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Concerto: A New KDG Story Part 1

I wanted to write something special for this holiday weekend, something new. Some of you may remember a few years
ago I blogged about a wonderful trip Mr. Grace and I made into the Scottish Highlands and onto the Isle of Skye with my sister. The remote place we stayed at while we were on Skye was an inspiration, the place was as mysterious as it was remote. This story is inspired by that place and by my love for classical piano, or piano music of any type for that matter.

 

I’m not sure how long the story will be, but I’m happy to share the first instalment today, and to ask that you be gentle with me as you read it. Remember it is a work in progress. I hope you enjoy.

 

Concerto: Part 1 A Little Night Music

I started awake from disturbing dreams that I couldn’t quite remember. In the tight-fitting darkness, it took me a minute to remember where I was. Isle of Skye, a small tatty cottage so remote that the landlady had to deliver me there in a battered Land Rover. To say I was off the grid was an understatement. No phone, no Wi-fi, no transportation until the woman came back for me on Monday morning. There was only me the hills and the sea with storms predicted – a typical bank holiday weekend in the UK. In my whole life I’d never been so isolated. The thought of being alone was a writer’s dream of solitude and inspiration come true, wasn’t it? I’d had neither solitude nor inspiration for a while now, and I was doing it up right. I didn’t care about the rain. I had no plans but to sleep and possibly read. I was exhausted and as empty as the landscape beyond my cottage. Upon arrival, I’d made myself a sandwich, drank half a bottle of Malbec and went to bed.

Sometime while I slept, the storm had passed. Even the sound of the sea seemed muted in the muffled dark of the room. I assumed it was the sea I could hear. It was dark and the storm was already raging when we arrived. The landlady seemed unperturbed by the return journey she faced, as though the storm were nothing. She showed me around the place that had been well stocked for my arrival, since I would be going nowhere for the next three days. She wished me well at the door and left me alone.

And now here I was wide awake with three days of nothing but my own company stretching before me. I was considering watching a movie and grazing through the package of shortbread left on the counter near the tea service. The landlady assured me the ancient DVD player in the lounge worked, and there was a fair sized library of movies. That was when I heard what I couldn’t possibly have heard. There was piano music coming from somewhere close by. I slid from my bed holding my breath as the melody built to a pounding crescendo that reminded me of the storm. The landlady had told me I was the only guest in the converted stone stables that now housed three cottages. There was room for three more, but the money had run out. The stables were all that was left of a summer home owned by some wealthy lord now long dead. The house was in its prime when the Victorians found the Highlands and anything Scottish all the rage. But the place was just too remote and its maintenance too expensive, or so the landlady said. Now what remained other than the stables and a collapsed stone barn was just a rubble heap. Though I could see none of that in the dark and driving rain.

But it wasn’t raining now, and I definitely heard piano music. Holding my breath not wanting to miss a single note, I slipped from the bed and switched on the lamp to find no electricity. The landlady had warned me that it sometimes went out during the storms. There were torches stashed strategically in each room, but my eyes were accustom to the dark, so I moved through the cottage on tiptoes listening to the music that had become more plaintive, full of longing that made me ache in places that hadn’t felt much of anything in a long while.

A peek out the kitchen window left me gaping at the thick blanket of stars where Milky Way spilled across the clear sky. The sky, the music, the feel of the night so close around me made the emptiness inside suddenly more companionable. Without thinking, I threw open the kitchen door and stepped, barefoot, out into the soft chill, barely feeling the wet cobbles beneath my feet. There was no breeze, a calm that I knew wouldn’t last. A glance around revealed the hulk of the collapsed barn and, beyond that, less pronounced heaps of stone and rubble, the remains of what had once been an impressive estate. Once again the music crescendoed and I turned to find the source. Candle light flickered from the cottage at the end of the stable yard and something in the music that drifted from an open window filled the night with the very ache I felt.

I don’t remember moving to the patio of the place by the French doors, the only nod to elegance any of these cottages had, but I will never forget my first sight of the source. The doors were flung open to the night, curtains barely stirring. A baby grand piano filled the space beyond and as the music softened and then crescendoed again, my gaze came to
rest on the creator of such exquisite sounds, a man tall and straight. His eyes were closed, his hands moved over the keyboard as though the instrument were a lover, and the sounds he coaxed from it were very much the sounds of love and all the pain and lust and joy and sorrow that come with.

