Enjoyed Last Night Quotes

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Finished in a frenzy that reminded me of our last night in Cambridge. Watched my final sunrise. Enjoyed a last cigarette. Didn’t think the view could be any more perfect until I saw that beat-up trilby. Honestly, Sixsmith, as ridiculous as that thing makes you look, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful. Watched you for as long as I dared. I don’t believe it was a fluke that I saw you first. I believe there is another world waiting for us, Sixsmith. A better world, and I’ll be waiting for you there. I believe we do not stay dead long. Find me beneath the Corsican stars, where we first kissed. Yours eternally, R.F.
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
When the voice of your friend or the page of your book sinks into democratic equality with the pattern of the wallpaper, the feel of your clothes, your memory of last night, and the noises from the road, you are falling asleep. The highly selective consciousness enjoyed by fully alert men, with all its builded sentiments and consecrated ideals, has as much to be called real as the drowsy chaos, and more.
C.S. Lewis
As the uneasiness and reluctance to face it cut him off more and more from all real happiness, and as habit renders the pleasures the vanity and excitement and flippancy at once less pleasant and harder to forgo...you will find that anything or nothing is sufficient to attract his wandering attention. You no longer need a good book, which he really likes, to keep him from his prayers or his work or his sleep; a column of advertisements in yesterday's paper will do. You can make him waste his time not only in conversation he enjoys with people whom he likes, but also in conversations with those he cares nothing about, on subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room. All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at last he may say...'I now see that I spent most my life doing in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
You want to know what I was thinking?...I was thinking that I wished you'd been with me the last couple of days. I mean, I enjoyed getting to know everyone better. We ate lunch together, and the dinner last night was a lot of fun, but it just felt like something was wrong, like I was missing something. It wasn't until I saw you walking up the beach that I realized it was you.
Nicholas Sparks (Dear John)
The bad nights made the good ones impossible to enjoy; the good nights made the bad ones worse.
R. Lee Smith (The Last Hour of Gann)
Last night I dreamed of a small consolation enjoyed only by the blind: Nobody knows the trouble I’ve not seen.
James Thurber
Stories come in all different kinds." Hester scooted closer, clearly enjoying the subject at hand. "There's tales, which are light and fluffy. Good for a smile on a sad day. Then you got yarns, which are showy-yarns reveal more about the teller than the story. After that there's myths, which are stories made up by whole groups of people. And last of all, there's legends." She raised a mysterious eyebrow. "Legends are different from the rest on account no one knows where they start. Folks don't tell legends; they repeat them. Over and over again through history.
Jonathan Auxier (The Night Gardener)
Enjoy your freedom while it lasts, Winter Ashby, because we’re not done,” Damon warned in a low voice that snaked through my ear, taunting me. “Grow up, learn things, and have fun in high school, but don’t change the little girl who loves it ‘in the black’, because I like you there, too. And I will be back for what’s mine when you’re old enough for bigger things.
Penelope Douglas (Kill Switch (Devil's Night, #3))
What's that you're doing, Sassenach?" "Making out little Gizmo's birth certificate--so far as I can," I added. "Gizmo?" he said doubtfully. "That will be a saint's name?" "I shouldn't think so, though you never know, what with people named Pantaleon and Onuphrius. Or Ferreolus." "Ferreolus? I dinna think I ken that one." He leaned back, hands linked over his knee. "One of my favorites," I told him, carefully filling in the birthdate and time of birth--even that was an estimate, poor thing. There were precisely two bits of unequivocal information on this birth certificate--the date and the name of the doctor who's delivered him. "Ferreolus," I went on with some new enjoyment, "is the patron saint of sick poultry. Christian martyr. He was a Roman tribune and a secret Christian. Having been found out, he was chained up in the prison cesspool to await trial--I suppose the cells must have been full. Sounds rather daredevil; he slipped his chains and escaped through the sewer. They caught up with him, though, dragged him back and beheaded him." Jamie looked blank. "What has that got to do wi' chickens?" "I haven't the faintest idea. Take it up with the Vatican," I advised him. "Mmphm. Aye, well, I've always been fond of Saint Guignole, myself." I could see the glint in his eye, but couldn't resist. "And what's he the patron of?" "He's involved against impotence." The glint got stronger. "I saw a statue of him in Brest once; they did say it had been there for a thousand years. 'Twas a miraculous statue--it had a cock like a gun muzzle, and--" "A what?" "Well, the size wasna the miraculous bit," he said, waving me to silence. "Or not quite. The townsfolk say that for a thousand years, folk have whittled away bits of it as holy relics, and yet the cock is still as big as ever." He grinned at me. "They do say that a man w' a bit of St. Guignole in his pocket can last a night and a day without tiring." "Not with the same woman, I don't imagine," I said dryly. "It does rather make you wonder what he did to merit sainthood, though, doesn't it?" He laughed. "Any man who's had his prayer answered could tell yet that, Sassenach." (PP. 841-842)
Diana Gabaldon (Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4))
It has been ages since the last time you enjoyed the night more than what you enjoy your overcoat. Then you would dance the night, now you wear the night, It is an accessory to hide you from everyone
Dimitrios Spyridon Chytiris (The Songs of the Gods)
It feels like ancient history," said Naoko. But anyhow, sorry about last night. I don't know, I was a bundle of nerves. I really shouldn't have done that after you came here all the way from Tokyo." "Never mind," I said. "Both of us have a lot of feelings we need to get out in the open. So if you want to take those feelings and smash somebody with them, smash me. Then we can understand each other better." "So if you understand me better, what then?" "You don't get it, do you?" I said. "It's not a question of 'what then.' Some people get a kick out of reading railroad timetables and that's all they do all day. Some people make huge model boats out of matchsticks. So what's wrong if there happens to be one guy in the world who enjoys trying to understand you?
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
Sitting in front of my fireplace, basking in it's warm glow gives me time to reflect upon the sacrifices that it has taken for me to enjoy the security of a good home, in a safe environment. I can hear the soft whisper of the snow as it caresses my window and covers the ground outside in a scintillating display of sparkling lights under the full moon. How many times have our service men and women watched this same scene from a foxhole, or camped in some remote part of the world. Thankful for the silence of that moment, knowing it won’t last long. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He/she dresses in fatigues and patrols the world restlessly, ensuring that we can have this peaceful night. Every day they give us the gift of this lifestyle that we enjoy, and every night they watch over us. They are warriors, angels, guardians, friends, brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, forming a family that stretches back to the beginning of the country. So tonight when you go to bed say a prayer that God watch over those who watch over us, and thank them for their sacrifices, on and off the battlefield. Pray that they have a peaceful night, and will be home soon with their families who also share their burden. Without them we would not have this moment.
Neil Leckman
In retrospect I must confess that I do not know, or no longer know, what I wanted to achieve with my words. I only know that without this testimony, my life as a writer—or my life, period—would not have become what it is: that of a witness who believes he has a moral obligation to try to prevent the enemy from enjoying one last victory by allowing his crimes to be erased from human memory.
Elie Wiesel (Night)
You called God’s name so many times last night that either you were enjoying yourself or you were having a massive prayer session while in bed with me.
Beth Ehemann (Room for Just a Little Bit More (Cranberry Inn, #2.5))
My head ached. I was thinking of the pain, and wondering how it was possible for physical agony to be so intense. I had never imagined that such a torture could be endured. Yet here was I, both conscious and able to think clearly. And not only to think, but to observe the process and make calculations about it. The steel circle round my skull was closing in with faint cracking noises. How much farther could it shrink? I counted the cracking sounds. Since I took the triple dose of pain-killer, there had been two more. …I took out my watch and laid it on the table. “Give me morphia,” I said in a calm, hostile, icy tone. “You mustn’t take morphia! You know perfectly well. The very idea! And what are you doing with that watch?” “You will give me morphia within three minutes.” They looked me uneasily up and down. No one moved. Three minutes went by. Then ten more. I slipped the watch calmly into my pocket and rose unsteadily to my feet. “Then take me to the Fiakker Bar. They say it’s a good show, and to-night I want to enjoy myself.” The others jumped up with a feeling of relief. I never confessed the secret to anyone, either then or afterwards. I had made up my mind at the end of those three minutes — for the first and last time in my life — that if my headache had not stopped within the next ten I should throw myself under the nearest tram. It never came out whether I should have kept to my resolve, for the pain left with the suddenness of lighting.
Frigyes Karinthy (A Journey Round My Skull)
I imagine you dream of me on the nights I dream of you. I'm always so confused by the platonic way we enjoy each other’s company. We talk about so many things that I can't recall when I wake up. How did you get me pregnant last night? We never touch in my dreams.
Crystal Woods (Write like no one is reading 2)
God, could that dopey girl dance. Buddy Singer and his stinking band was playing 'Just One of Those Things' and even they couldn't ruin it entirely. It's a swell song. I didn't try any trick stuff while we danced--I hate a guy that does a lot of show-off tricky stuff on the dance floor--but I was moving her around plenty, and she stayed with me. The funny thing is, I thought she was enjoying it, too, till all of a sudden she came out with this very dumb remark. "I and my girl friends saw Peter Lorre last night," she said. "The movie actor. In person. He was buyin' a newspaper. He's cute." "You're lucky," I told her. "You're really lucky. You know that?" She was really a moron. But what a dancer.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
You think I need an orgasm to enjoy sex?” she demanded. “What are you, like fifteen?” She eyed him in disgust. “I can get my own orgasms just fine. Last night was not about me getting off. It was about comfort and solace. About helping you to forget for a while.” Ethan blinked as the full magnitude of her words pelted him like shrapnel. “Oh my God. It was a pity fuck?
Amy Andrews (Some Girls Lie (Outback Heat, #4))
Oh Mickey, it was wonderful, it was fun - the whole kitten and kaboozle. It was like living. And to be denied that whole part would be a great loss. You gave it to me. You gave me a double life. I couldn't have endured with just one." I'm proud of you and your double life." All I regret", she said, crying again, crying with him, the two of them in tears..."is that we couldn't sleep together too many nights. To commingle with you. Commingle?" Why not." I wish tonight you could spend the night." I do, too. But I'll be here tomorrow night." I meant it up at the Grotto. I didn't want to fuck any more men even without the cancer. I wouldn't do that even if I was alive." You are alive. It is here and now. It's tonight. You're alive." I wouldn't do it. You're the one I always loved fucking. But I don't regret that I have fucked many. It would have been a great loss to have had otherwise. Some of them, they were sort of wasted times. You must have that, too. Haven't you? With women you didn't enjoy?" Yes." Yes, I had experiences where the men would just want to fuck you whether they cared about you or not. That was always harder for me. I give my heart, I give my self, in my fucking." You do indeed." And then, after just a little drifting, she fell asleep and so he went home - "I'm leaving now" - and within two hours she threw a clot and was dead. So those were her last words, in English anyway. I give my heart, I give my self, in my fucking. Hard to top that. To commingle with you, Drenka, to commingle with you now.
Philip Roth (Sabbath's Theater)
According to the biographical notes, Monsieur Julian Carax was twenty-seven, born with the century in Barcelona, and currently living in Paris; he wrote in French and worked at night as a professional pianist in a hostess bar. The blurb, written in the pompous, moldy style of the age, proclaimed that this was a first work of dazzling courage, the mark of a protean and trailblazing talent, and a sign of hope for the future of all of European letters. In spite of such solemn claims, the synopsis that followed suggested that the story contained some vaguely sinister elements slowly marinated in saucy melodrama, which, to the eyes of Monsieur Roquefort, was always a plus: after the classics what he most enjoyed were tales of crime, boudoir intrigue, and questionable conduct. One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. By the time the mind is able to comprehend what has happened, the wounds of the heart are already too deep. She laughed nervously. She had around her a burning aura of loneliness. "You remind me a bit of Julian," she said suddenly. "The way you look and your gestures. He used to do what you are doing now. He would stare at you without saying a word, and you wouldn't know what he was thinking, and so, like an idiot, you'd tell him things it would have been better to keep to yourself." "Someone once said that the moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you've already stopped loving that person forever." I gulped down the last of my coffee and looked at her for a few moments without saying anything. I thought about how much I wanted to lose myself in those evasive eyes. I thought about the loneliness that would take hold of me that night when I said good-bye to her, once I had run out of tricks or stories to make her stay with me any longer. I thought about how little I had to offer her and how much I wanted from her. "You women listen more to your heart and less to all the nonsense," the hatter concluded sadly. "That's why you live longer." But the years went by in peace. Time goes faster the more hollow it is. Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don't stop at your station.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1))
You’re sure you want to do this,” Galen says, eyeing me like I’ve grown a tiara of snakes on my head. “Absolutely.” I unstrap the four-hundred-dollar silver heels and spike them into the sand. When he starts unraveling his tie, I throw out my hand. “No! Leave it. Leave everything on.” Galen frowns. “Rachel would kill us both. In our sleep. She would torture us first.” “This is our prom night. Rachel would want us to enjoy ourselves.” I pull the thousand-or-so bobby pins from my hair and toss them in the sand. Really, both of us are right. She would want us to be happy. But she would also want us to stay in our designer clothes. Leaning over, I shake my head like a wet dog, dispelling the magic of hairspray. Tossing my hair back, I look at Galen. His crooked smile almost melts me where I stand. I’m just glad to see a smile on his face at all. The last six months have been rough. “Your mother will want pictures,” he tells me. “And what will she do with pictures? There aren’t exactly picture frames in the Royal Caverns.” Mom’s decision to mate with Grom and live as his queen didn’t surprise me. After all, I am eighteen years old, an adult, and can take care of myself. Besides, she’s just a swim away. “She keeps picture frames at her house though. She could still enjoy them while she and Grom come to shore to-“ “Okay, ew. Don’t say it. That’s where I draw the line.” Galen laughs and takes off his shoes. I forget all about Mom and Grom. Galen, barefoot in the sand, wearing an Armani tux. What more could a girl ask for? “Don’t look at me like that, angelfish,” he says, his voice husky. “Disappointing your grandfather is the last thing I want to do.” My stomach cartwheels. Swallowing doesn’t help. “I can’t admire you, even from afar?” I can’t quite squeeze enough innocence in there to make it believable, to make it sound like I wasn’t thinking the same thing he was. Clearing his throat, he nods. “Let’s get on with this.” He closes the distance between us, making foot-size potholes with his stride. Grabbing my hand, he pulls me to the water. At the edge of the wet sand, just out of reach of the most ambitious wave, we stop. “You’re sure?” he says again. “More than sure,” I tell him, giddiness swimming through my veins like a sneaking eel. Images of the conference center downtown spring up in my mind. Red and white balloons, streamers, a loud, cheesy DJ yelling over the starting chorus of the next song. Kids grinding against one another on the dance floor to lure the chaperones’ attention away from a punch bowl just waiting to be spiked. Dresses spilling over with skin, matching corsages, awkward gaits due to six-inch heels. The prom Chloe and I dreamed of. But the memories I wanted to make at that prom died with Chloe. There could never be any joy in that prom without her. I couldn’t walk through those doors and not feel that something was missing. A big something. No, this is where I belong now. No balloons, no loud music, no loaded punch bowl. Just the quiet and the beach and Galen. This is my new prom. And for some reason, I think Chloe would approve.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
What's going on between us?" I don't know. I rubbed my hand over my face before glancing at Echo. A hint of her cleavage peeked from her shirt. Damn, she was sexy as hell. I wanted her, badly. Would one night be enough, even if she gave it to me? Echo already felt like a heavy drug. The kind I avoided on purpose—crack, heroin, meth. The ones that screwed with your mind, crept into your blood and left you powerless, helpless. If she gave her body to me, would i be able to let go or would i be sucked into that black veil, hooks embedded into my skin, sentenced to death by the emotion i reserved for my brothers-love? "I want you." "Do you? Really? Because these scars are sexy." How did she see her self? "I don't give a fuck about your scars." She stalked toward me, hips swaying side to side, eyes hardened with anger. Echo pushed her body agaist mine, parts of her fitting perfectly into parts of me. I swore under my breath, fighting for control over my body. "How are you going to react when we 're this close and you take off my shirt? Are you still going to want me when you see red and white lines? Are you going to flinch each time you accidentally touch my arms and feel the raised skin? How about when i touch you?" She pulled away from me, leaving my body cold after experiencing her warmth. "Or will you forbid that? Will you tell me how to dress or what i'm allowed to take off?" Her anger only fed mine. "For the last time I don't give a fuck about your scars." "Liar. Because the only way anyone will ever be okay with me is if they love me. Really love me enough to not care that I’m damaged. You don't love people. You have sex with them. So how could you want to be with me?" She'd summed me up perfectly. I didn't love people-only my brothers. Echo deserved more. Better than me. One shot. Take it or go home. Kiss her and risk an attachment or leave her and watch some other guy enjoy what could have been mine.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
She was a sentinel for a reason—she was fit, lethal, and well able to take down most men twice her size. Not including Riley. Her teeth bared at the way he’d pinned her—maybe she’d enjoyed it last night, but if the wolf tried to use that to change the balance of power in the sentinel-lieutenant relationship between them, things would get seriously ugly. Her mind filled with images of him blocking her punches, trying not to hurt her. She squelched the tiny tendril of warmth that threatened to rise to the surface
Nalini Singh (Branded by Fire (Psy-Changeling, #6))
Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, incomplete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person. Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine. In it God shows Himself to us. That He answers prayers is a corollary—not necessarily the most important one—from that revelation. What He does is learned from what He is.
C.S. Lewis (The World's Last Night: And Other Essays)
Well, fuck a duck,” comes Morris’s delighted voice. I jerk in surprise, then spin around to glare at him for sneaking up on me from behind. Judging by the amusement dancing in his eyes, it’s obvious he peeked over my shoulder and caught a glimpse of the photo I’d been drooling over. “I was wondering how he’d pull that one off,” Morris remarks, still grinning like a fool. “Shouldn’t have doubted him, though. That dude is an unstoppable force of nature.” I narrow my eyes. “He told you about the picture?” “About the whole list, actually. We hung out last night—Lorris is close to taking over Brooklyn, by the way—and he was moaning and groaning about not being able to track down a red velvet couch.” Morris shrugs. “I offered to throw a red blanket on the sofa in my common room and take some pictures, but he said you’d consider that cheating and deprive him of your love.” Stifling a sigh, I shove the phone in my purse, then walk over to the mini-fridge across the room and grab a bottle of water. I twist off the cap, doing my best to ignore the sheer enjoyment Morris is getting out of this. “I wish I was gay,” he says ruefully. A snicker pops out. “Uh-huh. Go on. I’m willing to follow you down this rabbit hole and see where it leads.” “Seriously, Gretch, I love him. I have a boner for him.” Morris sighs. “If I’d known he existed, I wouldn’t have asked you out in the first place.” “Gee, thanks.” “Oh, shut up. You’re awesome, and I’d tap that in a second. But I can’t compete with this guy. He’s operating on a whole other level when it comes to you.
Elle Kennedy (The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2))
Last night, at a press conference, the City Council reminded everyone that the Dog Park is there for our community enjoyment and use, and so it is important that no one enter, look at, or think about the Dog Park. They are adding a new advanced camera system to keep an eye on the great black walls of the Dog Park at all times, and if anyone is caught trying to enter it, they will be forced to enter it, and will never be heard from again. If you see hooded figures in the Dog Park, no you didn’t. The hooded figures are perfectly safe, and should not be approached at any costs. The City Council ended the conference by devouring a raw potato in quick, small bites of their sharp teeth and rough tongues. No follow-up questions were asked, although there were a few follow-up screams. We have also received word via encrypted radio pulses about the opening of a new store: Lenny’s Bargain House of Gardenwares and Machine Parts, which until recently was that abandoned warehouse the government was using for the highly classified and completely secret tests I was telling you about last week. Lenny’s will serve as a helpful new source for all needs involving landscaping and lawn-decorating materials and also as a way for the government to unload all the machines and failed tests and dangerous substances that otherwise would be wasted on things like “safe disposal” or “burying in a concrete tomb until the sun goes out.” Get out to Lenny’s for their big grand opening sale. Find eight government secrets and get a free kidnapping and personality reassignment so that you’ll forget you found them!
Joseph Fink (Welcome to Night Vale (Welcome to Night Vale, #1))
Last night, at a press conference, the City Council reminded everyone that the Dog Park is there for our community enjoyment and use, and so it is important that no one enter, look at, or thin about the Dog Park. They are adding a new advanced camera system to keep an eye on the great black walls of the Dog Park at all times, and if anyone is caught trying to enter it, they will be forced to enter it, and will never be heard from again. If you see hooded figures in the Dog Park, no you didn't. The hooded figures are perfectly safe, and should not be approached at any costs. The City Council ended the conference by devouring a raw potato in quick, small bites of their sharp teeth and rough tongues. No follow-up questions were asked, although there were a few follow-up screams.
Joseph Fink (Welcome to Night Vale (Welcome to Night Vale, #1))
It ended by my almost believing (perhaps actually believing) that this was perhaps my normal condition. But at first, in the beginning, what agonies I endured in that struggle! I did not believe it was the same with other people, and all my life I hid this fact about myself as a secret. I was ashamed (even now, perhaps, I am ashamed): I got to the point of feeling a sort of secret abnormal, despicable enjoyment in returning home to my corner on some disgusting Petersburg night, acutely conscious that that day I had committed a loathsome action again, that what was done could never be undone, and secretly, inwardly gnawing, gnawing at myself for it, tearing and consuming myself till at last the bitterness turned into a sort of shameful accursed sweetness, and at last—into positive real enjoyment! Yes, into enjoyment, into enjoyment! I insist upon that. I have spoken of this because I keep wanting to know for a fact whether other people feel such enjoyment? I will explain; the enjoyment was just from the too intense consciousness of one’s own degradation; it was from feeling oneself that one had reached the last barrier, that it was horrible, but that it could not be otherwise; that there was no escape for you; that you never could become a different man; that even if time and faith were still left you to change into something different you would most likely not wish to change; or if you did wish to, even then you would do nothing; because perhaps in reality there was nothing for you to change into. And the worst of it was, and the root of it all, that it was all in accord with the normal fundamental laws of over-acute consciousness, and with the inertia that was the direct result of those laws, and that consequently one was not only unable to change but could do absolutely nothing. Thus it would follow, as the result of acute consciousness, that one is not to blame in being a scoundrel; as though that were any consolation to the scoundrel once he has come to realise that he actually is a scoundrel.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
I wish he would come!  I wish he would come!” I exclaimed, seized with hypochondriac foreboding.  I had expected his arrival before tea; now it was dark: what could keep him?  Had an accident happened?  The event of last night again recurred to me.  I interpreted it as a warning of disaster.  I feared my hopes were too bright to be realised; and I had enjoyed so much bliss lately that I imagined my fortune had passed its meridian, and must now decline.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
I’m thinking Treen didn’t get laid last night. What do you think, Mara?” “If she did, it was awful,” Mara replied. “So which is it? Did you drink too much to enjoy the show, or did he have trouble?” She grinned. “That could explain the roses.
Rachel Grant (Evidence Series Box Set: Volume 1 (Evidence, #1-3))
Stop overthinking. Did you sleep good last night?” “Yeah.” “And are you enjoying this right now?” “Yes.” He turned his head so Adrian could nuzzle his neck. “Then that’s all that matters. Tell your brain to take a little break. You’ll get back to it later.
Annabeth Albert (Status Update (#gaymers, #1))
As a last resort, with the orange nearing my face and my back pressing hard against the sharp edge of my broadcast table, I grabbed my phone to tell Carlos that if I didn't make it home tonight, it wasn't because I didn't love him, or didn't want to watch a documentary on special scientific graphs, or was too obsessed with my job to relax and enjoy a good meal and some television. It was only because I was zapped out of existence by a lunatic Non-John Peters. And that, in fact, I do love Carlos, and I would want nothing more than to watch a documentary on scientific graphs over some homemade linguini, or go out to eat again, or whatever. But then, as I grabbed my phone, I thought: That's way too long to write for a text. So I just hit John Peters upside the head with it...
Joseph Fink (The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe (Welcome to Night Vale Episodes, #2))
I trust you are enjoying your stay in our castle?” I asked at last. “Would that I were, Your Highness. But I am afraid my sleep last night was quite troubled. This morning I identified the source of my bruises” – here he reached into a pocket of his waistcoat – “as a pea that had been tucked beneath my mattress.
Catherine Gilbert Murdock (Princess Ben)
One of my greatest fears is family decline.There’s an old Chinese saying that “prosperity can never last for three generations.” I’ll bet that if someone with empirical skills conducted a longitudinal survey about intergenerational performance, they’d find a remarkably common pattern among Chinese immigrants fortunate enough to have come to the United States as graduate students or skilled workers over the last fifty years. The pattern would go something like this: • The immigrant generation (like my parents) is the hardest-working. Many will have started off in the United States almost penniless, but they will work nonstop until they become successful engineers, scientists, doctors, academics, or businesspeople. As parents, they will be extremely strict and rabidly thrifty. (“Don’t throw out those leftovers! Why are you using so much dishwasher liquid?You don’t need a beauty salon—I can cut your hair even nicer.”) They will invest in real estate. They will not drink much. Everything they do and earn will go toward their children’s education and future. • The next generation (mine), the first to be born in America, will typically be high-achieving. They will usually play the piano and/or violin.They will attend an Ivy League or Top Ten university. They will tend to be professionals—lawyers, doctors, bankers, television anchors—and surpass their parents in income, but that’s partly because they started off with more money and because their parents invested so much in them. They will be less frugal than their parents. They will enjoy cocktails. If they are female, they will often marry a white person. Whether male or female, they will not be as strict with their children as their parents were with them. • The next generation (Sophia and Lulu’s) is the one I spend nights lying awake worrying about. Because of the hard work of their parents and grandparents, this generation will be born into the great comforts of the upper middle class. Even as children they will own many hardcover books (an almost criminal luxury from the point of view of immigrant parents). They will have wealthy friends who get paid for B-pluses.They may or may not attend private schools, but in either case they will expect expensive, brand-name clothes. Finally and most problematically, they will feel that they have individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and therefore be much more likely to disobey their parents and ignore career advice. In short, all factors point to this generation
Amy Chua (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother)
―When you kick out for yourself, Stephen―as I daresay you will one of these days―rememer, whatever you do, to mix with gentlemen. When I was a young fellow I tell you I enjoyed myself. I mixed with fine decent fellows. Everyone of us could lo something. One fellow had a good voice, another fellow was a good actor, another could sing a good comic song, another was a good oarsman or a good racket player, another could tell a good story and so on. We kept the ball rolling anyhow and enjoyed ourselves and saw a bit of life and we were none the worse of it either. But we were all gentlemen, Stephen―at least I hope we were―and bloody good honest Irishmen too. That's the kind of fellows I want you to associate with, fellows of the right kidney. I'm talking to you as a friend, Stephen. I don't believe a son should be afraid of his father. No, I treat you as your grandfather treated me when I was a young chap. We were more like brothers than father and son. I`ll never forget the first day he caught me smoking. I was standing at the end of the South Terrace one day with some maneens like myself and sure we thought we were grand fellows because we had pipes stuck in the corners of our mouths. Suddenly the governor passed. He didn't say a word, or stop even. But the next day, Sunday, we were out for a walk together and when we were coming home he took out his cigar case and said:―By the by, Simon, I didn't know you smoked, or something like that.―Of course I tried to carry it off as best I could.―If you want a good smoke, he said, try one of these cigars. An American captain made me a present of them last night in Queenstown.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto, "Anyone can cook." But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.
Walt Disney Company
What you have heard is true. I was in his house. His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar. His daughter filed her nails, his son went out for the night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol on the cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on its black cord over the house. On the television was a cop show. It was in English. Broken bottles were embedded in the walls around the house to scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his hands to lace. On the windows there were gratings like those in liquor stores. We had dinner, rack of lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for calling the maid. The maid brought green mangoes, salt, a type of bread. I was asked how I enjoyed the country. There was a brief commercial in Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was some talk of how difficult it had become to govern. The parrot said hello on the terrace. The colonel told it to shut up, and pushed himself from the table. My friend said to me with his eyes: say nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to bring groceries home. He spilled many human ears on the table. They were like dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this. He took one of them in his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a water glass. It came alive there. I am tired of fooling around he said. As for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go f--- themselves. He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last of his wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no? he said. Some of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the ears on the floor were pressed to the ground.
