There was a girl, and her uncle sold her. Put like that it seems so simple.
No man, proclaimed Donne, is an island, and he was wrong. If we were not islands, we would be lost, drowned in each other's tragedies. We are insulated (a word that means, literally, remember, made into an island) from the tragedy of others, by our island nature and by the repetitive shape and form of the stories. The shape does not change: there was a human being who was born, lived and then by some means or other, died. There. You may fill in the details from your own experience. As unoriginal as any other tale, as unique as any other life. Lives are snowflakes- forming patterns we have seen before, as like one another as peas in a pod (and have you ever looked at peas in a pod? I mean, really looked at them? There's not a chance you'll mistake one for another, after a minute's close inspection) but still unique.
Without individuals we see only numbers, a thousand dead, a hundred thousand dead, "casualties may rise to a million." With individual stories, the statistics become people- but even that is a lie, for the people continue to suffer in numbers that themselves are numbing and meaningless. Look, see the child's swollen, swollen belly and the flies that crawl at the corners of his eyes, this skeletal limbs: will it make it easier for you to know his name, his age, his dreams, his fears? To see him from the inside? And if it does, are we not doing a disservice to his sister, who lies in the searing dust beside him, a distorted distended caricature of a human child? And there, if we feel for them, are they now more important to us than a thousand other children touched by the same famine, a thousand other young lives who will soon be food for the flies' own myriad squirming children?
We draw our lines around these moments of pain, remain upon our islands, and they cannot hurt us. They are covered with a smooth, safe, nacreous layer to let them slip, pearllike, from our souls without real pain.
Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.
A life that is, like any other, unlike any other.
And the simple truth is this: There was a girl, and her uncle sold her.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
His black eyes sliced into me, and the corners of his mouth tilted up. My heart fumbled a bit and in that pause, a feeling of gloomy darkness seemed to slide like a shadow over me. It vanished in an instant but I was still staring at him. His smile wasn't friendly. It was a smile that spelled trouble. With a promise.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1))
Whatever it is," I said, "the point is moot because as long as I'm on these pills, I can't make contact to ask."
Derek ... snapped, "Then you need to stop taking the pills."
Love to. If I could. But after what happened last night, they're giving me urine tests now."
Ugh. That's harsh." Simon went quiet, then snapped his fingers.
Hey, I've got an idea. It's kinda gross, but what if you take the pills, crush them and mix them with your, you know, urine."
Derek stared at him.
You did pass chem last year, didn't you?"
Simon flipped him the finger. "Okay, genius, what's your idea?"
I'll think about it. ..."
Here," Derek whispered, pressing an empty Mason jar into my hand. He'd pulled me aside after class and we were now standing at the base of the boy's staircase. "Take this up to your room and hide it."
It's a ... jar."
He grunted, exasperated that I was so dense I failed to see the critical importance of hiding an empty Mason jar in my room.
It's for your urine."
He rolled his eyes, a growl-like sound sliding through his teeth as
he leaned down, closer to my ear. "Urine. Pee. Whatever. For the testing."
I lifted the jar to eye level. "I think they'll give me something
You took your meds today, right?" he whispered.
Then use this jar to save it."
Save . . . ?"
Your urine. If you give them some of today's tomorrow, it'll seem like you're still taking your meds."
You want me to . . . dole it out? Into specimen jars?"
Got a better idea?"
Um, no, but ..." I lifted the jar and stared into it.
Oh, for God's sake. Save your piss. Don't save your piss. It's all the same to me."
Simon peeked around the corner, brows lifted. "I was going to ask what you guys were doing, but hearing that, I think I'll pass.
Kelley Armstrong (The Summoning (Darkest Powers, #1))
Warmth slid through my veins as my body tensed in a welcomed, delicious way.
My eyes fluttered shut as his lips brushed mine once and then twice, as if he was getting reacquainted with the feel of them. The slight, barely there touch was nerve racking.
Cam shifted his weight onto his left arm and with his other hand, he spread his fingers along my cheek. He placed a kiss to the corner of my lips and the other side before sliding his hand back around the nape of my neck. His lips moved along my jaw, trailing a fiery path to my ear. A shiver danced along my skin, eliciting a deep, husky chuckle from him. His lips pressed against the sensitive spot under my ear, and a moan crawled up my throat.
And then he kissed me—kissed me like he’d had right before he’d left the night of our date. Kissed me like he was a man starving for oxygen and I was the only air he needed to breathe. The hand around my neck held me there, raised up on my elbows as his mouth devoured mine. And that was the only word I could use to accurately explained how he kissed me.
Cam devoured me.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Wait for You (Wait for You, #1))
The others went upstairs, a slow unwilling procession. If this had been an old house, with creaking wood, and dark shadows, and heavily panelled walls, there might have been an eerie feeling. But this house was the essence of modernity. There were no dark corners - no possible sliding panels - it was flooded with electric light - everything was new and bright and shining. There was nothing hidden in this house, nothing concealed. It had no atmosphere about it. Somehow, that was the most frightening thing of all. They exchanged good-nights on the upper landing. Each of them went into his or her own room, and each of them automatically, almost without conscious thought, locked the door....
Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None)
my final piece
We’re born into the world
As just one small piece to the puzzle
That makes up an entire life.
It’s up to us throughout our years,
to find all of our pieces that fit.
The pieces that connect who we are
To who we were
To who we’ll one day be.
Sometimes pieces will almost fit.
They’ll feel right.
We’ll carry them around for a while,
Hoping they’ll change shape.
Hoping they’ll conform to our puzzle.
But they won’t.
We’ll eventually have to let them go.
To find the puzzle that is their home.
Sometimes pieces won’t fit at all.
No matter how much we want them to.
We’ll shove them.
We’ll bend them.
We’ll break them.
But what isn’t meant to be,
Those are the hardest pieces of all to
The pieces of our puzzle
That just don’t belong.
But occasionally . . .
Not very often at all,
If we’re lucky,
If we pay enough attention,
We’ll find a
The pieces of the puzzle that slide right in
The pieces that hug the contours of our own
The pieces that lock to us.
The pieces that we lock to.
The pieces that fit so well, we can’t tell
where our piece begins
And that piece ends.
Those pieces we call
They’re all the pieces that complete our
They line the edges,
Frame the corners,
Fill the centers,
Those pieces are the pieces that make us
who we are.
Who we were.
Who we’ll one day be.
Up until today,
When I looked at my own puzzle,
I would see a finished piece.
I had the edges lined,
The corners framed,
The center filled.
It felt like it was complete.
All the pieces were there.
I had everything I wanted.
Everything I needed.
Everything I dreamt of.
But up until today,
I realized I had collected all
but one piece.
The most vital piece.
The piece that completes the picture.
The piece that completes my whole life.
I held this girl in my arms
She wrapped her tiny fingers around mine.
It was then that I realized
She was the fusion.
The cement that bound all my pieces
The piece that seals my puzzle.
The piece that completes my life.
The element that makes me who I am.
Who I was.
Who I’ll one day be.
You, baby girl.
You’re my final piece.
Colleen Hoover (This Girl (Slammed, #3))
LONDON. Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.
Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards, and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ’prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon, and hanging in the misty clouds.
Gas looming through the fog in divers places in the streets, much as the sun may, from the spongey fields, be seen to loom by husbandman and ploughboy. Most of the shops lighted two hours before their time — as the gas seems to know, for it has a haggard and unwilling look.
The raw afternoon is rawest, and the dense fog is densest, and the muddy streets are muddiest near that leaden-headed old obstruction, appropriate ornament for the threshold of a leaden-headed old corporation, Temple Bar. And hard by Temple Bar, in Lincoln’s Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High Court of Chancery.
Charles Dickens (Bleak House)
The clock’s pendulum catches the firelight, and in the rattle-breathed final moments of Jacob de Zoet, amber shadows in the far corner coagulate into a woman’s form.
She slips between the bigger, taller onlookers unnoticed …
… and adjusts her headscarf, the better to hide her burn.
She places her cool palms on Jacob’s fever-glazed face.
Jacob sees himself, when he was young, in her narrow eyes.
Her lips touch the place between his eyebrows.
A well-waxed paper door slides open.
David Mitchell (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)
What height is this table?' he said suddenly, just as I was about to go to the bread bin for a slice to wipe my plate with. I turned round and looked at him, wondering why he was bothering with such an easy question.
'Thirty inches,' I told him, and took a crust from the bin.
'Wrong,' he said with an eager grin. 'Two foot six.'
I shook my head at him, scowling, and wiped the brown rim of soup from the inside of my plate. There was a time when I was genuinely afraid of these idiotic questions, but now, apart from the fact that I must know the height, length, breadth, area and volume of just about every part of the house and everything in it, I can see my father's obsession for what it is. It gets embarrassing at times when there are guests in the house, even if they are family and ought to know what to expect. They'll be sitting there, probably in the lounge, wondering whether Father's going to feed them anything or just give an impromptu lecture on cancer of the colon or tapeworms, when he'll sidle up to somebody, look round to make sure everybody's watching, then in a conspiratorial stage-whisper say: 'See that door over there? It's eighty-five inches, corner to corner. ' Then he'll wink and walk off, or slide over on his seat, looking nonchalant.
Iain Banks (The Wasp Factory)
Another tidbit you might be interested in is when it comes to chicks and open mouths, guys -" Decebel leaned over and covered Jen's mouth with his hand and warned her with a glare to swallow her words.
"Thanks, Dec. That's usually my job,"
Sally told him. "But I was in such shock that I couldn't get my limbs to move."
Decebel inclined his head. "Is that why you always seem to stand so close to her?"
"It's of utmost importance that whoever is within her reach be ready at any and all moments to intercept what might come from that wicked tongue."
en was frantically trying to talk around Decebel's hand at Sally's comment. Decebel was quickly learning how Jennifer's brain worked, and could only imagine what she wanted to voice in regards to Sally's wicked tongue comment. He leaned forward to whisper in her ear. "I'm going to uncover your mouth. It would be wise of you to just let the wicked tongue comment slide."
Jen glared at him from the corner of her eye, and after a tense moment finally nodded once in submission. Decebel slowly uncovered her mouth, ready if need be to slap it right back over her lips.
The room began to get quiet and they all directed their attention to the front of the room. As Vasile welcomed everyone for coming and began to explain about the meeting he had with the other Alphas, Jen leaned over to Decebel. "You owe me. Sally walked right into it with that whole wicked tongue thing."
Decebel chuckled and whispered back,
"For some reason, ţinere de meu inimă (one who holds my heart), I have a feeling there will be plenty of opportunities for you to embarrass your friends for questionable comments they innocently walk into."
Jen shrugged. "True enough, but you still owe me. And what are you calling me when you speak Romanian? You've said the same phrase to me twice now."
Decebel patted her leg, causing all sorts of tingling sensations. "Dar tu romaneste, Micul meu lup. (but you speak Romanian, my little wolf)"
"I know what lup is and I am not a wolf.
Whatever else you said I'm sure is a load of crap as well.
Quinn Loftis (Just One Drop (The Grey Wolves, #3))
If this had been an old house, with creaking wood, and dark shadows, and heavily panelled walls, there might have been an eerie feeling. But this house was the essence of modernity. There were no dark corners—no possible sliding panels—it was flooded with electric light—everything was new and bright and shining. There was nothing hidden in this house, nothing concealed. It had no atmosphere about it. Somehow, that was the most frightening thing of all….
Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None)
The sliding door opened, and then Michael was clomping across the porch. Gabriel didn’t look at him, just kept his gaze on the tree line.
Michael dropped into the chair beside him. “Here."
Gabriel looked over. His brother was holding out a bottle of Corona.
Shock almost knocked him out of the chair. They never had alcohol of any kind in the house. When Michael had turned twenty-one, they’d all spent about thirty seconds entertaining thoughts of wild parties supplied by their older brother.
Then they’d remembered it was Michael, a guy who said if he ever caught them drinking, he’d call the cops himself. Really, he’d driven the point home so thoroughly that by the time he and Nick started going to parties, they rarely touched the stuff.
Gabriel took the bottle from his hand. "Who are you, and what have you done with my brother?”
Michael tilted the botle back and took a long draw. "I thought you could use one. I sure can."
Gabriel took a sip, but tentatively, like Michael was going to slap it out of his hand and say Just kidding. "Where did this even come from?"
Well, that was typical Michael. "No, jackass, I meant-"
"I know what you meant." Michael paused to take another drink. "There's a mini-fridge in the back corner of the garage, under the old tool bench.
Brigid Kemmerer (Spark (Elemental, #2))
Round the next corner and in the next street Adventure lies in wait for you. Oh, who can tell what you may meet Round the next corner and in the next street! Could life be anything but sweet When all is hazardous and new? Round the next corner and in the next street Adventure lies in wait for you. That
Nevil Shute (Slide Rule)
... Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets, as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas, in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.
Charles Dickens (Bleak House)
Ms. Lane.”Barrons’ voice is deep, touched with that strange Old World accent and mildly pissed off. Jericho Barrons is often mildly pissed off. I think he crawled from the swamp that way, chafed either by some condition in it, out of it, or maybe just the general mass incompetence he encountered in both places. He’s the most controlled, capable man I’ve ever known.
After all we’ve been through together, he still calls me Ms. Lane, with one exception: When I’m in his bed. Or on the floor, or some other place where I’ve temporarily lost my mind and become convinced I can’t breathe without him inside me this very instant. Then the things he calls me are varied and nobody’s business but mine.
I reply: “Barrons,” without inflection. I’ve learned a few things in our time together. Distance is frequently the only intimacy he’ll tolerate. Suits me. I’ve got my own demons. Besides I don’t believe good relationships come from living inside each other’s pockets. I believe divorce comes from that.
I admire the animal grace with which he enters the room and moves toward me. He prefers dark colors, the better to slide in and out of the night, or a room, unnoticed except for whatever he’s left behind that you may or may not discover for some time, like, say a tattoo on the back of one’s skull.
“What are you doing?”
“Reading,” I say nonchalantly, rubbing the tattoo on the back of my skull. I angle the volume so he can’t see the cover. If he sees what I’m reading, he’ll know I’m looking for something. If he realizes how bad it’s gotten, and what I’m thinking about doing, he’ll try to stop me.
He circles behind me, looks over my shoulder at the thick vellum of the ancient manuscript. “In the first tongue?”
“Is that what it is?” I feign innocence.
He knows precisely which cells in my body are innocent and which are thoroughly corrupted. He’s responsible for most of the corrupted ones. One corner of his mouth ticks up and I see the glint of beast behind his eyes, a feral crimson backlight, bloodstaining the whites.
It turns me on. Barrons makes me feel violently, electrically sexual and alive. I’d march into hell beside him.
But I will not let him march into hell beside me. And there’s no doubt that’s where I’m going.
I thought I was strong, a heroine. I thought I was the victor. The enemy got inside my head and tried to seduce me with lies.
It’s easy to walk away from lies.
Power is another thing.
Temptation isn’t a sin that you triumph over once, completely and then you’re free. Temptation slips into bed with you each night and helps you say your prayers. It wakes you in the morning with a friendly cup of coffee, and knows exactly how you take it.
He skirts the Chesterfield sofa and stands over me. “Looking for something, Ms. Lane?”
I’m eye level with his belt but that’s not where my gaze gets stuck and suddenly my mouth is so dry I can hardly swallow and I know I’m going to want to. I’m Pri-ya for this man. I hate it. I love it. I can’t escape it.
I reach for his belt buckle. The manuscript slides from my lap, forgotten. Along with everything else but this moment, this man. “I just found it,” I tell him.
Karen Marie Moning (Burned (Fever, #7))
So here we are, in the family planning aisle with a cart full of sports drinks and our hands full of . . . “Trojans, Ramses, Magnum . . . Jeez, these are worse than names for muscle cars,” Jase observes, sliding his finger along the display.
“They do sound sorta, well, forceful.” I flip over the box I’m holding to read the instructions.
Jase glances up to smile at me. “Don’t worry, Sam. It’s just us.”
“I don’t get what half these descriptions mean . . . What’s a vibrating ring?”
“Sounds like the part that breaks on the washing machine. What’s extra-sensitive? That sounds like how we describe George.”
I’m giggling. “Okay, would that be better or worse than ‘ultimate feeling’—and look—there’s ‘shared pleasure’ condoms and ‘her pleasure’ condoms. But there’s no ‘his pleasure.’”
“I’m pretty sure that comes with the territory,” Jase says dryly. “Put down those Technicolor ones. No freaking way.”
“But blue’s my favorite color,” I say, batting my eyelashes at him.
“Put them down. The glow-in-the-dark ones too. Jesus. Why do they even make those?”
“For the visually impaired?” I ask, reshelving the boxes.
We move to the checkout line. “Enjoy the rest of your evening,” the clerk calls as we leave.
“Do you think he knew?” I ask.
“You’re blushing again,” Jase mutters absently. “Did who know what?”
“The sales guy. Why we were buying these?”
A smile pulls at the corners of his mouth. “Of course not. I’m sure it never occurred to him that we were actually buying birth control for ourselves. I bet he thought it was a . . . a . . . housewarming gift.”
Okay, I’m ridiculous.
“Or party favors,” I laugh.
“Or”—he scrutinized the receipt—“supplies for a really expensive water balloon fight.”
“Visual aids for health class?” I slip my hand into the back pocket of Jase’s jeans.
“Or little raincoats for . . .” He pauses, stumped.
“Barbie dolls,” I suggest.
“G.I. Joes,” he corrects, and slips his free hand into the back pocket of my jeans, bumping his hip against mine as we head back to the car.
Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door)
Suddenly the theater was plunged into utter blinding darkness, while an ominous rumbling rose from beneath the platform. There were several little screams of alarm, a scattering of laughter, and loud gasps of anticipation. Annabelle’s spine went rigid as she felt the brush of a hand on her back. His hand, sliding with slow deliberateness up her spine…his scent, fresh and beguiling in her nostrils …and before she could make a sound, his mouth, possessing hers in a warm, softly ravishing kiss.
She was too stunned to move, her hands in the air like butterflies suspended in midflight, her swaying body anchored by his light clasp on her waist, while his other hand cradled the back of her neck. Annabelle had been kissed before, by brash young men who had stolen a quick embrace during a walk in the garden, or in a corner of the parlor when they would not be observed. But none of those brief, flirtatious encounters had been like this …a kiss so slow and dizzying that it filled her with delirium.
Sensations rushed through her, far too strong to manage, and she quivered helplessly in his hold. Compelled by instinct, she lifted blindly into the tenderly restless caress of his lips. The pressure of his lips increased as he demanded more, rewarding her helpless response with a voluptuous exploration that set her senses on fire. Just as she began to lose all sanity, his mouth released hers with startling suddenness, leaving her dazed. Keeping his supportive hand on the downy-soft nape of her neck, he bent his head until a rueful murmur tickled her ear.
“Sorry. I couldn’t resist.” His touch withdrew completely, and when red-filtered light finally invaded the theater, he was gone.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
watch myself in the mirrors at work constantly. It makes it more interesting. I used to do this ages ago out of worry of my body not looking right. Now I’m curious about what my “work moves” look like, my whiteness with a slash of dark lace underwear, my tattoos (my “permanent epaulets”) in contrast, in profile, my back arching doing a downward dog over the guy’s back before I slide down it, serpentine chin first to rub my cheek against his neck. I think about sex all the time because it’s my job. I want to make room for other stuff. I want to think about other stuff. I think?
…it’s strange to watch because it’s really just a long-ago choreographed dance, every time with a different partner. There are slightly different turns and dips, but I can almost do the counts. I feel unfair for offering this processed sex. They don’t care. Maybe I am good enough of an actress, or good enough of an empathy to make it seem authentic. Sometimes it feels that way. Sometimes they catch me watching myself bend and writhe. They usually watch. I watch myself kissing them out of the corner of my eye, to see what it looks like.
Kelley Kenney (Prose and Lore: Memoir Stories About Sex Work (Issue 1))
Dad and I leave town in the early dark. It's the second Sunday of the holidays, and we pack up the old blue car with enough clothes for summer and hit the road. It's so early he's wiping hills of sand piled in the corners of his eyes. I wipe a few tears from mine. Tears don't pile, though. They grip and cling and slide in salty trails that I taste until the edge of the city.
Cath Crowley (A Little Wanting Song)
When Titus speaks, I can hear every word. For me, that's like when the optician slides home the right lens and all the e's and g's and o's and c's become perfectly clear again and it isn't a struggle, even to read the bottom-most line...His voice touches places inside me like someone moving through a house, flicking light switches...No peering into corners for what's been said.
Geraldine McCaughrean (The White Darkness)
Tossing it to a corner, he turns back to take my hand. And I’m facing the chest that I’ve not been able to dislodge from my brain for weeks. The one that instantly makes my breath hitch. The one that I’ve never had a chance to stare at so blatantly while sober. And I do stare now. Like a deer caught in headlights, I can’t seem to turn away as I take in all the ridges and curves.
“What does that mean?” I ask, jutting my chin toward the inked symbol over his heart. Ashton doesn’t answer. He avoids the question completely by sliding his thumb across my bottom lip.
“You have a bit of drool there,
Adam,' I say, 'had good times and he had bad times.' I pause here and glance at Nana, see that she is crying silently, the way I cried at the duck pond in the park. I was going to say something more about the bad times- how Adam's bad times were different from most people's, and that I'll never really understand them. But now that I see Nana's tears, see her start to reach for Papa's hand, then pull back and fold her hands in her lap again- now that I see Nana, I change my mind.
I think we should remember that Adam was one of those people who could lift the corners of our universe,' I say. I clear my throat. 'Thank you.'
As I slide into our pew I realize I feel older. I think of Janet and Nancy and find that nonw I can brush them away. And I understand that Adam and I are not as alike as I had thought. I remembered the tortured look on Adam's face the night of the Ferris wheel and the look of happiness, happiness, and realize that Adam's decision to take his life was not made easily. It took a certain kind of courage. Just not the kind of courage I chose.
I settle between Mom and Dad, and they take my hands and smmile at me. No tears. I squeeze their hands.
~pgs 177-178; Hattie on life
Ann M. Martin (A Corner of the Universe)
As she rounded a corner one of her favourite songs came on the radio, and sunlight filtered through the trees the way it does with lace curtains, reminding her of her grandmother, and tears began to slide down her cheeks. Not for her grandmother, who was then still very much among the living, but because she felt an enveloping happiness to be alive, a joy made stronger by the certainty that someday it would all come to an end. It overwhelmed her, made her pull the car to the side of the road. Afterwards she felt a little foolish, and never spoke to anyone about it. Now, however, she knows she wasn’t being foolish. She realizes that for no particular reason she stumbled into the core of what it is to be human. It’s a rare gift to understand that your life is wondrous, and that it won’t last forever.
Steven Galloway (The Cellist of Sarajevo)
Look, see the child's swollen, swollen belly and the flies that crawl at the corners of his eyes, this skeletal limbs: will it make it easier for you to know his name, his age, his dreams, his fears? To see him from the inside? And if it does, are we not doing a disservice to his sister, who lies in the searing dust beside him, a distorted distended caricature of a human child? And there, if we feel for them, are they now more important to us than a thousand other children touched by the same famine, a thousand other young lives who will soon be food for the flies' own myriad squirming children?
