Chapter 1

He dreamt of blind butterfly kisses left against her skin. The alarm awoke him and he laid in bed long enough to soak up the dream before sliding out of the sheets. Shower, hot water, Mozart. The music lasted for several minutes before dying batteries left only the quiet of his own thoughts.

He stepped out of the shower, large crimson towel in hand. Hair brushed, light use of cologne. Silver chain slipped over his neck, ring onto his right hand.

He was already awakening to a growing hunger. He glanced out the bedroom window at the setting sun.

Time to leave. 

* * *

An hour later and he found what he was looking for.

She was pretty, in an oft-used kind of way, and he recognized her as a regular at the club. The promise of something chemical was enough to convince her to join him in the shadowed alley just twenty feet away.

Keeping his back slanted toward the street against the possibility of curious eyes, he backed the girl against the club wall, reached for her, and breathed her in.

Fear and desire were evoked in the deliberate wrapping of her hair around the fingers of his left hand, a slow tightening at the base of her neck until his grip tugged her head back. Her cheeks flushed crimson and the slight catch in her breathing was almost lost under his words. “Have you seen Jessie?”

No response, just the flickering of eyelids as she fought to keep her knees from giving out. The alleyway next to the club provided a dusky grey background, a hastily sketched setting of hard surfaces and shadowed corners that felt less important, less real, against the hunger he felt. He built his domain on moments like these – steel belief made in the silhouettes of his darker self. He wrapped his will in cords around the knuckles of his right hand, a winding of tension and a hardening of desire until it became a weapon wielded in the touch of fingers that found the steady thrum of a pulse just under the surface of her skin. He felt her crumble, piece by piece.

In…inside. Justin was sp-speaking to her earlier.” Each word was a concession to the growing need he had instilled in her. How she trembled, how soft her voice. Satisfied with her answers, hunger partially sated, he leaned forward to release her. His left hand slipped free of her hair and he felt the long silky strands of gold run between his fingers as he let her body slide gently down the wall. He left her on the ground, her mind clouded by lingering pleasure and a growing cold in the places his presence had warmed.

Getting into the club itself wasn’t difficult. He walked to the front of the line, stepping in front of a young twenty-something girl with raven-black hair and bright green eyes. “Hey! You can’t do that.” She pressed forward, but he had already turned towards the bouncer.

Still riding high from his recent feeding, he flashed the man a smile, sharing a bit of euphoria, a brief surge of elation that left the bouncer off-balance. A moment of hesitation was all he needed to slip past the velvet rope and into the dark club.


* * *

He slid through the crowd, a dark silken presence unnoticed amid the manic energy that permeated the club’s interior. Club music can get under your skin; what doesn’t seep through your pores often beats itself into your head. The music was proving to be an effective distraction.

He needed to get his bearings, pause, breathe. He stepped out of the main room and into a dark hallway with two doors, one set along the right wall, the other at hallway’s end. He considered his choices: a large mahogany door leading to the promised land for those selective few with connections, and a simple door in fire-engine red that led to an outdoor landscape of rain-slicked pavement and milling hipsters hoping to get in.

Information gathering first, then action. And then, if he was still alive, an exit plan.

He rested his shoulder against the wall next to the door, eyes closed; to all appearances, he was a man who’s had just a bit too much to drink, someone in need of a quiet moment without noise. In the darkness behind his eyes, he drew on the hunger he had cultivated from the girl in the alley. Feeding his senses, he let them expand outward.

Careful now, he thought. With practiced precision, he focused his attention away from the rhythmic throbbing of the club’s music, a heady mixture of sharp chords and deafening drumbeats. He directed his senses towards the room on the other side of the mahogany door.

The bass of two male voices could be felt more than heard. They were talking to a third person, a silent presence marked only by rapid breathing. He burned more hunger, focusing on his empathic sense, one that measured emotive energy, and found a miasma of violence hanging about the two men and a violent and dispassionate anger directed at the third person in the room. A decidedly female person.


He didn’t hesitate. He turned the door handle and shouldered it open. Standing just a few feet from the door were the two men he had heard speaking. The first was no taller than he and wore dark blue like it belonged to him; the dark blue came in the form of a tailor-made suit that matched the man’s carefully cut short blond hair and sharp blue eyes. The second man was built like a line-backer and wore a suit that must have cost a small fortune to fit his large frame. In his left hand was a gun – and it was currently aimed at David’s head.

David didn’t recognize the man with a gun, but the first – “Justin.”

Annoyance flickered across Justin’s face; it only lasted a moment before being replaced by a controlled smile, “David. How kind of you to stop by. I don’t believe you’ve met my most recent bodyguard, Vincent” Justin made a motion with his right hand and Vincent lowered the gun. “Or my new friend.” He nodded to the girl across from him.

David turned to face the girl across from them. Jessie, she was not. Where Jessie was a few inches short of six feet, this girl was just over five. Jessie had long auburn hair and bright green eyes; this girl’s hair was raven black and stopped at the nape of her neck. He looked back at Justin, “Where is Jessie?”

“I’ve been wondering the same thing. In fact, you’ve just interrupted my interview with Jessie’s replacement. Her name is Kara.” Justin nodded to the girl standing across from him. “Why don’t you join her over there?