Carolyn Forché
The truth is,” she said shakily, “that I am scared to death of being here.” “I know you are,” he said, sobering, “but I am the last person in the world you’ll ever have to fear.” His words and his tone made the quaking in her limbs, the hammering of her heart, begin again, and Elizabeth hastily drank a liberal amount of her wine, praying it would calm her rioting nerves. As if he saw her distress, he smoothly changed the topic. “Have you given any more thought to the injustice done Galileo?” She shook her head. “I must have sounded very silly last night, going on about how wrong it was to bring him up before the Inquisition. It was an absurd thing to discuss with anyone, especially a gentleman.” “I thought it was a refreshing alternative to the usual insipid trivialities.” “Did you really?” Elizabeth asked, her eyes searching his with a mixture of disbelief and hope, unaware that she was being neatly distracted from her woes and drawn into a discussion she’d find easier. “I did.” “I wish society felt that way.” He grinned sympathetically. “How long have you been required to hide the fact that you have a mind?” “Four weeks,” she admitted, chuckling at his phrasing. “You cannot imagine how awful it is to mouth platitudes to people when you’re longing to ask them about things they’ve seen and things they know. If they’re male, they wouldn’t tell you, of course, even if you did ask.” “What would they say?” he teased. “They would say,” she said wryly, “that the answer would be beyond a female’s comprehension-or that they fear offending my tender sensibilities.” “What sorts of questions have you been asking?” Her eyes lit up with a mixture of laughter and frustration. “I asked Sir Elston Greeley, who had just returned from extensive travels, if he had happened to journey to the colonies, and he said that he had. But when I asked him to describe to me how the natives looked and how they lived, he coughed and sputtered and told me it wasn’t at all ‘the thing’ to discuss ‘savages’ with a female, and that I’d swoon if he did.” “Their appearance and living habits depend upon their tribe,” Ian told her, beginning to answer her questions. “Some of the tribes are ‘savage’ by our standards, not theirs, and some of the tribes are peaceful by any standards…” Two hours flew by as Elizabeth asked him questions and listened in fascination to stories of places he had seen, and not once in all that time did he refuse to answer or treat her comments lightly. He spoke to her like an equal and seemed to enjoy it whenever she debated an opinion with him. They’d eaten lunch and returned to the sofa; she knew it was past time for her to leave, and yet she was loath to end their stolen afternoon.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
You’re very intelligent and I enjoyed our evening together last night. I don’t know how to explain it. I have always been drawn to athletic types. Throwing a football or shooting hoops on dates. You don’t seem athletic. Are you? But I’ve never had such long talks and so many things to talk about with anyone either. It is refreshing, yet different.
Lisa Mayme Corbit (The Truth About Melissa: A Soul Mate Experiment)
Well,” I said, trying to keep my tone light as I walked over to put my arms around his neck, though I had to stand on my toes to do so. “That wasn’t so bad, was it? You told me something about yourself that I didn’t know before-that you didn’t, er, care for your family, except for your mother. But that didn’t make me hate you…it made me love you a bit more, because now I know we have even more in common.” He stared down at him, a wary look in his eyes. “If you knew the truth,” he said, “you wouldn’t be saying that. You’d be running.” “Where would I go?” I asked, with a laugh I hoped didn’t sound as nervous to him as it did to me. “You bolted all the doors, remember? Now, since you shared something I didn’t know about you, may I share something you don’t know about me?” Those dark eyebrows rose as he pulled me close. “I can’t even begin to imagine what this could be.” “It’s just,” I said, “that I’m a little worried about rushing into this consort thing…especially the cohabitation part.” “Cohabitation?” he echoed. He was clearly unfamiliar with the word. “Cohabitation means living together,” I explained, feeling my cheeks heat up. “Like married people.” “You said last night that these days no one your age thinks of getting married,” he said, holding me even closer and suddenly looking much more eager to stick around for the conversation, even though I heard the marina horn blow again. “And that your father would never approve it. But if you’ve changed your mind, I’m sure I could convince Mr. Smith to perform the ceremony-“ “No,” I said hastily. Of course Mr. Smith was somehow authorized to marry people in the state of Florida. Why not? I decided not to think about that right now, or how John had come across this piece of information. “That isn’t what I meant. My mom would kill me if I got married before I graduated from high school.” Not, of course, that my mom was going to know about any of this. Which was probably just as well, since her head would explode at the idea of my moving in with a guy before I’d even applied to college, let alone at the fact that I most likely wasn’t going to college. Not that there was any school that would have accepted me with my grades, not to mention my disciplinary record. “What I meant was that maybe we should take it more slowly,” I explained. “The past couple years, while all my friends were going out with boys, I was home, trying to figure out how this necklace you gave me worked. I wasn’t exactly dating.” “Pierce,” he said. He wore a slightly quizzical expression on his face. “Is this the thing you think I didn’t know about you? Because for one thing, I do know it, and for another, I don’t understand why you think I’d have a problem with it.” I’d forgotten he’d been born in the eighteen hundreds, when the only time proper ladies and gentlemen ever spent together before they were married was at heavily chaperoned balls…and that for most of the past two centuries, he’d been hanging out in a cemetery. Did he even know that these days, a lot of people hooked up on first dates, or that the average age at which girls-and boys as well-lost their virginity in the United States was seventeen…my age? Apparently not. “What I’m trying to say,” I said, my cheeks burning brighter, “is that I’m not very experienced with men. So this morning when I woke up and found you in bed beside me, while it was really, super nice-don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it very much-it kind of freaked me out. Because I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of thing yet.” Or maybe the problem was that I wasn’t prepared for how ready I was…
Meg Cabot (Underworld (Abandon, #2))
How are things going with your brothers?” “The judge set a date to hear me out after graduation. Mrs.Collins has been prepping me.” “That is awesome!” “Yeah.” “What’s wrong?” “Carrie and Joe hired a lawyer and I lost visitation.” Echo placed her delicate hand over mine.“Oh, Noah. I am so sorry." I’d spent countless hours on the couch in the basement, staring at the ceiling wondering what she was doing. Her laughter, her smile, the feel of her body next to mine, and the regret that I let her walk away too easily haunted me. Taking the risk, I entwined my fingers with hers. Odds were I’d never get the chance to be this close again. "No, Mrs. Collins convinced me the best thing to do is to keep my distance and follow the letter of the law." "Wow, Mrs. Collins is a freaking miracle worker. Dangerous Noah Hutchins on the straight and narrow. If you don’t watch out she’ll ruin your rep with the girls." I lowered my voice. "Not that it matters. I only care what one girl thinks about me." She relaxed her fingers into mine and stroked her thumb over my skin. Minutes into being alone together, we fell into each other again, like no time had passed. I could blame her for ending us, but in the end, I agreed with her decision. “How about you, Echo? Did you find your answers?” “No.” If I continued to disregard breakup rules, I might as well go all the way. I pushed her curls behind her shoulder and let my fingers linger longer than needed so I could enjoy the silky feel. “Don’t hide from me, baby. We’ve been through too much for that.” Echo leaned into me, placing her head on my shoulder and letting me wrap an arm around her. “I’ve missed you, too, Noah. I’m tired of ignoring you.” “Then don’t.” Ignoring her hurt like hell. Acknowledging her had to be better. I swallowed, trying to shut out the bittersweet memories of our last night together. “Where’ve you been? It kills me when you’re not at school.” “I went to an art gallery and the curator showed some interest in my work and sold my first piece two days later. Since then, I’ve been traveling around to different galleries, hawking my wares.” “That’s awesome, Echo. Sounds like you’re fitting into your future perfectly. Where did you decide to go to school?” “I don’t know if I’m going to school.” Shock jolted my system and I inched away to make sure I understood. “What the fuck do you mean you don’t know? You’ve got colleges falling all over you and you don’t fucking know if you want to go to school?” My damned little siren laughed at me. “I see your language has improved.” Poof—like magic, the anger disappeared. “If you’re not going to school, then what are your plans?” "I’m considering putting college off for a year or two and traveling cross-country, hopping from gallery to gallery.” “I feel like a dick. We made a deal and I left you hanging. I’m not that guy who goes back on his word. What can I do to help you get to the truth?” Echo’s chest rose with her breath then deflated when she exhaled. Sensing our moment ending, I nuzzled her hair, savoring her scent. She patted my knee and broke away. “Nothing. There’s nothing you can do.” "I think it’s time that I move on. As soon as I graduate, this part of my life will be over. I’m okay with not knowing what happened.” Her words sounded pretty, but I knew her better. She’d blinked three times in a row.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
Last night I went and saw Good Will Hunting, which takes place not exactly where I used to live, in Boston, but pretty darn close, so I've been all flush with nostalgia for it. I was in Boston from summer of '89 until spring of '92... ...I think it's the ultimate nerd fantasy movie. It's a bit of a fairy tale, but I enjoyed it a lot. Minnie Driver is really to fall sideways for. And there's all sorts of cool stuff. It's actually a movie that's got calculus in it. It takes place in Boston.
David Foster Wallace (Conversations with David Foster Wallace)
By shutting her eyes, by losing consciousness, Albertine had stripped off, one after another, the different human personalities with which we had deceived me ever since the day when I had first made her acquaintance. She was animated now only by the unconscious life of plants, of trees, a life more different from my own, more alien, and yet one that belonged more to me. Her psonality was not constantly escaping, as when we talked, by the outlets of her unacknowledged thoughts and of her eyes. She had called back into herself everything of her that lay outside, had withdrawn, enclosed, reabsorbed herself into her body. In keeping her in front of my eyes, in my hands, I had an impression of possessing her entirely which I never had when she was awake. Her life was submitted to me, exhaled towards me its gentle breath. I listened to this murmuring, mysterious emanation, soft as a sea breeze, magical as a gleam of moonlight, that was her sleep. So long as it lasted, I was free to dream about her and yet at the same time to look at her, and when that sleep grew deeper, to touch, to kiss her. What I felt then was a love as pure, as immaterial, as mysterious, as if I had been in the presence of those inanimate creatures which are the beauties of nature. And indeed, as soon as her sleep became at all deep, she ceased to be merely the plant that she had been; her sleep,on the margin of which I remained musing, with a fresh delight of which I never tired, which I could have gone on enjoying indefinitely, was to me a whole lanscape. Her sleep brought within my reach something as serene, as sensually delicious as those nights of full moon on the bay of Balbec, calm as a lake over which the branches barely stir, where, stretched out upon the stand, one could listen for hours on end to the surf breaking and receding. On entering the room, I would remain standing in the doorway, not venturing to make a sound, and hearing none but that of her breath rising to expire upon her lips at regular intervals, like the reflux of the sea, but drowsier and softer. And at the moment when my ear absorbed that divine sound, I felt that there was condensed in it the whole person, the whole life of the charming captive outstretched there before my eyes. Carriages went rattling past in the street, but her brow remained as smooth and untroubled, her breath as light, reduced to the simple expulsion of the necessary quantity of air. Then, seeing that her sleep would not be disturbed, I would advance cautiously, sit down on the chair that stood by the bedside, then on the bed itself.
Marcel Proust (The Captive & The Fugitive (In Search of Lost Time, #5-6))
When I wasn’t in the barn garden, helping out, sorting seeds or checking hoses I’d spend time alone, usually in the bathroom adjacent to Joel’s room, staring into the shattered mirror as my hand gently caressed my baby bump. More often than not I would cry. Not because my pregnancy upset me, or that my hormones were getting the better of me, but because I missed Joel, my baby’s father. That the baby would grow up without a dad made me anxious. Then again, if he had survived, what irreparable damage would he have suffered and how would his pain translate to his child? Jesus, I was studying myself in the very mirror he’d smashed the night he chose to take his own life. The bump had grown slowly in the last couple of months. With these limited resources, I didn’t have the privilege of eating whatever I craved. Had that been the case, I was sure I would have been bigger by now. Still, I tried to eat as well and as often as I could and the size of my belly had proven that my attempts at proper nutrition were at least growing something in there. Nothing made me happier than feeling my baby move. It was a constant source of relief for me. In our present circumstances, with no vitamins and barely any meat products save the recent stash of jerky Earl had found in an abandoned trailer, my diet consisted of berries, lettuce, and canned beans for the most part. Feeling the baby move inside me was an experience I often enjoyed alone. I would think of Joel then as well. Imagining his hand on my belly, with mine guiding his to the kicks and punches.
Michael Poeltl (Rebirth (The Judas Syndrome, #2))
Sometimes now when you crawl into my lap and settle against me and I feel that light, quick strength of your body and the weightiness of your head, when you're cold from playing in the sprinkler or warm from your bath at night, and you lie in my arms and fiddle with my beard and tell me what you've been thinking about...I imagine your child self finding me in heaven and jumping into my arms and there is a great joy in the thought...Adulthood is a wonderful thing, and brief. You must be sure to enjoy it while it lasts.
Marilynne Robinson (Gilead)
We were all pretty quiet until Jeremiah broke the silence like breaking the top of a crème brulee. He said, “This potato salad tastes like bad breath.” “I think that would be your upper lip,” Conrad said. We all laughed, and it felt like a relief. For it to be okay to laugh. To be something other than sad. Then Conrad said, “This rib has mold on it,” and we all started to laugh again. It felt like I hadn’t laughed in a long time. My mother rolled her eyes. “Would it kill you to eat a little mold? Just scrape it off. Give it to me. I’ll eat it.” Conrad put his hands up in surrender, and then he stabbed the rib with his fork and dropped it on my mother’s plate ceremoniously. “Enjoy it, Laurel.” “I swear, you spoil these boys, Beck,” my mother said, and everything felt normal, like any other last night. “Belly was raised on leftovers, weren’t you, bean?” “I was,” I agreed. “I was a neglected child who was fed only old food that nobody else wanted.” My mother suppressed a smile and pushed the potato salad toward me. “I do spoil them,” Susannah said, touching Conrad’s shoulder, Jeremiah’s cheek. “They’re angels. Why shouldn’t I?” The two boys looked at each other from across the table for a second. Then Conrad said, “I’m an angel. I would say Jere’s more of a cherub.” He reached out and tousled Jeremiah’s hair roughly. Jeremiah swatted his hand away. “He’s no angel. He’s the devil,” he said. It was like the fight had been erased. With boys it was like that; they fought and then it was over. My mother picked up Conrad’s rib, looked down at it, and then put it down again. “I can’t eat this,” she said, sighing.
Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1))
Why what,my lord?" She watched him look away and stare absentmindedly at the fire, but he refused to let go of her arm. She waited, enjoying the small pleasure of his touch,but after a moment, asked again. "Why what, my lord?" Ranulf didn't move,but in a low voice answered, "Pick one.Why did you return to Hunswick when you thought I was in danger? Why are you still here? Why did you stay with me last night? Why are you not frightened of my appearance when so many are?" Then his head swiveled around so his gaze could lock with hers. "But mostly I want to know why you kissed me.
Michele Sinclair (The Christmas Knight)
I got to the point of feeling a sort of secret abnormal, despicable enjoyment in returning home to my corner on some disgusting Petersburg night, acutely conscious that that day I had committed a loathsome action again, that what was done could never be undone, and secretly, inwardly gnawing, gnawing at myself for it, tearing and consuming myself till at last the bitterness turned into a sort of shameful accursed sweetness, and at last—into positive real enjoyment! Yes, into enjoyment, into enjoyment! I insist upon that. I have spoken of this because I keep wanting to know for a fact whether other people feel such enjoyment? I will explain; the enjoyment was just from the too intense consciousness of one's own degradation; it was from feeling oneself that one had reached the last barrier, that it was horrible, but that it could not be otherwise; that there was no escape for you; that you never could become a different man; that even if time and faith were still left you to change into something different you would most likely not wish to change; or if you did wish to, even then you would do nothing; because perhaps in reality there was nothing for you to change into.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Notes from Underground)
Sometimes one is better off misled. The host may be better off thinking the guest enjoyed himself; the wife happier believing that she can tell a joke well. The liar’s false message may not only be more palatable, it may also be more useful than the truth. The carpenter’s false claim “I’m fine” to his boss’s “How are you today?” may provide information more relevant than would his true reply, “I am still feel terrible from the fight I had at home last night.” His lie truthfully tells his intention to perform his job despite personal upset. There is, of course, a cost for being misled even in these benevolent instances.
Paul Ekman (Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage (Revised Edition))
Do you know what day it is?” she asked, peering at him. “Don’t you?” “Here in Spindle Cove, we ladies have a schedule. Mondays are country walks. Tuesdays, sea bathing. Wednesdays, you’d find us in the garden.” She touched the back of her hand to his forehead. “What is it we do on Mondays?” “We didn’t get to Thursdays.” “Thursdays are irrelevant. I’m testing your ability to recall information. Do you remember Mondays?” He stifled a laugh. God, her touch felt good. If she kept petting and stroking him like this, he might very well go mad. “Tell me your name,” he said. “I promise to recall it.” A bit forward, perhaps. But any chance for formal introductions had already fallen casualty to the powder charge. Speaking of the powder charge, here came the brilliant mastermind of the sheep siege. Damn his eyes. “Are you well, miss?” Colin asked. “I’m well,” she answered. “I’m afraid I can’t say the same for your friend.” “Bram?” Colin prodded him with a boot. “You look all of a piece.” No thanks to you. “He’s completely addled, the poor soul.” The girl patted his cheek. “Was it the war? How long has he been like this?” “Like this?” Colin smirked down at him. “Oh, all his life.” “All his life?” “He’s my cousin. I should know.” A flush pressed to her cheeks, overwhelming her freckles. “If you’re his cousin, you should take better care of him. What are you thinking, allowing him to wander the countryside, waging war on flocks of sheep?” Ah, that was sweet. The lass cared. She would see him settled in a very comfortable asylum, she would. Perhaps Thursdays would be her day to visit and lay cool cloths to his brow. “I know, I know,” Colin replied gravely. “He’s a certifiable fool. Completely unstable. Sometimes the poor bastard even drools. But the hell of it is, he controls my fortune. Every last penny. I can’t tell him what to do.” “That’ll be enough,” Bram said. Time to put a stop to this nonsense. It was one thing to enjoy a moment’s rest and a woman’s touch, and another to surrender all pride. He gained his feet without too much struggle and helped her to a standing position, too. He managed a slight bow. “Lieutenant Colonel Victor Bramwell. I assure you, I’m in possession of perfect health, a sound mind, and one good-for-nothing cousin.” “I don’t understand,” she said. “Those blasts…” “Just powder charges. We embedded them in the road, to scare off the sheep.” “You laid black powder charges. To move a flock of sheep.” Pulling her hand from his grip, she studied the craters in the road. “Sir, I remain unconvinced of your sanity. But there’s no question you are male.” He raised a brow. “That much was never in doubt.” Her only answer was a faint deepening of her blush. “I assure you, all the lunacy is my cousin’s. Lord Payne was merely teasing, having a bit of sport at my expense.” “I see. And you were having a bit of sport at my expense, pretending to be injured.” “Come, now.” He leaned forward her and murmured, “Are you going to pretend you didn’t enjoy it?” Her eyebrows lifted. And lifted, until they formed perfect twin archer’s bows, ready to dispatch poison-tipped darts. “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
For the guard with the scar over her heart: I’ve been watching you. You’re not like the other guards — the bowing, scraping, mindlessly loyal lizards who live for your queen. You have your own thoughts, don’t you? You’re smarter than the average SandWing. And I think I know your secret. Let’s talk about it. Third cell down, the one with two NightWings in it. I’m the one who doesn’t snore. I HAVE NO INTEREST IN DISCUSSING ANYTHING WITH A NIGHTWING PRISONER. WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO LET YOU HAVE PAPER AND INK? You should be interested. You’re going to need allies for what you’re planning … and when I get out of here, I’m going to be a very useful ally indeed. AMUSING ASSUMPTIONS. MY QUEEN BELIEVES YOU’RE GOING TO BE IN HERE FOR A LONG, LONG TIME. True … but she also believes she’s going to be queen for a long, long time … doesn’t she. An interesting silence after my last note. Perhaps it would reassure you to know I set your notes on fire as soon as I’ve read them. You can tell me anything, my new, venomous-tailed friend. Believe me, Night-Wings are exceptionally skilled at keeping secrets. WE ARE NOT FRIENDS. I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT YOU, OTHER THAN WHAT IT SAYS IN YOUR PRISONER FILE. FIERCETEETH: TRAITOR. KIDNAPPER. RINGLEADER OF ASSASSINATION PLOT. TO BE HELD INDEFINITELY WITH FELLOW TRAITOR STRONGWINGS, ON BEHALF OF THE NIGHTWING QUEEN. OH, YES, CERTAINLY SOUNDS LIKE A DRAGON ANYONE CAN TRUST. She’s not my queen. You can’t be a traitor to someone who shouldn’t be ruling over you in the first place. Which might be a thought you’ve had lately yourself, isn’t it? I know some things about you, even without a file. Saguaro: Prison guard. Schemer. Connected to great secret plans. We’re not so different, you and I. Particularly when it comes to trustworthiness. Just think, if my alleged “assassination plot” had worked, the NightWings would have a different queen right now. Perhaps it would even be me. Well, if at first you don’t succeed … I could tell you my story, if you get me more paper to write on. Or you could stop by one midnight and listen to it instead. But I’ve noticed you don’t like spending too much time in the dungeon. Is it the tip-tap of little scorpion claws scrabbling everywhere? The stench rising from the holes in the floor? The gibbering mad SandWing a few cages down who never shuts up, all night long? (What is her story? Has she really been here since the rule of Queen Oasis?) Or is it that you can too easily picture yourself behind these bars … and you know how close you are to joining us? ALL RIGHT, NIGHTWING, HERE’S A BLANK SCROLL. GO AHEAD AND TRY TO CONVINCE ME THAT YOU’RE A DRAGON WHO EVEN DESERVES TO LIVE, LET ALONE ONE I SHOULD WASTE MY TIME ON. I DO ENJOY BEING AMUSED.
Tui T. Sutherland (Escaping Peril (Wings of Fire, #8))
Our party soon broke up; Mrs. Blair went below to sleep and I went out on deck. Colonel Race followed me. “You’re very elusive, Miss Beddingfeld. I looked for you everywhere last night at the dance.” “I went to bed early,” I explained. “Are you going to run away to-night too? Or are you going to dance with me?” “I shall be very pleased to dance with you,” I murmured shyly. “But Mrs. Blair——” “Our friend, Mrs. Blair, doesn’t care for dancing.” “And you do?” “I care for dancing with you.” “Oh!” I said nervously. I was a little afraid of Colonel Race. Nevertheless I was enjoying myself. This was better than discussing fossilized skulls with stuffy old professors! Colonel Race was really just my ideal of a stern silent Rhodesian. Possibly I might marry him!
Agatha Christie (The Man in the Brown Suit (Colonel Race, #1))
Joy at the smallest things comes to you only when you have accepted death. But ifyou look out greedily for all that you could still live, then nothing is great enough for your pleasure, and the smallest things that continue to surround you are no longer a joy. Therefore I behold death, since it teaches me how to live. If you accept death, it is altogether like a frosty night and an anxious misgiving, but a frosty night in a vineyard full of sweet grapes.76 You will soon take pleasure in your wealth. Death ripens. One needs death to be able to harvest the fruit. Without death, life would be meaningless, since the long-lasting rises again and denies its own meaning. To be, and to enjoy your being, you need death, and limitation enables you to fulfill your being. reminds me of heidegger
And suddenly I knew, as I touched the damp, grainy surface of the seawall, that I would always remember this night, that in years to come I would remember sitting here, swept with confused longing as I listened to the water lapping the giant boulders beneath the promenade and watched the children head toward the shore in a winding, lambent procession. I wanted to come back tomorrow night, and the night after, and the one after that as well, sensing that what made leaving so fiercely painful was the knowledge that there would never be another night like this, that I would never eat soggy cakes along the coast road in the evening, not this year or any other year, nor feel the baffling, sudden beauty of that moment when, if only for an instant, I had caught myself longing for a city I never knew I loved. Exactly a year from now, I vowed, I would sit outside at night wherever I was, somewhere in Europe, or in America, and turn my face to Egypt, as Moslems do when they pray and face Mecca, and remember this very night, and how I had thought these things and made this vow. You're beginning to sound like Elsa and her silly seders, I said to myself, mimicking my father's humour. On my way home I thought of what the others were doing. I wanted to walk in, find the smaller living room still lit, the Beethoven still playing, with Abdou still cleaning the dining room, and, on closing the front door, suddenly hear someone say, "We were just waiting for you, we're thinking of going to the Royal." "But we've already seen that film," I would say. "What difference does it make. We'll see it again." And before we had time to argue, we would all rush downstairs, where my father would be waiting in a car that was no longer really ours, and, feeling the slight chill of a late April night, would huddle together with the windows shut, bicker as usual about who got to sit where, rub our hands, turn the radio to a French broadcast, and then speed to the Corniche, thinking that all this was as it always was, that nothing ever really changed, that the people enjoying their first stroll on the Corniche after fasting, or the woman selling tickets at the Royal, or the man who would watch our car in the side alley outside the theatre, or our neighbours across the hall, or the drizzle that was sure to greet us after the movie at midnight would never, ever know, nor even guess, that this was our last night in Alexandria.
André Aciman (Out of Egypt: A Memoir)
Her name was Pilar Ternera. She had been part of the exodus that ended with the founding of Macondo, dragged along by her family in order to separate her from the man who had raped her at fourteen and had continued to love her until she was twenty-two, but who never made up his mind to make the situation public because he was a man apart. He promised to follow her to the ends of the earth, but only later on, when he put his affairs in order, and she had become tired of waiting for him, always identifying  him with the tall and short, blond and brunet men that her cards promised from land and sea within three days, three months, or three years. With her waiting she had lost the strength of her thighs, the firmness of her breasts, her habit of tenderness, but she kept the madness of her heart intact. Maddened by that prodigious plaything, José Arcadio followed her path every night through the labyrinth of the room. On a certain occasion he found the door barred, and he knocked several times, knowing that if he had the boldness to knock the first time he would have had to knock until the last, and after an interminable wait she opened the door for him. During the day, lying down to dream, he would secretly enjoy the memories of the night before. But when she came into the house, merry, indifferent, chatty, he did not have to make any effort to hide his tension, because that woman, whose explosive laugh frightened off the doves, had nothing to do with the invisible power that taught him how to breathe from within  and control his heartbeats, and that had permitted him to understand why man are afraid of death.
Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
Dear Olaf, How are you? I am well, though Gunhilda has got a touch of dragon pox. We enjoyed a spirited game of Kwidditch last Saturday night, though poor Gunhilda was not up to playing Catcher, and we had to use Radulf the blacksmith instead. The team from Ilkley played well though was no match for us, for we had been practising hard all month and scored forty-two times. Radulf got a Blooder in the head because old Ugga wasn’t quick enough with his club. The new scoring barrels worked well. Three at each end on stilts, Oona from the inn gave us them. She let us have free mead all night because we won as well. Gunhilda was a bit angry I got back so late. I had to duck a couple of nasty jinxes but I’ve got my fingers back now. I’m sending this with the best owl I’ve got, hope he makes it. Your cousin, Goodwin
Kennilworthy Whisp (Quidditch Through the Ages)
John’s somber dark eyes regarded her quietly. “Good morning,” he rumbled. Damn, Shannon thought, his voice was even sexier with that rasp in it. She tried to summon up a smile. “Good morning. Uh, how did I get here?” “You fell asleep, and rather than let you crumple on the floor, I brought you up here with me.” Blood crept into her cheeks. “Oh. Sorry ’bout that.” Shannon started to peel back the blanket to sit up, but John tugged her back down. “Don’t leave just yet. You’re very warm. And don’t be sorry. I enjoyed every minute of it. I actually slept very good with you, which is surprising.” Shannon eased back down onto his shoulder and pulled the blanket up to her chin. A heavy hand resettled at her waist. “You don’t normally sleep well?” “No. Dreams wake me up a lot, like last night.” “Oh,” she said, inanely.
