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An Unexpected Encounter with Alonso Darlington 2nd Entry

I first shared my little encounter with Alonso Darlington when the novella, Landscapes was published as a part of the wonderful m/m Brit Boys: On Boys boxed set. For those of you who’ve read my online serial, In The Flesh, Alonso is a familiar character, but his story starts long before In The Flesh. and Landscapes is his first public appearance and, one — as you’ll see from the tale I began to share with you last week, he isn’t overly happy about. I felt with the release of Landscapes as a stand-alone novella coming up very shortly, it might serve as a warning to all of you  who choose to delve into the private life of a vampire. I’m risking Alonso’s displeasure again by sharing the tale, which I began last week. I’ll share the last entry just before the release of Landscapes, the novella, on May 24.

 

Read and be warned

 

An Unexpected Encounter with Alonso Darlington: 2nd Entry

 

 

LandscapesI remember only one time in my life when I woke up with no memory of what had happened to me, and that was in the recovery room following a major surgery. This time, I woke battling a heavy duvet and found myself in a … tent? It was winter. Why would I possibly be in a tent? By then I’d regained enough of my wits that I realized I was in a bed, a heavy antique bed with velvet curtains pulled around it to shut out the light, and the tight little space around me smelled of strange spices laced with a musky outdoorsy scent I couldn’t quite place. A peek outside the curtain revealed sharply-angled sunlight falling anemically across stone floors and Turkish carpets. The heavy wardrobe and bureau in the room matched the dark wood of the bed. I appeared to be alone.

 

It was then that the memories flooded back to me, and my heart battered my ribs as I grabbed for my throat, cursing in spastic breathless whispers. With trembling fingers, I examined the place where Alonso Darlington’s lips had been, where his tongue had been, but there were no bite marks I could feel. Christ! Surely he wouldn’t bite me. Why the hell would he bite me? The Alonso Darlington I knew – well the one I’d written about at least – would not have brought me to his own home and bit me against my will. But then until last night, I thought Darlington nothing but a character I’d dreamed up for a story.

 

I stumbled from the bed, caught my foot in the duvet and fell on my arse. A frantic look around showed an open door through which I could see the dark blue tiles of a bathroom. When I couldn’t find my clothes, I wrapped myself in the duvet and stumbled to the sink. A close inspection in the mirror showed no evidence of bite marks. Then I remembered that the neck wasn’t the only place that Alonso bit people. I dropped the duvet, then twisting and turning like a contortionist, I checked every part of me I could see in the mirror. Then I plopped down on the edge of the claw foot tub to check my legs and groin.

 

‘Don’t worry, K D, he didn’t bite you.’

 

I yelped and nearly upended myself in the tub as I looked up to find Talia standing in the door dressed in a red cashmere sweater and black jeans. I quickly grabbed for the duvet to cover myself.

 

She shook her head and offered me a wicked smile. ‘If he had bitten you, he’d have wanted you to know in detail exactly what it felt like.’ She leaned closer and the smile became dangerous. ‘He’d have wanted you to enjoy the experience completely.’

 

She looked me up and down. ‘Me, I wouldn’t have cared if you’d known what I was doing to you, but just for your peace of mind,’ she leaned closer still, and once again I nearly fell into the tub trying to avoid her touch, ‘I was otherwise occupied last night.’

 

I stood up clutching the duvet tightly around me. ‘Then what happened?’ I managed to sound almost calm. ‘Because I don’t remember anything after he …’

 

Her lips quirked into something that wasn’t a smile exactly, and I felt a chill snake down my spine. ‘You’ll have to ask Alonso.’ She nodded back to the room. ‘Cook has made breakfast,’ she chuckled, ‘though you’ve slept half the day away. You’ll find your bag has been unpacked and your clothes hung in the wardrobe. I’ll take you to Alonso when you’re ready. In the meantime make yourself at home.’ She turned and left.

 

I ate like a starving woman, like someone who had been … kept up all night. But surely I would have remembered if that had been the case. After a quick shower, I discovered that my make-up bag and toiletries were on the dressing table near the big window but my shoulder bag and my mobile were nowhere to be found. That left me with an uneasy feeling. Though Raymond had known I was coming to Cumbria, he would be worried if he didn’t hear from me.

 

Once dressed, I was surprised to find the door to the room not locked. I thought about making a run for it, but one look out the window at the frozen landscape with the heavy cloudbank rolling in over the fells, and the fact that I also couldn’t find the heavy coat from last night made me reconsider. On top of that, I was reminded again that I had no idea where I was, nor had I recognized the route by which I’d arrived last night. I thought I’d recognized the hulking shape of Scafell Pike from the window, but even that was lost behind the cloudbank. I was completely turned around.

 

 

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There was no time for a Plan B. Talia shoved open the door without a knock, inspected me with a gaze that made my knees weak, then she smiled. ‘Come on. Alonso’s waiting for you.’ What choice did I have? I followed her into an unadorned stone corridor that smelled dusty and muddy with the scent of heavy renovations in progress rather than the scent of age. She led me down a steep stone staircase claustrophobic in its tight twists and turns, and treacherous in its smoothly warn steps. The deeper the stairs descended, the closer the walls became. I’m not fond of tight places, and by the time the space opened out into a pleasant well-renovated sub-basement, I was having a bit of trouble breathing.

 

‘It’s several hours till dusk,’ Talia said, noticing my distress. ‘That being the case, this is where you’ll have to meet Alonso.’ She offered a throaty giggle. ‘You were right in your written accounts, hon, no coffins, not for Alonso at least.’ Without preamble, she opened a heavy wooden door that screeched against the stone floor, stepped back and nodded me in. I stumbled and nearly ran into Reese who was leaving in a hurry. He didn’t seem pleased.

 

He grabbed me by the shoulders to keep me from stumbling. ‘I’m very sorry about this, Ms Grace,’ he offered Alonso a hard glare, ‘but he’s a pigheaded prick at times.’ Then he glared at Talia and shoved his way past. I could hear the clumping of his heavy boots receding as he ascended the stairs. Then I turned to see Alonso fighting back a smile.

 

‘I’m afraid Reese is right, K D,’ he said, giving me the same once-over Talia had only minutes before. ‘I am a pigheaded prick at times, and until I get to the bottom of how you uncovered even my existence let alone such a … vivid view into my private life, I shall continue to be so.’ He nodded to a wingback leather chairs in front of the huge desk behind which he now sat. I settled reluctantly, more than happy for the comforting expanse of the desk between us.

