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Archive for the category “Flash Fiction”

Flash Fiction #68 – Call Me Crazy

flashficsong

This month’s flash fiction song is one I’d never heard before this challenge. It’s called “Call Me Crazy” by Travis Collins. The video is here and the lyrics are here if you’d like to give a listen/read.

Content warning: some violence and allusions to abuse. 

The dirt was clay. She fucking hated digging into clay. It was wet and cold and almost slimy. It sucked at her shovel, stuck into the treads of her too-big, borrowed boots, and made it difficult to get any real power behind the tool, but she’d manage.

Despite the damp chill of the October evening, she was starting to break a bit of a sweat, but that’s what digging a three foot deep hole would do to a person. Dusk settled like an old musty blanket, muting the changing leaves, and dulling the sky. Soon, the only light would be the running lights on his truck.

He’d be pissed if he knew she was letting it run with the doors open so she could hear the music while she worked. Of course, it was so old, it didn’t even have a cassette deck. And it was stuck on that fucking country music station. But, it was better than the eerie near-silence of the rapidly approaching winter–nothing but small animals rustling through the dried grasses and the honking geese up and leaving this desolate place, flying to warmer climes. She’d always wished she could do the same. But, maybe now, she wouldn’t need to.

She straightened as she surveyed the hole. It was finally deep enough. A shiver snaked down her spine as the chorus of one of his favorite songs drifted to her from tinny-sounding speakers. An audio ghost haunting her from a lifetime past. She pushed through the chill. Maybe it was appropriate this song was playing tonight. Though, it was more of a eulogy than he deserved.

Planting the shovel in the mounded clay, she walked to the back of the truck and dropped the pickup’s gate. Thankfully, the tarp-wrapped body hadn’t moved much on the drive out here. Rolling it to the edge, she dragged the deadweight over her shoulder, and hoisted it in a fireman’s carry. Bastard was heavier than she would have thought, but she’d gotten him this far, she could move him a few more yards.

A muffled groan startled her, and she nearly dropped him, but she kept going until she could fling him into the hole. There was a sickening crack as he hit the bottom, then nothing but the tail end of his favorite song and her harsh breath. She filled in the hole then drove over it, repeatedly, for good measure before shifting the fallen tree to cover the signs of disturbed earth. The same one she’d moved to dig the hole in the first place.

Sure, someone might find him someday. If they cared enough to look. But they’d also find the evidence of everything he’d ever done to her–every photograph, every video tape–all sitting in the middle of his kitchen table. Along with his muddy boots on the mat by the door and his truck parked in the driveway.

And she’d be gone. Long gone where the ghosts of the past had been laid to rest.

Okay, that’s it for me this week. Be sure you check out the other stories by clicking on each blogger’s name. 

Jess * Siobhan * Gwen * Kris * Deelylah

Promptly Penned: Glass Balls

promptlypenned

Prompt: While cleaning the attic, he/she finds a box of glass balls with names on them. One drops and as it shatters, a person appears.

 

Fuck my life. 

Emily looked around at the mountains of boxes, trunks and bags in the attic. This was not how she’d envisioned her mid-term break. When she’d agreed to stay on campus to assist the chair of the anthropology department, she never imagined it would involve cleaning out what was apparently a hoarder’s paradise in the woman’s attic. Yet, here she was…not only cleaning a hoarder’s paradise, but organizing and cataloging it, too.

To be fair, she’d accomplished a lot in the last four days. She’d collected all the random piles of books laying around and boxed and labeled them by subject. She’d organized a collection of tribal masks and another of elaborate early 20th century hats, She was still adding to the pile of medieval-looking weapons she’d leaned against the wall in the far corner of the room, and all the loose papers were just getting tossed in a box. Someone else could deal with that nightmare. But there was actually a decent amount of floor space now.

Setting aside a stack of crumbling newspapers, she found an old hatbox. Lifting it to place it near the other headwear, she heard clinking inside. Setting the box on one of the many tables in the attic, she lifted the lid. Inside, were tinted glass balls in a variety of colors. As she peered closer, she realized there was lettering etched on each one.

The green one read: Bruce Banner. A rose-colored orb was inscribed with the name, Elizabeth Bennet. The red with Hannibal Lecter. And the purple with Willy Wonka.