We draw our lines around these moments of pain, remain upon our islands, and they cannot hurt us. They are covered with a smooth, safe, nacreous layer to let them slip, pearllike, from our souls without real pain.
Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
Standing in the courtyard with a glass eye; only half the world is intelligible. The stones are wet and mossy and in the crevices are black toads. A big door bars the entrance to the cellar; the steps are slippery and soiled with bat dung. The door bulges and sags, the hinges are falling off, but there is an enameled sign on it, in perfect condition, which says: “Be sure to close the door.” Why close the door? I can’t make it out. I look again at the sign but it is removed; in it’s place there is a pane of colored glass. I take out my artificial eye, spit on it and polish it with my handkerchief. A woman is sitting on a dais above an immense carven desk; she has a snake around her neck. The entire room is lined with books and strange fish swimming in colored globes; there are maps and charts on the wall, maps of Paris before the plague, maps of the antique world, of Knossos and Carthage, of Carthage before and after the salting. In the corner of the room I see an iron bedstead and on it a corpse is lying; the woman gets up wearily, removes the corpse from the bed and absent mindedly throws it out the window. She returns to the huge carven desk, takes a goldfish from the bowl and swallows it. Slowly the room begins to revolve and one by one the continents slide into the sea; only the woman is left, but her body is a mass of geography. I lean out the window and the Eiffle Tower is fizzing champagne; it is built entirely of numbers and shrouded in black lace. The sewers are gurgling furiously. There are nothing but roofs everywhere, laid out with execrable geometric cunning.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #2))
The strings in her mind grew flatter, calmer. The shapes in the hologrid had changed. She heard the man's words, and yet she didn't; the words were not what was really important. And wasn't that right? Words had never been important, only strings, and the strings had shapes like - but not like -the ones around the man. Only the man had disappeared, too, and that was alright, because she, Miri, Miranda Serena Sharifi, was disappearing, was sliding down a steep long chute and each meter she traveled she became smaller and smaller until she had disappeared and was invisible, a weightless transparent ghost that neither twitched nor stammered, in the corner of a room she had never seen before.
As I speak, his fingers trail down my arm. I’m just so relieved he’s willing to touch me after I’ve told him this. He turns my hand over and traces the fine lines on my palm. “And?” He looks up beneath heavy lids. “What else should I know about you?”
“My skin—” I stop, swallow.
He leans down, presses his lips to my wrist in a feathery kiss. “What about your skin?”
“You know. You’ve seen it,” I rasp. “It changes. The color becomes—”
“Like fire.” His gaze lifts from my wrist and he says that word he said so long ago surrounded in cold mists, tucked on a ledge above a whispering pool of water. “Beautiful.”
“You said that before. In the mountains.”
“I meant it. Still do.”
I laugh weakly. “I guess this means you’re not mad at me.”
“I would be mad, if I could.” He frowns. “I should be.” He inches closer to me on the couch. We sink deeper into the tired cushions. “This is impossible.”
“This what?” I clutch the collar of his shirt in my fingers. His face is so close I study the varying color of his eyes.
For a long time, he says nothing. Stares at me in that way that makes me want to squirm. For a moment, it seems that his irises glow and the pupils shrink to slits. Then, he mutters, “A hunter in love with his prey.”
My chest squeezes. I suck in a breath. Pretty wonderful, I think, but am too embarrassed to say it. Even after what he just admitted.
He loves me?
Studying him, I let myself consider this and whether he can possibly mean it. But what else could it be? What else could drive him to this moment with me? To turn his back on his family’s way of life?
As he looks at me in that desperate, devouring way, I’m reminded of those moments in his car when he tended the cut on my palm and ran his hand over my leg. My belly twists.
I glance around, see how seriously, dangerously alone we are. More alone than in the stairwell. Or even the first time together, on that ledge. I lick my lips. Now we’re alone with no school bell ready to rip us apart. Even more alarming, no more secrets stand between us. No barriers. Nothing to stop us at all.
I hold my breath until I feel the first press of his lips, certain I’ve never been this close to another soul, this vulnerable. We kiss until we’re both breathless, warm and flushed, twisting against each other on the couch. His hands brush my bare back beneath my shirt, trace every bump of my spine. My back tingles, wings vibrating just beneath the surface. I drink the cooler air from his lips, drawing it into my fiery lungs.
I don’t even mind when he stops and watches my skin change colors, or touches my face as it blurs in and out. He kisses my changing face. Cheeks, nose, the corners of my eyes, sighing my name it like a benediction between each caress. His lips slide to my neck and I moan, arch, lost to everything but him. In this, with him . . . I’m as close to the sky as I’ve ever been.
Sophie Jordan (Firelight (Firelight, #1))
By the time I get out of the shower, Tom is in bed. At first I think he is asleep, but as soon as I crawl in beside him, his eyes open. “How are you going to live without me?” he says. We both chuckle, even as a tear slides from the corner of Tom’s eye. “I won’t,” I say, and then he reaches for me and we don’t talk anymore
Sally Hepworth (The Mother-in-Law)
I say is someone in there?’ The voice is the young post-New formalist from
Pittsburgh who affects Continental and wears an ascot that won’t stay tight, with that
hesitant knocking of when you know perfectly well someone’s in there, the
bathroom door composed of thirty-six that’s three times a lengthwise twelve
recessed two-bevelled squares in a warped rectangle of steam-softened wood, not
quite white, the bottom outside corner right here raw wood and mangled from
hitting the cabinets’ bottom drawer’s wicked metal knob, through the door and
offset ‘Red’ and glowering actors and calendar and very crowded scene and pubic
spirals of pale blue smoke from the elephant-colored rubble of ash and little
blackened chunks in the foil funnel’s cone, the smoke’s baby-blanket blue that’s sent
her sliding down along the wall past knotted washcloth, towel rack, blood-flower
wallpaper and intricately grimed electrical outlet, the light sharp bitter tint of a heated
sky’s blue that’s left her uprightly fetal with chin on knees in yet another North
American bathroom, deveiled, too pretty for words, maybe the Prettiest Girl Of All
Time (Prettiest G.O.A.T.), knees to chest, slew-footed by the radiant chill of the
claw-footed tub’s porcelain, Molly’s had somebody lacquer the tub in blue, lacquer,
she’s holding the bottle, recalling vividly its slogan for the past generation was The
Choice of a Nude Generation, when she was of back-pocket height and prettier by
far than any of the peach-colored titans they’d gazed up at, his hand in her lap her
hand in the box and rooting down past candy for the Prize, more fun way too much
fun inside her veil on the counter above her, the stuff in the funnel exhausted though
it’s still smoking thinly, its graph reaching its highest spiked prick, peak, the arrow’s
best descent, so good she can’t stand it and reaches out for the cold tub’s rim’s cold
edge to pull herself up as the white- party-noise reaches, for her, the sort of
stereophonic precipice of volume to teeter on just before the speaker’s blow, people
barely twitching and conversations strettoing against a ghastly old pre-Carter thing
saying ‘We’ve Only Just Begun,’ Joelle’s limbs have been removed to a distance
where their acknowledgement of her commands seems like magic, both clogs simply
gone, nowhere in sight, and socks oddly wet, pulls her face up to face the unclean
medicine-cabinet mirror, twin roses of flame still hanging in the glass’s corner, hair
of the flame she’s eaten now trailing like the legs of wasps through the air of the
glass she uses to locate the de-faced veil and what’s inside it, loading up the cone
again, the ashes from the last load make the world's best filter: this is a fact. Breathes
in and out like a savvy diver…
–and is knelt vomiting over the lip of the cool blue tub, gouges on the tub’s
lip revealing sandy white gritty stuff below the lacquer and porcelain, vomiting
muddy juice and blue smoke and dots of mercuric red into the claw-footed trough,
and can hear again and seems to see, against the fire of her closed lids’ blood, bladed
vessels aloft in the night to monitor flow, searchlit helicopters, fat fingers of blue
light from one sky, searching.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
What the hell, Kirotu? How did you drink that shit without making a puking? I’d sell my late grandmother’s soul to the Devil if it takes back the last thirty seconds of my life!” Bee continues, sliding the empty glass across the table towards him.
“I’m a warrior,” he shrugs, his face still blank except for the tiniest twitch on the corner of his mouth. Asshole.
Marian Erway (The Raging Tempest (Between Realms, #2))
I've got a couple of other ideas. For instance, about the viscosity of sound. Sounds spread over surfaces, slide across polished floors, flow in gutters, pile up in corners, snap on ridges, fall like rain on mucous membranes, swarm on plexuses, flame up on body hair, and flutter on skin like warm air over summer fields. There are aerial battles where sound waves bounce back on themselves, start spinning and whirl between heaven and earth, like the indestructible regret of the suicide, who halfway down from the sixth floor all of a sudden no longer wants to die any more. There are words which do not reach their mark and roll up into roving balls, swollen with danger, like lightning does sometimes when it fails to find its target. There are words which freeze...
René Daumal (A Night of Serious Drinking)
Emily crawled down to the floor, sliding along the wall, in the corner of the room. The girl did not show anyone that her heart was crying; therefore, everyone thought that she just did not care. After encountering reluctance to understand her from the side of her family members and their typical prejudiced judgment for too many times, her pride would not let her show the storm of emotions taking place inside of her soul.
Sahara Sanders (Gods’ Food (Indigo Diaries, #1))
My pulse roared like a raging river in response, but I held back. I slipped my hand into her hair, angling her face toward mine, savoring each hitch in her breath, each jump of my heart. It seemed like we’d waited a millennium to get here. And I languished in the slight teasing before our kiss. I brushed my lips against hers, once, twice. Each pass gaining the slightest bit of pressure. I moved before our mouths made that final contact, kissing the corner of her lips, her cheek, along the underside of her jaw.
I drew slow circles down the side of her bodice and she arched into my touch, urging me lower. I wanted to slide my fingers along the silkiness of her stockings, feel the layers of her full skirts brush over my skin as I explored her body the way she seemed to beg me to. I brought my mouth back to hers and kissed her, slow and languorously, savoring the feel of her.
Kerri Maniscalco (Becoming the Dark Prince (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #3.5))
Cam paused, staring down at her with dilated eyes, the irises bright gold rims around circles of fathomless midnight. “Amelia, love…” His kiss tasted of salt and intimacy. “Can you take a little more of me?”
She fought to think above the confusion of pleasure, and shook her head jerkily.
The corners of his lips deepened with a smile. He whispered, “I think you can.”
His hands played over her, solicitous fingertips sliding to the place they were joined. He pressed inside her, a low rhythmic movement, and his fingers were astonishingly gentle, almost delicate, as they stroked in time to the patient thrusts. Gasping, she arched to take him deeper, and deeper still.
Every time he pushed, his body rubbed hers in exactly the right way. She began to lift eagerly, anticipating each invasion, panting for it, sensation building on sensation until it culminated in a blinding swell of delight … and another … another … she felt him begin to withdraw and she moaned and twined her legs around his hips.
“Amelia,” he gasped, “no, let me … I’ve got to…” Shuddering, he spent helplessly inside her, while her body gripped and stroked the hard length of him.
Still locked together, Cam rolled Amelia to her side. He muttered something in Romany. Although she didn’t understand a word, it sounded highly complimentary. Limp with pleasure and exhaustion, Amelia rested her head on the solid curve of his biceps, her breath catching as she felt the occasional twitch and pulse of him in the depths of her body.
Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1))
Everyone's here except for St. Clair." Meredith cranes her neck around the cafeteria. "He's usually running late."
"Always," Josh corrects. "Always running late."
I clear my throat. "I think I met him last night. In the hallway."
"Good hair and an English accent?" Meredith asks.
"Um.Yeah.I guess." I try to keep my voice casual.
Josh smirks. "Everyone's in luuurve with St. Clair."
"Oh,shut up," Meredith says.
"I'm not." Rashmi looks at me for the first time, calculating whether or not I might fall in love with her own boyfriend.
He lets go of her hand and gives an exaggerated sigh. "Well,I am. I'm asking him to prom. This is our year, I just know it."
"This school has a prom?" I ask.
"God no," Rashmi says. "Yeah,Josh. You and St. Clair would look really cute in matching tuxes."
"Tails." The English accent makes Meredith and me jump in our seats. Hallway boy. Beautiful boy. His hair is damp from the rain. "I insist the tuxes have tails, or I'm giving your corsage to Steve Carver instead."
"St. Clair!" Josh springs from his seat, and they give each other the classic two-thumps-on-the-back guy hug.
"No kiss? I'm crushed,mate."
"Thought it might miff the ol' ball and chain. She doesn't know about us yet."
"Whatever," Rashi says,but she's smiling now. It's a good look for her. She should utilize the corners of her mouth more often.
Beautiful Hallway Boy (Am I supposed to call him Etienne or St. Clair?) drops his bag and slides into the remaining seat between Rashmi and me. "Anna." He's surprised to see me,and I'm startled,too. He remembers me.
"Nice umbrella.Could've used that this morning." He shakes a hand through his hair, and a drop lands on my bare arm. Words fail me. Unfortunately, my stomach speaks for itself. His eyes pop at the rumble,and I'm alarmed by how big and brown they are. As if he needed any further weapons against the female race.
Josh must be right. Every girl in school must be in love with him.
"Sounds terrible.You ought to feed that thing. Unless..." He pretends to examine me, then comes in close with a whisper. "Unless you're one of those girls who never eats. Can't tolerate that, I'm afraid. Have to give you a lifetime table ban."
I'm determined to speak rationally in his presence. "I'm not sure how to order."
"Easy," Josh says. "Stand in line. Tell them what you want.Accept delicious goodies. And then give them your meal card and two pints of blood."
"I heard they raised it to three pints this year," Rashmi says.
"Bone marrow," Beautiful Hallway Boy says. "Or your left earlobe."
"I meant the menu,thank you very much." I gesture to the chalkboard above one of the chefs. An exquisite cursive hand has written out the morning's menu in pink and yellow and white.In French. "Not exactly my first language."
"You don't speak French?" Meredith asks.
"I've taken Spanish for three years. It's not like I ever thought I'd be moving to Paris."
"It's okay," Meredith says quickly. "A lot of people here don't speak French."
"But most of them do," Josh adds.
"But most of them not very well." Rashmi looks pointedly at him.
"You'll learn the lanaguage of food first. The language of love." Josh rubs his belly like a shiny Buddha. "Oeuf. Egg. Pomme. Apple. Lapin. Rabbit."
"Not funny." Rashmi punches him in the arm. "No wonder Isis bites you. Jerk."
I glance at the chalkboard again. It's still in French. "And, um, until then?"
"Right." Beautiful Hallway Boy pushes back his chair. "Come along, then. I haven't eaten either." I can't help but notice several girls gaping at him as we wind our way through the crowd.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
You’re not wearing drawers,” he murmured, his hand wandering avidly over her bare limbs.
“It’s too hot today,” she said breathlessly, wiggling to evade him, pushing ineffectually at the mound of his hand beneath her dress. “I most certainly did not discard them for your benefit, and… Nick, stop that. The maid is going to come in at any moment.”
“Then I’ll have to be fast.”
“You’re never fast. Nick… oh…”
Her body curled against his as he reached the patch of hair between her thighs, the sweet cleft already rich with moisture as her well-tutored body responded to his touch. “I’m going to do this to you next week at the Markenfields’ ball,” he said softly, running his thumb along the humid seam of her sex. “I’m going to take you to some private corner… and pull up the front of your dress, and stroke and tease you until you come.”
“No,” she protested faintly, her eyes closing as she felt his long middle finger slide inside her.
“Oh, yes.” Nick withdrew his wet finger and ruthlessly tickled the softly straining crest until he felt her body tensing rhythmically in his lap. “I’ll keep you quiet with my mouth,” he whispered. “And I’ll be kissing you when you climax with my fingers inside you… like this…” He thrust his two middle fingers inside the warm, pulsing channel and covered her lips with his as she moaned and shuddered violently.
When he had siphoned the last few shivers of pleasure from her body, Nick lifted his mouth and smiled smugly into her flushed face. “Was that fast enough for you?”
-Nick & Lottie
Lisa Kleypas (Worth Any Price (Bow Street Runners, #3))
The white nationalist, nativist politics that we see today were first imagined and applied by David Duke during the heyday of his Grand Wizardshop, and the time of my undercover Klan investigation. This hatred is never gone away, but has been reinvigorated in the dark corners of the internet, Twitter trolls, alt-right publications, and a nativist president in Trump.
The Republican Party of the 19th century, being the party of Lincoln, was the opposition to the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist domination insofar as America's newly freed Black slaves were concerned; it is my belief that the Republican Party of the 21st century finds a symbiotic connection to white nationalist groups like the Klan, neo-Nazis, skinheads, militias, and alt-right white supremacist thinking. Evidence of this began in the Lyndon Johnson administration with the departure of Southern Democrats (Dixiecrats) to the Republican Party in protest of his civil rights agenda. The Republicans began a spiral slide to the far right that embrace all things abhorrent to nonwhites.
David Duke twice ran for public office in Louisiana as a Democrat and lost. When he switched his affiliation to Republican, because he was closer in ideology and racial thinking to the GOP than to the Democrats, and ran again for the Louisiana House of Representatives, the conservative voters in his district rewarded him with a victory. In each case his position on the issues remain the same; white supremacist/ethno-nationalist endorsement of a race-centered rhetoric and nativist populism. What change were the voters. Democrats rejected Duke politics while Republicans embraced him.
Ron Stallworth (Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime)
I had these made special. The design is raised instead of carved in. Can you feel it?" Dillon asked.
Hunter ran his fingertip over the outside of the ring. He nodded as a tear formed in the corner of his eye.
"Can you tell me what it is?" Dillon asked quietly.
Hunter nodded and his voice choked. "Two people…"
"Two men," Dillon corrected.
"Two men," Hunter said, "pulling each other into the center of a circle."
Dillon watched his single tear slip and start sliding down his cheek. "Would you step into that circle with me, Hunter?"
Hunter nodded, a small sound escaping him. "Yes.
Brandon Shire (Afflicted II (Afflicted, #2))
FIEND “… AND with 15 seconds to go it’s Hot-Foot Henry racing across the field! Beckham tries a slide tackle but Henry’s too quick! Just look at that step-over! Oh no, he can’t score from that distance, it’s crazy, it’s impossible, oh my goodness, he cornered the ball, it’s IN!!!! It’s IN! Another spectacular goal! Another spectacular win! And it’s all thanks to Hot-Foot Henry, the greatest soccer star who’s ever lived!” “Goal! Goal! Goal!” roared the crowd. Hot-Foot Henry won the match! His teammates carried him through the fans, cheering and chanting, “Hen-ry! Hen-ry! Hen-ry!
Francesca Simon (Horrid Henry and the Soccer Fiend)
Galen slides into his desk, unsettled by the way the sturdy blond boy talking to Emma casually rests his arm on the back of her seat.
"Good morning," Galen says, leaning over to wrap his arms around her, nearly pulling her from the chair. He even rests his cheek against hers for good measure. "Good morning...er, Mark, isn't it?" he says, careful to keep his voice pleasant. Still, he glances meaningfully at the masculine arm still lining the back of Emma's seat, almost touching her.
To his credit-and safety-Mark eases the offending limb back to his own desk, offering Emma a lazy smile full of strikingly white teeth. "You and Forza, huh? Did you clear that with his groupies?"
She laughs and gently pries Galen's arms off her. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees the eruption of pink spreading like spilled paint over her face. She's not used to dating him yet. Until about ten minutes ago, he wasn't used to it either. Now though, with the way Mark eyes her like a tasty shellfish, playing the role of Emma's boyfriend feels all too natural.
The bell rings, saving Emma from a reply and saving Mark thousands of dollars in hospital bills. Emma shoots Galen a withering look, which he deflects with that he hopes is an enchanting grin. He measures his success by the way her blush deepens but stops short when he notices the dark circles under her eyes.
She didn't sleep last night. Not that he thought she would. She'd been quiet on the flight home from Destin two nights ago. He didn't pressure her to talk about it with him, mostly because he didn't know what to say once the conversation got started. So many times, he's started to assure her that he doesn't see her as an abomination, but it seems wrong to say it out loud. Like he's willfully disagreeing with the law. But how could those delicious-looking lips and those huge violet eyes be considered an abomination?
What's even crazier is that not only does he not consider her an abomination, the fact that she could be a Half-Breed ignited a hope in him he's got no right to feel: Grom would never mate with a half human. At least, Galen doesn't think he would.
He glances at Emma, whose silky eyelids don't even flutter in her state of light sleep. When he clears his throat, she startles. "Thank you," she mouths to him as she picks her pencil back up, using the eraser to trace the lines in her textbook as she reads. He acknowledges with a nod. He doesn't want to leave her like this, anxious and tense and out of place in her own beautiful skin.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
How is it you speak? What sound is there here?” “You must listen to my voice,” she told me, “and not to my words. What do you hear?” I did as she had instructed me, and heard the silken sliding of the sheet, the whisper of our bodies, the breaking of the little waves, and the beating of my own heart. A hundred questions I had been ready to ask, and it had seemed to me that each of the hundred might bring the New Sun. Her lips brushed mine, and every question vanished, banished from my consciousness as if it had never been. Her hands, her lips, her eyes, the breasts I pressed—all wondrous; but there was more, perhaps the perfume of her hair. I felt that I breathed an endless night … . Lying upon my back, I entered Yesod. Or say, rather, Yesod closed about me. It was only then that I knew I had never been there. Stars in their billions spurted from me, fountains of suns, so that for an instant I felt I knew how universes are born. All folly. Reality displaced it, the kindling of the torch that whips shadows to their corners, and with them all the winged fays of fancy. There was something born between Yesod and Briah when I met with Apheta upon that divan in that circling room, something tiny yet immense that burned like a coal conveyed to the tongue by tongs. That something was myself.
Gene Wolfe (The Urth of the New Sun (The Book of the New Sun, #5))
Christ, I’m tired. I need sleep. I need peace. I need for my balls to not be so blue they’re practically purple. As purple as Sarah Von Titebottum’s—
My mind comes to a screeching halt with the unexpected thought. And the image that accompanies it—the odd, blushing lass with her glasses and her books and very tight bottom.
Sarah’s not a contestant on the show, so I’m willing to bet both my indigo balls that there’s not a camera in her room. And, I can’t believe I’m fucking thinking this, but, even better—none of the other girls will know where to find me—including Elizabeth.
I let the cameras noisily track me to the lavatory, but then, like an elite operative of the Secret Intelligence Service, I plaster myself to the wall beneath their range and slide my way out the door.
Less than five minutes later, I’m in my sleeping pants and a white T-shirt, barefoot with my guitar in hand, knocking on Sarah’s bedroom door. I checked the map Vanessa gave me earlier. Her room is on the third floor, in the corner of the east wing, removed from the main part of the castle. The door opens just a crack and dark brown eyes peer out.
“Sanctuary,” I plead.
Her brow crinkles and the door opens just a bit wider. “I beg your pardon?”
“I haven’t slept in almost forty-eight hours. My best friend’s girlfriend is trying to praying-mantis me and the sound of the cameras following me around my room is literally driving me mad. I’m asking you to take me in.”
And she blushes. Great.
