Hair Bundles Quotes

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I was just thinking of bundling up Cecily and feeding her to the ducks at Hyde Park," said Will, pushing his wet hair back and favoring Jem with a rare smile. "I could use your assistance." "Unfortunately, you may have to delay your plans for suicide a bit longer. Gabriel Lightwood is downstairs, and I have two words for you. Two of your favorite words, at least when you put them together." "'Utter simpleton'?" inquired Will. "'Worthless upstart'?" Jem grinned. "'Demon pox,'" he said.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
Auri hopped down from the chimney and skipped over to where I stood, her hair streaming behind her. "Hello Kvothe." She took a half-step back. "You reek." I smiled my best smile of the day. "Hello Auri," I said. "You smell like a pretty young girl." "I do," she agreed happily. She stepped sideways a little, then forward again, moving lightly on the balls of her bare feet. "What did you bring me?" she asked. "What did you bring me?" I countered. She grinned. "I have an apple that thinks it is a pear," she said, holding it up. "And a bun that thinks it is a cat. And a lettuce that thinks it is a lettuce." "It's a clever lettuce then." "Hardly," she said with a delicate snort. "Why would anything clever think it was a lettuce?" "Even if it is a lettuce?" I asked. "Especially then," she said. "Bad enough to be a lettuce. How awful to think you are a lettuce too." She shook her head sadly, her hair following the motion as if she were underwater. I unwrapped my bundle. "I brought you some potatoes, half a squash, and a bottle of beer that thinks it is a loaf of bread." "What does the squash think it is?" she asked curiously, looking down at it. She held her hands clasped behind her back "It knows it's a squash," I said. "But it's pretending to be the setting sun." "And the potatoes?" she asked. "They're sleeping," I said. "And cold, I'm afraid." She looked up at me, her eyes gentle. "Don't be afraid," she said, and reached out and rested her fingers on my cheek for the space of a heartbeat, her touch lighter than the stroke of a feather. "I'm here. You're safe.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2))
If it is a human thing to do to put something you want, because it's useful, edible, or beautiful, into a bag, or a basket, or a bit of rolled bark or leaf, or a net woven of your own hair, or what have you, and then take it home with you, home being another, larger kind of pouch or bag, a container for people, and then later on you take it out and eat it or share it or store it up for winter in a solider container or put it in the medicine bundle or the shrine or the museum, the holy place, the area that contains what is sacred, and then the next day you probably do much the same again—if to do that is human, if that's what it takes, then I am a human being after all. Fully, freely, gladly, for the first time.... [T]he proper, fitting shape of the novel might be that of a sack, a bag. A book holds words. Words hold things. They bear meanings. A novel is a medicine bundle, holding things in a particular, powerful relation to one another and to us." —"The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction
Ursula K. Le Guin (Dancing at the Edge of the World)
Her hair had been going gray as long as he could remember; she bundled it behind in a bun held with hairpins that he frequently found on the floor when he lived boyishly close to the carpet.
John Updike (My Father's Tears and Other Stories)
In the tell-me-again times, (…) when my mom and I lived in a little apartment in a little building downtown, I slept in her bed. It was a raft on the ocean, a cloud, a forest, a spaceship, a cocoon that we shared. I could stretch out like a five-pointed star and then she'd bundle me back up in her arms. I'd wake in the morning tangled in her hair.
Erica Lorraine Scheidt (Uses for Boys)
Little girls are the nicest things that can happen to people. They are born with a bit of angel-shine about them, and though it wears thin sometimes, there is always enough left to lasso your heart—even when they are sitting in the mud, or crying temperamental tears, or parading up the street in Mother’s best clothes. A little girl can be sweeter (and badder) oftener than anyone else in the world. She can jitter around, and stomp, and make funny noises that frazzle your nerves, yet just when you open your mouth, she stands there demure with that special look in her eyes. A girl is Innocence playing in the mud, Beauty standing on its head, and Motherhood dragging a doll by the foot. God borrows from many creatures to make a little girl. He uses the song of a bird, the squeal of a pig, the stubbornness of a mule, the antics of a monkey, the spryness of a grasshopper, the curiosity of a cat, the speed of a gazelle, the slyness of a fox, the softness of a kitten, and to top it all off He adds the mysterious mind of a woman. A little girl likes new shoes, party dresses, small animals, first grade, noisemakers, the girl next door, dolls, make-believe, dancing lessons, ice cream, kitchens, coloring books, make-up, cans of water, going visiting, tea parties, and one boy. She doesn’t care so much for visitors, boys in general, large dogs, hand-me-downs, straight chairs, vegetables, snowsuits, or staying in the front yard. She is loudest when you are thinking, the prettiest when she has provoked you, the busiest at bedtime, the quietest when you want to show her off, and the most flirtatious when she absolutely must not get the best of you again. Who else can cause you more grief, joy, irritation, satisfaction, embarrassment, and genuine delight than this combination of Eve, Salome, and Florence Nightingale. She can muss up your home, your hair, and your dignity—spend your money, your time, and your patience—and just when your temper is ready to crack, her sunshine peeks through and you’ve lost again. Yes, she is a nerve-wracking nuisance, just a noisy bundle of mischief. But when your dreams tumble down and the world is a mess—when it seems you are pretty much of a fool after all—she can make you a king when she climbs on your knee and whispers, "I love you best of all!
Alan Beck
Elizabeth Michelle Emerson,” she whispers, stroking Liz’s hair away from her face. She remembers being just two floors above here, holding Liz when she was still just a small bundle of pink in her arms. She remembers shifting Liz from one arm to the other so that she and her husband could sign the birth certificate beneath the name that they had chosen so carefully. Through her tears, she says softly, “Please don’t make me write it on a tombstone,
Amy Zhang (Falling into Place)
There were people who escaped Hiroshima and rushed to Nagasaki to see that their loved ones were safe. Arriving just in time to be incinerated. He went there after the war with a team of scientists. My father. He said that everything was rusty. Everything looked covered with rust. There were burnt-out shells of trolleycars standing in the streets. The glass melted out of the sashes and pooled on the bricks. Seated on the blackened springs the charred skeletons of the passengers with their clothes and hair gone and their bones hung with blackened strips of flesh. Their eyes boiled from their sockets. Lips and noses burned away. Sitting in their seats laughing. The living walked about but there was no place to go. They waded by the thousands into the river and died there. They were like insects in that no one direction was preferable to another. Burning people crawled among the corpses like some horror in a vast crematorium. They simply thought that the world had ended. It hardly even occurred to them that it had anything to do with the war. They carried their skin bundled up in their arms before them like wash that it not drag in the rubble and ash and they passed one another mindlessly on their mindless journeyings over the smoking afterground, the sighted no better served than the blind. The news of all this did not even leave the city for two days. Those who survived would often remember these horrors with a certain aesthetic to them. In that mycoidal phantom blooming in the dawn like an evil lotus and in the melting of solids not heretofore known to do so stood a truth that would silence poetry a thousand years. Like an immense bladder, they would say. Like some sea thing. Wobbling slightly on the near horizon. Then the unspeakable noise. They saw birds in the dawn sky ignite and explode soundlessly and fall in long arcs earthward like burning party favors. p.116
Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger, #1))
In the happy times, in the tell-me-again times, when I’m seven and there are no stepbrothers and it’s before the stepfathers, my mom lets me sleep in her bed. Her bed is a raft on the ocean. It’s a cloud, a forest, a spaceship, a cocoon we share. I stretch out big as I can, a five-pointed star, and she bundles me back up in her arms. When I wake I’m tangled in her hair. “Tell me again,” I say and she tells me again how she wanted me more than anything. “More than anything in the world,” she says, “I wanted a little girl.
Erica Lorraine Scheidt (Uses for Boys)
He was, to my mind, a little inbred looking. His ears and nose were more pronounced than they ought to have been, he had a schoolgirl complexion with flushed red cheeks and his thin brown hair was already receding badly.  He looked like he would grow up to be a Tory politician.
Steve Higgs (Blue Moon Investigations Ten Book Bundle)
I see the future. It is there, poised over the street, hardly more dim than the present. What advantage will accrue from its realisation? The old woman stumps further and further away, she stops, pulls at a grey lock of hair which escapes from her handkerchief. She walks, she was there, now she is here... I don't know where I am any more: do i see her motions, or do I foresee them? I can no longer distinguish present from future and yet it lasts, it happens little by little; the old woman advances in the deserted street, shuffling her heavy, mannish brogues. This is time, time laid bare, coming slowly into existence, keeping us waiting, and when it does come making us sick because we realise it's been there for a long time. The old woman reaches the corner of the street, no more than a bundle of black clothes. All right then, it's new, she wasn't there a little while ago. But it's a tarnished deflowered newness, which can never surprise. She is going to turn the corner, she turns - during an eternity.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Nausea)
The boy started to thrash and cry. A tiny bundle of bones and scars, freckles and red hair. Just another human who would grow up to become a monster.
Paolo Bacigalupi (The Drowned Cities (Ship Breaker, #2))
I am the wood frame, the bundle of ox hair, and the creative spark... my value unhangable.
Marina Leigh Duff
Boys are found everywhere- on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around or jumping to. Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older sisters and brothers tolerated them, adults ignore them and Heaven protects them. A boy is Truth with dirt on its face, Beauty with a cut on its finger, Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket. A boy is a magical creature- you can lock out of your workshop, but you can't lock him out of your heart. You can get him out of your study, but you can't get him out of your mind. Might as well give up- he is your captor, your jailor, your boss and your master- a freckled-faced, pint-sized, cat-chasing bundle of noise. But when you come home at night with only the shattered pieces of your hopes and dreams, he can mend them like new with two magic words- 'Hi, Dad!
Alan Beck
Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1))
Alice haunted the mossy edge of the woods, lingering in patches of shade. She was waiting to hear his Austin-Healey throttle back when he careened down the utility road separating the state park from the cabins rimming the lake, but only the whistled conversation of buntings echoed in the branches above. The vibrant blue males darted deeper into the trees when she blew her own 'sweet-sweet chew-chew sweet-sweet' up to theirs. Pine seedlings brushed against her pants as she pushed through the understory, their green heads vivid beneath the canopy. She had dressed to fade into the forest; her hair was bundled up under a long-billed cap, her clothes drab and inconspicuous. When at last she heard his car, she crouched behind a clump of birch and made herself as small as possible, settling into a shallow depression of ferns and leaf litter.
Tracy Guzeman (The Gravity of Birds)
She must not give herself up as hopeless, as many a plain girl does, scrape her hair back into an unsymmetrical bundle, have her clothes "cut out with a hatchet and put on with a pitchfork," ill-use her skin with coarse soaps and neglect her figure. Only a beauty may dare all this, and even the loveliest cannot afford it.
Mrs. Humphry
Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft brown hair, a sweet mouth, and white hands, of which she was rather vain. Fifteen-year-old Jo was very tall, thin, and brown, and reminded one of a colt, for she never seemed to know what to do with her long limbs, which were very much in her way. She had a decided mouth, a comical nose, and sharp, gray eyes, which appeared to see everything, and were by turns fierce, funny, or thoughtful. Her long, thick hair was her one beauty, but it was usually bundled into a net, to be out of her way. Round shoulders had Jo, big hands and feet, a flyaway look to her clothes, and the uncomfortable appearance of a girl who was rapidly shooting up into a woman and didn't like it. Elizabeth, or Beth, as everyone called her, was a rosy, smooth-haired, bright-eyed girl of thirteen, with a shy manner, a timid voice, and a peaceful expression which was seldom disturbed. Her father called her 'Little Miss Tranquility', and the name suited her excellently, for she seemed to live in a happy world of her own, only venturing out to meet the few whom she trusted and loved. Amy, though the youngest, was a most important person, in her own opinion at least. A regular snow maiden, with blue eyes, and yellow hair curling on her shoulders, pale and slender, and always carrying herself like a young lady mindful of her manners. What the characters of the four sisters were we will leave to be found out.
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and "fall into a vortex" as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace. Her "scribbling suit" consisted of a black woollen pinafore on which she could wipe her pen at will, and a cap of the same material, adorned with a cheerful red bow, into which she bundled her hair when the decks were cleared for action. This cap was a beacon to the inquiring eyes of her family, who during these periods kept their distance, merely popping in their heads semi-occasionally, to ask, with interest, "Does genius burn, Jo?" They did not always venture even to ask this question, but took an observation of the cap, and judged accordingly. If this expressive article of dress was drawn low upon the forehead, it was a sign that hard work was going on; in exciting moments it was pushed rakishly askew; and when despair seized the author it was plucked wholly off, and cast upon the floor. At such times the intruder silently withdrew; and not until the red bow was seen gayly erect upon the gifted brow, did any one dare address Jo.
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
It was a time, two hundred years ago …” It’s always two hundred years in Highland stories, said the Reverend Wakefield’s voice in memory. The same thing as “Once upon a time,” you know. And women trapped in the rocks of fairy duns, traveling far and arriving exhausted, who knew not where they had been, nor how they had come there. I could feel the hair rising on my forearms, as though with cold, and rubbed them uneasily. Two hundred years. From 1945 to 1743; yes, near enough.