J.M. Madden (Embattled Hearts (Lost and Found, #1))
Don't you think Rycca would like to hear about Hadding, the warrior Odin rescued from his enemies? Indeed, so would I for as I recall, the last time I asked about him, you told the story in great haste without the scantiest details." There was a gleam in her eyes that Rycca had come to understand meant she was up to something, but she had no idea what might lurk behind so seemingly innocent a suggestion. Dragon grinned and looked at his brother, who leaned back in his chair and laughed. When Rycca appeared puzzled, Cymbra said, "I confess, when I noticed how attentive you are to Dragon's stories I was reminded of myself. At Wolf's and my wedding feast, I persuaded Dragon to tell a great many tales. He was the soul of patience." "He was?" Wolf interjected. "I was the one with the patience. My dear brother knew perfectly well I was sitting there contemplating various possibilities for doing away with him and he enjoyed every moment of it." "Now how could I have known that, brother?" Dragon challenged. "Just because the wine goblet you were holding was twisted into a very odd shape?" "It was that or your neck, brother," Wolf replied pleasantly. He looked at Rycca reassuringly. "Don't worry, if I hadn't already forgiven him, that sword he gave me would force me to." "It is a magnificent blade," Dragon agreed. "They both are. Every smithy in Christendom is trying to work out what the Moors are doing but..." "It's got something to do with the temperature of the steel," Wolf said. "And with the folding. They fold more than we do, possibly hundreds of times." "Hundreds,really? Then the temperature has to be very high or they couldn't pound that thin. I wonder how much carbon they're adding-" Cymbra sighed. To Rycca, she said, "We might as well retire.They can talk about this for hours." Wolf heard her and laughed. He draped an arm over her chair, pulling her closer. Into her ear, he said something that made the redoubtable Cymbra blush. She cleared her throat. "Oh, well, in that case, you might as well retire, too." Standing up quickly, she took her husband's rugged hand in her much smaller and fairer one. "Good night, Rycca, good night, Dragon. Sleep well." This last was said over her shoulder as she tugged Wolf from the hall. Her obvious intent startled Rycca, who even now could not think herself as being so bold, but it made both the Hakonson brothers laugh. "As you may gather," Dragon said in the aftermath of the couple's departure, "my brother and his wife are happily wed.
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert talks about this phenomenon in his 2006 book, Stumbling on Happiness. “The greatest achievement of the human brain is its ability to imagine objects and episodes that do not exist in the realm of the real,” he writes. “The frontal lobe—the last part of the human brain to evolve, the slowest to mature, and the first to deteriorate in old age—is a time machine that allows each of us to vacate the present and experience the future before it happens.” This time travel into the future—otherwise known as anticipation—accounts for a big chunk of the happiness gleaned from any event. As you look forward to something good that is about to happen, you experience some of the same joy you would in the moment. The major difference is that the joy can last much longer. Consider that ritual of opening presents on Christmas morning. The reality of it seldom takes more than an hour, but the anticipation of seeing the presents under the tree can stretch out the joy for weeks. One study by several Dutch researchers, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life in 2010, found that vacationers were happier than people who didn’t take holiday trips. That finding is hardly surprising. What is surprising is the timing of the happiness boost. It didn’t come after the vacations, with tourists bathing in their post-trip glow. It didn’t even come through that strongly during the trips, as the joy of travel mingled with the stress of travel: jet lag, stomach woes, and train conductors giving garbled instructions over the loudspeaker. The happiness boost came before the trips, stretching out for as much as two months beforehand as the holiday goers imagined their excursions. A vision of little umbrella-sporting drinks can create the happiness rush of a mini vacation even in the midst of a rainy commute. On some level, people instinctively know this. In one study that Gilbert writes about, people were told they’d won a free dinner at a fancy French restaurant. When asked when they’d like to schedule the dinner, most people didn’t want to head over right then. They wanted to wait, on average, over a week—to savor the anticipation of their fine fare and to optimize their pleasure. The experiencing self seldom encounters pure bliss, but the anticipating self never has to go to the bathroom in the middle of a favorite band’s concert and is never cold from too much air conditioning in that theater showing the sequel to a favorite flick. Planning a few anchor events for a weekend guarantees you pleasure because—even if all goes wrong in the moment—you still will have derived some pleasure from the anticipation. I love spontaneity and embrace it when it happens, but I cannot bank my pleasure solely on it. If you wait until Saturday morning to make your plans for the weekend, you will spend a chunk of your Saturday working on such plans, rather than anticipating your fun. Hitting the weekend without a plan means you may not get to do what you want. You’ll use up energy in negotiations with other family members. You’ll start late and the museum will close when you’ve only been there an hour. Your favorite restaurant will be booked up—and even if, miraculously, you score a table, think of how much more you would have enjoyed the last few days knowing that you’d be eating those seared scallops on Saturday night!
Laura Vanderkam (What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off (A Penguin Special from Portfo lio))
The worse thing I have done in my life is Diary writing.... a wastage of time, wastage of papers filled with some imaginary feelings and bunch of silly activities done each day.... I cant feel any glimpse of appreciable work done by me, as whatever right I did, my Diary says " you were suppose to do it, so it was not a big deal....huhhh..." I passed my last few nights in reading most of its pages.... "I laughed on the lines telling about my saddest moments and nights when I cried….. but I felt woeful and downhearted on the lines telling about the moments when I shared my smile with someone, when I enjoyed the moments with my friends and near and dear ones, who r far and far now, and we can’t get those moments back in this busy selfish life" So now its better in busy life to live evry day and forget it in night.... enjoy life.... save papers.... no diary writing from today..... Sorry Diary, You will Miss Me....
Saket Assertive
game hunting was flourishing; and, dining at Muthaiga Club, I was offered trout freshly caught in the mountains, together with some last bottles of a particularly fragrant Rhine wine. Not since that last bright summer in Paris in 1939, when the wealthy of the world came flocking to spend their money lest they should not visit Paris again, had I seen women so well groomed, wearing so many lush furs. Baboon pelts and leopard skins were particularly popular. Great log fires burned in the grates of the club chimney places, though the nights were scarcely sharp. The men wore dinner-jackets or dress uniform. The conversation tended to hunting. In the day one had golf at Brackenridge, or swimming or riding or fooling round the game reserves where giraffe still roam haphazardly. Normally one looked in at a roadhouse for an apéritif around eight in the evening, and after dinner perhaps went down to Torr’s to dance. They say the altitude at Nairobi makes people slightly crazy, but after the desert I found it all delightful, as though the world were enjoying one long holiday. As
Alan Moorehead (Desert War: The North African Campaign 1940-43)
July 14, 1861 Camp Clark, Washington My very dear Sarah: The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more… I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt… Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field. The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness… But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights … always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again…
Sullivan Ballou
You're trying to kiss Emma?" Rayna says, incredulous. "But you haven't even sifted yet, Galen." "Sifted?" Emma asks. Toraf laughs. "Princess, why don't we go for a swim? You know that storm probably dredged up all sorts of things for your collection." Galen nods a silent thank you to Toraf as he ushers his sister into the living room. For once, he's thankful for Rayna's hoard of human relics. He almost had to drag her to shore by her fin to get past all the old shipwrecks along this coast. "We'll split up, cover more ground," Rayna's saying as they leave. Galen feels Emma looking at him, but he doesn't acknowledge her. Instead, he watches the beach as Toraf and Rayna disappear in the waves, hand in hand. Galen shakes his head. No one should feel sorry for Toraf. He knows just exactly what he's doing. Something Galen wishes he could say of himself. Emma puts a hand on his arm-she won't be ignored. "What is that? Sifted?" Finally he turns, meets her gaze. "It's like dating to humans. Only, it goes a lot faster. And it has more of a purpose than humans sometimes do when they date." "What purpose?" "Sifting is our way of choosing a life mate. When a male turns eighteen, he usually starts sifting to find himself a companion. For a female whose company he will enjoy and ho will be suitable for producing offspring." "Oh," she says, thoughtful. "And...you haven't sifted yet?" He shakes his head, painfully aware of her hand still on his arm. She must realize it at the same time, because she snatches it away. "Why not?" she says, clearing her throat. "Are you not old enough to sift?" "I'm old enough," he says softly. "How old are you, exactly?" "Twenty." He doesn't mean to lean closer to her-or does he? "Is that normal? That you haven't sifted yet?" He shakes his head. "It's pretty much standard for males to be mated by the time they turn nineteen. But my responsibilities as ambassador would take me away from my mate too much. It wouldn't be fair to her." "Oh, right. Keeping a watch on the humans," she says quickly. "You're right. That wouldn't be fair, would it?" He expects another debate. For her to point out, as she did last night, that if there were more ambassadors, he wouldn't have to shoulder the responsibility alone-and she would be right. But she doesn't debate. In fact, she drops the subject altogether. Backing away from him, she seems intent on widening the space he'd closed between them. She fixes her expression into nonchalance. "Well, are you ready to help me turn into a fish?" she says, as if they'd been talking about this the whole time. He blinks. "That's it?" "What?" "No more questions about sifting? No lectures about appointing more ambassadors?" "It's not my business," she says with an indifferent shrug. "Why should I care whether or not you mate? And it's not like I'll be sifting-or sifted. After you teach me to sprout a fin, we'll be going our separate ways. Besides, you wouldn't care if I dated any humans, right?" With that, she leaves him there staring after her, mouth hanging open. At the door, she calls over her shoulder, "I'll meet you on the beach in fifteen minutes. I just have to call my mom and check in and change into my swimsuit." She flips her hair to the side before disappearing up the stairs. He turns to Rachel, who's hand-drying a pan to death, eyebrows reaching for her hairline. He shrugs to her in askance, mouth still ajar. She sighs. "Sweet pea, what did you expect?" "Something other than that.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
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))
Bernard is caring, helpful, and enjoyable to be with. Everybody loves him. And he really loves people. But Bernard is a relational sprinter, not a marathoner. He’s there for you if you’re there. But it’s hard for Bernard to keep you in mind when he’s off helping another person. This trait has caused Bernard to be unsafe with his friends and family. They have learned the hard way that you cannot depend on him. He commits and commits and commits—but he does not come through. If you ask him to return the lawnmower he borrowed last week, don’t block out your mowing hours on your schedule anytime soon. Bernard isn’t a bad person, nor is he insincere. But he loves the intense warmth of being close to a person in the here-and-now. It gets somewhat addictive to him, and he can’t delay gratification to help a person who isn’t around, when another, in-the-flesh person is available. And so he routinely disappoints himself and his friends. He flunks the time test. For example, when Bernard and I would plan dinners or nights out, he was often late, and sometimes he wouldn’t show up at all. Of course he’d always have a great excuse about some emergency or crisis. Finally, I realized I wasn’t a “crisis,” so I didn’t make the cut. I learned that, over time, I shouldn’t depend on Bernard.
Henry Cloud (Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't)
I can’t help thinking,” she confided when he finished answering her questions about women in India who covered their faces and hair in public, “that it is grossly unfair that I was born a female and so must never know such adventures, or see but a few of those places. Even if I were to journey there, I’d only be allowed to go where everything was as civilized as-as London!” “There does seem to be a case of extreme disparity between the privileges accorded the sexes,” Ian agreed. “Still, we each have our duty to perform,” she informed him with sham solemnity. “And there’s said to be great satisfaction in that.” “How do you view your-er-duty?” he countered, responding to her teasing tone with a lazy white smile. “That’s easy. It is a female’s duty to be a wife who is an asset to her husband in every way. It is a male’s duty to do whatever he wishes, whenever he wishes, so long as he is prepared to defend his country should the occasion demand it in his lifetime-which it very likely won’t. Men,” she informed him, “gain honor by sacrificing themselves on the field of battle while we sacrifice ourselves on the altar of matrimony.” He laughed aloud then, and Elizabeth smiled back at him, enjoying herself hugely. “Which, when one considers it, only proves that our sacrifice is by far the greater and more noble.” “How is that?” he asked, still chuckling. “It’s perfectly obvious-battles last mere days or weeks, months at the very most. While matrimony lasts a lifetime! Which brings to mind something else I’ve often wondered about,” she continued gaily, giving full rein to her innermost thoughts. “And that is?” he prompted, grinning, watching her as if he never wanted to stop. “Why do you suppose, after all that, they call us the weaker sex?” Their laughing gazes held, and then Elizabeth realized how outrageous he must be finding some of her remarks. “I don’t usually go off on such tangents,” she said ruefully. “You must think I’m dreadfully ill-bred.” “I think,” he softly said, “that you are magnificent.” The husky sincerity in his deep voice snatched her breath away. She opened her mouth, thinking frantically for some light reply that could restore the easy camaraderie of a minute before, but instead of speaking she could only draw a long, shaky breath. “And,” he continued quietly, “I think you know it.” This was not, not the sort of foolish, flirtatious repartee she was accustomed to from her London beaux, and it terrified her as much as the sensual look in those golden eyes. Pressing imperceptibly back against the arm of the sofa, she told herself she was only overacting to what was nothing more than empty flattery. “I think,” she managed with a light laugh that stuck in her throat, “that you must find whatever female you’re with ‘magnificent.’” “Why would you say a thing like that?” Elizabeth shrugged. “Last night at supper, for one thing.” When he frowned at her as if she were speaking in a foreign language, she prodded, “You remember Lady Charise Dumont, our hostess, the same lovely brunette on whose every word you were hanging at supper last night?” His frown became a grin. “Jealous?” Elizabeth lifted her elegant little chin and shook her head. “No more than you were of Lord Howard.” She felt a small bit of satisfaction as his amusement vanished. “The fellow who couldn’t seem to talk to you without touching your arm?” he inquired in a silky-soft voice. “That Lord Howard? As a matter of fact, my love, I spent most of my meal trying to decide whether I wanted to shove his nose under his right ear or his left.” Startled, musical laughter erupted from her before she could stop it. “You did nothing of the sort,” she chuckled. “Besides, if you wouldn’t duel with Lord Everly when he called you a cheat, you certainly wouldn’t harm poor Lord Howard merely for touching my arm.” “Wouldn’t I?” he asked softly. “Those are two very different issues.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Outside, he almost missed seeing a man's shadowed form disappearing into the bunkhouse. Hick's name formed a curse on his lips. How long had the man stood at the kitchen window? The idea that he might have seen any part of his and Willow's lovemaking made him sick to his stomach. Cursing, he headed back to the cookhouse. He hoped Providence would one day grant him the opportunity to kill that bastard! "Who was it?" Her attire repaired, Willow unlocked the door and fell into his arms. Unable to dirty what they had just shared, Rider forced himself to chuckle. "Just a coyote, sneaking up on the henhouse. Good thing he alerted us or we'd have been caught out here buck naked when your hens started to alert the whole ranch." He felt her relax and he let her go. "It's late, darlin', and I think we've tested fate enough for one night. We better turn in." Willow handed him his boots and then his shirt. They took one last look around the kitchen to make sure they'd left no embarrassing calling cards. Then he walked her to the house. At the back door, she pressed a lingering kiss to his lips, then silently disappeared inside. Rider took his time as he headed toward his lonely bed in the bunkhouse. As much as he'd enjoyed being with Willow tonight, something told him he was going to regret it.
Charlotte McPherren (Song of the Willow)
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: 'Anyone can cook.' But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.
Brad Bird via Anton Ego
She had seen Southern men, soft voiced and dangerous in the days before the war, reckless and hard in the last despairing days of the fighting. But in the faces of the two men who stared at each other across the candle flame so short a while ago there had been something that was different, something that heartened her but frightened her — fury which could find no words, determination which would stop at nothing. For the first time, she felt a kinship with the people about her, felt one with them in their fears, their bitterness, their determination. No, it wasn’t to be borne! The South was too beautiful a place to be let go without a struggle, too loved to be trampled by Yankees who hated Southerners enough to enjoy grinding them into the dirt, too dear a homeland to be turned over to ignorant people drunk with whisky and freedom. As she thought of Tony’s sudden entrance and swift exit, she felt herself akin to him, for she remembered the old story how her father had left Ireland, left hastily and by night, after a murder which was no murder to him or to his family. Gerald’s blood was in her, violent blood. She remembered her hot joy in shooting the marauding Yankee. Violent blood was in them all, perilously close to the surface, lurking just beneath the kindly courteous exteriors. All of them, all the men she knew, even the drowsy-eyed Ashley and fidgety old Frank, were like that underneath — murderous, violent if the need arose. Even Rhett, conscienceless scamp that he was, had killed a man for being “uppity to a lady.
Margaret Mitchell (Gone With the Wind)
#25. Valuing Yourself and Your Needs (As a Parent): This is about taking care of your OWN needs as a parent because when you consistently put yourself last to be taken care of and habitually continue to sacrifice your basic necessities to make everyone else happy…Essentially, what you’re teaching your children is that they’re here to be of service to others, then themselves. In other words, you’re teaching them to take advantage of you and use you as they please, which in turn communicates to them that they’re most likely to be used. To prevent this from happening, you need to set consistent limits that protect you from demands that could be overbearing and unfair. That way, you’re communicating that your basic needs are just as important as theirs. It’s true…often times parents that are constantly sacrificing themselves are idealized and praised by other parents. You know… the ones that have no hobbies, no friends and no avenue of enjoyment. Is this really desirable? Parents constantly stressed about the needs of others in the family are usually irritable, and unmotivated to try anything new, fun or exciting. How can parents do this long term with no outlet? Instead, us parents need to enjoy ourselves and focus on being re-energized. When you take good care of yourself, you provide the means to take better care of your children. Going out to dinner or cocktails, trips to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, date night with your spouse or even some alone time reading or going for a walk allows you to be a more productive, interested and patient parent.
Brian Tracy (How to Build Up Your Child Instead of Repairing Your Teenager)
Maria managed to avoid Oliver for most of St. Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t difficult-apparently he spent half of it sleeping off his wild night. Not that she cared one bit. She’d learned her lesson with him. Truly she had. Not even the beautiful bouquet of irises he’d sent up to her room midafternoon changed that. Now that she was dressing for tonight’s ball, she was rather proud of herself for having only thought of him half a dozen times. Per hour, her conscience added. “There, that’s the last one,” Betty said as she tucked another ostrich feather into Maria’s elaborate coiffure. According to Celia, the new fashion this year involved a multitude of feathers drooping from one’s head in languid repose. Maria hoped hers didn’t decide to find their repose on the floor. Betty seemed to have used a magical incantation to keep them in place, and Maria wasn’t at all sure they would stay put. “You look lovely, miss,” Betty added. “If I do,” Maria said, “it’s only because of your efforts, Betty.” Betty ducked her head to hide her blush. “Thank you, miss.” It was amazing how different the servant had been ever since Maria had taken Oliver’s advice to heart, letting the girl fuss over her and tidy her room and do myriad things that Maria would have been perfectly happy to do for herself. But he’d proved to be right-Betty practically glowed with pride. Maria wished she’d known sooner how to treat them all, but honestly, how could she have guessed that these mad English would enjoy being in service? It boggled her democratic American mind. Casting an admiring glance down Maria’s gown of ivory satin, Betty said, “I daresay his lordship will swallow his tongue when he sees you tonight.” “If he does, I hope he chokes on it,” Maria muttered. With a sly glance, Betty fluffed out the bouffant drapery of white tulle that crossed Maria’s bust and was fastened in the center with an ornament of gold mosaic. “John says the master didn’t touch a one of those tarts at the brothel last night. He says that his lordship refused every female that the owner of the place brought before him.” “I somehow doubt that.” Paying her no heed, Betty continued her campaign to salvage her master’s dubious honor. “Then Lord Stoneville went to the opera house and left without a single dancer on his arm. John says he never done that before.” Maria rolled her eyes, though a part of her desperately wanted to believe it was true-a tiny, silly part of her that she would have to slap senseless. Betty polished the ornament with the edge of her sleeve. “John says he drank himself into a stupor, then came home without so much as kissing a single lady. John says-“ “John is inventing stories to excuse his master’s actions.” “Oh no, miss! John would never lie. And I can promise you that the master has never come home so early before, and certainly not without…that is, at the house in Acton he was wont to bring a tart or two home to…well, you know.” “Help him choke on his tongue?” Maria snapped as she picked up her fan. Betty laughed. “Now that would be a sight, wouldn’t it? Two ladies trying to shove his tongue down his throat.” “I’d pay them well to do it.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
Bruce Wayne Carmody had been unhappy for so long that it had stopped being a state he paid attention to. Sometimes Wayne felt that the world had been sliding apart beneath his feet for years. He was still waiting for it to pull him down, to bury him at last. His mother had been crazy for a while, had believed that the phone was ringing when it wasn’t, had conversations with dead children who weren’t there. Sometimes he felt she had talked more with dead children than she ever had with him. She had burned down their house. She spent a month in a psychiatric hospital, skipped out on a court appearance, and dropped out of Wayne’s life for almost two years. She spent a while on book tour, visiting bookstores in the morning and local bars at night. She hung out in L.A. for six months, working on a cartoon version of Search Engine that never got off the ground and a cocaine habit that did. She spent a while drawing covered bridges for a gallery show that no one went to. Wayne’s father got sick of Vic’s drinking, Vic’s wandering, and Vic’s crazy, and he took up with the lady who had done most of his tattoos, a girl named Carol who had big hair and dressed like it was still the eighties. Only Carol had another boyfriend, and they stole Lou’s identity and ran off to California, where they racked up a ten-thousand-dollar debt in Lou’s name. Lou was still dealing with creditors. Bruce Wayne Carmody wanted to love and enjoy his parents, and occasionally he did. But they made it hard. Which was why the papers in his back pocket felt like nitroglycerin, a bomb that hadn’t exploded yet.
Joe Hill (NOS4A2)
Elizabeth glanced up as Ian handed her a glass of champagne. “Thank you,” she said, smiling up at him and gesturing to Duncan, the duke, and Jake, who were now convulsed with loud hilarity. “They certainly seem to be enjoying themselves,” she remarked. Ian absently glanced the group of laughing men, then back at her. “You’re breathtaking when you smile.” Elizabeth heard the huskiness in his voice and saw the almost slumberous look in his eyes, and she was wondering about its cause when he said softly, “Shall we retire?” That suggestion caused Elizabeth to assume his expression must be due to weariness. She, herself, was more than ready to seek the peace of her own chamber, but since she’d never been to a wedding reception before, she assumed that the protocol must be the same as at any other gala affair-which meant the host and hostess could not withdraw until the last of the guests had either left or retired. Tonight, every one of the guest chambers would be in use, and tomorrow a large wedding breakfast was planned, followed by a hunt. “I’m not sleepy-just a little fatigued from so much smiling,” she told him, pausing to bestow another smile on a guest who caught her eye and waved. Turning her face up to Ian, she offered graciously, “It’s been a long day. If you wish to retire, I’m sure everyone will understand.” “I’m sure they will,” he said dryly, and Elizabeth noted with puzzlement that his eyes were suddenly gleaming. “I’ll stay down here and stand in for you,” she volunteered. The gleam in his eyes brightened yet more. “You don’t think that my retiring alone will look a little odd?” Elizabeth knew it might seem impolite, if not precisely odd, but then inspiration struck, and she said reassuringly, “Leave everything to me. I’ll make your excuses if anyone asks.” His lips twitched. “Just out of curiosity-what excuse will you make for me?” “I’ll say you’re not feeling well. It can’t be anything too dire though, or we’ll be caught out in the fib when you appear looking fit for breakfast and the hunt in the morning.” She hesitated, thinking, and then said decisively, “I’ll say you have the headache.” His eyes widened with laughter. “It’s kind of you to volunteer to dissemble for me, my lady, but that particular untruth would have me on the dueling field for the next month, trying to defend against the aspersions it would cause to be cast upon my…ah…manly character.” “Why? Don’t gentlemen get headaches?” “Not,” he said with a roguish grin, “on their wedding night.” “I can’t see why.” “Can you not?” “No. And,” she added with an irate whisper, “I don’t see why everyone is staying down here this late. I’ve never been to a wedding reception, but it does seem as if they ought to be beginning to seek their beds.” “Elizabeth,” he said, trying not to laugh. “At a wedding reception, the guests cannot leave until the bride and groom retire. If you look over there, you’ll notice my great-aunts are already nodding in their chairs.” “Oh!” she exclaimed, instantly contrite. “I didn’t know. Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” “Because,” he said, taking her elbow and beginning to guide her from the ballroom, “I wanted you to enjoy every minute of our ball, even if we had to prop the guests up on the shrubbery.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
I’d better go,” Marlboro Man said, leaning forward and kissing my cheek. I still grasped the diamond ring in my warm, sweaty hand. “I don’t want Mike to burst a blood vessel.” He laughed out loud, clearly enjoying it all. I tried to speak but couldn’t. I’d been rendered totally mute. Nothing could have prepared me for those ten minutes of my life. The last thing I remember, I’d awakened at eleven. Moments later, I was hiding in my bathroom, trying, in all my early-morning ugliness, to avoid being seen by Marlboro Man, who’d dropped by unexpectedly. Now I was standing on the front porch, a diamond ring in my hand. It was all completely surreal. Marlboro Man turned to leave. “You can give me your answer later,” he said, grinning, his Wranglers waving good-bye to me in the bright noonday sun. But then it all came flashing across my line of sight. The boots in the bar, the icy blue-green eyes, the starched shirt, the Wranglers…the first date, the long talks, my breakdown in his kitchen, the movies, the nights on his porch, the kisses, the long drives, the hugs…the all-encompassing, mind-numbing passion I felt. It played frame by frame in my mind in a steady stream. “Hey,” I said, walking toward him and effortlessly sliding the ring on my finger. I wrapped my arms around his neck as his arms, instinctively, wrapped around my waist and raised me off the ground in our all-too-familiar pose. “Yep,” I said effortlessly. He smiled and hugged me tightly. Mike, once again, laid on the horn, oblivious to what had just happened. Marlboro Man said nothing more. He simply kissed me, smiled, then drove my brother to the mall.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
For the next twenty minutes Elizabeth asked for concessions, Ian conceded, Duncan wrote, and the dowager duchess and Lucinda listened with ill-concealed glee.. In the entire time Ian made but one stipulation, and only after he was finally driven to it out of sheer perversity over the way everyone was enjoying his discomfort: He stipulated that none of Elizabeth’s freedoms could give rise to any gossip that she was cuckolding him. The duchess and Miss Throckmorton-Jones scowled at such a word being mentioned in front of them, but Elizabeth acquiesced with a regal nod of her golden head and politely said to Duncan, “I agree. You may write that down.” Ian grinned at her, and Elizabeth shyly returned his smile. Cuckolding, to the best of Elizabeth’s knowledge, was some sort of disgraceful conduct that required a lady to be discovered in the bedroom with a man who was not her husband. She had obtained that incomplete piece of information from Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones, who, unfortunately, actually believed it. “Is there anything more?” Duncan finally asked, and when Elizabeth shook her head, the dowager spoke up. “Indeed, though you may not need to write it down.” Turning to Ian, she said severely, “If you’ve any thought of announcing this betrothal tomorrow, you may put it out of your head.” Ian was tempted to invite her to get out, in a slightly less wrathful tone than that in which he’d ordered Julius from the house, but he realized that what she was saying was lamentably true. “Last night you went to a deal of trouble to make it seem there had been little but flirtation between the two of you two years ago. Unless you go through the appropriate courtship rituals, which Elizabeth has every right to expect, no one will ever believe it.” “What do you have in mind?” Ian demanded shortly. “One month,” she said without hesitation. “One month of calling on her properly, escorting her to the normal functions, and so on.” “Two weeks,” he countered with strained patience. “Very well,” she conceded, giving Ian the irritating certainty that two weeks was all she’d hoped for anyway. “Then you may announce your betrothal and be wed in-two months!” “Two weeks,” Ian said implacably, reaching for the drink the butler had just put in front of him. “As you wish,” said the dowager. Then two things happened simultaneously: Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones let out a snort that Ian realized was a laugh, and Elizabeth swept Ian’s drink from beneath his fingertips. “There’s-a speck of lint in it,” she explained nervously, handing the drink to Bentner with a severe shake of her head. Ian reached for the sandwich on his plate. Elizabeth watched the satisfied look on Bentner’s face and snatched that away, too. “A-a small insect seems to have gotten on it,” she explained to Ian. “I don’t see anything,” Ian remarked, his puzzled glance on his betrothed. Having been deprived of tea and sustenance, he reached for the glass of wine the butler had set before him, then realized how much stress Elizabeth had been under and offered it to her instead. “Thank you,” she said with a sigh, looking a little harassed. Bentner’s arm swopped down, scooping the wineglass out of her hand. “Another insect,” he said. “Bentner!” Elizabeth cried in exasperation, but her voice was drowned out by a peal of laughter from Alexandra Townsende, who slumped down on the settee, her shoulders shaking with unexplainable mirth. Ian drew the only possible conclusion: They were all suffering from the strain of too much stress.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
He was miffed because he hadn’t been the center of all my attention the night before. Pathetic. It would be enough to make me laugh, except he was also accusing me of dereliction of duty. I couldn’t let my own Source believe I wouldn’t do my duty. It would be difficult for him to do his job if he thought I wouldn’t be doing mine. Plus it was irritating. I drained the last of my coffee. Karish looked horrified. “Zaire, woman, how can you gulp it down like that when it’s still hot?” Because I was a Shield. I gestured at the waiter. “You’re left-handed,” I said as my mug was filled. “But you use your right when you eat. You drank three mugs of ale and ate two bowls of the stew. You enjoyed it very much, even though you don’t like turnip.” “Actually,” he interrupted me curtly, “I’m allergic to turnip.” I almost smiled. Was he trying to shake my confidence? Amateur. “If you were allergic to turnip you wouldn’t have touched the stew at all.” Wouldn’t want hives defiling that perfect skin. “You eat your bread like a woman—” “What the hell does that mean?” “You tear it off in chunks instead of biting into the whole slice. And you slather all sides with butter. That’s disgusting, by the way.” Butter was not icing and shouldn’t be treated as such. “You sat straight in your chair, as you are now, without touching the back, despite certain fatigue. I would guess you spent some of your formative years with a wooden rod up your spine.” He leaned back in his chair, then, crossing his arms. “But for much of the evening you had your right foot wrapped around one leg of your chair. Your mother wouldn’t approve.” Another slow sip of glorious coffee. He looked at me, frowning. And then the frown turned into a smile that I didn’t trust at all. “You’re staring,” I pointed out tartly.
