Kicking Someone When They Are Down Quotes

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Suddenly I’m having one of those moments that you have after losing someone—when you feel as if you’ve been kicked in the stomach and all your breath is gone, and you might never get it back. I want to sit down on the dirty, littered ground right now and cry until I can’t cry anymore.
Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places)
Corporal Nobbs,” he rasped, “why are you kicking people when they’re down?” “Safest way, sir,” said Nobby. Nobby had long ago been told about fighting fair and not striking a fallen opponent, and had then given some creative thought to how these rules applied to someone four feet tall with the muscle tone of an elastic band.
Terry Pratchett (Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8))
One thing I know is that it is a bad idea to marry someone who had bad parents. If they hated their mother, if they were hated by their mother or father, your marriage will pay for it in ways both obvious and subtle. When the chips are down, when someone is sick or loses their job or gets scared, the old patterns will kick in and he will treat you the way he treated his mother or the way she treated him.
Ellen Gilchrist
I was supposed to be meeting someone, but they had to cancel. After I’d already gotten here, of course,” I explain, bitterness dripping from my voice. “Want me to kick his ass?” he asks. I look up at him and he’s grinning at me over the top of his glass. “No. You might be embarrassed when she gets the better of you.
Michelle Leighton (Down to You (The Bad Boys, #1))
The strong are tasked with the protection of the weak, because the strong aren't always strong and the weak aren't always weak. Everyone stumbles. And one day, when you stumble - and you will - you'll need someone to help you stand. Will there be anyone eager to do so, or will there be a line of people hoping to kick you while you're down?
Gena Showalter (Firstlife (Everlife, #1))
You've been my teachers, clergy, my fellow students, coworkers, bosses, principals, sometimes you were a former friend or even family I once trusted. You've taken things I told you in utter confidence, & twisted them into lies to be used against me. Without cause, you have told lies against me. You have refused to see me as a human being. You have kicked me when I was up & you have kicked me when I was down. But today, you will kick me no more, I will no longer be your verbal or physical punching bag, Today, I discovered the secret that will never allow you or friends, who will one day turn on you too, to hurt me again. Today as I lay broken & bleeding in that dark place I crawl into when I think I can't take it anymore, I found something extraordinary. My humanity. As my soul screamed in bleeding agony & I wanted to die rather than live one more day in a world where you exist, I realized that my tears & ability to feel pain without lashing out to return that hurt to someone else makes me human.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Inferno (Chronicles of Nick, #4))
I can't bear it that some man, even with a lofty heart and the highest mind, should start from the ideal of the Madonna and end with the ideal of Sodom. It's even more fearful when someone who already has the ideal of Sodom in his soul does not deny the ideal of the Madonna either, and his hear burns with it, verily, verily burns, as in his young, blameless years. No, man is broad, even too broad, I would narrow him down. Devil knows even what to make of him, that's the thing! What's shame for the mind is beauty all over for the heart. Can there be beauty in Sodom? Believe me, for the vast majority of people, that's just where beauty lies--did you know that secret? The terrible thing is that beauty is not only fearful but also mysterious. Here the devil is struggling with God, and the battlefield is the human heart. But, anyway, why kick against the pricks?
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
I left Abnegation because I wasn't selfless enough,no matter how hard I tried to be." "That's not entirely true." He smiles at me. "That girl who let someone throw knives at her to spare a friend,who hit my dad with a belt to protect me-that selfless girl,that's not you?" He's figured out more about me than I have. And even though it seems impossible that he could feel something for me,given all that I'm not...maybe it isn't.I frown at him. "You've been paying close attention,haven't you?" "I like to observe people." "Maybe you were cut out for Candor, Four, because you're a terrible liar." He puts his hand on the rock next to him, his fingers lining up with mine. I look down at our hands. He has long, narrow fingers. Hands made for mine, deft movements.Not Dauntless hands, which should be thick and tough and ready to break things. "Fine." He leans his face closer to mine, his eyes focusing on my chin, and my lips,and my nose. "I watched you because I like you." He says it plainly, boldly, and his eyes flick up to mine. "And don't call me 'Four," okay? It's nice to hear my name again." Just like that,he has finally declared himself, and I don't know how to respond. My cheeks warm,and all I can think to say is, "But you're older than I am...Tobias." He smiles at me. "Yes,that whopping two-year gap really is insurmountable, isn't it?" "I'm not trying to be self-deprecating," I say, "I just don't get it. I'm younger. I'm not pretty.I-" He laughs,a deep laugh that sounds like it came from deep inside him, and touches his lips to my temple. "Don't pretend," I say breathily. "You know I'm not. I'm not ugly,but I am certainly not pretty." "Fine.You're not pretty.So?" He kisses my cheek. "I like how you look. You're deadly smart.You're brave. And even though you found out about Marcus..." His voice softens. "You aren't giving me that look.Like I'm a kicked puppy or something." "Well," I say. "You're not." For a second his dark eyes are on mine, and he's quiet. Then he touches my face and leans in close, brushing my lips with his.The river roars and I feel its spray on my ankles.He grins and presses his mouth to mine. I tense up at first,unsure of myself, so when he pulls away,I'm sure I did something wrong,or badly.But he takes my face in his hands,his figners strong against my skin,and kisses me again, firmer this time, more certain. I wrap an arm around him,sliding my hand up his nack and into his short hair. For a few minutes we kiss,deep in the chasm,with the roar of water all around us. And when we rise,hand in hand, I realize that if we had both chosen differently,we might have ended up doing the same thing, in a safer place, in gray clothes instead of black ones.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
There is never a right time to break someone's heart. And anyone with even a microgram of sensitivity in his or her body will agonise for an age over that timing. Only problem is there is always some reason not to make someone unhappy. The day a relationship end, if that relationship was at all important to the suckers involved, becomes as important an anniversary as a wedding day or birthday. Obviously, the average person doesn't want to kick someone they once loved while that person is down.   It's not just hard times when someone is down that become obstacles to making your getaway. After times of bereavement, unemployment and general unhappiness, those events that should be happy ones also make some times off limits for the eager would- be dumper. Christmas, birthdays, Easter  all impossible. A clever person with a sensitive lover that they sense is not quite as into them as he or she used to be, could starve off the inevitable for years by carefully spacing out this crucial dates.
Chris Manby (Getting Personal)
Bastien rolled his eyes, "Calm down, Hauk. All you're going to do is hurt yourself." He glared at Bastien. "If you want to see exactly how angry someone can get, tell them to calm down when they're already pissed off!" Bellowing, he tried his best to break free. "Is that helping? I just gotta know." "When I get loose, Cabarro, your ass is the first one I'm kicking." "Oh good. Hope you get out soon. Been awhile since I had a good ass-kicking." Bastien made a kissy face at him. "Says the man who's so bruised, he looks like a two-year old banana." "Now that's just mean and hurtful." "Telise! He's awake again." She moved forward and kicked Hauk in the face. "I wouldn't do that," Bastien warned. "Don't motivate the Andarion for murder. It ain't going to work out well for any of us. 'Specially me, since mine's the first ass he's planning to come after.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Born of Fury (The League: Nemesis Rising #8))
Instructions for Dad. I don't want to go into a fridge at an undertaker's. I want you to keep me at home until the funeral. Please can someone sit with me in case I got lonely? I promise not to scare you. I want to be buried in my butterfly dress, my lilac bra and knicker set and my black zip boots (all still in the suitcase that I packed for Sicily). I also want to wear the bracelet Adam gave me. Don't put make-up on me. It looks stupid on dead people. I do NOT want to be cremated. Cremations pollute the atmosphere with dioxins,k hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. They also have those spooky curtains in crematoriums. I want a biodegradable willow coffin and a woodland burial. The people at the Natural Death Centre helped me pick a site not for from where we live, and they'll help you with all the arrangements. I want a native tree planted on or near my grave. I'd like an oak, but I don't mind a sweet chestnut or even a willow. I want a wooden plaque with my name on. I want wild plants and flowers growing on my grave. I want the service to be simple. Tell Zoey to bring Lauren (if she's born by then). Invite Philippa and her husband Andy (if he wants to come), also James from the hospital (though he might be busy). I don't want anyone who doesn't know my saying anything about me. THe Natural Death Centre people will stay with you, but should also stay out of it. I want the people I love to get up and speak about me, and even if you cry it'll be OK. I want you to say honest things. Say I was a monster if you like, say how I made you all run around after me. If you can think of anything good, say that too! Write it down first, because apparently people often forget what they mean to say at funerals. Don't under any circumstances read that poem by Auden. It's been done to death (ha, ha) and it's too sad. Get someone to read Sonnet 12 by Shakespeare. Music- "Blackbird" by the Beatles. "Plainsong" by The Cure. "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw. "All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands" by Sufian Stevens. There may not be time for all of them, but make sure you play the last one. Zoey helped me choose them and she's got them all on her iPod (it's got speakers if you need to borrow it). Afterwards, go to a pub for lunch. I've got £260 in my savings account and I really want you to use it for that. Really, I mean it-lunch is on me. Make sure you have pudding-sticky toffee, chocolate fudge cake, ice-cream sundae, something really bad for you. Get drunk too if you like (but don't scare Cal). Spend all the money. And after that, when days have gone by, keep an eye out for me. I might write on the steam in the mirror when you're having a bath, or play with the leaves on the apple tree when you're out in the garden. I might slip into a dream. Visit my grave when you can, but don't kick yourself if you can't, or if you move house and it's suddenly too far away. It looks pretty there in the summer (check out the website). You could bring a picnic and sit with me. I'd like that. OK. That's it. I love you. Tessa xxx
Jenny Downham
Straight up, Mels, the only reason I haven't completely jumped you is because I can't. I...can't." He threw up his free hand and let it fall back down to the bedspread. "And you know what sucks? I've been with a lot of women." Annnnnnnd that made her chest hurt. "Before you were injured..." He nodded. "Of all the things for my memory to come back on, right?" Cue another kick in the solar plexus. "You remember them?" "I hate it– because I would trade every single random fuck for just one night with you." He brushed her face with his fingertips and then brought his thumb to her mouth. With the same gentle pressure he'd put against her wrist, he caressed her lower lip. "I'd give up every one of them. Matter of fact, it feels like...a curse to have finally found someone like you, only to have it be too late. And that's where it's at. It's too late for me, Mels, and that's how you're killing me. When I look at you, when I see you move, when you smile or take a deep breath, I just... I die a little. Every time.
J.R. Ward (Rapture (Fallen Angels, #4))
Ruby and Aaron are both crazy patient; they’re good parents.” “I could be a good dad,” Ivan whispered, still feeding Jess. I could have told him he’d be good at anything he wanted to be good at, but nah. “Do you want to have kids?” he asked me out of the blue. I handed Benny another block. “A long time from now, maybe.” “A long time… like how long?” That had me glancing at Ivan over my shoulder. He had his entire attention on Jessie, and I was pretty sure he was smiling down at her. Huh. “My early thirties, maybe? I don’t know. I might be okay with not having any either. I haven’t really thought about it much, except for knowing I don’t want to have them any time soon, you know what I mean?” “Because of figure skating?” “Why else? I barely have enough time now. I couldn’t imagine trying to train and have kids. My baby daddy would have to be a rich, stay-at-home dad for that to work.” Ivan wrinkled his nose at my niece. “There are at least ten skaters I know with kids.” I rolled my eyes and poked Benny in the side when he held out his little hand for another block. That got me a toothy grin. “I’m not saying it’s impossible. I just wouldn’t want to do it any time soon. I don’t want to half-ass or regret it. If they ever exist, I’d want them to be my priority. I wouldn’t want them to think they were second best.” Because I knew what that felt like. And I’d already screwed up enough with making grown adults I loved think they weren’t important. If I was going to do something, I wanted to do my best and give it everything. All he said was, “Hmm.” A thought came into my head and made my stomach churn. “Why? Are you planning on having kids any time soon?” “I wasn’t,” he answered immediately. “I like this baby though, and that one. Maybe I need to think about it.” I frowned, the feeling in my stomach getting more intense. He kept blabbing. “I could start training my kids really young…. I could coach them. Hmm.” It was my turn to wrinkle my nose. “Three hours with two kids and now you want them?” Ivan glanced down at me with a smirk. “With the right person. I’m not going to have them with just anybody and dilute my blood.” I rolled my eyes at this idiot, still ignoring that weird feeling in my belly that I wasn’t going to acknowledge now or ever. “God forbid, you have kids with someone that’s not perfect. Dumbass.” “Right?” He snorted, looking down at the baby before glancing back at me with a smile I wasn’t a fan of. “They might come out short, with mean, squinty, little eyes, a big mouth, heavy bones, and a bad attitude.” I blinked. “I hope you get abducted by aliens.” Ivan laughed, and the sound of it made me smile. “You would miss me.” All I said, while shrugging was, “Meh. I know I’d get to see you again someday—” He smiled. “—in hell.” That wiped the look right off his face. “I’m a good person. People like me.” “Because they don’t know you. If they did, somebody would have kicked your ass already.” “They’d try,” he countered, and I couldn’t help but laugh. There was something wrong with us. And I didn’t hate it. Not even a little bit.
Mariana Zapata (From Lukov with Love)
When I was Downtown, I learned a lot about making threats. Make them big. Make them outrageous. You're never going to kick someone's ass. You're going to pull out their tongue and pour liquid nitrogen down their throat, chip out their guts with an ice pick, slide in a pane of glass, and turn them into an aquarium.
Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim, #1))
By the middle of the afternoon it had rained so much that the drains were overflowing, clogged up with leaves and newspapers. The water built up until it was sliding across the road in great sheets, rippled by the wind and parted like a football crowd by passing cars. I was shocked by the sheer volume of water that came pouring out of the darkness of the sky. Watching the weight of it crashing into the ground made me feel like a very young child, unable to understand what was really happening. Like trying to understand radio waves, or imagining computers communicating along glass cables. I leant my face against the window as the rain piled upon it, streaming down in waves, blurring my vision, making the shops opposite waver and disappear. There was a time when I might have found this exhilarating, even miraculous, but not that day. That day it made me nervous and tense, unable to concentrate on anything while the noise of it clattered against the windows and the roof. I kept opening the door to look for clear skies, and slamming it shut again. And then around teatime, from nowhere, I smashed all the dirty plates and mugs into the washing-up bowl. Something swept through me, swept out of and over me, something unstoppable, like water surging from a broken tap and flooding across the kitchen floor. I don't quite understand why I felt that way, why I reacted like that. I wanted to be saying it's just something that happens. But I was there, that day, slamming the kitchen door over and over again until the handle came loose. Smacking my hand against the worktop, kicking the cupboard doors, throwing the plates into the sink. Going fuckfuckfuck through my clenched teeth. I wanted someone to see me, I wanted someone to come rushing in, to take hold of me and say hey hey what are you doing, hey come on, what's wrong. But there was no one there, and no one came.
Jon McGregor (If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things)
When [an abusive man] tells me that he became abusive because he lost control of himself, I ask him why he didn’t do something even worse. For example, I might say, “You called her a fucking whore, you grabbed the phone out of her hand and whipped it across the room, and then you gave her a shove and she fell down. There she was at your feet where it would have been easy to kick her in the head. Now, you have just finished telling me that you were ‘totally out of control’ at that time, but you didn’t kick her. What stopped you?” And the client can always give me a reason. Here are some common explanations: “I wouldn’t want to cause her a serious injury.” “I realized one of the children was watching.” “I was afraid someone would call the police.” “I could kill her if I did that.” “The fight was getting loud, and I was afraid the neighbors would hear.” And the most frequent response of all: “Jesus, I wouldn’t do that. I would never do something like that to her.” The response that I almost never heard – I remember hearing it twice in the fifteen years – was: “I don’t know.” These ready answers strip the cover off of my clients’ loss of control excuse.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
Do you know what happens when we avoid the hard things? When we tell ourselves it doesn’t matter? When someone fails to do their job in the moment, or kicks a tough decision upstairs or down the road? It forces someone else to do it later, at even greater cost. The history of appeasement and procrastination show us: The bill comes due eventually, with interest attached.
Ryan Holiday (Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave (The Stoic Virtues Series))
I hurried over to Conrad, walking so fast I kicked up sand behind me. “Hey, I’m gonna get a ride,” I said breathlessly. The blond Red Sox girl looked me up and down. “Hello,” she said. Conrad said, “With who?” I pointed at Cam. “Him.” “You’re not riding with someone you don’t even know,” he said flatly. “I do so know him. He’s Sextus.” He narrowed his eyes. “Sex what?” “Never mind. His name is Cam, he’s studying whales, and you don’t get to decide who I ride home with. I was just letting you know, as a courtesy. I wasn’t asking for your permission.” I started to walk away, but he grabbed my elbow. “I don’t care what he’s studying. It’s not gonna happen,” he said casually, but his grip was tight. “If you want to go, I’ll take you.” I took a deep breath. I had to keep cool. I wasn’t going to let him goad me into being a baby, not in front of all these people. “No, thanks,” I said, trying to walk away again. But he didn’t let go. “I thought you already had a boyfriend?” His tone was mocking, and I knew he’d seen through my lie the night before. I wanted so badly to throw a handful of sand in his face. I tried to twist out of his grip. “Let go of me! That hurts!” He let go immediately, his face red. It didn’t really hurt, but I wanted to embarrass him the way he was embarrassing me. I said loudly, “I’d rather ride with a stranger than with someone who’s been drinking!” “I’ve had one beer,” he snapped. “I weigh a hundred and seventy-five pounds. Wait half an hour and I’ll take you. Stop being such a brat.” I could feel tears starting to spark my eyelids. I looked over my shoulder to see if Cam was watching. He was. “You’re an asshole,” I said. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “And you’re a four-year-old.” As I walked away, I heard the girl ask, “Is she your girlfriend?” I whirled around, and we both said “No!” at the same time. Confused, she said, “Well, is she your little sister?” like I wasn’t standing right there. Her perfume was heavy. It felt like it filled all the air around us, like we were breathing her in. “No, I’m not his little sister.” I hated this girl for being a witness to all this. It was humiliating. And she was pretty, in the same kind of way Taylor was pretty, which somehow made things worse. Conrad said, “Her mom is best friends with my mom.” So that was all I was to him? His mom’s friend’s daughter? I took a deep breath, and without even thinking, I said to the girl, “I’ve known Conrad my whole life. So let me be the one to tell you you’re barking up the wrong tree. Conrad will never love anyone as much as he loves himself, if you know what I mean-“ I lifted up my hand and wiggled my fingers. “Shut up, Belly,” Conrad warned. The tops of his ears were turning bright red. It was a low blow, but I didn’t care. He deserved it. Red Sox girl frowned. “What is she talking about, Conrad?” To her I blurted out, “Oh, I’m sorry, do you not know what the idiom ‘barking up the wrong tree’ means?” Her pretty face twisted. “You little skank,” she hissed. I could feel myself shrinking. I wished I could take it back. I’d never gotten into a fight with a girl before, or with anyone for that matter. Thankfully, Conrad broke in then and pointed to the bonfire. “Belly, go back over there, and wait for me to come get you,” he said harshly. That’s when Jeremiah ambled over. “Hey, hey, what’s going on?” he asked, smiling in his easy, goofy way. “Your brother is a jerk,” I said. “That’s what’s going on.” Jeremiah put his arm around me. He smelled like beer. “You guys play nice, you hear?” I shrugged out of his hold and said, “I am playing nice. Tell your brother to play nice.” “Wait, are you guys brother and sister too?” the girl asked. Conrad said, “Don’t even think about leaving with that guy.
Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1))
The guy smiled at me, and I glanced at him again just in time to look directly into his eyes. My mistake. Sight was a common Talent, but my magic went beyond seeing the world with crystal clarity or being able to navigate through the dark like it was daylight. Because I could also see into people. All I had to do was stare into someone’s eyes, and I knew exactly what they were feeling at that moment, whether it was love, hate, anger, or something else. Not only that, but I could actually feel the emotion in my own heart, just like the person who was experiencing it. Soulsight, it was called. A major Talent and one that I could have done without. Most people didn’t have a lot of nice thoughts, feelings, or emotions, not even toward their own so-called friends and family. But this guy . . . he radiated cold sorrow, as though he was carrying around a heavy burden that he could never, ever be free from. Still, there was a rock-hard strength mixed in with his sorrow, along with a flicker of something else buried deep, deep down . . . a hot spark that I couldn’t quite identify. I knew in an instant that he was the sort of guy who was exceedingly loyal to his friends. Who felt responsible for others. Who tried to help people as much as he could even if they didn’t deserve it, and he ended up being the one who got hurt instead. The sort of guy that others saw as a leader and naturally flocked to. The sort of guy who was just so disgustingly fascinating that you couldn’t help wanting to know more about him. The guy kept smiling, although his expression grew thinner and fainter the longer I stared. But I couldn’t help it. For the first time in a long time, I was completely captivated by another person. In that moment, all I wanted to do was peel back the cool exterior of his emotions and see what really lay beneath—and especially see what would happen when that hot spark inside him flared to life and he finally let out his true feelings. But there was also something disturbingly . . . familiar about him. As though I’d met him someplace before, although I couldn’t quite remember where. I kept staring into his green eyes, hoping that my soulsight would kick in a tiny bit more and bring the knowledge, the memory, along with it . . .
Jennifer Estep (Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade, #1))
Once, before I had you, I saw you. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. I was pregnant and standing alone outside a party, and when you kicked, I shut my eyes and saw you on a beach we would arrive at almost five years later. You were facing the water and wearing your blue swimsuit and I knew, from the curve in your spine and the nut brown of your skin, that you were mine to protect like nothing else ever will be. So when you first started asking me hard questions, the ones about America and your place here, I wanted to find you the right answers - the kind that would make you feel good, welcome, and loved. I thought if I could just remember the country I'd been raised to believe in, the one I was sure I would eventually get to, I'd be able to get us back there. Here is the thing, though, the real, true thing I still have trouble admitting: I can't protect you from everything. I can't protect you from becoming a brown man in America. I can't protect you from spending a lifetime caught between the beautiful dream of a diverse nation and the complicated reality of one. I can't even protect you from the simple fact that sometimes, the people who love us will choose a world that doesn't. Even now, just writing that down, I want to say something that will make it okay, or even make it make sense, but I can't. Will they ever really understand it themselves? Will they ever change? I have no idea. Our burden is how much we might love them anyway. And this is maybe the part I worry about the most, how the weight of that will twist you into someone you don't want to be, or worse, make you ashamed of your own heart. I hope you will remember that you have nothing to be ashamed of. I hope you will remember that your heart is a good one, and that your capacity to feel love, in all its complexity, is a gift.
Mira Jacob (Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations)
One last bit of bad news. We’ve been focusing on the stress-related consequences of activating the cardiovascular system too often. What about turning it off at the end of each psychological stressor? As noted earlier, your heart slows down as a result of activation of the vagus nerve by the parasympathetic nervous system. Back to the autonomic nervous system never letting you put your foot on the gas and brake at the same time—by definition, if you are turning on the sympathetic nervous system all the time, you’re chronically shutting off the parasympathetic. And this makes it harder to slow things down, even during those rare moments when you’re not feeling stressed about something. How can you diagnose a vagus nerve that’s not doing its part to calm down the cardiovascular system at the end of a stressor? A clinician could put someone through a stressor, say, run the person on a treadmill, and then monitor the speed of recovery afterward. It turns out that there is a subtler but easier way of detecting a problem. Whenever you inhale, you turn on the sympathetic nervous system slightly, minutely speeding up your heart. And when you exhale, the parasympathetic half turns on, activating your vagus nerve in order to slow things down (this is why many forms of meditation are built around extended exhalations). Therefore, the length of time between heartbeats tends to be shorter when you’re inhaling than exhaling. But what if chronic stress has blunted the ability of your parasympathetic nervous system to kick the vagus nerve into action? When you exhale, your heart won’t slow down, won’t increase the time intervals between beats. Cardiologists use sensitive monitors to measure interbeat intervals. Large amounts of variability (that is to say, short interbeat intervals during inhalation, long during exhalation) mean you have strong parasympathetic tone counteracting your sympathetic tone, a good thing. Minimal variability means a parasympathetic component that has trouble putting its foot on the brake. This is the marker of someone who not only turns on the cardiovascular stress-response too often but, by now, has trouble turning it off.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping)
None that I could understand, but he did illustrate his point with a thought experiment. It’s called the Infinite Hallway.” Langdon paused, taking another sip of coffee. “Yes, a helpful illustration,” Winston chimed in before Langdon could speak. “It goes like this: imagine yourself walking down a long hallway—a corridor so long that it’s impossible to see where you came from or where you’re going.” Langdon nodded, impressed by the breadth of Winston’s knowledge. “Then, behind you in the distance,” Winston continued, “you hear the sound of a bouncing ball. Sure enough, when you turn, you see a ball bouncing toward you. It is bouncing closer and closer, until it finally bounces past you, and just keeps going, bouncing into the distance and out of sight.” “Correct,” Langdon said. “The question is not: Is the ball bouncing? Because clearly, the ball is bouncing. We can observe it. The question is: Why is it bouncing? How did it start bouncing? Did someone kick it? Is it a special ball that simply enjoys bouncing? Are the laws of physics in this hallway such that the ball has no choice but to bounce forever?” “Gould’s point being,” Winston concluded, “that just as with evolution, we cannot see far enough into the past to know how the process began.” “Exactly,” Langdon said. “All we can do is observe that it is happening.” “This was similar, of course,” Winston said, “to the challenge of understanding the Big Bang. Cosmologists have devised elegant formulas to describe the expanding universe for any given Time—‘T’—in the past or future. However, when they try to look back to the instant when the Big Bang occurred—where T equals zero—the mathematics all goes mad, describing what seems to be a mystical speck of infinite heat and infinite density.” Langdon and Ambra looked at each other, impressed. “Correct again,” Langdon said. “And because the human mind is not equipped to handle ‘infinity’ very well, most scientists now discuss the universe only in terms of moments after the Big Bang—where T is greater than zero—which ensures that the mathematical does not turn mystical.
Dan Brown (Origin (Robert Langdon, #5))
who could blame them if they said "the hell with the rest of the world." Let somebody else buy the bonds. Let somebody else build or repair foreign dams, or design foreign buildings that won't shake apart in earthquakes." When the railways of France, and Germany, and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both of 'em are still broke. I can name to you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name to me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake. Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I am one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them kicked around. They'll come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they're entitled to thumb their noses at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of these. But there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians. And finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48th Annual meeting in New Orleans this morning that it was broke. This year's disasters -- with the year less than half-over -- has taken it all. And nobody, but nobody, has helped. -  Gordon Sinclair via Radio Broadcast June 5, 1973 from Ontario, Canada
David Nordmark (Understanding American Exceptionalism)
You can't tiptoe toward justice. You can't walk up to the door all polite and know once or twice, hoping someone's home. Justice is a door that, when closed, must be kicked in. "No state," Baldwin wrote, "has been able to foresee or prevent the day when their most ruined and abject accomplice - or most expensively dressed prostitute - will growl, 'This far and no further.'" And maybe that day is more like a series of days, the whole year of protest that erupted between now and then, a culminated mass of days and nights, bodies laying down in intersections, symphony halls, strip malls, superhighways across this country, stopping traffic and business-as-usual, declaring by their very presence: "No further," and again, "No further.
Daniel José Older
Have you ever been in a place where history becomes tangible? Where you stand motionless, feeling time and importance press around you, press into you? That was how I felt the first time I stood in the astronaut garden at OCA PNW. Is it still there? Do you know it? Every OCA campus had – has, please let it be has – one: a circular enclave, walled by smooth white stone that towered up and up until it abruptly cut off, definitive as the end of an atmosphere, making room for the sky above. Stretching up from the ground, standing in neat rows and with an equally neat carpet of microclover in between, were trees, one for every person who’d taken a trip off Earth on an OCA rocket. It didn’t matter where you from, where you trained, where your spacecraft launched. When someone went up, every OCA campus planted a sapling. The trees are an awesome sight, but bear in mind: the forest above is not the garden’s entry point. You enter from underground. I remember walking through a short tunnel and into a low-lit domed chamber that possessed nothing but a spiral staircase leading upward. The walls were made of thick glass, and behind it was the dense network you find below every forest. Roots interlocking like fingers, with gossamer fungus sprawled symbiotically between, allowing for the peaceful exchange of carbon and nutrients. Worms traversed roads of their own making. Pockets of water and pebbles decorated the scene. This is what a forest is, after all. Don’t believe the lie of individual trees, each a monument to its own self-made success. A forest is an interdependent community. Resources are shared, and life in isolation is a death sentence. As I stood contemplating the roots, a hidden timer triggered, and the lights faded out. My breath went with it. The glass was etched with some kind of luminescent colourant, invisible when the lights were on, but glowing boldly in the dark. I moved closer, and I saw names – thousands upon thousands of names, printed as small as possible. I understood what I was seeing without being told. The idea behind Open Cluster Astronautics was simple: citizen-funded spaceflight. Exploration for exploration’s sake. Apolitical, international, non-profit. Donations accepted from anyone, with no kickbacks or concessions or promises of anything beyond a fervent attempt to bring astronauts back from extinction. It began in a post thread kicked off in 2052, a literal moonshot by a collective of frustrated friends from all corners – former thinkers for big names gone bankrupt, starry-eyed academics who wanted to do more than teach the past, government bureau members whose governments no longer existed. If you want to do good science with clean money and clean hands, they argued, if you want to keep the fire burning even as flags and logos came down, if you understand that space exploration is best when it’s done in the name of the people, then the people are the ones who have to make it happen.
Becky Chambers (To Be Taught, If Fortunate)
You need some help, Rosie?” His footsteps quicken behind me, and before I can respond, I feel his calloused hands on my waist. I accidently slide back against his chest and inhale the scent that has always clung to his whole family—something like forests, damp leaves, and sunshine. I suppose when your father is a woodsman you’re bound to carry the scent of oak in your veins. One breath is all I get the chance for, though; he kicks the door open and sets me down on the front stoop, then takes a step back. I turn to face him, hoping to thank him for the help and in the same sentence admonish him for carrying me like a little girl. Instead, I smile. He’s still Silas—Silas who left a year ago, the boy just a little older than my sister. His eyes are still sparkling and expressive, hair still the brown-black color of pine bark, body broad-shouldered and a little too willowy for his features. He’s still there, but it’s as if someone new has been layered on top of him. Someone older and stronger who isn’t looking a me as if I’m Scarlett’s kid sister . . . someone who makes me feel dizzy and quivery. How did this happen? Calm down. It’s just Silas. Sort of. “You’re staring,” he says cautiously, looking worried. “Oh. Um, sorry,” I say, shaking my head. Silas shoves his hands into his pockets with a familiar sway. “It’s just been a while, that’s all.” “Yeah, no kidding. You’re heavier than I remember.” I frown, mortified. “Oh, no, wait. I didn’t mean it like that, just that you’ve gotten older. Wait, that doesn’t sound much better . . .” Silas runs a hand through his hair and curses under his breath. “No, I get it.” I let him off the hook, grinning. Something about seeing him nervous thaws some of my shyness.
Jackson Pearce (Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings, #1))
You, my dear, do not know how to have fun." "I do, too!" "You do not. You are as bad as Lucien. And do you know something? I think it's time someone showed you how to have fun. Namely, me. You can worry all you like about our situation tomorrow, but tonight ... tonight I'm going to make you laugh so hard that you'll forget all about how afraid of me you are." "I am not afraid of you!" "You are." And with that, he pushed his chair back, stalked around the table, and in a single easy movement, swept her right out of her chair and into his arms. "Gareth!  Put me down!" He only laughed, easily carrying her toward the bed. "Gareth, I am a grown woman!" "You are a grown woman who behaves in a manner far too old for her years," he countered, still striding toward the bed. "As the wife of a Den member, that just will not do." "Gareth, I don't want — I mean, I'm not ready for that!" "That? Who said anything about that?"  He tossed her lightly onto the bed. "Oh, no, my dear Juliet. I'm not going to do that —" She tried to scoot away. "Then what are you going to do?" "Why, I'm going to wipe that sadness out of your eyes if only for tonight. I'm going to make you forget your troubles, forget your fears, forget everything but me. And you know how I'm going to do that, O dearest wife?"  He grabbed a fistful of her petticoats as she tried to escape. "I'm going to tickle you until you giggle ... until you laugh ... until you're hooting so loudly that all of London hears you!" He fell upon the bed like a swooping hawk, and Juliet let out a helpless shriek as his fingers found her ribs and began tickling her madly. "Stop!  We just ate!  You'll make me sick!" "What's this? Your husband makes you sick?" "No, it's just that — aaaoooooo!" He tickled her harder. She flailed and giggled and cried out, embarrassed about each loud shriek but helpless to prevent them. He was laughing as hard as she. Catching one thrashing leg, he unlaced her boot and deftly removed it. She yelped as his fingers found the sensitive instep, and she kicked out reflexively. He neatly ducked just in time to avoid having his nose broken, catching her by the ankle and tickling her toes, her soles, her arch through her stockings. "Stop, Gareth!"  She was laughing so hard, tears were streaming from her eyes. "Stop it, damn it!" Thank goodness Charlotte, worn out by her earlier tantrum, was such a sound sleeper! The tickling continued. Juliet kicked and fought, her struggles tossing the heavy, ruffled petticoats and skirts of her lovely blue gown halfway up her thigh to reveal a long, slender calf sheathed in silk. She saw his gaze taking it all in, even as he made a grab for her other foot. "No!  Gareth, I shall lose my supper if you keep this up, I swear it I will — oooahhhhh!" He seized her other ankle, yanked off the remaining boot, and began torturing that foot as well, until Juliet was writhing and shrieking on the bed in a fit of laughter. The tears streamed down her cheeks, and her stomach ached with the force of her mirth. And when, at last, he let up and she lay exhausted across the bed in a twisted tangle of skirts, petticoats, and chemise, her chest heaving and her hair in a hopeless tumbled-down flood of silken mahogany beneath her head, she looked up to see him grinning down at her, his own hair hanging over his brow in tousled, seductive disarray.
Danelle Harmon (The Wild One (The de Montforte Brothers, #1))
How would I find someone,” Caleb said, edging the dead man’s legs parallel to one another with his toe, “who would be willing to kill a man?” “Now that, kid, is a man’s chore.” Ethan stretched his back until it cracked mightily. “You mean to kill the one who done that to you?” Ethan hoisted the corpse again and motioned with a nod for Caleb to follow suit. “I suppose I could do it. Depends on the job.” They shuffled across the gaming floor, Ethan kicking chairs and tables out of the way as they went. “Killing’s like anything else—there’s a right man for it.” Caleb couldn’t believe he hadn’t asked Ethan these questions sooner; everyone else took such great pains to protect him that he’d stopped asking lest he hear the same careful, uninformative answers. “What if I needed someone to go kill someone someplace else?” Ethan paused while he fiddled with the latch on the door, holding the man’s entire upper body with one large paw. “Ol’ Jackson Ramus, that’s who you’d call.” Jackson Ramus. The name didn’t seem real to Caleb. He checked it against his images of the men. “Of course Ramus died three, four years ago.” Ethan pitched the door open and the cold wind knocked Caleb backward. Ethan didn’t notice. “He was supposed to be tracking a woman whose husband said she’d been kidnapped. And he found her all right, found her in the lying-down game with another man.” Ethan didn’t slow moving across the icy landing to the railing. “Ramus was a smart man—maybe too smart, maybe not smart enough—and he figured if he came all the way back to ask the husband what to do, he was sure the husband would send him right back the way he came to kill this new man and the cheating wife.” Ethan stopped when they got to the edge of the deck. Caleb spun around, thinking they were going down the stairs when the legs were yanked out of his hands and the body flew through the air. Ethan slapped his palms together. “Of course, Ramus was also what you might call a lazy man. Lazy man with a gun is not the kind of man you want to find yourself next to.” The body landed facedown, the snow leaping into the air with a massive, rushing noise, and settling over the man’s clothes. “So he shot them, both of them. And came back home.” Caleb looked at the body splayed out in the snow, everything at unliving angles. He could barely listen to the words that followed. “But Ol’ Ramus got it wrong. When he came back, the husband was so upset, he shot Ramus between the eyes, stuffed his killing fee inside his mouth, and then shot himself right in his goddamned broken heart.
