A Woman Who Asks For Nothing Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to A Woman Who Asks For Nothing. Here they are! All 200 of them:

If I should have a daughter…“Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.” She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried. And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.” But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boats nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it. I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away. You will put the “wind” in win some lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life. And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it. “Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.” Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining. Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.
Sarah Kay
I was in the winter of my life- and the men I met along the road were my only summer. At night I fell sleep with visions of myself dancing and laughing and crying with them. Three years down the line of being on an endless world tour and memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times. I was a singer, not a very popular one, who once had dreams of becoming a beautiful poet- but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like a million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again- sparkling and broken. But I really didn’t mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is. When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living- they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what its like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lay your head. I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing me due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn't plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying- because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one- who belonged to everyone, who had nothing- who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about- and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me. Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art.
Lana Del Rey
Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer. When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know. So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed. Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest. Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold. Call that profit. Prophesy such returns. Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years. Listen to carrion — put your ear close, and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come. Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. So long as women do not go cheap for power, please women more than men. Ask yourself: Will this satisfy a woman satisfied to bear a child? Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth? Go with your love to the fields. Lie down in the shade. Rest your head in her lap. Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts. As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.
Wendell Berry
There is probably no better or more reliable measure of whether a woman has spent time in ugly duckling status at some point or all throughout her life than her inability to digest a sincere compliment. Although it could be a matter of modesty, or could be attributed to shyness- although too many serious wounds are carelessly written off as "nothing but shyness"- more often a compliment is stuttered around about because it sets up an automatic and unpleasant dialogue in the woman's mind. If you say how lovely she is, or how beautiful her art is, or compliment anything else her soul took part in, inspired, or suffused, something in her mind says she is undeserving and you, the complimentor, are an idiot for thinking such a thing to begin with. Rather than understand that the beauty of her soul shines through when she is being herself, the woman changes the subject and effectively snatches nourishment away from the soul-self, which thrives on being acknowledged." "I must admit, I sometimes find it useful in my practice to delineate the various typologies of personality as cats and hens and ducks and swans and so forth. If warranted, I might ask my client to assume for a moment that she is a swan who does not realzie it. Assume also for a moment that she has been brought up by or is currently surrounded by ducks. There is nothing wrong with ducks, I assure them, or with swans. But ducks are ducks and swans are swans. Sometimes to make the point I have to move to other animal metaphors. I like to use mice. What if you were raised by the mice people? But what if you're, say, a swan. Swans and mice hate each other's food for the most part. They each think the other smells funny. They are not interested in spending time together, and if they did, one would be constantly harassing the other. But what if you, being a swan, had to pretend you were a mouse? What if you had to pretend to be gray and furry and tiny? What you had no long snaky tail to carry in the air on tail-carrying day? What if wherever you went you tried to walk like a mouse, but you waddled instead? What if you tried to talk like a mouse, but insteade out came a honk every time? Wouldn't you be the most miserable creature in the world? The answer is an inequivocal yes. So why, if this is all so and too true, do women keep trying to bend and fold themselves into shapes that are not theirs? I must say, from years of clinical observation of this problem, that most of the time it is not because of deep-seated masochism or a malignant dedication to self-destruction or anything of that nature. More often it is because the woman simply doesn't know any better. She is unmothered.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run With the Wolves)
All beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain. If the greatnesses are in conjunction in a man or woman it is enough...the fact will prevail through the universe...but the gaggery and gilt of a million years will not prevail. Who troubles himself about his ornaments or fluency is lost. This is what you shall so: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body...
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
I was in the winter of my life- and the men I met along the road were my only summer. At night I fell sleep with vision of myself dancing and laughing and crying with them. Three year down the line of being on an endless world tour and memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times. I was a singer, not very popular one, who once has dreams of becoming a beautiful poet- but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again- sparkling and broken. But I really didn’t mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is. When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living- they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what its like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lied you head. I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing me due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiviness that was as wide as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn’t plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying- because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one- who belonged to everyone, who had nothing- who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obssesion for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about- and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me. Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art. LIVE FAST. DIE YOUNG. BE WILD. AND HAVE FUN. I believe in the country America used to be. I belive in the person I want to become, I believe in the freedom of the open road. And my motto is the same as ever- *I believe in the kindness of strangers. And when I’m at war with myself- I Ride. I Just Ride.* Who are you? Are you in touch with all your darkest fantasies? Have you created a life for yourself where you’re free to experience them? I Have. I Am Fucking Crazy. But I Am Free.
Lana Del Rey
She was the woman who’d come here to ask about love. She was the woman who’d decided to change her entire life with nothing but a list. She was the woman who survived, every single day. She was Chloe fucking Brown, and she was starting to wonder if she’d been brave from the beginning. If she’d just needed to love herself enough to realize it.
Talia Hibbert (Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1))
The chef turned back to the housekeeper. “Why is there doubt about the relations between Monsieur and Madame Rutledge?” The sheets,” she said succinctly. Jake nearly choked on his pastry. “You have the housemaids spying on them?” he asked around a mouthful of custard and cream. Not at all,” the housekeeper said defensively. “It’s only that we have vigilant maids who tell me everything. And even if they didn’t, one hardly needs great powers of observation to see that they do not behave like a married couple.” The chef looked deeply concerned. “You think there’s a problem with his carrot?” Watercress, carrot—is everything food to you?” Jake demanded. The chef shrugged. “Oui.” Well,” Jake said testily, “there is a string of Rutledge’s past mistresses who would undoubtedly testify there is nothing wrong with his carrot.” Alors, he is a virile man . . . she is a beautiful woman . . . why are they not making salad together?
Lisa Kleypas (Tempt Me at Twilight (The Hathaways, #3))
Amanda: This weekend was wonderful, but it isn't real life. It was more like a honeymoon, and after a while the excitement will wear off. We can tell ourselves it won't happen, we can make all the promises we want, but it's inevitable, and after that you'll never look at me the way you do now. I won't be the woman you dream about, or the girl you used to love. And you won't be my long-lost love, my one true thing anymore, either. You'll be someone my kids despise because you ruined the family, and you'll see me for who I really am. In a few years, I'll simply be a woman pushing fifty with three kids who might or might not hate her, and who might end up hating herself because of all this. And in the end, you'll end up hating her, too. Dawson: That's not true. Amanda: But it is. Honeymoons always come to an end. Dawson: Being together isn't about a honeymoon. It's about the real you and me. I want to wake up with you beside me in the mornings, I want to spend my evenings looking at you across the dinner table. I want to share every mundane detail of my day with you and hear every detail of yours. I want to laugh with you and fall asleep with you in my arms. Because you aren't just someone I loved back then. You were my best friend, my best self, and I can't imagine giving that up again. You might not understand, but I gave you the best of me, and after you left, nothing was ever the same. I know you're afraid, and I'm afraid, too. But if we let this go, if we pretend none of this ever happened, then I'm not sure we'll ever get another chance. We're still young. We still have time to make this right. Amanda: We're not that young anymore- Dawson: But we are. We still have the rest of our lives. Amanda: I know. That's why I need you to do something for me. Dawson: Anything. Amanda: Please...don't ask me to go with you, because if you do, I'll go. Please don't ask me to tell Frank about us, because I'll do that, too. Please don't ask me to give up my responsibilities or break up my family. I love you, and if you love me, too, then you just can't ask me to do these things. Because I don't trust myself enough to say no.
Nicholas Sparks (The Best of Me)
It’s loneliness. Even though I’m surrounded by loved ones who care about me and want only the best, it’s possible they try to help only because they feel the same thing—loneliness—and why, in a gesture of solidarity, you’ll find the phrase “I am useful, even if alone” carved in stone. Though the brain says all is well, the soul is lost, confused, doesn’t know why life is being unfair to it. But we still wake up in the morning and take care of our children, our husband, our lover, our boss, our employees, our students, those dozens of people who make an ordinary day come to life. And we often have a smile on our face and a word of encouragement, because no one can explain their loneliness to others, especially when we are always in good company. But this loneliness exists and eats away at the best parts of us because we must use all our energy to appear happy, even though we will never be able to deceive ourselves. But we insist, every morning, on showing only the rose that blooms, and keep the thorny stem that hurts us and makes us bleed hidden within. Even knowing that everyone, at some point, has felt completely and utterly alone, it is humiliating to say, “I’m lonely, I need company. I need to kill this monster that everyone thinks is as imaginary as a fairy-tale dragon, but isn’t.” But it isn’t. I wait for a pure and virtuous knight, in all his glory, to come defeat it and push it into the abyss for good, but that knight never comes. Yet we cannot lose hope. We start doing things we don’t usually do, daring to go beyond what is fair and necessary. The thorns inside us will grow larger and more overwhelming, yet we cannot give up halfway. Everyone is looking to see the final outcome, as though life were a huge game of chess. We pretend it doesn’t matter whether we win or lose, the important thing is to compete. We root for our true feelings to stay opaque and hidden, but then … … instead of looking for companionship, we isolate ourselves even more in order to lick our wounds in silence. Or we go out for dinner or lunch with people who have nothing to do with our lives and spend the whole time talking about things that are of no importance. We even manage to distract ourselves for a while with drink and celebration, but the dragon lives on until the people who are close to us see that something is wrong and begin to blame themselves for not making us happy. They ask what the problem is. We say that everything is fine, but it’s not … Everything is awful. Please, leave me alone, because I have no more tears to cry or heart left to suffer. All I have is insomnia, emptiness, and apathy, and, if you just ask yourselves, you’re feeling the same thing. But they insist that this is just a rough patch or depression because they are afraid to use the real and damning word: loneliness. Meanwhile, we continue to relentlessly pursue the only thing that would make us happy: the knight in shining armor who will slay the dragon, pick the rose, and clip the thorns. Many claim that life is unfair. Others are happy because they believe that this is exactly what we deserve: loneliness, unhappiness. Because we have everything and they don’t. But one day those who are blind begin to see. Those who are sad are comforted. Those who suffer are saved. The knight arrives to rescue us, and life is vindicated once again. Still, you have to lie and cheat, because this time the circumstances are different. Who hasn’t felt the urge to drop everything and go in search of their dream? A dream is always risky, for there is a price to pay. That price is death by stoning in some countries, and in others it could be social ostracism or indifference. But there is always a price to pay. You keep lying and people pretend they still believe, but secretly they are jealous, make comments behind your back, say you’re the very worst, most threatening thing there is. You are not an adulterous man, tolerated and often even admired, but an adulterous woman, one who is ...
Paulo Coelho (Adultery)
A woman in her thirties came to see me. As she greeted me, I could sense the pain behind her polite and superficial smile. She started telling me her story, and within one second her smile changed into a grimace of pain. Then, she began to sob uncontrollably. She said she felt lonely and unfulfilled. There was much anger and sadness. As a child she had been abused by a physically violent father. I saw quickly that her pain was not caused by her present life circumstances but by an extraordinarily heavy pain-body. Her pain-body had become the filter through which she viewed her life situation. She was not yet able to see the link between the emotional pain and her thoughts, being completely identified with both. She could not yet see that she was feeding the pain-body with her thoughts. In other words, she lived with the burden of a deeply unhappy self. At some level, however, she must have realized that her pain originated within herself, that she was a burden to herself. She was ready to awaken, and this is why she had come. I directed the focus of her attention to what she was feeling inside her body and asked her to sense the emotion directly, instead of through the filter of her unhappy thoughts, her unhappy story. She said she had come expecting me to show her the way out of her unhappiness, not into it. Reluctantly, however, she did what I asked her to do. Tears were rolling down her face, her whole body was shaking. “At this moment, this is what you feel.” I said. “There is nothing you can do about the fact that at this moment this is what you feel. Now, instead of wanting this moment to be different from the way it is, which adds more pain to the pain that is already there, is it possible for you to completely accept that this is what you feel right now?” She was quiet for a moment. Suddenly she looked impatient, as if she was about to get up, and said angrily, “No, I don't want to accept this.” “Who is speaking?” I asked her. “You or the unhappiness in you? Can you see that your unhappiness about being unhappy is just another layer of unhappiness?” She became quiet again. “I am not asking you to do anything. All I'm asking is that you find out whether it is possible for you to allow those feelings to be there. In other words, and this may sound strange, if you don't mind being unhappy, what happens to the unhappiness? Don't you want to find out?” She looked puzzled briefly, and after a minute or so of sitting silently, I suddenly noticed a significant shift in her energy field. She said, “This is weird. I 'm still unhappy, but now there is space around it. It seems to matter less.” This was the first time I heard somebody put it like that: There is space around my unhappiness. That space, of course, comes when there is inner acceptance of whatever you are experiencing in the present moment. I didn't say much else, allowing her to be with the experience. Later she came to understand that the moment she stopped identifying with the feeling, the old painful emotion that lived in her, the moment she put her attention on it directly without trying to resist it, it could no longer control her thinking and so become mixed up with a mentally constructed story called “The Unhappy Me.” Another dimension had come into her life that transcended her personal past – the dimension of Presence. Since you cannot be unhappy without an unhappy story, this was the end of her unhappiness. It was also the beginning of the end of her pain-body. Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness. When our session came to an end, it was fulfilling to know that I had just witnessed the arising of Presence in another human being. The very reason for our existence in human form is to bring that dimension of consciousness into this world. I had also witnessed a diminishment of the pain-body, not through fighting it but through bringing the light of consciousness to it.
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)
Why do you suppose the poets talk about hearts?' he asked me suddenly. 'When they discuss emotional damage? The tissue of hearts is tough as a shoe. Did you ever sew up a heart?' I shook my head. 'No, but I've watched. I know what you mean.' The walls of a heart are thick and strong, and the surgeons use heavy needles. It takes a good bit of strength, but it pulls together neatly. As much as anything it's like binding a book. The seat of human emotion should be the liver,' Doc Homer said. 'That would be an appropriate metaphor: we don't hold love in our hearts, we hold it in our livers.' I understood exactly. Once in ER I saw a woman who'd been stabbed everywhere, most severely in the liver. It's an organ with the consistency of layer upon layer of wet Kleenex. Every attempt at repair just opens new holes that tear and bleed. You try to close the wound with fresh wounds, and you try and you try and you don't give up until there's nothing left.
Barbara Kingsolver
I wish I could explain how I feel, but nothing can explain this moment. Not a vase of stars. Not a book. Not a song. Not even a poem. Nothing can explain the moment when the woman you would give your life for sees her daughter for the very first time. Tears are streaming down her face. She’s stroking our baby girl’s cheek, smiling. Crying. Laughing. “I don’t want to count her fingers or toes,” Lake whispers. “I don’t care if she has two toes or three fingers or fifty feet. I love her so much, Will. She’s perfect.” She is perfect. So perfect. “Just like her mom,” I say. I lean my head against Lake’s and we just stare. We stare at the daughter who is so much more than I could have asked for. The daughter who is so much more than I dreamt of. So much more than I ever thought I would have. This girl. This baby girl is my life. Her mother is my life. These girls are both my life. I reach down and pick up her hand. Her tiny fingers reflexively wrap around my pinky and I can’t choke back my tears any longer. “Hey, Julia. It’s me. It’s your daddy.
Colleen Hoover (This Girl (Slammed, #3))
Je suis ce que je suis.” – Death “Is that a spell?” – Nick “It’s French, Nick. Means ‘I am what I am.’ Sheez, kid. Get educated. Read a book. I promise you it’s not painful.” – Death “I would definitely argue that. Have you seen my summer reading list? It’s nothing but girl books about them getting body parts and girl things I don’t want to discuss in class with my female English teacher. Maybe in the boys’ locker room and maybe with a coach, but not with a woman teacher in front of other girls who already won’t go out with me. Or worse, they’re about how bad all of us men reek and how we need to be taken out and shot ‘cause we’re an affront to all social and natural orders. Again – thanks, Teach. Give the girls even more reason to kick us down when we talk to one. Not like it’s not hard enough to get up the nerve to ask one out. Can you say inappropriate content? And then they tell me my manga’s bad. Riiight…Is it too much to ask that we have one book, just one, on the required reading list that says, ‘Hey, girls. Guys are fun and we’re okay. Really. We’re not all mean psycho-killing, bloodsucking animals. Most of us are pretty darn decent, and if you’ll just give us a chance, you’ll find out we’re not so bad.’” – Nick
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Invincible (Chronicles of Nick, #2))
A most deplorable sight," she said, folding her arms across her chest. "Someone who has lost everything. You know, minstrel, it is interesting. Once, I thought it was impossible to lose everything, that something always remains. Always. Even in times of contempt, when naivety is capable of backfiring in the cruellest way, one cannot lose everything. But he... he lost several pints of blood, the ability to walk properly, partial use of his left hand, his witcher's sword, the woman he loves, the daughter he had gained by a miracle, his faith... Well, I thought, he must have been left with something. But I was wrong. He has nothing now. Not even a razor." Dandelion remained silent. The dryad did not move. "I asked if you had a hand in this," she began a moment later. "But I think there was no need. It's obvious you had a hand in it. It's obvious you are his friend. And if someone has friends, and he loses everything in spite of that, it's obvious the friends are to blame. For what they did, or for what they didn't do.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Czas pogardy (Saga o Wiedźminie, #2))
Shall I show you the half-dozen other rooms in this hospital where these scenes are repeated? And what of the other hospitals? Printing House Square is small and tame. Even in the private institutions uptown you can see a show just like this: there is nothing as disgusting as an obese cadaver in which all the futile pleasures of many years finally arise to fill it full-blown with stinking rotten gases. The city is burning and under siege. And we are in a war in which everyone is killed and no one is remembered." "What am I supposed to do, then," Peter Lake asked, "if it's like you say?" "Is there someone you love?" "Yes." "A woman?" "Yes." "Then go home to her." "And who will remember her?" "No one. That's just the point. You must take care of all that now.
Mark Helprin (Winter's Tale)
Henry's face went red in anger as he blustered at her audacity. It wasn't often anyone got the better of him, and Sin knew no woman had ever flummoxed him before. Not even Eleanor. "You are willing to declare war for him ?" Henry asked indignantly. She didn't hesitate with her response. "I am. Are you?" Sin closed his eyes as he heard the most precious words of his life. She who believed in nothing but peace was willing to fight for him. He could die happily knowing that. Still, he couldn't let her do this. Henry would not rest until he buried her and her clan. A king's reputation was all he had, and if Henry lost face… "Callie," Sin said, waiting until her gaze met his. "Thank you, but you can't do this. You can't start a war over me. I'm not worth the cost." "You are worth everything to me.
Kinley MacGregor (Born in Sin (Brotherhood of the Sword, #3; MacAllister, #2))
Aureliano Segundo was deep in the reading of a book. Although it had no cover and the title did not appear anywhere, the boy enjoyed the story of a woman who sat at a table and ate nothing but kernels of rice, which she picked up with a pin, and the story of the fisherman who borrowed a weight for his net from a neighbor and when he gave him a fish in payment later it had a diamond in its stomach, and the one about the lamp that fulfilled wishes and about flying carpets. Surprised, he asked Ursula if all that was true and she answered him that it was, that many years ago the gypsies had brought magic lamps and flying mats to Macondo. "What's happening," she sighed, "is that the world is slowly coming to an end and those things don't come here any more.
Gabriel García Márquez
He steps away from her, going to a little side table and removing a cloth that's lying on top. Underneath are severale shiny bits of metal. Mr. Hammar picks one up. "And now for the second part of our interview", he says, approaching the woman. Who starts to scream. "That was," Davy says, pacing around as we wait outside but it's all he can get out. "That was." He turns to me. "Holy crap, Todd." I don't say nothing, just take the apple I've been saving outta my pocket. "Apple," I whisper to Angharrad, my head close to hers.
Patrick Ness (The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2))
Ruby Bates, one of the young white girls, was a remarkable person. She told me she had been driven into prostitution when she was thirteen. She had been working in a textile mill for a pittance. When she asked for a raise, the boss told her to make it up by going with the workers. She told me there was nothing else she could do...Ruby Bates was a remarkable woman. Underneath it all—the poverty, the degradation—she was decent, pure. Here was an illiterate white girl, all of whose training had been clouded by the myths of white supremacy, who, in the struggle for the lives of these nine innocent boys, had come to see the role she was being forced to play. As a murderer. She turned against her oppressors. . .. I shall never forget her.
Studs Terkel (Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression)
How we hate to admit that we would like nothing better than to be the slave! Slave and master at the same time! For even in love the slave is always the master in disguise. The man who must conquer the woman, subjugate her, bend her to his will, form her according to his desires—is he not the slave of his slave? How easy it is, in this relationship, for the woman to upset the balance of power! The mere threat of self-dependence, on the woman’s part, and the gallant despot is seized with vertigo. But if they are able to throw themselves at one another recklessly, concealing nothing, surrendering all, if they admit to one another their interdependence, do they not enjoy a great and unsuspected freedom? The man who admits to himself that he is a coward has made a step towards conquering his fear; but the man who frankly admits it to every one, who asks that you recognize it in him and make allowance for it in dealing with him, is on the way to becoming a hero. Such a man is often surprised, when the crucial test comes, to find that he knows no fear. Having lost the fear of regarding himself as a coward he is one no longer: only the demonstration is needed to prove the metamorphosis. It is the same in love. The man who admits not only to himself but to his fellowmen, and even to the woman he adores, that he can be twisted around a woman’s finger, that he is helpless where the other sex is concerned, usually discovers that he is the more powerful of the two. Nothing breaks a woman down more quickly than complete surrender. A woman is prepared to resist, to be laid siege to: she has been trained to behave that way. When she meets no resistance she falls headlong into the trap. To be able to give oneself wholly and completely is the greatest luxury that life affords. Real love only begins at this point of dissolution. The personal life is altogether based on dependence, mutual dependence. Society is the aggregate of persons all interdependent. There is another richer life beyond the pale of society, beyond the personal, but there is no knowing it, no attainment possible, without firs traveling the heights and depths of the personal jungle. To become the great lover, the magnetiser and catalyzer, the blinding focus and inspiration of the world, one has to first experience the profound wisdom of being an utter fool. The man whose greatness of heart leads him to folly and ruin is to a woman irresistible. To the woman who loves, that is to say. As to those who ask merely to be loved, who seek only their own reflection in the mirror, no love however great, will ever satisfy them. In a world so hungry for love it is no wonder that men and women are blinded by the glamour and glitter of their own reflected egos. No wonder that the revolver shot is the last summons. No wonder that the grinding wheels of the subway express, though they cut the body to pieces, fail to precipitate the elixir of love. In the egocentric prism the helpless victim is walled in by the very light which he refracts. The ego dies in its own glass cage…
Henry Miller (Sexus (The Rosy Crucifixion, #1))
She angled her chin proudly. “Very well. If you insist. I’ve come to invite you to my wedding.” He shook his head sadly. “That I cannot do, my love.” “But it shall be the talk of London. I want you there. Desperately.” He gazed out to the sea. “I never thought you to be cruel, Tess. I can deny you nothing. But please don’t ask this of me.” “But if you’re not there, my dear, dear Leo, then however shall I marry you? She watched as the shock of her words rippled over his beloved features. “Me? But you always said no when I asked for your hand.” “I was a foolish woman. Lynnford was the love of my youth. And as we have talked these many weeks as we’ve not been able to talk in years, so we discovered that neither of us is the person that each of us fell in love with. We were holding onto someone who no longer exists.” She took a tentative step toward him. “You love me as I am now. And I shall love you always. Marry me, Leo. For God’s sake, marry me.
Lorraine Heath (Waking Up With the Duke (London's Greatest Lovers, #3))
You have savings?" she was astonished. As a woman who lived on the very extreme edges of her budget, whose credit card bills were a source of monthly concern, the idea of savings was just so alien. But then this was Ed, a different kind of person altogether. "Why do I know nothing about your savings?" she'd asked. "I wonder!" he'd answered with a smile. "Maybe because I don't want my savings to be translated into "really great investments" like Miu Miu shoes or Hermès handbags.
Carmen Reid (How Not To Shop (Annie Valentine, #3))
My little brother's greatest fear was that the one person who meant so much to him would go away. He loved Lindsey and Grandma Lynn and Samuel and Hal, but my father kept him stepping lightly, son gingerly monitoring father every morning and every evening as if, without such vigilance, he would lose him. We stood- the dead child and the living- on either side of my father, both wanting the same thing. To have him to ourselves forver. To please us both was an impossibility. ... 'Please don't let Daddy die, Susie,' he whispered. 'I need him.' When I left my brother, I walked out past the gazebo and under the lights hanging down like berries, and I saw the brick paths branching out as I advanced. I walked until the bricks turned to flat stones and then to small, sharp rocks and then to nothing but churned earth for miles adn miles around me. I stood there. I had been in heaven long enough to know that something would be revealed. And as the light began to fade and the sky to turn a dark, sweet blue as it had on the night of my death, I saw something walking into view, so far away I could not at first make out if it was man or woman, child or adult. But as moonlight reached this figure I could make out a man and, frightened now, my breathing shallow, I raced just far enough to see. Was it my father? Was it what I had wanted all this time so deperately? 'Susie,' the man said as I approached and then stopped a few feet from where he stood. He raised his arms up toward me. 'Remember?' he said. I found myself small again, age six and in a living room in Illinois. Now, as I had done then, I placed my feet on top of his feet. 'Granddaddy,' I said. And because we were all alone and both in heaven, I was light enough to move as I had moved when I was six and in a living room in Illinois. Now, as I had done then, I placed my feet on top of his feet. 'Granddaddy,' I said. And because we were all alone and both in heaven, I was light enough to move as I had moved when I was six and he was fifty-six and my father had taken us to visit. We danced so slowly to a song that on Earth had always made my grandfather cry. 'Do you remember?' he asked. 'Barber!' 'Adagio for Strings,' he said. But as we danced and spun- none of the herky-jerky awkwardness of Earth- what I remembered was how I'd found him crying to this music and asked him why. 'Sometimes you cry,' Susie, even when someone you love has been gone a long time.' He had held me against him then, just briefly, and then I had run outside to play again with Lindsey in what seemed like my grandfather's huge backyard. We didn't speak any more that night, but we danced for hours in that timeless blue light. I knew as we danced that something was happening on Earth and in heaven. A shifting. The sort of slow-to-sudden movement that we'd read about in science class one year. Seismic, impossible, a rending and tearing of time and space. I pressed myself into my grandfather's chest and smelled the old-man smell of him, the mothball version of my own father, the blood on Earth, the sky in heaven. The kumquat, skunk, grade-A tobacco. When the music stopped, it cold have been forever since we'd begun. My grandfateher took a step back, and the light grew yellow at his back. 'I'm going,' he said. 'Where?' I asked. 'Don't worry, sweetheart. You're so close.' He turned and walked away, disappearing rapidly into spots and dust. Infinity.
Alice Sebold
Children write essays in school about the unhappy, tragic, doomed life of Anna Karenina. But was Anna really unhappy? She chose passion and she paid for her passion—that's happiness! She was a free, proud human being. But what if during peacetime a lot of greatcoats and peaked caps burst into the house where you were born and live, and ordered the whole family to leave house and town in twenty-four hours, with only what your feeble hands can carry?... You open your doors, call in the passers-by from the streets and ask them to buy things from you, or to throw you a few pennies to buy bread with... With ribbon in her hair, your daughter sits down at the piano for the last time to play Mozart. But she bursts into tears and runs away. So why should I read Anna Karenina again? Maybe it's enough—what I've experienced. Where can people read about us? Us? Only in a hundred years? "They deported all members of the nobility from Leningrad. (There were a hundred thousand of them, I suppose. But did we pay much attention? What kind of wretched little ex-nobles were they, the ones who remained? Old people and children, the helpless ones.) We knew this, we looked on and did nothing. You see, we weren't the victims." "You bought their pianos?" "We may even have bought their pianos. Yes, of course we bought them." Oleg could now see that this woman was not yet even fifty. Yet anyone walking past her would have said she was an old woman. A lock of smooth old woman's hair, quite incurable, hung down from under her white head-scarf. "But when you were deported, what was it for? What was the charge?" "Why bother to think up a charge? 'Socially harmful' or 'socially dangerous element'—S.D.E.', they called it. Special decrees, just marked by letters of the alphabet. So it was quite easy. No trial necessary." "And what about your husband? Who was he?" "Nobody. He played the flute in the Leningrad Philharmonic. He liked to talk when he'd had a few drinks." “…We knew one family with grown-up children, a son and a daughter, both Komsomol (Communist youth members). Suddenly the whole family was put down for deportation to Siberia. The children rushed to the Komsomol district office. 'Protect us!' they said. 'Certainly we'll protect you,' they were told. 'Just write on this piece of paper: As from today's date I ask not to be considered the son, or the daughter, of such-and-such parents. I renounce them as socially harmful elements and I promise in the future to have nothing whatever to do with them and to maintain no communication with them.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Cancer Ward)
The other question young people always ask me is: "What advice do you have for a person like me, an Asian American woman wanting to get into Hollywood?" Here it is: Let go of seeing yourself as nothing more than an Asian American woman. Ask yourself who you are outside of that.
Ali Wong (Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life)
Ah! If you have a self-will in your hearts, pray to God to uproot it. Have you self-love? Beseech the Holy Spirit to turn it out; for if you will always will to do as God wills, you must be happy. I have heard of some good old woman in a cottage, who had nothing but a piece of bread and a little water, and lifting up her hands, she said, as a blessing, "What!? all this, and Christ too?" What is "all this," compared with what we deserve? And I have read of someone dying, who was asked if he wished to live or die; and he said, "I have no wish at all about it." "But if you might wish, which would you choose?" "I would not choose at all." "But if God bade you choose?" "I would beg God to choose for me, for I would not know which to take." Oh happy state! to be perfectly acquiescent, to lie passive in His hand, and know no will but His.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
You trying to tell me a woman can’t be nothing without a man. But you alright, huh? You can just walk out of here without me - without a woman – and still be a man. That’s alright. Ain’t nobody gonna ask you, “Avery, who you got to love you?” That’s alright for you. But everybody gonna be worried about Berniece. “How Berniece gonna take care of herself? How she gonna raise that child without a man? Wonder what she do with herself. How she gonna live like that?” Everybody got all kinds of questions for Berniece. Everybody telling me I can’t be a woman unless I got a man. Well, you tell me, Avery – you know – how much a woman am I?
August Wilson (The Piano Lesson)
As a woman, you walk into all kinds of unknown situations that cause you to fall in love, put someone else’s needs before your own, and make unbelievable sacrifices. As time goes by, falling in love has its consequences. You fall in love with your mate, children, family, and job. However, you do not receive a fraction of what you have given in return. Sadly, nobody sees you are beyond exhausted. They want you to go, go and go without complaining. If they carefully pay attention and think about it; when was the last time they saw you smile, truly smile? When was the last time they saw you happy, truly happy? When was the last time they offered to help you, as opposed to asking could you do this or that? When was the last time they gave you a moment to breathe? As you work so hard and give so much of yourself, you think things will finally line up. However, that is not the case. Once you set someone up to help them prosper, things in your life start to crumble, and slowly but surely you begin to feel violated. Your hard work is soon forgotten as they drop you where you stand. Life isn’t fair and it is hard. It’s even harder when you love so hard and lose so much. You are not perfect. You have your flaws, and most definitely you have your moments. However, you have a good heart and you try to treat others how you want to be treated. Time and time again you give people all of your heart by trying to be loving and understanding. You’ve learned that when it comes to some people, nothing would ever be good enough. You have to be willing to accept that you loved them to the best of your ability, and only lost someone who caused you to lose more of yourself. Those people aren’t worth saving because the question is, who will save you? However, the love you gave wasn’t in vain; it helped you to become a better person. The loss opened your eyes to see that you deserve so much better. It is alright to cry. You are finding your strength and you are beginning to find the voice within. You are special. You are unique. You are loved. There’s no need to be afraid. Life is a journey! You will make it. It’s okay to let go of the loss and count it all pure joy!
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
The answer to that question is…I won’t. You belong with me. Which leads me to the discussion I wanted to have with you.” “Where I belong is for me to decide, and though I may listen to what you have to say, that doesn’t mean I will agree with you.” “Fair enough.” Ren pushed his empty plate to the side. “We have some unfinished business to take care of.” “If you mean the other tasks we have to do, I’m already aware of that.” “I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about us.” “What about us?” I put my hands under the table and wiped my clammy palms on my napkin. “I think there are a few things we’ve left unsaid, and I think it’s time we said them.” “I’m not withholding anything from you, if that’s what you mean.” “You are.” “No. I’m not.” “Are you refusing to acknowledge what has happened between us?” “I’m not refusing anything. Don’t try to put words in my mouth.” “I’m not. I’m simply trying to convince a stubborn woman to admit that she has feelings for me.” “If I did have feelings for you, you’d be the first one to know.” “Are you saying that you don’t feel anything for me?” “That’s not what I’m saying.” “Then what are you saying?” “I’m saying…nothing!” I spluttered. Ren smiled and narrowed his eyes at me. If he kept up this line of questioning, he was bound to catch me in a lie. I’m not a very good liar. He sat back in his chair. “Fine. I’ll let you off the hook for now, but we will talk about this later. Tigers are relentless once they set their minds to something. You don’t be able to evade me forever.” Casually, I replied, “Don’t get your hopes up, Mr. Wonderful. Every hero has his Kryptonite, and you don’t intimidate me.” I twisted my napkin in my lap while he tracked my every move with his probing eyes. I felt stripped down, as if he could see into the very heart of me. When the waitress came back, Ren smiled at her as she offered a smaller menu, probably featuring desserts. She leaned over him while I tapped my strappy shoe in frustration. He listened attentively to her. Then, the two of them laughed again. He spoke quietly, gesturing to me, and she looked my way, giggled, and then cleared all the plates quickly. He pulled out a wallet and handed her a credit card. She put her hand on his arm to ask him another question, and I couldn’t help myself. I kicked him under the table. He didn’t even blink or look at me. He just reached his arm across the table, took my hand in his, and rubbed the back of it absentmindedly with his thumb as he answered her question. It was like my kick was a love tap to him. It only made him happier. When she left, I narrowed my eyes at him and asked, “How did you get that card, and what were you saying to her about me?” “Mr. Kadam gave me the card, and I told her that we would be having our dessert…later.” I laughed facetiously. “You mean you will be having dessert later by yourself this evening because I am done eating with you.” He leaned across the candlelit table and said, “Who said anything about eating, Kelsey?” He must be joking! But he looked completely serious. Great! There go the nervous butterflies again. “Stop looking at me like that.” “Like what?” “Like you’re hunting me. I’m not an antelope.” He laughed. “Ah, but the chase would be exquisite, and you would be a most succulent catch.” “Stop it.” “Am I making you nervous?” “You could say that.” I stood up abruptly as he was signing the receipt and made my way toward the door. He was next to me in an instant. He leaned over. “I’m not letting you escape, remember? Now, behave like a good date and let me walk you home. It’s the least you could do since you wouldn’t talk with me.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
If she captured Tamlin’s power once, who’s to say she can’t do it again?” It was the question I hadn’t yet dared voice. “He won’t be tricked again so easily,” he said, staring up at the ceiling. “Her biggest weapon is that she keeps our powers contained. But she can’t access them, not wholly—though she can control us through them. It’s why I’ve never been able to shatter her mind—why she’s not dead already. The moment you break Amarantha’s curse, Tamlin’s wrath will be so great that no force in the world will keep him from splattering her on the walls.” A chill went through me. “Why do you think I’m doing this?” He waved a hand to me. “Because you’re a monster.” He laughed. “True, but I’m also a pragmatist. Working Tamlin into a senseless fury is the best weapon we have against her. Seeing you enter into a fool’s bargain with Amarantha was one thing, but when Tamlin saw my tattoo on your arm … Oh, you should have been born with my abilities, if only to have felt the rage that seeped from him.” I didn’t want to think much about his abilities. “Who’s to say he won’t splatter you as well?” “Perhaps he’ll try—but I have a feeling he’ll kill Amarantha first. That’s what it all boils down to, anyway: even your servitude to me can be blamed on her. So he’ll kill her tomorrow, and I’ll be free before he can start a fight with me that will reduce our once-sacred mountain to rubble.” He picked at his nails. “And I have a few other cards to play.” I lifted my brows in silent question. “Feyre, for Cauldron’s sake. I drug you, but you don’t wonder why I never touch you beyond your waist or arms?” Until tonight—until that damned kiss. I gritted my teeth, but even as my anger rose, a picture cleared. “It’s the only claim I have to innocence,” he said, “the only thing that will make Tamlin think twice before entering into a battle with me that would cause a catastrophic loss of innocent life. It’s the only way I can convince him I was on your side. Believe me, I would have liked nothing more than to enjoy you—but there are bigger things at stake than taking a human woman to my bed.” I knew, but I still asked, “Like what?” “Like my territory,” he said, and his eyes held a far-off look that I hadn’t yet seen. “Like my remaining people, enslaved to a tyrant queen who can end their lives with a single word. Surely Tamlin expressed similar sentiments to you.” He hadn’t—not entirely. He hadn’t been able to, thanks to the curse. “Why did Amarantha target you?” I dared ask. “Why make you her whore?” “Beyond the obvious?” He gestured to his perfect face. When I didn’t smile, he loosed a breath. “My father killed Tamlin’s father—and his brothers.” I started. Tamlin had never said—never told me the Night Court was responsible for that. “It’s a long story, and I don’t feel like getting into it, but let’s just say that when she stole our lands out from under us, Amarantha decided that she especially wanted to punish the son of her friend’s murderer—decided that she hated me enough for my father’s deeds that I was to suffer.” I might have reached a hand toward him, might have offered my apologies—but every thought had dried up in my head. What Amarantha had done to him … “So,” he said wearily, “here we are, with the fate of our immortal world in the hands of an illiterate human.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
He's not wanting to fight," she assured the captain. "He is driven by curiosity?" Deudermont asked. "By loyalty," Catti-brie answered. "And nothing more. Drizzt is bound by friendship to ye and to the crew, and if a simple contest against the man will make for an easier sail, then he's up to the fight. But there is no curiosity in Drizzt. No stupid pride. He's not for caring who's the better at swordplay." Deudermont nodded and his expression brightened. The young woman's words confirmed his belief in his friend.
R.A. Salvatore (Passage to Dawn (Forgotten Realms: Legacy of the Drow, #4; Legend of Drizzt, #10))
Do you really not know that to praise a woman's mind is to abuse her? Is everyone not convinced that where there's cleverness there's no heart? Has it not been decided that a clever woman is a sort of monster who can feel nothing? Ask anyone, they'll all tell you so.
Karolina Pavlova
I like literature," I said. "We started watching the film version of Romeo and Juliet today." I didn't tell them this, but the love story fascinated me. The way the lovers fell so deeply and irrevocably in love after their first meeting sparked a burning curiosity in me about what human love might feel like. "How are you finding that?" Ivy asked. "It's very powerful, but the teacher got really mad when one of the boys said something about Lady Capulet." "What did he say?" "He called her a MILF, which must be offensive because Miss Castle called him a thug and sent him out of the room. Gabe, what is a MILF?" Ivy smothered her smile behind a napkin while Gabriel did something I'd never seen before. He blushed and shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "Some acronym for a teenage obscnity, I imagine," he mumbled. "Yes, but do you know what it means?" He paused, trying to find the right words. "It's a term used by adolescent males to describe a woman who is both attractive and a mother." He cleared his throat and got up quickly to refill the water jug. "I'm sure it must stand for something," I pressed. "It does," Gabriel said. "Ivy, can you remeber what it is?" "I believe it stands for 'mother I'd like to...befriend'," said my sister. "Is that all?" I exclaimed. "What a fuss over nothing. I really think Miss Castle needs to chill.