What the actual hell was this?

She carefully moved aside the ones she’d read to see what inscribed on the others. Éponine Garrod encircled a rust-colored ball, and Sherlock Holmes, the blue. Bella Swan was written on a clear one and Diana Prince on the gold.

Emily pulled out the gray ball and snorted as she turned it over. Christian Grey.

The clanging sound of metal hitting wood startled her, and she dropped the orb, the glass shattering at her feet. Heart in her throat, she whirled toward the clanging noise. One of the swords had fallen from where she’d propped it against the wall.

She turned back to what was left of the orb in time to see gray fog swirling and coalescing into the figure of a man wearing what she guessed was a pricy suit with a gray tie.

“Miss Anastasia Steele, I presume?”

She took a step back. What the fuck was even happening here? “I’m sorry, what?”

“You are Miss Anastasia Steele, are you not?”

“The fuck I am.”

“Language, Miss Steele. I don’t tolerate such coarse behavior from my bed partners. Now, fetch some decent clothing. Borrow something from that dreadful roommate of yours if you must.”

Emily stared at him wondering if an excess amount of dust could produce visual and auditory hallucinations. It was the only explanation.

“I’m not Anastasia Steele.”

He stared at him. “You’re  a college student. You’re clumsy. Who else would you be?”

Staring at him, her mouth fell open. How was any of this even possible? Maybe that clanging sound was her falling and hitting her head. Maybe she was unconscious and her brain was short-circuiting with this bizarre scenario.

“Time is money, and you’re wasting both. I’m a very important man Miss Steele. I have a helicopter and everything.”

Emily burst out laughing. She couldn’t help it.

“We’ll be taking Charlie Tango to your doctor’s appointment. You need birth control.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you, douchebag.”

Out of nowhere, a crop materialized in his hand, and he started toward her. This could not be real. But his very real hand closed around her upper arm and yanked her toward him. She tried to lurch away from him, but he held fast.

“I’m going to enjoy punishing you,” he murmured in her ear as he tried to drag her toward the door.

She look around for anything to use as a weapon. She was too far away from any of the actual weapons she’d put in the corner. Her eyes fell on the glass balls. She grabbed hold of the gold on and smashed it on the floor, hoping for the best. A swirling gold fog took the form of Diana Prince–Wonder Woman–shield and sword in hand.

Slowly she lifted her head, and her dark eyes fell on Emily then Christian. “You.” She leveled her blade at him. “Release her.”

“I will not. She signed a contract.”

“No I didn’t!”

Diana moved closer until the metal point rested on his neck. “I said, release her.”

Christian let go of Emily’s arm, and she scrambled away from him as Diana stepped behind him, keeping the edge of her blade across his neck.

“Are you all right?” Diana asked?

Emily nodded. “Thanks.” She gestured toward Grey. “Now what?”

Diana smiled. “Now, I take him somewhere he can learn respect.” In a swirl of gold and gray mist, they were gone.

And Emily immediately began looking for bubble wrap.

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check and see what the other blogger’s did with the prompt.

Jess * Kris * Gwen

Flash Fiction #67 – Forest

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46036540 - colorful dreamy; foggy autumn forest scene background.

I’ve decided to do something I don’t do often, and that’s continue an existing flash fic story, but I think this photo prompt will do nicely. I’m hoping that you’ll be able just pick up here and read if you haven’t read the others. But, just in case, here are parts one, two, and three.

Eion’s muttered “fuck me” was still ringing in Hollis’ ears as she blinked, trying to make sense of what she was seeing. Somehow, in this room, in the sub-basement of the university’s library, was an entire forest. At least, it looked like there was an entire forest.

It not only looked like there was an entire forest, it smelled like it, too. The sharp fragrance of fallen leaves mingled with the more pungent scents of long decayed vegetation and dank earth.

Brilliant red oak leaves blanketed the forest floor, while mist slithered through the tree trunks and the bare, low-hanging branches. The sky was that odd greenish-gray color it only ever seemed to turn in autumn–right before an early snowstorm. A cool, damp breeze brushed her cheek, lifting her hair slightly and sending a chill down her spine. She pulled the sleeves of her oversized sweater over her suddenly cold hands. There’d better not be an early snowstorm while they were…wherever they were.

