Don't Strain Yourself Quotes

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Whatcha doin', Freak Girl?" --------------------------- "What does it look like, brainiac?" I shot back, even surprising myself with the force of my jab. "I'll give you three guesses. No, wait. Don't strain yourself. Wouldn't want to hurt your head." I waved a flyer in his face, channeling my inner mean girl. "See these? I'm hanging them...on a...wall!" I spoke the last part slowly, as if addressing a dim-witted child. Which wasn't far off the mark, now that I thought about it. "With tape," I added, waving at the dispenser. "You know-sticky, sticky!
Mari Mancusi (Gamer Girl)
There are no commitments, only bargains. And they have to be made again every day. You think making a commitment is it. Finish. You think it sets like a concrete platform and it'll take any strain you want to put on it. You're committed. You don't have to prove anything. In fact you can afford a little neglect, indulge in a little bit of sarcasm here and there, isolate yourself when you want to. Underneath it's concrete for life. I'm a cow in some ways, but you're an idiot.
Tom Stoppard (The Real Thing)
Betrayal wears a lot of different hats. You don’t have to make a show of it like Brutus did, you don’t have to leave anything visible jutting from the base of your best friend’s spine, and afterward you can stand there straining your ears for hours, but you won’t hear a cock crow either. No, the most insidious betrayals are done merely by leaving the life jacket hanging in your closet while you lie to yourself that it’s probably not the drowning man’s size. That’s how we slide, and while we slide we blame the world’s problems on colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, corporatism, stupid white men, and America, but there’s no need to make a brand name of blame. Individual self-interest: that’s the source of our descent, and it doesn’t start in the boardrooms or the war rooms either. It starts in the home.
Steve Toltz (A Fraction of the Whole)
Americans don't like to waste time on stupid things, for example, on the torturous process of coming up with names for their towns. And really, why strain yourself when so many wonderful names already exist in the world? The entrance to the town of Moscow is shown in the photograph. That's right, an absolutely authentic Moscow, just in the state of Ohio, not in the USSR in Moscow province. There's another Moscow in some other state, and yet another Moscow in a third state. On the whole, every state has the absolute right to have its very own Moscow.
Ilya Ilf (Ilf and Petrov's American Road Trip: The 1935 Travelogue of Two Soviet Writers)
I keep collecting books I know I'll never, never read; My wife and daughter tell me so, And yet I never heed. "Please make me," says some wistful tome, "A wee bit of yourself." And so I take my treasure home, And tuck it in a shelf. And now my very shelves complain; They jam and over-spill. They say: "Why don't you ease our strain?" "Some day," I say, "I will." So book by book they plead and sigh; I pick and dip and scan; Then put them back, distressed that I Am such a busy man. Now, there's my Boswell and my Sterne, my Gibbon and Defoe; To savor Swift I'll never learn, Montaigne I may not know. On Bacon I will never sup, For Shakespeare I've no time; Because I'm busy making up These jingly bits of rhyme. Chekov is caviar to me, While Stendhal makes me snore; Poor Proust is not my cup of tea, And Balzac is a bore. I have their books, I love their names, And yet alas! they head, With Lawrence, Joyce and Henry James, My Roster of Unread. I think it would be very well If I commit a crime, And get put in a prison cell And not allowed to rhyme; Yet given all these worthy books According to my need, I now caress with loving looks, But never, never read." (from, Book Lover)
Robert W. Service
Seers? You mean there are others aside from Gavin and Catherine’s husband?” “Two other featherbrained fools. Together, they have all the sense of a chair leg.” My lips curve into a smile. “Am I really the only human you can stand?” “You have a certain charm. It’s grown on me.” I can’t help laughing. “Please, don’t strain yourself with flattery.
Elizabeth May (The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer, #2))
Parroting her own words at her. Cute. Ally rolled her eyes and swung her legs over the end of the bed. “Don’t strain yourself too hard, coming up with all that original content.” “I’m a fan of the classics,” he said, sliding the towel off his hips.
Katherine McIntyre (Forged Redemption (Tribal Spirits #5))
The most spiritually credible people I know are humble and soft-spoken. They don’t strut around like peacocks, enchanted by how wonderful they are. My heroes are the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and Rosa Parks—gentle persuaders to a more noble path, not power-hungry egomaniacs. Don’t get me wrong. I advocate a healthy ego. It’s our conscious sense of self, the “I” of the human equation. However, egotism is having an inflated identity, a strain of negativity that infects spirituality and the liberation it brings.
Judith Orloff (Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life)
The routine produces. But each day, nevertheless, when you try to get started you have to transmogrify, transpose yourself; you have to go through some kind of change from being a normal human being, into becoming some kind of slave. I simply don’t want to break through that membrane. I’d do anything to avoid it. You have to get there and you don’t want to go there because there’s so much pressure and so much strain and you just want to stay on the outside and be yourself. And so the day is a constant struggle to get going. And if somebody says to me, You’re a prolific writer—it seems so odd. It’s like the difference between geological time and human time. On a certain scale, it does look like I do a lot. But that’s my day, all day long, sitting there wondering when I’m going to be able to get started. And the routine of doing this six days a week puts a little drop in a bucket each day, and that’s the key. Because if you put a drop in a bucket every day, after three hundred and sixty-five days, the bucket’s going to have some water in it.
John McPhee
If you grow up the type of woman men want to look at, You can let them look at you. But do not mistake eyes for hands, Or windows for mirrors. Let them see what a woman looks like. They may not have ever seen one before. If you grow up the type of woman men want to touch, You can let them touch you. Sometimes it is not you they are reaching for. Sometimes it is a bottle, a door, a sandwich, a Pulitzer, another woman – But their hands found you first. Do not mistake yourself for a guardian, or a muse, or a promise, or a victim or a snack. You are a woman – Skin and bones, veins and nerves, hair and sweat You are not made of metaphors, Not apologies, not excuses. If you grow up the type of woman men want to hold, You can let them hold you. All day they practice keeping their bodies upright. Even after all this evolving it still feels unnatural, Still strains the muscles, holds firm the arms and spine. Only some men will want to learn what it feels like to curl themselves into a question mark around you, Admit they don’t have the answers they thought they would by now. Some men will want to hold you like the answer. You are not the answer. You are not the problem. You are not the poem, or the punchline, or the riddle, or the joke. Woman, if you grow up the type of woman men want to love, You can let them love you. Being loved is not the same thing as loving. When you fall in love, It is discovering the ocean after years of puddle jumping. It is realising you have hands. It is reaching for the tightrope after the crowds have all gone home. Do not spend time wondering if you are the type of woman men will hurt. If he leaves you with a car alarm heart. You learn to sing along. It is hard to stop loving the ocean, Even after it’s left you gasping, salty. So forgive yourself for the decisions you’ve made, The ones you still call mistakes when you tuck them in at night, And know this. Know you are the type of woman who is searching for a place to call yours. Let the statues crumble. You have always been the place. You are a woman who can build it yourself. You are born to build.
Sarah Kay
You see, the glamour girl standing before you was not the dame I first laid eyes on in Penn Station. In fact, at first I thought she was the charwoman. Don’t you remember how frightful you looked that night, Honey Pie?” Sam patted Evie’s hand. Her strained smile pleased him. “She was sooty and grimy. Had on her mother’s dress and those thick woolen stockings that grandmas and war orphans wear. And one of her teeth was missing. Ghastly. But I was smitten.” “Oh, Daddy, you might need a visit to the dentist soon yourself.” Evie laughed and tightened her grip on Sam’s hand.
Libba Bray (Lair of Dreams (The Diviners, #2))
I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread. Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear. Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you've defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you. The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
He made a noise that sounded like a strangled laugh, and then said: Ah, I like your style. I’ll give you that. You’re not easy to get the upper hand on, are you? Obviously I’m not going to manage it. It’s funny, because you carry on like you’d let me walk all over you, answering my texts at two in the morning, and then telling me you’re in love with me, blah blah blah. But that’s all your way of saying, just try and catch me, because you won’t. And I can see I won’t. You’re not going to let me have it for a minute. Nine times out of ten you’d have someone fooled with the way you go on. They’d be delighted with themselves, thinking they were really the boss of you. Yeah, yeah, but I’m not an idiot. You’re only letting me act badly because it puts you above me, and that’s where you like to be. Above, above. And I don’t take it personally, by the way, I don’t think you’d let anyone near you. Actually, I respect it. You’re looking out for yourself, and I’m sure you have your reasons. I’m sorry I was so harsh on you with what I said, because you were right, I was just trying to hurt you. And I probably did hurt you, big deal. Anyone can hurt anyone if they go out of their way. But then instead of getting mad with me, you go saying I’m welcome to stay over and you still love me and all this. Because you have to be perfect, don’t you? No, you really have a way about you, I must say. And I’m sorry, alright? I won’t be trying to take a jab at you again. Lesson learned. But from now on you don’t need to act like you’re under my thumb, when we both know I’m nowhere near you. Alright? Another long silence fell. Their faces were invisible in darkness. Eventually, in a high and strained voice, straining perhaps for an evenness or lightness it did not attain, she replied: Alright. If I ever do get a hold of you, you won’t need to tell me, he said. I’ll know. But I’m not going to chase too much. I’ll just stay where I am and see if you come to me. Yes, that’s what hunters do with deer, she said. Before they kill them.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
St. John,” I said, “I think you are al­most wicked to talk so. I am dis­posed to be as con­tent as a queen, and you try to stir me up to rest­less­ness! To what end?” “To the end of turn­ing to profit the tal­ents which God has committed to your keep­ing; and of which He will surely one day de­mand a strict ac­count. Jane, I shall watch you closely and anx­iously—I warn you of that. And try to re­strain the dis­pro­por­tion­ate fervour with which you throw your­self into com­mon­place home pleasures. Don’t cling so tena­ciously to ties of the flesh; save your con­stancy and ar­dour for an ad­e­quate cause; for­bear to waste them on trite tran­sient ob­jects. Do you hear, Jane?” “Yes; just as if you were speak­ing Greek. I feel I have ad­e­quate cause to be happy, and I will be happy. Good­bye!