Alexandra Adornetto
I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed. Great things have been achieved through feminism. We now have pretty much equality at least on the pay and opportunities front, though almost nothing has been done on child care, the real liberation. We have many wonderful, clever, powerful women everywhere, but what is happening to men? Why did this have to be at the cost of men? I was in a class of nine- and ten-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men. You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives. The teacher tried to catch my eye, thinking I would approve of this rubbish. This kind of thing is happening in schools all over the place and no one says a thing. It has become a kind of religion that you can't criticise because then you become a traitor to the great cause, which I am not. It is time we began to ask who are these women who continually rubbish men. The most stupid, ill-educated and nasty woman can rubbish the nicest, kindest and most intelligent man and no one protests. Men seem to be so cowed that they can't fight back, and it is time they did.
Doris Lessing
It was an impressive gathering for a woman who had claimed to come from nothing and been wanted by no one as a child. When Marimar had asked why everyone in the family carried the last name Montoya, even though it was the maternal last name, Orquídea simply said that she wanted to leave her mark,
Zoraida Córdova (The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina)
But Wolfheart freezes in the middle of the movement. Between him and the blood covered man stands a woman who looks so small and frail that the wind should be able to pass right through her ...Every ounce of her seems to be yelling at her to run for her life. But she stays where she is, staring at Wolfheart with the resolute gaze of someone who has nothing left to lose. She rolls up the tumble-dryer fluff in the palm of one hand and clasps her hands over her stomach; then looks at with determination at Wolfheart and says with complete authority: "We don't beat people to death in this leaseholders' association.
Fredrik Backman (My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry)
There was nothing you could be sure about, it was all lies, and it was all done to mess with minds because the control and the power trip was so important to them, as well as it being necessary in terms of screwing up anything you might remember from an evidential perspective. They would also build up your hopes, in terms of any tiny thing you did like or were less scared of, so I'd be told that it would be a nice night because Uncle Andrew would be coming, but then it wouldn't be him. There would be someone else There would be someone else who I was told was my Uncle Andrew as he was raping me. Sometimes, this other person would have a mask on but I would know that it wasn't really him. They would be the wrong height or the wrong weight or, sometimes, even obviously a woman. There were occasions when I would be told to call the person Uncle Andrew and then when I did, they would ask me why I was doing that. Sometimes he would be there, too, but that was rare. Was it Satanic? I don't know. Personally I don't believe in God or Satan or any of those things, but abusers use whatever they can to silence children because if you go to the police and say something about Satan, you are so much less likely to be believed. I personally think they were just a group of likeminded people who had no beliefs other than that they wanted to get satisfaction out of abusing children and it's as simple and horrible as that. My uncle certainly doesn't have any satanic beliefs — he just thinks that he loves children and is allowed to get sexual satisfaction from them. Why is there sex involved if it is just about Satan? Why does it always come down to them getting off? No matter what they do that's all it is, whether masturbation or penetration or humiliation, that's what it's about. I encountered people who just liked to humiliate — they wouldn't allow you to go to the bathroom, you would be given drink after drink, fizzy drinks, whatever, so you ended up absolutely desperate and that's where they got off — that's when they started to masturbate themselves, as you stood there peeing yourself. That was just awful, so humiliating. Where is God or Satan in that? (her Uncle was convicted for abusing her and jailed)
Laurie Matthew (Groomed)
When I close my eyes to see, to hear, to smell, to touch a country I have known, I feel my body shake and fill with joy as if a beloved person had come near me. A rabbi was once asked the following question: ‘When you say that the Jews should return to Palestine, you mean, surely, the heavenly, the immaterial, the spiritual Palestine, our true homeland?’ The rabbi jabbed his staff into the ground in wrath and shouted, ‘No! I want the Palestine down here, the one you can touch with your hands, with its stones, its thorns and its mud!’ Neither am I nourished by fleshless, abstract memories. If I expected my mind to distill from a turbid host of bodily joys and bitternesses an immaterial, crystal-clear thought, I would die of hunger. When I close my eyes in order to enjoy a country again, my five senses, the five mouth-filled tentacles of my body, pounce upon it and bring it to me. Colors, fruits, women. The smells of orchards, of filthy narrow alleys, of armpits. Endless snows with blue, glittering reflections. Scorching, wavy deserts of sand shimmering under the hot sun. Tears, cries, songs, distant bells of mules, camels or troikas. The acrid, nauseating stench of some Mongolian cities will never leave my nostrils. And I will eternally hold in my hands – eternally, that is, until my hands rot – the melons of Bukhara, the watermelons of the Volga, the cool, dainty hand of a Japanese girl… For a time, in my early youth, I struggled to nourish my famished soul by feeding it with abstract concepts. I said that my body was a slave and that its duty was to gather raw material and bring it to the orchard of the mind to flower and bear fruit and become ideas. The more fleshless, odorless, soundless the world was that filtered into me, the more I felt I was ascending the highest peak of human endeavor. And I rejoiced. And Buddha came to be my greatest god, whom I loved and revered as an example. Deny your five senses. Empty your guts. Love nothing, hate nothing, desire nothing, hope for nothing. Breathe out and the world will be extinguished. But one night I had a dream. A hunger, a thirst, the influence of a barbarous race that had not yet become tired of the world had been secretly working within me. My mind pretended to be tired. You felt it had known everything, had become satiated, and was now smiling ironically at the cries of my peasant heart. But my guts – praised be God! – were full of blood and mud and craving. And one night I had a dream. I saw two lips without a face – large, scimitar-shaped woman’s lips. They moved. I heard a voice ask, ‘Who if your God?’ Unhesitatingly I answered, ‘Buddha!’ But the lips moved again and said: ‘No, Epaphus.’ I sprang up out of my sleep. Suddenly a great sense of joy and certainty flooded my heart. What I had been unable to find in the noisy, temptation-filled, confused world of wakefulness I had found now in the primeval, motherly embrace of the night. Since that night I have not strayed. I follow my own path and try to make up for the years of my youth that were lost in the worship of fleshless gods, alien to me and my race. Now I transubstantiate the abstract concepts into flesh and am nourished. I have learned that Epaphus, the god of touch, is my god. All the countries I have known since then I have known with my sense of touch. I feel my memories tingling, not in my head but in my fingertips and my whole skin. And as I bring back Japan to my mind, my hands tremble as if they were touching the breast of a beloved woman.
Nikos Kazantzakis (Travels in China & Japan)
Hypothetically speaking…” They all nod. “When you ask a woman who is clearly upset ‘what’s wrong’ and they say ‘nothing, I’m fine’—” They all groan and shake their heads. “So not fine.” “They’re pissed.” “Fine is the atom-bomb of female emotions.” Jesse cringes. “That’s a word you never want to hear when you ask if everything’s okay.
J.B. Salsbury (Strike a Chord (Love, Hate, Rock-n-Roll, #4))
I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel as I looked around the empty lot. I wavered on getting out when a giant lightning bolt painted a jagged streak across the rainy lavender-gray sky. Minutes passed and still he didn’t come out of the Three Hundreds’ building. Damn it. Before I could talk myself out of it, I jumped out of the car, cursing at myself for not carrying an umbrella for about the billionth time and for not having waterproof shoes, and ran through the parking lot, straight through the double doors. As I stomped my feet on the mat, I looked around the lobby for the big guy. A woman behind the front desk raised her eyebrows at me curiously. “Can I help you with something?” she asked. “Have you seen Aiden?” “Aiden?” Were there really that many Aidens? “Graves.” “Can I ask what you need him for?” I bit the inside of my cheek and smiled at the woman who didn’t know me and, therefore, didn’t have an idea that I knew Aiden. “I’m here to pick him up.” It was obvious she didn’t know what to make of me. I didn’t exactly look like pro-football player girlfriend material in that moment, much less anything else. I’d opted not to put on any makeup since I hadn’t planned on leaving the house. Or real pants. Or even a shirt with the sleeves intact. I had cut-off shorts and a baggy T-shirt with sleeves that I’d taken scissors to. Plus the rain outside hadn’t done my hair any justice. It looked like a cloud of teal. Then there was the whole we-don’t-look-anything-alike thing going on, so there was no way we could pass as siblings. Just as I opened my mouth, the doors that connected the front area with the rest of the training facility swung open. The man I was looking for came out with his bag over his shoulder, imposing, massive, and sweaty. Definitely surly too, which really only meant he looked the way he always did. I couldn’t help but crack a little smile at his grumpiness. “Ready?” He did his form of a nod, a tip of his chin. I could feel the receptionist’s eyes on us as he approached, but I was too busy taking in Grumpy Pants to bother looking at anyone else. Those brown eyes shifted to me for a second, and that time, I smirked uncontrollably. He glared down at me. “What are you smiling at?” I shrugged my shoulders and shook my head, trying to give him an innocent look. “Oh, nothing, sunshine.” He mouthed ‘sunshine’ as his gaze strayed to the ceiling. We ran out of the building side by side toward my car. Throwing the doors open, I pretty much jumped inside and shivered, turning the car and the heater on. Aiden slid in a lot more gracefully than I had, wet but not nearly as soaked. He eyed me as he buckled in, and I slanted him a look. “What?” With a shake of his head, he unzipped his duffel, which was sitting on his lap, and pulled out that infamous off-black hoodie he always wore. Then he held it out. All I could do was stare at it for a second. His beloved, no-name brand, extra-extra-large hoodie. He was offering it to me. When I first started working for Aiden, I remembered him specifically giving me instructions on how he wanted it washed and dried. On gentle and hung to dry. He loved that thing. He could own a thousand just like it, but he didn’t. He had one black hoodie that he wore all the time and a blue one he occasionally donned. “For me?” I asked like an idiot. He shook it, rolling his eyes. “Yes for you. Put it on before you get sick. I would rather not have to take care of you if you get pneumonia.” Yeah, I was going to ignore his put-out tone and focus on the ‘rather not’ as I took it from him and slipped it on without another word. His hoodie was like holding a gold medal in my hands. Like being given something cherished, a family relic. Aiden’s precious.
Mariana Zapata (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me)
Bring Cecily home,” he said curtly. “I won’t have her at risk, even in the slightest way.” “I’ll take care of Cecily,” came the terse reply. “She’s better off without you in her life.” Tate’s eyes widened. “I beg your pardon?” he asked, affronted. “You know what I mean,” Holden said. “Let her heal. She’s too young to consign herself to spinsterhood over a man who doesn’t even see her.” “Infatuation dies,” Tate said. Holden nodded. “Yes, it does. Goodbye.” “So does hero worship,” he continued, laboring the point. “And that’s why after eight years, Cecily has had one raging affair after the other,” he said facetiously. The words had power. They wounded. “You fool,” Holden said in a soft tone. “Do you really think she’d let any man touch her except you?” He went to his office door and gestured toward the desk. “Don’t forget your gadget,” he added quietly. “Wait!” Holden paused with his hand on the doorknob and turned. “What?” Tate held the device in his hands, watching the lights flicker on it. “Mixing two cultures when one of them is all but extinct is a selfish thing,” he said after a minute. “It has nothing to do with personal feelings. It’s a matter of necessity.” Holden let go of the doorknob and moved to stand directly in front of Tate. “If I had a son,” he said, almost choking on the word, “I’d tell him that there are things even more important than lofty principles. I’d tell him…that love is a rare and precious thing, and that substitutes are notoriously unfulfilling.” Tate searched the older man’s eyes. “You’re a fine one to talk.” Holden’s face fell. “Yes, that’s true.” He turned away. Why should he feel guilty? But he did. “I didn’t mean to say that,” Tate said, irritated by his remorse and the other man’s defeated posture. “I can’t help the way I feel about my culture.” “If it weren’t for the cultural difference, how would you feel about Cecily?” Tate hesitated. “It wouldn’t change anything. She’s been my responsibility. I’ve taken care of her. It would be gratitude on her part, even a little hero worship, nothing more. I couldn’t take advantage of that. Besides, she’s involved with Colby.” “And you couldn’t live with being the second man.” Tate’s face hardened. His eyes flashed. Holden shook his head. “You’re just brimming over with excuses, aren’t you? It isn’t the race thing, it isn’t the culture thing, it isn’t even the guardian-ward thing. You’re afraid.” Tate’s mouth made a thin line. He didn’t reply. “When you love someone, you give up control of yourself,” he continued quietly. “You have to consider the other person’s needs, wants, fears. What you do affects the other person. There’s a certain loss of freedom as well.” He moved a step closer. “The point I’m making is that Cecily already fills that place in your life. You’re still protecting her, and it doesn’t matter that there’s another man. Because you can’t stop looking out for her. Everything you said in this office proves that.” He searched Tate’s turbulent eyes. “You don’t like Colby Lane, and it isn’t because you think Cecily’s involved with him. It’s because he’s been tied to one woman so tight that he can’t struggle free of his love for her, even after years of divorce. That’s how you feel, isn’t it, Tate? You can’t get free of Cecily, either. But Colby’s always around and she indulges him. She might marry him in an act of desperation. And then what will you do? Will your noble excuses matter a damn then?
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
As the saying goes, ‘he who has a hammer sees everything as a nail’. If you approach a problem from a particular theoretical point of view, you will end up asking only certain questions and answering them in particular ways. You might be lucky, and the problem you are facing might be a ‘nail’ for which your ‘hammer’ is the most appropriate tool. But, more often than not, you will need to have an array of tools available to you. You are bound to have your favourite theory. There is nothing wrong with using one or two more than others — we all do. But please don’t be a man (or a woman) with a hammer — still less someone unaware that there are other tools available. To extend the analogy, use a Swiss army knife instead, with different tools for different tasks.­
Ha-Joon Chang (Economics: The User's Guide)
Many readers are familiar with the spirit and the letter of the definition of “prayer”, as given by Ambrose Bierce in his Devil’s Dictionary. It runs like this, and is extremely easy to comprehend: Prayer: A petition that the laws of nature be suspended in favor of the petitioner; himself confessedly unworthy. Everybody can see the joke that is lodged within this entry: The man who prays is the one who thinks that god has arranged matters all wrong, but who also thinks that he can instruct god how to put them right. Half–buried in the contradiction is the distressing idea that nobody is in charge, or nobody with any moral authority. The call to prayer is self–cancelling. Those of us who don’t take part in it will justify our abstention on the grounds that we do not need, or care, to undergo the futile process of continuous reinforcement. Either our convictions are enough in themselves or they are not: At any rate they do require standing in a crowd and uttering constant and uniform incantations. This is ordered by one religion to take place five times a day, and by other monotheists for almost that number, while all of them set aside at least one whole day for the exclusive praise of the Lord, and Judaism seems to consist in its original constitution of a huge list of prohibitions that must be followed before all else. The tone of the prayers replicates the silliness of the mandate, in that god is enjoined or thanked to do what he was going to do anyway. Thus the Jewish male begins each day by thanking god for not making him into a woman (or a Gentile), while the Jewish woman contents herself with thanking the almighty for creating her “as she is.” Presumably the almighty is pleased to receive this tribute to his power and the approval of those he created. It’s just that, if he is truly almighty, the achievement would seem rather a slight one. Much the same applies to the idea that prayer, instead of making Christianity look foolish, makes it appear convincing. Now, it can be asserted with some confidence, first, that its deity is all–wise and all–powerful and, second, that its congregants stand in desperate need of that deity’s infinite wisdom and power. Just to give some elementary quotations, it is stated in the book of Philippians, 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication and thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.” Deuteronomy 32:4 proclaims that “he is the rock, his work is perfect,” and Isaiah 64:8 tells us, “Now O Lord, thou art our father; we art clay and thou our potter; and we are all the work of thy hand.” Note, then, that Christianity insists on the absolute dependence of its flock, and then only on the offering of undiluted praise and thanks. A person using prayer time to ask for the world to be set to rights, or to beseech god to bestow a favor upon himself, would in effect be guilty of a profound blasphemy or, at the very least, a pathetic misunderstanding. It is not for the mere human to be presuming that he or she can advise the divine. And this, sad to say, opens religion to the additional charge of corruption. The leaders of the church know perfectly well that prayer is not intended to gratify the devout. So that, every time they accept a donation in return for some petition, they are accepting a gross negation of their faith: a faith that depends on the passive acceptance of the devout and not on their making demands for betterment. Eventually, and after a bitter and schismatic quarrel, practices like the notorious “sale of indulgences” were abandoned. But many a fine basilica or chantry would not be standing today if this awful violation had not turned such a spectacularly good profit. And today it is easy enough to see, at the revival meetings of Protestant fundamentalists, the counting of the checks and bills before the laying on of hands by the preacher has even been completed. Again, the spectacle is a shameless one.
Christopher Hitchens (Mortality)
I can give no adequate description of the Horror Camp in which my men and myself were to spend the next month of our lives. It was just a barren wilderness, as bare as a chicken run. Corpses lay everywhere, some in huge piles, sometimes they lay singly or in pairs where they had fallen. It took a little time to get used to seeing men women and children collapse as you walked by them and to restrain oneself from going to their assistance. One had to get used early to the idea that the individual just did not count. One knew that five hundred a day were dying and that five hundred a day were going on dying for weeks before anything we could do would have the slightest effect. It was, however, not easy to watch a child choking to death from diphtheria when you knew a tracheotomy and nursing would save it, one saw women drowning in their own vomit because they were too weak to turn over, and men eating worms as they clutched a half loaf of bread purely because they had to eat worms to live and now could scarcely tell the difference. Piles of corpses, naked and obscene, with a woman too weak to stand propping herself against them as she cooked the food we had given her over an open fire; men and women crouching down just anywhere in the open relieving themselves of the dysentery which was scouring their bowels, a woman standing stark naked washing herself with some issue soap in water from a tank in which the remains of a child floated. It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we men wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don't know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for these internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the postmortem table and clutched in her hand was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.
Imperial War Museum
I’ve done you a disservice,” he said at last. “It’s only fair to let you know, but you won’t have a normal life span.” I bit my lip. “Have you come to take my soul, then?” “I told you that’s not my jurisdiction. But you’re not going to die soon. In fact, you won’t die for a long time, far longer than I initially thought, I’m afraid. Nor will you age normally.” “Because I took your qi?” He inclined his head. “I should have stopped you sooner.” I thought of the empty years that stretched ahead of me, years of solitude long after everyone I loved had died. Though I might have children or grandchildren. But perhaps they might comment on my strange youthfulness and shun me as unnatural. Whisper of sorcery, like those Javanese women who inserted gold needles in their faces and ate children. In the Chinese tradition, nothing was better than dying old and full of years, a treasure in the bosom of one’s family. To outlive descendants and endure a long span of widowhood could hardly be construed as lucky. Tears filled my eyes, and for some reason this seemed to agitate Er Lang, for he turned away. In profile, he was even more handsome, if that was possible, though I was quite sure he was aware of it. “It isn’t necessarily a good thing, but you’ll see all of the next century, and I think it will be an interesting one.” “That’s what Tian Bai said,” I said bitterly. “How long will I outlive him?” “Long enough,” he said. Then more gently, “You may have a happy marriage, though.” “I wasn’t thinking about him,” I said. “I was thinking about my mother. By the time I die, she’ll have long since gone on to the courts for reincarnation. I shall never see her again.” I burst into sobs, realizing how much I’d clung to that hope, despite the fact that it might be better for my mother to leave the Plains of the Dead. But then we would never meet in this lifetime. Her memories would be erased and her spirit lost to me in this form. “Don’t cry.” I felt his arms around me, and I buried my face in his chest. The rain began to fall again, so dense it was like a curtain around us. Yet I did not get wet. “Listen,” he said. “When everyone around you has died and it becomes too hard to go on pretending, I shall come for you.” “Do you mean that?” A strange happiness was beginning to grow, twining and tightening around my heart. “I’ve never lied to you.” “Can’t I go with you now?” He shook his head. “Aren’t you getting married? Besides, I’ve always preferred older women. In about fifty years’ time, you should be just right.” I glared at him. “What if I’d rather not wait?” He narrowed his eyes. “Do you mean that you don’t want to marry Tian Bai?” I dropped my gaze. “If you go with me, it won’t be easy for you,” he said warningly. “It will bring you closer to the spirit world and you won’t be able to lead a normal life. My work is incognito, so I can’t keep you in style. It will be a little house in some strange town. I shan’t be available most of the time, and you’d have to be ready to move at a moment’s notice.” I listened with increasing bewilderment. “Are you asking me to be your mistress or an indentured servant?” His mouth twitched. “I don’t keep mistresses; it’s far too much trouble. I’m offering to marry you, although I might regret it. And if you think the Lim family disapproved of your marriage, wait until you meet mine.” I tightened my arms around him. “Speechless at last,” Er Lang said. “Think about your options. Frankly, if I were a woman, I’d take the first one. I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of family.” “But what would you do for fifty years?” He was about to speak when I heard a faint call, and through the heavy downpour, saw Yan Hong’s blurred figure emerge between the trees, Tian Bai running beside her. “Give me your answer in a fortnight,” said Er Lang. Then he was gone.
Yangsze Choo (The Ghost Bride)
She asked, “Are you well?” “Yes.” His voice was a deep rasp. “Are you?” She nodded, expecting him to release her at the confirmation. When he showed no signs of moving, she puzzled at it. Either he was gravely injured or seriously impertinent. “Sir, you’re…er, you’re rather heavy.” Surely he could not fail to miss that hint. He replied, “You’re soft.” Good Lord. Who was this man? Where had he come from? And how was he still atop her? “You have a small wound.” With trembling fingers, she brushed a reddish knot high on his temple, near his hairline. “Here.” She pressed her hand to his throat, feeling for his pulse. She found it, thumping strong and steady against her gloved fingertips. “Ah. That’s nice.” Her face blazed with heat. “Are you seeing double?” “Perhaps. I see two lips, two eyes, two flushed cheeks…a thousand freckles.” She stared at him. “Don’t concern yourself, miss. It’s nothing.” His gaze darkened with some mysterious intent. “Nothing a little kiss won’t mend.” And before she could even catch her breath, he pressed his lips to hers. A kiss. His mouth, touching hers. It was warm and firm, and then…it was over. Her first real kiss in all her five-and-twenty years, and it was finished in a heartbeat. Just a memory now, save for the faint bite of whiskey on her lips. And the heat. She still tasted his scorching, masculine heat. Belatedly, she closed her eyes. “There, now,” he murmured. “All better.” Better? Worse? The darkness behind her eyelids held no answers, so she opened them again. Different. This strange, strong man held her in his protective embrace, and she was lost in his intriguing green stare, and his kiss reverberated in her bones with more force than a powder blast. And now she felt different. The heat and weight of him…they were like an answer. The answer to a question Susanna hadn’t even been aware her body was asking. So this was how it would be, to lie beneath a man. To feel shaped by him, her flesh giving in some places and resisting in others. Heat building between two bodies; dueling heartbeats pounding both sides of the same drum. Maybe…just maybe…this was what she’d been waiting to feel all her life. Not swept her off her feet-but flung across the lane and sent tumbling head over heels while the world exploded around her. He rolled onto his side, giving her room to breathe. “Where did you come from?” “I think I should ask you that.” She struggled up on one elbow. “Who are you? What on earth are you doing here?” “Isn’t it obvious?” His tone was grave. “We’re bombing the sheep.” “Oh. Oh dear. Of course you are.” Inside her, empathy twined with despair. Of course, he was cracked in the head. One of those poor soldiers addled by war. She ought to have known it. No sane man had ever looked at her this way. She pushed aside her disappointment. At least he had come to the right place. And landed on the right woman. She was far more skilled in treating head wounds than fielding gentlemen’s advances. The key here was to stop thinking of him as an immense, virile man and simply regard him as a person who needed her help. An unattractive, poxy, eunuch sort of person. Reaching out to him, she traced one fingertip over his brow. “Don’t be frightened,” she said in a calm, even tone. “All is well. You’re going to be just fine.” She cupped his cheek and met his gaze directly. “The sheep can’t hurt you here.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
court circles too. Melbourne was now fully aware of the rift, even though the duchess had begged Victoria not to tell him, but did nothing to bridge it. Victoria started to pity her depressed mother. It was a fool’s mission, but the loyal duchess continued to try to rehabilitate Conroy. In November, she asked Victoria to allow him to come to the Guildhall banquet. If Victoria did not like him, then she asked her to “at least forgive, and do not exclude and mark him and his family.” She continued: “The
Julia Baird (Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire)
There is no passion in your life, my son. You have never loved a woman, nor hated a man, nor pitied a child. You have withdrawn yourself too long and you are a stranger in the human family. You have asked nothing and given nothing. You have never known the dignity of need nor gratitude for a suffering shared. This is your sickness. This is the cross you have fashioned for your own shoulders. This is where your doubts begin and your fears too – because a man who cannot love his fellows cannot love God either.
Morris L. West (The Devil's Advocate)
Then Anomander turned to Gripp Galas. ‘Old friend, long have you served me, with valour and with honour. As my most trusted servant I have set my weight upon you, and not once heard from you a word of complaint. You have dressed my wounds on the field of battle. You have mended the damage of my clumsy youth. Did you truly believe that now, on this fraught day, I would once more draw tight this leash? We are all weakened by distress, and indeed it seems every tender emotion lies exposed and trembling to a forest of knives. Gripp Galas, old friend, your service to me ends here and it ends now. You have won the heart of a woman who in all things is nothing less than breathtaking. If love needs permission, I give it. If your future with Lady Hish can be served by any sacrifice within my ability, I give it.’ He set his gaze upon Hish Tulla. ‘Nothing need be asked and nothing need be surrendered by you, my lady. On this, of all days, I will see love made right.’ He swung into the saddle. ‘Go well, my friends. We are done here.
Steven Erikson
He can even talk about nonsense as long as he does it in a confident manner and flirts whenever the opportunity presents itself. A male runs the risk of losing far more women because he does not say anything at all than he does because he is saying the wrong things. You can even talk about sex, and usually should, as long as you do not make the woman feel like a slut by asking her foolish things like whether she goes all the way on the first date or intimate questions that other people may overhear, for instance. Sex is nothing to be embarrassed about; it is part of whatever relationship you are looking for, and bringing the topic up is the easiest way to make a woman think about having sex with you. Therefore, it would not make sense to avoid it, but you do have to treat the subject as the no big deal that it is. Be serious and candid instead of joking about it. People who joke about sex all the time do so because they are uncomfortable with the topic, and women prefer such a male as their entertainer rather than their lover.
W. Anton (The Manual: What Women Want and How to Give It to Them)
You have that look on your face,” Alessandro said, smiling as he tucked a damp lock of her blonde hair behind her ear. “What look?” Bree asked, resting a hand on his flushed chest, propping herself up on one elbow. She could feel the racing heart beneath. “The look of a woman who’s been rather well fucked, darling,” he grinned smugly. She punched his chest lightly. “Ego much?” “I see nothing wrong with taking pride in a job well done,” he pointed out. “Oh of course,” Bree said, laughing and dropped her head on his chest.
E. Jamie (The Betrayal (Blood Vows, #2))
I have followed the procedure of the ancient painter Zeuxis, who worked in a material temple as I propose to work in a spiritual one. As Cicero tells the story, the people of Croton asked Zeuxis to decorate a temple they held in high esteem with the finest paintings he could devise. He approached the task with care, selecting five of the town’s most beautiful women to sit beside him as he worked and model their beauty for his painting. There were several good reasons for this. Zeuxis, we know, was a master in portraying women’s beauty, which by nature is more elegant and delicate than men’s. But as Cicero makes it a point to explain, he chose several women because he did not think he could find one who was uniformly lovely in all her parts. Nature, he thought, had never conferred such beauty on a single woman that all her parts should have an equal share: nothing composed by nature is complete in all respects, as if, in bestowing all her bounties in one place, nature would have none left to bestow elsewhere. Similarly, in my depiction of the beauty of the soul
Pierre Abélard (The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse)
How nice that our former stable boy has begotten a namesake from my elder daughter,” the countess remarked acidly. “This will be the first of many brats, I am sure. Regrettably there is still no heir to the earldom…which is your responsibility, I believe. Come to me with news of your impending marriage to a bride of good blood, Westcliff, and I will evince some satisfaction. Until then, I see little reason for congratulations.” Though he displayed no emotion at his mother’s hard-hearted response to the news of Aline’s child, not to mention her infuriating preoccupation with the begetting of an heir, Marcus was hard-pressed to hold back a savage reply. In the midst of his darkening mood, he became aware of Lillian’s intent gaze. Lillian stared at him astutely, a peculiar smile touching her lips. Marcus arched one brow and asked sardonically, “Does something amuse you, Miss Bowman?” “Yes,” she murmured. “I was just thinking that it’s a wonder you haven’t rushed out to marry the first peasant girl you could find.” “Impertinent twit!” the countess exclaimed. Marcus grinned at the girl’s insolence, while the tightness in his chest eased. “Do you think I should?” he asked soberly, as if the question was worth considering. “Oh yes,” Lillian assured him with a mischievous sparkle in her eyes. “The Marsdens could use some new blood. In my opinion, the family is in grave danger of becoming overbred.” “Overbred?” Marcus repeated, wanting nothing more than to pounce on her and carry her off somewhere. “What has given you that impression, Miss Bowman?” “Oh, I don’t know…” she said idly. “Perhaps the earth-shattering importance you attach to whether one should use a fork or spoon to eat one’s pudding.” “Good manners are not the sole province of the aristocracy, Miss Bowman.” Even to himself, Marcus sounded a bit pompous. “In my opinion, my lord, an excessive preoccupation with manners and rituals is a strong indication that someone has too much time on his hands.” Marcus smiled at her impertinence. “Subversive, yet sensible,” he mused. “I’m not certain I disagree.” “Do not encourage her effrontery, Westcliff,” the countess warned. “Very well—I shall leave you to your Sisyphean task.” “What does that mean?” he heard Daisy ask. Lillian replied while her smiling gaze remained locked with Marcus’s. “It seems you avoided one too many Greek mythology lessons, dear. Sisyphus was a soul in Hades who was damned to perform an eternal task…rolling a huge boulder up a hill, only to have it roll down again just before he reached the top.” “Then if the countess is Sisyphus,” Daisy concluded, “I suppose we’re…” “The boulder,” Lady Westcliff said succinctly, causing both girls to laugh. “Do continue with our instruction, my lady,” Lillian said, giving her full attention to the elderly woman as Marcus bowed and left the room. “We’ll try not to flatten you on the way down.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
I’ve watched it time and time again—a woman always slots into a man’s life better than he slots into hers. She will be the one who spends the most time at his flat, she will be the one who makes friends with all his friends and their girlfriends. She will be the one who sends his mother a bunch of flowers on her birthday. Women don’t like this rigmarole any more than men do, but they’re better at it—they just get on with it. This means that when a woman my age falls in love with a man, the list of priorities goes from this: Family Friends To this: Family Boyfriend Boyfriend’s family Boyfriend’s friends Girlfriends of the boyfriend’s friends Friends Which means, on average, you go from seeing your friend every weekend to once every six weekends. She becomes a baton and you’re the one at the very end of the track. You get your go for, say, your birthday or a brunch, then you have to pass her back round to the boyfriend to start the long, boring rotation again. These gaps in each other’s lives slowly but surely form a gap in the middle of your friendship. The love is still there, but the familiarity is not. Before you know it, you’re not living life together anymore. You’re living life separately with respective boyfriends then meeting up for dinner every six weekends to tell each other what living is like. I now understand why our mums cleaned the house before their best friend came round and asked them “What’s the news, then?” in a jolly, stilted way. I get how that happens. So don’t tell me when you move in with your boyfriend that nothing will change. There will be no road trip. The cycle works when it comes to holidays as well—I’ll get my buddy back for every sixth summer, unless she has a baby in which case I’ll get my road trip in eighteen years’ time. It never stops happening. Everything will change.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
You can have that life,” he told her. “It’s right there for you to take.” “I love you,” Eve quickly countered. “Loving me hurts you, doesn’t it?” Beckett asked, looking down. “No, you don’t have to tell me. I know. I can smell it. I can smell the pain coming off of you,” he said, looking at the floor. “You had love before and a future. What does loving me get you, Eve? What does it get you?” He stood, angry with himself. “I don’t need to get anything from you. It’s the way it is. There’s no changing that.” She gripped the porch railing. Beckett stepped close to Eve and tenderly tucked a lock of hair that had escaped her ponytail behind her ear. “You’re saying goodbye,” she said, her eyes full of questions. “Do you know there are other little girls out there like that one? I lived with a few of them. They would sell their souls for a mother like you.” At the word mother Eve’s chin crumpled. She tried to hold back the tears, but they wouldn’t obey. “See that? It’s what you need. You need that—a little kid calling you Mom.” Beckett put his arms around her as she shattered. The pain she kept hidden surfaced from where it had been smoldering. When he felt her knees weaken, he hugged her harder. “That’s right. It’s okay. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, baby. You want normal.” He guided her to the chair he’d vacated. “There’s a guy out there who’ll hold your hand. There’s a little girl out there. She’s waiting for you. It’ll be okay. It’ll be okay.” He knelt in front of her and rubbed her arms. She slapped at his hands, letting outrage carry her words. “I don’t want another man. I want you. I’ve killed for you. I’ve protected you. What the hell do you think you’re doing? Do you honestly think these hands that kill can hold a child?” She held her fingers in front of her face. “Yes. Absolutely. Don’t you know, gorgeous? Mothers are some of the most vicious killers out there, if their kids are threatened. You just have more practice.” He took her hands and kissed them. “I’ve lost too much. I can’t lose you. Don’t make me. Please. I’ll beg you if I have to.” She watched his lips on her palms. He shook his head and used her own words against her. “The hardest part of loving someone is not being with them when you want to be.” He stood, and she mirrored his motion,already shaking her head. “Don’t say it.” Beckett ignored her; he knew what he had to do. He had to set beautiful Eve free to find that soft, touchable woman he’d seen her become with the little girl.
Debra Anastasia (Poughkeepsie (Poughkeepsie Brotherhood, #1))
We’re in a period right now where nobody asks any questions about psychology. No one has any feeling for human motivation. No one talks about sexuality in terms of emotional needs and symbolism and the legacy of childhood. Sexuality has been politicized--“Don’t ask any questions!” "No discussion!" “Gay is exactly equivalent to straight!” And thus in this period of psychological blindness or inertness, our art has become dull. There’s nothing interesting being written--in fiction or plays or movies. Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions. So I say there is a big parallel between Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton--aside from their initials! Young feminists need to understand that this abusive behavior by powerful men signifies their sense that female power is much bigger than they are! These two people, Clinton and Cosby, are emotionally infantile--they're engaged in a war with female power. It has something to do with their early sense of being smothered by female power--and this pathetic, abusive and criminal behavior is the result of their sense of inadequacy. Now, in order to understand that, people would have to read my first book, "Sexual Personae"--which of course is far too complex for the ordinary feminist or academic mind! It’s too complex because it requires a sense of the ambivalence of human life. Everything is not black and white, for heaven's sake! We are formed by all kinds of strange or vague memories from childhood. That kind of understanding is needed to see that Cosby was involved in a symbiotic, push-pull thing with his wife, where he went out and did these awful things to assert his own independence. But for that, he required the women to be inert. He needed them to be dead! Cosby is actually a necrophiliac--a style that was popular in the late Victorian period in the nineteenth-century. It's hard to believe now, but you had men digging up corpses from graveyards, stealing the bodies, hiding them under their beds, and then having sex with them. So that’s exactly what’s happening here: to give a woman a drug, to make her inert, to make her dead is the man saying that I need her to be dead for me to function. She’s too powerful for me as a living woman. And this is what is also going on in those barbaric fraternity orgies, where women are sexually assaulted while lying unconscious. And women don’t understand this! They have no idea why any men would find it arousing to have sex with a young woman who’s passed out at a fraternity house. But it’s necrophilia--this fear and envy of a woman’s power. And it’s the same thing with Bill Clinton: to find the answer, you have to look at his relationship to his flamboyant mother. He felt smothered by her in some way. But let's be clear--I’m not trying to blame the mother! What I’m saying is that male sexuality is extremely complicated, and the formation of male identity is very tentative and sensitive--but feminist rhetoric doesn’t allow for it. This is why women are having so much trouble dealing with men in the feminist era. They don’t understand men, and they demonize men.
Camille Paglia
My Dear Mrs Winter. (I had half a mind when I dipped my pen in the ink, to address you by your old natural Christian name.) The snow lies so deep on the Northern Railway, and the Posts have been so interrupted in consequence, that your charming note arrived here only this morning... I get the heartache again when I read your commission, written in the hand which I find now to be not in the least changed, and yet it is a great pleasure to be entrusted with it, and to have that share in your gentler remembrances which I cannot find it still my privilege to have, without a stirring of the old fancies. ... I am very very sorry you mistrusted me in not writing before your little girl was born; but I hope now you know me better you will teach her, one day, to tell her children, in times to come when they have some interest in wondering about it, that I loved her mother with the most extraordinary earnestness when I was a boy. I have always believed since, and always shall to the last, that there never was such a faithful and devoted poor fellow as I was. Whatever of fancy, romance, energy, passion, aspiration and determination belong to me, I never have separated and never shall separate from the hard hearted little woman - you - whom it is nothing to say I would have died for, with the greatest alacrity! I never can think, and I never seem to observe, that other young people are in such desperate earnest, or set so much, so long, upon one absorbing hope. It is a matter of perfect certainty to me that I began to fight my way out of poverty and obscurity, with one perpetual idea of you. This is so fixed in my knowledge that to the hour when I opened your letter last Friday night, I have never heard anybody addressed by your name or spoken of by your name, without a start. The sound of it has always filled me with a kind of pity and respect for the deep truth that I had, in my silly hobbledehoyhood, to bestow upon one creature who represented the whole world to me. I have never been so good a man since, as I was when you made me wretchedly happy. I shall never be half so good a fellow any more. This is all so strange now, both to think of, and to say, after every change that has come about; but I think, when you ask me to write to you, you are not unprepared for what it is so natural to me to recall, and will not be displeased to read it. I fancy, - though you may not have thought in the old time how manfully I loved you - that you may have seen in one of my books a faithful reflection of the passion I had for you, and may have thought that it was something to have been loved so well, and may have seen in little bits of "Dora" touches of your old self sometimes, and a grace here and there that may be revived in your little girls, years hence, for the bewilderment of some other young lover - though he will never be as terribly in earnest as I and David Copperfield were. People used to say to me how pretty all that was, and how fanciful it was, and how elevated it was above the little foolish loves of very young men and women. But they little thought what reason I had to know it was true and nothing more nor less. These are things that I have locked up in my own breast, and that I never thought to bring out any more. But when I find myself writing to you again "all to your self", how can I forbear to let as much light in upon them as will shew you that they are there still! If the most innocent, the most ardent, and the most disinterested days of my life had you for their Sun - as indeed they had - and if I know that the Dream I lived in did me good, refined my heart, and made me patient and persevering, and if the Dream were all of you - as God knows it was - how can I receive a confidence from you, and return it, and make a feint of blotting all this out! ...
Charles Dickens
He wondered what would happen if he abandoned the spinster’s offer of marriage, if he could make the story’s denouement true to the strange, nuanced, open-ended and infinitely interesting life he was sharing now with Constance Fenimore Woolson, if he could make his adventurer begin to need, or half-need, the domestic life of a lodger with an intelligent and reserved woman who was lonely, but not willing to be preyed upon. She would ask him for nothing as obvious as marriage; what she wanted was a close and satisfying and, if necessary, unconventional attachment with loyalty and care and affection as well as solitude and distance.
