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Piloting Fury: Brand New KDG 2nd Instalment

Last week after a long silence, I rolled out the first instalment of Piloting Fury.

Fury is a new, never before seen KDG novel, first of all because it’s a bit experimental and out of the KDG norm, and second of all simply because I want to be able to share some of it before I put it out to the larger world.

Piloting Fury is a project very near and dear to my heart, with a rewrite now in progress. As I said last week, for the July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, I am working on the next book in what is a Space opera, of sorts, with plenty of political intrigue, plenty of sex, plenty of space travel — a lot of which is done in sentient ships. Piloting Fury is the first novel in that series. At this Camp NaNoWriMo, book two, Dragon Ascending is well underway. Enjoy the second half of the first chapter, since a little birdie told me you were all, indeed, very good.  (and so was I 🙂 ) From here, we’ll see where Fury leads us.

 

 

 

Piloting Fury:

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAlister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

Your Ass is Mine

“What does this mean, her ass is yours?” The notary asked, with a strong New Hibernian accent. “You know I need specifics.”

“He wants me to fuck him, if I lose,” I clarified. Me arrogant? Huh! I could already picture myself easing the powerful bulk of the Fury out of dock and seeing what the ship could do in open space.

There were three other tables demanding the attention of the notary, and the fact that such a big wager had to be witnessed wasn’t making them or him very happy. “Well I can hardly write that down, can I?”

Manning rolled his eyes and grabbed the notary’s device using the touch pad to type in whatever was a good euphemism for the thing I was certain wasn’t going to happen. I was so sure of myself, so positive that the Fury was already mine that I didn’t bother to look at what he wrote. I just placed my thumb against the DNA reader on the keypad and the notary grunted his approval, nodding to the barmaid who brought over a sealed pack of cards. Manning settled her onto his lap – for luck, he said, as he shuffled the cards, considerably longer than necessary. But then I could be patient when I would be walking away with the price of my freedom plus change and a bright shiny starship of my very own. I certainly wasn’t worried about Manning. He was a respectable pilot – not as good as I am, but not bad either, and he was one cunning sonovabitch. He’d land on his feet no matter what happened.

When he dealt me three tens, I figured I was in like Flynn. The vacuous barmaid was too busy playing with Manning’s bronze curls to give anything away. And really, while she might meet him after hours and commiserate with a good fuck, she wasn’t at all interested in the outcome. Looking back, I should have thought that strange. I should have thought the whole situation strange, that a man was about to bet his fucking starship to a woman who had a reputation for never losing. Looking back, I should have thought of a lot of things, but all I could think about was that in one glorious night, I would gain my freedom and a starship with contracts pending.

I sure as hell wasn’t thinking about Rick Manning pulling a straight flush. But that’s exactly what the bastard did. Winner takes it all.

“You cheated,” I said. But no one heard me over the squealing of the barmaid who all but bounced up and down on his lap, before nearly sticking her tongue down his throat in a congratulatory kiss. It ended in a yelp as he shoved her off, stood and offered me his hand. “Diana McAllister, I believe your ass is mine.”

The notary shoved his pad in our faces and we both offered our thumbs, which made the bet final and binding as well as transferring the details to the station archives where it would be conveniently noted and disappeared before the Authority could get wind of it. Stations this remote were not fans of the Authority, and they all played by their own rules. I said nothing. I only offered my thumb. The new Hibernians didn’t take kindly to people reneging on a notarized bet. In fact it was punishable by death at the bar owner’s discretion, in which case the winnings from the bet became the property of the bar owner. So I followed Manning out of the bar, hand in hand still trying to figure out what the hell had happened.

Even then I was consoling myself with the fact that I was no worse off than I had been before. The thought of fucking Rick Manning wasn’t entirely loathsome to me, and after all the whiskey he’d put away, I figured he’d pass out long before we got down to doing the deed. If not, there were rumors that he was good in the sack. Probably rumors he’d started, I figured. I wouldn’t put it past the bastard.

He led me down a darkened passage to a rented room above the bar. I’d expected something a little more upscale, but I was still too stunned to make any snide comments. It didn’t matter if he’d cheated, it didn’t matter that I’d lost my freedom, and a starship even before I had them. It was a done deal, so if he wanted to fuck my brains out, it had all been notarized. It was the humiliation that bothered me as much as anything. At least at that point.

He entered the code. The door slid open, and he nodded me inside. My first surprise was when he turned on the lights before motioning me to the bed. Well, maybe he liked to see what he was doing in the sack. “Lie down,” he said quietly, making no attempt to feel me up or kiss me.

