In love, as in life, one misheard word can be tremendously important. If you tell someone you love them, for instance, you must be absolutely certain that they have replied "I love you back" and not "I love your back" before you continue the conversation.
No problem," Gale replies. "I wake up ten times a night anyway."
"To make sure Katniss is still here?" asks Peeta.
"Something like that,"...
"That was funny, what Tigris said. About no one knowing what to do with her."
"Well, WE never have,"...
"She loves you, you know," says Peeta. "She as good as told me after they whipped you."
"Don't believe it,"Gale answers. "The way she kissed you in the Quarter Quell...well she never kissed me like that."
"It was just part of the show," Peeta tells him, although there's an edge of doubt in his voice.
"No, you won her over. Gave up everything for her. Maybe that's the only way to convince her you love her." There's a long pause. "I should have volunteered to take your place in the first Games. Protected her then."
"You couldn't," says Peeta. "She'd never have forgiven you. You had to take care of her family. They matter more to her than her life."
"I wonder how she'll make up her mind."
"Oh, that I do know." I can just catch Gale's last words through the layer of fur. "Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can't survive without
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
Please-tame me!' he said.
'I want to, very much,' the little prince replied. 'But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.'
'One only understands the things that one tames,' said the fox. 'Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me.'
'What must I do, to tame you?' asked the little prince.
'You must be very patient,' replied the fox. 'First you will sit down at a little distance from me-like that-in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day...
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince)
Without thinking, [Will] spoke.
'Halt? Are you awake?'
'No.' The ill humor in the one-word reply was unmistakable.
He pondered whether to apologize again and decided this would go against the instruction to shut up, so remained silent.
John Flanagan (The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (Ranger's Apprentice, #10))
Here's why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot talk, so I listen very well. I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another's conversations constantly. It's like being a passenger in your car who suddenly grabs the steering wheel and turns you down a side street. For instance, if we met at a party and I wanted to tell you a story about the time I needed to get a soccer ball in my neighbor's yard but his dog chased me and I had to jump into a swimming pool to escape, and I began telling the story, you, hearing the words "soccer" and "neighbor" in the same sentence, might interrupt and mention that your childhood neighbor was Pele, the famous soccer player, and I might be courteous and say, Didn't he play for the Cosmos of New York? Did you grow up in New York? And you might reply that, no, you grew up in Brazil on the streets of Tres Coracoes with Pele, and I might say, I thought you were from Tennessee, and you might say not originally, and then go on to outline your genealogy at length. So my initial conversational gambit - that I had a funny story about being chased by my neighbor's dog - would be totally lost, and only because you had to tell me all about Pele. Learn to listen! I beg of you. Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal their stories.
Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain)
I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: "The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair." In these words he epitomized the history of the human race.
Bertrand Russell (Education and the Social Order)
Until death," Jem replied gently. "Those are the words of the oath. 'Until aught but death part thee and me.' Someday, Will, I will go where none can follow me, and I think it will be sooner rather than later. Have you ever asked yourself why I agreed to be your parabatai?"
"No better offers forthcoming?" Will tried for humor, but his voice cracked like glass.
"I thought you needed me," Jem said. "There is a wall you have built about yourself, Will, and I have never asked you why. But no one should shoulder every burden alone. I thought you would let me inside if I became your parabatai, and then you would have at least someone to lean upon. I did wonder what my death would mean for you. I used to fear it, for your sake. I feared you would be left alone inside that wall. But now... something has changed. I do not know why. But I know that it is true."
"That what is true?" Will's fingers were still digging into Jem's wrist.
"That the wall is coming down.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2))
You swore to stay with me,” he said. “When we made our oath, as parabatai. Our souls are knit. We are one person, James.”
“We are two people,” said Jem.
“Two people with a covenant between us.”
Will knew he sounded like a child, but he could not help it.
“A covenant that says you must not go where I cannot come with you.”
“Until death,” Jem replied gently.
“Those are the words of the oath. ‘Until
aught but death part thee and me.’ Someday, Will, I will go where none can
follow me, and I think it will be sooner rather than later.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2))
Are you a storyteller, Thomas Covenant?"
Absently he replied, "I was, once."
"And you gave it up? Ah, that is as sad a tale in three words as any you might have told me. But a life without a tale is like a sea without salt. How do you live?"
... Unconsciously, he clenched his fist over his ring. "I live."
"Another?" Foamfollower returned. "In two words, a story sadder than the first. Say no more -- with one word you will make me weep.
Stephen R. Donaldson
You don't have to do this," Ronan said.
"There isn't anything else, man."
Kavinsky laughed the word. "Reality! Reality's what other people dream for you."
"Reality's where other people are," Ronan replied. He stretched out his arms. "What's here, K? Nothing! No one!"
There was a heavy understanding in that statement, amplified by the dream. I know what you are, Kavinsky had said.
"That's not enough," Ronan replied.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2))
People are invariably surprised to hear me say I am both an atheist and an agnostic, as if this somehow weakens my certainty. I usually reply with a question like, 'Well, are you a Republican or an American?' The two words serve different concepts and are not mutually exclusive. Agnosticism addresses knowledge; atheism addresses belief. The agnostic says, 'I don't have a knowledge that God exists.' The atheist says, 'I don't have a belief that God exists.' You can say both things at the same time. Some agnostics are atheistic and some are theistic.
Dan Barker (Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists)
– But here is a question that is troubling me: if there is no God, then, one may ask, who governs human life and, in general, the whole order of things on earth?
– Man governs it himself, – Homeless angrily hastened to reply to this admittedly none-too-clear question.
– Pardon me, – the stranger responded gently, – but in order to govern, one needs, after all, to have a precise plan for a certain, at least somewhat decent, length of time. Allow me to ask you, then, how can man govern, if he is not only deprived of the opportunity of making a plan for at least some ridiculously short period, well, say, a thousand years , but cannot even vouch for his own tomorrow? And in fact, – here the stranger turned to Berlioz, – imagine that you, for instance, start governing, giving orders to others and yourself, generally, so to speak, acquire a taste for it, and suddenly you get ...hem ... hem ... lung cancer ... – here the foreigner smiled sweetly, and if the thought of lung cancer gave him pleasure — yes, cancer — narrowing his eyes like a cat, he repeated the sonorous word —and so your governing is over! You are no longer interested in anyone’s fate but your own. Your family starts lying to you. Feeling that something is wrong, you rush to learned doctors, then to quacks, and sometimes to fortune-tellers as well. Like the first, so the second and third are completely senseless, as you understand. And it all ends tragically: a man who still recently thought he was governing something, suddenly winds up lying motionless in a wooden box, and the people around him, seeing that the man lying there is no longer good for anything, burn him in an oven. And sometimes it’s worse still: the man has just decided to go to Kislovodsk – here the foreigner squinted at Berlioz – a trifling matter, it seems, but even this he cannot accomplish, because suddenly, no one knows why, he slips and falls under a tram-car! Are you going to say it was he who governed himself that way? Would it not be more correct to think that he was governed by someone else entirely?
Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
The story of the young woman whose death I witnessed in a concentration camp. It is a simple story. There is little to tell and it may sound as if I had invented it; but to me it seems like a poem. This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. "I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard," she told me. "In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously." Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, "This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness." Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. "I often talk to this tree," she said to me. I was startled and didn't quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. "Yes." What did it say to her? She answered, "It said to me, 'I am here-I am here-I am life, eternal life.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
No further issues with Corinne Bishop or her kin in Detroit?”
“Hunter didn’t seem to be concerned,” Gideon replied. “Said he had the situation under control.”
Lucan grunted, wry despite the weight of the discussion previously under way. “Where’ve I heard that line before? Famous last words from more than one of us over the course of the past year and a half.
Lara Adrian (Deeper Than Midnight (Midnight Breed, #9))
One word," Ted replied, dead serious, "can change the whole world." There was a moment while we all considered this. Finally Lissa said to Chloe, loud enough for all of us to hear (she'd had a minibottle or two herself), "I bet he did really well on his SATs.
Sarah Dessen (This Lullaby)
He's very nice. He's something I replied. She considered this zipping her purse shut. Then she said Well everyone is. Everyone is Something. For some reason that stuck with me simple and yet not every since she'd said it. It was like a puzzle as well two vague words with one clear one between them.
Sarah Dessen (What Happened to Goodbye)
What are you going to do, Luca?' I clenched my fists at my sides. 'Pull a gun on me?'
'If that's what it takes.'
'How brave!' I exploded. We were so close to one another now. 'You can't use your words. but you're more than happy to use your gun.'
'I'm not going to be responsible for ruining your innocence!'
I tilted my face towards him to show I wasn't afraid, or as innocent as he clearly thought. 'Go ahead,' I whispered. 'Shatter it.' We were nose to nose. 'It almost worked last time, when you told me about my dad.'
'I don't care,' he replied resolutely. 'I'm not punching Bambi in the face.
Catherine Doyle (Vendetta (Blood for Blood, #1))
Young Castle called me "Scoop." "Good Morning, Scoop. What's new in the word game?"
"I might ask the same of you," I replied.
"I'm thinking of calling a general strike of all writers until mankind finally comes to its senses. Would you support it?"
"Do writers have a right to strike? That would be like the police or the firemen walking out."
"Or the college professors."
"Or the college professors," I agreed. I shook my head. "No, I don't think my conscience would let me support a strike like that. When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed."
"I just can't help thinking what a real shake up it would give people if, all of a sudden, there were no new books, new plays, new histories, new poems..."
"And how proud would you be when people started dying like flies?" I demanded.
"They'd die more like mad dogs, I think--snarling & snapping at each other & biting their own tails."
I turned to Castle the elder. "Sir, how does a man die when he's deprived of the consolation of literature?"
"In one of two ways," he said, "petrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system."
"Neither one very pleasant, I expect," I suggested.
"No," said Castle the elder. "For the love of God, both of you, please keep writing!
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat's Cradle)
Suppose that a man leaps out of a burning building—as my dear friend and colleague Jeff Goldberg sat and said to my face over a table at La Tomate in Washington not two years ago—and lands on a bystander in the street below. Now, make the burning building be Europe, and the luckless man underneath be the Palestinian Arabs. Is this a historical injustice? Has the man below been made a victim, with infinite cause of complaint and indefinite justification for violent retaliation? My own reply would be a provisional 'no,' but only on these conditions. The man leaping from the burning building must still make such restitution as he can to the man who broke his fall, and must not pretend that he never even landed on him. And he must base his case on the singularity and uniqueness of the original leap. It can't, in other words, be 'leap, leap, leap' for four generations and more. The people underneath cannot be expected to tolerate leaping on this scale and of this duration, if you catch my drift. In Palestine, tread softly, for you tread on their dreams. And do not tell the Palestinians that they were never fallen upon and bruised in the first place. Do not shame yourself with the cheap lie that they were told by their leaders to run away. Also, stop saying that nobody knew how to cultivate oranges in Jaffa until the Jews showed them how. 'Making the desert bloom'—one of Yvonne's stock phrases—makes desert dwellers out of people who were the agricultural superiors of the Crusaders.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the moon. In the months leading up to their expedition, the Apollo II astronauts trained in a remote moon-like desert in the western United States. The area is home to several Native American communities, and there is a story – or legend – describing an encounter between the astronauts and one of the locals. One day as they were training, the astronauts came across an old Native American. The man asked them what they were doing there. They replied that they were part of a research expedition that would shortly travel to explore the moon. When the old man heard that, he fell silent for a few moments, and then asked the astronauts if they could do him a favour. ‘What do you want?’ they asked. ‘Well,’ said the old man, ‘the people of my tribe believe that holy spirits live on the moon. I was wondering if you could pass an important message to them from my people.’ ‘What’s the message?’ asked the astronauts. The man uttered something in his tribal language, and then asked the astronauts to repeat it again and again until they had memorised it correctly. ‘What does it mean?’ asked the astronauts. ‘Oh, I cannot tell you. It’s a secret that only our tribe and the moon spirits are allowed to know.’ When they returned to their base, the astronauts searched and searched until they found someone who could speak the tribal language, and asked him to translate the secret message. When they repeated what they had memorised, the translator started to laugh uproariously. When he calmed down, the astronauts asked him what it meant. The man explained that the sentence they had memorised so carefully said, ‘Don’t believe a single word these people are telling you. They have come to steal your lands.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Turing had pointed out that, if one could carry out a prolonged conversation with a machine—whether by typewriter or microphones was immaterial—without being able to distinguish between its replies and those that a man might give, then the machine was thinking, by any sensible definition of the word. Hal could pass the Turing test with ease. The
Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1))
This life is a hospital in which each patient is possessed by the desire to change beds. One wants to suffer in front of the stove and another believes that he will get well near the window.
It always seems to me that I will be better off there where I am not, and this question of moving about is one that I discuss endlessly with my soul
"Tell me, my soul, my poor chilled soul, what would you think about going to live in Lisbon? It must be warm there, and you'll be able to soak up the sun like a lizard there. That city is on the shore; they say that it is built all out of marble, and that the people there have such a hatred of the vegetable, that they tear down all the trees. There's a country after your own heart -- a landscape made out of light and mineral, and liquid to reflect them!"
My soul does not reply.
"Because you love rest so much, combined with the spectacle of movement, do you want to come and live in Holland, that beatifying land? Perhaps you will be entertained in that country whose image you have so often admired in museums. What do you think of Rotterdam, you who love forests of masts and ships anchored at the foot of houses?"
My soul remains mute.
"Does Batavia please you more, perhaps? There we would find, after all, the European spirit married to tropical beauty."
Not a word. -- Is my soul dead?
Have you then reached such a degree of torpor that you are only happy with your illness? If that's the case, let us flee toward lands that are the analogies of Death. -- I've got it, poor soul! We'll pack our bags for Torneo. Let's go even further, to the far end of the Baltic. Even further from life if that is possible: let's go live at the pole. There the sun only grazes the earth obliquely, and the slow alternation of light and darkness suppresses variety and augments monotony, that half of nothingness. There we could take long baths in the shadows, while, to entertain us, the aurora borealis send us from time to time its pink sheaf of sparkling light, like the reflection of fireworks in Hell!"
Finally, my soul explodes, and wisely she shrieks at me: "It doesn't matter where! It doesn't matter where! As long as it's out of this world!
Charles Baudelaire (Paris Spleen)
The Times carried detailed descriptions of Sara’s ivory gown and the five-carat blue diamond on her finger, the Cravens’ reported opinions of the play, and speculation on whether Derek was truly a “reformed rake.” “There’s not a word of truth in any of it,” Derek said. “Except the part where they said you were resplendent.” “Thank you, kind sir.” Sara set down the paper and reached over to toy with one of the large soapy feet propped on the porcelain rim of the tub. She wriggled his big toe playfully. “What about the part that says you’re reformed?” “I’m not. I still do everything I used to do…except now only with you.” “And quite impressively,” she replied, her tone demure.
Lisa Kleypas (Dreaming of You (The Gamblers of Craven's, #2))
She shook her head. 'Look. We both know life is short, Macy. Too short to waste a single second with anyone who doesn't appreciate and value you.'
'You said the other day life was long,' I shot back. 'Which is it?'
' It's both,' she said, shrugging. 'IT all depends on how you choose to live it. It's like forever, always changing.'
'Nothing can be two opposite things at once,' I said. 'It's impossible.'
'No,' she replied, squeezing my hand,' what's impossible is that we actually think it could be anything other than that. Look, when I was in the hosptal, right after the accident, they thought I was going to die. I was really fucked up, big time.'
'Uh-huh,' Monica said, looking at her sister.
'Then,' Kristy continued, nodding at her, 'life was very short, literally. but now that I'm better it seems so long I have to squint to see even the edges of it. It's all in the view, Macy. That's what I mean about forever, too. For any one of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You can never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count.'
Monica, lighting another cigarette, nodded. 'Mmm-hmm,' she said.
'What you have to decide,' Kristy said to me, leaning foreward, 'is how you want your life to be. If your forever was ending tomorrow, would this be how you'd want to have spent it? It seemed like it was a choice I had already made. I'd spent the last year and a half with Jason, shaping my life to fit his, doing what I had to in order to make sure I had a plae in his perfect world, where things made sense. But it hadn't worked.
'Listen,' Kristy said,' the truth is, nohing is guaranteed. You know that more than anybody.' She looed at me hard, making sure I knew what she meant. I did. 'So don't be afraid. Be alive.'
But then, I couldn't imagine, after everything that had happened, how you could live and not constantly be worrying about the dangers all around you. Especially when you'd already gotten teh scare of your life.
'It's the same thing,' I told her.
'Being afraid and being alive.'
'No,' she said slowly, and now it was as if she was speaking a language she knew at first I wouldn't understand, the very words, not to mention the concept, being foreign to me. 'Macy, no. It's not.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
Words are not just wind. Words have something to say. But if what they have to say is not fixed, then do they really say something? Or do they say nothing? People suppose that words are different from the peeps of baby birds, but is there any difference, or isn't there? What does the Way rely upon, that we have true and false? What do words rely upon, that we have right and wrong? How can the Way go away and not exist? How can words exist and not be acceptable? When the Way relies on little accomplishments and words reply on vain show, then we have rights and wrongs of the Confucians and the Mo-ists. What one calls right the other calls wrong; what one calls wrong the other calls right. But if we want to right their wrongs and wrong their rights, then the best to use is clarity.
Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings)
We took a bus to the nearby monastery of one of the last great Tang dynasty Chan masters, Yun-men. Yun-men was known for his pithy “one word” Zen. When asked “What is the highest teaching of the Buddha?” he replied: “An appropriate statement.” On another occasion, he answered: “Cake.” I admired his directness.
Stephen Batchelor (Confession of a Buddhist Atheist)
If you will thank me," he replied, "let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you."
Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word. After a short pause, her companion added, "You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever."
Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkwardness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances.The happiness which this reply produced was such as he had probably never felt before, and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do.
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
Nothing as singular or as important had happened since the day of his birth. She returned his gaze, struck by the sense of her own transformation, and overwhelmed by the beauty in a face which a lifetime's habit had taught her to ignore. She whispered his name with the deliberation of a child trying out the distinct sounds. When he replied with her name, it sounded like a new word - the syllables remained the same, the meaning was different. Finally he spoke the three simple words that no amount of bad art or bad faith can ever quite cheapen. She repeated them, with exactly the same emphasis on the second word, as if she had been the one to say them first. He had no religious belief, but it was impossible not to think of an invisible presence or witness in the room, and that these words spoken aloud were like signatures on an unseen contract
Ian McEwan (Atonement)
One story, perhaps apocryphal, claims that when Hamilton was asked why the framers omitted the word God from the Constitution, he replied, “We forgot.
Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)
At another time she asked,'what is a soul?'
' No one knows,'I replied; 'but we know it is not the body, and it is that part of us which thinks and loves and hopes'...[and] is invisible...'But if I write what my soul thinks,'she said, 'then it will be visible, and the words will be its body.
William Gibson (The Miracle Worker: A Play)
Will he really give her that heart box of candy?” I’d asked the shiny ball. Digital words spelled out across the surface in reply, “Not sure, try again”. I immediately rubbed it again and got “Concentrate and ask once more”. One more vigorous scrub gave me, “Try again later”. So frustrating!
P.T. Michelle (Brightest Kind of Darkness (Brightest Kind of Darkness, #1))
But then what do you do?"
"I pray for strength."
The words were simple, straightforward. Josef pushed against the floor with one foot and the swing moved back and forth, cradling us.
"And then you're not afraid anymore?"
"No," he replied. "Then I am still afraid. But then I know that God knows I'm afraid, and that is what makes the difference.
Ann Tatlock (I'll Watch the Moon)
A wedding was a strange ceremony, she thought, with all those formal words, those solemn vows made by one to another; whereas the real question that should be put to the two people involved was a very simple one. Are you happy with each other? was the only question that should be asked; to which they both should reply, preferably in unison, Yes.
Alexander McCall Smith (The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #12))
We aren't fighting right now." I blurted out.
He gave me a sidelong look. "Do you want to fight?"
"No. I hate fighting with you. Verbally, I mean. I don't mind in the gym."
I thought I detected the hint of a smile. Always a half-smile for me. Rarely a full one. "I don't like fighting with you either."
Sitting next to him there, I marveled at the warm and happy emotions springing up inside me. There was something about being around him that felt so good, that moved me in a way Mason couldn't. You can't force love, I realized, It's there or it isn't. If it's not there, you've got to be able to admit it. If it is there, you've got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.
The next words that came out of my mouth astonished me, both because they were completely unselfish and because I actually meant them.
"You should take it."
He flinched. "What?"
"Tasha's offer. You should take her up on it. It's a really great chance."
I remembered my mom's words about being ready for children. I wasn't. Maybe she hadn't been. But Tasha was. And I knew Dimitri was too. They got along really well. He could go be her guardian, have some kids with her...it would be a good deal for both of them.
"I never expected to hear you say anything like that," he told me, voice tight. "Especially after-"
"What a bitch I've been? Yeah." I tugged his coat tighter against the cold. It smelled like him. It was intoxicating, and I could half-imagine being wrapped in his embrace. Adrian might have been onto something about the power of scent. "Well. Like I said, I don't want to fight anymore. I don't want us to hate each other. And...well..." I squeezed my eyes shut and then opened them. "No matter how I feel about us...I want you to be happy."
Silence yet again. I noticed then that my chest hurt.
Dimitri reached out and put his arm around me. He pulled me to him, and I rested my head on his chest. "Roza," was all he said.
It was the first time he'd really touched me since the night of the lust charm. The practice room had been something different...more animal. This wasn't even about sex. It was just about being close to someone you cared about, about the emotion that kind of connection flooded you with.
Dimitri might run off with Tasha, but I would still love him. I would probably always love him.
I cared about Mason. But I would probably never love him.
I sighed into Dimitri, just wishing I could stay like that forever. It felt right being with him. And-no matter how much the thought of him and Tasha made me ache-doing what was best for him felt right. Now, I knew, it was time to stop being a coward and do something else that was right. Mason had said I needed to learn something about myself. I just had.
Reluctantly, I pulled away and handed Dimitri his coat. I stood up. He regarded me curiously, sensing my unease.
"Where you going?" he asked.
"To break someone's heart," I replied.
I admired Dimitri for a heartbeat more-the dark, knowing eyes and silken hair. The I headed inside. I had to apologize to Mason...and tell him there'd never be anything between us.
Richelle Mead (Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2))
He was smiling again, his face alight, and Ivy knew her own expression was a mirror to his. Ivoleyn, he said, softly now, as if testing the word. And she replied, Dashton. Then their hands parted, but only so they might come closer, like two trees twining together to stand as one in a forest of green.
Galen Beckett (The Master of Heathcrest Hall (Mrs. Quent, #3))
The most important thing is love," said Leigh-Cheri. "I know that now. There's no point in saving the world if it means losing the moon."
Leigh-Cheri sent that message to Bernard through his attorney. The message continued, "I'm not quite 20, but, thanks to you, I've learned something that many women these days never learn: Prince Charming really is a toad. And the Beautiful Princess has halitosis. The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn't that be the way to make love stay?"
The next day, Bernard's attorney delivered to her this reply:
Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.
Leigh-Cheri went out in the blackberries and wept. "I'll follow him to the ends of the earth," she sobbed.
Yes, darling. But the earth doesn't have any ends. Columbus fixed that.
Tom Robbins (Still Life with Woodpecker)
There is one more thing," said Mr. Peabody. "Now you must go and pick up all the feathers."
... "I don't think it's possible to pick up all the feathers," Tommy replied.
"It would be just as impossible to undo the damage that you have done by spreading the rumor that I am a thief," said Mr. Peabody. "Each feather represents a person in Happyville." ... "Next time, don't be so quick to judge a person. And remember the power of your words.
Madonna (Mr. Peabody's Apples)
The key word is shouldn’t,” he said grimly. “It isn’t a word I like to hear when it comes to battle. That word has killed more men than any other word, except perhaps one.” He waited for my inevitable question. I sighed and asked, “What word is that?” “Charge,” he replied with a smile.
Michael G. Manning (The Line of Illeniel (Mageborn, #2))
The Earth was created by the assistance of the sun, and it should be left as it was. The country was made with no lines of demarcation, and it's no man's business to divide it. I see the whites all over the country gaining wealth, and I see the desire to give us lands which are worthless.
The Earth and myself are of one mind. Perhaps you think the Creator sent you here to dispose of us as you see fit. If I thought you were sent by the creator, I might he induced to think you had a right to dispose of me.
Do not misunderstand me; but understand me fully with reference to my affection for the land. I never said the land was mine to do with as I choose. The one who has a right to dispose of it is the one who created it. I claim a right to live on my land, and accord you the privilege to return to yours.
Brother, we have listened to your talk coming from our father, the Great White Chief in Washington, and my people have called upon me to reply to you.
The winds which pass through these aged pines we hear the moaning of departed ghosts, and if the voice of our people could have been heard, that act would never have been done. But alas though they stood around they could neither be seen nor heard. Their tears fell like drops of rain.
I hear my voice in the depths of the forest but no answering voice comes back to me. All is silent around me. My words must therefore be few. I can now say no more. He is silent for he has nothing to answer when the sun goes down.
Do all those words mean the same thing?” gasped Milo. “Of course.” “Certainly.” “Precisely.” “Exactly.” “Yes,” they replied in order. “Well, then,” said Milo, not understanding why each one said the same thing in a slightly different way, “wouldn’t it be simpler to use just one? It would certainly make more sense.” “Nonsense.” “Ridiculous.” “Fantastic.” “Absurd.” “Bosh,” they chorused again, and continued. “We’re not interested in making sense; it’s not our job,” scolded the first. “Besides,” explained the second, “one word is as good as another—so why not use them all?
Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth)
For a long moment, he held her gaze without speaking, simply letting the impact of words sink in, before adding rapidly, as though he wished to get it over with as quickly as possible, "I won't deny that you're beautiful. No mirror could tell you otherwise. But there are beautiful women for the buying in any brothel in London. Oh yes, and the ballrooms, too, if one has the proper price. It wasn't your appearance that caught me. It was the way you put me down in the gallery at Sibley Court." Vaughn's lips curved in a reminiscent smile. "And the way you tried to bargain with me after."
"Successfully bargained," Mary corrected.
"That," replied Lord Vaughn, "is exactly what I mean. Has anyone ever told you that you haggle divinely? That the simple beauty of your self-interest is enough to bring a man to his knees?"
Mary couldn't in honesty say that anyone had.
Vaughn's eyes were as hard and bright as silver coins. "Those are the reasons I want you. I want you for your cunning mind and your hard heart, for your indomitable spirit and your scheming soul, for they're more honest by far than any of the so-called virtues."
"The truest poetry is the most feigning?" Mary quoted back his own words to him.
"And the most feigning is the most true.
Lauren Willig (The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (Pink Carnation, #4))
In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways.
We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances… and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
A Persian, a Turk, an Arab, and a Greek were traveling to a distant land when they began arguing over how to spend the single coin they possessed among themselves. All four craved food, but the Persian wanted to spend the coin on angur; the Turk, on uzum; the Arab, on inab; and the Greek, on stafil. The argument became heated as each man insisted on having what he desired. A linguist passing by overheard their quarrel. “Give the coin to me,” he said. “I undertake to satisfy the desires of all of you.” Taking the coin, the linguist went to a nearby shop and bought four small bunches of grapes. He then returned to the men and gave them each a bunch. “This is my angur!” cried the Persian. “But this is what I call uzum,” replied the Turk. “You have brought me my inab,” the Arab said. “No! This in my language is stafil,” said the Greek. All of a sudden, the men realized that what each of them had desired was in fact the same thing, only they did not know how to express themselves to each other. The four travelers represent humanity in its search for an inner spiritual need it cannot define and which it expresses in different ways. The linguist is the Sufi, who enlightens humanity to the fact that what it seeks (its religions), though called by different names, are in reality one identical thing. However—and this is the most important aspect of the parable—the linguist can offer the travelers only the grapes and nothing more. He cannot offer them wine, which is the essence of the fruit. In other words, human beings cannot be given the secret of ultimate reality, for such knowledge cannot be shared, but must be experienced through an arduous inner journey toward self-annihilation. As the transcendent Iranian poet, Saadi of Shiraz, wrote, I am a dreamer who is mute, And the people are deaf. I am unable to say, And they are unable to hear.
Reza Aslan (No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam)
I once wrote you a letter and you never replied, which makes me wonder if you ever received it. This time it's a more personal delivery - and I need a reply, even if it's not the one I want.
I'm listening to you - I can hear every word, however softly you speak - and I'm half-agony, half-hope. You're saying that men are realists - that, when the woman they love is no longer available, they move on. Well, believe me, I tried - and I thought I had. But seeing you again, after so many years, just proved how little I knew...
You told me to trust myself. So here I am back in Bath, putting everything on the line for a second chance with you. Is that what you want, too? Whatever your answer, remember this: I may not deserve you - when I think of how I've behaved, I know I've shown little self-control and even less forgiveness - but I've never stopped loving you.
You're talking about heartless men... But I have a heart, and it's the same one you almost broke ten years ago, and it belongs to you, and only you, even more than it did then. And yes, I'm a realist: if you no longer love me, I will accept it. But don't say that only a woman can keep on loving someone who's no longer part of her life! Because I will keep on loving you until there are no stars in the sky.
Tell me tonight how you feel. If there's any chance of you loving me back, then I'll wait for you as I should have waited before. If not, say the word and I'll leave you in peace. But I'll never forget you, or what we had, or what might have been.
Juliet Archer (Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends, #2))
And yet, they hesitated. The knowledge that they might never see each other again, that some of them—maybe all of them—might not survive this night hung heavy in the air. A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.
Inej looked at her strange crew, barefoot and shivering in their soot-stained prison uniforms, their features limned by the golden light of the dome, softened by the mist that hung in the air.
What bound them together? Greed? Desperation? Was it just the knowledge that if one or all of them disappeared tonight, no one would come looking? Inej’s mother and father might still shed tears for the daughter they’d lost, but if Inej died tonight, there would be no one to grieve for the girl she was now. She had no family, no parents or siblings, only people to fight beside. Maybe that was something to be grateful for, too.
It was Jesper who spoke first. “No mourners,” he said with a grin. “No funerals,” they replied in unison. Even Matthias muttered the words softly.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
In the days to come, when it will seem as if I were entombed, when the very firmament threatens to come crashing down upon my head, I shall be forced to abandon everything except what these spirits implanted in me. I shall be crushed, debased, humiliated. I shall be frustrated in every fiber of my being. I shall even take to howling like a dog. But I shall not be utterly lost! Eventually a day is to dawn when, glancing over my own life as though it were a story or history, I can detect in it a form, a pattern, a meaning. From then on the word defeat becomes meaningless. It will be impossible ever to relapse.
For on that day I become and I remain one with my creation.
On another day, in a foreign land, there will appear before me a young man who, unaware of the change which has come over me, will dub me "The Happy Rock." That is the moniker I shall tender when the great Cosmocrator demands-" Who art thou?"
Yes, beyond a doubt, I shall answer "The Happy Rock!"
And, if it be asked-"Didst thou enjoy thy stay on earth?"-I shall reply: "My life was one long rosy crucifixion."
As to the meaning of this, if it is not already clear, it shall be elucidated. If I fail then I am but a dog in the manger.
Once I thought I had been wounded as no man ever had. Because I felt thus I vowed to write this book. But long before I began the book the wound had healed. Since I had sworn to fulfill my task I reopened the horrible wound.
Let me put it another way. Perhaps in opening my own wound, I closed other wounds.. Something dies, something blossoms. To suffer in ignorance is horrible. To suffer deliberately, in order to understand the nature of suffering and abolish it forever, is quite another matter. The Buddha had one fixed thought in mind all his life, as we know it. It was to eliminate human suffering.
Suffering is unnecessary. But, one has to suffer before he is able to realize that this is so. It is only then, moreover, that the true significance of human suffering becomes clear. At the last desperate moment-when one can suffer no more!-something happens which is the nature of a miracle. The great wound which was draining the blood of life closes up, the organism blossoms like a rose. One is free at last, and not "with a yearning for Russia," but with a yearning for ever more freedom, ever more bliss. The tree of life is kept alive not by tears but the knowledge that freedom is real and everlasting.
Unerringly locating Riley's dick in his loose dress pants, Jack grabbed it forcefully and leaned close to Riley's ear, hearing the quick indrawn breath from his husband. A spark of lust flashed through his own body as he contemplated what to do next. Finally he decided. He was tired of all the pussy-footing around, and the darkness of the hallway invited sin. He moved his hand on Riley's hard dick, listening to the groan in Riley's throat. Riley, you know who this belongs to? This belongs to me." He gentled the touch, twisting his hand. "I saw you flirting and sharing with those girls out there, and I'm telling you now, I don't share. No one else gets to see this.
No one else gets to touch it. No one else gets to taste it. Just me. It's mine for one whole year, and I have the contract to prove it."
Riley tried to form a reply as Jack moved his hand again. It was good to see the other man speechless for once.
"Don't worry though, husband.I'm gonna treat it so good. I've decided that I'm gonna make it,and you, feel so damn good you'll never look at another woman again. You only have to say the word, and I'll show you what you signed up for." His voice fell into a heated whisper, the words low and drawled. Now do we need to get out of here? I'm thinking I might need to take you home and show you who you belong to." Riley's eyes widened, his dick fully hard, iron in Jack's clever hands. "I can make you scream. You wouldn't even know your name when I finished with you."