“You want to sleep in here? With me?”
I scoff. “No, not with you—just in your room, love.”
I don’t think about how callous the words sound—insulting—until they’re out of my mouth. Could I be any more of a dick?
Thankfully, Sarah doesn’t look offended.
“Why here?” she asks.
“Back in the day, the religious orders used to give sanctuary to anyone who asked. And since you dress like a nun, it seemed like the logical choice.”
I don’t know why I said that. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Somebody just fucking shoot me and be done with it.
Sarah’s lips tighten, her head tilts, and her eyes take on a dangerous glint.
I think Scooby-Doo put it best when he said, Ruh-roh.
“Let me make sure I’ve got this right—you need my help?”
“You need shelter, protection, sanctuary that only I can give?”
“And you think teasing me about my clothes is a wise strategy?”
I hold up my palms. “I never said I was wise. Exhausted, defenseless, and desperate.”
I pout . . . but in a manly kind of way.
A smile tugs at her lips. And that’s when I know she’s done for. With a sigh, she opens the door wide. “Well, it is your castle. Come in.”
Huh. She’s right—it is my castle. I really need to start remembering that
Emma Chase (Royally Matched (Royally, #2))
You know that you and Hunter aren't even remotely subtle," Kieran told me through the open window.
I just grinned at him. "Wave to the top-floor corner window over there. Lia's got a crush on you."
Kieran's ears went red. "How does she even know I'm here?"
"I told her you were coming," I said, sliding into my seat. I dropped my knapsack full of weapons at my feet.
"You're a menace."
"I was twelve once." I shrugged. "A little crush in a place like this can make a difference. She's got to think about something other than vampires."
"What, like you?" he remarked drily, reversing out of the parking-spot.
"Come on, drive like you're cool," I urged him, ignoring his very valid point. "Pop a wheelie or something. It'll give her something to swoon over."
He laughed despite himself. "I can't pop a wheelie in an SUV, you lunatic.
Alyxandra Harvey (Blood Prophecy (Drake Chronicles, #6))
What do you see when you look at me?”
“I see you,” he answered as if it was obvious. “It’s not like I see a place, or a time, or a name: just you. Your essence. Your soul. That’s how I find you every time you come back. I know it’s hard to understand, but your soul calls me…and I’m drawn to it. I couldn’t keep away if I tried.”
Sage raised his hand to my cheek, cupping it gently. I closed my eyes, resting against the warmth of his palm. When I opened them he had moved closer.
I closed the distance between us and kissed him.
I felt dizzy and hot and floaty, like every cliché…but it was true. I couldn’t feel my feet. I finally felt like I was where my soul belonged.
There was only one problem. The gearshift was digging into my side.
“Ow!” I winced.
“Yeah…it’s just…” I gestured down, feeling like an idiot for ruining the moment.
Sage didn’t seem to mind. He reached down and moved his seat back to its maximum leg room, then held out his hand. I grabbed it and clambered over the center console, clumsily ducking and folding myself until I finally settled onto his lap, straddling his legs. It was the least coordinated act of seduction ever.
“Better?” he asked.
He kissed me, sliding his hands up the back of my shirt. It felt incredible. Without breaking away from his lips, I reached underneath his tee and felt his bare, sleek chest. My breath came faster, caught up in the frenzy of finally letting go and doing what I’d been dying to do from the second I’d seen Sage on the beach.
“Wait,” he said.
He reached down and pulled a lever. I let out a little scream as his seat back dropped all the way and I fell on top of him. I loved the feel of his body under mine. I didn’t want a single part of us not touching.
“Better now?” Sage murmured into my ear. It wasn’t fair of him to ask me a question when he was doing that. I could barely function, never mind put together an answer.
“Much better,” I said. “It’s practically a bed.”
“Is it?” Sage agreed, and in his eyes I saw exactly what that could mean.
“Oh,” I said, suddenly nervous. “But…we can’t. I mean, we don’t have…”
“I do,” he said, leaning down to kiss the hollow where my neck met my shoulder.
I tensed up. Why did he have one? For who?
The corner of Sage’s mouth turned up. “For us, Clea. The drugstore in Rio? I kind of had a feeling…”
He moved his lips back to my neck. He nibbled on my earlobe, and I whimpered.
“Oh,” I managed. “Well…then…”
“I love you, Clea.”
Everything tunneled in, and I heard the words echo in my head. Sage loved me. Me. I didn’t even realize I’d stopped breathing until he said my name, concerned.
I looked at him and immediately relaxed.
“I love you, too.”
We kissed, and I actually felt myself melting into him as my last coherent thoughts gave way to pure sensation.
Hilary Duff (Elixir (Elixir, #1))
There were stalls nestled around the castle the way the lights were, not in rows but in odd spots, as if the stalls had grown there or alighted on random places like birds. There was one stall with ringing chimes that was set halfway up a ruined wall, so the customers had to climb sliding pieces of slate to get to it. There were more stalls set in the grassy hollows among the stones and nestled into the corners of the walls. One woman had actually turned a ruined wall into her stall, brightly colored jars arranged on the jagged, protruding shards of stone.
All through the fragments of a lost castle lit by magic moved the people of the Goblin Market. There was a man hanging up knives alongside wind chimes, which made dangerous and beautiful music as they rang together in the sea breeze. There was a boy who looked about twelve stirring something in a cauldron with a rich-smelling cloud handing over it, and bark cups ranged along his stall.
Sarah Rees Brennan (The Demon's Covenant)
Couldn't I come along with you? I've been trapped inside for days now and I need some sunshine and exercise. If you're really busy today, maybe I could hhelp. It's not as if I'm a greenhorn who'd get in your way."
"This isn't a good idea, Freckles, and you know it."
The feisty redhead grinned. "I admit I'm somewhat ignorant on the subject, but I've never heard of doing "it" on the back of a horse."
A roguish grin dangled from the corner of his mouth. "Sweetheart, you'd be surprised where...Never mind."
Though he'd tried to sound gruff, Willow detected a slight wavering in his determination. "I'll promise not to attack your body, if that's what you're worried about." She started laughing.
Moving closer, she backed him against the door. Then tilting her head, she hit him full force with her big blue-green sparklers. Her lips parted in a very seductive, very naughty smile.
"Please, just a short ride?" She toyed with the edge of his black leather vest, the backs of her fingers sliding up and down his chest.
Rider sucked in a gulp of air. "Dammit, woman,what's Mrs. Brigham been teaching you? Stop that!" He batted her hand away, laughing despite himself. He was beaten and he knew it.
"Well?" She smiled slyly.
He grasped her arms and set her away to a safer distance. "All right, all right. I give up. I'll take you for a ride." When her face lit up,he raised a cautioning finger and hastened to add, "On one condition. You have to keep yours hands to yourself. No touching!"
"Yes! I promise!" Willow threw herself into his arms and pulled his face close for a brisk buss on the cheek. Then she sprang free and skipped past him to the door. "I kow, no touching. That was just a thank you. Hurry up, I'm all ready to go."
Following in her wake, Rider groaned, "Yeah,so am I-in more ways than one."
"What did you say?" she called back.
"I said you were a little flirt!"
She gave him an innocent smile over her shoulder and sprinted off to saddle Sugar.
Charlotte McPherren (Song of the Willow)
Then I read the sermon. The shocker hit when I realized that Edwards’s audience was the church! He spoke not from the street corner but from the pulpit. Not to the passersby outside but to the parishioners inside. The sinners in the hands of an angry God were the people who bore his name! This was judgment for God’s people, directed at a church filled with idolatry, apathy, and sin. I began to realize that God’s coming judgment is not so much an evangelistic tool used to frighten outsiders into the kingdom as it is a housecleaning tool used to weed out hypocrisy and call insiders back to the faith they proclaim. It starts at home. I love Edwards’s sermon now. There are a few parts I disagree with, that conflict with aspects of the biblical story we’ve observed in this book (though brilliant as all get out, he couldn’t be right all the time).4 But in the bigger picture, Edwards’s sermon is a reminder to me that I cannot slide by on the coattails of calling myself a Christian.
Joshua Ryan Butler (The Skeletons in God's Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, the Hope of Holy War)
Mr. Stone is a jackass."
That was Alex's greeting when he found me in the hall Friday afternoon.
"Probably," I agreed, levering myself out of the corner where I'd been waiting, on nervous Hannanda alert, for him to show up. "But I don't think he can help it."
"Generous of you." Alex swung his backpack from his left shoulder to his right, then, like it was the most natural thing in the world, pulled mine out of my hand. I was too surprised to stop him. "Allons-y."
We turned a few heads as we went. I would have happily met him a block away from school, but he'd preempted my cowardice, sliding a note into my locker that morning. Front hall, 3:15. I ignored the stares as Alex held the big front door open for me, my heavily inked bag dangling from his wrist. I figured any speculation would last only as long as it would take for us to hit the street in front of the school. By then, at least one "Wait. Wait. Alex Bainbridge left with Freddy Krueger?" would have been met with "Yeah. He's tutoring her in French. Winslow's making him.
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of Truth or Dare)
His fingers unhooked from hers, following that same path up her arm, and then back down it again. The feeling was so distracting, so good, so sweet against her clammy skin. She didn't choose a piece from her repertoire; Etta gave herself over to the notes that started streaming through her mind, rising from somewhere deep inside of her.
The melody of her heart had no name; it was quick, and light. It rolled with the waves, falling as the breath left his chest, rising as he inhaled. It was the rain sliding down the glass; the fog spreading its fingers over the water. The creaking of a ship's great body. The secrets whispered by the wind, and the unseen life that moved below.
It was the flame against the candle.
Nicholas's arm was a map of hard muscles and delicate sinews, heartbreakingly perfect. She wondered if he could hear her humming the piece against his skin over the droning roars overhead. Maybe. His free hand skimmed up her skin, leaving a trail of sparks in its wake.
With the world blacked out around them, she could catalog all over her senses, capture this moment in the warm darkness forever. He brushed back the loose hair across her forehead, cheek, the corner of her lips, her jaw, and she knew it had to be the same for him, that they'd never been so aware of another person in their entire lives.
She released his arm, and he drew it up around her, guiding both of them down so they were on their sides, their heads cushioned by the bag, his jacket drawn over them. Etta understood that here, in the darkness, they'd found a place beyond rules; a place that hung somewhere between the past and the future. This was a single moment of possibility.
The clattering of the attack from above faded as he rested his forehead against hers, his thumb lightly stroking a bruise on her cheek. She traced his face - the straight nose, the high, proud cheekbones, the full curve of his lips. His hand caught her there, taking it in his own; he pressed a hard, almost despairing kiss to it.
But when she tilted her face up, half - desperate with longing, her blood racing, Nicholas pulled back; and although Etta could feel him beside her, his heart pounding, his ragged breath, it was as if he had disappeared into the thundering dark.
Alexandra Bracken (Passenger (Passenger, #1))
FOXFIRE NEVER SAYS NEVER!
By the time the kidnapped turquoise-and-chrome car overturns--turns and turns and turns!--in a snow-drifted field north of Tydeman's Corners Legs Sadovsky will have driven eleven miles from Eddy's Smoke Shop on Fairfax Avenue, six wild miles with the Highway Patrol cop in pursuit bearing up swiftly when the highway is clear and the girls are hysterical with excitement squealing and clutching one another thrown from side to side as Legs grimaces sighting the bridge ahead, it's one of those old-fashioned nightmare bridges with a steep narrow ramp, narrow floor made of planks but there's no time for hesitation Legs isn't going to use the brakes, she's shrewd, reasoning too that the cop will have to slow down, the fucker'll be cautious thus she'll have several seconds advantage won't she?--several seconds can make quite a difference in a contest like this so the Buick's rushing up the ramp, onto the bridge, the front wheels strike and spin and seem at first to be lifting in decorous surprise Oh! oh but astonishingly the car holds, it's a heavy machine of power that seems almost intelligent until flying off the bridge hitting a patch of slick part-melted ice the car swerves, now the rear wheels appear to be lifting, there's a moment when all effort ceases, all gravity ceases, the Buick a vessel of screams as it lifts, floats, it's being flung into space how weightless! Maddy's eyes are open now, she'll remember all her life this Now, now how without consequence! as the car hits the earth again, yet rebounds as if still weightless, turning, spinning, a machine bearing flesh, bones, girls' breaths plunging and sliding and rolling and skittering like a giant hard-shelled insect on its back, now righting itself again, now again on its back, crunching hard, snow shooting through the broken windows and the roof collapsing inward as if crushed by a giant hand upside-down and the motor still gunning as if it's frantic to escape, they're buried in a cocoon of bluish white and there's a sound of whimpering, panting,sobbing, a dog's puppyish yipping and a strong smell of urine and Legs is crying breathlessly half in anger half in exultation, caught there behind the wheel unable to turn, to look around, to see, "Nobody's dead--right?"
Joyce Carol Oates (Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang)
If you’re suddenly as curious as I am to find out if it was as good between us as it now seems in retrospect, then say so.” His own suggestion startled Ian, although having made it, he saw no great harm in exchanging a few kisses if that was what she wanted.
To Elizabeth, his statement that it had been “good between us” defused her ire and confused her at the same time. She stared at him in dazed wonder while his hands tightened imperceptibly on her arms. Self-conscious, she let her gaze drop to his finely molded lips, watching as a faint smile, a challenging smile lifted them at the corners, and inch by inch, the hands on her arms were drawing her closer.
“Afraid to find out?” he asked, and it was the trace of huskiness in his voice that she remembered, that worked its strange spell on her again, as it had so long ago. His hands shifted to the curve of her waist. “Make up your mind,” he whispered, and in her confused state of loneliness and longing, she made no protest when he bent his head. A shock jolted through her as his lips touched hers, warm, inviting-brushing slowly back and forth. Paralyzed, she waited for that shattering passion he’d shown her before, without realizing that her participation had done much to trigger it. Standing still and tense, she waited to experience that forbidden burst of exquisite delight…wanted to experience it, just once, just for a moment. Instead his kiss was feather-light, softly stroking…teasing!
She stiffened, pulling back an inch, and his gaze lifted lazily from her lips to her eyes. Dryly, he said, “That’s not quit the way I remembered it.”
“Nor I,” Elizabeth admitted, unaware that he was referring to her lack of participation.
“Care to try it again?” Ian invited, still willing to indulge in a few pleasurable minutes of shared ardor, so long as there was no pretense that it was anything but that, and no loss of control on his part.
The bland amusement in his tone finally made her suspect he was treating this as some sort of diverting game or perhaps a challenge, and she looked at him in shock, “Is this a-a contest?”
“Do you want to make it into one?”
Elizabeth shook her head and abruptly surrendered her secret memories of tenderness and stormy passion. Like all her other former illusions about him, that too had evidently been false. With a mixture of exasperation and sadness, she looked at him and said, “I don’t think so.”
“You’re playing a game,” she told him honestly, mentally throwing her hands up in weary despair, “and I don’t understand the rules.”
“They haven’t changed,” he informed her. “It’s the same game we played before-I kiss you, and,” he emphasized meaningfully, “you kiss me.”
His blunt criticism of her lack of participation left her caught between acute embarrassment and the urge to kick him in the shin, but his arm was tightening around her waist while his other hand was sliding slowly up her back, sensuously stroking her nape.
“How do you remember it?” he teased as his lips came closer. “Show me.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Before she could think of what to say, he grasped the axe and turned toward her, his face a mass of angles in the lanternlight. "Step back."
This was a man who expected to be heeded. He did not wait to see if she followed his direction before he lifted the axe high above his head. She pressed herself into the corner of the dark room as he attacked the furniture with a vengeance, her surprise making her unable to resist watching him.
He was built beautifully.
Like a glorious Roman statue, all strong, lean muscles outlined by the crisp linen of his shirtsleeves when he lifted the tool overhead, his hands sliding purposefully along the haft, fingers grasping tightly as he brought the steel blade down into the age-old oak with a mighty thwack, sending a splinter of oak flying across the kitchen, landing atop the long-unused stove.
He splayed one long-fingered hand flat on the table, gripping the axe once more to work the blade out of the wood. He turned his head as he stood back, making sure she was out of the way of any potential projectiles- a movement she could not help but find comforting- before confronting the furniture and taking his next swing with a mighty heave.
The blade sliced into the oak, but the table held.
He shook his head and yanked the axe out once more, this time aiming for one of the remaining table legs.
Penelope's eyes went wide as the lanternlight caught the way his wool trousers wrapped tightly around his massive thighs. She should not notice... should not be paying attention to such obvious... maleness.
But she'd never seen legs like his.
Never imagined they could be so... compelling.
Could not help it.
Sarah MacLean (A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, #1))
I slide to the floor. I feel something warm on my neck, and under my cheek. Red. Blood is a strange color. Dark.
From the corner of my eye, I see David slumped over in his chair.
And my mother walking out from behind him.
She is dressed in the same clothes she wore the last time I saw her, Abnegation gray, stained with her blood, with bare arms to show her tattoo. There are still bullet holes in her shirt; through them I can see her wounded skin, red but no longer bleeding, like she’s frozen in time. Her dull blond hair is tied back in a knot, but a few loose strands frame her face in gold.
I know she can’t be alive, but I don’t know if I’m seeing her now because I’m delirious from the blood loss of if the death serum has addled my thoughts or if she is here in some other way.
She kneels next to me and touches a cool hand to my cheek.
“Hello, Beatrice,” she says, and she smiles.
“Am I done yet?” I say, and I’m not sure if I actually say it or if I just think it and she hears it.
“Yes,” she says, her eyes bright with tears. “My dear child, you’ve done so well.”
“What about the others?” I choke on a sob as the image of Tobias comes into my mind, of how dark and how still his eyes were, how strong and warm his hand was, when we first stood face-to-face. “Tobias, Caleb, my friends?”
“They’ll care for each other,” she says. “That’s what people do.”
I smile and close my eyes.
I feel a thread tugging me again, but this time I know that it isn’t some sinister force dragging me toward death.
This time I know it’s my mother’s hand, drawing me into her arms.
And I go gladly into her embrace.
Can I be forgiven for all I’ve done to get here?
I want to be.
I believe it.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
Nevertheless, it would be prudent to remain concerned. For, like death, IT would come: Armageddon. There would be-without exaggeration-a series of catastrophes. As a consequence of the evil in man...-no mere virus, however virulent, was even a burnt match for our madness, our unconcern, our cruelty-...there would arise a race of champions, predators of humans: namely earthquakes, eruptions, tidal waves, tornados, typhoons, hurricanes, droughts-the magnificent seven. Floods, winds, fires, slides. The classical elements, only angry. Oceans would warm, the sky boil and burn, the ice cap melt, the seas rise. Rogue nations, like kids killing kids at their grammar school, would fire atomic-hydrogen-neutron bombs at one another. Smallpox would revive, or out of the African jungle would slide a virus no one understood. Though reptilian only in spirit, the disease would make us shed our skins like snakes and, naked to the nerves, we'd expire in a froth of red spit. Markets worldwide would crash as reckless cars on a speedway do, striking the wall and rebounding into one another, hurling pieces of themselves at the spectators in the stands. With money worthless-that last faith lost-the multitude would riot, race against race at first, God against God, the gots against the gimmes. Insects hardened by generations of chemicals would consume our food, weeds smother our fields, fire ants, killer bees sting us while we're fleeing into refuge water, where, thrashing we would drown, our pride a sodden wafer. Pestilence. War. Famine. A cataclysm of one kind or another-coming-making millions of migrants. Wearing out the roads. Foraging in the fields. Looting the villages. Raping boys and women. There'd be no tent cities, no Red Cross lunches, hay drops. Deserts would appear as suddenly as patches of crusty skin. Only the sun would feel their itch. Floods would sweep suddenly over all those newly arid lands as if invited by the beach. Forest fires would burn, like those in coal mines, for years, uttering smoke, making soot for speech, blackening every tree leaf ahead of their actual charring. Volcanoes would erupt in series, and mountains melt as though made of rock candy till the cities beneath them were caught inside the lava flow where they would appear to later eyes, if there were any eyes after, like peanuts in brittle. May earthquakes jelly the earth, Professor Skizzen hotly whispered. Let glaciers advance like motorboats, he bellowed, threatening a book with his fist. These convulsions would be a sign the parasites had killed their host, evils having eaten all they could; we'd hear a groan that was the going of the Holy Ghost; we'd see the last of life pissed away like beer from a carouse; we'd feel a shudder move deeply through this universe of dirt, rock, water, ice, and air, because after its long illness the earth would have finally died, its engine out of oil, its sky of light, winds unable to catch a breath, oceans only acid; we'd be witnessing a world that's come to pieces bleeding searing steam from its many wounds; we'd hear it rattling its atoms around like dice in a cup before spilling randomly out through a split in the stratosphere, night and silence its place-well-not of rest-of disappearance. My wish be willed, he thought. Then this will be done, he whispered so no God could hear him. That justice may be served, he said to the four winds that raged in the corners of his attic.
William H. Gass (Middle C)
She was an echo masquerading as a shadow and she followed me just the same. The night and its moon were her favor while the sunrise and sunlight the daggers that sliced her to ribbons. She looked through half closed eyes at a blind world filled with wide eyes staring at walls. She felt pity with no care while around here steamed a burden too dense to bear. In the hours before dawn her tears slide to her jaw as a soft song escapes from between her cracked lips. A barbed song of glory and woe that hugs her tight and steals her breath, each line a quiver, every word a bind. A cage in her image meant to be broken. Destroy and recreate, scar after scar shallow and deep, her dreams were her life and the nightmares her sleep. Dark circles under eyes that truly see, time while awake moves more slowly. It trickles past her, eroding her being and pulling on her delicate seams. She unravels a little each day, tucking the threads back in every which way. In the night she is flawless and clear, the moonlight dancing in swirls, throwing half formed monograms against her wall. She traces these curves and whispers her story, an imprint in an ocean of churning shadows. Her imagination plays a scene of a teary-eyed embrace on the shores of a former dream, where droplets of her soul fell wildly below, where they and her became a part of a much larger whole. A smile rips her taunt and clenched face, the memory of the feeling of an unreal embrace. She holds herself tightly in a corner with no light and shudders with every pinprick of the downpour of night. Though muffled by the glass of her self imposed flask, she hears the birds singing their song, the natural alarm of impending light. She waits patiently for the sun, counting the half seconds and making time slow, her grey eyes less than aimless and staring at the clouds. With half closed eyes now shining a golden haloed blue, she watches the sky change colors from soft to brilliant hue. The flood of life and color takes her by surprise every day and which way. The rip cuts a little more, her restless thoughts take note and pause. She just wants to scream. To swallow the vibrant light and flood her veins with all the color ever seen, a strange desire to fix what is broken and yet wanting to break. She loses count of the seconds in the wrinkles of her palms, mere dust to wind, ashes to gale. She recites the deadly seven and stops at lust, how different from love while still the same in a twisted way. Her knees press against the worn, wooden floor with no intent to pray, she just wants the numbness and the pain. There are some things right and a few that are wrong, feeling the breath of freedom tapered against the need to belong, The sun now vomits its light across the cragged horizon, illuminating manmade lines and verdurous fuzz, her rip widens in distaste and her mind frowns in disgust. Her heart hangs limp as a shattered mirror reflecting its own cracks, each inaudible beat a glimmer of a glimpse of something more than her created deceit. This is hope. In a fragile and faceted way, the reflects are abyss and ascension portrayed intertwined with no ties holding them together. She is the half second of the transition of the beat, the moment her heart begins to flex and show more than bones and maneuverable meat. She wonders about the subtle difference between spirit and soul and whether she needs only one or both to be whole. Shaking her head as if to dislodge her thoughts, they steer from the tracks and tumble and crash, destruction and turmoil birthing creation and a new path. She thinks about the way she thinks and comes full triangle, it feels right to be so jagged rather than unburdened as a circle. With a sigh and a breath, she stands against the weight of her shoulders and the unbalance of her feet. Her half closed eyes slowly fade to grey as the light and color in the sky changes and decays. She is the moments before the sun rises and sets-1-2-3
In the weeks that followed, Elizabeth discovered to her pleasure that she could ask Ian any question about any subject and that he would answer her as fully as she wished. Not once did he ever patronize her when he replied, or fend her off by pointing out that, as a woman, the matter was truly none of her concern-or worse-that the answer would be beyond any female’s ability to understand. Elizabeth found his respect for her intelligence enormously flattering-particularly after two astounding discoveries she made about him:
The first occurred three days after their wedding, when they both decided to spend the evening at home, reading.
