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In The Flesh Part 32: Dark Paranormal Romance in Progress. Enjoy!

Happy New Year everyone! And all the best in 2016! Since this is a time of new beginnings, today’s IMG_5258episode of In The Flesh is quite fitting as Susan awakens to a new life to find that the road might be a lot rougher than she’d expected.

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.

 To Read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow the links.

Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16, Part 17Part 18Part 19Part 20Part 21Part 22Part 23Part 24Part 25 Part 26Part 27Part 28Part 29, Part 30Part 31.

 

Also follow In The Flesh on Wattpad

 

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_nIn The Flesh Chapter 32

Awareness returned slowly with an irritating drip, drip, drip of something between my parted lips. Even more irritating was the acid burn at the back of my throat as whatever it was trickled down. Whatever it was, I felt I should have known, but I couldn’t for the life of me recall. Drip, drip, drip! I coughed and choked, flailing to shove the hand away from my face that stroked my jaw, but my efforts were useless. I was weak as a kitten, and I had no context for my situation, a fact that frightened me, and I flailed harder.

Strong arms cradled me, cool fingers stroked my throat and, someone spoke softly. “Swallow, my darling girl. You must swallow and take my strength.”

Drip, drip, drip!

“She has to drink. You have to make her drink, or she’ll die.” There was another male voice, a voice full of worry. A familiar voice.

“She’s already dead, Michael.” A woman’s voice commented.

“Shut up, Magda,” came the reply, a reply which I barely noticed because my attention was on the fact that I was dead. I was supposed to be, wasn’t I? Wasn’t that the plan? And then something was supposed to happen after that. I just couldn’t think for the irritating, burning drip, drip, drip making my eyes water and my sinuses sting.

“Drink my darling girl,” the soft voice was still insisting in my ear. The cool fingers were still stroking my throat. “You must drink from me now, as I have drank from you, and all shall be well.”

I choked and gagged and then swallowed. And the acid burn became warm and sweet and soothing down the back of my throat, bursting with richness and flavor, and suddenly I was starving for whatever it was that filled my mouth. The acid burn was transformed to fire and heat and life, and I was freezing and shivering, and I couldn’t get enough its warmth.

“That’s it, that’s right my darling drink. Drink from me. The shivering will pass, and you will soon not notice the cold.” A large hand cradled my head and guided me toward the source of the liquid fire. My teeth punctured flesh and, for a moment, I thought I would be sick at the very thought. But then, the drip, drip, drip became an even, steady flow that flooded my mouth and coursed down my throat into my belly, and the world around me burst into sharp focus. Alonso held me against his bare chest and I fed from the vein just above his left nipple. I fed as though I was starving. I fed as though I would never get enough. Child of his heart’s blood, he said I would be, and now I understood why.

“Welcome back.” Magda Gardener smiled down at me. But I didn’t respond. I had forgotten how to do anything but drink from Alonso, throwing my arms around him and pulling him closer to my lips, an act which caused him to sigh and moan softly. I couldn’t tell if it was with pleasure or if I was hurting him and, to be honest, I don’t think it would have mattered one way or another. I had little control over my need to feed at that point. It was far more instinct that drove me than it was any higher brain function and that, in itself, would have terrified me if I’d had the capacity to dwell on it. Whether I was causing him pain or not, he made no effort to hinder me, and I fed aggressively. For me it was pleasure, but of the most primitive kind, it was the satisfying of hunger, urgent, demanding hunger, hunger that insisted I feed as though I might never feed again; hunger that had as little to do with filling my belly as a thunderstorm has to do with filling the ocean. And yet in spite of my raging need, I was keenly aware of everything around me. It was just that I could concentrate on nothing at the moment but taking more of the spiced wine heat of Alonso’s blood into me. I had never tasted anything so sweet.

“It’s best not to touch her just yet,” Alonso said, when Michael reached out to stroke my cheek. “She is not herself. She is not yet safe.”

“Of course she’s not safe,” Michael snapped. “She’s a fucking vampire.”

“She is not yet a fucking vampire,” Alonso replied evenly. “She is not yet fully made. She must feed, then she must rest, and then feed again. Until that has happened, and until we can help her control her urges, she is in danger as are those around her.”

“How long?” Michael ran a hand through his hair and paced the small space, shoving at the makeshift curtain. “How long before she’s back to herself.”

“I do not know,” Alonso said. “It is different with every person, and I have never sired before.”

“Fucking hell! You mean you’re making this up as you go along? Jesus!”

“Michael, sit down and shut up,” Magda said. “Whether or not Alonso has sired a million or none, is dark moon image_xl_6338206irrelevant at this point. Susan made her choice, and Alonso will do what he must.”

“It is also a fact that you must prepare yourself for that while Susan will still be herself at the core of her being, she will be changed in ways that may be … difficult.”

“Christ!” Michael grumbled under his breath. “And the Guardian?” he asked, turning on Alonso, who growled a warning. Or at least I thought it was Alonso, but it was actually me. “Tell me at least that after what you’ve done to her that it worked.”

“There’s no sign of him,” Magda said. “But if he was in Susan’s body when Alonso took her, he’s still there.”

“Oh he’s there all right,” Talia said. “And not very happy about it either. But I promise you, by the time he realized he wasn’t just dreaming Alonso’s presence, the process was too far along for him to escape.”

“Can he hurt her?” Michael asked. “Can he use her as he did me?”

“He cannot use the dead,” Alonso said, and Michael flinched as though he had been slapped.

But Alonso made no apologies for being blunt. In truth he had other things on his mind. I knew because I could feel those things in the back of my own mind as though, by feeding from him, I also took from his thoughts. “She will sleep soon, when she is sated, and then we must get her, and myself, back to High View before dawn comes. This is not a safe place for either of us and, while I could manage in the crypt, I do not know what Susan’s needs will be, and I can better anticipate them in my own home, which is designed with our kind in mind.”

It happened so quickly that I almost missed it, the slacking of my mouth, the flickering of my tongue over my lips to make sure I’d not missed a single drop, and then I licked instinctually at the wound over Alonso’s heart to seal it. I fell asleep before I finished, all the while Alonso spoke soft, calming words to me from the edge of the dream world.

 

That was my last memory until I woke in a huge bed in a deeply shadowed room with no windows. Alonso sat in an over stuffed chair that had been moved close to the bed. I was aware of Magda and Michael in the room, sitting in the shadows, but they didn’t matter. For the moment, only Alonso mattered. I was in a black shirt that I knew was his, and nothing else, but then I had been naked with no actual memory of shedding my clothes when he had come to me at Chapel House. I could smell the high fells scent of him deep in the weave of the fabric beyond the reach of the surface smell of laundry soap.