James Scott (The Kept)
We walk around inside that house like everything is okay, but it’s not, Quinn. We’ve been broken for years and I have no idea how to fix us. I find solutions. It’s what I do. It’s what I’m good at. But I have no idea how to solve me and you. Every day I come home, hoping things will be better. But you can’t even stand to be in the same room with me. You hate it when I touch you. You hate it when I talk to you. I pretend not to notice the things you don’t want me to notice because I don’t want you to hurt more than you already do.” He releases a rush of air. “I am not blaming you for what I did. It’s my fault. I did that. I fucked up. But I didn’t fuck up because I was attracted to her. I fucked up because I miss you. Every day, I miss you. When I’m at work, I miss you. When I’m home, I miss you. When you’re next to me in bed, I miss you. When I’m inside you, I miss you.” Graham presses his mouth to mine. I can taste his tears. Or maybe they’re my tears. He pulls back and presses his forehead to mine. “I miss you, Quinn. So much. You’re right here, but you aren’t. I don’t know where you went or when you left, but I have no idea how to bring you back. I am so alone. We live together. We eat together. We sleep together. But I have never felt more alone in my entire life.” Graham releases me and falls back against his seat. He rests his elbow against the window, covering his face as he tries to compose himself. He’s more broken than I’ve ever seen him in all the years I’ve known him. And I’m the one slowly tearing him down. I’m making him unrecognizable. I’ve strung him along by allowing him to believe there’s hope that I’ll eventually change. That I’ll miraculously turn back into the woman he fell in love with. But I can’t change. We are who our circumstances turn us into. “Graham.” I wipe at my face with my shirt. He’s quiet, but he eventually looks at me with his sad, heartbroken eyes. “I haven’t gone anywhere. I’ve been here this whole time. But you can’t see me because you’re still searching for someone I used to be. I’m sorry I’m no longer who I was back then. Maybe I’ll get better. Maybe I won’t. But a good husband loves his wife through the good and the bad times. A good husband stands at his wife’s side through sickness and health, Graham. A good husband- a husband who truly loves his wife - wouldn’t cheat on her and then blame his infidelity on the fact that he’s lonely.” Graham’s expression doesn’t change. He’s as still as a statue. The only thing that moves is his jaw as he works it back and forth. And then his eyes narrow and he tilts his head. “You don’t think I love you, Quinn?” “I know you used to. But I don’t think you love the person I’ve become.” Graham sits up straight. He leans forward, looking me hard in the eye. His words are clipped as he speaks. “I have loved you every single second of every day since the moment I laid eyes on you. I love you more now than I did the day I married you. I love you, Quinn. I fucking love you!” He opens his car door, gets out and then slams it shut with all his strength. The whole car shakes. He walks toward the house, but before he makes it to the front door, he spins around and points at me angrily. “I love you, Quinn!” He’s shouting the words. He’s angry. So angry. He walks toward his car and kicks at the front bumper with his bare foot. He kicks and he kicks and he kicks and then pauses to scream it at me again. “I love you!” He slams his fist against the top of his car, over and over, until he finally collapses against the hood, his head buried in his arms. He remains in this position for an entire minute, the only thing moving is the subtle shaking of his shoulders. I don’t move. I don’t even think I breathe. Graham finally pushes off the hood and uses his shirt to wipe at his eyes. He looks at me, completely defeated. “I love you,” he says quietly, shaking his head. “I always have. No matter how much you wish I didn’t.
Colleen Hoover (All Your Perfects)
If you hurt her, you will not leave here alive,” I growled at him. “I will kill you with my bare fucking hands, Bayle.” Bayle started to laugh. “Oh, you really think so?” Something flashed in Tilda’s eyes, and her body tensed up. Her expression hardened, and there was a resolve in her that I knew all too well from training with her. Tilda was a master of restraint, but she could destroy someone if she wanted to. “Wait,” Tilda said in a stilted voice. “This is Bayle Lundeen? Bayle, who conspired with Kennet? Bayle, who’s one of the reasons my husband is dead?” I nodded once. “Yeah. That’s him.” For the first time, Bayle seemed to realize he might have bitten off more than he could chew, and he looked down at Tilda with new appreciation. Tilda may be pregnant, but she was still tall and strong, with muscular arms and powerful legs. I was sure that when Bayle had first captured her, she’d been more docile so as not to risk him hurting the baby. But now she was pissed. With one sudden jerk, she flung her head backward, smashing into Bayle’s face. From where I stood several feet away from her, I heard the sound of his nose crunching. Before he could tilt the knife toward her, she grabbed his wrist, bent it backward, and, using her other arm as leverage, she broke his arm with a loud snap. It all happened within a few seconds, and Bayle screamed in pain and stumbled back. His arm hung at a weird angle, and blood streamed down his face. But Tilda wasn't done yet. With a swipe of her leg, she kicked his legs out from under him. He fell back into the mud, and Tilda kicked him hard in the groin, causing Konstantin to wince behind me. Then she jumped on top of him, punching him repeatedly in the face with both fists. His body had gone limp but I wasn't sure if that was because he was unconscious or dead. Either way, Tilda apparently decided that she wanted to be certain. She grabbed the knife that he’d dropped on the ground beside them, and she stabbed him straight through the heart. And then she just sat there, kneeling on his dead body and breathing hard. None of us said anything or moved. It felt like she needed the moment to herself. When she finally stood up, she shook her arms out, probably both because her fists hurt from hitting Bayle so hard and also to get rid of some of the blood. “Do you feel better?” I asked her. She nodded, still catching her breath as she walked over to me. “Yeah. We have to do something about these bodies, though. The humans will get suspicious.” “That girl is a fucking beast,” Konstantin whispered as she walked by, and he looked at her with newfound admiration. “You should see her when she’s not pregnant,” I said.
Amanda Hocking (Crystal Kingdom (Kanin Chronicles, #3))
A mover started in on a girl’s bedroom, painted pink with a sign on the door announcing THE PRINCESS SLEEPS HERE. Another took on the disheveled office, packing Resumes for Dummies into a box with a chalkboard counting down the remaining days of school. The eldest child, a seventh-grade boy, tried to help by taking out the trash. His younger sister, the princess, held her two-year-old sister’s hand on the porch. Upstairs, the movers were trying not to step on the toddler’s toys, which when kicked would protest with beeping sounds and flashing lights. As the move went on, the woman slowed down. At first, she had borne down on the emergency with focus and energy, almost running through the house with one hand grabbing something and the other holding up the phone. Now she was wandering through the halls aimlessly, almost drunkenly. Her face had that look. The movers and the deputies knew it well. It was the look of someone realizing that her family would be homeless in a matter of hours. It was something like denial giving way to the surrealism of the scene: the speed and violence of it all; sheriffs leaning against your wall, hands resting on holsters; all these strangers, these sweating men, piling your things outside, drinking water from your sink poured into your cups, using your bathroom. It was the look of being undone by a wave of questions. What do I need for tonight, for this week? Who should I call? Where is the medication? Where will we go? It was the face of a mother who climbs out of the cellar to find the tornado has leveled the house.
Matthew Desmond (Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City)
She stared in horror at the pie table. Each of Nick’s hands had landed in a pie. His gray shirt was splattered with crust and whipped cream and berries. Even worse, his face was completely covered. The pie ladies and the other judges rushed to help, trying to right the remaining pies while keeping Nick from dripping berry juice all over the table. At one time Maddie might have done something as impulsive as push Ashby back. But now she took a step away. When she looked at Ashby, she was holding a pie. Actually, she was a second away from launching it. “Just put down the pie and walk away, and we’ll let bygones be bygones.” Maddie felt like she should be wearing a police uniform and holding a stun gun instead of contemplating arming herself with pies. Ashby tossed her a defiant look and cranked up the pie. “Let’s just talk like civilized—” Too late. Ashby tossed the pie, a direct hit to Maddie’s face. The pie splattered all over—her hair, her clothes, blinding her and covering her nose so she couldn’t breathe. This was war. Maddie scooped enough pie off her face so she could see. “Okay, I guess we’re past talking.” Something devilish came over her, that feeling of pure kicking-someone’s-butt that she hadn’t felt since she was nine and Derrick ambushed her Barbies with his GI Joes and held them for ransom money. Maddie picked up a certain pie from the table. One of Ashby’s. It hovered in Maddie’s hands like a Frisbee. Clearing both her pie eyes for good aim, she let it rip. Fluffs of whipped cream spread everywhere, in Ashby’s perfect hair and all over her designer sundress.
Miranda Liasson (Heart and Sole (Kingston Family, #1))
He’s a murdering chud,” Zil was yelling. “What do you want to do? Lynch him?” Astrid demanded. That stopped the flow for a second as kids tried to figure out what “lynch” meant. But Zil quickly recovered. “I saw him do it. He used his powers to kill Harry.” “I was trying to stop you from smashing my head in!” Hunter shouted. “You’re a lying mutant freak!” “They think they can do anything they want,” another voice shouted. Astrid said, as calmly as she could while still pitching her voice to be heard, “We are not going down that path, people, dividing up between freaks and normals.” “They already did it!” Zil cried. “It’s the freaks acting all special and like their farts don’t stink.” That earned a laugh. “And now they’re starting to kill us,” Zil cried. Angry cheers. Edilio squared his shoulders and stepped into the crowd. He went first to Hank, the kid with the shotgun. He tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Give me that thing.” “No way,” Hank said. But he didn’t seem too certain. “You want to have that thing fire by accident and blow someone’s face off?” Edilio held his hand out. “Give it to me, man.” Zil rounded on Edilio. “You going to make Hunter give up his weapon? Huh? He’s got powers, man, and that’s okay, but the normals can’t have any weapon? How are we supposed to defend ourselves from the freaks?” “Man, give it a rest, huh?” Edilio said. He was doing his best to sound more weary than angry or scared. Things were already bad enough. “Zil, you want to be responsible if that gauge goes off and kills Astrid? You want to maybe give that some thought?” Zil blinked. But he said, “Dude, I’m not scared of Sam.” “Sam won’t be your problem, I will be,” Edilio snapped, losing patience. “Anything happens to her, I’ll take you down before Sam ever gets the chance.” Zil snorted derisively. “Ah, good little boy, Edilio, kissing up to the chuds. I got news for you, dilly dilly, you’re a lowly normal, just like me and the rest of us." “I’m going to let that go,” Edilio said evenly, striving to regain his cool, trying to sound calm and in control, even though he could hardly take his eyes off the twin barrels of the shotgun. “But now I’m taking that shotgun.” “No way!” Hank cried, and the next thing was an explosion so loud, Edilio thought a bomb had gone off. The muzzle flash blinded him, like camera flash going off in his face. Someone yelled in pain. Edilio staggered back, squeezed his eyes shut, trying to adjust. When he opened them again the shotgun was on the ground and the boy who’d accidentally fired it was holding his bruised hand, obviously shocked. Zil bent to grab the gun. Edilio took two steps forward and kicked Zil in the face. As Zil fell back Edilio made a grab for the shotgun. He never saw the blow that turned his knees to water and filled his head with stars. He fell like a sack of bricks, but even as he fell he lurched forward to cover the shotgun. Astrid screamed and launched herself down the stairs to protect Edilio. Antoine, the one who had hit Edilio, was raising his bat to hit Edilio again, but on the back swing he caught Astrid in the face. Antoine cursed, suddenly fearful. Zil yelled, “No, no, no!” There was a sudden rush of running feet. Down the walkway, into the street, echoing down the block.
Michael Grant (Hunger (Gone, #2))
Helene was a person who had never been able to ask for help, and she couldn't ask for help now. She turned north and started walking toward her home, many miles away in San Rafael. It took her almost eight hours to reach there. After a short time her feet began to hurt, so she took off the heels and throw them away. As she walked on, her nylons tore and her feet began to bleed. She passed buildings that had collapsed, stumbled over rubble, waded through streets filled with filthy water from the fire-fighting efforts. Dirty, sweaty, and disheveled, she walked down the Marina to the Golden Gate Bridge and crossed it into the next county. She reached her home sometime after midnight and knocked on her own front door. It was opened by her fiance, who had never before seen her with her hair uncombed. Without a word, he took her into his arms, kicked the door closed, covered her dirty, tearstained face with kisses, and made love to her right there on the floor. Helene is a very intelligent person but she could not understand why she had never met this ardent lover before. When she asked him, he said simply, 'I was always afraid of smearing your lipstick.' She tells me that now when she begins to relapse into her former perfectionism, she remembers the look of love in her fiance's eyes when he opened the door. She had been looked at by men all of her life but she had never seen that expression in a man's eyes before. At the heart of any real intimacy is a certain vulnerability. It is hard to trust someone with your vulnerability unless you can see in them a matching vulnerability and know that you will not be judged. In some basic way it is our imperfections and even our pain that draws others close to us.
Rachel Naomi Remen (Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal)
But here’s the tricky part about compassion and connecting: We can’t call just anyone. It’s not that simple. I have a lot of good friends, but there are only a handful of people whom I can count on to practice compassion when I’m in the dark shame place. If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm. We want solid connection in a situation like this—something akin to a sturdy tree firmly planted in the ground. We definitely want to avoid the following: The friend who hears the story and actually feels shame for you. She gasps and confirms how horrified you should be. Then there is awkward silence. Then you have to make her feel better. The friend who responds with sympathy (I feel so sorry for you) rather than empathy (I get it, I feel with you, and I’ve been there). If you want to see a shame cyclone turn deadly, throw one of these at it: “Oh, you poor thing.” Or, the incredibly passive-aggressive southern version of sympathy: “Bless your heart.” The friend who needs you to be the pillar of worthiness and authenticity. She can’t help because she’s too disappointed in your imperfections. You’ve let her down. The friend who is so uncomfortable with vulnerability that she scolds you: “How did you let this happen? What were you thinking?” Or she looks for someone to blame: “Who was that guy? We’ll kick his ass.” The friend who is all about making it better and, out of her own discomfort, refuses to acknowledge that you can actually be crazy and make terrible choices: “You’re exaggerating. It wasn’t that bad. You rock. You’re perfect. Everyone loves you.” The friend who confuses “connection” with the opportunity to one-up you: “That’s nothing. Listen to what happened to me one time!
Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are)
I’ll tell you what,” he says. “You keep me company while I finish my dinner. I won’t even ask you what you have…or don’t have…under that coat. Deal?” I smile tentatively and smooth down my hair. “Deal.” “You don’t have to do that for me,” he says, gently taking my hand away from my hair. “I’ll get a blanket so you don’t get dirty.” I wait until he pulls a clean light green fleece blanket out of a closet. We sit on the blanket and Alex looks at his watch. “Want some?” he asks, pointing to his dinner. Maybe eating will calm my nerves. “What is it?” “Enchiladas. Mi’amá makes kick-ass enchiladas.” He stabs a small portion with a fork and holds it out to me. “If you’re not used to this kind of spicy food--” “I love spicy,” I interrupt, taking it into my mouth. I start chewing, enjoying the blend of flavors. But when I swallow, my tongue slowly catches on fire. Somewhere behind all the fire there’s flavor, but the flames are in the way. “Hot,” is all I can say as I attempt to swallow. “I told you.” Alex holds out the cup he’d been drinking from. “Here, drink. Milk usually does the trick, but I only have water.” I grab the cup. The liquid cools my tongue, but when I finish the water it’s as if someone stokes it again. “Water…,” I say. He fills another cup. “Here, drink more, though I don’t think it’ll help much. It’ll subside soon.” Instead of drinking it this time, I stick my tongue in the cold liquid and keep it there. Ahhh… “You okay?” “To I wook otay?” I ask. “With your tongue in the water like that, actually, it’s erotic. Want another bite?” he asks mischievously, acting like the Alex I know. “Mo mank ooh.” “Your tongue still burnin’?” I lift my tongue from the water. “It feels like a million soccer players are stomping on it with their cleats.” “Ouch,” he says, laughing. “You know, I heard once that kissin’ reduces the fire.” “Is that your cheap way of telling me you want to kiss me?” He looks into my eyes, his dark gaze capturing mine. “Querida, I always want to kiss you.
Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1))
I kept my head down and my mouth full. I didn't want Frankie's sharp eyes or tongue focused on me any more than necessary. It was a lot easier with Daniel taking up half of the food and most of the air. "What about it, Ella?" he asked when everything was gone except the parsley garnish. "When do we get the pleasure of your vocal stylings?" "I don't sing." "You mean you won't sng," Sadie corrected. I tried to be charitable about her treason; she goes pretty brainless around Daniel. "Ella sings really well." "I'm sure she does." Daniel tipped his beer glass in my direction. "In fact, I bet she could totally murder 'Don't Stop Believin'." A song that is actually one of my guilty pleasures. I think he probably knew that. I think he probably had himself a lovely chuckle over it.Then he whispered, "Coward." In another story, the plucky little heroine would have slapped both hands onto the table, making it wobble a little on its predicatbly uneven fourth leg. She would then have taken both hands, ripped the long scarf from around her neck and, chin high and scar spotlit, stalked to the dais, leaped up, and slayed the audience with her kick-ass version of "Respect." Or maybe "Single Ladies," for the sheer Yay factor. In this version,I gave Daniel what I hoped was a slayer look and busied myself refolding my napkin. He was,not surprisingly, unfazed. "Can I ask you a question?" I sighed. "Will my answer to that one make any difference?" "None whatsoever." "Fine," I grumbled. "Ask." I didn't have to answer.He wasn't my Hobbes. "Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?" I gaped at him. "That's your question?" "Nope." He leaned back in his chair, propping one foot on the other knee. "That's a question. My question is this: What's the one thing you should ask yourself before getting involved with someone?" "Seriously?" "Do I look serious?" Maybe not serious, but vaguely deadly. Still,it was an interesting question, especially coming from Daniel Hobbes. I thought for a second. "'Will he make me happy?'" "You think?" Daniel asked, the unfolded himself and got to his feet. "I'm outta here. Who's coming?
