Love Again, and Remember

Love Again and Remember Mirror

Love is the door to all dimensions

 

The following preview is of Chapter XVI of INNER MAGNETS, Volume Two of our quantum fiction/magic realism quintet, THE TAMMABUKKU CHRONICLES. In this chapter, David and Lia at last have the wedding they have wanted for over a century, since their names were Daniel and Cecilia.

Link to the first two books: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079VV7NM1/

After the wedding rings are removed from Dmitri’s blue velvet box, they read the verse they selected for the giving of the rings:

I take you my heart
At the rising of the moon
And the setting of the stars.
To love and to honor
Through all that may come.
Through all our lives together
In all our lives,
May we be reborn
That we may meet and know
And love again,
And remember.

The good Reverend Sykes pronounces them husband and wife. When David is told that he may kiss the bride, as usual, he has a hard time stopping. “I’ll never stop kissing you, Shekinah,” he whispers into her ear. Their recessional song, which at first sounds to me like the French national anthem, begins playing, but then it becomes a different song and the words so aptly state that “All You Need is Love”. The bride and groom have known this for a long time. Smiling, Ambrose motions me to open the chapel door. There is a slight gasp when the door inexplicably cracks open, but a roar of laughter and excitement erupts when Angharat’s magpie flies into the chapel.

The bride and groom hug and pose for photographs. David and Lia can now see Ambrose and me. In this atmosphere of ultimate bliss, tears well up in my darling girl’s eyes. A feeling of euphoria fills my soul. In a sense, I have waited for this day as long as they have. Among those in their time and place, only they can see me, and only the groom can hear her whisper, “I love you, Papa.”

David’s mouth forms the words, “I miss you, Merlin.”

Both in earnest and in jest, I reply, “There are no words to convey how much I miss you as well, Little Prince.” David laughs at the all too familiar appellation.

Theresa’s eyes never fail to know where I am, yet it is best if she does not actually see me today. I sense the familiar spirit of David’s grandfather whom I knew quite well when his name was Cassius Gemellus, but he is not aware of my presence.

Ambrose and I are not in the same dimension. I cannot help but notice that he looks almost the same as when I saw him last. I realize that he is projecting into the future from that time without physically materializing in the present. As we look at each other, a wellspring of emotion overwhelms me. There is nothing but love between us—there was never anything but love. All those tricks my mind played on me once darkness entered—what a fool I was! I missed him more than I could even bear. I am enormously grateful that the river I feared had dried up, keeps moving forward despite all the twists and dams it has encountered. Moreover, I am forever beholden to him for making such a prodigious effort to be with David and Lia. We had almost all the knowledge in place for time travel, but the missing link was provided by his motivation to see the two of them together again and living this moment. Love is the door to all dimensions.

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Inner Magnets

Hinterlands

“Our inner magnets are invariably guided by love.”

The following preview is of Chapter XIV of INNER MAGNETS, Volume Two of our quantum fiction/magic realism quartet, THE TAMMABUKKU CHRONICLES. In this chapter, David and Lia’s wedding day grows closer and closer, and we see her relationship with David’s family and other loved ones. The character introduced in this scene is not one of David’s loved ones, however.

Link to the first two books: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079VV7NM1/

One afternoon in late July, when David and Lia were riding the motorcycle on the road to Kirkbymoorside, they passed a faded Victorian manor house which he’d always thought exuded a cold and disturbing vibration. Today the mansion was even more unsettling than usual. As they passed, a hulking Stuart Peacock, a descendant of the Peacock clan so reviled by the Leys and the Graysons, was on the front lawn, chasing a kid on a scooter off the estate. They could hear him screaming at the frightened boy for encroaching upon private Peacock property.

“This is the old Peacock estate alright,” she sighed. “A century later, and the Peacocks are still sour and grimacing.”

“Every time I see that glowering face I want to puke,” David snapped. “It’s the same expression that I remember George having.”

