Desire Island (Collection) [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Stephanie Burke & Treva Harte & Shelby Morgen
eBook Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Dark Fantasy
eBook Description: Desire Island A gateway to the heart's deepest desire, To passion's heat, to love. The wind-tossed sign at the front gate always reads "Vacancy." Ads for the island promise an exotic getaway. What these visitors find is a gateway to other realities and fantasy lovers? but every fantasy has its price.
eBook Publisher: Changeling Press LLC, Published: 2006, 2006
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2008
Please, please say you'll come. There's just something about this place. I have to go there. It pulls me. The first time I stumbled across the web address, I just sat and stared at the pictures. There's something compelling about this old inn...Say you'll come. Please. I need you.Marylin
10 Reader Ratings:
"I was totally absorbed in the love and scorching passion that Ayailla and Roanen shared through the centuries in Shelby Morgen's The Summoning--very hot! Scorching and erotic describes Lilli and Harry's relationship in Reflections--their encounters are so hot and descriptive that readers will be squirming for relief. Readers will not be able to resist the humor, danger and hot sex in Stephanie Burke's Take Me With You."--Literary Nymphs 4.5 Stars! "This book follows the lives of people who came to Desire Island to escape from a life filled with disappointment and pain. Marylin and Lilli bloom in their new environment. Gray comes face-to-face with memories of the past. When he comes to terms with his past, he is ready to begin a new life with the woman he loves. The reader will enjoy this trio of stories."--Ecataromance
RE: I'm FREE!!!
]It's official. One year from today I'll be a divorcee. Went to court this morning to sign the final paperwork. I'm now legally separated. From just about everything, including my sanity.
I miss you so much, Gray. I want to SEE you. SICK of emails. Listen, I've been looking at this ad on the Internet ... a bed and breakfast on the Gulf of Mexico, right on the water, and it's not that expensive. Check this out--
DESIRE ISLAND ESCAPE--YOUR EVERY WISH COME TRUE $399I know you'll say you can't afford it, but I can. Think of it this way. You never liked Don anyway. I got to the checking account before he could clean me out. Help me spend some of this money while I can. I haven't told him yet, but that's ALL I'm taking. I'm just going to walk away from all of this. I never wanted this place anyway. ]You know my tastes. This house just screams new money and no class, just like Don. ]Just plain garish.
You need me, Baby-Girl, I'm there.
Gray. * * * *
"Good evening." The trim blonde woman's voice held all the warmth of a bottle of Chablis on ice. She nodded her head once in greeting as she passed through the inn's front parlor, both acknowledging and dismissing them...
And leaving them alone.
They hadn't wanted company anyway.
Marylin turned away from the window to study the figure on the old settee just as thunder cracked loudly in the background. Gray wouldn't want her to remember how much thunderstorms always frightened him. But he went rigid for the moment it took for the lightning to follow the thunder.
He didn't say anything. Just sat there stoically, his hands wrapped around his tumbler, a tall, lean man, slightly shadowed in the light from the fireplace. She didn't need to see his face to read him. She knew him too well. Dear Gray. Always trying to be a hero for her ... she could have loved him for that alone.
Damn. She had such lousy taste in men.
No, that wasn't fair. At least not to Gray. Gray was a fine man. Tall and graceful and handsome and--gay. Well, bi maybe. He'd been married, once upon a time, at least for a while. Just not to her.
It wasn't Gray's fault she'd fallen in love with him all those years ago. He'd warned her not to. Told her often enough all they could be was friends. She hadn't listened. Hadn't understood. She was a rescuer, after all. She always fell for that wounded look. She'd been so in love with him once ... or at least infatuated. Maybe that was why now he was the only one she felt would really understand.
She took her time crossing the room, reminding herself that he was a friend. Just a friend. That's all he'd ever really been. All he could ever be. Sort of like a really great girlfriend. One who was actually taller than she was.
"I don't know what went wrong or just exactly when, but one day it hit me. I could ignore the flirting with his students. I could ignore the not-so-subtle innuendoes from other professors. I couldn't ignore my own feelings. People don't change. We are who we are. I wanted Don to be someone he'll never be. I wanted him to care about me. To need me. The real me, the one inside he never got to know. Twenty years, and we were still strangers. Don had some image of who I should be, the perfect wife, and it was soooo not me! I just don't care enough to live with the lies anymore. Maybe I never did. Sometimes I think I married Don because I just gave up. I quit looking for that one perfect man I was meant to be with. My soul mate."
Because I thought my soul mate was you, and I'd already lost. I settled. For too little. Yeah. I settled for way too little. Marylin swallowed two fingers of Amaretto, ignoring the burn. She'd never been much for subtlety. There was a time for sipping, and a time for getting drunk. This night was definitely the latter. "Do you still believe in soul mates, Gray?"
