Excerpts from each of the stories:
Blood Ritual of the Crimson Z by Robert Cloud
He continued with his soothing tone, “I promised you a story about these pieces, is there one that draws your attention and summons you to hear its story more than any of the others?
Melanie looked at all the pieces and immediately knew what piece she wanted to hear about. There was something about it that drew her more than the others. Though it was exceptionally crafted it looked like it may have been the first piece that the master worked on before he had perfected his talent.
“Go ahead,” Zachariah urged her, “pick one out.”
She turned to him and tears were in her eyes as she said, “Papa Zach, they are so beautiful, I am afraid to touch them. I am just a plain girl I do not compare to these at all.”
Zachariah took her by the shoulders, looked into her eyes, and said, “Of all the jewels in the world there are two that sparkle brighter than any gemstone and those are your eyes. Of all the treasures in the world there is one that is more finely crafted than any craftsman could ever dream of making and that is your soul. You have no reason to doubt your value you are the greatest jewel in this room. So slide open the doors and choose a piece of jewelry for me to tell you a story about.”
Melanie could feel her heart melting; no man had ever spoken to her like that. No one had ever placed such a value on her. Suddenly she felt very beautiful at least in the eyes of Papa Zach. She turned and pushed the doors aside and reached toward the very first piece in the collection, a ring that was made of a pair of entwined serpents. Before her fingers touched it she heard a gasp from behind her and turned to look at Papa Zach. He had gone white, even whiter than his frail translucent skin was in its normalcy.
Love of a Pendant Heart by Lee Rush
“And what, lovely lady, did you want to ask of me?”
As he spoke, he reached out and took hold of her elbow, directing her to the wall surrounding the well so she could sit comfortably while they talked. He put his booted foot on the wall beside her and leaned forward to hear her better. The scent of flowers that emanated from her filled his senses.
“I bid you good day, Sir. I have but a small favor to ask.”
“Speak then and let me grant your wish.”
“I would not so readily agree were I you, Sir… until you have heard me out.”
“Such a lovely lady as yourself… What could I possibly have to fear from granting a request?”
She smiled slowly, her voice dropping to almost a whisper as she gave him her request.
“’Tis been told to me, my lord that a wedding would be the future here and I would ask that it be sooner rather than later.”
He was taken aback at the audacity of such a statement, and his head jerked up and away from her. When he saw the expression on her face, he chuckled softly. She was serious but there was a twinkle in her eye. This close to her he could see the light sprinkling of freckles across her face and he longed to reach out and trace a pattern between them. Then he shook his head… what was this? He had seen beautiful women before… why was this one so special? He couldn’t put his finger on the reason he was so attracted to her, but his shaft certainly had no problem discerning her charms.
“A wedding, is it? Between…”
“Why… between you and I, my lord. It has been foretold, I assure you.”
He laughed aloud at her words, never thinking of such a thing himself. A wedding, indeed!! He had bed many a lass as comely as this one and had never been wed. What made her think it would be different now?
The Anniversary by Richard Savage
The instruction to remove her last garment could not be far away yet it seemed an age before he said, “And now Evelyn, your panties please.” She had been expecting that, and shimmied out of the lacy material. What she hadn’t expected was his next request. “Would you be so kind as to hand them to me?” Again, the power of this simple request hit her and she handed him the damp swatch of fabric.
Naked and vulnerable now, she looked down at her own body, her erect nipples and damp pubic hair, and the moistness on her thigh. She felt so exposed that she wanted to hide. Her natural instincts made her attempt to cover her body with her hands.
Peter with an almost inaudible “No” stopped her. “You have nothing to worry about you have a lovely body. Let me feast my eyes upon it.”
She stood still as she watched him looking at her, then she saw him switch his attention to her panties. As he fingered the cloth, she could almost feel his hands on her. She watched him scrutinize this most intimate piece of clothing. She felt a little embarrassed as he lifted the cloth to his nose and inhaled her scent. She hoped she smelled sweet. His facial expression reassured her. He obviously liked her musk.
Peter’s attention moved from her to her panties and back again. When he looked at her she could see he looked at her naked body approvingly. Peter had a look in his eye that said he could and would devour her and she liked that.
“You have never given yourself to a man this way before,” he held her panties to his face and inhaled again, “and it troubles you a little…yet it excites you too?” Peter’s voice was calm as if he was talking about the weather.
“Yes Sir… very much,” her voice was trembling and husky. She could not disguise the fact she wanted him. As she stood, her legs parted a little and she gave a little sigh as a cool wisp of air whispered across her labia. She was hungry.
