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In The Flesh Part 10: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567How can Susan and Michael come to grips with the fact that they both want the same lover, a lover whose attentions are as deadly as they are intoxicating? Welcome to part 10 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 10 in which lovers must come to terms with their jealousy and stand together. 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 6Part 7Part 8, Part 9.

 

In the Flesh Part 10

“Wait a minute.” I jerked my hand away from Michael’s. “Let me get this straight, you gave up being an angel not because you were angry at god or the gods or whoever the hell it was you worked for. You gave up being an angel because you loved Him?”

“Oh, I stand completely by what I said earlier; all gods are bastards, and to serve them is folly. They have no loyalty but to their own pride.” He reached to push a strand of hair behind my ears and I shoved his hand away. He simply shrugged and continued. “I felt that way when I was sent off to babysit Him. Well that’s how I saw it at the time – me being sent off to serve a lesser being. I was a bit of an arrogant prick back then.” He offered a twitch of a smile. “Guess I learned a thing or two about who was the lesser being, didn’t I?”

“But you said you became human because you loved Him. Care to explain that?”

“Fuck, Susan, you make it sound like I’m a cheating husband or something. Yes, I became human because I loved Him, but if I hadn’t believed that I was giving him a gift, if I hadn’t believed that it was what he wanted more than anything, I don’t know if I would have done it, OK? I … I just don’t know.”

For a moment we sat in silence, him twisting the edge of the duvet between his fingers. At last he spoke, avoiding my rose imagesgaze. “I’m not sorry now. But for a long time … Well let’s just say it was a high price I paid.” Then he added, as though I needed further explanation, which I suppose I did, “He was so genuine, so unassuming with me. I was completely taken in, completely unaware of His deception until it was too late.”

I felt like I was invading his privacy. I felt like I was asking questions that were none of my business, and yet, my life was in this man’s hands, this ex-angel’s hands. So I asked anyway. “Why did He want you to become human? I would have thought as an angel you’d be able to … you know … a whole lot longer and you’d not … I don’t know … you’d not get tired. As an angel you’d have the stamina to keep up with Him.”

This time the laugh was bitter enough to make goose bumps rise on my arms. “He wanted the feel of humanity, He wanted the touch of flesh and blood, even though he could only have it vicariously. No matter how often he took me, no matter that I was as insatiable as he was, I still wasn’t flesh and blood. I didn’t know it at the time, but he’d already developed a dangerous lust for mortals. Later, much later, after the woman I work for had freed me from him, I came to realize that he fed off the humanity of his lovers.” The straight line of his jaw hardened like iron and his fists clenched. “He … He got off on using them up. It was only really good for him if he knew that in the end they would sacrifice themselves for him. A god complex, I suppose, but then who could argue with Him?” He glanced up at me then looked away. “I guess he finds human mortality more arousing than any other part of being corporeal. Probably because the bastard never has to experience it.”

“Jesus, this just keeps getting more and more convoluted,” I said. “Did you just say the woman you work for, the one you steal for, she saved you from him?”

Michael shoved to his feet and pulled me up off the bed too. “Look, can we continue this conversation later? I’m starving. For now why don’t you get dressed,” he nodded to my bag sitting next to the bathroom door. “You need to eat. We both do. When you’re ready, join me in the kitchen and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know. As much as I can anyway.” He turned and left without another word.

In the kitchen, I found him dumping spaghetti into a pot of boiling water. He looked up and offered a smile that belied
the serious situation in which we found ourselves. “Hope you like carbonara. I’m not a chef, but I don’t do bad with pasta.” He poured a glass of pinot grigio and handed it to me. Then he put me to work on a salad while he sautéed the pancetta. We worked in companionable silence, maybe both of us trying to pretend that we were just ordinary lovers with the munchies after hot sex, and the sex had been hot. My stomach bottomed at the thought of the mark he’s left above my breast, and then just as quickly I felt an overwhelming chill at the sight of the bruises on my biceps. I grabbed up the blue hoodie he had left carelessly draped over the back of a kitchen chair and wriggled into it. He shot me a pleased smile. He liked the idea of me wearing his clothes. I liked it too, but it was way less satisfying to know I wore them to cover bruises left by another would-be lover.

