Being Brushed Off Quotes

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Abe held my gaze a bit longer and then broke into an easy smile. ʺOf course, of course. This is a family gathering. A celebration. And look: hereʹs our newest member.ʺ Dimitri had joined us and wore black and white like my mother and me. He stood beside me, conspicuously not touching. ʺMr. Mazur,ʺ he said formally, nodding a greeting to both of them. ʺGuardian Hathaway.ʺ Dimitri was seven years older than me, but right then, facing my parents, he looked like he was sixteen and about to pick me up for a date. ʺAh, Belikov,ʺ said Abe, shaking Dimitriʹs hand. ʺIʹd been hoping weʹd run into each other. Iʹd really like to get to know you better. Maybe we can set aside some time to talk, learn more about life, love, et cetera. Do you like to hunt? You seem like a hunting man. Thatʹs what we should do sometime. I know a great spot in the woods. Far, far away. We could make a day of it. Iʹve certainly got a lot of questions Iʹd like to ask you. A lot of things Iʹd like to tell you too.ʺ I shot a panicked look at my mother, silently begging her to stop this. Abe had spent a good deal of time talking to Adrian when we dated, explaining in vivid and gruesome detail exactly how Abe expected his daughter to be treated. I did not want Abe taking Dimitri off alone into the wilderness, especially if firearms were involved. ʺActually,ʺ said my mom casually. ʺIʹd like to come along. I also have a number of questions—especially about when you two were back at St. Vladimirʹs.ʺ ʺDonʹt you guys have somewhere to be?ʺ I asked hastily. ʺWeʹre about to start.ʺ That, at least, was true. Nearly everyone was in formation, and the crowd was quieting. ʺOf course,ʺ said Abe. To my astonishment, he brushed a kiss over my forehead before stepping away. ʺIʹm glad youʹre back.ʺ Then, with a wink, he said to Dimitri: ʺLooking forward to our chat.ʺ ʺRun,ʺ I said when they were gone. ʺIf you slip out now, maybe they wonʹt notice. Go back to Siberia." "Actually," said Dimitri, "I'm pretty sure Abe would notice. Don't worry, Roza. I'm not afraid. I'll take whatever heat they give me over being with you. It's worth it.
Richelle Mead (Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6))
Charles,” Bones said distinctly. “You’d better have a splendid explanation for her being on top of you.” The black-haired vampire rose to his feet as soon as I jumped off, brushing the dirt off his clothes. “Believe me, mate, I’ve never enjoyed a woman astride me less. I came out to say hello, and this she-devil blinded me by flinging rocks in my eyes. Then she vigorously attempted to split my skull before threatening to impale me with silver if I so much as even twitched! It’s been a few years since I’ve been to America, but I daresay the method of greeting a person has changed dramatically!” Bones rolled his eyes and clapped him on the shoulder. “I’m glad you’re still upright, Charles, and the only reason you are is because she didn’t have any silver. She’d have staked you right and proper otherwise. She has a tendency to shrivel someone first and then introduce herself afterwards.
Jeaniene Frost (Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1))
He nodded, brushed hair off my face, and headed from the kitchen. "I hate being a teenager." "Why?" "Hormones." With a sad half smile, he left.
Jodi Meadows (Incarnate (Newsoul, #1))
Make me an offer, " I said at last. "Write it up, and give me a point-by-point outline of why you're a good would-be suitor. " He started to laugh, then saw my face. "Seriously? That's like homework. There's a reason I'm not in college. " I snapped my fingers. "Get to it, Ivashkov. I want to see you put in a good day's work. " I expected a joke or a brush-off until later, but instead, he said, "Okay. " "Okay?" "Yep. I'm going to go back to my room right now to start drafting my assignment. " I stared incredulously as he reached for his coat. I had never seen Adrian move that fast when any kind of labor was involved. Oh no. What had I gotten myself into?
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
Izzy, are you—” he began. His eyes flew wide, and he backed up fast enough to smack his head into the wall behind him. “What is he doing here?” Isabelle tugged her tank top back down and glared at her brother. “You don’t knock now?” “It—It’s my bedroom!” Alec spluttered. He seemed to be deliberately trying not to look at Izzy and Simon, who were indeed in a very compromising position. Simon rolled quickly off Isabelle, who sat up, brushing herself off as if for lint. Simon sat up more slowly, trying to hold the torn edges of his shirt together. “Why are all my clothes on the floor?” Alec said. “I was trying to find something for Simon to wear,” Isabelle explained. “Maureen put him in leather pants and a puffy shirt because he was being her romance-novel slave.” “He was being her what?” “Her romance-novel slave,” Isabelle repeated, as if Alec were being particularly dense. Alec shook his head as if he were having a bad dream. “You know what? Don’t explain. Just—put your clothes on, both of you.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
Right.” He slowly stood up. “This is new territory for you. Stupid sequestering, the Keepers better not have turned you into a nun or something.” I snatched a book off my nightstand and threw it at him. “Get out of my room!” He caught the book in midair and laid it on the bed. “Easy, Lily. That was a bad joke. I didn’t mean any offense.” I shook with humiliation. “You don’t know what it’s been like.” “I know, and I’m sorry.” He came to my side and cupped my face. “I’m sure it hasn’t been fun. You deserve better.” I nodded. He lowered his head, softly brushing his lips over mine. “I’ll show you how much fun it can be. You need to trust me.
Andrea Cremer (Nightshade (Nightshade, #1; Nightshade World, #4))
Being alone is not the most awful thing in the world. You visit your museums and cultivate your interests and remind yourself how lucky you are not to be one of those spindly Sudanese children with flies beading their mouths. You make out To Do lists - reorganise linen cupboard, learn two sonnets. You dole out little treats to yourself - slices of ice-cream cake, concerts at Wigmore Hall. And then, every once in a while, you wake up and gaze out of the window at another bloody daybreak, and think, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot pull myself together again and spend the next fifteen hours of wakefulness fending off the fact of my own misery. People like Sheba think that they know what it's like to be lonely. They cast their minds back to the time they broke up with a boyfriend in 1975 and endured a whole month before meeting someone new. Or the week they spent in a Bavarian steel town when they were fifteen years old, visiting their greasy-haired German pen pal and discovering that her hand-writing was the best thing about her. But about the drip drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. They don't know what it is to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the laundrette. Or to sit in a darkened flat on Halloween night, because you can't bear to expose your bleak evening to a crowd of jeering trick-or-treaters. Or to have the librarian smile pityingly and say, ‘Goodness, you're a quick reader!’ when you bring back seven books, read from cover to cover, a week after taking them out. They don't know what it is to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand on your shoulder sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. I have sat on park benches and trains and schoolroom chairs, feeling the great store of unused, objectless love sitting in my belly like a stone until I was sure I would cry out and fall, flailing, to the ground. About all of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.
Zoë Heller (What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal])
Then the best thing I can do is—" He froze. The brown eyes that had been narrowed with aggravation suddenly went wide with...what? Amazement? Awe? Or perhaps that stunned feeling I kept having when I saw him? Because suddenly, I was pretty sure he was experiencing the same thing I had earlier. He'd seen me plenty of times in Siberia. He'd seen me just the other night at the warehouse. But now...now he was truly viewing me with his own eyes. Now that he was no longer Strigoi, his whole world was different. His outlook and feelings were different. Even his soul was different. It was like one of those moments when people talked about their lives flashing before their eyes. Because as we stared at one another, every part of our relationship replayed in my mind's eye. I remembered how strong and invincible he'd been when we first met, when he'd come to bring Lissa and me back to the folds of Moroi society. I remembered the gentleness of his touch when he's bandaged my bloodies and bettered hands. I remembered him carrying me in his arms after Victor's daughter Natalie had attacked me. Most of all, I remembered the night we'd been together in the cabin, just before the Strigoi had taken him. A year. We'd known each other only a year but we'd lived a lifetime in it. And he was realizing that too, I knew as he studied me. His gaze was all-powerful, taking in every single one of my features and filing them away. Dimly, I tried to recall what I looked like today. I still wore the dress from the secret meeting and knew it looked good on me. My eyes were probably bloodshot from crying earlier, and I'd only had time for a quick brushing of my hair before heading off with Adrian. Somehow, I doubted any of it mattered. The way Dimitri was looking at me...it confirmed everything I'd suspected. The feelings he'd had for me before he'd been turned-the feelings that had become twisted while a Strigoi—were all still there. They had to be. Maybe Lissa was his savior. Maybe the rest of the Court thought she was a goddess. I knew, right then, that no matter how bedraggled I looked or how blank he tried to keep his face, I was a goddess to him.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
Everyone needed to have the opportunity to catch a long langorous glimpse of my disgrace. "This looks so much like you," she said to Noah pressing her body against his. "My girl is talented," Noah said. My heart stopped beating. Anna's heart stopped beating. Everyone's heart stopped beating. The buzzing of a solitary gnat would have sounded obscene in the stillness. "Bullshit," Anna whispered finally, but it was loud enough for everyone to hear. She hadn't moved an inch. Noah shrugged. "Im a vein bastard, and Mara indulges me." After a pause, he added, "Im just glad you didnt get your greedy little claws on the other sketchbook. That would have been embarrasing." His lips curved into a sly smile as he slid from the picnic table he'd been sitting on. "Now, get the fuck off me," he said calmly to a dumbfounded speechless Anna as he pushed past her, plucking the sketchbook roughly from her hands. And walked over to me. "Lets go," Noah ordered gently, once he was at my side. His body brushed the line of my shoulder and arm protectively. And then he held out his hand. I wanted to take it and i wanted to spit in Anna's face and i wanted to kiss him and i wanted to knee Aiden Davis in the groin. Civilization won out, and i willed each individual nerve to respond to the signal i sent with my brain and placed my fingers in his. A current traveled from my fingertips through to the hollow where my stomach used to be. And just like that i was completely, utterly and entirely, his.
Michelle Hodkin (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1))
My name...my name is Mary. I'm here with a friend.' Rhage stopped breathing. His heart skipped a beat and then slowed. "Say that again,' he whispered. 'Ah, my name is Mary Luce. I'm a friend of Bella's...We came here with a boy, with John Matthew. We were invited.' Rhage shivered, a balmy rush blooming out all over his skin. The musical lilt of her voice, the rhythm of her speech, the sound of her words, it all spread through him, calming him, comforting him. Chaining him sweetly. He closed his eyes. 'Say something else.' 'What?' she asked, baffled. 'Talk. Talk to me. I want to hear your voice.' She was silent, and he was about to demand that she speak when she said, 'You don't look well. Do you need a doctor?' He found himself swaying. The words didn't matter. It was her sound: low, soft, a quiet brushing in his ears. He felt as if here being stroked on the inside of his skin. 'More,' he said, twisting his palm around to the front of her neck so he could feel the vibrations in her throat better. 'Could you... could you please let go of me?' 'No.' He brought his other arm up. She was wearing some kind of fleece, and he moved the collar aside, putting his hand on her shoulder so she couldn't get away from him. 'Talk.' She started to struggle. 'You're crowding me.' 'I know. Talk.' 'Oh for God's sake, what do you want me to say?' Even exasperated, her voice was beautiful. 'Anything.' 'Fine. Get your hand off my throat and let me go or I'm going to knee you where it counts.' He laughed. Then sank his lower body into her, trapping her with his thighs and hips. She stiffened against him, but he got an ample feel of her. She was built lean, though there was no doubt she was female. Her breasts hit his chest, her hips cushioned his, her stomach was soft. 'Keep talking,' he said in her ear. God, she smelled good. Clean. Fresh. Like lemon. When she pushed against him, he leaned his full weight into her. Her breath came out in a rush. 'Please,' he murmured. Her chest moved against his as if she were inhaling. 'I... er, I have nothing to say. Except get off of me.' He smiled, careful to keep his mouth closed. There was no sense showing off his fangs, especially if she didn't know what he was. 'So say that.' 'What?' 'Nothing. Say nothing. Over and over and over again. Do it.' She bristled, the scent of fear replaced by a sharp spice, like fresh, pungent mint from a garden. She was annoyed now. 'Say it.' "Fine. Nothing. Nothing.' Abruptly she laughed, and the sound shot right through to his spine, burning him. 'Nothing, nothing. No-thing. No-thing. Noooooothing. There, is that good enought for you? Will you let me go now?
J.R. Ward (Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #2))
What irritated her most was that they kept brushing off her arguments with patronizing smiles, making her feel like a teenager being quizzed on her homework. Without actually uttering a single inappropriate word, they displayed towards her an attitude that was so antediluvian it was almost comical. You shouldn't worry your pretty head over complex matters, little girl.
Stieg Larsson (The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3))
Ah, Belikov," said Abe, shaking Dimitri's hand. "I'd been hoping we'd run into each other. I'd really like to get to know you better. Maybe we can set aside some time to talk, learn more about life, love, et cetera. Do you like to hunt? You seem like a hunting man. That's what we should do sometime. I know a great spot in the woods. Far, far away. We could make a day of it. I've certainly got a lot of question to ask you. A lot of things I'd like to tell you." I shot a panicked look at my mother, silently begging her to stop this. Abe had spent a good deal of time talking to Adrian when we dated, explaining in vivid and gruesome detail exactly how Abe expected his daughter to be treated. I did not want Abe taking Dimitri off alone into the wilderness, especially if firearms were involved. "Actually," said my mum casually."I'd like to come along. I also have a number of questions-especially about when you two were back at St. Vladimir's." "Don't you guys have somewhere to be?" I asked hastily. "We're about to start." That, at least, was true. Nearly everyone was in formation, and the crowd was quieting. "of course," said Abe. To my astonishment, he brushed a kiss over my forehead before stepping away. "I'm glad you're back." Then, with a wink, he said to Dimitri:"Looking forward to our chat." "Run," I said when they were gone. "If you slip out now, maybe they won't notice. Go back to Siberia.
Richelle Mead (Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6))
You know what my favorite part was?" he says, stepping closer. "Hmm?" "We didn't fight. Not once. I hate fighting with you." "I do, too. It seems like a waste of time when..." He leans impossibly closer, holding her gaze. "When?" "When we could be enjoying each other's company instead," she whispers. "But you probably don't enjoy my company here lately. I haven't been very nice-" He brushes his lips against hers, cutting her off. They're softer than he ever imagined. And it's not enough. Moving his hand from her jawline to entwine it in her damp locks, he pulls her to him. She tips up on her toes to meet him and as he lifts her from the ground, she folds her arms around his neck. Just as hungry for him as he is for her, she opens her mouth for a deeper kiss, pressing her soft curves into him. And Galen decides there is nothing better than kissing Emma. Everything about her seems made for him. The way her mouth moves in perfect rhythm with his. The way she combs her fingers through his hair, sending a stirring jolt down his spine. The way her cool lips ignite heat through his whole being. She fits in his arms, as if her every curve fills a place on his own body...
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Anna turned the pages slowly for effect, and like some demonic schoolmarm, held the book at an angle to provide maximum exposure to the assembled crowd. Everyone needed to have the opportunity to catch a long, languorous glimpse of my disgrace. "This looks so much like you," she said to Noah, pressing her body against his. "My girl is talented," Noah said. My heart stopped beating. Anna's heart stopped beating. Everyone's heart stopped beating. The buzzing of a solitary gnat would have sounded obscene in the stillness. "Bullshit," Anna whispered finally, but it was loud enough for everyone to hear. She hadn't moved an inch. Noah shrugged. "I'm a vain bastard, and Mara indulges me." After a pause, he added, "I'm just glad you didn't get your greedy little claws on the other sketchbook. That would have been embarrassing." His lips curved into a sly smile as he slid from the picnic table he'd been sitting on. "Now, get the fuck off me," he said calmly to a dumbfounded, speechless Anna as he pushed past her plucking the sketchbook roughly from her hands. And walked over to me. "Let's go," Noah ordered gently, once he was at my side. His body brushed the line of my shoulder and arm protectively. And then he held out his hand. I wanted to take it and I wanted to spit in Anna's face and I wanted to kiss him and I wanted to knee Aiden Davis in the groin. Civilization won out, and I willed each individual nerve to respond to the signal I sent with my brain and placed my fingers in his. A current traveled from my fingertips through to the hollow where my stomach used to be. And just like that, I was completely, utterly and entirely, His.
Michelle Hodkin (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1))
She brushed off her hands and grabbed her purse, setting off for the back porch with purpose. On the ground, Cocky squawked his indignation at being left. “Hush,” Cole chided him. “You’ve already gotten more play than me.
Alessandra Torre (Hollywood Dirt (Hollywood Dirt, #1))
Not easy when you can't talk, is it?" I grinned. "Well, not easy for you but I could get used to it." He grumbled, but I could see relif in his eyes, like he was glad to see me smile. "SO i was right, wasn't I? It's still youm even in wolf form." He grunted. "No sudden uncontrollable urges to go kill something?" He rolled his eyes. "Hey, you're the one who was worried." I paused. "And i don't smell like dinner, right?" I got a real look for that one. "Just covering all the bases." He gave a rumbling groul, like a chuckle, and settled in, lowering his head to his front paws, gaze on me. I tried to get comfortable, but the ground was ice-cold through his swearshirt, and i was wearing only my new pajamas, a light jacket, and sneakers. Seeing me shiver, he stretched a front leg toward the swearshirt, pawing the edge and snarling when he realized he couldnt grab it. "The lack of opposanle thumbs is going to take some getting used to, huh?" He motioned me closer with his muzzel. When I pretended not to understand, he twisted and gingerly took the hem of the swearshirt between his teeth, lips curled in discust as he tugged it. "Okay, okay. I'm just trying not to croud you." That wasnt the only reason i was uncomfortanle getting too cozy with him now, but he just grunted, again seeming to say it was fine. i moved over beside himm. He shifted, his torso making a partial wind block, the boddy heat from the change still blasting like a furnace. He grunted. "Yes, thats better.thanks. now get some rest." i had no idea what would happen now. i doubted derek did either. he'd been focused on getting through the change. what i did know was that this was only half the process. he had to change back, and he'd need time and rest for that. and how would it happen? did he have to wait until his body was ready, like he did with the change to a wolf? how long would that be?hours?days? Feeling his gaze on me, i forced a smile and pushed back my worries. it would be okat. he could change. that was the important thing. when i relaxed, he shifted closer, fur brushing my hand. i tentatively touched it, feeling the coarse top layer and soft undercoar. he leaned against my hand, as if to sat it was okaym and i buried my hand in his fur, his skin so hot from the change it was like putting my numb hands on a radiator. my cool fingers must have felt just as good, because he closed his eyes and shifte until i was leaning on him. within minutes he was asleep. i closed my eyes, meaning to rest for just a moment, but the next thing i knew, i was waking up, curled on my side, using derek as a pillow. i jumped. he looked over at me. "S-sorry, I didn't mean-" He cut me short with a growl, telling me off for apologizing.
Kelley Armstrong
He watches Harry making intricate patterns, using the last of the glitter. “Are you making it so we can never be found?” Louis laughs, and the bucket dangles from his slack fingers. Harry’s smile falters immediately as he sprinkles the last of his handful. “Something like that.” He brushes his hands off on his trousers, and just like that, he’s back to his stoic poetry. “You can be found, if you like. But I don’t want to be.
Velvetoscar (Young & Beautiful)
Along with the trust issues, one of the hardest parts to deal with is the feeling of not being believed or supported, especially by your own grandparents and extended family. When I have been through so much pain and hurt and have to live with the scars every day, I get angry knowing that others think it is all made up or they brush it off because my cousin was a teenager. I was ten when I was first sexually abused by my cousin, and a majority of my relatives have taken the perpetrator's side. I have cried many times about everything and how my relatives gave no support or love to me as a kid when this all came out. Not one relative ever came up to that innocent little girl I was and said "I am sorry for what you went through" or "I am here for you." Instead they said hurtful things: "Oh he was young." "That is what kids do." "It is not like he was some older man you didn't know." Why does age make a difference? It is a sick way of thinking. Sexual abuse is sexual abuse. What is wrong with this picture? It brings tears to my eyes the way my relatives have reacted to this and cannot accept the truth. Denial is where they would rather stay.
Erin Merryn (Living for Today: From Incest and Molestation to Fearlessness and Forgiveness)
I don't..." He gasps. "I don't really want to talk about it anymore." "Okay.Then...I can talk. Ask me something." "Okay." He laughs shakily in my ear. "Why is your heart racing, Tris?" I cringe and say, "Well,I..." I search for an excuse that doesn't involve his arms being around me. "I barely know you." Not good enough. "I barely know you and I'm crammed against you in a box,Four,what do you think?" "If we were in your fear landscape," he says, "would I be in it?" "I'm not afraid of you." "Of course you're not.But that's not what I meant." He laughs again,and when he does,the walls break apart with a crack and fall away,leaving us in a circle of light. Four sighs and lifts his arms from my body. I scramble to my feet and brush myself off,though I haven't accumulated any dirt that I'm aware of. I wipe my palms on my jeans. My back feels cold from the sudden absence of him. He stands in front of me. He's grinning, and I'm not sure I like the look in his eyes. "Maybe you were cut out for Candor," he says, "because you're a terrible liar.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
I used to think love was two people sucking on the same straw to see whose thirst was stronger, but then I whiffed the crushed walnuts of your nape, traced jackals in the snow-covered tombstones of your teeth. I used to think love was a non-stop saxophone solo in the lungs, till I hung with you like a pair of sneakers from a phone line, and you promised to always smell the rose in my kerosene. I used to think love was terminal pelvic ballet, till you let me jog beside while you pedaled all over hell on the menstrual bicycle, your tongue ripping through my prairie like a tornado of paper cuts. I used to think love was an old man smashing a mirror over his knee, till you helped me carry the barbell of my spirit back up the stairs after my car pirouetted in the desert. You are my history book. I used to not believe in fairy tales till I played the dunce in sheep’s clothing and felt how perfectly your foot fit in the glass slipper of my ass. But then duty wrapped its phone cord around my ankle and yanked me across the continent. And now there are three thousand miles between the u and s in esophagus. And being without you is like standing at a cement-filled wall with a roll of Yugoslavian nickels and making a wish. Some days I miss you so much I’d jump off the roof of your office building just to catch a glimpse of you on the way down. I wish we could trade left eyeballs, so we could always see what the other sees. But you’re here, I’m there, and we have only words, a nightly phone call - one chance to mix feelings into syllables and pour into the receiver, hope they don’t disassemble in that calculus of wire. And lately - with this whole war thing - the language machine supporting it - I feel betrayed by the alphabet, like they’re injecting strychnine into my vowels, infecting my consonants, naming attack helicopters after shattered Indian tribes: Apache, Blackhawk; and West Bank colonizers are settlers, so Sharon is Davey Crockett, and Arafat: Geronimo, and it’s the Wild West all over again. And I imagine Picasso looking in a mirror, decorating his face in war paint, washing his brushes in venom. And I think of Jenin in all that rubble, and I feel like a Cyclops with two eyes, like an anorexic with three mouths, like a scuba diver in quicksand, like a shark with plastic vampire teeth, like I’m the executioner’s fingernail trying to reason with the hand. And I don’t know how to speak love when the heart is a busted cup filling with spit and paste, and the only sexual fantasy I have is busting into the Pentagon with a bazooka-sized pen and blowing open the minds of generals. And I comfort myself with the thought that we’ll name our first child Jenin, and her middle name will be Terezin, and we’ll teach her how to glow in the dark, and how to swallow firecrackers, and to never neglect the first straw; because no one ever talks about the first straw, it’s always the last straw that gets all the attention, but by then it’s way too late.
Jeffrey McDaniel
The hemulen woke up slowly and recognised himself and wished he had been someone he didn't know. He felt even tireder than when he went to bed, and here it was -- another day which would go on until evening and then there would be another one and another one which would be the same as all days are when they are lived by a hemulen. He crept under the bedcover and buried his nose in the pillow, then he shifted his stomach to the edge of the bed where the sheets were cool. He took possession of the whole bed with outstretched arms and legs he was waiting for a nice dream that wouldn't come. He curled up and made himself small but it didn't help a bit. He tried being the hemulen that everybody like, he tried being the hemulen that no one liked. But however hard he tried he remained a hemulen doing his best without anything really coming off. In the end he got up and pulled on his trousers. The Hemulen didn't like getting dressed and undressed, it gave him a feeling that the days passed without anything of importance happening. Even so, he spent the whole day arranging, organising and directing things from morning till night! All around him there were people living slipshod and aimless lives, wherever he looked there was something to be put to rights and he worked his fingers to the bone trying to get them to see how they ought to live. It's as though they don't want to live well, the Hemulen thought sadly as he brushed his teeth. He looked at the photograph of himself with his boat which was been taken when the boat was launched. It was a beautiful picture but it made him feel even sadder. I ought to learn how to sail, the Hemulen thought. But I've never got enough time... Moominvalley in November Chapter 5, THE HEMULEN
Tove Jansson (Moominvalley in November (The Moomins, #9))
My mom called Grandma today and told her we would no longer be attending family parties. My mom told her we have had enough of being blamed for something Brian did and everyone brushing it off like it was no big deal.
Erin Merryn (Stolen Innocence: Triumphing Over a Childhood Broken by Abuse: A Memoir)
Being violent is easy, too easy.” He brushed it off. “Holding back, being gentle, restraining your strength when it’s not needed, that takes—” “Character,” she said. “Loads of it.
Joey W. Hill (Natural Law (Nature of Desire, #2))
Nobody else gets all of me. Only you.” He brushed my hair off of my cheek. “I only expect one thing in exchange.” I raised my eyebrows. “What would that be?” “All of you.
Carly Phillips (Dare to Surrender (NY Dares, #1))
I closed what little distance was left between us, one hand sliding through his soft hair, the other gathering the back of his shirt into my fist. When my lips finally pressed against his, I felt something coil deep inside of me. There was nothing outside of him, not even the grating of cicadas, not even the gray-bodied trees. My heart thundered in my chest. More, more, more—a steady beat. His body relaxed under my hands, shuddering at my touch. Breathing him in wasn’t enough, I wanted to inhale him. The leather, the smoke, the sweetness. I felt his fingers counting up my bare ribs. Liam shifted his legs around mine to draw me closer. I was off-balance on my toes; the world swaying dangerously under me as his lips traveled to my cheek, to my jaw, to where my pulse throbbed in my neck. He seemed so sure of himself, like he had already plotted out this course. I didn’t feel it happen, the slip. Even if I had, I was so wrapped up in him that I couldn’t imagine pulling back or letting go of his warm skin or that moment. His touch was feather-light, stroking my skin with a kind of reverence, but the instant his lips found mine again, a single thought was enough to rocket me out of the honey-sweet haze. The memory of Clancy’s face as he had leaned in to do exactly what Liam was doing now suddenly flooded my mind, twisting its way through me until I couldn’t ignore it. Until I was seeing it play out glossy and burning like it was someone else’s memory and not mine. And then I realized—I wasn’t the only one seeing it. Liam was seeing it, too. How, how, how? That wasn’t possible, was it? Memories flowed to me, not from me. But I felt him grow still, then pull back. And I knew, I knew by the look on his face, that he had seen it. Air filled my chest. “Oh my God, I’m sorry, I didn’t want—he—” Liam caught one of my wrists and pulled me back to him, his hands cupping my cheeks. I wondered which one of us was breathing harder as he brushed my hair from my face. I tried to squirm away, ashamed of what he’d seen, and afraid of what he’d think of me. When Liam spoke, it was in a measured, would-be-calm voice. “What did he do?” “Nothing—” “Don’t lie,” he begged. “Please don’t lie to me. I felt it…my whole body. God, it was like being turned to stone. You were scared—I felt it, you were scared!” His fingers came up and wove through my hair, bringing my face close to his again. “He…” I started. “He asked to see a memory, and I let him, but when I tried to move away…I couldn’t get out, I couldn’t move, and then I blacked out. I don’t know what he did, but it hurt—it hurt so much.” Liam pulled back and pressed his lips to my forehead. I felt the muscles in his arms strain, shake. “Go to the cabin.” He didn’t let me protest. “Start packing.” “Lee—” “I’m going to find Chubs,” he said. “And the three of us are getting the hell out of here. Tonight.” “We can’t,” I said. “You know we can’t.” But he was already crashing back through the dark path. “Lee!
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
That’s the thing about being young we are textbook pages of trial and error falling down and getting up not by way of standing and brushing off our jeans buy by laying where we fell until we were high enough to forget
Kalyn Roseanne Livernois (High Wire Darlings)
I bumped into something and was knocked to the ground. It took me several breaths to gather myself together, at first I thought I’d walked into a tree, but then that tree became a person, who was also recovering on the ground, and then I saw that it was her, and she saw that it was me, ‘Hello,’ I said, brushing myself off, ‘Hello,’ she said. ‘This is so funny.’ ‘Yes.’ How could it be explained? ‘Where are you going?’ I asked. ‘Just for a walk,’ she said, ‘and you?’ ‘Just for a walk.’ We helped each other up, she brushed leaves from my hair, I wanted to touch her hair, ‘That’s not true,’ I said, not knowing what the next words out of my mouth would be, but wanting them to be mine, wanting, more than I’d ever wanted anything, to express the center of me and be understood. ‘I was walking to see you.’ I told her, ‘I’ve come to your house each of the last six days. For some reason I needed to see you again.’ She was silent, I had made a fool of myself, there’s nothing wrong with not understanding yourself and she started laughing, laughing harder than I’d ever felt anyone laugh, the laughter brought on tears, and the tears brought on more tears, and then I started laughing, out of the most deep and complete shame, ‘I was walking to you,’ I said again, as if to push my nose into my own shit, ‘because I wanted to see you again,’ she laughed and laughed, ‘That explains it,’ she said when she was able to speak. ‘It?’ ‘That explains why, each of the last six days, you weren’t at your house.’ We stopped laughing, I took the world into me, rearranged it, and sent it back out as a question: ‘Do you like me?
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
So this is what you two do when you’re up here,” Dean drawls. “All that deep, intensive tutoring.” He air-quotes the last word, chuckling in delight. “Actually, Garrett’s just helping me brush up on my make-out skills,” I tell Dean in the most casual voice I can muster. Dean snickers. “’That so?” “Okay…” Dean’s eyes gleam. “Then I’m calling your bluff, baby doll. Show me your moves.” I blink in surprise. “What?” “If a doctor told you you’ve got ten days to live, you’d go for a second opinion, wouldn’t you? Well, if you’re worried about being a crappy kisser, you can’t just take G’s word for it. You need a second opinion.” His brows lift in challenge. “Let me see what you’ve got.” “Stop being a jackass,” Garrett mutters. “No, he has a point,” I answer awkwardly, and my brain screams, What? He has a point? Apparently Garrett’s body-melting kisses have turned me into a crazy person.
Elle Kennedy (The Deal (Off-Campus, #1))
I went back in and grabbed my running clothes, then changed in the bathroom. I opened the door to the bathroom, stopping when I saw Kaidan's toiletry bag on the sink. I was overcome with curiosity about his cologne or aftershave, because I'd never smelled it on anyone else before. Feeling sneaky, I prodded one finger into the bag and peeked. No cologne bottle. Only a razor, shaving cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant. I picked up the deodorant, pulled off the lid, and smelled it. Nope, that wasn't it. The sound of Kaidan's deep chuckle close to the doorway made me scream and drop the deodorant into the sink with a clatter. I smacked one hand to my chest and grabbed the edge of the sink with the other. He laughed out loud now. “Okay, that must have looked really bad.” I spoke to his reflection in the mirror, then fumbled to pick up the deodorant. I put the lid on and dropped it in his bag. “But I was just trying to figure out what cologne you wear.” My face was on fire as Kaidan stepped into the small bathroom and leaned against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. I stepped away. He seemed entertained by my predicament. “I haven't been wearing any cologne.” “Oh.” I cleared my throat. “Well, I didn't see any, so I thought it might be your deodorant, but that's not it either. Maybe it's your laundry detergent or something. Let's just forget about it.” “What is it you smell, exactly?” His voice took on a husky quality, and it felt like he was taking up a lot of room. I couldn't bring myself to look at him. Something strange was going on here. I stepped back, hitting the tub with my heel as I tried to put the scent into words. “I don't know. It's like citrus and the forest or something...leaves and tree sap. I can't explain it.” His eyes bored into mine while he wore that trademark sexy smirk, arms still crossed. “Citrus?” he asked. “Like lemons?” “Oranges mostly. And a little lime, too.” He nodded and flicked his head to the side to get hair out of his eyes. Then his smile disappeared and his badge throbbed. “What you smell are my pheromones, Anna.” A small, nervous laugh burst from my throat. “Oh, okay, then. Well...” I eyed the small space that was available to pass through the door. I made an awkward move toward it, but he shifted his body and I stepped back again. “People can't usually smell pheromones,” he told me. “You must be using your extra senses without realizing it. I've heard of Neph losing control of their senses with certain emotions. Fear, surprise...lust.” I rubbed my hands up and down my upper arms, wanting nothing more than to veer this conversation out of the danger zone. “Yeah, I do have a hard time reining in the scent sometimes,” I babbled. “It even gets away from me while I sleep now and then. I wake up thinking Patti's making cinnamon rolls and it ends up being from someone else's apartment. Then I'm just stuck with cereal. Anyway...” “Would you like to know your own scent?” he asked me. My heart swelled up big in my chest and squeezed small again. This whole scent thing was way too sensual to be discussed in this small space. Any second now my traitorous body would be emitting some of those pheromones and there'd be red in my aura. “Uh, not really,” I said, keeping my eyes averted. “I think I should probably go.” He made no attempt to move out of the doorway. “You smell like pears with freesia undertones.” “Wow, okay.” I cleared my throat, still refusing eye contact. I had to get out of there. “I think I'll just...” I pointed to the door and began to shuffle past him, doing my best not to brush up against him. He finally took a step back and put his hands up by his sides to show that he wouldn't touch me. I broke out of the confined bathroom and took a deep breath.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
I really just want someone to come over and brush my hair or let me cry in their lap while they pet my head and tell me I'll be okay." And I cried harder because I felt so ashamed to want that from a friend—from someone who was not a romantic partner or a parent⁠—because I didn't have either right now but I still wanted it. We section off physical comfort and intimacy so heavily. We reserve it for partners only, and platonic friends can only chit-chat and that's it. How can you tell people to be okay with being single while also telling them they can only get the basic human needs of physical touch from not being single?
Lane Moore (How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don't)
NINA Your life is beautiful. TRIGORIN I see nothing especially lovely about it. [He looks at his watch] Excuse me, I must go at once, and begin writing again. I am in a hurry. [He laughs] You have stepped on my pet corn, as they say, and I am getting excited, and a little cross. Let us discuss this bright and beautiful life of mine, though. [After a few moments' thought] Violent obsessions sometimes lay hold of a man: he may, for instance, think day and night of nothing but the moon. I have such a moon. Day and night I am held in the grip of one besetting thought, to write, write, write! Hardly have I finished one book than something urges me to write another, and then a third, and then a fourth--I write ceaselessly. I am, as it were, on a treadmill. I hurry for ever from one story to another, and can't help myself. Do you see anything bright and beautiful in that? Oh, it is a wild life! Even now, thrilled as I am by talking to you, I do not forget for an instant that an unfinished story is awaiting me. My eye falls on that cloud there, which has the shape of a grand piano; I instantly make a mental note that I must remember to mention in my story a cloud floating by that looked like a grand piano. I smell heliotrope; I mutter to myself: a sickly smell, the colour worn by widows; I must remember that in writing my next description of a summer evening. I catch an idea in every sentence of yours or of my own, and hasten to lock all these treasures in my literary store-room, thinking that some day they may be useful to me. As soon as I stop working I rush off to the theatre or go fishing, in the hope that I may find oblivion there, but no! Some new subject for a story is sure to come rolling through my brain like an iron cannonball. I hear my desk calling, and have to go back to it and begin to write, write, write, once more. And so it goes for everlasting. I cannot escape myself, though I feel that I am consuming my life. To prepare the honey I feed to unknown crowds, I am doomed to brush the bloom from my dearest flowers, to tear them from their stems, and trample the roots that bore them under foot. Am I not a madman? Should I not be treated by those who know me as one mentally diseased? Yet it is always the same, same old story, till I begin to think that all this praise and admiration must be a deception, that I am being hoodwinked because they know I am crazy, and I sometimes tremble lest I should be grabbed from behind and whisked off to a lunatic asylum. The best years of my youth were made one continual agony for me by my writing. A young author, especially if at first he does not make a success, feels clumsy, ill-at-ease, and superfluous in the world. His nerves are all on edge and stretched to the point of breaking; he is irresistibly attracted to literary and artistic people, and hovers about them unknown and unnoticed, fearing to look them bravely in the eye, like a man with a passion for gambling, whose money is all gone. I did not know my readers, but for some reason I imagined they were distrustful and unfriendly; I was mortally afraid of the public, and when my first play appeared, it seemed to me as if all the dark eyes in the audience were looking at it with enmity, and all the blue ones with cold indifference. Oh, how terrible it was! What agony!
Anton Chekhov (The Seagull)
Ove brushes the snow off the gravestone. Digs determinedly into the frozen ground and carefully replenishes the flowers. He stands up, dusts himself off, and looks helplessly at her name, feeling ashamed of himself. He who always used to nag at her about being late. Now he stands here himself, apparently quite incapable of following her as he'd planned.
Fredrik Backman (A Man Called Ove)
The next morning, Louie was taken to an airfield to be flown to Okinawa, where many POWs were being collected before being sent home. Seeing a table stacked with K rations, he began cramming the boxes under his shirt, brushing off an attendant who tried to assure him that he didn't have to hoard them, as no one was going to starve him anymore. Looking extremely pregnant, Louie boarded the plane.
