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Paranormal Island Fantasies
PARANORMAL ISLAND FANTASIES
Kara Griffin Triskelion Publishing www.triskelionpublishing.com
Published by Triskelion Publishing www.triskelionpublishing.com 15508 W. Bell Rd. #101, PMB #502, Surprise, AZ 85374 U.S.A. First e-published by Triskelion Publishing First e-publishing July 2005 ISBN 1-933471-36-0 Copyright © Various 2005 All rights reserved. Cover art by Triskelion Publishing PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
ADVANCED READER COPY: DISCLAIMER This Advance Reader Copy is the property of Terry Spear, Beverly Rae, Anne Leland and Kara Griffin. The Advance Reader Copy may not be sold, rented, loaned, or copied. This is an uncorrected copy and may differ slightly from the final published novel, which will be available from Triskelion Publishing in August 2005 This work is copyrighted as of 2005 by Terry Spear, Beverly Rae, Anne Leland and Kara Griffin.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
DEDICATION: For fantasy and paranormal lovers everywhere, these stories are set in island paradises. Whether in contemporary or historical settings, the lovers attempt to unite against all odds. Come join them in their passionate struggles and enjoy the escape into our worlds.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
SEDUCING THE HUNTRESS
by Terry Spear
St. John, an enchanting island, surrounded by sugar white sand beaches, iridescent shimmering blue waters, and blanketed in lush tropical vegetation, is one of the most pristine islands in the Caribbean. Over two-thirds of the U.S. Virgin Island is a U.S. National Park where not only the humans come to play, but hunters and vampires alike have made their home. Only there has been too much peaceful coexistence of late, and evil lurks in the shadows of the night to force a deadly change.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER ONE “You challenge me to seduce which woman, Catarina?” Sarzoven asked, leaning back on his chair, the lights over the disco floor swirling around in a colorful surrealistic dazzle while heavy rock and roll blasted all around them, causing even their seats to rumble slightly with the rhythm. His sister smiled, her ebony eyes sparkling with amusement, her charcoal hair rolling over her bare shoulders, the black spandex shirt she wore accentuating her breasts; the garment--a vampireenticing tease. She tipped her wine glass toward a voluptuous brunette seated at the jungle bar across the dance floor. The slinky, silk red creation the woman wore hugged her curves from her perky breasts down her narrow waist, over a firm ass, and past her knees. Her sandaled feet rested on a brass footrest, encircling the barstool, and rocked to the music. He couldn’t shake the image from his mind…naked, every inch of her, writhing under his tongue and fingertips, her blood calling to him, begging him to finish her off. She laughed, then leaned over and spoke to a red-haired female sitting next to her. The brunette looked good enough to eat. He’d expected his sister to point out a dog. Why would she assume the petite figure across the crowded dance floor would prove to be anymore difficult to seduce than any other human female? “She’s a huntress,” Catarina explained, reading his thoughts, her tone amused. He took a sip of his cognac. Now that tidbit of information shed a whole new perspective on the situation. Vampires normally did not seduce hunters or huntresses and live to tell of it. Not one to turn down a challenge, he considered the huntress further. Her dark curls draped over her fair shoulders, the thick, silky strands begging for his touch. She took a sip of a green frothy drink. Her lips shimmered from the liquid and her tongue licked the remnants away.
Paranormal Island Fantasies Immediately, his groin ached and his teeth itched to extend.
“Well? Are you game?” Catarina taunted. They’d played death-defying games for six hundred years already with one another. Why not? What had he to lose? “What’s in it for me?” “My estate in the Grand Cayman Islands, my dear brother, that you’ve wanted for the last thirty years.” “And if I lose?” She smiled. “If you lose, I’ll get your estate in the Virgin Islands. After all, you won’t be around to need it any longer.” “I sense there’s something more to this huntress than you’re letting me know. Does she take a particular satisfaction in killing our kind?” “Let’s just say...she’s prolific.” “Oh?” Instantly intrigued, Sarzoven imagined this could be the game of a lifetime, or at least a highpoint of the year, which for the previous nine months had been the same as the last forty years…painfully the same, with no peaks or valleys to add interest to his dull existence. Not that he hadn’t tried. But nothing, not the blood-bonding parties, traveling across the world to find a soul mate, nothing had stirred his bloodlust like the woman seated at his bar, not since his beloved Sirina had been killed by a vengeful vampire one hundred and ten years ago. Something about the brunette called to his manhood, like a sexy siren’s song lured fishermen to their watery graves. He couldn’t quite pinpoint the reason for the attraction--maybe the fact she should have been strictly off limits--fanned the flame of desire deep inside him. “She killed ten of our blood-bonds last week. She seems to have a propensity for killing our kind and her reputation is growing daily,” Catarina said, breaking into his thoughts. He switched his attention from his sister to the huntress. Dimples appeared on her cheeks. How could such a looker, happy and seemingly oblivious to the world of crime, be such a menace to the killer vampires? And why would she be in his dance club, well known for its vampire patronage, unless she were scoping out one of the vampires here on her death list. “I take it the vampires she targeted were renegades, murdering without reason.” Catarina nodded. “Of course.” She patted his shoulder, then tried to solicit his agreement. “So, what will it be?”
Paranormal Island Fantasies “What’s her name?”
“Miranda Landower, heir apparent to the estates of the greatest hunter around…Malvo Landower.” All vampires knew of Malvo Landover, a borderline genius and maniac, well respected by the hunter community, and the only hunter most rogue vampires feared. “Trying to beat her father’s reputation?” Catarina poked a black curl behind her ear. “I’d say that’s as good a guess as any.” “Has she selected a hunter mate?” If Sarzoven went after a mated huntress, the stakes were raised considerably, and he’d want more than Catarina’s Grand Cayman estate when he won the bet. “I imagine she’s been too wrapped up in eliminating those of us deemed requiring termination.” He drummed his fingers on the tabletop where embedded gold and silver coins shimmered under the lights in the glossy silicon surface. “She wouldn’t happen to have either of us on her list, now would she?” Catarina’s lips curved up. “You, dear boy. You.” Raising a brow, he stood slowly, his blood instantly heated. Why the hell would anyone have put him on a hunter’s list? Someone out for revenge…no doubt. And he wasn’t taking it lying down. He couldn’t help the way his mouth inched up. Sleeping with the enemy? He attempted to squash the smoldering desire threatening to derail him, and frowned. “Then I’ll have to remove my name from her list anyway that I can, my dear sister.” ***** Freda grabbed Miranda’s arm and said, “Ohmigod, Sarzoven is coming this way. I still don’t understand why you wanted to see him here before you terminated him. Why didn’t you just eliminate him in some darkened alley, like you usually do their murderous kind?” Miranda’s stomach tightened when she sensed the shark coming in for the kill. “He’s said to give human women an orgasm just by twitching his lips into a hint of a smile.” But that wasn’t the real reason she made it her mission to secure more information about him, from his lips, no others’-something about his past forced her to believe someone in the hunter hierarchy wanted the vampire dead for his or her own dark reasons, and no way would she kill Sarzoven unless she learned he was indeed a rogue. Though Freda was her best friend, Miranda wouldn’t involve her in what she suspected. What if someone did want Sarzoven killed, and Miranda let it slip she knew the truth? Then she and anyone else
Paranormal Island Fantasies 9 she told might be eliminated. The little bit she’d uncovered about Sarzoven’s past life showed he wasn’t the kind who murdered for the pleasure of killing. Determining if he had been set up, and if so-by whom, and why--had to be Miranda’s primary concerns. Trying to clear a vampire’s name wouldn’t be easy though, especially as seductive as this one thought he was. Not that she’d have any trouble staying out of his octopus’s reach. But how to convince a bloodsucker she was interested in helping him, especially as high a profile as her vampireterminator reputation was becoming, without giving him the idea she cared for him, sexually or otherwise—she shuddered at the very notion—was going to be bloody difficult. Snorting, Freda shook her head and finished her Bloody Mary. “Mind games. All vampires can seduce a human, male or female. So what are you planning? To see if he can try to seduce you, then kill him before he touches you?” The look on Freda’s face of utter disbelief made Miranda wonder if her friend suspected something else was the matter. Like Freda had said, going after a murderous vampire in a darkened alley was Miranda’s usual MO. No sense in changing it now. Freda waved a painted red nail at her. “What if it doesn’t work? If he has sex with you, no hunter will want you. And if he learns you’re to kill him, but he gets the upper hand, you’re dead meat. Speaking of which,” she whispered, “he’s nearly in range of our hushed voices, despite the noise in this place.” “Go ahead and leave, Freda. I’ll call you when the job is done.” Freda glanced over her shoulder and shuddered. “You’re making a big mistake with this one, Miranda. I feel it in my blood.” She hopped down from the barstool and patted Miranda’s knee. “Be awfully careful.” Then she faded into the crowd. The vampire stalked toward Miranda like a panther, moving closer on silent paws, stealthily, focused, intrigued. Dressed in a black turtleneck and black denims, his clothes looked like anybody else’s in the club, save one exception. A gold medallion embossed with a dragon, dangled at his neck. The one that showed he was an ancient vampire, the Count of Wallochia, Sarzoven, knighted in King Sigismund’s secret society, the Order of the Dragon, for fighting the Turks. Sarzoven--said to have killed seventy men in battle to protect the women, children, and infirmed of his village--was to fall at the hands of the ruthless Count Moriency, who desired Sarzoven’s beautiful wife and his lands. But Sarzoven didn’t die, instead was resurrected by a good friend, touched by the most mind-boggling plague. Sarzoven then became like his friend, an immortal, with a need to quench a blood thirst, six
Paranormal Island Fantasies hundred years and counting.
Another bloodsucker slipped into Freda’s vacated seat--this one dressed in a black cotton T-shirt and jeans, a blond male and not half as dashing as Sarzoven--leaned over and said, “Talbot’s the name. I haven’t seen you around the place before, sweet thing.” She noticed Sarzoven stop, just slightly off to her right, waiting for her response to the other man, she assumed. Would he stop her, if she picked up Talbot? Dying to know the answer to that question, she leaned over and nearly touched the vampire’s lips with hers. “My drink’s nearly finished. Buy me another?” He stared at her lips for a moment, then smiled and glanced at the green froth on the glass. “What were you drinking?” “Grasshopper.” “Grasshopper. I would have thought a lady who looked like you would have been drinking something more…substantial.” “I have to keep a clear head for the kind of work I do.” “And that is?” She looked over at Sarzoven. “Let’s just say I take out the trash.” Sarzoven’s lips drew up just a hint while his dark brown eyes devoured every inch of her. “Alone?” he asked, brushing her leg with his, not waiting for an answer. “Sarzoven,” Talbot said, disappointment in his voice. “I was just buying the lady a drink.” “Drink’s on me,” he said, and Talbot bowed his head, acquiescing at once, then vanished. She fingered her empty glass, then set it on the polished dark cherry counter. “Maybe I preferred the company of the other man.” “Talbot?” Sarzoven’s eyes glowed with fire and he slid into the other seat, his knee touching her thigh. “He’s a nice guy, but I doubt he’d be your type.” “You think I’m not interested in nice guys?” She raised a brow, instantly annoyed he’d think otherwise. Having a job where she killed the bad guys, forced her interest in totally sweet guys. Well, maybe not totally sweet. In fact come to think of it, she hadn’t had any interest in any males for the last…she hmpfd to herself. She couldn’t remember how long. But if she’d had any interest in a guy, he definitely wouldn’t be some smooth-talking vampire Casanova, who thought he was every woman’s wet dream. He clicked his fingers at the bartender who immediately brought Sarzoven her drink. “Not if
Paranormal Island Fantasies your job is taking out the trash.” He handed the drink to her, but she didn’t take it.
Instead, she tilted her chin up. “Sorry to disappoint you, but I do too like nice guys.” Sliding off her barstool, her dress hiked to her knees, and she noticed his gaze instantly shifted lower. “Have a nice night.” He was hot, but she didn’t think he was half as smooth as rumored. Must be because he couldn’t use vampiric charms on her mind like he could with humans. So much for the gossipmongers who touted what a superb lady-killer he was. It wouldn’t be as hard to kill him as she thought it might, if he truly turned out to be a renegade. As soon as she tried to cross the dance floor through the myriad of writhing bodies molded together in erotic moves, Talbot suddenly appeared. “Want to dance?” “I was just leaving.” “We can dance, and then leave.” “Alone.” He smiled and took her hands, then wrapped them around his waist and pulled her close. “You sure pissed off Sarzoven. I’ve never seen a woman turn down a drink from him, or anything else for that matter.” She shrugged a shoulder. “Aren’t you pissing him off for dancing with me?” Talbot grinned. “Nah, he told me to stop you from leaving.” Instantly, her skin prickled with irritation and she glanced back at Sarzoven who lifted her drink in a salute. “Ah, I see.” She leaned down and swept her lips over Talbot’s in a sensual caress. “You might want to release me now, before I get mad. Believe me, you really don’t want to see my bad side.” He tried to work his leg between hers, and his hands dipped down her backside, much lower than she wanted. “Hmmm, keep saying those sweet sentiments and…” She triggered a blade at her wristband, the ultimate weapon for a huntress on the go, the special ancient blade that would kill a vampire if it so much as nicked his heart. Twisting away from her, Talbot hissed, unsheathing his fangs at the same time. Several of the blood suckers pulled away, allowing them space, though the lights still flashed overhead, and the music continued to fill the air with a steady thunderous beat. Tension grew thick while she was sure the vampires telepathically communicated amongst themselves. An armed huntress in their midst who threatened one of their own kind had to torque most of them off. But none would dare oppose her, or be added to the hunters’ list of renegades.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 12 “Don’t even think of it, Talbot,” Miranda said, hoping to leave the club without a fight. He wasn’t on her list of targets, though if any threatened her bodily harm, his or her name would instantly appear, yet she had no real quarrel with Talbot or the others and she wanted to keep it that way. “I can’t allow you to leave. Sarzoven’s orders.” “Even if it gets you killed?” Talbot’s gray eyes flinched. She changed tactics, not wanting to intimidate what appeared to be a really sweet guy otherwise. “Listen, it’s none of your affair. Is he not man enough to try and stop me himself?” Sarzoven laughed, and the feel of his hot breath at the nape of her neck sent a thrill through her. He stood so close, she felt the heat of his body warming her backside. When he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her against his chest, she knew she should terminate him for being a renegade, a menace to society as the hunters said he was, and not bother to investigate the matter further. Instead, she madly luxuriated in the feel of him, his erection pressed tightly against her back. No intimacy with a hunter for over a year had to be the reason for her to lose her focus, but then she came to her senses. “Let go of me now,” she growled, but to her annoyance, her words sounded more like an invitation to raw sex. “Tsk, tsk, Miranda. I can call you that, can’t I?” he asked, releasing her and pulling away. “After all, you know me by my first name and...” She turned and met his ravenous gaze. Her heartbeat sped up, and she knew he could hear the blood coursing through her veins, was drawn to it like the tide’s never ending pull. “Vampires only go by their first names,” she said, as if he already didn’t know it. “You’re upsetting my patrons. You wouldn’t want to kill me here, would you?” She snapped her wrist blades shut. “Why did you buy me a drink? Think I’d get too plastered to take you down?” His lips curved up in a slow menacing smile. “Drunk and on your back sounds like more fun to me.” He reached out and touched her hair, while she folded her arms defensively, but didn’t make a move to dissuade him. And why not? She tried to convince herself it was because she wanted him to know he didn’t intimidate her one bit. On the other hand, a small voice told her she wanted him to touch her, to see what the other women found so appealing about him. But that same voice taunted her that Miranda wanted to know him intimately, rather, the truth about him, hoping that the Hunter League was wrong so she could remove him from her terminal list.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 13 He sighed deeply. “I’ve been told you don’t normally kill those on your list at their place of business.” As if most of the killers worked. Ha! The majority turned to killing innocents, their only focus. Yet, she wouldn’t admit he was right in his assumption, because a deeper reason pervaded her soul, and no way did she want him to learn the truth. “Maybe, you’ve heard wrong.” A glint of humor sparkled in his dark brown eyes. “Forgive me if I say I don’t believe so.” A tinge of irritation tensed her muscles. “Maybe I’ve changed my methods…just for you.” He ran his hands down her bare arms in a sensual caress, sending a tingle of intrigue all the way down to her toes. “Maybe, but I’d venture to say you haven’t. That for whatever reason, you’re…anxious about terminating me. Having doubts?”
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER TWO Miranda was definitely having doubts about the sexy Sarzoven. Not once had she found the League had targeted a rogue by mistake. Not once. But with Sarzoven, with all her heart, she wanted to prove he wasn’t what they said he was. Was she crazy? Most assuredly. She tilted her chin up and stared him squarely in the eye, those dark orbs taking every inch of her in, as if he wanted to devour every bit of her…blood first, of course. “Why would I have any doubts? You’re on my list, aren’t you?” “And the head of the Hunter’s League is never wrong.” Sarzoven’s words were said with sarcasm, then he motioned to his customers. “Dance, ladies and gentlemen. Enjoy. The lady and I are having an…intellectual discussion.” Touching Miranda’s hands, he said, “Give me this last dance before you terminate me? A last request, so to speak?” “Renegade vampires don’t get last requests.” He took her hands, pulling her arms from their locked position, and placed them around his waist. “Why don’t you make an exception, just this once?” Knowing she should pull away from his hard, heated body, why did she not? Instead she drew closer, shamelessly, like a huntress in heat. “All right. A last dance as a last request.” “You’re a dark hunter,” he whispered against her forehead, while his hands caressed her shoulders. His words sounded like a probe, attempting to draw more information from her than just an idle remark. “What of it?” She definitely hadn’t meant to respond in such a way, wearing her hostility for all to see, yet even then, she didn’t pull free. Instead, she enjoyed the way his hard body worked against
Paranormal Island Fantasies 15 hers, moving to the beat that she barely heard, his leg working between hers as her traitorous silky skirt slid to accommodate the penetration. Again, the charming, elusive smile. “I’ve heard you only fight the rogues at night when they’re strongest, more of an adversary for you, rather than strike them when they’re weaker, tired from their nighttime killing sprees.” Surprised to hear him talk about her huntress tactics when he could have concentrated on dancing with her, like she wanted to do with him…well, not exactly with him. It wasn’t appropriate to dance with a vampire, particularly one that the hunter was to terminate. But his hands moved with such finesse over her skin with sweet caresses, touching, tantalizing, stirring her juices. Even now her panties were damp in anticipation. “Some hunters do so because they want a greater challenge to prove something to themselves or to others. Are you like that? Trying to prove to your father, maybe, that you’re as good as he?” “Maybe.” Though it thoroughly irked her that Sarzoven would try to psychoanalyze her, the next words out of his mouth truly confounded her. “That’s what others believe, but not necessarily me.” “Oh?” Tilting her chin up, she looked into his eyes that had darkened nearly to midnight, as dark as a bottomless pit and twice as hungry. He shifted his hands from her waist to her face. “You kill at night because that’s when they stalk the innocent. You want to catch them in the act. It’s not good enough that the Hunter League states the rogues must be eliminated. You want proof that they are indeed the violent, deadly predators they’re accused of being before you terminate them.” He couldn’t possibly read her mind or her heart, and yet, he seemed to know more about her than she did even. “Whatever you say.” Her voice remained cool while she tried to hide her reaction-both surprise and indignation--that welled up inside her. Dropping his hands to her waist, he took a deep breath. “Why does it bother you for me to know the truth about you?” “Who says you know the truth? I agreed with you because if I do, you’ll quit talking and just dance. I’d heard you were one of the best dancers around.” Ignoring her compliment, he said, “I know all about you, Miranda, because I was once just like you.” “Once?”
Here came the truth. He had once been a decent man, but something must have
Paranormal Island Fantasies changed…and therefore, this was undoubtedly the reason he was now on her list.
Catching her drift, Sarzoven tightened his hold on her. “I have not killed any human since the old days, and only then, to protect those who needed my protection. More recently, I have…put two vampires to rest, who may have even been on your list, truth be known.” “Who?” Miranda’s blue eyes looked startled. Why? Had she assumed he’d killed no one? “Taran and Killos. Both had lived on the fringe of society for many years. When things got too hot for them, they moved on, made fresh starts, and attempted to blend in. In the past, they’d always gotten by, using self-dense as a motive to shield them from the Hunter League’s condemnation. But the last time…” Sarzoven shook his head. “They killed two female humans, regular patrons of my dance club. Neither of the women were cold-hearted assassins, just a couple of lonely ladies looking for some friendly companionship. I didn’t manage to save them, but two nights later, Taran and Killos targeted two more of my patrons. I stopped them, plain and simple.” Miranda shook her head. “I didn’t know about them.” The swooshing of her blood through her veins captivated him, called to him, begging to be kissed by the points of his teeth, pleading to be devoured by his hunger. At least that’s how he interpreted her racing pulse. But she wasn’t like the other women, easily controlled by a vampire’s charm. And that was definitely a big reason she drew his attention. Every nerve in his body was attuned to her; the subtle fragrance of her perfume, the warmth and lifeblood running through her veins, the softness of her body pressed close to the hardness of his. But what he needed to focus on was the reason she was in his arms tonight. She intended to put him to rest for a crime he hadn’t committed, but she seemed willing to discover the truth first. At least he hoped she was. Do you want us to terminate her, Sugar? sulky Lolita drawled telepathically to him. An American Civil War era vampire of the Georgia Southern Belle variety, her dress having shortened considerably since then, but her hair still wrapped in dark auburn coils around her petite face. We will, you know. You have all our support. No. I will either clear my name, or die trying. Should you wrongfully die, we’ll take things into our own hands. He shook his head to say no, not meaning to in front of Miranda, but she caught his action and
Paranormal Island Fantasies raised her brows. “What?
“Let’s discuss this somewhere else. With the beat of the music, and…well, other distractions, it’s hard for me to…defend myself.” She took a deep breath, then nodded. “Somewhere neutral.” “The beach.” He didn’t wait for her to object. He wanted her alone, to himself, so that vampires concerned with his best interests couldn’t butt into his discussion with Miranda. Nor did he want to be in a situation where other hunters might overhear their conversation. After all someone or more than one was in on the plot to have him murdered under the pretext he was a rogue. Until he knew who they were, neither he nor Miranda were safe. And though she had it in mind he might be the danger, in reality, he was already stepping in to protect her from the real danger--someone who belonged to her illustrious Hunter League. With a kiss to her cheek, he whisked her away to the beach outside, imagining she wouldn’t like that he transported her in that manner, but it was his way, and he wanted to move her quickly, without objection. For a moment, she seemed disoriented and clung to him, which couldn’t help but amuse him. She, the mighty huntress, had to cling to a vampire for support. He loved the irony. Then she pursed her lips and tried to move away. “We could have walked. And...and…” She leaned down to slip off her sandals, while he grabbed her arm to steady her. “You should have asked.” “We’re not used to asking.” At his last remark, she “hmpfed,” bringing a smile to his lips. The moonlight danced across the white-capped waves while a steady warm breeze swept across the sugary sand, blowing Miranda’s hair into her eyes. Reaching up, she secured it in a ponytail. Torches cast eerie wavering lights across the beach, providing enough illumination for the huntress to see, but the night was still dark enough to create the perfect lover’s tryst. Yet, with his vampiric sight, the beach and the lady were as visible to him as they would be on a sunny, afternoon. “Who was I supposed to have killed?” Sarzoven asked, trying to get his mind on the important business at hand. “The two women, Karen Summers and Amy Rantolli, who were frequent patrons of your jungle club.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 18 “The same two women that Taran and Killos murdered. Everyone will vouch for me, that I was at the club managing things as usual that night.” “And that you didn’t slip out for a quick snack while your patrons and staff were busy?” She sauntered down the beach, her hips swaying in the red dress while the breeze plastered the shimmering material against her curves. She was one hot red chili pepper, just the way his beloved Sirina had been. A baron’s daughter, she’d taken a while to warm up to Sarzoven, but he hadn’t used his charms on her, wanting the feelings to be real, like any other couple that fell in love. In time, they were inseparable, until… Even now, sorrow and bitterness filled him, thinking of how she had refused his bite of immortality, and died of malaria. Together, they would have shared many lifetimes. Instead, he’d lived alone, a shadow of a man who found pleasure where he could for a few seconds that faded just as quickly, and would never quench the deep need to share his love and life with another. He joined Miranda, his thoughts dark, and walked so close to her that their arms brushed against one another in a tantalizing tease. “I suppose that nothing will convince you that I am innocent.” Miranda looked up at him. “You killed the men you accuse of committing the crimes. Without their confessions, we…I only have your word. What if you had done the deed, they had discovered it, but you killed them first before they could reveal it?” “You can ask anyone at the club or in the surrounding city what you will about me. Everyone will say the same about Taran and Killos. They were bad news. And everyone will have only good things to say about me.” “Everyone? Surely there’s someone who would have something other than glowing words to say about you.” He snorted. “Sure, doesn’t everybody? Talk to Catarina. She’ll give you an earful.” “Former lover?” Did he hear a tinge of jealousy in her words? He tried to keep a straight face, but when her cheeks blossomed with color, he knew he’d failed miserably. “My sister. She will tell you I grind my teeth, won’t let go of the past, and walk in my sleep sometimes.” “Then you could have killed the women.” “I was working at my club.” He pulled her to a stop. “Okay, listen. Someone in the Hunter League must have something against me. I haven’t the foggiest notion what it could be. Can you find out anything from your end of it? I mean, I don’t want you to…”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 19 He stopped speaking abruptly, and shook his head. “Forget it. It’s something I have to do, not you. Whoever it is wants me dead. It’s my problem, not yours.” No way in hell did he want her snooping around and getting her neck in a noose over it. Her glare softened. “If someone in the League does indeed plan to have you murdered for a crime you didn’t commit, I have to know about it. I’ll report it…” “No, Miranda. It wouldn’t be safe.” She folded her arms in that obstinate way he was beginning to love. “It’s my job,” she said, her chin tilted up, her manner saying she wouldn’t be thwarted. Only he wouldn’t let her do it, no matter how pigheaded she thought she could be. “Your job, huntress, is to kill me. Nothing more.” Forcing her to admit that she, unlike most of the others of her kind, terminated rogue vampires without giving it another thought, he hoped… Well, he wasn’t sure what he hoped to accomplish, but her eyes burned with fury, and that wasn’t exactly what he had in mind. “I take pride in my job, Prince of Darkness. And you won’t be telling me what I do to accomplish it.” Sarzoven heard the deadly whoosh of the bullet before it met its targeted mark—Miranda Landower, huntress extraordinaire--who apparently had now made somebody else’s terminal list.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER THREE Sarzoven seized Miranda’s hand before she had time to react to either the deadly bullet meant for her, or to Sarzoven’s quick response. In a split second, he whisked her away into darkness, and transported her to his secure home a mile away, fully intending to keep the huntress safe. Yet part of him wanted to keep her for his own, now and forever. And what a crazy notion that was. A huntress would never succumb to a vampire’s charms, or would wish to become like him. But he vowed never to fall in love with another woman, unless she would agree to his turning her. He couldn’t stand losing another like he lost Sirina. He led Miranda to his black leather couch, where she collapsed from dizziness, one of the side effects for non-vampiric creatures when they traveled with a vampire in their alien way of moving-faster than sound, definitely faster than a speeding bullet, moving between dimensions, a flight without wings. For a moment, Miranda rubbed her temple, trying to clear her head, then she looked around at her surroundings, her gaze focusing on a piano, state-of-the-art entertainment system whose components consisted of the finest in television viewing, and the best stereo sound system money could buy. So that was another of his faults. He loved electronic gizmos, including a high tech computer system he updated monthly. She dropped her sandals on the terra cotta tile floor, leaned back against the black and gold tasseled pillows decorating the couch, and closed her eyes. “Why am I here?” Her voice was soft, almost sleepy sounding, like she’d just awakened from a nap and wasn’t quite fully awake, or comprehending what had happened. “Didn’t you hear the gun fire?”
Paranormal Island Fantasies Her eyes popped open. “What?”
“Someone shot at you, but I moved you before it could strike your heart.” She narrowed her eyes. Hadn’t she heard the noise of the… Damn, she couldn’t hear sounds like he could. Had the gunman used a silencer and because of the roar of the crashing surf and the sea breeze stirring the air, only he could have distinguished the sound of danger? Inwardly, his stomach clenched, figuring she wouldn’t believe a word without proof, but for whatever reason, he wanted her to believe him. “Want a drink?” “Nobody shot at me.” She sat up, but leaned back again and groaned. “What did you do to me?” “Transported you here. The first time I carried you from the club to the beach outside, it was a much shorter distance. For everyone, the sensation is different. You’ll get over it in a few minutes. Want a drink?” “I don’t think for one minute someone tried to kill me. It’s a ploy of yours to bring me here without my objecting.” He shook his head. “Believe me, I knew you would object.” He walked to his bar and served up a minty Grasshopper for his reluctant guest. “But I wouldn’t lie about the bullet.” “I have to have proof. You’re right about me, to some degree. I do have to know for certain a vampire is truly a rogue before I eliminate him,” she finally admitted. “So I don’t believe anyone fired a shot at me.” She folded her arms and looked about as cross as Sirina would when she thought he had lied. “Take a look at your dress, right side, near your waist. It’s hard to see because your dress is red, but there’s a small patch of...” “Blood,” she said, her voice raising an octave. “But I wasn’t shot.” Her eyes shifted from her dress to Sarzoven. “Right. You weren’t. I moved you too quickly.” She grabbed the sofa to help her to stand, and paused. “You were wounded? For me?” He didn’t want to get the girl that way, but hell, if it helped… “I should have moved more quickly. It was sloppiness on my part. Maybe old age.” Unsteadily, she crossed the living room and stared at his black turtleneck. “Where?” “My body will reject the bullet eventually, and the wound will heal up on its own. By tomorrow, at best, no one will know. But, why don’t we soak your pretty dress before the blood sets in the fabric.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies Miranda raised a brow. “Right.”
“You can wear my robe, or not.” “Let me see where you were hit,” she insisted. He handed her the drink, and pulled the turtleneck over his head. Three scars marred his muscled chest, the worst one where the sword nearly managed to take his life so long ago. His arm dripped with blood, and she examined where the bullet entered, leaving an unsightly wound. She set her drink on the bar and examined his arm more carefully, her tenderness sending another cascade of desire through his system. God, how he wished she were his. Looking up at him, she asked, “Will it heal more quickly if I remove it?” “Yes, but it’s really not necessary.” And it would hurt like hell, though right now a dull pain throbbed through his arm. If she dug around in it and pulled out the bullet, the wound would heal much faster, but he didn’t want her seeing how much of a baby he could be in the interim. “Do you have something I can use to remove it?” He wrapped a kitchen towel around his arm, secured it with a potato chip bag clip, and motioned to a drawer. When she opened it, he made himself a drink, whiskey, straight, to help to kill the pain. Pulling a long-handled pair of tweezers out, she asked, “Do you have some rubbing alcohol to cleanse it?” He poured some gin over it. “Sterile.” “Will this hurt?” What could he say? No, he was one seriously tough dude, and nothing pained him? Or would she be more sympathetic, and better yet, more careful if he told her the truth? “It’ll hurt.” He left the part like hell off, figuring that when he screamed in agony; she’d get the point. “Do you want to sit down, or lie down?” Lying down with her, now that was an idea. But as soon as he said the words, he knew he shouldn’t have. “We still need to get you out of your dress, and clean the blood off it.” She shook her head and led him to the couch. “Have you ever heard of the art of subtlety?” “Bed. In case I get really dizzy.” “Your kind gets dizzy?” He clenched his teeth. “We feel pain, all right?” “Sorry.” She followed him into the bedroom, and he heard her pause at the entrance of the
Paranormal Island Fantasies colossal-sized room.
Because of Sarzoven’s long periods of self-imposed celibacy, the bed was a joke, given to him by a prince of Prussia, with a massive headboard and footboard, pillar-sized corner posts that supported a roof-sized canopy. A black velvet comforter covered the mattress while gold and black tapestry tasseled pillows decorated the head of the bed. Black sheers flowed over the canopy’s frame, puddling on the floor in elegant opulence. Ornate black enameled tables from China and overstuffed Turkish ottomans made up the rest of the furniture, but the bed, that’s what caught Miranda’s attention. “You don’t have to do this,” Sarzoven said, hopeful she’d change her mind. “Do you have an old towel I can use...” “Bathroom.” He motioned to the room and when she headed for it, he removed the rest of his clothes as he normally did when he retired to bed, and climbed between the velvet comforter and black satin sheets. Florence Nightingale returned, scowling when she saw the rest of his clothes on the chair beside the bed. He couldn’t help but be amused, despite the pain radiating through his arm. Miranda studied his repentant look. She couldn’t believe Sarzoven had ditched the rest of his clothes, and was lying naked underneath the black comforter. What did he think anyway? That she’d join him? “I’m losing blood and if I lose too much, you’ll have to bring me a friend so that I can feed, but I don’t want you leaving the house in the event whoever is after you, will make another attempt. If we hurry this up, maybe I won’t need a transfusion.” Miranda swallowed hard, not liking this at all. She had to help him, given that he’d saved her life when she intended taking his. But she didn’t want him to know that the great and upcoming huntress that she was, was squeamish about blood. How would that sound to the rogues out there that might eventually end up on her terminal list? The vampire’s blood immediately turned to dust once her sword or special dagger touched his or her heart, so she could deal with that. But this was something entirely different. But then she remembered what he said about losing too much blood. She pulled the kitchen towel open, gagging when she saw how much blood it had already soaked up. Sarzoven had closed his eyes, but he tightened his jaw, and she wondered how much pain he really could experience. If she dug around in the wound… She crinkled her face, admiring nurses for their ability to handle such gruesome tasks. With a
Paranormal Island Fantasies 24 shaking hand, she attempted to dig out the bullet, but couldn’t believe how slippery the blood made everything. After several attempts, and noting Sarzoven’s pained expression, she pulled away and feared the worst. She’d have to locate one of his blood bonds to have her help him pull through. But the notion bothered her for several reasons. He’d saved her life, the same danger was most likely waiting for her out there if she moved from the house, and why should some other woman aid him, when she was the one he risked his life for? But that meant letting him bite her. She wouldn’t become vampiric, and no one would have to ever know but she and Sarzoven, yet the thought of him drinking her blood… She held her breath, and tried to remove the bullet again and wanted to scream when it slipped out of the tweezers time and again. Finally, he reached out and touched her hand. “Leave it. I’d call someone to come to my aid, but I’m losing consciousness. If I don’t get blood soon...” He couldn’t die. She knew that, not from a regular bullet. But the blood loss could make him weak and unable to get help, plus trying to heal himself would take so much longer. Not wanting to see him in pain, she squeezed his hand. “The bullet’s too slippery and in too deep. I can’t get it out. We have two options. We can call someone at your club, your sister maybe. Or…” His eyes opened when she didn’t finish talking. She looked away from his hungry gaze. “Or, I could give you some of my blood.” For a moment, he seemed dazed, maybe not believing a huntress would offer her blood to a vampire. She frowned at him. “It’s been done before. Rarely, but it has happened.” “There’s a phone number on the fridge. Call that. Try to contact Catarina at the club. Tell her to send one of my usuals, or she can come. No others. I’m not sure who to trust.” Miranda didn’t lose anytime in calling the club. When Sarzoven made the decision for her, she wasn’t sure whether she was relieved or saddened. But it was out of her hands, his choice. When she punched in the numbers for the club, the phone line went dead. And shortly after that, the electricity went out, too. With her heart thundering against her ribs, her blood pounding in her ears, and her hands instantly clammy, she tried to remember where all the furniture was and attempted to make it back to the bedroom without breaking her neck. Something crashed through the window in the door, making her back into the wall in terror. The
Paranormal Island Fantasies hand that seized her wrist forced her to gasp in surprise.
