Thursday, October 29, 2009
Melinda closed her eyes, grasped at the trailing ends of the ties which held her hands immobile behind her.
"Bite the apple, Linny"
"You can do it."
She approached the apple, which hung suspended by a string and licked her lips. Turning her head one way, then the other, she tried to decide where to begin. Her corset kept her from bending too far in either direction, so she lifted her chin, coming at the apple from slightly beneath it. Her teeth bit into the flesh of the fruit, and elation filled her as the juices spurted into her mouth.
"You did it, Linny." Her best friend Sara said, rushing to her side as she stepped back from the bitten apple. "You will be the first to marry!"
Melinda smiled, chewing on the sweet morsel as Sara removed the bindings from her hands.
"Shall we have some tea, and find out who your husband will be?" Sara asked.
As Sara speculated about the possibilities, Melinda's eyes once again returned to the spot where Anthony stood. His eyebrows lifted as his gaze shifted meaningfully to where the apple still hung. He grinned, and she fought not to grin back.
"I heard that Franny drank the tea, and it told her that she would marry a duke! And now, she is engaged to his grace, the Duke of Rochester."
"Mmm," Melinda said, eyes never leaving Anthony.
His head inclined slightly toward the entrance of the barn, indicating the open expanse of pastures beyond. Her breath caught, and she shifted her gaze to where Sara stood.
"Why don't you go, Sara? You can tell me all about it later." When Sara protested, Melinda held up a hand. "Now I want to hear positively everything about your tea, but I… I promised my father I would be home early, and I wouldn't want you to have to leave on my account."
Sara pouted and looked at the door. Melinda followed her eyes, seeing Anthony's back as he stepped through the doorway. Her heart lurched. Sara turned toward where the tea was being poured, then looked back over her shoulder toward the door again.
"Look now, all the cups are nearly taken. I insist that you enjoy your tea." Melinda said, shoving her gently toward the table. "You can tell me everything tomorrow."
"All right, but you go straight home." Sara said, giving her a quick hug before whirling to hurry toward the table.
Adjusting her bodice and slapping at the wrinkles in her skirts, she started toward the door. Stepping across the threshold, she noted the darkening sky and empty expanse of land. Looking around, she fought the urge to call for him. She moved toward the far end of the barn, her pulse pounding in her throat.
"Not frightened, are you?" A deep male voice came from beside the barn.
"Not at all. I'm far too old to let a silly night frighten me." Smiling, she faced the obscure darkness.
Anthony slipped from the abysmal world of shadow and into the moonlight. His dark hair was tousled, and she found herself itching to brush a wayward lock from his forehead. Her fingers clenched at her skirt to quell the impulse.
"I'm glad you came out to walk with me. I never thought that Sara would let you out of her sight."
Eyebrows raised, she tried to give him a reproving look, but her grin broke free. "She was very insistent tonight. I think she wishes to try new things, but is too afraid to try them alone."
His hand came to her elbow, and he took it delicately in his fingertips as he helped her over a hole in the ground. Warmth spread through her from at the contact.
"She's always been that way." He laughed, a rich sound that warmed her in the chilly night air.
"I was told that you will be leaving to attend school in England soon," she said, speaking the words which had remained silent between them for months now. "It should be very exciting." She turned her head, blinking rapidly to keep the tears from coming.
He grunted his agreement. They walked along a piece and soon came to the large white fence at the edge of the barn. Anthony jumped to the top of the fence effortlessly, extending a hand to her. She took it, and he lifted her as she placed her foot on the bottom post. When she held the top of the fence, he grasped her waist and lifted her over the fence and to the ground on the other side. The brief contact of his fingers at her waist sent a thrill of anticipation through her body.
He had helped her over this very fence so many times in the past, but lately…
"So, you bit the apple." He said, dropping to the ground alongside her. "You're next to marry then."
She giggled, trying to sound lighthearted while her insides twisted. "Silly superstition." She waved her hand as she spoke.
"Perhaps," he said, his fingers touching hers for the barest moment as they walked together. "And perhaps not. You are eighteen now. It is time to take a husband, is it not?"
"I suppose it will be."
Head down, she watched him in her from the corner of her vision as they passed the storage shed near the main plantation house.
"And I am nearly nineteen. My father will be pressing me soon enough."
"Parents are rather insistent on the matter."
His fingers brushed hers, but this time he grasped them, holding them lightly in his own. She glanced up at him, and his face lit with a roguish smile. A thick lump had formed in her throat, and she fought to swallow past it. He pulled her toward the shed, and she went with him, leaning back against the draw of his hands, but not truly resisting.
Reaching behind him, he pushed the shed door open and drew her inside. Her chest felt as though it would shatter into a million bits when her eyes met his.
"I… We should--."
"Shhh." He silenced her, placing a long finger over her lips. "It’s all right."
The door shut behind them, and he sat on a small bench, drawing her onto his lap.
"You and I have been friends a long time, Melinda." His eyes held hers so fully that she couldn't have looked away even if she had wished to. "Lately our friendship has changed. I know you have felt it too."
Butterflies seemed to have taken up residence in her stomach, and they fluttered in crazy patterns as he took her hand in his and kissed it.
"I love you, Linny," he said. "Say you love me too. Say you'll marry me and make me the happiest man who ever existed."
A whimper left her throat, unbidden, and she leaned in, her palms gently holding his cheeks. Her lips met his, softly and tenderly. He moaned as she pulled back from the kiss, his hands running up and down over her arms. The fiery quality that his eyes had acquired made her insides turn to pudding.
"Of course I'll marry you, you goose."
Whooping, he slipped his arms around her, his lips finding hers. His mouth covered hers, not the sweet, tender kiss she had visited on him, but fiery and passionate. A kiss she would be content to stop time and live in for the rest of her life.
As she thought about her situation she started fuming. This always happens! Sarah and Jill are very spontaneous people and it seemed like she always got abandoned. Kiley was here to have fun but now she was wondering if she had enough nerve to cut loose like her friends. Catching sight of her reflection, she paused. Maybe she could transform just like Catwoman did in the movie. Her meek, mild, naïve self could become a bold, aggressive hellcat. No one here knew who she was so maybe it would be kind of fun to try it.
Kiley left the front area entering the party. Spooky Halloween noises drifted from hidden speakers and several musical selections blasted from the dance floor. To her right was a large variety of edible ghoulish treats. Back in the corner was a wet bar with tables and chairs scattered throughout the room. The costumes ranged from simple to very elaborate. There was a multitude of different kinds of outfits drifting around the crowd. She moved further into the mass and started walking around absorbing the atmosphere. It was nice to be unknown, she felt she could do things and no one would be able to point a finger at her later saying she did it.
She gathered food and drink moving around chatting to people gathered in small clusters. She even played at flirting with the men; really enjoying her anonymity. Intently trying to follow the rapid conversation coursing through the group, she heard a deep voice brush over her back.
“Would you like to dance?”
Standing very still she tried to figure out if she was imagining the voice. She held her breath for a few seconds and didn’t see anyone looking at her. Maybe the invitation wasn’t meant for her just something she had overheard. Kiley relaxed and concentrated on listening to the group conversation when she felt a finger graze around the top of her ear and heard the deep voice again.
“I really would like to dance with you.”
Kiley slowly turned around and came face to face with the devil. He was standing very close and she almost stepped back but stopped herself at the last second from giving up her space. He was tall and she had to tip her head back to look up at him. “Were you talking to me?”
“Yes, let’s dance,” he reached for her hand.
“I don’t know…” she started to protest as he captured her hand and pulled her to the dance floor.
“I’ve been watching you all night and I haven’t seen you dance yet.”
“I’m not that good at dancing.”
“We won’t know until we do it,” he smiled.
He wrapped his arms around her and started moving with her to the music. His hands gently caressed her back causing small shock waves to travel up and down her spine. These feelings were surprising but she decided it would be fine to enjoy them for a little while. Together they rocked and swayed brushing each other in extra sensitive erotic areas. Sexual tensions tightened around her chest sliding downward causing her breasts to tingle and tighten and a warm wet feeling to fill her most womanly spot. Her breath was getting heavy and she had lost all conscious thought of where she was. In this spell he was spinning around her, she became putty in his hands. He directed and she followed. A long way off she was aware of a fresh breeze but she was not able to untangle her thoughts to anything other than what he was doing to her.
When she heard the zipper, she stiffened for a brief second until his lips consumed her dragging her deeper into his world binding her to his sexual desire. She was hot and cold, shivering and breathless, aroused and so far gone her eyes were glazed and unfocused. Her body burned and stretched toward him wanting more. He lightly pinched and stroked her skin drawing her closer and closer to her climax. She couldn’t take anymore and started whimpering and begging him. He pushed her further along the path until she screamed and tightened through her sexual eruption. In her daze, Kiley could hear his delighted chuckle. “Come for me again,” floated his intoxicating words. She felt the stirrings deep in her belly as they clawed and gathered again making her wither and grab at him. His hand was quickly replaced by his hard pulsating shaft. His tempo increased as he slammed in and out of her getting faster and faster. She was teetering on the edge trying to wait for him. His breathing was ragged and then she felt the growl rumbling deep in his chest as he tightened and tensed for his ejaculation. The feel of his climax tipped her over the edge causing her to shiver from her toes to her head and back again as the strength of her orgasm hit her again. Wave after wave of pleasure crashed over her drowning her in a sea of sensation. She was having trouble breathing and she couldn’t move she was so drained.
