Sins of Witches
Surrender Unto Madness
Richard's Last Challenge
The Blood of Life
Bits and Pieces
Eternal Dance * * * *
Cole's eyes slid open slowly with the lingering whisper of her kiss on his lips. It was a sensation that was both familiar and unknown and he pushed his tongue out to taste the residual sweetness. He moved his head, his eyes going immediately to the open sliding-glass doors. A faint breeze moved the sheer curtains and delicate shades of pink touched the night sky as the morning sun crept toward the horizon.
He rose from the bed, his naked skin whispering across the chilled, white satin sheets and moved to the open doors to stare into the fading darkness. A touch of jasmine invaded his senses and he shut his eyes and breathed deeply. It was her scent. One he'd come to crave and abhor. He wanted her. He hated her games. She was the mysterious angel and the torturous demon who floated into his life every night and stroked his fantasies with butterfly wings. In the beginning, he'd believed her to be nothing more than an extremely vivid fantasy. But she was more...so much more. He understood that, now. Something ethereal who was courting him and hunting him.
But the courtship was not hers alone anymore. After his realization, he began to tempt her. Leaving her gifts on the pillow. A delicate red rose. A gold chain. A book, once...Kama Sutra, the book of erotic love. His gifts were accepted. Vanished, as she was with the awakening of the sun. For endless nights, he'd stayed awake. Waited for her. Those nights, she would not come. Only when he was asleep. His body surged with momentary arousal as vague, drowsy images of her kisses and caresses invaded his mind. Most mornings, when he awoke, it was to a fading erection. His thighs wet from his release.
With a sigh, he turned from the approaching morning. He ran his fingers through his dark hair and shuffled into the bathroom. Another day of torture, of trying to concentrate on his life, awaited him. Another day of simply going through the motions, drifting along, until he could be the willing slave to her mystical nighttime domination, once again.
BITS AND PIECES
Pendle Forest, Lancashire
"Mary Beckford, by the order of the Grand Inquisitor of Pendle Forest, Lancashire, England, the honorable and respected Gilles Bolingbroke, you are hereby accused of violating the Witch Act of 1604, a true and sacred document prohibiting the practition of witchcraft. As so accused, you shall be escorted in shackles through the town, bereft of clothing, so that all may witness the shame of the witch. You will be detained in the Pendle Forest jail until trial."
Mary stood in the doorway, dressed only in her thin cotton nightgown, staring at the guards in disbelief. The man in front eyed her over the scroll, then rolled it up and waited for her response. She couldn't breathe, couldn't speak. A million thoughts raged through her mind at once as she tried to understand what was happening. Who could have said such a horrible thing? A gasp and muffled cry came to her from behind and she turned. Her husband and daughter stood in the doorway to their bedroom. His face was a mask of fear as his eyes darted from his wife to the guards. He held Eliza by the shoulders, gripping her tightly against him to keep her from running to her mother. Tears streamed down the child's horror-stricken face and both hands covered her mouth.
"William?" Mary said, her voice hushed with fear and confusion. "Help me, William."
He made no move.
"Mary Beckford," the guard repeated, louder. "I order you now, as the accused of witchcraft, to rid yourself of your clothing and prepare to be led through town."
Mary spun back to the guard and began to shake her head.
"I won't. I am a member of this community and the church! I'm not a witch! These charges are ridiculous! Who has accused me of such a thing?" She turned back to her husband, her eyes wide. "William! Help me!"
"Witch! Do as you are ordered or I'll have my men do it for you!" The guard's face was hard. His eyes reflected no emotion. He had a job to do and he would see it done, with or without her cooperation.
"I will not?" She shook her head again. Terror gripped her that this was actually happening and not some horrible nightmare. "Please?"
"Take her." he ordered, then stepped to the side. Mary stumbled back in fright as the three guards suddenly lunged at her. She screamed, fighting them, pounding them with tiny fists, but she was no match against their strength and numbers. She didn't even hear the sound of her gown ripping as they tore it from her body and drug her, still kicking and fighting, into the chilled, dark night.