The Long, Hard Goodbye

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There is no greater strength in all the world than unconditional love. Not for your kind. Not for your species, but for life in every form it takes. For the delicate miracle of its beginning and the sweeping majesty of its end. To love the fleeting fragility of life is to place your very faith in the hands of pain, and to trust in the poignancy of its plan.

Sooner or later, we will lose. Or we will be lost. Either way, the ripples will fade and the waters will calm once more. Not gone. Not forgotten. Simply absorbed into an infinite collective to be born anew, embraced again. To unleash a beautiful new disturbance upon the placid surface, while old echoes shape the ever changing shore.

The anchor of loss should never harden nor mire us in stagnation, however heavy the burden of its weight. Each loss steels us to feel more fiercely, to delve more fearlessly, to drink more deeply of the life that exists at once finite and unbound.

The sting of goodbyes will fade, but let them never fade away. Carry forward that pain. Hold the memory forever near. Wear it proudly around your soul, as an emblem that you’ve lived. That you’ve dared. That you’ve loved. And walk soundly in the knowledge that all those who have loved you will do the same.

Rest peacefully, sweet thing, as one journey has reached its end. But rest assured as well, for you will never rest alone.

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***

If there is one blessed curse that rises above all others in the life of an artistic soul, then surely it must be the passion with which we feel. Never in my days have I managed to look into the eyes of death and walk away unaffected. Nor would I ever hope to be the kind who can.

The words above spilled from my fingers upon the passing of what some might consider “just an animal,” though I feel they apply equally to any light extinguished. Let’s call it an exercise in humanity. She was a sweet old cat who ran, screaming, into my arms during a walk two winters ago. And she never left again. When I heard the vet estimate her advanced age, I knew I couldn’t put her through any adoption process. Instead, I brought her in to live out her time in warmth, with a full belly. She repaid me with purrs and a face full of scratches. Fair deal. Funny all the forms that gratitude can take.

I seldom spoke of her and had myself convinced that I hadn’t grown too attached. A caretaker, really, just doing a good deed. Well today I realize differently. I realize that it doesn’t particularly matter how long you’ve known another living thing. Its impact is burned on you from the start. Maybe there’s something to be taken from that—a reminder of sorts of the power we wield in the lives of those we cross. Maybe it’s time we stop collecting strange faces on a digital friends list and start cherishing those real connections while they are here…human, animal or other.

Or maybe it’s just a sad day to see the passing of a life force as pure and true as this one. No malice. No agenda. Just live and let live. Love and let love. I never considered her mine. It never made a difference. She simple was. And in that, she was perfect.

Take from it what you will…

Prisons of the Flesh

gorgeous woman with perfect breasts and silky skin in a lace bra teases her lover with a kiss

She tastes like sugar on the tip of my tongue, before even crossing the room. The scent of jasmine skin digs into my memories, turning my own fondness against me. In an instant, I’m thrown back into the depths of our addiction…as if I’d ever left it at all.

She strips my resolve with every sway of her hips, stirring the senses to a roil of pure craving that bubbles over at the first rush of heated breath.

“I need you,” I want to scream, “but I don’t want you.” Instead, I just marvel in silence.

I’ve tried to run, to hide, to set my mind free from this prison of desire—shackled to the pains of precision in a cage of wanton need. God knows I’ve tried. But every step, every falter, the turn of every corner, brings me right back around to this…this faithless immersion of body and spirit while the soul shakes its head from afar.

“No,” I murmur beneath my breath, and then louder with a cracking of confidence. “No, not this time.” Yeah, who the hell am I kidding?

Before me, the door remains open as the moment she first floated through it; the field of flooring between me and escape stands willing, as easily traversed as ever. Why, then, can’t I leave? Why on earth do I stay? Why remain subservient for one second longer to a cruel warden of my own design?