David glanced at the gun in the bodyguard’s hand and then met Justin’s gaze. He held it for a moment, and then joined Kara in the back of the room.

“I’ll be done with her in a moment. And then you and I are going to have a chat.” Justin turned his attention back to the girl.

David followed suit, his gaze settling on the girl next to him. Kara had her arms wrapped defensively around her chest. She was shivering, and it wasn’t from the cold.

The girl radiated fear.

Fear had power. David preferred desire, joy, even pain. But fear had it’s own strength and he dared not turn away from it. The snack the girl in the alley had provided him would not be nearly enough, not if he planned to survive the next few minutes.

There was just one problem: for the fear to be of use to him, he had to have a personal connection to it.

“As I was saying,” Justin folded his hands behind his back, his eyes on Kara, “Your responsibilities at the club will be simple. Your role as hostess is to please the various VIPs that visit my establishment.” Justin paused, smiled, “The job comes with many benefits, such as an exposure to a wide-range of experiences. The VIPs that frequent the club are rather…eccentric, and you’ll be encouraged to indulge their curiosities.”

David was getting a better feel for the source of Kara’s fear. An interview in the back room of a club with two rather intimidating men, one of them holding a gun. The entire set-up felt sinister. In his world, this was the norm. Kara had likely never been exposed to anything so disturbing in her young life.

“What do you mean by eccentric?” Kara asked, arms tightening around her chest.

Justin arched a brow, “Don’t play naive. Nobody applies to work at Maelstorm without having some idea of the clientele we cater to. Oh, you probably thought you’d work here for a few weeks, give out a few massages to the big-spenders, let them smack you on the ass, make some connections, and then move on.” Justin leaned forward slightly, blue eyes glittering. “And you will make those connections. But they’re going to cost you more than a few games of slap-and-tickle.”

David didn’t have much time; he knew where this conversation was going, and at its conclusion, Justin would turn his attention to him. And that particular conversation had a more than even chance of ending with a bullet in David’s head. He had to act.

Reaching over, David wrapped Kara’s hair around his hand and tapped into the last of the fading energy he had cultivated in the alleyway, using it as a physical force to drive to her knees. Kara gave a startled cry and rolled her eyes up to meet his own. He held her gaze and reached…waiting…waiting…and there, a sliver, a thread of fear that was all his. Carefully, but nimbly, he tugged on the thread, spooling it inside. With his fingers tightening at the nape of her neck, tugging her head further up, the thread thickened, weaving a pattern of fear for him to use.

Keeping her on her knees, David glanced up. Time was short – Justin knew what he was, and the bodyguard had most likely been working at the club long enough to have ideas of his own. In fact, the gun was already coming to bear on David’s chest.

Kara’s fear had an edge to it, so he kept things simple, honing the edge into something visceral. His left hand rose just a few inches, in a cutting motion, and red lines appeared along the hand holding the gun.

With a soft grunt, the bodyguard reflexively squeezed the trigger, but his aim was off. The bullet shattered a glass lamp behind David and Kara.

She gave a small scream. The sight of blood on the bodyguard’s hand and the firing of the gun fed into her initial fears. David felt true terror blossom inside of her. The terror had no single source, but he had provided more than enough inspiration to make use of it. With practiced mental dexterity, David used his initial grip on her to tap into the terror and take it in.

Fear had a very particular taste to it, dark molasses and quicksilver. It stuck to the surfaces of his mind, shifting slowly, a steady threat of suffocation. But the physical response was swift, a shot of adrenaline that filled his veins.

Time slowed for everyone but him. Justin and bodyguard were already over their initial shock and both faces were frozen in expressions of anger. David’s hold on Kara provided a conduit for him to share his slowed perception of time, a perception that allowed him to react much faster than those around him. Physically, his body would struggle to keep up with his racing thoughts, but it did provide him with the advantage he needed.

Keeping his hand on the back of her neck, he drew her roughly to her feet and shoved her in front of him, towards the door. She twisted the handle, opening the door just far enough for David to push her through. Like a wolf nipped at her heels, he used her own fear to drive her forward.

She ran the four feet between the hallway’s two doors, banging into the door under the exit sign. It shuddered, but didn’t open. David reached past Kara and pushed hard, but the door remained closed; he closed his eyes, casting himself forward. Fear had force, but no finesse – he couldn’t make out what was blocking the door. And he didn’t have the seconds necessary to wrestle the flow of fear into something capable of delicate work.

He stepped back, pulling her with him. David closed his eyes and focused on her thudding heartbeat. Drawing in the rest remnants of her fear, he kicked at the center of the door.

The door flew open with the sharp sound of metal breaking. It hit the brick wall of the building’s exterior, cracking the surface, and rebounded back towards his foot. He stepped back and let the door swing close with a shudder.

With the last of her fear ripped from her, Kara had quietly slumped to the floor. David could hear the loud staccato of running footsteps coming from the room he had just left. David assumed Justin had paused only long enough to call for reinforcements. He reached down, slung her right arm over his shoulder and nudged the exit door open with his foot.