“Shhhh,” Sarzoven whispered. He led her back into his bedroom, shut the door, and clicked the lock on the doorknob. “I’d take you back to the club, but I’m too weak to travel my usual way.” “Your car,” she said, her voice hushed, but in panic. Going after renegade vampires proved a deadly business. That, she was used to. But being targeted by some unknown person armed with a gun unnerved her more than she thought possible. “No, whoever has cut the electricity and phone line would have tampered with the car, no doubt. I need blood, but if I take yours, you’ll be tired, not as capable of fighting. And even drinking your blood won’t instantly mend me.” “But it’ll make you stronger.” Hunters and huntresses were stronger than humans. Would her blood heal him faster? She didn’t know the answer to that question, but something crashing in the living room, and the wish to stay alive longer, decided it for her. “I offer you my blood,” she said, quickly, in case she changed her mind. He pulled her toward the bed. “You’ll be lightheaded. Best to lie down.” Now that brought a sudden flash of the image of her beneath him, and, hey…had he dressed? Or was she now standing in the dark with a naked vampire? She looked down, but couldn’t see a thing. Jeez, perverted is what she is. Or was it that she hadn’t had a man in so long, she’d be interested in anyone? “Miranda?” She realized she was balking. “Sorry. I…” She couldn’t tell him how much the sight of blood, or the thought he’d be drawing hers out of her veins, made her skin sweat icicles and her stomach grow queasy. “I’m okay.” When she lay down on the bed, he covered her with his body, not what she expected at all. Lying beside her, but not… He was hard in all the right places, and had the erection the size of the entire island despite being weak. Was he really as feeble as he said he was? “You…you’re dressed, aren’t you?” A dark chuckle escaped his lips.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 26 Jeez, had she been tricked into this whole scenario? Freda had said Miranda was getting way over her head on this one. Brushing her hair away from her throat, Sarzoven pushed her chin up and he turned her, exposing her throat to him.
His breathing increased and she immediately sensed the bloodlust
overwhelming him, calling to him to take her life force. Would he stop before he took too much? Would it hurt? He licked her throat, but she turned her head toward him, and grabbed his shoulders--his bare shoulders--and then his erection prodded her. “Just a little blood,” she said, unable to keep her voice from sounding concerned. Again, he nudged her chin out of his way, kissing and licking her throat. She couldn’t help but writhe under him, wishing he’d hurry up and do it, and yet another part of her wanted him to take her sexually. Was she crazy or what? “Hmmm,” he groaned against her skin. “Quit moving, Miranda, as you’re working up another lust that I’m losing control of.” “Hurry it up, then.” Another crash, and then someone cursed under his breath in the living room. “Patience, my love, patience,” Sarzoven breathed against Miranda’s throat. She snorted. “Listen, buster, I’m not your...ahhh.” A sharp pain touched her skin, and instantly she tried to unseat the naked man pinning her to the bed. “Sorry, I told you to be still. Relax, Miranda,” he whispered against her lips, and then he touched her throat again, but this time there was no pain, only a strange pleasure, a tickling, then her whole being was filled with serenity and she gave herself to the heavenly experience. More than ever she wanted him to make love to her. Was it his intimate feeding that brought her to such cravings? To such madness? She ran her fingers over his bare back, tracing the muscles all the way down his spine, and felt his firm butt. Jeez, she wished hers were so tight, and well muscled. “You are tempting me, love, but we will have to satisfy our other needs later.” The doorknob jiggled, then whoever it was slammed something into the door. Miranda moved slightly, but her actions were dulled like a drunk’s. “Can he get in?” “Yes, but the doors in my house are solid oak, not so easily kicked in. Most likely, he might have even injured himself.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies Wishful thinking.
“Are you feeling any better?” He kissed her lips, silencing her questions. His salty tongue touched hers in a jungle dance, mating and separating, teasing and drawing her to him. Here she was fully dressed, yet she could see the strong pull he had with women. If he’d only move a little, she’d lift her skirt and open herself to him. She wriggled beneath him, finally able to part her legs and his body slipped between them, pressing heavily against her mound. Groaning, he kissed her lips again. “You’re definitely a siren of the sea.” Then bullets pierced the door. “Stay,” Sarzoven ordered, and vanished.
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Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER FOUR Sarzoven couldn’t shake the image of the temptress, Miranda, her soft body writhing beneath his, craving him, the way he lusted after her. Every move she’d made had been calculated to stir his desire, to force his pleasuring her all the way. He couldn’t have been more surprised with her actions, nor disappointed at the timing. Would she still desire him once he got rid of the menace trying to beat down his door? Her blood had given him additional strength, more so than any human blood host had done. He’d not considered her huntress genetics, the hunters having been struck by the same sickness, only their bodies had reacted differently. They had the same strength as the vampires, but couldn’t see at night as well as in daytime. And though their sense of smell was vastly improved like the vampires, like wolves that could detect prey from a mile away, the hunters didn’t have the advanced hearing. If the one firing at the door was a hunter, he could smell the blood Sarzoven had lost, but could he also distinguish that the vampire now was revived by the huntress’s own blood? Feeling ten times better, Sarzoven reluctantly left the woman he’d already lost his heart to behind, and appeared on the other side of the door, not wanting the maniac killer to even have a chance at Miranda again. On the other side of the door, he found the hunter had vanished. Sarzoven, sickened with knowing he’d waited too long, though he’d waited only as long as it had taken to gather his strength, smelled the air, logging the odor in his memory banks. The next time he caught the man’s scent, Sarzoven would kill him, but not before he forced him tell if there were others behind the plot, made them reveal who they were, and why they had targeted him. Kravarus, are you still at The Jungle Stop? Sarzoven asked his good friend, a baron from the old
Paranormal Island Fantasies 30 days. On the verge of death at the hands of a scheming knight, who had tried to kill Kravarus to obtain his wife and lands, Kravarus had given his consent to Sarzoven to share his gift of life, and change him into an immortal being. When Kravarus discovered his wife had been involved in the attempt on his life, he sent her away, so the two men had been tied to one another, friends for their immortal lives. You sound peeved, dear friend. Is the lady too much to handle? We’ve had trouble.
Before Sarzoven could explain the difficulty, Kravarus, the joker,
telepathically made another remark. We knew she’d be the worst kind of trouble, Sarzoven. Do you need our help? Find Stolingus. Though Kravarus had changed the knight in medieval times, he’d been devoted to both Sarzoven and Kravarus for all these years. I need some repairs done to my front door. The window’s been broken and… The huntress? Kravarus’s words sounded shocked. Someone who’s after the huntress. Seems she has gone against the League’s wishes by not terminating me at once. Someone tried to shoot her tonight, got me instead and… You need some protection. Yes, get Stolingus. I need my front door and bedroom door repaired, but the latter can wait. There was a lengthy pause. Then Kravarus spoke again, his telepathic voice full of intrigue. Where is the huntress? I was wounded… Ah. Do not tell me the lady gave you blood. You did not use the ploy that you could not reach us to send you a blood bond. It wasn’t a ploy. Whoever it was cut the phone line and electricity. And I was too weak to… Hell, why was he defending himself? Kravarus would undoubtedly assume Sarzoven had found a woman he wanted more than life itself and would do anything to commit her to a blood bond. Kravarus would think so, because he almost knew better what Sarzoven was thinking, what he wanted from life, than Sarzoven did himself. We need the electricity and phone line repaired, too, only it’s not necessary to have it done tonight. Where is the lady? Kravarus asked again, bemused curiosity lacing his thoughts. Where she belongs. Where else? Again a nerve-wracking pause. Sarzoven knew when Kravarus thought about a situation that
Paranormal Island Fantasies 31 much, he had serious doubts and would try to dissuade Sarzoven from taking his current course of action. Taking a huntress is a tricky business, my friend. It has been done, in unique situations, but members of the Hunter League normally frown upon it. Especially since she is one of their star pupils. In the two cases I know of, the women were mediocre huntresses. So it didn’t matter to the League, figuring that their vampire mate would keep them safer than if they continued to hunt rogues alone. But with Miranda, now this is a whole other story. She’s a top huntress, and… You are getting way ahead of me, Kravarus. She’s staying with me because a hunter has tried to kill her, most likely because she didn’t terminate me at once. I’m keeping her here to prevent whoever wants her dead from getting another chance to try. Again, Kravarus thought for an extended period of time, while Sarzoven paced. All right, though I’m certain you have not thought out the situation as clearly as you think you have. I will pry Stolingus away from the gorgeous redhead he is currently dancing with. You will owe me, because it will take some persuading. But you will do it. Of course. I will tell him you have found your mate and at long last you and your sister will quit these daredevil bets that have been going on for two centuries now. See you once we have the materials needed to repair your front door. Sarzoven shook his head, and returned to the bedroom. The word would spread like a red tide throughout the Virgin Islands that he, the mighty Sarzoven, owner of the most popular dance club on St. John, had finally fallen for a woman, after so many years of searching, giving up, and searching again. But even more importantly, the woman wasn’t a human, but a huntress. And not any huntress, but Malvo Landower’s daughter. And not only that, but that Sarzoven was on her terminal list. He ran his hands through his hair and paused at his bedroom door. The sound of her light breath met his ear. Sleeping. His sea nymph was sleeping from the affects of having given so much of her blood. His mouth curved up. To thank her, he’d wash her dress and remove the bloodstain. At least he hoped he’d remove it in time. Then he’d join her. The arrival of his friends forced him to change his plans for the moment, and he went to greet them in the living room instead. “Go to her,” Stolingus said, grinning. Knighted in the same secret Dragon Society for having
Paranormal Island Fantasies 32 fought the Turks so successfully, he, like Kravarus and Sarzoven, had their share of sword wounds. But Stolingus wore one proudly across his cheek, the raised white welt extended to the bridge of his nose, thankfully missing his blue eyes that now sparkled in amusement. “I’ve only seen you smitten twice with a woman before. Go woo the huntress. Others are bringing the materials to board up the door. But for now, we’ll watch out for you and your lady.” Sarzoven frowned at Kravarus, a handsome man with serene features and black as ink hair, that was bound in a leather strap as in olden times. He shrugged back. “I tried to keep the secret. But you know how Stolingus is. Loyal to a point. He wouldn’t leave the redheaded wench behind unless I told him the whole story.” “Which is much exaggerated,” Sarzoven said, then turned to leave his friends and rejoin the huntress. Catarina appeared in front of him, her arms folded. “You were to have the huntress remove your name from the list, not make her your mate. Do you know what her father would say about that?” “What will he say when he learns some hunter is trying to kill her?” His sister didn’t say a word, silently conceding his point. “What are you doing here?” “Watching out for your welfare, dear brother. The whole club is afire with the news. First the huntress wants your head, now you want her soul. I only meant you needed to seduce her. You have done so, I will admit, and my estate is yours.” He shook his head. “Keep your estate. The bet is off.” She lifted a black sculpted brow. “You really do feel something for the huntress. So be it. I will stay and…watch your backs as well.” The faint sound of the window sliding up in his bedroom caught his ear. Damn! If Miranda heard he’d had a bet with his sister to seduce the huntress… He vanished and reappeared in the room. Searching the bed, he found no sign of Miranda, only crumpled linens, and the comforter half draped on the floor. The open window let in the salty warm breeze from the ocean and the huntress’s faint floral fragrance, lingered on the breeze, stirring his blood. He transported himself outside, but she was nowhere in sight. Damn the huntress! She’d made herself a walking target for the attempted murderer. And where the hell could she have gotten to so quickly? But worse, would she believe how much she affected him, when she most likely hated him for having made the bet in the first place? The bet was off the moment
Paranormal Island Fantasies he had spoken to her, already having fallen for the wench when he had gazed upon her.
The breeze stirred behind him and he whipped around. Kravarus. “Perhaps that she is gone is best for you, my friend.” “She will get herself killed.” “Make it more difficult for them. Make her one of us then.” Turning her was just the thought he’d had, but could he convince her how much he desired her, not for a passing fling, but forever? And for a vampire it was a long time indeed. When Sarzoven didn’t reply, Kravarus asked, “What can we do to aid you?” “Remain here, in the event the hunter or others still think we are holed up in the house. I’ll call to you if I locate her or need your help elsewhere.” Kravarus bowed his head in agreement, then vanished.
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CHAPTER FIVE Miranda could have kicked herself, she was so mad. How could she have trusted the vampire’s motives? Of course she figured he’d want to get himself out of the jam he was in, convince her he wasn’t a rogue, and get her to remove his name from her list, but for him to bet his sister he could seduce the huntress? Of all the rotten, low down, dirty vampire tricks… The worst of it was, he’d nearly succeeded. He’d had her groaning and moaning underneath him, willing to let him take all. So what did he win in return? Not only some concession from his sister, but the vampires’ admiration. After all, bedding a huntress as well thought of as Miranda would definitely be a notch in his belt, wouldn’t it? She growled inwardly, attempting to remain hidden, mostly buried in the sand, waiting for the vampire with the eyes that could see as well as a panther in the night, to move on and look elsewhere. When he was talking to his friend, he was awfully close, so close she was afraid that if they walked around the area much farther, one of them would trip over her. But she hadn’t had time to leave the area, not with the vampires’ quick method of self-transportation. Now that it was quiet once again, she figured Sarzoven was searching the area with his senses, trying to pick up the sound of her heart beating, which, if it didn’t quit pounding so hard and fast, he was sure to sense it. But the scent of her perfume would be sufficiently buried under the smell of the salty, fishy sand, at least she hoped. Disturbing a crab from its own hiding hole, the shelled creature came close to her nose and she closed her eyes before she moved from her sand cocoon and gave her position away. For an eternity, it seemed she lay there--unmoving, then hoping Sarzoven had transported himself to some other location, she wriggled out of her sand bed. As far as she was concerned, the vampire was off her terminal list, permanently. The sniper
Paranormal Island Fantasies 35 saved his butt. Now she had a new target. A hunter target. And she wouldn’t stop searching until she found the bastard. But where the hell was she? Miles from The Jungle Club? Or just a short distance away? And if she began walking, which way should she go? She headed down the beach, then came to rocks and had to head back up to where the road connected to his house. He’d undoubtedly search the road both ways. Yet there wasn’t any other way for her to go. If she could reach her car still parked at the club…only what if it had been tampered with? Failed brakes on winding, hilly roads could prove a disaster. She wished she could call to her father telepathically the way vampires could reach each other. Then she’d let him know the mess she was in. But what if he had something to do with it? That thought sent an avalanche of chills down her spine. She wouldn’t be safe anywhere if her father wanted her dead. Always hard on her for being a daughter instead of a son, she had wanted his love by proving to him she was as great a huntress as any hunter. Had her success angered him instead? He hadn’t spoken to her in months since he’d sent a hunter to date her and she’d rejected the egotistical jerk. A car’s headlights headed toward her and she faltered between waving it down, and hiding. As raw as her nerves were, she dodged behind the shrubs. The car passed by without incident, making her feel paranoid. She began to recognize the stretch of road. Beyond the next hill, The Jungle Stop sat, the disco lights still casting mystical colorful rays into the night. To her relief, she found her car still there. Now if it hadn’t been tampered with… She used her keypad to gain entrance, then pulled her keys out from under the seat. Before she started the engine, Freda tapped on the window, nearly giving her a heart attack. Miranda rolled down the window. “Jeez, Freda, I thought you’d gone home. What are you doing here?” “Car broke down. I had to walk all the way back here, and just now got here. Can I get a lift?” “Sure, get in.” But something about Freda’s story bothered Miranda. She had a cell phone; why hadn’t she just called for an auto service? “Is your cell phone on the blink?” Miranda asked, trying to keep the worry out of her voice. “Yeah, I hadn’t charged it up in a while. So of course when the car died on me, I couldn’t plug the phone in and use it. You know me and cell phones. I’m not that attached to them.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies That part was true. Miranda was the same; in fact she didn’t even own one.
Silence stretched between them, then Freda asked, “So how did it go with Sarzoven? Are you going to terminate him, or are you going to check him out further?” Miranda noted a hint of sarcasm. Jealousy? They’d often had discussions of how in hunter circles the hunters were most impressed by Miranda’s success. Was Freda upset because of the attention Miranda had received? Freda always had a hunter boyfriend dangling on a string. Not many of the guys were as interested in a gung-ho huntress like Miranda who had a point to prove with her father. They wanted a seductive woman who could massage their egos. “He’s…well, I haven’t decided,” Miranda lied. “Oh. So what have you been doing all of this time? Talking, dancing?” “Yeah.” Did Freda know anything about the attempt on Miranda’s life? That’s what she had to know, but how to find out without tipping her off was the big question. If Freda had nothing to do with the sniper, Miranda definitely didn’t want to get her friend further involved in her troubles. “Do you know any hunter who’s pretty good with a gun?” She felt Freda staring at her. As they passed a lighted building in town, she got a glimpse of the anxious expression on her face. “No. Well, yes. My boyfriend, Carlton, owns a gun. I guess he knows how to shoot it. We’ve never discussed it, but I reached into his glove box for his sunglasses, and was shocked to see the gun in there.” “Did you tell him about the case I’m on right now?” “We talked about it last night. He mentioned that there weren’t many renegades left on the island anymore and if things got anymore peaceful some of us would have to be moving on. Anyway, I told him I hadn’t had a case in weeks, but that you had just gotten a really good one.” Miranda’s interest was totally piqued. “And he said?” “I don’t think he likes it that the League gave a huntress such a good paying job. Sarzoven is an ancient vampire, as well you know. Taking him down brings top dollar.” “What if Sarzoven didn’t kill anyone, except two vampires who had targeted patrons of his club?” Freda groaned. “Why didn’t he let us take the vampires down? Two jobs? Sheesh, some good pay.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 37 “But what if the killings of these women were pinned on Sarzoven? What if a hunter learned Sarzoven had killed the renegade vampires and ruined a hunter’s chance to get the reward money instead?” “You have proof? I mean that Sarzoven didn’t kill the women?” “Lots of witnesses.” Freda shook her head and folded her arms. “If they’re friends of Sarzoven, it’ll never wash with the League.” “I have another kind of proof.” She pulled the car off to the side of the road so that she could watch the expression on Freda’s face. “Someone tried to kill me tonight.” Eyes widened, Freda’s mouth hung agape. “One of his vampire friends?” “Worse.” “What could be worse than vampires targeting you?” “A hunter.” “Ohmigod. That’s why you asked me about the gun?” Freda’s face had lost all its color. “Yeah.” Running her hands over her steering wheel, Miranda stared out her windshield. “I didn’t want to get you involved, Freda. But I think someone, maybe more than one person, might have planned for me to take down Sarzoven without question, before I would discover he wasn’t a rogue after all. I don’t know. In any event, I didn’t kill him, and someone tried to shoot me.” “You found the bullet?” He saved my life, Freda. That’s how I know he isn’t a rogue. If he’d allowed me to be killed, I couldn’t have terminated him. So why did he save my life?” “Someone else would have been assigned.
Someone who just kills rogues without ever
questioning the League’s selections.” Freda ran her hands through her red hair. “I don’t know what to say, Miranda. Listen, you know I’ve been staying with Carlton, but after this, I’m not sure I want to return there tonight.” “Unless we go there, and see his reaction. Whoever it was tried to break into Sarzoven’s house…well did break in. But when Sarzoven was healed up enough, and he went to confront him, the hunter had disappeared. Maybe he thought facing an ancient vampire and a huntress was too much.” “What were you waiting for?” “He had a gun.” Freda stared at her calmly, waiting for Miranda to come out with the whole truth.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 38 Miranda made a face at her. “I shared my blood with Sarzoven. I was too weak to do anything, but it gave him enough strength to fight the hunter.” Groaning, Freda shook her head. “I told you Sarzoven would be trouble.” “Hell, it’s the hunter who is the trouble.” Freda chewed on her bottom lip, then patted Miranda’s leg. “Okay, let’s go to Carlton’s.” “But I thought maybe you wanted to go to your own place and…” “Nope. I know you don’t want me involved in this, but I already am. Besides, what are friends for?” “Certainly not for getting involved in a mess like this.” Sarzoven watched the women talking in the car. He couldn’t make out their words, but as soon as he saw Miranda’s girlfriend hitch a ride with her, he assumed the worst. He was concerned the girlfriend might be in on the hunter’s plot. He’d have hitched a ride also, but couldn’t enter the car without Miranda’s permission. And since she’d run away from him, he assumed she wouldn’t have invited him into her car, or home or anywhere that he could appear again anytime he wished. Planning to follow the huntress wherever she traveled tonight, he was surprised when both Miranda and her girlfriend exited the vehicle at a red-roofed home. Was this her home, and her girlfriend was staying the night? He would have figured Miranda wouldn’t have put her friend at risk. Drawing closer into the shadows, Sarzoven eavesdropped. “Is Carlton home, Freda?” Miranda whispered. Sarzoven raised a brow. It was a hunter’s home? The women couldn’t be investigating the shooter on their own. The door opened and a sandy-haired man stared at Miranda, then turned his attention to Freda. “What’s up, babe?” “Have you got your gun handy?” Freda asked, brushing past him into the house. “What do you mean?” He hurried inside after her. Miranda stepped into the foyer and immediately Sarzoven moved out of the shadows drawing as close to her as he could without entering the house. “Invite me in,” he whispered, trying to get her attention, and not the man’s or Freda’s. He attempted to get a whiff of the man’s scent, but the breeze worked against him. Miranda whipped her head around and frowned at him. “I fear for your safety.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 39 Folding her arms, she looked about as pissed off at him as his sister did when he’d made her mad. He scowled back. “Dammit, woman, invite me in so I can help you.” “I don’t need your help. Go, shoo, vanish.” Dismissing with a wave of her hand, as if she shooed away a pesky gnat. He concentrated on the man’s words spoken somewhere in another room. “What did you want with the gun?” Freda said, “For protection. Somebody tried to mug Miranda and me.” “I don’t have it,” Carlton said. “Loaned it to Joseph. He said he wanted to get a license to carry one, but his own was in the shop for repairs.” What sounded suspiciously sounded like kissing, then a low moan met Sarzoven’s ears. “Are you sure you want to go with her to your place? Why don’t you just stick around here, honey? We can try out the mint whipped cream I just picked up.” Freda sighed. Traitor. The girlfriend was going to abandon Miranda, though it gave Sarzoven even more reason to stick close to her. Sandals clicking on the tile floor drew closer and Sarzoven ducked back in the shadows. When Freda appeared, Miranda asked, “Well?” “He gave it to Joseph.” “Mardigan?” “Yep.” “And?” “I’m…” Freda tucked a loose curl behind her ear. “I’m going to stay the night, but here are the keys to my place. Stay there. No one will suspect you’ve gone there instead of your own home.” Carlton walked into the foyer and placed his hands on Freda’s shoulders, then began massaging until she purred. Miranda refused her keys. “Thanks. I’ll be at my dad’s if you want to reach me.” Carlton’s eyes widened. Yeah, if he was involved, and her dad wasn’t, Carlton wouldn’t want to go anywhere near her dad’s place. “Be safe, Miranda.” “Call you later, Freda.” She turned and headed for her car. As soon as the front door shut behind her, Sarzoven grabbed her arm. “Either let me into your
Paranormal Island Fantasies car, or I’ll escort you promptly back to my place.”
“You don’t need a car. You do perfectly well using your own transportation.” “Miranda…” He couldn’t help the way his blood boiled and his voice elevated, but he had to convince her to trust him. “Oh, hell, all right. But I don’t know what you hope to do. I’m going to the League’s office, search around in the files a little bit. You can’t come in and no way am I inviting you in there. Get in the car.” “What do you hope to find?” he asked when he took the driver’s seat. “Who would want us dead, of course. What the hell do you think you’re doing, anyway?” “Driving. Do you believe Carlton?” “No. Why do you think you have to drive?” “Women drivers make me nervous. So you think Carlton still has the gun?” “Get used to women drivers. It’s my car; I’m driving, so move over. As to whether Carlton has the gun, maybe, maybe not. But if Joseph does have the gun, I don’t believe for one second that Carlton gave it to him for the reason he offered.” “Which means?” Sarzoven switched seats, trying to prove he could give in to her as much as she could with him, as he had nothing against women drivers in the least. In fact when they bothered with a car, his sister usually drove when she visited; it was easier for him to see the sights that way. “They could be in on it together.” “Do you think your friend is safe?” “Sure, for the moment. She can act pretty dumb and innocent, but believe me, it’s an act.” When they arrived at League Headquarters, Sarzoven couldn’t contain his anxiousness. He paced behind Miranda while she stuck the key in the rear door entrance and when the lock clicked open, he pleaded with her one last time. “Let me accompany you, Miranda, watch your back while you search whatever you’re planning on looking for.” “It’ll be safe here, Sarzoven. No one’s here, and I’m just going to verify that your name is on the terminal list. That I wasn’t handed a bogus list.” He fisted his hands. “And what do I do in the meantime?” “Watch my car. Make sure no one tampers with it while I’m in the building looking for the original document.” “I’d rather be…”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 41 “You must realize I can’t ever let a vampire, any vampire, into the Hunter League Headquarters. I’d be on every hunter’s terminal list then. Just be cool, and I’ll return in a few minutes.” Once she’d disappeared into the jaws of the white stucco building, he transported himself to the red tile rooftop and waited, impotent to do much else. A black compact drove slowly by. Its taillights coloring the night cherry as the driver applied his brakes, then backed up and drove into the lot and parked beside Miranda’s car.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER SIX Miranda had searched several records when a tapping on the office’s window grabbed her attention and stole her breath away. Sarzoven stared through the glass, giving her another start. After crossing the floor, hating the interruption, she lifted the window and snapped, “What?” “Someone just drove up in a black foreign job when he saw your vehicle. He just entered the building.” “Shit!” Miranda ran across the office, and searched again through the files, finally finding the master list for all of the islands. But before she could look for Sarzoven’s name, footsteps approached. Dashing back to the window, she climbed outside, as a man said, “Miranda?” Her father? What the hell was he doing here? Before she could call out to him, Sarzoven shut the window, effectively locking it, and transported her back to his home. When they stood in his living room, she clung to him, totally disoriented. “What the hell am I doing back in your house?” she asked, recognizing the furniture at once. “That was my father and I was going to tell him what was going on, dammit!” Then she saw the others, a beautiful, black-haired woman and a man with the same ebonycolored hair, only his was tied back in a tail, and a redheaded guy with a white raised scar across one cheek. “My sister, Catarina,” Sarzoven introduced her while he helped Miranda to the couch. “And my good friends, Kravarus and .” “Kravarus, I’ve heard of you,” Miranda said, rubbing her temple. “Only good things I hope.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies “You have a similar background to Sarzoven.”
He bowed his head slightly. His lips turned up at the edges as if he were slightly amused. “And, Stolingus, you served Kravarus in the Middle Ages as his knight.” “Impressive,” Catarina said, folding her arms. “Do you usually make such a thorough study of your intended target?” “Always. If a rogue has been abusive throughout the ages, then he most likely wouldn’t be able to change his ways in modern day society.” “But she always catches her target in the act of killing to ensure he or she truly is a renegade,” Sarzoven added. He pulled out the list. “You can’t see that,” Miranda said, reaching for it. “Why not?” “Some of your friends might be on it.” “And I’d warn them?” Sarzoven grunted. “If I were human and had a friend who was later identified as a serial killer, would I hide them?” He tsked. “You pretend to know about me, but...” She leaned against the couch and closed her eyes. “Don’t ever transport me that way again.” The papers fluttered as he flipped through one after the other; a speed-reader she assumed. When she managed to open her eyes again, all four vampires were studying the names. “Well?” “Killos and Taran are listed.” “What?” “Yeah. They’re listed, so why is it that no hunter or huntress was given their names to eliminate? And why was my name substituted for them on your list as the killer of those women?” Miranda blew out her breath. “Your name isn’t on the list at all?” “No.” “I suspected as much.” “So who had access to the list you received?” Sarzoven asked. “Freda’s boyfriend. He’s paid to do clerical work at the office. But…it doesn’t make sense. Freda said he didn’t know about my getting the assignment. That he was mad that I would get such a lucrative job after he learned of it.” Sarzoven glowered at her. “What if he was lying to her? If it came out later that you killed a vampire who wasn’t truly a rogue…hell, what would happen to you if that were the case?” “I’d be in prison for murder.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 44 “And successfully eliminated from the hunter pool. Since you’re one of the more successful hunters...” “That’s what Freda said. I mean, she mentioned he was mad that there weren’t enough renegade vampires to target. But why not at least go after the ones on the list, the two you killed?” “He had to have someone to pin their murders on other than them. Plus he needed you out of the way. You’re just too…prolific.” Miranda’s stomach muscles tightened with worry. “We’ve got to get back to Carlton’s house. But first, let me call my father and let him know what’s going on.” “Phone line’s dead.” “Damn, Sarzoven, if you’d just left me at the Headquarters, I could have talked to my father then. Do you think Carlton still has the gun?” “Most likely.” Sarzoven pulled her from the couch. “If we go to his house, you have to let me in.” She glanced at the other vampires, all who wore somber expressions. Not meaning to, but not having much choice, she clung to Sarzoven, her head still spinning. “We can’t use your car?” “We checked it out. Been tampered with. I’m not a mechanic, but there’s some kind of fluid puddled up on the driveway underneath the car and venturing a guess, I’d say it isn’t safe to drive,” Kravarus said. “Carlton may not let me in,” Miranda said, looking up at Sarzoven. “We’ll insist.” Before she could ready herself for the trip, he whisked her away into the blackness. She felt as if she were inside a vacuum in space, no light, only a breeze that blew around her, and the warm, hard body of a vampire crushing her breasts against his chest in a comforting manner. She couldn’t see him, only feel his presence, and for an instant forgave him for betting with his sister that he could seduce the huntress. A manipulative hunter, an attempted murderer, had targeted Sarzoven, acting no better than a renegade vampire who wanted to eliminate her from the hunter pool. She owed Sarzoven big time. When they arrived at the house, Sarzoven led her to a cement bench surrounded by hibiscus flowers. “Sit here while I attempt to find a way into the house.” “We have to be careful. We don’t want Freda to get hurt.” “If I can’t find a way to safely get into the house, ring the doorbell and say you discovered that I
Paranormal Island Fantasies 45 was not on the list. That you couldn’t locate Joseph, but you know he’s the one who shot at you. That you’d swear to it in the League’s tribunal.” “I’m not sure I can stand.” “I’ll be back.” As soon as he vanished, she felt robbed of his strong, caring presence and at once knew how vulnerable she really was. Rubbing her arms, Miranda listened to the crickets singing their raucous tunes, her skin prickling with worry. Her head and stomach still felt unsettled as she tried to fight the feeling and finally stood…then sank to her knees. Damn vampire travel. Crawling back onto the cement bench, she sat, hoping that she could keep her drink down. Then footsteps sounded near her, and she turned to see Carlton. His black eyes seemed soulless in the dim lantern light. He tilted his head to the side. “What are you doing here?” She smiled, trying to put him at ease. “I…well, I discovered Sarzoven’s name wasn’t on the master list. So I came here to find out why. But my problem is, I drank too much at The Jungle Stop, and my stomach’s a bit queasy.” “You think I had something to do with it.” “Well, no, I drank the Grasshopper without being coerced by you or anyone else.” “No, dammit. The list.” “Oh, well, no. I just wondered who else would have had access to hunters’ lists, and could have tampered with it.” “Joseph.” “Ah. We’re back to Joseph. Do you know where he is tonight?” Carlton glanced at the driveway. “Where’s your vehicle?” “I walked.” For an instant, Carlton looked nervously around the dark. “I’ll take you to his house.” “I need to talk to Freda.” “She’s asleep. Come on. Let’s talk to Joseph. If he did the tampering, we’ll turn him in to the League tonight.” “No, I don’t think so. You see, I believe you’re the one who tried to kill me tonight. What’s the problem, Carlton? Am I too much competition for you?” His face turned into a scowl. “Get up. We’re going for a drive.” “Ah, Carlton, why don’t you just shoot me here and get it over with. I’m not going anywhere
Paranormal Island Fantasies with you.”
He slid the gun from behind his back, pointing it at her. “Get up. I’m asking nicely this time, but next time, I won’t be such a gentleman.” “I told you, I’m a bit drunk. If I stand up, I’ll be on my knees again. You’ll have to help me.” “Remove your wrist blades.” “You’ll have to remove them. I couldn’t unbuckle them if I tried.” “Fine, I’ll shoot you here, and dump your body into the deep blue sea. Then I’ll let it be known Sarzoven killed you and he really will be on the master list.” He raised the gun and her heart thundered erratically in her chest. She wasn’t sure she could even leap from the bench in her condition; outdistancing a bullet wasn’t going to happen. “Sarzoven, no!” she said, as if he stood behind Carlton. It was the oldest trick in the book, and she figured Carlton would say he didn’t believe her, but he did, and turned. Of course Sarzoven wasn’t there, and she hadn’t delayed the inevitable by more than a second or two. But she hoped he heard her scream and would suddenly appear. Carlton’s face turned red, but he gave the most evil grin. “Worked. Now what?” He pulled the trigger, Freda screamed out behind him, Miranda dove for the cement driveway, and Sarzoven cursed a blue streak from somewhere nearby. Pain coursed through Miranda’s chest, and the lights over the drive faded, blurred, and extinguished.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER SEVEN Sarzoven paced across the hospital emergency room waiting area unable to squash the pain he felt for Marinda, knowing he was so close to having her, yet sensing the inevitable…she was dying. His sister watched from a nearby chair, while Kravarus and Stolingus leaned against the wall, their arms folded, their faces anxious. Freda sat dazed across the room, her eyes puffy from crying. “I stayed with him,” she sobbed, her forehead sporting a lump the size of a goose’s egg where Carlton had struck her unconscious, “so I could locate the gun. I stayed, but I couldn’t stop him.” Malvo Landower stepped out of the room, and ran his hands through his dark brown, shortcropped hair. He shook his head at Freda, then turned his attention to Sarzoven. “She’s not going to make it, but she wanted to see you. I’ve okayed it with the hospital staff.” “A thousand years of torture would not be enough pain to put Carlton through,” Sarzoven cursed, then bowed slightly to Malvo and headed for the room. “He will get his just rewards,” Malvo said quietly, like a man broken. Sarzoven stalked into the room and found Miranda’s face deathly pale, her blue eyes heavily lidded, and her heart rate so very faint, that even with his powerful hearing, he could barely make it out. But despite her grave condition, she managed a small smile. What was there to smile about? The woman he’d searched for had come to him--to terminate him--sure, but she was the light in his darkness and now... He swallowed hard and took her cold hand in his. “My father and I had words,” she whispered. “When you’re…” He couldn’t say it. Dying. How in the hell could her father be so damned
Paranormal Island Fantasies insensitive?
