Fiction, discussion, and whatever else comes to mind relating to Romance and Sensual Romance...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Take Me by C.A. Knoble

Cora spotted him again. Tonight he was across the street from her. She had seen him frequently over the past three days and she knew he had come for her. The first time she had seen him she had been frightened but was not anymore. She knew someone would come and she was now glad it was him. For as she saw him more and more her fear had dissipated in the face of a much stronger emotion. Lust. He was stunning, his intense brown eyes so dark they were almost black with heavy brows set above them. Even from the distance he kept she could see the fullness of his lips, the sharpness of his cheekbones and the springy mass of loose curls that adorned his head. Funny, she would never have thought the angel of death would be beautiful.

She stood still now, refraining from rushing away from the sight of him as she had for the past two days. She knew the time had come. Today was the third day of his appearance and the significance of the third was not lost on her. He also had stopped walking and regarded her oddly now, his head cocked slightly, undoubtedly wondering why she was not hurrying on her way at his presence. She saw the slight widening of his eyes as she crossed the street to approach him.

Standing before him now she looked him over. He was more gorgeous than she had thought. The intensity in his eyes was mesmerizing and she blinked rapidly, trying to break the spell enough for her to speak. He was a few inches taller than her in her heels, just shy of six feet if she had to guess. Her watery bright green eyes swept over his face noting the impossibly smooth skin that ran out where the stubble that covered his jaw began. His mouth was slightly open and she saw the tips of white teeth within it. His lips were fuller then she had first thought, enticingly so.

“You’ve come for me,” she stated simply, her voice tremulous.

“Yes,” he responded.

Cora’s back arched involuntarily as the silkiness of his voice lightly brushed over her. She blinked once, languidly, almost dreamily. She did not even try to fight her body. It seemed both desperate to flee from him and move closer to him. Stuck between the two extremes, she stood where she was and tried to avert her eyes from the intensity within his but could not.

“How… how does this work?”

He maintained his stare as his melodious voice sounded again.

“I can take you here or someplace else. Your place if you would like. But it has to be tonight.”

She nodded. She knew as much. She blinked again and was almost amazed at the feel of tears running from her eyes. She was not sure why she was crying. She was not afraid; she was ready. He cocked his head again as if surprised at her reaction, perhaps surprised she did not protest his words, and waited for her decision.

“Will it hurt?” She questioned, her voice wavering.

He shook his head as his face remained stony. Only his eyes showed any emotion at all and Cora could not read the look within them. Something swam readily through them but the sentiment was foreign to her. He reached out to her and she gasped when he gently took her chin in his hand. She thought he would feel cold but his hand was warm. His thumb traced the plump curve of her lower lip.

“I can make it pleasurable,” he offered.

She should have been surprised by this but she was merely relieved. She nodded slowly submitting to the idea. It was going to happen either way and all of a sudden the thought of leaving this world in his arms was extremely appealing. She had no doubt he could read her receptive body language. She had leaned forward slightly when he had touched her, their bodies close now. Passersby would see them as lovers, especially with how intensely he regarded her. When his other hand alighted on her cheek, Cora closed her eyes and rubbed gently against it. She did not open her eyes until he spoke again.

“Your apartment?”

She shook her head now. “No, your place.”

He blinked and pulled his hands back. Although his own body language was guarded, she knew she had surprised him. He stared at her in silence a moment and then nodded slowly.


He extended his hand to her, slender and long-fingered, his palm held upward invitingly. She placed her hand in his and his fingers entwined through hers and then curled over her hand. She relished the feel of him, warm and comforting, enticingly so. Wordlessly they began to walk.

Several minutes passed in silence and she thought of nothing but how she had arrived here, at the hour of her death, at the tender age of thirty-eight. Ten years ago things had been worse than they were even now. She had been desperate and had agreed to the arrangement. Ten years of happiness, ten years of bliss. Ten years of her heart’s desires in exchange for the remainder of her years when the decade had ended. Faced with a lifetime of loneliness, desolation and destitution, it had seemed like a fair trade. Even now, at the end, even though six months ago everything she had treasured for those ten years had ended, she had no regrets. She had spent a decade with a man she adored and who loved her back with the same intensity, she had had a successful career and she had lived more than comfortably. Her life had been perfect. And she had truly treasured every moment because she knew it would not last.

He stopped outside a building. It was a ramshackle structure and as she looked about she realized they had walked to an impoverished and crime-ridden part of the city. She shrugged inwardly. This too seemed fitting. She had after all started this journey in a similar setting. He released her hand long enough to hold the door open for her but then took hold of it again once they were inside. He led her up the worn and rickety stairs and she ignored the strong and pungent smells that assaulted her nose. The stairwell reeked of pot, mold and urine.

When they emerged on an upper floor new scents took hold of her senses. Stale cooking odours and cigarette smoke now added to the mix. A moment later she found her reprieve when he unlocked a door and once more held it open for her. She stepped over the threshold and looked around.

His bachelor apartment was sparse but impeccably clean. It was a small space sporting a tiny kitchen, even smaller sitting area and sleeping quarters. An open door to the side led to a bathroom. She had no doubt it too was as clean as the area before her. He closed the door and immediately pulled her closely to him.

Cora felt the heat of his body through their clothes and she pressed closer to him as his lips found hers. Soft and pliant they kissed her tenderly, slowly exploring hers. She yielded to him instantly as one arm wrapped around his slender shoulders and her other hand nestled into his hair. Her fingers raked though the curls as his hands glided down her back, applying minimal pressure and making her yearn for him to touch her with more conviction. She pushed against him and felt the hardness of his muscles against her torso as she felt another hardness press against her inner thigh. She circled her hips for him and his hands slipped lower to take hold of her buttocks. He squeezed them firmly as his arms held her tightly against him. His slim build belied his strength for she could feel it humming within him and she knew he was holding himself back.