Coolness fanned over her skin and she knew he was moving away from her. She was transfixed in this dream state and unable to move or talk. He stood towering over her depleted body sprawled on the ground. His eyes locked with hers sending a few more shivers through her body.
Fog drifted in around them. His black cape whipped up as he turned around and was gone. Kiley pulled herself together slowly, her limbs felt like lead. Redressed she returned to the party. Searching the room, she wanted to find him. Her devilish delight was nowhere to be seen. Wandering around the crowd engaging in small talk, she was carefully looking everywhere trying to catch a glance of him. She felt eyes watching and following her but she was unsuccessful in locating the source. She had never acted as carefree as she had these last couple of hours. She decided she had had enough for one night. Quietly she left for home.
Two weeks later the girls went out to the club for a girl’s night out. It was Kiley’s turn to get the drinks. Standing beside the table she reviewed the order requests with her friends. She heard a deep voice behind her.
“Would you like to dance?”
A shiver quivered up her spine as a ghost of a memory prickled her senses. Turning around she found a handsome tall man standing behind her wearing a devilish smile.
“I might have that dance if I know who I am dancing with,” Kiley smiled back. They walked off talking together leaving her friends sitting alone staring after her in surprise.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
“Why is it you can only come out of your coffin once a year? From legends vampires roam the nights, not just Halloween night.”
“Ah, yes. But you see, my dear, I am cursed.” Drake replied sitting across her in her darkened kitchen.
“How are you cursed?” Shay stood of her bed and walked to him.
“Back in 1692, during the Salem Witch Trials. Abigail, she was the love of my life, but she was a witch. She knew she would die so she cursed me. She didn’t want to share me with anyone else.”
“But she allowed you to be free one night a year.”
“Yes, she wanted me to live and suffer without her, because I would turn her into a vampire. She allows me this one night to feed.”
“That must be an awful way to live.”
“It’s not so bad,” Drake ran a cool finger down her arm. “It allows me to see you.”
Blushing Shay turned from him. If only he wanted more than a few minutes conversation and a kiss to do him for a year. If only he wanted her the way she craved him.
“What could break the curse?”
Drake crossed his arms and stared out her bedroom window. The moon was bright and full, with his hearing he could hear parties going on all over Salem.
“Drake please, I would like to know. I want to help you.”
“There is nothing you can do to help me.”
“You mean there is nothing at all to lift this curse from you?” Shay begged grabbing his arm. “There has to be something, anything.”
“Shay, let’s enjoy our time together. I want to make the most of the few hours I have with you each year. Someday you may not want me to return.”
Standing on her tiptoes she brushed her lips across his cool cheek. “That will never happen.” Shay promised before closing her mouth over his. Gasping she clung tighter to his body when his tongue entered her mouth. She could feel his cock pressing against her stomach. For ten years she had wanted him. “Please Drake, I need you.”
“You must know that if we make love it will be one step to breaking the curse.”
“What would be the next step?”
“For me to take your life.”
Gasping Shay pushed him away from her. “You have to kill me?” She trembled. “But I don’t want to die. I have a career and a family. I have obligations. I want to live.”
“Relax my love. You will become a vampire like me. You are my lifemate. We would be free to roam the nights together for all of eternity.”
Drake slowly brought her back into his arms and just held her for a few minutes to calm her nerves. After ten years she had to know he would never hurt her.
“You smell like peaches,” his thumb slowly traced the outside of her breasts before lowering his lips to hers. The kiss was slow and sweet.
“All you need is some whip cream then.” Shay spoke her mind still fuzzy from the kiss. She heard him groan then opened her eyes just in time to see his lips take hers again.
Shay wrapped her arms around his waist and pressed her body tightly against his. His hands rubbed up her stomach over her breasts to frame her face, tilting her head to the left for a deeper kiss. “I’m sorry sugar,” Drake apologized. “But tonight, being her with you, I have no strength left.”
He whirled her up against her back door Shay quickly removed his jacket and shirt licking her lips as she ran her hands over his hard chest and stomach to the button on his jeans.
“Not so fast sugar, I want to taste you.” He pushed her hands above her head and began his assault again, this time kissing down her neck, her collarbone, then lowering her dress until it feel to the floor. Stepping back he let out a groan at the small red lace thong she was wearing. Then his mouth was on her breast again, while his free hand slid over her other breast, pulling on her nipple before lowering over her stomach to trace her belly button then the top of her thong. Shay’s breath shuddered, the door a hard pillow as she laid her head against it. He was so close to seeing how wet he made her and hot ready she was for him. “Please,” she begged when his hand found it’s way back to her breast.
He let go of her hands and smiled at her before kneeling in front of her and running kisses down her stomach. He quickly tore her thong off before running his tongue over the inside of her thigh. Her body quivered and burned for his touch. Her hand rested on his baldhead and urged him to taste her. “Please,” she begged again.
His gaze met hers as he slid a finger inside her, she bit her lip and closed her eyes. It had been too long since she had been touched.
“Mmm, sugar, you are so tight, so wet.” He said, his breath blowing against her aching body.
She squirmed as his lips closed over her. Drake raised her right leg on her shoulder to gain better access to her. His tongue slid between her pink folds as his fingers pumped in and out of her. His mouth closed over her clit and began to suck greedily. Shay let out a loud moan moving her hips with his fingers. Her body became tight, with one last pump of fingers Shay shuddered. She imagined she only remained standing because of Drake. Before she could get her breathing under control he had lifted her up and placed her on a small, round table and pressed his erection against her sensitive center.
“See what you do to me,” he grabbed her hand and placed it over the bulge in his pants. “I can’t wait to bury myself inside you.” He kissed her lips. “I want you screaming and begging for more.” He kissed the side of her neck.
“I want you inside me, please.” Shay squeezed his erection before unsnapping his jeans and pulling down the zipper.
In one swift move, Drake had his jeans around his ankles and her legs resting on his shoulders.
“What do you want Shay?” He asked rubbing the head of his dick against her clit.
“You. Inside. Me!” She begged. “Now!”
In one thrust Drake was buried inside Shay. “Now what do you want?”
“I want you to make me come.”
Drake groaned and then began to pump in and out of her. Shay could feel the tension start to build with each pump from Drake. She saw Drake’s eyes grow dark and bit her bottom lip. She felt his dick twitch inside her, he then placed his thumb over her clit and began to massage it. His rasping cry of pleasure was all it took for Shay to throw her head back and cry out with her own orgasm.
Moments later when she could breathe Shay asked the underlining question, “when and how do you turn me?”
“Next Samhain, my love. Only one more year and we will be together for all of eternity.”
With that he was gone.
A gentle autumn wind whispered through the trees, chilling bare skin and carrying the promise of rain. She was covered in sweat and something thicker. It was in her hair, oozing down her arms and chest, and dripping from her chin to pat softly on the leaves all around her. Her muscles shook with the effort of keeping her on her hands and knees. Fingers curls in soft earth sending up a heady, primitive scent.
Casting her mind about, she tried to understand how she arrived here. She had been reading when the sick feeling had begun. Her gut had heaved and the world became too bright, too loud. She had tried to make it to the rest room but had ended up retching in the hallways, sickness splashing the hardwood. Then there was dizziness and everything hurt, as if her very bones where being wrenched about. A ripping sound. Heavy floral scents hung all around, too strong.
She was hot, burning, inside and out. Her body tingled, suddenly restless. She paced, trapped by the walls around her. Wild, she threw herself about, heeding the summons beyond the confines. She needed. She wanted. She hungered. The air beyond was sweet and crisp, begging to be chased.
After that was a blur of motion. The world flashing past in the muted blues and silvers of full moon light. Long shadows gather around her, but did not hinder her rush. Cold October air being taken in greedy gulps. The scents of pine and water and earth. And blood. There were others, moving with her and around her. She knew them and yet they had no names. They ran together. Heedless and boundless. Free.
A scream. The race had become urgent, almost frantic. Joy and thrill urged her faster. Consumed by the chase. The others where falling back, letting her lead, there keening voices music in the night. It was hers, faster, closer, to ground. The moment of the kill. Doe eyes widened, then blood flowed. They gorged on tender flesh and broke soft bones. The heart was hers, they insisted. Supple sinew unsoured by age. Sweet blood tracing its path.
Her breath was coming in gasps again, even as the images lost their tenuous focus. A blurry haze of sickness and pain. It could not be real. Just a nightmare. She opened her eyes.
