My Pithy Epiphany

People Suck Ass…

I was going to indulge in a psycho rant, but then I started typing and I thought, eh, fuck it.

So, yeah, I changed my mind about that whole ranting thing, but since I’m here I might as well do something, right? Soooooo, I decided to share a quote that makes me laugh and consequently keeps me from psycho ranting. That, my friends, is some serious circular logic that I just threw at you.

Actually, this might come off as being kind of arrogant, since it’s my own quote. Hmmmm…oh well, again I say, fuck it. ‘Cause that’s just the kind of classy gal I am. 😉

Now, I’m all nervous, like I’ve built it up too much…it’s not like I’ve discovered an at-home method of cold fusion technology using an empty two-liter bottle and a used Slurpee machine. That – would be impressive. This, however, is just a tiny excerpt from a phone conversation between James and Cecelia that makes me laugh.

EXCERPT:

“Did you do-him-dirty, Celie,” he asked quietly. He sounded so serious that my thoughts began to tumble wildly as I searched for a logical explanation for what had happened. I should have known he was faking, I mean, it was James after all. “You are really making up for lost time, aren’t you? For three years you lived like a nun, and then suddenly your vagina is getting more play than a Taylor Swift album at the junior high dance.”

“Oh my God James, how can you say that? Taylor Swift is way more popular than my vagina,” I said with mock sincerity. A smug smile was plastered on my face as I listened to James howl with laughter.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Author’s Note: The previous excerpt is written solely with the intent to entertain the reader, it is in no way indicative of my thoughts about, or feelings toward Taylor Swift, junior high dances, or anyone’s vagina. It is merely a mildly humorous anecdote that pokes fun at pop culture…and vaginas.

Q&A for Catching on Fire, by Sue Knott

1.  What is the title of your book?

Catching On Fire

 2.  What is the genre and age rating?

I like to think it crosses many genres. Since the heroine is 24, it fits best in the New Adult category. But, it also includes romance, adventure, suspense, humor…even a wee bit of a sci-fi/paranormal. (Never met a genre I didn’t like, I suppose.)

 3.  Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.

A young woman discovers that others see the same symbols she has in her head. Since the symbols (Glyphs) feel like they are the solution to the dystopian visions connected to them, the woman (Rachel) sets out to find other seers in an effort to translate the Glyphs’ meaning. She’s also searching for love. And she discovers so many people and events aren’t at all what they seem on the surface.

 4.  Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?

It is the first in a planned trilogy. The second book is supposed to come out in 2013, but I’m cutting it close, so it may be 2014.

I did a series mostly because an epic project would require organizational and memory skills I simply do not have. Plus, I’m trying to blur the line between fiction and reality.  I’m writing about the present and near future. If I get too far ahead on the future and I’m not accurate in predicting the course of events, that blurry line starts coming into focus.

5.  Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

I’m not big into descriptions. Rachel has a slight frame and is, ahem, well endowed. She’s very self conscious about her chest. And she’s very intuitive. Scarily intuitive, actually.

6.  What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

No particular scene comes to mind, but Rachel is borderline paranoid. She worries about EVERYTHING.

7.  What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Well, this would take pages! I tried to make Rachel as Mary Sue as I could get, since that seems to be the popular fiction fad du jour. Except, I wasn’t a very good model for a Mary Sue so I invented a character that combines all the best traits in every young woman I’ve ever admired. Rachel is a pretty amazing character.

8.  Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension?

Oh, there are several. Isn’t that how it is in life? There’s either no one or too many choices –but no choice stands out as obviously perfect on most given moments. We run the gamut on relationship styles. I can tell you, when I was writing one scene, I really wanted to have it go further. Not for the book, but for me. If my husband had been with me that night, he would have been a very happy man. Unfortunately, I was out of town at the time. However, I wanted to keep any encounters in the book at a level appropriate for a Young Adult audience. I have lots of high-school aged readers.

9.  Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

There’s an aw-schucks farmboy type with a great, lanky body. A sophisticated middle-easterner with a slightly more compact great body. The farmboy’s brother who is totally ripped. Gee, I’m sensing a theme here.

10.  Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?

I fell for one of the romantic interests. But, I’m not going to say which one. The driver, Faris, turned out to be a kind of a combination bodyguard/father figure. He’s so interesting he got a lot more ink than I intended.

Then there are two young girls, twins, that I hope to have a much larger presence in the second book. That’s actually a bit of a problem right now — they keep stealing the show and taking the second book down a path it’s not intended to go.

11.  Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known?

My mother swears Rachel’s grandmother is based on her. But she isn’t. There are some events I’ve borrowed from  my real life (I’ve been in extreme danger at least a dozen times), but no characters based on real people.

12.  Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…

I think the first few chapters that you can read as a free excerpt on Amazon give you a good taste for the book. But, to give you a sense of some of the action, here’s an excerpt at the point where Rachel’s world starts spiraling apart:

Excerpt:

I could barely drag myself out front. My feet felt like giant blocks of concrete that my wobbly legs couldn’t attempt to lift. Once I heard the shots, I felt like I slipped into an alternate universe. Surely this couldn’t be my world. People did not shoot guns in my world.

I simply wanted to crawl into a corner, curl up in a ball and disappear. I’d been running on adrenalin when I thought that just maybe there might be some way I could help. But now that the shooting had stopped, the thought of facing the aftermath had me paralyzed with fear. I didn’t want to see what happened. If I didn’t see it, I could cling to the hope that everyone might be all right. But, deep inside, I feared the worst. I imagined innocent people sprawled bleeding and dead across the sidewalk. All because of me. Because of my stupid website.

I can’t begin to describe the level of dread I felt walking toward that restaurant door. Would there be children crying for their dead mommies? Or mothers for their children? Would Jim’s involvement in all this cost him his opportunity to get a medical license? I would have been very happy to have the earth explode. For those endless seconds it took to reach the door, the future seemed too difficult to bear.

We peeked out the door. Any sign of physical threat appeared to have ended. The van with the masked gunmen was gone. Three bleeding bodies were strewn across the pavement. A half dozen or more people were out there. One was bent over the evil mother, trying to stop her bleeding. A couple of the others were holding guns on two masked men, which seemed unnecessary. Except for the blood pouring out of them, they were motionless on the pavement.

Jim rushed over to the mother and started tending her wound. He yelled instructions for the others on how to stop the bleeding of the masked men. No one moved, so I went over to apply pressure as Jim directed. One of the others followed suit.

The guy I tried to help appeared to leaking rather than actively bleeding. “Jim, I think he might be dead.”

Many thanks to Sue Knott for giving us a personal tour through her squishy grey matter!!  Okay, that sounds gross…but you get my point.