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of Truth or Dare)
She clicks on the last slide, and that’s when it happens. “Me So Horny” blasts out of the speakers and my video, mine and Peter’s, flashes on the projector screen. Someone has taken the video from Anonybitch’s Instagram and put their own soundtrack to it. They’ve edited it too, so I bop up and down on Peter’s lap at triple speed to the beat. Oh no no no no. Please, no. Everything happens at once. People are shrieking and laughing and pointing and going “Oooh!” Mr. Vasquez is jumping up to unplug the projector, and then Peter’s running onstage, grabbing the microphone out of a stunned Reena’s hand. “Whoever did that is a piece of garbage. And not that it’s anybody’s fucking business, but Lara Jean and I did not have sex in the hot tub.” My ears are ringing, and people are twisting around in their seats to look at me and then shifting back around to look at Peter. “All we did was kiss, so fuck off!” Mr. Vasquez, the junior class advisor, is trying to grab the mic back from Peter, but Peter manages to maintain control of it. He holds the mic up high and yells out, “I’m gonna find whoever did this and kick their ass!” In the scuffle, he drops the mic. People are cheering and laughing. Peter’s being frog-marched off the stage, and he frantically looks out into the audience. He’s looking for me. The assembly breaks up then, and everyone starts filing out the doors, but I stay low in my seat. Chris comes and finds me, face alight. She grabs me by the shoulders. “Ummm, that was crazy! He freaking dropped the F bomb twice!” I am still in a state of shock, maybe. A video of me and Peter hot and heavy was just on the projector screen, and everyone saw Mr. Vasquez, seventy-year-old Mr. Glebe who doesn’t even know what Instagram is. The only passionate kiss of my life and everybody saw. Chris shakes my shoulders. “Lara Jean! Are you okay?” I nod mutely, and she releases me. “He’s kicking whoever did it’s ass? I’d love to see that!” She snorts and throws her head back like a wild pony. “I mean, the boy’s an idiot if he thinks for one second it wasn’t Gen who posted that video. Like, wow, those are some serious blinders, y’know?” Chris stops short and examines my face. “Are you sure you’re okay?” “Everybody saw us.” “Yeah…that sucked. I’m sure that was Gen’s handiwork. She must’ve gotten one of her little minions to sneak it onto Reena’s PowerPoint.” Chris shakes her head in disgust. “She’s such a bitch. I’m glad Peter set the record straight, though. Like, I hate to give him credit, but that was an act of chivalry. No guy has ever set the record straight for me.
Jenny Han (P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2))
She started to head out, but she passed her room. It was the same as she'd left it: a pile of cushions by her bed for Little Brother to sleep on, a stack of poetry and famous literature on her desk that she was supposed to study to become a "model bride," and the lavender shawl and silk robes she'd worn the day before she left home. The jade comb Mulan had left in exchange for the conscription notice caught her eye; it now rested in front of her mirror. Mulan's gaze lingered on the comb, on its green teeth and the pearl-colored flower nestled on its shoulder. She wanted to hold it, to put it in her hair and show her family- to show everyone- she was worthy. After all, her surname, Fa, meant flower. She needed to show them that she had bloomed to be worthy of her family name. But no one was here, and she didn't want to face her reflection. Who knew what it would show, especially in Diyu? She isn't a boy, her mother had told her father once. She shouldn't be riding horses and letting her hair loose. The neighbors will talk. She won't find a good husband- Let her, Fa Zhou had consoled his wife. When she leaves this household as a bride, she'll no longer be able to do these things. Mulan hadn't understood what he meant then. She hadn't understood the significance of what it meant for her to be the only girl in the village who skipped learning ribbon dances to ride Khan through the village rice fields, who chased after chickens and helped herd the cows instead of learning the zither or practicing her painting, who was allowed to have opinions- at all. She'd taken the freedom of her childhood for granted. When she turned fourteen, everything changed. I know this will be a hard change to make, Fa Li had told her, but it's for your own good. Men want a girl who is quiet and demure, polite and poised- not someone who speaks out of turn and runs wild about the garden. A girl who can't make a good match won't bring honor to the family. And worse yet, she'll have nothing: not respect, or money of her own, or a home. She'd touched Mulan's cheek with a resigned sigh. I don't want that fate for you, Mulan. Every morning for a year, her mother tied a rod of bamboo to Mulan's spine to remind her to stand straight, stuffed her mouth with persimmon seeds to remind her to speak softly, and helped Mulan practice wearing heeled shoes by tying ribbons to her feet and guiding her along the garden. Oh, how she'd wanted to please her mother, and especially her father. She hadn't wanted to let them down. But maybe she hadn't tried enough. For despite Fa Li's careful preparation, she had failed the Matchmaker's exam. The look of hopefulness on her father's face that day- the thought that she'd disappointed him still haunted her. Then fate had taken its turn, and Mulan had thrown everything away to become a soldier. To learn how to punch and kick and hold a sword and shield, to shoot arrows and run and yell. To save her country, and bring honor home to her family. How much she had wanted them to be proud of her.
Elizabeth Lim (Reflection (Twisted Tales))
Archer arrived early the next morning. Grey was still asleep on the sofa in his study when he heard tapping on the window. He opened his eyes and immediately regretted it as the sharp light of day pierced his brain. Squinting, he tried to focus on his brother, since he already knew who his visitor was. Only one person ever announced himself so annoyingly. “Open the bloody window, Grey!” Grumbling, Grey slowly rose into a full sitting position. His back and neck were stiff and his head felt as though someone had kicked it repeatedly from all sides. And his mouth! Christ, he didn’t want to even think about what might have died inside it. He staggered to the window, unlatched it and swung it open. “What the hell do you want?” Wide-eyed, Archer made a tsking noise. “Is that any way to greet your favorite brother?” “You’re not my favorite,” Grey scowled. Unaffected, Archer easily adapted. “Is that any way to greet your second-favorite brother?” Grey grinned, he couldn’t help it. Archer had always had a knack for making him smile, just as he had a knack for pissing him off as well. “I’m hung over and feel like shite. What do you want?” “You look like shite. What’s this I hear about you making an appearance at Saint’s Row last night?” “Rose tell you that?” “She did. I’m surprised you took such a risk just to see her.” Grey thought of her in that teal gown, the lights illuminating the luster of her skin. “It was worth it.” “Worth it, eh? So worth it you immediately came home and got sloshed.” “Something like that. And then Rose came home and I got even more sloshed.” Archer’s expression turned to concern as he leaned against the window frame. “What happened?” Grey shrugged. He’d already revealed more than he’d wanted. “Suffice it to say she now knows what kind of man I am.” His brother snorted. “That girl has always known exactly what kind of man you are.” The words were plain enough, but there was a cryptic edge to them that had Grey puzzled. “What the hell does that mean?” Arch shook his head. “Come to the stables with me. I want to show you something.” He looked down at himself. He was wearing the same clothes he’d worn last night and he was wrinkled beyond hope. Not to mention that he smelled like a distillery-an unwashed one at that. And his mask was up in his room. What if someone happened by and saw him… He wasn’t a coward. He just didn’t wish to be seen looking less than his best. An oath punctuated the early morning air. Grey was grabbed by the front of the shirt and yanked-hard. His only course of action was to brace one booted foot on the bottom sill to keep from falling. Of course, that action only succeeded in making it easier for Archer to haul him completely out onto the lawn. He landed hard on both feet, the impact going straight to his ready-to-implode skull. “What the hell?” Fist cocked, Grey punched his brother in the shoulder. “Jesus, man! What are you about?” Archer punched him back. It hurt, and oddly enough it seemed to wake him up-clear the fog and some of the pressure surrounding his brain. “I’m trying to help you, you bugger.” “To do what?” Grey demanded. “Die?
Kathryn Smith (When Seducing a Duke (Victorian Soap Opera, #1))
What would the ton do without us to feed them scandal broth?” Grey returned her grin. “The lot of them would starve.” They chuckled and as the humor faded, Grey tilted his head to look at her. “You look beautiful tonight.” She flushed, pleasure lighting the dark depths of her eyes. “You don’t have to say such things.” “I know I don’t, but you are my fiancée and it’s perfectly acceptable for me to voice my thoughts aloud. It’s rather refreshing after keeping them to myself for so long.” That got her attention. One of her fine, high brows twitched. “How long?” He grinned. “Since you were old enough for me to think such thoughts without being lecherous.” They stood no more than six inches apart. Close enough that he could see how amazingly flawless her skin was-not a freckle in sight. Close enough that she could see every twist and knot in his scar-and yet she barely glanced at it. Her gaze was riveted on his. She didn’t care that he was disfigured-at least not on the outside. Not on the inside either, so it seemed. “I’ve never been a good man,” he confessed-a little more hoarse than he liked-“but I promise to be a faithful husband.” It was the best he could offer, because as much as he would like to be the man she wanted, it wasn’t going to happen. Her smooth brow puckered. “I haven’t actually consented, you know.” “Rose, we have to marry.” “No.” She raised sparkling eyes to his. “I want you to ask me to marry you-not demand it. I don’t care if it has to be done. I want to feel like I have a choice.” “If you did have a choice, what would it be?” He was on dangerous ground with her, inching into territory better left unexplored for both their sakes. Rose smiled, and everything was right with the world. “Ask me and find out.” His hands came up, seemingly of their own volition, to cup her face. She was so delicate, yet so strong. Her entire world had been turned upside down, and yet she faced him with a teasing glint in her eyes and a soft flush of color in her cheeks. “Rose Danvers, will you do me the extreme honor of becoming my wife?” Were those tears dampening her eyes? And was it joy or sorrow that put them there? “I will.” He knew that they had to marry regardless, but hearing her say those two little words was like someone kicking his heart through his ribs. It hurt, but there was such unfathomable joy that came with it-such terrible happiness that Grey had no idea what to do with it. He’d never felt anything like it before. Holding her face, he lowered his head and hungrily claimed her mouth with his own. Her lips parted for his tongue as her fingers bit into his arms. A trickle of warm wetness brushed against his thumb. She was crying. A sharp gasp came from the open door. “What the devil is going on here?” The kiss and its magic were broken. Rose stepped back, and Grey dropped his hands, but he wasn’t willing to let her go just yet. He placed one arm behind her back, holding her close so that they faced her mother together. Camilla did not look happy. In fact, she looked like any mother would to walk into a room and find her daughter being molested. “Mama,” Rose begun. “It’s not what you think.” “It is exactly what you think,” Grey countered, drawing his friend’s stormy and narrow gaze. “I have asked Rose for her hand in marriage and she has accepted. I regret that you had to find out this way, but I was too overcome with joy to contain my feelings.” He could feel Rose gaping at him. He didn’t look at her, not because the words were a lie, but because they were all too damnably true.
Kathryn Smith (When Seducing a Duke (Victorian Soap Opera, #1))
Countering the Knife The knife attack is very serious, and easily fatal. Avoid a knife confrontation if at all possible. If you must confront the knife wielder, and are able to do so at a distance, draw both the ASP and the neck knife. You can start with Kick and Draw to get the expandable baton into play while keeping the opponent at bay with a low kick. Your basic strategy is to hit the opponent with the ASP from a distance. His kneecap is a good target, because it is hard to defend and if you damage his knee, it will become difficult for him to close in on you. The knife serves as a backup and a deterrent to keep him from rushing in on you, which is the obvious strategy against someone armed with a stick or baton. In close, you can execute Move 2, striking with the ASP at his forearm as you twist your torso. Hit with the empty hand or slash with the knife. The prison-style knife attack, wherein the attacker grabs and smothers with his lead free hand while repeatedly stabbing with the rear hand, is a simple yet deadly attack that is difficult to defend against. The most effective counter to the prison-style knife attack comes from Ray Floro. First of all, assume the existence of a knife. It is too easy to assume that you are in a fistfight and get surprised when you are stabbed. Many people who are cut or stabbed are unaware of the existence of a knife, and may perceive a thrust as a punch. So don't get surprised by a weapon in an opponent's hand –be looking for it. From the High Backhand Guard chop downward at the opponent's forearm, only add the live hand. Grasp the ASP with both hands in staff grip and repeatedly slam the attacker's forearm. The slams are parallel to the ground, forming a very powerful counter to the upward knife thrust. These multiple slams not only serve as a defense, but as an offense, damaging the opponent's weapon arm. The Vertical Strike From the High Backhand Guard, strike vertically, chopping straight down with the ASP. Like the horizontal chop, the left/live hand follows just behind the ASP as you strike, and retreats with it as you quickly retract it back your original start position in the high backhand guard. The vertical strike can be used to hit targets of opportunity, such as a hand or elbow, but it can also be used to defend against a horizontal attack, such as a swing with a bottle, a slash with a knife, or a kick. Don't think of the strike as a block, but as attacking the opponent's striking arm or leg.
Darrin Cook (Steel Baton EDC)
he was going to kick someone down a flight of stairs, of course it would be a paedophile. It reminded me of his behaviour when we had visited Raymond Clunes.
Anthony Horowitz (The Word Is Murder (Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery, #1))
Another bullet hit Hajji Murad in the left side. He lay down in the ditch and again pulled some cotton wool out of his beshmet and plugged the wound. This wound in the side was fatal and he felt that he was dying. Memories and pictures succeeded one another with extraordinary rapidity in his imagination. now he saw the powerful Abu Nutsal Khan, dagger in hand and holding up his severed cheek as he rushed at his foe; then he saw the weak, bloodless old Vorontsov with his cunning white face, and heard his soft voice; then he saw his son Yusuf, his wife Sofiat, and then the pale, red-bearded face of his enemy Shamil with its half-closed eyes. All these images passed through his mind without evoking any feeling within him -- neither pity nor anger nor any kind of desire: everything seemed so insignificant in comparison with what was beginning, or had already begun, within him. Yet his strong body continued the thing that he had commenced. Gathering together his last strength he rose from behind the bank, fired his pistol at a man who was just running towards him, and hit him. The man fell. Then Hajji Murad got quite out of the ditch, and limping heavily went dagger in hand straight at the foe. Some shots cracked and he reeled and fell. Several militiamen with triumphant shrieks rushed towards the fallen body. But the body that seemed to be dead suddenly moved. First the uncovered, bleeding, shaven head rose; then the body with hands holding to the trunk of a tree. He seemed so terrible, that those who were running towards him stopped short. But suddenly a shudder passed through him, he staggered away from the tree and fell on his face, stretched out at full length like a thistle that had been mown down, and he moved no more. He did not move, but still he felt. When Hajji Aga, who was the first to reach him, struck him on the head with a large dagger, it seemed to Hajji Murad that someone was striking him with a hammer and he could not understand who was doing it or why. That was his last consciousness of any connection with his body. He felt nothing more and his enemies kicked and hacked at what had no longer anything in common with him. Hajji Aga placed his foot on the back of the corpse and with two blows cut off the head, and carefully -- not to soil his shoes with blood -- rolled it away with his foot. Crimson blood spurted from the arteries of the neck, and black blood flowed from the head, soaking the grass. Karganov and Hajji Aga and Akhmet Khan and all the militiamen gathered together -- like sportsmen round a slaughtered animal -- near the bodies of Hajji Murad and his men (Khanefi, Khan Mahoma, and Gamzalo they bound), and amid the powder-smoke which hung over the bushes they triumphed in their victory. the nightingales, that had hushed their songs while the firing lasted, now started their trills once more: first one quite close, then others in the distance. It was of this death that I was reminded by the crushed thistle in the midst of the ploughed field.
Leo Tolstoy (Hadji Murád)
Staring into the naked orange flames of the firepit, naked flesh, naked Carrie Donaldson on the bare rug in exhausted, sated semi-sleep beside him, Jack Barron felt a carapace of image-history-skin encysting him like steel walls of a TV set, a creature imprisoned in the electronic circuitry of his own head perceiving through promptboard vidphone fleshless electronic speed of light ersatz senses, separated from the girl beside him by the phosphor-dot impenetrable glass TV screen Great Wall of China of his own image. First time I remember being blown feeling like wet put-down ugliness, he brooded. Ugly, he told himself, is a thing you feel — truth is ugly when it's a weapon, lie is beautiful when an act of love ugly when it's one-sided fuck is beautiful when it's simple, mutual, nobullshit balling, ugly when chick gets her kicks off you that really isn't there, is why you feel like a rotten lump of shit, man. Getting blown Sara go down being dug by woman's a pure gas; being sucked off, image-statue living lie, someone else's lie being eaten (Let me eat you, let me eat you, baby!) is a dirty act of plastic cannibalism, her dirtiness, not mine. Whole world's full of plastic cannibals feeding their own little bags off meals of my goddamned image-flesh, eating Jack Barron ghost that isn't there. And now Morris and my so-called friend Luke are hot to package my living-color bod into TV dinners, sell to hundred million viewer-voter cannibals for thirty pieces of power silver.
Norman Spinrad (Bug Jack Barron)
When they tell only lies, you've no choice but to tell only truth. The Equalizer comes a knocking and so you answer, or else the door gets kicked down. But be sure you have faced the mirror on your worst day before you attempt to balance the scales. If someone was able to deceive you, there is self-deception within waiting to be discovered.
Casey Renee Kiser (Will to Flutter: Transformation is Inevitable)
Wilf slammed the apartment door with a boom and headed downstairs, swinging himself along using the railings. He had to hustle to catch the bus, even though that was the last thing he wanted to ride. It was surprising how quickly you could get used to having someone drive you everywhere. Especially when the bus on your route smelled like a combination of gas, rotten tuna fish, and sweat. Wilf kicked the building’s front door open and jumped down the entrance steps, almost slamming into some guy standing in the middle of the sidewalk. “Sorry,” he muttered. But really, what kind of guy just stands in the middle of the sidewalk? “What, forget me already?” Wilf looked up and broke into a surprised grin. “Frank?” Frank shrugged. “Funny thing, looks like they want you to keep going with those clues, anyway.” “Even though that Bondi kid won?” “Even though.” Frank reached into his pocket and pulled out a folded-up piece of paper. “So we’re going to have to get moving if we want to finish up before I’m reassigned. So what’s next?” He scanned the page. “Seadog boat trip?” Wilf grinned. “You said it, Skipper.