Laura Hillenbrand (Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption)
Often he declined invitations, because to accept meant that he had to dust off his brogues, iron a shirt, brush down his best suit, take a bath, and splash on some cologne. He had also to be affable, to drink and be merry, to talk to strangers with whom he had no inclination to talk and with whom he was not being paid to talk. In other words, he resented having to play the part of a normal human animal.
Ian Rankin (Knots and Crosses (Inspector Rebus, #1))
Gabby,” Jenna cried. “It’s so horrible. I can’t believe this happened.” “Jenna,” I said in a soothing voice, “I’m alive and okay. No worries.” She sniffled into the phone. “No, it’s not that.” I waited a beat. “What?” “The bridesmaid dresses are all wrong!” she wailed. “Wait a second,” I said. “You aren’t upset over my being dead for four days?” “I knew you’d be fine,” she explained, brushing off the subject. “But these dresses? I don’t know what to do. They’re the wrong color, and they’re hideous!” She went into a hysterical fit of tears.
Laura Kreitzer
Pick the tomato warm from the garden. Sit right there in a sunny patch if you've got one. Brush off any dirt and bugs, but don't make yourself crazy. Sprinkle with a little salt. And don't you add one other thing, because there's just something about a tomato being a tomato. Eat it like an apple. Let the juices run down your chin, and then wipe 'em away with your shirtsleeve. You heard me. The perfect summer tomato is worth half a shirt. And that's the truth.
Kat Yeh (The Truth About Twinkie Pie)
I wait, washed, brushed, fed, like a prize pig. Sometime in the eighties they invented pig balls, for pigs who were being fattened in pens. Pig balls were large colored balls; the pigs rolled them around with their snouts. The pig marketers said this improved their muscle tone; the pigs were curious, they liked having something to think about. I read about that in Introduction to Psychology; that, and the chapter on caged rats who'd give themselves electric shocks for something to do. And the one on the pigeons trained to peck a button that made a grain of corn appear. Three groups of them: the first one got one grain per peck, the second one grain every other peck, the third was random. When the man in charge cut off the grain, the first group gave up quite soon, the second group a little later. The third group never gave up. They'd peck themselves to death, rather than quit. Who knew what worked? I wish I had a pig ball.
Margaret Atwood
Some ghosts stay among the living because unfinished business holds them here. Some stay to protect those they love. And some stay because of hatred, malice, bitterness.’ She ruffled Lucie's hair; it felt like being brushed by a breeze. ‘You must learn to ignore that kind of ghost. Turn away from them. They feed off your fear. Without your fear they can do nothing to you.’ - - - The lesson stayed with Lucie for a long time. She never blamed Jessamine for not knowing there was a fourth kind of spirit. Even if Jessamine had known, she could not have prepared Lucie for the fact that meeting him would change her life forever.
Cassandra Clare (Lucie and Ghosts (Chain of Gold Extra Content #6))
Style still matters, for at least three reasons. First, it ensures that writers will get their message across, sparing readers from squandering their precious moments on earth deciphering opaque prose. When the effort fails, the result can be calamitous-as Strunk and White put it, "death on the highway caused by a badly worded road sign, heartbreak among lovers caused by a misplaced phrase in a well-intentioned letter, anguish of a traveler expecting to be met at a railroad station and not being met because of a slipshod telegram." Governments and corporations have found that small improvements in clarity can prevent vast amounts of error, frustration, and waste, and many countries have recently made clear language the law of the land. Second, style earns trust. If readers can see that a writer cares about consistency and accuracy in her prose, they will be reassured that the writer cares about those virtues in conduct they cannot see as easily. Here is how one technology executive explains why he rejects job applications filled with errors of grammar and punctuation: "If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use it's, then that's not a learning curve I'm comfortable with." And if that isn't enough to get you to brush up your prose, consider the discovery of the dating site OkCupid that sloppy grammar and spelling in a profile are "huge turn-offs." As one client said, "If you're trying to date a woman, I don't expect flowery Jane Austen prose. But aren't you trying to put your best foot forward?" Style, not least, adds beauty to the world. To a literate reader, a crisp sentence, an arresting metaphor, a witty aside, an elegant turn of phrase are among life's greatest pleasures. And as we shall see in the first chapter, this thoroughly impractical virtue of good writing is where the practical effort of mastering good writing must begin.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Joshie has always told Post Human Services Staff to keep a diary, to remember who we were because every moment, our brains and synapses are being rebuilt and rewired with maddening disregard for our personalities, so that each year, each month, each day, we transfer into a different person, an utterly unfaithful iteration of our original selves, of the drooling kid in the sandbox. But not me. I am still a facsimile of my early childhood. I am still looking for a loving dad to lift me up and brush the sand off my ass and to hear English, calm and hurtless, fall off his lips.
Gary Shteyngart
“Sit with me,” Isaiah says. As I move to rest next to him, he stops me. “Not there. Here.” He motions to the spot between his legs. Awkwardly, I settle in front of him. Isaiah, the king of secure, waves off any distance between us as he gathers me into the safe shelter of his body. The blood pulses faster in my veins. I like being this close to him. Maybe a little too much. “You’re beautiful.” His breath tickles the skin behind my ear, and the small hairs stand on end with the joyous sensation. “You’re smart and funny. I love how your eyes shine when you laugh.” He glides his fingers against my skin causing an addictive tingling. “I love how you lace your fingers and brush your hair from your face when you’re nervous. I love how you offer yourself so completely to me—no fear. You’re loyal and strong.” “I’m not strong.” I cut him off. The panic attacks confirm that. Unable to be near him anymore, I attempt to untangle myself from him, but Isaiah becomes a solid wall around me and I jerk in his arms in protest. His tender hold tightens, and the words feel like poetry because of the deep, soothing way he speaks. “You’re wrong. I see you exactly as you are.”
Katie McGarry (Crash into You (Pushing the Limits, #3))
Not in the mood for pasta?” He narrowed those bold blue eyes to give her a critical study. “You must’ve hit your head harder than we thought.” “I was going to do it—get dinner, I mean. One of the fancy things you like, because—Hell.” She gave up, hurried to him to wrap her arms around him. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I was so pissed off at what happened, at myself, I didn’t think.” He stroked a hand down her hair first, then gave the choppy ends a quick tug. “I’m not angry with you.” “I know. You could be, but you’re not. So I have to be even sorrier.” “Your logic is fascinating, and elusive.” “I can’t pay you back with sex or salt-crusted sea bass or whatever because you’re too busy taking care of me. So now I’ve got this black mark in my column against the bright shiny star in yours, and—” He tipped her head up. “Are we keeping score?” “No. Maybe. Shit.” “How am I doing?” “Undisputed champ.” “Good. I like to win.” He brushed her bangs back to study the injury himself. “You’ll do. Let’s eat.
J.D. Robb (Promises in Death (In Death, #28))
Atticus adjusted his glasses as he peered down at the blanket. “Hey, is that the book Nellie told us about?” Jake’s eyes flicked to Olivia’s book. “You’ve got it outside in the sun? Are you out of your minds?” Amy crossed her arms. “We’re being careful.” “It’s not about careful, this is a five-hundred-year-old manuscript! You should be wearing gloves—Atticus brought some—and keeping it out of the sunlight.” “It didn’t take you long to start barking orders!” Any exclaimed, her face flushing. “But then you always know best, don’t you?” “Somebody has to be mature in this situation,” Jake said, his gaze flashing at Ian, who was now intently trying to brush cookie crumbs off his pants. “True. In that case, we’d rather consult your little brother,” Ian said with a smirk. “Medieval manuscripts are his field, am I right?” “Technically, it’s early Renaissance,” Jake said. “Thanks for the correction, my good man. Amy is right—you do know best.” Ian slipped his arm around Amy. “She’s so perceptive. One of the many things I adore about her.” “It’s getting chilly. Why don’t we go inside?” Amy suggested brightly as she tried to step out of the circle of Ian’s arm. Ian took the opportunity to rub her shoulder. “You do feel rather cold,” he said. “Let’s sit by the fire. Jake, since you’re so interested in proper handling, why don’t you take the book?” Jake snatched up the book and furiously stomped off toward the house. “You forgot to wear gloves!” Ian called after him. Amy pushed him away. “Really, Ian.” “What a touchy guy,” Ian said. “Frankly, I don’t know what you see in him.” He winced as the kitchen door slammed, then glanced at Amy’s red face. “Hmmm. It might be a good time for me to take a walk.
Jude Watson (Nowhere to Run (The 39 Clues: Unstoppable, #1))
How long are you going to wait for this guy?” I’m thrown by his sudden shift. “Ah . . . I don’t know.” “Give me your keys.” “What?” “Give me your keys. I’m going to change your tire while we’re waiting.” I fish in my purse and come up with a handful of keys. “You’re going to—” “Stay in the car.” He grabs the keys and practically yanks them out of my fingers. Then he slams the door in my face. I watch him in the path of his headlights, mystified. He opens my trunk, and, moments later, emerges with the spare tire. He lays it beside the car, then pulls something else from the darkened space. I’ve never changed a tire, so I have no idea what he’s doing. His movements are quick and efficient, though. I shouldn’t be sitting here, just watching, but I can’t help myself. There’s something compelling about him. Dozens of cars have passed, but he was the only one to stop—and he’s helping me despite the fact that I’ve been less than kind to him all night. He gets down on the pavement—on the wet pavement, in the rain—and slides something under the car. A hand brushes wet hair off his face. I can’t sit here and watch him do this. He doesn’t look at me when I approach. “I told you to wait in the car.” “So you’re one of those guys? Thinks the ‘little woman’ should wait in the car?” “When the little woman doesn’t know her tires are bald and her battery could barely power a stopwatch?” He attaches a steel bar to . . . something . . . and starts twisting it. “Yeah. I am.” My pride flinches. “So what are you saying?” I ask, deadpan. “You don’t want my help?” His smile is rueful. “You’re kind of funny when you’re not so busy being judgmental.” “You’re lucky I’m not kicking you while you’re down there.” He loses the smile but keeps his eyes on whatever he’s doing. “Try it, sister.
Brigid Kemmerer (Letters to the Lost (Letters to the Lost, #1))
Here, in this painting, in these (hopefully) creative meditations, you will see teh same sky and the same sun, the same story of struggle, of fall and grace, of descent and ascent, of death and resurrection. The same God. The same gifts. If He’s not tired of it, why should I be? If His brush is still in His hand, if His words still roll, what can I do but stick my tongue out the cornder of my mouth and diligently (but pitifully) rip Him off? What can I do but meditate on His meditations? (xii)
N.D. Wilson
In life in general we get back what we put out, if we ever were to find ourselves in a situation where we get back less or even the opposite of what we put out, then we need to get out, take ourselves out of that situation, for it is futile to try to go against the grain of feelings, emotions, life... it is not only going to lead to nowhere but pain, it is also going to lead to loneliness, bitterness, sadness, despair and heartbreak. so for those of you who are going through this currently, brush that crap off of your plate and move on. Those of you that have not experienced this yet, keep your eyes and your ears open, because in most cases it takes a while to see what has been right in front of you hitting you with baseball bats. BE AWARE OF WHAT IS. be aware of what that other person is giving to you. ask yourselves a few questions, 1) am I getting back the love that I am putting out? 2) Do I always have to initiate the conversation? 3) When I do initiate the conversation, do I get a response? 4) if so, is it on par with what I put forth. 5) in most cases of conversation does it seem like I am being ignored? 6) If I reach out to hold his/her hand does it get held back? or am I doing all the holding? ~~ The more of these simple yet profound questions you can answer negatively too. the bigger the chance that you are in a hopeless, futureless, hated by the other person relationship. So, keep your eyes and your ears open, ask yourselves questions and always and I do mean always, Be Aware of everything. it will save you heartache in the future.
Justin Southwick
I wanted to tell Sam this. I wanted to tell him all of it, in beautiful handwritten letters or at least in long, rambling emails that we would later save and print out and that would be found in the attic of our house when we had been married fifty years for our grandchildren to coo over. But I was so tired those first few weeks that all I did was email him about how tired I was. I'm so tired. I miss you. Me too. No, like really, really tired. Like cry at TV advertisements and fall asleep while brushing my teeth and end up with toothpaste all over my chest tired. Okay, now you got me. I tried not to mind how little he emailed me. I tried to remind myself that he was doing a real, hard job, saving lives and making a difference, while I was sitting outside manicurists' studios and running around Central Park. His supervisor had changed the rota. He was working four nights on the trot and still waiting to be assigned a new permanent partner. That should have made it easier for us to talk but somehow it didn't. I would check in on my phone in the minutes I had free every evening but that was usually the time he was heading off to begin his shift. Sometimes I felt curiously disjointed, as if I had simply dreamt him up. One week, he reassured me. One more week. How hard could it be?
Jojo Moyes (Still Me (Me Before You, #3))
i dreamt i crawled on top of you and kissed your hips, one at a time, my lips a smolder. i straddled your waist and pressed both shaking hands against your torso. spongy, like an old tree on the forest floor. i push and your flesh sinks inwardly, collapsing with decay, a soft shushing sound. a yawning hole where your organs should be. maggots used to live here until your own poison killed them off. i laid my cheek into the loam and three little mushrooms brushed over my eyelid. peat, decomposing matter, all of it, whatever you wish to call it, rested in the cavity of your chest. and there i planted seeds in the hopes something good would come out of you.
Taylor Rhodes (calloused: a field journal)
Not that she did in fact run or hurry; she went indeed rather slowly. She felt rather inclined just for a moment to stand still after all that chatter, and pick out one particular thing; the thing that mattered; to detach it; separate it off; clean it of all the emotions and odds and ends of things, and so hold it before her, and bring it to the tribunal where, ranged about in conclave, sat the judges she had set up to decide these things. Is it good, is it bad, is it right or wrong? Where are we all going to? and so on. She righted herself after the shock of the event, and quite unconsciously and incongruously, used the branches of the elm trees outside to help her to stabilise her position. Her world was changing: they were still. The event had given her a sense of movement. All must be in order. She must get that right and that right, she thought, insensibly approving of the dignity of the trees’ stillness, and now again of the superb upward rise (like the beak of a ship up a wave) of the elm branches as the wind raised them. For it was windy (she stood a moment to look out). It was windy, so that the leaves now and then brushed open a star, and the stars themselves seemed to be shaking and darting light trying to flash out between the edges of the leaves. Yes, that was done then, accomplished; and as with all things done, became solemn. Now one thought of it, cleared of chatter and emotion, it seemed always to have been, only was shown now and so being shown, struck everything into stability. They would, she thought, going on again, however long they lived, come back to this night; this moon; this wind; this house: and to her too.
Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse)
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I was so pissed off at what happened, at myself, I didn’t think.” He stroked a hand down her hair first, then gave the choppy ends a quick tug. “I’m not angry with you.” “I know. You could be, but you’re not. So I have to be even sorrier.” “Your logic is fascinating, and elusive.” “I can’t pay you back with sex or salt-crusted sea bass or whatever because you’re too busy taking care of me. So now I’ve got this black mark in my column against the bright shiny star in yours, and—” He tipped her head up. “Are we keeping score?” “No. Maybe. Shit.” “How am I doing?” “Undisputed champ.” “Good. I like to win.” He brushed her bangs back to study the injury himself. “You’ll do. Let’s eat.
J.D. Robb (Promises in Death (In Death, #28))
We must realize that we don’t live in a vacuum; the consequences of our actions ripple throughout the world. Would you still run the water while you brush your teeth, if it meant someone else would suffer from thirst? Would you still drive a gas guzzler, if you knew a world oil shortage would bring poverty and chaos? Would you still build an oversized house, if you witnessed first-hand the effects of deforestation? If we understood how our lifestyles impact other people, perhaps we would live a little more lightly. Our choices as consumers have an environmental toll. Every item we buy, from food to books to televisions to cars, uses up some of the earth’s bounty. Not only does its production and distribution require energy and natural resources; its disposal is also cause for concern. Do we really want our grandchildren to live among giant landfills? The less we need to get by, the better off everyone (and our planet) will be. Therefore, we should reduce our consumption as much as possible, and favor products and packaging made from minimal, biodegradable, or recyclable materials.
Francine Jay (The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life)
When I left her office, I felt like she'd gut-punched me, brushed me off, slapped me back and forth, gave me a cool compress to put on my cheeks, cold-cocked me with a stiff uppercut to the jaw, picked me up, brushed me off again, then kicked me in the seat of my pants as she handed me a piece of cake and showed me the door. Being a reporter isn't as easy as it looks.
Christopher Paul Curtis (The Madman of Piney Woods)
Vi, are you all right?” Jay asked, right beside her now, pulling her off the ground. Tears burned her eyes, and it wasn’t just from the painful sting radiating up through her hands and knees. Humiliation threatened to overcome the hurt. Jay hauled her up. She could smell his musky scent in his sweatshirt, and she tried to hold her breath against it. This was bad . . . this was a bad, bad place for her to be. “Are you hurt?” He pulled her away just enough so he could look down at her. She bit her lip, trying to will the tears away. She blinked and looked back at him. “I’m okay,” she responded, but her voice broke, making her words sound puny, pathetic even. He cringed as he bent down and looked at the angry red scrapes on both her knees. He reached out to lightly brush away some of the dirt from them, but she knew that he was afraid of hurting her, so he barely touched them. “We’d better get you back so we can clean those up.” He straightened, and then surprised her by picking her up as he started to carry her along the trail. She struggled against him. “I can walk!” she protested, feeling even more like a baby as he held her in his arms. He looked down at her in disbelief. “Are you sure? ‘Cause I think I just saw you trying, and it didn’t work out so well for you.” He didn’t seem inclined to let her down just yet; he just kept walking. She laughed but insisted again through her teary giggles, “Seriously, put me down! I feel stupid enough already—I don’t need you treating me like an invalid.” He slowed down unsurely before setting Violet on her own two feet. Internally she cursed herself for being so stubborn, and she wished that he’d put up more of a fight. Why couldn’t he have insisted on carrying her all the way home? Instead, he reached out and grabbed her hand. “If it’s all right with you, I think I’ll keep ahold of you anyway. I don’t want to be responsible for letting you fall again.
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1))
Martin got up and brushed off the seat of his pants with his hat. He put his hat on his head and started back toward the path. For when you woke from a long dream, into the new morning, then try as you might you couldn't not hear, beyond your door, the sounds of the new day, the drawer opening in your father's bureau, the bang of a pot, you couldn't not see, through your trembling lashes, the stripe of light on the bedroom wall. Boys shouted in the park, on a sunny tree-root he saw a cigar band, red and gold. One of these days he might find something to do in a cigar store, after all he still knew his tobacco, you never forgot a thing like that. But not just yet. Boats moved on the river, somewhere a car horn sounded, on the path a piece of broken glass glowed in a patch of sun as if at any second it would burst into flame. Everything stood out sharply: the red stem of a green leaf, horse clops and the distant clatter of a pneumatic drill, a smell of riverwater and asphalt. Martin felt hungry: chops and beer in a little he remembered on Columbus Avenue. But not yet. For the time being he would just walk along, keeping a little out of the way of things, admiring the view. It was a warm day. He was in no hurry.
Steven Millhauser (Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer)
If ever again we happened to lose our balance, just when sleepwalking through the same dream on the brink of hell’s valley, if ever the magical mare (whom I ride through the night air hollowed out into caverns and caves where wild animals live) in a crazy fit of anger over some word I might have said without the perfect sweetness that works on her like a charm, if ever the magic Mare looks over her shoulder and whinnies: “So! You don’t love me!” and bucks me off, sends me flying to the hyenas, if ever the paper ladder that I climb so easily to go pick stars for Promethea—at the very instant that I reach out my hand and it smells like fresh new moon, so good, it makes you believe in god’s genius—if ever at that very instant my ladder catches fire—because it is so fragile, all it would take is someone’s brushing against it tactlessly and all that would be left is ashes—if ever I had the dreadful luck again to find myself falling screaming down into the cruel guts of separation, and emptying all my being of hope, down to the last milligram of hope, until I am able to melt into the pure blackness of the abyss and be no more than night and a death rattle, I would really rather not be tumbling around without my pencil and paper.
Hélène Cixous (The Book of Promethea)
There are so many churches that remain strong, while being awful to women or providing safe havens for the power hungry. And there are so many good places that close despite being a home for the hungry, the lost, and the hurting. To brush off problems with churches as the problems of the inherently flawed nature of people is to miss the bigger picture: that life and faith can function together in a place where all are welcome and respected.
Lyz Lenz (God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America)
When there is a racial tragedy, the inclination of white Americans is to grieve, to brush ourselves off, and to get back to being the “real America.” But white supremacy is the “real America.” As Christians, we need to see that these tragic, cruciform moments can be opportunities to hear God’s word in a fresh, new way. God doesn’t bring the tragedy upon us, but we know from scripture that God is relentlessly redemptive, eager to transform our evil into God’s good.
William H. Willimon (Who Lynched Willie Earle?: Preaching to Confront Racism)
And you might also remember you are the greatest healer among us. That is unchallenged by anyone." "I am the greatest killer, also unchallenged." He tried to give her truth again. She touched his hard mouth. "I will hunt with you then,lifemate." His heart slammed against his ribs. Her smile was mysterious, scretive, and so beautiful,it broke his heart. "What is behind this smile,bebe." His hand caught and spanned her throat, his thumb brushing her lips in a gentle caress. "What do you know that I do not?" His mind slipped into hers, a sensuous thrust, the ultimate intimacy, not unlike the way his tongue sometimes dueled with her-or his body took possession of hers. She was familiar with his touch in her mind. She knew he tried to keep its invasiveness to a minimum. He allowed her to set the bounderies and never pushed beyond any barrier she erected, even though he could do so easily. Both of them needed the intimate union of their minds merging, Savannah as much as Gregori. And her newfound knowledge of him was secure behind a miniature barricade she had hastily erected. Wide-eyed and innocent, she looked at him. His thumb pressed into her lower lip, half mesmerized by the satin perfection of it. "You will never hunt vampires, ma cherie, not ever.And if I were ever to catch you attempting such a thing,there would be hell to pay." She didn't look scared. Rather, amusement crept into the deep blue of her eyes. "Surely you aren't threatening me,Dark One, bogey man of the Carpathians." She laughed softly, a sound that feathered down his spine and somehow took away the sting of that centuries-old designation. "Stop looking so serious, Gregori-you haven't lost your reputation entirely. Everyone else is still terrified of the big bad wolf." His eyebrows shot up. She was teasing him. About his dark reputation, of all things. Her gaze was clear and sparkling, hinting at mischeif. Savannah wasn't railing against her fate, of being tied to him, a monster. She was too filled with life and laughter, with joy. He felt it in her mind, in her heart, in her very soul. He wished it could somehow rub off on him,make him a more compatible lifemate for her. "You are the only one who needs to worry about the big bad wolf, mon amour," he threatened with mock gravity. She leaned over to stare up into his eyes, a smile curving her soft mouth. "You cracked a joke, Gregori. We're making progress.Why,we're practically friends." "Practically?" he echoed gently. "Getting there fast," she told him firmly with her chin up,daring him to contradict her. "Can one be friends with a monster?" He said casually, as if he were simply musing out loud,but there was a shadow in his silver eyes. "I was being childish, Gregori, when I made such an accusation," she said softly, her eyes meeting his squarely.
Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))
This isn’t the place to complain about the punctilio of prison regimes. I know that they have to take every precaution. All I wish to convey is the effect which this individual had upon me. Months have passed since the incident and yet I can’t forget his face, his manner, his whole being. He’s a man, and I say it calmly and soberly, whom I could kill in cold blood. I could shoot him down in the dark and go quietly about my business, as if I had just brushed a mosquito off my arm.
Henry Miller (The Air-Conditioned Nightmare)
Technological innovation is not what is hammering down working peoples’ share of what the country earns; technological innovation is the excuse for this development. Inno is a fable that persuades us to accept economic arrangements we would otherwise regard as unpleasant or intolerable—that convinces us that the very particular configuration of economic power we inhabit is in fact a neutral matter of science, of nature, of the way God wants things to be. Every time we describe the economy as an “ecosystem” we accept this point of view. Every time we write off the situation of workers as a matter of unalterable “reality” we resign ourselves to it. In truth, we have been hearing some version of all this inno-talk since the 1970s—a snarling Republican iteration, which demands our submission before the almighty entrepreneur; and a friendly and caring Democratic one, which promises to patch us up with job training and student loans. What each version brushes under the rug is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Economies aren’t ecosystems. They aren’t naturally occurring phenomena to which we must learn to acclimate. Their rules are made by humans. They are, in a word, political. In a democracy we can set the economic table however we choose. “Amazon is not happening to bookselling,” Jeff Bezos of Amazon likes to say. “The future is happening to bookselling.” And what the future wants just happens to be exactly what Amazon wants. What an amazing coincidence.
Thomas Frank (Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People)
Yes,” Kami snapped. “Yes, I matter to him. He wants to keep me to himself, he asked me to go out with him when we’d barely met, and he doesn’t want to touch me.” Holly blinked. “What?” “Him being real and me being real,” Kami said. “It’s been hard for us to get used to. Him having a body, it’s been like being thirteen, when you can’t get over how strange guys are, and you can’t look at them when you sit next to them, and when your hands brush you almost have a heart attack.” “I remember that.” Holly nodded. “Except I was eleven.” Kami and Angela both looked at her with raised eyebrows. Holly shrugged. “It’s been like when Holly was eleven, then,” Kami said. “Except worse. Neither of us has known how to handle it, but I’ve wanted to. And he hasn’t. I don’t know what to do about someone who only wants me for my mind.” Holly slid down the wall to sit on the floor. “I can honestly say it has never happened to me.” “Yeah,” said Angela. “Guys, always trying to kiss me. I have to beat them off with a stick. Seriously, I keep the stick behind the door at home.
Sarah Rees Brennan (Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1))
It was raining hard the evening Holly died. One of those summer rains that seem to come from nowhere and catch all but the most compulsively weather-conscious off guard. She was beautiful, Holly, and much too good for me by a long stretch. Big soulful eyes. A beautiful face framed in a flowing mane of brunette hair that would lift along the edges at the slightest breeze. Full soft lips that conveyed warmth and sunshine when she smiled, and tender sensuality when they brushed across mine in the quiet darkness of our bedroom. It is no exaggeration to say that I worshiped the ground my wife walked on — perhaps less secretly than would have been wise had it been any woman but Holly. For whatever reason, she adored me, and ours was a mutual admiration society. She thought me the finest man who’d ever walked this earth, and could not imagine going through life with anyone other than me. I thought the world a better place for her being in it, and each time she rose from our tangled sheets to dress in the morning, I was certain birds began to sing songs of joy simply because she was awake.
Bobby Underwood (The Memory of Rain)
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))
Last year I had a very unusual experience. I was awake, with my eyes closed, when I had a dream. It was a small dream about time. I was dead, I guess, in deep black space high up among many white stars. My own consciousness had been disclosed to me, and I was happy. Then I saw far below me a long, curved band of color. As I came closer, I saw that it stretched endlessly in either direction, and I understood that I was seeing all the time of the planet where I had lived. It looked like a woman’s tweed scarf; the longer I studied any one spot, the more dots of color I saw. There was no end to the deepness and variety of the dots. At length, I started to look for my time, but, although more and more specks of color and deeper and more intricate textures appeared in the fabric, I couldn’t find my time, or any time at all that I recognized as being near my time. I couldn’t make out so much as a pyramid. Yet as I looked at the band of time, all the individual people, I understood with special clarity, were living at the very moment with great emotion, in intricate detail, in their individual times and places, and they were dying and being replaced by ever more people, one by one, like stitches in which whole worlds of feeling and energy were wrapped, in a never-ending cloth. I remembered suddenly the color and texture of our life as we knew it- these things had been utterly forgotten- and I thought as I searched for it on the limitless band, “that was a good time then, a good time to be living.” And I began to remember our time. I recalled green fields with carrots growing, one by one, in slender rows. Men and women in bright vests and scarves came and pulled the carrots out of the soil and carried them in baskets to shaded kitchens, where they scrubbed them with yellow brushes under running water…I saw may apples in forest, erupting through leaf-strewn paths. Cells on the root hairs of sycamores split and divided and apples grew striped and spotted in the fall. Mountains kept their cool caves, and squirrels raced home to their nests through sunlight and shade. I remembered the ocean, and I seemed to be in the ocean myself, swimming over orange crabs that looked like coral, or off the deep Atlantic banks where whitefish school. Or again I saw the tops of poplars, and the whole sky brushed with clouds in pallid streaks, under which wilds ducks flew, and called, one by one, and flew on. All these things I saw. Scenes grew in depth and sunlit detail before my eyes, and were replaced by ever more scenes, as I remembered the life of my time with increasing feeling. At last I saw the earth as a globe in space, and I recalled the ocean’s shape and the form of continents, saying to myself with surprise as I looked at the planet, “Yes, that’s how it was then, that part there we called ‘France’”. I was filled with the deep affection of nostalgia- and then I opened my eyes.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
You have such strength," she said softly, "but you have never hurt me. I find that remarkable." "I am very careful not to hurt you," he said, his voice thick. Rycca nodded. "I appreciate that." She touched his lean hips and beyond, lightly caressing the hard muscles of his buttocks. He gritted his teeth and swore to himself that he could bear this. She was very close to him now, the thin cloth of her chemise brushing against him.He found that barrier intolerable. Plucking at the fabric, he muttered, "Take it off." She looked a little surprised, then smiled. "The truth is,I feel safer with it on, a little bolder." "Little?" He wanted to say more, something about her being any bolder and he would burst, but he couldn't get the words out. Probably because he wasn't breathing very well. Rycca hesitated but only a moment. With the gracefulness so natural to her, she lifted the chemise over her head and discarded it. In the silvery moonlight, her skin glowed like polished alabaster, pale but for the rosy fullness of her nipples and the fiery curls between her thights. He reached for her urgently, but once again she eluded his grasp. "Please..." she said again and took his thick wrists in her hands. Drawing them away from her body, she reaised her head and met his eyes. "You can't realize how much I want to..." "Thor's thunder,lady,do whatever you will before I perish!" Her eyes widened yet more and a startled laugh broke from her. Then her expression was suddenly wistful. "Do not think badly of me." Badly? How in all creation could he manage that? She was a dream brought to life, the most exquisitely seductive enchantress he had ever imagined. And she was his by the law of man and God. In all the wide world, how could a man ask for more?
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
She merely wiped the floor with paper towels and said nothing, brushing her free hand against my shoulder blade—my shoulder blade!—as she carried the soaked paper to the trash can, never holding me fast, refraining not out of lack of humanity but out of fear of being drawn into a request for further tenderness, a request that could only bring her face-to-face with some central revulsion, a revulsion of her husband or herself or both, a revulsion that had come from nowhere, or from her, or perhaps from something I’d done or failed to do, who knew, she didn’t want to know, it was too great a disappointment, far better to get on with the chores, with the baby, with the work, far better to leave me to my own devices, as they say, to leave me to resign myself to certain motifs, to leave me to disappear guiltily into a hole of my own digging. When the time came to stop her from leaving, I did not know what to think or wish for, her husband who was now an abandoner, a hole-dweller, a leaver who had left her to fend for herself, as she said, who’d failed to provide her with the support and intimacy she needed, she complained, who was lacking some fundamental wherewithal, who no longer wanted her, who beneath his scrupulous marital motions was angry, whose sentiments had decayed into a mere sense of responsibility, a husband who, when she shouted, “I don’t need to be provided for! I’m a lawyer! I make two hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year! I need to be loved!” had silently picked up the baby and smelled the baby’s sweet hair, and had taken the baby for a crawl in the hotel corridor, and afterward washed the baby’s filthy hands and soft filthy knees, and thought about what his wife had said, and saw the truth in her words and an opening, and decided to make another attempt at kindness, and at nine o’clock, with the baby finally drowsy in his cot, came with a full heart back to his wife to find her asleep, as usual, and beyond waking. In short, I fought off the impulse to tell Rachel to go fuck herself.
Joseph O'Neill (Netherland)
He knew it was ridiculous never to want another man to appreciate her beauty, to know her laughter, but until Bronwyn was his in every sense of the word, he would not be at ease. Then Tyr reached up and brushed something off her cheek and Ranulf's self-discipline exploded into a rushing torrent of anger and possessiveness. His best friend! On his land, touching his woman! Unthinking, Ranulf snatched his tunic and wrenched it over his head. After pulling on his leggings and shoes, he grabbed his belt and sword, fastening them as he exited the room. He ignored the servant,who had been patiently waiting just outside the door for instructions, and bounded down the stairs with only one thought-pummeling his soon-to-be ex-friend.
Michele Sinclair (The Christmas Knight)
Jackson…” she whispered. “I love to hear my name on your lips,” he rasped against her ear. “Say it again.” “Jackson…this isn’t another lesson…is it?” She had to know. She had to be sure. “It ought to be,” he growled. “God knows you didn’t learn the first one very well, or we wouldn’t be here together, alone.” When he lifted her onto the table, knocking off some of the books, she gasped. “I’ve never been good with lessons.” He brushed a kiss over her lips. “Perhaps you haven’t had the right teacher. Or the right lessons, my lady.” “Celia,” she countered, burying her hands in his thick, raven hair. He had the most beautiful hair, soft to the touch, with lovely waves that spilled wantonly over her fingers. “If I’m to call you Jackson, you must call me Celia.” His eyes turned molten gray as they locked with hers. “Celia,” he breathed. Then he brought his hands up to flick open the buttons of her redingote and pull out her lace tucker so he could toss it aside. She caught her breath. “Wha-What are you doing?” “Continuing your lessons.” He spread open her redingote gown to expose her undergarments. “I want to taste you. Will you let me, sweeting?” Sweeting? That alone would have softened her resolve, for no mad had ever called her such a lovely thing. But the fact that he was asking for what Ned had tried to force from her melted her resistance even further. “I’m willing to repeat a lesson as often as it takes to learn it,” she said, shocking her own boldness.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
—it was his business to help them play. He could think of nothing better to do with his life, for he knew that when they felt free to play, their souls showed; who they were came out more clearly than at almost any other time. And the more one got used to letting one’s self show, unafraid, the more joy came walking into one’s life. And then the Self showed itself still more—and the cycle continued, joy engendering joy, endless. He leaned on the wall, warm with the thought of what his work was freeing those around him to be. Then the matter-gain on the 4D chessboard across the room went out again in a scream of feedback, and he grinned and went off to find the sonic screwdriver, and a brush and dustpan for the pieces that had blown up— —
Diane Duane (The Wounded Sky (Star Trek #13))
Often, women's symptoms are brushed off as the result of depression, anxiety, or the all-purpose favorite: stress. Sometimes, they are attributed to women's normal physiological states and cycles: to menstrual cramps, menopause, or even being a new mom. Sometimes, other aspects of their identity seem to take center stage: fat women report that any ailment is blamed on their weight; trans women find that all their symptoms are attributed to hormone therapy; black women are stereotyped as addicts looking for prescription drugs, their reports of pain doubted entirely. Whatever the particular attribution, there is often the same current of distrust: the sense that women are not very accurate judges of when something is really, truly wrong in their bodies.
Maya Dusenbery (Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick)
Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys Entry Three Observation #1: Boys are very stealthy when they want to be. Evan has all kinds of tricks for sneaking back into the house after hours. (I know you’re dying to know why I know this.) Observation #2: Boys lose their cool when snagged by their parents. Once inside the house, Evan is not so stealthy. Of course, maybe if he hadn’t stopped on the stairs to brush the eyelash off my cheek and have me make a wish, we would never have gotten caught. (Ahhhhhhh!!!!) Observation #3: Boys have one-track minds. Unfortunately, Evan’s train is not on MY track. (I know, major letdown.) But who knows? Maybe his train will be making an unscheduled stop in Meganville. Okay, sorry. No more metaphors this late at night. I promise.
Kate Brian (Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys)
He couldn’t have known it, but among the original run of The History of Love, at least one copy was destined to change a life. This particular book was one of the last of the two thousand to be printed, and sat for longer than the rest in a warehouse in the outskirts of Santiago, absorbing the humidity. From there it was finally sent to a bookstore in Buenos Aires. The careless owner hardly noticed it, and for some years it languished on the shelves, acquiring a pattern of mildew across the cover. It was a slim volume, and its position on the shelf wasn’t exactly prime: crowded on the left by an overweight biography of a minor actress, and on the right by the once-bestselling novel of an author that everyone had since forgotten, it hardly left its spine visible to even the most rigorous browser. When the store changed owners it fell victim to a massive clearance, and was trucked off to another warehouse, foul, dingy, crawling with daddy longlegs, where it remained in the dark and damp before finally being sent to a small secondhand bookstore not far from the home of the writer Jorge Luis Borges. The owner took her time unpacking the books she’d bought cheaply and in bulk from the warehouse. One morning, going through the boxes, she discovered the mildewed copy of The History of Love. She’d never heard of it, but the title caught her eye. She put it aside, and during a slow hour in the shop she read the opening chapter, called 'The Age of Silence.' The owner of the secondhand bookstore lowered the volume of the radio. She flipped to the back flap of the book to find out more about the author, but all it said was that Zvi Litvinoff had been born in Poland and moved to Chile in 1941, where he still lived today. There was no photograph. That day, in between helping customers, she finished the book. Before locking up the shop that evening, she placed it in the window, a little wistful about having to part with it. The next morning, the first rays of the rising sun fell across the cover of The History of Love. The first of many flies alighted on its jacket. Its mildewed pages began to dry out in the heat as the blue-gray Persian cat who lorded over the shop brushed past it to lay claim to a pool of sunlight. A few hours later, the first of many passersby gave it a cursory glance as they went by the window. The shop owner did not try to push the book on any of her customers. She knew that in the wrong hands such a book could easily be dismissed or, worse, go unread. Instead she let it sit where it was in the hope that the right reader might discover it. And that’s what happened. One afternoon a tall young man saw the book in the window. He came into the shop, picked it up, read a few pages, and brought it to the register. When he spoke to the owner, she couldn’t place his accent. She asked where he was from, curious about the person who was taking the book away. Israel, he told her, explaining that he’d recently finished his time in the army and was traveling around South America for a few months. The owner was about to put the book in a bag, but the young man said he didn’t need one, and slipped it into his backpack. The door chimes were still tinkling as she watched him disappear, his sandals slapping against the hot, bright street. That night, shirtless in his rented room, under a fan lazily pushing around the hot air, the young man opened the book and, in a flourish he had been fine-tuning for years, signed his name: David Singer. Filled with restlessness and longing, he began to read.