Shattered links of the chain that had bound the door closed laid scattered on the pavement. He stepped over them and out into the night.

deadliest of gifts

This is another scene from a novel I worked on a couple years ago; I've already shared a couple of scenes here. The scene below occurs between those two snippets, and involves his former mentor's attempts to send him a warning – one that involves a great deal of personal cost.

The scene opens at his house of residence and business.


“I can’t.” 

“Yes, you can.” My voice was quiet but held more than enough steel to keep her focused on me. 

“I c-can’t. I tried, really I did, but I can’t do what he’s asking, it’s too much.”

I’m not often inclined to interrupt people; I consider it not only rude, but counter-productive. Given enough time, most people will respond to silence by saying or admitting things they hadn’t intended to share. Silence is a weapon of strength.

In this case, however, I had more important matters to attend to. “Stop.”

She glanced up but did not meet my eyes. I gripped her right wrist tightly and drew it behind her back, a move that forced her body up along mine. With her pressed close enough for me to feel each deep breath, I lowered my head to her neck and spoke in a soft but clear voice, “Who do you fear more? Him, your husband, or me?”

Her body, already wound like a steel coil, tightened even further. “You,” came the ragged whisper.

I pulled her even closer, knee nestling against the top of her thighs, “Why?”

"Because…you…make me…want things.”

I closed my eyes, enjoying the warmth of her trembling body and breathing in her scent – cloves, with a hint of licorice. “No,” I said and then lowered my lips so that my next words were spoken against the curve of her neck, “I don't make you do anything. You will do it because it is what you desire. What you need. I am simply giving you,” I smiled, “permission.”

She did not respond verbally, but I felt it in the lines of her body: the way her thighs tensed and then parted against my leg, the way her deep breaths came just a bit faster – and in her pulse, which I could feel in the heat under my lips. I held her a moment more and then released her abruptly. The hand holding her wrist spun her out until she faced the doorway she had fled from. She paused for a moment, shivering, and then stepped back into the room.

I watched the door close behind her and took a moment to straighten the cuffs of my tailored shirt, adjust my black overcoat, and pick up my cane from its resting place against the wall. I waited several minutes to see if she would need more convincing but the door remained closed. I turned and proceeded down the hallway.

My cane rapped sharply on two consecutive doors. I was several feet further down the hallway when I felt Elayne fall into step just behind me and to the left. Isabel joined her on the right a second later.

I knew it was coming, but it still didn’t stop me from smiling; Elayne’s voice was low and sultry, “You know, for all the crimson you wear, I begin to wonder if you have a thing for blood. Or maybe it’s your plumage – you almost look like a cardinal preparing for a funeral; is it mating season for dead birds?” I didn’t answer, but spared a glance towards Isabel who was trying to hide a smile. I shook my head and continued down the hallway.

*           *           * 

Downstairs consisted of just one rather expansive, if sparsely decorated, greeting room. There were two exits: the stairs, which I now walked down, and a rather large set of doors on the other side of the room. The room itself was empty of furnishings with the exception of a few tasteful tapestries and an antique secretariat beside the stairs.

In the silent seconds it took reach the first floor, I considered my two companions and their attire. Isabel’s slender frame was accentuated by the sleek midnight blue gown and her black hair was kept in a single elegant braid along her back. Elayne’s hair was also black, but where Isabel’s was the color of onyx, Elayne’s was a softer, charcoal black. She was shorter then Isabel and all curves – a fact not hidden by her violet gown, slit to mid-thigh. I was keenly aware of them, a connection intimate in its subtlety; at the bottom of the stairs they took up positions to either side of me.

The woman waiting in the center of the room was one I recognized. Her green eyes were a bright shade of emerald and not easy to forget – no matter how much I disliked the person they belong to. Just behind her was a man who stood a good foot taller then the woman. He held himself still and without expression. He did not appear to be armed, but I could not see his hands. That made me uneasy.

“Keili, what is so urgent that you felt it necessary to come to my place of business when you know you are unwelcome here?” I kept the tone of my voice relatively restrained despite my growing unease. I knew Keili and had a solid understanding of what she was capable of. This man, however, was unknown and therefore quite dangerous. Elayne and Isabel must have felt me tense – they glanced at each other and stepped a bit closer.

Keili smiled. “Master M, I am here to convey a message.” she said and touched the black butterfly clasp that held her pale blonde hair in place. I found the color of her hair less impressive than her eyes, but as a whole, she could be considered beautiful. I glanced again at the man behind her. She noticed my gaze shift and added, “This is the messenger, Joseph.”

Joseph took a step forward, eclipsing Keili and giving me my first full look at him. More often than not, it only takes me a few seconds to assess people.

Unfortunately for me, it took him even less time to deliver his message.

His hands came forward with a flash of steel. I heard the sound of something solid and sharp meeting flesh and I knew that the two knives had found homes in my companions. I closed on Joseph just in time for him to connect his fist to my face with enough force to throw me off my feet.

The man was fast. And strong. Stunned, I found myself on my back. Listening to my friends die.

As I lay there gathering my wits, I tried to block out the soft gurgling sound of Isabel and Elayne trying to breathe around metal. Dizzy from the punch, in took all of my concentration just to roll onto my stomach. I pulled myself to my knees and risked a glance upwards to see Joseph and Keili watching. I’m not sure what I expected, but they hadn’t move in for the kill. The death of my friends was clearly a message I was meant to survive. By the time I finally found my feet, it was to silence.