To purchase Catching on Fire, click the cover at the top of the screen or you can purchase it through one of the following links:

~*~ Amazon ~*~ Barnes and Noble ~*~

Find out more about author, Sue Knott and her other works by clicking one of the following links to become her fan, follow her, or internet stalk her in a non-creepy way.

~*~ Goodreads ~*~ Catching on Fire, Facebook page ~*~ Sue Knott’s Facebook Page ~*~

 

Q&A for The Healing Heart, by Jennifer Howard

1.  What is the title of your book?

The Healing Heart

2.  What is the genre and age rating?

It is a contemporary romantic work of fiction. It’s age range is middle teen to adult.

3.  Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.  

The Healing Heart is a fun, funny, quirky look at starting over, when it comes to love. The main character, Jamie Hansen, has spent two years mourning the loss of her husband, Paul, coming to grips with reality, and moving on. She doesn’t expect to ever find a love like that again, choosing to be grateful for what she had, while she had it. Then BAM, Conley Michaels comes onto the scene, and everything in Jamie’s little world gets a charge of electricity. Jamie soon realizes lightning can strike twice, when it comes to love. It takes a heck of a journey for her to make it to that realization, though. Take Jamie’s madcap ride and laugh right along with her!

4.  Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?

It is not part of a series. It is written from the perspective of Jamie, the gal. I have contemplated writing it from the perspective of her love interest, Conley. I definitely plan on writing an alternate ending in short story form and releasing that later this summer. It could be sort of a companion piece. Then it would be in the readers hands as to which ending they preferred.

 5.  Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

My main character, Jamie Hansen, is a woman in her mid thirties. She has aged beautifully and is in great shape–curvy in all the right places. Her hair is a straight mousy brown stacked shorter in the back with the front sweeping her shoulders. She has blue-gray eyes, full lips, a slight dusting of freckles on her face. I never chose an actual person in real life to compare Jamie to. I wrote her a little ambiguously because I wanted any woman to be able to place herself in the character of Jamie, as she is reading. The description of her comes from Conley, as I included an excerpt at the back from his POV. He’s all man, so of course he’s going to notice the physical details! haha

 6.  What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Jamie’s only true fault, in my opinion, is her lack of self esteem. She doubts herself way too much, and eventually, she equally doubts the way Conley feels about her. This is an excerpt from a pretty big scene. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I think it proves her ‘fault’.

Excerpt:

“Conley this…this is amazing.  You are amazing.  I know you say I deserve you, but how?  How can that be true?”  He sighed and as I flung open the library doors, my eyes were full of tears, my heart full of doubt.  Looking in my rearview mirror as I drove away, Conley leaned in the open front door, sadness etched across every line of his face.  My tears started to flow, blinding me. 

7.  What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?  

Jamie’s best qualities are her humor and her wit. She is goofy and charming. You can’t help but love her and root for her, in my opinion. Others have expressed the same sentiment to me.  Here’s an example, as she prepares for her first date with Conley:

Excerpt:

I dusted off my yoga DVD and popped it into the player.  Ten grueling minutes later, I patted myself on the back, thinking, Yay, me! There’s exercising for the next month or so under my belt!  Next up on the agenda, brunch.  I didn’t want to skip two meals, and I knew I was going to be way too keyed up for a conventional lunch.  So I indulged in an extra large bowl of organic granola, some Greek yogurt, and about a pint of fresh strawberries.  Hey now, I was still burning calories from my yoga!  I told myself I would scarf down a banana later, energy food for us ‘healthy’ people on the go!  HAHAHA!

8.  Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension?

Jamie obviously still has feelings for her deceased husband, Paul.  When Conley Michaels enters the picture, the connection is instant and electric, though. It isn’t exactly antagonistic, per se. It’s more like she is trying to convince herself to stay away from him…and doing a very poor job of it! It is a romantic and steamy relationship, but not habanero-style steamy. (boo, I know, but hey, I did it for the kids and the grandmas out there…hahaha)

9.  Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person. 

Conley Michaels IS the actor Sasha Roiz, to me. He is scrumptious. I could eat him alive. Tall, well built, masculine, dark hair with a slight wave, but kept short, olive complexion, dreamy green eyes. I described him in EXTREME detail. haha…just as I see him in my dreams every night…kidding…(maybe) 

10.  Who is your favorite secondary character? Why? 

I love Jamie’s sister in law, Katie! She is one hot mess. She’s really funny. I like humor, especially the weird, dry, smarty pants variety. This describes Katie perfectly.

11.  Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known? 

My characters, with the exception of Conley, all have elements of people I know. My characters are representations of my life–people I love, conversations I’ve held, things others have said. That’s why The Healing Heart is so precious to me. (And if you’re wondering, Conley is all made up in my head…but in Sasha’s voice. #obsessed, you ask? Hmmm…)

12.  Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…  

Here is Jamie, the night before her first date with Conley. You’ve gotta put yourself into context, here. This is a woman who hasn’t dated in over sixteen years. She’s excited and a mess at the same time. Just as she’s ready to change her mind, her crazy sister-in-law, Katie, comes to the rescue! Hope you enjoy!  

Excerpt: 

Was I ready for this yet or was I moving too quickly?  I knew it was just dinner, not a marriage proposal, but still, what did I even really know about Conley Michaels?  He was handsome; scratch that, drop-dead, make you want to faint, gorgeous.  He was obviously intelligent, assertive, a real go-getter.  He was confident, responsible enough to run his own business, worldly enough to brave the likes of New York City and beyond, but quaint enough to appreciate the attributes of a smaller town and make it his home.  He was funny, charming—wow, turns out I did know a lot about Conley Michaels, after all!

But what if he ran a drug cartel?  Or sweat shops in Asia?  Or what if he had a refrigerator full of heads in his basement?  He seemed so perfect, so why wasn’t he already taken?  He must have some deep psychological flaw!  Or maybe he was married!  Maybe he had a wife in every big city across this grand ol’ USA of ours!  Or maybe he was a scam artist, preying on lonely widows?  I had to cancel our date; it was the only safe option!  My imagination was running wild!

Deep down, I knew Conley wasn’t involved in any of those things.  It was the fear of the unknown that was fueling my panic, all the same.  What if this date ended in a shambles?  Where would my self esteem land then?  Could I just pick back up and start my life all over again?  Or what if it went really well?  Was I ready to explore that option?

As my mental tirade raged on, my phone rang.  No one ever called after 10 p.m. on a weeknight, so my heart began to race.  Was mom ok?  Was it Conley calling to cancel our date?  Nope—neither nor.  It was my sister-in-law.  Oops, I was supposed to have called her a week ago!  Well, a little distraction therapy was exactly what I needed right now!

“Hey Katie-bug.”

“Hey James, did you forget about me?”