Nicole Krauss
You know what she's made of." "Yeah, good stock, good breeding, a hard head and a hunger to win." She flashed him a smile as they approached the kitchen door. "I've been told that describes me. I'm half Irish, Brian, I was born stubborn." "No arguing with that. A person might make the world a calmer place for others by being passive, but you don't get very far in it yourself, do you?" "Look at that. We have a foundation of agreement. Now tell me you like spaghetti and meatballs." "It happens to be a favorite of mine." "That's handy. Mine, too. And I heard a rumor that's what's for dinner." She reached for the doorknob, then caught him off guard by brushing a light kiss over his lips. "And since we'll be joining my parents, it would probably be best if you didn't imagine me naked for the next couple of hours." She sailed in ahead of him, leaving Brian helplessly and utterly aroused.
Nora Roberts (Irish Rebel (Irish Hearts, #3))
We're all so happy you're feeling better, Miss McIntosh. Looks like you still have a good bump on your noggin, though," she says in her childlike voice. Since there is no bump on my noggin, I take a little offense but decide to drop it. "Thanks, Mrs. Poindexter. It looks worse than it feels. Just a little tender." "Yeah, I'd say the door got the worst of it," he says beside me. Galen signs himself in on the unexcused tardy sheet below my name. When his arm brushes against mine, it feels like my blood's turned into boiling water. I turn to face him. My dreams really do not do him justice. Long black lashes, flawless olive skin, cut jaw like an Italian model, lips like-for the love of God, have some dignity, nitwit. He just made fun of you. I cross my arms and lift my chin. "You would know," I say. He grins, yanks my backpack from me, and walks out. Trying to ignore the waft of his scent as the door shuts, I look to Mrs. Poindexter, who giggles, shrugs, and pretends to sort some papers. The message is clear: He's your problem, but what a great problem to have. Has he charmed he sense out of the staff here, too? If he started stealing kids' lunch money, would they also giggle at that? I growl through clenched teeth and stomp out of the office. Galen is waiting for me right outside the door, and I almost barrel into him. He chuckles and catches my arm. "This is becoming a habit for you, I think." After I'm steady-after Galen steadies me, that is-I poke my finger into his chest and back him against the wall, which only makes him grin wider. "You...are...irritating...me," I tell him. "I noticed. I'll work on it." "You can start by giving me my backpack." "Nope." "Nope?" "Right-nope. I'm carrying it for you. It's the least I can do." "Well, can't argue with that, can I?" I reach around for it, but he moves to block me. "Galen, I don't want you to carry it. Now knock it off. I'm late for class." "I'm late for it too, remember?" Oh, that's right. I've let him distract me from my agenda. "Actually, I need to go back to the office." "No problem. I'll wait for you here, then I'll walk you to class." I pinch the bridge of my nose. "That's the thing. I'm changing my schedule. I won't be in your class anymore, so you really should just go. You're seriously violating Rule Numero Uno." He crosses his arms. "Why are you changing your schedule? Is it because of me?" "No." "Liar." "Sort of." "Emma-" "Look, I don't want you to take this personally. It's just that...well, something bad happens every time I'm around you." He raises a brow. "Are you sure it's me? I mean, from where I stood, it looked like your flip-flops-" "What were we arguing about anyway? We were arguing, right?" "You...you don't remember?" I shake my head. "Dr. Morton said I might have some short-term memory loss. I do remember being mad at you, though." He looks at me like I'm a criminal. "You're saying you don't remember anything I said. Anything you said." The way I cross my arms reminds me of my mother. "That's what I'm saying, yes." "You swear?" "If you're not going to tell me, then give me my backpack. I have a concussion, not broken arms. I'm not helpless." His smile could land him a cover shoot for any magazine in the country. "We were arguing about which beach you wanted me to take you to. We were going swimming after school." "Liar." With a capital L. Swimming-drowning-falls on my to-do list somewhere below giving birth to porcupines. "Oh, wait. You're right. We were arguing about when the Titanic actually sank. We had already agreed to go to my house to swim.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
few years later, Demeter took a vacation to the beach. She was walking along, enjoying the solitude and the fresh sea air, when Poseidon happened to spot her. Being a sea god, he tended to notice pretty ladies walking along the beach. He appeared out of the waves in his best green robes, with his trident in his hand and a crown of seashells on his head. (He was sure that the crown made him look irresistible.) “Hey, girl,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows. “You must be the riptide, ’cause you sweep me off my feet.” He’d been practicing that pickup line for years. He was glad he finally got to use it. Demeter was not impressed. “Go away, Poseidon.” “Sometimes the sea goes away,” Poseidon agreed, “but it always comes back. What do you say you and me have a romantic dinner at my undersea palace?” Demeter made a mental note not to park her chariot so far away. She really could’ve used her two dragons for backup. She decided to change form and get away, but she knew better than to turn into a snake this time. I need something faster, she thought. Then she glanced down the beach and saw a herd of wild horses galloping through the surf. That’s perfect! Demeter thought. A horse! Instantly she became a white mare and raced down the beach. She joined the herd and blended in with the other horses. Her plan had serious flaws. First, Poseidon could also turn into a horse, and he did—a strong white stallion. He raced after her. Second, Poseidon had created horses. He knew all about them and could control them. Why would a sea god create a land animal like the horse? We’ll get to that later. Anyway, Poseidon reached the herd and started pushing his way through, looking for Demeter—or rather sniffing for her sweet, distinctive perfume. She was easy to find. Demeter’s seemingly perfect camouflage in the herd turned out to be a perfect trap. The other horses made way for Poseidon, but they hemmed in Demeter and wouldn’t let her move. She got so panicky, afraid of getting trampled, that she couldn’t even change shape into something else. Poseidon sidled up to her and whinnied something like Hey, beautiful. Galloping my way? Much to Demeter’s horror, Poseidon got a lot cuddlier than she wanted. These days, Poseidon would be arrested for that kind of behavior. I mean…assuming he wasn’t in horse form. I don’t think you can arrest a horse. Anyway, back in those days, the world was a rougher, ruder place. Demeter couldn’t exactly report Poseidon to King Zeus, because Zeus was just as bad. Months later, a very embarrassed and angry Demeter gave birth to twins. The weirdest thing? One of the babies was a goddess; the other one was a stallion. I’m not going to even try to figure that out. The baby girl was named Despoine, but you don’t hear much about her in the myths. When she grew up, her job was looking after Demeter’s temple, like the high priestess of corn magic or something. Her baby brother, the stallion, was named Arion. He grew up to be a super-fast immortal steed who helped out Hercules and some other heroes, too. He was a pretty awesome horse, though I’m not sure that Demeter was real proud of having a son who needed new horseshoes every few months and was constantly nuzzling her for apples. At this point, you’d think Demeter would have sworn off those gross, disgusting men forever and joined Hestia in the Permanently Single Club. Strangely, a couple of months later, she fell in love with a human prince named Iasion (pronounced EYE-son, I think). Just shows you how far humans had come since Prometheus gave them fire. Now they could speak and write. They could brush their teeth and comb their hair. They wore clothes and occasionally took baths. Some of them were even handsome enough to flirt with goddesses.
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson's Greek Gods)
I was breaking down, wanting to fade away and cry, yet I feared ever being invisible again. My head lowered to conceal my humiliation behind a curtain of hair where I trembled as if sobbing. “Hey, Gwen, it’s okay. It’s okay. Calm down.” I yearned to feel Daniel’s soft touch meet my temple and then trace along my ear, brushing back the hairs from my face. What I wanted was the comfort his caress always afforded me. He moved as if he would grant my wish, realizing at the last moment that neither of us possessed the power to touch the other. “Your hair, Gwen.” I refused to do what he wanted. I didn’t care for him to see the shame plainly visible in my features. But the next thing I knew, his blue eyes were staring up at me from the ground, a glare reflecting off his glasses. The guy had dropped his books to fall over for a clear view of my face. His desperation made me laugh. “It’s going to be okay, Gwen, I promise." —from "Phantom's Veil
Richelle E. Goodrich
An ear-splitting screech pierced the silence, followed by another, striking his ears like metal against a hollow bell. The woosh woosh of wind being displaced brought Andrew’s attention skyward, and a glacial gust of paralyzing terror raced up his spine. The creature opened its mouth, and a blazing shaft of fire bellowed from above. Andrew barely had enough time to back beneath an awning for protection. Egnatious and Sebastian dove to the side while Firen sidestepped her impending doom, raising the katana in challenge. The screeching returned, except now the howls were coming from every direction. Firen’s chest heaved. “Did you see that?” she asked, her stormy eyes glinting with rapture and daring as she held her katana out, preparing for the next attack. “Did I see the dragon?” Sebastian asked, hysteria dangerously rising to the surface. He stood and brushed himself off. “Yes, I bloody well did see that enormous, scaly, fire-breathing dragon.
Laura Kreitzer (Key of Pearl (Timeless, #4.5))
We all view life through the lens of these experiences, but the Narcissist has something more, not just a lens but a prism that refracts and distorts incoming messages to avoid the intolerable feeling of shame. This means that you are never in control of how these people perceive you, or when you will be assaulted with some defensive maneuver that deflects their shame, prevents their deflation, or reinflates them after narcissistic injury. Narcissists constantly dump – or project – unwanted parts of themselves onto other people. They then begin to behave as if others possess these unwanted pieces of themselves, and they may even succeed in getting others to feel as if they actually have those traits or feelings. This is an unconscious process for both the dumper and the dumpee, but what it means is that you end up being treated like the dirt they’ve brushed off their own psyches, or feeling the humiliation, the anger, the vulnerability, and worthlessness that they cannot tolerate themselves.
Sandy Hotchkiss (Why Is It Always About You? : The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism)
Do you have a piece of paper I could write on?” I jump up too fast. “Sure. Just one? Do you—of course you need something to write with. Sorry. Here.” I grab him a paper from my deskdrawer and one of my myriad pencils, and he uses the first Children of Hypnos book as a flat surface to write on. When I’m sure he’s writing something for me to read right now, I say, “I thought you only needed to do that when other people were around?” He etches one careful line after the next. He frowns, shakes his head. “Sometimes it’s . . . tough to say things. Certain things.” His voice is hardly a whisper. I sit down beside him again, but his big hand blocks my view of the words. He stops writing, leaves the paper there, and stares. Then he hands it to me and looks the other direction. Can I kiss you? “Um,” is a delightfully complex word. “Um” means “I want to say something but don’t know what it is,” and also “You have caught me off guard,” and also “Am I dreaming right now? Someone please slap me.” I say “um,” then. Wallace’s entire head-neck region is already flushed with color, but the “um” darkens it a few shades, and goddammit, he was nervous about asking me and I made it worse. What good is “um” when I should say “YES PLEASE NOW”? Except there’s no way I’m going to say “YES PLEASE NOW” because I feel like my body is one big wired time bomb of organs and if Wallace so much as brushes my hand, I’m going to jump out of my own skin and run screaming from the house. I’ll like it too much. Out of control. No good. I say, “Can I borrow that pencil?” He hands me the pencil, again without looking. Yes, but not right now. I know it sounds weird. Sorry. I don’t think it’ll go well if I know it’s coming. I will definitely freak out and punch you in the face or scream bloody murder or something like that. Surprising me with it would probably work better. I am giving you permission to surprise me with a kiss. This is a formal invitation for surprise kisses. I don’t like writing the word “kiss.” It makes my skin crawl. Sorry. It’s weird. I’m weird. Sorry. I hope that doesn’t make you regret asking. I hand the paper and pencil back. He reads it over, then writes: No regret. I can do surprises. That’s it. That’s it? Shit. Now he’s going to try to surprise me with a kiss. At some point. Later today? Tomorrow? A week from now? What if he never does it and I spend the rest of the time we hang out wondering if he will? What have I done? This was a terrible idea. I’m going to vomit. “Be right back,” I say, and run to the bathroom to curl up on the floor. Just for like five minutes. Then I go back to my room and sit down beside Wallace. As I’m moving myself into position, his hand falls over mine, and I don’t actually jump out of my skin. My control shakes for a moment, but I turn in to it, and everything smooths out. I flip my hand over. He flexes his fingers so I can fit mine in the spaces between. And we sit there, shoulder to shoulder, with our hands resting on the bed between us. It’s not so bad
Francesca Zappia (Eliza and Her Monsters)
Oh god. Screwtape, I hate you.” I cry and laugh in the same breath as I trudge toward them. My clothes are covered in dirt as I trudge toward them. My clothes are covered in dirt and my hair is matted, but I don’t care. I peer through the basket bars at Screwtape, who looks at me as though I’ve betrayed his trust. I rise and meet Silas’s gaze. “Thank you, Silas,” I say, though the words are quieter than I mean. Something buzzes within me, stirs around in my chest enticingly. “Of course,” he murmurs. His eyes are heavy on mine, his gaze pulling me in. He licks his lips nervously and runs a hand through his hair. Screwtape howls out as the rain increases, droplets clinging to Silas’s lashes and running over his lips. Why am I noticing his lips? I brush my hair behind my ears as the heavy rain drowns out the sounds of the city on the other side of the fence. “Rosie,” he says, or maybe he just mouths the word. He takes hold of my fingertips, and this time I move my hand and interlace my fingers with his. Silas inhales, as if he’s going to say something else, like he wants to say something else, but instead he pulls me to him, closing the distance between us until his chest brushes mine with every breath. His body is warm, and the feeling of being against him and feeling heat from his skin makes me light-headed. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled, but doesn’t break away from me. “Why?” “Because there’s something I have to do,” he says, voice velvety soft. Silas unwinds his fingers from mine and reaches up, wiping the raindrops off my face with the palm of his hand as the stirring in my chest spreads through my whole body, pounds in my veins, begs to be released. I put my hands against his chest as if I know what I’m doing, and he finally leans forward and tilts my chin upward gently. His lips meet mine, tentatively at first, then hungrily, and I clutch at his shirt as if holding on to him will keep me from floating away into the thunderhead above. His hands run down my back, and one rests on my hip while the other tugs me closer, until I think I could melt into him because nothing has ever, ever felt so right.
Jackson Pearce (Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings, #1))
That’s my mother,” he said. “I realize that,” she said. “You’re…” She brushed her fingers over the back of his ear, where his skin was heating. “You’re blushing.” So much for trying to stifle it. The heat spread to Akos’s face, and he was sure he was bright red. Shouldn’t he have grown out of this by now? “You don’t know how to explain me. You only flush when you don’t know what words to use, I’ve noticed,” she said, her finger moving down to his jaw. “It’s all right. I wouldn’t know how to explain me to your mother, either.” He didn’t know what he’d expected. Teasing, maybe? Cyra wasn’t above teasing him, but she seemed to know, somehow, that this was off-limits. The simple, quiet understanding softened his insides. He covered her hand. Hooked his finger around hers, so they were linked. “Maybe now isn’t the time to tell you that I’m probably not going to be any good at charming her,” she said. “So don’t be charming,” he said. “She certainly isn’t.” “Careful. You don’t know how not-charming I can be.” Cyra brought their joined fingers to her mouth, and bit down, lightly.
Veronica Roth (Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1))
I hoped you would choose me,” he said. I blushed, suddenly aware of my unbraceleted arms and simple sari. “I have no dowry.” He laughed, a hesitant, half-nervous sound that did not match his stern features. “I don’t care.” “Then what do you want from me?” “I want to lie beside you and know the weight of your dreams,” he said, brushing his lips against my knuckles. “I want to share whole worlds with you and write your name in the stars.” He moved closer and a chorus of songbirds twittered silver melodies. “I want to measure eternity with your laughter.” Now, he stood inches from me; his rough hands encircled my waist. “Be my queen and I promise you a life where you will never be bored. I promise you more power than a hundred kings. And I promise you that we will always be equals.” I grinned. “Not my soul then, Dharma Raja?” “Would you entrust me with something so precious?” I was silent for a moment before reaching for my foot and slipping off the worn slipper. “Here, my love, the dowry of a sole.” I began to laugh, giddily, drunkenly, before he swallowed my laughter in a kiss.
Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1))
May I inquire what is the point?” he snapped impatiently. “Indeed you may,” Lucinda said, thinking madly for some way to prod him into remembering his long-ago desire for Elizabeth and to prick his conscience. “The point is that I am well apprised of all that transpired between Elizabeth and yourself when you were last together. I, however,” she decreed grandly, “am inclined to place the blame for your behavior not on a lack of character, but rather a lack of judgment.” He raised his brows but said nothing. Taking his silence as assent, she reiterated meaningfully, “A lack of judgment on both your parts.” “Really?” he drawled. “Of course,” she said, reaching out and brushing the dust from the back of a chair, then rubbing her fingers together and grimacing with disapproval. “What else except lack of judgment could have caused a seventeen-year-old girl to rush to the defense of a notorious gambler and bring down censure upon herself for doing it?” “What indeed?” he asked with growing impatience. Lucinda dusted off her hands, avoiding his gaze. “Who can possibly know except you and she? No doubt it was the same thing that prompted her to remain in the woodcutter’s cottage rather than leaving it the instant she discovered your presence.” Satisfied that she’d done the best she was able to on that score, she became brusque again-an attitude that was more normal and, therefore, far more convincing. “In any case, that is all water under the bridge. She has paid dearly for her lack of judgment, which is only right, and even though she is now in the most dire straits because of it, that, too, is justice.” She smiled to herself when his eyes narrowed with what she hoped was guilt, or at least concern. His next words disabused her of that hope: “Madam, I do not have all day to waste in aimless conversation. If you have something to say, say it and be done!” “Very well,” Lucinda said, gritting her teeth to stop herself from losing control of her temper. “My point is that it is my duty, my obligation to see to Lady Cameron’s physical well-being as well as to chaperon her. In this case, given the condition of your dwelling, the former obligation seems more pressing than the latter, particularly since it is obvious to me that the two of you are not in the least need of a chaperon to keep you from behaving with impropriety. You may need a referee to keep you from murdering each other, but a chaperon is entirely superfluous. Therefore, I feel duty-bound to now ensure that adequate servants are brought here at once. In keeping with that, I would like your word as a gentleman not to abuse her verbally or physically while I am gone. She has already been ill-used by her uncle. I will not permit anyone else to make this terrible time in her life more difficult than it already is.” “Exactly what,” Ian asked in spite of himself, “do you mean by a ‘terrible time’?” “I am not at liberty to discuss that, of course,” she said, fighting to keep her triumph from her voice. “I am merely concerned that you behave as a gentleman. Will you give me your word?” Since Ian had no intention of laying a finger on her, or even spending time with her, he didn’t hesitate to nod. “She’s perfectly safe from me.” “That is exactly what I hoped to hear,” Lucinda lied ruthlessly.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
The Sandhill Cranes of Nebraska Too bad you weren’t here six months ago, was a lament I heard on my visit to Nebraska. You could have seen the astonishing spectacle of the sandhill cranes, thousands of them feeding and even dancing on the shores of the Platte River. There was no point in pointing out the impossibility of my being there then because I happened to be somewhere else, so I nodded and put on a look of mild disappointment if only to be part of the commiseration. It was the same look I remember wearing about six months ago in Georgia when I was told that I had just missed the spectacular annual outburst of azaleas, brilliant against the green backdrop of spring and the same in Vermont six months before that when I arrived shortly after the magnificent foliage had gloriously peaked, Mother Nature, as she is called, having touched the hills with her many-colored brush, a phenomenon that occurs, like the others, around the same time every year when I am apparently off in another state, stuck in a motel lobby with the local paper and a styrofoam cup of coffee, busily missing God knows what.
Billy Collins (Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems)
float before I could swim. Ellis never believed it was called Dead-Man’s Float, thought I’d made it up. I told him it was a survival position after a long exhausting journey. How apt. All I see below is blue light. Peaceful and eternal. I’m holding my breath until my body throbs as one pulse. I roll over and suck in a deep lungful of warm air. I look up at the starry starry night. The sound of water in and out of my ears, and beyond this human shell, the sound of cicadas fills the night. I dreamt of my mother. It was an image, that’s all, and a fleeting one, at that. She was faded with age, like a discarded offcut on the studio floor. In this dream, she didn’t speak, just stepped out of the shadows, a reminder that we are the same, her and me, cut from the same bruised cloth. I understand how she got up one day and left, how instinctively she trusted the compulsion to flee. The rightness of that action. We are the same, her and me. She walked out when I was eight. Never came back. I remember being collected from school by our neighbour Mrs Deakin, who bought me sweets on the way home and let me play with a dog for as long as I wanted. Inside the house, my father was sitting at the table, drinking. He was holding a sheet of blue writing paper covered in black words, and he said, Your mother’s gone. She said she’s sorry. A sheet of writing paper covered in words and just two for me. How was that possible? Her remnant life was put in bags and stored in the spare room at the earliest opportunity. Stuffed in, not folded – clothes brushes, cosmetics all thrown in together, awaiting collection from the Church. My mother had taken only what she could carry. One rainy afternoon, when my father had gone next door to fix a pipe, I emptied the bags on to the floor and saw my mother in every jumper and blouse and skirt I held up. I used to watch her dress and she let me. Sometimes, she asked my opinion about colours or what suited her more, this blouse or that blouse? And she’d follow my advice and tell me how right I was. I took off my clothes and put on a skirt first, then a blouse, a cardigan, and slowly I became her in miniature. She’d taken her good shoes, so I slipped on a pair of mid-height heels many sizes too big, of course, and placed a handbag on my arm. I stood in front of the mirror, and saw the infinite possibilities of play. I strutted, I
Sarah Winman (Tin Man)
Fast-forward about twenty years: I was in Bora Bora on vacation. I was scuba diving, and thirty or so lemon sharks started hovering around me in the water. My first thought was, Wow, this is a lot more terrifying up close and personal than it is on Discovery Channel Shark Week. My next thought was, What do I do? I know the name lemon shark sounds sweet, but look it up. They are the ugliest, most terrifying sharks, and they get up to about ten feet long. That’s big enough to take off your head in a single bite. I hadn’t signed up for a shark encounter. In fact, they didn’t tell us much about what to expect down there, and there was no training session. It was more like, “Are you certified? Okay, just jump in.” After several minutes of being stalked by this pack of predators, I was overcome by a calmness. I remember feeling the sharks brush past my head and knock into my back. I couldn’t keep my eye on all of them--they were everywhere--so I just let it be. They didn’t bother me, and I didn’t bother them. Instead, the thing that freaked me out on the dive was a harmless little suckerfish that decided to hang out in my face. Every time I turned around, he was there, stalking me.
Derek Hough (Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion)
Speak to me about power. What is it?” I do believe I’m being out-Cambridged. “You want me to discuss power? Right here and now?” Her shapely head tilts. “No time except the present.” “Okay.” Only for a ten. “Power is the ability to make someone do what they otherwise wouldn’t, or deter them from doing what they otherwise would.” Immaculée Constantin is unreadable. “How?” “By coercion and reward. Carrots and sticks, though in bad light one looks much like the other. Coercion is predicated upon the fear of violence or suffering. ‘Obey, or you’ll regret it.’ Tenth-century Danes exacted tribute by it; the cohesion of the Warsaw Pact rested upon it; and playground bullies rule by it. Law and order relies upon it. That’s why we bang up criminals and why even democracies seek to monopolize force.” Immaculée Constantin watches my face as I talk; it’s thrilling and distracting. “Reward works by promising ‘Obey and benefit.’ This dynamic is at work in, let’s say, the positioning of NATO bases in nonmember states, dog training, and putting up with a shitty job for your working life. How am I doing?” Security Goblin’s sneeze booms through the chapel. “You scratch the surface,” says Immaculée Constantin. I feel lust and annoyance. “Scratch deeper, then.” She brushes a tuft of fluff off her glove and appears to address her hand: “Power is lost or won, never created or destroyed. Power is a visitor to, not a possession of, those it empowers. The mad tend to crave it, many of the sane crave it, but the wise worry about its long-term side effects. Power is crack cocaine for your ego and battery acid for your soul. Power’s comings and goings, from host to host, via war, marriage, ballot box, diktat, and accident of birth, are the plot of history. The empowered may serve justice, remodel the Earth, transform lush nations into smoking battlefields, and bring down skyscrapers, but power itself is amoral.” Immaculée Constantin now looks up at me. “Power will notice you. Power is watching you now. Carry on as you are, and power will favor you. But power will also laugh at you, mercilessly, as you lie dying in a private clinic, a few fleeting decades from now. Power mocks all its illustrious favorites as they lie dying. ‘Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay, might stop a hole to keep the wind away.’ That thought sickens me, Hugo Lamb, like nothing else. Doesn’t it sicken you?
David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks)
On Monday morning, she called me into her bedroom. Her dark hair was tousled, her light robe very feminine against the soft blue of her bed. Her eyes were full of mischief. “Oh, Mr. West,” she whispered in her beguiling child’s voice. “I’ve gotten myself into something. Can you help me get out of it?” “What can I do?” I asked, wondering who was next in line to be fired. “I’ve invited someone to stay here,” she said, “but now we’ve changed our minds.” She cast a glance in the direction of the President’s bedroom. “Could you help us cook up something so we can get out of having her as a houseguest?” Without waiting for a reply, she rushed on, her request becoming a command in mid-breath. “Would you fix up the Queen’s Room and the Lincoln Room so that it looks like we’re still decorating them, and I’ll show her that our guest rooms are not available.” Her eyes twinkled, imagining the elaborate deception. “The guest rooms will be redecorated immediately,” I said, and almost clicked my heels. I called Bonner Arrington in the carpenter’s shop. “Bring drop-cloths up to the Queen’s Room and Lincoln Bedroom. Roll up the rugs and cover the draperies and chandeliers, and all the furniture,” I instructed. “Oh yes, and bring a stepladder.” I called the paint shop. “I need six paint buckets each for the Queen’s Room and the Lincoln Room. Two of the buckets in each room should be empty—off-white—and I need four or five dirty brushes.” I met the crews on the second floor. “Now proceed to make these two rooms look as if they’re being redecorated,” I directed. “You mean you don’t want us to paint?” said the painters. “No,” I said. “Just make it look as if you are.” The crew had a good time, even though they didn’t know what it was all about. As I brought in the finishing touches, ashtrays filled with cigarette butts, Bonner shook his head. “Mr. West, all I can say is that this place has finally got to you,” he said. That evening the President and Mrs. Kennedy entertained a Princess for dinner upstairs in the President’s Dining Room. Before dinner, though, President Kennedy strolled down to the East Hall with his wife’s guest. He pointed out the bedraped Queen’s Room. “… And you see, this is where you would have spent the night if Jackie hadn’t been redecorating again,” he told the unsuspecting lady. The next morning, Mrs. Kennedy phoned me. “Mr. West, you outdid yourself,” she exclaimed. “The President almost broke up when he saw those ashtrays.
J.B. West (Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies)
Is it as bad out there as they say it is?” he asked. “From my six-inch window, it looks like we got hit with one hell of a storm.” “It took me nearly an hour to shovel the sidewalk this morning,” Jordan said. Kyle brushed his neck-length dark blond hair off his face. “See? That’s one of the positives of being in prison. No shoveling.” Her brother had long ago set the rules regarding their visits. Jokes about being in prison were expected and encouraged, sympathy was not. Which was good for both of them, considering her family had never done particularly well with the mushy and sentimental stuff. “You live in a penthouse condo and haven’t shoveled snow for years,” she pointed out. “A deliberate choice I made because of the trauma of my youth,” Kyle said. “Remember how Dad used to make me shovel the whole block every time it snowed? I was eight when he came up with that plan—barely taller than the shovel.” “And I got to stay inside making hot chocolate with Mom.” Jordan waved off the retort she saw coming. “Hey, it was good for you—it built character.” She paused for a moment, taking in their steel-barred surroundings. “Maybe Dad should’ve made you shovel the next block over, too.” “That’s cute.” “I thought so.
Julie James (A Lot like Love (FBI/US Attorney, #2))
The memory of his childhood suddenly grew dim. He tried to call forth some of its vivid moments but could not. He recalled only names. Dante, Parnell, Clane, Clongowes. A little boy had been taught geography by an old woman who kept two brushes in her wardrobe. Then he had been sent away from home to a college, he had made his first communion and eaten slim jim out of his cricket cap and watched the firelight leaping and dancing on the wall of a little bedroom in the infirmary and dreamed of being dead, of mass being said for him by the rector in a black and gold cope, of being buried then in the little graveyard of the community off the main avenue of limes. But he had not died then. Parnell had died. There had been no mass for the dead in the chapel and no procession. He had not died but he had faded out like a film in the sun. He had been lost or had wandered out of existence for he no longer existed. How strange to think of him passing out of existence in such a way, not by death but by fading out in the sun or by being lost and forgotten somewhere in the universe! It was strange to see his small body appear again for a moment: a little boy in a grey belted suit. His hands were in his side-pockets and his trousers were tucked in at the knees by elastic bands.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
Microassaults involve misusing power and privilege in subtle ways to marginalize students and create different outcomes based on race or class. In the classroom, a microassault might look like giving a more severe punishment to a student of color than his White classmate who was engaged in the same behavior. Or it might look like overemphasizing military-like behavior management strategies for students of color. With younger children, it looks like excluding them from fun activities as punishment for minor infractions. Microinsults involve being insensitive to culturally and linguistically diverse students and trivializing their racial and cultural identity such as not learning to pronounce a student’s name or giving the student an anglicized name to make it easier on the teacher. Continually confusing two students of the same race and casually brushing it off as “they all look alike.” Microinvalidations involve actions that negate or nullify a person of color’s experiences or realities such as ignoring each student’s rich funds of knowledge. They are also expressed when we don’t want to acknowledge the realities of structural racialization or implicit bias. It takes the form of trivializing and dismissing students’ experiences, telling them they are being too sensitive or accusing them of “playing the race card.”
Zaretta Lynn Hammond (Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students)
We ended the day and hobbled back inside, greeted by the scent of the stew Laadan had cooked up. I went upstairs to wash the day’s worth of grime off, and Aiden followed. Once inside the room, I tossed him a coy look over my shoulder. At least, I thought it was coy, but I probably looked like I had something in my eye. Aiden grinned nonetheless. “Are you following me?” I asked, kicking off my boots. He prowled forward, moving like one of those caged panthers we’d seen at the zoo. “I’m just being here for you, and I think you really need me right now.” “Ha. Ha.” Out of my shoes, Aiden towered over me, I felt like a hobbit standing in front of him. Aiden’s grin spread and a dimple in his left cheek appeared. He tucked a strand of my hair back, then his hands dropped and he tugged the shirt out of my cargos. “I think you called it ‘manning up’.” This wasn’t the kind of manning up I’d been talking about the night before, because even with my limited knowledge of such things, he excelled in that department. But I said nothing as I stared up at him. Lowering his head, his lips brushed over mine. I was sure I tasted of dirt and sour apple, courtesy of the Blow Pop I’d been nursing earlier, but he made this sound against my mouth, part growl and part something deeper. As the kiss deepened, like he could just devour the taste and feel, I melted against him. “I really like your idea of manning up,
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Apollyon (Covenant, #4))
It was the same as I remembered it,” she whispered, sounding defeated and puzzled and shattered. It was better than he remembered. Stronger, wilder…And the only reason she didn’t know it was because he hadn’t succumbed to temptation yet and kissed her once more. He had just rejected that idea as complete insanity when a male voice suddenly erupted behind them: “Good God! What’s going on here!” Elizabeth jerked free in mindless panic, her gaze flying to a middle-aged elderly man wearing a clerical collar who was dashing across the yard. Ian put a steadying hand on her waist, and she stood there rigid with shock. “I heart shooting-“ The gray-haired man gasped, sagging against a nearby tree, his hand over his heart, his chest heaving. “I heard it all the way up the valley, and I thought0” He broke off, his alert gaze moving from Elizabeth’s flushed face and tousled hair to Ian’s hand at her waist. “You thought what?” Ian asked in a voice that struck Elizabeth as being amazingly calm, considering they’d just been caught in a lustful embrace by nothing less daunting than a Scottish vicar. The thought had scarcely crossed her battered mind when the man’s expression hardened with understanding. “I thought,” he said ironically, straightening from the tree and coming forward, brushing pieces of bark from his black sleeve, “that you were trying to kill each other. Which,” he continued more mildly as he stopped in front of Elizabeth, “Miss Throckmorton-Jones seemed to think was a distinct possibility when she dispatched me here.” “Lucinda?” Elizabeth gasped, feeling as if the world was turning upside down. “Lucinda sent you here?” “Indeed,” said the vicar, bending a reproachful glance on Ian’s hand, which was resting on Elizabeth’s waist. Mortified to the very depths of her being by the realization she’d remained standing in this near-embrace, Elizabeth hastily shoved Ian’s hand away and stepped sideways. She braced herself for a richly deserved, thundering tirade on the sinfulness of their behavior, but the vicar continued to regard Ian with his bushy gray eyebrows lifted, waiting. Feeling as if she were going to break from the strain of the silence, Elizabeth cast a pleading look at Ian and found him regarding the vicar not with shame or apology, but with irritated amusement. “Well?” demanded the vicar at last, looking at Ian. “What do you have to say to me?” “Good afternoon?” Ian suggested drolly. And then he added, “I didn’t expect to see you until tomorrow, Uncle.” “Obviously,” retorted the vicar with unconcealed irony. “Uncle!” blurted Elizabeth, gaping incredulously at Ian Thornton, who’d been flagrantly defying rules of morality with his passionate kisses and seeking hands from the first night she met him. As if the vicar read her thoughts, he looked at her, his brown eyes amused. “Amazing, is it not, my dear? It quite convinces me that God has a sense of humor.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Kristen- Matt kidnapped me! He was planning to kill me! He said that he was going to put my dead body in the woods, that he had the perfect spot. That he could cover me over with the brush, that was there… out in the middle of nowhere. So, no one would find me until my body would rot and smell to the high heavens. Will I live or will I die? He said that he wanted to do it slowly and diligently over some time to make sure I would feel as much pain that could be felt. In the car, his first stop along this journey through hell was a small one-room cabin out in the woods, with no power, no main roads, nothing, nothing for me to think about other than death. That is where we went first, and he tied me down in that shack, to the one old lone bed, as well as flopped on top nonstop on me for many days. Of course, for many days I laid on top of that bed so vulnerable, for him at any time to do as he wanted. Never able to move, as he had that zeal glimmer in his eyes, all I could do is shake and squirm slightly in my pee and other substances like that. Yes, he loved to shine the light off of that large shiny knife blade in my face, to show me what he was capable of doing also if I did not give it all up to him when he wanted it. Oh, how he would, inject sedation drugs into me every chance he got, I could not fight him off, I could not beat him off enough, so he would put me to sleep, so he could be as rough as he wanted to be. He had me worn out!
Marcel Ray Duriez
I want to lie beside you and know the weight of your dreams,” he said, brushing his lips against my knuckles. “I want to share whole worlds with you and write your name in the stars.” He moved closer and a chorus of songbirds twittered silver melodies. “I want to measure eternity with your laughter.” Now, he stood inches from me; his rough hands encircled my waist. “Be my queen and I promise you a life where you will never be bored. I promise you more power than a hundred kings. And I promise you that we will always be equals.” I grinned. “Not my soul then, Dharma Raja?” “Would you entrust me with something so precious?” I was silent for a moment before reaching for my foot and slipping off the worn slipper. “Here, my love, the dowry of a sole.” I began to laugh, giddily, drunkenly, before he swallowed my laughter in a kiss. I melted against him, arcing into the enclosure of his arms, my breath catching as his fingers entwined in the down of my hair. The music of the songbirds could not compare to the euphony billowing inside me, pressing against my bones and manifesting in a language of gentle touch. In Naraka, he drew me into the small universe of his embrace, laying kisses at my neck, the inside of my wrists, the dip in my abdomen. Now, the hum had settled to a lustrous melody, ribboning us like silk. And when we clung together, we drank in the other’s gaze, reveling in the secret hope and happiness that blossomed in the space between our lips.
Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1))
Lew had never seen a dead man before. He just stood there, and looked and looked. Then he went a step closer, and looked some more. 'So that's what it's like!' he murmured inaudibly. Finally Lew reached out slowly and touched him on the face, and cringed as he met the clammy feel of it, pulled his hand back and whipped it down, as though to get something off it. The flesh was still warm and Lew knew suddenly he had no time alibi. He threw something over that face and that got rid of the awful feeling of being watched by something from the other world. After that Lew wasn't afraid to go near him; he just looked like a bundle of old clothes. The dead man was on his side, and Lew fiddled with the knife-hilt, trying to get it out. It was caught fast, so he let it alone after grabbing it with his fingers from a couple of different directions. Next he went through his pockets, thinking he'd be helping to identify him. The man was Luther Kemp, forty-two, and he lived on 79th Street. But none of that was really true any more, Lew thought, mystified; he'd left it all behind. His clothes and his home and his name and his body and the show he'd paid to see were here. But where the hell had he gone to, anyway? Again that weird feeling came over Lew momentarily, but he brushed it aside. It was just that one of the commonest things in life - death - was still strange to him. But after strangeness comes familiarity, after familiarity, contempt. ("Dusk To Dawn")
Cornell Woolrich
The usual short story cannot have a complex plot, but it often has a simple one resembling a chain with two or three links. The short short, however, doesn't as a rule have even that much - you don't speak of a chain when there's only one link. ... Sometimes ... the short short appears to rest on nothing more than a fragile anecdote which the writer has managed to drape with a quantity of suggestion. A single incident, a mere anecdote - these form the spine of the short short. Everything depends on intensity, one sweeping blow of perception. In the short short the writer gets no second chance. Either he strikes through at once or he's lost. And because it depends so heavily on this one sweeping blow, the short short often approaches the condition of a fable. When you read the two pieces by Tolstoy in this book, or I.L. Peretz's 'If Not Higher,' or Franz Kafka's 'The Hunter Gracchus,' you feel these writers are intent upon 'making a point' - but obliquely, not through mere statement. What they project is not the sort of impression of life we expect in most fiction, but something else: an impression of an idea of life. Or: a flicker in darkness, a slight cut of being. The shorter the piece of writing, the more abstract it may seem to us. In reading Paz's brilliant short short we feel we have brushed dangerously against the sheer arbitrariness of existence; in reading Peretz's, that we have been brought up against a moral reflection on the nature of goodness, though a reflection hard merely to state. Could we say that the short short is to other kinds of fiction somewhat as the lyric is to other kinds of poetry? The lyric does not seek meaning through extension, it accepts the enigmas of confinement. It strives for a rapid unity of impression, an experience rendered in its wink of immediacy. And so too with the short short. ... Writers who do short shorts need to be especially bold. They stake everything on a stroke of inventiveness. Sometimes they have to be prepared to speak out directly, not so much in order to state a theme as to provide a jarring or complicating commentary. The voice of the writer brushes, so to say, against his flash of invention. And then, almost before it begins, the fiction is brought to a stark conclusion - abrupt, bleeding, exhausting. This conclusion need not complete the action; it has only to break it off decisively. Here are a few examples of the writer speaking out directly. Paz: 'The universe is a vast system of signs.' Kafka in 'First Sorrow': The trapeze artist's 'social life was somewhat limited.' Paula Fox: 'We are starving here in our village. At last, we are at the center.' Babel's cossack cries out, 'You guys in specs have about as much pity for chaps like us as a cat for a mouse.' Such sentences serve as devices of economy, oblique cues. Cryptic and enigmatic, they sometimes replace action, dialogue and commentary, for none of which, as it happens, the short short has much room. There's often a brilliant overfocussing. ("Introduction")
Irving Howe (Short Shorts)
Somehow he released her hand and pulled his free. He wrapped his arms around her and hauled her against him so her entire body pressed against his. The man was a rock. Big, unyielding and warmed by the sun. She wanted to snuggle even closer. She wanted to rip off her clothes and give the goats something to talk about. She wanted-- He licked her lower lip. The unexpected moist heat made her gasp as fire raced through her. Every singed nerve ending vibrated with need for more. The masculine, slightly piney scent of him surrounded her. Operating only on instinct, she parted her lips to allow him entry. She had a single heartbeat to brace herself for the power of his tongue touching hers. Then he swept inside and blew her away. It was like being inside the space shuttle on take-off. Phoebe might not have any personal experience with space flight, but she could imagine. The powerful force between them left her weak and clinging to his broad shoulders. She trembled and needed and ached with equal intensity. His tongue brushed against hers again. He tasted of coffee and mint and something wonderfully sensual and sweet. His mouth seemed designed for kissing. Maybe it was all that non-conversation. Maybe talking too much undermined a man’s ability to kiss. She didn’t know and didn’t care. All that mattered was the way he stroked her, touched her, teased her. He cupped her head with one hand and ran his other up and down her back. If only this moment would never end. But it did. A sharp bark from somewhere in the distance brought Phoebe back to earth with a rude thunk. She suddenly became aware of being pressed up against a really good-looking stranger, kissing in front of a goat pen. Apparently Zane got a similar wake-up call, because he stepped back at the same second she did. At least the man was breathing hard. She would hate to think she was the only one who had been affected. “Okay, then,” she said when she realized that all feelings to the contrary, she still could breathe. Zane continued to stare at her. She swallowed. “Did you want to say something?” Anything would be fine. Just any old reaction. As long as he wasn’t going to say it was all a mistake. That would really annoy her. Or maybe she was making a big deal out of nothing. Maybe he kissed lots of women out here by the goat pens. “I have to get back to work. Can you find your way to the house?” She blinked at him. That was it? Okay. Fine. As long as she didn’t try to walk on legs that were still trembling, she could pretend nothing had happened. “Sure,” she muttered. “No problem.” He nodded, then bent down and picked up his hat. She frowned. When exactly had that fallen off? He straightened, opened his mouth, then closed it. She wasn’t even surprised when he turned and left without saying a word. It was just so typical. When she was alone, Phoebe tried to work up a case of righteous indignation. When that didn’t work, she went for humor. If nothing else, she had to give Maya credit for the promised distraction. Oh. She also had to remember that as soon as she found out what constituted a treat on the baby-goat food hit list, she would be sure to send a thank-you gift.
Susan Mallery (Kiss Me (Fool's Gold, #17))
Most of us are so unconcerned with this extraordinary universe about us; we never even see the waving of the leaf in the wind; we never watch a blade of grass, touch it with our hand and know the quality of its being. This is not just being poetic, so please do not go off into a speculative, emotional state. I say it is essential to have that deep feeling for life and not be caught in intellectual ramifications, discussions, passing examinations, quoting and brushing something new aside by saying it has already been said. Intellect is not the way. Intellect will not solve our problems; the intellect will not give us that nourishment which is imperishable. The intellect can reason, discuss, analyze, come to a conclusion from inferences, and so on, but intellect is limited, for intellect is the result of our conditioning. But sensitivity is not. Sensitivity has no conditioning; it takes you right out of the field of fears and anxieties…. We spend our days and years in cultivating the intellect, in arguing, discussing, fighting, struggling to be something, and so on. And yet this extraordinarily wonderful world, this earth that is so rich—not the Bombay earth, the Punjab earth, the Russian earth, or the American earth—this earth is ours, yours and mine, and that is not sentimental nonsense; it is a fact. But unfortunately we have divided it up through our pettiness, through our provincialism. And we know why we have done it—for our security, for better jobs and more jobs. That is the political game that is being played throughout the world, and so we forget to be human beings, to live happily on this earth that is ours, and to make something of it.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti)
John Isidore said, “I found a spider.” The three androids glanced up, momentarily moving their attention from the TV screen to him. “Let’s see it,” Pris said. She held out her hand. Roy Baty said, “Don’t talk while Buster is on.” “I’ve never seen a spider,” Pris said. She cupped the medicine bottle in her palms, surveying the creature within. “All those legs. Why’s it need so many legs, J. R.?” “That’s the way spiders are,” Isidore said, his heart pounding; he had difficulty breathing. “Eight legs.” Rising to her feet, Pris said, “You know what I think, J. R.? I think it doesn’t need all those legs.” “Eight?” Irmgard Baty said. “Why couldn’t it get by on four? Cut four off and see.” Impulsively opening her purse, she produced a pair of clean, sharp cuticle scissors, which she passed to Pris. A weird terror struck at J. R. Isidore. Carrying the medicine bottle into the kitchen, Pris seated herself at J. R. Isidore’s breakfast table. She removed the lid from the bottle and dumped the spider out. “It probably won’t be able to run as fast,” she said, “but there’s nothing for it to catch around here anyhow. It’ll die anyway.” She reached for the scissors. “Please,” Isidore said. Pris glanced up inquiringly. “Is it worth something?” “Don’t mutilate it,” he said wheezingly. Imploringly. With the scissors, Pris snipped off one of the spider’s legs. In the living room Buster Friendly on the TV screen said, “Take a look at this enlargement of a section of background. This is the sky you usually see. Wait, I’ll have Earl Parameter, head of my research staff, explain their virtually world-shaking discovery to you.” Pris clipped off another leg, restraining the spider with the edge of her hand. She was smiling. “Blowups of the video pictures,” a new voice from the TV said, “when subjected to rigorous laboratory scrutiny, reveal that the gray backdrop of sky and daytime moon against which Mercer moves is not only not Terran—it is artificial.” “You’re missing it!” Irmgard called anxiously to Pris; she rushed to the kitchen door, saw what Pris had begun doing. “Oh, do that afterward,” she said coaxingly. “This is so important, what they’re saying; it proves that everything we believed—” “Be quiet,” Roy Baty said. “—is true,” Irmgard finished. The TV set continued, “The ‘moon’ is painted; in the enlargements, one of which you see now on your screen, brush strokes show. And there is even some evidence that the scraggly weeds and dismal, sterile soil—perhaps even the stones hurled at Mercer by unseen alleged parties—are equally faked. It is quite possible in fact that the ‘stones’ are made of soft plastic, causing no authentic wounds.” “In other words,” Buster Friendly broke in, “Wilbur Mercer is not suffering at all.” The research chief said, “We at last managed, Mr. Friendly, to track down a former Hollywood special-effects man, a Mr. Wade Cortot, who flatly states, from his years of experience, that the figure of ‘Mercer’ could well be merely some bit player marching across a sound stage. Cortot has gone so far as to declare that he recognizes the stage as one used by a now out-of-business minor moviemaker with whom Cortot had various dealings several decades ago.” “So according to Cortot,” Buster Friendly said, “there can be virtually no doubt.” Pris had now cut three legs from the spider, which crept about miserably on the kitchen table, seeking a way out, a path to freedom. It found none.
Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner, #1))
Little Sleep's-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight 1 You scream, waking from a nightmare. When I sleepwalk into your room, and pick you up, and hold you up in the moonlight, you cling to me hard, as if clinging could save us. I think you think I will never die, I think I exude to you the permanence of smoke or stars, even as my broken arms heal themselves around you. 2 I have heard you tell the sun, don't go down, I have stood by as you told the flower, don't grow old, don't die. Little Maud, I would blow the flame out of your silver cup, I would suck the rot from your fingernail, I would brush your sprouting hair of the dying light, I would scrape the rust off your ivory bones, I would help death escape through the little ribs of your body, I would alchemize the ashes of your cradle back into wood, I would let nothing of you go, ever, until washerwomen feel the clothes fall asleep in their hands, and hens scratch their spell across hatchet blades, and rats walk away from the culture of the plague, and iron twists weapons toward truth north, and grease refuse to slide in the machinery of progress, and men feel as free on earth as fleas on the bodies of men, and the widow still whispers to the presence no longer beside her in the dark. And yet perhaps this is the reason you cry, this the nightmare you wake screaming from: being forever in the pre-trembling of a house that falls. 3 In a restaurant once, everyone quietly eating, you clambered up on my lap: to all the mouthfuls rising toward all the mouths, at the top of your voice you cried your one word, caca! caca! caca! and each spoonful stopped, a moment, in midair, in its withering steam. Yes, you cling because I, like you, only sooner than you, will go down the path of vanished alphabets, the roadlessness to the other side of the darkness, your arms like the shoes left behind, like the adjectives in the halting speech of old folk, which once could call up the lost nouns. 4 And you yourself, some impossible Tuesday in the year Two Thousand and Nine, will walk out among the black stones of the field, in the rain, and the stones saying over their one word, ci-gît, ci-gît, ci-gît, and the raindrops hitting you on the fontanel over and over, and you standing there unable to let them in. 5 If one day it happens you find yourself with someone you love in a café at one end of the Pont Mirabeau, at the zinc bar where wine takes the shapes of upward opening glasses, and if you commit then, as we did, the error of thinking, one day all this will only be memory, learn to reach deeper into the sorrows to come—to touch the almost imaginary bones under the face, to hear under the laughter the wind crying across the black stones. Kiss the mouth that tells you, here, here is the world. This mouth. This laughter. These temple bones. The still undanced cadence of vanishing. 6 In the light the moon sends back, I can see in your eyes the hand that waved once in my father's eyes, a tiny kite wobbling far up in the twilight of his last look: and the angel of all mortal things lets go the string. 7 Back you go, into your crib. The last blackbird lights up his gold wings: farewell. Your eyes close inside your head, in sleep. Already in your dreams the hours begin to sing. Little sleep's-head sprouting hair in the moonlight, when I come back we will go out together, we will walk out together among the ten thousand things, each scratched in time with such knowledge, the wages of dying is love.
Galway Kinnell
Thunk. I jump back in alarm, my heart pounding against my ribs. And then I hear, “Jemma!” A loud whisper, coming from below. I open up the doors and step outside. Moving quickly to the railing, I lean against it and peer down to find Ryder standing there, staring up at me. He’s dressed in a suit and tie--the same charcoal suit he wore to the gala, with a narrow silver-blue tie. “What are you doing?” I call down to him. He drops a handful of pebbles, scattering them into the grass by his feet. “Shh! Can I come up?” I lower my voice to match his. “What’s wrong with the front door?” He eyes me with raised brows. “Really?” I picture my parents downstairs. Imagine what questions they’d ask, what gleeful conclusions they’d leap to at the sight of him here, asking to see me. I shake my head and reach a hand down toward him. “Here, can you climb?” There’s a vine-covered trellis against the house beside my balcony. If he can just get a foothold, he’s tall enough to swing himself up and over the railing. Which he does in less than two minutes. Pretty impressive, actually. Once he’s got both feet on the balcony, he casually brushes himself off. Somehow, he manages to look like he just stepped off the cover of GQ. I tip my head toward the window. “You wanna come in?” “You think it’s safe?” “Just let me go lock the door,” I say before hurrying back inside. And don’t think I’m not amused by the irony. Because unlike normal people, we’re not sneaking around to avoid being caught and punished. Nope. On the contrary, our parents would celebrate if they caught us in my bedroom together. I’m talking music and streamers and champagne toasts. As quietly as possible, I turn the key in the lock, listening for the click. Sorry, folks. No party tonight.
Kristi Cook (Magnolia (Magnolia Branch, #1))
Just ask me how to get bloodstains out of a fur coat. No, really, go ahead. Ask me. The secret is cornmeal and brushing the fur the wrong way. The tricky part is keeping your mouth shut. To get blood off of piano keys, polish them with talcum powder or powdered milk. This isn’t the most marketable job skill, but to get bloodstains out of wallpaper, put on a paste of cornstarch and cold water. This will work just as well to get blood out of a mattress or a davenport. The trick is to forget how fast these things can happen. Suicides. Accidents. Crimes of passion. Just concentrate on the stain until your memory is completely erased. Practice really does make perfect. If you could call it that. Ignore how it feels when the only real talent you have is for hiding the truth. You have a God-given knack for committing a terrible sin. It’s your calling. You have a natural gift for denial. A blessing. If you could call it that. Even after sixteen years of cleaning people’s houses, I want to think the world is getting better and better, but really I know it’s not. You want there to be some improvement in people, but there won’t be. And you want to think there’s something you can get done. Cleaning this same house every day, all that gets better is my skill at denying what’s wrong. God forbid I should ever meet who I work for in person. Please don’t get the idea I don’t like my employers. The caseworker has gotten me lots worse postings. I don’t hate them. I don’t love them, but I don’t hate them. I’ve worked for lots worse. Just ask me how to get urine stains out of drapes and a tablecloth. Ask me what’s the fastest way to hide bullet holes in a living-room wall. The answer is toothpaste. For larger calibers, mix a paste of equal parts starch and salt. Call me the voice of experience.
Chuck Palahniuk (Survivor)
If you leave off looking at books about beasts and men, if you begin to look at beasts and men then (if you have any humour or imagination, any sense of the frantic or the farcical) you will observe that the startling thing is not how like man is to the brutes, but how unlike he is. It is the monstrous scale of his divergence that requires an explanation. That man and brute are like is, in a sense, a truism; but that being so like they should then be so insanely unlike, that is the shock and the enigma. That an ape has hands is far less interesting to the philosopher than the fact that having hands he does next to nothing with them; does not play knuckle-bones or the violin; does not carve marble or carve mutton. People talk of barbaric architecture and debased art. But elephants do not build colossal temples of ivory even in a roccoco style; camels do not paint even bad pictures, though equipped with the material of many camel's-hair brushes. Certain modern dreamers say that ants and bees have a society superior to ours. They have, indeed, a civilization; but that very truth only reminds us that it is an inferior civilization. Who ever found an ant-hill decorated with the statues of celebrated ants? Who has seen a bee-hive carved with the images of gorgeous queens of old? No; the chasm between man and other creatures may have a natural explanation, but it is a chasm. We talk of wild animals; but man is the only wild animal. It is man that has broken out. All other animals are tame animals; following the rugged respectability of the tribe or type. All other animals are domestic animals; man alone is ever undomestic, either as a profligate or a monk. So that this first superficial reason for materialism is, if anything, a reason for its opposite; it is exactly where biology leaves off that all religion begins.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
You have no idea where Anne’s office is?” I asked, grouchy and beyond footsore, seriously envying Jack’s completely healed feet. We’d already been here for an hour and had nothing to show for it other than a few close calls with security patrols. I’d figured since I couldn’t check every room for Raquel, searching Anne-Whatever Whatever’s office for records was my next best bet. “Surprisingly enough, I do not make a habit of concerning myself with the locations of offices of people I neither know nor care anything for.” “I thought you had some big vendetta against IPCA for controlling you.” “Have you seen anyone who ever once used my name against me? Present company excepted.” I frowned, checking around a corner to a hall that was, as usual, empty. This was so much less exciting than I had been afraid it would be. Reth walked calmly forward, never pausing, never frantically checking over his shoulder. I wondered what he did to those poor suckers who had trapped him with his true name. I almost asked, but honestly, I didn’t really want to know. “Wait—you didn’t do anything to Raquel.” I inwardly cringed. Raquel had used his name against him, and there I went reminding him. “Hmm. An uncharacteristic oversight.” I snorted. “Yeah, mister always has a plan, you’re constantly missing details.” I shouldn’t push the issue lest I convince him that he still had some vengeance waiting, but I couldn’t help it. It was so unlike him. He waved an elegant hand through the air as though brushing off my observation. “Some things are beneath my attention.” “Liar.” He stopped short, and I walked a few paces before realizing he wasn’t beside me anymore. I turned and found myself sucked into his golden gaze. “You are quite blind sometimes, my love.” “What do you mean by that?” I snapped. Then my jaw dropped as he actually rolled his perfect, gigantic-bordering-on-anime golden eyes. That was so not a faerie gesture. “You just rolled your eyes!” “It would appear you are a negative influence after all.
Kiersten White (Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3))
Remain still; breathe naturally,” he whispered right in her ear, very, very quietly. She did as he suggested, not wanting to be found in the darkness with him by people too inebriated to observe a little discretion. And while she stood so close to him, the night breeze stirred the air, bringing Hazlit’s scent to Maggie’s nose. She puzzled over it, because it was faint but alluring. Complicated, like the man who wore it. Honeysuckle was the primary note, as sweet a scent as ever graced a bottle—and as intoxicating. She was marveling over that bit of deduction and deciding the undertone was bergamot, when she felt Hazlit’s hand in her hair. Holding her still? He gathered a few of the locks drifting over her right shoulder and rubbed them silently between his fingers. When had he taken off his gloves? Remain still; breathe naturally. It was good advice, when her heart wanted to pound, when she wanted both to run and to stand there forever, his fingers playing with her hair. His hand shifted so he brushed her hair back over her shoulder, just once. Maggie’s heart started to thud in her chest. She wasn’t frightened, exactly, but she was rattled. Men never touched her, not if they knew what was good for them, and she ought to abhor being rattled like this. She held still, waiting for him to repeat that simple caress. “They’re gone,” he said, still whispering. He took her by the wrist again and led her to the path, offering her his arm with perfect propriety. They returned to the house without incident, and Maggie thanked every merciful god in the pantheon she and her escort had missed the dancing. “Will you be going in to supper?” he asked. “I’d prefer not to.” And what had that business been with her hair? Was he going to pretend he hadn’t taken such a liberty? “I’ll fetch your coach. Find your wrap, and if you brought one, your reticule.” He offered her an ironic little bow and went off on his gentlemanly errand. Maggie was home and fighting her way toward sleep before she realized Hazlit hadn’t been pretending he’d never touched her hair. He’d been letting her ignore the fact that she’d allowed it. ***
Grace Burrowes (Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal (The Duke's Daughters, #2; Windham, #5))
A pirate! A black patch covered her rescuer's left eye. The elastic holding it in place drew a thin line between his dark brows and across his forehead. His dark hair was wet, and slicked back off his lean face. His strong jaw was hazed with dark bristle. His face bore the austere lines of a man hounded by demons and comfortable with danger. He looked scruffy, unkempt, and strangely appealing. Tally attributed her reaction to being delirious with shock. "Seen enough?" he asked dryly as she continued to stare. "Or do you want me to turn around?" By all means, do. "Sorry. I wasn't really looking looking-I zoned out there for a second." Very smooth, Tallulah. "I wasn't looking looking"? Oh, brother. She blew out a sigh. He wasn't quite a giant, but he was solidly built, and towered over her own not insubstantial five foot nine by a good five or six inches. Six foot four of sheer power, hard muscle, and sex appeal. His broad, darkly tanned shoulders gleamed with moisture. Salt water glittered like tiny diamonds in the hair on his chest and on the silky dark hair on his thickly muscled legs. His hands and feet were enormous. "Understandable." His mocking and enigmatic gaze took in her clinging clothes, bare feet, and grim hold on the railing as his boat rode the swells. There wasn't a thing she could do about her appearance, so she didn't bother fiddling. Besides, she didn't want to draw attention to the wet transparency of her blouse. Not that he looked the type to be crazed by lust. Especially for a woman like her. Perversely disappointed, she realized that far from being crazed with lust at the sight of her size A boobs, the pirate hadn't even noticed he could see right through her shirt. That one, piercing, whiskey-colored eye locked onto her, and Tally's stomach did a weird little somersault. Adrenaline still raced through her body at a furious clip. She took a deep, shuddering breath. "Tally Cruise." Pleased she sounded coherent under the circumstances, she thrust out her hand and smiled. "Michael Wright." He took her hand, not with his right, but his left. His thumb brushed the back of her knuckles. Little zings of electricity shot up her arm.
Cherry Adair (In Too Deep (T-FLAC #4; Wright Family #3))
Often we are told, and rightly so, that we can know God by knowing ourselves, for we are made in His image. We are not base, it is said, but divine. Yet this, perhaps, is saying too much. For even in our baseness—in our excrement—we might discern the work of our Creator. All things come from God, Crivano says. Even shit can be sublimed. But should it be? Tristão fixes Crivano with a fierce glare. Then he steps to the windows, and with a smooth sudden motion slings the chamberpot’s contents into the canal below. The liquid strikes the surface with a weak slap. Should it be sublimed? Tristão says. Should it be transcended? When we seek to do this, is our desire truly to know God? Or is it to know that God truly is as we always have imagined him: the perfect distillate of our corrupt selves? So—we are made in the image of God. Have we considered what this might mean? Innumerable are the egos in man, Paracelsus writes, and in him are angels and devils, heaven and hell. Perhaps God too is like this. Pure and impure. Is it so difficult to imagine? A God of flesh and bone? A God that shits? His voice chokes off, as if overwhelmed by some passion: rage, sorrow, Crivano can’t guess which. Tristão drifts away, toward his own approaching form in the mirror-talisman; the image of his torso gradually fills the glass. With the silver window eclipsed the room seems to grow smaller; Crivano shuffles his feet to keep his balance. I want to know, Tristão says, how God is unlike us. I want to know how our eyes become traitors. To know what they refuse to see. I no longer seek to transcend, nor even to understand. I want only to dirty my hands. To smell. To feel. Like a child who plays with mud. I believe the key is here— His fingers brush the flat glass before him; they’re met by fingers from the opposite side. —but not in the way that others have said. The Nolan warned us of this. Do you remember? He said the image in the mirror is like the image in a dream: only fools and infants mistake it for the true likeness of the world, but likewise it is foolish to ignore what it shows us. Therein lies the danger. Do we look upon these reflections without delusion, like bold Actaeon? Or, like Narcissus, do we see only what we wish to see? How can we be certain? With love in our hearts, we creep toward each shining surface, but we are all haunted, always, by ourselves.
Martin Seay (The Mirror Thief)
While Mum was a busy working mother, helping my father in his constituency duties and beyond, Lara became my surrogate mum. She fed me almost every supper I ate--from when I was a baby up to about five years old. She changed my nappies, she taught me to speak, then to walk (which, with so much attention from her, of course happened ridiculously early). She taught me how to get dressed and to brush my teeth. In essence, she got me to do all the things that either she had been too scared to do herself or that just simply intrigued her, such as eating raw bacon or riding a tricycle down a steep hill with no brakes. I was the best rag doll of a baby brother that she could have ever dreamt of. It is why we have always been so close. To her, I am still her little baby brother. And I love her for that. But--and this is the big but--growing up with Lara, there was never a moment’s peace. Even from day one, as a newborn babe in the hospital’s maternity ward, I was paraded around, shown off to anyone and everyone--I was my sister’s new “toy.” And it never stopped. It makes me smile now, but I am sure it is why in later life I craved the peace and solitude that mountains and the sea bring. I didn’t want to perform for anyone, I just wanted space to grow and find myself among all the madness. It took a while to understand where this love of the wild came from, but in truth it probably developed from the intimacy found with my father on the shores of Northern Ireland and the will to escape a loving but bossy elder sister. (God bless her!) I can joke about this nowadays with Lara, and through it all she still remains my closest ally and friend; but she is always the extrovert, wishing she could be on the stage or on the chat show couch, where I tend just to long for quiet times with my friends and family. In short, Lara would be much better at being famous than me. She sums it up well, I think: Until Bear was born I hated being the only child--I complained to Mum and Dad that I was lonely. It felt weird not having a brother or sister when all my friends had them. Bear’s arrival was so exciting (once I’d got over the disappointment of him being a boy, because I’d always wanted a sister!). But the moment I set eyes on him, crying his eyes out in his crib, I thought: That’s my baby. I’m going to look after him. I picked him up, he stopped crying, and from then until he got too big, I dragged him around everywhere.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
I'm renowned within the ton as being cool under fire- around you, I'm never cool. I'm heated- I seethe- I burn with desire. If I'm in the same room, all I can think about is heat- your heat- and how you'll feel around me." Patience felt the heat rise, a real force between them. "I've gained the reputation of being the soul of discretion- now look at me. I've seduced my godmother's niece- and been seduced by her. I share her bed openly, even under my godmother's roof." His lips twisted wryly. "So much for discretion." He drew a deep breath; his chest brushed her breasts. "And as for my vaunted, up-until-you 'legendary' control- the instant I'm inside you that evaporates like water on hot steel." What prompted her Patience never knew. His lips were so close- with her teeth, she nipped the lower. "I told you to let go- I won't break." The tension, pouring off him in waves, eased, just a little. He sighed, and rested his forehead on hers. "I don't like losing control- it's like losing myself- in you." She felt him gather himself, felt the tension swell and coalesce about them. "It's giving myself to you- so that I'm in your keeping." The words, low and gravelly, rolled through her; closing her eyes, she drew in a shallow breath. "And you don't like doing that." "I don't like it- but I crave it. I don't approve of it, yet I yearn for it." His words feathered her cheek, then his lips touched hers. "Do you understand? I haven't any choice." Patience felt his chest swell as he drew a deep breath. "I love you." She shivered, eyes shut tight, and felt the world shift about her. "Losing myself in you- giving my heart and soul into your keeping- is part of that." His lips brushed hers in an inexpressibly tender caress. "Trusting you is part of that. Telling you I love you is part of that." His lips touched hers; Patience didn't wait for more. She kissed him. Letting go of the post, she slid her hands up, framing his face, so she could let him know- let him feel- her response to all he'd said. He felt it, sensed it- and reacted; his arms locked tight about her. She couldn't breathe, but she didn't care. All she cared about was the emotion that held them, that flowed so effortlessly between them. Silver and gold, it wound about them, investing each touch with its magic. Silver and gold, it shimmered about them, and quivered in their fractured breaths. It was immediate compulsion and future promise, heavenly delight and earthly pleasure. It was here and now- and forever.
Stephanie Laurens (A Rake's Vow (Cynster, #2))
Hey Princess.” Good God I missed hearing his voice. “Chase,” I had to clear my throat to continue, “I didn’t think you were going to be here.” “I asked if you were coming to the house.” He replied hesitantly. “Right, I just figured you meant your house.” The room was thick with the tension that always followed us around. My heart started racing from his nearness and I silently cursed myself. I really didn’t want any kind of feelings for this guy, and here I was wishing he would try to kiss me again. We sat there watching each other for who knows how long before he walked over and sank down on the floor next to me, handing me a small wrapped box. “Merry Christmas Harper.” I picked it up and just stared at it, all I could say was “Why?” “Because you’re my favorite, remember?” he huffed and his lips tilted up a little, “When I saw it, there was no way I couldn’t get it for you. Please open it.” So slowly I probably drove him crazy, I took off the wrapping and opened the little leather box. I gasped when I saw the ring inside there. It was a silver band that wrapped into the trinity symbol on top. I’d always wanted that symbol as a tattoo. I looked up at Chase and shook my head in wonder. “How did you know?” “You doodle it on everything put in front of you.” He was right of course, if I had a pen and paper or napkin, it always ended up on there at some point. I just hadn’t realized anyone other than Brandon noticed that, especially him. “Chase …” I couldn’t hold them back any longer, tears started falling down my cheeks and I quickly dropped my head hoping he wouldn’t notice. He did. “Don’t cry Harper. If you don’t like it, or you don’t like that it’s from me I’ll take it back.” My laugh sounded more like a sob than anything else. “I love it, please don’t take it.” “Then what’s wrong?” He tilted my head up and brushed away a few tears with his thumbs. I had to force myself to not lean into his hands, it was the first time we’d had any type of physical contact in over a month. He was a whole new kind of Chase on Sundays, but I’d never seen him like this. So gentle and kind. It made my entire being crave him. “I’ve never had this before. Not just the presents … the love that your family has for me. I’ve never had it until now, and it’s so overwhelming. I don’t know what I did to deserve it and I don’t know if I show them that too.” “You do. Trust me.” He searched my face for a long time and wiped the remaining tears from my cheeks. “You’re special Harper, it’s not hard to love you.
Molly McAdams (Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1))
Jane felt limp and sated and thoroughly wicked as she snuggled against Dom. They were still joined below, though he’d begun to soften inside her. Still, how naughty it was to be here like this, how deliciously carnal to have made love while they were both half-dressed. Why, Dom still even wore his cravat! She didn’t know why that excited her, though it did. But not as much as Dom saying “please” over and over. Letting her take control of their lovemaking. Even encouraging her to do it. And not nearly as much as Dom asking her to marry him. Well, he didn’t really ask, exactly. He demanded it yet again. But he’d said “please,” and that made all the difference. Especially since he’d then asked her to love him. Silly man. As if she had any choice in the matter. “I do love you, you know,” she whispered. “I can’t help myself. I fell in love with you practically from the moment we met, and I never stopped.” “I love you, too, sweeting,” he murmured into her shoulder. “Always have, always will.” Her heart thundered in her chest. She’d waited so long to hear those words again, she could scarcely believe them. She pulled back to search his face. “Truly?” “Truly.” With infinite tenderness, he brushed her fringe of curls from her eyes. “I tried so hard to forget you after we parted. But I couldn’t. Not for one day.” That earned him a long kiss…that, and the prospect of him as hers. Her very own husband. Oh, yes. She could let herself think it now. They could marry at once, or at least as soon as this business with Nancy was over. Nancy! Oh, Lord, she’d forgotten all about her cousin. Sliding off him, she frantically sought to put her clothing to rights. “You don’t think that Meredith returned while we were…you know…” “No.” A faint amusement lightened his tone as he tucked himself back into his drawers and buttoned them. “The man I spoke to said she and her family return at seven every night.” He pulled out his pocket watch. “It’s only six now.” “Thank heaven.” She tugged her skirts and petticoats into place and patted her hair. “I do wish that hackney coaches came with mirrors.” Dom’s eyes gleamed at her. “Be glad I didn’t take your hair down completely, while I was mauling you with all the self-control of some half-grown lad.” She shot him a teasing glance. “I didn’t mind. You maul very well. And making love in a carriage, with the world passing by unsuspecting, was rather…well…thrilling.” “I can do without that kind of thrill, frankly. If anyone had discovered us…” He shuddered. “Next time we make love, it will be in a bed, and I will treat you with the tenderness you deserve.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
A few hours later, Jane came out of her boudoir to find her husband in his dressing gown, stretched out across the bed reading the newspaper and idly petting their spaniel Little Archer, a pup from Mrs. Patch’s brood. Seizing the moment, Little Archer leapt off the bed and into her dressing room, where he could chew up slippers to his heart’s content. Dom, however, didn’t even look up as she entered. “They’re calling this the most elegant coronation in history.” He snorted. “I noticed there’s no mention of its being the most interminable.” “Dom,” she purred as she closed the dog into the dressing room for the moment. “All that pomp and circumstance is so tedious.” Still reading, he turned the page of the newspaper. “Ravenswood told me that King William is determined to make sure that parliamentary reform is enacted.” She walked languidly forward. “Dom.” He snapped the paper to straighten it. “It’s about bloody time. I should think--” “Dom!” she practically shouted. “Hmm?” He glanced up, then frowned. “Why are you wearing your coronation robe?” “I was cold,” she said with a teasing smile. She let the robe fall open. “Since I have nothing on underneath.” Dom stared, then gulped. Unsurprisingly, his staff jerked instantly to attention. “If you’re trying to torture me,” he said hoarsely, “you’re doing a good job of it.” She sashayed toward the bed, letting the velvet and ermine robe swing about her. “No torture intended.” She put one knee on the bed. “Dr. Worth said I may resume relations with my husband whenever I am ready.” He blinked, then rose to his knees and seized her about the waist. “May I assume that you’re ready?” he rasped as he brushed a kiss to her cheek. “You have no idea.” She met his mouth with hers. They kissed a long moment, a hot, heavenly kiss that reminded her of how very talented her husband was at this aspect of marriage. She untied his dressing gown and shoved it off his shoulders. He had just finished tearing off his drawers when she shoved him down onto the bed. His eyes lit up as she hovered over him. “Ah, so it’s to be like that, my wicked little seductress?” “Oh, yes.” She grinned at him. “I do so enjoy having a viscount fall before me.” She started to remove her robe, but he stayed her with his hand. “Don’t.” He raked her with a heated glance. “Next session of parliament, I’ll endure the boredom of the endless speeches by imagining you seducing me in all your pomp and circumstance.” “My pomp is nothing to yours, my love,” she murmured as she caught his rampant flesh in her hand. “Yours is quite…er…pompous.” “That’s what happens if the viscount falls.” He thrust against her hand. “His pomp always rises.” And as she laughed, they created a pomp and circumstance all their own.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
In the course of my discussion with Ravenswood, I tried to get him to tell me how you got your scar, but he wouldn’t. He said I’d have to ask you.” Jane’s words came suddenly into his head: That’s why you haven’t shared this with your own family? That’s why you keep all of us out? Because you think it was your fault? Oh, my sweet darling, none of it was your fault. When Dom didn’t answer right away, Tristan went on, “I told Ravenswood you’d always brushed off the question with some nonsense about a fight you got into. But that isn’t true, I assume.” Dom ventured a glance at his brother and winced to see the hurt on his face. Jane had said, Every time you refuse to reveal your secrets, Dom, I assume that you find me unworthy to hear them. Apparently, that was how he’d made all of them feel. As if he were somehow too important to let them into his life. Only God could have stopped this disaster, and contrary to what you think, you aren’t God. When she’d said it, he hadn’t understood why she would accuse him of such a thing. Why she sometimes called him “Dom the Almighty.” But he understood now. By shielding his guilt from the world, he’d shut himself off from his family. From her. He’d pushed away the very people he should have embraced. Having just watched Jane retreat into fear and shut him out, he now knew precisely how painful it could feel to be on the receiving end. If he wanted to change all that, he would have to start opening his heart, letting his family--and her--see the things he was most ashamed of, most worried about. He would have to trust them to understand, to empathize, to love him in spite of everything. The only other choice was to keep closing himself up until, as she’d said at that ball last year: One day that church you’re building around yourself shall become your crypt. He didn’t want that. He took a steadying breath as he and Tristan walked up the steps to Ravenswood’s manor house. “As it happens, I did receive my scar in a fight. But it was a fight against the militia at the Peterloo Massacre.” When Tristan shot him a startled look, Dom halted at the top of the steps to face him. “If you want to hear the story, I’ll tell you all about it. Right now, if you wish.” Tristan searched his face, as if not quite sure he believed what he was hearing. “I’d like that very much.” Then he broke into a grin. “But only if we do it over a glass of Ravenswood’s brandy. That’s the best damned brandy I’ve ever tasted.” “One of the privileges of being a spymaster is that you can get your hands on the good stuff,” Dom said lightly, though his stomach churned at the thought of revealing his most humiliating secret, even to his brother. Still, as they headed inside, Tristan clapped him on the shoulder, and that reassured him. Telling Tristan about Peterloo represented a beginning of sorts, toward a closer friendship than Dom had allowed himself to have with his brother in recent years. Jane would be proud.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
He stared down at her for a moment, wanting to heal every cut on her soft skin. But he couldn’t, not yet. He needed to get her, and her car, far from this place so neither he nor Kate would be implicated in any way with the gruesome murder site. It also meant he would have to drive. In all his years, he had never driven an automobile. The closest he had come was watching various assistants through the years as they chauffeured him. He wasn’t sure he could even remember how to start the car, but right now he had no choice. Grudgingly, he got into the driver’s seat, and finding the lever underneath, he pushed it back so he sat comfortably behind the wheel. After trying three different keys, he found one that slipped into the ignition. From what he had seen over the past hundred years, driving was not a complex operation, and he was an immortal with reflexes far more keen than a human man. How difficult could it be? He turned the key and nearly jerked the wheel off the steering column when the car surprised him by lurching forward. The car went silent. The engine wasn’t running. What was he doing wrong? He stared at the gearshift, wondering if he should move it. His frustration reared up, but his agitation would not make the car drive itself. He had to keep a cool head. Not knowing what else to try, he pushed one of the pedals at his feet to the floor and turned the key again. This time the car didn’t move, and it roared to life. Grasping the gearshift, he jammed it into the first position and glanced over at Kate. Why couldn’t she have owned a car with an automatic transmission? Shaking his head, he put some pressure on the gas pedal and slowly released the clutch. Thankfully the car rolled a few feet, but without warning it jumped forward. He pressed the clutch back to the floor before the engine lost power again. Calisto slammed his hand against the wheel, muttering under his breath in Spanish. At this rate it would take him all night to drive her home. The faded yellow convertible pitched forward again, threatening to stall as he continued out of the parking lot, thankful it was late. The streets were fairly empty. At least he wouldn’t get into an accident with another car. Her car staggered ahead, lurching each time he tried to release the clutch, bouncing and jostling them both until Kate finally stirred and woke up. § “Are we out of gas or something?” Calisto watched her with a tight smile. “Not exactly.” Kate winced in pain when she laughed. “You can’t drive a stickshift, can you?” “Does it show?” Calisto pulled over, finally allowing the engine to stall. She nodded her head slowly to avoid more pain. “Just a little. What happened?” “You don’t remember?” “I remember being mugged. And I remember seeing you, but everything after that is blank.” She watched his eyes as Calisto reached over to brush her hair back from her face, and his touch sent shivers through her body. This wasn’t how she had hoped she would run into him, but she learned a long time ago fate didn’t always work out the way you expected.