I did as he said. I stripped out of the bomber jacket, but if he wanted anything else off, he’d have to do it himself. To my surprise, he didn’t come immediately to join me, but rummaged through a compact duffle bag on the floor. When he did finally come to the bed, he set a small leather case on the nightstand and pulled off his belt. I braced myself. But instead of getting down to it, he looped the belt around my forearm just above my subdural shackle and cinched it up tight enough the outline of the chip shown below the surface of my skin. “This will only hurt for a few minutes, then it’ll all be over,” he said. Before I could even begin to struggle, he laid a heavy hand on my chest. “I’d recommend you lie still. I’ve never done this before.”

“What are you doing? What the fuck are you doing?” I fought back panic.

He offered me a beatific smile. “Don’t worry, Mac. I got this.” As he brought out the laser scalpel, I all but froze.

“Fucking hell, Manning, you know what happens when a shackle’s tampered with.”

“You belong to me now, Mac,” he said, making a tiny incision that stung like fire and then two more in quick succession until the shackle was laid bare.

“What the hell are you talking about?” I held dead still hissing the words between my teeth, expecting at any minute for my arm to break out in a rash of blisters. “I belong to Captain Harker and the Dubrovnik.” Or at least I had been assigned to him for that last few years. Who I really belonged to, I never admitted unless I had no choice. Though I suspected Manning knew. He didn’t miss much.

“Not anymore you don’t.” He pulled a pair of micro-view goggles from the leather case and shoved them onto his face. Then he grabbed a couple of very delicate-looking tools I recognized from when my shackle had been recalibrated my first day onboard the Dubrovnik.

“Manning, you’ll get me infected! You’ll get me sent off to a plague planet!”

“Don’t you worry about a thing, Mac. Just hold still for me, and everything’ll be fine.”

He didn’t have to tell me twice. I didn’t move. I didn’t breathe. I all but willed my heart not to beat until at last he heaved a sigh and gently laid the skin back over the shackle. Then he covered it with a layer of Dermanew. That done, he removed the belt and admired his handy work. Then his hands started shaking, and I was afraid for a second, one or maybe both of us might throw up.

I stared at my arm, waiting for the telltale rash to break out. When it didn’t I looked up at him. “What the hell did you do?”

“You didn’t read the notary contract, did you?”

“I wasn’t planning to lose,” I said between gritted teeth.

“What I did was reprogram your shackle to Fury, to me, more specifically. You’re now indentured to me for an indeterminate time. I reckon it’ll take you longer to pay it off on the Fury than it would have on the Dubrovnik, since smaller ships have smaller incomes, but I promise you’ll have a lot more fun. Besides, I’ve been wanting to hire on a first mate for awhile now, and I really wanted a good pilot.”

“But what about the Dubrovnik. I can’t just jump ship.”

“Of course you can. Now.” He nodded down to the shackle. “I wouldn’t advise trying to jump ship on Fury though. You can sleep here tonight, and tomorrow at 0800, report to Fury.” He stood, suddenly a little unsure on his feet, and stumbled toward the door. Then he turned back and offered me a smile that faltered just a little
around the edges. His face had gone pale as though he’d just realized what he’d done. “The room is locked from the inside, just to keep the riff raff away, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what will happen if you try to leave. As for the Dubrovnik, well we’ll be long gone before everyone even finishes boarding the Dubrovnik. Now get some sleep. We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow.”

 

Piloting Fury: New from KDG

Sorry for the long delay in getting a new post out. My only excuse is that I have no excuse. I hope you enjoyed The Bus Route as much as I enjoyed writing it and sharing it. Writing and sharing my work is always the best part of doing what I do, so I have decided to share some new, never before seen KDG stuff on my blog, first of all because it’s a bit experimental and out of the KDG norm, and second of all simply because I want to be able to share some of it before I put it out to the larger world.

Piloting Fury is a project very near and dear to my heart, with a rewrite now in progress. Having said that, today is day one of July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and I found myself inspired and prodded strongly by my Muse and her big stick to write the next book in what is a Space opera, of sorts, with plenty of political intrigue, plenty of sex, plenty of space travel — a lot of which is done in sentient ships. Piloting Fury is the first novel in that series. At this Camp NaNoWriMo, I will be working on book two, Dragon Ascending. Enjoy the first half of the first chapter, and if you’re very good, I’ll have the rest of the chapter up soon (or if I’m very good 🙂 ) From there, we’ll see where Fury leads us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piloting Fury

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAlister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

 

Chapter 1: The Bet

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” Rick Manning was more than a little bit drunk. He had to be to make that sort of bet with me. Everyone knows you don’t gamble with Diana Mac unless you want to lose. I never lost – ever! What gambling I managed in spaceports was my sole income, and I horded it all obsessively. Every credit of it went toward paying off the contract of my indenture. Nope! I never lost because I couldn’t afford to. And yet here I stood on the small but efficient deck of the Fury, reporting to Rick Scumbag Manning, and the prick was nowhere to be found. “Probably sleeping it off in some whore’s bed,” I growled under my breath.