Standing there on unsteady feet, I’m not entirely sure what frightened me more – the idea of dying or the fact I was able to press aside the wave of grief that threatened to pull me under. I didn’t try to save them; the cold part of me knew it was already too late. I forced myself to ignore the raw nerves left from the brutal emotional amputation of two people whose ties to me ran deeper then those between lovers or friends. What was left, with the grief locked away? I was scared. Nervous. And something else. Angry.

It started with the incessant pounding in my head and the ache in my bruised cheek where I had been hit. The wetly sucking sounds my friends made while gasping for air. I found the empty places in me where Elayne and Isabel had been and let anger fill them instead.

I wiped blood from my lower lip and looked up into Joseph’s eyes. “That was exceedingly unwise.” I did not let the anger slip into my voice. It was not his to have. Still, he found something not to like in my gaze because his left hand was slowly reaching towards his back again.

I may not be as fast or strong as this man, but this was my home. I stumbled back several feet until I felt the wall behind me. I reached left and my hand found the sliding top of the secretariat. Joseph’s hands were just coming forward again with the glint of two more knives when the crossbow bolt appeared in his neck. His eyes widened, and he attempted to choke something out. I found it rather hard to understand around the obstruction in his throat. He wobbled and let the knives slip from his fingers, reaching up in a vain attempt to touch the bolt in his throat. What he thought he could do now, I hadn’t the faintest idea. There was a soft thud as he crumpled and slid to the ground.

I had two bolts left in the custom made hand-held crossbow, both of which were now aimed at the woman standing four feet in front of me.

“Jaedin, don’t! This was just a warning, a message. Please, Jaedin, I’ll tell you–“ Keili was staring at her dead companion on the ground and her words tumbled out breathless and desperate.

I evaluated the circumstances and decided not to listen through her begging. There was always the off chance she would confess to the true meaning of her message, but it might also give her the time needed to manage an unlikely escape. I released the first of the remaining bolts into the largest target available – her torso; I’m not a perfect shot and I wasn’t going to take any chances. It took her in the stomach; at the distance I was shooting, the bolt hit with convincing force and she doubled over. I sent the last bolt at her head and was pleasantly surprised to see it hit. The shoot rocked her head back and she joined Joseph and my friends on the floor.

I returned to the secretariat to retrieve three new crossbow bolts from a small drawer along the bottom, and a steel lath from one drawer up. I settled the three bolts into their wooden grooves and considered what I knew about the situation; whoever had instigated this attack knew I was weakest against a direct physical assault. I relied heavily on my influence over others to ensure the safety of my home and friends.

I used the steel lathe and slowly pulled back on the hemp string, taking my time as I thought about the implications of what had just occurred. That someone would risk the consequences of such actions meant one of three things. They were exceedingly stupid, exceedingly brave, or exceedingly sure of what I would do next. I had few living enemies left; that they were living precluded them from the first two options.

So. They thought they understood me well enough to guess what I would do next. Did they think I would fly into a rage at the death of my companions and do something reckless? Did they believe I would burn coldly, carefully plan out my revenge, and take my time to ensure their suffering? I settled the fully loaded crossbow down on the secretariat and ran one finger along the smooth wood of its stock. I turned and looked at the two bodies who only minutes before were smiling behind me. There was rage. There was grief. I wanted to embrace both.

But…not yet. I had things to do first.

Whatever my enemies thought I would do, whatever rules they thought were being followed, it wouldn’t help them.

I was about to change the game.

a kiss, is a kiss, even as dessert

A couple of small snippets from a novel I started writing a couple years ago; it never got very far, but I did have a few scenes that remain captured in my imagination.

The following scenes are two moments in the entwined lives of a woman who thought to raise a child to use for her own ends, and the rewards she reaps for doing so. 


“Motives are complex, but needs are simple."

“You must do this for me. You owe me.”

“I owe you?” Where burning anger might have fed my desire, the cold fury I felt at her words left me numb of anything but its grip on me. “What do I owe you?”

"I took you in, I taught you how to be a man.”

At my side, my fingers curled until I could feel the nails biting into my palm. “You didn’t take me in. You bought me.” My voice was soft as I recalled Jasmin’s words so long ago. “You bought me, and you want your money’s worth. You didn’t teach me, you crafted me, trained me like I was your pet. All so that you could get your revenge; you hate them for what they did and you want to see them suffer.”

Her eyes flashed up to mine and I could see the candlelight reflected in her gaze, “You hate them too.”

“No.” I shook my head, “I don’t hate them. I pity them.” I drew in a slow breath and felt the chilled bite of my anger slip away, “I will do this for you. Because I do owe you. But after this, there will be nothing left between us except what is deserved.”


A month later, having completed his favor to her, she put into motion a string of events that would lead to his death.

They don't succeed. The evening of the annual masquerade ball, he extracts the price for her not entirely unexpected betrayal. 

And there she stood.

I gripped her hair tightly and drew her head back to expose the long curve of her throat. I was ready for this.  I brought the knife up to her neck.

And then I kissed her. Hard.