“I can’t say he looks like George, who was plump, round-faced, puffy and pasty with reddish hair and wide-set eyes. This guy is slender, long-faced and a dirty blond with close-set eyes. He’d have decent enough features if they weren’t perpetually set in a grimace.”

They pulled over at a local market to get water. “I’ve seen Stuart Peacock several times in town. Every time he sees me he glares like he did just now. I heard he’s been complaining to the townsfolk that rock musicians bring in the wrong element. Philip Sykes told Stuart off one day when he declared that only another evil warlock would buy the house of Nathaniel Ley. Stuart went on to say that the area had suffered enough because of depraved Occultists, and residents shouldn’t accept this so readily. He actually claimed that Nathaniel and I must be working in tandem from separate dimensions. I’m hardly surprised. This nitwit is the descendant of old George, who hated Daniel beyond measure for supposedly stealing Cecilia away from him—as if you can steal someone who was never yours in the first place.”

“I would love to have been a fly on the wall when George Peacock came to Beak’s End to ask for Cecilia’s hand in marriage. I don’t know how he ever thought he’d get past Papa, but George Peacock brought delusional to a new level.”

“I noticed that Stuart Peacock wasn’t giving you any dirty looks. I’m sure he was thinking ‘what a terrible shame it is that such a comely lass fell victim to that evil rock star warlock who’s in cahoots with Nathaniel Ley’s ghost.’”

“And now you two ‘depraved evil warlocks’ are going to lead poor uninitiated me down the path to Hell.”

“Ah, yes, the Devil’s Mass will take place in the hidden room next Friday the 13that midnight. Lucifer just texted—Beelzebub and Belial will be joining us. Maybe Veronique will make the absurdity complete and appear with a bloody butcher knife.”

Lia did a fake shudder. “Is that when you’re going to sacrifice me on the altar?”  

Giving her a wicked grin, David replied, “If I ever put you on that altar, I guarantee you won’t be feeling any pain.”

“I like the sound of that,” she purred. “The altar is one place we haven’t tried yet.”

Just as he was about to respond, Stuart Peacock drove by. He glared at David and looked intently at Lia, the latter causing David’s fists to clench. He couldn’t help laughing when Lia said, “It seems the Peacock men are as pompous and pissy as they ever were.”

“Yeah, and they still look like sunburned Pillsbury Dough Boys with a stick up their ass.”

Lia snickered. “Only George Peacock could believe Daniel was the only thing standing between him and wedded bliss with Cecilia. Maybe old George has been reborn—who knows?”

“Then he remains as big an asshole as he ever was. A new edition of George Peacock—our rebirth is complete. Seriously though, I’m sensing he’s someone other than George. Stuart is just one of George’s wretched descendants. It must be in their DNA to be gaping anuses.”

“Gaping anuses? I haven’t heard that one for a century.”

“If that cretin looks at you again, I’ll corroborate his worst fears, and ask Nathaniel to help me. Papa Ley will always be up for kicking Peacock butt. Peacock bashing was a rite of male bonding for him and Daniel—a shared visceral loathing that transcended all reason.”

Lia shook her head. “I can hear Papa and Uncle Ambrose laughing, and I’m seriously disappointed in all three of you.”

“Sorry, Shekinah, we can’t take the high road all the time,” he retorted, knowing she was kidding. “Something about this guy irks the shit out of me—beyond the fact he is a Peacock and bad mouths me all over town.”

“The three of you thought the Peacocks were worse than the bubonic plague.”

“And we were right. The assholism of the Peacock men outlived the plague.”

Shekinah

Shekinah Dove.jpg

“My standard has never changed, Shekinah. My standard of beauty is you.” 

The following preview is of Chapter XIII of INNER MAGNETS, Volume Two of our quantum fiction/magic realism quartet, THE TAMMABUKKU CHRONICLES. The photo above is the title of this chapter, “Shekinah”, a word meaning the light between heaven and earth, and it is the female protagonist, Lia’s middle name as well as her pet name from her beloved, the male protagonist, David. This, chapter, set in Lia’s POV, is the first chapter of the quartet to go out of David’s POV, the first of the multiple POV’s introduced as it goes on.

