Welcome to Day Two of the Demon Interrupted Holiday Marathon!
The Holiday Season is the season for TV and film marathons. Who doesn’t like to sit in front of the telly with a bowl of popcorn, their fave drink and totally veg out over blissful hours of telly favourites? The holidays are also the time when we love to curl up with a good read. With that in mind, I thought it was an excellent time for a marathon reading of my paranormal erotic novella, Demon Interrupted, which I wrote and ran as a serial on my blog over six months earlier this year. BUT at that time, I could only manage an episode every three weeks, so I thought it would be fun to make it more easily accessible.
For those of you who don’t know, Demon Interrupted is a Lakeland Witches spin-off story set in the fabulous landscape of the Lake District with the witches of the Elemental Coven. With the completion of Elemental Fire, I left my witches with so many stories untold, and they left me with so many mysteries I wanted to know the answer to that I felt compelled to return.
Starting today, for the next nine days I’ll be running a sizzling, chilling instalment of Demon Interrupted for your reading pleasure. Today I’d like to share with you chapters 3 and 4 of Demon Interrupted. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. Thanks for joining for this Work in Progress. And if you want to know more about the Elemental Coven’s sexy adventures, check out the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy: Body Temperature and Rising, Riding the Ether and Elemental Fire. Enjoy!
Chapter 3 of Demon Interrupted
Enter the Shadows
Ferris left for Storm Croft early the next morning. He was anxious to take care of the estate’s business and be back to Elemental Cottage in time for the Full Moon circle. Fiori had packed him a picnic basket with enough food to see him through an entire Cumbrian winter. His takeaway breakfast included two enormous bacon butties on her homemade sourdough bread, a punnet of fresh strawberries she’d picked from Tara’s garden and a flask of Skye’s black tea blend with lemon verbena. There were homemade ginger biscuits tucked in too for elevenses, and that was just for the morning. Eating had only been an act of sustenance before he had joined Cassandra at Elemental Cottage, where it had become a sensual pleasure – one among many.
He had made it all the way to Birmingham without much traffic on the motorways and was back in Surrey just before noon. The groundskeepers were busy with trimming the topiary and deadheading the roses in the formal gardens. He walked in the early summer sunshine inspecting their efforts. Cassandra had never cared what the grounds or the great house looked like. For most of the time before she had fallen in love with the Elemental Coven’s High Priest, Anderson, she had lived her life as though she had no home. He had always felt compelled to make sure that though she might live that way, she was not without a place to lay her head, a good place, a safe and comfortable place to return to when she had need. There was no shortage of funds for the upkeep, and unless she told him otherwise, he would continue to keep Storm Croft as though its owner were coming home tomorrow and bringing the whole Elemental Coven with her.
Inside, he skirted the grand drawing room and the great hall, both of which had, only yesterday, had their lush wood floors waxed. Using the servants’ stairs, he headed for the small apartment behind the kitchen where he maintained his office and living quarters. Cassandra had offered him free choice of any of the above floor suites, but he had never desired more than a simple accommodation. The housekeeper had left the post of interest stacked neatly on his desk along with invoices, receipts and any other documents he might need to peruse. The ledgers he needed for the monthly records were set aside as well. He still preferred the feel of paper and fountain pen to the sterile tap, tap, tap of the laptop keyboard when it came to the monthly book keeping for Storm Croft. Of course he made sure Cassandra had everything at her electronic beck and call, should she ask for it, though she never did.
It was never difficult for Ferris to find something to do at Storm Croft. For most of the years of Cassandra’s life he had occupied himself with the day-to-day tasks waiting for her to need him, grateful when she did, feeling that she was somehow safer under the big roof of the great house, under his protection, beneath Deacon’s radar. And though he might have wished it, Ferris had never been able to keep her there.
And now that Deacon was no longer a threat, now that Cassandra had the happiness Ferris had always wished for her, he was reluctant to move away from the routine that had so ordered his life. In spite of Lucia’s little gift, he wanted no more journey of discovery than what was happily offered him in life at Elemental Cottage.
