NaNo Day 1:
LR—409 words—and finished draft!
The annual NaNoWriMo challenge starts today! 50,000 words in one month, which breaks down into 1,666 words a day, I think. I’ve done this four times. I’ve succeeded three of those four. At the end of every day, I’ll be back here posting my wordcount totals for the day, just to keep me honest. If anyone wants to “friend” me on the NaNo site, my handle is DelilahDevlin.
If you post a comment today, you’ll be in the running
for a free download of this book!
This book was a labor of love. I worked with two writers I admire, Kim Kaye Terry and Vivi Anna, to create a trilogy of stories that were tightly interwoven. In my story, I got to travel into the Greek Underworld with a gargoyle and wrote great sex with Hades. What greater adventure could a writer hope for?
“…STONE’S EMBRACE is a wonderfully descriptive story…The mix of Greek mythology with Christian elements is intriguing and adds to the subtle layering of eroticism and exoticism…this story is fantastic and a super-hot read!”
~5 Angels, Fallen Angels Reviews
“…The sex in the book was off the charts hot!…It was a wonderfully different story with a strong characters and a fun plot that left this reviewer breathless!”
~5 Stars, Just Erotic Romances
Lust trapped them in darkness…only love can free them…
Petra Pedersen has lived as a recluse all her life thanks to a genetic double whammy—a strange deformity and a shameful power inherited from the father she will never know. The power to incite lust in men and women with just a touch.
Exploring the garden of the mansion she’s just inherited, she comes across a fascinating stone gargoyle whose raw, passionate expression draws her to caress its broad chest. Her imagination follows her fluttering fingers. As she closes her eyes and gives herself up to the arousal, something shifts beneath her touch.
Long ago, failure to stop a demon battle trapped Octavius in a prison of stone. Freed by the woman’s incendiary touch, he doesn’t hesitate to unleash his pent-up rage and desire in a blistering fury. Yet once the haze of lust clears, he discovers he isn’t really free after all.
They are both trapped in another realm where he must choose between his last chance for redemption or returning Petra home…
Warning: Sex with inanimate objects, lusty m/m/f ménages with gods…it’s all good when the reward is freedom.
The letter had arrived only a week ago accompanied by a bank draft to cover the expense of her journey. Petra Pedersen’s father was dead and his house was to be divided among three sisters.
Sisters Petra hadn’t known about but was intensely curious to meet. Would they share more than a father’s claim on a birth certificate?
Her mother had spilled what little she did know about Jean-Paul’s past in an effort to dissuade her from coming. Beatrice had been aware of the first child, Dominique, who’d been born to a witch. It was her birth that had instigated Jean-Paul’s flight to Europe because, until that moment, he hadn’t believed the curse a Haitian priest had put on him when he’d refused to impregnate the priest’s disfigured daughter. Jean-Paul was cursed to father only females and each girl would bear the priest’s mark.
The evidence clear in his first daughter’s dark, mutated gaze had frightened him.
Determined to break the curse, he’d traveled, seeking a healer’s magic. He’d found her mother.
Beatrice hadn’t been able to resist the handsome stranger’s allure. She’d been raised in a good Christian in a small village. Magic didn’t exist except in fairytales. Never mind she’d been born with her own magical gift. A healer in a long line of healers, she’d assumed the gift came from God.
When her own daughter was born, despite the evidence of her daughter’s deformity staring back at her every day of her life, she’d still believed Petra’s gifts would be like her own. Jean-Paul had known better, fleeing shortly after the birth.
But her mother had clung to her belief—until she’d taken Petra along to tutor her as she plied her craft, laying on hands to heal. She’d been horrified to discover that Jean-Paul’s curse had changed her gift from something good into something dark and twisted.
Petra had been sheltered ever since. Kept away from others to prevent a chance touch—worn a contact to hide her evil eye. But the whispers surrounding her hadn’t stopped.
Women in their village eyed Petra as though she were a demon come to steal their men. The men’s gazes followed her everywhere she went as they wondered whether the stories were true—if her touch could enflame a man beyond control. They didn’t seem to fear the curse, and instead, sought excuses to rub up against her in the market or at church.
Her touch incited men to lose their minds to lust. To rape. Inevitably, she and her mother had been forced to move and start again. She’d donned gloves to prevent accidental touches.
Now, she stared down at her hands and wondered if her sisters would be immune and whether they’d inherited a different sort of curse.
“You sure this be the right place, cher?”
Petra ignored the driver’s familiarity. Seemed everyone she’d met since her arrival at Louis Armstrong Airport wanted to take her under their wing. Did she look so out of place? So lost? Her English was better than their own. What gave away her uncertainty?
She slid her fingers from damp cotton gloves and dug into her purse for her wallet and the crisp bills to pay her fare. “This is the address I was given,” she replied, keeping her tone even, unconcerned, while inside her stomach trembled.
