Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sick-bed (pt 2)

Author's note: I feel like I should apologize for this. The whole scene just came together poorly, in my opinion. I'll try to come up with something better next week.

Mercilessly, he ran his fingertips lightly over each ticklish spot on my foot. Determined not to laugh, I forced myself to breathe slowly. Noting my resistance, he arched an eyebrow. He pressed his nails against the curve of my instep and slowly dragged them down the length of my foot. I bit my lips together. He let go of my foot with a small noise of annoyance.

“Not even a smile,” he mused, “This is serious.” I glared at him in exasperation. He plucked the blanket off me and motioned towards the stairs. “We need to get you to bed right away,” he said, doing his best to look solemn. The mischievous twinkle in his eye shattered his attempted propriety. Deciding to humor him, I rose and made my way across the room. I started up the stairs when he suddenly swept me off my feet and into his arms.

“I can walk up the stairs just fine,” I groused.

“Nope,” he said in mock seriousness, “You might fall and hurt yourself. You are very frail.” I rolled my eyes and sighed. “Even now, you sound exhausted,” he continued, carrying me up the stairs with ease. He carefully navigated the turn in the hallway and made it to our room. Setting me down upon the bed with great care, he said firmly, “You should rest.”

“I'll just lay here and stare at the ceiling,” I said dryly.

“No, no staring at the ceiling,” he chided as he turned away from me. I looked over at him and was about to make a sarcastic comment when all thoughts of snark went out of my mind. Having divested himself of his shirt, my lover simply left me breathless. The sunlight played over his shoulders and made the golden highlights in his hair glow as it fell in a mass of waves down his back. Casually, he tossed the shirt onto the chair beside the door and stepped over to the dresser.

I watched him in the mirror, noting the solemnity of his expression as he prepared my next dose of medication. I realized that I ached to curl up against his muscular chest and listen to his heart beat. At the same time, his tanned, bare flesh cried out for me to run my hands over his skin. I thought about the warmth of his body and smiled. He walked over with the tiny white pills sitting in the palm of his hand.

A sudden chill gripped me and I shuddered. “Hrm,” he mused, “I should get you some water.” I held out my hand, expecting him to drop the medication into it but he walked out of the room. When he returned, he held out the pills between his fingertips. Realizing that I wasn't going to succeed at arguing I could take the medication with out his assistance, I opened my mouth and let him place the bitter things on my tongue. He held the cup of water to my lips and I drank deeply.

As he moved the cup away from me, he suddenly tipped it to the side. The last remaining few drops of water splashed out onto my stomach. He heaved a mock sigh of disapproval. “We must get you out of those wet clothes before you catch a chill,” he said, looking over at me with his exaggerated look of seriousness. Unable to help myself, I giggled.

I sat up and raised my arms over my head, unable to stop giggling as he took the flannel shirt off. He dropped it to the floor and ran a hand down my chest and over my stomach. He took hold of the waistband of my fuzzy, soft sleep pants and peeled them off me with brisk efficiency, pulling my panties off with them. He smiled at how I blushed despite myself when he allowed the hunger he felt to show on his face.

“Body heat will keep you warm,” he said moments before stepping out of his pants. His erection stood out proudly as he walked around to his side of the bed. He stretched out beside me, sitting up long enough to grab the blankets and pull them over us. He wrapped an arm about me as he slid up close beside me. “Mm,” he purred in my ear, “You're chilly. I should fix that.” I shivered at the erotic tones in his voice.

“You know, this isn't a good idea,” I said. The other half of my statement melted into a liquid sigh as his hands moved over my body with a silken touch. Slightly woozy with my fever, I found myself helpless in the face of his merciless gentleness. Feather light caresses seemed to settle upon everywhere from the waist up. Firmly, he guided me to lie upon my back.

He rolled on top of me, his erection pressing insistently between my thighs. I shivered with pleasure and the fever's touch. His mouth settled over mine and he kissed me, stealing my breath. Between the weight of his body and the length of the kiss, my illness weakened lungs burned and I felt like there simply wasn't enough air in me. Rather then panic, this had merely served to heighten the sensations that came from how his body moved against mine.