The afternoon passed to evening, with him grazing on the feast Fiori had packed, packed as though he would be digging ditches rather than crunching numbers. In the bottom of the basket was a bottle of Boudreaux that Cassandra had tucked in, wine that she and Anderson had purchased on a holiday they recently made in France. Ferris knew little about wine. He drank nothing but water before he came to Elemental Cottage, but his lack of knowledge did not lessen the pleasure of it. Whoever he was, or whatever he was, strong drink had little effect on him beyond the gentle buzz that always made him want sex.
It was late and the moon hung heavy through the window of his study when he finished the last of the wine and turned his attention, at last, to the weight of his cock in his trousers. He laid his hand against his fly as he mentally went over the list of all he wanted to accomplish on this journey south. He stroked his length and, it stretched and swelled in response. As his other hand slipped below to cup himself, he felt the amazement he did each time his penis drew his attention to its need to be satisfied. He had no memories of sexual desire before arriving at Elemental Cottage. In all those years he had not missed what he could never recall having. And yet upon the very night of his arrival among the witches of Elemental Coven, he cock weighted his trousers like heavy stone and he’d had both Fiori and Sky several times before the night drew to a close.
And there were skills, sexual skills that he had not known he possessed. He knew how to use his tongue and teeth, his fingers and lips on a nipple, on a clitoris, on the labial folds that swelled with sucking and nibbling. He knew how to pleasure a man when the need presented itself. He knew when to stroke and where. He knew when to stop. He knew precisely the edge and how to bring lovers to that edge and hold them there until they were mad with the need to come. He know when the mount them, he knew how to pleasure their nether holes until they wet themselves in waves of pleasure. He could hold the weight of his need for as long as he willed it, and if he wished to empty himself into the gripping tightness of a lover, he could also will himself to remain hard and continue thrusting after his release. As far as he knew, all these skill were his with no previous recollection of having had sex. He had skills that could not have been instinctual, and yet skills that his cock demanded he now use on a regular basis whether he was among the witches and their consorts at Elemental Coven or alone.
At first he believed his surge in libido was because Elemental Cottage was long steeped in the sex magic of its residents, and his body responded to that magic. But he quickly discovered that it mattered not where he was, his desires did not diminish, and the stroking and caressing his cock simply because it felt good to him had become a part of his routine. It was coven practice that the pleasures of the flesh were pleasures one should share generously with oneself, as well as with others, and they were indeed pleasures in which he took delight.
He opened his trousers and lifted his erection free from his boxers sucking his bottom teeth in a tight gasp as engorged flesh came in contact with the heat of his palm. He shifted his buttocks forward and scooped his balls free with his other hand. Then he took a moment to look down at himself, distended and pale against his black trousers. The housekeeper now lived in the gamekeeper’s cottage. She had left hours ago. He was alone in the big house and it was a long time till morning. He closed his eyes and leaned back in the leather chair, stroking and cupping. Sometimes he thought about sex he’d had at Elemental Cottage, sometimes he fantasized about situations that were not a part of the experience of which he had memory and wondered if they were experiences from his past. And sometimes he just lost himself in the feel of his own body, the sheathing stroke of his fist, the cup and fondle of his balls.
The journey down from Cumbria was a long one and he had forced himself to wait, feeling the uncomfortable surging and swelling and tightening in his cock as he travelled the motorway, anticipating the relief that was always welcome at the end of the journey. And even then he had held himself, held the weight of his need close to his body, felt it tug at him while he inspected the gardens, while he balanced the books, while he paid the bills. And now after the meal and the wine, now it was time. As he stroked, he thought of the deep valley between Fiori’s breast, the way she cupped them around his cock as he thrust; he thought of watching Skye’s skilled tongue snake up over Alice’s splay while she sat on the kitchen counter bathed in afternoon sunlight, skirt hiked, panties kicked to the floor. Fiori’d had every intention of chasing them out that day so she could begin dinner. Instead she had joined them. He had watched her ease three fingers into Skye’s wet slit from where she bent over. He watched until he could take no more, then he opened his fly and entered Fiori from behind. Dinner was late that night. No one had minded.