The driver turned in his seat and glanced back, his gaze snagging on her hands. His brow wrinkled.
He’d expected to see some injury or deformity. Why else would she wear gloves in the stifling heat?
She smiled, bitter humor turning up the corners of her lips. “Will this be enough?” She held out the bills.
His quick nod told her she’d paid too much, but she didn’t care. If he wondered why a woman alone would wish to be dropped in this desolate location, at least he’d still be in a hurry to leave in case she realized her mistake.
He held out his hand and she placed the money in the center of his palm, careful not to glide her fingertips across his skin.
“I could take your bags—”
She shook her head. “I will carry them the rest of the way. Besides, your car seems to be misbehaving. You wouldn’t want it to die so far from a garage. Have a safe trip back.”
His car had stalled before a bridge at the bottom of a long winding drive. When he’d keyed the ignition, he’d only crawled a few inches forward before it sputtered out again. He’d shaken his head, cursing in French beneath his breath, but she knew there wasn’t a thing wrong with his car.
Static crackled in the air. She felt it, could hear it if she listened closely. The house wouldn’t allow the car to approach.
As she stepped onto the drive, he popped the trunk and walked around to lift her single suitcase to the ground.
Petra paid him no mind. Her gaze followed the single lane over the bridge and up the long incline. Despite the gathering dusk and the distance, she should see white paint shimmer through the thick underbrush and vines surrounding the tall sycamores.
The whir and grate of wheels spinning on the path drew her gaze back, and she accepted the handle of her case, gave the driver an absent nod then trudged across the bridge.
If she’d thought the air humid inside the air-conditioned vehicle, she now felt like she’d stepped into a sauna. Her skin grew instantly damp, whether from the moisture in the air or her own sweat it didn’t matter. Not that she truly minded. The weather and the landscape around her couldn’t have been more different than her home. And she’d wanted a radical change.
Where open meadows stretched atop long, fingerlike peninsulas toward the icy sea back in Norway, here, everything felt enclosed, wrapped in lush, green vegetation, like a hothouse without walls.
As she topped the drive, the house came into view. She remembered her mother’s warning. Her words had been harsh, but her hands, always so expressive, revealed her fear. Her mother had played with the collar of Petra’s blouse as they’d stood on the stoop of their little house. She’d brushed back the fall of Petra’s blonde hair, tucking the strands behind her ears as though she were a little girl. “He was not your father.”
“And yet he has left me an inheritance.”
“Not the one you seek.”
Petra had smiled and placed her gloved hands on either side of her mother’s face. “We both knew this day would come.”
Tears had filled her mother’s bright blue eyes. “You can’t know what you face. Here, you are safe.”
“Here, I am imprisoned. Mother, I won’t tell you not to worry because I know you can’t help it, but I’m ready.”
“Just beware. Jean-Paul may have been the instrument, but he didn’t sire you.”
That truth was inescapable. No human could have left her so cursed that she’d lived isolated all her life—since the time her “gift” had manifested itself at puberty.
She wished she could leave her mother with a kiss, but the obscene nature of her curse prevented a daughter’s affection. Instead, she’d given her mother a tight smile and left.
Petra glanced around, not surprised to find no cars parked in the crumbling half-circle drive. Perhaps the others hadn’t arrived or had chosen to go out.
She had a key—a large skeleton key, old-fashioned and heavy. It sat inside her sweaty palm as she approached the house.
The mansion showed wear. The wooden exterior needed paint. A couple of dark shutters hung, each tilting on a single hinge. Still, it looked like something out of an old Civil War movie, as though Rhett or Scarlett might saunter out the door onto the wide veranda at any moment.
The electric crackling still sounded around her, but was becoming as constant and unnoticeable as wind whipping through fjords. However, it would be wise to heed the warning. A sinister air clung to the quiet estate.
She tried the tarnished doorknob and it opened. Pushing the door inward, she hesitated on the threshold.
The interior of the house smelled of furniture polish and detergents. Where the exterior showed some neglect, inside everything sparkled. More importantly, no ominous odors like the ones her mother had warned her about wafted in the air. “Is anyone here?” she called out.
Silence greeted her, and she admitted she was relieved for the chance to settle in before meeting her sisters.
A solid oak staircase beckoned, and she dragged her case upward. On the landing above, she spied an open doorway but discovered a case on the bed. She passed the door, moving to the next. This one swung open to a large airy room. Tall ceilings, a bare wood floor. The furnishings were cherry with scrollwork embellishing the bedposts and the top of the mirror above the chest of drawers. She peeked into the closet and found no clothing hanging there and decided to claim the room as her own. She could unpack while she waited.
One eye felt watery, itchy. She pulled a small plastic case from her purse and removed the tinted contact from her eye, blinking with relief. Here, she needn’t hide the misshaped pupil.