Diana Gabaldon (The Outlander Series 7-Book Bundle: Outlander / Dragonfly in Amber / Voyager / Drums of Autumn / The Fiery Cross / A Breath of Snow and Ashes / An Echo in the Bone)
The now-famous yearly Candlebrow Conferences, like the institution itself, were subsidized out of the vast fortune of Mr. Gideon Candlebrow of Grossdale, Illinois, who had made his bundle back during the great Lard Scandal of the '80s, in which, before Congress put an end to the practice, countless adulterated tons of that comestible were exported to Great Britain, compromising further an already debased national cuisine, giving rise throughout the island, for example, to a Christmas-pudding controversy over which to this day families remain divided, often violently so. In the consequent scramble to develop more legal sources of profit, one of Mr. Candlebrow's laboratory hands happened to invent "Smegmo," an artificial substitute for everything in the edible-fat category, including margarine, which many felt wasn't that real to begin with. An eminent Rabbi of world hog capital Cincinnati, Ohio, was moved to declare the product kosher, adding that "the Hebrew people have been waiting four thousand years for this. Smegmo is the Messiah of kitchen fats." [...] Miles, locating the patriotically colored Smegmo crock among the salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, steak sauce, sugar and molasses, opened and sniffed quizzically at the contents. "Say, what is this stuff?" "Goes with everything!" advised a student at a nearby table. "Stir it in your soup, spread it on your bread, mash it into your turnips! My doormates comb their hair with it! There's a million uses for Smegmo!
Thomas Pynchon (Against the Day)
The girl standing before me wore a dress of pure white that made her seem about six feet tall. The dress was heavy enough it pulled her back straight, and she stood proudly, the train of the dress spread neatly behind her. Her lips were as red as roses, her eyes outlined in black kohl. Her dark hair had been bundled at the nape of her neck, braided and folded as required, a few curls springing loose to caress her pale shoulders, which were bare. That girl was one of the most powerful mages to ever live. And that girl was me.
Aprille Legacy (Soul Blaze (The Soul Trilogy, #2))
if you motherfuckers must know, I was looking up porn,” Preppy said with a shrug of his shoulders. There was a rustling in the brush up ahead. A huge brown hog with wiry hair and a broken tusk darted out from its hiding place and into the clearing, making a run for his life through the trees. Preppy lifted his gun and pulled the trigger. He missed the fast moving pig and the bullet blew a huge hole into a tree stump. “But you’d be surprised how one little misspelling of the word BEASTIALITY can change the entire fucking nature of a search.
T.M. Frazier (King Series Bundle (King, #1-4))
Matteo didn't lick a woman's pussy because he felt obligated, or at the very least not mine. I might have argued he enjoyed it more than I did if he wasn't so damn good at it. That talented tongue explored every part of me, thrusting in and out until I whimpered. When he turned his attention to my clit, it was so he could slide a finger inside me. I clenched around him on a cry, feeling the way he moaned in response vibrate through me. He withdrew that finger, only to add a second and curl them to stroke that spot inside me that made me quiver. "Teo," I whimpered, and the sound of his name seemed to push him over the edge. He wrapped his lips around the bundle of nerves at the apex of my thigh, sucking gently. My legs tightened around his head; my hand buried in his hair to hold him exactly where I wanted him as I shattered in a blinding orgasm that stole my ability to function. I laid there, panting and trying to regain my ability to move. When I opened my eyes, it was to Matteo shoving his own underwear down his legs and kicking them off. He pulled his fingers free of me and spread my legs wide from where they'd wrapped around his head. Sliding up my body, his hips lined up with mine so he could grind his length against my wet core. His lips found mine in a bruising, claiming kiss that seemed even more primal because he tasted like me. He reached down, sliding himself through my wet and notching his head at my entrance. Pulling away from my lips, he groaned, "Tell me you're mine." Still recovering from my orgasm, I nodded in a daze. "Words, Angel. Give me the words." "Yours," I murmured, cupping his cheek with a delirious smile and tugging him down to kiss him again. He slid inside me slowly, filling me until there wasn't a single inch that couldn't feel him. "Fuck," he groaned against my mouth. He reached down, wrapping my legs around his hips. Our foreheads pressed together; our mouths not quite touching as he started to move inside me. Even without his lips on mine, I could taste him, taste me in his breath on my face. One of his hands grabbed mine, our fingers intertwining while he wrapped his other under my shoulder to hold me where he wanted me. He slid in and out in slow, hard thrusts.
Adelaide Forrest (Bloodied Hands (Bellandi Crime Syndicate, #1))
A girl and a boy, sitting lazily cross-legged under a pale green willow, picking at the grass. She is lying with her head in his lap, long red hair fanned against his knee. Her skin is not my unnatural red but like honeyed cream. She grins up at him, his eyes the color of an evergreen forest, of dragonfly wings, his corn-gold, too-long hair falling over his forehead. And she laughs. When she does her back, her throat arches slightly, and he blushes. He smells of wheat fields and fallen autumn apples soft against the earth, and it is a smell she knows like her own. Under the filmy reed-curtain of the old willow tree, they hold hands and talk quietly, shoes discarded like peach pits. The sun is low in the sky, warm and orange-gold on their young faces, their strong white smiles and freshly washed hair. The light spills onto their shoulders like water from a well. There are sharp-smelling rosemary branches braided into her hair, with their little blue blossoms, and the oil is on their brown fingers. The boy whispers something in the girl’s ear, and she closes her eyes, lashes smoking cheekbones like bundles of sage.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Labyrinth)
Over Volkheimer’s shoulder, through the cracked rear window of the truck shell, Werner watches a red-haired child in a velvet cape float six feet above the road. She passes through trees and road signs, veers around curves; she is as inescapable as a moon. Werner curls beneath the bench in the back and does not move for hours, bundled in a blanket, refusing tea, tinned meat, while the floating child pursues him through the countryside. Dead girl in the sky, dead girl out the window, dead girl three inches away. Two wet eyes and that third eye of the bullet hole never blinking.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
Still dark. The Alpine hush is miles deep. The skylight over Holly’s bed is covered with snow, but now that the blizzard’s stopped I’m guessing the stars are out. I’d like to buy her a telescope. Could I send her one? From where? My body’s aching and floaty but my mind’s flicking through the last night and day, like a record collector flicking through a file of LPs. On the clock radio, a ghostly presenter named Antoine Tanguay is working through Nocturne Hour from three till four A.M. Like all the best DJs, Antoine Tanguay says almost nothing. I kiss Holly’s hair, but to my surprise she’s awake: “When did the wind die down?” “An hour ago. Like someone unplugged it.” “You’ve been awake a whole hour?” “My arm’s dead, but I didn’t want to disturb you.” “Idiot.” She lifts her body to tell me to slide out. I loop a long strand of her hair around my thumb and rub it on my lip. “I spoke out of turn last night. About your brother. Sorry.” “You’re forgiven.” She twangs my boxer shorts’ elastic. “Obviously. Maybe I needed to hear it.” I kiss her wound-up hair bundle, then uncoil it. “You wouldn’t have any ciggies left, perchance?” In the velvet dark, I see her smile: A blade of happiness slips between my ribs. “What?” “Use a word like ‘perchance’ in Gravesend, you’d get crucified on the Ebbsfleet roundabout for being a suspected Conservative voter. No cigarettes left, I’m ’fraid. I went out to buy some yesterday, but found a semiattractive stalker, who’d cleverly made himself homeless forty minutes before a whiteout, so I had to come back without any.” I trace her cheekbones. “Semiattractive? Cheeky moo.” She yawns an octave. “Hope we can dig a way out tomorrow.” “I hope we can’t. I like being snowed in with you.” “Yeah well, some of us have these job things. Günter’s expecting a full house. Flirty-flirty tourists want to party-party-party.” I bury my head in the crook of her bare shoulder. “No.” Her hand explores my shoulder blade. “No what?” “No, you can’t go to Le Croc tomorrow. Sorry. First, because now I’m your man, I forbid it.” Her sss-sss is a sort of laugh. “Second?” “Second, if you went, I’d have to gun down every male between twelve and ninety who dared speak to you, plus any lesbians too. That’s seventy-five percent of Le Croc’s clientele. Tomorrow’s headlines would all be BLOODBATH IN THE ALPS AND LAMB THE SLAUGHTERER, and the a vegetarian-pacifist type, I know you wouldn’t want any role in a massacre so you’d better shack up”—I kiss her nose, forehead, and temple—“with me all day.” She presses her ear to my ribs. “Have you heard your heart? It’s like Keith Moon in there. Seriously. Have I got off with a mutant?” The blanket’s slipped off her shoulder: I pull it back. We say nothing for a while. Antoine whispers in his radio studio, wherever it is, and plays John Cage’s In a Landscape. It unscrolls, meanderingly. “If time had a pause button,” I tell Holly Sykes, “I’d press it. Right”—I press a spot between her eyebrows and up a bit—“there. Now.” “But if you did that, the whole universe’d be frozen, even you, so you couldn’t press play to start time again. We’d be stuck forever.” I kiss her on the mouth and blood’s rushing everywhere. She murmurs, “You only value something if you know it’ll end.
David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks)
In ten minutes Peg had returned with a bundle of stuff. She washed her mistress's rat-tails at the stand, and then tucked her back into freshly laundered sheets. Enticing pattern books and journals lay across the coverlet. To Peg's satisfaction, her mistress began to leaf through The Lady's Magazine. "Your hair has a natural wave." Peg snipped at the ends with the scissors from her chatelaine, curling them into charming spirals. "Would you care for this style?" She held up an illustration of the "Grecian Manner", and deftly wound a bandeau of blue ribbon around her mistress's crown and temple. When Mrs. Croxon lifted the mirror, her face softened. She turned her head from left to right, admiring her reflection. "Now see that ribbon. That is the color you must have for your new gowns. Forget-me-not, and that pistachio color, they are all fashion. Forget those paces and daffodils.
Martine Bailey (A Taste for Nightshade)
I felt warm water running between my thighs. Penetrating me. I squirmed trying to get away from it. Something warm and hard pinned me down. As the stimulation built, sleep faded, everything lazily coming into focus. I registered the rough scratching of stubble, warm breath, silky hair on my thighs. I realized it was David's mouth creating that warm sensation. His head moving between my legs, heat from his tongue spreading through me, warming my blood as he lapped and circled my clit. My legs draped over his shoulders, resting along his broad back, my toes curled and flexed as he worked me up. His hands clamped to the creases just below my hips bones, holding me in place as he leisurely ate me. Savoring me like he loved it, like he could do it for hours. “Are you awake?” David asked from between my thighs, his voice husky. He slipped two fingers into my soaking sex, stimulating my sensitive bundle of nerves with perfect precision.
J.C. Grant (Playing for Keeps (Playing For #1))
Are you chuckling yet? Because then along came you. A big, broad meat eater with brash blond hair and ruddy skin that burns at the beach. A bundle of appetites. A full, boisterous guffaw; a man who tells knock know jokes. Hot dogs - not even East 86th Street bratwurst but mealy, greasy big guts that terrifying pink. Baseball. Gimme caps. Puns and blockbuster movies, raw tap water and six-packs. A fearless, trusting consumer who only reads labels to make sure there are plenty of additives. A fan of the open road with a passion for his pickup who thinks bicycles are for nerds. Fucks hard and talks dirty; a private though unapologetic taste for porn. Mysteries, thrillers, and science fiction; a subscription to National Geographic. Barbecues on the Fourth of July and intentions, in the fullness of time, to take up golf. Delights in crappy snack foods of ever description: Burgles. Curlies. Cheesies. Squigglies - you're laughing - but I don't eat them - anything that looks less like food than packing material and at least six degrees of separation from the farm. Bruce Springsteen, the early albums, cranked up high with the truck window down and your hair flying. Sings along, off-key - how is it possible that I should be endeared by such a tin ear?Beach Boys. Elvis - never lose your roots, did you, loved plain old rock and roll. Bombast. Though not impossibly stodgy; I remember, you took a shine to Pearl Jam, which was exactly when Kevin went off them...(sorry). It just had to be noisy; you hadn't any time for my Elgar, my Leo Kottke, though you made an exception for Aaron Copeland. You wiped your eyes brusquely at Tanglewood, as if to clear gnats, hoping I didn't notice that "Quiet City" made you cry. And ordinary, obvious pleasure: the Bronx Zoo and the botanical gardens, the Coney Island roller coaster, the Staten Island ferry, the Empire State Building. You were the only New Yorker I'd ever met who'd actually taken the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. You dragged me along once, and we were the only tourists on the boat who spoke English. Representational art - Edward Hopper. And my lord, Franklin, a Republican. A belief in a strong defense but otherwise small government and low taxes. Physically, too, you were such a surprise - yourself a strong defense. There were times you were worried that I thought you too heavy, I made so much of your size, though you weighed in a t a pretty standard 165, 170, always battling those five pounds' worth of cheddar widgets that would settle over your belt. But to me you were enormous. So sturdy and solid, so wide, so thick, none of that delicate wristy business of my imaginings. Built like an oak tree, against which I could pitch my pillow and read; mornings, I could curl into the crook of your branches. How luck we are, when we've spared what we think we want! How weary I might have grown of all those silly pots and fussy diets, and how I detest the whine of sitar music!
Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
As my energy changed and felt so much more free, open and exciting, new stuff started showing up. It became addictive — circulating energy. I stopped wearing my workout clothes every damn day. Working from home has its perks, but I was just dressing by default. There I was with a wardrobe full of clothes, yet I was wearing the same yoga pants, Jeaniius Tee, and hair scrunchie top knot every damn day. Time to wear the clothes I'd never worn, just because! I felt refreshed. Paying more attention to my clothes led to something else that shifted my energy level. I have always given away my clothes in bundles, because I just love the feeling of minimalism (and giving) but I was reaching a whole new level. I realized that every single thing in my home had its own energy-even my clothes. So if there was something sitting around that was not getting used or giving me any joy or excitement, it was time for it to go. I felt I had space for so many surprises to show up, and of course, they did.
Peta Kelly (Earth is Hiring: The New way to live, lead, earn and give for millennials and anyone who gives a sh*t)
He ducked his head, and his whiskers scraped against her inner thighs as he settled between them. His broad shoulders pushed her knees apart, and he worked both hands beneath her hips and lifted, tilting her to the most favorable angle to receive his kiss. For a moment, the intimacy was too much, too uncertain. But when she heard his deep moan of satisfaction, her hesitancy disappeared. His tongue glided up the seam of her sex. Oh. Oh, God. She gripped the pillows on either side of her hips, sinking her fingers into the tasseled brocade. The fireworks overhead were nothing to the sensations exploding through her with every pass of his tongue. He parted her with his thumbs, opening her to his explorations. He centered his attention on the bundle of nerves at the apex of her cleft and worked it with his nimble, flickering tongue. Penny's head rolled back, and she closed her eyes, surrendering to his erotic talent and the delicious, mounting pleasure. She twisted her hand in his hair and arched against him, seeking more contact, more joy. Climbing higher and higher, until she was dizzied and wary of looking down.
Tessa Dare (The Wallflower Wager (Girl Meets Duke, #3))
Music was coming from somewhere. Riddle whirled around to stare down the empty Chamber. The music was growing louder. It was eerie, spine-tingling, unearthly; it lifted the hair on Harry's scalp and made his heart feel as though it was swelling to twice its normal size. Then, as the music reached such a pitch that Harry felt it vibrating inside his own ribs, flames erupted at the top of the nearest pillar. A crimson bird the size of a swan had appeared, piping its weird music to the vaulted ceiling. It had a glittering golden tail as long as a peacock's and gleaming golden talons, which were gripping a ragged bundle. A second later, the bird was flying straight at Harry. It dropped the ragged thing it was carrying at his feet, then landed heavily on his shoulder. As it folded its great wings, Harry looked up and saw it had a long, sharp golden beak and a black beady eye. The bird stopped singing. It sat still and warm next to Harry's cheek, gazing steadily at Riddle. "That's a phoenix...." said Riddle, staring shrewdly back at it. "Fawkes?" Harry breathed, and he felt the bird's golden claws squeeze his shoulder gently.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2))
I thought Dougal MacKenzie taught Jamie to fight left-handed,” I said. I rather wondered what Jenny thought of her uncle Dougal. She nodded, licking the end of a thread before putting it through the eye of her needle with one quick poke. “Aye, it was, but that was later, when Jamie was grown, and went to foster wi’ Dougal. It was Ian’s father taught him his first strokes.” She smiled, eyes on the shirt in her lap. “I remember, when they were young, auld John told Ian it was his job to stand to Jamie’s right, for he must guard his chief’s weaker side in a fight. And he did—they took it verra seriously, the two of them. And I suppose auld John was right, at that,” she added, snipping off the excess thread. “After a time, nobody would fight them, not even the MacNab lads. Jamie and Ian were both fair-sized, and bonny fighters, and when they stood shoulder to shoulder, there was no one could take the pair o’ them down, even if they were outnumbered.” She laughed suddenly, and smoothed back a lock of hair behind her ear. “Watch them sometime, when they’re walking the fields together. I dinna suppose they even realize they do it still, but they do. Jamie always moves to the left, so Ian can take up his place on the right, guardin’ the weak side.
Diana Gabaldon (The Outlander Series 7-Book Bundle: Outlander / Dragonfly in Amber / Voyager / Drums of Autumn / The Fiery Cross / A Breath of Snow and Ashes / An Echo in the Bone)
wooded area, eventually making his way to the road that led to the hanging tree. Once there, he simply followed the path the truck had taken on previous trips, walking briskly, but not so fast as to attract attention. There was precious little to attract anyway on a hot Sunday shortly after dawn. Most miners and Peacekeepers would not rise for hours. After a few miles, he reached the depressing field and broke into a run for the hanging tree, eager to conceal himself in the woods. There was no sign of Lucy Gray, and as he passed under the branches, he wondered if in fact he’d misinterpreted her message and should have headed to the Seam instead. Then he caught a glimpse of orange and tracked it to a clearing. There she stood, unloading a stack of bundles from a small wagon, his scarf wound in a fetching manner around her head. She ran over and hugged him, and he responded even though it felt too hot for an embrace. The kiss that followed put him in a better mood. His hand went to the orange scarf in her hair. “This seems very bright for fugitives.” Lucy Gray smiled. “Well, I don’t want you to lose me. You still up for this?” “I have no choice.” Realizing that sounded halfhearted, he added, “You’re all that matters to me now.” “You, too. You’re my life now. Sitting here, waiting for you to show up, I realized I’d never really be brave enough to do this without you,” she admitted. “It’s not just how hard it will be. It’s too
Suzanne Collins (The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0))
Motor-scooter riders with big beards and girl friends who bounce on the back of the scooters and wear their hair long in front of their faces as well as behind, drunks who follow the advice of the Hat Council and are always turned out in hats, but not hats the Council would approve. Mr. Lacey, the locksmith,, shups up his shop for a while and goes to exchange time of day with Mr. Slube at the cigar store. Mr. Koochagian, the tailor, waters luxuriant jungle of plants in his window, gives them a critical look from the outside, accepts compliments on them from two passers-by, fingers the leaves on the plane tree in front of our house with a thoughtful gardener's appraisal, and crosses the street for a bite at the Ideal where he can keep an eye on customers and wigwag across the message that he is coming. The baby carriages come out, and clusters of everyone from toddlers with dolls to teenagers with homework gather at the stoops. When I get home from work, the ballet is reaching its cresendo. This is the time roller skates and stilts and tricycles and games in the lee of the stoop with bottletops and plastic cowboys, this is the time of bundles and packages, zigzagging from the drug store to the fruit stand and back over to the butcher's; this is the time when teenagers, all dressed up, are pausing to ask if their slips shows or their collars look right; this is the time when beautiful girls get out of MG's; this is the time when the fire engines go through; this is the time when anybody you know on Hudson street will go by. As the darkness thickens and Mr. Halpert moors the laundry cart to the cellar door again, the ballet goes under lights, eddying back nad forth but intensifying at the bright spotlight pools of Joe's sidewalk pizza, the bars, the delicatessen, the restaurant and the drug store. The night workers stop now at the delicatessen, to pick up salami and a container of milk. Things have settled down for the evening but the street and its ballet have not come to a stop. I know the deep night ballet and its seasons best from waking long after midnight to tend a baby and, sitting in the dark, seeing the shadows and hearing sounds of the sidewalk. Mostly it is a sound like infinitely patterning snatches of party conversation, and, about three in the morning, singing, very good singing. Sometimes their is a sharpness and anger or sad, sad weeping, or a flurry of search for a string of beads broken. One night a young man came roaring along, bellowing terrible language at two girls whom he had apparently picked up and who were disappointing him. Doors opened, a wary semicircle formed around him, not too close, until police came. Out came the heads, too, along the Hudsons street, offering opinion, "Drunk...Crazy...A wild kid from the suburbs" Deep in the night, I am almost unaware of how many people are on the street unless someone calls the together. Like the bagpipe. Who the piper is and why he favored our street I have no idea.
Jane Jacobs
Annabelle met her at the door, looking strained and weary but wearing a brilliant smile. And there was a tiny bundle of linen and clean toweling in her arms. Daisy put her fingers over her mouth and shook her head slightly, laughing even as her eyes prickled with tears. “Oh my,” she said, staring at the red-faced baby, the bright dark eyes, the wealth of black hair. “Say hello to your niece,” Annabelle said, gently handing the infant to her. Daisy took the baby carefully, astonished by how light she was. “My sister—” “Lillian’s fine,” Annabelle replied at once. “She did splendidly.” Cooing to the baby, Daisy entered the room. Lillian was resting against a stack of pillows, her eyes closed. She looked very small in the large bed, her hair braided in two plaits like a young girl’s. Westcliff was at her side, looking like he had just fought Waterloo singlehandedly. The veterinarian was at the washstand, soaping his hands. He threw Daisy a friendly smile, and she grinned back at him. “Congratulations, Mr. Merritt,” she said. “It seems you’ve added a new species to your repertoire.” Lillian stirred at the sound of her voice. “Daisy?” Daisy approached with the baby in her arms. “Oh, Lillian, she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Her sister grinned sleepily. “I think so too. Would you—” she broke off to yawn. “Show her to Mother and Father?” “Yes, of course. What is her name?” “Merritt.” “You’re naming her after the veterinarian?” “He proved to be quite helpful,” Lillian replied. “And Westcliff said I could.” The earl tucked the bedclothes more snugly around his wife’s body and kissed her forehead. “Still no heir,” Lillian whispered to him, her grin lingering. “I suppose we’ll have to have another one.” “No, we won’t,” Westcliff replied hoarsely. “I’m never going through this again.
Lisa Kleypas (Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4))
From my WIP "In Hiding" Hidden in the darkness, she exhaled, releasing the tension. As she sunk into the worn cushions, Kate felt the wave of exhaustion crash over her. She dug in her backpack for the crackers wrapped in a paper towel. Closing her eyes, she ate, using her imagination to change the bland wafer into something more appealing. Retrieving her cell from her pocket, she shielded the artificial light with her hand as she set the alarm, always set to vibrate mode. The glow from the screen briefly illuminated her face. Her blond hair was history, the honey golden hue hidden under the dull dark cheap hair dye. Without makeup, she appeared younger than her twenty years, until you looked into her eyes. Here her anguish was center stage for the world to see. She barely slept and seldom ate. Worse were the dreams. Trapped in a surreal world, the explosion of gunfire surrounded her followed by blood splatter. Often, she woke on the edge of a scream waking in time to stifle her terror. She could ill afford this, screaming could bring him down on her. There were nights that she prayed it would, thus ending the torment for them both. Perhaps another night. Kate took one last glance around the room as she tucked her phone into her back jeans pocket. Slumping over, she was out before her head hit the sofa. Camouflaged she appears to be nothing more than a bundle of rags. Unseen in the darkness he slipped inside the house, blending into the shadows, he had waited patiently hidden in the edge of the woods, knowing she would seek shelter. Wayne closed his eyes and zoned in on her. Chasing this bitch was wearing on him; it was killing his focus. As his prey, she had developed self-persevering habits. She never left a trace of herself, not a sound, not a fiber or a hair. He drew a deep, silent breath, directing his senses, he concentrated on Kate, how she thought, what she feared.