That was not, however, the scent that dragged me up from my sleep, but rather the scent of blood, a smell that filled my mouth with saliva and made my stomach clench and cramp in hunger. I was out of Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500the bed and on Alonso’s lap, clawing open his shirt, sending buttons flying so quickly that I barely had a sense of my own movement. Had I, it most certainly would have frightened me.

But when Alonso pushed me away and tried to ease me back in the bed saying something about not being able to feed me, whatever I was becoming lashed out like a whip with strength and speed I neither knew I had nor was I able to control. All I knew in that instant was unbearable hunger, which I had to satisfy at all costs. The chair went over backward with me landing on top of Alonso still trying to get to the source of nourishment. A split second later, I was the one flat on my back on the floor, with Alonso straddling me, pinning my arms above my head and me yelling like a banshee, “get off me! Get off me! Give it to me!”

I’ve heard that predators are often tunnel-visioned, unable to see anything but the prey in their sight once they begin to move in for the kill. Even as the thought horrified me, the fact that Michael and Magda now flanked Alonso and were yelling at me trying to calm me brought it home loud and clear that a predator was exactly what I had become, and even though I had known that would be the case when I had asked Alonso to take me, I was suddenly, painfully, aware of what that meant, even as none of the logic mattered, even as nothing in the whole world mattered but feeding.

“Listen to me, Susan,” Alonso was all but yelling at me just to get my attention, and I wanted to rip his face off for it. Damn it, all I wanted to do was to feed! “I cannot feed you, for both Talia and Reese have needed from me after our efforts at Chapel House. I am depleted my darling girl. But Michael and Magda will feed you.” Michael had already shed his shirt and knelt next to me pulling me to him as Alonso eased up his weight, and I lunged.

“Not from your heart, Michael,” Alonso warned, “from your wrist, even your neck, but not from your heart, it’s too dangerous.”

“From my heart,” came Michael’s breathless reply. “Only from my heart.” He swallowed back a hiss of pain as I tore at the flesh above his left nipple in frustration, unable to access the vein as I had with Alonso. He braced himself against my vicious tearing, crying out as I bit him again and again in desperation, only managing to bruise and lacerate and, while the surface bled, I could not get to the vein.

“Michael! Michael, there’s a reason why you don’t feed her from your heart’s blood.” It was Magda, who spoke. In that moment, Alonso wrestled me away from my efforts only long enough for Magda to slice a clean sharp incision with a Vitronox low on Michael’s left pectoral and, before the first flow had fallen to his nipple, I lunged and Alonso released me. I threw my arms around Michael and pulled in the first delicious taste of his blood, so different from Alonso’s, but no less heavenly, with the tang of summer fruit and woodland herbs, and he sighed with relief and cradled me to his chest.

“You romantic bastard,” Magda said to Michael, settling back on her knees and catching her breath while she watched my efforts. “It has nothing to do with your emotions, idiot. The heart’s blood must be opened by the giver, and that’s why it’s considered more intimate. It’s a gift. It can’t easily be taken by force.”

Michael only nodded and moaned as I pulled him still closer. It was when he laid his head back against the bed and his eyes fluttered shut that I realized he could barely hear Magda. In fact, I doubted that he’d understood a single word she’d said. With one hand he gently kneaded and caressed my flank while the other stroked and fisted my hair. In a moment of clarity, I felt the slow, deep shifting of his hips beneath me and became keenly aware that he was fully erect. My body responded in kind, nipples peaking, heat rising heave and humid between my thighs and my own hips shifting. But instinct won out in the end. I would revisit the lust once the hunger eased. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered Alonso saying that feeding and sex were both intimate acts best done together, and in private, whenever possible. Perhaps when I was finished feeding, I would fuck Michael. Perhaps when I was done drinking from the blood of his heart, I would reward him, reward both of us for his efforts.

I wanted him with every cell in my body. I had no idea I could hunger for him so deeply, so deeply that rose imagesall I could think about, all I could imagine was taking him into myself, taking all of him into myself, taking in his luscious dark ruby blood in large, thirsty gulps as though I would never get enough, and then mounting him and taking the essence of his life force in the same way, until we were both spent and exhausted from our efforts. In truth, as we writhed on the floor I felt as though the act of feeding would not be complete until we had coupled, but I needed strength before that could happen and Michael’s strength, Michael’s life’s blood was exhilarating in a very different way from Alonso’s .

From somewhere a long way off, I heard Magda and Alonso speaking in distressed tones, and I wished they’d leave us alone. I anticipated fucking Michael with each deep pull of his blood, and while I would prefer not to have an audience, the need I felt at the moment was even beyond what the Guardian had roused in me, and I was sure one act would not be, in and of itself completed without the other – certainly not when it was with Michael, therefore if they wouldn’t leave, I would just ignore them and have him anyway. But to my irritation, they had no intention of leaving, or even being quiet. They just kept getting louder, and Magda kept saying something over and over again. Gederofim, gederofim, gederofim,’ it sounded like over the euphoric buzz in my ears. ‘Gedheroffim, geteroffim, Get! Her! Off! Him!”

With me fighting like a tiger, Alonso pulled me free, “Susan … Susan! You can’t take any more from Michael. It’s too much.”

“Susan! You’ll kill him,” Magda shouted at me, just as she shoved her wrist in front of my open mouth. It was only once I’d punctured flesh – damn near breaking bone in the process — and tasted the sharp, clean citrus of her blood did I realize that Michael’s eyes were closed and he was pale, so pale. Alonso held the bed sheet tightly to the wound in his chest and gently slapped his face until he roused with a gasp.

In that instant I felt shame, fear, horror, and yet I could no more stop feeding that I could have stopped
the flow of time.

“He’ll be all right,” Alonso was saying, “He’ll be fine. He’ll be a little weak when he wakes up, but he’ll be fine. He’s an angel. He’s stronger than an ordinary mortal.”

And still I gorged, even as I wept and sobbed at Magda’s wrist, somewhere in the back of my mind realizing that my tears were still salt and not blood, and they were as bitter as they had been when I realized that Michael planned to sacrifice himself for me, and I had done all that I had done and still, heIn The Flesh 2 12006311_1476805985954344_6570546160088833292_n nearly died because of me – most surely would have if Alonso and Magda hadn’t intervened. I wept bitterly between great gulps of Magda’s blood, and she held me in strong arms, stroking my hair and speaking to me in some ancient language I didn’t understand, but being very careful not to withdraw her wrist. When I could manage a sane word, when I was sated enough I was once again on the edge of sleep, I sealed the wound and pulled Magda’s face close to mine, careful not to jostle her glasses. “Keep Michael away from me. Please. I don’t want to hurt him and … I don’t want him to see me like this.”