Colm Tóibín (The Master)
I have raised you to respect every human being as singular, and you must extend that same respect into the past. Slavery is not an indefinable mass of flesh. It is particular, specific enslaved woman, whose mind is active as your own, whose range of feeling is as vast as your own; who prefers the way the light falls in one particular spot in the woods, who enjoys fishing where the water eddies in a nearby stream, who loves her mother in her own complicated way, thinks her sister talks too loud, has a favorite cousin, a favorite season, who excels at dressmaking and knows, inside herself, that she is as intelligent and capable as anyone. 'Slavery' is this same woman born in a world that loudly proclaims its love of freedom and inscribes this love in its essential texts, a world in which these same professors hold this woman a slave, hold her mother a slave, her father a slave, her daughter a slave, and when this woman peers back into the generations all she sees is the enslaved. she can hope for more. But when she dies, the world - which is really the only world she can ever know - ends. For this woman, enslavement is not a parable. It is damnation. It is the never-ending night. And the length of that night is most of our history. Never forget that we were enslaved in this country longer than we have been free. Never forget that for 250 years black people were born into chains - whole generations followed by more generations who knew nothing but chains. You must struggle to truly remember this past in all its nuance, error, and humanity. You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance - not matter how improved - as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never compensate for this. Perhaps our triumphs are not even the point. Perhaps struggle is all we have because the god of history is an atheist, and nothing about his world is meant to be. So you must wake up every morning knowing that no promise is unbreakable, least of all the promise of waking up at all. This is not despair. These are the preferences of the universe itself: verbs over nouns, actions over states, struggle over hope.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)
As the third evening approached, Gabriel looked up blearily as two people entered the room. His parents. The sight of them infused him with relief. At the same time, their presence unlatched all the wretched emotion he'd kept battened down until this moment. Disciplining his breathing, he stood awkwardly, his limbs stiff from spending hours on the hard chair. His father came to him first, pulling him close for a crushing hug and ruffling his hair before going to the bedside. His mother was next, embracing him with her familiar tenderness and strength. She was the one he'd always gone to first whenever he'd done something wrong, knowing she would never condemn or criticize, even when he deserved it. She was a source of endless kindness, the one to whom he could entrust his worst thoughts and fears. "I promised nothing would ever harm her," Gabriel said against her hair, his voice cracking. Evie's gentle hands patted his back. "I took my eyes off her when I shouldn't have," he went on. "Mrs. Black approached her after the play- I pulled the bitch aside, and I was too distracted to notice-" He stopped talking and cleared his throat harshly, trying not to choke on emotion. Evie waited until he calmed himself before saying quietly, "You remember when I told you about the time your f-father was badly injured because of me?" "That wasn't because of you," Sebastian said irritably from the bedside. "Evie, have you harbored that absurd idea for all these years?" "It's the most terrible feeling in the world," Evie murmured to Gabriel. "But it's not your fault, and trying not to make it so won't help either of you. Dearest boy, are you listening to me?" Keeping his face pressed against her hair, Gabriel shook his head. "Pandora won't blame you for what happened," Evie told him, "any more than your father blamed me." "Neither of you are to blame for anything," his father said, "except for annoying me with this nonsense. Obviously the only person to blame for this poor girl's injury is the woman who attempted to skewer her like a pinioned duck." He straightened the covers over Pandora, bent to kiss her forehead gently, and sat in the bedside chair. "My son... guilt, in proper measure, can be a useful emotion. However, when indulged to excess it becomes self-defeating, and even worse, tedious." Stretching out his long legs, he crossed them negligently. "There's no reason to tear yourself to pieces worrying about Pandora. She's going to make a full recovery." "You're a doctor now?" Gabriel asked sardonically, although some of the weight of grief and worry lifted at his father's confident pronouncement. "I daresay I've seen enough illness and injuries in my time, stabbings included, to predict the outcome accurately. Besides, I know the spirit of this girl. She'll recover." "I agree," Evie said firmly. Letting out a shuddering sigh, Gabriel tightened his arms around her. After a long moment, he heard his mother say ruefully, "Sometimes I miss the days when I could solve any of my children's problems with a nap and a biscuit." "A nap and a biscuit wouldn't hurt this one at the moment," Sebastian commented dryly. "Gabriel, go find a proper bed and rest for a few hours. We'll watch over your little fox cub.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
My soul nurtures a secret,my heart a mystery A lasting love I conceived in a brief moment I bare without a word it's hopeless pain's torment And the one who caused it will know of it hardly.... Alas,I would walk near her,but be unnoticed, Always at her side and always will be lonely. Thus I will pass my time on this earth so weary Daring to ask for nothing,nothing to receive... She whom has been made,so sweet and tender, Goes her absent minded way,hearing nothing Of this murmur of love raised in her steps... Piously dutiful,unswervingly faithful, She will say, reading these verses,so filled with her, "Who is this woman?",and will never understand!
Felix Arvers.
Their gazes locked,he said,"I made a mistake." "Confusing your wife with a goat?" What was that he had thought about the difficulty of having a wife who was a truthsayer? He took a breath,let it out slowly, and sent with it a prayer. "There was a time-a brief time-when I considered you might be guilty." Truth. Rycca smiled. She freed her hands, cupped them to his face,and rose on her toes to touch her mouth to his. "What is that for?" he asked, caught between relief and bewilderment. Likely she would always keep him so off balance and likely he would always be glad of it for truly fortune smiled upon him. A great knot seemed to be untangling in his chest. "For believing me." "I only briefly didn't," he repeated. "No,I mean for believing I am a truthsayer." "And you know that because-" She laughed and took his hand again. "Because you are a wise and canny man, Lord Dragon. You could as easily have insisted you never even flirted with the thought that I might be guilty and thereby saved yourself what must surely have been an uneasy moment for a husband." He was slightly stung but not too much, for her ready forgiveness was as a balm over all else. "Generally speaking, I do tell the truth for its own sake." "I never thought otherwise. And I would be as truthful with you. Last night, I realized suddenly that I was not afraid. All things considered, that was rather ridiculous but it was how I felt nonetheless." The knot was definitely gone. Indeed, a great warmth seemd to suffuse him. If a woman who had every reason to fear Vikings could be tied to a punishment post by her own Viking husband and not be afraid, that could mean only one thing. "You trust me." "And you trust me." At that moment, looking down at her, his face held nothing of the mighty warrior and jarl. He looked instead like a boy handed the world. She wanted only to give it to him again and again. "I would say," Rycca murmured, "that for a rocky beginning, we are managing well enough." It was an incongruously happy note upon which to discuss a dead man.
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
Is there a bird among them, dear boy?” Charity asked innocently, peering not at the things on the desk, but at his face, noting the muscle beginning to twitch at Ian’s tense jaw. “No.” “Then they must be in the schoolroom! Of course,” she said cheerfully, “that’s it. How like me, Hortense would say, to have made such a silly mistake.” Ian dragged his eyes from the proof that his grandfather had been keeping track of him almost from the day of his birth-certainly from the day when he was able to leave the cottage on his own two legs-to her face and said mockingly, “Hortense isn’t very perceptive. I would say you are as wily as a fox.” She gave him a little knowing smile and pressed her finger to her lips. “Don’t tell her, will you? She does so enjoy thinking she is the clever one.” “How did he manage to have these drawn?” Ian asked, stopping her as she turned away. “A woman in the village near your home drew many of them. Later he hired an artist when he knew you were going to be somewhere at a specific time. I’ll just leave you here where it’s nice and quiet.” She was leaving him, Ian knew, to look through the items on the desk. For a long moment he hesitated, and then he slowly sat down in the chair, looking over the confidential reports on himself. They were all written by one Mr. Edgard Norwich, and as Ian began scanning the thick stack of pages, his anger at his grandfather for this outrageous invasion of his privacy slowly became amusement. For one thing, nearly every letter from the investigator began with phrases that made it clear the duke had chastised him for not reporting in enough detail. The top letter began, I apologize, Your Grace, for my unintentional laxness in failing to mention that indeed Mr. Thornton enjoys an occasional cheroot… The next one opened with, I did not realize, Your Grace, that you would wish to know how fast his horse ran in the race-in addition to knowing that he won. From the creases and holds in the hundreds of reports it was obvious to Ian that they’d been handled and read repeatedly, and it was equally obvious from some of the investigator’s casual comments that his grandfather had apparently expressed his personal pride to him: You will be pleased to know, Your Grace, that young Ian is a fine whip, just as you expected… I quite agree with you, as do many others, that Mr. Thornton is undoubtedly a genius… I assure you, Your Grace, that your concern over that duel is unfounded. It was a flesh wound in the arm, nothing more. Ian flipped through them at random, unaware that the barricade he’d erected against his grandfather was beginning to crack very slightly. “Your Grace,” the investigator had written in a rare fit of exasperation when Ian was eleven, “the suggestion that I should be able to find a physician who might secretly look at young Ian’s sore throat is beyond all bounds of reason. Even if I could find one who was willing to pretend to be a lost traveler, I really cannot see how he could contrive to have a peek at the boy’s throat without causing suspicion!” The minutes became an hour, and Ian’s disbelief increased as he scanned the entire history of his life, from his achievements to his peccadilloes. His gambling gains and losses appeared regularly; each ship he added to his fleet had been described, and sketches forwarded separately; his financial progress had been reported in minute and glowing detail.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Last night, I spoke at one of the Circle Meetings of the Baptist Church. Afterward, a Kenyan friend, Wangari Waigwa-Stone, and I spoke about darkness and stars. “I was raised under an African sky,” she said. “Darkness was never something I was afraid of. The clarity, definition, and profusion of stars became maps as to how one navigates at night. I always knew where I was simply by looking up.” She paused. “My sons do not have these guides. They have no relationship to darkness, nothing in their imagination tells them there are pathways in the night they can move through.” “I have a Norwegian friend who says, ‘City lights are a conspiracy against higher thought,’ ” I added. “Indeed,” Wangari said, smiling, her rich, deep voice resonating. “I am Kikuyu. My people believe if you are close to the Earth, you are close to people.” “How so?” I asked. “What an African woman nurtures in the soil will eventually feed her family. Likewise, what she nurtures in her relations will ultimately nurture her community. It is a matter of living the circle. “Because we have forgotten our kinship with the land,” she continued, “our kinship with each other has become pale. We shy away from accountability and involvement. We choose to be occupied, which is quite different from being engaged. In America, time is money. In Kenya, time is relationship. We look at investments differently.
Terry Tempest Williams (Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place)
Exaggerated Emotional Coherence (Halo Effect) If you like the president’s politics, you probably like his voice and his appearance as well. The tendency to like (or dislike) everything about a person—including things you have not observed—is known as the halo effect. The term has been in use in psychology for a century, but it has not come into wide use in everyday language. This is a pity, because the halo effect is a good name for a common bias that plays a large role in shaping our view of people and situations. It is one of the ways the representation of the world that System 1 generates is simpler and more coherent than the real thing. You meet a woman named Joan at a party and find her personable and easy to talk to. Now her name comes up as someone who could be asked to contribute to a charity. What do you know about Joan’s generosity? The correct answer is that you know virtually nothing, because there is little reason to believe that people who are agreeable in social situations are also generous contributors to charities. But you like Joan and you will retrieve the feeling of liking her when you think of her. You also like generosity and generous people. By association, you are now predisposed to believe that Joan is generous. And now that you believe she is generous, you probably like Joan even better than you did earlier, because you have added generosity to her pleasant attributes.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
Can I come look?” He sat back on his heels and gestured to his artwork. “By all means. I’m done.” I got up, happily noting that my ankle was now pain free. I carefully tiptoed around the two square feet of floor over which his drawing sprawled, and settled in next to him. “It’s beautiful,” I told him. “I’m flattered. I’ve never had anyone draw a picture of me before.” Sage cocked his head and studied what he’d etched. “You think it looks like you?” Again a hot crawl of embarrassment raced up my neck and flooded my face. I looked more closely at the etching. The image did look like me, but only if you really wanted to see the resemblance. The woman in it had the same hair, and slept in the same position I had, but on closer inspection her features were quite different. Her eyes were farther apart, her nose more pointed, her cheekbones less defined…differences that seemed insignificant when I’d assumed the picture was of me, but knowing it wasn’t… I was an egocentric idiot. My dreams about this man may have been vivid, but they were dreams. They had nothing to do with reality; not mine, and clearly not his. I stammered, groping for some kind of explanation. I had nothing. “She does look like you, a little,” Sage admitted. His eyes lingered on the contours of the drawing’s face. I was eager to change the subject, but I felt like I had to ask. “Who is she?” “Someone I loved a long time ago,” he murmured.
Hilary Duff (Elixir (Elixir, #1))
Or I can stay with Colby when he comes back,” she added deliberately. She even smiled. “He’ll take care of me.” His black eyes narrowed. “He can barely take care of himself,” he said flatly. “He’s a lost soul. He can’t escape the past or face the future without Maureen. He isn’t ready for a relationship with anyone else, even if he thinks he is” She didn’t rise to the bait. “I can count on Colby. He’ll help me if I need it.” He looked frustrated. “But you won’t let me help you.” “Colby isn’t involved with anyone who’d be jealous of the time he spent looking out for me. That’s the difference.” He let out an angry breath and his eyes began to glitter. “You have to beat the subject to death, I guess.” She managed to look indifferent. “You have your own life to live, Tate. I’m not part of it anymore. You’ve made that quite clear.” His teeth clenched. “Is it really that easy for you to throw the past away?” he asked. “That’s what you want,” she reminded him. There was a perverse pleasure in watching his eyes narrow. “You said you’d never forget or forgive me,” she added evenly. “I took you at your word. I’ll always have fond memories of you and Leta. But I’m a grown woman. I have a career, a future. I’ve dragged you down financially for years, without knowing it. Now that I do…” “For God’s sake!” he burst out, rising to pace with his hands clenched in his pockets. “I could have sent you to Harvard if you’d wanted to go there, and never felt the cost! “You’re missing the point,” she said, feeling nausea rise in her throat and praying it wouldn’t overflow. “I could have worked my way through school, paid for my own apartment and expenses. I wouldn’t have minded. But you made me beholden to you in a way I can never repay.” He stopped pacing and glared at her. “Have I asked for repayment?” She smiled in spite of herself. “You look just like Matt when you glower that way.” The glare got worse. She held up a hand. “I know. You don’t want to talk about that. Sorry.” “Everyone else wants to talk about it,” he said irritably. “I’ve done nothing but dodge reporters ever since the story broke. What a hell of a way to do it, on national television!
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
In Uprooting Racism, Paul Kivel makes a useful comparison between the rhetoric abusive men employ to justify beating up their girlfriends, wives, or children and the publicly traded justifications for widespread racism. He writes: During the first few years that I worked with men who are violent I was continually perplexed by their inability to see the effects of their actions and their ability to deny the violence they had done to their partners or children. I only slowly became aware of the complex set of tactics that men use to make violence against women invisible and to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. These tactics are listed below in the rough order that men employ them.… (1) Denial: “I didn’t hit her.” (2) Minimization: “It was only a slap.” (3) Blame: “She asked for it.” (4) Redefinition: “It was mutual combat.” (5) Unintentionality: “Things got out of hand.” (6) It’s over now: “I’ll never do it again.” (7) It’s only a few men: “Most men wouldn’t hurt a woman.” (8) Counterattack: “She controls everything.” (9) Competing victimization: “Everybody is against men.” Kivel goes on to detail the ways these nine tactics are used to excuse (or deny) institutionalized racism. Each of these tactics also has its police analogy, both as applied to individual cases and in regard to the general issue of police brutality. Here are a few examples: (1) Denial. “The professionalism and restraint … was nothing short of outstanding.” “America does not have a human-rights problem.” (2) Minimization. Injuries were “of a minor nature.” “Police use force infrequently.” (3) Blame. “This guy isn’t Mr. Innocent Citizen, either. Not by a long shot.” “They died because they were criminals.” (4) Redefinition. It was “mutual combat.” “Resisting arrest.” “The use of force is necessary to protect yourself.” (5) Unintentionality. “[O]fficers have no choice but to use deadly force against an assailant who is deliberately trying to kill them.…” (6) It’s over now. “We’re making changes.” “We will change our training; we will do everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.” (7) It’s only a few men. “A small proportion of officers are disproportionately involved in use-of-force incidents.” “Even if we determine that the officers were out of line … it is an aberration.” (8) Counterattack. “The only thing they understand is physical force and pain.” “People make complaints to get out of trouble.” (9) Competing victimization. The police are “in constant danger.” “[L]iberals are prejudiced against police, much as many white police are biased against Negroes.” The police are “the most downtrodden, oppressed, dislocated minority in America.” Another commonly invoked rationale for justifying police violence is: (10) The Hero Defense. “These guys are heroes.” “The police routinely do what the rest of us don’t: They risk their lives to keep the peace. For that selfless bravery, they deserve glory, laud and honor.” “[W]ithout the police … anarchy would be rife in this country, and the civilization now existing on this hemisphere would perish.” “[T]hey alone stand guard at the upstairs door of Hell.
Kristian Williams (Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America)
As for us, we saw the police as a natural catastrophe— like floods, fires, earthquakes. There was nothing you could do about these things except to try and escape them. We had no analysis, no understanding that society could be changed. We simply tried to survive, as ourselves, as kamp girls, natural rebels. We did not feel that the police might not be entitled to hunt us, but accepted them as inevitable. I was beaten up for suggesting that a woman ask for a lawyer. It was seem as a stupid— even dangerous— suggestion. Fighting back with threats of lawyers would only make the police even angrier at us. But part of me felt that what was happening was unfair and unjust, though I had no idea how things could ever be different. Melbourne and Adelaide were exactly the same. The public lesbian scene was dangerous and difficult. There were many other New Zealand lesbians around, too. In spite of everything, I loved it. The “mateship” was amazing and close, important enough for any risk. And the freedom to be ourselves, to be real, to be queer, affirmed us. There were private, closeted scenes too, but they were hard to find and cliquey. They were fearful of being “sprung” by kamps who were too obvious. They were mainly older middle-class women. I knew some of them, learnt many things from them— like how to behave in a nice restaurant if you are taken to dinner. But they too had no sense of anything being able to change— except for the one strange woman who danced naked to Beethoven and lent me de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. She sowed some wild ideas, more than a decade too early for them to make any sense.
Julia Penelope (Finding the Lesbians: Personal Accounts from Around the World)
The woman [Cadsuane] looked at the battered tea things as if she had all the time in the world. “Now you know,” she said at last, calm as ever, “that I know your future, and your present. The Light’s mercy fades to nothing for a man who can channel. Some see that and believe the Light denies those men. I do not. Have you begun to hear voices, yet?” “What do you mean?” he asked slowly. He could feel Lews Therin listening. [...] “Some men who can channel begin to hear voices.” She spoke almost absently, frowning at the flattened sphere of silver and gold. “It is a part of the madness. Voices conversing with them, telling them what to do.” The teapot drifted gently to the floor by her feet. “Have you heard any?” [...] “I will ask the questions,” Rand said firmly. “You seem to forget. I am the Dragon Reborn.” You are real, aren’t you? he wondered. There was no answer. Lews Therin? Sometimes the man did not answer, but Aes Sedai always drew him. Lews Therin? He was not mad; the voice was real, not imagination. Not madness. A sudden desire to laugh did not help. Cadsuane sighed. “You are a young man who has little idea where he is going or why, or what lies ahead. You seem overwrought. Perhaps we can speak when you are more settled. Have you any objection to my taking Merana and Annoura away for a little while? I’ve seen neither in quite some time.” Rand gaped at her. She swooped in, insulted him, threatened him, casually announced she knew about the voice in his head, and with that she wanted to leave and talk with Merana and Annoura? Is she mad? Still no answer from Lews Therin. The man was real. He was! “Go away,” he said. “Go away, and...” He was not mad. “All of you, get out! Get out!” [...] Finally they were all gone, and he was alone. Alone. Convulsively he hurled the Dragon Scepter. The spear-point stuck quivering in the back of one the chairs, the tassels swaying. “I am not mad,” he said to the empty room. Lews Therin had told him things; he would never have escaped Galina’s chest without the dead man’s voice. But he had used the Power before he ever heard the voice; he had figured out how to call lightning and hurl fire and form a construct that had killed hundreds of Trollocs. But then, maybe that had been Lews Therin, like those memories of climbing trees in a plum orchard, and entering the Hall of the Servants, and a dozen more that crept up on him unawares. And maybe those memories were all fancies, mad dreams of a mad mind, just like the voice.
Robert Jordan (A Crown of Swords (The Wheel of Time, #7))
Mattilon’s law firm in the Paris directory. He wrote it out, brought it to an operator and said he would pay in cash. He was told to go to booth number seven and wait for the ring. He entered it quickly, the soft cloth brim of his hat falling over his forehead above the tortoiseshell glasses. Any enclosure, whether a toilet stall or a glass booth, was preferable to being out in the open. He felt his pulse accelerating; it seemed to explode when the bell rang. “Saint-Pierre, Nelli, et Mattilon,” said the female voice in Paris. “Monsieur Mattilon, please—s’il vous plaît.” “Votre …?” The woman stopped, undoubtedly recognizing an American’s abysmal attempt at French. “Who may I say is calling, please?” “His friend from New York. He’ll know. I’m a client.” René did know. After several clicks his strained voice came on the line. “Joel?” he whispered. “I don’t believe it!” “Don’t,” said Converse. “It’s not true—not what they say about Geneva or Bonn, not even what you said. I had nothing to do with those killings, and Paris was an accident. I had every reason to think—I did think—that man was reaching for a gun.” “Why didn’t you stay where you were, then, my friend?” “Because they wanted to stop me from going on. It’s what I honestly believed, and I couldn’t let them do that. Let me talk.… At the George Cinq you asked me questions and I gave you evasive answers and I think you saw through me. But you were kind and went along. You have nothing to be sorry about, take my word for it—my very sane word. Bertholdier came to me that evening in my room; we talked and he panicked. Six days ago I saw him again here in Bonn—only, this time it was different.
Robert Ludlum (The Aquitaine Progression)
Scared?" he asked a few minutes later. Willow glanced up in surprise. "Scared of what?" "Me." "Should I be?" "You're an attractive woman practically alone with a man who's reputation is questionable." When she didn't repsond, he moved out of the shadows to stand over her. He restated his question. "Are you worried?" His stance and narrow-eyed expression were almost menacing. Was his move meant to intimidate her? The thought miffed her. She abruptly stood and moved closer, staring up at him defiantly. "I don't scare easy. 'Sides, I can take care of myself." His smile was rueful. "Against a man my size?" "My brothers taught me tricks to make up for my smaller size-if you'll remember correctly." Rider scowled. "I was caught off guard that day. What you did wasn't a very ladylike thing to do, you know." Willow's ire flared. "You got a real thing about this ladylike stuff, don't you, mister?" She punctuated each word with a jab of her finger against his chest. "Well,let me tell you something. When a gentleman forgets to be a gentleman, I reckon a lady can forget to be a lady." Rider captured her finger in his hand, surprising her with his smile. "You know, you're absolutely right. I can't argue with the truth; it would't be gentlemanly. Shall we call a truce and agree to be friends?"" Willow tried to tug her finger out of his grasp but he held it tight. "Well?" he prodded. "We can call a truce, but I ain't ready to call you friend." He retained his hold on her finger. "Friendly acquaintances, perhaps?" His grin was infuriating, but her finger was going numb. "Maybe," she relented. "Well,that's better than nothing, I suppose." He released her stiff finger, and she shook it behind her back to restore the circulation.
Charlotte McPherren (Song of the Willow)
He had thought himself, so long as nobody knew, the most disinterested person in the world, carrying his concentrated burden, his perpetual suspense, ever so quietly, holding his tongue about it, giving others no glimpse of it nor of its effect upon his life, asking of them no allowance and only making on his side all those that were asked. He hadn't disturbed people with the queerness of their having to know a haunted man, though he had had moments of rather special temptation on hearing them say they were forsooth "unsettled." If they were as unsettled as he was—he who had never been settled for an hour in his life—they would know what it meant. Yet it wasn't, all the same, for him to make them, and he listened to them civilly enough. This was why he had such good—though possibly such rather colourless—manners; this was why, above all, he could regard himself, in a greedy world, as decently—as in fact perhaps even a little sublimely—unselfish. Our point is accordingly that he valued this character quite sufficiently to measure his present danger of letting it lapse, against which he promised himself to be much on his guard. He was quite ready, none the less, to be selfish just a little, since surely no more charming occasion for it had come to him. "Just a little," in a word, was just as much as Miss Bartram, taking one day with another, would let him. He never would be in the least coercive, and would keep well before him the lines on which consideration for her—the very highest—ought to proceed. He would thoroughly establish the heads under which her affairs, her requirements, her peculiarities—he went so far as to give them the latitude of that name—would come into their intercourse. All this naturally was a sign of how much he took the intercourse itself for granted. There was nothing more to be done about that. It simply existed; had sprung into being with her first penetrating question to him in the autumn light there at Weatherend. The real form it should have taken on the basis that stood out large was the form of their marrying. But the devil in this was that the very basis itself put marrying out of the question. His conviction, his apprehension, his obsession, in short, wasn't a privilege he could invite a woman to share; and that consequence of it was precisely what was the matter with him. Something or other lay in wait for him, amid the twists and the turns of the months and the years, like a crouching Beast in the Jungle. It signified little whether the crouching Beast were destined to slay him or to be slain. The definite point was the inevitable spring of the creature; and the definite lesson from that was that a man of feeling didn't cause himself to be accompanied by a lady on a tiger-hunt. Such was the image under which he had ended by figuring his life.
Henry James (The Beast in the Jungle)
Indeed," Arthur said. "But ... no one has said I'll be a good king. It would be a relief to know I don't go mad or bad before the end." Alex sighed, but with a smile. She knew Arthur was prying information out of her just to tease her, but two could play this game. "You're a good king, don't worry," she said, and then looked sadly to the ground. "At least you are once you heal from ... the incident." "What incident?" Arthur asked. Alex shook her head somberly. "Well, if Merlin hasn't told you, then I probably shouldn't." "Oh, right - the incident," he said, pretending to know. "Old Merlin's told me about that plenty of times." "Good," Alex said. "So you know all about the leeches." Arthur gulped. "Yes ... I do," he said nervously. "Luckily by then you've already been captured by the Saxons and your legs have been ripped off," Alex said. "So there aren't too many leech wounds." Arthur gulped. "It's the definition of luck," he said. "It's a shame you lose both your arms in the battle before you get captured," Alex said. "But you aren't known as Arthur the Limbless for nothing." "Arthur the Limbless? " "Oh, yes," Alex said. "A lesser king would have let the title belittle him, but you still manage to instill fear in all your enemies. Then again, that could be because of your future wife, Queen Girtha. Of course, Merlin has told you about her ..." "Naturally," Arthur said. "She's that nasty woman, right? So hideous, people are afraid to look at her. Now remind me, how many terrible children do we have?" "Just the one," Alex said. "And who would have expected you to die during childbirth?" "I die in childbirth?" Arthur asked with a quiver in his voice. "How is that possible?" "Isn't that obvious?" Alex asked. "That's why they call your wife Girtha the Strong Handed. Did you never make that connection?" "Oh, that's right," Arthur said. "I made that connection once before, but I forgot about it." "I don't blame you," Alex said. "I would have blocked it out of my mind, too.
Chris Colfer (Beyond the Kingdoms (The Land of Stories, #4))
I am glad you are no relation of mine: I will never call you aunt again as long as I live. I will never come to see you when I am grown up; and if any one asks me how I liked you, and how you treated me, I will say the very thought of you makes me sick, and that you treated me with miserable cruelty.” “How dare you affirm that, Jane Eyre?” “How dare I, Mrs. Reed? How dare I? Because it is the truth. You think I have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so: and you have no pity. I shall remember how you thrust me back—roughly and violently thrust me back—into the red-room, and locked me up there, to my dying day; though I was in agony; though I cried out, while suffocating with distress, ‘Have mercy! Have mercy, Aunt Reed!’ And that punishment you made me suffer because your wicked boy struck me—knocked me down for nothing. I will tell anybody who asks me questions, this exact tale. People think you a good woman, but you are bad, hard-hearted. You are deceitful!
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Why are you doing this? I don’t want you. Is that the problem? Is your ego so big you can’t handle a woman rejecting you?” “Oh, you want me alright, my sexy little witch. Want me so bad it scares you. Well, I’ve got news for you. It scares the fuck out of me, too. But I don’t care. When the options are settling down with you for life and popping out little demonlings or watching you walk away, I know what I choose.” For a moment, she couldn’t answer, could only gape at him as his words penetrated. Surely, she misunderstood. “What did you say?” “I want you as my mate.” No misunderstanding that time. She tamped down her elation by slapping it with the cold, hard truth. “You’ll hurt me.” “Trust me.” He asked too much. “I’m not the right woman.” “You’re all I want.” She shook her head lest his words weave a spell around her and make her believe. Yet despite all the warnings in her head, hope blossomed and love warmed her. How nice it would be to allow herself to love him. To trust him. Sadness entered his expression at her rejection. “I know it’s hard for you, little witch, but I promise you’ve nothing to fear. Unless the thought of too many orgasms in a row freaks you out.” And that quickly, he changed from pensive male to the one she’d grown to love with the mischievous smile. He lunged. She squealed like a little girl and ran. Not far though. With his ridiculously long stride, he quickly caught her and tossed her over his shoulder. He laughed as she beat at his broad back with her fists. “Save some of that energy for the bedroom because you are not leaving until you admit you care for me.” “I’ll kill you first.” “I like a girl who’s kinky.” “You’re impossible.” “No, but I am horny.” “How are we supposed to catch those souls if we’re fooling around here?” “Some things are more important.” “How can having sex with me be more important than ensuring you don’t burst into flame tomorrow?” “I would let someone beat me with a cat-o-nine too, if you’d just admit you like me.” “I hate you.” “Close. I see we’ll need to work on that.” -Ysabel & Remy
Eve Langlais (A Demon and His Witch (Welcome to Hell, #1))
In fact, there did not seem to be any limit to what Grof's LSD subjects could tap into. They seemed capable of knowing what it was like to be every animal, and even plant, on the tree of evolution. They could experience what it was like to be a blood cell, an atom, a thermonuclear process inside the sun, the consciousness of the entire planet, and even the consciousness of the entire cosmos. More than that, they displayed the ability to transcend space and time, and occasionally they related uncannily accurate precognitive information. In an even stranger vein they sometimes encountered nonhuman intelligences during their cerebral travels, discarnate beings, spirit guides from "higher planes of consciousness, " and other suprahuman entities. On occasion subjects also traveled to what appeared to be other universes and other levels of reality. In one particularly unnerving session a young man suffering from depression found himself in what seemed to be another dimension. It had an eerie luminescence, and although he could not see anyone he sensed that it was crowded with discarnate beings. Suddenly he sensed a presence very close to him, and to his surprise it began to communicate with him telepathically. It asked him to please contact a couple who lived in the Moravian city of Kromeriz and let them know that their son Ladislav was well taken care of and doing all right. It then gave him the couple's name, street address, and telephone number. The information meant nothing to either Grof or the young man and seemed totally unrelated to the young man's problems and treatment. Still, Grof could not put it out of his mind. "After some hesitation and with mixed feelings, I finally decided to do what certainly would have made me the target of my colleagues' jokes, had they found out, " says Grof. "I went to the telephone, dialed the number in Kromeriz, and asked if I could speak with Ladislav. To my astonishment, the woman on the other side of the line started to cry. When she calmed down, she told me with a broken voice: 'Our son is not with us any more; he passed away, we lost him three weeks ago.
Michael Talbot (The Holographic Universe)
How long does it last?" Said the other customer, a man wearing a tan shirt with little straps that buttoned on top of the shoulders. He looked as if he were comparing all the pros and cons before shelling out $.99. You could see he thought he was pretty shrewd. "It lasts for as long as you live," the manager said slowly. There was a second of silence while we all thought about that. The man in the tan shirt drew his head back, tucking his chin into his neck. His mind was working like a house on fire "What about other people?" He asked. "The wife? The kids?" "They can use your membership as long as you're alive," the manager said, making the distinction clear. "Then what?" The man asked, louder. He was the type who said things like "you get what you pay for" and "there's one born every minute" and was considering every angle. He didn't want to get taken for a ride by his own death. "That's all," the manager said, waving his hands, palms down, like a football referee ruling an extra point no good. "Then they'd have to join for themselves or forfeit the privileges." "Well then, it makes sense," the man said, on top of the situation now, "for the youngest one to join. The one that's likely to live the longest." "I can't argue with that," said the manager. The man chewed his lip while he mentally reviewed his family. Who would go first. Who would survive the longest. He cast his eyes around to all the cassettes as if he'd see one that would answer his question. The woman had not gone away. She had brought along her signed agreement, the one that she paid $25 for. "What is this accident waiver clause?" She asked the manager. "Look," he said, now exhibiting his hands to show they were empty, nothing up his sleeve, "I live in the real world. I'm a small businessman, right? I have to protect my investment, don't I? What would happen if, and I'm not suggesting you'd do this, all right, but some people might, what would happen if you decided to watch one of my movies in the bathtub and a VCR you rented from me fell into the water?" The woman retreated a step. This thought had clearly not occurred to her before.
Michael Dorris (A Yellow Raft in Blue Water)
What, then, does submission and respect look like for a woman in a dating relationship? Here are some guidelines: 1. A woman should allow the man to initiate the relationship. This does not mean that she does nothing. She helps! If she thinks there is a good possibility for a relationship, she makes herself accessible to him and helps him to make conversation, putting him at ease and encouraging him as opportunities arise (she does the opposite when she does not have interest in a relationship with a man). A godly woman will not try to manipulate the start of a relationship, but will respond to the interest and approaches of a man in a godly, encouraging way. 2. A godly woman should speak positively and respectfully about her boyfriend, both when with him and when apart. 3. She should give honest attention to his interests and respond to his attention and care by opening up her heart. 4. She should recognize the sexual temptations with which a single man will normally struggle. Knowing this, she will dress attractively but modestly, and will avoid potentially compromising situations. She must resist the temptation to encourage sexual liberties as a way to win his heart. 5. The Christian woman should build up the man with God's Word and give encouragement to godly leadership. She should allow and seek biblical encouragement from the man she is dating. 6. She should make "helping" and "respecting" the watchwords of her behavior toward a man. She should ask herself, "How can I encourage him, especially in his walk with God?" "How can I provide practical helps that are appropriate to the current place in our relationship?" She should share with him in a way that will enable him to care for her heart, asking, "What can I do or say that will help him to understand who I really am, and how can I participate in the things he cares about?" 7. She must remember that this is a brother in the Lord. She should not be afraid to end an unhealthy relationship, but should seek to do so with charity and grace. Should the relationship not continue forward, the godly woman will ensure that her time with a man will have left him spiritually blessed.
Richard D. Phillips (Holding Hands, Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating)
Curious Oriental imagery was employed in these documents. In one of his earlier letters the thum asked why the British strayed thus into his country 'like camels without nose rings'. In another letter he declared that he cared nothing for the womanly English, as he hung upon the skirts of the manly Russians, and he warned Colonel Durand that he had given orders to his followers to bring him the Gilgit Agent's head on a platter. The thum was, indeed an excellent correspondent about this time. He used to dictate his letters to the Court Munshi, the only literary man, I believe, in the whole of his dominions, who wrote forcible, if unclassical, Persian. In one letter the thum somewhat shifted his ground, and spoke of other friends. 'I have been tributary to China for hundreds of years. Trespass into China if you dare,' he wrote to Colonel Durand. 'I will withstand you, if I have to use bullets of gold. If you venture here, be prepared to fight three nations - Hunza, China, and Russia. We will cut your head off, Colonel Durand, and then report you to the Indian Government.
Edward Frederick Knight (WHERE THREE EMPIRES MEET: Narrative of travel in Kashmir, Western Tibet, Gilgit and other adjoining countries)
I here behold a Commander in Chief who looks idle and is always busy; who has no other desk than his knees, no other comb than his fingers; constantly reclined on his couch, yet sleeping neither in night nor in daytime. A cannon shot, to which he himself is not exposed, disturbs him with the idea that it costs the life of some of his soldiers. Trembling for others, brave himself, alarmed at the approach of danger, frolicsome when it surrounds him, dull in the midst of pleasure, surfeited with everything, easily disgusted, morose, inconstant, a profound philosopher, an able minister, a sublime politician, not revengeful, asking pardon for a pain he has inflicted, quickly repairing an injustice, thinking he loves God when he fears the Devil; waving one hand to the females that please him, and with the other making the sign of the cross; receiving numberless presents from his sovereign and distributing them immediately to others; preferring prodigality in giving, to regularity in paying; prodigiously rich and not worth a farthing; easily prejudiced in favor of or against anything; talking divinity to his generals and tactics to his bishops; never reading, but pumping everyone with whom he converses; uncommonly affable or extremely savage, the most attractive or most repulsive of manners; concealing under the appearance of harshness, the greatest benevolence of heart, like a child, wanting to have everything, or, like a great man, knowing how to do without; gnawing his fingers, or apples, or turnips; scolding or laughing; engaged in wantonness or in prayers, summoning twenty aides de camp and saying nothing to any of them, not caring for cold, though he appears unable to exist without furs; always in his shirt without pants, or in rich regimentals; barefoot or in slippers; almost bent double when he is at home, and tall, erect, proud, handsome, noble, majestic when he shows himself to his army like Agamemnon in the midst of the monarchs of Greece. What then is his magic? Genius, natural abilities, an excellent memory, artifice without craft, the art of conquering every heart; much generosity, graciousness, and justice in his rewards; and a consummate knowledge of mankind. There
Robert K. Massie (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman)
Hareton, with a streaming face, dug green sods, and laid them over the brown mould himself: at present it is as smooth and verdant as its companion mounds—and I hope its tenant sleeps as soundly. But the country folks, if you ask them, would swear on the Bible that he walks: there are those who speak to having met him near the church, and on the moor, and even within this house. Idle tales, you’ll say, and so say I. Yet that old man by the kitchen fire affirms he has seen two figures looking out of his chamber window on every rainy night since his death:—and an odd thing happened to me about a month ago. I was going to the Grange one evening—a dark evening, threatening thunder—and, just at the turn of the Heights, I encountered a little boy with a sheep and two lambs before him; he was crying terribly; and I supposed the lambs were skittish, and would not be guided. “What is the matter, my little man?” I asked. “There’s Heathcliff and a woman there under the hill,” he blubbered, “an’ I daren't pass ’em.” I saw nothing; but neither the sheep nor he would go on, so I bid him take the road lower down.
Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights)
My whole life people have wondered "what" I am, what race or nationality. ... It's happened again and again: someone looking at me furtively, or calling me "exotic" and asking me "What's your heritage?" Once when I was making a purchase in a department store, the white salesman behind the counter was too nervous or too polite to ask--most likely not wanting to offend a white woman by assuming that she was anything but white. He needed to write on the back of my check the additional identifying information required back then: race and gender. Hesitating, his pen hovering, he tried to look at me without my notice. I watched his face as he deliberated after a second and third glance at my features, my straight, fine hair, my skin color and clothing. He must have considered, too, how I had spoken and whether any of those factors matched his notions of certain people--black people. I stood there and said nothing as he scribbled the letters WF, the designation for white female. In the same week, with a different clerk, I had been given the designation BF. That time I had not been alone: I had been standing in line at the grocery store with a friend who is black.