Desperate to feel more, to draw that strength out of him, suddenly intent on being ravaged, Cora deepened her kiss, her tongue pushing into his mouth. He responded readily, his tongue slipping over hers, battling her for control. She withdrew hers, intent on doing nothing other than submitting to him. She relaxed her body and felt the strength in his arms as he held her up now, so malleable had her body become. He pulled his shoulders back, breaking their kiss, to see her face. She still could not read the expression in his eyes but she saw something new in them, something strong and it glinted brightly in his unfathomably dark irises. She hoped it was lust.

“Are you sure this is how you want it to be?” He asked.

Truthfully she had not known there would be any choice in the matter. Her life was to end tonight, that much was made clear a decade ago. She had not known what shape death would take when it came for her but now, held securely in his arms, she would not have this any other way. She nodded once but with certainty.

“Take me.”

They were fine last words. They were yielding yet still sounded strong, almost as if all of this was her choice. He seemed satisfied with her answer and kissed her again.

His own need was evident now and his erection dug firmly into her thigh now. He moved his hips against her as he deepened his kiss, his tongue exploring her mouth with both slow ease and a persistence seemingly born of haste. He was such a contradiction and that pulled at her arousal, drawing it forth, fanning it and slowly blowing life into the embers there. Her fingers moved to his shoulders to grasp them securely as she attempted to pull him closer to her. He broke their kiss again, his eyes brighter than ever and he stepped back.

He looked deeply into her eyes now as he reached out and began to unbutton her dress. He deftly undid the long row of small buttons that ran the length of the dress from her cleavage to just above her knees. As his hands passed her waist, he slowly sank to his knees before her, never once breaking eye contact. He finished with the buttons and then pushed the material aside with his hands as they gently caressed her thighs. He moved deliberately, his fingertips tracing large circles over her skin.

Cora sucked in a breath. His touch was relaxing and invigorating at once and she once more marvelled at the contradictions he embodied. Keeping up his unhurried pace he worked his way up her thighs to her hips. Here his fingers slipped under the waistband of her panties. He then slowly pushed them down, over her hips and down her legs to her feet. She stepped out of them and his hands were immediately back upon her now working their way up from her ankles.

He gently traced the muscles in her calves, drawing deep breaths from her. And he was still staring directly into her eyes. Waves of arousal crashed into her now. She had never had a lover take so much time, take so much care. His hands almost ghosted over her flesh now as he moved them achingly slowly up her body. When he again reached her hips he glided his hands back to her behind as he leaned forward.

She gasped sharply when she felt the heat of his mouth upon her. His tongue moved maddeningly slowly as his hands gently massaged her backside, his tongue dipping into her. She groaned as she kept her eyes locked with his. He continued his steady pace, his tongue alternately flicking across her lust-engorged folds and then gently probing her. He was not trying to drive her to her release quickly, he was not priming her for his own use. He was exploring her, tasting her. He was savouring her and a low moan escaped her lips.

He sustained his movements until she found her release. Cora was certain she would have collapsed had he not grasped her hips tightly when she climaxed. She dug her fingertips deeply into his shoulders and threw her head back as her body was wracked by spasms and she cried out loudly. When she was able to look to him again she found he was still staring up at her and her desire immediately began to build again.

He rose to his feet and pushed her dress over her shoulders, his hands sliding silkily over her inflamed skin. The dress audibly fell to the floor. Aside from their impassioned breaths, the room was completely silent. He reached behind her to undo her bra and it soon joined her dress.

She stood utterly naked before him but did not feel exposed. She had never been so comfortable with another. He maintained his eye contact as he disrobed, moving quicker than with her but still continuing an easy pace as he also upheld his eye contact. Her eyes kept flicking down to his body but he continued to only stare at her. Her furtive glances informed her he was thinner than she had thought but was still tightly muscled with roping veins and sinuous tendons standing out against his skin everywhere. He was glorious in his nakedness, his erection stood strong and proud and would be the envy of many a man.

He wordlessly pushed her back now, gently as she had come to expect, his hands on her hips, until they reached his bed. She was almost unaware of how she came to be on her back in bed with him astride her. He had moved her into this position but she could not recall how. She could not look away from his eyes any longer, not even when she felt his erection pressing against her, ready to enter her. She merely nodded slightly and he pushed forward, sliding into her bit by bit as he intensely watched her reaction.

She shuddered slightly at the feel of him leisurely possessing her. She could feel every millimeter of him as he moved within her. She could feel herself slowly stretching to accommodate his girth, then felt her hot flesh cling to him as if it tried to keep him deeply entrenched in her. He began to move, once more maintaining a relaxed pace and she marvelled at his self-control. She wanted to grab him and thrust madly against him. She wanted to claw his back and scream out obscenities but she had submitted to him and the pace he had set.

He kept up his smooth and steady speed, gently nudging her closer and closer to another release. He moved with purpose, circling his hips, slowly but surely increasing the force of his thrusts and she began to move with him, tightly gripping his shoulders and moaning. She could see the mounting passion within his eyes as his pace increased in both speed and intensity.

Then she was moving shamelessly, no longer in control of her motions, her body responding to his gaze, to his movements. He twitched within her and she knew he was close to his own release. She bucked against him, eager to feel him explode inside her but he withdrew suddenly. Before she could react, she found herself face-down upon the bed. He quickly entered her from behind, his body propped up on his outstretched arms, only his thrusting pelvis touched her now.

Cora rose up onto her elbows, desperate to feel more of his body against her. He allowed this as he continued to move and she was elated. She was desperate to see the intensity in his eyes again but she was too aroused, too close to another release to protest verbally. She moaned loudly now and with abandon, the new position allowing him to plunge deeply into her. She twisted the blanket beneath her tightly in her hands as he continued to drive into her, his movements growing more forceful.