Gray raised his glass to his lips and drank deeply of his favorite poison, aged Canadian whisky. Marylin cringed. "I used to. I wish..."
His deep, deep voice seemed to purr as he turned to lift his gaze toward her. Light filtered over his face. The color struck her once again, odd and fascinating and vaguely wrong for this world. How many people had violet eyes? Gray was the only one she'd ever met. His eyes were true violet, not some deep shade of blue that seemed to take on a purple cast--a deep, rich, violet framed by eyelashes the color of midnight.
"What?" Marylin took another long swallow of Amaretto. "Sometimes you have the oddest way of not saying things."
"Nothing." He smiled that deep, sad smile that always got to her. "I was just--never mind. It was a long time ago. I'm sorry, Baby-Girl. I hoped things would work out better for you. I thought things were going swimmingly between you and what's-his-name."
"Swimmingly?" Marylin threw her head back and roared with laughter as she sprawled on the couch next to him, her long legs bent double under her. "Swimmingly! I like that..."
No, nothing subtle--or fake--about Mary. Gray tossed back the last of his whisky, praying it would give him the courage and the power to forget. He pointed to her bottle of Amaretto. Maybe it was time for a change.
Still laughing, Marylin poured them each a triple shot. "I'm so glad you could come, Gray. I've missed your friendship ... I've missed you."
"I've missed you too. No one else understands my sense of humor anyway. I love your smile. And I love the fact that I don't get a cramp in my neck trying to give you a hug. And for the record, you've always had my friendship. No matter what, that will never go away."
He lifted the glass to his lips and took a quick gulp. Then he winked at her before his face twisted into a visage of disgust. How could she drink this crap? But when the warmth hit his stomach, he remembered. Amaretto had always had that effect on him.
"You didn't bring Carlos. I thought you might..." Marylin tried to maintain her smile for his benefit, but he knew what she was really asking.
"Carlos ... Carlos is gone. For good. It's just you and me this weekend, Baby." He stared down into his glass before a wry smile twisted his full lips. When did the forgetting start? Maybe he needed a bit more. He took another drink.
"Damn, I'm sorry, Gray. That was one beautiful man. Just the way we both like 'em. Tall, dark, and handsome. It's not just a cliché!"
Did she sound a little relieved?
Did it matter?
Not anymore. He wouldn't let it matter. "Tall, dark, handsome, jealous, and colder than a witch's tit in January. I always seem to fall for the betraying type, and most of that breed seems to be tall, dark, and handsome." Gray pulled her over against his side with a gentle tug on her wrist, jumping slightly as another crack of thunder split the night.
The lightning followed closer this time, lighting up the beach and the tossing waves beyond with a pale wash of fire. She snuggled against him, maybe for warmth, but he suspected it was as much for his benefit as hers. She knew how much he hated thunderstorms.
"What do you think's wrong with us, Gray? We have such lousy taste in lovers..."
Gray laughed at that, his mood lightening. Man, did his Mary-Baby have a gift for understatement. The logs settled in the fireplace, sending out a wave of small, bright orange sparks. "We're too good for this world, Baby. We would have to go to an alternate universe, back in time, another planet or something, to find people who are good enough for us. We're a special breed, Baby-Girl. The last of the heart-hungry people. We want ... we need more than a quick roll and a few fake words of love. We want it all."
Marylin downed her Amaretto, blinking back the tears she knew he wouldn't want to see. "We had dreams, Gray. We were going to change the world. We were going to make a difference. All I got was older. Maybe you're right. Maybe we were born in the wrong time and place."
"Sometimes I couldn't care less about the world and then sometimes, I ... I wish ... Damn." His glass was almost empty again.
Marylin sighed, staring up at the tapestry on the wall. "I was meant to be surrounded by Warriors in chainmail, set to do my bidding at the flick of my finger."
He hugged her tighter, fighting back the desire to run screaming around the room as his frustration built. He could never do that to her. She wanted a big, strong Warrior type, and that was something he could never be.
He was too nice, too understanding, too much of a good guy. At least that's what Carlos told him when Gray caught him in bed with his three o'clock modeling appointment.
It was the same thing Paula had said to him when he caught her in their bed with his plumber. His plumber, for God's sake. The man had more crack than the San Andreas Fault and his droopy pants, caused by an incessant beer gut, perpetually showed it.
He was supposed to be sensitive. He was an artist, damn it. It wasn't his fault he was six-feet-four, with what Carlos had called the body of Atlas. That was just genetics and hauling around metal to weld into sculptures. So why did everyone seemed to think he should abuse his body in senseless fighting?