That night after supper, Ian brought a book he wanted to read from their library-a heavy tome with an incomprehensible title-to the drawing room. Elizabeth brought Pride and Prejudice, which she’d been longing to read since first hearing of the uproar it was causing among the conservative members of the ton. After pressing a kiss on her forehead, Ian sat down in the high-backed chair beside hers. Reaching across the small table between them for her hand, he linked their fingers together, and opened his book. Elizabeth thought it was incredibly cozy to sit, curled up in a chair beside him, her hand held in his, with a book in her lap, and she didn’t mind the small inconvenience of turning the pages with one hand.
Soon, she was so engrossed in her book that it was a full half-hour before she noticed how swiftly Ian turned the pages of his. From the corner of her eye, Elizabeth watched in puzzled fascination as his gaze seemed to slide swiftly down one page, then the facing page, and he turned to the next. Teasingly, she asked, “Are you reading that book, my lord, or only pretending for my benefit?”
He glanced up sharply, and Elizabeth saw a strange, hesitant expression flicker across his tanned face. As if carefully phrasing his reply, he said slowly, “I have an-odd ability-to read very quickly.”
“Oh,” Elizabeth replied, “how lucky you are. I never heard of a talent like that.”
A lazy glamorous smile swept across his face, and he squeezed her hand. “It’s not nearly as uncommon as your eyes,” he said.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
I'm only a ‘Miss,’” she informed him, having listened to their discussion of the peerage. “But when I marry a prince someday, I'll be ‘Princess Rose,’ and then you may call me ‘Your Highness.’” Bronson laughed, his tension seeming to dispel. “You're already a princess,” he said, scooping the little girl up and setting her on his knee. Caught by surprise, Rose let out a squealing laugh. “No, I'm not! I don't have a crown!” Bronson appeared to take the point seriously. “What kind of crown would you like, Princess Rose?” “Well, let me think…” Rose screwed up her small face in deep concentration. “Silver?” Bronson prompted. “Gold? With colored stones, or pearls?” “Rose does not need a crown,” Holly intervened with a touch of alarm, realizing that Bronson was more than ready to purchase some ostentatious headpiece for the child. “Back to play, Rose—unless you would care to take an afternoon nap, in which case I'll ring for Maude.” “Oh, no, I don't want a nap,” the little girl said, immediately sliding from Bronson's knee. “May I have another cake, Mama?” Holly smiled fondly and shook her head. “No, you may not. You'll spoil your dinner.” “Oh, Mama, can't I have just one more? One of the little ones?” “I've just said no, Rose. Now please play quietly while Mr. Bronson and I finish our discussion.” Obeying reluctantly, Rose glanced back at Bronson. “Why is your nose crooked, Mr. Bronson?” “Rose,” Holly reproved sharply. “You know very well that we never make observations about a person's appearance.” However, Bronson answered the child with a grin. “I ran into something once.” “A door?” The child guessed. “A wall?” “A hard left hook.” “Oh.” Rose stared at him contemplatively. “What does that mean?” “It's a fighting term.” “Fighting is bad,” the little girl said firmly. “Very, very bad.” “Yes, I know.” Lowering his head, Bronson tried to look chastened, but his air of repentance was far from convincing. “Rose,” Holly said in a warning tone. “There'll be no further interruptions, I hope.” “No, Mama.” Obediently the child returned to her play area. As she walked behind Bronson's chair, he surreptitiously handed her another cake. Grabbing the tidbit, Rose hurried to the corner like a furtive squirrel.
Lisa Kleypas (Where Dreams Begin)
Shrugging, I glanced at Judd who was watching someone in the corner. When I looked back at Cooper, he was studying the hair in my eyes.
“You look tired,” he said, reaching out to brush away the hair.
Cooper’s hand never reached my face before Judd grabbed his wrist and yanked it away.
In that instant, everything shifted. The men stepped closer, eyeballing each other as the heat of their anger became palatable.
I thought to step between them and calm things before violence broke out. Then, I remembered when I tried to break up a fight between my uncle’s dogs. If Farah hadn’t pulled me out of the way, I’d have been mauled. That day, I learned if predators wanted to fight, you let them while staying as far back as possible.
“I’ll let this go because it’s your woman,” Cooper muttered, dark eyes still angry. “If you pull this shit again and it’s not your woman, you and I will have a problem.”
Once Cooper walked away, Judd finally relaxed.
I just stared at him as he led me to a booth because a group of old timers were at his table. Sitting next to him, I caressed his face, soothing him. He finally gave me a little grin.
Suddenly, Vaughn appeared and took the spot across from us. “Why do you look so pissed off?”
“He almost went feral on Cooper for trying to touch me.”
Vaughn gave us a lazy grin. “So losing his balls makes a man stupid, eh? Good to know. Just another reason to keep mine attached.”
Judd exhaled hard. “You wouldn’t want anyone touching your woman. One day, you’ll know that despite your love affair with your balls.”
“A man should love his balls,” Vaughn said, still grinning. “What if I touch her?” he asked, his hand moving slowly towards my face.
“I’ll stab you in the fucking eye.”
Grinning, Vaughn put down his hand. “You’re pretty damn sexy when you go drama queen, O’Keefe.”
“He is, isn’t he?” I said, sliding closer to Judd. “I wish we were naked right now.”
Both men frowned at me, but I only smiled and Judd adjusted in the booth as his jeans grew too tight. “Stop,” he warned.
“I’m not afraid of you.”
“I could make a liar of you.”
“You won’t though because you wish you were inside me.”
Judd exhaled hard like a pissed bull and adjusted in the booth again.
I just laughed and rested my head against his shoulder. “I so own you.”
Vaughn nodded. “He’s a keeper. I remember how poetic he was when I asked him if he could imagine himself as an old man. He turned to me and grunted. Real profound grunt too. Oh, and once I asked if he ever imagined himself as a father. I kid you not, he burped. The man is fucking Shakespeare.
Bijou Hunter (Damaged and the Knight (Damaged, #2))
Dom rose from his kneeling position, a keen hunger shining in his eyes. “Was that wicked enough for you, sweeting?” he drawled as he used his cravat to wipe his mouth.
With her heart thundering loudly in her ears and her breathing staggered, it took her a moment to answer. “Not quite,” she managed, then tugged at the waistband of his drawers. “You still have these on.”
That seemed to startle him. Then one corner of his lips quirked up. “I never guessed you were such a greedy little--“
“Wanton?” she asked before he could accuse her of being one.
But he just shot her a smoldering smile. “Siren.”
“Oh.” She liked that word much better. Feeling her oats, she gestured to his drawers. “So take them off.”
With a laugh, he did so. “There, my lusty beauty. You have your wish.”
“Yes…yes, I do.” Now she could study him to her heart’s content.
But the reality was rather sobering. His member, jutting from a nest of dark curls, couldn’t possibly be hidden behind a tiny fig leaf like the ones on statues. “Oh my. It’s even bigger and more…er…thrusting without the drawers.”
“Are you rethinking your plan for seduction now?” he asked, with a decided tension in his voice.
“No.” She cast him a game smile. “Just…reassessing the…er…fit.”
“It’s not as fearsome as it looks.”
“Good,” she said lightly, only half joking. She looped her arms about his neck. “Because I’m not as fearless as I look.”
“You’re a great deal more fearless than you realize,” he murmured. “But this may cause you some pain.”
She swallowed her apprehension. “I know. You can’t protect me from everything.”
“No. But I can try to make it worth your trouble.”
And before she could respond to that, he was kissing her so sweetly and caressing her so deftly that within moments he had her squirming and yearning for more.
Only then did he attempt to breach her fortress by sliding into her. To her immense relief, there was only a piercing pop of discomfort before he was filling her flesh with his.
All ten feet of it. Or that’s what it felt like, anyway.
She gripped his arms. Hard.
He didn’t seem to notice, for he inched farther in, his breath beating hot against her hair. “God, Jane, you’re exactly as I imagined. Only better.”
“You’re exactly…as I imagined,” she said in a strained tone. “Only bigger.”
That got his attention. He drew back to stare at her. “Are you all right?”
She forced a smile. “Now I’m rethinking the seduction.”
He brushed a kiss to her forehead. “Let’s see what I can do about that.” He grabbed her beneath her thighs. “Hook your legs around mine if you can.”
When she did, the pressure eased some, and she let out a breath.
“Better?” he rasped.
Covering her breast with his hand, he kneaded it gently as he pushed farther into her below. “It will feel even better if you can relax.”
Relax? Might as well ask a tree to ignore the ax biting into it. “I’ll try,” she murmured.
She forced herself to concentrate on other things than his very thick thing--like how he was touching her, how he was fondling her…how amazing it felt to be joined so intimately to the man she’d been waiting nearly half her life for.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
Lillian’s lashes lowered as she let him ease her closer, his hand sliding over the length of her spine. Her breasts and waist felt swollen within the insulating grip of her corset, and she suddenly longed to be rid of it. Taking as deep a breath as the stays would allow, she became aware of a sweetly spicy scent in the air.
“What is that?” she murmured, drawing in the fragrance. “Cinnamon and wine…” Turning in the circle of his arms, she looked around the spacious bedroom, past the poster bed to the small table that had been set near the window. There was a covered silver dish on the table, from which a few traces of sweet-scented steam were still visible. Perplexed, she twisted back to look at Marcus.
“Go and find out,” he said.
Curiously Lillian went to investigate. Taking hold of the cover’s handle, which had been wrapped with a linen napkin, she lifted the lid, letting a soft burst of intoxicating fragrance into the air. Momentarily puzzled, Lillian stared at the dish, and then burst out laughing. The white porcelain dish was filled with five perfect pears, all standing on end, their skin gleaming and ruby-red from having been poached in wine. They sat in a pool of clear amber sauce that was redolent of cinnamon and honey.
“Since I couldn’t obtain a pear from a bottle for you,” came Marcus’s voice from behind her, “this was the next best alternative.”
Lillian picked up a spoon and dug into one of the melting-soft pears, lifting it to her lips with relish. The bite of warm, wine-soaked fruit seemed to dissolve in her mouth, the spiced honey sauce causing a tingle in the back of her throat. “Mmmm…” She closed her eyes in ecstasy.
Looking amused, Marcus turned her to face him. His gaze fell to the corner of her lips, where a stray drop of honey sauce glittered. Ducking his head, he kissed and licked away the sticky drop, the caress of his mouth causing a new pleasurable ache deep inside her. “Delicious,” he whispered, his lips settling more firmly, until she felt as if her blood were flowing in streams of white-hot sparks. She dared to share the taste of wine and cinnamon with him, tentatively exploring his mouth with her tongue, and his response was so encouraging that she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed herself closer. He was delicious, the taste of his mouth clean and sweet, the feel of his lean, solid body immeasurably exciting. Her lungs expanded with shaky-hot breaths, restrained by the clench of her corset stays, and she broke the kiss with a gasp.
“I can’t breathe.”
Wordlessly Marcus turned her around and unfastened the gown. Reaching her corset, he untied the laces and loosened them with a series of expert tugs, until the stays expanded and Lillian gulped in relief. “Why did you lace so tightly?” she heard him ask.
“Because the dress wouldn’t fasten otherwise. And because, according to my mother, Englishmen prefer their women to be narrow-waisted.”
Marcus snorted as he eased her back to face him. “Englishmen prefer women to have larger waists in lieu of fainting from lack of oxygen. We’re rather practical that way.” Noticing that the sleeve of her unfastened gown had slipped over her white shoulder, he lowered his mouth to the smooth curve.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
I was in a copse of pine trees, and the pine was overpowering my scent. The pheromones of the big cat mingled with the pine and I spun around. I was smelling and looking for the flash of white, but I couldn’t see it. I grew angry and I pawed at the earth. The aroma of the soil cleansed my nose as I leaned down and sniffed deeply. I slowly closed and opened my eyes. As I looked ahead I saw something.
There, further on, I had another glimpse of the large white cat. She was stopped and her hindquarters were in the air. I stared, trying to figure out what she was doing. Her forepaws and head were on the ground, but her hind was wiggling. She was next to a tree, marking it, so I slowly paced in a zigzag pattern as I walked close to her. I was being cautious because poachers had been known to employ shifters to entice real animals in the wild. She turned her head and growled at me. I took it as an invite to come closer.
I ran up to her and started circling. She was an albino panther as I thought. I paced closer, breathing deep. I was in the middle of Ohio, outside of a lost cougar and a few bobcats there were no big cats here, at least not counting lycanthropes, and this creature didn’t smell like one of those. Her rump almost wagged in anticipation, and I felt my tiger body respond.
I circled her, taking a swipe in her direction to see if she was going to respond negatively to me. The pink eyes followed me and she growled. I walked up to her, sniffed her face and neckline. I didn’t smell any other male on her, and I walked to her raised rump. Burying my nose in her groin I smelled deeper, and she shifted her body.
I felt it before I could see it. She was shifting, changing from albino panther to human. I sat on my hindquarters as I watched.
Her white fur seemed to melt from her, sliding upwards, starting with her back legs. The flesh and fur on her feet slid forward, leaving human feet and calves. It was fully fleshed, unlike some lycanthrope changes when they’re younger. The calves of her legs appeared, and slowly slid up. The panther flesh was sliding forward, slowly and methodically. Across her ass and groin, now lower back and stomach. The pheromones I smelled earlier were coming from her, the human form. I stood and started pacing behind her, and her panther head shook in a very human gesture. I stopped, fighting the desire to lean forward and lick her wetness with my large tongue. The flesh was sliding forward and as her teats turned into breasts, I growled in need. Next were her shoulders and arms, then her head and hands. As the transformation ended, there was a pile of fur and flesh lying in front of her.
Her human form was beautiful; a full figured woman with long white hair, that was perfectly natural. She looked to be in her early forties, but didn’t have a line on her face that she didn’t want. In the corners of her eyes were small, but beautiful, crow’s feet, laugh lines surrounded her mouth. She laid out with her former form under her, laying on it, propped up by her elbows. She smiled with the confidence of someone who was used to being in charge. Her long hair flowed around her shoulders, framing her body. She reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t figure out who.
Todd Misura (Divergence: Erotica from a Different Angle)
I have always lusted after a sepia-toned library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a sliding ladder. I fantasie about Tennessee Williams' types of evenings involving rum on the porch. I long for balmy slightly sleepless nights with nothing but the whoosh of a wooden ceiling fan to keep me company, and the joy of finding the cool spot on the bed. I would while away my days jotting down my thoughts in a battered leather-bound notebook, which would have been given to me by some former lover. My scribbling would form the basis of a best-selling novel, which they wold discuss in tiny independent bookshops on quaint little streets in forgotten corners of terribly romantic European cities. In other words, I fantasize about being credible, in that artistic, slightly bohemian way that only girls with very long legs can get away with.
Amy Mowafi (Fe-mail 2)
Slowly and silently, Bentham Rudgutter reached into the bag he carried and brought out the large grey scissors he had had an aide buy in an ironmonger’s on the lowest commercial concourse of Perdido Street Station. He parted the scissors without a noise, held them up in the cloying air. Rudgutter brought the razor edges together. The room reverberated with the unmistakable sound of blade sliding along sharpened blade, and snapping shut with an inexorable division. The echoes trembled like flies in a funnelweb. They slid into a dark dimension at the room’s heart. A gust of cold sent gooseflesh dancing across the backs of those congregated. The echoes of the scissors came back. As they returned and crept up from below the threshold of hearing, they metamorphosed, becoming words, a voice, melodious and melancholy, that first whispered and then grew more bold, spinning itself into existence out of the scissor-echoes. It was not quite describable, heartbreaking and frightening, it tugged the listener close; and it sounded not in the ears but deeper inside, in the blood and bone, in the nerve-clusters. …FLESHSCAPE INTO THE FOLDING INTO THE FLESHSCAPE TO SPEAK A GREETING IN THIS THE SCISSORED REALM I WILL RECEIVE AND BE RECEIVED… In the fearful silence, Rudgutter gesticulated at Stem-Fulcher and Rescue, until they understood, and they raised their scissors as he had done, opened and sharply shut them, slicing the air with an almost tactile sound. He joined in, the three of them opening and closing their blades in macabre applause. At the sound of that snapping susurration, the unearthly voice resonated into the room again. It moaned with an obscene pleasure. Each time it spoke, it was as if what faded into audibility was only a snatch of an unceasing monologue. …AGAIN AGAIN AND AGAIN DO NOT WITHHOLD THIS BLADED SUMMONS THIS EDGED HYMN I ACCEPT I AGREE YOU SLICE SO NICE AND NICELY YOU LITTLE ENDOSKELETAL FIGURINES YOU SNIP AND SHAVE AND SLIVER THE CORDS OF THE WOVEN WEB AND SHAPE IT WITH AN UNCOUTH GRACE From out of shadows cast by some unseen shapes, shadows that seemed stretched-out and taut, tethered from corner to corner of the square room, something stalked into view.
1. Give your toddler some large tubular pasta and a shoelace. Show her how to thread the shoelace through the pasta. 2. Take an empty long wrapping paper tube and place one end on the edge of the sofa and the other end on the floor. Give him a small ball such as a Ping Pong ball to roll down the tube. 3. Give her some individually wrapped toilet tissues, some boxes of facial tissue or some small tins of food such as tomato paste. Then let her have fun stacking them. 4. Wrap a small toy and discuss what might be inside it. Give it to him to unwrap. Then rewrap as he watches. Have him unwrap it again. 5. Cut such fruits as strawberries and bananas into chunks. Show her how to slide the chunks onto a long plastic straw. Then show her how you can take off one chunk at a time, dip it into some yogurt and eat it. 6. Place a paper towel over a water-filled glass. Wrap a rubber band around the top of the glass to hold the towel in place. Then place a penny on top of the paper towel in the centre of the glass. Give your child a pencil to poke holes in the towel until the penny sinks to the bottom of the glass. 7. You will need a small sheet of coarse sandpaper and various lengths of chunky wool. Show him how to place these lengths of wool on the sandpaper and how the strands stick to it. 8. Use a large photo or picture and laminate it or put it between the sheets of clear contact paper. Cut it into several pieces to create a puzzle. 9. Give her two glasses, one empty and one filled with water. Then show her how to use a large eyedropper in order to transfer some of the water into the empty glass. 10. Tie the ends/corners of several scarves together. Stuff the scarf inside an empty baby wipes container and pull a small portion up through the lid and then close the lid. Let your toddler enjoy pulling the scarf out of the container. 11. Give your child some magnets to put on a cookie sheet. As your child puts the magnets on the cookie sheet and takes them off, talk about the magnets’ colours, sizes, etc. 12. Use two matching sets of stickers. Put a few in a line on a page and see if he can match the pattern. Initially, you may need to lift an edge of the sticker off the page since that can be difficult to do. 13. You will need a piece of thin Styrofoam or craft foam and a few cookie cutters. Cut out shapes in the Styrofoam with the cookie cutters and yet still keep the frame of the styrofoam intact. See if your child can place the cookie cutters back into their appropriate holes. 14. Give her a collection of pompoms that vary in colour and size and see if she can sort them by colour or size into several small dishes. For younger toddlers, put a sample pompom colour in each dish. 15. Gather a selection of primary colour paint chips or cut squares of card stock or construction paper. Make sure you have several of the same colour. Choose primary colours. See if he can match the colours. Initially, he may be just content to play with the colored chips stacking them or making patterns with them.
Kristen Jervis Cacka (Busy Toddler, Happy Mom: Over 280 Activities to Engage your Toddler in Small Motor and Gross Motor Activities, Crafts, Language Development and Sensory Play)
Oh, no,” Kirihime whispered in horror. A naked Camellia running around the base was not something she wanted to deal with. This is not good! Kirihime burst out the door. She didn’t even bother locking up and just ran down the hall, using the enhancement technique to run faster. “Lady Camellia!” She turned a corner and was just in time to see Camellia standing inside of an elevator, the doors slowly sliding shut. “Bye, bye, Kiri-Kiri!” Camellia waved at Kirihime, who rushed for the door. However, not even the enhancement technique gave her enough speed to reach her mistress before the doors shut. Kirihime slammed into the door, then fell onto her back, staring up at the ceiling. “This… this is really not good. Not good at all.” *** Kevin, dressed in jeans and a white T-shirt that conformed to his torso, exited the locker room and began the long walk back to his apartment. His muscles ached from his most recent exercises. He and Kiara had been trying to discover more about his power. They had learned a lot through experimentation. It seemed his strange ability only worked on barriers, but they didn’t work on anything else, which he’d learned the hard way after suffering several full-on youki attacks from the powerful inu. Still, this power is pretty useful, even if it’s just the ability to break barriers. Kevin looked at his left hand. This hand seemed to be where this strange power was contained. He’d tried breaking through Kiara’s barrier with his right hand but had only received severe burns for his troubles. I wonder if it only works on barriers? Can I use it for anything else? Kiara had described his unique skill as the “ability to unlock barriers,” and indeed, when watching his power at work, it did look more like unlocking than destroying. When he touched Kiara’s aura, the red energy would peel apart like a blooming flower. The energy didn’t dissipate either. It still existed, but it moved around his hand, meaning that he wasn’t destroying it, just moving it out of the way. Kiara’s aura isn’t a barrier either, not really. It stands to reason this power can work on more than just barriers. “Kkkkkeeeeeevvvvviiiinnnnnn…………….” Kevin stopped walking, his head tilting in idle curiosity as he heard someone calling his name. “Kkkkkkyyyyyuuuuuunnnnnnnn!!!!” His eyes widening, Kevin swiftly spun around as the source of the voice got louder. He promptly found two large, round, soft things being shoved into his face. “Uwa!!” He tumbled to the floor, taking the other person with him. Delightful, childish laughter told him exactly who had crashed into him tits first. Kevin felt almost resigned. Why do these things keep happening to me?