I couldn’t help myself. I moved forward as though I were in a trance, lost in the music, lost in the intimate weave of sound and silence and human connection. And then, full attention focused on the man and the music, I didn’t see the empty stone planter in front of me until I was doing an inelegant swan dive over the top to belly flop on the paving stones with a breathless yelp.

 

Matchmaker: A FREE Holiday Story Part 1

I love to indulge in a little sappy silly, romantic fun this time of year, and that being the case starting today through Boxing Day, I will be sharing a little seasonal story with you called Matchmaker. While it’s squeaky clean as far as content goes, it’s fun and quirky and hopefully something you’ll all enjoy. I certainly enjoyed writing it. It’s main character happens to be a bird. Those of you who know my love for our feathered friends won’t be surprised at all. Happy Holidays, my Darlings! Enjoy the story!

 

Matchmaker Part 1

“What am I going to do?” Mary asked the vet. “Ezekiel’s inconsolable. He squawks all night, which means neither of us sleeps, and I have to work and leave him alone, and that only makes matters worse.”

The vet stroked his stethoscope, an act that seemed incongruent with the bright red Santa Clause cap sitting precariously on the top of his balding head. He looked the parrot up and down and, and then stated the obvious. “He’s mourning.”

“I know he’s mourning. What I don’t know is how to cheer him up.”

The vet shook his head. “Mourning has to run its course, with animals just like with humans.”

She rubbed gritty eyes. “What do I do in the meantime? How can I help him? Can you sedate him?”

“Wouldn’t advise it. I can recommend a pet psychologist, though.”

“Will it help?”

“Can’t hurt. Dr. Thompson is also a vet, so she won’t steer you wrong, none of this airy-fairy faffing about.”

 

It was full dark when Mary arrived in Woking. The fairy lights sparkled on the houses and in the shop windows, and the unseasonable warmth had not dampened the holiday spirit of the Christmas shoppers scurrying up and down High Street. Ezekiel was the last appointment of the day, and the waiting room was empty when Mary stepped inside with Ezekiel’s cage in tow. Christmas music that was a little less obnoxious and a little more subdued than what blared in the local shops played quietly over the sound system. Almost immediately, Mary and Ezekial were ushered in to Dr. Susan Thompson’s office.

“Oh, he is lovely,” the woman cooed in a nasal Welsh accent. “I’ve never treated an African grey before. I have counseled a couple of cockatoos, and a lovebird. What seems to be the problem?”

Mary heaved a sigh. “Two months ago my friend Ellen died.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.” Dr. Thompson nudged a box of tissues in Mary’s direction.

“Thank you. Ellen was a linguist who studied the rudiments of language in other species.”

The psychologist brightened. “Of course! I’ve heard about the research on African grey parrots. Even smarter than primates, I read.”

“Ellen worked with Ezekiel almost fifteen years. He has a huge vocabulary, and his comprehension is off the chart. Because parrots are long-lived, Ellen had made arrangements for him to live with me on the off chance that something should happen, if she should …” She swallowed around the growing tightness in her throat and took a deep breath. “Anyway, there was a car accident and …”

“Ezekiel came to live with you,” the doctor finished for her gently.

Mary nodded and blinked hard. “Since her death, Ezekiel refuses to talk. He just squawks. He won’t eat, and I’m afraid he’ll start pulling out his own feathers. Stressed birds sometimes do that. I can’t stand to see him suffer so. Ezekiel is, well, he’s special.”

“Ezekiel’s mourning the loss of his mate.”

“What?”

“You see,” Dr. Thompson scooted to the edge of her seat, “parrots are social animals. In their natural environment, you seldom see a lone parrot. When parrots are kept in captivity, they can only be taught to talk if they’re kept away from their own kind.”

“So when they have no one to speak to in their own language, they’re forced to learn ours?” The tightness in Mary’s throat returned with a vengeance.

“Ezekiel will probably bond with you in time. But you’re not a parrot, and even with his huge vocabulary, imagine what it would be like never to speak your own language again.”

This time no amount of blinking could hold back the tears, and Mary reached for the offered tissue box. She’d always been a soft touch, and Ezekiel’s sad story coupled with the recent loss of her friend was just too much. Dr. Thompson
offered quiet verbal support, and Mary was pretty sure that in most cases the pet psychologist found the animals less
neurotic than their humans. She blew her nose and forced a smile. “Well, I’ll just have to find him a mate then, won’t I?”