Caroline Walken
can hardly blame ye for not waiting.” I could see Ian in profile, leaning over the log basket. His long, good-natured face wore a slight frown. “Weel, I didna think it right, especially wi’ me being crippled …” There was a louder snort. “Jenny couldna have a better husband, if you’d lost both legs and your arms as well,” Jamie said gruffly. Ian’s pale skin flushed slightly in embarrassment. Jamie coughed and swung his legs down from the hassock, leaning over to pick up a scrap of kindling that had fallen from the basket. “How did ye come to wed anyway, given your scruples?” he asked, one side of his mouth curling up. “Gracious, man,” Ian protested, “ye think I had any choice in the matter? Up against a Fraser?” He shook his head, grinning at his friend. “She came up to me out in the field one day, while I was tryin’ to mend a wagon that sprang its wheel. I crawled out, all covered wi’ muck, and found her standin’ there looking like a bush covered wi’ butterflies. She looks me up and down and she says—” He paused and scratched his head. “Weel, I don’t know exactly what she said, but it ended with her kissing me, muck notwithstanding, and saying, ‘Fine, then, we’ll be married on St. Martin’s Day.’ ” He spread his hands in comic resignation. “I was still explaining why we couldna do any such thing, when I found myself in front of a priest, saying, ‘I take thee, Janet’… and swearing to a lot of verra improbable statements.” Jamie rocked back in his seat, laughing. “Aye, I ken the feeling,” he said. “Makes ye feel a bit hollow, no?” Ian smiled, embarrassment forgotten. “It does and all. I still get that feeling, ye know, when I see Jenny sudden, standing against the sun on the hill, or holding wee Jamie, not lookin’ at me. I see her, and I think, ‘God, man, she can’t be yours, not really.’ ” He shook his head, brown hair flopping over his brow. “And then she turns and smiles at me …” He looked up at his brother-in-law, grinning. “Weel, ye know yourself. I can see it’s the same wi’ you and your Claire. She’s … something special, no?” Jamie nodded. The smile didn’t leave his face, but altered somehow. “Aye,” he said softly. “Aye, she is that.” Over the port and biscuits, Jamie and
Diana Gabaldon (The Outlander Series 7-Book Bundle: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone)
Three cats stood in the center of the camp, their fur frosted by the dazzling white light. “Who are you?” Graywing stammered. These weren’t RiverClan warriors, and she didn’t recognize them from Gatherings. She wondered how they had managed to get all the way into the camp without being challenged. The tallest of the strangers, hard-muscled beneath his brown tabby coat, dipped his head. “Greetings, Graywing,” he meowed. “My name is Runningstorm of WindClan. This is Wolfheart”—he nodded to the elegant gray she-cat beside him—“and our leader, Smallstar.” The third cat, whose tiny frame was covered in sleek black-and-white fur, looked at Graywing. His blue eyes were friendly as he mewed, “We have traveled far to see you.” Graywing looked from one cat to the other. “I don’t understand. Has something happened to Fallowstar?” Smallstar shook his head. “Fallowstar is fine. We are the cats who would have been.” Graywing stared at them in horror. The image of three terrified bundles, falling one by one into the churning river, filled her eyes. “You are the kits who drowned,” she whispered. Wolfheart bent her head. “That is so. Come, we have something to show you.” She turned and led the way across the clearing toward the nursery. Graywing followed without having to tell her paws what to do; they seemed to be carrying her on their own. Runningstorm nosed aside the bramble that was draped across the entrance to the nursery, protecting the precious cats inside. “Look,” he urged Graywing. Oh, StarClan, let our kits be all right, Graywing prayed as she poked her head inside. Had the WindClan kits returned to punish her by hurting the youngest RiverClan cats? The den smelled warm and milky, and enough moonlight filtered through the branches for Graywing to see Hayberry curled around Wildkit and Minnowkit, who snuffled gently in their sleep. Hayberry’s flank rose and fell in time with her kits’ breathing, and although her eyelids flickered when Graywing looked at her, she didn’t stir. Graywing pulled her head out. “They’re safe,” she breathed. Smallstar looked surprised. “Of course. Did you think we’d hurt one hair on their pelts? Kits are the most special part of a Clan. They are the warriors who will defend their Clanmates in moons to come, the hunters who will find food even in the coldest leaf-bare, the cats who will have kits of their own to pass on everything they have learned. A Clan that has no kits might as well be dead.
Erin Hunter (Code of the Clans (Warriors))
But depression wasn’t the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave, producing more and more new beings to suffer like this was some kind of redemptive, or good, or even somehow morally admirable thing: dragging more innocent creatures into the lose-lose game. Squirming babies and plodding, complacent, hormone-drugged moms. Oh, isn’t he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells awaited them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that, sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten top to bottom. Putting your time in at the office; dutifully spawning your two point five; smiling politely at your retirement party; then chewing on your bedsheet and choking on your canned peaches at the nursing home. It was better never to have been born—never to have wanted anything, never to have hoped for anything. And all this mental thrashing and tossing was mixed up with recurring images, or half-dreams, of Popchik lying weak and thin on one side with his ribs going up and down—I’d forgotten him somewhere, left him alone and forgotten to feed him, he was dying—over and over, even when he was in the room with me, head-snaps where I started up guiltily, where is Popchik; and this in turn was mixed up with head-snapping flashes of the bundled pillowcase, locked away in its steel coffin.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Without thinking, she delivered a stinging slap, all her hurt and disappointment behind the impact. The imprint of her hand on his cheek shocked her. And though she immediately regretted her childish action, pride forbade her to own up to it. "Mind your manners, next time, Sinclair!" Across the yard, Luter Hicks halted and burst into guffaws. "Guess she told you, lapdog! Hey, honey," he called to Willow, "if he ain't satisfying you, how 'bout lettin' me warm your bed tonight?" An angry growl rolled out of Rider's throat. He pulled Willow up on her tiptoes, mashing her breasts against his hard chest. His fingers plowed through her thick tresses, knocking her bonnet off and scattering her hair pins. Then clasping her chin between his thumb and fingers, he tipped her head back and took fierce possession of her mouth. When he finally released her lips, he set her down a little harder than necessary. "I'll kill the first man who even blinks at you," he ground out loud enough for Hicks to hear. Then in a low, no-nonsense voice,meant for her ears alone, he ordered, "Kiss me and make it look good!" Willow glanced over at Hick's eager face and cringed. Her pride be damned! Sinclair was by far the lesser evil. She swept her arms around his neck. "Whatever you say...lover," she hissed in his ear. Standing on tiptoe again, she slowly brought his head down and pasted her lips to his. But he would have none of her stiff-lipped kiss and increased the pressure on her mouth until she opened to his brazen tongue. As the kiss deepened, he spread one big hand at the base of her spine and molded her stomach against his hard, hot need. Willow's blood sang, her anger instantly gone in the heat of the moment. "Mr. Sinclair!" Miriam interrupted in a berating tone. "You degrade this young lady with your public display. Unhand her at once!" Without his supporting arms, Willow's weak knees barely held her upright. She stumbled backwards, thoroughly stunned by her backfiring emotions. A loud crash snapped her to her senses when Luther threw his plate against the house and stomped off to the bunkouse. Rider collected himself and stooped to pick up Willow's discarded bonnet. Carefully brushing the dust off, he handed it to her without a word. Willow took her hat, gave him a perfunctory nod, and ground her heel into his toe as she pivoted to enter the house. Unaware of the young man's pained expression, Miriam followed on the girl's heels. "Talk about circuses!" she exclaimed, closing the door behind them. "It was just an act for Hick's benefit," Willow defended. Feeling the need to escape Miriam's all-too-knowing glance,she headed down the hall to her room. A heavy boot kicked at the door. Miriam opened it and Rider limped in. "Where do you want these?" he growled testily from behind a tower of packages. "Put them on the settee for now, thank you," Miriam said. "I'd have you carry them back to Willow's room but it isn't a healthy place for you right now." Rider only grunted,dumped the bundles, and returned to the wagon for another armload.
Charlotte McPherren (Song of the Willow)
They'd followed him up and had seen him open the door of a room not far from the head of the stairs. He hadn't so much as glanced their way but had gone in and shut the door. She'd walked on with Martha, past that door, down the corridor and around a corner to their chamber. Drawing in a tight-faintly excited-breath, she set out, quietly creeping back to the corner, her evening slippers allowing her to tiptoe along with barely a sound. Nearing the corner, she paused and glanced back along the corridor. Still empty. Reassured, she started to turn, intending to peek around the corner- A hard body swung around the corner and plowed into her. She stumbled back. Hard hands grabbed her, holding her upright. Her heart leapt to her throat. She looked up,saw only darkness. She opened her mouth- A palm slapped over her lips. A steely arm locked around her-locked her against a large, adamantine male body; she couldn't even squirm. Her senses scrambled. Strength, male heat, muscled hardness engulfed her. Then a virulent curse singed her ears. And she realized who'd captured her. Panic and sheer fright had tensed her every muscle; relief washed both away and she felt limp. The temptation to sag in his arms, to sink gratefully against him, was so nearly overwhelming that it shocked her into tensing again. He lowered his head so he could look into her face. Through clenched teeth, he hissed, "What the hell are you doing?" His tone very effectively dragged her wits to the fore. He hadn't removed his hand from her lips. She nipped it. With a muted oath, he pulled the hand away. She moistened her lips and angrily whispered back, "Coming to see you, of course. What are you doing here?" "Coming to fetch you-of course." "You ridiculous man." Her hands had come to rest on his chest. She snatched them back, waved them. "I'm hardly likely to come to grief over the space of a few yards!" Even to her ears they sounded like squabbling children. He didn't reply. Through the dark, he looked at her. She couldn't see his eyes, but his gaze was so intent, so intense that she could feel... her heart started thudding, beating heavier, deeper. Her senses expanded, alert in a wholly unfamiliar way. he looked at her...looked at her. Primitive instinct riffled the delicate hairs at her nape. Abruptly he raised his head, straightened, stepped back. "Come on." Grabbing her elbow, he bundled her unceremoniously around the corner and on up the corridor before him. Her temper-always close to the surface when he was near-started to simmer. If they hadn't needed to be quiet, she would have told him what she thought of such cavalier treatment. Breckenridge halted her outside the door to his bedchamber; he would have preferred any other meeting place, but there was no safer place, and regardless of all and everything else, he needed to keep her safe. Reaching around her, he raised the latch and set the door swinging. "In here." He'd left the lamp burning low. As he followed her in, then reached back and shut the door, he took in what she was wearing. He bit back another curse. She glanced around, but there was nowhere to sit but on the bed. Quickly he strode past her, stripped off the coverlet, then autocratically pointed at the sheet. "Sit there." With a narrow-eyed glare, she did, with the haughty grace of a reigning monarch. Immediately she'd sat, he flicked out the coverlet and swathed her in it. She cast him a faintly puzzled glance but obligingly held the enveloping drape close about her. He said nothing; if she wanted to think he was concerned about her catching a chill, so be it. At least the coverlet was long enough to screen her distracting angles and calves. Which really was ridiculous. Considering how many naked women he'd seen in his life, why the sight of her stockinged ankles and calves should so affect him was beyond his ability to explain.
Stephanie Laurens (Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (Cynster, #16; The Cynster Sisters Trilogy, #1))
If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild — long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1))
In order to construct a flawless imitation, the first step was to gather as much video data as possible with a web crawler. His ideal targets were fashionable Yoruba girls, with their brightly colored V-neck buba and iro that wrapped around their waists, hair bundled up in gele. Preferably, their videos were taken in their bedrooms with bright, stable lighting, their expressions vivid and exaggerated, so that AI could extract as many still-frame images as possible. The object data set was paired with another set of Amaka’s own face under different lighting, from multiple angles and with alternative expressions, automatically generated by his smartstream. Then, he uploaded both data sets to the cloud and got to work with a hyper-generative adversarial network. A few hours or days later, the result was a DeepMask model. By applying this “mask,” woven from algorithms, to videos, he could become the girl he had created from bits, and to the naked eye, his fake was indistinguishable from the real thing. If his Internet speed allowed, he could also swap faces in real time to spice up the fun. Of course, more fun meant more work. For real-time deception to work, he had to simultaneously translate English or Igbo into Yoruba, and use transVoice to imitate the voice of a Yoruba girl and a lip sync open-source toolkit to generate corresponding lip movement. If the person on the other end of the chat had paid for a high-quality anti-fake detector, however, the app might automatically detect anomalies in the video, marking them with red translucent square warnings
Kai-Fu Lee (AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future)
November The month of the drowned dog. After long rain the land Was sodden as the bed of an ancient lake, Treed with iron and bridles. In the sunk lane The ditch - a seep silent all summer - Made brown foam with a big voice: that, and my boots On the lane's scrubbed stones, in the gulleyed leaves, Against the hill's hanging silence; Mist silvering the droplets on bare thorns Slower than the change of daylight. In a let of the ditch a tramp was bundled asleep; Face tucked down into beard, drawn in Under his hair like a hedgehog's. I took him for dead, But his stillness separated from the death Of the rotting grass on the ground. A wind chilled, And a fresh comfort tightened through him, Each hand stuffed deeper into the other sleeve. His ankles, bound with sacking and hairy band, Rubbed each other, resettling. The wind hardened; A puff shook a glittering from the thorns, And against the rains' dragging grey columns Smudged the farms. In a moment The fields were jumping and smoking; the thorns Quivered, riddled with the glassy verticals. I stayed on under the welding cold Watching the tramp's face glisten and the drops on his coat Flash and darken. I thought what strong trust Slept in him - as the trickling furrows slept, And the thorn-roots in their grip on darkness; And the buried stones, taking the weight of winter; The hill where the hare crouched with clenched teeth. Rain plastered the land till it was shining Like hammered lead, and I ran, and in the rushing wood Shuttered by a black oak leaned. The keeper's gibbet had owls and hawks By the neck, weasels, a gang of cats, crows: Some stiff, weightless, twirled like dry bark bits In the drilling rain. Some still had their shape, Had their pride with it; hung, chins on chests Patient to outwait these worst days that beat Their crowns bare and dripped from their feet.