Moira J. Moore (Resenting the Hero (Hero, #1))
But without Emily, Greg would feel—paradoxically for such a social creature—alone. Before they met, most of Greg’s girlfriends were extroverts. He says he enjoyed those relationships, but never got to know his girlfriends well, because they were always “plotting how to be with groups of people.” He speaks of Emily with a kind of awe, as if she has access to a deeper state of being. He also describes her as “the anchor” around which his world revolves. Emily, for her part, treasures Greg’s ebullient nature; he makes her feel happy and alive. She has always been attracted to extroverts, who she says “do all the work of making conversation. For them, it’s not work at all.” The trouble is that for most of the five years they’ve been together, Greg and Emily have been having one version or another of the same fight. Greg, a music promoter with a large circle of friends, wants to host dinner parties every Friday—casual, animated get-togethers with heaping bowls of pasta and flowing bottles of wine. He’s been giving Friday-night dinners since he was a senior in college, and they’ve become a highlight of his week and a treasured piece of his identity. Emily has come to dread these weekly events. A hardworking staff attorney for an art museum and a very private person, the last thing she wants to do when she gets home from work is entertain. Her idea of a perfect start to the weekend is a quiet evening at the movies, just her and Greg. It seems an irreconcilable difference: Greg wants fifty-two dinner parties a year, Emily wants zero. Greg says that Emily should make more of an effort. He accuses her of being antisocial. “I am social,” she says. “I love you, I love my family, I love my close friends. I just don’t love dinner parties. People don’t really relate at those parties—they just socialize. You’re lucky because I devote all my energy to you. You spread yours around to everyone.” But Emily soon backs off, partly because she hates fighting, but also because she doubts herself. Maybe I am antisocial, she
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Morning sweetheart," he said quietly, thinking it was Sarah who'd kissed him awake. "What time is it? I guess I better get up huh? We've got a long drive ahead of us today." "From what I hear, you were up quite a bit last night," Tina said, smiling at him sweetly. He opened his eyes then and sat up quickly. "Oh...hi, uh...good morning. Jeez I'm sorry, I thought you were Sarah," he said quickly. "Wait...you were kissing me again? God Tina, we can't keep doing that. If Sarah finds out...," he said, but he didn't get to finish. "Sarah already knows," Sarah said, leaning against the door jam with her coffee in her hand, as well as a second cup that she'd brought for him. Jarrod actually fell out of bed he was so shocked by her sudden appearance. It was heartbreaking how incredibly guilty he looked. "Oh god, sweetie I was asleep, I swear. I didn't do it on purpose," he said quickly. "Didn't you? You mean you don't enjoy kissing her?" Sarah asked, really enjoying this little game. "Well, yeah...I mean...oh jeez." "You're not sure? Maybe you should kiss her again, and then you can decide," Sarah said. Tina just smiled and then pooched her lips out at him. "Come on you guys, I just woke up. Please don't mess with me, it's too early for that." "Tell me something," Sarah said. "Who did you have sex with last night?" Jarrod just stood there looking confused. "Uh...you. You were here for it right?" he said finally. "Yeah, I was, but it was really Tina you were doing all night, wasn't it? She looked damn good in that outfit, didn't she?" That did it. Now his face turned beet red and he just stood there, naked and looking incredibly guilty. "It's ok sweetie, I don't mind...really. Now here, drink your coffee and get ready. We have a big day ahead of us," she said as she handed him his coffee and gave him a kiss. "Wait...what? God I'm so confused," he said. "I would be too if I was standing in front of two girls naked with a cup of coffee in my hand. Careful you don't spill it. You might burn something you'll be needing later," Sarah laughed as both her and Tina walked out the door and headed back to the kitchen. Jarrod just stood there in a state of total confusion, wondering what the hell just happened.
Duane L. Martin (Exploration (Unseen Things, #3))
We need to leave as soon as possible." "Okay," Luce said. "I have to go home, then, pack, get my passport..." Her mind whirled in a hundred directions as she started making a mental to-do list. Her parents would be at the mall for at least another couple of hours, enough time for her to dash in and get her things together... "Oh, cute." Annabelle laughed, flitting over to them, her feet inches off the ground. Her wings were muscular and dark silver like a thundercloud, protruding through the invisible slits in her hot-pink T-shirt. "Sorry to butt in but...you've never traveled with an angel before, have you?" Sure she had. The feeling of Daniel's wings soaring her body through the air was as natural as anything. Maybe her flights had been brief, but they'd been unforgettable. They were when Luce felt closest to him: his arms threaded around her waist, his heart beating close to hers, his white wings protecting them, making Luce feel unconditionally and impossibly loved. She had flown with Daniel dozens of times in dreams, but only three times in her waking hours: once over the hidden lake behind Sword & Cross, another time along the coast at Shoreline, and down from the clouds to the cabin just the previous night. "I guess we've never flown that far together," she said at last. "Just getting to first base seems to be a problem for you two," Cam couldn't resist saying. Daniel ignored him. "Under normal circumstances, I think you'd enjoy the trip." His expression turned stormy. "But we don't have room for normal for the next nine days." Luce felt his hands on the backs of her shoulders, gathering her hair and lifting it off her neck. He kissed her along the neckline of her sweater as he wrapped his arms around her waist. Luce closed her eyes. She knew what was coming next. The most beautiful sound there was-that elegant whoosh of the love of her life letting out his driven-snow-white wings. The world on the other side of Luce's eyelids darkened slightly under the shadow of his wings, and warmth welled in her heart. When she opened her eyes, there they were, as magnificent as ever. She leaned back a little, cozying into the wall of Daniel's chest as he pivoted toward the window. "This is only a temporary separation," Daniel announced to the others. "Good luck and wingspeed.
Lauren Kate (Rapture (Fallen, #4))
He called the next morning at seven. I was sound asleep, still dreaming about the kiss that had rocked my existence the night before. Marlboro Man, on the other hand, had been up since five and, he would explain, had waited two hours before calling me, since he reckoned I probably wasn’t the get-up-early type. And I wasn’t. I’d never seen any practical reason for any normal person to get out of bed before 8:00 A.M., and besides that, the kiss had been pretty darn earth shattering. I needed to sleep that thing off. “Good morning,” he said. I gasped. That voice. There it was again. “Oh, hi!” I replied, shooting out of bed and trying to act like I’d been up for hours doing step aerobics and trimming my mom’s azalea bushes. And hiking. “You asleep?” he asked. “Nope, nope, not at all!” I replied. “Not one bit.” My voice was thick and scratchy. “You were asleep, weren’t you?” I guess he knew a late sleeper than he heard one. “No, I wasn’t--I get up really early,” I said. “I’m a real morning person.” I concealed a deep, total-body yawn. “That’s strange--your voice sounds like you were still asleep,” Marlboro Man persisted. He wasn’t letting me off the hook. “Oh…well…it’s just that I haven’t talked to anyone yet today, plus I’ve kind of been fighting a little sinus trouble,” I said. That was attractive. “But I’ve been up for quite a while.” “Yeah? What have you been doing?” he asked. He was enjoying this. “Oh, you know. Stuff.” Stuff. Good one, Ree. “Really? Like, what kind of stuff?” he asked. I heard him chuckle softly, the same way he’d chuckled when he’d caught me the night before. That chuckle could quiet stormy waters. Bring about world peace. “Oh, just stuff. Early morning stuff. Stuff I do when I get up really early in the morning…” I tried again to sound convincing. “Well,” he said, “I don’t want to keep you from your ‘early morning stuff.’ I just wanted to tell you…I wanted to tell you I had a really good time last night.” “You did?” I replied, picking sleepy sand from the corner of my right eye. “I did,” he said. I smiled, closing my eyes. What was happening to me? This cowboy--this sexy cowboy who’d suddenly galloped into my life, who’d instantly plunged me into some kind of vintage romance novel--had called me within hours of kissing me on my doorstep, just to tell me he’d had a good time. “Me, too,” was all I could say. Boy, was I on a roll. You know, stuff, and Me, too, all in the same conversation. This guy was sure to be floored by my eloquence. I was so smitten, I couldn’t even formulate coherent words. I was in trouble.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
So, my true first time with a boy was like this… You can look but you cannot touch Ha- that is what I thought, I was so wrong too and it was not with him either regrettably. It was okay my heart was beating so rapidly; I thought that it was going to explode out of my chest. The silky-smooth skin ran along my body; it was like an enchanted expression of togetherness. At last, I felt as if I was loved. But I was not with the one that I loved. His brown eyes glazed- sweetly and softly into mine. I was so looking forward to this kiss and moment all my life. However, he walked with me in his arms to his bed. Then I was on his bed stripped of all forms of dignity. The lights were off, and the door was locked, and that took me back to when I was a little girl. Loving at night just holds onto me tight. The room is lit by the moonlight. When you are looking down at me is what you are seeing all right? This is maybe my special night. I cannot believe I am with a football player! I was not prepared at all for the performance of lovemaking. I had no idea what I was doing. I was thinking to myself this is not like the movies at all! Yes, all the touching was extremely steamy, like before and then again, the playing around that he did on me was more intriguing, to say the least. I was thinking that he was the sweetest guy on earth. However, all the thoughts in my mind ran fast… thoughts like should we be doing this? Yet, I am so shy and nervous my knees were knocked beforehand. Then again, this is going to be so beautiful; I had fantasized about this moment since I was a young girl. ‘Yet, I have to say to all you girls out there, to lose it when you are ready to. Please do it for you and no one else. It is about your timing, and what you choose to do, you can choose when and whom you let in!’ So, starting I felt like my tearing and breaking-in took forever, and that his pushing forward was never going to stop, love is painful in more than one way, it was so intense. Yet, it was so perfect and feels so amazing with him now sliding in and out of me. It hurt at the start, but it got more enjoyable, that is for sure. Yet also, it was like being run over by a speeding train, and I could not help but feel that he was not meant to be my first. Me being so naïve and only sixteen years of age I was so embarrassed by the fact that I was so under-experienced in sensual activities. I wanted to make the best of the moments of intimacy. I was happy to say that I got my first French kiss as well, but his soft little kiss was sweeter, the first time we kissed as I remember at that time.
Marcel Ray Duriez
But then the cowboy standing in front of you smiles gently and says, “You sure?” Those two simple words opened up the Floodgates of Hell. I smiled and laughed, embarrassed, even as two big, thick tears rolled down both my cheeks. Then I laughed again and blew a nice, clear explosion of snot from my nose. Of all the things that had happened that day, that single moment might have been the worst. “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m doing this,” I insisted as another pair of tears spilled out. I scrambled around the kitchen counter and found a paper towel, using it to dab the salty wetness on my face and the copious slime under my nose. “I am so, so sorry.” I inhaled deeply, my chest beginning to contract and convulse. This was an ugly cry. I was absolutely horrified. “Hey…what’s wrong?” Marlboro Man asked. Bless his heart, he had to have been as uncomfortable as I was. He’d grown up on a cattle ranch, after all, with two brothers, no sisters, and a mother who was likely as lacking in histrionics as I wished I was at that moment. He led a quiet life out here on the ranch, isolated from the drama of city life. Judging from what he’d told me so far, he hadn’t invited many women over to his house for dinner. And now he had one blubbering uncontrollably in his kitchen. I’d better hurry up and enjoy this evening, I told myself. He won’t be inviting me to any more dinners after this. I blew my nose on the paper towel. I wanted to go hide in the bathroom. Then he took my arm, in a much softer grip than the one he’d used on our first date when he’d kept me from biting the dust. “No, c’mon,” he said, pulling me closer to him and securing his arms around my waist. I died a thousand deaths as he whispered softly, “What’s wrong?” What could I possibly say? Oh, nothing, it’s just that I’ve been slowly breaking up with my boyfriend from California and I uninvited him to my brother’s wedding last week and I thought everything was fine and then he called last night after I got home from cooking you that Linguine and Clam Sauce you loved so much and he said he was flying here today and I told him not to because there really wasn’t anything else we could possibly talk about and I thought he understood and while I was driving out here just now he called me and it just so happens he’s at the airport right now but I decided not to go because I didn’t want to have a big emotional drama (you mean like the one you’re playing out in Marlboro Man’s kitchen right now?) and I’m finding myself vacillating between sadness over the end of our four-year relationship, regret over not going to see him in person, and confusion over how to feel about my upcoming move to Chicago. And where that will leave you and me, you big hunk of burning love.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
Because I like you,” she blurted out, and realized that for once it was true. It was a rather unsettling revelation. “You’re . . . , well, you.” Not just a body on a balcony, not just a pair of lips to blot out boredom, but Alex, Alex who argued with her and watched out for her and woke absurdly early in the mornings to ride with her every day, whether he had the time to do so or not. Perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Alex didn’t seem to think so, either. His dark eyes were intent on her face, watching her in that way of his, as though he were learning her from the inside out, peering into every little dark nook and cranny of her soul. There were plenty of those to choose from. Dark nooks were one of Penelope’s specialties. He might have wanted her last night, in the still of the bungalow, with the lingering scent of moonflowers on the breeze, but not in daylight, when he saw her again for what she was, brash, impetuous, with her face gone unfashionably tan and curry stains on her habit. He was undoubtedly mustering the words with which to turn her down politely. Penelope suddenly, very desperately, didn’t want to hear them. She jumped to her feet, leaning over to gather up the empty tins. “Or we can just ride on,” she said brusquely, not looking at him. A lean brown hand closed around her wrist. Penelope regarded it blankly, as though not quite sure what it was doing there, alien against the white lace frill of her sleeve. Slowly, her breath catching somewhere in the vicinity of her corset, she lifted her eyes to Alex’s face. What she saw banished any doubts she might have had. In his eyes blazed a reflection of the desire she felt in her own. Nothing more needed to be said. Without a word, he drew her down beside him on the blanket, the blanket that had seemed so prosaic only moments before, but now presented the prospect of a host of exotic and illicit possibilities. Penelope plunked down hard on her knees, catching at his shoulders for balance as she tilted her head down to kiss him, enjoying the unusual advantage of height. “Are you sure?” he murmured, his teeth tugging at her earlobe, even as his hands moved intimately up and down her torso. In answer, Penelope pushed hard at his shoulders, sending him toppling back onto the blanket, narrowly missing sheer disaster with a fork. She followed him down, bracing herself on her elbows and scattering kisses across his upturned face as he busied himself with the buttons on her riding jacket. The fabric parted, and his hands slid beneath, burning through the linen of her blouse, drawing her down on top of him with drugging kisses that made the noon sky dim to dusk and the rustling of the tree leaves blur in her ears. Penelope wriggled her hands beneath his shirt, feeling the hard edges of muscle beneath, delighting in the way they contracted with each labored breath, with a flick of her tongue against the hollow of his throat and an exploratory expedition taken by her lips along his collarbone.
Lauren Willig (The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (Pink Carnation, #6))
I woke up as the first light began to bring an orange glow to the tops of the whispering pines (and sky) above me at 5:43 but lay still to avoid waking Hope for another half-hour. She had suffered through a tough and mostly sleepless night, and I wanted to give her every second I could as the next week promised to be very stressful for her (and me), and that was if everything went according to plan. At a few minutes after six, she either sensed the growing light or my wakefulness and shifted to give me a wet kiss. We both moved down towards the slit in the bottom of my Hennessy hammock and dropped out and down onto the pine needles to explore the morning. Both of us went a ways into the woods to take care of early morning elimination, and we met back by the hammock to discuss breakfast. I shook out some Tyler kibble (a modified GORP recipe) for me and an equal amount of Hope’s kibble for her. As soon as we had scarfed down the basic snack, we picked our way down the sloping shore to the water’s edge, jumped down into the warm water (relative to the cool morning air at any rate) for a swim as the sun came up, lighting the tips of the tallest pines on the opposite shore. Hope and I were bandit camping (a term that I had learned soon after arriving in this part of the world, and enjoyed the feel of), avoiding the established campsites that ringed Follensby Clear Pond. We found our home for the last seventeen days (riding the cooling August nights from the full moon on the ninth to what would be a new moon tonight) near a sandy swimming spot. From there, we worked our way up (and inland) fifty feet back from the water to a flat spot where some long-ago hunter had built/burned a fire pit. We used the pit to cook some of our meals (despite the illegality of the closeness to the water and the fire pit cooking outside an approved campsite … they call it ‘bandit camping’ for a reason). My canoe was far enough up the shore and into the brush to be invisible even if you knew to look for it, and nobody did/would/had. After we had rung a full measure of enjoyment out of our quiet morning swim, I grabbed the stringer I had anchored to the sandy bottom the previous afternoon after fishing, pulled the two lake trout off, killed them as quickly/painlessly/neatly as I could manage, handed one to Hope, and navigated back up the hill to our campsite. I started one of the burners on my Coleman stove (not wanting to signal our position too much, as the ranger for this area liked morning paddles, and although we had something of an understanding, I didn’t want to put him in an uncomfortable position … we had, after all, been camping far too long in a spot too close to the water). Once I had gutted/buttered/spiced the fish, I put my foil-wrapped trout over the flame (flipping and moving it every minute or so, according to the sound/smell of the cooking fish); Hope ate hers raw, as is her preference. It was a perfect morning … just me and my dog, seemingly alone in the world, doing exactly what we wanted to be doing.
Jamie Sheffield (Between the Carries)
Outside the room they found his family standing in the Great Hall, discussing something in heated whispers as Freddy nervously paced the other end. Oliver cleared his throat, and they all jumped. “My fiancée has made it clear that she doesn’t appreciate my attempt at a joke.” “Oliver enjoys shocking people,” Maria said calmly. When he looked at her, surprised that she had noticed, she arched one eyebrow at him. “I’m sure you know that about him by now. I find it a great flaw in his character.” She seemed to consider many things as flaws in his character. Not that he could blame her. Gran glanced from Maria to him. “So the two of you didn’t meet in a brothel?” “We did,” he said, “but only because poor Freddy got lost and wandered into one by mistake. I was trying to determine what he was looking for when Maria rushed in, mad with worry over where he might have gone off to. With two such Americans lost in the wicked city, hopelessly innocent of its dangers, I felt compelled to help them. I’ve been squiring them about town the last week. Isn’t that right, sweetheart?” She cast him a sugary and thoroughly false smile. “Oh, yes, dearest. And you were a very informative guide, too.” Jarret arched one eyebrow. “Astonishing that after finding you in a brothel, Oliver, Miss Butterfield wasn’t put off of marrying you.” “I ought to have been,” Maria said. “But he swore those days were behind him when he pledged his undying love to me on bended knee.” When Gabriel and Jarret barely managed to stifle their laughter, Oliver gritted his teeth. Bended knee, indeed. She was determined to prick his pride at every opportunity. She probably felt he deserved it. He could only pray that Gran backed down from the right before he had to bring the chit around any of his friends, or Maria would have them taunting him unmercifully for the next decade. “I’m afraid, my dear,” he said tersely, “that my brothers have trouble envisioning me bending a knee to anyone.” She affected a look of wide-eyed shock. “Have they no idea what a romantic you are? I’ll have to show them the sonnets you wrote praising my beauty. I believe I left them in my redingote pocket.” The teasing wench actually looked back toward the entrance. “I could go fetch them if you like.” “Not now,” he said, torn between a powerful urge to laugh and an equally powerful urge to strangle her. “It’s time for dinner, and I’m starved.” “So am I,” Freddy put in. At a frown from Maria, he mumbled, “Not that it matters, mind you.” “Of course it matters,” Gran said graciously. “We don’t like our guests to be uncomfortable. Come along then, Mr. Dunse. You may take me in to dinner, since my grandson is otherwise occupied.” As they trooped toward the dining room, Oliver bent his head to whisper, “I see you’re enjoying making me out to be a besotted idiot.” A minxish smile tipped up her fetching lips. “Oh, yes. It’s great fun.” “Then my explanation of how you ended up in a brothel met with your approval?” “It’ll do for now.” She cast him a glance from beneath her long lashes. “You’re by no means out of the woods yet, sir.” But I will be by the time the night is over. No matter what it took, he would get her to stay and do this, so help him God.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
I have an-odd ability-to read very quickly.” “Oh,” Elizabeth replied, “how lucky you are. I never heard of a talent like that.” A lazy glamorous smile swept across his face, and he squeezed her hand. “It’s not nearly as uncommon as your eyes,” he said. Elizabeth thought it must be a great deal more uncommon, but she wasn’t completely certain and she let it pass. The following day, that discovery was completely eclipsed by another one. At Ian’s insistence, she’d spread the books from Havenhurst across his desk in order to go over the quarter’s accounts, and as the morning wore on, the long columns of figures she’d been adding and multiplying began to blur together and transpose themselves in her mind-due in part, she thought with a weary smile, to the fact that her husband had kept her awake half the night making love to her. For the third time, she added the same long columns of expenditures, and for the third time, she came up with a different sum. So frustrated was she that she didn’t realize Ian had come into the room, until he leaned over her from behind and put his hands on the desk on either side of her own. “Problems?” he asked, kissing the top of her head. “Yes,” she said, glancing at the clock and realizing that the business acquaintances he was expecting would be there momentarily. As she explained her problem to him, she started shoving loose papers into the books, hurriedly trying to reassemble everything and clear his desk. “For the last forty-five minutes, I’ve been adding the same four columns, so that I could divide them by eighteen servants, multiply that by forty servants which we now have there, times four quarters. Once I know that, I can forecast the real cost of food and supplies with the increased staff. I’ve gotten three different answers to those miserable columns, and I haven’t even tried the rest of the calculations. Tomorrow I’ll have to start all over again,” she finished irritably, “and it takes forever just to get all this laid out and organized.” She reached out to close the book and shove her calculations into it, but Ian stopped her. “Which columns are they?” he asked calmly, his surprised gaze studying the genuine ire on her face. “Those long ones down the left-hand side. It doesn’t matter, I’ll fight it out tomorrow,” she said. She shoved the chair back, dropped two sheets of paper, and bent over to pick them up. They’d slid beneath the kneehole of the desk, and in growing disgust Elizabeth crawled underneath to get them. Above her, Ian said, “$364.” “Pardon?” she asked when she reemerged, clutching the errant sheets of paper. He was writing it down on a scrap of paper. “$364.” “Do not make light of my wanting to know the figures,” she warned him with an exasperated smile. “Besides,” she continued, leaning up and pressing an apologetic kiss on his cheek, loving the tangy scent of his cologne, “I usually enjoy the bookwork. I’m simply a little short of sleep today, because,” she whispered, “my husband kept me awake half the night.” “Elizabeth,” he began hesitantly, “there’s something I-“ Then he shook his head and changed his mind, and since Shipley was already standing in the doorway to announce the arrival of his business acquaintances, Elizabeth thought no more of it. Until the next morning.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
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))
He removed his hand from his worn, pleasantly snug jeans…and it held something small. Holy Lord, I said to myself. What in the name of kingdom come is going on here? His face wore a sweet, sweet smile. I stood there completely frozen. “Um…what?” I asked. I could formulate no words but these. He didn’t respond immediately. Instead he took my left hand in his, opened up my fingers, and placed a diamond ring onto my palm, which was, by now, beginning to sweat. “I said,” he closed my hand tightly around the ring. “I want you to marry me.” He paused for a moment. “If you need time to think about it, I’ll understand.” His hands were still wrapped around my knuckles. He touched his forehead to mine, and the ligaments of my knees turned to spaghetti. Marry you? My mind raced a mile a minute. Ten miles a second. I had three million thoughts all at once, and my heart thumped wildly in my chest. Marry you? But then I’d have to cut my hair short. Married women have short hair, and they get it fixed at the beauty shop. Marry you? But then I’d have to make casseroles. Marry you? But then I’d have to wear yellow rubber gloves to do the dishes. Marry you? As in, move out to the country and actually live with you? In your house? In the country? But I…I…I don’t live in the country. I don’t know how. I can’t ride a horse. I’m scared of spiders. I forced myself to speak again. “Um…what?” I repeated, a touch of frantic urgency to my voice. “You heard me,” Marlboro Man said, still smiling. He knew this would catch me by surprise. Just then my brother Mike laid on the horn again. He leaned out of the window and yelled at the top of his lungs, “C’mon! I am gonna b-b-be late for lunch!” Mike didn’t like being late. Marlboro Man laughed. “Be right there, Mike!” I would have laughed, too, at the hilarious scene playing out before my eyes. A ring. A proposal. My developmentally disabled and highly impatient brother Mike, waiting for Marlboro Man to drive him to the mall. The horn of the diesel pickup. Normally, I would have laughed. But this time I was way, way too stunned. “I’d better go,” Marlboro Man said, leaning forward and kissing my cheek. I still grasped the diamond ring in my warm, sweaty hand. “I don’t want Mike to burst a blood vessel.” He laughed out loud, clearly enjoying it all. I tried to speak but couldn’t. I’d been rendered totally mute. Nothing could have prepared me for those ten minutes of my life. The last thing I remember, I’d awakened at eleven. Moments later, I was hiding in my bathroom, trying, in all my early-morning ugliness, to avoid being seen by Marlboro Man, who’d dropped by unexpectedly. Now I was standing on the front porch, a diamond ring in my hand. It was all completely surreal. Marlboro Man turned to leave. “You can give me your answer later,” he said, grinning, his Wranglers waving good-bye to me in the bright noonday sun. But then it all came flashing across my line of sight. The boots in the bar, the icy blue-green eyes, the starched shirt, the Wranglers…the first date, the long talks, my breakdown in his kitchen, the movies, the nights on his porch, the kisses, the long drives, the hugs…the all-encompassing, mind-numbing passion I felt. It played frame by frame in my mind in a steady stream. “Hey,” I said, walking toward him and effortlessly sliding the ring on my finger. I wrapped my arms around his neck as his arms, instinctively, wrapped around my waist and raised me off the ground in our all-too-familiar pose. “Yep,” I said effortlessly. He smiled and hugged me tightly. Mike, once again, laid on the horn, oblivious to what had just happened. Marlboro Man said nothing more. He simply kissed me, smiled, then drove my brother to the mall.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
You’re all I want, Jane.” As he stroked her, he used his other hand to brush hers away so he could unfasten his own trouser buttons. “The only woman I ever cared about.” “You’re the only man Iever cared about.” She undulated against his fingers, begging for him with her body. “Why do you think…I waited for you so long?” “Not long enough, apparently,” he muttered, “or you wouldn’t have gotten yourself engaged to Blakeborough.” He tugged at her nipple with his teeth, then relished her cry of pleasure. “I only…did it because I was…tired of waiting.” She arched against his mouth. “Because you clearly weren’t…coming back for me.” “I was sure you hated me.” At last he got his trousers open. “You acted like you hated me still.” “I did.” Her breath was unsteady. “But only because…you tore us apart.” He shifted her to sit astride him. “And now?” Flashing him a provocative smile he would never have dreamed she had in her repertoire, she unbuttoned his drawers. “Do I look like I hate you?” His cock, so hard he thought it might erupt right there and embarrass him, sprang free. “You look like…like…” He paused to take in her lovely face with its flushed cheeks, sparkling eyes, and lush lips. Then he swept his gaze down to her breasts with their brazen tips, displayed so enticingly above the boned corset and her undone shift. He then dropped his eyes to the smooth thighs emerging from beneath her bunched-up skirts. Shoving the fabric higher, he exposed her dewy thatch of curls, and a shudder of anticipation shook him. “You look like an angel.” She uttered a breathy laugh. “A wanton, more like.” Taking his cock in her hand, she stroked it so wonderfully that he groaned. “Would an angel do this?” His cock was a rod of iron. “Jane…” He covered her hand to stay it, but she ignored his attempt. “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.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
Speaking of shooting, my lady,” Mr. Pinter said as he came around the table, “I looked over your pistol as you requested. Everything seems to be in order.” Removing it from his coat pocket, he handed it to her, a hint of humor in his gaze. As several pair of male eyes fixed on her, she colored. To hide her embarrassment, she made a great show of examining her gun. He’d cleaned it thoroughly, which she grudgingly admitted was rather nice of him. “What a cunning little weapon,” the viscount said and reached for it. “May I?” She handed him the pistol. “How tiny it is,” he exclaimed. “It’s a lady’s pocket pistol,” she told him as he examined it. Oliver frowned at her. “When did you acquire a pocket pistol, Celia?” “A little while ago,” she said blithely. Gabe grinned. “You may not know this, Basto, but my sister is something of a sharpshooter. I daresay she has a bigger collection of guns than Oliver.” “Not bigger,” she said. “Finer perhaps, but I’m choosy about my firearms.” “She has beaten us all at some time or another at target shooting,” the duke said dryly. “The lady could probably hit a fly at fifty paces.” “Don’t be silly,” she said with a grin. “A beetle perhaps, but not a fly.” The minute the words were out of her mouth, she could have kicked herself. Females did not boast of their shooting-not if they wanted to snag husbands. “You should come shooting with us,” Oliver said. “Why not?” The last thing she needed was to beat her suitors at shooting. The viscount in particular would take it very ill. She suspected that Portuguese men preferred their women to be wilting flowers. “No thank you,” she said. “Target shooting is one thing, but I don’t like hunting birds.” “Suit yourself,” Gabe said, clearly happy to make it a gentlemen-only outing, though he knew perfectly well that hunting birds didn’t bother her. “Come now, Lady Celia,” Lord Devonmont said. “You were eating partridges at supper last night. How can you quibble about shooting birds?” “If she doesn’t want to go, let her stay,” Gabe put in. “It’s not shooting birds she has an objection to,” Mr. Pinter said in a taunting voice. “Her ladyship just can’t hit a moving target.” She bit back a hot retort. Don’t scare off the suitors. “That’s ridiculous, Pinter,” Gabe said. “I’ve seen Celia-ow! What the devil, Oliver? You stepped on my foot!” “Sorry, old chap, you were in the way,” Oliver said as he went to the table. “I think Pinter’s right, though. Celia can’t hit a moving target.” “Oh, for heaven’s sake,” she protested, “I most certainly can hit a moving target! Just because I choose not to for the sake of the poor, helpless birds-“ “Convenient, isn’t it, her sudden dislike of shooting ‘poor, helpless birds’?” Mr. Pinter said with a smug glance at Lord Devonmont. “Convenient, indeed,” Lord Devonmont agreed. “But not surprising. Women don’t have the same ability to follow a bird in flight that a man-“ “That’s nonsense, and you know it!” Celia jumped to her feet. “I can shoot a pigeon or a grouse on the wing as well as any man here.” “Sounds like a challenge to me,” Oliver said. “What do you think, Pinter?” “A definite challenge, sir.” Mr. Pinter was staring at her with what looked like satisfaction. Blast it all, had that been his purpose-to goad her into it? Oh, what did it matter? She couldn’t let a claim like this or Lord Devonmont’s stand. “Fine. I’ll join you gentlemen for the shooting.” “Then I propose that whoever bags the most birds gets to kiss the lady,” Lord Devonmont said with a gleam in his eye. “That’s not much of a prize for me,” Gabe grumbled. She planted her hands on her hips. “And what if I bag the most birds?” “Then you get to shoot whomever you wish,” Mr. Pinter drawled. As the others laughed, Celia glared at him. He was certainly enjoying himself, the wretch. “I’d be careful if I were you, Mr. Pinter. That person would most likely be you.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
This water is greatly valued,” Kassandra said. “Event today, we bring ewers of it to the temples for blessings.” She looked at him again, a bit anxiously, he thought, but as before the impression was swiftly gone. Bending, she cupped her palm, caught sparkling drops of water and drank. The liquid slipped down her throat, cool, clear and incredibly pure. She drank a little more and felt the tension easing from her body, little by little, almost imperceptibly at first, but gathering in strength with each passing moment. “Why don’t you try it?” she suggested and stood aside so that he could do so. As Royce bent to catch the water in his hand, Kassandra almost reached out to stop him but drew back at the last moment. He was a strong man, it would still be his voice. The water was merely…encouragement. From time immemorial, Akoran husbands and wives had enjoyed a goblet of the water taken from the buried temple on their wedding night. Years later, old couples basking in the sun would remember it fondly and share secret looks of tender passion. Of course, it was also possible that the water did nothing and all was mere legend. She wanted to believe that, for it eased her conscience, but the heat seeping through her made her uncertain. She stared at Royce as he drank, watching the ripple of the water ease down his throat. He was such a beautiful man, so perfectly formed in body and mind. The memory of him on the field at the Games, on horseback wearing only a kilt, his powerful muscles flexing as he threw the javelin, haunted her dreams. Ever since then, she had been living in a nightmare. Atreus…the danger to Akora…her own death the price to save both family and home…all seemed to close around her until she could scarcely breathe. Until the moment when she emerged from her desperate, futile quest for vision to see in Royce’s beloved face the future for which she yearned with all her heart. A future that in all likelihood was impossible. That being the case, was it so terribly wrong to steal a little happiness in the fleeting present?