As he stroked and thrust into his hand and ground his buttocks into the leather chair, his mind was a whir of memories of sex at Elemental Cottage. How could he live among them and not constantly be aroused, and not constantly long to connect. Thrust … stroke … cup … His body knew the rhythm so well now, and it would settle for nothing less. Thrust … stroke … cup … It was as if a whole new world had opened to him, a world of pleasure and sensuality, of colour and texture. Thrust … stroke … cup … Outside a tawny owl trilled. Inside the pipes rattled as the heater kicked on just before his breathing drowned out all other sound. Thrust … stroke … cup …
How he had not seen her in the corner, he could not imagine. She sat quietly on the sofa in the shadow. It was the tight whimper and the nervous clearing of her throat as she came forward that got his attention. Before he could do more than blink his surprise, she dropped to her knees in front of him, shoved his hands away and took his cock into her mouth, deep into her mouth, keeping wide eyes that were nearly black in the dim light locked on his face.
Because he didn’t dream, she was not an apparition from the Dreamscape, and there was no doubting her flesh and blood solidity. She had no scent, therefore she must be a ghost, though how it was that she had flesh, he didn’t know, and any thoughts he had of who she was or why she was kneeling in front of him with his cock in her mouth did not linger as she tongued the underside of him and cupped his buttocks to draw him deeper into the tight tug of her cheeks. Motion became frenzied and desperate as he curled his fingers in her tumble of dark hair in an effort to either regain the control she had taken from him or lose it more completely.
It was only as she lifted the skirt of her black gown and moved to straddle him he became fully aware that her clothing was not of this era, though he could not say from which. Her eyes watered from the effort to accommodate his heft, an effort made by one whose arousal was not yet at the level of his own. But she thwarted his attempt at foreplay, pushed his hands away and persevered. Her tight struggle down onto him made him cry out and breathe in shallow gasps to control himself, holding the soft swell of her hips beneath the taffeta of the gown.
She rode him with her arms around his neck and her soft breasts swaying beneath the deep plunge of the bodice. She rode him with her lips pressed to his ear, whispering frantic words he could not make out as his breathing crescendoed to a roar, then a harsh grunt as he convulsed his release in hard, desperate shudders. It was a release he had not yet expected, one he would have never permitted until he had first satisfied her, but as he reached for her to return the favour, she shook her head wildly and shoved off his lap, stumbling backward onto the floor as she did so. ‘Don’t hurt me, please don’t hurt me! I thought you wanted me. I thought you wanted me to do … my duty.’
It was only as she regained her footing and backed away from him that he noticed the rope around her neck. How in goddess’ name could he not notice the rope around her neck? For a charged moment, she stood gazing at him, one hand pressed to her chest, the other holding the looped coil of rope. Then, before he could speak, before he could calm her, reassure her that he would never harm her, she turned quickly and disappeared through the wall of books at the back of the study leaving him stunned and shaken, but there was no denying that he was wide awake and his cock was wet from sex.
Chapter 4 of Demon Interrupted
‘Wait! Wait don’t go! Who are you? Please don’t leave.’ Ferris shoved up from the chair, cramming his cock into his trousers as he went and, before he realised what was happening, he burst through the bookcase, right on in to the big modern kitchen behind and out through the thick stone wall into the extensive herb garden. He found the woman standing beneath an ancient oak, still holding on to the coiled length of the rope.
When she saw him, she uttered a yelp of surprise and dropped the lead of the noose, backing away from him, her eyes wide with terror. ‘Who are you? What did you do to him? What are you?’ Ferris felt a wave of dizziness that was swallowed up in panic. How the hell had he just gone through two solid walls? The ground beneath him tilted and in another wave of dizziness he fell to his knees, shaking his head, which buzzed as though it were full of angry bees.
Before he could clear his mind the woman rushed to him grabbed his hand and pulled him to his feet. With wild eyes, she glanced at the door to the kitchen. Her complexion was marble-pale, her breathing was desperate. ‘Hurry, oh god, please hurry!’ If he catches you, he’ll kill you. Especially if he sees you with me,’ she sobbed. ‘ I thought he was gone. I thought he was dead. Oh, how can this be happening all over again?