Lisa Kessler (Night Walker (Night, #1))
Dom rose from his kneeling position, a keen hunger shining in his eyes. “Was that wicked enough for you, sweeting?” he drawled as he used his cravat to wipe his mouth. With her heart thundering loudly in her ears and her breathing staggered, it took her a moment to answer. “Not quite,” she managed, then tugged at the waistband of his drawers. “You still have these on.” That seemed to startle him. Then one corner of his lips quirked up. “I never guessed you were such a greedy little--“ “Wanton?” she asked before he could accuse her of being one. But he just shot her a smoldering smile. “Siren.” “Oh.” She liked that word much better. Feeling her oats, she gestured to his drawers. “So take them off.” With a laugh, he did so. “There, my lusty beauty. You have your wish.” “Yes…yes, I do.” Now she could study him to her heart’s content. But the reality was rather sobering. His member, jutting from a nest of dark curls, couldn’t possibly be hidden behind a tiny fig leaf like the ones on statues. “Oh my. It’s even bigger and more…er…thrusting without the drawers.” “Are you rethinking your plan for seduction now?” he asked, with a decided tension in his voice. “No.” She cast him a game smile. “Just…reassessing the…er…fit.” “It’s not as fearsome as it looks.” “Good,” she said lightly, only half joking. She looped her arms about his neck. “Because I’m not as fearless as I look.” “You’re a great deal more fearless than you realize,” he murmured. “But this may cause you some pain.” She swallowed her apprehension. “I know. You can’t protect me from everything.” “No. But I can try to make it worth your trouble.” And before she could respond to that, he was kissing her so sweetly and caressing her so deftly that within moments he had her squirming and yearning for more. Only then did he attempt to breach her fortress by sliding into her. To her immense relief, there was only a piercing pop of discomfort before he was filling her flesh with his. All ten feet of it. Or that’s what it felt like, anyway. She gripped his arms. Hard. He didn’t seem to notice, for he inched farther in, his breath beating hot against her hair. “God, Jane, you’re exactly as I imagined. Only better.” “You’re exactly…as I imagined,” she said in a strained tone. “Only bigger.” That got his attention. He drew back to stare at her. “Are you all right?” She forced a smile. “Now I’m rethinking the seduction.” He brushed a kiss to her forehead. “Let’s see what I can do about that.” He grabbed her beneath her thighs. “Hook your legs around mine if you can.” When she did, the pressure eased some, and she let out a breath. “Better?” he rasped. She nodded. Covering her breast with his hand, he kneaded it gently as he pushed farther into her below. “It will feel even better if you can relax.” Relax? Might as well ask a tree to ignore the ax biting into it. “I’ll try,” she murmured. She forced herself to concentrate on other things than his very thick thing--like how he was touching her, how he was fondling her…how amazing it felt to be joined so intimately to the man she’d been waiting nearly half her life for.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
Last year I had a very unusual experience. I was awake, with my eyes closed, when I had a dream. It was a small dream about time. I was dead, I guess, in deep blank space high up above many white stars. My own consciousness had been disclosed to me, and I was happy. Then I saw far below me a long, curved band of color. As I came closer, I saw that it stretched endlessly in either direction, and I understood that I was seeing all the time of the planet where I had lived. It looked like a woman’s tweed scarf; the longer I studied any one spot, the more dots of color I saw. There was no end to the deepness and variety of dots. At length I started to look for my time, but, although more and more specks of color and deeper and more intricate textures appeared in the fabric, I couldn’t find my time, or any time at all that I recognized as being near my time. I couldn’t make out so much as a pyramid. Yet as I looked at the band of time, all the individual people, I understood with special clarity, were living at that very moment with great emotion, in intricate, detail, in their individual times and places, and they were dying and being replaced by ever more people, one by one, like stitches in which wholly worlds of feeling and energy were wrapped in a never-ending cloth. I remembered suddenly the color and texture of our life as we knew it- these things had been utterly forgotten- and I thought as I searched for it on the limitless band, “that was a good time then, a good time to be living.” And I began to remember our time. I recalled green fields with carrots growing, one by one, in slender rows. Men and women in bright vests and scarves came and pulled the carrots out of the soil and carried them in baskets to shaded kitchens, where they scrubbed them with yellow brushes under running water. I saw white-faced cattle lowing and wading in creeks. I saw May apples in forests, erupting through leaf-strewn paths. Cells on the root hairs of sycamores split and divided, and apples grew spotted and striped in the fall. Mountains kept their cool caves and squirrels raced home to their nests through sunlight and shade. I remembered the ocean, and I seemed to be in the ocean myself, swimming over orange crabs that looked like coral, or off the deep Atlantic banks where whitefish school. Or again I saw the tops of poplars, and the whole sky brushed with clouds in pallid streaks, under which wild ducks flew with outstretched necks, and called, one by one, and flew on. All these things I saw. Scenes grew in depth and sunlit detail before my eyes, and were replaced by ever more scenes, as I remember the life of my time with increasing feeling. At last I saw the earth as a globe in space, and I recalled the ocean’s shape and the form of continents, saying to myself with surprise as I looked at the planet, “yes, that’s how it was then, that part there was called France.” I was filled with the deep affection of nostalgia- and then I opened my eyes. We all ought to be able to conjure up sights like these at will, so that we can keep in mind the scope of texture’s motion in time.
Annie Dillard
Madison’s enthralled from the very first moment. I’m sitting on the blanket, my legs stretched out, while Kennedy lays down, her head in my lap. I cringe my way through the movie, absently stroking Kennedy’s hair. I glance down at her after a while, realizing she’s not watching the screen, her attention fixed on me. “What’s wrong?” “Nothing,” she says. “It’s just strange.” I caress her flushed cheek. “Being here with me?” “Yes,” she says. “Just when I was starting to doubt I’d ever see you again.” “You didn’t think I’d keep popping up every so often?” “Oh, sure, but that’s not you,” she says. “I knew that guy would keep coming back. I thought I’d be dealing with him for the rest of my life. Drunk, high, out of his mind… but I never thought I’d see you again, real you, yet you’re here. I thought it would always be him.” I know what she means as she motions toward the screen. I can tell I was strung out. It’s painful. “I’m here,” I say, “and I’m not going anywhere.” “I want to believe that.” “You can.” She smiles, and I don’t know if she believes it yet, but she looks content in the moment. I brush my thumb along her lips as they part, and I want to kiss her so fucking bad right now, but I know I’ll catch hell from my daughter if I try. “Ohhhh, Daddy!” Madison says, grabbing my attention, catching me off guard as she launches herself my way. Laughing, Kennedy sits up, moving out of the line of fire as Madison damn near tackles me, leaping on my back and trying to cover my face with her hands from behind. “You’re not supposed to do that!” “What?” I laugh. “I didn’t do anything!” “You’re kissing her!” she says as I pull her hands away from my mouth when she tries to cover it. I playfully pretend to bite her, making her squeal. “Stop, Daddy!” She flings herself on me, falling into my lap, as I glance up at the screen, realizing Breezeo is kissing Maryanne. I scowl, tickling Madison. “It’s just a movie. It’s not real.” She giggles, slapping my hands away. “You didn’t really kiss her?” “Well, yeah, but it doesn’t count.” “Why not?” “Because it’s Breezeo, not me.” “It’s still yucky,” she says, making a face. “You think kissing me is yucky?” I tickle her again, and she struggles, laughing, trying to get away, but I’m not going to let it go that easy. Grabbing ahold of her, pinning her to me, I nuzzle against her cheek as she shoves my face. “Help, Mommy!” “Oh, no, you’re on your own there,” Kennedy says. “You got yourself into that one.” “Ugh, no fair!” Madison says, slapping her hands over my mouth. “No kissing ‘till the end!” “Fine.” I let out a long, exaggerated sigh. “You win.” She sticks her tongue out at me. The girl seriously sticks her tongue out, gloating, as she leaps at her mother and kisses on her—planting big, sloppy kisses right on Kennedy, making sure I see it. She’s gone again then, right back to her movie now that the love scene is over. “Unbelievable.” I shake my head. “I get no love.” Grinning, Kennedy lays back down with her head in my lap. She stares at me, reaching up, her fingertips brushing across my lips. “You be good, and I’ll make it worth it for you later.” I cock an eyebrow at her. “Is that right?
J.M. Darhower (Ghosted)
Wyatt." She tore it open and stood there, drinking him in.Just the sight of him had her heart doing a happy dance in her chest. "Don't throw me out." He lifted a hand. "I come in peace.With food." When she didn't say a word he added, "Pizza.With all your favorite toppings.Sausage, mushrooms, green..." "Well,then." To hide the unexpected tears that sprang to her eyes,she turned away quickly. "Since you went to so much trouble,you may as well come in." "It was no trouble.I just rode a hundred miles on my Harley,fought my way through the smoke screen at the Fortune Saloon,had to fend off Daffy's attempts to have her way with me, and discovered that I'd left my wallet back at the ranch,which meant I had to sign away my life before Vi would turn over this pizza,wine,and dessert. But hey, no trouble at all.It's the sort of thing I do nearly every day." He followed her to the kitchen, where he set down the pizza box and a brown bag. He glanced over at the stove. "Are you going to lift that kettle, or did I interrupt you making a recording of you whistling along with it in harmony?" Despite her tears,she found herself laughing hysterically at his silly banter. Oh,how she'd missed it. He set the kettle aside.The sudden silence was shocking. Because she had her back to him, he fought the urge to touch her.Instead he studied the way her shoulders were shaking. Troubled,he realized he'd made her cry. "Sorry." Deflated,his tone lowered. "I guess this was a bad idea." "Wyatt." He paused. "It was a good idea.A very good idea." She turned,and he saw the tears coursing down her cheeks. "Oh,God,Marilee,I'm sorry.I didn't mean to make you..." "I'm not crying." She brushed furiously at the tears. "I mean I was,but then you made me laugh and..." "This is how you laugh?" He caught her by the shoulders and held her a little away. "Woman,I didn't realize just how weird you are. Wait a minute.Do you think being weird might be contagious? Maybe I ought to get out of here before I turn weird,too." The more she laughed,the harder the tears fell. Through a torrent of tears she wrapped her arms around his waist and held on, burying her face in his neck. "You can't leave.I won't let you." He tipped up her face,wiping her tears with his thumbs. "You mean that? You really don't want me to go?" "I don't.I really want you to stay, Wyatt." "For dinner?" "And more." "Dessert?" "And more." His smile was quick and dangerous. "I'm beginning to like the 'and more.'" She smiled through her tears. "Me,too." "Maybe we could have the 'and more' as an appetizer, before the pizza." Her laughter bubbled up and over, wrapping itself around his heart. "Oh, how I've missed your silly sense of humor." "You have?" "I have.I've missed everything about you." "Everything?" He leaned close to nibble her ear,sending a series of delicious shivers along her spine. "Everything." Catching his hand,she led him to the bedroom. "I worked very hard today making up the bed with fresh linens. Want to be the first to mess it up?" He looked from the bed to her and then back again. "Oh,yeah." He drew her close and brushed her mouth with his. Just a soft,butterfly kiss, but she felt it all the way to her toes. "I mean I want to really, really mess it up." "Me,t..." And then there was no need for words.
R.C. Ryan (Montana Destiny)
DANCING ANGELS During October 2001, the Lord began to speak to me about traveling to Newfoundland, Canada. I had no desire to go there, especially in the middle of the winter! At this time I was still concerned about my inability to “feel the Lord” and began to press into God all the more. At times I locked myself into the little house and fasted and prayed for up to seven days, or until the presence of God fell. After many confirmations in the spirit, I pooled all of my earthly wealth and made the trip to the great white North. The night before I was to depart, the Lord instructed me to “pray in tongues all the way to Newfoundland.” Somehow through the grace of God I succeeded in praying in the Spirit for about 18 hours until I touched down in Canada. In Springdale, Newfoundland, Canada, the Lord began instructing me to complete a series of prophetic actions. I attended an intercessory prayer meeting on Wednesday, November 21. We were interceding for an upcoming series of healing meetings. During this meeting, I began to “see” into the spirit. As the Lord opened my spiritual eyes, I incrementally saw the heavens open over Living Waters Ministries Church. In addition to this, I also began to hear angelic voices singing along with the worship team. At one point during the meeting, I saw a stream of golden oil pour out from Heaven and land on a certain spot in the sanctuary. At the leading of the Lord, I knelt upon that spot. The glory and anointing began to flow into and over my body. The sensation and anointing was very similar to what I experienced when the angel put his hands upon me the night of August 22, 2001. As I knelt under the spot where the golden oil was beginning to pour onto the altar, I was praying earnestly. I could feel the liquid oil raining down on my body. I could sense and smell this heavenly oil as it rolled off my head. The Holy Spirit began to talk to me in a very clear and direct way that I had never experienced before. I collapsed onto the carpet in a pool of golden oil and laid there in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Then I sensed angels dancing all around the pool and me. I felt an angel as it brushed its wings across my face. I had a “knowing” that the angel was asking me to raise my hands into the air. When I raised my hands up to about two feet, the angel would push my hands back down with its strong, warm hands. I tried again, and when my hands were almost totally up, the angel tickled my nose with the feathers of its wings. I laughed, and my hands fell. The angel and I continued to interact in this fashion for nearly an hour. I did not actually see this angel, but the force and reality of its touch was very tangible. There was no doubt that I was interacting with a heavenly being. This experience was both refreshing and real. SEEING IS BELIEVING On Thursday, November 22, the healing meetings started; they would last through Sunday, the 25th. In these meetings God began to open my spiritual eyes beyond anything I could have ever imagined. On the first night of these meetings, I began to see an “open heaven” forming in the sanctuary. I could also hear and sense the activity of angels as the heavens continued to open up to a greater degree. On Friday, I began to see “bolts of light” shoot through the church, and again the stream of golden oil was flowing from the open heaven in a greater volume. On Saturday night during the worship service, I began to see feathers falling around the church and
Kevin Basconi (How to Work with Angels in Your Life: The Reality of Angelic Ministry Today (Angels in the Realms of Heaven, Book 2))
I don’t like stories. I like moments. I like night better than day, moon better than sun, and here-and-now better than any sometime-later. I also like birds, mushrooms, the blues, peacock feathers, black cats, blue-eyed people, heraldry, astrology, criminal stories with lots of blood, and ancient epic poems where human heads can hold conversations with former friends and generally have a great time for years after they’ve been cut off. I like good food and good drink, sitting in a hot bath and lounging in a snowbank, wearing everything I own at once, and having everything I need close at hand. I like speed and that special ache in the pit of the stomach when you accelerate to the point of no return. I like to frighten and to be frightened, to amuse and to confound. I like writing on the walls so that no one can guess who did it, and drawing so that no one can guess what it is. I like doing my writing using a ladder or not using it, with a spray can or squeezing the paint from a tube. I like painting with a brush, with a sponge, and with my fingers. I like drawing the outline first and then filling it in completely, so that there’s no empty space left. I like letters as big as myself, but I like very small ones as well. I like directing those who read them here and there by means of arrows, to other places where I also wrote something, but I also like to leave false trails and false signs. I like to tell fortunes with runes, bones, beans, lentils, and I Ching. Hot climates I like in the books and movies; in real life, rain and wind. Generally rain is what I like most of all. Spring rain, summer rain, autumn rain. Any rain, anytime. I like rereading things I’ve read a hundred times over. I like the sound of the harmonica, provided I’m the one playing it. I like lots of pockets, and clothes so worn that they become a kind of second skin instead of something that can be taken off. I like guardian amulets, but specific ones, so that each is responsible for something separate, not the all-inclusive kind. I like drying nettles and garlic and then adding them to anything and everything. I like covering my fingers with rubber cement and then peeling it off in front of everybody. I like sunglasses. Masks, umbrellas, old carved furniture, copper basins, checkered tablecloths, walnut shells, walnuts themselves, wicker chairs, yellowed postcards, gramophones, beads, the faces on triceratopses, yellow dandelions that are orange in the middle, melting snowmen whose carrot noses have fallen off, secret passages, fire-evacuation-route placards; I like fretting when in line at the doctor’s office, and screaming all of a sudden so that everyone around feels bad, and putting my arm or leg on someone when asleep, and scratching mosquito bites, and predicting the weather, keeping small objects behind my ears, receiving letters, playing solitaire, smoking someone else’s cigarettes, and rummaging in old papers and photographs. I like finding something lost so long ago that I’ve forgotten why I needed it in the first place. I like being really loved and being everyone’s last hope, I like my own hands—they are beautiful, I like driving somewhere in the dark using a flashlight, and turning something into something completely different, gluing and attaching things to each other and then being amazed that it actually worked. I like preparing things both edible and not, mixing drinks, tastes, and scents, curing friends of the hiccups by scaring them. There’s an awful lot of stuff I like.
Mariam Petrosyan (Дом, в котором...)
You choose this moment to act like the Abnegation?” His voice fills the room and makes fear prickle in my chest. His anger seems too sudden. Too strange. “All that time you spent insisting that you were too selfish for them, and now, when your life is on the line, you’ve got to be a hero? What’s wrong with you?” “What’s wrong with you? People died. They walked right off the edge of a building! And I can stop it from happening again!” “You’re too important to just…die.” He shakes his head. He won’t even look at me--his eyes keep shifting across my face, to the wall behind me or the ceiling above me, to everything but me. I am too stunned to be angry. “I’m not important. Everyone will do just fine without me,” I say. “Who cares about everyone? What about me?” He lowers his head into his hand, covering his eyes. His fingers are trembling. Then he crosses the room in two long strides and touches his lips to mine. Their gentle pressure erases the past few months, and I am the girl who sat on the rocks next to the chasm, with river spray on her ankles, and kissed him for the first time. I am the girl who grabbed his hand in the hallway just because I wanted to. I pull back, my hand on his chest to keep him away. The problem is, I am also the girl who shot Will and lied about it, and chose between Hector and Marlene, and now a thousand other things besides. And I can’t erase those things. “You would be fine.” I don’t look at him. I stare at his T-shirt between my fingers and the black ink curling around his neck, but I don’t look at his face. “Not at first. But you would move on, and do what you have to.” He wraps an arm around my waist and pulls me against him. “That’s a lie,” he says, before he kisses me again. This is wrong. It’s wrong to forget who I have become, and to let him kiss me when I know what I’m about to do. But I want to. Oh, I want to. I stand on my tiptoes and wrap my arms around him. I press one hand between his shoulder blades and curl the other one around the back of his neck. I can feel his breaths against my palm, his body expanding and contracting, and I know he’s strong, steady, unstoppable. All things I need to be, but I am not, I am not. He walks backward, pulling me with him so I stumble. I stumble right out of my shoes. He sits on the edge of the bed and I stand in front of him, and we’re finally eye to eye. He touches my face, covering my cheeks with his hands, sliding his fingertips down my neck, fitting his fingers to the slight curve of my hips. I can’t stop. I fit my mouth to his, and he tastes like water and smells like fresh air. I drag my hand from his neck to the small of his back, and put it under his shirt. He kisses me harder. I knew he was strong; I didn’t know how strong until I felt it myself, the muscles in his back tightening beneath my fingers. Stop, I tell myself. Suddenly it’s as if we’re in a hurry, his fingertips brushing my side under my shirt, my hands clutching at him, struggling closer but there is no closer. I have never longed for someone this way, or this much. He pulls back just enough to look into my eyes, his eyelids lowered. “Promise me,” he whispers, “that you won’t go. For me. Do this one thing for me.” Could I do that? Could I stay here, fix things with him, let someone else die in my place? Looking up at him, I believe for a moment that I could. And then I see Will. The crease between his eyebrows. The empty, simulation-bound eyes. The slumped body. Do this one thing for me. Tobias’s dark eyes plead with me. But if I don’t go to Erudite, who will? Tobias? It’s the kind of thing he would do. I feel a stab of pain in my chest as I lie to him. “Okay.” “Promise,” he says, frowning. The pain becomes an ache, spreads everywhere--all mixed together, guilt and terror and longing. “I promise.
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
At the thought of Lilli being in the hands of demons, Sophie rested her forehead on the windowsill.  She wondered what was happening to Lilli right then, and if she was even still alive.  A fresh wave of despair crashed over her.  Akeldama was taking everyone she cared about.  Who would be next? “You’re awake.”  Tristan’s voice was deep and husky from sleep.  It rumbled from his chest, slipping through her despair.  She turned and leaned back against the wall, light-headed from just that small movement. Her heart jumped when she realized that he was no longer on the bench, but was now sitting next to her on the bed. “How are you feeling?”  He reached out and brushed a stray strand of hair off of her forehead.  The tenderness in the gesture had Sophie
Samantha Long (Sacred (Guardian #2))
You’re brushing me off.” Two large hands took her by the shoulders and held her as if she might run away. “Don’t do that to me just because I messed up all those years ago.” The curse of the pale-skinned redhead was that they could really blush. Reb’s face throbbed. “This is ridiculous,” she told him. “If you weren’t upset you’d never behave like this. You didn’t mess up anything. I did. You were the one who figured out how to smooth things over, and I thank you for that. Let’s not bring it up again.” “Because it embarrasses you?” he said, dropping his hands. “I’ll say this much and no more. You were the sweetest thing, and I …I liked you for your spontaneity. I never tried to make you understand the way things had to be—at least for a while. I left you thinking you’d done something wrong while I protected myself. Well, the joke was on me because I was the one who lost out. It’s in the past, but I wanted to tell you.
Stella Cameron (Cold Day In July (Bayou, #2))
They have decided to chance it, the healer’s farm being only twenty miles off the main road and in her now, gusts of hope, the morbid gloom of earlier brushed away. Something so sacred about this man using his own blood, as did the Savior.
Edna O'Brien (The Light of Evening)
Listen. Even before I found out about you and Devlen, I realized we couldn’t be together. Now brace yourself, I’m going to use a weather analogy.” I groaned. He quirked a smile. “You’re all energy and excitement and then you blow away. Being with you is like being on the coast, dancing in the storms. Breathless activity, followed by calm. I have that with my job.” He brushed my hair from my eyes. “After you sacrificed your magic I thought you would be content to stay uninvolved in Sitian affairs and be with me. But you rushed off, jumping right back into the maelstrom. I don’t have the energy to deal with storms on both fronts—pun intended. I need someone steadier.” Tears ran down my face. He hugged me. “And I’ll offer to render aid whenever needed because I know you wouldn’t ask. After all, I don’t want to miss out on all the fun.
Maria V. Snyder (Spy Glass (Glass, #3))
She brushes a lock of hair back from her face and winces when she tugs through a snag. “Oh, my gosh. I must look like I’ve been tumbled in a dryer, right? Is it bad?” She starts to sweep through her hair and her hand sticks in another knot. “You wouldn’t happen to have a brush, would you? Crap,” she swears as she encounters a huge snarl. “Wait,” I say. “I’ll get it.” I start to work through the tangle with my fingers and she sits still while I work out every last one. When I’m done, her hair is silky and smooth and I am not ready to stop running my fingers through it, but I probably should. “Don’t stop,” she says quietly. “That feels really good.” She pulls her feet from the water. “Wait,” she says, and she adjusts so that she’s lying over my lap. “You don’t mind, do you?” Hell, at this point, I’d be sad if she made me stop. “It’s fine,” I tell her. She relaxes against me and says, “Talk to me, will you?” Her eyes close and I’m pretty sure if she got any more relaxed, she’d fall asleep. My insides settle in a way they never have before. Usually, I have a roiling, boiling sensation in my chest, like something is fighting to get out of me and I must work to contain it at all times. But now… Now I am at peace. My soul and my heart connect like tumblers lining up in a lock. Snap! It opens up. And it scares the hell out of me. I pull my hands from her hair, thinking that her proximity is the problem. But the tumblers don’t realign. They don’t lock her out. They let her in. They invite her in and offer her a fucking apple pie so she’ll sit and stay for a while. “Are you all right?” she asks. “Why wouldn’t I be?” “You stopped rubbing my hair.” I lift her off my lap and set her beside me. “All the tangles are out.” “Oh.” She sighs. “That’s good.” She suddenly looks uncomfortable and it kills me that I caused it. “Thank you for fixing my hair,” she says quietly.
Tammy Falkner (Yes You (The Reed Brothers #9.5))
How will you know when you have fully recovered? When your body has had enough rest and nourishment that your energy is back and chronic fatigue is not an issue anymore. When your fearful thoughts (which may continue to creep in) don’t send you into the anxious cycle, and you can brush them off knowing that your past has given you enough information that the thing you fear most will not come true. This is just another false alarm. When you stop giving attention to those false alarms, then the many faces of anxiety will recede. When you begin to stop just THINKING positive, thinking that this alone will turn things around. Action is the main element that will turn your anxiety disorder around, in my struggles I was the most anxious positive person ever, but I kept telling myself lies such as things are getting better, things are getting better...THINGS ARE NOT GETTING BETTER, telling yourself the truth that things are not ok and this is not all there is to life, will get you to take massive action and celebrate the smallest victories. When you start taking responsibility for your anxiety disorder. Certain factors such as your childhood environment may actually be a reason for your anxiety disorder that you are experiencing right now, but in the end when you begin to take responsibility for your issues you instantly stop playing the blame game and stop being the victim. Once you take the power back into your own hands, you will begin to recognize that you ALWAYS have a choice in the matter, it just takes time to recondition yourself until desensitization begins. When your thoughts, emotions and physical body are in sync. It may seem that at the moment your thoughts are running out of control, you’re emotionally unstable and you may feel completely fatigued or scared to partake in a daily exercise routine because of fear due to your heart. Once these three things are aligned and the daily struggle to have clear thoughts, to try so hard to be upbeat and the fear of exercising is gone, days feel enjoyable and easy for you again. No more fight or flight out of the blue and no more sweating the small stuff.
Dennis Simsek (Me VS Myself: The Anxiety Guy Tells All)
The next message was from my mom. “What in the hell do I have to do to get my children to call me?” She was missing Chucky. I yelled from my bedroom, “Chuck, did you call Mom back?” He came and stood in the doorway of my room. Through a yawn, he said, “Yeah, she’s having empty-nester pains.” “That’s pathetic. I figured it was more about you than me.” “Your boy had a shitty game.” “I heard,” I said. “Are you working tomorrow?” “No, I don’t work on Sundays. It’s a holy day.” Chucky choked on his Kombucha. “You are the poster child of goodness and virtue.” I was brushing out my hair and inspecting the balayage I had done on it the day before. “I thought you were gonna start being nicer to your landlord?” I said. “Your hair looks good, Charlotte. Seriously. You kind of look like Lily Aldridge now.” “Who’s that?” “Some famous chick.” When Chucky left the room, I immediately Googled Lily Aldridge. She was a model and married to a rock star. I walked over to Chucky’s room, where I found him dozing off in bed. I walked right up to him and smacked him in the head. “What are you doing?” he shouted. “You can’t call me Fatbutt and then say I look like freakin’ Lily Aldridge.” “Okay,” he whined. “I take it back. You look like you ate Lily Aldridge.” “Fuck you, Chucky.” As I walked back to my room he called out, “Love you, Fatbutt!
Renee Carlino (Wish You Were Here)
Dear Teachers, I hope your school year is going pretty well. I hope your classes are not causing you too much trouble and your families are doing well. You might be wondering why you are tagged to this post and what this is all about. It’s Teachers’ Day, the day for being thankful to our teachers. Some of you I had over a decade ago, some of you might not even remember who the heck I am. But if you’re reading this, this is my way of officially thanking you. For what? Let me explain. To the ones who made me love learning as a whole – If you are an elementary school teacher, this goes out to you. You are the reason I am where I am today. If it weren’t for your hard work and dedication to teaching me and every other student what you know, my future would not be as bright as it is now. I chose to go to college because somewhere along the line, you taught me that education is important and I have to strive to help others by educating myself. This is not always easy, but you helped me understand that willingness to learn is one of the most important aspects of a person. For that, I am forever grateful for you and everything you have done for me and so many others. To the ones who helped me find my passions– Writing, training, and helping people are what I love. No matter what I have been through in my life, everything goes back to the fact that in the future, I want to help people and I want to change the world. Writing and creating training programs are what make that happen. It made me realize that in the future, I don’t just want a shiny car, big bungalow, and other material items. I want something that sticks with people for all time – and what better way to do that than to become a writer and write for those who can't write for themselves? Shout out to those teachers who helped me find my passion, and maybe even made an effort to help me pursue it as well. To the ones who taught me more than the textbooks – you honestly saved me. You taught me that learning isn’t always about getting 100s on every test and being the perfect student. You helped me realize that a part of learning means making mistakes. You taught me that brushing yourself off, getting back up, and trying again is essential to get anywhere in this world. I grew up being the smart kid who never had to study and when the going got tough, I didn’t always know how to respond. You helped me with my problem solving skills and fixing things that needed fixing. This isn’t necessarily always talking about school, but life in general. You taught me that my value was not depicted by my score on a test, but rather who I was as a person. It is hard to put into words, but some of you honestly are the reason I am here today – succeeding in my first semester of college, off to university before I know it. Thank you so much. To the ones who didn’t know I could talk – I’m sorry I didn’t speak up more in your class. Many of you knew I had a lot to say, but knew I did not know how to say it or how to get the thoughts out. I promise you, even though you could not hear it, I am thankful for you - thankful that you did not force me out of my comfort zone. I know that may not sound like much, but when you have as much of a fear of speaking out as I do, that is such a big deal. Thank you for working with me and realizing that someone does not need to speak in order to have knowledge in their mind. Thank you for not basing my intelligence on my ability to present that information. It means a lot more than you will ever realize. To the ones who don’t know why you made this list – Congratulations. Somewhere along the way, you impacted me in a way I felt was worth acknowledging you for. Maybe you said something in class that resonated with me and changed my outlook on a situation, or life in general. Maybe you just asked me if I was okay after class one day. If you’re sitting there scratching your head, wondering how you changed my life, please just know you did.
Nitya Prakash
Jacob!” I call, not minding when my voice echoes off the library building, so loud he and his friends turn to me. For once, Jacob doesn’t look sure what he wants to do, whether he wants to stop or keep going. But I do. I know. I shut the car door behind me and venture into the Unknown. His walls are up, fortified by days and days of silence. To my relief, while his face is carefully blank, he doesn’t turn away when I near. I feel his friends, both guys and girls, watching me. And I realize this might be a colossal mistake, a public humiliation. Maybe Jacob is seeing someone else now. Maybe he’ll never forgive me. His friends draw behind him like bodyguards. I have no words, just myself and this piece of used paper, which I hold out to him. Jacob takes my note silently and reads the two coordinates. “What’s this?” he asks gruffly. This is what I want, I tell myself. He, of all people, is worth this risk of being transparent, of letting him know how I feel, what I want. So despite his friends who are watching, I straighten, throw my hair over my shoulder, and stand before him, utterly vulnerable. “A geocache,” I say. “A geocache.” “If you’ve got the guts to find it.” For the first time, his eyes glint with something like amusement, something like curiosity. “Well,” he drawls, “that depends on the cache.” I shrug and shake my head. “It’s a new one. No one has ever found it.” “So tell me more.” “It’d take . . . oh, gosh, an entire day at least to tell you all about it.” “I’ve got time,” he says easily. “Give me a clue.” “You?” I ask in mock horror. “You, an expert geocacher, are asking for a clue?” “For especially gnarly caches, I make exceptions.” “Gnarly?” I frown. “Complicated,” he amends. The beginning of his crooked smile begins to form, and the murky Unknown solidifies into familiar terrain. “So what’s the cache called?” That, I hadn’t prepped for. So I improvise: “I’m a Moron and I’m So Sorry. But then really good geocachers know it by its nickname: I’ve Missed You So Much.” A breeze tangles my hair, and when Jacob reaches out to brush a strand off my cheek, the tension releases in me.
Justina Chen (North of Beautiful)
You are a good man, Ioan,” she said to him. “By all appearances, a fine and capable leader as well. A queen could do well with a man such as you by her side.” Christian’s ears perked up at her words. Even though his body was throbbing from pain, he didn’t miss the look of heat that came into Ioan’s eyes, or the speculative gleam in Adara’s. It made his vision dim. Ioan gave her a hot, seductive smile. “I appreciate your compliment, Majesty. While we await your quarters being prepared, would you like to have something to eat?” His wife all but preened under the Welshman’s look. “Aye, my lord. We are truly famished and your kindness would be most appreciated.” Christian’s sight dimmed even more as he watched her coy smile. She even batted her eyelashes. This was more than he could stand. “Abbot?” Phantom asked. “Are you all right?” “I am fine,” he said from between clenched teeth. Phantom scoffed. “Whatever you say.” “He looks ill to me,” Lutian said. “Rather green and red. Can’t tell if he’s angry or vomitous.” Christian slanted a look at the fool that had him retreating. Adara felt a modicum of satisfaction at her husband’s ill humor until she saw the reddish stain that was barely discernible through the black cloth of his robe. “You’re bleeding,” she said sternly, moving to stand beside him. Christian tried to brush her off, but she would have none of it. Her anger flared. “Cease with your stubbornness, Christian. Your wounds need to be tended.” He glared at her. She glared back. Ioan whistled low. “Phantom, who is the queen, that Christian would tolerate her thusly?” Phantom folded his arms over his chest as he watched them. “His wife.” “Only until our marriage is annulled,” Christian snapped. Adara put her hands on her hips as she continued to glower at him. “Well, if you stand there until you bleed to death, we won’t need an annulment, now, will we?” Phantom sucked his breath between his teeth. “The queen has gotten a bit snippy, eh?” Christian looked to Ioan. “Have you a healer in your company?” Ioan snorted at that as he looked back and forth from Christian to Adara. “Heed my words well, Abbot, no man who possesses his full sense will ever come between a woman and her husband.” -Adara, Ioan, Phantom, Christian, & Lutian
Kinley MacGregor (Return of the Warrior (Brotherhood of the Sword #6))
I think about how many people I know who try to brush off the fact that their ‘agenda’ might be something that exists. That it might be to tell a story that isn’t just the same as everyone else’s. The very idea of being accused of an agenda in itself: what a horrifying prospect. The idea that people might want to be heard! It was as if Karla, right there, had screamed at the top of her voice over almost everyone in the games industry. I have an agenda. I have a fucking agenda. I imagine her standing in front of an audience made up of everyone in attendance at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and pointing at people: ‘YOU have an agenda. And YOU have an agenda. And YOU have one too. I HAVE A FUCKING AGENDA.