The answer hits with the damning force of its simplicity. This is all I know. The world beyond the hollow of that doorway—with all its joys and its bathing of liberties—holds nothing for me. My world spins here with the vastness of my torment. My pleasure. My every dying breath, immortally resurgent, to be taken by her again and again.

The romantic might claim I belong to her. How sweet, such fresh sentiment of naïveté. In truth, I am her…she is me…two halves slowly dying apart but for these fleeting glances of resurrection. It is in these moments where strengths are tested, and invariably doomed to fail.

 

gorgeous woman with perfect breasts and silky skin in a lace bra teases her lover with a kiss

One brush of her hand down the rough of my cheek sets the tone for our evening to come. Like a trickle of water over fatally parched lips, she strokes the base instinct for more. Without a thought, at least not one that could be called conscious, I wrap my fingers around her throat, squeezing the chill of my frustrations into the melting warmth of her skin. Bonded at first touch like base elements rejoined, we quicken her pulse together, every leap of her heart beating furiously into the meat of my palm.

From the point of our joining, a single bead emerges—a tangible droplet of salt and submission that trickles down her neck. Lower it falls, staining her unblemished contours with the promise of things to come. Together we linger, the rogue strands of her hair tickling without mercy, as I bask in the heat of her breath.

Mesmerized beyond salvation, I watch the droplet descend. It rolls over shadows and into the light, exploring her chest with an urgency I could relate to all too well. Much like myself, its destination seems all but predetermined. As it gains speed down the gentle slope of her breast, it dares me to join. I’m thoroughly helpless to decline.

A vicious smirk rolls across her lips and she throws back her head with a groan, by all appearances giving herself over to my control. But we know better. We’ve always known better. Casting aside my last hope for escape, I seek out her heart with my lips, my resistance short-circuiting upon contact. I turn my anguish back upon her, licking hesitantly upward to that single bead of sweat. As she dissolves over my tongue and I inhale her essence, the current between us intensifies.

Even as I reach up to shred the lace of her bra between my fingertips, I feel my hands bound irreversibly to my sides. A delicate hum grows in ferocity to surround us, pricking at my skin and burning my eyes with the sting of inevitability. What am I doing? Where is the rest of that man I once knew—the one whose obsessions dared to run elsewhere, at least in some small part?

As my teeth sink hungrily into the sensitivity of her nipple, I feel the first rush of primal heat release in a grinding of wet flesh against me. The rhythmic piston of her hips enhances as her moans gather speed, escalating until both break away, growing beautifully discordant in their need.

Nibbles on the lobe of my ear become rabid bites into my shoulder, fueling me in turn to raise the stakes higher. Christ help me. Why? There’s only one way this can possibly end!

“Oh, God!” I cave to the starvation, driving my own hips up to meet her, parting her defenses with the illusion of my domination.

The sheer anticipation in her scream drives all sound from the room. But the buzz of electricity grows further, and further still, nearing overstimulation from its relentless internal attack. With the current unleashed, I know I’ll surely fry, once and forever destroying that part of me that longs to be free of her bliss. Yet I alone hold the switch, tightly as I hold her, and with it the final decision. A choice made under wondrous duress. I feel the energy straining inside me, an internal battle waged. With the flex of a muscle, I will seal my own fate. But without it, I fear I’ll seal even worse.

How long have I walked the halls of this prison, a slave to darkness untold? I shut my eyes tight, pretending for one exquisite moment that I still control my destiny, and let my senses run wild over her body. The weight of her breasts in my hands and the heave of every gasp. The squeeze of her thighs around me, their pressure delicately unrelenting. I sink my head to her chest and exhale, my breath running in waves down the shivering curves of her stomach to ignite a firestorm which begs to be taken. As I shift myself beneath her and lunge for the finishing strike, I can hear the noose tighten around my neck… Feel the needle as it punctures the final resistance of my skin… Taste the growing surge of electricity… But only as I pierce the veil do I see.