Ted Hughes
November The month of the drowned dog. After long rain the land Was sodden as the bed of an ancient lake, Treed with iron and bridles. In the sunk lane The ditch - a seep silent all summer - Made brown foam with a big voice: that, and my boots On the lane's scrubbed stones, in the gulleyed leaves, Against the hill's hanging silence; Mist silvering the droplets on bare thorns Slower than the change of daylight. In a let of the ditch a tramp was bundled asleep; Face tucked down into beard, drawn in Under his hair like a hedgehog's. I took him for dead, But his stillness separated from the death Of the rotting grass on the ground. A wind chilled, And a fresh comfort tightened through him, Each hand stuffed deeper into the other sleeve. His ankles, bound with sacking and hairy band, Rubbed each other, resettling. The wind hardened; A puff shook a glittering from the thorns, And against the rains' dragging grey columns Smudged the farms. In a moment The fields were jumping and smoking; the thorns Quivered, riddled with the glassy verticals. I stayed on under the welding cold Watching the tramp's face glisten and the drops on his coat Flash and darken. I thought what strong trust Slept in him - as the trickling furrows slept, And the thorn-roots in their grip on darkness; And the buried stones, taking the weight of winter; The hill where the hare crouched with clenched teeth. Rain plastered the land till it was shining Like hammered lead, and I ran, and in the rushing wood Shuttered by a black oak leaned. The keeper's gibbet had owls and hawks By the neck, weasels, a gang of cats, crows: Some stiff, weightless, twirled like dry bark bits In the drilling rain. Some still had their shape, Had their pride with it; hung, chins on chests Patient to outwait these worst days that beat Their crowns bare and dripped from their feat.
Ted Hughes
And that this moment, flying together over the sands, devouring the desert wind, her hair a golden-brown banner behind her … Chaol felt, perhaps for the first time, as if he was awake. And he was grateful, right down to his very bones, for it.
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass eBook Bundle: An 8 Book Bundle)
She had long dark hair like me and had a mouth on her that would make sailors blush.
Aimee Easterling (Moon Kissed: Wolves of Midnight Bundle)
Carol wants to get some new clothes,” Nancy explained. “Want to help?” “You bet!” Bess and George answered. When the store closed that evening, the four girls left it chatting merrily and laden with bundles. Carol had been outfitted from head to toe in attractive clothes. Her hair had been trimmed and modishly combed at the beauty salon. She looked very lovely and seemed to have gained self-confidence.
Carolyn Keene (The Sign of the Twisted Candles (Nancy Drew, #9))
Aelin was a living wildfire, more so now with the red hair—a creature of such roaring emotions that he could sometimes only watch her and marvel.
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass eBook Bundle: An 8 Book Bundle)
Two dreams long believed lost, she realized as the northern wind ruffled her hair. That she would do anything—ruin herself, sell herself—to protect.
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass eBook Bundle: An 8 Book Bundle)
Coop stared at the little bundle of dark hair and pink skin as he was placed on Melanie’s chest. She was crying and Coop shed a few tears too. He had no doubt that Cade was watching them from above, smiling. He’s here, my brother. Thank you. Love you, Cade. Then he kissed his wife and his son. “Thank you, sweetheart. Thank you for coming into my life. I love you.” Not the end but only the beginning…
Rhonda Lee Carver (All Cowboy and Charm (The Brothers of Dove Grey, #1))
Tonight's lesson was a breadcrumb cake, and the idea that so many Italian desserts were less about being impressive---as so many French recipes were---than about being resourceful. "After all," I said, "tiramisu is just cookies dipped in coffee and liqueur, layered with custard." For the breadcrumb cake, I walked them through how to make the breadcrumbs. "There's no sense in buying breadcrumbs, not in that quantity." We sliced the crusts off of the bread together, toasted the slices lightly, and ran the bread through the food processor. Afterward, we grated the dark chocolate, peeled and sliced the pears, cracked eggs, and measured cream. The thick batter came together quickly, and we placed them into the ovens. While the cakes baked, I walked them through the pasta fritta alla Siracusa, the angel-hair pasta twirls fried in a shallow amount of oil. We boiled up the pasta, then stirred together honey and candied orange before chopping pistachios and adding some cinnamon. One by one, they dropped the knotted pasta into the oil and cooked them on both sides. After draining them, we drizzled the honey mixture over the top, followed by a sprinkle of the pistachios and cinnamon. The process of frying the pasta bundles, one by one, kept everyone busy until the breadcrumb cakes finished baking.
Hillary Manton Lodge (Together at the Table (Two Blue Doors #3))
While the following tragedy may be revolting to read, it must not be forgotten that the existence of it is far more revolting. In Devonshire Place, Lisson Grove, a short while back died an old woman of seventy-five years of age. At the inquest the coroner's officer stated that all he found in the room was a lot of old rags covered with vermin. He had got himself smothered with the vermin. The room was in a shocking condition, and he had never seen anything like it. Everything was absolutely covered with vermin.' The doctor said: 'He found deceased lying across the fender on her back. She had one garment and her stockings on. The body was quite alive with vermin, and all the clothes in the room were absolutely gray with insects. Deceased was very badly nourished and was very emaciated. She had extensive sores on her legs, and her stockings were adherent to those sores. The sores were the result of vermin. Over her bony chest leaped and rolled hundreds, thousands, myriads of vermin.' A man present at the inquest wrote; 'I had the evil fortune to see the body of the unfortunate woman as it lay in the mortuary; and even now the memory of that gruesome sight makes me shudder. There she lay in the mortuary shell, so starved and emaciated that she was a mere bundle of skin and bones. Her hair, which was matted with filth, was simply a nest of vermin. If it is not good for your mother and my mother so to die, then it is not good for this woman, whosoever's mother she might be, so to die. Bishop Wilkinson, who has lived in Zululand, recently said, 'No headman of an African village would allow such a promiscuous mixing of young men and women, boys and girls.' He had reference to the children of the overcrowded folk, who at five have nothing to learn and much to unlearn which they will never unlearn. It is notorious that here in the Ghetto the houses of the poor are greater profit earners than the mansions of the rich. Not only does the poor worker have to live like a beast, but he pays proportionately more for it than does the rich man for his spacious comfort. A class of house-sweaters has been made possible by the competition of the poor for houses. There are more people than there is room, and numbers are in the workhouse because they cannot find shelter elsewhere. Not only are houses let, but they are sublet, and sub-sublet down to the very rooms.
Jack London (The People of the Abyss)
I was just thinking of bundling up Cecily and feeding her to the ducks in Hyde Park,” said Will, pushing his wet hair back and favoring Jem with a rare smile. “I could use your assistance.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
Like the pear tree, our whole body is sonified. Hearing is not only an aural sensation. In my ear canals bundles floats enclosed in a few drops of ocean water. Rooted in a cell surface, each bundle turns flickers of high and low pressure into nerve signals. The bundles translate fibrillating fluid into electric charge, thence to the brain. Cranium is a dish and a drum, mouth is a wet horn, throat and spine are passageways from the lower body. Torso is pumpkin, half seedy gut, half hollow lung gourd…hearing is modulated by tongue taste, emotion, foot soles, hairs on a skin. What we perceive is the conclusion of our body conversing within a purring, stridulating world.
David George Haskell (The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors)
I'm gonna see an old lady with white hair, like the old ladies inna park, little bundles inna black shawl, waiting for the coffin. I'm fifty-six years old. What am I to do with myself? I have strength in my hands. I wanna cook. I wanna clean. I wanna make dinner for my children. I wanna be of use to somebody. Am I an old dog to lie in fronta the fire till my eyes close? These are terrible years, Theresa! Terrible years!
Paddy Chayefsky (The Collected Works of Paddy Chayefsky: The Television Plays (Applause Books))
HE CALLED HIMSELF THE LIZARD King. The prostitutes known as lot lizards feared him. More precisely, they feared his legend, the idea of him. None of them who’d ever seen his face up close lived to describe it. He was parked in the back row of trucks with his diesel engine idling, his running lights muted, his hair slicked back, and a bundle of tools on the floorboard on the right side of his seat within easy reach. He was hunting but there was no need to go after his prey. The lot lizards would come to him.
C.J. Box (The Highway (Highway Quartet #2))
slipped through it, and closed it behind her. The sudden drenching from the rain made the vertigo intensify, staggering her. She stopped, recovering her balance and clutching the bundle to her, then began walking carefully down the steps. The downpour soaked her nightgown through to her skin in an instant. It plastered her hair to her head and streamed down her face in rivulets which made it hard to see and to breathe. The cold began penetrating, and she was shivering by the time she reached the bottom of the steps. The ground had disappeared under an inches-deep sheet of muddy water which was a boiling mass of miniature waterspouts which lived for their instant as the large, heavy drops struck. The rain was a grey, blinding curtain on all sides, fading into the muddy water covering the ground without a clear line of delimitation, surrounding her with featureless grey. The loss of visual references, the water all around her, and the rain pouring down her face and blinding her made the lightheadedness and lack of contact with her surroundings more pronounced, and she stumbled
Aaron Fletcher (Outback)
her to fly away and develop a career in art, but then little had he known that he would not be around to make that possible. She only became aware that something was different when, still absorbed in her own thoughts, it dawned on her that the bar had grown silent. In the act of pulling a pint, she raised her eyes and there, framed in the doorway, was one of the most startlingly beautiful men she had ever seen in her life. Tall, windswept dark hair raked back
Carol Marinelli (Harlequin Presents May 2014 - Bundle 1 of 2: The Only Woman to Defy Him / Gambling with the Crown / Secrets of a Ruthless Tycoon / A Clash with Cannavaro)
The priest motioned for the congrecation to sit, then welcomed everyone in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He wasn't so much thin as soft, with wisps of dull brown hair and oversize glasses that made him look gooberish. As he shook holy water over a bundle of cane stalks leaning against the wall, Charley wondered if his blessing would be powerful enough, because from where she sat, it looked like he'd have trouble asking for extra mayo on his sandwich.
Natalie Baszile (Queen Sugar)
• While a female flight attendant was serving food from the meal cart, a female passenger thrust a small bundle of trash toward her. “Take this,” the passenger demanded. Realizing that the trash was actually a used baby diaper, the attendant instructed the passenger to take it to the lavatory herself and dispose of it. “No,” the passenger replied. “You take it!” The attendant explained that she couldn’t dispose of the dirty diaper because she was serving food—handling the diaper would be unsanitary. But that wasn’t a good enough answer for the passenger. Angered by her refusal, the passenger hurled the diaper at the flight attendant. It struck her square in the head, depositing chunks of baby dung that clung like peanut butter to her hair. The two women ended up wrestling on the floor. They had to be separated by passengers. • Passengers on a flight from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico, were stunned by the actions of one deranged passenger. He walked to the rear of the plane, then charged up the aisle, slapping passengers’ heads along the way. Next, he kicked a pregnant flight attendant, who immediately fell to the ground. As if that weren’t enough, he bit a young boy on the arm. At this point the man was restrained and handcuffed by crew members. He was arrested upon arrival. • When bad weather closed the Dallas/Fort Worth airport for several hours, departing planes were stuck on the ground for the duration. One frustrated passenger, a young woman, walked up to a female flight attendant and said, “I’m sorry, but I have to do this.” The passenger then punched the flight attendant in the face, breaking her nose in the process. • A flight attendant returning to work after a double-mastectomy and a struggle with multiple sclerosis had a run-in with a disgruntled passenger. One of the last to board the plane, the passenger became enraged when there was no room in the overhead bin above his seat. He snatched the bags from the compartment, threw them to the floor and put his own bag in the space he had created. After hearing angry cries from passengers, the flight attendant appeared from the galley to see what the fuss was all about. When the passengers explained what happened, she turned to the offending passenger. “Sir, you can’t do that,” she said. The passenger stood up, cocked his arm and broke her jaw with one punch. • For some inexplicable reason, a passenger began throwing peanuts at a man across the aisle. The man was sitting with his wife, minding his own business. When the first peanut hit him in the face, he ignored it. After the second peanut struck him, he looked up to see who had thrown it. He threw a harsh glance at the perpetrator, expecting him to cease immediately. When a third peanut hit him in the eye, he’d had enough. “Do that again,” he warned, “and I’ll punch your lights out.” But the peanut-tossing passenger couldn’t resist. He tossed a salted Planter’s one last time. The victim got out of his seat and triple-punched the peanut-tosser so hard that witnesses heard his jaw break. The plane was diverted to the closest airport and the peanut-tosser was kicked off. • During a full flight between New York and London, a passenger noticed that the sleeping man in the window seat looked a bit pale. Sensing that something was wrong yet not wanting to wake him, the concerned passenger alerted flight attendants who soon determined that the sleeping man was dead. Apparently, he had died a few hours earlier because his body was already cold. Horrified by the prospect of sitting next to a dead man, the passenger demanded another seat. But the flight was completely full; every seat was occupied. Finally, one flight attendant had an inspiration. She approached a uniformed military officer who agreed to sit next to the dead man for the duration of the flight.
Elliott Hester (Plane Insanity)
That was diverse.” Poppy looks surprised as she slides down the wall like a bird that’s forgotten how to fly, landing in a crumpled heap on the curb. “Positively Dionysian,” I manage to slur. The world is a crazed kaleidoscope. Colors fight for space, desperate to steal each other’s names. “They’re just labels!” I yell at the untidy bundle of shades and bones near my foot. “Are you talking to me?” Patterns birthed by multiple reflections coalesce into Poppy’s face. “Maybe. I think other people’s musical chi has saturated my cells.” Myriad venues and tonal flavors are scattered through my memory, like broken harmonies. “Why did I feed on so many tunes?” “You wanted filtered sounds to rain down and seep clean through, beyond blood, to the soul.” A lone streetlight flickers behind her and for a few alienating seconds she shimmers in and out of existence. “Too much.” My stomach turns over, but I manage to keep everything down. If I throw up now, nothing will come out but music. “Tonight’s orgy of sound has left us in a pure, concentrated haze of other people’s emotions,” Poppy announces proudly, unperturbed by the fact I’m squatting in a gutter. She holds out her arms to me, palms turned up. “Look, I’m full of music.” I stare at the small woman, posed like a crazed Messiah. The cat mask is still caught in her hair. A cracking sound fills the air and her face starts to fracture into pieces, like shards of a broken mirror. Closing my eyes, I take deep breaths till my head calms down. When I open them again, Poppy is gone.
