Previewing 'Daydreams', a collection of paranormal erotic short stories.
Showcasing story 1--The Mariner.
Enjoy the taste.
Release date is December 31--now available for preorder
Read for free on Kindle Unlimited
Great passions, my dear, don't exist: they're liars' fantasies. What do exist are little loves that may last for a short or a longer while.
Karen worried that the stain of her ex-lover's sins would forever trap her in limbo—that she'd always be known as 'the one'.
I am not running away out of shame, I don't care what anyone says. I'm doing this for me—for my sanity.
The town of Kilkee, Ireland nestled next to a horseshoe shaped beach banked by curving and towering green cliffs. An angry sea pushed against shore under black storm clouds.
The scene suited her mood.
"Here we are, Miss," the driver said, slowing the car in front of the town's pub. "Should I wait?"
"Please. I just need to sign the agreement and get the keys to my rental cottage." She stepped outside and immediately wrapped the cardigan tighter around her torso. Wind screamed inland ahead of the pending storm and tossed blonde hair across her face like a veil.
She ran into the pub, anxious to finish the business of traveling and collapse into a bed. A hush of surprise settled over the patrons at her sudden appearance. She used all of her strength to shut the door against the furious gust and ignored the stares.
With a shake of her head, she shoved her hair behind her ears and walked to the bar. "I'm looking for Mary Clancy. Am I in the right place?"
A bored looking bartender straightened slowly, looked over his shoulder, and yelled for Mary to come out front.
For a month now, she had endured the stares of everyone she knew—and those she didn't—so she'd become an expert at pretending not to see the scrutiny. Standing a bit taller, she grinned at the bartender whose gaze skimmed her from head-to-toe.
Don't look away, never let them see you sweat, she coached herself.
No, the sweating and the screaming and the punching of walls was best done in private.
She cleared her throat and tried to muster some patience. The idea of a cozy bed and no internet for fourteen days sounded like paradise.
"You must be Karen Powell," a tall woman with black hair streaked with gray stepped out from the kitchen. Sparkling blue eyes were framed by a delightful array of wrinkles and sharp cheekbones that any model would envy. She snapped a hand towel against the countertop and yelled, "You all show some manners. For the love of God, you'd think none of you had seen a traveler before. Gaping like a bunch of fools."
"Is there much to fill out? I did most of it online." Karen fumbled in her purse for her passport for identification purposes and forced a smile. She hadn't slept in almost forty-eight hours. The need to flee had been overpowering and she'd picked this place by simply pointing on a map and googling it. Not much planning had been involved, yet here she stood.
"Oh, no, I just need you to sign here." Mary slid the receipt to her, along with hand drawn directions to the cottage and a key. "I stocked the place with groceries from the list you'd made, but if there's anything else you need, the market is next door. Are you staying here for dinner?"
Karen blinked at her, exhaustion weighing down her eyelids. All the adrenaline that had fueled her journey had dissipated once she'd seen the town.
"Not tonight. I want to get settled, sleep for a few days, maybe after that." She scrawled her name by the X and retrieved her passport. "My driver needs to return to Dublin, too, so I had best get going."
"You didn't drive yourself?" Mary frowned. "The cottage is a fair walk from here, at least two kilometers. At night—"
"I'll be fine. I'm used to walking."
"Do you see that path?" Mary stepped out from behind the bar and pointed toward a break in the short stone wall on the other side of the road. "That leads to and from the cottage and the cliffs. Be careful at night. There is a flashlight in the cottage—"
"I'll be fine, seriously. I'm used to taking care of myself." She forced a smile and nodded to those who were obviously eavesdropping.
"I'll come by and check on you tomorrow if I don't see you later." Mary squeezed her arm and smiled with understanding in her eyes.
Karen stepped back from the kindness, which had become foreign and suspect in her mind regardless of the source. A nun could extend her a helping hand and she'd probably slap it away.
"Thank you. I appreciate it," she muttered before speed walking out of there and back to the waiting sedan.