Pale doe’s eyes stared back at her.
The woman was young, barely out of her teens. Her throat was gone and her torso torn open. Entrails and gore littered the ground and blood soaked the leaves. Where arms and legs had once been, were now bloody hollows where the limbs had been ripped from their sockets. What remained of a risque nurse’s uniform lay in pieces among the leaves.
She scrambled back from the fresh corpse, scattering and crunching dry leaves that upset the quiet of the midnight forest. Her wet hair fell into her face, and she desperately shoved it away. Her arm glistened in the moonlight, the pale illumination turning the dark fluid black against her skin. She shook to see she was covered in the gore. It was smeared across of face, arms, and chest, and dripped from her chin and hair. The fullness in her stomach settled heavily before it lurched upward. Blood, coppery and thick, was all she could smell. The gentle wind could not waft it away, only stir it around her.
Then she felt them. The others, just beyond the light of the moon, hidden in the night shadows, their eyes aglow in gold and red. They moved, circling her without a sound. She could feel their exchange though they had no voices. She drew her arms around her naked body. Cold, afraid, but not of the monsters with out. She had nothing to fear from the others, they watched over her, kin.
A crunch of leaves, a whiff of oak and pine, and she spun.
He was beautiful: lean muscle wrapped in pale skin, living marble. Windswept locks fell to shoulder length and swirled around luminous green eyes. He was naked save the dark stains of liquid splashed across his body. His expression was soft, gentle, yet she flinched as he knelt before her. The moonlight worshiped him, wrapping him in gentle silver fingers. The scents of wind and blood and forest clung to him, stirring her soul. She wished to sig for him, sing with him, sing with them.
She licked her lips, tasting the blood there, and his smile grew hungry. His nostrils flared and his chest expanded. He crouched before her, leaning close, he rubbed his cheek to hers, the stubble of a day’s growth scratched at her softer flesh, and chuffed into her ear. As he drew back, his tongue soothed across her chin cleaning off the blood, then each cheek. He moved to her neck, lapping away the gore. Her breath shuddered in her throat and he replied with a rumbling chuckle.
“Fear not, young one, the first hunt is always the hardest.” His voice was throaty and deep, and rough as if from exertion. He rocked back onto his heels and rolled to his feet with supple grace. He reached his hand out to her. “Come. The night is young. Run with us.”
Wide eyes met first green, then pale doe as her heart raced anew. She swallowed, still tasting blood. The metallic sweetness sliding down easily. The wind rose, cold and free, howling through the forest.
She took his hand and music once again filled the night. She found herself singing with them. Her body twisted and warped and again the joyful blur of night consumed her.
Arriving in Vegas for my first vacation in over five years, I was determined to have the time of my life. Too much work was making this boy tired and lifeless. How lucky was I that they were having a masked Halloween Ball? Just what I needed to jump start my vacation.
Entering the Dunes grand ballroom, I stopped to let my eyes adjust to the dim lighting. Ghostly apparitions floated eerily through the air. Jack-o‘-lanterns grinned from every table. A thick, clammy fog hugged the floor. The dance floor was jammed with costumed party goers gyrating to the sound of Purple People Eaters. Smoothing the vest of my Captain Jack Sparrow costume, I sauntered inside, eager with anticipation.
There were witches, vampires, goblins and ghouls. Aliens, fairies, presidents and movie stars cavorted with each other. Casually glancing around the room for a dance partner, I saw her, a vision in red. She wore a low cut red dress that matched her long silky hair. The gossamer dress clung intimately to her slender body. A slit ran the length of her right shapely leg all the way up to her hip. Her back was bare down to the curve of her well formed derrière. When she turned, her face was hidden behind a red, feathered mask.
I watched in stunned awe as she worked her way through the room, nonchalantly dismissing every man who approached. It was like watching a panther on the prowl. She was looking for one man to be her prey that night and every man there obviously wanted to be devoured by her.
It took me a moment to realize she had stopped directly in front of me. Her ruby lips curled into a mischievous smiled as she took my scabbard in her hand. A wave of excitement jolted me when she began to seductively rub her hand up and down the scabbard’s shaft.
Her sculpted lips pursed as a soft purr rumbled in her throat. "Mmmm."
My mouth went dry as she led me out of the ballroom toward the elevators. Before the door closed she placed a finger to my lips and shook her head. No talking.
We got off on the twenty sixth floor and stopped at room 2669. How she could have possibly hidden anything inside that tight dress without it showing, I don't know, but she reached down between her two magnificent breasts and slid out the key card that would open the door to her room and what I hoped would be a night I would never forget.
The room was dark, the only light came from the full moon shinning through the open French doors. A hot, desert breeze turned the white curtains into eerie specters. A bottle of Champaign chilled in a bucket next to the king sized bed.
The sultry strains of Reveille's Bolero wafted through the air as she lead me to the bed and made me sit on the edge. After pouring me a glass of the sparkling wine, she backed away from me and began to slowly, erotically, sway her body to the music.
Seductive as a snake charmer, the bulge in my pants responded by straining against the leather for all it was worth. Sweat beaded my brow as my eyes followed her hypnotic hips. I gasped suddenly as one strap fell off of her creamy shoulder. I could tell she knew exactly what she was doing to me as her grin turned wicked, her tongue wetting her lips.
Turning away from me, she pealed one side of her dress half way down, then the other. Bending over, she wriggled the dress the rest of the way to the floor. All she was wearing now was a red thong, that evil grin and the feathered mask.
Straightening, she turned, arms crossed in front of her breasts and walked toward me. She took my glass from me and held it to her lips. Champaign trickled down her chin, between her full, firm breasts, across her flat abdomen and over her thong covered mound.
Kneeling down, she reached out to unbuckled my stiff belt. I started to rip off my shirt and vest only to have her stop me. Climbing onto the bed behind me, her hands snaked around me, sliding under my shirt, lightly rubbing my chest. Her touch sent shudders of pure ecstasy through my body.
Her breath, hot and sweet, on my neck as she licked my ear. She removed my shirt and oozed back off of the bed. She pushed me onto my back and took my zipper in her teeth, slowly pulling it down. After removing my boots, she pulled my pants off. I was naked and completely in her hands.
She slipped out of her thong, revealing a small, shaved patch of red hair in the shape of a heart.
She climbed on top, straddling me, positioning herself directly over my hard, throbbing erection. The heat of her skin was nothing compared to the furnace I felt as she took every inch of my length deep inside her.
She was hot, wet and very tight. She leaned close to my face, our lips fractions on an inch apart. Her sea green eyes sparkled, her perfume intoxicating. Her soft, supple lips touched mine for the briefest of moments, yet I felt an intense fire of passion run deep in my loins.
A moment later we kissed again, passionately, feverishly. Sitting back up, she began to rise and fall in tempo to the music. Slow, long strokes that made me fight for control not to end this too soon. If this was Heaven, I wanted to die.
The rhythm of the music increased and so did she.
Faster and faster she rode me.
My hands reached out and grabbed hold of her firm breasts.
Her swollen nipples were hard under my fingers.
Her body arched backward.
A guttural moan of pure pleasure tore from her throat as her body began to climax.
I felt the hot rush of her juices as I erupted in waves of agonized delight.
She collapsed on top of me, our bodies slick with sweat. When my breath finally returned, I gently disentangled myself from her and dressed. She lay curled up on the bed like a hot house flower settling in for the night. Her fantasy fulfilled, a smile of deep contentment played on her luscious lips.
I leaned over, kissed her tenderly on the cheek and quietly left her room. On the way down to my room I wondered if I would ever see that gorgeous creature again.
Oh, I hated the way her eyes gleamed with twisted pleasure and I so knew what she was going to ask me. And she knew I would take the dare because I would never tell her what she so desperately wanted to know. I was definitely going to suffer before this sleepover was over.
The five of us had arranged our sleeping bags in the tent like spokes on a wheel, with the lantern in the middle. I batted a moth away from my face and glared at Ashley. We’d been friends since elementary school. But right then, I wanted to punch her lights out. Instead, I said, “Dare.”
Parker, Dani and Cotton groaned. I knew what they were thinking—Ashley was going to make me pay dearly for not giving in to her deepest desire. Which was, of course, if I’d gone all the way with her boyfriend, Drew.
I’d never tell.
Ash leaned back on her trendy Timberland sleeping bag and stared up at the tent ceiling. She pursed her cute little lips, the same ones I wanted to smack, and replied, “Well, I have the most perfect dare.”
A collective ‘ohhhh’ from my three BFF made me cringe. Ashley had a mean streak and we all knew this was either going to hurt or scare the living crap out of me. Since we were in the middle of the woods, I pretty much figured it was a dare of the scariest kind. Just Ashley’s style.
She began, “Last week, Drew and I were taking a walk in the woods.”