Easier said than done, Mary soon discovered.

Continue with Matchmaker part 2

 

Dry Canyon Dreams

I’ve been living in the world of mythology and the paranormal for the past few weeks while I’ve been busy with the final rewrites and check-throughs of Blind-Sided and Buried Pleasures, the second and third novels of the Medusa’s Consortium Series. They’ll be coming out right on the heals of each other, since they are happening in the timeline at the same time. That has meant it has taken me a little longer to get them ready. But I promise you they’ll be worth waiting for. You’ll be hearing news next week about release dates. So hold on to your hats. With paranormal being the name of the game, I thought I’d share this little short with you from the Archives. A FREE read. Dry Canyon Dreams is a complete story with plenty of desert heat and a little bit of chill thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!

AAAAND! Don’t forget the Super Summer Reads Giveaway going on right now at Book Hub until the 15th of August. Three lucky winners will walk away with a HUGE bundle of books. This is a a multi-genre giveaway with chances to win other fab reads as well as the chance at the book bundle. I’m very proud to announce that my novel, In The Flesh, the first book in the Medusa’s Consortium Series, is included in that massive bundle.

 

Dry Canyon Dreams

From the archives: a free story complete in this post

The night of that first encounter I was restless, and my imagination had been running wild ever since I’d landed in the States two nights before. I had been having dreams, crazy dreams, lust-filled sexy dreams that had driven me from sleep to find myself in sweat soaked sheets aching and wanting and needing … something. ‘Be present,’ I kept telling myself. I needed be present. I needed to learn to be in the moment. That’s a part of what this holiday was all about. Being in the moment was something of a struggle for me with one tight deadline bleeding into another and then another. The insane pace had been going on for over four years and now, for the first time in a long time I had given myself space between projects, space to breathe, space to rest, space to regroup. The problem was; now that I had the time and the space, I didn’t know what the hell to do with it. I’m a writer. That’s not just my job, it’s my vocation, and my identity is tied up in it – very possibly more so than I had imagined.

It had been the dreams that had driven me to the dry canyon in the middle of the night. In my dreams someone I never saw, someone holding me in a close, sensual embrace, someone nuzzling and cupping and caressing, kept whispering in my ear that I needed to write the story, that I needed to get it all down, but they would never tell me what story I was to write, and when I burst into wakefulness restless and uncomfortable in my own skin, the feeling of being stretched and expanded and then shoved back into myself was overlaid with a shimmering patina of arousal. Feeling like I’d suffocate if I didn’t get some air, I’d dressed quickly and left the house, leaving a note on the kitchen table for my sister just in case she should wake and find me missing.

In ten minutes I was in the dry canyon alone in the middle of the night wondering why I wasn’t at least a little bit nervous about my choice of how to spend my time in the wee hours. My sister said that in spite of the fact that the canyon ran through the center of the town with five miles of paved walking path from one end to the other as well as other footpaths meandering along the canyon’s edges, in spite of the fact that the canyon was almost never deserted, occasionally there was a mountain lion spotting, occasionally warnings were posted. There had never been an attack, never been even a threat, but it wasn’t all that uncommon in areas where human habitat encroached on puma territory for the two to come in contact with each other. But not now, I told myself. In my visits to my sister’s I’d seen deer in the canyon, myriad birds, rock chucks and other wildlife, but never a mountain lion. And if I were being completely honest, I found the shiver up my spine at the thought of seeing one of the beautiful cats at least as exciting as it was frightening. The full moon hung heavily just over my head, almost like I could reach out and touch it. It gave off enough silver light that I could see in exquisite monochrome layers, juniper and sage and the rise of the steep volcanic cliffs of the canyon walls.

IMG_5578The dry canyon splits the town of Redmond, Oregon right down the middle and until recently the only way to get around it was to drive to the end. Now there’s a huge bridge that spans it joining the two sides, the architects and builders having taken particular care that the bridge should blend in with the canyon and the high desert’s natural beauty. The bridge glistened pale in the moonlight, giant concrete arches rising like the bones of some graceful prehistoric monster whose death throes had spanned the canyon in rib-boned arches. It’s the landmark I always walk toward. And that night, when I got there, I drank deeply from the water fountain placed strategically in the shade for passing bikers, runners and walkers. There’s even a fountain for dogs next to it. Then I settled on the lone picnic table beneath the bridge, lie down on my back and look up at the shadowed underbelly of sinuous concrete.