I felt her tense under me. Her fear made me pull her close, close enough for her heat to become lost lost in mine. I felt her shudder and my lips parted against hers, tasting her for the first time.

I made her mine in that moment and everyone in the room knew it. My eyes moved from one noble to another. Not a single person would hold my gaze; one by one, they looked away.

I let her go, and she slumped to the floor.

A Proper Education, Part 1

This is an excerpt from a story I wrote last year. I never got around to concluding the thread started with this scene, and I'm now considering the possibility of separating it from the original story and giving it a life of its own.

Here is the excerpt, with a few edits and the protagonist's name changed.

There is a land, very far away, and often forgotten.

In this land, there is a small harbor town.

There is a cliff by the town, and on this cliff is a lighthouse

At the top of this lighthouse is a hexagonal room of glass designed to protect both the source of the lighthouse’s brilliant light and the light keeper who maintains it. Five of the six walls of the room are made of glass and bordered in bronze; the sixth wall is not a wall at all, but a glass door. The revolving lamp in the center of the room takes up most of the available space, but there is a a three-foot wide path around the perimeter that can be walked in comfort.

Within this space, facing out towards the glass, a woman is held suspended by rope.

Although this room had been built for a single purpose, the master of the lighthouse had made some adjustments. Spaced at every foot and a half, hooks circled the ceiling above the path bordering the lighthouse lamp; a matching set of hooks followed in precision along the ground. Four of these hooks were currently in use and had, attached to them, long strands of rope that ended in leather strips. Positioned correctly, the leather could be used to hold a human figure spread-eagled above the ground. A figure such as Evelyn’s, the woman currently held locked into a spread-eagled position a good foot off the ground.

Sebastian paused on the last step of the spiraling staircase. A woman’s beauty can be captured in her silhouette; the hazy borders of the female form simplified in a manner that bypasses surface desires and strikes a much deeper chord. Shading gives definition to curves of breast and hip, depth to the concave shadows at the apex of her thighs.

He watched the suspended figure take each slow breath. The rising and falling of her chest in a rhythm that was both calming and stirring. She had the well-exercised but not quite lean body of someone who was used to working outside but knew the luxuries of a good home. Her dark brown hair draped over her bare upper back; her head was lowered and her bangs hid her in a waterfall of brown that obscured the details of her face. He didn’t need to see the details to remember well the dark green of her eyes.

He thought back on the circumstances that had brought her here. The daughter of a small town’s mill owner, she was cursed with enough beauty to attract the attention of a wealthy merchant. The arranged marriage brought her father enough mercantile contacts to increase his wealth twofold, but had brought her only the grief of a loveless relationship. This proved to have some unforeseen consequences; on her wedding night, every male within three miles – including her husband, the town mayor and several prominent clergyman – experienced a quite sudden, and rather dismaying, loss of ardor. Such a blow to male pride is hard to swallow no matter how forgiving the partner. This continued for several months (coinciding with each attempted consummation of the marriage). The extent, nature and source of the problem would have gone undiscovered (being of a subject not much admitted to, much less discussed) had her husband not complained loudly to her father in one of the town’s local pub. Looks were shared, connections were made, and an ultimatum was provided: she would need to learn to control her gift or have her wedding nullified before being exiled from the town.

Her father had sent her to Sebastian with a plea and several bags filled with gold. Neither meant much to Sebastian, but the sadness in the girl’s eyes had convinced him to take her in.

Sebastian stepped into the lighthouse room and walked to Evelyn. She raised her head, green eyes meeting his. There was no fear in her. Her vulnerability left no place for it.

The right balance of pull along the ropes holding her aloft kept muscle strain to a minimum – but she had been there for hours. Sebastian could see her fatigue in the slight trembling along her arms. His long fingers brushed strands of brown hair away from her face, fingertips tickling her cheek. His voice, when he spoke, was soft, “Why are you here, Evelyn?”

Evelyn raised her head just a bit further. Her eyes had the clarity of molten glass. “To serve…myself.” The words slipped free without hesitation, a reflex as deep as breathing.

He nodded once, “And how best to serve yourself?” His fingers drew down against her chest, parting so that thumb and pinky each found the starting curve of a breast.

Her breathing caught, and her eyes closed as she focused on his hand, the way it continued its path lower, to her stomache, palm resting at the top of her abdomen. “By serving you, by serving you…” the words were breathed more than spoken and she shuddered as he turned his hand and slid it between her thighs, fingers curling up to feel the searing heat of her.

Sebastian spoke just a single word, but it was enough, “Yes.” She responded to it by rolling her hips forward, swaying in the ropes to press his hand deeper against her. Sebastian wrapped his free arm around her, hand coming to rest on the small of her back. He drew her into an embrace close enough for him to rest his cheek against the smooth heat of her breasts.

He listened to her heartbeat as two of his fingers slid inside of her and moved along the top, finding the slightly rough spot just a few inches inside. It did not take long, body shuddering and moving under his rhythmic touch, before she came hard into his hand, her thighs tensing and relaxing but unable to close on him. She was open, restrained, and completely at his mercy.

