Halt waited a minute or two but there was no sound except for the jingling of harness and the creaking of leather from their saddles. Finally, the former Ranger could bear it no longer.
The question seemed to explode out of him, with a greater degree of violence than he had intended. Taken by surprise, Horace’s bay shied in fright and danced several paces away.
Horace turned an aggrieved look on his mentor as he calmed the horse and brought it back under control.
What?” he asked Halt, and the smaller man made a gesture of exasperation.
That’s what I want to know,” he said irritably. “What?”
Horace peered at him. The look was too obviously the sort of look that you give someone who seems to have taken leave of his senses. It did little to improve Halt’s rapidly growing temper.
What?” said Horace, now totally puzzled.
Don’t keep parroting at me!” Halt fumed. “Stop repeating what I say! I asked you ‘what,’ so don’t ask me ‘what’ back, understand?”
Horace considered the question for a second or two, then, in his deliberate way, he replied: “No.”
Halt took a deep breath, his eyebrows contracted into a deep V, and beneath them his eyes with anger but before he could speak, Horace forestalled him.
What ‘what’ are you asking me?” he said. Then, thinking how to make the question clearer, he added, “Or to put it another way, why are you asking ‘what’?”
Controlling himself with enormous restraint, and making no secret of the fact, Halt said, very precisely: “You were about to ask me a question.”
Horace frowned. “I was?”
Halt nodded. “You were. I saw you take a breath to ask it.”
I see,” Horace said. “And what was it about?”
For just a second or two, Halt was speechless. He opened his mouth, closed it again, then finally found the strength to speak.
That is what I was asking you,” he said. “When I said ‘what,’ I was asking you what you were about to ask me.”
I wasn’t about to ask you ‘what,’” Horace replied, and Halt glared at him suspiciously. It occurred to him that Horace could be indulging himself in a gigantic leg pull, that he was secretly laughing at Halt. This, Halt could have told him, was not a good career move. Rangers were not people who took kindly to being laughed at. He studied the boy’s open face and guileless blue eyes and decided that his suspicion was ill-founded.
Then what, if I may use that word once more, were you about to ask me?”
Horace drew a breath once more, then hesitated. “I forget,” he said. “What were we talking about?
John Flanagan (The Battle for Skandia (Ranger's Apprentice, #4))
They can print statistics and count the populations in hundreds of thousands, but to each man a city consists of no more than a few streets, a few houses, a few people. Remove those few and a city exists no longer except as a pain in the memory, like a pain of an amputated leg no longer there.
Graham Greene (Our Man in Havana)
I will not trust you, I,
Nor longer stay in your curst company.
Your hands than mine are quicker for a fray,
My legs are longer though, to run away.
William Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Why, aren’t you just about as sweet as syrup on a sundae? I sure would appreciate that, ma’am.” He winked. “How’d you like ta stroll the deck of this fine ship with me and watch the sunset? I need a purty girl to put her arm around me and steady this bow-legged cowboy as he finds his sea legs.” I raised an eyebrow and affected a southern accent. “Why, I think you’re a pullin’ my leg there, Texas. You’ve had your sea legs a lot longer than I have.” He rubbed the stubble on his face. “You might be right at that. Well then, how about you taggin’ along to keep me warm?” “It’s about eighty degrees.” “Shoot, you’re a smart one, you are. Then how ‘bout I jes say that a feller can get pretty lonesome by hisself in a strange country and he’d like to keep compn’y with you fer a while longer.
I stand there for a while, then sit cross-legged before it and bow my head. "Hi, Metias," I say in a soft voice. "Today's my birthday. Do you know how old I am now?"
I close me eyes, and through the silence surrounding me I think I can sense a ghostly hand on my shoulder, my brother's gentle presence that I'm able to feel every now and then, in these quiet moments. I imagine him smiling down at me, his expression relaxed and free.
"I'm twenty-seven today," I continue in a whisper. My voice catches for a moment. "We're the same age now."
For the first tine in my life, I am no longer his little sister. Next year I will step across the line and he will still be in the same place. From now on, I will be older than he ever was.
I try to move on to other thoughts, so I tell my brother's ghost about my year, my struggles and successes in commanding my own patrols, my hectic workweeks. I tell him, as I always do, that I miss him. And as always, I can hear the whisper of his ghost against my ear, his gentle reply that he misses me too. That he's looking out for me, from wherever he is.
Marie Lu (Champion (Legend, #3))
Upon my word,' said Dantes, 'you make me tremble. If I listen much longer to you, I shall believe the world is filled with tigers and crocodiles.'
'Remember that two-legged tigers and crocodiles are more dangerous than those that walk on four.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
Yeah, but that didn't mean he didn't like fistfuls of blondeness with legs longer than a Celine Dion note, now, did it?
Dakota Cassidy (Accidentally Demonic (Accidentals, #4))
Hey you, dragging the halo-
how about a holiday in the islands of grief?
Tongue is the word I wish to have with you.
Your eyes are so blue they leak.
Your legs are longer than a prisoner's
last night on death row.
I'm filthier than the coal miner's bathtub
and nastier than the breath of Charles Bukowski.
You're a dirty little windshield.
I'm standing behind you on the subway,
hard as calculus. My breath
be sticking to your neck like graffiti.
I'm sitting opposite you in the bar,
waiting for you to uncross your boundaries.
I want to rip off your logic
and make passionate sense to you.
I want to ride in the swing of your hips.
My fingers will dig in you like quotation marks,
blazing your limbs into parts of speech.
But with me for a lover, you won't need
catastrophes. What attracted me in the first place
will ultimately make me resent you.
I'll start telling you lies,
and my lies will sparkle,
become the bad stars you chart your life by.
I'll stare at other women so blatantly
you'll hear my eyes peeling,
because sex with you is like Great Britain:
cold, groggy, and a little uptight.
Your bed is a big, soft calculator
where my problems multiply.
Your brain is a garage
I park my bullshit in, for free.
You're not really my new girlfriend,
just another flop sequel of the first one,
who was based on the true story of my mother.
You're so ugly I forgot how to spell.
I'll cheat on you like a ninth grade math test,
break your heart just for the sound it makes.
You're the 'this' we need to put an end to.
The more you apologize, the less I forgive you.
So how about it?
As soon as she releases me, Galen grabs my hand and I don't even have time to gasp before he snatches me to the surface and pulls me toward shore, only pausing to dislodge his pair of swimming trunks from under his favorite rock, where he had just moments before taken the time to hide them.
I know the routine and turn away so he can change, but it seems like no time before he hauls me onto the beach and drags me to the sand dunes in front of my house. "What are you doing?" I ask. His legs are longer than mine so for every two of his strides I have to take three, which feels a lot like running.
He stops us in between the dunes. "I'm doing something that is none of anyone else's business." Then he jerks me up against him and crushes his mouth on mine. And I see why he didn't want an audience for this kiss. I wouldn't want an audience for this kiss, either, especially if the audience included my mother. This is our first kiss after he announced that he wanted me for his mate. This kiss holds promises of things to come.
When he pulls away I feel drunk and excited and nervous and filled with a craving that I'm not sure can ever be satisfied. And Galen looks startled. "Maybe I shouldn't have done that," he says. "That makes it about fifty times harder to leave, I think.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
Immortal strength—more a curse than a gift. I’d dented and folded every piece of silverware I’d touched for three days upon returning here, had tripped over my longer, faster legs so often that Alis had removed any irreplaceable valuables from my rooms (she’d been particularly grumpy about me knocking over a table with an eight-hundred-year-old vase), and had shattered not one, not two, but five glass doors merely by accidentally closing them too hard. Sighing
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
I quietly quaffed my cognac, discreetly admiring Lana's legs. Longer than the Bible and a hell of a lot more fun, they stretched forever, like an Indian yogi or an American highway shimmering through the Great Plains or the southwestern desert. Her legs demanded to be looked at and would not take no, non, nein, nyet, or even maybe for an answer.
Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer)
One morning early, I couldn't sleep, so I walked down to the beach. And I saw you. For a minute- I didn't realize it was you. You were wearing this long scarf thing tied around your waist, lots of wild colors, and it blew around your legs. You had on a red bathing suit under it."
"You..." She literally had to catch her breath. "You remember what I was wearing?"
"Yes I do. And I remember your hair was longer than it is now, halfway down your back. All those mad curls flying. Bare feet. All that golden skin, wild colors, mad curls. My heart just stopped. I thought: That's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. And I wanted that woman, in a way I'd never wanted one before."
He stopped, turned a little as she simply stared at him. "Then I saw it was you. You walked off, down the beach, the surf foaming up over your bare feet, your ankles, your calves. And I wanted you. I thought I'd lost my my mind.
Nora Roberts (Bed of Roses (Bride Quartet, #2))
Ms. Terwilliger didn’t have a chance to respond to my geological ramblings because someone knocked on the door. I slipped the rocks into my pocket and tried to look studious as she called an entry. I figured Zoe had tracked me down, but surprisingly, Angeline walked in.
"Did you know," she said, "that it’s a lot harder to put organs back in the body than it is to get them out?"
I closed my eyes and silently counted to five before opening them again. “Please tell me you haven’t eviscerated someone.”
She shook her head. “No, no. I left my biology homework in Miss Wentworth’s room, but when I went back to get it, she’d already left and locked the door. But it’s due tomorrow, and I’m already in trouble in there, so I had to get it. So, I went around outside, and her window lock wasn’t that hard to open, and I—”
"Wait," I interrupted. "You broke into a classroom?"
"Yeah, but that’s not the problem."
Behind me, I heard a choking laugh from Ms. Terwilliger’s desk.
"Go on," I said wearily.
"Well, when I climbed through, I didn’t realize there was a bunch of stuff in the way, and I crashed into those plastic models of the human body she has. You know, the life size ones with all the parts inside? And bam!" Angeline held up her arms for effect. "Organs everywhere." She paused and looked at me expectantly. "So what are we going to do? I can’t get in trouble with her."
"We?" I exclaimed.
"Here," said Ms. Terwilliger. I turned around, and she tossed me a set of keys. From the look on her face, it was taking every ounce of self-control not to burst out laughing. "That square one’s a master. I know for a fact she has yoga and won’t be back for the rest of the day. I imagine you can repair the damage—and retrieve the homework—before anyone’s the wiser.”
I knew that the “you” in “you can repair” meant me. With a sigh, I stood up and packed up my things. “Thanks,” I said.
As Angeline and I walked down to the science wing, I told her, “You know, the next time you’ve got a problem, maybe come to me before it becomes an even bigger problem.”
"Oh no," she said nobly. "I didn’t want to be an inconvenience."
Her description of the scene was pretty accurate: organs everywhere. Miss Wentworth had two models, male and female, with carved out torsos that cleverly held removable parts of the body that could be examined in greater detail. Wisely, she had purchased models that were only waist-high. That was still more than enough of a mess for us, especially since it was hard to tell which model the various organs belonged to.
I had a pretty good sense of anatomy but still opened up a textbook for reference as I began sorting. Angeline, realizing her uselessness here, perched on a far counter and swing her legs as she watched me. I’d started reassembling the male when I heard a voice behind me.
"Melbourne, I always knew you’d need to learn about this kind of thing. I’d just kind of hoped you’d learn it on a real guy."
I glanced back at Trey, as he leaned in the doorway with a smug expression. “Ha, ha. If you were a real friend, you’d come help me.” I pointed to the female model. “Let’s see some of your alleged expertise in action.”
"Alleged?" He sounded indignant but strolled in anyways.
I hadn’t really thought much about asking him for help. Mostly I was thinking this was taking much longer than it should, and I had more important things to do with my time. It was only when he came to a sudden halt that I realized my mistake.
"Oh," he said, seeing Angeline. "Hi."
Her swinging feet stopped, and her eyes were as wide as his. “Um, hi.”
The tension ramped up from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds, and everyone seemed at a loss for words. Angeline jerked her head toward the models and blurted out. “I had an accident.”
That seemed to snap Trey from his daze, and a smile curved his lips. Whereas Angeline’s antics made me want to pull out my hair sometimes, he found them endearing.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
The prevalence of social ugliness made commitment to physical beauty all the more essential. And the very presence in life of double-wide mobile homes, Magic Marker graffiti, and orange shag carpeting had the effect of making ills such as poverty, crime, repression, pollution and child abuse seem tolerable. In a sense, beauty was the ultimate protest, and, in that it generally lasted longer than an orgasm, the ultimate refuge. The Venus de Milo screamed "No!" at evil, whereas the Spandex stretch pant, the macrame plant holder were compliant with it.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
Beauty! Wasn't that what mattered? Beauty was hardly a popular ideal at that jumpy moment in history. The masses had been desensitized to it, the intelligentsia regarded it with suspicion. To most of her peers, 'beauty' smacked of the rarefied, the indulgent, the superfluous, the effete. How could persons of good conscience pursue the beautiful when there was so much suffering and injustice in the world? Ellen Cherry's answer was that if one didn't cultivate beauty, soon he or she wouldn't be able to recognize ugliness. The prevalence of social ugliness made commitment to physical beauty all the more essential. And the very presence in life of double-wide mobile homes, Magic Marker graffiti, and orange shag carpeting had the effect of making ills such as poverty, crime, repression, pollution, and child abuse seem tolerable. In a sense, beauty was the ultimate protest, and, in that it generally lasted longer than an orgasm, the ultimate refuge. The Venus de Milo screamed 'No!' at evil, whereas the Spandex stretch pant, the macrame plant holder were compliant with it. Ugly bedrooms bred ugly habits. Of course, it wasn't required of beauty that it perform a social function. That was what was valuable about it.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
I’ll cry if I want to. You will cease ordering
He raised an eyebrow. “You dare to issue
She flushed, but at least she wasn’t crying
“Now tell me about this brand on your
thigh. Your father’s crest. I’d like to see it.”
She went crimson and she backed up a
step until her back met with the ledge of the
window. “I will not do something so indecent
as to show you my leg!”
“When we’re married, I’ll see more than
that,” he said mildly.
“Married? Married? I’m not marrying you,
Laird. I’m not marrying anyone. Not yet
Maya Banks (In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1))
A month earlier, twenty-six-year-old Zamperini had been one of the greatest runners in the world, expected by many to be the first to break the four-minute mile, one of the most celebrated barriers in sport. Now his Olympian’s body had wasted to less than one hundred pounds and his famous legs could no longer lift him. Almost everyone outside of his family had given him up for dead.
Laura Hillenbrand (Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption)
They can print statistics and count the populations in hundreds of thousands, but to each man a city consists of no more than a few streets, a few houses, a few people. Remove those few and a city exists no longer except as a pain in the memory, like the pain of an amputated leg no longer there.
Graham Greene (Our Man in Havana)
I found myself drawn to biology, with all its frustrating yet fascinating complexities. When I was twelve, I remember reading about axolotls, which are basically a species of salamander that has evolved to remain permanently in the aquatic larval stage. They manage to keep their gills (rather than trading them in for lungs, like salamanders or frogs) by shutting down metamorphosis and becoming sexually mature in the water. I was completely flabbergasted when I read that by simply giving these creatures the “metamorphosis hormone” (thyroid extract) you could make the axolotl revert back into the extinct, land-dwelling, gill-less adult ancestor that it had evolved from. You could go back in time, resurrecting a prehistoric animal that no longer exists anywhere on Earth. I also knew that for some mysterious reason adult salamanders don’t regenerate amputated legs but the tadpoles do. My curiosity took me one step further, to the question of whether an axolotl—which is, after all, an “adult tadpole”—would retain its ability to regenerate a lost leg just as a modern frog tadpole does. And how many other axolotl-like beings exist on Earth, I wondered, that could be restored to their ancestral forms by simply giving them hormones? Could humans—who are after all apes that have evolved to retain many juvenile qualities—be made to revert to an ancestral form, perhaps something resembling Homo erectus, using the appropriate cocktail of hormones? My mind reeled out a stream of questions and speculations, and I was hooked on biology forever. I found mysteries and possibilities everywhere.
V.S. Ramachandran (The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human)
PRETENDING TO DROWN
The only regret is that I waited
longer than a breath
to scatter the sun's reflection
with my body.
New stars burst upon the water
when you pulled me in.
On the shore, our clothes
begged us to be good boys again.
Every stick our feet touched
a snapping turtle, every shadow
a water moccasin.
Excuses to swim closer to one another.
I sank into the depths to see you
as the lake saw you: cut in half
by the surface, taut legs kicking,
the rest of you sky.
Suddenly still, a clear view
of what you knew I wanted
When I resurfaced, slick grin,
knowing glance; you pushed me
I pretended to drown,
then swallowed you whole.
Saeed Jones (Prelude to Bruise)
To any woman out there who is fed up with trying the same thing over and over, I offer this suggestion. Instead of getting back on the treadmill “one more time,” try this. Alter your diet so that you eat no grain-based carbohydrate: no flour, no sugar, no bread, no pasta, and no high-fructose corn syrup. Then go to the gym and perform a workout of leg press, pull down, chest press, row and overhead press. Lift slowly and smoothly but with as much effort as possible. Go to complete fatigue, or as close to it as you can tolerate. Work out once, or at most, twice a week. Make sure your workouts last no longer than 20 minutes. Then sit back and watch what happens. —Doug McGuff, MD
Jonathan Bailor (The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight, and Live Better)
In the cramped confines of the toilet I had trouble getting out of my wet trousers, which clung to my legs like a drowning man. The new ones were quite complicated too in that they had more legs than a spider; either that or they didn't have enough legs to get mine into. The numbers failed to add up. Always there was one trouser leg too many or one of my legs was left over. From the outside it may have looked like a simple toilet, but once you were locked in here the most basic rules of arithmetic no longer held true.
Geoff Dyer (Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It)
It was like one of those dreams where you can’t move your feet as fast as you want to, or one leg is longer than the other. I’ve had lots of those.
Kimberly Raiser (The Family Bones)
Never take a step longer than your leg
Lies spread quicker than truth because they have longer legs.
The sponge baths were almost more of a torture chamber than anything else. My nerves being completely severed, no longer sent the sensation of water being on my legs.
Joshua Smith (Spineless)
It seems like he’s keeping my foot within his grasp for longer than necessary when I see his eyes wander up my legs again. I tingle in every spot his gaze touches.
His voice sends shivers up my spine when he asks, “Have you ever been fucked, Eve?”
My eyelids flutter and I let out a small surprised gasp at his question, breath gushing from my lips. I’m not exactly a virgin, not too far off though, and I can safely say that I have never been fucked in the way that Phoenix is insinuating. Most of the sex I’ve had has been the fantasy kind. Our eyes lock and he moves his hand from the heel of my foot up along the back of my leg, massaging my shin.
I actually moan when his fingers press in, releasing the tension from a knotted muscle. His mouth opens as he watches me.
“I don’t think that’s a very appropriate question to ask of a friend,” I finally manage to croak out.
He smiles darkly. “I told you I was bad news.
Raine Anthony (Phoenix)
After so many years of fighting to pour herself into skintight, low-rise jeans and binding pencil skirts and slacks that always felt like a vise around her waist, she found leggings were God’s apology to women everywhere. For the first time, something that was in style actually flattered her figure perfectly by hiding her less-than-stellar mid- and rear section while accentuating her reasonably shapely legs. Every day she pulled a pair on she offered a silent thank-you to their inventor and a quiet prayer that they’d remain in fashion just a little bit longer.
Lauren Weisberger (Last Night at Chateau Marmont)
Bruises on the soul hurt even more than bruises on the leg and take longer to heal. Maybe the trick is to try to avoid smashing into stuff so much. And then to be kind to ourselves as we slowly heal.
New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. If conservatives get to call universal health care "socialized medicine," I get to call private, for-profit health care "soulless vampire bastards making money off human pain." Now, I know what you're thinking: "But, Bill, the profit motive is what sustains capitalism." Yes, and our sex drive is what sustains the human species, but we don't try to fuck everything.
It wasn't that long ago when a kid in America broke his leg, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun stuck a thermometer in his ass, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle, and you were done. The bill was $1.50; plus, you got to keep the thermometer.