“No, well, yes.  Things have been really crazy lately.  How have you been?”

“Same ol’—so spill!  What’s been so crazy that could possibly make you forget about Wednesday night girl talk?”

“Well, it’s fall insert time so work has been pretty hectic, soccer is in full swing, algebra is kinda kicking Gretchen’s tail, and I met somebody.”  I tried to slide that last part in on the coattails of my normal, mundane life.  Maybe she wouldn’t notice and I could just pretend I had never said it.  Yeah, and maybe a purple polka dotted alien would streak across my room in the next ten seconds, too.

“You…did…what?”  Her pauses were too slow and dramatic in between each word.  I knew the onslaught was coming.  “When did this happen?  What’s his name?  Is he cute?  Where did you meet?  Is he from here?  Is he older?  Ooh, younger?  Did I ask ‘is he cute’ already?”

Thankfully she had to come up for air.  To stymie any further interrogation, I quickly answered, “Last Friday…Conley Michaels…yes…Dad’s benefactor ceremony…yes…I don’t know, he seems to be around my age…no, I’m not a cougar…yes, you did, and yes, he is…again.”  Phew!

She gave an ear-splitting shriek!  “I…AM…SO…HAPPY…FOR…YOU!!  Did he ask you out?  Please tell me you said yes if he did!”

“Yes, he asked me out!”  I laughed.  “We are supposed to be meeting for dinner tomorrow night, but…”

“But what?”

“But what if he has a refrigerator full of heads in his basement?”

“Excuse me??”

And with that, I let it all go.  I told her everything, about the ceremony, how we met, about running into him (literally) again after soccer, about my decision, about mom and Gretchen’s rebuttal, about the phone call, the texts, all of this evenings crazy thoughts.  I really let her have it!  Surprisingly, for Katie especially, she really listened and let me rant and rave.  When I finished my little vent session, she quietly asked, “Are you quite finished?”

“Yes,” I spoke, a little breathless.

“James, you can’t mess this up, you just can’t!”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I hope you have enjoyed this little sneaky-peek into The Healing Heart, by Jennifer Howard! 

Do you want to see more?  Yep, you know you do! Click on one of the following links to purchase a copy…

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Do you want to know more about the brain behind the book?  Well, be sure to check out the author, Jennifer Howard…

Follow her and/or become a fan by clicking one of the following links: 

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My Serendipitous Encounter with Irving Podolsky

Sometimes, my stupid mouth gets me into trouble…

Let’s just say that self-monitoring is not one of my strengths. Oh, I’ve come a long way, I’m no longer letting my mouth write checks that my ass can’t cash. I’m still not entirely sure what that means, but I no longer let my ass handle my financial affairs, so I’m covered either way. The point that I’m trying to make is this: not everyone appreciates a droll sense of humor. In fact, some people get downright testy. Yeah, my mouth sometimes gets me into trouble…but sometimes, I get lucky.

Sometimes a coincidence is more than a coincidence, sometimes it’s serendipitous…

Okay, I’ll stop with all of the dramatic prose and get to the story, because it is a good one!

As an indie author, marketing and promoting my work has been much more time consuming than actually writing my book.  Ugh.  I really hate self-promoting…I even hate the phrase ‘self-promotion’. Some authors really take it to the extreme; it’s more like self-love or self-gratification. Yech. I hate the smarminess and back-slapping. I am just really bad at it, I am much better at self-deprecation, or irreverence. Yep, I like irreverence, it suits me.

So anyway, the other day, I was perusing the discussion threads on an indie author forum when I came across one thread asking group members for enlightening discussion topics. Sadly, only one group member had responded to the original question. Looking back, I now realize that his suggestion was both serious and enlightened, however, I barely even glanced at it.

Instead, I suggested that we discuss the “badass pornstache” in his profile picture. 

16505_20x16_P_MM

Yes, I was being a bit of a smart-ass, but in my defense… Do I even need to say it? I mean seriously, have you ever seen a more perfect example? I can answer that question for you. No, you have not… and I will tell you why.

When I made my slightly inappropriate suggestion, I assumed the man behind the profile pic was a 20-something hipster trying to be cool by using a retro photo as a profile picture. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I was wrong, but the word wrong, doesn’t really cover it.

This is an actual photo of author Irving Podolsky, complete with the pornstache that may very well have been the original pornstache. Wha -huh?

This photo of Irving Podolsky, author of Irv’s Odyssey (A Trilogy), was taken in the early 70s, when Irv worked in the porn industry as a film director.

So you’re thinking coincidence, right? Nope, it is much more than a simple coincidence…because that one irreverent suggestion led to a shocking discovery, friendly banter, and professional admiration.  That, my friends, is serendipity.

I love literature, I love books and reading, I love words…lots of people do. I would say that lots of people write too, but that would be a gross understatement. Thousands upon thousands of people write and publish every day, some write very well. However, I can count on one hand how many fellow indie authors write with humor, emotion, and purpose. Irv’s Odyssey is not just a story, it is a journey through life as told by a story-teller, with a droll sense of humor…cause nothing else would do. 🙂

So, without further ado… I would now like to present fellow author and new friend, Irving Podolsky:

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Well thank you Ms. Lavocat for your kind words. I’m jazzed about this invitation but honestly, I have boredom-fear. I’m afraid when people read why I write what I write, they’ll find it uninteresting and go away. This is just me. Other authors answer your questions and stay sticky. I’m compelled to cut to the chase – SEX.

I like sex. It’s fun and it feels good. But there’s more important reasons why jumping on butts is good for you, assuming the couple (or more) agree to this one tiny rule: STAY REAL.

Even more than real – STAY OPEN – EXPRESS TRUTH.

Okay, okay, too heavy. It’s not fun when it’s about going mental. You’re right, it’s not fun. It’s something else. It’s a connection. And it takes confidence and trust to make that happen.

But you know that. And here’s something else you know. After a while, after the feel-good part cools down, if there’s no connection it’s time for another f**k buddy. 

Nothing wrong with that but growing up I was looking for love…and a job. Sound familiar?

I wrote a trilogy about that stuff. It’s titled Irv’s Odyssey, and it starts when my character, Irving Podolsky, graduates UCLA film school and it ends when Irv finds Miss Dreamboat.

(I’m not Irv but I took his name. He’s okay with that.)

Anyway, between 1970 and 1975 our lad encounters many strange jobs, none of which is about making movies. He does however, meet a ton of intriguing people. Some work in porn, some in a mental hospital, some in food service, some in Europe, and some in other dimensions (as in, out-of-body travels).

Is there romance? Kinda. But you won’t find it in most of my sex scenes because when love is kindled between Irv and his Soul Mate their intimacy stays closed. But stick around. Along the way Irv trips into plenty of You want WHAT? sex open to the public.