Natasha Trethewey (Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir)
My husband and I have been a part of the same small group for the past five years.... Like many small groups, we regularly share a meal together, love one another practically, and serve together to meet needs outside our small group. We worship, study God’s Word, and pray. It has been a rich time to grow in our understanding of God, what Jesus has accomplished for us, God’s purposes for us as a part of his kingdom, his power and desire to change us, and many other precious truths. We have grown in our love for God and others, and have been challenged to repent of our sin and trust God in every area of our lives. It was a new and refreshing experience for us to be in a group where people were willing to share their struggles with temptation and sin and ask for prayer....We have been welcomed by others, challenged to become more vulnerable, held up in prayer, encouraged in specific ongoing struggles, and have developed sweet friendships. I have seen one woman who had one foot in the world and one foot in the church openly share her struggles with us. We prayed that God would show her the way of escape from temptation many times and have seen God’s work in delivering her. Her openness has given us a front row seat to see the power of God intersect with her weakness. Her continued vulnerability and growth in godliness encourage us to be humble with one another, and to believe that God is able to change us too. Because years have now passed in close community, God’s work can be seen more clearly than on a week-by-week basis. One man who had some deep struggles and a lot of anger has grown through repenting of sin and being vulnerable one on one and in the group. He has been willing to hear the encouragement and challenges of others, and to stay in community throughout his struggle.... He has become an example in serving others, a better listener, and more gentle with his wife. As a group, we have confronted anxiety, interpersonal strife, the need to forgive, lust, family troubles, unbelief, the fear of man, hypocrisy, unemployment, sickness, lack of love, idolatry, and marital strife. We have been helped, held accountable, and lifted up by one another. We have also grieved together, celebrated together, laughed together, offended one another, reconciled with one another, put up with one another,...and sought to love God and one another. As a group we were saddened in the spring when a man who had recently joined us felt that we let him down by not being sensitive to his loneliness. He chose to leave. I say this because, with all the benefits of being in a small group, it is still just a group of sinners. It is Jesus who makes it worth getting together. Apart from our relationship with him...,we have nothing to offer. But because our focus is on Jesus, the group has the potential to make a significant and life-changing difference in all our lives. ...When 7 o’clock on Monday night comes around, I eagerly look forward to the sound of my brothers and sisters coming in our front door. I never know how the evening will go, what burdens people will be carrying, how I will be challenged, or what laughter or tears we will share. But I always know that the great Shepherd will meet us and that our lives will be richer and fuller because we have been together. ...I hope that by hearing my story you will be encouraged to make a commitment to become a part of a small group and experience the blessing of Christian community within the smaller, more intimate setting that it makes possible. 6
Timothy S. Lane (How People Change)
We were almost back to the jail with our second load, and I was just beginning to think we might pull this off, when Uncle Wiggens wandered into the street. 'Who there?' he called out, his words slurred. Emma ducked behind a tree, but I didn't move fast enough. 'Is that you, Dit?' I nodded. Something was strange about him. 'What you doing out so late at night?' he asked. 'Nothing.' I figured out what was strange. 'Where's your leg?' I asked. His leg ended at the knee and he was hopping along on one leg and his cane. 'Left it at home,' said Uncle Wiggens. 'Always do when I'm sleepwalking. My daughter warned me about drinking a whole bottle of whiskey in one sitting. But I was never one to let a woman tell me what to do.' 'Yeah. Me neither.' 'Well,' said Uncle Wiggens, 'I'd best get on home before I wake up.' 'Yeah.' 'Being without my leg and all.' 'That would be embarrassing.' 'Sure would. Sure would.' Uncle Wiggens mumbled to himself as he wandered off. 'General Lee always said, if you ain't got all your supplies, don't ride into battle. Course he meant bullets, but he wouldn't have liked us going off without our legs neither. Course most of us have our legs buttoned on, but...
Kristin Levine (The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had)
A startling thought this, that a woman could handle business matters as well as or better than a man, a revolutionary thought to Scarlett who had been reared in the tradition that men were omniscient and women none too bright. Of course, she had discovered that this was not altogether true but the pleasant fiction still stuck in her mind. Never before had she put this remarkable idea into words. She sat quite still, with the heavy book across her lap, her mouth a little open with surprise, thinking that during the lean months at Tara she had done a man’s work and done it well. She had been brought up to believe that a woman alone could accomplish nothing, yet she had managed the plantation without men to help her until Will came. Why, why, her mind stuttered, I believe women could manage everything in the world without men’s help—except having babies, and God knows, no woman in her right mind would have babies if she could help it. With the idea that she was as capable as a man came a sudden rush of pride and a violent longing to prove it, to make money for herself as men made money. Money which would be her own, which she would neither have to ask for nor account for to any man.
Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind)
A monk lived near the temple of Shiva. In the house opposite lived a prostitute. Noticing the large number of men who visited her, the monk decided to speak to her. ‘You are a great sinner,’ he said sternly. ‘You reveal your lack of respect for God every day and every night. Do you never stop to think about what will happen to you after your death?’ The poor woman was very shaken by what the monk said. She prayed to God out of genuine repentance, begging His forgiveness. She also asked the Almighty to help her to find another means of earning her living. But she could find no other work and, after going hungry for a week, she returned to prostitution. But each time she gave her body to a stranger, she would pray to the Lord for forgiveness. Annoyed that his advice had had no effect, the monk thought to himself: ‘From now on, I’m going to keep a count of the number of men who go into that house, until the day the sinner dies.’ And from that moment on, he did nothing but watch the comings and goings at the prostitute’s house, and for each man who went in, he added a stone to a pile of stones by his side. After some time, the monk again spoke to the prostitute and said: ‘You see that pile of stones? Each stone represents a mortal sin committed by you, despite all my warnings. I say to you once more: do not sin again!’ Seeing how her sins accumulated, the woman began to tremble. Returning home, she wept tears of real repentance and prayed to God: ‘O Lord, when will Your mercy free me from this wretched life?’ Her prayer was heard. That same day, the angel of death came to her house and carried her off. On God’s orders, the angel crossed the street and took the monk with him too. The prostitute’s soul went straight up to Heaven, while the devils bore the monk down into Hell. They passed each other on the way, and when the monk saw what was happening, he cried out: ‘Is this Your justice, O Lord? I spent my whole life in devotion and poverty and now I am carried off into Hell, while that prostitute, who lived all her life steeped in sin, is borne aloft up to Heaven!’ Hearing this, one of the angels replied: Angels are always just. You thought that God’s love meant judging the behaviour of your neighbour. While you filled your heart with the impurity of another’s sin, this woman prayed fervently day and night. Her soul is so light after all the tears she has shed that we can easily bear her up to Paradise. Your soul is so weighed down with stones it is too heavy to lift.
Paulo Coelho
what about your new way of looking at things? We seem to have wandered rather a long way from that.’ ‘Well, as a matter of fact,’ said Philip, ‘we haven’t. All these camisoles en flanelle and pickled onions and bishops of cannibal islands are really quite to the point. Because the essence of the new way of looking is multiplicity. Multiplicity of eyes and multiplicity of aspects seen. For instance, one person interprets events in terms of bishops; another in terms of the price of flannel camisoles; another, like that young lady from Gulmerg,’ he nodded after the retreating group, ‘thinks of it in terms of good times. And then there’s the biologist, the chemist, the physicist, the historian. Each sees, professionally, a different aspect of the event, a different layer of reality. What I want to do is to look with all those eyes at once. With religious eyes, scientific eyes, economic eyes, homme moyen sensuel eyes . . .’ ‘Loving eyes too.’ He smiled at her and stroked her hand. ‘The result . . .’ he hesitated. ‘Yes, what would the result be?’ she asked. ‘Queer,’ he answered. ‘A very queer picture indeed.’ ‘Rather too queer, I should have thought.’ ‘But it can’t be too queer,’ said Philip. ‘However queer the picture is, it can never be half so odd as the original reality. We take it all for granted; but the moment you start thinking, it becomes queer. And the more you think, the queerer it grows. That’s what I want to get in this book—the astonishingness of the most obvious things. Really any plot or situation would do. Because everything’s implicit in anything. The whole book could be written about a walk from Piccadilly Circus to Charing Cross. Or you and I sitting here on an enormous ship in the Red Sea. Really, nothing could be queerer than that. When you reflect on the evolutionary processes, the human patience and genius, the social organisation, that have made it possible for us to be here, with stokers having heat apoplexy for our benefit and steam turbines doing five thousand revolutions a minute, and the sea being blue, and the rays of light not flowing round obstacles, so that there’s a shadow, and the sun all the time providing us with energy to live and think—when you think of all this and a million other things, you must see that nothing could well be queerer and that no picture can be queer enough to do justice to the facts.’ ‘All the same,’ said Elinor, after a long silence, ‘I wish one day you’d write a simple straightforward story about a young man and a young woman who fall in love and get married and have difficulties, but get over them, and finally settle down.’ ‘Or
Aldous Huxley (Point Counter Point)
Miss Wigglesworth gave him an assessing look out of her remarkable blue eyes. “You’re a libertine? How very unique.” She gave a small fake yawn. She was, in that heartbeat, so perfect and so pure and so very dangerous indeed that all he could do was frighten her away. “Have you been listening at keyholes, Lazuli? I assure you, they have always been willing, even when I ask that they pretend otherwise.” She blushed deep pink at that – an appealing thing, the blood high under her cheeks, warm and subtle and alive. He wanted to delve into her, with teeth and body until she was ravaged and supine and wrecked and bleeding and his. She did not, as he had expected, break away from him mid-step. The blush was there, to be sure, but she was made of sterner stuff. Any true innocent would be repulsed by the intent in his tone. A woman without experience would fear the implication of his preferences – the certain acknowledgment that there was wolf, nothing but wolf, underneath all his icy indifference. Faith was intrigued. She tilted her head and looked hard at him, her lovely eyes flinty. “So, you’re just a beast who enjoys the chase, nothing else?” “Exactly so.” She threw it all at him. Like a piece of warm fresh meat, cut and dripping temptation, enough to make him salivate, to bait her trap. “You can’t catch me.” The waltz ended.
Gail Carriger (How to Marry a Werewolf (Claw & Courtship, #1))
...sometimes I stand there watching them and I see they believe they're completely special, the first, the only people ever to feel the way they're feeling. They believe they'll live happily ever after, that all the other marriages going on around them - those ordinary, worn-down, flattened-in arrangements - why, those are nothing like they'll have. They'll never setlle for so little. And it makes me mad. I can't help it, Cody. I know it's selfish, but I can't help it. I want to ask them, Who do you think you are, anyhow? Do you imagine you're unique? Do you really suppose I was always this old difficult woman? Cody, listen. I was special too, once, to someone. I could just reach out and lay a fingertip on his arm while he was talking and he would instantly fall silent and get all confused. I had hopes; I was courted; I had the most beautiful wedding. I had three lovely pregnancies, where every morning I woke up knowing something perfect would happen in nine months, eights months, seven months...so it seemed I was full of light; it was light and plans that filled me. And then while you children were little, why, I was the center of your worlds! I was everything to you! It was Mother this and Mother that, and 'Where's Mother? Where's she gone to?' and the moment you came in from school, 'Mother? Are you home?' It's not fair, Cody. It's really not fair; now I'm old and I walk along unnoticed, just like anyone else. It strikes me as unjust, Cody.
Anne Tyler (Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant)
How did you find me, anyway?” “We went to your office, and your butler told us you had left to come here.” She laughed, remembering it. “Max said, ‘What, already?’ and Mr. Shaw said, rather loftily, that you could ‘wait for no man’s leisure’ and ‘tend on no man’s business.’ I gather that the man is as fond of Much Ado about Nothing as we are.” “Oh, he likes them all,” Dom said dryly. “Too many years spent as a bit player in the theater, I’m afraid. He keeps hoping that if he memorizes every play in existence, he will advance to a lead role.” He fastened his trousers. “But how did you even get away from your uncle and Blakeborough? They just let you ride off after me with Max and Lisette?” “Well, Blakeborough had no choice since I had just jilted him.” She sighed. “Oh, Lord. I have once again jilted a fiancé, haven’t I? I’m forever going to be known as the woman who jilted two men.” She made a face. “I should have calling cards made--‘Jane the Jilt,’ to go along with ‘Dom the Almighty.’” “I will never carry a card with the appellation ‘Dom the Almighty,’ so just put that right out of your head,” he said irritably. “In any case, since you’re marrying me, I’m no longer jilted.” He paused a moment to shoot her a wary glance. “You are marrying me, aren’t you?” That was even closer to asking. “Say ‘please,’” she teased. Though he eyed her askance, he pulled her close for a long, lingering kiss, then said, “Please, Jane, will you marry me?” She beamed at him. “I do believe I will.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
The kid in the newspaper was named Stevie, and he was eight. I was thirty-nine and lived by myself in a house that I owned. For a short time our local newspaper featured an orphan every week. Later they would transition to adoptable pets, but for a while it was orphans, children your could foster and possibly adopt of everything worked out, the profiles were short, maybe two or three hundred words. This was what I knew: Stevie liked going to school. He made friends easily. He promised he would make his bed every morning. He hoped that if he were very good we could have his own dog, and if he were very, very good, his younger brother could be adopted with him. Stevie was Black. I knew nothing else. The picture of him was a little bigger than a postage stamp. He smiled. I studied his face at my breakfast table until something in me snapped. I paced around my house, carrying the folded newspaper. I had two bedrooms. I had a dog. I had so much more than plenty. In return he would make his bed, try his best in school. That was all he had to bargain with: himself. By the time Karl came for dinner after work I was nearly out of my mind. “I want to adopt him,” I said. Karl read the profile. He looked at the picture. “You want to be his mother?” “It’s not about being his mother. I mean, sure, if I’m his mother that’s fine, but it’s like seeing a kid waving from the window of a burning house, saying he’ll make his bed if someone will come and get him out. I can’t leave him there.” “We can do this,” Karl said. We can do this. I started to calm myself because Karl was calm. He was good at making things happen. I didn’t have to want children in order to want Stevie. In the morning I called the number in the newspaper. They took down my name and address. They told me they would send the preliminary paperwork. After the paperwork was reviewed, there would be a series of interviews and home visits. “When do I meet Stevie?” I asked. “Stevie?” “The boy in the newspaper.” I had already told her the reason I was calling. “Oh, it’s not like that,” the woman said. “It’s a very long process. We put you together with the child who will be your best match.” “So where’s Stevie?” She said she wasn’t sure. She thought that maybe someone had adopted him. It was a bait and switch, a well-written story: the bed, the dog, the brother. They knew how to bang on the floor to bring people like me out of the woodwork, people who said they would never come. I wrapped up the conversation. I didn’t want a child, I wanted Stevie. It all came down to a single flooding moment of clarity: he wouldn’t live with me, but I could now imagine that he was in a solid house with people who loved him. I put him in the safest chamber of my heart, he and his twin brother in twin beds, the dog asleep in Stevie’s arms. And there they stayed, going with me everywhere until I finally wrote a novel about them called Run. Not because I thought it would find them, but because they had become too much for me to carry. I had to write about them so that I could put them down.
Ann Patchett (These Precious Days: Essays)
Matthew closed the door and turned toward her. He seemed very large in the small room, his broad frame dwarfing their civilized surroundings. Daisy’s mouth went dry as she stared at him. She wanted to be close to him… she wanted to feel all his skin against hers. “What is there between you and Llandrindon?” he demanded. “Nothing. Only friendship. On my side, that is.” “And on his side?” “I suspect— well, he seemed to indicate that he would not be averse to— you know.” “Yes, I know,” he said thickly. “And even though I can’t stand the bastard, I also can’t blame him for wanting you. Not after the way you’ve teased and tempted him all week.” “If you’re trying to imply that I’ve been acting like some femme fatale—” “Don’t try to deny it. I saw the way you flirted with him. The way you leaned close when you talked… the smiles, the provocative dresses…” “Provocative dresses?” Daisy asked in bemusement. “Like that one.” Daisy looked down at her demure white gown, which covered her entire chest and most of her arms. A nun couldn’t have found fault with it. She glanced at him sardonically. “I’ve been trying for days to make you jealous. You would have saved me a lot of effort if you’d just admitted it straight off.” “You were deliberately trying to make me jealous?” he exploded. “What in God’s name did you think that would accomplish? Or is turning me inside out your latest idea of an entertaining hobby?” A sudden blush covered her face. “I thought you might feel something for me… and I hoped to make you admit it.” Matthew’s mouth opened and closed, but he couldn’t seem to speak. Daisy wondered uneasily what emotion was working on him. After a few moments he shook his head and leaned against the dresser as if he needed physical support. “Are you angry?” she asked apprehensively. His voice sounded odd and ragged. “Ten percent of me is angry.” “What about the other ninety percent?” “That part is just a hairsbreadth away from throwing you on that bed and—” Matthew broke off and swallowed hard. “Daisy, you’re too damned innocent to understand the danger you’re in. It’s taking all the self-control I’ve got to keep my hands off you. Don’t play games with me, sweetheart. It’s too easy for you to torture me, and I’m at my limit. To put to rest any doubts you might have… I’m jealous of every man who comes within ten feet of you. I’m jealous of the clothes on your skin and the air you breathe. I’m jealous of every moment you spend out of my sight.” Stunned, Daisy whispered, “You… you certainly haven’t shown any sign of it.” “Over the years I’ve collected a thousand memories of you, every glimpse, every word you’ve ever said to me. All those visits to your family’s home, those dinners and holidays— I could hardly wait to walk through the front door and see you.” The corners of his mouth quirked with reminiscent amusement. “You, in the middle of that brash, bull-headed lot… I love watching you deal with your family. You’ve always been everything I thought a woman should be. And I have wanted you every second of my life since we first met.
Lisa Kleypas (Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4))
It is truly wonderful," he said, "how easily Society can console itself for the worst of its shortcomings with a little bit of clap-trap. The machinery it has set up for the detection of crime is miserably ineffective—and yet only invent a moral epigram, saying that it works well, and you blind everybody to its blunders from that moment. Crimes cause their own detection, do they? And murder will out (another moral epigram), will it? Ask Coroners who sit at inquests in large towns if that is true, Lady Glyde. Ask secretaries of life-assurance companies if that is true, Miss Halcombe. Read your own public journals. In the few cases that get into the newspapers, are there not instances of slain bodies found, and no murderers ever discovered? Multiply the cases that are reported by the cases that are not reported, and the bodies that are found by the bodies that are not found, and what conclusion do you come to? This. That there are foolish criminals who are discovered, and wise criminals who escape. The hiding of a crime, or the detection of a crime, what is it? A trial of skill between the police on one side, and the individual on the other. When the criminal is a brutal, ignorant fool, the police in nine cases out of ten win. When the criminal is a resolute, educated, highly-intelligent man, the police in nine cases out of ten lose. If the police win, you generally hear all about it. If the police lose, you generally hear nothing. And on this tottering foundation you build up your comfortable moral maxim that Crime causes its own detection! Yes—all the crime you know of. And what of the rest?
Wilkie Collins (The Woman in White)
Cribbage!” I declared, pulling out the board, a deck of cards, and pen and paper, “Ben and I are going to teach you. Then we can all play.” “What makes you think I don’t know how to play cribbage?” Sage asked. “You do?” Ben sounded surprised. “I happen to be an excellent cribbage player,” Sage said. “Really…because I’m what one might call a cribbage master,” Ben said. “I bet I’ve been playing longer than you,” Sage said, and I cast my eyes his way. Was he trying to tell u something? “I highly doubt that,” Ben said, “but I believe we’ll see the proof when I double-skunk you.” “Clearly you’re both forgetting it’s a three-person game, and I’m ready to destroy you both,” I said. “Deal ‘em,” Ben said. Being a horse person, my mother was absolutely convinced she could achieve world peace if she just got the right parties together on a long enough ride. I didn’t know about that, but apparently cribbage might do the trick. I didn’t know about that, but apparently cribbage might do the trick. The three of us were pretty evenly matched, and Ben was impressed enough to ask sage how he learned to play. Turned out Sage’s parents were historians, he said, so they first taught him the precursor to cribbage, a game called noddy. “Really?” Ben asked, his professional curiosity piqued. “Your parents were historians? Did they teach?” “European history. In Europe,” Sage said. “Small college. They taught me a lot.” Yep, there was the metaphorical gauntlet. I saw the gleam in Ben’s eye as he picked it up. “Interesting,” he said. “So you’d say you know a lot about European history?” “I would say that. In fact, I believe I just did.” Ben grinned, and immediately set out to expose Sage as an intellectual fraud. He’d ask questions to trip Sage up and test his story, things I had no idea were tests until I heard Sage’s reactions. “So which of Shakespeare’s plays do you think was better served by the Globe Theatre: Henry VIII or Troilus and Cressida?” Ben asked, cracking his knuckles. “Troilus and Cressida was never performed at the Globe,” Sage replied. “As for Henry VIII, the original Globe caught fire during the show and burned to the ground, so I’d say that’s the show that really brought down the house…wouldn’t you?” “Nice…very nice.” Ben nodded. “Well done.” It was the cerebral version of bamboo under the fingernails, and while they both tried to seem casual about their conversation, they were soon leaning forward with sweat beading on their brows. It was fascinating…and weird. After several hours of this, Ben had to admit that he’d found a historical peer, and he gleefully involved Sage in all kinds of debates about the minutiae of eras I knew nothing about…except that I had the nagging sense I might have been there for some of them. For his part, Sage seemed to relish talking about the past with someone who could truly appreciate the detailed anecdotes and stories he’d discovered in his “research.” By the time we started our descent to Miami, the two were leaning over my seat to chat and laugh together. On the very full flight from Miami to New York, Ben and Sage took the two seats next to each other and gabbed and giggled like middle-school girls. I sat across from them stuck next to an older woman wearing far too much perfume.
Hilary Duff (Elixir (Elixir, #1))
In your war, the first, how did you endure?" asked Sebastian. "My war was nothing," said Hilary hastily, "nothing at all compared with yours, or even David's. Yet I had a way, then, that helped with other things later. For there is always the Thing, you know, the hidden Thing, some fear or pain or shame, temptation or bit of self-knowledge that you can never explain to another. . . . And even in those very few healthy insensitives who do not seem to suffer, a love of something—of their work, perhaps—that they would not want to talk about and could not if they would. For it is the essence of it that it is, humanly speaking, a lonely thing. . . . Returning to the sensitives, if you just endure it simply because you must, like a boil on the neck, or fret yourself to pieces trying to get rid of it, or cadge sympathy for it, then it can break you. But if you accept it as a secret burden borne secretly for the love of Christ, it can become your hidden treasure. For it is your point of contact with Him, your point of contact with that fountain of refreshment down at the root of things. "Oh Lord, thou fountain of living waters.' That fountain of life is what Christians mean by grace. That is all. Nothing new, for it brings us back to where we were before. In those deep green pastures where cool waters are there is no separation. Our point of contact with the suffering Christ is our point of contact with every other suffering man and woman, and is the source of our life. " "You could put it another way," said Sebastian. "We are all the branches of the vine, and the wine runs red for the cleansing of the world." "The symbols are endless," agreed Hilary. "Too many, perhaps. They complicate the simplicity of that one act of secret acceptance and dedication.
Elizabeth Goudge (The Heart of the Family (Eliots of Damerosehay, #3))
The next time you enter a temple of Gautam Buddha, just sit silently, watch the statue. Because the statue has been made in such a way, in such proportions that if you watch it you will fall silent. It is a statue of meditation; it is not concerned with Gautam Buddha. That’s why all those statues look alike—Mahavira, Gautam Buddha, Neminatha, Adinatha … . The twenty-four tirthankaras of the Jainas … in the same temple you will find twenty-four statues all alike, exactly alike. In my childhood I used to ask my father, “Can you explain to me how it is possible that twenty-four persons are exactly alike—the same size, the same nose, the same face, the same body … ?” And he used to say, “I don’t know. I am always puzzled myself that there is not a bit of difference. And it is almost unheard of—there are not even two persons in the whole world who are alike, what to say about twenty-four?” But as my meditation blossomed I found the answer—not from anybody else, I found the answer that these statues have nothing to do with the people. These statues have something to do with what was happening inside those twenty-four people, and that happening was exactly the same. We have not bothered about the outside; we have insisted that only the inner should be paid attention to. The outer is unimportant. Somebody is young, somebody is old, somebody is black, somebody is white, somebody is man, somebody is woman—it does not matter; what matters is that inside there is an ocean of silence. In that oceanic state, the body takes a certain posture. You have observed it yourself, but you have not been alert. When you are angry, have you observed? Your body takes a certain posture. In anger you cannot keep your hands open; in anger—the fist. In anger you cannot smile—or can you? With a certain emotion, the body has to follow a certain posture.
Osho (Maturity: The Responsibility of Being Oneself)
It’s all right, I got off the ship okay. I’m alive,” he said again. But his voice sounded different now. “I said I’m alive, Camille. Open your eyes and look at me.” Camille’s heart shriveled as her eyelids fluttered open and she saw the ceiling of Monty’s shack. “Camille?” Oscar leaned over her, his calloused hand on her cheek. “Thank God. You’ve been delirious for nearly an hour.” Tears slipped down her cheeks as the truth stung her with renewed vigor. Her father wasn’t alive. He was truly gone. It had been nothing but a hallucination. “Why are you crying? Does something hurt?” Oscar asked, lightly prodding her arms and then checking her head. She was lying on a cot in front of the blazing stove, blankets covering her. They were scratchy and too heavy. She tried to push them away. “No.” Oscar blocked her arms. “Don’t do that.” “Why?” she asked, her throat dry and sore. Oscar looked apprehensive as he tucked the blankets tightly around her arms and neck. “Your clothes were soaked. You were shivering and flush with fever.” “Had to take ‘em off, love,” Ira said, coming to the foot of the cot. “You gave us quite a scare. That lump on the back of your head worked you over something nasty.” Camille stared at Ira, then Oscar. The crushed hope of her father being alive withered under the heat of embarrassment. “You…you removed my dress?” she whispered. Oscar backed away from her, as if he’d just slid his hand over an open flame. “No, no, I didn’t.” She looked to Ira. “Much as I’d been honored, the Irish bastard wouldn’t hear of it. Quite the prude.” Frustrated and head still piercing with pain, Camille felt the blood rush to her cheeks. “Well, then, who?” “Nothin’ I ain’t seen before, woman,” Monty grumbled from his seat at the table as he sprinkled tobacco into a pipe. Camille gasped and pressed her lips together. She caught sight of her dress hanging on a rack by the fire.
Angie Frazier (Everlasting (Everlasting, #1))
Questioner: In the tradition, we were always taught to be reverential towards God or the highest aspect. So how to reconcile this with Mirabai or Akka Mahadevi who took God as their lover? Sadhguru: Where there is no love, how can reverence come? When love reaches its peak, it naturally becomes reverence. People who are talking about reverence without love know neither this nor that. All they know is fear. So probably you are referring to God-fearing people. These sages and saints, especially the seers like Akka Mahadevi, Mirabai or Anusuya and so many of them in the past, have taken to this form of worship because it was more suitable for them – they could emote much more easily than they could intellectualize things. They just used their emotions to reach their Ultimate nature. Using emotion and reaching the Ultimate nature is what is called bhakti yoga. In every culture, there are different forms of worship. Some people worship God as the master and themselves as the slaves. Sometimes they even take God as their servant or as a partner in everything that they do. Yet others worship him as a friend, as a lover, or as their own child like Balakrishna. Generally, you become the feminine and you hold him as the ultimate purusha – masculine. How you worship is not at all the point; the whole point is just how deeply you relate. These are the different attitudes, but whatever the attitude, the love affair is such that you are not expecting anything from the other side. Not even a response. You crave for it. But if there is no response, you are not going to be angry, you are not going to be disappointed – nothing. Your life is just to crave and make something else tremendously more important than yourself. That is the fundamental thing. In the whole path of bhakti, the important thing is just this, that something else is far more important than you. So Akka, Mirabai and others like them, their bhakti was in that form and they took this mode of worship where they worshipped God – whether Shiva or Krishna – as their husband. In India, when a woman comes to a certain age, marriage is almost like a must, and it anyway happens. They wanted to eliminate that dimension of being married once again to another man, so they chose the Lord himself as their husband so that they don’t need any other relationship in their lives. How a devotee relates to his object of devotion does not really matter because the purpose of the path of devotion is just dissolution. The only objective of a devotee is to dissolve into his object of devotion. Whichever way they could relate best, that is how they would do it. The reason why you asked this question in terms of reverence juxtaposed with being a lover or a husband is because the word “love” or “being a lover” is always understood as a physical aspect. That is why this question has come. How can you be physical with somebody and still be reverential? This has been the tragedy of humanity that lovers have not known how to be reverential to each other. In fact the very objective of love is to dissolve into someone else. If you look at love as an emotion, you can see that love is a vehicle to bring oneness. It is the longing to become one with the other which we are referring to as love. When it is taken to its peak, it is very natural to become reverential towards what you consider worthwhile being “one” with. For whatever sake, you are willing to dissolve yourself. It is natural to be reverential towards that. Otherwise how would you feel that it is worthwhile to dissolve into? If you think it is something you can use or something you can just relate to and be benefited by, there can be no love. Always, the object of love is to dissolve. So, whatever you consider is worthwhile to dissolve your own self into, you are bound to be reverential towards that; there is no other way to be.
Sadhguru (Emotion)
Out of regard for me, if for no other reason, he shouldn't have taken the innocence of a young woman under my protection. It's a matter of respect." Kathleen hoisted herself more fully over him, staring down into his blue eyes. "This," she mocked gently, "from a man who seduced me in nearly every room, stairwell and hay-nook of Eversby Priory. Where was your regard for innocence then?" His frown disappeared. "That was different." "Why, may I ask?" Devon flipped her over, reversing their positions neatly and surprising a giggle from her. "Because," he said huskily, "I wanted you so much..." She writhed and laughed as he unfastened her nightgown. "... and as lord of the manor," he continued, proceeding to strip her naked, "I thought it was time to exercise my droit de seigneur." "As if I were some medieval peasant girl?" she asked, shoving him onto his back, and climbing over him. Grabbing his marauding hands, she tried to pin him down with her entire weight. A deep laugh escaped him. "Love, that won't work. You're no heavier than a butterfly." Clearly enjoying their play, he lay unresisting as she gripped his thick wrists more tightly. "A determined butterfly," he conceded. As he stared up at her, his smile faded, and his eyes darkened to intense blue. "I was a selfish bastard," he said softly. "I shouldn't have seduced you." "I was willing," Kathleen pointed out, inwardly surprised by his remorse. He was changing, she thought, rapidly gaining maturity as he shouldered the responsibilities that had been forced on him so unexpectedly. "I would do it differently now. Forgive me." He paused, frowning in self-reproach. "I wasn't raised to be honorable. It's damned difficult to learn." Kathleen slid her hands over his until their fingers interlaced. "There's nothing to forgive, or regret." Devon shook his head, not allowing her to absolve him. "Tell me how to atone." She bent to brush her lips against his. "Love me," she whispered. With great care, Devon rolled until she was caught beneath him. "Always," he said huskily, and possessed her mouth while his hands slid over her body.
Lisa Kleypas (Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels, #2))
No,’ she answered, wondering at the harsh simplicity of life. ‘My father was a scoundrel then? cried the lad, clenching his fists. She shook her head. ‘I knew he was not free. We loved each other very much. If he had lived, he would have made provision for us. Don’t speak against him, my son. He was your father, and a gentleman. Indeed he was highly connected.’ An oath broke from his lips. ‘I don’t care for myself,’ he exclaimed, ‘but don’t let Sibyl… It is a gentleman, isn’t it, who is in love with her, or says he is? Highly connected, too, I suppose?’ For a moment a hideous sense of humiliation came over the woman. Her head drooped. She wiped her eyes with shaking hands. ‘Sibyl has a mother,’ she murmured; ‘I had none.’ The lad was touched. He went towards her, and stooping down he kissed her. ‘I am sorry if I have pained you by asking about my father,’ he said, ‘but I could not help it. I must go now. Good-bye. Don’t forget that you will only have one child how to look after, and believe me that if this man wrongs my sister, I will find out who he is, track him down, and kill him like a dog. I swear it.’ The exaggerated folly of the threat, the passionate gesture that accompanied it, the mad melodramatic words, made life seem more vivid to her. She was familiar with the atmosphere. She breathed more freely, and for the first time for many months she really admired her son. She would have liked to have continued the scene on the same emotional scale, but he cut her short. Trunks had to be carried down, and mufflers looked for. The lodging-house drudge bustled in and out. There was the bargaining with the cabman. The moment was lost in vulgar details. It was with a renewed feeling of disappointment that she waved the tattered lace handkerchief from the window, as her son drove away. She was conscious that a great opportunity had been wasted. She consoled herself by telling Sibyl how desolate she felt her life would be, now that she had only one child to look after. She remembered the phrase. It had pleased her. Of the threat she said nothing. It was vividly and dramatically expressed. She felt that they would all laugh at it some day.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Sometimes a woman would tell me that the feeling gets so strong she runs out of the house and walks through the streets. Or she stays inside her house and cries. Or her children tell her a joke, and she doesn’t laugh because she doesn’t hear it. I talked to women who had spent years on the analyst’s couch, working out their “adjustment to the feminine role,” their blocks to “fulfillment as a wife and mother.” But the desperate tone in these women’s voices, and the look in their eyes, was the same as the tone and the look of other women, who were sure they had no problem, even though they did have a strange feeling of desperation. A mother of four who left college at nineteen to get married told me: I’ve tried everything women are supposed to do—hobbies, gardening, pick-ling, canning, being very social with my neighbors, joining committees, run-ning PTA teas. I can do it all, and I like it, but it doesn’t leave you anything to think about—any feeling of who you are. I never had any career ambitions. All I wanted was to get married and have four children. I love the kids and Bob and my home. There’s no problem you can even put a name to. But I’m desperate. I begin to feel I have no personality. I’m a server of food and a putter-on of pants and a bedmaker, somebody who can be called on when you want something. But who am I? A twenty-three-year-old mother in blue jeans said: I ask myself why I’m so dissatisfied. I’ve got my health, fine children, a lovely new home, enough money. My husband has a real future as an electron-ics engineer. He doesn’t have any of these feelings. He says maybe I need a vacation, let’s go to New York for a weekend. But that isn’t it. I always had this idea we should do everything together. I can’t sit down and read a book alone. If the children are napping and I have one hour to myself I just walk through the house waiting for them to wake up. I don’t make a move until I know where the rest of the crowd is going. It’s as if ever since you were a little girl, there’s always been somebody or something that will take care of your life: your parents, or college, or falling in love, or having a child, or moving to a new house. Then you wake up one morning and there’s nothing to look forward to.
Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique)
Early in the boob-emerging years, I had no boobs, and I was touchy about it. Remember in middle school algebra class, you’d type 55378008 on your calculator, turn it upside down, and hand it to the flat-chested girl across the aisle? I was that girl, you bi-yotch. I would have died twice if any of the boys had mentioned my booblets. Last year, I thought my boobs had progressed quite nicely. And I progressed from the one-piece into a tankini. But I wasn’t quite ready for any more exposure. I didn’t want the boys to treat me like a girl. Now I did. So today I’d worn a cute little bikini. Over that, I still wore Adam’s cutoff jeans. Amazingly, they looked sexy, riding low on my hips, when I traded the football T-shirt for a pink tank that ended above my belly button and hugged my figure. I even had a little cleavage. I was so proud. Sean was going to love it. Mrs. Vader stared at my chest, perplexed. Finally she said, “Oh, I get it. You’re trying to look hot.” “Thank you!” Mission accomplished. “Here’s a hint. Close your legs.” I snapped my thighs together on the stool. People always scolded me for sitting like a boy. Then I slid off the stool and stomped to the door in a huff. “Where do you want me?” She’d turned back to the computer. “You’ve got gas.” Oh, goody. I headed out the office door, toward the front dock to man the gas pumps. This meant at some point during the day, one of the boys would look around the marina office and ask, “Who has gas?” and another boy would answer, “Lori has gas.” If I were really lucky, Sean would be in on the joke. The office door squeaked open behind me. “Lori,” Mrs. Vader called. “Did you want to talk?” Noooooooo. Nothing like that. I’d only gone into her office and tried to start a conversation. Mrs. Vader had three sons. She didn’t know how to talk to a girl. My mother had died in a boating accident alone on the lake when I was four. I didn’t know how to talk to a woman. Any convo between Mrs. Vader and me was doomed from the start. “No, why?” I asked without turning around. I’d been galloping down the wooden steps, but now I stepped very carefully, looking down, as if I needed to examine every footfall so I wouldn’t trip. “Watch out around the boys,” she warned me. I raised my hand and wiggled my fingers, toodle-dee-doo, dismissing her. Those boys were harmless. Those boys had better watch out for me.
Jennifer Echols (Endless Summer (The Boys Next Door, #1-2))
I have a trainer,” she confirmed while searching for an escape route. Standing closer to this man is like being stuck in an elevator, she decided. You’d bargain with God to get free. “But not just any trainer. Not only does this woman tackle a stallion no one else can seem to tame but she resurrects the dead, n’est-ce pas? You have done wonders to stir McCloud’s blood again, or so I have heard.” A.J.’s mouth dropped open at the insinuation. “What are you talking about?” “Surely you jest. The news is all around.” He gesticulated with a limp wrist. “Although I must say, you are faithless to leave your family in favor of a man who is not your husband. No matter how good you find his services.” Her vision narrowed on the man’s jugular. “Why, you little—” Devlin appeared at her side. “A.J.! Time to go pace off the course.” “Ah,” Philippe said grandly. “And here is your good teacher, the man you gave up so much for. Myself, I could not imagine leaving my family for someone else’s stable, but I am French and we are known for our loyalty. Then again, I also don’t need the particular kind of instruction this McCloud offers.” A.J. could sense her face tuning brick red and felt like a boxer winding up for a punch. “Come on,” Devlin said. “Yes, run along, you two. I imagine there is much you must do to each other.” That did it. She lost it. “Why, you tar-mouthed gossip hound—” She was itching to go further but Devlin put a firm hand on her arm and began to lead her away. “And speaking of gossip,” the Frenchman called out as they left, “you would do well to keep your ear to the floor. I myself am going to make an announcement soon.” “That’s ‘ear to the ground,’ you—” “Enough,” Devlin hissed, dragging her off. When they were out of range from the crowd, A.J. whirled on him, eyes flashing turquoise. “How could you let him go on like that? You didn’t give me the chance to defend us!” Devlin said nothing, which infuriated her further. He just stood there, staring at her calmly. Didn’t he have any pride? “I mean, come on! Marceau made insinuations that were insane and you hauled me off before I could respond.” When that didn’t get any reaction, she frowned. “Hello?” “You finished?” he asked. “Or do you want to give him more of what he’s after?” A.J. looked confused. He said, “Tell me what you’re thinking about right now.” “How I’d like to crown him with a bag of feed.
J.R. Ward (Leaping Hearts)
Sidney, is that what you girls go for these days?” Kathleen asked, pointing toward her oldest son. “All this scruffy whatnot?” Well, nothing like putting her on the spot here. Personally, Sidney thought that the dark hint of scruff along Vaughn’s angular jaw looked fine. Better than fine, actually. She would, however, rather be trapped for the next thirty-six hours in a car with the crazy pregnant lady before admitting that in front of him. “I generally prefer clean-shaven men.” She shrugged—sorry—when Vaughn gave her the side-eye as he began setting the table. “See? If you don’t believe me, at least listen to her,” Kathleen said, while peeling a carrot over a bowl at the island. “If you want to find a woman of quality, you can’t be running around looking like you just rolled out of bed.” “I’ll keep that in mind. But for now, the ‘scruffy whatnot’ stays. I need it for an undercover role,” Vaughn said. Surprised to hear that, Sidney looked over as she dumped the tomatoes into a large salad bowl filled with lettuce. “You’re working undercover now?” “Well, I’m not in the other identity right this second,” Vaughn said. “I’m kind of guessing my mother would be able to ID me.” Thank you, yes, she got that. “I meant, how does that work?” Sidney asked him. “You just walk around like normal, being yourself, when you’re not . . . the other you?” “That’s exactly how it works. At least, when we’re talking about a case that involves only part-time undercover work.” “But what if I were to run into the other you somewhere? Say . . . at a coffee shop.” A little inside reference there. “If I called you ‘Vaughn’ without realizing that you were working, wouldn’t that blow your cover?” “First of all, like all agents who regularly do undercover work, I tell my friends and family not to approach me if they happen to run into me somewhere—for that very reason. Second of all, in this case, the ‘other me’ doesn’t hang out at coffee shops.” “Where does the other you hang out?” Sidney asked. Not to contribute to his already healthy ego, but this was pretty interesting stuff. “In dark, sketchy alleys doing dark, sketchy things,” Vaughn said as he set the table with salad bowls. “So the other you is a bad guy, then.” Sidney paused, realizing something. “Is what you’re doing dangerous?” “The joke around my office is that the agents on the white-collar crime squad never do anything dangerous.” Sidney noticed that wasn’t an actual answer to her question
Julie James (It Happened One Wedding (FBI/US Attorney, #5))
Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who was admired by all, but no one dared to ask for her hand in marriage. In despair, the king consulted the god Apollo. He told him that Psyche should be dressed in mourning and left alone on top of a mountain. Before daybreak, a serpent would come to meet and marry her. The king obeyed, and all night the princess waited for her husband to appear, deathly afraid and freezing cold. Finally, she slept. When she awoke, she found herself crowned a queen in a beautiful palace. Every night her husband came to her and they made love, but he had imposed one condition: Psyche could have all she desired, but she had to trust him completely and could never see his face.” How awful, I think, but I don’t dare interrupt him. “The young woman lived happily for a long time. She had comfort, affection, joy, and she was in love with the man who visited her every night. However, occasionally she was afraid that she was married to a hideous serpent. Early one morning, while her husband slept, she lit a lantern and saw Eros, a man of incredible beauty, lying by her side. The light woke him, and seeing that the woman he loved was unable to fulfill his one request, Eros vanished. Desperate to get her lover back, Psyche submitted to a series of tasks given to her by Aphrodite, Eros’s mother. Needless to say, her mother-in-law was incredibly jealous of Psyche’s beauty and she did everything she could to thwart the couple’s reconciliation. In one of the tasks, Psyche opened a box that makes her fall into a deep sleep.” I grow anxious to find out how the story will end. “Eros was also in love and regretted not having been more lenient toward his wife. He managed to enter the castle and wake her with the tip of his arrow. ‘You nearly died because of your curiosity,’ he told her. ‘You sought security in knowledge and destroyed our relationship.’ But in love, nothing is destroyed forever. Imbued with this conviction, they go to Zeus, the god of gods, and beg that their union never be undone. Zeus passionately pleaded the cause of the lovers with strong arguments and threats until he gained Aphrodite’s support. From that day on, Psyche (our unconscious, but logical, side) and Eros (love) were together forever.” I pour another glass of wine. I rest my head on his shoulder. “Those who cannot accept this, and who always try to find an explanation for magical and mysterious human relationships, will miss the best part of life.