Riley's voice was broken.
Everything Jack wanted to hear.
Riley blinked, unconsciously pushing his groin into Jack's hold. Jack knew what followed next was certainly not a decision Riley made with his upstairs brain. "Fuck, Jack. Let's get the hell out of here.
R.J. Scott (The Heart of Texas (Texas, #1))
What is a whore?"
Unsurprisingly, that hadn't been one of the words we had shared over the last span of days. For half a moment I considered lying, but there was no way I could manage it. "He says your mother is a person men pay money to have sex with."
Tempi turned back to the mercenary and nodded graciously. "You are very kind. I thank you.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2))
Zen teacher Lewis Richmond tells the story of hearing Shunryu Suzuki sum up Buddhism in two words. Suzuki had just finished giving a talk to a group of Zen students when someone in the audience said, “You’ve been talking about Buddhism for nearly an hour, and I haven’t been able to understand a thing you said. Could you say one thing about Buddhism I can understand?” After the laughter died down, Suzuki replied calmly, “Everything changes.” Those words, Suzuki said, contain the basic truth of existence: Everything is always in flux. Until you accept this, you won’t be able to find true equanimity.
Phil Jackson (Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success)
Would you let me drive this?" I ask, surprised that I say the words out loud.
"Of course," Christian replies, smiling. "What's mine is yours. If you dent it, though, I will take you into the Red Room of Pain." He glances swiftly at me with a malicious grin.
"You're kidding. You'd punish me for denting your car? You love your car more than you love me?" I tease.
"It's close," he says and reaches across to squeeze my knee, "But she doesn't keep me warm at night."
"I'm sure it could be arranged. You could sleep in her," I snap.
Christian laughs. "We haven't been home one day and you're kicking me out already?" He seems delighted.
E.L. James (Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades, #3))
(In Austria after VE Day)
Sergeant Mercier...dressed in a full German officer's uniform, topped off with a monocle for his right eye. Someone got the bright idea to march him over to the company orderly room and turn him in at rifle point to Captain Speirs.
Someone got word to Speirs before Mercier showed up. When troopers brought Mercier up to Speirs's desk, prodding him with bayonets, Speirs did not look up. One of the troopers snapped a salute and declared, "Sir, we have captured this German officer. What should we do with him?"
"Take him out and shoot him," Speirs replied, not looking up.
"Sir," Mercier called out, "sir, please, sir, it's me, Sergeant Mercier."
"Mercier, get out of that silly uniform," Speirs ordered.
Stephen E. Ambrose (Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest)
Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown. An ardent Jehovah’s Witness once tried to convince me that if there were a God of love, he would certainly provide mankind with a reliable and infallible textbook for the guidance of conduct. I replied that no considerate God would destroy the human mind by making it so rigid and unadaptable as to depend upon one book, the Bible, for all the answers. For the use of words, and thus of a book, is to point beyond themselves to a world of life and experience that is not mere words or even ideas. Just as money is not real, consumable wealth, books are not life. To idolize scriptures is like eating paper currency.
Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
Here,” he growled and I blinked.
“Deacon, I’m not a big fan of—”
“Future,” he cut me off. “Assert your feminism when I’m not three seconds away from fuckin’ you on your porch. I come to you, that’s gonna happen. You come to me, maybe it won’t.”
I didn’t ask that.
I asked , “So if you get your way and I come to you, you can miraculously control your base instincts?”
My body jerked and my brows shot together as the meaning of that word hit me.
“Are you counting down—?”
I planted my hands on my hips.
“You are!” I cried angrily. “You’re counting—”
“Fuck it,” he muttered, took two long strides, and I was in his arms.
Kristen Ashley (Deacon (Unfinished Hero, #4))
Buried how long?”
The answer was always the same: “Almost eighteen years.”
You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?”
You know that you are recalled to life?”
They tell me so.”
I hope that you care to live?”
I can’t say.”
Shall I show her to you? Will you come and see her?”
The answers to this question were various and contradictory. Sometimes the broken reply was, “Wait! It would kill me if I saw her too soon.” Sometimes it was given in a tender rain of tears, and then it was, “Take me to her.” Sometimes it was staring and bewildered, and then it was, “I don’t know her. I don’t understand.”
After such imaginary discourse, the passenger in his fancy would dig, and dig, dig – to dig this wretched creature out. Got out at last, with earth hanging about his face and hair, he would suddenly fall away to dust. The passenger would then start to himself, and lower the window, to get the reality of mist and rain on his cheek.
Yet even when his eyes were opened on the mist and rain, on the moving patch of light from the lamps, and the hedge of the roadside retreating by jerks, the night shadows outside the coach would fall into the train of night shadows within. Out of the midst in them, a ghostly face would rise, and he would accost it again.
Buried how long?”
Almost eighteen years.”
I hope you care to live?”
I can’t say.”
Dig – dig – dig – until an impatient movement from one of the two passengers would admonish him to pull up the window, draw his arm securely through the leather strap, and speculate on the two slumbering life forms, until his mind lost hold of them, and they again slid away into the bank and the grave.
Buried how long?”
Almost eighteen years.”
You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?”
The words were still in his hearing just as spoken – distinctly in his hearing as ever spoken words had been in his life – when the weary passenger started to the consciousness of daylight, and found that the shadows of night were gone.
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
I will show myself to him, Pet said. It is hard not to believe me when I am before you.
Jam thought about her parents. I don't know about that, she said.
Your parents are adult humans, Pet replied, pulling on the thought behind the words. Younger ones have fewer blocks about belief.
Akwaeke Emezi (Pet)
Karna gave a mirthless smile and replied evenly,'What is the use of a competition if one cannot be compared with others? Talk is the weapon of the weak; release your arrows instead of hollow words.
Kavita Kané (Karna's Wife: The Outcast's Queen)
My belief assumed a form that it commonly assumes among the educated people of our time. This belief was expressed by the word "progress." At the time it seemed to me that this word had meaning. Like any living individual, I was tormented by questions of how to live better. I still had not understood that in answering that one must live according to progress, I was talking just like a person being carried along in a boat by the waves and the wind; without really answering, such a person replies to the only important question-"Where are we to steer?"-by saying, "We are being carried somewhere.
Leo Tolstoy (A Confession)
I come not, Ambrosia for any of the purposes thou hast named," replied Marcela, "but to defend myself and to prove how unreasonable are all those who blame me for their sorrow and for Chrysostom's death; and therefore I ask all of you that are here to give me your attention, for will not take much time or many words to bring the truth home to persons of sense. Heaven has made me, so you say, beautiful, and so much so that in spite of yourselves my beauty leads you to love me; and for the love you show me you say, and even urge, that I am bound to love you. By that natural understanding which God has given me I know that everything beautiful attracts love, but I cannot see how, by reason of being loved, that which is loved for its beauty is bound to love that which loves it; besides, it may happen that the lover of that which is beautiful may be ugly, and ugliness being detestable, it is very absurd to say, "I love thee because thou art beautiful, thou must love me though I be ugly." But supposing the beauty equal on both sides, it does not follow that the inclinations must be therefore alike, for it is not every beauty that excites love, some but pleasing the eye without winning the affection; and if every sort of beauty excited love and won the heart, the will would wander vaguely to and fro unable to make choice of any; for as there is an infinity of beautiful objects there must be an infinity of inclinations, and true love, I have heard it said, is indivisible, and must be voluntary and not compelled. If this be so, as I believe it to be, why do you desire me to bend my will by force, for no other reason but that you say you love me? Nay—tell me—had Heaven made me ugly, as it has made me beautiful, could I with justice complain of you for not loving me? Moreover, you must remember that the beauty I possess was no choice of mine, for, be it what it may, Heaven of its bounty gave it me without my asking or choosing it; and as the viper, though it kills with it, does not deserve to be blamed for the poison it carries, as it is a gift of nature, neither do I deserve reproach for being beautiful; for beauty in a modest woman is like fire at a distance or a sharp sword; the one does not burn, the other does not cut, those who do not come too near. Honour and virtue are the ornaments of the mind, without which the body, though it be so, has no right to pass for beautiful; but if modesty is one of the virtues that specially lend a grace and charm to mind and body, why should she who is loved for her beauty part with it to gratify one who for his pleasure alone strives with all his might and energy to rob her of it?
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
Cavendish is a book in himself. Born into a life of sumptuous privilege- his grandfathers were dukes, respectively, of Devonshire and Kent- he was the most gifted English scientist of his age, but also the strangest. He suffered, in the words of one of his few biographers, from shyness to a "degree bordering on disease." Any human contact was for him a source of the deepest discomfort.
Once he opened his door to find an Austrian admirer, freshly arrived from Vienna, on the front step. Excitedly the Austrian began to babble out praise. For a few moments Cavendish received the compliments as if they were blows from a blunt object and then, unable to take any more, fled down the path and out the gate, leaving the front door wide open. It was some hours before he could be coaxed back to the property. Even his housekeeper communicated with him by letter.
Although he did sometimes venture into society- he was particularly devoted to the weekly scientific soirees of the great naturalist Sir Joseph Banks- it was always made clear to the other guests that Cavendish was on no account to be approached or even looked at. Those who sought his views were advised to wander into his vicinity as if by accident and to "talk as it were into vacancy." If their remarks were scientifically worthy they might receive a mumbled reply, but more often than not they would hear a peeved squeak (his voice appears to have been high pitched) and turn to find an actual vacancy and the sight of Cavendish fleeing for a more peaceful corner.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
Failure is not an event, but rather a judgment about an event. Failure is not something that happens to us or a label we attach to things. It is a way we think about outcomes. Before Jonas Salk developed a vaccine for polio that finally worked, he tried two hundred unsuccessful ones. Somebody asked him, “How did it feel to fail two hundred times?” “I never failed two hundred times in my life,” Salk replied. “I was taught not to use the word ‘failure.’ I just discovered two hundred ways how not to vaccinate for polio.
John Ortberg Jr. (If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat)
TIL KINGDOM COME you'll be the one. FOR YOU theres NO MORE KEEPING MY FEET ON THE GROUND. My head is in the clouds NOW MY FEET WONT TOUCH THE GROUND. LIFE IS FOR LIVING and i cant live until i have stolen a spot in your heart. HURTS LIKE HEAVEN and feels like hell to know your in ANOTHERS ARMS. This is no PARADISE. DONT LET IT BREAK YOU HEART i tell my self. Your BEAUTIFUL WORDS always IN MY HEAD i cant stop my self. THINGS I DONT UNDERSTAND would be you and me. LOST in your X&Y. I feel like i was SWALLOWED IN THE SEA, LOST and unseen, not a WISPER or a weep. I cry in my sleep, EVERY TEARDROP IS A WATERFALL.
Should have seen the WARNING SIGNS, they were always there like a WISPER in my ear. Every time you say hello were back at SQUARE ONE, a smile my face. SUCH A RUSH i get when i talk to you. My heart beats as fast as a HIGH SPEED race. Every second i wait for your reply like CLOCK ticking by. DAYLIGHT nears as the SLEEPING SUN is UP IN FLAMES. What if its US AGAINST THE WORLD? What if HOW YOU SEE THE WORLD is how i see it too? WHAT IF?
They passed the rest of the journey in silence, not because of any awkwardness, but because neither wished conversation to break the spell that the unfolding Highland landscape was weaving about them. And what remarks were needed here? If one listens to the talk of people looking at scenes of great natural beauty, their words are often revealing. “Isn’t it beautiful?” is what is most frequently said; to which the reply, ‘Yes, beautiful,” adds little. What is happening, of course, is a sharing. We wish to share beauty as if it were a discovery; but one can share in silence, and perhaps the sharing is all the more powerful for it.
Alexander McCall Smith (The Dog who Came in from the Cold (Corduroy Mansions, #2))
He takes two tea bags in a four-ounce cup and he doesn’t mince words: when a pair of earnest British journalists once asked him how he thought the tigers could be saved, his answer, “AIDS,” caught them off guard.
“But don’t you care about people?” one of them asked.
“Not really,” he replied. “Especially not the Chinese.
John Vaillant (The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival)
You swore to stay with me." Will said. "When we made our oath as Parabatai. Our souls are knit, we are one person, James."
"We are two people, two people with a covenant between us."
"The convent says you must not where I cannot come with you."
"'Until death,'' Jem replied gently. "Those are the words. 'Until aught but death part thee and me.
You can say whatever you like to me. I'm your oyster."
Before she could restrain herself, an appalled giggle escaped her. "Please don't say that. You're no such thing."
"You can choose another word, if you like." Mr. Severin extended his arm to escort her downstairs. "But the fact is, if you ever need anything- any favor, any service, large or small- I'm the one to send for. No questions asked. No obligations attached. Will you remember that?"
Cassandra hesitated before taking his arm. "I'll remember." As they proceeded to the first floor, she asked in bewilderment, "But why would you make such a promise?"
"Haven't you ever liked someone or something right away, without knowing exactly why, but feeling sure you would discover the reasons later?"
She couldn't help smiling at that, thinking, Yes, as a matter of fact. Just now. But it would be too forward to say so, and besides, it would be wrong to encourage him. "I would be glad to call you a friend, Mr. Severin. But I'm afraid marriage will never be a possibility. We don't suit. I could please you only in the most superficial ways."
"I would be happy with that," he said. "Superficial relationships are my favorite kind."
A regretful smile lingered at her lips. "Mr. Severin, you couldn't give me the life I've always dreamed of."
"I hope your dream comes true, my lady. But if it doesn't, I could offer you some very satisfying substitutes."
"Not if you're heart is frozen," Cassandra said.
Mr. Severin grinned at that, and made no reply. But as they neared the last step, she heard his reflective, almost puzzled murmur.
"Actually... I think it just thawed a little.
Lisa Kleypas (Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6))
I do not find myself making any use of the word sacrifice," said she. — "In not one of all my clever replies, my delicate negatives, is there any allusion to making a sacrifice. I do suspect that he is not really necessary to my happiness.
Jane Austen (Emma)
As they walked, Tehol spoke. ‘…the assumption is the foundation stone of Letherii society, perhaps all societies the world over. The notion of inequity, my friends. For from inequity derives the concept of value, whether measured by money or the countless other means of gauging human worth. Simply put, there resides in all of us the unchallenged belief that the poor and the starving are in some way deserving of their fate. In other words, there will always be poor people. A truism to grant structure to the continual task of comparison, the establishment through observation of not our mutual similarities, but our essential differences. ‘I know what you’re thinking, to which I have no choice but to challenge you both. Like this. Imagine walking down this street, doling out coins by the thousands. Until everyone here is in possession of vast wealth. A solution? No, you say, because among these suddenly rich folk there will be perhaps a majority who will prove wasteful, profligate and foolish, and before long they will be poor once again. Besides, if wealth were distributed in such a fashion, the coins themselves would lose all value—they would cease being useful. And without such utility, the entire social structure we love so dearly would collapse. ‘Ah, but to that I say, so what? There are other ways of measuring self-worth. To which you both heatedly reply: with no value applicable to labour, all sense of worth vanishes! And in answer to that I simply smile and shake my head. Labour and its product become the negotiable commodities. But wait, you object, then value sneaks in after all! Because a man who makes bricks cannot be equated with, say, a man who paints portraits. Material is inherently value-laden, on the basis of our need to assert comparison—but ah, was I not challenging the very assumption that one must proceed with such intricate structures of value? ‘And so you ask, what’s your point, Tehol? To which I reply with a shrug. Did I say my discourse was a valuable means of using this time? I did not. No, you assumed it was. Thus proving my point!’ ‘I’m sorry, master,’ Bugg said, ‘but what was that point again?’ ‘I forget. But we’ve arrived. Behold, gentlemen, the poor.
Steven Erikson (Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5))
We have to discard the past
and, as one builds
floor by floor, window by window,
and the building rises,
so do we keep shedding --
first, broken tiles,
then proud doors,
until, from the past,
as if it would crash
against the floor,
as if it were on fire,
and each new day
like an empty
There is nothing, there was always nothing.
It all has to be filled
with a new, expanding
as in a well
falls yesterday's water,
into the cistern
of all that is now without a voice, without fire.
It is difficult
to get bones used
to teach eyes
we do it
Everything was alive,
like a scarlet fish,
passed with cloth and darkness
and kept wiping away
the flash of the fish.
Water water water,
the past goes on falling
although it keeps a grip
and on roots.
It went, it went, and now
memories mean nothing.
Now the heavy eyelid
shut out the light of the eye
and what was once alive
is now no longer living;
what we were, we are not.
And with words, although the letters
still have transparency and sound,
they change, and the mouth changes;
the same mouth is now another mouth;
they change, lips, skin, circulation;
another soul took on our skeleton;
what once was in us now is not.
It left, but if they call, we reply
"I am here," and we realize we are not,
that what was once, was and is lost,
lost in the past, and now does not come back."
Pablo Neruda (Fully Empowered)
When Jesus finished teaching in a synagogue one day, a woman called out from the audience, 'God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!' Yet Jesus replied to this common blessing with 'But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.' Women aren't simply or only blessed by giving birth to greatness; no, we are all blessed when we hear the Word of God—Jesus—and put it into practice. We don't rely on secondhand blessings in Jesus.
Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)
It doesn't matter who came to talk to me,' he said (Barack Obama). He went on to say that I needed to realize the power of my words. I could not send emails like that because they - I am paraphrasing - freak everyone out.
Developing self-awareness is a lifelong process; you don't just wake up one day and have all you need. So even though I'd spend the last few months demonstrating that I was cable and knew what I was doing, this was something of a revelation. When the president of the United States tells you your words are powerful, it can be pretty shocking. I honestly didn't think anyone would give a shit if I sent a snippy email.
It was good advice, specifically to me at the time but generally as it relates to any kind of replying-all in life: Think about how what you say could affect people, from the top down. It was also a wake-up call for me about my state of mind: I didn't know why (yet) - though I'm sure I did, deep down - but my temper was getting worse, and my fuse shorter and shorter.
Alyssa Mastromonaco (Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House)
You speak as if you envied him."
"And I do envy him, Emma. In one respect he is the object of my envy."
Emma could say no more. They seemed to be within half a sentence of Harriet, and her immediate feeling was to avert the subject, if possible. She made her plan; she would speak of something totally different—the children in Brunswick Square; and she only waited for breath to begin, when Mr. Knightley startled her, by saying,
"You will not ask me what is the point of envy.—You are determined, I see, to have no curiosity.—You are wise—but I cannot be wise. Emma, I must tell you what you will not ask, though I may wish it unsaid the next moment."
"Oh! then, don't speak it, don't speak it," she eagerly cried. "Take a little time, consider, do not commit yourself."
"Thank you," said he, in an accent of deep mortification, and not another syllable followed.
Emma could not bear to give him pain. He was wishing to confide in her—perhaps to consult her;—cost her what it would, she would listen. She might assist his resolution, or reconcile him to it; she might give just praise to Harriet, or, by representing to him his own independence, relieve him from that state of indecision, which must be more intolerable than any alternative to such a mind as his.—They had reached the house.
"You are going in, I suppose?" said he.
"No,"—replied Emma—quite confirmed by the depressed manner in which he still spoke—"I should like to take another turn. Mr. Perry is not gone." And, after proceeding a few steps, she added—"I stopped you ungraciously, just now, Mr. Knightley, and, I am afraid, gave you pain.—But if you have any wish to speak openly to me as a friend, or to ask my opinion of any thing that you may have in contemplation—as a friend, indeed, you may command me.—I will hear whatever you like. I will tell you exactly what I think."
"As a friend!"—repeated Mr. Knightley.—"Emma, that I fear is a word—No, I have no wish—Stay, yes, why should I hesitate?—I have gone too far already for concealment.—Emma, I accept your offer—Extraordinary as it may seem, I accept it, and refer myself to you as a friend.—Tell me, then, have I no chance of ever succeeding?"
He stopped in his earnestness to look the question, and the expression of his eyes overpowered her.
"My dearest Emma," said he, "for dearest you will always be, whatever the event of this hour's conversation, my dearest, most beloved Emma—tell me at once. Say 'No,' if it is to be said."—She could really say nothing.—"You are silent," he cried, with great animation; "absolutely silent! at present I ask no more."
Emma was almost ready to sink under the agitation of this moment. The dread of being awakened from the happiest dream, was perhaps the most prominent feeling.
"I cannot make speeches, Emma:" he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing.—"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am.—You hear nothing but truth from me.—I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.—Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover.—But you understand me.—Yes, you see, you understand my feelings—and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice.
Jane Austen (Emma)
‘You are your” “Past, Present,” “& Future,’ he said” ” ‘You divide into” “those components” “in this room’ ” ” ‘But I do not have” “components!’ ” “our three voices said,” ” ‘My
secret name—” “Time’s secret name” “is Oneness,” “is One Thing’ ” “As I—the one” “in the middle—spoke,” “the one of us in front—” “who was the Past—” “had already” “finished speaking” “& was awaiting” “his reply” “He said,” ” ‘Don’t we seem” “to experience” “things
somewhat this way?” “There is past, present” :& future’ ” “The Future then cried out,” ” ‘Where is my life?” ‘Where is my life?” “You have stolen” “my life!’ ” “There was a silence” “The man” “reached out &” “pressed a button” “on the cave wall—” “we three united” “into
one again” “while he wrote words on” “a clipboard” “Then he looked up & said,” ” ‘Going forward?” “Going on?” “Death lies ahead, you know’ ” “Any woman” “may already” “be dead,’ ” “I said
Alice Notley (The Descent of Alette)
I don’t know what to . . . to think.” There was a horrifying burn of tears crawling up my throat.
“This is all overwhelming for you, I imagine. The whole world as you know it is on the brink of great change, and you’re here and don’t even know my name.” The man smiled so broadly, I wondered if it hurt. “You can call me Rolland.” Then he extended a hand.
My gaze dropped to it and I made no attempt to take it.
Rolland chuckled as he turned and strolled back to the desk. “So, you’re a hybrid? Mutated and linked to him on such an intense level that if one of you dies, so does the other?”
His question caught me off guard, but I kept quiet.
He sat on the edge of the desk. “You’re actually the first hybrid I’ve seen.”
“She really isn’t anything special.” The redhead sneered. “Frankly, she’s rather filthy, like an unclean animal.”
As stupid as it was, my cheeks heated, because I was filthy, and Daemon had just physically removed me from him. My pride—my everything—was officially wounded.
Rolland chuckled. “She’s had a rough day, Sadi.”
At her name, every muscle in my body locked up, and my gaze swung back to her. That was Sadi? The one Dee said was trying to molest Daemon—my Daemon? Anger punched through the confusion and hurt. Of course it would have to be a freaking walking and talking model and not a hag.
“Rough day or not, I can’t imagine she cleans up well.” Sadi looked at Daemon as she placed a hand on his chest. “I’m kind of disappointed.”
“Are you?” Daemon replied.
Every hair on my body rose as my arms unfolded.
“Yes,” she purred. “I really think you can do better. Lots better.” As she spoke, she trailed red-painted fingers down the center of his chest, over his abdomen, heading straight for the button on his jeans.
And oh, hell to the no. “Get your hands off him.”
Sadi’s head snapped in my direction. “Excuse me?”
“I don’t think I stuttered.” I took a step forward. “But it looks like you need me to repeat it. Get your freaking hands off him.”
One side of her plump red lips curled up. “You want to make me?”
In the back of my head, I was aware that Sadi didn’t move or speak like the other Luxen. Her mannerisms were too human, but then that thought was quickly chased away when Daemon reached down and pulled her hand away.
“Stop it,” he murmured, voice dropped low in that teasing way of his.
I saw red.
The pictures on the wall rattled and the papers on the desk started to lift up. Static charged over my skin. I was about to pull a Beth right here, seconds away from floating to the ceiling and ripping out every strand of red—
“And you stop it,” Daemon said, but the teasing quality was gone from his words. There was a warning in them that took the wind right out of my pissed-off sails.
The pictures settled as I gaped at him. Being slapped in the face would’ve been better.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Opposition (Lux, #5))
You are the king no doubt, but in one respect,
at least, I am your equal: the right to reply.
I claim that privilege too.
I am not your slave. I serve Apollo.
I don't need Creon to speak for me in public.
you mock my blindness? Let me tell you this.
You with your precious eyes,
you're blind to the corruption in your life,
to the house you live in, those you live with-
who are your parents? Do you know? All unknowing
you are the scourge of your own flesh and blood,
the dead below the earth and the living here above,
and the double lash of your mother and your father's curse
will whip you from this land one day, their footfall
treading you down in terror, darkness shrouding
your eyes that now can see the light!
you'll scream aloud - what haven won't reverberate?
What rock of Cithaeron won't scream back in echo?
That day you learn the truth about your marriage,
the wedding-march that sang you into your halls,
the lusty voyage home to the fatal harbor!
And a crowd of other horrors you'd never dream
will level you with yourself and all your children.
There. Now smear us with insults - Creon, myself
and every word I've said. No man will ever
be rooted from the earth as brutally as you.
Robert Fagles (The Oedipus Cycle: Oedipus Rex / Oedipus at Colonus / Antigone)
The communication between Mr. Blackwood and Mr. Rochester went as follows:
Dear Mr. Rochester,
I'm writing to inquire about a governess you recently hired, a certain Miss Eyre. I believe she may be of great importance to the RWS Society, and I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with her.
A reply was delivered rather quickly:
Dear Mr. Black,
Mr. Blackwood would not be deterred so easily, so naturally he tried again:
Dear Mr. Rochester,
Please. It's important.
Only one word came in return:
Cynthia Hand (My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies, #2))
Glorious,' said Steerpike, 'is a dictionary word. We are all imprisoned by the dictionary. We choose out of that vast, paper-walled prison our convicts, the little black printed words, when in truth we need fresh sounds to utter, new enfranchised noises which would produce a new effect. In dead and shackled language, my dears, you *are* glorious, but oh, to give vent to a brand new sounds that might convince you of what I really think of you, as you sit there in your purple splendour, side by side! But no, it is impossible. Life is too fleet for onomatopoeia. Dead words defy me. I can make no sound, dear ladies, that is apt.' 'You could try,' said Clarice. 'We aren't busy.' She smoothed the shining fabric of her dress with her long, lifeless fingers. 'Impossible,' replied the youth, rubbing his chin. 'Quite impossible. Only believe in my admiration for your beauty that will one day be recognized by the whole castle. Meanwhile, preserve all dignity and silent power in your twin bosoms.
Mervyn Peake (Titus Groan (Gormenghast, #1))
Justin: I am falling so in love with you.
Her body electrified. Celeste wiped her eyes and read his text again. The drone of the plane disappeared; the turbulence was no more. There was only Justin and his words.
Justin: I lose myself and find myself at the same time with you.
Justin: I need you, Celeste. I need you as part of my world, because for the first time, I am connected to someone in a way that has meaning. And truth. Maybe our distance has strengthened what I feel between us since we’re not grounded in habit or daily convenience. We have to fight for what we have.
Justin: I don’t know if I can equate what I feel for you with anything else. Except maybe one thing, if this makes any sense.
Justin: I go to this spot at Sunset Cliffs sometimes. It’s usually a place crowded with tourists, but certain times of year are quieter. I like it then. And there’s a high spot on the sandstone cliff, surrounded by this gorgeous ice plant, and it overlooks the most beautiful water view you’ve ever seen. I’m on top of the world there, it seems.
Justin: And everything fits, you know? Life feels right. As though I could take on anything, do anything. And sometimes, when I’m feeling overcome with gratitude for the view and for what I have, I jump so that I remember to continue to be courageous because not every piece of life will feel so in place.
Justin: It’s a twenty-foot drop, the water is only in the high fifties, and it’s a damn scary experience. But it’s a wonderful fear. One that I know I can get through and one that I want.
Justin: That’s what it’s like with you. I am scared because you are so beyond anything I could have imagined. I become so much more with you beside me. That’s terrifying, by the way. But I will be brave because my fear only comes from finally having something deeply powerful to lose. That’s my connection with you. It would be a massive loss.
Justin: And now I am in the car and about to see you, so don’t reply. I’m too flipping terrified to hear what you think of my rant. It’s hard not to pour my heart out once I start. If you think I’m out of mind, just wave your hands in horror when you spot the lovesick guy at the airport.
Ten minutes went by. He had said not to reply, so she hadn’t.
Justin: Let’s hope I don’t get pulled over for speeding… but I’m at a stoplight now.
Justin: God, I hope you aren’t… aren’t… something bad.
Celeste: Hey, Justin?
Justin: I TOLD YOU NOT TO REPLY!
Justin: I know, I know. But I’m happy you did because I lost it there for a minute.
Celeste: HEY, JUSTIN?
Justin: Sorry… Hey, Celeste?
Celeste: I am, unequivocally and wholly falling in love with you, too.
Justin: Now I’m definitely speeding. I will see you soon.
Jessica Park (Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love, #2))
School went exactly as Violet thought it would: weird. It wasn’t her best, and it wasn’t her worst, day ever. It was just weird.
Jay was true to his word, deciding not to hold anything back. And it started the second they got out of the car, when he claimed her hand and refused to let go, even when Violet tugged and pulled to try to get it away from him. He ignored her mute protests and held on tight, smiling more to himself than to her, and paraded her right into the school like that.
Not that they’d never held hands before, because they had. But this was entirely different, and Jay was hell-bent on making sure that everyone knew it. And just in case anyone wondered what the hand-holding actually meant, he made sure to clear things up for them by planting a big, albeit very satisfying, kiss on her lips, right in the middle of the hallway. Violet didn’t try to pull away from that; in fact, she was dismayed to find herself leaning into him, craving more, and not caring—at least at that moment—who might see them together.
Unfortunately that person turned out to be Chelsea. Chelsea, of all people, along with Claire, who happened to walk up at very inopportune instant.
“Well, well, well,” Chelsea said in an oh-so-innocent voice. “Look what we have here, Claire-bear. It’s old Jay and Violet.” The unconcealed smile was embedded deep in her voice. “Only, and correct me if I’m wrong, this looks a little more than friendly, don’t you think?”
“I never kiss my friends like that,” Claire replied, blank-faced and serious, oblivious to sarcasm.
Jay’s answer was to pull Violet closer, wrapping his arm around her waist. Violet cringed.
Chelsea cocked her head at Claire. “I was just trying to make a point.”
Claire looked confused. “What point?”
“Seriously, Claire? That Violet and Jay are dating now.” She glanced away from poor confused Claire and flashed a gloating look to the couple in front of her. “It’s about time, by the way. I think everyone will thank you for putting us all out of our misery. I, for one, was completely fed up with watching you two lovesick puppies pining over each other. Seriously, it was disgusting.”
She grabbed Claire by the sleeve of her snug, body-hugging hoodie and led her down the hallway, toward their first-period class. Violet watched in stunned silence, processing everything that Chelsea had said to them, as Claire bounded along in Chelsea’s commanding wake.
Jay decided that it was his turn to gloat. “You pined for me?” he asked, stupid grin and all.
Violet hit him in the arm. “Shut up!” She shook her head. “I’m pretty sure she was talking about you anyway.
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1))
Phoebe, the fact that I asked you to be a chaperone should have made it obvious that I didn't want a chaperone at all."
"I have no desire to be one," Phoebe retorted. "However, the children are asking why you're taking so long, and I can't very well explain that you're a libidinous goat."
"No," Gabriel replied, "because then you would sound like a parsimonious prig."
Pandora was perplexed by the quick, fond grins the siblings exchanged after the sharp words.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
You still haven't told me what you're up to,’ she said at last.
‘One more minute,’ Tamani said, smiling against her lips.
‘We don't need minutes,’ Laurel said. ‘We have forever.’
Tamani pulled back to look at her, his eyes shining with wonder. ‘Forever,’ he whispered
before pulling her into another kiss.
‘So does this make us entwined?’ Laurel asked, a sharp twinge of grief piercing her
happiness as she repeated the word Katya had used, so long ago, to describe committed faerie couples.
‘I believe it does,’ Tamani said, beaming. He leaned closer, his nose touching hers. ‘A sentry and a mixer? We shall be quite the scandal.’
Laurel smiled. ‘I love a good scandal.’
‘I love you,’ Tamani whispered.
‘I love you, too,’ Laurel replied, relishing the words as she said them. And with them, the
world was new and bright-- there was hope. There were dreams.
But most of all, there was Tamani.’ “
Destined pgs. 284-292.
Aprilynne Pike (Destined (Wings, #4))
This story takes place a half a billion years ago-an inconceivably long time ago, when this planet would be all but recognizable to you. Nothing at all stirred on the land except the wind and the dust. Not a single blade of grass waved in the wind, not a single cricket chirped, not a single bird soared in the sky. All these things were tens of millions of years away in the future.
But of course there was an anthropologist on hand. What sort of world would it be without an anthropologist? He was, however a very depressed and disillusioned anthropologist, for he'd been everywhere on the planet looking for someone to interview, and every tape in his knapsack was as blank as the sky. But one day as he was moping alongside the ocean he saw what seemed to be a living creature in the shallows off shore. It was nothing to brag about, just sort of a squishy blob, but it was the only prospect he'd seen in all his journeys, so he waded out to where it was bobbing in the waves.