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Don’t make yourself a ferry on the river, And then strain to seek its fare; Take the fare from him who is wealthy, And let pass him who is poor.
Muata Ashby (Ancient Egyptian Proverbs)
If it’s heavy... you don’t have to strain yourself and carry the whole thing. We are here to help. It's okay. If everyone grabs hold, it's light as a feather.” —Hiroto Suwa
Ichigo Takano (Orange 4 (オレンジ, #4))
Where you girls from? Don't answer if you don't feel like it. I don't want you to strain yourself.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
It is difficult for me to wag my finger at you from so very far away, particularly as my heart aches for you but really, darling, you must pack up this nonsensical situation once and for all. It is really beneath your dignity, not your dignity as a famous artist and a glamorous star, but your dignity as a human, only too human being. Curly [the shaven-headed Brynner] is attractive, beguiling, tender and fascinating, but he is not the only man in the world who merits those delightful adjectives?… do please try to work out for yourself a little personal philosophy and DO NOT, repeat DO NOT be so bloody vulnerable. To hell with God damned ‘L’Amour.’ It always causes far more trouble than it is worth. Don’t run after it. Don’t court it. Keep it waiting off stage until you’re good and ready for it and even then treat it with the suspicious disdain that it deserves … I am sick to death of you waiting about in empty houses and apartments with your ears strained for the telephone to ring. Snap out of it, girl! A very brilliant writer once said (Could it have been me?) ‘Life is for the living.’? Well, that is all it is for… …Unpack your sense of humour, and get on with living and ENJOY IT. Incidentally, there is one fairly strong-minded type who will never let you down and who loves you very much indeed. Just try to guess who it is. XXXX.
Noël Coward
I’ll see you in the morning. Oh, and hey…if I don’t answer the door right away it probably means I’m doing some weight training or something.” “Gotcha,” Marlboro Man answered, humoring me. “And hey--don’t pull any muscles or strain yourself. We’re getting married in less than a week.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
Stop terrorizing the servants, Channing. I don't care how you get yourself out of this twitchy, angry mood you are in, but do it now. I believe I preferred you as a cold, elusive pollock." Channing grinned. "Now you see why I work so hard for that state. Anything else is worse." Biffy rolled his eyes. "You could try being happy. Or would that strain something?" "He doesn't know how." Lyall's voice was sad. Biffy glared at them both. "Oh, for goodness' sake, he's a werewolf, and he likes to fight. Is it so wrong to suggest he might, oh I don't know, fight for her?
Gail Carriger (How to Marry a Werewolf (Claw & Courtship, #1))
Having only four guiding principles: one, do as little harm to others as possible; two, be there always for your friends; three, be responsible for yourself and ask nothing of others; four, grab all the fun you can. Put no stock in the opinions of anyone but those closest to you. Forget about leaving a mark on the world. Ignore the great issues of your time and thereby improve your digestion. Don’t dwell in the past. Don’t worry about the future. Live in the moment. Trust in the purpose of your existence and let meaning come to you instead of straining to discover it. When life throws a hard punch, roll with it—but roll with laughter. Catch the wave, dude.
Dean Koontz (Fear Nothing (Moonlight Bay, #1))
Something not going well, Mr. Boxley?" The novelist looked back at him in thunderous silence. "I read your letter," said Stahr. The tone of the pleasant young headmaster was gone. He spoke as to an equal, but with a faint two-edged deference. "I can't get what I write on paper," broke out Boxley. "You've all been very decent, but it's a sort of conspiracy. Those two hacks you've teamed me with listen to what I say, but they spoil it--they seem to have a vocabulary of about a hundred words." "Why don't you write it yourself?" asked Stahr. "I have. I sent you some." "But it was just talk, back and forth," said Stahr mildly. "Interesting talk but nothing more." Now it was all the two ghostly attendants could do to hold Boxley in the deep chair. He struggled to get up; he uttered a single quiet bark which had some relation to laughter but non to amusement, and said: "I don't think you people read things. The men are duelling when the conversation takes place. At the end one of them falls into a well and has to be hauled up in a bucket." He barked again and subsided. Would you write that in a book of your own, Mr. Boxley?" "What? Naturally not." "You'd consider it too cheap." "Movie standards are different," said Boxley, hedging. "Do you ever go to them?" "No--almost never." "Isn't it because people are always duelling and falling down wells?" Yes--and wearing strained facial expressions and talking incredible and unnatural dialogue." "Skip the dialogue for a minute," said Stahr. "Granted your dialogue is more graceful than what these hacks can write--that's why we brought you out here. But let's imagine something that isn't either bad dialogue or jumping down a well.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Love of the Last Tycoon)
What, in fact, do we know about the peak experience? Well, to begin with, we know one thing that puts us several steps ahead of the most penetrating thinkers of the 19th century: that P.E’.s are not a matter of pure good luck or grace. They don’t come and go as they please, leaving ‘this dim, vast vale of tears vacant and desolate’. Like rainbows, peak experiences are governed by definite laws. They are ‘intentional’. And that statement suddenly gains in significance when we remember Thorndike’s discovery that the effect of positive stimuli is far more powerful and far reaching than that of negative stimuli. His first statement of the law of effect was simply that situations that elicit positive reactions tend to produce continuance of positive reactions, while situations that elicit negative or avoidance reactions tend to produce continuance of these. It was later that he came to realise that positive reactions build-up stronger response patterns than negative ones. In other words, positive responses are more intentional than negative ones. Which is another way of saying that if you want a positive reaction (or a peak experience), your best chance of obtaining it is by putting yourself into an active, purposive frame of mind. The opposite of the peak experience—sudden depression, fatigue, even the ‘panic fear’ that swept William James to the edge of insanity—is the outcome of passivity. This cannot be overemphasised. Depression—or neurosis—need not have a positive cause (childhood traumas, etc.). It is the natural outcome of negative passivity. The peak experience is the outcome of an intentional attitude. ‘Feedback’ from my activities depends upon the degree of deliberately calculated purpose I put into them, not upon some occult law connected with the activity itself. . . . A healthy, perfectly adjusted human being would slide smoothly into gear, perform whatever has to be done with perfect economy of energy, then recover lost energy in a state of serene relaxation. Most human beings are not healthy or well adjusted. Their activity is full of strain and nervous tension, and their relaxation hovers on the edge of anxiety. They fail to put enough effort—enough seriousness—into their activity, and they fail to withdraw enough effort from their relaxation. Moods of serenity descend upon them—if at all—by chance; perhaps after some crisis, or in peaceful surroundings with pleasant associations. Their main trouble is that they have no idea of what can be achieved by a certain kind of mental effort. And this is perhaps the place to point out that although mystical contemplation is as old as religion, it is only in the past two centuries that it has played a major role in European culture. It was the group of writers we call the romantics who discovered that a man contemplating a waterfall or a mountain peak can suddenly feel ‘godlike’, as if the soul had expanded. The world is seen from a ‘bird’s eye view’ instead of a worm’s eye view: there is a sense of power, detachment, serenity. The romantics—Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Goethe, Schiller—were the first to raise the question of whether there are ‘higher ceilings of human nature’. But, lacking the concepts for analysing the problem, they left it unsolved. And the romantics in general accepted that the ‘godlike moments’ cannot be sustained, and certainly cannot be re-created at will. This produced the climate of despair that has continued down to our own time. (The major writers of the 20th century—Proust, Eliot, Joyce, Musil—are direct descendants of the romantics, as Edmund Wilson pointed out in Axel’s Castle.) Thus it can be seen that Maslow’s importance extends far beyond the field of psychology. William James had asserted that ‘mystical’ experiences are not mystical at all, but are a perfectly normal potential of human consciousness; but there is no mention of such experiences in Principles of Psychology (or only in passing).
