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First in Series Part 4: In The Flesh

For the final installment of the First in Series Series, I’m once again wearing my KDG hat, but writing what has become my first love, PNR and urban fantasy. I’m sharing an excerpt from my final series, which is still in progress, The Medusa Consortium tales. Once again, it was never my plan to begin a series when I wrote In The Flesh, which interestingly enough, actually began life as a weekly series on my blog. There are now three books and a novella in the series, as well as several related short stories only available on my blog, along with another novel on the way. As always, be warned, most of my excerpts bite back, even if they don’t have vampires in them. Enjoy!

 

Book one in the Medusa’s Consortium series (Click Here for Book Two | Book Three)

Blurb:

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.

 

 

 

I Wasn’t Alone in the Dark

 

I wasn’t alone in the dark. I knew that the first time I entered the crypt at Chapel House. I could feel a presence there, almost as though someone stood just behind me, about to reach out and touch me. The shiver over my skin was not so much from fear, though certainly there was an element of fear, as it was from longing, bone-deep longing. I could barely breathe for it, I could barely stand under the weight of it, and I couldn’t imagine how such an ache, such a hunger could exist inside my flesh and not tear me apart. I was astonished that Annie seemed completely unaware of anything out of the ordinary, and to be quite honest, I wasn’t anxious to share it with her.

She continued to chatter on about her plans to make Chapel House over with a state of the art kitchen—she who didn’t cook, and a master suite that would rival the finest hotels in London. Strange that I could listen with one part of my brain and comment on her ideas for an open plan living space, for a library in the choir loft, for a wet room in the sacristy, while with another part of my brain I felt like every cell of my body was responding to whatever it was, whoever it was that I was certain waited there in the darkness, just beyond the beam of Annie’s Maglite.

The departmentalizing of Annie’s plans and the feel of the presence in the darkness became much more difficult when I felt the closeness of a warm, hard body against my back and the humid nip of a kiss on the nape of my neck. I explained away my little gasp of surprise to Annie by saying I’d almost lost my footing. I should have been frightened. I should have been terrified, and believe me, I was. But by the time I felt a large hand splayed low against my belly, by the time I was certain of the maleness pressed hard and low just above my butt, I was far more intrigued than I was frightened. Even if terror had won out, I don’t think I could have forced myself to move as the hand in the darkness migrated to cup my breasts and thumb my nipples, first one, then the other, and the slow grind and undulation from behind became more demanding.

“The roses, they smell lovely.” I managed a breathless response to Annie’s ramblings about plans for the overgrown mess of a garden. “You might want to consider a scent garden.”

She laughed. “I can’t smell anything, but then you were always the one with the sensitive nose. Of course I’ll make sure there are lots of roses.” She knew they were my favorite, but I couldn’t imagine her not smelling them; the scent was nearly overwhelming in the tight space of the crypt. To my surprise, as she rambled on about a patio with a Jacuzzi, the smell of roses was subsumed in my own scent and the humid, piquant scent of a man well aroused. The hand on my breast began a slow, torturous descent, and I wanted nothing more than for Annie to keep talking, keep planning, anything to keep her from dragging me away from this place, at least for a few more minutes.

I asked about the Jacuzzi, hoping that would give me another minute. By the time she got started about the sites she’d looked up online and the builders she’d talked to, I was rocking back against the hardness, craning my neck to yield as much bare skin as possible to teeth and tongue and lips all soft and warm and wet and sharp and hard and demanding. Oh, I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, but looking back, I wonder how the hell Annie couldn’t see? How could she have missed it? But she rattled on and on about some builder just up the road near Keswick who was supposed to be really good, some guy named Michael. Like I gave a fuck.

The study suddenly felt stuffy and overheated, and Michael’s grip on my hand convulsed. His jaw tightened, but he didn’t look at me.

Magda paid little attention to either my discomfort or Michael’s. She just kept on reading.

He was cute, Annie said. That led to observations about this Michael’s broad shoulders and nice arse and speculation as to whether or not he would be any good in bed, and was it wise to seduce him before he put in her Jacuzzi or wait till after and seduce him in it. All the while I nodded and pretended to be interested.

I was thankful for the extra time, but Christ, how could she not notice me standing there, legs apart, rocking back and forth and shifting from foot to foot like I had ants in my knickers? In truth, what I wanted in my knickers surely couldn’t actually be there, and yet I felt it, fucking hell, how I felt it! I swear, I could feel muscle and sinew. Hell, I could feel the actual shape of an erection as though we were both naked, as though all he need do, this dark being who surely was just my imagination, was bend me over and open me, me struggling to keep my breathing quiet, me struggling to focus enough attention on my friend that she wouldn’t suspect I was about to come. Oh yes, I was terrified. I would have, should have, run, if I hadn’t been so intrigued, so turned on. I just wanted one more second, and then another and another.