When her climax crashed down upon her, he grabbed her chin with one hand as he bent his head down to her. He kissed her passionately now, his mouth hard on hers, his tongue plunging into her eager mouth. She cried out against his mouth and felt his release, felt him stiffen momentarily and then resume a leisurely pace once again. She shuddered beneath him, her muscles humming in the aftermath of her orgasm. He continued to kiss her and she felt it begin.

She could feel her self, her essence, being drawn out of her body. She tried to pull away from him but he held her fast. Panic flared within her momentarily but was quickly replaced with an emptiness so profound it brought tears to her eyes. This was it, the end, the moment of her death had arrived. Despite the scorching agony of the void she felt expanding within her, she forced her body to relax and once more utterly yielded to him.

* * *

Jedidiah redressed her. She allowed him to manipulate her body to do so, she was extremely compliant under his hands. She stared at him the entire time but he avoided her eyes now. His penance was taking humans but he could not bear their vacant eyes when he had finished. His task complete, he led her to the door. When emptied these beings were no longer his concern. Shifting his eyes to the floor, he spoke.

“You must go now, Cora.”

She nodded numbly and walked through the doorway. He shut the door after she had gone and then closed his eyes as he leaned forward. His forehead made contact with the smooth hard wood and he rested there a moment. Then, releasing a deep sigh, he turned from the door and returned to his bed. He slid his now satiated body between the sheets, and pulled the blanket over himself. He could still smell her and he turned on his side and scuttled to the edge of the bed, away from the place he had taken her.

He sighed again. Bringing her here was stupid, possessing her physically was even stupider. He knew better, and he questioned why he had been swayed by her. He closed his eyes again and forced his mind to drift away from thoughts of her, toward thoughts of the time he would be done with this, when his duty, and his dreadful penance, would finally end.

He rubbed his head against the sheet here, where her scent blessedly did not linger. He relaxed his body and relished this feeling, the fullness of being whole, the short period of time he had before the emptiness within him returned and he would seek out one of them again. Jed squeezed his eyes shut against the memories of the countless faces of those he had taken. They always resurfaced now, during the only restful time he had, the only time he felt satisfied, threatening to destroy the hours of reprieve he had before the hunger reared again. He concentrated on the sound of his breaths, on the feel of the rise and fall of his chest. He focused on the absence of the gnawing hunger that normally dominated his existence and forced him to take one after another of the wretched humans he fed on. He began to count his breaths in hopes doing so would lull him into a much needed sleep. He could only hope it would be dreamless.

* * *

By the time Cora made her way to the street outside the building the horror of her new existence was clear. She felt nothing. She was aware of what she had experienced with him and how wondrous it had felt. But as fresh as the experience was, she felt nothing about it now. She felt nothing at all. She was devoid of any emotion. The searing emptiness mercilessly tore through her. She understood now, exactly what he had done, exactly what selling her soul truly meant. Death would have been kind. She could not even feel horror at her current state. She could not feel anything at all.

She stood on the sidewalk a moment watching the passing traffic. The approaching bus was travelling fast. Perhaps the driver was running behind schedule or maybe just anxious to blow through the amber light before him. His eyes were trained on the road before him, watching for cars from the intersecting road in case they jumped the green light on their side. He did not see Cora step into the street.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Silken Vengeance

The sharp, staccato click of high heels on marble floors echoed, bouncing off the walls of the corridor as she walked. Soft, fine silk brushed against her legs, sending a soft shiver rippling upward along her skin, waking every nerve ending. A wash of light told her which direction to take as she reached the intersection at the end of the main hall. The tap of her heels lost some of its edge as she slowed her pace.

She stopped outside the partially open door, gaze drawn to the arrow of light that was escaping from the office. Inside, laughter ended abruptly. She rolled her shoulders, relaxing tense muscles, the warmed silken lining of her coat igniting a new wave of shivers that slid along her veins. Lips curving upward, she pushed the door inward with one foot, blinking at the assault of light on her eyes.

The woman sitting in his lap moved quickly, stumbling backward in her hurry to get to her mostly discarded clothes. Dark eyes locked with hers.

“What are you doing here?”

Despite the anger that laced the words, there was a thread of fear woven into them.

She said nothing, merely slid the luxuriant fur coat from her shoulders and let it pool at her feet. He leaned back in his chair and nodded, his hungry gaze roaming over her naked form. The frightened girl inched toward the door, then bolted.

“You have my full attention,” he said.

“So I see.”

He adjusted the erection pressing against the dark briefs he wore, and she took the few steps that put her at his desk. She leaned down, and he laughed and made a reach for her. She straightened up and out of his reach in a smooth movement, then continued around the desk. Balancing on one foot with ease, she placed the other against his crotch, stiletto heel cupping him. His gaze grew wary.

She bent so their eyes met and a tiny snick of sound was followed by the widening of his eyes. She stepped back, retrieved her coat, and left, closing the door on the strangled gasps of his efforts to breathe.

The girl was waiting at the elevator, dressed and pacing. “When do I get paid?”

She was found with her boss in the morning, jewelled masque beside her, diamond studded heels next to her, his hand around her throat…

© Denysé Bridger

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Moon Bleeds the Darkest Dreams

The night was rapidly expanding and smothering the day’s light, a dark blanket that covered them like a shroud as they trudged across a broad expanse of mire, the damp, sometimes wet mud oozing around their feet. She looked at her companion, and even with the sense of danger and fear that lived in the air around them, her heart warmed. He was a sweet, dark haired young man, with gentle eyes and a quick smile. She knew, struggling at his side that she lacked his grace. She was having a harder time wading through the muck and maintaining her balance, but was keeping up with obvious effort.

“Not much further,” he promised. “I'll be here and watch over you.”

