Mad for the Billionaire eBook Release

Estimated reading time: 4 – 7 minutes

4-27-13: I’ve had to re-title this piece from “An Unwanted Obsession” to “Mad for the Billionaire.” I’m really sorry for any confusion.

Hello Everyone! I’m back again with a Charlotte DeCorte release. (This is the one I was talking about here.) I tried my hand at a sci-fi billionaire with Amelia and Charlotte wanted to take her melancholy turn at it as well. 😉 So here we go:


Alexander Monroe Draven II had been my everything. My first love, my first man, my first heartbreak…

My first taste of madness.

Certain we were doomed to fail, I walked out on the love of my life nine years before and painstakingly constructed another persona. One who was poised, even-tempered, and outwardly bore no resemblance to the broken girl forever pining for a love that wasn’t meant to be.

It had become my shell for so long I could almost believe it, despite the long nights of searching out Alexander’s electronic footprint as he became one of the most wealthiest men in tech. However, my facade shattered when he’d bought out the company I worked for just as it was on the brink of collapse. Alexander didn’t let me avoid him, easily capturing me in plain sight and maneuvering it so I would have lunch with him. I let my guard down, thinking I could control myself around him.

I was wrong. Now the man I still loved with frightening intensity wanted me back, but that wasn’t all he wanted.

“I want you on the floor, kneeling at my feet.”

Alexander wanted total control over me or nothing at all. And I only had one minute to make my decision…

NOTE: This is a 24,400 word novella (approximately 88 pages.)


A killing-soft smile landed at the corners of his lips. He waited, patient and watchful. Where was he going with this? What was he trying to prove that he hadn’t already proved a million times before? There was only one way to find out.

“Fine.” I walked over to him, fixated on the beacon of his arm. Chin up and defiance oozing with every rigid step until I stood at his knee. “Happy now?” I snapped, doing little to be gracious over my capitulation.

“Not by a long shot, baby.” Alexander appraised me, doing nothing to disguise it. “I never cared for your anger before. I saw it as something to be eliminated and subdued. Now I know the great potential it has for us both.”

Warmth drizzled, softening my insolence. My belly clenched. My nipples tightened to twin points, vividly remembering the hot tug of Alexander’s lips. The urge to cross my arms and cover my chest tangled with the urge to rip off my shirt.

Push, pull, want, deny. Seductive madness could only lie this way.

“Sophia, I want you to do something for me.”

I coughed, trying to disguise my body’s response as an aberration. “Yes?”

“I want you to sit down.”

“Okay.” I turned to find the nearest chair.

“Stop.” Alexander waited silently until I looked back at him, eyebrow raised quizzically. “Not there.”

“Then where?”

Alexander pointed to the floor. I followed his finger, seeing his polished, leather shoes and the empty space before them.

I shook my head and backed away. “On the floor?”

“Yes. I want you on the floor, kneeling at my feet.”

I reached out to steady myself. My fingertips dug into the side of the desk. “You want me at your feet.”



Alexander tilted his head. “Because it would please me.”

Jesus fucking Christ!

Violent lust ricocheted through my body, instantly piercing my core. I tightened my thighs, finding perverse, thrilling pleasure in the idea of obeying him. My mind whirled into overdrive, looking for any reason to drown out the instinct demanding I obey.

“Are you serious, Alexander? You’re not joking with me?”

He stared me down, mouth tight and eyes blazing with implacable domination. “On your knees. Now.”

My knees buckled. Still keeping hold of the desk, I sank down, down, down, until my legs folded beneath me. My heart hammered, beating so hard against my chest I wasn’t sure if I wanted to scream in fear or delight.

“Breathe, Sophia.”

“I…I…am.” Fear gripped me strong. My panicked gaze jumped around. I couldn’t believe what I had done. Worse, how come it felt so right?

Alexander’s warm hand cupped my chin. “You’re doing beautifully, Sophia. Look at me. I said look at me. Now just breathe for me. In and out. That’s it. Good girl.”

I patterned my breathing after his. Lost in his black gaze, I watched the world fall away. Nothing existed but him.


  • Mad for the Billionaire
  • Word Count: 24,400 (Approximate)
  • Categories: Contemporary Romance, BDSM, Erotic Romance
  • DRM-Free
  • $2.99






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Love Blind (A Dark Love Story) ebook Release

Estimated reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Hello Everyone! I’m announcing another release but before I get to that I want to share a little bit about this title.

I started this a couple of months after my Mother-in-Law passed. It was meant to be a fun piece to get back into writing. Vampires + rough sex = Awesome! That was the plan but that’s not what happened. The story quickly grew its own agenda and light BDSM awesome goodness wasn’t part of it.

Somehow I’ve managed to write one of my darkest and sweetest Claudia stories. Strange, right?

I sat on the story for several months, wanting to make sure that I did want to release it as-is and not redo it as a lighter piece. Nope. Love Blind wanted to be what it was. So once I accepted that I quickly saw it in a similar light as Love Unfortunate.

It is a love story but it’s a damaged one.

That being said, I think it’s great timing to release Love Blind in October and I hope you all agree with me. 🙂


Does the ends really ever justify the means?

On a blood-soaked balcony in Rio de Janeiro, Josephine made a desperate bargain with a vampire named Julio Alberto. Her life for another. He accepted and promptly whisked her away to his isolated plantation far from any hope of outside help.

Now over twenty years later, Carnaval looms and Josephine still waits for the night when Julio Alberto will finally tire of her. Quick to dismiss his affection as a game, Josephine uses her wits to push her vampire away, unable to believe in his or anyone’s love.

Undeterred, Julio Alberto strips Josephine down, forcing her to finally admit to the shameful darkness buried deep in her soul. Broken and pushed past her limits, will Josephine accept her heart’s longing for Julio Alberto or will she remain forever love blind?

Warning: This is a 24,200 word (approximately 97 pages) novella. It is meant for a mature audience and contains dark subject matter.


“Where o’ where did my little kitty go?”

Josephine slipped off her heels, knowing she had a better chance of making a good show of escaping if unhampered by gorgeous yet crippling footwear.

“Is she waiting for me in bed?”

She fixated on the door, eyes gone dry in the need to keep away from the impeccably dressed creature come like beguiling death. He hovered just inside the mosquito netting enveloping the bed, making a great show of looking for her under the crisp, cotton covers.

“No, she’s not here. Hmm…could she be hiding under the bed? Maybe in the armoire?”