He greeted the creature politely and was greeted in kind, and soon the two of them were good friends. The anthropologist explained as well as he could that he was a student of life-styles and customs, and begged his new friend for information of this sort, which was readily forthcoming. ‘And now’, he said at last, ‘I'd like to get on tape in your own words some of the stories you tell among yourselves.’
‘Stories?’ the other asked.
‘You know, like your creation myth, if you have one.’
‘What is a creation myth?’ the creature asked.
‘Oh, you know,’ the anthropologist replied, ‘the fanciful tale you tell your children about the origins of the world.’
Well, at this, the creature drew itself up indignantly- at least as well as a squishy blob can do- and replied that his people had no such fanciful tale.
‘You have no account of creation then?’
‘Certainly we have an account of creation,’ the other snapped. ‘But its definitely not a myth.’
‘Oh certainly not,’ the anthropologist said, remembering his training at last. ‘Ill be terribly grateful if you share it with me.’
‘Very well,’ the creature said. ‘But I want you to understand that, like you, we are a strictly rational people, who accept nothing that is not based on observation, logic, and scientific method.’
‘"Of course, of course,’ the anthropologist agreed.
So at last the creature began its story. ‘The universe,’ it said, ‘was born a long, long time ago, perhaps ten or fifteen billion years ago. Our own solar system-this star, this planet, and all the others- seem to have come into being some two or three billion years ago. For a long time, nothing whatever lived here. But then, after a billion years or so, life appeared.’
‘Excuse me,’ the anthropologist said. ‘You say that life appeared. Where did that happen, according to your myth- I mean, according to your scientific account.’
The creature seemed baffled by the question and turned a pale lavender. ‘Do you mean in what precise spot?’
‘No. I mean, did this happen on land or in the sea?’
‘Land?’ the other asked. ‘What is land?’
‘Oh, you know,’ he said, waving toward the shore, ‘the expanse of dirt and rocks that begins over there.’
The creature turned a deeper shade of lavender and said, ‘I cant imagine what you're gibbering about. The dirt and rocks over there are simply the lip of the vast bowl that holds the sea.’
‘Oh yes,’ the anthropologist said, ‘I see what you mean. Quite. Go on.’
‘Very well,’ the other said. ‘For many millions of centuries the life of the world was merely microorganisms floating helplessly in a chemical broth. But little by little, more complex forms appeared: single-celled creatures, slimes, algae, polyps, and so on.’
‘But finally,’ the creature said, turning quite pink with pride as he came to the climax of his story, ‘but finally jellyfish appeared!
Daniel Quinn (Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit (Ishmael, #1))
Remember the one who wanted to know where you learned to handle so casually a technical term like “angle of repose”? I suppose you replied, “By living with an engineer.” But you were too alert to the figurative possibilities of words not to see the phrase as descriptive of human as well as detrital rest. As you said, it was too good for mere dirt; you tried to apply it to your own wandering and uneasy life. It is the angle I am aiming for myself, and I don’t mean the rigid angle at which I rest in this chair. I wonder if you ever reached it. There was a time up there in Idaho when everything was wrong; your husband’s career, your marriage, your sense of yourself, your confidence, all came unglued together. Did you come down out of that into some restful 30° angle and live happily ever after?
Wallace Stegner (Angle of Repose)
I first met Winston Churchill in the early summer of 1906 at a dinner party to which I went as a very young girl. Our hostess was Lady Wemyss and I remember that Arthur Balfour, George Wyndman, Hilaire Belloc and Charles Whibley were among the guests…
I found myself sitting next to this young man who seemed to me quite different from any other young man I had ever met. For a long time he seemed sunk in abstraction. Then he appeared to become suddenly aware of my existence. He turned on me a lowering gaze and asked me abruptly how old I was. I replied that I was nineteen. “And I,” he said despairingly, “am thirty-two already. Younger than anyone else who counts, though, “he added, as if to comfort himself. Then savagely: “Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is this allotted span for all we must cram into it!” And he burst forth into an eloquent diatribe on the shortness of human life, the immensity of possible human accomplishment—a theme so well exploited by the poets, prophets, and philosophers of all ages that it might seem difficult to invest it with new and startling significance. Yet for me he did so, in a torrent of magnificent language which appeared to be both effortless and inexhaustible and ended up with the words I shall always remember: “We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow worm.”
By this time I was convinced of it—and my conviction remained unshaken throughout the years that followed. Later he asked me whether I thought that words had a magic and music quite independent of their meaning. I said I certainly thought so, and I quoted as a classic though familiar instance the first lines that came into my head.
Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
His eyes blazed with excitement. “Say that again,” he said, “say it again—it is marvelous!” “But I objected, “You know these lines. You know the ‘Ode to a Nightengale.’ ” He had apparently never read or heard of it before (I must, however, add that next time I met him he had not learned not merely this but all of the odes to Keats by heart—and he recited them quite mercilessly from start to finish, not sparing me a syllable).
Finding that he liked poetry, I quoted to him from one of my own favorite poets, Blake. He listened avidly, repeating some lines to himself with varying emphases and stresses, then added meditatively: “I never knew that old Admiral had found so much time to write such good poetry.” I was astounded that he, with his acute susceptibility to words and power of using them, should have left such tracts of English literature entirely unexplored. But however it happened he had lost nothing by it, when he approached books it was “with a hungry, empty mind and with fairly srong jaws, and what I got I *bit*.” And his ear for the beauty of language needed no tuning fork.
Until the end of dinner I listened to him spellbound. I can remember thinking: This is what people mean when they talk of seeing stars. That is what I am doing now. I do not to this day know who was on my other side. Good manners, social obligation, duty—all had gone with the wind. I was transfixed, transported into a new element. I knew only that I had seen a great light. I recognized it as the light of genius…
I cannot attempt to analyze, still less transmit, the light of genius. But I will try to set down, as I remember them, some of the differences which struck me between him and all the others, young and old, whom I have known.
First and foremost he was incalculable. He ran true to no form. There lurked in his every thought and world the ambush of the unexpected. I felt also that the impact of life, ideas and even words upon his mind, was not only vivid and immediate, but direct. Between him and them there was no shock absorber of vicarious thought or precedent gleaned either from books or other minds. His relationship wit
Violet Bonham Carter
Can people of color be racist?” I reply, “The answer depends on your definition of racism.” If one defines racism as racial prejudice, the answer is yes. People of color can and do have racial prejudices. However, if one defines racism as a system of advantage based on race, the answer is no. People of color are not racist because they do not systematically benefit from racism. And equally important, there is no systematic cultural and institutional support or sanction for the racial bigotry of people of color. In my view, reserving the term racist only for behaviors committed by whites in the context of a white-dominated society is a way of acknowledging the ever-present power differential afforded whites by the culture and institutions that make up the system of advantage and continue to reinforce notions of white superiority. (Using the same logic, I reserve the word sexist for men. Though women can and do have gender-based prejudices, only men systematically benefit from sexism.)
Paula S. Rothenberg (Race, Class, and Gender in the United States 5e & Pocket Style Manual 3e 01 Upd: An Integrated Study)
I already knew what I’d research. I wrote the words ‘Courtly love’ on my notepad in swirly script, then caught Hayden peering at it.
‘Courtly love? Sorry, Aurora, but I think I’ve already got that one in the bag.’
‘I think you’d better think again, because I’ve already claimed it,’ I replied.
‘You just said you’re not the Mills & Boon type and, technically, courtly love could be considered historical romance.’ He grinned. ‘As you don’t want to pollute your mind with any clichéd topics, you should probably leave that one to me.’
‘You, discussing romance? Ha!’
Hayden put on a hurt face. ‘I think I might be alright at it. After all, I’ve been doing a lot of observing lately.’ He gave me a significant look.
‘Observing?’ I repeated, curiosity getting the better of me.
‘Well, you keep accusing me of spying on your dates,’ he said, and shrugged. ‘So, technically, I guess I’m learning about romance firsthand. It seems kind of brutal, judging from the goodnight ritual I saw last night.’
My blood wasn’t boiling, but it was pretty warm. Despite that, I was not going to lose my temper. I was determined that this year Hayden Paris wasn’t going to destroy my composure.
You’re not the type of man to fuck,” she countered.
His brows shot up. “Oh really? I’m too nice of a guy?”
“Something like that.”
“I’m a man, Megan. We all have needs. Isn’t fucking one of them?”
Her body trembled slightly at his words. She licked her lips before replying, “S-Stop saying that word-it isn’t you.”
“So fucking isn’t me? Don’t tell me you think I’m totally asexual – that you can’t imagine me fucking a woman…fucking you.” He eased in closer to her. “We both know for a fact that you wanted nothing more than to fuck me the night of Noah’s baptism. Given the chance right now, you’d let me strip off your scrubs and fuck you up against the medicine cabinet.
Katie Ashley (The Pairing (The Proposition, #3))
What rhymes with insensitive?” I tap my pen on the kitchen table, beyond frustrated with my current task. Who knew rhyming was so fucking difficult?
Garrett, who’s dicing onions at the counter, glances over. “Sensitive,” he says helpfully.
“Yes, G, I’ll be sure to rhyme insensitive with sensitive. Gold star for you.”
On the other side of the kitchen, Tucker finishes loading the dishwasher and turns to frown at me. “What the hell are you doing over there, anyway? You’ve been scribbling on that notepad for the past hour.”
“I’m writing a love poem,” I answer without thinking. Then I slam my lips together, realizing what I’ve done.
Dead silence crashes over the kitchen.
Garrett and Tucker exchange a look. An extremely long look. Then, perfectly synchronized, their heads shift in my direction, and they stare at me as if I’ve just escaped from a mental institution. I may as well have. There’s no other reason for why I’m voluntarily writing poetry right now. And that’s not even the craziest item on Grace’s list.
That’s right. I said it. List. The little brat texted me not one, not two, but six tasks to complete before she agrees to a date. Or maybe gestures is a better way to phrase it...
“I just have one question,” Garrett starts.
“Really?” Tuck says. “Because I have many.”
Sighing, I put my pen down. “Go ahead. Get it out of your systems.”
Garrett crosses his arms. “This is for a chick, right? Because if you’re doing it for funsies, then that’s just plain weird.”
“It’s for Grace,” I reply through clenched teeth.
My best friend nods solemnly.
Then he keels over. Asshole. I scowl as he clutches his side, his broad back shuddering with each bellowing laugh. And even while racked with laughter, he manages to pull his phone from his pocket and start typing.
“What are you doing?” I demand.
“Texting Wellsy. She needs to know this.”
“I hate you.”
I’m so busy glaring at Garrett that I don’t notice what Tucker’s up to until it’s too late. He snatches the notepad from the table, studies it, and hoots loudly. “Holy shit. G, he rhymed jackass with Cutlass.”
“Cutlass?” Garrett wheezes. “Like the sword?”
“The car,” I mutter. “I was comparing her lips to this cherry-red Cutlass I fixed up when I was a kid. Drawing on my own experience, that kind of thing.”
Tucker shakes his head in exasperation. “You should have compared them to cherries, dumbass.”
He’s right. I should have. I’m a terrible poet and I do know it.
“Hey,” I say as inspiration strikes. “What if I steal the words to “Amazing Grace”? I can change it to…um…Terrific Grace.”
“Yup,” Garrett cracks. “Pure gold right there. Terrific Grace.”
I ponder the next line. “How sweet…”
“Your ass,” Tucker supplies.
Garrett snorts. “Brilliant minds at work. Terrific Grace, how sweet your ass.” He types on his phone again.
“Jesus Christ, will you quit dictating this conversation to Hannah?” I grumble. “Bros before hos, dude.”
“Call my girlfriend a ho one more time and you won’t have a bro.”
Tucker chuckles. “Seriously, why are you writing poetry for this chick?”
“Because I’m trying to win her back. This is one of her requirements.”
That gets Garrett’s attention. He perks up, phone poised in hand as he asks, “What are the other ones?”
“None of your fucking business.”
“Golly gee, if you do half as good a job on those as you’re doing with this epic poem, then you’ll get her back in no time!”
I give him the finger. “Sarcasm not appreciated.” Then I swipe the notepad from Tuck’s hand and head for the doorway. “PS? Next time either of you need to score points with your ladies? Don’t ask me for help. Jackasses.”
Their wild laughter follows me all the way upstairs. I duck into my room and kick the door shut, then spend the next hour typing up the sorriest excuse for poetry on my laptop. Jesus. I’m putting more effort into this damn poem than for my actual classes.
Elle Kennedy (The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2))
Taking deep breaths, I gathered my power until I could feel it crackling in my fingertips. "Let him go!" I commanded in what I hoped was my most "I am a powerful demon" voice. Probably would've been better if my voice hadn't cracked on the last word. I released the magic in my hands, which felt kind of like snapping a giant rubber band.
A bolt of power flew from my fingertips, crashing into a nearby tree with a thunderous crack. There was a bright flash like lightning, and a branch fell to the ground. The ghouls startled, which meant the one holding Archer jerked his head back even farther. The smallest one made a noise that might have been distress, but they certainly didn't seem under my control.
And they weren't letting Archer go.
Okay, so my first experiment with necromancy was an epic fail.Take two.
I fought panic and frustration. Shooting off my magic at the ghouls was no good, but what else was I supposed to try? "Think,Sophie," I muttered under my breath.
"Yeah,please do that," Archer replied, his voice slightly strangled. The ghoul holding him had wrapped a hand around Archer's throat. The thing's expression wasn't threatening, just curious, like he was little kid trying to see what would happen if he just kept squeezing.
I slammed my eyes shut. Okay, they were dead. Yucky dead things. That smelled like-okay, those thoughts were not helpful.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
Maxine will sometimes compliment us on our hair or other aspects of our scruffy appearance. The next day, or even later the same day, she'll send an all-caps e-mail asking why a certain form is not on her desk. This will prompt a peppy reply, one barely stifling a howl of fear:
The document you want was actually put in your in-box yesterday around lunchtime. I also e-mailed it to you and Russell. Let me know if you can't find it!
P.S. I'm also attaching it again as a Word doc, just in case.
There's so much wrong here: the fake-vague around lunchtime, the nonsensical Thanks, the quasi-casual postscript. The exclamation points look downright psychotic.
Ed Park (Personal Days)
The majority of the employees here are civilians," explained my Alderman guide/protector/companion/would-be-executioner as we strode without a word to the security guards through the foyer towards the lifts. "They conduct themselves within perfectly standard financial services and regulations. There is one specialist suboperational department catering to the financing of more...unusual extra-capital ventures, and the executive assets who operate it have to undergo a rigorous level of training, psyche evaluation, personality assessment, and team operational analyses."
We stared at him, and said, "We barely understood the little words."
"No," he replied, "I didn't think you would.
Kate Griffin (The Midnight Mayor (Matthew Swift, #2))
Though Ailes had spent more than four decades in Washington, D.C., and New York City, he still saw himself as a scrapper from a small town in a flyover state who’d had to fight for everything he had. When asked by one reporter what his antagonists thought of him, he replied, “I can pretty much pick the words for you: paranoid, right-wing, fat.
Gabriel Sherman (The Loudest Voice in the Room: How Roger Ailes and Fox News Remade American Politics)
Long after the celebrations were over, as she was fixing him a late-night snack in her lodge—their lodge, she asked without looking at him, “Are you sure you’re okay with being a member of both packs? I mean, you don’t feel like you’ve betrayed Trey?” It would be stupid, but she could understand it.
From his seat at the kitchen table, he replied, “Hmm.” He had no idea what she’d asked. Come on, did she really expect him to understand a word she said when she was strolling around in nothing but a tank top and a pair of boy shorts? It was one of the hottest things ever and gave him little peaks of that ass he loved. It didn’t matter that he’d been inside her only twenty minutes ago. He could never get enough of her.
Confused by his response, she looked over her shoulder . . . and rolled her eyes. “Could you stop ogling my ass for just one second?”
Suzanne Wright (Dark Instincts (The Phoenix Pack, #4))
Here's why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot speak, so I listen very well. I never interrupt, I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another's conversations constantly. It's like having a passenger in your car who suddenly grabs the steering wheel and turns you down a side street. For instance, if we met a party and I wanted to tell you a story about the time I needed to get a soccer ball in my neighbor's yard but his dog chased me and I had to jump into a swimming pool to escape, and I began telling the story , you, upon hearing the words 'soccer' and 'neighbor' in the same sentence, might interrupt and mention that your childhood neighbor was Pele, the famous soccer player, and I might be courteous and say, Didn't he play for the Cosmos of New York? Did you grow up in New York? And you might reply that no, you grew up in Brazil on the streets of Tres Coracoes with Pele and I might say, I thought you were from Tennessee, and you might say, not originally, and then go on to outline your genealogy at length. So my initial conversational gambit - that I had a funny story about being chased by my neighbor's dog - would be totally lost, and only because you had to tell me all about Pele. Learn to listen! I beg of you. Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal their stories.
Just as Cam left Ivo Jenner’s apartments, St. Vincent met him in the hall. There was a scowl on the blond man’s face, and a vein of chilling arrogance in his tone. “If my wife finds comfort in trite Gypsy homilies, I have no objection to your offering them. However, if you ever kiss her again, no matter how platonic the fashion, I’ll make a eunuch of you.”
The fact that St. Vincent could stoop to petty jealousy when Ivo Jenner was not yet cold in his bed might have outraged some men. Cam, however, regarded the autocratic viscount with speculative interest.
Deliberately calibrating his reply to test the other man, Cam said softly, “Had I ever wanted her that way, I would have had her by now.”
There it was— a flash of warning in St. Vincent’s ice-blue eyes that revealed a depth of feeling he would not admit to. Cam had never seen anything like the mute longing that St. Vincent felt for his own wife. No one could fail to observe that whenever Evie entered the room, St.Vincent practically vibrated like a tuning fork.
“It is possible to care about a woman without wanting to bed her,” Cam pointed out. “But it appears that you don’t agree. Or are you so obsessed with her that you can’t fathom how anyone else could fail to feel the same?”
“I’m not obsessed with her,” St. Vincent snapped.
Leaning a shoulder against the wall, Cam stared into the man’s hard eyes, his usual reserve of patience nearly depleted. “Of course you are. Anyone could see it.”
St. Vincent gave him a warning glance. “Another word,” he said thickly, “and you’ll go the way of Egan.”
Cam raised his hands in a mocking gesture of self-defense. “Warning taken.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
It felt like I had been punched in the gut - a feeling I wasn't accustomed to. I usually guarded myself well in that regard. Wounds in the field were one thing, but these kind, they were sheer stupidity. I may have had the air knocked out of me, but Rafe looked like he had been trampled. Stupid sot.
When I turned to leave, he was standing just a dozen feet away, not even trying to hide his presence. He had seen it all. Apparently the smitten jackass had followed us. He didn't speak when I saw him. I suspected he couldn't.
I brushed past him. "It seems she's true to her word. She isn't the innocent sort, is she?"
He didn't reply. A reply would have been redundant. His face already said it. Maybe now he'd be on his way once and for all.
Mary E. Pearson (The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1))
Her tongue touched his, hesitant, almost shy. It was enough. Enough to bring their past, their passion, their desire, rushing back to him. He groaned, low and unabashed, and plunged his tongue deeper into her mouth, his hands snaking around her waist to snare her shirt in two tight fistfuls. She whimpered in reply, the sound pushing him over the edge.
With another groan—this one far more aggressive—he yanked her to his body, taking utter possession of her mouth as his hands roamed her back. She fit to his frame with perfection, firm and soft and lush. Nothing had changed. Her body against his ignited a primitive need in him he’d never been able to vocalize, not in song or word, no matter how many times he’d tried. It sparked a want beyond the physical.
Lexxie Couper (Love's Rhythm (Heart of Fame, #1))
Evie stiffened nervously when she felt his hands moving along the line of fasteners on the back of her brown wool. “What are you doing?”
“Helping you to change your gown.”
“I don’t want to. Not now. I… oh, please don’t!”
But he persisted, sliding one hand around her front to keep her in place, while his other continued to release the row of buttons. Rather than resort to an undignified struggle, Evie flushed and held still, goose bumps rising on her exposed skin. “I w-wish you wouldn’t handle me in such a cavalier manner!”
“The word ‘cavalier’ implies indifference,” he replied, pushing the gown over her hips. It fell in a scratchy heap to the floor. “And there is nothing indifferent about my reaction to you, love.”
“One could wish for a bit of respect,” Evie exclaimed, shivering before him in her underclothes. “Especially after… after…”
“You don’t need respect. You need comfort, and holding, and possibly a good long tumble in bed with me.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
TJ frowns; she can’t write about willing wind and water in the official report. Voicing elements is a rumor. However, she remembers what her grandmother said five decades ago when she was a child; (it was shortly after the war): “Anyone who trains hard can be a Grade A by the time they’re forty or fifty. But it takes decades more to become strong enough to voice one element.”
“One element?” TJ asked.
“Do you want to voice the entire universe then?”
Grandmother didn’t answer, not directly anyway, as most great masters do. They never say you can’t do this or no one can do that or that thing is impossible just because they couldn’t do it, or because they hadn’t found it yet. True masters answer differently. Wisely. Like her grandmother answered that day.
“Do you know why we evolve, Tirity?”
“Because we’re supposed to?” TJ replied.
“Yes. It’s in the grand design. We’re ‘supposed to’ evolve. Not just in body, but also in mind,” she said. “In time. You see, time is the key. If given infinite time, you can evolve your mind infinitely. But we live only for a hundred years or so.”
“A hundred years is ‘only’?”
“You’re so young, Tirity! But yes, it is little for a complete cognitive evolution. Most hard trainers can prolong it to a couple of hundred years. They even get to call the wind or grow a giant plant that could touch the clouds. But voicing everything in the universe? I think only God can do it, the God who created everything with only words. And if God created the world so that he could see how far the humans can evolve, then I’d say, yes, even a human could get godly power. Godlier than voicing one or two elements. If. Given. The. Time.”
“How much time?”
“More than thousands of years, maybe. Could even need millions, who knows? …”
TJ smiles drily; she remembers how her eyes sparkled at the thought of becoming a goddess who could voice everything. She dreamed of flying in the air or walking in space. She thought of making her own garden full of giant flowers where only enormous butterflies would dance. Some days, when she played video games in VR, she even dreamed of voicing the thunder and lightning to join her wooden sword. She thought time could help her do it.
But she didn’t know then, time only makes you grow up.
Time steals your dreams.
Time only turns you into an adult.
Misba (The High Auction (Wisdom Revolution, #1))
You have a visitors," Maximus stated. His face was impassive, but I still cringed, trying to discreetly tug my hand out of Vlad's. He let me go and folded his arms, smiling in that scary, pleasant way at Maximus.
“And they are so important that you had to find me at once and enter without knocking?”
I heard the threat behind those words and blanched. He wasn’t about to throw down on Maximus over this, was he? Don’t, I sent him, not adding the please only because I knew the word didn’t work on him.
“Forgive me, but it’s Mencheres and his co-ruler,” Maximus stated, not sounding apologetic even though he bowed. “Their wives as well.” I started to slink away, sanity returning now that I wasn’t caught up by Vlad’s mesmerizing nearness. What had I been doing? Nothing smart, that was for sure.
“Leila Stop,” Vlad said I kept heading for the door. “You have company, so I’ll just make myself scarce-“
I did at his commanding tone, and then cursed. I wasn’t one of his employees-he had no right to order me around. “NO,” I said defiantly. “I’m sweaty, and bloody and I want to take a shower, so whatever you have to say, it can wait.”
Maximus lost his impassive expression and looked at me as if I’d suddenly sprouted a second head. Vlad’s brow drew together and he opened his mouth, but before he could speak, laughter rang out from the hallway.
“I simply must meet whoever has put you in your place so thoroughly, Tepesh,” an unfamiliar British voice stated. “Did I mention they were on their way down?” Maximus muttered before the gym door swung open and four people entered.
The first was a short-haired brunet whose grin made me assume he was the one who’d greeted Vlad with the taunt. He was also handsome in a too-pretty way that made me think with less muscles, a wig, and some makeup he’d look great in a dress.
Vlad’s scowl vanished into a smile as the brunet’s gaze swung in my direction as though he’d somehow heard that. “Looks as though she’s put you in your place as well, Bones,” Vlad drawled. “So it seems.” Bones replied, winking at me.” “But while I’ve worn many disguises, I draw the line at a dress.”
My mouth dropped another mind reader?
Jeaniene Frost (Once Burned (Night Prince, #1))
One day a young fugitive, trying to hide himself from the enemy, entered a small village. The people were kind to him and offered him a place to stay. But when the soldiers who sought the fugitive asked where he was hiding, everyone became very fearful. The soldiers threatened to burn the village and kill every man in it unless the young man were handed over to them before dawn. The people went to the minister and asked him what to do. The minister, torn between handing over the boy to the enemy or having his people killed, withdrew to his room and read his Bible, hoping to find an answer before dawn. After many hours, in the early morning his eyes fell on these words: “It is better that one man dies than that the whole people be lost.” Then the minister closed the Bible, called the soldiers and told them where the boy was hidden. And after the soldiers led the fugitive away to be killed, there was a feast in the village because the minister had saved the lives of the people. But the minister did not celebrate. Overcome with a deep sadness, he remained in his room. That night an angel came to him, and asked, “What have you done?” He said: “I handed over the fugitive to the enemy.” Then the angel said: “But don’t you know that you have handed over the Messiah?” “How could I know?” the minister replied anxiously. Then the angel said: “If, instead of reading your Bible, you had visited this young man just once and looked into his eyes, you would have known.” While versions of this story are very old, it seems the most modern of tales. Like that minister, who might have recognized the Messiah if he had raised his eyes from his Bible to look into the youth’s eyes, we are challenged to look into the eyes of the young men and women of today, who are running away from our cruel ways. Perhaps that will be enough to prevent us from handing them over to the enemy and enable us to lead them out of their hidden places into the middle of their people where they can redeem us from our fears.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society)
The repugnance to what must ensue almost immediately, and the uncertainty, were dreadful, he said; but worst of all was the idea, 'What should I do if I were not to die now? What if I were to return to life again? What an eternity of days, and all mine! How I should grudge and count up every minute of it, so as to waste not a single instant!' He said that this thought weighed so upon him and became such a terrible burden upon his brain that he could not bear it, and wished they would shoot him quickly and have done with it."
The prince paused and all waited, expecting him to go on again and finish the story.
"Is that all?" asked Aglaya.
"All? Yes," said the prince, emerging from a momentary reverie.
"And why did you tell us this?"
"Oh, I happened to recall it, that's all! It fitted into the conversation—"
"You probably wish to deduce, prince," said Alexandra, "that moments of time cannot be reckoned by money value, and that sometimes five minutes are worth priceless treasures. All this is very praiseworthy; but may I ask about this friend of yours, who told you the terrible experience of his life? He was reprieved, you say; in other words, they did restore to him that 'eternity of days.' What did he do with these riches of time? Did he keep careful account of his minutes?"
"Oh no, he didn't! I asked him myself. He said that he had not lived a bit as he had intended, and had wasted many, and many a minute."
"Very well, then there's an experiment, and the thing is proved; one cannot live and count each moment; say what you like, but one cannot."
"That is true," said the prince, "I have thought so myself. And yet, why shouldn't one do it?"
"You think, then, that you could live more wisely than other people?" said Aglaya.
"I have had that idea."
"And you have it still?"
"Yes — I have it still," the prince replied.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Idiot)
People will say we're being a little bit anthropomorphic?' I remembered Brendan's use of the word - 'human-like'.
'Anyone who doesn't believe that animals are aware that they have family and friends, and care about them, must also be a paid-up member of the Flat Earth Society, or still think the sun revolves around the earth,' replied Dylan disdainfully. 'I mean, how switched off can you be? How can anyone still believe animals don't have emotions? They're alive and emotions are a response to life. I've seen warthogs that are more intelligent and more responsible than some people I know. Not to say better parents.
Lawrence Anthony (The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World's Greatest Creatures)
Maulana Rumi was reading under the shade of a tree by a river, a pile of books besides him—according to one variation he was teaching a group of his students with a pile of hand-written notes next to him— when Shams Tabriz (rah) came by.
He asked Maulana what was going on and he replied ‘This is qaal (words), something you cannot understand’.
Shams Tabriz then took Maulana’s precious books and threw them in the water. Maulana was aghast. Shams Tabriz then recited Bismillah and pulled the books out of the water and dusted the water off them as if he was dusting sand; the pages thus dried and Maulana saw that the ink on them had not run despite having been soaked in water. Maulana was amazed and asked incredulously, what is this.
‘This is haal (spiritual state) something you cannot understand’ replied Shams Tabriz (rah).
Zulfiqar Ahmad (The Conqueror of Hearts)
What if I can't do this, Gregori?" She sounded close to tears. "What if I can never do this?"
"No one is making you do anything, ma petite," he replied gently, kissing her stomach. "We are just exploring possibilites."
"But,Gregori," she tried to protest, attempting to bring his head back up so that he could see her very real fear for him, for their life together.
"If I cannot persaude you otherwise, mon amour, I am not much of a lifemate, now am I?" The words were muffled in the tight silky curls, the intriguing little triangle at the apex of her thighs.
"You don't understand,Gregori." Savannah closed her eyes against the waves of fire racing through her. "It's me who is no real lifemate.I don't know how to please you, and I'm so afraid of this."
"Relax,bebe." He breathed warm air against her, inhaled her scent. "You please me far more than you will ever know.
Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))
After a long and happy life, I find myself at the pearly gates (a sight of great joy; the word for “pearl” in Greek is, by the way, margarita). Standing there is St. Peter. This truly is heaven, for finally my academic questions will receive answers. I immediately begin the questions that have been plaguing me for half a century: “Can you speak Greek? Where did you go when you wandered off in the middle of Acts? How was the incident between you and Paul in Antioch resolved? What happened to your wife?”
Peter looks at me with some bemusement and states, “Look, lady, I’ve got a whole line of saved people to process. Pick up your harp and slippers here, and get the wings and halo at the next table. We’ll talk after dinner.”
As I float off, I hear, behind me, a man trying to gain Peter’s attention. He has located a “red letter Bible,” which is a text in which the words of Jesus are printed in red letters. This is heaven, and all sorts of sacred art and Scriptures, from the Bhagavad Gita to the Qur’an, are easily available (missing, however, was the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version). The fellow has his Bible open to John 14, and he is frenetically pointing at v. 6: “Jesus says here, in red letters, that he is the way. I’ve seen this woman on television (actually, she’s thinner in person). She’s not Christian; she’s not baptized - she shouldn’t be here!”
“Oy,” says Peter, “another one - wait here.”
He returns a few minutes later with a man about five foot three with dark hair and eyes. I notice immediately that he has holes in his wrists, for when the empire executes an individual, the circumstances of that death cannot be forgotten.
“What is it, my son?” he asks.
The man, obviously nonplussed, sputters, “I don’t mean to be rude, but didn’t you say that no one comes to the Father except through you?”
“Well,” responds Jesus, “John does have me saying this.” (Waiting in line, a few other biblical scholars who overhear this conversation sigh at Jesus’s phrasing; a number of them remain convinced that Jesus said no such thing. They’ll have to make the inquiry on their own time.) “But if you flip back to the Gospel of Matthew, which does come first in the canon, you’ll notice in chapter 25, at the judgment of the sheep and the goats, that I am not interested in those who say ‘Lord, Lord,’ but in those who do their best to live a righteous life: feeding the hungry, visiting people in prison . . . ”
Becoming almost apoplectic, the man interrupts, “But, but, that’s works righteousness. You’re saying she’s earned her way into heaven?”
“No,” replies Jesus, “I am not saying that at all. I am saying that I am the way, not you, not your church, not your reading of John’s Gospel, and not the claim of any individual Christian or any particular congregation. I am making the determination, and it is by my grace that anyone gets in, including you. Do you want to argue?”
The last thing I recall seeing, before picking up my heavenly accessories, is Jesus handing the poor man a Kleenex to help get the log out of his eye.
Amy-Jill Levine (The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus)
Except for the giant sword in his hand.
"Is that really necessary?" I asked when I walked in, noting that his dagger was also hanging off his belt.
His head jerked up, and I thought he might have been relieved to see me. But then he turned back to the Itineris, crouching down to pull something out of a black duffel bag at his feet. "Never hurts to be prepared," he said.
"It just seems like overkill when you already have a dagger and I have supernatural magic at my disposal."
"'Superpowerful?'" He stood up, a gold chain dangling from his fingers. "let me remind you of two words, Mercer: Bad. Dog."
I rolled my eyes. "That was nearly a year ago. I'm way better now."
"Yeah,well,I'm not taking any chances," he said. For the first time, I noticed there was some sort of holster thing on his back. He slid the sword into it so the hilt rose over his shoulders. "Besides," he added, "I thought you might not come. After what happened the other night..." he paused, studying my face. "Are you all right?"
"I will be when people stop asking me that."
"You know I had nothing to do with that, right?"
"Yeah," I replied. "And if you did have something to do with it, I will vaporize you where you stand."
The corner of his mouth quirked. "Good to know."
He closed the distance between us, coming to stand entirely too close to me. "What are you doing?" I asked, hoping I didn't sound as breathless as I felt.
He lifted his hands, and with surprising gentleness, placed the chain around both our necks. Looking down at it, I saw that the links were actually tiny figures holding hands. I'd seen it somewhere before.
"This is the necklace one of the angels is wearing in the window at Hex Hall."