Colin Wilson (New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow & the Post-Freudian Revolution)
Follow these steps—over and over again for a decade—and you just might become a master: • Remember that deliberate practice has one objective: to improve performance. “People who play tennis once a week for years don’t get any better if they do the same thing each time,” Ericsson has said. “Deliberate practice is about changing your performance, setting new goals and straining yourself to reach a bit higher each time.” • Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repetition matters. Basketball greats don’t shoot ten free throws at the end of team practice; they shoot five hundred. • Seek constant, critical feedback. If you don’t know how you’re doing, you won’t know what to improve. • Focus ruthlessly on where you need help. While many of us work on what we’re already good at, says Ericsson, “those who get better work on their weaknesses.” • Prepare for the process to be mentally and physically exhausting. That’s why so few people commit to it, but that’s why it works.
Daniel H. Pink (Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us)
Drift me away along with the dust traveling to infinity. To another world where it feels more at home. To another world where I don’t feel alone. Trapped in the angst of my soul. Not being embraced as a whole. A state of nothingness creeps upon me. Disappearing in the darkness of the shadows. How it has clocked my life. Because that is the only place where I find peace. I call it nyctophilia. And what am I when the day turns into the night, listening to the nocturnal and the howling wind? My soul leaving my body, To be at rest. Tears strain down my cheeks, Enough for my lungs to fight for air in the peaks. The atmosphere seems to be held in place by a certain silence, waiting for a sign to move. Even the earth forgot its behoove. Taken over by this silence that I yet do not understand myself. It seems that things don’t have a meaning, At least not anymore. The demons and darkness have taken over. Making me believe that it knows better. These demons can’t be seen, But they’re far from imaginary. They live inside my mind. Their evilness prevails, About to end the fight. Then I stop and think: This is a melancholy I’ll fight one more night.
Salina Khan
Here's my suggestion to musicians: When you're about to reach for whatever musical tools you use, virtual or real, guitar or computer, ask yourself if you're doing so to save time or because you don't feel like straining your brain. Or, more important, ask yourself if you have anything to say yet. If not, keep working (or playing) upstairs, in your brain. Sure, it's okay to react to what happens when playing with the tools -- or the way a chord sounds, a loop, or even an accident. But make sure you express what you wanted to say or what you imagined. Don't let your tools make you their bitch.
Ben Folds (A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons)
So your plan is too brood at home by yourself all night? Rather than going to a party with your friends?” Alastair gave him a sour look. “They’re not my friends.” “You say that kind of thing often,” Thomas said. “Almost as though if you repeat it enough, it will become true.” He crossed his arms over his broad chest. He was wearing his best black jacket, which strained against the seams at his shoulders. “If you don’t go, I won’t go either. I will stay at home, and mice will nibble on me in my despair.” Alastair blinked. “There’s no reason for that,” he said. “You’ve got every reason to go—” “But I won’t,” Thomas said. “I will remain at home, despairing, being nibbled upon by mice. It’s your choice.” Alastair held up one finger for a moment as though to speak, then let it drop. “Well. Damn you, Lightwood.” “Alastair?” came a light voice from the parlor. Sona: of course they would have brought her down here, to keep her from having to climb the stairs every day. “Che khabare? Che kesi dame dar ast?” What’s going on? Who was at the door? Alastair looked darkly at Thomas. “All right,” he said. “I’ll go to your stupid party. But you have to amuse my mother while I get dressed.” And with that, he turned and stalked upstairs.
Cassandra Clare (Chain of Thorns (The Last Hours, #3))
GENERAL NOTE TO MYSELF - Douglas Adams Writing isn’t so bad really when you get through the worry. Forget about the worry, just press on. Don’t be embarrassed about the bad bits. Don’t strain at them, give yourself time, you can come back and do it again in the light of what you discover about the story later on. It's better to have pages and pages of material to work through and often maybe find an unexpected shape in that you can then craft and put it for good use, rather than one manically reworked paragraph or sentence. But writing can be good. You attack it, don’t let it attack you. You can get pleasure out of it. You can certainly do very well for yourself with it...!
Douglas Adams
We met at a Mexican restaurant. We ordered, and I immediately broached the subject of Haldol. “I was surprised to see you at the pharmacy today,” I said. “Shhh!” She was eavesdropping on the table behind us. “They don’t know the difference between a burrito and an enchilada!” Bernadette’s face tightened as she strained to listen. “Oh my God,” she whispered. “They’ve never heard of mole. What do they look like? I don’t want to turn around.” “Just… people.” “What do you mean? What kind of—” She couldn’t contain herself. She quickly turned. “They’re covered in tattoos! What, you’re so cool that you ink yourself head-to-toe, but you don’t know the difference between an enchilada and a burrito?
Maria Semple (Where'd You Go, Bernadette)
I know what the problem is.” Curran pulled his shoulders back and flexed, warming up a little. I stole a glance. He had decided to fight in jeans and an old black T-shirt, from which he’d torn the sleeves. Probably his workout shirt. His biceps were carved, the muscle defined and built by countless exertions, neither too bulky nor too lean. Perfect. Kissing him might make me guilty of catastrophically bad judgment, but at least nobody could fault my taste. The trick was not to kiss him again. Once could be an accident; twice was trouble. “You said something?” I arched an eyebrow at him. Nonchalance—best camouflage for drooling. Both the werebison and the swordsman looked ready to charge: the muscles of their legs tense, leaning forward slightly on their toes. They seemed to be terribly sure that we would stay in one place and wait for them. Curran was looking at their legs, too. They must be expecting a distraction from the lamia. She sat cocooned in magic, holding on with both hands as it strained on its leash. “I said, I know why you’re afraid to fight with me.” “And why is that?” If he flexed again, I’d have to implement emergency measures. Maybe I could kick some sand at him or something. Hard to look hot brushing sand out of your eyes. “You want me.” Oh boy. “You can’t resist my subtle charm, so you’re afraid you’re going to make a spectacle out of yourself.” “You know what? Don’t talk to me.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3))
Since we’ve ruled out another man as the explanation for all this, I can only assume something has gone wrong at Havenhurst. Is that it?” Elizabeth seized on that excuse as if it were manna from heaven. “Yes,” she whispered, nodding vigorously. Leaning down, he pressed a kiss on her forehead and said teasingly, “Let me guess-you discovered the mill overcharged you?” Elizabeth thought she would die of the sweet torment when he continued tenderly teasing her about being thrifty. “Not the mill? Then it was the baker, and he refused to give you a better price for buying two loaves instead of one.” Tears swelled behind her eyes, treacherously close to the surface, and Ian saw them. “That bad?” he joked, looking at the suspicious sheen in her eyes. “Then it must be that you’ve overspent your allowance.” When she didn’t respond to his light probing, Ian smiled reassuringly and said, “Whatever it is, we’ll work it out together tomorrow.” It sounded as though he planned to stay, and that shook Elizabeth out of her mute misery enough to say chokingly, “No-it’s the-the masons. They’re costing much more than I-I expected. I’ve spent part of my personal allowance on them besides the loan you made me for Havenhurst.” “Oh, so it’s the masons,” he grinned, chuckling. “You have to keep your eye on them, to be sure. They’ll put you in the poorhouse if you don’t keep an eye on the mortar they charge you for. I’ll have to talk with them in the morning.” “No!” she burst out, fabricating wildly. “That’s just what has me so upset. I didn’t want you to have to intercede. I wanted to do it all myself. I have it all settled now, but it’s been exhausting. And so I went to the doctor to see why I felt so tired. He-he said there’s nothing in the world wrong with me. I’ll come home to Montmayne the day after tomorrow. Don’t wait here for me. I know how busy you are right now. Please,” she implored desperately, “let me do this, I beg you!” Ian straightened and shook his head in baffled disbelief, “I’d give you my life for the price of your smile, Elizabeth. You don’t have to beg me for anything. I do not want you spending your personal allowance on this place, however. If you do,” he lied teasingly, “I may be forced to cut it off.” Then, more seriously, he said, “If you need more money for Havenhurst, just tell me, but your allowance is to be spent exclusively on yourself. Finish your brandy,” he ordered gently, and when she had, he pressed another kiss on her forehead. “Stay here as long as you must. I have business in Devon that I’ve been putting off because I didn’t want to leave you. I’ll go there and return to London on Tuesday. Would you like to join me there instead of at Montmayne?” Elizabeth nodded. “There’s just one thing more,” he finished, studying her pale face and strained features. “Will you give me your word the doctor didn’t find anything at all to be alarmed about?” “Yes,” Elizabeth said. “I give you my word.” She watched him walk back into his own bed chamber. The moment his door clicked into its latch Elizabeth turned over and buried her face in the pillows. She wept until she thought there couldn’t possibly be any more tears left in her, and then she wept harder. Across the room the door leading out into the hall was opened a crack, and Berta peeked in, then quickly closed it. Turning to Bentner-who’d sought her counsel when Ian slammed the door in his face and ripped into Elizabeth-Berta said miserably, “She’s crying like her heart will break, but he’s not in there anymore.” “He ought to be shot!” Bentner said with blazing contempt. Berta nodded timidly and clutched her dressing robe closer about her. “He’s a frightening man, to be sure, Mr. Bentner.