Josephine didn’t need to look directly at the aristocratic planes of his beautiful face to know what was there. She had seen the landscape too many times to count. Even now wicked humor burned mad bright in his ebony gaze as they swept the rarely-used guest room. His full mouth curled in dark, anticipatory pleasure that marked him as a predator ready to hunt.

It’s always a game to him. It’s as if nothing in life is of any interest unless it’s wrapped up in blood and sex.

“She’s not in the bed or under it. She’s also not in the armoire. Where o’ where can my little kitty be?” He turned away from Josephine and rocked back on booted heels. She watched the broad shoulders rise in an easy shrug. “I know she couldn’t really be hiding by the window. Only stupid little girls would do that and my kitty isn’t stupid, is she?”


Josephine edged away, careful to keep the drapes from sweeping across the floor. Her hand slid down her thigh, fingers unlatching the strapped knife, and readied herself for the bloodletting.

“I’d be so disappointed if my kitty hid for nothing. I’m sure she would too because then I’d have to take my disappointment out on something else…pity.”


Josephine dashed out from behind the curtains, right hand curled hard around her dagger as she made for the closed door. Delighted laughter hissed in her ear scant moments before Josephine’s arm swung out in an arc. She felt the blade cut through fabric and flesh but knew it wouldn’t be enough to stop him.


  • Love Blind (A Dark Love Story)
  • Word Count: 24,200 (Approximate)
  • Categories: Gothic Romance, Dark Love, Dark Paranormal Romance
  • DRM-Free
  • $2.99


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Make You Cry (Marcus & Marguerite #2) eBook Release

Estimated reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Hello Everyone!

I’m pleased to announce my latest D. Cristiana release. It’s a continuation into Marcus and Marguerite’s world from Dark Desires: Sold.


Marcus and Marguerite had Paris. Now three months later Marguerite wonders just how does her charming assassin sees her—lover, whore, or worse?

Fixated on knowing her place in his life, Marguerite challenges Marcus to play rough with her and let her experience the darkness beneath his ready smile. He accepts, instantly becoming a ruthless stranger bent on subjugating her to his every desire.

Will Marguerite find the answers she seeks or has she just foolishly unleashed a merciless beast?


“What do you see when you look at me?” Marguerite damned her bravery while feeling the blood drain from her face. She didn’t think she could bear to hear him go down her checklist. It was too late though. Marguerite asked for whatever she got.

“That’s not what you really want to know.”

“Isn’t it?”

Marcus’s tiny smile evaporated. “You know it isn’t.”

“Then what?”

He closed his eyes and heaved a tired sigh. “You want to know.”

“What?” Marguerite’s whispered, insides coiling between heat and ice. She felt like throwing up or at least gagging. He was right—nobody liked to be categorized much less told to her face what simplified field she fit. Her face didn’t lie but neither did it glorify her present sensations. Smooth and untouchable, it made an interesting palette for Marcus to use.

“You want to know how I can be. You want to know what it’s like to be as everyone else in my life. You want to know if you are anything more than just a pile of meat.”

Marcus didn’t end with a lilt of question. His words shot true.

“You used me for cover in Paris.”


Marguerite didn’t expect him to have an attack of conscience but his easy answer unsettled. “Will you use me again?”

“If I need to.”

“Will I know?”

He shrugged. “I’d rather you didn’t. Makes denial far more plausible.”

Marguerite observed him, feeling that tingling crawl of skin knowing he wasn’t like anyone she had ever encountered. Worse, she wasn’t even disgusted by it. Unsettled—yes. Disgusted—no.

What strange people we are.

She stood up and invaded Marcus’s space. Face close enough to his to see each and every long, feminine eyelash framing his limpid gaze, Marguerite whispered, “Show me.”

“Do you really think you can handle it?” Marcus drew a circle on her chin with his fingertip. “I take your care seriously, baby. I am not interested in hurting you for curiosity’s sake.”

“We can pretend I’m someone who—”

“No. I don’t play pretend games. Not about this. It’s real or it doesn’t happen.”

Something akin to embarrassment lit her cheeks. “I see.”

“Do you? Like I said, baby, I take your care seriously. I’m not interested in hurting you just for the empty thrills.”

“Then don’t.”

“That easy, is it? I play with you hard but keep enough control to pull the strings gently. Everything in its nice, tidy package because I’m just that good, hmm?” He contemplated her request, seizing enough time to make Marguerite squirm before smiling and saying, “Okay.”


“Yep. I am that good and I do love to play rough. So it’s a win for both of us. Besides, didn’t I promise you in Paris that I’d tie you up next time?” He stood up quickly, body knocking hers back. “You were very rude when I came home, Marguerite. I think you should apologize.”


  • Make You Cry (Marcus & Marguerite #2) by D. Cristiana
  • Word Count: 8,700 (Approximate)
  • Categories: Erotic Romance, Dark Love, Contemporary Short Story
  • DRM-Free
  • $2.99


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Becoming Devon’s Girl ebook Release

Estimated reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

Hello Everyone! I had a very busy last couple of months working on some late 2011 pieces. (I’m really hauling booty so that way I can block off July for some serious DDIII. 🙂 )

In celebration of my newest release, I’m having a sale on all D. Cristiana fiction until July 21, 2012. So if you haven’t had a chance to pick them up know they’re on sale right meow!

Okay, onto the belle of this particular ball—“Becoming Devon’s Girl”:


 My name is Sarah Woods. I’m sitting in my car, trying to find the courage to walk into a luxurious hotel and face the man waiting for me twenty floors above.

Devon McNeill.

He’s tall, dark, handsome, intelligent, and sexy as hell. I’ve only known him for a month but I was smitten from the moment he held open the door for me at a local bookstore. Later that night when he caught me in the erotica section, Devon pulled down a copy of “Nine and a Half Weeks” and handed it to me along with his card.

Hope you take a chance on the book. I’ll be here next week on the same day and time if you want to discuss it.

I met him and we began a weekly spirited discussion of the classic memoir. Despite the steamy subject matter and much to my chagrin, Devon was a perfect gentleman, but those magical hours together were ones I looked forward to all week. When I accused Elizabeth, the author, of not having enough courage to recognize love, Devon challenged me to rewrite the book’s ending with him.

I know what that means. It’s not just about anonymous sex or a passionate fling. Devon demands it all. Devon wants to be sadist to my masochist, to let him be my everything. And as insane as it may be–I want it too. It’s all or nothing and as I leave my car I wonder if I’ll be brave enough to become Devon’s girl…

NOTE: Light BDSM, crude language, and explicit descriptions of sexual acts are contained within this 12,600 word novella. (Approximately 42 pages.)