She laid her case on the bed and unzipped it, but the darkening light outside the window drew her. If she wanted to see the rest of the house and yard, she’d have to go now or wait until morning.
Decision made, she left behind her belongings, pocketed her key, and hesitated over picking up the gloves she’d tossed beside her bag, then left them and hurried out the door.
As she approached the top of the staircase, the large window overlooking the back of the house made her pause. Light was fading, but from this vantage she could see the outlines of planting beds, long overgrown with weeds. Two rows of three with spindly rose bushes pushing above the taller weeds, climbing gray trellises toward the fading sun. Beyond the beds lay a long expanse of tall grass. Oaks and more sycamores framed the back of the yard.
She wondered what other wonders were hidden in the neglected garden and whether her sisters would want to hold onto the house or sell it to split the profits—what she’d initially hoped. But now, she wasn’t quite so eager to be rid of it. Something about the house felt welcoming despite its lingering air of malaise.
Perhaps it was the isolation. She’d lived apart from others for so long that solitude was comforting. And the contrast of the open fields of her homeland to the thick vegetation lent this place a touch of the exotic. Maybe here, she could be free to be herself. But she was rushing ahead. Each of the sisters would have a say in the fate of this property.
Not wanting to waste the waning light, she hurried down the stairs and into the large open living room. French doors led to the garden. They opened easily on quiet hinges. She let them close behind her and stepped onto a tiled porch. Stair steps led to a flagstone path. From this elevation she couldn’t see the boundaries of the planting beds they were so choked with weeds.
Three steps downward, a sensation, like the softest velvet brushing past her exposed skin, glided over her as she entered the garden. The late afternoon sunlight dimmed instantly to dusk and she blinked to adjust her eyes. She had to hurry to get her first look at her new home before darkness fell.
At the end of the pathway bordered by tall bushes and made impenetrable by dense vines and weeds, she saw an opening and walked steadily toward what she assumed would be the grassy area beyond the formal garden.
Frogs croaked, crickets chirped, creating a cacophony of sound that reminded her again just how far from home she really was.
The open grass was farther than she’d thought and she considered turning back, but the smells welcomed her. She recognized a hint of roses and paused to inhale the sweet fragrance from small white flowers studding a long vine wrapped around a leggy bush.
She smiled, recognizing the blooms from the pictures of the travel book she’d read on her flight across the sea. The scent was sweet, nearly cloying, but she inhaled deeply, entranced with her discovery. She plucked a bloom and held it cupped in her palm and continued down the narrow pathway.
At the end of the path, she exited the dense, tall foliage into a clearing. A gazebo, its lattices intact but in need of paint, stood against the darkening forest. To her left a stone bench sat next to a large statue. The fading sunlight limned the statue and lent its surface a pearlescent sheen. The figure of a winged gargoyle, its massive body upright, its arms and wings outstretched as though ready to take flight was so exact, so detailed, she couldn’t help but stare. “Oh my.”
She crept closer. Oddly, the large statue wasn’t supported by a sturdy base. Instead, the feet of the mythical creature were mired in dirt and grass. Vines crept up the thickly hewn calves and thighs, curling around and around. Leaves like ivy and blooms of honeysuckle entangled to clothe his naked body, even twining around the masculine appendage rising between his thighs.
She wondered how such a large statue remained supported by only the two feet planted in the dirt, and thought the artist must have been truly gifted to achieve the balance. Entranced, she could only stare in awe at the massive object.
Shadows accentuated the outline of the long muscles cloaking his legs; light sparkled on the bulging, straining curves; veins tracked along arms and thick, leathery wings.
While she stared, she realized there was nothing stopping her from touching it with the bare pads of her fingertips. She’d touched intimately only one masculine body in her life and had learned to her dismay the dangers. But this figure carved in stone couldn’t respond to her curse, and she could indulge her curiosity about his masculine form.
Timidly, she touched his knee, opening her palm over the cap. Surprised, she pulled back her hand. The stone wasn’t cool to the touch. Perhaps it had soaked up the warmth from the sunlight. The surface was so smooth it had felt real, almost pulsating.
The allure of the forbidden was too great to resist and she pressed her hand against his thigh, trailing it upwards, admiring the sleek, hard muscle. But vines impeded her exploration.
She reached up and took the uppermost strands and peeled them away, one by one, exposing his body to the fading light, unwinding them as she moved around him. “Almost like undressing a man,” she mused whimsically.
When the vines lay in long tendrils on the ground, she stepped between his bent thighs and stared into his face. Here wasn’t the bug-eyed gargoyle she’d expected, but rather he wore a warrior’s fierce grimace, frightening in its intensity.
She smoothed her fingertips over his heavy brow, caressed the sharp blades of his cheekbones and blunt nose, and traced the curve of his thinned upper lip and the surprising fullness of the lower.