Gil Liane
And for the first time in my life, I fell in love. I fell in love with his hand on my waist, under the stars, while we danced to borrowed words. I fell in love with his breath on my ear, his cheek pressed against mine, with his body pressed tightly to mine. I fell in love again when we lay on the ground, my head on his chest and his hand in my hair. His heart beating in my ear was the loudest sound, my favorite sound.
Whitney Barbetti (He Found Me & He Saved Me: Bundled)
Abbie didn’t know what to make of this man Thomasine had convinced Brad to invite over for dinner. She spent most of the meal being alternately awed and itchingly curious. He was a real live Indian. On that point Thomasine had been emphatic. But except for his long, dark, braided hair (which unquestionably was an Indian touch), Charlie Moonlight didn’t look like any pictures she’d ever seen, and during the Indian phase that had preceded dinosaurs more than a year ago, Brad had buried her in books about Native Americans. He didn’t wear a loincloth or a deerskin coat; he was dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt. And he wore a watch. A digital watch, the same kind Daddy wore.
Chet Williamson (A Haunting of Horrors: A Twenty-Novel eBook Bundle of Horror and the Occult)
Most onlookers dispersed before they reached the dreaded Umschlagplatz, and Irena stood a prudent distance away. If the day’s quota was not met, anyone nearby was liable to be seized and forced onto the train. There was no food or water, and not enough breeze to stir hair. The deportees’ meager belongings were bundled up in sheets or sacks, or stuffed into battered valises, many tied with twine. They relieved themselves where they stood on the dusty field for fear of becoming separated from children, a husband, a wife. SS and Ukrainian soldiers strutted through the pathetic crowd, cursing and whipping; the sadists laughed.
Jack Mayer (Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project)
His father's funeral was a memory of darkness and mourning. He remembered sitting between his mother and his Uncle Keith on the bench in the church. They'd brought in the preacher from Friendly, California, Reverend Forbes; a skinny, stick of a man with wavy hair and wild eyes. He'd glared at them from the front of the church as if they'd all been caught masturbating in a closet, not like a man of God who was troubled over the loss of a fallen comrade.
Chet Williamson (A Haunting of Horrors: A Twenty-Novel eBook Bundle of Horror and the Occult)
The room was a mess, as always – magazines, newspapers scattered, unpacked boxes, a nest of cat hair on one side chair where their feline slept, furniture, mantle, a few knick-knacks all undusted.
Chet Williamson (A Haunting of Horrors: A Twenty-Novel eBook Bundle of Horror and the Occult)
Gasm was one of the first to put a warning label on their record.” Lucas saw the sticker on the shrink-wrap of Pain Threshold. WARNING! This record contains music that has been SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN to pollute your precious bodily fluids, grow hair on your hands, kill your goldfish, and cause mass starvation in the Third World. If you subject yourself to this music, your soul will fry in hell forever, world without end, PLAY IT LOUD!!!
Chet Williamson (A Haunting of Horrors: A Twenty-Novel eBook Bundle of Horror and the Occult)
Her hand went up to the wasted pits of her cheeks and above, to her eyes that had grown wide and large and luminous, her tangled hair, the pale temples where the muscles stiffened in constant tension, borne by the perpetual set of her jaw. And her body, oh, her poor, poor body … gone beyond slenderness now to a wretched thinness, ribs easily visible, diaphragm slowly eroding into a hollow cave. Only the breasts remained in all their former fullness, absurdly huge on the withered body, as if refusing to surrender the last bastion of femininity, of motherhood.
Chet Williamson (A Haunting of Horrors: A Twenty-Novel eBook Bundle of Horror and the Occult)
Sir!" he called out. "The Great Chaffalo! My name's Touch, and I brought a bundle of straw. I'd be much obliged if you'd turn it into a horse." Nearby, the tall weeds rasped a little in the breeze. But that was all. He picked up the straw and hurried past broken windows to the rear of the house. "You there, Mr. Chaffalo? It's me, Touch, and I'm in a dreadful hurry. My great-uncle aims to cart me off to the orphan house, but that don't take my fancy. I ain't asking for a fine, high-stepping horse, sir. Just any four legs'll do, as long as one ain't lame. I'd be proper grateful, Mr. Great Chaffalo." Undiscouraged, Touch moved his bundle of straw back to the front of the house to try again. And he noticed the rocking chair was pitching as if someone had just got up. Touch's hair went stiff as needles. But he was determined not to be scared off. He caught his breath. "If you were dozing, I don't mean to rile you up, sir. Maybe you heard of my great-uncle. Judge Wigglesforth? Crosscut saws don't come any meaner. I know I don't amount to much, for a boy, but I'm not shifty-eyed, the way he says. I hope you can see that, Great Chaffalo." Suddenly, Touch thought he could feel a pair of eyes watching him. The eyes in the poster! he thought. His hopes took a leap. "I aim to ride through the woods until I'm long out of reach, sir. He won't know where to look. I'll thank you everlastingly if you'll oblige me with a horse." A snarl burst out of the tall weeds. It wasn't a horse. It was a scruffy wild dog, its teeth looking like rusty nails. And it was coming straight for Touch. Touch began to shinny up a porch column, but he knew that hound was going to get its rusty teeth into his leg. Then he heard a snap of fingers and a voice in the air. "Hey! Hey!" The bundle of straw changed into a horse.
Sid Fleischman (The Midnight Horse)
What do you mean? You have time. Find someone. Bear a child.” Thane pushed back the blond strands of hair falling over his forehead. “No. I don’t want a mate. I’ve seen what it does to people. Makes them weak. I won’t be one of those.” Saxon growled and came forward. Fire lit in his eyes. “Are you fucking crazy? You’re going to die if you don’t.” Thane met his hard gaze with his own. “Then I die.
J.K. Harper (Shifters in the Snow: Bundle of Joy)
Charles stood frozen, afraid to come any closer.  Amy turned her head on the pillow and smiled at him, her eyes suddenly misty beneath their fan of thick black lashes.  For a long moment the two gazed at each other; then Charles moved forward, toward the bed, toward the crying child.  He never noticed that Juliet and the midwife stole from the room. "Amy," he breathed, staring down at the tiny, wailing bundle that their love had made.  "Oh, Amy . . ." "Want to hold her?" Charles paled, unable to forget when Gareth had asked him much the same thing before placing Charlotte in his arms.  He remembered the terrible awkwardness of that moment, the crushing love he'd thought to feel for the toddler but hadn't, the mixed hurt and relief when Charlotte had suddenly started crying and reached for Gareth.  Now, he stood frozen and uncertain, desperately wanting to hold the baby, desperately afraid to for fear that it would be a repeat of the last time he'd held his own flesh-and-blood.  Especially as this one was a red-faced, black-haired, puckered bundle of screaming misery. "Go ahead," Amy prompted.  "She won't bite." Swallowing hard, Charles reached down. Put his hands around his tiny daughter. And gingerly picking her up, cradled her tiny body to his chest. Instantly, the baby stopped crying — and Charles felt as though the mallet of the gods had just smote him across the heart.  A wall of emotion nearly cracked his chest and closed his throat, and for a moment he could do nothing but gulp back the huge lump there as he cupped the baby's head in his palm and stared reverently down at her.  With a shaking hand, he touched one curled, tiny fist.  Smoothed the downy-soft hair.  Kissed the red and wrinkled brow and then, moisture sparkling on his own gold lashes, he looked over at Amy, whose eyes were dark with love as she watched the two of them together. "I think she's going to be Papa's little girl," she said softly. "Oh, Amy," he blurted, in a raw, hoarse voice.  "Oh, dearest, the world itself is not big enough to hold all the love I have for you . . . for this little girl.  Thank you for making me the happiest man in England — not just once this year, but twice."  Still cradling his daughter, he got down on his knees before the bed, took Amy's arm, and, kissing her palm, pressed it to his cheek to stop the sudden flood of emotion. A
Danelle Harmon (The Beloved One (The De Montforte Brothers, #2))
hospital. You know they gave me male nurses on purpose.” “Of course they did. They didn’t want any of their female nurses shirking their duties to the other patients to take care of you.” Levi Spencer was one of the most, if not the most, eligible bachelors in Las Vegas. He was rich, for one thing, and couldn’t help being charming any more than he could help his gorgeous—according to Joe’s own wife—blue eyes, dark hair or I’m-trouble-and-you’ll-love-every-minute-of-it grin. “You’re mostly bored,” Joe said. “None of my friends came to visit me in the hospital.” Joe sighed. He wasn’t sure that Levi actually
Erin Nicholas (Getting Wrapped Up: A Sapphire Falls Holiday Bundle (Sapphire Falls, #3.5, 3.6, 3.75))
I read a poem today that reminded me of you.” He gave her another sideways glance, as if confessing something naughty. “Would you like to hear it?” Her knees quivered beneath her skirts. Perhaps he did feel something for her. Perhaps he is now going to declare himself! “Yes, I would.” “Your chaperone is watching us from the parapets. It would be better for me to recite it more privately.” With gentle force, he guided her behind a tall hedge. Lydia’s belly fluttered as Deveril took both her hands. His hair gleamed like an angel’s wing. Would he tell her he couldn’t let her go, that they didn’t have to go to London? That instead they could remain here…together? “She walks in beauty, like the night,” he whispered. “Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that’s best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes; Thus mellowed to that tender light Which heaven to gaudy day denies.” Vincent’s eyes were like a turbulent sea in a moonlit storm. He gazed at her as though she was something precious. Lydia sighed as his long fingers removed a pin from her hair. “One shade the more, one ray the less, Had half impaired the nameless grace Which waves in every raven tress,” Her breath caught as he twirled a lock of her hair. “Or softly lightens o’er her face; Where thoughts serenely sweet express, How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.” His hand crept up to caress her cheek, his intent gaze never wavering. “And on that cheek, and o’er that brow, So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, The smiles that win, the tints that glow,” His lips curved in a sensual smile as he concluded. “But tell of days in goodness spent, A mind at peace with all below, A heart whose love is innocent!” For an eternity, they stared as if peering into each other’s souls. His fingers slid past her cheek and threaded once more through her hair, sending the remaining pins scattering into the grass. “Lydia,” he whispered. Then his lips were on hers, warm, silken, teasing. Her limbs melted. Intoxicating heat unfurled low in her body. Lydia reached up to pull him closer, to demand more. Vincent pulled back before she could grasp him. He took a deep, shuddering breath. “And that is your most important lesson in courtship, Lydia. Never allow a man to get you off alone, especially if he desires to recite poetry, and particularly Lord Byron’s verses.” A strangled gasp caught in her throat at his duplicity. It had all been part of the game! “You…you…” He held up a hand. “Now slap me with your fan in retaliation for taking such liberties.” Reeling in outrage, she fumbled in the pockets of her cloak for the ineffectual weapon. Vincent shrugged, undaunted at her ire. “That is why you should keep your fan at the ready.” Seizing the bundle of cloth-covered sticks, she smacked him soundly on the arm, much harder than Miss Hobson had instructed. “You are lucky I did not have my gun,” she hissed. How could he? To
Brooklyn Ann (One Bite Per Night (Scandals with Bite, #2))
I can feel it in all of the hairs on my legs,
Skeleton Steve (Diary of Skeleton Steve, the Noob Years, Season 2 (Diary of Skeleton Steve, the Noob Years #7-12))
I've got him, sir." "No problems, were there?" "No, sir- house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin' around. He fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol." Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning. "Is that where-?" whispered Professor McGonagall. "Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1))
My baby sister, Janet, kept us all occupied with her antics. She could climb out of any enclosure and I actually found her on top of a bookcase one day. I gave her the nickname “Sweet Pea” after the character in the Popeye cartoon strip who possessed similar talents. She was a bundle of nervous energy and liked to tear out her pretty blonde hair in bunches, smiling all the while. I think she enjoyed all the attention from all of her supervisors. Thanksgiving was soon upon us, the time when Grandma would take out all her recipes and spices from a large Oriental tin she kept for the holiday seasons. I especially loved her Swedish Spritz Cookies pressed from a cookie press. Grandma took out the cookie sheets and said, “Carol Ann, you be in charge of the nonpareils. Linda, you can sprinkle the red and green sugar on the cookies after I press them out.” “Where did you get this recipe, Grandma?” “In Sweden, actually. I’ll tell you all about it as we bake. After only a three-year stay in Washington, during which Mr. Bliss was assigned to two different positions: first to the Washington, D.C. Conference on the Limitation of Armaments and then as Chairman of the Diplomatic Service Board of Engineers, President Warren Harding finally made Mr. Bliss, a lifelong Republican, the Ambassador to Sweden.