Cate Meredith (Embed With Games: A Year on the Couch with Game Developers)
Surely a young beauty like yourself is lonely, too. It can be a part of the game, if you like.” “Get off,” she said, thoroughly done with this. His answer was to lean in closer. So she kneed him in the groin. As hard as she could. “Aw, ow, dammit!” He doubled over and thudded onto his knees. Jane brushed off her knee, feeling like it had touched something dirty. “Aw, ow, dammit indeed! What’re you thinking?” Jane heard hurried footsteps coming down the stairs. It was Mr. Nobley. “Miss Erstwhile!” He was barefoot in his breeches, his shirt untucked. He glanced down at the groaning man. “Sir Templeton!” “Ow, she kicked me,” said Sir Templeton. “Kneed him, I kneed him,” Jane said. “I don’t kick. Not even when I’m a ninja.” Mr. Nobley stood a moment in silence, looking over the scene. “I hope you remembered to shout ‘Ya’ when taking him down. I hear that is very effective.” “I’m afraid I neglected that bit, but I’ll certainly ‘ya’ from here to London if he ever touches me again.” “Miss Erstwhile, were you perhaps employed by your president’s armed forces in America?” “What? Don’t British women know how to use their knees?” “Happily, I have never put myself in a position to find out.” He stared at the prostrate Sir Templeton. “Did he hurt you?” “Frankly, your arm-yanking earlier was worse.” “I see. Perhaps you should retire to your chambers, Miss Erstwhile. Would you like me to escort you?” “I’m fine,” she said, “as long as there aren’t any other Sir Templetons lurking upstairs.” “Well, I cannot give Colonel Andrews a glowing reference, but I believe the way is safe.” She stepped closer to Mr. Nobley and whispered, “Are you going to out me to Mrs. Wattlesbrook for the servants’ quarters lurking?” “I think,” he said, nudging the prostrate Sir Templeton with his foot, “that you have suffered enough tonight.” Mr. Nobley smiled at her, the first time she had seen his real smile. She wouldn’t go so far as to call it a grin. His lips were closed, but his eyes brightened and the corners of his mouth definitely turned up, creating pleasing little cheek wrinkles on either side as though the smile were in parentheses. It bothered her in a way she couldn’t explain, like feeling itchy but not knowing exactly where to scratch. He was not particularly amused, she saw, but smiled to reassure her. Wait, who wanted to reassure her? Mr. Nobley or the actual man, Actor X? “Thanks. Good night, Mr. Nobley.” “Good night, Miss Erstwhile.” She hesitated, then left, Sir Templeton’s groans following her up the stairs. On the second floor, Aunt Saffronia was emerging from her room, clutching a white shawl over her nightgown. “What was that noise? Is everything all right?” “Yes. It was…your husband. He was being inappropriate.” Aunt Saffronia blinked. “Inebriated?” “Yes.” She nodded slowly. “I’m sorry, Jane.” Jane wasn’t sure if Aunt Saffronia was speaking to Jane the niece or Jane the client. For the first time it didn’t matter; both Janes felt exactly the same. She acknowledged the apology with a nod, went to her room, and locked the door behind her. She thought she was angry but instead she plopped herself down on her bed, put her face in her pillow, and laughed. “What a joke,” she said, sounding to herself like the movie incarnation of Lydia Bennet. “I come for Mr. Darcy, fall for the gardener, and get propositioned by the drunk husband.” Tomorrow would be different. Tomorrow she would play for real. She was going to drive full force into the game, have a staggering good time, and kick the nasty Darcy habit for good. She fell asleep with the ticklish thought of Mr. Nobley’s smile.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
Why isn’t the captain of your guard traveling with us…with you?” He chuckled in response. “He stays behind with my men to guard Munro lands in my absence. I can nae leave my clan and lands unprotected.” “I understand, but what about your safety?” “Now lass, ye would nae be questioning my prowess on the battlefield, would ye?” When she took a sharp intake of breath, he smiled, and she realized he was jesting. “Many men will nae approach or engage me because of my looks. Ye witnessed that nae long ago with the Sutherland guard. Sometimes being nae fair of face has its advantages.” “I believe true beauty comes from within, and I don’t think men stay away from you because you think you are not a comely man. I’m certain their behavior has more to do with the fact that you’re the size of a mountain.” Brushing her skirts, Elizabeth wiped off imaginary dirt. “How many days will you be staying with us before you and my brothers-in-law attend court?” “I doona know. It depends on when we arrive, a few days mayhap.” “Have you been to court before?” “Aye, more times than I care to count.” There was strong censure in his tone. “I’ve never had the chance. Grace attended a few times, and then we moved to Scotland.” “Ye’re nae missing anything. In truth, ’tis nay place for a young lass.” “Then I guess I’m in luck because I’m eighteen now.” When a questioning expression crossed his face, she quickly rose. She wasn’t certain what provoked her sudden flare of temper, but between Uncle Walter, Grace, and the unexplained emotions raging within her about Ian, her voice became laced with sarcasm. “It’s getting late and past the bedtime for a young lass.” Ian flew to his feet. For such a large man, he moved faster than she would’ve expected. He loomed over her and grabbed her arm to stay her. “Wait. That’s nae what I meant.” There was a heavy silence. “Then what did you mean?” When he didn’t respond and released his grip, she met his gaze. “Have a pleasant evening, Laird Munro.” She turned on her heel and did not look back. As she walked away, she almost laughed at the irony. That’s what she should’ve done years ago. At least now she was determined to leave the past where it belonged. She was traveling home to England, and that’s where her future lie.
Victoria Roberts (Kill or Be Kilt (Highland Spies, #3))
WOMAN!” I SHOUTED, and shook Rachel’s bed roughly. “Wake up.” She shot straight up, her eyes wide in panic as she looked around her room before settling them on me. “God, I thought earthquakes had followed me to Texas.” Taking a calming breath, she brushed her wild hair back from her face and scowled at me. “What is wrong with you? And what time is it—seven? Really, Kash?” “Get up and get ready.” “No.” Pulling the covers up past her shoulders, she sank back into the mattress and shut her eyes. Hell. No. “This is your last warning, Rach. Get up.” A single snort was her only reply. “Such a pain in my ass,” I mumbled, and walked to the foot of the bed. Grabbing the bottom of the comforter, I ripped it off the bed and dropped it on the ground. “Oh my God, what if I had been naked?!” I raised an eyebrow and let my gaze run over her body. I wouldn’t have minded. Ah shit, now I was getting hard and the jersey material of these shorts wouldn’t hide that fact. Think about Mrs. Adams and her fake cats. Think about Mrs. Adams and her fake cats! “Moot point; you’re not. Now, get your ass out of bed.” “Give me at least another couple hours. I just went to sleep.” “Not my fault, and you’ve had more than enough chances to get up yourself.” “Kash, please,” she whined. “Don’t whine. It’s not attractive.” Without giving her any more time, I scooped her into my arms and threw her over my shoulder before heading toward her bathroom. A low oompf left her before she began bitching at me. “I am going to gut you, you freakin’ asshole! Seven in the damn morning, what the hell is wrong with you?! Put me down—ugh! Easy, this shit hurts. You have really bony shoulders, has anyone ever told you that?” She gasped when I turned the shower water on. “Put me down right now, Logan Hendricks, or I swear to all that is holy you will regret the day you moved in across from me and almost took my Jeep door off!” “No can do, my little Sour Patch.” Thank God I was still only in my workout shorts. Kicking off my running shoes, I stepped into the large tub and winced when she shrieked. “You evil bastard, let me go!” “You sure have a mouth on you when you wake up.” “I will murder you!” I couldn’t help but smile. She was just so damn cute. “And you’re a little dramatic.” “This water is freezing,” she whined, and I’d bet she was pouting just as bad as Candice usually did. At least her anger was dying down and her fists had stopped pounding on my back. “What did I ever do to you?” “I gave you every opportunity to get yourself ready. You were the one who wouldn’t get out of bed.” “I had barely gone to sleep!” “Rach,” I snorted, “it’s seven in the morning and you left my place at nine last night. Why had you just gone to sleep?” She didn’t answer and stopped wiggling against me. She just hung there, limp. “What—no more threats? No more whining?” Silence. “Woman, I swear to God, if you fell asleep on my damn shoulder . . .” I trailed off when I heard her mumble something. “What’d you say?” “I was afraid to fall back asleep,” she whispered, and my eyes clenched shut. “Ah, Rach.” I slid her awkwardly down my body until she was standing in front of me. I tried to block the water that was directed at her, but little droplets were bouncing off my bare shoulders and hitting her face. She blinked rapidly against them before dropping her head. “Why didn’t you call me or something?” She huffed and shook her head. “What for, Kash? To make you sit there with me in sweats longer? So you could act like what happened yesterday morning didn’t? I don’t need you to babysit me when I’m being ridiculous.” “That’s not ridiculous.
Molly McAdams (Forgiving Lies (Forgiving Lies, #1))
Do you ever think about makin’ love to me?” He slides off a sock before I even answer his question. “Yes,” she answers. “Do you think about making love with me?” I lie awake most nights, fantasizing about sleeping next to her…loving her. “Right now, muñeca, makin’ love to you is the only thing on my mind.” I check my watch. I’ve got to go soon. Drug dealers don’t give a shit about your personal life. I can’t be late, but I want Brittany so damn bad. “Your coat’s next. You sure you want to keep goin’?” I slip off my other sock. The only things preventing me from being naked are my jeans and briefs. “Yes, I want to keep going.” She smiles wide, her beautiful pink lips glistening in the light. “Turn off the lights before I…take my coat off.” I turn off the shop lights, watching as she stands on the blanket and unbuttons her coat with trembling fingers. I’m in a trance, especially when she looks at me with those clear eyes shining with desire. As she opens her coat slowly, my eyes are fixed on the present inside. She walks toward me, then trips on a discarded shoe. I catch her, then place her on the soft blanket and settle atop her. “Thanks for breaking my fall,” she says breathlessly. I brush a strand of hair from her face, then move beside her. When she wraps her arms around my neck, all I want to do is protect this girl for the rest of my life. I ease her jacket open and lean away. A pink lace bra stares back at me. Nothing else. “Como un ángel,” I whisper. “Is our game over?” she asks nervously. “It’s definitely over, querida. ’Cause what we’re gonna do next is no game.
Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1))
As she neared the bed Lord Gareth reached out, took her hand, and kissed it. "You're ... an angel," he said thickly, his fingers warmly enclosing her own. She smiled. "And you, Lord Gareth, are foxed." "Shamefully so. But useful, under the circumstances." "Are you in much pain?" He grinned, still holding her hand. "To be honest, Miss Paige, I cannot feel a thing." Behind her, Chilcot guffawed, but Juliet, entranced, never heard it. As Gareth gazed up at her through the loose hair that fell endearingly over his brow and tangled in his lashes, she saw, at last, that his eyes were a pale, sleepy blue. "I guess you were right," she said and, pulling her fingers from his grasp, reached over and brushed the strands of hair off his brow. Her hand was trembling. "You're not going to die after all." "Wouldn't dream of it. I rather like being a hero, you know. Think I'll stick around and rescue damsels in distress more often."  He looked up at her, those beautiful blue eyes of his warm, earnest, and reaching areas of her heart that she'd forgotten had existed. "Don't let Lucien scare you off, will you?" "I won't." He nodded once, satisfied, and let his eyes drift shut. "Thank you for coming to see me, Miss Paige." She swallowed, trying to find her voice. "And thank you, Lord Gareth, for what you did for us tonight."  And then, on a sudden impulse, she bent down and, through the loose strands of his hair, dropped a kiss on his brow. "We owe you our lives."   ~~~~
Danelle Harmon (The Wild One (The de Montforte Brothers, #1))
We trapped several smaller females, all around the nine-foot mark. That’s when Steve stepped back and let the all-girl team take over: all the women in camp, zoo workers mainly, myself, and others. We would jump on the croc, help secure the tracking device, and let her go. At one point Steve trapped a female that he could see was small and quiet. He turned to Bindi. “How would you like to jump the head?” Bindi’s eyes lit up. This was what she had been waiting for. Once Steve removed the croc from the trap and secured its jaws, the next step was for the point person to jump the croc’s head. Everybody else on the team followed immediately afterward, pinning the crocodile’s body. “Don’t worry,” I said to Bindi. “I’ll back you up.” Or maybe I was really talking to Steve. He was nervous as he slipped the croc out of its mesh trap. He hovered over the whole operation, knowing that if anything went amiss, he was right there to help. “Ready, and now!” he said. Bindi flung herself on the head of the crocodile. I came in right over her back. The rest of the girls jumped on immediately, and we had our croc secured. “Let’s take a photo with the whole family,” Professor Franklin said. Bindi sat proudly at the crocodile’s head, her hand casually draped over its eyes. Steve was in the middle, holding up the croc’s front legs. Next in line was me. Finally, Robert had the tail. This shot ended up being our 2006 family Christmas card. I look at it now and it makes me laugh out loud. The family that catches crocs together, rocks together. The Irwin family motto. Steve, Bindi, and I are all smiling. But then there is Robert’s oh-so-serious face. He has a top-jaw rope wrapped around his body, with knots throughout. He took his job seriously. He had the rope and was ready as the backup. He was on that croc’s tail. It was all about catching crocs safely, mate. No mucking around here. As we idled back in to camp, Robert said, “Can I please drive the boat?” “Crikey, mate, you are two years old,” Steve said. “I’ll let you drive the boat next year.” But then, quite suddenly and without a word, Steve scooped Robert up and sat him up next to the outboard. He put the tiller in his hand. “Here’s what you do, mate,” Steve said, and he began to explain how to drive the boat. He seemed in a hurry to impart as much wisdom to his son as possible. Robert spent the trip jumping croc tails, driving the boat, and tying knots. Steve created a croc made of sticks and set it on a sandbar. He pulled the boat up next to it, and he, Robert, and Bindi went through all the motions of jumping the stick-croc. “I’m going to say two words,” Robert shouted, imitating his father. “’Go,’ and ‘Now.’ First team off on ‘Go,’ second team off on ‘Now.’” Then he’d yell “Go, now” at the top of his lungs. He and Steve jumped up as if the stick-croc was about to swing around and tear their arms off. “Another croc successfully caught, mate,” Steve said proudly. Robert beamed with pride too. When he got back to Croc One, Robert wrangled his big plush crocodile toy. I listened, incredulous, as my not-yet-three-year-old son muttered the commands of a seasoned croc catcher. He had all the lingo down, verbatim. “Get me a twelve-millimeter rope,” Robert commanded. “I need a second one. Get that top-jaw rope under that tooth, yep, the eye tooth, get it secured. We’ll need a third top-jaw rope for this one. Who’s got a six-millimeter rope? Hand me my Leatherman. Cut that rope here. Get that satellite tracker on.” The stuffed animal thoroughly secured, Robert made as if to brush off his little hands. “Professor Franklin,” he announced in his best grown-up voice, “it’s your croc.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
I’ve missed you,” he said hoarsely when they broke apart, gasping for breath. “More than I thought possible. “Me too.” She held on to him just as tightly. “I really do love you, Cooper. And I want to be here. In fact, I can honestly say, standing here right now, I can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else.” He brushed the damp from her cheeks. “That’s good. Because I don’t know that I could let you go.” He pulled her back into his arms. “But yes to the rest.” “What rest?” He looked down at her. “If--when--you need to go off, fill your soul, feel different earth under your feet, I’ll do my best to handle missing you. As long as you promise to always come back.” She nodded, sniffling. “Like a boomerang; you won’t be able to get rid of me.” He chuckled, still getting past being stunned, then kissed her again, and this time the relief, the joy, started to shift to that all-consuming hunger that was always there for them and, he suspected, always would be. With that in mind, he went to scoop her up, thinking his family and hers would have to understand if they needed a little time alone, when she pressed her palms against his chest. “Wait. I have one more thing I have to ask.” “Anything.” She smiled. “Is that marriage proposal still on the table?” He grinned. Just when he thought his heart couldn’t get any fuller. “Why, Starfish, I thought you’d never ask.
Donna Kauffman (Starfish Moon (Brides of Blueberry Cove, #3))
You aren’t going to die,” Kiernan whispered through the darkness. We sat in one of the bedchambers for pilgrims, me on the cot and Kiernan on the floor. He was sitting with his knees bent, elbows resting on them. If I looked at him, I knew I would see his eyes flash even in the dark. So I leaned my head back against the stone wall and said nothing. “She might not have meant you,” he continued. “It could be Orianne, or even the real Nalia.” That did make me look at him. “Great,” I said sarcastically. “So we find the real Nalia and then somehow get her killed. That would certainly be doing the kingdom a favor.” Kiernan huffed in irritation, then took a breath. “I didn’t mean it that way. And besides, not all of those visions come true. The one that started this whole mess didn’t.” I didn’t answer. I felt numb, had felt that way since stumbling out of the temple. Even the key hidden inside my fist hadn’t been enough to bring me back to myself. I had allowed Kiernan to lead me to the pilgrims’ quarters, overheard him tell Brother Paxson that I was too weary with study to leave that night. I had eaten the food brought to us, nodding mechanically in thanks, then sat down on the cot and let my mind wander. A triangle. One side crumbled away, leaving only two. Try as I might, I could think of nothing else it could mean. Only that if I found the real princess, one of us--Nalia, Orianne, or me--would die. “And even if it was a true prophecy, we can fight it. We know about it now, so we can be…alert, careful. We can keep them safe. We’ll keep you safe--I’ll keep you safe.” Kiernan pushed himself up off the bed and came to sit next to me. “Come on,” he said, reaching out a tentative arm and putting it around my shoulders. “I just got you back. I’m not going to let you die.” Closing my eyes, I let myself lean against him. He smelled nice, even after days of travel on horseback. And he was warm and solid, and my friend. We stayed like that long enough that I felt a little of the numbness leave, melted away by Kiernan’s warmth. “Sorry,” I said finally. My voice sounded a little choked, which made me pull away from him in embarrassment. “It’s a strange thing to hear, that’s all.” Kiernan had let his arm drop from my shoulders, but his fingers now brushed my arm nearest to him. “I’m sure it is,” he said. He was gazing into my eyes as he said it, though more deeply than seemed necessary. My heart was suddenly hammering in my ears, and I was overly aware of how close we were. “It must be near midnight,” I stuttered. “We should…We should probably try the, uh, library.” Kiernan blinked, then pushed himself up, one corner of his mouth pulled in. “Of course,” he said. Then a mischievous grin broke across his face. “Now, this should be fun.
Eilis O'Neal (The False Princess)
His nose touched hers, and the warmth of his breath brushed her lips. “Christine,” he said, his voice filling her with longing, “may I kiss you?” A warning sounded from the far corners of her mind and told her she ought to say no, that she should retreat while she still retained her dignity. But he stroked his thumb from her chin back to her jaw again, and the caress lit a flame inside her like the strike of a match to a wick soaked in oil. She gave him her answer by moving into him and closing the distance between them. Although she’d never even embraced a man much less kissed one, she lifted herself to him and trusted he’d do the rest. She was rewarded by the sweet touch of his lips against hers. The sensation was soft and exquisite and brief. She found herself disappointed when he began to pull away. “Guy,” she whispered and pursued his lips with hers. He stilled as if he hadn’t expected her response. For an instant she regretted her boldness, wondered if she’d somehow broken a rule, and felt the heat of embarrassment creep into her cheeks. “I’m sorry—” she mumbled, pulling away. Before she could move more than a fraction, his hand slipped to the small of her back and his mouth returned to hers, cutting off her apology with another soft, feathery kiss. She didn’t know why he was being so careful with her, kissing her as though she might break. So she cupped his cheeks with her hands and pressed her lips harder. His hand against her back tensed and his fingers splayed, drawing her against his chest. He matched the pressure of her lips, tentatively at first. But when she melded against him, his kiss deepened and she could feel the power and strength of him. She relished it, craved it. And she didn’t want it to end.
Jody Hedlund (An Awakened Heart (Orphan Train, #0.5))
Fancy meeting you here, Cécile.” My heart sunk. “It’s you.” “The one, the only, as they like to say,” Tristan said affably, brushing off his coat where I’d bumped into him. “Which ‘they’ would that be?” I asked. “Oh, you know. Them.” 
Danielle L. Jensen (Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, #1))
The Zen10 Technique Summary 1. When you notice you are craving a binge urge say the phrase “Zen10” to yourself. 2. Cultivate a sense of space between the craving and your need to act on that craving. Rest your mind in that space. 3. Wait 10 minutes before taking any action towards a binge. When the time is up, see if you can extend it by another 10 minutes. Try to keep going until the urge subsides. To help cultivate a space you can: - Use mental visualization to strengthen your resolve. - Dismiss any binge urges. Brush them off and let them be. - Apply the Muscle Release Technique for powerful urges. - Apply the Calm Breath for deeper relaxation. - Move on with your day and focus your attention elsewhere. Following these steps won’t magically get rid of binge urges (I wish it could) but it will ease the intensity of those binge urges and it’s a great tool to use whilst you progress through the rest of the Binge Code Program.
Ali Kerr (The Binge Code: 7 Unconventional Keys to End Binge Eating and Lose Excess Weight (+Bonus Audios))
Enslave me or deliberately liberate me as I'm meant to be. Dependent on God is a mindset in ancient, present and future prophecy. Hallucinations of the light coming to an illumination of Truth for death has no place in the life of an immortal. The third eye is a wide open portal. I brush off any of lifes struggles, any of lifes limits. I have no shame, Jesus is my Savior and with redemptive pride, I admit it.
Jose R. Coronado (The Land Flowing With Milk And Honey)
Ahh, it’s true. Secret rocker. So, is the science teacher just a facade? Kinda like the real Peter Parker? Do you secretly save the world on your off time?” I’m smiling at him, enjoying the banter. His frame seems so much bigger, being in the small space. He’s not saying anything, so I go on. “Did I just bust you out? You gonna have to keep me quiet now?” I laugh. But he doesn’t. He leans over and wraps his strong hand around my neck, bringing our faces close, our lips pressing together. I can’t remember the last time I ever made out in a car, if that’s what we’re doing. The old-school French kissing outside the parent’s house until the lights go on and we have to break apart. But this time, I’m an adult and no one’s going to stop us. Not sure what comes over me, but I lean forward, letting him know I want more. His response is just want I want as he pulls my body over the center console to his side, my legs now straddling him. My body is on fire, being in this position. I shamelessly grind forward, loving the friction the hardness between his legs brushing against my covered clit causes. His grip around my ass tightens and he growls into my mouth. Our kiss becomes brutal, my hands working their way up his tight chest, up his neck and into his thick, dark hair. I grip handfuls into my fists and, as I cock my head to the side for a deeper kiss, I accidently knock his glasses off. “Shit, sorry,” I moan into his mouth. He doesn’t skip a beat, grabbing my ass cheeks tighter and grinding what feels like a gigantic sized monster against my sex. This is not how I saw this going, but man, am I glad. His mouth, his strong hands, his hard cock, everything has become a pleasant surprise. The sound of Axl Rose singing in the background while we kiss and grind, our teeth scraping, our tongues dancing around one another, while our hands explore, squeezing, pulling and pinching. It’s almost becoming too much and the buildup is going to cause me to orgasm. I should stop this; this is immature what we’re doing. Dry humping in a car, god, what’s wrong with us? His grip is strong and intense, pushing, pulling, as our bodies move.
J.D. Hollyfield (Passing Peter Parker)
center, there’s probably going to be . . .” He trailed off, pointing dramatically through a gap in the trees. “A temple.” Sure enough, another mound rose in the distance. This one was significantly taller than the others around us. It was bedecked with trees and plants, but was obviously a stepped pyramid. “So what’s the plan, exactly?” Murray asked blankly. “We go to the temple and pray that someone rescues us?” Zoe swatted Murray on the back of the head. “No, you idiot. We climb the temple and see how close we are to civilization. Plus, maybe we can spot Erica from up there.” “Oh!” Murray said. “Good thinking.” The ancient road led directly to the pyramid. Lots of trees and brush had grown on the road over the past few centuries, but it was still easy to follow. Now that we’d had plenty of water to drink and were warm again, we were in good shape. Except for my wet shoes squelching on my feet and my wet underwear riding up my butt, I felt better than I had in hours. We reached the base of the pyramid and worked our way up the stepped exterior. Like the other buildings, it was constructed of rough-hewn limestone held together with mortar and covered with centuries of dirt and plant life. There were also dozens of iguanas basking in the sun on it. Everywhere I looked, there was an iguana, many of them the size of lapdogs. It was like a display case for an iguana store. They watched us warily as we climbed past them, but didn’t seem too threatened by us, as they rarely bothered to move out of our way. The pyramid angled up sharply. Murray, being in the best shape, made his way up it the fastest, though the rest of us weren’t far behind. The heat and the humidity, originally so refreshing after our time underground, quickly grew oppressive. I had to stop halfway up the pyramid to catch my breath, taking care not to sit on any iguanas. Zoe
Stuart Gibbs (Spy School Goes South)
Take your cloak off,” she said quickly. “Trying to undress me?” Falco asked. He slid out of his cloak and looked questioningly at Cass. “Hold it up,” she ordered. She adjusted his hands so that the cloak shielded her, and fumbled to undo the bindings around her chest. She began to sweat as she unknotted the laces; in the dark, images of Agnese and Luca floated in front of her, their faces cold with disapproval. “You all right in there?” Falco asked. “You’re thrashing about like you’re performing a self-exorcism.” Cass emerged a minute later, red faced but triumphant. She waved her ivory-colored stays above her head. “Now,” she said, “I can breathe.” Falco plucked the fabric from her hand. He fingered it and feigned surprise. “Good Lord. What is this thing made of?” he asked. “Steel?” “Whalebone.” Cass clasped a hand over her mouth to stifle a yelp as Falco tossed her stays over the edge of the Rialto Bridge. “Consider yourself liberated,” he said. “Do you feel better?” Cass couldn’t respond. She couldn’t describe it, the way it felt to be able to inhale and exhale completely, like for once she was using all of her lungs. Her satin chemise curled and folded against her bare chest, giving her the sensation of being both cold and hot at the same time. Falco touched his forehead to hers again. His nose brushed against the side of her cheek. Cass’s heart sped up. But this time, he didn’t try to kiss her. He just held her in the dark, his mouth so close to hers that their breath mingled together like mist off the canals.
Fiona Paul (Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1))
Well, one possibility is that this was some evil society dedicated to the service of one of the Professor’s elder beings from beyond time. A being so powerful, mind you, that somewhere between four a.m. and six a.m. this morning it forced entry into our reality, tracked down a few hundred of its own worshippers for some offense, made such a mess of them that it’ll take forensics years to figure out who’s who, and wrote words on the wall in their bodily substances that’ll make weak-minded men go mad. And, if that were the case, and this is the crucial bit,” the Detective growled, leaning in close to the Lieutenant, “we’d have to investigate it.” The lieutenant gulped. Lafont straightened up and brushed the crumbs off his coat. “Or a bunch of nutjobs in some cult committed mass suicide.” “Ah,” said the lieutenant. After a thoughtful pause, he added, “Terrible thing, mass suicide. Such a shame they went that route.
J. Zachary Pike (The Cabal of Thotash)
We emerge into the warm night air and I smell the honeyed wisteria, hear an owl hooting across the fields on the far side of the river. I’m eager to dive in; I love to swim. I’m picking my way down the little slope when, behind me, I hear a commotion, and look back to see Paige braced between Evan and Leo; she’s tripped on her wedge heels and is cackling like a banshee. Kendra looks at me and rolls her eyes. “Hopefully the cold water’ll sober her up a bit,” she says resignedly. I don’t answer, even though I completely agree. Because, leaning against the wall of the club on our left, long legs crossed at the ankles, shoulders propped square to the stone, black hair falling over his face, is a silhouette that looks eerily familiar, like a ghost that haunts my dreams. There’s a book called The Beautiful and Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, that I found in the villa’s library, and I’ve been reading it. I don’t quite understand it all; to be honest, I pulled it off the shelf because the title spoke to me, made me think of him. Luca. Definitely beautiful, and the damned part fits too, because he’s so dark, so brooding, so sad; it feels sometimes as if he doesn’t want to reach for happiness, as if he actually pushes it away-- But he saved me when I saw in danger, I remind myself. He saved my life. And then he told me he thought I might be his half sister. Which meant we couldn’t see each other anymore, in case that was true… A red dot flashes in the blue-black night as the figure raises a cigarette to his lips. It can’t be Luca, I tell myself. We’re beyond Siena, miles and miles from Chianti, where he lives. It can’t be him. Everyone’s already passed me, brushing by as I stopped to stare at the lean boy draped against the roadhouse wall. “Violet!” Kelly calls, her voice high and thrilled. “Come on! Wait till you see this!” I turn back toward the river and plunge down the little path as if I were being chased by the hounds of hell. Away from a silhouette that’s making me think of things--want things--that I can never have.
Lauren Henderson (Kissing in Italian (Flirting in Italian, #2))
My legs and arms were starting to tingle from being held in that one position, but I ignored it—or at least, I tried to. It started at my ankles, and began working its way up my shins and to my knees. I didn’t dare move my legs to stretch them out, but the prickling sensation was starting to irritate me. So, I reached down and began rubbing my legs with my free hand. As I smoothed down the fabric of my dress, I froze as I felt something roil under my hand. Quivering, I removed my hand, and began to draw up my skirt, the sound of fabric sliding across my skin filling the small space of the log. It spilled over my knee and I clapped a hand over my mouth to keep from screaming at the long black centipede clinging to my leg. I became aware of other movements around me, and felt the brush of thousands of sharp little legs. Something shifted behind me, disturbing my hair, and I felt the weight of a hard body pressing into my scalp. I screamed and scrambled out of the hole, jerking my bag around me. Three centipedes hit the ground as I shook my body and head frantically, trying to dislodge the creatures. I shuddered, crying openly now as I continued to shake myself, my mind and body convinced there were more on me. I ran hands over my arms and hair, trying to make sure they were all clear. Revulsion welled up in me at the thought of any of those insects on me, their tiny little legs pricking into my flesh, crawling over me. I couldn’t seem to stop shaking, and had to take the mask off a few times to wipe my face and the glass lenses as cold tears spilled down my cheeks. I realized I was having a panic attack. I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, trying to convince myself that they were gone.
Bella Forrest (The Gender Secret (The Gender Game, #2))
He looked up at me after a few moments, the storm in his eyes quieted, and he kissed me slow and languidly while he caught his breath, putting soft pecks along my jaw, brushing the hair off my forehead with his fingers. I loved it. It was so sweet and tender. And I couldn’t allow it. “Can you get me a towel?” I asked, putting a stop to it. He kissed my forehead. “Sure.” He got up and I watched him walk across the room, his perfect naked body silhouetted by the light coming from my bathroom. He came back in a second later and smiled at me as he handed me a towel. My heart yearned for him. I wanted to cuddle with him. I wanted him to stay. “Okay, time to go.” He got under the covers. “Nope.” He scooted in and threw an arm over me. “What do you mean ‘nope’? We’re done here. Thank you, and go home now.” This was the price. The payment for what I stole. I couldn’t have it all. I tried lifting his arm off me. It weighed, like, a million pounds. God, he was muscly. He rolled me onto my side, pulled my back into his chest, and snuggled me. “Nope. I’m staying the night. You took time off my sleep schedule. I’m not driving a half an hour to my apartment just to lose more sleep before a forty-eight-hour shift.” “Well, you’re sleeping in the guest room, then,” I said, pulling at his hand. He went into a vise grip over my rib cage. “Nope. Your futon sucks.” It wasn’t that I didn’t want him there. I did. I’d never wanted anyone to stay the night more in my life. And that’s exactly why he needed to leave. This had to be sex and only sex. This wasn’t a relationship. It couldn’t be. Ever. I could never let him mistake it for one. I had to be crystal clear about that. I was a dead end worse than Celeste, and if he ever developed feelings or things ever got fuzzy, I’d have to end it. He needed to go. “Josh, we’re not cuddling. This is a sex thing.” I tried to wriggle away from him and he laughed, nuzzling my neck. “Knock it off. We’re two grown-ass adults. We can share a bed for a night. And I’m not cuddling you—I’m using you as a body pillow.” I gave him side-eye that he couldn’t see. “Well, I’m not making you breakfast in the morning.” “Thank God.” I smirked. “Fine. Stay. But don’t go catching feelings. I mean it. We are not a thing. Got it?” “Using me for sex. Got it.” He pulled me closer and kissed my shoulder. “Stop!” “Good night.” I could tell he was smiling. I gave up my struggles and tried to relax. The rise and fall of his chest moved rhythmically against my back, and with every exhale, I sank deeper into him, like I belonged there. Like I was loved. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to push the feelings down. This was a bad idea. I didn’t know if I could compartmentalize this like I thought I could. Especially if he was going to be pulling this shit. And why was he pulling this shit? Didn’t guys prefer noncommittal sex-only situations? Didn’t he say he wasn’t ready to date? I was making this easy for him. My tired mind drifted off into sleep, and while I was somewhere in the fog, buried in his strong arms, he put his nose to my hair and breathed in.
Abby Jimenez
Divided up into squares and corralled by the multi-lane highways were groups of multi-storey car parks, office buildings and department stores with small shops, cinemas, petrol stations and gleaming chrome snack bars on the ground floors. Many years earlier, when this city plan was being implemented, critical voices had been raised to say that the system would make the city inhuman and uninhabitable. The experts had brushed off the criticism. They argued that a modern city should be built not for pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages but for cars. As on so many other issues, both sides had subsequently been proved right.
Per Wahlöö (The Steel Spring)
His black eyes smoldered, a velvet seduction. I need a dream to rid myself of nightmares. She backed away from him, holding a palm outward to ward him off. “Just you keep your ideas to yourself,” she warned. “You have that devil’s look, the one that says no woman is safe.” That is not true, Shea, he denied, the hard edge of his mouth softening into temptation. Only one woman. You. She laughed at him. “I think I’m very grateful you’re in no condition to move around. The sun is coming up, and I have to secure the cottage for daylight. Go back to sleep. I’ll be here when you wake up.” Shea patted the one comfortable chair she had. You will lie beside me where you should be, he informed her. Shea carefully closed the shutters on the windows and fastened them. She was always cautious in locking her home. During the day she was very vulnerable. Already she could feel her body slowing, becoming heavier, more tired. I want you to lie beside me. His voice was a sinful caress, enticing, insistent. “I think you can manage all by yourself,” she answered, refusing to look into his dark, hypnotic eyes. Instead, she shut off her computer and the generator and locked the door. I have nightmares, little red hair. The only way to keep them at bay is to have you close beside me. He sounded very earnest, innocent, hopeful. Shea found herself smiling as she poured him another unit of blood. She was beginning to think the devil himself had shown up at her doorstep. Jacques was temptation incarnate. “I removed a stake from your heart just a couple of nights ago, and you have a major wound there. If I move around while I sleep, I could easily bump into you and start it bleeding again. You wouldn’t want that, would you?” He took the container from her hand, his fingers curling around the glass precisely over the spot where her fingers had been. He did things like that, intimate things that sent butterfly wings brushing deep within her. Not my heart, Shea. They did not get me in the heart, as they should have. It is here within my body--can you not hear it? Your heart beats with the same rhythm so that it matches mine.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
You need to drink that, Jacques, not just hold it. And then go back to sleep. The more rest you get, the faster you’ll heal.” You persist in being my doctor when I so need my lifemate to come and lie beside me. Again his voice was temptation itself. “Drink, Jacques.” She tried to sound stern, but it was impossible when he was looking so desperate for her company. I am desperate. She couldn’t help but shake her head. “You’re outrageous.” He made an attempt to raise the glass to his mouth, but his arm wobbled. I cannot lift this without your aid, Shea. I am too weak. “Am I supposed to believe you?” She laughed aloud but crossed to his side. “You were strong enough to lift me off my feet with one hand when I found you. Don’t give me that poor-little-boy look, Jacques, because it won’t work.” But it was working. He needed to feel her touch, the brush of her fingers in his hair, and she stroked his thick mane without conscious thought. Her fingers lingered as if she enjoyed the sensation as much as he did. Jacques took the gun from her hand and pulled her down beside him, as hungry for the feel of her warmth beside him as he was for the sustenance she provided. Her scent drifted to him--the forest, the flowers, and the night air itself. He wrapped an arm around her and held her to him. She relaxed, allowing her eyelashes to drift down.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
Take off your jeans.” She smiled up at him. “I can see it is dangerous. Now, why would I want to do something that is obviously going to get me in big trouble?” His hand stroked her waist, traced each rib under her satin skin. He could feel her tremble in answer. “Because I want you to. Because you want to please me.” Shea laughed out loud, her eyebrows winging upward. “Oh, really? That’s what I want to do?” He nodded solemnly. “Above all else.” She moved away from him, deliberately enticing him. “I see. I didn’t know that. Thank you for pointing it out.” “You are welcome,” he countered gravely, his eyes following her every movement. Shea was graceful and seductive, a siren beckoning him to follow. His body stirred, and ruefully he decided the pools might be a safer place to watch her. He entered the nearest hot springs, wincing as the bubbles added to the sensation of fingers stroking his sensitive skin. Her taunting laughter followed him, brushing provocatively at his nerve endings with the very tip of a flame. Shea felt an unexpected rush of power. Jacques was such an invincible being, yet she could see his body trembling, hear his heart beating even over the roar of the falls. All for her. Deliberately she slid her jeans low, exposing her slender body, the fiery red triangle beckoning him, teasing him. Her shirt floated to the ground, and she lifted her arms skyward, a seductress tempting the heavens. Jacques’ body tightened in anticipation. His black gaze didn’t miss one graceful sway, not one rhythmic movement of her shapely form. Shea waded into the pool slowly, allowed the bubbling water to lap at her body like a sensuous tongue. She moved out into the middle of the water and finally slipped under the surface like a sleek, gleaming otter. Jacques sat on the edge of a rock, his legs under the water, bubbles lapping around his hips. He watched her swim toward him, away, her body flashing in the water, breaking the surface, disappearing once again.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
He loves you,’ I said, and smoothed the tumbled hair off her flushed face. ‘He won’t stop.’ I got up, brushing yellow leaves from my skirt. ‘We’ll have a bit of time, then, but none to waste. Jamie can send word downriver, to keep an eye out for Roger. Speaking of Roger …’ I hesitated, picking a bit of dried fern from my sleeve. ‘I don’t suppose he knows about this, does he?’ Brianna took a deep breath, and her fist closed tight on the leaf in her hand, crushing it. ‘Well, see, there’s a problem about that,’ she said. She looked up at me, and suddenly she was my little girl again. ‘It isn’t Roger’s.’ ‘What?’ I said stupidly. ‘It. Isn’t. Roger’s. Baby,’ she said, between clenched teeth. I sank down beside her once more. Her worry over Roger suddenly took on new dimensions. ‘Who?’ I said. ‘Here, or there?’ Even as I spoke, I was calculating – it had to be someone here, in the past. If it had been a man in her own time, she’d be farther along than two months. Not only in the past, then, but here, in the Colonies. I wasn’t planning to have sex, she’d said. No, of course not. She hadn’t told Roger, for fear he would follow her – he was her anchor, her key to the future. But in that case – ‘Here,’ she said, confirming my calculations. She dug in the pocket of her skirt, and came out with something. She reached toward me, and I held out my hand automatically. ‘Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.’ The worn gold wedding band sparked in the sun, and my hand closed reflexively over it. It was warm from being carried next to her skin, but I felt a deep coldness seep into my fingers. ‘Bonnet?’ I said. ‘Stephen Bonnet?’ Her throat moved convulsively, and she swallowed, head jerking in a brief nod. ‘I wasn’t going to tell you – I couldn’t; not after Ian told me about what happened on the river. At first I didn’t know what Da would do; I was afraid he’d blame me. And then when I knew him a little better – I knew he’d try to find Bonnet – that’s what Daddy would have done. I couldn’t let him do that. You met that man, you know what he’s like.’ She was sitting in the sun, but a shudder passed over her, and she rubbed her arms as though she was cold. ‘I do,’ I said. My lips were stiff. Her words were ringing in my ears. I wasn’t planning to have sex. I couldn’t tell … I was afraid he’d blame me. ‘What did he do to you?’ I asked, and was surprised that my voice sounded calm. ‘Did he hurt you, baby?’ She grimaced, and pulled her knees up to her chest, hugging them against herself. ‘Don’t call me that, okay? Not right now.’ I reached to touch her, but she huddled closer into herself, and I dropped my hand. ‘Do you want to tell me?’ I didn’t want to know; I wanted to pretend it hadn’t happened, too. She looked up at me, lips tightened to a straight white line. ‘No,’ she said. ‘No, I don’t want to. But I think I’d better.’ She had stepped aboard the Gloriana in broad daylight, cautious, but feeling safe by reason of the number of people around; loaders, seamen, merchants, servants – the docks bustled with life. She had told a seaman on the deck what she wanted; he had vanished into the recesses of the ship, and a moment later, Stephen Bonnet had appeared. He had on the same clothes as the night before; in the daylight, she could see that they were of fine quality, but stained and badly crumpled. Greasy candle wax had dripped on the silk cuff of his coat, and his jabot had crumbs in it. Bonnet himself showed fewer marks of wear than did his clothes; he was fresh-shaven, and his green eyes were pale and alert. They passed over her quickly, lighting with interest. ‘I did think ye comely last night by candlelight,’ he said, taking her hand and raising it to his lips. ‘But a-many seem so when the drink is flowin’. It’s a good deal more rare to find a woman fairer in the sun than she is by the moon.