She nodded, her faith and belief in him absolute. Had there ever been a time when he wasn’t there, inspiring her trust and her dreams? She couldn’t remember anymore. It seemed important that she should, but until they were free of their present situation it would have to wait for further thought. Keeping up was taking all her energy, and he wasn’t slowing his pace to make it easier for her.

Eventually they came to a stretch of beach, and collapsed on a dry patch of sand. For a long time the only sound that filled the air between them was the heaving breaths they took to regain their composure. Finally, near-silence prevailed, and he stood up. He bent, kissed her forehead, and walked away, gathering some wood and twigs to make a fire as the sun sank completely beyond the ridge of the horizon, and the true darkness of night enveloped them.

She watched, enjoying the elegant simplicity of his motion, but she was afraid, and the fear was growing steadily worse. There was something out there in the darkness, she could feel it there. Subtle shadows moved where there shouldn’t have been movement, and there was a pulse of sound below the surface that she could hear inside her head.

She didn’t even recall his name. Only that she loved him. He was beautiful and brave, and she was safe. She knew they shared a whole life, yet she didn’t know his name...

He returned to her and soon had a fire blazing. They didn't speak, just enjoyed the quietude between them, and the understanding that seldom needed to be expressed with words. Memories clamored in her mind, feeding her things that were both familiar and utterly alien. He preferred her quiet, she remembered; they only fought when they talked too much, really. She reached out, clasped his hand in hers, and smiled when he kissed her very softly.

* * *

A short while later, sitting side by side, watching the moon rise over the water, the sound of growling and barking invaded the false tranquility. He rose and spotted the hulking shape that marred the near-perfect peace of the beach. She knew the death she’d been sensing had just shown itself. There was a scent in the air, inexplicable, but present. Just like the pulse of energy had been there, only it was no longer faint, it was pounding inside her skull like thunder–angry and focused, intent on destruction.

The animal grew in size as they watched it, a blackness that expanded with each guttural, rumbling growl rippling ominously across the expanse of air that separated them. He rose, his motions cautious. The moment he moved, the timpani in her head grew to pain and she knew somehow the creature had come for them. To challenge this handsome young man.

“Don’t leave me!”

He turned and smiled at her. She knew he was easily reading the fear that was turning her pale features ashen in the glow of the moonlight.

“I have to,” he said. “It’ll be all right, I promise. I won’t let anything bad happen to you.”

“I’m afraid for you.” It was true. Whatever waited was not intent on causing her death. At least not yet. It wanted to feed first... She knew that. She shouldn’t know it. But she did.

“Don’t be afraid,” his soft voice purred in comfort.

Before she could object, he turned to the animal looming in the distance, watching them in motionless curiosity. She felt that it somehow understood every word that had been exchanged. A glance at her companion assured her that he had sensed the creature understood them, too.

* * *

Without warning, he ran toward the animal, a sudden surge of madness telling him surprise was his only weapon. The muddied ground slipped and shifted under his desperate flight, and he was flailing to keep his balance when he realized he was alone again. He bent over, hands on his knees as he dragged in heaving gasps of air, and tried to silence the pounding fury of his heartbeat blocking out everything else.

When the sound of the surf penetrated the roar in his ears, he straightened and looked around, fear whispering insidious laughter in his mind…

He scanned the area, eyes peering intently into the night, trying to see past shadows and terrors real and imagined. Nothing moved, and he relaxed, certain the animal was gone.

Had it ever really been there at all?

The thought had barely formed when the growling began with new intensity, deeper and more menacing. His first thought was for the girl waiting near a dying fire, secure in the knowledge that she was safe, because he was there. He'd never reach her in time if what was waiting in the darkness was as swift as he knew it was.

He started to run, and the menace grew louder, until a vague, dark shape whipped past him as he stumbled in the soggy muck. He called out a warning, but it got lost, and all he could think about was the need to get to her, to protect her. Even if it meant he was the one the monster killed instead.

A scream tore the night to shreds, and he fell, face down in the quagmire, his voice raw with anguish. The sounds that rolled over him were wet, growling, gore-choked…and the screams flooding the night had two voices…both dying…one in terror, one in agony…

* * *

She heard the noises that wafted back to her on the breeze, and the scent of blood made her turn away. She threw up in the sand, retching repeatedly. The rhythmic pulsing had now become doubled, two heartbeats, one in each ear–one was growing stronger and the other was dying...slipping into quiescence as she choked and gasped for air to continue breathing.

The night was growing darker. Impossible she knew, but it was happening. Somehow, the light of the moon was fading into a dull steel grey, not the shimmering silver it had been only minutes earlier. When she looked up at it, her mind recoiled in horror as it began to change color again. Scarlet tendrils were seeping downward, the trickle of crimson blood-like, as though the world itself was pouring out gore. Not a gushing sputter, but a slow, leeching kind of death that was going to swallow her sanity before it consumed her life.

Out of the shadows there was once again the sensation of movement. This time she staggered to her feet, poised to run before she died. There was a single moment, between two pulses of madness, when she felt total peace permeate her soul. It was fleeting, but in the span of two heartbeats, she found understanding that she was somehow safer than she had been since she had run, chasing after the handsome boy.

From the murkiness she heard a soft sigh of sound, a whisper that reached into her terrified mind and calmed it.

He’s gone. Let the beast feed and retreat.

It was a voice she’d heard before. She did not know from where.

“He’s dead, isn’t he?” Before there was time for an answer, she bent over, arms crossed over her midriff, the sense of being torn in half an anguish that rose from deep within her. “Why?” It felt like a scream inside her head. In reality, it was barely a whisper.

Because your fate was not his, that’s why I am here. To see that you survive.

The answers were spoken in calm, soothing murmurs that drifted to her on the merest ruffle of air. She sat back on her heels and tried to stand, but she was held fast in the shifting, damp sand. Tentacles rose from out of the tumultuous ground and coiled around her ankles, holding her in place.