I knew I wasn’t the only one who wondered what else they’d done in the woods and we also knew she’d gotten in her first good dig of the night—whether or not I answered her truth or dare question, she wanted to remind me who Drew belonged to now. And it wasn’t me.
“Do you remember that old tobacco barn out near Tatum creek?” she continued, staring at me, the nasty gleam returning. “I think it’d be fun to spend the night out there, don’t you?”
Oh, she would not. She couldn’t be serious.
Of course we all knew that barn. It’d been around since the slaves worked the bacca fields. The only thing holding it upright was a mass of kudzu big enough to have its own zip code.
And it was haunted.
Eight eyes watched my reaction. I tried hard to pretend I wasn’t freaking out but every single hair on my body stood up and nobody missed my shiver of horror.
“Gee, Ash. That’s kind of extreme,” Dani said.
“Yeah, just because Kate won’t tell you—,” Cotton shut her mouth and began to play with the zipper on her sleeping bag. Bless her heart, Cotton never thought before she spoke, but I wanted to hug her for sticking up for me.
Parker kicked Ashley’s foot. “You always were jealous that Kate dated Drew first.”
Ash shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. He’s mine now. And she took the dare.”
“She’s not going out to that shed alone. I’m going with her,” Parker said.
“Oh, I don’t think so. Y’all know the rules, she goes alone,” Ashley replied. She pulled her cell phone from under her stupid, fuzzy pink pillow and checked the time then looked up at me with a little grin. “How ‘bout that? It’s almost midnight. The perfect hour to start your dare.”
Ten minutes later, I tripped through the woods to the old barn, with my sleeping bag, cell phone and a big, fat dose of fake courage keeping me company. It was far enough away that when demons came to suck the soul out of my body, nobody would hear my screams. Just the way Ashley hoped.
I stopped when I reached the edge of the woods where the clearing started. The thought of entering that open field made me feel totally defenseless. A dare’s a dare, I thought and stepped out, keeping my eye on the old barn.
I hadn’t even made it halfway to the hulking building when I heard the first sound. A woman’s cry, long and shrill echoed out of the woods behind me. I’d always felt running was a waste of time, but right then I did the fifty-yard dash faster than an Olympian—right toward the barn. Something scraped the top of my head and I screamed. A cloud passed in front of the moon and in the sudden pitch blackness, I didn’t see the small stump in my path. I hit it at a dead run and screeched again when I went airborne. Lucky for me, my sleeping bag flew ahead and I landed across the roll, cushioning my fall and sliding over it to land in a heap. I laid there for a few seconds, trying to catch my breath when the second wail sounded. Sitting up, I grabbed my stuff and crabwalked backward to lean against the stump. Unrolling the sleeping bag, I wrapped it around me. My teeth began to chatter and I had a hard time catching my breath.
Then I heard the growl and it definitely wasn’t an animal. It had to be the freakiest, most evil sound ever. Coming from inside the barn, it rose and fell, warning me, I was sure, not to come any closer. That was so not going to be a problem because quite simply, I froze. I wasn’t going anywhere. My muscles were in total lockdown.
Thumps, deep and threatening, accompanied the growl, until the ground began to shake around me. The wind started to blow, cold and damp through my clothes, making me shiver harder. I burst into tears then, long overdue in my opinion. That damned Ashley was going to be so sorry when I got back to the tent. I’d give her the truth she wanted. Starting with the love letters Drew had written me a month after she’s started dating him. You want the truth, Ash? Yeah, well, you are so going to get it.
If I lived.
I don’t know how long I sat there, crying my butt off, freezing in my thin, flannel pajamas (not my attire of choice for sitting in a damp, haunted field), when footsteps approached me. And I got mad. Really mad, because I knew it was going to be Ashley or one of the other girls, coming to laugh at me. They’d probably been in on this together,
planned it all along. Oh, let’s pull a Halloween prank on Kate! I wiped my face on my sleeve and opened my eyes.
Silhouetted against the moon was a young man, down on one knee, staring at me. White shirt ripped at the neck, his suspenders holding up tattered pants, and bare-footed, he was the last thing I expected to see when I looked up. I could only stare at him in shock, though I felt no threat whatsoever even though I knew, don’t ask me how, that he was a ghost. He looked about my age. In the bluish moonlight, I could just make out smooth, dark skin, long, curly hair pulled back at his neck and a concerned look on his face.
“You hurt, Miss?”
I shook my head just as a huge thump and shriek sounded from the barn. I burst into tears again.
He looked over my shoulder toward the barn and frowned. “Don’t mind them, they can’t do nuthin’ more than scare ya.”
I smeared my nose along the edge of the sleeping bag. “Yeah well, they succeeded.” The crack of splintering wood followed by a long groan made me jump again. Didn’t these spirits ever take a breather?
Kinder than most mortal boys, the boy settled down next to me, a comforting expression on his face. “My name’s Jim,” he said and his teeth flashed white in the moonlight.
I told him my name and then we sat for a little while, listening to the creepy noises still coming from the barn. I wondered why he was a ghost. I asked, “How did you die?”
“Accident,” he shrugged. Then he said, “Why you here? I’m not thinkin’ you wanted to come.” His speech was thick like molasses.
I wasn’t sure how old he was, but I knew he wasn’t from my generation. Or my great-grandparent’s generation for that matter, so there was no way I was going to say I’d taken a dare rather than tell my so-called friend whether or not I’d had sex with her boyfriend. So instead, I said, “I didn’t have much choice.”
He frowned. “Miss, we all got choices.”
He kept his eyes down, like he wasn’t good enough to meet mine. That bugged me more than I cared to admit and I hated to think I was party to any injustice he felt. So I goaded him instead. “What was your choice? To die and stay here with these loser spirits? That must be lonely.”
“Oh no, miss. I got no reason to be lonely, why would I? You folks keep comin’ round, keepin’ me company.” I must have looked confused because he added, “You don’t think you the only one who come this way? No, Miss, I gets visitors all the time. Most come cuz they lost a bet.”
His teeth flashed bright white in the darkness. I liked his smile and the friendly vibe he had so much, I’d nearly forgotten about the evil, soul-sucking spirits around us.
“I didn’t lose a bet, I took a dare,” I admitted and tucked my chin down in the sleeping bag. Suddenly, that dare seemed incredibly immature. I felt his stare, like he was waiting for me to explain. “I had to keep a secret.”
“Secrets can be dangerous,” he replied, his tone revealing pain I couldn’t begin to imagine. My twenty-first century brain couldn’t wrap itself around the kinds of secrets slaves had lived with.
I turned my head then and found crystal blue eyes staring into mine. Blue eyes that didn’t belong in the face of a black boy. And in that instant I knew he’d been forced to keep secrets. Bad ones.
And he hadn’t died by accident.
I swallowed around the lump in my throat, ashamed at the stupidity of this whole night in comparison to what I knew he’d gone through in his short life and I began to cry again, this time for Jim. A small movement and a whispery touch grazed over my hand that still clutched the sleeping bag. He’d laid his hand on mine.
“Go on home, miss.”
I nodded and stood up. “Will you walk back with me?”
He nodded. “To the edge of the woods. I can’t go beyond.”
We walked in silence across the clearing and right before I got to the tree line, I turned around to thank him, but he was gone. Only a warm wind blew around me and I wondered if that was his way of saying goodbye. In the distance I could hear faint thumps and moans and not wanting to revisit those guys again, I spun back toward the woods.
Directly into a man.
My scream rivaled anything those spooks had to offer and when big hands grabbed my arms, my voice hit high notes my choir director would have envied.
“Kate, stop! It’s just me!”
My mouth snapped shut and I tipped my head back. Drew looked down at me. What was he doing here?
“Cotton called me,” he said, as if reading my thoughts. “She told me what Ashley had done to you.” He pulled me into his arms and I sighed at the familiar embrace. “They kicked her out and sent her home.”
“Then they made you come rescue me?”
“Nah, that was my idea.”
I laid my head against Drew’s strong chest and thought about all that had happened since leaving my friends.
Jim’s words echoed in my mind. Secrets can be dangerous.
But tonight, a secret had given me a new friend and brought back an old one. And that was worth the dare.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
On a labored sigh, Pennelope Anderson twisted her tawny hair into a clear plastic clip. She nudged a garbage bag chock full of crinkled cups and paper plates. An avalanche of refuse tumbled out onto her feet. “My friends are pigs but I can forgive them because we have a good time.”
A warm hand covered hers. Her gaze shifted to her best friend, Nicky Lyons. Eyes the color of unripened lemons pinned her to the spot. He licked his bottom lip and knelt next to her. “My time with you is always good.”
Nervous giggles slipped past her lips and a shiver slid up her spine. “You’re just saying that to make my day.” God, she had to get a grip. Measuring her words, she paused. “And I love it.”
A hank of raven hair slid over his forehead. “I see.” The corner of his mouth kinked. “How about spending more time with me, besides dressed in costumes?”