Brandon Varnell (A Fox's Hostility (American Kitsune, #9))
This was a new way to do it. We’d just discovered it. Staring into each other’s eyes was another way of keeping them closed, or off the details at hand, anyway. We locked onto each other. Meanwhile the Object was very subtly flexing her legs. I was aware of the mound beneath her cutoffs rising toward me, just a little, rising and suggesting itself. I put my hand on the Object’s thigh, palm down. And as we continued to swing, looking at each other while crickets played their fiddles in the grass, I slid my hand sideways up toward the place where the Object’s legs joined. My thumb went under her cutoffs. Her face showed no reaction. Her green eyes under the heavy lids remained fastened on mine. I felt the fluffiness of her underpants and pressed down, sliding under the elastic. And then with our eyes wide open but confined in that way my thumb slipped inside her. She blinked, her eyes closed, her hips rose higher, and I did it again. And again after that. The boats in the bay were part of it, and the string section of crickets in the baking grass, and the ice melting in our lemonade glasses. The swing moved back and forth, creaking on its rusted chain, and it was like that old nursery rhyme, Little Jack Horner sat in the corner eating his Christmas pie. He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum . . . After the first roll of her eyes the Object resettled her gaze on mine, and then what she was feeling showed only there, in the green depths her eyes revealed. Otherwise she was motionless. Only my hand moved, and my feet on the rail, pushing the swing. This went on for three minutes, or five, or fifteen. I have no idea. Time disappeared. Somehow we were still not quite conscious of what we were doing. Sensation dissolved straight into forgetting.
Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex)
She’d calmly removed her headphones and was about to call out her guess when she noticed the red spatters on her curtain and a couple of brain snails sliding down the other side of the translucent vinyl. Crap, she thought. Gingerly pinching a corner of the curtain and sliding it aside, she stepped into the living room, where she found her dad and his ex-client. Her father was still seated opposite the body lying beached-whale-like on the floor. Roger’s own face was stricken, blood spattered, and frozen while his hands eagle-clawed the arms of his chair. “Dad?” Pandora asked. “Yes?” Roger said, not moving. “Should I call someone?” “Yes,” he said, still not moving. “Who?” she asked. “Anyone,” he replied.
David Sosnowski (Buzz Kill)
Some toy you give,” he said, gritty-voiced, and now the two tears in the corners of his eyes began to slide down his cheeks.
“You remembered the day Daddy said he would give me this when I became a doctor.”
“How could I forget? That little catalog was the one thing you took of yours that wasn’t clothes, when we went to Foxworth Hall. And every time he swatted a fly, or killed a spider, Paul, Chris would long to have a John Cuff microscope. And once he said he wanted to be the Mouseman of the Attic, and discover for himself why mice die so young.”
“Do mice die young?” asked Paul seriously. “How did you know they were young? Did you capture baby ones, and mark them in some way?”
Chris and I met eyes.
Yeah, we’d lived in another world back when we were young and imprisoned, so that we could look at the mice who came to steal and nibble on our food, especially the one named Mickey.
V.C. Andrews (Petals on the Wind (Dollanganger, #2))
The back door opens again a few minutes later and I stand, fully prepared to wrestle the phone away from her. But Morgan’s not standing in my backyard.
I blink. He’s here. Dark-red T-shirt, brown fedora. I blink again. The corner of his mouth turns up and I take off in a sprint, fly down the stairs of the deck, and jump into his arms, which he wraps tight around me.
His hand cups the back of my head and repeatedly strokes my damp hair. Our bodies sway back and forth, and I slowly slide down until my feet touch the ground. I take a step back to study him.
“You’re a hat guy again.” I grin. “But, that means--” I gasp when I pull the hat off him. “Your hair! You cut it!” I reach up and rake my hand through his subdued curls, more like waves now.
“I cut it for you.” His hands at my bare waist send shivers through my core.
“I liked the curls, you know.”
“You thought I had a perm!” He leans his head back and laughs fully. “That’s the very definition of not liking the curls.”
I giggle and shrug. “They grew on me. But this can grow on me too.
Kristin Rae (Wish You Were Italian (If Only . . ., #2))
That kiss was a revelation- Patience had never imagined a simple kiss could be so bold, so heavily invested with meaning. His lips were hard; they moved over hers, parting them further, confidently managing her, ruthlessly teaching her all she was so eager to learn.
His tongue invaded her mouth with the arrogance of a conquerer claiming victory's spoils. Unhurriedly, he visited every corner of his domain, claiming every inch, branding it as his- knowing it. After a lengthy, devastatingly thorough inspection, he settled to sample her in a different way. The slow, languid thrusting seduced her willing senses.
She'd yielded, yet her passive surrender satisfied neither of them. Patience found herself drawn into the game- the slide of lips against lips, the sensual glide of hot tongue against tongue. She was more than willing. The promise in the heat rising, steadily building between them, and even more the tension- excitement and something more- that surged like a slow tide behind the warm glow, drew her on. The kiss stretched and time slowed- the drugging effect of shared breaths sent her wits to a slow spin.
Stephanie Laurens (A Rake's Vow (Cynster, #2))
That’s a start,” she said. “I’d also like you to review the rules regarding spine bending and turning over the corners of pages. If we let simple things like that slide without punishment, we could open the floodgates to poor reading etiquette and a downward spiral to the collapse of civilization.
Jasper Fforde (The Woman Who Died a Lot (Thursday Next, #7))
I missed my workout this morning, so I vault up the stairs to my flat. Breakfast has taken longer than intended, and I'm expecting Oliver at any minute. Part of me also hopes that Alessia will still be there. As I approach my front door, I hear music coming from the flat.
Music? What's going on?
I slide my key into the lock and cautiously open the door. It's Bach, one of his preludes in G Major. Perhaps Alessia is playing music through my computer. But how can she? She doesn't know the password. Does she? Maybe she's playing her phone through the sound system, though from the look of her tatty anorak she doesn't strike me as someone who has a smartphone. I've never seen her with one. The music rings through my flat, lighting up its darkest corners. Who knew that my daily likes classical?
This is a tiny piece of the Alessia Demachi puzzle. Quickly I close the door, but as I stand in the hallway, it becomes apparent that the music is not coming from the sound system. It's from my piano. Bach. Fluid and light, played with a deftness and understanding I've only heard from concert-standard performers.
I've never managed to make my piano sing like this. Taking off my shoes, I creep down the hallway and peer around the door into the drawing room. She is seated at the piano in her housecoat and scarf, swaying a little, completely lost in the music, her eyes closed in concentration as her hands move with graceful dexterity across the keys. The music flows through her, echoing off the walls and ceiling in a flawless performance worthy of any concert pianist. I watch her in awe as she plays, her head bowed.
She is brilliant.
In every way.
And I'm completely spellbound.
She finishes the prelude, and I step back into the hall, flattening myself against the wall in case she looks up, not daring to breath. However, without missing a beat she goes straight into the fugue. I lean against the wall and close my eyes, marveling at her artistry and the feeling that she puts into each phrase. I'm carried away by the music, and as I listen, I realize that she wasn't reading the music. She's playing from memory.
Good God. She's a fucking virtuoso.
And I remember her intense focus when she examined my score while she was dusting the piano. Clearly she was reading the music.
Shit. She plays at this standard and she was reading my composition? The fugue ends, and seamlessly she launches into another piece. Again Bach, Prelude in C-sharp Major, I think.
We kissed until the bell rang, then he pulled back but only to glower in the direction of the bell.
He stayed put, hands resting on my hips.
“You’re okay, then?” he said. “After last night?”
“Better than I should be.”
“What do you mean?”
I shrugged. “I feel like…like I’m holding up too well. I mean, I feel awful about it, but I’m not having any trouble coping.”
“Because you’re tough.”
“It feels insensitive.”
He shook his head, fingers sliding into my belt loops, leaning toward me until we were eye to eye. “I was there last night, Maya. What I saw was strength. You were upset, but you knew what had to be done and you did it. I was impressed. Seriously impressed.”
He kissed me again and my arms went around his neck and I didn’t care about the bell, didn’t care if I ever got to class.
A throat-clearing behind Rafe made us both jump.
“I believe that was the bell, Rafael.”
I couldn’t see the speaker but recognized the voice as Ms. Tate’s, the primary grades teacher.
“Whoops,” he said. “Guess we’d better get inside, then.”
When Ms. Tate saw me, she gave a little “oh” of surprise. “Maya…”
“Sorry,” I said. “We were just going in.”
I could feel her gaze on my back as we walked away. When we got around the corner, Rafe whispered, “I think she’s disappointed in you.”
“She’ll get over it.”
He grinned and we headed inside.
Kelley Armstrong (The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1))
Well, if he wants to be king, he’ll just plain have to get used to questions and toadies and all the rest of it,” I said. Remembering the conversation at dinner and wondering if I’d made an idiot of myself, I added crossly, “I don’t have any sympathy at all. In fact, I wish he hadn’t come up here. If he needed rest from the fatigue of taking over a kingdom, why couldn’t he go to that fabulous palace in Renselaeus? Or to Shevraeth, which I’ll just bet has an equally fabulous palace?”
Nee sighed. “Is that a rhetorical or a real question?”
“Real. And I don’t want to ask Bran because he’s so likely to hop out with my question when we’re all together and fry me with embarrassment,” I finished bitterly.
She gave a sympathetic grin. “Well, I suspect it’s to present a united front, politically speaking. You haven’t been to Court, so you don’t quite comprehend how much you and your brother have become heroes--symbols--to the kingdom. Especially you, which is why there were some murmurs and speculations when you never came to the capital.”
I shook my head. “Symbol for failure, maybe. We didn’t win--Shevraeth did.”
She gave me an odd look midway between surprise and curiosity. “But to return to your question, Vidanric’s tendency to keep his own counsel ought to be reassuring as far as people hopping out with embarrassing words are concerned. If I were you--and I know it’s so much easier to give advice than to follow it--I’d sit down with him, when no one else is at hand, and talk it out.”
Just the thought of seeking him out for a private talk made me shudder. “I’d rather walk down the mountain in shoes full of snails.”
It was Nee’s turn to shudder. “Life! I’d rather do almost anything than that--”
A “Ho!” outside the door interrupted her.
Bran carelessly flung the tapestry aside and sauntered in. “There y’are, Nee. Come out on the balcony with me? It’s actually nice out, and we’ve got both moons up.” He extended his hand.
Nee looked over at me as she slid her hand into his. “Want to come?”
I looked at those clasped hands, then away. “No, thanks,” I said airily. “I think I’ll practice my fan, then read myself to sleep. Good night.”
They went out, Bran’s hand sliding round her waist. The tapestry dropped into place on Nee’s soft laugh.
I got up and moved to my window, staring out at the stars.
It seemed an utter mystery to me how Bran and Nimiar enjoyed looking at each other. Touching each other. Even the practical Oria, I realized--the friend who told me once that things were more interesting than people--had freely admitted to liking flirting.
How does that happen? I shook my head, thinking that it would never happen to me. Did I want it to?
Suddenly I was restless and the castle was too confining.
Within the space of a few breaths I had gotten rid of my civilized clothing and soft shoes and had pulled my worn, patched tunic, trousers, and tough old mocs from the trunk in the corner.
I slipped out of my room and down the stair without anyone seeing me, and before the moons had traveled the space of a hand across the sky, I was riding along the silver-lit trails with the wind in my hair and the distant harps of the Hill Folk singing forlornly on the mountaintops.
Sherwood Smith (Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2))
Your room is empty,” he breathed, sliding in beside me. “Everything’s gone.”
“What do you mean, ‘everything’s gone?’”
“Your dad donated your furniture, clothes, bed, everything, to the Salvation Army. But I did manage to find this.” From around the other side of his body, he revealed a little brown plush dog. Its ears were dark brown and a white stripe ran from its forehead down to its paws. Its eyes drooped low, sad and sulky, almost crying as it looked up at you. Mom had given him to me when I was little. I had been begging for a dog for years, but Dad refused. He didn’t think I was responsible enough to look after it.
“I found him sitting on the hall table and remembered what he used to mean to you.”
“Thank you, Cash,” I whispered, glancing at him as tears welled. “Dad sure cleaned me out fast…” A smirk pulled at the corners of my mouth as I attempted to make it a joke, like I didn’t care, but my voice broke.
“Oh, Harper.” Cash’s arms wound around my shoulders and pulled me in close. I rested my head in his shoulder and allowed the tears to flow freely, not just because of what my father had done, but for everything. For everything I’d bottled up in the six years since Mom had fallen sick. I’d held back the tears of fear and sadness, not wanting to upset Mom, then stopped them in the eyes of my father. But now, I could let them go, without fear of judgement, because Cash got me; he understood.
Shaye Evans (Christmas Wishes)
But I’m still breathing. Not deeply; not enough to satisfy, but breathing. Peter pushes my eyelids over my eyes. Does he know I’m not dead? Does Jeanine? Can she see me breathing?
“Take the body to the lab,” Jeanine says. “The autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon.”
“All right,” Peter replies.
Peter pushes the table forward. I hear mutters all around me as we pass the group of Erudite bystanders. My hand falls off the edge of the table as we turn a corner, and smacks in the wall. I feel a prickle of pain in my fingertips, but I can’t move my hand, as hard as I try.
This time, when we go down the hallway of Dauntless traitors, it is silent. Peter walks slowly at first, then turns another corner and picks up the pace. He almost sprints down the next corridor, and stops abruptly. Where am I? I can’t be in the lab already. Why did he stop?
Peter’s arms slide under my knees and shoulders, and he lifts me. My head falls against his shoulder.
“For someone so small, you’re heavy, Stiff,” he mutters.
He knows I’m awake. He knows.
I hear a series of beeps, and a slide--a locked door, opening.
“What do--” Tobias’s voice. Tobias! “Oh my God. Oh--”
“Spare me your blubbering, okay?” Peter says. “She’s not dead; she’s just paralyzed. It’ll only last for about a minute. Now get ready to run.”
I don’t understand.
How does Peter know?
“Let me carry her,” Tobias says.
“No. You’re a better shot than I am. Take my gun. I’ll carry her.”
I hear the gun slide out of its holster. Tobias brushes a hand over my forehead. They both start running.
At first all I hear is the pounding of their feet, and my head snaps back painfully. I feel tingling in my hands and feet. Peter shouts, “Left!” at Tobias.
Then a shout from down the hallway. “Hey, what--!”
A bang. And nothing.
More running. Peter shouts, “Right!” I hear another bang, and another. “Whoa,” he mumbles. “Wait, stop here!”
Tingling down my spine. I open my eyes as Peter opens another door. He charges through it, and just before I smack my head against the door frame, I stick my arm out and stop us.
“Careful!” I say, my voice strained. My throat still feels as tight as it did when he first injected me and I found it difficult to breathe. Peter turns sideways to bring me through the door, then nudges it shut with his heel and drops me on the floor.
The room is almost empty, except for a row of empty trash cans along one wall and a square metal door large enough for one of the cans to fit through it along the other wall.
“Tris,” Tobias says, crouching next to me. His face is pale, almost yellow.
There is too much I want to say. The first thing that comes out is, “Beatrice.”
He laughs weakly.
“Beatrice,” he amends, and touches his lips to mine. I curl my fingers into his shirt.
“Unless you want me to throw up all over you guys, you might want to save it for later.”
“Where are we?” I ask.
“This is the trash incinerator,” says Peter, slapping the square door. “I turned it off. I’ll take us to the alley. And then your aim had better be perfect, Four, if you want to get out of the Erudite sector alive.”
“Don’t concern yourself with my aim,” Tobias retorts. He, like me, is barefoot.
Peter opens the door to the incinerator. “Tris, you first.
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
What did you do?” I mumble. He is just a few feet away from me now, but not close enough to hear me. As he passes me he stretches out his hand. He wraps it around my palm and squeezes. Squeezes, then lets go. His eyes are bloodshot; he is pale.
“What did you do?” This time the question tears from my throat like a growl.
I throw myself toward him, struggling against Peter’s grip, though his hands chafe.
“What did you do?” I scream.
“You die, I die too.” Tobias looks over his shoulder at me. “I asked you not to do this. You made your decision. These are the repercussions.”
He disappears around the corner. The last I see of him and the Dauntless traitors leading him is the gleam of the gun barrel and blood on the back of his earlobe from an injury I didn’t see before.
All the life goes out of me as soon as he’s gone. I stop struggling and let Peter’s hands push me toward my cell. I slump to the ground as soon as I walk in, waiting for the door to slide shut to signify Peter’s departure, but it doesn’t.
“Why did he come here?” Peter says.
I glance at him.
“Because he’s an idiot.”
I rest my head against the wall.
“Did he think he could rescue you?” Peter snorts a little. “Sounds like a Stiff-born thing to do.”
“I don’t think so,” I say. If Tobias intended to rescue me, he would have brought others. He would not have burst into Erudite headquarters alone.
Tears well up in my eyes, and I don’t try to blink them away. Instead I stare through them and watch my surroundings smear together. A few days ago I would never have cried in front of Peter, but I don’t care anymore. He is the least of all my enemies.
“I think he came to die with me,” I say. I clamp my hand over my mouth to stifle a sob. If I can keep breathing, I can stop crying. I didn’t need or want him to die with me. I wanted to keep him safe. What an idiot, I think, but my heart isn’t in it.
“That’s ridiculous,” he says. “That doesn’t make any sense. He’s eighteen; he’ll find another girlfriend once you’re dead. And he’s stupid if he doesn’t know that.”
Tears run down my cheeks, hot at first and then cold. I close my eyes. “If you think that’s what it’s about…” I swallow another sob “…you’re the stupid one.”
His shoes squeak as he turns away. About to leave.
“Wait!” I look up at his blurry silhouette, unable to make out his face. “What will they do to him? The same thing they’re doing to me?”
“I don’t know.”
“Can you find out?” I wipe my cheeks with the heels of my hands, frustrated. “Can you at least find out if he’s all right?”
He says, “Why would I do that? Why would I do anything for you?”
A moment later I hear the door slide shut.
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
Lord Charles?" "Amy." He smiled sleepily and rose up on one elbow, the blanket sliding down one shoulder. "Good morning." Temporary silence. Charles was unaware that Amy had a friend with her, and he was totally oblivious to the sight he presented to the two girls, his hair tousled by sleep, his pale blue eyes clear as aquamarine as a shaft of sunlight drove through the window and caught him full in the face. A sighted man would, of course, have squinted; Charles did not, and instead, Mira and Amy were treated to a brilliant, wide-open view of clear, intelligent eyes, romantically down turned at the outer corners and fringed by long straight lashes tinged with gold. "Hell and tarnation above, Amy, ye sure weren't jokin'! He's bleedin' gorgeous!" "Mira!" cried Amy, horrified. Charles was hard-pressed to hide his amusement. He knew, of course, or had at least suspected, that Amy had a girlish infatuation for him, and he'd tried his best not to embarrass her by calling attention to it. He determined not to do so now. "And whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?" he asked, still supporting himself on one elbow and blinking the sleep from his eyes. Mira, standing there with her mouth open, was transfixed by that slow, deliberate blink. In a heartbeat, she saw what Amy had described: studied thoughtfulness, kindness, compassion. The way the man lowered those long eyelashes over those translucently clear eyes, then slowly brought them back up again, did something funny to her insides. Cripes, no wonder Amy was smitten! "Mira Ashton, patriot," she announced. "I'm Amy's friend. She tells me ye're a blasted Brit who took it upon himself to be merciful to Will, so I guess I'll take it upon myself to be merciful to you. Besides, I hear ye're being nice to Amy, and since everyone else in this house treats her like donkey dung, I figger the least I can do is be civil to ye — redcoat or not." "Mira!" Amy gasped. "Well, it's true. Where are those two bleedin' leeches, anyhow?" Despite himself, and his irritation with both the girl's language and her rather vexing use of the word "Brit," Charles got to his feet and bowed, his spirits suddenly quite buoyed. If Amy had friends like this, maybe he shouldn't be worrying about her, after all. "Still in bed, I daresay," he said.
Danelle Harmon (The Beloved One (The De Montforte Brothers, #2))
She had come twenty minutes early, but he was already there. He sat in a corner booth with a view of the street and the entrance. Watching her. She forced a smile and walked unsteadily down the aisle beside the counter. The points of her heels clicked on the nicotine-stained linoleum. Sliding into the booth across from Javier, she nodded hello. He had short black hair and flawless brown skin. Every time they’d met, Letty thought of that saying, Eyes are windows to the soul. Because Javier’s weren’t. They didn’t reveal anything—so clear and blue they seemed fake. Like a pair of rhinestones, with nothing human behind them.
Blake Crouch (Good Behavior)
Where were you planning on heading next, then, if not Australia?” Fiona asked.
“Oh, I’ll just toss a dart at the map like I usually do,” Kerry said, as blithely as she could.
Fiona eyed her closely, as if checking her sincerity. “Well, whenever you do head back out--wherever and with whomever that might be--we’ll make sure Gus hires someone to help him with the pub. So, you know, don’t let that part affect your decision making or anything.”
“‘Wherever or with whomever’?” Kerry repeated with a roll of her eyes.
Fiona beamed sweetly again. “Just saying.”
“All kidding aside, I’m not the settling down type, Fi.” At the flash of real sadness Kerry saw flicker through her too-optimistic-for-her-own-good sister, she made a show of sliding Fiona’s arm out from where it had been looped through hers and dropping it as if she was suddenly contagious. “Don’t go trying to spread all your bride cooties on me,” she teased, hoping to shift them back to their more comfortable pattern of affectionately swapping insults, and far, far away from delving in to the fears and worries that were truly the reason behind her defensive attitude.
Kerry knew her family and extended family--hell, everyone in the Cove--only wanted what was best for her, wanted her to be happy. She just wanted the space and time to figure out what, exactly, that was going to be, all by herself. “Some of us aren’t meant for home and hearth. For white picket fences. Or silly cattle dogs and stone fire pits.”
It was only when Fiona’s gaze sharpened again that she realized she’d said that last part out loud. A knowing smile played at the corners of Fiona’s mouth and her eyes sparked right back to matchmaker life.
“Don’t,” Kerry warned.
“Whatever do you mean?” Fiona said with false innocence. “I hear what you’re saying. And I believe you. At least, I believe you believe you.
Donna Kauffman (Starfish Moon (Brides of Blueberry Cove, #3))
If, for example, you and I were anteaters, rather than two people sitting in the corner of a bar, I might feel more comfortable with your silence, with your motionless hands holding your glass, with your glazed fish eyes fixing now on my balding head and now on my navel, we might be able to understand each other better in a meeting of restless snouts sniffing halfheartedly at the concrete for nonexistent insects, we might come together, under cover of darkness, in acts of sexual coitus as sad as Lisbon nights, when the Neptunes in the lakes slough off the mud and slime and scan the deserted squares with blank, eager, rust-colored eyes. Perhaps you would finally tell me about yourself. Perhaps behind your Cranach brow there lies sleeping a secret fondness for rhinoceroses. Perhaps, if you felt my body, you would discover that I had been suddenly transformed into a unicorn, and I would embrace you, and you would flap startled arms, like a butterfly transfixed by a pin, your voice grown husky with desire. We would buy tickets for the train that travels around the zoo, from creature to creature, with its clockwork engine, an escapee from some provincial haunted castle, and we would wave, as we passed, at the grotto-cum-crib of those recycled carpets—the polar bears. We would observe with an ophthalmological eye the baboons' anal conjunctivitis, like eyelids inflamed with combustible hemorrhoids. We would kiss outside the lions' den, where the lions—moth-eaten old overcoats—would curl their lips to reveal toothless gums. I would stroke your breasts in the oblique shade cast by the foxes, you would buy me an ice cream on a stick from the clowns' enclosure, where they, eyebrows permanently arched, exchanged blows to the tragic accompaniment of a saxophone. And that way we would have recovered a little of the childhood that belongs to neither of us and that insists on whizzing down the children's slide with a laugh that reaches us now as an occasional faint, almost angry echo.