“Hold out your wrists.”

Devon’s voice slid over me like warm, thick honey. Sitting on the edge of the hotel bed, I felt my stomach tighten as I imagined what would happen once I obeyed him. An intoxicating paradox of fear and lust overwhelmed me. Bound, I would be at his mercy. He could strip me, hurt me, love me, exalt me, or break me.

All at once or not at all.

My lips parted, alerting him to the reason why my breathing quickened and my limbs trembled.

The ruby scarf trailed to the floor when he dropped his arm.

I was afraid I had disappointed Devon, made him think I wasn’t serious about being here. Before words of apology could trip their way out of my closed throat, Devon crouched before me. He smiled, brushing back my hair with his free hand.

“I know you’re scared, Sarah. It’s okay.”

My lips curved into a stiff smile. I wonder if it looked as awkward as I felt. “Are you mad at me?”

“No, of course not.”

He trailed the tip of one finger across my chin and down my throat. Goosebumps exploded. Heat gathered and concentrated on the path where he had touched me. I needed to know what else Devon was capable of making me feel even though it scared me grim.

“I almost didn’t think you’d come.”

“Really?” My voice was high like that of a schoolgirl. Clad in my black skirt, sensible white dress shirt, and black ballet flats, the description seemed apt. The white lace bra and panties underneath definitely completed the symbolism. In his presence I felt innocent, virginal to all the ways a beautiful, dominant man like him could taint a closet-submissive like me.

“I’m sorry.”

The corner of his mouth lifted into a lovely smirk. “Don’t apologize, Sarah.”

I fixated on Devon’s lower lip, wanting to kiss and take the fleshy part between my teeth. In the pulsing corners of my mind, I craved to be wanton and shameless for him…because of him.

It was supposed to be so simple and it still can be. I just need to let go and be who I want. And that’s what I’m scared of.

As if he had read my mind, Devon praised me, words buttery soft and potent. “It was incredibly brave of you to come here.” He squeezed my bare knee. “You do know that, don’t you, Sarah?”

I swayed forward. His soft voice did delightful things to me. I could imagine myself doing whatever Devon wanted as long as I could listen to him forever.

Unfortunately, the problem came when marvelous imagining became barbed reality.


  • Becoming Devon’s Girl by D. Cristiana
  • Word Count: 12,600 (Approximate)
  • Categories: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, BDSM, Short Stories, Adult Romance
  • DRM-Free
  • $1.49 (Sales Price!)


Amazon-US: Buy now!

Amazon-UK: Buy now!

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Smashwords: Buy now! (Great for international readers. There’s no surcharge added to the price.)

All Romance eBooks: Buy now!

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*Don’t forget: All D. Cristiana titles are on sale at the above retailers until July 21, 2012. Stock up! 🙂 *

Darling eBook Release

Estimated reading time: 3 – 4 minutes



Hey, Everyone! I’m finally back with a Claudia D. Christian release. Yay! As promised months ago, I am happily releasing the first novella in my Beloved Series—Darling. This series is by far my sweetest Claudia fiction. However, don’t think I’ve softened up. 😉 There’s still angst, betrayal, good-intentions-going-bad—all that stuff I love! (And I hope you love it too. 🙂 )


“Vampires should not love, Mistress. Their love is dangerous, expressed in a way humans do not understand. It could bring out the worst in both of you.”

From birth, Cassandra has been groomed to be the Beloved of Lord Constantine. Deeply in love with her lord, she is obsessed with being his wife and mother of his future Half-Blood children. As the Pureblood Vampire King of Nightmares, Lord Constantine has been obsessed with keeping Cassandra sheltered from the necessary cruelty of his world.

Even if that means keeping Cassandra a perpetual maiden.

Unfortunately good intentions and love are not enough when Cassandra cannot be protected from the one man capable of destroying her—Lord Constantine himself.


“Darling, you cannot continue to be so miserable. It kills me. I know what you want. . .what you’ve always wanted.” Lord Constantine’s hand found its way beneath her robe. “I will make you feel better, darling. I promise.”

His touch shocked Cassandra enough to stop weeping. Despite all their years of familiarity, Lord Constantine had never once caressed her in such an intimate way. Trembling, she parted her legs, hoping, praying, ready to bargain for anything, if only her lord would finally change their interactions.

Please, please, please!

“Is this what you want, Cassandra? Tell me.”

Besotted by the touch of leather against her skin, she sighed, “Yes, my lord. This is what I have always wanted. Always.”

His eyes flashed crimson. She immediately looked away. Her instinctive reaction apparently gave him much needed control. “I adore you so much I am almost willing to give into damnation.” Lord Constantine squeezed her thigh once. Face tight with tormented lust, he struggled to hold back the beast hiding behind the beautiful mask of a civilized man. Lord Constantine waited until Cassandra looked back up at him. “Almost, but not yet.”

Lord Constantine removed his hand. Ice descended. Shock made her body numb. “I do not understand, my lord.”

Pity softened his expression. “I know you do not and I am sorry for it. We cannot do this.”

“But why?”

He kissed her softly, silencing her plaintive cry, and whispered, “I will not allow your love for me to become a poisoned thing.”


  • Darling by Claudia D. Christian
  • Word count: 18,000 (approximate)
  • Categories: Gothic, Dark Romance, Paranormal Romance
  • DRM-Free
  • $3.99


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Grim Alice update 5-30-10

Estimated reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

“He does?” Breathy and soft, her words fell away into the void.

“Yes. He does.”


“Because he hates you.”

“Oh. I see.” Alice’s natural armor attached itself without a fight.

Director H. patted her head once. “Let that sit for a bit, dearest.” He moved to the stairs and made himself comfortable. The water entrenched him half-way to the knee. He crossed one over the other prettily. “Now, about your partner. He’s a prig, Alice, of the first order. He’s going to look down his well-bred nose and declare you inferior.”

“Because I’m an orphan.”

“No, because he’s being a stubborn ass.”

Alice cracked a smile. Keeping her arms crossed and her knees tucked, she gestured with her chin. “You’ve gotten your legs wet.”

“Yes. I know.”


“You think it strange? How refreshing.” Director H. preened. “When you live in world where consequences mean everything and nothing on the same turn, you find it easier to just do what pleases. Remember that, dear.”

“I will. I’m going to rinse my hair now.”

“You should let it set longer.”

Alice paused. “No. I’m going to rinse but thanks.” She scooted out, careful to remain on the last step, and dipped her head back. Alice swished her head from side to side.