“You cheated, you bastard,” I said out loud. Even if he heard me, what the hell was he gonna do, dock my wages, throw me in the brig? “I know you cheated, I just don’t know how you did it,” I said to the console which, in spite of my anger at Manning, already had me intrigued. I confess, vivid visions of strangling Rick Manning with a New Hibernian cryo-whip couldn’t hold my imagination quite like the console of a good ship – even one I was now indentured to for who the hell knew how many galactic years. I’m serious when I say I’m the best pilot in the galaxy. It’s not bragging if it’s true. I’ve never met the ship I couldn’t fly. Not that I got that many opportunities indentured to the Dubrovnik, but Captain Harker had raked in the credits more than once by betting on me in an impromptu race of some sort. Of course the ship was never my own, and that made the bet even more interesting. No one ever saw it coming.

In spite of my crap situation, I couldn’t help admiring the clean lines and the efficient arrangement of the Fury’s controls. While the ship might look like a rusty tub on the outside, Manning had known to put his money where it mattered. I was already jonesing to see what the ship could do, and the truth was that the Fury was one helluva ship despite the rusty tub appearance. I doubted if Manning even knew what the original make was. If the entire ship wasn’t glued together with spit and high tensile repair tape, I’d be surprised. But leave it to Manning to win, steal, smuggle and finagled some of the best, state of the art components in the galaxy. I only knew that because he and I got drunk together on Diga Prime waiting out a lava storm one night in a bar. The man was as proud of his ship as he was his cock and, while I’d made it a point not to check out the latter, I’d wanted to check out the Fury for a long time. Just not like this.

I flopped down in the pilot’s seat, which strangely enough felt as though it molded to fit my butt. I knew for a fact that Manning’s ass needed a little more space than mine, and so did his broad shoulders. I’d admired those shoulders and that ass in more than a few spaceports where we’d pitched up together. At this moment, though, I loathed the whole damn package with a loathing hotter than the fiery pits of Diga Vulcanus. I envisioned kicking that very fine ass out the airlock somewhere in the Outer Rim. But thanks to the mess the cheating rat bastard had gotten me into, I couldn’t even do that.

It had been such a sure thing. I was sitting pretty, wasn’t I? The newly healed incision on my forearm itched like crazy, and while it was already all but invisible, it guaranteed I was as bound to the Fury as if Manning had roped me and tied me to the pilot’s chair. I should have known. I should have suspected something, but I was too busy patting myself on the back for my good fortune, too greedy for more.

I should have suspected something when Manning lost a small fortune to me in game after game of Sandirian poker. At the time, the man wasn’t yet too drunk to make intelligent decisions, and I knew for a fact he wasn’t a gambling addict. I’d heard about addicts who had gambled away far larger fortunes than the one Manning had dropped, which was just enough to buy back my indenture with a nice little nest egg to tide me over until I could find other work. Nope, Manning was a lightweight when it came to gambling losses. A minor satrap was legendary for gambling away a whole planetoid out at the edge of the Orion Nebula. I just figured it was a cock thing with Manning. I recognized the signs. The dress I wore had worked its magic just like it always did with lonely, horny punters in spaceport hoping to get laid. Men or women – it didn’t really matter. If they gave me that look and offered to buy me a drink, I knew I had them. They all just assumed because I was sitting alone, shuffling a deck of cards, I was as lonely and as in need of entertainment as they were.

And then there was Rick Manning. He’d been doing his best for the past several galactic years to get me in bed. By now it had become a game between us. He flirted, and I let it roll right on over me. I liked the banter. I liked the fact that we had intelligent, often witty conversations, as well as a lot of laughs in between his flirtatious, but harmless, advances. It was what we did, the two of us. So why should I think anything was particularly different about last night? Yes, he showed up at my table before I could reel in some sucker willing to lose his shirt. And yes, when I tried to shoo him away, he offered to play a few hands with me as a warm-up – he said, and then he’d leave me to find another victim. It was a win-win. I could skin Manning of a few credits before he decided to give it up, and then get serious with someone who didn’t know me.