I didn’t want to talk about it. I wished we could both just forget it. I liked Michael. I liked the way he shot me admiring glances when he thought I wasn’t looking. I liked the way he brushed by me to get the strainer, casually resting a hand low on my back, a hand that lingered slightly longer than absolutely necessary, just long enough to become a fleeting caress, just long enough to make my pulse race and my nipples tighten. I liked the outdoorsy woodsy scent of him. I liked the heat of him, the solid feel of muscle and bone. I liked the presence of him close by, and I liked that we could be silent together without having to clutter the atmosphere with mindless drivel. But then again, when the time came to talk, as it most definitely would, I might actually have preferred that it should be mindless drivel instead of the topic that hung in the air like a dark cloud.

We made it through dinner with talk of his work and mine, with laughter and a few shy smiles and passing glances, Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500with a brush of knees and ankles beneath the table. By the time he pulled the chocolate chip ice cream out of the freezer, I was already hoping for round two between the sheets. Then I opened my mouth and blew it. “If you fuck me enough, will it make me forget about Him?” I hadn’t intended to say anything, but there it was, what I wanted and what I didn’t want all rolled into one ill-timed question.

He spoke around a large mouthful of ice cream. “Wouldn’t that be great? That’s a cure I could happily live with.”
I laid down my spoon, suddenly no longer hungry. “Are you talking about a cure for me or a cure for you?”
He held my gaze in a look that was anything but angelic, and for a second I could believe that there really wasn’t that much difference between angels and demons. Of course he was human now, Michael was. Wasn’t he? “I want you very much, Susan. I’m sure you haven’t missed the signs. But just like you, I want Him more, damn him to hell, but I do.”
I fought down the lump in my throat, surprised to find myself feeling hurt by such an admission. Surprised to find myself dangerously close to tears. But how could it really come as any surprise? “Then you’re not … over him?” It was a stupid question, and yet, I hoped I’d simply missed the cues.

He moved his chair closer to mine, the legs scraping across the slate floor, and very gently he chafed my arm. “I told you, Susan, no on gets over Him. If I had been only human, if I’d not had … help, I wouldn’t have survived. But surviving, living without Him is not the same thing as getting over Him.”

I pulled my arm away a bit more brusquely than I’d intended and forced a laugh I didn’t feel. “So we’re rivals then, are we?”

“I’d rather not think of us that way.”

I gulped the rest of my wine for courage and poured another glass. “I find it really strange that your … partner in crime would send you into the mouth of the dragon to steal whatever it is you’re supposed to steal. How does she expect you to survive it and walk away with her prize? You did tell her, didn’t you? I mean you did say she helped you get away from him.”

He cleared his throat and sat back in his chair. “Oh she knows, and yes, I’d be dead if she hadn’t helped me, but to be honest, I don’t think she cares all that much if I survive it or not.”

“Fuck,” I said under my breath. “Well then maybe you should let her go in after the plunder instead; maybe you should let her go up against Him, see how she likes it.”

This time he chuckled, and it was genuine. “As interesting as that might be to see, but I don’t think there’s even the slightest spark of attraction between the two of them. Haven’t you ever met someone that everyone else fancied like crazy, but you just couldn’t see why? Well, I’m pretty sure it would be like that between them. Remember, she’s the one who got me away from him.”

I shrugged. “Then it seems to me she’d be the perfect one for the job.”

“Trust me, she chose wisely in sending me.” He stood and took my hand. “But it doesn’t matter if we’re both hot for himGraveyard angel 1 or not. Right now, Susan, what matters is that I’m hot for you, and if I’m not mistaking, the feeling is mutual. Though it won’t make either of us forget Him, it’ll make us both stronger, and the bond between us stonger, and we both need all the strength we can get. Besides,” he ran a large hand through his hair and left it standing in soft spiky peaks I couldn’t resist reaching out to smooth, “I don’t want to think about Him, or her.” He pulled my hand to his lips and kissed my palm. “I’ve already had my ice cream.” He raked me with hungry eyes. “Now I want my dessert.” Without another word, he led me back upstairs, pausing at the bedroom door to kiss me thoroughly while ridding me of the hoodie and all items of clothing beneath, a favor I returned in kind, then kissing and groping and giggling, we stumbled to the bed. In the leisurely explorations that followed, it was a long time before either of us spoke, and besides our mouths were well occupied with tasks much more pleasant.