She tried to argue, but I grabbed her by the throat, and she stilled as though she were one of her own creations made of stone. “Promise me! I need you to promise me.”

“All right,” she said softly, and then I allowed myself to tumble back into the sleep of the dead.

 

In The Flesh Part 23: Dark Paranormal Romance in Progress. Enjoy!

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_n

 

It’s Friday and time for Episode 23 of In The Flesh, in which much is revealed about Magda Gardener, but Susan’s discoveries only deepen the mystery behind the woman and her relationship with Michael and the Guardian.

 

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.

 

 

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 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16, Part 17Part 18Part 19Part 20Part 21, Part 22.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

In The Flesh Chapter 23

“This is where I leave you, Hon.” Talia laid a gentle hand on mine, and there was a tingle that felt a greatS6302008 deal like sympathy. “She won’t welcome a spectator, and I’m not all that keen on being one.” She squeezed my hand and turned back toward the tunnel. I stood for a second gathering my courage. The rain had stopped, but the forest was shrouded in mist and though there were bright bursts of light coming from inside the bothy, the surrounding fell side was sunk in false twilight.

I could smell heat, almost like a forge before I approached the bothy, but the place was icy cold. There was no smoke rising from the roof. In fact, the place felt deserted, in spite of the trail in the high grass which, to my surprise, was littered on each side with a complete menagerie of stone garden sculptures – woodland creatures of all sorts from mice and voles, to rabbits, rats, even a fallow deer, many nearly lost in the high grass, and all so realistic that the deer and the fox both startled me before I realized the grey in which they slunk was not shadow, but the stone from which they were carved. Walking softly through the wet, recently flattened grass, perhaps on some unconscious level fearing I’d startle the stone creatures, but more than likely because, no matter how much I wanted to clear the air with Magda Gardener, I really wasn’t looking forward to the woman’s company – especially after my conversation with Talia.

The closer I got to the door of the bothy, the colder I got. Though the ice I felt in the pit of my stomach had nothing to do with the temperature, which was rather mild under the circumstances, the temperature around the bothy, however, appeared to be its own little microclimate, for which I knew the Lake District was famous, but this was no valley, no dale, this was a place of magic. My breath came in icy clouds as I drew nearer and, in spite of the scent of heat and the flashes of pale light from within, the grass and the stone creatures nearest the entrance were coated in hoarfrost, hoarfrost that I felt coating my lungs as I breathed, chilling me in places that had never known cold before. In spite of the chill, the bothy door was wide open. In fact there was no door at all and, yet, I had the very distinct feeling if I were not invited to enter, the lack of a door would not have mattered. I would have been forced to wait outside for eternity.

“Come in, Susan.” As though she had read my thoughts, I heard Magda’s voice before I actually P1020199saw her. But as I stepped across the threshold, my whole body shivered as though I’d just walked through a very large spider web and, though the room was icy cold, the smell of hot metal grew stronger as did the dance and glare of bright light.

Magda Gardener stood with her back to me in the company of dozens more stone carvings so realistic it was as though she had somehow frozen the toad in mid leap, the wood pigeon in mid preen, the hare in mid hop. There were birds, mice, even several butterflies with stone wings so thin, I wondered at the skill of the artist. They all looked as though the stone from which they were carved would suddenly warm to flesh, and they would all go on about their business oblivious of their recent stone prisons.

“These are amazing,” I said, reaching out to touch a badger that looked as though he would startle at my movement and scurry away.

“They’re just stone,” she said, her voice nearly as cold as the room. For a moment, I thought the woman was welding. She stood with her back to me, bathed in bright flashes of light from which I raised a shielding hand to my eyes. But there was no hiss of acetylene, no sparks from the torch, and she wore no welding mask. She was hunched over a wooden workbench strewn with stone chips and sculpting tools. I could hear the chink, chink of metal against stone, and the smell of heat was acrid enough to make my eyes water, in spite of the cold. I pulled the succubus’ jacket tighter around me, surprised that Magda worked in a loose-fitting shift that appeared to be made of unbleached cotton. It hung mid-calf, moving and flowing with her efforts. As I stepped closer I saw she was barefoot.

“I had forgotten you’re a sculptor,” with a chill, I remembered the life-like sculpture of Michael in the tangled garden at Chapel House.

“It’s an interest of mine,” she replied without turning around. “Something I fell into quite by accident a very long time ago. These days, I use it most often for sympathetic magic, sculpting what I wish to manifest.”

“And these,” I opened my arms to include the stone menagerie on the dirt floor of the bothy, “whatSt Martha's Hill 3 kind of magic are they?”

“Those are magic uncontrolled,” came her reply. “Mistakes with which I now have to live.”

“Mistakes? They’re perfect, so realistic, I half expected them all to scurry away the minute they saw me.”

“Would that they could.” She said, and the light around her flashed so bright, I closed my eyes and looked away. “Stop,” she commanded, as I stepped toward her. “Stay where you are. Let me finish this first.”

I did as she said. It was hard to imagine anyone not doing as Magda Gardener said in that voice of authority that you could feel right where all the blood flows in and out of your heart and right where the hips shelter your center of gravity.

“Magic?” I asked, standing on my tiptoes in an effort to see what she was doing.

“It is.” The smell of molten metal intensified, and the dance and arc of light reminded me again of an acetylene torch. “It’s to help your friend rest and to guard her dreams. I said stay put,” she commanded again as I pressed forward, “unless you want to end up like the animals on the floor.”

“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?” I snapped.

“It means I’m working with powerful magic and unless you want me to make a mistake and lose control, you will shut up and stay still until I’m finished.” The tone of her voice hadn’t altered. There was no anger, no frustration. In fact, she could have been giving me her grocery list, but the light over the worktable flared, and for a second, the air was virtually toxic with the smell of burning. For a second I felt as though my skin was freezing solid on my flesh and my lungs were solidifying in my chest. But before I could choke or gag, certainly before I could make a move for the door, the light dissipated, the air cleared to the point that I could smell nothing but the fresh fell breeze, and the room was suddenly warmer.

I only noticed her dark glasses laying on the end of the workbench because she reached for them.
2015-09-04 16.17.13When she turned to face me, she was wearing them again. “Here, put this on.” Before I could respond, she slipped a black chord around my neck on which hung a heart carved from what looked to be the local stone. I drew it up into my hand and ran a thumb over the perfectly detailed feather etched on its surface.

