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I’ve written quite a few short stories. I like the fact I can write one in just a couple of days. When I’m experimenting with a genre, a quick 4,000-words is enough to let me move inside another world and try it on. Some of them I sell to publishers who need short stories like Cleis Press or for one of the Mammoth Books. Not everyone will run to buy a collection of short stories just to see what I have written, so I am starting to pull those shorties together into their own collections. This was my first collection. I’ll release another, hopefully next month. Enjoy this snippet from another of my “experiments.” Can you guess what my naked man from the sea really is?
From National Bestselling Author, Delilah Devlin, comes a naughty collection of seven bedtime stories for a week’s worth of nighttime reading pleasure —a little “som-som” to inspire sexy dreams or a one-handed orgasm, or to be read to a partner and enjoyed together.
Witness one woman’s desperate attempt to seduce her busy husband in “Lily’s Last Stand”. In “Nip ‘n’ Tuck” follow a shy seamstress’s adventures with an online suitor that doesn’t go quite as planned. Dive into “Dreaming by the Sea” where a woman with a mysterious past is surprised by a lover who strides naked from the ocean to claim her. An adventurous Victorian nurse learns the pleasures of steam-driven technology in “Dr.Mullaley’s Cure”. A New York commuter shares lustful daydreams of with another subway passenger in “The Morning Ride”. A woman finds the limits of her inhibitions tested in a one-night stand in “All About Me”. In “The Obedient Wife”, find out what really happened between The Beauty and the Beast. Hint: It’s not your children’s fairytale!
From “Dreaming By The Sea” from Strokes
Sea foam lathered the jagged rocks along the shore, each lap sounding like a soapy caress. A sensual sound that fired my imagination to think about things I hadn’t since…well, in a very long time.
Frustrated with the elusive memory, I turned my face into the wind and enjoyed the way it whipped at my hair and the nightgown I’d thrown on over my underwear before making the trek down to the beach. The way the light played at the edge of the horizon had proved too much temptation for me to stay inside the cabin hugging the side of the cliff.
The air was cool with an underlying note of humid heat. Cloying enough to make the silk stick to my skin, but I didn’t care. No one was there to see my slinky nightgown mold my body. I hadn’t wanted to dress since I rose from bed that morning. One of the perks of being a writer. I’d worked without a break all day, but now needed to clear the cobwebs before I headed back into my story.
I strode beside the water, jumping back to avoid the tidal fingers that seeped between the rocks lining the shore to rush across the sand. I headed to the small pool the ebbing tide left every day to see the treasures the sea deposited for me to admire.
Or so I liked to think. Not that I ever took them home. I hadn’t the courage to wet my fingers in the brine. An old phobia—one I wasn’t sure where it started.
Tall, sharp-edged boulders framed the opening where the water rushed into the pool. Peering into the water, I lay on my stomach on a flat rock above the pool. I edged closer and closer, tempted to trail my fingers in the silky saltwater. An orange starfish, bits of broken shell, a long thin strand of seaweed were all that filled the pool. Still, I stared, wishing I were braver.
“Do you always whimper when you stare at starfish?”
I jerked back, my gaze flying to a man, his hands braced between the two sentinel rocks and his body completely nude. “You startled me,” I blurted, scrambling to my knees. Then I narrowed my eyes. “What are doing here? This beach is private. And why the hell are you naked?”
“Don’t you have you any pity for a man washed up on your shore?”
I didn’t believe him. A quick glance showed his skin hadn’t been torn or bruised by the force of water crashing against the rocks. But how had he come here? And why hadn’t he worn a swimsuit?
I didn’t want to know. No matter how handsome he was. And gods, he was. His hair was nearly black and the wet strands grazed the tops of wide shoulders. His eyes were a startling blue, like a calm sea. However, staring into them was anything but calming.
The longer the moment stretched, the harder I fought to ignore the dark hair matted to his chest or the hollows that outlined the muscles stretched over his abdomen.