For this post I chose three scenes from Book One, Lost in a Looking Glass. They’ll give you an idea of how Irv learns about naked girls. My hero is almost a virgin when his story begins, and as I said, his first gig out of school dropped him into directing adult films. Scary. Everyone knew what to do but Irv.

The scene below picks up near the end of a chapter where Irv met, by accident, another porn queen at his friend’s place. Her name is Summer and husband is in jail for dealing weed and male prostitution. She’s lonely of course, and she wants Irv because he’s a nice Jewish boy wanting to do the right thing. Problem is, “right” and “wrong” have turned upside down and Summer needs to explain that.

Irv tells his story in first person. Right now, he’s trying to leave a married woman’s bathroom as he contemplates all the ‘what-if’s.

Excerpt: 

As I reach for my shirt I see that she’s not taking her eyes off me, nor moving out of the doorway. And I’m thinking, this night was always about sex. And I can’t deny she’s a turn-on. But the only thing that comes out of my mouth is, “What about Jake?” 

“I told you. He’d understand.”

Maybe he would. And maybe adultery doesn’t count anymore. But honestly, what I’m more concerned about is feeling enough attraction for this girl to override the guilt factor. Suppose my conscience kicks in and decides there’s ‘Potential-damage-down-the-road’ and that warning shuts down my body. I’d come off as a limp dick, which would get back to Rog and Rhetta and maybe Jack at Python, and who knows who else. Worse, I’d get smacked in the face with the cold truth, that I’m still hung up about responsibility when it comes to sex.

But I don’t want to be hung up. I need to go through with this, for my own self confidence. I have to be able to have sex, just for sex, without the inhibitions. Because that’s what people do now. Sport-fucking is in.

Yeah. I’m going for it. I drop my shirt to the floor and take a step closer to her. She reaches for my hand, gently slides her fingers between mine. “Don’t be scared,” she says, “It’s just me.” 

*****

It’s dark. I’m lying next to Summer in Rog and Rhetta’s bed. She’s licking my neck. Should I worry about the kids waking up? Don’t think about that. Whooh! Now she’s caressing my face with her soft lips while purring into my ear. How could Jake possibly understand about this? Don’t think about that either. Concentrate on how sexy this is and how you’re feeling down there. Stiff yet? Yeah… So far so good. It’s all good. When was the last time these sheets were changed? Mom changed my sheets once a week. They felt great after a bath. God, her hands know where to go.   

“Irving…”

She’s whispering. It’s sensuous. I breathe out a… “Yeah?” eyes still closed.

“Will you use my toy?” I open my eyes. A fat, twelve inch black wiener is silhouetted against the ceiling. That’s her toy? Who could compete with that? Only a jack-hammer.

She throws off the covers, hands me that log and rolls onto her tummy, butt in the air. “Turn it on,” she instructs. Oh… There’s a knob on the back. Looks like it moves. I twist it. The thing starts vibrating and buzzing. And ya know what? I feel about as sexy as a vet examining a zebra. But I move it around down there anyway, and she starts moaning and undulating and she’s getting louder and now I’m really afraid she’ll wake her kids. But they don’t come in, and Summer’s eyes roll back, her lips pucker and she grabs the sheets, balling them up in her palms.

Climaxing, or sounding like it, she rolls over, grabs my neck, pulls me down onto her body, rubbing me, jabbing her tongue into my mouth. She tastes like a garlic pizza with cigarette topping, as her hand moves between my legs. I’m getting tight again. Focus! Focus! Block everything else out, including the garlic.

Oh boy. She’s moving her face to where her hand is. Whatever was turned off in me is now turning on. Big time! But like, I’m making it with a married mommy. Is this okay? Yeah. This mom is okay. Really okay? Guess so. And I’m still holding up. All systems ‘GO.’ 

Relax Podolsky. Concentrate. Let the body take the reward. It’s a gift. No strings attached. I’m not taking. I’m giving. Oh no! Oh no! I’m losing it! She knows it. She’s moving my own hand to her body parts as she rubs me off. “Oh Irv…come inside me. That’s right…that’s right….Oh God! Oh God! Irv, you’re so good! Oh Jesus, yeah!  You’re doing it soooo right!”

Oh… Uhh… Concentrate! Let it happen… I’m back! Charged hard. WOW! Fireworks? Well… Not exactly. 

*****

 How long has it been since my big bang? Or little bang. Four minutes? I’m staring up at the ceiling, with Summer’s head resting on my shoulder. I think she’s asleep. And I’m just grateful I finished the race, limping over the finish line. After that incredible build up, the best I can say about it is – it was…adequate. And now it’s quiet again and lonely again, because I’m lying with a wife I borrowed for the night, on cold sticky sheets.

 Yeah…I know. Not the most romantic interlude in literature. But it wasn’t supposed to be. It was what it was, like real life.

Here’s another scene about real life with Beverly Walker. She too is a porn gal, but shy as a daisy. How porn and shyness go together is beyond me, but this is the story that came out and Irv went with it.

His first date with Bev was a total crash and he promised himself never again would he try to make love to an introvert on a dirty couch strewn with cat food while two gals shoot smack in the back room. But Bev got herself another place in the Hollywood Hills and invited Irv up for… Well, you’ll find out.

Excerpt: 

Walking into the kitchen, I look through the wide doorway into the den. Now this is a place for romance; real leather couches with big fluffy throw pillows, soft lighting, a wine collection, a super sound system wired into the ceiling and a God’s-eye-view of LA. It’s a love nest, where I will soon be melting into Beverly Walker’s luscious breasts, a girl without a single spoken word to share with me. But what the hey, I will get past that. I will communicate through feelings, playing her body like a vintage violin, kindling her passion – building, building, building toward orgasm until we climax in perfect harmony. Or something like that. I hope.

She hands me a Miller out of the fridge and as I follow her into the den, I realize she’s wearing the exact same hot pants and halter she had on the last time. It’s a repeat performance, this time done right. So sitting next to her on the couch, facing Johnny Carson and his monologue on the TV, I get cozy with Beverly Walker. Just past the RCA is the wall of glass and the twinkling city lights far below. What a cool place to make love.

My hand goes over her bare shoulder just as she’s about to light a cigarette. I pull it out of her mouth with my free hand and nudge her down onto the cushions, making this comfortable couch into an even more comfortable bed. We start kissing and my fingers begin their journey, moving under her bra-like thing to her warm soft breasts. And yes, this time, it’s good with Miss Walker. It’s all good; her kissing, the spectacular setting, her sexy mood, the privacy, the footsteps shuffling past us on the other side of the couch… 

WHAT?! THERE’S FOOTSTEPS?!

