Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Dark Enchantment - story 5: Cold Hands, Warm Heart

Phleurgh. (That's the noise a writer makes as the last of her brain dribbles out her ear. ) After several days of toil I have finally got a new page of notes for Dark Enchantment up on my website. So if you are interested in reading about the sources for the stories, the secrets of the writing process and my usual injudicious ranting - go into the main page, scroll down to the DE picture and click on the "author's notes" button.

Story 5 in the collection is the one of which Charlotte Stein said "In particular I loved the very nasty and disturbingly hot Cold Hands: Warm Heart" - read her full Amazon review here. It's a ghost story in the classic M R James style, set pre WW1. Two young gentlemen, Morgan and Thorpe, are sitting vigil for a ghost in Morgan's ancestral home. If the master of Levingshall ever spends the night there, local lore says that the ghost of a young woman wronged and drowned by his forebear will turn up and kill him. And sure enough a young woman arrives: cold, wet, pulseless and mute - but also oddly passive. Morgan sees the opportunity to take advantage ...

I unfurled a corner of the quilt in order to expose her arm to the fire. The skin was still wet. Droplets stood up in the delicate crease of her elbow. Water was still running out of her hair. I bit my lip. The counterpane should at the very least have blotted up this moisture. This was not natural.

‘Want my jacket?’ Morgan asked with ill humour.

‘She’s still soaked. I think the water’s coming from her.’

Cautiously, he circled back for a better look. ‘We could get her out of that wet dress.’

My mouth was dry, to make up for the cold water wicking into my clothes from the girl. Her linen shift was translucent where it adhered to her skin, and tented over the pebble of her nipple. That detail had not escaped Morgan either; he hunkered in front of her and ran his fingertips down the inside edge of her shift’s deep neckline. ‘What do you say, Alyse? Like to get out of your nasty petticoat?’

She didn’t respond to the name. But she took his hand and laid it on her full, teardrop shaped breast, and a hungry breathy noise issued from those pale lips.

‘Well, ghost or no, there’s no doubt what sort of a girl she is,’ Morgan murmured, his voice thickening to hoarseness.

‘I don’t like this,’ I stammered.

‘Really? You should get a handful of what I’ve got.’ He squeezed, and she moaned and surged into his grip, her shoulders writhing against my chest.


‘Stop being such a bloody prude, man.’ He sniggered, and I could see the doubt and the nervousness evaporate from him. ‘She’s frantic for this; can’t you see? Maybe this is what she wanted all along, all those years. Think about it – she came to the house desperate to make the beast with two backs with Lord Price, and died unfulfilled. Maybe all she’s needed is for someone to give her what she wants. Maybe she just needs the Master of Levingshall to give her a good, hard seeing-to.’

‘Think about Cicely!’ I protested, as the girl rolled her head back on my shoulder, her lips parted, little breathy pants shaking her breasts as Morgan played with them. Her aroused nipples poked through the wet linen like accusing fingertips.

‘I’ve thought about Cicely until my balls are blue,’ he growled. ‘Don’t you dare reproach me Thorpe; I’ve had enough of waiting for what’s mine. Now the Lord of Levingshall is going to do his duty.’ He took hold of the wet cloth. ‘Let’s get you out of those wet things, shall we my girl?’ With a good hard pull and a twist, he tore her shift open down the front. Unnecessary, I thought. But I said nothing. I have always been weak compared with Morgan. And despite my protests nd my misgivings, it would be dishonest to pretend that the darker part of me was not moved by that girl moaning and writhing in my lap.

‘Take a look at those beauties!’

Her pale skin was marbled with blue veins and her nipples were only tinted with colour, but they stood stiff and responsive to his touch, beaded with running droplets of water. She reached out for him, her slim hands stroking his face, but he slapped them away, grimacing.

‘Your hands are like ice! What about the rest of you, girl?’ Morgan threw back the counterpane and completed the sundering of the dress with swift movements, laying her bare all the way to her pubic mound. She was as slender and as pallid as I’d anticipated, her private fleece cured to ringlets by water. He slipped his hand between her thighs and she writhed her hips as she parted them willingly for him. Then she uttered a moan – a real moan; a soft, thrilling sound – and arched against me. Despite my soaked and freezing clothes my cock stiffened at the unmistakable noise of a woman’s desire. Morgan had gone still. His eyes met mine.

‘What?’ I demanded, my voice unsteady.

‘Cold all the way through,’ he whispered, and his lips curved cruelly. I could see the muscles working in his wrist. ‘But wet there too. Gloriously wet. And she’s no virgin.’

Alyse’s hands reached for him again, pleadingly. He pulled back in annoyance.

‘Hold her arms out the way, Thorpe.’

‘What are you going to do?’

‘What do you think? Hold her tight.’

Buy at Amazon UK (1 copy left at time of writing!) : Pre-order at Amazon US

Next excerpt on Friday.


Nikki Magennis said...

Ooh, I'm glad I got my copy early!

The other day, after reading DE I think I finally *got* erotica! That is to say, I understood how stories can turn the reader on on lots of different levels - after reading a few I was horny and fascinated and awed.

The worlds and characters and writing are just brilliant. I was really thrilled by each of them, and by the book as a whole.

(- And a little pissed off because I now have to work harder to make the project I'm trying to do better.)

I think my favourite is 'And their flying machines.' Although I love the ghoul in the last story too (and the title!).

- Your notes are fascinating, btw.

Kristina Lloyd said...

So hot! I love this excerpt.

Your notes are wonderful - thank you for calling me 'smart and scary'! I'm thrilled.

And there are now none copies of DE left on Amazon because I just bought the last! Oh, why doesn't the postman hurry up?

Charlotte Stein aka The Mighty Viper said...

Oh, my fave!

Just read your notes, too- I love what you had to say about And Their Flying Machines. In truth, I hadn't even thought much about the "forced" sex! It doesn't really come across as forced at all- and that must down to the obviously measured, thoughtful approach that you had. How odd that erotica writers more often seem to think about that sort of thing than some romance writers! But you're right on that score, too.


P.S. God I love me some bleeding suffering warrior, too. Preferably just after his bird's died and his house has been burnt down and he can hardly walk so I have to *ahem* nurse him back to health and teach him to love again. Oh Titus Pullo/Clive Owen- how you fire my imagination!

Janine Ashbless said...

Holy cow. I'm overwhelmed, everyone. Nikki, that's one hell of a compliment.

I'm glad (and relieved!) you're thrilled, Kristina!

I don't know why I started with the book notes Charlotte but once I did I had to carry on. Maybe I'm just being egotistical, maybe I've got a secret hope that someday people will be studying my work for English Lit *wipes away tear* - okay, you can stop laughing now - or maybe it's that whenever I read a story that really interests or challenges me I want to tie the author to a chair and demand "Did you really mean that?" "Why did the hero do that?" etc etc. I like clear answers!

I take fiction way too seriously...

And seriously ... I'm sort of surprised that anyone does read them but thanks guys!

Craig Sorensen said...

These excerpts are truly amazing, Janine. Very vibrant. Very tactile. You can transport the reader (at least this reader!) I look forward to the US release so I can get all the goods.

I think I understand what you are saying about writing the notes.

The process of creating fiction is mysterious and wonderful, and it's worth taking a serious look.

Janine Ashbless said...

Thanks Craig - glad you're enjoying the excerpts, and I dream of having the whole US frothing at the bit with frustration! ;-)
Hold on till March guys!