In desperation that shocks me even now as I write this in the dark silence of Annie’s flat, I grabbed onto a wrist that I swear was as solid and warm as my own and guided the caress, the tease, the fondling of fingers and palm down my belly toward where I really needed it to be.

Annie yammered on about this Michael, all the things she’d heard about him, all the things she wanted to do to him—at least I think she did. My God, my whole body felt alive, every cell, every molecule. I could damn near feel the coursing of my own blood through my veins. You have no idea what an exhilarating combination fear and arousal make. I lost track of what Annie was saying, and the air was filled with the scent of sex. I could smell him, actually smell this phantom man, who was as near release as I was, and I was sure, as my knees gave beneath me, I felt the warm wet of his orgasm against my lower back. And then for an instant everything around me was silk and darkness, so perfect, so ecstatic. But just beyond that warm tight space, I knew. I knew as well as I know my own breath, I was terrified, and what I felt was like no terror I’d ever known before and, holy God in heaven, I want to feel it again.

And then I was shivering on my knees against the stone floor in the crypt at Chapel

House.

“Susan? Susan, you’re scaring me.” Annie’s worried face invaded my field of vision before she half-blinded me with her Maglite. “Are you all right? What the hell
happened?”

“Sorry, I got a little lightheaded there. Probably just blood sugar. I missed lunch,” I

lied, stumbling quickly to my feet, making a quick swipe at the back of my skirt, surprised to find it was dry. Glancing over my shoulder into the narrow beam of the Maglite, I saw only the empty darkness of the crypt and the tunnel that led back to the rusted barred door. But I was certain someone was there, someone I hungered for way more than I hungered for food. And I was equally certain that I would have Him.

 

Brand New Snippet from A Demon’s Tale WIP

Hello my Lovelies. Here’s a brand new excerpt from A Demon’s Tale, Book Four of the Medusa Consortium series. The Guardian keeps surprising me with unexpected twists and turns, and I keep loving his story. In this snippet, he takes a little revenge for himself while seeking out something far more vital for the Consortium. But can he revert back to his old ways after all he’s been through?

 

A Demon’s Tale WIP: Possession and Revenge

“You’re back even sooner than I expected,” he said without looking at the witch. “Tell me, did you make your excuses to the sea god? Did you tell him there was someone who fucked you better than he?”

 

“You pushed me out.” There was disbelief, there was frustration, there was plenty of rage her in voice, but all of that was negligible. What assured him that he had her exactly where he wanted her was the raw, desperate need beneath that rage, just as he had known it would be, just as he had planned it. When he made no response, when he didn’t even bother to turn toward her, her rage peaked. “You pushed me out without finishing me. You left me … unable to do anything.” The trembling in her body caused tiny ripples along the construct, and he smiled to himself for he knew well the desperation growing in her. “I can’t go to him like this. I had to send one of my maids to make excuses, to say that I was working on a plan and a spell and I could not be disturbed.”

 

With a single thought the construct shifted and morphed around them until the stood beneath the shelter of willow trees hanging heavily around a spring. The catch of her breath told him that she recognized the spot. “You betrayed me here, Circe. Surely you didn’t think I’d forget.”

 

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, falling to her knees, “Gods, I’ve wished a million times that I hadn’t done it.”

 

“Liar.” He barely mouthed the words, but her flinch was a tremor of delight along his nebulous being.

 

“Give me what I want,” she raged, forcing her way to her feet, hands clenched at her side in tight fists. “Give me what I need or I swear I’ll tell him about you. I swear I’ll –”

 

“You’ll what?” He turned on her, his voice so loud now that she covered her ears, a thing that would not avail her. “He already knows about me, and he already knows that he cannot destroy me without destroying the very thing that he desires to possess.” He wrapped his non-corporeal self around her so suddenly and so completely that she yelped, her shocked surprise well laced with fear. Good. He wanted her fear. He delighted in her fear. “If you, my wicked little witch, do not give me whatIwant, then I shall simply destroy the construct and leave you as you are, unsatisfied and insatiable with no relief to be had.” He moved so close to her ear that he knew she could feel his words inside her head, “and you will have no way back to me.”

 

“No! No please!” She reached desperate clawing hands for flesh that was not there, even as he completely surrounded her with himself. “Please don’t do that.”