I heard the runner before I saw him. I heard his heavy breathing, I heard the scuff, scuff of his feet against the ground, and I stayed still, listening, not wanting to startle him. I knew I should make good my getaway, or at least make my presence known, but I didn’t. For some reason I just lay there and watched as he drew near. The moonlight glistened on his bare chest, and I didn’t even pretend not to look. He was light footed, slender of build, long and well muscled. His hair was tawny pale and unkempt, clinging in wet curls around his ears and onto his shoulders. At the fountain, he drank long and deep, then tossed several cupped handfuls of water onto his head, down the back of his neck and onto his face. His nipples beaded, and goose flesh bloomed and spread across the rise and fall of his pecs where the water dripped onto his chest and over his taut belly. It was then that his gaze lit on me and the little breath of his surprise sounded like a soft growl in the muted night.

“Strange dreams,” I said in response to his unasked question as to my presence. I made no attempt not to stare at him, which didn’t seem too impolite, since he stared right back at me. ‘I needed some fresh air.’ Frankly I was surprised I could speak at all, let alone that I can be so brazen about it.

He bent for another drink, and I noticed he was barefoot. My insides quivered at just how little clothing the man really had on. The running shorts were thin and rode low on his hips revealing his navel and the slender path of soft hair disappearing into his waistband, a path I found myself wanting to follow with the stroke of a palm.

I was surprised when he moved to the table next to me, and settled a large hand in my hair, fisting it and stoking it until I sighed softly and moved against his palm. I was even more surprised when he stepped back, stretched his arms high above his head, yawned deeply, and then lay down beside me, settling himself around me in a spoon position. The dry desert air had dried the sweat from his flesh almost entirely. He was surprisingly warm and he smelled of desert heat, juniper and sagebrush. For a second I panicked as his strong arm snaked around my waist and pulled me back tight against him. Then I felt his mouth on the back of my neck, first parted lips, then tongue, then a slight nip of teeth. I found myself inexplicably calming under his touch, calming to the low rumble of satisfaction deep in his chest, to the steady hard pumping of his heart as he pressed his chest tight against me.

Once he was certain I wouldn’t run, his hold on me relaxed and his palm, flat against my belly, slid beneath my tank top and up to cup my breasts. I caught my breath in a startled moan as he thumbed my nipples alternately until they rose stiff and sensitive against calloused skin. I’d not bothered with a bra when I left my sister’s house. I never expected to meet anyone in the canyon. Easy access for anyone’s hands other than my own had not been my plan. While he cupped and kneaded and pinched, his mouth went back to work on my neck. He raised himself on one elbow to tongue and nip the hollow of my throat and I could feel the shape of him, hard and urgent, beneath the thin fabric of his shorts.

I barely had time to think about the hard rub and shift of him pressing against the back of my sweat bottoms before his hand migrated back down my belly and eased under my waistband with me shifting forward into the cup of his palm as he fingered and worked his way down. My legs parted and shifted and moved of their own volition to allow him access, and the shiver down my spine was not from the cool of the night as he stroked and fondled, all the while nipping and tonguing the back of my neck and the lobe of my ear, an effort leaving me weak and trembling with need that felt bone deep.

I don’t know how his hands could be everywhere, but they were. He slid my sweats down over my hips and, for a split second, I felt the cool night air against my bare bottom. Then I felt him bare and hard and anxious against me. The biting of my neck became more urgent and, God, I wanted him to bite me hard, I wanted to bite him back. I was only half conscious of the sounds he was making, animal grunts and groans, growls deep in his chest, sighs that I felt hot and moist against my skin. Then the nipping and the suckling and the caressing migrated down the length of my spine, and strong arms lifted me onto my hands and knees until my bottom was raised high in the moonlight and, before I could even think to protest, he continued his explorations, spreading me and kneading me with strong hands until his tongue found what he was looking for — me wet and restless and needing. I don’t remember much beyond that point except intense desperate pleasure, except his breath hot and fast against the swell of me, except him tasting me in hungry, lapping mouthfuls. And when I was boneless and weak from his efforts he pulled away, rose up and bit me on the shoulder, bit me hard enough to make me cry out, then he plunged into me, crushing me to him, holding my hips tight against his body, wrapping his arms around my waist, burying his face in my neck. I remember rearing back against him with each thrust, matching him growl for growl, holding my breath, bracing for impact, anticipating the breaking and shattering and falling apart as we came together and collapsed in desperate gasps back onto the table. Then he curled around me and we slept.