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Lady Cameron,” he said, playing his role with elan as he nodded toward Ian. “You recall our friend Lord Thornton, Marquess of Kensington, I hope?” The radiant smile Elizabeth bestowed on Ian was not at all what the dowager had insisted ought to be “polite but impartial.” It wasn’t quite like any smile she’d ever given him. “Of course I remember you, my lord,” Elizabeth said to Ian, graciously offering him her hand. “I believe this waltz is mine,” he said for the benefit of Elizabeth’s avidly interested admirers. He waited until they were near the dancers, then he tried to sound more pleasant. “You seem to be enjoying yourself tonight.” “I am,” she said idly, but when she looked up at his face she saw the coolness in his eyes; with her new understanding of her own feelings, she understood his more easily. A soft, knowing smile touched her lips as the musicians struck up a waltz; it stayed in her heart as Ian’s arm slid around her waist, and his left hand closed around her fingers, engulfing them. Overhead a hundred thousand candles burned in crystal chandeliers, but Elizabeth was back in a moonlit arbor long ago. Then as now, Ian moved to the music with effortless ease. That lovely waltz had begun something that had ended wrong, terribly wrong. Now, as she danced in his arms, she could make this waltz end much differently, and she knew it; the knowledge filled her with pride and a twinge of nervousness. She waited, expecting him to say something tender, as he had the last time. “Belhaven’s been devouring you with his eyes all night,” Ian said instead. “So have half the men in this ballroom. For a country that prides itself on its delicate manners, they sure as hell don’t extend to admiring beautiful women.” That, Elizabeth thought with a startled inner smile, was not the opening she’d been waiting for. With his current mood, Elizabeth realized, she was going to have to make her own opening. Lifting her eyes to his enigmatic golden ones, she said quietly, “Ian, have you ever wanted something very badly-something that was within your grasp-and yet you were afraid to reach out for it?” Surprised by her grave question and her use of his name, Ian tried to ignore the jealousy that had been eating at him all night. “No,” he said, scrupulously keeping the curtness from his voice as he gazed down at her alluring face. “Why do you ask? Is there something you want?” Her gaze fell from his, and she nodded at his frilled white shirtfront. “What is it you want?” “You.” Ian’s breath froze in his chest, and he stared down at her lustrous hair. “What did you just say?” She raised her eyes to his. “I said I want you, only I’m afraid that I-“ Ian’s heart slammed into his chest, and his fingers dug reflexively into her back, starting to pull her to him. “Elizabeth,” he said in a strained voice, glancing a little wildly at their avidly curious audience and resisting the impossible impulse to take her out onto the balcony, “why in God’s name would you say a thing like that to me when we’re in the middle of a damned dance floor in a crowded ballroom?” Her radiant smile widened. “I thought it seemed like exactly the right place,” she told him, watching his eyes darken with desire. “Because it’s safer?” Ian asked in disbelief, meaning safer from his ardent reaction. “No, because this is how it all began two years ago. We were in the arbor, and a waltz was playing,” she reminded him needlessly. “And you came up behind me and said, ‘Dance with me, Elizabeth.’ And-and I did,” she said, her voice trailing off at the odd expression darkening his eyes. “Remember?” she added shakily when he said absolutely nothing. His gaze held hers, and his voice was tender and rough. “Love me, Elizabeth.” Elizabeth felt a tremor run through her entire body, but she looked at him without flinching. “I do.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
We have to find a way to push them together,” Minerva said. “You know perfectly well that if Oliver marries, Gran will forget this ridiculous idea of hers about the rest of us marrying. She just wants him to produce an heir” Hetty’s eyebrows shot high. Her granddaughter had a big surprise coming down the road. “And you’re willing to throw him under the wheels of the coach to save yourself, is that it?” Jarret quipped. “No!” Her voice softened. “You and I both know he needs someone to drag him out of himself. Or he’s just going to get scarier as he gets older.” She paused. “Did you tell him about Miss Butterfield’s being an heiress?” That certainly arrested Hetty’s attention. She hadn’t dreamed that the girl had money. “Yes, but I fear that might have been a mistake-when I suggested that he marry her for her fortune, he got angry.” Of course he got angry, you fool, Hetty thought with a roll of her eyes. Honestly, did her grandson know nothing about his brother? “For goodness sake, Jarret, you weren’t supposed to suggest that. You were supposed to get him concerned that she might fall prey to fortune hunters.” At least Minerva had a brain. “Damn,” Jarret said. “Then I probably shouldn’t have exaggerated the amount.” “Oh, Lord.” Minerva sighed. “By how much?” “I kind of…tripled it.” Minerva released an unladylike oath. “Why did you do that? Now he won’t go near her. Haven’t you noticed how much he hates talk of marrying for money?” “Men say things like that, but in the end they’re practical.” “Not Oliver! You’ve just ruined everything!” “Don’t be so dramatic,” Jarret said. “Besides, I have a plan-I laid the seeds for it before I even left Oliver’s study. Come, let’s go talk to the others. It will take all of us working together.” His voice receded as the two of them apparently left the room. “If we merely…” Hetty strained to hear, but she lost the thread of the conversation. Not that it mattered. A smile tugged at her mouth. It appeared she would not have to carry off this match alone. All she need do was sit back and watch Jarret work on Oliver. In the meantime, she would let Minerva go on thinking that finding Oliver a wife would solve their dilemma. That would spur the girl to try harder. In the end, it didn’t matter why or how they managed it, as long as they did. Thank God her grandchildren had inherited her capacity for scheming. It made her proud. So Oliver thought he was going to get around her this time, did he? Well, he was in for a shock. This time he had more than just her to worry about. And with every one of the Sharpe children on Miss Butterfield’s side? She laughed. Poor Oliver didn’t stand a chance.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
What is it?” I asked, pasting a magazine photo of a football--found in an old Seventeen magazine spread--on my beloved’s collage. “Well, a bunch of cattle trucks just showed up,” he said, trying to talk over the symphonic mooing of cows all around him. “They were supposed to get here tomorrow night, but they showed up early…” “Oh, no…that’s a bummer,” I said, not quite sure what he was getting at. “So now I’ve got to work all these cattle tonight and get ’em shipped…and by the time I get done, the store in town will be closed,” he began. Our appointment with Father Johnson was at ten the next morning. “So I think I’m just going to have to come over there really early tomorrow morning and do the thing at your house,” Marlboro Man said. I could hardly hear him through the cattle. “Are you sure?” I asked. “What time were you thinking of coming over?” I braced myself for the worst. “I was thinking around six or so,” he said. “That would give me plenty of time to get it done before we go.” Six? In the morning? Ugh, I thought. I have only one more week of sleeping in. After we’re married, there’s no telling what time I’ll have to get out of bed. “Okay,” I said, my voice dripping with trepidation. “I’ll see you in the morning. Oh, and hey…if I don’t answer the door right away it probably means I’m doing some weight training or something.” “Gotcha,” Marlboro Man answered, humoring me. “And hey--don’t pull any muscles or strain yourself. We’re getting married in less than a week.” My stomach fluttered as I hung up the phone and resumed work on my collage.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
This is ridiculous. You’re bleeding. Don’t lie to me, I can smell it. You’re hurt. You need a medmage.” “I’m not hurt that badly.” His lips wrinkled, showing his teeth. “How badly do you have to be hurt?” “There is a right-to-life exemption, which permits us to leave the scene if our injuries are life threatening. We’d have to provide paperwork from a hospital, or a qualified medmage, showing that we had to get treatment or we would’ve died. My injuries are not life threatening.” “Paperwork is not a problem.” “Yes, but I won’t lie.” “How do you know your injuries aren’t life threatening? You’re covered in the fluid from its guts. How do you know it’s not poisonous?” “If it’s poisonous, we’ll deal with it when I feel sick.” “Fine. I’ll stay here with this thing, and you will drive yourself to the hospital.” “No.” He hit me with an alpha stare. I opened my eyes as wide as I could. “Why, of course, Your Majesty. What was I thinking? I will go and do this right away, just please don’t look at me.” “Kate, get in the car.” “Maybe you should growl dramatically. I don’t think I’m intimidated enough.” “I will put you in the car.” “No, you won’t. First, it took both of us to kill that thing, and if it reinvents itself again, it will take both of us again. I’m not leaving you alone with it. Second, if you try to physically carry me to the car, I will resist and bleed more. Third, you can possibly stuff me in the car against my will, but you can’t make me drive.” He snarled. “Argh! Why don’t you ever do anything I ask you to?” “Because you don’t ask. You tell me.” We glared at each other. “I’m not going to the hospital because of a shallow cut.” And possibly a strained shoulder, a few gashes to my legs, and a bruised right side. “It could be worse. I could’ve hit a brick wall instead of a nice, fragile old fence . . .” He held up his hand. “I’m going to get a medkit out of the car.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8))