António Lobo Antunes (Os Cus de Judas)
Maybe there is a way to have it all,” he said, lowering his head to hers. “If you want me, Starfish, we’ll find that way.”
“I do,” she said, the sudden prickle of tears surprising her, but it was such a huge rush finally to admit it, to tell him. To tell herself. “But--”
“No buts,” he said, kissing the damp from the corner of one eye, then the other. “We’ll sort it out,” he said. “It’s what we do for the people we love.”
If she hadn’t already been certain her heart had tipped his way, it was definitely in free fall now. She reached up, stroked his face. “What have I done to deserve you?” she asked, quite serious. “Why me?”
“Because you’re made for me,” he replied. “I knew it from the moment I met you.” He leaned in, kissed the side of her jaw. “It’s not about earning or deserving. Everyone deserves to be loved.” He lifted his head, and the intensity of his gaze was matched by the slow slide of his beautiful, cocky, sexy-as-hell grin. “We just have to be smart enough to recognize our perfect match when we find it.”
Her smile matched his, her heart bumping hard inside her chest. “Are you calling me a dummy?”
“Not at all. I’m just saying that maybe some of us caught on a bit faster than others.”
She tried to hook his ankle and roll him to his back but he was on to that move.
“Now, now, my little pirate wench, the only one with a hook is me.” He rolled fully on top of her, then, bracing his weight even as he nudged her thighs apart.
“My, my,” she teased, her heart full to bursting, “what a big…sword you have.”
“All the better to pillage you with,” he murmured, lowering his head again.
“I should tell you one more thing,” she whispered, making him lift his head a bit, an eyebrow raised in question. “I’m protected. Makes traveling easier when you know what will be happening when,” she explained. “So if you’re okay with, uh, keeping your sword there unsheathed, I’m okay with--”
“Oh, aye, I’m very okay,” he said, eyes gleaming that much more brightly.
“Good,” she sighed, then tipped her head back and arched up into him. “Please feel free to pillage away.
Donna Kauffman (Starfish Moon (Brides of Blueberry Cove, #3))
For her part, Kathleen was the same as she had always been, talkative, earnest, amusing, ready to argue when she disagreed with him.
He was the one who was different. He had become obsessed with Kathleen, so fascinated by everything she thought and did that he couldn’t tear his gaze from her. Half the time he wanted to do everything possible to fill her with happiness, while the rest of the time he was tempted to throttle her. He had never known such agonizing frustration, wanting her, wanting far more than she was willing to give.
He was reduced to pursuing her, trying to catch her in corners like some lecherous lord playing a game of slap-and-tickle with a housemaid. Fondling and kissing her in the library, sliding his hand beneath her skirts on the back stairs. One morning, after having gone out on an early ride with her, he pulled her into a dark corner of the harness room, coaxing and caressing until he’d finally had his way with her against the wall. And even then, in the disorienting seconds after a magnificent release, he wanted more of her. Every second of the day.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
He would place his mouth, still full of sleep, on hers, and perhaps pull her back into the bedroom and down into the bed with him, into that liquid pool of flesh, his mouth sliding over her, furry pleasure, the covers closing over them as they sank into weightlessness. But he hadn't done that for some time. He had been waking earlier and earlier; she, on the other hand, had been having trouble getting out of bed. She was losing that compulsion, that joy, whatever had nagged her out into the cold morning air, driven her to fill all those notebooks, all those printed pages. Instead, she would roll herself up in the blankets after Bernie got up, tucking in all the corners, muffling herself in wool. She had begun to have the feeling that nothing was waiting for her outside the bed's edge. No emptiness but nothing, the zero with legs in the arithmetic book.
'I'm off,' he'd say to her groggy bundled back. She'd be awake enough to hear this; then she would lapse back into a humid sleep. His absence was one more reason for not getting up.
Margaret Atwood (Dancing Girls and Other Stories)
What I said in the study earlier was unkind, and untrue, and I’m s-sorry for it. It was very wrong of me. I shall make that very clear to Mr. Totthill and Mr. Fogg. And your brother.”
His expression changed, one corner of his mouth curling upward in the hint of a smile that sent her heartbeat into chaos. “You needn’t bother mentioning it to them. All three will be calling me far worse before all is said and done.”
“Nevertheless, it wasn’t fair of me--”
“It’s forgotten. Come, the rain is worsening.”
“I must fetch my shawl.”
Devon followed her glance to the dark heap in the distance. “Is that it? Good God, leave it there.”
“It’s ruined by now. I’ll buy you another.”
“I couldn’t accept something so personal from you. Besides…you can’t afford extra expenses, now that you have Eversby Priory.”
She saw the flash of his grin.
“I’ll replace it,” he said. “From what I gather, people at my level of debt never concern themselves with economizing.” Sliding back against the cantle of the saddle, he extended a hand down. His form was large and lean against the rioting sky, the hard lines of his face cast in shadow.
Kathleen gave him a doubtful glance; it would require considerable strength for him to lift her while he was mounted. “You won’t drop me?” she asked uneasily.
Devon sounded insulted. “I’m hardly some limp-wristed fop, madam.”
“My skirts are heavy and wet--”
“Give me your hand.”
She approached him, and his hand took hers in a strong clasp. A nervous shiver went through her.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
Will you tell Helen tomorrow that she no longer has to marry Winterborne?”
“Yes, if you like.”
“Good. There’s a limit to how much discussion of betrothals a man can endure in one day.” Picking up the gold watch, still on its chain around Kathleen’s neck, he traced its smooth casing over her chest in an idle path.
She pushed out her lower lip. “You still have to propose to me.”
He couldn’t resist bending to take her lip between his and tugging lightly. “I already did.”
“I meant properly, with a ring.”
The watch ascended the rise of her breast, the skin-warmed gold sliding over the tightening peak. “It seems I’ll be off to the jeweler’s tomorrow.” Devon grinned as he saw the flicker of anticipation in her eyes. “That pleases you, does it?”
She nodded, sliding her arms around his neck. “I love your presents,” she confessed. “No one’s ever given me such beautiful things.”
“Little love,” he murmured, his lips grazing hers. “I’ll shower you with treasure.” Letting the watch rest between her breasts, he lifted his hand to caress her cheek. A wry note entered his voice. “I suppose you’ll want a full-fledged proposal on bended knee?”
She nodded, the corners of her mouth deepening. “Because I do so love to hear you say please.”
Amusement glinted in his eyes. “Then I suppose we’re a well-matched pair.” Covering her body with his, he settled against her intimately before whispering, “Because I do so love to hear you say yes.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
It seems I’ll be off to the jeweler’s tomorrow.” Devon grinned as he saw the flicker of anticipation in her eyes. “That pleases you, does it?”
She nodded, sliding her arms around his neck. “I love your presents,” she confessed. “No one’s ever given me such beautiful things.”
“Little love,” he murmured, his lips grazing hers. “I’ll shower you with treasure.” Letting the watch rest between her breasts, he lifted his hand to caress her cheek. A wry note entered his voice. “I suppose you’ll want a full-fledged proposal on bended knee?”
She nodded, the corners of her mouth deepening. “Because I do so love to hear you say please.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
Fukuoka, more than any other city in Japan, is responsible for ramen's rocket-ship trajectory, and the ensuing shift in Japan's cultural identity abroad. Between Hide-Chan, Ichiran, and Ippudo- three of the biggest ramen chains in the world- they've brought the soup to corners of the globe that still thought ramen meant a bag of dried noodles and a dehydrated spice packet. But while Ichiran and Ippudo are purveyors of classic tonkotsu, undoubtedly the defining ramen of the modern era, Hideto has a decidedly different belief about ramen and its mutability.
"There are no boundaries for ramen, no rules," he says. "It's all freestyle."
As we talk at his original Hide-Chan location in the Kego area of Fukuoka, a new bowl arrives on the table, a prototype for his borderless ramen philosophy. A coffee filter is filled with katsuobushi, smoked skipjack tuna flakes, and balanced over a bowl with a pair of chopsticks. Hideto pours chicken stock through the filter, which soaks up the katsuobushi and emerges into the bowl as clear as a consommé. He adds rice noodles and sawtooth coriander then slides it over to me.
Compared with other Hide-Chan creations, though, this one shows remarkable restraint. While I sip the soup, Hideto pulls out his cell phone and plays a video of him layering hot pork cheeks and cold noodles into a hollowed-out porcelain skull, then dumping a cocktail shaker filled with chili oil, shrimp oil, truffle oil, and dashi over the top. Other creations include spicy arrabbiata ramen with pancetta and roasted tomatoes, foie gras ramen with orange jam and blueberry miso, and black ramen made with bamboo ash dipped into a mix of miso and onions caramelized for forty-five days.
Matt Goulding (Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture)
Sartre said, “Exits are everywhere.” But I feel like entrances are everywhere. And I think that the world would be an even more cruel place than it already is, if the only people who are allowed to go on spiritual journeys were people who could afford a plane ticket to India, you know? Because we all know that people find access to God through those thin places in the Universe and the thin places in their lives where they come very close to the divine, in all sorts of situations. You know, in prison, in their house, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a bad marriage, in the middle of a traffic jam. It’s always there. There’s an entrance that you can slide through. But I really do feel like the one non-negotiable thing that you need is to be able to find a tiny little corner of your life, of your day of stillness, where you can begin to ask yourself those burning essential questions of your life. Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What am I here for? And for that you need to find a sacred moment of silence to begin to look for that journey. And that’s available to everybody.
Oprah Winfrey (The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations)
Let me help with the buttons.” Falco set his glass down on the wooden stool. Before Cass could protest, he was behind her, his fingertips on the small of her back. Cass felt a pearl come loose.
She whirled around, sloshing a bit of wine out of her glass as she slapped his hand. “You undid one,” she accused.
Falco laughed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.” He reached for her but she leaned away. “Come on, I promise I’ll behave.”
“Why should I trust you?”
Falco moved to Cass’s back again and began sliding each pearl through its loop. He leaned in close so that the side of his face brushed against her neck. “Because you want to.”
The wineglass trembled in Cass’s hand. She tightened her grip and took another drink. Every time Falco touched her, it got a little harder to breathe. She wasn’t sure if it was the outfit, or being so close to him. She sipped from her glass nervously. It was empty by the time he reached the last button.
Falco slid the glass from her fingertips. “I’ll refill this, and then we’ll get you positioned.”
“Positioned?” Cass fumbled over the word.
Falco pulled her over to the divan, then left her standing beside it as he strode across the room to a tall armoire hidden in a shadowy corner. “I’m going to paint you, of course.”
“Are you going to repeat everything I say?
Fiona Paul (Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1))
7/29, 3 - 7pm Outside The Box Upbeat ROMANTICS Rewrite The World!
Therapeutic Massage Mixer; Hilarious Inspiring Ice-Breaker Movement Games; Recommend Fav Romantic Books/Movies/TV; Brainstorm; Writing Games: Meet-up, Playshop & MIXER!:
***Meet 3pm but leave park 3:30pm on the dot, to walk 1 block to private rental space; if you're later than that you'll miss us!:***
*BRING MAIN DISH to share &/OR $15 - $60 Sliding Scale for rental space*
3pm: Therapeutic Massage Ice-Breaker Mixer in Pairs: Clothed, G-Rated. We share w/everyone, no matter their shape, gender, age, style, background, etc.
3:30pm: ~*LEAVE PARK For Private Outdoor/Indoor GARDEN! *~
3:45pm -6:45pm: Rest of Playshop-Mixer in private garden, begins w/5 min w/Group Hug/OM/Harmonize.
Enjoy an outrageous, open-hearted, Infinite Possibilities afternoon w/a community of peers outside mainstream thinking/living! Cocreate romantic stories w/characters who leap beyond conventional expectations into exciting, unusual, deeper, more meaningful new kinds of romantic relationships/activities/adventures/worlds…! Characters w/fascinating projects/occupations & idiosyncratic appearances, who inspire us to not just read/watch, but ~*LIVE*~ in wildy romantic new ways & transform our real world cities into a new human playground. Let's circulate stories w/extraordinary new ideas which cause positive revolutions *right now,* … not some time in the future, --in each other’s lives & our culture.
UPBEAT: Stories w/not just happy endings; but where one can tell from beginning everything is going to work out. Yet not saccharin or shallow, but extremely imaginative, thought provoking, intensely romantic & fulfilling.
Tired of same kinds of stories w/supermodels/'average Joes' who feel unworthy rather than just reach out & have amazing magical adventures together?... Love scenes that seem copied from book to book? What we read/watch affects how we think, interact w/life, what we bring into our life, & how we shape the world: Celebrate unique life stories/paths! *Choose* to be new kinds of role models for your community, & the sculptor of your reality.
Join us for a meaningful magical SO FUN interactive gathering w/warm wonderful people, bursts of glee & laughter; in beautiful expansive garden w/gentle breezes in a circle of trees. *** Always cool w/cool breezes in the shade, warm in the sun.***
Beverage for yourself (SUBSTANCE FREE),
Yoga mat, blanket or beach towel
SE corner of Stoner Park (corner of Stoner Ave & Missouri): 11755 Missouri Ave., LA 90025:
Open grassy area by bench: 4-hour PARKING IN LOT & AROUND PARK.
(RAIN DOESN’T CANCEL: if rain meet in sheltered space facing skateboard area & we’ll walk to private space).
Outdoor informal gathering of LA Outside The Box Romantic friends, Upbeat Sci-Fi/Fantasy Tribe, The WHIMSYUM & others from positive-focused, creative, imaginative universe/human potential exploring communities!
I don’t respond to questions via email, text or social networks, thank you!: Voicemail 24hrs, or ask after gathering: May not be able to return all calls, so simply join us if you're inspired!
Join us for a magical summer!
~ Diana, (310)936-3150 phone doesn’t accept text msgs.
You can sit in the corner. It’s all you can do when it starts raining. Sit in the dry corner and watch the water slide on the floor. It finds its way to the doorway at last and joins the rest of the rain, down there, outside. There’s thunder, darkness, a cold fog everywhere. But sometimes—wasn’t it true that you would go outside, when the sky had cleared, and run, screaming and jumping to dash the raindrops from the leaves? Wasn’t it true that the smell of the mud was buoyant, delightful, excessive—that the yellow light of the flats outshone the sky? And everywhere you could hear your own voice ringing in the cold air, and you would charge through the reeds, which sprang back, scattering moisture. And the sea, still bubbling, angry, glowed with a heavy phosphorescence. You could play with it: its radiance clung to the body.
Sofia Samatar (A Stranger in Olondria)
Can I make you a cup of tea?” He says that would be wonderful, and she smiles handsomely; then her face darkens in terrible sorrow. “And I am so sorry, Mr. Arthur,” she says, as if imparting the death of a loved one. “You are too early to see the cherry blossoms.” After the tea (which she makes by hand, whisking it into a bitter green foam—“Please eat the sugar cookie before the tea”) he is shown to his room and told it was, in fact, the novelist Kawabata Yasunari’s favorite. A low lacquered table is set on the tatami floor, and the woman slides back paper walls to reveal a moonlit corner garden dripping from a recent rain; Kawabata wrote of this garden in the rain that it was the heart of Kyoto. “Not any garden,” she says pointedly, “but this very garden.” She informs him that the tub in the bathroom is already warm and that an attendant will keep it warm, always, for whenever he needs it. Always. There is a yukata in the closet for him to wear. Would he like dinner in the room? She will bring it personally for him: the first of the four kaiseki meals he will be writing about. The kaiseki meal, he has learned, is an ancient formal meal drawn from both monasteries and the royal court. It is typically seven courses, each course composed of a particular type of food (grilled, simmered, raw) and seasonal ingredients. Tonight, it is butter bean, mugwort, and sea bream. Less is humbled both by the exquisite food and by the graciousness with which she presents it. “I most sincerely apologize I cannot be here tomorrow to see you; I must go to Tokyo.” She says this as if she were missing the most extraordinary of wonders: another day with Arthur Less. He sees, in the lines around her mouth, the shadow of the smile all widows wear in private. She bows and exits, returning with a sake sampler. He tries all three, and when asked which is his favorite, he says the Tonni, though he cannot tell the difference. He asks which is her favorite. She blinks and says: “The Tonni.” If only he could learn to lie so compassionately.
Andrew Sean Greer (Less)
She wanted to feel his hands and his mouth all over her, wanted him inside her, wanted to be so close she couldn’t tell where one of them ended and the other began. She felt as if she had morphed into someone else, some wild creature she didn’t even know. As if her body were some alien, newly unearthed part of her that she could no longer control.
She didn’t notice when he slid her jeans and pink satin panties down over her hips, but roused a little when he dragged a small foil packet out of the wallet in his hip pocket and tore it open. She caught the sound of his zipper sliding down.
A hand she didn’t recognize as her own reached out for him, wrapped around the thick, heavy weight of his sex, held him while he slid on the condom, then guided him between her parted legs.
“God, Charity…” With a single deep thrust, Call buried himself inside her.
The moment he did, she started to come.
“Christ.” His muscles went rigid. In some vague corner of her mind, she realized he was fighting for control.
Charity cried out his name and clung to his neck, unable to believe how quickly she had reached her peak. She knew the moment he gave up his struggle to hold himself back, felt him begin to move, felt the deep thrust and drag of his shaft against the walls of her passage. She felt the power of the man above her and the deep, saturating pleasure as a second climax shook her.
Beneath her hands, hard muscle tightened and Call groaned. The sinews in his hips flexed and moved as he pumped himself inside her, then came with incredible force, his body going rigid, his shoulders glowing with a sheen of perspiration.
For long seconds, neither of them moved. The only sound in the forest was the wind luffing through the trees, their labored breathing, and the soft thud of their heartbeats.
Kat Martin (Midnight Sun (Sinclair Sisters Trilogy, #1))
In the dim light of the swaying Chinese lanterns, it's hard to read his expression but once, as Charles's gaze drifts out across the lawn, she sees his dark eyes slide across to her and wonders if she imagines the slightest twitch of a smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.
Hannah Richell (The Peacock Summer)
I keep getting drunk. There’s no more interesting way to say it. Only drunk does the volume crank down. Liquor no longer lets me bullshit myself that I’m taller, faster, funnier. Instead, it shrinks me to a plodding zombie state in which one day smudges into every other—it blurs time. Swaying on the back landing in the small hours, I stare at the boxy garage and ghostly replicas of it multiplying along either side, like playing cards spread against the slate sky. Though this plural perspective is standard, I’m surprised by my own shitfaced state. The walkman sends punk rock banging across the tiny bones of my ears. And with the phonebook-sized stack of papers on my lap still unmarked, I—once more, with feeling—take the pledge to quit drinking. Cross my heart. Pinky swear to myself. This is it, I say, the last night I sit here. Okay, I say in my head. I give. You’re right. (Who am I talking to? Fighting with?) By the next afternoon, while I’m lugging the third armload of groceries up the back stairs, Dev, who’s bolted ahead to the living room, shrieks like he’s been stabbed, and I drop the sack on the kitchen floor, hearing as it hits what must be a jar of tomato sauce detonating. In the living room, I find Dev has leaped—illicitly, for the nine hundredth time—off the sofa back, trying to land in the clothes basket like a circus diver into a bucket of water. He’s whapped his noggin on the coffee table corner. Now dead center on his pale, formerly smooth forehead, there’s a blue knot like a horn trying to break through. I gather him up and rush to the kitchen, aiming to grab a soothing bag of frozen peas. But I step on a shard of tomato sauce jar, gash my instep, slide as on a banana peel, barely hanging on to Dev till we skid to a stop. I tiptoe across the linoleum, dragging a snail of blood till I can plop him in a kitchen chair, instructing him to hold the peas to his head and not move an inch while I bunny-hop upstairs to bandage my foot. Coming back, I find he’s dragged the formerly white laundry into the kitchen to mop up the tomato sauce. I’m helping, he says, albeit surrounded by gleaming daggers of glass while on his forehead the blue Bambi horn seems to throb. Minutes later, my hand twists off a beer cap as I tell myself that a beer isn’t really a drink after all. So I have another after that to speed preparing the pot roast, and maybe even a third. Before we head to the park, I tuck two more beer bottles in my coat pocket, plus one in my purse alongside a juice box.
Mary Karr (Lit)
Why, yes, Matt. I went to a twelve-hour dance-athon by myself. In fact, it’s still going. I’m there right now, doing an awkward step-slide behind a group of upperclassmen in a dark corner of the gym. I’m having the time of my life.
Jared Reck (A Short History of the Girl Next Door)
Today she’d taken off for a hair appointment at 10:00 in the morning and hadn’t been home all day. We had Sloan and Brandon’s wedding invitation thing later tonight.
It was boring without her here. She’d left Stuntman Mike, wearing his DOGFATHER shirt, and he’d become my work buddy. He mostly slept, but once in a while he’d jump up barking at phantom sounds. It kept things interesting.
At 5:00, Kristen still wasn’t home when I got in the shower in the guest bathroom to start getting ready for the party. But when I came out, dressed and ready to go, my breath caught the second I rounded the corner. She sat at the kitchen counter, looking at her phone.
She was a fucking knockout.
She’d been pretty before, even under her baggy T-shirts and sweatpants. But now? Dressed up? My God, she was sexy as hell.
She wore a black fitted cocktail dress and red heels. Her hair was down and curled and she had her makeup on. Bright-red lipstick.
When she glanced up, I tried to act like I hadn’t been frozen in the doorway.
“Oh, hey. Will you zip me up?” she asked, sliding off the stool still texting. She didn’t even give me a second look.
I cleared my throat. “Uh, yeah. Sure.”
She turned and gave me her back, still looking at her screen. The zipper to her dress was all the way down and the lacy top of a light-blue G-string peeked out. Her perfume reached my nose, and I could almost taste the tart apples on my tongue.
Fuck. This is torture.
I pulled the zipper up, my eyes trailing the line of her spine. No bra. She was small on top. Perky. She didn’t need one. I stopped to move her hair and my fingers touched her neck as I gathered it to one side. I had the most incredible urge to put my lips to the spot behind her ear, slip my hands into the sides of her dress, around her waist, peeling it off her.
She has a boyfriend. She’s not interested.
I finished the job, dragging the zipper to the top. She’d looked at her phone the whole time, totally unaffected.
Kristen wasn’t shy or conservative. That much I’d seen over the last few weeks. She probably didn’t even think twice about any of this. But I practically panted. I was getting a hard-on just standing there. I hoped she didn’t look down.
I could love you all night, Raven,” he murmured enticingly against her throat. His hands moved over her body, leaving fire in their wake. “I want to love you all night.”
