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The Stir of Echo

Author(s): Susan Gabriel

A gifted, but untrained clairaudient with a secret desire to be dominated is about to find out the truth behind the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”

Echo Sullivan has all but given up on herself, her gift, and on men, until she meets her charming new neighbor, Flynn. An invitation to his Halloween Fantasy Ball sends her on a course of discovery, and sexual awakening with life-altering choices.

Flynn’s rakish good looks, sharp wit, and smooth Irish brogue appear to be just what the doctor ordered. He possesses an unsettling ability to recognize, and illuminate Echo’s deepest desires; to stir them up and bring them bubbling to the surface. But Flynn harbors a strange and extraordinary secret. 

What would you say if someone offered you the world…but asked for your soul?


“Sign and date here, and again, right there. These papers will transfer the title of the house into your name.” The attorney offered her a gleaming gold pen. Taking the instrument in her hand, she carefully signed her name on the highlighted areas. The counsel gathered the paperwork, confirming that her signature was affixed to all of the appropriate lines on the document.

“Echo,” he peered over his tortoiseshell glasses, the corners of his mouth turning up in a half-smile. “That’s quite an unusual name. I was wondering if there was a story behind it.”

There was that same stupid question again. Echo twirled her carroty locks around her index finger wishing she had a more interesting answer. The truth was Echo didn’t have a clue why she had been saddled with the strange moniker.

“No story really,” Echo replied. “I suppose I should make one up and have it ready for every time someone asks me that very same question.”

Echo loved to watch people’s expression when she said that. The attorney’s confused visage told her that he wasn’t certain if he had been insulted or not.

 “The truth is, my parents are old hippies, very ‘into’ planetary alignments, and such.  I consider myself lucky that they didn’t name me something like Spring Rain, or Karma.”

 The attorney tilted his head to one side, glancing over his spectacles as if she were a piece of prime rib he was sizing up for dinner. “Well, it suits you, somehow.”

If you only knew the half of it buddy, Echo thought.

As long as she could recall, Echo had “heard” things; snippets of conversations, ramblings, rants, and whispers. They were echoes from another world, bouncing off of the fabric of time into her ears.
 When Echo was a little girl, her Grandmother, a darling but exceedingly superstitious woman from the old country, urged her not to worry. Gran would tuck her in at night whispering stories of mythological Celtic gods and the gifts they bestowed on mankind. But Echo knew that it was just a grandmotherly fairy tale designed to quell her fears.

Conventional medicine had provided no answers to her questions. Physically, she was sound as a dollar. In desperation, Echo had visited The Chicago Center for Paranormal Research. There it was confirmed. She was a Clairaudient.

The researcher explained that a clairaudient was a sensitive, gifted with the keen ability to perceive sounds or words from outside sources, such as spirits or other entities. A gift? It felt more like a damned curse.

The messages she received never seemed meant for her, and Echo didn’t know how she was supposed to act on them. They were an annoying form of psychic eavesdropping, like conversations overheard in a restaurant—interesting perhaps in a voyeuristic way, but soon forgotten.

The purpose of this so-called gift, if there was a purpose, eluded Echo. The researcher advised her, that with diligent training, she would be able to control the communication. Echo had no desire to control anything. She hated making decisions and right now she hated her life. If she was honest with herself, she would have to admit that she hoped one day the condition would just disappear.

When her parents insisted she take their house in the suburbs, Echo reasoned that she was doing her parents a favor by taking the property off of their hands while they raised their consciousness in far-flung corners of the earth. In fact, she was sure she was subconsciously trying to hide, hoping the voices wouldn’t follow her here.

The attor ney dropped the keys to her parent’s old Victorian into her upturned palm. His fingertips brushed the inside of her wrist. A shiver vibrated through Echo like tiny ripples on a still lake.
“You’re dreamin’ girl and you don’t even know that you’re asleep.”

 “Excuse me,” Echo stammered, “Did you say something?”

“Congratulations, I said congratulations on the house.” The attorney leaned over his desktop towards Echo. “Are you alright? You just went a little pale.”

The damned voices again, actually, this particular damn voice. It had been haunting her for months.

The attorney stretched his hand across the desk, bringing it to rest on Echo’s forearm. “Would you like a drink? I think I have some bourbon stashed around here.”

 Echo peered through his conservative spectacles into his grey eyes. The attorney’s gesture was friendly, almost fatherly. Echo’s intuition sensed that it held the promise of more. A vein in her neck pulsed against her throat.

It had been more than a year, sixteen months to be exact, since she had felt the touch of a man. It was not for lack of suitors for there were many who pursued her. Her celibacy was self-induced.
Average men were bores. Few she met knew how to talk to a woman, much less seduce one. She found them to be unskilled and selfish in the bedroom; laying their full weight on top of her while they pumped away with a predictable rhythm. Sweaty hands roughly kneaded her breasts; sloppy, smothering kisses crushed her tender mouth. Some whimpered like wounded puppies when they climaxed. It wasn’t pretty.

Echo wished that one of them, just one, would read a book on the subject or at least aspire to some form of sexual higher education, but they appeared entirely content, even boastful, of their present skill level. Echo sure as hell wasn’t; she wanted more.

Willful and lusty, she had not yet met the man who could handle her. She was born the only child of over-indulgent parents. Some might say that she was spoiled—rotten.

Her expectations were high. Finding no man that could live up to them, Echo decided to bench her booty until the right man came along. No sex was better than disappointing sex, she concluded. Besides, she was no stranger to taking care of herself in that department. It wasn’t exactly the same, but it helped to keep the horny wolf from her door until she found a suitable mate.

Echo considered the attorney’s offer. He was handsome in a suburban sort of way. Neatly trimmed hair, cut into an acceptably short style. A paunch around his middle spoke of hurried meals from fast-food sacks.

 Echo scanned the paper-strewn office. Stacks of legal briefs teetered precariously like paper monuments. Framed diplomas and licenses crookedly lined the walls. Her eyes came to rest on top of a bookcase where plastic sci-fi action figures were arranged in battle.
Oh shit, I’m throwing this one back in the water, she concluded.

Echo withdrew her arm from her counsel’s touch, uncrossed her long, lean legs and rose from the chair. A single bead of perspiration crept from beneath her thick curls, slipped down her neck, and then disappeared like a phantom between her breasts.

“Jaysus lass, you are such a dreadful girl!”

That voice again, it seemed to be taunting her, pointing out her faults. In her gut, Echo knew that this voice was not a remnant of an overheard conversation, leaking through the veil of the otherworld; this particular voice was distinctly closer, and it was speaking directly to her.

“I really should be going now. I’d like to get over to the house before dark and get settled in. Thank you for all of your help on this matter.” Echo shook hands with the attorney before walking out into the unseasonably warm autumn evening.

The daylight hours were fading. Echo turned her face towards the last rays of the sinking sun and inhaled the dewy air deeply into her lungs. It bore the sweet smell of a new beginning.

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 0-9802246-0-8
Genre: Erotic
Date Published: 01/17/2008
Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions

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