“I’m not going to live long, Sarzoven, so listen carefully. You won the bet with your sister.” “Dammit, Miranda, I…” “Hush, you’re so angry, you’re not hearing me.” Sarzoven’s own heart pounded so hard against his ribs he was sure they’d be break, but he squeezed her hand and listened, though it was killing him not to defend himself. He loved her. He loved a huntress who was good of heart, and he wanted her for all eternity. “What…what did you win, Sarzoven?” “I love you, Miranda. I want you to be with me forever.” “Sarzoven…what did you win?” “Nothing. I told my sister the bet was off.” “Ahh, Sarzoven, what did we lose?” “I’m losing you, love. And that’s all that matters.” She gasped and held her chest, her face grimacing in pain, giving Sarzoven a stroke. “My father gave me permission to join with you. Will it hurt?” “You…you want to become like me?” “I’m making the choice of my own freewill. You will have to show me how to live this vampiric life of yours. My father promises I can still be a huntress, only I’ll have a slight advantage over the rogues now.” Sarzoven’s heart soared, and he wasn’t waiting a second for her to ask him again. If she changed her mind, it was too late. She was his, forever. Darkness enveloped Miranda and she knew then, it was too late. They’d spent too much time talking, she’d left Sarzoven behind, and never even told him how much she loved him. But then her head cleared, though she was still cloaked in darkness. She smelled Sarzoven’s sheets, felt the silkiness against her skin and his warm body pressed against hers. Only this time they were both naked. For an instant, confusion reigned in her mind. What if her father walked into the hospital room and found the vampire and she naked, in such a comprising situation? He’d be furious, and she’d be embarrassed forever. Sarzoven licked her neck and the sensation he drew her blood again, caused Miranda’s body to shudder. Though she couldn’t sense anything except for exhilaration, like a runner’s high, or soaring
Paranormal Island Fantasies 49 above the clouds, yet something was missing. She felt weak like a newborn colt, barely able to move. She had the most awful urge for him to make love to her. She squirmed until she was able to spread her legs apart and he fell between them. It was all the invitation he needed, and without hesitation, he plunged his thick rod that had to have been several feet long, deep inside her. Groaning, she was drawn onto a higher plane, her heart barely pumping, though every nerve ending felt on fire. “Sarzoven,” she whispered against his ear. Her mind drifted losing consciousness, struggling to hold on, to feel every precious erotic sensation. He lifted his head, but then she closed her eyes, attempting to prolong the feeling of his body pumping into hers. “Drink, dear Miranda,” he said, touching his arm to her lips. She tasted a few drops of the sweet iron substance…blood, Sarzoven’s blood. Licking her lips, she waited for more. “Suck, love. Hurry, you’re slipping away too fast. Drink.” Too weak. She couldn’t concentrate on his words. Floating. She was floating on a sea of black. “Miranda, dear God, Miranda, drink.” More drops of blood slipped onto her tongue. She swallowed, then held out her tongue for more. “Close your lips on the wound, Miranda. Suck the blood out. You won’t get enough…” She didn’t hear anything more for what seemed a lifetime, then a woman entered the dark abyss. “Give it up, Sarzoven. She’s too weak. It’s too late for her now.” Catarina? Miranda would win the damn bet. Well, Sarzoven would. Make a bet with her, Miranda willed him. Bet her I’ll pull through. Sarzoven stared at her. Catarina said telepathically back. You have your bet, huntress. Live, and you shall have my undying friendship. And? Catarina smiled. My estate in the Grand Cayman Islands. Drink, Miranda, Sarzoven willed her. And this time she tried, weakly at first, unable to keep firm suction on the wound, drifting off into another world, and then her head began to clear. “Make love to me,” she said, her voice barely audible.
Paranormal Island Fantasies “Drink more.”
She frowned. “Make love to me, and I’ll…” Catarina chuckled. “You will have a fight with the huntress, always.” She vanished. This time Sarzoven slowed his sexual pace, and rubbed her arousal with his fingertips so skillfully she joined the sun and the moon in their paths across the sky. Her body welcomed his, thrusting upward to meet his thrusts, their tongues mating in a jungle dance, their fingers tracing each other’s skin, lightly moist from their erotic exercise. Feeling drunk with his blood mixing with hers and the new love they shared, she reached for the peak and grabbed hold, full of life, conquering death, and sank back down to earth, her body and his trembling with orgasmic delight. “Drink more,” Sarzoven said, his stern voice, brooking no argument. “I already have,” she said, dreamily as his warm seed spread deep inside her. “I already have.” She’d found her mate, and he’d found his. Together, they’d work to make the world a better place, but for now, she’d snack a little more on his strength-giving blood, so she’d be ready for the sexual whirlwind she knew would soon follow. You’d better believe it, Miranda. For many lifetimes. She smiled. Life couldn’t get any better.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
Paranormal Island Fantasies
PARADISE ISLAND by Beverly Rae
Come visit a mystical place, where magic is everywhere and life gives second chances. Follow me in the search for promised treasure and love renewed. Open your mind, your heart, your soul and join me on Paradise Island.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER ONE “You cheating scum-sucking son of a bitch!” Macy Maitland slapped her boss and fiancé, Ed Williamson, owner and president of Williamson Motors, as hard as she could, leaving a red welt emblazoned on his cheek. If the tingle in her hand provided a true indication, she’d given him one helluva shot. Yet not hard enough to slap the sickening, taunting smirk off his face. Damn the bastard to hell and back. Keeping his salesman’s attitude about him, Ed reached out and attempted to placate her. “Now, darling, I know this is hard to accept. But Barbie and I did get married this weekend in Vegas. Ain’t no way to change what’s already happened. I know you and I are engaged…“ “Were engaged.” Macy shoved her hands into her pockets. God knows what she’d do if she found a weapon near her. Like the hideous I Can Sell Baths To Pigs paperweight resting on his desk. “…were engaged, but I couldn’t help falling in love with my sweet little Barbie.” “Little?” Macy snickered at his description of the curvaceous vixen. “Shit, her gargantuan tits weight more than two Texas size watermelons. Little? What a joke.” Which was worst? Getting dumped by her fiancé, or the humiliation of his choosing that dimwit over her? She fumed as she watched Big Boob Barbie flash her enormous wedding ring at Macy’s coworkers. “Now Macy, darlin’, let’s not get personal.” Ed flashed his brilliant white teeth at her. Oh, no, he did-n’t. He didn’t say what she thought he’d said. The man had more brains than that. After all, he owned the largest car dealership in Dallas. And intelligence played a factor in running a business, right?
Paranormal Island Fantasies 54 Even if he had inherited the dealership instead of working his way to the top, when his dear old daddy kicked the bucket last fall. God rest his soul. Macy dipped her head and peered over her reading glasses. “Personal? Let’s not get personal?” She closed in for the kill. Wishing she could turn her finger into a knife, Macy poked at Ed’s chest, emphasizing each word with a violent jab. “Let me get this straight. We’ve been engaged for what? Two years? And I never got so much as a promise ring from you because you didn’t want to flaunt our relationship in front of the other employees. Then, out of the blue, without so much as the common decency to break our engagement first, you up and marry some Madonna-wannabe. And you don’t want us to get personal?” He chuckled. He chuckled? Either Mount St. Helen would explode into outer space, or her blood pressure would blow her head off. And right now she didn’t care which one happened. “Now, darlin’, you don’t expect me to stay engaged to you, do you? I mean, I’m a married man now.” Dismissing her, he crossed over to his desk, sat down and reared back in his imported leather chair. “But don’t you worry your pretty head about all this legal mumbo-jumbo. Barbie said she’s willing to let you stay on as my secretary.” Macy checked around her. The world must have tilted on its axis and thrown her into an alternate reality. Nothing else would explain Barbie’s sudden influence over her livelihood. “Gee, Eddie. Do thank Miss Blow-Job-For-Anyone. And I’m sure the fact that her daddy owns the bank holding the title to this company provided no incentive at all for your impromptu marriage. What’s wrong, Eddie? Business go south while you were busy cavorting with the town slut?” Ed’s brown eyes lost the crinkles around their edges. “Watch your mouth, Macy, or faster than you can spit, you’ll find yourself strutting the street, hustling to pay the rent.” She crossed to his desk, leaned forward, and got right in his face. “Don’t you threaten me, you low life. I wouldn’t work for you one minute longer, even if you paid me ten times my pitiful salary. Let Mrs. Whore Hound fetch your coffee from now on. I quit.” He cocked his head back and laughed. “I do love your spunk, hon. But let’s not go off the deep end. You need this job. Let’s you and me settle down a mite and talk this over. I’m sure we can come to an understanding.” She jerked back, thrown by his statement. “An understanding about what? What’s left to
Paranormal Island Fantasies discuss?”
Slanting his eyes sideways, he glanced out the glass walls of his office and marked Barbie’s location. “I know you’re hurt, but I don’t see why my hitching up with Barbie has to change our relationship.” He stood up, moved beside her, running a hand along her arm. “You can still have me, darlin’. You know, for nooners, late evenings, and all my business trips.” He winked at her, making her skin crawl and her gut do a somersault. “Consider this a big, fat no!” Macy’s right fist connected with his winking eye and knocked him backward a couple of steps. Ed stumbled, groping the air for leverage, and flopped on the couch. “You, bitch! I’ll have you arrested for assault and battery.” Her grip closed around the knot in his tie faster than he could flinch. “You try, Mr. Williamson, and I’ll counter sue you and Bleach-Blonde Bimbette for alienation of affection. Let’s see what a little bad publicity does for your family dealership.” Releasing him, she brushed some imaginary lint off his shoulders and added, “Instead, darlin’, you’re going to contact Louise in Accounting and tell her to cut me a check for five times my monthly salary. And I want it within the next five minutes.” Rising up, she plastered on a fake grin and faced the people gaping at her through the glass. Wiggling her fingers at them, she adopted a cheery expression and hurried off to Louise’s cubicle. “I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.” Macy continued her litany through the showroom of curious spectators, through the service department, and down the hall to Accounting. By the time, she made her way to Louise’s desk, her tears no longer threatened to fall. Rounding the corner to the correct station, she slid into the chair next to the older lady. “Louise, did Ed call you about my final paycheck?” A nervous, excited tickle zipped around in her stomach. Part of her hoped the answer would be no, giving her a reason to return to Ed’s office and sock him one more time. On the other hand, the possibility of passing all those gossiping people dimmed her enthusiasm. Louise’s ratted and sprayed gray hair remained a solid mass while her head bobbed up and down. “He sure did, Sweetie. Whatever did you do to get fired?” Macy liked the twenty-year veteran of the department. True to form, sincere concern made more creases in the kind lady’s features. “He said he fired me?” “Well, yes. Yes, he did.” Pump it up!
Paranormal Island Fantasies 56 Her blood pressure shot higher. She wondered how high she’d register on a blood pressure monitor. Hell, she’d probably break the damn thing. “He’s a good-for-nothing, money-grubbing, swindling liar. I quit his sorry ass. Both as a fiancé and as an assistant. Did he tell you how much to give me in severance pay?” Just let Ed try and not give her what she’d demanded. Then he’d see what she’s like when she’s really angry. Louise pursed her lips and executed a low whistle. “Yes, ma’am, he did. I’ve never in all my years seen anyone paid so much money for leaving. Not for someone who quit.” Puffing up her chest like a mother hen, she added, “We all know it’s nothing to what you deserve. Why, everyone knows you run the place for him. Sweetie, he’s going to be lost without you.” Macy bit her lip to curb the impending tears. After three years of working at Williamson Motors, she’d come to know and love a lot of the other employees. Wonderful, caring people like Louise. “Thanks. I’m going to miss everyone here so much.” She took the check Louise offered, checked the amount and tucked it into her purse. “But hey, at least you’ve got an exciting vacation ahead of you.” Macy raised her eyebrows in question. “Vacation? Did Ed include my accumulated vacation and sick days in my severance check?” If not, should she go back to the office and demand unused vacation and sick pay? “I assumed you must have scheduled one since you got this in the mail today. Sorry, but the delivery man found me while everyone else was in the morning meeting. I flat forgot about it until Ed’s call.” Louise gave her a sorry-for-being-nosy face and handed a large mailing envelope to Macy. “Nothing’s marked ‘Personal,’ so I opened it by mistake.” “No problem. I understand.” Macy lifted the flaps and pulled out a cream colored envelope very reminiscent of a wedding invitation. Like she needed a reminder. “But I’m not planning a vacation.” Lace enclosures surrounded the thick card nested inside the envelope. “I can’t imagine what this is all about. Please God, don’t let it be a wedding invitation. I know that sounds mean, but I don’t think I could handle someone else’s wedded bliss right now.” “No, honey, it’s an invitation to some fancy resort.” She dropped her eyes and apologized again. “Uh, I happened to drop the package and everything fell out. I didn’t mean to, but I kind of read some of what’s written. I’m sorry.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 57 Waving off Louise’s explanation, Macy slipped out the card and studied the intricate lettering. At Louise’s nudge, she started over and read out loud. “Dear Ms. Maitland, The Benefactor invites you to be his guest on Paradise Island, a privately owned island in the Pacific Ocean. Your Paradise Palace accommodation includes all the amenities of the five star Palace, including the opportunity to discover a treasure richer than any you’ve ever known. All activities, all meals, all your needs are included. The length of your visit is determined at your discretion.” Macy’s mind fluttered, unable to fathom the meaning behind the words. “Louise, is this a joke?” The older woman shook her head and gave a low whistle. “Oh my, I don’t think so. They’re not asking for any money. In fact, the invitation says everything’s free, and this isn’t cheap stationary, either. Someone wants to give you this treat. Plus, we’re talking about a treasure. You know what? I’ll bet this is one of those television reality shows. You can’t pass this up, hon. I, for one, say grab on and go.” “I don’t know. Seems kind of weird to me.” Nervous excitement ran down her spine all the way to her toes. “But then again…” “There’s more. Read on.” Macy nodded and continued, “Travel arrangements await you at the airport. A representative will meet you at Honolulu International Airport upon your arrival. Please plan to leave today.” She paused to look up and found several more of the department’s employees hovering around the tiny space. Checking each of them, she tossed the matter into discussion. “So? What’s everyone think? Too strange? Should I go for it or forget it? What should I do?” No one spoke for several minutes. Louise took Macy’s hand, and pressed it between her two. “Honey, listen to an old lady. Chances like this don’t come along every day. You’ve got to take some risks and seize what joy you can from life. Don’t find yourself working in some stinking cubicle when you’re sixty and wishing you’d taken a chance like this. Go!”
Macy landed in Honolulu twelve hours and a hundred misgivings later. After deplaning, she got her bearings and headed toward a nearby food stand. Scanning the menu items, she tried once again to rid her mind of the nagging doubts plaguing her since leaving Dallas. How stupid could she be? Taking
Paranormal Island Fantasies 58 off at a moment’s notice and accepting a mysterious invitation? She should have gotten more information first, but no, she’d packed and headed to the airport within two hours of receiving the mysterious invitation. Sure, other people traipsed into unknown territory without a care, but not her. At least, not until today. An excited buzz zipped around inside her stomach. “Ms. Maitland.” The words were more a statement than a question. Pivoting to the voice behind her, she found herself face to face with a dark-haired gentleman, dressed in a very expensive suit, regarding her with cool, unemotional eyes. He stroked his goatee, running his gaze over her. “Yes?” Her response croaked out of her dry mouth. “Pardon me if I startled you.” She’d not covered her edginess as well as she’d hoped. “Uh, no problem. How do you know my name?” Okay, so he didn’t look like the mugger/rapist/ax murderer type, but a girl needed to be careful. He ignored her question and continued with what sounded like a well-rehearsed speech. “Ms. Maitland, I do hope you enjoyed your flight. I am Gerard of Paradise Palace. An associate is retrieving your luggage as we speak. I, however, have the pleasure of escorting you to the yacht.” Macy’s mind stalled, unable to get past the last word. “Yacht?” His dignified expression didn’t waver at her amazement. Instead, he bent over and retrieved her carry-on bag. “Would you follow me, please?” Turning toward the exterior of the building, he made purposeful strides to the gleaming black Rolls stationed at the curb. Macy hurried to catch up as her brain decided to function again. “Hey, hold up a sec.” Gerard paused, his face stoic and unreadable, and waited. “If you think I’m getting into a strange car, even a Rolls, with a man I’ve never met before, then you’ve got another think coming, bud.” She placed her legs apart and adopted a firm stance. “The decision is yours, of course, miss. Am I to understand you do not wish to continue and are declining the invitation? If so, I will make arrangements for your flight home.” The man could have been a robot for all the life he showed in his face. “No. I mean, yes. I mean, I don’t know.” She knew she acted like an idiot, flailing her arms around in confusion, but she didn’t care. “I need to know what this is all about. Who’s in charge of this little expedition?” Again, he began another well-rehearsed speech. “Paradise Palace is an exclusive resort located on a small, privately owned Polynesian island. From time to time, the Benefactor, whose name is to remain undisclosed for privacy reasons, invites certain deserving individuals to the island as his guest.
Paranormal Island Fantasies A Palace yacht, is needed to continue from this point forward.
59 If you’d care to verify this
information, please do so expeditiously. We do have a schedule to maintain.” Macy scrutinized the man, trying to size him up. Was this an abduction? Who’d go to these lengths for her? A kidnapping didn’t sound right since she didn’t have any family, not to mention much money. Gerard stood immobile, motionless like a stone statue in a park.
He made the guards at
Buckingham Palace seem jovial by comparison. “The invitation mentioned something about a treasure. Right?” Macy hoped she didn’t sound too materialistic. But she didn’t want to turn down a chance at a treasure. Gerard’s lips curved a minuscule degree upward. “Yes, miss, it did mention a treasure.” Macy released pent-up air and took the plunge. “Will the Benefactor be joining us on the boat?” His cocked eyebrow answered along with his words. “The Benefactor never leaves the island, miss.” “Really?” Macy paused a moment, dragged in a deep breath, and took the leap of faith. “Okay, Gerard. Lead the way.” “Very good, miss.”
Macy felt like a princess. A spoiled, pampered, regal princess. In thrift store clothes. Resting on a lounge at the end of the yacht…the bow or the stern...she sipped her cocktail and watched the waves bounce by as the yacht skimmed across the ocean’s surface. Could life get any better than this? “Ms. Maitland, the Benefactor requests your indulgence.” Peering over the top of her sunglasses, Macy scrutinized Gerard. “Sure. What can I do for him?” The words barely made it out of her mouth before she noticed the briefcase Gerard held. “Please tell me you’re not smuggling illegal drugs or money.” Gerard’s features came to life when his brows sunk between his eyes and disgust flickered across his face. She clamped a hand over her mouth to stifle her delight in getting a reaction from him. “Hardly, miss.” Resting the briefcase on the table in front of her, he flipped up the latches and opened the case.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER TWO She didn’t know which fell out first…her eyes or her tongue. Diamonds and other precious jewels sparkled under the bright sun. “Holy crap, Gerard!” “I take it you find these to suit your taste, miss?” She should shut her mouth. A flying fish might mistake her big, open trap for a net and flop right in. “I guess I should have asked about stolen jewels. Hey, what did you mean about suiting my taste?” A sapphire necklace glistened, but the large emerald stone, encircled with diamonds, captured and secured her full attention. Yoo, hoo, baby! Come to Mamma! “The Benefactor would be most pleased if you’d accept one of these as a gift.” She shot him a suspicious glare. “A gift? A gift for what?” Again with the disgusting look. What did he expect? Did she seem like the type of girl who’d accept expensive gifts from men, much less from a stranger? She shot a look at the jewelry. But, then again, she wouldn’t want to insult The Benefactor by turning down a gift. Would she? “I assure you, miss, the gift is presented with no strings attached and The Benefactor’s intentions are above reproach. Your choice of a bauble will allow him to express his gratitude for your visit. Nothing more.” Baubles? She could pay her rent for the next five years with one of these baubles. “The present is just for visiting his island? Are you sure there’s not more to this?” Gerard sighed. A tiny sigh most people would have missed, but she’d learned to read his subtle nuances. “As I said before, no strings attached.” Did she see a wicked gleam in his eye?
Paranormal Island Fantasies Gerard stood up and withdrew the case. “But if you’re refusing…”
“No!” She jumped forward in the lounge and reached for the case. Embarrassed by her outburst, Macy brought her nerves under control and dropped her arms. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to be rude.” After all, she could hear the emerald ring calling her name. Macy, take me home! Holding her breath, she slipped the ring onto her finger--a perfect fit--and leaned back to admire the many facets of the radiant green glow. This day kept getting better and better. “Ms. Maitland, we’re approaching Palekaiko Moku.” “Where?” She stood up, momentarily losing her balance, and reached for Gerard. He steadied her and pointed into the distance. “In English then. Paradise Island is on the horizon, miss.” A small, lush forested island rose out of the sea ahead of them. Birds of various descriptions dipped and dived, cawing, over the glistening sandy beach. Strong, tall palm trees beckoned, swaying to the gentle ocean breeze. Yet, as impressive as the beauty of the island was, the real splendor, the true power, lay in the magnificent palace snuggled against a rising wall of rock settled back from the beach. The green forest cocooned the palace, claiming not ownership, but giving an aura of protection against the outside world. Paradise Palace gleamed pristine white against the gray stone while layers of gold draped a loving embrace around huge columns and across slated rooftops. Combining the affluence of Asian palaces with the grandeur of the more formidable Western palaces, The Palace…for she would never again refer to such a structure as just another palace…commanded complete respect, unyielding awe, and unconditional adoration. “Wow. It’s amazing.” Without warning, tears sprang to Macy’s eyes, while her heart skipped in her chest. “Now that’s what I call a palace. I mean, I expected some grand hotel, but I never expected a real, honest-to-God palace. She is truly breathtaking.” “Yes, she is.” The tenderness, the wonderment, the unabashed love in his voice surprised her. Macy jerked her head towards Gerard. “Holy smokes, Gerard. So this is what it takes to get real emotion out of you?” Once she’d finished speaking, his mask of the perfect, non-committal employee surfaced, blocking her from any other comment. Yet she didn’t care as she turned back toward The Palace. The island looked so much closer. In fact, she could see someone standing on the dock spanning
Paranormal Island Fantasies 62 out to transcend the water. A tall, lean man, whose dazzling white hair matched the color of The Palace, stood unmoving, watching their approach. The knot in Macy’s throat tightened the nearer they got to the docking station. She waited as the crew tied the yacht in place, using the time to clear the lump from her throat. The white-haired gentleman smiled, sending her reassurance, while he extended his hand to help her ashore. The touch of his hand sent unexpected warmth racing through her, relaxing her. “Welcome, Ms. Maitland. I’m so glad you could join us.” His accent, or lack of one, matched his appearance. Macy struggled to place his nationality, but failed. He was not American, European, Asian or Polynesian. Rather, he comprised a blend of all, a mix of none. He exuded an air of old-world aristocracy , yet she discerned no attitude of superiority. “Um, thank you.
And are you the person I have to thank for my visit?
Are you The
Benefactor?” She searched his mesmerizing eyes, an intense silvery color that offered so much, and yet made no promises, hoping to read his character. His laughter rang out, joyful in its exuberance. She could find no other word to describe the sound. Unless, perhaps, contagious. She matched his smile and waited. “Oh, my no, Ms. Maitland. You flatter me. I wouldn’t presume such a position. I am called Kahu.” He offered his arm, nodded at Gerard, and escorted her up the dock toward a wide stone path. The path trailed straight toward the giant steps leading up into The Palace. “Kahu? Such an interesting name. What ethnicity is it?” She hoped he couldn’t see through her ploy. “I received the name, Kahu, when I came to Paradise Island.
Kahu means ‘guardian’ in
Hawaiian.” “Then you’re the Guardian of The Palace?” His unlined features shifted, casting a bemused expression.
The Benefactor is the
Guardian of The Palace. I am here to help however I can. I am called Kahu for other reasons.” She wanted to quiz him further, but he kept on speaking, and changed the subject. “Ah, I can see you already love her.” His eyes twinkled in understanding. “Her?” She cringed and wondered why she’d tried acting so dense. She knew he meant The Palace. He chuckled, a low rumble, filling her with warmth and confidence. “You’re teasing. How wonderfully playful.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies Thankful he’d understood her intentions, she opted for the truth this time.
breathtaking. The whole island is like something out of a story or a fantasy.” “Yes, a fantasy. Every inch is a wonderland. Almost.” She surveyed the area around them and saw nothing but beauty. “You mean there’s an ugly part of the island?” He pulled her to a stop and stared into her eyes. She sensed a searching, a probing. She swallowed, trying to dislodge the lump closing off her air. “Ugliness exists everywhere, Ms. Maitland. Even on Paradise Island.” Easing the tension from his body, he resumed their walk. “We have no rules, aside from one. You must never venture past the red flags outlining the perimeter of the palace, into the area called The Forbidden Ground. You must never enter The Forbidden Ground.” He gestured and, for the first time, she noticed small crimson flags flapping in the wind. Each flag, marked with the Paradise Palace insignia of two intertwined, golden “P”s marked a boundary around The Palace. “The Forbidden Ground? Why not? What’s beyond the flags?” Macy stopped and shielded her eyes as she scanned the row of flags. When Kahu didn’t answer, she pivoted and found him continuing on the path without her. As if he sensed her focus on him, he reversed direction, crooked his arm, and inclined his head in a quiet, forceful summons. “Come, Ms. Maitland, let me show you to your room.”
Macy floated through the main hall, reveling in the wonders before her. She could remain inside all day and not see all the riches of The Palace. From glorious paintings and sculptures, to the latest in high-tech conveniences, The Palace offered the best of the world’s inventions and creations. The gigantic library alone could fill her days, reading the greatest works of mankind. Her mind wandered, envisioning a treasure of her own waiting for her within these walls. Elaborate ornamentation adorned every square inch of the interior, tempting her to reach out and touch all she could. She sighed, hugged herself, and drifted into a glass-enclosed room containing a shell-shaped pool. Standing at the edge of the water, she scanned its depths and held her breath. Her jaw dropped open in wonder. Did she see marine life swimming at the bottom of the pool? A shark glided by, baring its dagger-like teeth, while pools of tiny fish splintered away from the predator. Yet
Paranormal Island Fantasies 64 the figure rising to the surface appeared unaffected by their proximity. The man glided toward her, propelling his rock-hard frame toward her. He broke the surface and shook his head, spraying water all over her. Yelping, she hurried backwards, slipped, and fell flat on her butt on the hard, wet stone. Her hair fell forward into her face, obscuring her view. “Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you. I guess I should check the surrounding area for innocent bystanders before I start shaking like a seal. Here, let me help you.” A strong, masculine hand appeared in front of her and she clenched it without thinking. “Ya think?” He tugged her to her feet with little effort while she tried to smooth her clothes. “Ugh. My new silk pants are ruined.” “You always did have high dollar taste, Mace. Has your income gone from a penny one to a dollar one?” She kept her head down, praying she didn’t recognize the voice. Please and double please. Make this a hallucination. Dreading what she would see, she lifted her head and peeked through soaked bangs at the person standing in front of her. Damn! Not him! “Dan? What the hell are you doing here?” “Gee, Mace, nice to see you, too.” Dan Harding, her lover and live-in significant other for five years, stood before her. Dripping from his dip in the pool, the droplets of water clinging to his sculpted body shimmered in the sunlight. Without warning, all the memories, all the lovemaking, all the good times came rushing back to her and threw her brain into warp drive confusion. He’d been her first and, truth be known, the only man she’d ever loved. The only man she ever wanted to love. Until he’d chosen his career over her. “I can’t believe you’re here. How? Why?” He reached for the towel lying on a lounge and dragged the cotton softness over his toned, buff body in slow, tempting circles.
For a few delectable moments, Macy followed his movements,
remembering the texture of his skin, the hardness of his body on hers. Unlike many men, he knew how to use his body to please a woman more than he pleased himself. “What about you? How’d you get here? You marry a millionaire or something?”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 65 He flung his blond hair away from his face, drawing her eyes to the stunning green of his. Green to equal the emerald color on her finger. “Yeah, right. And I suppose you found some wealthy heiress while jumping out of a plane onto a smoke-filled countryside?” The heartache and rejection from his decision to leave Dallas and move to Colorado, to become one of the elite firefighting smoke jumpers, burst into her gut, alive and well after years of hiding. Not wanting him to see even a trace of the hurt she still guarded inside her, she tucked her head, and twisted her long auburn hair into a ponytail. “Clever as always. Huh, Mace?” His teeth shone against the bronze of his skin. How did a guy from the mountains get an all-over tan? If she didn’t know Dan better, she’d swear he’d used a spray-tanning booth. But he wouldn’t. No, his tan was all natural. Damn. Weren’t exe’s supposed to go pale, fat, and bald? “Naw. The weirdest thing happened. I injured my leg on a jump. Then, out of the blue, I get this invitation from some dude called The Benefactor. He invited me here to finish my recuperation. The whole thing sounded odd, but I figured what the hell.” She stole a glimpse at his legs and a tiny ball of fear wound its way into her stomach. A long, white scar, a souvenir of his surgery, ran the length of his right leg. Macy fought the urge to soothe the tortured skin. “Oh, Dan. I’m sorry. Are you going to be okay?” He shrugged his shoulders, blowing off her concern. “Yeah, I’m fine. The scar looks worse than the wound hurt. But I’m as good as ever.” She shouldn’t have met his gaze because she knew his thoughts as well as her own. And knew he’d say so. His mischievous gleam signaled a warning. “Good to know you still care, babe.” No, no, no. She did not want to go there. “Don’t get any stupid ideas, Harding. I’d care about any wounded animal.” He chuckled, just as she knew he would. Irritation morphed her spine into a steel rod, giving her the strength she needed. “Besides, anyone who can swim around with sharks must have confidence out their whazoo.” She peered into the depths of the pool and shuddered. “Or a death wish.” This time his laugh hit full throttle. “Babe, I enjoy a little danger, but I’m not stupid. The pool has a glass bottom. What you’re seeing is the ocean below the pool’s floor. You can swim with the fish without having to worry about getting attacked.” She peeked over the side one more time, thinking how amazing the pool looked. Like Dan.
Paranormal Island Fantasies “Really? Wow. I can’t wait to go swimming later.”
“Be sure to let me know when you do. I could use a pick-me-up. From what I can tell, you’ve kept the body for a thong.” She blushed, and then grew more embarrassed about blushing. After all, she’d wanted him to notice her fit body. But someone needed to change the subject and fast; before she let her mouth blurt out the thoughts she didn’t want him to hear.
“Don’t you find this strange?
We both get an
invitation…I’m assuming your expenses are paid, too…to an exclusive, private island. And at the same time. Coincidence? I don’t think so.” Dan crossed strong arms, arms she knew could be so gentle, in front of his massive chest. “True. Plus, I’ve noticed another oddity. You and I are the only guests. Maybe we should ask Kahu some questions.” “I agree.” “Right after we have a few drinks and catch up with each other. Maybe in my room?” The man always did have a way of switching channels without warning. “You’re joking, right?” His brow furrowed. “Nope. I’m not. I’d love to spend some time with you. I’ve missed you, Macy.” The man did have a way of throwing her for a loop. Recovering, she slung her protection into place. “Right. You missed me so much you neglected to come back to Dallas.” “Come on, Mace. Be fair.” She watched as his jaw moved back and forth in frustration. She’d always loved watching his jaw. Truth be known, sometimes she’d gotten him upset just to see his jaw move. Keep your mind on the conversation, Macy! “Fair? You want fair? How about spending five years with someone, planning a life together, and, without warning, having all those plans thrown out the door when he decides to take off and play Superman.” She’d pushed too far. The jaw no longer shifted and, instead, locked shut. She hated when his jaw locked up. He spit his words back at her. “Wanting to train as a smoke jumper was not a wild dream. I love the job. You wanting to stay in Dallas was selfish. Selfish and unsupportive.” Heat, both physical and mental, tightened her body. She sneered back at him and tried to ignore the moisture growing in her crotch.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 67 “How dare you call me selfish, you overbearing, muscle-headed, egotistical hero-wanna-be! If you’d cared one bit about me, you’d have stayed in Dallas. But no. You up and moved out the day before…“ She caught the words before they slipped out. Keeping a vow she’d made years ago, she bit her tongue, refusing to tell him the truth. Yet his piercing interest almost drove her to confession. “The day before what, Macy?”
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER THREE Macy didn’t think of herself as a rude person. Yet, instead of telling Dan her secret, she’d whirled on her heels and stormed away from the pool. He would never find out what happened in those horrible days after his departure. She prayed every night, aching to forget, but the dreams still came, making her relive the entire nightmare. She leaned against the lounge, cranked up the volume on her CD player, and forced herself to relax and enjoy the sun. The waves crashed against the sandy beach while the birds sang their songs, and her Long Island Iced Tea contained the perfect mix of all the ingredients. Her own private waiter somehow always showed up at the right moment and left on cue. Life couldn’t get any better than this. So why dwell on the unpleasantness of the past? Sighing, she closed her eyes and listened to the music. So far, she’d managed to stay away from Dan by taking her meals in her room. She wouldn’t let him ruin her vacation to end all vacations. Somehow, she’d keep him at arms length. Arms. His arms. His strong, muscular, flexing arms. Arms that made a girl follow them all the way up to the yard-wide expanse of his granite shoulders. Shoulders she used to love to hold, to lean her head on, to drape her legs over. Stop! Danger! Danger! Warning, Macy Maitland! Danger ahead! Wrenching her mind away from a possibly disastrous course, she jerked up in the lounge, popped her eyes wide open and stumbled straight into pools of green trouble. “Shit, Dan. You surprised me.” He shot her his sideways grin, the grin she remembered so well, the grin whipping her body into
Paranormal Island Fantasies human mush. The man wrote the book on gorgeous. And she wanted to buy every copy.