Thrusting upward as she drives herself down with a primal scream, I forego my last meal, my last rites, my last hope, in a rush to reach the ultimate burial. Like a curtain pulled back to the light of mid-morning, I throw my eyes open to bask in the glare of her impalement. She is me. I am her. And again, as it always was, we are one. There is nothing for me beyond these four walls. All that I crave is inside her. As her thighs hit roughly down onto my lap, the room fills with a blinding intensity. Completion. Fusion. Heaven and Hell swirl in the thrash of her hair and the sink of her claws into my back. Where she goes, I will follow. When she comes, I’ll join her.

She is the brink, my point of no return. My iron bars and silken dream. She tightens in my arms, her senses wracked and overwhelmed, as the suffocation consumes us both. And as I feel her muscles coil to release the rapture I’ve unlocked…

***

 

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BOOK REVIEW: MALEDICTION by JD LEXX

Ellie Masters Dark Romance...

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Wonderfully delicious and quite unexpected treasure found here!

I came into this book with a certain framework built upon expectations derived from reading many authors: dark, light, contemporary, historical, suspense, thriller and those I may have forgotten. There are ‘rules’ built upon these experiences, which are generally followed by those writing in this genre. And I would say JD LEXX breaks all these rules, but that really would be an injustice to what the masterpiece MALEDICTION truly is, because he doesn’t break the rules…he has obliterated them and rewritten them with class, poise, dignity, and an exuberance for creating an impeccable tale.

This story isn’t merely genre busting, it’s not merely a well-written book of erotica. WHAT it is … MALEDICTION is a seduction of the soul, a true wonder of how words held within the right hands can be crafted into something which becomes so much more than a…

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Date Night

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Every move was calculated, almost cruel in its intent, as I laid her out to feast—the culmination of hours of teasing torment now stored tensely in the small of her back. And I would damn well unleash it, whatever the cost. With one hand between her shoulders, I pressed her chest to the hard wood, brushing aside her dark, draping tresses to find the silver tab of a zipper which held me only tentatively at bay. Leisurely I pulled, languid and slow, unwrapping a treasure long hidden in plain sight as her dress fell away without resistance.

Might we have waited to indulge this sordid nightcap? Snuck off to some corner more desolate and conducive to exploration incognito? Perhaps. But then, that’s the thing with such abject craving in a feast-or-famine world—hesitate for even a second, and watch the prey you’ve so struggled to corner fade into phantasm while you’re left to salivate alone. Well not on this night. Not on her life. She’d all but handed me the key; all that remained was to step inside and take possession.

Every brush of my fingertips down her spine rippled soundless shockwaves through her body. I could feel her swallow them down, burying each sensation in silence to avoid drawing attention our way. Every glance of my lips along freshly uncovered curves drove her hunger exponentially higher, yet rendered her increasingly helpless at my mercy.

Ages removed from the bustle of early evening, an endless and meandering dinner date had led us here, to this very instant atop this very table. In the waning hours since, the room had wound down to a standstill, leaving us this one fleeting window of isolation, and I would lunge through it by force if need be. The ribbons of chatter from the bar, interspersed with an occasional clink of glassware, became music between us—fueling our mischief higher with the constant reminder of the heightened danger of our surroundings.

I slid in behind her as I’d yearned to do for so long, hiking the hem of her dress up trembling thighs and spreading her legs roughly to accommodate my urgency. Oh, how I wanted to claim her, to impale and brand her as mine with the first blinding rush of my heat. But to do so would mean a violation of this decadence, this brief eternity in which I longed to stay lost. My fingers roamed upward as I pinned her fiercely to the table, over fields so impossibly soft that reason itself gave way to an encompassing need—a starvation—to sink into her with abandon and make this aching self whole.

