by Alexa Piper
Relax, close your eyes . . . and dream.
Nine tales, nine sensual dreams of enchantment, wanderlust and lovers’ longings, of searching and finding.
These dreams tell of birds of fire, curses that lie like bridges between night and day, and hunger for sweet seduction.
Note: This was originally published by Red Moon Romance in Sept. 2015. It has been newly edited and a new story has been added.
Genre: Paranormal RomancePurchase link(s): WWP Amazon BAM B&N
Content/Theme(s): Shifters, Vampires, Witches, Magic, M/F, F/F, Ménage, Erotic, Short Story Collection, Anthology, Lesbian, LGBT
Release Date: December 13, 2016
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Excerpt, More on each story & Links
Phoenix and Styx
Flesh and myth tumble together, strangers in a world too small to hold them. Can they find balance long enough to seek their pleasure, or are they destined to combust?
Eliron is a recluse with a bad reputation, Aurora is a fortune teller’s daughter turned nomad. Together, they sing harmonies to make harps blush, but their real song, their true song, may just be something darker and deeper.
Candy and the Witch
When Gretel finds a candy trail in the woods leading to succulent desires, she doesn’t walk blindly into its trap—she lays one of her own.
The Night Train: Story of a Passage
As Taite boards the night train, she expects a less-than-satisfactory nap, not a steamy encounter with mystical strangers and a choice that could change the very course of her life.
I Will Feed You Honey
An ancient muse trapped within a Tarot card, a dancer trapped just outside the bright lights of center stage—they could be each other’s salvation . . . or prison. But before that question is answered, Marina will have to figure out if the sexy dreams she’s been having of a masked man are fantasy inspired by the Tarot card that manages to slip between her sheets . . . or real.
The Acorn Princess
Alice enters the woods to get away from the world, what she discovers awakens earthy desires she didn’t even know dwelled within her.
Drinks and the Other Witch
When Hansel meets a stranger from a strange place, sweet seduction is what he wants.
Ana never noticed them, but they’ve been watching her, waiting, hungering for her. When the three of them finally meet the ending is inevitable—consume and be consumed—or is it?
A Raven by Day
Sofia knows sunlight only through a raven’s eyes and hasn’t much use for her nocturnal, human body until she meets Hayden, whose hands work her flesh with the same awe and reverence as his metal and clockwork creations. But can Hayden keep the raven in his heart and the woman in his bed, or will they both fly away?
Phoenix and Styx Excerpt:
She knew of fire. Her lungs were filled with ashes, gray and soft, making her kisses taste bitter and her breath smell of heat.
He could see the heat in her the moment she walked into his coffee place for the first time. It was not his coffee place of course, but he was there every day, sipping lattes at the same round table by the window, every day, clockwork-like. She was, impossible not to notice and he followed her with his gaze, lingering on every curve, on the heat shimmer in the air around her.
The next day, he hoped to see her again, see her teetering on her high heels, hear her order—coffee, black—catch a whiff of something smoldering as she passed by. She came, that day and the one after. He watched her always, drew sketches of her in his notebook and sculpted her in his dreams.
On the fifth day, she sat opposite him, setting her Styrofoam cup on the tabletop with a little tapping noise.
"You have been staring at me." There were edges of flame in her voice, her eyes were struck flints.
"And you have wanted someone to stare at you," he said, his face warming from her heat.
"You are . . . ?" Her eyebrows rose, two smudges of coal.
"I am. Today, a human in a human place, before, something else. But still, I am, and that is more than most of us can say. How about you?"
"I'm a secretary. Law firm, across the street."
He leaned back in his chair, folded his arms, showed her a smile the same way cats show their claws.
"You are no more a secretary than that cup is silverware," he said.
Across the table, the heat shifted like a heap of coals kindled. "I . . . I'm not so sure."
He shrugged, unfolded his arms, drank deep from his latte. "Fair enough. Sometimes, we forget."
She looked younger then, like a little girl afraid to speak to a grown-up, eyes cast down. "What now?"
"Now, my dear, I take you home; unless your place is closer, that is."