“How would such a man’s lips feel beneath mine?” she whispered.
She glanced over her shoulder at the house that seemed farther away than it had when she’d first entered the garden, but found no curious glances trained her way through the windows.
She shook her head, her mouth curving slightly. “If they see anything, I will tell them it must have been someone else.”
Turning back, she gripped the tops of his broad shoulders and stood on her toes and grazed his mouth with hers. The texture of the warm stone was soft, deceptively malleable, but perhaps it was only the give of her own lips as she brushed over his again.
She dropped down, her glance following the flow of her hands as she cupped and molded the densely muscled chest, swept over the hard whorls of hair, marveling over the detail. The abdomen, a study of tautly ribbed slabs, caused her breaths to deepen and her imagination to imbue them with life that rippled gently beneath her caress.
Downward she trailed her hand, halting just above the whorls framing the phallus, and again, she noted the veins tracing along the long shaft, the finely carved cap, so smoothly sanded there wasn’t a single rough edge or bump to mar the surface. Her hand smoothed up, then down, then dropped away. She’d gone too far.
The engorged state of the statue tempted her beyond common sense. Beyond her own natural modesty. Moisture dampened her sex. Her heart fluttered. Her breaths betrayed a ragged texture.
Waning sunlight glimmered through the trees, flashing bright orange, then fading. Darkness settled around the garden, and still there were no lights beaming from the house.
No one could see her in this dark, lonely garden. No one would be disgusted or repulsed by the impulse that burned inside her.
She’d lived alone so long, repressed desires that were natural for a woman, due to the curse that kept her separate from others.
Her touch couldn’t arouse this beast-man, couldn’t incite him to rape. For once, she could pretend she was any other girl, learning the wonder of completion with something other than her own fingers. She could pretend she held a lover inside her embrace, one who wouldn’t be so consumed with lust that her pleasure was forgotten. She could take what she desired to serve her own needs.
Petra stepped backwards and dropped her gaze from his stony, unseeing glance, nevertheless embarrassed by what she contemplated. Just once, she’d heed the urge. Just once she’d dare something indescribably erotic. Tomorrow, she’d be surrounded by her new family, and again, she’d hide her true nature within gloves.
She opened her blouse, her fingers gliding down the row of buttons. Her bra opened with a deft twist and she dropped both items onto the ground beside her. She stepped from her slide-on mules, unbuttoned her jeans and pushed them down her hips.
When she was naked, she succumbed to the urge to cover her breasts as she approached the statue. At the last moment, she reached behind her head and removed the clasp, letting her hair fall like warm silk between her shoulder blades.
The bend of his upper thighs made a convenient perch, and she stepped onto one thigh then slid her left leg around his waist. Holding his shoulders again, she squatted over his cock, finding the nudge of the warmed marble, and circled her pussy over the blunt tip.
The feeling was indescribable. And almost enough to send her over the edge. She did it again, moaning when liquid seeped from inside her to anoint the rigid tip. Growing more breathless, she knew she must slow down, must breathe, must savor this moment because she didn’t know if she’d ever find the courage to try this again.
Wrapping her hands around his thick neck, she leaned toward him, kissing his open lips, sucking on the lower, pretending he was alive and responsive to her overtures. And she sank, slowly, her slick folds consuming his cock, inch by inch, her moisture and warmth heating up the thick phallic stone she rode as she began to move on him.
Her heartbeats quickened, growing louder. “Can you hear them?” she whispered. “Can you hear my heartbeats? How they tremble for you, my gargoyle?”
Petra rose and fell, her body melting inside and out, growing slick with desire and sweat. Her breasts rubbed against his stone chest, chafing softly, her nipples blooming. Her belly undulated, rocking slightly forward and back as she thrust downward, her inner walls stretching to surround him.
He filled her, the notches of his hips and the strength of his shaft supported her as her limbs weakened the closer to release she climbed.
Her eyelids fluttered downward and her mouth gaped open as fine ripples began to climb along her inner walls, vibrating around his solid cock. And then her mind flew, imagining a pulsing tension emanating from the cock lodged so deeply inside her, imagining that the stone gave slightly as she sank then rocked, shallowly stroking inside her.
It wasn’t until something soft caressed her shoulders and back that she opened her eyes.
The expression of her stone gargoyle was no longer gray and frozen, but dark and taut; his dark eyes stared back at her. The wings were no longer spread, but folded forward, surrounding her in heat and trapping her against his body as he brought her to the ground.
But it was too late to scream because her orgasm erupted, bowing her back, shoving her pelvis hard against her demon lover’s as the rhythmic pulsing swept over her body, causing her to tremble and moan.
With the corners of his lips curving upward, Petra’s heart thudded against her chest. Indeed, her curse was so vile she’d incited lust and awoken a stone god.