Eve checked the time on her pendant watch. Barely an hour had passed since she’d left home. Should she mosey over to Adelaide’s and spend the rest of her time chatting with her? No. She found Adelaide’s conversation too full of marriage and family. Thirty seconds of those inanities would drive Eve mad. She wanted nothing to do with marriage or family.
She shook her head. No. Marriage and childrearing was a harness society used to deprive women of their independence. No submission for her thank you very much. Nor would she have anything to do with anyone who acted as if a wedding ring were sign of possession. She dreamed of a relationship with someone who honored her as an equal. Someone who agreed til death do us part was a demand to be honored. No, marriage would have to wait.
Sex, however, was another story.
She was as curious as any of her classmates about penises, vaginas, orgasms, climaxes and masturbation. But unlike her classmates, Eve had a mother who wanted her daughter knowledgeable.
Darling, your grandmother told me to close my eyes and think of God to help with the pain of penetration. She said to think of Jesus’ sufferings when the humiliation of being at a man’s beck and call becomes too much to bear. That won’t do for a daughter of mine. You’ll not be denied the respect due all human beings or the sexual gratification all women deserve.
Her mother had taught her well. About foreplay. About oral and anal stimulation. About self-pleasuring or as her mother called it, “looking around.” About copulation, conception and contraception.
Many men of her acquaintance claimed she’d stolen their heart and begged to make love to her. What they really wanted was to climb between her legs and claim what no man had been able to. She rebuffed their advances, but offered alternatives. Each and every one rejected her suggestions of oral play or anal games or finger fucking. Each and every one withdrew their suit and never graciously.
Madison had never been one of them. What had she seen in his sly glances last night that encouraged her to think he might be answer she sought?
The wagon wheels creaked with every rut they hit. Eleanor wheezed, desperate for fresh air. Nausea roiled at the base of her throat. Would she die choking on her own vomit? Fear squeezed her chest as yes flit through her mind like a lightning bug.
The wagon lurched to the right. Her nausea intensified.
"Mind how you go there, boy. We don't want to be accused of mistreating the prisoner."
Being arrested on false charges didn’t count as mistreatment? How about being abducted by ones sworn to uphold the law? Eleanor’s agony mirrored that of Christ’s on the cross.
My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
She moaned, her spirit smothered by despair. The pressure at the small of her back eased only to be followed by a sharp jab to her spine.
"Shut up, damn you," Radcliffe snapped. "Your days of troubling me will soon be over."
"What was that you said, Sheriff?"
"Thank God this trouble'll soon be over. We'll have delivered her safe and sound to the county seat tomorrow."
"Safe and sound,” Deputy Jim Flyte said. “Thank the good Lord."
His tone, full of innocence and ignorance, penetrated Eleanor’s cloth prison and killed all hope that he’d be of any help. She stifled a groan lest her tormentor kicked her again. Flyte was too young to know that safe and sound to Sheriff Hobart Radcliffe meant only one thing: Eleanor’s death.
Buy your copy now: https://amzn.to/3zfDpo2
Two years ago Hero Williams enjoyed a night of bliss with Adelaide Hanson, a night that inspired him to leave Weeksville and create wealth beyond his wildest dreams. Two years later he has returned for her only to find she's engaged to another man. Has he missed his chance to light the fire again?
Applause and cheers gave Hero the excuse he needed to scan the crowd without making it obvious he was tracking Adelaide’s exit.
He’d returned, not only to give, but to take…again.
If she’d let him.
“God bless you and your family, Hero,” the minister exclaimed. “It does a heart good when those blessed with good fortune use that largess to help others.”
A swell of Amens and Praise the Lords echoed his sentiments.
Hero smiled and nodded in acknowledgment, but kept his gaze on Adelaide’s fleeing form.
She hated him. His letters returned unopened proved that. Her hasty exit showed she hated him still.
With good reason.
He hoped he had more time to return with a proper marriage proposal backed up not just with his longing for her, but with enough wealth to make her long for him. If she’d read his letters, she’d have known his intentions. Instead he’d learned she’d become attached to Oscar Thompson and how they planned to marry by the end of the year.
So much for slow and steady wins the race.
Light the Fire Again is set to re-release with other historical short stories and novellas in 2022.
Trapped by the small town conventions imposed on her, a pastor's spinster daughter finds rescue in the town bad boy's very public kiss.
Loose lips sink ships, Bev. And still do.