She screamed...until there was nothing left of her voice but a rasp of tortured horror and pain.

She rolled over onto her back, eyes closed, not willing to fight anymore. The growling rumble of the beast was under her now, she felt the shaking as if the ground was quivering, the tremors finding answer within her. She called out to the creature in the silence, invited him to dine again.

Open your eyes!

The command drilled into her brain as though a dagger had been sunk into her head.

Without thought she obeyed.

The moon glistened again, but the bloody gloss still covered it like a sticky film. It expanded as though drawing breath, then as it sighed softly, the wind blew, and she smiled. Mist coiled from the ground, gliding over her like the hands of a lover, invading every part of her body, draining her of the very essence of life. Just before she lost all awareness, the tendrils of icy flames retreated and she was lifted from the ground.

She turned to see who had come for her, and the handsome boy whose name she could never remember smiled down at her. Deep inside his eye's flames burned, yet his touch was icy. High above them, the silvery moon cleared, and scarlet rain fell as he carried her deeper into the darkness at the edge of her dreams...

© Denysé Bridger

Friday, March 14, 2014

Defying Death by Denysé Bridger #RomFantasy

Stepping onto the stone bridge was the easy part. One foot in front of the other, steady pace, goal clearly focused. It was twilight, her favourite time of day, even when things were good. The sun had slipped under the horizon, and darkness was free to sweep in. These minutes between night and day were precious, and magical.

Uneven stones beneath her feet threatened to twist an ankle if not navigated with care. She put her hands on the side walls that rose to her waist. Cold reached up from the roughened rock, sharp edges scraping her palms. Over the river laid before her, the silvery glow of the rising moon painted rippling stripes across the inky water. In her head, the soft rush of the current whispered to her, lured her.

A flicker of shadow above made her shiver and her gaze shot upward, attempting to pierce the encroaching night. Nothing stirred in the near black sky. Dismissing the momentary distraction, she climbed onto the ledge-like top of the wall. The stone grazed the skin of her thighs, sending frissons of fiery pain through her veins. Eyes closed, she tilted her head back and drew the cooling night air into her lungs, breaths slow and steady.

The scent of moss, water lilies, verdant greenery, all of it wafted up to her. She smiled, then maneuvered into a standing position atop the bridge railing. She breathed deeply, enjoying the first serenity she'd felt in recent memory. Her decision was made.

The air buffeted her, the tiny whispers of breeze caressing her skin, raising goosebumps along her exposed flesh. She extended her arms, and stepped out into the air as the final wash of plum faded into utter blackness around her. The night embraced her, enveloping her in its dark arms. She caught the scent of the rushing water as it waited to welcome her.

Just as she would have plunged into the depths of the river, the night grew blacker and became a living entity surrounding her.  Arms slid around her, their strength incredible. She was lifted away from the restless water before it touched her, and she struck out at the steel bands holding her. Massive wings beat in a smooth downward arc, and she was soaring over the river's current toward the shore.

Her breath whooshed out of her lungs in a gasp of surprise and pain when she was unceremoniously dumped on the soft bank. She rolled and got to her feet, swaying before she regained her footing.

The stars had begun glittering in the velvety night sky, and the moon was riding higher, cresting the tops of the trees. She hugged herself, turned, and the words froze on her lips. Her knees trembled, and the jolt of terror that shot through her made her stomach heave, threatening to empty itself in the grass.

Towering over her was a hulking mass of muscle and sinew, broad shoulders all but blocking the glimmer of moonlight sneaking over his menacing presence. Huge wings folded, settling at his back. His expression was scowling fury, and she stumbled backward a few steps, poised to run.

The stars above them began to drift downward and coalesce around the male, wrapping around him, lighting every aspect of his fierce bearing. The short horns sprouting from his head glowed, as did the fangs protruding from his mough, and his clawed hands and cloven feet. The energy pulsing within him and all around him shot across his entire body in powerful bursts of glaring white brilliance, then it began to fall away from him, taking the monstrous trappings with it as it slid from his body and dissolved.

He was six and a half feet tall, and with the gargoyle’s wings no longer blotting out the rays of the moon, she saw the man. His features were rough, but striking, like they had been chiseled from stone. Corded muscles bulged, making him no less impressive now than he had been moments earlier.

He stared at her, his gaze gliding over her in an appraising pass. When he looked at her again, she was assaulted by the fierce fury emanating from him.

“Do not be so eager to destroy the fate of those meant to love you.”

His voice rumbled over her, gravel and silk, both rough and soothing. She shivered. The death inside her screamed, but recoiled when her spirit surged and reached for the hope he grudgingly offered.

“The only destruction I sought was my own,” she said. It took all her courage to stand and face him, even though every instinct wanted her to run.

“You are not alone in this world,” he reprimanded. “All life is tied together.” He stepped toward her and his fingers curled around her wrist, the grip enough to crush bones. “You have a fate that is bound to others you do not yet know. Is it your wish to destroy them?”

She turned her hand upward, and opened it so her palm was revealed. The symbol of infinity, a brand she had worn from birth, flickered with light and life. She gaped at it, and cried out as pain and searing fire rode the trail of her veins, coursing through every inch of her. He released her and she fell to her knees, weeping.

“You are not alone in this world.”

When she dared to look, he was walking away, broad back kissed by moonlight. Resting on his shoulder, coiled like a serpent, the symbol of infinity sparkled as fire flowed endlessly through it…

© Denysé Bridger - March 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Sweet Seduction

Denysé Bridger & Vincenzo Chiofalo

Calogero loved to walk the ancient paths and roads that connected Destino to the outside world–not that his home was truly connected to the rest of world in many ways. Destino was a small town tucked safely away in the Valley of the Temples. The village was ancient, and remained strangely untouched by the passage of time; the residents were genuinely content to live their lives in the enchanted area seldom visited by strangers.