Forcing her breathing to slow, Penn shrugged and twisted the bag closed. “You’re not a commitment kind of guy and I’m a relationship kind of girl. Look at how many women you’ve dated in the past year. I can’t compete.” Although a short, spicy evening of passion enticed her, she refused to ruin a strong friendship for a one-nighter.
Tipping his head, he crinkled a dark brow. “Are you sure about that? This Lyon could change his stripes.” He shook open a new bag and lined the garbage bin.
Covering her mouth with her hand to smother a chuckle, she raked her gaze over him. Sinewy muscles rippled under his tight black T-shirt and she yearned to smooth her fingers over the dusting of beard on his cheeks. Okay, how to change the subject to something a little less—distracting? “I’m not sure about stripes, but you did change out of your vampire get-up in a quick fashion. Don’t tell me you left it stroodled all over my bathroom. I think there’s still white and black makeup smeared around my sink.”
Nicky rocked back on his heels. “And you spared no time losing the skimpy black dress in favor of your favorite jeans. Not that I didn’t like the dress, mind you.”
Dusting her hands on her jeans legs, Penn stood. She rolled her tongue around her dry mouth and tossed the garbage bag into the can next to the back door. “Okay, well, in other news, I think it’s time to let Fang out of the bedroom. He’ll probably need to run outside.”
Nicky followed hot on her heels. “He hates that name, you know.”
Frustration marred her forehead. She clutched the wooden stair rail and turned. “Does he? How do you know? Or is that a male thing—you telepath your inner desires to each other?” She snorted. “Cause it would be funny if you did.”
Swatting her ass, he urged her forward. Displeasure clouded his voice. “Would you really want to be referred to as a tooth?”
As she reached the top of the stairs, she edged her shoulder up in a thoughtful shrug. “When I found him, he hissed at me. Fang seemed appropriate. He thinks he’s tough, but he’s really a lover, despite what he likes or dislikes.” She stopped short in the hallway. “The door is cracked.”
With a grunt, Nicky ran into her. “I thought you left it shut. Did you forget?”
With trembling hands, she shoved the door open. Deafening silence met her ears. “I know this was closed. I closed it.” Her heart thundered in her chest. Fear pounded into her brain. “We have to find him.”
Trailing his fingers through her pony tail, Nicky tucked her tag into her sweatshirt collar. “He can take care of himself.”
“What?” She shrieked, jumping from his grasp. “It’s Halloween! Some people hurt black cats on Halloween. I can’t let that happen to Fang, even if he hates his name. I’d be lost without him. I love him.”
On a sigh, Nicky cocked his head. His brows rose beneath his dark bangs. “He’s safe.”
She burst past him, bounding down the stairs. “I’ll get his treats. Please grab the carrier. If he’s not in the basement, he’s probably just out in the yard.” Her hands fluttered through the air. “He’s a smart cat and can’t have gone far.”
With a firm hand to her shoulder, he stopped her frantic movements. Concern and something else shone in his green eyes. “Do you trust me?”
Penn let out a long breath. “Yes, more than I care to think about some times.” Why did she just admit that? He wasn’t that in to her. She bit her tongue. “Why are we just standing here? We need to find Fang.”
He brushed a rogue lock of hair off her forehead. “I know where he is.”
Clutching her chest, she rested against the living room wall. “Thank God. You always think
ahead. Did you lock him in the basement? Or is he at your apartment?”
Nicky cocked his head. He tapped his chest, right above his heart. “He’s in here.”
She angled a brow. The low tone of his voice sent shivers through her body. “You ate my cat? That’s just weird.” Forcing her attention from his emerald gaze, she sighed when he didn’t laugh at her joke. “I know you didn’t eat him, so where is he—really?”
A calloused finger tipped her chin. No matter how much she wanted to remain indifferent, Nicky was the one man she couldn’t ignore. A growl rumbled in his throat. “I’ll ask again. Do you trust me?”
Without thinking, she spoke the words in her heart. “I trust you.”
“Then come upstairs with me.” As he tugged her down the hallway, she fought to register his words. Did he want to sleep with her? A lump lodged in her throat. She wanted him—once they found Fang.
In front of her bedroom door, he paused and leaned on the stark white frame. “I need to show you something.”
She held up her index finger to buy a moment of time, to slow him down in case his plans included taking the relationship a step further. “You can show me later. First things first, let’s find Fang.”
Angling his head toward her bedroom, he nodded and kissed the tip of her finger. “He’s in here. Safe and sound.” With a gentle tug, he helped her into the room and gestured to the bed. “Sit.”
Though feeling uneasy, she did as he asked. Chills ricocheted through her system. Something was odd. God, why did it have to be Halloween? Bad things happened on Halloween, like last year when her Labrador, Lugosi, was hit by a car, yet his body was never found.
Wrapping his fingers around her hand, Nicky knelt before her. “Do you know you’re sexy?”
Before she could stop them, words rushed past her lips. “In a baggy KSU sweatshirt, worn jeans, no makeup, and messy hair—that’s sexy all right.” He exemplified sex. She looked like the frumpy girl next door. Still, what did her looks have to do with finding the damned cat?
He chuckled. “A man can only take so much.” Her breath stuck in her throat as his hands braced on her thighs. He moved closer, situating himself between her legs. “You make one gorgeous witch, baby girl. I couldn’t take my eyes off you all night.”
Rolling her eyes, she snorted. “Because you worry about me.”
His breath warmed her skin and sent tingles to her core. “Because I love you.”
Could he want her for real? She didn’t see that declaration coming. Beneath her sweatshirt, her nipples pebbled. “Me?”
“You.” He pressed warm, wet kisses over her cheeks. “I lost my heart the day we met five years ago. With you, I’m free to be myself.”
His lips met hers. On a sigh, she opened for him. His taste, a mix of cola and spicy man rolled over her tongue. Sizzles shot from her core to her heart in warp speed. Could he be the one?
Nicky broke the kiss and cupped her jaw. “Did you ever wonder why you never see me in the same room with Fang?”
Working to catch her breath, she turned his words over in her mind. “Well, he’s shy. He only honeys up to me.” Like I want you to.
His thumb smoothed circles on her cheek. “He loves you, but he’s not who he seems. Do you want to know a secret?”
Nicky closed his eyes. His body fizzled and morphed at her feet. Before she could process his disappearing act, Fang appeared in his place surrounded by the rumpled clothing. The cat cocked his head and stared at her with vibrant green eyes.
With white knuckles, she grasped the comforter. Nicky was flesh and bone. She tasted him, fantasized about him. How the hell did he shift into—a cat? No, how did he shift into her cat? “I know what I’m seeing, but this isn’t happening. Nicky, wherever you are, stop trying to scare me.”
Fang’s eyes closed. He lowered his head. In a moment, Nicky sat before her—stark naked. She gasped and her eyes widened. Every inch of his ripped body imprinted itself on her brain. Another gasp slipped past her lips as she noticed his cock, long, thick, and steely against his thigh. She shook her head. “But you can’t be him. I brought him home. He hissed at me and wouldn’t come out from under the bed for a month. He escaped from the vet’s office...”
He caressed her cheek. “Baby girl, I have the ability to shift. I’m not evil and I won’t hurt you. Until I met you, I hid my abilities, but one look at your sweet body and I knew I wanted to be with you.”
“Is this a sick Halloween joke? ‘Cause looking at you makes me want you, but I’m not laughing at that trick.” Hot tears dampened her lashes. “Why didn’t you tell me before now? I wouldn’t have scheduled the appointment to have you fixed.”
Nicky kissed away her sadness. “I feared you’d run from me. I care too much to let you go. Despite the fact that you tried to have my nads removed, I’m in love with you.” His hands roved over her body underneath the baggy shirt. She groaned as he nipped her neck. His voice rumbled over her senses, turning them inside out. “And right now, I want to make love to you.”
Edging away from him, she ripped the sweatshirt over her head and tugged the clip from her hair. “Do you want to know my secret?”
His brow crooked again. “You can shift, too?”
“I’m in love with you, too.”
With a small chuckle, Nicky grinned. “I hoped you’d say that.”
Smoothing her hands over his pecs, she sighed. “So now you know my truth, do I get a trick or a treat?”
Deft fingers unbuttoned her jeans. Nicky growled. “It’s only eleven a.m. and I plan to treat you all day long until we collapse. Happy Halloween, baby girl.”
She fell against the mattress, tugging him along for the ride. “Happy Halloween, indeed.”
Jasmine lay on the bed, her body bare, her breathing slow and steady. The winds that were not winds swirled around the room and raised goosebumps down her spine. Her spirit lifted from the shell that contained it, her sleeping form connected to herself by a whisper-thin line.
“I’ve been waiting for you.” The presence of Thomas’s arms around her gave her shivers. On that plane, they could truly connect, truly be together again.
“I know. I’ve been waiting for the night to get here, and it took too long.” Jasmine turned and saw the sparkling blue gaze that had first caught her attention. His ash blond hair laid over his shoulders in shaggy waves.