 

For a long moment, he studied me without speaking, then he leaned over his desk and offered a genuine smile. ‘Did you sleep well, K D?’

 

Strangely enough I realized I had slept very well, or at least I certainly felt very well rested. Before I could answer, he shot Talia a quick glance and continued. ‘Did you have … pleasant dreams.’

 

The skin on my arms rippled with gooseflesh. I shivered in spite the warmth of the room, which looked more like the library of a wealthy English manor house than a room in the sub basement of a crumbling ruin. ‘I don’t remember dreaming at all,’ I said, glancing over my shoulder as Talia came forward and settled into the chair next to mine.

 

Alonso made no response, and neither did Talia, but I could feel all eyes on me. I forced myself to sit perfectly still as though I wasn’t bothered by the gaze of two alpha predators who could, and might have already, done anything they wanted to me, who now were staring at me like I was lunch. Of course I couldn’t do anything about my galloping heart nor my sweaty palms.

 

At last Alonso heaved a sigh, and I found myself wondering if vampires breathed. I’d read conflicting stories, and in all honesty, I couldn’t remember if the Alonso in my account breathed or not. Christ, if I’d had any idea I’d be meeting him in person I’d have paid more attention. My thoughts were quickly refocused completely on his person when I realized he had somehow, in a heartbeat, come from behind the desk to lean over me, and I definitely felt his breath on my face, warm and sort of spicy, a scent that brought with it intimations of wild remote places. I froze. It wasn’t like I could have Dale Head Pivotal location for Elemental Firedone anything else. He mantled me as though he were a bird of prey and I was a fresh kill.

 

‘You’re telling the truth,’ he said, smoothing my hair behind my ears and cupping my face so I had no choice but to meet his gaze, an act which in and of itself felt like falling off a cliff on the high fells. ‘You honestly believe the story you’ve written about Reese and me is just that, just a work of fiction.’

 

I fought for breath. ‘I would never violate anyone by putting their private life into my stories. Ever.’ There was no keeping my voice steady. In truth, there was no keeping my body steady. I was shaking like a leaf.

 

‘No. Of course you wouldn’t,’ he said, his thumb gently raking across my bottom lip, which did nothing to ease my breathing. His dark eyes flashed over to Talia. ‘Which brings us back to the question at hand. How could you have possibly known the truth of what you wrote?’

 

Talia only shrugged and held his gaze. ‘Interrogate me if you want. I told you it wasn’t me. If I’d visited her bed and shared with her, I’d have taken a great deal of pleasure in sharing it with you, Alonso.’

 

What happened next I still can’t believe, and it’s not easy for me to write about. I’m used to writing sex and violence in fiction because I’m always safely removed from those acts that evolve in my imagination. But this … this was an encounter in which I found myself the accidental voyeur, way more up close and personal than I ever hope to be again.

 

In a heartbeat, Alonso pulled Talia up from her chair. I heard her breath catch, heard the bones in her neck pop in the violence of his efforts. Then with a single tug of his fist, he ripped open the front of her sweater and shoved it aside. I think I might have yelped. Not that anyone noticed. Talia gasped, but in that gasp I heard no surprise. She was naked beneath the torn cashmere, and in less than a heartbeat, Alonso pulled her into a back-breaking embrace, cupped her right breast and … brought his mouth down onto the swell of it high above her heavy nipple.

 

One of them, maybe both of them growled, and as he jerked her closer, I could see the garnet welling up of her blood just before his tongue slid over it, just before his mouth closed around it in a sound that was not unlike a lover’s passionate kiss. And then, I swear, the color of her eyes changed just before she closed them and fisted one well-manicured hand into his hair effectively holding him to her in an act no less intimate and no less violent than his own. Her other hand snaked around his waist and burrowed beneath his tailored black shirt and up his spine.

 

His response to her touch on his bare flesh was a quick, but violent convulsing of muscles until I feared he’d break bones. Then he groaned and shivered. I remember wondering at that moment if her touch had made him orgasm. I remember thinking I should look away, that I should leave them to whatever strange disturbing intimacy this was, but I couldn’t look away. I knew at that moment that to do so was physically impossibly. Then, to my horror, I felt as though I were the third party in the joining. No, that’s not really a good explanation. I felt as though I wasn’t there at all. I felt as though one second I was Talia being bled by Alonso’s powerful predatory kiss, being nursed upon by his warm lips; and the next I was Alonso being touched, in far deeper places than his bare flesh, being taken over by the succubus. And when I was sure I would pass out from that strange sense of terror and arousal that I couldn’t quite imagine existing in the same instant, Alonso pulled away, stumbled backward against his desk, his eyes still locked on the succubus, and Talia fell back into the chair with a little sigh.

 

Wiping his mouth and bracing himself on the edge of the desk, he moved back to his own chair. Talia sat straight and square shouldered next to me catching her breath. She made no effort to cover herself and I could see the bite marks bruised blue and bright red above her nipple. ‘Are you satisfied now?’ she asked, sounding as though she’d just been britboysonboys cover imageout fell running.

 

He scrubbed a hand over his face, then looked from her to me and back again. ‘If not you, then who, Talia? How the hell did she know?’

 

‘Don’t be daft, Alonso. You know how. You just don’t want to admit it.’ Then she stood and exited the room with way more dignity than someone who had had her shirt ripped off by a vampire should have been able to manage. It was only with the door screaking closed across the stone floor that I suddenly remembered, I was alone with Alonso Darlington.

 

 

Preorder Landscapes now

Available for download 24th May

 

Landscapes is Now Available for Preorder! Alonso Darlington Responds to the News

LandscapesLandscapes is up for preorder!

 

What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Those were the first words out of Alonso Darlington’s mouth. Even over the phone and calling from the safe distance of the Lake District (or at least I hoped he was) talking to the only vampire I’d had a close encounter with gave me a rise of goose bumps, and the sudden acceleration of my pulse was from more than knowing who and what he was. It was from knowing why he was, once again, unhappy with me.

 

My M/M novella, Landscapes, just went up for preorder, with a launch date set for 24th May. I have to admit I’m very excited about it, but I truly figured Alonso had forgotten about my sharing of his story and forgotten about me in general. Apparently vampires have long memories. He wasn’t happy when the novella was first published as a part of the fabulous M/M Boxed Set, Brit Boys: On Boys. I don’t know what made me think he’d be happy about me publishing it as a stand-alone.