"It is indeed."
Reaching down to take my hands, he explained, "It's also a very powerful protection charm, which we're going to need."
I swallowed as we laced our fingers and stepped closer to the Itineris. "Why?"
"Because we're going a very long way."
I involuntarily squeezed his fingers with mine. The last time I'd traveled through the Itineris, I'd only gone a few hundred miles, and that had made my head nearly explode. "Where are we going?" I asked.
"Graymalkin Island," he answered. And then he yanked me into the doorway.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
...on a number of occasions this book has made reference to magic, and each time you've shaken your head, muttering such criticisms as "What does he mean by 'magic' anyhow? It's embarrassing to find a grown man talking about magic in such a manner. How can anybody take him seriously?" Or, as slightly more gracious readers have objected, "Doesn't the author realize that one can't write about magic? One can create it but not discuss it. It's much too gossamer for that. Magic can be neither described nor defined. Using words to describe magic is like using a screwdriver to slice roast beef."
To which the author now replies, Sorry, freeloaders, you're clever but you're not quite correct. Magic isn't the fuzzy, fragile, abstract and ephemeral quality you think it is. In fact, magic is distinguished from mysticism by its very concreteness and practicality. Whereas mysticism is manifest only in spiritual essence, in the transcendental state, magic demands a steady naturalistic base. Mysticism reveals the ethereal in the tangible. Magic makes something permanent out of the transitory, coaxes drama from the colloquial.
Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues)
The peculiarities of my early education are one way in which being from the West has set me apart. A man in Alabama asked me how I felt the West was different from the East and the South, and I replied that in the West "lonesome" is a word with strongly positive connotations. I must have phrased my answer better at the time, because both he and I were struck by the apt ness of the remark, and people in Alabama are far too sensitive to language to be pleased with a phrase such as "strongly positive connotations." For the moment it will have to serve, however.
I remember when I was a child at Coolin or Sagle or Talache, walking into the woods by myself and feeling the solitude around me build like electricity and pass through my body with a jolt that made my hair prickle. I remember kneeling by a creek that spilled and pooled among rocks and fallen trees with the unspeakably tender growth of small trees already sprouting from their backs, and thinking, there is only one thing wrong here, which is my own presence, and that is the slightest imaginable intrusion - feeling that my solitude, my loneliness, made me almost acceptable in so sacred a place.
Marilynne Robinson (When I Was a Child I Read Books)
The tourists had money and we needed it; they only asked in return to be lied to and deceived and told that single most important thing, that they were safe, that their sense of security—national, individual, spiritual—wasn’t a bad joke being played on them by a bored and capricious destiny. To be told that there was no connection between then and now, that they didn't need to wear a black armband or have a bad conscience about their power and their wealth and everybody else’s lack of it; to feel rotten that no-one could or would explain why the wealth of a few seemed so curiously dependent on the misery of the many. We kindly pretended that it was about buying and selling chairs, about them asking questions about price and heritage, and us replying in like manner.
But it wasn’t about price and heritage, it wasn’t about that at all.
The tourists had insistent, unspoken questions and we just had to answer as best we could, with forged furniture. They were really asking, 'Are we safe?' and we were really replying, 'No, but a barricade of useless goods may help block the view.' And because hubris is not just an ancient Greek word but a human sense so deep-seated we might better regard it as an unerring instinct, they were also wanting to know, 'If it is our fault, then will we suffer?' and we were really replying, 'Yes, and slowly, but a fake chair may make us both feel better about it.
Richard Flanagan (Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish)
The shrieks were coming from two quite naked girls, who were pursued by a pair of apes snapping at their bottoms. [...] So he now raises his double-barrelled Spanish rifle, fires and kills both apes. 'God be praised, my dear Calambo! I have delivered these two poor creatures from grave peril; if it was a sin to kill an Inquisitor and a Jesuit, I have made ample amends by saving the lives of two girls [...]'
He was about to continue, but words failed him when he saw the two girls throw their arms lovingly around the two apes and collapse in tears over their corpses, filling the air with the most pitiful lamentations. 'I was not expecting quite so much tenderness of heart,' he said at last to Cacambo, who replied: 'You've excelled yourself this time, Master; you have just despatched the two lovers of these young ladies.' '-Their lovers! Is it possible? You're making fun of me, Cacambo; how could anyone believe in such a thing?' - 'My dear Master,' retorted Cacambo, 'you are always astounished by everything; why do you find it so strange that in some countries it is apes who enjoy the favours of young ladies? After all, they are one-quarter human, just as I am one-quarter Spanish.
The answer to that question is…I won’t. You belong with me. Which leads me to the discussion I wanted to have with you.”
“Where I belong is for me to decide, and though I may listen to what you have to say, that doesn’t mean I will agree with you.”
“Fair enough.” Ren pushed his empty plate to the side. “We have some unfinished business to take care of.”
“If you mean the other tasks we have to do, I’m already aware of that.”
“I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about us.”
“What about us?” I put my hands under the table and wiped my clammy palms on my napkin.
“I think there are a few things we’ve left unsaid, and I think it’s time we said them.”
“I’m not withholding anything from you, if that’s what you mean.”
“No. I’m not.”
“Are you refusing to acknowledge what has happened between us?”
“I’m not refusing anything. Don’t try to put words in my mouth.”
“I’m not. I’m simply trying to convince a stubborn woman to admit that she has feelings for me.”
“If I did have feelings for you, you’d be the first one to know.”
“Are you saying that you don’t feel anything for me?”
“That’s not what I’m saying.”
“Then what are you saying?”
“I’m saying…nothing!” I spluttered.
Ren smiled and narrowed his eyes at me.
If he kept up this line of questioning, he was bound to catch me in a lie. I’m not a very good liar.
He sat back in his chair. “Fine. I’ll let you off the hook for now, but we will talk about this later. Tigers are relentless once they set their minds to something. You don’t be able to evade me forever.”
Casually, I replied, “Don’t get your hopes up, Mr. Wonderful. Every hero has his Kryptonite, and you don’t intimidate me.” I twisted my napkin in my lap while he tracked my every move with his probing eyes. I felt stripped down, as if he could see into the very heart of me.
When the waitress came back, Ren smiled at her as she offered a smaller menu, probably featuring desserts. She leaned over him while I tapped my strappy shoe in frustration. He listened attentively to her. Then, the two of them laughed again.
He spoke quietly, gesturing to me, and she looked my way, giggled, and then cleared all the plates quickly. He pulled out a wallet and handed her a credit card. She put her hand on his arm to ask him another question, and I couldn’t help myself. I kicked him under the table. He didn’t even blink or look at me. He just reached his arm across the table, took my hand in his, and rubbed the back of it absentmindedly with his thumb as he answered her question. It was like my kick was a love tap to him. It only made him happier.
When she left, I narrowed my eyes at him and asked, “How did you get that card, and what were you saying to her about me?”
“Mr. Kadam gave me the card, and I told her that we would be having our dessert…later.”
I laughed facetiously. “You mean you will be having dessert later by yourself this evening because I am done eating with you.”
He leaned across the candlelit table and said, “Who said anything about eating, Kelsey?”
He must be joking! But he looked completely serious. Great! There go the nervous butterflies again.
“Stop looking at me like that.”
“Like you’re hunting me. I’m not an antelope.”
He laughed. “Ah, but the chase would be exquisite, and you would be a most succulent catch.”
“Am I making you nervous?”
“You could say that.”
I stood up abruptly as he was signing the receipt and made my way toward the door. He was next to me in an instant. He leaned over.
“I’m not letting you escape, remember? Now, behave like a good date and let me walk you home. It’s the least you could do since you wouldn’t talk with me.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
On another note, I also learned that everyone plays games with texting, like waiting longer than the other person to text, sending replies of equal length, always trying to get the last word, and the like. Even if you say you “don’t play games,” that is a type of game—it is the “I don’t play games” game. Everyone hates these games and no one wants to play them. For the most part, people just want to be honest and say how they feel, and they definitely want others to be honest and open with them. But here’s the thing: Unfortunately those games are actually kind of effective. No matter how much people want things to be different, I don’t think we can defeat the insecurities and tendencies built into our internal psychology.
Aziz Ansari (Modern Romance: An Investigation)
On the wall in the living room, not far from Hinman’s body, were the words POLITICAL PIGGY, printed in the victim’s own blood. Whiteley also told Buckles that they had arrested a suspect in connection with the murder, one Robert “Bobby” Beausoleil, a young hippie musician. He had been driving a car that belonged to Hinman, there was blood on his shirt and trousers, and a knife had been found hidden in the tire well of the vehicle. The arrest had occurred on August 6; therefore he had been in custody at the time of the Tate homicides. However, it was possible that he hadn’t been the only one involved in the Hinman murder. Beausoleil had been living at Spahn’s Ranch, an old movie ranch near the Los Angeles suburb of Chatsworth, with a bunch of other hippies. It was an odd group, their leader, a guy named Charlie, apparently having convinced them that he was Jesus Christ. Buckles, Whiteley would later recall, lost interest when he mentioned hippies. “Naw,” he replied,
Vincent Bugliosi (Helter Skelter)
Who is it?” asks Zain, his eyes wide with disbelief at Shayda’s unusual outburst. “No-one,” she replies. It’s a day of simple words, loaded with meaning. The no-one she said yes to a few hours ago. The no-one she agreed to spend the rest of her life with. The no-one whose rosary is dangling from her wrist. I will always be no-one. Because everyone who counts in Shayda’s world is on the other side of the door. I will always be on the perimeter of her life, always the outsider, looking in.
Leylah Attar (From His Lips (53 Letters for My Lover, #1.5))
Inej looked at her strange crew, barefoot and shivering in their soot-stained prison uniforms, their features limned by the golden light of the dome, softened by the mist that hung in the air.
What bound them together? Greed? Desperation? Was it just the knowledge that if one or all of them disappeared tonight, no one would come looking? Inej’s mother and father might still shed tears for the daughter they’d lost, but if Inej died tonight, there would be no one to grieve for the girl she was now. She had no family, no parents or siblings, only people to fight beside. Maybe that was something to be grateful for, too.
It was Jesper who spoke first. “No mourners,” he said with a grin.
“No funerals,” they replied in unison. Even Matthias muttered the words softly.
“If any of you survive, make sure I have an open casket,” Jesper said as he hefted two slender coils of rope over his shoulder and signaled for Wylan to follow him across the roof. “The world deserves a few more moments with this face.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
Okay," Adam began, "Now concentrate! This was a real person. White suit!"
"Colonel Sanders!" Lily replied quickly.
"Colonel Sanders? I said it was a real person, not a logo for a chicken joint!"
"He was a real person! If you don't believe me look it up!"
"Whatever! Not Colonel Sanders though. Humor!" he said urgently.
"Steve Martin!" She clapped her hands with joy, obviously believing that they had finally gotten one right.
"No, uh..." He searched for another clue.
"Wait! White suit and humor but not Steve Martin?" She looked crushed.
"I just said no!" He yelled! "Hannibal!"
"Um, uh, Dumbo..." she said with a deeply pensive expression.
"Dumbo?! What the fuck?!"
"Hannibal! Elephants! And before you say it he was real, too, you schmuck!"
"Guess again goddamnit!"
"Anthony Hopkins!" Adam threw down the card and looked like he was going to cry.
"Halley's Comet!" he growled.
"Halley's Comet?! What in the hell do you mean Halley's Comet!"
"Time!" Braden informed them gleefully, wiping tears of laughter out of his eyes.
"Mark Twain! You're an author Christ's sake!" Adam bit out.
"Oh, right! He was from Hannibal, Missouri! What in the hell did Halley's Comet have to do with Mark Twain?!"
"It appeared on the day he was born and the day he died! Duh huh!" Adam said.
"This isn't Trivial fucking Pursuit!" Lily shot back. "Why didn't you say Mississippi or riverboat or frog jumping contest or something besides Halley's Motherfucking Comet?!"
"Because they're all forbidden motherfucking words! Miss 'like a human'!" he yelled.
N.M. Silber (The Home Court Advantage (Lawyers in Love, #2))
...tell me something of your other existence.... At least you can tell me if it's a happy state," persisted Lucy.
"That depends on the individual," replied Captain Gregg. "If a man has lived on earth merely for earthly desires of ambition, possessions, drink, and women, he'll have a hell of a time at first because he'll find no means of satisfying his lusts―but here's something for you to think about, Lucia. Have you ever heart of a happy ghost?"
"No," replied Lucy.
"No," said the Captain, "and why not? Because only the unhappy return to earth―the haunted―that's a new idea for you. The souls that return are haunted in the next state by what has happened on earth. The average after-lifer never wants to return."
"But isn't that very selfish?" asked Lucy. "I mean when they see their relations and friends weeping their hearts out for one word of reassurance and comfort, don't you think they might come back just once to tell them all is well?"
"Why," asked the Captain, "when all that's wanting is their own faith?
R.A. Dick (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir)
And cried for mamma, at every turn'-I added, 'and trembled if a country lad heaved his fist against you, and sat at home all day for a shower of rain.-Oh, Heathcliff, you are showing a poor spirit! Come to the glass, and I'll let you see what you should wish. Do you mark those two lines between your eyes, and those thick brows, that instead of rising arched, sink in the middle, and that couple of black fiends, so deeply buried, who never open their windows boldly, but lurk glinting under them, like devil's spies? Wish and learn to smooth away the surly wrinkles, to raise your lids frankly, and change the fiends to confident, innocent angels, suspecting and doubting nothing, and always seeing friends where they are not sure of foes-Don't get the expression of a vicious cur that appears to know the kicks it gets are its desert, and yet, hates all the world, as well as the kicker, for what it suffers.'
'In other words, I must wish for Edgar Linton's great blue eyes, and even forehead,' he replied. 'I do - and that won't help me to them.'
'A good heart will help you to a bonny face, my lad,' I continued, 'if you were a regular black; and a bad one will turn the bonniest into something worse than ugly. And now that we've done washing, and combing, and sulking - tell me whether you don't think yourself rather handsome? I'll tell you, I do. You're fit for a prince in disguise. Who knows, but your father was Emperor of China, and your mother an Indian queen, each of them able to buy up, with one week's income, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange together? And you were kidnapped by wicked sailors, and brought to England. Were I in your place, I would frame high notions of my birth; and the thoughts of what I was should give me courage and dignity to support the oppressions of a little farmer!
Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights)
Even when he was small there’d been a part of him that thought the temple was a silly boring place, and tried to make him laugh when he was supposed to be listening to sermons. It had grown up with him. It was the Oats that read avidly and always remembered those passages which cast doubt on the literal truth of the Book of Om—and nudged him and said, if this isn’t true, what can you believe?
And the other half of him would say: there must be other kinds of truth.
And he’d reply: other kinds than the kind that is actually true, you mean?
And he’d say: define actually!
And he’d shout: well, actually Omnians would have tortured you to death, not long ago, for even thinking like this. Remember that? Remember how many died for using the brain which, you seem to think, their god gave them? What kind of truth excuses all that pain?
He’d never quite worked out how to put the answer into words. And then the headaches would start, and the sleepless nights. The Church schismed all the time these days, and this was surely the ultimate one, starting a war inside one’s head.
Terry Pratchett (Carpe Jugulum (Discworld, #23; Witches, #6))
We’ve made a beautiful mess of things lately, haven’t we?” He flashed that sexycrooked smile at me, which made my heart flutter.I nodded, agreeing with him.“But it’s our crazy story,” he stated. “It’s been ours, only ours. There’s been a lot of romance, sometimes way too much drama…” He raised his eyebrows and smirked. “Verymemorable comedy, a few pulse-racing action scenes...”He shrugged and sighed.“We’ve also had our fair share of suspense and raw terror, and unfortunately gut-wrenching heartache too.“I think we’ve covered it all, everything except for being captured by aliens!”I couldn’t help but chuckle.“But through it all you’ve loved me, unconditionally, and I know how fortunate I amto have your love.“I don’t want to live without you, not for one more minute, not for one more second.I want to spend the rest of my days living my story with you… only you.”He walked to the edge and jumped off the table, landing in front of me.“It is here that I fell in love with you,” Ryan whispered, taking my hands in his.He dropped down on one knee.“And as fate would have it, it is
that I humbly kneel before you and ask you to be my wife.“Taryn Lynn Mitchell, will you marry me?” His glistening eyes, so blue, so full of emotion, gazed up at me… waiting patiently for my reply.Only one word rang through my heart.“Yes!” I nodded emphatically. My salted tears dripped across my lips. I said yes over and over again.
Tina Reber (Love Unscripted (Love, #1))
Hidden treasure does not come at your word or by digging with your hands in the main road. Even with the proper implements and accurate knowledge of place, etc., you may just end up re-acquiring what you possessed long ago. There is a great doubt as to whether it is hidden, except by the strata65 of your experiences and atmospheres of your belief. So how does one become a genius? My reply is like the mighty germ: it is in agreement with the Universe, is simple and full of deep import, yet it is for a time extremely objectionable in terms of your ideas of good and beauty. So listen attentively, O aspirant, to my answer, for by living its meaning you shall surely become freed from the bondage of constitutional ignorance. You must live it yourself: I cannot live it for you. The chief cause of genius is the realization of ‘I’ by an emotion that allows the instant assimilation of what is perceived. This emotion could be called ‘immoral’ in that it allows the free association of knowledge without being encumbered by belief. Its condition is therefore ignorance of ‘I am’ and ‘I am not’: instead of believing, there is a kind of absentmindedness. Its most excellent state is the ‘NeitherNeither’, the free or atmospheric ‘I’.
Austin Osman Spare (Book of Pleasure in Plain English)
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea-cosy. I can't say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring - I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen-house. Though even that isn't a very good poem. I have decided my best poetry is so bad that I mustn't write any more of it.
Drips from the roof are plopping into the water-butt by the back door. The view through the windows above the sink is excessively drear. Beyond the dank garden in the courtyard are the ruined walls on the edge of the moat. Beyond the moat, the boggy ploughed fields stretch to the leaden sky. I tell myself that all the rain we have had lately is good for nature, and that at any moment spring will surge on us. I try to see leaves on the trees and the courtyard filled with sunlight. Unfortunately, the more my mind's eye sees green and gold, the more drained of all colour does the twilight seem.
It is comforting to look away from the windows and towards the kitchen fire, near which my sister Rose is ironing - though she obviously can't see properly, and it will be a pity if she scorches her only nightgown. (I have two, but one is minus its behind.) Rose looks particularly fetching by firelight because she is a pinkish person; her skin has a pink glow and her hair is pinkish gold, very light and feathery. Although I am rather used to her I know she is a beauty. She is nearly twenty-one and very bitter with life. I am seventeen, look younger, feel older. I am no beauty but I have a neatish face.
I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic - two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud. I must admit that our home is an unreasonable place to live in. Yet I love it. The house itself was built in the time of Charles II, but it was grafted on to a fourteenth-century castle that had been damaged by Cromwell. The whole of our east wall was part of the castle; there are two round towers in it. The gatehouse is intact and a stretch of the old walls at their full height joins it to the house. And Belmotte Tower, all that remains of an even older castle, still stands on its mound close by. But I won't attempt to describe our peculiar home fully until I can see more time ahead of me than I do now.
I am writing this journal partly to practise my newly acquired speed-writing and partly to teach myself how to write a novel - I intend to capture all our characters and put in conversations. It ought to be good for my style to dash along without much thought, as up to now my stories have been very stiff and self-conscious. The only time father obliged me by reading one of them, he said I combined stateliness with a desperate effort to be funny. He told me to relax and let the words flow out of me.
Dodie Smith (I Capture the Castle)
Trust of others is in short supply for many adult survivors, as complex trauma generally involves major relational betrayal. It is, therefore, expectable (although paradoxical) that clients with these histories are predisposed to be mistrustful at the outset of therapy, precisely because of (and in proportion to) the actual trustworthiness of the therapist. When past experiences have thought hard lessons, namely, that one can least afford to trust the people who should be most trustworthy, it stands to reason that confusion about trust results. The therapist must understand and not take offense either personally or professionally and not react judgmentally or defensively. Practically speaking, this involves the therapist being prepared to patiently and empathically respond to active or passive tests or challenges to trustworthiness as legitimate and meaningful communication that deserves a respectful reply in action as well as in words.
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
You’re . . .” I search for the right word. It’s rare that my vocabulary fails me like this. “Organized.”
His eyes crackle with light as he laughs. “Organized?”
“Extremely,” I deadpan. “Not to mention thorough.”
“You make me sound like a contract,” he says, amused.
“And you know how I feel about a good contract,” I say.
His smirk pulls higher. “Actually, I only know how you feel about a bad one, written on a damp napkin.” He lies back fully on the mattress, and I do too, leaving a healthy gap between us.
“A good contract is . . .” I think for a moment.
“Adorable?” Charlie supplies, teasing.
“At bare minimum,” I say.
“Sexy as hell,” I reply. “Irresistible. It’s a list of great traits and working compromises that watch out for all parties involved. It’s . . . satisfying, even when it’s not what you expected, because you work for it. You go back and forth until every detail is just how it needs to be.
Emily Henry (Book Lovers)
Gertrude Stein, when asked why she wrote, replied "For praise." Lorca said he wrote to be loved. Faulkner said a writer wrote for glory. I may at times have written for those reasons, it's hard to know. Overall I write because I see the world in a certain way that no dialogue or series of them can begin to describe, that no book can fully render, though the greatest books thrill in their attempt.
A great book may be an accident, but a good one is a possibility, and it is thinking of that that one writes. In short, to achieve. The rest takes care of itself, and so much praise is given to insignificant things that there is hardly any sense in striving for it.
In the end, writing is like a prison, an island from which you will never be released but which is a kind of paradise: the solitude, the thoughts, the incredible joy of putting into words the essence of what you for the moment understand and with your whole heart want to believe.
James Salter (Don't Save Anything: The Uncollected Writings of James Salter)
You’re saying your mother engaged in unprotected sex outside her primary relationship?’
‘With some other student,’ replied Rosie. ‘While she was dating my’ – at this point Rosie raised her hands and made a downwards movement, twice, with the index and middle fingers of both hands – ‘father. My real dad’s a doctor. I just don’t know which one. Really, really pisses me off.’
I was fascinated by the hand movements and silent for a while as I tried to work them out. Were they a sign of distress at not knowing who her father was? If so, it was not one I was familiar with. And why had she chosen to punctuate her speech at that point … of course! Punctuation! ‘Quotation marks,’ I said aloud as the idea hit me.
‘You made quotation marks around “father” to draw attention to the fact that the word should not be interpreted in the usual way. Very clever.’
‘Well, there you go,’ she said. ‘And there I was thinking you were reflecting on my minor problem with my whole fucking life. And might have something intelligent to say.’
I corrected her. ‘It’s not a minor problem at all!’ I pointed my finger in the air to indicate an exclamation mark. ‘You should insist on being informed.’ I stabbed the same finger to indicate a full stop. This was quite fun.
Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1))
That reminded him of how thrifty she was, and he promptly decided-at least for the moment-that her thriftiness was one of her most endearingly amusing qualities.
“What are you thinking about?” she asked.
He tipped his chin down so that he could better see her and brushed a stray lock of golden hair off her cheek. “I was thinking how wise I must be to have known within minutes of meeting you that you were wonderful.”
She chuckled, thinking his words were teasing flattery. “How soon did my qualities become apparent?”
“I’d say,” he thoughtfully replied, “I knew it when you took sympathy on Galileo.”
She’d expected him to say something about her looks, not her conversation or her mind. “Truly?” she asked with unhidden pleasure.
He nodded, but he was studying her reaction with curiosity. “What did you think I was going to say?”
Her slim shoulders lifted in an embarrassed shrug. “I thought you would say it was my face you noticed first. People have the most extraordinary reaction to my face,” she explained with a disgusted sigh.
“I can’t imagine why,” he said, grinning down at what was, in his opinion-in anyone’s opinion-a heartbreakingly beautiful face belonging to a young woman who was sprawled across his chest looking like an innocent golden goddess.
“I think it’s my eyes. They’re an odd color.”
“I see that now,” he teased, then he said more solemnly, “but as it happens it was not your face which I found so beguiling when we met in the garden, because,” he added when she looked unconvinced, “I couldn’t see it.”
“Of course you could. I could see yours well enough, even though night had fallen.”
“Yes, but I was standing near a torch lamp, while you perversely remained in the shadows. I could tell that yours was a very nice face, with the requisite features in the right places, and I could also tell that your other-feminine assets-were definitely in all the right places, but that was all I could see. And then later that night I looked up and saw you walking down the staircase. I was so surprised, it took a considerable amount of will to keep from dropping the glass I was holding.”
Her happy laughter drifted around the room and reminded him of music. “Elizabeth,” he said dryly, “I am not such a fool that I would have let a beautiful face alone drive me to madness, or to asking you to marry me, or even to extremes of sexual desire.”
She saw that he was perfectly serious, and she sobered, “Thank you,” she said quietly. “That is the nicest compliment you could have paid me, my lord.”
“Don’t call me ‘my lord,’” he told her with a mixture of gentleness and gravity, “unless you mean it. I dislike having you address me that way if it’s merely a reference to my title.”
Elizabeth snuggled her cheek against his hard chest and quietly replied, “As you wish. My lord.”
Ian couldn’t help it. He rolled her onto her back and devoured her with his mouth, claimed her with his hands and then his body.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Where are we?” she asked when I pulled into a parking lot.
“Isn’t it dangerous at night?”
“Not here. Come on.” I pulled her out of her seat and grabbed a blanket from the trunk before trekking through the soft grass.
“You always keep a blanket in your car?”
“Yeah, for emergencies. Never know when you might need it. Food, water, first-aid kit, too.”
“Oh!” she grunted and caught my arm as one of her heels pierced the soft dirt and sank.
“You should take those off.”
“And walk around barefoot? Hello? Ever heard of hookworms and tetanus?”
“Ever heard of snapping your ankles as you fall flat on your face in the dark?” I asked as I squatted in front of her and slipped her foot out of the high heels.
“What are you doing?” she gasped, tumbling forward and grabbing onto my shoulders for support.
“Removing your obstacles.”
She landed a bare foot on the grass as I undid the other shoe. “So now I get tetanus?”
I looked up at her, my hands lightly stroking her ankles up to her calves. “You worry too much.”
“It’s a real risk. Ask Preeti.”
I stood slowly, moving up her body, and hovered above her.
“How…how far are we walking?” she asked.
“To the river.”
“In the dark?”
I nodded and handed her the shoes.
“Took these off and you won’t even carry them?”
“I’ll carry them,” I replied, swooped down, and threw her over the blanket on my shoulder.
Liya yelped. “Put me down!”
“So you can get tetanus?” I asked and walked toward the river.
She laughed. “I hate you!”
“You love it.”
She slapped my butt and then poked her pointy elbows into my shoulder as she arched her back. “Enjoying the view of my backside from over there?”
I slid my hand up the back of her thighs and tugged her dress down to keep her covered.
“This isn’t so bad,” she said.
“Yeah.” She slapped my butt again. “Giddyap!”
“All right. You asked for it.”
Her next words were swallowed up in a scream as I took off at a full sprint.
She gripped my shirt, clutching for my waist, as the breeze broke around us. I ran the short distance to the riverside in no time, slowing only when the moonlit gleam on the water’s surface appeared.
I placed Liya on the grass, but she swayed away. I grabbed her by the waist to steady her and chuckled. “Are you okay?”
“You try doing that upside down.
Sajni Patel (The Trouble with Hating You (The Trouble with Hating You, #1))
You must find the most important words a man can say...Those words came to me from one who claimed to have seen the future.....The past is the future and as each man has lived, so must you. "So, I can but repeat what has been done before?" "In some things, yes. You will love, you will hurt, you will dream, and you will die. Each man's past is your future." "Then what is the point," I asked, "if all has been seen and done?" "The question, she replied, is not whether you will love, hurt, dream, and die. It is what you will love; why you will hurt; when you will dream; and how you will die.This is your choice. You cannot pick the destination, only the path.
Brandon Sanderson (Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3))
Inej looked at her strange crew, barefoot and shivering in their soot-stained prison uniforms, their features limned by the golden light of the dome, softened by the mist that hung in the air.
What bound them together? Greed? Desperation? Was it just the knowledge that if one or all of them disappeared tonight, no one would come looking? Inej’s mother and father might still shed tears for the daughter they’d lost, but if Inej died tonight, there would be no one to grieve for the girl she was now. She had no family, no parents or siblings, only people to fight beside. Maybe that was something to be grateful for, too.
It was Jesper who spoke first. “No mourners,” he said with a grin.
“No funerals,” they replied in unison. Even Matthias muttered the words softly.
“If any of you survive, make sure I have an open casket,” Jesper said as he hefted two slender coils of rope over his shoulder and signalled for Wylan to follow him across the roof. “The world deserves a few more moments with this face.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
A poem to Raymond, whom everybody loves, originally composed on a waterproof smartphone in a sea of love, which was hidden under the pile of garbage that my bum-pals that have no pen names, or pen-pals, or names, for that matter, brought to me as an offering on the 1st of April 1877, exactly 111 years and 7 months before I was brought forth to this world, because some anonymous prophet told them this would bring luck, joy, happiness, food, and, of course – shelter from evil (he was lying):
If it's fantasy you seek,
to E. Feist then, you must speak.
All he writes is all there is,
for his words, they move the seas.
I would write, but I know naught.
In my heart there is a draught.
Hidden desert - golden sands.
Few my love can ever stand.
And so far I've talked to many,
a reply - will there be any?
I know - not, yet I know naught,
all to question, I was taught...
So I learn, I borrow wisdom,
from the great, the ones with vision.
They can teach, the few that grasp,
concepts from a long forgotten past.
Will Advise (Nothing is here...)
After Ian left for the Greenleaf Inn, where he planned to stop for the night before continuing the trip to his own home, Elizabeth stayed downstairs to put out the candles and tidy up the drawing room. In one of the guest chambers above, Jordan glanced at his wife’s faint, preoccupied smile and suppressed a knowing grin. “Now what do you think of the Marquess of Kensington?” he asked.
Her eyes were shining as she lifted them to his. “I think,” she softly said, “that unless he does something dreadful, I’m prepared to believe he could truly be your cousin.”
“Thank you, darling,” Jordan replied tenderly, paraphrasing Ian’s words. “I’m happy to see your opinion of him is already improving.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
There have been ample opportunities since 1945 to show that material superiority in war is not enough if the will to fight is lacking. In Algeria, Vietnam and Afghanistan the balance of economic and military strength lay overwhelmingly on the side of France, the United States, and the Soviet Union, but the will to win was slowly eroded. Troops became demoralised and brutalised. Even a political solution was abandoned. In all three cases the greater power withdrew. The Second World War was an altogether different conflict, but the will to win was every bit as important - indeed it was more so. The contest was popularly perceived to be about issues of life and death of whole communities rather than for their fighting forces alone. They were issues, wrote one American observer in 1939, 'worth dying for'. If, he continued, 'the will-to-destruction triumphs, our resolution to preserve civilisation must become more implacable...our courage must mount'.
Words like 'will' and 'courage' are difficult for historians to use as instruments of cold analysis. They cannot be quantified; they are elusive of definition; they are products of a moral language that is regarded sceptically today, even tainted by its association with fascist rhetoric. German and Japanese leaders believed that the spiritual strength of their soldiers and workers in some indefinable way compensate for their technical inferiority. When asked after the war why Japan lost, one senior naval officer replied that the Japanese 'were short on spirit, the military spirit was weak...' and put this explanation ahead of any material cause. Within Germany, belief that spiritual strength or willpower was worth more than generous supplies of weapons was not confined to Hitler by any means, though it was certainly a central element in the way he looked at the world.
The irony was that Hitler's ambition to impose his will on others did perhaps more than anything to ensure that his enemies' will to win burned brighter still. The Allies were united by nothing so much as a fundamental desire to smash Hitlerism and Japanese militarism and to use any weapon to achieve it. The primal drive for victory at all costs nourished Allied fighting power and assuaged the thirst for vengeance. They fought not only because the sum of their resources added up to victory, but because they wanted to win and were certain that their cause was just.
The Allies won the Second World War because they turned their economic strength into effective fighting power, and turned the moral energies of their people into an effective will to win. The mobilisation of national resources in this broad sense never worked perfectly, but worked well enough to prevail. Materially rich, but divided, demoralised, and poorly led, the Allied coalition would have lost the war, however exaggerated Axis ambitions, however flawed their moral outlook. The war made exceptional demands on the Allied peoples. Half a century later the level of cruelty, destruction and sacrifice that it engendered is hard to comprehend, let alone recapture. Fifty years of security and prosperity have opened up a gulf between our own age and the age of crisis and violence that propelled the world into war. Though from today's perspective Allied victory might seem somehow inevitable, the conflict was poised on a knife-edge in the middle years of the war. This period must surely rank as the most significant turning point in the history of the modern age.
Richard Overy (Why the Allies Won)
You and Beatrix haven’t known each other long enough to consider matrimony. A matter of weeks, to my knowledge. And what about Prudence Mercer? You’re practically betrothed, aren’t you?”
“Those are valid points,” Christopher said. “And I will answer them. But you should know right away that I’m against the match.”
Leo blinked in bemusement. “You mean you’re against a match with Miss Mercer?”