She glanced at Eion. His blue eyes were wide, and his lips were parted slightly as he looked around, seemingly taking in everything around them. “What the actual merciless fuck is this place?” His tone accusatory, he turned to face her.

“How the hell would I know?”

“You’re the one with the bloody key.”

“Well, I didn’t know it would lead here.”

He reached out, and his fingers brushed across her neck as he caught the cord the key hung on and pulled it from inside her sweater. She tried not to shiver again.

“Where did you get this, anyway?”

“My grandmother kind of willed it to me when she died.”

Standing far closer to her than was entirely comfortable, he turned the key over and over in his long fingers, inspecting it from every angle. “How does someone kind of will something?”

Hollis explained about her cousin and the trade they’d made in the lawyer’s office.

Eion frowned. “Who would have a tantrum about an inheritance?”

“Kylie Edgerton. Back row of the eight am session of History 101.”

Eion laughed. “You two share DNA?”

“Not willingly,” she muttered, snatching the key from his hand and turning away. She needed to put some space between them. He was even more attractive up close, and the last thing she needed was for her TA to realize yet another college freshman had a crush on him.

Glancing up, she realized that the mist had crept closer, swallowing the few evergreens that grew in amongst the oaks. “Eion?”

“Yeah?”

“I think it’s getting darker.”

He glanced around. “It’s definitely getting creepier.”

“Maybe…” she willed her voice not to shake, “we should come back during the day?”

“How do I know you won’t come back without me?”

“Really? You think I’m going to go to a spooky magical forest by my damn self?”

He looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. “I don’t recall anyone forcing you to sneak down to the sub-basement and open one of these doors, love.”

Okay, he wasn’t wrong about that. “Well, I don’t know that I would have gone in if not for you and whoever was coming down the elevator.”

Crossing his arm over his chest, he raised an eyebrow at her. “Right.”

“Fine,” she mutttered. “I promise I won’t come back without you.”

“Good.”

They turned back toward the door, and Hollis’ lurched forward, her head swimming violently. Eion caught her, tugging her into his side as they both stood there and stared. The door they’d come through was gone as if it had never been there.

The door was gone.

The wall was gone.

There was nothing but blood-red leaves and creeping fog all around them.

That’s it for me this week, be sure to check out Jess and Siobhan’s stories, too.

Flash Fiction #66 – Criminals

flashficsong

This month’s song fic is inspired by Criminals by Ms Mr. Here are the lyrics and video if you want to give it a go.

 

Doug looked around the conference table, not letting his gaze settle anywhere for too long–not even on Vanessa. How in the hell had they ended up here? Christ, he wasn’t even sure if he meant the two of them or the nation as a whole.

“Look,” Tony said. “I’m just saying, it’s hurricane season. There’s probably not a better time to roll this out.”

Vanessa nodded. “And it’s the start of the school year. According to our our studies, anxiety for both parents and students–not to mention teachers–is at an all time high.”

Doug’s skin crawled, and he shifted uneasily in his chair. That uneasiness grew when the guy from marketing, whose name he could never remember piped up.

“With all of the on-campus protests and demonstrations, not to mention the rise in shootings, we’re golden.”

“Don’t forget all the marches held by the general public,” Katy said. Ticking them off on her fingers, she added, “Trans rights, women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, healthcare, LGBT rights, marches for and against white supremacy. Eddie’s right, we’re golden.”

Eddie. That was his name.

“And there’s always the threat of nuclear war,” Tony said. “I don’t know anyone who isn’t worried about that. ”

At least eight people frantically scratched notes on pads of paper or typed rapid-fire on their laptops, others nodded thoughtfully.

Someone Doug didn’t recognize added, “We may have to work with the media to amplify the coverage some of these, but there’s really no better time to roll this out.”

Murmured agreement flew around the table.

Vanessa leaned forward and smiled at Doug, then addressed the room at large. “I’d like to introduce you all to Doug Freeman, one of our top scientists and developers here at PharmaCaresNational. He’s going to explain how the drug affects brain chemistry and neurotransmission.”

How was his wife–the love of his fucking life–sitting here, completely at ease in this meeting? How was he still in his seat, let alone in this company?

