Tuesday Tales: We Gather Together

This week’s Tuesday Tales prompt was Thanksgiving or thankful.  I took that quite literally, folks….

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We Gather Together

by Alexandra Christian

 

Temperance sat on the edge of the bay, looking out over the November sunset.  She thought about all the ways in which her life had changed since coming to this strange new land nearly a year ago.  Her mother and father had decided in the summer of her eighteenth year, after losing their land to the tyranny of King James, that they would begin again in the wilds of this New World.  She’d been so afraid of what she would find.  She had heard such stories in England– wild animals that would maul you in the night and savages that would slash your throat for being the ‘pale-face.’  And for a while, she’d believed them.  The first few months were harrowing.  No food, disease, people dying– it was like some awful dream from which she could not wake.  And then the ultimate test of her faith– the fever took her dear mother’s life last winter, leaving her alone in this place.  Temperance thought she would never again smile or laugh.  Then she met Anoki.

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She was sitting at the makeshift cemetery they’d put up, just after her mother’s funeral.  There hadn’t been much to say, only a short prayer and then back to work, but her father had been kind enough to let her sit for a moment.  Everyone had gone back to the meetinghouse and it was only her, staring at the mound of soil on which she sat, a single handkerchief in hand.  Her mother had embroidered it for her long ago, before the New World had even been a thought.  She had been using it to dab at her eyes when she saw movement in the forest at the edge of the grove.  Her heart hitched in her chest and she held her breath, waiting to see if it would happen again.  She sat very still, hoping that whatever it was wouldn’t see her.  She stood up slowly and backed away, her blue eyes never leaving the edge of the clearing.  She listened again and just as she was telling herself it was only a gale of wind, she heard a branch break, as if stepped on.  Whipping around, she started to run back towards the meetinghouse, praying that whatever was behind wouldn’t give chase. Her bonnet flew back behind her in the breeze until finally it flew off.  She didn’t care.  She wouldn’t allow herself to be devoured by animals or scalped and left for dead.  Her mother wouldn’t die in vain.  She had to survive!

Distraught and terrified, Temperance swerved into the forest, taking a shortcut she’d learned from some of the village children.  The terrain here was mucky and strewn with fallen branches.  She looked behind, and sighed with relief.  There was nothing there.  No monster, chasing her in the dim twilight.  Her pace slowed and she stumbled, catching the edge of her skirt on the tip of her shoe.  She pitched forward, throwing herself into the muddy leaves collected on the ground.  The shock of the impact brought the tears she’d been holding back all day.  She lay there in the mud, tears streaming down her face and blurring her vision to everything around her.  Even the frozen ground of the early winter frost could not bring her out of her swoon.  She cried for her mother and her lost life in England.  She cried for all the others, lost in their journey for freedom.  She cried for the guilt she felt in feeling that God had forsaken her.  She cried for the certainty that she was indeed wicked and devoid of Grace.  After several minutes, she pulled herself together, her head aching and her eyes burning.  She reached into her apron, searching out her mother’s embroidered handkerchief and finding nothing.  “No, please… please… it’s all I have left,” she gasped, determined not to shed one more tear.  Temperance crawled along the ground, feeling for the rough bit of lace, as if her eyes could not be trusted.

“Kwe.”  It was a sound that made Temperance’s blood run cold as ice.  The strange tongue of the savages.  She turned slowly to see a tall, dark skinned man standing over her.  He extended his hand and stared at her with expectant brown eyes.  “Kwe,” he said again in that stern, unattached voice that seemed to echo in the dark forest around them.

“I’m sorry…” she stuttered.  “I didn’t know you were here.”  She tried to stand up, but apparently the fall had weakened her ankle and she fell back down.  “Ow…” she whimpered, cursing herself for showing such girlish weakness.

“Kwe,” he said again and she wanted to scream for him to stop.  Couldn’t he see that she didn’t understand?