I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, show no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread. Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dear like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear. Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your allies: hope and trust. There, you’ve defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you. The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, your open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread. Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear. Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you’ve defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you. The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
I love it when you can’t control yourself,” she whispered. “I love having you at my mercy. You have no idea…how much I enjoy seeing Dom the Almighty brought low.” He barely registered her words. What she was doing felt so good. So bloody damned good. If she stroked him much more… “I want to be inside you.” He gripped her wrist. “Please, Jane…” Her sensuous smile faltered. “You’ve never said ‘please’ to me before. Not in your whole life.” “Really?” Had he only ever issued orders? If so, no wonder she’d refused him last night. Perhaps it was time to show her she didn’t have to seduce him to gain control. That he could give up his control freely…to her, at least. “Then let me say it now. Please, Jane, make love to me. If you don’t mind.” She stared at him. “I…I don’t know what you mean.” He nodded to his cock, which looked downright ecstatic over the idea. “Get up on your knees and fit me inside you.” Realizing he’d just issued yet another order, he added, “Please. If you want.” Jane got that sultry look on her face again. Like the little seductress she was rapidly showing herself to be, she rose up and then came down on him. By degrees. Very slow degrees. He had trouble breathing. “Am I hurting you?” Her smile broadened as she shimmied down another inch. “Not really.” Stifling a curse, he clutched her arms. “You just…enjoy torturing me.” “Absolutely,” she said and moved his hands to cover her breasts. He was more than happy to oblige her unspoken request, happy to thumb her nipples and watch as her lovely mouth fell open and a moan of pure pleasure escaped her. His cock swelled, and he thrust up involuntarily. “Please…” he said hoarsely. “Please, Jane…” With a choked laugh, she sheathed herself on him. Then her eyes went wide. “Oh, that feels amazing.” “It would feel more amazing if you…would move,” he rasped, though the mere sensation of being buried inside her was making him insane. When she arched an eyebrow, he added, “Please.” “I could get to like this,” she said teasingly. “The begging.” But even as he groaned, she began to move, like the sensual creature that she was. His sweetheart undulated atop him, her head thrown back and her eyes sliding closed, and for the first time in his life, he was happy to give himself up to someone else’s control. To relish her pleasure, which was also his pleasure. Somehow he’d stumbled into paradise, ruled by his own personal angel. His own personal siren. “You like having me…in your power, do you?” he said. “Yes, oh, yes.” Her eyes brightened as she rode him, harder, faster. “Say it again.” “What?” He could hardly think for watching her take him. For being inside her so deeply he fancied he could feel her heart, her very soul. “Please.” Her face was flushed, rapt. “Say…’please’ again.” “Please.” Why had he never thought to say it before? This was all he’d ever wanted--to have the enthralling, intoxicating Jane in his arms, in his life. Forever. A “please” from time to time was little enough to give for that. “Please, my wanton angel.” He clutched her close, his rhythm quickening. “Please…be mine. Please…marry me.” His release approached like a carriage thundering toward the heavens. Toward paradise. And as the blood roared in his ears, he plunged his cock deeply and emptied himself inside her, crying, “Please…Jane…love me!” “I do.” With a hoarse cry of her own, she strained against him and found her own release, milking his cock with the force of it. “I do, my darling…I do.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
Kode’s older sister, Kira, was leaning over a display of jewelry, fisting a jade-green necklace in one hand. Her nose was two inches from the Braetic across the table, the two exchanging intimidating glares. Eena watched for a few seconds as Kira all but crawled over a pile of merchandise, her face scrunched up with resentment, yet enviably stunning as always. “Hey Kode,” the young queen whispered. “Hey, girl.” “What’s going on?” “Kira’s bartering.” Eena watched the fistful of necklace come within a whisker of smacking the merchant’s nose. “She isn’t going to hurt the guy, is she?” Kode snorted on a chuckle. “Not if the dude’s got any sense.” Validly concerned, Eena inched closer to the confrontation, straining to hear their growled dialogue. Kode and Niki crept closer too. Efren, however, stayed where he was, testing the flagpole’s ability to support his body weight. They watched the feisty Mishmorat hold up a small pouch and shake it in front of the Braetic’s eyes. Kira’s fingers curled like claws around the purse. She seemed to smirk for a second when the merchant flinched. In a blink he was back in her face again, shoving aside the purse. “What is she trying to trade?” Eena asked, her voice still hushed as though she might disturb the haggling taking place across the way. “Viidun coins,” Kode said. “Ef gave ‘em to her.” “Are they worth much?’ Kode grinned wryly, “He sure as hell don’t freakin’ think so.” Eena foresaw Niki’s disapproving smack to the back of Kode’s head before he even finished his sentence. He cursed at his girlfriend for the physical abuse, an unwise response that earned him an additional thump on the head. “Freakin’ tyrant,” Kode grumbled. “Vulgar grogfish,” Niki retorted. Still unable to hear well enough to satisfy her curiosity, Eena stole in closer to the scene of heated bartering. She stopped when Kira’s strong voice carried over the murmur of the crowd. Kode and his girlfriend were right on her heels. “This purse is worth ten of those gaudy necklaces. You oughta be payin’ me to take ‘em off your hands, Braetic!” “That alien money is worthless to me, Mishmorat. In all my life I’ve never left Moccobatran soil. And even if I were to take an interstellar trip someday, you’d never catch the likes of me on a barbarian planet like Rapador!” Kira jerked her head, causing her black, cascading hair to ripple over her shoulder. The action made the trader flinch again. His eyes tapered, appearing to fume over what he perceived as intentional bullying. “You ain’t gonna sell this crap to no one else,” the exotic Mishmorat said. “Be smart and take the money. Hell, you could make a dozen pieces of jewelry from these coins. Sell ’em all for ten times the worth of anything you got here.” The Braetic shoved his finger at Kira’s chest, breathing down her throat at the same time. “Why don’t you just take your pretty little backside away from my table and make your own Viidun jewelry. Sell it yourself and then come back with a reasonable offer for my necklace.” His palm opened flat, demanding she hand over the jade stones still in her fist. “You wanna make me?” Kira breathed. “What do you plan to do, steal it?” The merchant challenged her in a gesture, nostrils flaring. “I’m no thief, but I’m not above beating some sense into you ‘til you choose to barter like a respectable Braetic!” Caught up in the intense interaction, Kode supported his sister a little too loudly. “Teach the freakin’ crook a lesson, Sis!” Niki smacked her boyfriend upside the head without missing a beat.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Eena, The Tempter's Snare (The Harrowbethian Saga #5))
Maddie,” Mitch said, putting his palm over her knee and rubbing. She buried her head in her hands. “They never say it, never let on, but every time they look at me they have to think about what I did to them. They have to hate me.” “No.” He’d never met her family, but of this he was sure. Their closeness and unity was clear in the way she talked about them. He knew estranged or strained families, and the Donovans weren’t like them. “They don’t, I promise you.” She looked at him, her eyes watery and her nose red. “I hate me. Why wouldn’t they hate me too?” Not caring if she protested, he picked her up and put her on his lap, wrapping his arms around her. He swayed back and forth, the gentle rocking motion meant to soothe away a pain that he couldn’t even begin to erase. “Maddie, you were a kid. Every teenager has worn their parent down. The only difference is that you had horrific, irreversible consequences. I’m sorry—I wish there was something I could do to change that for you—but since I can’t, I can only promise your dad would hate for you to blame yourself like this. For you to let it eat you up inside.” “I know that here.” She pointed to her head before placing her hand over her heart. “But it’s hard to believe here.” He lifted her chin and brushed a soft kiss against her lips. “What can I do to make you believe?” “I don’t know,” she said. “But I’m working on it.” “I’m sorry, Maddie.” “I miss him.” She rested her cheek on his shoulder. He rubbed slow circles over her back. “I know you do.” She quieted, relaxing into his hold. “You help.” “I’m glad,” he said. “What else can I do?” She raised her watery gaze to meet his, and her eyes were so impossibly green, so full of something he didn’t want to name, that he sucked in a breath. “Fight.
