It’s Friday! Time for chapter 34 of In The Flesh, in which Susan learns startling things about angels.
There are only a few more episodes of In The Flesh left, so be sure to mark Fridays on your calendar, and hold on to your hats because things are getting wild.
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.
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25 Part 26, Part 27, Part 28, Part 29, Part 30, Part 31, Part 32, Part 33.
You can also read In The Flesh on Wattpad.
In The Flesh Chapter 34
“Talia said there was no indication of the Guardian being present when Susan fed from her, and she should be able to sense him if anyone could,” Magda said. “Even Alonso hasn’t been able to discover if he’s there. Certainly no one else who’s fed her felt anything unusual – aside from the obvious bloodletting, that is.”
I stepped back around the corner at the sound of Magda and Michael’s hushed conversation. I knew they were nervous about the fact that we’d had no clear evidence that the plan had worked, that the Guardian had been trapped inside me when I was changed. Since everyone had assured me that he couldn’t be killed, then the only possibility was that he was trapped or that he’d escaped — a possibility that we all feared more and more as each day past without any definite knowledge of his whereabouts. But then again, the truth was that none of us really knew what to expect. I listened in silence as only the dead could, knowing that if it had been Alonso and Talia talking, or even Reese, they would have known I was eavesdropping. Sadly the connection with Michael through his mark seemed not to work any longer. I assumed that was due to my change. Though in all fairness I’d been avoiding him like the plague, and the fear of a repeat of what that linked had allowed last time had prevented either of us from trying to connect, so I listened undetected.
“Is it possible he got away and is laying low until we least expect it?” Michael asked in a whisper I could have never heard when I was mortal.
“I don’t see how he could have,” Magda replied. “If anything, Susan and Alonso’s plan was much better than ours. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it.”
Michael used some very colourful language in response to that. “Do you think that’s why she won’t see me, for fear the Guardian might still use the link between us?” Even in the quiet whisper, I heard the pain in his voice, pain that I knew I’d caused, pain that made me feel like my own heart had been ripped from my chest.
“She won’t see you because you were a fool last time she did. She doesn’t want to hurt you.”
More cursing. “She won’t! She won’t hurt me, but between the damn vampire and his people and you and yours, I can’t get close enough to tell her. I can’t get close enough to apologise.”
“Sorry, but that’s what she wanted. Besides, you know there are way more variables involved now that she’s a vampire, now that there’s been no evidence of the Guardian in over a week. Everyone is playing it safe. You’re at risk too, you know, after what he did to you through your link with her.”
He gave a bitter laugh. “Maybe there is no link, not any more. Not now that she’s …”
“Now that she’s dead?”
I don’t know if Michael flinched at Magda’s choice of terminology, but I did. I still couldn’t quite get used to the fact that while my heart most definitely beat, albeit much slower, I didn’t need to breathe. Alonso was teaching me, however, that the living were not comfortable when one did not respire, as he put it. Superfluous respiration was essential in order for a vampire to blend in with the living, so I respired, or at least when I remembered to, I respired. Respiration was only one of a million things I had to learn, unlearn, or relearn. I had to learn to slow my every movement so that it didn’t startle the living, so that I didn’t crash into things, break things, frighten the hell out of people, or seriously injure someone. I had to learn to hold objects gently in order not to crush them. I had to learn to touch things tentatively. I had to learn to move much more awkwardly than I was now actually capable of in order to blend in and not frighten mortals. I had to learn to live in the night and protect myself from the sunlight, and, most terrifying of all, I had to learn to manage the hunger so that I could feed without killing, even if I had to hunt to do it.
It was the learning to be gentle and handle things carefully that tripped me up in my attempt at eavesdropping. As I stepped back into the corner further out of their sight, I accidentally knocked over a small ceramic figurine setting on the edge of one of the many full bookshelves Alonso had liberally located around his home. In High View, one was never more than a few feet from a good selection of books. My reactions had improved to the point that catching the figurine before it hit the floor was no problem. The problem was holding the delicate figure of a horse and rider without crushing it. This I was learning to do, but it didn’t come automatically, and the thing shattered in my hand emitting a loud crack overshadowed by my hissed ‘son of a bitch’ as the shards bit into the flesh of my hand. Both Michael and Magda were on me instantly, reminding me with their own preternatural speed, that they were no more human than I was.
“Jesus! You’re bleeding!” Michael said taking my hand in his.
Try though I might, the fact that Michael was touching me, the fact that his touch was as wonderful as I had remembered, as I had ached for it to be again, I couldn’t take my eyes off the racing of his pulse in the vein of his neck. “Leave it.” I jerked away. “It’s nothing. I’m fine. I have to go.” Magda, who never missed anything, already had her mobile out calling Alonso as I turned to flee. But as fast as I was, to my surprise, Michael was faster. He grabbed me by the arm in an effort to pull me back, ignoring Magda’s command to let me go.