Link to the first two books: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079VV7NM1/

The period between Good Friday and Easter was always a time of reflection for Lia, but this year the symbolism of the season resonated like never before.

At age ten, she began incorporating her Christian beliefs into her celebration of Ostara with her Wiccan parents, who had encouraged her to follow her inner leadings. Recalling the malevolent spirits with whom she kept company as a small child, and the intense temptation to use her power for evil, Lia gave profuse thanks to her parents, as well as the unseen forces guiding her, for their dogged, yet unobtrusive perseverance. They’d been there for her to draw upon, but the choice between good and evil must come from within, and there were times in early childhood that the right path had seemed bitter and repulsed her. At the time the details were murky, but she remembered walking that road in trust, and its terminus was a pool of blood and agonized screams. The wounded voice in her angry little head shouted that the forces of good betrayed her, thus, making the other path more alluring.

Since toddlerhood, her powers had been undeniable, and her abilities beyond those in the circles of even her high-level Wiccan mothers. Lamagir had known that his best chance of bringing her back to the fold was to link their minds while she was still a little girl. Hence, Beletum disguised herself as a compassionate young woman, when in fact she was a dark wicked force.

Lia recalled the fury that she’d felt as a small child, which no one, least of all herself, understood. Of course, her dark mother understood everything. The horrible pain she’d tap into demanded punishment, and her dark mother assured her those responsible would be punished. Until the unwavering love of her parents brought the sinister side of her power under control, her formidable powers made her a loose cannon, thus, dangerous to anyone who even looked at her the wrong way. At the time, she had no idea who it was that she abhorred so much, and later when she learned the story of how her previous incarnation ended, she knew one thing for sure: it wasn’t Nathaniel Ley. Her beloved father fell victim to his demons and caused her death as Cecilia, but she found forgiveness easy because of the depth of her love for him, which began long before he was Nathaniel Ley. It wasn’t until after the regression that she understood it was Lamagir whom all her rage was directed towards. She realized with revulsion that she was aligning her own power with Lamagir and Beletum to unleash the mayhem she created. Lamagir was nothing if not brilliant, and his touch could be so light that it was often impossible to discern. Perhaps she had to be taken in once more by his ingenious lies, if only for a short time, in order to understand what had taken root in her father’s mind. Lamagir. He creates the disease for which he is the only cure. How inviting it was to believe such a deception when you felt like the oddest child on the planet.

Steadfast love continued to pour down on her from this world and other worlds, and at last light entered her mind. Lamagir’s deceit crumbled under the luminosity of pure truth and, at last, she could hear the leadings of her parents and spiritual guides. And then there was the boy. No longer was he a distorted and veiled agony that she couldn’t comprehend—a torment her immature psyche couldn’t bear—he was the love that was her destiny. She’d managed to project herself to him once when they were small and heard his voice. They’d spoken mind to mind. He recognized her, and he was real. Sometimes she’d glimpse fragments of a sacred place that was theirs, and of images that seemed like memories. A snowy night, the sound of bells, a horse-drawn carriage… Playing, laughing, running, kissing in the woods… A tree with white flowers… Majestic old manor houses… In her dreams, she’d watch him from a distance. His face remained obscured, but upon her regression, she gained clarity. He was alive and he was also looking for her. They were meant to be together and it was part of a bigger picture.

A Welcoming

Munch Painting

“Love is the only true religion. Everything else is illusion.”

The following preview is of Chapter XII of INNER MAGNETS, Volume Two of our quantum fiction/magic realism quartet, THE TAMMABUKKU CHRONICLES. In this chapter, the engaged protagonists David and Lia now live in Beak’s End, the epicenter of events in their lives as Daniel and Cecilia in the Victorian era, together. The below conversation is between David and his father, Gerald, taking place after David brings Lia to the farmhouse to meet his family./

Link to the first two books: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079VV7NM1/

Gerald folded his arms against his chest. “I changed your diapers, whippersnapper!”

David chortled. “Then you know I’m full of shit!”

