Soundtrack/Excerpt: CHERUB “Doses and Mimosas” for “Wild Arcana”

Soundtrack: CHERUB “Doses and Mimosas”
Story: Wild Arcana

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The DJ played the crowd like they were oversexed marionettes. “If ya love ya daddy, put ya motha-fuckin’ hands in the sky!” he commanded, and the majority of the dancers obliged him with shouts of delight.

Brand ordered himself a gin and tonic and nursed it, leaning against the wall and wishing he had the will to join the masses of people on the dance floor. Why was he so boring anymore? He supposed he knew the answer to that but wondered when the feelings would ebb.

He also wondered when he’d started to grind his teeth. Brand massaged his jaw with his hands, trying to relieve some of the tension. His heart felt like was suddenly vibrating, and he pictured a girl pressing it to her clit and coming in seconds. Had the lights always been so bright? The bass from the music coursed through his body and became a part of him, yet the noise around him felt so otherworldly and distant.

Was this normal? A sick, nervous feeling developed inside Brand in knowing he had no idea what to expect—and he was totally alone. He pushed through the sea of strangers cum lovers on the silvery dust of the dance floor. Then he crashed into a wall of a man.

Naturally, it was Anthony, the one person he both wanted to avoid yet desperately see.

Stunned into immobility, Brand could only stare as Anthony’s face underwent momentary annoyed confusion to surprise then concern. “Brand. You okay?”

Brand released a burst of air, the painful pressure in his chest too immense to contain it. “Yeah, I’m good.” His panic and desperation to escape the situation overrode his desire to be cool as he shoved through the crowd, his steps rushed and jerky as his heart hammered in his ears.

There was no way he could stay on at the club. Shame wracked his body. How many countless hours had he spent, hoping for such an occasion? Where were all the haughty laughs, the snide double entendres, the introductions to a current, more fascinating lover? He’d prepped for a comeback designed to bring regret and torment. He’d been given an opportunity but the regret and torment were all his. At that moment, Brand had complete understanding of karma.

He’d almost reached the door when someone fastened a strong hand onto his elbow and spun him around. Anthony gave him a confused grin and released his grip. “What’s going on? Didn’t you hear me calling you?”

“No, sorry.” Brand took a deep breath, trying to calm down. This was no big deal, just a conversation, and with Anthony, the person who’d known him best. The thought only fueled his anxiety—that he could treat someone who’d been so close to him like a stranger. Brand licked his chapped lips and swallowed the knot lodged in his throat, feeling the onslaught of a panic attack. “I need to get going though. I—”

“You want me to get you a cab?”

The only thing Brand wanted, if not Anthony, was something to distract him from the agony wreaking havoc on his heart. Anthony’s kindness—that of an overly concerned stranger—was far worse than any earned disdain.

Dazed, Brand turned to leave again, this time without bothering to fumble for an excuse, but Anthony captured his elbow again, this time more firmly. “Are you on something?”

“No.” The only thing Brand felt like he was on was his way to a full-blown nervous breakdown. “Thanks for the vote of confidence. Can’t I just feel shitty without the third degree?” His anger mounted. “And who the fuck are you to even ask me that? It’s not like we’re—”

“Okay.” Anthony raised his hands in surrender, his expression contrite. “I’m sorry. Just let me get you a ride, all right? Please?”

“Fine.” Brand wondered if he was really as annoyed as he wanted to be.

Anthony held up a finger, signaling for him to wait, then disappeared back in the crowd again, granting Brand the privacy to make sense of his complicated thoughts. But by the time Anthony returned a few minutes later, Brand hadn’t managed to reach an understanding about anything. Anthony tilted his head in the direction of the door. “Ready?”

Brand shrugged, not trusting his voice as he trailed Anthony out of the club. A taxi waited by the curb, and Brand let Anthony open the door for him and slid inside. “Thanks for this. I guess I’ll be…” He trailed off as Anthony’s body nudged him across the backseat of the cab. “What’re you doing?

“I’m seeing you home.” The familiarity with which he then gave the driver Brand’s address sent a ripple of comfort through Brand. Anthony hadn’t completely forgotten him.

They sat in silence for the duration of the short ride. Brand couldn’t speak, didn’t want to break the spell by asking “Why?” He wondered if he should even care about the means justifying the end. Wasn’t the important thing was that Anthony was next to him?

At that moment, the promised effects of the drug truly kicked in.

Brand sucked in a gulp of air, tasting it, feeling the deep breath travel down his throat to his expanding lungs. A rush of giddy well-being coated his insides, and his skin prickled, the hairs on his arms rising to meet and tangle with each other. He pressed his warm face to the cool window, the juxtaposition of the sensations ringing a soft moan from him. Outside, he saw all the familiar sights—the beggars, the club kids, sleek buildings stretching toward the night sky—and felt an overwhelming compassion for it all. Everything somehow looked truer in color, detail and shape. Brand felt like for the first time, or at least the first time in a long while, he was viewing the world as it really was, how he always should.

A hand rested on his shoulder, sparking a flood of heat that flowed down his arm. “Brand? What’s going on?”

Brand turned to Anthony and immediately clamped his teeth on his lower lip, nearly severing it, but even the pain was pleasurable, making the moment even more excruciating. Anthony watched him, concern in his narrowing blue eyes, looking as beautiful as ever, but the sight went beyond aesthetics. The knowledge of having seen Anthony’s same expression before brought with it their entire past, and Brand’s heart seemed to both swell and constrict as he sat beside someone who’d really known him. Chances were he still did. Brand shook off Anthony’s touch, fearing any more contact would result in serious problems.