“It’s a protection spell,” she said before I could ask. “No one is to touch it but you. Well, your angel can touch it, of course, but only because the two of you have been physically joined anyway and he’s given you his own protection spell. The heart represents your heart. The quill is a symbol of your craft. A scribe’s magic lives through symbol, therefore it’s you, not I, who will empower it with what’s needed when the time comes. You may not know it yet, but your craft is the most powerful magic you have with which to fight the Guardian.”

I settled the heart between my breasts. “And that’s why you want to steal me?” I hadn’t meant to be so abrupt, nor to sound so ungrateful, but I didn’t like having choices taken out of my hands.

If she were upset by my lack of gratitude, she didn’t show it. “You undid my efforts, Susan, and now the Guardian is free once again to wreak havoc. Anyone who can do what you did, I want as an ally.”

“An ally is not a possession,” I said.

“On the contrary, I’ve found that it’s usually best when your allies are your possessions.”

I barely heard her words as my gaze came to rest on the object she’d been working on. When I reached for it, she slapped my hand away. “I told you the magic is for your friend. Don’t touch magic that belongs to someone else.”

I was cold again, cold to the core as I studied the tiny image on the table resting among stone chips and dust. It could have been Annie asleep in miniature, just as I’d left her a few hours ago – the body too thin beneath the duvet, the face racked with exhaustion. Even the details of the bedding and her tiny hand gripping the headboard were identical. Once again I was certain the piece was carved from local stone, but it was polished shone as though it were somehow lit from within. “Jesus,” I whispered, bending to look closer. “It could be her, living and breathing in miniature.”

“In truth, it does contain a tiny bit of her essence – a strand of hair, a clipping of a fingernail, but 2015-06-30 11.27.42
it’s only stone, Susan, taken from that cave, in fact.” She nodded to the cave I’d just come out of. ‘After you’re little visit, I was forced to redo the magic,” she said, picking up the piece, which was no bigger than a small chess pawn and turning it over in her hand. “Your unauthorized contact with her raised unconscious longings, made her restless. I’ve had to strengthen the magic to protects her, and to protect all of us.”

I recalled the butcher knife incident with a shudder. “I’m sorry,” I said, “but she’s my best friend, and I — ”

“And you don’t trust me with her. I understand that. But not trusting me is exactly what the Guardian is counting on. He’ll make you doubt everything you know to be true. Knowing that to be the case, knowing that the moment will come when you’ll want desperately, need with every fiber of your being to believe him, I will tell you the truth now, Susan, listen to me now, in this place of magic and know I speak truth. I rescued you, with Michael’s help, when no one else knew you even needed rescuing. I took a ridiculous risk and rescued your friend as well, though I’m still not sure what I can do for her. I am the only one who has ever fought the Guardian and won, and even though your fantasies of him are sweeter than any romance you’ve ever written or read, the truth is that in a few months you’d have ended up just like your friend, and the Guardian would be seeking yet another to devour. This would have been your fate had I not rescued you. You know this to be true. And you must also know that Michael fights the same battle, the same desires, but he is already allied with me. He won’t fight his battle alone, and neither shall you.” Her gaze locked on me from beneath the glasses, and she slipped the image of the sleeping Annie into a small leather pouch that hung around her neck and tucked it back inside her shift. Then she turned for the door and motioned me to follow her back to the cave.

“Rescue is not the same as stealing,” I said, scrambling to keep up.

“I believe the Guardian would beg to differ.”

“That doesn’t mean I’ll belong to you. If we all live through this,” I added.

She stopped in the middle of the cave, deep enough that the natural light had dissipated to dusk, and still she wore the glasses. As she held me in her gaze, no – it was more than that, for a moment I wasGraveyard angel 2da8f31cc622c5a47d15ff0c4f1e114ab certain she held me in her thrall – but as she held me there, I was suddenly, irrationally very glad for the barrier the glasses provided. “No one belongs to anyone, my darling girl, but what you will come to understand if, as you say, we survive this little adventure, is that some debts can never be repaid.
Therefore the loyalty we feel, the sense of gratitude, goes much deeper than simply belonging to someone. I have stolen you from the Guardian, but at the end of the day, it will be you who will steal yourself for my purposes and give yourself over willingly.”

“You’re purposes? What the hell are your purposes?” I asked.

“Why to write, of course. You are a Scribe, after all. Come now.” She found a Mag Light at the entrance to the tunnel and nodded me to follow. “The others will be waiting. It’s time we return to Alonso’s drawing room to finish your little story.”

 

In The Flesh Part 22: Dark Paranormal Romance in Progress. Enjoy!

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_n

 

 

In episode 22 of In The Flesh, Susan discovers the chilling truth about what Magda Gardener and Michael were trying to steal from Chapel House.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16, Part 17Part 18Part 19Part 20, Part 21.

 

In The Flesh Chapter 22

“I really need to go.” Michael kissed my ear and cupped my breast, thumbing the nipple that was just peeking from the cloud of geranium scented bubbles. After we’d made love, we slipped down the stone staircase to my room, which, I discovered to my delight, was just below his. He’d requested it that way. For my protection, he said, so he could get to me quickly if the need arose. And since High View was in the process of renovations, this was the best Alonso could do. Once we were back in my room, Michael had filled up the big bathtub and undressed me at his leisure, pausing to kiss and caress as necessary. Then he guided me down into the warm sudsy water and crawled in with me, to bathe me, he said — an act that was accomplished after another, less frantic, reinforcement of his mark. Warm, clean and sated, I leaned back against the humid rise and fall of his chest half dozing, trying hard to pretend that we were simply two lovers enjoying a little wet afternoon delight.

“I may be borrowing trouble,” he said, “but something doesn’t feel right. It shouldn’t have taken Magda so long to reconvene our little … reading group.” I felt his shrug against my back. “Though she’s not the kind who thinks to inform anyone of a change of plans. Still. I don’t like it. I suppose a delay could be a good sign, but I’m not an optimist when it comes to working with Magda, and certainly not where the Guardian is concerned.” Over my mild protests he stood, causing a mini tsunami of scented water, and offered me his hand.

When we were both dried and dressed, I reeled him in for a lingering kiss. “You don’t have to sleep all St Martha's Hill 3alone up there in that cold little tower, you know.”

He caught my hand and pulled it to his lips. “Are you inviting me to share your bed, Ms Innes?”

“Well I was just thinking that the mark could probably use a bit more reinforcing. Just to be sure. And, just in case you might need to get to me in a hurry or something. You understand.”

“You have a good point.” He nodded in mock seriousness.

“You have a better one.” I rubbed against him.