She'd splurged on a private car because she hadn't wanted to deal with buses or any other mode of transportation that would require interacting with too many people. Now, looking at the back of the driver's head, she felt a little guilty for the three and half hour drive still ahead of him to get home. But she hadn't wanted to rent a car either.
She was tired of being in charge—didn't want any responsibility outside of walking up and going to sleep for awhile. She tipped the driver with a curt 'thank you', somewhat embarrassed by her lack of social skills so far on this trip.
She stared up at the stone cottage banked by lush green cliffs and storm clouds. Declining the driver's help with her two suitcases and backpack, she maneuvered them toward the front door on her own.
Pleased to see smoke wafting from the chimney, she inhaled the scent and paused a minute to soak up the serenity. She could hear the roar of the sea from here. Mist settled on her skin. She watched the sedan pull away before opening the red door—somewhat surprised that it hadn't been locked.
She stopped in mid-stride at the sight of a tall, dark-haired man dressed in all black standing in front of the fireplace. She didn't know what shocked her more—the fact that she wasn't alone as expected or that he was the most handsome man she'd ever seen face-to-face. Hair the color of midnight fell across his forehead over even darker eyes framed by chiseled cheekbones. His sheer size dominated the room. A scar marred his top lip, giving him a sexy sneer when he smiled at her gawking at him.
"Hello," he said as if speaking to a small child.
"Is this the Clancy cottage?"
"Yes." He looked as surprised as she felt.
"I'm renting it for the next two weeks—"
"Oh, yes, of course." He shoved a restless hand through his hair and glanced at her luggage. "I didn't expect you to see me."
"See you?" She frowned at the use of the word, suddenly on guard. A shiver shimmied over her spine. "Why would you say that?"
I shouldn't have sent the driver home yet, should have accepted his help.
"I'm Finnegan Clancy." He stepped forward and extended his hand, as if sensing her unease. "The cottage has been in the family for a long time."
She took his hand and gasped at the energy that zapped from his skin onto hers like a live wire. Damn, she hoped he came with the cottage as some sort of handyman or live-in sex slave or nude chef. She'd blow off the much-anticipated sleep if he were available as a distraction.
He smiled as if reading her mind and pulled his hand from her fingers.
"I'm Karen Powell," she said after finding her voice again. "I think I just met your wife...at the pub? Mary?"
"Not my wife." His dark eyes seemed to know exactly what she wanted. His lips twitched as if he held back a laugh.
Unsure what to do with him, she propped her fists on her hips and studied him through narrowed eyes. "Thank you for starting the fire for me. That was very thoughtful. One less thing I need to do."
He looked over his shoulder toward the fireplace as if just now realizing that he'd started the blaze. "You are welcome. I...um...I suppose I should go?"
The fact that he sounded as if he was asking confused her even more. Perhaps she had finally lost her mind. It had been one helluva month.
"Yes, if you don't mind." She sank onto the worn loveseat, so sick of small talk that could scream yet not wanting to alienate Mr. Irish Hottie in case she snapped out of her funk before the end of her stay. "I really do appreciate your thoughtfulness. Do you live near here?"
He crossed his arms across his chest and tilted his head to the left as if utterly fascinated with her. After an awkward silence, he answered, "I am always close by, yes."
She rubbed the back of her neck and closed her eyes.
"I should go," he said, again sounding surprised at the notion that he needed to leave.
Sane women probably don't toss his gorgeous butt out so he's in complete shock that I'm not falling to my knees, she realized with a sigh. The image of her on her knees with her mouth full of his cock made her blush with embarrassment. My God, I need to be medicated.
"I'm leaving," he said more to himself than her as he retrieved a long black coat, stocking cap, and red scarf from a hook on the wall.
"Maybe I'll run into you in a few days," she said weakly, hating that her words were now slurring together.
He looked at her curiously and nodded. "Perhaps. That would definitely be interesting."
She frowned at his retreating back, locked the door behind him, and peeked out the side window to watch him walking toward the cliffs even as the first raindrop splashed against the glass.