Sebastian remained there for a moment, fingers inside of her, listening to the music of her heartbeat, waiting for it to slow before slipping his fingers free. Taking his time, he knelt on one knee and released each of her ankles from the leather's embrace. Standing, he pressed himself fully against her and then pushed her back until he felt the weight of her body alongside his. Carefully, he released each of her wrists and felt her sag into his arms.

In silence he lifted her, cradling her naked form in his arms, and carried her down the stairs and to her room. Settling her into bed, he drew soft white sheets over her and smoothed the hair away from her face. She had not stirred since he taken her down, and he smiled to see her now turn her face towards his hand, lips brushing the palm. “Rest Evelyn. For tomorrow will see your final test.”

He left her there, in the dark, with a single candle as company.

“A day in the life of…” – End Notes

And so concludes the story. Well, mostly. There is the matter of a young girl awaiting her final lessons…poor Evelyn, is she ready for what is in store for her?

But I will conclude that thread another day. For all intents and purposes, the story is complete. I went ahead and placed the story as a whole in one place so that it can easily be read from beginning to end: “A day in the life of…”

“A day in the life of…” – Part 10 (Conclusion)


They left the inn in silence. Demnse Jacobsen’s voice must have carried as the servants on the third floor all stared at Jaedin as he led Marcus down the hallway and stairs and out of the building.

Outside, Jaedin paused to draw on his leather gloves and took the opportunity to instruct Marcus. “Pay attention. You cannot always know which way the deer will bolt. But you can make some damn good guesses and make sure the bush they run through are ones you planted beforehand.”

Marcus digested this and then said, “M’lord…I’ve been thinking about those fireworks. I think…pardon me for saying so…that it is highly unlikely that they could have caused the immolation we saw in the kitchen.”

Jaedin inclined his head slightly, “Highly unlikely? No, not highly unlikely. Impossible.”

The boy blinked, “Impossible? But -”

“Remember, for the last six months Miranda has been beaten and raped regularly by M. Leindrich.”

The boy fell silent and no further words were spoken until they reached the corner of the road, rounding it, “But if you knew…why didn’t you….”

“Stop it? I won’t coddle them, Marcus. If I had stepped in and put an end to what is a disappointingly common set of circumstances, I would have spared her this pain at the expense of a future filled with it. She is not under my care and I cannot always protect her. That she needed me to step in would signal to all the other predators that she is easy enough prey. Now….well, no matter what the findings of the court, people will wonder about exactly what happened. And she will be left alone.”

Stumbling, Marcus paused in his walking. “The court! If they should make the connections -”

“They won’t.” Jaedin tapped the boy on the rump with his cane to start him moving again, “They’ve already been publicly embarrassed over this. They won’t want to revisit the issue. Even should they suspect, they are more then likely to sweep it under the rug. What is the fate of one cook or the vengeance of a man known for his brutality compared to their illustrious careers? No, Marcus, this case has been closed.”

The boy appeared lost in thought for the rest of the walk to where the carriage was waiting for them, “The firecrackers…don’t you have an interest in them as well? The old man who comes around every other fortnight with his cart?”

Jaedin gave a thin smile, “Perhaps. Let us say that I dislike leaving things to chance. And arranging for the fireworks vendor to stop by their house early last week is a small price to pay for peace of mind.”

Marcus shook his head, “The whole time you were investigating, you knew exactly what had happened. But how? How…did you know she would do it?

“She is imperfect, like the rest of us. I did not lie to the Constable, Marcus. This was not an involuntary act or accident of any sort. It was the deliberate act of a human being pushed too far. Yes, I did train the girl. But despite public opinion, my job is not to break them apart. It is to break them down and then give them the tools to rebuild. In that process they gain the strength and knowledge to control their abilities. They are not inhuman, and we all have our limits. M. Leindrich found hers, and though her training made it possible for her to control her gift when angered, it did not have stop her from it’s deliberate and calculated use for the oldest of reasons. Cold hatred. I more than knew what would happen, Marcus.” He paused, “I made it happen.”

Marcus fell quiet for the rest of the walk and only spoke again upon reaching the carriage, “I think I understand, Master Jaedin.” He hesitated and then followed this up with, “Does that mean we all…have a breaking point? Even you, Master Jaedin?”

“Don’t be impertinent boy.” With only the barest hint of a smile he helped the boy into the carriage. The journey home was uneventful.

“A day in the life of…” – Part 9


A short carriage ride later brought Jaedin and Marcus to the front of a large inn. As if to make up for his earlier silence, Jaedin had encouraged his protege to speak up; the ride, brief as it was, had been filled with questions.

“We’re a society of leisure, Marcus. They’re not going to bestir themselves much over death by stupidity.”

Marcus’ brown eyes looked to Jaedin, “Stupidity?”

“Raping someone who has a reputation for starting deadly fires qualifies as stupidity in most anyone’s book.” Jaedin answered before climbing out of the carriage and approaching the doors to the inn.

Marcus followed, and, ever the diligent servant, held the door the inn door open, “Then why…”

“…is there a fuss at all? Because we can’t have the hired help offing the rich, even if they deserve it. If one gets away with it, others may get similar ideas of justice.” If there was sarcasm to his words, Jaedin hid them well in the tightness of his smile. He stepped past Marcus and into the inn.