Carol Ann P. Cote (Downstairs ~ Upstairs: The Seamstress, The Butler, The "Nomad Diplomats" and Me -- A Dual Memoir)
A man hurried toward me, face shrouded in his hood against the wind. He glanced up and our eyes met. He blanched and turned aside, to hurry back the way he had come. Well, and so he might. I felt my anger building to an unbearable heat. The wind whipped at my hair and sought to chill me, but I only strode faster, and felt the strength of my hatred grow hotter. It lured me and I followed it like the scent of fresh blood.
Robin Hobb (The Farseer Trilogy 3-Book Bundle: Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin's Quest)
It felt oily inside her head. There were strings of Xavier Stancliff caught inside of her, holding on and spiderwebbing out as he plotted and waited and thought: this is all the bitch deserves. Swallowing, Sandra pushed herself off the bed. It was late and the room was dark. She could see the bundled lump of Jack beneath his own covers. He’d left the television on and the light flickered down the tiny hall. Shadows danced and Sandra shivered as she left the room. In another life, she would have told Danny and Jack about the man. Danny would have whispered, “It’s alright,” and smoothed back her hair from her face and kissed her, lips dry and coarse on her forehead. Then he and Jack would’ve left while she was sleeping. They would’ve trampled the flowers and climbed into Xavier Stanliff’s window and when Sandra woke up there would have been one less man in the world.
Angele Gougeon (Sticks and Stones)
You didn't almost kill me." "I shot an arrow at you!" she snapped. His head tilted to the side, his dark hair spilled across his forehead. "That hardly counts." Irritation shot through her, she clasped the towel to her as she knelt on the bed to face him. "Then give me another one and this time I'll make it count!
Erica Stevens (The Captive Series Bundle (The Captive, #1-5))
soon as he finished up here, he intended to ride out and pick a big bundle of those purple flowers, tie their stems together with a length of yellow ribbon he’d purchased a month ago because the color had reminded him of Sadie’s shining hair, and he’d hand ’em right over in front of everybody tonight when she finished her final song. His heart set up a double beat just thinking about how she’d blush pink and give him her special smile. Then, while she was smiling and feeling appreciative, he’d take her aside and set her straight on how he felt about her and how much her paying attention to the sheriff hurt him. He and Sadie had a relationship years in the making. She’d only known the sheriff a few weeks. She’d pick him over McKane. He just knew it.
Kim Vogel Sawyer (Song of My Heart)
No jewels, except hair jewelry,” Aunt Hermia was saying. I repressed a shudder. I had never warmed to the notion of wearing a dead person’s hair braided around my wrist or knotted at my ears.
Deanna Raybourn (The Lady Julia Grey Bundle (Lady Julia Grey, #1-3))
He got up, came back, and unlocked the door to my cell, then led me back to his desk and indicated the bench along the wall. I sat down, and he pushed a bundle of letters over to me. I was reading one of the letters—it was from a young girl who said she loved Flipper and wanted to know if there was anything she could do to help either Charlie Brown or me—when suddenly Sgt. Pepper grabbed my hair and banged my head twice—Bang! Bang!—against the wall. Through clenched teeth he growled, “You come here to steal dee fish! You bess tell me de trut, man. You come to steal dee fish!” “Dolphins are not fish!” I yelled back at him.
Richard O'Barry (Behind the Dolphin Smile: One Man's Campaign to Protect the World's Dolphins)
music stopped, and I felt my heart constrict, like I’d lost something precious. I took another step, and another, until I could see through the leaves. That’s when I realized the singer was a person. A little girl. She was plain, with brown hair the same color as mine. But hers was ratted around her face like she’d never seen a brush, and she had dirt smeared across her cheeks and nose. Too thin, I thought, as she climbed over the edge of the bundled mess of sticks and out onto a branch to see me better. She was awfully close to the slender branches that I knew wouldn’t hold the weight of a kid, even a skinny little girl. I had to get her to come down before
Nikki Loftin (Nightingale's Nest)
injured her ankle during the first week of physical training so that had been the end of her WAAF career. Now Susan extricated her arm from the blanket and glanced at her wristwatch. ‘The NAAFI should be open any time now for some cocoa and supper,’ she commented as Livvy rose to throw some more wood onto the stove that stood in the middle of the room. It was a temperamental thing, often throwing out more smoke than heat. ‘Ouch!’ Livvy cried as she opened the door and it spat at her. ‘I swear this ruddy thing waits for me to do that!’ She hastily threw the log she was holding in and slammed the door shut, causing smoke to billow into the hut and make them all cough. Amanda quickly took out her compact and applied lipstick and powder to her nose, then fluffing her hair up she asked, ‘So who’s coming then?’ As they had all discovered, Amanda hated being seen without her make-up, whereas the rest of them were usually bundled up in layers of clothing just intent on keeping as warm as they could with no thought to how they looked. They all rose and when Nell opened the door a gust of snow blew in at them. ‘Ugh! Bloody weather,’ Susan grumbled as they stepped out into the raging blizzard. ‘Perhaps we should have put the kettle on the stove and made our own drinks tonight!’ ‘Ah, but some of those handsome RAF chaps could be in,’ Amanda pointed out. The RAF base was not far from theirs and when the pilots weren’t flying they often used the NAAFI for a meal. Susan and Livvy exchanged an amused glance, then, heads bent, they picked their way through the deepening snow and just for a moment Livvy thought of the warm, cosy little kitchen back at the lodge. In the very kitchen that Livvy was thinking of, Sunday was just opening the door to John, who had popped in to check that all was well. Their relationship had undergone a subtle change since he had made the unexpected proposal. For a time, they had lost their easy relationship and she had felt slightly embarrassed when in his company and had stopped visiting Treetops as frequently as she had previously. But since the departure of Giles and Livvy they were becoming closer again, finding comfort in each other’s company. ‘How are you all?’ he asked as Sunday quickly closed the door behind him and he stamped the snow from his boots. Already his coat was beginning to steam in the warm atmosphere, and she smiled as she ushered him to the fireside chair and hurried off to set the kettle on the range. ‘We’re fine. Kathy is upstairs getting the twins to sleep.’ Without asking she spooned tea leaves into the pot from the caddy and lifted down two cups
Rosie Goodwin (Time to Say Goodbye)
I don’t know, I think I like the golden one better,” Nysys said. “But the pink would go well with my hair.” Delevan bundled up the last of the dirty napkins and took the leap. “What are you talking about?” Nysys furrowed his brow. “Still about the dildos. Why? Did you miss something?
Catherine Lievens (Delevan (Whitedell Pride, #20))
He stood staring down at her a second before raking his hand through his hair. “What the devil am I—Damnation!” “Probably,” Evelyn agreed. He glanced down, clearly startled. “Oh,” she said caustically, “your comment was rhetorical rather than prophetic.” A surprised smile danced momentarily on his lean face. “Impudent,” he said. “Imprudent,” she rejoined. “Gads! Quite a mouth you have for a … what? Twelve-year-old?” “Fifteen,” she stated, heat pouring into her cheeks. She knew she looked young for her years. She must also look bizarre, bundled in her sister’s most feminine wrapper, her golem feet splayed out on the cold kitchen tiles. She lifted one foot and pressed it on top of the other.
Connie Brockway (Bridal Favors (Bridal Stories, #2))
Ruxs lifted Green’s limp cock and sucked into his mouth, making an obscene slurping noise. He gripped Green’s ass and yanked him hard against his face, taking all of the flaccid meat, down to Green’s pubic hair. He swallowed and licked, keeping his nose buried in that scratchy bush. Green was growing by the millisecond and he knew he’d have to pull back soon, only being able to take half of Green’s erect cock. It was exhilarating for him to have his lips pressed against Green’s pelvis and his own cock was hard as steel. He just barely stroked himself; he didn’t want to come yet. Green was more than half-hard and Ruxs could feel his throat resisting the intrusion. He eased back but Green grabbed the back of his head with both hands and held him there. Kept his nose buried in his pubes. Forcing him to take it. Ruxs squeezed Green’s ass, slapped him hard on it. Hard enough to leave a mark. Green grunted his name, kept forcing him to take more. Ruxs felt the head of Green’s cock against the back of his tongue; he tasted the saltiness from the precome. He balked hard, his choke muffled. Green held him tight. The bastard rocked his hips forward, making him take even more. Damn, it was hot as fuck. He got a solid grip on Green’s hip and tried unsuccessfully to push him back. He gagged hard. And oh how his lover was loving it. Ruxs’ eyes watered as he tried to fight his gag reflex. Tried to relax his throat. Wasn’t working. But the domination Green was exhibiting was sure as hell working on his cock. His dick pulsed untouched, twitched on its own. Fuck, he needed to come. He was gonna come.  “Take it.” Green’s voice was barely recognizable. The command was made on a throaty growl. Almost evil. The thick steam billowing from the shower engulfed his lover and made him appear as if he had emerged from fire. Green thrust again, his solid grip on the back of Ruxs’ head still uncompromising. His strength unyielding. Ruxs rose up higher, gagged and spit, trying to open his mouth wider. He scrambled at Green’s tight ass, took his middle finger, and pressed it deep into him. No spit, no lube. You fuckin’ take it. Green shouted, releasing Ruxs’ head. Ruxs yanked back, gasping in a much need breath, still coughing and choking from the lack of oxygen. “Motherfucker,” he gasped. Ruxs pushed his finger in further, pressed against that spongy bundle of nerves that had Green cursing him back and clasping his big hand around his throat. Green’s knees buckled but he didn’t go down. The look on his face was absolute feral ecstasy. Ruxs watched him through hooded eyes as Green’s orgasm hurtled to the surface, full throttle. Green pulled on his shaft one, two, three times, and then he was coming all over Ruxs’ neck, his cheek, his lips. Green’s body jerked and jolted with each jet of come that hit Ruxs’ face. Ruxs just barely got out his own guttural shout before his balls tightened exquisitely and come burst from him, hitting Green’s shins, coating his foot. With his head bowed, and bathed in his partner’s come, he bit into the fleshy part of Green’s thigh and let his orgasm course through him. Lived in it. Loved it. “Fuuuuck,” he moaned. No one could make him come this hard but the man he loved. They
A.E. Via (Here Comes Trouble (Nothing Special #3))
But first a description: Clara Bowden was beautiful in all senses except maybe, by virtue of being black, the classical. Clara Bowden was magnificently tall, black as ebony and crushed sable, with hair plaited in a horseshoe which pointed up when she felt lucky, down when she didn’t. At this moment it was up. It is hard to know whether that was significant. She needed no bra – she was independent, even of gravity – she wore a red halterneck which stopped below her bust, underneath which she wore her belly button (beautifully) and underneath that some very tight yellow jeans. At the end of it all were some strappy heels of a light brown suede, and she came striding down the stairs on them like some kind of vision or, as it seemed to Archie as he turned to observe her, like a reared-up thoroughbred. Now, as Archie understood it, in movies and the like it is common for someone to be so striking that when they walk down the stairs the crowd goes silent. In life he had never seen it. But it happened with Clara Bowden. She walked down the stairs in slow motion, surrounded by afterglow and fuzzy lighting. And not only was she the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, she was also the most comforting woman he had ever met. Her beauty was not a sharp, cold commodity. She smelt musty, womanly, like a bundle of your favorite clothes. Though she was disorganized physically – legs and arms speaking a slightly different dialect from her central nervous system – even her gangly demeanour seemed to Archie exceptionally elegant. She wore her sexuality with an older woman’s ease, and not (as with most of the girls Archie had run with in the past) like an awkward purse, never knowing how to hold it, where to hang it or when to just put it down. ‘Cheer up, bwoy,’ she said in a lilting Caribbean accent that reminded Archie of That Jamaican Cricketer, ‘it might never happen.’ ‘I think it already has.’ Archie, who had just dropped a fag from his mouth which has been burning itself to death anyway, saw Clara quickly tread it underfoot. She gave him a wide grin that revealed possibly her one imperfection. A complete lack of teeth in the top of her mouth. ‘Man…dey get knock out,’ she lisped, seeing his surprise. ‘But I tink to myself: come de end of de world, d’Lord won’t mind if I have no toofs.’ She laughed softly.
Zadie Smith (White Teeth)
There’s a note in there,” Paolo said, gesturing at the bundle. “I’m sure he’d rather you hear from him, not me.” He bowed slightly, his inky black hair falling forward to obscure part of his face. “Buona notte, Signorina Cassandra.” With that, he turned away, disappearing into the darkness in just a few long strides. Cass re-bolted the door. Her heart was still beating hard. She looked down at the wrapped square. It was about two feet by two feet and as thick as her wrist. Lighting a candle, she laid the bundle on the long wobbly table where the servants prepared food for the villa and took their own meals. She held her breath as she tugged at the coarse twine wrapped around the package. The muslin unfolded in layers, revealing a canvas beneath. A folded scrap of parchment fluttered to the kitchen floor. Cass barely noticed it. She was too busy staring at the painting. There she was on the divan in Tommaso’s studio. Just a couple of weeks had elapsed between now and then, but already it felt like years, like the dream of a different lifetime. Falco had captured her tiniest quirks on the canvas: the smattering of freckles across her cheeks, the unruly piece of hair behind her left ear that worked its way out of any arrangement. And her smile--Cass almost couldn’t believe it was real. She looked radiant, like she was experiencing true happiness for the first time. She remembered Falco’s soft touches as he posed her, how delirious she’d been each time his fingers grazed her skin. She remembered how excited she was at being alone with him, the endless possibilities, the countless dangers. Cass wished she could dive into the painting and go back to that night where she had felt love for the first time.