Jennifer Dawson (Take a Chance on Me (Something New, #1))
But I’m still breathing. Not deeply; not enough to satisfy, but breathing. Peter pushes my eyelids over my eyes. Does he know I’m not dead? Does Jeanine? Can she see me breathing? “Take the body to the lab,” Jeanine says. “The autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon.” “All right,” Peter replies. Peter pushes the table forward. I hear mutters all around me as we pass the group of Erudite bystanders. My hand falls off the edge of the table as we turn a corner, and smacks in the wall. I feel a prickle of pain in my fingertips, but I can’t move my hand, as hard as I try. This time, when we go down the hallway of Dauntless traitors, it is silent. Peter walks slowly at first, then turns another corner and picks up the pace. He almost sprints down the next corridor, and stops abruptly. Where am I? I can’t be in the lab already. Why did he stop? Peter’s arms slide under my knees and shoulders, and he lifts me. My head falls against his shoulder. “For someone so small, you’re heavy, Stiff,” he mutters. He knows I’m awake. He knows. I hear a series of beeps, and a slide--a locked door, opening. “What do--” Tobias’s voice. Tobias! “Oh my God. Oh--” “Spare me your blubbering, okay?” Peter says. “She’s not dead; she’s just paralyzed. It’ll only last for about a minute. Now get ready to run.” I don’t understand. How does Peter know? “Let me carry her,” Tobias says. “No. You’re a better shot than I am. Take my gun. I’ll carry her.” I hear the gun slide out of its holster. Tobias brushes a hand over my forehead. They both start running. At first all I hear is the pounding of their feet, and my head snaps back painfully. I feel tingling in my hands and feet. Peter shouts, “Left!” at Tobias. Then a shout from down the hallway. “Hey, what--!” A bang. And nothing. More running. Peter shouts, “Right!” I hear another bang, and another. “Whoa,” he mumbles. “Wait, stop here!” Tingling down my spine. I open my eyes as Peter opens another door. He charges through it, and just before I smack my head against the door frame, I stick my arm out and stop us. “Careful!” I say, my voice strained. My throat still feels as tight as it did when he first injected me and I found it difficult to breathe. Peter turns sideways to bring me through the door, then nudges it shut with his heel and drops me on the floor. The room is almost empty, except for a row of empty trash cans along one wall and a square metal door large enough for one of the cans to fit through it along the other wall. “Tris,” Tobias says, crouching next to me. His face is pale, almost yellow. There is too much I want to say. The first thing that comes out is, “Beatrice.” He laughs weakly. “Beatrice,” he amends, and touches his lips to mine. I curl my fingers into his shirt. “Unless you want me to throw up all over you guys, you might want to save it for later.” “Where are we?” I ask. “This is the trash incinerator,” says Peter, slapping the square door. “I turned it off. I’ll take us to the alley. And then your aim had better be perfect, Four, if you want to get out of the Erudite sector alive.” “Don’t concern yourself with my aim,” Tobias retorts. He, like me, is barefoot. Peter opens the door to the incinerator. “Tris, you first.
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
You'll feel better after you eat something." "Do you think so?"  He tried to smile.  "I am not so sure about that.  Besides, I rather suspect that feeding myself is going to be the supreme test of what remains of my abilities."  He felt for, and found, his spoon.  "You will not assist me, though.  I will not allow it." "I wouldn't dream of it." "Good." Amy knew that his pride would be better served if she kept silent.  Still, she cringed when he tentatively explored the tray's contents tray with his fingertips, accidentally plunging one of them into the still-hot broth and, jerking back, nearly upsetting the mug with his wrist. "Don't look," he said gruffly.  "I am about to make a complete fool of myself." "As long as you eat something, I don't care what you make of yourself." "Oh, I'll eat all right, if it bloody well kills me." "It won't."  She grinned.  "Besides, I'm a good cook." "Then I shall determine to do your efforts justice, Miss Leighton." "Amy." He smiled tightly.  "Amy." And with that, he lowered his spoon.  Hit the side of the bowl and nearly overturned it.  Tried again and this time, found his target.  He raised the dripping spoon, then paused and looked in her direction.  His eyes were so clear, his gaze so direct, that for a moment, Amy thought he could see her. "You're watching me." "Yes.  I want to see that you eat it, just as you promised." "The only thing you'll see is me making a damned mess," he said irately. "Maybe.  But you'll get it right eventually, I just know you will." He shook his head, dismissing her faith in him, and brought the spoon to his mouth.  It tipped slightly, and broth trickled down his chin and onto his shirtfront.  A very tight, very strained, very determined smile gripped one corner of his mouth, and Amy knew then that he was not a man to give up on something once he put his mind to it.  He tried again.  Spilled more stew.  Swore roundly.  And got it right the third time. Amy's
Danelle Harmon (The Beloved One (The De Montforte Brothers, #2))
If it’s heavy... you don’t have to strain yourself and carry the whole thing.” –Hiroto Suwa
Ichigo Takano (오렌지 4)
You planning on doing anything useful today?' He turns his head, managing to make even that look lazy. 'I got you a coffee, didn't I?' 'Well, shit, Gaz, you'd better knock off early then. Don't want you to strain yourself.
Paula Weston (Shadows (The Rephaim, #1))
If I’m not a bad person, then why are you here? Better yet, tell me why you’ve been having nightmares of me every night.” My mouth opened, but nothing came out. “Exactly. Don’t ever let yourself believe that I’m not as bad as your nightmares are portraying me. I assure you, I’m worse.” I watched Taylor stand again and quickly walk over to shut off the lights. Darkness engulfed us, and all I could hear was him settling down in his spot against the door. “I don’t have nightmares about you,” I said softly. The phantom pain of Blake’s blades was making it hard to breathe. Each labored breath seemed shallower than the last. “What?” “The man who haunts my dreams was evil. You . . . you’re not a bad person.” The sound of Taylor moving back toward the mattress filled the small room. “What do you mean? Who do you dream about?” “Just . . . not you.” “Those scars,” he said after a few moments of silence. “Where did you get them?” When I didn’t respond, he spoke again . . . his voice strained. “I’d seen your arms, but I . . . I thought it was something different.” “You thought I’d done this to myself,” I guessed, and took his silence as acknowledgment. “Who did that to you?” I sat there for a long time without answering his question. Taylor didn’t have a right to know about my life, and yet, some part of me wanted to tell him. “A man that I’d grown up with and had trusted. Something changed in him though, he became obsessed . . . he was evil. And, to put it simply, he wasn’t accepting of the fact that I refused to be his.” “Is he who you dream about?” he asked. The darkness in his tone caused me to shrink away from him. “Nightmares,” I corrected him. “I have nightmares about him. I dream about Kash and my life before you entered it.” It
Molly McAdams (Deceiving Lies (Forgiving Lies, #2))
James had never thought it was possible to feel so lonely in a room full of people he liked. “Jamie?” Ryan said suddenly. “You okay?” “Yeah,” James said, without looking at him. “I just have to go. I remembered something important Dad told me to do.” He felt Tristan’s gaze on him. After bidding everyone goodbyes, James made his way to the door. He wasn’t surprised when Tristan followed him. “Don’t tell him anything,” James said, putting on his jacket. “Please.” Crossing his arms over his chest, Tristan leaned against the wall and eyed him. “You know what?” he said mildly. “You want my opinion?” Did he have a choice? “Shoot.” “Are you really planning to suck it up and suffer in silence all your life, watching him get married and have kids with her? Really? That’s just sad. Walk away or tell him you want him. Worst-case scenario, your friendship becomes strained and dies sooner rather than later. You have nothing to lose.” Tristan sneered. “And don’t kid yourself. You’ll lose him anyway when you eventually get sick of watching him with someone else.” Cocking his head, Tristan said softly, “You already feel it, don’t you? The bitterness, the jealousy, the ugliness.” James swallowed and averted his eyes. He wanted to deny it but couldn’t. He didn’t like the person he was becoming: someone who constantly lied to hide his feelings, someone who put on a smile when he felt like punching people or curling up and crying like a baby. Someone who felt sick and bitter watching the person he loved be happy. Wasn’t love supposed to be selfless? He was better than that. Wasn’t he? Wasn’t he? James looked at Tristan. “Why are you helping me? Why are you so nice all of a sudden?” A faint smile touched Tristan’s face. “I’m not being nice. To be honest, I find it hilarious that you, of all people…” He looked over James’s shoulder, presumably at Zach, and his expression softened and warmed. “But I’m trying to be a better person. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s easier to be a better person when you’re happy.” He looked back at James. “Bitterness and jealousy are my old friends. Trust me, the longer you know them intimately, the uglier it gets. Cut your losses now.” James opened the door and left without saying a word. Outside, a cold gust of November wind blew into his face, biting at his skin and making his eyes water.
Alessandra Hazard (Just a Bit Confusing (Straight Guys #5))
She caught a smile in his eyes that flashed at her in the light. “What? What are you grinning about?” “It’s meant to be attractive to my wife,” he said. Katsa nearly dropped her knife into the fire. “You have a wife?” “Great seas, no! Honestly, Katsa. Don’t you think I would have mentioned her?” He was laughing now, and she snorted. “I never know what you’ll choose to mention about yourself, Po.” “It’s meant for the eyes of the wife I’m supposed to have,” he said. “Whom will you marry?” He shrugged. “I hadn’t pictured myself marrying anyone.” She moved to his side of the fire and sliced the other drumstick for herself. She went back and sat down. “Aren’t you concerned about your castle and your land? About producing heirs?” He shrugged again. “Not enough to attach me to a person I don’t wish to be attached to. I’m content enough on my own.” Katsa was surprised. “I had thought of you as more of a—social creature, when you’re in your own land.” “When I’m in Lienid I do a decent job of folding myself into normal society, when I must. But it’s an act, Katsa; it’s always an act. It’s a strain to hide my Grace, especially from my family. When I’m in my father’s city there’s a part of me that’s simply waiting until I can travel again. Or return to my own castle, where I’m left alone.” This she could understand perfectly. “I suppose if you married, it could only be to a woman trustworthy enough to know the truth of your Grace.” He barked out a short laugh. “Yes. The woman I married would have to meet a number of rather impossible requirements.