 

Her trembling in his embrace fed his own hunger, the need raised to impossible heights, desire that would, indeed drive her insane if she found no relief, and he, and only he, could offer that relief. The power of such knowledge swelled within him as surely as arousal swelled and hardened maleness, and oh how he longed to physically know that arousal. “You betrayed me, little witch, and I have a very, very long memory. You betrayed me and abandoned me in this worthless place to languish, a thing you cannot even imagine. I can think of no good reason why I should not do exactly that. In fact, that is precisely my plan.”

 

“No! No Please don’t.” She fell to her knees and reached and groped for any physical trace of him, so very near and yet always just beyond her reach.

 

“Did you think that just because this was a dream construct you could come and go as you pleased, take whatever you desired and I would have no recourse but to play your pet?”

 

“No I didn’t. I didn’t think that. I only wanted –”

 

“Don’t lie to me, Circe.” This time he made himself physical enough that he could shake her until her teeth rattled, and even to that she responded as though he had stroked her breast or fingered her sex. “I know when you’re lying, darling. I know that is exactly what you thought you could do. You thought my prison had rendered me powerless. You thought I would be glad for the distraction. And while I have enjoyed our little rendezvous, I am bored now, for you have given me no reason why I should continue this game now that I have achieved my revenge.”

 

“No! No please! I’ll do anything!” And this time, he let her feel flesh that was not there as she wrapped her arms around his legs, in her subservient position and gave a little gasp at the feel of an erection pressed close to her cheek as she held him there. She even made an effort to take him into her mouth, looking up at him, her gaze limpid, coy, submissive.H e let her service him, for a moment, lingering to relish the thought of what was to come next, for as he curled phantom fingers into her hair and allowed her to feel his pleasure, he knew that she was his, that she would give him what he wanted.

 

“Anything, my wicked little darling, anything I ask of you?”

 

She whimpered and nodded as he gently pulled her to her feet, making sure she felt the flick of a tongue and the nip of teeth over her nipples as he did so. He drew her near and created for her the sensation of naked flesh against naked flesh, of need rubbing up against need, and she shivered and bit her lip until he could smell the blood. He moved in close and took her mouth, sucking at her wound much as he knew his dear vampires did, and he was surprised at how that thought intrigued, aroused him even. He let her feed on his mouth in turn as though she starved for it, for truly she did just such. And then he pulled away and whispered over the rise of goose bumps across her nape. “Then let me wear your flesh.”

“What?” She pulled away startled, eyes wide, the rapid staccato of her heart a constant shimmer along the construct, a constant strumming of his own arousal. “You … you want to possess me?”

 

“Only for a little, my love, and as I do, I shall give you such a release as you shall never forget, such delights as your flesh can barely contain, and indeed, could not without me there lending my power at the core of you. For you see, I am unable to possess mortals without eliciting their deaths far too soon for my pleasure to be satisfied. Only once in my long existence have I been able to come and go in the flesh of another, as I pleased. But before you betrayed me and bound me in this forsaken place, I would have possessed you, for I believed you could house my power in your flesh.” He moved to stand behind her, splaying fingers up over her belly to cup her breasts and tease her nipples to tight peeks. “Can you imagine such power we would possess,” he now shifted and made subtle maddening thrusting motions, which brought his penis in long tentative strokes at the juncture between her buttocks. “Why even the sea god himself could not defy us. And the pleasure I could give you, the pleasure I could give both of us is as nothing you could come close to imagining, even in your many eons of life. If you would do this for me,” he said reaching around to cup her sex and seek out her pleasure point so tender and ready. She cried out and thrust her hips forward as though to force from his exploring fingers what she so urgently needed, but he only chuckled and pulled back a feather’s breath before her completion. As she sobbed out her frustration, he cupped her again and covered her neck and shoulders with kisses. “Do this one thing for me, my wicked little witch, just this one thing, and I will consider the debt you owe me paid and my revenge complete.”

 

“It won’t hurt?”

 

“And what if it does when the pleasure will be as nothing you can even come close to imagining in your fragile little mind. Indeed, I know full well that you find a great deal of pleasure in pain. Giving it,” he bit her ear and she trembled, “as well as receiving it.”

 

“Will you allow me then to come back to you whenever I want?” This time she was bold enough to reach a hand back to pull his hips nearer, as she leaned slightly forward to open herself.

 

But he slapped her hands away and turned her into his embrace, offering her the face that he did not have, the face that he knew would both terrify and enthrall her. “Of course I will, my darling, for I am as in need of entertainment as you are in this prison, and I would delight in the pleasure we can find in each other.”