Paulo Coelho (Adultery)
I tell Jack by accident. We’re talking on the phone about unprotected sex, how it isn’t good for people with our particular temperament, our anxiety like an incorrigible weed. He asks if I’ve had any sex that was “really stressful,” and out the story comes, before I can even consider how to share it. Jack is upset. Angry, though not at me. I’m crying, even though I don’t want to. It’s not cathartic, or helping me prove my point. I still make joke after joke, but my tears are betraying me, making me appear clear about my pain when I’m not. Jack is in Belgium. It’s late there, he’s so tired, and I’d rather not be having this conversation this way. “It isn’t your fault,” he tells me, thinking it’s what I need to hear. “There’s no version of this where it’s your fault.” I feel like there are fifty ways it’s my fault. I fantasized. I took the big pill and the small pill, stuffed myself with substances to make being out in the world with people my own age a little bit easier. To lessen the space between me and everyone else. I was hungry to be seen. But I also know that at no moment did I consent to being handled that way. I never gave him permission to be rough, to stick himself inside me without a barrier between us. I never gave him permission. In my deepest self I know this, and the knowledge of it has kept me from sinking. I curl up against the wall, wishing I hadn’t told him. “I love you so much,” he says. “I’m so sorry that happened.” Then his voice changes, from pity to something sharper. “I have to tell you something, and I hope you’ll understand.” “Yes?” I squeak. “I can’t wait to fuck you. I hope you know why I’m saying that. Because nothing’s changed. I’m planning how I’m going to do it.” “You’re going to do it?” “All different ways.” I cry harder. “You better.” I have to go put on a denim vest for a promotional appearance at Levi’s Haus of Strauss. I tell Jack I have to hang up now, and he moans “No” like I’m a babysitter wrenching him from the arms of his mother who is all dressed up for a party. He’s sleepy now. I can hear it. Emotions are exhausting to have. “I love you so much,” I tell him, tearing up all over again. I hang up and go to the mirror, prepared to see eyeliner dripping down my face, tracks through my blush and foundation. I’m in LA, so bring it on, universe: I can only expect to go down Lohan style. But I’m surprised to find that my face is intact, dewy even. Makeup is all where it ought to be. I look all right. I look like myself.
Lena Dunham (Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned")
a guitar. A hammock is swung near the table. It is three o'clock in the afternoon of a cloudy day. MARINA, a quiet, grey-haired, little old woman, is sitting at the table knitting a stocking. ASTROFF is walking up and down near her. MARINA. [Pouring some tea into a glass] Take a little tea, my son. ASTROFF. [Takes the glass from her unwillingly] Somehow, I don't seem to want any. MARINA. Then will you have a little vodka instead? ASTROFF. No, I don't drink vodka every day, and besides, it is too hot now. [A pause] Tell me, nurse, how long have we known each other? MARINA. [Thoughtfully] Let me see, how long is it? Lord—help me to remember. You first came here, into our parts—let me think—when was it? Sonia's mother was still alive—it was two winters before she died; that was eleven years ago—[thoughtfully] perhaps more. ASTROFF. Have I changed much since then? MARINA. Oh, yes. You were handsome and young then, and now you are an old man and not handsome any more. You drink, too. ASTROFF. Yes, ten years have made me another man. And why? Because I am overworked. Nurse, I am on my feet from dawn till dusk. I know no rest; at night I tremble under my blankets for fear of being dragged out to visit some one who is sick; I have toiled without repose or a day's freedom since I have known you; could I help growing old? And then, existence is tedious, anyway; it is a senseless, dirty business, this life, and goes heavily. Every one about here is silly, and after living with them for two or three years one grows silly oneself. It is inevitable. [Twisting his moustache] See what a long moustache I have grown. A foolish, long moustache. Yes, I am as silly as the rest, nurse, but not as stupid; no, I have not grown stupid. Thank God, my brain is not addled yet, though my feelings have grown numb. I ask nothing, I need nothing, I love no one, unless it is yourself alone. [He kisses her head] I had a nurse just like you when I was a child. MARINA. Don't you want a bite of something to eat? ASTROFF. No. During the third week of Lent I went to the epidemic at Malitskoi. It was eruptive typhoid. The peasants were all lying side by side in their huts, and the calves and pigs were running about the floor among the sick. Such dirt there was, and smoke! Unspeakable! I slaved among those people all day, not a crumb passed my lips, but when I got home there was still no rest for me; a switchman was carried in from the railroad; I laid him on the operating table and he went and died in my arms under chloroform, and then my feelings that should have been deadened awoke
Anton Chekhov (Uncle Vanya)
In a Harvard Business Review article titled “Do Women Lack Ambition?” Anna Fels, a psychiatrist at Cornell University, observes that when the dozens of successful women she interviewed told their own stories, “they refused to claim a central, purposeful place.” Were Dr. Fels to interview you, how would you tell your story? Are you using language that suggests you’re the supporting actress in your own life? For instance, when someone offers words of appreciation about a dinner you’ve prepared, a class you’ve taught, or an event you organized and brilliantly executed, do you gracefully reply “Thank you” or do you say, “It was nothing”? As Fels tried to understand why women refuse to be the heroes of their own stories, she encountered the Bem Sex-Role Inventory, which confirms that society considers a woman to be feminine only within the context of a relationship and when she is giving something to someone. It’s no wonder that a “feminine” woman finds it difficult to get in the game and demand support to pursue her goals. It also explains why she feels selfish when she doesn’t subordinate her needs to others. A successful female CEO recently needed my help. It was mostly business-related but also partly for her. As she started to ask for my assistance, I sensed how difficult it was for her. Advocate on her organization’s behalf? Piece of cake. That’s one of the reasons her business has been successful. But advocate on her own behalf? I’ll confess that even among my closest friends I find it painful to say, “Look what I did,” and so I don’t do it very often. If you want to see just how masterful most women have become at deflecting, the next time you’re with a group of girlfriends, ask them about something they (not their husband or children) have done well in the past year. Chances are good that each woman will quickly and deftly redirect the conversation far, far away from herself. “A key type of discrimination that women face is the expectation that feminine women will forfeit opportunities for recognition,” says Fels. “When women do speak as much as men in a work situation or compete for high-visibility positions, their femininity is assailed.” My point here isn’t to say that relatedness and nurturing and picking up our pom-poms to cheer others on is unimportant. Those qualities are often innate to women. If we set these “feminine” qualities aside or neglect them, we will have lost an irreplaceable piece of ourselves. But to truly grow up, we must learn to throw down our pom-poms, believing we can act and that what we have to offer is a valuable part of who we are. When we recognize this, we give ourselves permission to dream and to encourage the girls and women
Whitney Johnson (Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream)
But then the cowboy standing in front of you smiles gently and says, “You sure?” Those two simple words opened up the Floodgates of Hell. I smiled and laughed, embarrassed, even as two big, thick tears rolled down both my cheeks. Then I laughed again and blew a nice, clear explosion of snot from my nose. Of all the things that had happened that day, that single moment might have been the worst. “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m doing this,” I insisted as another pair of tears spilled out. I scrambled around the kitchen counter and found a paper towel, using it to dab the salty wetness on my face and the copious slime under my nose. “I am so, so sorry.” I inhaled deeply, my chest beginning to contract and convulse. This was an ugly cry. I was absolutely horrified. “Hey…what’s wrong?” Marlboro Man asked. Bless his heart, he had to have been as uncomfortable as I was. He’d grown up on a cattle ranch, after all, with two brothers, no sisters, and a mother who was likely as lacking in histrionics as I wished I was at that moment. He led a quiet life out here on the ranch, isolated from the drama of city life. Judging from what he’d told me so far, he hadn’t invited many women over to his house for dinner. And now he had one blubbering uncontrollably in his kitchen. I’d better hurry up and enjoy this evening, I told myself. He won’t be inviting me to any more dinners after this. I blew my nose on the paper towel. I wanted to go hide in the bathroom. Then he took my arm, in a much softer grip than the one he’d used on our first date when he’d kept me from biting the dust. “No, c’mon,” he said, pulling me closer to him and securing his arms around my waist. I died a thousand deaths as he whispered softly, “What’s wrong?” What could I possibly say? Oh, nothing, it’s just that I’ve been slowly breaking up with my boyfriend from California and I uninvited him to my brother’s wedding last week and I thought everything was fine and then he called last night after I got home from cooking you that Linguine and Clam Sauce you loved so much and he said he was flying here today and I told him not to because there really wasn’t anything else we could possibly talk about and I thought he understood and while I was driving out here just now he called me and it just so happens he’s at the airport right now but I decided not to go because I didn’t want to have a big emotional drama (you mean like the one you’re playing out in Marlboro Man’s kitchen right now?) and I’m finding myself vacillating between sadness over the end of our four-year relationship, regret over not going to see him in person, and confusion over how to feel about my upcoming move to Chicago. And where that will leave you and me, you big hunk of burning love.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
Your house is lovely, ma’am.” The duchess gave her a radiant smile. “If you like, I’ll take you on a tour later this afternoon. We have some very good art, and interesting old f-furniture, and some beautiful views from the second floor.” “Oh, that would be—” Pandora began, but to her annoyance, Lord St. Vincent interrupted from behind them. “I had already planned to take Lady Pandora on an outing this afternoon.” Pandora glanced over her shoulder with a quick frown. “I would prefer a tour of the house with the duchess.” “I don’t trust you around unfamiliar furniture,” Lord St. Vincent said. “It could be disastrous. What if I have to pull you out of an armoire, or God forbid, a credenza?” Embarrassed by the reminder of how they’d met, Pandora said stiffly, “It wouldn’t be proper for me to go on an outing without a chaperone.” “You’re not worried about being compromised, are you?” he asked. “Because I’ve already done that.” Forgetting her resolution to be dignified, Pandora stopped and whirled to face the provoking man. “No, you didn’t. I was compromised by a settee. You just happened to be there.” Lord St. Vincent seemed to enjoy her indignation. “Regardless,” he said, “you have nothing to lose now.” “Gabriel—” the duchess began, but fell silent as he slid her a glance of bright mischief. The duke regarded his son dubiously. “If you’re trying to be charming,” he said, “I should tell you that it’s not going well.” “There’s no need for me to be charming,” Lord St. Vincent replied. “Lady Pandora is only pretending disinterest. Beneath the show of indifference, she’s infatuated with me.” Pandora was outraged. “That is the most pomposterous thing I’ve ever heard!” Before she had finished the sentence, however, she saw the dance of mischief in Lord St. Vincent’s eyes. He was teasing, she realized. Turning pink with confusion, she lowered her head. Within a few minutes of arriving at Heron’s Point, she had tumbled on the drive, lost her hat and her temper, and had used a made-up word. It was a good thing Lady Berwick wasn’t there, or she’d have had apoplexy. As they continued to walk, Lord St. Vincent fell into step beside Pandora while the duchess followed with the duke. “Pomposterous,” he murmured, a smile in his voice. “I like that one.” “I wish you wouldn’t tease,” Pandora muttered. “It’s difficult enough for me to be ladylike.” “You don’t have to be.” Pandora sighed, her momentary annoyance fading into resignation. “No, I do,” she said earnestly. “I’ll never be good at it, but the important thing is to keep trying.” It was the statement of a young woman who was aware of her limitations but was determined not to be defeated by them. Gabriel didn’t have to look at his parents to know they were thoroughly charmed by Pandora. As for him . . .
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
Noah smiled at her, then his smile froze. He looked her slowly up and down. And again. “What?” she demanded hotly, hands on her hips. “Nothing,” he said, turning away. “No. What? What’s the matter?” He turned back slowly, put his tools down on top of the ladder and approached her. “I don’t know how to say this. I think it would be in the best interests of both of us if you’d dress a little more…conservatively.” She looked down at herself. “More conservatively than overalls?” she asked. He felt a laugh escape in spite of himself. He shook his head. “Ellie, I’ve never seen anybody look that good in overalls before.” “And this is a bad thing?” she asked, crossing her arms over her chest. “It’s provocative,” he tried to explain. “Sexy. People who work around churches usually dress a little more… What’s the best way to put this…?” “Frumpy? Dumpy? Ugly?” “Without some of their bra showing, for one thing.” “Well now, Reverend, just where have you been? Because this happens to be in style. And I’ll do any work you give me, but you really shouldn’t be telling me what to wear. The last guy I was with tried to do me over. He liked me well enough when he was trying to get my attention, but the second I married him, he wanted to cover me up so no one would notice I had a body!” “The husband?” “The very same. It didn’t work for him and it’s not going to work for you. You didn’t say anything about a dress code. Maybe I’ll turn you in to the Better Business Bureau or something.” “I think you mean the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Or maybe you should go straight to the American Civil Liberties Union.” He stepped toward her. “Ellie,” he said, using his tender but firm minister voice. “I’m a single man. You’re a very beautiful young woman. I would like it if the good people of Virgin River assumed you were given this job solely because of your qualifications and not because you’re eye candy. Tomorrow, could you please wear something less distracting?” “I’ll do my best,” she said in a huff. “But this is what I have, and there’s not much I can do about that. Especially on what you’re paying me.” “Just think ‘baggy,’” he advised. “We’re going to have a problem there,” she said. “I don’t buy my clothes baggy. Or ugly. Or dumpy. And you can bet your sweet a…butt I left behind the clothes Arnie thought I should wear.” She just shook her head in disgust. “I don’t know what you’re complaining about. You know how many guys would rather have something nice to look at than a girl in a flour sack? Guess you didn’t get to Count Your Blessings 101.” She cocked her head and lifted her eyebrows. “I’m counting,” he said. But his eyes bore down on hers seriously. He was not giving an inch. “Just an ounce of discretion. Do what you can.” She took a deep breath. “Let’s just get to work. Tomorrow I’ll look as awful as possible. How’s that?” “Perfect.
Robyn Carr (Forbidden Falls)
Most of my friends put their preferred pronoun in their Instagram bios—he/she, him/her, they/their—but I respond to any and all of them. I like to think of it as collecting pronouns: the more I get, the more fun I’m having. To get the obvious out of the way, because that’s apparently important to people, I think of myself as post-gender. I was trying to figure out how to explain that because sometimes it’s a paragraph and sometimes it’s a term paper depending on who I’m talking to, and I have no idea who will be reading this in the aftermath. Then I noticed that one of my fellow passengers has a cat with him, and that’s perfect. When you visit a friend and find they have a cat, you just see it as a cat in all its pure catness, it doesn’t require further definition. You’ll probably get a name, and if you ask, whether it was born male or female, but even after you have that information you still don’t think of it any differently. It’s not a He-Cat or a She-Cat or a They-Cat. It’s just a cat. And unless the cat’s name has any gender-specific connotations you’ll probably forget pretty fast which gender it was born into. My name is Theo, and by that logic, I am a cat. What I was or was not born into has nothing to do with how I see myself. It’s not about going from one gender to another, or suggesting that they don’t exist. Some of my friends say that the moment you talk about gender you invalidate the conversation because you’re accepting the limits of outmoded paradigms, but I’m not sure I agree with that. I just think gender shouldn’t matter. If you’re a man, aren’t there moments when you feel more female, like when you’re listening to music, or your cheek is being gently stroked, or you see a spectacularly handsome man walk into the room? If you’re a woman, aren’t there moments when you feel more male, when you have to be strong in the face of conflict, or stand behind your opinion, or when a spectacularly beautiful woman walks into the room? Well, in those moments, you are all of those things, so why deny that part of yourself? For me, it’s not about being binary or non-binary. It’s about moving the needle to the center of the dial and accepting all definitions as equally true while remaining free to shift in emphasis from moment to moment. It’s about being a Person, not a She-Person or a He-Person or a They-Person. (...) When you go into a clothing store, you don’t just go to the “one size fits all” rack. You look for clothes that fit your waist, hips, legs, chest, and neck, clothes that complement your form and shape, and reflect not just how you see yourself but how you want to be seen by others. If it’s still not quite right, and you can afford it, you get the clothes tailored to fit exactly who you are. That’s what I’m doing. Post-gender is one term for it. Another might be tailored gender. Maybe bespoke gender. But definitely not one-size-fits-all. The world doesn’t get to decide what best fits who I am and how I choose to be seen. I do.
J. Michael Straczynski (Together We Will Go)
You’re…you’re what? Where?” I stood up and glimpsed myself in the mirror. I was a vision, having changed into satin pajama pants, a torn USC sweatshirt, and polka-dotted toe socks, and to top it off, my hair was fastened in a haphazard knot on the top of my head with a no. 2 Ticonderoga pencil. Who wouldn’t want me? “I’m outside,” he repeated, throwing in a trademark chuckle just to be extra mean. “Get out here.” “But…but…,” I stalled, hurriedly sliding the pencil out of my hair and running around the room, stripping off my pathetic house clothes and searching in vain for my favorite faded jeans. “But…but…I’m in my pajamas.” Another trademark chuckle. “So?” he asked. “You’d better get out here or I’m comin’ in…” “Okay, okay…,” I replied. “I’ll be right down.” Panting, I settled for my second-favorite jeans and my favorite sweater of all time, a faded light blue turtleneck I’d worn so much, it was almost part of my anatomy. Brushing my teeth in ten seconds flat, I scurried down the stairs and out the front door. Marlboro Man was standing outside his pickup, hands inside his pockets, his back resting against the driver-side door. He grinned, and as I walked toward him, he stood up and walked toward me, too. We met in the middle--in between his vehicle and the front door--and without a moment of hesitation, greeted each other with a long, emotional kiss. There was nothing funny or lighthearted about it. That kiss meant business. Our lips separated for a short moment. “I like your sweater,” he said, looking at the light blue cotton rib as if he’d seen it before. I’d hurriedly thrown it on the night we’d met a few months earlier. “I think I wore this to the J-bar that night…,” I said. “Do you remember?” “Ummm, yeah,” he said, pulling me even closer. “I remember.” Maybe the sweater had magical powers. I’d have to be sure to hold on to it. We kissed again, and I shivered in the cold night air. Wanting to get me out of the cold, he led me to his pickup and opened the door so we could both climb in. The pickup was still warm and toasty, like a campfire was burning in the backseat. I looked at him, giggled like a schoolgirl, and asked, “What have you been doing all this time?” “Oh, I was headed home,” he said, fiddling with my fingers. “But then I just turned around; I couldn’t help it.” His hand found my upper back and pulled me closer. The windows were getting foggy. I felt like I was seventeen. “I’ve got this problem,” he continued, in between kisses. “Yeah?” I asked, playing dumb. My hand rested on his left bicep. My attraction soared to the heavens. He caressed the back of my head, messing up my hair…but I didn’t care; I had other things on my mind. “I’m crazy about you,” he said. By now I was on his lap, right in the front seat of his Diesel Ford F250, making out with him as if I’d just discovered the concept. I had no idea how I’d gotten there--the diesel pickup or his lap. But I was there. And, burying my face in his neck, I quietly repeated his sentiments. “I’m crazy about you, too.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
I took a shower after dinner and changed into comfortable Christmas Eve pajamas, ready to settle in for a couple of movies on the couch. I remembered all the Christmas Eves throughout my life--the dinners and wrapping presents and midnight mass at my Episcopal church. It all seemed so very long ago. Walking into the living room, I noticed a stack of beautifully wrapped rectangular boxes next to the tiny evergreen tree, which glowed with little white lights. Boxes that hadn’t been there minutes before. “What…,” I said. We’d promised we wouldn’t get each other any gifts that year. “What?” I demanded. Marlboro Man smiled, taking pleasure in the surprise. “You’re in trouble,” I said, glaring at him as I sat down on the beige Berber carpet next to the tree. “I didn’t get you anything…you told me not to.” “I know,” he said, sitting down next to me. “But I don’t really want anything…except a backhoe.” I cracked up. I didn’t even know what a backhoe was. I ran my hand over the box on the top of the stack. It was wrapped in brown paper and twine--so unadorned, so simple, I imagined that Marlboro Man could have wrapped it himself. Untying the twine, I opened the first package. Inside was a pair of boot-cut jeans. The wide navy elastic waistband was a dead giveaway: they were made especially for pregnancy. “Oh my,” I said, removing the jeans from the box and laying them out on the floor in front of me. “I love them.” “I didn’t want you to have to rig your jeans for the next few months,” Marlboro Man said. I opened the second box, and then the third. By the seventh box, I was the proud owner of a complete maternity wardrobe, which Marlboro Man and his mother had secretly assembled together over the previous couple of weeks. There were maternity jeans and leggings, maternity T-shirts and darling jackets. Maternity pajamas. Maternity sweats. I caressed each garment, smiling as I imagined the time it must have taken for them to put the whole collection together. “Thank you…,” I began. My nose stung as tears formed in my eyes. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect gift. Marlboro Man reached for my hand and pulled me over toward him. Our arms enveloped each other as they had on his porch the first time he’d professed his love for me. In the grand scheme of things, so little time had passed since that first night under the stars. But so much had changed. My parents. My belly. My wardrobe. Nothing about my life on this Christmas Eve resembled my life on that night, when I was still blissfully unaware of the brewing thunderstorm in my childhood home and was packing for Chicago…nothing except Marlboro Man, who was the only thing, amidst all the conflict and upheaval, that made any sense to me anymore. “Are you crying?” he asked. “No,” I said, my lip quivering. “Yep, you’re crying,” he said, laughing. It was something he’d gotten used to. “I’m not crying,” I said, snorting and wiping snot from my nose. “I’m not.” We didn’t watch movies that night. Instead, he picked me up and carried me to our cozy bedroom, where my tears--a mixture of happiness, melancholy, and holiday nostalgia--would disappear completely.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
In a physician's office in Kearny Street three men sat about a table, drinking punch and smoking. It was late in the evening, almost midnight, indeed, and there had been no lack of punch. The gravest of the three, Dr. Helberson, was the host—it was in his rooms they sat. He was about thirty years of age; the others were even younger; all were physicians. "The superstitious awe with which the living regard the dead," said Dr. Helberson, "is hereditary and incurable. One needs no more be ashamed of it than of the fact that he inherits, for example, an incapacity for mathematics, or a tendency to lie." The others laughed. "Oughtn't a man to be ashamed to lie?" asked the youngest of the three, who was in fact a medical student not yet graduated. "My dear Harper, I said nothing about that. The tendency to lie is one thing; lying is another." "But do you think," said the third man, "that this superstitious feeling, this fear of the dead, reasonless as we know it to be, is universal? I am myself not conscious of it." "Oh, but it is 'in your system' for all that," replied Helberson; "it needs only the right conditions—what Shakespeare calls the 'confederate season'—to manifest itself in some very disagreeable way that will open your eyes. Physicians and soldiers are of course more nearly free from it than others." "Physicians and soldiers!—why don't you add hangmen and headsmen? Let us have in all the assassin classes." "No, my dear Mancher; the juries will not let the public executioners acquire sufficient familiarity with death to be altogether unmoved by it." Young Harper, who had been helping himself to a fresh cigar at the sideboard, resumed his seat. "What would you consider conditions under which any man of woman born would become insupportably conscious of his share of our common weakness in this regard?" he asked, rather verbosely. "Well, I should say that if a man were locked up all night with a corpse—alone—in a dark room—of a vacant house—with no bed covers to pull over his head—and lived through it without going altogether mad, he might justly boast himself not of woman born, nor yet, like Macduff, a product of Cæsarean section." "I thought you never would finish piling up conditions," said Harper, "but I know a man who is neither a physician nor a soldier who will accept them all, for any stake you like to name." "Who is he?" "His name is Jarette—a stranger here; comes from my town in New York. I have no money to back him, but he will back himself with loads of it." "How do you know that?" "He would rather bet than eat. As for fear—I dare say he thinks it some cutaneous disorder, or possibly a particular kind of religious heresy." "What does he look like?" Helberson was evidently becoming interested. "Like Mancher, here—might be his twin brother." "I accept the challenge," said Helberson, promptly. "Awfully obliged to you for the compliment, I'm sure," drawled Mancher, who was growing sleepy. "Can't I get into this?" "Not against me," Helberson said. "I don't want your money." "All right," said Mancher; "I'll be the corpse." The others laughed. The outcome of this crazy conversation we have seen.
Ambrose Bierce (The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce Volume 2: In the Midst of Life: Tales of Soldiers and Civilians)
When I Want to Be More Like Jesus Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 1 JOHN 2:5-6 NOTHING REVEALS to a woman how close or far away she is from being like Jesus than the relationship she has with her husband. The way she thinks, talks, acts, and reacts around him—or in response to him—shows her how far she has to go in order to become all that God wants her to be. Marriage is one of the true testing grounds for what is in all of us. Any selfishness, inconsideration, or lack of love in either a husband or wife will be revealed as they live together day after day, year after year. But if ever a woman doesn’t like what she sees happening in herself with regard to her marriage relationship, she can seek to be more like Jesus, so that His love, selflessness, and kindness will grow in her and be revealed to those around her—especially her husband. (A man can and should do the same thing, of course, but this is about you right now.) Ask God to help you walk as Jesus walked. The only way to actually do that is by the power of the Holy Spirit. If you have received Jesus, then you have His Holy Spirit in you, and you can live God’s way because the Holy Spirit enables you to do so. The way to have the perfect love of Jesus grow in you is to be daily in God’s Word so you can hear from Him about how to live, and you can read about the way Jesus lived, and you can let the Word live in you so you can be led by God’s Spirit to make the right choices about how to live your life. The Bible says if we say we know God and do not keep His commandments, we have no truth in us (1 John 2:4). Thank God that you have the mind of Christ and therefore all you need to become more Christlike. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and teach you and enable you to have the same compassion, selflessness, forgiveness, mercy, and love toward your husband that Jesus has toward you. Ask Him to fill you with His truth. My Prayer to God LORD, help me to think like You, act like You, and talk like You—with compassion, love, grace, and mercy. Take away everything in me that is not of You—all anger, bitterness, criticism, and lack of love. Remove every tendency in me to function in the flesh and lash out with my words or actions. Take away any desire in me to withdraw from my husband, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally. I know that holding myself apart from him is not what You want me to do, for Your nature is to have us draw close to each other as You draw close to us, and I want to imitate You. Lead me in Your ways, Lord. Teach me what Your unconditional love means and help me to display it. Fill me so full of Your love and forgiveness that it overflows from me to my husband. Mold my heart into the way You want it to be. Change me every time I read Your Word. Help me to be so sold out to You that I cannot move or speak apart from the love You put in my heart. Lord, You are beautiful, kind, gentle, faithful, true, unselfish, wise, lovely, peaceful, good, and holy. You are light and life. Enable me to be more like You. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Stormie Omartian (The Power of a Praying Wife Devotional)
You don’t know me! You know Miss Erstwhile, but--” “Come now, ever since I witnessed your abominable performance in the theatrical, it’s been clear that you can’t act to save your life. All three weeks, that was you.” He smiled. “And I wanted to keep knowing you. Well, I didn’t at first. I wanted you to go away and leave me in peace. I’ve made a career out of avoiding any possibility of a real relationship. And then to find you in that circus…it didn’t make sense. But what ever does?” “Nothing,” said Jane with conviction. “Nothing makes sense.” “Could you tell me…am I being too forward to ask?...of course, I just bought a plane ticket on impulse, so worrying about being forward at this point is pointless…This is so insane, I am not a romantic. Ahem. My question is, what do you want?” “What do I…?” This really was insane. Maybe she should ask that old woman to change seats again. “I mean it. Besides something real. You already told me that. I like to think I’m real, after all. So, what do you really want?” She shrugged and said simply, “I want to be happy. I used to want Mr. Darcy, laugh at me if you want, or the idea of him. Someone who made me feel all the time like I felt when I watched those movies.” It was hard for her to admit it, but when she had, it felt like licking the last of the icing from the bowl. That hopeless fantasy was empty now. “Right. Well, do you think it possible--” He hesitated, his fingers played with the radio and light buttons on the arm of his seat. “Do you think someone like me could be what you want?” Jane smiled sadly. “I’m feeling all shiny and brand new. In all my life, I’ve never felt like I do now. I’m not sure yet what I want. When I was Miss Erstwhile, you were perfect, but that was back in Austenland. Or are we still in Austenland? Maybe I’ll never leave.” He nodded. “You don’t have to decide anything now. If you will allow me to be near you for a time, then we can see.” He rested his head back, and they looked at each other, their faces inches apart. He always was so good at looking at her. And it occurred to her just then that she herself was more Darcy than Erstwhile, sitting there admiring his fine eyes, feeling dangerously close to falling in love against her will. “Just be near…” she repeated. He nodded. “And if I don’t make you feel like the most beautiful woman in the world every day of your life, then I don’t deserve to be near you.” Jane breathed in, taking those words inside her. She thought she might like to keep them for a while. She considered never giving them up. “Okay, I lied a little bit.” He rubbed his head with even more force. “I need to admit up front that I don’t know how to have a fling. I’m not good at playing around and then saying good-bye. I’m throwing myself at your feet because I’m hoping for a shot at forever. You don’t have to say anything now, no promises required. I just thought you should know.” He forced himself to lean back again, his face turned slightly away, as if he didn’t care to see her expression just then. It was probably for the best. She was staring straight ahead with wide, panicked eyes, then a grin slowly took over her face. In her mind was running the conversation she was going to have with Molly. “I didn’t think it was possible, but I found a man as crazy intense as I was.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
He removed his hand from his worn, pleasantly snug jeans…and it held something small. Holy Lord, I said to myself. What in the name of kingdom come is going on here? His face wore a sweet, sweet smile. I stood there completely frozen. “Um…what?” I asked. I could formulate no words but these. He didn’t respond immediately. Instead he took my left hand in his, opened up my fingers, and placed a diamond ring onto my palm, which was, by now, beginning to sweat. “I said,” he closed my hand tightly around the ring. “I want you to marry me.” He paused for a moment. “If you need time to think about it, I’ll understand.” His hands were still wrapped around my knuckles. He touched his forehead to mine, and the ligaments of my knees turned to spaghetti. Marry you? My mind raced a mile a minute. Ten miles a second. I had three million thoughts all at once, and my heart thumped wildly in my chest. Marry you? But then I’d have to cut my hair short. Married women have short hair, and they get it fixed at the beauty shop. Marry you? But then I’d have to make casseroles. Marry you? But then I’d have to wear yellow rubber gloves to do the dishes. Marry you? As in, move out to the country and actually live with you? In your house? In the country? But I…I…I don’t live in the country. I don’t know how. I can’t ride a horse. I’m scared of spiders. I forced myself to speak again. “Um…what?” I repeated, a touch of frantic urgency to my voice. “You heard me,” Marlboro Man said, still smiling. He knew this would catch me by surprise. Just then my brother Mike laid on the horn again. He leaned out of the window and yelled at the top of his lungs, “C’mon! I am gonna b-b-be late for lunch!” Mike didn’t like being late. Marlboro Man laughed. “Be right there, Mike!” I would have laughed, too, at the hilarious scene playing out before my eyes. A ring. A proposal. My developmentally disabled and highly impatient brother Mike, waiting for Marlboro Man to drive him to the mall. The horn of the diesel pickup. Normally, I would have laughed. But this time I was way, way too stunned. “I’d better go,” Marlboro Man said, leaning forward and kissing my cheek. I still grasped the diamond ring in my warm, sweaty hand. “I don’t want Mike to burst a blood vessel.” He laughed out loud, clearly enjoying it all. I tried to speak but couldn’t. I’d been rendered totally mute. Nothing could have prepared me for those ten minutes of my life. The last thing I remember, I’d awakened at eleven. Moments later, I was hiding in my bathroom, trying, in all my early-morning ugliness, to avoid being seen by Marlboro Man, who’d dropped by unexpectedly. Now I was standing on the front porch, a diamond ring in my hand. It was all completely surreal. Marlboro Man turned to leave. “You can give me your answer later,” he said, grinning, his Wranglers waving good-bye to me in the bright noonday sun. But then it all came flashing across my line of sight. The boots in the bar, the icy blue-green eyes, the starched shirt, the Wranglers…the first date, the long talks, my breakdown in his kitchen, the movies, the nights on his porch, the kisses, the long drives, the hugs…the all-encompassing, mind-numbing passion I felt. It played frame by frame in my mind in a steady stream. “Hey,” I said, walking toward him and effortlessly sliding the ring on my finger. I wrapped my arms around his neck as his arms, instinctively, wrapped around my waist and raised me off the ground in our all-too-familiar pose. “Yep,” I said effortlessly. He smiled and hugged me tightly. Mike, once again, laid on the horn, oblivious to what had just happened. Marlboro Man said nothing more. He simply kissed me, smiled, then drove my brother to the mall.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
The first time Christina and Lachlan Meet ...Christina wasn't about to stop fighting—not until she took her last breath. Boring down with her heels, she thrashed. "Get off me, ye brute." She would hold her son in her arms this day if it was the last thing she did. And by the shift of the crushing weight on her chest, she only had moments before her life's breath completely whooshed from her lungs. The very thought of dying whilst her son was still held captive infused her with strength. With a jab, she slammed the heel of her hand across the man's chin. He flew from her body like a sack of grain. Praises be, had the Lord granted her with superhuman strength? Blinking, Christina sat up. No, no. Her strike hadn't rescued her from the pillager. A champion had. A behemoth of a man pummeled the pikeman's face with his fists. "Never. Ever." His fists moved so fast they blurred. "Harm. A. Woman!" Bloodied and battered, the varlet dropped to the dirt. A swordsman attacked her savior from behind. "Watch out," she cried, but before the words left her lips the warrior spun to his feet. Flinging his arm backward, he grabbed his assailant's wrist, stopped the sword midair and flipped the cur onto his back. Onward, he fought a rush of English attackers with his bare hands, without armor. Not even William Wallace himself had been so talented. This warrior moved like a cat, anticipating his opponent's moves before they happened. Five enemy soldiers lay on their backs. "Quickly," the man shouted, running toward her, his feet bare. No sooner had she rolled to her knees than his powerful arms clamped around her. The wind whipped beneath her feet. He planted her bum in the saddle. "Behind!" Christina screamed, every muscle in her body clenching taut. Throwing back an elbow, the man smacked an enemy soldier in the face resulting in a sickening crack. She picked up her reins and dug in her heels. "Whoa!" The big man latched onto the skirt of her saddle and hopped behind her, making her pony's rear end dip. But the frightened galloway didn't need coaxing. He galloped away from the fight like a deer running from a fox. Christina peered around her shoulder at the mass of fighting men behind them. "My son!" "Do you see him?" the man asked in the strangest accent she'd ever heard. She tried to turn back, but the man's steely chest stopped her. "They took him." "Who?" "The English, of course." The more they talked, the further from the border the galloway took them. "Huh?" the man mumbled behind her like he'd been struck in the head by a hammer. Everyone for miles knew the Scots and the English were to exchange a prisoner that day. The champion's big palm slipped around her waist and held on—it didn't hurt like he was digging in his fingers, but he pressed firm against her. The sensation of such a powerful hand on her body was unnerving. It had been eons since any man had touched her, at least gently. The truth? Aside from the brutish attack moments ago, Christina's life had been nothing but chaste. White foam leached from the pony's neck and he took in thunderous snorts. He wouldn't be able to keep this pace much longer. Christina steered him through a copse of trees and up the crag where just that morning she'd stood with King Robert and Sir Boyd before they'd led the Scottish battalion into the valley. There, she could gain a good vantage point and try to determine where the backstabbing English were heading with Andrew this time. At the crest of the outcropping, she pulled the horse to a halt. "The pony cannot keep going at this pace." The man's eyebrows slanted inward and he gave her a quizzical stare. Good Lord, his tempest-blue eyes pierced straight through her soul. "Are you speaking English?
Amy Jarecki (The Time Traveler's Christmas (Guardian of Scotland, #3))
Does it bother you that your girlfriend is a heartless bitch?” the next customer asked. And just like that, her smile withered away to nothing. This was the response she’d expected. Had experienced before she got smart and stopped checking her social media accounts. The ball of anxiety in her stomach that had started to calm began to twist and turn and bounce around the small space again. “Excuse me.” Donovan’s voice carried through the room, quite forceful in its intensity, snaring the attention of all occupants. Jada laid a hand on his bare forearm. “It’s okay.” “No, actually it’s not. No one talks about my girlfriend that way.” Jada’s jaw unhinged itself from her face and fell straight to the floor. She couldn’t hear anything else over the buzzing in her head. When she stumbled out of her stupor a few seconds later, Donovan was marching the woman to the door and gently but firmly pushing her out the door while the other customers cheered. Well, the ones who weren’t recording the spectacle. He came back and held up his hand for silence. Such a principal move, but kinda cool. And so fucking hot. “Thanks, everyone, but the applause isn’t necessary. We’re happy to serve anyone who wants a cupcake and a photo, but I won’t tolerate rudeness.” His message was received loud and clear. For the next thirty minutes, they sold cupcakes to very eager, but polite customers.
Jamie Wesley (Fake It Till You Bake It)
... Before Watchman was published, I was skeptical and unhappy — all the publicity made it sound like nothing but a clever lawyer and a greedy publisher in cahoots to exploit an old woman. Now, having read the book, I glimpse a different tragedy. Lee was a young writer on a roll, with several novels in mind to write after this one. She wrote none of them. Silence, lifelong. I wonder if the reason she never wrote again was because she knew her terrifyingly successful novel was untrue. In obeying the dictates of popular success, letting wishful thinking corrupt honest perception, she lost the self-credibility she, an honest woman, needed in order to write. So I’m glad, now, that Watchman was published. It hasn’t done any harm to the old woman, and I hope it’s given her pleasure. And it redeems the young woman who wrote this book, who wanted to tell some truths about the Southern society that lies to itself so much. She went up North to tell the story, probably thinking she’d be free to tell it there. But she was coaxed or tempted into telling the simplistic, exculpatory lies about it that the North cherishes so much. The white North, that is. And a good part of the white South too, I guess. Little white lies . . . North or South, they’re White lies. But not little ones. Harper Lee was a good writer. She wrote a lovable, greatly beloved book. But this earlier one, for all its faults and omissions, asks some of the hard questions To Kill a Mockingbird evades.