“Sorry, Mace. But I figured since we’re the island’s two guests, we may as well hang out together. You know how I hate solitude.” He graced her with yet another dazzling show of teeth while running his hand through his honeyblond locks. He blinked, drawing her attention to his long eyelashes. Eyelashes any woman would kill for or pay a whole lot of money to acquire. The eyelashes, however, didn’t lessen one ounce of the testosterone oozing out of every pore. ”Macy? Are you listening to me?” Stop fantasizing about him! “Uh, sure. I’m listening. But if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to spend my vacation alone. Without any company.” “So you’re going treasure hunting by yourself?” Tipping her sunglasses at him, she narrowed her eyes, already suspicious of his motives. “You know about the treasure, too?” He flopped onto the edge of her lounge, sliding her a little closer to him by using his weight as leverage. “It’s clear your invitation mentioned the treasure. Why wouldn’t mine?” She shrugged, hoping he couldn’t see through her like he used to. She pushed the glasses up to shade her eyes from his scrutiny. “Or have you already found your treasure? That’s quite a rock on your finger.” Macy ran her fingers over the ring. “My jewelry is none of your business.” “I see. So you’re planning on hording the entire treasure for yourself? Without mentioning anything to me.” He could still read her like a favorite bedtime story. “Well, if that’s what you want, Mace, then fine. We’ll do our own thing and to the winner goes the spoils. However, consider what may be required to find the treasure. Activities like traversing rough terrain, digging, carrying packs. You know, the kinds of activities a smoke jumper does.” He did have a point. A good point. Her chances of finding the treasure were much better with Dan than without him. Macy bit the inside of her mouth and searched for an alternative. Finding none, she accepted the inevitable. “Okay, we hunt together and split the treasure down the middle. Agreed?” “Agreed. Shake, partner.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 70 She regarded his outstretched hand like a poisonous snake about to strike. Keeping her hand to her side, she opened her mouth to decline and dropped her jaw lower. Far away from the shoreline, where a small group of rocks jutted out of the sea, a small girl stood, waving her arms, trying to catch their attention. Her gestures for help were unmistakable as the rough sea lapped at her feet. Without warning, the child fell into the water and started swimming toward the beach. Macy shot out of the lounge. Her heart pounded in her chest as she shielded her eyes and scanned the water’s horizon. One moment, she could see the girl fighting against the outgoing current and in the next, she was gone. Vanished. “What’s the matter?” Dan hopped up to join her, saw her pointing out to sea and followed the direction of her gesture. “What do you see?” “A little girl on the rock.” Macy took off toward the water’s edge. “She fell off and she’s trying to make it to shore. We have to help her.” Throwing off her sunglasses, she ran into the foam beating against the beach. “She went under!” Macy plunged into the water. The force of the waves hit her, knocking the breath out of her lungs, and momentarily stunning her. Diving ahead, Macy sliced through the waves trying to push her back to land, even while the pull of the open sea dragged her forward. She continued kicking her legs, ignoring the growing ache spreading throughout her body, while the barrage of water kidnapped air from her lungs. Please, God, let me reach her in time. She paused a second to grab a bigger breath and check her bearings, hoping for a small reprieve. But the water changed, somehow becoming stronger, almost alive in its need to drag her under, the waves beating at her body. For an instant, a force…a shark?...clamped around her leg, and yanked her downward. Fear thrust all conceivable ideas other than survival from her as she struck out with her arms, reaching toward the light at the surface. But the force wouldn’t let her go. Panic threatened to take over as she fought to live. Terror, stronger than she’d ever known, welled up inside her and she thrashed out in a vain effort to climb back to the surface. As if in a dream, the little girl floated beside her and smiled. The current around her calmed with the girl’s appearance and Macy drifted under water, suspended in body and reason. She watched in fascination as the little girl reached out and touched her cheek.
Paranormal Island Fantasies Blackness enveloped her.
“Macy? Mace, wake up. Come on, babe. Wake up.” Dan’s voice drifted into her, soothing her, enticing her to open her eyes. She awoke in agonizing movements and squinted at the brightness of the sun. “Dan?” Her voice croaked, making her sound half asleep. Or half dead. “Hey, babe. Good to see you.” His light tone contradicted the worry etched in his features. “I thought I’d lost you.” She pushed up from the blanket, wanting to sit up, but dizziness sent her back to her prone position. “What happened?” “I guess you got caught in an undercurrent. If I hadn’t found you when I did…” Her vision focused along with her memory. Warding off his hands, she bolted upright and tried to stand. Dan braced her and helped her to her feet. “Dan, the little girl. Did you find her? Is she all right?” She scanned the area around her, but found no one. “Little girl? I didn’t see anyone except you.” His brow knitted, casting a shadow over his face. His sturdy arms enveloped her, circling her with welcomed warmth and life. “What little girl are you talking about?” She clutched him, urging him to believe the truth behind her words. Yet nagging doubt slipped inside her to encroach on her memory. “I saw a little girl out on those rocks. When she dived in, she went under.” A sob tore from her raw throat. “I made it out to her, Dan. I did. She touched me. You must have seen her. She was right next to me.” He shook his head when she finished speaking. “I’m sorry, babe. I didn’t see anyone except you.” Thrusting off his hold, she stumbled toward the water’s edge. “We have to go back. We have to find her!” Dan grabbed her from behind and pulled her to him again. “Macy, there’s no one out there. And no one was on those rocks. I remember seeing them right before we started talking.” He bent over to lock onto her eyes. “You know how strong those Long Island Tea drinks are. Maybe with the sun and the alcohol...”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 72 “No!” Again, she headed toward the shore, and again he held her back. Salty tears, reminding her of sea water, coursed down her cheeks. “No one? You saw no one?” He pulled her closer then, warding off any future attempts to break free. “No one. I swear to you, Mace. I would have seen the little girl if...” He lifted her chin with the tips of his fingers, bringing her attention to him. “Just trust me.” She nodded, drained and confused. Maybe he was right. Perhaps a combination of too many drinks and too much sun made her imagination run wild. She’d probably seen a seal, and the heat rising above the water, along with the alcohol, tricked her mind into thinking she saw a little girl. The dream under the water supported his idea. After all, would a girl, drowning in the open sea, float beside her and smile? Macy leaned against him for support and accepted Dan’s explanation. His lips pressed against her, caressing her mouth as if he feared she would break. Snaking his tongue inside, he stroked her, giving comfort and more. Macy knew she should pull away, but something deeper within her kept her steady. Her tongue greeted his like a cherished friend. His hands released her arms and slid around her back, down to the waiting skin of her buttocks. She moaned, remembering the sex-filled nights and, for a moment, considered forgetting her resolution to stay away from him. He groaned in response and brought his hand to her breast. Her swimsuit afforded no protection from his slowly rubbing thumb and her nipples hardened, wanting more. He eased her down on the blanket, maintaining his connection with her mouth. Slipping her strap away from her shoulder, he blazed a trail of hot, wet kisses down her shoulder. She arched, urging him to her breasts, and he obeyed, but not with his hands. She gasped when he nipped her tit and she pulled him closer. She wanted nothing between them. “Macy. God, how I’ve missed you.” He murmured against her skin, sending hot breath wafting over hotter skin. “Dan.” More words ran through her mind, but she couldn’t find the strength to say them. In answer, she slid the other strap of her top down, giving him free access to both breasts. He answered her call and moved his tongue between the two. His hand, placed on her hip, traveled to the thin cord of her thong. “Do you want me, Mace? Tell me you want me. Here and now.” He raised his head, capturing her attention, and waited for her response.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 73 She couldn’t answer. Afraid to make the wrong decision, she toyed with telling the truth and opted to let him make the decision for her. Yet, when his hand slid toward the crescent between her thighs, her mind unlocked, driving her into action. She reached for his hand and stopped him. “I’m sorry, Dan. But I can’t.” He replaced his hand to her hip, disappointment draining the joy from his expression. “Why, Macy? We were always so good together.” She ran her fingers across his shoulders and hoped he would understand.
She loved his
wonderful, manly shoulders. Nonetheless, her answer would stay the same. “I can’t do this. Not after what happened. Not after you left me. I deserve an apology. I deserve more.” Dan jumped up from the blanket, his body tinted with the anger rushing through him in ripples across his skin. “An apology? Are you kidding? Let’s get this straight, kiddo. I may have moved out, but you left me.” At first, his words left her numb inside. How could she have considered making out with this jerk? Snatching up her straps, she rose in one swift motion, braced her legs, fisting her hands on her hips. “Why you asshole? I left you? Do you not remember who packed his bags and headed for Colorado?” His eyes blazed with indignation. “You left me emotionally long before I moved out. You didn’t support my career choice. Hell, you checked out of the relationship the same day I mentioned the smoke jumper’s position. When you care about someone, like you said you cared about me, you support them. You don’t give them ultimatums.” Tossing her silky straight hair away from her face, she gritted her teeth and threw him an eatdirt-and-die glare. “An ultimatum? You call begging for you to stay an ultimatum? Ha! That wasn’t an ultimatum, you idiot. This is an ultimatum. I’m going back in the water to search for the little girl, and if you don’t like it, you can shove off.” She broke into a run, and made it into the shallow water before Dan caught her. “Let go of me!” His rage now overshadowed his concern as he restrained her from going any farther. “Will you stop? I’m not letting you go. Shit!” His yell stunned her, whipping her head around to see why he’d shouted. Releasing her, Dan hobbled back to the sand. “Ow, ow, ow. Shit! Something just bit my foot.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 74 Plopping down on the towel, he examined the redness surrounding a small gash in his foot. “Damn, damn, double damn!” Macy dropped to his side and reached for his foot, but he snatched it away from her. “Don’t touch it. I need a medic.” As if by command, the waiter, along with a man in a white doctor’s coat, rushed toward them from around the corner strand of palm trees. They traversed the distance in great strides and fell to work on Dan’s foot. “Wow. Talk about service.” Macy tilted her head to the side and frowned. “How did they know?” Dan grumbled under his breath, “Who cares? I’m just glad they did.”
Far above the beach, Kahu watched the scene below. His long white hair, drifting with the wind, played across the collar of his white suit. Without making a sound, Gerard appeared and took his place behind his superior. “Too bad he hurt his foot. A heated argument can lead to other heated emotions.” Kahu shook his head once, keeping his hands clasped in front of him. “All events, regardless of size, are important and happen for a reason, Gerard. Timing is always crucial. Pay close attention to what follows. The Benefactor’s plan is working.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER FOUR “So how’s the foot?” She knew she shouldn’t gloat, but she couldn’t help herself. Big, strong firefighter Dan Harding got a boo-boo on the beach. He cast her a don’t-you-even-think-about-razzing-me glower. “Fine, thanks. The cream the medic gave me healed the wound faster than anything I’ve ever seen.” “Did they say what bit you?” His frown deepened. “No. Could be a bite. Could be a gash from debris in the sand.” Daring to broach the subject one last time before she conceded to the drunken hallucination theory, Macy asked, “And did you tell them about the girl? I mean, I would have, but you were putting up such a fuss over your foot…” “Mace, let it drop. I asked later on and everyone, including Kahu, assured me. No children are allowed on the island. The young girl you saw doesn’t, didn’t, exist.” Her mean streak, kept contained most of the time, flashed inside her. And this time, she couldn’t help letting the meanness slip out. Some things were just too good to pass up and she couldn’t resist the urge to spur him. “So…they made your little footsie all better? Good. Now I won’t have to kiss it.” He barked a laugh and swiveled his back to her. “No, you won’t. But you can kiss this instead.” The sight of the brawny hunk wiggling his bottom at her sent her into hysterics. She tottered on her poolside bar stool and grabbed the counter to keep from falling off. “Harding, you are too much!” Straightening up, he sauntered over to her and took a swig of her drink. “So, partner, what do ya say about doing some treasure hunting today?”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 76 “Are you sure you’re up to it? Stamina-wise, I mean. After all, if the meany ole’ beachy is too rough for you, then maybe you’re not tough enough for rugged treasure hunting.” “Wanna test my stamina?” The sage-colored depths of his eyes hypnotized her, challenging her to follow the vortex down into the unknown. Down she went, sinking into the green, searching for the gold hidden at the bottom of his soul. She could sense him calling her, teasing her, cajoling her into his secret domain. And she wanted nothing more than to answer his call. “Earth to Mace. Having a good daydream? I lost you for awhile.” Blinking, she broke away from his hold. “Sorry. Never mind. And yeah, let’s play pirates and go treasure hunting.” His dazzling turn-your-knees-to-spaghetti beam hit her as he pulled her to her feet. Landing a bit wobbly, she covered by reaching for her drink and taking one last sip. True to his gung-ho personality, he started in on the preparations. “Okay, I gave this some thought last night and I figure the cave would be a good place to start.” She followed the wave of his hand to the cliff off in the distance. The forest hid most of the opening, but a small, dark hole was visible to any who might scrutinize the hillside. The red flags, lower on the hill, aided the camouflage. “Wait a sec. The cave is inside The Forbidden Ground. We aren’t supposed to pass the red flags. Or didn’t Kahu tell you?” Dan snickered. “Yeah, he told me. But come on, Mace. Rules are made to be broken. Besides, what better place to hide a treasure than in a cave?” A tremor of anticipation flew through her. Yet the more conservative side of her personality tempered the excitement with a reality check. “I’ve given this some consideration, too. What’re our chances of finding the treasure? I mean, if a treasure exists at all, wouldn’t previous guests have already found it?” Taking her hand, he headed toward the steps down to the beach. “Maybe. Or maybe The Benefactor hides new treasures for every new guest. New treasure, old treasure, I’ll take either one.” “Dan, I just know we’ll get caught.” “You worry too much, babe.” Her cautionary inner voice told her to remove her hand from his. But her other voice, the one tied to her libido, said otherwise. And with Dan, she’d always listened to her libido first. She followed
Paranormal Island Fantasies 77 him down the walkway, keeping slightly behind him so she could watch the way his muscles worked beneath his shirt. Licking her lips, she studied the broad expanse of his shoulders, listening off and on to him grumble about the lack of proper tools. She didn’t care. After all, he possessed all the tools she’d ever want. Shit, Mace, why don’t you attack him and get him out of your system? “No!” She shouted, slamming into him when he stopped short. “No what? You don’t agree?” He wiped his brow and pulled off his shirt, zapping all her resolve. A light dusting of blond chest hair sparkled in the sun and she followed the fair-haired path down to the top of his shorts. The trail disappeared under his clothing and reappeared as feathery down on his sturdy legs. She wondered about her own appearance. Whether she’d meant to or not, she’d worn her straight, rich auburn hair loose, letting the cascade of softness waft around her back. The tight tank top she wore outlined her well-developed chest, showing a good amount of cleavage, while the short shorts she’d slipped on highlighted her firm bottom. Without realizing, she’d dressed the way he’d always liked her to dress. Had he noticed? “Mace? Are we in sync?” His eyebrows questioned her lack of response. “Uh, yeah. Sure. I guess.” He furrowed his brow more, released a big sigh, wheeled around and continued down the stairs out onto the sand. She worked to keep up with him, he towered over her five feet, five inches by a solid six inches. His long legs ate up the beach while she made two steps to his one; but she refused to let him get too far ahead of her. They crossed the distance in short time and confronted the rocky slope leading up to the cave. The sun headed toward the western horizon, putting the heat on their backs. Macy panted, while a much more fit Dan studied the terrain. “This is going to be difficult, Macy. I hope you’re up to the challenge.” She cocked her head at him and sniggered. “Don’t worry about me, Cave Man. I can handle anything you can.” His laugh twisted her spine into a pretzel. “Well, I guess we’re about to find out. We’re going straight up the wall of this cliff. I hope you remember how to climb, babe.” Most of the time she liked hearing him call her “babe,” but not now. Not when he used the term to replace the unspoken patronizing “woman.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 78 Macy pulled back her hair, securing the long ponytail with an elastic band. Sweat ran down her neck and along her torso. She lifted her head, wiped her forehead, and then she saw it. A sloping trail, hidden by the brush crawling up the cliff’s side, shot straight up the side of the hill. Although not an easy path, the trail did offer an alternative to climbing. She should tell him. She knew she should. “Hey, hotshot. How about we race to the cave?” He whirled around and regarded her with bemusement. Sweat, gloriously etching a path down his hardened stomach, made her stomach flip over with excitement. “Are you nuts? I’m lucky if I don’t have to carry you up the side.” Poof! All her consideration for fairness vanished. “Okay, Mr. Macho, put your skills where you mouth is. Winner gets a foot rub from the loser. Deal?” She stuck out her hand to seal the bargain. His steely hand gripped hers. “Deal. You need a head start?” Men were such blowhards. She smirked at him, gratified that he’d caught her sarcasm. “I’ll pass. And just to make sure you don’t pull any funny business, I’m moving downwind from you. We probably won’t be able to see each other due to the brush, but I can hear you if you scream for help. Don’t let the big, bad bugs bite you!” Not waiting for him to counter her jab, she headed off toward the path, but not close enough to draw attention to it. A few seconds passed before she heard Dan start his ascent. Rubbing her hands together, she began her trek up the path. “This is gonna be good.”
“How the hell did you get here first?” What she’d give to have her camera phone right now. His expression made up for every pebble in her shoes. Macy wiggled her eyebrows at him, while he stood, hands on his hips, shaking his head in bewilderment. “I guess this ‘babe’ can climb after all, huh. So you agree I won the contest?” She wanted his admission of defeat before she’d tell him about the pathway. “Yeah, I guess. I don’t know how, but I know you cheated. Nonetheless, I’m willing to concede defeat if you’ll tell me how you did it.” She’d won and her irritation with him slipped away, allowing her to admire his half-clad body in
Paranormal Island Fantasies 79 all its perfection. The climb brought out his muscles as if they’d gone to full alert through his endeavor. His hands, calloused with the hard labor of an outdoorsman, rested on his hips, drawing her eyes down to his shorts. Climbing, a stimulating sport, brought out the best in Dan, and she could see his “best” straining against his shorts. “As long as you’ve conceded, I’ll tell you. I noticed a path before we started climbing. It’s a very steep path, not a strolling lane by any means, but it beat hauling myself up here by my hands.” She flashed him a sheepish grin and giggled. “I knew you cheated!” His own grin betrayed the accusation in his tone. “Never mind. We’re here now so let’s scope things out.” “I already did.” His surprise made her qualify her statement. “I’m sorry. But since I got here first, I got bored,” she sent him a rub-your-nose-in-my-victory smirk, “and decided to explore on my own. The cave’s small and doesn’t go back very far. So, as soon as you’re rested, I guess we can head on back.” A ray of the setting sun glinted in her eye and she raised her hand to shade her view. When she did, she gaped at the sight heading their way. Enormous black clouds tumbled toward the island, lashing lightning strikes at the white caps below. “Oh my God, Dan. Look!” He pivoted and she saw the astonishment register through his body. “Damn, I didn’t notice any storms on the horizon. But that one’s headed this way fast.” He twisted to query her. “If we use your path, can we make it to the beach before the storm hits?” “No way. If we get caught in the middle, the dirt and rocks on the trail will wash out before we can get down. We’d fall or slide and wind up taking a quick trip to the bottom.” “Then I guess we’re stuck here for the night.” Macy’s heart thumped over in her chest, sending a lump to her throat. Alone? All night with Dan? A frown replaced her quick grin as her stomach did flip flops. Would staying with Dan be a good thing or a bad thing? She stared at him while he watched the approaching rain and thunder. Worry burrowed into his forehead and she shoved her hands into her pockets to keep from stroking his brow. “I’m sorry, Mace. I should have noticed the storm. Funny, though, I remember checking the sky and seeing nothing but blue. Storms like this are freaky. Almost unnatural.” She pretended to study the clouds along with him. Instead, she watched his jaw start the wonderful gritting movements. “Don’t blame yourself. You can’t control Mother Nature.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 80 He squared his aim at her, ridding her mind of the outside storm. Intense green eyes beckoned her, called her. Bending over her, he reached out to touch her, and she held her breath and waited. Please, let him kiss me. Her disbelief at her own errant wish must have played on her features, making him drop his hand away, centimeters from caressing her face. Instead, he swiveled and paced to the other side of the interior. “I wish we had a campfire.” Rejected by his swift dismissal, she ducked her head and nodded.
Right man, wrong
time…again. “Mace? Did you already start a fire?” Following his lead, she saw the bright glow of flames in the back of the cave. “No. I didn’t.” Together, they walked over to the cozy blaze burning out of a small hollow in the cave’s floor. Standing for a few minutes in silence, Dan spoke Macy’s thoughts out loud. “So if you didn’t. And I didn’t. Then how? Or should I ask who?” “Weird. Very weird.” Macy shared a puzzled look with Dan. “Agreed.” A shiver, not borne of any chill, shook her frame. “The only entrance into the cave is the front. And this campfire was not here when I came inside. I swear.” The wind whistled through the opening of the cave, drawing their awareness back to the storm. Lightening flashed as a drenching downpour fell outside. “Well, we might as well get comfortable. We’re going to be here awhile.” Dan sat down next to the flames. “Too bad we didn’t think to bring food along. But at least we have our water bottles.” Macy’s laugh sounded nervous and tight. “Yeah. And a couple of blankets and pillows.” Going along with her joke, he added, “Why not a chocolate on the pillows? Let’s make this fantasy a good one.” “Then don’t forget room service. I don’t go anywhere without room service.” She giggled and started to sit down, but his words brought her up short. “Mace. Look.” His view locked on something behind her. Crooking her head to see, she whipped her body around full circle at the sight behind her. In a neat pile next to the cave’s opposite wall, lay a picnic basket with a bottle of wine sticking out the end, two blankets, and two of the fluffiest pillows she’d ever seen. She tiptoed over to the pile,
Paranormal Island Fantasies fearing the illusion would disappear in the next second.
Spinning back to Dan, she held up one of the items she’d found resting on the top pillow. “This is beyond weird.” She rubbed the heart-shaped, red-foiled piece of chocolate between her finger and her thumb and tossed it to him. He unwrapped the candy and popped it into his mouth. Macy watched, waiting for his reaction. “Is it real?” She asked the question but didn’t wait for the answer. “Maybe we shouldn’t eat any of this. Who knows if everything’s okay to eat?” Dan licked a drop of chocolate from his finger, which sent a hot zing coursing through her abdomen. “You think someone would go to all this trouble to poison us? Nah, there’s something else going on. But the food…“ He crossed over to the basket, flipped the lid open, and revealed sandwiches, cheeses, a corkscrew, and two wine glasses. “…is perfect.” Cocking his eyebrow at her, he moved to the nearest wall and pressed his hands against the rock and pushed. He continued his examination around each side, while Macy laid out the food on the enclosed plaid blanket. “What are you searching for?” “A secret passage or something. We’d have seen if anyone came through the entrance, so they must have entered through a different way.” “Or it could be magic.” He stopped and confronted her. “Magic? You’re kidding, right?” She knew she might sound stupid, but she needed to voice her unease. “Hang on and let me explain. I’ve noticed something about Paradise Island. Every time…and I do mean every single time…I’ve wanted something, anything, all I had to do was say it out loud and, surprise, the item appeared. Haven’t you noticed?” Dan kneeled next to her on the blanket. “I guess I assumed the staff did everything. An incredibly efficient staff, but not a bunch of magical elves or pixies.” She shot him a warning look and shook her head, intent on his comprehension. “Yeah, me, too, at first. But too many things happened. For instance, when I was in my room, all alone, I happened to say I wanted a cheeseburger.” Dan gave her one of his patented don’t-tell-me-you’re-still-eating-garbage expressions. She waved her finger at him to keep him quiet. “I wanted a cheeseburger, but I didn’t call room service. Yet, in less than a minute, a waiter knocked on my door with the best burger I’ve ever eaten.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies “Okay, I admit that’s strange.”
“And the same thing happened several times. Just like when you got hurt on the beach. The medic arrived in a flash, seconds after you said you needed a medic. Not a doctor, mind you. A medic. Not to mention the campfire and now this.” She nodded at the food spread out before them. He leaned into her, his face a quizzical study. “I see what you’re saying. Right from the start, this whole trip seemed off the wall. Do you think Kahu is doing all this stuff?” “He’s my pick. The guy’s not your average resort manager.” Dan took the corkscrew and opened the wine. Filling a glass, he sniffed at the liquid and passed the glass to her. He poured more into the other goblet. “Well, whatever’s going on with this place, we’re not finding out tonight.” Lightening struck close to the entrance, confirming his words. “We’re stuck here, Mace. So we may as well take advantage of the situation.” Macy sipped her wine and peered out into the darkness. “Yeah. We’d better take advantage of our adventure together, because when we don’t show up tonight, Kahu’s going to realize something’s wrong. And when they find out we’ve crossed into The Forbidden Ground, we’ll be on the fastest boat out of here.” “If we do get our butts kicked off the island, I won’t mind. Seeing you is worth anything and everything to me. Damn, but I do wish we’d found the treasure.” His face lit up and he cleared his throat to speak in a loud, clear voice. “I wish I had the treasure.” With a flourish, he downed his wine. Together, they scanned the cave, hoping to find a chest of jewels and gold sitting against a wall. When they found none, he shrugged and poured another glass. “Shoot. Well, it was worth a shot.” “What? Not even a gold coin or one lousy diamond?” She giggled at him and took a drink. “I guess the elves are taking a break.” He raised his arm in a toast and waited until she’d raised hers. “Here’s to you, Macy Maitland. I wouldn’t want to be stranded inside a cave with anyone else.” She cast her eyes down and sipped her drink, giving the butterflies in her stomach time to settle down. When she lifted her head again, his hand cupped her neck in the same second his mouth met hers. His wine-flavored tongue found hers and, whisking around, soaked up the tastes within. He chuckled and his warm breath flowed into her. Her abdomen clenched in an exhilaration she’d never experienced with Ed. Had never known with anyone other than Dan. A thunderclap cracked outside and she trembled. Mistaking her shiver for fright, he drew her
Paranormal Island Fantasies 83 into his arms, doubling the intensity of his kiss. He laid her onto the blanket and searched her face for any signs of doubt. “Macy, I’ve thought about you every day since I left Dallas.” “I know.” “You know? You know I thought about you all the time?” The emerald in his eyes twinkled with golden flecks, catching her, holding her to him. “No, Dan. I meant I understood. I’ve thought about you, too.” She’d dreamed of him every night for far too many nights. Through all the nights spent alone. Through all the nights spent with someone else. “Macy, finish what you started to say the other day. You said I left the day before something happened. What happened, babe?” The blood rushed to her feet and the color in her face rushed after it. Could she tell him? Should she tell him the awful truth? He deserved to know, but the words kept jumbling around inside her. “I’m not sure how to tell you this.” Placing his hands on her cheeks, he bent forward and kissed her, his lips tender yet demanding. “Tell me, Mace. I don’t want any secrets between us. Do you?” His earnest expression tugged at her heart, forcing the words to fall into order. “No, I don’t. But, Dan, please understand why I never told you. I meant to, but you came home and told me you were bound for Colorado. I didn’t tell you after you’d made your decision, because I wanted you to stay in Dallas for me. And not for…” His eyes clouded over and his frown deepened. “For what, Mace?” She held her breath, reconsidered, and decided to keep going. “For the baby.” Dan slumped backwards and blew out a great puff of air. “A baby? You were pregnant?” Before she could respond, he lunged and grabbed her by the arms. “Why didn’t you tell me? Do you have a child, Macy? Do we?” A searing pain shot through her abdomen, reliving the terrible day after his departure. “No. No baby, no child. I lost it. I miscarried the day after you left.” They clung together, needing the other’s warmth, needing the other’s pain to heal their own. Their bodies pressed together, leaving no space between them, and she couldn’t tell where her shuddering left and his began. With her head on his strong shoulder, she released the tears she’d held in check for so many years, soothing her ragged soul. For several minutes, she cried, unable to speak,
Paranormal Island Fantasies while they comforted each other in silence.
“I’m sorry, Dan. I’m sorry I never told you.” He hugged her harder. “Don’t be sorry. I’m the one who screwed up. I should have stayed. I wish I’d stayed.” A hole, empty for what seemed like forever, filled within her. “You didn’t know. I withdrew without giving you a chance because I didn’t trust that you’d stay for me. I turned away from you first and then you turned away from me.” He leaned back to study her face and wipe the drops still rolling down her cheeks. “We were both foolish for letting each other go. But I’m not repeating my error. I’m not letting you go again.” “I don’t want you to.” “Good.” Lowering his head, he nibbled at her earlobe, knowing she loved the sensation of his hot breath in and on her ear. His hand slid under her tank top and found her waiting nipple. His tongue flickered, tracing a steamy trail from her ear down her neck, toward her breasts,. She sighed, loving the rock-hard length of his manhood pressing next to her and the solidness of his chest pushed against hers. Reading her mind, he lifted her tank top and delighted at the sight of her unclad generous breasts. He groaned and continued his tongue’s work, sliding across her chest until he found her hard bud. Nipping, he circled her taut peak, his hands cupping and fondling her breasts. “Dan?” “Mmm?” “Let’s get naked.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER FIVE Demonstrating his agreement, he rolled onto his bottom and slid his shorts over his legs. His manhood sprang forth, unhindered by any undergarment. Shimmying off her own shorts, she laughed at his unabashed nudity. “I should have remembered you never wear underwear.” “Nope. And neither should you.” He grabbed her panties and tugged them from her while she lifted her hips to help him. The storm raged outside, but all was quiet within the cave. As if on cue, the momentary lightheartedness disappeared, replaced by the acknowledgement of an important moment in their lives. They linked with their eyes, each questioning what would happen next, neither sure of how to proceed. The bond they’d once shared, reconnected, forging them together in a union stronger than any other in existence. “Macy, I want you.” The desire, the need, the love in his face caught her, overwhelming her with a multitude of sensations. She fought against the tears, now tears of happiness, trying to spill forth. “I want you, too.” Reaching for him, she tried to pull him to her, but he resisted. Confused, she searched his face for an answer. “Make sure you understand me, Mace. I want you. Physically, I ache for you. But I want more than sex with you. I want you in my life. No matter what.” Her intake of air filled her lungs, but the emotions swirling inside her filled her heart to the brink of explosion. He wanted her. She wanted him, too. Nevertheless…reality wouldn’t change.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 86 “What about your job? You left me because of your job, remember? Nothing about that has changed.” She prayed he didn’t hear the wild thumping of her heart. At the same time, she couldn’t squelch the hope trying to regain possession of her spirit. His expression, however, sent a tingle racing down to the flutter of hope daring to live in her heart. Should she want what she knew she couldn’t have? “I don’t care, Macy. I’ll quit my job and move back to Dallas. I’ll do whatever I can to get you back.” She gaped at him, dumbfounded. Amazed to hear the words she’d longed for. “Are you serious?” “I’ve never been more serious in my life. I don’t care what I do as long as I’m with you. I love my job, but I can’t stand living without you. I think I realized it before this trip, but when I almost lost you in the water, I knew I couldn’t stand being apart from you. Not again.” She started to speak, to tell him how she felt, but couldn’t. Could she trust his words? Would he leave a job he loved? Should she let him? “Dan, are you sure?” At his nod, he brought her to him again. He bent his head and rained soft kisses over her breasts. One hand held a breast to him and he squeezed her softness as he bit and teased her other nipple. She arched higher now, wanting him to tempt her more. A strong hand covered her mound and she moaned her encouragement. He responded, slipping his finger between her folds. “Take me, Dan. I want you inside me.” “God, Macy, I need you. I don’t think I can last much longer.” “You don’t have to.” He paused, coughed a sarcastic sound, and raised up to study her. “I don’t suppose you brought protection?” She watched anxiety mix with the optimism on his face while he waited for an answer She giggled and picked up the foil package lying at the edge of the blanket. “You want it, you got it. Ask and you shall receive on Paradise Island.” His head jerked back. “Man, now that’s what I call service. Spooky service, but good service.” She directed his head to her breasts, while his hands worked elsewhere. Running her fingers over the granite muscles of his back, she pressed her hips to him, urging him to hurry.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 87 Lightening flashed and thunder clapped as he entered her, driving into her wetness with the strength of the storm raging outside. She bucked in sync with him, imploring him to go deeper, commanding him to thrust harder. He growled, a low, animal-like sound, igniting the burn within her to grow hotter and hotter, and she replied with a howl of ecstasy. Pumping against her, he matched her fervor, sending her mind and body into the heavens. She cried out his name, a salute to his lovemaking, a promise of her heart. As the storm reached the pinnacle of its power, the lovers within the cave reached the height of their coupling. Together, they screamed their pleasure into the night.
Kahu stood at the highest window of Paradise Palace, and watched the storm move over the island. He scanned the shore, enjoying the waves crashing against the shoreline. His eyes glided along the beach, onto the land and up toward the cave. An unnatural blue glow surrounded the cave on the outside, providing a barrier, keeping the lashing rain and wind from entering the lovers’ nest. When their cries pierced the night air, the corners of his mouth curved into a small, satisfied smile.
Macy awoke with an incredible burst of overwhelming bliss. Wrapped in Dan’s arms, she resisted the urge to stretch her limbs and, instead, remained cuddled next to him. Although the floor of the cave made a hard bed, she wouldn’t have traded the blankets for the cushiest bed in all The Palace. Extending her neck, she pecked him on the cheek. “Life doesn’t get much better than this,” she whispered. “Nope. This is the best.” She gave him a slight shove, happy to have him stirring “How long have you been awake, you sneak?” “Long enough to hear you snore.” “I do not snore.” She pushed him a little harder this time. “You heard your own noisemaker.” “Right. While I’m sound asleep, I can hear myself snoring. Got any other lame excuses,
Paranormal Island Fantasies Mace?” His lips quirked in barely contained mirth.
“Okay, if I did snore last night, and I do emphasize the improbability of that being true,” she grasped his hand as he raised it to argue. “I only did so because our climb up here wore me out.” Good one, Mace. The man’s not stupid. “Uh-huh. The climb wore you out. Nothing, or should I say, no one else contributed to your weariness?” “Well, okay. I’ll give credit where credit is due. You were a large part of my getting so tired.” She executed a fake cough. “A very large part.” She could almost see his chest puff up. Men’s egos were so easy to inflate. Especially when telling the truth. “Well, if you’re rested, I’d be happy to exhaust you again.” He tossed her a fiendish leer, and flung his body on top of hers. Macy squealed, thrilled at the idea of more sex with Dan. However, the daylight shining into the cave rang an invisible alarm clock in her head. “From the position of the sun angling inside, I’d say we’ve slept away most of the morning. We’d better get back to The Palace before Kahu organizes a rescue party. The trail will be muddy, but if we’re careful, we should be okay.” Dan groaned, fell back to her side and buried his head under the blanket. “Who cares about Kahu? I want to keep you by my side and stay here.” Diving further under the covers, he tickled her ribcage, sending her into a fit of giggles. “Tell me you want me in your life, Macy.” His words ripped the humor out of her. Could she tell him? Could she trust him to stay with her? Did he mean what he’d said last night? Uncertainty spiked her blood pressure, relaying a message of warning to her brain. “Dan, I…” He sat up, taking her with him. “Mace? Do you want me to come home to Dallas or not?” She watched his jaw grit, but didn’t welcome the sight this time. “I don’t know. After what happened last time, I just don’t know.” Anger engulfed him and he threw off his cover. In one swift moment, he drew on his shorts, headed toward the entrance of the cave and placed his back to her. Macy saw his muscles working, fury sending shock waves throughout his frame. “Well, at least I know where I stand.” He spun around to challenge her. “You’re making me
Paranormal Island Fantasies pay, aren’t you?”
“What are you talking about? For leaving? Of course not.” “I left you, so now you’re rejecting me. Pretty cold, Mace. You know we belong together, but you’d rather get payback. I know you didn’t fake your emotions, or anything else, last night.” His ferocious tone left her icy. “No, I didn’t. I love you, Dan. I’m just not sure I can trust you to stay.” He stepped closer, sincerity carved into his pained features. “Give me a chance, Macy. Give me a fresh start.” She wanted to say yes, but couldn’t get her voice to work. Instead, she gathered the blanket around her to shield her body from his eyes. The wine bottle propped up on a nearby rock jiggled, fell over, and broke when it struck the cave’s floor. Wrenched out of their conversation, Dan and Macy turned in sync and gawked at the bottle. As the tremor grew, Macy dropped the cloth and dug her nails into the dirt of the floor. “Earthquake!” Dan gathered up her clothes and threw them at her. “Move, babe. We’ve got to get out of here!” He yanked her to her feet while she tugged on her clothes. “No time to dress. Let’s get the hell out!” Tumbling out of the cave, Dan and Macy stopped on the cleared area in front and gaped, shocked, at the horrific sight in front of them. Paradise Palace pulsed with an eerie light from the flames leaping out her windows. Fiery arms enclosed the palace in a gruesome embrace sending glowing embers to ignite the green foliage several yards away. “No!” Fear, pain, and a crushing guilt stabbed her as she watched the beautiful citadel transform from the glory of a white goddess to a blackened monster. Her anguish reflected back from Dan’s lined face. “The earthquake must have started a fire. And with no fire department, she’ll be a goner in no time.” Smoke sifted into Macy’s nostrils as the breeze blew charred embers up the hillside. “This is awful. Poor Gerard. Poor Kahu. We’ve got to help them.” Clutching his hand, she started down the path she’d traveled less than twenty-four hours earlier. The night’s storm left the hard earth disfigured, changed from a hardened dirt passageway into a slippery slope. Using each other for balance, they stumbled and slid their way down to the beach. Breaking hands, they ran toward The Palace. Slamming to a stop several yards in front of the firestorm, Dan and Macy gulped for smoke-free air. The fire continued its onslaught through all the
Paranormal Island Fantasies rooms toward the grand entrance. The blazing inferno engulfed more than half of the building.