“Well…yes. But I’m also against a match with Beatrix.”
Silence fell over the room.
“This is a trick of some sort,” Leo said.
“Unfortunately, it’s not,” Christopher replied.
“Captain Phelan,” Cam asked, choosing his words with care. “Have you come to ask for our consent to marry Beatrix?”
Christopher shook his head. “If I decide to marry Beatrix, I’ll do it with or without your consent.”
Leo looked at Cam. “Good God,” he said in disgust. “This one’s worse than Harry.”
Cam wore an expression of beleaguered patience. “Perhaps we should both talk to Captain Phelan in the library. With brandy.”
“I want my own bottle,” Leo said feelingly, leading the way.
Lisa Kleypas (Love in the Afternoon (The Hathaways, #5))
His voice grew more remote. She wondered if he was calling from his condominium, where he’d lost his best friend, or from Avalon, where he’d lost himself. “I like you, Billie. You’re a nice person. Good company. But tonight was a mistake.”
She flung an arm over her eyes and swallowed the lump of tears that had lodged in her throat. “Oh? Which part? The part where you introduced me to your family and exposed yourself as coming from a perfectly average, wholesome background? Or the part where you touched me and turned me inside-out while swaying in a hammock in the rich, beautiful woods—one of the most searing sexual experiences of my life? Which part do you regret, Adrian?”
“All of it. I can’t have those things with you. You know what I am.”
“Yes, Adrian, I know what you are. A gentle man. A likable one. Smart. Cultured. Sexy. I know what you are.”
“But the other part—”
“What about the other part? You hide behind the other part.” She yanked the pillow out from beneath her head and winged it across the bedroom, furious suddenly. “Did you call to tell me I’m not going to see you anymore? Because if that’s the case, hurry up and say it. Then hang up and go back to work, and don’t worry one bit about me. I’ve been on my own a long time, and I’m tougher than you think. I won’t cling to any man who’d rather be a-a—” She stumbled, bit back the ugly words rushing to her lips.
“A what?” he countered softly. “A whore? A gigolo? Go ahead and say it, Billie. If you’re going to waste your time caring about me, then you’d better get used to the idea, because I can’t change. I won’t. Not for you or anyone.”
She bit back a sound of pure derision. “How about for you? Think you could walk the straight and narrow for yourself?”
He didn’t reply. He didn’t have to. Billie already knew the answer. “You’re afraid.” She sat up among the sheets as cold realization washed through her. “Afraid to live without women clambering to pay top dollar for you. All that money…it’s a measure of your value, right? It’s your self-esteem. What would happen if you were paid in love instead of cash? Would the world end? My God, Adrian. You’re running scared.”
The half-whispered accusation seemed to permeate his impassivity. “I was fine before you.” His voice came low and furious. Finally, finally. True emotion. “Damn it, Billie. I want my life back.”
“Then hang up and don’t call me again, because I’m not going to pay you for sex, Adrian. What I offer is a worthless currency in your world.
Shelby Reed (The Fifth Favor)
she knows what he means, that they don’t have to touch. the same thing that’s happening to him is happening to her. she doesn’t need to crawl under the table ans suck his dick. too tire to interest either one of them. the flow is strong between them. the emotional tone. let it express itself. he sees her in her wallow and feel his pelvic muscles begin to quiver. he say, tell me to stop and i’ll stop. but he doesn’t wait for her to reply. there isn’t time. the tails of his sperm cells are lashing already. she is his sweetheart and lover and slut undying. he doesn’t have to do the unspeakable thing he wants to do. he only has to speak it. because they’re beyond every model of established behavior. he only wants to say the words.” _Eric Packer
Don DeLillo (Cosmopolis)
Bring Cecily home,” he said curtly. “I won’t have her at risk, even in the slightest way.”
“I’ll take care of Cecily,” came the terse reply. “She’s better off without you in her life.”
Tate’s eyes widened. “I beg your pardon?” he asked, affronted.
“You know what I mean,” Holden said. “Let her heal. She’s too young to consign herself to spinsterhood over a man who doesn’t even see her.”
“Infatuation dies,” Tate said.
Holden nodded. “Yes, it does. Goodbye.”
“So does hero worship,” he continued, laboring the point.
“And that’s why after eight years, Cecily has had one raging affair after the other,” he said facetiously.
The words had power. They wounded.
“You fool,” Holden said in a soft tone. “Do you really think she’d let any man touch her except you?” He went to his office door and gestured toward the desk. “Don’t forget your gadget,” he added quietly.
Holden paused with his hand on the doorknob and turned. “What?”
Tate held the device in his hands, watching the lights flicker on it. “Mixing two cultures when one of them is all but extinct is a selfish thing,” he said after a minute. “It has nothing to do with personal feelings. It’s a matter of necessity.”
Holden let go of the doorknob and moved to stand directly in front of Tate. “If I had a son,” he said, almost choking on the word, “I’d tell him that there are things even more important than lofty principles. I’d tell him…that love is a rare and precious thing, and that substitutes are notoriously unfulfilling.”
Tate searched the older man’s eyes. “You’re a fine one to talk.”
Holden’s face fell. “Yes, that’s true.” He turned away.
Why should he feel guilty? But he did. “I didn’t mean to say that,” Tate said, irritated by his remorse and the other man’s defeated posture. “I can’t help the way I feel about my culture.”
“If it weren’t for the cultural difference, how would you feel about Cecily?”
Tate hesitated. “It wouldn’t change anything. She’s been my responsibility. I’ve taken care of her. It would be gratitude on her part, even a little hero worship, nothing more. I couldn’t take advantage of that. Besides, she’s involved with Colby.”
“And you couldn’t live with being the second man.”
Tate’s face hardened. His eyes flashed.
Holden shook his head. “You’re just brimming over with excuses, aren’t you? It isn’t the race thing, it isn’t the culture thing, it isn’t even the guardian-ward thing. You’re afraid.”
Tate’s mouth made a thin line. He didn’t reply.
“When you love someone, you give up control of yourself,” he continued quietly. “You have to consider the other person’s needs, wants, fears. What you do affects the other person. There’s a certain loss of freedom as well.” He moved a step closer. “The point I’m making is that Cecily already fills that place in your life. You’re still protecting her, and it doesn’t matter that there’s another man. Because you can’t stop looking out for her. Everything you said in this office proves that.” He searched Tate’s turbulent eyes. “You don’t like Colby Lane, and it isn’t because you think Cecily’s involved with him. It’s because he’s been tied to one woman so tight that he can’t struggle free of his love for her, even after years of divorce. That’s how you feel, isn’t it, Tate? You can’t get free of Cecily, either. But Colby’s always around and she indulges him. She might marry him in an act of desperation. And then what will you do? Will your noble excuses matter a damn then?
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
Then I saw the keyboard of an organ which filled one whole side of the walls. On the desk was a music-book covered with red notes. I asked leave to look at it and read, ‘Don Juan Triumphant.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, 'I compose sometimes.’ I began that work twenty years ago. When I have finished, I shall take it away with me in that coffin and never wake up again.’ 'You must work at it as seldom as you can,’ I said. He replied, 'I sometimes work at it for fourteen days and nights together, during which I live on music only, and then I rest for years at a time.’ 'Will you play me something out of your Don Juan Triumphant?’ I asked, thinking to please him. 'You must never ask me that,’ he said, in a gloomy voice. 'I will play you Mozart, if you like, which will only make you weep; but my Don Juan, Christine, burns; and yet he is not struck by fire from Heaven.’ Thereupon we returned to the drawing-room. I noticed that there was no mirror in the whole apartment. I was going to remark upon this, but Erik had already sat down to the piano. He said, 'You see, Christine, there is some music that is so terrible that it consumes all those who approach it. Fortunately, you have not come to that music yet, for you would lose all your pretty coloring and nobody would know you when you returned to Paris. Let us sing something from the Opera, Christine Daae.’ He spoke these last words as though he were flinging an insult at me.”
“What did you do?”
“I had no time to think about the meaning he put into his words. We at once began the duet in Othello and already the catastrophe was upon us. I sang Desdemona with a despair, a terror which I had never displayed before. As for him, his voice thundered forth his revengeful soul at every note. Love, jealousy, hatred, burst out around us in harrowing cries. Erik’s black mask made me think of the natural mask of the Moor of Venice. He was Othello himself. Suddenly, I felt a need to see beneath the mask. I wanted to know the FACE of the voice, and, with a movement which I was utterly unable to control, swiftly my fingers tore away the mask. Oh, horror, horror, horror!”
Christine stopped, at the thought of the vision that had scared her, while the echoes of the night, which had repeated the name of Erik, now thrice moaned the cry:
“Horror! … Horror! … Horror!
Gaston Leroux (The Phantom of the Opera)
The following also was nobly spoken by someone or other, for it is doubtful who the author was; they asked him what was the object of all this study applied to an art that would reach but very few. He replied: "I am content with few, content with one, content with none at all." The third saying - and a noteworthy one, too - is by Epicurus, written to one of the partners of his studies: "I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other." 12. Lay these words to heart, Lucilius, that you may scorn the pleasure which comes from the applause of the majority. Many men praise you; but have you any reason for being pleased with yourself, if you are a person whom the many can understand? Your good qualities should face inwards. Farewell.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
FATHER FORGETS W. Livingston Larned Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside. There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor. At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!” Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive—and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father! Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs. Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding—this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years. And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed! It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy—a little boy!” I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends & Influence People)
She accepted the tea he had brought, with a word of thanks and a charming smile, but could not resist the impulse to ask him if he was not ravished by Neroli’s voice.
He replied promptly: ‘Not entirely. A little too much vibrato, don’t you agree?’
‘Ah, I perceive that you are an expert!’ said Abby, controlling a quivering lip. ‘You must enlighten my ignorance, sir! What does that mean, if you please?’
‘Well, my Latin is pretty rusty, but I should think it means to tremble,’ he said coolly. ‘She does, too, like a blancmanger. And much the same shape as one,’ he added thoughtfully.
‘Oh, you dreadful creature!’ protested Mrs Grayshott, bubbling over. ‘I didn’t mean that, when I said I thought she had rather too much vibrato! You know I didn’t!’
‘I thought she had too much of everything,’ he said frankly.
Georgette Heyer (Black Sheep)
He approached her, his voice taking on a seductive tenor. "Shall we seal it with a kiss, then?"
Callie caught her breath and stiffened at the question. Ralston smiled at her obvious nerves. He ran a finger along the edge of her hairline, tucking a rogue lock of hair behind her ear gently. She looked up at him with her wide brown eyes, and he felt a burst of tenderness in his chest. He leaned close, moving slowly, as though she might scare at any moment, and his firm mouth brushed across hers, settling briefly, barely touching before she jumped back, one hand flying to her lips.
He leveled her with a frank gaze and waited for her to speak. When she didn't, he asked, "Is there a problem?"
"N-No!" she said, a touch too loudly. "Not at all, my lord. That is- Thank you."
His breath exhaled on a half laugh. "I'm afraid that you have mistaken the experience." He paused, watching the confusion cross her face. "You see, when I agree to something, I do it wholeheartedly. That was not the kiss for which you came, little mouse."
Callie wrinkled her nose at his words, and at the nickname he had used for her. "It wasn't?"
Her nervousness flared, and she resumed toying with her cloak tassel. "Oh, well. It was quite nice. I find I am quite satisfied that you have held up your end of our bargain."
"Quite nice isn't what you should be aiming for," he said, taking her restless hands into his own and allowing his voice to deepen. "Neither should the kiss leave you satisfied."
She tugged briefly, giving up when he would not free her and instead pulled her closer, setting her hands upon his shoulders. He trailed his fingers down her neck, leaving her breathless, her voice a mere squeak when she replied, "How should it leave me?"
He kissed her then. Really kissed her.
He pulled her against him and pressed his mouth to hers, possessing, owning in a way she could never have imagined. His lips, firm and warm, played across her own, tempting her until she was gasping for breath. He captured the sound in his mouth, taking advantage of her open lips to run his tongue along them, tasting her lightly until she couldn't bear the teasing. He seemed to read her thoughts, and just when she couldn't stand another moment, he gathered her closer and deepened the kiss, changing the pressure. He delved deeper, stroked more firmly.
And she was lost.
Callie was consumed, finding herself desperate to match his movements. Her hands seemed to move of their own volition, running along his broad shoulders and wrapping around his neck. Tentatively, she met Ralston's tongue with her own and was rewarded with a satisfied sound from deep in his throat as he tightened his grip, sending another wave of heat through her. He retreated, and she followed, matching his movements until his lips closed scandalously around her tongue and he sucked gently- the sensation rocked her to her core. All at once she was aflame.
Sarah MacLean (Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1))
This seat taken?" My eyes grazing over the only other occupant, a guy with long glossy dark hair with his head bent over a book.
"It's all yours," he says. And when he lifts his head and smiles,my heart just about leaps from my chest.
It's the boy from my dreams.
The boy from the Rabbit Hole,the gas station,and the cave-sitting before me with those same amazing,icy-blue eues, those same alluring lips I've kissed multiple times-but only in slumber, never in waking life.
I scold my heart to settle,but it doesn't obey.
I admonish myself to sit,to act normal, casual-and I just barely succeed.
Stealing a series of surreptitious looks as I search through my backpack, taking in his square chin,wide generous lips,strong brow,defined cheekbones, and smooth brown skin-the exact same features as Cade.
"You're the new girl,right?" He abandons his book,tilting his head in a way that causes his hair to stream over his shoulder,so glossy and inviting it takes all of my will not to lean across the table and touch it.
I nod in reply,or at least I think I do.I can't be too sure.I'm too stricken by his gaze-the way it mirrors mine-trying to determine if he knows me, recognizes me,if he's surprised to find me here.Wishing Paloma had better prepared me-focused more on him and less on his brother.
I force my gaze from his.Bang my knee hard against the table as I swivel in my seat.Feeling so odd and unsettled,I wish I'd picked another place to sit, though it's pretty clear no other table would have me.
He buries his smile and returns to the book.Allowing a few minutes to pass,not nearly enough time for me to get a grip on myself,when he looks up and says, "Are you staring at me because you've seen my doppelganer roaming the halls,playing king of the cafeteria? Or because you need to borrow a pencil and you're too shy to ask?"
I clear the lump from my throat, push the words past my lips when I say, "No one's ever accused me of being shy." A statement that,while steeped in truth, stands at direct odds with the way I feel now,sitting so close to him. "So I guess it's your twin-or doppelganer,as you say." I keep my voice light, as though I'm not at all affected by his presence,but the trill note at the end gives me away.Every part of me now vibrating with the most intense surge of energy-like I've been plugged into the wall and switched on-and it's all I can do to keep from grabbing hold of his shirt, demanding to know if he dreamed the dreams too.
He nods,allowing an easy,cool smile to widen his lips. "We're identical," he says. "As I'm sure you've guessed. Though it's easy enough to tell us apart. For one thing,he keeps his hair short.For another-"
"The eyes-" I blurt,regretting the words the instant they're out.From the look on his face,he has no idea what I'm talking about. "Yours are...kinder." My cheeks burn so hot I force myself to look away,as words of reproach stampede my brain.
Why am I acting like such an inept loser? Why do I insist on embarrassing myself-in front of him-of all people?
I have to pull it together.I have to remember who I am-what I am-and what I was born to do.Which is basically to crush him and his kind-or,at the very least,to temper the damage they do.
Alyson Noel (Fated (Soul Seekers, #1))
Peabody, you may as well hear the truth. I am mad about you! Since the day you walked into my tomb and started ordering us all about, I have known you were the only woman for me. Why do you suppose I have sulked and avoided you since we left Amarna? I was contemplating a life without you—a bleak, gray existence, without your voice scolding me and your big bright eyes scowling at me, and your magnificent figure—has no one told you about your figure, Peabody?—striding up and down prying into all sorts of places where you had no business to be…. I knew I couldn’t endure it! If you hadn’t spoken tonight, I should have borrowed Alberto’s mummy costume and carried you off into the desert! There, I have said it. You have stripped away my defenses. Are you satisfied with your victory?” I did not reply in words, but I think my answer was satisfactory. When Emerson had regained his breath he let out a great hearty laugh.
Elizabeth Peters (Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody, #1))
Tatyana’s Letter to Onegin I’m writing you this declaration— What more can I in candour say? It may be now your inclination To scorn me and to turn away; But if my hapless situation Evokes some pity for my woe, You won’t abandon me, I know. I first tried silence and evasion; Believe me, you‘d have never learned My secret shame, had I discerned The slightest hope that on occasion— But once a week—I’d see your face, Behold you at our country place, Might hear you speak a friendly greeting, Could say a word to you; and then, Could dream both day and night again Of but one thing, till our next meeting. They say you like to be alone And find the country unappealing; We lack, I know, a worldly tone, But still, we welcome you with feeling. Why did you ever come to call? In this forgotten country dwelling I’d not have known you then at all, Nor known this bitter heartache’s swelling. Perhaps, when time had helped in quelling The girlish hopes on which I fed, I might have found (who knows?) another And been a faithful wife and mother, Contented with the life I led. Another! No! In all creation There’s no one else whom I’d adore; The heavens chose my destination And made me thine for evermore! My life till now has been a token In pledge of meeting you, my friend; And in your coming, God has spoken, You‘ll be my guardian till the end…. You filled my dreams and sweetest trances; As yet unseen, and yet so dear, You stirred me with your wondrous glances, Your voice within my soul rang clear…. And then the dream came true for me! When you came in, I seemed to waken, I turned to flame, I felt all shaken, And in my heart I cried: It’s he! And was it you I heard replying Amid the stillness of the night, Or when I helped the poor and dying, Or turned to heaven, softly crying, And said a prayer to soothe my plight? And even now, my dearest vision, Did I not see your apparition Flit softly through this lucent night? Was it not you who seemed to hover Above my bed, a gentle lover, To whisper hope and sweet delight? Are you my angel of salvation Or hell’s own demon of temptation? Be kind and send my doubts away; For this may all be mere illusion, The things a simple girl would say, While Fate intends no grand conclusion…. So be it then! Henceforth I place My faith in you and your affection; I plead with tears upon my face And beg you for your kind protection. You cannot know: I’m so alone, There’s no one here to whom I’ve spoken, My mind and will are almost broken, And I must die without a moan. I wait for you … and your decision: Revive my hopes with but a sign, Or halt this heavy dream of mine— Alas, with well-deserved derision! I close. I dare not now reread…. I shrink with shame and fear. But surely, Your honour’s all the pledge I need, And I submit to it securely.
Alexander Pushkin (Eugene Onegin)
What movie are you guys gonna see anyway?”
“I don’t...know,” I answered when Rider remained quiet. An idea formed. “Do you want to come?”
Jayden blinked as if he was surprised. “Aw, that’s sweet of you, but I’m not good sittin’ in a theater.”
My brows furrowed. “Why?”
“Because he’d talk through it,” Paige answered from the couch. “He would literally talk through the entire movie.”
“True dat,” one of the other guys responded.
“It’s true. You know, I like to add commentary every once in a while,” Jayden explained. “But for some reason people be all upset over that.”
“I can imagine,” Rider replied drily.
“I like to think what I’m addin’ actually enlightens the experience,” Jayden said.
Paige snorted. “I don’t think enlighten is the right word.”
“My entire presence is enlightening,” he replied.
Hector looked over his shoulder, eyebrows raised. “I can come up with a few words that describe your presence. Enlightening is not one of them.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (The Problem with Forever)
The winged human glanced towards Retina briefly. “It’s okay Dr. Blade. Scientists should never be blown away from the nature of facts.”
Roma smiled. “And by scientists, are you one?”
“That is dependent on your opinion Dr. Hill. I’m well versed by Dr. Sangha.”
Roma moved towards him, narrowing his eyes. “It is my opinion that no respectable scientist will allow himself to be a subject of ridicule by turning in his human DNA to become a freak, a beast or whatever the hell it is you think you are.”
The winged human was unaffected. “I’m sure Dr. Hill that freak or beast doesn’t apply.”
Roma drew his head back slightly, studying the demeanor of the winged human. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Seganus,” he replied humbly.
Roma moved a little closer to him wearing a deep frown. “You don’t think the word freak or beast applies?”
“No. I don’t think so.”
“Is that the carnivorous beaks of the Titanis Walleri I see on you?”
“Can you hold the 360 Degrees field of view of the Woodcock.”
“The long bills of the Australian Pelican?”
“Do you lay the large eggs of the Ostrich?”
“Dr. Hill,” Retina cautioned.
Lorenzo seemed amused by the situation. He was smiling.
“No,” Seganus replied.
Roma continued. “Then you’ll say you don’t have those qualities birds posses?”
“You’ll say you’re human?”
Seganus blinked before he spoke. “Yes.”
Roma moved closer to him. “Then why the freaks are you wearing wings?
Dew Platt (Roma&retina)
We must not let her uncle send her into the gloom, which is what he always does.”
“Is there a means to stop him?” Alex asked, smiling.
Bentner straightened, nodded, and said with dignified force, “I, for one, am in favor of shoving him off London Bridge. Aaron favors poison.”
There was anger and frustration in his words, but no real menace, and Alex responded with a conspiratorial smile. “I think I prefer your method, Bentner-it’s tidier.”
Alexandra’s remark had been teasing, and Bentner’s reply was a formal bow, but as they looked at each other for a moment they both acknowledged the unspoken communication they’d just exchanged. The butler had informed her that, should the staff’s help be needed in any way in future, the duchess could depend upon their complete, unquestioning loyalty. The duchess’s answer had assured him that, far from resenting his intrusion, she appreciated the information and would keep it in mind should such an occasion occur.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Electricity," Purva said, rolling the strange new word around in her mouth, giving it at once an Australian and a French inflection.
"Sir William was playing around with it when we met, do you remember?" Jack said to Clare. "He was storing charges in boxes."
"I remember he was blowing things up," Clare replied.
"Six of one..." Jack grinned. "Nobody really knows how it works, but down here it powers most of the lights in the big cities and parts of the automobiles and the stoves in the train kitchen. You can store the power in blocks, then hook it up to anything you might otherwise run on a boiler. It's cooler, and the blocks last longer than coal. I think I can reproduce it when we get home, if I can take enough schematics with me."
"He is going to kill himself," Purva said, but her tone was casual, not overly worried.
"I'm not going to kill myself," Jack answered, equally casual. "Just because it can cause your heart to stop doesn't mean it always does.
Sam Starbuck (The Dead Isle)
From faith,’ replied Emral Lanear, ‘do we not seek guidance?’
‘Guidance, or the organized assembly and reification of all the prejudices you collectively hold dear?’
‘You would not speak to us!’
‘I grew to fear the power of words – their power, and their powerlessness. No matter how profound or perceptive, no matter how deafening their truth, they are helpless to defend themselves. I could have given you a list. I could have stated, in the simplest terms, that this is how I want you to behave, and this must be the nature of your belief, and your service, and your sacrifice. But how long, I wonder, before that list twisted in interpretation? How long before deviation yielded condemnation, torture, death?’ She slowly leaned forward. ‘How long, before my simple rules to a proper life become a call to war? To the slaughter of unbelievers? How long, Emral Lanear, before you begin killing in my name?’
‘Then what do you want of us?’ Lanear demanded.
‘You could have stopped thinking like children who need to be told what’s right and what’s wrong. You damned well know what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s pretty simple, really. It’s all about harm. It’s about hurting, and not just physical, either. You want a statement for your faith in me? You wish me to offer you the words you claim to need, the rules by which you are to live your lives? Very well, but I should warn you, every deity worthy of worship will offer you the same prescription. Here it is, then. Don’t hurt other people. In fact, don’t hurt anything capable of suffering. Don’t hurt the world you live in, either, or its myriad creatures. If gods and goddesses are to have any purpose at all, let us be the ones you must face for the crimes of your life. Let us be the answer to every unfeeling, callous, cruel act you committed, every hateful word you uttered, and every spiteful wound you delivered.’
‘At last!’ cried Emral Lanear.
‘You didn’t need me for that rule.
Steven Erikson (Fall of Light (The Kharkanas Trilogy, #2))
[The Chinese here is tricky and a certain key word in the context it is used defies the best efforts of the translator. Tu Mu defines this word as “the measurement or estimation of distance.” But this meaning does not quite fit the illustrative simile in ss. 15. Applying this definition to the falcon, it seems to me to denote that instinct of SELF RESTRAINT which keeps the bird from swooping on its quarry until the right moment, together with the power of judging when the right moment has arrived. The analogous quality in soldiers is the highly important one of being able to reserve their fire until the very instant at which it will be most effective. When the “Victory” went into action at Trafalgar at hardly more than drifting pace, she was for several minutes exposed to a storm of shot and shell before replying with a single gun. Nelson coolly waited until he was within close range, when the broadside he brought to bear worked fearful havoc on the enemy’s nearest ships.] 14. Therefore the good fighter will be terrible in his onset, and prompt in his decision. [The word “decision” would have reference to the measurement of distance mentioned above, letting the enemy get near before striking. But I cannot help thinking that Sun Tzu meant to use the word in a figurative sense comparable to our own idiom “short and sharp.” Cf. Wang Hsi’s note, which after describing the falcon’s mode of attack, proceeds: “This is just how the ‘psychological moment’ should be seized in war.”]
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
He shut the door, and stood looking across the room at her. 'Cressy, what did you mean when you told that harridan that your affections were engaged?'
The colour deepened a little in her cheeks, but she replied lightly: 'Well, she talked so much like someone in a bad play that I became carried away myself! Besides, I had to say something to convince her! I could see she didn't quite believe me when I said I wasn't going to marry your brother.'
He let his breath go in a long sigh, and walked forward, setting his hands on her shoulders, and saying: 'You don't know how much I have wanted to tell you the truth! Cressy, my dear one, forgive me! I've treated you abominably, and I love you so much!'
Miss Stavely, who had developed an interest in the top button of his coat, looked shyly up at this. 'Do you, Kit?' she asked. 'Truly?'
Mr Fancot, preferring actions to words, said nothing whatsoever in answer to this, but took her in his arms and kissed her. Miss Stavely, who had previously thought him unfailingly gentle and courteous, perceived, in the light of this novel experience, that she had been mistaken: there was nothing gentle about Mr Fancot's crushing embrace; and his behaviour in paying no heed at all to her faint protest could only be described as extremely uncivil. She was wholly unused to such treatment, and she had a strong suspicion that her grandmother would condemn her conduct in submitting to it, but as Mr Fancot seemed to be dead to all sense and propriety it was clearly useless to argue with him.
Georgette Heyer (False Colours)
In the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, there appears a remarkable
quotation attributed to Michael Welfare, one of the founders of a
religious sect known as the Dunkers and a longtime acquaintance of
Franklin. the statement had its origins in Welfare's complaint to
Franklin that zealots of other religious persuasions were spreading lies
about the Dunkers, accusing them of abominable principles to which, in
fact, they were utter strangers. Franklin suggested that such abuse
might be diminished if the Dunkers published the articles of their
belief and the rules of their discipline. Welfare replied that this
course of action had been discussed among his co-religionists but had
been rejected. He then explained their reasoning in the following
When we were first drawn together as a society, it had pleased God to
enlighten our minds so far as to see that some doctrines, which we once
esteemed truths, were errors, and that others, which we had esteemed
errors, were real truths. From time to time He has been pleased to
afford us farther light, and our principles have been improving, and our
errors diminishing. Now we are not sure that we are arrived at the end
of this progression, and at the perfection of spiritual or theological
knowledge; and we fear that, if we should feel ourselves as if bound and
confined by it, and perhaps be unwilling to receive further improvement,
and our successors still more so, as conceiving what we their elders and
founders had done, to be something sacred, never to be departed from.
Franklin describes this sentiment as a singular instance in the history
of mankind of modesty in a sect.
Duroy, who felt light hearted that evening, said with a smile: "You are gloomy to-day, dear master."
The poet replied: "I am always so, young man, so will you be in a few years. Life is a hill. As long as one is climbing up one looks towards the summit and is happy, but when one reaches the top one suddenly perceives the descent before one, and its bottom, which is death. One climbs up slowly, but one goes down quickly. At your age a man is happy. He hopes for many things, which, by the way, never come to pass. At mine, one no longer expects anything - but death."
Duroy began to laugh: "You make me shudder all over."
Norbert de Varenne went on: "No, you do not understand me now, but later on you will remember what I am saying to you at this moment. A day comes, and it comes early for many, when there is an end to mirth, for behind everything one looks at one sees death. You do not even understand the word. At your age it means nothing; at mine it is terrible. Yes, one understands it all at once, one does not know how or why, and then everything in life changes its aspect. For fifteen years I have felt death assail me as if I bore within me some gnawing beast. I have felt myself decaying little by little, month by month, hour by hour, like a house crumbling to ruin. Death has disfigured me so completely that I do not recognize myself. I have no longer anything about me of myself - of the fresh, strong man I was at thirty. I have seen death whiten my black hairs, and with what skillful and spiteful slowness. Death has taken my firm skin, my muscles, my teeth, my whole body of old, only leaving me a despairing soul, soon to be taken too. Every step brings me nearer to death, every movemebt, every breath hastens his odious work. To breathe, sleep, drink, eat, work, dream, everything we do is to die. To live, in short, is to die. Oh, you will realize this. If you stop and think for a moment you will understand. What do you expect? Love? A few more kisses and you will be impotent. Then money? For what? Women? Much fun that will be! In order to eat a lot and grow fat and lie awake at night suffering from gout? And after that? Glory? What use is that when it does not take the form of love? And after that? Death is always the end. I now see death so near that I often want to stretch my arms to push it back. It covers the earth and fills the universe. I see it everywhere. The insects crushed on the path, the falling leaves, the white hair in a friend's head, rend my heart and cry to me, 'Behold it!' It spoils for me all I do, all I see, all that I eat and drink, all that I love; the bright moonlight, the sunrise, the broad ocean, the noble rivers, and the soft summer evening air so sweet to breath."
He walked on slowly, dreaming aloud, almost forgetting that he had a listener: "And no one ever returns - never. The model of a statue may be preserved, but my body, my face, my thoughts, my desires will never reappear again. And yet millions of beings will be born with a nose, eyes, forehead, cheeks, and mouth like me, and also a soul like me, without my ever returning, without even anything recognizable of me appearing in these countless different beings. What can we cling to? What can we believe in? All religions are stupid, with their puerile morality and their egotistical promises, monstrously absurd. Death alone is certain."
"Think of that, young man. Think of it for days, and months and years, and life will seem different to you. Try to get away from all the things that shut you in. Make a superhuman effort to emerge alive from your own body, from your own interests, from your thoughts, from humanity in general, so that your eyes may be turned in the opposite direction. Then you understand how unimportant is the quarrel between Romanticism and Realism, or the Budget debates.
Guy de Maupassant
What did I do now?” He reluctantly pulled the car the curb.
I needed to get out of this car – like now. I couldn’t breathe.
I unbuckled and flung open the door.
“Thanks for the ride. Bye.”
I slammed the door shut and began down the sidewalk. Behind me, I heard the engine turn off and his door open and shut. I quickened my stride as James jogged up to me. I slowed down knowing I couldn’t escape his long legs anyway. Plus, I didn’t want to get home all sweaty and have to explain myself.
“What happened?” James asked, matching my pace.
“Leave me alone!” I snapped back. I felt his hand grab my elbow, halting me easily.
“Stop,” he ordered.
Damn it, he’s strong!
“What are you pissed about now?” He towered over me. I was trapped in front of him, if he tugged a bit, I’d be in his embrace.
“It’s so funny huh? I’m that bad? I’m a clown, I’m so funny!” I jerked my arm, trying to break free of his grip. “Let me go!”
“No!” He squeezed tighter, pulling me closer.
“Leave me alone!” I spit the words like venom, pulling my arm with all my might.
“What’s your problem?” James demanded loudly. His hand tightened on my arm with each attempt to pull away. My energy was dwindling and I was mentally exhausted. I stopped jerking my arm back, deciding it was pointless because he was too strong; there was no way I could pull my arm back without first kneeing him in the balls.
We were alone, standing in the dark of night in a neighborhood that didn’t see much traffic.
“Fireball?” he murmured softly.
“What?” I replied quietly, defeated.
Hesitantly, he asked, “Did I say something to make you sad?”
I wasn’t going to mention the boyfriend thing; there was no way.
“Yes,” I whimpered.
That’s just great, way to sound strong there, now he’ll have no reason not to pity you!
“I’m sorry,” came his quiet reply.
Well maybe ‘I’m sorry’ just isn’t good enough. The damage is already done!
“What can I do to make it all better?”
“There’s nothing you could–” I began but was interrupted by him pulling me against his body. His arms encircled my waist, holding me tight. My arms instinctively bent upwards, hands firmly planted against his solid chest. Any resentment I had swiftly melted away as something brand new took its place: pleasure.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I asked him softly; his face was only a few inches from mine.
“What do you think you’re doing?” James asked back, looking down at my hands on his chest. I slowly slid my arms up around his neck.
I can’t believe I just did that!
Our bodies were plastered against one another; I felt a new kind of nervousness touch every single inch of my body, it prickled electrically.
“James,” I murmured softly.
“Fireball,” he whispered back.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I repeated; my brain felt frozen. My heart had stopped beating a mile a minute instead issuing slow, heavy beats.