I struggled with the urge to cough and turned my face away from him as he pushed up onto his arms. Pressing my face into the pillow, I coughed. My body seemed to be held suspended between the pleasure of his nude body against mine and the misery of the aches and pains of illness. He skimmed his hands down my sides and shimmed down my body.

I groaned in pleasure and then gave an undignified sneeze. Rather then being deterred by this, he gave a little laugh before nipping at the skin just over my left hip. I sneezed again and he bit me harder, leaving marks behind. I yelped in protest. When he dragged his tongue over the marks, I found myself positively dizzy with pleasure.

When he lifted his head and began teasing the bite mark with his fingers, I found myself ready to throw the covers off us. Anticipating this, he said firmly, “Don't move.” I thought about saying something but then he parted my thighs and placed a kiss on my labia. He lapped at my sex, slowly stoking my arousal until I shuddered with my orgasm.

I gasped and suffered through another coughing fit. He lifted his head and made a thoughtful sound. He made his way up the bed and looked down at me. “You're not well enough for much more, are you?” he said thoughtfully. I looked up at him, torn between blinding lust and crushing exhaustion. He settled himself between my legs and gently began to fuck me. As my second orgasm rolled over me, he thrust harder and faster. Soon, I had a third orgasm as he climaxed.

The sheets and blankets in disarray, I shivered at the cool breath of air that blew in the open bedroom door. “My poor baby,” he sighed, pulling the covers over me. Wrapping me in his arms, he snuggled up close. As much as I hated to admit it, the warmth of his body helped as much as the rush of sex to soothe the aches out of my back. I thought about expressing concern that he was going to come down with the virus now but sleep dragged me down into unconsciousness, leaving me only enough wits to be aware of the warmth of his body and the soothing nature of his presence.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

First adult novel!

Seeking Sanctuary is up and available for purchase.

If you've enjoyed my little scenes, take a moment to pick up a copy of Seeking Sanctuary. It tells the story of Vivian Westerly and Johnathan Winters. They are reunited lovers who were thrown together by their mutual friend and mentor Margaret Kronick. Lots of D/s and such in the story. Amusingly, the kink is only part of the story. For this is also the tale of how the Orion group (a syndicate of criminal businessmen and weapons manufacturers) are trying to get their hands on the Stone - Kronick and Westerly's great discovery that can transmute lead into gold and do so much more.

The e-book will be up later this week.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sick bed (pt 1)

Author's note: I'll try to write more of this later. This is what little I could accomplish despite being ill and having the attention span of a goldfish. Devotional writing is sometimes more difficult then journaling and sometimes it is easier. Today, it falls on the difficult side of the ledger.

“I feel awful,” I grumbled, pulling the blanket tighter about myself. The cold just made me miserable. It was only aggravated by the weather being raw and unpleasant. Sitting on the wide settee with the tartan blanket that had been in his family for generations, I was in a sulk. He looked at me and smiled.

“You're the most beautiful woman in the room,” he soothed. I looked over and discovered a tray with a hot cup of tea in his hands. He had some how divined that it was precisely what I was in the mood for.

“I'm the only woman in the room,” I retorted and he laughed as he set the tray upon the little table that was at my elbow.

“Then you have no rivals to worry about,” he responded. I couldn't help the derisive snort as I reached for the tea. His large hand moved with a surgeon's deftness, sweeping the cup away from my grasp with out spilling a single drop. “Nope,” he chided, “Temperature first. Hot beverage next.” I rolled my eyes and restrained the snarky comment that came to mind. He held the thermometer out and gave me an expectant look. With a sigh, I opened my mouth and then closed it upon the device. As I waited for it to give the inevitable conclusion that I was indeed feverish, I watched him set the tea cup down upon the tray and rearrange the small assortment of toast, biscuits, and fruit upon the tray.