“You said it, Dave, not me. And by the way, what is Hákarl?”

“Fermented shark—a staple of Icelandic cuisine. Oblivion played Reykjavik not too long ago. I tried Hákarl and liked it. I remember that the waitress was extremely pretty, but I didn’t feel the urge to have sex with her just because she was Icelandic.”

“Oh, come on, there’s a natural attraction to a culture different from our own.”

“I guess, but in the end, it’s about soul-to-soul connection, and that can occur between any two human beings.”

“My verdict is still out on soul-to-soul connection, and I certainly can’t bring the soul into sexual attraction—it’s animal.”

David knew he and his father were diametrically opposed on this subject. “Not for all of us. Even if you don’t believe in a soul-to-soul thing, you have to harmonize with the person inside the body and have sexual chemistry. After the excitement of an exotic package wears off, you’re either compatible or you’re not.”

“It’s not just about a different look, but a different culture and way of thinking.”

“I’d hate to think I was sleeping with someone only because she’s Icelandic or Jamaican.”

“Maybe she’s sleeping with you because you’re exotic to her as well, and you share the experience and move on. I don’t want to keep every lover. In fact, so far, your mother has been the only one I’ve wanted to keep, and she’s a girl from my own hometown. Whatever Lia did three years ago, my mind can’t process, but here you are, an engaged man. It’s lucky for you that the vibration and chemistry you wanted comes in such a lovely package.”

“I admit that I’m turned on by the inner and outer Lia. I had some epic battles with that part of my brain, but I was determined not to let it run the show—I have enough problems already. All these people who want me sexually—it’s for the wrong reasons. At least they’re the wrong reasons for me. If I’d partaken of that, I don’t think Lia and I would be together now. The media have done a job on our expectations of sex, but I somehow managed to tune it out.”

“This is coming from a guy whose underwear ads are among the most successful of all time. I’m sure your image helped to influence many people’s ideas about sex. You know how to sell it when you have to.”

“I won’t deny that I’ve used the media when it suited me. Thanks for the hypocrisy check.”

Gerald chuckled. “You know you can count on me for that.”

“It’s an even more daunting task to resist our own crap than it is the media’s.”

“Isn’t that the truth?! There have been many times I’ve been drunk on mine, but I always had you to keep me in check, not to mention your mother. I’m sure Lia won’t let you get away with any shit either—she doesn’t seem the type.”

“You should have seen how she busted my balls when I first got to New York. I want that in a partner though. I hate lip service. Whatever package she’s in—that’s my type. She awakens all my senses and takes me to a place that no one else can. She’s my Queen, my Goddess, my once and future wife, and I love her in a way language could never express.”

“Once and future wife? Daniel and Cecilia never married.”

“I was thinking of another time I’ve flashed on occasionally.”

Gerald’s eyes widened. “Don’t tell me there are more installments to this story.”

“I know there are, but they’re still veiled. When those memories are meant to come to light they will. My mind is on other things right now.”

“I can see that alright. And I can tell the sex is great.”

“Transcendent.”

“That’s Dave for you. He has sex for the first time and it’s ‘transcendent.’”

“It didn’t feel like the first time—I don’t know how to explain it. We take it as slowly as possible so we can savor every second, every single nuance, and sustain it for as long as possible. A few times we’ve meditated right before and it’s been amazing.”

“Wait a minute…” Gerald interrupted. “Are we talking Tantric sex? Christ, I wondered if that was even real. It’s no wonder you’re into that—you have Ambrose de Ripariis’ book by your bedside and his picture on your dresser. I know he was a major proponent of Tantric sex and sacred sexuality. I heard he was quite an enigmatic character—equal parts seducer and monk.”

“I don’t like the term seducer—that’s Malachi Cummings’ talking. When Malachi wrote about Ambrose it was with the intention of discrediting him. And Ambrose is anything but enigmatic to us. Lia and I are on the same wavelength as Ambrose on almost everything, sex included.”

“Can one really stave off an orgasm for as long as he claims?”

“The answer is yes, through meditation.”