I remember waking alone on the picnic with the moon setting and dawn just beginning to gray the rim of the canyon, or at least I think I remember. I was barely aware of the walk back to my sister’s house, and the stripping off of my clothes and the falling into bed and into unconsciousness. In fact when I woke later in the morning snuggled down in the bed with the cool desert breeze blowing the curtains at the open window next to my bed, I figured I’d probably dreamed the whole experience. I mean the whole experience of dressing and walking in a dark canyon in the middle of the night alone, of sharing my body with a man I didn’t know, a man who never spoke, it wasn’t me at all. Surely it wasn’t the kind of thing I’d do. It was my imagination, I was sure. Jet lag often makes for powerful dreams, though it was strange the way my body felt that morning, I woke to the achy tenderness that follows rough sex, that follows a ravenous encounter too wild to really be just fucking, and yet just tame enough not to scare me into running away in fear of being completely devoured.

After breakfast my sister and I walked the canyon – her anticipating a good bit of morning exercise and me wanting to see if just maybe something would jog my memory, if just maybe something would bring the vividness of the encounter back to me. The dry canyon has been one of my favorite parts of where my sister lives for a long time. Walking it together has been a major part of our visits. We’d just descended the side road into the canyon and I was admiring how the bridge shown in the morning sun, thinking about my dream encounter, when my sister drew my attention to a sign on the notice board.

mountain_lion_petroglyph_photo_print-r1c1d777189c04e63a2426808aab6f0e1_wyy_8byvr_512Caution: Mountain Lion Sighting.

 

The breeze that had been warm felt suddenly chilled and the hairs on my arms rose.

‘There hasn’t been one in awhile,” she was saying when I finally managed to turn my attention back to her. “Usually people see them at dawn or at dusk, people out for a late or an early run. They’re nocturnal, you know?”

“Yes, I know.” I said, remembering with a shiver low in my belly the nip of teeth on the back of my neck and the rough push and shove of flesh against flesh.

 

In Pursuit of Mr. Sands Part 1

There’s something about travel that inspires strange tales and the Muse has been poking me with her big stick again. I don’t mind the bruised ribs of inspiration when they lead me to such fun stories, and this time they’ve led me back to Mr. Sands.

Mr. Sands’ story, as I suspected, is far from finished. And as I certainly suspected, someone like Mr. Sands couldn’t sneak around very long without being discovered by Madga Gardener and her consortium. Remember, this is a work in progress, so be gentle with me. Enjoy the next instalment of Mr. Sands’ strange tale.

 

In Pursuit of Mr. Sands Part 1

 

I followed him at a safe distance. He was fast tracked through passport control at Heathrow, as was I, and neither of us had luggage. He was my job. I wasn’t about to lose him. Once through customs and in the arrivals hall, he made his way to the Wetherspoons, where he ordered coffee, and I did the same, discreetly watching him watch the woman who was ushered in by one of the first class flight attendants, who settled her into a booth and ordered her up a full English breakfast. The woman looked dazed and her hands shook with her first bite of food.

She had good reason to be shaky, and she had good reason to be half-starved. I knew exactly what the attendant was explaining to her in hushed whispers, and so did he. He was the reason for her weakened condition. The flight attendant knew that and so did I. The thing is no one knew that I knew.

My name is Elise North. I’m a PI. At least that’s what Magda Gardener calls me, and that’s what my business card says – the one I hand out when I need to look legit. Most of the time I work under cover, and my ID changes with the job. I don’t own a gun. It would hardly do me any good. I work on cases that need a delicate hand. I do, however, own a silver-tipped stake … more of a stiletto, actually, but I know how to use it, I guarantee you that. I’m athletic, I’m fast and well trained in martial arts because, in a field as specialized as mine, if things ever go south, about the best I can hope for is to escape and run like hell. None of those skills, however, are the reason Magda Gardener hired me. I have other gifts, gifts that in the kinds of circles Magda and her people run in, are highly coveted.