When at last my brain engaged through the thick fog of arousal, I remembered how to speak again. “This must be what sex before going to battle feels like,” I managed between efforts to breath. Michael didn’t answer. His tongue was well occupied between my legs. This time there would be no forcing the issue. This time I knew that he would make me beg for it before he took me, and he’d make it well worth the wait. This time I could be patient too and revel in the feel of him exploring me, pleasuring me, driving me to the point of no return. I tried to push the idea that this might just be a revenge fuck out of my head, but some thoughts push back harder than others. Did I really want to make Him jealous, I wondered. What would He do to me if I did? Was Michael thinking the same thing? “Am I your revenge fuck?” Damn it, why couldn’t I keep my mouth shut? He bit the inside of my upper thigh and I yelped as he came up, face shining with my wetness. “Possibly.” He wiped a forearm across his mouth, then gave each of my nipples a hard suck, wriggling in between my thighs with his knees before he thrust up into me and rose above me on his elbows to look down into my eyes. “But that shouldn’t worry you much. If we’re each others’ revenge fucks, then won’t we both go out of our way to make it so damn good that He’ll truly have something to be jealous over?”

I laughed in spite of myself and his kiss muffled the sound to a giggle that ended in a soft moan twinned by his own Psyche and Erosdeep-chested sounds of pleasure as he began to move inside me. And suddenly I wasn’t laughing, suddenly I was moving with him, thrusting up to meet his body, hands fisted against his hard shoulders, thighs straining to grip him tighter. Muscle. We were one giant muscle tensing and pumping and pushing with one goal – release. And as I convulsed against him, and he growled out his own orgasm, I realized that at the end of the day, the mutual release we sought was not from each other but from Him. The real question was whether or not we wanted that release bad enough to let go of what we both felt for Him and to do what had to be done. Was that even possible? As I lay there in his arms struggling to catch my breath, I suddenly realized that what neither of us could do alone, we just might be able to accomplish working together. But that thought was for after, after we’d both had some much-needed sleep.

 

In The Flesh Part 9: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567Happy Friday Everyone! And secrets are uncovered with part 9 of my dark paranormal story. 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 9 is full of secrets revealed and jealousy. 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 6Part 7, Part 8.

 

In The Flesh: Part 9

For a long moment I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t speak. I felt cold to my core, and there was a strange ringing in my ears, but worst of all I felt jealous. “You were his lover? How’s that possible,” I managed, forcing the words up through my throat, which threatened to close. “How the hell is that even possible?”

“What do you mean how’s that possible? You and I just made love, same general principles.”

“Same general principles my arse.” I pushed up off the bed, grabbed the towel and wrapped it around me feeling suddenly very naked, indeed. I paced at the foot of the bed, jealousy just at the edge of my consciousness like the irritating buzz of a mosquito seeking a place to bite.

“What? Do you think an angel can’t be vulnerable, can’t want the same things you want?” The smile that curved his lips was almost a grimace. “I was a lot more beautiful then than I am now. But beauty’s a fleeting thing.” He waved his hand absently, still not looking at me. “I knew that was a part of the price, and I didn’t care. I would have done anything.”

“Well if it’s beauty he’s after, he sure as hell doesn’t want me. Annie’s the one with the looks. Not me.”

Suddenly he stood and pulled me to him, the look on his face shifting from confusion to complete understanding. “You’re jealous.”

I said nothing. It was no use denying what had to be written all over my face. That Michael had been with Him, that Annie was with Him, and that I still wanted to be, in spite of everything messed with my mind.Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500

“I understand your jealousy,” Michael said. “Once he’s touched you in some way, in any way, you can’t help but want him. You can’t help but want him to want you and only you. That’s his power.”

I didn’t reply. What could I say? Instead I turned my back on him, trying to focus, trying to be logical. I didn’t want to be jealous, and I didn’t want to want Him. I knew what the result of wanting Him, of giving into that want, would be, and yet, I still wanted.

He grabbed my arm in a grip that was none too gentle and pulled me back to him. “Susan, it has nothing to do with beauty, what he wants. Beauty is far more fleeting than … other things.” He lifted my chin with a thick curled finger, forcing me to meet his gaze. “That he wants you, I can completely understand.” He pulled me close against his still naked body, making sure I was fully aware of his desire for me, then he took my mouth in a kiss distracting enough that I would have been perfectly happy to linger in a lip-lock with him for twenty years or so. But then he released me, guided me back to sit on the bed, and pulled his jeans up over his hips, commando, I noticed.

“Tell me,” I said, watching in fascination as he zipped his substantial self into the tight fit of denim. “Tell what happened.”