James uncurled one of his arms from my waist and trailed it along my back to the base of my neck, holding it firmly yet delicately. Blood rushed to the very spot he was holding, heat filled my eyes as I stared at him.
“What are you doing?” My bewilderment was audible in the hush.
I wasn’t sure I had the capacity to speak anymore. That function had fled along with the bitch. Her replacement was a delicate flower that yearned to be touched and taken care of. I felt his hand shift on my neck, ever so slightly, causing my head to tilt up to him. Slowly, inch by inch, his face descended on mine, stopping just a breath away from my trembling lips.
I wanted it. Badly. My lips parted a fraction, letting a thread of air escape.
“Can I?” His breath was warm on my lips.
“Yeah,” I whispered back. He closed the distance until his lush lips covered mine.
My first kiss…damn!
His lips moved softly over mine. I felt his grip on my neck squeeze as his lips pressed deeper into
Sarah Tork (Young Annabelle (Y.A #1))
Colby’s resourceful, I’ll give him that.”
“You used to be good friends.”
“We were, until he started hanging around Cecily,” came the short reply. “I’m not as angry at him as I was. But it seems that he has to have a woman to prop him up.”
“Not necessarily,” Matt replied. “Sometimes a good woman can save a bad man. It’s an old saying, but fairly true from time to time. Colby was headed straight to hell until Cecily put him on the right track. It’s gratitude, but I don’t think he can see that just yet. He’s in between mourning his ex-wife and finding someone to replace her.” He leaned back again. “I feel sorry for him. He’s basically a one-woman man, but he lost the woman.”
Tate packed back to the wing chair and sat down on the edge. “He’s not getting Cecily. She’s mine, even if she doesn’t want to admit it.”
Matt stared at him. “Don’t you know anything about women in love?”
“Not a lot,” the younger man confessed. “I’ve spent the better part of my life avoiding them.”
“Especially Cecily,” Matt agreed. “She’s been like a shadow. You didn’t miss her until you couldn’t see her behind you anymore.”
“She’s grown away from me,” Tate said. “I don’t know how to close the gap. I know she still feels something for me, but she wouldn’t stay and fight for me.” He lifted his gaze to Matt’s hard face. “She’s carrying my child. I want both of them, regardless of the adjustments I have to make. Cecily’s the only woman I’ve ever truly wanted.”
Matt spread his hands helplessly. “This is one mess I can’t help you sort out,” he said at last. “If Cecily loves you, she’ll give in sooner or later. If it were me, I’d go find her and tell her how I really felt. I imagine she’ll listen.”
Tate stared at his shoes. He couldn’t find the right words to express what he felt.
“Tate,” his father said gently, “you’ve had a lot to get used to lately. Give it time. Don’t rush things. I’ve found that life sorts itself out, given the opportunity.”
Tate’s dark eyes lifted. “Maybe it does.” He searched the other man’s quiet gaze. “It’s not as bad as I thought it was, having a foot in two worlds. I’m getting used to it.”
“You still have a unique heritage,” Matt pointed out. “Not many men can claim Berber revolutionaries and Lakota warriors as relatives.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
Oh no,” she breathed. “Not the Highwoods.” She called after the coach as it rumbled off into the distance. “Mrs. Highwood, wait! Come back. I can explain everything. Don’t leave!”
“They seem to have already left.”
She turned on Bram, flashing him an angry blue glare. The force of it pushed against his sternum. Not nearly sufficient to move him, but enough to leave an impression.
“I do hope you’re happy, sir. If tormenting innocent sheep and blowing ruts in our road weren’t enough mischief for you today, you’ve ruined a young woman’s future.”
“Ruined?” Bram wasn’t in the habit of ruining young ladies-that was his cousin’s specialty-but if he ever decided to take up the sport, he’d employ a different technique. He edged closer, lowering his voice. “Really, it was just a little kiss. Or is this about your frock?”
His gaze dipped. Her frock had caught the worst of their encounter. Grass and dirt streaked the yards of shell-pink muslin. A torn flounce drooped to the ground, limp as a forgotten handkerchief. Her neckline had likewise strayed. He wondered if she knew her left breast was one exhortation away from popping free of her bodice altogether. He wondered if he should stop staring at it.
No, he decided. He would do her a favor by staring at it, calling her attention to what needed to be repaired. Indeed. Staring at her half-exposed, emotion-flushed breast was his solemn duty, and Bram was never one to shirk responsibility.
“Ahem.” She crossed her arms over her chest, abruptly aborting his mission.
“It’s not about me,” she said, “or my frock. The woman in that carriage was vulnerable and in need of help, and…” She blew out a breath, lifting the stray wisps of hair from her brow. “And now she’s gone. They’re all gone.” She looked him up and down. “So what is it you require? A wheelwright? Supplies? Directions to the main thoroughfare? Just tell me what you need to be on your way, and I will happily supply it.”
“We won’t put you to any such trouble. So long as this is the road to Summerfield, we’ll-“
“Summerfield? You didn’t say Summerfield.”
Vaguely, he understood that she was vexed with him, and that he probably deserved it. But damned if he could bring himself to feel sorry. Her fluster was fiercely attractive. The way her freckles bunched as she frowned at him. The elongation of her pale, slender neck as she stood straight in challenge.
She was tall for a woman. He liked his women tall.
“I did say Summerfield,” he replied. “That is the residence of Sir Lewis Finch, is it not?”
Her brow creased. “What business do you have with Sir Lewis Finch?”
“Men’s business, love. The specifics needn’t concern you.”
“Summerfield is my home,” she said. “And Sir Lewis Finch is my father. So yes, Lieutenant Colonel Victor Bramwell”-she fired each word as a separate shot-“you concern me.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that's what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I , in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.
Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.
Billy Collins (Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems)
Harriet turned round, and we both saw a girl walking towards us. She was dark-skinned and thin, not veiled but dressed in a sitara, a brightly coloured robe of greens and pinks, and she wore a headscarf of a deep rose colour. In that barren place the vividness of her dress was all the more striking. On her head she balanced a pitcher and in her hand she carried something. As we watched her approach, I saw that she had come from a small house, not much more than a cave, which had been built into the side of the mountain wall that formed the far boundary of the gravel plateau we were standing on. I now saw that the side of the mountain had been terraced in places and that there were a few rows of crops growing on the terraces. Small black and brown goats stepped up and down amongst the rocks with acrobatic grace, chewing the tops of the thorn bushes.
As the girl approached she gave a shy smile and said, ‘Salaam alaikum, ’ and we replied, ‘Wa alaikum as salaam, ’ as the sheikh had taught us. She took the pitcher from where it was balanced on her head, kneeled on the ground, and gestured to us to sit. She poured water from the pitcher into two small tin cups, and handed them to us. Then she reached into her robe and drew out a flat package of greaseproof paper from which she withdrew a thin, round piece of bread, almost like a large flat biscuit. She broke off two pieces, and handed one to each of us, and gestured to us to eat and drink. The water and the bread were both delicious. We smiled and mimed our thanks until I remembered the Arabic word, ‘Shukran.’
So we sat together for a while, strangers who could speak no word of each other’s languages, and I marvelled at her simple act. She had seen two people walking in the heat, and so she laid down whatever she had been doing and came to render us a service. Because it was the custom, because her faith told her it was right to do so, because her action was as natural to her as the water that she poured for us. When we declined any further refreshment after a second cup of water she rose to her feet, murmured some word of farewell, and turned and went back to the house she had come from.
Harriet and I looked at each other as the girl walked back to her house. ‘That was so…biblical,’ said Harriet.
‘Can you imagine that ever happening at home?’ I asked. She shook her head. ‘That was charity. Giving water to strangers in the desert, where water is so scarce. That was true charity, the charity of poor people giving to the rich.’
In Britain a stranger offering a drink to a thirsty man in a lonely place would be regarded with suspicion. If someone had approached us like that at home, we would probably have assumed they were a little touched or we were going to be asked for money. We might have protected ourselves by being stiff and unfriendly, evasive or even rude.
Paul Torday (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
Sophia had been hard pressed not to laugh when MacLean had tripped over one of the floorboards she and Angus had pried loose. Better yet, MacLean had ripped his lace-edged sleeve on a broken nail in the doorframe of his bedchamber. She knew because she'd heard his loud curse from the hallway.
Sophia had expected him to roar at the servants and demand things be repaired, but all he did was ask Angus for a hammer to protect himself from the loose boards and stray nails that seemed to plague MacFarlane House.
To Sophia's delight, Angus had gloomily replied that there weren't enough hammers in the whole of Scotland to do that.
Since Angus had left MacLean in his bedchamber, they hadn't heard a word from him. Perhaps the man was sleeping, although how could anyone sleep in such a damp room and with such a lumpy mattress and smoky chimney?
More likely, he was awake and seething at being forced to endure such horrid conditions. She wished she had been there to witness his reaction to the threadbare furniture with broken springs and flat cushions, the inadequate bed coverings for the chilly chamber (it faced north, where the wind was fiercest), a window that was nailed slightly open, and more.
Karen Hawkins (To Catch a Highlander (MacLean Curse, #3))
He broke away a little to murmur, ‘You’re sure about this?’
‘I need to feel alive, Mac,’ said Simone ‘I have to know it . . . I don’t need flowers . . . I don’t need dinner . . . I don’t need romance . . . I need fucked.’
The word had an electric effect on Macandrew, who despite now wanting Simone so badly, still had reservations about the situation – mainly the fear that he was taking advantage of it. He felt the last of them wash away as she uttered the word. He pinned her to the wall and freed himself before reaching under her skirt to push her panties to one side and enter her hard and long. He cupped his hands round her backside and pulled her on to him, matching the thrust of his hips and being exhorted to ever greater efforts by Simone’s moans in his ear. ‘Christ, I want you,’ he gasped.
‘Then have me . . .’
The all too brief outcome of such passion left Macandrew holding Simone to him and resting his forehead on the wall as his breathing subsided.
Simone broke the silence. ‘Tell me how you feel?’ she murmured.
‘After a moment’s thought, Macandrew said, ‘Embarrassed. Dare I ask about you?’
‘Fucked,’ replied Simone.
Macandrew smiled, feeling such a surge of relief when he saw that Simone was smiling too. She ran the tips of her fingers softly down his cheek. ‘Let’s go shower,’ she said.
Showering together was as gentle an experience as their love-making had been passionate. They took lingering pleasure in tracing the contours of each other with soap and sponge and found it deliciously sensual. ‘Do you know what I’m going to do now?’ murmured Simone.
‘Tell me,’ said Macandrew drowsily as he closed his eyes and put his head back on the shower wall.
Simone reached up and yanked the regulator over to COLD, causing Macandrew to let out a yelp of surprise. ‘Make an omelette,’ she said.
Ken McClure (Past Lives)
If she had to choose which aspect of the suite she despised most, it would have been a hard call between the lock and the garden, though these days she nursed a particular grudge against the curtains.
She hid behind them to watch Arin leave the house, and return--very often on her horse. Despite the way he had looked after the battle, his injuries weren’t serious. His limp lessened, the bandage on his neck disappeared, and the raging bruises muted into ugly greens and violets.
Several days passed without any words between him and her, and that set Kestrel on edge.
It was hard to rub out the memory of his smile--exhausted, sweet.
And then that waterfall of relief.
Kestrel sent him a letter. Jess was likely to recover, she wrote. She asked to visit Ronan, who was being held in the city prison.
Arin’s reply was a curt note: No.
She decided not to press the issue. Her request had been due to a sense of obligation. She dreaded seeing Ronan--even if he agreed to speak with her. Even if he did not loathe her now. Kestrel knew that to look upon Ronan would be to come face-to-face with her failure. She had done everything wrong…including not being able to love him.
She folded the one-word letter and set it aside.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
Oh shit, I wouldn’t use that towel if I were you,” Gavin mumbles.
I ignore him scrubbing every inch of my face, hoping that maybe I can rub away the memory of the words my mother spoke to me.
“Seriously dude, give me that thing,” Gavin says, Interrupting my thoughts. I pull the towel away and glare at his reflection in the mirror. He’s standing behind me with a look of disgust on his face and his hand out. “What the fuck is wrong with you? I just found out that my mom was a slut and has no idea who my dad is and all you’re worried about is your precious towel?” I ramble, my voice getting that hysterical squeak to it. “What’s wrong? Is this one of Charlotte’s ‘good’ towels, reserved for guests or some shit? Fuck, are you pussy whipped.”
Gavin shakes his head at me and tries reaching over my shoulder to take the towel. I snatch it away and turn to face him. “What is your fucking deal? It’s a Goddamn towel!” I yell. “Yeah, it’s a jizz towel, dude.”
I look at him in confusion, glancing down at the towel and back up at him when what he said finally sinks in. He’s biting his lip and I can’t tell if he’s trying not to laugh or if he’s trying to think of a way to run out of here as fast as he can. “Hey, what are you guys doing in the bathroom?” Charlotte asks, suddenly appearing in the doorway. “Oh, my God! Did you just use that towel, Tyler?” I quickly throw the towel away from me like it’s on fire and it lands in the toilet. “Dammit, don’t throw it in the toilet, you’ll ruin it!” Charlotte scolds. “I’m pretty sure you ruined it by putting jizz on it!” I scream. “Why the fuck would you leave a jizz towel on the sink where anyone could use it?” “I’d never use it. I knew it was a jizz towel,” Gavin replies with a shrug. “Oh, my God! I scrubbed my fucking face with a towel that had your dry, crusty jizz on it!” I can’t believe this is happening right now. My mom had a foursome, my dad isn’t my dad and now I have jizz face. Moving as fast as I can, I jump into the shower and turn on the water, not even caring that I’m fully clothed. “Do you want us to leave so you can take your clothes off?” Charlotte asks, as the water rains down on me, soaking my t-shirt and jeans. “I am NOT taking my clothes off. There could be trace particles of jizz on them! I’m going to have to burn these clothes!” I complain. I keep my face under the scalding hot water, taking in large mouthfuls, swishing and then spitting on the shower floor. “Eeew, don’t spit in our shower!” Charlotte scolds. “I HAVE GAVIN’S JIZZ ON MY FACE! I WILL SPIT WHEREVER THE FUCK I WANT!
Tara Sivec (Passion and Ponies (Chocoholics, #2))
Lillian kept her face against Marcus’s shoulder. As mortified as she had been on the day that he had seen her playing rounders in her knickers, this was ten times worse. She would never be able to face Simon Hunt again, she thought, and groaned.
“It’s all right,” Marcus murmured. “He’ll keep his mouth shut.”
“I don’t care whom he tells,” Lillian managed to say. “I’m not going to marry you. Not if you compromised me a hundred times.”
“Lillian,” he said, a sudden tremor of laughter in his voice, “it would be my greatest pleasure to compromise you a hundred times. But first I would like to know what I’ve done this morning that is so unforgivable.”
“To begin with, you talked to my father.”
His brows lifted a fraction of an inch. “That offended you?”
“How could it not? You’ve behaved in the most highhanded manner possible by going behind my back and trying to arrange things with my father, without one word to me—”
“Wait,” Marcus said sardonically, rolling to his side and sitting up in an easy movement. He reached out with a broad hand to pull Lillian up to face him. “I was not being high-handed in meeting with your father. I was adhering to tradition. A prospective bridegroom usually approaches a woman’s father before he makes a formal proposal.” A gently caustic note entered his voice as he added, “Even in America. Unless I’ve been misinformed?”
The clock on the mantel dispensed a slow half-minute before Lillian managed a grudging reply. “Yes, that’s how it’s usually done. But I assumed that you and he had already made a betrothal agreement, regardless of whether or not it was what I wanted—”
“Your assumption was incorrect. We did not discuss any details of a betrothal, nor was anything mentioned about a dowry or a wedding date. All I did was ask your father for permission to court you.”
Lillian stared at him with surprised chagrin, until another question occurred to her. “What about your discussion with Lord St. Vincent just now?”
Now it was Marcus’s turn to look chagrined. “That was high-handed,” he admitted.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
The ambulance arrived when the police cars did. They were accompanied by a man in a black suit who had the look of a federal agent. It didn’t surprise Cecily that he went right up to Tate and drew him to one side.
While Cecily was being checked over by a paramedic, Gabrini, who’d already been loaded onto a gurney, was being watched by two police officers.
Tate came back to Cecily while the federal agent paused by the police officers.
“You can take him to the hospital to have his ribs strapped,” the man told the ambulance attendant. “But we’ll have transport for him to New Jersey with two federal marshals.”
“Marshals!” Gabrini exclaimed, holding his side, because the outburst had hurt.
“Marshals,” the federal agent replied. There was something menacing about the smile that accompanied the words. “It seems that you’re wanted in Jersey for much more serious crimes than breaking an entering and assault with a deadly weapon, Mr. Gabrini.”
“Not in Jersey,” Gabrini began. “No, those other charges, they’re in D.C.”
“You’ll get to D.C. eventually,” the federal agent murmured, then the dark man smiled. And Gabrini knew at once that he wasn’t connected in any way at all to the government.
Gabrini was suddenly yelling his head off, begging for federal protection, but nobody paid him much attention. He was carried off in the ambulance with the sedan following close behind.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
TO MY BELOVED,
Its neither a piece of paper nor a letter, rather it's my small heart which I'm gifting it to you darling.It seems time stood still without ur presence around me. My days and nights have gone worthless. All my heart could do is to recall the memories of time which we have spend together. My heart gets rejoiced whenever your beautiful face comes before my eyes. Your mesmerizing eyes drive me to another world. Your flowing hair looks tantalizing and your rosy lips seems to be meant only for saying lovely words.
While having a cup of coffee yesterday, numerous moments striked my heart. Our first meeting, when you were looking like a fairy in white salwar-suit. Still fresh in my mind, your pretty smile and bowing your head down to laugh with your hand on your lips. I confess that your every action was stealing my heart and I couldn't withdraw myself from lookig you.
The gift you presented me on my birthday gives me a sigh of relief that you are always there with me. Sweetheart, In the classroom, I cracked useless jokes and PJ's just to see your charming smile. Kept gazing your lips, just to heat some golden words. You had stolen my heart.
Dedicated '' I don't know when and how you arrived in my life,
Don't know when my heart star beating for you, day n night....
My eyes kept staring the window pane,
Wishing one day u'll come in my lane....
Darling you're the only one whom I admire,
It's you whom my heart desperately desires...
Being with you is my only need,
You are now the medicine of my heartbeat...
I Craved your name on my heart,
The day when I decided not to loose you ever,
And I promise you sweetheart that,
I love you & i'll love you for ever, ever n ever......
It's true my baby that, i love you like anything. Miss you from very morning 2 the night. MY senses are active to feel you, to hear you, to see you, to taste every sorrow and happiness of your life. Jaana, get embedded in me, in my soul so that i can live with you, for you........
Dying to have your reply.....
Approaching the trail, he broke through the thicket a short distance ahead of the Empath. Causing the Empaths horse to startle as the surprised rider jerked on the reins. Cap was equally surprised to find a young girl before him instead of an older, experienced male Empath. Cap brought his horse to a quick halt. The young girl pulled a small knife from her boot and cautioned him. "I don't know where you came from, but I'm not easy prey.” Her voice shook slightly with fear as she raised the knife.
Not sure how to proceed, they stared silently at each other. Cap had always believed that Empaths didn't carry weapons. This pretty, chestnut haired girl couldn't be more than 18 years old. Her long straight tresses covered the spot on her jacket where the Empathic Emblem was usually worn, causing Cap to doubt she was the one he sought. Not wanting to frighten her any more than he already had, Cap tried to explain. "I'm Commander Caplin Taylor. I’m looking for an Empath that is headed for the Western Hunting Lodge.”
"My name is Kendra; I am the Empath you seek.” She answered cautiously, still holding the blade. A noise from the brush drew her attention as a small rodent pounced out, trying to evade an unseen predator. Cap was just close enough to lurch forward and snatch the dirk from her hand. Her head jerked back in alarm.
"Bosen May has been mauled by a Sraeb, his shoulder is a mass of pulp." Cap spoke quickly not wanting to hesitate any longer.
That was all Kendra needed to hear. She pushed her horse past him and headed quickly down the trail.
"Wait!" Cap called after her, turning his horse around. Reining in the horse, she turned back to face him annoyed by the delay. "Are you a good horseman?" Cap asked, as he stuffed her dirk in his jacket.
"I've been in the saddle since I was a child." She answered, abruptly.
"Okay so just a few years then?" Cap's rebuke angered her. Jerking the horse back toward the trail, she ignored him.
"Wait, I'm sorry!" Cap called after her. "It's just that I know a quicker way, if you can handle some rough terrain."
"Let’s go then." Kendra replied, gruffly, turning back to face him.
Without another word, Cap dove back into the brush and the girl followed.
Alaina Stanford (Tempest Rise (Treborel, #1))
The lady is ninety-two years old, petite, well poised, and proud. She is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coiffed and her makeup perfectly applied, in spite of the fact that she is legally blind. Today she has moved to a nursing home. Her husband of seventy years recently passed away, making this move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiles sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvers her walker to the elevator, the staff person provides a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet curtains that have been hung on her window. “I love it,” she states with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. “Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room… just wait,” the staff person says. Then Mrs. Jones speaks these words: “That does not have anything to do with it,” she gently replies. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like the room or not does not depend on how the furniture is arranged. It is how I arrange my mind that matters. I have already decided to love it. It is a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice. I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or I can get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do work. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I will focus on the new day and all of the happy memories I have stored away… just for this time in my life.
Joyce Meyer (How to Age Without Getting Old: The Steps You Can Take Today to Stay Young for the Rest of Your Life)
The careful, embroidered stitches delineated a coil of some sort. It looked rather like a halved snail shell, but the interior was divided into dozen of intricate chambers.
"Is that a nautilus?" he asked.
"Close, but no. It's an ammonite."
"An ammonite? What's an ammonite? Sounds like an Old Testament people overdue for smiting."
"Ammonites are not a biblical people," she replied in a tone of strained forbearance. "But they have been smited."
With a snap of linen, she shot him a look. "Smote?"
"Grammatically speaking, I think the word you want is 'smote.' "
"Scientifically speaking, the word I want is 'extinct.' Ammonites are extinct. They're only known to us in fossils."
"And bedsheets, apparently."
"You know..." She huffed aside a lock of hair dangling
in her face. "You could be helping."
"But I'm so enjoying watching," he said, just to devil her. Nonetheless, he picked up the edge of the top sheet and fingered the stitching as he pulled it straight. "So you made this?"
"Yes." Though judging by her tone, it hadn't been a labor of love. "My mother always insisted, from the time I was twelve years old, that I spend an hour every evening on embroidery. She had all three of us forever stitching things for our trousseaux."
'Trousseaux.' The word hit him queerly. "You brought your trousseau?"
"Of course I brought my trousseau. To create the illusion of an elopement, obviously. And it made the most logical place to store Francine. All these rolls of soft fabric made for good padding."
Some emotion jabbed his side, then scampered off before he could name it. Guilt, most likely. These were sheets meant to grace her marriage bed, and she was spreading them over a stained straw-tick mattress in a seedy coaching inn.
"Anyhow," she went on, "so long as my mother forced me to embroider, I insisted on choosing a pattern that interested me. I've never understood why girls are always made to stitch insipid flowers and ribbons."
"Well, just to hazard a guess..." Colin straightened his edge. "Perhaps that's because sleeping on a bed of flowers and ribbons sounds delightful and romantic. Whereas sharing one's bed with a primeval sea snail sounds disgusting."
Her jaw firmed. "You're welcome to sleep on the floor."
"Did I say disgusting? I meant enchanting. I've always wanted to go to bed with a primeval sea snail.
Tessa Dare (A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
FATHER FORGETS W. Livingston Larned Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside. There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor. At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, ‘Goodbye, Daddy!’ and I frowned, and said in reply, ‘Hold your shoulders back!’ Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father! Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. ‘What is it you want?’ I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs. Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years. And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed! It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: ‘He is nothing but a boy – a little boy!’ I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much. Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. ‘To know all is to forgive
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
Somewhat overly legibly, I wrote on a sheet of paper, "We're held up indefinitely by the parade. We're going to find a phone and have a cold drink somewhere. Will you join us?" I folded the paper once, then handed it to the Matron of Honor, who opened it, read it, and then handed it to the tiny old man. He read it, grinning, and then looked at me and wagged his head up and down several times vehemently. I thought for an instant that this was the full and perfectly eloquent extent of his reply, but he suddenly motioned to me with his hand, and I gathered that he wanted me to pass him my pad and pencil, I did so- without looking over at the Matron of Honor, from whom great waves of impatience were rising. The old man adjusted the pad and pencil on his lap with the greatest care, then sat for a moment, pencil poised, in obvious concentration, his grin diminished only a very trifle. Then the pencil began, very unsteadily, to move. An "i" was dotted. And then both pad and pencil were returned personally to me, with a marvellously cordial extra added wag of the head. He had written, in letters that had not quite jelled yet, the single word "Delighted." The Matron of Honor, reading over my shoulder, gave a sound faintly like a snort, but I quickly looked over at the great writer and tried to show by my expression that all of us in the car knew a poem when we saw one, and were grateful.
На едно листче — някак прекалено четливо — написах: „Парадът ще ни задържи неопределено време. Искаме да потърсим телефон и да пием нещо разхладително. Ще дойдете ли с нас?“ После сгънах листчето на две и го подадох на придворната, която го прочете и предаде на дребничкия старец. Той го прочете ухилен, погледна ме и усилено закима с глава. Реших, че това е изчерпателен и напълно красноречив отговор, но той махна с ръка към мен и разбрах, че иска да му подам тефтерчето и молива. Подадох му ги, без да поглеждам придворната, която на вълни, на вълни излъчваше нетърпение. Старчето намести много внимателно тефтерчето и молива на коленете си, застина така, явно събирайки мислите си, после, почти все със същата усмивка, вдигна молива. Много неуверено моливът започна да се движи. Накрая бе сложена акуратна точка. След това с изключително сърдечно кимане тефтерчето и моливът ми бяха върнати. Още пресните букви гласяха: „С удоволствие.“ Придворната погледна през рамото ми бележката и издаде звук, подобен на пръхтене, но аз веднага обърнах лице към великия писател и се постарах да покажа с изражението си, че всички ние веднага можем да различим една истинска поема и сме му много благодарни.
J.D. Salinger (Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction)
I must say, you aren’t being very mature or very consistent!”
His dark brows snapped together as their truce began to disintegrate. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Elizabeth bridled, looking at him like the haughty, disdainful young aristocrat she was born to be. “It means,” she informed him, making a monumental effort to speak clearly and coolly, “that you have no right to act as if I did something evil, when in truth you yourself regarded it as nothing but a-a meaningless dalliance. You said as much, so there’s no point in denying it!”
He finished loading the gun before he spoke. In contrast to his grim expression, his voice was perfectly bland. “My memory apparently isn’t as good as yours. To whom did I say that?”
“My brother, for one,” she said, impatient with his pretense.
“Ah, yes, the honorable Robert,” he replied, putting sarcastic emphasis on the word “honorable.” He turned to the target and fired, but the shot was wide of the mark.
“You didn’t even hit the right tree,” Elizabeth said in surprise. “I thought you said you were going to clean the guns,” she added when he began methodically sliding them into leather cases, his expression preoccupied.
He looked up at her, but she had the feeling he’d almost forgotten she was there. “I’ve decided to do it tomorrow instead.” Ian went into the house, automatically putting the guns back on the mantel; then he wandered over to the table, frowning thoughtfully as he reached for the bottle of Madeira and poured some into his glass. He told himself it made no difference how she might have felt when her brother told her that falsehood. For one thing, she was already engaged at the time, and, by her own admission, she’d regarded their relationship as a flirtation. Her pride might have suffered a richly deserved blow, but nothing worse than that.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Mr Kingsley begins then by exclaiming- 'O the chicanery, the wholesale fraud, the vile hypocrisy, the conscience-killing tyranny of Rome! We have not far to seek for an evidence of it. There's Father Newman to wit: one living specimen is worth a hundred dead ones. He, a Priest writing of Priests, tells us that lying is never any harm.'
I interpose: 'You are taking a most extraordinary liberty with my name. If I have said this, tell me when and where.'
Mr Kingsley replies: 'You said it, Reverend Sir, in a Sermon which you preached, when a Protestant, as Vicar of St Mary's, and published in 1844; and I could read you a very salutary lecture on the effects which that Sermon had at the time on my own opinion of you.'
I make answer: 'Oh...NOT, it seems, as a Priest speaking of Priests-but let us have the passage.'
Mr Kingsley relaxes: 'Do you know, I like your TONE. From your TONE I rejoice, greatly rejoice, to be able to believe that you did not mean what you said.'
I rejoin: 'MEAN it! I maintain I never SAID it, whether as a Protestant or as a Catholic.'
Mr Kingsley replies: 'I waive that point.'
I object: 'Is it possible! What? waive the main question! I either said it or I didn't. You have made a monstrous charge against me; direct, distinct, public. You are bound to prove it as directly, as distinctly, as publicly-or to own you can't.'
'Well,' says Mr Kingsley, 'if you are quite sure you did not say it, I'll take your word for it; I really will.'
My WORD! I am dumb. Somehow I thought that it was my WORD that happened to be on trial. The WORD of a Professor of lying, that he does not lie!
But Mr Kingsley reassures me: 'We are both gentlemen,' he says: 'I have done as much as one English gentleman can expect from another.'
I begin to see: he thought me a gentleman at the very time he said I taught lying on system...
John Henry Newman (Apologia Pro Vita Sua (A Defense of One's Life))
The thing I remember from the Letters Page in those antique days was the way the OBs signed off. There was Yours faithfully, Yours sincerely, and I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant. But the ones I always looked for - and which I took to be the true sign of an Old Bastard - simply ended like this: Yours etc. And then the newspaper drew even more attention to the sign-off by printing it: Yours &c.
Yours &c. I used to muse about that. What did it mean? Where did it come from? I imagined some bespatted captain of industry dictating his OB’s views to his secretary for transmission to the Newspaper of Record which he doubtless referred to with jocund familiarity as ‘The Thunderer’. When his oratorical belch was complete, he would say ‘Yours, etc,’ which Miss ffffffolkes would automatically transcribe into, ‘I have the honour to be, sir, one of the distinguished Old Bastards who could send you the label off a tin of pilchards and you would still print it above this my name,’ or whatever, and then it would be, ‘Despatch this instanter to The Thunderer, Miss ffffffolkes.’
But one day Miss ffffffolkes was away giving a handjob to the Archbishop of York, so they sent a temp. And the temp wrote Yours, etc, just as she heard it and The Times reckoned the OB captain a very gusher of wit, but decided to add their own little rococo touch by compacting it further to &c., whereupon other OBs followed the bespatted lead of the captain of industry, who claimed all the credit for himself. There we have it: Yours &c.
Whereupon, as an ardent damp-ear of sixteen, I took to the parodic sign-off: Love, &c. Not all my correspondents unfailingly seized the reference, I regret to say. One demoiselle hastened her own de-accessioning from the museum of my heart by informing me with hauteur that use of the word etc., whether in oral communication or in carven prose, was common and vulgar. To which I replied, first, that ‘the word’ et cetera was not one but two words, and that the only common and vulgar thing about my letter - given the identity of its recipient - was affixing to it the word that preceded etc. Alack, she didn’t respond to this observation with the Buddhistic serenity one might have hoped.
Love, etc. The proposition is simple. The world divides into two categories: those who believe that the purpose, the function, the bass pedal and principal melody of life is love, and that anything else - everything else - is merely an etc.; and those, those unhappy many, who believe primarily in the etc. of life, for whom love, however agreeable, is but a passing flurry of youth, the pattering prelude to nappy-duty, but not something as solid, steadfast and reliable as, say, home decoration. This is the only division between people that counts.
Julian Barnes (Talking It Over)
Tate was sprawled across the bed in his robe early the next morning when the sound of the front door opening penetrated his mind. There was an unholy commotion out there and his head was still throbbing, despite a bath, several cups of coffee and a handful of aspirin that had been forced on him the day before by two men he’d thought were his friends. He didn’t want to sober up. He only wanted to forget that Cecily didn’t want him anymore.
He dragged himself off the bed and went into the living room, just in time to hear the door close.
Cecily and her suitcase were standing with mutual rigidity just inside the front door. She was wearing a dress and boots and a coat and hat, red-faced and muttering words Tate had never heard her use before.
He scowled. “How did you get here?” he asked.
“Your boss brought me!” she raged. “He and that turncoat Colby Lane and two bodyguards, one of whom was the female counterpart of Ivan the Terrible! They forcibly dressed me and packed me and flew me up here on Mr. Hutton’s Learjet! When I refused to get out of the car, the male bodyguard swept me up and carried me here! I am going to kill people as soon as I get my breath and my wits back, and I am starting with you!”
He leaned against the wall, still bleary-eyed and only half awake. She was beautiful with her body gently swollen and her lips pouting and her green eye sin their big-lensed frames glittering at him.
She registered after a minute that he wasn’t himself. “What’s the matter with you?” she asked abruptly.
He didn’t answer. He put a hand to his head.
“You’re drunk!” she exclaimed in shock.
“I have been,” he replied in a subdued tone. “For about a week, I think. Pierce and Colby got my landlord to let them in yesterday.” She smiled dimly. “I’d made some threats about what I’d do if he ever let anybody else into my apartment, after he let Audrey in the last time. I guess he believed them, because Colby had to flash his company ID to get in.” He chuckled weakly. “Nothing intimidates the masses like a CIA badge, even if it isn’t current.”