Gerald shook his head. “The last thing I want during hot and heavy sex is to ‘meditate’!”

David laughed. “One slips into it naturally—with a like-minded partner, that is. I understand that Tantra isn’t for everybody.”

“It seems to work for you.”

“We’re just starting out, but damn right I want to sustain the pleasure for as long as possible. Deprivation is maddening when you’re living through it, but it did teach me control, and those control lessons began back when I was Daniel.”

“You were always a master at making lemonade out of lemons.”

“And those lemons often came down like hail. So, Dad, you don’t have to worry about my cock anymore. I know it was a subject of much concern to you.”

“There was a time when I was a tad concerned—yes. As I look at you now, though, I see something on your face I’ve never seen before. You must be doing something right, or Lia must be doing something right since you’re clearly worshipping at her altar.”

“We are doing something right, but I take nothing for granted. I intend to nurture our love every day.”

“I think you’ve found a new religion, Son.”

“New? Love is the only religion. Everything else is an illusion.”

Between the Lines of Age

 

“We live in castles at different times, and we also live beyond the lines, beyond the lines of time.”

The following preview is of Chapter XI of INNER MAGNETS, Volume Two of our quantum fiction/magic realism quartet,  THE TAMMABUKKU CHRONICLES. As the video above implies, the name of this chapter is “Between the Lines of Age”, as the newly engaged protagonists, David and Lia, waltz to the classic Neil Young song across the second floor of Beak’s End.

Link to the first two books: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079CPZ9SH/

Once more succumbing to her magnetic pull, he seized her in his arms. Again, they made love, and this time it was even better than the time before, which had been sublime. As they cuddled in the post-coital bliss, he felt a profound sense of warmth and well-being. Every muscle in their bodies was so relaxed they found it hard to stand up, but eventually, they managed to get on their feet and put on fresh clothes. Lia looked gorgeous in a tight black u-neck sweater and faded jeans. Checking his cell, he saw that it was 9:02 PM. There was still time since it was Friday night and the family would stay up late. The music box had left him with an urge to dance, as it so often did, so he put another waltz on the stereo that fit his mood.

When they danced, they took on another form of lovemaking, and they didn’t want the lovemaking to end. It was a song his grandparents had often danced to—Neil Young’s, “Words (Between the Lines of Age)”, and it was from an album his grandfather often played the summer he lived with them when he was five. All those songs had left an indelible imprint on his heart. “Daniel and Cecilia were regarded as the best dancers of the waltz in Yorkshire,” David said, taking Lia’s hands, “so may the dance continue…”

Time disappeared as they spun around the candlelit room in perpetual circles. Never had he felt more in harmony with the rhythm of life, and he now understood why he loved this particular dance so much. As they revolved in long, flowing movements, continuously turning, he whispered to Lia, “We live in castles at different times, and we also live beyond the lines, beyond the lines of time.”

By the time they spun their way into the darkened hall, the song ended on the stereo, but it didn’t end for them. They continued to waltz their way across the second floor of the house. The only light was what filtered through the windows from the moon and stars, but they could feel their way. When at last they stopped, they felt the stillness to be unnatural.

Imagine This

Our Love is a River

“Our love is a river that’s always flowing”

The following preview is of Chapter X of INNER MAGNETS, Volume Two of our quantum fiction/magic realism quartet, THE TAMMABUKKU CHRONICLES. This chapter is the fourth and final chapter of the “New York arc”, and the protagonists, David and Lia, are preparing to go home to their Yorkshire manor house, the formerly abandoned Beak’s End.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079CPZ9SH/

David never completely got used to people recognizing him, but this was New York and people were cool, so they were left alone. They did the West Village, sauntering the winding blocks, watching life as it is now, and doing the time rollback to the 1920s Bohemian Village, the early 1960s folk scene Village, and then the late ‘60s when his grandmother was a hippie goddess. One day they walked down to the Battery and then made their way back up through Tribeca, Soho, Little Italy, Chinatown, and then to the Lower East Side and Orchard Street, once the noisiest, dirtiest and most densely populated street in the world. As they strolled along in the early spring rain, there were only a few people on the now clean and quiet street. That night they had dinner at Pellegrino’s on Mulberry Street with Sphinx. Since Dane was currently performing in The Lion King, he couldn’t join them.