“Mace, where are all the people? Where’s Kahu?” Pulling away from the ghastly sight before her, Macy swiveled her head in all directions, searching for the employees of The Palace…and finding none. “I don’t know. I know they can’t all be inside, can they?” Her chest tightened as she sought out Dan for the answer. For the one answer she could accept. “No. Not all of them. There’s no way. Maybe they got out a different way.” Doubt clouded his words. “They got out. I know they did.” Macy forced a confidence in her voice, pushing to make her wish true. “But what about Kahu?” Dan shook his head, but paused when he scanned the scene again and pointed. “Shit. I don’t believe it. He can’t still be...” Following his lead, Macy raised her head and saw him. “It is! It’s Kahu! That’s him standing on the second story balcony!” Kahu stood, his body leaning against a column, overlooking the beach. Even as the flames grew around him, providing a hellish backdrop to his white hair and suit, he still radiated a blissful peace, beautiful in its serenity. Engrossed in watching Kahu, she failed to notice Dan’s departure. His broad, long legs carried him up the steps, into The Palace and into the blaze. “Dan! No! Come back!” Macy’s heart failed to beat for several seconds. Even as her mind shouted a warning to stay safe, she propelled herself forward and raced after Dan. Calling his name, she dashed for the wide entry doors, when a wall of heat hit her, throwing her backwards onto the sand. All air, all thought, all sensation slipped away.
Macy dreamed of relaxing on sun-baked sand where the hot tropical sun fed renewal and rebirth into her tired, lonely soul. A magnificent palace loomed behind her, welcoming her, awaiting her visit. Dan, her love, lay next to her, his face a tortured mask of sorrow and defeat. Why is he so sad? She reached out for him, wanting to tell him how much she loved him, but her hands couldn’t
Paranormal Island Fantasies grasp his shoulders. She cried out his name and he answered,
Hearing Dan calling her, her reverie gradually morphed into reality, giving up her fight to stay in the vision. She opened her eyes and found Dan kneeled over her cradled head, murmuring her name, urging her back to consciousness. “Thank God, Macy. You scared the hell out of me.” He tried to stretch his features to deflect the tension, but failed. I scared the hell out of him? She sat up suddenly, agony slicing through her head, but she ignored the pain and continued. “I scared you?” She hit him on the arm with all the meager force she could muster, yet he didn’t appear to notice. “You run into a burning building and I scared the hell out of you?” The grief in his eyes doused her anger, making her regret her sudden outburst. Compassion filled her and she threw her body against him, enfolding him, wanting to erase all his despair. “Are you all right? Are you burned?” Pushing away from him, yet still clinging on and silently promising herself she’d never let go, she begged him for answers. “I couldn’t get to him, Mace. Kahu. I couldn’t save him.” A sob racked his body. She hugged him closer. She tried the words first as a whisper, pretending that whispering them would make them less real. “Kahu is gone?” Twisting her head, she grimaced when she saw the smoldering ashes of The Palace. “Everything’s gone.” Tears, hot and salty, washed the ashes from her cheeks. “It’s all our fault. We shouldn’t have gone into The Forbidden Ground.” He opened his mouth to disagree and couldn’t. Instead, he dropped his head, shielding his view from the ruins. Together they sat, holding each other, comforting each other, until the sun started its descent into the ocean. Neither of them spoke, refusing to believe the evidence in front of them, refusing to admit the truth. Paradise Palace, Kahu, Gerard, and others were gone.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER SIX “Ms. Maitland. Mr. Harding. I’ve come to take you home.” Macy heard the words, but didn’t recognize their meaning. Not until she’d glanced back toward the sea and found Gerard standing behind her. Dressed to perfection in his black suit, he exuded his usual emotionless patience. Dan, however, didn’t hesitate to respond. “Gerard!” Leaping to his feet, Dan traversed the distance between them in a single bound. “Thank God you’re alive!” Gerard, unaffected as always, accepted Dan’s hug without reaction. “Yes, sir, I am. Now if you and the lady would follow me, we’ll depart for Hawaii immediately.” Dan grasped his shoulders and shook the older man. “Gerard, don’t you see what’s happened? And Kahu. Have you seen him? Have you seen the others?” Without a word, Gerard pivoted and marched toward the yacht. Glancing at each other, Macy and Dan followed behind him, questioning him as they went. “Gerard? Why won’t you answer?” Macy tried, but couldn’t keep the vexation from her tone. Her clenched fists remained at her side, resisting the urge to strike him. At least, maybe then he’d give them some kind of response. “Ms. Maitland, please board the yacht.” Gerard held out his hand to help her onto the vessel. Once aboard, Dan placed a hand on Gerard’s chest, stopping him in his tracks. “Damn it, man. I know you’re one reserved guy, but I never pegged you as a cold-hearted son of a bitch. Don’t you have any feelings?” “Mr. Harding, please do not touch me again.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 93 Stepping sideways, he skirted around Dan and motioned for the crew to prepare for departure. Seconds later, the yacht’s motor kicked into gear and they headed out to sea. The lack of emotion in Gerard’s voice shook Macy more than if he’d struck her. Did he care about Kahu and the others at all? Dan muttered expletives at Gerard’s back and waited for him to take offence. When he got no response, he slid Macy’s hand into his and turned for one last glimpse of the lost paradise. Macy squeezed his hand, knowing his frustration, and forced down the bile rising in her throat. Words tried to form in her head, but broke apart, shredded by her invading memories. She’d found so much at Paradise Island. And lost so much as well. “Miss? Sir?” Gerard appeared beside them and held out a cream-colored envelope, reminiscent of the invitation. Dan accepted it with a curt nod of dismissal and waited until Gerard left before breaking the Paradise Palace seal. “Dan, wait a minute. I want to tell you something first.” Macy tucked her head, buying time to organize her thoughts. “I realize now…” She gestured toward the smoking Palace remains. “…what’s really important to me and I know how much you mean to me. When you ran into the building, my whole world collapsed. And I knew if you didn’t come out…” A small cry escaped her as she wrestled to stay in control. “I knew if you didn’t come out, I’d have lost more than my world. I would have lost my soul.” Dan cupped her chin, forcing her to meet his eyes. “So does this mean I’m relocating to Dallas?” “No. I don’t want you to move to Dallas.” “You don’t?” The joy on his face faltered and his gaze bored into hers. She moved her head, just enough to register the denial. “No. Instead, I’m going to move to Colorado. That is, if you’ll have me.” His lips pressing hers gave her the answer she needed. He gripped her, securing her against him as his palm slid behind her neck, keeping her mouth glued to his. “Yeah, I’ll have you. Every day and every night. And twice on Sundays.” She kissed him on the cheek, understanding, celebrating the real meaning behind his words. “Okay, Harding, read it out loud.” She rose on her tiptoes, trying to read the elegant script. Dan kissed her again and pulled out an embossed card with intricate lettering. “Dear Ms. Maitland and Mr. Harding,
Paranormal Island Fantasies 94 The Benefactor hopes you enjoyed your visit to Paradise Island. Although you transgressed against the rules by entering The Forbidden Ground...“ Macy gasped. “He knew. I hate that he died knowing we went against the rule. Dan, I want him back. I want it all to come back.” Dan countered her remorse. “Yeah, I know. But I’m not sorry we broke the rule. If we hadn’t spent the night alone in the cave, we wouldn’t have found each other again. Hell, we might not even be alive. So, no, I’m not sorry.” He cast her a small smile and continued to read. “...The Benefactor is pleased you have found your Treasure. Life’s Treasure lies not in material riches, but in the love we find with another. Your love is your true Treasure and The Benefactor is grateful for playing a small part in your discovery. Take care of each other as you did on Paradise Island. Your Humble Host, Kahu” Macy took Dan’s arm in hers and leaned her head against him. “Damn. He must have written this before…” She couldn’t bring herself to say the words. “Maybe not. Check it out.” Lifting her head, she followed his gaze back to the island. The lush island, no longer leveled by the fire, rose before her in all its previous glory. Once again, birds floated lazily over the sandy beach, cawing and diving against a scene of tranquility. Strong, tall palms reminiscent of majestic guards watched over their domain. In the midst of the splendor of the island, Paradise Palace, restored from ashes, shone like a sparkling white jewel. Shimmering windows, untouched by fire, blinked a farewell in the sunlit day. “It’s all back, Dan!” From behind, he wrapped his arms around her and folded her into him. She closed her eyes, pleased with the contentment his body gave her. But his sharp intake of air alerted her to more. “What?” “On the shore. Do you see?” The awe in his voice sent her searching, hoping. A solitary figure stood at the edge of the beach, gazing out toward the yacht. White hair flowed away from his white suit, following the wind’s path from the sea over the land. He waved at them and they felt, rather than saw, the small smile forming on his lips. “All I had to do was ask.” Macy laughed, hugged Dan closer, and waved farewell to Paradise
Paranormal Island Fantasies Island.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
DAUGHTERS OF THE ISLE
by Anne Leland Once upon a time, on the northern shores of Ireland, in the Glens of Antrim, King Seamus ruled the land nearly as tight fisted as he governed his daughters. He was a good king, a fair king, but a pious one who prized the chastity of his girls long past their coming of age. Locked in castle Antrim for the better part of their lives, Breanne, and Nuala spent many a day dreaming of freedom. Before their mother, Queen Phiala, passed beyond the veil; she took pity on Breanne, the eldest, and gifted her a cloak of darkness…
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER ONE- Breanne In the still of the breaking dawn, Breanne slipped the cloak over her shoulders and pulled the hood up to cover her brandy-wine curls. The soft velvet caressed her skin like the fur from Tabby’s new kittens. Grabbing the satchel containing her worldly possessions, she held it close to her breast, and fled down the steps towards the back entry. Two guardsmen standing watch glanced around as a swoosh of air disturbed the tranquility, but were remiss to find its source. The properties of the cloak rendered Breanne invisible to the mortal eye. She escaped down the well-worn path, traveled daily by horses and by those in her father’s employ. Nearing the end, Breanne faltered a step, stopped and pivoted to look back upon her home. After tonight she would no longer be welcomed within the grandeur of the majestic stone walls. Though her heart longed to join with her beloved, Aidan, the loyalty to her family competed with a fierce fever akin to the fury of hungry wolves. “I shall return for you my sister.” The whispered promise carried across the marsh arrowgrass, finding ears only in the duckweeds and daisies. After placing the castle to her back once more, she continued to the edge of the path where a golden coach sat awaiting her arrival. She slipped the cloak from her shoulders and flattened the front of her midnight-blue dress. The first sliver of dawn cast an unearthly glow upon the shimmering coach. Four horses, two black, two white stood at the ready, waiting to whisk her to the isle of Tir na n-Og. The door of the coach swung open and Aidan stepped out from the pale silk interior. “Breanne, my lovely Breanne, my eyes cherish the miracle. Even the dew of the morning bows to you, fair maiden.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 98 She rushed to the coveted warmth of his arms. “The sun shines upon us today. It is a good sign.” He held her close and tickled her lips with quick kisses, laying groundwork for the intensity soon to follow. The cloak of darkness slipped from her hand and fell to the ground. “Come, I have waited far too long to have you in my chambers again. We will be wed in the sun wake, and then I shall show you the endless boundaries of my passion for your honeyed skin.” Recalling the last time Aidan revealed his limitless taste for her flesh, Breanne drew in a sharp breath of the early morning air. In less time than the eggs would be cracked for breakfast, she would be Aidan’s wife and there would be a scintillating lifetime of exploration. Her heart burst with love for the soul mate she’d found. Her thighs quivered with the desire he drew forth with his mere presence. Indeed, fortune smiled on her today. If only she did not have to abandon her sister and fall from her father’s grace to be with the man she loved. Breanne never could figure out why her father wished to imprison his daughters for a lifetime of solitude. Did he not wish for heirs to carry on the lineage to the throne? Neither she nor her sister, Maeve were suited by birth. A male grandchild would have claim to carry on the royal lineage. Perhaps, should she and Aidan produce an heir, maybe then Father would come to share in their happiness--? If only there weren’t darker secrets to keep from him. Breanne feared she may never come to see his favor again. Aidan ran his finger under the slope of her chin, disrupting her thoughts, rekindling the flames of desire. He lifted her gaze level to his own. As she stared into his green eyes threaded with bursts of gold, the last of her reservation drifted off into the fading mist. “Come, Breanne, we must make haste and not keep the woman of woods waiting.” ***** When Breanne stepped from the coach, the bracken and pines of the forest danced in unison to the tune of the light breeze rolling in from the ocean side. Buttercups laced the air with their light perfume, adding a festive ambience. Aidan led her to a cluster of pines where a hidden path revealed itself. They made their way through the canopy, bobbing their heads as they ducked under branches and weaved through a patch of Wych elms. The hem of her skirt tugged with each step, but the sturdy fabric kept its design. Aidan straightened and gave her hand a squeeze. Breanne stepped forward into a small clearing
Paranormal Island Fantasies 99 in the woods. The pines seemed to intentionally form the sheltered circle, perfectly curving their branches to bridge a roof over the tranquil garden. A delicate, radiant woman materialized in the center of the circle and beckoned them forward. The folds of her dress blended with the moss below, creating the illusion that she had sprung from the earth, like a wispy fern stemming its dignified beauty. “You have come to join together in wane of moonlight’s descent?” The woman’s voice played through the circle like a soft lullaby sung by the very trees themselves. “We have, milady of the woods.” Aidan replied and bowed to the woman. Breanne followed suit and dropped her knee to the earth. The ground rose to meet her like a worn quilt, soft and springy to the touch. “Then all of creation smiles this morn,” the woman said. “Rise and join me, for you shall be wed.” Aidan held fast to her hand and together they joined the woman of the woods in the center of the clearing. The woman reached for their interlinked grasp and cradled their hands, lifting them towards the spill of light streaming through the canopy of foliage. A shiver ran the length of Breanne’s arm, filling her with a sensation she could describe as inner peace. “Daughter of Dianisus, we come together here in celebration, to join Aidan and Breanne under your guidance and protection. Much wisdom concerning the joining of these two souls has come our way through all paths of belief. With each union, may more knowledge be gathered.” After releasing their hands from her grasp, the woman continued. “Though we are unable to pass the knowledge to these two, who stand before you, we pray to leave them with love and all its strength.” Breanne followed the solid line of Aidan’s shoulders up to the ideal edge of his jaw, finally resting her eyes to match the gaze he locked upon her. She knew love and all its strength, it dwelled within the body and heart of her beloved. The woman of the woods continued. “Some may protest this union, others may ask who gives this bride in marriage.” If this were a truly to be a perfect day, Breanne’s father would bestow upon them his blessing. The price of love came with heavy cost, casting a shadow upon her heart. The lady of the woods, as if sensing her dismay, paused momentarily before carrying forward the rites. She turned and spoke directly to Breanne, bearing a message that climbed under Breanne’s skin
Paranormal Island Fantasies 100 and washed her soul. “A woman is not property to be bought and sold, given and taken, nor hidden and locked away. I ask simply that she comes of her own will, for the blessing of love holds far greater power than the blood. Bride, with whom do you come and whose blessings accompany you? “I come of my own accord, milady. I am not accompanied by my family’s blessings.” The truth clanked along the meadow, echoing back to her from the spirit of the pines. Would the woman of the woods deny her Aidan? “Daughter of Dianisus, I beseech you to bear witness and grace this union. Care for the blessings of the family and turn their eyes to the devotion here before me. For I see the depth of love in these two who come before me.” Aidan flexed his fingers and Breanne realized she unconsciously held a death grip upon his hand while awaiting the verdict of their fate. She released the pressure and flashed a smile in his direction. Returned to her, the look of pure joy caused her heart skipped towards the heavens. Soon they would be as one. “Lift your hands forward,” the woman commanded. “Join with your betrothed and listen to that which I say. Above you is the sun, below you the earth, and as time passes never forget these words. Like the earth should your love be solid, like the sun should your love be constant, and like time should your love continue. Let the powers of the mind guide you in your marriage, let the strength of your will bind you, let desire find you blissful, and dedication make you inseparable. Possess one another, yet temper with understanding. Have patience, for I have foreseen that storms will come. Have you no fear though, let not the ways of the unenlightened give you unease, for your love will triumph if you so choose.” The soliloquy resonated within Breanne and she took care to memorize each word as it passed through. The woman of the woods shifted like the sway of a tree in the summer breeze, turning to Aidan. “Groom, I have not the right to bind thee to Bride, only you contain this right. If it be your wish, say so now and place the circle of your love onto her hand.” He extracted a gold band, encrusted with a spiral strand of emeralds, from his pocket and slipped it onto Breanne’s ring finger. The cool metal slid effortlessly over her knuckle and bound to her flesh beneath almost as if it were a vine from the forest embracing the bark of the elm. “It is my dearest wish.” Aidan said. The simple words left and indelible impression upon Breanne’s soul.
Paranormal Island Fantasies “Bride, is it your wish to be bound to this man?” The woman asked.
“It is my dearest wish.” Breanne answered. “Then may you both join me and repeat these words.” The three of them spoke in unison; the words flowed from Breanne’s lips as if she’d recited them all her life, “By the life that flows within my blood and the love that takes residency within my heart, I say to thee, you are my chosen one. Without sin or shame, my love for thee is pure. I promise to love without condition, wholly and completely, in sickness, in health, in plenty, in poverty, in this life and the next, where we shall reign in love for eternity.” The woods stood silent, bowing their reverence to the power of the union beheld. Under the growing strength of the sun, the spicy scent of pines heated, infusing the circle with their flavor. Aidan drew Breanne close and the fragrance from the pines was replaced with the salty mist of the ocean with an exotic trace of earthy undertone, a natural cologne only Aidan could claim. As he brought his mouth to touch upon hers, she clung to the comfort and rapture of her husband, willing her love to fuse their bond with each taste. Her husband. Her betrothed. “By the power of the earth and the mother of the skies, I pronounce this union complete. May you always endure and your flame remain a guiding light.” Though their lips parted, today, under the witness of the woods, they now stood as one. Come what may, Breanne would face the curse of Aidan’s lineage and bear the shame of her father, for she would no longer stand alone. ***** As the mist parted to give them entry, the isle of Tir na n-Og revealed its glory. A paradise rival to none other with rolling hills of emerald stretching out to meet a crest of ocean waves. The carriage swept through valleys of Iris and fields of golden wheat, finally stopping in front of a stone cottage encased by twines of ivy and lattice rose. Breanne’s breath caught in her throat as she gazed upon the beautiful structure. “Is this?” “Yes, my love, ‘tis Ennismore, our home now.” Aidan offered his hand and Breanne stepped from the coach. Up close, the charm of the home seeped into her heart, commingling with her desire to explore every part of it along with every inch of her husband. As if sensing her thoughts, Aidan scooped her up into his arms and carried her through the wooden entrance. The strong scent of honeysuckle filled the cool air of the cottage and Breanne drank
Paranormal Island Fantasies in the fragrance along with her surroundings.
Modestly furnished, the interior was in dire need of a creative touch to bring it to the height of the exterior. A project she would undertake soon. Right now, there were more pressing matters at hand. Such as Aidan’s hand, sliding under the fold of her skirt and awakened her love and desire. She laced her fingers through the soft curls at the nape of his neck and drew him to her. He resisted her pull and sat her down on the wooden table in the center of the kitchen, his hand steady upon her thigh. She moved once more to taste his lips, but again he pulled back. “What is wrong? Have I done something?” “No, my love.” He gave a soft chuckle as he slid his free hand along her other thigh, now holding her as if ready to thrust into while she lay atop the table. The thought muddied her mind and flashed a tickle of heat, tightening her muscles in anticipation. “Then be with me, my lord, my husband. Right here, right now.” His hands squeezed into her thighs and a wash of desire ignited the gold in his eyes. “I intend to. But there something of great importance I must beseech you to answer first.” “Go on.” “In what form will you have me in the daytime, my love? As I am or as I shall be?” “I must choose?” “Aye.” “Then I shall take as you are in day, for sunlight’s has graced fortune to our union. In the night, I shall rest as to give to you my every devotion in the morn.” “You are a clever lass and it is fortune that smiles upon me to have such devotion.” “Tis that all, my lord?” “Aye.” He pulled her closer and slid her skirt up further. “Then love me, husband.” Aidan offered his response in the form of a tantalizing kiss, sparking trails from her mouth to her neck, down to the cleavage of her bosom, setting her skin to tingle. He skipped past her stomach and buried his head under the folds of her skirt as his hands moved up to join his tongue. Breanne fell back along the table, feeling the cool of the oak along her back as the heat from her center took over. Aidan pleasured her endlessly with his skillful strokes until the pressure within her built to its crescendo. Sated and wanting to reciprocate the pleasure, she pushed up to a seated position and coaxed Aidan to find his way towards his personal bliss. They tangled in a flow of liaisons atop the
Paranormal Island Fantasies table, along the floor, eventually landing under the soft down of their marital bed.
When darkness spilled over the windowsill, Aidan took flight with a kiss of promise to return in the morning. Too tired and spent to argue, Breanne snuggled under the warmth of the down quilts and drifted to slumber. It wasn’t until the next morning she realized she’d left the cloak of darkness in a crumpled heap outside her father’s gate.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER TWO - Maeve
The garden wept over her sister’s absence. Maeve passed the hunched-over daisies, fully understanding their plight. It was as if the entire Glens of Atrium lost their luster over night. She’d heard her sister’s promise in the night, and it kept her comfort. In the light of day though, reality dawned and Maeve knew Breanne would not return. What was she to do now? Wander the grounds until the sparrow came to pick her bones? Hardly fair. As she neared the gate, a dark object grabbed her attention. Did Breanne forget her satchel? Oh, what would she do without her belongings? Maeve shook the concern away. Most certainly Breanne’s husband would provide for her. Drawing closer, she realized her mistake at once. The heap on the ground was not Breanne’s satchel, it was—“Gods be saved!” The words flew from her mouth rushing into the early morning air as she snatched up the cloak. Breanne did not forget about her after all. A voice from her left shouted out. “Who goes there?” One of Father’s guardsmen, no doubt. She quickly slipped her arms into the cloak. It instantly cinched over her pale rose dress, rendering the fabric invisible, even to her own eye. As the footsteps hastened nearer, she tucked the last strands of her honey-blond hair under the folds of the hood and crossed the threshold of the gate. She felt the breath of the guard behind her, smelled the sweat of his flesh, and whirled around to find herself only a few inches from his bulky frame. He cranked his head wildly from side to side, searching, then leaned back on his heels and
Paranormal Island Fantasies 105 brought his hand to his ruddy chin. Maeve held her breath. She could see the dirt crusted in the cracks of his nails as he scratched them over several days’ growth of beard. Finally, he shrugged his shoulders, turned and pushed the irons of the gate closed. The lock thudded into place with a boom. She knew she wouldn’t be able to lift it on her own to regain entry, and plotted out her alternate course through the woods. Wait. She was on the outside. No guards, no escort, no over-bearing father-of-a-king to block her every move. She was free and no one could even see her to stop her. Oh glorious day! Filling her lungs with air, she inhaled the sweet scent of the daisies, which rose to salute her escape. “I wish for nothing more than to follow my sister’s steps and be as she is today.” A second after the words left her lips, a coach of silver appeared, blinding its surroundings with a brilliant glow. Maeve lifted her hand to her brow and stepped backward, away from the coach’s glory. Her back connected with the gate and a spike of rusty iron hooked her cloak. As she bent to free the opaque fabric, a man stepped down from the carriage and stretched his hand out to her. “Milady, if you’ll have me, I offer a life to you.” His gem-like eyes drew her gaze; vibrant blue pools of azure like quick-lighting through her soul. She placed her palm against his, allowing him to lift her toward him. Her skin tingled from the tips of her fingers to the crook of her elbow from the contact. Who is this prince of princes? And how could he see her with the cloak still wrapping her frame from view? As if reading her thoughts, he responded. “You wear the enchanted cloak of darkness, your wish is mine to fulfill. Come with me and we shall dwell alongside my brother and his new bride, Breanne in Tir na n-Og. Ah, Aidan must be his brother. Breanne often spoke his name in hushed silence. Not once, though, had she uttered a word about mythical places or magical wishes. “Tir na n-Og is but a fairytale told to mischievous girls at nightfall by imaginative mothers. Did my sister set you forth with this fantastical tale?” “Nay lass, Tir na n-Og is real, no flight of fancy, and a force I’m all too familiar with.” A dark shadow cast over his face, then lifted as if it were only her imagination that had seen it there. “I shall take you there after we wed this eve, if you shall have me as I am.” Marriage? A new life in a land that defied explanation? Dreams which had grown from
Paranormal Island Fantasies 106 whimsical notions throughout her life. How many times had she sat in the East window, wishing for her true love to whisk her away from confinement? And here he stood, chestnut brown hair sweeping to meet broad shoulders, azure eyes boring through her, reading her thoughts and beckoning her heart. “I don’t even know your name.” “Liam.” “Ah, I’m Maeve.” “I know, fair Maeve, I have long dreamed of you. Will you accompany me now?” “I shall, milord. Take me to this Tir na n-Og of yours, for if my sister has found solace there, so I follow. I shall wed thee today.” “Under the cloak of night then, fair Maeve, we will seek the woman of the woods. Come now, for we must make haste.” She turned to take one last look towards the stone walls that had imprisoned her for so long and blessed her mother’s spirit and Breanne’s love for setting her free. ***** The ceremony took place under a charcoal gray sky. Maeve marveled at the thousand brilliant points of light illuminating her union to Liam. As the coach whisked through the countryside, Maeve felt as though the horses flew atop a bed of clouds. The moonlight caught the gleam of her wedding ring. She looked down upon the silver circling her finger. A thin strand of sapphires blazed, matching the exact hue of Liam’s eyes. Eyes she could drown in. Though the covert wedding, performed by the Lady of the Woods, passed in the blink of a moment, the vows left an indelible impression upon her heart. Liam slipped his hand onto hers; the warmth reinforced her growing affection. “We are near to Tir na n-Og, dearest Maeve, where we shall make our home. Dawn is nearly upon us and I must ask you a question.” “What is it, milord?” His flesh grew cold against hers and she swore the blue in his eyes began to smolder, but tossed the notion away as to a mere trick of the moon’s glow. Liam’s voice was but a shadow in the night as he solicited her response. “In what form will you have me in the daytime, my love? As I am or as I shall be?” What form? A perplexing question. “What do you mean?”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 107 A thin stream of light appeared upon the horizon, taking the breath from Maeve’s lungs as she caught her first view of the shores of what must be Tir na n-Og. Liam’s eyes brightened, casting a wash of blue to glow upon his flesh. “I must have an answer quickly, dearest Maeve, for the dawn grows near.” In the day, in the night, what form? A wash of azure fire covered the inside of the carriage. The look of earnest on Liam’s face matched the intensity. A quake of fear slid down her spine. “I shall love you under the canopy of stars milord, every inch, just as you are. Will that do?” The coach touched down upon a soft patch of earth and drew alongside a quaint cottage. Liam pushed open the door and offered her his hand. “That will be to my pleasure, milady.” With her husband leading the way, Maeve stepped from the carriage to stand in front of the stone dwelling covered in ivy and lined with endless rows of dahlias. The sun spread its heat and encroached its orange blush across the terrain of sapphire streaming from the pours of Liam’s skin. He opened the heavy oak door to the cottage and escorted her inside. A massive room filled with ornate oak furniture and velvet linens sparked with the colors of the dahlia outside stretched out before her eyes. She drank in the splendor and barely noticed the heavy oak door closing. The thud awakened her from her dream-like state. She whirled around to find the room empty behind her. Where did Liam go? She grabbed the handle and yanked the door open. “Liam?” Maeve scanned left and right, but both the carriage her husband had disappeared into the morning. Something soft and fuzzy swept across her right hand and a scream rose in her throat as she jerked her palm away from the source. A majestic Scandinavian hound with pristine white hair and deep blue eyes stared at her with its head cocked. Maeve turned and fled into the stone cottage, slammed the door and barred it for good measure. She’d arrived in a foreign land with a rabid dog outside her door and her husband had left her to forage for herself. What trickery was this? And how should she find her sister?
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER THREE- Sisters of the Tir na n-Og On the third day, a knock came upon the door of Maeve’s cottage. Half ragged from lack of sleep, she hesitated to lift the latch. She’d been alone in the house. Liam had not returned since the hound appeared upon their doorstep. Scoundrel he was to abandon her. Had he returned now to grovel apologies for his cowardice? What if it was the hound scraping against the door. What if her slumber-deprived mind played a trick? The dog had stayed upon the stoop of the door each day, preventing her from leaving the cottage. Each night he skulked off into the woods, but she didn’t trust the reprieve, believing him to be merely awaiting her exit at which time he would pounce and tear her limb from limb. The knocks grew louder, but still she hesitated. A prisoner in this dreadful land. Why did she allow herself to be tricked into such a dismal existence? Had her sister befallen the same fate? A series of deafening raps upon the wooden door sliced through her tumultuous woe. Knocks that could only come from a human hand. Maybe Liam had returned? Thanks be to the heavens! Maeve unlatched the door and cracked it open. The sight awaiting her drew the breath from her lungs. Breanne stood on the doorstep, sheathed in a glimmering gown of gold. Swinging the door fully open, she rushed her sister and wrapped her quivering arms around Breanne’s middle. “The Gods are smiling, oh Breanne, help me, I am blessed to see you again.” Breanne laughed and reciprocated the hug. “My dear sister, it ‘tis only but a night that I have known you were here. Poor Maeve, you should have waited my return.” As Maeve stepped from Breanne’s embrace to invite her inside, a flash of white fur by Breanne’s leg send her scrambling backward. She landed on her bottom and skittered like a sand crab across the
Paranormal Island Fantasies cottage floor, away from the beast. “Breanne, run! Come inside quickly and bar the door!”
A quizzical expression splashed across Breanne’s face as she looked from the hound to her frightened sister sprawled across the floor. Her eyes opened wide and a sly smile tickled the corners of her mouth. “Oh my, Maeve, you do not know, do you?” Breanne stepped into the cottage, turned to close the door, and then walked over to help Maeve off the floor and into a comfortable oak chair near the fireplace. “Sit, dear sister, we have much to discuss.” “Are you… are you not afraid of the beast?” “Nay.” “But how, why?” Breanne sat down on the chair opposite from Maeve and curled her legs under the silks of her golden gown before replying. “Your impatience has cost us all, I’m afraid.” “What is this you speak of?” “Your impatience, Maeve. Why didn’t you wait for me as I asked?” “But you left the cloak for me, what did you wish me to do sister?” Breanne lowered her eyes to the floor. “A grave mistake.” She lifted her gaze and stared at Maeve as if looking into the face of a petulant child. “You still should have awaited my return. You swore to, Maeve.” “This is not my fault! You go running off into the mist and I’m to sit idly listening to father’s howl? His anger shrouded the entire kingdom, Breanne. His fair favorite eldest daughter, gone to the wind.” She struggled to keep the venom from dripping through her tone with no success. A deep scowl etched its way into Breanne’s brow. “I fear it ‘tis much worse now. Word has traveled across the land of your folly and father has declared war upon Tir na n-Og. Thank the Gods that he will be unable to execute his plans without the cloak of darkness to guide him here.” Maeve’s heart stopped mid-beat. Breanne’s face registered the news as if she’d seen the ghost of their death shadows passing across the cottage floor. “Maeve, what have you done?” ***** The room grew thick with silence as Breanne contemplated the implications of Maeve’s rash actions. Her sister shrank into the opposing chair, apparently afraid to speak another word on the matter, and more than likely digesting the nature of her actions.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 110 Breanne could hardly fault Maeve her impatience, after all, she was still but a child. A child who’d managed to lead them all into a world of chaos. Tears were streaming down Maeve’s face and Breanne couldn’t help but to move to comfort her sister. Sitting on the arm of Maeve’s chair, Breanna drew her sister near and stroked her hair as their mother once had. “There, there. We’ll fix this, don’t worry.” “Fix what?” Maeve shuddered and curled into Breanna’s arms. “What is this that we’ve gotten into?” Breanne paused to choose her words carefully lest she upset her sister further. “Maeve, have you not realized we have stepped into the land of enchantment? My dear sister, we are in Tir na n-Og.” “And
“You failed to pay attention to your lessons, I did not know before to what degree.” Maeve sniffled and wiped the back of her hand across her eyes. “The mistress was boring. Ancient tales have no bearing on the modern world.” “Ah, but they do and they have.” “How so?” “Calm yourself, sister, and I shall explain.” “I’m plenty calm now.” Maeve pulled away, stood up, and began to pace the floor. “Tell me. Do not spare a detail. I must know all that has been done. Does that wicked hound outside my door have something to do with all this?” “That hound, dear sister, is your husband.” Maeve’s body grew rigid and her pacing stopped. “What?” “Liam is a shape-shifter, as is my husband, Aidan.” “A shape-shifter? How can that be? And… well, how did I get a dog?” Maeve threw up her arms and Breanne contained a laugh at her sister’s over-exaggerated show of outrage. “He is your companion by day but a man by night.
Did he ask of you to choose your
preference?” “Yes, I mean I think so. I don’t know. I don’t understand a word of this. If he’s a man at night, where then has he been? Why does he not enter?” Breanne drew in a sharp breath while her hands kneaded tufts of material from her skirt. How could she explain this to Maeve? Already her sister turned pale with the news of her husband’s alteridentity. The poor waif nary had a clue of what came next.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 111 “Your husband,” Breanne cleared her throat and traced her finger along the line of a Trinity knot carved in the arm of the chair. “Your husband is obligated to the Queen of Tir na n-Og.” Maeve strode across the room and loomed over Breanne. “What does that mean?” “Well, at any time he is in male form, he is confined to the castle, to do her bidding.” As the news sunk in, Maeve’s legs failed beneath her. She collapsed to the floor in a puddle of despair. Breanne slid from her chair onto the hearth next to Maeve’s crumpled form. She swept a lock of Maeve’s hair behind her ears, and tilted her tear stained face upward. “As long as Liam is enchanted by the Queen, we will not be able to leave Tir na n-Og. Father will attack.” “But, but there has to be a way. Why did this happen?” “Aidan and I had planned to charm the Queen’s interests away from Liam. When she found out he’d answered your plea and eloped in the night, this displeased her greatly. So to punish the both of you, she took the man from the wife, leaving you only with Liam’s alternate form as companion so that you may know the extent of that which you miss.” Maeve’s eyes darkened like the storm of night blowing in from the North Channel. “Cruel woman. Who does this sort of thing? I shall go to her and demand his release.” “It’s not that simple, sister. She will not relent.” The words hung in the air between them, an impenetrable truth, caring not for to spare their feelings or remorse. Wiping the tears from her eyes with the tips of her forefingers, Maeve’s nostril’s flared and life returned to her eyes. “If she will not relent, then what means may I take against the Queen to get my husband back? How may I beseech our father to end his crusade?” “There are no means, save to take her life. But no one in all of Tir na n-Og is able to kill her.” “No one? Are you sure?” Maeve’s eyes drew to slits. “Sister, what are you not telling me?” Breanne stood up, walked over to the window, and gazed off into the distance. Maeve lifted herself off the floor, smoothed her skirts, and marched over to Breanne. Placing her hand on her sister’s shoulder, she slowly spun Breanne round until they were face to face once more. “You must tell me, I beg of you.” “It is far too dangerous. Would you risk your husband’s life to slay the Queen, knowing he would not succeed?” “What are you saying?”