“All right. Do it.” The strain of her need was evident in the shadows beneath her eyes

and the sheen of perspiration that reeked as much of fear as it did arousal.

 

“Then kiss me, my love, and I will go in through your breath. It will take only a moment.”

 

Interview with a Demon: Part 6

 

Due to his escape-proof prison and the promise to his jailor, I have not yet been totally possessed by the Guardian. Yes, I know that’s black humour, and I should probably touch wood. Being with him continues to be very unsettling, and it becomes more so as his story unfolds. The one thing I hadn’t considered in this interview is that a demon might actually be frustrated.

If you are coming to these interviews late but would like to catch up, follow the links below this instalment.

 

 

Part 6: A Demon’s Frustration

 

I wish that I could have disagreed with the Guardian, but I don’t know what I would have done imprisoned in stone for millennia, how I would have felt. I’m not patient when I have to wait a long time for a bus with nothing to read. Anyway, it didn’t matter. He didn’t give me time to dwell on it. But then I suspected he already knew the answer whether I did or not. Instead he picked up where we had left off as though there had been no interruption.

“Annie immediately made an offer, which was accepted just as quickly. I’m certain the sellers just wanted to be rid of the place, evil as it was.

“In all fairness, there had been no other perspective buyers who had given the place any real consideration, though I had a great deal to do with that, I confess. I told you I choose wisely and very carefully. At the time, I had no idea just how well I had chosen.

“You see, Annie Rivers was an estate agent herself by trade – a very good one, who could afford to buy and renovate what she was already affectionately calling Chapel House from the moment she took possession of the keys. She was, by your modern day standards a true beauty with hair that glistened golden in the sunlight and eyes that were cerulean blue. From the moment I first had her all to myself I was jealous of anyone who had kissed those full lips. I was jealous of anyone who was capableof kissing those lips, of touching her, of holding her. You must understand I could do none of those things, not in the sense of true flesh and blood. All I could do was make her believe that I touched her, that I kissed and caressed her, make her desire me to do so more than anything in life. Well that is what I would have done had I been free. As it was, in my imprisoned state, I could do little more than observe her, be near her, give her intimations of well being, of arousal, of being loved and desired. Because she was beautiful anyway, because she was desired and loved, all I could really do was enhance those sensations. Oh, KD, you cannot imagine my frustration at not being able to give her more.”

The idea of the Guardian actually giving Annie something when I knew what his attention had cost her and what the end result would have been without Susan’s desperate and dangerous intervention seemed totally absurd. He was silence for a moment, as though he waited for the response I only thought. I chose not to consider the disturbing likelihood that he already knew those thoughts.

When he continued he stood to pace once more, the chair he’d been sitting in vanishing as he did so. “No, I am not an incubus. As I said I am only a guardian spirit, but one who has, over the ages, become very much underestimated. Demon, some would call me, but debating my true nature would simply be splitting hairs so long after the fact, so long after what I’ve become, what I’m still becoming. You see, while I would have loved to possess my Annie, to enter into her body and experience the pleasures of her flesh as she herself did, I learned long ago that to do so with a mortal is to hasten their death. Oh, I’ll admit that there are those whose deaths are of little consequence to me, but the pleasure of possessing their flesh for that brief time before they can no longer serve as a vessel for me is so fleeting that it’s hardly worth the effort, nor the unwanted attention it brings to me.

“So I am reduced to eliciting the emotions, the sensations, the bodily needs in another and living them vicariously. To do so means that I may savor those I choose. I may linger with their pleasures and pains and passions until they become too weakened to please me further or until I become bored with them. Then I leave them their lives to do with what they will. Sadly most don’t choose to live once denied my attention, but thus is the curse of what I have become, of what my needs have made me. I suppose you could say, if you were to speak in human terms, that I am as addicted to humanity and its pleasures as those I choose become addicted to me. And Annie, my dear beautiful Annie, was strong, resilient, with a sharp wit and a hunger for life that could not but attract me to her like a loadstone. And though I cannot take credit for what might have been had I remained so imprisoned there in Chapel House, I can say that Annie would have lived a long and happy life there with me, for I would have been able to take so little of her, while always giving enough back to keep her happy and contented, even healthy and young beyond her years. That would have been the gift from my imprisonment at the expense of my perpetual frustration.” He settled once again in the chair that appeared instantly as he did so. “I suppose you could say that my imprisonment forced me to monogamy and fidelity, knowing full well, as I did, that it was not likely I should find another to companion me at Chapel House any more easily than I had found Annie.