He shoved another log onto the fire then plopped down into the wingback chair. For a long time he stared into the flames, so long that I thought maybe he’d chosen not to answer; maybe it wasn’t something he could talk about. But at last he took a deep breath and spoke. “I thought it would be easier being human.” He lifted a shoulder in a lop-sided shrug. “I suppose we all romanticize the things we wish for before we actually have them. We don’t know the pitfalls and the difficulties until we’re faced with them, and then they’re such a shock, sometimes it’s too late.” He forced a laugh. “You’d think someone who had spent eons as a being only slightly less than divinity would have been aware of the threat of demons and spirits and such things that do a whole lot more than go bump in the night. I’d even met demons and incubi and spirits of the land. They never seemed all that threatening to me, but then I wasn’t human, was I? I know it’s insane to think that I could forget, I mean after all, it was a part of my job to protect humans, to ease their suffering from such beings.” He grabbed the poker and gave the log he’d just put on the fire a hard shove that resulted in a shower of popping and crackling sparks. For another long moment of gazing into the flames as though he sought wisdom there, he continued. “They were never any threat to me as an angelic being. I just assumed that would be true when I became human. I knew how things were, after all. I understood, and I was still me, at the end of the day. Surely I was safe from such things. But I wasn’t, was I?”

“How did it happen?” I asked. A part of me didn’t really want to know. A part of me couldn’t bear the thought rose images
of anyone else being with Him. But He was a monster, I reminded myself. He was bad news, very bad news. Even as I thought it I couldn’t keep from thinking about how it felt when he touched me, how it felt when he spoke to me, almost like his voice was inside my heart.

“A part of my job was to be the guardian of sacred spaces.” He smiled and shook his head, “Sorry to disappoint, but I wasn’t that Michael, not the archangel. I was just a Michael, and I was one of many whose job was to safeguard sacred spaces and the people who worship therein.” He chuckled softly “I suppose you could say I was the divine version of a security guard. Not very glamorous, is it?”

“And you were sent to protect people from … Him?”

“Sort of,” he replied. “There are lots of beings attracted to sacred spaces because they are sacred. They shine like beacons to supernatural eyes. And because mortals come to those spaces open and vulnerable than they are in more mundane spaces, they can be the perfect places for these divine parasites, for lack of a better term, to attach themselves to a human.”

“Are you saying He’s a parasite?” The idea made me squirm. I liked the idea of some divine monster, some misbehaving godling wanting to seduce me, but I wasn’t so keen on the idea of a parasite attaching itself to me.”

“More than likely he was the original guardian spirit set to protect the place and its worshipers. Stability isn’t any more a given with protective and guardian spirits,” he shrugged, “with any kind of divinity at all, actually, than it is with mortals. And the truth is no one really knows what will drive them over the edge and when.”

“And is the same true of angels?” I asked.

“If your asking me how stable I am, well, I’m probably not the one to ask, but I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m a lot more stable than I was back in the day.”

“Back in the day?”

This time it was his turn to pace, staring straight ahead as though he could see into the distant past, as though he could see what had been as easily as what was. Maybe he could. “In the beginning, I was sent to help him, sent because the powers that be observed a growing instability in him, and they thought he was just overly tired. Some guardian spirits attached to places are content to serve and protect their place, pretty much in total anonymity, and pretty much for all eternity, without so much as ever wavering. They’re so connected with the place, they seldom have need for contact with the mortals who hold that place sacred.

“But He,” I could see a shiver run up his spine and over his broad shoulders, “He became fascinated with the mortals who worshiped in his space, and since that space had been a Christian place of worship for several hundred years, it fell to those who served the Christian god to set things right. It should have been easy for an angel. It should have been a walk in the park.”

The silence stretched between us, broken only by distant thunder. It took a second for me to realize I’d been holding my breath. He moved to slip the throw from the back of the chair over my shoulders and I realized not only was I was still clad in just the towel but I was shivering. I inhaled with a shudder and found my voice. “But it wasn’t.”

“It wasn’t.” He returned to pacing in front of the fire. “You see, the thing was, that I didn’t realize that something was amiss. I didn’t realize anything at all. In fact, it seemed almost the opposite to me. It seemed like everything was exactly as it should be and that he was …”

“He was what?”