No one seemed willing to disturb Demnse Jacobsen to notify him that his had visitors. When even the innkeeper himself refused, Jaedin lost his patience, “Room three-one?” The innkeeper nodded, looking slightly abashed.

“Right then. Marcus, with me.” Jaedin took the stairs quickly, sick of the time already wasted. On the third floor he found the right door and knocked loudly. It took several minutes of constant knocking before a servant answered the door and he and Marcus were granted admittance.

“Do you know Grace?” Jaedin was standing in front of a large desk, behind which sat a man of rather large proportions.

“Grace?” Jacobsen’s dark brows furrowed as if he was searching his memory. “No, I don’t believe I do-“

“She knows you. She runs the Crimson Room and considers her time spent with companions quite confidential – but we are old friends. Old…and close…friends.”

“What are you suggesting?” Jacobsen pushed away from his desk and stood, his large meaty hands landing atop the hard wood with the sound a large tree being felled – intimidating, if you were you were the sort to be intimidated. When Jaedin didn’t react as Jacobsen had expected (which is to say, react at all), crimson bled into his cheeks, “Do you know who I am? I am a Demnse of the church! I can have you branded a heretic. I can have you shackled and buried somewhere so deep you won’t remember your name by the time your rheumy eyes next see daylight. You will be a snack for the other prisoners and the rats they keep as pets. You are nothing! How dare you come in here with accusations and slander….” Jacobsen would have continued, but his large frame couldn’t seem to catch the breath it needed to keep him standing, much less speaking. He leaned into his desk, red-faced and heaving as Jaedin studied him.

After a few seconds, Jaedin spoke, calmly, and in soft tones polar opposite to those used by Jacobsen. “Let us be frank. You don’t have the stature needed to have a prominent citizen of this county detained, much less,” Jaedin paused as if the act of calmly recalling Jacobsen’s words took an act of considered restraint, “dragged into a dungeon and left as a snack for the vermin. The only reason you have any authority over this particular case at all is because ArchDemnse Henliech is enjoying a three week sabbatical at one of my vineyards and you were visiting a relative here in town at the time of the murder. As for your time spent with Grace – well, the other clergy might not be too shocked that you buy time with women of her nature – many of them do the same – but they may be more disturbed by your…oh, how did she put it… inclination to prance? We all have our vices, Demnse, but being mounted by a woman while wearing nothing but a saddle, bridle, and horse tail sticking out of your ass, may strain the respect of even the most liberal of your brethren.” Jaedin smiled, “Not that I have anything against such behavior. Very forward thinking, very in touch with your animalistic side. But will your peers feel the same?”

Jacobsen stared at him silence, whether still out of breath or simply without words, it was hard to tell.

Jaedin withdrew his handkerchief from his pocket and settled it on the desk. Carefully unfolding it, he revealed the small black cylindrical object he had picked up earlier: the charred remains of a firecracker. “Let us discuss this case against Miranda. There really isn’t one. All we have is an eyewitness placing her near the kitchen at the same time as the fire. Oh, and the knowledge that in the past she has exhibited some small gift for firestarting. A gift she has not used in five years. There are no reports of its’ use, by the Kytrell family or anyone else, since her training was completed. For all we know, the gift has been entirely repressed.”

“On the other hand, we have some concrete evidence, found through diligent investigation, that suggest another explanation.” Jaedin nudged the blackened side of the firecracker, rolling it across the desk. “This was found amid the debris of the scene. And we have an eyewitness that says a box of fireworks were purchased by the household in preparation for the upcoming solstice festivities. Purchased and then placed in the kitchen above the firepit. Perhaps not the safest place for it to be kept.”

“Isn’t it more likely that Master Kytrell was at fault for his own death? That he reached for a caramel pear, found a firecracker instead and his surprise caused him to knock the whole box of firecrackers into the firepit, sending flaming fireworks through-out the kitchen – an act that may have ultimately led to his demise?” Jaedin lowered his voice to a notch just above a whisper. “Why don’t you forget about Miranda, Demnse Jacobsen. Forget about her and my good friends ArchDemnse Heinlich and Grace. Decide the case as inconclusive due to reasonable doubt, and move on to better pastures.”

Silence. Seconds stretched into minutes as the two men stood staring at each other. Finally, Jacobsen spoke, “Get…out.” The words were forced past clenched teeth and the knuckles on Jacobsen’s hands turned white as his fingers curled against the desk. “Get out, or I will have you thrown out.”

Jaedin shook his head slowly, “No. I don’t think so. Not until I know you are going to do the right thing and let past actions stay in the past.” Just whose past he was referring to was left unsaid.

“Oh, you will have your writ.” The table shuddered under Jacobsen’s weight as he drew himself to his full height, “But I warn you, should our paths ever cross again, outside of this shitty little province you call Erenthia, you will not find yourself a happy man.”

“Happiness is fleeting, Demnse Jacobsen, and the path to it strewn with misguided hopes. I walk a different path.” Jaedin turned and motioned for Marcus to follow him out of the room.

“A day in the life of…”“- Part 8


Books; the room was filled with them. Three of the four walls were lined with shelves and each shelf was so crowded with books they became geometrical puzzles of art. The room was being barely large enough to hold two people, much less two people and several hundred books. Jaedin felt slightly uneasy in the small space.