Not that he wouldn't fight to defend those he loved or himself, but why fight over an unfaithful mate? He knew Carlos was pissed when he handed him his suitcase instead of pounding the model into clay. But he didn't see the need to fight over a relationship that was so obviously dead anyway. The same for Paula and her plumber.
He liked to pick and chose his battles carefully, and trust was a major factor in his decisions. Besides, he was a sensitive man who hated bugs and was afraid of thunderstorms, and he didn't have the power to change who he innately was. Not now. Maybe once, long ago ... "I wish ... I was just meant to be..."
"Yeah." He didn't have to say it. She knew. It had always been that way with them, after all. "What do you dream of, Gray? What's your fantasy lover like?"
He didn't hesitate at that, this new game giving him something else to think of. "My fantasy lover? A cat. A big, tawny cat. Long and lean and sleek and sexy."
"Yeah! A real lion of a lover. Color is not important! Gender is not important. I just want a big old lion who will do the lion thing."
"The lion thing?"
"The lion thing, you know? Don't you watch the Discovery channel?"
At her confused, albeit tipsy look, he went on to explain. "A lion makes love for ten days non-stop and then goes to sleep. I want someone who's going to be there for me and give me what I want. I want someone who'll stand by me and fight for what we believe in. A lion will do that. Of course, I don't want the cheating with other prides, the general laziness, and the gang mentality. They hunt in gangs sometimes, sneak-attacking hyenas. But I want me a big old lion who will make me feel protected, and ... and damn it, Baby-Girl, I want to feel needed."
He took another sip and then his glass was actually empty. "What about you? Who do you see when you dream, Baby? Tell me your deepest and darkest. I promise not to go screaming off into the night."
She laughed, hiccoughing a little as she downed another shot of Amaretto. "You know, there's not another man in this universe I'd share this fantasy with. I want a man who loves me to distraction just the way I am. I know it's crazy, but I want the kind of man who'll look at me and not think I'm some kind of freak."
"Freak! What are you talking about, Baby?"
"Come off it, Gray. I know what men see when they look at me. Back in high school I didn't even have a name. I was just 'The Amazon.' No one ever noticed my GPA in college. All they saw were three women's basketball championships. I want more than that. I want..."
"You can tell me, Baby," he coaxed, tightening his arms around her. "You know you can trust me." Hell. He knew she trusted him. That was the problem.
"I'm still looking for my soul mate, I guess. I want a man who'll worship me and love me and think I'm the most important thing in his life. I want a man who'll make me feel small, and delicate, and..."
Of course. They'd always wanted the same thing. Gray wrapped his arms around her shoulders, pulling her against his chest. "Keep your dreams, Baby-Girl. Cherish your dreams. Never get stuck with a what-if."
After a moment or two, Marylin pulled back, pouring them each another glass of Amaretto. "Speaking of dreams, did you notice that hunk on the ferryboat?"
"Hunk? I saw an ugly old guy in a gray uniform, an Elvis wannabe, and a woman with what I thought was Yoda, but turned out to be an extremely ... interesting looking baby. You'll have to do better than that."
"Oh ... well, when I came across, there was this man ... you'd have noticed him if he'd still been there. He was our type. You'll think I'm crazy, but he was dressed all in black, and I swear he looked like a Warrior or some medieval knight. He could have stepped right out of that tapestry. Long, long, black hair, just a touch of silver at the temples, dark skin, wide shoulders, and a mouth..."
"Just made for kissing," Gray finished, smiling down at her indulgently. "Go for it, Baby. You go get your long-haired stud and I'll get my ferocious kitty-cat and then screw the world!"
"You too, Gray. Don't let the cardboard people drag you down. Whatever you want, you go for it. Long live romance!"
Gray hugged her tightly again, as another flash of lightning illuminated the sky. "Long live romance! Romance and great sex! Really great sex!"
"Yeah..." She snuggled against his warmth, her eyes drifting closed.
Gray closed his eyes and fought back a tear or two that threatened to fall. "Thank you, Baby-Girl," Gray whispered, bending down to kiss the top of her head. "I think I'm starting to believe in the colors again."
"They're out there, Gray. Our Warriors. Our soul mates. Keep believing..."
"Believing! Yeah..." Gray tucked the blanket around her, his smile a little less sad as he pulled himself away from her tempting heat and stumbled toward the courtyard door. It was time to leave the past in the past. He had a future to forge.
"Yeah. Time to crash. Night, Baby-Girl! See you tomorrow."
"Night, Gray. Thanks for being here for me." Marylin sighed, turning her face against the settee's pillowed arm. "I love you, Gray."
Gray froze, his hand on the door. A tear welled up in his eye. No. He couldn't--wouldn't tell her. Not now. Let her think what she wanted to. It was a lie they'd both been able to live with all these years, after all.
Resolute once again, he pushed the door shut. But the words needed saying.
"I love ... loved you too."