“I… I don’t understand you…” she replied, her voice trembling.  He started towards her and she cowered, another small sob escaping her throat. “Please don’t…”  Her voice trailed off as her eyes focused on what he held in his outstretched hand.  It was her handkerchief with the bit of white lace and the blue embroidery.  Her mother’s handkerchief that she’d thought she’d lost.  She dropped it and this savage had brought it back to her.

“Kwe,” he said again.  And this time he smiled.

****

It had been nearly a year since that day and now, as Temperance sat on the rock overlooking the bay, it seemed as if her life had not begun until the day Anoki had spoken that single word.  That single word that had gone straight to her heart.  Looking over her shoulder, she stared at the fires burning in the village behind, sending smoke plumes over the trees.  Soon the feast would begin and her people and Anoki’s people would gather together as one to give thanks for their friendship and their bounty.  No one would miss them as they paddled away on the sea together.  Perhaps someday, they would understand the decision she made now.  Taking the handkerchief out of her apron, she pressed it to her lips, kissing the soft lace and inhaling the scent of her mother that still clung to it after all this time.  Dropping it on the ground, she said goodbye.  She would miss them, but she must follow her heart to the ends of the earth.

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If you enjoyed MY post, wait til you see the rest of the Tuesday Tales crew.

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Sunday Smut…

Available NOW at Amazon!

I realized today that I hadn’t posted in my blog in quite some time.  Those of you who know me, know that I am not the best blogger.  But I do try to make it up to you.  I’ve been in Starbucks today with Siobhan Kinkade and actually managed almost 2K.  However, I’ve come to the end of one scene and I have NO idea what to do next.  So I figured I’d better use my time wisely and come over here for some shameless PR.

This season looks to be interesting, as I will have a book coming out on Dec. 17th with Rebel Ink Press and I have lots of places I’ll be blogging.  So you’ll have just about enough of me, come December 18th.  Also, coming up in the winter, my novel, Beast of Burden, will be coming out.  It’s a very adult redux of Beauty and the Beast, starring a sexy werewolf named Marek and Sascha, a sassy little slave beauty.  I’m really excited about that novel, as it is the material representation of a year’s worth of work.  Anyway, I figure I’ll give out a little smutty love today, since it’s been so long, dear reader.  The excerpt I’ve chosen is from my first novel, Hellsong.  I thought it fitting, as for the Holiday Blog Hop (see the sidebar), I’ll be giving away a copy of that and a short story, “Second Skin” to fill your dirty little holiday stockings.  So look out for that, those of you who like all things free and freaky.

Lonely bookstore manager Theo Chandler lost herself in Hurricane Katrina. Found wandering alone in a swamp with no memory of her life before the storm, she has spent the last few years building a half-life where no one touches her so no one can guess her secret. Only Father Jerome, a voodoo priest who witnessed her birth, and the minions of Lucifer know her true identity and the monster she could become.

As the last of the Grigori, Heaven’s guardians of humankind on Earth, the angel Saraquel should destroy beautiful Theo before the forces of Hell use her to destroy him, humanity, or even Heaven itself. But like Jerome, he sees the humanity in her that far outshines the hidden demon. He forms a connection to her that he has never known with anyone else through all his immortal life. Choosing to protect her, he joins Theo and Jerome in a fight to bring down hell’s design and save her human soul.

Anyway… here you go…

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“Angel,” she whimpered, getting lost in the feel of his mouth traveling over the contours of her collarbone and shoulders. “Angel,” she repeated in a breathless whisper. “You must be…” She groaned, cradling his head against her chest. His hair slipped through her fingertips like late summer corn silk and she twisted the strands around her fingers.

Saraqael smiled in a way that conveyed utter relief as he fell to his knees before her. He rested his hands on either side of her waist, his thumbs digging into the fleshy hips, keeping her still above him. The sloppy, button down shirt she wore was open, showing a hint of the concave of her belly just over the waistband of her jeans. He used the tip of his nose to open the folds and press his lips to her skin. Her breath caught in her throat as she tried to stifle the moan when his tongue delved into the hollow of her navel suggestively. “Fallen?” she asked through clenched teeth.