He groaned into my mouth in a deep lazy kiss. “As much as I’d love to discuss my point with you and give you another demonstration, I really need to find out what’s going on.” He kissed me again, giving my arse a good kneading as he shifted up tight against me, then he nipped my lower lip. “I promise we’ll continue this discussion later.” He turned to leave, then turned back to me. “I need you to stay put in your room until I com back for you. After everything that’s happened, the protective spells around this space have been reinforced to keep you safe when you’re alone. I’ll be back for you, or someone else will, shortly.” He waited until I nodded a reluctant agreement, then he left me leaning breathlessly against the edge of the door as I watched him disappear down the corridor.

As soon as he was gone, the world came rushing back. There was no more pretending that we were just ordinary lovers, there was no way to pretend anything was ordinary anymore. Fighting off the rising panic, my first thought was to boot up my laptop and document the events of the past twenty-four hours. Writing things down always helped me focus and see things more clearly – often things that had completely escaped me in the midst of the action, and I very much needed to see things more clearly right now. Then I remembered that the laptop was still in the study, where we’d all been titillated by my encounter with the Guardian. My stomach knotted at the memory. Well I fucking needed it! I couldn’t just sit around and fret. I needed to do something, anything to keep from going nuts, to keep from convincing myself that the Guardian was the love of my life and I needed to hurry back to Him. Ignoring Michael’s request, I took a deep breath, flung open the door and headed for the study. After all, the study was surely safe from the Guardian, deep in Alonso’s vampire friendly basement. I was sure I’d be fine there. The problem was I’d only been there once, and that was following Alonso’s lead. High View was a complicated maze of ruins and renovations one could easily get lost in and never be heard from again. It was the perfect hangout for a vampire and his pet succubus, I thought. Not so great for a confused writer though.

After two wrong turns and a dead end that led to a fairly creepy tunnel, I was just beginning to get dark moon image_xl_6338206seriously concerned that I might really be lost when I turned a blind corner and nearly ran into Talia. I gave a little yelp, and she responded with an amused chuckle. She was dressed in faded jeans, riding boots and a black leather jacket that hugged her perfect curves. Even in the dim light of the passage she looked terrifyingly beautiful – not like an angel. I knew very well what an angel looked like, felt like. Talia wasn’t like that at all with her waves of dark hair and red lips, with her blue eyes that looked right through you. Talia was like everything beautiful, everything desirable, everything dangerous and forbidden rolled into one breathtaking package. Christ, whatever happened to just normal everyday, sexual attraction between two ordinary human beings? I was out of my depth at every turn, and this was the safe place! I was about to apologize for being so jumpy and ask directions when she brought me up short.

“Are you looking for Magda?”

“As a matter of fact, I am.” At least I was now, now that perhaps I had someone to help me hunt her down. I asked innocently, “do you know where I can find her?” I had a few things to say to the woman and if Michael was overly protective of her, perhaps someone else could point me in the right direction.

“As a matter of fact, I do,” she said, folding her arm over mine and turning me down the hall toward the dodgy-looking tunnel. As she grabbed a Mag Light from a shelf near the entrance, I felt a tingle at the base of my spine, but I wasn’t sure if it was from the idea of entering the maw of the tunnel with a succubus I didn’t totally trust or just the fact that her hand against my bare forearm made me slightly giddy. “I would imagine you have a lot of questions for her,” she called over her shoulder as the tunnel began to narrow and she took the lead. “Not that I would expect too many answers if I were you. The bitch isn’t exactly known for her open door policy.”

“You don’t like her,” I said, scurrying to keep up with the pace of someone who was clearly familiar with the tunnel.

“I like her just fine. In fact I admire the hell out of her. But I don’t expect straight answers from her, and when she does get around to straight answers, usually I wish the hell she would have lied, but then that’s just Magda Gardener for you. Can’t say that I really blame her for trusting no one and using every resource at her disposal, and believe me, she’s got ‘em. Resources, I mean.”

“She certainly seems to have Michael by the shorthairs,” I said, stooping slightly as the tunnel narrowed still further and my heart rate accelerated accordingly.

“Hon, she has everyone by the shorthairs, even if they don’t know it.”

“Are you sure you know where she’s at?” I asked, shivering as a gossamer strand of spider web raked across my cheek.

Her chuckle was low and throaty. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to seduce you in some dark musty corner, if that’s what you’re afraid of and, as I said earlier, Alonso doesn’t feed on his guests, even uninvited ones.”

“Very happy to hear that, on both counts,” I said, raking my elbow on a rough outcropping of rock I rose imageshadn’t noticed in the wavering illumination of the Mag Light. Then I added quickly. “Michael tells me you’re his familiar – Alonso’s, I mean.”

The chuckle came again. “Oh, indeed. I’m very familiar with Alonso. I offer him blood and he reciprocates, when my energies are drained in his service. I’m his eyes in the daylight, and his flesh when he needs me to be. I add that … feminine touch to his household. I’m not his lover, though. Not now anyway. He’s head over heels for Reese, and that’s fine with me. I prefer human lovers. Their dreams are really quite … twisted, surprisingly. I know, right? Wouldn’t you think the dreams of a vampire, certainly a vampire who has been through what Alonso has would be far more exciting? But,” she turned and I suddenly found myself nose to nose with her, breathing in her cinnamon and peaches breath, “vampires and succubi and things that go bump in the night are born of the human psyche, you know. The veil between the dream world and the real world is so much thinner than anyone who hasn’t walked both could easily imagine.” She reached out and brushed a spider web from my hair. “I would think a Scribe would know that.” Then she turned and continued on.

Born of the human psyche? I wondered how that could be when Talia, Alonso, even Michael were as real and as physical as I was, but I’d save that question for later. There were more pressing ones at the moment. “So let me get this straight, you gain strength from his blood when you’ve done stuff for him, and he … feeds on you?”

She laughed out loud. “Oh honey, it’s way more than strength I gain from his blood. Taking a vampire’s blood is better than the best drug or alcohol high you can imagine. There’s nothing else like it, unless it’s to reciprocate and offer your own blood to one of their kind. Me,” she shrugged, “Well, I get my kicks mostly in other ways, and though I enjoy the exchange of blood, even need it from time to time when I’m weakened, I feed on an entirely different kind of energy.” Her gaze raked me like a physical touch and I felt my nipples harden. I caught my breath and stepped back. She just winked, then turned and walked on.

For a long time we walked on in silence, then I had to ask. “You can’t feed on the Guardian?”