Emily Ecton (The Ambrose Deception)
I understand you, Marco Antonio Guerra said to him. I mean, if I’m right, I think I understand you. You’re like me and I’m like you. We aren’t happy. The atmosphere around us is stifling. We pretend there’s nothing wrong, but there is. What’s wrong? We’re being fucking stifled. You let off steam your own way. I beat the shit out of people or let them beat the shit out of me. But the fights I get into aren’t just any fights, they’re fucking apocalyptic mayhem. I’m going to tell you a secret. Sometimes I go out at night, to bars you can’t even imagine. And I pretend to be a faggot. But not just any kind of faggot: smooth, stuck-up, sarcastic, a daisy in the filthiest pigsty in Sonora. Of course, I don’t have a gay bone in me, I can swear that on the grave of my dead mother. But I pretend that’s what I am. An arrogant little faggot with money who looks down on everyone. And then the inevitable happens. Two or three vultures ask me to step outside. And then the shit kicking begins. I know it and I don’t care. Sometimes they’re the ones who get the worst of it, especially when I have my gun. Other times it’s me. I don’t give a fuck. I need the fucking release. Sometimes my friends, the few friends I have, guys my age who are lawyers now, tell me I should be careful, I’m a time bomb, I’m a masochist. One of them, someone I was really close to, told me that only somebody like me could get away with what I did because I had my father to bail me out. Pure coincidence, that’s all. I’ve never asked my father for a thing. The truth is, I don’t have friends. I don’t want any. At least, I’d rather not have friends who’re Mexicans. Mexicans are rotten inside, did you know? Every last one of them. No one escapes. From the president of the republic to that clown Subcomandante Marcos. If I were Subcomandante Marcos, you know what I’d do? I’d launch an attack with my whole army on any city in Chiapas, so long as it had a strong military garrison. And there I’d sacrifice my poor Indians. And then I’d probably go live in Miami. What kind of music do you like? asked Amalfitano. Classical music, Professor, Vivaldi, Cimarosa, Bach. And what books do you read? I used to read everything, Professor, I read all the time. Now all I read is poetry. Poetry is the one thing that isn’t contaminated, the one thing that isn’t part of the game. I don’t know if you follow me, Professor. Only poetry—and let me be clear, only some of it—is good for you, only poetry isn’t shit.
Roberto Bolaño (2666)
Uber had to get creative to unlock the hard side of their network, the drivers. Initially, Uber’s focus was on black car and limo services, which were licensed and relatively uncontroversial. However, a seismic shift occurred when rival app Sidecar innovated in recruiting unlicensed, normal people as drivers on their platform. This was the “peer-to-peer” model that created millions of new rideshare drivers, and was quickly copied and popularized by Lyft and then Uber. Jahan Khanna, cofounder/chief technology officer of Sidecar, spoke of its origin: It was obvious that letting anyone sign up to be a driver would be a big deal. With more drivers, rides would get cheaper and the wait times would get shorter. This came up in many brainstorms at Sidecar, but the question was always, what was the regulatory framework that allows this to operate? What were the prior examples that weren’t immediately shut down? After doing a ton of research, we came onto a model that had been active for years in San Francisco run by someone named Lynn Breedlove called Homobiles that answered our question.22 It’s a surprising fact, but the earliest version of the rideshare idea came not from an investor-backed startup, but rather from a nonprofit called Homobiles, run by a prominent member of the LGBTQ community in the Bay Area named Lynn Breedlove. The service was aimed at protecting and serving the LGBTQ community while providing them transportation—to conferences, bars and entertainment, and also to get health care—while emphasizing safety and community. Homobiles had built its own niche, and had figured out the basics: Breedlove had recruited, over time, 100 volunteer drivers, who would respond to text messages. Money would be exchanged, but in the form of donations, so that drivers could be compensated for their time. The company had operated for several years, starting in 2010—several years before Uber X—and provided the template for what would become a $100 billion+ gross revenue industry. Sidecar learned from Homobiles, implementing their offering nearly verbatim, albeit in digital form: donations based, where the rider and driver would sit together in the front, like a friend giving you a ride. With that, the rideshare market was kicked off.
Andrew Chen (The Cold Start Problem: How to Start and Scale Network Effects)
The best thing to do," said one of the malingerers, "is to sham madness. In the next room there are two other men from the school where I teach and one of them keeps shouting day and night : 'Giordano Bruno's stake is still smoldering ; renew Galileo's trial !'” “I meant at first to act the fool too and be a religious maniac and preach about the infallibility of the Pope, but finally I managed to get some cancer of the stomach for fifteen crowns from a barber down the road." "That's nothing," said another man. "Down our way there's a midwife who for twenty crowns can dislocate your foot so nicely that you're crippled for the rest of your life.” “My illness has run me into more than two hundred crowns already," announced his neighbor, a man as thin as a rake. "I bet there's no poison you can mention that I haven't taken. I'm simply bung full of poisons. I've chewed arsenic, I've smoked opium, I've swallowed strychnine, I've drunk vitriol mixed with phosphorus. I've ruined my liver, my lungs, my kidneys, my heart—in fact, all my insides. Nobody knows what disease it is I've got." "The best thing to do," explained someone near the door, "is to squirt paraffin oil under the skin on your arms. My cousin had a slice of good luck that way. They cut off his arm below the elbow and now the army'll never worry him any more.” “Well," said Schweik, "When I was in the army years ago, it used to be much worse. If a man went sick, they just trussed him up, shoved him into a cell to make him get fitter. There wasn't any beds and mattresses and spittoons like what there is here. Just a bare bench for them to lie on. Once there was a chap who had typhus, fair and square, and the one next to him had smallpox. Well, they trussed them both up and the M. O. kicked them in the ribs and said they were shamming. When the pair of them kicked the bucket, there was a dust-up in Parliament and it got into the papers. Like a shot they stopped us from reading the papers and all our boxes was inspected to see if we'd got any hidden there. And it was just my luck that in the whole blessed regiment there was nobody but me whose newspaper was spotted. So our colonel starts yelling at me to stand to attention and tell him who'd written that stuff to the paper or he'd smash my jaw from ear to ear and keep me in clink till all was blue. Then the M.O. comes up and he shakes his fist right under my nose and shouts: 'You misbegotten whelp ; you scabby ape ; you wretched blob of scum ; you skunk of a Socialist, you !' Well, I stood keeping my mouth shut and with one hand at the salute and the other along the seam of my trousers. There they was, running round and yelping at me. “We'll knock the newspaper nonsense out of your head, you ruffian,' says the colonel, and gives me 21 days solitary confinement. Well, while I was serving my time, there was some rum goings-on in the barracks. Our colonel stopped the troops from reading at all, and in the canteen they wasn't allowed even to wrap up sausages or cheese in newspapers. That made the soldiers start reading and our regiment had all the rest beat when it came to showing how much they'd learned.
Jaroslav Hašek (The Good Soldier Schweik)
The self-destruction of a group always follows the same patterns. You only need to introduce some viruses to the group and poof, it’s all gone. These viruses come in the form of very ignorant narcissists that nobody has the courage to kick off of the group. Quite often, the group even promotes itself as being against the personalities that are in front of their eyes every day, people they praise and even lead them. And well, that’s how you know a group is truly finished. Scientology is a very interesting example of this, because of how clear their books are. For example, they claim to love artists but end up insulting real artists. Scientologists are so obsessed with being perceived as artists, that they downgrade real art in the process. You have many scientologists, for example, that think splashing a random amount of ink into a white board is art. They all want to be artists, and that’s fine, but they are too lazy to see how real art is made, and so, they downgrade the value of art. And in doing this, they actually distort the meaning of art and decrease the value of the real artists. And so, a group that promotes itself as being uplifting and positive, ends up being offensive and destructive. They have all these books on moral codes and moral behavior, and dozens of courses on the same topic, and if you report a scientologist for criminal behavior, they ignore you and deem you an attacker of the group. And there goes the level of sanity of this group down the scale, while they themselves invert the scale and tell you the opposite story. It would be like looking at your mental health through someone suffering with poor mental health. They are as aware of what I am saying as any mentally ill person is aware of his mental illnesses. If anyone confronts them with the facts, they themselves get offended, and then proceed to attack, because that’s what they think their founder told them to do. Except that the founder was talking about attacking insanity and not people. In other words, they should use these facts to look further into their books and their own misinterpretations, and which they don’t. Those people that splash random colors into a white board, will then tell you, the one who has been using techniques, and winning awards, and creating something unique, that you don’t understand art. They remind me of the writers with one book that doesn't sell, trying to tell me how they are better than me, with more than 100 books in best selling charts. How delusional, arrogant and stupid has one to be to not see this? The level of awareness of such individual is comparable to a drunk person going to a Jujitsu dojo, asking the instructor to fight him because he is convinced he can beat anyone with all that alcohol in his head. That, however, is not the cherry on top of the cake. The cherry on top of the cake, is when a religious group listens to a psychopath talking against psychopaths. You can write many academic papers on this topic and never reach a conclusion, because it's really hard to make conclusions on stupidity. So what’s wrong with religion? Why are some religious groups persecuted and attacked? The answer to these questions isn’t as relevant as what we can observe people doing, when denying the most obvious writings, inverting them and distorting the meanings. Christians have already mastered this art.
Dan Desmarques
Back then, I would never have thought- this was an option with me. I did what I believed was right, and I am happy. With all of the choices, but will I be able to finish school? Is being seventeen too young to be a mom? What is it like to be a mother? Why doesn’t the hellhole cover this in their health class? They just give you ways to prevent, yet not how to be a mother, who is supposed to teach this? I remember bringing her home for the first time, we made a nursery for her in my room, and we had a white bassinet for her. She keeps me tending to her nonstop, on the weekends he and I stayed together, maybe someday soon we can get our place. Her first bath was in the farm sink, and his mom got her all kinds of cute things to where it was hard to choose what to put on her. She always looked so adorable. A real-life baby doll. (People talking) Nevaeh- Talk is cheap… in all honesty, most people just need to mind their own business, I think. Either somebody wants to kick the shit out of you, or steal your joy. Stop making judgments about us! It all comes down to the fact that they need to feel needed. Just stop bothering me, go get what you need, and fight for it as I did, stop trying to take it away from me. Besides, keep this in mind as you are doing it- ‘Do to others, as you would want them to do to you.’ Why do you ask? Just because you might end up worse, off in what you are doing, than what you are seeing, and saying about others. ‘Just remember when you point a finger at someone three fingers are pointing back at you.’ Just like you can always tell when someone is on the dark side. They have to dance around the fires of destruction and torment, the flame within their eyes sparkles as you look at them, as they are children of the night and immorality. Let's just say the sisters finally got their turn, for trying to kill my baby Jaylynn with her small pillow in my own home, in my room they stood over her one night. When hope was the only one home, and we were out for the first time all night without her. Hope caught and fought with all of them before they got the job done. Baby Jaylynn is still alive, yet it is a wonder that she is.
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh The Miracle)
Karly- I stopped wearing my glasses after that day, when Jess Smith walked up and ripped them off my face and broke them in half, and poked me in the boob hard. I miss them, what wrong with glasses, they make you look sophisticated. Why was I so quiet and laid back, and a pushover? Marcel- She runs like everything for the bathroom, like always- not making it very far. She feels like some poor little girl, with a broken nose, and I remember when that happened. That is when I felt like she was in love with me she took the balls to the face for me. ‘I thought you liked balls in your face one boy said.’ You tripped and fell to the ground, hard, and I picked you up and carried you to safety, and we fell in love, even more, kissing under the bleachers. ‘You’re a weirdo,’ and the kiss was long and – fearing H-O-T! Like, kick your tongue out smoking hot! It’s still not as bad as the time my face was smashed to a brick wall, by some back boy- and I have to have something done about it, like getting my nose redone, yet I blamed it on my dad. Jenny- Sing the same girlie crap every year, you’ll blow chunks all over the place, which never happened, that’s why she stopped singing way back when. You can see here doing it on YouTube! Like- It happened! Jenny says every time someone brings it up. Until some unicycles guy flies into the frame where nothing freaking speedo- showing his tor·pe·do with the American flag up his ass! I don’t know if that is patriotic or what the hell that is… I am not sure what to look at. What can you say other than- ‘Ew-ah- gross…? Who does that…?’ Marcel- It kind of reunions the magic does it…? I spoke. Karly- Yep! I am glad I cannot see all that anyway! I am sure yours is better anyway. (She goes underneath his underwear down for it, getting a handful, and does what she feels is right in front of them all. It was more romantic than you would think pervs.) I did it for me and him, I did not give a crap; if they liked it or not… they can all look the other way. I have- a leaning popping lag kisses, and he rubbed his nose on mine saying it- I LOVE YOU! You’ll be fine… I’ll make sure of that. Karly- Back in time: We rain from the schoolyard to my house… stole my dad’s Nash and got married. My stepmother cased us down, with a bible in her hand saying we were sinners. Both- We’re sinner okay then- we all are- yet love is love even if age is in the way. Marcel- the very next day, it was all over. Say what you want to say… I know why- how- and who.
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh They Call Out)
When I am gone Karly- I think back on it my great x4 Grandmother Hope went to school on black and wood 1919 Ford Model T Ford, I don’t get that, there were not even windows in the piece of crap. And then I can get my car. My dad was telling me this unbelievable story. About this old car like a red 28 ford coupe or so he thought. My dad was showing me the roof from it, somewhere down the line someone thought it was okay to cut up this cute little car just to be a d*ick about it, it must have been my great x4 granddad baby that someone was jealous of, saying he wanted to pass it down yet never to Neveah, so he junked it out for parts, and that explains why someone wanted the rooftop. Maybe someone thought it was going to go to her and the sisters’ family cut it up, really- I think that is how I got these parts. Emallie- I feel that my little nine-year-old sisters are in her room as I am at school, however since that day she’s never once stepped foot in my room. It’s a bummer she more freaked up than me in some ways is it not? Like- since she never surprises me by fixing up my sheets anymore, she leaves all that should be folded laundry or a new sundress on my bed like she did when I was in middle school, yet all messy and crap, but at least I know she’s not rooting through my drawers while I’m at school, looking for my sex toys or thongs. ‘If you want to come out here, why do you drag me? I’ll get the thermometer, and crap and say I'm sick,’ she says, she is- very- hyperactive and more! She needs to be on Methylphenidate or (Ritalin) as they call it. She does something that I don’t like yet that what they say is needed. Her name is Judcël. Yet we just call her Judie, she hates that just say I am the boy she said, she not yet she might want to be on this crap. ‘I don’t think I have a temperature.’ There’s a yell kicking and screaming my mom hitting my mom in the face, pushed in the wall, and punched off is how I lost my hearing that to this little brat… I was fine until she was impetus out of my mother. She should have had a d*ick it would have been a lot easier, than putting up with this… and get this mom is single, and on her own now with her. I think sex before marriage is not a sin. I think the big deal should be about SEX BEFORE LOVE. If you have been with somebody for a long time and you can easily see yourself growing old with them, getting married, maybe having children, then sure, I think it would be fine to make love. Sex is a natural desire found in all animals. Why should we deny Mother Nature's ways? (Of course, I respect all religions and beliefs, and I mean no offense if you believe in abstinence until marriage.) Well... uh, for one thing, you can get diseases. And then if you’re not married before having sex, what's keeping the guy from leaving you? Nothing... He'll use you then leave. I think it's pretty dumb that you think it's no big deal...
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh They Call Out)
I’d be happy to give special treatment to a dedicated school teacher, or even someone like William Faulkner if he was still alive, because despite the fact that an exegesis of his prose completely eluded me, I had to admit, especially when Jacob held me down and made me say it, that the guy was a kick-ass architect of the ever-elusive sentence.
Tiffanie DeBartolo (God Shaped Hole)
Lily fought like a lynx caught in a steel trap. She scratched and bit and kicked with a force that took Connell by surprise. Her teeth sank into the sensitive flesh of his palm and forced him to let go. “Calm down, Lily. It’s just me, Connell.” The beginning of her scream died away, and she spun on him, her eyes flashing with fury. “Why did you sneak up on me like that?” “I didn’t mean to.” He brought his smarting hand to his mouth and sucked at the blood she’d drawn. “When you didn’t hear me approach, I thought I might startle you. And I didn’t want you to scream—a sure way to get every shanty boy in the camp to come running.” The tempest in her eyes turned into a low gale. He glanced at the teeth marks she’d left in his hand. “You sure know how to greet a fellow.” “And you sure know how to scare a girl half to death.” “Why exactly were you so scared?” “Because I thought you were someone else.” “And what if I had been someone else?” She paused, her pretty lips stalled around the shape of her next word. “Any number of the rough men from this camp could have followed you out here.” He’d seen the way the men were looking at her, how they hadn’t been able to take their eyes off her from the moment she’d arrived. “What would you have done then?” When she’d run off into the woods after the stupid cat, he’d had to yell at several of the men to stop them from chasing after her. “I would have screamed.” She pulled herself up to her full height, which he estimated to be five feet six inches. “Since apparently I’d get lots of attention that way.” “I’m serious,” he started. But then at the glimpse of the twinkle in her eyes, his ready lecture stalled. He stuck his aching hand into his pocket and pressed his wound against the scratchy wool. “I appreciate your concern,” she offered with the hint of a smile. “But I’m a much stronger woman than you realize.” She’d be no match for any of his strong shanty boys. “You were reckless to wander off by yourself.” He tried to soften his accusation, but he wanted her to realize the constant danger she was in simply by being an attractive woman in a place populated by lusty men. “I strongly suggest you refrain from doing so again—especially if you hope to avoid any further run-ins.
Jody Hedlund (Unending Devotion (Michigan Brides, #1))
No matter how much I love or fear something, ultimately my human need for rest kicks in. Even when my kids are sick and really need me, I can’t stay awake with them day and night for long. Our powerful need for sleep is a reminder that we are finite. God is the only one who never slumbers nor sleeps. A few years ago a Sprint commercial proclaimed defiantly, “I want—no, I have the right—to be unlimited.” This is the message we receive from our culture: no limits. Nothing should stop you, slow you down, or limit your freedom. Not even human embodiment. You can be unlimited, and if you’re not, someone’s to blame. We believe that we need better technology, better efficiency, and better organization so that we can exist as people unbridled from creaturely limits. We can be boundless, competent, and utterly self-determining.