Diana Gabaldon (Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4))
I heard you have a date with Oliver, and from the looks of it, you definitely do. You’re sweating like a whore in church!” Rob says as soon as he sees me. I punch him in the shoulder. “No I’m not! Oh God, am I?” I head toward the bathroom and look at myself, realizing that he was exaggerating. But, damn. I am nervous. “Why am I so nervous about this? And where is Meep?” “She’s in the shower, and you’re nervous because this is your first date together. I mean, real date. Shenanigans don’t count.” He raises a blonde eyebrow and laughs when I glare at him. “I need a drink,” I announce, heading to the kitchen. “No, you don’t. You need to sit and relax and be still. You’re going to give me a heart attack!” “Stop being a pest,” I mutter, plopping down on the couch. “Okay, but on your date, do not sit like that. Nothing is more gross than a careless sitter in a dress.” My eyes widen, and I cross my legs, sitting upright. “Damn you. Maybe I should have worn jeans.” Robert laughs, throwing his head back. He looks so much like Mia when he does that. “I was joking! Geez, you really are nervous.” “Who’s nervous?” Mia asks, walking over to us. “Jitterbug over here is acting like a virgin going to prom,” Rob says, earning a laugh from me, and a look from Mia. “Way to lay it all out there,” I say. “She looks fine,” Mia says walking over to me. “It’s just Bean.” “Exactly. It’s just Bean . . . do I look okay?” Mia gives me a once-over and nods. “You look beautiful, like you do every other day, when you wear make-up and brush your hair and dress up.” “Meaning not like every other day?” “Well, you have to save beauty for special occasions, Chicken.” “Bitch,” I say, laughing until the knock on the door swallows my smile. “Ohh here he comes,” Rob starts singing like he was singing Man Eater, and I want to crawl into a hole and die. Mia swings the door open and whistles loudly. “Looks like somebody wants to get laid tonight,” she announces. And this time, for real, I want to crawl into a hole and die. I can feel my face burning as I walk to the door and tell Mia and Robert to shut up. Oliver is wearing dark jeans, black shoes, a gray button-down, and a fedora on his head. It’s simple and hot, and it matches the gray dress I’m wearing, so I have to laugh. “It’s like they’re meant to be!” Rob states loudly. “They match! This is too fucking cute! Mia! Get the camera!” “I hate you.” I say, looking at him. “I hate you.” I say, turning to Mia’s face, red from laughing. “I don’t hate you . . . yet.” I say, turning to Oliver, who gives me a slow, cocky half grin that makes me melt a little. “Please have her home by midnight, and make sure she lays off the vodka,” As Mia starts rattling off her list, she stops to look at my blushing face and bursts out laughing. “Awww . . . I’m sorry, Elle, this is so cute though. You haven’t been this nervous since you lost your virginity to Hunter Grayson.” She stops laughing and turns to Oliver with a serious face. “All jokes aside, if you hurt her again, I will fucking murder you, and I’m not talking about a nice quiet murder, I’m talking dick cut off, internal organs everywhere kind of murder. So please, be mindful of that.
Claire Contreras (Kaleidoscope Hearts (Hearts, #1))
Don't brush off consistently being left on read by convincing yourself they're just busy. Stop making excuses for them when they never text you back or refuse to hang out. Respect yourself, your time, your emotional energy. Make sure that people treat you just as good as you treat them. If they don't, they're absolutely not worth your time.
lovelysuggestions
Lucy started to disagree and then thought better of it. At least he seemed to be in accord with her about the identity of the thief. "So what should I do now?" "You will do nothing. I will speak to your father, and we will decide how to proceed." "No, you will not!" "I beg your pardon?" "You will not brush me aside when I am the one who has discovered everything!" "Miss Harrington---" She scrambled off the bed and pointed her finger at him. "You told me how much you hated being treated like a child. Now, do not do it to me!" He stared at her for a long moment and then nodded. "All right. Would you prefer it if we confronted him here together, and then made sure he confessed the whole to your father?" She regarded him suspiciously. "Are you being serious?" "I am. You made a good point. I am trying to be conciliatory for a change." "Thank you.
Catherine Lloyd (Death Comes to the Village (Kurland St. Mary Mystery, #1))
Making use of the break, Mulan untied the knot on her head. Her hair tumbled down again, brushing against the nape of her neck. She unfastened her armor, freeing her shoulders of their heavy burden. The demons watched her in disbelief. "A girl?" "I am Mulan." She raised her sword high. She'd never fought as herself before- as a woman, not a woman pretending to be a man. No more hiding, no more pretending. No more fears that she'd endanger herself and her family. She was who she'd always wanted to be. Even if that feeling could only last here in Diyu- even if they made it back to the real world and she had to go back to pretending to be Ping, Mulan knew she'd never forget it. Taking off the mask was exhilarating; it spurred her courage.
Elizabeth Lim (Reflection (A Twisted Tale: Mulan))
It is not that simple to adhere to good routines in tri cities wa dentist hygiene, but it is something that you need to do your whole life. You need to stay committed if you want your smile to constantly be a healthy one. This short article is packed with great dental care guidance. Avoid drinking soda water as part of your daily routine. Beverages rich in sugar can cause dental caries and staining unless you brush your teeth right away. This assists your teeth and naturally your overall health. It is essential that you brush your teeth regularly. Do it at least twice, preferably post-meal. Take a minimum of two minutes, brushing every surface of your teeth. Never ever brush too harshly, and constantly make use of a tooth paste with fluoride. You ought to also thoroughly floss your teeth afterward. Do not ever chew on ice. Chewing ice can crack teeth and make it easier for germs that triggers tooth cavities to stick to teeth and develop troubles. In addition, you ought to make use of care when consuming popcorn or nuts because these can also cause damages. If you fear that you have a broken tooth, visit your dental practitioner as soon as possible. Brilliant use of lipstick can make your teeth look more beautiful. Light average or red coral shades are going to have your teeth looking whiter than they truly are. Lighter shades have the tendency to have a reverse result. If they are white, they can make your teeth appear yellow even! You have to successfully brush at least two times daily to keep teeth in good shape. It is essential to brush in the early morning in order to remove collected germs from sleeping. During the night, you brush to clean away food debris you gathered during your day. Does tarter develop up on your teeth rapidly? If you do, you should buy a great anti-tartar tooth paste and mouthwash. Tartar typically kinds on your bottom front teeth and your upper molars. See a dental expert frequently to eliminate tartar. Do cold and hot foods trigger your teeth to hurt? Select a toothpaste for sensitive gums and teeth, and see a dental expert when you can. Go to an additional dental professional for a 2nd opinion if your dentist tells you a deep cleaning is needed. This form of cleaning costs a lot more so make certain that you aren't being ripped off. Does it appear outrageous to pay out $75 for a tooth brush? Well, many dental experts assert that a more pricey electricity toothbrush is one of the most efficient ways of cleaning your teeth, right alongside getting your teeth cleaned at the dental practitioner office. While you will not be removing everything on your teeth 100 percent, you will still get a remarkable clean. Search for models that have numerous styles of heads, and ensure the warranty is excellent! Take your time when brushing your teeth. Brushing could be something you already do, however you might rush when brushing. Do not make this mistake. Take care and sufficient time while you brush your teeth. Maximize the time when your brushing your teeth. See to it you brush comprehensive for one full minute or more. Do you really desire to get your tongue pierced? Piercing your tongue makes the location attractive to germs. It could chip off the enamel of your teeth if you aren't careful. Constantly follow appropriate brushing methods. You must do it as soon as you awaken and right prior to going to sleep. When you are asleep at night, your saliva dries, and this prevents bacteria that cause cavities from working. Make certain you set the timer for at least two minutes and brush around your teeth at a 45-degree angle. Since these fruits include carbonic acids that can ha
Do You Dislike Your Teeth Have a look at This Article
She looked for Andrew but couldn’t find him. So she searched through the crowd of neighbors and hired help until she spotted Captain Winston walking toward her—with Andrew cradled in his arms. Alarm shot through her and she hurried toward them. “He’s fine,” the Captain whispered as they drew closer. “He just finally ran out of steam, that’s all. That, and he has a full belly. Five pieces of sausage, at least. And tenderloin and corn bread. This boy can eat.” Smiling, Aletta brushed back the hair from her son’s face and kissed him. He didn’t stir. “Thank you, Captain,” she said softly. “Are you feeling better? Tempy said you’d gone to lie down.” “I am. It was good to rest. Although I feel guilty for having napped while the rest of you were out here working.” “The rest of us don’t have your reason for being tired, Mrs. Prescott. Besides, I saw you up fixing breakfast long before the day even started.” She looked at him. “You saw me? Did you come by the kitchen and I missed you?” He opened his mouth as though to respond, then smiled. “Actually, no”—he glanced away—“I-I can see into the kitchen from the front window of my cabin. And when I woke up and looked out, I saw the light in the window, then spotted you standing there. I saw Tempy too, of course,” he added quickly. “Not only you.” His expression looked a little like that of a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and the discovery put her at ease, for some reason. “Are you hungry?” He motioned to a table off to the side. “Roasted pork, fresh sausage, butter beans, and corn bread are ready to eat.” “I think I will, if you don’t mind holding him for a moment longer?” “Not at all. I’ve enjoyed his company today.
Tamera Alexander (Christmas at Carnton (Carnton #0.5))
You choose this moment to act like the Abnegation?” His voice fills the room and makes fear prickle in my chest. His anger seems too sudden. Too strange. “All that time you spent insisting that you were too selfish for them, and now, when your life is on the line, you’ve got to be a hero? What’s wrong with you?” “What’s wrong with you? People died. They walked right off the edge of a building! And I can stop it from happening again!” “You’re too important to just…die.” He shakes his head. He won’t even look at me--his eyes keep shifting across my face, to the wall behind me or the ceiling above me, to everything but me. I am too stunned to be angry. “I’m not important. Everyone will do just fine without me,” I say. “Who cares about everyone? What about me?” He lowers his head into his hand, covering his eyes. His fingers are trembling. Then he crosses the room in two long strides and touches his lips to mine. Their gentle pressure erases the past few months, and I am the girl who sat on the rocks next to the chasm, with river spray on her ankles, and kissed him for the first time. I am the girl who grabbed his hand in the hallway just because I wanted to. I pull back, my hand on his chest to keep him away. The problem is, I am also the girl who shot Will and lied about it, and chose between Hector and Marlene, and now a thousand other things besides. And I can’t erase those things. “You would be fine.” I don’t look at him. I stare at his T-shirt between my fingers and the black ink curling around his neck, but I don’t look at his face. “Not at first. But you would move on, and do what you have to.” He wraps an arm around my waist and pulls me against him. “That’s a lie,” he says, before he kisses me again. This is wrong. It’s wrong to forget who I have become, and to let him kiss me when I know what I’m about to do. But I want to. Oh, I want to. I stand on my tiptoes and wrap my arms around him. I press one hand between his shoulder blades and curl the other one around the back of his neck. I can feel his breaths against my palm, his body expanding and contracting, and I know he’s strong, steady, unstoppable. All things I need to be, but I am not, I am not. He walks backward, pulling me with him so I stumble. I stumble right out of my shoes. He sits on the edge of the bed and I stand in front of him, and we’re finally eye to eye. He touches my face, covering my cheeks with his hands, sliding his fingertips down my neck, fitting his fingers to the slight curve of my hips. I can’t stop. I fit my mouth to his, and he tastes like water and smells like fresh air. I drag my hand from his neck to the small of his back, and put it under his shirt. He kisses me harder. I knew he was strong; I didn’t know how strong until I felt it myself, the muscles in his back tightening beneath my fingers. Stop, I tell myself. Suddenly it’s as if we’re in a hurry, his fingertips brushing my side under my shirt, my hands clutching at him, struggling closer but there is no closer. I have never longed for someone this way, or this much. He pulls back just enough to look into my eyes, his eyelids lowered. “Promise me,” he whispers, “that you won’t go. For me. Do this one thing for me.” Could I do that? Could I stay here, fix things with him, let someone else die in my place? Looking up at him, I believe for a moment that I could. And then I see Will. The crease between his eyebrows. The empty, simulation-bound eyes. The slumped body. Do this one thing for me. Tobias’s dark eyes plead with me. But if I don’t go to Erudite, who will? Tobias? It’s the kind of thing he would do. I feel a stab of pain in my chest as I lie to him. “Okay.” “Promise,” he says, frowning. The pain becomes an ache, spreads everywhere--all mixed together, guilt and terror and longing. “I promise.
Veronica Roth
As cadets, we constantly hammered, scraped and wire brushed rusting steel, before applying red lead paint. Most of the paint we used was Navy surplus or a concoction made up of fish oil, lampblack and china dryer. We found that by mixing all different color paints, we would wind up with a paint we called “Sh-t Grindle Brown.” Inventiveness was key as we repaired, replaced, and painted the State of Maine from stem to stern. This work, being in addition to our studies, consumed all of our time. How we managed to fit all of this into the time we had, is still a mystery. The conversion of the ship was labor intensive and expensive, but the U.S. Maritime Commission contributed to the Academy’s financial needs where possible. The mounting expenses remained a challenge but we didn’t give up. We never did finish the entire conversion prior to our first cruise, but one thing we managed to do was paint over the name “USS Comfort” and hand letter in her new name “State of Maine.” If you looked carefully, you could still see her previous name outlined by a welded bead, but this was a minor detail that would eventually be taken care of. Perhaps because of my experience with the letters on the front of “Richardson Hall,” the task of lettering her name and her new homeport on the stern became mine. Much of the ship’s superstructure was still covered with a sticky preservative made up of paint and crank case oil, which never really dried and indelibly got onto our working uniforms. However, from a distance, you couldn’t tell the difference and it looked all right, but more importantly it prevented further rusting. One bulkhead at a time, using a mixture of gasoline and paint remover, we scraped the gunk off and repainted it. The engineers had been busy rebuilding the pumps and generators, as well as repacking steam pipes with asbestos wrapping. We finally got the ship to where we could sail her to Portland under her own power. The twin Babcock and Wilcox heater-type boilers had to be repaired and re-bricked there. After this, we would continue on to the dry dock in Boston for additional work and the hull inspection that was required below the water line.
Hank Bracker
He straightened up, brushed himself down with his hat, and looked at her again. She still paid him no attention. Was there something wrong with her? Perhaps she was ill. Women, generally, did not ignore James Hartley. With one hand to his mouth, he cleared his throat loudly. Still nothing. Perfect, because the last thing he wanted was to entertain a strange woman and cheer her out of a bad mood or tears or a headache. He’d tolerated enough sobbing females exclaiming over the great love they had for some other man, while smearing their tears, their confessions, and their runny noses all over his shoulder. Lately, for some reason, James had gone from being the problem itself to being the one with whom they shared their problems. Then, once they’d had reassurance from him, they ran off with another fellow. When James recently complained to Grieves about becoming a combination confessional and advising father to these young women, the valet had remarked, “This is what happens, sir, to aging rakes. Women begin to view them as harmless and one of their own.” It was a thought so distressing he didn’t leave his house for two days.
Jayne Fresina (The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne (Sydney Dovedale, #2))
When they reached the river, he turned left. “Tohobt Pah-e-hona, Blue Water River. You call it the Brazos, eh?” He pointed ahead of them. “Pah-gat-su, upstream.” Jabbing a thumb over his shoulder, he said, “Te-naw, downstream. You will listen good, Blue Eyes, and learn. Tosi tivo talk is dirt in my mouth.” His tone set Loretta off balance. Dirt in his mouth? If he hated the whites so much, why on earth had he taken her? Upstream, downstream, she couldn’t remember the words. She didn’t want to. The language of murderers. All she wanted was to be free of the whole filthy lot of them. Another rock jabbed her insole, and she winced, missing a step. He released her elbow and swept her off her feet into his arms. He took her so much by surprise that if she could have screamed, she would have. Their eyes locked, his mocking, hers wide. Though he now bore Loretta’s weight, her position was such that her back was in danger of breaking if she didn’t loop an arm around his neck. He stood there, looking down at her and waiting. Her mouth went dry. She wished he would just toss her over his shoulder again and be done with it. Being carried like a sack of grain wasn’t very dignified, but at least that way she didn’t have to cling to him. That determined glint she was coming to know too well crept into his eyes. He gave her a little toss, not enough to drop her, but enough to give her a start. Instinctively she hooked an arm around his neck. His lips slanted into a satisfied grin, a grin that said as clearly as if he had spoken that he would have the last word, always. He started walking again. The firm cords of muscle that ran down from his neck undulated beneath her fingers, his warm skin as smooth as fine-grained leather. His hair, silken and heavy, brushed against her knuckles. Beneath her wrist she could feel the crusty cut on his shoulder from Aunt Rachel’s bullet. Remembering the wound he had inflicted on his arm last night, she wondered just how many scars he had. Strangely, the longer she was around him, the less she noticed the slash on his cheek. His was the kind of face that suffered imperfections well, features chiseled, skin weathered to a tough, burnished brown, as rugged as the sharp-cut canyons and endless plains from whence he’d sprung.
Catherine Anderson (Comanche Moon (Comanche, #1))
The door was still open, so I shut it and was returning to my desk when I braked. There was a backpack resting on the other side of my desk chair. It wasn’t mine. It wasn’t Missy’s. I was pretty sure it wasn’t Holly’s or the cousin’s. “Shit,” I muttered under my breath. “Huh?” she barked, her head swinging around to me. A quick glance confirmed what I already knew. She was drunk. “Nothing.” She pulled out one of her shirts, but it wasn’t her normal pajama top. She was really drunk. I picked up Shay’s bag and checked the contents to make sure it was his. It was. I saw his planner with his name scrawled at the top, so I zipped that bag and put it in the back of my closet. No one needed to go through it. I didn’t think Missy would, but I just never knew. Dropping into my chair, I picked up my phone to text Shay as Missy fell to the floor. I looked up to watch. I couldn’t not see this. I was tempted to video it, but I was being nice. For once. As Missy wrestled with her jeans and lifted them over her head to throw into her closet, I texted Shay. Me: You left your bag here. Missy let out a half-gurgled moan and a cry of frustration at the same time. She didn’t stand, instead crawling to the closet. She grabbed another pair of pants. Those weren’t her pajamas, either. As she pulled them on—or tried since her feet kept eluding the pants’ hole—my phone buzzed back. Coleman: Can I pick it up in the morning? I texted back. Me: When? Missy got one leg in. Success. I wanted to thrust my fist in the air for her. My phone buzzed again. Coleman: Early. My playbook is in there. I groaned. Me: When is early? I’m in college, Coleman. Sleeping in is mandatory. Coleman: Nine too early for you? I can come back to get it now. Nine was doable. Me: Let’s do an exchange. You bring me coffee, and I’ll meet you at the parking lot curb with your bag. Coleman: Done. Decaf okay? I glared at my phone. Me: Back to hating you. Coleman: Never stop that. The world’s equilibrium will be fucked up. I have to know what’s right and wrong. Don’t screw with my moral compass, Cute Ass. Oh, no! No way. Me: Third rule of what we don’t talk about. No nicknames unless they reconfirm our mutual dislike for each other. No Cute Ass. His response was immediate. Coleman: Cunt Ass? A second squeak from me. Me: NO! I could almost hear him laughing. Coleman: Relax. I know. Clarke’s Ass. That’s how you are in my phone. The tension left my shoulders. Me: See you in the morning. 9 sharp. Coleman: Night. I put my phone down, but then it buzzed once again. Coleman: Ass. I was struggling to wipe this stupid grin off my face. All was right again. I plugged my phone in, pulled my laptop back toward me, and sent a response to Gage’s email. I’ll sit with you, but only if we’re in the opposing team’s section. He’d be pissed, but that was the only way. I turned the computer off, and by then Missy was climbing up the ladder in a bright pink silk shirt. The buttons were left buttoned, and her pajama bottoms were a pair of corduroy khakis. I was pretty sure she didn’t brush her teeth, but before my head even hit the pillow, she was snoring
Tijan (Hate to Love You)
But Dave Wain that lean rangy red head Welchman with his penchant for going off in Willie to fish in the Rogue River up in Oregon where he knows an abandoned mining camp, or for blattin around the desert roads, for suddenly reappearing in town to get drunk, and a marvelous poet himself, has that certain something that young hip teenagers probably wanta imitate–For one thing is one of the world's best talkers, and funny too–As I'll show–It was he and George Baso who hit on the fantastically simple truth that everybody in America was walking around with a dirty behind, but everybody, because the ancient ritual of washing with water after the toilet had not occurred in all the modern antisepticism–Says Dave "People in America have all these racks of drycleaned clothes like you say on their trips, they spatter Eau de Cologne all over themselves, they wear Ban and Aid or whatever it is under their armpits, they get aghast to see a spot on a shirt or a dress, they probably change underwear and socks maybe even twice a day, they go around all puffed up and insolent thinking themselves the cleanest people on earth and they're walkin around with dirty azzoles–Isnt that amazing?give me a little nip on that tit" he says reaching for my drink so I order two more, I've been engrossed, Dave can order all the drinks he wants anytime, "The President of the United States, the big ministers of state, the great bishops and shmishops and big shots everywhere, down to the lowest factory worker with all his fierce pride, movie stars, executives and great engineers and presidents of law firms and advertising firms with silk shirts and neckties and great expensive traveling cases in which they place these various expensive English imported hair brushes and shaving gear and pomades and perfumes are all walkin around with dirty azzoles! All you gotta do is simply wash yourself with soap and water! it hasn't occurred to anybody in America at all! it's one of the funniest things I've ever heard of! dont you think it's marvelous that we're being called filthy unwashed beatniks but we're the only ones walkin around with clean azzoles?"–The whole azzole shot in fact had spread swiftly and everybody I knew and Dave knew from coast to coast had embarked on this great crusade which I must say is a good one–In fact in Big Sur I'd instituted a shelf in Monsanto's outhouse where the soap must be kept and everyone had to bring a can of water there on each trip–Monsanto hadnt heard about it yet, "Do you realize that until we tell poor Lorenzo Monsanto the famous writer that he is walking around with a dirty azzole he will be doing just that?"–"Let's go tell him right now!"–"Why of course if we wait another minute...and besides do you know what it does to people to walk around with a dirty azzole? it leaves a great yawning guilt that they cant understand all day, they go to work all cleaned up in the morning and you can smell all that freshly laundered clothes and Eau de Cologne in the commute train yet there's something gnawing at them, something's wrong, they know something's wrong they dont know just what!"–We rush to tell Monsanto at once in the book store around the corner. (Big Sur, Chap. 11)
Jack Kerouac (Big Sur)
Look, sorry to almost take you out. I thought you were his soon-to-be ex, too.” Syn walked over to the couch to get his jacket. “Sure. Whatever, Captain America,” Doug quipped angrily. Syn barked a laugh, putting his coat on. Furi walked over to him, keeping his back to his friend. Wanting to say something, anything to Syn before he left. “You talked to him about me?” Syn didn’t know if he was upset or not about that. He guessed it depended what Furi said. “A couple days back. When I left upset after those college bastards took a cheap shot at me.” Furi huffed. “I was pissed, okay. I didn’t know what you wanted from me. I thought it was just–” Syn moved in close, looking directly at him. “Just what? That you thought I only wanted to play around and experiment with you? Is that what you think?" “Not after what just happened tonight, no. But at that time, I thought so, yes. I only called Doug for a little comfort.” Furi’s voice was deep and raspy, his tight body pressed up close against Syn's. “I’m sure he comforts you damn good, too,” Syn hissed before he could think better of blurting that out. Wow. Really? "It’s not like that. Doug is my friend.” “A friend who just happened to come by after one in the morning and bust through the door to get to you.” “Stop cutting me off. Doug is straight and not my type even if he weren't. I don’t do jealousy, Syn. So knock it off.” Furi leaned in and brushed Syn’s neck with his lips. “Well, he pops up and it’s late as fuck, so what am I to think?” Syn whispered. “Hey, I’m not gonna fuck around with you if I’m already fucking around with someone else. I’m not that type of guy.” Furi moaned in Syn’s ear when he buried his thick palm in Furi's hair, soothingly massaging his scalp. Syn’s deep whisky-rough voice penetrated his brain. “I’m sorry. I’m just all screwed up right now; with you and me, what happened tonight. I just really wish we hadn’t been interrupted.” “Me too.” Syn wrapped his arms around Furi’s narrow waist. “I want to spend more time with you. I need to spend more time with you.” “We will.” “Why do you look upset?" Syn asked. “I’m nervous about the call you just got.” Furi released a shaky breath. “It’s okay. We’ll catch this person soon.” Syn held Furi’s hand, making his way to the door. “Yeah. Sounds like someone is after Illustra’s entertainers,” Doug piped up from his position on the arm of the couch. “My team is good. We’ll catch 'em.” Syn turned to Doug, “I’ll need you to come back to the precinct first thing tomorrow.” “Why?” the man asked with an exaggerated huff. “Because I said so. You were at Illustra not long ago, right?” Syn pulled out his keys while talking, not letting Doug answer. “That means the murder may’ve happened while you were there. So, like I said, I’ll need you to come back in the morning. For now. Stay here with Furi.” Syn took Furi by the shoulders, turning him to face him. “Any shit comes up, you call me on my cell.” Syn handed Furi a card from his inside jacket pocket. “If you have any problems; and I mean any at all, you call me immediately. I’m going to have the beat officer for this area do regular drive-bys to check for activity. Especially since your door is broken now.” Syn glared in Doug’s direction. Furi nodded his head. “Okay.” “I mean it.” Syn smiled and kissed Furi’s cheek like a perfect gentlemen. He leaned in and inhaled his hair one more time, whispering into it, causing Furi to quiver. “Call me later.” Furi nodded again. “Sure thing, Sergeant.
A.E. Via
You’ve always kept your guard up around me,” Ryan said without any inflection in his voice. “And I never noticed.” James winced. “I had to. Or I’d be molesting you at every turn.” Ryan was silent, his warm breath brushing James’s ear. God. When Ryan was so close, all he wanted was to crawl into Ryan’s lap, tear their clothes off and— Fuck, he must get a grip. He wasn’t drunk now. He had no excuse now. “Jamie,” Ryan said. “I don’t give a shit. Molest me—I don’t fucking care. I’d take that over you being constantly on guard around me.” A short laugh left James’s lips. “I appreciate the sentiment, but you have no idea what you’re talking about.” It was Ryan’s turn to laugh. “No idea? Please. I’m not the one who’s kissed three people in my life.” “You still don’t get it.” “I do, you tosser.” With a frustrated sigh, James turned his head and slammed their lips together. It was meant to be a lesson for Ryan, but he wasn’t prepared for how much it would shake him. A broken, desperate moan tore out of his throat and he plunged his tongue into Ryan’s mouth, found Ryan’s tongue and sucked on it, greedy, hungry, so hungry. It felt like he’d been thirsty for centuries, for eons, and God, God— He whimpered, sucking Ryan’s tongue deeper into his mouth, shaking with want—literally shaking. When Ryan’s arms wrapped tightly around him, Jamie completely lost it, all but crawling into Ryan’s lap and rubbing against him like a horny cat. A small, distant part of him was horrified— Ryan must be disgusted—but he couldn’t stop. He needed this, needed him; he’d been starved for him for years and years and years. It hurt. It actually hurt, his balls aching and painful, his cock so stiff he couldn’t think straight, all the years of repressed desire finally out, like a dam broken, unleashed and unstoppable. A half-moan, half-sob of frustration broke from him as he willed himself to stop and breathe. He was shaking in Ryan’s arms, literally shaking, unable to calm down. He wanted. God, he wanted. “Jesus, Jamie,” Ryan said, holding him close with one arm while the other— The other hand pressed between James’s legs. James flinched with his entire body, his glazed eyes going wide as he tried to focus them on Ryan’s face. “What are you doing—
Alessandra Hazard (Just a Bit Confusing (Straight Guys #5))
Gabriel chuckled. Jared could hear him hopping off the massage table and striding back into the office. “Jay,” he said softly. “No.” “Come on.” “I said no. You’re being ridiculous.” Still clad only in his shorts, Gabriel rounded the desk, carrying his shirt in his hand. Jared braced himself. “I’m not asking you to be mean to him or anything.” Gabriel slung an arm around his shoulders and leaned into him. “Just don’t trust him, okay? He’s a snake.” His warm breath brushed Jared’s ear. His scent tickled his nose. His bare skin was touching Jared’s arm. Jared continued staring at the report blankly, focusing on keeping his breathing even. Gabriel sighed, pressing his nose against the side of Jared’s face. “I just—I don’t trust him. Not with you. Promise you’ll be careful with him. Don’t let him wrap you around his little finger like he has everyone else.” Jared almost laughed. He was a healthy man with needs and he wasn’t blind—Tristan was stunningly beautiful and flirted with him openly—but if there was anyone who had him wrapped around his little finger, it was Gabriel. “Promise me,” Gabriel asked. “I promise,” Jared said, resigned. He had long since lost any delusions about his ability to say no to Gabriel. He couldn’t stand hearing the note of insecurity in Gabriel’s voice. The world knew Gabriel as a confident, arrogant guy who didn’t give a shit about anything, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Gabriel just hid his vulnerability well. Sometimes too well.
Alessandra Hazard (Just a Bit Unhealthy (Straight Guys #3))
You’re going to send me off now,” Val predicted. “We visit and we hold hands and we even cuddle, Ellen, but you’re still shy of me, and I can’t tell whether I should be flattered or frustrated.” “Valentine.” She set his hand on his thigh. “I am not… I am indisposed.” “Ah, well.” Val brushed his hand down her braid. “That explains it, then. As I myself am never indisposed, except perhaps when my seed is all over my belly and chest, I’m sweating with spent lust on a blanket beneath the willow, and my wits are abegging too.” “You are shameless.” A blush rose up her neck and suffused her cheeks. Val looped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her against his side. “And you are very dear. Shall we go swimming tonight?” “You are being outrageous. Trying to shock me.” “Trying to seduce you,” Val corrected her, pulling her in so he could kiss her temple. “Without apparent success, but I’m the patient sort and you won’t be indisposed much longer, will you?” She shook her head. He stayed with her for a long while after that, rocking the swing gently, holding her, and watching darkness fall over the garden. When she began to doze against him, he carried her through the darkened cottage to her bed and tucked her in. Leaving
Grace Burrowes (The Virtuoso (Duke's Obsession, #3; Windham, #3))
I hated all of these pursuits, except photography and horseback riding, and little did the organizers know, I was already versed in a variety of social and leadership skills. After these confidence-building challenges, the various units headed off on separate expeditions. As the individual group developed the capacity to face challenges, the instructor would ask his allotted unit to make its own decisions. I was teamed with a group of five older boys between the ages of eighteen and twenty. Our Portuguese-French instructor was a twenty-three-year-old named Jules – the moment I’d set eyes on him, I was enthralled by his handsome ruggedness, and I had made it a point to join his team no matter what it took. Meanwhile, my “gaydar” also detected a half-Chinese and part Hispanic-American teammate called Kim. He, too, was checking out our instructor, and me. I befriended Kim and roomed with him on camping trips. Singapore, being a conservative society, did not condone homosexuality, let alone at this super ‘macho’ outpost. During a swimming sojourn, I decided to pretend to drown to get the instructor to come to my rescue. Sure enough, when I feigned suffocation in the ocean, Jules headed my direction. While swimming to pull me ashore, I reached to brush his groin, as if by accident. I did this several times and felt his growing penis with every touch. By the time he’d pulled me aground, he had sprouted a full erection behind his speedo. When he gave me the kiss of life, I jabbed my tongue into his mouth. Taken aback, he withdrew contact before resuming the revitalization process. This time, he lingered when his mouth was on mine. He played it cool, since our patrol was watching the entire incident. He ordered my teammates back to their respective duties when he carried me to the tent I shared with Kim. Although he knew I was capering with him, no words were exchanged throughout the entire process; neither did he make any attestation that he was aroused by what had transpired. Before leaving the tent, he uttered, “I’ll check in later to make sure you are okay…” He trailed off when Kim entered. My dearest ex, I’m sure you are intrigued to hear the rest of my story. You will… eventually. LOL! For now, I bid you adios, because my significant other is calling me to dinner.☺   Love and hugs. Your loving ex, Young XOXOXO
Young (Turpitude (A Harem Boy's Saga Book 4))
I'm just so tired. I'm so, so tired all the time.' A tear slips down her face, all the way down till it drops off her chin, and she doesn't brush its trail away. And I remember being in that jungle, lost in the darkest, wildest part of it, where fearsome beasts and carnivorous plants lurk between every tree. All I could do was lie down on the wet leaves. Bugs crawled up my legs, and I couldn't care enough to brush them off.
Emery Lord (When We Collided)
And is her boy Anson as ornery as ever? I imagine he’s all grown up now, isn’t he?” Sarah nodded. “He’s grown a foot since he went away to war, and filled out some. He’s quite the handsome charmer now.” “Ohhhhh?” No one could inject such a depth of meaning into a single syllable and a lifted brow as her sister. “He tried flirting with me, but I indicated I wasn’t interested,” Sarah said loftily, pretending a great interest in brushing a cookie crumb off her bodice. “Though I imagine the Spinsters’ Club ladies will be.” “Why?” Milly said, ignoring Sarah’s second remark for the first. “Because of our Yankee doctor?” To her dismay, Sarah felt a blush spreading up her cheeks. “Of course not. I don’t know why you and Prissy keep trying to pair us off.” Milly only smiled. “We agreed to be friends,” Sarah said, “and then he didn’t even show up at the taffy pull, and hasn’t mentioned it since. Though I imagine it was because he was so busy taking care of all those sick folks,” she admitted, determined to be fair.