“You cut your gorgeous hair! I sure hope someone is getting a nice wig full of those black locks.” Thomas grabbed her by her shorter curls and pulled her head back. His mouth fastened on her throat and his teeth edged into her almost to the point of pain.
She moaned and the world spun around her. “They are. You weren’t there anymore…it felt like I needed a change. It’ll grow back.”
He bit harder before letting her throat free. “I want it back by next Samhain love. No more chopping it off.”
“You left me though! And I didn’t think…didn’t think this would work.” His hand tightened in her hair and she let out a whimper. Her heart still ached.
“I didn’t leave you on purpose. But I said we would be each other’s forever, and I meant that. So no more cutting your hair off, even if you do look like a ravished pixie.” Her lips gave way under his and the kiss made her feel even lighter than she already was.
“Come with me,” he whispered into her mouth and she found herself literally whisked to another place, the strand connecting her to the living stretching more and more.
Stars flew by and they landed in an open room with a bed the size of a lake. Oddly, she could feel silk against her disembodied form, and his weight pressing her down into the plush bed.
“Where are we?” She turned her head from side to side to examine her surroundings when he latched onto her earlobe and sucked at it. Jasmine melted and tingles raced down her body.
“I made a place for us tonight. A beautiful place for us to be together.” Her cunt ached at the press of his erection against her soft belly. She knew just where she wanted that.
“It is beautiful. But I don’t care where we are. I just…I’ve missed you so much Tommy.” She rubbed her cheek against his surprisingly rough one. “It’s only been eight months.”
“I know love.” His hand grabbed for her curls again and her head was wrenched to the side. He licked lightly at the sensitive spot along the curve of her neck until the shivers were continuous and he finally, finally bit down again. She was so sensitive, so ready for him. His other hand traversed down, down until he could guide his cock into her, and slide perfectly into place.
Jasmine cried out. “So full! So fucking thick! Needed this.” She arched her back and tried to pull him deeper with her legs.
Thomas’s teeth sank even deeper, until she felt like she was breaking, and yet the pleasure overwhelmed any pain as he pulled out and then thrust back in. She scratched her nails hard down his back, determined to give him sharp in return for sharp, even as her soft pussy cradled him in a warm, slick embrace.
Her orgasm didn’t claim her yet though. It wouldn’t until he let her, until he said specifically that she could cum. He pulled away from her body and sat up, dragging her hips up as he knelt on the bed.
The new position hit her G-spot perfectly as he thrust hard, so hard that she felt like she would split apart. His fingers dug into her thighs and she struggled to remember her own name as the familiar feelings came back.
No longer numb from grief, no longer aching from loneliness, Jasmine was free to feel again, with her love above her and inside of her. His grunts were erotic music and he let go of her thighs to fall forward, full-weight onto her.
“You’re mine Jasmine. Mine!” He growled at her. His teeth sank into that same curve, and then let go to fasten briefly at the plump top of her breast.
“Yours. Yours, yours, yours,” she panted, her words disappeared into the silky hair that tickled her chest as his lips suckled one of her pert nipples before switching to the other.
“Gods, this is too much. I want you to cum, love. Cum so hard. Cum now!” The order thrummed and she lost further control. There was a familiar tingle at her tailbone, a desperate itch of pleasure at her cunt before insistent throbbing took over.
He leaned on his forearms, her face in the grip of his hands, and she looked up into his ocean-blue eyes. The love there was so intense it brought her to tears as much as the pleasure he brought her. He grimaced as he came inside of her, and she traced his lips with her tongue even as she dug her nails into his ass.
They lay there, joined in spirit and heart in ways that they had only begun to explore when he was alive. She kissed him, slowly, firmly. The room around them was blurry and she felt a tug at her bellybutton.
It can’t be over yet! There were tears on her cheeks and yet another ache in her chest as they whisked back to her bedroom. The candles on her altar had guttered and gone out. Their bodies were still twined above her bed, where her body lay.
“Don’t leave me yet.” Jasmine wrapped her arms around his neck and held on. But the darkest hour that night was fading already, and time passed so much faster while they were together.
Thomas stroked her hair, tugging at her curls. “It’ll get easier. And know that my heart is yours, no matter what. But try to be happier. I’ll see you again next Samhain.”
Jasmine shook her head fervently. “I don’t want it to be that far away. How can I get through without you?”
He kissed her firmly, then bit the place he’d marked on her shoulder once more, tight and tighter until the pain made her cry out. “Pain fades. Just know that I love you, and want you happy.”
He faded from her vision, and the pull at her bellybutton grew more insistent. Everything went dark. Her body felt cold and she blinked away the very real tears that were forming at the corners of her eyes. As she sat up, she realized that her shoulder ached fiercely.
She touched her fingers to it and felt a wetness there. “Blood? But how…?” She looked around the room again and up to where she last remembered being.
“Thank you for the mark. I’ll try to be happy,” she whispered, sure that even though he wasn’t visible to her, he could still hear her. She traced the ring of teeth marks with her finger and fell into sleep with a bittersweet smile on her face.
With a sigh she walked closer to the cliff’s edge. A sharp breeze tugged at her sweatshirt and pressed her jeans to her boots. Waves crashed against the rocky shore, too harshly it seemed for the otherwise quiet October evening. The salty scent of the ocean, combined with the anticipation which had filled her since she landed at the Stockholm airport, created a strange connection to this land she had never seen before, a feeling of homecoming. The night held limitless possibilities. All Hollows Eve, the one time of the year when ghosts moved freely among the living. The mere thought made her heart trip in her chest.
She turned her back to the sea and studied the countryside in front of her. It looked as wild as it made her feel. Then she saw it. The earth sloped with a gentle swell much like an undersized
Native American burial mound. Could Beowulf’s tower have fallen to no more than a bump on the ground? She walked closer, slowly circling the raised area. It stretch nearly a hundred feet in diameter but the center rose less than five feet above the edges. She moved to the peak. Even if she was correct and this had been Beowulf’s tower, his body had not been buried here. He would have floated away, ashes tumbling in the breeze, but perhaps his spirit had remained. That would explain the almost holy feeling emanating from the dirt. She sank to her knees and felt the cool stubbly grass beneath her palms.
Closing her eyes with a reverent sigh, Jenna lay face down on the gentle rise. In three days she would return to the States and reality, but for the moment she could pretend she had found him and soak up the history of the mighty warrior and his men. The sea pounded the shore below but peace settled over her as she conjured Beowulf’s image. He had died an old man for his time but had not succumbed to the weakness of age. The savage battle which ended his life had sorted the loyal from the weak. As she visualized Beowulf’s death, a younger, clearer apparition floated behind him, a wild looking man dressed in furs to ward off the cold.
It would make sense that the devoted warrior stood guard over his king’s final slumber. She rolled to her back and willed him close as her heart drummed a welcome song in his honor.
His fierce scowl chilled her more than the wind did, but it was only a dream. Her pulse thundered in her ears and her breath grew labored. She understood the rudiments of his language but did not speak beyond her initial call. Warriors of his time took what they desired without regard to the niceties of life. She wanted his desire, craved it.
He spoke, or growled, as he approached but she caught little beyond the words cniht and cild – boy child. She smiled and sat up so the wind pressed her sweatshirt to her generous breasts. “Ic eom wif.” With luck the visual would overcome her pronunciation to make her point. “I am a woman, Wiglaf.”
He shook his head. “Scin-læca?”
A shining corpse? She had to laugh as the pot called the kettle black. She shook her head no. “Ic eom nā dwinor. I am no ghost.”
He moved closer, hesitant, leery of the unknown but brave enough to face it anyway. The nearly full moon cast a white glow over his scarred features, making him gorgeous in a rugged, untamed way. His dark blond hair lay in wild disarray around his shoulders and his beard grew thick near his mouth and chin. Her heart drummed in welcome. Clear blue eyes shone with intelligence and a little mischief. How could she not want this man? Wiglaf’s stories had fascinated her all her life. He represented everything men of her time lacked: loyalty, undomesticated intelligence, bravery, and strength without artifice. There was nothing pretty or cultured about the Anglo-Saxon warrior before her.
Wiglaf edged closer. Caution rode his features. Jenna rose to her knees careful not to startle the spirit away. Would he treat her as a gentle woman or a common one ready for a good tussle in the autumn grass? Slowly, she lifted her sweatshirt and tossed it aside. Her breasts tightened as the ocean air whipped across her flesh. “Sēcan mec, Wiglaf. Come to me.”
“Gē eart fæger.”
“Beautiful? Ic pancie pē.” Did women of his time thank a man for a compliment? She wasn’t sure of the protocol. How did one seduce a guy who had lived more than twelve hundred years before? “You’re not too shabby yourself.” He looked confused as she spoke in modern English, but he could not misunderstand when she beckoned him closer with a crooked finger. “Sēcan mec.”