But he didn’t give it up. He just kept losing, and betting and losing again. Fuck me if the man didn’t lose everything he had, all of his life savings, right down to the last credit. I know this because the Notary kept asking if he was sure and reminding him that all notarized bets were legally binding. Still all he could do was chuckle.

“It’s your hair, Mac,” he said as he motioned over the notary yet again to transfer more credits to the indentured sub-account Captain Harker had set up for me. “When you wear that dress and let your hair down like that, of course a man’s gonna lose. And you, you little minx, that’s what you’re counting on, isn’t it?”

“I need the credits, Manning.” I leaned across the table and rubbed my fingers together under his nose in a gimme gesture. “Indentured here, remember? But if it’ll help,” I grabbed up the band that had secured the battered deck of cards and pulled my hair back in it. “The dress I can’t do anything about. The butler hasn’t brought my holiday wardrobe down from the Dubrovnik yet,” I joked.

“Helluva place to go on holiday,” he said, glancing around the Nine Tails. Then he leaned over the table and offered a smile that would have shamed the Suns of Valoxia. “Tell you what, one more hand and I’ll bet my jacket.” If you win, you can cover up a little bit and maybe give me an even chance. And if you lose,” he looked me up and down.

“I won’t,” I replied shoving the deck of cards across the table to him.

He took them and began to shuffle, his eyes locked on mine. “If you lose, then I get your clothes. All of them.”

“It’s just as well I’m gonna win then because you wouldn’t look good in this dress. Teal’s just not your color.”

He only chuckled as he dealt the cards.

In no time at all I was bundled up in a vintage flight jacket that Manning swore up and down was a real Terran relic he’d won in a poker game he’d apparently done much better in than he was doing in this one. He slugged back another New Hibernian whiskey and the barmaid, who bent so he got a good view down her bustier, brought him another one. I laid down enough credits to pay for my drinks and stood. “Gotta go, Manning. You’ve got nothing left I can win off of you, and I sure as hell don’t want the clothes off your back.”

“Not so fast, Mac.” His words weren’t exactly slurred, but getting pretty close. He blocked my exit with an extended leg, nodded back to my chair, and with a shrug of his shoulder sent the barmaid scurrying for another whiskey for me. “You can’t leave till I’ve had a chance to win back all my shit.”

“I can, and I will,” I said, stepping over his leg, but even half drunk, Manning was fast. He lifted his thigh, effectively high-centering me and ending me up in his lap. He curled thick fingers around a my makeshift pony tale and reeled me in. I remember thinking it strange that he smelled more like a man who’d been enjoying the great outdoors in the Parks of the Beledine than someone three sheets to the wind on cheap-assed whiskey. I even remember not minding his flirtations at the time, but then why would I when I was a free woman at last, one with a very nice jacket, even if it was considerably too big.

“I do have something I can bet.” His breath was warm against my ear, and I felt the buzz of my own generous alcohol consumption that made me think I just might take him up on what I figured he was about to offer me. It would be a nice addition to the drunken celebration of my freedom. After all, an indentured didn’t have a lot of free time for sex. When I did have the time, I was trying to win a few more credits toward my freedom.

“Oh that,” I nodded down to his lap and gave a little laugh. “I figure I can have that without wagering for it.”

The chuckle he returned sounded positively animal, and his lips quirked into a crooked smile. “While I can think of nothing I would enjoy more than a good shag in the sheets with you, Mac, that wouldn’t win me back my shit now would it?”

I was about to say that since he had nothing to offer I saw no point. I was about to walk out the door of the bar free and clear, go straight to Captain Harker, pay off the contract of my indenture and see what it felt like to sleep and wake up as a free woman. That’s what I should have done, in retrospect. But then Manning dropped the bomb.

“One more hand, Mac. Just one. Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.”

Fuck me! If he hadn’t been holding me, I would have fallen right onto the floor. Now I’m not a woman who’s often speechless, though as an indentured, I know when to keep my mouth shut. But this time, all I could do was make a couple of fish gasps. He gave me that look I was sure had gotten more than a few women into his bed. It had probably worked just as well getting him out of trouble with the authorities when his cargo was less than copasetic.

“What do you say, Mac? You up for it? I’m betting the Fury along with the next three contracts I have to fill.” He shrugged. “If I don’t have a ship, I can’t fill the contracts, right? Come on. Give me at least one more chance.”

“Your ship? You want to bet the Fury?” I stumbled off his lap all but falling on my ass before I made it back to my chair. He was already motioning the notary over.

