and looked up at him. He managed to partially do up his fly against a package that was already reasserting its dominion, then he stood and lifted her once again. Since she couldn’t slip her arms around his neck, she buried her face against his shoulder, and he could feel her muscles tensing against him as he mounted the stairs, her weight strangely balancing his own. In his room, he lowered her onto the mattress of the big four-poster bed, then he untied her feet, carefully massaging the circulation back into her ankles and calves before he moved to do the same to her hands. All the while she moaned her pleasure and relief, eyelids fluttering, lips parted and swollen, a tantalizing reminder of what she could do with that delicious mouth. ‘That’s better,’ she sighed. ‘Oh God, that’s so much better. What the …?’ Her eyes burst open and she squirmed as he bound the ribbon back around her wrists and tied them above her head to the bed frame.

‘I like you bound,’ he said, pausing to drop a kiss on each of her heavy nipples when he finished.

 

Buy Love Under the Mistletoe Here:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon AU
Amazon CA

 

 

Sex Magic Revisited

castlerigg6I’m thinking about sex magic this morning. You all know that I do write paranormal erotica from time to time and that sex magic figures into my plots quite often. But even when I’m not writing about witches and demons and ghosts, even when I’m writing a contemporary story, I’m still thinking about sex magic, and sex AS magic. I’m always struggling to get my head around why sex is magic, why human sexuality defies the nature programme/Animal Planet biological tagging that seems to work for other species that populate the planet. I don’t think I could write sex without magic, and even if I could I wouldn’t want to. I’m not talking about airy-fairy or woo-woo so much as the mystery that is sex. On a biological level we get it. We’ve gotten it for a long time. We know all about baby-making and the sharing of the genes and the next generation. It’s text book.

But it’s the ravenousness of the human animal that shocks us, surprises us, turns us on in ways that we didn’t see coming. It’s the nearly out of body experience we have when we are the deepest into our body we can possibly be. It’s the skin on skin intimacy with another human being in a world where more personal space is always in demand, in a world where touch is not trusted, and contact is minimal.

When we come together with another human being, for a brief moment, our worlds entwine in ways that defy description. We do it for the intimacy of it, the pleasure of it, the naughtiness of it, the dark animal possessiveness of it. Sex is the barely acceptable disturbance in the regimented scrubbed-up proper world of a species that has evolved to have sex for reasons other than procreation. Is that magical? It certainly seems impractical. And yet we can’t get enough.

We touch each other because it feels good. We touch ourselves because it feels good, and sometimes intimacy with ourselves is harder to achieve that intimacy with another. We slip inside each other because it’s an intimate act that scratches an itch nothing else in the whole universe can scratch. During sex, we are ensconced in the mindless present, by the driving force of our individual needs, needs that we could easily satisfy alone, but it wouldn’t be the same. Add love to the mix, add a little bit of romance, add a little bit of chemistry, a tiny bit of conflict and uncertainty, and the magic soup thickens and heats up and gets complicated. I don’t think it’s any surprise at all that sex is a prime ingredient in story. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s any surprise that it is also an ingredient much avoided in some story.

Sex is a power centre of the human experience. It’s not stable. It’s not safe. It’s volatile. It exposes people, makes them vulnerable, reduces them to their lowest common denominator even as it raises them to the level of the divine. Is it any wonder the gods covet flesh? The magic of humanity is the fragility of human flesh, its very frailty is it’s power — the ability to interact with the world around us, the ability to interact with each other, the ability to penetrate and be penetrated.

So as I mull through it, trying for the zillionth time to get my head around it, I conclude – at least for the moment – that the true magic of sex is that it takes place in the flesh, and it elevates the flesh to something even the gods lust after. It’s a total in-the-body, in-the-moment experience, a celebration of the carnal, the ultimate penetrative act of intimacy of the human animal. I don’t know if that gives you goose bumps, but it certainly does me.

Riding the Ether Blurb:

Cassandra Larkin keeps her ravenous and dangerous sexual appetite secret until she seduces Anderson in the mysterious void of the Ether.  Anderson is the sexy, insatiable ghost who can give her exactly what she needs.