“Now, let's see what we have, shall we?” he said as the thermometer chirped. I opened my mouth and he took the device. A small frown curved his lips. As cranky as I felt, I couldn't help the small twinge of guilt at the fact that he lost his pleasant smile that he had earlier. “You're almost due for your next dosage. Drink up, then we'll get you off to bed.”

“I'm sick and tired of sleeping in bed all damn day,” I snapped. He fixed me with a stern look over the top of his glasses. “That's all I've been doing for the last two days. I'd like to spend some time doing something other then sleep,” I continued, realizing after the fact that my words came out more like a whine then I had intended. He adjusted the blanket over my lap, making a point of tucking the end over my chilly toes.

My nurse-maid gave me his best glare. Arms crossed over his chest and stern disapproval written all over his face, he silently made it quite clear that I had no chance of winning this argument. “Drink your tea,” he said mildly, “Then medicine and bed for you.” Sullenly, I took up the steaming cup and sipped. I found myself quite unable to help the sigh of pleasure as the honey laden beverage soothed the ache in my chest with its warmth.

I leaned my head back against the back of the settee and closed my eyes. I was bored. I was restless. Most of all, I felt guilty for the fact that he wound up taking a day off from work to tend to me. Here we were, two o'clock in the afternoon, and I was still in my flannel pajamas. A pregnant silence filled the room and I opened my eyes to look at him. “Drink up,” he said, gesturing towards the cup. I took another sip and glared at my feet.

Feverish and wrapped in a woolen blanket, I still felt like my toes were ice. “Feet?” he asked. I nodded. He moved the blanket off them and began to rub them between his hands. “You truly are beautiful, no matter how ill you feel, you know,” he said gently. I scoffed. His warm hands massaged my soles as he looked appreciatively at my toes. “Every last, little toe,” he said, lightly running his finger tips over the tips of my toes. I moved to pull my foot away when he gripped my ankle. “I'm not done yet,” he said firmly, “Finish your tea.”

I arched an inquisitive eyebrow as his hands moved to my ankles. Lightly, he dragged a single nail down the back of my left ankle. I yelped and nearly spilled the tea into my lap. His gaze flicked from my foot to my face. Something implacable lurked there and I took a hasty, inelegant gulp of tea to avoid gaping at him. The barest hint of a smirk twitched his lips. Allowing me a few more moments to take a few more swigs of the rapidly cooling tea, he watched me like a cat would a mouse.

Deciding that it would be wiser to set the cup aside before asking him what on earth he was thinking, I turned my attention from his ominous stillness to the table at my elbow. The moment that my hand was well away from the cup, he dragged his nails from the heel of my left foot up to just above the ball. I yelped and tried to pull my foot away out of reflex. The smirk emerged as he repositioned himself to hold my ankle tightly against his side.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Interruption (pt 3)

His lips against my cheek, he murmured, “Don't move, little dove.” He turned the knife so that the edge was resting against my skin. The steel whispered over my left collarbone and I groaned. My heart hammered harder as I felt that storm grow close to breaking beneath my skin. He set the edge vertical against my shoulder about an inch from my neck.

Slowly, he drew it downward. I gasped at first and then, unable to help myself, I threw my head back and I screamed. The orgasm shook me hard. The pleasure was so intense, that I didn't feel my head strike the wall or hear his laugh of triumph. All I was aware of was the burn of the cut and how the edge of the knife ever so slowly parted my skin. When he lifted the blade away from my shoulder, he had scored a mere scratch of a bare inch in length on me. In the moment, it felt as though it was more.

He dipped his head and ran is tounge over the beads of blood welling up along the scratch as he put the flat of the blade against my upper arm. The combination of sensations threw me over the edge again. My second orgasm didn't make me scream but my knees threatened to give out beneath me as I shuddered hard and gave a low groan. He made a small noise of disappointment and turned the edge of the knife against my skin again.

I gasped as he lifted his head and scored another line in my skin. I wept and struck my right fist against the wall. He gave an amused chuckle before stepping back. A single drop of blood hung pendant on the knife's edge. I stared at it, consumed by the thought of the taste of blood and the idea of taking the knife in my mouth as I would his penis. Some how knowing the thought that passed through my mind, he brought the blade to my lips.