 

“How’s Reese?” I asked, hoping to distract him. My voice came out a breathless squeak. “What about Talia? Tell her hi for me.” Talia was his friend and the resident succubus at High View, his remote, crumbling fortress in the Lakeland Fells, and even though she was at least as scary as he was, I sort of felt like she was my ally … kind of.

 

“Don’t try to change the subject Ms. Grace. You know I don’t like you splashing my private life all over your books for the whole world to read. I thought we’d come to an … understanding.”

 

The understanding was sort of that maybe he wouldn’t drain me dry or rip my throat out, maybe, if I went home and didn’t push the issue any further. But seriously, I was never really sure if I dreamed his invitation (more like demand) to visit him at his Lakeland home, or if the whole being all but held prisoner there for a weekend was just a fantasy. I mean Talia is a succubus, after all. Clearly I wasn’t dreaming this time though. Landscapes is up for pre-order and the vampire on the phone was not happy about it.

 

“It’s already done, Alonso, I can’t take it back.”

 

“And this woman… what is it you call her, Evil Publicist, Lucy Felthouse person, she helped you, did she not?”

 

I felt a chill. “Leave Lucy out of this. She’s only done what I’ve asked her to do.”

 

“Oh I like her,” he said. “She’s sexy and smart. Talia would like her too, I’m sure. I can imagine she’d be … very tasty.”

 

My pulse jumped into overtime. “Alonso, please, it’s only pre-orders, and yours is a great story, one that should be shared. Besides no one will ever find your place if you don’t want them too; you know that. Please, leave Lucy out of this. She was …”

 

The soft velvet of his laugh in my ear brought me up short. “Oh don’t you worry, Ms. Grace, Talia has threatened me with nightmares and Reese, he’s threatened to … well let’s just say, I don’t relish the absence of his … personal attentions, so your EP is safe. Thanks to you, my whole household is in rebellion against me, should I cause you problems, never mind the problems your Landscapes may cause me. However,” his voice turned cold enough to make me shiver, “if me or mine suffer even the slightest invasion of our privacy because of your little … expose, well let’s just say, I’m quite fond of a pint of A positive on occasion. You’ve been warned, my darling scribe.”

 

The device went dead, my knees went weak and I all but fell into the recliner by the door, phone white-knuckled in my hand. I’d just about managed to stop the shakes when my device pinged an incoming text, and my heart was off and racing again as I read it.

 

Good luck with the preorders of Landscapes my darling. Don’t worry about Alonso. He won’t harm you. If you like, I’m happy to help with your PR and marketing, though. Shall I give nightmares to anyone who doesn’t preorder Landscapes, or would it be better to give sexy dreams to those who do? Just kidding!  

Talia xxx

 

*****

 

Preorder Landscapes Now (and get seriously sexy dreams FREE)

(Coming 24th May 2016)

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Landscapes Blurb:

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

Note: Landscapes has been previously released as part of the Brit Boys: On Boys boxed set.

 

Landscapes Excerpt:

The moonlight was bright and Reese’s night vision was good, but the path was rocky and steep. He stumbled and went down on his arse, catching himself on one elbow and cursing as the sensation of pins and needles shot up his arm. He forced his way to his feet slipping and sliding the last hundred meters on the dew-drenched stones. He was just about to call out, just about to shout Alonso’s name when the man moaned softly and Reese stopped in his tracks. Not only was Alonso no longer curled on his side, but the man was naked. He lay flat on his back, his knees bent, bare feet resting on the bench, one arm flung over his face, the other curved down low across his belly, his fisted hand moving up and down the length of his cock.

Reese froze, unable to move, unable to breathe. Alonso Darlington was beautiful, like no one he’d ever seen. His body was sculpted, not like polished marble, but with the ruggedness of the rocks of the fells, like he labored to be free from himself, like one of Michelangelo’s prisoners. The muscles of his belly tensed and relaxed and convulsed and relaxed again in response to his stroking. The movement of muscle beneath skin on his biceps and his forearms, on the rise and fall of his chest, on the tensing of the chorded muscles in his neck and throat as he swallowed was like a hypnotic dance. The muscles in his thighs twitched and bulged as he rocked and arched upward until Reese could see the clenched half-domes of his buttocks. He could smell the nutmeg and yeast scent of his heat, charged through with the crackle of ozone. He stood frozen on the spot, his own cock responding to the sensory overload, even as his brain demanded he give the man his privacy, demanded with a sense of half-frightened urgency that he leave as quietly as he could, but it was too late.

Alonso’s arm fell away from his face and Reese could feel the nearly physical press of his gaze.

I’m sorry,’ he managed around a tongue that felt too big for his mouth. ‘I saw you, and I thought that … I’ll go now,’ but even as he said it, Reese stepped forward, feeling reeled into the man like a fish on a line. Alonso eased himself up on one elbow, not taking his hand off his cock, not taking his eyes off Reese. ‘I should leave,’ Reese croaked, but instead he stepped nearer.

In a move that was not quite human in its grace, Alonso sat up and nodded to the bench next to him.

Cautiously Reese sat down struggling to keep his eyes off the man’s cock. He could still feel Alonso’s gaze on him as though he were the one who was naked. ‘I thought … When I saw you out here, lying on the bench at this hour … I was worried.’

‘That’s very kind of you, Reese, but there’s nothing wrong with me. My … afflictions, don’t trouble me much. I’m not ill. In truth, I’m the epitome of health. I’m just … different.’

‘I’m sorry. Of course you would be out after dark. I didn’t mean to offend you. I’ll go now.’ But before he could stand, Alonso’s hand shot behind his head with lightning speed, fingers curling in Reese’s sleep-mussed hair, and in that instant of reaction, the second Reese gasped for his breath, the man’s mouth was on his, warm and hard and terrifying in its command, a command Reese could do little but respond to. Even as fear battled lust low in his belly, he parted his lips, opened his mouth, welcomed the search and conquest of Alonso’s tongue, his own the white flag that instinctively yielded all else beyond the breach, all territories beyond the invasion.

 

Demon Interrupted, the Novel, now Available on Amazon!

FB Kindle new release demon interrupted the right cover

 

I know I promised part two of Mr. Sands today, but I just have to take time out to crow about my new release! That’s right! Demon Interrupted, the continuation of the Lakeland Witches saga, is now a unified novel you can buy on Amazon!

 

Mr. Sands will continue tomorrow. 