“See. I knew you were a smart girl.”

“Of course I am, Director H.”

He flicked water towards her. “Would you like some more advice?”

“Sure. Why not?”

“Why not indeed? Come here, pet. Sit next to me.” He waited until Alice arranged herself modestly before proceeding. “This first meeting is very important, dearest. Don’t let your partner get the upper hand with you. He will try to do so.”

“He’s that much of a jerk, right?”

“No. To be fair, I don’t think it’s a deliberate action to dismiss you based on you. It’s self-defense for him.”

“Self-defense? How so?”

“He’s frightened to death you, Alice.”

“Of me?” A tiny frown stitched between her brows. “What does he think I’ll do to him?”

“Change him. Challenge his beliefs. Make him someone he doesn’t ever want to be.”

“I’m not that—”

“Powerful? Of course you are, Alice. You’re a woman. You have all the power you could ever need. Life and death—it all rests upon your whim.”

Alice’s attention skimmed everywhere but Director H.

“I’ve embarrassed you.”

“A little.”

“You shouldn’t be when it’s truth.”

She puffed a tiny breath. “Maybe it’s how it works here but in the real world I’m just an orphan with a whole lot of problems. No power there. Everyone is afraid of me for one reason or another. Do I have any psychological issues? Am I dangerous? Will I cause problems? Will I set your house on fire? Am I dirty? It goes on and on.”

“And now you have to worry about the same things here.”

“Yes. It’s really not going to be any different here. Wherever here is.” Alice regarded Director H. “Maybe I’m still in the hospital and you’re just something I’ve dreamed up. Maybe I’m dead.”

“And maybe you’re just being a bore.” Director H. stood up and held out a wet, gloved hand. “Come, Alice. You’ve gotten entirely too maudlin. I don’t need you morose. I need you confident, defiant, and smart.”

Alice took his hand while keeping her other arm banded across her chest. She clenched her thighs tighter in an awkward attempt at modesty. Before she could ask for a towel, he pulled one out of his front pocket.

“How did that fit in there?”


“The towel. How did it fit there?”

Director H. wrapped her in the scarlet towel with efficient ease. “Magic, pet. White or black?”


“White or black? Hurry. Choose. White or black?”


“Very fitting.”

Devil’s Descent II update 5-11-10

Estimated reading time: 4 – 7 minutes

She writhed in terrible bliss. Lily crashed into Julian’s marvelously blue stare. Lighter than the crystallized sky, it ate into her with ice teeth. Lily fixated on everything and nothing. Julian’s lips were moving. Tiny, elegant movements orchestrated to obliterate all of her.

I don’t want to think. Shut-up! Shut your filthy mouth, Julian! Stop talking. Stop talking. Stop talking.

“I will not.” His fingers bit into her jaw, pressing the skin over her teeth until her mouth hung open. “I think you should, my dearest little girl, before you embarrass us both.”

Lily didn’t realize she had been chanting her thoughts out loud, over and over again. Alone in her mind, alone in her conviction, she had become a broken record. Seeking to find that which had never really existed; searching for that someone who had existed only in her head.

Something hot, sticky, and foreign slinked inside the protected parts of her memories. It wrapped around the pretty box scored with Ian’s name and likeness. Dark, dirty, and obscene it soiled all those precious vignettes bearing the likeness of the demon vampire holding her aloft.

The pictures in Lily’s mind singed. Never the same. Always damaged. Always incomplete. A falsity to being an honest representation of the past.

That’s what being next to Julian Douglas did to a person like Lily.

He dirtied her with his peculiar brand of truth. It couldn’t be refuted…only denied. Denied until she screamed herself hoarse. Denied until she spewed blood. Denied until she believed it too.

Lily thought this all in the span of a stuttered breath. She shook her head like a demented thing, seeking to throw his restraint off. Julian followed her, always following, always pressing, always opening, always…always…always.

“Tell me what you want, Lily. Tell me.”

Short, hard bursts of sound gouged through the madness infesting her. It screwed into Lily, deflating her rebellion. Her borrowed power ebbed, dying an uneventful demise. It disappeared. No trace of superhuman abilities, only a body racked with severe chills and the type of sweat accompanied by high fevers.

“I’ll keep feeding you drops of my blood if you don’t give me what I want. I’ll break your legs to keep you from running…your arms just because. Do you think they’ll heal straight?”

Lily’s molars cut the inside of her cheeks. The blood tasted foul, a cheap, disgusting substitution of his. Her head jerked forward and back. Her jaw ached from the pressure of his fingertips. Her tongue flopped, making speech nothing more than a clumsy effort to appear human.

“Tell me, you little bitch! Tell me!” Julian pushed her head back. An insidious urge to snap her neck leapt upon him. Lily’s face paled into a small stone circlet. Perhaps she saw the beast pressing him to kill her and be done with it all. Her black gaze reached out. It sucked him in and smothered him like tar.

Julian shuddered from disgust. Being this close to Lily, scenting her, tasting the tiny particles of sweat covering her skin, taking her into his body as surely as he flowed into hers, made him forget. It made him forget the humiliation he suffered at her hands, at hands such as hers.

So great is my rage, so great is this insidious need to push her away even as I drag her back by her ridiculous hair.

Her coloring was too much. Black hair, black eyes, dusky skin promising swarthiness if exposed too long in the sun…all of it too much.

Julian longed for the peace his eyes found when in the presence of pale hair, eyes, and skin. A long, lithe, willowy frame fit his arms so tenderly, promising companionship without confusion. Lily’s body, small as it was, rioted with curves. It muddled it his body, this juxtaposition of tiny stature and a woman’s lushness.

Pinpricks of color bloomed beneath his fingers. Julian’s insides coiled. Lily’s blood, her wretched, impure, disgusting concoction of instinct and impunity dragged him closer. His mouth touched her chin. He closed his eyes, head moving slightly as if hearing the symphony of life and death play between them.

“Lily, you are filthy creature. If I caged you up, locked you far away from prying eyes, how long would it take to turn you into an animal? A week? A day? How long, Lily? Should we try? No? That’s too bad. I am going to lock you up, you know. I’m going to lock you up in cage right in front of the whole world.”

Lily bent her head until it rested against his. She whined. Inevitability had already chained her to him long ago.

“Tell me, Lily. Call me by name.” Julian slid his hand away. Lily’s mouth hung open obscenely. He pulled back to look at her. Limp, sweaty hair, glazed eyes, and puffing breath all created a tableau of sexual satiation.

A lie, like so many of the ones between them. A beautiful one though.