I opened my mouth and with infinate care, I licked the drop of blood away. It seemed to melt on my tongue, bringing to mind the taste of his cum. He carefully placed the blade farther into my mouth, smiling as my eyes rolled and I began to breathe faster. With the greatest of caution, he put the edge down against my tounge. Careful not to cut me, he slid the knife in and out of my mouth. As he forced me to felliate the knife, my mind went to the thought of doing so with his erection.

He took the knife away from my lips and turned it so that the unsharpened edge was against my jaw. Too caught up in the sensations to notice the difference in the edge against my skin, I groaned with my orgasm as he dragged it down my throat and over my chest. He came to the waistband of my skirt and slipped it between the fabric and my skin. I shuddered with pleasure.

I opened my eyes and looked at him, feeling drugged with lust. He stepped back and I suddenly wondered what I had done to make him leave. My breath froze in my throat as he stepped out of his pants. A part of me wanted to throw myself on my knees and take him in my mouth. Another part of me wanted to shimmy out of my remaining clothes and beg him to fuck me. Trapped in indecision, I merely stared at him.

He took the knife from where he had set it and held it in his teeth by the handle. He then took hold of my skirt and pulled it down off my hips, taking my panties with it. Crouched at my feet, he took the knife out of his mouth and gestured towards me with it. He inscribed a small circle in the air, indicating that I was to turn around.

I did so and then gasped as he ran it up the back of my right leg. He moved back away from me and pulled me towards him. “Hands on the wall,” he said firmly. I braced myself against the wall, finding that I was looking down at the floor. I tried to guess what he was going to do next only to gasp in surprise when he lightly traced a line across my lower back with the tip of the knife. “Don't move,” he commanded.

My knees almost buckled as the head of his erection pressed into me. Slowly, relentlessly, he penetrated my slick sex. I gasped, shuddered, and came several times before he was fully inside me. Buried deeply in me, his erection felt impossibly large and hard. Pinned into place by his manhood, I could only whimper as he resumed dragging the knife over my skin. At first it seemed random lines he was drawing on my back. Then orgasms overtook me and the world seemed to go white with pleasure.

It seemed an eternity that I was trapped in that place of pure delight. He lifted the knife away and my senses returned slightly. My entire back seemed lit afire. I would have squirmed if I had the presence of mind to do so. He then passed his hands over the raw skin and a crushingly powerful orgasm slammed into me. In that moment, he wrapped his hands about my hips and began thrusting hard. I whimpered and then screamed as he seemed to thrust harder and harder with each motion. All thought had fled me and I was left only with animalistic howls of pleasure.

When he had spent himself, he stopped moving. His softening erection was buried almost painfully deep in me. My body was ablaze with pure lust. I whimpered and made other sounds, pressing my fingers hard against the wall, trying to claw my way into it. He leaned forward and wrapped an arm around me. His free hand snarled in my hair and he pulled me upright. As he did so, I wailed with pained pleasure and sagged against him, not caring that he had slipped out of me as yet another orgasm rolled over me.

In my ear, he whispered one word. “Mine.” I shuddered, groaned, and came yet again. He abruptly let go of me, watching as I crumpled to my knees. I whimpered, squirmed, and arched with pleasure as a faint breath of air curled over me. He towered over me as I writhed with mindless lust. The faintest of drafts whispered over my skin, making me groan and cum. Satisfied with his work, he put his pants on and left me laying on the floor in a strange mixture of agony and ecstasy.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Interruption (pt 2)

I pulled back away from him, only exaggerating my torment as he closed his teeth tighter and my nipple was pulled away from me by the motion. “Stop...” I started when he changed his line of attack to dancing the tip of his tounge over the now hypersensitive flesh. I shuddered with pleasure, all thoughts of resistance flying out of my head.

