The Unusual Transformation of Abraham Carver by Neal F. Litherland
steampunk/fantasy erotica, bondage, role-playing, novella (approx 20,000 words)
Imprint: Jupiter Gardens Flare (formerly Undina Press)
Cover art by Jupiter Gardens Press
Release Date: 01/03/2013
Iris’s husband Abraham is slowly dying of a blood disease. The only hope is an experimental procedure, replacing his bone marrow with that of his brother, who has been sentenced to hang by the neck until dead. However, while Abraham’s life is spared, he begins to change. Will Iris discover the extent of it in time?
I awoke to the feeling of gentle fingers stroking my hip. For a moment I remained in a dream, reliving an artist's fancy of my honeymoon. Then the hand trembled, and I opened my eyes.
“I didn't mean to wake you, dearest,” Abraham whispered. He wore his long nightshirt, skinny knees bent to show taut tendons. He swallowed hard, wincing slightly. He tried to pull his hand away, but I laid my fingers across his wrist. There was still strength there. Not much, but some.
“I'd rather be awake with you now than asleep and dreaming about then,” I said. I slowly stroked along Abraham’s knuckles, letting my nails trail his skin. I saw the simple pleasure of my touch light his eyes, and I pressed his hand against my thigh.
“I don't think I can,” Abraham started, but I shushed him with a kiss.
“You don't have to,” I whispered, running my lips along his neck. He resisted for a moment, trying to be strong, responsible, and all of those other things he'd been before. But he loved me too, and he let me push him back down onto the bed. He opened his mouth and kissed me back.
Abraham ran his fingers through my hair, a slow, soft touch. I knew he couldn't manage more, but it was bare drops in a sieve. I stroked along his thigh, my mouth against his neck. His heartbeat rose at the merest touch of my lips, and the lightest brush of my fingers. He looked at me, and his eyes filled with all the love in the world. Warm, water just before a boil. I cupped him, and he gasped.
“Iris,” he called out, his voice a harsh hiss as his throat clamped tight. I smiled, but then I felt the convulsive strength in his hand, and my smile faded. His breath grown harsher, and he gagged, trying to cough. I slipped off him and dug through his bedside drawer. I found the long injector that Dr. Caufeld had prescribed him for sudden attacks. He reached for it, but I slapped his hands away.
“Turn your head, Abraham,” I said, cupping his chin. The muscles of his jaw bunched as he tried, his nostrils flaring as he bared his neck. An alpha wolf showing his throat in age and sickness. I bit my lip, and pressed the needle into the vein. It was easier now; a lumpy, round scar guided the point. I pressed the plunger, and a whiff of compressed gas puffed as another few hours slid into Abraham's blood.
His breathing slowed, his throat opened, and the knots slowly unwound from his muscles as death lost its hold. I let out a breath of my own, and tasted blood on my lip. I dabbed at it with a small handkerchief, and gently wiped the trickle at his throat. I applied a small bandage, and once I'd finished, he opened his eyes and looked at me again. He smiled sheepishly, as if he'd fallen asleep rather than nearly died again.
“I'm sorry, Iris,” he said, but I bent and kissed him. The sting of pain in my lip tasted like disappointment.
“You just rest,” I told him. “We'll find a way through this.”