“No. I have to have flesh, just as Alonso does, though for him the flesh and blood are a very physical need – different from my own. There’s a biochemical reaction that takes place in the body, in the brain when I feed, when a person dreams, when a person is aroused, when a person eats or fucks or gets excited or nervous or frightened or is satisfied in some other way. That’s just biology. I feed on that energy. Whatever it is that the Guardian may be, it’s not physical. There’s no biology where he is concerned. That’s the one thing denied him and the one thing he desires most, that physical experience, that biochemical reaction that happens when flesh meets flesh. That’s why everyone here but Alonso and Magda are vulnerable to him. Alonso is technically dead and Magda, well who the hell knows with Magda?”

“So, you can’t feed on Magda?”

Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500The tunnel suddenly opened into a small amphitheater-like cave, and we picked our way across the rock-strewn floor, slick with dripping water and moss. At the entrance, which was well hidden from the outside by a thicket of heather and hawthorn, we looked out onto the rainy fells. “I’ve never tried to feed on Magda. Though I have to admit, she’s sexy enough; the thought of entering that woman’s dreams scares the hell out of me. Now your angel, well he’s another matter. He gave up his angelhood ages ago. Technically he’s as human as you are now, though he’s … well I suppose you could say he’s enhanced. But, as I’m sure you know, the biochemistry is all there in spades. Him I could feast on quite happily, and the two of you together, oh well, that thought positively makes me wet with anticipation. If ever you’re open for a little ménage, Hon, I promise I’ll make it well worth your while.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I hated to admit it, but after my experience with the succubus, the thought made me wet too. I quickly changed the subject. “So, Magda is flesh and blood, then, and the … biochemistry is all there, but for whatever reason, you’re scared of her and the Guardian wants nothing to do with her?”

“That’s pretty much it, yes. Not sure why the Guardian doesn’t like her, but I have a feeling that one taste of her energy would fry my circuits permanently. Might well be worth the risk, but I’m not that fucking brave. As for the whys of it all, well I’m not sure even she fully understands, and if you’re brave enough to ask, well go for it, chick, that’s all I can say.”

I would be brave enough to ask, I thought. I needed to understand who the hell this woman was if my life and the life of my best friend and my lover were in her hands. I needed to know if I could trust her. But even if I couldn’t, it really didn’t matter at this point. She was all we had. “Is she really a thief?” I asked.

“A thief?” The resulting belly laugh surprised me, and I waited impatiently while Talia regained control, wiping tears from the corner of her eyes, still chuckling when she was finally able to respond. “ I suppose now that you mention it, that’s exactly what she is, but on a scale that would take your breath away little Scribe.” She nodded to what looked like a ramshackle shepherd’s bothy half hidden in a wooded copse. “She’s in there.” She slipped out of her jacket and handed it to me. “Trust me. You’re gonna need this. Magda isn’t big on creature comforts when she’s practicing her magic.”

I shivered from something other than cold as I shoved my way into the black leather jacket warm from the succubus’ body and redolent with her musky, peachy, cinnamon scent. “So what did she send Michael to Chapel House to steal? I mean seriously, wasn’t she afraid something like this might happen with the Guardian if they started mucking about?”

I suddenly found myself in the woman’s hard blue gaze. She looked at me as though I were some new life form she was only seeing for the first time. “The Guardian was already released when she sent Michael to play cat burglar. Didn’t you know?”

“Me? How the hell would I know? I knew nothing about any of this until Michael rescued me from my butcher-knife wielding best friend.”

“Sweetie,” she stepped closer and pushed the hair back behind my ears in a gesture that sent tingles down my spine, her gaze suddenly softened to something that resembled sympathy. “Didn’t you know?”

“Know what?” The tingle became an icy chill. “Know what?”

Talia gave a quick glance out at the bothy and then squared her shoulders as though she had just made a major decision. “Magda commissioned Michael to … to steal you.”

“What?” I suddenly felt as insubstantial as the spider webs clinging to the ceiling. “What the fuck’s that supposed to mean, she hired Michael to steal me. I’m a person, not an object. She can’t steal me. And neither can he,” I added trying to keep the hurt from my voice.

“Oh she can, and she will. She has stolen more people than you can easily imagine, Hon. Michael’s one of them. And Michael, well he’ll happily aid her because he wants you almost as badly as she does. Maybe more so considering the power of his mark on your body. I can feel it from anywhere in High View. Shouldn’t doubt that I could still feel it all the way to Penrith.”

“Why?’ The word came out sounding entirely too much like a sob.

“What do you mean why? You’re a Scribe. Do you have any idea how rare that is? No one else could have P1020199

released the Guardian but a Scribe and not even every Scribe could have done what you did. That’s the only explanation for his return to the world of the living. It didn’t take Magda and Michael long to put two and two together. They knew your friend wasn’t a Scribe, and they knew that the Guardian was already feasting on her. Remember Magda rescued Michael from the Guardian, and together they imprisoned him. They both understand the way it is with him. You’re what he’s after. Your friend is just a little snack. He knows what you are as well as they do. You hold his future in your hands, and he knows it. That makes you far too valuable for them not to steal you away.”

 

Another Visit to Vegas & a New WIP

S6302679I’m taking you back to Vegas today. Not that you weren’t expecting it, right? I take you there every chance I get. I thought I’d take you there on a warm summer evening, and not to one of the better parts of town, but to someplace a lot more dangerous. My new Work In Progress, Buried Pleasures, follows the adventures of Samantha Black, a woman with a talent everyone is after. Samantha is not in Vegas for the glitz and the glam. Sam has come to get her friend, Evie Holt, out of a very bad situation, a task that could very well get her killed or worse. Enjoy the beginning of this paranormal romance!

Buried Pleasures

He was the biggest damn dog Sam had ever seen, and she’d nearly jumped out of her skin when he slipped out of the growing evening gloom and rubbed up against her hip nudging the remains of her peanut butter sandwich with a cold nose. ‘Hey you! That’s my lunch.’ And her breakfast too, she thought. In fact it would be her last meal until she made enough in tips tonight to buy something else. The dog plopped down on his enormous haunches in front of her, effectively blocking further progress unless she wanted to wrestle him out of the way, which she figured was a losing proposition. He offered a small whine, and what she could have sworn was a smile. Then he licked his chops with an enormous pink tongue, the large golden eyes locked on her sandwich. If this hadn’t been Las Vegas, if she’d been in the wilds of Wyoming of Montana, she would have sworn the beast was a wolf instead of a dog, and that he was about to call out the rest of his pack to help him bring down dinner that involved a whole lot more than a partially eaten peanut butter sandwich. Though she figured said dinner would be a bit on the under-fed side at the moment. But the dog made no threatening moves. She’d seen him before, seen him dozing in the sun next to a homeless man who often settled in the shade near the storm tunnel.