Fiona Paul (Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1))
Paolo and Cass stood facing each other for a moment. The tall boy made an effort to smile, but couldn’t manage it. Cass’s heart still thrummed in her chest. “He’s not a bad person,” Paolo said abruptly. “Sometimes I think that I am, but he isn’t.” He looked away into the darkness. “What you do…,” Cass croaked out. “What I saw…” She focused on the outline of the closest rosebush, its naked branches crooked as a witch’s fingers. “Each man calls barbarism what is not his own practice--” Cass finished his sentence. “For indeed, it seems we have no other test of truth and reason than the example and pattern of the opinions and customs of the country in which we live.” It was another quote from Michel de Montaigne. “Do you really think that applies in this instance?” Paolo looked up. His dark eyes looked a little sad. “We live in the same place--you, me, Falco. But we live in very different worlds. Surely you understand that?” Cass didn’t know what to say. Paolo went on, a little defensively, “We have reasons. It’s not for you to judge us.” He thrust a square parcel, wrapped in rough muslin, into her arms. “There’s a note in there,” Paolo said, gesturing at the bundle. “I’m sure he’d rather you hear from him, not me.” He bowed slightly, his inky black hair falling forward to obscure part of his face. “Buona notte, Signorina Cassandra.” With that, he turned away, disappearing into the darkness in just a few long strides.
Fiona Paul (Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1))
It was moving so fast, I swear, that if the creeper had hair, it would have been flapping wildly behind him!
Skeleton Steve (Diary of Steve and the Wimpy Creeper Box Set (Diary of Steve and the Wimpy Creeper, #1-3))
I blurt out my story, how I had hired Nicola to be the maîtress d'hôtel at our restaurant, Grappa, when I was seven months pregnant. How I suspected Jake and Nicola had begun having an affair when Chloe was just hours old; and how one night, when Chloe woke up and Jake still wasn't home at two-thirty in the morning, I bundled her up and strapped her into the portable infant carrier, walked the three blocks to the restaurant, and snuck in the side door. The door was locked, but the alarm wasn't on, the first odd thing, because Jake always locks up and sets the alarm before leaving the restaurant. Chloe had fallen back to sleep in her infant seat on the way over, so I carefully nestled the carrier into one of the leather banquettes. I crept through the dining room and into the darkened kitchen, where I could see the office at the far end was aglow with candlelight. As I moved closer I could hear music. "Nessun dorma," from Turandot, Jake's favorite. How fitting. On the marble pastry station I found an open bottle of wine and two empty glasses. It was, to add insult to what was about to be serious injury, a 1999 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Masseto Toscano- the most expensive wine in our cellar. Three hundred and eighty dollar foreplay. I picked up the bottle and followed the trail of clothes to the office. Jake's checkered chef's pants and tunic, Nicola's slinky black dress, which I hated her for being able to wear, and a Victoria's Secret lacy, black bra. They were on the leather couch, Nicola on top, her wild, black hair spilling over Jake's chest, humping away like wild dogs. Carried away by their passion, they were oblivious to my approach. I drained the last of the wine from the bottle and hurled it over their backsides where it smashed against the wall, announcing my arrival. Before Jake could completely extricate himself, I jumped on Nicola's back and grabbed hold of her hair and pulled with all the strength of my hot-blooded Mediterranean ancestors. Nicola screamed, and clawed the air, her flailing hands accidentally swiping Jake squarely on the chin. He squirmed out from under her and tried to tackle me, but I'm not a small woman. Armed with my humiliation and anger, I was a force in motion. In desperation, Jake butted his head into the middle of my back, wrapped his hands around my waist, and pulled with all his might. He succeeded, pulling so hard that Nicola's hair, which I had resolutely refused to yield, came away in great clumps in my hands. Nicola's screams turned to pathetic whimpers as she reached to cover her burning scalp. She then curled herself into a fetal position, naked and bleeding, and began to keen.
Meredith Mileti (Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses)
Hours later, the King of Adarlan stood at the back of the dungeon chamber as his secret guards dragged Rena Goldsmith forward. The butcher’s block at the center of the room was already soaked with blood. Her companion’s headless corpse lay a few feet away, his blood trickling toward the drain in the floor. Perrington and Roland stood silent beside the king, watching, waiting. The guards shoved the singer to her knees before the stained stone. One of them grabbed a fistful of her red-gold hair and yanked, forcing her to look at the king as he stepped forward. “It is punishable by death to speak of or to encourage magic. It is an affront to the gods, and an affront to me that you sang such a song in my hall.” Rena Goldsmith just stared at him, her eyes bright. She hadn’t struggled when his men grabbed her after the performance or even screamed when they’d beheaded her companion. As if she’d been expecting this. “Any last words?” A queer, calm rage settled over her lined face, and she lifted her chin. “I have worked for ten years to become famous enough to gain an invitation to this castle. Ten years, so I could come here to sing the songs of magic that you tried to wipe out. So I could sing those songs, and you would know that we are still here—that you may outlaw magic, that you may slaughter thousands, but we who keep the old ways still remember.” Behind him, Roland snorted. “Enough,” the king said, and snapped his fingers. The guards shoved her head down on the block. “My daughter was sixteen,” she went on. Tears ran over the bridge of her nose and onto the block, but her voice remained strong and loud. “Sixteen, when you burned her. Her name was Kaleen, and she had eyes like thunderclouds. I still hear her voice in my dreams.” The king jerked his chin to the executioner, who stepped forward. “My sister was thirty-six. Her name was Liessa, and she had two boys who were her joy.” The executioner raised his ax. “My neighbor and his wife were seventy. Their names were Jon and Estrel. They were killed because they dared try to protect my daughter when your men came for her.” Rena Goldsmith was still reciting her list of the dead when the ax fell.
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass eBook Bundle: An 8 Book Bundle)
Celaena panted through her bared teeth as she yanked the pickax out of the overseer’s stomach. The man gurgled blood, clutching at his gut as he looked to the slaves in supplication. But one glance from Celaena, one flash of eyes that showed she had gone beyond the edge, kept the slaves at bay. She merely smiled down at the overseer as she swung the ax into his face. His blood sprayed her legs. The slaves still stayed far away when she brought down the ax upon the shackles that bound her ankles to the rest of them. She didn’t offer to free them, and they didn’t ask; they knew how useless it would be. The woman at the end of the chain gang was unconscious. Her back poured blood, split open by the iron-tipped whip of the dead overseer. She would die by tomorrow if her wounds were not treated. Even if they were, she’d probably die from infection. Endovier amused itself like that. Celaena turned from the woman. She had work to do, and four overseers had to pay a debt before she was done. She stalked from the mine shaft, pickax dangling from her hand. The two guards at the end of the tunnel were dead before they realized what was happening. Blood soaked her clothes and her bare arms, and Celaena wiped it from her face as she stormed down to the chamber where she knew the four overseers worked. She had marked their faces the day they’d dragged that young Eyllwe woman behind the building, marked every detail about them as they used her, then slit her throat from ear to ear. Celaena could have taken the swords from the fallen guards, but for these four men, it had to be the ax. She wanted them to know what Endovier felt like. She reached the entrance to their section of the mines. The first two overseers died when she heaved the ax into their necks, slashing back and forth between them. Their slaves screamed, backing against the walls as she raged past them. When she reached the other two overseers, she let them see her, let them try to draw their blades. She knew it wasn’t the weapon in her hands that made them stupid with panic, but rather her eyes—eyes that told them they had been tricked these past few months, that cutting her hair and whipping her hadn’t been enough, that she had been baiting them into forgetting that Adarlan’s Assassin was in their midst.
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass eBook Bundle: An 8 Book Bundle)
And from his hand, gripped by the hair, dangled Sandriel’s severed head.
Sarah J. Maas (Crescent City Ebook Bundle: A 2-book bundle)
Richard watched the other three as they rode: Chase, a black wraith upon his horse, armed to the teeth, feared by the people he protected as well as the ones he hunted, but somehow, not by children; the wisp of a wizard, sticklike Zedd, unassuming, hardly more than a smile, white hair, and simple robes, content to carry nothing more than a bundle of fried chicken, but wielder of wizard’s fire and who knew what else; and Kahlan, courageous, determined, and keeper of some secret power, sent to threaten a wizard into naming the Seeker. The three of them were his friends, yet each in their own way made him uneasy. He wondered who was more dangerous.
Terry Goodkind (Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth #1))
Was she killed by whoever is creating the synth? If she was on that boat to seize their shipment?” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Could the person selling the synth and the person searching for the Horn be the same, if the synth can possibly repair the Horn?
Sarah J. Maas (Crescent City Ebook Bundle: A 2-book bundle)
Dorian bowed to her, opened the door, and they went inside. Let Ress and the guards think what they wanted. She unfastened the mask from her face, tossing it onto the table in the center of the foyer, and sighed as the cool air met her flushed skin. “Well?” she asked, leaning against the wall beside the door to her bedroom. Dorian approached her slowly, halting only a hand’s breath away. “You left the ball without saying good-bye,” he said, and braced an arm against the wall beside her head. She raised her eyes, examining the black detail on the sleeve that fell just above her hair. “I’m impressed you got up here so quickly—and without a pack of court ladies hounding after you. Perhaps you should try your hand at being an assassin.” He shook the hair out of his face. “I’m not interested in court ladies,” he said thickly, and kissed her. His mouth was warm, and his lips were smooth, and Celaena lost all sense of time and place as she slowly kissed him back. He pulled away for a moment, looked into her eyes as they opened, and kissed her again. It was different this time—deeper, full of need. Her arms were heavy and light all at once, and the room twirled round and round. She couldn’t stop. She liked this—liked being kissed by him, liked the smell and the taste and the feel of him. His arm slipped around her waist and he held her tightly to him as his lips moved against hers. She put a hand on his shoulder, her fingers digging into the muscle that lay beneath. How
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass eBook Bundle: An 8 Book Bundle)
Sighing, I stared at my reflection. My skin had been darkened by the summer sun to a rich color not unlike our garden after a rain. I always thought it was a beautiful color, the garden after a rain. And yet, I wanted to be the bright-eyed child, too pale to live on barren land. At least that’s what everyone but Dad seemed to be telling me I should want. To seek another face, one that would be pallid in the moonlight. But as I stared longer at my reflection, I asked myself what was so terribly wrong with the way I looked. After all, my ancestors had bundled magic on a thousand walks through Christ and millennias, denying the faintest suggestion that they were not beautiful enough. The black of my hair had been part of ancient ceremonies. My eyes were steeped in tradition, buoyed by the divinity of nature. Dad always said we came from great warriors. Did I not have this greatness in me? The power of a woman so ancient, but still young in her time. I imagined her as she was then. Her spirit fierce. Her bravery undeniable. How could I not be as powerful? Why could I not consider myself beautiful when I thought of her as the most beautiful one of all? I
Tiffany McDaniel (Betty)
Open the so-called body and spread out all its surfaces: not only the skin with each of its folds, wrinkles, scars, with its great velvety planes, and contiguous to that, the scalp and its mane of hair, the tender pubic fur, nipples, nails, hard transparent skin under the heel, the light frills of the eyelids, set with lashes - but open and spread, expose the labia majora, so also the labia minora with their blue network bathed in mucus, dilate the diaphragm of the anal sphincter, longitudinally cut and flatten out the black conduit of the rectum, then the colon, then the caecum, now a ribbon with its surface all striated and polluted with shit ; as though your dress maker' s scissors were opening the leg of an old pair of trousers, go on, expose the small intestines' alleged interior, the jejunum, the ileum, the duodenum, or else, at the other end, undo the mouth at its corners, pull out the tongue at its most distant roots and split it, spread out the bats' wings of the palate and its damp basements, open the trachea and make it the skeleton of a boat under construction; armed with scalpels and tweezers, dismantle and lay out the bundles and bodies of the encephalon; and then the whole network of veins and arteries, intact, on an immense mattress, and then the lymphatic network, and the fine bony pieces of the wrist, the ankle, take them apart and put them end to end with all the layers of nerve tissue which surround the aqueous humours and the cavernous body of the penis, and extract the great muscles, the great dorsal nets, spread them out like smooth sleeping dolphins. Work as the sun does when you're sunbathing or taking grass.
Jean-François Lyotard (Libidinal Economy)
The dead are so close they can hear us, she thought. “Ah, but you see,” said the tall white-haired Ryan, as if he’d read her mind, “in New Orleans, we never really leave them out.
Anne Rice (The Mayfair Witches Series Bundle: Witching Hour, Lasher, Taltos (Lives of Mayfair Witches))