Danse Macabre (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #14) Rush (Breathless #1)

I know, she said tremulously. She cupped his face in her hands and caught his eyes with hers. I love you, too.

There are definite, solid lines in life that should never be crossed. Developing a crush on your best friend’s boyfriend is one of them. Showing up to his job frequently and drinking his fruity cocktails is another. I don’t like him as much as Kentucky Fried Chicken, but hell if that boy didn’t look at me and tell me I was pretty … excellent. Excellent, which is above normal. Like I’m better than regular girls. Not your basic bitch. Finger-licking excellent. I realize I’m vulnerable and most days I feel like a worthless human—someone a guy can cheat on, and call it a mistake. I don’t want to be someone’s ‘girl who got away.’ I want to be someone’s ‘girl who’d I’d never let get away.’ I sign up for another class, and this time I try something a little different: clay. I like the feel of the cool, wet clay between my fingers. Clay is about numbers and proportion that you can control with your palms. I’m better at clay than I am at drawing. My hands feel less clumsy. I make coffee cups, vases, plates, then serving platters. All of them lacking symmetry, but I am so proud of them I throw out the cheap set I bought from Wal-Mart and place my handmade dinnerware in my kitchen cabinets. I paint everything white and splatter them with black paint. I am fighting the Pottery Barn taste that, according to my dream, is set to emerge in ten years. The carefully placed Chinese pots and decorative, stained knots give me hives. All a dream. All a dream, I tell myself. I focus on creating my style out of mess and mixed color. A Pottery Barn girl is for Neil, not Kit. Kit’s girl is color and texture.No, silly. That’s too small. We are going to buy a house.

What Manner of Man

I look at Kit, but he’s avoiding my eyes.That’s so great, I say. Congratulations, guys. And then I say I have to go to the bathroom, but I go outside instead. I need air, space to hide my falling face. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever experienced, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel it anyway. That’s the most pathetic part of being a human, the emotions you don’t ask for or want, they just rush you anyway. I roll my wine cork between my palms. In a house nearby, someone is frying bacon. I can hear a man’s rackety, wet cough, and I can feel sorrow spreading from brain to heart. I know that life is not simple because I am not simple. In fact, I am learning that I am more than simple and less than normal. To fall in love with a boy is one thing, but to fall in love with your best friend’s boy because of a dream is … well, I’m fucked.You don’t start searching for truth until something goes terribly wrong and you realize that you need it. There’s no going back after that. The emotional concrete is poured. A foundation laid. This is what it feels like to go mad, I think. It feels like I’ve skipped ten years and just did the growing up without having to do the actual time. Willful blindness belongs to the young. In my case, I learned of my depravity early enough to rid myself of it. I cannot hate Sadie; Sadie would have happened with a different name. Maybe when I was already married. Sadie is just the name of Neil’s inability to be faithful. Perhaps she saved me from a lot more. I cannot hate the dream; the dream woke me up. But, that’s all it was—a dream. I keep art, because I never knew I loved it until I became a coloring book artist. I carry a knapsack with me now, filled with charcoals, pencils, a sketchpad, a wine cork. I give up listening to the beach music that was with me through college, and I make playlists that sound yearning and pathetic. I am what I am. I marvel at how yearning can make you disintegrate. And to keep from disappearing all together, you must rebuild yourself. I get a tattoo on my wrist, but I don’t tell anyone, and I hide it underneath my watch. May is all it says. Because that’s when my perspective shifted.

Swallowing Darkness (Merry Gentry #7)

I help Kitella move into their new home. A tan house with white window boxes. It’s the first time I’m seeing them in over a month. Kit hasn’t been able to work on his story because of the move, so I’ve no communication with him either. When I pull up, it’s not Della but Kit who comes outside and throws his arms around me. I’m stiff at first, but then I lift my arms and hug him back. The worst part of a hug is the smell. If you hug a person enough, their smell becomes familiar, and you associate it with comfort, intimacy, and closeness. Kit always smells like gasoline and pine needles. Gasoline and pine needles, I think as I release him. How ridiculously appropriate. An olfactory experience turned olfuckery. Now I won’t be able to smell gasoline without seeing his pretty face. I follow him into the house; he seems excited. Della is unpacking dishes into the kitchen cabinets, a pink bandana tied around her hair. I hate to say it, but she’s glowing. Helena! She launches herself at me, and I stumble backward into Kit. We all fall, and we all laugh on Kitella’s new kitchen hardwood.This feels so right, Della says. All back together. I roll away from them and toward the fridge. I pull a can of Coke from the bottom shelf, while still lying on my back.

I’m already tired from this move. Can we just do this all day?

Kit hauls me to my feet, and I’m given the job of unpacking and organizing Kitella’s closet. This is nothing new. Della has been making me organize her closet since freshman year of high school. As payment for the service, I get to choose one thing I want from her extensive wardrobe. I find a pair of designer jeans I like and set them aside. Mine.Simon! she exclaimed. That sounds horrible.

She grimaced, but somehow she laughed at the same time. Clearly, you have no knowledge of the standards of female beauty.He arched a brow. As pertains to you, my standards are the only ones that count any longer.


For a moment she was speechless, then she collapsed against him, a torrent of laughter shaking both of their bodies. Oh, Simon, she gasped, you sounded so fierce. So wonderfully, perfectly, absurdly fierce.Absurd? he echoed. Are you calling me absurd?

Her lips tightened to prevent another giggle, but they werent entirely successful.Its almost as bad as being called impotent, he grumbled.

Daphne was instantly serious. Oh, Simon, You know I didnt… She gave up trying to explain, and instead just said, Im so sorry about that.Dont be. He waved off her apology. Your mother I may have to kill, but you have nothing to apologize for.

A horrified giggle escaped her lips. Mother did try her best, and if I hadnt been confused because you said—Oh, so now its all my fault? he said with mock outrage. But then his expression grew sly, seductive. He moved closer, angling his body so that she had to arch backwards. I suppose Ill just have to work doubly hard to prove my capabilities.

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