Come to think of it though, it was the man who’d always drawn her attention rather than the dog. He was big enough and looked dangerous, big enough to be a woodsman with a wolf dog. But though it was more than his size that always drew her eye when she walked past the entrances to the tunnel, it wasn’t anything she could really put her finger on. She never looked directly at him, because for some really stupid reason, to do so felt dangerous. Besides, she always felt like he was watching her. Though he never was. If anything he seemed to be watching everything, like he was taking it all in. And she was a part of what he took in. Somehow just being in the man’s vicinity made her feel, well exposed – not like he was a stalking her, but like he knew her, like he could see her secrets. Like he could see everybody’s secrets. She shivered. This whole nasty situation with Darian Fox and Evie had left her suspicious and feeling as though there were threats around every corner. But then there were, weren’t there? Why couldn’t she make Evie see that?

Her stomach growled. The dog whined and licked his chops, and she was brought back to the present moment. Frankly she found the dog’s company the most pleasant she’d experienced since her reluctant arrival in Vegas. Christ! Had it really been two months ago? ‘Time flies when you’re having fun,’ she growled under her breath. She reached out and scratched the animal’s ruff feeling strangely comforted by the feel of thick fir. She wondered how he handled the heat in July and August. It hadn’t entered her mind that he could practically bite her whole arm of in lieu of the peanut butter sandwich if he chose too, though he seemed fairly well mannered at the moment. He’d never shown any inclination to be friendly to her, or any interest in her at all when she’d walked by here before, but then again, she’d not been eating a peanut butter sandwich before. Golden eyes shifted from the sandwich to her face and back. He whined again and offered her an open-mouthed yawn sporting teeth like daggers, then his tongue lolled out the side of his mouth in a relaxed, but attentive pant, and he inched closer, eyes still locked on the sandwich.

She sighed and her stomach growled again. ‘God I’m so gullible! But only with animals,’ she added as he inched his way closer. ‘People, I know better than to trust. Especially in Vegas.’ The dog cocked his head, as though he understood every word, and he very well might, she thought. ‘Well, I suppose I could stand to lose another few pounds.’ She tore a corner off the sandwich, and stuffed it in her mouth savoring the last of her very scant meal. Then, as the dog inched forward again, she handed him the rest of the sandwich. He took it from her almost daintily before it disappeared down his gullet in a single gulp. He offered another whine and a little woof of a bark. ‘Sorry Bud. There isn’t anymore,’ she said, stroking an enormous soft ear. ‘But if tips are good tonight, I’ll bring you a Big Mac tomorrow. How would that be?’

‘Leave off the special sauce if you do. It makes him fart, and I have to sleep with the mutt.’

With a little yelp of her own, she turned to find the dog’s master towering over her. She stepped back, in danger of falling on the dog, who gave an indignant woof, which she wasn’t sure was from her nearly landing on him or from his owner’s lack of discretion in discussing his digestion. Either way if the man hadn’t caught her by the arm with a large hand she would have flattened the poor pooch.

The man was big and rugged like the dog, she thought, as he slid an arm around her waist and pulled her away from the beast, swiftly enough that she realized with a start that he didn’t trust the dog with her. For a second she tensed and her skin prickled. But it wasn’t the dog she feared at all. She trusted him almost instantly and she knew the feeling was mutual, peanut butter or not. She wasn’t keen on being touched by people she knew well, let alone strangers, and this man made her knees weak from a distance, let alone up close and personal. Before she could panic, she was engulfed in the scent of juniper and wood smoke and dry desert heat. Perhaps it was the desire to sniff again that relaxed her, that made her forget that she could be in real danger, but before she had time to really consider her safety, he settled her onto her feet and stepped back. ‘Excuse me. I didn’t mean to startle you. It’s just that Gus isn’t usually great with people.’ The dog scooted forward and sniffed her fingers with a cool nose, then looked up at the man as though he wondered what the hell the problem was.

‘It’s fine. I’m all right,’ she managed without sounding too disconcerted. ‘I just wasn’t expecting company for lunch.’P1010641

The man offered her a smile that made her stomach bottom and, for a tiny moment, made her feel like there was nothing solid beneath her feet. Then everything righted itself and settled around her again. ‘And Gus wasn’t expecting to be invited to lunch with such charming company,’ he said. ‘The mutt’s a bit of a mooch.’

The man wore faded fatigues –patched and threadbare in a couple of places – along with heavy-duty biker boots that were scuffed and well worn. But the clothes didn’t hang on him like clothes often did on the homeless people who sheltered here. He filled them out. In fact he filled them out way too nicely for a man with whom regular meals were not guaranteed.

‘I’m just glad he was happy with peanut butter and didn’t find it necessary to have a bit more protein with his meal.’ She wriggled her fingers, and the man chuckled, and held her gaze with startling eyes that were winter storm grey and not clouded by drugs – not that she would know much about that sort of thing. His hair was dark and mussed and the stubble on his face made him look tragic and romantic, if more than a little bit dangerous. She forced herself not to look away. ‘I’m sorry. I don’t have anything else.’ She flushed in a wave of embarrassment. ‘Believe me, I really don’t.’ She suddenly found herself fighting back tears and lowered her gaze. He had no idea, she thought. There wasn’t even any change left in the bottom of her bag. She’d rounded up all of that and the few pennies she found down behind the cushions of the couch to buy a loaf of bread and the peanut butter. Even if he decided to steal her bag, fat lot of good it would do him. Even the phone was a worthless pay as you go job with barely enough time on it to call 911 in an emergency. Truth was he could easily take from her whatever he wanted. He could even take her if he wanted, and there would be nothing she could do, certainly no one would miss her. She should have been scared, she supposed, after all she knew very well that the storm tunnels could be dangerous places, but she was just too damn tired to care. She could feel his gaze move over her. It made her feel giddy and flushed and … strangely naked, but not like he was leering, more like he could … well just like he could see things.

‘I know,’ he said softly. ‘I know what you have.’ He curled a finger beneath her chin and lifted her head so their eyes met again, and the prickle of her skin returned, but this time she felt as though she were suddenly bathed in champagne bubbles, suddenly falling into the storm blizzard depths of his eyes, suddenly unable to catch enough breath. ‘I have something for you, though.’ He stepped back, sliding his hand down her arm to curl his fingers around her wrist. Then just before the strength of his grip, the power it transmitted could panic her, he took her hand and folded something into her palm. Then he whispered against her ear, ‘Gus’ll be looking forward to his Big Mac.’