Peter looked directly into her eyes. “I want you.” He stood and moved to her.
Evelyn dropped her gaze but Peter lifted her chin. His hand was warm and smooth. He looked her directly in the eyes again, and stroked her cheek.
With her face in his hands Peter whispered, “I want you to give yourself to me. I want you to do it totally. I want you to do it willingly and without reservation. Do you give yourself to me?”
She felt her face melt into his hands, she felt her knees tremble. There and then, she would do anything he asked. “Oh, God yes.” she gasped. “Yes Sir, whatever you wish of me.”
“Without reservation?” Peter stroked her cheek and looked her in the eyes, never breaking eye contact.
Incorrigible by Abby Blythe (Jessica Joy)
“Black and sweet,” Jason said, standing beside her. From behind, he put his hands on her waist then dropped a light kiss on her neck on the sensitive spot below her earlobe.
Anne let go of the handle of the glass carafe, then turned. “If you keep doing that I’m going to pour the coffee all over the counter.” She inhaled the earthy scent of his soap encircling her and felt the heat of his body. Never had she been more aware of pure male virility. Her nipples pinched, poking against the fine fabric of her blouse. The soft cotton of her blouse rubbing against the tight nubs of flesh made her breasts ache for the touch of his hands.
“If you keep looking at me like that I won’t care about coffee, or anything but burying myself in you.”
She followed his gaze to the needy peaks. It was as if her breasts were reaching out, begging for his touch. She raked her teeth over her lower lip. Why couldn’t she control her reaction to him? Was it because of Virginia? Or had she really unearthed a new, sensual side of her personality.
“But it would be a shame to waste this lovely breakfast.” He slid his hands under her blouse, cupping her breasts with his hands. He circled the wrinkled areolas with the pad of his thumb. “Besides, anticipation will only add to the pleasure later.”
“If you keep doing that,” she murmured, pressing her breasts into his hands. “I won’t care about breakfast or anything but having wild sex on the nearest flat service.”
“Over my dead... er... vaporous body!” Virginia protested. “I spent hours preparing this meal.” She started to pull the carafe from the coffee maker.
Anne grasped the handle and straightened. The mood momentarily shattered. “How about some coffee?”
Jason blinked. “Ah... sure.” The confusion reflected in his eyes.
Taking a couple of breaths, Anne filled two mugs. “There you go.” She handed them to him. “Would you put these on the table?” As soon as his back was turned, she mouthed the words ‘go away’ to the shimmering specter floating in the middle of the kitchen.
Anne slipped on the mitts, then picked up the casserole and turned. The heat from the casserole seeped through a thin spot in the oven mitts, searing her hand. In a knee jerk reaction, she released the dish, and it slipped through her hands. At her soft cry of alarm, Jason turned.
“No,” Virginia cried and dove for the casserole, diving for it like a runner for the home plate. Transparent hands caught it and righted it before it tipped the contents on to the ceramic tile floor.
The casserole drifted over to the table.
“What the hell?” Jason exclaimed, a deep crevice between his brows as it settled on the trivet.
How was she going to explain this? Nothing she could think of could explain the casseroles near plunge and then flight to the table. Perhaps the truth was the best, even though she wasn’t sure how he would react. This certainly would be the acid test of their relationship. They’d had amazing sex, sizzling chemistry, but would it be too much to thrust Virginia’s tale on him as well?
On the Wings of Love by Kara Elsberry
Suddenly she felt she was no longer alone and she spun around, expecting there to be someone or worse, something directly behind her. However, no one was there.
She froze, her hands clasped in front of her, listening to all the sounds of the forest. She heard the breeze through the trees, a bird singing in the distance, and… there! She heard something! She turned around again, peering into the trees.
It was darker further in, as the trees grew together in a tightly knit group. As she squinted her eyes and opened her ears, her finger began to tingle.
She looked down to find her ring glowing… not just from the sunlight hitting it, but actually glowing. Rays of aquamarine light shone out around the edges. The crescent moon within seemed to be the source of it all, filling the jewel with a white hot light.
She heard soft giggling and she looked up, her eyes wide and searching. She saw a small shadow, about the size of a hawk, flit from behind a tree off to her left. To her right, a twig snapped and leaves floated to the ground. She looked up as she heard more of the eerie giggles as yet another small shadow darted up into a nearby tree. The breeze picked up gusting the leaves up from the ground, making them spiral around her and catch in her hair.