“Isn’t that the point? It’s dawn.” Her hands had a mind of their own, finding every defined muscle with her fingertips, stroking across his hard male form, seeking her own exploration.
“Then I will spend the day making love to you.” He whispered the words against her mouth, bent closer to nibble at the corners of her lower lip. “I need you with me, Raven. You chase away the shadows and lighten the terrible load that threatens to drown me.”
She skimmed her fingertips across the hard edges of his mouth. “Is this possession, or is it love?” She dipped her head to press her mouth to the hollow of his sternum, to slide her tongue over the ultrasensitive skin above his heart. There was no mark, no scar, but the sweep of her tongue followed the exact line of his earlier wound, where he had forced her to accept his life’s blood. She was merged with him, reading his mind, his erotic fantasies, wanting to bring them to life.
His gut clenched hotly, his body responding with fierce aggression. Raven smiled at the feel of his hard length burning against her skin. She had no inhibitions when she lay with him, only a fierce desire to burn with him. “Answer me, Mikhail--the truth.” Her fingertips brushed his velvet tip, fingers curled around the heavy thickness of him sending hunger raging through his body. She was playing with fire, but he didn’t have the strength to stop her; he didn’t want to stop her.
His hands curled in her damp hair, two tight fists. “Both,” he managed to gasp.
Christine Feehan (Dark Prince (Dark, #1))
I lost control of the sport utility vehicle (SUV) many times at astronomical observatories. Driving down the road on two wheels like a stunt car driver after taking a corner too fast and almost rolling over at Roque De Los Muchachos, sliding uncontrollably down Kitt Peak backwards on a dangerous snowy road, and hallucinating on Mauna Kea while driving, to name just a few of the dangerous occurrences.
Think, my love. Visualize what I put in your head. Trust me as you have never trusted me before. Allow me to give you this gift.
There was no hesitation on her part. With complete faith in him, Raven gave herself into his keeping, reaching eagerly for the vision. The slight discomfort, the strange disorientation as her physical body dissolved, did not faze her. Feathers shimmered, sprouted.
Beside her, Jacques stepped back, allowing the smaller female owl to hop onto a tall stone angel before his own large frame compressed, reshaped. Together they launched themselves into the night and soared high to join the other four powerful birds circling above them.
One of the males broke formation, circled the female, and dipped close to cover her body with one wide wingspan. Playfully she dropped low to slide away. The other males walled her in, curbing her antics as she learned the joys of free flying. The male owls stayed in close formation, the female in the center, circling above the forest, climbing high into the mist. For a space of time they dipped and swirled, clearly playing, soaring high, plunging toward earth, pulling up to fly through trees and over the heavy blanket of fog.
After some time they settled into a leisurely flight, once more with the males protectively surrounding the female. Mikhail felt the night remove every vestige of tension and dissipate it to the four corners of the earth. He would take Raven far away from the village, give her plenty of time to learn Carpathian ways. She represented the future of their race, his future. She was his life, his joy, his reason for existing. She was his hold on all that was good in the world. He intended to see that her life was filled with nothing but happiness.
Mikhail dropped lower to cover her feathered body with his, touching her mind, feeling her joy. Raven responded by filling his mind with love and warmth and a child’s wondrous laughter at the new sights and sounds and smells she was experiencing. She raced him across the sky, her laughter echoing in all their minds. She was their hope for the future.
Christine Feehan (Dark Prince (Dark, #1))
But now it all slid through my mind: The years of come-ons from sources and colleagues. THe news organizations I'd roped off in my mind as no-gos because I'd sexually rejected some man who'd since become powerful, and didn't want to risk getting undercut and blackballed. The times I thought I was about to get raped. All the things that had been said to me, or said about other women in front of me, to be sure I didn't misunderstand my position as an amusing but ultimately inferior presence. We were welcome as long as we were young and beddable, and then we were supposed to do what self-respecting women did: disappear into a household somewhere. Tom had faced none of that. Tom had been free to move thorugh his career; there had been so little for him to naviaget. And I'd never explained it to him. I'd assumed he just knew, because I thought it was obvious. I'd been treated like an accessory. I'd been groped, and pawed and cornered. I'd let sly remarks slide off my back. It was all in the game, and I'd been eager to play.
But now he looked at me blankly, as if I were not part of it, and it occurred to me that he had no idea. Did he really think his wife had been clever enough to be a woman in the world without being a woman in the world?
There was so much to say I couldn't stand to start.
The southern half possesses the most outstanding scenery, the prettiest villages, the best gastronomy and, withal, a Gallic knack for living well, while the north has the finest cities, the most outstanding museums and churches, the ports, the coastal resorts, the bulk of the population, and most of the money. The Flemings can’t stand the Walloons and the Walloons can’t stand the Flemings, but when you talk to them a little you realize that what holds them together is an even deeper disdain for the French and the Dutch. I once walked around Antwerp for a day with a Dutch-speaking local, and on every corner he would indicate to me with sliding eyes some innocent-looking couple and mutter disgustedly under his breath: “Dutch.” He was astonished that I couldn’t tell the difference between a Dutch person and a Fleming. When pressed on their objections, the Flemings become a trifle vague. The most common complaint I heard was that the Dutch drop in unannounced at mealtimes and never bring gifts. “Ah, like our own dear Scots,” I would say.
Bill Bryson (Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe)
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The very best Window Frosting Sydney thing about window frosting is that they don't possess the inconveniences usually associated with traditional window coverings. Furthermore, as it is not reliant on obstructing the pure passage of light for creating privateness, you are free to have an area that, inspite of being airy and light, might be your own private chamber. Nonetheless, you should also concentrate on the fact that you might be provided minimal safety against UV rays by the sort of window tint.
Andrea lifted a black firearm, holding it as if it were covered with slime. “This is a Witness 45. It has a molding flaw on the grip right here, see? If you fire it, it will blister your hand.”
She picked up another gun. “This is a Raven 25. They haven’t made them since the early nineties. I didn’t even know they were still around. It’s a cheap junk gun. They used to call them Saturday Night Specials. You can’t put twenty rounds through it without it jamming, and the way this one looks, I wouldn’t even risk loading it. It might blow up in my hand. And this? This is a Hi-Point, otherwise known as Beemiller.”
“Is that supposed to tell me something?”
She stared at me. “It’s like the crappiest gun out there. Normal guns cost upward of half a grand. This costs like a hundred bucks. The slide is made out of zinc with aluminum.”
I looked at her.
“Look, I can bend it with my hand.”
I’d also seen her bend a steel rod with her hand, but now didn’t seem the best time to mention it.
Andrea put the Hi-Point on the desk. “Where did you get these again?”
“They’re surplus guns from the Pack. Confiscated, from what I understand.”
“Confiscated during violent altercations?”
Andrea sagged into her chair. Her blue-tipped hair drooped in defeat. “Kate, if someone used a gun against the shapeshifters and now the shapeshifters have said gun, it wasn’t a very good gun, was it?”
“I’m not arguing with you. I didn’t have a choice. That’s what was here when I moved in.”
Andrea extracted a fierce-looking silver handgun from the box. Her eyes widened. She looked at it for a moment and tapped it on the corner of her desk. The gun responded with a dry pop.
She looked at me with an expression of abject despair. “It’s plastic.”
I spread my arms at her.
Andrea tossed the plastic gun to Grendel. “Here, chew on this.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, #5))
cousin, or something.’ Vivien raised an eyebrow as she passed back Henderson’s glass. ‘Even people who’ve lived here their whole lives can’t get back into the area,’ she explained. ‘So people are sure to ask where you’ve come from.’ ‘The Boche are short of translators,’ Luc said. ‘It’s remarkably lucky that you turned out to speak such excellent German.’ Henderson knew that the presumption of using his family name was likely to stick in Luc Boyle’s throat and the couple clearly sensed that there was more to Henderson than met the eye, but they were ecstatic at the safe return of their grandchildren and apparently happy to let the matter slide. At least, for the time being. * Marc woke on a bare mattress in a musty room with sunlight shining through a crack in the roof and a puddle in the far corner. A burp sent acid surging up his throat and for a horrible instant he thought he was going to puke over his blanket. His head thudded as he looked around and saw PT’s boots on the floor beside him. Marc remembered the wine and a bumpy midnight ride in the back of the truck, but had no recollection of the building in which he’d awoken. If anything, the holey-roofed bedroom was a high point of the cottage. Green stalactites of mildew hung from the ceiling in the cramped hallway and damp seemed to be consuming the building
Robert Muchamore (Henderson's Boys: Eagle Day: Book 2)
Would you two just kiss and be done with it already?”
Darren and I gape at her. Fire creeps up my neck, and I press my body against the window, as far from Darren as possible.
“I thought you were asleep,” Darren says to her.
“With the both of you whining like children? Please,” she huffs. “I’m going to the little girl’s room.” She stands and her long legs step over Tate’s without waking him. “Fix this or we’re all going to be miserable,” she whispers to Darren loud enough for me to hear.
I face the window, but my eyes focus on Darren’s reflection. He scratches the top of his head through his curls, then slides his hand down, pressing his thumb and fingers over his eyelids. I’ve lost my nerve to bring up Bruno again.
“Pippa.” He sighs. “I don’t want to argue with you.”
I reach to grip the armrest between us but his hand is already taking up half of it. I’m caught off guard and I can’t decide if it’s more awkward to jerk my hand away or leave it there. Electricity runs up my arm when he hooks my pinkie with his.
“Still crooked,” he says.
“I’m lucky it’s still there, actually.”
“Yeah, some guy tried to bite it off once.”
He releases my pinkie and tugs at a loose string on his shorts. “He sounds like a real winner.”
I pick at a ripple in the fabric of the armrest. “He’s all right.”
“I’m sorry,” he says.
I’m surprised by the tightness in my throat. This week is going to kill me.
“It’s just the little finger,” I deflect. “I’m sure I’d have survived.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
I swallow down the lump. “I know. It’s fine.”
We sit in silence a moment before he points his pinkie at me and wiggles it closer and closer to my face. We erupt into laughter and Tate jolts awake, giving us the stink eye, which makes us laugh even harder. I’m clutching my stomach when Nina plops back down in her seat.
She appraises us with wide eyes until a smirk plays at the corners of her mouth.
“Now,” she says, “that’s more like it.
Kristin Rae (Wish You Were Italian (If Only . . ., #2))
I am Sebastiano, and your name?” he asks.
“Violet,” I say as we step over the threshold.
“Violetta!” he says, throwing his arms wide. “English girl, Italian name!”
And across the room, I see a dark head turn in our direction. That much taller than the rest of the boys, he stands out, his straight black silky hair falling over his face, his blue eyes as bright and cold as the water of the fjord next to my grandmother’s summer rental cottage. I was looking for him before and couldn’t see him anywhere; now that I’ve been distracted by dancing and a Chianti-drinking donkey, he’s spotted me. His gaze flicks like a knife between me and the boy, who’s at the gigantic wine bottle now, filling cups and handing me one.
“Salute!” Sebastiano says, touching his cup to mine, and I glance up at Luca, seeing that he’s taking this in, too.
A rush of confusion fills me as I toast. I’m glad that Luca’s seen me with someone else, that I haven’t been a wallflower at this party, that I’ve proved him wrong, even a little bit, because there’s a boy here who seems to like me, who’s talking to me, anyway, getting me a drink. In films, in books, flirting with a boy is a surefire way to get the one you actually like interested in you, draw him over to your side. They’re supposed to like competition, the challenge of going after a girl who’s popular.
But maybe real life doesn’t quite work that way. Because Luca arches one black eyebrow, his mouth quirks up on one side in a sneer, and he turns pointedly away sliding a cigarette into his mouth, and lighting it with a flip of his Zippo.
Disgusting habit, I think as firmly as I can. I’m glad he’s not coming over, smoking a nasty stinking cancer stick.
It’s awful when you lie to yourself. I do think smoking is foul, but I’m also more than aware that if Luca strolled over to talk to me, with that cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, I wouldn’t walk away, complaining about the smoke; I’d stand there staring up at him, trying not to grin as widely as a five-year-old meeting Cinderella at Disneyland.
Lauren Henderson (Flirting in Italian (Flirting in Italian #1))
No. No… No!’ the fear ebbed my voice, cut through me like a knife. I ran, bare feet slipping and sliding over the floorboards. I turned the corner and headed for the backdoor.
Run. Run. I must run.
As soon as I reached the backdoor in the kitchen, pulling the barn door from the hinges, I felt his gaze upon me. Cinders and kindling crunched at my feet; what had once been my lovely mahogany kitchen furniture was now little more than firewood. My crockery and china splintered in shards and as I turned to face him, I felt them dig into my skin, cut me with every shiver that bolted through my frame.
‘You wanted Hemlock House. You have, Hemlock House.’ His voice was dark, cruel and yet hauntingly light. As if cooing, whispering to a newborn. He was lounging against the countertop as if waiting for breakfast, as if waiting for something so meaningless.
Charlotte Munro (Skeletons in The Closet [A Horror Collection])
Wriggling out of his grasp she braced herself on his shoulders and tried to stand. Next thing she knew, he had her around the legs and took her down to the mattress in some sort of super-fast ninja move. She screamed and laughed, and he was laughing every bit as hard as he came down on top of her. And, oh God, his laughter was a sweet and sexy rumble that lit her up inside.
“You fight dirty, Easy,” she said around her chuckles.
“I haven’t had this much fun in so long.”
She caressed his face with her fingers. “Me neither. Between overloading on classes and my epilepsy, I often feel like a little old lady trapped in the body of a twenty-year-old. All I need is some cats.”
“Cats are awesome,” he said. “When I was a kid, I used to sneak stray cats into the house, just for a night or two. I’d keep them in my room and bring up bowls of milk and cans of tuna for them.”
“Aw, you were a sweet little boy, weren’t you?” she asked, loving how he was opening up to her. The closeness, the sharing, the way his big body was lying on her legs and hips, leading him to prop his head up on her lower stomach—both her heart and her body reacted.
“Maybe for about five minutes.” He winked. “Mostly, I was a hell-raiser. Growing up, we didn’t live in the best neighborhood. Drug dealers on the corner, gang activity trying to pull in even the younger kids, crack house one block over. All that. Trouble wasn’t hard to find.” He shrugged. “Army straightened me out, though.”
“Well, we lived in a nice neighborhood growing up and here my father was the freaking drug dealer on the corner. Or close enough, anyway.” Jenna stared at the ceiling and shook her head. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to get serious.”
His thumb stroked along her side, sliding the cotton of her borrowed shirt against her skin in a way that almost tickled. “Don’t apologize. Our histories are what they are, you know?”
She nodded and gave him a little smile. “Yeah.”
Shifting off her, Easy stretched out alongside her and propped his head up on his arm. “I’m thirty, Jenna,” he said out of nowhere.
And he was telling her this because? He thought their age difference was too great? He thought she was too young? He was worried she would think he was too old? Probably D) all of the above. Thing was, all she saw when she looked at Easy was a guy she really freaking liked. One who’d saved her life, helped make her sister safe, and gave her a sense of security she hadn’t felt in years. He was hot as hell, easy to talk to, and one of the kindest guys she’d ever known. Maybe some of that was because he was older. Who knew?
“And I need to know this because?” she asked, resting her head on her arm.
The muscles of his shoulders lifted into a shrug, but his face was contemplative. “Because there’s clearly something going on between us.”
Heat rushed across her body. She held up a hand, and he laced his fingers between hers. “When I look at you, I don’t see a bunch of differences, Easy.”
“What do you see then?”
Warmth flooded into Jenna’s cheeks, and she chuckled. He’d said that she was beautiful, after all, so why couldn’t she give him a compliment in return? “A really hot guy I’d like to get to know more.”
A smug smile slipped onto his face, and she might’ve rolled her eyes if it weren’t so damn sexy. “Really hot, huh?”
“Well, kinda hot, anyway.”
“Nuh-uh,” he said, tugging her hand to his chest. “Can’t take it back now.”
Cheeks burning and big smile threatening, she rolled onto her side to face him.
They lay there, side by side, her chest almost touching his, looking at each other. Tension and desire and anticipation crackled in the space between them, making it hard to breathe.
“What do you see when you look at me?” she whispered, half-afraid to ask but even more curious to hear what he’d say. Did he mostly see someone who was too young for him? Or a needy girl he had to save and babysit?
Laura Kaye (Hard to Hold on To (Hard Ink, #2.5))
He cups my chin, thumb grazing the corner of my mouth, tracing my lips as they slide along his cock. “Vedere il mio cazzo tra quelle belle labbra è una fantasia che mi ha perseguitato dal momento in cui ci siamo incontrati.
J.M. Darhower (Grievous (Scarlet Scars, #2))
His mouth slid from hers and dragged roughly along her throat, crossing sensitive places that made her writhe. Blindly turning her face, she rubbed her lips against his ear. He drew in a sharp breath and jerked his head back. His hand came to her jaw, clamping firmly.
“Tell me what you know,” he said, his breath searing her lips. “Or I’ll do worse than this. I’ll take you here and now. Is that what you want?”
As a matter of fact…
However, recalling that this was supposed to be a punishment, a coercion, Beatrix managed a languid, “No. Stop.” His mouth ravished hers again. She sighed and melted against him.
He kissed her harder, pressing her back against the slatted side of the stall, his hands roaming indecently. Her body was laced and compressed and concealed in layers of feminine attire, frustrating his attempts to caress her.
His garments, however, presented far fewer obstacles. She slid her arms inside his coat, fumbling to touch him, tugging ardently at his waistcoat and shirt. Reaching beneath the straps of his trouser braces, she managed to pull part of his shirt free of the trousers, the fabric warm from his body.
They both gasped as her cool fingers touched the burning skin of his back. Fascinated, Beatrix explored the curvature of deep intrinsic muscles, the tight mesh of sinew and bone, the astonishing strength contained just beneath the surface. She found the texture of scars, vestiges of pain and survival. After stroking a healed-over line, she covered it tenderly with her palm.
A shudder racked his frame. Christopher groaned and crushed his mouth over hers, urging her body against his, until together they found an erotic pattern, a cadence. Instinctively Beatrix tried to draw him inside herself, pulling at his lips and tongue with her own.
Christopher broke the kiss abruptly, panting. Cradling her head in his hands, he pressed his forehead against hers.
“Is it you?” he asked hoarsely. “Is it?”
Beatrix felt tears slip from beneath her lashes, no matter how she tried to blink them back. Her heart was ablaze. It seemed that her entire life had led to this man, this moment of unexpressed love.
But she was too frightened of his scorn, and too ashamed of her own actions, to answer.
Christopher’s fingertips found the tear marks on her damp skin. His mouth grazed her trembling lips, lingering at one soft corner, sliding up to the verge of a salt-flavored cheek.
Releasing her, he stepped back and stared at her with baffled anger. The desire exerted such force between them that Beatrix belatedly wondered how he could maintain even that small distance.
A shaken breath escaped him. He straightened his clothes, moving with undue care, as if he were intoxicated.
“Damn you.” His voice was low and strained. He strode out of the stables.
Albert, who had been sitting by a stall, began to trot after him. Upon noticing Beatrix wasn’t going with them, the terrier dashed over to her and whimpered.
Beatrix bent to pet him. “Go on, boy,” she whispered.
Hesitating only a moment, Albert ran after his master.
And Beatrix watched them both with despair.
Lisa Kleypas (Love in the Afternoon (The Hathaways, #5))
Who the hell is that?” Chase barks. He watches Pete’s prideful swagger all the way down the aisle until he disappears from sight. Chase looks down at me. I shrug. “He’s a friend.” “Since when do you have friends like that?” he asks. He steps toward me, and I step back, until my back is against the shelves behind me. I don’t like to be cornered, but Chase has no way of knowing that. I skitter to the side so that I’m not hemmed in. “Friends like what?” I ask. I know he’s referring to the tattoos. Pete walks by the end of the aisle and waves at us, and then he winks at me. A grin tugs at my lips. I shrug again. “He’s really very nice.” “Where did you meet him?” I can tell the truth or I can lie. But then I hear Pete one aisle over as he starts to sing the lyrics to Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock.” I grin. I can’t help it. “He’s helping out at the camp this week,” I say instead of the truth. Well, it’s sort of the truth. “Where’s he from?” Chase asks. “New York City,” I say. Pete’s song changes from Elvis to AC/DC’s “Jailbreak.” I laugh out loud this time. I can’t help it. “Your dad’s all right with you hanging out with him?” My dad is covered in tattoos, too, but most of his are hidden by his clothing. “He likes Pete,” I say. “I do, too.” Chase puts one arm on the shelf behind me and leans toward my body. I dodge him again, and he looks crossly at me. “Don’t box me in,” I warn. He holds up both hands like he’s surrendering to the cops. But he still looks curious. “So, about tomorrow,” he says. “I can’t,” I blurt out. I think I hear a quickly hissed, “Yes!” from the other side of the aisle, but I can’t be sure. Chase touches my elbow, and it makes my skin crawl. I pull my elbow back. “Don’t touch me,” I say. Suddenly, Pete’s striding down the aisle toward us. His expression is thunderous, and I step in front of him so that he has to run into me instead of pummeling Chase like I’m guessing he wants to do. I lay a hand on his chest. “You ready to go?” I ask. He looks down at me, his eyes asking if I’m all right. His hand lands on my waist and slides around my back, pulling me flush against him. He’s testing me. And I don’t want to fight him. I admit it. Chase makes my skin crawl, and Pete makes my skin tingle. It’s not an altogether pleasant sensation, but only because I can’t control it. He holds me close, one hand on the center of my back, and the other full of breath mints and assorted sundries. He steps toward Chase, and Pete and I are so close together that I have to step backward when he steps forward. I repeat my question. “You get everything?” He finally looks down at me. “I got everything I need,” he says. His tone is polite but clear and soft as butter.
Tammy Falkner (Calmly, Carefully, Completely (The Reed Brothers, #3))
Darling felt a single tear sliding from the corner of his eye as the rebel confirmed his worst fear. His precious baby sister was dead. Because of me. Because of something he’d invented… Over and over, he saw images of Lise reaching for him to hold or protect her. Saw the smile in her eyes and heard her laughter as she hugged him tight, and told him how much she loved her big brother. He’d been eight when she was born, and from the moment he’d first seen her bald head and those huge hazel green eyes staring at him, and she’d wrapped her tiny, baby fingers around his pinkie before gumming it, she’d owned his heart. No matter their fights. No matter their differences. She had meant everything to him. How could she be gone? How
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Born of Silence (The League #5))
Usually, when I came home by myself at night, I would get to the corner or Rue Coustou and suddenly feel like I was leaving the present and sliding into a zone where time had stopped. And I was terrified of never being able to cross back, to return to Place Blanche, where life was being lived. I though I would remain forever a prisoner of that little street and that room, like Sleeping Beauty.
Patrick Modiano (La Petite Bijou)
Then she heard a masculine chuckle behind her.
Bridget froze, ice sliding down her spine. The sound could be nothing else, not the wind or a creaky house or even a mouse in the walls.
She turned, pushing the panel shut with her shoulder, and palming the portrait as she did so.
The Duke of Montgomery, all golden hair and sharp blue eyes, and wearing a purple velvet suit, smiled at her from the armchair in the far corner of the room.