Josie Litton (Kingdom Of Moonlight (Akora, #2))
She did not think herself a genius by any means, but when the writing fit came on, she gave herself up to it with entire abandon, and led a blissful life, unconscious of want, care, or bad weather, while she sat safe and happy in an imaginary world, full of friends almost as real and dear to her as any in the flesh. Sleep forsook her eyes, meals stood untasted, day and night were all too short to enjoy the happiness which blessed her only at such times, and made these hours worth living, even if they bore no other fruit. The divine afflatus usually lasted a week or two, and then she emerged from her
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women (Illustrated))
age of computers and programming, and he couldn’t understand either. Sure, he could send emails, had even mastered Word and Excel, but apart from that, the complexities of the machine left him baffled. There was unemployment, but he had never taken the dole, or he could go overseas, try his luck on an oil rig. Even if that were possible, he didn’t want to go, but these were desperate times, and now, to add confusion, there was a solution. Betty Galton, his former sister-in-law, had in her possession a million pounds in gold. He opened his laptop and switched it on. How does one melt gold? How does one dispose of it? he thought. He entered the search terms, fingering one key at a time, and pressed enter. If a criminal act was committed during the planning stage, then he was guilty as charged. And for once, he did not care. He hummed a tune to himself. It had been some time since he had been contented. For that night, he would forget what would be required and envisage what his life could be like with money in his pocket. Maybe a small place in the country, a dog, possibly a woman. How long had it been since he had enjoyed the closeness of another’s skin? He picked up his phone and made a call. It was a special treat for himself and for once the budget was going to be blown. He knew she’d look after him, the way she looked after so many others. Chapter 11 Clare woke early the next day; her phone was ringing. She leant over and picked it up. ‘Yarwood, I’m at the hospital,’ Tremayne said. She could tell by his voice that something was amiss. ‘I’ll be there in fifteen.’ ‘Thanks, and don’t tell anyone.’ A quick shower, some food for her cat, and Clare was out of her cottage. A murder enquiry was serious; her boss being ill, more so. Parking at the hospital, she soon found her way to outpatients, meeting someone she knew. ‘It’s Tremayne, he’s not well,’ Clare said. ‘And please, not a word to anyone.’ The woman, a friend, understood. Inside, behind some screens, Tremayne was lying flat on his back. His shoes had been removed, and his tie had been loosened. ‘How long have you been here?’ Clare said. She knew Tremayne would not appreciate lashings of sympathy, although he looked dreadful. ‘Since last night. I’d had a few drinks, a few cigarettes, and all of a sudden I’m in the back of an ambulance.’ ‘Does Jean know?’ ‘Not yet. Maybe you can phone her. She went to see her son for a few days, left me on my own.’ ‘Off the leash and into trouble, that’s you, guv.’ ‘Not today, Yarwood. Maybe Moulton’s right about me retiring.’ ‘Having you feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to help, is it?’ The nurse, standing on the other side of the bed, looked over at Clare disapprovingly. ‘It’s how we work,’ Clare said. ‘That may be the case, but Mr Tremayne has had a bit of a scare. He needs to be here for a few days while we conduct a few checks.’ ‘What’s the problem?’ ‘It’s not for me to say. That’s for the doctor.’ ‘He told me to cut down on the beer, quit smoking, and take it easy.’ ‘Retire, is that it?’ Clare said. ‘They don’t get it, do they?’ Tremayne looked over at the nurse who was monitoring his condition. ‘Sorry. We’ve got a murder to deal with, nothing personal.’ ‘Don’t worry about me. We get our fair share of people, men mainly, who think they’re invincible. You’re not the first, not the last, who thinks they know more
Phillip Strang (Death by a Dead Man's Hand (DI Tremayne Thriller Series #5))
Guests came and went as they pleased, filling their gold-banded plates with hot breads, poached eggs on toast, smoked quail, fruit salad, and slices of charlotte russe made with sponge cake and Bavarian cream. Footmen crossed through the entrance hall as they headed outside with trays of coffee, tea, and iced champagne. Ordinarily this was the kind of event Cassandra would have enjoyed to no end. She loved a nice breakfast, especially when there was a little something sweet to finish off, and charlotte russe was one of her favorite desserts. However, she was in no mood to make small talk with anyone. Besides, she'd eaten far too many sweets lately... the extra jam tart at teatime yesterday, and all the fruit ices between dinner courses last night, and that entire éclair, stuffed with rich almond cream and roofed with a crisp layer of icing. And one of the little decorative marzipan flowers from a platter of puddings.
Lisa Kleypas (Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6))
Mr. Bode piped, “Just to reiterate the specifics. We want the magical essence of the Quintet to reveal themselves through their spirit keys. So, Helloise, you can do half now and complete it at the height of the Taurunox so it has maximum effect. That should be just shy of ten when the students are enjoying their last dance.” Mrs. Vee nodded, closed her eyes, and proffered her arm with the blue Obiscule in her palm. Mr. Bode spoke again. 'Oh, and before you proceed, Helloise. I apologize for the inconvenience, but when we do identify the Blood Quintet, we will all be on bodyguard duty for the night at their homes just to ensure they're fine throughout the duration of the meteor shower." Mrs. Vee huffed. “Rather annoying. But I guess I see the sense in it. I’ll be using my alternative form, however. Surely, that’s permitted in these…special circumstances.” Mr. Bode glanced at Mr. Bruce, who nodded. "Yes, you may morph,” Bode said. “But I warn… you may be subject to fierce attacks from the enemy. I say that to say that it is not my prerogative to tell you not to use forbidden spells." Each of them nodded in agreement. Mr. Bruce added. “Kat. You’re the most inexperienced here. If there’s anything you will need before the vigil then I’m sure you can approach any of us here. Yes?” "Got it." Ms. Nash nodded, her fingers trembling under the table. “Please proceed, Helloise,” Mr. Bruce ordered. Mrs.Vee inhaled deeply before enunciating a melodious five-lined incantation that could pass for a nursery rhyme. Seconds later, her blue orb emitted five strands of flaccid, spaghettified blue light which fell down over her palm like a quintet of luminescent shoe-laces. Without warning, the light laces stiffened and shot off in different directions. The room glowed momentarily as the light inside the orb flickered like a flame in the wind. Finally, Mrs. Vee uttered a single word, pitching the room once more into semi-darkness. “Done,” she said, sitting. Mr. Bruce gave her a half-hearted clap. “Brilliant.
Asher Sharol (Bonds Of Chrome Magic (Blood Quintet #1))
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: "Anyone can cook." But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.
Anton Ego, from Disney Pixar's 'Ratatouille'
Lie back and enjoy, Clarissima. Last night was a synopsis. Now it's time for the unabridged version.
Mary Jo Putney (Thunder & Roses (Fallen Angels #1))
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto, "Anyone can cook." But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.
Brad Bird
The next morning I would be returned to camp with the others who hadn’t made the grade. I was totally dejected. That night in those woods, warm and dry under my shelter, blisters attended to, dry socks on, and out of the wind and rain, I learnt an enduring lesson: warm and dry doesn’t mean fulfilled and happy. Only a few hours earlier I had been longing to be warm and dry and safe. Yet lying there, knowing that my buddies were starting out on a grueling night march without me, was pure agony. Never has anyone wanted to be cold, wet and tired as much as I did right then. And never have the comforts of shelter and food meant so little to me. You see, being dry and warm in life, but with no purpose, is no consolation for being in the heat of the arena in pursuit of your goals. Don’t get me wrong, warm and dry is great as a reward ‘afterwards’, and we should all regularly enjoy some time chilling, doing ‘nothing’ - but if all you do is ‘nothing’, you will find it a very hollow existence. (So yes, I went back on the next Selection course and went through those 11 months of SAS hell again - and I passed. I was cold, wet and exhausted throughout, so that now, when I relax, I feel that huge sense of pride for having endured.) Once you commit to your goal, don’t get swayed by the temporary lure of creature comforts and easy feelings - instead, keep focused, and remember the pain never lasts for ever, but the pride in having followed your calling will.
Bear Grylls (A Survival Guide for Life: How to Achieve Your Goals, Thrive in Adversity, and Grow in Character)
At times, both John and Julie, and Doug and Rachel, would trade childcare with other couples, so both couples could enjoy date nights. If that’s not possible, see if a trusted family member or close friend will help you in your quest to spend sacred time together
John M. Gottman (Eight Dates: A Plan for Making Love Last Forever)
Yukihira." "Yo. So, uh, what're you doin' out here, Nakiri?" "Hm? Oh, nothing much. Just enjoying the night air. What about you?" "Huh? Me? Um, I was, uh... wait, why did I come out here again?" "Hee hee! Really? Forgetful much? *giggle*" "Y'know? You should laugh more often. You're prettier when you do." "W-WHAAAAA?! I expect such talk from Yoshino, but now you of all people?!"It's just that I'm so used to seeing you looking all scowly or snapping in anger all the time, y'know?" "Ugh! Enough of this already. You're the last person I want to hear any of that romance nonsense from, Yukihira. We're students. Our job is to study- to cook! We're too busy with important things to bother with trivialities like love!" "Yeah, you said it! Eesh! I mean, right now I've gotta focus on passing this darn test." "Oh, I'm sure you'll be all right, Yukihira. You can overcome every obstacle put in front of you. You always have... and you always will." "Heh heh! You got that right! And once that's outta the way, I'll get right back to challenging you!" "Bring it on. Come at me with all that you have, and I will crush you as I always do." "Nya ha haha! You haven't changed a bit! Even now that you're Dean, you're still the old you." "Wha?! O-of course I am! Who else would I be?
Yuto Tsukuda (食戟のソーマ 32 [Shokugeki no Souma 32] (Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma, #32))
All last night and then this morning, she’d had a feeling like Christmas Eve. She didn’t know what to expect of this trip. She was simultaneously thrilled and scared and hopeful—such a flurry of emotions all at the same time. And then every now and then she would ask herself what on earth she thought she was doing. Also, she was grateful that Peter had decided to come along, but she worried too that he wouldn’t enjoy himself, and that this would dampen her own enjoyment
Anne Tyler (Clock Dance)
For example, just enjoy the show when a young girl is sitting naked in your bed and her mother calls her asking where she has been all night, and she starts making up a random story about sleeping over at a friend’s house because the last night bus — that she was supposed to go home with — never arrived, and she did not want to call and wake anyone up, then the batteries in her phone died all of a sudden, but right now she is sitting in a taxi on her way home, but there is so much traffic that it might take a long while until she is back home.
W. Anton (The Manual: What Women Want and How to Give It to Them)
So, what are you doing here?” She couldn’t help it if her tone sounded a little tired. This was becoming farcical. “I came to tell you that I--” he rushed to speak, then composed himself, looked around, and stepped closer to her so he did not need to raise his voice to be heard. The brunette leaned forward just a tad. “I apologize for having to tell you here, in this busy, dirty…this is not the scene I would set, but you must know that I…” He took off his cap and rubbed his hair ragged. “I’ve been working at Pembrook Park for nearly four years. All the women I see, week after week, they’re the same. Nearly from the first, that morning when we were alone in the park, I guessed that you might be different. You were sincere.” He reached for her hand. He seemed to gain confidence, his lips started to smile, and he looked at her as though he never wished to look away. Zing, she thought, out of habit mostly, because she wasn’t buying any of it. Martin groaned at the silliness. Nobley immediately stuck his cap back on and stepped back, and he seemed unsure if he’d been too forward, if he should still play by the rules. “I know you have no reason to believe me, but I wish you would. Last night in the library, I wanted to tell you how I felt. I should have. But I wasn’t sure how you…I let myself speak the same tired sort of proposal I used on everyone. You were right to reject me. It was a proper slap in the face. No one had ever said no before. You made me sit up and think. Well, I didn’t want to think much, at first. But after you left this morning, I asked myself, are you going to let her go just because you met her while acting a part?” Nobley paused as if waiting for the answer. “Oh, come on, Jane,” Martin said. “You’re not going to buy this from him.” “Don’t talk to me like we’re friends,” Jane said. “You…you were paid to kiss me! And it was a game, a joke on me, you disgusting lurch. You’ve got no right to call me Jane. I’m Miss Erstwhile to you.” “Don’t give me that,” Martin said. His patience was fraying. “All of Pembrook Park is one big drama, you’d have to be dense not to see that. You were acting too, just like the rest of us, having a fling on holiday, weren’t you? And it’s not as though kissing you was odious.” “Odious?” “I’m saying it wasn’t.” Martin paused and appeared to be putting back on his romancing-the-woman persona. “I enjoyed it, all of it. Well, except for the root beer. And if you’re going to write that article, you should know that I believe what we had was real.” The brunette sighed. Jane just rolled her eyes. “We had something real,” Nobley said, starting to sound a little desperate. “You must have felt it, seeping through the costumes and pretenses.” The brunette nodded. “Seeping through the pretenses? Listen to him, he’s still acting.” Martin turned to the brunette in search of an ally. “Do I detect any jealousy there, my flagpole-like friend?” Nobley said. “Still upset that you weren’t cast as a gentleman? You do make a very good gardener.” Martin took a swing. Nobley ducked and rammed into his body, pushing them both to the ground. The brunette squealed and bounced on the balls of her feet.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
The night of the theatrical, Jane and Mr. Nobley secreted themselves behind the house for the final brush-up. The mood of late had let a bit of Bohemia into Regency England, the usual strict social observances bending, the rehearsals allowing the couples to slip away alone and enjoy the exhilarating intimacy of the unobserved. Mr. Nobley sat on the gravel path, leaning back on his elbow in a reluctant recline. “Oh, to die here, alone and unloved…” “That was pretty good,” Jane said. “You genuinely sounded in pain as you said it, but I think you could add a groan or two.” Mr. Nobley groaned, though perhaps not as part of the theatrical. “Perfect!” said Jane. Mr. Nobley rested his head on his knee and laughed. “I cannot believe I let you railroad me into this. I have always avoided doing a theatrical.” “Oh, you don’t seem that sorry. I mean, you certainly are sorry, just not regretful…” “Just do your part, please, Miss Erstwhile.” “Oh, yes, of course, forgive me. I can’t imagine why I’m taking so long, it’s just that there’s something so appealing about you there on the ground, at my feet--” He tackled her. He actually leaped up, grabbed her around the waist, and pulled her to the ground. She screeched as she thudded down on top of him. His hands stiffened. “Whoops,” he said. “You did not just do that.” He looked around for witnesses. “You are right, I did not just do that. But if I had, I was driven to it; no jury in the world would convict me. We had better keep rehearsing, someone might come by.” “I would, but you’re still holding me.” His hands were on her waist. They were gorgeous, thick-fingered, large. She liked them there. “So they are,” he said. Then he looked at her. He breathed in. His forehead tensed as if he were trying to think of words for his thoughts, as if he were engaged in some gorgeous inner battle that was provoked by how perfectly beautiful she was. (That last part was purely Jane’s romantic speculation and can’t be taken as literal.) Nevertheless, they were on the ground, touching, frozen, staring at each other, and even the trees were holding their breath. “I--” Jane started to say, but Mr. Nobley shook his head. He apologized and helped her to her feet, then plopped back onto the ground, as his character was still in the throes of death. “Shall we resume?” “Right, okay,” she said, shaking gravel from her skirt, “we were near the end…Oh, Antonio!” She knelt carefully beside him to keep her skirt from wrinkling and patted his chest. “You are gravely wounded. And groaning so impressively! Let me hold you and you can die in my arms, because traditionally, death and unrequited love are a romantic pairing.” “Those aren’t the lines,” he said through his teeth, as though an actual audience might overhear their practice. “They’re better than. It’s hardly Shakespeare.” “Right. So, your love revives my soul, my wounds heal…etcetera, etcetera, and I stand up and we exclaim our love dramatically. I cherish you more than farms love rain, than night loves the moon, and so on…” He pulled her upright and they stood facing each other, her hands in his. Again with the held breaths, the locked gazes. Twice in a row. It was almost too much! And Jane wanted to stay in that moment with him so much, her belly ached with the desire. “Your hands are cold,” he said, looking at her fingers. She waited. They had never practiced this part and the flimsy play gave no directions, such as, Kiss the girl, you fool. She leaned in a tiny bit. He warmed her hands. “So…” she said. “I suppose we know our scene, more or less,” he said. Was he going to kiss her? No, it seemed nobody ever kissed in Regency England. So what was happening? And what did it mean to fall in love in Austenland anyway? Jane stepped back, the weird anxiety of his nearness suddenly making her heart beat so hard it hurt.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
Here I stand, regretting our missed opportunity to walk. A year ago I would have happily run up in the hills, whether it rained or not. And I was thinking that I could go out, in spite of the weather, but I wouldn’t enjoy it like I used to.” She gestured in amicable agreement. “There’s no fault in misliking the feel of a water-soaked gown.” “That’s part of it,” I said, seizing on the image. “Last year I wore the same clothes year round. My only hat was a castoff that Julen found me somewhere. I loved the feel of rain against my face, and never minded being soaked. I never noticed it! Now I own carriage hats, and walking hats, and riding hats, and ball headdresses--and none of them except the riding hats can get wet, and even those get ruined in a good soak. My old hat never had any shape to begin with, or any color, so it was never ruined.” I turned to face the window again. “Sometimes I feel like I didn’t lose just my hat, I lost my self that horrible night when I walked into Bran’s trap.” Nee was silent. I ran my thumb around the gilt rim of the cup a couple of times, then I made myself face her. “You think I’m being foolish?” She put her palms together in Peaceful Discourse mode. “Yes I do,” she said, but her tone was not unkind. “One doesn’t lose a self, like a pair of gloves or a pin. We learn and change, or we harden into stone.” “Maybe I’ve changed too fast. Or haven’t changed enough,” I muttered. “Have you compromised yourself in any important way?” she asked. I opened my mouth to say Of course, when we were forced to give up our plans to defeat Galdran, but I knew it would be an untruth as soon as it left my lips. “I think,” I said slowly, “I lost my purpose that day. Life was so easy when all I lived for was the revolt, the accomplishment of which was to bring about all these wondrous miracles. Nothing turned out to be the way we so confidently expected it to. Nothing.” “So…” She paused to sip. “…if you hadn’t walked into that trap, what would be different?” “Besides the handsomeness of my foot?” I forced a grin as I kicked my slippered toes out from under my hem. No one could see my scarred foot, not with all the layers of fine clothing I now wore, but the scars were there. She smiled, but waited for me to answer her question. I said, “I suppose the outcome in the larger sense would have been the same. In the personal sense, though, I suspect I would have been spared a lot of humiliation.” “The humiliation of finding out that your political goals were skewed by misinformation?” “By ignorance. But that wasn’t nearly as humiliating as---” my encounters with a specific individual. But I just shook my head, and didn’t say it. “So you blame Vidanric,” she said neutrally. “Yes…no…I don’t know,” I said, trying not to sound cross. “I don’t.” I looked down, saw my hand fidgeting with the curtain and dropped it to my side.
Sherwood Smith (Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2))
As we made our way steadily northward, their spirits lifted at the prospect of home, and leave-time to enjoy it. From remarks they let fall it seemed that the Marquis had had them on duty day and night, with no breaks, during all the days of my run for freedom. I really liked Nessaren and her riding. With good-natured generosity they treated me as a companion rather than as a prisoner. The last four mornings they even let me run through their morning sword drills with them. Some of it I knew from our own exercises with Khesot, but they had far better ones. I did my best to memorize the new material for taking back to our people in Tlanth. The problem was, I realized as we raced across the northern hills, I was still furious with their leader. My duty was clear: I had to escape.