At sixteen, Calogero had rarely ventured beyond the outer boundaries of the town that was his home. He was content and happy to be where he was; even if he did go hungry occasionally. The people of the town looked at him with fond indulgence. He knew they considered him something of an oddity, but their affection was genuine. The only real disapproval he encountered was when they knew he had been to the garden on the edge of the town. Calogero often visited the garden of I guardiani del destino eterno, much to the dismay of those who lived in Destino. They believed the garden to be a holy shrine, and frowned upon his intrusions. Calogero knew there was nothing to fear in the garden, and in truth, he felt more at peace there than in the town itself.

The day was lit by the brilliance of unrelenting sunshine and azure skies, the heat warming his skin until it tingled. He smiled, his heart soaring with the joy of being alive, and he laughed as he spread his arms and whirled around, spinning until he was dizzy.

He thought again about the people of the town, and he shrugged. He didn’t mind if they chose to laugh at him, because he was happy with himself. Calogero was still stumbling a bit from his spin when he heard the thunder of hoof-beats and turned to stare. His eyes widened when he spotted the carriage that was racing along the narrow road. He stepped off to the side and shook his head when the horses flew past. The carriage lurched when it hit a large stone in the road and a box slipped from the rear storage space, tumbling onto the road. The driver pushed on, oblivious to the mishap.

Calogero rushed out and picked up the box, shouting after the carriage to try and stop it. His voice was lost in the wind. He looked down at the box in his hands, curiosity putting a thoughtful smile on his face. What could be inside?

The carriage was rapidly being enveloped in a cloud of dust, and Calogero knew it would be impossible to ever find the owner. He looked down at the box, testing the weight of it. Shrugging, he decided to bring his new-found treasure home. He tucked it under his arm, balanced carefully against his hip, and headed to the rocky edge of the town. His father had built their home against the side of a mountain, and Calogero had never known another home. He was alone now, his parents gone, and there had been only a sister before him. Giada had left years ago, married and living in Palermo. It often took real concentration for Calogero to remember his beautiful sister, he had barely started school the last time he'd seen her.

* * *

A short while later, Calogero put the carton on the table and sat in front of it. He was undecided for a while about what to do with it, and decided he'd have dinner and think more about how he could return the box. He checked his cupboards and found there was really nothing substantial to eat. He sat down to contemplate the box again and shrugged after a few minutes. He cut the cord that was holding the box closed, then turned back the flaps, his eyes widening when he saw the contents. Nestled amid shredded packing material were jars and packets of delicious treats to eat, things Calogero had rarely seen in his lifetime. He picked up the items one at a time and examined them with care and near reverent awe. Each item was set aside, until all that remained inside the box was a foil wrapped package that was almost perfectly square. The flickering light from the lamps he'd lit glinted off the gold and silver wrapping, like tiny sparks of stars. He lifted the package out of the box, pushed aside the plain container, and set the foil covered square in front of him.

For several moments he simply looked at the box, then he smiled when he caught the faintest whiff of sweet, tantalizing scent. Curiosity aroused further, he leaned closer and inhaled deeply, excitement quickening his heartbeat as he drank in the unfamiliar aroma that was so tantalizing. He reached to untie the bright ribbon that crowned the package, but drew back. Whatever was inside might be valuable enough that someone would come looking for it? He gathered the other things he'd taken from the box and quickly prepared a small meal. When he sat down to enjoy his unexpectedly rich dinner, his eyes strayed constantly to the bright package in the middle of his table.

Inquisitiveness burned within him.

He wanted desperately to taste what was inside this beautiful treasure. He knew it would be unlike anything he'd ever sampled before. He felt the thrill of holding something forbidden in his possession and it intrigued him all the more.

He resisted the lure of the box for another hour as he ate his meal and tidied up his home. The place was cut into the stone side of a mountain; the multi-room house was something like a cave, carved archways led to a series of four rooms. He was high enough that standing at the windows gave him a perfect vantage to observe the town a short distance away. He loved to sit in the alcove at the window of his bedchamber and stare out, basking in the warmth of the sun while he watched the activity of Destino below him.

The floors of Calogero's home were covered with soft rugs woven by his mother's nimble fingers, and the torches held in sconces cast warmth into the stones, and heated it in the colder months of winter. Furnishing was sparse, but he was comfortable. He was a cabinet maker, and his work was praised by everyone who employed him, though he wasn't always able to work as much as he would like.

He decided to take a walk and watch the sunset. The box on his table was still beckoning to him, and he was determined to resist its tempting presence.

* * * 

An hour later, as the last rays of the sun were slipping beneath the horizon, and the weakening tendrils of gold were being smothered by darkness, Calogero walked back into his home. In spite of his intentions to ignore it, the box on the table drew his gaze, the bright, shiny foil of the wrap glittering as it drew the fragments of dying light and tossed them outward to snare his imagination again.

He lit a torch and set it in a wall sconce, then walked to the table. Long, tapered fingers brushed over the smooth paper and he hesitated a moment more. With a shrug, Calogero relented and he pulled the ties, allowing the ribbon to fall away from the package. He pushed the paper aside and sat to contemplate what was in front of him.

The sweet scent teased his nose and he smiled as its delicate but intoxicating aroma breathed on him. He took out the pocketknife he carried and broke the seal that held the lid in place, then he opened the box. He closed his eyes and a tiny frisson of pleasure rushed up his spine and made him shiver. The smells merged, vanilla, cocoa, milk… all things he recognized, but had never before experienced in this unique way. He cast into his memory, and the name came to him after a moment's thought, this was chocolate… He had heard of the confection many times, spoken about by the wealthier residents of the village, but poor boys rarely sampled riches like this.