"I need to get to work . . . "
"Call in sick. Or even better, never go there again. But keep the heels, they suit you."
She never made the call, took her coffee in one hand, his arm in the other.
For a moment when she came he was afraid she might singe his sheets. He was there already, rushing into her like water, his skin ready to melt against hers. Her naked body was all bones forged in fire, stitched together with bright sparks. Her final moans filled the air of his bedroom with ashes, laced his sweaty skin with pale gray mist. She saw and when he moved to lie next to her, drew lines on his chest with her fingers, licked the salty ash off with a bright red tongue.
"You taste like dark water," she told him.
"And you like molten gold," he told her and ran his mouth from her breast up to her neck then back to her nipple again to be sure he wasn't lying.
"Tomorrow night, dinner at my place?" she asked after a while.
"Sure," he said, wondering at the heat of her. The sheets had curled to blackish skeletons beneath her thigh, he saw, and he would have to throw them out.
He had flowers in one hand, a bottle of wine in the other: an altar offering ready for the flames. Her door was all the things that he—that both of them—were not. Angles perfectly right, color still fresh as snow on graves, no crack in the paint, not a sun bleached spot close to real age.
He transferred the flowers to his other hand to ring the doorbell, waited so patiently to be let in when there was no door that could ever keep him out.
She opened the door, backlit by her own heat; framed by the mortal white of the door frame she looked like a branding iron ready to touch skin. She was wearing yesterday's heels. "Good evening," she said her voice sultry as boiling air.
"These are for you," he said, handing her the wine and flowers.
"Beautiful." Her eyes never left his face.
"May I enter?" he asked for the sake of being polite.
She stood aside. As he passed her, he saw the flowers already curling from her consuming touch.
The door fell shut behind him and he was suddenly in her world. She had gathered things around her to make this nest a home—nothing was a perfectly matched set, a patchwork place where her heart wanted to be. All of it picked so carefully, showed a taste far more discerning than a raven's or a magpie's. Do these loved things wake your warmth? he thought, but knew he couldn't ask her yet.
"And? Do you still think you are a secretary?" he asked instead. When she didn't answer right away, he turned to find her glowing face.
"Do I still think that? Do I? I did what you said, I didn't go to work today. Everything seems so strange since . . . we . . . since yesterday. Everything looks as strange as your paintings."
He laughed at that, loud and watery clear. "No one has ever called them strange. Weird, for sure, ugly, yeah, dreamy post-impressionism, but not strange. It's just how my eyes see all of this." He spun around on his heel.
She tilted her head like a bird. "Yes. I think I can see what you see. Yesterday, when you said you were a human in a human place but hadn't always been I thought you were trying to be cute and poetic. You were just being honest, weren't you?"
He would have gushed again with laughter but he knew this couldn't be easy for her. She was not a creature of continuity the way he was, she had not the winding depth of connecting currents that made him him and never allowed him to forget it, even if he sometimes wanted to. "I don't lie because life is most certainly too short for them. Believe me, I know."
A long silence settled between them, but it was a good silence, the kind that is a welcome guest around a campfire. She ended it when she said "Dinner is ready; we should eat."
They consumed the food, all of it. They drank the wine he’d brought, all of it. By the time they were finished, the flowers were white-gray ash in their vase, and some small flakes settled on their heaped dessert spoons. Neither of them minded when they swallowed the truth of her fire.
Through it all, they did not talk.
After the meal, she broke the temple-silence first. "What am I?"
"Old. You are always old, even if you only show it through a lens of youth. What things you must have wanted to make you live to such age! You are the thing that always wants to live another day tomorrow, even if it means death today."
She licked a flake of ash from one corner of her lips, dark chocolate from the other. "The world here is so cold."
He shrugged. "It feels cold to you. That's the feeling of just being alive, of not really living. I can stand it longer, the monotony of just flowing along, but something like you? You have to live so hard the passion of it makes you cry."
Those were the words she needed, all that came after was kindling.
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Other titles by Alexa Piper:
Alexa Piper Goodreads author page
Alexa Piper Amazon author page
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