Ursula K. Le Guin
It’s easy to see why the Hippocratic Oath, the doctor’s gold standard of care for millennia, expressly forbids abortion: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.”4
Ryan T. Anderson (Tearing Us Apart: How Abortion Harms Everything and Solves Nothing)
Washington Boulevard until he reached another small park that had a view over the lake. He stopped and looked out at the churning grey water. One of the first things the police had done was attempt to trace Scarlett through her phone. Using GPS, they had been able to tell that Scarlett had been at Aidan’s apartment at eleven fifty, but then the signal had gone dead. Either her phone had died at that point or she had turned it off. Aidan wondered briefly if someone had broken into the apartment while he lay listening to his sleep story, but there was no evidence of it. The police believed Scarlett had done it herself. They had asked the phone company to retrieve her messages and call records from the couple of days before she disappeared, but there was nothing that shed any light on where she’d gone. ‘If she was using WhatsApp, it’s all secure and impossible to access or recover,’ the police reminded Aidan, who already knew that fact – and that Scarlett frequently used the app to message her friends. They had searched her laptop too and discovered that she had wiped her search history. Using special data tools they had been able to recover it, but hadn’t found anything interesting. She had mostly been on social media and YouTube, where she had watched a couple of make-up tutorials, various clips by her favourite content creators, and a video about the climate protest she and Aidan had got mixed up in. Aidan speculated that she had been looking to see if she could spot herself. There was nothing to indicate why she had felt the need to delete her history. Maybe it was something she did regularly, out of habit. On day three, someone had come forward to say he had seen a red-headed woman or girl on Lake Washington Boulevard in the early hours after Scarlett disappeared. Apparently, she had been walking down the hill, which made the police wonder if she’d gone back to Viretta Park. Over the next couple of days there had been a lot of activity on the lake. The police had gone out with boats. Divers had plunged beneath the surface and scoured the area close
Mark Edwards (No Place To Run)
She was the only woman who had any power over me. If she wanted something, I would take care of it. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. If she asked for a piece of the sun, I would figure out a way to give it to her.
Penelope Sky (Buttons and Hate (Buttons, #2))
Your father is a noble?” I asked. She nodded. “Yes. But it is not his fault. After all, he did not decree that illegitimate daughters were unmarriageable.” She was right, of course. It was the sages who had made it so, for an illegitimate daughter was deeply inauspicious and impure—unmarriageable, a terrible curse for a woman. But of course the gods and sages had nothing to say about illegitimate sons, who were still able to quietly inherit both money and power.
Vaishnavi Patel (Kaikeyi)
I ask myself in perplexity, is it possible that this old, very stout, ungainly woman, with her dull expression of petty anxiety and alarm about daily bread, with eyes dimmed by continual brooding over debts and money difficulties, who can talk of nothing but expenses and who smiles at nothing but things getting cheaper--is it possible that this woman is no other than the slender Varya whom I fell in love with so passionately for her fine, clear intelligence, for her pure soul, her beauty, and, as Othello his Desdemona, for her "sympathy" for my studies? Could that woman be no other than the Varya who had once borne me a son?
Anton Chekhov (The Collected Short Stories, Vol 1: 100 Short Stories)
When someone ignores that word, ask yourself: Why is this person seeking to control me? What does he want? It is best to get away from the person altogether, but if that’s not practical, the response that serves safety is to dramatically raise your insistence, skipping several levels of politeness. “I said NO!” When I encounter people hung up on the seeming rudeness of this response (and there are many), I imagine this conversation after a stranger is told No by a woman he has approached: MAN: What a bitch. What’s your problem, lady? I was just trying to offer a little help to a pretty woman. What are you so paranoid about? WOMAN: You’re right. I shouldn’t be wary. I’m overreacting about nothing. I mean, just because a man makes an unsolicited and persistent approach in an underground parking lot in a society where crimes against women have risen four times faster than the general crime rate, and three out of four women will suffer a violent crime; and just because I’ve personally heard horror stories from every female friend I’ve ever had; and just because I have to consider where I park, where I walk, whom I talk to, and whom I date in the context of whether someone will kill me or rape me or scare me half to death; and just because several times a week someone makes an inappropriate remark, stares at me, harasses me, follows me, or drives alongside my car pacing me; and just because I have to deal with the apartment manager who gives me the creeps for reasons I haven’t figured out, yet I can tell by the way he looks at me that given an opportunity he’d do something that would get us both on the evening news; and just because these are life-and-death issues most men know nothing about so that I’m made to feel foolish for being cautious even though I live at the center of a swirl of possible hazards DOESN’T MEAN A WOMAN SHOULD BE WARY OF A STRANGER WHO IGNORES THE WORD ‘NO’.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
Word of Mouth: the Power of True Believers As everyone knows, word of mouth is the most effective advertising of all. Or, when in my cups, I have been known to say that there’s no better business to run than a cult. Trader Joe’s became a cult of the overeducated and underpaid, partly because we deliberately tried to make it a cult once we got a handle on what we were actually doing, and partly because we kept the implicit promises with our clientele. I used to work every Thanksgiving Day in one of the stores. They only let me bag, because I had lost all my checker skills. One Thanksgiving, a woman came in and asked for bourbon. I told her that we had none, because we had not been able to make the right kind of deal (this was after the end of Fair Trade, when we were deep in the Mac the Knife mode). “That’s all right,” she exclaimed. “I know what you’re trying to do for us!” Note the us. There aren’t many cult retailers who successfully retain their cult status over a long period of time. A couple in California are In ’n Out Burger and Fry’s Electronics. But across America, in every town, there’s a particular donut shop, pizza parlor, bakery, greengrocer, bar, etc., that has a cult following of True Believers. The old Petrini’s of the 1950s and 1960s had that status when it came to meat. Brooks Bros had that status until the 1970s. S. S. Pierce in Boston was another. But all of them failed to keep the faith. Beware of ever betraying the True Believers! The fury of a woman scorned is nothing compared with that of a betrayed cultee.
Joe Coulombe (Becoming Trader Joe: How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys)
I’m a Muslim migrant woman, I’m heading to the Senate on Monday, and there’s nothing Senator Fraser Anning can do about that.” Once inside the Senate, Mehreen did not mince her words. She said some of Australia’s politicians were “creating and fanning racial divisions.” Her position in politics has led to accusations that Mehreen is not “Australian enough” to serve the country. Mehreen’s response? “But how can I be Australian enough? Do I need to point to my love of cricket? My career in the public service? My husband’s role as major in the army reserves?” People of color in white-dominant societies are often forced to walk the lines of “enough.” Not quite brown enough, never quite assimilated enough, to the point that we feel, well, like we can never be enough. Mehreen refuses to play that game. “Instead of being accepted because this is our home, we are asked to apologize for every action of someone who looks like us. We are subject to rules that white people never will be . . . for some, we will never be Australian enough.
Seema Yasmin (Muslim Women Do Things)
Sometimes, codependent behavior becomes inextricably entangled with being a good wife, mother, husband, brother, or Christian. Now in her forties, Marlyss is an attractive woman—when she takes care of herself. Most of the time, however, she’s busy taking care of her five children and her husband, who is a recovering alcoholic. She devoted her life to making them happy, but she didn’t succeed. Usually, she feels angry and unappreciated for her efforts, and her family feels angry at her. She has sex with her husband whenever he wants, regardless of how she feels. She spends too much of the family’s budget on toys and clothing for the children—whatever they want. She chauffeurs, reads to, cooks for, cleans for, cuddles, and coddles those around her, but nobody gives to her. Most of the time, they don’t even say, “Thank you.” Marlyss resents her constant giving to people in her life. She resents how her family and their needs control her life. She chose nursing as her profession, and she often resents that. “But I feel guilty when I don’t do what’s asked of me. I feel guilty when I don’t live up to my standards for a wife and mother. I feel guilty when I don’t live up to other people’s standards for me. I just plain feel guilty,” she said. “In fact,” she added, “I schedule my day, my priorities, according to guilt.” Does endlessly taking care of other people, resenting it, and expecting nothing in return mean Marlyss is a good wife and mother? Or could it mean Marlyss is codependent?
Melody Beattie (Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself)
Realizing that he was lost, Azazel walked up to the nearest citizen, a young woman who was warily turning her head as though waiting for something to leap out and stab her in the neck. “Excuse me!” He boomed. “Could I trouble you for a—” “KYA!” the woman screamed. “MONSTER!” Azazel was stunned into silence as the woman ran away, shrieking like she’d just seen an abominable horror from the far reaches of space. When she disappeared around the corner of a building, he remained standing there for a while longer, and then huffed in indignation. “That was rude,” he said. With nothing else to do but find the next denizen and ask them for directions, Azazel began walking once more. Several minutes passed with more people running from him. It wasn’t long afterward that the loud blaring of sirens alerted Azazel to the arrival of a police shuttle seconds before it came into sight. “You in the armor! Put your hands in the air and surrender yourself! You’re under arrest!” Azazel had no desire to be placed in confinement again. So, he did the only thing that an upstanding and forthright commander of the Angelisian Army would do in such a situation. He ran away. “After him!” The shuttle zoomed forward, hot on his tail. “Why is this happening to me again?!” Azazel’s scream was lost to the din of sirens.
Brandon Varnell (A Most Unlikely Hero, Vol. 2 (A Most Unlikely Hero, #2))
Leo turns to him, eyes bright with anticipation and a kind of hunger. "How's your mother?" he asks. "Is she happy now? After dragging us out here in the middle of the night, just to get a little attention?" Dagou struggles against the light-headedness of sudden fury. "Shut up," he manages. "You have no right---" Leo sniggers. "Look at you. Tears in your eyes!" "You're the one who put her here!" His voice shakes. "You couldn't help tracking your shit into her temple! Even there, you had to torment her!" "Mama's boy!" Leo sneers, his face grotesque and knowing. Something shatters in Dagou's mind. He lunges at his father, fingers reaching for his windpipe. "You deserve to die! I hate you. I'm going to kill you!" Leo is pushing back. He's a strong old man, but Dagou has not been working out for nothing. Dagou brings his father closer, tightens his grip on Leo's throat. A woman is shouting, giving orders, but Dagou can't listen. He feels his father's pulse: hot, human. Leo's eyes bulge.
Lan Samantha Chang (The Family Chao)
Is this a good thing or a bad thing?’ Pierre wondered. ‘Good for me, but bad for the next traveller, and anyway he can’t help it – he has to eat. He told me an officer thrashed him for that. But the officer thrashed him because he was in a hurry. And I shot Dolokhov because I considered myself insulted. Louis XVI was executed because he was considered a criminal, and within a year the men who executed him were killed as well for doing something or other. What’s bad and what’s good? What should we love and what should we hate? What is life for, and what am I? What is life? What is death? What kind of force is it that directs everything?’ he kept asking himself. And there were no answers to any of these questions, except one illogical response that didn’t answer any of them. And that response was: ‘You’re going to die, and it will be over and done with. You’re going to die and you’ll either come to know everything or stop asking.’ But dying was horrible too. The Torzhok pedlar woman was whining away, offering her wares, especially some goatskin slippers. ‘I’ve got hundreds of roubles, money I don’t know what to do with, and she stands there in her tatty coat hardly daring to look at me,’ thought Pierre. ‘And what does she want money for? As if it could give her a hair’s breadth of extra happiness or put her soul at rest. Is there anything in the world that can make her and me any less subject to evil and death? Death, the end of everything, and it must come today or tomorrow – either way it’s a split second on the scale of eternity.’ And again he twisted the screw that wouldn’t bite, and the screw went on turning in the same hole. His servant handed him a half-cut volume – it was a novel in letters by Madame de Souza.1 He started reading about the trials and struggle for virtue of someone called Amélie de Mansfeld. ‘Why did she resist her seducer,’ he thought, ‘when she loved him? God couldn’t have filled her heart with any desires that went against his will. My ex-wife didn’t, and maybe she was right. Nothing has been discovered,’ Pierre said to himself again, ‘and nothing has been invented. The only thing we can know is that we don’t know anything.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
Then there were those who were thrilling to Senator Sanders, who believed that Bernie would be the one to give them free college, to solve climate change, and even to bring peace to the Middle East, though that was not an issue most people associated with him. On a trip to Michigan, I met with a group of young Muslims, most of them college students, for whom this was the first election in which they planned to participate. I was excited that they had come to hear more about HRC's campaign. One young woman, speaking for her peers, said she really wanted to be excited about the first woman president, but she had to support Bernie because she believed he would be more effective at finally brokering a peace treaty in the Middle East. Everyone around her nodded. I asked the group why they doubted Hillary Clinton's ability to do the same. "Well, she has done nothing to help the Palestinians." Taking a deep breath, I asked them if they knew that she was the first U.S. official to ever call the territories "Palestine" in the nineties, that she advocated for Palestinian sovereignty back when no other official would. They did not. I then asked them if they were aware that she brought together the last round of direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians? That she personally negotiated a cease-fire to stop the latest war in Gaza when she was secretary of state? They shook their heads. Had they known that she announced $600 million in assistance to the Palestinian Authority and $300 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza in her first year at State? They began to steal glances at one another. Did they know that she pushed Israel to invest in the West Bank and announced an education program to make college more affordable for Palestinian students? More head shaking. They simply had no idea. "So," I continued, "respectfully, what is it about Senator Sander's twenty-seven-year record in Congress that suggests to you that the Middle East is a priority for him?" The young woman's response encapsulated some what we were up against. "I don't know," she replied. "I just feel it.
Huma Abedin (Both/And: A Memoir)
Did he know he was going to die?" I asked, and Grandfather looked at me in surprise-his little granddaughter again. "He was eight-seven," he said in his stroke language. Grandfather studied my face carefully then, missing nothing. He watched my face the way he would have watched the cedars for a songbird he was trying to lure in with his screech owl calls. I was the young woman who would be burying him. He was trying to have it both-the afterlife and the here. His face was as curious as a young boy's.
Rick Bass (The Sky, The Stars, The Wilderness)
Jealousy is a horrible emotion, envy even worse. * * * Cat likes to think of herself as a nice person. But right now she is sitting in the back of a taxi snarling every time she thinks of Louise, and the glory now being heaped upon her since she got an exclusive interview with Polly Goldman, in which the soap star talked about her drug bust. “Louise isn’t even a bloody news journalist,” Cat mutters to herself, as the cabby slides the glass panel open, half-turning his head and shouting: “What was that love? Did you say something?” “Nothing.” Cat attempts a bright smile before sinking back in her seat and muttering some more. She wouldn’t mind if it had been anyone else on the women’s desk who had scored an exclusive, but Louise! She isn’t even staff, she’s freelance for God’s sake. Not a full-time freelance like Cat, but God knows she’d like to be. As soon as Louise walked into the office, Cat saw how ambitious she was, willing to do whatever it took to get a story. She didn’t get an exclusive with Polly Goldman by asking for it, she doorstepped her as if she worked for the News of the World rather than the Daily Gazette! When the story came out, everyone gathered excitedly round Louise asking how she did it. She said she sat on the doorstep overnight, pressing the intercom every hour, explaining to Polly Goldman how her mortification over being caught could be assuaged by offering an exclusive to the Daily Gazette. By morning, poor Polly Goldman, exhausted by being woken up every hour by this woman who clearly wasn’t going away, reluctantly asked her in, and boom! The story was Louise’s, complete with descriptions of the bags under Polly’s eyes, her gaunt cheeks, and her shaking hands as she poured the tea. * * * Cat watches as her cab winds
Jane Green (Cat and Jemima J)
D’you think Scotland’s going to leave?” “Go for independence? Maybe,” said Strike. “The polls are close. Barclay thinks it could happen. He was telling me about some old mates of his at home. They sound just like Polworth. Same hate figures, same promises everything’ll be rainbows and unicorns if only they cut themselves free of London. Anyone pointing out pitfalls or difficulties is scaremongering. Experts don’t know anything. Facts lie. ‘Things can’t be any worse than they are.’” Strike put several chips in his mouth, chewed, swallowed, then said, “But life’s taught me things can always get worse than they are. I thought I had it hard, then they wheeled a bloke onto the ward who’d had both his legs and his genitals blown off.” He’d never before talked to Robin about the aftermath of his life-changing injury. Indeed, he rarely mentioned his missing leg. A barrier had definitely fallen, Robin thought, since their whisky-fueled talk in the dark office. “Everyone wants a single, simple solution,” he said, now finishing his last few chips. “One weird trick to lose belly fat. I’ve never clicked on it, but I understand the appeal.” “Well, reinvention’s such an inviting idea, isn’t it?” said Robin, her eyes on the fake hot-air balloons, circling on their prescribed course. “Look at Douthwaite, changing his name and finding a new woman every few years. Reinventing a whole country would feel amazing. Being part of that.” “Yeah,” said Strike. “Of course, people think if they subsume themselves in something bigger, and that changes, they’ll change too.” “Well, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be better, or different, is there?” asked Robin. “Nothing wrong with wanting to improve things?” “Not at all,” said Strike. “But people who fundamentally change are rare, in my experience, because it’s bloody hard work compared to going on a march or waving a flag. Have we met a single person on this case who’s radically different to the person they were forty years ago?
Robert Galbraith (Troubled Blood (Cormoran Strike, #5))
Fifteen years after leaving her husband, Frances—who never remarried—found herself in the headlines, accused of being a conniving homewrecker. In a lawsuit filed in March 1922, asking for $25,000 in damages, Mrs. Marion Mehren of 2971 Second Boulevard, Detroit, accused Frances of alienating the affections of her husband, Paul Mehren. According to Mrs. Mehren’s allegations, “the woman lawyer took her husband for automobile rides, permitted him to visit her at her apartment . . . and accepted gifts of groceries from him.” When Mrs. Mehren confronted her husband and “accused him of being too friendly with Mrs. Keusch,” he flew into a rage and “told her to ‘go ahead and get a divorce.’”9 For her part, Frances brushed off the accusations, “declaring that Mehren was nothing more than a chauffeur and a servant.” Six years earlier, while she was recovering from a knee injury, Mehren “scrubbed the floor of her apartment, washed dishes and performed other menial work.” Occasionally, she “employed him to take her for drives while she was convalescing.” She “paid him for everything he did for her,” as well as “for all the groceries.”10 The story took an even juicier turn during Mrs. Mehren’s court appearance that September, when she admitted to physically assaulting her alleged romantic rival. As she told the judge, she and her husband were out in their car when she spotted Mrs. Keusch, who called out “Hello, Paul” as they drove past. “Jumping from the car,” the enraged wife—who had known “her husband was going with another woman” ever since “he left home for three days in July, 1920”—had set upon Frances and badly “scratched her face.”11 Four years later, in August 1926, Frances Kehoe Keusch died of heart disease—chronic myocarditis.12 The scandal she had been involved in might have set tongues wagging at the time. Compared with the enormity perpetrated by another Kehoe sibling just one year later, however, it was a trivial matter indeed.
Harold Schechter (Maniac: The Bath School Disaster and the Birth of the Modern Mass Killer)
That evening, Marie came to see me and asked me if I wanted to marry her. I said that it was all the same to me and that we could get married if she wanted to. Then she wanted to know if I loved her. I replied as I had once before that that didn't mean anything, but said I was pretty sure I didn't love her. 'Why marry me, then?' she asked. I explained that it was of no importance whatsoever but if that was what she wanted, we could get married. And besides, she was the one asking and I was happy to say yes. She then remarked that marriage was a serious business. I said: 'Not at all. She said nothing for a moment, just looked at me in silence. Then she spoke. She simply wanted to know if I would say yes to any other woman who asked me, if I were involved with her in the same way. I said: 'Of course.' She then wondered if she loved me, but there was no way I could know anything about that. After another moment's silence, she murmured that I was very strange, that she undoubtedly loved me for that very reason, but that one day she might find me repulsive, for the same reason. When I said nothing, because I had nothing more to say, she smiled, put her arm through mine and said that she wanted to marry me. I said we could do it as soon as she wanted.
Albert Camus (The Stranger)
There is a type of woman I'd like to tell you about. This is a woman who a lot see as abrasive, standoffish, rbf, sarcasm is a first language. Also one, that if you're paying attention, is the one who is following up, checking in on people. Ya know, the kind of thing most people don't think to do. If you ask her out and you didn't do your homework, you're going to get an automatic no. If you didn't approach her in a way that had nothing to do with you wanting to date, because she has been hurt, trauma in her past. She's absolutely not broken. She doesn't want somebody to sweep her off her feet. She doesn't need to be rescued. She needs somebody who will sweep under her feet with her. Knowing you're willing to sweep that same floor. And then she'll be excited to do it for you if she knows you're willing to do it for her. She wants to let the kindness out and the walls down. It's not because she isn't able to, but She took control. She's not going to give it away to anybody else. But, she's willing to have somebody beside her--equally and independent. Living life. This is the kind of woman you build a future with. No matter what it takes, it's worth it.
just_burton (tt)
... I still carried the woman on the tip. I once asked the witchman to cut it off, after my uncle forbade it. He looked at me with all his wisdom gone, and nothing left but puzzlement, a wrinkle between his brows, and his eyelids squeezing like a man losing vision. He said, “Do you wish for one eye as well, or maybe one leg?” “It was not the same,” I said. “If the god Oma, who made man, wanted you cut to reveal such flesh he would have revealed it himself," he said.
Marlon James (Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy, #1))
I have told you,” Duncan said. “Until my memory returns, I can’t ask for Amber’s hand.” “But you can take the rest of her, is that it?” Duncan’s face darkened. “The people of the keep are whispering,” Erik said. “Soon they will be talking openly about a foolish maid who lies with a man who has no intention of—” “She has not—” Duncan began. “Leave off,” Erik snarled. “It will come as surely as sparks fly upward! The passion between the two of you is strong enough to taste. I’ve seen nothing like it in my life.” Silence was Duncan’s only response. “Do you deny this?” Erik challenged. Duncan closed his eyes. “No.” Erik looked at Amber. “I needn’t ask you about your feelings. You look like a gem lit from within... You burn.” “Is that such a terrible thing?” she asked painfully. “Should I be ashamed that I have finally found what every other woman takes for granted?” “Lust,” Erik said bluntly. “Nay! The profound pleasure of touching someone and not feeling pain.” Shocked, Duncan looked at Amber. He started to ask what she meant, but she was talking again, her words urgent, driven by the tension that vibrated through her. “Passion is part of it,” Amber said. “But only part. There is peace as well. There is laughter. There is...joy.”“ There is also prophecy,” Erik shot back. “Do you remember it?” FORBIDDEN / 147
Elizabeth Lowell (Forbidden (Medieval, #2))
My pulse thunders in my ears. It feels like my heart’s rattling my ribs loose, it’s pounding so violently inside my chest. If he touches me any further, I won’t be strong enough to resist Ren anymore. I’ll throw myself at him, beg him to give me everything for just a little while. To give me for now until he can have forever with her. Her. God, my blood boils, and a kick of anger surges through my veins. I hate her. I’m wildly jealous of this woman, who I can only assume is entirely, completely worthy of him. And I know, I trust that she is, because I trust Ren. He’s measured and thoughtful. He has his head screwed on straight. He values the right things. She’s probably an understated beauty, because Ren’s too wholesome to need a knockout—he only asks for beauty from within. She’s one of those rescue-shelter volunteers who bakes perfectly circular chocolate chip cookies and makes friends with all the grandmas on the block. She wants three kids—two boys and a girl—and she loves to scrapbook. She also reads those criminally sex-free romances and is the least erotically adventurous woman on the planet— Whoa, there, Francesca. Getting a little nasty, aren’t we? Well, yes. My thoughts have turned uncharitable. That’s my jealousy talking. That’s my covetous envy. A fierce possessiveness for someone I have no right to. An unwarranted, unfair animosity toward a woman I should be happy for. “I want to apologize, Frankie. About last night.” I spin, tugged out of my thoughts. “What?” Ren frowns up at me from his crouched position, petting Pazza. “I don’t remember everything, because that headache was…unearthly painful, and I’d taken one of the pills for it that Amy prescribed me, but I have a vague memory of being very into hand holding.” Heat rushes through me as I bite my lip. God, you’d think we’d made out, the way thinking of it affects me. “You were.” He grimaces. “It was unprofessional of me. I’m sorry.” His face transforms to a wide smile as Pazza licks his face, perching her muddy paws on his knees. “Pazza, down.” My voice is sharp, and she drops immediately, jogging over to me. Ren slowly stands with a look of wariness on his face. “What’s the matter?” “Nothing. Just Pazza. Sh-she’ll ruin your slacks.” I point at the grass and mud staining his knees. He smiles and shrugs. “I don’t care, Frankie. I can do my laundry. I’m a spot-treating wizard, actually.” “Of course, you are.” I can’t get a stain out of my clothes to save my life. Why do all these little things about him add up to something so perfectly right to me? Why does he have to be so wonderful? Why do I have to be so fucked up?
Chloe Liese (Always Only You (Bergman Brothers, #2))
I can't say I know much, but I've loved, maybe too much; maybe from love I'll get my death. I've seen Madagascar and walked the frozen sea. I have no trade, make nothing but pretty things which fail against the seriousness of rice. I'm not well or wise; I fear death; but I've never failed any woman I loved... I denied none esteem, never heeded shaming words. I can't say I've done much or been much, but I'm not ashamed of who I've been. I don't ask your forgiveness or remembrance. I'm in the flowers on my grave, unknown and content.
William T. Vollmann
Wyatt?” she whispered. He swallowed hard at the softness in her eyes, and at what it made him want to do. “Yes, McKenna?” She chewed the corner of her mouth. “Would you . . .” He dipped his head to capture her gaze again. “Yes?” “Would you mind just . . . sitting here for a while and . . . holding my hand?” Her simple request, and the ache in her voice, stirred emotions in him he hadn’t experienced in a long time. He scooted closer and closer, until their bodies touched. Then he took her hand in his and wove their fingers together. After several moments, he felt her shoulders begin to shake. He kissed the crown of her head, breathing in the flowery scent of her hair, and—though he knew it was impossible—he wanted to block out everything in her life that had ever hurt her, or ever would. She leaned into him, her head touching his shoulder, and he closed his eyes. “McKenna?” She sniffed. “Yes?” “I think I can do better than this, if you’ll let me.” Nothing for a moment, and he wondered if he’d overstepped his bounds. Then she nodded. Holding her hand tighter, he slipped his other arm around her and drew her against him. She came without reservation and fit perfectly against him. She hadn’t told him what was bothering her like he’d hoped she would. He wanted to know who the enemy was, so he could go to battle for her. That’s what he did. He pursued and he fought. But somehow, in the quiet of this moment, in the hush of her tears, he realized that this had cost her more than if she’d shared her burden with him tonight. Satisfied with that knowledge, at least for now, he settled against the porch railing, closed his eyes, and asked God to fight mightily for the woman in his arms.
Tamera Alexander (The Inheritance)
George, I probably owe you an apology,” Maureen said. “I don’t think I was as friendly as I could have been when we ran into each other at Jack’s a week or so ago. The fact is, I do remember meeting you at Luke’s wedding. I don’t know why I was acting as if I couldn’t remember you. It isn’t like me to play coy like that.” “I knew that, Mrs. Riordan,” he said. She was stunned. “You knew?” He smiled gently. Kindly. “I saw it in your eyes,” he explained, then shifted his own back and forth, breaking eye contact, demonstrating what he saw. “And the moment I met you I knew you were more straightforward than that. I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable.” She was a little uncomfortable now, in fact. She felt vulnerable, being found out before she even had a chance to confess. “And I was widowed quite a while ago.” “Yes, I know that, too. Twelve years or so?” he asked. She put her hands on her hips. “And you know this how?” she asked, not trying too hard to keep the indignant tone from her voice. “Well, I asked,” he said with a shrug. “That’s what a man does when he has an interest in a woman. He asks about her.” “Is that so? Well, what else did you find out?” “Nothing embarrassing, I swear. Just that you’ve been widowed quite a while now, all five sons are in the military, you live in Phoenix and, as far as anyone knows, you’re not currently seeing anyone special.” Special? she thought. Not seeing anyone period with absolutely no intention of doing so. “Interesting,” she said. “Well, I don’t know a thing about you.” “Of course you do. I’m a friend of Noah’s. A teacher.” He chuckled. “And obviously I have time on my hands.” “That’s not very much information,” she said. He took a rag out of his back pocket and wiped some of the sawdust and sweat off his brow. “You’re welcome to ask me anything you like. I’m an open book.” “How long have you been a teacher?” she asked, starting with a safe subject. “Twenty years now, and I’m thinking of making some changes. I’m seventy and I always thought retirement would turn me into an old fuddy-duddy, but I’m rethinking that. I’d like to have more time to do the things I enjoy most and, fortunately, I have a small pension and some savings. Besides, I’m tired of keeping a rigid schedule.” “You would retire?” “Again.” He laughed. “I retired the first time at the age of fifty and, after twenty years at the university, I could retire again. There are so many young professors who’d love to see a tenured old goat like me leave an opening for them.” “And before you were a teacher?” “A Presbyterian minister,” he said. “Oh! You’re joking!” she said. “I’m afraid it’s the truth.” “I’m Catholic!” He laughed. “How nice for you.” “You’re making fun of me,” she accused. “I’m making fun of your shock,” he said. “Don’t you have any non-Catholic friends?” “Of course. Many. But—” “Because I have quite a few Catholic friends. And Jewish and Mormon and other faiths. I used to play golf with a priest friend every Thursday afternoon for years. I had to quit. He was a cheat.” “He was not!” “You’re right, he wasn’t. I just threw that in there to see if I could rile you up. No one riles quite as beautifully as a redhead.
Robyn Carr (Angel's Peak (Virgin River #10))
A gentleman I met while I was here for Luke’s wedding happens to be visiting again and we ran into each other at that little Virgin River bar. I pretended I couldn’t remember meeting him. I don’t know why I did that. Probably because he was coming on a little strong.” “Strong?” Viv asked. “Did he make a pass?” “God, no, I’d have had a coronary! He hadn’t even started flirting, thank goodness. But I could tell he was happy to run into me again and I thought it best to just discourage him right away rather than have to reject him later. Turned out he wasn’t nearly discouraged enough and asked me out to dinner.” Viv was silent for a long moment. Her brows drew together and her eyes narrowed suspiciously. “And the problem is?” she finally asked. “I don’t want to go out to dinner with him.” “Ah,” she said, sitting back on the couch. “He’s not your type?” “Vivian,” Maureen said with surprise. “I don’t have a type!” Again Viv was silent. “I don’t think I understand, Maureen. We all have pretty basic likes and dislikes. Are you put off by his looks?” “That’s not it—he’s actually handsome. Probably a little older than me, but still handsome.” “Bad manners?” Viv asked. “Bad breath? Slippery dentures? What puts you off?” “Nothing, he’s nice. Attractive and charming. But I don’t go out to dinner with men.” “Why ever not?” she asked, completely baffled. “I’m a single woman. A widow of a certain age. An older woman!” “Maureen, you must draw the interest of men regularly. You’re a very attractive woman!” “No, never,” she said. “Not at all. But then, I’m never in places where something like that might happen. I pretty much keep to church things or pastimes with women who live in the condos. Golf, tennis, bridge, the occasional potluck. If I do run into men, they’re with their wives.” “But don’t you have friends your age who date? Friends who are divorced or widowed who have men friends or boyfriends?” Maureen made a sound of annoyance. “Yes, and some of them act downright ridiculous! I’ve seen some of these women I play golf and tennis with, chasing men as if they’re…they’re…” “Horny?” Viv asked with a smile. Maureen was shocked. “Really, that’s an awful word!” “Oh, brother,” Viv said with a laugh.
Robyn Carr (Angel's Peak (Virgin River #10))
Well, well, isn’t that interesting,” Argus remarked from the doorway. “What?” I asked, watching her warily. “Apparently, our priestess is also the local Pythia. She foretells the future, but only for girls who’ve just become women.” “Is that what she’s doing now?” I asked. “Telling my future?” The old woman was still making noises like those of a hired mourner. I hoped that her woeful tune didn’t mean that my life was going to be one long tragedy. “What’s she saying?” “Oh, it’s mostly babble. You’re brave, you’re strong, you’re quick-witted, you’ll marry a king, find your true love, have lots of babies, kill whole armies with your beauty, and your fame will live forever, yap, yap, yap. If you were one of the local girls, she’d probably say that you attract fish. Don’t take any of it seriously, lass. It’s just an old woman’s way of giving you something to look forward to. That crone knows how hard a woman’s life can be, so she’s giving you a few dreams to distract you. Hope costs nothing, right?” For once, Argus’s smile looked natural.
Esther M. Friesner (Nobody's Prize (Nobody's Princess, #2))
What's this?" I asked, putting her cup on the counter next to the plate. "Rocky Road Bars," she supplied with a shrug. "Is that some kind of message?" I asked, head dipped. "Message?" she asked, her brows drawing together and proving that it wasn't. "Never mind," I said, shaking my head, feeling a small wave of relief even if she was standing there wound like a clock for some untold reason. Maybe that was the reason that when she shrugged at me and went to reach for her coffee, I reached over the counter, snagged her chin in my thumb and forefinger and leaned in to lick a small bit of chocolate from beside her lips from where she had smudged it. Her entire body stiffened then trembled at the contact. It was all the encouragement I needed. So right there, a dozen eyes no doubt on us, I framed her face in my hands and pressed my lips to hers. There was nothing sweet or chaste about it. I fucking devoured her mouth, my tongue moving to invade, drawing a quiet whimper from her as her hands slammed down on the counter. The sound was enough to remind me that I couldn't take it any further right then and there and better stop before either of us got too worked up. But as I pulled away and her eyes fluttered open and all I could see was a deep desire there, I knew she was a little bit more worked up than I intended. There were a couple chuckles and one brave soul let out a loud whistle as we pulled apart, making my smile tip up slightly, knowing I had just, whether I truly intended it or not, staked a claim. I let the whole town know that I was messing around with one of their favorite daughters. "I hate you right now," she said, her voice airy, her cheeks pink, her lips swollen. "No you don't," I countered, shaking my head. "You just hate that you can't climb over this counter and let me fuck you right here and now. Don't worry, you can have me all to yourself in just a couple of hours. If you can control yourself until then..." "Control myself," she hissed, both looking slightly outraged and equally amused. "I believe you were the one half-mauling me in public." "And I'm pretty sure it was your tongue moving over mine and your whimper I heard, right? Or was that Old Mildred. Hey, Milly..." I started to call, making Maddy's eyes bulge comically as she slammed her hand into my shoulder hard enough to send me back a foot. "Shut up!" she hissed, making me let out a chuckle. "Alright fine. You made your point," she said, shaking her head as she reached for her coffee. "What was my point, exactly?" I asked, curious. "You just like... marked your territory or whatever," she said, rolling her eyes at the very idea, but a small smile pulled at her lips. "So, what, you're mine now?" "Oh, I, well... I thought..." she fumbled, shaking her head at her lack of explanations. "Relax, sweetheart," I said, saving her from her misery. "Like I said last night, I'm in. You were the one who came in all anti-social this morning." "That had nothing to do with you," she informed me, looking almost pained. "Alice?" "My mom needs to find some friends to talk to about sex, Brant. I can't take it. I can't," she said, looking horrified. "I thought I was a cool, mature, experienced, metropolitan woman. But when your mom starts talking about blowjobs, it makes you really, really want to stick your fingers in your ears and scream 'I'm not hearing this, I'm not hearing this' until she shuts up." "Traumatized for life, huh?" "He's coming over tonight. Did I mention that part? He's coming to dinner and then, ah, staying the night. Because apparently it's... serious. Do they still sell earplugs at the pharmacy? I think I might actually die if I have to listen to them doing it.'' I laughed at that, finding myself charmed by her embarrassment. "Tell you what, why don't you come to my place for dinner.
Jessica Gadziala (Peace, Love, & Macarons)
All those songs I used to pretend to understand, all the angsty, heartbroken songs I had heard all my life, they suddenly made so much more sense. "Well, then she probably needs a giant coffee, a huge box of your creations, and some time to nurse her feelings in private, don't you think?" Brantley Dane, local hero, saves girl from sure death brought on by sheer mortification. That'd be his headline. "Come on, sweetheart," he said, moving behind me, casually touching my hip in the process, and going behind counter. "What's your poison? Judging by the situation, I am thinking something cold, mocha or caramel filled and absolutely towering with full fat whipped cream." That was exactly what I wanted. But, broken heart aside, I knew I couldn't let myself drown in sweets. Gaining twenty pounds wasn't going to help anything. There was absolutely no enthusiasm in my voice when I said, "Ah, actually, can I have a large black coffee with one sugar please?" "Not that I'm not turned on as all fuck by a woman who appreciates black coffee," he started, making me jerk back suddenly at the bluntness of that comment and the dose of profanity I wasn't accustomed to hearing in my sleepy hometown. "But if you're only one day into a break-up, you're allowed to have some full fat chocolate concoction to indulge a bit. I promise from here on out I won't make you anything even half as food-gasm-ing as this." He leaned across the counter, getting close enough that I could see golden flecks in his warm brown eyes. "Honey, not even if you beg," he added and, if I wasn't mistaken, there was absolutely some kind of sexually-charged edge to his words. "Say yes," he added, lips tipping up at one corner. "Alright, yes," I agreed, knowing I would love every last drop of whatever he made me and likely punish myself with an extra long run for it too. "Good girl," he said as he turned away. And there was not, was absolutely not some weird fluttering feeling in my belly at that. Nope. That would be completely insane. "Okay, I got you one of everything!" my mother said, coming up beside me and pressing the box into my hands. She even tied it with her signature (and expensive, something I had tried to talk her out of many times over the years when she was struggling financially) satin bow. I smiled at her, knowing that sometimes, there was nothing liked baked goods from your mother after a hard day. I was just lucky enough to have a mother who was a pastry chef. "Thanks, Mom," I said, the words heavy. I wasn't just thanking her for the sweets, but for letting me come home, for not asking questions, for not making it seem like even the slightest inconvenience. She gave me a smile that said she knew exactly what I meant. "You have nothing to thank me for." She meant that too. Coming from a family that, when they found out she was knocked up as a teen, had kicked her out and disowned her, she made it clear all my life that she was always there, no matter what I did with my life, no matter how high I soared, or how low I crashed. Her arms, her heart, and her door were always open for me. "Alright. A large mocha frappe with full fat milk, full fat whipped cream, and both a mocha and caramel drizzle. It's practically dessert masked as coffee," Brantley said, making my attention snap to where he was pushing what was an obnoxiously large frappe with whipped cream that was towering out of the dome that the pink and sage straw stuck out of. "Don't even think about it, sweetheart," he said, shaking his head as I reached for my wallet. "Thank you," I smiled, and found that it was a genuine one as I reached for it and, in a move that was maybe not brilliant on my part, took a sip. And proceeded to let out an almost porn-star worthy groan of pure, delicious pleasure. Judging by the way Brant's smile went a little wicked, his thoughts ran along the same lines as well.