Sherwood Smith (Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1))
He bows to the two of us, and when he speaks, his voice fills the room, far louder and more booming than a voice should be before noon. “I intend to ride the estate today, if you two would like to join me.” I open my mouth to give him a quick, No thanks, I’d rather pull out my own hair, but Emily beats me to it. “How kind of you to offer! We would love to.” Huh? I can’t figure out why Emily doesn’t hate Alex. He’s a jerk and he’s done nothing to help her out of her engagement. And now she’s volunteering to hang out with him? An excuse…I need some kind of excuse to get out of this. Alex walks to the window and looks out, offering a rather flattering view of the back of his riding pants. “Did you enjoy the dance last evening?” Is he making small talk? That’s a first. “Yes, very much so,” Emily says. “It was delightful.” I nod. “Yeah. I guess so.” I won’t say I had fun because I don’t want him to get the wrong idea. I don’t want him to know dancing with him was the most exciting part of my evening and the most agonizingly long half hour of my life. Alex looks at me for a long silent moment. You’d think he’d bring up the big “lady” versus “miss” debacle. Or just that we’d danced. But he doesn’t. “Yes, I rather enjoyed myself as well,” he says. Seriously, what does that mean? I was the only girl he danced with. The entire night. Is he trying to tell me something? Ha. Right. He probably means that it was all sorts of fun to insult me. And that’s when Emily starts rubbing her temple. She sets her needlepoint down and frowns, massaging in circular motions on the side of her face. Oh, no, she’s not-- “Dear cousin, I am coming down with a headache. Perhaps you and Rebecca ought to ride without me.” I get a twinge when I hear Rebecca. Every day it feels more like we’re friends--and more like I’m betraying her. And then she turns to me, knowing Alex can’t see her, and winks. “Oh, no, I--” I start to say, because I suddenly realize what she’s trying to do. This can not happen. A horseback ride alone with Alex? No thank you! But Alex cuts in before I can stop her. “Yes, I would not have you overexerting yourself. We shall check on you when we return.” Okay, this is not how I want to spend my afternoon. Alone with Alex? I’d rather get a root canal. But…maybe it’s my chance to talk to him about Emily. Maybe he doesn’t know about Trent. Emily said Trent was wealthy, right? He’s not titled, but he has money. If Alex knew about him…maybe he would get Emily off the hook with Denworth. Maybe that’s why Emily is trying to arrange for me to spend time with Alex. She so owes me after this. I can do this. I can hang out with him for a couple hours--long enough to talk him into helping us. Emily jumps up from her chair far too quickly for someone with a headache and leaves the room before I can do anything. I rub my eyes. It’s going to be a long afternoon.
Mandy Hubbard (Prada & Prejudice)
On the other end of the porch the swing creaked pleasantly on its chains. This was the time of home-night he enjoyed, when his wife was inside asleep and he, at last, was alone. Time of year he enjoyed, too, the kind of peaceable weather you needed sleeves for but not a coat, chill in the air to make your scalp tingle but not set you to shivering.
Tom Franklin (Hell at the Breech)
Once, ten years ago, at a Sunday-afternoon party in some apartment that she remembered now as being labyrinthine, although it probably had only four bedrooms, as opposed to the place she shared with her brother and her father that had two, Mike Shea had seized her by the wrist and pulled her into a dim room and plastered his mouth against hers before she could catch her breath. She had known him since high school, he was part of the crowd she went with then, and he had kissed her once or twice before—she remembered specifically the train station at Fishkill, on a snowy night when they were all coming back from a sledding party—but this was passionate and desperate, he was very drunk, and rough enough to make her push him off if he had not, in the first moment she had come up for air, gently taken off his glasses and placed them on a doilied dresser beside them, and then, in what seemed the same movement, reached behind her to lock the door. It was the odd, drunken gentleness of it, not to mention the snapping hint of danger from the lock, that changed her mind. And after two or three rebukes when he tried to get at the buttons that ran up the back of her dress, she thought, Why not, and although her acquiescence seemed to slow him down a bit, as if he was uncertain of the next step, she was enjoying herself enough by then to undo the last button without prompting and then to pull her bare shoulder and arm up out of the dress—first one then the other—and to pull dress and slip (she didn’t wear a bra, no need) down to her waist in a single gesture. And then—was it just the pleasure of the material against her bare flesh, his shirt front, her wool?—she slowly pushed dress and slip and garter belt and stockings down over her narrow hips until they fell to her feet. And then she stepped out of her shoes. (“Even the shoes?” the priest had whispered in the confessional the following Saturday, as if it was more than he could bear, or imagine—as if, she thought later, he was ready to send her to perdition or ask her for a date.)
Alice McDermott (After This)
The day after our wedding, we flew off on honeymoon. I had recklessly waited until two days before our wedding to book the holiday, in the hope that I would get some great last-minute deal somewhere. Always a dangerous tactic. I pretended to Shara that it was a surprise. But, predictably, those “great deals” were a bit thin on the ground that week. The best I could find was a one-star package holiday, at a resort near Cancun in Mexico. It was bliss being together, but there was no hiding the fact that the hotel sucked. We got put in a room right next to the sewer outlet--which gave us a cracking smell to enjoy every evening as we sat looking out at the…maintenance shed opposite. As lunch wasn’t included in the one-star package, we started stockpiling the breakfasts. A couple of rolls down the jersey sleeve, and a yogurt and banana in Shara’s handbag. Then back to the hammock for books, kissing, and another whiff of sewage. When we returned to the UK it was a freezing cold January day. Shara was tired, but we were both excited to get onto our nice, warm, centrally heated barge. It was to be our first night in our own home. I had asked Annabel, Shara’s sister, to put the heating on before we arrived, and some food in the fridge. She had done so perfectly. What she didn’t know, though, was that the boiler packed in soon after she left. By the time Shara and I made it to the quayside on the Thames, it was dark. Our breath was coming out as clouds of vapor in the freezing air. I picked Shara up and carried her up the steps onto the boat. We opened the door and looked at each other. Surprised. It was literally like stepping into a deep freeze. Old iron boats are like that in winter. The cold water around them means that, without heating, they are Baltically cold. We fumbled our way, still all wrapped up, into the bowels of the boat and the boiler room. Shara looked at me, then at the silent, cold boiler. No doubt she questioned how smart both choices had really been. So there we were. No money, and freezing cold--but happy and together. That night, all wrapped up in blankets, I made a simple promise to Shara: I would love her and look after her, every day of our life together--and along the way we would have one hell of an adventure. Little did either of us realize, but this was really just the beginning.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
I weave through LA's famous Farmers Market, which is really more of an outdoor food court, and now I'm a few minutes late. And the place is packed and there's still the uncertainty about where to meet when I look down and realize I'm wearing yellow pants. Yellow pants. Really? Sometimes I don't know what I'm thinking. They're rolled at the cuff and paired with a navy polo and it looks like maybe I just yacht my yacht, and I'm certain to come off as an asshole. I thin about canceling, or at least delaying so I can go home and change, but the effort that would require is unappealing, and this date is mostly for distraction. And when I round the last stall--someone selling enormous eggplants, more round than oblong, I see him, casually leaning against a wall, and something inside my body says there you are. 'There you are.' I don't understand them, these words, because they seem too deep and too soulful to attach to the Farmers Market, this Starbucks or that, a frozen yogurt place, or confusion over where to meet a stranger. They're straining to define a feeling of stunning comfort that drips over me, as if a water balloon burst over my head on the hottest of summer days. My knees don't buckle, my heart doesn't skip, but I'm awash in the warmth of a valium-like hug. Except I haven't taken a Valium. Not since the night of Lily's death. Yet here is this warm hug that makes me feel safe with this person, this Byron the maybe-poet, and I want it to stop. This--whatever this feeling is--can't be a real feeling, this can't be a tangible connection. This is just a man leaning against a stall that sells giant eggplants. But I no longer have time to worry about what this feeling is, whether I should or shouldn't be her, or should or should't be wearing yellow pants, because there are only maybe three perfect seconds where I see him and he has yet to spot me. Three perfect seconds to enjoy the calm that has so long eluded me. 'There you are.' And then he casually lifts his head and turns my way and uses one foot to push himself off the wall he is leaning agains. We lock eyes and he smiles with recognition and there's a disarming kindness to his face and suddenly I'm standing in front of him. 'There you are.' It comes out of my mouth before I can stop it and it's all I can do to steer the words in a more playfully casual direction so he isn't saddled with the importance I've placed on them. I think it comes off okay, but, as I know from my time at sea, sometimes big ships turn slowly. Byron chuckles and gives a little pump of his fist. 'YES! IT'S! ALL! HAPPENING! FOR! US!' I want to stop in my tracks, but I'm already leaning in for a hug, and he comes the rest of the way, and the warm embrace of seeing him standing there is now an actual embrace, and it is no less sincere. He must feel me gripping him tightly, because he asks, 'Is everything okay?' No. 'Yes, everything is great, it's just...' I play it back in my head what he said, the way in which he said it, and the enthusiasm which only a month had gone silent. 'You reminded me of someone is all.' 'Hopefully in a good way.' I smile but it takes just a minute to speak. 'In the best possible way.' I don't break the hug first, but maybe at the same time, this is a step. jenny will be proud. I look in his eyes, which I expect to be brown like Lily's but instead are deep blue like the waters lapping calmly against the outboard sides of 'Fishful Thinking.' 'Is frozen yogurt okay?' 'Frozen yogurt is perfect.
Steven Rowley (Lily and the Octopus)
MAKING THE CALL Suppose you had a successful social encounter at a party. Last night went fine. But now you sit by the phone, the person’s phone number in hand, afraid to make that call you know you want to make. Maybe the person doesn’t really want you to call. (Then why did she give you her phone number?) Maybe she’s changed her mind. (There’s only one way to find out!) If you have a problem following up, you need to internalize this self-coaching advice: Dread, then do. If you feel anxious, use relaxation techniques to ready yourself to make the call. Then make it. No matter what, you will feel relieved and even proud of yourself once you’ve done it. Appropriate follow-up is crucial; otherwise, all the groundwork you’ve laid in your initial conversation will go to waste. When you call someone on the phone, remember all the skills you’ve practiced so far. And be sure to call when you say you are going to call. Imagine how you’d feel if someone whose company you’d enjoyed promised to call you on Tuesday and the call didn’t come until Friday, if at all. And finally, remember to ask about things the person told you in previous conversation. This is your chance to broaden your new friendship, so make plans and follow through on them soon. (Remember: friendship first. It’s okay, especially at this stage, for a woman to initiate a social engagement with a man, whether it leads to romance or not). If you would like to follow up with someone in your company or outside it who could become a valuable part of your career network, the procedure is much the same. Stay in touch in whatever ways are appropriate for your workplace. A clipping of a work-related article with a simple note—“Bill: Thought this would interest you,” and your name—lets the person know you appreciated his knowledge and insight. If you like, you could follow up on an outside contact with a brief note saying you enjoyed meeting the person, and then call later, perhaps with an invitation for a business lunch or a lecture. Developing contacts inside your workplace and beyond could help you build job opportunities. And feeling connected to the business community in which you work can be fulfilling too. People may soon want to begin networking with you!
Jonathan Berent (Beyond Shyness: How to Conquer Social Anxieties)
For the last year and a half this room had been my 'pensive citadel:' here I had read and studied through all the hours of the night: and, though true it was, that for the latter part of this time I, who was framed for love and gentle affections, had lost my gaiety and happiness, during the strife and fever of contention with my guardian; yet, on the other hand, as a boy, so passionately fond of books, and dedicated to intellectual pursuits, I could not fail to have enjoyed many happy hours in the midst of general dejection. I wept as I looked round on the chair, hearth, writing-table, and other familiar objects, knowing too certainly, that I looked upon them for the last time.
Thomas De Quincey (Confessions of an English Opium Eater)
Whatever men expect, they soon come to think they have a right to: the sense of disappointment can, with very little skill on our part, be turned into a sense of injury....To produce the best results from the patients fatigue, therefore, you must feed him with false hopes. Put into his mind plausible reasons for believing that the air-raid will not be repeated. Keep him comforting himself with the thought of how much he will enjoy his bed next night. Exaggurate the weariness by making him think it will soon be over; for men usually feel that strain could have been endured no longer than at the very moment it was ending, or when they think it is ending. In this, as in the problem of cowardice, the thing to avoid is the total commitment. Whatever he says, let his inner resolution be not to bear whatever comes to him, but to bear it "for a reasonable period" - and let the reasonable period be shorter than the trial is likely to last. It need not be much shorter; in attacks on patience, chastity, and fortitude, the fun is to make the man yield when (had he but known it) relief was almost in sight.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
Stories come in all different kinds.” Hester scooted closer, clearly enjoying the subject at hand. “There’s tales, which are light and fluffy. Good for a smile on a sad day. Then you got yarns, which are showy—yarns reveal more about the teller than the story. After that there’s myths, which are stories made up by whole groups of people. And last of all, there’s legends.” She raised a mysterious eyebrow. “Legends are different from the rest on account no one knows where they start. Folks don’t tell legends; they repeat them. Over and again through history. And the story I have for you”—she sat back on her stool—“why, that one’s a legend.
Jonathan Auxier (The Night Gardener)
Those who read poetry to improve their minds will never improve their minds by reading poetry. For the true enjoyments must be spontaneous and compulsive and look to no remoter end. The Muses will submit to no marriage of convenience.
C.S. Lewis (The World's Last Night: And Other Essays)
My name is Charlie Chucky, I am in the sixth grade, I love playing Minecraft, and I am learning to become a Super Spy. My Dad is the world’s best Super Spy, and he is starting to teach me all his tricks. Lately, I’ve been battling invisible giants, crazy zombie teachers, and super ninjas! Life has been pretty crazy, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it. My best friend Harley is different to me. He doesn’t want to become a Super Spy. He doesn’t want to battle bad guys and save the world each week. Nope. He wants to sit indoors and stare at numbers all day. Harley’s dream is to become the world’s greatest math professor. He loves school, he loves studying, and he absolutely loves math tests.  He goes mad for them. It is the one thing he is really good at. He just loves numbers.  Numbers are like candy for him – he can’t get enough of it. He even asked Mrs. Jackson for extra math homework last night. Mrs. Jackson then decided to give the whole class extra math homework. Let’s just say Harley wasn’t that popular after school.  This is Harley. Mrs. Jackson always says that someday math will save our lives, but I can’t see how it will. Maybe one day, four giant numbers will attack our school, and I will defeat them using an algebra equation… or maybe the numbers in my textbook will go bad, and start attacking all the words on the pages, and I will stop them using a calculator!
Peter Patrick (Diary of a Super Spy 4: Space! (An hilarious adventure for children aged 7 - 12))
I didn’t expect you to call me,” Ashton said softly while studying the plate of biscuits in her hands. I’d had a moment of intense weakness when I’d woken up form an incredibly good dream she had starred in. All I could think about was being near her again. “I hated the way we left things last night.” She blushed and glanced up at me. “I’m really sorry about how I acted.” Damn, damn, damn, I wasn’t going to be able to resist her. Pushing Sawyer to the deep, dark forgotten part of my mind, I walked over to her, took the plate of biscuits, and put them down on the counter. “I told you last night: I started it. I should be the one apologizing.” She let out a small laugh and stared down at her feet. “No, I distinctly remember it being my leg that was hiked up in your lap and my hand that was up your shirt. You had completely stopped touching me. Thanks for trying to take the blame off me, but I was there, Beau.” I slipped my arms around her waist and pulled her to me. Right now I didn’t care who she belonged to. I wanted her and I couldn’t see past my need. “Look at me,” I whispered, slipping my finger under her chin and tilting her face up so I could see her eyes. “The only reason I didn’t grab you and haul you onto my lap last night was because for the first time in my life, I want something that belongs to the only person I love. I started touching you last night because I couldn’t keep my hands off you. I thought if I could touch you just a little bit, I’d be able to handle it. But then you didn’t react the way I expected.” I stopped and closed my eyes. Staring down at her while I talked about her reaction to my touch was difficult. Those big, innocent green eyes soaked in every word out of my mouth. God, she was perfect. “And my good intentions were fading fast. If you’d kept touching me for just a few more seconds, I’d have lost it. I was hanging on by a thread. A very thin thread.” She stepped back out of my embrace and gave me a little grin. “Okay. Thank you for saying that.” She turned and walked over to the counter then began taking the plastic wrap off the biscuits. “We both love him. Neither of us wants to hurt him. But…we’re drawn to each other. We have history. The three of us. For the past few years, it’s been just me and Sawyer. I didn’t want it to be that way; it just happened. I think we can all be friends again. I want us to be. So while he’s gone, let’s just enjoy being friends. I promise to keep my hands to myself if you promise the same.” She peered at me over her shoulder as she moved to set the biscuits on plates she’d found in the dish rack. Telling her how I’d do anything she asked wasn’t exactly the best move. I nodded and went to get glasses and orange juice so we could eat breakfast together. Just like we use to.
Abbi Glines (The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1))
[Henry:] Was thinking last night apropos of “Mile. Claude” and Germaine that it was a pity that women could not enjoy gigolos in the same way as men enjoy a whore.
Anaïs Nin (A Literate Passion: Letters of Anais Nin & Henry Miller, 1932-1953)
Stephen Jahseed Lark (Tell The World: Understanding Oneself)
Carnival Cruise Lines has its own successful way of doing things, which in this case involved creating a musical group called “The Hot Shots!” The word “Fantastic” comes to mind when thinking of this musical group! Each member auditioned separately at the Carnival rehearsal facility in Miami and then rehearsed as a group until they were ready for the big leagues aboard ship. Fortunately for me and my team, which includes Jorge Fernandez, a former guitar player from Cuba and now a top flight structural engineer in the Tampa Bay area, who helps me with much of my technical work; Lucy Shaw, Chief Copy Editor; Ursula Bracker, Proofer, and lucky me Captain Hank Bracker, award winning author (including multiple gold medals), were aboard the Carnival Legend and were privileged to listen to and enjoy, quite by chance, music that covered everything from Classical Rock, to Disco, to Mo Town and the years in between. Talented Judith Mullally, Carnival’s Entertainment Director, was on hand to encourage and partake in the music with her outstanding voice and, not to be left out, were members of the ship’s repertory cast, as well as the ship’s Cruise Director. The popular Red Frog lounge on the Carnival Legend was packed to the point that one of the performances had to be held on the expansive Lido deck. However, for the rest of the nights, the lounge was packed with young and old, singing and dancing to “The Hot Shots!” - a musical group that would totally pack any venue in Florida. Pheona Baranda, from the Philippines, is cute as a button and is the lead female singer, with a pitch-perfect soprano voice. Lucas Pedreira, from Argentina, is the lead male singer and guitar player who displayed endless energy and the ability to keep the audience hopping! Paulo Baranda, Pheona’s younger brother, plays the lead guitar to perfection and behind the scenes is the band’s musical director and of course is also from the Philippines. Ygor, from Israel, is the “on the money” drummer who puts so much into what he is doing, that at one point he hurt his hand, but refused to slow down. Nick is the bass guitar player, from down under New Zealand, and Marina, the piano and keyboard player, hails from the Ukraine. As a disclaimer I admit that I hold shares in Carnival stock but there is nothing in it for me other than the pleasure of listening to this ultra-talented group which cannot and should not be denied. They were and still are the very best! However, I am sorry that just as a “Super Nova” they unfortunately can’t last. Their bright shining light is presently flaring, but this will only be for a fleeting moment and then will permanently go to black next year on January 2, 2020. That’s just the way it is, but my crew and I, as well as the many guests aboard the Carnival Legend, experienced music seldom heard anywhere, any longer…. It was a treat we will remember for years to come and we hope to see them again, as individual musical artists, or as perhaps with a new group sometime in the near future!
Hank Bracker
approaching her. “She’s-she’s out, I guess,” the girl replied, trying to sound confident but not succeeding. “But she should be back real soon.” The old man smiled again, more of a sneer, as he wavered slightly. “And that little shit brother of yours?” demanded her stepfather. “Where’s he at?” “I-I don’t know,” she mumbled. “No one was home when I got here.” “So it’s just you and me, huh, kiddo?” he mused, scratching his stubble thoughtfully as his cold bleary eyes wandered over the forms of her body beneath her thin, yellow sundress. “I’m sure Mom will be back real soon,” she repeated tearfully as she shrunk into the corner, shivering with terror. The old man grinned at her for a few seconds, then stepped back and pushed the door shut. As he returned, he started unbuttoning his jeans and retorted, “Well, girly, real soon is just not soon enough for me today. You’re just gonna have to fill your mama’s shoes.” The boy rolled away from the grill, not wanting to see what was taking place. His sister shrieked and several slaps were heard amidst a muttered “Quiet, little lady.” Covering his ears, the youngster cowered in the darkness and silently wept with frustration. But, what could he do? He was only ten. After a minute or two, the boy heard the bedroom door below swing open and slam shut and everything grew quiet. With tears in his eyes, he crawled forward and once again peered down through the grill. Their stepfather was gone but his sister was still there, lying on the bed, whimpering and shaking uncontrollably. Her dress was ripped and he could see her exposed breasts, scratched and bruised. Her left eye, just above the cheekbone, was already starting to swell from when the pig had hit her and the sheets were spattered with blood. He began to soundlessly weep once more as he vowed that he would get even when he was older. Chapter 1 - Tuesday, June 25, 1996 8:00 p.m. Sandy was at school, her last night of the spring term and would not be home for a while. She had mentioned that she would be going for a drink or two after class with a few fellow students to celebrate the completion of another semester. She would therefore most likely not be home before midnight. She never was on such occasions as she enjoyed these mini social events. With Sandy out, he was alone for the evening but this had never proved to be a problem in the past and this night would not be any different. He was perfectly capable of looking after himself and could always find a way to occupy his time. He pulled on some black Levi’s and a dark t-shirt, slipped into his black Reeboks and laced them securely. Leaving the bedroom, he descended to the main floor, headed for the foyer closet and retrieved his black leather jacket. No studs or chains, just black leather. He slipped into the coat and donned
Claude Bouchard (THE VIGILANTE SERIES 1-6)
When the nurse had closed the door the princess felt imprisoned, not only in the room, but in her own body. In her state of foreboding she reached out for the glass of barley water Sister Badgery had removed, and tried to find comfort in sips of that mawkish stuff. She could see herself in one of the looking-glasses with which her blind mother still kept herself surrounded. If the princess had not been so terrified of what the next moment could hold, she might have noticed that her own eyes were deep and lustrous: beautiful in fact; but in the circumstances her mind could only flutter through imagined eventualities. Actually Mrs Hunter was enjoying the luxury of being alone and perfectly silent with somebody she loved. (They did love each other, didn’t they? You could never be sure about other people; sometimes you found they had hated you all their lives.) This state of perfect stillness was not unlike what she enjoyed in her relationship with Sister de Santis, though in essence it was different; with the night nurse she was frequently united in a worship of something too vast and selfless to describe even if your mind had been completely compos whatever it is. This other state of unity in perfect stillness, which she hoped she was beginning to enjoy with Dorothy, she had experienced finally with Alfred when she returned to ‘Kudjeri’ to nurse him in his last illness. There were moments when their minds were folded into each other without any trace of the cross-hatching of wilfulness or desire to possess.
Patrick White (The Eye of the Storm)
All day, my brain is floating up in the Andromeda nebula; I cannot concentrate on anything. The soup boils for about three hours and my email goes unchecked, although I open the inbox five times or more. Letters do not add up to words, or words to sentences, and my eyes close of their own accord to give free reign to last night’s memories. I really want to live for myself, to be myself, to dream, to enjoy this unique moment of my life.
Victoria Sobolev (Monogamy Book One. Lover (Monogamy, #1))
he lay propped against the sill enjoying his pipe and the theater of Chancery Lane. Couples passed by on their way to the restaurants further down the street, vendors closed their shops for the night, neighborhood children played along the sidewalks before mum’s last call.
R.S. Rowland (Portrait of a Bitter Spy)
Orchard stores advertising cherries and apples, fresh baked goods, gifts appeared along the road. Some promised the best cider donuts or cherry pie, others had outdoor activities where children could burn off some energy, and yet others offered to let you pick your own cherries when the season started. As they approached a store offering a wide selection of samples, Isaac pulled into the parking lot. It seemed like a good time to stretch their legs and grab a snack at the same time. "Let's see what we've gotten ourselves into, Barracuda," Isaac said. He stepped onto the gravel parking lot, the rocks shifting under his flip-flops. Minivans, SUVs, and cars, many bearing out-of-state plates, filled the lot. Inside the store, freezers contained frozen cherries, apple juice from last season, and pies. Fresh baked goods lined shelves, and quippy signs hung from the walls that said things like IF I HAD KNOWN GRANDKIDS WERE SO MUCH FUN, I WOULD HAVE HAD THEM FIRST and I ENJOY A GLASS OF WINE EACH NIGHT FOR THE HEALTH BENEFITS. THE REST ARE FOR MY WITTY COMEBACKS AND FLAWLESS DANCE MOVES. Bass slid his hand into Isaac's as they walked around the store, staying close to him as they sampled pretzels with cherry-studded dips and homemade jams. A café sold freshly roasted Door County-brand coffee and cherry sodas made with Door County cherry juice. In the bakery area, Isaac picked up a container of apple turnovers still warm from the oven- they would be a tasty breakfast in their motel room tomorrow.
Amy E. Reichert (The Simplicity of Cider)
I’m staying in a wretched little flat in Bela Vista, the same seaside cluster of buildings where people took their one-way vacations twenty years ago. Rent one of these apartments for the weekend, enjoy one last sunset, drink a few beers, and then burn charcoal in one of the rooms. This form of suicide is one of Asia’s worst clichés, much like jumping from a high window or a slow death from drink. Even the reasons can sound trite if you’re not the one enduring them: a crash in the property market, so much homework you only get three hours of sleep a night, parents unwilling to settle for anything less than Oxbridge and a doctorate.
Jason Y. Ng (Hong Kong Noir)
Third places remain upbeat because of the limited way in which the participants are related. Most of the regulars in a third place have a unique and special status with regard to one another. It is special in that such people have neither the blandness of strangers nor that other kind of blandness, which takes zest out of relationships between even the most favorably matched people when too much time is spent together, when too much is known, too many problems are shared, and too much is taken for granted. Many among the regulars of a third place are like Emerson's "commended stranger" who represents humanity anew, who offers a new mirror in which to view ourselves, and who thus breathes life into our conversation. In the presence of the commended stranger, wrote Emerson, "We talk better than we are wont. We have the nimblest fancy, a richer memory, our dumb devil has taken leave for a time. For long hours, we can continue a series of sincere, graceful, rich communications, drawn from the oldest, secretest experience, so that those who sit by, of our kinsfolk, and acquaintance, shall feel a lively surprise at our unusual power.: The magic of commended strangers fades as one comes to know them better. They are fallible. They have problems and weaknesses like everyone else and, as their luster fades, so does their ability to inspire our wit, memory, and imagination. The third place, however, retards that fading process, and it does so by keeping the lives of most of its regulars disentangled. One individual may enjoy the company of others at a mutual haunt for years without ever having seen their spouses; never having visited their homes or the places where they work; never having seen them against the duller backdrop of their existence on the "outside." Many a third place regular represents conversationally and socially what the mistress represents sexually. Much of the lure and continuing allure of the mistress rests in the fact that only pleasure is involved. There is no rising from bed to face the myriad problems that husband and wife must share and that contaminates their lives and their regard for one another. Third places surely contain many of these "mistresses of conversation," people who meet one another only to share good times and scintillating activities and with whom good times and scintillation thus come to be associated. Out of tacit agreement not to share too much, the excitement attaching the commended stranger is preserved among third place regulars. What, after all, are such incidentals as home and family and job when the nature of life itself, the course of the world in modern times, or the booted ball that cost a victory in last night's game are on the agenda?
Ray Oldenburg (The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community)
In each portside town, enticing aromas waft from every harborside taverna, mountaintop inn, and home. Not only do the Greeks appreciate good food, it is central to their culture. Produce markets spill over with fragrant local provender: grapes, cucumbers, lemons, and tomatoes, as well as sardines, shellfish, and lamb. Lunch--usually the largest meal of the day--begins after 2 P.M., and is followed by an ample siesta. The long work day resumes, and dinner begins after 9 P.M. It may last well into the night among friends: a glass of ouzo--accompanied by singing, guitar playing, and dancing--often ends the evening meal, postponing bedtime until the wee hours. Laughter and conversation flavor the food at every meal. The Mediterranean climate is conductive to year-round outdoor eating. In each home, a table on the patio or terrace takes pride of place. Many home cooks build outdoor ovens and prepare succulent roasted meats and flavorful, herb-scented potatoes that soak up the juice of the meat and the spritz of a lemon. Tavernas, shaded by grape arbors, are synonymous with Greece and its outdoor culinary culture. One of the greatest pleasures of the Greek Isles is enjoying a relaxing meal while breathing the fresh sea air and gazing out on spectacular vistas and blue waters.