“So, with thoughts of a long and happy, if frustrating, relationship with Ms. Rivers, I set about drawing her to me even before she moved into Chapel House. Oh I was very subtle. I approached her with the greatest of care and tenderness not wanting to frighten her. I wanted, indeed I needed, for her to desire me as I did her. And she was not a skittish milquetoast of a woman, fearing ghosts and ghouls and anything that could not easily be explained away. In fact she invited that which she did not understand. She longed for ghosts and apparitions and things that go bump in the night. From the very beginning my darling Annie all but begged me to be real, all but flung open the doors to her inner workings and invited me in. Imagine my frustration at not being able to fully accept her gracious invitation.

“While she brought workmen in to give her estimates, she joked with them about Chapel House being haunted. She relished making them uncomfortable as she told them that sadly there were now no corpses in the crypt. Why, she told one jumpy electrician, she had only recently sent the last of them off to the Museum of London. Then she laughed that delicious throaty laugh of hers, and I shall never forget what she said.” And here he startled me again by speaking in Annie’s voice. ‘“Of course all the corpses are long gone, but someone ishere. There’s a very definite presence. I’m sure of it. I can feel it.’ She wrapped her arms around herself and sighed with such pleasures that I had wished with all my heart I’d had flesh at that moment for I should have embraced her with such delight. You see, I had been so careful not to frighten her, so careful that in my presence she should only feel welcomed and safe, and yet here was a woman longing for what would terrify most as much as I longed to give it to her. It was that day, as she left with the electrician, chatting about mood lighting for the bathroom, I resolved to find a way to make myself known to her when next she came to Chapel House. Happily I didn’t have to wait long.”

 

 

 

Interview with a Demon – the interview so far:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

 

The Lady with the Hair & the Sunglasses. What the Hell does She Want from Me?

As you know by now, encounters with Magda Gardener, though never invited and quite often disturbing, have been a part of my life for the past five years now. I work for her. Whether I like to admit it or not, I’m as much a part of her collection as Alonso Darlington and Jack Graves. The role I play, however, is not nearly so dangerous, but it’s every bit as demanding. The thing is with Magda Gardener, I never know when she’s going to show up and check in on me. But whenever she does, she always leaves me a little wrong-footed and with a story to tell.

 

With the release of Buried Pleasures, the third Medusa’s Consortium novel, and the first set in Vegas, I’m reminded again of an encounter I had with her awhile ago while on holiday in the Lake District with my husband.

 

 

Somehow I suspect that the situation isn’t normal. I suspect that I’m either dreaming or having some sort of weird out of body experience, but for the life of me, I don’t know how, or when I decided to take this brief holiday from the flesh, or even if that’s what it really is.

 

But I go on about my business like everything is normal, nothing out of the ordinary. And in truth, I’ve often gone to the Twa Dogs Pub in Keswick and ordered a pint. But this time I’ve come alone, which is something I’ve never done before, and I know when I see her sitting at a table in the back of the snooker room that she’s waiting for me. It’s late afternoon, an overcast day, typical Lakeland weather, and yet she’s still wearing sunglasses. But then she was wearing sunglasses that night in Vegas, even in the tunnels.

 

I sit down across from her and she looks me up and down. Though I can’t see her eyes, I can certainly feel her gaze, like she’s looking right through me, like I’m sitting there naked. I resist the urge to fold my arms across my chest, and she gives a little smirk as though she knows exactly what’s going on in my mind.

 

My throat’s desert-dry, and I take a good solid sip of my Sneck Lifter and wonder at the wisdom of alcohol on an empty stomach. ‘What do you want from me?’ I ask.

 

I can see a golden eyebrow raise above the edge of the glasses. ‘I should have thought that would be obvious. You’re a writer, aren’t you?’

 

‘So? I reply.

 

 

But before I can say anything else, I catch a flash of bright eyes over the edge of the glasses and feel as though I’m suddenly glued to the chair unable to move. ‘You’re a storyteller, that’s what you do. You get into peoples’ heads and tell their secrets.’

 

‘It’s fiction. I make it up,’ I manage. My throat is no longer just dry, but it feels as though it’s constricting, closing, strangling me as I speak.

 

‘I’m sure that’s what you tell yourself,’ she says. My pulse ratchets up in panic, and I feel like my body is closing in on me, turning into a solid prison from which there is no escape. And just when I think I’ll hyperventilate, she offers me a quirk of a smile, and lowers her eyes to her own drink – whiskey, I observe. ‘Where do you think those stories come from?’ she asks.

 

‘I make them up, they come from my imagination, like they do with all writers.’