But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some bean counter decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they're not hospitals anymore; they're Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. The more people who get sick, and stay sick, the higher their profit margins, which is why they're always pushing the Jell-O.
Did you know that the United States is ranked fiftieth in the world in life expectancy? And the forty-nine loser countries were they live longer than us? Oh, it's hardly worth it, they may live longer, but they live shackled to the tyranny of nonprofit health care. Here in America, you're not coughing up blood, little Bobby, you're coughing up freedom. The problem with President Obama's health-care plan isn't socialism. It's capitalism. When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what's in it for Blue Cross Blue Shield.
And it's not just medicine--prisons also used to be a nonprofit business, and for good reason--who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition, you're going to have trouble with the tenants. It's not a coincidence that we outsourced running prisons to private corporations and then the number of prisoners in America skyrocketed.
There used to be some things we just didn't do for money. Did you know, for example, there was a time when being called a "war profiteer" was a bad thing? FDR said he didn't want World War II to create one millionaire, but I'm guessing Iraq has made more than a few executives at Halliburton into millionaires. Halliburton sold soldiers soda for $7.50 a can. They were honoring 9/11 by charging like 7-Eleven. Which is wrong. We're Americans; we don't fight wars for money. We fight them for oil.
And my final example of the profit motive screwing something up that used to be good when it was nonprofit: TV news. I heard all the news anchors this week talk about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite's day. And I thought, "Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
There are many evil and unfriendly things in the world that have little love for those that go on two legs, and yet are not in league with Sauron, but have purposes of their own. Some have been in this world longer than he.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings)
Maggie nodded. She was more than okay. Not only was she no longer sick, she felt as if she'd just awoken from the long, safe torpor of her childhood. The night had blasted her free of that shell, and she had emerged new and raw and ready. She felt the ticket stub folded carefully in her pocket. How many kids in Bray would be able to say they'd stood just feet from Billy Corgan, that they'd been at the Metro for the "Siamese Dream" record release show, that they'd seen Lake Shore Drive on a Sunday morning through the prism of a concert comedown, the runners looking so silly with their skinny legs and their neon shorts, chugging along the footpath with their calorie counters and Gatorade?
Jessie Ann Foley (The Carnival at Bray)
Whoever had designed the skeletons of creatures had even less imagination than whoever had done the outsides. At least the outside-designer had tried a few novelties in the spots, wool and stripes department, but the bone-builder had generally just put a skull on a ribcage, shoved a pelvis in further along, stuck on some arms and legs and had the rest of the day off. Some ribcages were longer, some legs were shorter, some hands became wings, but they all seemed to be based on one design, one size stretched or shrunk to fit all. - Ponder Stibbons
Terry Pratchett (The Last Continent (Discworld, #22; Rincewind #6))
Ruby?” His hair was pale silver in this light, curled and tangled in its usual way. I couldn’t hide from him. I had never been able to.
“Mike came and got me,” he said, taking a careful step toward me. His hands were out in front of him, as if trying to coax a wild animal into letting him approach. “What are you doing out here? What’s going on?”
“Please just go,” I begged. “I need to be alone.”
He kept coming straight at me.
“Please,” I shouted, “go away!”
“I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on!” Liam said. He got a better look at me and swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “Where were you this morning? Did something happen? Chubs told me you’ve been gone all day, and now you’re out here like…this…did he do something to you?”
I looked away. “Nothing I didn’t ask for.”
Liam’s only response was to move back a few paces back. Giving me space.
“I don’t believe you for a second,” he said, calmly. “Not one damn second. If you want to get rid of me, you’re going to have to try harder than that.”
“I don’t want you here.”
He shook his head. “Doesn’t mean I’m leaving you here alone. You can take all the time you want, as long as you need, but you and me? We’re having this out tonight. Right now.” Liam pulled his black sweater over his head and threw it toward me. “Put it on, or you’ll catch a cold.”
I caught it with one hand and pressed it to my chest. It was still warm.
He began to pace, his hands on his hips. “Is it me? Is it that you can’t talk to me about it? Do you want me to get Chubs?”
I couldn’t bring myself to answer.
“Ruby, you’re scaring the hell out of me.”
“Good.” I balled up his sweater and threw it into the darkness as hard as I could.
He blew out a shaky sigh, bracing a hand against the nearest tree. “Good? What’s good about it?”
I hadn’t really understood what Clancy had been trying to tell me that night, not until right then, when Liam looked up and his eyes met mine. The trickle of blood in my ears turned into a roar. I squeezed my eyes shut, digging the heels of my palms against my forehead.
“I can’t do this anymore,” I cried. “Why won’t you just leave me alone?”
“Because you would never leave me.”
His feet shuffled through the underbrush as he took a few steps closer. The air around me heated, taking on a charge I recognized. I gritted my teeth, furious with him for coming so close when he knew I couldn’t handle it. When he knew I could hurt him.
His hands came up to pull mine away from my face, but I wasn’t about to let him be gentle. I shoved him back, throwing my full weight into it. Liam stumbled.
I pushed him again and again, harder each time, because it was the only way I could tell him what I was desperate to say. I saw bursts of his glossy memories. I saw all of his brilliant dreams. It wasn’t until I knocked his back into a tree that I realized I was crying. Up this close, I saw a new cut under his left eye and the bruise forming around it.
Liam’s lips parted. His hands were no longer out in front of him, but hovering over my hips. “Ruby…”
I closed what little distance was left between us, one hand sliding through his soft hair, the other gathering the back of his shirt into my fist. When my lips finally pressed against his, I felt something coil deep inside of me. There was nothing outside of him, not even the grating of cicadas, not even the gray-bodied trees. My heart thundered in my chest. More, more, more—a steady beat. His body relaxed under my hands, shuddering at my touch. Breathing him in wasn’t enough, I wanted to inhale him. The leather, the smoke, the sweetness. I felt his fingers counting up my bare ribs. Liam shifted his legs around mine to draw me closer.
I was off-balance on my toes; the world swaying dangerously under me as his lips traveled to my cheek, to my jaw, to where my pulse throbbed in my neck. He seemed so sure of himself, like he had already plotted out this course.
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
By the time she’d run full circle, reaching her house, her T-shirt was saturated in sweat, and she felt relaxed from head to toe.
It was the car in the driveway, and the man-boy perched on the hood waiting for her, that made her lose some of her newfound tranquility.
He was grinning at her in a way that made her legs feel like they were made her legs feel like they were made of nothing more solid then gelatin. They might have even quivered from something other than her early-morning run.
“What are you doing here?” she asked as she slowed from a jog to a walk and places her hands on her hips. It would take her a few minutes to get her breathing back to normal. Longer if he kept smiling at her like that.
He shrugged. “I couldn’t sleep. What about you?”
She opted for the obvious and filled her voice with as much sarcasm as she could. “I live here, actually.”
“Ha-ha, smart-ass. I was asking if maybe you couldn’t sleep too.” He shook his head at her wisecrack. “You know, since you were running at six-thirty in the morning? I was gonna see if you wanted to go for a walk or something.” He eyes her up and down, looking a little disappointed as he hopped down from the car’s hood. “But it looks like you already went without me. That’s okay, it was a long shot anyway.”
Violet didn’t like the way she was suddenly so eager to be near him. Even though they’d been nearly inseparable for the past ten years, it now felt urgent to keep him close.
“All right, let’s go.
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1))
This is the heart of it, the scared woman who does not want to go alone to the man any longer, because when she does, when she takes of her baggy dress, displaying to him rancid breasts each almost as big as his own head, or no breasts, or mammectomized scar tissues taped over with old tennis balls to give her the right curves; when, vending her flesh, she stands or squats waiting, congealing the air firstly with her greasy cheesey stench of unwashed feet confined in week-old socks, secondly with her perfume of leotards and panties also a week old, crusted with semen and urine, brown-greased with the filth of alleys; thirdly with the odor of her dress also worn for a week, emblazoned with beer-spills and cigarette-ash and salted with the smelly sweat of sex, dread, fever, addiction—when she goes to the man, and is accepted by him, when all these stinking skins of hers have come off (either quickly, to get it over with, or slowly like a big truck pulling into a weigh station because she is tired), when she nakedly presents her soul’s ageing soul, exhaling from every pore physical and ectoplasmic her fourth and supreme smell which makes eyes water more than any queen of red onions—rotten waxy smell from between her breasts, I said, bloody pissy shitty smell from between her legs, sweat-smell and underarm-smell, all blended into her halo, generalized sweetish smell of unwashed flesh; when she hunkers painfully down with her customer on bed or a floor or in an alley, then she expects her own death. Her smell is enough to keep him from knowing the heart of her, and the heart of her is not the heart of it. The heart of it is that she is scared.
William T. Vollmann (The Royal Family)
I glance at my boots. They are big and clumsy, the breeches are tucked into them, and standing up one looks well-built and powerful in these great drainpipes. But when we go bathing and strip, suddenly we have slender legs again and slight shoulders. We are no longer soldiers but little more than boys; no one would believe that we could carry packs.
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
The burgundy dress she's wearing stops just above her knees, showing the perfect amount of leg, but the sleeves are long and covered by some kind of lace overlay. It is the ideal attire for a corporate dinner party. Annika has the kind of body that isn't overtly noticeable. Her breasts never feel like they're in your face, but they make you wonder what they look like under her clothes. Her legs are only slightly longer than average, but they're toned. She is the most perfectly proportioned woman I've ever had the pleasure of seeing naked, and has the softest skin I've ever run my hands across. Tonight, she looks both sexy and conservative, and I look forward to introducing her to my fellow team members.
Tracey Garvis Graves (The Girl He Used to Know)
As for my own answers to any of this? I have none. I'm far more confused than before I first went. I've had no great epiphanies, no profound realisations, but since returning home I've resigned myself to this one thing: that, putting the economics and politics of it all aside - naive as that may be - what it all boils down to is individuals. It's a simple interaction between just two people: one, a person with opportunities and choices, and who could get a flight out tomorrow should they choose; the other, a person with few options - if any. If nothing else, it's a gesture. An attempt. Food and a tent for Toto. Burns dressing for Jose. A little operating theatre with car batteries and boiled instruments, where Roberto can ply his trade. Free HIV treatment for Elizabeth, who'll never be cured and will always live in a hut anyway, but who'll have a longer, healthier life because of it. And sometimes it's little more than a bed in which to die peacefully, attended to by family and health workers... but hey, that's no small thing in some parts.
My head says it's futile.
My heart knows differently.
Damien Brown (Band-Aid for a Broken Leg)
Think back to yourself as a preteen. Puberty hasn't hit yet, but it's starting to peek around the corner, so you're all kinds of awkward. Braces. Training bras that are flat fabric on an even flatter chest. Hairy legs. Weird growth spurts that leave some parts of your body longer than they should be and other shorter. Nothing about you is proportionate. Nothing is cute.
Naya Rivera (Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up)
LAST NIGHT I STOOD AT the other side of her door and fought every instinct I have in my body to not break that door down while I listened to her sob. I waited until I heard her tears stop. Then I waited even longer while the lights through her house turned off one by one. It wasn’t until I could uncoil my body from its position outside her front door that I was able to leave. Pulling each of the palms that I had resting against the wood of her front door to stand up straight and force my legs to take me to my truck. Even then it was another ten or so minutes before I was able to turn the key and pull out of her drive. Leaving her tonight, knowing she was in pain, is even harder than it was to walk away from her in the club owner’s private bathroom.
Harper Sloan (Bleeding Love (Hope Town, #2))
You've never seen my legs, Marcus. You don't know what you're talking about. And coming from a man who takes his pick of the most beautiful women in London as if he were sampling from a tin of bonbons-"
"Are you implying that I'm some shallow fool who values a woman only for her appearance?"
Aline was tempted to retract her charge in the interest of maintaining peace between them. But as she considered the last few women that Marcus had carried on with... "I'm sorry to say, Marcus, that each of your recent choice of companions- the last four or five, at least- displayed all the intelligence of a turnip. And yes, they were all quite beautiful, and I doubt that you were able to to have a sensible conversation with any of them for longer than five minutes."
Marcus stood back and glared at her. "How does that pertain to what we were discussing?"
"It illustrates the point that even you, one of the finest and most honorable men I've ever known, place great importance on physical attractiveness. And if I ever see you consort with a woman who is less than stunningly perfect, then perhaps I'll listen to your lectures on how appearance doesn't matter.
Lisa Kleypas (Again the Magic (Wallflowers, #0.5))
Remembering his creative exposition on the subject of purple-spotted dingy-dippers, Lillian gave a little huff of amusement. She had always considered Westcliff an utterly humorless man…and in that, she had misjudged him. “I thought you never lied,” she said.
His lips twitched. “Given the options of seeing you become ill at the dinner table, or lying to get you out of there quickly, I chose the lesser of two evils. Do you feel better now?”
“Better…yes.” Lillian realized that she was resting in the crook of his arm, her skirts draped partially over one of his thighs. His body was solid and warm, perfectly matched to hers. Glancing downward, she saw that the fabric of his trousers had molded firmly around his muscular thighs. Unladylike curiosity awakened inside her, and she clenched her fingers against the urge to slide her palm over his leg. “The part about the dingy-dipper was clever,” she said, dragging her gaze up to his face. “But inventing a Latin name for it was positively inspired.”
Westcliff grinned. “I always hoped my Latin would be good for something.” Shifting her a little, he reached into the pocket of his waistcoat and glanced at his watch. “We’ll return to the dining hall in approximately a quarter hour. By that time the calves’ heads should be removed.”
Lillian made a face. “I hate English food,” she exclaimed. “All those jellies and blobs, and wiggly puddings, and the game that is aged until by the time it’s served, it is older than I am, and—” She felt a tremor of amusement run through him, and she turned in the half circle of his arm. “What is so amusing?”
“You’re making me afraid to go back to my own dinner table.”
“You should be!” she replied emphatically, and he could no longer restrain a deep laugh.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
As soon as she releases me, Galen grabs my hand and I don’t even have time to gasp before he snatches me to the surface and pulls me toward shore, only pausing to dislodge his pair of swimming trunks from under his favorite rock, where he had just moments before taken the time to hide them.
I know the routine and turn away so he can change, but it seems like no time before he hauls me onto the beach and drags me to the sand dunes in front of my house. “What are we doing?” I ask. His legs are longer than mine so for every two of his strides I have to take three, which feels a lot like running.
He stops us in between the dunes. “I’m doing something that is none of anyone else’s business.” Then he jerks me up against him and crushes his mouth on mine. And I see why he didn’t want an audience for this kiss. I wouldn’t want an audience for this kiss, either, especially if the audience included my mother. This is our first kiss after he announced that he wanted me for his mate. This kiss holds promises of things to come.
When he pulls away I feel drunk and excited and nervous and filled with a craving that I’m not sure can ever be satisfied. And Galen looks startled. “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that,” he says. “That makes it about fifty times harder to leave, I think.”
He tucks my head under his chin and I wrap my arms around him until both our breathing returns to normal. I take the time to soak in his scent, his warmth, the hard contours of his-well, his everything. It’s really not fair that he has to leave when he’s only just gotten back. We didn’t have much time to talk on the way back home. We haven’t had much time for anything.
“Emma,” he murmurs. “The water isn’t safe for you right now. Please don’t get in it. Please.”
“I won’t.” I really won’t. He said please, after all.
He lifts my chin with the crook of his finger. His eyes hold all the gentleness and love in the world, with a pinch of mischief. “And take good notes in calculus, or I’ll be forced to cheat off you and for some weird reason that makes me feel guilty.”
I wonder what Grom the Triton king would think of that. That Galen basically just stated his intention to keep doing human things.
Galen pushes his lips against my forehead, then disentangles himself from me and leads me back toward the water. My body feels ten degrees cooler when his arms fall, and it’s got nothing to do with the temperature outside.
We reach the others just in time to see Rayna all but throw herself at Toraf. I can’t help but smile as they kiss. It’s like watching Beauty and the Beast. And Toraf’s not the Beast.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs—to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during those trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best... He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
He pointed at the paper. “I want you to write me a description of every foot you’ve put wrong since we met. Make sure I can read your writing. You have five minutes.”
Write about every foot I’d put wrong. I peered down at my feet.
I started to write: My left foot is a size eight point five. It has a high arch, and my big toe is longer than my second toe. There is a light smattering of hair on the top of my foot. I paused and stuck my left leg out, studying my shoe. Right now I am wearing Nike Frees for m—
“Bring me your paper.”
I glanced at my paper. “I’m not done yet.”
“One . . . two . . .”
I brought him the paper.
J.A. Rock (The Subs Club (The Subs Club, #1))
If I wanted to punish myself, I’d keep looking at your face.”
“Isn’t my face in half the pictures taped to your bunk wall?”
“Maybe I keep them there to scare away the devil.”
“Just show him your feet,” he said, going for her weak spot. She had adorable toes, but she hated that her second one was longer than the first. “He’ll run screaming back to hell with his forked tail between his legs.”
“Keep talking and I’ll send you there to meet him.”
“I’ll say hello to your demon-spawn mother while I’m there.”
“Try not to wet yourself like you did at the palace.”
“Hey!” He drew back an inch. That was hitting below the belt. “I was only four when that happened, and your mom was legitimately scary.
Melissa Landers (Starfall (Starflight, #2))
I glance at my boots. They are big and clumsy, the breeches are tucked into them, and standing up one looks well-built and powerful in those great drainpipes. But when we go bathing and strip, suddenly we have slender legs again and slight shoulders. We are no longer soldiers but little more than boys; no one would believe that we could carry packs. It is a strange moment when we stand naked; then we become civilians, and almost feel ourselves to be so. When bathing Franz Kemmerich looked as slight and frail as a child. There he lies now -- buy why? The whole world ought to pass by this bed and say: "That is Franz Kemmerich, nineteen and a half years old, he doesn't want to die. Let him not die!
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
My dear Princess, if you could creep unseen about your City, peeping at will through the curtain-shielded windows, you would come to think that all the world was little else than a big nursery full of crying children with none to comfort them. The doll is broken: no longer it sweetly sqeaks in answer to our pressure, "I love you, kiss me." The drum lies silent with the drumstick inside, no longer do we make a brave noise in the nursery. The box of tea-things we have clumsily put out foot upon; there will be no more merry parties around the three-legged stool. The tin trumpet will not play the note we want to sound; the wooden bricks keep falling down; the toy has exploded and burnt our fingers. Never mind, little man, little woman, we will try and mend things to-morrow
Jerome K. Jerome
And then he did rise from his wheelchair. But there was something odd about the way he did it. His blanket fell away from his legs, but the legs didn’t move. His waist kept getting longer, rising above his belt. At first, I thought he was wearing very long, white velvet underwear, but as he kept rising out of the chair, taller than any man, I realized that the velvet underwear wasn’t underwear; it was the front of an animal, muscle and sinew under coarse white fur. And the wheelchair wasn’t a chair. It was some kind of container, an enormous box on wheels, and it must’ve been magic, because there’s no way it could’ve held all of him. A leg came out, long and knobby-kneed, with a huge polished hoof. Then another front leg, then hindquarters, and then the box was empty, nothing but a metal shell with a couple of fake human legs attached.
Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1))
The openness from the baths lingered. Laurent, whose tangle of overthinking usually only disappeared at the moment of climax, had his defences down in the quiet. Damen could hear his soft exhalations of breath; once or twice, a sound passed his lips that he didn’t seem to be aware of. Time unslid the knot of any last ribbon of tension, letting it slip, letting him go further and further into his own pleasure. Their bodies tangled together, touches blending and blurring. Damen gave himself over to the feeling of Laurent in his arms. It was an age before he put his hand between Laurent’s legs, and felt his legs part. When he finally slid inside, it felt like time had stopped in the small, intimate space between them, after a sweet forever of deep kisses, of opening Laurent up with oiled fingers. He didn’t move but stayed where he was, in breathless silence. Everything felt connected, open. Their movements were more like nudges than thrusts, their bodies pushing together without the long, sliding separation of withdrawal. He could feel Laurent drawing closer and closer to his climax, not, as it was sometimes, like he was pushing past the gnarl of his own barriers, but hotly, inevitably. The thrust were longer now, Damen’s body moving to seek out its own gratification. He heard a choked off sound as Laurent dissolved under him, and Damen was lost to the feel of it, the hot, liquid pleasure of fucking, the closeness, near as a heartbeat. His own body pulsed and flared, an interval of flooding pleasure, and it almost didn’t seem to end but to transform into the sweet, heavy feel of his limbs entangled with Laurent’s, pleasure still between them, the throbs of it ebbing. For
C.S. Pacat (The Summer Palace (Captive Prince, #3.5; Captive Prince Short Stories, #2))
Animals tame and animals feral
prowled the Dark Ages in search of a moral:
the canine was Loyal, the lion was Virile,
rabbits were Potent and gryphons were Sterile.