Those particular gifts are the reason I was just off the night flight from New York’s JFK to London Heathrow after paying an enormous sum of money to sit across from Daniel Emerson Sands in first class. Before we were even off the runway at JFK, all of the flight attendants made time to pay the man homage. A big name celebrity couldn’t have drawn more solicitous, yet quiet attention. Each one, whether male of female, approached him with a fan girl flutter of excitement, I observed in a flush in the cheeks, a quickening of the pulse in throats, in temples, in a moistening of lips with a flick of the tongue, in an acceleration in the breath.

He kissed the fingers of the female attendants, so delicately caught up in his strong grip. Each of the male attendants he offered a warm handshake, then a clasp of the shoulder as they bent forward, almost as though they were about to share a secret … or a kiss. While it came as no surprise to me that each attendant responded with a little gasp and then a grunt and a shudder of the body that would have been almost undetectable to someone less observant. Neither did it come as a surprise when, each time, Daniel Sands inhaled deeply and sighed as though he had just past a bakery with the door open allowing its delectable scents to fill the air. What also came as no surprise, the thing I had spent the most time preparing for, and yet still found disturbing, was the frisson of fear that accompanied ritual. Each attendant came to Sands eager and willing, but fear was as much a part of the formula as lust. They all knew what he was. If they didn’t, he couldn’t do what he does, what he must, on this flight … repeatedly.

While we taxied and took off, Daniel Sands sat quietly perusing a copy of The New York Times as though he were any other passenger in transit just wanting the journey to be over with and to arrive safely at his destination. But I knew better. I’ve known better since Magda Gardener assigned me to follow him, to learn all about him that I can. As I said, I handle jobs for Magda that are of a delicate nature. You see, Daniel Emerson Sands is an incubus, a particularly powerful one, and one Magda has set her eyes on. It’s a very dangerous thing to have Magda Gardener sets her eyes on you. Mr. Sands had no idea he was up against a master huntress. All he wanted was his special in-flight meal service.

The flight attendants and the woman at check-in, and all of the others that Sands had contact with before boarding, they were nothing more than nibbles, appetizers, if you will. There were only seven of us in first class, but only one was his chosen main course. As with all of his in flight meals, she was upgraded from economy. I stood behind her in the line at check-in, I watched while Mr. Sands, ever so subtly bumped into her, all apologetic for being so careless. I watched the way he rested a solicitous hand at the small of her back to steady her so she wouldn’t fall. I watched the way he smiled at her. I watched, and I knew from my research, that she was the one, that she would have a visit in the dream world she’d be very unlikely to forget. And she would wake up weakened and confused.

Just as I expected, there was no lingering over dinner in first class. everyone fell asleep almost immediately after they’d eaten, and the attendants made themselves scarce. What I hadn’t expected was that as soon as everyone was asleep, Sands rose up from his seat and walked among the passengers, touching each of them lovingly. I was just about to panic, not sure what he’d do when he found me awake and not under his spell. I was just about to throw caution to the wind, flee to the lavatory and lock myself in when his tender ministrations were interrupted by the unexpected appearance of the blonde flight attendant. “You’re here,” she said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.” And suddenly my own heart was racing as he took her face in his hands and kissed her. And I swear, it wasn’t his magic affecting me, it was just that – well the way he kissed her was so damned sexy. He tasted and tested and teased her mouth like she was dessert and she responded as though the kiss was a raw desperate fuck. And then with a deep intake of breath, he released her. She shivered out what I was sure was an orgasm and then left, shutting the curtain behind her as though nothing had happened.

Before I could heave a sigh of relief, I was in danger of being found out again. One by one he kissed everyone in first class, as though he sought something out, and each one of them writhed and moaned and sighed in his kiss. I’m pretty sure a couple of the men even came. But I knew exactly what he was doing. I knew that in their sleep, he took the kisses from them, stolen kisses, and yet no one denied him because it felt so damned good. Still, I sensed that same hint of fear I had with the attendants. The mix of fear and lust is such an intriguing blend.