Laura Brooks (Greek Isles (Timeless Places))
It always came back to the cards, and the cards had predicted Death. Sure enough, Death was all around me, shimmering in the night. The cards had been right on the money, in fact—first the exploding Tower, then the Magician, then Death. All of them appearing in rapid succession, each more alarming than the last. The only card left was—the Devil. What did the Devil card mean this night? More lies, more deceit? Or was its appearance simply a marker, a warning that I was about to head into the underbelly of society, down the well-trod rabbit hole of crime, prostitution, drugs, and death? Maybe. Or maybe I’d soon be enjoying Devil’s Food cake. I voted for Option B.
Jenn Stark (Getting Wilde (Immortal Vegas, #1))
Syn unlocked his door and let Furi into his place for the second time that night. “Shouldn’t I be in witness protection or something, in a secure location?” Furi fired off indignantly. Syn flicked on the lamp in the living room and turned to look at Furious, shooting him a look that said ‘really?’ “Would you rather I take you down to the station, where a detective can question you for five hours before they take you to the shittiest hotel in the next city? While some cop that’s ridden a desk for the last ten years sits on his ass the entire time he's so-called guarding you?” Furi dropped his duffle bag to the floor and shook his head. “I guess not.” “Yeah. That’s what I thought.” Syn grinned. He removed his coat and draped it over the back of his new sofa. It was nice, but he hadn’t had the chance to enjoy it yet. Furi walked backwards until the back of his legs hit the couch. He flopped down like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. Syn rubbed the back of his neck, wincing at the tension there. He needed to say something to Furi ... anything ... but what? Bad people, crime, guns blazing, cars running you off the road, all this was normal for Syn, but Furi was just trying to live his life. Syn sat down next to the beautiful man, his hand hovering over his knee before he moved it and placed it on his shoulder. The gesture was meant to be comforting but didn’t look like it was helping. “Are you okay?” “No, no, Syn. I’m not okay. That crazy bitch just tried to kill me, and for what? Because I wouldn’t fuck her.” Furi’s voice was rising with each word.
A.E. Via
At OBSS   I didn’t have long to wait before “twinky” Kim confided his secrets to me. Out of earshot from the group, during lunch, he announced excitedly, “We did it!”               “We did what?” I asked.               He glanced towards Jules, who was chatting animatedly with a couple of the other instructors. “You know. Me and him. We did it.”               I smiled but said nothing. Kim had a gleeful grin as he uttered, “Last night in the woods.”               “What exactly did you do?”               He cast his eyes down shyly. “We made out.”               “And?”               “It was great!” he exclaimed.               “Tell all, you naughty devil,” I remarked. Like most first-timers, he was eager to relate his sexual encounter to a pair of sympathetic ears.               “After the biking accident, after you guys rode on for help, he made the move.”               “Well? What happened” I queried.               “When he was blotting the blood from my knee, he placed his hand on my thigh. I did not move away. I dared not look him in the eye, but I enjoyed the smouldering sensation of his hand, which slowly eased into my underwear.” He paused for effect. “I was afraid, so I kept my eyes shut. I had Goosebumps all over when he held my… You know…” The boy couldn’t bring himself to say the word penis.               “No, I don’t know,” I teased patiently. “What?”               “Down there…” he looked at his groin, which had grown while reliving the circumstance.
Young (Turpitude (A Harem Boy's Saga Book 4))
That night Coach Valvano gave a memorable speech that included these remarks: Time is very precious to me. I don’t know how much I have left.… When people say to me, How do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day.… Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears—could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.… One last thing. I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get your emotions going. To be enthusiastic every day and [as] Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm”—to keep your dreams alive in spite of problems whatever you have. The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality.… I said it before, and I’m gonna say it again: Cancer can take away all my physical ability. It cannot touch my mind; it cannot touch my heart; and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever. Jim
Susan Parris (Cancer Mom: Hearing God in an Unknown Journey)
The years passed by and Angus grew older, with a family of his own. And while his children sat drawing in the warmth of the kitchen, Angus painted large pumpkin paintings. Many people bought the paintings and enjoyed the warm glow they brought to their homes. Angus never stopped painting. Even when he was an old man, he worked far into the night, forgetting to do all manner of things. And when everyone in the house was asleep, he would take one last look at his favorite painting, a picture of a little dog sleeping in the glow of a pumpkin light.
David Ray (Pumpkin Light)
Heavy Issues (Bowen #2) : chap 9 Chapter Nine Christy paid for her soda and looked around. Tonight was a low-key event, no fund-raising dinner or dance, just good old outdoor-movie night. And thank God for it. Alden was a small town, but boy these people knew how to party. The whole park was packed, but she soon found Sophie at the far end and walked toward her, dropping onto a wooden chair the second she reached her, tired after a long day. She hadn’t had time to properly sit when Rose and her entourage approached them, the beautiful blonde glancing around and then focusing on Christy, disdain oozing from her. “Where did you leave Cole? Or has he gotten tired of you already?” Sophie snorted. “Wouldn’t you wish that.” “He’s filling in for Mike down at the gym—karate lesson. I’m very surprised you aren’t there drooling.” “We weren’t drooling,” Rose retorted. Ah, so they’d been there. What a surprise. “I still can’t believe he’s dating you. Did he lose a bet or something?” she asked, looking toward her friends. Bitch. Christy shrugged and offered her a sweet smile. “What do you want me to say? I just want to fuck the man, but he insists on dating me. Go figure that one.” Rose’s malicious eyes narrowed on her. “Enjoy it while it lasts. You can’t hold on to a man like that. You don’t have what it takes.” And with that parting shot Rose strode away, all long legs and swinging hips. “‘You don’t have what it takes,’” Sophie repeated, mocking Rose’s tone. “And what’s that, Botox and a bad case of sluttiness?
Elle Aycart (Heavy Issues (Bowen Boys, #2))
Before our faces could touch I was yanked back and thrown over Chase’s shoulder as he yelled for the beer pong game to start. “CHASE! Put me down!” I couldn’t even enjoy the fact that his hands were touching my bare thighs. He’d just stopped what could have been my first kiss, and his shoulder was really uncomfortable against my stomach. “No way! The Princess needs her throne!” I started beating my fists on his back, which just made him laugh harder and smack my butt. Ugh, this was the worst position to be in, I couldn’t even get a good pressure point to hit. “If you don’t put me down I will make good on my previous threat!” He laughed for another few seconds before remembering the night in his bed, immediately his laughter stopped and I was set down. But of course, I couldn’t have the last word. Gripping my arm firmly, he pulled me towards the front door before bringing me close to his body so he could whisper roughly in my ear. “I don’t want you with him.” He growled and his grip tightened. Gah, even that sent shivers of pleasure through me. “What is your deal with him? Is there something he did that you’d like to share?” “He’s not good enough for you.” I shook my head and failed at yanking my arm free, it was starting to get painful. “How do you know what is and isn’t good for me? You don’t even know me!” I hissed. Warm hands were on my shoulders then, and though he dropped my arm, Chase looked more pissed off than he had before. I knew he’d been gripping me tight, but my arm was now throbbing where his hand had just been. “I thought I told you to back off man?” Chase’s voice got louder, I swear I could practically see his feathers ruffle. I could tell Brandon was standing in an intimidating stance, but he seemed perfectly at ease making soothing trails up and down my arms. “I don’t really think that’s up to you.” Chase looked at me softly, his voice still harsh, “You hurt her, I swear to God I’ll break your neck.” With that, he pushed past us and went back toward the kitchen. That was a little much. “Ridiculous.” I blew out a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding and turned to look at Brandon. “Before you ask, I have absolutely no idea.” He laughed and wrapped his arms around me, pulling me close to his chest. “And you’re sure nothing’s going on between you?” “Positive. He probably just views me as his sister, so he’s a little protective.” “Hah! I’m pretty sure he doesn’t see you like he sees Bree.” “What do you mean?” I didn’t think it was possible, but somehow his voice got even lower and all I wanted to do was close my eyes and listen to him talk. “You’re gorgeous, funny and just all around amazing. And what makes it worse is that you don’t even see it. All the guys had been talking about you before I even got here, and after today, I see why.” “No they weren’t Brandon.” I rolled my eyes. He raised his eyebrow and smirked, “I wouldn’t lie to you. Harper, trust me when I say he doesn’t want to be your brother, but I’m not about to let him try to be anything else.” His
Molly McAdams (Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1))
Looking incredibly dashing as he bent his head toward the oh-so-fashionable Miss Kasson was none other than Mr. Edgar Wanamaker—her best friend from childhood, and . . . the very first gentleman to ever offer her a proposal of marriage. She and Edgar had met when they’d been little more than infants, that circumstance brought about because their parents owned adjacent summer cottages on Long Island. Wilhelmina had spent every childhood summer with Edgar by her side, enjoying the sandy beaches and chilly water of the Atlantic from the moment the sun rose in the morning until it set in the evening. Even when Edgar had been away at school, being a few years older than Wilhelmina, they’d spent every possible minute they could with each other during the holidays. He’d even made certain to be in the city the night of her debut ball, waiting for her at the bottom of her family’s Park Avenue mansion as she’d descended the grand staircase on her father’s arm. As she’d stepped to the highly polished parquet floor, she’d caught his gaze, the intensity of that gaze causing her heart to fill with fondness for her oldest and dearest friend. That fondness, however, had disappeared a few hours later when Edgar had gone and ruined everything by asking her to marry him. She’d been all of seventeen years old the night of her debut—seventeen years old with the world spread out at her feet. Add in the notion that the whispers stirring around the ballroom were claiming she was destined to be a diamond of the first water, and the last thing she’d wanted that particular evening was a marriage proposal extended to her from her very best friend. Edgar, no matter the affection she held for him, was only a second son. Paired with the pesky fact he’d had no idea as to what he’d wanted to do with the rest of his life—except, evidently, to marry her—and she’d been less than impressed by his offer. What
Jen Turano (At Your Request (Apart from the Crowd, #0.5))
As I was being taken from the courthouse to the prison van, I was conscious for a few brief moments of the once familiar feel of a summer evening out-of-doors. And, sitting in the darkness of my moving cell, I recognized, echoing in my tired brain, all the characteristic sounds of a town I'd loved, and of a certain hour of the day which I had always particularly enjoyed. The shouts of newspaper boys in the already languid air, the last calls of birds in the public garden, the cries of sandwich vendors, the screech of streetcars at the steep corners of the upper town, and that faint rustling overhead as darkness sifted down upon the harbor—all these sounds made my return to prison like a blind man's journey along a route whose every inch he knows by heart. Yes, this was the evening hour when—how long ago it seemed!—I always felt so well content with life. Then, what awaited me was a night of easy, dreamless sleep. This was the same hour, but with a difference; I was returning to a cell, and what awaited me was a night haunted by forebodings of the coming day. And so I learned that familiar paths traced in the dusk of summer evenings may lead as well to prisons as to innocent, untroubled sleep.
Albert Camus
Soon after this incident the court rose. As I was being taken from the courthouse to the prison van, I was conscious for a few brief moments of the once familiar feel of a summer evening out-of-doors. And, sitting in the darkness of my moving cell, I recognized, echoing in my tired brain, all the characteristic sounds of a town I'd loved, and of a certain hour of the day which I had always particularly enjoyed. The shouts of newspaper boys in the already languid air, the last calls of birds in the public garden, the cries of sandwich vendors, the screech of streetcars at the steep corners of the upper town, and that faint rustling overhead as darkness sifted down upon the harbor—all these sounds made my return to prison like a blind man's journey along a route whose every inch he knows by heart. Yes, this was the evening hour when—how long ago it seemed!—I always felt so well content with life. Then, what awaited me was a night of easy, dreamless sleep. This was the same hour, but with a difference; I was returning to a cell, and what awaited me was a night haunted by forebodings of the coming day. And so I learned that familiar paths traced in the dusk of summer evenings may lead as well to prisons as to innocent, untroubled sleep.
Albert Camus (L'étranger)
As I was being taken from the courthouse to the prison van, I was conscious for a few brief moments of the once familiar feel of a summer evening out-of-doors. And, sitting in the darkness of my moving cell, I recognized, echoing in my tired brain, all the characteristic sounds of a town I'd loved, and of a certain hour of the day which I had always particularly enjoyed. The shouts of newspaper boys in the already languid air, the last calls of birds in the public garden, the cries of sandwich vendors, the screech of streetcars at the steep corners of the upper town, and that faint rustling overhead as darkness sifted down upon the harbor—all these sounds made my return to prison like a blind man's journey along a route whose every inch he knows by heart. Yes, this was the evening hour when—how long ago it seemed!—I always felt so well content with life. Then, what awaited me was a night of easy, dreamless sleep. This was the same hour, but with a difference; I was returning to a cell, and what awaited me was a night haunted by forebodings of the coming day. And so I learned that familiar paths traced in the dusk of summer evenings may lead as well to prisons as to innocent, untroubled sleep.
Albert Camus (The Stranger)
go. In order for the data-inputting side of her job to be both profitable and bearable she had to work fast. The first time an accountant gave her a job, he’d told her it was about six to eight hours’ work. She’d done it in four, charged him for six. Since her first job she’d gotten even faster. It was like playing a computer game, seeing if she could get to a higher level each time. It wasn’t her dream job, but she did quite enjoy the satisfaction of transforming a messy pile of paperwork into neat rows of figures. She loved calling up her clients, who were now mostly small-business people like Pete, and telling them she’d found a new deduction. Best of all, she was proud of the fact that she’d supported herself and Ziggy for the last five years without having to ask her parents for money, even if it had meant that she sometimes worked well into the night while he slept. This
Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies)
Fundamentals of Esperanto The grammatical rules of this language can be learned in one sitting. Nouns have no gender & end in -o; the plural terminates in -oj & the accusative, -on Amiko, friend; amikoj, friends; amikon & amikojn, accusative friend & friends. Ma amiko is my friend. A new book appears in Esperanto every week. Radio stations in Europe, the United States, China, Russia & Brazil broadcast in Esperanto, as does Vatican Radio. In 1959, UNESCO declared the International Federation of Esperanto Speakers to be in accord with its mission & granted this body consultative status. The youth branch of the International Federation of Esperanto Speakers, UTA, has offices in 80 different countries & organizes social events where young people curious about the movement may dance to recordings by Esperanto artists, enjoy complimentary soft drinks & take home Esperanto versions of major literary works including the Old Testament & A Midsummer Night’s Dream. William Shatner’s first feature-length vehicle was a horror film shot entirely in Esperanto. Esperanto is among the languages currently sailing into deep space on board the Voyager spacecraft. - Esperanto is an artificial language constructed in 1887 by L. L. Zamenhof, a polish oculist. following a somewhat difficult period in my life. It was twilight & snowing on the railway platform just outside Warsaw where I had missed my connection. A man in a crumpled track suit & dark glasses pushed a cart piled high with ripped & weathered volumes— sex manuals, detective stories, yellowing musical scores & outdated physics textbooks, old copies of Life, new smut, an atlas translated, a grammar, The Mirror, Soviet-bloc comics, a guide to the rivers & mountains, thesauri, inscrutable musical scores & mimeographed physics books, defective stories, obsolete sex manuals— one of which caught my notice (Dr. Esperanto since I had time, I traded my used Leaves of Grass for a copy. I’m afraid I will never be lonely enough. There’s a man from Quebec in my head, a friend to the purple martins. Purple martins are the Cadillac of swallows. All purple martins are dying or dead. Brainscans of grown purple martins suggest these creatures feel the same levels of doubt & bliss as an eight-year-old girl in captivity. While driving home from the brewery one night this man from Quebec heard a radio program about purple martins & the next day he set out to build them a house in his own back yard. I’ve never built anything, let alone a house, not to mention a home for somebody else. Never put in aluminum floors to smooth over the waiting. Never piped sugar water through colored tubes to each empty nest lined with newspaper shredded with strong, tired hands. Never dismantled the entire affair & put it back together again. Still no swallows. I never installed the big light that stays on through the night to keep owls away. Never installed lesser lights, never rested on Sunday with a beer on the deck surveying what I had done & what yet remained to be done, listening to Styx while the neighbor kids ran through my sprinklers. I have never collapsed in abandon. Never prayed. But enough about the purple martins. Every line of the work is a first & a last line & this is the spring of its action. Of course, there’s a journey & inside that journey, an implicit voyage through the underworld. There’s a bridge made of boats; a carp stuffed with flowers; a comic dispute among sweetmeat vendors; a digression on shadows; That’s how we finally learn who the hero was all along. Weary & old, he sits on a rock & watches his friends fly by one by one out of the song, then turns back to the journey they all began long ago, keeping the river to his right.
Srikanth Reddy (Facts for Visitors)
I am going to the ball now, Lord Martin. Doubtless my dance card will be full. Do you still wish to reserve a spot?" So much for not being foolish. She should have just let him forget, which he surely would have done as soon as he saw all the other women in the ballroom. He crossed his wrists over the newel post at the top and leaned upon it. "Yes, I would like to reserve a spot. If I may have first choice, I'll take the last dance please." "Well, you had best hope I don't grow tired and leave early." He replied with smooth confidence. "You won't." She pursed her lips. "Don't be so sure." "How can I not be?" he replied. "Because I think you enjoy a good party, Mrs. Wheaton. More than you let on. Or maybe you don't even know it yet. Maybe you've never experienced a night that was truly exhilarating." He was gazing down at her with presumptuous assistance, as if he knew exactly what she was about, and it shook her inwardly, because curse him, he was right. She had experienced very little excitement in her life because she had witnessed the consequences of women who loved exciting men. She'd seen her mother's broken heart over her father's many disgraces with other women, and Penelope's heartbreak over Martin and others after him. Most importantly, she knew about rejection. She had been living with it all her life, since as early as she could remember, beginning with the most painful rejection of all- her father's. And later, her husband's. She knew how much it hurt and had learned to avoid it by never seeking attention. Instead, she was deliberately unapproachable. Her mask of contempt was her shield.
Julianne MacLean (Surrender to a Scoundrel (American Heiresses, #6))
You should go and enjoy your last night of freedom." Dominic held tight to her hands with one of his own, while with the other he tilted up her chin until she was forced to meet his stormy gaze. "Don't worry, Kat. I intend to." With that, his mouth came down on hers to claim her in a way she had never been claimed before. Their last kiss was warm and gentle, an exploration. This kiss devoured, consumed. And in her surprise, she responded. She slipped her hands from his to wrap them around his neck and into his hair. The dark locks slid like warm silk through her chilly fingers and the friction of the action caused her to kiss him deeper. He tasted very faintly of cigar smoke tinged with just the sharpest hint of whiskey. She never would have thought that taste would please her, but somehow it fit him. Smoky and tangy melded together in a way that made her knees go weak. Not that she needed their support. The moment their lips touched, Dominic crushed her against him and became her support and her prison all at once. A prison she didn't feel any desire to escape. In comparison to the air and the cold of the snow, he was as hot as fire. She was molded against a hard, lean body that melted her defenses and made her groan. "Dominic," she whimpered against his lips. He smiled between hot kisses. "So you do know my name. Say it again." Instead she lifted her lips for another kiss, but he held back. "Say it." "Dominic," she repeated, so low he barely heard it. But it was loud enough for now. Later, he would make her cry out his name. It would be a plea and a prayer as he took her careening over an edge he doubted she even knew existed. Yet. Just the thought of that made hot blood pump harder through him and he brought her even closer. Slowly, he moved his mouth away from hers and began a leisurely trail down her throat. To his delight, she arched against him with a quiet moan as her fingers dug into the layers of his coat. Emboldened by her passionate response, he pressed her back against the terrace wall as one hand brushed up her body until he cupped her breast. Her eyes flew open in surprise, but within the green depths he saw no fear, rather a haze of desire and surrender. With a half-smile, he kissed her again, this time with more control as he gently massaged the nipple thrusting out even through her heavy gown. Her mouth came open with a gasp of pleasure and he drank deeply of her taste. He wanted her. Now. Tonight. Tomorrow wasn't going to come fast enough.
Jenna Petersen (Scandalous)
Life is an adventure to be certain," Milo replied. "Especially if one has a nose for trouble. Isn't that right, my perceptive darling?" Sometimes one could have too much adventure. I was suddenly very weary of this holiday. It would be nice to get back to England, to rest at Thornecrest and enjoy our London flat. I was ready to go home. "Can we go back to London at once?" I asked Milo. "Very well, darling." He came to me and pulled me into his arms. "But let's not start packing just yet." I looked up at him smiling. "You don't mind us going home? I know how much you love your nights spent running wild in Paris." "Je n'aime que toi, ma chérie," he murmured, leaning to kiss me. Emile seemed to appreciate the sentiment for he screeched loudly, clapping his paws together with approval and smacking his lips. Milo glanced at the monkey with an annoyed sigh. "That will do, Emile. You've been most helpful, but I'm afraid I've had enough of your interference for one day." And then he swept me up into his arms and carried me to the bedroom, kicking the door firmly closed behind us.
Ashley Weaver (The Essence of Malice (Amory Ames #4))
Is what happened to Chinook the reason you’re in a hurry to leave—or is last night’s kiss to blame?” She looked over at him, her dark brow furrowed. “Neither. I just need to get my car in for repairs before I start my new position next week.” “I see.” He did—right through her. “I came on too strong, didn’t I?” “Maybe. No. Not at all. It’s just... ” She hesitated. “I enjoyed kissing you, if you must know. In fact, I enjoyed it a little too much.” Back in his twenties and thirties, Jack might have thought her words were emotional nonsense, the kind of thing women said just to drive men insane. But he understood it better now—or he thought he did. “It’s about this Byron guy, isn’t it? And your injuries.” She looked over at him, then quickly looked away again. “Something like that. I’m just not ready for a relationship yet.
Pamela Clare (Soul Deep (I-Team, #6.5))
Her name was Jane,” I said, and Olivia stopped walking. “We were together for two years, married after a few months. I was happy, genuinely happy. Even though she was human, and I knew I’d outlive her, I just wanted to enjoy the time that we had together. “It all ended on a damp November morning in seventeen eighty-two. I’d been away working for Avalon for a few months and had been eager to get home. I found her inside the house we’d shared. She’d been butchered. Her blood decorated our bedroom. She was naked and appeared to have been dead for several days. My rage was…terrifying. I buried Jane with my own hands, placing her near a field that we used to love going to. And then I burnt the house to the ground.” Olivia’s shoulders sagged, but she didn’t turn and face me. “I hunted her killer for a year. I didn’t care who I hurt to get the information I needed. I was so single-minded, so determined to have vengeance. Eventually, I discovered that her murderer had been part of the king’s army, which had been going through the area. “The killer was an officer by the name of Henry. No idea what his last name was. It didn’t matter. He liked hurting women, and once he’d finished with them, he kept their hair as a souvenir. The rest of his squad had waited outside while he brutalized and murdered the woman I loved. No one had helped Jane, and no one had tried to stop him. “I discovered that they’d been on training maneuvers the day of the murder, just their squad of thirty. And after all my searching, I found them and I killed them. They died in one night of blood and rage. All but one. I left Henry until last. I took him away to a secluded place and had my fill of vengeance. It took a week for him to die, and when he finally succumbed, I buried Hellequin with him.” The memory of Henry’s blind and bloody form flashed in my mind—his pleas had long since silenced because I’d removed his tongue. I hadn’t wanted information from him; I’d just wanted to make him suffer. Before he’d lost his ability to talk, he’d told me that someone had paid him to do it, but he never said who. No matter what I did to him, he took that secret to his grave. And after a few years of searching, I decided he’d been lying. Trying to prolong his life for a short time more, hoping for mercy where there was none to give. “I no longer had the desire to go by that name,” I continued, still talking to Olivia’s back, “I no longer wanted to instill fear with a word. I hoped that the legend would die, but it didn’t, it grew, became more…fanciful. “You’re right, I’m a killer. I’ve killed thousands, and very few of them have ever stained my conscience. I can go to a dark place and do whatever I need to. But for those I care about, those I love, I will move fucking mountains to keep them safe. And I care about Tommy and Kasey, whether you grant permission or not.
Steve McHugh (Born of Hatred (Hellequin Chronicles, #2))
What about ‘The Girl I Left Behind’?” Abigail suggested. “I found the music in the piano bench.” She had heard that when soldiers used to leave the post, heading for battle, the company band would play that song. Oliver shook his head. “I don’t want to leave my girl behind. I want her by my side.” He gave Abigail a look so filled with longing that a lump formed in her stomach. Oh no, Oliver. You don’t mean it. You know I’m not your girl, and I won’t ever be. Oblivious to the thoughts that set Abigail’s insides churning, Charlotte nodded vigorously. “That shouldn’t stop us from singing it,” she insisted. “It’s a pretty song.” And it was. Were it not for her concerns that Oliver wanted something she could not give, Abigail could have spent hours listening to him and her sister, for their voices blended beautifully. At the end of the evening, Abigail accompanied Oliver to the door. Though she hoped he would simply say good night as he had before, the way he cleared his throat and the uneasiness she saw on his face made Abigail fear that her hopes would not be realized. Perhaps if she kept everything casual, he would take the cue. “Thank you for coming,” she said as they walked onto the front porch. “Charlotte always enjoys your duets.” “And you?” They were only two words, but Oliver’s voice cracked with emotion as he pronounced them. Please, Oliver, go home. Don’t say something you’ll regret. Though the plea was on the tip of her tongue, Abigail chose a neutral response. “I enjoy listening to both of you.” Oliver stroked his nose in a gesture Abigail had learned was a sign of nervousness. “That’s not what I meant. I hope you enjoy my company as much as I do yours. I look forward to these visits all day.” His voice had deepened, the tone telling Abigail he was close to making a declaration. If only she could spare him the inevitable pain of rejection. “It’s good to have friends,” she said evenly. Oliver shook his head. “You know I want to be more than your friend. I want to marry you.” “I’m sorry.” And she was. Though Ethan claimed Oliver bounced back from rejection, she hated being the one to deliver it. “You know marriage is not possible. Woodrow . . .” Abigail hesitated as she tried and failed to conjure his image. “Woodrow isn’t here.” Oliver completed the sentence. “I am. I lo—” She would not allow him to continue. While it was true that Oliver’s visits helped lift Charlotte’s spirits and filled the empty space left by Jeffrey’s absence, Abigail could not let him harbor any false hopes. “Good night, Lieutenant Seton.” Perhaps the use of his title would tell him she regarded him as a friend, nothing more. What appeared to be sadness filled Oliver’s eyes as his smile faded. “Is there no hope for me?” Abigail shook her head slowly. “I’m afraid not.” He stood for a moment, his lips flattened, his breathing ragged. At last, he reached out and captured her hand in his. Raising it to his lips, Oliver pressed a kiss to the back. “Good night, Miss Harding,” he said as he released her hand and walked away.
Amanda Cabot (Summer of Promise (Westward Winds, #1))
Given the great human longing for power—our dry-throated thirst for control, our teeth-baring fury to protect even the feeblest charge over the most limited domain—I have always been baffled by the effort people devote to getting out of jury service. For many of those summoned to the courthouse, it is not an exaggeration to say that being impaneled is the greatest authority they will wield in their entire lives. Not only do jurors get to decide guilt or innocence, to command the resources of the state to change the direction of a person’s life, but they also enjoy the seemingly supernatural ability to determine history after it has already occurred. Serving on a jury means getting to decide what happened. Jurors are the authors of the facts. And you, who just last night got in a heated argument with your wife over who got to manage the volume on the television remote, gave it all up by lying to a judge, no less, about your “very serious” back pain.
Adam Benforado (Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice)
A women who enjoys her food enjoys life. I get that. Have you ever seen a swan devour an elephant carcass? Neither had I until last night. Watching my date tuck into her steak was like witnessing a lion on safari. I spent most of the night picking stray flecks of bone from my pasta.