Alone at last, Karen left her bags near the door and dragged her feet up the narrow staircase. Finding a bedroom, she pulled back the comforter, kicked off her shoes, and curled against the mattress fully clothed. She blinked at the rain streaking down the window and hugged a pillow. Alone in peace, she fell asleep listening to the splatter of rain against the roof and hoping she'd be spared any dreams.
Karen blew on the cup of hot tea she'd made herself before curling her legs beneath her on the padded window seat. The scent of homemade bread filled the room. A fire snapped and crackled in the stone fireplace at her back.
She watched the mist of the Irish coast curl over the cliffs plunging to the sea below where waves had smashed relentlessly all night. She'd sworn the walls of her stone cottage had rocked with the force—kaboom, kaboom, over and over again.
Whispers had chatted away until dawn—winding down the narrow staircases with their secrets. She'd always heard ghosts and had grown accustomed to ignoring them. She'd expected no less than a ghost when booking the lonely-looking cottage on the internet.
The sudden knock on the front door caused her to spill the hot tea onto her pajama-clad knee. Grimacing at the realization that she hadn't bothered combing her hair because she'd planned on spending the day baking and reading, she carefully set the mug down before walking cautiously toward the heavy wooden door.
A quick look through the side window showed Finnegan Clancy standing on the front step, collar pulled up around his face and secured with his blood-colored scarf.
Hesitantly, she opened the door a crack and squinted at him through the mist.
"You survived the night I see. Are you feeling better this morning?" he asked with his heavy Irish accent. He'd pulled his black stocking cap low over his forehead.
"Can I do anything to make you feel better?" He smiled at the question in her voice and stepped closer.
Why the thought of stripping him naked popped into mind as an answer, she didn't know. Men—no matter how gorgeous—were off of her to-do list for the indefinite future.
She gripped the door and swayed forward as if pulled by some invisible string that connected her chest to his. "I'm fine, you don't need to check on me."
He stood at least a foot taller than her own 5'4, but it wasn't his height that caused her breath to snag in her throat as if caught on a thousand fishhooks. Energy snapped around him like a force field.
"Are you baking something?" He stepped around her, pulling off his stocking cap as he moved. Thick black hair stuck out at random intervals with a few tendrils sticking to the side of his face.
"Bread. With the rain, I thought some homemade bread and soup would be the perfect lunch." She rubbed a quick hand over her long tangled blonde hair and wished she'd thought to at least shower. Between yesterday's long day of planes, busses, and car rides, she probably smelled and looked like a derelict. "I have some tea made if you'd like some."
He turned and looked her in the eye. "I wanted to check on you—make sure you were okay. I heard you crying."
Karen folded her arms across her chest, suddenly uncomfortable. How could he have possibly heard her crying? Had she been waling in her sleep?
As if sensing her questions, he said, "I was walking by earlier this morning—outside on the cliffs. I walk there every day just before sunrise and I heard you. I thought I should come."
She gulped as heat rose up on her cheeks with embarrassment. She'd been sad over Trevor's crimes and manipulations—had cursed him to the moon and back—but, more than that, she was sad that she'd believed in him to the point of losing herself under a mind fuck of constant lies.
Fin ripped his gaze from hers and motioned toward the kitchen. "Are you a baker?"
"Amateur—nothing to brag about."
"It smells good."
Frowning at his broad back, she followed him into the narrow space surrounded by chipped counters. "Listen, Mr. Clancy—"
"Fin." He smiled with his scarred lip and looked at her with his dark eyes until she felt like sagging against the wall on weak knees. "I didn't mean to embarrass you. You're far too beautiful to be sad like that."
"I'm not embarrassed," she lied before forcing her gaze toward the oven. "It's not done yet or I'd offer you a piece."
"I don't want to intrude—only to let you know that you aren't alone. If you need me, I'm usually walking the cliffs." Abruptly, he stepped around her and walked back into the tiny living room toward the door.
"Even in the rain?" She frowned at this odd man in front of her.
"Always." His gaze locked on hers and held.