“You’re not fine, Susan. It’s a bad cut. It needs tending.”
“I heal fast.” Or at least I hoped I did. “Now let me go.” Truth was the sight of my own blood and Michael’s attention to it both frightened me and aroused the hunger in me, a situation Alonso had warned me to be very careful in. And the crazy thing was I wanted to fuck Michael senseless almost as badly as I wanted to drink his sweet rich Angel blood down in thirsty gulps, almost as badly as I wanted to open the vein above the swell of my breast and fed him from my blood, make him drunk from my blood, drunk with lust for me. My nipples hardened to agonizing points pressing against the cotton of my blouse, and I wanted Michael with an ache that was physical. I wondered if Alonso knew that women could be every bit as possessive and protective of what belonged to us as men could. But we could be a hundred times more vicious if need be.
I shoved him away with such force that he landed with a hard wump up against the stone wall, and the oxygen left his lungs along with more colourful language. Then I turned to run. I barely made it to the stairs before he was on me, grabbing my arm and pulling me back to him with surprising strength. “You’re not going anywhere until we talk.”
I could smell his blood hot and earthy and summer berry sweet racing through his veins; I could smell my own blood already drying from the wound on my hand, now healed, and hunger — both physical and sexual nearly drove me to my knees. I mumbled something about me not being safe, as I elbowed him hard in the ribs, then turned and tore up the stairs with dangerous untested speed, Michael only a hair’s breadth behind me. Over our struggle I could hear Alonso on the phone arguing with Magda. Fucking hell if the man didn’t tell her to leave us alone, to let us sort it out! Dear God, was he out of his mind? How could he tell her that when he knew what it was like, when he’d been where I was and knew the worst?
At the top of the stairs, I shoved my way into the bedroom where I’d stayed before Alonso moved me underground for protection from the sunlight. It was a place I still liked to go after dark, to enjoy its exquisite view of the night sky. “Go away, Michael,” I yelled, slamming the door behind me. “You don’t know what I’m capable of. I nearly killed — ” My words died in my throat with a little yelp as I turned to find him already standing by the bed, hands fisted at his side, chest heaving, eyes blazing.
“And you don’t know what I’m capable of,” he replied, moving toward me so fast that even my preternatural vision couldn’t register his motion. He had me in his arms before I could even blink. “You think you’re the only one who struggles with power?” He pushed me against the wall and held me with one arm across my chest while he quite literally ripped his shirt off with the other hand. “I’m an angel, for fuck sake! And mortal or not, I’m still more than a match for any damn vampire. Didn’t your maker tell you that? Or was he just wanting to keep you all to himself?”
“Don’t you blame Alonso for this. The choice was mine to make. He didn’t want to, and you know damn good and well I nearly killed you – would have killed you if …” With a flick of his thumbnail, he opened the wound above his left nipple — with ease this time and, as the blood welled, I completely lost my train of thought as the ripe fruit scent of it overwhelmed my senses. I cried out and fumbled for the doorknob in a desperate attempt to get away, even as he held me firmly.
“You think I can’t handle you? You think you’re too much for me?” He curled his fingers in my hair at the base of my neck and reeled me into a kiss that would have been fatal if I hadn’t already been dead, then he pulled away breathing like he’d been running. “That’s the trouble with you damn vampires, you’re so fucking arrogant.”
I shoved him with enough force to send him careening backwards over the bed and on to the floor behind. “Oh, and you goddamned angel’s are so full of humility!”
“I didn’t say anything about humility.” With terrifying strength, he grabbed the heavy wooden bedframe, an antique that must have weighed as much as a small lorry, and turned it upside down with a loud crash. “Did you ever hear me say anything about humility?”
When I made another run for the door, he tackled me, pinned me on my stomach with my arm up behind my back, me screaming and fighting and bucking until I unseated him just long enough to roll over and crabwalk back toward the door, but before I could gain my footing, he was on me again. He straddled me, wrapped his legs around mine and spread me into Judo hold from which it was no trouble at all to feel his full erection. If that didn’t have my vampire heart racing, the blood running down his bare chest did, and just before he could get a solid judo hold on me, I bucked him off, shoved him back, his head hitting the edge of the upturned bed hard enough to cause a hissed stream of expletives before I straddled him with him cursing and roaring like an angry bear. The instincts of the predator took over even as the scent of our lust nearly overpowered the scent of blood. I ran the flat of my tongue up from the waistband of his jeans following the trail of fresh blood, careful not to miss a single drop as I lapped my way up to the wound. It was a shallow wound, enough to trickle freely without the danger of him bleeding out, enough to make me work for my snack, and it was a surprise to discover that it was just a snack, a very tasty snack, albeit. This was about play. This wasn’t about life and death. Even predators played, didn’t they? With a shock I realized, this was about sex, this was about possession. This was about the balance of power we had to find before we destroyed each other in ways that were far worse than the physical damage we could cause.