His hands smoothly moved up my ribs to end with one at each armpit. I looked down at him in bewildered bliss before he dug his fingernails into the tender flesh there. I gave a small shriek of alarm and threw myself back out of his grip, his nails leaving long furrows in my skin that were almost deep enough to draw blood. He grinned at me.

“I'm not in the mood,” I snapped, “Not after that.” He took a step towards me and I retreated back a pace. He lifted one hand and made a come hither gesture. His gaze burned with lust and a cruel smile curved his kissable lips. The part of me that was holding to my irritation with the world was beginning to shift to a sudden need to flee as he slowly moved forward. Down beneath that surface thought, things inside me were softening and warming with need.

It had been a bad day. As much as I hated to admit it, I welcomed if not yearned for this sadistic little game of his. As soon as the thought struck me, however, it was mercilessly quelled and I looked away from him for a moment, trying to determine if I had a clear path to the doorway to the next room. That moment was all he needed.

In three swift strides, he crossed the space between us and backed me up against the wall. He took hold of my wrists and pinned them to either side of my head. I tugged at them, trying to break free of his grip. He laughed softly and tightened his hold, making the small bones in my wrist shift slightly. A little yowl of pain escaped me and I tossed my head.

“Come on,” he purred, “Fight me. Or surrender.” As he said the word 'surrender' his grin widened and a hellish light lit his gaze. I gave a little eep of alarm. He laughed and came up so close to me that we were nearly touching. His bearded face rasped against my cheek as he leaned forward. In that husky, tempting voice he said, “Either way, you're going to scream for me.”

My world swam. The rush of arousal that slammed into me would have made me stagger if I wasn't pinned against the wall. The horribly erotic promise laden word 'scream' made it suddenly difficult for me to breath. The warm, musky scent of him filled my nose and brought to mind the taste of his skin.

“Oh god,” I groaned. He laughed. It was like the bliss of the perfect bite of chocolate melting on your tongue, morning sunshine, and my favorite fluffy warm robe all rolled into one. “You're fighting dirty,” I gasped as he slowly breathed on my neck.

“Mmm,” he mused, “Efficent.” I shuddered. He nuzzled where my shoulder met my neck. “So, are you going to fight me?” he asked.

“Can we just say I argued with you?” I offered. He made a sound that was something of a cross between a growl and a chuckle before sinking his teeth into my neck. I gasped and cried out, my eyes opening wide in surprise even as I could feel my genitals growing warm. Continuing to make that terribly erotic, primal sound, he pulled his head back a bit, tugging on where he had bitten me. I tossed my head and kicked him in the shin as I flailed in sudden frustration.

He laughed and abruptly let me go, pushing off to step back a pace. He fixed me with his brilliant gaze and spread his hands wide. I shook my head, sliding my left foot towards the door. His gaze snapped to my ankle and then back to my face. He suddenly reached forward as I moved. His hands just missed me as I bolted for the door.

Again, he laughed. I scrambled around the corner and down the hall, desperate to put enough space between him and I so that I could gather my wits and breathe. I came to a halt before the end of the hallway and I looked back over my shoulder. With a wide, feral smile, he stalked forward. “You know, this isn't a good idea,” I babbled, backing up a pace, “Really. I've had a long day...”

My heart was racing. Torn between blind lust and unreasoning terror, I struggled to find words, coherent thoughts even. He stopped just beyond arm's reach as I was backed up against the wall. “It's about to get longer,” he said, reaching into his pocket. I swallowed past a sudden lump in my throat as he pulled out his pocket knife.

In the half light of the hallway, the edge gleamed silver when he opened it. I stared at the blade like someone entranced. I didn't notice him stepping closer to me, as I couldn't tear my eyes off of it. It glistened with a cold, cold beauty that betrayed it's razor sharp edge. I knew how sharp its edge was, for I had sharpened it just the night before. Slowly, the knife moved up to where it was before his face.

I blinked, surprised to find him so close. “Do you yeild?” he said quietly. I swallowed nervously. Suddenly, I couldn't fathom the meaning of what he was saying. All of my mind was consumed by the thought of the blade and that icy kiss of steel against my skin. Ever so slowly, the knife drifted towards me. He turned it slightly, sending a sharp thrill through me as the light flashed down its length.