She yanked hard, practically dragging Ferris. With the buzzing still raging in his ears, he followed as she tugged him with all of her strength, coiling the rope around her arm to keep from tripping on it. ‘Oh, hurry, do hurry! I know a place where he won’t find us,’ she called over her shoulder just as she passed through the high stone wall at the edge of the garden.
Ferris cried out and raised a hand to protect his face, but there was no need, her momentum and her tight grip on his hand pulled him through as easily as if he had been nothing more than mist, and they found themselves in an overgrown topiary interspersed with vine-tangled statuary that lined an aging reflection pool. It was a part of the property that had been derelict when Ferris became caretaker at Storm Croft. Though plans had been drawn up to restore it, Ferris was not a wasteful man, so when it became clear that Cassandra would never make use of it, he had not bothered to carry through with the project.
The woman guided him to sit on a moss-covered stone bench next to the pool. ‘He won’t find us here. He hates this place. He says there’s something evil about it. That’s why I always came here, because I know he’ll leave me alone.’
Instead of sitting, Ferris slid onto his knees in front of the pool and, with shaky hands, splashed water onto his face, fearing that he would pass out, then come to himself and the woman would be gone.
‘What are you?’ she asked again. ‘You’re no ghost. I know you’re not.’
‘Of course I’m no ghost. But I know that you are and …’ He stopped mid-sentence. The buzzing intensified in his head and the dizziness once again rolled over him. Staring back at him in the moonlit water was a face other than his own. He leaned forward until he nearly fell into the pool, and found reflected back at him a face broader and sharper boned, with hair that was pale and longer than his own, and the body … he ran a hand over the chest, a hand that responded to his thoughts, but a chest that was broad and muscular, beneath shoulders that blotted out the moonlight in their heft.
‘What are you?’ the woman repeated again. ‘Did you resurrect him? Did you kill him? Does he know you?’
‘I don’t know who you’re talking about.’ Ferris fell back onto his arse on the concrete edge of the pool. ‘But this is not my body. This is not me. I don’t know what happened.’
The woman came and knelt next to him, her eyes moving over him, her hand still gripping the coil of the rope. ‘How can you not know?’
‘Tell me,’ he said. ‘Tell me what you saw.’
She took his hand and pulled him up onto the bench. ‘I was … doing my duty to him …’ she bit her lip, and her eyes filled with tears. ‘All this time there’s been peace. It didn’t matter how I paid for it. All this time I thought he was gone and that I was free.’
‘What do you mean doing your duty? You were with me and you … well you had sex, with me and then you were afraid and I realised you were a ghost and then … somehow I followed you here.’
‘No! No it wasn’t you I was with. I would have never … done that to a stranger. It’s only that he always expected it of me, and when I saw him back again, I didn’t want to make him angry. I don’t understand. I thought I was free of him. ’ She covered her face in her hands and began to sob.
Not knowing what else to do, Ferris pulled the woman gently to his chest and to his surprise she threw her arms around him. ‘If you have killed him then I owe you a debt I’ll never be able to repay. If he is dead then you’re my saviour.’
‘Madame, please,’ he pulled her hands into his and eased her back so he could look into her dark eyes. ‘I don’t understand any of what you’re speaking. I have killed no one, and I promise you that it was me with whom you had sex. And now I find myself in a body with which I am not familiar, a body that’s no more fleshly than your own. His first urge was to call out for Lucia. Lucia would know what was happening to him if anyone would, but the woman drew his attention back to her.
‘It wasn’t you! It wasn’t this body,’ she gestured to his chest. ‘It wasn’t you I was with. If it had been, if he had found out, he would have hurt me.’ She grabbed her head between her hands as though she were in pain. ‘This isn’t right! None of this is right. He’s dead. I know he’s dead. And I’m dead because of him, but in all these years I have never seen his ghost. I believed that he went to hell. A man such as he could have gone nowhere else. And you’re not him! I know you’re not him.’