After dinner, the three of them walked around Little Italy. It was a warm night and they drank espresso on one of the open terraces. Since Lia wanted to introduce David to more of her relatives, she decided to video-call her widowed grandfather on Skype. Although Walter Bailey didn’t care for most twenty-first century rock, he told David that he’d heard a few of Oblivion’s songs and liked them, particularly “Merlin” and “The Boogeyman”.

Lia wanted to video-call her grandparents on Kirsten’s side as well, Irene and Matthew Carruthers, but said she was hoping Irene was at one of her canasta games. When David asked why, she replied that although she loved all her grandparents, Irene could be problematic. Sphinx gave David a look that said, Oh yeah. Unfortunately, Irene was home. Lia took a deep breath, telling herself the odds of her grandmother acting up in a five-minute time frame were slim. Irene and Matthew seemed elated to hear from her but were confused by the sight of David.

“I guess you’re back with the frontman for Oblivion,” Matthew began. “Don’t get me wrong, Lia, I’m happy. I’m just wondering why you didn’t tell us the good news.”

“Yes, Grandpa—David and I are back together. I apologize for not telling you and Grandma sooner. It just happened a week ago, and I’ve been so busy.”

Irene’s eyes widened. “Busy? And you took him back after he dumped you?”

Lia covered her face in embarrassment. Only David and Sphinx could hear her say, “Earth eat me up!” Prying her hands from her face, David made eye contact long enough to let her know that Irene’s remark didn’t bother him, which seemed to make her feel better. Sphinx put a sympathetic hand on her shoulder.

“Irene!” Matthew scolded. “Look at how you embarrassed Lia! They obviously worked out their problems. I know my granddaughter and I trust her judgment. This wouldn’t have happened unless it was supposed to.” With an apologetic smile, he addressed David. “I apologize, David. My wife has a tendency not to think before she speaks. You seem like a very nice young man.”

Sighing, Irene said with a transparent fake smile, “It’s so nice to meet you, Mr. Pierson.” David could only reply to her fakeness with an equally fake smile. Being called Mr. Pierson made him feel like his father’s age, and Irene Carruthers’ smarmy voice had a tone that David found repulsive.

 

Since neither David nor Lia had seen the stage version of The Lion King, they attended the Broadway play with Athena, Kirsten, and Sphinx, all of whom had seen it many times. David enjoyed doing the ultimate New York tourist thing like seeing The Lion King, especially with Dane in the cast. After the show, David treated them to dinner at the iconic Sardi’s. Sphinx, becoming emotional, said that he was going to miss Lia, but he was thrilled everything worked out, and that he ended up playing a big role. David replied that he and Dane had a standing invitation to visit Beak’s End and stay as long as they wanted.

He confided to Sphinx that he and Dane would have a major reason to come to England before the year was out. Sphinx knew what he meant. Smiling, he shook his head. “I’m in awe when I watch you and Lia together. One would think you’d been physically a couple for years.”

David laughed. “Yeah, imagine if I were to ask a girl I met the week before to come live with me in England. It would be insane. But Lia and I… it’s that way with us. Our love is a river that’s always flowing.”

Fly Me to the Moon

Fly Me to the Moon 2

“Fill my heart with song and let me sing forevermore. You are all I long for, all I worship and adore. In other words, please be true. In other words, I love you.”

The following preview is of Chapter IX of INNER MAGNETS, Volume Two of our quantum, magic realism love story. In this chapter of the quartet, the reborn protagonists, David Pierson and Lia Bailey, make love for the first time since they lived as Vericus Gemellus and Talaith in Ancient Roman Britain. This scene is the sexy lead-in to the consummation of their love.