Jessica Gadziala (Peace, Love, & Macarons)
I’d been at the plant for three weeks when Curly invited me to his trailer for a drink. He lived just outside Hood River in a double-wide he shared with his mother, a woman he often spoke about. “I told Mother what you said about Dorothy’s mouth looking like a gunshot wound and, Lord, she just about bust a gut, she was laughing so hard. She is one funny lady, my mother. Nothing tickles her funny bone better than a knock-knock joke. You know any good sidesplitters?” Desperate as I was for company, I understood that I was clearly dealing with a loser. Management seemed the perfect career for a person like Curly. I could easily picture him in a short-sleeved shirt, the pocket lined with pens. Someone would ask him to check the time cards and he’d probably say something goofy like “Okey-dokey, artichokey.” I’d tried to straighten him out, but there’s only so much you can do for a person who thinks Auschwitz is a brand of beer. He
David Sedaris (Naked)
What’s my big beef with capitalism? That it desacralizes everything, robs the world of wonder, and leaves it as nothing more than a vulgar market. The fastest way to cheapen anything—be it a woman, a favor, or a work of art—is to put a price tag on it. And that’s what capitalism is, a busy greengrocer going through his store with a price-sticker machine—ka-CHUNK! ka-CHUNK!—$4.10 for eggs, $5 for coffee at Sightglass, $5,000 per month for a run-down one-bedroom in the Mission. Think I’m exaggerating? Stop and think for a moment what this whole IPO ritual was about. For the first time, Facebook shares would have a public price. For all the pageantry and cheering, this was Mr. Market coming along with his price-sticker machine and—ka-CHUNK!—putting one on Facebook for $38 per share. And everyone was ecstatic about it. It was one of the highlights of the technology industry, and one of the “once in a lifetime” moments of our age. In pre-postmodern times, only a divine ritual of ancient origin, victory in war, or the direct experience of meaningful culture via shared songs, dances, or art would cause anybody such revelry. Now we’re driven to ecstasies of delirium because we have a price tag, and our life’s labors are validated by the fact it does. That’s the smoldering ambition of every entrepreneur: to one day create an organization that society deems worthy of a price tag. These are the only real values we have left in the twilight of history, the tired dead end of liberal democratic capitalism, at least here in the California fringes of Western civilization. Clap at the clever people getting rich, and hope you’re among them. Is it a wonder that the inhabitants of such a world clamor for contrived rituals of artificial significance like Burning Man, given the utter bankruptcy of meaning in their corporatized culture? Should we be surprised that they cling to identities, clusters of consumption patterns, that seem lifted from the ads-targeting system at Facebook: “hipster millennials,” “urban mommies,” “affluent suburbanites”? Ortega y Gasset wrote: “Men play at tragedy because they do not believe in the reality of the tragedy which is actually being staged in the civilized world.” Tragedy plays like the IPO were bound to pale for those who felt the call of real tragedy, the tragedy that poets once captured in verse, and that fathers once passed on to sons. Would the inevitable descendants of that cheering courtyard crowd one day gather with their forebears, perhaps in front of a fireplace, and ask, “Hey, Grandpa, what was it like to be at the Facebook IPO?” the way previous generations asked about Normandy or the settling of the Western frontier? I doubt it. Even as a participant in this false Mass, the temporary thrill giving way quickly to fatigue and a budding hangover, I wondered what would happen to the culture when it couldn’t even produce spectacles like this anymore.
Antonio García Martínez (Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley)
Where to?” Max asked as she climbed in. “I assume that you had some destination in mind when you cooked up that nonsense about needing your bags.” “I want to join Dom.” She stared him down, daring him to gainsay her. She’d take a hackney if she had to. “He’s probably still at Manton’s Investigations, so let’s start there.” Though a smile tugged at the duke’s lips, he merely gave the order to the coachman. As soon as they set off, however, he said, “You do realize that Dom is going to throttle me for helping you.” “I don’t see why,” she said lightly. “You are head of the Duke’s Men, aren’t you? Surely you can go wherever you please and involve yourself as much as you like.” As Lisette burst into laughter, Max shook his head. “My brother-in-law doesn’t exactly like having his agency called ‘the Duke’s Men.’ I’d keep that appellation under your hat, if I were you.” “Oh, that sounds so much like Dom,” Jane muttered, “not to appreciate a fellow who showed faith in him and was willing to use him to find his own cousin, not to mention invest in his business concern.” Lisette laughed even harder now, which only made Max wince. “What?” Jane asked. “What is it?” A flush spread over Max’s face. “Let’s just say that my part in…er…’the Duke’s Men’ has been greatly exaggerated by the papers. Rather tangential, really.” “In other words,” Lisette teased, “he pretty much did nothing. He didn’t even come up with the name, and he certainly didn’t hire Dom to find Victor. Tristan stumbled across Victor himself, and then…” Lisette spun out the story of how she had met Max and how Dom had become involved. How Max had made a grand gesture for the press to protect Tristan from George. “Oh, Lord,” Jane breathed. “That’s why you were all at George’s house that day.” The day she’d first seen Dom after nearly eleven years apart. “Exactly. I mean, Max does what he can to recommend the agency, and certainly Dom benefits from the excellent press he received as a result of Tristan’s finding Victor. But beyond that, Max has nothing to do with it. He has tried to invest in it, but Dom gets all hot under the collar every time he suggests it.” “What a shock,” Jane said sarcastically. She thought of Dom the Almighty, having his hard work and keen investigative sense attributed to some duke who’d simply taken up with his sister, and began to laugh. Then Lisette joined her, and eventually, Max. They laughed until tears rolled down Jane’s cheeks and Lisette was holding her sides. “Poor Dom,” Jane gasped, when she’d finally gained control of herself. “No matter how carefully he plans, someone always comes along to muck things up. We must all be quite a trial to him.” “Oh, indeed, we are,” Lisette said, sobering. “But honestly, he takes himself far too seriously, so it’s good for him.” She smiled at Jane. “You’re good for him. He needs a woman who stands firm when he tries to dictate how the world must be, a woman who will teach him that it’s all right if plans go awry. He needs to learn that he can pick up the pieces and still be happy, as long as he does it with the right person.” “I only hope he agrees with you,” Jane said. “I really do.” Because if she could be that woman for Dom--if he could let her be that woman for him--then they might have a chance, after all.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
He can be a mystery. There’s more to Preacher than... You really care about him?” “I do.” “Then you be patient. He’ll come around. Paige, it’s obvious—he cares about you, too. You and Christopher. I’ve never seen him like this with anybody.” “Maybe he wants to be sure I’m not just—” Mike was shaking his head. “He wants to be sure of himself, Paige. Preacher’s real cautious. I think the man could be terrified of disappointing you. That’s my bet.” “He couldn’t possibly,” she said, and a tear fell again. Mike wiped it away. “You just have to trust me on this—he’s a bundle of nerves. He’s really good in a fight, really good in a war, and who’da guessed how good a cook he turned out to be, huh? But with women? Paige—he’s never been a hustler. I don’t know of any women. He’s never been that kind of guy. Just not a tomcat like some of the rest of us.” “That’s one of the things I love most,” she whispered. Mike smiled. “You give him some time, huh?” She nodded. She smiled weakly. Mike dropped a brotherly kiss on her forehead. “It’s going to be all right.” “You think so?” “Oh, yeah. Just hang in there. Don’t give up on him.” Mike thought, that lucky son of a bitch. This woman adored him. Wanted nothing so much as to make him happy all night long. “Go wash your face. I’m gonna get myself a beer.” He gave her shoulders a final squeeze, and as she turned away from him, Preacher was standing in the back door with his catch. Paige skittered past Preacher, keeping her head down so that he wouldn’t see her tears. Preacher scowled at Mike. “Need something?” he asked. “I need a beer before I walk over to Doc’s and let Mel torture me. Want me to get it myself?” “Help yourself,” he said, throwing his fish in the big sink. Jack
Robyn Carr (Shelter Mountain (Virgin River, #2))
We’ll pick a night this week to have you, Vanessa and her family and all your guys for dinner at the bar. Right, Jack?” “You got it. Anything you want.” She grinned. “I like it when he says that. Did he happen to tell you the news?” “What news?” Paul asked dumbly. She gave him a playful whack on the arm. “Stop it—I know you know. It’s why you’re here.” He put an arm around her shoulders. “If I know, it’s because you’re glowing. Again.” “I’m not so sure about that,” she said. “I’m pea-green until about nine in the morning.” “Right after which, she glows,” Jack agreed. “Nothing more beautiful than a pregnant woman,” Paul said. “Oh, brother,” she said. “You do good work,” Paul said to Jack. “Yeah… And if I ever find out who gave her those shoes…” Jack added with a laugh, which earned him a dirty look that amused both men beyond good sense. *
Robyn Carr (Whispering Rock (Virgin River, #3))
What’s going on here?” The loud masculine voice seemed to break the connection between the priestess and herself. Sophie’s eyes, which had been shut tight while she fought the awful memory, flew open and she looked up. Sylvan was standing over her with an angry look on his face. No, not angry—enraged, Sophia realized. His ice blue eyes were blazing and his fangs were out again, razor sharp and ready. The expression on his chiseled features made him look like an avenging angel towering over her. “Oh,” she gasped, unable to stop looking at his fangs. “I don’t know. I—” “What are you subjecting her to?” Sylvan demanded of the priestess who still looked completely calm. “I am simply looking into her. There is a shadow around her heart—it is my duty to see into it.” “Not if your seeing causes her pain.” Sylvan’s voice was a low, menacing growl. “Release her.” The calm expression on the Kindred woman’s face turned to anger and her grip on Sophie’s hands tightened until she squeaked in pain. “You overstep yourself, Warrior.” “That may be, but I will not see you hurt her.” Leaning down Sylvan put himself on the priestess’s level and looked into her eyes. “Release her now.” The grip on Sophie’s hands loosened and she pulled them away gratefully. The priestess still glared at Sylvan, her green-on-green eyes narrowed. “You have a shadow on your heart as well. A secret pain that taints your very existence—I see it in your eyes.” “My pain is not your concern.” Gripping Sophie’s hand, he pulled her to her feet and pushed her behind him protectively. “Now what do you have to say?” “Only this—have a care, Warrior.” The priestess rose smoothly to her feet and frowned up at him. “Danger dogs your steps—the shadow on your heart draws it to you. Even the shielding of your Kindred mind is no protection if you allow the darkness to overcome you. Ignore my warning at your own peril.” Then she turned and walked away, her head held regally high and her bare feet whispering over the green and purple grass. When she was gone Sylvan relaxed his protective stance and turned to Sophie. To her intense relief, she saw that his fangs had gone back to their normal length. “Are you all right?” he asked anxiously. “You sounded upset.” “I…she…she was making me remember—” She realized what she was saying and stopped abruptly. “Remember what?” Sylvan was still staring at her but she shook her head. “Nothing. I’m fine, really. Uh, thank you for rescuing me,” she added, hoping to change the subject. One corner of his thin but sensual mouth quirked up. It was the closest Sophie had ever seen him come to smiling. “Well, you looked like you needed rescuing.” “Unfortunately.
Evangeline Anderson (Hunted (Brides of the Kindred, #2))
Have you lived here a very long time?” the young woman asked the man, who was wearing a fishing vest today. “I’m trying to get information about those statues out at Skeleton Point. Nobody seems to know how old they are or where they came from.” “Or where some parts of the statues are going,” the man told the young woman. “Lots of fool stories are going around about somebody--or something--damaging the statues. Stay away from them, I say. Those old statues have been out there forever--before I was born, anyway. Leave ‘em be. Why do you want to know?” The young woman hesitated, then stopped to read the label on a jar of honey. “Um…just curious.” With that, the young woman left the store without buying anything. “Newcomers!” the man told Benny and Violet when he saw them standing there. “Always asking questions. You’d think from that young lady that Shady Lake was nothing but old statues covered with moss. What about our fishing? Why, our trout are practically jumping out of the lake.” “They are?” Benny asked, hoping to find out where he could see some of these jumping trout. The man left without answering Benny. The Mystery at Skeleton Point
Gertrude Chandler Warner (The Boxcar Children Halloween Special (The Boxcar Children Mysteries))
Jake flattened the knife against the wall, filling the crevice. It was all he could do to smother a grin. He didn’t know which he’d enjoyed more, spending a couple hours alone with the kids or finding new ways to provoke Meridith. And to think he was getting paid. Maybe once she went back outside, the kids would come down and pretend to play a game at the kitchen bar while they talked. He could hear Meridith talking to them now, asking them about the game they’d supposedly been playing, acting all interested in their activities. If she really cared about them, she wouldn’t be ripping the kids from Summer Place just so she could go back and live happily ever after with her fiancé. And he was pretty sure that’s what she was planning. Their voices grew louder, then Jake saw them all descending the steps. Noelle led the pack, carrying her Uno cards, followed by the boys, then Meridith. Noelle winked on her way past. Little imp. The kids perched at the bar, and he heard the cards being shuffled. Dipping his knife into the mud, Jake sneaked a peek. Meridith was opening the dishwasher. Great. Ben kept turning to look at him, and Jake discreetly shook his head. Even though Meridith faced the other way, no need to be careless. “Noelle, you haven’t said anything about your uncle lately. He hasn’t e-mailed yet?” He felt three pairs of eyes on his back. He hoped Meridith was shelving something. Jake smoothed the mud and turned to gather more, an excuse to appraise the scene. Meridith’s back was turned. He gave the kids a look. “Uh, no, he hasn’t e-mailed.” “Or called or nothing,” Max added. Noelle silently nudged him, and Max gave an exaggerated shrug. What? “Well, let me know when he does. I don’t want to keep pestering you.” “Sure thing,” Noelle said, dealing the cards. Her eyes flickered toward him. “I was thinking we might go for a bike ride this evening,” Meridith said. “Maybe go up to ’Sconset or into town. You all have bikes, right?” “I forgot to tell you,” Noelle said. “I’m going to Lexi’s tonight. I’m spending the night.” “Who’s Lexi?” “A friend from church. You met her mom last week.” A glass clinked as she placed it in the cupboard. “Noelle, I’m not sure how things were . . . before . . . but you have to ask permission for things like this. I don’t even know Lexi, much less her family.” “I know them.” “Have you spent the night before?” “No, but I’ve been to her house tons of times.” He heard a dishwasher rack rolling in, another rolling out, the dishes rattling. “Why don’t we have her family over for dinner one night this week? I could get to know them, and then we’ll see about overnight plans.” “This is ridiculous. They go to our church, and her mom and my mom were friends!” Noelle cast him a look. See? she said with her eyes. Did Meridith think Eva would jeopardize her daughter’s safety? The woman was neurotic. Jake clamped his teeth together before something slipped out. “Just because they go to church doesn’t necessarily make them safe, Noelle. It wouldn’t be responsible to let you spend the night with people I don’t know. You never know what goes on behind closed doors.” “My mom would let me.” The air seemed to vibrate with tension. Jake realized his knife was still, flattened against the wall, and he reached for more mud. Noelle was glaring at Meridith, who’d turned, wielding a spatula. Was she going to blow it? To her credit, the woman drew a deep breath, holding her temper. “Maybe Lexi could stay all night with you instead.” “Well, wouldn’t that pose a problem for her family, since they don’t know you?” Despite his irritation with Meridith, Jake’s lips twitched. Score one for Noelle. “I suppose that would be up to her family.” He heard Noelle’s cards hit the table, her chair screech across the floor as she stood. “Never mind.” She cast Meridith one final glare, then exited through the back door, closing it with a hearty slam.
Denise Hunter (Driftwood Lane (Nantucket, #4))
Is there anything between us?” “Oh, I think there’s much.” “Tell me…” “Well, I am determined to do anything I can to be there for you, and you are determined to break my heart. That heart-breaking business, it’s very serious.” She laughed at him. She felt his head drop forward to her shoulder and nuzzle her hair. A hand on her upper left arm gently squeezed and he said, “Brie… Tu creas un fuego en mi corazón.” Brie, you create a fire in my heart. She straightened a bit, but didn’t pull away. “What did you say?” she whispered. “You are lovely. You touch my heart,” he answered, pulling her back against him again. He slipped an arm around her waist gently, tenderly, cautiously holding her against him, very careful that she not feel confined. “Tu debes sentir estas manos amorosas así a ti.” You should feel loving hands on you. Her heart beat a little faster and she knew that it was not fear she felt. She wanted to say, “Deja a que sean sus manos.” Let them be your hands. But she wasn’t ready. Instead, she said, “Your language is beautiful.” “Te tengo en mis brazos,” he said. I will hold you in my arms. “Tell me what you said,” she urged him. “Nothing, really. Just an endearment. It is a very romantic language.” She could tell him now she spoke his language fluently, that she knew he lied. But she didn’t want to break the spell he had created in thinking she couldn’t understand him. He spoke his heart while he thought she was innocent of his desires. “Say something to me—something heartfelt,” she said, not turning around. He touched the hair at her temple, threading his fingers into it. “Te querido más te de lo tu hubieras.” I have wanted you for longer than you know. She let her eyes close. “What did you say?” she asked in a whisper. “You deserve all happiness,” he said—he lied. A small smile floated across her face. She was on to him. “No te merezco.” I don’t deserve you. “Te quiero en mi vida.” I want you in my life. “I think you seduce women with your language.” “When you are with me, you should know that I care about you as much as I care about any of my sisters. Or my mother, who is queen of the world.” She laughed a little. “I’m not sure that was entirely flattering.” “I want you to believe you are completely safe and protected when you’re with me. I promise you, you have nothing to fear from me. Not ever.” “I think you’re manipulating me.” “Do you, now?” he asked, humor in his voice. “You’re luring me into a false sense of security, trying to trick me so I forget my plan to break your heart a hundred times.” He laughed, stroking that long mane of hair that floated down her back. “I know you’re a very determined woman, and if breaking my heart is your goal, you won’t rest until it’s done.” “I’m going to make mincemeat out of you,” she said. “I have no doubt.” She
Robyn Carr (Whispering Rock (Virgin River, #3))
Once again, I apologize for your fall. I should have guessed that the reason for your refusal was because you were unable to move so swiftly.” He reached out to her hand and asked, “Can you forgive me?” She saw no reason to be petty, but gave a brief nod, pulling back her hand from his. “I accept your apology. And now, I think you should go.” Once again, he wasn’t listening. “I want to begin again. I know that I’ve made mistakes, dearest Rose. I want to set aside the months we lost and rekindle what there was between us.” Dearest Rose? Why on earth would he call her that? And she was now well aware that there had been nothing between them. Nothing at all. “You sent me six letters in six months. I hardly think there was much between us, Lord Burkham.” “But we were good friends. That is, we are good friends,” he corrected. His smile broadened. “I still believe we would suit each other quite well. You are a beautiful lady, and friendship leads to a strong marriage, I believe.” No, love does, she corrected silently. But now she had the answer she’d anticipated. And while it saddened her to think of the young woman she’d been, who had given her heart so freely to this man, she was glad that she hadn’t married him. “We can remain friends, my lord. But that is all.” He appeared oblivious to her refusal and beamed at her. “I am so glad to hear it, Lady Rose.” With a glance over at the refreshments, he inquired, “Would you like a glass of lemonade? Are you thirsty?” Rose wasn’t, but she nodded. It gave her a way of sending him off, leaving her to be alone with her thoughts. She
Michelle Willingham (Good Earls Don't Lie (The Earls Next Door Book 1))
We could talk about it.” “Talk about what?” “Why you look like someone shot your dog. Shelby, I assume.” “Nah,” Luke said, taking a drink. “That’s not serious.” “I guess that has nothing to do with your sleeplessness or your mood then. Trouble with the cabins? The town? Your tenant/helper?” “Aiden, there’s nothing bothering me, except maybe that I’ve been working my ass off for three months getting a house and six cabins rebuilt and furnished.” Aiden took a sip of his drink. “Twenty-five, so Sean and Mom say. And gorgeous.” “Sean’s an idiot who can’t mind his own business. She’s just a girl.” “She’s just a girl who has you looking a little uptight.” “Thanks,” he said, standing. “You don’t look that great yourself—I’m going to bed.” He threw back the rest of his drink. “Nah, don’t,” Aiden said. “Fix another one. Give me ten minutes, huh? I can just ask a couple of questions, right? I’m not like Sean, I’m not going to get up your ass about this. But you haven’t talked about it much and I’m a little curious.” Luke thought about that for a second and against his better judgment, he went into the kitchen and poured himself a short shot. He went back and sat down, leaning his elbows on his knees. “What?” he asked abruptly. Aiden chuckled. “Okay. Relax. Just a girl? Not serious?” “That’s right. A town girl, sort of. She’s visiting her family and she’ll be leaving pretty soon.” “Ah—I didn’t know that. I guess I thought she lived there.” “Long visit,” Luke said. “Her mother died last spring. She’s spending a few months with her uncle until she gets on with things—like where she wants to live. College and travel and stuff. This is temporary, that’s all.” “But—if you felt serious, there isn’t any reason you wouldn’t let it…you know…evolve…?” “I don’t feel serious,” he said, his mouth in a firm line. “Okay, I get that. Does she? Feel serious?” “She has plans. I didn’t trap her, Aiden. I made sure she knew—I’m not interested in being a family man. I told her she could do better, I’m just not built that way. But when I’m with a woman, I know how to treat her right. If she needed something permanent, she was in the wrong place. That’s how it is.” “Never?” “What do you mean, never? No one in this family is interested in that.” “Bullshit. I am. Sean says he’s having too much fun, but the truth is he has the attention span of a cabbage. But me? I’d like a wife, a family.” “Didn’t you already try that once?” Luke asked, sitting back in his chair, relaxing a little bit since the attention had shifted to Aiden’s life. “Oh, yeah—I tried hard. Next time I try, I’m going to see if I can find a woman who’s not certifiable and off her meds.” He grinned. “Really, that’s what happens when you ignore all the symptoms because she’s such a friggin’ miracle in bed, it causes brain damage.” He shrugged. “I’m on the lookout for that.” Luke grinned. “She was hot.” “Oh, yeah.” “She was worse than nuts.” “Nightmare nuts,” Aiden agreed.
Robyn Carr (Temptation Ridge)
It’s like the powwow ring,” he said, forming his words slowly. “You shouldn’t go in there unless you’re invited. That woman was trying get inside our ways. She wasn’t invited. Grover was trying to teach her.” It was the most expansive comment I had ever heard him make. “I never thought of it that way,” I said, hoping to keep him talking. “Grover has wayounihan.” “Wayounihan?” “A warrior spirit. He helps people. He protects us. He never asks for nothing. Sometimes you got to do hard things. Sometimes you don’t have any friends.” He
Kent Nerburn (The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo: A Child, an Elder, and the Light from an Ancient Sky)
Over the last few years the counselling, the friendships and the holistic therapies she has embraced have enabled her to win back her personality, a character which has been smothered by her husband, the royal system, and the public’s expectations towards their fairy-tale princess. The woman behind the mask is not a flighty, skittish young thing nor a vision of saintly perfection. She is, however, a much quieter, introverted and private person than many would like to believe. As Carolyn Bartholomew says: “She has never liked the media although they’ve been friends to her. Actually she has always been shy of them.” As she has matured over the last three years the physical changes in her have been noticeable. When she asked Sam McKnight to cut her hair in a shorter sportier style it was a public statement of the way she felt she had altered. Her voice, too, is a barometer of the way she has matured. When she speaks of the “dark ages”, her tone is flat and soft, almost fading to nothing, as though dredging thoughts from a dim recess of her heart which she only visits with trepidation. When she is feeling “centered”. And in charge of herself her voice is lively, colourful and brimming with wry amusement. When Oonagh Toffolo first visited Diana at Kensington Palace in September 1989 she observed that the Princess was timid and would never look her straight in the eye. She says: “Over the last two years she has got in touch with her own nature and has found a new confidence and sense of liberation which she had never known before.” Her observation is borne out by others. As one friend who first met Diana in 1989 recalls: “My initial impression was of a very shy and retiring person. She bowed her head low and hardly looked at me when she spoke. Diana emanated such sadness and vulnerability that I just wanted to give her a hug. She has matured enormously since that time. She now has a purpose in life and is no longer the lost soul of that first meeting.
Andrew Morton (Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words)
So Lisa as your matron of honor and Stephanie as bridesmaid,” Cat was saying. “Do you know who Sean wants as best man?” “No. We haven’t gotten that far yet.” He didn’t hear any tension in Emma’s voice, but he guessed she was feeling it. Planning a wedding that wasn’t going to happen was weird, to say the least. “Maybe we could ask Mike’s oldest son—Joey, right?—to be a groomsman so he can escort Stephanie.” “I don’t know,” Emma said. “I don’t think it’s very fair to ask one of the boys and not the others.” “True. Maybe they could be ushers and then join their parents once everybody’s seated.” Sean had just decided to beat a fast retreat back to the living room, when he heard a chair scrape back. “We can talk about that later, Gram. Right now I should go wake Sean so he’s not still groggy when we ask him to fire up the grill.” He didn’t have time to escape, so he leaned against the counter and twisted the top of his beer. Emma paused when she saw him, and then grabbed his hand and dragged him down the hall to the living room. “Where did you disappear to?” he asked. “What? Oh, a client had an emergency. But—” “There are gardening emergencies?” She blew out an exasperated breath. “Yes. When you’re rich, everything’s an emergency. But did you hear what Gram was saying?” “Yeah. How the hell are guys supposed to pick a best man, anyway? I’ve got three brothers and I like them all. And what about Mikey? Or Kevin or Joe? It seems easier to pick a stranger off the street so you don’t have to play favorites. I guess maybe I’d ask Mitch. He’s the oldest, so most of what the rest of us know about catching a woman we learned from him.” “In case you’ve forgotten, you haven’t actually caught a woman yet. And it doesn’t really matter who you choose, because there is no wedding.” She was wound up like an eight-day clock, so he didn’t dare laugh at her. Her cheeks were bright and she kept spinning her ring around and around on her finger. Since there was nothing he could say to make her feel better about Cat wanting to plan their fake wedding, he slid the hand not holding his beer around her waist and hauled her close. “You worry too much,” he told her. “And you—” He kissed her to shut her up. And because all he’d been able to think about since the last time he’d had his hands on her was getting his hands on her again. And, most of all, because he liked kissing her. A lot. Maybe too much, if he thought about it. So he didn’t think about it. Instead, he lost himself in the taste of her mouth and the softness of her lips and the way her hands slid over his lower back, holding him close. “Oh,” Cat said from behind him. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.” “No,” Emma said. “We were just…talking.” “I can see that.
Shannon Stacey (Yours to Keep (Kowalski Family, #3))
My dad was always tough to please. He thought pushing me would make me a man, but I was never man enough. All I ever wanted from him was a word of praise, a proud smile.” “What about your mother?” He smiled tenderly. “God, she was incredible. She always loved him, no matter what. And I didn’t have to do anything to make her think I was a hero. If I fell flat on my face she’d just beam and say, ‘Did you see that great routine of Ian’s? What a genius!’ When I was in that musical, she thought I was the best thing to hit Chico, but my dad asked me if I was gay.” He chuckled. “My mom was the best-natured, kindest, most generous woman who ever lived. Always positive. And faithful?” He laughed, shaking his head. “My dad could be in one of his negative moods where nothing was right—the dinner sucked, the ball game wasn’t coming in clear on the TV, the battery on the car was giving out, he hated work, the neighbors were too loud… And my mom, instead of saying, ‘Why don’t you grow the fuck up, you old turd,’ she would just say, ‘John, I bet I have something that will turn your mood around—I made a German chocolate cake.’” Marcie smiled. “She sounds wonderful.” “She was. Wonderful. Even while she was fighting cancer, she was so strong, so awesome that I kept thinking it was going to be all right, that she’d make it. As for my dad, he was always impossible to please, impossible to impress. I really thought I’d grown through it, you know? I got to the point real early where I finally understood that that’s just the kind of guy he was. He never beat me, he hardly even yelled at me. He didn’t get drunk, break up the furniture, miss work or—” “But what did he do, Ian?” she asked gently. He blinked a couple of times. “Did you know I got medals for getting Bobby out of Fallujah?” She nodded. “He got medals, too.” “My old man was there when I was decorated. He stood nice and tall, polite, and told everyone he knew about the medals. But he never said jack to me. Then when I told him I was getting out of the Marine Corps, he told me I was a fuckup. That I didn’t know a good thing when I had it. And he said…” He paused for a second. “He said he’d never been so ashamed of me in his whole goddamn life and if I did that—got out—I wasn’t his son.” Instead of crumbling into tears on his behalf, she leaned against him, stroked his cheek a little and smiled. “So—he was the same guy his whole stupid life.” Ian felt a slight, melancholy smile tug at his lips. “The same guy. One miserable son of a bitch.” “There’s
Robyn Carr (A Virgin River Christmas (Virgin River #4))
Well, then here we are,” Beth said. “We’ve got a couple of kids with a couple of kids on the way, and they clearly love each other. What are we going to do?” Susan took a sip of her martini. “I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to rest until I see them married.” Beth threw back her head and laughed loudly, earning a glance from Jack. “I love an ambitious woman. So, I have a favor to ask.” “Sure.” “I know you’ll be zipping down here the second the babies come and I know the mother’s mother gets special privileges. Let me come soon, please. I promise not to crowd the cabin and I’ll do all the shit work without getting in the way.” Susan looked up at the ceiling, thinking. Then she glanced back at Beth. “Give us three days. And I’ll split the snuggling and shit work with you.” Beth put a hand on her arm. “You are a good woman. I made my son-in-law’s mother wait a week.” They both laughed loudly. “Do you think we stand a chance of getting them married before the babies come?” Beth asked. “I don’t know. They seem to have made up their minds about certain things, not that they’re sharing. And Abby’s very stubborn when she’s made up her mind.” “She seems to be perfect for him. Everyone’s entitled to a mistake here and there. Not to mention they have babies coming. Any second…” “Maybe if we put our heads together….” The door to the bar opened and in came Ed Michaels, Chuck McCall, Abby and Cameron. They stood just inside the door and stared at Susan and Beth who had a couple of empty martini glasses apiece sitting at the bar. “Just what are you two up to?” Cameron asked. The women grinned largely and Beth said, “Just getting to know each other, Cameron.” Abby tugged on Cameron’s sleeve to bring his ear down to her lips. “I never once thought it might be worse if they liked each other,” she whispered. “They’re going to be a pot of trouble.” He grinned and slipped a kiss on her lips. “Nothing we can’t handle, baby. Stick with me.” *
Robyn Carr (Paradise Valley)
When I went into the attic to find the veil for Rose, I discovered this painting,” she began. “This is your great-grandfather, the third Earl of Ashton.” He wasn’t certain what to make of it, but then the weight of her words struck him. She’d said it was his great-grandfather. “He had green eyes,” Moira whispered. “You can see it for yourself.” Iain accepted the portrait, and when he took a closer look at the man, his blood ran cold. It was like looking into a mirror. There was no doubt at all that he was a blood relation to this man. He set down the portrait, and the hair stood up on his arms. Moira spoke first. “You have to understand how broken I was after I was violated by a man who was not my husband. And because Aidan sought revenge, he died. I found myself with a living reminder of that night.” Tears rolled down her cheeks. “Every time I looked at you, I could only think of the violence. I couldn’t see that you were a gift that Aidan left to me, so I wouldn’t be alone.” Moira turned away, her shoulders slumped forward. He couldn’t answer her, though he knew what she was saying. She finished with, “There is nothing I can say to undo the years I mistreated you. I neglected the only son remaining to me. The last piece of my husband, because I was too blind to see the truth.” For a time, he was frozen, not knowing how to respond. He was the Earl of Ashton in truth. By blood and by birthright. “I will leave, if you ask it of me,” she whispered. “I deserve to be cast out for what I did.” A part of him wanted to lash out at her, for the years she’d made him feel like a shadow worth nothing at all. But what good would it do? She had aged into a fragile shell of a woman who had based her life upon misery and bitterness. He had Rose now, the woman he loved more than life itself. He had brought her here to help him rebuild Ashton . . . but perhaps she could help him rebuild more than the estate. With a heavy sigh, he placed his hand upon his mother’s shoulder. “Will you walk with me when I meet my bride?” Moira took his hand and pressed it to her forehead. Against his fingers, he felt the wetness of her tears. “I will, yes. Thank you.” It would take time to let go of the past. But it would begin with a single step.
Michelle Willingham (Good Earls Don't Lie (The Earls Next Door Book 1))
Westcott gets a ginger ale and a Heineken. He doesn’t want the latter. He has to make the pretense. Sitting beside Regn ("Wren") the front of her black dress opens enough. It is respectable and nothing more. He does not like a woman who flaunts her cleavage. Regn is not one of those women. Westcott cautiously looks to see the elusive hummingbird etched above her right breast. He finds himself inhaling deeply, with complete imperceptibility to anyone who might be watching—though no one is—to catch the scent of her perfume. Sharon drags him onto the dance floor. Her husband doesn’t mind. After all it is innocent. They meander across the floor to Regn who is shaking out a rhythm by herself like so many of the dancers. None of the men ask Regn to dance. Everyone more or less has a date or spouse. Regn and Sharon each take one of Westcott’s hands. The three move together. Or rather they move his limbs. He wants to step lightly, freely, to sweep across the floor. He knows he could if it was just he and Regn and no one was watching. But no, that won’t do either. He wants to dance as a gentleman—to lead and direct this woman with precision, the precision and deliberateness with which he’s pursued her, unwittingly. He wants the world to look upon them and see what he hides. He wants to be applauded and yes, even envied a bit, for his grace and certainty of step. More than anything he wants Regn to move with him. Had he the confidence, the experience, were he a true man, it could never have happened. It is the slow advance that makes her love him. In many ways he is just a boy. She wants to protect him, but sometimes that look, that expression, is so old, determined. He knows what she wants. She can’t deny the way the feeling of being loved makes her feel. It’s been so long.
Wheston Chancellor Grove (Who Has Known Heights)
The Invitation There are lives in which nothing goes right. The would-be suicide takes a bottle of pills and immediately throws up. He tries to hang himself but gets his arm caught in the noose. He tries to throw himself under a subway but misses the last train. He walks home. It is raining. He catches a cold and dies. Once in heaven it is no better. He mops the marble staircase and accidentally jams his foot in the pail. All his harp strings break. His halo slips down over his neck and nearly chokes him. Why is he here? demands one of the noble dead, an archbishop or general, a leader of men: If a loser like that can enter heaven, then how is it an honor for us to be here as well – those of us who are totally deserving? But the would-be suicide knows none of this. In the evening, he returns to his little cloud house and watches the sun set over the planet Earth. He stares down at the cities filled with people and thinks how sad it is that they should rush backwards and forwards as if they had some great destination when their only destination is death itself – a place to be reached by sitting as well as running. He thinks about his own life with its betrayals and disappointments. Regret, regret – how he never made a softball team, how his favorite shirts always shrank in the wash. His eyes moisten and he sheds a few tears, but secretly, because in heaven crying is forbidden. Still, the tears tumble down through all those layers of blue sky and strike a salesman rushing between Point A and Point B. The salesman slips, staggers, and stops as if slapped in the face. People on the street think he’s crazy or drunk. Why am I selling ten thousand ballpoint pens? he asks himself. Suddenly his only wish is to dance the tango. He sees how the setting sun caresses the cold faces of the buildings. He sees a beautiful woman and desperately wants to ask her to stroll in the park. Maybe he will kiss her cheek; maybe she will love him back. You maniac, she tells him, didn’t you know I was only waiting for you to ask me?
Stephen Dobyns
Did something happen during Mr. Winterborne’s visit? Something besides discussing the wedding?” Helen responded with a miniscule nod, her jaw trembling. Kathleen’s thoughts whirled as she wondered how to help Helen, who seemed on the verge of falling apart. She hadn’t seen her this undone since Theo’s death. “I wish you would tell me,” she said. “My imagination is running amok. What did Winterborne do to make you so unhappy?” “I can’t say,” Helen whispered. Kathleen tried to keep her voice calm. “Did he force himself on you?” A long silence followed. “I don’t know,” Helen said in a sodden voice. “He wanted…I don’t know what he wanted. I’ve never--” She stopped and blew her nose into the handkerchief. “Did he hurt you?” Kathleen forced herself to ask. “No. But he kept kissing me and wouldn’t stop, and…I didn’t like it. It wasn’t at all what I thought kissing would be. And he put his hand…somewhere he shouldn’t. When I pushed him way, he looked angry and said something sharp that sounded like…I thought I was too good for him. He said other things as well, but there was too much Welsh mixed in. I didn’t know what to do. I started to cry, and he left without another word.” She gave a few hiccupping sobs. “I don’t understand what I did wrong.” “You did nothing wrong.” “But I did, I must have.” Helen lifted her thin fingers to her temples, pressing lightly over the cloth that covered them. Winterborne, you ham-handed sod, Kathleen thought furiously. Is it really so difficult for you to be gentle with a shy young woman, the first time you kiss her? “Obviously he has no idea how to behave with an innocent girl,” she said quietly. “Please don’t tell anyone. I would die. Please promise.” “I promise.” “I must make Mr. Winterborne understand that I didn’t mean to make him angry--” “Of course you didn’t. He should know that.” Kathleen hesitated. “Before you proceed with the wedding plans, perhaps we should take some time to reconsider the engagement.” “I don’t know.” Helen winced and gasped. “My head is throbbing. Right now I feel as if I never want to see him again.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
If the girls wish to romp outdoors instead of sitting in a cheerless house,” Devon said, “I don’t see what harm it would do. In fact, what reason is there to hang black cloth over the windows? Why not take it down and let in the sun?” Kathleen shook her head. “It would be scandalous to remove the mourning cloth so soon.” “Even here?” “Hampshire is hardly at the extremity of civilization, my lord.” “Still, who would object?” “I would. I couldn’t dishonor Theo’s memory that way.” “For God’s sake, he won’t know. It helps no one, including my late cousin, for an entire household to live in gloom. I can’t conceive that he would have wanted it.” “You didn’t know him well enough to judge what he would have wanted,” Kathleen retorted. “And in any case, the rules can’t be set aside.” “What if the rules don’t serve? What if they do more harm than good?” “Just because you don’t understand or agree with something doesn’t mean that it lacks merit.” “Agreed. But you can’t deny that some traditions were invented by idiots.” “I don’t wish to discuss it,” Kathleen said, quickening her step. “Dueling, for example,” Devon continued, easily keeping pace with her. “Human sacrifice. Taking multiple wives--I’m sure you’re sorry we’ve lost that tradition.” “I suppose you’d have ten wives if you could.” “I’d be sufficiently miserable with one. The other nine would be redundant.” She shot him an incredulous glance. “My lord, I am a widow. Have you no understanding of appropriate conversation for a woman in my situation?” Apparently not, judging by his expression. “What does one discuss with widows?” he asked. “No subject that could be considered sad, shocking, or inappropriately humorous.” “That leaves me with nothing to say, then.” “Thank God,” she said fervently, and he grinned.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
Will you want an estimate of all the livestock, my lord?” “Naturally.” “Not my horse.” A new voice entered the conversation. All four men looked to the doorway, where Kathleen stood as straight and rigid as a blade. She stared at Devon with open loathing. “The Arabian belongs to me.” Everyone rose to his feet except for Devon, who remained seated at the desk. “Do you ever enter a room the ordinary way?” he asked curtly, “or is it your usual habit to slink past the threshold and pop up like a jack-in-the-box?” “I only want to make it clear that while you’re tallying the spoils, you will remove my horse from the list.” “Lady Trenear,” Mr. Fogg interceded, “I regret to say that on your wedding day, you relinquished all rights to your movable property.” Kathleen’s eyes narrowed. “I’m entitled to keep my jointure and all the possessions I brought to the marriage.” “Your jointure,” Totthill agreed, “but not your possessions. I assure you that no court in England will regard a married woman as a separate legal being. The horse was your husband’s, and now it belongs to Lord Trenear.” Kathleen’s face went skull-white, and then red. “Lord Trenear is stripping the estate like a jackal with a rotting carcass. Why must he be given a horse that my father gave to me?” Infuriated that Kathleen would show him so little deference in front of the others, Devon stood from the desk and approached her in a few strides. To her credit, she didn’t cower, even though he was twice her size. “Devil take you,” he snapped, “none of this is my fault.” “Of course it is. You’ll seize on any excuse to sell Eversby Priory because you don’t want to take on a challenge.” “It’s only a challenge when there’s some small hope of success. This is a debacle. The list of creditors is longer than my bloody arm, the coffers are empty, and the annual yields have been cut in half.” “I don’t believe you. You’re planning to sell the estate to settle personal debts that have nothing to do with Eversby Priory.” Devon’s hands knotted with the urge to destroy something. His rising bloodlust would only be satisfied with the sound of shattering objects. He had never faced a situation like this, and there was no one to give him trustworthy advice, no kindly aristocratic relation, no knowledgeable friends in the peerage. And this woman could only accuse and insult him.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
Please forgive me for inconveniencing you, Mr. Winterborne. I don’t intend to stay long.” “Does anyone know you’re here?” he asked curtly. “No.” “Speak your piece, then, and make it fast.” “Very well. I--” “But if it has anything to do with Lady Helen,” he interrupted, “then leave now. She can come to me herself if there’s something that needs to be discussed.” “I’m afraid Helen can’t go anywhere at the moment. She’s been in bed all day, ill with a nervous condition.” His eyes changed, some unfathomable emotion spangling the dark depths. “A nervous condition,” he repeated, his voice iced with scorn. “That seems a common complaint among aristocratic ladies. Someday I’d like to know what makes you all so nervous.” Kathleen would have expected a show of sympathy or a few words of concern for the woman he was betrothed to. “I’m afraid you are the cause of Helen’s distress,” she said bluntly. “Your visit yesterday put her in a state.” Winterborne was silent, his eyes black and piercing. “She told me only a little about what happened,” Kathleen continued. “But it’s clear that there is much you don’t understand about Helen. My late husband’s parents kept all three of their daughters very secluded. More than was good for them. As a result, all three are quite young for their age. Helen is one-and-twenty, but she hasn’t had the same experiences, or seasoning, as other girls her age. She knows nothing of the world outside Eversby Priory. Everything is new to her. Everything. The only men she has ever associated with have been a handful of close relations, the servants, and the occasional visitor to the estate. Most of what she knows about men has been from books and fairy tales.” “No one can be that sheltered,” Winterborne said flatly. “Not in your world. But at an estate like Eversby Priory, it’s entirely possible.” Kathleen paused. “In my opinion, it’s too soon for Helen to marry anyone, but when she does…she will need a husband with a placid temperament. One who will allow her to develop at her own pace.” “And you assume I wouldn’t,” he said rather than asked. “I think you will command and govern a wife just as you do everything else. I don’t believe you would ever harm her physically, but you’ll whittle her to fit your life, and make her exceedingly unhappy. This environment--London, the crowds, the department store--is so ill suited to her nature that she would wither like a transplanted orchid. I’m afraid I can’t support the idea of marriage for you and Helen.” Pausing, she took a long breath before saying, “I believe it’s in her best interest for the engagement to be broken.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
Nothing. I know better than to ask a woman who’s eating ice cream straight from the carton how she’s doing.” Well. Maybe he was smarter than he looked after all.