Kristin Cashore (Graceling (Graceling Realm #1))
I knew a man once who said it was all foolishness – that if you want to kill a man, why, kill him. Shoot him down from behind in the dark if you want to kill him. But don’t make a game with rules out of it. But he doesn’t understand. It is not that at all, for you don’t want to kill a man. It is only the rules that matter. It is holding strict to the rules that counts.” Blaisedell let his chair down suddenly, and the legs cracked upon the floor; he leaned forward with his face intent and strained, and Gannon felt the full force of his eyes. “Hold to them like you are walking on eggs,” he said. “So you know yourself you have played it fair and as best you could. As right as you could.
Oakley Hall (Warlock (Legends West, #1))
Start by taking off your glasses or contacts and finding a comfortable, relaxed position. Take a minute to bring your attention within yourself. Allow it to wander through your body, becoming aware of any tension or discomfort. As you do this, allow your breathing to become soft and gentle. You may want to use the balloon image: Imagine that you are very slowly and softly blowing up your balloon-body with air. When you feel full, don’t collapse your breath or strain at the fullness—just allow the flow of air to reverse itself, still without any effort or straining. Continue breathing and allow your eyes to close gently. Bring your attention to your eye sockets and notice any feelings of “holding on” or “grabbing” there. Don’t try to make it better, just spend a few moments feeling that tension. Imagine that you are breathing in and out through your eyes. As you breathe, allow a feeling of softness and gentleness to gradually seep into your eye sockets. Notice how the grabbing begins to shift by itself. Enjoy this process for a while.
Jacob Liberman (Take Off Your Glasses and See: A Mind/Body Approach to Expanding Your Eyesight and Insight)
Don't give me anything Even if it's your attention Even if it's your love Even if it's your tears Don't give me your sadness Don't give me your anger Don't give me your thirst Don't give me anything Because I still scramble the sky to find all traces of you, Mother." But son, how can you say something like that? Have I not given you flowers? I have given you the sun. I have given you grass and leaves. I have given you the sea and the sand of the beach. Why still? Isn't it enough for you to drink milk from my loneliness? You taste the pain from my wound, as you used to feel the happiness under my stomach like the scratch of a knife that welcomes your presence. How everything is still, I give you a warm fire, I give you a touch of the morning, I give you a gentle song from my heart that you know holds a million worries. How do you still say things like that? I still give you a light until half of my age. I give you laughter from half of my death. I give you eternal memories and eternal dreams at the same time. I give it all, even if it's just a simple box of lunch that you may receive to sate your hunger. How I always wanted to be there for you, son. Because my only request is nothing more. Let me be your traveling companion, a friend in your troubled times. As I used to rock you and put you in my lap. Let me be the bread that fills your hunger, the consolation of your heart when you are tight, the heat when you are sick. Wasn't I there when you were learning to stand and I was there when you fell? I faithfully wait for you while you run after the moon and sun. And even though time creeps up on me with the strains of age that I may no longer be able to stand up straight as I used to. I will never give up on you son. No, mother will never give up. Because for me, you are enough just yourself. However, can you fill yourself with all the pride? Be content with what you have. Suffice yourself with all the prayers I never stop saying from the corner of my heart which may be the most heavenly hope. Your heaven, son. Even though I know it will disturb your restful sleep. Although it will add to your restless working time. Because I know how hard you struggle. For every drop of sweat that you shed when you have to run to catch the bus that comes to pick you up. When your mind can't escape from your laptop screen that keeps flashing. When morning comes and busy work comes like rain that never ends whacking. Suffice yourself with Mother's love. Even though later, there will be no more cynical words rolling from Mother's lips which are starting to wrinkle. Rest assured, the door to the house of Mother's heart will always be open for you, whenever you want to go home.
Titon Rahmawan
looked over at him and said, “Yeah. Sorry, buddy, but that’s not really how anxiety works.” I reminded him of his sister’s ADHD. “Everyone gets distracted sometimes, but for people with ADHD, it’s an all-the-time thing. They are almost always distracted. Being distracted, struggling to focus, it’s the default, and it doesn’t necessarily need a trigger.” He nodded, but continued looking out the window. “So?” he asked in a very typical “What does this have to do with me?” teenager way. “Anxiety is the same way,” I said. “Everyone has anxious moments, but at least for me, and probably you too, the anxiety is kind of always there, even when things are going well. Just last Christmas I had a horrible anxiety attack, so I get it. Most of the time, it just happens without a trigger at all. But the part that sucks the most is how you’ll think to yourself that something must be triggering it, so you start to associate the anxiety with irrational things, like organization, or not getting enough exercise or sleep, or the fear that something bad might happen even though it’s unlikely. For me, that’s when my anxiety turns into obsessive-compulsive disorder. But the anxiety is always there, regardless of good times or bad times.” I went on for a moment more. Eventually, I looked over at Tristan. He was still looking out the window, gripping his stress grip harder than before, and I wondered if I was doing more harm than good, but I also realized how much I wished I’d learned all of this at his age, rather than in my midthirties. It was quiet for a moment, and finally I said, “It’s not hopeless, buddy. I promise. Listen, I still hate it. But I know that it’s part of me, and there are things I have to do to manage it. But as long as I do them, I’m pretty okay. Most days I don’t even notice it.” He thought about what I said.
Clint Edwards (Anxiously Ever After: An Honest Memoir on Mental Illness, Strained Relationships, and Embracing the Struggle)
Jacques was up, leaning against the wall. He wore a pair of soft cotton jeans and nothing else. He looked gray, gaunt, lines of strain carved deeply into his handsome face. The wound below his heart was trickling a steady stream of blood. His feet were bare, his thick mane of hair wild and tangled. A fine sheen of perspiration coated his body. There was a crimson smear on his forehead, and heads of scarlet dotted his skin. “Oh, God!” Shea’s heart nearly stopped. She could taste fear in her suddenly dry mouth. “Jacques, what have you done? What were you thinking?” She nearly leapt the distance separating them, not noticing how fast she was able to move. She could feel tears burning in her throat, behind her eyes. What Jacques was doing to himself was making her physically ill. “Why would you do this?” Her hands were gentle, tender, as she examined his gaping wound. “Why didn’t you wait for me?” Een as she caught him to her, the silliest thought ran through her head. Where had he gotten a pair of jeans that fit him? But it hardly mattered at that moment. He will come this night, and I must protect you. “Not like this you won’t. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a huge hole in your body. You’re putting far too much stress on those sutures. We have to lay you down.” He is coming. “I don’t care, Jacques. We can leave this place, travel all night if we have to. We have guns. Maybe we can’t kill him, but we can slow him down.” The truth was, Shea wasn’t altogether certain she could shoot anyone. She was a doctor, a surgeon, a healer. The thought of taking a life was abhorrent to her. She wanted to patch Jacques up fast and get out of there. Avoiding trouble seemed easier than facing it. He read her mind, her reluctance, easily. Do not worry, Shea. I am quite capable of killing him. He swayed against her, nearly toppling both of them to the floor. “I’m not sure I consider that great news,” she said between clenched teeth. Somehow they made it the few steps to the bed. “And if you could see yourself right now, you might not be so certain you could swat a fly.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
Dr Saurabh Patel-Best Piles Doctor in Ahmedabad Piles are the swollen and enlarged viens that form inside and outside of the anus and rectum. This can make person uncomfortable and cause lot’s of pain and also cause rectum bleeding. They are common and affect people of all the age. Piles can be of different sizes. If you have any problem related to the piles then you can consult the doctor Dr. Saurabh Patel who is the Best Piles Doctor in Ahmedabad. Causes of Piles: People who are at risk of getting piles: 1. Who are more overweight/obese. 2. Pregnant Women 3. People don’t eat fiber rich diet. 4. Have chronic constipation or diarrhea. 5. People lift objects which are very heavy. 6. Strain while having bowel movements. Symptoms of Piles: 1) When you poo there is right red blood. 2) An itchy anus. 3) You still feel like going to the Poo after going to the toilet. 4) When you wipe the bottom portion then there is mucus in your underwear or toilet paper. 5) Pain and Lumps around your anus. Prevention: 1) Eat fiber rich food and keep yourself hydrated to make it easier for the stool to pass. 2) Avoid Straining when you pass the stool. 3) You should avoid lifting the heavy objects as it can cause the risk of developing the piles. 4) You should maintain the proper weight. 5) You should exercise regularly which can help you to keep yourself active and helps you to reduce the risk of developing the piles. Piles Diagnosis: First the doctor will examine you and ask the symptoms if you have of Piles. They insert the fingers with gloves into the anus to feel the rectum and if there is any lumps present there. The Physician may also recommend patient to get the blood test done if you are suffering from anaemia. Piles Treatment: At Home: 1) Eat fiber rich foods like fruit, vegetables, and grains. 2) Drink more water and don’t strain the bowl movement. 3) Apply ice packs which can help to ease the pain and the swelling. Surgical Treatment: If you have larger piles or if the treatment have not helped then then you have to go for the surgery. Your doctor will: 1) Inject chemicals into the piles which will shrink it. 2) Use a laser to seal off the vessels that provide blood to the hemorrhoid. 3) Place a tiny rubber band around it to block its blood supply. 4) Use a staple to cut off its blood flow.