"A lovely woman in my bed, what a fetching surprise." He cocked his head, a corner of his beautiful mouth curving cruelly. "Tell me, Mrs. Crumb, what are you looking for?
Elizabeth Hoyt (Sweetest Scoundrel (Maiden Lane, #9))
For a moment all was silence, save for her breathing. Triumph raced through Bridget's chest. At last!
Then she heard a masculine chuckle behind her.
Bridget froze, ice sliding down her spine. The sound could be nothing else, not the wind or a creaky house or even a mouse in the walls.
She turned, pushing the panel shut with her shoulder, and palming the portrait as she did so.
The Duke of Montgomery, all golden hair and sharp blue eyes, and wearing a purple velvet suit, smiled at her from the armchair in the far corner of the room.
"A lovely woman in my bed, what a fetching surprise." He cocked his head, a corner of his beautiful mouth curving cruelly. "Tell me, Mrs. Crumb, what are you looking for?
Elizabeth Hoyt (Sweetest Scoundrel (Maiden Lane, #9))
Every Wednesday Angela Belle came to town. And every Wednesday Dr. Montgomery "accidentally" ran into her. That Doc sat by the diner window for thirty minutes picking at a piece of pie until she rounded the corner did not go unnoticed.
"Never seen a man so whupped," the Sheriff said, rolling a toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other.
"Got him by the short hairs," Willie concurred.
Naturally, every man in town thought Doc was getting some. Naturally, every woman in town knew better.
"A dog don't dance for a bone he's already chewed," Dot said, sliding Ben Harrington's plate lunch in front of him.
"Depends on the bone," the Sheriff said, as they watched Doc run across the street to catch up with Angela.
"Depends on the dog," Dot countered, giving Willie a look that made his face burn.
Paula Wall (The Rock Orchard)
Je vais t’embrasser.” His mouth is moving, speaking words I don’t understand, inching closer. I nod. “Okay.” Those rough, callused hands cup my jaw, thumbs stroking my smooth skin. “Je suis content que tu sois ici, Laurel.” His lips brush the skin beneath my ear. “I’m really glad you’re here.” He’s so gentle. So tender. My eyes slide closed and I bite my lip, bite back a moan. “Putain, tu es jolie,” he murmurs into my ear. “You’re so fuckin’ pretty.” “Merci.” It’s the only other French word I know, and it slips out on a whisper as I tilt my neck so he can plant a kiss there. His warm hands slide to the back of my neck, lips dragging along my jawline. To the corner of my mouth.
Sara Ney (The Learning Hours (How to Date a Douchebag, #3))
An invisible inquisition stands armed with canons outside the house gates of every person awakening to their destiny. Yet God is a playful guard pup, a magnificent constellation with a massive pair of brass balls called the Sun and the Moon. Visibly excited and panting at the game, this gigantic guard pup wags a tail of stars back and forth then lifts his hind leg like a radiant sequoia tree uprooted from the earth. After blinding them and spraying them with bright yellow doggie urination, he towers over the marked territory of tiny toy soldier figurines, barking, panting, kicking up dust, and doing all those playful doggie things. Hosed down with blinding misfortune, and standing there dripping with dishonor, the army finally begins to discover the depths of the unbreakable bond between a person and their pup. However, at daybreak, the big-eyed and floppy-eared puppy happily scurries back through the gate slides on the loose gravel at the corner of the house, darts through the doggie door, up the stairs, and leaps into the bed of his awakening master or mistress, jumping upon them and licking them all over, with the warmth of puppy love.
Curtis Tyrone Jones (Giants At Play: Finding Wisdom, Courage, And Acceptance To Encounter Your Destiny)
I have hazarded into a new corner of the world, an unknown spot, a Brigadoon. Before me extends a low hill trembling in yellow brome, and behind the hill, filling the sky, rises an enormous mountain ridge, forested, alive and awesome with brilliant blown lights. I have never seen anything so tremulous and live. Overhead, great strips and chunks of cloud dash to the northwest in a gold rush. At my back the sun is setting- how can I have not noticed before that the sun is setting? My mind has been a blank slab of black asphalt for hours, but that doesn’t stop the sun’s wild wheel. I set my coffee on the curb; I smell loam on the wind; I pat the puppy; I watch the mountain.
Shadows lope along the mountain’s rumpled flanks; they elongate like root tips, like lobes of spilling water, faster and faster. A warm purple pigment pools in each ruck and tuck of the rock; it deepens and spreads, boring crevasses, canyons. As the purple vaults and slides, it tricks out the unleafed forest and rumpled rock in gilt, in shape-shifting patches of glow. These gold lights veer and retract, shatter, and glide in a series of dazzling splashes, shrinking, leaking, exploding. The ridge’s bosses and hummocks sprout bulging from its sides; the whole mountain looms miles closer; the light warms and reddens; the bare forest folds and pleats itself like living protoplasm before my eyes, like a running chart, a wildly scrawling oscillography on the present moment. The air cools; the puppy’s skin is hot. I am more alive than all the world.
This is it, I think, this is it, right now, the present, this empty gas station, here, this western wind, this tang of coffee on the tongue, and I am patting the puppy, I am watching the mountain.
Version 1 (joy)
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
hissed. The other nodded silently and they moved slowly toward the rear of the apartment. The larger man paused near the bedroom door, squinting in the near dark to inspect a long-barrel pistol he held in his hand. A silencing device was attached to the barrel of the pistol. The other man touched the pistol, his teeth revealing themselves in a smile. “No pissin’ around,” he whispered. “This guy’s good with a gun, they say.” The man with the pistol nodded and slowly turned the knob of the bedroom door, pushed the door wide, and stepped inside, the second man right behind. They were momentarily blinded, squinting into the bright rectangle of sunlight beyond the bed, but the gunman raised his arm and squeezed off three quick shots into the huddled lump on the bed, the big pistol “plutting” dully under the muzzle silencer. Then there was a sliding sound in the corner
Don Pendleton (War Against the Mafia (The Executioner, #1))
The times we live in often dictate the type of entertainment we seek -- and we're starting to slide once more into a very dark and scary corner of American life.
Chuck Wendig (500 Ways to Be a Better Writer)
Dad and I leave town in the early dark. It’s the second Sunday of the holidays, and we pack up the old blue car with enough clothes for summer and hit the road. It’s so early he’s wiping hills of sand piled in the corners of his eyes. I wipe a few tears from mine. Tears don’t pile, though. They grip and cling and slide in salty trails that I taste till the edge of the city.
Cath Crowley (A Little Wanting Song)
disobeying your earthly father? I do. In fact, one of my most memorable experiences with my dad came after I had spilled a paint can all over the carpet while my parents were remodeling a room. They didn’t see it happen, so I went flying up the stairs and dived under my covers. In a few minutes I could hear the muffled voice of my father discussing how I had ruined the carpet. I tightened the sheet over my head and tried to prop up stuffed animals and pillows so he couldn’t find me. I heard him call out to me. Then I heard his feet coming up the stairs. “Hugh Thomas, where are you?” Trying not to even breathe, I remained silent. Then the door opened with a creak, and I felt his feet moving toward the side of my bed. I was terrified. I knew he had found me. I expected him to grab me by the ankle, jerk me out of the bed, hang me upside down, and whale away on my hind end with a wooden spoon. But he didn’t. I just remember him gently grabbing the corner of the sheet, slowing pulling it up, sliding his face under the covers where he could make eye contact with me, and then saying, “Son, you ruined the carpet, but I love you. Why don’t you come down and help me fix this? I’m not mad, but we have to clean it up, okay?” When God came to find Adam, He was upset, for sure.
Hugh Halter (Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth)
Birds of the Western Front
Your mess-tin cover's lost. Kestrels hover
above the shelling. They don't turn a feather
when hunting-ground explodes in yellow earth,
and flares from the Revelation of St John.
You look away
from artillery lobbing roar and suck and snap
against one corner of a thicket
to the partridge of the war zone
making its nest in shattered clods.
floods into subsoil to be blown apart. You cling
to the hard dry stars of observation.
How you survive. They were all at it:
Orchids of the Crimea
nature notes from the trench
leaving everything unsaid - hell's cauldron
with souls pushed in, demons stoking flames beneath -
for the pink-flecked wings of a chaffinch
flashed like mediaeval glass.
You replace gangrene and gas mask
with a dream of alchemy: language of the birds
translating human earth
to abstract and divine. While machine-gun
tracery gutted that stricken wood
you watched the chaffinch flutter to and fro
through splintered branches, breaking buds
and never a green bough left.
Hundreds lay in there wounded.
If any, you say, spotted one bird
they may have wondered why a thing with wings
would stay in such a place.
She must have, sure, had chicks
she was too terrified to feed, too loyal to desert.
Like roots clutching at air
you stick to the lark singing fit to burst at dawn
above the burning bush: plough-land
latticed like folds of brain
with shell-ravines where nothing stirs
but black rats, jittery sentries and the lice
sliding across your faces every night.
Where every elixir's gone wrong
you hold to what you know.
A little nature study. A solitary magpie
blue and white
spearing a strand of willow.
One for sorrow. One for Babylon,
Ninevah and Northern France,
for mice and desolation, the burgeoning
and never a green bough left.
Finally, satisfied that they’ve got as much privacy as they’re going to get, she goes back to the cage and kneels beside it. She stares through the bars at the small, pale face inside. “Hi,” she says. “Hi, Miss Justineau.” “Is it okay if we…” she starts to say. But then she thinks better of it. “I’m coming in,” she says. “No!” Melanie yelps. “Don’t. Stay there!” As Justineau puts her hand on the door and slides back the bolt, the girl scrambles to the other end of the cage. She presses herself hard into the corner. Justineau stops, with the door half open. “You said you could only smell me a little bit,” she says. “Is it enough to be uncomfortable for you?” “Not yet.” Melanie’s voice is tight. “Then we’re okay. If that changes, you tell me and I’ll get out. But I don’t like you being in a cage like an animal with me out there looking in. This would feel better for me. If it’s okay with you.” But it’s clear from Melanie’s face that it’s not okay. Justineau gives up. She closes the door and locks it again. Then she sits down and leans her shoulder against the mesh, legs crossed. “Okay,
M.R. Carey (The Girl with All the Gifts)
Think, my love. Visualize what I put in your head. Trust me as you have never trusted me before. Allow me to give you this gift. There was no hesitation on her part. With complete faith in him, Raven gave herself into his keeping, reaching eagerly for the vision. The slight discomfort, the strange disorientation as her physical body dissolved, did not faze her. Feathers shimmered, sprouted. Beside her, Jacques stepped back, allowing the smaller female owl to hop onto a tall stone angel before his own large frame compressed, reshaped. Together they launched themselves into the night and soared high to join the other four powerful birds circling above them. One of the males broke formation, circled the female, and dipped close to cover her body with one wide wingspan. Playfully she dropped low to slide away. The other males walled her in, curbing her antics as she learned the joys of free flying. The male owls stayed in close formation, the female in the center, circling above the forest, climbing high into the mist. For a space of time they dipped and swirled, clearly playing, soaring high, plunging toward earth, pulling up to fly through trees and over the heavy blanket of fog. After some time they settled into a leisurely flight, once more with the males protectively surrounding the female. Mikhail felt the night remove every vestige of tension and dissipate it to the four corners of the earth. He would take Raven far away from the village, give her plenty of time to learn Carpathian ways. She represented the future of their race, his future. She was his life, his joy, his reason for existing. She was his hold on all that was good in the world. He intended to see that her life was filled with nothing but happiness. Mikhail dropped lower to cover her feathered body with his, touching her mind, feeling her joy. Raven responded by filling his mind with love and warmth and a child’s wondrous laughter at the new sights and sounds and smells she was experiencing. She raced him across the sky, her laughter echoing in all their minds. She was their hope for the future.
Christine Feehan (Dark Prince (Carpathians, #1))
It’s just a kiss,” she says softly. “Why are you all torn up about a kiss?” She’s studying me way too closely. “I’m not torn up,” I protest. “You’ve been moping ever since I told you about the fundraiser, Sean,” she says. “What’s your problem? It’s for charity, for God’s sake.” She lays her free hand on her chest. “My kiss is going to feed victims of domestic violence. I’m doing my part for a better community.” I look down at her mouth. God, I could just slide my fingers into her hair, pull her to me, and kiss her right here and now. But I won’t. Because she doesn’t want me. “I can’t believe you’re going kiss some stranger,” I bite out. “Don’t do it.” “I’ve kissed men before, Sean,” she reminds me. I wish she would keep that shit to herself. “What if it’s some big, goofy guy with really bad breath?” I ask. “What if it’s some big, brawny guy who smells like you and kisses like a god?” she asks. She smiles, the corners of her lips tilting up so prettily. Her fingertips touch my forearm lightly, and she traces the tattoos that decorate my arm from wrist to shoulder. Every hair on my body stands up, and I lift my hand from her knee and thread my fingers with hers so she’ll stop. “If I’m lucky, he’ll be all tatted up, too.” She looks off into the distance, her gaze no longer on me. “Honey, if you want to kiss someone who looks like me and smells like me, I think I can accommodate you so you don’t have to kiss some stranger.” Her eyes shift back to meet mine, and she may as well have just punched me in the gut. She looks into my eyes and stares as if she’s looking into my soul. She can look into it anytime. Shit, I’d give it to her, if she wanted it. But it’s not me she wants. She’s made that abundantly clear. “If I ever kissed you, I would never be able to stop,” I say quietly. My voice sounds like it’s been dragged down a gravel road and back, and I fucking hate that she can affect me this way. “Prove it,” she says, and then she licks her cherry-red lips. She doesn’t break eye contact. I move quickly. This is the first time she’s ever made an offer like this, and my gut tells me that she’s going to take it back. I cup her neck with my palm and pull her toward me. My gentle tug brings her flush against my chest, and the weight of her settles against me and feels so right. Her lips are so close to mine that her inhale is my exhale. My hand quivers as it holds her nape, so I work my fingers into the hair at the back of her head. I hold her still and look into her green eyes. “Tell me you want me to kiss you and you got me, honey,” I whisper. She shivers and inches up my chest ever so slightly, her mouth moving closer to mine. So close. Just a little closer. I can almost taste her. “I want you to kiss me,” she whispers. “Please.” Suddenly, the door opens, and Lacey jumps up, separating us in one final, powerful leap. Fuck. I pull the pillow from behind my head and shove it in my lap, sitting up on the side of the bed. Friday,
Tammy Falkner (Just Jelly Beans and Jealousy (The Reed Brothers, #3.4))
I turn my back to Logan, and he slides the zipper down slowly. He pushes my hair over my shoulder and presses his lips to my shoulder, making me go all quivery on the inside. “What made you come here?” I ask. He shrugs. “I didn’t want to sleep without you.” He tweaks my nose as he starts to unbutton his shirt. He hangs it over the back of a chair, shaking the wrinkles out of it. The racks holding the clothes my mom sent over are still in the corner. “You know,” he says. “I was talking with Henry downstairs. Did you know his wife is so ill she’s in a nursing home?” I gasp. I had no idea. “Is she all right?” I ask. “He goes there every night to sleep because he says he can’t sleep without her.” He smiles and tips my chin up. “I want us to be like them when we grow up.” He grins. “I think we already are them,” I say. It’s true. We are. I am not sure I could live without Logan at this point.
Tammy Falkner (Smart, Sexy and Secretive (The Reed Brothers, #2))
Take me home. But this was home, Jace’s arms surrounding her, the cold wind of Alicante in their clothes, her fingers digging into the back of his neck, the place where his hair curled softly against the skin. His palms were still flat against the stone behind her, but he moved his body against hers, gently pressing her up against the wall; she could hear the harsh undertone of his breathing. He wouldn’t touch her with his hands, but she could touch him, and she let her hands go freely, over the swell of his arms, down to his chest, tracing the ridges of muscle, pressing outward to grip his sides until his T-shirt was rucking up under her fingers. Her fingertips touched bare skin, and then she was sliding her hands up under his shirt, and she hadn’t touched him like this in so long, had nearly forgotten how his skin was soft where it wasn’t scarred, how the muscles in his back jumped under her touch. He gasped into her mouth; he tasted like tea and chocolate and salt. She had taken control of the kiss. Now she felt him tense as he took it back, biting at her lower lip until she shuddered, nipping at the corner of her mouth, kissing along her jawbone to suck at the pulse point at her throat, swallowing her racing heartbeat. His skin burned under her hands, burned—
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
But for now, I would be the happiest of men if I could just swallow the overflow of saliva that endlessly floods my mouth. Even before first light, I am already practicing sliding my tongue toward the rear of my palate in order to provoke a swallowing reaction. What is more, I have dedicated to my larynx the little packets of incense hanging on the wall, amulets brought back from Japan by pious globe-trotting friends. Just one of the stones in the thanksgiving monument erected by my circle of friends during their wanderings. In every corner of the world, the most diverse deities have been solicited in my name. I try to organize all this spiritual energy. If they tell me that candles have been burned for my sake in a Breton chapel, or that a mantra has been chanted in a Nepalese temple, I at once give each of the spirits invoked a precise task. A woman I know enlisted a Cameroon holy man to procure me the goodwill of Africa's gods: I have assigned him my right eye. For my hearing problems I rely on the relationship between my devout mother-in-law and the monks of a Bordeaux brotherhood. They regularly dedicate their prayers to me, and I occasionally steal into their abbey to hear their chants fly heavenward. So far the results have been unremarkable. But when seven brothers of the same order had their throats cut by Islamic fanatics, my ears hurt for several days. Yet all these lofty protections are merely clay ramparts, walls of sand, Maginot lines, compared to the small prayer my daughter, Céleste, sends up to her Lord every evening before she closes her eyes. Since we fall asleep at roughly the same hour, I set out for the kingdom of slumber with this wonderful talisman, which shields me from all harm.
Jean-Dominique Bauby (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)
No, I’d open a refuge for mothers. A retreat. Concrete 1970s brutalism, an anti-domestic architecture without flounces. Something low with big windows and wide corridors, carpets to deaden sound. There will be five or six rooms off the corridor, each with a wall of glass and sliding doors looking on to a cold, grey beach. Each room has a single bed in the corner, a table and chair. You may bring your laptop but there is no internet access and no telephone. There are books with a body count of zero and no suffering for anyone under the age of eight. A cinema where everything you wanted to see in the last eight years is shown at a time that allows you to have an early night afterwards. And the food, the kind of food you’re pleased to have eaten as well as pleased to eat, is made by a chef, a childless male chef, and brought to your room. You may ask him for biscuits at any moment of the day or night, send your mug back because you dislike the shape of the handle, and change your mind after ordering dinner. And there is a swimming pool, lit from below in a warm, low-ceilinged room without windows, which may be used by one mummy at a time to swim herself into dream. Oh, fuck it, I am composing a business plan for a womb with a view. So what? I’ll call it Hôtel de la Mère and the only real problem is childcare. Absent, children cause guilt and anxiety incompatible with the mission of the Hôtel; present, they prevent thought or sleep, much more swimming and the consumption of biscuits. We need to turn them off for a few days, suspend them like computers. Make them hibernate. You can’t uninvent children any more than you can uninvent the bomb.
Sarah Moss (Night Waking)
What changed your mind?”
“I never changed my mind.” Stitch grunted as he threw the bag as far as he could into the black water.
Zak sighed, rushed toward him, and pulled him away from the shore. From the corner of his eye, he noticed the water getting rough in the moonlight as reptiles crept closer in the darkness, ready for some fresh meat. “Will you come back home with me?” he uttered, cold sweat sliding down his back.
Stitch took a deep breath and held onto Zak’s hand. “If you’ll have me,” he whispered. “This was such a shit day, wasn’t it?”
Zak squeezed his hand tightly with a shuddery sigh. A man who had trembled with pleasure in his bed turned into gator feed, and Zak was choosing to betray him. The death could still be discovered, they could still be charged with murder, but he was determined to keep himself in one piece. “I just want to kiss you so badly.”
Stitch bowed down to him and gave the kiss Zak so deeply craved. His soft, warm lips were somehow making all the black thoughts flee into the depths of Zak’s mind. “I can’t please everyone.” His voice was so weak it was getting lost in the sounds of splashing water and buzzing insects.
Zak pushed himself against Stitch and gasped as adrenaline shot into his brain. Stitch’s scent was sharper than ever, spiked with all the stress and fear of the passing day. “I love you.”
“I know, I love you too.” Stitch kissed Zak’s lips once more and stroked the side of his head. “Let’s go home.
K.A. Merikan (Road of No Return: Hounds of Valhalla MC (Sex & Mayhem, #1))
Take your dog over to that corner," he ordered, "and keep him there." Link fought back a yearning to punch the judge, and surlily he obeyed the mandate. Into his memory jumped the things the groom had said about a dog being "gated." If that judge thought for one second that any of those mutts could hold a candle to Chum—. Again he yearned to enforce with his two willing fists his opinion of the judge. But, as he well knew, to start a fight in this plutocratic assemblage would mean a jail term. And in such case, what would befall the deserted Chum? For the dog's sake he restrained himself, and he began to edge surreptitiously toward the ring exit, with a view to sliding out unperceived with his splendid, underrated dog.
Albert Payson Terhune (His Dog)
1930s Functionalism/Modernism Exterior •Facade: Cube shapes and light-color plaster facades, or thin, standing wood panels. •Roof: Flat roof, sometimes clad in copper or sheet metal. •Windows: Long horizontal window bands often with narrow—or no—architraves; large panes of glass without mullions or transoms. Emphasis on the horizontal rather than on the vertical. Windows run around corners to allow more light and to demonstrate the new possibilities of construction and materials. •Outside door: Wooden door with circular glass window. •Typical period details: Houses positioned on plots to allow maximum access to daylight. Curving balconies, often running around the corner; corrugated-iron balcony frontage. Balcony flooring and fixings left visible. The lines of the building are emphasized. Interior •Floors: Parquet flooring in various patterns, tongue-and-groove floorboards, or linoleum. •Interior doors: Sliding doors and flush doors of lamella construction (vaulted, with a crisscross pattern). Masonite had a breakthrough. •Door handles: Black Bakelite, wood, or chrome. •Fireplaces: Slightly curved, brick/stone built. Light-color cement. •Wallpaper/walls: Smooth internal walls and light wallpapers, or mural wallpaper that from a distance resembled a rough, plastered wall. Internal wall and woodwork were light in color but rarely completely white—often muted pastel shades. •Furniture: Functionalism, Bauhaus, and International style influences. Tubular metal furniture, linear forms. Bakelite, chrome, stainless steel, colored glass. •Bathroom: Bathrooms were simple and had most of today’s features. External pipework. Usually smooth white tiles on the walls or painted plywood. Black-and-white chessboard floor. Lavatories with low cisterns were introduced. •Kitchen: Flush cupboard doors with a slightly rounded profile. The doors were partial insets so that only about a third of the thickness was visible on the outside—this gave them a light look and feel. Metal-sprung door latches, simple knobs, metal cup handles on drawers. Wall cabinets went to ceiling height but had a bottom section with smaller or sliding doors. Storage racks with glass containers for dry goods such as salt and flour became popular. Air vents were provided to deal with cooking smells.
Frida Ramstedt (The Interior Design Handbook: Furnish, Decorate, and Style Your Space)