 

Sometimes a secondary character in a novel I’m writing intrigues me so much that even  after the novel is finished, I can’t stop thinking about him or her. Most of you know that’s what happened with Wade Crittenden in the Executive Decisions series. He was just too intriguing not to revisit. The same is true with Ferris Ryder from the Lakeland Witches trilogy. From the moment he appeared on the scene in the second Lakeland book, Riding the Ether, capable of making himself completely unnoticed, while at the same time possessing amazing skills he has no idea how he got, I wanted to know what his story was, so I decided to do my first ever online serial, with a new episode of Ferris’ story coming out on my blog every three weeks, timed to finish on Halloween, as any good paranormal series would. It was my first aerial, but by no means my last.

 

And now, at last, Ferris and Elaine’s story will be coming out altogether, expanded and enhanced into a novel for Xcite Books. What started out as a serial and a novella is now the 4th book in the Lakeland Witches trilogy, and I can’t tell you how pleased I am and excited to make Ferris’ story available to everyone in eBook format.

Demon Interrupted Blurb:

 

Ferris Ryder has a choice to make. He can reclaim the past, which he now consciously keeps from his memories or he can let all that he fears to remember destroy the present and the Elemental Coven he has come to love. Has the mysterious Elaine come into his life to be his guiding angel or will she tear his world, and that of his coven family, apart?

 

 

xcite1DEMON INTERRUPTEDeditDemon Interrupted Excerpt:

 

In a room full of people Ferris could remain totally unnoticed. It was almost as though he were invisible. He heard things that way, saw things that others missed. Fiori suspected that was part of his magic. However, at the moment, he was completely and totally the centre of her attention as his warm, wet tongue teased its way down and around the pucker peaks and the rapid rise and fall of her breasts. One splayed hand cupped and fondled her tight pubic curls while the other worried open his fly. What he was doing to her body was also a part of his magic and way more of a surprise, considering the man’s unassuming nature, than his ability to blend in.

 

She writhed beneath him totally naked, just as she had been when he entered her room, gently easing her out of a bad dream, back into the Waking World, and into his arms. She didn’t know where he’d been before he came to her. The man seldom slept — and him not even a ghost. He might have adjourned to the library after the rest of the house had entered the Dream World, or perhaps he had been in Skye’s bed sharing pleasure with her and Alice. He was generous with his affections. But then he’d hardly fit in at Elemental Cottage if he were otherwise.

 

How he had known she was having the dream again? How had he known about the dream at all? And yet he did, and she was glad that he came to her. ‘Sh! sh. It’s only a dream, Fiori,’ he whispered. ‘Only a dream.’ He’d brought her a glass of water from the bathroom and had returned with a soft white towel. While she drank as though she had just traversed the desert, he gently wiped the perspiration from her face and her shoulders. Then he took the glass away and moved the soft terrycloth knap in slow lazy circles down her back and her ribs as she slid into his arms, laying her head against his shoulder.

 

‘Do you want me to stay with you?’ he asked.

 

She only nodded, tightening her arms around his neck.

 

His black shirt was open and untucked and his nipples hardened as she slid her arms inside and up his back.

 

‘Do you want me to make love to you?’ He asked it as simply as a parent would ask a child if she would like a bedtime story. He asked it because he knew in a house where sex magic was practiced, healing came in the form of passion, and she nodded again because she knew that too. His cock was already hard, but then she had noticed that it often was. In those times when he allowed attention to be drawn to himself, in those times when he made his presence known he neither attempted to hide his erection nor did he attempt to flaunt it. It was the ease and the comfort of which he wore his own masculinity that made him seem like a much larger man than he really was. In spite of his chameleon nature, he was not shy by any means, and his stamina and his finesse made him a welcome edition to the beds of all of the Elemental witches and their consorts.

 

Impatient for the feel of him freed, she shoved at his trousers, the scrape of the zipper seeming unusually loud in the quiet room. He ran his hand down to aid her as she worried his cock free. He was neither large nor small. Even his cock was nothing unusual to draw attention to itself, and yet there was no one at Elemental Cottage who didn’t relish the thought of Ferris between their legs, of Ferris shifting and grinding as though his unassuming penis had a secret magic all its own once properly sheathed in an appreciative pussy or mouth or arsehole.

 

His breath caught with a grunt as she fisted the length of him and she could almost feel the ripples of lust rising up the vertebrae of his spine. For a second he wrapped his hand around hers and shifted his hips. Then he pulled her fingers free, kissing each one of them, running his tongue in ticklish strokes over the tips, making her hips rock against the mattress. ‘I’m going to taste you now. I can already smell how good you’ll be.’ With a wriggle of his arse and a shove with his feet he shed his trousers as he crawled down between her thighs, nudging her open with the smoothly shaven wedge of his jaw, clearing the way with nose and lips, teeth and tongue. The humidity of his breath blew across her clit, which rose up in anticipation.

 

‘There,’ he said, his fingers parting her as agiley and exactingly as if he were a pianist and she were his instrument. For an age he studied her, fingered her, arranged her as though there were only one way, the best way to approach her dark, heavy folds, and he would not partake until he knew exactly what would bring all of her focus, all of her energy, all of her arousal to the very centre of his attention. ‘And now –’ his words were little more than a rush of breath ‘–I’ll give you what you need.’ He took her with his whole mouth, hunched over her like a lion at his prey, the muscles of his shoulders flexed tight, dusted and gilded in moonlight. And she felt the bloom of her arousal like a bud swelling, bursting, opening. Then the bloom became an explosion rising up from someplace suspended above the base of her spine. He held her hips, held her steady with strength his body belied as she bucked against his mouth, as she convulsed, as the moon moved in and out amid the undulation of slate clouds.

 

In the hazy vision of heat he seemed larger than himself, much larger than himself as though his arousal, their arousal together had released something broader of shoulder, deeper of chest, darker of memory and, as the moon disappeared, the power of him rose like a shadow thick and all-consuming and, somehow, other than himself. The hair on the back of her neck rose. Gooseflesh prickled over her breasts, even as she rocked out her orgasm against his mouth.

 

But before the tingle of uncertainty and the edge of fear could take hold, the moon reappeared and unassuming Ferris gave her clit on last hard tug with his lips and then rose over her, positioning himself, easing her open with his knees and his hips.

 

‘I need you in me,’ she said, her voice nearly lost in her struggle for oxygen.