 

The Bus Route: Final instalment of a brand new KDG story

The Bus Route: Part VII of a brand new KDG story

I hope all of you’ve all enjoyed this brand new KDG story. It’s been my pleasure to bring it to you. I hope it has helped you survive and thrive during lockdown. Please stay safe.

If you’ve missed any of The Bus Route up until now, just flip back through the blog. All seven episodes are still up, at least for the moment. So enjoy, and happy reading whatever else you are reading.

 

Sex in derelict buses. Who knew it was a thing?

A money-making thing for Seth Allen, who blackmails enthusiasts stepping out on their other half by catching the deed on cameras he’s rigged at a public transport scrap yard known by frequenters as the Bus Route. Sadly the paydays aren’t as regular as Seth would like until con artist, Jon Knight, suggests they team up. With Seth’s tech and Jon’s charm, the money rolls in and the future looks bright until their marks start disappearing mysteriously.

 

 

 

 

The Bus Route: Final Instalment

I lurched to the kitchen and tossed the bakery bag in the trash. Even if he wasn’t drugging me, I wasn’t taking any more chances. In ten minutes I had a bag packed. I was just about to leave the flat when my phone rang, and I froze. I knew it was Jon. I knew he’d be suspicious if I didn’t answer, but I waited, taking two deep breaths and then mumbled a hello I hope sounded like I just woke up.

“You all right?” His voice dripped concern. “I was worried when you weren’t at the suite.”

“I feel like shit.” It wasn’t hard to sound ill when it was the truth.

“Shall I send a limo?” He asked.

“Just let me sleep. I don’t want to move right now. I’ll come when I feel a little better.”

There was an uncertain pause. “All right. Go back to bed, then, but I’m sending the limo first thing in the morning. You don’t need to be alone right now. Then he added, “I’ve already picked out our next mark, so I need my partner well and strong.”

Oh I knew all about the next fucking mark, I thought. I white-knuckled the phone and forced a reply. “Thanks. I’ll be here.”

“And Seth, don’t worry about anything. I’ve got this.” The line went dead.

I fumbled my device into into my pocket. The last thing I did was to stuff the cash from our efforts down deep in my bag. I’d need it if I were to survive. I couldn’t take a flight without some sort of ID, but I could easily enough buy a train ticket, and cash was my new best friend.

I took the tube to Euston Station, all the while my skin crawled with the sensation of being watched. I was already hanging on the meat hook and had been for a while. I’d just been too stupid to figure it out. I was at the Bus Stop the night Eleanor disappeared. And when the police finally discovered the body of Claire Richardson, I’d be implicated too. After I left, Jon would have laid her out beautifully for the police to find, just like the Incubus Killer always did. If it was him. And how could I possibly still hold out hope that it wasn’t? Surely that was why he sent me away, and now I was next on his list.

I bought an overnight ticket to Glasgow on the Caledonian Sleeper. I even shelled out the extra dosh for a private couchette. I grabbed a couple sandwiches and a bottle of water from the M&S and ate as though I were starving, feeling better with each bite. The drug seemed to be wearing off.  Surely I’d be okay once I was away from him.

I had hours to kill before I could board at 21:15, so I hid out in a little mom and pop café, the kind that served breakfast and, deli sandwiches and little else. I drank tea until my kidneys floated and the staff began to look at me suspiciously. Then I went to a Costas around the corner. Time stretched interminably with me incessantly checking for updates on Eleanor. But there were none.

It was just getting dark when I got a text from Jon.

Feeling better?

I didn’t answer. I was supposed to be sleeping, after all. A follow-up text came almost immediately.

Pleasant dreams.

I dropped the phone and it skittered across the floor under the neighboring table where a woman behind a laptop and a stack of books picked it up and handed it back to me, text still taunting me on the backlit screen. Thanking her, I turned the device off and stuffed it in my bag.

I waited another endless hour at the train station, heart going into free fall every time I saw a tall dark man in the crowd, who might have been Jon. But no one paid me any attention.

I was only able to relax when I was safely locked inside my couchette, watching the lights of London fall away outside my window. I ate my last sandwich then turned out the lamp and crawled into the bed falling instantly into an exhausted sleep.

Conscious thought returned to me slowly some indeterminate time later lulled by the hypnotic rocking of the train. For a time, with no sense of anything amiss, I watched the familiar silhouette limned in the moonlight streaming through the window. Then Jon’s whisky-smooth voice came out of the darkness. “Did you sleep well, Seth? I was worried about you. Oh don’t get up,” he said without turning away from the window. “Just rest. We’re still a long way from Glasgow, and you’ll need your strength.”

