There's more than meets the eye to the twenty twisted pleasures collected here, with death and desire lying in wait behind every corner.
One goth girl finds the man whose love can make her beautiful and whose body can bring her ecstasy—if she can stomach the price. . .
A zombie apocalypse destroys a man's family, but "til death do us part" is a vow his wife won't forget—even if she's now more on the undead side.
A vampire hunter wakes up the morning after and has to discover what forbidden pleasures he indulged in the night before—he suspects they might involve the drop-dead gorgeous bloodsucker next door. . .
These and many more tales of sinister passion lie inside—if you aren't afraid of the dark. . ..
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DARK PASSIONSHOT BLOOD XIII
KENSINGTON BOOKSJeff Gelb and Michael Garrett
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA Building Desire
D. Lynn Smith
I come from an illustrious family line, a line of carpenters who took great pride in their work and their tools. But it wasn't until the woman found me discarded on the forest floor that I truly found my place.
It was a fortuitous meeting, her walking through the woods, me under the detritus that had hidden me for so long. My head had finally emerged from its grave, and it was my head that tripped her. She pushed away the leaves and dirt and exclaimed in delight. That warmed me to her right away. She dug up the rest of me and took me home.
There she gently stroked the dirt and debris from my face, my throat, my cheeks, and my claw. She used some steel wool and oil to remove a thin layer of rust that was eating at my metal surface.
Her hand clasped my hickory shaft, worn smooth by time and use. Her grip was firm but gentle. I was made to fit such a hand.
When her husband came in, he saw me resting on the table instead of dinner. He picked me up, his palm soft and damp. He handled me carelessly, as if I were nothing more than an oddity. "Where'd this come from?"
The woman was at the stove, placing some spaghetti into a pot ofboiling water. "I found it in the woods today."
He turned me over, feeling my head-to-handle weight distribution. "It's got pretty good balance."
She came over and took me from him. "Look at this." She showed him the engraving on my face that was my family name. She showed him my proper crown that could drive nails flush without marring a wood surface. She stroked my deep throat and strong neck that allowed power strikes even in difficult areas.
He wasn't impressed. "It's pretty old. I don't think I'd trust it to hold up under any hard pounding."
He slipped his arms around her waist, nuzzling her ear. "And speaking of hard pounding ..."
She giggled, and, as her fingers tightened around me, I felt her pulse quicken. He picked her up and carried her into the bedroom, laying her on the bed and kissing her hard on the mouth. Her body flooded with pleasure, and that pleasure was mine as well. Then he placed me on the nightstand.
She'd held me long enough that I could still feel her ecstasy as his head dipped to her breasts. When her hand slipped into his pants and stroked his hardness, I felt her remember the sensation of rubbing oil into my wooden handle.
"This is our moment," he whispered as he entered her. "Tonight, only we exist."
Her pleasure exploded into me.
The pot of spaghetti boiled dry. The tomato sauce burned.
She was sated.
The same satisfaction filled me when, the following morning, she used me on the addition she and her husband were putting on the house. Her husband had given her a new hammer, one with a fiberglass handle. It was obvious he wasn't a real carpenter if he used a hammer like that.
"This one feels better in my hand," she said about me. "It's easier to use, puts less stress on my muscles and wrist."
"Look, we don't even know how old that thing is. The head could be brittle and throw a chip. Or the assembly could be weak. It could come flying off and do one of us some serious damage."
Clearly he was pissed off, but he came over and rested a hand on her stomach. "This baby doesn't need a one-eyed mother."
Dismissing the comment with a sigh, she put her hand over his. "She's our little miracle. With all the doctors saying I'd never conceive ... well, we proved them wrong, didn't we?"
She looked up at her husband with tears in her eyes. "Finding this hammer was like a miracle too. I can't explain it, but I just feel like I'm supposed to have it, supposed to use it to build her nursery."
He was angry, and I felt her dismay. For a moment I thought she might put me down and pick up that shiny new fiberglass thing. I sent a little shiver through me, and her grip tightened.
"Have it your way," her husband said as he stalked away.
I became an extension of her as we drove nails and tapped beams into place. She knew some things about carpentry, but as we worked together I suggested some new ways my claw and head could be used. Her delight at these discoveries washed over me, and I almost forgot the trauma of being discarded in the woods. Buried, actually. Hidden.
We were rarely apart. I hung from a tool belt at her hips so that when she walked I tapped lightly against her thigh. At the end of a day's work she took me inside and used a soft cloth to wipe away any debris from the day. She'd caress me, running her fingers down the smooth bevels of my shaft, squeezing me slightly at my belled end, running her hand up to the larger midsection, where she would hold me for light blows, and on up to the eye, deep and tapered for secure head-to-handle union.