 

‘A need which I share,’ came his urgent reply. It took no more than the tucking of his hips and a single thrust and he was in deep. She was slick and ready for him, gripping him as though she hadn’t just come, as though she were desperate for him to take her. With arms much stronger than they looked, he lifted her legs around his hips and castlerigg6positioned himself so that with each thrust he raked her clit, and she could almost swear that in the stark relief of moonlight and shadow his eyes were onyx black and yet bright, so bright. Even in the glow of a nearly full moon, he road her in the light of an after image that made no sense, and she was reminded that not even Ferris understood his own magic. The closer they both came to orgasm the larger and heavier the after image grew. And the larger the after image, the harder they strained for release. When orgasm broke over them, so did the shadow, consuming them for the briefest of moments and then receding behind their own efforts to recover themselves taking with it Fiori’s urge to speak of it, to question it.

 

Buy Link for Demon Interrupted:

 

In The Flesh Part 8: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567Happy Friday Everyone! And the story sizzles with part 8 of my dark paranormal story, In The Flesh. Angels and demons, gods and monsters, sex and terror; when the boundaries are not clear, the journey can be deadly. But can the price be worth the paying?

In the Flesh  is very dark paranormal erotica. When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.

Episode 8 burns with lust and chills with dark secrets. Happy Reading! 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6, Part 7.

 

In The Flesh: Part 8

I stretched up just enough to brush his lips with mine. My nipples grazed his chest, warm and still bare from his own shower. The tingle of flesh against flesh coursed through me. Michael wasn’t in my head, he wasn’t in my imagination. I could see firelight dancing over the rise and fall of a masculine landscape. I could smell him, the clean shower scent mingling with the tang of body heat. I could smell the ozone and musk of his arousal, could almost taste the yeasty humid spiking of his desire at the back of my tongue. I nearly wept with the solid muscle and bone feel of him – the bulging of a bicep as he lifted his hand to curl fingers in my wet hair, the tensing of his thighs as he shifted beneath me, the straining against the soft denim of his jeans — the very solid promise that his need was at least as great as my own.

His mouth was both hard and soft, yielding to mine, intuiting my every move, tongue and lips, teeth and jaw. Was it because he was an angel, I wondered, and my insides knotted at the thought, ice blooming next to fire. Did he also have some way of manipulating my needs, kindling my lust until I felt like I would burn if I didn’t get relief? Did he also have some sinister purpose hidden from me? Had I not looked up at the cold stone of his image just before I was attacked? As though he read my thoughts, he tightened his fist in my hair and bit my lip making me shudder with as much pleasure as pain, then he raked his teeth down over my jaw to kiss and nuzzle my nape; there against the hammering of my pulse, he whispered, “there’s nothing supernatural happening here, Susan. I’m flesh and bone, just like you.” He trapped my palm low on his belly, and his night blue gaze locked on mine as he guided my hand down inside his waistband, sucking a harsh breath as I wriggled and twisted my fingers until I found him heavy and warm and smooth against my touch, like steel sheathed in silk.

Impatient as I was, I tore open his fly with an awkwardness worthy of a teenager, causing him to flinch and grind and lift his hips toward me as though that might ease my clumsiness, as though that might end his denim imprisonment more quickly. And when he was free in my hand, he bucked upward nearly landing me on the floor in his efforts to get his jeans down over his arse and kick them aside. Then, one hand still fisted in my hair as though he feared I might try to stop his mouth from gorging on mine, he tossed the forgotten towel across the room, cupped my buttocks in his hands and stood. I gave a little yelp of surprise and wrapped my arms and legs around his body, now as naked as my own. It was only a couple of steps to the bed, and he lowered me onto it with incredible control, still strategically positioned between my thighs with me grinding and shifting in a battle to get him where I needed him most. But he resisted, holding me completely and totally at his mercy. He nibbled the hollow of my throat as though there was no hurry, as though he could take all of eternity to explore my body, and he absolutely would if he decided to. He cupped and kneaded each of my breasts in turn stroking and tweaking until my nipples peaked and ached and tingled. Ignoring my squirming, what little I could manage from beneath him, embraced and held captive as I was, he slid a splayed hand down my belly and in between us opening me with thick, calloused fingers me, finding my need and stoking the flames, teasing me. In desperation, I reached for his erection, but he slapped my hand away and nipped my throat. “Be patient, Susan. I’m not about to mount you like an animal in rut. I understand flesh and blood, the drive of its life force. And,” he dropped a kiss onto my sternum, “I understand the deceit of divinity to which we’re all Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500vulnerable.”

“I don’t care! I don’t care, goddamn it!” My voice was rough and barely audible, my throat was dry and achy as my mouth formed the words, breathing them almost soundlessly into his mouth. “I’ve been waiting, needing, wanting since I got to Chapel House. Please don’t make me wait any longer.” And just when I was certain I’d go insane if I couldn’t get him inside me, just when I’d all but clawed a raw strip down his back and buttocks in an effort to get him where I needed him, he pulled away, rose up on his knees and looked down at me, breathing like he’d been running hard. “I don’t have to control your mind to pleasure your flesh. Say you want me, Susan, and I’ll know if you’re lying. I won’t take you until it’s me that you want, and not him.”

“Bloody hell,” I gasped, writhing beneath him like a python over a flame. “I want you, Michael, you fucking know that I want you. Please, don’t make me wait.”

And he didn’t.

I swallowed back the last word in a gasp with the bruising force of his first thrust, somewhere between pain and pleasure. It had been a long time since I’d had sex, and Michael was substantial. I felt myself stretched and full beyond full, aching and raw. He would have held himself there, moving carefully, giving me time to adjust, but I kicked him hard in the kidneys eliciting a soft grunt, then I grabbed his butt in a grip that involved plenty of fingernail, feeling the hiss of his breath against my face as I forced him deeper into me, as I rose up to meet him.

He got the message. Any gentleness he might have shown me evaporated in another hard thrust that threatened to tear me apart, and I cried out with the exquisite pain of it, almost too much, and yet not enough. After all that had happened, could there even ever be enough? The edge of that pain drove me to the anger, to the frustration I hadn’t known I’d been holding back ever since Annie and her lover had begun to toy with me Friday evening. I growled, I raged, I screamed. Michael fucked me, bruised me, ravaged me, and I welcomed the solid, battering ram, humanity of him, sweating and grunting and thrusting, hand fisted tight in my hair, mouth leaving bite marks on my breasts and shoulders, stubbled cheek abrading the soft skin along my throat and above my nipples. Each time he drove me to the edge, each time I held my breath ready and needing and teetering on the brink, he pulled back. Then he watched me writhe, listened to me curse him and beg him then curse him again. He watched me with hooded eyes, eyes full of hunger, but more than that, eyes full of something I was too desperate, too angry, too needy to interpret. And just when I was on the verge of tears, he’d mount me again, take me a little deeper, a little closer, sharpen the focus of my lust a little tighter, and pull back once more until I hated him, I loved him, I needed him, I threatened to kill him before he took me yet again.