Paranormal Island Fantasies “The only one in all of Tir na n-Og capable of killing the Queen is her suitor.”
“There then! We simply must tell Liam and have him do away with her.” To Maeve, the idea seemed to be as easily executed as harvesting a basket of daisies for the supper table. Breanne shook her head as Maeve locked her jaw with her typical show of stubborn will. “Sister, does the hound understand us when we speak?” Breanne nodded.
I must impress upon you though, killing the Queen is near
impossible. Do not set him off on some fool’s errand. Even the strongest, bravest of men have failed at the task.” “Then that is the problem, Breanne.” A coy smile opened up across Maeve’s face. “The bravest men have failed.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER FOUR ~ Queen of Tir na n-Og
A low rustle of hushed snickers and jibes followed Breanne’s walk down the aisle of the Queen’s receiving chamber.
She supposed the Queen’s servants were unaccustomed to having visitors,
especially those of the female variety. An ornate throne, crested with a knotted dragon with eyes of ruby shaded the room in red as thick as blood pouring from an enemy’s wound. Breanne pushed forward, willing her feet to move. Walking on a bed of nails might be to her preference, rather than treading down the long corridor of stone. Marble dragons swirled around pillars, glaring down at her from their perch, as if waiting the opportunity to make ash of her skin. A shiver snaked down her spine but she pressed on, following a thin man in beggar’s clothing to the base of the altar. The Queen’s reputation for cruelty achingly reflected in the servant’s manner and dress. He motioned her to kneel. She followed the command as he disappeared from her side, leaving her alone to face the Queen of Tir na n-Og. What if the Queen failed to accept the bait? Breanne muttered a prayer to Lady Dianne to grant her safe haven back to Aidan’s arms. A black mist rose from the earth, snaking through the cracks of the stone floor, blinding Breanne and washing a cold whisper of air across her trembling bones. A thick mat of sulfur choked her lungs. Suddenly, a line of torches flamed, cutting through the thick of darkness, illuminating the throne. An exquisite woman with hair of raven and eyes the color of cold iron, lounged across the ornate chair. Her lackadaisical demeanor did not fool Breanne. She knew instinctively the woman before her could crush her within the blink of moment, should she so choose. The Queen spoke, her voice rich and sinuous, gliding through the space between them with the
Paranormal Island Fantasies grace of the winged serpents who served her. “Foolish girl, what business do you have here?”
Breanne bowed her head in a show of respect. “I have a gift, my Queen. One that you may fancy.” “My power is great. I’ve no need of trinkets.” Breanne took a deep breath and rushed the words out, “I mean no disrespect, milady. It is in good faith that I bring to you this token. It is not one to found readily.” Breanne extracted a pair of golden shears from the pocket of her cloak and held them up in outstretched palms for the Queen to view. The room grew still as the Queen surveyed the gift. “Why should I want your scissors, child? What jest is this?” “My Queen, they are shears different than anything ever seen or heard of in this country. One cut will turn ragged cloth to the most beautiful brandy satin you’ve ever laid eyes upon.” “How did you come about this?” “I paid favor to the washer woman.” “Ah.” The Queen’s powers, gifted from the darkest of evils, could never conjure the purity of spells to match even the washerwoman’s meager skills. The object must be haggled, as the power of the enchantment would dissipate should the shears be forced from their owner. A tiny illumination in the Queen’s eyes was the only sign by which Breanne could measure the witch now understood the significance of the shears. Drumming her long fingernails along the arm of her throne, the Queen deliberated, then spoke. “What price do you ask?” Breanne’s lips moved but failed to release the words. The Queen’s voice raised an octave as she repeated the question. “What price?” All is lost, Breanne if you do not respond. Yet, all may be lost if she did. She licked the inside of her parched lips and drew courage from every fiber of her being prepared to spare an ounce. “I shall willing grant you them, milady, if you should let me pass one night with my sister’s husband and spare both our lives after.” “What madness is this? You wish to bed your sister’s husband? I should take your wretched life this instant.” “Please, milady, it is not as it seems. My husband is unfruitful and my sister approves this
Paranormal Island Fantasies 115 liaison but for to gift me with child.” Breanne held her breath and prayed the witch would believe her folly. “I see.” The Queen laced her fingers and contemplated Breanne’s response. “Very well then, give me the shears and I shall stay you one night stead. If you are not gone from the castle by the cock’s crow, there shall be no child for you to grow in your corpse.” The Queen’s acceptance of her proposal did nothing to lighten Breanne’s apprehension. The peril had not ended, it had merely begun. ***** Breanne followed one of the Queen’s guards down a dark corridor; a feint glow from an unknown source lit their way. Shadows clawed the walls rising up in contorted images, reaching out their talons to sweep along the folds of her cloak. She stayed close to the guard and silently willed him to move faster. He stayed his steady march without falter. Burrowing deeper into the false protection of her cloak, she focused on the crooked slop of the man’s shoulders as they continued down the hallway. After what seemed an eternity, the guard drew up short and motioned her to enter a doorway they’d nearly passed in the dim. Breanne took a tentative step forward and was immediately greeted by an intense burst of light. Her hands flew up to shield her eyes as they adjusted to the dramatic change. A familiar voice called her name, but she failed to find make out the source. “Breanne? What madness is this?” Liam. Her vision cleared and she made out his shape. He stretched out along a high-set bed, feet dangling over the edge, arm propped up as if she’d disturbed his rest. Breanne quickly averted her gaze when she realized her brother-in-law was unclothed. A hot flush raced up across her cheekbones. “Witch, be gone. Darest you take the shape of my betrothed’s sister? What foul are you to think I should succumb? Be gone, witch, no trickery will ever convince me to take your bed.” Breanne’s heart lightened with the confirmation that Liam had not betrayed Maeve. “Liam, dearest kinsman, it is truly I, Breanne.” She heard the rustle of bed sheets and then a soft thump as his feet hit the floor. Still not daring to look upon his naked form, she could only deduce from the noises that he’d risen from the bed. “How am I to believe this?” Breanne raked her brain for and infallible proof. Gripped in the desperation of the moment, none
Paranormal Island Fantasies occurred to her.
Liam strode across the floor towards her. “Tell me, what only my kin may know, or be gone, witch.” What could offer for proof? Wait! “Aiden shared with me many of his boyhood memories. If I recall correctly, he used to wrestle you down and clip section of your fur, several time, I believe, leaving you with bald patches upon your head.” Liam’s deep laugh confirmed she’d remembered the details correctly. “Those were much gentler days.” “Aye. None such lay upon us now though, milord.” “Breanne, to what end are you here?” “I’ve come to help you.” “And what of Maeve?” “I could not risk Maeve’s life in such a manner. I knew before the Queen I would be the stronger.” “And so it seems that you have been. How did you get her to allow you to pass?” Breanne heard Liam moving about the room and prayed he was seeking to cloth himself. A brief glance sideways confirmed her theory. He’d slipped on a pair of wash pants. She turned to face him. “There will be ample time for explanations later. Right now, we must make haste and prepare.” “Prepare? Prepare for what?” Liam’s brow furrowed and Breanne hesitated to speak the words aloud for fear of vexing them. “Breanne, the only preparation we need to make right now is for your safe escort from here.” He ate up the floor with a single stride, grabbed her elbow, and guided her in the direction of the door. “I cannot believe my brother allowed you to come here. He shall have to answer to me later for such imprudence.” She shook her arm away from Liam’s grip. “I have my husband’s confidence. Listen to me now, we have much to do. Liam, we have no choice but to execute the Queen.” He stared at her as if she’d suddenly sprouted wings and a griffin’s head. “Foolish woman, it cannot be done.” “It can.” “I know the tale far better than you. The Queen’s heart beats in the center of the wether, but no
Paranormal Island Fantasies man, nor beast has made it past the obstacles to even release the wether for the chase.”
“You must trust me Liam, the fates have already aligned our destiny. It shall only require the precise
“Tis folly, Breanne. Be gone with you now and be certain to give my love to Maeve.” He paused and turned his head away before continuing. “I’m sorry to have failed her.” Stretching her arm out, she place a hand upon his forearm. “You have failed no one. The Queen and her evil wiles have failed this kingdom. It is time to take action, and if we do not, the isle of Tir na n-Og shall fall.” As she retracted her gesture of comfort, and the room fell silent. For the first time, she noticed the painting hanging on the bedroom walls. Dark deities in a range of perverse and malevolent poses. A chill shuddered straight through her like the blade of a fresh-sharpened knife. Liam broke her dread, ending the awkward silence. “How say you, Breanne?” “It is really no intentional fault but Maeve’s petulance following my own, set my father to war. Word travels, his ships are but a day’s journey. My father will not stop, Liam, until Maeve and I are returned home.” “Then why this folly? Go Breanne, run like the stags. Take Maeve and Aidan with you and leave me to my fate.” “Alas, we cannot, nor would we will to. Your fate is entwined with ours. Until the Queen’s enchantment is released from upon you, none of us may leave Tir na n-Og.” “Can you not meet your father at the shore?” “Nay, his army is impenetrable and he shall most likely land far after his army has vanquished the land. We cannot risk it.” She watched Liam struggle for answers, his mind searching for a different angle to take away from the imminent death they faced from both sides. The possibilities had all been explored already and Breanne did not have time to wait for him to sort through to the ultimate conclusion. The Queen must be executed by his hand. “Come, get dressed, we must make haste. We’ve only the hours of this night in which to prepare.” ***** Deep into the woods of the castle ground hunched a great Fearnóg, its limbs gnarled by the passage of time. Roots curled from the underground forming a spiked passage to ward off unwelcome visitors. The reddish-brown trunk had long ago been consumed by musci, the moss produced a black
Paranormal Island Fantasies blanket which shimmered under the pale moonlight.
A shiver raked along Breanne’s spine as she and Liam stumbled into the clearing which housed the wicked timber. Prickled vines snagged at her feet as if to snatch her under to the bowels of the earth below. A foul odor reached her nose. Death resided in the black mass and had certainly left its stench. The dimming glow of a torch illuminated Maeve’s crouched form a few yards away. Breanne could feel the fear radiating from her sister. The leaves of the tree rustles as a hawk swept down from the top limb, bee-lining for Breanne. As the disturbance swept across the clearing, Maeve raised her head and shrieked, “Breanne, watch out.” Though her sister’s cry stabbed a knife of fright through her, Breanne made no movement. As the hawk descended closer, she crooked her arm and a smile played upon her lips. Maeve rose up and Liam raced to her. Her eyes grew as big as a pair of harvest moons as she watched the hawk land on Breanne’s arm. Breanne felt the curve of the claws wrap around her forearm, but as she knew they wouldn’t, they did not dig in nor prick her flesh. She stroked the soft feathers at the neck of the bird. “I have missed you, my love.” She turned and watched with amusement as the truth splashed across Maeve’s features, followed quickly by an open cry of adoration as Liam reached her. He swept Maeve into his arms and the two lovers embraced. As much as she disliked having to dispel the moment, Breanne made her way across the treacherous terrain to engage Maeve and Liam in the arduous task ahead. “Dear sister, did you bring everything I instructed you to?” Maeve reluctantly pulled away from Liam, stooped to the ground and heaved a sack from the ground. “Yes, and it was a heavy burden.” “Let me get that for you, dearest.” Liam said as he grabbed the sack from Maeve, lifting it as if it contained no more than fairy dust. “We must begin,” Breanne instructed. Liam nodded, opened the satchel, and withdrew a gold-tipped axe. Maeve’s eyes grew wide again. “How ever is he to cut down this mass, Breanne? The tree must be thicker than ten head of father’s finest plump cattle. “Trust in your husband, dear sister. Liam will rise to the task.” Or else all is lost.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 119 If Liam failed to cut the tree to capture the egg inside by the crack of dawn’s first light and the Queen awoke… Breanne shook the voice of doom from her mind and focused on their current predicament. “We shall stay to the edge of the forest, Liam, as to avoid the anguish of the tree’s limbs. You must remember to stay to the center to avoid the fury. Do not relent, either. The trunk will re-grow its shape faster than the puddle forms under the beating rain.” Liam looked from sister to sister, his eyes a stream of blue tranquility. “I shall not relent.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER FIVE ~ The Hawk and the Hound Breanne pulled her cloak tighter around, shivering from a nonexistent breeze. Liam hacked at the Fronóg’s massive trunk throughout the night, sending rotted bark careening into the air. The constant thud of the axe rang out like a tribal drum in to the night, causing the roots to stretch their evil talons to silence the source. Breanne watched the spectacle from the protection of the surrounding woods, hands entwined with Maeve’s, both silently praying for Liam’s strength to hold out. Heeding Breanne’s advice, he stayed close to the base, circling around and around, swinging his axe without falter. Sweat streamed down his back until he was soaked through. Still, he kept pounding the axe into the flesh of the monstrous wood. Limbs smashed down against each other, writhing in agony. The air burned as if a bonfire brewed. Aidan in his hawk form circled the air forming a ring in the moon’s wake. Liam kept slicing, pummeling the tree with the force of his blade but Breanne could not distinguish from her distance what progress he made through the giant. Would he crack into the center in time? How close were they to the pivotal moment? As if in answer to her question, the first sliver of the sun announced the break of dawn. Simultaneously, a wretched cry rang out from the forest. The Queen! Breanne broke into a run, scrambling through the under-vines “Liam! By the Gods, Liam, the Queen is—“ Before the last word could leave her lips, a wild root from the Fronóg whipped across her stomach and sent her tumbling back into the woods.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 121 “Breanne!” Maeve’s cry reached her ears at the same time her sister stooped to pick up her crumpled form. A huge welt of pain ripped across her center. Accepting Maeve’s outstretched hand, she stood up, pressing her hand to her belly to stave off the pain. “Your… your hair. Breanne, what happened to your hair?” Breanne touched the rough ends of her paige-like cut. The hood of the cloak must have fallen when she was thrown. “There is not time to explain now. Hurry before all is lost.” A loud shriek penetrated the air, surrounding them and filled their ears in an unbearable volume. The cry came from the four corners of the earth, seemingly in every direction at once. Breanne whirled around, ready to defend Maeve at any cost, but the motion only caused to double her over in pain. Liam raced towards them with an egg shaped onyx clutched in his hand. “I have it. Quickly, Maeve, the chisel. Get the chisel from the pouch!” Maeve ran toward the pouch, but before she could reach out for the bag, the Queen leapt from the woods and barred her path. Breanne ducked her head and raced at the witch, catching her right below the breastbone, sending them both to the ground. “Run, Maeve!” Maeve headed her words, snatched the pouch from the ground, and fled in Liam’s direction. The Queen’s eyes glowered as she caught Breanne by the throat. Her lungs emptied in a choked whoosh. The Queen dragged her up from the ground and pinned her back to an elm. Jagged bark cut through Breanne’s clothes, biting into her flesh. She struggled against the Queen’s grip to no avail as her air supply quickly ran out. ***** Maeve reached Liam and tossed the sack into his hands. The blue glow emanating from his body escalated as the sun began to peek over the horizon. “Hurry, my love.” She whispered. Liam dropped to his knees, placed the onyx egg onto the ground. He tore open the bag, extracted a golden chisel and raised it high. In one fluid movement, he bore the point of the chisel deep into the center of the egg, then fell to the ground, azure flames dancing along the length of his body. The egg split and fumes of gray rose from its center. As the mist climbed into the air it melded into the shape of a raven. The raven outstretched its wings and spiraled towards the tops of the trees. A screech rang out in
Paranormal Island Fantasies 122 the dusty sky as the hawk swept down to capture its long awaited prey. The two birds tumbled toward the ground, bathed in the blue light from Liam’s changing form. Maeve watched in fascination as Liam’s body contorted and contracted to alter into his hound form. As the hawk and the raven fell from the air, a rAidant burst of amber stretched out to join forces with the brilliant blue light. To her horror, the birds both hit the ground with a sickening thud. Golden light swelled around the hawk as Aidan appeared. A dark pool spread out underneath him and with a sickening shock rippling through her conscious, Maeve realized it was the spread of blood. The grounded raven’s body split open and a wether burst out. The small goat-like animal bounded away into the woods. As Maeve scrambled towards her wounded brother-in-law, a flash white tore past her following the path of the wether. Maeve screamed for Breanne. Her sister did not reply. Scanning the woods for signs of Breanne, Maeve stopped dead in her tracks at the site before her. Breanne’s face sparkled, a pale orb in the breaking dawn. Her eyes still filled with terror were slowly closing as the Queen choked the life from them. “No!” Before the action registered, Maeve slammed into the back of the Queen at a full run. The Queen’s balance faltered and she released her grip on Breanne to claw at Maeve. Maeve fell backwards. Breanne slumped to the ground as Maeve desperately searched for a makeshift weapon. Her hand curled around a broken tree limb. She jumped up and swung it wildly at the Queen. “Be gone, witch. Leave my sister be.” The Queen simply cackled and swayed. Maeve lurched but the branch poked only through the air as the Queen easily sidestepped her advance. The stick grew slimy to her touch and Maeve struggled to keep a hold of it as she struck out again. This time the stick curled towards her and she saw the tongue of a snake reach out to sting her cheek. The tree branch writhed in her hand and she cast it to the ground. The snake slithered in front of her, raising its head, barring a set of lethal fangs. They’d failed. She’d failed. She’d failed everyone. Maeve called out to Lady Grian to forgive her and smite her in the rising heat. The Goddess ignored her plea and simply continued her slow ascension into the sky.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 123 The Queen cackled and raised her hands towards the two sisters. “Upon this day you shall die. No trespass will be forgiven for your husband either. Prepare to meet Nemon and Fae in the Underground.” A charge sparked at her fingertips and the dark light streamed towards Maeve and Breanne just as the white hound burst into the clearing with the wether clutched between his teeth.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER SIX ~ King Seamus
The fire of a thousand embers seized Breanne’s skin, and the pungent odor of burning flesh churned her stomach. Her flesh. A scream rose up her throat, burning before it reached the parched torment of her lips. Eyes covered with flame. Suffocating. The world boiled in an inferno. A blistering abyss dragging her down into the depth of the Underworld. All at once, the heat lifted, releasing its hold, curling harmlessly away into a ball of iridescent fire. The ball writhed and reshaped, a fire dragon consuming itself from the inside. A howling scream, echoing from the soul of the woods pierced her ears. Breanne raised her hands to cover them as she watched in fascination while the form rippled, diminishing unto itself. The burning sphere grew smaller and smaller until it imploded into a rain of ashes, soddening the earth with a blanket of gray. The sun ascended its own fire, climbing higher, basking the clearing in a glow of warm and life. The witch and the Fronóg were but ashes in the daylight. Breanne stretched out her arms to look upon them, fearing what scalded image might confront her. Nothing. Pale flesh marked only with minor scratches from her journey through the woods. She’d burned so fierce, yet no mark charred her skin? Maeve! What happened to Maeve? She turned to find her sister stooped over with one arm around the hound’s neck and the other stroking the fur of his back, tears streaming down her dirt-smudged face. Breanne felt the smile spring upon her face. She closed her eyes and raised her face to the
Paranormal Island Fantasies warmth of the sun, relishing in the safety of its heat.
Opening her eyes, she lowered her face from the sun’s welcome and scanned the clearing, disbelieving that the Queen was truly gone. A crumpled figure near the center of the clearing caught her attention. The sight of Aidan’s still body snatched the blood from her veins. Racing to his side, she knelt down and touched her palm to his cheek. Cold. So cold. “Maeve! Liam! Come quickly!” The hound bounded over and began nudging Aidan hand. Maeve ran over and knelt beside her. “Oh, Breanne. I… I saw him fall from the sky. I should have… but the Queen, and then Liam, and—“ “There is no time for rambling, Maeve. We must get Aidan to the hen wife now. Oh, Lady Morrighan, bring you not the crow to land here, heed our prayers!” Breanne stood up, moved parallel to Aidan’s shoulders, bent over and slipped her hands under them. “Grab his legs, Maeve. We must strap him to Liam and make our way through the woods quickly.” Maeve gathered up Aidan’s legs into her arms and they lifted him onto the hound’s ample back. After lashing him to Liam with Aidan’s belt, they made their way through the underbrush and forest of trees towards the castle. Though the hound appeared to be under great exertion, he strained each muscle, resolutely carrying the weight of his brother. Maeve spoke softly as the castle came into view. “He’s so pale, Breanne. Where is this henwife you speak of?” “She lives in the cottage at this edge of the castle ground. We must hurry and restore Aidan’s vitality. But you must not follow.” Breanne grabbed the arm of Maeve’s dress and pointed to the North. “You must go to shore now to speak for us and for all of Tir na n’Og.” “I don’t understand.” “Father will be landing soon and though the Queen’s army will surrender without her guidance, we must beseech his mercy before he hunts the island for us.” Breanne released her hold on Maeve’s dress. “Go now. Quickly and without falter.” Maeve nodded and raced off towards the Northern shoreline. The hound’s legs buckled as Breanne and Liam continued to the cottage of the henwife. Breanne bent down, supporting as much as possible of her failing husband’s weight. Inch by inch they made their way across the marsh field until the stone structure came into view. A pudgy woman clothed in rough cloth with a long white apron stepped out of the cottage and
Paranormal Island Fantasies ran to greet them. “Ye bring him in. I fear ye may be too late.”
She clucked and coo’d to Aidan as Breanne and Liam dragged him inside the cool dwelling. As Breanne unstrapped his body from the hound, the henwife helped her lift Aidan towards a hearth whose fire had been snuffed at dawn’s light. Tendrils of smoke still curled upward from the half-roasted logs. The hound collapsed onto the earthen floor, panting and wheezing for breath. “Words spreads quickly, ye have bested the Queen.” “We have, milady.” “And how did ye crush the witch? Many have tried before ye.” “Many have tried alone.” “Aye. Move away now,” the henwife ordered, “and pray ye for a miracle from those Gods of your’n.” ***** Sand snatched at her feet and the salt air whipped across her face as Maeve raced toward the tallest of the Irish ships. The mighty war vessels were lined along the shore like a mountainous range dwarfing the valley below. She screamed and her voice flew across the wind. “In the name of King Seamus, I beg for your pardon!” Lines of warriors streamed off the vessels, ignoring her pleas, assembling into a fierce brigade. “Please,” Maeve raised her voice to its highest decibel, “I beg of you, in the name of King Seamus, give me pardon!” A dark haired, burly man stepped to the front of the army line. “Who dare speaks in the name of the King?” His voice boomed across the sand and shooting an arrow of fear through Maeve’s stride. “I do, milord,” she ran nearer, praying they would spare her throat until her message was heard. The men made no move towards her. They simply stared as she raced past them to fling herself at the feet of their commander. “I am the daughter of King Seamus, and I invoke his name.” Sand flew up in her face and she spit the grainy texture from her lips. The man stooped down and picked her up lightly by the shoulders until she stared directly into the unmistakable emerald eyes of the captain of her father’s fleet. “Really, Maeve? He should be very pleased to hear that.” “He is here then?” “Aboard my vessel. Come, foolish child, I shall take you to invoke your King’s name.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 127 “Who dares to invoke my name?” A robust, honeyed voice swept across the crowd—the kind of voice that could only belong to a king. The army immediately fell from formation and raised their swords, making pathway for King Seamus. He stepped forward and looked down upon Maeve. She wished she stood upon quick sand. The slow choking death may be preferable to standing before her father’s wraith. Lowering herself to one knee, she bowed to her father. “It is I, father.” “Child, do not kneel before me.” Maeve stood up and tried to avoid her father’s scolding eyes. “Father, I—“ “Where is Breanne?” From his tone, Maeve knew she’d better offer up the truth. “She is with the henwife and my husband, they are—“ “Your husband,” her father spat on the sand. “Yes, word of your union has traveled. You join with a dog who is not fit for the castle kennels. How could you disgrace our family so?” “Father, please. If only you could meet him, you would see he is a true man in any form.” “He is dog. Maeve, the kingdom mocks me from every threshold. You married a half-man, in form of a dog no less, child. What were you thinking?” “It’s not as you think. Mother would…” the remainder of the sentence stuck in her throat as the way of pain raked across her father’s face. “Understand.” He completed the thought and looked down upon her with eyes either filled with love or gleeful visions of choking the life from Liam. Her father was a hard man to read. “Father, I’m sorry.” He held up the palm of his hand, signaling her to stop. “Take me to your sister side. Now.” Maeve agreed with a nod. As she led her father and a small brigade of the army regiment to the henwife’s abode, she hoped the spark in her father’s eye was indeed a representation of his love, not a warning sign of her husband’s demise. ***** Breanne knelt at Aidan’s side, clutching his lifeless hand to her breast, willing every breath of her own to him. Too high a price. They had all paid dearly for her rebellion. If only she’d tried to reason with her father instead of running off to marry Aidan. If only mother had been there. But then, mother gifted her the cloak, knowing full well of its magic. Once Aidan appeared, Breanne knew the cloak offered powers beyond any her mother may have imagined. Love.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 128 Her heart beat in tune with Aidan’s from the very first moment sunlight burst in the irises of his eyes. Her heart still pounded the same rhythm. She felt the unsteady thrum weaken by the second as Aidan slipped away. “Ye best let him to heal, milady.” The henwife’s shadow covered them like a blanket of doom. “I shall not leave his side.” Breanne squeezed Aidan’s hand as if the gesture might reassure him, but the frozen flesh mocked her effort. All of a sudden, a commotion came from outside the door and the henwife scurried to investigate the source. A low growl sounded from the corner of the cottage as Liam rose up on unsteady fours from his resting place. His ears stretched back along his neck as he bared his canines. Breanne turned her head towards the front of the cottage just as the door burst open. A blaze of light spilled into the dwelling and before her eyes could adjust to the brightness, she heard the all-toofamiliar voice shake the walls. “Stand back beast.” The hound now stood at the ready position of attack. Her father clamped down on the hilt of his sword. Madness. This was all madness. All her fault. Releasing Aidan’s hand gently to the floor, Breanne stood up, and calmly walked over to stand between her father and Liam. Maeve struggled to push past the guards blocking the door and the henwife stood off to the side, her arms crossed and a bemused look upon her face. Breanne drew in a deep breath and exhaled, calling upon the force of Lady Aine to strengthen her resolve and heal the wounds Breanne had inflicted upon their family. “Father.” The solitary word filled the small room of the cottage, echoed and swirled around them like fog settling in from highlands. “Stand aside, Breanne.” “I shall not. Tame your sword, father. As long as breath remains in my breast, no more harm shall befall this day. Too much death is upon us already.” Her father’s chest puffed up as his brow furrowed. “You dare defy me again, daughter?” “No.” She shook her head and cast her eyes to the floor. “I have brought too much shame already.” Breanne brought her gaze back level to meet the king’s stare. “If any shall suffer now because
Paranormal Island Fantasies of my misdeed, it shall be I.”
King Seamus narrowed his eyes, then swung around. Sweeping his hands towards the guards at the door, he barked a command. “Leave us now.” The guardsmen immediately complied, dragging Maeve away from the doorway with them as they evacuated the cottage. Breanne’s father turned to the henwife and motioned to the doorway. “A moment, milady.” She picked up her hem and skittered out the door, closing it tightly behind her. Breanne felt the heat of Liam’s form against her leg and looked down to see him standing guard at her feet. Her father followed her vision and both man and beast snarled their discontent with each other. “The beast must leave too.” “No, father, best that he remains far from your guards.” “Then stay him. But if he moves, I shall not spare his life.” Her father’s eyes circled the room, presumably for other hidden lurkers, and zeroed in on Aiden’s still form. “What of the man lying on the floor. Is he a drunkard?” “No, he is Aidan, my betrothed.” “Is he wounded?” “Yes, father.” More than she cared to acknowledge verbally or within her heart. Her father snorted. “Well, better he that, than a dog.” Breanne bit her tongue. There would be time for corrections later. “Do not punish Maeve for my insolence. Liam is a befitting husband. He will provide and cherish her through all her days.” “What good can a wretched hound do for my daughter that a man may not? He is half a man. It is folly you speak of.” “There is much we need to speak of. He is a man, father. A man by night, a protector by day. What better to provide for Maeve.” Breanne reached out and laid her hand on her father’s arm. She felt his muscles flinch, but he did not shy away. “She loves him.” “And what of you, Breanne? I gather you love this feeble man lying upon the hearth?” “Aidan nearly gave his life for us. For all of Tir na n’Og. Should you suffer it further? Let me tend to my husband. Let Maeve be reunited with Liam tonight in his arms. Father, please see what lies before you. We are no longer children, but women.” Breanne took a deep breath, pausing hold her next statement, giving her words a moment to slink pant her father’s stubborn pride. “We are women who still prize you above all, but women nonetheless.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 130 Her father released his grip upon his sword, turned his head to the small cottage window overlooking a spread of endless field. Breanne stood still and watched him in silence until her heart could stand not a moment more away from Aidan. She walked back over to kneel beside him once more. Picking up his hand, she found it to be as cold as when she had released it. The ebb of his life struggled to stay within his body. The shadow of her father’s figure fell over them. “With your hair shorn, you look very much the image of your mother when we were but foolish children in love’s throes.” Breanne smiled up at him and caught the fleeting edge of smile leaving her father’s mouth. Cold? Yes. Without heart? Never. Deep inside, she’d known her father would eventually see reason through the crux of his bane. He cleared his throat. “Move away, Breanne.” “What? Father, no.” “Do not fear me, child. I have fought a battle and saved many a brave man. Let me now breathe life and win back my daughter’s favor.” She grabbed hold of his arm offered to boost her up. “You have never lost my favor.” Her father swept her in a hearty embrace and then dropped her lightly back on her feet. He turned and knelt beside Aidan, preparing to resuscitate him. Breanne held her breath and whispered the only blessing she knew—a prayer to Lady Dianne for a bountiful garden. Under the circumstances, she trusted the Gods would answer in spite of her imperfect expression of faith.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
Breanne ran her finger along the silk petal of the honeysuckle flower. A tear slipped from the corner of her eye and trailed down the heat of her cheek. She dug her hands into the earth, pried around the edges of a milkweed to loosen the base. Grasping the undesirable firmly in her hand, she yanked its roots from the dirt and cast it to the side. The simple act felt good, as if it instilled reassurance of life’s order. Scooting sideways on her knees along the front pathway, she planned her next attack. As she bent to tackle a renegade row of dandelions, the touch of a hand upon her shoulder caused her to rock backward. She twisted and raised her hand to block the sun. The light from Aidan’s eyes as he gazed down at her rivaled the sky’s pyre of flame. He leaned against a crutch fashioned from what appeared to be an unfinished wooden table leg. “You’re walking.” Breanne stood up and slid her hand under Aidan’s elbow to help brace him. “You should be resting, my love. Or at least have called for me. You’re in no condition—“ He pressed his index finger upon her lips to buy her silence. “I’m fine.” His finger lingered on the full of her lips, tracing the outline of them. “Thanks to you.” She smiled and nipped at the tip of his finger. He laughed and withdrew it. “Thanks to my father. Praise to Lady Dianne. Thanks to many, Aidan that you are here with me now.” “I’d rather give my thanks to you.” A smile grew within her soul. “And how should you do that, milord?” The low undercurrent of a throaty growl rumbled against the back of his throat as his eyes gave emphasis to his intent.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 132 Breanne’s body instinctively reacted, warming in anticipation of the invitation. But she must show some restraint. The henwife warned her to allow Aidan ample time to recover. Three nights had passed already and still the hawk could not lift his wings with enough strength to fly. She’d spent the better part of the wee hours of the morn, stroking his feathers, easing his unrest by the fire of the hearth. “Why don’t we go inside and I’ll fix you some supper.” “If I may choose the menu.” “Aidan,” she couldn’t help but giggle as if a young virgin enchanted with her lesson master. “Wash the notions from your mind, love. They’ll be plenty of time for us after you are healed. Besides, you must save your strength. Father has invited us to visit.” “I shall be on the mend for some time then.” Breanne laughed and gently pushed him towards the cottage, then followed him through the door. When she moved to rummage up the ingredients for a spot of stew, Aidan’s arms caught her around the middle, locking her in his embrace. His strength had certainly improved. He nuzzled her neck, pushing her hair to the side, sweeping a trail of kisses that drew her breath along with them. “I miss your long locks. You never did speak of it, what did you do with them?” “By the spell of the washerwoman. The only way to enchant the shears was to cut off my own glory. A price I gladly paid. Does it displease you greatly? It shall grow back.” “Nothing about you displeases me. You are my elixir, and I am a man in dire need of drink.” His powerful hands moved up from her waist, crawling along the thin fabric of her day dress until he cupped her breasts. A soft moan escaped her lips and she felt his need press into her hip. She must resist, for the good of his recovery, but oh, how his mouth danced pure pleasure along the slope of her skin. “Aidan… oh… you must… we must…” Her speech grew ragged as she struggled to tame her desire. Breanne fastened her hands over Aidan’s and gently pulled them away from her bosom. He interlocked her fingers with his own and drew both their hands to curve around the swell of her breasts. “Yes, we must.” He turned her towards the kitchen block. Her body arched against his and he pressed deeper in return. Still entwined, their hands slipped under the neckline of her dress to caress the hard peak of her nipples. The touch of her own flesh along with Aidan’s urgent exploration made her dizzy with anticipation for the territories yet to explore.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 133 Bending her forward, he moved their hands to rest upon the kitchen block. Her breasts ached for their return. As she pulled them back towards the downy flesh, Aidan laughed softly and captured them once more upon the counter. “Ah, so you like that.” Breanne eagerly nodded and arched further into him, begging with her body for more. He removed a hand from hers and used it to slide her dress up until her bare bottom pressed against the rough fabric of his trouser. Love and lust overtook their senses as he teased her body from behind until a burst of heat engulfed her body, rocketing straight through to the pleasure center of her mind. Sated she clawed the counter and rested her head upon it. Aidan drew back. The breech of contact raked a shiver along her spine. A second later, he returned and she felt the bare of his skin address hers. Cupping her bottom in his hands, he lifted her onto him, sliding the full of his desire into her. Her muscles clenched around the length of his shaft and her mind reentered its cosmic wave. Together they were as they always were meant to be.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
Paranormal Island Fantasies
Paranormal Island Fantasies Anthology Loving Guise by Kara Griffin
Paranormal Island Fantasies
Foreword In true Jamaican folklore, croaking lizards really do cause concern among the island’s native males. It is believed that one bite from the scaly creature would cause a man to become impotent, and likely never to be able to satisfy a woman again. Many marriages have been tested by a husband’s bravery, and many marriages have failed because the lack thereof. In order to combat this issue of the croaking lizard’s myth, scientists have performed an experiment on a group of males who were indeed brave enough to settle the matter. After being bitten by the lizards, all the males proved their manliness, thereby proving the myth false. In honor of these creatures, Loving Guise is dedicated to all those women who put up with their fearful husbands.