He knelt before her and traced the thin strap of her bra. “Gif ic ācwelan, lǣtan mec gefaran mid gylp.”
“I will not kill you, nor destroy your dignity, Wiglaf. Trust me.” Her limited vocabulary would not allow her to allay his fears, but her body language had to speak volumes. Her breath came in shallow gasps as she fought for oxygen to feed the blood pounding through her brain and body. A warm, red flush covered her chest despite the cold and her nipples poked clear and firm against the thin lace of her bra.
He slid her straps down her arms and cupped her breasts in his large palms. A soft whimper escaped her lips as he rolled and pinched the tips between his calloused fingers. She leaned closer, needing the heat of his mouth and the scrape of his whiskers against her hungry flesh. The language barrier melted away as his lips closed over her breast and he sucked it deep inside his mouth. Her cry of pleasure translated to any age.
With a groan Wiglaf pushed her back to the grass and explored her exposed skin. She slid her hands beneath his clothing and found solid flesh. He felt so real. Her imagination had to be working overtime to create such clarity, but she did not care. She released him long enough to kick free of her boots and shed her jeans before opening her arms once more.
He loosened his pants and took her without further preliminaries. He filled her, easing the ache she had carried so long. Her heart thundered and she lifted to meet his aggressive demands. Her fingernails sank into his muscled back. She held him tight, praying she’d survive his heady assault. Each stroke fueled her desire, made her greedy for more. His mouth finally covered hers moments before a scream ripped from her throat. Jenna clutched him closer; her lips clung to his, her body convulsed. Sweet gratification slammed through her and settled slowly back to peace.
He dropped nibbling kisses across her collarbone until his heart no longer pounded under her palms, then he was gone, dissipated into the October night with only a faint good-bye whispering on the wind.
Tears trickled down Jenna’s cheeks when his warmth left her. She hurriedly pulled on her clothes, embarrassed but blessed by the dream that had seemed so real. “Wes pū hāl, Wiglaf. Good-bye, my love. Gesǣlig Samhain. Happy Halloween.”
“Gif ic ācwelan, lǣtan mec gefaran mid gylp.” If I die, let me go with pride.
It was a time when all kinds of things could happen.
But our concern wasn’t what caused havoc from the other world, but our own. What already lived here, year-round.
A small group of humans had been having a party, never knowing they’d invited a Rogue vampire in, one who’d been on the run from us. He was hungry from the chase, only seeing dinner, and laid perimeter spells at every door and window, locking them inside with no chance of escape.
He’d broken almost every conciliate law when he revealed himself to them for what he was. Chaos had burst forth, their flight or fight reflex kicking in, with no chance of survival.
By the time we’d arrived, four out of seven humans were already dead. It wasn’t in our power to bring them back, not like we could with our own. If we’d been minutes later- well you get the drift.
Because of that fact alone, we rushed in headstrong in an attempt to save what little we could.
Holly had broken the spells without preamble, instantly alerting the criminal to our arrival, and giving him time to escape through the backdoor.
And the chase was on.
For whatever insane reasons that were in my head at the time, I’d gone along on my first real hunting trip, even though my mate had begged me not to.
I could handle it. Couldn’t I?
But those were my thoughts then, and certainly not now.
Thankfully the pounding rain had finally bled into a bare trickle of frigid liquid, spilling into the perfidious water that had been calm only moments before.
“Marcus!” I shrieked loudly.
“I’m trying, Kelly.” Marcus stressed, again. His unusual turquoise eyes were lit with fierce perseverance.
He pulled uselessly at the rope, but it was unresponsive to both of us.
I’ll never ask to go on a hunt again. What the hell had I been thinking?
I had thought I could do this, tending to forget that while Sara and I were practically sisters, we were nothing alike. Our pasts were on two separate sides of the scale, and there was a very good reason why she could track Rogues so proficiently, and deal with the repercussions of such a job.
Sara would’ve found a way out of this predicament. Me? I was terrified, near tears, which tore Marcus up in ways I never would’ve willingly done otherwise.
The others had gone after the Rogue, and Marcus had taken me towards the river in an attempt to cut him off. He’d bid me stay while he materialized across to the other side.
Being alone, with the heavy rain and concealing night had creeped me out. Of course with me being me, I’d decided to create a dingy to cross the river, not feeling safe at all. At any moment the Rogue could’ve showed right behind me-I wouldn’t have stood a chance.
I’d manifested a tiny rubber craft, and Marcus hadn’t been paying enough attention to stop me.
At least until I screamed.
At some point during the hunt, the outlaw had bewitched the rain-swollen river, making it boil in a very unstable expanse of H20. The spell was far past my abilities to unravel, and considering it wasn’t triggered until I was about halfway, it was already too late.
Now, my previously nice, safe boat tossed and turned violently, twenty feet from shore, and my only salvation.
He’d tossed me a manifested rope, but at the water’s first touch, it began to fray like it was bathed in acid. The rope threatened to give at any moment, which would send me on a horrifying journey with no way to save myself.
I should’ve listened to Marcus when he’d begged me to stay home tonight, but like he normally did when I was insistent; he’d caved, thinking it would be a manageable Rogue to hunt.
“Well, try harder!” I screamed when a geyser-like wave exploded to my right, upsetting the frail rubber craft, until I was almost sideways.
With every passing moment, the water around me frothed and swelled more. The spell was working towards a peak, and we both knew I had to be out of the water before it was reached.
“I thought you said this was a nice river? You told me this was safe.” I requisitioned in a small voice, my normally steel-strong trust in Marcus waning under the pressure.
In my head, I knew this was my fault. But aloud? It was all on Marcus. I never claimed to have rationale when in such situations.
“You wanted adventure, love. I live only to serve you, and give you what you ask,” he said between clenched teeth.
The rope was wrapped around his thick forearms that bulged when he tried to yank it towards him with no avail. His frustration and panic just scared me more.
Which meant; going down river was entirely too possible, and that wasn’t an option I cared to consider right now.
“Oh, you’re in so much trouble when we get home, if you even get me to land first!” I yelled, holding on for dear life. “Can vampires drown?”
“No, love. I’ve told you that.” He reminded me.
“Then why are you freaking out?” I demanded.
Marcus ignored me, beginning to frantically whisper under his breath in some last ditch effort. He knew so much more about spell work than I did.
We knew from the briefing, the vampire was older and more powerful everyone but Holly and Ryder, who were in charge of this mission, and weren’t anywhere near enough to help us.
But the possibility of victory was ever-present, though very unlikely.
Our only hope was for him to re-set the trigger before the rope’s last leg was up, and the lone prevention of my own demise would be gone. Totally breaking the spell wasn’t an option for either of us.
“I’m getting close cher. Stay calm, please.” Marcus assured in a thickly sweetened voice I would cherish in almost any other situation.
In other words; stay calm, because you’re driving me to insanity.
He switched to yet another language, the words slow and deliberate as he sought to find the key.
Please don’t let me die for this stupidity. If my life has to end, couldn’t it be for a good reason?
While Marcus worked, the tension on the rope solidified, and the dingy began to move towards land. Success!
And then another geyser exploded just in front of me.
My dingy tipped so unexpectedly, I hadn’t retained a good enough grip. My lungs filled with the icy-coldness of the river, the shock paralysing me.
Water whooshed around me, the swift unforgiving movements of the treacherous currents stealing my energy while I was tossed helplessly left and right.
After a long dire moment of not knowing how to get to the surface, a body jumped into the water with me. Strong, comforting arms closed around me.
And my anger immediately flared.
What’d you jump in for? Now we can’t get out of the water. You will…
Die? Love, you know if you go on to the next life, there’s no choice but to go with you. He chastised softly, never regretting any of the harsh decisions he’d made to get us to this time and place. Plus, give me a little credit. I found the trigger to the spell on the rope. Just let me think about the water spell for a moment.
Even with the tense wait, he was with me in this horrible mess. And true to his word, and after several more tries, the rapids calmed minutely. I had no idea what had worked in the end, but honestly I didn’t care.
We broke the surface, and he began to drag me to shore. Even as a vampire, my body was sore from fighting the strong current.
If I had the energy, I would’ve kissed the beautiful, welcome shore. As it was, we collapsed on the grassy shore.
I waited for Marcus to yell at me for not listening, at least some reprimand, but it never came. No matter how badly I screwed up, he never did.
Staring up at the overcast sky, the raindrops ironically began to fall from above once more. Lightening flashed in the distance, illuminating the tips of the trees on all sides.
The river eventually settled, the spell moving into a stationary status, until Holly had time to remove it completely.
“Never again.” Marcus murmured. His white-blond hair was a soaked mess when he turned his enchanting timeless face to meet mine. “You will not hunt anymore, love. There’ll won’t any talking me into it next time.”
“Yea, I agree.”
I might argue my case more often than not, but now there was more than enough proof to know I didn’t belong on these particular adventures. All of my brothers, my Leaders had bade me to stay away from this particular duty for the Council, and none of it had affected me.