“Do you yeild to me?” he said again, all amusement dropping out of his demeanor. For a brief moment, I was struck with clarity. I realized all that was being offered, not only the means to feed my viciously suppressed desires but something more, a way out of the horrible place I was in earlier. Unable to find my voice, I merely nodded.

He moved with the sudden speed of a snake striking. One moment he was standing solemnly before me, the next the unsharpened back of the blade was pressed against my throat and his chest was against mine. That was when I dimly realized he wasn't wearing a shirt. Slowly, the cold, cold steel passed down my throat just over my hammering pulse. Each agonizing inch, I could feel something building within me.

I struggled with the urge to toss my head and writhe as this terrible pressure build up deep within my bones. I bit my lips and shut my eyes as tightly as I could. His dark chuckle only intensified that rising force within me. His moustache rasped against my cheek as he placed a mockingly chaste kiss on it. I gave a strangled, almost pained sound of pleasure as a few tears escaped my tightly shut lids.

The warm, wetness of his tounge caught the salty drops as they fell even as it carressed my skin. I groaned but did not move.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Author's Note: I'll edit this later and add on the rest of the scene when I get the opportunity to finish it.

His hands settled lightly on my shoulders. “You're stressed,” he said in an equally light tone. The care with which hs approached me only heightened my irritation.

“I'm not made of glass,” I snapped. I didn't need eyes in the back of my head to know his expression. It would be droll or consillatory. It was almost always so when I got testy. I simply had been having a rotten day and I didn't know what I wanted.

There was a cold, calculating tone in his words that surprised me when he said, “Are you not fragile?” A part of me responded to that level tone by turning soft with arousal. Irritated by this, I scowled and started to reposition myself to get up out of the chair.

His grip on my shoulders hardened. I opened my mouth about to demand that he let me up. He pressed his thumbs hard against the pressure points on my shoulders. I gasped as the world went white with pain and exstascy. Held in that wickedly delightful and agonizing place, I was dimly aware of his voice as he said quietly in my ear, “Shall I try your strength?”

I tried to speak but could only manage a throaty moan. His touch suddenly turned light and I gasped, shuddering with pleasure. “Hmm,” he mused, “What you need is a distraction. Not all of this damned work infront of you.” As the rush of arousal began to subside, my annoyance surged back with greater force. I straightened in the chair and pressed my hands flat against it.

“No, what I need is to get this shit done,” I snapped waspishly, “You're not helping matters, at all.”

He moved swiftly and put me into a headlock. I tried to pull his forearm away from my neck as I shouted, “Not fucking funny.” He grinned and tightened the hold, putting firm pressure upon my throat. My heart beat quickened and despite my insistance of the contrary, I found myself enjoying his unexpected attention. Torn between maintaining my irate attitude or succumbing to his attentions, I grabbed at his wrist.

“Hilarious,” he murmured in my ear with that silken tone that always made my panties wet. Even as arousal pooled in my hips, anger flared. I twisted in his hold, reaching to pinch his thigh. He laughed darkly. “Oh, fight me,” he purred, squeezing tighter, “Pour that anger out on me, little girl.” His voice was like a caress to my senses and I couldn't help how my eyes rolled and the shiver of pleasure.

Breathless and dazed, I found myself profoundly thankful for the fact that I was sitting when he abruptly let go. He stepped back and gave me a feral smile of challenge as I turned to face him. “Come on,” he said, arousal making his tone rich and smooth, “You were looking for a fight. Come fight me.”

“Damn it,” I snapped, suddenly remembering my annoyance with the whole situation, “Does everything come down to sex with you?” His smile turned into a grin as he leaned against the wall. I stood up, attempting to will my heartbeat back to normal as he rubbed the stubble on his chin with the back of his hand. I started to step away when he suddenly stepped forward and took hold of my wrist.