Dr Saurabh Patel
When you can't pee, don't strain because you'll poop yourself only.
Ivan Veljanoski
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash. I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I’m going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, “Aren’t those gourds straining your neck?” And I’m just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, “It’s fall, fuckfaces. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not.” Carving orange pumpkins sounds like a pretty fitting way to ring in the season. You know what else does? Performing an all-gourd reenactment of an episode of Diff’rent Strokes—specifically the one when Arnold and Dudley experience a disturbing brush with sexual molestation. Well, this shit just got real, didn’t it? Felonies and gourds have one very important commonality: they’re both extremely fucking real. Sorry if that’s upsetting, but I’m not doing you any favors by shielding you from this anymore. The next thing I’m going to do is carve one of the longer gourds into a perfect replica of the Mayflower as a shout-out to our Pilgrim forefathers. Then I’m going to do lines of blow off its hull with a hooker. Why? Because it’s not summer, it’s not winter, and it’s not spring. Grab a calendar and pull your fucking heads out of your asses; it’s fall, fuckers. Have you ever been in an Italian deli with salamis hanging from their ceiling? Well, then you’re going to fucking love my house. Just look where you’re walking or you’ll get KO’d by the gauntlet of misshapen, zucchini-descendant bastards swinging from above. And when you do, you’re going to hear a very loud, very stereotypical Italian laugh coming from me. Consider yourself warned. For now, all I plan to do is to throw on a flannel shirt, some tattered overalls, and a floppy fucking hat and stand in the middle of a cornfield for a few days. The first crow that tries to land on me is going to get his avian ass bitch-slapped all the way back to summer. Welcome to autumn, fuckheads!
Colin Nissan (It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers)
I was longing for that soft spot-the age where your parents look at you and you look at them back, and you're just their child. And you don't yet feel the strain of being something else. Of being yourself.
Bronwyn Fischer (The Adult)
Poured Out Moab has been at rest from youth, like wine left on its dregs, not poured from one jar to another. . . . So she tastes as she did, and her aroma is unchanged. Jeremiah 48:11 (NIV) God is working in you a process that goes beyond simple obedience down to the roots of unrighteousness that produce disobedience. He is cleansing you moment by moment, moving you from one level to the next and never leaving you to “sit on your dregs.” Jeremiah is describing Moab as people who have never been challenged and forced to face disappointment or disruption of their lives. They are like wine on its dregs, which becomes bitter and harsh. Wine making involves different stages and vessels of different size, shape, and construction. A wine must be moved from vessel to vessel. Each stage accomplishes something different for the final product—the wine that it is becoming. At each stage, the dregs settle to the bottom and must be strained out. Only the winemake can tell the stage at which a wine must be emptied from one vessel to another God, the great Winemaker, is fermenting a rich and perfect wine in you. Do you feel yourself being emptied from vessel to vessel? Just as you get used to the shape and feel of your life as it is, you find yourself being emptied out. It is disorienting. Then you find yourself poured into a life of a completely different shape and size. Don’t be frightened when the shape of your life seems to be changing. God will not let you sit on your dregs. You will not be locked into your immaturity, retaining the same aroma as in your youth. God is ripening you, fermenting you, enriching you. Embrace his transitions, because God moves only forward. Father, you are the Winemaker—fermenting my life until it is a perfect vintage with beautiful aroma. I trust you and thank you for all the stages of my journey. With you, nothing is wasted or capricious but is part of a beautiful process. I yield myself to you. Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe. —ST. AUGUSTINE (354–430), Latin North African theologian and philosopher,
Cheri Fuller (The One Year Praying the Promises of God)
Lee Sang-hyok at Liaison Office 130 instructed, "Erase yourself until your alias becomes your second nature. Become someone who is seen, but doesn't leave an impression. You need to be boring, not charming. Always be polite and don't ever argue with anyone, especially about religion and politics. That kind of conversation always creates enemies. You'll slowly fade. From time to time, you'll feel your personality straining to get out from within you. You'll ask yourself, Why should I let myself disappear? Practice and practice again so this question will never present itself in your mind.
Kim Young-ha (Your Republic Is Calling You)
During COVID, one challenge with conventional contact tracing is that it’s not an especially efficient use of resources, because the virus is not transmitted at the same rate by everyone who’s infected. If you get the original COVID strain, the chances are not especially high that you’ll pass it along to someone else. (About 70 percent of those cases may not transmit to anyone else at all.) But if you do pass it along to someone else, you probably pass it along to many people. For reasons we don’t entirely understand, 80 percent of COVID infections with early variants came from just 10 percent of the cases. (These numbers could be different for the Omicron variant—as I write this, we don’t have enough data to know.) So with a virus like COVID, using the conventional approach means you’ll spend a lot of time finding people who wouldn’t have infected anyone else—epidemiologically speaking, you’ll find yourself in a lot of cul-de-sacs. What you really want to do is find the main thoroughfares, the relatively small number of people who are causing the most infections.
Bill Gates (How to Prevent the Next Pandemic)
I'm glad I brought you along. I wasn't expecting to have to tear things out of walls. Do you visit brothels often?" "No," said Damen. "Not brothels. Camp followers?" said Laurent. And then: "Slaves." And then, after the satisfaction of a pause: "Akielos, the garden of delights. So you enjoy slavery in others. Just not in yourself." Damen shifted on the long bench, and regarded him. "Don't strain yourself," said Laurent. "You talk more," said Damen, "when you're uncomfortable.
C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince: Volume Two (Captive Prince, #2))
Having a fair idea of how well Gentry received Sir Ross's attempts to reform him, Lottie bit the inside of her lower lip to suppress a sudden smile. Seeing the twitch of her lips, Gentry gave her a glance of mock warning. "That amuses you, does it?" "Yes," she admitted, and yelped in surprise as he nudged a sensitive spot beneath her ribs. "Oh, don't! I'm ticklish there. Please." He moved over her with easy grace, his thighs straddling her hips, his hands catching at her wrists to pull them over her head. Lottie's amusement disappeared at once. She felt a pang of fear, as well as a confusing rush of excitement, as she stared at the large male above her. She was stretched beneath him in a primal position of submission, helpless to prevent him from doing whatever he wanted. Despite her anxiety, however, she did not ask him to release her, only waited tensely with her gaze locked on his dark face. His grip on her wrists loosened, and his thumbs dipped gently into the humid cups of her palms. "Shall I come to you tonight?" he whispered. Lottie had to lick her dry lips before she could answer. "Are you posing a question to me or yourself?" A smile flickered in his eyes. "You, of course. I already know what I want." "I'd rather you stayed away, then." "Why prolong the inevitable? One more night isn't going to make a difference." "I would prefer to wait until after we are married." "Principle?" he mocked, his thumbs tracing slowly along her inner arms. "Practicality," Lottie countered, unable to prevent a gasp as he touched the delicate creases inside her elbows. How was it that he could elicit sensation from such ordinary parts of her body? "If you think I might change my mind about marrying you after one night of lovemaking... you're wrong. My appetite isn't satisfied nearly that easily. In fact, having you once is only going to make me want you more. It's a pity that you're a virgin. That will limit the number of things I can do with you... for a while, at least." Lottie scowled. "I'm so sorry for the inconvenience." Gentry grinned at her annoyance. "That's all right. We'll do the best we can, in light of the circumstances. Perhaps it will be less of a hindrance than I expect. Never having had a virgin before, I won't know until I try one." "Well, you will have to wait until tomorrow night," she said firmly, wriggling beneath him in an effort to free herself. For some reason he froze and caught his breath at the movement of her hips beneath his. Lottie frowned. "What is it? Did I hurt you?" Shaking his head, Gentry rolled away from her. He dragged a hand through his gleaming brown hair as he sat up. "No," he muttered, sounding a bit strained. "Although I may be permanently debilitated if I don't get some relief soon." "Relief from what?" she asked, while he left the bed and fumbled with the front of his trousers. "You'll find out." He glanced over his shoulder, his blue eyes containing both a threat and a delicious promise.
Lisa Kleypas (Worth Any Price (Bow Street Runners, #3))