When, after an eternity, he allowed me to come, it wasn’t the release I’d been expecting; it wasn’t something I fell over the edge into as my orgasms usually were. It was a tidal wave driven by a storm, battering me, shaking me, leaving me breaking me apart in its aftermath. And while I convulsed, helpless and weak beneath him, he took his own release in wrenching, sobbing grunts. As he collapsed on top of me, he gasped against my ear, “There, you see. I’ve marked you,” he slid now gentle finger across the bite mark already darkening above my left nipple. “You can’t belong to both of us, but you have to belong to one of us if you’re ever to be safe from the other.”

“What the fuck? Belong to you? What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

I tried to shove my way from under him but he held me tight, and let me struggle as though he barely noticed it. “I told you, we’ll fight him together, Susan. It’s the only way I know to win. He can’t take you if you’re tied to someone else,” he shrugged, “oh he’ll still try, but at least it’ll be much more difficult for him.”

“So that’s what all of this was about. You fucked me to mark me for battle, that’s it?” I tried again to shove him off, but he kissed me as though we were simply having a quiet post coital cuddle.

“I said I could help you, Susan, and there’s a lot more to helping you than just making you come.”

It was ridiculous that I should feel used by his revelation. I had been the one to use him, after all. Hadn’t I just wanted him to make me come? I mean sex with Michael was way better than masturbating, when I knew full-well I couldn’t have masturbated without giving Him more space inside my head. “Of course.” I avoided his gaze, which was 2015-06-30 11.40.57no easy task since he was still on top of me, inside me. “I forgot, you were at Chapel House on business, and tell me, am I a part of your plan for stealing whatever it is you’re trying to steal?’

“You’re help will make it easier,” he said, shifting his hips just enough to make me aware that he wasn’t getting any softer. He was an angel after all. Maybe that meant he was insatiable. Like it or not, my body responded to his shifting, but I forced myself to hold still. I would not be distracted.

“You said you marked me, well so did He, what about his marks?” I nodded to the fingerprint-shaped bruises on my biceps. “He left his marks before you did.”

“True, but his mark was given without your permission; fortunately I got you away before you gave in.” He placed a soft kiss on each bicep in turn and this time I did squirm.

Then his words sank in and I shivered in spite of the heat of his body still on top of me. “What do you mean you got to me before I gave in.”

The muscles along his jaw tensed and relaxed and he looked away. “You woke up in your own bed, didn’t you?”

I suddenly felt as though little insects were crawling up the back of my neck. “Christ, Michael, you were there last night? In the garden? You …”

“I took you back to your room and watched over you until the dream dissipated. If I hadn’t, it would have been more than a dream.” He met my gaze again. “If I hadn’t been there, then more than likely either you or your friend Annie would be dead by now and someone would be looking for a place to bury a body. I took you to your room and watched over you until morning, then everything else that happened, me showing up at the door and Annie throwing you out, well it was just a matter of timing.” He slid a warm finger along the blooming bite mark. “But this will make it easier for you.”

“Maybe so, but I still don’t belong to you,” I said shoving him with the flat of my hand. “I don’t belong to anyone.”

He rolled enough to the side so that he was no longer crushing me beneath his weight, but he stayed inside me, and he still refused to release me. “Gods never see it that way.”

“But He’s not a god, you told me that.”

“He thinks he is, and he shares a lot of common traits with the gods I’ve known. I suppose it’s possible he might be a bastard child of some lesser deity. But even if he’s not, entities connected with the earth, especially consecrated ground, have enough power to be pretty damn formidable, god or not. Whatever he is, he’s staked you as Graveyard angel 1his territory, and you don’t have much of a chance for fighting back unless you team up with someone who knows how to fight dirty.”

“And you know how to fight dirty because you’re an angel?” I asked.

This time he rolled completely off me and sat up on the edge of the bed, the long muscles of his back and shoulders gone stiff. “Michael?”

For a moment he said nothing. I could hear his breathing suddenly fast and shallow above the crackle of the fire. At last he took a deep breath and replied, “I know how to fight dirty because I was once his lover.”

 

In the Flesh Part 7: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567Happy Friday Everyone! And the plot thickens with part 7 of my dark paranormal story, In The Flesh. Angels and demons, gods and monsters, sex and terror; when the boundaries are not clear, the journey can be deadly. But can the price be worth the paying?

In the Flesh is a dark and sexy story that has had several incarnations in its shorter form, but never quite worked because it needed space to grow. I couldn’t think of a better place for it to grow than on my blog. In the Flesh is a blend of paranormal erotica and almost, but not quite … okay, quite possibly … horror. It’s had seven exciting weeks to unfold now, and it’s as much an adventure for me as I hope it is for my readers.  I know what’s happening only slightly before you do. Episode 7 is both the most chilling and the most sexy to date. That’s the writer’s humble opinion, of course. Read it for yourself and you decide! 

Happy Reading! 

 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3 & Part 4 Part 5Part 6

 

In The Flesh Part 7

“You’re an angel. The sculpture in the garden at Chapel House, it’s you, isn’t it?” The fact that the question sounded rose imagestotally insane seemed irrelevant considering the way the weekend had gone so far.

He shrugged and I watched as a blush climbed his throat spread across the tightening of his jaw and up his cheeks. “I’m retired,” he replied without looking at me. Then he added quickly, “The sculpture’s old. A friend of mine did it a long time ago, taking the piss really — especially by putting it there in that particular garden.” He ran a large hand through the fall of damp hair. “It’s her way of reminding me that I’m grounded now, tied to the earth just like every other mortal. No matter what I was, at the end of the day, I’m dust, and I’ll return to dust, if I’m lucky.”

“Wait a minute, angels can retire?’

He shot me a quick glance. “Well, it’s all a matter of semantics, isn’t it?”

“Then you’re not a builder?”

“Oh I’m a builder alright, and a damn good one,’ then he added as an afterthought, “Jesus was a carpenter, after all.”