 

This time she throws back her head and laughs out loud, and I’m stunned by the bell-like sound of it. I’m even more stunned that no one notices. The pub’s not crowded, but it’s not empty either. How could anyone not notice her sitting there. She’s exquisite in a scary sort of way, and yet no one seems to be aware that we’re even there. I remind myself that it’s still quite likely I’m only dreaming.

 

Then she leans across the table and takes my hand in hers, and as frightened as I was only a moment ago, I suddenly find myself wanting to kiss her. Another indication that none of this is real, I tell myself.

 

‘Who do you think gives you those stories, Ms. Grace?’ Her breath is sweet against my face, like an open field with just a hint of the single malt whiskey she’s been sipping. ‘Oh, I have so many stories I want you to tell, and you’re perfect for the job, darling, because you are so open to going where I want you to go.’ And then she stands, leans over the table and kisses me.

 

For a split second I have sense enough to worry about what the rest of the people in the pub will think of the girl-girl lip-lock in which I find myself. A split second more and I realize no one even notices. ‘You,’ she whispers against my mouth, ‘have been writing stories for me for a long time.’ She pulls away just enough to look at me over the top of her glasses, and I suddenly feel as though my very heart is freezing solid in my chest. ‘‘I figure it’s time you know what I expect of you. Things are about to get complicated Ms. Grace, and you are about to become a very, very busy woman.’

 

 

 

 

She kisses me again, and I feel like the floor to the pub has just caved in beneath me. Behind my closed eyes, I see familiar flashes of a ritual in a mirrored room, couples having sex all around me, candles on an altar, a mirror that contains a monster, a ghost who has been hung for a murder she didn’t commit, a succubus devouring thought and ego and giving it back in exchange for the blood of a vampire. Death walking in Vegas, enthralled by a siren, whose voice can calm or kill. I see, in strobe-like flashes of light, an exquisite woman in a ruined garden walking among statues, statues that look so lifelike and so disturbing in their poses that I feel goose flesh climb my spine. That same woman walking the endless halls of a library filled from ceiling to floor with books bound in the flesh of the stories they contain, shelf after shelf of books, stories I’ve written, written at this woman’s command. And as she touches each of those books in turn, I realize the stories I’ve written give her power over the people in those pages, and she, in turn, gives me power to write the next story, and the next and the next.

 

Then suddenly I’m back in the Twa Dogs with her voice a soft vibration low in my chest. ‘You work for me, K D. You always have. You just didn’t know it,’ she whispers against my ear. Then she inspects me with another brief glance over the top of her dark glasses and brushes my icy cheek with her warm palm. ‘I thought it was time you knew the truth. That knowledge could serve you well in the near future.’

 

And when she removes her hand, when I can no longer glimpse the bright glint of her eyes behind her glasses, I fall with a jerk back into my chair, like I’ve had one of those falling dreams. I open my eyes to find my husband staring at me across the table. ‘You alright?’ He asks.

 

I nod, for a moment unable to place where I am.

 

‘You want another pint of Sneck Lifter?’ He nods at my empty glass. ‘You sucked that one back in nothing flat.’

 

A crack of a cue against a ball on the snooker table and a half-laughed curse in a soft Cumbrian lilt and the world comes back into focus. I am indeed in the Twa Dogs, and my husband and I have come to the Lake District on a holiday. As he heads to the bar for another pint, I rub my eyes and breathe deeply while the world around me comes back into focus.

 

‘I think you dozed off there for a minute, Sweetie,’ he says when he settles back across from me, raising his pint in salute. ‘Were you dreaming?’

 

I nod and gulp back a hefty drink from my pint. ‘Must have been.’

 

‘You look a little pale. Her again?’ he asks.

 

I only nod my response, my eyes locked on the half empty shot glass sitting on the table next to ours, rimmed in icy pink lipstick. ‘She says I work for her.’

 

‘Yeah? Did she give her name,’ he asks.

 

‘No.’ It surprises me to find how relieved I am that she didn’t, and yet, as I sip my beer and stare over at the whiskey glass, I’m sure I already know her name. I’ve known it for a long time. I just never expected to meet her in person. And I certainly never expected to work for her.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Forget In The Flesh, book 1 of Medusa’s Consortium

is on sale through January for 99c/p

 

January Sales and Kindle Unlimited

January is such a dreary month here in the UK, but one good thing about it is the January sales. Are you surprised? You know me well enough by now to know what a hermit and a curmudgeon I am. I’d rather have my eyebrows shaved and my kneecaps sanded rather than go shopping in a crowd. It’s all wasted on me. Well … almost all of it. I am in absolute heaven when January sales come around and those sales happen to involve books. Oh the ecstasy! And what better to spend a dreary January day than curled up with a hot cup of your fave and a good book.