Even as fear dried the back of my throat, I had little desire to move, nor was I sure I could. I wondered if I was I still only dreaming. “Did you think I wouldn’t find out?” I mumbled as though speech was something new to me.

“On the contrary, I was hoping you would. I left you enough clues.”

“So you are the Incubus Killer then.” Whether it was fear or the drug, the words didn’t slide easily over my tongue.

He huffed a laugh that steamed the window. “I like that appellation, don’t you? It’s so very evocative.”

“How did you drug me? You at least owe me an explanation.”

The muscles of his shoulders bunched and relaxed in a shrug, and just like that, the crawling of goose flesh over my skin became something more tetchy, and my cock stiffened.

“Oh Seth, do you really want to waste our time together with drawn out explanations of details that would only bore you and can hardly matter now anyway. What does matter is that you were always going to be my masterpiece, from the moment I saw you eking out a living at the Bus Stop, from the moment I saw you watching me, so much like me and yet so different. After you, I’ll leave this country sated and begin anew, just as I’d planned.” He trailed a finger across the fogged window, and then he turned to face me. “But you, my dear Seth, you will be my fondest memory, and oh how I’ll miss you.”

I shoved to my feet, and in my muddled efforts to walk stumbled right into his arms, which closed around me. He took my face in his hands and pressed his lips to mine breathing deep like I was fresh air.

I flailed and jerked, feeling like I was falling, and as the kiss deepened, I curled fists in the back of his shirt, just like poor Eleanor had done. Just like her I was no longer trying to push Jon away.

He eased me gently, carefully toward the bed, where he lay me down and looked me over, him the artist, me the work yet unfinished needing to be complete. Than he settled next to me pulling me close, the feel of him against me summer heat lightning and ozone before a storm. “Are you going to kill me now?” Somewhere deep in me there must have been fear, terror even, but the drug kept it far away.

“Does it matter, Seth?” He trailed kisses textured with teeth and tongue and breath over my throat, patiently cupping and stroking like we had all the time in the world. “Does it matter?”

“Not really, no.” I might have said the words, or maybe I just thought them, but the fear slipped still farther away along with the Bus Route and the smell of stale take aways and the rent overdue. My fists had fallen open, gone seeking, needing, touching. The sheets were clean. The space was warm. Ages later, I opened my eyes just enough to see his face haloed in moonlight, all soft and out of focus. And I was certain. It really didn’t matter. Not at all.

 

 

The Bus Route: Part VI

The Bus Route: Part VI of a brand new KDG story

I hope all of you are staying safe during lockdown. For me and many others, it feels like an opportunity to press the restart button in a world gone mad. For me this has been a time of intense writing and reading. Anyone who follows my blog loves to read or they wouldn’t be here. So I’m choosing this time to share a brand new KDG story that has never been made public before.

Be warned, this is a different kind of KDG story, a hybrid of erotica, crime and paranormal with a pinch of horror thrown in for good measure. I am sending you an instalment of The Bus Route once a week for seven weeks, so be sure to check in every Friday for a new instalment.

 

Sex in derelict buses. Who knew it was a thing?

A money-making thing for Seth Allen, who blackmails enthusiasts stepping out on their other half by catching the deed on cameras he’s rigged at a public transport scrap yard known by frequenters as the Bus Route. Sadly the paydays aren’t as regular as Seth would like until con artist, Jon Knight, suggests they team up. With Seth’s tech and Jon’s charm, the money rolls in and the future looks bright until their marks start disappearing mysteriously.

 

 

 

 

The Bus Route: Part VI

 

I didn’t go to Jon’s suite. I went home instead. I’d not been there in several days. I wasn’t sure how many. The place was cold and smelled like stale take aways. I took three nighttime cold tablets and crawled into bed, but my sleep was riddled with nightmares, a heaviness in my chest, a pillow pressed against my face. Then my soul was leaving my body, looking down from above only to discover that it was Claire Richardson’s body below me displayed like sleeping beauty on satin sheets. And then I was trapped inside Eleanor’s corpse, and there was no escape from her decaying flesh, and no one knew where I was.

I woke unrested, tangled in sweaty sheets. My head pounded and everything ached. I crawled into a tracksuit I taken off days ago and sat bleary-eyed looking at a text from Jon.

You were asleep when I found you. I left you to it. Breakfast on the counter. Eat something. You look thin. 