Tony gestured toward the wall. “We’ve got a whiteboard here, if you need it Doug.”  Turning to the others, he said, “Pay close attention everyone. If you have questions for Doug, save them until the end. And remember, if you’ve got an idea for marrying the effects of this drug with any of these specific fears, jot them down. There’s a lot of money to be made here, people.”

Doug’s stomach lurched violently, and his hands began to sweat. Jesus-fucking-Christ. They were all criminals.

_________

No…I’m not feeling cynical, this morning. Why would you even ask that? Anyway, be sure you check out Kris and Siobhan’s stories, too.

Flash Fiction #65 – VW Bug

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17241577 - color shot of a vintage car in a forest

I pulled the giant handknit sweater over my head. It was way too big for me, but I didn’t care. It was warm and cozy and something about it made me feel safe. It wasn’t even my sweater. My mom had knitted it for my brother, Kevin–hence the giant-ness–but he’d left it at my apartment a few years ago, and I’d never managed to remember to get it back to him.

I scooped up my keys and phone from the table and headed toward the door.

“Cat? Where are you going?” Jesse called from the other room.

“Just out for a bit.”

“Will you pick up milk while you’re out? The other jug went bad, and I want cereal.”

You could always get off your ass and get it yourself.

I didn’t answer, just pulled the door shut behind me and jogged down the stairs, eager to get out of the stifling heat of the apartment. Jesse constantly complained that he was cold, hated to have the windows open, and turned on the furnace at the first sign of an changing leaf.

The cool crisp air swirled around me as soon as I stepped outside, and my hair immediately blew in my face, catching on my balm-slathered lips. Tucking the strands behind my ears, I squinted into the weird autumn light. There’s no other time of year when the entire sky can look like the inside of a dull pewter bowl but the leaves glow as if they’ve been lit from within, because somehow the sunlight is still managing to get to them even though, there’s no sign of the actual sun. It’s surreally beautiful, but eerie and unsettling, nonetheless.

There was something about September… Maybe it was the start of the school year and that anticipation that pervaded the neighborhood whether you were in school or not. Maybe it was the swiftly turning leaves or the weather that grew chillier by the day. It could be the scent of woodsmoke in the air. Or the pumpkins ripening in the field. Whatever it was, it made me restless.

Too restless to walk down to the party store to get Jesse’s milk. Too restless to walk to the park. I wanted to go farther than that. I needed to go farther than my feet could comfortably carry me. I wasn’t even sure where, but I needed to go.

My phone’s text tone chimed, and I glanced at the screen. Will you get Poptarts, too?

I tossed my phone in the passenger seat of my ancient VW Bug. Well, like the giant sweater, it was Kevin’s, too. But he was gone to god knew where. On September 26th, it would be three years.  No one knew where he’d gone. No one had heard from him. Not even our mom.

I started the car and put it in drive. Maybe he’d been restless, too.

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories.

Jess * Siobhan * Kris

Flash Fiction #64 – Ghost

flashficsong

This month’s song fic was inspired by Ghost by Halsey. If you’d like, you can read the lyrics here and/or watch the video here. 

“What are we even doing?”

Ryan sighed. “We’re trying to get some sleep because we have an early flight.”

A car drove slowly down the street, its headlights bouncing around the perimeter of the bedroom, and I shifted against the pillow I had propped up against the headboard. In the temporary illumination, I stared down at the man in my bed. My husband, I supposed.

It was weird. Like I was looking at him from a distance despite the fact that if I shifted, I could feel him next to me. But it was still as if I were looking at him through inches-thick plexiglass. Trick of the light or trick of my broken heart? The car fully passed, plunging the room into darkness again.

He wasn’t the same man I’d married. Though, to be fair, I wasn’t the same woman I was ten years ago, either. I knew why I’d changed. If you spend long enough kissing someone whose mouth is always full of lies, it poisons you. Changes your perception of everything around you–even yourself.

I missed the guy I’d fallen in love with, but more and more lately, I was wondered if he ever existed. The soul I’d loved had vanished, and in its place was an empty shell I didn’t recognize. And even more important, I didn’t like him.