Lily’s entire body fixated on Julian’s lips. She wanted to taste and ravish him. The wish that she could have a penis, if only for an hour, just to fuck him senseless shocked her.

Only a little.

She never would have birthed this deviant thought for Ian. However, Julian made her hard, wicked, and immoral.

He wanted her to call him by name. As if he could draw her closer by making her pronounce those gliding syllables. Stupid man. Julian already had her in his net.

Lily open and shut her mouth, imagining herself as his fish. His dinner to cut open, consume, and take into him. It sickened even as it made her press closer. Her tongue slipped out and tasted the corner of his exquisite mouth.


He rushed forward and slammed her against a tree. Lily’s sharp cry hushed into a trembling moan. Julian’s mouth, his precious, gorgeous, hurtful, sharp, terrible mouth attached itself over her virgin nipple.

Devil’s Descent II update 4-8-10

Estimated reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Lily watched her mother leave the room. She waited until the footsteps faded into the muted sound of a carefully closed door.

“You actually can obey orders. It’s very gratifying to know.”

“Douglas…” her tiny voice paired alongside a placid countenance attested to a battered opponent. “Is there anything you would like before you take your leave of us?”

The vampire possessed a smirk worthy of a well-fed cat. “Are you offering me sustenance?”

“What would you like?”

Julian beckoned Lily to him. He noted her stingy steps. Amusement charged the air with mischief. Once she stopped an arm’s distance away, Julian snapped out and hauled Lily to him. He ignored her hiss and settled his mouth above her carotid artery. It throbbed and jumped madly.

“How about you, Lily?”

“You’re not still hungry. You already fed from…Nicole.”

“Hmm. True. Maybe I’m just a glutton, Lily.” He feathered his lips right above the skin. The tiny hairs sprang to attention, currying for his favor. “Maybe I just wonder how virginal you’ll taste.”

Lily stayed silent.

“Oh, you’re being so submissive, darling. I like it very much.”

She tried to burn a hole in the floor with her dogged stare.

“Are you not going to screech in my ear? Hmm. That would disappoint me if you lost all your fight, Lily.”

She remained rigid in his hold. Her mouth hardened like her posture.

“Maybe if I bite you I’ll get to hear a little screech. What do you say?”

“I say you won’t. You have no interest in feeding off of me. I’m not food for you.”

“Sounds like a dare.” Julian’s fang tips scraped over Lily’s neck. “I’m not above indulging in childish antics. After all, I’ve endured yours all night.”

Lily inhaled sharply. Ridiculous pleasure threatened to rob her numbness. She wanted to drive her fist into his throat. Knowing it wouldn’t do much but satisfied with the symbolism, Lily struggled to keep her impulse in check.

She’d already been reprimanded for her aggression more than once by her mother. She wasn’t going to go for a third. Not tonight and not for him.

“Lily? Lily?”

His sing-song voice penetrated her resolve. Anger, familiar, beautiful anger, boiled beneath her skin. Lily hated their game. Hated the way things had degraded between them. Honesty used to be their language. Now it was a thing difficult to find amidst all the pretty words and hissed curses.

“Douglas. I want you to leave. I can’t make you because my mama wouldn’t approve. Instead, I’m asking you to go.”

Julian pulled away. He released her arms. “Why? Is my company that repellant to you?”

“The way you are now? Yes. It is.”

His eyes flashed gold. “Do you think you are so much more amusing this way?”

“I’m not trying to amuse you, Douglas. I’m just trying to survive.”

“I see.”

“Do you really?”

“I do.”

“I don’t think so. You come into my life as someone I can look up to, someone I can trust. You protect me, become the brother I never had and father I needed. I grow up with you. I fall in love with you. And then you leave. You leave me and come back as someone else. You hate me. You hate me for not knowing you existed. I can’t help that, Douglas! I can’t help that no one saw fit to tell me who you really are! Last night you wanted to kill me. You. Wanted. To. Kill. Me. And…I…no. I’m not…going…”

Lily walked briskly into the kitchen and out the back door. Her words, the most honest ones she’d spoken to him since their reunion the night before, dug away at her insides. They exposed her for the lost, abandoned child she really was.

She stalked past the tiny ash pile, remnants of the blanket she burned just that morning, and kept walking. She went past the vegetable garden, past the flower beds, and past the shed. Lily walked, disheveled and barefoot, and mourned. Tears slipped past their ebony cage, free to show their existence when no one was watching.

Lily became aware of footsteps echoing hers. She wiped her cheeks and stifled the swollen sobs pouring from her mouth. Her humiliation complete, Lily saw no other option than to stop and turn around.

Julian stood only a few feet behind her. “If you wanted to speak outside, darling, all you had to do was ask.”

“Stop it. Stop being so nice to me when you don’t mean it at all!”

“Of course I mean it. I’m courting you now, Lily.”

Grim Alice update 4-5-10

Estimated reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

“Oh, my sweet girl. I pity you but so look forward to seeing you both burn.” Director H. looked back at the pool. “Pooh! I should’ve left you on the stairs. Back with you, my girl.” He lifted Alice up by the hair and carried her back. “Director K.?”


“Anytime you are.”

Sensation halted. Sound caved inwards. Director H. felt his body freeze for a moment too tiny to be classified as miniscule. Time resumed, unnoticed and forgotten by the naked girl named Alice.

“Director H.!” Thin arms clasped about her chest. “What are doing here?”

“I’ve come to fetch you, dearest.”

“Really?” Alice tilted her head to touch the bubbled strands with the tips of her shrunken fingers. “I still haven’t finished washing my hair. I didn’t think I was in here that long.”

Ruby eyes gleamed in secret amusement. “Time means nothing and everything here. It really can’t be trusted.”

Alice considered him, noticing how his new suit matched his colorless hair perfectly. It hurt her eyes to see such beauty.

“Do you like what you see, Alice?”

The blush most teenaged girls would’ve produced failed to color her cheeks. “I do. You’re very handsome, Director H. Why is that?”

“Superior genetics, my dear. Superior genetics.”

“You’re very lucky.”

“Really? Why do you think so?”

Alice shifted in the water, belatedly bringing her legs up to attempt at modesty. “The rules don’t belong to you.”

“Don’t you mean apply?”

“No. Belong. People like me belong to the rules. People like you don’t. You’re so beautiful you shouldn’t exist. Humans say you should be a monster but you’re not. Not in that way. You’re something else so beyond rules. You’re lucky.”

Director H. crouched down. His face, smooth as marble, beckoned Alice to touch it. She kept her arms crossed but her fingers itched.