Fondly, Kara Griffin
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER ONE Heaven
Howard Carruthers’ spirit emanated in the infinite brightness.
He stood before his maker
proudly knowing he’d lived as graciously as possible. Preaching to those that he lived among, he’d tried to change their ways to Godliness, instead of their usual sinful behaviors. That enabled him to stand on Judgement Day without remorse. He didn’t feel pain, or the overbearing urge to weep at the sudden shot that struck him. The glowing orb before him instilled happiness. In fact, he smiled at the specter. He mentally heard the All-Spirt praise his well-meaning life, touching on a few of his most gallant moments. Only those whose sins had been forgiven on Earth would be given one last petition. The others still entered Heaven, he comprehended, but they weren’t given such a request. “You will grant me one wish, Your Holiness? Any that I choose?” The orb twinkled, he understood. “I wish to return to Earth. There is someone I must–” The shiny orb flickered several times before he understood. “I have to go as one of your creatures? Not as man? I may choose the form?” Howard thought about if for a moment before responding. With a sly smile fixed on his face, he telepathically communicated to the spirit the form he chose. A croaking lizard! His sister feared them greatly. It would be hilarious, and so unlike him to be comical. He again concentrated on the flickering light. “Only she will hear my thoughts. Very well, Your Holiness. I will return to Madeline, secure her future, and return to serve you.” The flickering softened. “Seven days! I only have seven days in which to do so. I apologize. No, I didn’t mean to be
Paranormal Island Fantasies disrespectful. I thank you, Your Holiness, for such a gift. Yes, I am ready.”
In a matter of seconds, Howard was transported by the gentle hand of God, and placed on a crate sitting by the harbor. It would have to be during a storm, he mused. The cold puddle on top of the crate caused him to kick his back feet. Raindrops fell, rolling off his smooth scales. It seemed different than the rain he’d felt on his skin when he’d been human. Adjusting to the reflecting light in the back of his corneas, his eyes rolled in various directions, until he gained control of them. He imagined what a headache he would have had, if he were human. But he wasn’t, nor would he be ever again. He peered down the road in the direction of his house, and knew it would take him much longer to reach it. He would have to intercept Madeline somehow. She must deliver his message to Van.
***** Falmouth, Jamaica September 1845
Madeline Carruthers closed the door of Hooksham’s bookshop; its bell tinkling her departure. She gazed beyond the docks, where twenty or more ships swayed in port. Most of them brought the burly seamen, and knavish males that romped through town—all of whom she avoided. She’d rather have her toenails pulled out one by one than to suffer one minute in their company. She looked beyond the ships to the deep swells of the ocean and swollen gray clouds. A storm was coming. Rain and salty air mingled in the humidity, she could smell the moisture. She pulled her shawl around her shoulders, and hurried toward home. Turning onto the road that led to her two-story house, she waved to a shopkeeper as he closed for the night. The house she shared with her brother, Howard, had been given to him by the government for his preaching the word of God to the sinners in town. Ten years of her life, she’d wasted on this island. Howard would never have allowed her to return to England alone. She endured the life of the vicar’s sister, and tried to live up to his standards. It wasn’t always easy. She saw the flickering lamplights in front of the houses along the road. Her steps increased when the rain streamed with gusts of wind. How she hated the island storms. She would take the incessant drizzle of London any day. The roar of the ocean, coupled with the distant sound of rumbling, intensified her dread, and she hurried toward her door.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 139 She went inside, calling out, “Howard. Howard, are you home?” No answer. After placing the book that she had purchased on the table, she closed all the shutters downstairs. Making her way to the upstairs, she went to her room, closing the shutters there. Approaching Howard’s bedroom door, she heard the wind howling. Once inside, she could see the drapes blowing. A gush of air slipped her bonnet from her head, and blew the edge of her skirt against her legs. Had he left his windows open? She pulled the shutters closed, and flicked the latch to secure them. Then she stepped around the bed to close the others. His body lay in a pool of blood. A wracking sob escaped her throat. She rushed to his side, kneeling beside him. “Howard. Howard, are you...?” The words caught in her throat. Her dear loving brother had been shot. Deep sadness brought on tears that rolled down her cheeks. How long had he been dead? Had the intruder entered and exited from the window? She hadn’t seen him for two nights and thought she missed him yesterday, or that he had been called away during the night. The downstairs door suddenly slammed. A sense of fear stiffened her. Had the intruder returned? She went to the door, opened it slightly and listened. Footsteps sounded on the stairs. Closer, closer, they sounded—her eyes grew wide, her legs felt like jelly. She couldn’t move. Forcing herself into action, she ran to the window. She undid the latch, and opened the shutter. Would he come inside? The door creaked, and the knob turned. Sitting on the windowsill, she threw her legs over the edge. The distance wasn’t that great to the grass, behind their small house. She could jump and survive it, couldn’t she? She’d have to chance it. The bedroom door opened wider. Releasing her grip, she fell to the ground. Amazingly, she landed on a soft patch of grass, mixed with sand. Hurry, get the constable, her mind screamed. Ignoring the ache in her back, she ran in the direction of the constable’s watch, where the markets had closed for the night. Alone on the deserted road, she ran, clutching her fist to her tight chest. She peered behind her, knowing she was being followed. Ducking into an alley, she leaned against the wet brick building. She tried to calm her rasping breath, and hoped the follower didn’t see or hear her. Her breath hitched when she saw it. A lizard! It was dark, scaly, repugnant, and it moved in her direction. She wanted to scream her fear to the earnestly falling rain, but she remained silent. The creature moved its sleek body, stopping next to her.
Paranormal Island Fantasies Please, move away, shoo, her mind yelled.
Whatever you do, don’t tread on me! Watch where you’re stepping. Madeline shook her head in confusion.
Had all the excitement made her crazed?
understood the lizard’s thoughts, even heard its voice, which sounded like Howard’s. “Are you the devil’s spawn, and have come here to bite me, and–” See here, lady! I’ve been a lizard for less than an hour. I can’t control these rolling eyes. Even now, you’re moving about. This tail is hard to maneuver, and for some reason, I long for a juicy spider. Watch those big feet! At those thoughts, her eyes grew wider. She stepped backwards. Don’t move, he directed her mentally. He decided not to tell her who he was. It would likely shock her, and send her to her own death. His ruse had to work. Here goes... Your brother sent me. He entered Heaven, and was given a last wish. His wish was to send me to you. He flicked his tail to the side, and moved closer. She didn’t move, but nodded dazedly. Dreaming; she had to be dreaming. Perhaps she’d eaten too many figs earlier, or was overcome with fever. Should she run to the physician, instead of the constable? I’ve come to warn you, the lizard thought. “Warn me? About what? Does this concern Howard’s killer?” Yes. You must go to Van, and warn him, too. Tell him that you must stay with him until the danger passes. He will protect you. A shimmer of light passed over the lizard’s eyes. Madeline thought she would swoon. “I...I...can’t do that. I swore I would never see him again.” You must! If not, you both will die. Die? Madeline considered what the lizard implied. She didn’t want to see Van again. Just the thought of seeing his wickedly wonderful body, his pale amber eyes, remembering his touch... She couldn’t go through with it. She debated whether death might be preferable, but she shook her head. You won’t disappoint Howard, will you? He entrusted me to see to your safety. You and Van are in danger. You must go to him, the lizard insisted. “If I must go, then you’re coming with me!” She picked up the lizard, feeling its scaly body in her hand, and cringed. The creature didn’t spit or bite her—thank God for that. She carried it, and left the alley. Van would probably slam his door in her face.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER TWO Transfixed, Madeline stared at Van Mathews’ swarthy good looks, well-muscled shoulders, and sinfully attractive body. She held the lizard with great trepidation, in the folds of her skirts. Van seemed startled that she would knock on his door at that time of night, or anytime of day, for that matter. Why, oh, why, did she long to reach out and caress his chiseled jaw? Visions of their bodies joined together in passion, converged in her brain. She tried to shake away the memories, but couldn’t because she’d been held too many times in those strong arms. His amber eyes bore into her blue ones, as if he tried to read her mind. There was enough of that going around this night, what with the lizard knowing her every thought. She glanced at the lizard, recoiling at the scaliness in her hands. Van didn’t seem to notice that she moved her hand behind her back. Van cleared his throat. “Madeline, what brings you here this...late of night?” His deep voice sent a ripple of pleasure up her spine. No, no, don’t think about it. “I must come inside,” she declared urgently. Think about what? the lizard interjected, but she ignored him. “Uh, I’ve company, a guest, presently and...” Van’s voice trailed off, as if he were stunned to see her. Hah! She was likely a pockmarked harlot that he found at a tavern. In the last five years, she had heard about the many women that he took home. His sins were an open book as far as the older ladies in town were concerned. Many a time, she eavesdropped on their complaints to her brother. She learned that he’d put her behind him, and took to womanizing. Don’t let him turn you away, the lizard demanded.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 142 Madeline squeezed him, giving him a glare. I know, I know, Lizard! “Van, you will have to send your harl...ah, your visitor away. It’s urgent. Howard sent me.” Van grew rigid. Why in the world would he desire the preacher’s sister to such a...? She shook her head at that. She thought she’d dismissed their tumultuous affair. But looking at him set her to thinking about the times she spent loving his delectable body. A woman her age shouldn’t have been able to attract such a man. At thirty-two years old, she didn’t believe she looked a day over twenty-five. Still, he had been attracted to her, at one time. Excitement surged through her, seeing him again. But, Van remained emotionless. “Van, please, something happened. You must let me inside.” “Come in then.” His deep voice sent a shiver down her spine. He opened the door, allowing her to pass. Madeline hid the lizard in the folds of her gown. She set it down, at the first opportunity. The scaly creature scampered underneath a chest in the foyer. She didn’t think Van saw it. Smells of perfume, rum, and sex, permeated the air. Those scents reminded her of the nights when she had lain in his arms, fully satisfied, and sated. Van never left a woman dissatisfied; at least, he never left her wanting. Damn, don’t think of those nights! What nights? “Be quiet, Lizard!” “What was that, Madeline? Were you speaking to me?” Van asked. She shook her head. “No, no, I wasn’t.” Van turned, disappearing into his bedchamber, down the corridor. He returned with his guest, a rather bawdy blond-haired woman, whose cleavage overflowed her bodice. Madeline was tempted to cover her with her shawl. If she wanted to reveal herself to all of Falmouth, well then... The door closed, she left. They were alone. Oh, God. Why did his body so appeal to her? Even now, with death looming in her future, she wanted to press against him, and feel his hardness. Wicked temptation! Yes, he definitely enticed her body. Her eyes narrowed her own reproach. Her brother had died, but there she was, wanting to fornicate with Van! “Come, we’ll go to the salon, and have a drink. Lord knows I need one now, and you certainly look as though you could use one. And, then you can tell me why Howard sent you.” She followed Van into his salon, when he stopped suddenly, as if he was going to ask her something. She crashed into his solid frame. For a moment, she stood spellbound by memories of their
Paranormal Island Fantasies 143 naked bodies entwined. Candlelight glistening over his damp skin, and his naked splendor positioned above her body. You must tell him everything that happened this night, but don’t tell him about me. He would probably put you on a ship to the nearest asylum. “Will you be quiet?” she muttered to the lizard. “I didn’t say anything,” Van uttered. He pulled himself away, and went to retrieve the rum. Why did that darned lizard have to intrude on her thoughts? The sexual tension she always encountered whenever she got close to Van had returned. She wanted to enjoy the feeling before he said, or did something to chase it away. Van usually did put his foot in his mouth. But who cared, as long as she could view his body. He placed a tall, cool, drink in her hand. She moved to the lounge, feeling exhausted from her flight, and the tension that now riddled her body. She slumped back. “What happened, Maddy?” he asked. “Howard...is...dead. I found his body in his bedchamber...a shot to the chest. I was told to go to you and warn you of the danger.” Van approached and sat beside her. “Shot? He’s dead?” His voice turned to outrage, as though he didn’t believe her. “I’m sorry, Maddy. No wonder you’re so distraught. Who told you to warn me of the danger?” “The liz...ah, no one.” “But you just said–” “I knew I should come to you. There is danger afoot. Please, don’t send me back there. I must stay here,” she said. She clutched his half-unbuttoned shirt. He would likely let her stay, as he would welcome a dog full of fleas. “You are always welcome here, Maddy. I just thought that after you... Since we’ve parted, ah, friends, that you wouldn’t want to be... I will find the constable, and take care of this. Make yourself at home.” Van caressed her cheek, looking sedately at her face. “I thank you, Van. I can’t possibly return to my house,” she said. His gentle caress moved her. She longed for him to be so loving, to return to the man that he once was. “I’ll return later.” He stood, and left without another word.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 144 Madeline went to the only bedchamber in the house—his. The aroma of his earlier sexual escapade lingered. She removed her sodden gown, placing it on the chair, and washed herself with newly pumped water in the basin. Falmouth had the luxury of having piped water, though it was cold. She washed away the pain of her brother’s death, and the exhaustion. The chilled water instantly roused her. Moving to the bed, she curled up beneath the covers. She lay thinking about the nights she’d slept in that very bed, the many times she worshiped his body, and he hers. Madeline, I’m shocked at your thoughts! “What do you want?” she asked the lizard. You were intimate with Van? Here, I thought you a virtuous woman. How long have you and he...? Your brother would be appalled to learn this. Howard wanted to shout his denial at his sister’s promiscuousness, but wouldn’t. Isn’t that what he wanted? For her to rekindle her relationship with Van, so he could return to heaven with a clear conscience, and not worry about her? Yes, he must not be so condescending. “Of course, I slept with Van. I was twenty-seven then, Lizard, not some girl just out of the school room. I don’t wish to speak of it. It happened a long time ago, and it’s best to forget it.” If you love Van, then why do you not want to be with him? “Who says I love him? Our affair lasted two years, but we had a terrible quarrel. I found him in the arms of another... Look at me, why would he want me, with this lanky body, as aged as I am, when he can have any woman?” Another woman? I find that hard to believe. He is honorable and wouldn’t... Madeline, you are beautiful. Surely, Van thinks so. Any man would want you for a wife. He didn’t want to marry you? “The subject of marriage never arose. Please, leave me be, Lizard. I don’t wish to speak of our past relationship. It saddens me too much.” Howard snuggled in the blanket, curling his tail around his left foot, and promptly closed his eyes. It seemed there was much more to their relationship than he considered. He’d always suspected their attraction, but never knew about their tryst. It was his deed that caused their argument. Now, he had to do the right thing, ‘fess-up to it, and make them see the light. He had forced her to come to this island with him, but he’d regretted it almost from the start. This place wasn’t for a well brought-up gentle woman. But she’d had no choice, and came with him. She gave up her own dreams to be with him. Forcing them back together was the only way to secure her
Paranormal Island Fantasies future. Six days left... How would he ever accomplish it?
Madeline repositioned the covers over her shaking body. Was she shaking because she was cold, or had seeing Van caused unease? Hiding underneath the warmth, she closed her eyes. Thankfully, the lizard kept quiet.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER THREE The darned lizard’s croaking kept her up most of the night. Aaaaaack... Aaaaaack...Aaaaaack... Not only that, but the storm intensified. Thunder and lightning turned the sky ominous. The rattling windowpanes, along with the lizard’s call, and the booming thunder, made sleep impossible. She grumbled, turned over, and tried to muffle the noise with her pillow. Still, the creature insisted on calling out to the night. She threw the pillow at its scaly body, then rolled to her side. The door opened, then closed, Van came back. Closing her eyes, she pretended to sleep.
***** Van returned from a night of hell. He ran his hand through his soaked hair, leaving his tension at the door. He didn’t want Madeline to see him so perturbed. Her brother was indeed killed, likely by a ruffian that had arrived on one of the ships now docked at port. The killer probably didn’t like the preacher’s badgering about his transgressions. The constable said he would investigate, and the coroner removed the body. Van stood inside the entry, removed his soddened cloak, and set it aside. He walked to the salon, picked up his unfinished rum, and slugged back the sweet drink. His shoulders relaxed. Looking at the glass container that held a large portion of rum, he considered drinking enough of it to forget that night. Lifting the cask, he shook his head. He couldn’t forget...couldn’t shake the visions of Howard’s lifeless body, which left Madeline alone on this island full of ruffians. No wonder she was so emotional when she arrived. Having seen the body himself, anyone would have been frightened.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 147 Having Maddy in his home would only lead to trouble. Van couldn’t dismiss the passion he had for her, nor the built-up aggression that he’d stored over the years. Could he withstand the agony of having her so close? He decided to get some sleep before his house was overcome with visitors in the morn. His bedchamber door was ajar. Never considering that Madeline would sleep in his bed, he entered. Lust immediately set his manhood to responding. Scoffing, he stepped inside. He could see her brunette waves on the pillow, her form under the covers, the black lashes that swept her rosy cheeks. Swallowing, conflict engulfed him. It wouldn’t do well to argue with his body’s craving, but argue he did. Closing his eyes, he lay atop the covers. Visions floated in the recess of his mind; her scarcely clad body, tantalizing him, teasing him. Somehow, Van fell asleep. Morning came, a few short hours later. Van awoke to find himself hard and throbbing. For a moment, he relished the idea of making love to the tempting body next to his. That is, until he opened his eyes, and saw whom the lady was. Harrowing thoughts of the night before eluded him. All he could think of was Madeline, and the sweet sounds she made whilst he’d loved her. Beset with hardness now, he moved closer to her. Her warmth beckoned him. He threw his arm over her stomach, and nuzzled her neck. The fragrance of her skin sent his blood rushing through his body. His hand glided along the smoothness of her skin, until he reached the pinnacle of her breasts. Not able to resist, his hand cupped the firmness, remembrance fueling his lust. He wouldn’t dare let sensible thoughts stop him. Groaning, he lightly stroked his tongue along her bottom lip. He could almost taste her, his mouth watered, wanting to thrust his tongue inside her warm mouth. So he did. His tongue mingled with the velvety softness, swirling, tasting, and melting against the joy of kissing her again. Madeline’s body came alive. She awoke to Van kissing her passionately. Her arms immediately moved to hold him close. Her tongue dueled with his in an urgent plea for more. Twinges of delight overtook every sense in her body. Silence seemed to make her heartbeat louder in her ears. She wanted to pull him back in her arms, to tell him that she wanted him, that she forgave him. No, she swore she would never...again. Van broke off the kiss, and looked at her with a bemused expression. “Good morning, Maddy,” he said huskily. “Just what do you think you were doing?” she asked accusingly.
Paranormal Island Fantasies “I, ah, didn’t know it was...you,” he lied.
“Did you believe me one of your whor...? I told you five years ago, Van, that I would never sleep with you again. Why did you sleep here?” “I was too tired last night to think about where I slept, Maddy. Let us not quarrel so early in the morn. I know what you said long ago. I’m reminded daily of the hatred you have for me.” “I don’t hate you, Van. What you did... It doesn’t matter now—it’s in the past.” “It matters greatly...has always mattered to me. Why did you not let me explain?” “There was no sense in explaining. I know what I saw.” “She was–” Just then, lizard decided to make his presence known. He jumped onto the bedding; crawling toward them, he sat back on his haunches. Aaaaaack! Aaaaaack! Van jumped from the bed, as though the devil himself came to taunt him. “A damned croaking lizard!” He stood beside the bed, looking at the vile creature. Like most Jamaicans, he believed the creature to be a daemon. One bite from the beast, and he would never satisfy a woman again. Hell if he would let that happen. Retreat was the only option for him, and he stepped backwards, moving toward the door. He wouldn’t dare touch it. It made his skin crawl. Madeline moved from the bed, lifted the creature, and placed it on the floor, where it ran beneath the wooden bed frame. “It’s gone now.” She laughed at Van’s cowardice. “How can you touch it? Are you not afraid of...” Van’s words lingered in the air. Nothing mattered at that moment, nothing but the ability to look at her magnificent naked body. She slept unclothed, as was her habit. Her body had changed little since their last encounter. Beautiful peaked breasts, perfectly adorned her rounded hips, and body. The curve of her thigh was so sweet. Illusions of those thighs wrapped around his waist, came to him. He couldn’t move. But she could. Madeline walked to the basin, and began washing herself. She didn’t care that he gawked at her body. He’d seen it enough times to know what she looked like. “Would you be kind enough to go to my house, and retrieve my clothing? I can’t wear the gown I had on yesterday. It’s soiled and wrinkled.” Watching the sweet curve of her behind, Van couldn’t answer because his tongue had swelled with the desire to taste her again. He folded his arms over his chest. She turned and saw that he continued to stare at her. Her eyes moved to his front and lower to
Paranormal Island Fantasies his... He was still interested; his bulge attested to that. Don’t look at it, she cautioned.
Don’t look at what? the lizard thought. Shaking her head, she turned back around. Nothing, she thought. I wasn’t looking at his crotch, really, I wasn’t. Madeline, you surprise me. I never considered you to be so wanton. Howard thought perhaps her strict upbringing lent her to rebellious behaviors. How did the lizard know whether she was wanton or not? It’s Van, he does this to me. I have never behaved such with any other man, only he. She dismissed the lizard, and went back to the bed. “Van, did you hear me?” He shook himself before answering. “Yes, I’ll go now. We can’t have you running through my house naked, as the day you were born. Think of what my neighbors would say.” “Stop teasing. Go, and do hurry. I wish to dress.” Was that ever a falsehood. She wanted to romp around naked for the rest of the day, especially with him looking at her so longingly. He left. Finally alone, she fiddled with the blanket. Was this God’s way of torturing her? First, her brother was killed, then she was enticed by Van’s gorgeous body. She couldn’t remain here much longer without... She’d give in, she knew. It took one kiss, a light caress, or a gentle look rom his amber eyes, and she would likely throw herself at him. Van returned twenty minutes later, laden with a pile of her clothing. Luckily, it was early enough that most hadn’t risen yet. He wouldn’t have been seen by many. Of course, there was always the scurvy pirate or seaman, the merchants and the like, out at this hour. None of them could point an accusing finger, when they themselves were sinners. Besides, her brother was the only vicar in this part of town. Now that he had died, the townsfolk would return to their previous wickedness. He placed the clothing on the bed, and left in a hurry. She giggled at his disgruntled look. After dressing in a cream-colored skirt, and a pink-buttoned blouse, she took extra time trying to control her wayward curls. Why did she care what she looked like? It didn’t matter. Their relationship was over, far from over, she reminded herself. As she went to the dining room, she hoped he wouldn’t be so petulant, as he had been earlier.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER FOUR His mood lightened when she entered the dining room. He folded the four-month-old gazette, placing it aside. He smiled at her, as though she belonged there. Madeline went to the sideboard, and taking a cup, she poured herself coffee. She needed something to clear her mind. Why did he have to look so handsome in his fawn breeches and white lawn shirt, with its subtle ruffle? His wore his darkbrown hair shorter than he had in the past. Bronze skin above the collar showed that he had been in the sun recently. Grumpily, she sat in the chair next to his. Where were his servants? She felt awkward being alone with him. She sipped the hot steaming coffee, its aroma seemed to make her senses return. “Where is Mrs. Johnson?” Van lifted his cup, saluting her. “She went to the market, but will return soon. Mr. Blakesley will be here shortly. He said that he wanted to question you about–” At that moment, a knock came. Van went to answer the door. Madeline poured herself more coffee, knowing she would need it. The constable’s questions would probably spin her head with his conjecture. She rose to greet him when he entered. “Miss Carruthers, good morning,” he said. He removed his hat, revealing his balding head. Gray-haired wisps curled around his ears. His somber brown eyes held hers for a moment. “Mr. Blakesley, how do you do?” He took her hand, gently squeezing it.
“Not good, not good this morning.
condolences, Miss, on the death of your dearest brother. I fear I have no news to impart on who killed him, but I do have questions about what happened last night.” “I’ll certainly try to answer them,” she replied.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 151 Van moved beside her, motioning for them to sit. He took the chair next to hers, and seemed to be offering her comfort. She sighed before returning her attention to the constable. “I haven’t been able to ferret out any clues as to why someone would want to kill your brother. He was a man of the cloth, and a good man. What a sad day, when someone would kill such a man. It was probably a seaman that Howard tried to reform. Who knows? Tell me what transpired last eve.” She took a deep breath and recounted all that happened. “...and then I ran here, to Van, ah, Mr. Mathews,” Madeline finished her explanation. Of course, she left out the fact that she met a lizard who could read her thoughts. They would think her maddened if she uttered a word about the scaly creature, who even now, listened to their conversation. The constable rubbed his chin. “It isn’t likely that I’ll find the killer. I detest not being able to bring him to justice. He’s probably aboard a ship, already out to sea. At least six ships left this morn, even with the storm blowing away. Unthinkable. But the captains only think of profit. Damned slave traders. Oh, I do beg your pardon, Miss.” “I know you’ll do your best, Mr. Blakesley. I thank you for your hard work.” He leaned forward in his seat, squinting his dark eyes. “Have you thought about what you’ll do now that you are alone? I shall inquire of Mrs. Hampstead for a place for you to stay.” Mrs. Hampstead was the biggest busy body of them all. Madeline looked at Van, and said, “I am–” “She is staying here,” Van interjected. “She cannot, Mr. Matthews. No self-respecting woman would place herself–” “I am like family to her. Her brother would want her to be close to her family. I will not have her stay anywhere but here.” Van’s tone indicated he wouldn’t hear an argument. Mr. Blakesley didn’t rebuff. After a few seconds, he nodded in agreement. “I must be on my way. This employ certainly keeps me busy. There are probably several people waiting in my office to offer complaint for one reason or another.” With that, Mr. Blakesley rose, tipped his hat, and left. “Van, he’s right, I shouldn’t stay here. It would be disastrous if someone found out. I should go and ask him to speak to Mrs. Hampstead. I shall purchase passage on a ship, then travel back to England. I can’t stay here, on this island...not with–” You will not! Your brother said you must stay here with Van. You’re in danger, or did you forget that? The lizard’s tone hardened. Madeline turned to see him beside her chair, and she brushed him under the table with her foot.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 152 How can I, Lizard? I can’t stay here with Van forever. He has his life, and I have mine. I must return to England. I don’t believe I’m in danger at all. It’s just as the constable said, my brother was probably killed by a– “Maddy, I know you must be upset about Howard but...I don’t see why you can’t stay here.” Van studied her expression, her face brightened, as if she was angry. Perhaps it was the talk of Howard’s death that upset her. She faced him, her solemn eyes lowered. “You know very well why I can’t. You and I...” Everything suddenly hit her. All the pain she endured over the last five years. His deceit, and her brother’s tight rule, all overtook her. She wanted to cry, wanted to scream, but mostly she needed his love. She had to get out of there before she began crying her heart out. She rose, and fled.
***** Madeline walked along the rocky slope until she reached the soft sand at the bottom. The shadow cast by the rock cooled the sand. She continued to the place where the sun warmed the ground and watched the soothing waves lick the beach. Looking out at the horizon, she thought about her freedom. It was there, over the distant waves of the ocean—in England. There, she could escape Van, and her cowardice. Deep regret filled her chest. No, she wouldn’t own up to it. She didn’t want to forgive him, and didn’t want to think about how much she loved him then. Yanking her skirts to her knees, she waded into the water. A seagull shrieked behind her. Shells rubbed against her legs in the rough surf. She left the water and sat in the soft sand. Scooping handfuls of sand, she let it slide between her fingers, feeling the warm grains. She wished the water had been cold enough to numb her broken heart. “I knew I would find you here.” Shielding the sun from her eyes, she turned to see a blaze of glory surrounding Van’s large frame. He looked almost heavenly. She returned her gaze to the water. The sun reflected its rays making shiny waves flow over the swells. He stood silent for a few moments, watching her. “Maddy, we must come to an understanding,” he said, as he sat beside her. “What understanding? That you–” Knowing only one way to squelch her bitter remarks, he covered her mouth with his. The yearning that he’d ignored returned with a vengeance. He wanted her with such intensity. His mouth moved over hers, savoring the sensations the kiss evoked; his heart thumping madly, his blood rushing
Paranormal Island Fantasies to his manhood, and his body stiffening. So like her to affect him so easily.
Madeline groaned at the pleasure of his lips against hers. She couldn’t help returning the sensational movements of his tongue. He moved her back, toward the ground. She felt the hardness of the sand against her back, and the hardness of him pressed against her front. Did he still desire her? That thought drifted, as though the ocean carried it away, when she felt his hands move to her breasts. He fondled her breasts, moving his hands over both mounds, cupping them. Groaning at the feeling of her hard nipples under his thumbs, his hands moved to her buttons.
Van slowly and
seductively undid each one, then slid his hand beneath the material. Her warm skin beckoned like the mermaids in the sea. He placed his hand on her stomach, then glided below. Cupping her woman’s treasure, holding it firmly, reminded him of the times he’d come inside of her. He grunted at the picture in his mind. Madeline lost all her gumption, the anger she’d had for him seemed to fly away on the wing of the gull screeching in the distance. All she could feel in her heart and mind, was Van’s touch. With her eyes closed, she let the sensations fuel her desire. She wished that he would hurry before she changed her mind, or came to her senses. His hand shifted under her skirt, making its way along her smooth legs, to her curls. He pressed his fingertip against her wetness, wishing it was his erection. He slid his finger along her delicate flesh, then he inserted it, and heard her gasp. She wanted him. Taking hold of his breeches with his free hand, he unbuttoned them, releasing the hardness beneath. He wanted badly to move within her, feel her warmth surrounding him, again. So long had he wanted this. For too many years, he regretted that night. He now had the chance to make it up to her— the chance to feel her body against his, again. Madeline felt him enter her. His movement filled the void that she shirked for so long. Every nerve in her body came alive. Spasms of intense pleasure shot through her as though she were struck by lightning. As he moved within her, she raised her shaking legs to cuddle his hard body. His warm breath moved over her skin. Hot swirling sensations made her breasts pucker, aching to be touched, sucked, and licked. As if he could read her mind, he moved his tongue over the buds, then covering one with his mouth, he began sucking gently. The action made her pleasure heighten to such a force, a climatic triumph riveted her soul. Her whimpers of surrender made his thrusts become more deliberate. Van held onto his sanity for a brief moment more before he too surrendered to the intense pleasure. Availing his body of her
Paranormal Island Fantasies 154 convulsing power, he continued to move against her. His body shook, and his hands clenched the sand beside her head. He stiffened, and stilled. Not yet, his mind rebelled. He wanted to make love to her for the rest of the afternoon, or at least for an hour. His orgasm was so powerful, it sent him to a state of excruciating joy. He grunted and groaned when he felt his hardness lessen. His breath rasped against her shoulder, and mindlessly, his hand moved over her smooth skin. The touch of the sun warmed his buttocks. He wished that he could stay there forever. He didn’t want to move, but knew his large body flattened hers against the sand. She saw the brightness of the sun as she pried her eyes open. The sight of Van above her, the feeling of the last spasms coursing through her, and the dampness of his body, made her shudder. Scents of his manly aroma, the ocean, flowering trees and shrubs surrounded her, tranquilized her. He always sent her to the brink and beyond. She couldn’t resist the temptation to be loved by him again, that’s why she let him continue. After reasoning that thought, she realized how true it was. When he rolled to his side, she sat up, and readjusted her clothing. Buttoning her shirt, she watched him silently. He didn’t seem to want to talk, and he slowly recovered from their exertion. His body couldn’t control being with her again, and had sent him to his climax rather quickly. She smiled at that. What passion you both have, the lizard thought. Madeline glimpsed the bright yellow lizard slinking its way though the sand. Go away, Lizard. I can’t deal with you right now. You and Van make a handsome couple. You belong together. She scoffed mentally. No, we don’t! He and I will never be together. It doesn’t matter what occurred today, because I will not let this happen again. The lizard seemed to smirk. Could it make facial movements like that? She dismissed it. You will not have a choice in the matter. Your body will not let you deny his. Why won’t you concede and realize that you belong together– Madeline screamed in her head. She wanted to demand that the lizard leave, but he wouldn’t. You don’t understand. He hurt me, and I can’t accept what happened. “Maddy, look at me,” Van said. He touched her face, turning her to look at him. The lizard ran beneath her skirt. She gasped a breath of utter disgust at the lizard’s interference. “What?” “I... What are you thinking about? You seemed far off.” He removed his hand from her chin,
Paranormal Island Fantasies and watched her sour expression.
“Nothing.” “Do you regret it?” “No. One thing is certain, Van. We always did pleasure each other. You should not have done that, but I couldn’t fight it.” “I’m glad you didn’t. I want to talk to you about...and explain–” Holding up her hand, she stopped him. “I think it’s best that we go our separate ways. It’s no use, Van. No matter what you say, nothing will be as it was. Even with...ah, my mind’s interference, I shan’t ever forget.” His anger returned. He moved his hand through his hair in agitation. Damn her, she wouldn’t let it go. Why couldn’t she just get over it, and forgive him? One night of misguided deeds, set him for a lifetime of hell. “Damn you. Don’t you know how much I... What you mean to...” His words meshed together, he wanted to demand that she listen. “I made one mistake, one little error in judgment. Why can’t you understand that? I didn’t mean to hurt you, Maddy. I’ve ridiculed myself for five years for hurting you so. I can’t even remember most of what happened that night or how I came to be with–” She gasped, and her tears fell. “You have no right to be angry with me, Van. I’m not the one who...” Madeline rose. Her shadow darkened his face. She watched his brows furrow tightly together. A knot tightened in her chest. “You want forgiveness? You have it—if it will make you leave me alone.” She angrily stomped away across the sand, and kept on going.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER FIVE Most of Falmouth turned out for Howard’s funeral. The townsfolk arrived in droves, many wore black, and kept their heads bowed. The beauty of the day didn’t seem to reflect that of the mourners. Palms swayed, scents of flowers and saltwater, were carried by the ocean breeze. His casket was placed in the small cemetery located behind the chapel. Madeline tried to concentrate on the constable’s words. Since there wasn’t another clergyman to say prayers, he felt it his duty to see to it that Howard received a proper sendoff. She moved her hands, crossing herself, then said, “Amen.” When the constable finished the prayers, the townspeople moved off in groups.
thankfully, spoke to her. She hadn’t really befriended the people, except for Claudia. Her friend clutched her hand, and stayed by her side. Van stood on her left, though he hadn’t spoken to her since the previous day at the beach. When she had returned from their encounter, the house had filled with women paying their respects. She spent the rest of the day being consoled. Van had left her alone, and went out for several hours—she hadn’t seen him until this morning. She knelt and placed a hydrangea bloom, saying farewell in her own way. The lizard remained by her side, giving her disdainful looks. She ignored the creature on the walk back to Van’s house. Near to suppertime, Van angrily left the house. He didn’t say a word to her, but she heard his departure. She hurried, and left, too. Madeline walked the short distance to her house. She went inside, and stood by the door. Looking about, she considered what she would take with her. She trudged up the stairs, opened her bedroom door, unlatched the shutters, and let the cool night breeze soothe her. She pulled her trunk and satchel from under the bed. After placing her clothing in the trunk, she
Paranormal Island Fantasies 157 grabbed the few mementos of her parents; two small painted portraits of them, and one of their wedding. Holding them to her heart, they were so dear to her. She missed her parents and looked at them often. Hurrying past Howard’s room, she went down the stairs, the trunk banging behind her, and the satchel held tightly. She placed them at the bottom of the steps, and went to the kitchen. A nice soothing cup of tea would help ease her. She sat alone, drinking the tea, and wondered what she should do. Bad feelings between her and Van would only fuel their relationship. She definitely had to go—the sooner the better, before she let him rule her body again. She remembered the funds she had saved doing chores for several of the women in town. Rising, she went to the sugar bowl, and removed the paper bills. She folded them, and put them in her bodice. It should be enough to secure her passage aboard a ship. Now the only question, which one? She decided not to return to Van’s house that night. She picked up her belongings, and went to Claudia’s.
