The photograph in the elaborate silver frame slipped from Bianca’s nerveless fingers to crash to the granite-tiled floor beneath. The glass protecting the photograph immediately developed a fine spider-web pattern of cracks on impact.
Maybe it was her imagination running away from her. But she could have sworn that Jake’s face, frozen forever in the smile she loved so much in the picture, took on just a hint of accusation at her clumsiness.
A tear slid down her cheek, unbidden. She had promised herself that she’d stop doing this to herself, break out of the endless cycle of recrimination that she hadn’t tried to keep him from leaving the house after that last, absurd fight. He’d been drinking, just a little, but enough. If she had stopped him, the potent cocktail of anger and alcohol in his system wouldn’t have spurred him out the door and into the path of that oncoming bus.
Everyone, even his own family, had said the accident wasn’t her fault. His mother had hugged her close at the funeral and wept with her. Wept with her son’s murderess.
The guilt had torn at her to such a degree that she had become a virtual hermit. She had found a job that she could do from home and left her well-paying career as an advertising artist without looking back. She couldn’t bear to look around the office and the empty desk down the aisle where Jake had sat, like an exclamation point on her guilt, drawing her eye no matter how much she wished to avoid the painful reminder.
But now Bianca cried out in anguish at the desecration of the only physical evidence she had left to her that Jake had ever existed. That he’d ever loved her, and been loved in return.
She knelt beside the frame and picked up the photograph reverently, as tears she swore to the outside world she was past shedding rained down onto the glass in a thunderstorm of grief, beading on the glass forlornly. One teardrop traced a jagged crack in the glass that followed the inside curve of Jake’s cheek, as if he mourned for the life he’d once had no less than Bianca herself did.
Heedless of the splinters of glass that poked out of the simple silver frame, she cradled the picture to her glass and sobbed.
“I’m so sorry, Jake. I wish I’d been strong enough to stop you.”
She sat there on the floor, curled around her misery like a gray ball of despair, while the grandfather clock in the corner ticked out its melancholy, dirgelike rhythm. Time seemed to leave her behind; in its wake was left only the remorseless promise of a colorless, cold, lifeless life that threatened to spin into eternity beyond endurance, and then further still, until she begged for a release that would and could never come. All that warmed her was the tracks her tears left on her face. Without them, she felt like an ice sculpture done in flesh.
A soft tapping at the door brought her head around, and she swiped at the tears on her face. She paid no attention to the havoc she wrought on her makeup, or what her unknown caller might think of the distress on her face. Everyone knew well enough to leave her alone, so whoever was waiting on the stoop was unlikely to be anyone she wanted anything to do with.
Bianca sucked in a deep breath, made a half-hearted attempt to make herself not look like she’d been mourning the destruction of her world, and walked to the door. She could feel the wavering, watery smile struggling to slip off her face as she opened the door to find . . . no one.
A chill, damp breeze that smelled of dead leaves and forsaken hope greeted her, eddying past her into the house. Suddenly furious, she slammed the door and screamed, “Fucking kids!” As if an invisible switch had been flipped, the tears began again, and Bianca whirled away from the door. Right into an impossibly warm, solid chest, where a second earlier there had been only empty air.
The first thing her gaze met was a black leather jacket. She’d always been a sucker for the bad-boy look, with its zippers and faintly ominous aura. Her eyes trailed down to faded blue jeans and biker-style cowboy boots, and then up past the white T-shirt and the narrow but strong neck.
Past the jaw, shadowed with stubble, and the graceful nose, to the blue-grey eyes she had stared at a thousand times in a photograph and the unruly shock of dark hair that always looked slightly windblown no matter how short it was cropped.
She flinched back, her heart hammering with terror. This was the fare of the stories she’d read back when she cared, before she entombed herself aboveground in her own home as penance. But the dead didn’t really come back. Did they?