She had the overwhelming urge to beg him to stay, but she remained silent with her arms hugging her chest. For a month, she'd been in a perpetual state of shock where she'd been in a steady state of fight or flight. Taking this trip had been the first conscious choice she'd made in weeks—not fight or flight, just her way of saying 'enough' to the madness.
"You're not intruding, Fin," she said, finding his company strangely comforting despite him being a complete stranger in an isolated cottage. "I'm not trying to be rude or cold—I'm not myself yet."
"Then who are you if not yourself?"
Feeling foolish, she smoothed her hands over her hips and looked anywhere but into his face.
You're an independent, successful woman—act like it.
But she didn't feel like that anymore—not after all that happened.
"I'm tired," she whispered more to herself than to him.
"I'll leave you alone then." He adjusted the stocking cap back on his head before refocusing those black eyes on her. "The pub has good food. You should get out and meet the locals. If you don't, they will make up all sorts of stories about the mysterious woman in the Clancy cottage. You will be a legend by nightfall."
"Let them talk." She laughed at that and shrugged. "I'm here for the solitude."
"You underestimate yourself." He stepped toward the door and hesitated with his hand on the doorknob. "Karen?"
She smiled at the way her name sounded in his deep Irish brogue. "Yes?"
He looked as if he wanted to say more even though he remained silent, gaze locked on hers.
Her smile faded at the intensity of his gaze. She suddenly wanted to run to him, smash her mouth against his, and spend the rest of the day making love in front of the fireplace.
Shocked at her thoughts about a stranger, she stepped back until her hip collided with the arm of a chair.
As if needing the cold air as much as she did, Fin flung open the door, slammed it behind him, and disappeared from sight.
She rushed to the window and watched him striding toward the cliffs. His red scarf tossed in the wind behind him. She watched until she couldn't see him anymore.
With a sigh, she reclaimed her mug of tea and leaned heavily against the wall. All the stress of the past months pressed down on her shoulders. Because she'd believed Trevor's manipulations, she'd lost every friend she'd ever had. They'd all distanced themselves after she had repeatedly stood up for her boyfriend no matter who said what or how long the friendship had been compared to the misguided love affair. But when he'd been arrested five weeks ago for being a serial rapist and the cops had questioned her ceaselessly about what she had or had not known, her entire world had crumbled into disrepair.
She was an attorney—not just any lawyer either, but an assistant district attorney who enjoyed putting bad guys behind bars. No one missed the irony. Her boss had put her on administrative leave until the matter could be 'sorted out.' From the looks she'd received from co-workers as she'd left the office two days ago, she got the message loud and clear—she'd need a new job when she returned.
How could she go back? How could she trust a man again? How could she ever trust herself after this?
Her mind drifted to Fin and the thoughtfulness he'd shown the two times she'd met him. When had she begun distrusting kindness?
Tea forgotten in her hands, she slid down the wall until she sat cross-legged on the wooden floor and stared at the crackling fire.
Tired of her own company, she'd walked to the pub for dinner. The town felt more like home than Boston ever had, which seemed odd since she'd never been to Ireland until now. Then again, she'd grown up in a small town in Iowa, a world away from both places. The news of Trevor's horrors had gone national—the Facebook messages from 'old friends' she hadn't spoken to since high school started showing up in her inbox voicing their deep concern. More like looking for gossip, an inside track to the latest internet shocker. She'd deleted her social media accounts without remorse and had no intention of charging her cell phone while here. The laptop remained in her backpack, untouched, exactly where it should be.
She'd delibrately disconnected and disappeared.
She'd never felt so liberated in her life, so free.
After settling in a chair against the back wall, she ordered a beer before sliding her gaze over the menu and ignoring the curious glances toward her.
No one knows me here, no one knows my story, she coached herself as she gulped the beer with enthusiasm.
"How is the cottage working out for you?" Mary Clancy slid into the chair opposite her and grinned. "I thought about coming over earlier, but wanted to give you some time to rest. You looked tired yesterday."