Michael stopped mid-stride and stared into the flames as though seeking answers there. “It seemed as though he was the only sane thing about the place, and even more than that, it seemed like he was a kindred spirit. He loved humanity. He was fascinated by their tenacity, their ability to be both strong and vulnerable. And he was particularly fascinated by their ability to live in the physical world. Oh, that was a weakness, of course it was. Mortality always is
and always has been a weakness, the ultimate weakness, and yet to live in the flesh to feel pain and suffering and joy and love and lust and tenderness, to experience the five senses – how could any non-corporeal being not crave that? How could any god think that to exist without flesh was superior to blood and bone and all the passion and trauma and chaos that went along with it?”

“And clearly you shared His opinion,” I observed, nodding to his body.

St Teresa BerniniEl-extasis-de-Santa-Teresa4               “I did.” He came to sit beside me on the bed and took my hand, chafing my cold fingers. “Though had I had any idea the cost back before I made the decision, back before I chose the path of no return, I might have been too terrified to do what had to be done.”

“You mean that once you became human, you succumbed to him and became his lover?”

Michael shook his head slowly, and the chafing of my hand became a death grip. “Oh no, it wasn’t that at all. I became his lover long before I became mortal. In fact, I became mortal because I loved him.”

 

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.’

 

In The Flesh Part 6: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

Happy Friday Everyone! Time for more chills and thrills with part 6 of my dark paranormal story, In The Flesh.  psyche_et_lamour_327x567

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. In the Flesh is a blend of paranormal erotica and almost, but not quite … okay, quite possibly … horror. What I’m sharing with you, this version, is an expanding work in progress. You get it just shortly after I write it, and as far as what happens next, well … we’ll see. 

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 5.

 

Part 6

If I had been lost in the garden trying to get to the kitchen door of Chapel House, I was even more so trying to get away. rose images
In my panic, there was no being quiet and, with each snapping of twig and rustling of undergrowth, I was certain someone was following me, certain I could hear footsteps right behind me. I had been attacked under the sculpture of the angel. Christ, had it been Michael after me all along? Though my own breathing sounded like a rush of wind, and the hammer of my pulse thrummed like thunder, still I was certain I heard the breath of another just behind me. Frantically I glanced over my shoulder, seeing nothing but the sway of the brambles and overgrown lilacs I’d just shoved my way through. Too late, I turned my attention back to the path. My foot caught on the upturned edge of a paving stone disturbed by an ancient hawthorn root that resembled a thick serpent shoving it’s way up from the depths. I did a belly flop, an outstretched bramble scratching my cheek as I went down. For an instant the world went black, flashes of colour exploded behind my eyelids, and then my vision returned. I would have screamed as the sudden scent of roses overwhelmed me, but there was no breath left for it, and stunned as I was, I couldn’t quite remember how to move. It was that same sense of paralysis I’d experienced in nightmares when I needed desperately to run away, to flee some horrible danger, and yet my body refused to respond.

Though my body refused to respond to the need to run, parts of it responded perfectly to the touch down my spine, the kneading caress of my bottom, the heat of muscle and sinew and heavy maleness stretched out alongside me, an insinuating knee between my legs making room for further exploration of fingers I could feel on bare skin in spite of knowing full well that I was still completely clothed. Another hand curled in my hair, pushing the tangle aside to expose my nape and the back of my neck, to clear a path for lips and teeth and tongue. I think I might have said ‘please don’t,’ but then I might have simply said ‘please.’ Wherever I was, it was not in my head. But I was most definitely in my body, nipples aching, hips shifting, oblivious to the hard rock of the path bruising ribs and belly, responding only to the fingers that had found me embarrassingly wet and needy. A little voice somewhere so far off that I could barely hear it kept whispering that I should fight back, that I should run away, but it was hard to listen to that voice when I felt like my whole body would burst into flame with longing for more of whatever it was, whoever it was teasing me so exquisitely. It was hard to listen to that small voice inside myself when something outside me whispered louder, whispered words I didn’t understand at first, all the while nibbling my ear lobe and trailing kisses down along my shoulder now somehow exposed. I must have gotten lost in the voice. I don’t know how long. It could have been a second, it could have been an eternity, but my next conscious thought was that I had been maneuvered onto my hands and knees, bottom raised, legs open, that my jeans and panties were down around my thighs and a body much larger than my own, mantled me, warm, naked, smelling of male lust, dark and heavy and primordial-thick as the fecund vegetation around me. No matter how good my imagination, I was certain the weight of an erection rubbing low against my spine was real, becoming more real with each passing moment as it slid up the cleft of my buttocks, seeking me out like a stag in rut.