I began to wonder, as I felt bolts of electricity leap from her flawless skin, how long could I hold out? For that matter, how long could she? Rallying all the calm I could muster, I reined back my intensity to feather a line of kisses down her body—allowing her just long enough to dig those crimson nails into the tabletop before I made my next move. With every groan, I sensed the scales shifting just as surely I felt her back arching to be taken. Not just yet…

“You were saying?” I growled, the dominant rumble in my throat tickling up her shoulder to trigger a blush of raw arousal. For five grueling courses, she’d toyed with the beast, flashing “inadvertent” teases of peaches & cream while seasoning every dish with a liberal dose of innuendo. Now came the treat I’d endured all else to savor; the one her eyes promised me since meeting.

In a single motion, our power play reversed as I raised a drizzled strawberry from the plate before us and rolled it teasingly around her lips. Probing slowly inside, I worked her tongue with deliberate provocation, curious to see just how far she’d take it. What started as a gentle sucking at the tip turned frenzied as the sound of my lowering zipper behind her back tore through the hushed room. My free hand reached out to tangle a commanding handful of her hair while we both struggled to keep track of the roving waitstaff.

Raising the stakes even as prying eyes circled, she bit into a mouthful of delicate flesh, unleashing a trail of sweet juices down her neck. Then she thrust herself instinctively back, releasing the faintest hint of a whimper as she felt me surge to life. Angry and impatient, I swelled between her thighs, relieved to be free of constricting fabric yet dying for the suffocation of her tight, wet embrace. Every brush of my rage against hypersensitive flesh stripped away her control until I stood poised at the brink of penetration—one drive of the hips away from complete and total immersion. But that, it seemed would not do.

Reclaiming dominion, she pushed back against my force, piercing the token of physical resistance between us to allow me a single step inside. As she tried to pull away and continue the tease, though, I leveraged her hips against the table’s edge and threw my own weight onto hers, blurring every sensation into one sustained hum and throwing the room around us into a tailspin. Attempting briefly to control a runaway force, we devolved into a pounding rhythm as hunger overtook logic and common sense narrowed to a singular focus. Plates rattled and silverware rained down onto the tiled floor at our feet, but we’d come too far to stop now.

“Harder,” she groaned, tempting the inevitability brought closer with every push. “Oh, God, now!”

Her teeth sank deeply into a mouthful of linen as my hands found the curves of her hips and dug in without decorum. Any appearance that I held control was an illusion at best. The lure of her body and the need to finish had me reeling in a perpetual freefall. God, I was close. Too close. Suddenly, the reality of the moment closed in as I found myself cornered with no escape from a raging and determined release. The harder I fought, the more expertly she teased before sealing my fate with one single word.

“Please?”

Wherever my mind might have wandered in that moment, my body refused to keep the lady waiting any longer. Heeding her plea, I reared back and finished us both with one last plunge that nearly topped the table on its side.

Drunk on the sensory overload, I collapsed across her back even as our bodies continued to spasm, unleashing the last of my energy deep inside her and stifling my growl with a primal bite of her shoulder. She proudly took ownership of everything I gave, releasing a smug laugh as the heat overflowed her, as though she knew all along I’d relent. But then, I could have told her that at “Hello.” I joined in her laugh, infectious as it was, but it was the third laugh which made it a crowd.

Pulling my head from the comfort of her spine, I looked up to find our waiter, finally returned albeit a moment too soon. “May I,” he stuttered, unsure whether to finish, “may I interest either of you in dessert?”

“What do you say, honey?” she asked, flashing a wicked grin over her shoulder. “Still hungry?”

“Ravenous,” I said as I zipped her back up and shelled out a generous tip. “But then, the night’s not over yet. How about we go catch a movie?”

She stood and pondered, perhaps half-tempted to accept, but I already knew the answer.

“Maybe next week, sweetheart,” she conceded, planting a conciliatory kiss before stepping out into the night to hail the first taxi that passed. “But it’s getting late… and we should probably get back to the kids.”