Honor Raconteur (Call to Quarters (A Gaeldorcraeft Forces Novel Book 1))
Cruz’s first day as a full-time MSD student was January 11, 2016. On February 5, 2016, a woman called the Broward sheriff’s office to report an Instagram post in which Cruz showed off a gun and wrote, “I am going to get this gun and shoot up the school.” The officer who responded to the call, Edward Eason, informed the woman that Cruz’s Instagram post “was protected by the First Amendment right of free speech.”1 When the woman asked Eason whether there would be any way to prevent Cruz from buying a gun when he turned eighteen, the officer told her that his right to purchase a firearm was protected by the Second Amendment and nothing could be done. Eason was wrong on both counts. Threatening to shoot up a school is a felony that, if successfully prosecuted, could have prohibited Cruz from buying a firearm. (And even if Cruz was not convicted, an arrest could have gone a long way toward law enforcement taking future reports about Cruz seriously.) But Eason declined even to write a police report about the call, a decision for which he later received a three-day suspension. He did, however, according to his logs, notify MSD’s school resource officer, Scot Peterson.
Andrew Pollack (Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies That Created The Parkland Shooter and Endanger America's Students)
If the two men had not been close, Muhammad would never have asked what he did. He’d never have felt he had the right to even broach the idea. So when he requested the hand of abu-Talib’s daughter Fakhita in marriage, he certainly cannot have expected to be refused. Yet he was. This was no tale of young star-crossed lovers, however. Marriage in the sixth century was a far more pragmatic arrangement. We know nothing of Fakhita aside from her name. Muhammad’s proposal was made to the father, not the daughter. In effect, he was asking abu-Talib to publicly acknowledge their closeness by declaring him not just “like a son” but a full member of the family. He would no longer be merely a poor relation who had risen in the world, but a son-in-law. Abu-Talib’s decision had nothing to do with the fact that Muhammad and Fakhita were first cousins. Gregor Mendel and the science of genetics were still eleven hundred years in the future, and marriage between cousins was as common in the sixth century, both in Arabia and elsewhere, as it had been in biblical times. It was considered a means of strengthening the internal bonds of a clan, and indeed would remain so in the marriage patterns of European royalty well into the twentieth century. So there is only one possible reason for abu-Talib’s denial of his nephew’s request: he did not consider this an advantageous marriage for his daughter. No matter how much he trusted and relied on Muhammad, the father was not about to marry his daughter to an orphan with no independent means. He intended for her to marry into the Meccan elite, and quickly made a more suitably aristocratic match for her. If Bahira had indeed foreseen a great future for Muhammad, abu-Talib had clearly not taken him seriously. And if Muhammad had imagined that he had overcome the limitations of his childhood, he was now harshly reminded that they still applied. Abu-Talib’s denial of his request carried a clear message. “This far and no further,” he was saying in effect. “Good but not good enough.” In his uncle’s mind, Muhammad was still “one of us, yet not one of us.” In time, abu-Talib would come to regret this rejection of Muhammad. The two men would eventually overcome the rift it caused between them and become closer than ever. But in a pattern that was to recur throughout Muhammad’s life, rejection would work to his long-term advantage. Abu-Talib’s denial of him as a son-in-law would turn out to be one of those ironic twists that determine history—or, if you wish to see things that way, fate. If Muhammad had married his cousin, nobody today might even know his name. Without the woman he did go on to marry, he might never have found the courage and determination to undertake the major role that waited for him.
Lesley Hazleton (The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad)
the two men had not been close, Muhammad would never have asked what he did. He’d never have felt he had the right to even broach the idea. So when he requested the hand of abu-Talib’s daughter Fakhita in marriage, he certainly cannot have expected to be refused. Yet he was. This was no tale of young star-crossed lovers, however. Marriage in the sixth century was a far more pragmatic arrangement. We know nothing of Fakhita aside from her name. Muhammad’s proposal was made to the father, not the daughter. In effect, he was asking abu-Talib to publicly acknowledge their closeness by declaring him not just “like a son” but a full member of the family. He would no longer be merely a poor relation who had risen in the world, but a son-in-law. Abu-Talib’s decision had nothing to do with the fact that Muhammad and Fakhita were first cousins. Gregor Mendel and the science of genetics were still eleven hundred years in the future, and marriage between cousins was as common in the sixth century, both in Arabia and elsewhere, as it had been in biblical times. It was considered a means of strengthening the internal bonds of a clan, and indeed would remain so in the marriage patterns of European royalty well into the twentieth century. So there is only one possible reason for abu-Talib’s denial of his nephew’s request: he did not consider this an advantageous marriage for his daughter. No matter how much he trusted and relied on Muhammad, the father was not about to marry his daughter to an orphan with no independent means. He intended for her to marry into the Meccan elite, and quickly made a more suitably aristocratic match for her. If Bahira had indeed foreseen a great future for Muhammad, abu-Talib had clearly not taken him seriously. And if Muhammad had imagined that he had overcome the limitations of his childhood, he was now harshly reminded that they still applied. Abu-Talib’s denial of his request carried a clear message. “This far and no further,” he was saying in effect. “Good but not good enough.” In his uncle’s mind, Muhammad was still “one of us, yet not one of us.” In time, abu-Talib would come to regret this rejection of Muhammad. The two men would eventually overcome the rift it caused between them and become closer than ever. But in a pattern that was to recur throughout Muhammad’s life, rejection would work to his long-term advantage. Abu-Talib’s denial of him as a son-in-law would turn out to be one of those ironic twists that determine history—or, if you wish to see things that way, fate. If Muhammad had married his cousin, nobody today might even know his name. Without the woman he did go on to marry, he might never have found the courage and determination to undertake the major role that waited for him.
Lesley Hazleton (The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad)
What are you wearing?” he asked me, gripping my cloak. He pulled it roughly from my shoulders, grabbing a section of my hair as well. I cried out as he yanked it. “Charles!” my mother exclaimed, reaching out for me. He pushed her easily aside. When he saw my simple green dress he sneered. “What is this?” “It’s just a dress,” she said quietly. “This is a peasant’s dress. What is she doing in a peasant’s dress, Evelyn?” “She saw one on a girl in the city once and she wanted to try one on. It was her birthday wish. That’s all.” He continued to glare at me, his eyes raking me over. “You look like a commoner. Like a whore. Is that what you want to be, Annabel Lee? A common whore?” Tears began to stream down my face. They flew off my cheeks as I shook my head violently. “No, father. No!” He brought his face down level to mine. I could see nothing but his eyes, I could smell nothing but his breath. Both were clean and hot. “Then you shouldn’t dress as one. Or I know some men who would love to treat you like one,” he growled. My breath froze in my throat. I couldn’t breathe or swallow. I could only nod my understanding. He straightened then threw my cloak across the room toward the fire. “Burn it,” he told my mother harshly. “And when you have her in her nightdress, burn the dress on her back. There’ll be no more of this. No more dinners out, no more playtime, no more dress up. She’s thirteen. It’s time she starts acting like a woman and fulfilling her duties as such.” When he left the room he took all of the air out with him. I collapsed in a heap on the floor, my face buried in my hands as hot tears scalded my cheeks. I was flushed with shame and embarrassment. I heard my mother take a shuddering breath then she was there beside me on the floor. She wrapped me up in her arms, rocking me as though I were a toddler, not a teenager. We never spoke a word of it. Hours later we were lying together in my bed, our hands clenched together tightly. By morning, my simple green joy was nothing but ash on the hearth.   ***
Tracey Ward (Dissever)
Are you all right, my queen?” Lutian asked as he drew near her “I am crushed, Lutian. Crushed. There’s nothing to be done for it, I fear. Christian has broken my heart.” “What has he done? Say the word and I shall go and…well, he will beat my posterior all the way back to this tent. But I shall muss his clothes for the effort and bleed on him for spite.” Adara smiled at his noble words. “I told him that I’m with child and he wasn’t happy to hear my news. Should he not be overjoyed?” She never expected Lutian to disagree with her. “Perhaps not, my queen.” “Excuse me?” Lutian looked a bit sheepish. “’Tis quite a burden to place on any man. Even I would be fretful over it.” “Why should one baby be worth fretting over when he leads hundreds of men? You don’t see me fretting, do you?” “Actually, my queen, I do.” She narrowed her eyes on him. “What is it with you men, that you take up for each other on such a matter? May you roast for eternity, too!” Adara immediately reversed course and left the tent, only to run headlong into Phantom. She glared at him. “Out of my way, male, and to the devil with you and all of your ilk.” Phantom arched a single brow as she pushed past him. Completely amused, he watched her walk away. “My queen!” Lutian said as he left his tent. She didn’t pause. “So when is she expecting the child?” Phantom asked. Lutian paused. “How did you know she’s pregnant?” “An emotional outburst for no apparent reason, in which she curses all men? Pregnant, no doubt.” He shook his head. “Poor Christian. I pity any man who has a pregnant wife to contend with. They can be most irrational.” “As would you if you had something kicking you every time you moved.” They turned to see Corryn behind them. She gave both men a chiding glare. “You should both be ashamed of yourselves. ’Tis a fearful time when a woman finds herself in such a condition. Know either of you how many women die in childbirth?” That sobered both men instantly. Phantom felt his gullet knot over the realization and he wondered if the same thing had occurred to Christian.
Kinley MacGregor (Return of the Warrior (Brotherhood of the Sword, #6))
Lord Radnor is a man of great wealth and refinement,” Mrs. Howard continued. “He is highly educated and honorable in every regard. And if it weren’t for my daughter’s selfishness and your interference, Charlotte would now be his wife.” “You’ve omitted a few points,” Nick said. “Including the fact that Radnor is thirty years older than Lottie and happens to be as mad as cobbler’s punch.” The color on Mrs. Howard’s face condensed into two bright patches high on her cheeks. “He is not mad!” For Lottie’s sake, Nick struggled to control his sudden fury. He imagined her as a small, defenseless child, being closed alone in a room with a predator like Radnor. And this woman had allowed it. He vowed silently that Lottie would never again go unprotected. He gave Mrs. Howard a hard stare. “You saw nothing wrong in Radnor’s obsessive attentions to an eight-year-old girl?” he asked softly. “The nobility are allowed their foibles, Mr. Gentry. Their superior blood accommodates a few eccentricities. But of course, you would know nothing about that.” “You might be surprised,” Nick said sardonically. “Regardless, Lord Radnor is hardly a model for rational behavior. The social attachments he once enjoyed have withered because of his so-called foibles. He has withdrawn from society and spends most of his time in his mansion, hiding from the sunlight. His life is centered around the effort to mold a vulnerable girl into his version of the ideal woman— one who isn’t allowed even to draw breath without his permission. Before you blame Lottie for running from that, answer this question in perfect honesty— would you want to marry such a man?
Lisa Kleypas (Worth Any Price (Bow Street Runners, #3))
I feel as if I have been set adrift without a paddle. Tossed into a boat on a raging ocean without so much as a life jacket to keep me from drowning; no means to reach the nearest shore, even if I can see it. I am weary of this spiritual path. The world does not seem to understand this new perspective and frankly I don’t either. I question the choices I have made. I plead with my guides to show me that the last nine years I have been on this journey haven’t been for naught. I am no longer sure that my path is the right one; that the events and programs I create are what I am to do. Once I was so sure of my vision, now I am sure of nothing. Perhaps I am the crazy one. Am I imagining all this woo-woo spiritual stuff? Why does it not make sense? Where is it all going? Or more importantly, where am I going? Am I a fool? I am pretty sure my family thinks I am. I have just returned from spending the weekend with my family—the successful business people who seem to have it all figured out. I am sure they all think I am crazy. Maybe I am. None of this seems to make sense any more. This global shift we are supposedly in, maybe it’s just one of those cycles humanity goes through, nothing special or spiritual about it. I know nothing any more. At times I feel so alone. The large circle of friends I once had has gotten smaller and smaller, and though I am supported by a group of amazing souls who understand this spiritual arena, I feel lost at times. Alone once again—why am I surprised? Why me? Why did this have to happen to me? Why did Kristi have to die? What is the purpose? I have asked these questions a million times and though my heart knows the answer, my brain still struggles to wrap itself around it. The concept that I chose this existence is at times still difficult to accept. Why would I choose to lose my daughter? Why would I choose this life and all the challenges? I am so weary. I surrender, God. Show me the way.
Donna Visocky (I'll Meet You at the Base of the Mountain: One woman's journey from grief to life.)
My college boyfriend got me more in touch with my gut health (both a blessing and a curse) and made me ask some larger questions about the universe that I had been ignoring in favor of buying US Weekly the moment it hit the stands every Wednesday. Ben taught me the term “self-actualized,” and it became not just a favorite phrase but a goal. Devon made me a pencil case with a built-in sharpener, lent me his watch, showed me how to keep all my wires from getting tangled, and changed my iPhone alarm from marimba to timba so that I wake up happier, more soothed. And now I come to him, whole and ready to be known differently. Life is long, people change, I would never be foolish enough to think otherwise. But no matter what, nothing can ever be as it was. Everything has changed in a way that sounds trite and borderline offensive when recounted over coffee. I can never be who I was. I can simply watch her with sympathy, understanding, and some measure of awe. There she goes, backpack on, headed for the subway or the airport. She did her best with her eyeliner. She learned a new word she wants to try out on you. She is ambling along. She is looking for it.
Lena Dunham (Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned")
February 2 The Constraint of the Call Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 1 Corinthians 9:16 Beware of stopping your ears to the call of God. Everyone who is saved is called to testify to the fact; but that is not the call to preach, it is merely an illustration in preaching. Paul is referring to the pangs produced in him by the constraint to preach the Gospel. Never apply what Paul says in this connection to souls coming in contact with God for salvation. There is nothing easier than getting saved because it is God’s sovereign work—“Come unto Me and I will save you.” Our Lord never lays down the conditions of discipleship as the conditions of salvation. We are condemned to salvation through the Cross of Jesus Christ. Discipleship has an option with it—“IF any man . . .” Paul’s words have to do with being made a servant of Jesus Christ, and our permission is never asked as to what we will do or where we will go. God makes us broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself. To be “separated unto the gospel” means to hear the call of God; and when a man begins to overhear that call, then begins agony that is worthy of the name. Every ambition is nipped in the bud, every desire of life quenched, every outlook completely extinguished and blotted out, saving one thing only—“separated unto the gospel.” Woe be to the soul who tries to put his foot in any other direction when once that call has come to him. This College exists to see whether God has any man or woman here who cares about proclaiming His Gospel; to see whether God grips you. And beware of competitors when God does grip you.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
Justin Case and women do not mix. Man boobs, a love of Kings and Castles, and being tight with the "nerd" crowd certainly don't win him any points either. After rescuing Katie, his crush, it turns out she might not be the girl he thought she was, while Elyssa, the school's Goth Girl, turns out to be more. Can high school get any more confusing? Determined to improve himself, he joins a gym and meets a sexy girl that just oozes a "come hither, Justin" vibe. Until she attacks him in the parking lot, and Justin realizes she's no ordinary girl but a being with supernatural speed and strength. After a narrow escape and an excruciating migraine headache, he wakes up with supernatural abilities all his own: speed, strength, and the ability to seduce every woman he sees. While that might sound like the perfect combo for any hormonal teen, Justin is a hopeless romantic who wants his first time to be special. Is that too much to ask for? But he doesn't know what he is or how to stop his carnal urges. One thing is clear: If he doesn't find answers there are other more sinister supernaturals who would like nothing better than to make him their eternal plaything and do far worse than kill him.
John Corwin (Sweet Blood of Mine (Overworld Chronicles, #1))
The names of your informers, what backstabbing campaigns you’re embarking on, where you store your guns, your drugs, your money, the location of your hideout, the interchangeable lists of your friends and enemies, your contacts, the fences, your escape plans—all things you need to keep to yourself, and you will reveal every one if you are in love. Love is the Ultimate Informer because of the conviction it inspires that your love is eternal and immutable—you can no more imagine the end of your love than you can imagine the end of your own head. And because love is nothing without intimacy, and intimacy is nothing without sharing, and sharing is nothing without honesty, you must inevitably spill the beans, every last bean, because dishonesty in intimacy is unworkable and will slowly poison your precious love. When it ends—and it will end (even the most risk-embracing gambler wouldn’t touch those odds)—he or she, the love object, has your secrets. And can use them. And if the relationship ends acrimoniously, he or she will use them, viciously and maliciously—will use them against you. Furthermore, it is highly probable that the secrets you reveal when your soul has all its clothes off will be the cause of the end of love. Your intimate revelations will be the flame that lights the fuse that ignites the dynamite that blows your love to kingdom come. No, you say. She understands my violent ways. She understands that the end justifies the means. Think about this. Being in love is a process of idealization. Now ask yourself, how long can a woman be expected to idealize a man who held his foot on the head of a drowning man? Not too long, believe me. And cold nights in front of the fire, when you get up and slice off another piece of cheese, you don’t think she’s dwelling on that moment of unflinching honesty when you revealed sawing off the feet of your enemy? Well, she is. If a man could be counted on to dispose of his partner the moment the relationship is over, this chapter wouldn’t be necessary. But he can’t be counted on for that. Hope of reconciliation keeps many an ex alive who should be at the bottom of a deep gorge. So, lawbreakers, whoever you are, you need to keep your secrets for your survival, to keep your enemies at bay and your body out of the justice system. Sadly—and this is the lonely responsibility we all have to accept—the only way to do this is to stay single. If you need sexual relief, go to a hooker. If you need an intimate embrace, go to your mother. If you need a bed warmer during cold winter months, get a dog that is not a Chihuahua or a Pekingese. But know this: to give up your secrets is to give up your security, your freedom, your life. The truth will kill your love, then it will kill you. It’s rotten, I know. But so is the sound of the judge’s gavel pounding a mahogany desk.
Steve Toltz (A Fraction of the Whole)
This is the one thing I managed to keep. I’d rather give it to you privately, since I have nothing for the others.” Hesitantly she took the object from his open palm. It was a small, exquisite black cameo rimmed with pearls. A woman on a horse. “The woman is Athena,” Devon said. “According to myth, she invented the bridle and was the first ever to tame a horse.” Kathleen looked down at the gift in wonder. First the shawl…now this. Personal, beautiful, thoughtful things. No one had ever understood her taste so acutely. Damn him. “It’s lovely,” she said unsteadily. “Thank you.” Through a glaze of incipient tears, she saw him grin. Unclasping the little pin, she tried to fasten it to the center of her collar. “Is it straight?” “Not quite.” The backs of his fingers brushed her throat as he adjusted the cameo and pinned it. “I have yet to actually see you ride,” he said. “West claims that you’re more accomplished than anyone he’s ever seen.” “An exaggeration.” “I doubt that.” His fingers left her collar. “Happy Christmas,” he murmured, and leaned down to kiss her forehead. As the pressure of his lips lifted, Kathleen stepped back, trying to create a necessary distance between them. Her heel brushed against some solid, living thing, and a sharply indignant squeal startled her. “Oh!” Kathleen leaped forward instinctively, colliding with Devon’s front. His arms closed around her automatically, even as a pained grunt escaped him. “Oh--I’m sorry…What in heaven’s name--” She twisted to see behind her and broke off at the sight of Hamlet, who had come to root beneath the Christmas tree for stray sweets that had fallen from paper cones as they’d been removed from the branches. The pig snuffled among the folds of the tree skirt and the scattered presents wrapped in colored paper. Finding a tidbit to consume, he oinked in satisfaction. Kathleen shook her head and clung to Devon as laughter trembled through both of them. “Did I hurt you?” she asked, her hand resting lightly at the side of his waistcoat. His smiling lips grazed her temple. “Of course not, you little makeweight.” They stayed together in that delicious moment of scattered light and fragrant spruce and irresistible attraction.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
Kevin Swift… where am I? What are you doing here?” “You’re awake.” Polydora’s lips twisted into a displeased frown. “Of course, I am awake. Now answer my questions.” Kevin sat down. He slowly lowered himself to the ground and crossed his legs. Polydora’s eyes watched him like a hawk. “I’m not exactly sure where to start,” Kevin said after a moment. “The place where you and I are currently staying is called New Genbu, and I’m here because Monstrang and Kuroneko asked me to try and convince Orin, one of the Four Saints, to join forces with them.” “I understand your situation. Yes, that makes sense. However, I still don’t know what I’m doing here. The last thing I remember is…” Polydora trailed off, her eyes widening as she looked at something behind Kevin. “You! You are one of the fiends who was chasing me!” Cien was unruffled by the woman’s anger. “I was. However, I am not anymore. Try not to blow your top off, old hag.” “O-old hag?!” Polydora shrieked. “I’m only twenty-two years old.” “Really?” Cien sounded surprised, but Kevin thought he saw vindictive joy gleaming in the inu’s eyes. “You certainly don’t look that young. I guess that’s what happens to women who don’t know their place.” Kevin winced. He’d noticed it before, but male inu tended to be chauvinistic, and it seemed this particular inu wasn’t going to act in a way that might have suggested otherwise. “My place?” Polydora’s glare could’ve melted steel, but Cien looked unconcerned. “And what place is that?” “In the kitchen, of course.” Oh, boy. Kevin felt sweat gather on his forehead. This isn’t going to turn out well. “In the kitchen?” Polydora was beyond angry. The look on her face, which had taken on the vibrant red hue of rage, made her appear like she was ready to murder someone. “You foul, sexist, heathen! If I hadn’t lost my weapons in our first engagement, I would kill you where you stand—where you lay!” “So, the yama uba needs her weapons to kill, does she?” Cien’s grin was the utter definition of superiority. “I guess that’s what it means to be a race of nothing but women. You need weapons to be strong.” “That does it! I think this despicable mutt needs a lesson in manners!” “Bring it on, hag! I’ll beat you to a pulp!” Before Cien or Polydora could do much more than stand up, Kevin acted. Cien was taken down with a swift kick to the stomach, while Polydora tripped when Kevin kicked the back of her foot. She fell onto her bottom with a harsh “Oof!” “That’s enough out of the both you,” Kevin said calmly. “Polydora, I understand that you’re angry, but I need him to tell me what he knows about the Yamata Alliance, or do you not want to rescue Phoebe?” Polydora, who’d been about to shout at him, snapped her mouth closed. Kevin nodded. “And you.” He pointed at Cien. “Insult one of my friends again, and I will be sure to humiliate you so thoroughly your pride will be in tatters by the time I’m done.” Cien hesitated, but then he jutted out his chin in defiance. “Just try it. There’s nothing you can do to me that you haven’t already done.” Kevin’s creepy smile made Cien lean back. “I wouldn’t be too sure of that. You forget that I’m the mate to a kitsune. Pranking is in their blood, you know? Keep insulting my friend and I’ll drug you, strip you naked, cover you in tar and feathers, attach you to the back of a car, and have it drag you through a heavily populated city. Don’t push me.” Needless to say, Cien shut up.
Brandon Varnell (A Fox's Mission (American Kitsune, #11))
If someone left you, you had to answer with silence. She bore the scent of a mixture of oriental spices and the sweetness of flowers and honey. Dreams are the interface between the worlds, between time and space. He calls books freedoms. And homes too. They preserve all the good words that we so seldom use. Tango is a truth drug. It lays bare your problems and your complexes, but also the strengths you hide from others so as not to vex them. Saudade. It is the sense of being loved in a way that will never come again. It is a unique experience of abandon. It is everything that words cannot capture. They say that men who are at one with their bodies can sense and smell when a woman wants more from life than she is getting. Another woman found it incredibly erotic when I backed pate en croute. Aromas do funny things to the soul. Habit is a vain and treacherous goddess. She lets nothing disrupt her rule. She smothers one desire after another: the desire to travel, the desire for a better job or a new love. She stops us from living as we would like, because habit prevents us from asking ourselves whether we continue to enjoy doing what we do. Books can do many things but not everything. We have to live the important things, not read them. It was the season for truffles and literature. The countryside was redolent of wild herbs and glowed in autumnal rust reds and wine yellows.
Nina George (The Little Paris Bookshop)
She gestured toward her daughter. “This strange child of mine wants to have read the entire thing before she turns twenty-one. Okay, I said, she can have the enclyco…encloped…oh, all these reference books, but she won’t be getting any more birthday presents. And nothing for Christmas either.” Perdu acknowledged the seven-year-old girl with a nod. The child nodded earnestly back. “Do you think that’s normal?” the mother asked anxiously. “At her age?” “I think she’s brave, clever and right.” “As long as she doesn’t turn out too smart for men.” “For the stupid ones, she will, Madame. But who wants them anyway? A stupid man is every woman’s downfall.
Nina George (The Little Paris Bookshop)
What makes a man who has a woman who loves him risk it all?” “Are you asking me or Him?” “You.” Ruiz rubs his forehead. “Sometimes when a man feels bad about himself, he doesn’t want to be with a woman who looks at him with nothing but love. Instead he wants to lie on top of a woman who knows how nasty and shallow and faithless he can be… a woman who doesn’t put him on a pedestal or expect him to be a knight in shining armor… a woman who’s happy with the worst he can be.
Michael Robotham (The Wreckage (Joseph O'Loughlin, #5))
ball she would attend. When the fourth dance started, Merrifield showed up. “You aren’t on my dance card,” she chided as he took her to the center of the ballroom. “I am now,” he said, pulling her into his arms. “How did you manage that?” “I called in a favor from a friend.” He twirled her around and then brought her close. “It will be worth it to see the envy on Luke’s face.” “I doubt that,” Caroline said. Merrifield frowned at her. “Why do you say that?” “Luke doesn’t care for me . . . in that way. Ask him. He will tell you we are merely friends.” Her partner grew thoughtful. “I’ll do that.” They finished the dance, Merrifield as smooth as ever, making her feel graceful and polished. He returned her to where Leah and Amanda stood together and bowed. “I’m off to ask that question,” he said mysteriously and left. “What question? Of who?” Leah asked. “Nothing. Merrifield is merely being silly,” Caroline said. She ate supper with a lively viscount and his friends, thoroughly enjoying herself, and then danced several more times. When her next partner showed up, he asked if they could do so another time. “My mother has a headache and has asked for me to see her home.” “By all means, go to her,” Caroline urged. After he left, she decided to go to the retiring room for a few minutes of rest. Only a few women were present. She went behind one of the curtains and, moments later, overheard her name. She grew still, knowing she shouldn’t eavesdrop, but chose not to reveal herself. “Have you heard that she plans to open a bookstore? And a tearoom?” Several women tittered with laughter. “How gauche,” one said. “Just think how awkward it will be if you encounter her at a social event.” “If she’ll be invited to any. Who would ask anyone in trade—much less a woman—to a ton event? She’ll never land a husband now.” “That’s not all,” another said. “I’ve learned who her father was. The Earl of . . . Templeton.” “No!” “Oh, yes. No wonder she has to do something for money. Templeton ran through it all and left nothing.” “You heard what happened to him?” “Something about footpads,
Alexa Aston (Embracing the Earl (The St. Clairs, #3))
Jacqueline Novogratz has her own spin24 on this concept, phrased in the question What are you doing when you feel most beautiful? In her travels for the Acumen Fund, she sometimes asks her question in unlikely settings: “I decided to try it out on women living in a slum in Bombay.” At first, it didn’t go over well: “One woman said, ‘There’s nothing in our lives that’s beautiful.’ But finally another woman, who worked as a gardener, said, ‘Well, I can think of one time. All winter long I slog and slog, but when those flowers push through the ground, I feel beautiful.
Warren Berger (A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas)
Alma could not feel the absurdity of this, and she merely said, "'Every Other Week' seems to be going on just the same as ever." "Yes, the trouble has all blown over, I believe. Fulkerson," said Beaton, with a return to what they were saying, "has managed the whole business very well. But he exaggerates the value of my advice." "Very likely," Alma suggested, vaguely. "Or, no! Excuse me! He couldn't, he couldn't!" She laughed delightedly at Beaton's foolish look of embarrassment. He tried to recover his dignity in saying, "He's 'a very good fellow, and he deserves his happiness." "Oh, indeed!" said Alma, perversely. "Does any one deserve happiness?" "I know I don't," sighed Beaton. "You mean you don't get it." "I certainly don't get it." "Ah, but that isn't the reason." "What is?" "That's the secret of the universe," She bit in her lower lip, and looked at him with eyes, of gleaming fun. "Are you never serious?" he asked. "With serious people always." "I am serious; and you have the secret of my happiness—" He threw himself impulsively forward in his chair. "Oh, pose, pose!" she cried. "I won't pose," he answered, "and you have got to listen to me. You know I'm in love with you; and I know that once you cared for me. Can't that time—won't it—come back again? Try to think so, Alma!" "No," she said, briefly and seriously enough. "But that seems impossible. What is it I've done what have you against me?" "Nothing. But that time is past. I couldn't recall it if I wished. Why did you bring it up? You've broken your word. You know I wouldn't have let you keep coming here if you hadn't promised never to refer to it." "How could I help it? With that happiness near us—Fulkerson—" "Oh, it's that? I might have known it!" "No, it isn't that—it's something far deeper. But if it's nothing you have against me, what is it, Alma, that keeps you from caring for me now as you did then? I haven't changed." "But I have. I shall never care for you again, Mr. Beaton; you might as well understand it once for all. Don't think it's anything in yourself, or that I think you unworthy of me. I'm not so self-satisfied as that; I know very well that I'm not a perfect character, and that I've no claim on perfection in anybody else. I think women who want that are fools; they won't get it, and they don't deserve it. But I've learned a good deal more about myself than I knew in St. Barnaby, and a life of work, of art, and of art alone that's what I've made up my mind to." "A woman that's made up her mind to that has no heart to hinder her!" "Would a man have that had done so?" "But I don't believe you, Alma. You're merely laughing at me. And, besides, with me you needn't give up art. We could work together. You know how much I admire your talent. I believe I could help it—serve it; I would be its willing slave, and yours, Heaven knows!" "I don't want any slave—nor any slavery. I want to be free always. Now do you see? I don't care for you, and I never could in the old way; but I should have to care for some one more than I believe I ever shall to give up my work. Shall we go on?" She looked at her sketch. "No, we shall not go on," he said, gloomily, as he rose. "I suppose you blame me," she said, rising too. "Oh no! I blame no one—or only myself. I threw my chance away.
William Dean Howells (A Hazard of New Fortunes (Modern Library Classics))
And wear out too,’ said Bella soothingly, ‘this weakness, Lizzie, in favour of one who is not worthy of it.’ ‘No. I don’t want to wear that out,’ was the flushed reply, ‘nor do I want to believe, nor do I believe, that he is not worthy of it. What should I gain by that, and how much should I lose!’ Bella’s expressive little eyebrows remonstrated with the fire for some short time before she rejoined: ‘Don’t think that I press you, Lizzie; but wouldn’t you gain in peace, and hope, and even in freedom? Wouldn’t it be better not to live a secret life in hiding, and not to be shut out from your natural and wholesome prospects? Forgive my asking you, would that be no gain?’ ‘Does a woman’s heart that—that has that weakness in it which you have spoken of,’ returned Lizzie, ‘seek to gain anything?’ The question was so directly at variance with Bella’s views in life, as set forth to her father, that she said internally, ‘There, you little mercenary wretch! Do you hear that? Ain’t you ashamed of your self?’ and unclasped the girdle of her arms, expressly to give herself a penitential poke in the side. ‘But you said, Lizzie,’ observed Bella, returning to her subject when she had administered this chastisement, ‘that you would lose, besides. Would you mind telling me what you would lose, Lizzie?’ ‘I should lose some of the best recollections, best encouragements, and best objects, that I carry through my daily life. I should lose my belief that if I had been his equal, and he had loved me, I should have tried with all my might to make him better and happier, as he would have made me. I should lose almost all the value that I put upon the little learning I have, which is all owing to him, and which I conquered the difficulties of, that he might not think it thrown away upon me. I should lose a kind of picture of him—or of what he might have been, if I had been a lady, and he had loved me—which is always with me, and which I somehow feel that I could not do a mean or a wrong thing before. I should leave off prizing the remembrance that he has done me nothing but good since I have known him, and that he has made a change within me, like—like the change in the grain of these hands, which were coarse, and cracked, and hard, and brown when I rowed on the river with father, and are softened and made supple by this new work as you see them now.’ They trembled, but with no weakness, as she showed them. ‘Understand me, my dear;’ thus she went on. ‘I have never dreamed of the possibility of his being anything to me on this earth but the kind picture that I know I could not make you understand, if the understanding was not in your own breast already. I have no more dreamed of the possibility of my being his wife, than he ever has—and words could not be stronger than that. And yet I love him. I love him so much, and so dearly, that when I sometimes think my life may be but a weary one, I am proud of it and glad of it. I am proud and glad to suffer something for him, even though it is of no service to him, and he will never know of it or care for it.
Charles Dickens
The Nursing Home There was an old man in a nursing home who had felt lonely since his wife had passed, and everyday he would sit at the same bench and stare at the trees in the yard. And elderly woman walked up to him one day and began to talk to him. She heard his story and was saddened by it, and asked if there was anything she could do to cheer him up. "Actually," the old man said, "you could hold my penis." At first the lady thought this was strange, but she figured since she wasn’t doing anything bad, just holding his penis. No harm done. Day after day, she’d meet the guy and hold his penis and they would talk for hours on end. She began to enjoy the time and thought nothing about the penis holding. One day she went to the spot to find that the man was not there. For the next week she didn’t see her friend at the bench and began to worry. She found a nurse and asked, "Did he pass away?" The woman held her breath, afraid of the answer. But the nurse responded, "Oh, no! He's been by the pool everyday for about a week now." The elderly lady didn't quite understand why, but she walked over to the pool to find him. When she got there, she saw him sitting next to the pool with another woman holding his penis! The woman was irate. "What's this?" she yelled at him. "Was my company not good enough for you? What does this woman have that I don't?" The man looked up with a smile and said, "Parkinson’s.
mad comedy (World's Greatest Truly Offensive Jokes 2018 (World's Greatest Jokes Book 3))
the back of it and said, near to tears, “I’ll remain indebted to you for as long as I live for saving Jan and me.” Richard grinned to hide his embarrassment and removed his hand from her grasp. “It was nothing, really.” She opened her mouth to protest, but when her eyes caught his, she seemed to understand and gave a nod. “In any case, thank you.” “How did you get out?” Katrina asked. “On foot.” Richard could only admire the petite, dark-haired woman who looked like a walking scarecrow. Despite everything, she hadn’t lost her humor, and the iron will blazing
Marion Kummerow (Trouble Brewing (War Girls #4))
I have raised you to respect every human being as singular, and you must extend that same respect into the past. Slavery is not an indefinable mass of flesh. It is a particular, specific enslaved woman, whose mind is active as your own, whose range of feeling is as vast your own; who prefers the way the light falls in one particular spot in the woods, who enjoys fishing where the water eddies in a nearby stream, who loves her mother in her own complicated way, thinks her sister talks too loud, has a favorite cousin, a favorite season, who excels at dressmaking and knows, inside herself, that she is as intelligent and capable as anyone. "Slavery" is this same woman born in a world that loudly proclaims its love of freedom and inscribes this love in its essential texts, a world in which these same professors hold this woman a slave, hold her mother a slave, her father a slave, her daughter a slave, and when this woman peers back into the generations all she sees is the enslaved. She can hope for more. She can imagine some future for her grandchildren. But when she dies, the world - which is really the only world she can ever know - ends. For this woman, enslavement is not a parable, It is damnation. It is the never-ending night. And the length of that night is most of our history. Never forget that we were enslaved in this country longer than we have been free. Never forget that for 250 years black people were born in to chains - whole generations followed by more generations that knew nothing but chains. You must struggle to remember this past in all its nuance, error, and humanity. You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance - no matter how improved - as the redemption for the lives of the people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never compensate for this. Perhaps our triumphs are not even the point. Perhaps struggle is all we have because the god of history is an atheist, and nothing about his world is meant to be. So you must wake up every morning knowing that no promise is unbreakable, least of all the promise of waking up at all. This is not despair. These are the preferences of the universe itself: verbs over nouns, actions over states, struggle over hope.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)
dustpan that he emptied into a larger trash can. If I were him, picking up after people who carelessly dropped stuff on the ground, I’d be nothing but angry. They call it littering when you carelessly drop things. They call the careless folks who drop things by a cute name: litterbug. There’s nothing cute about dropping things carelessly. Dropping garbage and having puppies shouldn’t be called the same thing. “Litter.” I had a mind to write to Miss Webster about that. Puppies don’t deserve to be called a litter like they had been dropped carelessly like garbage. And people who litter shouldn’t be given a cute name for what they do. And at least the mother of a litter sticks around and nurses her pups no matter how sharp their teeth are. Merriam Webster was falling down on the job. How could she have gotten this wrong? Vonetta asked me again. Not because she was anxious to meet Cecile. Vonetta asked again so she could have her routine rehearsed in her head—her curtsy, smile, and greeting—leaving Fern and me to stand around like dumb dodos. She was practicing her role as the cute, bouncy pup in the litter and asked yet again, “Delphine, what do we call her?” A large white woman came and stood before us, clapping her hands like we were on display at the Bronx Zoo. “Oh, my. What adorable dolls you are. My, my.” She warbled like an opera singer. Her face was moon full and jelly soft, the cheeks and jaw framed by white whiskers. We said nothing. “And so well behaved.” Vonetta perked up to out-pretty and out-behave us. I did as Big Ma had told me in our many talks on how to act around white people. I said, “Thank you,” but I didn’t add the “ma’am,” for the whole “Thank you, ma’am.” I’d never heard anyone else say it in Brooklyn. Only in old movies on TV. And when we drove down to Alabama. People say “Yes, ma’am,” and “No, ma’am” in Alabama all the time. That old word was perfectly fine for Big Ma. It just wasn’t perfectly fine for me.
Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer (Gaither Sisters, #1))