 

Yup, January sales can result in escapism at its finest. If I can’t be in the warm sunshine somewhere, at least I can read about someone else who is. And even if the characters in my book of choice are not in the warm sunshine, I can still partake of their adventures vicariously from the safety of a comfy recliner. I’m convinced books are the last truly great escape. Whether I’m writing one or reading one, what happens between me and a book is an intimate thing, and it’s different for every person who reads that book. Books are the original interactive experience, just the book, the reader and her imagination. Absolute heaven. So here’s some news to brighten your January.

 

In The Flesh is only 99 p/c through the end of January

 

 

 

 

Of course I have ulterior motives. I want to seduce all of you Medusa’s Consortium virgins and get you hooked on the series. Book three, Buried Pleasures, is just now out and takes the tale of Magda Gardener and her Consortium on to Vegas. So of course I want to get you there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In The Flesh is now available on Kindle Unlimited

 

 

 

What’s that I hear? You don’t want to pay 99 p/c when you can get books from the Kindle Unlimited library to read for FREE? Well you’re in luck then, because In The Flesh is now available on Kindle Unlimited for your reading pleasure.

 

 

 

 

In The Flesh: Book one in the Medusa’s Consortium series 

 

(Click Here for Book Two | Book Three)

 

Blurb:

 

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.

 

 

 

 

So cheer up this January! Read and be happy. And to tease and titillate you just a little bit, here is an all-new excerpt from In The Flesh. Enjoy.

 

 

In The Flesh Excerpt – Orgy of Death & the Capture of a Demon:

 

And we did. We slept, or at least I thought I slept. I thought I dreamed. I thought surely it must be Talia’s doing. I drifted for a long time, aware of the foreign presence inside me, aware that it was only Magda’s talisman that kept just enough of me safe and focused. Without it I would be easily taken over by that presence.

 

It was the champagne bubble effervescence coursing over my entire body that roused me from deep sleep to the place almost of waking, but not quite. The feel of a feather touch raised the fine hairs on my forearms, up my spine, on the back of my neck, goose fleshing the tops of my breasts and tightening my nipples to points.

 

“I’m here now, my darling girl. Don’t be afraid. It will hurt but a little, and then you will feel nothing but pleasure.”

 

I felt myself being lifted, cradled like a child in strong, hard arms. Then I inhaled the cold wild scent of the high fells and below it earth, solid and warmed by moss and fallen leaves, and I could have wept with relief, even as fear shot along all my nerve endings.

 

“Scribe, why is the vampire here with us?” The Guardian’s voice was more curious than upset.

 

“We’re dreaming,” I mumbled. “A dream brought on by our self-pleasure, no doubt.”

 

“How so?”

 

“Perhaps you don’t crave the flesh of a vampire, but I assure you, we mortals do.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because vampires have what we don’t—eternal life.”

 

“But they are dead,” He said.

 

“We mortals don’t see them that way. To us they’re powerful, beautiful, because they symbolize lust and virility, and we fantasize about being taken by them.”

 

There was a soft chuckle next to my ear and cool fingers against my bare nape, pushing my hair aside. “I did not know,” the Guardian said. “It seems very real.”

 

“Powerful dreams always do. Sometimes when we’re in them, it’s very difficult to tell if they’re real or not.”

 

 

“Then how do you know that this dream is not real?”

 

“A vampire would have no more use for you than you do for him,” I replied. “And it was he who sent me here, remember?”

 

“Of course.” The Guardian didn’t question my logic further, for which I was grateful.

 

“We shall begin now, my darling girl,” came the voice next to my ear. “You have only to let me take you, and when I am finished, when I have emptied you completely and hold your life force within me, then I shall give it back to you, only changed.”

 

“Is this not the vampire from High View, scribe—the one who grovels before Magda Gardener?”

 

I felt a vibration against my neck that might have been a growl, might have been a purr. “It is, yes.”

 

“And you find him attractive?”

 

“It’s a dream,” I said. “Go back to sleep.”

 

“Careful, my darling girl, you’ll hurt my feelings.”

 

“I suppose he’s comely enough,” The Guardian observed. “A pity his flesh is not living. I might enjoy inhabiting such a fine, strong body.”

 

“Good heavens, He is irritating, isn’t He?” Alonso’s voice was soft against my ear and with a start, I realized the Guardian couldn’t hear what Alonso said to me.