Link to the first two books: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079CPZ9SH/

David popped Sinatra with the Count Basie Orchestra into the disc tray, and when “Fly Me to the Moon” began, he stood in front of her, and with a bow asked, “May I have this dance, M’lady?”

Raising her hands to his, she replied, “Only if the dance lasts forever!”

He barely felt the floor beneath his feet as they fox trotted across the living room. It was impossible for him not to sing along with Frank as they danced. The lyrics said it all. Lia filled his heart with song. She was all he craved for, all he cherished and adored.

After a perfect ending dip, they embraced and spun around the room a few more times. Before she knew what he was up to, he unzipped her blue and white floral dress and watched with delight as it fell in a heap around her boots. Standing before him in only her bra, panties and boots, she put her arms around his neck and said, “You have wined me, dined me, bought me roses, and now we have danced. I do believe I have been properly romanced.”

As lovely as her black lace plunge bra was, it was blocking the sight for which his eyes hungered, so it had to go. Her breathing quickened even more as he unhooked it. There was a dirty look that she got in her eyes that he’d known and loved… well, forever, and he knew that look had never been for anyone but him. He purred with delight when his eyes beheld her firm and high breasts—they were spectacular, full and soft, and his hands couldn’t get enough. And the way she responded to every movement of his fingers… He pushed her down onto the sofa and his mouth penetrated hers. He wanted to be saturated with her love, now and forever.

“I should take off my boots,” she moaned when they came up for air.

He shook his head. “Not yet. Those boots and your black lace boyshort panties look incredibly sexy together. Of course, those panties will soon be history.”

“I’m going to make a confession. I wore this bra and these panties for the first time today. I bought them a few days after we last saw each other in the chapel, and they’ve been in the drawer all this time.”

He ran his tongue over her lips and whispered, “Was there a particular reason you wore them today?”

“You never know how any given day will turn out.”

“But you told me last week that I had no chance of ever getting this.”

“I could see you smiling to yourself and thinking, ‘Oh yeah, right.’”

“No, I was just respectfully disagreeing.”

“You were looking at my legs the moment you walked in the door.”

“I couldn’t help it, you looked so sexy. You drive me wild, whether your name is Cecilia or Lia. And you’ve still got the perfect derrière that I want to touch every chance I get.”

She repositioned herself so he could caress it. Pulling his tongue back into her mouth, she sucked it softly. He pushed her further down on the sofa, taking one of her large pink nipples into his mouth, reveling in the luscious taste. He couldn’t get enough of the involuntary coos of pleasure which emanated from deep within her.

“You do realize I’m lying here in only my panties and you’re still fully dressed,” she teased.

He sat up and started removing his shirt. “That’s not fair, is it?”

When it came time to take off the rest of his clothes, she stopped him, saying, “The last two are all mine.” Unzipping his fly, she pulled his jeans down to his ankles. He kicked them aside with his foot, and now stood in his black low-rise briefs which by this point felt like they would split open. The look in her eyes was everything he could want to see at such a moment.

“No Photoshop was needed for those ads, David—but, of course, I knew that already, given how excited you were that night I climbed through the window.”

“I was wondering why it took you so long to mention the underwear ads. We’ve covered everything else.”

“When that ad campaign came out, I asked the Universe, what did I do to warrant this torment? At that point, it seemed the torture machine had been turned up to eleven.”

“My body is only for you, Lia,” he said, putting his arms around her.

She put her head on his shoulder and hugged him with a strength he couldn’t have guessed she possessed. “I guess you had the tattoo airbrushed in those ads.”

“That was my choice. During the time we weren’t together, the tattoo was an off-limits subject.” He slithered his hand inside her panties, and it went straight to its warm and wet destination. “At last, I’ve reached the Promised Land.”

“Every part of me belongs to you. Taste me, partake of me, satiate yourself to exhaustion, fill yourself a thousand more times, and then a thousand more times after that. Everything you desire will be yours.”

Taking her hand, he declared, “My life as a monk has come to an end.”

The corners of her mouth curved into a deliciously naughty smile. “Oh, I think we might have a few religious experiences in store. So what do you say we go to the bedroom?”