“No one can give you what I can, Susan.’ This time I understood every word, felt the shape of warm lips against2015-06-24 12.43.56 my ear. ‘I can show you such ecstasy, such beauty. I can show you the meaning of the universe and everything in it. I know your longings, your dreams, the depth of your heart, and I want you. To be wanted, to be possessed by a god. Is that not everyone’s deepest desire? And yet you, my beauty, you want more than that, don’t you? You want to possess god. Just like Lucifer before you, you want what god has. You want me to open myself to you, to pour my wisdom into you, my creative force as surely as I pour my lust into you.’ The hands had become insistent, groping breasts and belly, fingering me open, touching every part of me in ways even I didn’t know I wanted to be touched. The voice, the whisper, became so intimate that I could feel it inside my head, inside the blood pounding at my temples. ‘And then you want to take the mind of god and translate it, write it down with your gift of words and share it with the rest of humanity. Oh, I know you, my darling, and I know your deepest longing. You are the object of my lust, Susan, and the object of my love. I want no other. I desire only to make you my lover, and in doing so I will give you the mind of god.’

“But you’re not god.” The words erupted from my parched throat feeling as though I had vomited them from the depths just as the scent of roses gave way to burning garbage, and I gasped for air, shoving and clawing at the pavement against the weight on top of me. A gust of wind whipped my hair around in my face as I managed to pull myself into a sitting position. Suddenly free from the heaviness of the masculine body that had not really been there, at least not in the flesh, I fumbled my jeans up over my arse, embarrassed, angry and frustrated, but mostly just really, really scared. The flash of a knife was my only warning before Annie was on top of me, shoving me back down onto the jagged paving stones.

‘I told you to get out!’ She screamed, jamming a knee in my ribs. I caught her wrist and rolled just in time to keep her from plunging the knife into my stomach. ‘Your stuff, I threw it over the fence. You should have taken it and left. I don’t want you here. I never wanted you here. Now you’ve ruined it all. I’ll kill you! I will. I need him, and he needs me. He’ll understand that once you’re dead.’ She tried again to bring the knife down, but this time a large hand grabbed hold of her arm and yanked her off, tossing her into a bed of overgrown geraniums as though she weighed nothing, all the while she screamed and raged and cursed me. The next thing I knew, Michael jerked me to my feet and flung me over his shoulder like I was a sack of grain. I screamed and did my best to squirm free making useless attempts to knee him in the stomach. “You lied to me! It’s you! It was you all along, you sonovabitch! It was you all along!” The air reeked of burning rubbish and my lungs burned like fire. The wind had risen to near gale force and I could do nothing but close my streaming eyes and hang on as Michael shoved through the rank vegetation, slammed open the wrought iron gate and shoved me into the passenger seat of the lorry. ‘Let me out,’ I managed around a hacking cough. ‘You lied to me! Let me out now!’ But instead, he belted me in the seat and locked the door.

‘It wasn’t me, goddammit! Now shut up and sit still until I can get us out of here or it’s it’ll be all over.’

2015-06-24 12.46.27               I didn’t argue further. I knew he was right. We needed to leave now. The wind rattled the truck as though it would turn it over, and for a terrifying moment I though it might. The air, even inside the cab was foul enough to make breathing secondary to not asphyxiating. Michael had pulled the collar of his t-shirt up over his mouth and nose, and I did the same with his jacket, stiff-legging the floorboard and bracing against the dash with the flat of my palm as Michael revved the engine and downshifted, shoving his way through a brutal headwind. He cursed, stomped hard on the gas pedal, and we sped toward the street. With a screech of tires on pavement and a quick swerve into traffic, the wind died completely away and the air cleared as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened. To everyone around us it was just a normal summer day.

“What about Annie? We can’t just leave her. He’ll kill her,” I said when I could speak again.

“He won’t kill her.” Michael kept both eyes on the road, but I didn’t miss the frequent glances in the rear-view mirror. “He’ll punish her by fucking her until she’s too weak to move, all the while telling her that she’s his only love, that his heart’s broken that she could be jealous, that she could think he’d want anyone else.”

I fought down panic at the thought. “She’s already weak. She’s just skin and bones, and she can hardly function now.”