Sloth, Envy, Gluttony, Pride—every peril
was fleshed into something phantasmic and rural,
while Courage, Devotion, Thrift—every bright laurel
crowned a creature in some mythological mural.
Scientists think there is something immoral
in singular brutes having meat that is plural:
beasts are mere beasts, just as flowers are floral.
Yet between the lines there’s an implicit demurral;
the habit stays with us, albeit it’s puerile:
when Darwin saw squirrels, he saw more than Squirrel.
1. THE ANT
The ant, Darwin reminded us,
defies all simple-mindedness:
Take nothing (says the ant) on faith,
and never trust a simple truth.
The PR men of bestiaries
eulogized for centuries
this busy little paragon,
but look here, Darwin said: some ants
make slaves of smaller ants, and end
exploiting in their peonages
the sweating brows of their tiny drudges.
Thus the ant speaks out of both
sides of its mealy little mouth:
its example is extolled
to the workers of the world,
but its habits also preach
the virtues of the idle rich.
2. THE WORM
Eyeless in Gaza, earless in Britain,
lower than a rattlesnake’s belly-button,
deaf as a judge and dumb as an audit:
nobody gave the worm much credit
till Darwin looked a little closer
at this spaghetti-torsoed loser.
Look, he said, a worm can feel
and taste and touch and learn and smell;
and ounce for ounce, they’re tough as wrestlers,
and love can turn them into hustlers,
and as to work, their labors are mythic,
small devotees of the Protestant Ethic:
they’ll go anywhere, to mountains or grassland,
south to the rain forests, north to Iceland,
fifty thousand to every acre
guzzling earth like a drunk on liquor,
churning the soil and making it fertile,
earning the thanks of every mortal:
proud Homo sapiens, with legs and arms—
his whole existence depends on worms.
So, History, no longer let
the worm’s be an ignoble lot
unwept, unhonored, and unsung.
Moral: even a worm can turn.
3. THE RABBIT
a. Except in distress, the rabbit is silent,
but social as teacups: no hare is an island.
silence is golden—or anyway harmless;
rabbits may run, but never for Congress.)
b. When a rabbit gets miffed, he bounds in an orbit,
kicking and scratching like—well, like a rabbit.
to thine own self be true—or as true as you can;
a wolf in sheep’s clothing fleeces his skin.)
c. He populates prairies and mountains and moors,
but in Sweden the rabbit can’t live out of doors.
to know your own strength, take a tug at your shackles;
to understand purity, ponder your freckles.)
d. Survival developed these small furry tutors;
the morals of rabbits outnumber their litters.
you needn’t be brainy, benign, or bizarre
to be thought a great prophet. Endure. Just endure.)
4. THE GOSSAMER
Sixty miles from land the gentle trades
that silk the Yankee clippers to Cathay
sift a million gossamers, like tides
of fluff above the menace of the sea.
These tiny spiders spin their bits of webbing
and ride the air as schooners ride the ocean;
the Beagle trapped a thousand in its rigging,
small aeronauts on some elusive mission.
The Megatherium, done to extinction
by its own bigness, makes a counterpoint
to gossamers, who breathe us this small lesson:
for survival, it’s the little things that count.
Separated from everyone, in the fifteenth dungeon, was a small man with fiery brown eyes and wet towels wrapped around his head. For several days his legs had been black, and his gums were bleeding. Fifty-nine years old and exhausted beyond measure, he paced silently up and down, always the same five steps, back and forth. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . an interminable shuffle between the wall and door of his cell. He had no work, no books, nothing to write on. And so he walked. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . His dungeon was next door to La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion in Old San Juan, less than two hundred feet away. The governor had been his friend and had even voted for him for the Puerto Rican legislature in 1932. This didn’t help much now. The governor had ordered his arrest. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . Life had turned him into a pendulum; it had all been mathematically worked out. This shuttle back and forth in his cell comprised his entire universe. He had no other choice. His transformation into a living corpse suited his captors perfectly. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . Fourteen hours of walking: to master this art of endless movement, he’d learned to keep his head down, hands behind his back, stepping neither too fast nor too slow, every stride the same length. He’d also learned to chew tobacco and smear the nicotined saliva on his face and neck to keep the mosquitoes away. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . The heat was so stifling, he needed to take off his clothes, but he couldn’t. He wrapped even more towels around his head and looked up as the guard’s shadow hit the wall. He felt like an animal in a pit, watched by the hunter who had just ensnared him. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . Far away, he could hear the ocean breaking on the rocks of San Juan’s harbor and the screams of demented inmates as they cried and howled in the quarantine gallery. A tropical rain splashed the iron roof nearly every day. The dungeons dripped with a stifling humidity that saturated everything, and mosquitoes invaded during every rainfall. Green mold crept along the cracks of his cell, and scarab beetles marched single file, along the mold lines, and into his bathroom bucket. The murderer started screaming. The lunatic in dungeon seven had flung his own feces over the ceiling rail. It landed in dungeon five and frightened the Puerto Rico Upland gecko. The murderer, of course, was threatening to kill the lunatic. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . The man started walking again. It was his only world. The grass had grown thick over the grave of his youth. He was no longer a human being, no longer a man. Prison had entered him, and he had become the prison. He fought this feeling every day. One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . He was a lawyer, journalist, chemical engineer, and president of the Nationalist Party. He was the first Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and spoke six languages. He had served as a first lieutenant in World War I and led a company of two hundred men. He had served as president of the Cosmopolitan Club at Harvard and helped Éamon de Valera draft the constitution of the Free State of Ireland.5 One, two, three, four, five, and turn . . . He would spend twenty-five years in prison—many of them in this dungeon, in the belly of La Princesa. He walked back and forth for decades, with wet towels wrapped around his head. The guards all laughed, declared him insane, and called him El Rey de las Toallas. The King of the Towels. His name was Pedro Albizu Campos.
Nelson A. Denis (War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America's Colony)
At such a time [at dawn] I would dream of being a baker who delivers bread, a fitter from the electric company, or an insurance man collecting the weekly installments. Or at least a chimney sweep. In the morning, at dawn, I would enter some half-opened gateway, still lighted by the watchman's lantern. I would put two fingers to my hat, crack a joke, and enter the labyrinth to leave late in the evening, at the other end of the city. I would spend all day going from apartment to apartment, conducting one never-ending conversation from one end of the city to the other, divided into parts among the householders; I would ask something in one apartment and receive a reply in another, make a joke in one place and collect the fruits of laughter in the third or fourth. Among the banging of doors I would squeeze through narrow passages, through bedrooms full of furniture, I would upset chamberpots, walk into squeaking perambulators in which babies cry, pick up rattles dropped by infants. I would stop for longer than necessary in kitchens and hallways, where servant girls were tidying up. The girls, busy, would stretch their young legs, tauten their high insteps, play with their cheap shining shoes, or clack around in loose slippers.
Bruno Schulz (Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass)
So, my dear…”
She faced him with thudding heart, the crystal piece clutched desperately in her hand, but she was hardly aware that she even held it.
“… You say I have let another man into my bed.”
Erienne opened her mouth to speak. Her first impulse was to chatter some inanity that could magically take the edge from his callous half statement, half question. No great enlightenment dawned, however, and her dry, parched throat issued no sound of its own. She inspected the stopper closely, turning it slowly in her hand rather than meet the accusing stare.
From behind the mask, Lord Saxton observed his wife closely, well aware that the next moments would form the basis for the rest of his life or leave it an empty husk. After this, there could be no turning back.
“I think, my dear,” his words made her start, “that whatever the cost, ’tis time you met the beast of Saxton Hall.”
Erienne swallowed hard and clasped the stopper with whitened knuckles, as if to draw some bit of courage from the crystal piece.
As she watched, Lord Saxton doffed his coat, waistcoat, and stock, and she wondered if it was a trick of her imagination that he seemed somewhat lighter of frame. After their removal, he caught the heel of his right boot over the toe of the left and slowly drew the heavy, misshapen encumbrance from his foot. She frowned in open bemusement, unable to detect a flaw. He flexed the leg a moment before slipping off the other boot. His movements seemed pained as he shed the gloves, and Erienne’s eyes fastened on the long, tan, unscarred hands that rose to the mask and, with deliberate movements, flipped the lacings loose. She half turned, dropping the stopper and colliding with the desk as he reached to the other side of the leather helm and lifted it away with a single motion.
She braved a quick glance and gasped in astonishment when she found translucent eyes calmly smiling at her.
She could not form a question, though her mind raced in a frantic search for logic. He rose from the chair with an effort.
“Christopher Stuart Saxton, lord of Saxton Hall.”
His voice no longer bore a hint of a rasp. “Your servant, my lady.”
“But… but where is…?”
The truth was only just beginning to dawn on her, and the name she spoke sounded small and thin.
“One and the same, madam.”
He stepped near, and those translucent eyes commanded her attention.
“Look at me, Erienne. Look very closely.”
He towered over her, and his lean, hard face bore no hint of humor.
“And tell me again if you think I would ever allow another man in your bed while I yet breathe.”
-Christopher & Erienne
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (A Rose in Winter)
In standard American English, the word with the most gradations of meaning is probably run. The Random House Unabridged Dictionary offers one hundred and seventy-eight options, beginning with “to go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk” and ending with “melted or liquefied.” In the Crescent-Callas of the borderlands between Mid-World and Thunderclap, the blue ribbon for most meanings would have gone to commala. If the word were listed in the Random House Unabridged, the first definition (assuming they were assigned, as is common, in order of widest usage), would have been “a variety of rice grown at the furthermost eastern edge of All-World.” The second one, however would have been “sexual intercourse.” The third would have been “sexual orgasm, “as in Did’ee come commala’? (The hoped-for reply being Aye, say thankya, commala big-big.) To wet the commala is to irrigate the rice in a dry time; it is also to masturbate. Commala is the commencement of some big and joyful meal, like a family feast (not the meal itself, do ya, but the moment of beginning to eat). A man who is losing his hair (as Garrett Strong was that season), is coming commala. Putting animals out to stud is damp commala. Gelded animals are dry commala, although no one could tell you why. A virgin is green commala, a menstruating woman is red commala, an old man who can no longer make iron before the forge is-say sorry-sof’ commala. To stand commala is to stand belly-to-belly, a slang term meaning “to share secrets.
Stephen King (Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5))
Maggie felt an unexpected pang. She had thought beforehand chiefly at her own deliverance from her teasing hair and teasing remarks about it, and something also of the triumph she should have over her mother and her aunts by this very decided course of action; she didn't want her hair to look pretty,–that was out of the question,–she only wanted people to think her a clever little girl, and not to find fault with her. But now, when Tom began to laugh at her, and say she was like an idiot, the affair had quite a new aspect. She looked in the glass, and still Tom laughed and clapped his hands, and Maggie's cheeks began to pale, and her lips to tremble a little.
"Oh, Maggie, you'll have to go down to dinner directly," said Tom. "Oh, my!"
...But Maggie, as she stood crying before the glass, felt it impossible that she should go down to dinner and endure the severe eyes and severe words of her aunts, while Tom and Lucy, and Martha, who waited at table, and perhaps her father and her uncles, would laugh at her; for if Tom had laughed at her, of course every one else would; and if she had only let her hair alone, she could have sat with Tom and Lucy, and had the apricot pudding and the custard! What could she do but sob? She sat as helpless and despairing among her black locks as Ajax among the slaughtered sheep. Very trivial, perhaps, this anguish seems to weather-worn mortals who have to think of Christmas bills, dead loves, and broken friendships; but it was not less bitter to Maggie–perhaps it was even more bitter–than what we are fond of calling antithetically the real troubles of mature life. "Ah, my child, you will have real troubles to fret about by and by," is the consolation we have almost all of us had administered to us in our childhood, and have repeated to other children since we have been grown up. We have all of us sobbed so piteously, standing with tiny bare legs above our little socks, when we lost sight of our mother or nurse in some strange place; but we can no longer recall the poignancy of that moment and weep over it, as we do over the remembered sufferings of five or ten years ago. Every one of those keen moments has left its trace, and lives in us still, but such traces have blent themselves irrecoverably with the firmer texture of our youth and manhood; and so it comes that we can look on at the troubles of our children with a smiling disbelief in the reality of their pain. Is there any one who can recover the experience of his childhood, not merely with a memory of what he did and what happened to him, of what he liked and disliked when he was in frock and trousers, but with an intimate penetration, a revived consciousness of what he felt then, when it was so long from one Midsummer to another; what he felt when his school fellows shut him out of their game because he would pitch the ball wrong out of mere wilfulness; or on a rainy day in the holidays, when he didn't know how to amuse himself, and fell from idleness into mischief, from mischief into defiance, and from defiance into sulkiness; or when his mother absolutely refused to let him have a tailed coat that "half," although every other boy of his age had gone into tails already? Surely if we could recall that early bitterness, and the dim guesses, the strangely perspectiveless conception of life, that gave the bitterness its intensity, we should not pooh-pooh the griefs of our children.
George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss)
Clingmans Dome in the middle of the park. Then, it’s downhill to Virginia, and people have told me Virginia is a cakewalk. I’ll learn soon enough that “easy” trail beyond the Smoky Mountains is as much a fantasy as my dream lunch with pizza…uh, I mean Juli, but for now I’ve convinced myself all will be well once I get through the Smokies. I leave Tray Mountain Shelter at 1:00 with ten miles to go. I’ve eaten the remainder of my food. I’ve been hiking roughly two miles per hour. Downhill is slower due to my sore knee. I need to get to Hiawassee by 6:00 p.m., the check-in deadline at Blueberry Patch Hostel, where my mail drop is waiting.5 I have little margin, so I decide to push for a while. I down a couple of Advil and “open it up” for the first time this trip. In the next hour I cover 3.5 miles. Another 1.5 miles and I am out of water, since I skipped all the side trails leading to streams. Five miles to go, and I’m running out of steam. Half the strands of muscle in my legs have taken the rest of the day off, leaving the other half to do all the work. My throat is dry. Less than a mile to go, a widening stream parallels the trail. It is nearing 6:00, but I can handle the thirst no longer. There is a five-foot drop down an embankment to the stream. Hurriedly I drop my pack and camera case, which I have clipped over the belt of my pack. The camera starts rolling down the embankment, headed for the stream. I lunge for it and miss. It stops on its own in the nook of a tree root. I have to be more careful. I’m already paranoid about losing or breaking gear. Every time I resume hiking after a rest, I stop a few steps down the trail and look back for anything I may have left behind. There’s nothing in my pack that I don’t need. Finally, I’m
David Miller (AWOL on the Appalachian Trail)
That was amazing,” she told him.
He kissed the top of her thigh. “For me, too.”
She heard him sit up and prepared to pass over the condom. But before she could, she felt his finger enter her again. Just the finger.
It shouldn’t have been that exciting, but there was something about the way he touched her. She’d just had more than her fill of orgasms, but she couldn’t help clamping around him, drawing him in deeper.
“Good?” he asked.
“Oh, yeah. Don’t stop.”
Without thinking, she reached down and grabbed his wrist. Holding his hand still, she thrust her hips forward and back, finding the right pace until the heavy tension returned, and she felt the telltale contractions begin again.
He swore softly. “Can you do that while I’m inside of you?”
She pulled his hand free and pressed the condom into his palm. “Can you put this on in the dark?”
He chuckled. “With you as motivation, I could probably put it on after I was dead.”
Then he was pressing against her.
She reached between them and guided him inside of her. As he entered her, she contracted around him. He filled her slowly, stretching her, delighting her. Each thrust was enough to send her flying.
Zane shifted so he could hold on to her hips. “I can feel you coming,” he murmured. “You’re killing me. I can’t hold on much longer.”
“Go for it,” she told him.
He took her at her word. Moving faster and faster, he pulled out of her, then slipped back inside. She lost herself in the movement, in what she was feeling. The pleasure was greater than any she’d ever experienced. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe it was something about being outdoors or the placement of the moon. Whatever. At this point, she didn’t much care.
Instead, as she felt Zane tensing for his own release, she wrapped her legs around him and pulled him close. One last shudder rippled through her.
She gave herself up to the feel of him, to the sudden weight as he wrapped his arms around her and groaned his surrender.
Susan Mallery (Kiss Me (Fool's Gold, #17))
There's a million dark little corners in Baytowne for you two to snuggle-"
"Ohmysweetgoodness, Chloe, stop!" I giggle and shiver at the same time and accidentally imagine walking around The Village in Baytowne Wharf with Galen. The Village is exactly that-a sleepy little village of tourist shops in the middle of a golf-course resort. During the daytime anyway. At night though...that's when the dance club wakes up and opens its doors to all the sunburned partiers roaming the cobblestoned walkways with their daiquiris. Galen would look great under the twinling lights, even with a shirt on...
Chloe smirks. "Uh-huh. Already thought of that, huh?"
"Uh-huh. Then why are your cheeks as red as hot sauce?"
"Nuh-uh!" I laugh. She does, too.
"You want me to go ask him to meet us, then?"
I nod. "How old do you think he is?"
She shrugs. "Not creepy-old. Old enough for me to be jailboat, though. Lucky for him, you just turned eighteen...What the...did you just kick me?" She peers into the water, wswipes her hand over the surface as if clearing away something to see better. "Something just bumped me.”
She cups her hands over her eyes and squints, leaving down so close that one good wave could slap her chin. The concentration on her face almost convinces me. Almost. But I grew up with Chloe-we’ve been next-door neighbors since the third grade. I’ve grown used to fake rubber snakes on my front porch, salt in the sugar dish, and Saran wrap spread across the toilet seat-well, actually, Mom fell prey to that one. The point is Chloe loves pranks almost as much as she loves running. And this is definitely a prank.
“Yep, I kicked you,” I tell her, rolling my eyes.
“But…but you can’t reach me, Emma. My legs are longer than yours, and I can’t reach you…There it is again! You didn’t feel that?”
I didn’t feel it, but I did see her leg twitch. I wonder how long she’s been planning this. Since we got here? Since we boarded the plane in Jersey? Sine we turned twelve?
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
He is thinking if there is any way by which he can explain just how and what it is he suffers. He is wondering if there is anyone in the whole wide world with a heart big enough to comprehend what
it is he wants to tell. There are so many little things to say first, and will anyone have the patience to listen to the end? Suffering is no one thing: it is composed of invisible atoms infinite in number,
each one a universe in the great macrocosm of pain. He could begin anywhere, with anything, with a silly word even, a word such as flapdoodle, and he could erect a cathedral of staggering dimensions which would not occupy so much as a pocket in the crevice of the tiniest atom. To say nothing of the surrounding terrain, of the circumambient aura, of things like coast lines, volcanic craters, fathomless lagoons, pearl studs and tons of chicken feathers. The musician has an instrument to work with, the surgeon has his implements, the architect his plans, the general his pawns, the idiot his idiocy, but the one who is suffering has everything in the universe except relief. He can run out to the periphery a trillion times but the circle never straightens out. He knows every diameter but no egress. Every exit is closed, whether it be an inch away or a billion light years distant. You crash a gate made of arms and legs only to get a butt blow behind the ear. You pick up and run on bloody, sawed-off stumps, only to fall into an endless ravine. You sit in the very center of emptiness, whimpering inaudibly, and the stars blink at you. You fall into a coma, and just when you think you've found your way back to the womb they come after you with pick and shovel, with acetylene torches. Even if you found the place of death they would find a way to blow you out of it. You know time in all its curves and infidelities. You have lived longer than it takes to grow all the countless separate parts of a thousand new universes. You have watched them grow and fall apart again.