"I love it. It couldn't be more perfect." She cupped the beer mug between her palms and smiled at the woman who appeared to be her same age. "I baked some bread this morning and then some muffins this afternoon. Stop by anytime. I'm happy to share."
"Are you a good baker?"
"Not bad." She shrugged.
"And are the ghosts keeping you up or are they behaving themselves?" Mary's blue eyes twinkled with the question as she leaned her elbows on the table. "I told them yesterday to be nice."
Pretty sure that Mary was trying to add to the charm of the place more than anything else, Karen laughed. "They were a bit rowdy but I ignored them."
"Oh, ya?" Mary tipped her head back and laughed. "It's the old Clancy bunch, rowdy and rude. Stubborn. So you're happy then?"
Happy? That would be a stretch. Instead of answering, Karen nodded and finished off her beer.
"Dennis! Come here! This is Karen from Boston. Come say hello!"
Soon her table was full of people telling local stories and singing along to the lone pianist in the corner. By the time she left the pub to walk toward the cabin, she felt like a new person. Awake. Bold. Maybe not a new person exactly—more like she the way she'd once felt before her job prosecuting criminals and personal betrayals from those she'd trusted had created a cynicism about life. She stopped in the path and looked up at the dark sky where clouds rolled. Mist clung to her skin. The sound of the sea echoed through the night. She could taste it on her lips.
She stumbled over a rock along the side of the road and righted herself before swaying back onto the path leading to her cottage.
"You took my advice, I see."
Fin stood several feet away, his face hidden in shadow. Again, his jacket collar had been turned up and the scarf billowed around his shoulders with the steady wind coming inland from the ocean.
"Why weren't you there?" she asked, hating to admit she'd secretly hoped to see him again.
He held his hand out to her when she stepped within touching distance. "Can I walk you back to the cottage? I think you're a little drunk."
With her recent history, she surprised herself by curling her fingers into his. A wave of peace washed over her at his touch, a feeling so profound that even the blood flowing through her veins warmed.
"Who are you?" she whispered, certain that he was more than some guy who took a lot of walks. "I mean—"
"I know what you mean. I don't want to answer."
"Shockingly honest." She fell into step next to him, their legs in sync, and her fingers snugly tangled with his.
He shook his head. "Selfish, actually."
"Walking me home is selfish?"
"Have you always been able to hear ghosts?" he asked.
His question stopped her in her tracks.
"How do you know that?"
"You told Mary...I overheard you."
"Did I? I don't remember saying anything. You were there? How did you overhear me?"
"You ask a lot of questions rather than answering one."
She tilted her head to the side and laughed at his observation. "I've heard ghosts as long as I can remember. I learned long ago, though, that it was best not to admit such things or risk being called crazy." Her voice trailed off at the realization of how many ghosts had called to her in the past year that she'd forced away—had they been trying to warn her about Trevor? Had she been so disconnected from herself that she had turned a blind eye?
The laughter faded with memories of her ex. How could he have been such a vile monster and she hadn't had a clue? Again, she wondered if that stain would forever taint her life. Guilt for ignoring her intuition, for disregarding her friends' concerns, for standing up for him while he'd lied to her with every breath he took.
She stopped walking, released Fin's hand, and pressed her palms over her eyes.
What am I doing here? Why am I not back there fighting to get my life back, standing up for my reputation, holding my head high?
Because fighting had become so damn exhausting.
Fin pulled her hands away from her face and waited until she met his gaze before speaking, "You're too beautiful to be sad."
"You said that this morning," she whispered.
"You need to hear it again and again..."
"You don't know me."
"Does that matter?"
He bent his head, hesitated a fraction from her lips, and looked her in the eye. Energy zapped between the space separating them like its own tiny electrical storm. The red scarf flapped around his neck and over her shoulder in the ever-increasing wind blowing inland from the Atlantic.
"I shouldn't kiss you. It crosses a line," he muttered.
"Fun begins on the other side of the line."
He smiled. "Sounds like something I would have said once."