‘Patrick! Patrick Farringdon.’ You’re not Patrick. Patrick’s dead, and yet I’ve just been with him.’
‘I don’t know any Patrick Farringdon,’ Ferris said. ‘My name is Ferris Ryder. I have been the caretaker of Storm Croft for almost thirty years now and…’ His voice faded as though it were drown out by the roar of a wind. He could see the woman’s lips moving, see the alarm in her dark eyes, and then it was as though he were being sucked into a maelstrom of sound and distance, then unearthly silence.
But the silence was short-lives with the sudden rush of air into his oxygen-starved lungs seconds, or possibly even years later. He could not tell. For an instant he felt as though he were suffocating in his own flesh. The angry swarm of bees returned to his head, and there was someone talking, frantically talking.
‘How can this be? How can this be? How can this be?’
He jerked hard enough for his neck to pop as he came back to himself, once again slouched in the brown leather chair at his desk. His trousers were open. His cock was still wet from sex.
The woman cowered by the sofa, hands twisting the rope she held. ‘What are you? It’s Patrick’s flesh I see with my own eyes, but it’s some one else who animates him. You are not my husband. He was a monster, even now as I look into his eyes I see he’s not there. There was no kindness in him, and you, you’re too big for his body, and yet there you dwell. Who are you?’ She glanced over her shoulder as though she were once again about to flee
‘Please don’t run. I won’t harm you.’ In a sudden wave of embarrassment, Ferris yanked his trousers up over his arse and tucked away his cock. ‘My name is Ferris, as I have said. It was me with whom you had sex. I promise you, I don’t know any Patrick Farringdon.’ But he could almost guarantee Lucia did.
Slowly the woman moved toward him, one hand resting against her chest, the other holding the rope. ‘How can this be?’ she said again as she brought her free hand to trace the curve of his jaw. ‘This body is like his in every way, but you who animate him are other.’
Ferris took her hand in his and heard the catch of her breath. ‘I promise you I’m not him.’ He didn’t tell her that he was unsure of who he was, but he knew with absolute certainty this flesh that now housed him was not his own. He silently cursed Lucia, equally certain that somehow this was her doing. ‘Who are you, my dear lady?’
‘I am Elaine,’ she said, still studying him as though her eyes deceived her. ‘As you have said, I am dead.’ She nodded down to the rope in her hand.
‘And how is it that you still have form and flesh? Strong magic is required for a ghost to wear flesh.’
‘I don’t know,’ she said. ‘It’s as though I’ve only just came back to my flesh when I saw you there … pleasuring yourself … I felt compelled to touch you. That I was able to do so stunned me … and then, even though I thought you were Patrick, I felt … my own arousal growing. That I had not expected. That I never experienced with Patrick. I only ever experienced fear with Patrick.’ Her pale cheeks flushed crimson and the hand that had returned to her chest clenched in a fist.
‘Did your husband do that to you?’ Ferris nodded to the noose around her neck.
She didn’t answer immediately, and when she did, she avoided his gaze. ‘In a manner of speaking, I suppose he did.’
‘Take it off,’ he said. It’s disturbing and morbid.’ Before she could respond, Ferris stood, took the noose in his hands. With sure fingers, he slipped the knot, lifted it off over her head and tossed it aside. Then he pulled her into his arms, fearing that she would faint from the stress of her experience. ‘It’s alright, Elaine. I am not Farringdon, however I may look, and I won’t hurt you.’ He guided her to the sofa and sat down next to her.
He pushed the hair back over he shoulders, marvelling at how soft it was, exposing the ligature marks purple and angry. ‘Great goddess, woman, what happened?’
She pushed his hand away from her throat. ‘I was … hung for my crime.’
‘What crime?’ The woman was scared of her own shadow, he thought as she sat trembling next to him. What could she have possibly done? ‘Elaine, you’re already dead. You can tell me. Of what crime were you accused.’
Her eyes were bottomless, and her face was paler than moonlight on the high fells. The breath she no longer needed tore at her lungs as though she had been running, but she did not look away. ‘I killed Patrick. I killed my husband.’