And you are still intact, like a piece of music which goes on being played forever. The instruments wear out, and the players too, but the notes are eternal, and you are made of nothing but invisible notes which even the faintest zephyr can shake a tune out of.
Henry Miller (The Air-Conditioned Nightmare)
Hey…you okay?” Marlboro Man repeated.
My heart fluttered in horror. I wanted to jump out of the bathroom window, scale down the trellis, and hightail it out of there, forgetting I’d ever met any of these people. Only there wasn’t a trellis. And outside the window, down below, were 150 wedding guests. And I was sweating enough for all of them combined.
I was naked and alone, enduring the flop sweat attack of my life. It figured. It was usually the times I felt and looked my absolute best when I wound up being humbled in some colossally bizarre way. There was the time I traveled to my godmother’s son’s senior prom in a distant city and partied for an hour before realizing the back of my dress was stuck inside my panty hose. And the time I entered the after-party for my final Nutcracker performance and tripped on a rug, falling on one of the guest performers and knocking an older lady’s wineglass out of her frail arms. You’d think I would have come to expect this kind of humiliation on occasions when it seemed like everything should be going my way.
“You need anything?” Marlboro Man continued. A drop of sweat trickled down my upper lip.
“Oh, no…I’m fine!” I answered. “I’ll be right out! You go on back to the party!” Go on, now. Run along. Please. I beg you.
“I’ll be out here,” he replied. Dammit. I heard his boots travel a few steps down the hall and stop. I had to get dressed; this was getting ridiculous. Then, as I stuck my big toe into the drenched leg of my panty hose, I heard what I recognized as Marlboro Man’s brother Tim’s voice.
“What’s she doing in there?” Tim whispered loudly, placing particularly uncomfortable emphasis on “doing.” I closed my eyes and prayed fervently. Lord, please take me now. I no longer want to be here. I want to be in Heaven with you, where there’s zero humidity and people aren’t punished for their poor fabric choices.
“I’m not sure,” Marlboro Man answered. The geyser began spraying again.
I had no choice but to surge on, to get dressed, to face the music in all my drippy, salty glory. It was better than staying in the upstairs bathroom of his grandmother’s house all night. God forbid Marlboro Man or Tim start to think I had some kind of feminine problem, or even worse, constipation or diarrhea! I’d sooner move to another country and never return than to have them think such thoughts about me.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
Marlboro Man paused, his eyes piercing through to my marrow. We’d started out watching the sunset over the ranch, sitting on the tailgate of his pickup, legs dangling playfully over the edge. By the time the sun had gone down, we were lying down, legs overlapping, as the sky turned blacker and blacker. And making out wildly. Making out, oh, so very wildly.
I didn’t want to wait for him to bring it up again--the dreaded subject of Chicago. I’d avoided it like the plague for the past several days, not wanting to face the reality of my impending move, of walking away from my new love so soon after we’d found each other. But now the subject wasn’t so scary; it was safe. I’d made the decision, at least for now, to stay--I just had to tell Marlboro Man. And finally, in between kisses, the words bubbled suddenly and boldly to the surface; I could no longer contain them. But before I had a chance to say them, Marlboro Man opened his mouth and began to speak.
“Oh no,” he said, a pained expression on his face. “Don’t tell me--you’re leaving tomorrow.” He ran his fingers through my hair and touched his forehead to mine.
I smiled, giggling inside at the secret I was seconds away from spilling. A herd of cows mooed in the distance. Serenading us.
“Um…no,” I said, finding it hard to believe what I was about to tell him. “I’m not…I’m…I’m not going.”
He paused, then pulled his face away from mine, allowing just enough distance between us for him to pull focus. “What?” he asked, is strong fingers still grasping my hair. A tentative smile appeared on his face.
I breathed in a deep dose of night air, trying to calm my schoolgirl nervousness. “I, umm…” I began. “I decided to stick around here a little while.” There. I’d said it. This was all officially real.
Without a moment of hesitation, Marlboro Man wrapped his ample arms around my waist. Then, in what seemed to be less than a second, he hoisted me from my horizontal position on the bed of his pickup until we were both standing in front of each other. Scooping me off my feet, he raised me up to his height so his icy blue eyes were level with mine.
“Wait…are you serious?” he asked, taking my face in his hands. Squaring it in front of his. Looking me in the eye. “You’re not going?”
“Nope,” I answered.
“Whoa,” he said, smiling and moving in for a long, impassioned kiss on the back of his Ford F250. “I can’t believe it,” he continued, squeezing me tightly.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
When a Single Glance Can Cost a Million Dollars Under conditions of stress, the human body responds in predictable ways: increased heart rate, pupil dilation, perspiration, fine motor tremors, tics. In high-pressure situations, such as negotiating an employment package or being cross-examined under oath, no matter how we might try to play it cool, our bodies give us away. We broadcast our emotional state, just as Marilyn Monroe broadcast her lust for President Kennedy. We each exhibit a unique and consistent pattern of stress signals. For those who know how to read such cues, we’re essentially handing over a dictionary to our body language. Those closest to us probably already recognize a few of our cues, but an expert can take it one step further, and closely predict our actions. Jeff “Happy” Shulman is one such expert. Happy is a world-class poker player. To achieve his impressive winnings, he’s spent much of his life mastering mystique. At the highest level of play, winning depends not merely on skill, experience, statistics, or even luck with the cards, but also on an intimate understanding of human nature. In poker, the truth isn’t written just all over your face. The truth is written all over your body. Drops of Sweat, a Nervous Blink, and Other “Tells” Tournament poker is no longer a game of cards, but a game of interpretation, deception, and self-control. In an interview, Happy says that memorizing and recognizing your opponent’s nuances can be more decisive than luck or skill. Imperceptible gestures can reveal a million dollars’ worth of information. Players call these gestures “tells.” With a tell, a player unintentionally exposes his thoughts and intentions to the rest of the table. The ability to hide one’s tells—and conversely, to read the other players’ tells—offers a distinct advantage. At the amateur level, tells are simpler. Feet and legs are the biggest moving parts of your body, so skittish tapping is a dead giveaway. So is looking at a hand of cards and smiling, or rearranging cards with quivering fingertips. But at the professional level, tells would be almost impossible for you or me to read. Happy spent his career learning how to read these tells. “If you know what the other player is going to do, it’s easier to defend against it.” Like others competing at his level, Happy might prepare for a major tournament by spending hours reviewing tapes of his competitors’ previous games in order to instantly translate their tells during live competition.
Sally Hogshead (Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation)
Muffled footsteps sounded in the distance. Goldie heard a shout, and the heavy clank of punishment chains. The footsteps came closer. A boy began to sing in a hoarse, adolescent voice. "Awa-a-a-y, across the ocean-a-an, awa-a-a-y, across the sea-a-a-a-."
There was a slap, and a yell. The singing stopped, but only for a moment. When it started up again, there were a dozen or more voices, all caterwauling at the top of their lungs. "-I'll go-o-o-o where my heart takes me, where my-y-y-y love waits for me-e-e-e-e."
A pause. A furious adult's voice said, "It's not your love that's waiting for you, you little villains, it's the House of Repentance! Deliberate destruction of property, putting the lives of others at risk, oh you're in for it, you are!"
Clank clank clank, went the punishment chains. "I’ve be-e-e-e-en away so long, dear, I've tra-a-a-aveled far and wi-i-i-i-i-ide-" sang the voices.
Goldie edged along the wall and eased the door open. There was a bustle and a shoving and a clanking, and suddenly the corridor in front of her was full of boys, milling backward and forward, rattling their chains and singing loudly. They were all older than Goldie, but they wore the same gray threadbare smock and leggings. Somewhere in the middle of them were two Blessed Guardians. The smell of burning hung over them all.
There was no time to think. Goldie couldn't see Toadspit, but she was sure he must be there somewhere. She whispered a quick "thank you" to Bald Thoke, then she stepped out into the corridor and tucked herself between two of the boys.
For a heart-stopping moment the song faltered. The boys on either side of Goldie shot incredulous glances at her-
Then they closed smoothly around her and began to sing louder than ever, their voices bouncing off the high ceilings. "Three yea-a-a-a-ars I rowed the galley-y-y-ys, three year-a-a-a-ars I was a sla-a-a-a-ave-."
They spilled out into the foyer, a laughing, shouting, singing rabble. The Guardians who led them were shouting too. Only Goldie was silent. She crouched between the tall, raucous boys, her smock blending with theirs, her pulse thundering in her ears.
"What's this?" shouted the toad-like Guardian. "Where are you taking them at this time of night?"
"Set fire to their beds?" shouted one of the other Guardians. "Don't know what's got into them! Marching them off to Repentance!"
"I'll need their names!"
"If I-I-I-I-I could turn back time, dea-a-a-a-ar, if I-I-I-I-I-I could start aga-a-a-a-a-in-"
"For Great Wooden's sake, we'll give them to you when we come back. I can't bear this appalling racket a moment longer!"
And with that, the boys, Goldie and the two Guardians spilled out the front door of Care, across the yard and through the gate.
Lian Tanner (Museum of Thieves (The Keepers, #1))
I never dreamed it would be as amazing as that,” she whispered.
“Really?” Her soft voice was a caress. Everything about her was as smooth and silky and sweet as whipped cream.
Well, except for her tart opinions. And her fierce determination to make him tell everything in his soul. Though he had to admit that after confessing his secret fears to her earlier, he felt freer, as if the boulder he’d been carrying for years had dropped from his back.
“I knew it would be perfect.” He gave her a lingering kiss, then drew back to cup her pinkening cheek. “With you it could be nothing less.”
Shyly avoiding his gaze, she finger-combed his short hair. “Nancy always said that sharing a man’s bed was something to ‘endure.’ That marriage was more pleasant without it, but it was required for having children so she’d had to put up with it.”
He skimmed a hand down her lightly freckled arm. “And what do you think, now that you’ve experienced it for yourself?”
“I think I could ‘endure’ it with great enthusiasm.” Jane flashed him a mischievous smile. “But I’m not really sure. Should we try it again so I can make certain?”
Stifling a laugh, he tried to look stern. “We’re lucky none of the grooms have stumbled over us already.” He managed to sound even-toned, though the prospect of taking her again--here, now--was already making him hard. “Speaking of that, we’d better get dressed, before someone finds us here naked.”
A sigh escaped her. “You do have a point. Though I don’t know how you can be so sensible and industrious when all I feel is lazy and content.”
“I’m not being sensible and industrious at all.” Reluctantly he slipped from her arms to go hunt up his drawers. “I’m simply being selfish. The longer you stay naked, the more chance that I will attempt to ravish you again.”
“That sounds perfectly…awful,” she said as she struck a seductive pose.
God save him.
He swept his gaze over her thrusting breasts, her slender belly with its delicate navel, and her auburn thatch of curls. The taste of her was still on his lips, the smell of her still in his nostrils. He wanted her again. And again and again…
Muttering a curse under his breath, he tossed her shift at her. “Put some clothes on before I combust.”
She laughed, a delicate tinkling sound that tightened his cock. Fortunately for his self-restraint, she did as he bade and donned her shift. Only then was he able to breathe, to concentrate on putting on his trousers rather than on the erotic sight of her drawing her stockings up those luscious legs.
He turned and nearly stumbled over the carriage lamps. “These are a lost cause, now that I recklessly dashed them to the floor in my…er…enthusiasm, sweeting.”
“Good,” she said cheerily. “Now you can’t run off to London without me tonight.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
After all,” she said, her eyes meeting his, “it’s not as though you lack sufficient charm to woo ladies. And you’re certainly handsome enough, in your own way.”
She bent her head again. “Oh, stop looking s smug. I’m not flattering you, I’m merely stating facts. Privateering was not your only profitable course of action. You might have married, if you’d wished to.”
“Ah, but there’s the snag, you see. I didn’t wish to.”
She picked up a brush and tapped it against her palette. “No, you didn’t. You wished to be at sea. You wished to go adventuring, to seize sixty ships in the name of the Crown and pursue countless women on four continents. That’s why you sold your land, Mr. Grayson. Because it’s what you wanted to do. The profit was incidental.”
Gray tugged at the cuff of his coat sleeve. It unnerved him, how easily she stared down these truths he’d avoided looking in the eye for years. So now he was worse than a thief. He was a selfish, lying thief. And still she sat with him, flirted with him, called him “charming” and “handsome enough.” How much darkness did the girl need to uncover before she finally turned away?
“And what about you, Miss Turner?” He leaned forward in his chair. “Why are you here, bound for the West Indies to work as a governess? You, too, might have married. You come from quality; so much is clear. And even if you’d no dowry, sweetheart…” He waited for her to look up. “Yours is the kind of beauty that brings men to their knees.”
She gave a dismissive wave of her paintbrush. Still, her cheeks darkened, and she dabbed her brow with the back of her wrist.
“Now, don’t act missish. I’m not flattering you, I’m merely stating facts.” He leaned back in his chair. “So why haven’t you married?”
“I explained to you yesterday why marriage was no longer an option for me. I was compromised.”
Gray folded his hands on his chest. “Ah, yes. The French painting master. What was his name? Germaine?”
“Gervais.” She sighed dramatically. “Ah, but the pleasure he showed me was worth any cost. I’d never felt so alive as I did in his arms. Every moment we shared was a minute stolen from paradise.”
Gray huffed and kicked the table leg. The girl was trying to make him jealous. And damn, if it wasn’t working. Why should some oily schoolgirl’s tutor enjoy the pleasures Gray was denied? He hadn’t aided the war effort just so England’s most beautiful miss could lift her skirts for a bloody Frenchman.
She began mixing pigment with oil on her palette. “Once, he pulled me into the larder, and we had a feverish tryst among the bins of potatoes and turnips. He held me up against the shelves and we-“
“May I read my book now?” Lord, he couldn’t take much more of this.
She smiled and reached for another brush. “If you wish.”
Gray opened his book and stared at it, unable to muster the concentration to read. Every so often, he turned a page. Vivid, erotic images filled his mind, but all the blood drained to his groin.
Tessa Dare (Surrender of a Siren (The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy, #2))
So,” I cleared my throat, unable to tolerate his moans of pleasure and praise any longer, “uh, what are your plans for the weekend?”
“The weekend?” He sounded a bit dazed.
“Yes. This weekend. What do you have planned? Planning on busting up any parties?” I asked lightly, not wanting him to know that I was unaccountably breathless. I moved to his other knee and discarded the towel.
“Ha. No. Not unless those wankers down the hall give me a reason to.” Removing his arms from his face, Bryan’s voice was thick, gravelly as he responded, “I, uh, have some furniture to assemble.”
“Really?” Surprised, I stilled and stared at the line of his jaw. The creases around his mouth—when he held perfectly still—made him look mature and distinguished. Actually, they made him even more classically handsome, if that was even possible.
“Yes. Really. Two IKEA bookshelves.”
I slid my hands lower, behind his ankle, waiting for him to continue. When he didn’t, I prompted, “That’s it?”
“No.” He sighed, hesitated, then added, “I need to stop by the hardware store. The tap in my bathroom is leaking and one of the drawer handles in the kitchen is missing a screw. I just repainted the guest room, so I have to take the excess paint cans to the chemical disposal place; it’s only open on Saturdays before noon. And then I promised my mam I’d take her to dinner.”
My mouth parted slightly because the oddest thing happened as he rattled off his list of chores.
It turned me on.
Even more so than running my palms over his luscious legs.
That’s right. His list of adult tasks made my heart flutter.
I rolled my lips between my teeth, not wanting to blurt that I also needed to go to the hardware store over the weekend. As a treat to myself, I was planning to organize Patrick’s closet and wanted to install shelves above the clothes rack. Truly, Sean’s penchant for buying my son designer suits and ties was completely out of hand. Without some reorganization, I would run out of space.
That’s right. Organizing closets was something I loved to do. I couldn’t get enough of those home and garden shows, especially Tiny Houses, because I adored clever uses for small spaces. I was just freaky enough to admit my passion for storage and organization.
But back to Bryan and his moans of pleasure, adult chores, and luscious legs.
I would not think about Bryan Leech adulting. I would not think about him walking into the hardware store in his sensible shoes and plain gray T-shirt—that would of course pull tightly over his impressive pectoral muscles—and then peruse the aisles for . . . a screw.
I. Would. Not.
Ignoring the spark of kinship, I set to work on his knee, again counting to distract myself. It worked until he volunteered, “I’d like to install some shelves in my closet, but that’ll have to wait until next weekend. Honestly, I’ve been putting it off. I’d do just about anything to get someone to help me organize my closet.” He chuckled.
I’d like to organize your closet.
I fought a groan, biting my lip as I removed my hands, turned from his body, and rinsed them under the faucet.
“We’re, uh, finished for today.
L.H. Cosway (The Cad and the Co-Ed (Rugby, #3))
When it was done and he took the mess away to bury, I lay back and breathed deeply, doing my best to settle my boiling stomach.
“All right,” he said, “that’s that. Now it’s time to go, if we’re to reach Lumm by green-change.” He whistled, and the dapple-gray trotted obediently up, head tossing.
I realized I ought to have been more observant about chances for escape, and I wondered if there were any chance of taking him by surprise now.
First to see if I could even stand. As he went about the chore of resaddling the horse, I eased myself to my feet. I took my time at it, too, not just because my ankle was still protesting its recent rebandaging; I wanted to seem as decrepit as possible. My head felt weirdly light when I made it to my feet, and I had to hang on to a branch of the oak--my foot simply wouldn’t take any weight. As soon as I tried it, my middle turned to water and I groped for the branch again.
Which meant if I did try anything, it was going to have to be within reach of the horse. I watched for a moment as he lashed down the saddlebags then rammed the rapier into the saddle sheath. There was already that knife at his belt. This did not look promising, I thought, remembering all the lessons on close fighting that Khesot had drilled into us. If your opponent is better armed and has the longer reach, then surprise is your only ally. And then you’d better hope he’s half asleep. Well, the fellow had to be tired if he’d sat up all night, I thought, looking around for any kind of weapon.
The branch he’d handed me to hang on to was still lying at my feet. I stooped--cautiously--and snatched it up. Dropping one end, I discovered that it made a serviceable cane, and with its aid I hobbled my way a few paces, watching carefully for any rocks or roots that might trip me.
Then a step in the grass made me look up. The Marquis was right in front of me, and he was a lot taller than he looked seated across a campfire. In one hand were the horse’s reins, and he held the other hand out in an offer to boost me up. I noticed again that his palm was crossed with calluses, indicating years of swordwork. I grimaced, reluctantly surrendering my image of the Court-bred fop who never lifted anything heavier than a fork.
“Ready?” His voice was the same as always--or almost the same.
I tipped my head back to look at his face, instantly suspicious. Despite his compressed lips he was clearly on the verge of laughter.
For a moment I longed, with all my heart, to swing my stick right at his head. My fingers gripped…and his palm turned, just slightly; but I knew a block readying when I saw one. The strong possibility that anything I attempted would lead directly to an ignominious defeat did not improve my mood at all, but I dropped the stick and wiped my hand down the side of my rumpled tunic.
Vowing I’d see that smile wiped off his cursed face, I said shortly, “Let’s get it over with.”
He put his hands on my waist and boosted me up onto the horse--and I couldn’t help but notice it didn’t take all that much effort.
All right, defeat so far, I thought as I winced and gritted my way through arranging my leg much as it had been on the previous ride. All I have to do is catch him in a single unwary moment…He mounted behind me and we started off, while I indulged myself with the image of grabbing that stick and conking him right across his smiling face.
Sherwood Smith (Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1))
Billy sipped the last of his coffee from the mug and shut down his laptop. 1,000 words wasn’t great but it also wasn’t as bad as no words at all. It hadn’t exactly been a great couple of years and the royalties from his first few books were only going to hold out so much longer. Even if he didn’t have anything else to worry about there was always Sara to consider. Sara with her big blue eyes so like her mother’s.