Not trusting her voice, she reached out to touch him experimentally. The leather jacket creaked and flexed at her touch, but otherwise didn’t yield, or fade into smoke, or anything else she might have expected. It felt too real to her senses, unaccustomed these days to reality, and she felt the world spinning around her madly as conflicting urges arose in her.
One was a mad desire to go with him and find out what lay . . . Beyond. Another was the terrible certainty that this was a dream. And still another was to wish to be naked and feel him against her, one last time, to say with her body what she just had no words to convey.
Terror mingled with lust as she grew damp, staring up into those sad, loving eyes and the gentle, handsome face that framed them. Her mouth opened, to beg him to leave or stay.
Before she could say anything, he pressed her against the door, branding her mouth with his hot lips.
Scary can be sexy. Don't believe me? Well, I've challenged 14 authors to prove it. Using either original flash fiction or excerpts from their published work, they will show you how erotic and thrilling fear can be. From edgy games to love that reaches beyond the grave, these authors will make this Halloween to remember.
And if that's not enough, there will be ton prizes and plenty of chances to win! Vote for your favorite and comment with your email to be entered. The more often you comment, the better your chances!
To find out who's participating and what some of the prizes are, click on the picture to the left.
Now, since I'm holding the contest, I'm obviously not participating, but I figured I'd throw in a short excerpt just for fun. I've had this story shelved for awhile now, but I'm planning to take it back out soon and finish it.Comments on this will count as an entry for the grand prizes, but as with the comments throughout the length of the contest, you must include your email to qualify.
I hope you enjoy this and all the other excerpts!
Exclusive Excerpt From Royal Pain
Copyright 2011 Bianca Sommerland
The stillness caused gooseflesh to rise all over her. She felt as though all the powers of the earth were focused on her, waiting for her to obey. Wind rustled the leaves over head and birds twittered, much like the ladies in the hall.
Oh, she didn’t want to listen to him. She couldn’t. No man, not even the one she loved, ordered her to do anything. He could ask, but. . .
No, he’d said he wouldn’t ask.
She dragged her slippers through the dirt and leaves and went to him. Hand on one cocked hip, she tossed her head. “Yes, My Lord?”
He clucked his tongue. “This won’t do, my dear. How am I to enjoy myself if you behave as though I am beneath you.”
“Silence.” His eyes narrowed and she pressed her lips together. He circled her, putting a firm hand on her shoulder when she tried to keep him in sight. “You are beneath me—and will be beneath me—until sunrise.” His hand slipped up to the nape of her neck and squeezed. “Your answer?”
Her nipples drew taut under her bodice and she sucked in a breath. Answer? For a moment she couldn’t remember. She glanced up at the sun, already angling towards the west. They couldn’t possibly remain in the woods all night long. Granted these trees hadn’t fallen victim to Archne’s shadow yet, they were all lush and green. But they wouldn’t be if the spiders caught wind of fresh meat. The trees would die and her and Malkyn would be reduced to bones before the sun rose.
“You must mean until sunset?” She stared at him when he shook his head. “But—”
“You trust me so little, love? I will keep you safe. Do you believe me?” He waited until she nodded, then arched a brow. “Then what is your answer?”
Her answer . . .ah yes. There could be only one. “Yes, My Lord.”
“Very good.” He came to a stop in front of her and tugged as the ties the Earl had done up earlier that day. When she lifted her hands to help he pushed them down to her sides. “Don’t move.”
A little quiver ran from her belly to the juncture of her thighs, as though her body was the string of a harp he’d plucked. The dress was loosened and lowered. The soft summer breeze seemed to play a high tune on her nerves as she stood there, naked before him. Not for the first time, but this was very different than any time before.
Trembling, feeling so very exposed, Carly gave a little start when Malkyn put his hands on her arms. He rubbed them and gave her a warm smile.
“Whatever happens, I want you to keep one thing in mind. You trust me. I will never hurt you in a way you will not find pleasure from.”