I ignored the bakery bag in the kitchen. The thought of food nauseated me. I took more cold tablets instead. The TV droned background noise as I leaned against the counter making tea. There was no milk in the fridge and I didn’t feel like getting any.

“The body of missing mining heiress, Eleanor Willis St. Charles was found early this morning at a scrap yard in greater London,” the announcer said.

I burnt my tongue on the tea and slopped the cup on the counter as I fumbled to turn up the volume.

“Authorities have released no further details at present,” the announcer went on.

It had to be the Bus Route. It was too much of a coincidence not to be.

When no more information was forthcoming, I pulled up my laptop. With no illusions about being a good citizen, I never paid much attention to current events, until now. The news of Eleanor’s death was all over the web. There were no new details, but lots of stories about the woman’s past and her unhappy relationships with hubby and daddy. And then there were the comments.

You can’t tell me this isn’t another Incubus killing.

Got to be the Incubus Killer. Willis St. Charles was a looker.

In spite of police efforts to keep things quiet, most commenters suspected the Bus Route was the crime scene.

Honestly,one comment said, who would even risk a hook up at a place like that with the Incubus Killer out there?

I didn’t live in a vacuum, but I had little time for news when I was busy trying to keep a roof over my head. I never even looked at a newspaper before I met Jon, but clearly I had missed the bigger picture.

When I Googled Incubus, there were dozens of hits, some giving definitions varying in length and detail, of the mythological male demon who came to people in their dreams and drained them of their life force while impregnating the women who survived. Most of the hits, however, were about the serial killer who had been plaguing the more sleazy bars and meat markets in Greater London for almost a year.

Autopsies always showed that there had been sex not long before the time of death, which as far as coroners could tell was consensual. Any sign of struggle was more in line with kink rather than rape. The truly strange thing about the deaths was that there were never any visible causes. Police suspected the killer might be a chemist or a doctor who knew how to cover his tracks. So far there was no real evidence other than the rising body count of people who shouldn’t be dead.

It was when I saw the images of the victims that my stomach gave up the battle for containment, and I spent the next ten minutes on the bathroom floor hugging the toilet. When there was nothing left to puke and my legs would finally support me again, I forced myself back to the laptop. While I didn’t recognize them all, there were at least four victims I was certain I’d seen and several more that looked familiar. All of them had passed through the Bus Stop. All of them had been with Jon. I had watched him seduce them, I had admired his finesse, his grace. I had even considered studying his technique and trying it myself. But I had none of his charm and good looks, none of his skill at seduction.

According to the articles, the victims of the Incubus Killer were always found displayed in some cross between strange funeral rites and works of art, always with a great deal of care and tenderness and lots of symbolism that baffled police. I recalled the strange way Jon had behaved when we found Claire Richardson dead, almost like he wasn’t surprised. But bloody hell, if it was Jon, why did he bring me there? If it was him. But it had to be him, didn’t it? There were too many coincidences.

An update popped up on the site I was reading. Police were interviewing people who frequented the Bus Stop. Just like that, all doubt disappeared. Surely that explained why Jon had come to me when he certainly didn’t need my help. Were my videos trophies? Did he want to capture the act for posterity? Was that the only reason Jon had involved me? It hurt that he used me like a fool when I thought he admired me. I thought we had a bond, even if it was just the bond between thieves. When the light bulb finally went on, it was all I could do not to puke again. He was toying with me. Had been all along, and the only plausible reason he had sought me out was that I was his next victim! Christ! Had he been drugging me all along? I thought back over the few weeks I’d known him. I wasn’t fond of wine, and I never drank when I was working. I couldn’t afford to. And yet somehow, even after Eleanor disappeared, I had convinced myself I’d celebrated our successes a little too hard and was hung over. Then there were the flu symptoms that only went away when I was feeling drunk and euphoric, only when Jon was around. And the nightmares – me who never remembered dreams! With a shiver I recalled last night’s horror fest. This couldn’t be happening. I thought he was my friend.

 

The Bus Route: Part V

The Bus Route: Part V of a brand new KDG story

I hope all of you are staying safe during lockdown. For me and many others, it feels like an opportunity to press the restart button in a world gone mad. For me this has been a time of intense writing and reading. Anyone who follows my blog loves to read or they wouldn’t be here. So I’m choosing this time to share a brand new KDG story that has never been made public before.

Be warned, this is a different kind of KDG story, a hybrid of erotica, crime and paranormal with a pinch of horror thrown in for good measure. I am sending you an instalment of The Bus Route once a week for seven weeks, so be sure to check in every Friday for a new instalment.

 

Sex in derelict buses. Who knew it was a thing?