But sex is dangerous in a place like the Ether…

When the treacherous demon, Deacon, discovers the truth about the origin of Cassandra’s powerful lust, he plots to use her sex magic for revenge on Tara Stone and the Elemental Coven, who practice their own brand of sex magic.

Cassandra must embrace the lust and sexuality she fears and learn to use its power. Will she stand with Anderson, Tara, and the Elemental Coven against Deacon’s wrath or suffer the loss of friendship, magic and love?

 

Riding the Ether Excerpt:

(150-year-old ghost meets a succubus in the Ether)

Anderson was unsure if he had lost consciousness, but Anderson knew immediately, when he had gathered himself enough for the knowing, that he was in the Ether, though how he got there he could not tell. Immediately he cast the counting spell his mother had taught him when, at last, she agreed that even though he was no daughter, he had wit enough and was gifted enough in the Old Ways to walk safely in the Void. He had already crafted his own counting spell, for until she had relented, he had visited the Ether in secret without her permission. More efficient than his, her spell allowed him to set a small clock in the back of his mind, a clock that kept track of time in the World of Flesh, the only way to mark the passing of time in the Ether. If the counting spell were not cast, one could very easily die. While starvation set in, and the comatose body withered away in the World of Flesh, no time passed at all in the Ether. Time was simply not a concept in the Void.

Lakeland Witches 2 RTEAnd though he did not remember casting the special enfleshment spell, the one he always cast for himself in the Ether, he was fully in the flesh, albeit flesh that only had substance in the Ether. He was completely naked, and fully, nay, outrageously aroused. The pressure in his groin was both agonizing and exquisite. He reached for his manhood, knowing full well he was in need of wit that he did not possess when his lust was so great. But before he could stroke himself to release, a voice spoke out from the Void. ‘That belongs to me.’

He was not startled that the woman appeared out of nowhere. After all this was the Ether, but he was very startled, if most pleasantly so, that she was as naked as he, and it was no hardship for him to look upon her. Before he could utter even a cry of surprise, she knelt next to him, slapped his hand away and took his member into her mouth.

‘My dear woman,’ he gasped as her tongue snaked up the underside of his manhood. ‘I do not believe we know each other.’

She stopped pleasuring only long enough to reply. ‘We will very soon.’ Then she returned her efforts to his great need.

‘I fear this shall end quickly if you do not stop what you are doing.’ He tried, though only half-heartedly, to push her away. After all what manner of man saw to his own release before the pleasure of his lover?

‘I know you.’ As she spoke, she continued to stimulate him with her hand. ‘It may be over quickly this time, but then,’ she lifted her head enough to brush a quick kiss against his lips, enough for him to catch the tiniest glimpse of dark cinnamon eyes. ‘When it’s over we’ll begin again, and then,’ she gave him a squeeze. ‘Then I’m sure I’ll be well compensated.’

She spoke no more, but took the length of him deep into her throat and tightened her grip until there was nothing for it. He shuddered the weightiness of his release into her throat, and she drank it back like fine brandy. And when she had drained him as surely as if he had been the glass containing her drink of choice, she slipped up next to him, her tight roseate nipples brushing against his ribs. And when she kissed him, he tasted himself on her lovely tongue. This time she kissed him with all of her mouth, nay, with all of her body if that were possible, and he felt lust already returning to his loins.

When she pulled away, he spoke in one breathless sentence, fearful that if he did not find his voice immediately, the lady’s own greed for the pleasures of the flesh might make him forget that he even possessed the power of speech, might make him forget why his voice would even be of importance. ‘My dear woman, might I at least enquire who it is that pleasures me so well and in such unusual circumstances?’

Once again she held him with the deepest, darkest eyes he had ever seen on a woman so pale of complexion. ‘I’m Cassandra, Cassandra Larkin, and I’ve been waiting for you.’

‘Then it is clear you have most definitely found me, Cassandra Larkin.’

Though it was usually fear and uncertainty that drove those who rode the Ether to complete the task for which they had come and return to the World of Flesh as quickly as possible, those who were more adept at journeying in the Ether knew that passions and desires were always more difficult to control in that vast space. Therefore it came as no surprise that his desire should return with such intensity.