Sweet goddess. “But—”
He put a finger to her lips. “Hush.” He pointed at something behind her. “Sit there and do not move until I say you may.”
There was a big old tree with huge, craggily roots covered in thick moss. Carly approached it, trepidation rising as she felt Malkyn’s gaze between her shoulder blades like a firm hand urging her on. She perched on an arched root the width of Malkyn’s thick thigh. He shook his head, stepped up to her, then took hold of her ankle and pulled until she was seated between two roots with her legs spread wide and her bottom on a large lump at the base of the tree.
“Arms over your head.” Malkyn watch her lift her arms and nodded in satisfaction. “Perfect. I will bind you now.”
“What?” Carly squeaked as vines snaked up from beneath the roots and wound around her thighs above her knees. More vines bound her arms to the trunk of the tree, from her elbows to her wrists. The cool, slick skin of the living rope tightened until the bark of the tree dented her flesh. Her heart stuttered a panicked beat in her chest as she strained against the vines.
Malkyn made a shushing sound and put one hand on the trunk over her head. “You’re fine, little one. Exquisite, actually.” He ran his fingers down her cheek and she found his praise soothed her, as did his touch. “I have dreamed of having you just like this for years. And I’m not the only one.”
When I hear the word “cartoon,” it takes my back to my misspent childhood of He-Man, Transformers, and GI Joe, and the associated toys and action figures. I think about the cumulative years of imagination that contaminated me to the point where I’m wholly unsuitable for a 9-5 desk jockey’s job and that helped create a neophyte writer STOP THE MUSIC!!!
The first inkling the American mainstream had that cartoons were not solely the province of children and emotionally-stunted adults was the wildly imaginative animated movie Heavy Metal. Featuring a hard-driving metal soundtrack and incorporating nearly every genre from sci-fi horror to erotica to fantasy, Heavy Metal was a wake-up call for a generation. I remember it because it was the first cartoon I ever saw featuring exposed breasts and nipples, which as a healthy nine-year-old male made it a REALLY BIG DEAL to me. (Yeah, the caps are intentional: I’m amazed my palms aren’t furry because of the chick with the white hair.)
The way the women were dressed, in a whole lot of not much mostly consisting of a complicated series of straps that barely covered the essentials, was echoed in most of the comic books I started reading around the same time. The women either wore form-fitting bodysuits that in the real world would be so snug you could see their labia or a few wisps of leather or latex not a great deal more modest than the gauzy material that some jurisdictions require exotic dancers to wear around their hips. Don’t believe me? Go over to your local Mecca of Geekdom (aka the comic-book store), grab a random comic book, and open it up. If there’s a woman in the story, 9.9 out of 10 times, she’s wearing this kind of outfit, give or take a cape, a crown, or some kind of accessory designed to do thoroughly unpleasant things to anyone in its path and featuring an elaborate semi-divine back story a la Excalibur.
Now, let me back this bus up for a second before it builds any more momentum and someone gets all the wrong ideas. I’m not saying comic books are bad or are loaded with subliminal messages; far from it! Comic books and movies like Heavy Metal were specifically intended to cater to the budding sexuality, natural curiosity, and feelings of social isolation that plague adolescents. (Oh, yeah, there’s plenty of eye candy for the girls, too. All the guys look like they’ve been dressed by dommes or are so ripped they look like they can bench-press refrigerators.) Comic books offer that little thrill of the forbidden, wrapped up in heavy morality tales and liberally peppered with punches, kicks, slashes, and blasts from various exotic weapons to make them palatable. “It’s a comic book! Little Timmy won’t learn ANYTHING about sex from this.” (Although I myself had some fairly “torrid” fantasies about Marvel Comics’ Psylocke. I say “torrid” because while they were pretty randy for a thirteen-year-old, they were positively pedestrian compared to what I write on a daily basis now!)