Tish Harrison Warren (Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life)
Jack’s. He’d only been there a minute, waiting for someone to come from the back to serve him, when Mel struggled into the bar, baby against her chest, toddler in hand, diaper bag slung over her shoulder. Right inside the door, the toddler took a tumble down onto his knees and sent up a wail. “Oh, punkin,” she said. She spied Luke and said, “Oh, Luke, here.” She thrust the baby into his hands so she could stoop to lift up the boy. “Oh, you’re okay,” she said, brushing off his knees. “Don’t cry now, you didn’t even break the floor. It’s okay.” She was just about to stand, when she heard her husband’s voice. “Mel,” he said. She looked up from the floor. Jack was behind the bar. He inclined his head toward Luke with a smile on his face. Luke was holding the baby out in front of him at arm’s length, a startled expression on his face while Emma kicked her little legs and squirmed. Mel burst out laughing, then covered her mouth. She rose and went to him, taking the baby. “I’m sorry, Luke,” she said. “It’s been such a long time since I’ve been around a man who didn’t know exactly what to do with a baby.” “Sorry,” he said. “I don’t have much experience with this.” “It’s okay—my mistake.” She couldn’t help but laugh again. “The first day I met Jack, there was a newborn at the clinic and he scooped her up like an old pro.” “Because I was an old pro, Mel,” Jack said, coming around to the front of the bar. “Four sisters, eight nieces and one on the way,” he told Luke. “Prolific family,” Luke observed. “I don’t know much about babies.” “If you’re looking to learn babies, this is the place,” Mel said. “I don’t think there are any virgins left in Virgin River. The birth rate around here is on the rise.” “Me and babies—incompatible. And I like it that way.” Jack
Robyn Carr (Temptation Ridge)
He urged the horse a little faster and when he was within her hearing, he whistled. The piercing sound cut through the air and Vanni turned her mount toward him. She took one look at him, turned and kicked Chico’s flank, taking off. “Goddammit!” he swore. So, this was how it would be—not easy. He was going to have to take off the gloves. He risked being thrown by giving Liberty a snap with the end of his rein. The stallion reared. Paul hung on, then leaned low in the saddle while Liberty closed the space between them. By God, he was going to catch her, make her listen, get through to her. There was no one within shouting distance to distract them. For once in his life, he was going to finish! Even if he had to cover Vanessa’s mouth with his hand! It only took him a few minutes to catch up to her, thanks to Liberty, the champion of the stable. Pulling alongside Vanni he reached out over her hands and grabbed her reins, pulling Chico to a stop. The expression she turned on him was fierce. “What?” she demanded. “Listen to me!” he retorted. “Make it quick!” “Fine. Here’s quick. I love you. I’ve always loved you.I loved you before Matt saw you, but I didn’t have hisguts and I hung back. I’ve regretted that forever. Now I have—” “A baby coming,” she interrupted, lifting her chin. “Listen! I don’t know much about being a father! Just what I watched when I was growing up! And you know what I saw? I saw my parents with their arms around each other all the time! I saw them look at each other with all kinds of emotions—love and trust and commitment and—Vanni, here’s the ugly truth—if I made a baby, I’m not angry about that. It wasn’t on purpose, but I’m not angry. I’ll do my damn best, and I’m real sorry that I’m not in love with the baby’s mother. I’ll still take care of them—and not just by writing a check. I’ll be involved—take care of the child like a real father, support the mother the best I can. What that child is not going to see is his parents looking at each other like they’ve made a terrible mistake. I want him to see his dad with his arms around his wife and—” “Did you try?” she asked. “Did you give the woman who’s got your baby in her a chance?” “Is that what you want for her? She’s a decent person, Vanessa—she didn’t get pregnant on purpose. You want her stuck with a man who’s got another woman on his mind? I didn’t want this to happen to her—I’m not sticking her with half a husband! She deserves a chance to find someone who can give her the real thing.” “But she loves you. She does, doesn’t she? She wanted to get married.” “Vanessa, she’s scared and alone. It’s what comes to mind. She’ll be all right when she realizes I’m not going to let her down. And I’m not going to—” “All this because you couldn’t open your mouth and say how you felt, what you wanted,” she said hotly. “I wanted so little from you—just a word or gesture—some hint that you had feelings for me. Instead, you took your wounded little heart to another woman and—” She stopped her tirade as she saw his eyes narrow and his frown deepen. He glared at her for a long moment, then he jumped off the stallion, her mount’s reins still in his hands. He led the horses the short distance to the river’s edge, to a bank of trees. “What are you doing?” she asked, hanging on to the pommel. He secured the horses at a fallen tree, then reached up to her, grabbed her around the waist and pulled her none too gently out of the saddle. He whirled her around and pressed her up against a tree, holding her wrists over her head and pinioning her there with the whole length of his body. His face was close to hers. “You never opened your mouth, either,” he said. She was stunned speechless. She couldn’t remember a time Paul had ever behaved like this—aggressive, commanding. He leaned closer. “Open it now,” he demanded of her just before he covered her mouth with his.
Robyn Carr (Second Chance Pass)
What’s wrong?” Jake’s voice, deep as thunder, unsettled her. Why did he have to be so handsome? She wanted to fall right inside those brown eyes. “I saw you in the living room with Ben . . . earlier.” His lips pulled upward, no doubt remembering Ben’s belly laughs. “He’s a fun kid.” She hated to wipe the smile from his face. “I know you mean well, Jake, but I think it’s best if you avoid spending time with the children.” The smile slid south. “We were just playing around.” “The children are getting attached to you. I don’t think it’s healthy.” His jaw flexed, his shoulders squared. “They need relationships now more than ever.” “Not from someone who’ll soon exit their lives.” He flinched. She hated to hurt his feelings, had a physical ache from wounding him. “It doesn’t have to be that way,” he said finally. “I don’t want to exit their lives. I don’t want to exit your life.” Maybe he thought they could be some happy family or something. It was time to tell him everything. “I’m selling Summer Place. We’ll be leaving the island soon. The Goldmans—our guests over the daffodil weekend—made an offer, and I accepted. I haven’t told the children yet, so I’d appreciate if you wouldn’t mention it. We’ll stay through closing in late June.” Jake’s lips parted. A second later they pressed together. He walked to the end of the porch and back. He reminded her of a caged tiger, constricted by the boundary of the porch. She hadn’t expected him to be so upset. When he passed, she set her hand on his bare arm, stopping him. The muscles flexed beneath her palm. He was so strong. She had the sudden image of him hitting Sean, using those muscles to protect her. She pulled her hand away as if his skin burned her. “They’ve had enough loss. They’ve already become attached to you, and that’s only going to hurt them more when we leave.” His face softened as he stared, his lips slackening, his eyes growing tender. His face had already darkened under the sun. Faint lines fanned the corner of his eyes. He reached toward her and ran his finger down the side of her face. “Don’t leave.” His touch left a trail of fire. She pressed her spine to the column. How could she want to dive into his arms and run away at the same time? Inside a riot kicked up. She was back in the apartment on Warren Street, coming home from school, slipping in the door, unsure if she’d find her mom racing around the kitchen, slumped on the bathroom tile, or just gone. The same uncertainty roiled in her now. “I have to.” “This is their home. Your engagement is over,” he said gently. “Is what you’re going back to as important as what you’re leaving?” He didn’t have to say he meant them. Us. She shook her head, dislodging his hand. How had he turned this all around? She
Denise Hunter (Driftwood Lane (Nantucket, #4))
ahead. He urged the horse a little faster and when he was within her hearing, he whistled. The piercing sound cut through the air and Vanni turned her mount toward him. She took one look at him, turned and kicked Chico’s flank, taking off. “Goddammit!” he swore. So, this was how it would be—not easy. He was going to have to take off the gloves. He risked being thrown by giving Liberty a snap with the end of his rein. The stallion reared. Paul hung on, then leaned low in the saddle while Liberty closed the space between them. By God, he was going to catch her, make her listen, get through to her. There was no one within shouting distance to distract them. For once in his life, he was going to finish! Even if he had to cover Vanessa’s mouth with his hand! It only took him a few minutes to catch up to her, thanks to Liberty, the champion of the stable. Pulling alongside Vanni he reached out over her hands and grabbed her reins, pulling Chico to a stop. The expression she turned on him was fierce. “What?” she demanded. “Listen to me!” he retorted. “Make it quick!” “Fine. Here’s quick. I love you. I’ve always loved you.I loved you before Matt saw you, but I didn’t have hisguts and I hung back. I’ve regretted that forever. Now I have—” “A baby coming,” she interrupted, lifting her chin. “Listen! I don’t know much about being a father! Just what I watched when I was growing up! And you know what I saw? I saw my parents with their arms around each other all the time! I saw them look at each other with all kinds of emotions—love and trust and commitment and—Vanni, here’s the ugly truth—if I made a baby, I’m not angry about that. It wasn’t on purpose, but I’m not angry. I’ll do my damn best, and I’m real sorry that I’m not in love with the baby’s mother. I’ll still take care of them—and not just by writing a check. I’ll be involved—take care of the child like a real father, support the mother the best I can. What that child is not going to see is his parents looking at each other like they’ve made a terrible mistake. I want him to see his dad with his arms around his wife and—” “Did you try?” she asked. “Did you give the woman who’s got your baby in her a chance?” “Is that what you want for her? She’s a decent person, Vanessa—she didn’t get pregnant on purpose. You want her stuck with a man who’s got another woman on his mind? I didn’t want this to happen to her—I’m not sticking her with half a husband! She deserves a chance to find someone who can give her the real thing.” “But she loves you. She does, doesn’t she? She wanted to get married.” “Vanessa, she’s scared and alone. It’s what comes to mind. She’ll be all right when she realizes I’m not going to let her down. And I’m not going to—” “All this because you couldn’t open your mouth and say how you felt, what you wanted,” she said hotly. “I wanted so little from you—just a word or gesture—some hint that you had feelings for me. Instead, you took your wounded little heart to another woman and—” She stopped her tirade as she saw his eyes narrow and his frown deepen. He glared at her for a long moment, then he jumped off the stallion, her mount’s reins still in his hands. He led the horses the short distance to the river’s edge, to a bank of trees. “What are you doing?” she asked, hanging on to the pommel. He secured the horses at a fallen tree, then reached up to her, grabbed her around the waist and pulled her none too gently out of the saddle. He whirled her around and pressed her up against a tree, holding her wrists over her head and pinioning her there with the whole length of his body. His face was close to hers. “You never opened your mouth, either,” he said. She was stunned speechless. She couldn’t remember a time Paul had ever behaved like this—aggressive, commanding. He leaned closer. “Open it now,” he demanded of her just before he covered her mouth with his.
Robyn Carr (Second Chance Pass)
While Sean was pulling on his fins, Lily had pretended to be busy herself. She’d made a show of tugging on her goggles, just in case he happened to glance up, and saw her staring like an obsessed ninny. Through the tinted blue of her goggles, she watched him surface. Oh my god. Her knees went weak, threatened to buckle. Sean was doing a butterfly kick on his back. Her eyes traveled down the length of his torso, and stopped, transfixed. She swallowed convulsively. Yet she couldn’t have torn her eyes away from the sight of Sean’s narrow hips if someone had screamed, Fire! Encased in black Lycra, they moved in a suggestive rhythm, breaking the surface of the water, sinking, and then rising again, over and over. Unbearably erotic, an answering beat drummed deep inside Lily. Helplessly, she conjured endless hours of sex, Sean’s body driving into her with the same relentless, unbroken rhythm, each flex of his hips thrusting to her very womb. “Something wrong, Lily?” Hal’s impatient voice demanded. Lily nearly leaped out of her skin. She was the only one left on deck besides Hal. “No, nothing,” she said hurriedly, hyperconscious that her voice was reedy thin. “Just about to jump in.” To clear her mind of the sexual fog that lay thick and heavy, she blinked rapidly—only to mutter a soft curse when she realized what had happened. Yanking her goggles off, she dropped to a kneel and swished them viciously in the water. “What’s the problem now?” Hal’s patience was obviously wearing thin. Embarrassed, resentful, and praying Hal wouldn’t guess the real reason why, Lily ground out her explanation. “My glasses fogged.” “They broken? I’ve got—” “No, no . . .” she interrupted tersely, and felt immediately guilty. It wasn’t Hal’s fault her goggles had literally fogged from the heat of her aroused body. It was hers. That’s what she got from staring at Sean McDermott’s groin for too long: fogged mind, fogged goggles. Determined to ignore the sight of Sean moving like a bold lover through the water next to her, that incredible, muscled body within touching distance, Lily gritted her teeth and dove in.
Laura Moore (Night Swimming)
Reducing physical aggression One of your son’s really annoying habits might be a tendency to hit or kick or push or grab when he is frustrated or angry. This is quite typical behaviour for an impulsive, very physical boy. He can get overwhelmed by his upset feelings. He may aim his blows for maximum impact, or he may be lashing out indiscriminately, not really knowing what he is doing. Either way, for his own sake and for the sake of everyone around him, you want to help him develop better impulse-control. The more you talk about his hitting, the more your son will think of himself as someone who hits and someone who gets told off for it. Instead, I want you to Descriptively Praise him when he is not hitting, kicking, biting, pushing, etc. You might be thinking, ‘But when he’s not hitting it’s because he’s not even angry. He’s not even thinking of hitting, so why take a chance and remind him that he could be hitting right now?’ You might prefer to say nothing at all about his misbehaviour. I’m asking you to notice and mention the absence of the negative, which I know seems very counter-intuitive. And if the annoying behaviour is a recurring problem, you will need to notice and mention when he is not doing it wrong many times a day. At odd times throughout the day, even when he is not upset and therefore not even tempted to be aggressive, you could simply say:   You’re not hitting.   You’re keeping your arms and legs to yourself.   When the baby knocked down your tower, you screamed, but you didn’t hit or kick. That showed self-control.   When he is angry but not reacting physically, you could add, ‘You’re controlling yourself,’ or ‘You’re not hurting anyone,’ (and remember to keep your distance if you can see, or even just sense, that he is in a volatile mood and might become aggressive).
Noel Janis-Norton (Calmer, Easier, Happier Boys: The revolutionary programme that transforms family life)
Want me hold the bag?” Cooper said from behind me. Never slowing my punches, I muttered, “Not really.” Cooper took the bag like I knew he would and held it still. “We should talk.” “Then talk.” “You’re into my sister,” he said then continued after I remained quiet, “You were into my girl. You seem to have a thing for my stuff.” “I’m telling Bailey you said she’s your stuff,” I grunted, punching harder. “I suspect she’ll kick you in the balls.” “She thinks she’s your second choice.” “I know, but she’s wrong.” “You wanted Farah.” “I liked Farah. She was my second choice. I wanted Bailey.” Cooper said nothing while I pounded on the bag. Finally, he shoved it back at me. “Why did you fuck with me that day if you didn’t want Farah?” “Because you’re an asshole and I don’t back down to assholes,” I said, taking a break. I grabbed my bottle of water and downed half of it. When I looked back at Cooper, he was frowning in a weird way. “Wait, did you not know you were an asshole? I just assumed someone must have mentioned it before.” Cooper rolled his dark eyes. “You’re an idiot. I could have killed you that day.” “So?” “So you would have died for a chick you didn’t want.” “No, I would have died standing up to an asshole.” “I saw you always looking at Farah.” “She seemed overwhelmed by college. I was looking out for her. She’s hot, but she’s not Bailey.” Cooper clearly wasn’t convinced. “If you wanted Bailey, why wait so long? I think you’re full of shit.” “Because you’re an asshole. Guys like you have shit handed to them. Guys like me have to work for what we want.” “And you want Bailey.” “She’s mine. I just haven’t sealed the deal yet. If you want to fight for her, fine. I should warn you that I’m stronger than I was last year. It’ll take more to beat me.” Cooper grinned. “You hurt my sister and I won’t kick your ass, Nick. I’ll feed you to my fucking dogs.” “Fair enough. Did you want something else?
Bijou Hunter (Damaged and the Dragon (Damaged, #5))
He groaned. She groaned. They both groaned as he played with the nipple. There were no words exchanged between them, nothing but soft pants and moans of pleasure. And the splash as something hit the water. Then another something. The faint echo of a gunshot froze him. Shit. Someone was fucking shooting at them. “Take a deep breath,” was the only warning he gave before yanking Arabella underwater where they’d prove a more difficult target. Wide eyes met his under the surface. Kind of hard to explain. Only his great-uncle Clive had ever inherited the famous Johnson gills. Hayder got great hair. Since he couldn’t explain why it appeared he wanted to drown her, he kicked off. With her in tow, he scissor-kicked to the deep end of the pool by the waterfall. Having explored this place many a time when working off some energy, he knew the perfect spot to shelter while he figured out where the shooter was. And then we’ll catch ’em and eat ’em. It seemed Hayder wasn’t the only one peeved at the interruption. But still… We don’t eat people. Such a disappointed kitty. But catch the hunter and we’ll order the biggest rare steak they have in stock. With the red sauce stuff? A double order of the red wine reduction, he promised. Lungs burning, Hayder dragged them to the surface, behind the filtering screen of water cascading from above. The little hidden grotto made a great hiding spot. The shooter would have a hard time targeting them, and the water would also slow the bullet and throw off its aim. He knew they were more or less safe for the moment, but she didn’t. Soaked and scentless didn’t mean Hayder couldn’t sense the fear coming off Arabella. She remained tucked close to him, for once not sneezing. Small blessing because one of her ginoromous achoos might have caused quite the amplified echo. “Was someone shooting at us?” she whispered in his ear. Kind of funny since nothing could be heard above the falling splash of water “Yes. Someone was trying to get us.” Which meant heads would roll with whoever was on duty for security today. Exactly how had someone made it on to pride land with a loaded weapon? What kind of cowards hunted shifters with bullets? The kind who thought it was okay to beat a woman. Grrrr>/I>. Man, not lion, made the sound. It was also the man who made sure to tuck Arabella as deep as he could into the pocket, using himself as a body shield just in case the gunman got a lucky shot. The crashing of water, not to mention the echoes created by the recess, made it impossible to gauge what happened outside their watery grotto. Did the shooter approach? Did he know where they’d gone? Would he stick around long enough for Hayder to hunt him down and slap him silly? Only one way to find out.
Eve Langlais (When a Beta Roars (A Lion's Pride, #2))
He groaned. She groaned. They both groaned as he played with the nipple. There were no words exchanged between them, nothing but soft pants and moans of pleasure. And the splash as something hit the water. Then another something. The faint echo of a gunshot froze him. Shit. Someone was fucking shooting at them. “Take a deep breath,” was the only warning he gave before yanking Arabella underwater where they’d prove a more difficult target. Wide eyes met his under the surface. Kind of hard to explain. Only his great-uncle Clive had ever inherited the famous Johnson gills. Hayder got great hair. Since he couldn’t explain why it appeared he wanted to drown her, he kicked off. With her in tow, he scissor-kicked to the deep end of the pool by the waterfall. Having explored this place many a time when working off some energy, he knew the perfect spot to shelter while he figured out where the shooter was. And then we’ll catch ’em and eat ’em. It seemed Hayder wasn’t the only one peeved at the interruption. But still… We don’t eat people. Such a disappointed kitty. But catch the hunter and we’ll order the biggest rare steak they have in stock. With the red sauce stuff? A double order of the red wine reduction, he promised. Lungs burning, Hayder dragged them to the surface, behind the filtering screen of water cascading from above. The little hidden grotto made a great hiding spot. The shooter would have a hard time targeting them, and the water would also slow the bullet and throw off its aim. He knew they were more or less safe for the moment, but she didn’t. Soaked and scentless didn’t mean Hayder couldn’t sense the fear coming off Arabella. She remained tucked close to him, for once not sneezing. Small blessing because one of her ginoromous achoos might have caused quite the amplified echo. “Was someone shooting at us?” she whispered in his ear. Kind of funny since nothing could be heard above the falling splash of water “Yes. Someone was trying to get us.” Which meant heads would roll with whoever was on duty for security today. Exactly how had someone made it on to pride land with a loaded weapon? What kind of cowards hunted shifters with bullets? The kind who thought it was okay to beat a woman. Grrrr. Man, not lion, made the sound. It was also the man who made sure to tuck Arabella as deep as he could into the pocket, using himself as a body shield just in case the gunman got a lucky shot. The crashing of water, not to mention the echoes created by the recess, made it impossible to gauge what happened outside their watery grotto. Did the shooter approach? Did he know where they’d gone? Would he stick around long enough for Hayder to hunt him down and slap him silly? Only one way to find out.