His breathing had deepened and evened out as another car passed, illuminating the room again. The white fabric of his t-shirt seemed to glow. He was a ghost sleeping next to me.

But I was done trying to sleep. And I was done swallowing lies.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories. Hopefully, they’re a little more upbeat.

Jess * Kris * Siobhan * Kayleigh * Gwen * Deelylah

Flash Fiction #63 – Beach People

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42086649 - beach, party, summer.

“Emily! C’mon! You’re missing all the good shots! I want pictures with all my bridesmaids!”

It wasn’t that I didn’t like the beach. I liked it fine. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be there with Rosalind or our other friends. I liked them just fine, too.

“I’m coming. Hold your pants on!”

I liked the beach.

I liked my friends.

But I’d been in love with Rosalind for the last three years, and watching her getting ready to marry Brad was nothing short of torture.

That’s it for me today – super short flash fiction. Be sure to check out Jess and and Siobhan’s stories, too!

Flash Fiction #62 – Breathe In, Breathe Out

flashficsong

This month’s song fic inspiration is Breathe In, Breathe Out by Mat Kearny. Here are the lyrics if you want to check them out. And here’s the video.

Sweat stood out against his almost waxy-looking skin as he sat slumped forward on the edge of his bed, elbows balanced shakily on his thighs. Every part of him shook, and his sheets were in a sour-smelling tangle behind him.

He looked up at me, eyes completely bloodshot around irises that were still the darkest blue I’d ever seen. “Go away.”

I know he’d meant to growl it, but it had come out weak and almost lifeless.

Lowering myself to the floor, I sat cross-legged in front of him. He was older. So much older. And frail. Like I could break bones without trying. An amber-colored glint under the bed caught my eye. I reached beneath the bed and grabbed the half-empty bottle of whiskey.

“That’s mine.” He reached out for me–or more likely, the bottle as I stood and walked to the sink. I didn’t bother looking at him as I poured it out. I didn’t want to see the expression of desperation mixed with hate that I knew would be on his face.

After I washed my hands, I returned to my spot on the floor.

“Fuck you.”

There wasn’t as much heat behind it as he’d intended because he’d started shaking violently again. His hands clenched and unclenched, repeatedly curling into painful looking fists as his breathing turned jerky and panicky.

Reaching out, I grasped his clammy hands and held on. “Breathe with me, Dad. Breathe in. Breathe out.  You can do this.”

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out the other stories, too!

Promptly Penned: Rock Bottom

promptlypenned

Prompt: Well, apparently, Rock Bottom has a basement. 

I looked around the crowded bar. There wasn’t another server free. “Motherfucker,” I muttered under my breath. I’d have to take his table.

Sighing in resignation, I pulled the hairtie off my wrist and quickly pulled my hair up into a sloppy bun. I turned toward the bar where Veronica, one of my fellow waitresses, was loading up a tray with drinks and plucked the hot pink, prescriptionless glasses off the top of her head and shoved them on my face.

She glanced at me as she lifted the heavy tray off the scarred bar. “Got a creeper?”

“Something like that.” I grimaced and adjusted the glasses as I walked to his table.

He glanced at me then back at his menu. There didn’t appear to be any glimmer of recognition. Sometimes, a different hairstyle and ugly glasses were all it took.

“Are you ready to order?”

He did a doubletake. “Samantha?”

I didn’t respond. Unless glaring at him balefully could be considered a response.

“I haven’t seen you in class lately.”

I tilted my head to the side and just stared at him. The sheer magnitude of his douchery exerted a force too great for me to keep my head upright.

“No,” I finally answered. “I don’t suppose you would have. I dropped out.”

He sighed in seeming disgust. “Well, that was stupid.”

It was then that I noticed the hot, young blonde in the booth with him. I’d been so distracted by my dread of having to interact with this man, I hadn’t even seen her. She was a beacon of golden perfection, I honestly can’t understand how I’d missed her in the first place.

Something inside me snapped. I turned to address her. “Look, I know he’s hot. Smart is sexy and all that. But take it from someone who knows, he’s completely void of any kind of moral compass and has no business being an educator.”

I could hear my voice getting louder, but I couldn’t quite manage to quiet myself. Conversations around me in the capacity-packed restaurant sputtered to a halt. Too bad I couldn’t make myself do the same.