She blinked and caught her breath. Did he say that, or did she just imagine it. But he had already turned, given a soft whistle, and the dog followed him into the maw of the tunnel. She watched them for as long as her eyes could see shape and movement before the blackness swallowed them up. Then she looked down in her clenched fist and opened her fingers. There was just enough light left in the evening sky that she could make out the words Buried Pleasures engraved on both sides of a poker chip. How the hell did a homeless man get a poker chip from a place like that, she wondered. She turned it over in her hand a couple of times squinting in the low light, but it seemed genuine enough. Then she shrugged, dropped it in her bag and headed for the casino, picking up her pace so she wouldn’t be late for her shift. It was a helluva walk from her apartment to the 6 Spot, and she always tried to make it before it got too dark. Not only was it a long walk, but it took her through areas that were not the safest places for a stroll. On top of that, she was in danger of being late, thanks to her encounter with Gus and his owner. She’d made enough money busking yesterday to pay the rent, but not enough to put gas in the car.

She didn’t feel good about the busking. Vegas was way too small. It would be too easy for her to draw attention, and she especially didn’t want to draw Darian Fox’s attention again. On the other hand, she didn’t feel good about joining the homeless man and his dog in the tunnels if she got kicked out of her apartment either. If the city were bigger, another day, maybe two of busking and she’d have made enough money to give her at least a bit of a cushion, but she couldn’t risk it. Word got round, even when she downplayed her abilities, which she always did. Not for the first time she resented the hell out of Evie’s little rich girl naiveté, and not for the first time she wondered why she didn’t just call Evie’s father and let him come and sort her out. How the hell did she get mixed up in this mess to begin with? But she was expendable, right? She was a nobody, not an heiress wanting to thumb her nose at daddy by trying out life on the wild side.

S6304352She heaved a sigh and picked up her pace again. She was just feeling sorry for herself. She was just tired. Evie was her friend, and she knew damn well that if the shoe were on the other foot and she were the one acting like an idiot with Darian Fox, Evie would move heaven and hell to get her out of a bad situation.

She picked up her pace yet again, telling herself dryly that she would be able to take up competitive race walking if she went a few more days with no gas money. That would beat the hell out of her job as a cocktail waitress. True, it was a shit job, but right now beggars couldn’t be choosers. While she could make good money busking, even maybe find a job at a piano bar someplace, she knew that wasn’t safe, but she had to have some money if she were going to survive until she could get Evie away from that bastard, Fox. And that meant stuffing herself into the tiny spandex excuse for a uniform and letting the half-drunk partiers at the Black Jack tables ogle her while she delivered their watered-down drinks because, what were friends for, right?

 

A Taste of Wade

Most of you know I’m enjoying Smut Manchester this weekend, so while I’m enjoying the company of smutty friends talking smutty stories and planning more smutty stories, I thought I’d share a little bit of what my alter-ego, Grace Marshall has been up to. From the very first Executive Decisions novel, readers have been requesting Wade Crittenden’s story, and Grace and I are both elated that said story is now in the works. Interviewing Wade will be out in February! In the meantime, Grace has given me permission to share a taste of Wade with you to whet your appetite with a little excerpt from her Work in Progress. Enjoy! And have a great weekend!

Smut manchester 2014GM10688359_384080715074074_2937975959125980520_oInterviewing Wade Blurb:

The Executive Decisions Trilogy may be over, but the story continues. Intrepid reporter, Carla Flannery, wants to interview Wade Crittenden, the secretive creative genius behind Pheuma, Inc, But when, against all odds, Wade actually agrees to the interview, Carla suspects ulterior motives.

Carla has made a lot of enemies in her work and when Wade discovers she’s being stalked, he agrees to the interview to keep her close and safe. As the situation turns deadly, lives and hearts are on the line, and the interview reveals far more about both than either ever expected.

Sneak Preview of WIP Interviewing Wade:

The dining area smelled of Chinese food. Lynn had spread the feast on the coffee table in front of the ratty sofa. For a moment, Carla stood staring at the food, feeling slightly nauseated. ‘I’m not hungry,’ she said.

‘Come on, you need to eat. With your metabolism, being what it is, if you don’t you’ll have wasted completely away by morning.’ He settled her onto the least lumpy part of the couch and then sat down next to her. When she made no effort, he opened the waxed cardboard containers and surveyed their contents. Then he ladled up a spoonful of egg flower soup and totally surprised her by bringing it, with a steady hand, to her lips. ‘A little bit,’ he said. ‘You don’t want to hurt Lynn’s feelings, do you?’

She opened her mouth, and he carefully spooned it in and watched while she swallowed. ‘Since when have you cared about hurting anyone’s feelings,’ she said. The soup had felt good against her throat, and it wasn’t so difficult to open her mouth when he spooned up the next bite. ‘I don’t, really, and just for the record, Lynn doesn’t care about mine either, but I’m not above lying to get my way.’ He ladled another spoonful into her mouth and this time she made an mmm sound at the back of her throat as she swallowed.

‘And are you getting what you want?’

‘You’re eating, aren’t you?’

He gave a little gasp of surprise when she took the spoon away from him, dipped up a nice fat egg drop and pointed the utensil in his direction. When he stared at her like she had two heads, she laughed softly. ‘Come on Crittenden, open up. Here comes a choo-choo.’ She wasn’t sure if he opened his mouth for the soup or because he was about to say something rude. Either way she took advantage and shoved the spoon home. When he took the bite, holding her gaze as though he didn’t quite understand what kind of creature had assaulted him with a soup spoon, holding her gaze with absolutely no sexual innuendo, but her insides trembled and hollowed anyway.

‘It’s good,’ he said, his cheeks turning a warm shade of pink, as he took the spoon back and returned the favour, and this time he didn’t protest when it was his turn,– even as she picked up a pair of chopsticks and brazenly served up a sloppy mouthful of Singapore noodles while he sat with his mouth slightly open, making her think of a hungry nestling waiting for a worm. The thought made her giggle at the last instant, and he barely caught the end of an escaping noodle in time to slurp it off his chin and into his mouth. ‘You’re sloppy, Flannery,’ he said, licking his lips with two flicks of his tongue that made her breath catch and her nipples ache.

Dear Christ, he had no idea whatsoever what he did to her. This time, as she waited open-mouthed for her bite of soup, his hand was far less steadyXcite FB campagne for Exec Dec trilogy and at least half of it ended up in her cleavage. She yelped. ‘You did that on purpose.’

‘Did not’ he said. Handing her a napkin and watching wide-eyed as she dabbed away chicken broth.

‘Did so.’

‘Did not,’ he said. Then he filled the chopsticks dangerously full of noodles and brought them toward her mouth. ‘This –’ he fumbled the chopsticks and the whole bite slipped off the ends and right down between her breasts ‘—I did on purpose.’

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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