Taking a breath and holding it, I slowly raise my eyes up over the couch arm. There’s a bald guy walking into the kitchen wearing tennis shorts and nothing else. He grabs a beer out of the fridge, turns and heads back to us. I duck, signaling Bev to zip it. I hear his bare feet crossing by, moving down the hall as he hums Raindrops Keep Falling my Head on his way to the bedroom wing. There’s a door close. Game over!

I spring off Bev’s body to stand over her. And in a loud angry whisper, I start the questioning. “Was that the guy who owns this place?!”

“Uh huh.”

“Does he know I’m here?!”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t KNOW!?

“He said I could have friends over.”

“To fuck?!”

“That wasn’t nice.”

“Beverly, what were you thinking? Suppose we were doing it. He would have caught us! Is that a climax for you?

“No.”

“But you always seem to have sex with people around! What kind of crazy turn-on is that?”

“I don’t know.”

She doesn’t know. How can she not know? Doesn’t she think about anything? How can a girl so conflicted be so dense at the same time?

She lights her cigarette, with her attention shifting back to Johnny on the Tonight Show. “Bev, I’m sorry. I think it would be better if I leave now.”

“Okay.”

“I’ll just let myself out.”

“Okay.”

“I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.”

“It’s okay.”

And that’s how it ended with Beverly Walker. After three “okay’s” I left and never saw her again. But I learned another lesson that night: Some girls, some of them even gorgeous, can only make love when there’s risk involved. Or lying in kitty kibble.

 Honestly, there ARE romantic scenes in my books but it won’t be this next one either. Irv has more to learn about life, and especially Sheva Gladstein, the hippy supervisor where he’s currently employed – a locked-down mental hospital for brain damaged kids, ages three to thirty. Yep. Weird. All Irv wants to do is make movies and find that nice Jewish girl.

He sorta found one with Sheva, but the “nice” part is up in the air; ‘cause like I said, where Irv lives now, right and wrong, good and bad, has turned inside out.

On his third night after starting the job, Sheva invited him to her on-campus apartment. Unfortunately Irv just threw up from eating the grub served to the kids and Sheva’s suggesting sex.

Excerpt: 

Under the shower, I’m still trying to figure that out. What is normal, anyway? Certainly she’s not. What makes her tick? She marries a bi-guy, he turns out to be more gay than straight, and she’s not destroyed about that? Maybe she is, but in denial, submerged in this mental institution. Wonder if she reads Hebrew, been to Israel. Not me. Never had the Jewish urge. Don’t have the urge for sex either. Not one itty-bitty bit. I’d just like to get to know her better. Maybe we can postpone the biology and talk instead. She seems really smart.

Shower’s over, my hair is dry and Sheva’s already in bed, wearing a see-through negligee and grinning like a six year-old waiting for Daddy’s bedtime story. “Hop in!” she bubbles. I don’t hop in. I slide in, slowly, still feeling queasy. “How’d you ever end up here, Sheva?”

Her hand goes to my chest, where she starts rubbing. Without an answer to my question, I’m getting the feeling she’s not up for conversation. And when she unfastens her nighty and takes it off, there’s no doubt about that. Naked now, she quickly gets me that way too, by pulling off my jocks under the sheets. Now back to fondling me, she works her way down to my crotch, fast.

Should we kiss first? My mouth tastes like yesterday’s eggplant. But maybe she’s used to that. Don’t want to come off like a jerk without a heart. I move close to her lips.

“No kissing,” she whispers. “Just fun!” 

Fun? With a stomach virus?  Wouldn’t a ration of intimacy be a good place to start?

Nope. Sheva’s already in third gear, both hands down there between my legs. Guess that’s the swap for kissing. Which is good, I think. Sheva’s in charge, like she is with the kids on the other side of the wall; caring, but with no deep connection. With us now, it’s just physical, having sensations from the waist down, with lots of panting. Not mine. Hers. And gurgling and sentence fragments which follow, like, “Yeah, that’s good…” And, “More of that. Right there.” And, “Not so hard. Slower.” And between the words, I hear more huffing and puffing. It’s okay, I guess. It’s not corny yet.

What’s this? She’s grabbing my butt, pulling me down hard onto her. Oh boy. I’m a human dildo. Better concentrate or she’ll have nothing to use. She’s breathing faster now. Moving faster. Breathing faster. Humping and pumping faster. Building to the big pay-off. Wow. This is way too speedy for a Jewish girl. It can’t be more than twenty seconds since we started. But she’s charging for the checkered flag, like a drag racer, throwing that last bit juice as she powers over the finish line. And me? I’m the parachute that slows her down after beating the land speed record.

I hear a yelp. Did that come from her? Yes it did. She must have climaxed a second time. Now comes a long sigh. Forget the afterglow, Sheva’s settling into a sleeping position a foot and a half away from me. Guess the ‘fun’ is over, after thirty-one and a half seconds. I’m okay with it, though. Didn’t feel like balling anyway.

“Sheva..?”

“Mmm?”

“Can we talk for a while?”

She turns over, looking at me through squinting eyes. “I’ve got to be up by six, sweetie.” 

“So you don’t want to talk?”

“Tomorrow. Okay?”

“Um… Sure.”

She returns to facing the wall and settles under the sheets.

Okay. Talking isn’t the end all, be all. Before language there was gesture and touching. I feel her warm body near mine and that’s good, because I’m sharing a very personal space with this girl, as she goes into sleep, when she becomes vulnerable, which means she trusts me. I suppose.

It would be nice to feel a connection, some reassurance that she cared, at least for thirty-one and a half seconds. Maybe if I just drop my arm lightly over her shoulder… Yes. Nice. I’ll spread my fingers over her smooth skin close to her breast, let her know I’m here for her, that it wasn’t just a fuck.

“Oh no,” she mumbles. “None of that.”

“What?”

She takes my hand away and turns back to me. “I’m married.”

“Oh yeah… Sorry.” 

I adjust on my left arm, staring at the opposite wall. How should I feel about this? I’m not sure. The way she reminded me about her marriage, I felt like I was in kindergarten being advised why it’s not safe to chase a ball across the road. And that I was a big enough boy to understand that this ‘fun’ thing we did was only about play-sex. Nothing else. It was a quick blip on her radar, without another thought chasing it.

Okay. I didn’t have to come here. Or take the shower and get into this bed with her. What right do I have to feel disappointed? Just the same, it’s amazing how alone you can feel, even when you’re in bed with someone else.

 So there you have it – another reason why sex can be the furthest thing from connection. But that’s life and Irv’s Odyssey is about learning more about it. By the time Irv meets the girl of his dreams, he knows what’s real and what isn’t.