But this had, in a way none of them could’ve ever dreamed. Reality really was a bitch.
“It isn’t often you give in this easily.” Marcus mused, shaking his head in exasperation. “Maybe I should allow you to be scared more often.”
Holly filled our minds, and I ground my teeth at his amused laughter when he read the situation. He had one weird sense of humour.
The Rogue is now in the Council’s possession. Everyone can come back in. Holly instructed. I knew you wouldn’t care for this, little sister. You’re as stubborn as Sara, but you don’t have her strength. And Marcus is right, this was a first, and a last for you.
Yea, yea. I huffed indignantly. It won’t happen again. I get it.
The lesson was thoroughly learned.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
"Holt, what's the point going on a ghost walk? Ghosts don't exist."
Hope laughed. "Your sense of humour remains in tact."
She did stop talking. She had too because speech suddenly eluded her. Holt was right. He took her to a state she hadn't been in before. A state that transcended mortal life. A state where she felt aroused, and yet blissfully serene, both at the same time. She didn't recall falling asleep in his arms, but she was sure she did.
She thought about her conversation with Holt. I don't believe in ghosts. She wished she did, because then she wouldn't be so frightened of dying. The thought of not existing terrified her more than she was prepared to admit to anyone. When the pains came in her chest, she would often panic. Thank goodness for the tablets the doctor gave her. She had the pain again today. Never mind, Holt would make her feel better. She knew he would be at home, because it was a Thursday. He always had Thursdays off.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
"Come right in. I've been waiting for you. I'm happy you could find time to come and tune my piano. I want it done for the holidays." She held the door for Carlson as he stomped the little snow from his shoes before entering.
"My piano is in the parlor, just follow me. Don't worry about your shoes." Her cane in hand, she led him from the large foyer down a hallway to the parlor.
It sat in the corner of the large room by the ceiling to floor large picture window that overlooked a spacious court yard. Ebony black concert grand piano glowed with its beauty waiting for its yearly tune up.
"Would you like tea, I have some made in the kitchen. I can bring you a cup. It will warm you."
"No thank you, Ma'am I'll just get to work here so you have your lovely piano in tune and ready for the holidays."
"If you change your mind let me know." She went off leaving him to do his work.
He gazed around the handsome parlor and a photograph on the desk caught his eye. He picked it up to admire the beauty portrayed in the wood framed picture. A second glance told him it had to be Miss Lillian at a much younger age. The resemblance was there without doubt.
She was so beautiful he couldn't take his eyes off of that photograph of her. If only he had been born when she was, he thought as he admired her lovely smile, her exciting beauty.
With his work at hand, he set the photograph down and went over to the piano and took his tools out from the case he carried in with him.
The entire time he worked at tuning the piano, he kept looking over at that photograph. It almost looked like she was looking straight at him. Because he was so fascinated by this image it took him longer to finish the job than usual.
Miss Lillian thanked him at the door after paying him with a check and bid him goodbye. He turned to face her before he stepped out into the cold. Yes, that photo was her all right.
A restless night in his bed followed a long day of wishful thinking of that sexy beautiful woman in the photograph. He couldn't get her out of his mind. Intoxicated by her beauty he lay awake until dawn not knowing how he could get through the day without sleep.
When the phone rang he threw his bare legs over the side of the bed and picked the receiver up from the phone next to his bed.
"Hello," He rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand. "Yes, this is he." His eyes grew wide, "Miss Lillian?" he stood up. "Oh. . .I left my tools there. All right, I'll come get them this morning if that's all right with you." His feet did a search on the floor for his slippers. "I'll be there shortly. Thanks for calling."
A quick shower and shave and he had him on his way still thinking about that lovely woman framed in a wood frame on the desk. Wish I could have been there when she was young.
Weaving through the morning rush hour traffic had him edgy. How he would ever get through this day had him wondering. It started to snow again for the second time this week.
He pulled into the driveway and hurried to the door. When he rang the bell he expected to see the old woman open the door and greet him with a friendly smile but instead the door opened and the greeting came from the young Lillian in the photograph. There she stood in all her beauty just like she appeared in the photograph. His mouth dropped open--he couldn't speak at first and had to compose himself. Slowly he entered the house without taking his eyes off of her for a second.
"Tha. . .thank you for calling," he cleared his throat, "About my tools."
"No problem. Would you like some tea? I have a fresh pot made in the parlor. It's so cold out, you look like you could use some warming up." Her smile, so enchanting accompanied her soft lovely voice. Her beauty captured him and held on to his very soul.
He sat with her in the parlor sipping tea before he noticed how much the décor of the room had changed. The furnishings were not quit the same but that didn't sway him—not when his attention zeroed in on her and how lovely she looked. Could this be real? Is she the old woman he saw here yesterday or is it a dream, or a relative who looked like her?
"Uh" he cleared his throat again, "Are you the same Miss Lillian that was here yesterday?"
He had to ask knowing that the old Miss Lillian lived there alone.
"Of course I am, you silly thing. This is me right in the flesh." She let out a giggle that had his heart beating fast. Then to make it even more un-believable she snuggled up closer to him.
He set his cup down on the round table in front of him before he spilled its contents from his shaking hand. Before he knew what was happening, she had her lips close to his, her soft hand embracing the side of his face. Excitement raced through his body like a freight train. His arms found their way around her, his mouth pressed to hers as he fondled her breast. Desire, need and passion took over. Her shapely body pressed hard against him, her fine female essence filled his brain with lust, love and want.
He tore at his clothes to remove as much of them as he could while his hands searched her to open that silk robe she wore. Her skin, soft silky white and warm with sexual heat felt smooth and wonderful as he swept his hands down her sides to her thighs. Her robe fell to the floor to cover his pants and shirt. She lowered her self down on the sofa and whimpered for him to meet her needs. His hand found the right spot, she moaned with pleasure lifting her hips asking for more. And then he went inside of her--his head swam with pleasure his mind in ecstasy. She held her arms around him for a long time before they sat upright on the sofa. A little heart shaped ruby pin sat on the table next to the sofa. She picked it up and handed it to him. "Here I want you to have this, a token of my love." He took the pin, stared at it for a few second before he put it in the pocket of his jacket on the floor.
He had to see her again and she agreed to have him visit any time. After a strong cup of hot tea, he left her and drove directly home. Any work he had scheduled for the day would be delayed.
Over the next four days, Carlson spent almost all his time with her, making love to her, falling
in love with her. The excitement of her--her outstanding beauty, the unbelievable sex had him neglecting everything else in his life including his work. All he wanted was to be with her. Even at night in his bed, he imagined being with her. It no longer mattered how this all came about, he just
wanted to be with her, make love to her, feel her soft body next to him.
By the end of the week he had spent every day since Monday with Lillian. Friday morning he rose early to get on the road to her house before the morning rush. With Thanksgiving coming along in the following week he knew he would have to spend some time at his parents house with the family and wanted to have as much time with Lillian as he could before the holiday. Still in the back of his mind he had wonders of how this all happened but while it did he would not question it.
A cold breeze blew across the front of the house as he approached the door and rang the bell. Winters prelude held the day with cold drizzling rain. He clutched at the collar of his jacket to pull it up around his neck as he waited for her to answer the door. He paused before ringing the bell a second time and peered in the narrow window high on the door but couldn't see anything but the wide staircase to the second floor. Early, he thought, she may be sleeping. But he rang the bell again.
Finally the door opened but the woman, maybe in her mid to late fifties on the inside was not Lillian. She wore a robe and slippers and looked like he may have woke her up from sleep.
"Yes, what is it?" She asked as she held the inside door open.
Through the storm door he looked at her shocked, "I'm here to see Lillian. Is she all right?"
"I'm sorry but Lillian passed away this past Monday night. The wake was yesterday and the
funeral is today. Are you a friend?"
His jaw dropped, "How could that be?" Was all he could say as he stared at this woman who just told him his newly found love had died four days ago.
"I'm sorry but it was sudden, my mother died in her sleep."
He couldn't speak, all he could do was stare at her.
Behind her came a voice that sounded much like Lillian's. He strained to see who stood some feet in back of this woman at the door. "Ma, who is it?"
"It's someone who knew Grandma," the woman shouted.
A young lady looking much like Lillian walked up to the side of the woman and peered out at him. "How did you know my grandmother?"
His speech hindered by stuttering as he looked at the likeness of Lillian in this pretty young woman had him searching for an answer. "I tuned her piano."
"Oh, that explains those tools you left here. Why don't you come in out of the cold and have a cup of coffee. I just put a fresh pot on." She smiled with that same welcoming smile he saw in Lillian.
"Thank you; I could use a nice cup of coffee." He entered the house, went to put his keys in his jacket pocket and felt something…the heart shaped ruby pin. A chill ran down his spine but he followed the beautiful young woman to the parlor without taking the pin out of his pocket.