“You’ve been drunk?” She moved a little closer into the apartment. “But, Tate, you don’t…you don’t drink,” she said.
“I do now. The mother of my child won’t marry me,” he said simply.
“I said you could have access…”
His black eyes slid over her body like caressing hands. He’d missed her unbearably. Just the sight of her was calming now. “So you did.”
Why did the feel guilty, for God’s sake, she wondered. She tried to recapture her former outrage. “I’ve been kidnapped!”
“Apparently. Don’t look at me. Until today, I was too stoned to lift my head.” He looked around. “I guess they threw out the beer cans and the pizza boxes,” he murmured. “Pity. I think there was a slice of pizza left.” He sighed. “I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten since yesterday.”
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
The air was steeped with the heady fragrance of roses, as if the entire hall had been rinsed with expensive perfume.
"Good Lord!" she exclaimed, stopping short at the sight of massive bunches of flowers being brought in from a cart outside. Mountains of white roses, some of them tightly furled buds, some in glorious full bloom. Two footmen had been recruited to assist the driver of the cart, and the three of them kept going outside to fetch bouquet after bouquet wrapped in stiff white lace paper.
"Fifteen dozen of them," Marcus said brusquely. "I doubt there's a single white rose left in London."
Aline could not believe how fast her heart was beating. Slowly she moved forward and drew a single rose from one of the bouquets. Cupping the delicate bowl of the blossom with her fingers, she bent her head to inhale its lavish perfume. Its petals were a cool brush of silk against her cheek.
"There's something else," Marcus said.
Following his gaze, Aline saw the butler directing yet another footman to pry open a huge crate filled with brick-sized parcels wrapped in brown paper. "What are they, Salter?"
"With your permission, my lady, I will find out." The elderly butler unwrapped one of the parcels with great care. He spread the waxed brown paper open to reveal a damply fragrant loaf of gingerbread, its spice adding a pungent note to the smell of the roses.
Aline put her hand over her mouth to contain a bubbling laugh, while some undefinable emotion caused her entire body to tremble. The offering worried her terribly, and at the same time, she was insanely pleased by the extravagance of it.
"Gingerbread?" Marcus asked incredulously. "Why the hell would McKenna send you an entire crate of gingerbread?"
"Because I like it," came Aline's breathless reply. "How do you know this is from McKenna?"
Marcus gave her a speaking look, as if only an imbecile would suppose otherwise.
Fumbling a little with the envelope, Aline extracted a folded sheet of paper. It was covered in a bold scrawl, the penmanship serviceable and without flourishes.
No miles of level desert, no jagged mountain heights,
no sea of endless blue
Neither words nor tears, nor silent fears
will keep me from coming back to you.
There was no signature... none was necessary. Aline closed her eyes, while her nose stung and hot tears squeezed from beneath her lashes. She pressed her lips briefly to the letter, not caring what Marcus thought.
"It's a poem," she said unsteadily. "A terrible one." It was the loveliest thing she had ever read. She held it to her cheek, then used her sleeve to blot her eyes.
"Let me see it."
Immediately Aline tucked the poem into her bodice. "No, it's private." She swallowed against the tightness of her throat, willing the surge of unruly emotion to recede. "McKenna," she whispered, "how you devastate me.
Lisa Kleypas (Again the Magic (Wallflowers, #0))
Yesterday while I was on the side of the mat next to some wrestlers who were warming up for their next match, I found myself standing side by side next to an extraordinary wrestler.
He was warming up and he had that look of desperation on his face that wrestlers get when their match is about to start and their coach is across the gym coaching on another mat in a match that is already in progress.
“Hey do you have a coach.” I asked him.
“He's not here right now.” He quietly answered me ready to take on the task of wrestling his opponent alone.
“Would you mind if I coached you?”
His face tilted up at me with a slight smile and said. “That would be great.”
Through the sounds of whistles and yelling fans I heard him ask me what my name was.
“My name is John.” I replied.
“Hi John, I am Nishan” he said while extending his hand for a handshake.
He paused for a second and then he said to me: “John I am going to lose this match”.
He said that as if he was preparing me so I wouldn’t get hurt when my coaching skills didn’t work magic with him today.
I just said, “Nishan - No score of a match will ever make you a winner. You are already a winner by stepping onto that mat.”
With that he just smiled and slowly ran on to the mat, ready for battle, but half knowing what the probable outcome would be.
When you first see Nishan you will notice that his legs are frail - very frail. So frail that they have to be supported by custom made, form fitted braces to help support and straighten his limbs.
Braces that I recognize all to well.
Some would say Nishan has a handicap.
I say that he has a gift.
To me the word handicap is a word that describes what one “can’t do”.
That doesn’t describe Nishan.
Nishan is doing.
The word “gift” is a word that describes something of value that you give to others.
And without knowing it, Nishan is giving us all a gift.
I believe Nishan’s gift is inspiration.
The ability to look the odds in the eye and say “You don’t pertain to me.”
The ability to keep moving forward.
A “Whatever it takes” attitude.
As he predicted, the outcome of his match wasn’t great.
That is, if the only thing you judge a wrestling match by is the actual score. Nishan tried as hard as he could, but he couldn’t overcome the twenty-six pound weight difference that he was giving up to his opponent on this day in order to compete. You see, Nishan weighs only 80 pounds and the lowest weight class in this tournament was 106. Nishan knew he was spotting his opponent 26 pounds going into every match on this day. He wrestled anyway.
I never did get the chance to ask him why he wrestles, but if I had to guess I would say, after watching him all day long, that Nishan wrestles for the same reasons that we all wrestle for.
We wrestle to feel alive, to push ourselves to our mental, physical and emotional limits - levels we never knew we could reach.
We wrestle to learn to use 100% of what we have today in hopes that our maximum today will be our minimum tomorrow. We wrestle to measure where we started from, to know where we are now, and to plan on getting where we want to be in the future. We wrestle to look the seemingly insurmountable opponent right in the eye and say, “Bring it on. - I can take whatever you can dish out.”
Sometimes life is your opponent and just showing up is a victory.
You don't need to score more points than your opponent in order to accomplish that.
No Nishan didn’t score more points than any of his opponents on this day, that would have been nice, but I don’t believe that was the most important thing to Nishan. Without knowing for sure - the most important thing to him on this day was to walk with pride like a wrestler up to a thirty two foot circle, have all eyes from the crowd on him, to watch him compete one on one against his opponent - giving it all that he had. That is what competition is all about. Most of the times in wrestlin
I would choose you." The words were out before he thought better of them, and there was no way to pull them back.
Silence stretched between them. Perhaps the floor will open and I'll plummet to my death, he thought hopefully.
"As your general?" Her voice careful. She was offering him a chance to right the ship, to take them back to familiar waters.
And a fine general you are.
There could be no better leader.
You may be prickly, but that what Ravka needs.
So many easy replies.
Instead he said, "As my queen."
He couldn't read her expression. Was she pleased? Embarrassed? Angry? Every cell in his body screamed for him to crack a joke, to free both of them from the peril of the moment. But he wouldn't. He was still a privateer, and he'd come too far.
"Because I'm a dependable soldier," she said, but she didn't sound sure. It was the same cautious, tentative voice, the voice of someone waiting for a punch line, or maybe a blow. "Because I know all of your secrets."
"I do trust you more than myself sometimes- and I think very highly of myself."
Hadn't she said there was no one else she'd choose to have her back in a fight?
But that isn't the whole truth, is it, you great cowardly lump. To hell with it. They might all die soon enough. They were safe here in the dark, surrounded by the hum of engines.
"I would make you my queen because I want you. I want you all the time."
She rolled on to her side, resting her head on her folded arm. A small movement, but he could feel her breath now. His heart was racing. "As your general, I should tell you that would be a terrible decision."
He turned on to his side. They were facing each other now. "As your king, I should tell you that no one could dissuade me. No prince and no power could make me stop wanting you."
Nikolai felt drunk. Maybe unleashing the demon had loosed something in his brain. She was going to laugh at him. She would knock him senseless and tell him he had no right. But he couldn't seem to stop.
"I would give you a crown if I could," he said. "I would show you the world from the prow of a ship. I would choose you, Zoya. As my general, as my friend, as my bride. I would give you a sapphire the size of an acorn." He reached in to his pocket. "And all I would ask in return is that you wear this damnable ribbon in your hair on our wedding day."
She reached out, her fingers hovering over the coil of blue velvet ribbon resting in his palm.
Then she pulled back her hand, cradling her fingers as if they'd been singed.
"You will wed a Taban sister who craves a crown," she said. "Or a wealthy Kerch girl, or maybe a Fjerdan royal. You will have heirs and a future. I'm not the queen Ravka needs."
"And if you're the queen I want?"
She sat up, drew her knees in, wrapped her arms around them as if she would make a shelter of her own body. He wanted to pull her back down beside him and press his mouth to hers. He wanted her to look at him again with possibility in her eyes. "But that's not who I am. Whatever is inside me is sharp and gray as the thorn wood." She rose and dusted off her kefta. "I wasn't born to be a bride. I was made to be a weapon."
Nikolai forced himself to smile. It wasn't as if he'd offered her a real proposal. They both knew such a thing was impossible. And yet her refusal smarted just as badly as if he'd gotten on his knee and offered her his hand like some kind of besotted fool. It stung. All saints, it stung.
"Well," he said cheerfully, pushing up on his elbows and looking up at her with all the wry humour he could muster. "Weapons are good to have around too. Far more useful than brides and less likely to mope about the palace. But if you won't rule Ravka by my side, what does the future hold, General?"
Zoya opened the door to the Cargo hold. Light flooded in gilding her features when she looked back at him. "I'll fight on beside you. As your general. As your friend. Because whatever my failings, I know this. You are the king Ravka needs.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
She was still standing there several moments later when Ian walked in to invite her to ride with him. “Still trying to find your answer, sweetheart?” he asked with a sympathetic grin, mistaking the cause of her wary stare.
“No, I found mine,” she said, her voice unintentionally accusing as she thrust both pieces of paper toward him. “What I would like to know,” she continued, unable to tear her gaze from him, “is how it happens to be the same answer you arrived at in a matter of moments.”
His grin faded, and he shoved his hands into his pockets, ignoring the papers in her outthrust hand. His expression carefully impassive, he said, “That answer is a little more difficult than the one I wrote down for you-“
“You can do this-calculate all those figures in your mind? In moments?”
He nodded curtly, and when Elizabeth continued to stare at him warily, as if he was a being of unknown origin, his face hardened. In a clipped, cool voice he said, “I would appreciate it if you would stop staring at me as if I’m a freak.”
Elizabeth’s mouth dropped open at his tone and his words. “I’m not.”
“Yes,” he said implacably. “You are. Which is why I haven’t told you before this.”
Embarrassed regret surged through her at the understandable conclusion he’d drawn from her reaction. Recovering her composure, she started around the desk toward him. “What you saw on my face was wonder and awe, no matter how it must have seemed.”
“The last thing I want from you is ‘awe,’” he said tightly, and Elizabeth belatedly realized that, while he didn’t care what anyone else thought of him, her reaction to all this was obviously terribly important to him. Rapidly concluding that he’d evidently had some experience with other people’s reaction to what must surely be a form of genius-and which struck them as “freakish”-she bit her lip, trying to decide what to say. When nothing came to mind, she simply let love guide her and reacted without artifice. Leaning back against the desk, she sent him an amused, sidelong smile and said, “I gather you can calculate almost as rapidly as you can read?”
His response was short and chilly. “Not quite.”
“I see,” she continued lightly. “I would guess there are close to ten thousand books in your library here. Have you read them all?”
She nodded thoughtfully, but her eyes danced with admiring laughter as she continued, “Well, you’ve been quite busy the past few weeks-dancing attendance on me. No doubt that’s kept you from finishing the last thousand or two.” His face softened as she asked merrily, “Are you planning to read them all?”
With relief, she saw the answering smile tugging at his lips. “I thought I’d attend to that next week,” he replied with sham gravity.
“A worthy endeavor,” she agreed. “I hope you won’t start without me. I’d like to watch.”
Ian’s shout of laughter was cut short as he snatched her into his arms and buried his face in her fragrant hair, his hands clenching her to him as if he could absorb her sweetness into himself.
“Do you have any other extraordinary skills I ought to know about, my lord?” she whispered, holding him as tightly as he was holding her.
The laugher in his voice was replaced by tender solemnity. “I’m rather good,” he whispered, “at loving you.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
There’s more, you know,” he whispered, letting his breath caress her ear.
“I’m sure there must be,” she replied, her voice mere breath.
“You are?” he asked teasingly, squeezing her again.
“I’m not so green that I think one can make a baby from what we’ve been doing.”
“I’d be happy to show you the rest,” he murmured.
He’d squeezed again, this time allowing his fingers to tickle her skin. He loved that she couldn’t think when he touched her breasts.
“You were saying?” he prompted, nibbling on her neck.
“I— I was?”
He nodded, the faint stubble of his beard brushing her throat. “I’m sure you were. But then again, perhaps I’d rather not hear. You’d begun with the word ‘not.’ Surely,” he added with a flick of his tongue against the underside of her chin, “not a word that belongs between us at a time like this. But”— his tongue moved down the line of her throat to the hollow above her collarbone—“ I digress.”
“You— you do?”
He nodded. “I believe I was trying to determine what pleases you, as all good husbands should do.”
She said nothing, but her breathing quickened.
He smiled against her skin. “What, for example, about this?” He flattened his hand so that he was no longer cupping her, instead just letting his palm graze lightly over her nipple.
“Anthony!” she choked out.
“Good,” he said, moving to her neck, nudging her chin up so that she was more open to him. “I’m glad we’re back to Anthony. ‘My lord’ is so formal, don’t you think? Far too formal for this.”
And then he did what he’d been fantasizing about for weeks. He lowered his head to her breast and took her into his mouth, tasting, suckling, teasing, reveling in each gasp he heard spill forth from her lips, each spasm of desire he felt shivering across her body.
He loved that she reacted this way, thrilled that he did this to her. “So good,” he murmured, his breath hot and moist against her skin. “You taste so damn good.”
“Anthony,” she said, her voice hoarse, “Are you sure—”
He put a finger to her lips without even lifting his face to look at her. “I have no idea what you’re asking, but whatever it is”— he moved his attention to her other breast—“ I’m sure.”
-Anthony & Kate
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
She wasn’t sure when she realized that she wasn’t alone. She’d heard a louder murmur from the crowd outside, but she hadn’t connected it with the door opening. She looked over her shoulder and saw Tate standing against the back wall. He was wearing one of those Armani suits that looked so splendid on his lithe build, and he had his trenchcoat over one arm. He was leaning back, glaring at the ceremony. Something was different about him, but Cecily couldn’t think what. It wasn’t the vivid bruise high up on his cheek where Matt had hit him. But it was something…Then it dawned on her. His hair was cut short, like her own. He glared at her.
Cecily wasn’t going to cower in her seat and let him think she was afraid to face him. Mindful of the solemnity of the occasion, she got up and joined Tate by the door.
“So you actually came. Bruises and all,” she whispered with a faintly mocking smile, eyeing the very prominent green-and-yellow patch on his jaw that Matt Holden had put there.
He looked down at her from turbulent black eyes. He didn’t reply for a minute while he studied her, taking in the differences in her appearance, too. His eyes narrowed on her short hair. She thought his eyelids flinched, but it might have been the light.
His eyes went back to the ceremony. He didn’t say another word. He didn’t really need to. He’d cut his hair. In his culture-the one that part of him still belonged to-cutting the hair was a sign of grief.
She could feel the way it was hurting him to know that the people he loved most in the world had lied to him. She wanted to tell him that the pain would ease day by day, that it was better to know the truth than go through life living a lie. She wanted to tell him that having a foot in two cultures wasn’t the end of the world. But he stood there like a painted stone statue, his jaw so tense that the muscles in it were noticeable. He refused to acknowledge her presence at all.
“Congratulations on your engagement, by the way,” she said without a trace of bitterness in her tone. “I’m very happy for you.”
His eyes met hers evenly. “That isn’t what you told the press,” he said in a cold undertone. “I’m amazed that you’d go to such lengths to get back at me.”
“What lengths?” she asked.
“Planting that story in the tabloids,” he returned. “I could hate you for that.”
The teenage sex slave story, she guessed. She glared back at him. “And I could hate you, for believing I would do something so underhanded,” she returned.
He scowled down at her. The anger he felt was almost tangible. She’d sold him out in every way possible and now she’d embarrassed him publicly, again, first by confessing to the media that she’d been his teenage lover-a load of bull if ever there was one. Then she’d compounded it by adding that he was marrying Audrey at Christmas. He wondered how she could be so vindictive. Audrey was sticking to him like glue and she’d told everyone about the wedding. Not that many people hadn’t read it already in the papers. He felt sick all over. He wouldn’t have Audrey at any price. Not that he was about to confess that to Cecily now, after she’d sold him out.
He started to speak, but he thought better of it, and turned his angry eyes back toward the couple at the altar.
After a minute, Cecily turned and went back to her seat. She didn’t look at him again.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
FRIDAY, APRIL 2, 1943 Dearest Kitty, Oh my, another item has been added to my list of sins. Last night I was lying in bed, waiting for Father to tuck me in and say my prayers with me, when Mother came into the room, sat on my bed and asked very gently, “Anne, Daddy isn’t ready. How about if I listen to your prayers tonight?” “No, Momsy,” I replied. Mother got up, stood beside my bed for a moment and then slowly walked toward the door. Suddenly she turned, her face contorted with pain, and said, “I don’t want to be angry with you. I can’t make you love me!” A few tears slid down her cheeks as she went out the door. I lay still, thinking how mean it was of me to reject her so cruelly, but I also knew that I was incapable of answering her any other way. I can’t be a hypocrite and pray with her when I don’t feel like it. It just doesn’t work that way. I felt sorry for Mother—very, very sorry—because for the first time in my life I noticed she wasn’t indifferent to my coldness. I saw the sorrow in her face when she talked about not being able to make me love her. It’s hard to tell the truth, and yet the truth is that she’s the one who’s rejected me. She’s the one whose tactless comments and cruel jokes about matters I don’t think are funny have made me insensitive to any sign of love on her part. Just as my heart sinks every time I hear her harsh words, that’s how her heart sank when she realized there was no more love between us. She cried half the night and didn’t get any sleep. Father has avoided looking at me, and if his eyes do happen to cross mine, I can read his unspoken words: “How can you be so unkind? How dare you make your mother so sad!” Everyone expects me to apologize, but this is not something I can apologize for, because I told the truth, and sooner or later Mother was bound to find out anyway. I seem to be indifferent to Mother’s tears and Father’s glances, and I am, because both of them are now feeling what I’ve always felt. I can only feel sorry for Mother, who will have to figure out what her attitude should be all by herself. For my part, I will continue to remain silent and aloof, and I don’t intend to shrink from the truth, because the longer it’s postponed, the harder it will be for them to accept it when they do hear it! Yours, Anne
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
What is a “pyramid?” I grew up in real estate my entire life. My father built one of the largest real estate brokerage companies on the East Coast in the 1970s, before selling it to Merrill Lynch. When my brother and I graduated from college, we both joined him in building a new real estate company. I went into sales and into opening a few offices, while my older brother went into management of the company. In sales, I was able to create a six-figure income. I worked 60+ hours a week in such pursuit. My brother worked hard too, but not in the same fashion. He focused on opening offices and recruiting others to become agents to sell houses for him. My brother never listed and sold a single house in his career, yet he out-earned me 10-to-1. He made millions because he earned a cut of every commission from all the houses his 1,000+ agents sold. He worked smarter, while I worked harder. I guess he was at the top of the “pyramid.” Is this legal? Should he be allowed to earn more than any of the agents who worked so hard selling homes? I imagine everyone will agree that being a real estate broker is totally legal. Those who are smart, willing to take the financial risk of overhead, and up for the challenge of recruiting good agents, are the ones who get to live a life benefitting from leveraged Income. So how is Network Marketing any different? I submit to you that I found it to be a step better. One day, a friend shared with me how he was earning the same income I was, but that he was doing so from home without the overhead, employees, insurance, stress, and being subject to market conditions. He was doing so in a network marketing business. At first I refuted him by denouncements that he was in a pyramid scheme. He asked me to explain why. I shared that he was earning money off the backs of others he recruited into his downline, not from his own efforts. He replied, “Do you mean like your family earns money off the backs of the real estate agents in your company?” I froze, and anyone who knows me knows how quick-witted I normally am. Then he said, “Who is working smarter, you or your dad and brother?” Now I was mad. Not at him, but at myself. That was my light bulb moment. I had been closed-minded and it was costing me. That was the birth of my enlightenment, and I began to enter and study this network marketing profession. Let me explain why I found it to be a step better. My research led me to learn why this business model made so much sense for a company that wanted a cost-effective way to bring a product to market. Instead of spending millions in traditional media ad buys, which has a declining effectiveness, companies are opting to employ the network marketing model. In doing so, the company only incurs marketing cost if and when a sale is made. They get an army of word-of-mouth salespeople using the most effective way of influencing buying decisions, who only get paid for performance. No salaries, only commissions. But what is also employed is a high sense of motivation, wherein these salespeople can be building a business of their own and not just be salespeople. If they choose to recruit others and teach them how to sell the product or service, they can earn override income just like the broker in a real estate company does. So now they see life through a different lens, as a business owner waking up each day excited about the future they are building for themselves. They are not salespeople; they are business owners.
Brian Carruthers (Building an Empire:The Most Complete Blueprint to Building a Massive Network Marketing Business)
I still have no choice but to bring out Minerva instead.”
“But Minerva doesn’t care about men,” young Charlotte said helpfully. “She prefers dirt and rocks.”
“It’s called geology,” Minerva said. “It’s a science.”
“It’s certain spinsterhood, is what it is! Unnatural girl. Do sit straight in your chair, at least.” Mrs. Highwood sighed and fanned harder. To Susanna, she said, “I despair of her, truly. This is why Diana must get well, you see. Can you imagine Minerva in Society?”
Susanna bit back a smile, all too easily imagining the scene. It would probably resemble her own debut. Like Minerva, she had been absorbed in unladylike pursuits, and the object of her female relations’ oft-voiced despair. At balls, she’d been that freckled Amazon in the corner, who would have been all too happy to blend into the wallpaper, if only her hair color would have allowed it.
As for the gentlemen she’d met…not a one of them had managed to sweep her off her feet. To be fair, none of them had tried very hard.
She shrugged off the awkward memories. That time was behind her now.
Mrs. Highwood’s gaze fell on a book at the corner of the table. “I am gratified to see you keep Mrs. Worthington close at hand.”
“Oh yes,” Susanna replied, reaching for the blue, leatherbound tome. “You’ll find copies of Mrs. Worthington’s Wisdom scattered everywhere throughout the village. We find it a very useful book.”
“Hear that, Minerva? You would do well to learn it by heart.” When Minerva rolled her eyes, Mrs. Highwood said, “Charlotte, open it now. Read aloud the beginning of Chapter Twelve.”
Charlotte reached for the book and opened it, then cleared her throat and read aloud in a dramatic voice. “’Chapter Twelve. The perils of excessive education. A young lady’s intellect should be in all ways like her undergarments. Present, pristine, and imperceptible to the casual observer.’”
Mrs. Highwood harrumphed. “Yes. Just so. Hear and believe it, Minerva. Hear and believe every word. As Miss Finch says, you will find that book very useful.”
Susanna took a leisurely sip of tea, swallowing with it a bitter lump of indignation. She wasn’t an angry or resentful person, as a matter of course. But once provoked, her passions required formidable effort to conceal.
That book provoked her, no end.
Mrs. Worthington’s Wisdom for Young Ladies was the bane of sensible girls the world over, crammed with insipid, damaging advice on every page. Susanna could have gleefully crushed its pages to powder with a mortar and pestle, labeled the vial with a skull and crossbones, and placed it on the highest shelf in her stillroom, right beside the dried foxglove leaves and deadly nightshade berries.
Instead, she’d made it her mission to remove as many copies as possible from circulation. A sort of quarantine. Former residents of the Queen’s Ruby sent the books from all corners of England. One couldn’t enter a room in Spindle Cove without finding a copy or three of Mrs. Worthington’s Wisdom. And just as Susanna had told Mrs. Highwood, they found the book very useful indeed. It was the perfect size for propping a window open. It also made an excellent doorstop or paperweight. Susanna used her personal copies for pressing herbs. Or occasionally, for target practice.
She motioned to Charlotte. “May I?” Taking the volume from the girl’s grip, she raised the book high. Then, with a brisk thwack, she used it to crush a bothersome gnat.
With a calm smile, she placed the book on a side table. “Very useful indeed.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
The first symptom of true love in a young man
is timidity; in a young girl, boldness. This is surprising, yet nothing is more simple. It is the two sexes tending
to approach each other and assuming, each the other’s
That day, Cosette’s glance drove Marius beside himself,
and Marius’ glance set Cosette to trembling. Marius went
away confident, and Cosette uneasy. From that day forth,
they adored each other.
The first thing that Cosette felt was a confused and profound
melancholy. It seemed to her that her soul had become
black since the day before. She no longer recognized it. The
whiteness of soul in young girls, which is composed of coldness
and gayety, resembles snow. It melts in love, which is
Cosette did not know what love was. She had never heard
the word uttered in its terrestrial sense. She did not know
what name to give to what she now felt. Is any one the less ill
because one does not know the name of one’s malady?
She loved with all the more passion because she loved ignorantly.
She did not know whether it was a good thing or a
bad thing, useful or dangerous, eternal or temporary, allowable
or prohibited; she loved. She would have been greatly
astonished, had any one said to her: ‘You do not sleep? But
that is forbidden! You do not eat? Why, that is very bad! You
have oppressions and palpitations of the heart? That must
not be! You blush and turn pale, when a certain being clad
in black appears at the end of a certain green walk? But that
is abominable!’ She would not have understood, and she
would have replied: ‘What fault is there of mine in a matter
in which I have no power and of which I know nothing?’
It turned out that the love which presented itself was
exactly suited to the state of her soul. It was admiration
at a distance, the deification
of a stranger. It was the apparition of youth to youth, the
dream of nights become a reality yet remaining a dream,
the longed-for phantom realized and made flesh at last, but
having as yet, neither name, nor fault, nor spot, nor exigence,
nor defect; in a word, the distant lover who lingered
in the ideal, a chimaera with a form. Any nearer and more
palpable meeting would have alarmed Cosette at this first
stage, when she was still half immersed in the exaggerated
mists of the cloister. She had all the fears of children and
all the fears of nuns combined. The spirit of the convent,
with which she had been permeated for the space of five
years, was still in the process of slow evaporation from her
person, and made everything tremble around her. In this
situation he was not a lover, he was not even an admirer, he
was a vision. She set herself to adoring Marius as something
charming, luminous, and impossible.
As extreme innocence borders on extreme coquetry, she
smiled at him with all frankness.
Every day, she looked forward to the hour for their walk
with impatience, she found Marius there, she felt herself
unspeakably happy, and thought in all sincerity that she
was expressing her whole thought when she said to Jean
‘What a delicious garden that Luxembourg is!’
Marius and Cosette were in the dark as to one another.
They did not address each other, they did not salute each
other, they did not know each other; they saw each other;
and like stars of heaven which are separated by millions of
leagues, they lived by gazing at each other.
It was thus that Cosette gradually became a woman and
developed, beautiful and loving, with a consciousness of
beauty and in ignorance of love.
The story is told about three men who were sentenced to death by guillotine. One was a doctor, another a lawyer, and the third an engineer. The day of execution arrived, and the three prisoners were lined up on the gallows. “Do you wish to face the blade, or look away?” the henchman asked the doctor. “I’ll face the blade!” the physician courageously replied. The doctor placed his neck onto the guillotine, and the executioner pulled the rope to release the blade. Then an amazing thing happened – the blade fell to a point just inches above the doctor’s neck, and stopped! The crowd of gathered townspeople was astonished, and tittered with speculation. After a bevy of excited discussions, the executioner told the doctor, “This is obviously a sign from God that you do not deserve to die. Go forth – you are pardoned.” Joyfully the doctor arose and went on his way. The second man to confront death was the lawyer, who also chose to face the blade. The cord was pulled, down fell the blade, and once again it stopped but a few inches from the man’s naked throat! Again the crowd buzzed – two miracles in one day! Just as he did minutes earlier, the executioner informed the prisoner that divine intervention had obviously been issued, and he, too, was free. Happily he departed. The final prisoner was the engineer who, like his predecessors, chose to face the blade. He fitted his neck into the crook of the guillotine and looked up at the apparatus above him. The executioner was about to pull the cord when the engineer pointed to the pulley system and called out, “Wait a minute! – I think I can see the problem!” Within each of us there resides an overworking engineer who is more concerned with analyzing the problem than accepting the solution. Many of us have become so resigned to receiving the short end of the stick in life, that if we were offered the long end, we would doubt its authenticity and refuse it. We must be willing to drop the heavy load of guilt, unworthiness, and self-denial we have carried for so long, perhaps lifetimes. We must openly affirm that we are ready to receive all the good that life has to offer us, without argument or wariness. Then we must accept our good – not just in word, but in action. In so doing we claim our right to live in a new world – one which attests that we are deserving not of punishment, but of release, freedom, and celebration.
Alan Cohen (I Had It All the Time: When Self-Improvement Gives Way to Ecstasy)
She broke off abruptly as she heard her name being called, and glanced over her shoulder, fearing that St. Vincent had discovered her escape. Her entire body stiffened in battle readiness. But there was no sign of St. Vincent, no betraying gleam of golden-amber hair.
She heard the voice again, a deep sound that penetrated to her soul. “Lillian.”
Her legs quivered beneath her as she saw a lean, dark-haired man coming from the front entryway. It can’t be, she thought, blinking hard to clear her vision, which must surely have been playing tricks on her. She stumbled a little as she turned to face him. “Westcliff,” she whispered, and took a few hesitant steps forward.
The rest of the room seemed to vanish. Marcus’s face was pale beneath its tan, and he stared at her with searing intensity, as if he feared she might disappear. His stride quickened, and as he reached her, she was seized and caught in a biting grip. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her hard against him. “My God,” he muttered, and buried his face in her hair.
“You came,” Lillian gasped, trembling all over. “You found me.” She couldn’t conceive how it was possible. He smelled of horses and sweat, and his clothes were chilled from the outside air. Feeling her shiver, Marcus drew her tightly inside his coat, murmuring endearments against her hair.
“Marcus,” Lillian said thickly. “Have I gone mad? Oh, please be real. Please don’t go away—”
“I’m here.” His voice was low and shaken. “I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere.” He drew back slightly, his midnight gaze scouring her from head to toe, his hands searching urgently over her body. “My love, my own… have you been hurt?” As his fingers slid along her arm, he encountered the locked manacle. Lifting her wrist, he stared at the handcuffs blankly. He inhaled sharply, and his body began to shake with primitive fury. “G**damn it, I’ll send him to hell—”
“I’m fine,” Lillian said hastily. “I haven’t been hurt.”
Bringing her hand to his mouth, Marcus kissed it roughly, and kept her fingers against his cheek while his breath struck her wrist in swift repetitions. “Lillian, did he…”
Reading the question in his haunted gaze, the words he couldn’t yet bring himself to voice, Lillian whispered scratchily, “No, nothing happened. There wasn’t time.”
“I’m still going to kill him.” There was a deadly note in his voice that made the back of her neck crawl. Seeing the open bodice of her gown, Marcus released her long enough to pull off his coat and place it over her shoulders. He suddenly went still. “That smell… what is it?”
Realizing that her skin and clothes still retained the noxious scent, Lillian hesitated before replying. “Ether,” she finally said, trying to form her trembling lips into a reassuring smile as she saw his eyes dilate into pools of black. “It wasn’t bad, actually. I’ve slept through most of the day. Other than a touch of queasiness, I’m—”
An animal growl came from his throat, and he pulled her against him once more. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Lillian, my sweet love… you’re safe now. I’ll never let anything happen to you again. I swear it on my life. You’re safe.” He took her head in his hands, and his mouth slid over hers in a kiss that was brief, soft, and yet so shockingly intense that she swayed dizzily. Closing her eyes, she let herself rest against him, still fearing that none of this was real, that she would awaken to find herself with St. Vincent once more. Marcus whispered comforting words against her parted lips and cheeks, and held her with a grip that seemed gentle but could not have been broken by the combined efforts of ten men.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
A man on his deathbed left instructions
For dividing up his goods among his three sons.
He had devoted his entire spirit to those sons.
They stood like cypress trees around him,
Quiet and strong.
He told the town judge,
'Whichever of my sons is laziest,
Give him all the inheritance.'
Then he died, and the judge turned to the three,
'Each of you must give some account of your laziness,
so I can understand just how you are lazy.'
Mystics are experts in laziness. They rely on it,
Because they continuously see God working all around them.
The harvest keeps coming in, yet they
Never even did the plowing!
'Come on. Say something about the ways you are lazy.'
Every spoken word is a covering for the inner self.
A little curtain-flick no wider than a slice
Of roast meat can reveal hundreds of exploding suns.