“Not yet…but I‟m sure you‟ll work harder, Daemon. I used to be the Archangel Uriel,” he whispered, brushing his generous lips over the curves of her hips. “And when I was sent to Earth, I became the Grigori.” He watched her reactions, taking in each nuance as his fingertips trilled over her skin—higher and higher the crept. Her breath came in short gasps, her skin prickling at his touch. When his fingers reached the smooth satin of her bra, she felt a jolt of fire between her legs. And when his palm found the center, she feared that the flames would devour her.

“Perhaps it is you who is the demon,” she groaned.

He smiled and ran his hand over her sternum. “Perhaps I‟m seducing you for my own sport.”

“Not very angelic, Grigori.”

He did not respond, but straightened to his full kneeling height. With a careless gesture, he pulled the shirt open, letting the buttons fly carelessly. The cool night air from the window made goose bumps pop out all over, pulling her skin taut. Before she had time to complain about it, the warmth oozed over her body as his hands found their way under the satin barrier covering her breasts. His rough, calloused palm scratched against her nipple, making it harden immediately. She whimpered with the sudden heaviness and arched her body toward his.

Taking the hint, he pulled the fabric aside and closed his mouth over first one breast and then the other. The humidity of his lips made her throb in all the right places. Surely, he was not a being of Heaven. The pleasure he inflicted was more sinful than any act of violence. His fingers flicked over the tiny caps of nipple that answered each breast, worrying it to a small, prickled bud that he could bite and tease until she growled and pressed his mouth to her more forcefully. He obliged her, but quickly pulled his mouth away, taking the nipple between his teeth and pulling until she cried out.

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BTW… you can buy Hellsong here.

 

COMING SOON: Masquerade

Coming Soon from Rebel Ink Press!

So it’s been a week of ups and downs.  Monday was so pleasant.  I got my edits on “Masquerade” done and sent off, the kids at school were human and I got home early-ish.  Tuesday— an exercise in surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.  Wednesday was a bit better.  BUT– last night I got word that “Masquerade” is in the can and slated for release on December 17th!  I’m really excited about this story.  It’s my first Menage piece and my very first release with Rebel Ink Press.  The folks over at Rebel have been so nice to me and I’m really excited to be affiliated with them.

I got the idea for “Masquerade” on the way home from FandomFest this past July.  I wanted to write something short, sweet and dirty and I think I accomplished that.  It’s the story of Blythe, a woman who has discovered that she needs something more from her husband.  And that something more is a little experimentation.  Enter Apollo and The Raven– two masked strangers who are ready to make all of her wildest fantasies come true.  I promise, dear readers, that it’s one depraved sexual act after another— YOU’LL LOVE IT!  And the perfect holiday gift for Pervy Ebook Readers!  And now… an UNEDITED excerpt….

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He dipped her low and placed a burning kiss in the center of her chest.  “Only feel your way through, love.”  With that he jerked her upright again, crushing her tight against his chest and nearly knocking the breath from her lungs.  “Ask yourself—what do you want?  What is your darkest desire?”  Tangling his hands in the bun at the back of her neck, he pulled her head roughly to one side, breathing hot against the delicate skin of her neck.  “A rough lover that will take you hard and fast, marking your body with bruises to help you remember?”  He bit down on the soft flesh just over her jugular until she gave a little shriek and then soothed it with gentle sweeps of his tongue and lips.  “Or perhaps a slow and sensual fuck that seems to be some never ending dream?”  His hands slid down her spine to rest on the curve of her ass left open by the silken dress.

“Do I have to choose?” she sighed, rubbing her cheek against his and reveling in the friction between their skin.

He smiled wickedly, dipping her low again until the room turned upside down.  “That’s the spirit, love.”

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Remember— Coming December 17th from Rebel Ink Press (and no, you pervert– that wasn’t a pun…).