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

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…