Jodi Knight (Filthy Gorgeous)
Do you think I have good character?” “The best.” Smiling, she ran her fingers down my cheek and tapped the cobra’s face. “I’m really loyal,” Lark said, focusing on the snake instead of me. “My mom said I get stuck in the mud a lot. If I like something, I just like it forever. I don’t change. I wasn’t just saying that the first night.” Leaning down, I kissed her “And you like me?” “I should play coy, right? I should make you work for it, but I can’t. I don’t want to lie, so I’ll just tell the truth. I like you more than I’ve liked any guy ever. I’m a little obsessed with you. Like if you dumped me, I would stalk you.” My smile widened. “Your honesty is really hot.” “Would you stalk me if I dumped you?” “Of course not,” I said, pulling a blanket over us. “I wouldn’t need to because I’d kidnap you and keep you as my muse slave.” “I’d escape. I’m wily like that.” “I bet you would, but we’ll never have to find out.” Lark and I stared at each other as if waiting for the other one to be brave enough to say it. “You’re mine,” I whispered. “No one else.” Lark gave a gentle smile like in the studio. “I love you too.” Finally, it was out in the open. The words sounded perfect and natural. “I loved you last weekend,” I admitted. “I should have said that, but I was a jackass.” “I loved you on our first date. I would have mentioned it, but I’m a bigger jackass.” Laughing, I leaned her back on the couch. “I want to celebrate the love between two jackasses.” “No,” she said, squirming free. “I want to be on top. I like exploring.” “And what you like, you’ll always like.” Tugging off her tee, Lark grinned. “I’ll be an old woman and still enjoying my cobra. Oh, and the hot guy attached to it.
Bijou Hunter (Damaged and the Cobra (Damaged, #3))
Right as I go to kiss Echo, someone knocks on the door. Damn it all to hell. “Go away!” “Be nice! It’s probably housekeeping.” Echo shoves at my chest and while she doesn’t have enough strength to push me away, I drop back like a domino, and she hops out of bed. “Be right there,” she calls out, then she lowers her voice to address me. “We’re lucky we didn’t get kicked out last night over the clothes.” “We?” I repeat. “I’m not the one clogging hotel filters with boxer shorts.” She pins me with a glare. I turn onto my side and prop my head up on my hand, deciding to enjoy the show of Echo hot as hell and strutting across the room. Spaghetti-strapped tank top and boy shorts that show a hint of her ass. On second thought... “You may want a robe if you’re going to open that door.” Hell, a shirt would help. “I’m going to crack it open to tell them that we’re still sleeping.” “We’re eighteen and in a hotel. Did you want them to laugh?” Her face turns red, and she shushes me. Damn, she’s going to answer the door like that. I roll off the bed and grab a pair of jeans. “Let me. My luck it’ll be the maintenance guy, then he’ll be stalking you for the rest of the trip.” Echo sticks her tongue out at me, but steps back to let me by. “Be nice.” My lips tilt up as I rub my thumb against her cheek. “I’m always nice.”
Katie McGarry (Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits, #1.5))
Work?” Stuart grinned at him. “Since when do you actually do any work, you lazybones?” Connell forced a smile. “That’s true. I can’t work today, not after inhaling all of the deadly sock fumes last night. I’m still recovering.” The reserve fell away from Lily’s face, and a smile crept up her lips. “I would have thought breathing in the odor of dirty socks was like smelling roses to a shanty boy like you.” He stopped. Did she think he was just a regular shanty boy? Surely she could tell he wasn’t an ordinary man. After all, he was boarding in town instead of living at one of the camps. Stuart’s expression grew playful. “Yeah. Why don’t you put on your smelly socks and get out there and cut some trees, you tough old shanty boy?” For a quarter of a second Connell was tempted to explain who he was. He wouldn’t mind watching her eyes widen in awe when she learned that he was the boss man of three of the area’s largest lumber camps, the oldest son of Kean McCormick, one of the wealthiest lumber barons in central Michigan. Instead, he merely tossed her a grin before turning to leave. As much as he’d enjoy impressing Lily Young, he wouldn’t do it that way—not by boasting of his importance and wealth. If he was going to win her favor, he’d do it like a man. But of course he didn’t care about winning her favor. Not in the least.
Jody Hedlund (Unending Devotion (Michigan Brides, #1))
I know this is being your second relationship and mine be the first one. I'd shed a lot of tears to find my love of life undoubtedly after my mom. Babu, I literally don't know whether I'm perfect for you or not but ya at times i feel like there will always be someone more perfect than me for you. May be he won't able to love you the same way that i do but ya there is someone.... This is my first and only relationship. I know i make lots of mistakes but I swear upon you and my mom that i never ever want to hurt you. There are nights for me in which i just think of myself without you and those nights be so silent that i can hear someone laughing at me Or shall i say that those are the one which literally make me realize my position. Driver for family, termed as useless creature by my father betrayed by my own trust worthies. It feels like time stop at that particular moments and they just want me to haunt it down all through the night. And then comes the time when I'm with you probably spending an hour with you. It seems like life is so good. At that point of time i enjoy the most. Unwillingly i need to drop you back home. Obviously right now I can't or you can't take me home. I had never ever felt so much loved by anyone else. You may think that this guy had copied from net. Once in a while that just comes up. Right!? But just like you do your art work through your heart i do the same. I just express myself to you, my love for you and that is just beyond your imagination. I never ever thought of getting physical or had that mindset to do any such thing with you, your hugs are my favorite and yea "JAAN" too. These two things makes up my day. You can compare me to numerous and i would be not a strong guy or may be I don't possess other qualities which many other have but yea i can challenge you that no one can love you as much as i do. I know for you your parents are first in love and I respect this from my heart. I know i have failed many a times and many times and i have disappointed you, i really regret that and I'm trying to not make those silly or may be big mistakes again. When i say I don't watch a girl or don't get my eyes on her I seriously mean it. Because when I'm having one of the most infact best and most beautiful girl with me why should i get keen on seeing or watching out others. I really don't know what em i up to like I don't know about others but ya there are few persons whom i always want smiling my mom you and my brother. I really wish if i could see your expression after sending you this. Lastly babu, I love you.
Rakesh Chandak
On one trip in January this year she and Cardinal Hume spent nearly two hours with homeless youngsters at a hostel on the south bank of the Thames. Some teenagers, many with drink and drug problems, greeted her presence with aggressively hostile questions, others were simply surprised that she had bothered to see them on a cold Saturday night. As she was talking, a drunken Scotsman lurched into the room. “Hey, you’re gorgeous,” he slurred, totally oblivious of whom he was talking to. When he was told about the identity of the Princess, he was unconcerned. “I don’t care who she is, she’s gorgeous.” While Cardinal Hume was deeply embarrassed, Diana found the incident amusing, perfectly at ease among these young people. In spite of these lapses in manners, she feels very comfortable on these occasions, far more so than when she mixes with the royal family and their courtiers. At Royal Ascot last year she attended the race meeting for just two days out of five before undertaking other engagements. In the past she enjoyed Ascot’s annual parade of fashion and horseflesh, but she now finds it frivolous. As she says to friends: “I don’t like the glamorous occasions any more.I feel uncomfortable with them. I would much rather be doing something useful.
Andrew Morton (Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words)
You cannot claim ownership of a thing if you don’t own it; and likewise you cannot say you live in a place except you dwell in there. To dwell is to exist and to exist is to dwell. Before the purpose of a man can enjoy perfect and long lasting illumination, man must first discover his true worth, which is the exact reason for his existence. However, the mere discovery of mans’ true purpose alone is not enough to give him his true shine; and until the purpose finds a greener pasture to dwell in the inside of him, and himself inside of his found purpose, the long dark nights of man will never see dawn.
Adebola Jacobs
You brought many trunks.” She tasted her chowder and dabbed her lush mouth with the napkin. “One contains my paints, charcoals, canvases, and sculpting clay. Two hold my paintings. Another, my books.” “And the rest?” He stirred his soup, wishing he could eat more than a miniscule amount. “Well, one contains my fishing rods and tackle, and the last holds my gun collection.” An impish smile teased the corners of her lips. “Gun collection?” Vincent was thankful he did not have a mouthful of soup, or else he would have sprayed the table. “So, one is not enough?” Miss Hobson’s face turned an alarming crimson as she choked on her dinner roll. Lydia gave her a hearty thump on the back. “Most were my father’s, but three are mine. He enjoyed taking me shooting.” Vincent grinned. “It appears you are a lady of many talents.” Miss
Brooklyn Ann (One Bite Per Night (Scandals with Bite, #2))
Steve had tried to reach us after our Father’s Day phone call. There was no way I could have realized that, because I didn’t have any mobile phone reception at the cottage. He was back on Croc One and trying to get hold of us via satellite phone. I didn’t know. I wouldn’t be in range again until the next day. We enjoyed our dinner, built a huge fire, and snuggled down for the night. We didn’t hurry ourselves the next day. We meandered west, stopping at a raspberry farm and at the Honey Factory in Chudleigh. They featured a beehive behind glass, and we loved watching as the bees worked on their honeycomb. They never stopped to say, “I wonder what the meaning of life is.” They just kept building. The Honey Factory also featured a plethora of bee-themed products: bee gum boots, bee back massagers, bee umbrellas, and a bee trolley for the kids to ride on. Bindi sampled every single flavor of honey that they had. She bought a wristwatch with a bee on it. Robert picked out a backpack. “Robert,” I said, “that backpack is great. It has bees on it.” “It has one bee on it,” he said, correcting me. “Oh, okay, one bee,” I said, amused at my son’s seriousness. We spent the last hour of the morning at the Honey Factory. As we walked out the door, Bindi looked at her newly purchased watch and said, “It’s twelve o’clock.” We all stopped for a moment and considered that it was twelve o’clock. Then we got into the car and left.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
A sense of humor was essential survival equipment in the palace jungle—but nothing too clever. So was an ability to enjoy food and drink. To these I secretly added an ability to enjoy plane-spotting. It turned out to be quite useful. Many of my tensest moments were experienced in royal airplanes, but surprisingly often I could deflect the Princess’s fiercest rocket with a calculated display of nerdish interest in what I could see out of the window. As it happened, I was able to indulge this lonely vice almost immediately as I caught the bus back to Heathrow. Farewells at KP were polite but perfunctory, and Richard and Anne gave no hint as to the outcome of my interview. Richard ventured the comment that I had given “a remarkable performance,” but this only added to the general air of theatrical unreality. I was pretty sure I had eaten my first and last royal Jersey royal potato. Back in Scotland, my despondency deepened as I inhaled the pungent aroma of my allocated bedroom in the Faslane transit mess. It was not fair, I moaned to myself, to expose someone as sensitive as me to lunch with the most beautiful woman in the world and then consign him to dinner with the duty engineer at the Clyde Submarine Base. And how could I ever face the future when every time the Princess appeared in the papers I would say to myself—or, far worse, to anyone in earshot—“Oh yes, I’ve met her. Had lunch with her in fact. Absolutely charming. Laughed at all my jokes . . .” Now thoroughly depressed, I was preparing for a miserable night’s sleep when I was interrupted by the wardroom night porter. He wore a belligerent expression so convincing that it was clearly the result of long practice. No doubt drawing on years of observing submarine officers at play, he clearly suspected he was being made the victim of a distinctly unamusing practical joke. In asthmatic Glaswegian he accused me of being wanted on the phone “frae Bucknum Paluss.” I rushed to the phone booth, suddenly wide-awake. The Palace operator connected me to Anne Beckwith-Smith. “There you are!” she said in her special lady-in-waiting voice. “We’ve been looking for you everywhere. Would you like the job?
Patrick D. Jephson (Shadows of a Princess: An Intimate Account By Her Private Secretary)
I couldn’t miss the irony, not as a forty-two-year-old native of the segregated South, still fighting to earn respect in the color-conscious world of American business. How often had my parents and grandparents, other family members and friends, and I myself been directed to the back door of a bus, a restaurant, or a theater because we were considered second class, even after paying a first-class price for service! But that night we were treated to courtesies that even President Nixon could not enjoy: entering through the lobby, approaching the front desk, quietly registering, and being assisted to our room by the highly trained wait staff. A familiar portion of a Bible verse came to mind. The last shall be first and the first last (Matt. 20:16).
John Barfield (Starting From Scratch: The Humble Beginnings of a Two Billion-Dollar Enterprise)
Jake flattened the knife against the wall, filling the crevice. It was all he could do to smother a grin. He didn’t know which he’d enjoyed more, spending a couple hours alone with the kids or finding new ways to provoke Meridith. And to think he was getting paid. Maybe once she went back outside, the kids would come down and pretend to play a game at the kitchen bar while they talked. He could hear Meridith talking to them now, asking them about the game they’d supposedly been playing, acting all interested in their activities. If she really cared about them, she wouldn’t be ripping the kids from Summer Place just so she could go back and live happily ever after with her fiancé. And he was pretty sure that’s what she was planning. Their voices grew louder, then Jake saw them all descending the steps. Noelle led the pack, carrying her Uno cards, followed by the boys, then Meridith. Noelle winked on her way past. Little imp. The kids perched at the bar, and he heard the cards being shuffled. Dipping his knife into the mud, Jake sneaked a peek. Meridith was opening the dishwasher. Great. Ben kept turning to look at him, and Jake discreetly shook his head. Even though Meridith faced the other way, no need to be careless. “Noelle, you haven’t said anything about your uncle lately. He hasn’t e-mailed yet?” He felt three pairs of eyes on his back. He hoped Meridith was shelving something. Jake smoothed the mud and turned to gather more, an excuse to appraise the scene. Meridith’s back was turned. He gave the kids a look. “Uh, no, he hasn’t e-mailed.” “Or called or nothing,” Max added. Noelle silently nudged him, and Max gave an exaggerated shrug. What? “Well, let me know when he does. I don’t want to keep pestering you.” “Sure thing,” Noelle said, dealing the cards. Her eyes flickered toward him. “I was thinking we might go for a bike ride this evening,” Meridith said. “Maybe go up to ’Sconset or into town. You all have bikes, right?” “I forgot to tell you,” Noelle said. “I’m going to Lexi’s tonight. I’m spending the night.” “Who’s Lexi?” “A friend from church. You met her mom last week.” A glass clinked as she placed it in the cupboard. “Noelle, I’m not sure how things were . . . before . . . but you have to ask permission for things like this. I don’t even know Lexi, much less her family.” “I know them.” “Have you spent the night before?” “No, but I’ve been to her house tons of times.” He heard a dishwasher rack rolling in, another rolling out, the dishes rattling. “Why don’t we have her family over for dinner one night this week? I could get to know them, and then we’ll see about overnight plans.” “This is ridiculous. They go to our church, and her mom and my mom were friends!” Noelle cast him a look. See? she said with her eyes. Did Meridith think Eva would jeopardize her daughter’s safety? The woman was neurotic. Jake clamped his teeth together before something slipped out. “Just because they go to church doesn’t necessarily make them safe, Noelle. It wouldn’t be responsible to let you spend the night with people I don’t know. You never know what goes on behind closed doors.” “My mom would let me.” The air seemed to vibrate with tension. Jake realized his knife was still, flattened against the wall, and he reached for more mud. Noelle was glaring at Meridith, who’d turned, wielding a spatula. Was she going to blow it? To her credit, the woman drew a deep breath, holding her temper. “Maybe Lexi could stay all night with you instead.” “Well, wouldn’t that pose a problem for her family, since they don’t know you?” Despite his irritation with Meridith, Jake’s lips twitched. Score one for Noelle. “I suppose that would be up to her family.” He heard Noelle’s cards hit the table, her chair screech across the floor as she stood. “Never mind.” She cast Meridith one final glare, then exited through the back door, closing it with a hearty slam.
Denise Hunter (Driftwood Lane (Nantucket, #4))
Real life is so all-absorbing that it doesn’t leave us time to create an imaginary, parallel life. It’s very hard not to stay in love with or be captivated by someone who makes us laugh and does so even though he often mistreats us; the hardest thing to give up is that companionable laughter, once you’ve met someone and decided to stay with them. How cast down we are by rejection, and how much power accrues to the person to whom we gave that power, for no one can take power unless it is first given or conferred, unless you’re prepared to adore and fear that person, unless you aspire to being loved by him or to enjoy his unswerving approval, any such ambition is a sign of conceit and that conceit is what weakens and leaves us defenseless: once that ambition remains unsatisfied or unfulfilled, it marks the beginning of our downfall. Sensations are unstable things, they become transformed in memory, they shift and dance, they can prevail over what was said and heard, over rejection or acceptance. Sometimes, sensations can make us give up and, at others, encourage us to try again. That Spanish mania for mixing business deals with a semblance of incipient friendship. In Spain, oddly enough, it’s considered far more prestigious to be known by one’s first name, and this applies to only four or five or six people: “Federico” is always García Lorca, just as “Rubén” is Rubén Darío, “Juan Ramón” is the Nobel Laureate Jiménez, “Ramón” is Gómez de la Serna, “Mossèn Cinto” is Verdaguer and, five centuries on, “Garcilaso” is Garcilaso de la Vega. In the face of ignorance, one is always free to invent. “Far too civilized. Airport hub. Business deals by the shedload. No, I don’t like it, I don’t like it all. Tons of visitors. The annual Buchmesse. Money calling to money. Rumor on the other hand is what lasts, it’s unstoppable, undying, the one thing that endures. I certainly don’t want to give that imbecile the gift of a rumor. He probably often had such attacks of oral literature. Whoever he was with and whatever the circumstances, he found it hard not to slip into pedantic, didactic mode. Like many unhappy, lonely people, he kept a diary. Curiosity makes us lose all caution. Unhappy people often insist on trying to uncover the full magnitude of their unhappiness, or choose to investigate other people’s lives as a distraction from their own. The eyes of the imagination, which are the eyes that best remember a scene and best recall it later. In the middle of the night everything seems plausible and real. Desire is a selfish thing too and will do almost anything to achieve satisfaction—lie, flatter, take risks, inveigle, make false promises. A nostalgia for the life you discarded always lingers on in the inner depths of your being, and, during bad times, you seek refuge in it as you might in a daydream or a fantasy. I sometimes think that the bonds of deceit and unhappiness are the strongest of all, as are those of error; they may bind even more closely than those of openness, contentment and sincerity. We do sometimes bring about what we most fear because the only way of freeing ourselves from that fear is for the bad thing actually to have happened, for it to be in the past and not in the future or in the realm of possibilities. For it to remain behind.
Javier Marías (Así empieza lo malo)
Dinner on Kitt Peak wrapped up in time for everyone to head outside and watch the sunset together before scattering to the telescope, a time-honored tradition of astronomers everywhere. If asked, we would all supply some good practical scientific reasoning behind the habit - you get a glimpse of what sort of night it's going to be, a sense of upcoming weather, the sky quality, and so on - but the basic reason remains that it's simply beautiful. Standing on a remote mountain with the earth stretching out into the distance and slowly spinning away from our nearest star, it's a wonderful quiet moment to enjoy the vastness and stillness and colors as the night begins. On any given evening, I can promise you that scattered across the planet are a few small groups of astronomers, standing on dome catwalks or dining hall patios or even just a stretch of hard-packed earth and pausing in their work for a few moments to admire the simple beauty of the sky.
Emily M. Levesque (The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy's Vanishing Explorers)
enjoyed a pleasant hour together, chatting and listening to the wireless, but eventually Charlotte glanced at the clock on the mantelpiece and rose. ‘I’d better get going now, Granny. You know what Father is like if I’m late.’ Kitty forced herself to remain silent. The way she saw it, things were hard enough for this girl without her adding her two penn’orth. ‘All right, love. You mind how you go now an’ I’ll look forward to seein’ you next week.’ She kissed her granddaughter affectionately and saw her on her way before returning to the jumper she was knitting. Although it was only four o’clock in the afternoon the light was fast fading and Charlotte shuddered as she hurried along. The frost was already forming on the pavements and she pulled her coat collar up. Soon she was passing the churchyard. The church was in darkness and looked cold and dismal, but the vicarage was in sight. Lights spilled from the kitchen window and it looked inviting – but Charlotte knew differently. The atmosphere in there was as cold as the air outside. And then she saw the police car parked on the road outside and she frowned. Why would the police be visiting her mother and father? Once in the hall, she hung her coat up and drew her gloves off before heading for the kitchen where she knew her mother would normally have been preparing the evening meal. Finding the kitchen empty, she made for the parlour, where she saw her mother with her head bent, softly crying into a tiny white handkerchief. Two policemen were deep in conversation with her father but they stopped talking when Charlotte entered and glanced at him enquiringly. ‘Th-this is my daughter, Charlotte,’ her father introduced her and the older of the two policemen nodded at her as she hurried to her mother and placed her arm protectively about her waist. Her father was as white as a sheet and looked deeply shocked, but turning his attention to Charlotte he told her, ‘I’m afraid something terrible has happened. It-it’s Andrew.’ Charlotte assumed that he meant Andrew Pinnington, his pet choir boy, as she secretly thought of him. Her father went on, ‘These gentlemen have called to tell me that he is dead.’ ‘Dead!’ Charlotte’s eyes stretched wide. ‘But why? How? He was fine last night. You were in the church practising with him.’ ‘I know.’ Her father mopped at his brow. ‘But apparently someone walking their dog found him dangling from a tree down by the canal in Marston Lane earlier this afternoon. It seems that he has hung himself.’ Charlotte sat down heavily, hardly able to take it in, and now the policeman turned his attention back to her father. ‘So you are saying, sir, that he appeared to be perfectly happy when he left you last night?’ ‘Oh, yes.’ Her father nodded vigorously. ‘He seemed to be fine. We had made arrangements for his next choir practice on Tuesday
Rosie Goodwin (The Empty Cradle)
in Howard was in one of those moods during which crazy ideas sound perfectly sensible. A bullish, handsome man with decisive eyebrows and more hair than he could find use for, Lin had a great deal of money and a habit of having things go his way. So many things in his life had gone his way that it no longer occurred to him not to be in a festive mood, and he spent much of his time celebrating the general goodness of things and sitting with old friends telling fat happy lies. But things had not gone Lin’s way lately, and he was not accustomed to the feeling. Lin wanted in the worst way to whip his father at racing, to knock his Seabiscuit down a peg or two, and he believed he had the horse to do it in Ligaroti.1 He was sure enough about it to have made some account-closing bets on the horse, at least one as a side wager with his father, and he was a great deal poorer for it. The last race really ate at him. Ligaroti had been at Seabiscuit’s throat in the Hollywood Gold Cup when another horse had bumped him right out of his game. He had streaked down the stretch to finish fourth and had come back a week later to score a smashing victory over Whichcee in a Hollywood stakes race, firmly establishing himself as the second-best horse in the West. Bing Crosby and Lin were certain that with a weight break and a clean trip, Ligaroti had Seabiscuit’s measure. Charles Howard didn’t see it that way. Since the race, he had been going around with pockets full of clippings about Seabiscuit. Anytime anyone came near him, he would wave the articles around and start gushing, like a new father. The senior Howard probably didn’t hold back when Lin was around. He was immensely proud of Lin’s success with Ligaroti, but he enjoyed tweaking his son, and he was good at it. He had once given Lin a book for Christmas entitled What You Know About Horses. The pages were blank. One night shortly after the Hollywood Gold Cup, Lin was sitting at a restaurant table across from his father and Bing Crosby. They were apparently talking about the Gold Cup, and Lin was sitting there looking at his father and doing a slow burn.
Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit: An American Legend)
But it's my dad who truly saves me. He doesn't even put his fork down, make a face, break a sweat, or throw things ... all things I've done in the last several seconds since Emily walked up and nuclear bombed my life. But Dad is the cloth we're all cut from and has perfected his skills around boardroom tables we can only dream of one day sitting at, so he coldly demands, "Are you quite finished now, young lady? I was rather enjoying a quiet dinner of celebration with my family before you came up and started spewing your venom all over my chicken marsala. It's obvious you are no friend of Abi's, and therefore, no friend of mine." He makes a shooing motion with his fork, a bit of sauce slinging on Emily's white dress too. "Leave us alone so we can continue to celebrate her good fortune as an artist and as a new bride. And you can go back to enjoying a night away from your new husband too." Dad glances at the table of women who are sitting straight and slack-jawed now. "I'm sure your husband is particularly enjoying the evening away from you." Whoa! Dad is ... stone-cold brutal. I'm really glad he's on my team.
Lauren Landish (My Big Fat Fake Honeymoon)
Normally men don't really listen all that well. You can mention that you like apricots, or The Cure, or kittens, and it just goes out of their heads the minute it's out of your mouth. I personally seize on these clues about people. For example, I know that Sasha loves the smell of violets, and that Rose enjoys novels of a bodice-ripping nature and walks for exercise and has a Siamese cat called Dr. Oodles, but if I'd asked Dan what his best friend had studied at college- where they were roommates- he would have no idea. Anyway, Edward was apparently different, because he'd sent me a gorgeous bouquet of roses that filled the room with an intense, sweetly lemony, rosy smell that was mind-blowing. The roses themselves were a rich cream and stuffed with petals that made them look like roses in paintings. Sasha was looking at me. "Well, you must have done something pretty amazing last night. I've been sketching these since I got in. They're the most gorgeous Madame Hardys I've seen in a long time." I could see she had also been getting her shit together; there were open cartons on her desk, and she'd brought her portfolio to the office. "Aren't they roses?" I was bending down, sniffing deeply. I looked for a card. Sasha laughed. "The name of the rose is Madame Hardy. It's a damask rose, and one of the most famous old roses available these days. Someone knows their flowers.
Abbi Waxman (The Garden of Small Beginnings)
Good grievances, did you truly think I would be disappointed in you merely because of that? Everyone has different tastes in terms of food. You can enjoy what you like and such without needing to feel guilty about it.
Sakurase Ayaka (桜瀬彩香) (The Kingdom of Everlasting Night and the Last Ball (長い夜の国と最後の舞踏会))
The garden, which was exposed to the pure light of the Evemeria morning, had already begun to change in hue, due to the light intensity, before she could enjoy it through the window. For some reason, she couldn’t bear missing such scenery more than being thrown out of the social circle. Enduring the sadness and regret she couldn’t quite understand deep within her heart, Dia was terrified there was almost no space left to store said bitterness.
Sakurase Ayaka (桜瀬彩香) (The Kingdom of Everlasting Night and the Last Ball (長い夜の国と最後の舞踏会))
Even though Dia hadn’t been killed yet, if the world was a table, with people as plates—then Dia had already been pushed off, falling to the floor. On the 'table' where Dia formerly was, the merry festival continued, everyone danced happily—as if nothing had happened. …How envious. I want to dance, too.
Sakurase Ayaka (桜瀬彩香) (The Kingdom of Everlasting Night and the Last Ball (長い夜の国と最後の舞踏会))
I also discovered that the same principle works in a hundred different little personal ways. For example, I used to worry and fume about having to go to the dentist, and other unpleasant tasks. Then I said to myself, “This is silly. You know the unpleasantness involved before you make the decision to go. If the unpleasantness is all that important to cause so much concern, and not worth the worry involved, you can simply decide not to go. But, if the decision is that the trip is worth a little unpleasantness, and a definite decision is made to go—then forget about it. Consider the risk before the wheel starts turning.” I used to worry the night before I had to make a speech at a board meeting. Then I said to myself, “I’m either going to make the speech or I’m not. If the decision is to make it, then there’s no need in considering not making it—or trying to mentally run away from it.” I have discovered that much nervousness and anxiety is caused by mentally trying to escape or run away from something that you have decided to go through with physically. If the decision is made to go through with it—not to run away physically—why mentally keep considering or hoping for escape? I used to detest social gatherings and go along only to please my wife, or for business reasons. I went, but mentally I resisted it, and was usually pretty grumpy and uncommunicative. Then I decided that if the decision was to go along physically, I might as well go along mentally—and dismiss all thoughts of resistance. Last night I not only went to what I would formerly have called a stupid social gathering, but I was surprised to find myself thoroughly enjoying it.
Maxwell Maltz (Psycho-Cybernetics, Updated and Expanded)