Though in truth, he had never taken his pleasure in the Ether before, and he was certain other practitioners of ethereal magic would not approve. But at that particular moment on his internal spell-induced clock, he could think of nothing in the Ether he would rather be doing than sharing pleasure with Cassandra Larkin. Though he was much more in control of his manhood after she had so deliciously emptied him, he would most definitely be the first to agree with modern theories on human sexuality, stating that the brain is the seat of desire. And this slender woman pale of flesh and hair, dark of eyes was truly intoxicating. He wondered if her appearance in the Ether was as her appearance in the World of Flesh. Some, he knew, chose to appear differently when riding the Ether.

He felt her hips shifting and rocking with her unsatisfied need, and as he lifted himself onto one elbow rising above her, for the first time he became aware of the bed on which they lay. It was devoid of colour, like the emptiness in which they found themselves, but it was a bed nonetheless. Anderson could not but admire the woman’s attention to function, much more important in ethereal magic than form. And at this moment, hers was the only form in which he was interested, though he wondered why that should be when there was important coven magic in which he ought to be participating.

She guided his hand to the soft warmth between her legs, and he eased a middle finger into the slippery wetness of her ardor. His thumb caressed the heavy node of her pleasure and she trembled like a leaf on water, honeyed eyelashes fluttering over dark eyes. She opened herself to him, shifting her buttocks until he could see the heavy folds and hillocks of her womanhood pouting open before him, until he could smell the heat of her rising up from below her belly at the seat of her desire.

She lifted her arms around his neck. ‘Anderson,’ she pressed his name up through her chest and past her lips with labored breath. ‘Anderson, it’s all right for me to have you here in this place, and I need you. Please. I need you.’

His own need grew with the feel of her beneath him, and he did not deny her the release she so needed. He cupped her buttocks, felt them tighten in his grip, felt the strain of her anticipation as he positioned himself, the head of his member pressed tight against her womanhood. ‘Please,’ she whispered again.

He pushed into her until the sigh of her breath was a sob, then she wrapped herself around him and pulled up to meet him, pressing her mouth to his, whispering against his lips. ‘Ride it with me, Anderson. I need you to ride it with me.’

The power of first contact drove fire up his spine and up into his head until the very fabric of the ether sparked with it. Then as he thrust, it was as though she had inhaled all of him into herself, right up through the very core of her womanhood all the way to the beating of her heart. And then she gave it all back to him again, each time driving the fire up into him hotter and brighter than the time before. His bliss was such that he wondered if it were her intention to burn him until he was but ash to be blown away into the nothingness of the Ether. But he was too far gone for his possible destruction by fire to matter, and when she began to shudder and tremble with her release, driving her heels into his kidneys, digging her nails into his back, he allowed himself to tumble into the abyss with her. The bed she had created quite literally vanished and they were falling, endlessly falling into the heat of their release.

For a time, they floated in nothingness, wrapped around each other. The clock in his head warned him he had been gone too long, that there were important responsibilities he must return to, but still he clung to her.

‘Are you all right?’ She whispered against his ear.

He chuckled softly at such a question. ‘As ecstatic as the experience of sharing pleasure with you is, my dear Cassandra, it was only le petite morte and surely you are aware that I am already dead, and therefore undamaged by even the power of your great ardor.’

To his surprise, she wept, only a little, but he appreciated the ways of women. Their ease with their own emotions was a thing much to be envied. And she did indeed weep, and hold him even closer to her, if that were possible. ‘Only le petite morte,’ she sighed. ‘Of course.’ She moved a hand down to rest against his heart. ‘I have to go now, Anderson, and so do you.’ She kissed him, and in that startling moment colours flashed before his eyes, steamy sunsets, nights dense with stars, an older woman with a cascade of white hair falling over a black robe, ghosts, memories, wild places. And the sharp crack of a bullwhip and fire that was cold and unnatural, and yet familiar in a way that chilled him even in his ethereal body. Then, as inexplicably as he had come to be with Cassandra Larkin in the Ether, he fell away from her into darkness.

When the darkness broke over him, he awoke on the dream bed looking up into the concerned faces of the rest of the coven.

 

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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