“It won’t matter,” he replied. “ He knows just how close to the edge to take her. He’ll never kill her, and he’ll never let her die while she’s with him. Even when he replaces her with someone else, he never kills his lovers once he’s through with them. He doesn’t have to. He’s become their reason for living. Without his attentions, they’re all more than willing to sacrifice themselves to him. Look,” he said, glancing at me then back through the mirror, “right now there really is nothing you can do, and by going back you put yourself in danger. Don’t let her weakened condition fool you. She’d kill you in a heartbeat, and you’d be surprised just how strong her jealously, her lust for him will make her.”

“There has to be something we can do.”

“Not right now there isn’t. Not after what you’ve just been through, and not when both his attention and hers is fully on you. Now get some rest. You’re exhausted.”

Rest wasn’t my intention, forcing him to turn the truck right back around so I could go get my car and get the St Teresa BerniniEl-extasis-de-Santa-Teresa4hell out of Dodge until I could figure what to do was my intention. I sure as hell had no reason to trust him now. But I did rest. That’s exactly what I did. I slept the sleep of exhaustion, blissful and dreamless with no room for thoughts of what might have happened if things had played out uninterrupted by a crazy friend with a sharp knife and man who might be an angel, or could possibly be even worse than what he’d rescued me from. Christ, sleep was the safest place for me. None of those thoughts needed to be visited, especially not when everything in me felt like an open wound too tender to even touch.

 

When I woke up, I was in a large bed down between midnight blue sheets that smelled slightly woody. From the angle of the sun it was clear most of the day had passed without my knowledge, which suited me just fine under the circumstances. I was still in that state of blurred consciousness I often had when waking. I was no longer in the oblivion of the unconscious, but not fully aware of the goings on in the waking world either. There’s something to be said for not being fully aware. My unconscious struggled to pull me back down into the dark cushioning layers of sleep, and the part of myself that was conscious made a heroic effort to comply. Not wanting to wake up became an imperative, one that my body would have been completely willing to obey had I not noticed Michael standing on the balcony beyond open French doors, silhouetted in the mauve and melon tones of the setting sun. “You’re awake,” he said, turning to face me. I could tell he was fresh from the shower. He was naked to the waist, dark hair curling around his ears. The white gauze curtains billowed on a breeze around his body obscuring and revealing and obscuring again. Beyond him I could make out the hunched backs and rocky outcroppings of the fells thrust up against the horizon. I thought we were in the Lake District, but I wasn’t sure. What was it, an hour by car, forty-five minutes? How long had I slept? I had no memory of him bringing me into the house or putting me into bed. That I was still fully clothed eased my fears a little bit, but then whatever it was that had attacked me in the gardens at Chapel House hadn’t needed to remove my clothing to take his jollies, nor to make me want him. I shivered in spite of the thick duvet spread over me, keeping my eyes on Michael, whom I still didn’t trust whether he had undressed me or not.

For an instant, with the curtains obscuring his legs and groin, with his hand outreached to push them aside revealing the curve of bicep and the straight broad expanse of chest and shoulders he could have passed for the statue in the ruined garden. Suddenly I was wide awake. Panic rose up my spine. I bolted from the bed and was halfway to the door before he caught me by the arm and gently steered me back into the room, settling me into a large wing-backed chair in front of a stone fireplace with no more effort than if I’d been an errant child. “It’s alright. You’re safe.”

“Safe, am I? Safe?” In spite of my best efforts to calm down, my voice rose with each word.

“You didn’t dream, did you?” He asked, pushing a strand of hair away from my face with the curl of a finger.

I shook my head. “How did you know?”

He shrugged one well-muscled shoulder and offered me a self-deprecating smile. “You were exhausted, and I knew if I could get you to sleep, I could keep you from dreaming.”

“You? You got me to sleep? Jesus!’ I whispered. “How?”

“Just the power of suggestion. Nothing magical or anything.” He looked away, suddenly unable to meet my Graveyard angel 1gaze. “Not really anyway.”

With a flash of memory, I recalled my first encounter with the angel in the overgrown garden, the inviting hand, the look of longing. The encroaching evening went silent around me, or maybe the thought, the impossible thought forcing its way front and center in my mind had simply blocked out everything else, everything not relevant to the situation. It was a thought I really would have preferred not to have, but there it was filling my brain, refusing to go away. I braced my feet hard against the floor to keep my legs from shaking, took a deep breath and gave that thought substance. “You’re an angel, aren’t you?” And just like that, I slid deeper into the rabbit hole.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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