I tried to keep my gaze glued to his crooked smile, but I knew the attempt was a battle I’d lose. I glanced down, thinking I’d hide it with a blink, but found myself ensnared by the sight of his erection. Thick and alert, without a curve, it pointed slightly to the side. In that second while my gaze lingered, I felt a deep pang of loneliness echo through me.
He cupped his cock. Was he hiding it? Or making sure I’d continue to stare?
My nipples tightened and poked against the silk. I hunched my shoulders to disguise my body’s reaction. “I’m asking you to leave,” I said, forcing a hard tone. “Now.”
“Are you afraid of me?”
I should have been. He’d appeared out of nowhere, invading my personal haven.
However, I’d been alone for nearly a month. This conversation, as strange as it was, was the most thrilling thing that happened since my arrival. “I’m not afraid.” Just feeling horny and stupid. My cheeks began a slow burn.
His shoulders relaxed and he dropped his arms, striding forward into the tidal pool. He bent and picked up a shell, then wiped it off on his belly and held it out.
I didn’t want to take it his gift. The way he looked at me, his stare so intense, set off tingles of alarm that lifted the hairs on the back of my neck.
Still, I raised my hand, accepting it, and then cradled it in my palm as I met the stranger’s steady gaze.
His mouth curved into a half-smile tentative enough not to alarm me. “If I join you on your rock, will you run?”
Damn. I wanted him here, even though he’d be near enough I couldn’t escape. “Should I run?” I asked, tilting my chin.
His smile widened. “Only if you worry about your gown getting wet.” His gaze studied my expression, and then he gripped the ledge and hauled himself up beside me.
I made more room for him to sprawl backward on his elbows. Eyeing him, sitting this close to his nude body, disturbed me more than I wanted to admit. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction—him, with his masculine frame stretched beside me, so close I could sweep a hand over his hard belly or bend to take his cock inside my mouth…
At the direction of my thoughts, my heart pounded like a sledgehammer.
“The sun’s setting,” he murmured, turning to catch me staring again.
I really couldn’t resist. His cock lay against the thigh nearest me. And disappointingly, it had softened. I wondered how that could be when my own body was reacting so wildly to his proximity.
“Really, did you park along the cliff?” I blurted, wanting to talk about anything to fill the silence that made me more nervous and embarrassed by the second. He had to know how he affected me, my breaths were coming faster. My cheeks heated.
He arched a dark brow, and the fading sunlight glinted in his mysterious, sea-blue eyes. His white teeth flashed. “I swam here.”
Our gazes were locked, making the moment feel more intimate, as though a promise was made. My body leaned toward him, but I resisted. He was a complication I didn’t need. No matter how handsome. I shook my head to clear it. “Do you have a house farther down the beach?”
“My home is farther along than that.”
Growing annoyed with his evasiveness, I frowned and rose on my knees. “I have to get back.”
“Is someone waiting for you? Will you be missed?”
The way he asked, as though my answer would determine his reaction, made those warning tingles clamor. I tried to stand, but he gripped my wrist and held me.
His thumb stroked my thudding pulse. “I can’t let you leave.”
“Do it. No one will hear.”
Since he was right, I bit my tongue and glared.
“Say you’ll stay, and I’ll let go of you.”
I nodded slowly. “I’ll stay.”
He eased his grip, and I glanced down to rub my wrist, waiting for him to lower his guard. The moment he offered me a smile, I shoved his chest, pushing him off the rock into the pool. Then I scrambled up the rocky pathway.
In moments, I was halfway up the narrow, uneven rock steps that ran from the beach to the cabin porch, forty feet above. However, I heard no sounds behind me and I slowed, worrying that maybe he’d hit his head against a rock and lay bleeding or drowned in the water. Huffing a bit, I halted, gripping the handrail in my indecision, and then glanced back. I gave a startled yelp because he was only two steps behind me. And smiling.
Naked and smiling, I revised. I couldn’t get past the naked part, not when his cock was filling again. I backed up a step.
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