 

“He’s dreaming, Susan. You, however, are not. You must tell me now if you do not wish me to continue, for once I have tasted you, especially in your lust and your vulnerability, there will be no turning back, and I do not wish for you to despise me for what I have done.”

 

With an effort that seemed colossal, I slid my arm around his neck, amazed at how soft and dark his hair was. As I pulled him to me, he stayed my efforts, but only for a moment. He kissed my cheek then held my gaze, only for a second longer, and his eyes were darker than midnight. Then he lowered his mouth to my nape, to the vein pulsing like a driving drum beat. His lips were deliciously warm, and it came as a surprise when he ran the flat of his tongue along the length of the vein, pressing, lapping like a cat tasting milk, then pressing again with the tip as though he were probing for just the right spot.

 

The intake of his breath was like the sigh of a summer breeze. He kissed me once, on the spot where my pulse beat the strongest, and then again.

 

My hand in his hair tightened to a fist. I caught my breath and held it, waiting in his embrace. It was a sharp pain, precise and doubled—just two pinpoints of pain, like a surgeon’s twin incision against the side of my throat. I had barely time to notice it before blinding pain took my breath away. The world flashed white hot around me and I panicked and began to struggle, but he held me tightly.

 

As the skin gave beneath his bite, as I felt my blood flooding to his lips, I heard his voice inside my head. “That is the worst of it done, my darling girl. Now you need only relax and let me take you.”

 

 

“Ouch!” came the other voice in my head, reminding me I wasn’t alone with Alonso and surprising me how badly I suddenly wanted to be. “That was not pleasant. Susan, are dreams usually so physical?”

 

“Talia, can you not silence him?” Alonso spoke inside my head again and, for the first time, I noticed the succubus sat at my feet, gently stroking my ankle.

 

She said nothing, but the Guardian gave a soft moan of contentment, or rather I did, but I knew it was His. And for the first time since He had deceived His way into my life, I was relieved that He was silent, that He couldn’t touch me, even though I felt the fullness of Him pressing gently against the inside of my chest. I needed Him to sleep and to leave me alone for a little while longer. It was with that thought I realized I was clinging to Alonso’s strong, well muscled frame and I wanted him like I had never wanted before. Christ! I wanted him to devour me, to take me completely into himself. I had never imagined it would be like this. Somehow I’d thought it would be more macabre, more solemn.

 

I would have writhed if I could have. I would have pulled him closer, but I was lost, drowning in the swift flowing river of my blood that he drew into his mouth in deep, thirsty gulps. That I couldn’t move, that my body was completely held in thrall to the flow of my own blood into his mouth mattered less than the fact that he fed from me, an act so powerful, so incredibly intimate, that I felt shy, awkward.

 

“It is all right that you feel this way, my darling Susan, for so we all feel at our making.” He spoke as though he’d read my thoughts, though in truth what I experienced was far too primal to actually be thoughts. “There is no act more intimate, no connection deeper than the taking and giving of blood. What I take now is meant to give me life, to give me your life, but only so I may give you back my own. In this act, we shall both find pleasure, and you will be more than my familiar. You will be the child of my own heart’s blood.”

 

There was a sudden thrashing behind my breastbone. Though I knew it wasn’t physical, it was no less real.

 

“Susan, you have deceived me. I shall punish you very severely for this duplicity. Do you really think a dead creature can keep me from what is mine?”

 

The Guardian’s voice was not raised, but in it was an edge of disquiet I’d not heard before. “For your impertinence, vampire, I shall take your succubus and use her long and hard, even if she does reek of your death.”

 

“You can try.” The voice that responded was different, and in my groggy, giddy state, a blurred apparition of Magda Gardener pushed aside the makeshift curtain that separated the mattress from the rest of the area. Even with her glasses still in place, her hair seemed to writhe and dance around her face, as though it lived and breathed anger and fury. “I won’t hesitate to turn the scribe and the vampire if that’s what it takes, and well you know this.”

 

I felt as though my whole body jerked and struggled around the still point at which Alonso’s mouth pressed against my vein, but in truth I had not physically moved. I was incapable of movement, completely enthralled by the ebb and flow of my blood and the kiss and bite of the vampire at my throat.

 

“That won’t be necessary, Magda,” Talia said, still caressing my ankle and my calf. “We’ve got this.”

 

“You shall all suffer for this deception!” The words came from Talia’s throat, but the Guardian spoke them from inside my body.

 

“Oh, I doubt it,” the succubus managed in the next breath, her grip secure on my leg.

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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