Eve Langlais (When a Beta Roars (A Lion's Pride, #2))
As I walk across the lobby, I hear a scream coming from below, coming from the Pit. It’s not a good-natured Dauntless shout, or the shriek of someone who is scared but delighted, or anything but the particular tone, the particular pitch of terror. Small rocks scatter behind us as I run down to the bottom of the Pit, my breathing fast and heavy, but even. Three tall, dark-clothed people stand near the railing below. They are crowded around a fourth, smaller target, and even though I can’t see much about them, I know a fight when I see one. Or, I would call it a fight, if it wasn’t three against one. One of the attackers wheels around, sees me, and sprints in the other direction. When I get closer I see one of the remaining attackers holding the target up, over the chasm, and I shout, “Hey!” I see her hair, blond, and I can hardly see anything else. I collide with one of the attackers--Drew, I can tell by the color of his hair, orange-red--and slam him into the chasm barrier. I hit him once, twice, three times in the face, and he collapses to the ground, and then I’m kicking him and I can’t think, can’t think at all. “Four.” Her voice is quiet, ragged, and it’s the only thing that could possibly reach me in this place. She’s hanging from the railing, dangling over the chasm like a piece of bait from a fishing hook. The other one, the last attacker, is gone. I run toward her, grabbing her under her shoulders, and pull her over the edge of the railing. I hold her against me. She pressed her face to my shoulder, twisting her fingers into my shirt. Drew is on the ground, collapsed. I hear him groan as I carry her away--not to the infirmary, where the others who went after her would think to look for her, but to my apartment, in its lonely, removed corridor. I shove my way through the apartment door and lay her down on my bed. I run my fingers over her nose and cheekbones to check for breaks, then I feel for her pulse, and lean in close to listen to her breathing. Everything seems normal, steady. Even the bump on the back of her head, though swollen and scraped, doesn’t seem serious. She isn’t badly injured, but she could have been. My hands shake when I pull away from her. She isn’t badly injured, but Drew might be. I don’t even know how many times I hit him before she finally said my name and woke me up. The rest of my body starts to shake, too, and I make sure there’s a pillow supporting her head, then leave the apartment to go back to the railing next to the Pit.
Veronica Roth (Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent, #0.1-0.4))
Kevin Swift… where am I? What are you doing here?” “You’re awake.” Polydora’s lips twisted into a displeased frown. “Of course, I am awake. Now answer my questions.” Kevin sat down. He slowly lowered himself to the ground and crossed his legs. Polydora’s eyes watched him like a hawk. “I’m not exactly sure where to start,” Kevin said after a moment. “The place where you and I are currently staying is called New Genbu, and I’m here because Monstrang and Kuroneko asked me to try and convince Orin, one of the Four Saints, to join forces with them.” “I understand your situation. Yes, that makes sense. However, I still don’t know what I’m doing here. The last thing I remember is…” Polydora trailed off, her eyes widening as she looked at something behind Kevin. “You! You are one of the fiends who was chasing me!” Cien was unruffled by the woman’s anger. “I was. However, I am not anymore. Try not to blow your top off, old hag.” “O-old hag?!” Polydora shrieked. “I’m only twenty-two years old.” “Really?” Cien sounded surprised, but Kevin thought he saw vindictive joy gleaming in the inu’s eyes. “You certainly don’t look that young. I guess that’s what happens to women who don’t know their place.” Kevin winced. He’d noticed it before, but male inu tended to be chauvinistic, and it seemed this particular inu wasn’t going to act in a way that might have suggested otherwise. “My place?” Polydora’s glare could’ve melted steel, but Cien looked unconcerned. “And what place is that?” “In the kitchen, of course.” Oh, boy. Kevin felt sweat gather on his forehead. This isn’t going to turn out well. “In the kitchen?” Polydora was beyond angry. The look on her face, which had taken on the vibrant red hue of rage, made her appear like she was ready to murder someone. “You foul, sexist, heathen! If I hadn’t lost my weapons in our first engagement, I would kill you where you stand—where you lay!” “So, the yama uba needs her weapons to kill, does she?” Cien’s grin was the utter definition of superiority. “I guess that’s what it means to be a race of nothing but women. You need weapons to be strong.” “That does it! I think this despicable mutt needs a lesson in manners!” “Bring it on, hag! I’ll beat you to a pulp!” Before Cien or Polydora could do much more than stand up, Kevin acted. Cien was taken down with a swift kick to the stomach, while Polydora tripped when Kevin kicked the back of her foot. She fell onto her bottom with a harsh “Oof!” “That’s enough out of the both you,” Kevin said calmly. “Polydora, I understand that you’re angry, but I need him to tell me what he knows about the Yamata Alliance, or do you not want to rescue Phoebe?” Polydora, who’d been about to shout at him, snapped her mouth closed. Kevin nodded. “And you.” He pointed at Cien. “Insult one of my friends again, and I will be sure to humiliate you so thoroughly your pride will be in tatters by the time I’m done.” Cien hesitated, but then he jutted out his chin in defiance. “Just try it. There’s nothing you can do to me that you haven’t already done.” Kevin’s creepy smile made Cien lean back. “I wouldn’t be too sure of that. You forget that I’m the mate to a kitsune. Pranking is in their blood, you know? Keep insulting my friend and I’ll drug you, strip you naked, cover you in tar and feathers, attach you to the back of a car, and have it drag you through a heavily populated city. Don’t push me.” Needless to say, Cien shut up.
Brandon Varnell (A Fox's Mission (American Kitsune, #11))
Ken was thrown backwards by Kevin’s powerful double heel kick. Kevin, having used the kitsune as a springboard, flipped through the air and landed in a crouch. The two-tailed fox was not so lucky. After sailing through the air, he hit the ground. Hard. “Urk!” Ken nearly swallowed his tongue as he slammed into the ground. He continued to tumble across the asphalt for several more feet before coming to a halt. Kevin stood back up and clapped his hands several times, wearing an expression that epitomized satisfaction. He turned his head to look at his mate and the flabbergasted kappa. “You just kicked a kitsune,” Kyle stated the obvious. “That I did.” Kevin nodded, quite proud of himself. This was the first time he’d managed that kick without landing on his back. “You two should get going. I can handle things here.” “You sure?” Kyle appeared dubious. “You may have gotten the drop on him, but that guy is still a kitsune, and, well, you’re just a human.” Two sets of cheeks puffed up simultaneously. “Don’t underestimate me! Who the hell do you think I am?” Kevin shouted, pointing at Kyle. Don’t underestimate my mate! Who the hell do you think he is?” Lilian also shouted. She was also pointing at Kyle. The kappa looked at the two of them, his face slowly deadpanning. “You two just did that in synch.” Kevin and Lilian tilted their heads at the same time. Their expressions were almost identical. “We did?” “Yes, you did.” The two might have responded to Kyle’s words, but they were forced to scramble out of the way when a drill made of water crashed into the ground, which cracked underneath the intense pressure. They looked at the person who’d created it—Ken, once again on his feet, with blood trailing down his forehead, and his two tails writhing in furious agitation. “Quit ignoring me!” “Oh, right,” Kevin muttered. “You’re still here.” “Are you saying you forgot about me already?!” “I’m sorry. You’re just not that important.” “What?!” Ken gawked. “That’s what happens when you’re a fop,” Lilian added. “Ugh.” “Yeah, nobody likes a fop,” Kevin agreed. “Gurk.” “Especially not pretty boy fops,” even Kyle got in on the action. “Shut up!” Ken growled, his cheeks almost neon red. “Shut up, shut up, shut up! I’ll show you! I’ll prove to all of you that I’m not a fop!” “Only someone who’s a fop would bother trying to prove that he’s not a fop,” Kevin chided.
Brandon Varnell (A Fox's Vacation (American Kitsune, #5))
We should get you some ice." "F*ck you. If I did half my job, you'll be stuffing you jock with every piece of cold thing we have." "Yeah, but you can have it when I'm done though." She managed another bloody smile and turned towards the door. "Hey Babs, no hard feelings right?" "Just next time you need to beat someone up, how about you don't insult me first." He chuckled. It hurt. "If I need to beat someone up, I got a whole station of possibilities. But if I'm looking to lose a fight, I'm pretty much down to just you.
James S.A. Corey (Persepolis Rising (The Expanse, #7))
Handle it how?” asked a third mother. “Amazon Prime?” “We’ll handle it,” repeated Terry. “There are tarps in the toolshed. We’ll be fine.” JEN, IMPRESSED BY Terry’s masterful attitude, consented to hook up with him in the greenhouse that evening (we’d piled a nest of blankets in a corner). Jen was strong but had notoriously low standards, make-out-wise. Not to be outdone, the other two girls and I agreed to play Spin the Bottle with David and Low. Extreme version, oral potentially included. Juicy was fourteen, too immature for us and too much of a slob, and Rafe wasn’t bi. Shame, said Sukey. Rafe is hella good-looking. Then Dee said she wouldn’t play, so it was down to Sukey and me. Dee was afraid of Spin the Bottle, due to being—Sukey alleged—a quiet little mouse and most likely even a mouth virgin. Timid and shy, Dee was also passive-aggressive, neurotic, a germaphobe, and borderline paranoid. According to Sukey. “Suck it up, mousy,” said Sukey. “It’s a teachable moment.” “Why teachable?” asked Dee. Because, said Sukey, she, yours truly, was a master of the one-minute handjob. Dee could pick up some tips. The guys sat straighter when Sukey said that. Their interest became focused and laser-like. But Dee said no, she wasn’t that type. Plus, after this she needed a shower. Val also declined to participate. She left to go climbing in the dark. This was while the parents were playing Texas Hold ’Em and squabbling over alleged card counting—someone’s father had been kicked out of a casino in Las Vegas. The younger kids were fast asleep.
Lydia Millet (A Children's Bible)
In the uncertain hour before the morning Near the ending of interminable night At the recurrent end of the unending After the dark dove with the flickering tongue Had passed below the horizon of his homing While the dead leaves still rattled on like tin Over the asphalt where no other sound was Between three districts whence the smoke arose I met one walking, loitering and hurried As if blown towards me like the metal leaves Before the urban dawn wind unresisting. And as I fixed upon the down-turned face That pointed scrutiny with which we challenge The first-met stranger in the waning dusk I caught the sudden look of some dead master Whom I had known, forgotten, half recalled Both one and many; in the brown baked features The eyes of a familiar compound ghost Both intimate and unidentifiable. So I assumed a double part, and cried And heard another's voice cry: 'What! are you here?' Although we were not. I was still the same, Knowing myself yet being someone other— And he a face still forming; yet the words sufficed To compel the recognition they preceded. And so, compliant to the common wind, Too strange to each other for misunderstanding, In concord at this intersection time Of meeting nowhere, no before and after, We trod the pavement in a dead patrol. I said: 'The wonder that I feel is easy, Yet ease is cause of wonder. Therefore speak: I may not comprehend, may not remember.' And he: 'I am not eager to rehearse My thoughts and theory which you have forgotten. These things have served their purpose: let them be. So with your own, and pray they be forgiven By others, as I pray you to forgive Both bad and good. Last season's fruit is eaten And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail. For last year's words belong to last year's language And next year's words await another voice. But, as the passage now presents no hindrance To the spirit unappeased and peregrine Between two worlds become much like each other, So I find words I never thought to speak In streets I never thought I should revisit When I left my body on a distant shore. Since our concern was speech, and speech impelled us To purify the dialect of the tribe And urge the mind to aftersight and foresight, Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age To set a crown upon your lifetime's effort. First, the cold friction of expiring sense Without enchantment, offering no promise But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit As body and soul begin to fall asunder. Second, the conscious impotence of rage At human folly, and the laceration Of laughter at what ceases to amuse. And last, the rending pain of re-enactment Of all that you have done, and been; the shame Of motives late revealed, and the awareness Of things ill done and done to others' harm Which once you took for exercise of virtue. Then fools' approval stings, and honour stains. From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire Where you must move in measure, like a dancer.' The day was breaking. In the disfigured street He left me, with a kind of valediction, And faded on the blowing of the horn. -T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding
T.S. Eliot
You know what it is? All of us have two minds, a private one, which is usually strange, I guess, and symbolic, and a public one, a social one. Most of us stream back and forth between those two minds, drifting around in our private self and then coming forward into the public self whenever we need to. But sometimes you get a little slow making the transition, you drag out the private part of your life and people know you’re doing it. They almost always catch on, knowing that someone is standing before them thinking about things that can’t be shared, like the one monkey that knows where a freshwater pond is. And sometimes the public mind is such a total bummer and the private self is alive with beauty and danger and secrets and things that don’t make any sense but that repeat and repeat and demand to be listened to, and you find it harder and harder to come forward. The pathway between those two states of mind suddenly seems very steep, a hell of a lot of work and not really worth it. Then I think it becomes a matter of what side of the great divide you get caught on. Some people get stuck on the public, approved side and they’re all right, for what it’s worth. And some people get stuck on the completely strange and private side of the divide, and that’s what we call crazy and its not really completely wrong to call it that but it doesn’t say it as it truly is. It’s more like a lack of mobility, a transportation problem, getting stuck, being the us we are in private but not stopping, like those kids you’d know who would continue to curse and point and say the secret things even in school or in front of your parents. They wouldn’t know when to stop; they wouldn’t be the way people wanted them to be. And the thing that made it so terrible for us is that they’d be getting knocked out for doing things that we ourselves did—but we knew when not to do them, we could actually pretend we never ever did that kind of thing, and when it came down to the sticking point, we’d kick them in the ass just as hard as anyone else.
Scott Spencer (Endless Love (P.S.))
The crescent kick is one of the most difficult kicks to master in Tae Kwon Do, but when executed properly, it is one of the most dangerous.  Detective Sergeant Jamie Johansson had been practising it for nearly six years, and despite being only five-foot-six, she could comfortably slam her heel into the ear of someone that was over six feet. And now she had it down to a science. She knew she couldn’t do enough damage with a punch to put someone down if she had to, but a well-executed crescent kick would do the job. Especially from her lightweight trail boots. Her partner made fun of her for wearing them — said that detectives shouldn’t be wearing hiking boots, especially not in the city, but they were tough and she was as fast in them as she was in her trainers. Which she thought made them a lot more suited to tracking down scumbags than Roper’s black leather Chelsea boots.  He disagreed. She didn’t really care.  Smoking thirty a day meant that he wasn’t going to be doing much running anyway. ‘Come on,’ Cake said, jerking the pad. ‘Again. Like you mean it.’ She flicked her head, throwing sweat onto the matt, wound up, lifted her leg, snapped her knee back, and then lashed out. Her shin smashed into the training pad with a dull thwap and she sank into her knees, panting.  Cake clapped them together and grinned with wide, crooked teeth. ‘Good job,’ he said. ‘You’re really getting some power into those, now. But make sure to ice that foot, yeah?’ She caught her breath quickly and stood up, nodding, strands of ash-blonde hair sticking to her forehead, the thick plait running between her lithe shoulders coming loose. ‘Sure,’ she said, measuring her trainer. Cake was six-two and twice her weight. He was Windrush, in his fifties, and ran a mixed martial arts gym just near Duckett’s Green. He was a retired boxer turned trainer that scored his nickname after winning a fight in the late nineties on his birthday. When the commentator asked what he was going to do to celebrate, he said that he was going to eat a birthday cake. Everyone thought that was funny, and it stuck. He had a pretty bad concussion at the time, which probably contributed to the answer. But there was no getting away from it now.  He pulled the pads off his forearms and rubbed his eyes. ‘Coffee?’ he asked, looking over at the clock on the wall. It was just before seven.  He yawned and stretched, cracking his spine. The gym wouldn’t open until midday to the public, but he lived upstairs in a tiny studio, and he and Jamie had an arrangement. It kept him fit and active, and she could train one-on-one. Just how she liked it. She paid her dues of course, slid him extra on top of the monthly for his time. But he said that
Morgan Greene (Bare Skin (DS Jamie Johansson #1))
I'm beginning to think," I say, "Might Equals Right shouldn't mean the strong are tasked with the protection of the weak, because the strong aren't always strong and the weak aren't always weak. Everyone stumbles. And one day, when you stumble - and you will- you'll need someone to help you stand. Will be there anyone eager to do so, or will there be a line of people hoping to kick you while you're down?
Gena Showalter (Firstlife (Everlife, #1))
Oh, well…they’ve been a little relaxed because of Gram’s passing, but I’ve been assured once school starts my life will be all work and no play.” I kick my feet under the water and watch the surface swirl. “Well, we better take advantage.” He pulls me in for another kiss and when we break apart, I’m overcome with laughter. This is so the opposite of how I saw my summer ending even just a few hours ago. “You’re really here. I can’t get over it.” “When I called and heard your voice mail greeting this morning, something inside me just clicked. I had to see you. Today.” He leans toward me until our foreheads press together, his fingertips trailing tortuously slowly up and down each of my arms. “I tried all summer to talk myself out of liking you, to stay away from Cinque Terre once I knew you were there. Especially when I thought you might be with someone else. But I couldn’t. I want to make this work, Pippa. I knew we met for a reason.” His breath is warm on my face as he whispers, “I can’t not be with you.” I close my eyes and absorb his words. He wants to make this work. I want to make this work. It will. Somehow. “You really like me that much?” I hear him swallow. “I’m not sure like is a strong enough word.