I squinted hard in the fading light studying the lines of his face, the plane and slope of his strong upper body, the slow, deep rise and fall of his chest as he took in and released each breath. But I could find no distinction, nothing that would give away the fact that he was an angel and not an ordinary man. Oh he was nice to look at, he was interesting to look at, but he wasn’t beautiful, as I thought an angel would be. Obviously the nose had been broken since the sculpture was made, and he seemed thicker through the shoulders and chest. Perhaps that was all down to hard physical labor in lieu of playing a harp and mooching his way around the pearly gates. There were several white puckered scars just below his ribs. Two looked to be puncture wounds of some kind. The other was an angry gash that surely must have all but eviscerated him. Without thinking I reached out and traced the long pale arc of scar tissue that followed the shape of his lower left rib and disappeared in the shadow under his arm. He tensed beneath my touch and the skin along the path of my finger goose fleshed. “I had to force the issue of my retirement.” His words were barely more than a whisper, and his gaze was locked on the logs in the fireplace, laid, yet unlit.

“Christ,” I whispered. “Why? I mean why the hell would you give up immortality to be one of us?’

He covered my hand with his and held it against his side. At last he raised his gaze to meet mine. “I would have done anything to get away, and at that point, I didn’t care if I lived or died. It felt like it was all the same.”

“Are you a fallen angel then?”

This time he laughed out loud. “Stupid term, fallen angel. Truth be told, gods are bastards – all of them, any religion, any mythology, they’re all arrogant, megalomaniacal bastards. They want control, and when they don’t get it, well, they’re even worse bastards. The woman who made the sculpture, she knows that at least as well as I do.”

“Is she an angel too?”

He shook his head and looked away again, the smile slipping slightly from his face. “No angel, a pawn really. At least she started out that way.” His eyes flashed bright in the fading light and the smile returned. “But sometimes even the pawns thumb their noses at the gods and get away with it. It cost her. It cost her dearly, but no one controls her now.”

“So what, she was a sculptor, and the gods didn’t like her work, was that it?”Graveyard angel 1

He released my hand and knelt to light the fire. With the sun setting the chill of evening came on fast. “Oh she’s not actually a sculptor. That’s just a part of her cover. She’s a thief, stealing back things the gods have taken that don’t belong to them.”

Every question he answered raised a dozen more. That what we were discussing sounded totally nuts wasn’t lost on me either, and yet neither was the fact that it was all either very real or I was still asleep dreaming in my bed, a cherished possibility diminishing with each passing moment. We both watched as the logs caught fire from the kindling, and flame blossomed turning shadows of ordinary things into ghouls and ghosts that writhed and dance on the walls. Once he was sure of the fire, he stood to close the balcony doors. “I work for her sometimes. When she needs me. She uses me when what I do as a builder dovetails with whatever job she’s on at the moment.”

I shifted in my seat to look up at him as he returned to settle back on the chair arm. “So you’re trying to steal something from Chapel House? What is it, a flaming sword?”

He laughed. “Not anything that obvious. Chapel House and I have a long history, as you might have guessed from the sculpture.”

“Annie really did hire you to do the renovations at Chapel House?”

He nodded. “All a part of the plan.”

“It must have thrown a monkey wrench into your scheming when she fell in love with a demon, or whatever he is, and told you to bugger off.”

He shrugged, raising one well-muscled shoulder. “Doesn’t matter. I seldom let something like that stop me.” He pulled a shirt from a peg next to the door and slipped into it. “I’ve brought your things in, and I would imagine you’d like a shower. Then we’ll see what we can scrounge for dinner. If that’s alright.”

The shower was more of a wet room really, big and luxurious, clearly designed to fit the man who used it. I wondered if he’d built the house himself, planned it all exactly like he wanted it. The bed was big, the rooms I’d seen high ceilinged and spacious, all with views of the fells. The shower was built of large sandstone tiles that made me feel more like I was standing under a waterfall on a wild river in some hidden desert canyon. Ghosted fossils of fern leaves made lacy patterns on the rough dun slabs. He must have selected each slab of sandstone carefully. The shower, with its stoney artwork and it’s multiple heads, even its ledged seat that looked as though it were only a rocky outcropping in a cave, were all well thought out, beautifully designed by someone who loved and appreciated the out of doors. Yes, Jesus was a carpenter. Perhaps building and creating was a part of the psyche of divine beings. Was Michael still a divine being, or had it been necessary for him to learn his craft by practice and training, like ordinary mortals did? He’d said the sculpture of him in the garden was very old. Perhaps he’d had a long, long time to perfect his craft.

I shivered at the thought and reached for the soap. It was slightly rough like the sandstone surface and felt Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500
good against my skin, reminding me of the gentle scritch, scritch of a lover’s fingernails over bare flesh. It had that same woody scent I woke up to in his bed, down between his sheets, though it lacked the base notes of clean perspiration and sleeping, dreaming male. I wondered if angels – retired angels, that is – did dream, and were those dreams ever the kind that brought the pungent earth and ozone scent of male lust to the forefront in that masculine olfactory cocktail. I breathed in the smell, fresh and woodsy, and moaned at the soft rough scritching against my naked skin, wondering if Michael’s hands would feel such. He was a builder after all, surely those calloused hands were rough enough to make delicious shivers up my spine, and any place else he touched me. I imagined the feel of Michael against my flesh, the feel of his large hands moving over me, cupping and exploring, the feel of his mouth tasting mine. That he had created such a sensual space, and I was now certain that he had, made my imagination wild with images of the two of us beneath the waterfall, and the smell of my own lust peaked.

At some point in my ruminations about Michael, my fertile imagination sent me seeking pleasure with my own hand, fingers moving of their own volition while I lathered my breasts with the rough scritch, scritch of the soap pebbling my nipples and making my tender heaviness tingle and ache. The realization of just how needy I was came as a surprise after the experiences of the last twenty-four hours, but then it shouldn’t have, should it? I’d practically lived the whole weekend in a state of arousal — at least when I wasn’t terrified out of my mind. And really, almost every horror film I’d ever seen coupled sex and terror, even orgasm and death, so closely that the two bled into each other. One always expected the couple’s sexy encounter in a horror film to end in gruesome bloodshed or worse. In the garden this afternoon, even as terrified as I was, I was just seconds away from orgasm. I shivered in spite of the cloud of steam rising around me. I had researched stories of the gods seducing mortals and taking them as lovers. That was certainly an archetype, but what I had failed to consider was that the monsters also sought out mortal lovers. Hadn’t Frankenstein’s monster wanted a bride? Didn’t King Kong steal away Faye Ray? Didn’t Dracula seek out his Mina? Beauty came to love the Beast. Even Psyche herself was taken to the domain of the monster she was told never to look upon for fear of certain death. The revelation that the monster was the god of love himself cost her dearly. But it was a price she was willing to pay.