Beverly Reynolds understood a big city investigative reporter like her brother John had to suspect everyone and everything. His work had him engaged in many a dangerous situation. The latest was reporting on equal rights work in the South.
He had written to her about the war being waged in states from Virginia to Mississippi.
Loose lips sunk ships during the war, Bev. And still do. Only now the ships are voter registration drives and lawsuits and attempts at economic self-sufficiency. It’s not Nazi spies listening and betraying but law enforcement officers who first tip off Klansmen and other night riding types then stand by as they target the Negro lawyers, teachers and ministers who educate and encourage the folk of color to claim their rights. It’s not Tokyo Rose undermining Negro pride and confidence but those among our own people who choose the safety of their present limitations to the risks of a future determined by the freedom of true independence. Loose lips sink ships, Bev…and they still do.
You’d expect the ones oppressing you to do all they could to keep you down. But for members of the race to sow envy and fear and suspicion so as to undermine efforts to uplift the race was most distressing.
And most familiar.
A good reputation was the battleship in need of protection where she lived. To keep it afloat peer pressure, tradition and societal expectation waged a constant battle against the loose lips of gossip and scorn and lies.
As the daughter of the town’s minister she’d experienced the looks and the whispers and the dressing downs that kept her in her place. The freedom garnered by her one small rebellion – becoming the town librarian rather than the dutiful wife of her father’s associate pastor – turned out to be as limiting as the choice she’d rejected.
Buy your copy now: https://amzn.to/3dRvwLE
Trapped in a book by a sorcerer for rejecting his sexual advances,an ex-slave's daughter discovers one hope of rescue – a nosy thief
A multiple volume encyclopedia stood on shelves at chest level in a far corner. Morlu would want his wealth within easy reach. Sekou pulled down the first volume and rifled through the pages. Paper currency of all types fluttered to his feet like leaves whirling from the branches of bombax trees in winter.
Clever, Dibia. But not clever enough.
Sekou chuckled and rifled through volume after volume. By the time he reached Z a pile of money lay on the floor. He scooped the cash into his swag sack, laughing quietly at his haul.
He thrust the last volume back into place, knocking a slender manuscript off the shelf.
The Story of Aziza.
He recognized the title of the book with which Morlu had taunted him. He picked it up, fanned the pages with his thumb. A sigh drifted past him. Startled, he crouched and looked left then right. Only the night breeze disturbed the silence. He fanned through the pages again. This time a scent -- light as rain, sweet as honey -- graced the air.
He stared at the face of a withered old hag on the book's cover. The image had repulsed and fascinated him. The gaze in her eyes shone with intelligence and defiance, so unlike the villagers lionizing the dibia at this moment.
Sekou opened to the flyleaf. There the image of a black beauty stared back at him. Her skin was as smooth as the hag's was wrinkled, but the same intelligent defiance shone in her eyes. He traced the outline of her chin jutting forth with pride.
"So, ladies..." He feathered his fingers along her full lips then examined the woman on the cover again. "To which one of you does this story belong?"
Aziza's chest heaved. Warmth from the intruder's fingers suffused the book's cover, intoxicating her mind and spirit with hope. The rapid flutter of her prison's pages kindled arousal along her labia. She shivered as delight saturated her deadened limbs.
Once again the rapid rifling of the pages sent tremors of pleasure through her. She knew not whose hand cradled her prison, but the respectful caress told her this couldn't be her captor. Dared she hpe this might be a person she could trust to free her?
Freed Man seeking woman to partner in marriage for at least two years in the black township of Douglass, Texas. Must be willing and able to help establish a legacy. Marital relations as necessary. Love neither required nor sought.
Caesar King's ad for a mail-order bride is an answer to Queen Esther Payne’s prayer. Her family expects her to adhere to society's traditional conventions of submissive wife and mother, but Queen refuses. She is not the weaker sex and will not allow herself to be used, abused or turned into a baby-making machine under the sanctity of matrimony. Grateful that love is neither required nor sought, she accepts the ex-slave's offer and heads West for marriage on her terms. Her education and breeding will see to that. However, once she meets Caesar, his unexpected allure and intriguing wit makes it hard to keep love at bay. How can she hope to remain her own woman when victory may be synonymous with surrender?
“What woman-loving woman taught you to kiss that way?”
His massive head jerked back as if she’d slapped him. “Well, that’s a first. I talk about cattle, and you ask about kisses.”