That’s what I write about: What’s real and what isn’t, from where I see it. But my reality isn’t yours, which is why God invented the internet. If you’ve got thoughts about my ideas, I’d love to hear about yours.

You can find me at www.IrvingsJourney.com. I promise I’ll answer.

A Glimpse of Power, (The Soul of Voodoo, Book 2)

BEFORE READING, PLEASE BE AWARE: 

Contained within this post, is the entire first chapter for Power, Book 2 of The Soul of Voodoo Series.  

If you have not read the first book, entitled Control, you need to be aware that this chapter contains MAJOR spoilers… trust me, you do not want to read this chapter before reading Control.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

*This excerpt contains adult content and adult language…lots of adult language.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

CHAPTER 1

I was sitting against the wall, halfway undressed and curled tightly into a ball. Even though I had hung up the phone several minutes ago, I remained paralyzed by the strength of desire that flooded my system the moment I heard Andre’s ringtone play on my cell.  I felt a tear roll down my cheek as shame completely washed over me. My head remained bent down over my knees when I pulled them tightly against my naked chest. I couldn’t look up yet, I was terrified of the disgust that I knew would be in Lance’s eyes.

What the fuck is wrong with me?!

I was exhausted and I could feel my calm façade draining away under this new onslaught of stress. Although I wanted to shut them out, memories from the evening began to flood my consciousness.

The phone had rung just after midnight… only three hours since I walked through a rip in time that may or may not exist in the dining room of Bistro NOLA. Three hours since Andre had to be sedated in order to keep him from hurting me as well as himself, because of some crazy-ass voodoo curse. Only two hours since I nearly allowed my soul to be stolen by a giant, bloody, evil spirit…two hours since Lance nearly died while saving me.

He didn’t die, because my love healed him. What the fuck is wrong with me?!

I had given Lance my heart and soul, and I was trying like hell to give him my body, until the stupid phone rang. Another tear fell as I bashed my weak psyche for going on hiatus while my traitorous body hopped straight out of Lance’s bed to answer Andre’s phone call.

I felt like I was coming apart at the seams. We are not meant to love two people at once. Well, maybe other people could, but I could not. I thought that I had figured it out; I thought it was the difference between love and lust.

I wish it were that easy.

A fat tear dripped from my eyelashes to land on my tightly clenched hands. I longed to find the bastard who had placed a curse on Andre and me. I was going to make the son of a bitch pay for ruining what had started as the perfect relationship. For over three years, and multiple lifetimes, I had wished for and fantasized about a relationship with Andre. Finally, we had been happy; the memory of his laugh echoed in my mind causing a fresh wave of pain mixed with desire to crash over me.

The desire was nearly intolerable. My naked breasts ached and my nipples burned as sensitivity in every nerve ending heightened to an unnatural degree. I moaned and pulled my legs in tighter. The curse should have been weakening, but it felt stronger than ever and I held no power against it.

It continued to ramp up, and even though I had hung up several minutes previously, I could hear Andre’s voice whispering in my ears. He was repeating one phrase; the words crawled, like a swarm of bugs, across the surface of my brain. The creepy sensation worsened, and I could feel them burrowing in, shutting everything else out.

The words repeated, getting more insistent and jacking up the volume, “I am coming for you Cecelia, find a way to get away from him and come to me…I am coming for you Cecelia…I AM COMING FOR YOU CECELIA…”

“NO! NO! NO!” I shook my head vehemently, trying to shake it out before it could burrow any deeper.  The voice, Andre’s voice, felt strangely amplified. It had power, it compelled me, and it was magnifying the desire…but it felt unclean.

Tainted.

The thought shot through me, forcing my neurons to begin firing under my own control again, and I screamed, “That was not Andre!”

My head flew up and my gaze immediately connected with Lance’s bright blue eyes, noting the fear that rose like a shadow over the crystalline depths. He was still there with me, close enough so that some of his warmth began to leech out, coating my skin and soothing me. I started to calm immediately; his fingers brushed against my skin, I shuddered and gasped as the last shred of tainted desire washed out in a painful rush.

“Cecelia, are you okay,” his voice rolled over me like warm gooey fudge, a delicious coating of comfort and love that might hold even more healing power than the beignets at Café du Monde. His hands stroked my bare arms gently, and I watched as the shadow of fear melted from his eyes, replaced by a flicker of passion. I threw my arms around his neck and flung myself against his chest in a crushing hug.

“I’m fine now, I’m fine,” my lips brushed against his ear with my harsh whisper. “That wasn’t Andre, Lance, it couldn’t have been. It didn’t feel right, the desire was there, but it was tainted and nasty feeling.” I buried my face into his neck, needing the connection with him to keep the desire away; it clung to me like a greasy film over my skin.

His hands stroked up and down my back, comforting me, while he murmured against my hair. I didn’t want to move from that spot but I knew that whatever had been on the phone was coming for us…soon. I pulled back slightly, so that I could look up at him as we talked, but froze at the sight of his face twisted in pain. His eyes were clenched shut and his beautiful lips pulled into an agonizing grimace. The tips of his fingers began to dig into my back, clenching my skin tightly.

I was terrified that the residual pain from the tainted desire had somehow transferred to him, worsening because he wasn’t the intended target, or maybe he is the target.

My voice was urgent when I demanded, “What’s wrong? Are you hurting?”

His eyes cracked open and he looked at my face, the pain was still there; he opened his mouth to tell me what was going on, but hung his head down before speaking. My thoughts were becoming more and more frantic.

Oh, shit! The pain is so bad that he can’t even hold his head up.

He groaned loudly and rolled his head back on his shoulders. He stared at the ceiling and I watched the muscles convulse along his neck as he attempted to swallow. I ran my hands along the exposed column of his throat, wanting to soothe him, but he only groaned louder.

The words rushed out of my mouth, I was borderline hysterical, “Lance, please! Tell me what is hurting you! I can’t stand seeing you like this!”

He brought his head back down to look in my eyes. I searched his face for some indication of what was happening, but just as I realized that it wasn’t pain I saw in his expression, his hand closed over my naked breast.

His grin was appalling.

“Boy, I cannot think of a worse time for that little maneuver. Jackass,” I scowled at him but couldn’t stay mad. After all, his hand was on my breast, and he began to massage gently.

One of us has to rein it in. It is the absolute worst time to get freaky!

I gently moved his hand away from the magical tatas and crossed my arms over them, trying to dampen their hypnotic draw. Covering my breasts seemed to be working, but Lance was not excited by my success.

“Cecelia, I am either going to start growling or crying like a baby if you don’t move your arms,” he said, already growling.