And now, here’s the kicker: The point of this little diatribe is that if you read between the lines with a knowing, adult eye, you’re likely to find all kinds of little kinks and fetishes hidden in comic books. The meaning and metaphor will most likely be wholly lost on the kiddies, who just see a good or not-so-good story. They’re not as likely to focus on the exposed “naughty bits” as they are the number of explosions or “Hey! Did you see how Wolverine/Superman/Batman sliced up/blasted/beat up that Sentinel/rogue missile/bad guy?” Thinking on Batman: The whole joke about what REALLY happened behind the scenes with Bruce and Dick has become a little shopworn, but still bears consideration.
A disclaimer: Everything that follows is off the top of my head and the ones I am aware of from personal experience and knowledge. I’m sure that I’ll miss some, but this is by way of example, not the encyclopedia. Any fetishes that I didn’t give specific references for, you can find online with a little research, but trust me: They’re out there. Also, I’m not weighing the relative “goodness” or “badness” of any particular fetish or proclivity; I’m merely acknowledging their existence.
In the broad sweep of the comic book world, you’ve got shadings or blatant mentions of BDSM (Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman), GLBTQ (subplots of The Green Lantern, Superman), necrophilia (Not touching this one), voyeurism (Spider-Man, Superman, Batman. . . need I go on?), an entire host of bestiality fetishes (Batman again. . . what’s up with this guy?), and sado-masochism (Insert your favorite comic villain here. If they weren’t getting off on getting pounded on, why would they insist on pissing off the people most likely to push their faces into their brainpans?).
So what does it all mean?
Comic books are a great medium. They have layers to appeal to their nominal target audience, and the messages they convey, of tolerance and justice and being the one to stand against the darkness, are timeless parables written to be accessible to the tween and up set. But if you scratch the surface and take a closer look, somewhere in the colorful costumes and explosions, you can find yourself looking back from the eye-catching pages.
And in the grand scheme of things, that’s the entire point of ANY medium of writing: To see ourselves in a glass, darkly, either an idealized or debased reflection of our own personas, beliefs, and desires. No matter how extreme or well-tolerated, we ultimately just want to be accepted for everything we are, and a truly good book will leave us feeling, at the end, a little less isolated. And that includes our own peculiar kinks, too.
Thanks to Bianca, and all you terrific readers, for letting me come by again and shoot my mouth off. It’s been fun! I look forward to seeing YOUR takes on this notion.
First, I want to officially welcome you all to my new blog! And my new website! Isn't it pretty? <g> Did it all by myself!
Now then, just to get you all up to date since I haven't been posting much, I've decided to do a theme every week. Part laziness and part practicality. If I know this weeks is enema week, I won't have to drive myself nuts to come up with something interesting to say. Enemas are plenty interesting! I bet I could fill posts and posts on that topic alone!
We'll save that for another day.
This week, the theme is kids and pets in erotic romance. Oh don't ew me! Perv. That's not what I'm talking about and you know it. Seriously, get help.
Any good book has realistic characters. With realistic lives. Which means they have families and houses. And sometimes those families and houses are infested with kids and pets. Happens to the best of us. No way around it.
But wait a second! There's a whole lot of other stuff that happens in real life that I don't want to read about! Think about it! My sex is disrupted often enough with 'Mommy, I had a nightmare. Can I sleep with you?' Must my action between the pages of my favourite novel be interrupted as well?
Of course, you know, that rarely happens. Because the hero and heroine have perfect little babies or nieces or nephews. They are all well behaved and only act up when the nurturing woman or protective, yet stern man, need to prove themselves. Which makes me hate them. Really, truly hate them. I am not that patient when I'm interrupted. Bad enough these fictional people are already having more sex than me! Must they have endless patience too?
So yeah, I'm not longer turned on. Or enjoying the story. I'm aggravated and about to toss this book at my not so perfect kiddies.
And then there's the animals. Sorry, but it's not cute when Rover watches the hero giving it to the heroine. His little grunts make me think he's wondering when he gets his turn. Just plain nasty. Put the dog outside! And the cats...jeezum, don't you have a door?