***** Madeline swept the step quickly, and hurried back inside the baker’s house. She went up the stairs, and helped carry the clothing that needed laundering. Claudia, her dearest friend on this hellish island, had so graciously allowed her to stay the night. But Madeline knew she couldn’t stay long. The baker had fourteen children, and no room for visitors. As she helped to scrub the little one’s clothing, she blew a curl that hung over her forehead. Poor Claudia had no prospects, like herself. They were both stuck on this island. “You should go back, let him explain...” “Claudia, you wouldn’t say that if it were you that...” Madeline didn’t finish. She grabbed Claudia’s brother’s breeches, and scrubbed them hard against the washboard. “I’ve never seen you so stirred up before. What if it was a mistake? What if what you think you saw, wasn’t what you saw at all?” Madeline snorted. “I know what I saw, Claudia. Van was naked in bed with a woman. I stood there watching them.” Claudia’s eyes widened. “You mean that you actually saw him... No wonder you haven’t forgiven him. I probably wouldn’t have either.” A flash of the view that night went as fast as it came. “I didn’t actually see him perform the deed
Paranormal Island Fantasies 158 with her. They slept, that’s all. But still, she was naked, and so was he. What else could have happened? What possible explanation could there be?” “I know you have always loved Van, since the day your ship docked in Falmouth’s port. I remember you saying that you would gain his notice. Do you recall what I said?” She looked at Claudia’s twinkling eyes, and sighed. “Yes, I recall. You said that if anyone could lure the elusive Van, that I could.” “You did, didn’t you?” “Yes. But I believe I was a trinket for him, and that it was just an affair which he would have tired of eventually.” Madeline placed the breeches aside, now likely cleaner than they’d ever been. She grabbed one of the baker’s shirts. “I always saw love in his eyes when he looked at you, Maddy. I admit, I was jealous of your relationship with him, because I knew I would never find a man such as... Promise me something?” She stopped scrubbing the shirt, and looked up. “What?” “Promise that you will at least say goodbye to him. Don’t leave without letting him know where you will go.” Her friend’s pale blue eyes implored. “Maybe. I’ll think on it, but I won’t promise. I must go to the docks tomorrow morning, to see if I can purchase passage. There weren’t any merchant ships in port today. I saw a few ships, probably slave ships. I couldn’t ask for passage on those. Hopefully tomorrow, there will be a merchant.” “Where will you go?” Claudia asked. “America. I wish to be free. I changed my mind, and shan’t go to England, because I wouldn’t be free there. I want to make a new life for myself.” She nodded her determination. Claudia suddenly gasped. “Is something wrong?” Madeline asked. “I just thought of something. What if I go with you? I don’t want to stay here. My father has too many children. Besides, I’m old enough to be on my own. My mother won’t care. It’ll be one less mouth to feed, and my father won’t have to worry about marrying me off.” She laughed. “He’s suggested the most horrid men, Maddy. I shan’t marry any of them. You know how I long to escape this island, too. Can I come with you?” She thought about it for a few seconds, and nodded. “Why ever not? I would be grateful for the company. It will be a long journey. I’m certain I have enough funds for us both. I’ll check the docks tomorrow morning and secure our passage. Hopefully, with good fortune, we can depart this island in
Paranormal Island Fantasies another day or two.”
For some reason, sadness overcame Madeline. She would leave Van behind, all her hurt and rejection, all of it behind her. She thought about the lizard’s strange comments about being in danger. It was curious, because nothing happened since she left her house the night Howard died. Had she really been followed that night? And just who had come inside and opened Howard’s bedroom door? Those questions wouldn’t be answered now. Besides, why would anyone want to harm her? “You promise to come back for me?” Claudia asked. Madeline looked up from her reflection. “Of course. I would never break my promise to you, Claud. We will both gain our freedom, once we board that ship.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies
CHAPTER SIX “Every last piece,” Van said with a touch of sincerity. “All of it, all the ships, the buildings, all?” Benton Abrams couldn’t seem to get over it. After all these years of him pleading to sell off some of his possessions, Van now offered it all. Lock, stock, and barrel. Van chuckled at Ben’s bulging eyes. “Yes, I’m selling it all.” The island had afforded him to gain wealth, but now, the idea of staying here after all that happened between him and Madeline, didn’t appeal to him. “Why the sudden change about? I can’t fathom it, Van. I have wanted to purchase Annie’s Delight from you for more than six years, and now you’re willing to sell to me.” “She’s a beautiful ship, Ben. I didn’t consider selling until recently. I’ve given you first choice because you’ve always admired my ships. Do you wish to purchase it or not? I could sell you that ship, and offer the rest to the locals.” Van relaxed, setting his ale down on the table, and watched Ben consider the offer. Normally, he did business out of his offices, down on the docks, but today Van wanted to get the matter settled quickly. He didn’t have time to await his solicitors. He directed several men in his employ to search Falmouth for Madeline. When he found her, she was going to listen to him—even if he had to tie her to a chair! The explanation wouldn’t come easy. He still couldn’t recall what exactly happened that night, or why she had fled so angrily. And, why he couldn’t get her to listen to him the following weeks. Now five years later, she would hear it. Frustration led him to tighten his fists. The time had come to face it—the battle would be inevitable. “Every ship, even the offices? What about the house?” Van pulled himself back to matters. “Yes, all the ships, except for Midnight Escape. She’s mine, the first ship I ever owned. I’m partial to her, and I won’t part with her.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 161 “She’s a beautiful ship, Van. But the others are just as good. So you’re selling your business? Had enough of Jamaica, have you? Are you returning to England?” “I don’t know where I’m headed. I suppose, wherever the wind takes me, Ben. And, yes, it includes the offices, and my house, if you want it.” “I can’t let this slip through my fingers. How much?” Van recounted the figure, a good enough amount that would keep him comfortable until he decided what he would do. Both, he and Madeline would have enough to build a new life, somewhere other than Jamaica. Even if it meant subjecting himself to returning to England. Ben nodded his agreement. “My partner will want to be included in this deal, so I will meet with him. I’ll gather the amount by the end of the week. Should I come round to your office then?” “Yes, Friday. I wish to leave then.” That is, if he found Madeline by then. Damnation, why did he let her run off yesterday? He couldn’t believe that she hadn’t returned to his house, nor to hers. He set one of his bosuns to the task of watching her house. Had she stowed away aboard a ship? God, he hoped not. Who knew what would happen to her then? She’d end up a white slave in the Far East. Van tensed at that thought. Damn it, where the hell was she? ***** Howard moved sneakily amongst the furniture, avoiding a young maid’s broom. He heard Mrs. Johnson humming as she dusted the salon. Running under the brocaded chaise, he avoided being stepped on by the big footed woman. He was at his wit’s end. After searching each room thoroughly, he concluded that she wasn’t in the house. The darkness beneath the sofa hid him while he listened, hoping to hear Madeline’s voice. His sister ran off yesterday after the funeral, and he hadn’t seen her since. What was the wretched girl up to now? He couldn’t believe her stupidity. Just what did she think? That she could run amuck in this town? Remorse. Aye, he had remorse. God forgive him for bringing her here. He had to find her soon. When he did, he would insist she listen, then he would relate the tale of that night five years ago. He owed it to her, and to Van, to be truthful. If only he had known then, that the two of them were in a relationship. He wouldn’t have foolishly done, what he did.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 162 Crates full of Van’s possessions were loaded into the ship’s hull. He carefully watched over the proceedings. Rife with stress, he tried to relax against the piling. His gaze moved to the road along the dock, to the carriage that careened in his direction. The horses pulled to a stop, and his solicitor, Mr. Hargrave, threw open the door. Dressed rather formally, the man moved as slow as molasses under the hot afternoon sun. Van called out a greeting. “I have all the papers ready, Mr. Mathews. They just needs your signature.” “Await in my cabin, I’ll be there in a moment,” Van said, as he spotted one of his crewmen. Billings would have information; he didn’t want to wait to hear it. Mr. Hargrave walked the gangplank to board his ship. Van moved off in the direction of Billings who didn’t seem to have good news. “Sir, we’ve been on every road in Falmouth, and haven’t located her. The men still search.” “Very good, Bil. Report back to me if you find her. I want to confront the woman as soon as possible. I only have two days before I...” Van noticed his shaking head. “What?” “What if she’s boarded a ship, sir?” “One of my men reported that they saw her yesterday on the docks. She didn’t board a ship, but did speak to a few sailors. She hasn’t left Falmouth yet, and I will get my hands on her before she does.” “Aye, sir. We’ll find her. I meant to ask, does she have friends that she might have fled to? Thought I’d continue the search there.” “She’s an elusive woman. Perhaps she might have gone to Claudia, but I can’t imagine her being welcomed there. Mr. Wilder has too many children,” he said, shaking his head. “Report back tonight.” Billings left the docks, and Van went to his cabin. The sooner he finished his business matters, the sooner he could get the hell off this island.
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CHAPTER SEVEN Night shadows darkened the small houses in the town of Falmouth. Cool tropical breezes chased away the heat of the day. The hour grew late enough that most hardworking people sought their beds. Except for those bent on rowdiness at the many taverns, or those whose professions kept them up during the darkest part of the night. Madeline clasped Claudia’s hand. She peered at the ships moored along the dock. None boasted its sails, nor did it appear that any would leave with the morning tide. All but one, that is. “That ship seems ready to embark. Do you think it’s going to America?” Claudia asked. “Midnight Escape. Hmm. We’re making a dawn escape. How odd.” Hearing the name, Madeline’s eyes widened. It was one of Van’s ships. She’d be damned before she would go aboard it. “No, we can’t use that ship for passage. We must find another.” “Why ever not?” “Because, Mr. Matthews owns that ship,” she said sarcastically. “Oh. Does that matter? Van never travels or leaves Jamaica. Surely one of his captains is taking it to trade.” “That’s likely, Claud. All right, we’ll approach near dawn and inquire. We shall find a place to hide for the rest of the night.” Just as Madeline turned to look for a place where they could rest, she saw a group of men carrying torches, who yelled at them. She yanked Claudia’s arm, and began running for safety. Their shouts followed them. Angry faces brightened by the torch lights, all meshed together in a demonic haze. “Get them,” one man shouted. “Come back here!” another joined in.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 164 Madeline and Claudia fled the scene, and turned the corner. Seeing an open door, they ran to it. The apothecary’s store was dark when they entered. Why had the owner left the door open? Madeline closed it, and waited silently for the posse to pass by. They moved beyond the storefront windows, and watched the men run past. The last of the torchlights faded. “Were they after us?” Claudia asked. “It certainly seemed so. Perhaps Van has men searching for me. I didn’t think he would care if I left or not!” “Shhh. I thought I heard something. Listen.” Just then Madeline heard it. A loud thump and a crash came from the back room. Someone was inside the store. Her heart seemed to clash against her chest. Hairs up and down her arms prickled. Claudia moved closer to her, her body plastered against hers. Madeline pushed her aside, and whispered, “Stay here, I’ll check to see who it is.” She slunk to the storage room, its door ajar. The room was full of crates the apothecary used to store medicine bottles. Moving inside the room, she couldn’t see much in the obscurity. “Who’s there?” she called. Silence. “Come out,” she said, with as much authority as she could muster. A man stood, his entire body encased by darkness. Madeline couldn’t see his face, until he smiled and showed his bright white teeth. “I’m sorry I scared you, Miss. I, ah,” the man said low. “Who are you? What are you doing here?” He backed up a step, bumping another crate, which crashed to the floor. Bottles shattered into broken pieces. Claudia came running at the noise. She stood by the door, and gasped when she saw who it was. “Don’t be afraid, sir.” Madeline tried to pacify him. As her eyes adjusted to the dimness, she realized what kind of man it was. She saw that he was a Negro slave; who had likely just jumped a ship. He was indecently clad in clothing that barely covered his massive body. He certainly seemed strong, but his voice was gentle. “Are you fleeing a slave ship?” Madeline asked. He seemed unversed to understand her speech, so she said, “Running away? Escaping?” “Yeah, Miss. Don’t want to be on a block. Sold. No. Please.”
Paranormal Island Fantasies “What is your name, sir?” Claudia asked.
“Jeremiah, Miss.” “I don’t imagine that you would want to be sold, Jeremiah.” He shook his head, not translating Madeline’s words. “Come.” She held out her hand—he understood her acceptance. Squeezing his hand, she assured him with unspoken words that she was a friend. “Is he coming with us, Maddy?” Claudia asked. “Yes. Jeremiah, you can come with us,” she told him in a soothing voice. His eyes, which seemed to glow in the dark, widened. “Where, Miss? You take back to ship?” She shook her head. “No, no. We won’t take you back there. We’re going to America. I’ve heard most Northerners want to abolish slavery. You’ll be free there, Jeremiah. You’ll come with us. We’ll help you.” “Yeah, Miss,” he said, and smiled broadly. “We must leave before the apothecary returns for work. Morning will be here soon.” “Yes, Maddy, we’ll hide by the docks,” Claudia suggested. Madeline hoped the man would be safe with her and Claudia. He followed her through the doorway, out into the night. Hopefully, the pack of men hunting him wouldn’t see them.
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CHAPTER EIGHT Morning came. Van’s agitation grew at not finding Madeline. He waited throughout the long night for his men to come with word of her whereabouts. None came. He stood in the foyer, placing his cloak over his arm. Turning, he surveyed the room to make sure he had everything he needed. The lizard watched him from the salon’s doorway. Aaaaaack! Aaaaaack! Aaaaaack! The damned croaking lizard’s sounds started him. Van opened the door to make a dash for his awaiting carriage. Just as he did so, the lizard scampered to the door. Jumping back, Van cringed at the thought of it being so close. Relieved that the creature left his house, he moved through the door. He searched the ground for the green scaly creature as he walked out. Not seeing it, he ran to the carriage, and jumped aboard. The carriage was loaded with the crates and trunks that he would take with him. He climbed on the front, and sat beside Billings. Bil pulled the reins, the horses immediately went into action. Their movement caused Van to fall backward against the seat. He looked back at his house before the carriage turned the bend. “Sir, I’ll unpack the carriage while you board.” “I’m going to my office to finish up the last logs before I hand them over to Ben,” he said. The horses were reined to a halt a short five minutes later. Van jumped down, crossed the road, and walked to his office. Taking the key from his pocket, he unlocked the door. As he pushed the door open, he heard a ruckus coming down the road. A group of angry men strode toward him. “Sir,” one man called. “We’re searching for a Negro slave that jumped ship last night. Have you seen anyone bearing that description this morning?”
Paranormal Island Fantasies 167 Van shook his head. “No, I just arrived. Sorry I can’t help you. He’s probably long gone, but if I do...” He didn’t continue. Never would he return the poor man to the lowlife scoundrels. So they could imprison the man against his will, enslave him, and sell him to a plantation owner? Inside, Van tensed at the disrespect these men had for human life. The crowd seemed uninterested in him, and they moved onward. Van closed the door behind him. He sat at the desk, where only a few papers littered the once cluttered desk. He sat in the old leather chair and leaned back. Closing his eyes; he wanted a few minutes of quiet before he would go and make preparations aboard his ship. He couldn’t stop thinking about her. His demeanor became rigid, because he worried about her being alone on the island. Anyone could abduct her. Would he ever find her? He sighed. Damnation, why did he love her so much? He blanched at that. Love? Then he scoffed. Damn right, he did love her. He’d loved her from the moment she stepped off the ship, and was introduced to him. Did it matter that she hadn’t held such feelings for him? He considered it a moment. Yes, it mattered to him. He knew she cared once, and if it was the last thing he’d do, he would get her to love him again. Billings opened the door, and walked inside. “Sir, I think you better come out here.” “What’s going on, Bil? Has the crowd returned?” “Yes, but your lady is with the Negro. The crowd wants to kill all three of them,” he said casually. “Ah, hell. What trouble has she gotten herself into now?” Van muttered. He walked quickly to the door and saw the posse stationed down the road. The crowd gathered around, looking downright angry. Then he spotted Madeline being held by both arms by a sailor, and Claudia in the same position. Claudia’s cries didn’t gain the men’s regard, their focus was on either hanging or whipping the black man. The poor slave was tied up, a noose around his neck. Anger, such as he never felt, overtook Van. He slammed his door shut, and marched in their direction. “What is the meaning of this?” Van asked the man who seemed in charge. “Sir, these women helped this Negro escape. They’re going to be charged accordingly, the constable will be here in a few minutes.” “No, they will not! Release them at once. These women are under my guidance. And, take those damned ropes off that man,” Van shouted.
Paranormal Island Fantasies “He belongs to me,” the harsh man shouted. “I’ll punish him any way I please.”
“How much?” The man laughed in Van’s face. “You can’t afford it, sir.” “Are you insulting me? I’ll have you know, I’ve great influence here with the governor and the law. Now, name a price, and I’ll see if I can be accommodating.” The man snickered, disbelieving him. “Seventy-five pounds.” It was a rather large sum, but Van pulled out a small fold of bills, and counted off the amount. “Here, take your money, and be gone. You will send me the papers in one hour. If not, you’ll have to contend with my crew. They’re not always agreeable, as they are now.” He practically threw the money at the man. The slave-trader took the money, pocketing it. He nodded his agreement when he saw the crew behind the captain. They gave him looks of loathing. Van turned to search Madeline for abuse, but only saw her tear-filled eyes. She wouldn’t look at him, and it made him hesitate. “Madeline, are you all right?” She nodded, but remained silent. Claudia finally ceased her wailing, long enough to hug Madeline. “Take them aboard, Bil. See that they’re comfortable.” To Madeline, he asked, “What is your friend’s name?” She didn’t answer. Claudia stepped forward. “Van, that’s Jeremiah. We met him last night. We were trying to–” “I know what you were trying to do. It is commendable, ladies, that you risked your necks to help a man you don’t even know.” He smiled. Jeremiah came to him. “Master, you own me. What will I do?” “I don’t own you, Jeremiah. I have never owned a slave in my life, nor will I. You are a free man. I will sign papers stating such, when we board. Consider this a pleasure cruise, not like your last boarding.” Jeremiah shook his head, not understanding. So Van took his hand, and shook it. “You are free.” He understood that, and placed a splendid smile on his face. Billings motioned for everyone to board. No one noticed the green lizard that ran up the gangplank just ahead of them. Howard dodged large feet as he meandered his way on board.
Paranormal Island Fantasies
After Claudia and Jeremiah were each given a cabin, Van gave the directions for the ship to ready for sail. His crew began running at once, tending the lines, and clearing the decks. “Madeline, come with me. We need to talk in private.” He took her hand, leading her to the stern where they could be alone. She seemed complacent, as though she intended to listen to him. At least, he didn’t have to tie her to a chair, as he thought he might. She looked out at the ocean, at the sun high in the sky. Van though she looked like she’d begin crying any moment. But, she remained quiet, leaning against the wooden bulkhead. “I have wanted to say this to you for such a long time.” He waited for her interruption, but she didn’t say anything, so he continued. “That night, I went home after working all day. I remember meeting your brother on the road. Howard insisted I join him. He and I went to the tavern. We began drinking, and the next thing I knew...I was awakened by your shouting at me, with that wench beside me. I don’t recall meeting her or why she was there. I do not remember having sex with her, Maddy, I swear.” Madeline nodded. That could be plausible, couldn’t it? Should she believe him? “But none of that matters. I was with another woman, and I am sorry I caused you pain. I love you, and I don’t want to be without again. These past five years have been hell. I want us to start anew and–” “I must think about it, Van. I don’t know if I can trust you. What about all those women who you...” “What was I supposed to do, Maddy? You told me that you never wanted to see me again. I tried to get you out of my heart. But you kept intruding. None of those women meant anything to me.” “I can’t stay here, Van. Not after...not since Howard died here. It’s so beautiful, just look at the picturesque view. The smells, the trees, and flowers. How can such a place of beauty hold such evildoing? Those men wanted to hurt us for interfering with Jeremiah. That poor man, enslaved on a ship. The pirates that live here are no better. I can’t stay on Jamaica.” Her chest rose and fell from her assertive speech. “I’m not asking you to,” he said. Her eyes rose, stopping on his. The sun made them appear so light, like that of the smoothest amber. Her heartbeat rose. “What are you saying, Van?” “Midnight Escape will leave at its namesake this night. If you want to have a life with me,
Paranormal Island Fantasies 170 Madeline, then you will be here by midnight. I will not wait for you. I’ve waited five years for you to come to your senses. The choice is yours. Either you stay on this island, or you can come with me.” “Where are you going?” she asked breathlessly. “Wherever the wind takes me.” With that, he walked away, leaving his fate in God’s hands. Madeline turned to peer at the hills of the inner island. The ocean breeze caught her hair, and blew a thick strand across her face. She sighed, and moved it aside. Decisions such as these needed thinking over—somewhere, where she could be alone. She stepped onto the gangplank, and moved down to the dock. Before she stepped off the wooden walkway, the lizard bit the end of her skirt, and hung on.
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CHAPTER NINE A few Jamaican children played along the rocky slope that protected the island from storms. Madeline heard their laughter and calls. They played a game where one child was the tagger, and the others had to flee. Their bared feet kicked up the sand. She enjoyed watching their play, and smiled, remembering her own happy childhood. She lay back upon the soft sand, her back leaning on a rock. The sun shone on her face. She’d forgotten her bonnet, and would likely be sunburnt. She curled her legs beside her thinking how much she would enjoy being a mother one day. When she could sit back like this, and watch her children play. Why couldn’t you? “Oh, Lizard, you frightened me for a moment there. I thought someone...” She shielded her hands above her eyes, and watched the scaly creature move closer. “Why couldn’t I what?” The lizard ignored her. I must make you understand. “Understand what, Lizard? That you lied to me?” You know? Yes, I lied to you. You were not in danger at all. No one wanted to kill you or Van. That was my way of bringing you together. “Then who killed you, Howard?” The lizard’s tongue lapped at the air. His eyes rolled uncontrollably for a moment. I am losing the aura. God wishes my return. How did you know it was me? “I only just guessed. Are you afraid, Howard?” No. God is all-loving. I will serve him in heaven, as I have here on Earth. I’m sorry for my guise. I only did it because I love you, and to make you realize how much you love Van.
Paranormal Island Fantasies “Yes, I do love him.”
It was my doing, I caused your fallout. I sent Joan to him that night. He didn’t know. Of course, I was unaware that you and he...that you were lovers. Why didn’t you ever say anything about your relationship with Van? “What was I supposed to say? Hmm. Oh, Howard, Van and I are sleeping together. You would have sent me to the local jail and locked me up.” The lizard seemed to chuckle. I wasn’t always easy to get along with, was I? I’m sorry I made you come here with me, Madeline. I never should have brought you here. I thought I mucked it up badly, until I desired to get you and Van together. I didn’t know until that day, when you and he...in the sand. Then I was certain I would do what was right. “Why did you send Joan to him?” She wouldn’t leave me alone. I didn’t want to be bothered by the woman, and by suggesting Van, it appeased her enough to go to him. Had I know that... “So he really didn’t initiate it?” No, it was my foolishness that caused your hurt. I got him drunk, so he would accept Joan that night. He didn’t know. You must go to him, become his wife. Bear his children, and be happy. That’s all I wish for, Madeline. “Who killed you, Howard?” He felt himself fading, tingling sensations went from his nose to the tip of his tail. It was just as the constable suggested. A man that I was reforming...ah, I didn’t know him too well. He took offense to my interference in his life. It doesn’t matter now, Madeline. “What will happen to you? Will you go to–” Madeline stifled a gasp. Howard’s aura appeared as a glowing manly figure. The lizard’s form completely dissipated. She could see her brother’s eyes and mouth. He looked so much older than she remembered him. Even his brown hair ruffled in the breeze. “God is calling me back. What is your answer?” “I, ah, don’t know.” “I haven’t much time, Madeline, and I don’t wish to depart this Earth without knowing you will be taken care of. Will you go back to Van and become his wife?” Madeline opened her mouth to answer, but Howard’s body faded in a sparkle of lights. She stood up hastily to call him back, but it was no use. Howard entered heaven, this time for good.
Paranormal Island Fantasies 173 She sank back on the sand and wept silently for him. He returned to help her, to secure her future. She hadn’t thought he cared for her because he never said so. Nor had he been an affectionate brother.
She hoped Howard would know her decision. Perhaps, even now, he looked down on her
from Heaven. Madeline closed her eyes, envisioning him, and fell asleep in the late afternoon sun. ***** Van paced the deck, watching the walkway, and road for any sign of her. Nine o’clock came quickly, only three hours before he would cast off. She was nowhere in sight. Maybe she wouldn’t return. He wouldn’t consider that possibility. She had to; his life was meaningless without her. He continued to pace, feeling on the edge. Jeremiah was a good-natured man, and took to sailing like a fish took to water. He spent the afternoon learning how to cast the ship off. He asked questions and greeted his crew in a friendly manner. Maddy would want to know what happened to him, he thought. Wouldn’t she return to at least make sure Jeremiah and Claudia were safe? Claudia was another matter altogether. She wouldn’t stop chattering all afternoon. She begged and berated him for not going after her. Then she cried and carried-on about his leaving her best friend behind. Of course, she finally relaxed when he told her they wouldn’t leave until midnight. The woman quieted, and gave his ears a rest. Van went to his cabin, and unloaded some of his clothing. The activity proved useless in taking his mind off of Madeline. He moved a few crates aside and sat at the table. He wanted to get roaring drunk, and forget the hell that he was now going through. But wasn’t that how this whole situation started? He set the wine cask aside, and reached for water. He relaxed against the chair, unable to concede the truth. She wasn’t coming back.
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CHAPTER TEN Madeline opened her eyes, stretching, feeling stiff from laying on the sand. For a moment, she didn’t know where she was, but then she remembered. She stood hastily, looking around her for dangers. One could never be too careful, especially with the seamen who docked at port. She stepped over the crabs that came from the ocean for their nightly trek to scavenge the beach. Her boot was clipped by an angry beast’s claw as she brushed one aside with her foot. Was it near to midnight? Oh, Van! Had he left? She hurried up the rocks, and ran down the road. Her side hitched from her dash. She held it, but continued running. It certainly was dark enough to be close to midnight, or perhaps even later. Her shoes clipped the boards of the walk, she stopped beside Midnight Escape. Thank God, it hadn’t left yet. But the gangplank was pulled above, she couldn’t get aboard. “Hello, hello, is anyone there?” She waited. Several sailors came to the side of the ship. One man called out to her, “Is that you, Miss Carruthers?” “Yes, I need to come aboard,” she yelled. He lowered the gangplank, and moved aside, when she walked up it. “Evening, Miss,” Billings said, then grinned. “Where is Mr. Matthews’ cabin?” “Ma’am, I’ll show you the way. Name’s Billings, the captain’s first mate. Come this way.” “Thank you kindly, Billings.” She followed him through a cutout that led below. He went down a flight of stairs, stopping at the third door along the narrow corridor. “Should I announce you, ma’am?”
Paranormal Island Fantasies “No, thank you. I’d like to go inside alone, Billings.”
He saluted her as though she were the captain, and turned to leave. Madeline pushed the door open, and went inside. She approached the chair, and expected his intense frown, or maybe a wide smile. But nothing could have prepared her for what she saw. She shook his shoulder. “Van, wake up.” Van grumbled, then opened his eyes. He yawned before asking, “What time is it?” “I have no idea.” “You came back,” he said in a gruff tone. “Yes.” Van glanced at the clock on the ornate mantle, and read twelve-fifty-five. The ship should have cast off almost an hour before. He would have left her behind, if he hadn’t fallen asleep, and had given the order as he intended to. Pulling her onto his lap, he smiled broadly. “I’m glad.” He nuzzled her neck, and wanted to forever smell her sweet scent. “Me, too.” She placed her hand on his jaw, and caressed his face. “So are you going to marry me, or what?” he drawled. Her laughter filled the room. “Maybe.” “Damn it, Maddy. Don’t play games. After all the hell I’ve been through these past years, I want an answer right now.” “All right, Van. I will marry you.” His thumb deliberately trailed her lips. He leaned closer. “And, I want your forgiveness.” Mesmerized by the sensual way his thumb toyed with her lip, she didn’t answer. Instead, she lowered her mouth to his. She pulled back, and said, “You have nothing to be forgiven for, Van.” “I don’t?” “I forgive you for that night, but we shan’t speak of it again. Promise me, you won’t hurt me? I don’t think I could bear you doing that.” “Ah, love, I will try not to hurt you. But if I ever do, it won’t be intentional. You will let me explain and redeem myself, won’t you?” “Yes, Van, I know a way you can redeem yourself right now,” she said as her hand moved down the front of his shirt. “How do you propose I do that?” She laughed sweetly. “Maybe if you remove this shirt and those breeches... I can show you,
Paranormal Island Fantasies then you can...”
“Anything, to redeem myself,” Van said, huffing at the thoughts of pleasuring her. Taking her hand, he led her to the somewhat large bunk. He gently pushed her upon it, and took hold of her skirt. Seductively, he pulled it off, letting his hands slide along her legs. He discarded it, then moved his hands along her body until he reached the buttons. Smiling, he undid them, and opened her top to reveal her breasts. Madeline’s breath swished at the feeling of air peeking her nipples. Van leaned forward, taking the tip of one in his mouth. She fisted the material of his shirt that covered his shoulder, wanting him to remove it. He got the message, and moved back to take it off. Sliding the fabric off his shoulders, revealed the brawn of his muscled form. Her eyes soaked up the ripples over his stomach. The hardness of his biceps and pecs, lured her hand. She caressed each expanse, taking her time, reveling at the feeling. Both now removed of their clothing, Van moved to lie next to her. He positioned her body next to his, and groaned at the sensation of her skin touching his. Every fiber of his body came alive. He felt reborn, to have her so open and loving. Her hand moved over his arm, with a gentle caress. She reached his erection and rubbed her palm over the sensitive tip. Leaning upward, she pushed him onto his back. How she loved to kiss him, and had thought about it for such a long time. Her mouth dallied over his hot skin. She flicked her tongue, and caused his drawn-in breath. “Shit, Madeline, you’re going to make me explode.” He moved so fast that she didn’t have a chance to stop him. She lay back, letting him have his way. He nudged her legs apart, moving his mouth in such gentle persuasion. She began shaking with need. “Van, please. I want...you. Can you...” His smile was his only answer. He took hold of his throbbing erection and let it kiss the warmth of her entrance. He gave as good as he got, and teased her, pulling out, just before he entered her. Whimpers of her suffering his teasers, and her pleas for more, urged him on. Suddenly, he pulled her to her knees, and faced her away from him. Her back leaned against his chest, as his hand moved to cup her breast. Madeline moved forward slightly to give him better access. He entered her, savoring the moist heat that converged around his skin. Groaning, wanting to thrust hard. Massaging her shoulders, he tried to calm his racing pulse. He wanted it to last, damn it,
Paranormal Island Fantasies not like last time, when he had spilled his seed in a matter of minutes.
Redirecting his thoughts, he moved his hands over her back, tracing the outline of her spine. He moved his hands over the soft flesh of her bottom, which looked so sweet against his thighs. He loved her body. She must not have wanted to wait, because suddenly, she moved against him. He moaned, and she huffed. As she moved against him, he thrust. Their bodies met, and the sheer excitement of the force sent them both rasping for breath. Van felt perspiration roll down his face. Exertion of not letting his body take control, forced him to shudder in agony. Madeline shook too, he could feel it. “Van,” she moaned. “I’m going to...” She didn’t finish her words. He kept to the pace, thrusting as she wished, feeling her body’s culmination. He continued to massage her skin, trailing his hands along her back, shoulders, and neck. While she enjoyed the climax, he let his buildup. He knew it would be the most powerful orgasm he ever had. Madeline felt the last of the pleasurable ripples fade. Her body sated and relaxed. Now she could concentrate on him. She touched the front of his legs, reaching around him until she could feel him. She smiled because his hardness indicated he would soon meet his end. Gladdened to know that she still drove him to such exhilaration, she moved her hands over his skin. Van grunted at her touch. As she moved, slamming her delectable rear against him, it sent an explosive force throughout his body. He pulled her hips to him, and stilled, releasing the pleasure he had fought against for the last five minutes. It was even better than he thought it would be. When he could still his shaking body, he pulled away from her. They both fell to the bunk, and lay exerted beyond any of their pervious encounters. Van couldn’t speak. He closed his eyes, feeling the thumping of his heart. Holding her close, he smiled as his lips touched her cheek. Madeline snuggled contentedly against his chest. It was always like this with Van, magical. “None of those women meant anything to me, you know. I was trying to forget you, get you out of my system, but I couldn’t. I have always loved you, Madeline.” “I love you, too, Van. Today, while I went off to think, I saw children playing in the sand, and I thought how nice it would be to see my children playing, our children. I realized I didn’t want to live without you. I only hope I’m able to give you a son or a daughter. I’m no spring chicken.” He smiled again, knowing it was the truth. She would be his wife, they would be happy. “You can do it, Maddy. So, where do you want to live?”
Paranormal Island Fantasies She giggled in the darkness of their cabin. “Wherever you are, Van.”
“I can live with that.” He kissed her, then lay his head on her shoulder. “Do you mind terribly if we don’t go to England? I don’t wish to return. My family is gone, and I detest the crowded city of London.” “Can we go to America?” she asked. “American, I hadn’t thought of... Why not? We can purchase farmland. Jeremiah would be safe.” “Thank you for rescuing him. Oh, Van, you would make an excellent farmer.” She giggled, feeling so happy. He moved off the bunk, walked to the door, and shouted for Bil, then gave directions to change course. After he’d given the instructions, he returned to her, took her in his arms, and closed his eyes. “I can see you working the fields, without your shirt.” She trailed her finger down his chest. Van’s mumbled agreement told her that he was almost asleep. She looked through the porthole at the fading paradise where she had met him. The palm trees could hardly be seen in the darkened sky. She would miss its beauty, and maybe they would return for a visit. Madeline thought about Howard. It saddened her to think that she would never see him again. And, she considered what a thoughtful thing he’d done by returning from death, to bring her and Van together. Perhaps one day, she would tell Van about Howard’s loving guise.