He sat for a moment longer thinking about his daughter and all they’d been through since Wendy had passed. Then he picked up his mug with a long sigh and carried it to the kitchen to rinse it in the sink.
When he came back into his little living room and the quiet of 1 AM he wasn’t surprised to find her there over to the side of the bookshelf hovering close to the floor just beyond the couch.
Her eyes were cold and intense in death, angry and spiteful in a way he’d never seen them when she was alive. What once had been beautiful was now a horror and a threat, one that he’d known far too well in the years since she’d died. He and Sara both.
He stood where he was looking at her as she glared up at him. Part of her smaller vantage point was caused by kneeling next to the shelf but he knew from the many times she’d walked or run through a room that death had also reduced her, made her no higher than 4 or 4 and half feet when she’d been 6 in life. She was like a child trapped there on the cusp between youth and coming adulthood. Crushed and broken down into a husk, an entity with no more love for them than a snake.
Familiar tears stung his eyes but he blinked them away letting his anger and frustration rise in place of his grief.
“Fuck you! What right do you have to be here? Why won’t you let Sara and I be? We loved you! We still love you!”
She doesn’t respond, she never does. It’s as if she used up all of her words before she died and now all that’s left is the pain and the anger of her death. The empty lack of true life in her eyes leaves him cold. He doesn’t say anything else to her. It’s all a waste and he knows it. She frightens him as much as she makes him angry. Spite lives in every corner of her body and he’s reached his limit on how long he can see this perversion, this nightmare of what once meant so much to him.
He walks past the bookshelf and through the doorway there. He and Sara’s rooms are up above. With an effort he resists the urge to look back down the hall to see if she’s followed. He refuses to treat his wife like a boogeyman no matter how much she has come to fit that mold. He can feel her eyes burning into him from somewhere back at the edge of the living room. The sensation leaves a cold trail of fear up his back as he walks the last four feet to the stairs and then up. He can hear her feet rush across the floor behind him and the rustle of fabric as she darts up the stairs after him. His pulse and his feet speed up as she grows closer but he’s never as fast as she is.
Soon she slips up the steps under his foot shoving him aside as she crawls on her hands and feet through his legs and up the last few stairs above. As she passes through his legs, her presence never more clear than when it’s shoving right against him, he smells the clean and medicinal smells of the operating room and the cloying stench of blood. For a moment he’s back in that room with her, listening to her grunt and keen as she works so hard at pushing Sara into the world and then he’s back looking up at her as she slowly considers the landing and where to go from there.
His voice is a whisper, one that pleads. “Wendy?
Amanda M. Lyons (Wendy Won't Go)
For years before the Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps won the gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he followed the same routine at every race. He arrived two hours early.1 He stretched and loosened up, according to a precise pattern: eight hundred mixer, fifty freestyle, six hundred kicking with kickboard, four hundred pulling a buoy, and more. After the warm-up he would dry off, put in his earphones, and sit—never lie down—on the massage table. From that moment, he and his coach, Bob Bowman, wouldn’t speak a word to each other until after the race was over. At forty-five minutes before the race he would put on his race suit. At thirty minutes he would get into the warm-up pool and do six hundred to eight hundred meters. With ten minutes to go he would walk to the ready room. He would find a seat alone, never next to anyone. He liked to keep the seats on both sides of him clear for his things: goggles on one side and his towel on the other. When his race was called he would walk to the blocks. There he would do what he always did: two stretches, first a straight-leg stretch and then with a bent knee. Left leg first every time. Then the right earbud would come out. When his name was called, he would take out the left earbud. He would step onto the block—always from the left side. He would dry the block—every time. Then he would stand and flap his arms in such a way that his hands hit his back. Phelps explains: “It’s just a routine. My routine. It’s the routine I’ve gone through my whole life. I’m not going to change it.” And that is that. His coach, Bob Bowman, designed this physical routine with Phelps. But that’s not all. He also gave Phelps a routine for what to think about as he went to sleep and first thing when he awoke. He called it “Watching the Videotape.”2 There was no actual tape, of course. The “tape” was a visualization of the perfect race. In exquisite detail and slow motion Phelps would visualize every moment from his starting position on top of the blocks, through each stroke, until he emerged from the pool, victorious, with water dripping off his face. Phelps didn’t do this mental routine occasionally. He did it every day before he went to bed and every day when he woke up—for years. When Bob wanted to challenge him in practices he would shout, “Put in the videotape!” and Phelps would push beyond his limits. Eventually the mental routine was so deeply ingrained that Bob barely had to whisper the phrase, “Get the videotape ready,” before a race. Phelps was always ready to “hit play.” When asked about the routine, Bowman said: “If you were to ask Michael what’s going on in his head before competition, he would say he’s not really thinking about anything. He’s just following the program. But that’s not right. It’s more like his habits have taken over. When the race arrives, he’s more than halfway through his plan and he’s been victorious at every step. All the stretches went like he planned. The warm-up laps were just like he visualized. His headphones are playing exactly what he expected. The actual race is just another step in a pattern that started earlier that day and has been nothing but victories. Winning is a natural extension.”3 As we all know, Phelps won the record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. When visiting Beijing, years after Phelps’s breathtaking accomplishment, I couldn’t help but think about how Phelps and the other Olympians make all these feats of amazing athleticism seem so effortless. Of course Olympic athletes arguably practice longer and train harder than any other athletes in the world—but when they get in that pool, or on that track, or onto that rink, they make it look positively easy. It’s more than just a natural extension of their training. It’s a testament to the genius of the right routine.
Greg McKeown (Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less)
In families in which parents are overbearing, rigid, and strict, children grow up with fear and anxiety. The threat of guilt, punishment, the withdrawal of love and approval, and, in some cases, abandonment, force children to suppress their own needs to try things out and to make their own mistakes. Instead, they are left with constant doubts about themselves, insecurities, and unwillingness to trust their own feelings. They feel they have no choice and as we have shown, for many, they incorporate the standards and values of their parents and become little parental copies. They follow the prescribed behavior suppressing their individuality and their own creative potentials. After all, criticism is the enemy of creativity. It is a long, hard road away from such repressive and repetitive behavior. The problem is that many of us obtain more gains out of main- taining the status quo than out of changing. We know, we feel, we want to change. We don’t like the way things are, but the prospect of upsetting the stable and the familiar is too frightening. We ob- tain “secondary gains” to our pain and we cannot risk giving them up. I am reminded of a conference I attended on hypnosis. An el- derly couple was presented. The woman walked with a walker and her husband of many years held her arm as she walked. There was nothing physically wrong with her legs or her body to explain her in- ability to walk. The teacher, an experienced expert in psychiatry and hypnosis, attempted to hypnotize her. She entered a trance state and he offered his suggestions that she would be able to walk. But to no avail. When she emerged from the trance, she still could not, would not, walk. The explanation was that there were too many gains to be had by having her husband cater to her, take care of her, do her bidding. Many people use infirmities to perpetuate relationships even at the expense of freedom and autonomy. Satisfactions are derived by being limited and crippled physically or psychologically. This is often one of the greatest deterrents to progress in psychotherapy. It is unconscious, but more gratification is derived by perpetuating this state of affairs than by giving them up. Beatrice, for all of her unhappiness, was fearful of relinquishing her place in the family. She felt needed, and she felt threatened by the thought of achieving anything 30 The Self-Sabotage Cycle that would have contributed to a greater sense of independence and self. The risks were too great, the loss of the known and familiar was too frightening. Residing in all of us is a child who wants to experiment with the new and the different, a child who has a healthy curiosity about the world around him, who wants to learn and to create. In all of us are needs for security, certainty, and stability. Ideally, there develops a balance between the two types of needs. The base of security is present and serves as a foundation which allows the exploration of new ideas and new learning and experimenting. But all too often, the security and dependency needs outweigh the freedom to explore and we stifle, even snuff out, the creative urges, the fantasy, the child in us. We seek the sources that fill our dependency and security needs at the expense of the curious, imaginative child. There are those who take too many risks, who take too many chances and lose, to the detriment of all concerned. But there are others who are risk-averse and do little with their talents and abilities for fear of having to change their view of themselves as being the child, the dependent one, the protected one. Autonomy, independence, success are scary because they mean we can no longer justify our needs to be protected. Success to these people does not breed success. Suc- cess breeds more work, more dependence, more reason to give up the rationales for moving on, away from, and exploring the new and the different.
Abingon. I remembered smoke and dust and noise, the siege cannon firing day and night to bring down the great walls. There had been flames everywhere, in the city. Disease was rampant. Wounds got infected and men died screaming in their beds. Supplies were lost or looted, and men starved. Even Cookpot couldn’t produce forage from thin air, but he had caught rats for us to eat rather than see us go hungry. The water was almost always bad, and it wasn’t uncommon to see men fighting with liquid shit running down their legs from their poisoned guts. Abingon, where I had seen men driven so mad by the constant noise of the guns that they didn’t know their own names any more. I remembered a fellow brought before me for confession, dragged between two of the colonel’s bullyboys. He was a man broken with battle shock who had fled the field the day before when he simply couldn’t stand it another second longer. They brought him to me to say his confession, but all he could do was weep. Afterward, they executed him for cowardice. No, there couldn’t be another Abingon. Not here, not now. Not ever.
Peter McLean (Priest of Bones (War for the Rose Throne #1))
According to the American Treeing Feist Association, the treeing feist, or mountain feist, existed in the southern Appalachians long before rat terriers were brought to America. While terriers were bred to catch vermin, feists were bred to hunt. And while squirrels are their primary prey, the feist will gladly hunt raccoons, rabbits, or birds. With longer legs than terriers, feists are built for silent speed. They live to tree a squirrel until its owner comes to catch it. The feist has a storied history intertwined with the beginnings of the country. George Washington wrote about them in his diary, and Abraham Lincoln even referred to them in a poem.
Gregory Berns (How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain)
The Fiddler’s Roost Inn: the taproom and yard. Sometimes it was not in a lady’s best interests to follow any dictates but those of her own heart. Because Lady Charlotte Ascot, daughter of the Earl of Ware, had discovered this at a young age—eight, to be precise, during a footrace against boys with considerably longer legs than she—when faced with a challenge to her courage at the age of twenty-one, she did
Caroline Linden (At the Christmas Wedding)
Will Winterborne regain his sight?”
“The doctor thinks so, but there’s no way of knowing for certain until he’s tested.”
“And the leg?”
“The break was clean--it will heal well. However, Winterborne will be staying with us for quite a bit longer than we’d planned. At least a month.”
“Good. That will give him more time to become acquainted with Helen.”
West’s face went blank. “You’re back to that idea again? Arranging a match between them? What if Winterborne turns out to be lame and blind?”
“He’ll still be rich.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
Will Winterborne regain his sight?”
“The doctor thinks so, but there’s no way of knowing for certain until he’s tested.”
“And the leg?”
“The break was clean--it will heal well. However, Winterborne will be staying with us for quite a bit longer than we’d planned. At least a month.”
“Good. That will give him more time to become acquainted with Helen.”
West’s face went blank. “You’re back to that idea again? Arranging a match between them? What if Winterborne turns out to be lame and blind?”
“He’ll still be rich.”
Looking sardonic, West said, “Evidently a brush with death hasn’t changed your priorities.”
“Why should it? The marriage would benefit everyone.”
“How exactly would you stand to benefit?”
“I’ll stipulate that Winerborne settle a large dower on Helen, and name me as the trustee of her finances.”
“And then you’ll use the money as you see fit?” West asked incredulously. “Sweet Mother of God, how can you risk your life to save drowning children one day, and plot something so ruthless the next day?”
Annoyed, Devon gave him a narrow-eyed glance. “There’s no need to carry on as if Helen’s going to be dragged to the altar in chains. She’ll have a choice in the matter.”
“The right words can bind someone more effectively than chains. You’ll manipulate her into doing what you want regardless of how she feels.”
“Enjoy the view from your moral pedestal,” Devon said. “Unfortunately I have to keep my feet on the ground.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
The stewardess was none other than Brenda Vaccaro, my great friend in real life. Brenda decks me. I fall to the floor of the plane, out of commission. She’s saved the day. Brenda and I took longer to do our fight scene than any of our other scenes, because we fell down laughing for three takes. The wonderful absurdity of my turning the heavy wheel to open the plane door, her hand on my shoulder, turning me to look at her cute face, then doing our rehearsed one, two, three punches and shoves, just broke us up. My legs were jelly, I was wheezing with laughter—it was the closest I’d gotten to being in a school play. Sympathy for our nervous young director pulled us together just enough to get through it.
Lee Grant (I Said Yes to Everything: A Memoir)
The sensation I was feeling on the clifftop was some sort of reverberation in the air itself.… The whale had submerged and I was still feeling something. The strange rhythm seemed now to be coming from behind me, from the land, so I turned to look across the gorge … where my heart stopped.… Standing there in the shade of the tree was an elephant … staring out to sea!… A female with a left tusk broken off near the base.… I knew who she was, who she had to be. I recognized her from a color photograph put out by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry under the title “The Last Remaining Knysna Elephant.” This was the Matriarch herself.… She was here because she no longer had anyone to talk to in the forest. She was standing here on the edge of the ocean because it was the next, nearest, and most powerful source of infrasound. The underrumble of the surf would have been well within her range, a soothing balm for an animal used to being surrounded by low and comforting frequencies, by the lifesounds of a herd, and now this was the next-best thing. My heart went out to her. The whole idea of this grandmother of many being alone for the first time in her life was tragic, conjuring up the vision of countless other old and lonely souls. But just as I was about to be consumed by helpless sorrow, something even more extraordinary took place.… The throbbing was back in the air. I could feel it, and I began to understand why. The blue whale was on the surface again, pointed inshore, resting, her blowhole clearly visible. The Matriarch was here for the whale! The largest animal in the ocean and the largest living land animal were no more than a hundred yards apart, and I was convinced that they were communicating! In infrasound, in concert, sharing big brains and long lives, understanding the pain of high investment in a few precious offspring, aware of the importance and the pleasure of complex sociality, these rare and lovely great ladies were commiserating over the back fence of this rocky Cape shore, woman to woman, matriarch to matriarch, almost the last of their kind. I turned, blinking away the tears, and left them to it. This was no place for a mere man.… Early afternoon. They were coming to this place, to this tall grass, all along. They will feed here for a while and then, because there’s no water right here, go down to where those egrets are. There’s water there. After they’ve had a good drink, they might make a big loop and come back here again later to feed some more. It will be a one-family-at-a-time choice as the adults decide when to drink and bathe. When elephants are finally ready to make a significant move, everyone points in the same direction. But they do wait until the matriarch decides. “I’ve seen families cued up waiting for half an hour,” comments Vicki, “waiting for the matriarch to signal, ‘Okay.’” And now they go. Makelele, eleven years old, walks with a deep limp. Five years ago he showed up with a broken right rear leg. It must have been agony, and it’s healed at a horrible angle, almost as if his knee faces backward, shaping that leg like the hock on a horse. Yet he is here, surviving with a little help from his friends. “He’s slow,” Vicki acknowledges. “It’s remarkable that he’s managing, but his family seems to wait for him.” Another Amboseli elephant, named Tito, broke a leg when he was a year old, probably from falling into a garbage pit.
Carl Safina (Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel)
His time aboard the Argo had been good to him. He’d put on healthy weight and gained a sense of confidence. He no longer looked as if he feared to wake up one day and find that his freedom was only a dream. “I’ll see what I can find, then,” he said. “There were plenty of amphorae in the crew’s sleeping chambers this morning, wine and water both.”
“Do you think there’s any left?”
“Water or wine?” He grinned.
“By the way, where are all the men?” I asked.
“The ones who aren’t busy bothering the serving girls are practicing their battle skills with Lord Aetes’ guards. There’s a training ground, but it’s a fair distance from the citadel. I think the palace weapons bearers get more exercise than the men, carrying their gear there and back.”
“Except for one lazybones who’s hiding in the queen’s garden instead of doing his proper work. Poor Iolaus! This is the thanks he gets for hiring you.” I was teasing, and Milo knew it.
“And what about a weapons bearer so lazy that he’d rather turn into a girl than do his job?” Milo countered, laughing.
I stood up. “A girl who can carry two amphorae of wine to your one,” I said.
“One to my three, you mean!” Milo declared, getting into the spirit. “But you’ll have to find them first.” He made a taunting face at me and darted into the palace.
I raced after him gladly, our laughter echoing through the halls. We had a few near collisions with Lord Aetes’ slaves and servants, and drew our fair share of outraged curses from stuffy palace officials, but it felt so good to run! Milo soon forgot all about going back to the crew’s chambers to search for those amphorae. He ran right past the doorway and didn’t give it a glance. Though my dress hindered me and my sword slapped against my left leg at every stride, I was enjoying myself.
Esther M. Friesner (Nobody's Prize (Nobody's Princess, #2))
Yes, you are. That shit written all over your face. You been trying to get some of this dick for months now, so don’t act scared now,” Jah said, kissing my lips one final time. Jah grabbed my hands and interlocked them with his as he held them up above my head. I looked at him, scared for my life as I watched him slowly try to work his dick inside of me. It hurt so badly, causing a lone tear to fall from my eyes that Jah quickly kissed away. To keep my mind off of the pain, Jah brought his lips to mine and I whimpered against them, still feeling the pain. “Hmmm, Jahh,” I cried against his lips as he worked his pelvis into my body. Jah began to make slow, circular grinds that were beginning to feel good now. I was no longer crying as I hungrily kissed him. “It feel better now, baby?” Jah asked me. The way he called me baby caused a flow of juices to come out of my body. I didn’t even think that I could get any wetter for him than I already was. I nodded my head yes because I couldn’t find the words to answer him right away. Jah removed his hands from over my head and brought his hands to my knees, spreading my legs as far as they could go, stroking me deeper. “It’s so wet and tight, baby,” Jah grunted as he made love to my body. The look on his face was as if he were in heaven and he had never experienced a feeling so good before. When he pulled my legs up, putting them behind my head, I started moaning like crazy because I could feel all of the pressure now. “Ohh Jahh. Ohh Jahhh,” I moaned repeatedly as tears of pleasure seeped out of my eyes. “I swear I will kill over this pussy, Antonia. You’re mine now! You understand that?” Jah asked me, sinking his hips deeper into me. “Ohhh,” I screamed as he continued to work me. “Answer my question, Antonia!” Jah said, slapping me hard on my thigh. “Yes, I understand” I moaned. “Godddd, I’m cumming,
Diamond D. Johnson (Little Miami Girl: Antonia and Jahiem's Love Story)
You’ll seize on any excuse to sell Eversby Priory because you don’t want to take on a challenge.”
“It’s only a challenge when there’s some small hope of success. This is a debacle. The list of creditors is longer than my bloody arm, the coffers are empty, and the annual yields have been cut in half.”
“I don’t believe you. You’re planning to sell the estate to settle personal debts that have nothing to do with Eversby Priory.”
Devon’s hands knotted with the urge to destroy something. His rising bloodlust would only be satisfied with the sound of shattering objects. He had never faced a situation like this, and there was no one to give him trustworthy advice, no kindly aristocratic relation, no knowledgeable friends in the peerage. And this woman could only accuse and insult him.
“I had no debt,” he growled, “until I inherited this mess. God’s bollocks, did your idiot husband never explain any of the estate’s issues to you? Were you completely ignorant of how dire the situation was when you married him? No matter--someone has to face reality, and Christ help us all, it seems to be me.” He turned his back on her and returned to the desk. “Your presence isn’t wanted,” he said without looking back. “You will leave now.”
“Eversby Priory has survived four hundred years of revolutions and foreign wars,” he heard Kathleen say contemptuously, “and now it will take but one self-serving rake to bring it all to ruins.”
As if he were entirely to blame for the situation. As if he alone would be accountable for the estate’s demise. Damn her to hell.
With effort, Devon swallowed back his outrage. Deliberately he stretched out his legs with relaxed indolence and glanced at his brother. “West, are we quite certain that Cousin Theo perished in a fall?” he asked coolly. “It seems far more likely that he froze to death in the marital bed.”
West chuckled, not above the enjoyment of a malicious quip.