One look at the woman sitting on a wooden bench beneath the shelves and suddenly there was little room for feeling anything but a quiet sadness. “Miranda.” Her name filled the small cell, and she looked up. Her eyes were red from weeping, but there were no tears on her cheeks now.

“Master J-jaedin.” There was the slightest quiver in her voice; Jaedin shut his eyes as if to block out the pain wound so tightly into those two words. The name was a prayer to her, a prayer, question, and answer. Two steps brought him to the bench; his fingers brushed the top of her raven black hair. With a small shudder, she leaned into his hand. “I tried, really I did. I tried so hard to do as you asked.”

“I know you did.” Jaedin slowly drew his hand away. “You did all that was asked of you. I just wish…” He paused, “that you had not been forced to endure for so long.”

And now the tears came again. Quiet tears, one after another, falling without sound onto the floor of the room. “Every night…he came to me and f-forced…f-f-forced himself…it was t-t-too much…”

Placing a hand on either side of her face, Jaedin gently raised her gaze to his, “He raped you, Miranda. He raped you in the worst possible way. What he did gives even rape a bad name.” Lips brushed her cheeks, tasting the salt of her tears. “You must be strong for a little longer yet, dearest Miranda.”


Although the next destination was only a few minutes away by carriage, Jaedin sent the carriage ahead and struck out on foot. Marcus tailed behind him wordlessly.

Half an hour later, Jaedin paused before a large stone gateway with a hanging sign that read ‘Kytrell’. Motioning Marcus to proceed ahead of him, they passed through the gateway and onto the estate’s grounds. It did not take Jaedin long to find the kitchen. Even the stones that lined the outside of the room were blackened. The door that had once provided the kitchen access to the woodpile was no longer there. Jaedin and Marcus stepped through the empty doorway and into a room filled with the faint aroma of charred pig and burnt spices. Silently, Jaedin paced along the edge of the room, careful not to disturb the wreckage of pottery shards and ash taking up much of the space.

Marcus finally broke the silence, “Are you looking for something, Master Jaedin?”

Instead of answering, Jaedin ran the edge of his walking stick through the ashes, shifting charred black pieces aside. Lowering himself, careful to keep ash from the cuffs of his stark white shirt, Jaedin lifted a small black cylindrical object from amongst the debris. Satisfied, he stood and spoke, “Come Marcus, we have one more stop to make today.” Wrapping the object in a handkerchief, Jaedin pocketed it and led the way back to the carriage.

Job Satisfaction

To me, reading someone’s writing, especially if they don’t do much of it, can be more intimate then kissing. (Note – this is a *fictional* story).


SB White

I slowly let my skirt fall below my knees, revealing my pink garter and crotchless panties. I bent over, picked up the shirt, and put it on the chair with the rest of my clothes.

Dance,” he ordered. I slowly began to gyrate my hips, running my hands over my breasts, my stomache, my crotch.

Take off your bra.” I unhooked the front of the clasp and placed my bra on top of my other clothes.

Pinch your nipples.” I let my hands roam over my round breasts, stroking my nipples until they were hard. I pinched each nipple between my index finger and thumb.

Twist.” I twisted.

Pull.” I pulled.

Stop. Go answer the door. Don’t put on any clothes. Bring your guest in here.

I went to the door and opened it. There stood a tall, beautiful, dark haired woman in a long leather coat with a large hand bag. I took her back to the room.

Tie her up.” Wondering what I would use, I reached for her. She grabbed my wrists, took a pair of handcuffs out of her coat pocket and placed them on my wrists. “Put her on the bed and secure her hands to the headboard.” She tied the handcuffs to the headboard.

Make her beg.” She took off her coat to reveal she was wearing nothing underneath. She grabbed my right breast and twisted my nipple hard while she bit my left breast. She continued to work my tits with her mouth and moved her hands to my cunt. She parted my lips and slipped a finger inside me. She massaged my clit with her thumb while she moved her fingers in and out of me. I was so hot…and then she stopped. She sat down in a chair, pulled a cigarette out of her coat and lit it. She told me that if my nipples did not stay hard, and my cunt wet, I’d pay. I laughed. She smoked her cigarette and went to the bathroom. When she returned she pinched my nipple and declared it was time for my punishment. I tried to tell her I was still wet, but she would not listen. She tied my legs to the bed so that they were spread wide. She took a clit whip from her bag and began to spank my clit. It stung. My clit burned. It turned me on even more but I wanted her to stop. I asked her very nicely to stop. She laughed. I begged.

Stop,” came the command. She stopped. “She’s had enough of that for today. Make her come.” She bent over the bed and kissed me. She moved her mouth down my body to my cunt. She gently sucked on my clit and fucked me with her fingers. After just a few minutes, I came.

Now leave.” She stood and untied me. She kissed me on the mouth, put on her coat, and started to walk out the door. I noticed the clit whip sitting on my chair. I told her she was forgetting it.

“It’s a gift from him, ” she said as she walked out the door.

I went to the computer and typed, “Thanks.”

I thought you might like it,” he replied. “The money has been deposited into your account. Same time, same place?

“Of course,” I replied. I turned off my webcam and shut down my computer.

I love being a cyber whore.