She drew in her breath to scream as she began to turn and a hand covered her mouth. A hard body pressed against hers from behind. Her scream came out muffled and short. She caught her breath, inhaling the scent of the hand covering her mouth.
The hand was so warm…almost hot, a curious combination of rough yet soft and smelling of rich earth and all things green and alive. Her heart pounded furiously within, trying to escape to no avail.
“I’ve waited so long for you to come to me.” A low masculine voice whispered seductively into her ear. A shiver went through her, causing her body to tremble. “Do not be afraid my love. Well… maybe a little if you will, I love the way your body feels, trembling against me…” his voice seemed to touch every part of her at once, traveling from her toes to the top of her head, seeming to touch her very core.
The ring glowed brighter with each shiver of emotion coursing through her. He ran his hands down her arms and back up, cupping her chin and turning her face towards his own. Inhaling deeply, he ran his lips lightly from her shoulder to just underneath her chin. She moaned softly as his tongue flicked out and slid across her lower lip.
“You smell of sweet, spicy cinnamon, taste of wild, sensual musk and…” his voice trailed off for a moment as he pondered wickedly before he roughly pulled her back against him, growling his words across her lips. ”You feel like… mine.”
He ran his hands down her sides, leaving a searing trail of heat in their wake. She could feel his need pounding through her, primal in its ferocity. Her body jerked against him, molding to him in perfect fusion and they gasped out in unison, her neck bending back as she found the soft lobe of his ear and took it gently between her teeth.
“Terran…” he moaned breathlessly into the soft arch of her ivory neck. She could feel his control slipping and just the thought of it caused her knees to go weak as liquid heat flared between her legs. She turned to him as he wrapped her tightly in his arms and she lifted her face to his. The sun shone from behind him, creating an aura of golden light and cloaking his face in shadows.
She leaned into him, “Who are you?”
He began to lower his face to hers. “Look for me…I am near…”
The Awakening by Robert Cloud
The sound faded behind him as Zachariah walked to his house but he could still faintly hear it as he stepped under the hide at his door. Inside he was greeted by his wife running toward him and throwing herself into his arms. She wrapped her arms around him tightly and embraced him. It all happened so quickly that it shocked him and nearly knocked him off his feet.
“OOOFF,” the air gushed from his lungs as he caught her and returned her hug, then when he regained his breath he asked, “What is up, my wife?”
Lilith let go of his neck and slid to the floor where she took his hands and led him to the pillows upon the floor and said, “Sit my husband, let us eat our meal and then I will tell you my news.”
Zachariah sat but he pulled her down into his lap and both rolled laughing, “No, my love, you can share your news now. Our meal can wait. I am more anxious to hear what has you so happy.”
Lilith sat up, and then rose to kneel upon her knees, lowering her head she laid her head upon his lap and said, “I pray you will not be angry with me, but I have been leaving the house during the day.”
Zachariah’s intake of air startled her and she rose to look at him with frightened eyes, “No, my husband! I am not cheating on you. I have been seeking information only.”
As he exhaled he could see her relax as well, then she continued, “A woman in the camp told me of a prophetess that lives in the hills beneath Mount Zaboath. Even when I heard the name of the mountain it seemed like an omen to me, the very initial of my husband upon the name of the mountain. So I knew I had to seek her out.”
Lilith paused and looked at her husband. Zachariah saw that she was trying to see how he was taking her story but so far there was nothing for him to be upset or happy about so he listened. “It took me a few days to learn the proper path to her home, especially since I wanted to be here each night when you got back. Then last night you said you would not be in because setting up the saw would keep you up all night and if you made a mistake it might damage the stone.
“So I took the chance and went to see her. I found her right where they said she would be.”
Zachariah stopped her, “Lilith that is impossible, the trip to Mount Zaboath is a three day journey with a wagon in just one direction. You could not have made it in one day there and back.”
“Husband, please believe me. There are things about me you do not know, and I cannot yet tell you. I told the prophetess you would not believe I was there so she gave me this,” Lilith reached behind her and pulled a feather from under the pillow. It was a large colored feather of a bird that only dwelled within the region of the Mountain. She handed it to Zachariah, “The prophetess said that this feather would help you believe until the time that I could reveal all to you.”
His eyes got hard as he looked at her, “When you could reveal all to me? Do you mean to tell me that some of your past memories have returned and you have not told me about them?”
Lilith lowered her eyes, “Husband, please forgive my lie, but I never lost my memories.”