Totthill and Fogg, for their part, kept their gazes down.
Kathleen crossed the threshold and sent the door shuddering with a violent slam.
“Brother,” West said with mock chiding, “that was beneath you.”
“Nothing’s beneath me,” Devon replied, stone-faced. “You know that.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
4 THE NORTHERN NEWT Not many years after the first newt colonies had been settled in the North Sea and the Baltic a German scientist, Dr. Hans Thüring, found that the Baltic newt had certain distinctive physical features - clearly as a result of its environment; that it was somewhat lighter in colour, it walked on two legs, and its cranial index indicated a skull that was longer and narrower than other newts. This variety was given the name Northern Newt or Noble Newt (Andrias Scheuchzeri var. nobilis erecta Thüring). The German press took this Baltic newt as its own, and enthusiastically stressed that it was because of its German environment that this newt had developed into a different and superior sub-species, indisputably above the level of any other salamander. Journalists wrote with contempt of the degenerate newts of the Mediterranean, stunted both physically and mentally, of the savage newts of the tropics and of the inferior, barbaric and bestial newts of other nations. The slogan of the day was From the Great Newt to the German Übernewt.
Karel Čapek (War with the Newts)
— I have explained where Wagner belongs—not in the history of music. What does he signify nevertheless in that history? The emergence of the actor in music: a capital event that invites thought, perhaps also fear. In a formula: "Wagner and Liszt."— Never yet has the integrity of musicians, their "authenticity," been put to the test so dangerously. One can grasp it with one's very hands: great success, success with the masses no longer sides with those who are authentic,—one has to be an actor to achieve that!— Victor Hugo and Richard Wagner—they both prove one and the same thing: that in declining civilizations, wherever the mob is allowed to decide, genuineness becomes superfluous, prejudicial, unfavorable. The actor, alone, can still kindle great enthusiasm.— And thus it is his golden age which is now dawning—his and that of all those who are in any way related to him. With drums and fifes, Wagner marches at the head of all artists in declamation, in display and virtuosity. He began by convincing the conductors of orchestras, the scene-shifters and stage-singers, not to forget the orchestra:—he "redeemed" them from monotony .... The movement that Wagner created has spread even to the land of knowledge: whole sciences pertaining to music are rising slowly, out of centuries of scholasticism. As an example of what I mean, let me point more particularly to Riemann's [Hugo Riemann (1849-1919): music theoretician] services to rhythmic; he was the first who called attention to the leading idea in punctuation—even for music (unfortunately he did so with a bad word; he called it "phrasing"). All these people, and I say it with gratitude, are the best, the most respectable among Wagner's admirers—they have a perfect right to honor Wagner. The same instinct unites them with one another; in him they recognize their highest type, and since he has inflamed them with his own ardor they feel themselves transformed into power, even into great power. In this quarter, if anywhere, Wagner's influence has really been beneficial. Never before has there been so much thinking, willing, and industry in this sphere. Wagner endowed all these artists with a new conscience: what they now exact and obtain from themselves, they had never extracted before Wagner's time—before then they had been too modest. Another spirit prevails on the stage since Wagner rules there: the most difficult things are expected, blame is severe, praise very scarce—the good and the excellent have become the rule. Taste is no longer necessary, nor even is a good voice. Wagner is sung only with ruined voices: this has a more "dramatic" effect. Even talent is out of the question. Expressiveness at all costs, which is what the Wagnerian ideal—the ideal of décadence—demands, is hardly compatible with talent. All that is required for this is virtue—that is to say, training, automatism, "self-denial." Neither taste, voices, nor gifts: Wagner's stage requires one thing only—Teutons! ... Definition of the Teuton: obedience and long legs ... It is full of profound significance that the arrival of Wagner coincides in time with the arrival of the "Reich": both actualities prove the very same thing: obedience and long legs.— Never has obedience been better, never has commanding. Wagnerian conductors in particular are worthy of an age that posterity will call one day, with awed respect, the classical age of war. Wagner understood how to command; in this, too, he was the great teacher. He commanded as the inexorable will to himself, as lifelong self-discipline: Wagner who furnishes perhaps the greatest example of self-violation in the history of art (—even Alfieri, who in other respects is his next-of-kin, is outdone by him. The note of a Torinese).
The insight that our actors are more deserving of admiration than ever does not imply that they are any less dangerous ... But who could still doubt what I want,—what are the three demands for which my my love of art has compelled me?
He reached out his hand and moved her heavy mane of hair away from her neck, stroking her, and he shifted his chair closer, so that his leg pressed against hers through the heavy layers of black silk. His fingers slid lower, brushing against the neckline of her dress, drifting against the swell of breasts.
"Stop it," she hissed, trying to keep all expression from her face. "What will people think?"
"Exactly what I want them to think, my pet," he said.
She tried to scoot her chair away from him, but beneath the flow of her skirts, he'd managed to hook one foot around her chair leg, effectively trapping her against him. In the distance the soprano screeched, the accompanist pounded, and Emma felt uncharacteristically close to tears.
"You said you were doing it for Darnley," she shot back. "He isn't even here."
"But he'll be well informed." He slid his hand up her neck and caught her chin. The strength in those long, pale fingers was palpable, but he wasn't hurting her. Shaming her, arousing her, tormenting her. But there was no brute force in his touch.
In a way, that almost made it worse, Emma thought. Cruelty, brutality, pain could be dealt with, shut out, endured. They were straightforward, something you could fight. But the velvet caress, the banked glance, the knowledge that it was all an elaborate game and she was nothing more than a convenient pawn, a toy to be moved back and forth on the chessboard, made the situation unbearable.
She couldn't help it. A stifled murmur of misery escaped her before she could stop it, and Killoran suddenly stilled. His fingers still cupped her chin, but they were no longer stroking her. He simply stared at her, and for once there was no mockery, no wickedness, in his dark green eyes. He stared at her as if seeing for the first time, and if she didn't know better, she would have thought it was his conscience making a belated appearance.
And then the moment passed, so swiftly it might have never existed. He leaned forward and put his mouth against the swell of her breast. His hand caught hers, holding her there, and her eyes fluttered closed as she felt the shocking caress. He used his tongue.
Anne Stuart (To Love a Dark Lord)
Ash.” Beau’s voice entered my fantasy.
“Hmm…” I managed to respond as my hand touched his abs.
“What’re you doing?” His voice didn’t sound right. There was a panicked tone to it that snapped me out of my dream and into reality. I gasped when I realized my leg was hiked up on Beau’s thigh. The hem of my sundress was barley covering my panties. To make matters worse, my hand was under his black shirt; his skin felt so warm and soft. The soft, circular patterns on my arm had stopped, and his hand was no longer touching me. Horror washed over me, and I jerked my hand out of his shirt and sat up.
“Oh my God,” I blurted out. “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean…I’m sorry.” I couldn’t look at him. Not after I’d been all over him! Instead I did the only thing I could think of: I ran for my room.
I pushed the door hard enough to slam it, but the loud crack never came.
“Ash, wait.” Beau’s voice made me cringe. Oh God, why did he have to follow me? Couldn’t he have just left?
I couldn’t face him.
“I’m sorry. Just…go, okay?” I crossed my arms and stared hard at the window, waiting for him to leave. His arms wrapped around me from behind, and I whimpered as the humiliation just got worse. He was going to try to comfort me.
“I don’t know what’s going on in that head of yours, but from the way you’re acting, I can imagine it’s pretty bad.” He lowered his head to my shoulder. “You want me to leave and I’m going to go. But first I want to make sure you understand something.”
My throat was tight and sobs constricted my airway. Responding wasn’t possible.
“I stated that in there. Not you. I wasn’t prepared for the reaction I got. I thought you’d push me away--not…snuggle closer.” He stopped again, and his breath was warm on my neck as his lips touched my bare shoulder. I shivered, and his hands ran down my arms until they covered mine. “I shouldn’t have touched you. But I couldn’t help myself,” he murmured into my ear.
I wanted to argue. It wasn’t his fault. I wanted to tell him I was the one who got carried away. But I couldn’t manage more than just a small snivel. “I can’t do this, Ash. God knows I want to, but I can’t.” And then he was gone. I turned to see him walking out my door. More than anything, I wanted to call him back. But I didn’t.
Abbi Glines (The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1))
BACK AT THE railway station, Ivan Grigoryevich began to feel that there was no point in wandering about Leningrad any longer. He stood inside the cold, high building and pondered. And it is possible that one or two of the people who passed the gloomy old man looking up at the black departures board may have thought, ‘There – a Russian from the camps, a man at a crossroads, contemplating, choosing which path to follow.’ But he was not choosing a path; he was thinking. During the course of his life dozens of interrogators had understood that he was neither a monarchist, nor a Social Revolutionary, nor a Social Democrat; that he had never been part of either the Trotskyist or the Bukharinist opposition. He had never been an Orthodox Christian or an Old Believer; nor was he a Seventh Day Adventist. There in the station, thinking about the painful days he had just spent in Moscow and Leningrad, he remembered a conversation with a tsarist artillery general who had at one time slept next to him on the bed boards of a camp barrack. The old man had said, ‘I’m not leaving the camp to go anywhere else. It’s warm in here. There are people I know. Now and again someone gives me a lump of sugar, or a bit of pie from a food parcel.’ He had met such old men more than once. They had lost all desire to leave the camp. It was their home. They were fed at regular hours. Kind comrades sometimes gave them little scraps. There was the warmth of the stove. Where indeed were they to go? In the calcified depths of their hearts some of them stored memories of the brilliance of the chandeliers in the palaces of Tsarskoye Selo,37 or of the winter sun in Nice. Others remembered their neighbour, Mendeleyev, coming round to drink tea with them; or they remembered Scriabin, Repin or the young Blok. Others preserved, beneath ash that was still warm, the memories of Plekhanov, Gershuni and Trigoni, of friends of the great Zhelyabov. There had been instances of old men being released from a camp and asking to be readmitted. The whirl of life outside had knocked them off their feet. Their legs were weak and trembling, and they had been terrified by the cold and the solitude of the vast cities. Now Ivan Grigoryevich felt like going back again behind the barbed wire himself. He wanted to seek out those who had grown so accustomed to their barrack stoves, so at home with their warm rags and their bowls of thin gruel. He wanted to say to them, ‘Yes, freedom really is terrifying.’ And he would have told these frail old men how he had visited a close relative, how he had stood outside the home of the woman he loved, how he had bumped into a comrade from his student days who had offered to help him. And then he would have gone on to say to these old men of the camps that there is no higher happiness than to leave the camp, even blind and legless, to creep out of the camp on one’s stomach and die – even only ten yards from that accursed barbed w
Vasily Grossman (Everything Flows)
Ode to the Beloved’s Hips"
Bells are they—shaped on the eighth day—silvered
percussion in the morning—are the morning.
Swing switch sway. Hold the day away a little
longer, a little slower, a little easy. Call to me—
I wanna rock, I-I wanna rock, I-I wanna rock
right now—so to them I come—struck-dumb
chime-blind, tolling with a throat full of Hosanna.
How many hours bowed against this Infinity of Blessed
Trinity? Communion of Pelvis, Sacrum, Femur.
My mouth—terrible angel, ever-lasting novena,
O, the places I have laid them, knelt and scooped
the amber—fast honey—from their openness—
Ah Muzen Cab’s hidden Temple of Tulúm—licked
smooth the sticky of her hip—heat-thrummed ossa
coxae. Lambent slave to ilium and ischium—I never tire
to shake this wild hive, split with thumb the sweet-
dripped comb—hot hexagonal hole—dark diamond—
to its nectar-dervished queen. Meanad tongue—
come-drunk hum-tranced honey-puller—for her hips,
I am—strummed-song and succubus.
They are the sign: hip. And the cosign: a great book—
the body’s Bible opened up to its Good News Gospel.
Alleluias, Ave Marías, madre mías, ay yay yays,
Ay Dios míos, and hip-hip-hooray.
Cult of Coccyx. Culto de cadera.
Oracle of Orgasm. Rorschach’s riddle:
What do I see? Hips:
Innominate bone. Wish bone. Orpheus bone.
Transubstantiation bone—hips of bread,
wine-whet thighs. Say the word and healed I shall be:
Bone butterfly. Bone wings. Bone Ferris wheel.
Bone basin bone throne bone lamp.
Apparition in the bone grotto—6th mystery—
slick rosary bead—Déme la gracia of a decade
in this garden of carmine flower. Exile me
to the enormous orchard of Alcinous—spiced fruit,
laden-tree—Imparadise me. Because, God,
I am guilty. I am sin-frenzied and full of teeth
for pear upon apple upon fig.
More than all that are your hips.
They are a city. They are Kingdom—
Troy, the hollowed horse, an army of desire—
thirty soldiers in the belly, two in the mouth.
Beloved, your hips are the war.
At night your legs, love, are boulevards
leading me beggared and hungry to your candy
house, your baroque mansion. Even when I am late
and the tables have been cleared,
in the kitchen of your hips, let me eat cake.
O, constellation of pelvic glide—every curve,
a luster, a star. More infinite still, your hips are
kosmic, are universe—galactic carousel of burning
comets and Big Big Bangs. Millennium Falcon,
let me be your Solo. O, hot planet, let me
circumambulate. O, spiral galaxy, I am coming
for your dark matter.
Along las calles de tus muslos I wander—
follow the parade of pulse like a drum line—
descend into your Plaza del Toros—
hands throbbing Miura bulls, dark Isleros.
Your arched hips—ay, mi torera.
Down the long corridor, your wet walls
lead me like a traje de luces—all glitter, glowed.
I am the animal born to rush your rich red
muletas—each breath, each sigh, each groan,
a hooked horn of want. My mouth at your inner
thigh—here I must enter you—mi pobre
Manolete—press and part you like a wound—
make the crowd pounding in the grandstand
of your iliac crest rise up in you and cheer.
Lana was not above socializing with a common man, and for the next hour they became partners on a walk down memory lane, reminiscing about Saigon and songs while I quietly quaffed my cognac, discreetly admiring Lana’s legs. Longer than the Bible and a hell of a lot more fun, they stretched forever, like an Indian yogi or an American highway shimmering through the Great Plains or the southwestern desert.
Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer)
If you like wearing slim skirts, there’s nothing uglier than having two additional bulges just below where the hips naturally curve. And of course if you have them you can’t possibly wear pants. The first three exercises, all done from the same starting position, are good for the buttocks as well as the outside of the thighs. They should be done as often as possible, on both sides, and as long as possible for the quickest results.
1. Lie on your side with one arm stretched out under your head. Bring the knee of the upper leg slowly up to your chest, and slowly back into position again. Do this a few times (to dreamy music) and then roll over and do it with the other leg.
2. In the same position on your side, raise the upper leg and move it forward and back as far as you comfortably can. Roll over and do this with the other leg.
3. Raise the top leg and raise the bottom leg up to meet it. Slowly lower the bottom leg, and then the top one.
4. For the inside of the thighs, lie on your back with your knees up, feet flat on the floor, and a small rubber ball between your knees. Squeeze the ball, and hold it with all the muscle pressure you can.
5. Kneel, with your knees apart, and try to bring the knees together. But don’t let them move. Pull until you feel the tug on the inside thigh muscles and hold it as long as you comfortably can – or a little longer.
6. Now sit on the floor, and press the soles of your feet together. Press your knees down, to either side, as far as you can. Keep pressing till it hurts.
7. The simple old ballet warm-up of kicking will wake up the thigh muscles all around. Put one hand on a sturdy chair or railing and, HOLDING YOURSELF ABSOLUTELY ERECT and keeping both legs straight, kick forward as high as you can, several times. Then kick out to the side, making sure your body is straight as a ramrod. Then kick straight back. Do the same thing with the other leg.
You may not get very high kicks the first day or two, but you’ll be surprised at the way you can gain an inch in altitude each time until you’re making a pretty good showing.
Joan Crawford (My Way of Life)
You ready to see some wolves?” Ryan asks. He sounds like a proud parent. I nod.
The only live red wolves I’d seen previously were display animals on exhibit at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina, and the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. I hope up and we stroll to a nearby pen, where two male red wolves pace nervously. It is hard to look at a leggy red wolf and not escape the thought that these animals are built to run. Their legs appear proportionally longer than those of a gray wolf. The brothers before me are about five feet long, if you include the tail. Burnt-umber red spreads out from their ears to their shoulders. Their muzzles look long and strong, their chest and waist are less heavyset than a gray wolf’s, and their tail is less bushy.
“They look like they’re all legs,” I say.
“They are a little more leggy than a coyote is, in comparison to their frame,” Ryan says. “Especially in summer, when their coat is shorter. It makes them look a lot longer and leaner.”
Even though the brothers run along the fence in repetitive circles, they barely make a sound. I stand five feet away and yet can’t hear them pant. The sound of leaves stirring under their paws barely registers. Their movements are anxious, yet silent.
We move on to the next pen, which holds a breeding pair and a three-month-old pup. We tiptoe around a corner to a break in the privacy screen. I peek through and see a male jammed against the back corner. He presses his body against the fence’s metal weave. The female paces furiously about ten feet in front of him. They stare at us. She paces back and forth, back and forth. Their pup spots us and then bolts along the far wall. He scrambles with his chest low to the ground, like a spooked house cat. He wriggles nose first between the fence and his dad, his ears pressed back. The little guy clasps his tail against his anus.
“I can’t believe they’re so afraid of us,” I say.
“Yeah, even the ones that grow up in captivity often do not ever lose their fear of people,” Ryan says. “It’s just some basic wild instinct that they maintain, that they haven’t lost.” Even though these animals are fed three times a week by human hands, they still get agitated when a person approaches. As I watch, the three-month-old puppy pushes deeper into his dad’s side. I feel guilty that our presence is causing such unease; then Ryan, along with the biting deer flies, prods us to move on.
T. DeLene Beeland (The Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight to Save North America's Other Wolf)
He is thinking if there is any way by which he can explain just how and what it is he suffers. He is wondering if there is anyone in the whole wide world with a heart big enough to comprehend what it is he wants to tell. There are so many little things to say first, and will anyone have the patience to listen to the end? Suffering is no one thing: it is composed of invisible atoms infinite in number, each one a universe in the great macrocosm of pain. He could begin anywhere, with anything, with a silly word even, a word such as flapdoodle, and he could erect a cathedral of staggering dimensions which would not occupy so much as a pocket in the crevice of the tiniest atom. To say nothing of the surrounding terrain, of the circumambient aura, of things like coast lines, volcanic craters, fathomless lagoons, pearl studs and tons of chicken feathers. The musician has an instrument to work with, the surgeon has his implements, the architect his plans, the general his pawns, the idiot his idiocy, but the one who is suffering has everything in the universe except relief. He can run out to the periphery a trillion times but the circle never straightens out. He knows every diameter but no egress. Every exit is closed, whether it be an inch away or a billion light years distant. You crash a gate made of arms and legs only to get a butt blow behind the ear. You pick up and run on bloody, sawed-off stumps, only to fall into an endless ravine. You sit in the very center of emptiness, whimpering inaudibly, and the stars blink at you. You fall into a coma, and just when you think you've found your way back to the womb they come after you with pick and shovel, with acetylene torches. Even if you found the place of death they would find a way to blow you out of it. You know time in all its curves and infidelities. You have lived longer than it takes to grow all the countless separate parts of a thousand new universes. You have watched them grow and fall apart again. And you are still intact, like a piece of music which goes on being played forever. The instruments wear out, and the players too, but the notes are eternal, and you are made of nothing but invisible notes which even the faintest zephyr can shake a tune out of.
Henry Miller (The Air-Conditioned Nightmare)
There are some who said I should have fought harder or longer than I did for my marriage, but in the end fighting for a love that was already gone felt like trying to live in the ruins of a lost city. I couldn’t bear it, and so I backed away—and the reason I could do it at all, the reason I was strong enough and had the legs and the heart to do it, was because Ernest had come along and changed me. He helped me see what I really was and what I could do. Now that I knew what I could bear, I would have to bear losing him.
Paula McLain (The Paris Wife)
She leaned back and crossed legs longer than a DMV line at lunchtime.