Laurie Kingery (The Doctor Takes a Wife (Brides of Simpson Creek, #2))
I got you some stuff,” he said gruffly and set the food and drinks down at his feet before walking over to stand directly in front of me. I watched as he opened the first bag and began pulling out deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush and ponytail holders, girly shampoo, conditioner, a razor, and soap—since whatever I’d been using was definitely meant for men. The next bag opened and he pulled out large packs of men’s undershirts and boxer-briefs. I raised an eyebrow at first when he sat them down next to me, but I didn’t say anything. “There’s no way in hell I was going to be able to pick out a bra for you, and women have too many different kinds of underwear. This was easiest, but they might be too big on you.” I couldn’t even complain. My throat was closing up, my eyes were burning, and it was taking everything in me not to reach out and run my hands over it all. I hadn’t brushed my teeth since the night before I was taken, and I hadn’t put deodorant on or brushed my hair since the same time. Even though I was able to take showers every day, I had to put my old underwear, sleep shirt, and little shorts on once I was done; and it felt like I was never getting clean. If I could have clean clothes, even men’s clothes, I didn’t care. The last bag opened, and a shaky smile crossed my face for the first time since I’d had the unfortunate pleasure of meeting Taylor, as he pulled out different colored nail polishes. “I don’t know if you like these colors, but I watched you pick off what you had on your nails. So . . . here.” A package of pens followed, and the smile fell as confusion set in; but then he brought out a journal, and my stomach dropped. “I had to watch you for a long time, I don’t know what you wrote about, but I know you used to write every day. Anyway, that’s it,” he said and took a step away from the mattress. I picked up the journal and ran my hand over the front of it as tears fell down my cheeks. I knew sometime later I would be creeped out and put Taylor in the same zone Blake had been in, since Blake had people following me, and somehow had gotten cameras into our apartment. But right now, all I could think about was that I was going to be able to write to my parents again. It’d been over four and a half years since my parents died, and for four years I’d been writing in journals to them every day. Not being able to talk to them had been about as hard as not being with Kash. My
Molly McAdams (Deceiving Lies (Forgiving Lies, #2))
She went silent but shuddered again. When it happened a third time, he realized the woman he was holding was near tears, and he forgot all about thunder, artillery, and infantry. “Miss Farnum?” She burrowed into his chest. “Emmaline?” The crying was still not audible, but her body gave off heat, and when he bent his face to her, his nose grazed her damp cheek. “Hush, now.” He gathered her into his embrace and stroked her hair back from her face in a long, slow caress. “You mustn’t take on. Winnie won’t go anywhere for many years, and you will always be dear to her.” He pattered on, no longer aware of the storm outside, so wrapped up was he with this much more personal upheaval. Her words came back to him, the words about Winnie’s deserving and not having a papa’s affections, Winnie’s not being able to trust a gentleman’s advances, Winnie’s being sent away. Winnie, indeed. He let her cry, and soothed and comforted as best he could, but eventually she quieted. “I am mortified,” she whispered, her face pressed to his chest. “You will think me an unfit influence on Bronwyn.” “I think you very brave,” he said, his nose brushing her forehead. “Very resourceful but also a little tired of being such a good girl and more than a little lonely.” She said nothing for a moment but stopped her nascent struggle to get off his lap. “You forgot, a lot embarrassed,” she said at length. “I get like this—” She stopped abruptly, and he felt heat suffuse her face where her cheek lay against his throat. “You get like this when your menses approach. I have five sisters, if you will recall.” He tried without much success to keep the humor from his voice. “And do they fall weeping into the lap of the first gentleman to show them simple decency?” Emmie asked sternly. “If he were the first gentleman in years of managing on their own, then yes, I think they would be moved to tears.
Grace Burrowes (The Soldier (Duke's Obsession, #2; Windham, #2))
Jacob is being really good, and he sits on the edge of his chair when the recital starts. “I can’t see,” he complains. Next thing I know, he’s crawling into my lap. He sits his skinny little body right on top of mine and leans back so that his head is resting on my shoulder, and he snuggles in. He still smells like the outdoors and purple shampoo, and I want to hold him like this forever. Tears fill my eyes, and I blink them back furiously. Henry reaches into his pocket and hands me his cotton handkerchief. I wave him off. I’m going to keep it together, I promise myself. “Can you see now?” I ask Jacob. He nods, and his cheek brushes mine. I close my eyes and drink in the feeling.
Tammy Falkner (Proving Paul's Promise (The Reed Brothers, #5))
Brandon lightly brushed his hand over Liam’s head before he dropped both of them to my waist and then over where my stomach used to be. “Do you miss it?” His hands had stilled for a second before sliding over my flat stomach again. I know, I know, I already have a lot of women that hate me. When we walk into the appointments for Liam, everyone asks if we adopted because within a week, my stomach went completely back to normal. It was mind blowing even to Brandon and me, and we definitely knew that my stomach had been close to the size of a beach ball not long before. I had one stretch mark, and it was mostly unnoticeable because it ran along a tip of one of my lilies. But if it weren’t for that and my chest, I would think I’d made the entire pregnancy up and just stolen a baby from the hospital. “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen either way.” He shrugged and kissed the top of my head, “I do miss it, but I’m glad that he’s here now. It will just take some time to get used to not having your stomach there. Like right now, I keep going to run my hands over it, and then they just continue to slide straight across and it throws me off for a second.” “Throws you off? Think about how I felt when I went to set that bowl on my stomach and it fell into my lap.” Brandon’s husky laugh sent a shiver through me. “I’m sorry, but that was funny as hell. Your face was priceless.” Liam
Molly McAdams (Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1))
So I’m guessing that’s why you looked pissed off when I came in?” “Yeah, I knew he was still in there, but I didn’t know where and I didn’t want him to see you. I’m sorry, I know that’s immature, but he’s not my favorite person in the world.” “Babe, I’m surprised you let him even become a member. I would have escorted him out as soon as I’d seen him.” I smiled at Liam as he took another bite of baby food. “The thought crossed my mind.” He laughed softly, “Are you going to talk to him?” I leaned back into the chair as I got another scoop of pureed carrots, “I don’t know. If that night at the party wouldn’t have happened, I would in a heartbeat. But he changed things, I don’t think we can go back to being friends you know?” I shook my head, “God I still feel so stupid for not seeing it sooner.” He smirked at me, “You were the only person who didn’t get it. Even with Bree constantly saying something to you, you were so sure she was wrong.” “He was my best friend! He treated me like every other guy in Sir’s unit.” “Oh okay,” he scoffed, “‘my Blaze, my girl, I couldn’t just let you go to California without me’.” “Brandon Taylor … were you jealous of Carter?” “Me? Jealous? Of my girl running away from me to throw herself in some random guy’s arms? Not even close.” “Hmm,” I fed Liam another scoop of nastiness, “I seem to remember yelling at him and telling him to leave before running into your arms and kissing you.” He smiled wide, “I don’t remember that at all, you may need to remind me how that went.” His eyes had a wicked gleam in them as I leaned over Liam and stopped less than an inch away from his lips, “Brandon.” I whispered low and sultry. “Yeah?” He moved closer and I backed up a fraction of an inch. I smiled when he growled and lightly brushed my mouth over his lips before sitting down, “Well if you don’t remember it, I guess it never happened.” I said cheerfully and went back to feeding our son. “Tease.” “Oh yes, that’s me … the tease.” I winked and sat up for a chaste kiss. “And
Molly McAdams (Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1))
There was no wind at all but even the brush of the air against her face as he carried her hurt. It was a stinging, freezing cold that Sophie had never experienced before and she wasn’t equipped to deal with it. Despite being well wrapped up, her hands and feet were already numb and her eyes stung and watered. The tip of her nose felt like it might break off and every breath she took was like a spike in her lungs. She began to feel dizzy and the gray-blue plain wavered in her vision. “Sophia? Are you all right?” Sylvan sounded concerned. “Hurts,” she whispered. “Hurts to…to breathe.” “Press your face to my neck,” he ordered. “Draw warmth from me.” “But—” “Do it!” It was a command, not a request. Miserably, Sophie did as he said. She was certain her nose would feel like ice against his skin but she pressed her face against the side of his neck anyway. To her surprise, he was warm. Not just a little warmer than her but positively toasty. And he didn’t flinch when he felt her chilly touch. Feeling a little less panicky, Sophie snuggled closer, nuzzling against his throat and breathing in his scent. It was sharp and spicy and utterly masculine—his mating scent again, she realized. Had he started exuding it because she was close to him or just because he felt protective of her? Either way, it smelled delicious and she breathed it in happily, glad to be able to draw a breath without the stabbing pain. Sylvan
Evangeline Anderson (Hunted (Brides of the Kindred, #2))
I ken who ye are, what ye are. I am thinking ye ken who we are, what we are. Ye have been with my sister too long and too closely nay to have grown curious. And what little I have seen of Cambrun has only confirmed what I learned of the MacNachtons. We are alike in that we both must keep our secrets. Ye will keep ours and I will keep yours. I will go with ye to fetch my sister back.” Duncan stepped back and brushed off the front of his doublet. “I will, of course, allow ye the privilege of killing him.” “E’en if ye didnae wish to, I would insist. Ye may think ye ken what we are, but ye cannae imagine what sort of fight ye would be caught in, and lose, where we are going.” His eyes widened slightly when Duncan pulled his dagger and smiled in a surprisingly chilling way for such a fair, handsome man. “I may nay have the teeth for the job, Sir Cathal, but I am verra good with this. And, nay matter what ye may be, your heart is in the same place as mine.” Cathal
Hannah Howell (The Eternal Highlander (McNachton Vampires, #1))
Are you going to put your feet in?” he asked. She shook her head. “I don’t think so. It would be foolish. Besides that, I’m already breaking too many rules by sitting here alone with you. Though if anyone finds me, I shall claim that I was abducted by a pirate.” “And then you would be forced to wed me to save your reputation,” he suggested. “Which is not so very dreadful.” “I disagree,” she countered. “You, Lord Ashton, are a very wicked man with no sense of propriety.” But her eyes revealed her amusement. “If I worried about what others think, I would not be sitting with a beautiful woman on a sunny day, now, would I?” He leaned back with his arms crooked behind his head. He had the feeling that Lady Rose had a rebellious side to her, buried beneath her years of good manners. She shook her head and sighed. Then she lifted up one foot and began unbuttoning her shoe. “I must be mad.” A rebel indeed. He grinned and helped her with the other shoe, until she was clad in stockings. “No more than I. But it was an invigorating swim.” “You ought to put your shirt on,” she reminded him. “Someone will see you and think you are intent on seducing me.” “You did accuse me of being a pirate, a chara.” He kept his voice light, but leaned a little closer. “We aren’t known for being gentlemen.” In response, Rose dipped her hand into the water and splashed it at his chest. “Then I’ll be forced to defend myself from you.” The frigid water spilled down his bare chest, dampening his waistband. Iain rested his arms on either side of her, trapping her against the rock. “Now that wasn’t fair, Lady Rose.” Her smile faded instantly. “I was teasing, Lord Ashton.” “Were you?” He was feeling rather bold at the moment. He drank in the sight of her—those wide brown eyes, the delicate nose and sweet lips. Her hair was hidden beneath the bonnet, and he took it off, setting it aside. “You don’t need this.” “My face will be covered in freckles if I don’t wear it.” But she didn’t appear to mind his interference. And instead of shoving him aside, she was watching him with interest. Sunlight gleamed across her brown hair, revealing the hints of auburn. He leaned in, resting his forehead against hers. Her eyes widened, but she remained fixed upon his face. “Did Burkham ever kiss you?” “Of course.” Her voice held a hint of panic, but she didn’t pull away. He was caught up in the beauty of her. Her breath warmed his mouth, and for a moment, he remained near to her. She was forbidden to him, and he would not intrude where he wasn’t wanted. And yet, every part of him was entranced by her. “Tell me to leave you alone,” he said in a low voice. But she remained silent. Her hand moved up to touch the roughness of his face, and it only deepened the intimacy. She trailed her fingers upon his jaw, and the simple touch undid him. Iain bent and brushed his mouth against hers. It was the barest hint of a kiss, the promise of more if she wanted it. He pulled back immediately, searching her expression. He never wanted her to feel threatened by him. “Tell me if you’re wanting me to stop.” He leaned in again, nipping at her lips a second time. He waited for a long moment, giving her more than enough time to refuse. She could tell him no at any moment, and he would pull back. Instead, her eyes were wild, as if she didn’t know what to say or do. She tasted of summer, a softness and warmth like sunlight. Her eyes were caught up with his, her expression emboldened by a taste of the forbidden. Iain bent and claimed her mouth deeply, framing her face with both hands. He didn’t stop kissing her, learning the shape of her mouth and drawing her even closer.
Michelle Willingham (Good Earls Don't Lie)
I was almost done shaving when I heard the door open. “Uh … Bree?” I heard the toilet seat close and someone sit down on it. “Nope, just me.” “Chase! What the heck are you doing in here?” I tried to cover different body parts, but my chest alone needed two arms to cover everything, so it wasn’t working out too well. “Calm down Princess, I won’t peek.” “I could’ve sworn I locked that door.” “You do realize how easy it is to unlock my bathroom door when I have the key right?” “Can you please leave so I can get out of here?” I whined as I shut off the water. A towel was thrust through the side of the curtain and I gladly wrapped myself in it, but still didn’t open the only thing separating us. “Answer one thing first, and I’ll leave.” He waited for my reply, but went on when he didn’t receive any, “Are you going out with him tonight?” “Yes Chase, I am.” “Is that what you want to do, or are you trying to get back at me for telling you not to?” “I thought I only had to answer one question?” “Harper.” He deadpanned. “Ugh, no I’m not doing it to get back at you. Yes, I really want to go out with Brandon tonight. And if he asks me out again after tonight, I’m telling you right now I will say yes. I don’t see why I shouldn’t go out with him, and since you clearly don’t want me, I don’t think you’re allowed to have a say in the matter. He flung the curtain open and I jumped back, almost slipping in the tub. “I didn’t say I don’t want you. I said I don’t deserve you.” “That’s practically the same thing.” I glowered at him, “We both know how you are Chase, you screw every female you come in contact with. I don’t want to be just another girl to someone, and when it comes to Brandon, I won’t be.” I waited for a response from him, but didn’t receive any. “If you can convince me right now, that I have a reason to not be with him, then start talking. Otherwise, you and your confusing words need to stop.” “As long as he is what you want, I’ll stop bothering you.” He reached out to brush his fingers across the main bruise and I watched as his eyes clouded over. Like that wasn’t confusing. He leaned in to press his lips to the finger marks, then on my left shoulder and finally my right. Chase’s eyes were dark by the time he looked back into my eyes. “I’m so sorry Harper.” he whispered and leaned in close to kiss the corner of my mouth. My knees started shaking but I somehow managed to stay standing. “Get my number from Bree, I have to go into work tonight but if anything happens, call me and I’ll be there.” I just nodded and watched him walk out. I didn’t even know he had a job, but I was positive I wouldn’t be calling him tonight. Nothing good would come of it if I did. If my heart was already twisting from what just happened, he would surely break it when I saw him with his next girl. I couldn’t let myself get any closer to him. No matter how much I wished he was different, he wasn’t, and he would probably never change.
Molly McAdams (Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1))
Being around a magician is like that ... Like everything is bending around them because they're brushing the stardust and raindrops from another world off their shoulders.
R.M. Romero (The Dollmaker of Krakow)
There was a time when we failed to understand that throughout history, God has used place. There was a time when we laughed at the thought that we had losses, we brushed away any grief. “That’s ridiculous,” we sniffed! Other’s have far more losses. Others are far worse off. But then we faced one too many moves and in the back of our minds, the whisper of losses began to shout. And then someone invented a name, a name with a thousand meanings and memories. We became third culture kids. And we learned that we were not alone, that there were so many like us. We learned it was okay to have a name. It did not label us as an infection; it gave credibility to who we were and how we had lived.We were real. We could relax and begin to thrive. We had a place and we had a name — those Edenic characteristics applauded by God in the Garden so long ago. With a name we could grow into the people God intended us to be. And so we did.
Marilyn R. Gardner (Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging)
Her eyes flew open, however, as she felt a gentle touch at the edge of her jaw. Rohan’s fingers were nudging her face upward, his thumb brushing the tip of her chin. The unexpected intimacy sent a little shock through her. His flame-bright gaze had seized hers again. “Don’t you think you’re being a bit overprotective, chasing your grown brother across London? He’s not doing anything all that unusual. Most young lords in his position would behave the same.” “You don’t know him,” Amelia said, sounding shaken to her own ears. She knew she should pull away from his warm fingers, but her body remained perversely still, absorbing the pleasure of his touch. “It’s far from usual behavior for him. He’s in trouble. He—” She broke off. Rohan let a gentle fingertip follow the shining trail of her bonnet ribbon to the place where it tied beneath her chin. “What kind of trouble?
Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1))
To begin with I want you to take down your hair and look into the mirror.” “Why?” I asked even as I did what he said. It was mortifying to see myself naked and framed from behind by the big, blond vampire. Mortifying but strangely erotic too. With my hair down around my shoulders in a red-gold cloud, I looked very young and very vulnerable. Corbin’s skin was as pale as mine but he was so big he dwarfed me, making me feel like a doll or a little girl in his lap. “Because I want you to see yourself the way I see you. Addison, do you have any idea how beautiful you are?” “What?” I met his eyes in the mirror. “What are you talking about?” “I said you’re beautiful.” He arched an eyebrow at me. “Is that really so surprising?” I frowned. “Frankly, yes. I mean, I don’t hate my body but no one is going to be asking me to model any new fall fashions anytime soon.” He arched an eyebrow. “And why is that?” I ticked reasons off on my fingers. “I’m too short for one thing. Not to mention my breasts are too small.” “They are perfect for your size.” His large hands cupped the undercurves of my breasts and I felt myself blushing again as my body reacted to his touch. “Your nipples are quite beautiful,” he murmured, brushing them gently with his thumbs and sending sparks of pleasure all through me. “Such a pale, innocent pink. I wondered what color they would be.” “My thighs are too big,” I said, trying desperately to get my mind off of my now-erect nipples. Corbin continued to tease them in that slow, lazy way as though he had forever to touch me. “And I’m not toned enough—I’m too soft.” He shook his head. “My darling, I have been hard and cold for over four hundred years. Let me assure you, there is no such thing as too soft.” He placed a hand on my lower belly, right above the sensitive mound of my pussy. “The feel of your skin, the flutter of your pulse when I touch you, the scent of your arousal are all incredibly beautiful and erotic. See yourself for what you are and revel in your beauty.
Evangeline Anderson (Crimson Debt (Born to Darkness, #1))
Oh, God—” “Don’t move.” Rohan’s voice was astonishingly calm. “Don’t swat at them.” She had never known such primal fear, welling up from beneath her skin, leaking through every pore. No part of her body seemed to be under her control. The air was boiling with them, bees and more bees. It was not going to be a pleasant way to die. Closing her eyes tightly, Amelia willed herself to be still, when every muscle strained and screamed for action. Insects moved in sinuous patterns around her, tiny bodies touching her sleeves, hands, shoulders. “They’re more afraid of you than you are of them,” she heard Rohan say. Amelia highly doubted that. “These are not f-frightened bees.” Her voice didn’t sound like her own. “These are f-furious bees.” “They do seem a bit annoyed,” Rohan conceded, approaching her slowly. “It could be the dress you’re wearing—they tend not to like dark colors.” A short pause. “Or it could be the fact that you just ripped down half their hive.” “If you h-have the nerve to be amused by this—” She broke off and covered her face with her hands, trembling all over. His soothing voice undercut the buzzing around them. “Be still. Everything’s fine. I’m right here with you.” “Take me away,” she whispered desperately. Her heart was pounding too hard, making her bones shake, driving every coherent thought from her head. She felt him brush a few inquisitive insects from her hair and back. His arms went around her, his shoulder sturdy beneath her cheek. “I will, sweetheart. Put your arms around my neck.” She groped for him blindly, feeling sick and weak and disoriented. The flat muscles at the back of his neck shifted as he bent toward her, gathering her up as easily as if she were a child. “There,” he murmured. “I’ve got you.
Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1))
His dark, straight hair clung to the sides of his face, and he didn't brush it away. His eyes strained with worry. "But I was born today, and isn't it funny how no ones gets to remember that moment and who was there? It's all what's told to you. You're here now. You are a mother to me." Etsuko covered her mouth with her open palm and let his words go through her. Somewhere after being sorry, there had to be another day, and even after a conviction, there could be good in the judgment. At last, Etsuko shut off the water and put down the swollen yellow sponge in the sink. The curved brass spout let go its last few drops, and the kitchen grew silent. Etsuko reached over to hold the child on his birthday.
Min Jin Lee (Pachinko)
I pass him the candle, nodding agreement. He leads the way, and I follow close enough that I can grab his sword belt if necessary. The tunnel is so tight that my shoulders brush the wood beams propping up the ceiling. I fight the urge to sneeze against the dust we kick up. Something scuttles over my foot, glowing Godstone blue, and I squeal. Hector whirls, but then he says, “Just a cave scorpion. They glow when frightened. Nearly harmless.” Nearly harmless is not harmless, and I open my mouth to point out as much, but I decide I’d rather be brave in front of him. “It startled me,” I say calmly. “Please, continue.” He turns back around, but not before I catch the amused quirk of his lips. “Be glad it wasn’t a Death Stalker,” he says, pushing aside a thick cobweb. “Oh?” “They’re much larger scorpions. Very poisonous. They live in the scrub desert around Basajuan. I’m surprised you didn’t encounter them when you were leading the rebellion.” “I wish I had encountered Death Stalkers. They would have been marvelous weapons.” “What?” He stops short, and I nearly collide with him. “One of the village boys kept vipers. I ordered him to toss them into an Invierno camp. He didn’t stick around to see if anyone died, but he did report a lot of screaming. Scorpions would have been even better.” He is silent for so long that I’m worried I’ve offended him somehow. “Hector?” “You always surprise me.” And he moves off into the darkness.
Rae Carson (The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2))
So then…you still like me?” “Yeah,” I whisper. “I mean, sort of.” My heartbeat is going quick-quick-quick. I’m giddy. Is this a dream? If so, let me never wake up. Peter gives me a look like Get real, you know you like me. I do, I do. Then, softly, he says, “Do you believe me that I didn’t tell people we had sex on the ski trip?” “Yes.” “Okay.” He inhales. “Did…did anything happen with you and Sanderson after I left your house that night?” He’s jealous! The very thought of it warms me up like hot soup. I start to tell him no way, but he quickly says, “Wait. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.” “No,” I say, firmly so he knows I mean it. He nods but doesn’t say anything. Then he leans in, and I close my eyes, heart thrumming in my chest like hummingbird wings. We’ve technically only kissed four times, and only one of those times was for real. I’d like to just get right to it, so I can stop being nervous. But Peter doesn’t kiss me, not the way I expect. He kisses me on my left cheek, and then my right; his breath is warm. And then nothing. My eyes fly open. Is this a literal kiss-off? Why isn’t he kissing me properly? “What are you doing?” I whisper. “Building the anticipation.” Quickly I say, “Let’s just kiss.” He angles his head, and his cheek brushes against mine, which is when the front door opens, and it’s Peter’s younger brother, Owen, standing there with his arms crossed. I spring away from Peter like I just found out he has some incurable infectious disease. “Mom wants you guys to come in and have some cider,” he says, smirking. “In a minute,” Peter says, pulling me back. “She said right now,” Owen says. Oh my God. I throw a panicky look at Peter. “I should probably get going before my dad starts to worry…” He nudges me toward the door with his chin. “Just come inside for a minute, and then I’ll take you home.” As I step inside, he takes off my coat and says in a low voice, “Were you really going to walk all the way home in that fancy dress? In the cold?” “No, I was going to guilt you into driving me,” I whisper back.
Jenny Han (P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2))
His thumb was delicately brushing over my bottom lip as if he were asking for admittance and I was lost. We were standing right outside the church where anyone could walk out and catch us, but all I could think about was pressing my lips against his. Beau was becoming a necessity, and nothing about such a revelation could be considered positive. “Beau, what are you doing?” I croaked out. “Yeah, Beau, I’d like to know the same thing,” said a voice that didn’t belong to Beau. Several things happened at once. Beau’s thumb stopped its caressing, but he didn’t drop his hand. I could feel his body tense at the sound of Sawyer’s voice. What I should have done and what I did do were in two different stratospheres. Stepping back and putting distance between Beau and me would have been the logical, intelligent thing to do. Reaching out and grabbing his arm and squeezing it was my immediate reaction. “Are either of you gonna speak or are you just gonna continue gawking at each other?” The hard edge to Sawyer’s voice woke me up out of the trance I’d been in, and I dropped my hand from Beau and took several steps back. If Sawyer was expected to keep his cool, then we needed to put some space between the two of us. Beau’s eyes bore into me. He was silently pleading with me. I could almost hear his thoughts. Then he turned to face his cousin. This was the confrontation I’d hoped would never happen. “What exactly are you insinuating, Sawyer?” Beau asked in a deadly calm tone I knew he’d never used with Sawyer. “Oh, I don’t know, cuz, maybe the fact I came out here to look for my girlfriend, and I found her being mauled by you.” Beau took a step forward and a low growl rumbled in his chest. I ran up and grabbed his arm with both my hands. This probably didn’t help Sawyer’s temper any, but it kept Beau from pummeling his face. Both boys were in shape, but Beau had the market on badass. I couldn’t let him do something he’d never forgive himself for. Sawyer stared fixedly at me. I could only imagine what was going through his head. The sad thing was that I knew he wouldn’t even get close to the truth. Sawyer would never imagine I’d lost my virginity to Beau in the bed of a truck. “Want to tell me what’s going on, Ash?” There was hurt in his voice. I hated knowing that the words I had to say to him wouldn’t erase this but would only make it worse. I pushed Beau behind me as I stepped in front of him. “Go on home, Beau. Sawyer and I need to talk, and I don’t want you here.” Turning back to see Beau’s reaction was tempting, but I didn’t do it. I kept my eyes on Sawyer, praying silently that Beau heeded my orders and left. It was time I finished this and saved their friendship before it was too late. “I don’t want to leave you alone,” he replied, steel lacing his words. “Beau, please. You aren’t helping matters. Just go.” Sawyer never took his eyes off me. He was trying so hard to read between the lines. I would have to tell him some truths--just enough to keep from destroying his relationship with Beau. The crunch of the dry grass under Beau’s boots told me he’d granted my wish and was heading for his truck. I’d won that battle. Now the biggest one was staring me in the face, and I had no idea what I was going to say.
Abbi Glines (The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1))
I heard a noise from my bedroom and jumped, almost knocking over the goblet intended for Narian, and spilling some of the sleep-inducing drug London had given me. I brushed it over the mantel’s edge and into the barren fireplace where it would not be seen, reminding myself to behave normally. “Are you all right?” Narian had entered the parlor and was scrutinizing me from across the room. “Of course,” I said, forcing a cheerful tone. His eyes darted around the room’s perimeter. “You just…look pale.” “There’s hardly any light. So how can you tell--am I glowing?” He smiled, relaxing a little. “Sit down and have some wine with me,” I invited, moving to the sofa. He joined me, and I offered him the tainted drink, which he accepted with a puzzled expression. “You’re shaking, Alera.” “I’m cold.” “It’s quite warm.” “But the evening temperatures drop quickly now that summer’s sultriness has passed. The wine helps.” I took a sip from my goblet, deliberately stilling my hand. “So would a quilt,” he pointed out. “You detest wine.” I laughed uncomfortably, trying not to recoil at the flavor of the drink. Narian was taking his time. Did he suspect there was something wrong? He knew there was something wrong with me, yes, but perhaps the wine smelled off and it had alerted him. London had given me an abundance of the herb, whatever it was, and I had used it all. Narian let go of his reservations and lifted the goblet to his lips, and nausea hit me full force. London believed Narian to be nothing more than a dangerous weapon, one that would fight against us, and he was right that I was the only one around whom Narian would lower his guard. Would London, thinking of the greater good, be willing to use me to poison and kill his enemy? “Stop!” I cried, reaching out to grab the goblet and spilling wine all over the rug. Narian leaped to his feet, tensed for a fight, and I burst into tears. “Alera, what is it?” he asked, not sympathetic, but demanding and urgent. I was gasping, unable to catch my breath and feeling like I might vomit. “It’s London. He asked me to drug you. He said I had to do it, for Hytanica.” “Where is he?” “I don’t know. He left. He said their plan was to kill the sentries on the wall and close the city. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” I wasn’t sure to whom I was apologizing, or even for what exactly, but the guilt was close to unbearable. I put my hands over my face, my heart splintering at the thought of every one of the night’s possible outcomes. Narian ran to the door, and I summoned the strength to follow him. We flew down the Grand Staircase, where he snapped orders to the Cokyrian guards at the doors. “Rouse Rava and alert the soldiers on duty to monitor the city walls. There is a rebel party waiting to strike and I want them caught, now. Bring them here alive.” The guards left to carry out his instructions, and Narian turned to me. “Alera, I will do everything I can to protect the people you care about, you know that. But I will not be focused unless I know you are safe. Please, stay here.” I nodded, despite my desire to do anything except stay put, and he kissed me deeply right in the middle of the Grand Entry Hall, without a care for secrecy. “Be safe,” I murmured, watching him go.
Cayla Kluver (Sacrifice (Legacy, #3))
Narian was walking restlessly around his parlor when I entered, and my worry increased tenfold. Was he moving about because he was in pain? I glanced around the room, noticing an empty wineglass and a half-eaten bowl of soup. “You’re out of breath, Alera,” he said with a smile. “I hope that means your conversation with Nantilam went well.” I hesitated, unsure how to begin, unsure how to tell him what she was demanding, what she had done to him. Unsure how to tell him she had meted out one last betrayal. “How are you feeling?” I blurted, and he laughed. “I’m fine, but you don’t seem to be. Come and talk to me.” He took my hand and led me to the sofa, pulling me down to sit beside him. He winced as he did so, an indication he was experiencing some discomfort. I brushed his hair off his forehead, subtly checking for a fever, then told him of the High Priestess’s desires. “The terms of the actual treaty are not a problem, Narian, but Nantilam won’t enter into it unless you agree to make Cokyri your home. She wants to control your power, now and in the future, even to the point of progeny.” “Alera,” he calmly said, taking both my hands in his. “Those decisions are not hers to make. Besides, she’s a little late.” “I don’t understand.” He looked at me, bemused, then rolled up his right shirtsleeve, revealing an intricate tattoo encircling his forearm just below the elbow--the Cokyrian symbol that a man was voluntarily bound to a woman. I stared at it; I stared at him; and I burst into tears. His eyebrows rose in surprise, but he nonetheless took me into his arms. “That’s not the reaction I expected,” he drolly commented, “but it’s convinced me something is wrong.” “How….are…you…feeling?” I managed between sobs. “You’ve already asked me that, and I’m fine.” When I finally had my weeping under control, words tumbled from my mouth. “Even if the revolt has been successful, the High Priestess won’t enter into a treaty unless you stay in Cokyri. Otherwise, she’ll attack Hytanica again, and this time she will kill all of our military leaders and enslave my people. And she wants you to bind yourself to a woman of her choosing because if your powers pass to a child, she wants the child to be Cokyrian.” “That’s all well and good, but this time, she won’t be able to have things her way. There’s no need for you to worry about this. We are strong enough to take her on, Alera.” “But we’re not.” I glanced once more toward the food he had been given, and a flicker of understanding appeared in his eyes. “We have no choice, Narian, because she’s poisoned your food and drink and only she can heal you. And I don’t know what to do, only that I cannot let you die!” “Shhh,” he soothed, holding me close, and I couldn’t understand how he could be so calm. Not when panic rose higher inside me with each passing moment. When I had quieted, resting with my head cradled against his chest, he tried to sort through the things I had said. “So Nantilam, in her wisdom, has linked Hytanican’s freedom to my willingness to stay in Cokyri, and she has effectively taken me out of the fighting by poisoning my food?” I shudder, then nodded. “If I stay here, she is willing to sign a treaty, but if I’m not, she will never relinquish Hytanica and I won’t be around to prevent it.” “Yes,” I murmured. “So she is tearing us apart, dictating the rest of my life and we have to go along with it or she will destroy Hytanica?” “Yes. And we’re running out of time.” He shook his head in awe. “I have to hand it to her, Alera. She’s ruthless in pursuing what she wants.” “This is serious, Narian.” I found his attitude almost irritating. He obviously understood the direness of his situation, yet was acting like it was only a game. “I know it’s serious, but there is only one choice as far as I’m concerned. I don’t want to live without you, Alera. I won’t live without you.
Cayla Kluver (Sacrifice (Legacy, #3))
What happened?” I croaked, and she came to my side, offering me a cool drink. “You’re fine,” she soothed. “Both of you are fine. Just lie still.” “But…how did I come to be here?” “You and my son passed out. No one knows how or why, but a lot of people lost consciousness. The Cokyrian commander summoned physicians to treat everyone, then my Lord Landru found you and brought you both here.” “I need to go home. My mother must be frantic.” I struggled to sit upright, then fell back, my head pounding, nausea sweeping through me that was so debilitating I would have gladly traded it for a hangover. “Shaselle, are you all right?” It was Grayden, his voice weak and confused. His mother replaced the damp cloth on my brow, then went to offer him something to drink. “I think I will be,” I managed in response. I heard voices in the foyer, then Lord Landru strode into the parlor. “She’s there, Cannan,” he said, and my uncle approached, his atypical worry lines relaxing when he realized I was conscious. “How are you, Shaselle?” “Never better.” He laughed in pure relief. “I’m going to let you rest here for a while yet. Then I’ll return and take you home. But you’re going to be just fine.” “What went wrong, Uncle? Everyone was so happy, and then…it was chaos.” “I know. There was a disturbance--Hytanican caused, I’m afraid. But the Cokyrians were only too eager to respond. Feebly armed Hytanicans in various stages of inebriation were no match for sober, well-armed and well-trained Cokyrian soldiers. It would have been a bloodbath had it not been for Commander Narian.” Cannan shook his head, as if trying to figure something out. “I’m not sure what he did, but he must have been anticipating trouble. He released some type of poison--no, not a poison. But some type of airborne substance that knocked everybody off their feet. Shut the fighting down at once.” He placed a hand on my cheek, brushing away a few wisps of my hair. “You no doubt feel poorly right now, but I’ve been told the effects wear off in a few hours. You’ll be back to normal after that.” “Captain, sir?” It was Grayden. My uncle gazed over at him in surprise. “Yes?” “This may not be the ideal time to ask, but, would you please permit me to court Shaselle?” There was stunned silence in the room, then loud laughter. “I’d be a fool to deny you a chance with my niece. Assuming Shaselle favors the idea.” “I do, Uncle,” I assured him, easily slipping back toward sleep, images of Grayden and Saadi drifting through my head. Then a remembrance of Queen Alera and Commander Narian came to the forefront--how deferential he had been with her when I had been caught with that dagger, how she had looked at him. And I knew two things with absolute certainty. She was in love with him, and he had to be a good man.
Cayla Kluver (Sacrifice (Legacy, #3))
Anxious to demonstrate her competence, Amelia strode to the other window and began jerking at the closed draperies. “Thank you, Mr. Rohan, but as you can see, I have the situation well in hand.” “I think I’ll stay. Having stopped you from falling through one window, I’d hate for you to go out the other.” “I won’t. I’ll be fine. I have everything under—” She tugged harder, and the rod clattered to the floor, just as the other had done. But unlike the other curtain, which had been lined with aged velvet, this one was lined with some kind of shimmering rippling fabric, some kind of— Amelia froze in horror. The underside of the curtain was covered with bees. Bees. Hundreds, no, thousands of them, their iridescent wings beating in an angry relentless hum. They lifted in a mass from the crumpled velvet, while more flew from a crevice in the wall, where an enormous hive simmered. They must have found their way into a hollow space from a decayed spot in the outer wall. The insects swarmed like tongues of flame around Amelia’s paralyzed form. She felt the blood drain from her face. “Oh, God—” “Don’t move.” Rohan’s voice was astonishingly calm. “Don’t swat at them.” She had never known such primal fear, welling up from beneath her skin, leaking through every pore. No part of her body seemed to be under her control. The air was boiling with them, bees and more bees. It was not going to be a pleasant way to die. Closing her eyes tightly, Amelia willed herself to be still, when every muscle strained and screamed for action. Insects moved in sinuous patterns around her, tiny bodies touching her sleeves, hands, shoulders. “They’re more afraid of you than you are of them,” she heard Rohan say. Amelia highly doubted that. “These are not f-frightened bees.” Her voice didn’t sound like her own. “These are f-furious bees.” “They do seem a bit annoyed,” Rohan conceded, approaching her slowly. “It could be the dress you’re wearing—they tend not to like dark colors.” A short pause. “Or it could be the fact that you just ripped down half their hive.” “If you h-have the nerve to be amused by this—” She broke off and covered her face with her hands, trembling all over. His soothing voice undercut the buzzing around them. “Be still. Everything’s fine. I’m right here with you.” “Take me away,” she whispered desperately. Her heart was pounding too hard, making her bones shake, driving every coherent thought from her head. She felt him brush a few inquisitive insects from her hair and back. His arms went around her, his shoulder sturdy beneath her cheek. “I will, sweetheart.
Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1))
I want you to lie beside me. His voice was a sinful caress, enticing, insistent. “I think you can manage all by yourself,” she answered, refusing to look into his dark, hypnotic eyes. Instead, she shut off her computer and the generator and locked the door. I have nightmares, little red hair. The only way to keep them at bay is to have you close beside me. He sounded very earnest, innocent, hopeful. Shea found herself smiling as she poured him another unit of blood. She was beginning to think the devil himself had shown up at her doorstep. Jacques was temptation incarnate. “I removed a stake from your heart just a couple of nights ago, and you have a major wound there. If I move around while I sleep, I could easily bump into you and start it bleeding again. You wouldn’t want that, would you?” He took the container from her hand, his fingers curling around the glass precisely over the spot where her fingers had been. He did things like that, intimate things that sent butterfly wings brushing deep within her. Not my heart, Shea. They did not get me in the heart, as they should have. It is here within my body— can you not hear it? Your heart beats with the same rhythm so that it matches mine. “Were you a playboy before they buried you?” she asked him, tossing a mischievous grin over her shoulder. Shea checked her gun to make certain it was clean and loaded. “You need to drink that, Jacques, not just hold it. And then go back to sleep. The more rest you get, the faster you’ll heal.” You persist in being my doctor when I so need my lifemate to come and lie beside me. Again his voice was temptation itself. “Drink, Jacques.” She tried to sound stern, but it was impossible when he was looking so desperate for her company. I am desperate. She couldn’t help but shake her head. “You’re outrageous.” He made an attempt to raise the glass to his mouth, but his arm wobbled. I cannot lift this without your aid, Shea. I am too weak. “Am I supposed to believe you?” She laughed aloud but crossed to his side.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
....they dressed for dinner and followed the strict discipline of upper class English families. The next morning they took me with them for the county fox hunt. Since I could not ride, I asked to be excused. But I did get to see the ritual of dress, the hierarchy observed among hunting types, the blowing of horns, the handling of beagles, a poor fox being run to death and having its tail (brush) cut off. Having achieved their object, glasses of sherry were passed round like prasad after a religious service.
Khushwant Singh (Truth, Love A Little Malice)