For me, there was no escape, and when he came to me, I could do nothing else but pretend to be asleep. The fear I felt, well that was genuine enough, and so was the sense of arousal after what I’d just observed. All I had to do was exactly what everyone else had done, when he came to me, and I felt his closeness, felt the humidity of his breath against my lips. As he cupped my cheek with a large palm, as he mantled me with the heat of his body and all but pulled me into his arms, for a terrifying moment, I thought I had made a mistake. I thought it was me he had come to claim, even as I knew that was impossible. And anyway, sex has its own magic, doesn’t it? His kiss was slow and deliberate and deep. I responded by pressing up into his embrace, by sliding my tongue against his, by allowing the bruising of lips against swollen lips as my pulse raced and I felt my own humid heaviness down below my belly. When he sighed softly and settled me gently back into my seat, I was as disappointed as I was relieved as he turned his attention to the blonde who was to be his main course.

I had not expected to be required to do more than observe. I had not expected an up close and personal encounter. From the safety of my feigned sleep, I observed what appeared to be nothing more than him laying one hand low on the woman’s belly while he breathed in her breath in a deep kiss. But I knew it to be so much more than that for both of them. I could practically see the magic like heat waves roiling off of them. It was there, something far more than what was visible, something I remained safely on the outside of. And as I observed, I actually believed I had fooled him. I actually believed I might get away with the impossible that Magda Gardener had asked of me. In retrospect, I should have known better.

 

Jet Lagged with Mr. Sands Part 1

It’s time for my annual April visit with my sister in the States. As you know, I’m always intrigued by the effects of travelling across multiple timezones in short periods of time, of effectively being “no place and no time” in a plane for hours. I’m here safe and sound at my sister’s but still a bit jet lagged, so I decided to share with you from the archives, The Strange Encounter with Mr. Sands  — a two-part story inspired in part from entering the twilight zone at Seattle International Airport last year at this time and wondering if I’d ever get out again.

After the completion of Mr. Sands’ tale, one of my readers told me that to her it felt like there should be more to Mr. Sands’ story. And who knows, maybe there will be. But for now, here is part 1 from the archives with part 2 to follow. Enjoy!

 

 

The Strange Encounter with Mr. Sands Pt I

Warning: Adult Content! 

I woke up in the first class cabin sprawled across my upgraded seat. The blonde flight attendant, Maggie was her name, had placed a cool cloth over my forehead, and the other attendants herded the last of the passengers off, looking anxiously over their shoulders at me.

“Did I pass out? What happen?”

“It’s all right,” she said. “You’ve just had a very intimate visit from Mr. Sands, that’s all, but you’ll be fine. In fact you’ll be better than fine in a little while. Here, drink some water, and I’ll help you off the plane and get you something to eat when you’re ready. I promise, I’ll do my best to explain everything.” She held the bottle to my lips.

As I sipped, my strange encounter with Mr. Sands all came back to me with a little clench and tremor of the muscles down deep below my belly.

It hadn’t been exactly like an electrical shock when the man brushed against my arm in the queue at baggage check-in, but what I felt was just as much of a shock to my system. What I felt – and I know this is going to sound insane – but what I felt was an orgasm. It was just a brush – his arm against mine, as the desk agent motioned him past me and his hand settling onto the small of my back to steady me when I nearly lost my balance at the impact of what had been way more physical than if he’d flattened me. He offered me a smile, and a soft-spoken apology that I barely heard over the hammering of my heart and my efforts to get myself under control. I remember thinking I’d never seen eyes so blue on a man with such coal black hair. Strangely enough, he approached the desk with no bags to check, and yet whatever he had to say to the agent must have been important. He had her full attention – in fact she was totally entranced by him, though for his part, he seem distracted. He kept glancing back at me and smiling, as though he knew me, and I kept thinking how arrogant I was to think he was actually looking at me. Whatever it was he wanted, the agent nodded enthusiastically leaning into his personal space so close he could have kissed her if he’d chosen to, and I confess I held my breath thinking that he might, and not sure if I wanted him to or if I wanted to believe that I really was the center of his attention.

After only a minute, he thanked the agent and gave her hand a little pat as he might have done to a favorite pet. He gave me one last glance that I felt way down deep in my center where my insides still squirmed and clenched from his touch, then he turned and walked off toward security.

“You’ve been upgraded to first class, Ms. Dempsey.” There was a blush on the agent’s cheeks, as though the man had done way more than just brush her hand with his, and frankly her struggle to breath and the dewy sheen on her forehead had my imagination running wild before the fabulous upgrade could sink into the brain of someone who has long been resigned to an in-flight experience of traveling cattle car class. If I didn’t know better, I’d think she’d just had the same response to the dark man with the blue eyes that I did. As I made my way to security, three attendants fell into step behind me.