Meet Olivier Cheval:
When I looked up our eyes met and I felt my heart stop. They were the deepest forest green, encircled in thick, long lashes and placed in round, wide eyes that were so expressive I immediately knew he was aware of, and amused at, my staring. I blinked longer than necessary to collect my thoughts and when I reopened my eyes I took in the rest of him. He was about my age, tall, around six seven, with brown hair that was long but trim and neat. The angular features of his face were slightly hidden by a bit of a five o’clock shadow. His broad nose was somewhat crooked, like it had been broken in the past; supporting a pair of square, slim eye glasses. He was trim and muscular with broad shoulders which couldn’t be hidden under the button up shirt and sports coat, which fit him perfectly. He wore jeans on the absolute longest legs I’d ever seen on a man. While any woman would be excused for momentarily losing her wits at the sight of him, what took me most by surprise was the overwhelming feeling of comfort and calm I felt in his presence. I instantly knew he was right for so much more than just our teacher position and he hadn’t even said a word.
P.M. Briede (Smoldering Embers (Charlotte Grace #1))
Less than ten minutes after they left the stream, Loretta began to nod and felt herself slumping. She jerked upright and blinked. Hunter tightened his arm around her and slipped a hand under her right knee to lift her leg over the horse’s head. Gathering her against his chest, he cradled her crosswise in front of him.
“Sleep, nei mah-tao-yo, sleep.”
His deep voice sifted through the exhaustion that clouded her mind. Nei mah-tao-yo. She had no idea what it meant, but it sounded so soft the way he said it--like an endearment. The hollow of his shoulder made a perfect resting place. She leaned into him, her cheek against his warm skin. He smelled of sage, smoke, and leather, earthy smells that were becoming familiar and somehow comforting. As she drifted into blackness, she no longer thought of him as an Indian, just a man. A wonderfully sturdy man who could hold her comfortably while she slept.
Catherine Anderson (Comanche Moon (Comanche, #1))
closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on pushing his orgasm down. When Ruxs topped him it sure as hell took longer than two minutes. He lowered himself and aimed for a higher angle. Ruxs lurched in his arms and Green pulled out, went back in with power, keeping that angle and strong momentum. Ruxs was quieter now. His only sounds a mix between a groan and sob each time Green pegged his gland. He looked down and Ruxs cock was harder than a choirboy’s in a porn shop. Fuck yeah. But he needed a better position, needed to go deeper. He rolled pulling Ruxs with him. “Don’t stop.” Ruxs voice was barely recognizable. “I’m not.” Green pulled Ruxs on top. Ruxs’ heavy legs on either side of his. His back to his chest, his rigid cock pointing to the ceiling. Damn. He was heavy but the weight felt good and it put Green just as deep as he needed to be. Ruxs shuddered on top of him when Green gripped him between his thighs, holding his balls in a diamond created by his hands and slid him up and down his body while he thrust up into him on the down stroke. “Fuuuuuuck,” Ruxs keened. “Right th—oh… god.” “You’re
A.E. Via (Here Comes Trouble (Nothing Special #3))
Caleb rode up just as she was trying to submerge herself in an ice-cold creek no more than six inches deep. Calmly he hung his hat on the horn of his saddle, then he put his hands on his hips, an infuriating grin spreading across his face. “Ants?” he inquired cordially. He was at once the first and last person Lily would have wanted to see. She sat up in the creek, her hair dripping, her arms covering her breasts, ants banished at last. Her legs and bottom were so numb from the cold that she couldn’t even feel them. Teeth chattering, she made a strangled sound of rage and shouted, “G-give me my clothes!” Caleb picked up the trousers and the shirt and the stockings, which were scattered about with abandon, and assessed them with mischief twinkling in his eyes. “These can’t be your things, Lily—they look like they’d belong to a half-grown boy.” Lily struggled to her feet. She didn’t want to show herself to Caleb, but if she stayed in the water any longer she wouldn’t be able to walk. Furiously, shivering with cold, she struggled to the shore. “You know very well they belong to me!” she raged, tearing the clothes from Caleb’s hand and starting to put them on. It
Linda Lael Miller (Lily and the Major (Orphan Train, #1))
Keith finally got it together, stripped Shane and was sucking him, fingering the younger man’s ass as Shane jolted from the intrusion. As Reed watched the men, a tangle of limbs, their heads positioned between one another’s legs, he thought he could probably come right there. Stroked himself a few times languidly, wondering how things could’ve been so bad at one point last night and so goddamned good right now. But this…this was right. It had taken him longer to get here than he’d thought. But he was here. Shane
S.E. Jakes (Bound for Keeps (Men of Honor, #5))
Pseudodoxia was a valuable source of this kind of information. Especially valuable was its resistance to popular myth. Yet one of its defining traits is that it gives space to the very myths and misconceptions it aims to explode, and its most interesting part—certainly for the modern reader, and perhaps also for Johnson—is not its defeat of erroneous beliefs, but rather the errors themselves, which by turns amuse, horrify, seduce and bewilder. So, for example, Browne reminds us that people used to believe that badgers have legs longer on one side than the other, that a beaver will bite off his own testicles to evade capture, and that a female bear gives birth to young that resemble blobs of jelly, which she (literally) licks into shape. It
Henry Hitchings (Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary)
Breaking the surface, he gulped in a breath, released his hold on the hair, and taking a firm grip on the man’s arm, tried to tow him to shore. Unfortunately, the man didn’t seem to be receptive to that idea and immediately began fighting him, which had Bram tightening his grip. “Stop . . . trying . . . to drown me,” he heard the man rasp in an unexpectedly high voice between bobs of his head lifting and sinking through the water. “I’m trying to save you.” “Is that what you call this?” Intending to reassure the obviously distressed and certainly panicked man, Bram opened his mouth, but soon found himself incapable of speech, a direct result of suddenly finding himself underneath the water. Taken completely by surprise by the idea the man had dunked him, he dodged the man’s kicking legs, as well as a few dog paws, and sputtered his way back to the surface, discovering as he did so that the man he’d thought was drowning was swimming his way quite competently to shore. Striking out after him with his dogs paddling on either side of him, Bram soon reached the side of the moat. Clawing his way up the dirt bank, he flopped onto the grass and turned his head, his attention settling on the man he’d been trying to save. That man was already on his feet, but the longer Bram watched the man, the more it became clear he was no man at all. He, or rather she, had lost her greatcoat in the moat, and her wet clothing was currently plastered against a form that was . . . curvaceous. When she shoved a hunk of long hair away from her face, exposing whiskers, of all things, Bram suddenly found it very difficult to breath because . . . Standing only feet away from him was none other than Miss Lucetta Plum, one of the most intriguing ladies to ever grace the stage, and a lady who had captured his very great esteem. She was looking a little worse for wear, especially since she had mud on her face mixed in with the whiskers, and she also had clumps of algae in her hair, but even in such a sorry state, she was beautiful. She was also the lady he’d been slightly in love with ever since he’d first seen her take to the stage a few years back. Her delicate and refined nature had pulled at his very soul, and the very idea that such a fragile creature was forced to eke out a living on her own had been unfathomable. That was what had prompted Bram to set into motion ways to improve Miss Plum’s circumstance in life, those ways including . . . A
Jen Turano (Playing the Part (A Class of Their Own, #3))
Glancing out of the corner of his eye, he found Lucetta struggling to get Millie buttoned into her gown. Both ladies had barely taken any time at all to throw off their bathing attire and don dresses before they’d jumped into his buggy. When he’d voiced his amazement about how quickly they’d been able to leave Abigail’s cottage and get on their way, they’d proclaimed, somewhat indignantly, that it was not exactly the moment to primp. Caroline and her friends wouldn’t have stepped so much as a toe out of their homes unless they were coiffed to perfection. But there was something charming about barreling down the road with ladies missing stockings and shoes, although he was a little ashamed of himself for sneaking a bit of a peek when Millie had rolled stockings up her legs. It wasn’t well done of him, that peeking, but . . . he was only human after all, and . . . she had lovely legs. Although, it wasn’t well done of him, either, to be looking at any legs other than Caroline’s, not that he’d actually seen Caroline roll stockings up her legs. But since Caroline had disclosed such disturbing notions only hours before, he couldn’t help wonder why he hadn’t ended their alliance right then and there, which would have made his— “Scoot closer to Everett. I don’t have enough room to work,” Lucetta said. “I’m practically sitting on the poor man’s lap as it is,” Millie countered, although she did scoot another inch in his direction, that scooting leaving him with a strong desire to throw himself off the buggy seat because her knee was now firmly pressed against his leg. Resignation settled in as he realized there was no longer any denying the fact, whether appropriate or not, he was attracted to Millie. When he’d first touched her in the bathing machine, a shock of something sweet had coursed through him, that sweetness almost causing him to lose all good sense and . . . kiss her. That he hadn’t given in to that concerning urge was a miracle. But, instead of immediately diving back into the sea and putting as much distance between them as possible, he’d proceeded to torture himself further by teaching her to swim. Every time he’d touched her after that had been somewhat agonizing, but he hadn’t stopped, unwilling, or perhaps unable, to resist being in her company . . . to resist having an excuse to touch her. His behavior was completely irrational, but he just couldn’t seem to help himself.
Jen Turano (In Good Company (A Class of Their Own Book #2))
I motion toward Mellie and crouch down. She climbs onto my back and holds on tightly. I stand up and swing her around the way I would my niece, and she squeals and laughs. I still have pizzas in one hand, so I set them on top of the car. “Do me,” Joey cries, clinging to my leg. I scoop Joey up too and spin them both in circles. Sky laughs. “I think they like you,” she says quietly. There’s a look of longing on her face. I jostle them both. “Yeah, they like me.” They both squeal as I spin them around again. “I mean, really,” I tease. “What’s not to like?” I arch my brow at her, joking with her like I would with a woman I might be interested in. But there hasn’t been one of those in a long time. Her face colors, and she’s so damn pretty. But she doesn’t say anything. Her eyes travel, though, from the top of my head to the tips of my feet, staying in some places longer than others. Is that interest I see in her eyes? She licks her lips and looks away. “Careful,” I warn quietly. She shakes her head, like she wants me to shut up. So I do. For now.
Tammy Falkner (Maybe Matt's Miracle (The Reed Brothers, #4))
Since Iraq, it's been... hard... for me to believe that there is anything after this life. Or, for that matter, any purpose to this one. We're born, we suffer, we see people we love suffer, we die. It just all seemed so... so pointless. So cruel. Ans so final." Ambrose paused, letting the memory of Paulie's voice warm him and urge him forward.
"But after tonight, I can't say that anymore. There's a lot I don't understand... but not understanding is better than not believing." Ambrose stopped and pinched the bridge of his nose. He looked at Joshua Taylor for affirmation. "Does that make any sense at all?"
Joshua Taylor reached for the arm of the nearest chair and sat abruptly, like his legs could no longer bear his weight.
"Yes. Yes. It makes perfect sense," he said quietly, nodding his head. "Perfect sense
Amy Harmon (Making Faces)
A stentorian bellow shook the candles in their sconces.
Unconsciously, Amy grabbed Richard’s arm, looking about anxiously for the source of the roar. About the room, people went on chatting as before.
"Steady there." Richard patted the delicate hand clutching the material of his coat. "It’s just the First Consul."
Snatching her hand away as though his coat were made of live coals, Amy snapped, "You would know."
The dreadful noise repeated itself, cutting off any further remarks. Out of an adjoining room charged a blur of red velvet, closely followed by the scurrying form of a young man. Amy sidestepped just in time, swaying on her slippers to avoid toppling into Lord Richard.
The red velvet came to an abrupt stop beside Mme Bonaparte’s chair. "Oh. Visitors."
Once still, the red velvet resolved into a man of slightly less than medium height, clad in a long red velvet coat with breeches that must once have been white, but which now bore assorted stains that proclaimed as clearly as a menu what the wearer had eaten for supper.
"I do wish you wouldn’t shout so, Bonaparte." Mme Bonaparte lifted one white hand and touched him gently on the cheek.
Bonaparte grabbed her hand and planted a resounding kiss on the palm. "How else am I to make myself heard?" Affectionately tweaking one of her curls, he demanded, "Well? Who is it tonight?"
"We have some visitors from England, sir,"his stepdaughter responded. "I should like to present…" Hortense began listing their names. Bonaparte stood, legs slightly apart, eyes hooded with apparent boredom, and one arm thrust into the opposite side of his jacket, as though in a sling.
Bonaparte inclined his head, looked down at his wife, and demanded, "Are we done yet?"
Everyone within earshot jumped at the sound of Miss Gwen’s reticule connecting with Bonaparte’s arm.
"Sir! Take that hand out of your jacket! It is rude and it ruins your posture. A man of your diminutive stature needs to stand up straight."
Something suspiciously like a chuckle emerged from Lord Richard’s lips, but when Amy glanced sharply up at him, his expression was studiedly bland.
A dangerous hush fell over the room. Flirtations in the far corners of the room were abandoned. Business deals were dropped. The non-English speakers among the assemblage tugged at the sleeves of those who had the language, and instant translations began to be whispered about the room – suitably embellished, of course.
"It’s an assassination attempt!" a woman next to Amy cried dramatically, swooning back into the arms of an officer who looked as though he didn’t quite know what to do with her, but would really be happiest just dropping her.
"No, it’s not, it’s just Miss Gwen," Amy tried to explain.
Meanwhile, Miss Gwen was advancing on Bonaparte, backing him up so that he was nearly sitting on Josephine’s lap. "While we are speaking, sir, this habit you have of barging into other people’s countries without invitation – it is most rude. I will not have it! You should apologise to the Italians and the Dutch at the first opportunity!"
"Mais zee Italians, zey invited me!" Bonaparte exclaimed indignantly.
Miss Gwen cast Bonaparte the severe look of a governess listening to substandard excuses from a wayward child.
"That may well be," she pronounced in a tone that implied she thought it highly unlikely. "But your behaviour upon entering their country was inexcusable! If you were to be invited to someone’s home for a weekend, sirrah, would you reorganise their domestic arrangements and seize the artwork from their walls? Would you countenance any guest who behaved so? I thought not."
Amy wondered if Bonaparte could declare war on Miss Gwen alone without breaking his peace with England. "So much for the Peace of Amiens!" she started to whisper to Jane, but Jane was no longer beside her.
Lauren Willig (The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation, #1))
“Yes?” She drew the word out, her voice rising and falling with a faint lilt.
“What do you want to do once this is all over?” If we’re still alive, that is.
“What do you want to do?”
He fingered Brisingr’s pommel as he considered the question. “I don’t know. I haven’t let myself think much past Urû-baen…It would depend on what she wants, but I suppose Saphira and I might return to Palancar Valley. I could build a hall on one of the foothills of the mountains. We might not spend much time there, but at least we would have a home to return to when we weren’t flying from one part of Alagaësia to another.” He half smiled. “I’m sure there will be plenty to keep us busy, even if Galbatorix is dead…But you still haven’t answered my question: what will you do if we win? You must have some idea. You’ve had longer to think about it than I have.”
Arya drew one leg up onto the stool, wrapped her arms around it, and rested her chin on her knee. In the dim half-light of the tent, her face appeared to float against a featureless black background, like an apparition conjured out of the night.
“I have spent more time among humans and dwarves than I have among the älfakyn,” she said, using the elves’ name in the ancient language. “I have grown used to it, and I would not want to return to live in Ellesméra. Too little happens there; centuries can slip by without notice while you sit and stare at the stars. No, I think I will continue to serve my mother as her ambassador. The reason I first left Du Weldenvarden was because I wanted to help right the balance of the world. As you said, there will still be much htat needs doing if we manage to topple Galbatorix, much that needs putting right, and I would be a part of it.”
“Ah.” It was not exactly what he had hoped she might say, but at least it presented the possibility that they would not entirely lose contact after Urû’baen, and that he would still be able to see her now and then.
If Arya noticed his discontent, she gave no sign of it.
They talked for another few minutes, then Arya made her excuses and rose to leave.
As she stepped past him, Eragon reached toward her, as if to stop her, then quickly drew back his hand. “Wait,” he said softly, unsure of what he hoped for, but hoping nevertheless. The beat of his heart increased, pounding in his ears, and his cheeks grew warm.
Arya paused with her back to him by the entrance of the tent. “Good night, Eragon,” she said. Then she slipped out between the entrance flaps and vanished into the night, leaving him to sit alone in the dark.
Christopher Paolini (Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, #4))
Well, your legs are much longer than ours,” Sarah panted. “Next time we race, Amy and I need a head start to make it fair.” Only eight years old, she was the younger of Joe’s two siblings and had short blonde hair.
Paul Moxham (The Mystery of Smugglers Cove (The Mystery Series #1))
Their faces showed beautiful smiles boasting magnificent teeth. Their skin gleamed in the perfect lighting. Even their scarred flesh seemed to hold its own intricate designs, as crazy as it seemed. Luscious curves still decorated their hips and the swell between their legs. They were striking and endearing like a tribe of taunting sirens on top of a cliff in the middle of the sea. I gazed at them for longer than I should have…
Kenya Wright (The Muse (Dark Art Mystery, #1))
After a moment to regain his composure, he propped himself up on his elbow to look down at me, desire still lurking in his mesmerizing eyes.
“Alera? Are you…all right?”
“Narian, we can’t do this.” I was more than a little shocked at the both of us.
His brow furrowed, and he ran a hand through his disheveled hair. He took a breath and opened his mouth, then stopped, apparently unable to decide exactly what he wanted to say.
“Because,” I said, pushing myself upright. “We’re not married!”
He sat up as well and lit the lantern on my bedside table. I pulled my chemise back onto my shoulders and wrapped my arms around my legs while I waited for his reaction.
“And marriage, that’s…important to you…for this,” he surmised, trying to work out the basis for my objection.
“Yes,” I told him fervently. “Isn’t it to you?”
He glanced at the bedclothes, as though he anticipated an unpleasant reaction to what he would say.
“Well, no. We don’t have marriage in Cokyri.”
My eyebrows shot upward. “You don’t have…marriage? Well then, how do you…I mean, where…where do your children come from?”
“We just choose a partner,” he said, ignoring the absurdity of my question. “A woman chooses a man, and if he accepts, he is marked with a tattoo around his forearm. The tattoo is a great honor--men in Cokyri are proud to bear it.”
“What about the church?”
He shrugged, no longer worrying about how I might react. “Cokyri has no official religion. Some people seek the High Priestess’s approval to be bound, but they come to her of their own accord. Again, it is a choice.”
“So…in order to be with me, all you would need is a tattoo?” I spoke tentatively, trying to absorb and understand his words.
“Only to signify that I am yours and no one else’s. If that is what we both want.”
His closing statement, though subtle, sough confirmation, his steel-blue eyes filled with love and longing.
“I choose you,” I said, leaning toward him, and his mouth met mine with such ardor that my senses reeled all over again. He lay down with me on top of him, and it took all my strength of will to pull away.
“But we have to be married.”
He studied me, concluding that I truly believed in what I said.
“Then let’s go get married.”
“Now?” I blurted, eyes wide.
“Is now a problem?
Cayla Kluver (Sacrifice (Legacy, #3))
He’s a criminal.”
Arik shrugged. “Perhaps, but that’s in Russia. Here he’s a business man, one who got attacked by the omega of my pride.”
“What do I need to do to fix things?”
Apologize? He was a big enough man to do that. Pay him off? He had funds stashed for a rainy day.
“We could give him Meena,” Arik mused aloud.
Who growled? Surely not him.
“Oh shit. The rumors are true. She’s his bloody mate.” Hayder no longer sounded so amused. “No. Say it isn’t so. If you claim her, then that means”— he swallowed hard— “she’ll stay here. Like forever. Noooooo!”
Hayder wasn’t the only one having a melodramatic moment. Arik eyeballed him, a pained expression on his face. “Please, please, please tell me you’re not actually going to mate with her. I don’t know if we could survive having Meena here full time.”
“Dude, she’s a walking disaster,” Hayder commented.
“A magnet for trouble,” Arik added while Hayder nodded.