Wild Arcana on

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Coercion: Rereleased

Book Cover - Coercion rgb smallHow far will one woman go for love?

Introverted and insecure Valerie Mercer was promised that during her senior year of college she would finally attract attention from boys…but never dreamed that would include Michael Vartanian.

Good looking, troubled and every parent’s nightmare, Michael is adamant on introducing Valerie to a world of both pleasure and, inadvertently, heartbreak. His interest in Valerie is dependent upon the mood and fidelity of his on-and-off-again girlfriend, Breeze.

Nevertheless, Valerie lets her hope and desire override common sense and soon finds she can’t deny Michael anything…no matter what’s at stake.

Coercion on Smashwords

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Soundtrack/Excerpt: Hot Chip “I Feel Better”/”Wild Arcana”

Soundtrack: Hot Chip “I Feel Better”
Story: Wild Arcana

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Kri collected her suitcase from Disa’s apartment then hailed a cab that drove her to a small hotel next to the train tracks. Her father would kill her if he found out where she was. Though she had the funds for a room at a five-star hotel, she thought it only appropriate to stay in a place that looked exactly how she felt.

The forty-something-ish brunette behind the plastic window of the registration desk had a body like a nymph in a Renaissance painting but lacked any spritely charm. A chubby boy sat beside her, playing with a Nintendo DS and whining about how hungry he was.

The brunette ignored him, totaling Kri’s bill with a cheap-looking bejeweled calculator while smoking a Jade cigarette. After Kri paid for a night’s stay with cash, the brunette put the money in a metal lockbox and gave her a sugary smile as she pressed a room key in Kri’s hand. “Here you go, baby doll. You take care now. Night night.” She waved at Kri through the plastic as if she was the Queen of England then turned back to the mini TV airing a game show at a boisterous volume. Dismissed.

Kri shuffled to room 10, where she locked the door, turned on all the lights and sank down on the edge of the bed. The dingy wallpaper, with all its dark curling, twisting vines, looked like thousands of tiny eyes, watching her. She felt the mattress springs beneath her and wondered how many people loved, lost, and sought approval and affection on this very bed. She sighed, empathizing.

Several long minutes ticked by before Kri pushed herself to her feet and entered the bathroom with the half-broken light and the mirror missing a corner. She changed out of her clothes and stepped into the shower with the staccato spray that did nothing to wash away the evening. She wanted nothing more than to curl up on the tiled floor and cry until there was no more pain in the crater where her heart used to be. But the tears just wouldn’t come; Kri had reached a new low that sadness couldn’t reach. Never had she felt more alone and yet, when she touched her abdomen, which seemed to grow more every day, she was struck by the realization she was now never alone—a thought both comforting and terrifying.

After her shower, she slipped into a red silk robe that ended just above her knees. The back of it depicted a series of black birds flying over a forest of cherry blossom trees. She combed her damp black hair and opened the curtain, staring listlessly at the tracks. All she had to do now was wait.

It didn’t take long for her moment to arrive. The floor trembled and windows and picture frames rattled from the force of the oncoming train. Kri stepped closer to the open curtains, dropping her comb on the floor with one hand on her robe’s sash. The train neared, and her grip tightened.

Then, just before the engine passed, Kri tugged at the sash and peeled off her robe, letting the garment fall to the well-worn rug.

The train streaked past, beating a tattoo of bright windows, dark windows. She could barely make out the shapes of people sitting inside the cars but wondered how well they could see her, on display like an Amsterdam prostitute. This moment was her confession, her chance to bare the secret she hid from everyone she loved because she loved them.

She had come to love her secret, too. She touched her pregnant stomach and scratched her nails lightly against her bare skin, a gesture meant to soothe both her and the child she carried. Stroking her abdomen in this secret, guilt-free environment, she wondered what the baby would be like. Would he or she be artsy like Fab or more business-minded like her? She pictured a serious-eyed son with a dry sense of humor, running a company by day and writing T.S. Eliot-esque poetry with hundreds of footnotes by night. She pictured a daughter with funky barrettes in her hair, perpetually switching between law school and art school in between traveling the world. She pictured these possibilities and nearly wept.

Here, now, she granted herself the permission to unburden herself and be honest. The shame and sadness fell away with every passing car, and she became someone else, someone who wasn’t heartbroken, someone who could be happy, someone who hadn’t lost everything.

When the train disappeared into the night, Kri slid her arms back into the robe but left it open as she lay back on the bed, her head resting on a shapeless pillow beneath a watercolor of the seaside. She fingered the cigarette-burned hole in the pillowcase and listened to the faucet dripping in the bathroom, her body aching with longing and craving comfort from the one person she needed the most.

Fab had always been her escape, a beautiful departure from her reality. It wasn’t until then did she consider that were he a part of her real life, she’d never have to differentiate between the two.

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Sex: Health Through Freedom

What is sexual freedom? According to Dr. Chris Donaghue, it “is about human beings having the consensual sex that arouses them — with who, when and how.” And until that’s addressed, it’s difficult to attain good sexual health. Check out this article that discusses how humans struggle with being sexually healthy because they don’t have sexual freedom, and feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.

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Gentlemen: Some Shoulds and Shouldn’ts

The Frisky brings you fellows two articles: 13 Sex Moves Women Can Live Without (But Men Seem to Think We Love (the shouldn’ts!) and 10 Things Guys Have No Idea Are Foreplay (the shoulds!). The best news — this stuff is not only easy to do, but it’s common sense.

What are your thoughts — do you agree or disagree? Have something better up your sleeve?

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