As her stomach expanded with the growing child, her husband spent less and less time at home. She smothered her despair by delighting in every movement inside her, with the construction of the nursery, and with me.
But my anger at the husband grew, and with that anger came the thirst. The thirst made me remember.
The powerful swing, sliding easily into the enemy's torso, slicing through rib and lung, penetrating deep. Warm blood and gore glazing me.
The husband said I was old. He had no idea.
Cleaving the hardness of the skull, puncturing into the moist inner sanctum.
I was born as a weapon in a different time and place.
Thrust and parry. A deadly dance until once again I slide into the pulsating wetness.
A blacksmith's fire and hammer reshaped my blade and forged me into what I am today. But the fire of the hearth failed to burn the blood from steel. Instead it fused them, and I was born.
Nights she would toss and turn in her sleep, and I knew she was dreaming my memories. I tried to pull them from her, frightened at first that if they continued, she too would bury me in the woods as my previous owner had done. But my anger at the husband grew in tandem with her despair, and so I remembered, and she dreamed, and she did not throw me away.
She had some morning sickness for a few weeks, but usually it passed quickly and she would throw herself into building the nursery. With my help she became strong and confident. Two blows could drive a nail into a two-by-four. In places where she could not hold the nail, she'd place it in my claw, the head snug against my eye, and drive it into a wall. Then she'd flip me over, and one or two more blows would finish it.
One day her husband saw her doing this. "Where'd you learn to do that?"
She shrugged. "It just came to me."
"Huh. You're really into this, aren't you?"
"Yeah. But not like that. You keep going, you'll be better at this than I am."
She was already better.
Though resentment boiled inside her, she made herself casually ask, "What would you like for dinner tonight?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, hon. I gotta go into town. A client is flying in, and I'm meeting him during his layover."
The lie hung in the air between them. The next nail she drove hard enough to split the wood. The strength of her anger, and her arm, surprised and scared her.
"When do you have to leave?" she asked.
"I'll take a shower in about an hour, then go."
She put me into her tool belt, which was tight around her bulging stomach, and walked over to wrap her arms around his neck. I tapped against her thigh. Her face smiled, but her body was tense and angry. "Just enough time for a little afternoon delight."
He chuckled but pushed her away. "Come on, hon. I'm afraid it'll hurt the baby."
"The doctor said it wouldn't. She said anything we were comfortable doing was fine."
"Yeah, well, doctors don't know everything, and after all the difficulty we've had, I'd never forgive myself if something I did hurt our little miracle."
She didn't argue. She just took me into the kitchen and cleaned me. Flashes of my oldest, bloodiest memories winked through her mind as she did.
The exterior of the addition was complete, and we were finishing the interior when the call came. I remember her struggling to understand exactly what the doctor was telling her.
"Gonorrhea. How could I have gonorrhea?"
I could feel the realization sweep over her. Her mind went to a dark and blank place where nothing made sense and words swept over her without meaning. She thanked the doctor and hung up the phone.
Taking me with her, she went to her car and drove into town. She found her husband's car outside his favorite bar, the one he'd told her his boss liked so much. She parked where she wouldn't be seen. We waited.
She held me, stroking my shaft, rubbing my head. He came out laughing and stumbling with another woman. They got into his car and drove away.
She followed them to a rundown motel and watched them go into a room her husband had apparently rented earlier. After a few moments had passed, we went to the window, where the curtains didn't quite come together. She saw the man sucking on the woman's huge breasts and teasing her nipples with his tongue. She watched the woman unzip his pants, take his cock in her mouth, and suck until he was moaning. He wrapped his fingers in her hair and held her head down.
"Tonight, only we exist." She couldn't hear the words, but she could see his lips form them. A sickness bled through her and up my handle. She choked on her own bile as she continued to watch.
The woman pulled her head away, then straddled him, hanging her tits in his face, where he sucked them once again. Then he rolled her onto her stomach and pulled her to the edge of the bed. He stood behind and entered the woman, his face alive with bestial perversion.
He wasn't wearing a condom.
She turned away from the window and retched into the bushes, falling to her knees with tears leaking from her eyes. She clutched her stomach where the child slept quietly and rocked back and forth, despair and loss overwhelming her. For a while her mind went totally and utterly blank, and I was left alone with my anger.
When her mind refocused, it was to play the ugliness of her husband's infidelity over and over. He'd jeopardized their child's life for animal lust. He'd thrown away their dreams, their love. Only we exist, he'd said to that whore.
She got up and walked back to her car. I lay on her lap as she drove, and I fed her the warm comfort of blood. I fed her the satisfaction of my point slipping into flesh and scraping between ribs. I fed her the deeper thrust where my blade penetrated through to the pulsating muscle concealed within, the cross guard hitting flesh, and my wielder feeling the blood pouring over his hand. I fed her the pleasure of being the conveyor of death.