“Would you like me to finish washing your hair?”

This time Alice’s cheeks erupted in violent color. “Oh, no. I can do it myself. Really. You don’t—” Her throat choked. Director H.’s gloved fingers took her hair and massaged it into a whipped confection of scented bubbles. “I really could’ve done it myself.”

The wretched whisper produced an ear-splitting grin. “I know you could have. You’re so independent, my dearest. One of your finest qualities if not your worst. Indulge me.”

Alice’s posture reminded him of someone else—it was as inflexible as Yukio’s. “Do people scare you often, Alice?”


“Even when they’re…hmm…how should I say this? Abusive?”



“Because you can’t abuse me if I don’t let you. I don’t let anyone do it.”


“Never.” Alice risked moving her head. She looked at him. “Abusing my body isn’t the same as abusing me.”

“You’re warning me. Alice, my love! I have no interest in hurting you.”

“Then why ask?”

“Because your partner definitely has every interest in doing so.”

Paint By Numbers

Estimated reading time: 16 – 27 minutes

Image Credit: dimitri_c @ Stock.Xchng

I’m playing on my canvas yet again, Angst Junkies. I have had the pleasure of meeting via Twitter an extremely talented writer by the name of Penny Jane Goring. She weaves passion with a lyrical tongue. Her work is raw; chaotic in perfect order. Bone, Dust, Disco is a glorious example of Penny’s unapologetic, always moving, evolving poetic style. It is raucous, whispering, lamenting, shouting, loving all at once.

Reading Penny’s work has inspired me to experiment with my prose. To push the boundaries of how I tell a tale. I am not a poet but I would like to create with a poet’s freedom. The story is ragged about the edges. Not polished and written right off the cuff. Part literary storytelling mixed in with ambiguous imagery. It may develop into a novella. It may not.

Paint by Numbers is a story about love but it is not a love story. Not in the traditional sense. The adoration is circular, familiar patterns repeated in unfamiliar ways. I don’t know how it will end but maybe that’s the point.

“Paint By Numbers”

Life runs in cycles. It is guaranteed when nothing else can be.

Born. Die.

Love. Lose.

Hate. Love.

Lust. Hate.


Love always drove the cycle. In its basest form at times, barely distinguished as such, but there nonetheless. Another tick to the tock. Another way to begin. Another way to end.

They had many cycles. Many lifetimes of love, hate, denial, betrayal.

Though they never called it such.


The first had been eons before in a place where time meandered instead of flowed. The world, faithful to its virgin cycle, stood on the cusp. Knife above the wrist, all it needed was a handful of giants to see-saw the blade.

He had been the one to kill them all.

She had been the one to see it coming.

Kae and Kaen. Names so much like keen.

“It will change everything. The Gods sanction it. This. It is my duty to serve. We will be safe when the culling begins.”

“No God’s word can be trusted, Kae. You know that.”

Still she welcomed him inside her, despite the worries gnawing her mind. Her love for him, purest, devoted like a simple-minded pet, drank the madness siphoning off him.

If her smiles lost their sun brilliance so be it. If her eyes dimmed as she looked about so be it. If her shoulders buckled more and more so be it.

He loved her for it. He hated her for the same. His caresses, once so tender, amalgamated into something else. Bit by bit—poison in a matter most tolerable until it kills.

Walking so close to the Gods did something to his psyche. Burned it, molded it, worked it into something new. Something monstrous.

He plucked her out of the glittering purple towers, cordoned her into a cage of his making. Deprived of sight, sound, smell, touch, taste of anything but him.

The last night in that world of forever finds her suffering courage.

“I want to go home.”

“This is home. I am home, Kaen. Where I go is where you live.”

First thrust of the blade leaves the victim numb. She bleeds out in ignorance. Her words, staccato bits of pleading fall out of his ears as quickly as they enter.

“Please, Kae. I don’t like this. Just stop this. Don’t do this. Don’t help them kill us all.”

“Kaen, it is over. There are no more tomorrows.”

Her heart shrivels. She continues to move. Empty spot where flesh mated love.

“You’ve lost your mind. You’ve lost everything that made you. You’ve lost me.”

A rough shake, hair twining like spider webs around his wrists, before he pushed her down onto the bed. Sprawled legs, bite marks ravaging the tender skin, bruises replacing kisses. Liquid slides, fun for all and fun for none, leaving her gasping muttered incantations of loathing.

He kisses her. Blood stains their lips. He whispers, “You’ll like the new world. It’ll be perfect, free from our flaws. Absolute. It goes back to absolute. We can start over. You won’t even remember this.”

“You’re wrong. I’ll find a way. I swear it.” She takes him inside her mouth, sucking, pulling, lapping, swirling her tongue along the head in mimicry of unfound magic, setting a spell to her curse.

Somewhere in the night the sky turns orange. Everything is incinerated. Including an entwined couple whose names sound so much like keen.

The Gods came. They didn’t need the bodies. Just the newly-created souls.


The second. Much like the first and nothing like it at all.

He loves her. She doesn’t love him.

She’s drawn to his devotion. She loves to see herself in his liquid eyes. She accepts his overtures, his food, his strength, but not him. It doesn’t matter to her that he’s loved her since she was born and he only a few winters old.

No. She hates him.

She doesn’t know why. There are many things she doesn’t know. She doesn’t know why the sun leaves the sky. She doesn’t know why the moon cries when dark is its sharpest. She doesn’t know why he keeps after her when all she wants is for him to go.

They mate.

It is violent. It is glorious. She hates him more than ever before even while she hungers to have him mate her again. She thinks if he can just stay behind her, inside her, she’ll love him a little.

They cleave to a scraped out portion of the cave. It’s theirs alone. Scratching, biting, moaning. More moans than screams lately. Somehow she found herself atop him and stayed. Variety has introduced more love in his gaze.

She is repelled.

Not by his dirty fingers, musky odor, or even hers. She is repelled because she’s sticking to him. She’s forgetting the hates and remembering something different. She sees a flower and knows it is purple. Purple like the rocks spiking into a sky that used to be another color.

She leaves. Quivering like the beasts roaming the earth, she becomes half-mad with memories slicking through her like stagnant water.

She remembers. She doesn’t. She remembers more. She slams her head against a tree in time to the thoughts collapsing her mind.

More. More. More.

She finds another. Same hair, same eyes, same body. It’s him but not.

She mates him too.

Physical pleasure is scarce, satisfied like an itch before it starts up again.

He finds her. He finds him. He kills him in a matter most savage.