At the end of the day, maybe there really wasn’t that much difference between the gods and the monsters. Even Graveyard angel 2da8f31cc622c5a47d15ff0c4f1e114abin the horror films more often than not, terror gave way to a different kind of lust, a much more deeply rooted lust, a lust as closely connected to death as it is to procreation and pleasure, a lust lost in time and well connected to monsters and demons and blood and the fear of childbirth, at the same time, all bound up with the desperate need to form the monster with two backs. Christ! The lust for the monster was as much a part of our psyche as was our terror of him! I wondered, would I have been able to hold off, would I have been able to resist the monster’s advances, if Annie hadn’t chosen that moment to use me for knife practice, if Michael hadn’t shown up when he did and whisked me away? And would I have cared if they hadn’t? Would I have been perfectly happy if I’d been left to rut against the paving stones with such a powerful being, who was maybe both monster and god? He had promised me the mind of god, the ultimate creative force that was the absolute Holy Grail for every writer. He knew exactly who I was, what I needed. I was reminded in a rush of heat that he could take me to places sexually I couldn’t even imagine. Monsters could do that, and their lovers were willing to pay any cost for the experience.

I rinsed off quickly and stepped out of the shower unsteady on my feet and still unsatisfied. As I picked up the towel to dry a wave of anguished lust clawed its way up from my center and spread like fire over my chest all the way to the crown of my head. In an instant it burned everything away but raw aching hunger, leaving an abyss that surly could never be filled. How the hell would I survive this? Surely Annie would not, could not, and I hated her for having him, even as he used her up and tossed her aside. I hated her for having what should be mine, what was mine. No one could appreciate what his affections could offer like I could; no one could translate his lust, his power like I could. He knew it, and I knew it. For a terrifying moment, I pictured myself with the butcher knife. I pictured myself sneaking into Chapel House while Annie was in a post coital stupor. It would be easy to do, and I knew he wouldn’t stop me. In fact, he would welcome me, help me do away with the body, help me escape the suspicions of the police and the investigations that would follow.

I caught my breath in a gasp, only just remembering my need for oxygen, and I relaxed the white-knuckled fist clenched painfully around the hilt of the knife I imagined using. I came back to myself standing in front of the mirror. The towel had fallen to the floor at my feet; water still pearled on my hot skin. My reflection was obscured by the steam. The image on the other side of that thin film of condensation could be anyone. I could be looking at his face, not mine, the face I’d never seen and yet, like Psyche, suddenly, desperately longed to see. I should have stayed. I shouldn’t have questioned when he wanted me. I should have taken his gift. I could have taken the knife from Annie, as weak as she was, and Michael had said himself he was just dust. The scars proved he bled just like anyone else. I could have finished it right there, and if I had, if I’d had the courage, it would be me in his arms now, me lying beneath him, letting him fill me with the wisdom of the ages, with the creative power I hungered for. I ached to know what it felt like. I longed to know who he was. I staggered, and nearly fell against the sink, and then I was myself again. With a curse that felt gut deep and a quick swipe of my hand, I cleared the mist from the mirror and yelped and nearly jumped out of my skin at the reflection of Michael standing behind me.

“You were crying,” he said, “I called out. I pounded on the door, but you didn’t answer.”

“I … I couldn’t hear you.’ The room tilted slightly, then righted itself. “Oh Christ, Michael, he was here, how canSt Teresa BerniniEl-extasis-de-Santa-Teresa4
he be here? I wanted to be with him. I wanted to do things, horrible things.”

“He wasn’t here.” He bent and picked up the towel, swaddled me in it and lifted me into his arms, which was just as well, I’d completely lost the will to move, or even to stand. With me clinging to his neck, sobbing against his shoulder, he carried me to the wing back chair, settling in it himself holding me on his lap like a child. “He wasn’t here, Susan. Trust me, he wasn’t.’ He pushed the damp tendrils of hair away from my cheek and wiped tears with a large, rough thumb. ‘But you were with him, he’s touched you, been inside your head. You’re now connected to him, and you feel the pull of his lust.’

I sat for a long time nestled against Michael’s broad chest listening to his heartbeat, like an anchor keeping me in my body, keeping me in my right mind. I wondered how an angel’s heart differed from my own. I wondered how his struggles and his desires differed from those I lived with. At last I found my voice “I feel … so empty.” I felt the tears sliding down my cheeks again, tears that I’d barely been aware of while I was in the bathroom, as though they were such a small representation of the way I felt His absence that they were barely worth my attention.

“I know. That’s exactly what he wants you to feel.”

“He said that he’d show me the mind of god, that he’d share all he knows, that he’d be my inspiration and help me write it all down.”

“He knows your deepest desire. That’s the first thing he ever finds out about those he seduces. He learns their darkest secrets, their most private longings, and their deepest fears. Anything he promised you, he’ll deliver, Susan, but what he doesn’t tell you is that once he’s has you, once you’ve been with him, everything that mattered to you before will be meaningless. You live for him, and you burn with emptiness when you’re not with him, as though you’ll die if you don’t have him.’

I wiped viciously at my eyes. “Oh god, Michael, what am I going to do? What the hell am I going to do?”

“You’re going to fight him, that’s what you’re going to do, and I’m going to help you.” His lips brushed my ear as he spoke, and involuntarily I squirmed to get closer to him, realizing with a start, that I was still horny as hell. But I couldn’t take advantage this way. I couldn’t. It was lust of such magnitude as I’d never felt before, and it was dark and horrible and terrifying and, fucking hell, I wanted to be consumed by it. But that wasn’t Michael’s problem. To drag him into it was not an option. Besides, I barely knew the man.

“I … I should get dressed,” My voice sounded breathless and distant. I tried to push my way off his lap, but he held me there, hands gentle but firm. It was then that I felt him, hard pressed with his own lust. He sat very still. I held Psyche and Erosmy breath.

At last he spoke, still careful not to move, even his lips barely formed the words. “Susan, I know what you’re feeling right now. I understand it, believe me, I do.” His gaze met mine in the firelight. “I know what you need, and unless you’re completely daft, you have to know my response.” This time he shifted slightly and I caught my breath in a tight little gasp and with it inhaled the scent of his lust, lightning and ozone, dark damp earth. He slid the flat of his palm down to rest on the small of my back and the towel fell away. “If you let me,’ his breath came heavy and quick against my cheek, ‘I can make it easier for you.’ He moved a splayed calloused hand up over my ribs, and we both groaned. ‘If you let me, I can help.’

 
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