“A hurricane on two legs.”
“A destructive force greater than Mother Nature.”
Leo held up a hand. “Um, guys, you might want to stop before I crack your skulls together. You aren’t telling me anything I don’t know, but…” He sighed. “I’m afraid, and I mean really afraid, she might be right. I think she’s my mate.
Eve Langlais (When an Omega Snaps (A Lion's Pride, #3))
She suffers a week of food brought in by a silent guard in a rent-a-cop uniform. She knows she’s no longer in the hands of the Juvenile Authority, but who her new captors are is a mystery. These new jailers ask no questions, and that concerns her the same way that Connor is always concerned by the fact that the Graveyard has never been taken out. Are they so unimportant in the grand scheme of things that the Juvenile Authority won’t even torture her to get the information they want? Have they been deluding themselves into thinking they’re making a difference?
All this time she’s forced out thoughts of Connor, because it simply hurt too much to think about him. How horrified he must have been when she turned herself in. Horrified and stunned. Well, fine, let him be; he’ll get over it. She did it for him just as much as she did it for the injured boy, because as painful as it is to admit, Risa knows she had become just a distraction to Connor. If he’s truly going to lead those kids in the Graveyard like the Admiral did, he can’t be giving Risa leg massages and worrying whether her emotional needs are being met. Maybe he does love her, but it’s obvious there’s no room in his life at this moment to pay it any more than lip service.
Neal Shusterman (UnWholly (Unwind, #2))
Drops of Sweat, a Nervous Blink, and Other “Tells” Tournament poker is no longer a game of cards, but a game of interpretation, deception, and self-control. In an interview, Happy says that memorizing and recognizing your opponent’s nuances can be more decisive than luck or skill. Imperceptible gestures can reveal a million dollars’ worth of information. Players call these gestures “tells.” With a tell, a player unintentionally exposes his thoughts and intentions to the rest of the table. The ability to hide one’s tells—and conversely, to read the other players’ tells—offers a distinct advantage. At the amateur level, tells are simpler. Feet and legs are the biggest moving parts of your body, so skittish tapping is a dead giveaway. So is looking at a hand of cards and smiling, or rearranging cards with quivering fingertips. But at the professional level, tells would be almost impossible for you or me to read. Happy spent his career learning how to read these tells. “If you know what the other player is going to do, it’s easier to defend against it.” Like others competing at his level, Happy might prepare for a major tournament by spending hours reviewing tapes of his competitors’ previous games in order to instantly translate their tells during live competition.
Sally Hogshead (Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation)
What’s wrong, lass? She’s got more fire in her than she looks. She’ll be a fine ride for ye.” “How do I get on her?” The question surprised him, but he ignored it as he bent to offer her his assistance in mounting the horse. No sooner had Blaire situated herself on the mare than the mare started whining and trying to pull at the reins that kept her fastened to the edge of the stables. “What do I do with her, Eoin?” “Just stroke her, lean forward and whisper in her ear, calm her as ye would yer own horse.” He turned and climbed onto Griffin, leaning forward to untie the reins of both horses so that they could set off toward the village. He rode ahead a short distance, waiting for Blaire and the mare to join him, but when he heard no hooves he turned to see Blaire and the mare sitting at the side of the stables where he’d left them. Clicking, he steered Griffin back toward the stables. “What’s the matter with ye, lass? Do ye no longer want to go?” “No, I do want to. I just don’t know how to do this.” Eoin frowned as he pulled back on Griffin’s reins, stopping him next to Sheila. He knew Blaire could ride. He’d seen her do it many times, with many different horses. Why was she feigning ignorance now? Perhaps, she was afraid that he’d be angry with her for not wanting to accompany him. Or mayhap she wanted a reason to ride with him on the same horse. While he wasn’t sure of the reason, he enjoyed the second possibility much more. “Would ye like to ride with me, lass? Griffin may be old, but he can carry ye and me together, easily.” “Aye, I think that would be best.” Ah, so she did want to ride next to him. He smiled inwardly at himself, pleased at the notion, as he lifted her from Sheila’s back and placed her snugly in between his legs astride Griffin.
Bethany Claire (Love Beyond Time (Morna's Legacy, #1))
Anyway, I pushed past Dirk the Jerk, and rushed toward the library. I needed to find an ultimate Minecraft guide with tips and tricks, shortcuts and secrets. My plan was simple. I’d buy the game, study the book, and start playing. It couldn’t be that hard, right? I was determined to beat Dirk the Jerk at something, even if it killed me! I headed to the library’s computer books section. I quickly scanned for game guides. They had books on popular games such as Candy Crusher, Angry Birdbrains, and Minion Marathon. But none about Minecraft? Then, I spotted a thin book crammed way at the back of the shelf. It was covered with a thick layer of dust and spiderwebs. (Yuck! I hate spiders!) I yanked it out: Minecraft: Surviving the First Night: An Insider’s Guide. It was more like a journal. Not exactly what I was looking for but it was better than nothing. I looked closer at the book and noticed that there wasn’t a library sticker on it. The best I could figure was that it must be someone’s personal copy. Maybe he was hiding it from his mom who didn’t approve of computer games. (I knew all about that.) At that point, I was really desperate. And since there wasn’t any way for me to check it out, I decided to take it. I was sure the owner wouldn’t miss it because it hadn’t been touched in forever. Maybe he’d forgotten all about it. And anyway, I’d return it after I crushed Dirk the Jerk in the survival challenge. When I got home, I was faced with the hardest part of my whole plan, convincing Mom to buy Minecraft. She thinks computer and video games are a waste of time, except for educational ones. (She grew up back when Pac Man was hi-tech.) I knew I’d need help coming up with reasons to convince Mom. So I checked with my good friend, Google, and I found a ton of information on why Minecraft was considered educational. Once I explained to Mom that Minecraft taught everything from spatial relationships to electrical circuitry to complex machines, she caved in, and bought it. Now that the hard part was over, all I needed to do was learn the game. I sat down in front of the computer in my room, and launched the game. I opened the Minecraft journal, and there was a bright flash of light! That’s the last thing I remember. The next thing I knew, I was sitting in the middle of a strange library. It took me a minute to figure out what the heck was going on. I looked around. Everything was made of blocks. I looked down at my arms... rectangles. I looked down at my legs... Rectangles! I looked down at my body... a RECTANGLE! Then it hit me... I was literally a blockhead IN Minecraft! *gulp* That’s when I flipped out a little bit. For about ten minutes straight. I probably would have freaked out for longer, but it’s exhausting screaming, flapping my arms, and running in circles on stumpy little legs. After I calmed down a bit and caught my breath, I thought of
Minecrafty Family Books (Diary of a Wimpy Steve: Trapped in Minecraft!, Book 1)
him. After a while he glanced back to see who was coming after him, but no one was there. His legs were longer than the others foals’ legs; maybe he was too fast for them. He slowed, breathing hard, ready to dash away at the first sign of a foal. He circled the trees for a long time, flicking his ears and listening for any movement. But slowly the truth hit him like a tail smacking an oblivious fly—no one had chased him. The thrill of the chase melted away, and he noticed his back muscles were throbbing from dragging his long wings.
Jennifer Lynn Alvarez (Starfire (The Guardian Herd #1))
There’s something where the student was. Something massive. Something growing. It’s human in shape, I’ll give it that. Squat powerful legs, broad as my chest, thickening at the thigh, ropes of muscle bursting through the jeans he was wearing. Above the waist—an inverted pyramid of flesh, each abdominal muscle a chopping board of flesh, the pectorals as wide as the hood of the car Kayla just cut away, but thicker, vault door thick. And the arms... They grow longer, knuckles strike the ground. Forearms thicker than the thighs. Biceps thicker still. Shoulder muscles like a cow’s carcass dragged over the joint. He’s colossal, ten feet tall and still going. Twelve foot now.
Jonathan Wood (No Hero (Arthur Wallace, #1))
Joe nudged Sean’s arm. “I swear, I could tell time by how often Emma looks at you just by counting off the seconds.”
Sean resisted the urge to turn and look. “She’s nervous, that’s all.”
“That’s not nerves.”
“I think I know her better than you do.”
Joe laughed. “You’ve known her a week.”
“Hate to burst your bubble, but I’ve known her longer than ten days. Not well, but I’ve run into her at Mike and Lisa’s. Not that it matters. That look on a woman’s face is pretty universal.”
“There’s no look.”
“Oh, there’s a look,” Kevin said.
“There might be a look,” Leo added.
“Mike and I can’t see,” Evan added. “We’re facing the wrong way. We could turn around, but she might wonder why we’re all staring at her.”
Even though he figured his cousins were pulling his leg, Sean angled his body a little so he could see her in his peripheral vision.
Okay, so she was looking at him. A lot. But Joe and Kevin were still full of crap because there was no look.The glances were too quick to read anything into, never mind the kind of message they were implying she was sending.
He watched her watching him for a while, and then Aunt Mary told them to get the meat ready so they could fire the grill. Since his cousins made for more than enough chefs stirring the soup and he needed a break from the visual game of tag he and Emma were playing he grabbed a beer and made his way to the big toolshed. It was the unofficial Kowalski man cave, where females feared to tread. Even Aunt Mary would just stand outside and bellow rather than cross the threshold.
Shannon Stacey (Yours to Keep (Kowalski Family, #3))
Truth has legs that are longer than any of our lies. In time it will catch up to us, not because the truth has longer legs, but because lies haven’t got a ‘leg to stand on’ much less any legs to run on.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
Celia as she continued the tour of the newly renovated office space. Her legs were longer than his, which made him have to move quickly to keep up. Her height was also intimidating, but being short was never something he ever complained about. Celia must’ve been four or five inches taller! From Ragert’s estimation, Celia might have been pushing two and half feet! At just under two feet himself, or 22 inches tall, he’d always been the little elf. “And this section of cubicles is part of our emergency dispatch team,” Cilia said, looking back at Ragert. “I hope you’re listening to me, mister.” Ragert nodded nervously. “Of course I am! I wouldn’t want to miss a thing,
Marcus Emerson (LOL Collection: Stories to Make You Laugh-Out-Loud: From the Creator of Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja)
Truth has legs that are longer than any of our lies. In time it will catch up to us, not because the truth has longer legs but because lies have no legs.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
After the punches, I went over how to kick. The deer women were at an extreme advantage when it came to kicking. Not only were their legs super powerful and full of muscles from all the climbing and running they did, but they were way longer than any dragon woman’s or orc’s legs could ever hope to be. One well placed kick from the deer women could stop an orc in his tracks, and he’d never even get close to her. “Always remember, aim for the balls,” I instructed while I walked amongst the group. “It’ll hurt like hell and almost definitely send your attacker to his knees. Then, you can come in with a spear, or bow and arrow, whatever you want.
Logan Jacobs (Monster Girl Islands 4 (Monster Girl Islands, #4))
Her collections matured, categorized methodically by order, genus, and species; by age according to bone wear; by size in millimeters of feathers; or by the most fragile hues of greens. The science and art entwined in each other’s strengths: the colors, the light, the species, the life; weaving a masterpiece of knowledge and beauty that filled every corner of her shack. Her world. She grew with them—the trunk of the vine—alone, but holding all the wonders together. But just as her collection grew, so did her loneliness. A pain as large as her heart lived in her chest. Nothing eased it. Not the gulls, not a splendid sunset, not the rarest of shells. Months turned into a year. The lonely became larger than she could hold. She wished for someone’s voice, presence, touch, but wished more to protect her heart. Months passed into another year. Then another. PART 2 The Swamp 22. Same Tide 1965 Nineteen years old, legs longer, eyes larger and seemingly blacker, Kya sat on Point Beach, watching sand crabs bury themselves backward into the swash.
Delia Owens (Where the Crawdads Sing)
Alarmed at a high incidence of crashes during routine flight training in the 1940s, U.S. Air Force officials looked for evidence of mechanical flaws in the planes or human error perhaps inadvertently introduced by their curriculum, but the cause of the crashes remained mysterious. At last, officials commissioned a lieutenant trained as a scientist, Gilbert Daniels, to look at the physical structures of the cockpit and the men who used them. Daniels noted that all the cockpit structures—seat and back, pedals, knobs, and so on—had been built to specifications calculated for an average military recruit. Recruits for pilot training were already selected for some degree of averageness, had been the reasoning, so these dimensions should fit most pilots, most of the time. But when Daniels measured 4,063 soldiers, he was astonished to find that not a single one of the men fit all ten of the measurements that had been determined to be average. Instead, every body offered its own variation: One pilot might have a longer-than-average arm length, but a shorter-than-average leg length. Another pilot might have a big chest but small hips. Even more astonishing, Daniels discovered that if you picked just three of the ten dimensions of size—say, neck circumference, thigh circumference, and wrist circumference—less than 3.5 percent of pilots would be average sized on all three dimensions. Daniels’s findings were clear and incontrovertible. There was no such thing as an average pilot. The unyielding fixity of the average cockpit ended up being useful to exactly no one. Thereafter, aeronautical engineers began to make everything from seats and foot pedals to flight suits and helmet straps adjustable, and the Air Force adjusted its cockpit specifications to stipulate movable parts that could be adapted to fit a range of body measurements, from 5 to 95 percent of average, just right.
Sara Hendren (What Can a Body Do?: How We Meet the Built World)
Sam Underwater, everything is quiet. Tranquil. Like heaven is all around you, caressing your body, pulling you into its embrace. Deeper and deeper, it pulls at your legs until they beg to be released. I hold my water-resistant camera in front of me and take multiple pictures of the cold depths of the ocean. Its beauty never fails to mesmerize me. But I can’t stay for too long; sooner or later, that urge to breathe always pulls me back to the surface toward the dark sky littered with a million flickering lights … back into the noise of swooshing water and rushing wind. The shore is mostly deserted, except for a few beer cans, party cups, and some clothes and trash lying scattered all around. The only other person there is Nate Wilson … the most handsome guy at school and so much more than that. He’s sitting on a few rocks near the edge of the beach with a girl by his side. I can’t stop watching. Their hands touch briefly, but then the wave overtakes me and blocks my view. When the water lowers, I shake my head, but the waves keep picking up. Still, I hold up my camera and take a few pictures. Right as he turns his head toward me, I dive underwater again. Here, there are no boys, no girls, and no secret touches. Just me and the water, and all the beautiful creatures below that need to meet my camera. A single picture says more than words ever will. No matter how powerful they are. Nate People say it only takes a few minutes for your life to be destroyed. I never believed them … until today. With just the snap of a finger, a stupid decision and a simple push, I marked my own fate. My body grows colder and colder the longer I stay in the water. It consumes me whole as I stray farther and farther away from myself. From reality. I’m so damn dizzy, but I can’t collapse here. Not now, not in the middle of the ocean. I take a deep breath and peel my eyes open, forcing myself to go. That’s when I spot her … the girl and her camera. FLASH. I cover my eyes with my hand. Salty seawater enters my nostrils and mouth as I struggle to swim. When I open my eyes again, the girl is gone; swallowed by the same waves that drag me back to the shore. As my feet sink into the sand and the water creeps up against my toes, I stop and turn around, clutching the long red hairs in my hand as though they’re my last lifeline. This is now the place where not only my life changed forever. But hers too.
Clarissa Wild (Cruel Boy)
It was probably only a few intervals, though it seemed longer with Ryzven lurking and radiating impatience. At last Beryl and Kurr returned, markedly cleaner and fresher, and he heard Beryl telling the Greenspirit about the garden. His human hurried toward him, though her steps slowed when she spotted Ryzven nearby. Snaps squirmed in Zylar’s arms, so he set him down after checking the cord looped around his neck. Beryl reached for the leash as she eyed Ryzven, but she didn’t address him. Instead, she knelt and spoke nonsense words to the fur-person while rubbing him all over with her grabbers.
Kurr filled the awkward silence with a stiff, formal greeting. “Honor to your kith and kin, renowned Ryzven. I am Kurr.”
“A pleasure! Everyone who has been following the Choosing knows who you are, esteemed Greenspirit.”
While Zylar would be pleased if Ryzven forgot his business with Beryl while dallying with Kurr, he doubted he’d be so lucky. And as Beryl rose, Ryzven turned to her, making sure she got the full impact of his rare colors. He even puffed out his thorax a little, and Beryl let out a breath, a sound Zylar identified as annoyance. She said something the translator couldn’t process.
“I came to congratulate you on your—” Before Ryzven could finish his pompous sentence, Snaps ambled forward, lifted a leg, and eliminated on him.
“I don’t like him,” Snaps said. “Beryl doesn’t like him. Let’s go!”
“So sorry about that,” Beryl said in a flat tone. “Snaps is nervous around strangers.”
Zylar had heard sincerity from her many times before, and on this occasion, she wasn’t remotely apologetic. In fact, her eyes were twinkling and she seemed to be having a hard time restraining herself from making the battle face, which she’d said indicated amusement or enjoyment.
“You should clean that up,” he told Ryzven, who was sputtering incoherent outrage.
Most likely, he would live to regret all of this, but it felt so good to get the best of his arrogant nest-mate for once that he didn’t even look back when Beryl grabbed his claw and led him toward the exit. It occurred to him that she was leading him like Snaps, only by the limb instead of using a cord, but it would have lessened the impact of their departure if he mentioned as much.
Once they reached the public corridors, Kurr finally said, “I hope we have not given serious offense. I am…fearful.”
The Greenspirit must know Ryzven’s reputation well. He wouldn’t accept such a humiliation without striking back. “Do not let it lessen your satisfaction in what you’ve achieved today. I will apologize more fully another time.”
“Why would you apologize for something Snaps did?” Beryl cut in. “If anyone’s going to make amends, it should be me. Though for the record, I said ‘sorry’ already.”
“It was insincere,” Kurr noted.
Beryl stared for a long moment, then said, “That’s fair.” She took a step closer to the two of them and added in a whisper, “So when I apologize sincerely, I probably shouldn’t let on that I told Snaps to pee on him? I mean, theoretically.”
The Greenspirit emitted a shocked rustling sound while Zylar simply could not contain his glee. He churred louder than he ever had in his life. “Truly? That’s what you said that the translator could not comprehend?”
Then Beryl did show her fearsome aspect, displaying all her teeth. “I will neither confirm nor deny those allegations.”
“Confirmed,” said Snaps. “I was promised extra snacks.”
Still delighted with his intended, Zylar led the way to the garden, wondering how he should reward Beryl for improving his life in every conceivable way.
Ann Aguirre (Strange Love (Galactic Love, #1))
He would say to a suitor, “What is the difference in the length of my legs?” and if the youth replied, “Why, one is shorter than the other,” the Duke would run him through with the sword he carried in his swordcane and feed him to the geese. The suitor was supposed to say, “Why, one is longer than the other.
James Thurber (The 13 Clocks)
Asleep at the wheel nearly
dead I think
and feeling nothing on my skin
but the dark eyes of the antelopes
all around me in the Wyoming night
watching me pass—a small animal
growling down the highway
with both eyes aglow.
To keep awake
I force my head out the window
as into a guillotine
the black sleet-filled air
slipping under each eyelid
like a child’s thin silver spoon.
Looking back into the car
through the ice and tears
I do not recognize that body sleeping there.
I no longer know that leg pressed hard
to the gas, the blue coat or scarf or
the hand reaching out to the wheel.
Folks, you know I am doing my best—
pushing hard toward you
through this winter sky
but reduced to this—
just this head out a window
streaming through space like a bearded rock,
a hunk of pocked iron with melting eyes.
A trail of fiery mist
is growing out of the back of my head
and stretches now for miles across the night.
The odds, I know, are a thousand to one
I'll burn up before touching earth
but if somehow I do make it home
smashing across the farmyard
and lighting up the sky
I will throw a red glow across the barn's silver roof
and crash into the rough wood of your back door
smaller than a grain of sand
making its one childlike knock.
The porch light will hesitate
then snap on, as it always does
when a car comes up the lane
late at night.
The two sleepy old faces
will come to the door
in their long soft robes—
will stand there bewildered
rubbing their eyes
looking around and wondering
who it was at their door
no sooner come than gone
a cinder in the eye.