He reached in and folded back the tissue paper with exacting care, and he leaned closer, inhaling the sweetness, his mouth watering at the thought of tasting the exotic concoction. He looked over his shoulder, feeling guilty despite being alone in his house, then reached inside and drew out a thick, square shaped piece of the chocolate. He brought it up so he could smell the rich, alluring aroma. It was irresistible and he succumbed to the temptation, popping the sweet into his mouth and leaning back in his chair.

He sucked slowly on the melting chocolate, savouring the incredible taste, letting it slide down his throat as the flavour burst into his consciousness. Each swallow was more delicious than the last, and he didn't stop eating until all that remained was a single square at the bottom of the box. Surprised, Calogero pushed the container away from him and stood up. The sweet ambrosia of the chocolate was sticky on his lips, and he licked them, loving the taste, torn between taking the last piece and saving it for another time. With real effort, he walked away and went to his bedchamber.

He smiled as he undressed and went to his bed. He decided not to brush his teeth, he wanted to enjoy the lingering traces of the chocolate on his tongue. Like most of his days, this one had been long and he soon fell sound asleep. Before long, dreams invaded his mind and swept him into another world.

Calogero twisted in his bed, his senses attuned to every subtle nuance of sound and scent that occupied the house with him. He sensed something new in the air, a presence he'd never felt before. He tried to see, but the darkness covered him like a blanket and refused to grant him vision. He yelped in surprise a moment later when the touch of a hand on his naked chest set his heartbeat roaring in his ears.

He opened his mouth to speak and no sound emerged… The bed rocked very slightly as someone settled beside him, and he turned his head, eyes peering intently, desperate to see through the shadows that were deeper than he ever remembered them being before. The whisper of touch filled his senses again, sweet, whispery fluttering that made his skin tingle and his heart race. He closed his eyes and the waves crashed over him with new intensity, fire raced along the paths of his veins, each pulsing beat of his heart was matched by a building fury of desire centered low in his body.

Slow, wet kisses followed the glide on the hands that stroked and explored the curving contours of his muscles, and in his head, Calogero heard the moan of agony and ecstasy that tore from him. His body answered the seductive, sensual touches, reaching out for the woman who was so close but so distant. He could feel her soft breasts against his chest when she leaned over him, and he inhaled the scent of wildflowers in her hair. He wanted to taste her and touch her, but he wasn't able to move. Sighing, he let the dream envelope him, and the sweep of sensual pleasure filled his being...

The first faint rays of the sunrise woke him, the warm like a finger brushing over his lips, a kiss that told him it was time to come back to reality. He forced his eyes open and groaned. He was alone. He was always alone, he reminded himself. The village girls looked at him, giggled, and ran off most of the time. They thought he was strange and wanted nothing to do with the odd boy their mammas told them to stay away from. He scrubbed at his eyes and tossed aside the blankets, letting the shock of cool morning air chase away the last remnants of his sleep.

He bathed and went to the kitchen to get breakfast. As he came into the room and lit a torch, he spotted the box in the middle of his small table. He went to it and peered inside – one last piece of chocolate. Shrugging, he picked it up and popped it into his mouth. The exotic sweet was probably what had caused his strange dreams, he decided. It hadn't been unpleasant, but in the light of the new day, it had left him feeling isolated and lonely.

He ate a quickly prepared breakfast from the other items he'd found in the carton that had fallen from the carriage, and decided to take a walk in the garden of the gargoyles. Whenever he felt at odds with the world around him, he found solace in the company of the stone sentinels. They were not the most beautiful of the gods' creations, but Vulcan had shaped them eons earlier at the behest of Diana – her gift to the people of Destino – charged with the task of protecting the village, as they had once unknowingly protected the goddess.

The day warmed as he walked and a short while later he stood in the farthest corner of the garden. He stared at the hollowed out, sheltered fire pit all but hidden in the darkest part of the sprawling landscape. Often he imagined he could see the burning embers of Vulcan's forge casting glowing warm up from the depths of the earth. Each time he had glimpsed the fiery red shadows, a new guardian came into being, and a new arrival joined the populace of Destino.

He was sipping wine from the skin he carried when he spotted a flicker of red and turned to peer intently at the haze that emanated from deep in the pit. His pulse pounded furiously in his ear and he started to inch toward the glow, wondering if he could get close enough to see anything this time. A blast of heat flung him back and he hit his head on a tree root, stars twinkled in the descending darkness, then gentle hands caught him and lowered him into an abyss of nothingness.

Calogero woke a short while later to see a gleaming new gargoyle watching over him. She was shimmering alabaster, and untouched by the weather or time. She was new. The taste of chocolate filled his mouth, and his body warmed with the memory of his dreams, and the lover who had come to him in the darkness–the two most exciting things he'd ever known. His heart leapt in his chest, and his mind raced. He clamoured to his feet, laughing as he realized a new girl would soon arrive in the village.

His dreams, the new guardian, the sweet seduction of the chocolate and his unknown lover… he wouldn't be alone anymore… He left the garden and began to run toward Destino…

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mirror Mirror #RomFantasy

Mirror Mirror
by A. Austin

Cade Maddox heard the soft sounds of jazz music playing throughout the industrial penthouse as he stepped through the front door. It had been a long day at the office and he was glad to be home. He let out a relieved breath and he placed his coat on the rack, keys going into the vibrantly colored Chihuly bowl sitting on the sleek cherry oak table in the foyer, the glass art a gift from Isabeau Renault.

She was here in his home, something evident from the sounds of the sensual music drifting out to him from somewhere in the back. He followed the dulcet tones to the room he used for exercise and noticed most of his equipment had been pushed to one end of the long space. The jazz was louder here and Isabeau hadn’t heard his arrival. She stood in front of a wide, antique full length mirror that leaned against the far wall. His mouth went dry at the sight of her, long legs clad in sheer thigh high stockings, spiked black heels on her dainty feet. His eyes traveled over the well rounded globes of her ass that were separated by the thin black string of her lacy thong panties, then continued up the smooth expanse of her slender back as she arched toward the mirror, hands resting on the frame. Her breasts were covered in a matching lacy black bra that lifted and shaped them to perfection.