“Mr. Sands is on the flight; did you know?” Said the petite blonde, with a short bob, who I later learned was Maggie. Her voice had that breathless fan-girl quiver brought on by the presence of celebrity. I racked my brain trying to think if I knew any famous Mr. Sands. I didn’t, but then I didn’t keep up with pop culture very well.

“Oh God! You’re kidding me,” the male attendant in the middle said. “Are you sure? He hasn’t done JFK to Heathrow in a while. I hate to say it, but I was hoping he’d got bored with us and decided to check out some other night flight.”

“You shouldn’t talk about him like that, Hal,” the blonde replied. “All I know is that Kaitlin said he came to her desk personally, asking for an upgrade.”

“An upgrade? Seriously? Wow! Someone’s gonna get lucky this flight,” said the willowy brunette on the other side.

“Sh!” the man replied. “Don’t be so disrespectful. He’ll know. He always does, and he won’t like it.”

I slowed my pace just enough to let them pass, then fell in behind them intrigued by this Mr. Sands, whoever he was. Apparently he was on my flight.

“Well at least this time there are no newbies on the crew,” The brunette said.

“That’ll make things easier,” Maggie replied. “I hate having to deal with their reactions. Makes it hard on the rest of the crew. Well at least the first timers get a warning now, which is more than I did when it was my turn.”

What the hell, was the man a groper, I wondered?

“They may get a warning, but who the hell would believe it,” Hal said.

I was just about to pluck up my nerve and ask who this Mr. Sands was, when the three squeezed onto a lift and
disappeared in a wave of Japanese tourists while, being slightly claustrophobic, I opted for the next one, which was less crowded. I wasn’t much on celebrity, and whoever this Mr. Sands was, he had nothing to do with me.

In the lap of luxury, I forgot about the mysterious Mr. Sands and enjoyed my meal and the fact that I could stretch out without bumping into anyone. In fact, I had more than just a seat to myself. There were several seats to either side of me empty, and all the other seats were occupied by people who couldn’t wait to settle into a good night’s sleep. I didn’t think I’d sleep at all, and I really didn’t intend to, since I figured I’d never get another chance to enjoy first class. I was wrong though. I was asleep almost before the attendants anxiously cleared the dishes. In fact, they seemed downright skittish, which I thought rather unusual for first class, but then how the hell would I know?

Sometimes you dream strange things when you travel, and sometimes those dreams can seem very real. I dreamed of the blue-eyed man from the check-in queue. He rose up from the seat directly across from mine, one that I was almost certain had been empty, and then he began to walk among the sleepers, touching each of them lovingly as though they

were his children and he’d just gotten them to sleep. His tender ministrations were interrupted by the unexpected appearance of the blonde flight attendant. “You’re here,” she said, and the fan-girl timbre of her voice was replaces with something more along the lines of fear – fear mixed with lust if that were even possible. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.” It was then that I was certain I must be dreaming, because he took her face in his hands and kissed her, and oh dear god in heaven, what a kiss it was! Tongue, there was tongue, moving in little darts and licks as he probed and tasted and tested and teased until the woman opened to him and practically melted into his arms. And then it was over, with a deep intake of breath, he released her then settled her back on her feet, and she turned away as though nothing had happened. Then he kissed everyone in first class, one by one with the same deep probing intensity, as though he

sought something out, and they arched up to meet him in the kiss — some moaning softly, a couple of the men even giving that gut-punch of a grunt men do when they ejaculate. But then I was dreaming, wasn’t I? Me, who never had a dream more erotic that finding myself naked in the middle of the supermarket. With each sleeper, he took his time in the kiss, he let them embrace him, let them touch him, let them stroke his hair, and then he took the kiss. That’s what it felt like to me, at least, that in their sleep, he took the kiss from them, a stolen kiss — almost, and yet no one denied him. Still, I sensed just the tiniest frisson of fear in each of them, but then there would be, wouldn’t there? A kiss from a stranger in a darkened plane could possibly be as frightening as it was intriguing. When the kiss was finished, when he released them, it was immediately clear that they had fallen back into a deep sleep. This he did to everyone around him while I watched and squirmed on my first class bed. It was only when everyone else was sleeping soundly that he turned his attention to me.

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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