“He doesn’t give a shit about you,” I continued as the girl stared at me, eyes wide and lips parted. “He’ll fuck you, and then he’ll steal your research, slap his name on it, and when it comes time to defend your dissertation, you’ll have nothing. And you know what? The sex wasn’t even all that good.”

He blinked at me as I saw the night manager barreling my way from the corner of my eye. She looked pissed. 

I glanced back at my former advisor.

He cleared his throat and turned to the blonde. “Chloë, this is my former student, Samantha.” Then he looked at me. “Samantha, this is my daughter, Chloë.”

Well…apparently rock bottom had a basement. Fucking fantastic.

That’s it for me today, be sure to read Jess, Gwen, and Kris‘ stories!

Flash Fiction #61 – Dude in Cave

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18708479_s

This story is a continuation of one that started with another flash fiction, but it should be able to be read as a stand alone. But if you’d like to read the whole thing, here are parts one, two, and three.

At Eoin’s whispered curse, Hollis slowly turned, and her breath stalled in her throat. Of all the things she expected to find beyond the elaborately carved gothic door, a cavernous, underground tunnel — or maybe it was a cave — hadn’t been on her short list. Which, when she thought about it was kind of dumb. After all, they had been in the underground vault of the university’s library prior to going through the door.

Reaching behind Eoin, she felt for the doorknob and gasped.

“What’s wrong?” he whispered almost soundlessly against her ear.

“The knob is gone.” As near as she could tell in the gloom, the door was still the same. She could feel the raised carvings, except, as she moved her hand over the surface, they were quickly becoming stone. “Fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck.”

At Eoin’s inquiring murmur, she grabbed his hand and placed it on what remained of the wood and watched his face as he registered what was happening. His eyes widened, and he turned and looked at her, seeming unsure for the first time tonight.

“Now what?” he asked.

She shrugged, her shoulders brushing his chest as she realized how close they were still standing. “Can’t go back. So…I guess we go through.”

“I don’t suppose you had the foresight to bring a torch, did you?”

She reached into her jacket pocket and withdrew the small flashlight. “I’ve got the one on my phone, too, but I don’t want to kill the battery.

He nodded. “Same.”

She pushed the button, and a narrow beam of light revealed more of their surroundings. Rough walls, ceiling and floor — naturally formed — from the looks of it, extended for what seemed like forever. She suddenly felt very small. She wondered if Eoin did, too, because he reached out and grasped her free hand, lacing his fingers through hers. The comfort was immediate. And despite her earlier annoyance at his threat of blackmail, she couldn’t help but be glad that he was with her right now.

Hollis scanned the floor again. It looked solid enough. There weren’t any gaping fissures or bottomless underground pools that she could see. Though, she was slowly becoming aware of the sound of rushing water. There must be a subterranean river down here somewhere.

She took a cautious step forward, and he followed. “Where do you suppose we’ll end up?”

“Faery.” His muttered response sounded more like an epithet than an answer.

She snorted. “Right.”

“Where do you think we are, love?”

She shivered as they walked forward, telling herself it was a chill from the surrounding dankness as opposed to his casual endearment or the way his accent seemed to roughly caress his words.

“In a cavern under the library.”

“With a doorknob that disappears and wood that magically turns to stone?”

He had a point. She shivered again, but this time it had nothing to do with him or the chill in the air. She fished her cell phone from her back pocket. There was no signal. Not that she’d really expected one in a cave or whatever this was, but she’d hoped.

She watched as he checked his phone, shaking his head before powering off the device and pocketing it.

They walked for hours — it felt like it, anyway. The path ahead was getting lighter — bright enough that they’d notice any potential deathtraps, so she switched off her flashlight. As they rounded a bend, they both squinted as mouth of the cave suddenly opened up before them.

The world beyond the cave’s mouth was bathed in an eerie golden glow, and as the details slowly came into focus, her breath caught. There was a man standing there. She couldn’t quite tell if he was facing them or looking the other way.  Either way, he looked imposing.

He turned with a movement as fluid as a dancer, and Eoin’s hand tightened around hers. “Fuck me swinging.”

That’s it for me this week, but I will be continuing this at some point. Be sure to check out Deelylah’s story, too.

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