I turned and tried to pull my wrist out of his hand but he continued to hold on, moving forward with the motion of my arm. We danced back a few paces. He wrapped his free arm around my waist, holding me firmly against himself. He smiled down at me. “Let g--” I started to demand when his mouth muffled mine. His kiss seemed to pour liquid fire into my veins and my knees started to feel a bit weak.

The hand holding my wrist let go and found its way to the back of my head. He took hold of my hair and broke the seemingly endless kiss to pull my head back. My throat bared to him, he lightly nipped at my pulse before gently closing his teeth over my windpipe. He made a low noise deep in his throat and I shuddered from head to toe in some pleasurable feeling that I simply couldn't identify.

His mouth moved down from my throat to the bit of my right collarbone peeking out the neckline of my shirt. His teeth closed over the thin skin and he rolled it beneath them. I groaned, failing to notice when he let go of my hair. His hands traveled down my shoulders and around my ribs. They paused long enough to cup my breasts as I swayed slightly on my feet. He gave a low, evil laugh before he took hold of the neckline of my shirt.

“Nasty bit of fabric,” he said with another laugh, “Let's get rid of it, shall we?” I had almost gathered my thoughts enough to respond to his statement when he tore open the offending garment. My squeak of surprise made him grin wolfishly. He pressed his face between my breasts and took a deep breath. Expecting him to gently tease my breasts with his mouth, I gave a startled cry when he bit down on my left nipple.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Visitation (part 3)

His thumb moved lightly along my cheekbone, as though he held a bird in his hands. Such care, such delicate touches left me weak. I closed my eyes in an attempt to quiet my mind. It only served to heighten the sensations of his touch. His voice was low and his face was so close to where my shoulder met my neck that I couldn't distinguish what he was saying at first, then it dawned on me that he was singing.

As I listened, it occurred to me that it was a very old song. While I couldn't understand the words, the tune lulled the frantic terror in my heart and I felt a lassitude pass through me as he sang. Cautiously, I set my right hand against his chest. He reached down and covered it with his own, his voice not wavering in his song.

I looked down at the hand covering mine. Work hardened yet clean, I could feel the strength in it. Just as that strength held me so gently and close to him, I realized, so it could protect me, if only I let it. The realization seemed to chase my terror away to the wind buffeting the hall. I was so tired of the caution and I felt heartsick for the grief I had experienced where I had sought kindness. Caught up in the morose sorrow that I felt over the past, I missed when he had finished his song.

As it occurred to me that he had fallen silent, I leaned away from him. His hold upon me softened, allowing me enough space to lean back far enough to take a good look at him. His expression was solemn as he looked at me. “Speak,” he said. I started to look away when he frowned slightly.

I swallowed nervously and said, “I'm nothing special...”

“You are special to me,” he retorted, “Go on.”

I restrained the urge to bite my lips and continued with, “What I mean is that I am just a normal...”

“You are amazing. You are strong. You love with the depth of the ocean. Why must you make so little of yourself?” he said, cutting me off again.

I opened my mouth to give a rebuttal and then realized that there really was no excuse for what I did.

“We must break you of this terrible habit,” he said, reaching up to brush a lock of hair from my eyes, “It is part of the reason why you are so sad all the time.”

I looked down at my hands, which had settled in my lap. “Listen to me, little dove,” he continued in a maddeningly calm and terribly compassionate tone, “You did no wrong. You deserve no evil or harm to befall you.” My vision blurred with sudden tears as he cut mercilessly through my lie of omission to the heart of my terrors. “No hand will be raised against you here,” he explained, “Save if you will it. But that requires a greater degree of comfort then what you have right now. You are going to relearn kindness. You extend it to others but flee it when it comes to you. This stops, starting now.”

I blinked the tears out of my eyes. “How do I know this is real?” I said, half choking on the words. He smiled warmly and gathered me closer to his chest. I felt terribly, terribly small. In the warmth of his presence, it suddenly seem such an awful thing to feel so small. He pressed his lips against my right temple. The bristles of his beard rasped softly against my skin. Every so quietly, he murmured his answer.

“How do you know it is not?”