 

In the Eye of the Storm

With a flick of the tongue just inside her knee, he unleashed a tempest, swirling violently against her every thrash. At the mercy of the storm, her adrenaline rolled in waves. At first gentle and lapping like a breeze across her skin, it now crashed with surging intensity. Angry. Hungry. The bristle of his cheek scratched like a tickle of mist up the most sensitive stretch of her flesh, stirring her thoughts into a deafening din that no longer offered any guidance but for the pounding need to take more.

Blinded by the maelstrom, she roiled­—craving stripped of logic to well up from deep inside. Breaching the surface and drenching the sheets with each abrupt scream she let go. The onslaught weakened her defenses and strengthened her resolve as she bucked hard against the rising tide.

“Who is this force of nature?” she pondered quietly amid the roar, “and what have I done to release him?”

As reason fractured within her, he pushed on unrelenting, weathering her mounting need while inching his way closer to port. She grasped. She clawed. She feigned every effort to fight back his advance but the wash rose higher still, threatening her last vestige of sanctuary even as she spread wider to encourage his assault. Closer he came. Closer…inching in with cataclysmic intent and raw, torturous deliberation.

As the first lashes made landfall at the parting of her thighs, her back arched tersely skyward, cresting just as a primal howl filled the air. Was his intention to break her, deplete her, rinse away the final shreds of her willpower in one last deluge of resistance? Whatever his desire, she would eagerly hand it over for just one taste of the completion his lips silently promised. He now owned her entirely, his own personal hurricane on the tip of his tongue, just waiting to be set loose on the world.

Pulling back against every impulse he had to impale her, he stalled for one moment longer, just enough time to question what might come next. There he waited—listening for the slowing of her heartbeat, breathing in her unmistakable arousal, feeling the fade of her tremors through his fingers. Her skin jumped with the jolt of invisible lightning strikes. Thunder rumbled in her throat. Temptation circled like the eye of a wicked storm, seductive as it is inevitable. And just as she dared attempt to refill her lungs…

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A “MasterClass” in Subservience?

Let me say this up front, please pardon the rant to come. As a general rule, it isn’t my style to dig into the business of others but I do feel a protective instinct toward my fellow writers—especially the gifted and less experienced among us.
Here it is, a humble opinion for whatever it’s worth. Something really rubs me the wrong way about this James Patterson “co-author competition” and those of its kind every time they spam my social media page. Yes, “there are a lot of people who have the talent.” Ironically, Mr. Patterson is not one of them. And honestly, given his reputation as a notorious hack who outsources every word he puts his name on, I’m not entirely sure why any legitimate new author would risk attaching their name to his for one phantom shot at glory.
Seriously, $90 for what amounts to a lottery ticket granting the winner the “opportunity” to write his next book for him and put your name under his? Let’s have some dignity, guys. The sob stories and con jobs I see littering the comments on these posts only further the reality that this entire scam is a last-ditch dramatic effort, a plea cast into the void that blind luck will work where hard work has failed.
“Oh, Mr. Patterson, you are such a wonderful man and writer…”
“Oh, Mr. Patterson, I have always idolized you and looked up to you, and named my first three children after you…”
Enough! Let’s be clear about this, I don’t begrudge the man his empire built on the backs of others. There is definite genius in his method. Still, I would like to believe that any true author who has the talent and a vision of their own, however rough the road they’ve traveled, values their ability and place in the world more than this. I support the little guy, however big he may become. He (or, of course, she) is the one who did the work and survived the strafing gunfire to crawl back up out of the trenches. The one who made a name of their own without any interest in having someone else do it for them. Why hitch your rising star to a sinking ship? Why pay through the nose for the illusory hope of leveraging your own future to line another’s pockets?
It is “programs” like these that play on the dreams of so many—the quick strike of riches we seem to believe any brush with celebrity surely brings. They blind us to the glaring reality of their substance with frilly promises of things that never will be. They prey on the allure of wealth without the work—perhaps the only skill their kind are truly qualified to teach. But at the end of the day, who wins and who loses?
It is one thing to throw your money at the chance to learn writing from a man notorious for not writing. I doubt that’s the greatest harm that could come of it. No, perhaps the greatest threat of all would be the prospect of actually winning. Of becoming the next in line to have their dream hollowed out, fed on by the vampires of verbiage and then left behind, forgotten, a husk too broken to refill.
Take your chance if you must. Line up, buy a ticket, and pray to the gods of writing that they deliver you the quick score. Offer yourself up as the sacrifice of the day. It’s undoubtedly easier than waking to continue the good fight tomorrow. I know we live in a reality TV world and there may be no going back from this ledge. But ask yourself this—do you want to be famous, or do you want to be legitimate?
Sure the two can co-exist. When done right, they often do. But you don’t gain respect by achieving fame, especially not of the fifteen minute variety. You earn your fame through the respect you deserve. I’m sure a lot of us writers often ask ourselves, “why do we do it?” It’s a reality check that can’t be checked often enough.
Do you do it out of love for the craft? Out of compulsion that cannot be quelled? If so, then you already have my admiration and that of the industry at large.
Do you do it because it would be cool to be rich and shoot to a mountaintop with no particular view? Well then, I’ve got a class you might be interested in…