When he came home that night, she was sitting in the dark waiting for him. He fumbled through some excuse for his lateness. But she was all sugar and offered to get him a beer. He accepted.
He picked me up from the table. "If I didn't know better, I'd think you were in love with this thing."
She brought him his beer and took me from his hands. "A hammer is more than just a hammer, you know. It's such a personal tool that it becomes an extension of yourself. You forge a bond of loyalty with it."
He laughed. "That's the stupidest thing I ever heard."
"Really," she said. "Actually, I heard something even stupider today."
"Yeah?" He took a deep pull on his beer but couldn't keep his eyes off me as she started a hypnotic tapping of my head against her palm.
"The doctor called. Did you know that if a pregnant woman has gonorrhea, then her baby could become infected during the delivery?"
"Gonorrhea. What are you talking about?"
"It can cause the baby to go blind, or have a joint infection, or even a life-threatening blood infection."
He put down his beer. "This is stupid," he said as he tried to get up out of the chair. He fell back.
"Yeah," she said. "It is stupid. As stupid as fucking around without using a condom and then coming home and fucking your pregnant wife."
He was blinking his eyes and trying to stand up. "What did you do to me?"
She smiled and continued tapping my head into her palm. "Not much ... yet."
I felt the thrill of anticipation. I wasn't sure if it was hers or mine.
She had grown strong while building the nursery. Still it was a struggle for her to strip off his clothes and lift him. She tied him to a ladder, then propped it up in the doorway of the new nursery. The baby kicked and turned inside her.
The first nail was the most difficult. She wasn't used to the soft feel of flesh being penetrated by steel, and she was rocked by horror and doubt. But I fed her my strength, and we drove that first one home.
Waves of pleasure swept through me with each blow. And when my head met the flesh, that pleasure spilled through my shaft and into her hand. She gasped. Revulsion and desire created a tumultuous sea of whirling emotions. Her child shifted inside her. Anger once again rose to the surface and ruled. She drove a second nail through the wrist of his right arm.
We used five-inch nails that went deep into the wood, pounding the protruding part of the nail over and down so he couldn't pull himself free. The final nail pegged his feet to the oak flooring. She removed the ladder when she was finished and let him hang there.
Her husband woke with a moan. He tried to move but was held fast. His eyes fluttered open, muddled and unaware. She watched and enjoyed as understanding flooded into them.
He struggled, trying to pull himself free as he screamed in pain and fear. "What the fuck are you doing?"
She stood in front of him, tapping me gently into her palm. Waves of delicious anticipation rolled over us.
She walked up to him and ran my claw down his chest, pressing a little as it reached a nipple so that I scraped until he yelped and bled.
"Baby, please," her husband begged. "I'm sorry I cheated. I ... I don't know what got into me. I promise I'll never do it again. Please ..." He was crying, snot dripping from his nose and across his lips. "Please ..."
"Cheating I could have lived with," she said as she brought me back up the side of his chest to the other nipple.
"Oh fuck, stop it, stop it," he screamed.
"But you did more than cheat, didn't you? You didn't use a condom." She pulled me back and brought me down hard on one of his fingers. It cracked and smashed into pulp. I shivered with a building desire.
"I thought you cherished us. I thought you loved us."
A second finger collapsed under my head.
After the scream, he begged. "I do. I love you both. I didn't mean to hurt you. Please, please let me go."
"I could have lived with you hurting me," she said.
A third finger went. Her breath was coming in excited pants.
"Stop. Oh please," he wailed as more tears and snot ran down across his face.
She once again stroked his chest with my claw. His skin tried to crawl away from my cold steel, but I reveled in its warmth. She leaned in close to him and whispered in his ear.
"You endangered our child. Our miracle."
I ran down the outside of his thigh, then up the inside. He must have known what was going to happen, because he started to writhe.
"Oh God, no."
The child inside her womb began to kick as she tickled his balls with my claw.
"Please, baby, no."
She ran me between his legs ...
"No! Stop! Nooo!"
... and back between his cheeks.
"And endangering our child is something you can't live with," she said. He screamed. The baby punched at her womb as if trying to escape. She jerked me forward so that my claw hooked on his balls and tore them from their home. Warm, wonderful blood spurted on me as the useless sacks fell away. The sticky wetness poured down my shaft and onto her hand.
He continued screaming, but neither of us cared. Desire ruled us both. She lifted me high, bloody rivulets running down her arm. His skull caved under a stroke we'd perfected together, and I entered the soft gray matter beneath.
His screaming stopped as suddenly as her orgasm exploded upon us.
"Only we exist," she gasped, breathless, her hand resting gently above our child.
Excerpted from DARK PASSIONS Excerpted by permission.
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