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Skin Deep

Author(s): Neal Litherland

Skin Deep by Neal F. Litherland
sensual paranormal romantic suspense
short story (About 9000 words)
Cover Art by Winterheart Design
BIN# JGPR2013005-NL2

The City of Angels is going to hell, and it’s doing it by the book. Miracles happen though, and Malachi’s witnessed it first hand. When someone on the wrong side of town tries to take that miracle away though, the rules get broken. When that happens Malachi picks up the bloody tools of his trade and sends a message that will not be ignored.

Excerpt

Nails raked my back and teeth dragged over my stubbled neck. I thrust myself down, lightning striking earth with our groans the echoes of thunder. My muscles trembled, and Roxanne shook as she pulled at me. Held onto me like I was her savior. I gripped her tight, covering her body with mine as I reached that place inside her flesh. Stroked her and lit her on fire.

She bucked and I held her down. A rough, harsh sound snarled in my throat. As one we raced into that temporary oblivion. We held each other there like the opposite poles of a magnet. Positive and negative, good and evil unable to exist one without the other. Then time started again, and Roxanne gasped as if she’d just been baptized.

“Hells’ bells, Mal,” she whispered, stroking my cheek and nuzzling my chest. I stayed on top of her for another moment, and when I slid off it was with great reluctance.

“So you’ve said,” I agreed. Roxanne slapped my thigh and stretched, arms above her head and toes pointed. Her legs hung over the dark gulf of the floor. I stood, pulled my pants on and wiped sweat from my face and chest like a fighter coming out of the fourth round. Roxanne watched me, her eyes bright in the dim bedroom. “Yes?”

“Nothing.” Roxanne traced her nails across my thighs and belly. She teased my chest and forearms and stroked my sunken knuckles. She read every scar like Braille. “I’m just admiring.”

“Not much to admire.” I looked down at myself. Roxanne grinned and cupped me for a moment. “Well, maybe that.”

“No maybe about it.” I pulled back and kept dressing. I grunted and sucked in my stomach when I buttoned my pants. I remembered a time in the long and distant past when I’d needed a belt to keep them up.

“Want a drink?” I asked. Roxanne shook her head. I shrugged, got the bottle, a glass, and sat down at my kitchen table. I poured the first drink and took it straight. The second one I sipped, closing my eyes and reliving the echoes of the day in my muscles.

“Got your third wind yet, Mal?” Roxanne asked.

I grinned. I hadn’t expected her to come to my place, and I certainly hadn’t expected her to do it after she’d gotten herself clean. Not after all the years since she’d done everything in her power to stay on the other side of that hard line from me no matter how I tried to help. But she had, and we’d been celebrating Old Testament style for most of the afternoon and all of the evening.

I opened my eyes and gave her the once-over. Long and strong, she sported curves slick enough to require warning signs. She’d slipped on my shirt, sleeves rolled and the buttons left open just enough to put my imagination in first gear. It was all topped off with a ragged pixie cut the color of fresh pitch. A sinful present done up in red ribbons and waiting to be unwrapped and played with again. It wasn’t her body, to be fair, but I had to admit she wore it well all the same.

“In a minute.” I took another slug of the whiskey, and it burned its course down my throat. I didn’t grimace. “We older models need some time in between runs.”

“You’re not that old, Mal,” she said, leaning against the bedroom door frame like something out of a calendar.

“Old enough,” I said. Older than her by a page or two of carbon dating results.


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Genre: Urban Fantasy
Date Published: 02/14/2013
Publisher: Jupiter Gardens

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