Sticky with blood, he comes to her. His grunts, screams, and cries morph into a slur she’s heard in her head. She looks at him, seeing him but seeing someone else. She hears him and another him all at once.

He rips into her and she screams. His echoes. Her stomach heats as hot as the blood smeared across her neck. She understands him. She understands herself. She hates him still but she hates herself more.

Her lips smash against his. She dribbles stone memories. They flow down his throat in a cadence he’d understand if only he could remember.

The Gods have been forgotten and this is her punishment for disjointed recollection.

Once finished but not sated, she pushes off of him. She runs away. Not in fear. Not in hatred. Her feet cut across the rock, leaving pieces of herself as red as the sky in her mind.

When she jumps off the cliff he follows. Always following, always loving, always forcing her to remember.

She angles her body, seeing him coming for her. The wind pulls at her skin.

Update 4-6-10

She whispers garbled memories. His old name keens.

They both shatter against rock.


Enough time passes. The Gods, fickle and sincere as they may be, realized the bones needed to stay buried until forgotten. Resurrect the souls too quickly and the meat puppets end up splattered.

The world evolves into something predictably destructive. The end is beginning again even if the final chapter is too far off to be considered a threat. Primitive roaming stops. Humans swarm like ants—localized and territorial. Stone rise in neat patterns.

He is now a man of wealth and power. The need to acquire rides him. Hardness blunted his limbs from memories he’s buried deep so they can’t ever hurt.

She’s a slave in his sand fortress. Her name is, “You there!” At first it frightened her beyond speech to be addressed by him. His temper ferocious, his power infinite, he had complete dominion over her. Night-black stare followed by curling hair, he is beautiful like a knife.

The first time she came to his bed it wasn’t a bed. He grabbed her by the arm and thrust her to the ground. Her arm throbbed in time to her ragged breath. She wants to speak, to plead for gentleness, but the words die.

They’re reborn into stingy bits of air.

He put his head down between her legs. His tongue rasps down and up. She’s reminded of the furred creatures roaming at will. She’s too afraid to let herself feel. It’s only after he’s withdrawn that she remembers the virgin bliss she’s had in a life too hard to be enjoyed.

He pushes into her, clamping his stone hands around her hips. She doesn’t even realize she’d been sliding away like sand. Afterwards, he tells her to go.

When she cries in asphyxiated silence he looks away as if she’s not there.

Somehow she didn’t expect it of him. Even she knows she deserves a slap for thinking blasphemy.

He never calls on her. She’s not worthy to be one of his perfumed, jeweled concubines. Instead, he pushes into her when there are no eyes to see his preference. Their couplings are rough but not violent.

Like a cut, painful but without the devastation of a missing limb.

He takes her everywhere but in his chamber. She’s not allowed to cross that threshold. He doesn’t speak to her except to tell her, “Turn over. Stand up. Come here. Down on your knees. Up on your knees.”

She likes those commands.

“You there! Get out.”

She doesn’t like those.

It’s the Sun Celebration. He marries a woman from far across the desert. She’s beautiful in the way of exotic.

She looks nothing like her lady.

She cries again but knows there’s no helping it. Such was the way for a girl named, “You there!”

He doesn’t fall upon her for many, many days.

She begins to forget the couplings. She forgets what it was like to clasp muscled arms. She forgets his stolen taste.

Her body can’t forget. It thickens into a small hard ball. She knows what is to come.

Update 4-14-10

She wonders what will become of her, of her little seed. She touches her stomach often. A smile finds him on such an occasion. Stroking, touching, protecting with her fingertips she stands in one of the labyrinth corridors, unaware of him watching her.

Her heart bursts for this small part bulging out her always-too-flat belly. She loves the boy/girl child without fear. She never thinks of death in the beginning of this life.

Stone hand pushes into underdeveloped flesh. She captures the scream before it runs. She’s too terrified to feel anything else.

He hisses questions at her, demanding to know who’s tasted her, who has put his bastard in her. She shakes her head, unable to form speech. He crowds her. The questions tumble over her like chains.

“Who? Who did this to you? Who?!”

Finally, she finds courage to name him. She expects to be murdered. Her tears run hot like his rage.

He takes her. Tiptoes strain to fly over stone to match his ravenous strides. He puts her into an empty room. No eyes to see what is to come and no mouths to repeat it. He demands for her to repeat herself.

She does. Her hands tingle with something forgotten. She feels rage lick at her restraint.

His black stare devours her. He takes one step towards her. She takes one to meet him. She knows there is no good ending for slaves who do what she is going to do.

He reaches out, enormous hand hovering above her cheek, and then thanks her.

Murderous self-destruction halts. She thinks he’s already killed her with a blow to the head.

He sees the confusion. He knows its cause. He repeats himself again. Again. And again. He confesses many things. He shares how she dances in his mind and has since they were children. His admits how his eyes never see anything but her.

She stands mute, mouth stitched by words.

When he lifts her gown she remembers to breathe. He goes down to his knees. His cheek rests against the tiny life they created. She sees herself in his shiny gaze. She wonders if he’ll dig out the child in his eagerness.

He takes her into another room. This one enormous and nearly empty. A bed, bigger and more beautiful than she can imagine, crouches in the center. She wonders if she’ll get to see it as he pushes himself inside her.

He barks her name. “You there! What are you looking at?”

His gentleness evaporates like their rain storms. She realizes they are no longer alone. Several slaves scurry about, bringing in wares she’s only allowed to touch in duty. She notices she’s been staring at a male slave and not seeing him.

He dismisses them. His brow snaps together. His expression terrifies, reminding her again how much power he holds over them all.

He tells her never to look at another man. Ever. He tells her she is his private slave, beholden only to him and their child. He describes her life from that point forward.

There’s nothing. Nothing to fear, nothing to do.

He chews his words. They nourish him in a way she doesn’t understand but accepts.

They bathe together. He keeps touching her despite the blushes. He slides into her. Their hips undulate in the hard rhythm that marks their couplings. He’s spent but she’s not. He drinks of her over and over again. She’s cleansed inside and out.

When he finally takes her in the bed she lets her cries fly.

Her cage is her own and she is pleased.

Time passes far too quickly. She loves her rooms. She loves the freedom of nothing. She loves to eat. To sleep. To love.

He comes to her every day and many nights as well. Very few eyes are allowed to see the thickening waist draped with gauze. She is his and his alone and he will not share.

Their lady hears tales of his slave-queen. She cares for none of it.

Bit by bit, grain by grain, poison will have its way.