Even if what is being said is trivial and wrong,
The listener hears the source. One breeze comes
From across a garden. Another from across the ash-heap.
Think how different the voices of the fox
And the lion, and what they tell you!
Hearing someone is lifting the lid off the cooking pot.
You learn what's for supper. Though some people
Can know just by the smell, a sweet stew
From a sour soup cooked with vinegar.
A man taps a clay pot before he buys it
To know by the sound if it has a crack.
The eldest of the three brothers told the judge,
'I can know a man by his voice,
and if he won't speak,
I wait three days, and then I know him intuitively.'
The second brother, 'I know him when he speaks,
And if he won't talk, I strike up a conversation.'
'But what if he knows that trick?' asked the judge.
Which reminds me of the mother who tells her child
'When you're walking through the graveyard at night
and you see a boogeyman, run at it,
and it will go away.'
'But what,' replies the child, 'if the boogeyman's
Mother has told it to do the same thing?
Boogeymen have mothers too.'
The second brother had no answer.
'I sit in front of him in silence,
And set up a ladder made of patience,
And if in his presence a language from beyond joy
And beyond grief begins to pour from my chest,
I know that his soul is as deep and bright
As the star Canopus rising over Yemen.
And so when I start speaking a powerful right arm
Of words sweeping down, I know him from what I say,
And how I say it, because there's a window open
Between us, mixing the night air of our beings.'
The youngest was, obviously,
The laziest. He won.
Colby was quietly shocked to find Tate not only at his door the next morning, but smiling. He was expecting an armed assault following their recent telephone conversation. “I’m here with a job offer.”
Colby’s dark eyes narrowed. “Does it come with a cyanide capsule?” he asked warily.
Tate clapped the other man on the shoulder. “I’m sorry about the way I’ve treated you. I haven’t been thinking straight. I’m obliged to you for telling me the truth about Cecily.”
“You know the baby’s yours, I gather?”
Tate nodded. “I’m on my way to Tennessee to bring her home,” he replied.
Colby’s eyes twinkled. “Does she know this?”
“Not yet. I’m saving it for a surprise.”
“I imagine you’re the one who’s going to get the surprise,” Colby informed him. “She’s changed a lot in the past few weeks.”
“I noticed.” Tate leaned against the wall near the door. “I’ve got a job for you.”
“You want me to go to Tennessee?” Colby murmured dryly.
“In your dreams, Lane,” Tate returned. “No, not that. I want you to head up my security force for Pierce Hutton while I’m away.”
Colby looked around the room. “Maybe I’m hallucinating.”
“You and my father,” Tate muttered, shaking his head. “Listen, I’ve changed.”
“Pay attention. It’s a good job. You’ll have regular hours. You can learn to sleep without a gun under your pillow. You won’t lose any more arms.” He added thoughtfully, “I’ve been a bad friend. I was jealous of you.”
“But why?” Colby wanted to know. “Cecily is special. I look out for her, period. There’s never been a day since I met her when she wasn’t in love with you, or a time when I didn’t know it.”
Tate felt warmth spread through his body at the remark. “I’ve given her hell. She may not feel that way, now.”
“You can’t kill love,” Colby said heavily. “I know. I’ve tried.”
Tate felt sorry for the man. He didn’t know how to put it into words.
Colby shrugged. “Anyway, I’ve learned to live with my ghosts, thanks to that psychologist Cecily pushed me into seeing.” He scowled. “She keeps snakes, can you imagine? I used to see mine crawling out of whiskey bottles, but hers are real.”
“Maybe she’s allergic to fur,” Tate pointed out.
Colby chuckled. “Who knows. When do I start?” he added.
“Today.” He produced a mobile phone and dialed a number. “I’m sending Colby Lane over. He’s my relief while I’m away. If you have any problems, report them to him.”
He nodded as the person on the other end of the line replied in the affirmative. He closed up the phone. “Okay, here’s what you need to do…
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
I would like to see you cheat,” Elizabeth said impulsively, smiling at him.
His hands stilled, his eyes intent on her face. “I beg your pardon?”
“What I meant,” she hastily explained as he continued to idly shuffle the cards, watching her, “is that night in the card room at Charise’s there was mention of someone being able to deal a card from the bottom of the deck, and I’ve always wondered if you could, if it could…” She trailed off, belatedly realizing she was insulting him and that his narrowed, speculative gaze proved that she’d made it sound as if she believed him to be dishonest at cards. “I beg your pardon,” she said quietly. “That was truly awful of me.”
Ian accepted her apology with a curt nod, and when Alex hastily interjected, “Why don’t we use the chips for a shilling each,” he wordlessly and immediately dealt the cards.
Too embarrassed even to look at him, Elizabeth bit her lip and picked up her hand.
In it there were four kings.
Her gaze flew to Ian, but he was lounging back in his chair, studying his own cards.
She won three shillings and was pleased as could be.
He passed the deck to her, but Elizabeth shook her head. “I don’t like to deal. I always drop the cards, which Celton says is very irritating. Would you mind dealing for me?”
“Not at all,” Ian said dispassionately, and Elizabeth realized with a sinking heart that he was still annoyed with her.
“Who is Celton?” Jordan inquired.
“Celton is a groom with whom I play cards,” Elizabeth explained unhappily, picking up her hand.
In it there were four aces.
She knew it then, and laughter and relief trembled on her lips as she lifted her face and stared at her betrothed. There was not a sign, not so much as a hint anywhere on his perfectly composed features that anything unusual had been happening.
Lounging indolently in his chair, he quirked an indifferent brow and said, “Do you want to discard and draw more cards, Elizabeth?”
“Yes,” she replied, swallowing her mirth, “I would like one more ace to go with the ones I have.”
“There are only four,” he explained mildly, and with such convincing blandness that Elizabeth whooped with laughter and dropped her cards. “You are a complete charlatan!” she gasped when she could finally speak, but her face was aglow with admiration.
“Thank you, darling,” he replied tenderly. “I’m happy to know your opinion of me is already improving.”
The laughter froze in Elizabeth’s chest, replaced by warmth that quaked through her from head to foot. Gentlemen did not speak such tender endearments in front of other people, if at all. “I’m a Scot,” he’d whispered huskily to her long ago. “We do.” The Townsendes had launched into swift, laughing conversation after a moment of stunned silence following his words, and it was just as well, because Elizabeth could not tear her gaze from Ian, could not seem to move. And in that endless moment when their gazes held, Elizabeth had an almost overwhelming desire to fling herself into his arms. He saw it, too, and the answering expression in his eyes made her feel she was melting.
“It occurs to me, Ian,” Jordan joked a moment later, gently breaking their spell, “that we are wasting our time with honest pursuits.”
Ian’s gaze shifted reluctantly from Elizabeth’s face, and then he smiled inquisitively at Jordan. “What did you have in mind?” he asked, shoving the deck toward Jordan while Elizabeth put back her unjustly won chips.
“With your skill at dealing whatever hand you want, we could gull half of London. If any of our victims had the temerity to object, Alex could run them through with her rapier, and Elizabeth could shoot him before he hit the ground.”
Ian chuckled. “Not a bad idea. What would your role be?”
“Breaking us out of Newgate!” Elizabeth laughed.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Don’t worry,” he said flippantly, taking her arm and starting to walk back toward the house. “I’m not going to make the ritualistic proposal that followed our last encounters. Marriage is out of the question. Among other things, I’m fresh out of large rubies and expensive furs this season.”
Despite his joking tone, Elizabeth felt ill at how ugly those words sounded now, even though her reasons for saying them at the time had nothing to do with a desire for jewels or furs. You had to give him credit, she decided miserably, because he obviously took no offense at it. Evidently, in sophisticated flirtations, the rule was that no one took anything seriously.
“Who’s the leading contender these days?” he asked in that same light tone as the cottage came into view. “There must be more than Belhaven and Marchman.”
Elizabeth struggled valiantly to make the same transition from heated passion to flippancy that he seemed to find so easy. She wasn’t quite so successful, however, and her light tone was threaded with confusion. “In my uncle’s eyes, the leading contender is whoever has the most important title, followed by the most money.”
“Of course,” he said dryly. “In which case it sounds as if Marchman may be the lucky man.”
His utter lack of caring made Elizabeth’s heart squeeze in an awful, inexplicable way. Her chin lifted in self-defense. “Actually, I’m not in the market for a husband,” she informed him, trying to sound as indifferent and as amused as he. “I may have to marry someone if I can’t continue to outmaneuver my uncle, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d like to marry a much older man than I.”
“Preferably a blind one,” he said sardonically, “who’ll not notice a little affair now and then?”
“I meant,” she informed him with a dark glance, “that I want my freedom. Independence. And that is something a young husband isn’t likely to give me, while an elderly one might.”
“Independence is all an old man will be able to give you,” Ian said blntly.
“That’s quite enough,” she said. “I’m excessively tired of being forever pushed about by the men in my life. I’d like to care for Havenhurst and do as I wish to do.”
“Marry an old man,” Ian interjected smoothly, “and you may be the last of the Camerons.”
She looked at him blankly.
“He won’t be able to give you children.”
“Oh, that,” Elizabeth said, feeling a little defeated and nonplussed. “I haven’t been able to work that out yet.”
“Let me know when you do,” Ian replied with biting sarcasm. “There’s a fortune to be made from a discovery like that one.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
I can’t help thinking,” she confided when he finished answering her questions about women in India who covered their faces and hair in public, “that it is grossly unfair that I was born a female and so must never know such adventures, or see but a few of those places. Even if I were to journey there, I’d only be allowed to go where everything was as civilized as-as London!”
“There does seem to be a case of extreme disparity between the privileges accorded the sexes,” Ian agreed.
“Still, we each have our duty to perform,” she informed him with sham solemnity. “And there’s said to be great satisfaction in that.”
“How do you view your-er-duty?” he countered, responding to her teasing tone with a lazy white smile.
“That’s easy. It is a female’s duty to be a wife who is an asset to her husband in every way. It is a male’s duty to do whatever he wishes, whenever he wishes, so long as he is prepared to defend his country should the occasion demand it in his lifetime-which it very likely won’t. Men,” she informed him, “gain honor by sacrificing themselves on the field of battle while we sacrifice ourselves on the altar of matrimony.”
He laughed aloud then, and Elizabeth smiled back at him, enjoying herself hugely. “Which, when one considers it, only proves that our sacrifice is by far the greater and more noble.”
“How is that?” he asked, still chuckling.
“It’s perfectly obvious-battles last mere days or weeks, months at the very most. While matrimony lasts a lifetime! Which brings to mind something else I’ve often wondered about,” she continued gaily, giving full rein to her innermost thoughts.
“And that is?” he prompted, grinning, watching her as if he never wanted to stop.
“Why do you suppose, after all that, they call us the weaker sex?” Their laughing gazes held, and then Elizabeth realized how outrageous he must be finding some of her remarks. “I don’t usually go off on such tangents,” she said ruefully. “You must think I’m dreadfully ill-bred.”
“I think,” he softly said, “that you are magnificent.”
The husky sincerity in his deep voice snatched her breath away. She opened her mouth, thinking frantically for some light reply that could restore the easy camaraderie of a minute before, but instead of speaking she could only draw a long, shaky breath.
“And,” he continued quietly, “I think you know it.”
This was not, not the sort of foolish, flirtatious repartee she was accustomed to from her London beaux, and it terrified her as much as the sensual look in those golden eyes. Pressing imperceptibly back against the arm of the sofa, she told herself she was only overacting to what was nothing more than empty flattery. “I think,” she managed with a light laugh that stuck in her throat, “that you must find whatever female you’re with ‘magnificent.’”
“Why would you say a thing like that?”
Elizabeth shrugged. “Last night at supper, for one thing.” When he frowned at her as if she were speaking in a foreign language, she prodded, “You remember Lady Charise Dumont, our hostess, the same lovely brunette on whose every word you were hanging at supper last night?”
His frown became a grin. “Jealous?”
Elizabeth lifted her elegant little chin and shook her head. “No more than you were of Lord Howard.”
She felt a small bit of satisfaction as his amusement vanished. “The fellow who couldn’t seem to talk to you without touching your arm?” he inquired in a silky-soft voice. “That Lord Howard? As a matter of fact, my love, I spent most of my meal trying to decide whether I wanted to shove his nose under his right ear or his left.”
Startled, musical laughter erupted from her before she could stop it. “You did nothing of the sort,” she chuckled. “Besides, if you wouldn’t duel with Lord Everly when he called you a cheat, you certainly wouldn’t harm poor Lord Howard merely for touching my arm.”
“Wouldn’t I?” he asked softly. “Those are two very different issues.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
And you're thinking I just tossed out some casual phrase that you've heard from dozens of guys? Or maybe one in particular,who mattered enough to turn you into a cynic?"
At the intensity of his tone she looked up. "Yeah.Something like that.After all, McCord,your reputation precedes you. You're not exactly shy with women. I'm sure you've used plenty of lines like that to get what you want."
His eyes,steady on hers,were hot and fierce.
His voice was equally fierce. "I'll admit that when I first saw you, my initial reaction was purely physical. A healthy combination of testosterone and lust.What guy could look at you and not feel what I felt? You're beautiful, and bright and independent.And did I mention beautiful?"
That brought a smile to her eyes.
"But the more I got to know you,the more I realized you weren't just a pretty package.I started learning that you were someone special.Someone I wanted to treat very carefully."
"I'm still battling lust."
There was that grin,sending an arrow straight through her heart.
"But there's more here.Much more." He stared at her mouth with naked hunger. "I've waited a long time for this,but now I'm going to have to kiss you.And when I do,I can't promise to stop."
She stood very still,heart pounding. "How do you know I'll ask you to?"
"Careful.Because unless you tell me to stop,you have to know where this is heading..."
In reply she stood on tiptoe to brush her mouth to his,stopping his words. Stopping his heart.
He drew in a deep breath and drew her a little away to stare into her eyes. "I hope you meant that."
"With all my heart."
"Thank God." He dragged her against him and covered her lips with his.Inside her mouth he whispered, "Because, baby,I mean this."
She'd waited so long.So long.And it was worth all the time she'd spent waiting and wondering.Here was a man who knew how to kiss a woman and make her feel like the only one in the universe.
This kiss was so hot,so hungry, she felt the rush of desire from the top of her head all the way to her toes.And still it spun on and on until she became lost in it.
He changed the angle of the kiss and took it deeper until Marilee could feel her flesh heating, her bones melting like hot wax.
She wanted to be sensible,to move slowly, but her mind refused to cooperate. With a single kiss her brain had been wiped clear of every thought but one.She wanted this man.Wanted him now.Desperately.
When at last they came up for air, she put a hand to his chest. "I need a minute to catch my breath."
"Okay." A second later he dragged her close. "Time's up."
Her laughter turned into a sigh as he ran nibbling kisses down her throat until the blood was drumming in her temples.
R.C. Ryan (Montana Destiny)
One day a boy asked his father, “What is the value of this life?” Instead of answering, the father told his son, “Take this rock and go offer it at a market, however do not accept any offer and bring the rock back to me. If anybody asks the price, raise two fingers and don’t say anything.”The boy then went to the market and a man asked,”How much is this rock? I want to put it in my garden.” The boy didn’t say anything and raised two fingers, so the man said… “$2? I’ll take it.” And the boy went home and told his father, “A man at the market wants to buy this rock for $2.” The father then said, “Son I want you to take this rock to the museum, and if you are asked the price, raise two fingers and don’t say a word.” The boy then went to the museum, and quickly a man wanted to buy the rock, The boy didn’t say anything and raised two fingers and the man said… “$200? I’ll take it.” The boy was shocked and went running home with the rock in hand, “Father a man wants to buy this rock for $200.” His father then said, “There is one last place I’d like you to offer this rock, take it to the precious stone store and show it only to the owner and don’t say a word, if he asks the price raise two fingers.” The son then went to the precious stone store and showed the rock to the owner. “Where did you find this?” The owner asked, “This is a most precious unpolished gem, one of the most valuable in the whole world, I must have it. What price would you take for it?” The boy didn’t say anything and raised two fingers to which the man replied “Two million dollars? That is a bargain, I’ll take it!” The boy not knowing what to say went breathlessly running home to his father anxiously clutching this now priceless gem, terrified that he might lose it, “Father there is a man who wants to buy this rock for two million dollars!!!” The father then said, “Son you have been carrying in your hands, one of the most precious objects of our people, it is truly priceless!” The father then said, “Son do you now know the value of your life?” To which the son replied… 'The value of my life, is much like this rock, it depends on who it is offered to. Some place a value of $2, others $200, and still others two million dollars. I must surround myself with other precious Souls who recognize the greatest value of my life, because it is my most precious possession, and I must not allow it to be under valued, it’s true value is priceless.' " In reply the father said, " Son you have actually held in your possession the TWO most precious things that our people have, one is the stone and the other is YOU, that is why I asked you to hold up TWO fingers" What is the value of this life??? Priceless!
Raymond D. Longoria Jr.
To our amazement Jimmy received a letter, dated August 20, 1963, from Bertrand Russell, the world-famous philosopher and peace activist, saying “I have recently finished your remarkable book The American Resolution” and “have been greatly impressed with its power and insight.” The letter goes on to ask for Jimmy’s views on whether American whites “will understand the negro [sic] revolt because “the survival of mankind may well follow or fail to follow from political and social behavior of Americans in the next decades.” On September 5 Jimmy wrote back a lengthy reply saying among other things that “so far, with the exception of the students, there has been no social force in the white population which the Negroes can respect and a handful of liberals joining in a demonstration doesn’t change this one bit.” Russell replied on September 18 with more questions that Jimmy answered in an even longer letter dated December 22. Meanwhile, Russell had sent a telegram to the November 21 Town Hall meeting in New York City at which Jimmy was scheduled to speak, warning Negroes not to resort to violence. In response Jimmy said at the meeting that “I too would like to hope that the issues of our revolt might be resolved by peaceful means,” but “the issues and grievances were too deeply imbedded in the American system and the American peoples so that the very things Russell warned against might just have to take place if the Negroes in the U.S.A. are ever to walk the streets as free men.” In his December 22 letter Jimmy repeats what he said at the meeting and then patiently explains to Russell that what has historically been considered democracy in the United States has actually been fascism for millions of Negroes. The letter concludes: I believe that it is your responsibility as I believe that it is my responsibility to recognize and record this, so that in the future words do not confuse the struggle but help to clarify it. This is what I think philosophers should make clear. Because even though Negroes in the United States still think they are struggling for democracy, in fact democracy is what they are struggling against. This exchange between Jimmy and Russell has to be seen to be believed. In a way it epitomizes the 1960s—Jimmy Boggs, the Alabama-born autoworker, explaining the responsibility of philosophers to The Earl Russell, O.M., F.R.S., in his time probably the West’s best-known philosopher. Within the next few years The American Revolution was translated and published in French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese. To this day it remains a page-turner for grassroots activists because it is so personal and yet political, so down to earth and yet visionary.
Grace Lee Boggs (Living for Change: An Autobiography)
So, boy, how does it feel to be pouring out a never-ending stream of--?”
“Stop that!” I scowled at my brothers as I shooed them away from Milo. “How can you make such jokes in front of him?”
“To be honest, the only thing in front of him right now is the sea and the supper he ate three days ago.” Castor’s grin got wider.
Polydeuces was contrite. “We mean well, Helen. We’re only trying to make him laugh. A good laugh might take his mind off being so ill.”
“It’s a shame we’re bound straight for Corinth,” the old sailor said, rubbing the back of his neck. “Since nothing else seems to be working for this lad, could be that a short rest on dry land would steady his stomach.”
“You think we’d ever be able to get him back on board afterward?” Castor asked.
The sailor shrugged. “What would he have to say about it? He’s your slave, isn’t he?”
“He’s our sister’s slave, or was,” Castor replied. “She freed him as soon as she bought him.”
“And still he came onto this ship with you, sick as seafaring makes him?”
“This is his first voyage,” I said, stooping beside Milo to place one arm protectively around him. “He didn’t know he’d get sick.”
“Oh, he’d have come along even if he’d known that a sea monster was waiting to gobble him up,” Castor said, with another of those annoying, conspiratorial winks to his twin. “Anything rather than be separated from you, little sister.”
Polydeuces eagerly took up his brother’s game. “That’s true,” he hastened to tell the old sailor. “If you could have seen the way he’s been gazing at her, all the way from Calydon!”
“Can we blame him, Polydeuces?” Castor asked with mock sincerity. “Our little sister is the most beautiful woman in the world.” They collapsed laughing into each other’s arms.
Milo made a great effort and pushed himself away from the rail, away from me. He took two staggering steps, fists clenched. “She is.” Then he spun around and lurched for the ship’s side once more.
My brothers exchanged a look of pure astonishment. The old sailor chuckled. “He may have been a slave, Lady Helen, but he’s braver than many a free man, to talk back to princes that way! But it wouldn’t be the first time a man found courage he never knew he had until he met the right woman.”
My face flamed. I wanted to thank Milo for putting an end to my brothers’ teasing--whether or not it was all in fun, I still found it annoying--but I was strangely tongue-tied.
Fortunately for me, the old sailor chose that moment to say, “That’s not something you see every day, a mouse trying to take a bite from a lion’s tail. Mark my words, this lad has the makings of a great hero. Why, if I had it my way, I’d put in at the next port and carry him all the way to Apollo’s temple at Delphi, just to see what marvels the Pythia would have to predict about his future.
Esther M. Friesner (Nobody's Princess (Nobody's Princess, #1))
You are very quiet,” Archer remarked as they walked together to the refreshment table. They’d just finished a game of whist and when Rose begged off from a second round, Grey’s brother did the same.
“My apologies,” she replied. “I do not mean to be rude.”
“My brother doesn’t deserve to take up so much room in that lovely head of yours.”
She might have been insulted by his disparaging Grey, or his familiarity with her, had she not been so surprised by the remark itself.
“You are impertinent, sir.”
He grinned-a grin so much more roguish than Grey’s. “One of my more charming traits. I did not mean offense, dear lady. Only that thinking about him will do you no good. The man is bent on punishing himself for the rest of his life.”
Rose accepted the plate he offered her. “Thank you. Why would he wish to punish himself?”
“Because he’s an ar…idiot. Sandwich?” He held up a cucumber sandwich caught in silver tongs.
“Please. I’m not certain I wish to discuss your brother with you, Lord Archer.”
“Not even if I can help you win him?”
Rose’s heart froze-no, it simply stopped. Her entire body went numb. She would have dropped her plate had Archer not swept it from her hand into his own.
“What makes you think I wish to win him?”
He flashed her a coy glance. “Please, lady Rose. I’ve not made a career out of studying your sex to fall for your false innocence now.”
Oh dear God. Had Grey told him?
“I’ve seen the way you look at him, and I’ve had to put with hearing about you for the last four years-no offense.”
Rose arched a brow as he piled food upon her plate. “None taken. I wasn’t aware that I looked at your brother in a manner different from how I might look upon anyone else.”
“Mm.” He popped a small cake into his mouth, chewed, and swallowed. “That’s just it. You try too hard to treat him like everyone else. It’s obvious you care for him, and not just as the man who saved your life.”
“Saved my life? How very dramatic.”
He gave her a very serious look as he handed her the laden plate. “Where do you suppose you’d be right now if Grey hadn’t taken you in? Certainly not here, with such good food and charming company.”
Point taken. And now she felt simply awful for the way she had spoken to Grey earlier. She was such a cow.
“You shame me, sir.” And worse, he’d made tears come to her eyes. Staring at her food-such a wonderful array he’d picked for her-she blinked them away.
He steered her toward a window seat where they sat in plain view of the room, but at least with a modicum of privacy. “My apologies, my lady. I did not mean to offend you with my plain and thoughtless words.”
“Plain, perhaps. Thoughtless, I highly doubt it.” She managed a small smile. “I don’t think you do anything without thinking first.”
Archer laughed, looking so much like Grey it hurt to look at him. “Were that but true.
Kathryn Smith (When Seducing a Duke (Victorian Soap Opera, #1))
Onions! Fresh, hot, sweet onions,” Sam called as Mary Lou pulled the cart down Main Street. “Eight cents a dozen.” It was a beautiful spring morning. The sky was painted pale blue and pink—the same color as the lake and the peach trees along its shore. Mrs. Gladys Tennyson was wearing just her nightgown and robe as she came running down the street after Sam. Mrs. Tennyson was normally a very proper woman who never went out in public without dressing up in fine clothes and a hat. So it was quite surprising to the people of Green Lake to see her running past them. “Sam!” she shouted. “Whoa, Mary Lou,” said Sam, stopping his mule and cart. “G’morning, Mrs. Tennyson,” he said. “How’s little Becca doing?” Gladys Tennyson was all smiles. “I think she’s going to be all right. The fever broke about an hour ago. Thanks to you.” “I’m sure the good Lord and Doc Hawthorn deserve most of the credit.” “The Good Lord, yes,” agreed Mrs. Tennyson, “but not Dr. Hawthorn. That quack wanted to put leeches on her stomach! Leeches! My word! He said they would suck out the bad blood. Now you tell me. How would a leech know good blood from bad blood?” “I wouldn’t know,” said Sam. “It was your onion tonic,” said Mrs. Tennyson. “That’s what saved her.” Other townspeople made their way to the cart. “Good morning, Gladys,” said Hattie Parker. “Don’t you look lovely this morning.” Several people snickered. “Good morning, Hattie,” Mrs. Tennyson replied. “Does your husband know you’re parading about in your bed clothes?” Hattie asked. There were more snickers. “My husband knows exactly where I am and how I am dressed, thank you,” said Mrs. Tennyson. “We have both been up all night and half the morning with Rebecca. She almost died from stomach sickness. It seems she ate some bad meat.” Hattie’s face flushed. Her husband, Jim Parker, was the butcher. “It made my husband and me sick as well,” said Mrs. Tennyson, “but it nearly killed Becca, what with her being so young. Sam saved her life.” “It wasn’t me,” said Sam. “It was the onions.” “I’m glad Becca’s all right,” Hattie said contritely. “I keep telling Jim he needs to wash his knives,” said Mr. Pike, who owned the general store. Hattie Parker excused herself, then turned and quickly walked away. “Tell Becca that when she feels up to it to come by the store for a piece of candy,” said Mr. Pike. “Thank you, I’ll do that.” Before returning home, Mrs. Tennyson bought a dozen onions from Sam. She gave him a dime and told him to keep the change. “I don’t take charity,” Sam told her. “But if you want to buy a few extra onions for Mary Lou, I’m sure she’d appreciate it.” “All right then,” said Mrs. Tennyson, “give me my change in onions.” Sam gave Mrs. Tennyson an additional three onions, and she fed them one at a time to Mary Lou. She laughed as the old donkey ate them out of her hand.
Louis Sachar (Holes)
THE OBEDIENCE GAME DUGGAR KIDS GROW UP playing the Obedience Game. It’s sort of like Mother May I? except it has a few extra twists—and there’s no need to double-check with “Mother” because she (or Dad) is the one giving the orders. It’s one way Mom and Dad help the little kids in the family burn off extra energy some nights before we all put on our pajamas and gather for Bible time (more about that in chapter 8). To play the Obedience Game, the little kids all gather in the living room. After listening carefully to Mom’s or Dad’s instructions, they respond with “Yes, ma’am, I’d be happy to!” then run and quickly accomplish the tasks. For example, Mom might say, “Jennifer, go upstairs to the girls’ room, touch the foot of your bed, then come back downstairs and give Mom a high-five.” Jennifer answers with an energetic “Yes, ma’am, I’d be happy to!” and off she goes. Dad might say, “Johannah, run around the kitchen table three times, then touch the front doorknob and come back.” As Johannah stands up she says, “Yes, sir, I’d be happy to!” “Jackson, go touch the front door, then touch the back door, then touch the side door, and then come back.” Jackson, who loves to play army, stands at attention, then salutes and replies, “Yes, sir, I’d be happy to!” as he goes to complete his assignment at lightning speed. Sometimes spotters are sent along with the game player to make sure the directions are followed exactly. And of course, the faster the orders can be followed, the more applause the contestant gets when he or she slides back into the living room, out of breath and pleased with himself or herself for having complied flawlessly. All the younger Duggar kids love to play this game; it’s a way to make practicing obedience fun! THE FOUR POINTS OF OBEDIENCE THE GAME’S RULES (MADE up by our family) stem from our study of the four points of obedience, which Mom taught us when we were young. As a matter of fact, as we are writing this book she is currently teaching these points to our youngest siblings. Obedience must be: 1. Instant. We answer with an immediate, prompt “Yes ma’am!” or “Yes sir!” as we set out to obey. (This response is important to let the authority know you heard what he or she asked you to do and that you are going to get it done as soon as possible.) Delayed obedience is really disobedience. 2. Cheerful. No grumbling or complaining. Instead, we respond with a cheerful “I’d be happy to!” 3. Thorough. We do our best, complete the task as explained, and leave nothing out. No lazy shortcuts! 4. Unconditional. No excuses. No, “That’s not my job!” or “Can’t someone else do it? or “But . . .” THE HIDDEN GOAL WITH this fun, fast-paced game is that kids won’t need to be told more than once to do something. Mom would explain the deeper reason behind why she and Daddy desired for us to learn obedience. “Mom and Daddy won’t always be with you, but God will,” she says. “As we teach you to hear and obey our voice now, our prayer is that ultimately you will learn to hear and obey what God’s tells you to do through His Word.” In many families it seems that many of the goals of child training have been lost. Parents often expect their children to know what they should say and do, and then they’re shocked and react harshly when their sweet little two-year-old throws a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store. This parental attitude probably stems from the belief that we are all born basically good deep down inside, but the truth is, we are all born with a sin nature. Think about it: You don’t have to teach a child to hit, scream, whine, disobey, or be selfish. It comes naturally. The Bible says that parents are to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Jill Duggar (Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships)
This is from Elizabeth,” it said. “She has sold Havenhurst.” A pang of guilt and shock sent Ian to his feet as he read the rest of the note: “I am to tell you that this is payment in full, plus appropriate interest, for the emeralds she sold, which, she feels, rightfully belonged to you.”
Swallowing audibly, Ian picked up the bank draft and the small scrap of paper with it. On it Elizabeth herself had shown her calculation of the interest due him for the exact number of days since she’d sold the gems, until the date of her bank draft a week ago.
His eyes ached with unshed tears while his shoulders began to rock with silent laughter-Elizabeth had paid him half a percent less than the usual interest rate.
Thirty minutes later Ian presented himself to Jordan’s butler and asked to see Alexandra. She walked into the room with accusation and ire shooting from her blue eyes as she said scornfully, “I wondered if that note would bring you here. Do you have any notion how much Havenhurst means-meant-to her?”
“I’ll get it back for her,” he promised with a somber smile. “Where is she?”
Alexandra’s mouth fell open at the tenderness in his eyes and voice.
“Where is she?” he repeated with calm determination.
“I cannot tell you,” Alex said with a twinge of regret.
“You know I cannot. I gave my word.”
“Would it have the slightest effect,” Ian countered smoothly, “if I were to ask Jordan to exert his husbandly influence to persuade you to tell me anyway?”
“I’m afraid not,” Alexandra assured him. She expected him to challenge that; instead a reluctant smile drifted across his handsome face. When he spoke, his voice was gentle. “You’re very like Elizabeth. You remind me of her.”
Still slightly mistrustful of his apparent change of heart, Alex said primly, “I deem that a great compliment, my lord.”
To her utter disbelief, Ian Thornton reached out and chucked her under the chin. “I meant it as one,” he informed her with a grin.
Turning, Ian started for the door, then stopped at the sight of Jordan, who was lounging in the doorway, an amused, knowing smile on his face. “If you’d keep track of your own wife, Ian, you would not have to search for similarities in mine.” When their unexpected guest had left, Jordan asked Alex, “Are you going to send Elizabeth a message to let her know he’s coming for her?”
Alex started to nod, then she hesitated. “I-I don’t think so. I’ll tell her that he asked where she is, which is all he really did.”
“He’ll go to her as soon as he figures it out.”
“You still don’t trust him, do you?” Jordan said with a surprised smile.
“I do after this last visit-to a certain extent-but not with Elizabeth’s heart. He’s hurt her terribly, and I won’t give her false hopes and, in doing so, help him hurt her again.”
Reaching out, Jordan chucked her under the chin as his cousin had done, then he pulled her into his arms. “She’s hurt him, too, you know.”
“Perhaps,” Alex admitted reluctantly.
Jordan smiled against her hair. “You were more forgiving when I trampled your heart, my love,” he teased.
“That’s because I loved you,” she replied as she laid her cheek against his chest, her arms stealing around his waist.
“And will you love my cousin just a little if he makes amends to Elizabeth?”
“I might find it in my heart,” she admitted, “if he gets Havenhurst back for her.”
“It’ll cost him a fortune if he tries,” Jordan chuckled. “Do you know who bought it?”
“No, do you?”
He nodded. “Philip Demarcus.”
She giggled against his chest. “Isn’t he that dreadful man who told the prince he’d have to pay to ride in his new yacht up the Thames?”
“The very same.”
“Do you suppose Mr. Demarcus cheated Elizabeth?”
“Not our Elizabeth,” Jordan laughed. “But I wouldn’t like to be in Ian’s place if Demarcus realizes the place has sentimental value to Ian. The price will soar.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))