A money-making thing for Seth Allen, who blackmails enthusiasts stepping out on their other half by catching the deed on cameras he’s rigged at a public transport scrap yard known by frequenters as the Bus Route. Sadly the paydays aren’t as regular as Seth would like until con artist, Jon Knight, suggests they team up. With Seth’s tech and Jon’s charm, the money rolls in and the future looks bright until their marks start disappearing mysteriously.

 

 

 

 

The Bus Route: Part V

 

“This her fuck pad?” I asked.

“It’s for when she needs to stay over in the city, so probably, yes.”

He’d told me she was a banker or a broker or some such. He poured me a whisky and we drank in silence. I glanced back at her room. “How long do you think she’ll be?”

“Why?” He eyed me wickedly. “Someone make you a better offer?”

I chuckled, trying for suave, but just sounding nervous. “For this,” I patted the envelope tucked inside my jacket, “I’ll stay all night if she wants.”

“Half the fun is the dance, Seth, and you and I are doing the tango.”

“She has been in there a long time though.”

He shrugged it off. “You know women with their makeup, especially if a camera’s involved.”

I sat on the sofa and leafed through a copy of the day’s Telegraph. “Looks like they still haven’t found Eleanor.” I tossed the paper aside. “She was a nice lady.”

Jon came and sat next to me. “I’m sorry it upsets you so.”

“Doesn’t it upset you?”

“Of course it does, but all we can do is hope she’s all right.” He laid an unsolicited hand on my forehead. “You feel feverish again. Seth, you’ve got to let go of this misplaced sense of guilt over something we have no control over. Oh it’s natural under the circumstances, but it’s making you ill, and I don’t want you ill. I want you to enjoy the ride.” He stood and offered me his hand, pulling me up off the sofa. “Come on, let’s go check on our porn star, then after, I’ll take you back to my suite and see that you take care of yourself.”

He knocked softly on the bedroom door. “Claire, darling, are you all right? She’s probably passed out cold, and you’ll still have time for that better offer,” he whispered over his shoulder to me.

Sure enough, Mrs. Richardson lay sprawled across her bed. She’d stripped out of the power suit leaving only silky black knickers with a matching bra and dark stockings with suspenders. A few tendrils of expensive blond hair escaped her chignon and curled around her face.

“Isn’t she lovely?” Jon sounded like he was admiring the Mona Lisa rather than an aging executive fighting to hold on to her beauty in a world that devalued her more every minute she aged. With a guilty start, I realized that Jon didn’t devalue her. He really meant it.

“Yeah, she is,” I replied.

“Well come on then, my darling, let’s get you tucked in.” Jon sat on the edge of the bed, pulled her to him and then froze.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” The hair on my neck stiffened, and I knew when I saw the pallor of her skin, the blue tinge around her lips. “She’s dead, isn’t she?” I swallowed bile and stepped back toward the door. “Bloody hell, Jon, she’s dead! What the fuck are we gonna do?”

“First of all, we’re not going to panic.” To my surprise, he leaned forward, pressing a kiss to the woman’s lips before he settled her tenderly onto the mound of pillows. Then he carefully lifted her into his arms and rearranged her so he could pull the duvet up over her, gently tugging and tucking as he did so. For an eternity he sat silently stroking her cheek. All the while I fought not to panic or be sick, or both. I mean respect for the dead was one thing, but we had just conned this woman, and Jon’s behavior was kind of creepy. “Pleasant dreams my darling,” he said at last.

“Surely we can’t just leave her. Besides our fingerprints are all over, Jesus, Jon, at the very least we’re implicated.”

Still he didn’t move, only sat there stroking the dead woman’s face. The longer he didn’t move, the more I wanted to run away. At last he spoke. “Go back to the suite Seth. You’re not well. I’ll take care of her.”

When I didn’t move, he took in a deep breath, then stood slowly, as though the act itself took a great deal of control. When he turned to me, his face was set in hard angles, his eyes cold like I’d never seen them. Maybe it was just the shit situation, but the fight or flight instinct kicked in, and I turned to run, but I stumble over my own feet suddenly dizzy. And then he was there, gripping me around the arm, the hard lines softening, his gaze once more warm, filled with sympathy. “Go back to the suite,” he said again. And when I still didn’t move, he cupped my face in cool hands. “Listen to me, Seth, you’re not well. I shouldn’t have pushed you to this job so soon. I should have let you recover a little more thoroughly. He slipped an arm around me and walked me to the door. “I’ll call a cab to take you home. Just get some rest and don’t worry. I’ll be there soon.”

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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