She feels the weights dragging at limbs gone numb. She reasons it must be because of her pregnancy and hours spent in love. His eyes miss nothing. They gleam like polished rock.

She doesn’t question the new slaves about the old ones. Slaves like them, like her, were as numerous as the sand in her food. They never fully went away.

Finally the day comes when she must bear fruit.

She keeps the agony inside, contained in the muscles to be used as strength. This she has learned well. Too well. Pain, her faithful companion, is so common it can’t be distinguished from its plethoric variations.

He comes to her. He sees a living corpse. Whiter than white, she lays there, pushing, fighting, living only to die. Fear claims him. He knows she won’t see the morning.


It takes her many moments to realize he’s speaking to her. About her.

“My name. You know it?” She pants in a long version of speech.

“Thank you.”

She smiles. Shiny with sweat, in agony that rends her womb useless but for this one time, she smiles. He wonders why only now does he remember seeing her before. Later he dismisses the memory as those spawned by the drugging incense.

She pushes out their son. He’s small but strident. His screams bring more smiles in his mother.

She dies with a smile.

He sits there by her side and keens out her names.

The Queen dies without a smile. She chokes on her own blood.

He never remarries.

His son is a greater king than him.

Many grandchildren are born before he finds death.

Update 4-24-10


That life produces a line greater than the star-filled sky. Too many to count. The Gods are pleased. So are they. For a time that feels like forever and never all at once, they see each other and remember. Cleansed of the hate but filled with regret, they are eager to try again. They believe the next life will be better, longer.

They are wrong.


This time she is white like a flower. White hair, white skin, eyes so light a blue they’re silver. She is cherished, adored, and worshipped for looking like a goddess. Hidden in a temple, kept sated, she is happy with her life. Peace is like a net. It allows her safety from the hungry pinchers of man.

This time he is colorless with power. Whiter hair, whiter skin, eyes so light a brown they’re gold. He is brutalized, hated, and tethered for looking like a spirit. Exposed in an army, kept hungry, he is miserable with his life. Hatred is like cage. It keeps him embittered from the endless cruelties of man.

Hatred keeps him well-fed even when pushed beyond endurance. He grows larger, stronger than the biggest shadow. He kills without remorse. He fights his way to the top of their war machine. He controls them, directing their base savagery to benefit him. Disobedience is met with instant death.

None can topple him. What was once hated is now revered.

Love inspires her to serve those who serve her. The supplicants believe she can protect them from harm. Whispers of a black army tearing through their country drives them to her temple. Flowers adorn every inch of walking space. Her crimson robes drag the petals wherever she goes.

She can’t admit her fear. They love her too much.

Eventually he arrives. Knowledge of wealth beyond compare tugs him to their splendid mountain. His pitiless stare strips the walls clean of defense. He knows his soldiers will breach the temple before nightfall.

He sends them forward with a punch of his fist.

Inside the death cage, the supplicants swarm over their lady. They scream for divine mercy. Terrorized beyond coherency they beg for her help. She knows of only one way to do it. Her silver stare freezes, trapping the overwhelming love she feels for them all.

Dusk seizes the day when the walls give.

He leads them in, leashing their savagery with a bloodless stare that stretches to the very last man.

The streets are littered with decaying flowers and fresh corpses. They swarm in controlled patterns. Every man, woman, and child lie dead. Hundreds of them. Perhaps thousands. He eyes the slit throats with dispassion. This scene of mass suicide matters not to him. He doesn’t fear the revolt of an army filled with blood-lust. Gold will keep them in line.

He rides to the center. The ivory temple shines like his skin. He sees her seated on a throne and believes this little goddess to be dead too. Black robes, blood-red hair pricks his curiosity. Her swollen hand clutching the ceremonial knife snares his attention.

When she rises on swaying legs, the men murmur in death whispers.

He sees patches of white. Neck, crown, and leg.

Her hair is like his. So is her skin. In all the world he had razed, never had he come across another like himself.

She views them through bloodied lashes.

Update 5-9-10

The love she had once, liquid and warm like honey, hardened into something malignant. Her beautiful world was gone. Beloved friends, disciples, and supplicants were dead by her hand. She looked down at it, seeing the puffy skin attempting to swallow the knife whole.

Memories burst all at once.

The faces dropping back like broken flower stems, necks exposed to her with precious trust and devotion. The skin so soft, so trusting, so pure for her silver death. The children cried. Their screaming terror, wordless pleads for a bit more life, drove into her ears. She remembered how the weeping mothers and fathers held them still. Their taut shoulders and liquid eyes pleading for quick, flutterless death.

Her hand, her rotted, deviant hand, had struck true. Their precious baby skin had parted the easiest. Severed cries morphed into pitiful gurgles.

She swayed before the white demon. She watched him watch her. He was pristine, clean in the middle of all that precious death. His white hair, braided back high on his head, shimmered like dying starlight.

His lips moved. Their fullness a tribute to crimson, clotted gluttony.

Her arm rose. There was no more reason for one such as her to exist. Goddesses could only live if someone believed in them. Her believers all lay dead. It was time for her drop among the sickly-sweet blossoms.

For a young goddess, she had become ever so wise to what awaited her. None would remember her. None would mourn for their beloved deity. She might very well have killed the mother who had birthed her and the father who had carried her to this temple the very night of her birth.

Eyes dropping, sewing themselves shut with blood, couldn’t see him approach. The world switched to black. Fingers tightened, nails digging into the sticky handle, needing to ensure her strength for one more slash.

Wrist locked, will immobile, she created the violently beautiful move to end her reign.

Liquid agony wrapped her hand. She screamed a tiny, pitiful sound. Lashes struggled to release their bloody hold. He stood before her. Gloved fist possessed hers. He shook his head once.

Rage. Unfamiliar, poisonous rage turned her into a paper monster. She roared at him. Her eyes became steel. They promised terrible suffering for thwarting her precious, pure will.

He squeezed his fist.

She keened. Her head snapped back. She slumped away from him.

He dragged her to him with restrained, careful movements. The stench of blood didn’t offend. It was familiar, if not always desired. He knew what he wanted from this child-woman. His burning stare flicked at the ebony men pacing about the perimeter.

Their base desire meant nothing. He would crush them like the flowers beneath his heel.

Let their fucking be assuaged when they returned to camp. Their followers were many. The conquered trinkets would be plenty to assure a pleasing romp and gentle hand for these hardened warriors.

He looked at the unconscious creature cradled like sin against his fighting arm. She pleased his need for likeness. She could’ve been his dearest sister. Instead, she would become his slave.