“We have to get our clothes on, An…”

He cut me off with a hard kiss, and then picked me up and carried me to the bed. He never broke the kiss as he lowered me to the bed and moved his body on top of me.  Desire began to build between us and I got lost in his kiss for a moment before I pushed him back enough so that I could turn my face aside and yell out in frustration, “I’m serious, Lance! Whoever just called my cell phone is coming to get me…here!”

Finally, something besides my boobs got his attention.

He looked up at me and questioned, his eyes still glazed with desire, “Huh?”

Yep, that’s my man. I’m sooo lucky.

I pursed my lips and shook my head in mild disgust.

“Wait here, I’ll be right back.”

I quickly scooted off the bed and grabbed my clothes. Turning away from him, I put on my bra and tee-shirt, and then I turned back to face Lance. His eyes were starting to brighten; I could almost see the wheels in his head crank back to life.

While he rubbed the heels of his hands into his eyes, I glanced down at my breasts in wonder.

These things are dangerous!

“Okay, give me a minute,” he said and then sighed heavily. “Don’t ever take your shirt off again,” he said, while glaring at me. “Unless you’re planning to spend the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours in my bed, or shower, and maybe on the floor.”

He started to walk away but swung back around and pointed at me, spearing me with a hot look before growling menacingly, “…and definitely against the wall.”

He walked into his bathroom and I stood frozen, listening to the water run for almost a full minute before he shut it off and walked back into the room. His hair was wet and standing out at odd angles where he had been roughly running his fingers through it. Big, fat, drops of water rolled languidly down the hard planes of his face to drop into the soft sprinkling of hair on his chest where they hung, suspended and sparkling, like tiny jewels.

UGH! Now, all I can think about is licking all of those sparkly little droplets off his

Yep, I jumped him. I mean, literally jumped him. I threw myself into his arms and wrapped my legs around his waist, slanting my mouth over his and driving us both bat-shit crazy in the process.

He didn’t even step backward when I launched myself at him; he simply caught me and kissed me with as much gusto as I had kissed him. I had no doubt that we could and would have had sex in that exact spot without him breaking a sweat, except a tiny little woman had appeared out of nowhere, tugging on my shirt, and then smacking his ass (although I think she just did that because she wanted to).

“Come down!”

She was screeching at us and rambling in Cajun too fast for me to pick up, “You felt dat darkness, shaa?”

That got our attention. I pulled back just enough to give him a little smile while he let my legs slowly slide down his body. We had matching expressions of frustration as we turned to look at Mrs. Broussard.

She looked from Lance to me, then walked up and popped us each on the forehead, muttering, “Couillon!”

She walked around to the French doors in the front and peeked through the glass panes, as well as each of the windows before turning back to look at us and gasping loudly while she crossed herself.

“You done did it, shaa,” she whispered in awe.

She ambled forward slowly and once she reached us, laid one wrinkled hand on each of us, just above the breastbone. Her eyelids fluttered closed and she began chanting, singing an old French lullaby that I remember my Mamere singing to me as a child. The sound of her voice was soothing, reminding me of home, the ease and simplicity of childhood, and for a few precious minutes, letting me forget the crazy voodoo shit.

The sudden cessation of her singing, along with the quick movement of her eyelids as they flew open, dragged me back into the crappy reality of our unwanted predicament. Her eyes locked onto mine and her cloudy blue orbs stared deeply into my own. It wasn’t too long before her gaze started to get creepy, almost as if she was reading something behind my eyes.

I opened my mouth to say something, but before I could utter a sound, she grabbed my lips and squished them closed. Her tiny fingers were warm and strong as she squeezed my lips together. My nerves, which were already frazzled, finally snapped and I pulled out of her grip then clutched my throbbing lips.

What the hell?!

My voice lowered menacingly, “Mrs. Broussard, you need to believe me when I say that if those dried up digits come near my mouth again, I will bite them off and use them to make my own damn voodoo spell.”

I glared at her while I rubbed my mouth. I had started to calm down until I heard the unmistakable sound of Lance trying to cover up his deep chuckle. Very slowly, I turned my head toward him and deepened my glare, grunting at him in frustration. In his defense, he was making a valiant effort to contain his laughter until Mrs. Broussard started cackling. I rolled my eyes at them both and let my head fall back on my shoulders briefly before I turned away from them.

It suddenly struck me that we had not cleared up the issue with (the fake) Andre’s phone call. I swung around to face Lance, curious to know how he could be so nonchalant. He knew what was coming; he knew that we were going to have to battle that thing again…soon.

He was looking directly at me, and although there was a smile on his lips, his eyes were cloudy with emotion.

He’s worried about something. How did I miss that?

“Hey, I almost forgot to ask, what did James say when he called?”

His worries visibly amped up at my question, but I assumed he wasn’t going to leave me waiting too long since he started to answer, “Well, that’s the thing…”

Oh, shit. He is tugging at his hair; this is not going to be good.

“It was about Andre,” he took a deep breath and looked at me.

It was obvious that I wasn’t going to like what he had to say, but nothing could be worse than the silence while he stared at me uncomfortably.

“Lance,” I growled.

“Andre had a seizure about a half-hour ago. James was there and was able to keep him safe, and alive, but…he is in a coma.”

Okay, I was wrong. That is much worse.

“What?”

My voice cracked, and when it broke, so did I.

The shock and subsequent pain in my chest was so severe that I collapsed. I didn’t cry, I didn’t even blink. I just lay, crumpled on the floor, struggling to breathe. My unfocused eyes stared at the ceiling, but I could see, out of the corner of my eye, the blurry shape of Lance when he crouched beside me. The next thing I knew, he held my limp body curled up tightly against his chest and moved to sit in a large chair where he held me and silently stroked my hair until the shock faded.

My breathing started to normalize and sensory information flooded my system in waves: the warm tingle of Lance’s hand as it rhythmically stroked my hair, the cadence of Mrs. Broussard’s voice as she moved around the room chanting, and the sweet smell of some type of flower or herb.

I blinked slowly and rubbed some moisture back into my eyes before looking up into Lance’s concerned face. I reached up and touched his cheek softly, then ran the tips of my fingers across his frowning lips.

“Your delivery sucks,” I said with a wistful smile. “It hurts, my heart, I mean. It hurts really badly.”

“I know you l-lo- care for Andre. I’m sorry for shocking you like that,” he said in a strained voice.

I sighed heavily and said, “Lance, this whole situation is so fucked up right now, me getting all emotional isn’t going to do any of us any good. The thing is…I think the pain is from something deeper than emotion.”

I had paused to collect my thoughts; I wasn’t sure exactly how to explain my feelings for Andre without sounding like an absolute flake. I didn’t have much experience dating and I certainly never had two men interested in me before. I had loads of guy-friends, but partying and dating are two completely different things. I always hated the girls that would string two guys along, playing them against each other, and getting off on their angst.