Kristin Rae (Wish You Were Italian (If Only . . ., #2))
No time. Art Teacher was behind him. Myron slid to the side and threw a roundhouse right. Art Teacher ducked it, but Myron was ready. He stopped mid-punch and looped his arm around the man’s neck. Myron had him in a headlock. But now, with a grotesque rebel yell, Ascot leapt toward Myron. Tightening his grip on the neck, Myron aimed a mule kick. Ascot let it land on his chest. He made his body soft and rolled with the blow, holding on to Myron’s leg. Myron lost his balance. Art Teacher managed to free himself then. He threw a knife hand, aiming for Myron’s throat. Myron tucked so that the blow hit his chin. It rattled his teeth. Ascot held on to Myron’s leg. Myron tried to kick him off. Art Teacher was laughing now. The front door burst open again. Myron prayed it was Win. It wasn’t. Dominick Rochester arrived. He was out of breath. Myron wanted to call out a warning to Mrs. Seiden, but that was when a pain unlike any other he had felt ripped through him. Myron let loose a blood-curdling howl. He looked down at his leg. Ascot had his head lowered. He was biting Myron’s leg. Myron screamed again, the sound mixing in with the laughter and cheers coming from Art Teacher. “Go, Jeb! Woo-hoo!” Myron kept kicking, but Ascot dug in deeper, holding on, growling like a terrier. The pain was excruciating, all-encompassing. Panic filled Myron. He stamped down with his free leg. Ascot held on with his teeth. Myron kicked harder, finally landing a kick on top of the man’s head. He pushed hard. His flesh ripped off as he finally pried himself free. Ascot sat up and spit something out of his mouth. Myron realized with horror that it was a meaty chunk of leg. Then they were on him. All three. Piled on. Myron ducked his head and started swinging. He connected with somebody’s chin. There was a grunt and a curse. But someone else hit him in the stomach. He felt the teeth on his leg again, the same spot, opening up the wound. Win. Where the hell was Win . . . ?
Harlan Coben (Promise Me (Myron Bolitar, #8))
An old Chevy, I think,” he was going on now. “It’s supposed to be back soon, though. Not really the same without it, is it?” He actually sounded genuinely mournful. I was surprised to find myself battling back a quick, involuntary smile. He did seem to be more interesting than your average, run-of-the-mill BMOC. I had to give him that. Get a grip, O’Connor, I chastised myself. “Absolutely not,” I said, giving my head a semi-vigorous nod. That ought to move him along, I thought. You may not be aware of this fact, but agreeing with people is often an excellent way of getting them to forget all about you. After basking in the glow of agreement, most people are then perfectly content to go about their business, remembering only the fact that someone agreed and allowing the identity of the person who did the actual agreeing to fade into the background. This technique almost always works. In fact, I’d never known it not to. There was a moment of silence. A silence in which I could feel the BMOC’s eyes upon me. I kept my own eyes fixed on the top of the carless column. But the longer the silence went on, the more strained it became. At least it did on my side. This guy was simply not abiding by the rules. He was supposed to have basked and moved on by now. “You don’t have the faintest idea what I’m talking about, do you?” he said at last. I laughed before I quite realized what I’d done. “Not a clue,” I said, turning to give him my full attention for the very first time, an action I could tell right away spelled trouble. You just had to do it, didn’t you? I thought. He was even better looking when I took a better look. He flashed me a smile, and I felt my pulse kick up several notches. My brain knew perfectly well that that smile had not been invented just for me. My suddenly-beating-way-too-fast heart wasn’t paying all that much attention to my brain, though. “You must be new, then,” he commented. “I’d remember you if we’d met before.” All of a sudden, his face went totally blank. “I cannot believe I just said that,” he said. “That is easily the world’s oldest line.” “If it isn’t, it’s the cheesiest,” I said. He winced. “I’d ask you to let me make it up to you, but I’m thinking that would make things even worse.” “You’d be thinking right.” This time he was the one who laughed, the sound open and easy, as if he was genuinely enjoying the joke on himself. In retrospect I think it was that laugh that did it. That finished the job his smile had started. You just didn’t find all that many guys, all that many people, who were truly willing to laugh at themselves. “I’m Alex Crawford,” he said. “Jo,” I said. “Jo O’Connor.” At this Alex actually stuck out his hand. His eyes, which I probably don’t need to tell you were this pretty much impossible shade of blue, focused directly on my face. “Pleased to meet you, Jo O’Connor.” I watched my hand move forward to meet his, as if it belonged to a stranger and was moving in slow motion. At that exact moment, an image of the robot from the movie Lost in Space flashed through my mind. Arms waving frantically in the air, screaming, “Danger! Danger!” at the top of its inhuman lungs. My hand kept moving anyhow. Our fingers connected. I felt the way Alex’s wrapped around mine, then tightened. Felt the way that simple action caused a flush to spread across my cheeks and a tingle to start in the palm of my hand and slowly begin to work its way up my arm. To this day, I’d swear I heard him suck in a breath, saw his impossibly blue eyes widen. As if, at the exact same moment I looked up at him, he’d discovered something as completely unexpected as I had, gazing down. He released me. I stuck my hand behind my back. “Pleased to meet you, Jo O’Connor,” he said again. Not quite the way he had the first time.
Cameron Dokey (How Not to Spend Your Senior Year)
Brittany has been wary this whole week. She’s waiting for me to play a joke on her, to get her back for tossing my keys into the woods. After school, as I’m at my locker picking books to take home, she storms up to me wearing her sexy pom uniform. “Meet me in the wrestling gym,” she orders. Now I can do two things: meet her like she told me to or leave the school. I take my books and enter the small gym. Brittany is standing, holding out her keychain without keys dangling from it. “Where have my keys magically disappeared to?” she asks. “I’m going to be late for the game if you don’t tell me. Ms. Small will kick me off the squad if I’m not at the game.” “I tossed them somewhere. You know, you should really get a purse that has a zipper. You never know when someone will reach in and grab somethin’.” “Glad to know you’re a klepto. Wanna give me a hint as to where you’ve hidden them?” I lean against the wall of the wrestling gym, thinking about what people would think if they caught us in here together. “It’s in a place that’s wet. Really, really wet,” I say, giving her a clue. “The pool?” I nod. “Creative, huh?” She tries to push me into the wall. “Oh, I’m going to kill you. You better go get them.” If I didn’t know her better, I’d think she was flirting with me. I think she likes this game we have going on. “Mamacita, you should know me better than that. You’re all on your own, like I was when you left me in the library parking lot.” She cocks her head, gives me sad eyes, and pouts. I shouldn’t concentrate on her pouty lips, it’s dangerous. But I can’t help it. “Show me where they are, Alex. Please.” I let her sweat it out a minute before I give in. By now most of the school is deserted. Half of the students are on their way to the football game. The other half is glad they’re not on their way to the football game. We walk to the pool. The lights are off, but sunlight is still shining through the windows. Brittany’s keys are where I threw ‘em--in the middle of the deep end. I point to the shiny pieces of silver under the water. “There they are. Have at it.” Brittany stands with her hands on her short skirt, contemplating how she’s going to get them. She struts over to the long stick hanging on the wall that’s used to pull drowning people from the water. “Piece of cake,” she tells me. But as she sticks the pole into the water, she finds out it’s not a piece of cake. I suppress a laugh as I stand at the edge of the pool and watch her attempt the impossible. “You can always strip and go in naked. I’ll watch to make sure nobody comes in.” She walks up to me, the pole gripped firmly in her fingers. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” “Uh, yeah,” I say, stating the obvious. “I have to warn you, though. If you have granny undies on, you’ll blow my fantasy.” “For your information, they’re pink satin. As long as we’re sharing personal info, are you a boxers or briefs guy?” “Neither. My boys go free, if you know what I mean.” Okay, I don’t let my boys go free. She’ll just have to figure that out herself. “Gross, Alex.” “Don’t knock it till you try it,” I tell her, then walk toward the door. “You’re leaving?” “Uh…yeah.” “Aren’t you going to help me get the keys?” “Uh…nope.” If I stay, I’ll be tempted to ask her to ditch the football game to be with me. I’m definitely not ready to hear the answer to that question. Toying with her I can handle. Showing my true colors like I did the other day made me take my guard down. I’m not about to do that again. I push the door open after taking one last glance at Brittany, wondering if leaving her right now makes me an idiot, a jerk, a coward, or all of the above.
Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1))
JENNA SMILED WHEN Easy walked into the bedroom, carrying what appeared to be half the refrigerator on a bowing cookie sheet. How much more sweet could he be? He glanced between her and Sara like he was unsure what to do next. Jenna pulled the covers back so the surface would be flat and patted the bed next to her. “Put it anywhere.” Easy set the makeshift tray down and rubbed a hand over his head. “I tried to think of things that would be gentle on your stomach,” he said in a low voice. “But if you want something different—” “No, this looks perfect.” Her gaze settled on a tall glass of . . . She gasped. “You made me a milk shake?” At that, Sara patted her on the knee. “Okay, I’m gonna go. Let me know if you need anything?” “Oh, uh, Shane was making you all something to eat,” Easy said. Sara smiled. “Good timing. This is making me hungry,” she said, gesturing to the tray. Jenna grabbed up the milk shake and hugged the glass against her chest. “Get your own.” Holding up her hands in surrender, Sara smiled. “All yours. Besides, Nick and Jeremy have the world’s biggest sweet tooths. There’s an endless supply of ice cream downstairs. I’m not even joking. So there’s more where that came from.” She squeezed Easy’s arm. “You know where to find me if you need me,” she said. And then they were alone. Jenna was glad. Not because having Easy here warded off her panic and fear but because she just wanted to be with him. She fished a spoon out from between two plates and took a taste of her treat. Freaking heaven. “Oh, my God,” she said, scooping another big bite. “This is so good. I can’t believe you made me a milk shake.” Even when her father had been alive, no one was really taking care of Jenna. So maybe Easy’s thoughtfulness wouldn’t have been so earthshaking to someone else, but to her, it meant everything. She peered up at him, which made her realize he was still standing. Crisscrossing her legs, she pointed at the foot of the bed. “Come sit down. Some of this has to be for you, right?” “Yeah,” Easy said. “You sure this is okay?” “It’s great, really. I can’t even remember the last time I ate, so this is like filet mignon and Maine lobster rolled into one. Seriously.” She exchanged the milk shake for the bowl of soup, and the warm, salty broth tasted every bit as good. They ate in companionable silence for a while, then he asked, “So, what are you studying in school?” “International business,” Jenna said around a spoonful of soup. “I always wanted to travel.” And, to put it more plainly, she’d always wanted to get the hell out of here. “Sounds ambitious,” Easy said. “Did you have to learn languages?” Jenna nodded. “I minored in Spanish, and I’ve taken some French, too. What I’d really like to learn is Chinese since there are so many new markets opening up there. But I’ve heard it’s really hard. Do you speak any other languages?” Wiping his mouth with a napkin, Easy nodded. “Hablo español, árabe, y Dari.” Grinning, Jenna reached for her bagel. She’d thought him hard to resist just being his usual sexy, thoughtful, protective self. If he was going to throw speaking to her in a foreign language into the mix, she’d be a goner. “What is Dari?” “One of the main languages in Afghanistan,” he said. “Oh. Guess that makes sense. Are Arabic and Dari hard to learn?” “Yeah. Where I grew up in Philly, there were a lot of Hispanic kids, so Spanish was like a second language. But coming to languages as an adult about kicked my ass. Cultural training is a big part of Special Forces training, though. We’re not out there just trying to win battles, but hearts and minds, too. . .” He frowned. “Or, we were, anyway.
Laura Kaye (Hard to Hold on To (Hard Ink, #2.5))
Ericka had thought of them as her glory days when she had wanted to march on every capitol; kick down the doors of the most powerfully entrenched; when she had wanted to right every wrong, and stomp out villainy everywhere. Gene had called her the “Rebel with too many causes”. But that had been different. It was as if all that had just been a training period, mere preparation for the way she felt now. That had been student idealism. This was the pain of a grieving mom who couldn’t watch anyone else’s kid suffer. In her short time on the planet, their sweet daughter Madie, their little Bitsie, had taught them so much. About priorities. About courage. About how they could truly love and treasure another single human life, not just hold some general, pro-active fondness for all of humanity everywhere. In loving that tiny child; knowing all the while that they were losing her, Ericka and Gene had suffered immensely. But they had also grown. In tending to their frail, courageous little girl, Ericka had once again unleashed her inner need to help others; an essential part of her being, but now with renewed, and focused passion. Once, when Ericka had broken down and wept as she’d had to hand her baby off for more tests, it had been little Madie who had comforted Mommy. She’d told Ericka she was glad she could do this so they could find out what was wrong with her, and then maybe other little kids wouldn’t have to hurt this way ever again. One way or another, her mommy now would make that little life count for something. Ericka wanted to; she needed to cram all her pain into something she could change. Someone somewhere she could actually help, but not lose in the end. She had to find causes she could pour her almost fierce, hard-charging nature into, and actually save somebody this time. It didn’t have to be one particular disease; it could be hunger; it could be anything, but she had to get out there and do something. Before she had fought for causes. But now those causes would have little faces. - A taste of my new book, "The Soul Hides in Shadows
Edward Fahey
I was sleeping on the couch one afternoon when suddenly I sensed that someone was leaning over me. When I opened my eyes I saw the burly farmer standing there, unbuttoning his pants. Instinctively, I knew what he was up to! Hans wouldn’t be as easy to dissuade as the sturdy young man who had guided me up the mountain. With no time to think I let fly with my foot, kicking him in the groin. The force from the kick caused him to inadvertently fall forward, hitting a small end table with his mouth. When this happened he bit his lip and broke his dentures. A dreadful row ensued, especially when I assured him that I would tell his wife Clarissa that he was the one who hung her lover. Bleeding from his lip, he threatened me, shouting that he would throw me out into the snow along with my children. Determined, I ran out into the kitchen shouting for her. When Clarissa appeared, I turned, telling Hans that I would tell her what I had heard about this sordid mess; and tell her I did! Of course he instantly dismissed me and told me to get out, but his wife knew him for what he was. Clarissa knew that what I had said was true and sided with me. She added that the killing had been uncalled for and that in many ways what had happened between her and the Russian was her husband’s fault. This event seemed to have evened the score for them and she was pleased that a woman had stood up to her husband. Although in this instance she was the one who had played, it was Hans that had a reputation for being a well-known womanizer and bully. With Hans out of the room, she assured me that it would be all right to stay another night. Their relationship was very strange and I was certain that there was more to the story, but for me it was time to leave. The next morning she arranged for transportation down to Überlingen for me and my children, and was I ever glad!
Hank Bracker
Why is she mad at you?” She’s all innocence and wonder. “What makes you think she’s mad at me?” I narrow my eyes at her. “She looked like she was going to cry.” Fuck. She did. I pick up my phone and call Matt. “Hey,” I say. “What the fuck do you want?” he replies. But he has that playful tone in his voice that’s all Matt. “Hayley wants to come over and touch Sky’s belly.” “Oh,” he says. He puts his hand over the phone and says something to someone. “Bring her over. Sky’s belly will be waiting.” I wait a beat. “What’s wrong?” he says. “I think I messed up.” “Friday?” “Yeah.” “Bad?” “Yeah.” “You want us to watch Hayley so you can go talk Friday down off the ledge?” “I just want to climb up with her and hold her hand.” I scrub my palm down my face. “How far away are you?” “Five minutes.” He hangs up on me. I hate it when he does that; I taught him better manners. I look down at Hayley. “You want to go touch Matt and Sky’s babies? See if they’re kicking?” She puts her hands on her hips. “You’re despecting.” I sputter. “I’m what?” “Despecting. Making me think about one thing when I want to think about another. Like why Friday is crying.” I scratch my head. “Despecting?” “Despecting,” she says again. She puts her hands up like she’s blocking karate chops. “Despecting.” “Oh, deflecting!” I laugh. “Yeah, I’m deflecting. That okay with you?” “Do I still get to go see Sky’s belly?” I nod, and she grins. Apparently, deflecting is okay as long as Matt’s babies are involved.
Tammy Falkner (Proving Paul's Promise (The Reed Brothers, #5))
Tim Graham Tim Graham has specialized in photographing the Royal Family for more than thirty years and is foremost in his chosen field. Recognition of his work over the years has led to invitations for private sessions with almost all the members of the British Royal Family, including, of course, Diana, Princess of Wales, and her children. Diana had none of the remoteness of some members of royal families. Along with several of my press colleagues, I felt I came to know her quite well. She was a superstar, she was royal, but she was also very approachable. I have had various sessions with members of the Royal Family over the years, but those with her were more informal. I remember photographing Prince William at Kensington Palace when he was a baby. I was lying on the floor of the drawing room in front of the infant prince, trying to get his attention. Not surprisingly, he didn’t show much interest, so, without prompting, Diana lay down on the floor close to me and, using one of those little bottles of bubbles, starting blowing bubbles at him. Perfect. As he gazed in fascination at his mother, I was able to get the picture I wanted. I can’t think of many members of the Royal Family who would abandon protocol and lie on the carpet with you in a photo session! Funnily enough, it wasn’t the only time it happened. She did the same again years when she was about to send her dresses to auction for charity and we were sifting through prints of my photographs that she had asked to use in the catalog. She suggested that we sit on the floor and spread the photographs all around us on the carpet, so, of course, we did. I donated the use of my pictures of her in the various dresses to the charity, and as a thank-you, Diana invited me to be the exclusive photographer at both parties held for the dresses auction--one in London and the other in the United States. The party in New York was held on preview night, and many of the movers and shakers of New York were there, including her good friend Henry Kissinger. It was a big room, but everyone in it gravitated to the end where the Princess was meeting people. She literally couldn’t move and was totally hemmed in. I was pushed so close to her I could hardly take a picture. Seeing the crush, her bodyguard spotted an exit route through the kitchen and managed to get the Princess and me out of the enthusiastic “scrum.” As the kitchen door closed behind the throng, she leaned against the wall, kicked off her stiletto-heeled shoes, and gasped, “Gordon Bennett, that’s a crush!” I would have loved to have taken a picture of her then, but I knew she wouldn’t expect that to be part of the deal. You should have seen the kitchen staff--they were thrilled to have an impromptu sight of her but amazed that someone of her status could be so normal. She took a short breather, said hi to those who had, of course, stopped work to stare at her, and then glided back into the room through another door to take up where she had left off. That’s style!
Larry King (The People's Princess: Cherished Memories of Diana, Princess of Wales, from Those Who Knew Her Best)