In Just Four Days… MALEDICTION

Book cover for Malediction: Rise of the Crimson Confessions, an erotic romantic suspense novel by author J.D. Lexx

Excerpt.

*****

A smattering of whimpers rose to a wind-like howl around me. Louder. Louder. I struggled again to free my hands, if only to cover my ears. Every shriek pierced deeper as the volume inflicted daggers of pain until suddenly, and for a few blissful seconds, I heard nothing at all.

In the calm that followed, I felt truly alone, perhaps more than ever before. Still, I had no interest in tempting fate by being the first to break the silence. I bit my lip and stuttered long breaths to mirror this new level of quiet, but the deck was stacked against me from the start.

Without a sound, something circled, more inquisitive than malicious. Its provocation tickled like bursts of air, testing every point for intimate weakness with conscious awareness of its advantage. Something, or the vestige of someone, did not play fair. It had no need for breath and could move without a rustle, unburdened by the telltale drag of matter. And yet it prodded my senses in search of the slightest audible sign of humanity, as if such a standoff could possibly last.

I didn’t need eyes to see its head cocked aside in quizzical interest, kissing the pulse of my neck and studying the symmetry of each heaving breast. Even in death, it seems the fascination remains. But I wouldn’t break, not yet. I let it play across my skin, ignoring the urge to move which so often accompanies the realization that one cannot. Methodic in its mischief, it traveled down both sides to the taper of my hips—seeking my sound, like my scent, on the air. Waiting…

Before I could call it back, a sigh escaped my lips and echoed beyond my reach. The dinner bell. In vicious unison, every nail dug deep and every fang nipped at my flesh. My body trapped in one prolonged vibration, I felt my assailant release its smoky plume, flooding my lungs before vanishing from the vise of my lips.

“Oh my God, yes!”

Finally, in the haze of an ethereal afterglow, Luc landed the mercy blow. His tongue penetrated my weakened defenses to take his first unchallenged taste of my excitement. The table electrified beneath me as he teased and flicked between my thighs. Softly, cruelly, he licked with masterful control to the edge of a rising bank. But this dam couldn’t hold forever.

“Please?” I whimpered.

Before my plea could fade, the room spun upside down and his delicate feasting turned frenzied, sending me into electrified convulsions as he hit his mark with expert pressure, releasing rolling waves of pleasure I could neither control nor stop. My body ran wild without regard to my wishes, clawing at the restraints and whipping side to side like a woman possessed—a fitting comparison in the moment. I thrashed and trembled against his touch but every token resistance only heightened the intensity further. Writhing in the dark, this new sensation consumed me, raining chaos and renouncement until his tongue drained me of every last orgasmic impulse.

*****


MALEDICTION: Rise of the Crimson Confessions.

Coming March 20.