I knew what I had to say was going to be painful, but it was the only way I was going to be able to function, at least until we got this voodoo thing worked out.

This voodoo thing is more than a mild scheduling conflict, Celie. You better start taking it seriously…and stop thinking in second person perspective, it’s just weird.

“I have the feeling that the shit in the courtyard is going to seem like a tea party compared to what we are going to be dealing with.”

He opened his mouth to speak, but I covered his lips with the tips of my fingers to prevent him. I couldn’t afford to get distracted, I needed to say everything while I had the mental fortitude.

“I love you, and I want to be with you forever. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have shared my soul with you, right? There is no your soul and my soul anymore, they are truly joined forever.”

He started kissing my fingers and his blue eyes were putting off an obscene amount of heat, it took him a total of four seconds to turn me into a panting, hyper-aroused, ball of sex.

“BUT…”

Okay, I need to settle down. That was a little loud.

I continued in a softer tone, “But, this thing between Andre and me is more than just a curse. I’m talking about physical pain, real pain, not just emotional heartache.” I released a heavy sigh and forced out the words that I knew would bring him pain, “I am connected to him and it isn’t going to just go away.”

“What are you trying to say, Cecelia? Are you in love with Andre?”

He was glaring at me; I expected to see pain, but he wasn’t hurting. He was just plain pissed!  His body was stiff, but his touch remained gentle.

I’m going to lose him, the thought crippled me and the tears that I had withheld earlier, started pouring down my face.

Crying is never pretty, but this was beyond ugly. This was fugly-crying. I turned into a leaky, snotty, mess in less than a minute. Apparently, the strain of the night had finally caught up with me. I was tired of trying to be practical and rational, and I was really tired of being pulled in a million different directions.

“I’m just saying that I can’t handle all of this voodoo crap and be worried about hurting your feelings or Andre’s feelings at the same time! I barely know my ass from a hole in the ground right now.  Clearly, it is not the best time to talk about feelings! Can we PLEASE just get through this shit first, and then we can talk about my stupid-ass feelings? We can talk about them until we puke if you want!”

I think it was my expression of disgust as I emphasized the word ‘feelings’ that finally broke through Lance’s anger. His look of shock melted away, replaced by a deep belly laugh, during which he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me into his chest for a tight hug.

“That is why I love you,” he said softly and kissed the hair at my temple. “Only you would get mad because I want to be respectful of your feelings.”

I didn’t really know what to make of that statement, so I just stared at him stupidly while he leaned in and placed a soft kiss on my unmoving lips.

“Cecelia, relax. I understand what you are trying to say, and as usual, I’m amazed by your courage.”

I looked up at him to see if he was mocking me, but was shocked to see true admiration reflected in his expression. My eyes became glassy but I refused to start ugly crying again. One episode was plenty, thank you.

“For what it’s worth, I agree with you,” he said with a crooked smile.  Our eyes met for a long moment before he let out a soft breath and grabbed my hands, wrapping them up in his own. His large, calloused hands were able to cover mine completely in a warm and protective cocoon.  I felt a calm come over me, my muscles relaxed for the first time since I heard the infamous Nelly ringtone that alerted me to Andre’s phone call.

“We need to focus on what is immediate; there will be plenty of time for us later. You won’t have to remind me again.”

He dropped one of my hands and weaved our fingers together on the opposite one. After a moment, he lifted me from his lap and moved to stand side by side. Hands clasped together, we turned toward Mrs. Broussard.

“Yah! Now we ready, boo,” Mrs. Broussard clapped her hands together loudly and began bobbing her head as she looked back and forth between the two of us.

“What do we do now? Are we in danger here,” Lance asked Mrs. Broussard.

“Non, shaa. It’s good, the house is. Ça c’est bon, fo’ true.”  She started tugging at my shirt again, pulling us around the house, “Come see.”

While Lance and I…okay, mainly I, had a little emotional breakdown, Mrs. Broussard had been busy.  She was very proud and beamed at us both as she showed off the little leather pouches that we would carry to ensure our protection. Apparently, they contained a lovely combination of ingredients including the whiskers of a pig that was killed in a sacrificial ceremony, as well as a tiny bone from a human foot.

Well, isn’t that just grand? My life has taken such a pleasant turn.

I was grateful for the combination of protection herbs that were also part of the sachet, particularly after noticing that they had a sweet smell.  I sniffed the pouch and recognized it as the sweet, flowery odor that was softly perfuming the whole house.

Mrs. Broussard explained that the fragrance was from an herb called Angelica, which is very important in making protection spells like the gris gris sachet, as well as ‘uncrossing’ spells. I translated for Lance as she explained that the ‘uncrossing’ spell she performed would rid the house of any bad spirits or evil gris gris.

She had already told me about a protection spell that she had weaved around Lance’s for the past several weeks, so she wasn’t really concerned about our safety while we were on the property. She only decided to perform the ‘uncrossing’ after she felt something sinister testing the boundaries of her protection spell.

“Maudit diable,” she had whispered.

I shuddered slightly at her words and Lance squeezed my hand gently in response.

Cursed devil?  It was here.

“What is it? What did she say?”

“Maudit diable means, cursed devil,” my voice was flat as I spoke. I turned and looked into Lance’s eyes as I voiced the question that left me frozen in fear, “How did he get out of the fountain?”

Everything was happening so fast, I was losing track. I thought back to the events of the day and shook my head in disbelief.  The feeling of helplessness had started to fade as I listened to Mrs. Broussard explain about the protection spells. I was feeling more confident, but as my confidence began to reemerge, so did my anger.

I pasted a huge smile on my face and asked with fake enthusiasm, “Can we just talk about the fact that our lives have gone to hell in a hand-basket over the past twenty-four hours? Oh, and as a bonus, the evil blood-dude that tried to kill us earlier, yeah, it is adapting! Awesome!! What’s next, zombies?!? ”

“Coooowee, sha! Don’t make play with the zombies!”

I looked at Mrs. Broussard sharply, then back at Lance to see that his expression was a mirror image of my own. Before I could say a word, however, he smacked his hand over my mouth.

“I’m sorry Celie, I just can’t risk it.”

I pinched his hand and then glared at him as he jerked it away from me. “I’m not an idiot. I know when to shut up,” I said testily

“Ça va bien. Let’s see for how long, huh boo. We don’t need no more guigne, ya heard?”

I decided that it would be in everyone’s best interest to go ahead and change the subject, if there was going to be more bad luck, or guingne, I was not going to be blamed for it. I didn’t want to have to deal with it either.

What I did want was to figure out how we could break the freaking curse. Also, I needed to see Andre…no, I wanted to see Andre, and I did not want to wait another minute.

 


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Et Voila! I hope you enjoyed it!!