Well, that's it for now. Sorry this post is short—to tell you the truth, I really don't mind kids and pets in any stories...like anything else, it's just gotta been done right.
Swing by again in a couple of days to get my dear friend, Cari Silverwood's, take on the subject. She's also going to share an excerpt from her new release Iron Dominance.
But don't wait—don't read the excerpt. Go get the books now. http://www.loose-id.com/Our-Authors/Cari-Silverwood/ This is only the second book ever to be given a bottle by me...okay, I haven't given it a bottle yet—officially anyway—but this book is worth the good stuff. When you get it, get yourself some extra batteries. Just do. You'll thank me ;)
Before I get started, I’ve gotta let you know, everything I’m...experimenting with is purely for research. It’s kinda like method acting, really putting yourself into the scene to come across as more genuine. In all honesty, I’m a vanilla kinda girl. I do not enjoy having clothespins lined up on my flesh, biting at me like so many tiny mouths. Wax being poured over my skin, each drip a hot surprise—Nope, not for me. And being spanked...
Okay, you can stop laughing now. Fine, I’m loving each and every second of "research". I am seriously considering going to this kinky event I heard about on Fetlife to see what I’ve been missing. There’s this rope bondage training thingy that takes place every weekend that I’m working up the nerve to go to. And you should see my toy box. Actually, I need a new one. I’m thinking one of those big medieval trunks.
Anyway, if you wanna know more about my toys...well, darlin’s, you’ve got to read my books. Everything I’ve used is mentioned at some point! For those who have read my books, think sane stuff. And just to throw you off, I mean sane by my standards.
All right, all right, I’m done teasing. Ready for my review of my very first whip?
Here you go:
I give the Sensua Suede Whip 4 Strong Shots
This beauty came packaged in a sleek black box that reminds me of the ones jewellery stores use for necklaces. The flogger itself—another thing, it’s labelled a whip, but I think it’s a flogger—is small and elegant. Perfect for beginners because there’s nothing scary about it. Whether you’re roleplaying or training a new sub, man or woman, super strong or tiny, this dainty piece will not intimidate anyone. Which could be a problem if that’s your intention, but really, if you’re ready for that level of play, you know how to shop for your sex toys and tools.
One of the things I really loved about the Sensua Suede Whip is the suede. If you don’t like things made of animal skin, you probably won’t understand the appeal, but for me, the second I picked it up I stroked the tails, then brought them up to my nose to savour the rich, leather scent. The handle is nicely balanced, so I imagined that would made for some nice, even strikes.
And here’s where the flogger goes from five stars to four. Other may have a different experience, but I found that no matter how hard you try, the tails striking your flesh does little more than sting. I might not be the most experienced person in the world, but I’ve gotten spankings with a hand and a belt. I’d hoped this would up the intensity a little, but it didn’t.
The good thing about the flogger is it makes for a nice, sensual warm up. You can build up anticipation, maybe even switch things up spontaneously to catch your lover off-guard. Don’t get what I mean? Think about it:
Facedown on the bed, she moaned as the flogger swept across her bottom, rising up to meet teasing strokes that seemed endless.
The soft tails trailed between her legs, caressing her damp heat. Deliciously sensual, but...
Sharp pain exploded just below her hip. She threw back her head as moisture trickled down her thigh. Endless, lulling pleasure, and now...
“Ah!” Tears stung her eyes as fire danced up her other thigh. Again the flogger teased her, but this time, she tensed every time it touched her. Anticipation drew her attention away from everything else, from her worries, from the world. In tune with every sensation--blazing pain, sizzling pleasure, all one and the same—she found herself sobbing, begging as her entire being devolved into a thing of pure need.
Of course, some skill would be required to bring a woman to that point, but practice makes perfect. And sorry, but I don’t consider that cliché in this case. You really must practice. Repeatedly if necessary. Several times a day.