“No man knows how to kiss like that. Only women do.” A bushy eyebrow rose over a countenance suddenly darkened by suspicion. “How would you know? Your experience has only been with women...or so I understood from your letter.”
Embarrassment warmed the tips of her ears. She brushed her fingers along the excited flesh, uncomfortably aware a similar excitement troubling her nether lips.
“All my pleasurable experiences have been with women.” Until your amazing, conquering kiss. “I’ve known the brutality of male lips and tongues and...” She looked down at his bulge again. “Certain appendages.”
“Brutal, eh?” He smirked. “So you’ve chosen my brutal lips and tongue and appendages over those of the brutes you knew in Philadelphia.”
“If you must know, yes.”
He angled his head and eyed her. “But isn’t the adage better the devil you know?”
She fisted her hands in her lap. “Not for me it isn’t.”
He put his attention back on the road. “Well, if you must know, my wife Emma trained me.”
His features softened. Queen glimpsed melancholy in his smile.
“Our first kiss was nectar.” He closed his eyes and inhaled. “Each kiss after that tasted sweeter than the one before.”
She had her suspicion confirmed: ecstasy did look good on him.
He cleared his throat and flicked the reins against his horse’s rump. All traces of sadness vanished. “You needn’t worry. ‘Twas memory of her I embraced before Reverend Warren. Not you. ‘Though...” He looked her up and down. “I had not expected such a warm response from an ice princess.”
Ice princess. Her belly clenched. The phrase shouldn’t have hurt. She wanted the arctic between them. The unanticipated thaw created by that kiss proved she needed a frozen emotional wasteland between them more than ever.
He let his scrutiny linger in her lap. “Where else do your fires burn?”
She squeezed her thighs together and kept her sight on the horizon. “I wouldn’t recommend you try to find out.”
Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. She’s never been courted, cuddled or spooned, and now no man could want her, not when sexual satisfaction comes only with the thought of asphyxiation. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more.
Wealthy, freeborn-Black, Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing the mysteriously exotic woman was foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex.
“Why not you, Mary?”
“Because someone like you only looks at someone like me out of pity.”
Of course. His aunt put him up to this. Anger warmed Mary’s ears.
“Let me go.” She made to pull away. “I want to sit.”
“Please. Not before the music stops.” He timed his plea to the rhythm of the waltz. “I’ve waited all week for this moment.”
Mary gritted her teeth. Heart hurt joined her injured pride. She needed no one’s charity.
“That was cruel of you, sir. No one counts the days until they can ask me for a dance.” Tears pooled behind her closed eyelids. “Anyone in town could tell you that.”
The grip on her hand tightened, forcing her eyes open. The light in his gaze darkened. “Anyone who’d lie to me like that would be taking their life in their hands.” He leaned in so his mouth nuzzled her ear again. “And if you use that I’m-not-worthy tone of voice again, I’ll be forced to prove you wrong with a kiss.”
Alarm shuddered up Mary’s back. “Is—is that a threat?”
“A certainty.” He winked.
A chilly thrill replaced the alarm. She blew out a breath to steady herself. Threat or certainty, both treated her to a delicious revelation—she wanted that kiss. She eyed his lips, imagined their soft yet demanding press against hers. Once more the voice of caution repeated its warning.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Oh, to be forced to flee from such a devil as he. She sighed. What a wonderful problem to have.
“May I visit you at Harvest Home?”
Eban’s voice overpowered her thoughts. She frowned out of her musing. “You know where I live?”
“I have an authoritative source.”
She glanced toward Widow Hawthorne who gave a favoring nod. That kiss no longer seemed a flight of fancy. Her belly quivered. Her lips pursed in a thoughtful pout.
“Why would I let you visit me at Harvest Home?”
“You know better than I.” He stroked the back of her hand as he eyed her throat. She swallowed hard as excitement and fear rippled across the flesh his thumb caressed. Her head swirled, whether from the dance or the danger posed by her partner she couldn’t tell. “It—it would cost too much to say.”
He bent his elbow, pulled her forward again. “Am I not worth the price?”
This time his chest crushed hers. The pressure imitated the closeness of that threatened kiss. A closeness she could no longer deny she desired. Would she let him? Should she let him? Her throat tightened.
“You’re worth the price, but I can’t afford you.”
He smiled that nether-lip-tickling smile again. “I accept gifts in kind.”