How 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!
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 gaze. “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, with 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 him 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 deep-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.