"I'm saying it now." She snagged the scarf in her fists, and smashed her lips against his. To hell with it all, the desire she felt for him trashed all common sense and hesitation. Energy from the contact jolted through her body like one helluva prelude to an orgasm.
He crushed her against him and lifted her until only her toes dragged along the path toward the cottage. The howling wind, the smell of salt in the air, the flapping of the scarf against their faces—all disappeared in the heat consuming her body.
Fin pushed open the door to the cottage without taking his mouth from hers. In a frenzy of hands colliding with each other as fingers removed layers of clothing, they stumbled against a chair and landed in a tangle of limbs on the floor. He broke the kiss only long enough to pull his sweater over his head and looked her in the eye.
Afraid that words would destroy the spell, she bit her lip and squirmed free of her clothes without comment until only the flimsy lace of her panties and bra stopped them from being skin-on-skin.
He traced a long, calloused finger along her chin before smiling slowly, the scar on his lip and the fall of his black hair over his dark eyes making him look doubly dangerous in the glow of the firelight.
She slid her hands over his chest and felt the raised skin of scars criss-crossing his skin. Fascinated by the shivers of electricity that shimmied through her blood at the slightest caress, she ached for more...and more...and more.
He nibbled her neck before his hands squeezed her breast through the lace. His hard cock pressed against her thigh as his thumb teased the raised nipple that threatened to poke through the thin material. With a growl low in his throat, he reached down and ripped the bra in two before capturing her breast with his mouth. He sucked, licked, and squeezed until she whimpered for mercy.
She sank her fingernails into his shoulders and slid her feet over the backs of his legs, aching for him to be inside of her. The more desperate she felt for satisfaction, the more he slowed his movements—as if torturing her were part of his plan.
He left one breast and moved to the other with a slow deliberation that had her writhing on the floor.
Frustrated, she slapped the floor with a closed fist and lifted her head to watch as he moved his lips along her abdomen. Still afraid to speak for reasons she didn't understand, she bit her lip so hard that she tasted blood on her tongue.
He glanced up long enough to grin at her before ripping her panties off her body and tossing them toward the fireplace. With a gleam in his chocolate-colored eyes, he pushed her legs wide apart. He slipped his fingers inside her, the same electric current that had been rippling over her skin now surged inside of her.
She gasped and dropped her head back against the wood floor. The fire snapped less than a foot away from her head, its embers floating up the chimney, the only light in the room flickered with the movement of flames. She closed her eyes as one jolt of energy after another coursed through her body with the force of a tsunami until she screamed with an orgasm like she'd never before experienced.
Fin's lips returned to ravage her neck before his mouth claimed hers with a hunger that silenced her cries. He thrust his cock inside her while her cunt still quivered in climax. With one hand propped above her head and pulling her hair and the other squeezing her breast with incomprehensible strength and his girth stretching her with every plunging thrust, he owned her body.
She clung to his shoulders, wrapping arms and legs around him while their tongues played with one another and his hips slammed her into the floor.
He lifted his head and arched his back upward, their bodies fused as one, and shouted at the ceiling.
She held onto his hips and watched his body shudder over hers. The glow of the fire shadowed his body to perfection, the scars appearing almost alive with the movement of the flames.
He collapsed against her, his lips moving silently against the side of her face while his fingers curled into her hair.
"Stay with me," she whispered.
"That's my plan," he responded with a slight chuckle as he raised up on his elbows to look her in the eye.
She dragged a finger along the jagged scar on his shoulder and smiled. "You have stories to tell."
"You wouldn't believe them if I told you," he said against her lips before kissing her breath away once again.
Release date is December 31--now available for preorder
Read for free on Kindle Unlimited
From the back cover...
A ghostly mariner haunting the shores of Ireland...a bounty hunter who gets more than he bargained for with his bail jumper...a bar owner who's pleasantly surprised by her 'last call' customers...and a psychic detective who crosses into an erotic dimension...Daydreams: a collection of paranormal erotic short stories. Escape the madness of the world, indulge your naughty side, and get lost in Daydreams.
**sexually explicit, paranormal, and some dark themes**