Cade adjusted himself and leaned against the door frame, reluctant to make his presence known. He didn’t want to interrupt her concentration as she turned one way and looked at herself, then turned the other way for a different angle, her brows furrowed. She tossed her hair over her shoulders, and started swaying gently in time to the music. She ran a hand down her side, over her hip and back up to cup her breast. His hands clenched and he stuffed them in his pockets. She was the most evocative, exceptionally beautiful woman he’d ever known. Period. And as she stood watching herself in the mirror he forgot about his day, his work, even the ability to breathe. She was everything that mattered.

Her grimace deepened and she exhaled a ragged huff of frustration. She stopped swaying and dropped her arms back to her side, glaring at her reflection, shaking her head. Next, she took the long heavy golden waves of her hair in both hands and piled it on top of her head, the action arching her back and thrusting her breasts forward. Holding her tresses in place with one hand, Beau took a step back, turned sideways away from him. In time to the song playing, she bent her knees and dipped low, thrusting her backside up and out as she straightened. Cade raised a brow and grinned as she continued to practice a few moves that had him wanting to lay her on the floor right then and there.

Again, Isabeau stopped and shook her head. “This is stupid,” he heard her mutter. She released her hair and moved to stand directly in front of the mirror again, her eyes immediately looking over her shoulder. She jumped, a squeak of surprise followed by a French curse word leaving her beautiful mouth.

Cade had had no intention of moving, but found himself a hairsbreadth from her back when he heard the frustration in her voice. “I can assure you that it is not stupid,” he said. He leaned forward and kissed her bare shoulder without touching her anywhere else. “You take my breath away, love.”

Isabeau sighed and leaned back into him, a frown still on her face. “I was wanting to surprise you, to seduce you, but…” Her voice trailed off, a little uncertain. She shook her head again and tried to move away from him. “I’m no good at...”

Cade’s hands latched onto her arms just above her elbows and held her in place facing the mirror. “Look, Beau.” His voice was low, aroused. “What do you see?”

“I see you. Looking at me like I…” her voice was wispy, tears stuck in her throat, “like I am beautiful. Like I matter.” She blinked back moisture but held his stare.

“Look again, love. Look at you, and see what I see.” He urged her with a nod to look back at herself. When she complied, he moved his hard frame flush against her back and tugged until she was fully pressed against him. He snaked an arm around her waist and held her tight, his hand splayed wide on her stomach. He dropped his head next to hers, watching her as she gazed in the mirror. He took a deep breath; her natural clean scent mixed with a touch of her favorite perfume went straight to his cock.

Keeping her in place with the arm around her waist he folded his other hand around hers, molding it so he could point at her body. “Let’s start here,” he said hoarsely and motioned to her breasts. He trailed her fingertips over the plump mounds. “These are perfect. They fit the hand just right.” Using her hand he cupped her right breast, her nipple hardening instantly. “I love how responsive they are to my touch,” his voice dropped to dark velvet, hypnotic against her ear, hot against her skin.

“Pinch your nipple, Beau, and watch your reaction.” She hesitated mere seconds before taking the lace covered pebble between her fingers and giving it a slight squeeze. Her breath caught as he watched a soft shade of blush color her face as blood rushed under her skin. She looked askance at him and continued to explore her breast when he nodded, his hand adjusting the touch and pressure as he saw fit.

Moments later, he moved his splayed hand lower, his fingers teasing the edge of her lacy thong. “I also love this area.” His fingers slid between the lace and her silken flesh, teased the trimmed curls before delving between her damp folds. “Happy, sad, angry… You are always ready to welcome me.” He inserted one, two fingers, placing pressure against her hidden nub with the palm of his hand. “Keep watching, love. I want you to see everything.”

Her breathing had turned ragged and her body shuddered as he scissored his fingers deep inside her body. He turned his head and licked her neck, kissed and nibbled her earlobe.

Her eyes started to close and he squeezed her breast and stilled his movement inside her. “See the flush all over your skin, love? See how your entire body glows when something feels so good?” He kissed her neck again. “See how beautiful you are?”

She nodded and he continued to show her what pleased him about her body. He murmured in her ear all the wicked things he loved doing to her, how her responses teased him, mind and body.

When she was on the verge of orgasm, he stopped and softly commanded her attention. “But the two things I find most attractive on you, love, are these.” He removed his fingers from her wet heat and held her to his body once more with his arm around her waist. Recapturing her hand in his he placed both their hands over her heart. “I love how you love me. I love your kindness, your fierceness, the way you give your all to everything you do.”

Letting go of her hand, motioning for her to keep it over her heart, he traced a path up, over her collarbone, kissing the side of her neck, then caressed her cheek, cupping her face in his hand. “I love your mind most. The way you think. Your sharp wit. Your humor.”

He held her tightly to him and let out a ragged breath. “My God, Beau. I love everything about you: mind, heart, body. Even the way you threaten to put me on my ass when I’ve been behaving like one.”

They stared at each other in the mirror, motionless for what seemed like an eternity. He felt every inch of her body against his, the heat of her setting him aflame. He wanted to slide himself into her, sheathing every inch of his cock to the hilt as they both watched through the mirror. But he wasn’t going to make a move just yet. Not until he knew that she understood how he felt about her.

“Do you see what I see, Isabeau?” He held his breath as he watched her mind work. He grinned when she answered.

“I’m starting to, Maddox.” Her voice was breathless, a spark of playfulness and challenge in her eyes. “But I think I might need another lesson. Would you be so kind as to start over and teach me again? Start with number one.”

Cade laughed and took her hand in his…