Thursday, December 19, 2013
MIND YOUR GODDESS by Flossie Benton Rogers
MIND YOUR GODDESS by Flossie Benton Rogers
Razzle dazzle -- cool jazz and hot kisses
The Goddess Epona is breathless over a lover’s tryst with Eshigel, the dark Guardian of the Between. Before she can meet him, she must hear the pleas of her Dark of the Moon supplicants. Strange requests originate from a captive little girl and a succubus seeking revenge. Then, Epona is attacked and abducted.
Epona awakens stranded in the human realm in the Roaring 20’s. With her powers nullified, she assumes the guise of a flapper in a speakeasy. Knowing the little girl is nearby, Epona seeks to save her.
Eshigel rushes to find his missing Goddess. To gain information he undergoes a dangerous rite involving a half woman and half serpent Lamia. After locating Epona, he vows to protect his flapper Goddess from the demons set on her destruction. Can a Goddess and her dark Guardian overcome misfortune and reclaim their love?
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“Lady?” A hand tapped her shoulder and she forced herself to open her eyes. A man with slick black hair who was dressed to the nines in a dapper lightweight suit of a long ago style, knelt beside her.
Relieved that the innate fae power of understanding languages had not deserted her, she whispered, “Who are you?”
“Where am I?”
“This is sunshiny Florida.
“What year is it, Benny?”
“1925. Say, are you in trouble? Do you need a sawbones, or did you jump overboard?” His tone held a note of jocularity that made her wince. Still, if he could get her out of this blaring sun until she had the strength to heal her weakened condition, she could withstand his cheerfulness.
She bit down hard on her lip. Not only had her abductors catapulted her down to the human dimension, they had pitched her back in time. “Please, help me up.” The wispy quality of her voice shocked her.
Instead of assisting her to rise as she expected, the man snapped his fingers twice, and a younger, brawny man trotted over. “Yes sir?”
“Be a gentleman and help the lady. Put her in one of the cabins—Margie’s.”
Epona didn’t like the sound of that but figured once inside and away from the blinding sunlight her head would stop hammering with such violence and she could check on her Goddess crystal. Using considerable effort, she assisted the beefy young man as he got an arm under her and raised her to a standing position.
Although her legs seemed to be made of jelly, with his support she was able to untwist the sodden gown from her legs. Patting her salt stiffened hair, she murmured, “I must look a fright.”
“Not at all, cupcake.”
The hell with it. Her appearance was the least of her worries. When her wobbly legs buckled, and before she could utter a protest, her rescuer scooped her up into muscled arms and plodded through the white sand toward a bright yellow building set back from the beach. He continued around to the back where a row of neat cottages stood.
The black haired man followed and when they came to a door, he knocked in a rhythmic rat a tat tat. Some kind of secret code, she thought. The door swung open to reveal two other stocky men. “Oh, it’s you, Benny.”
“Of course it’s me. Didn’t I give the knock, moron? Break’s over. Quit your yammering and open the bedroom door.”
A few moments later, after more chattering and remonstrations from Benny, Epona reclined on a narrow cot with no headboard. Propped up atop scrawny pillows and covered with a thin blanket, she took stock of her rescuers, while Benny eyed her from just inside the doorway. The other men peered over his shoulder. “What’s your name?”
She didn’t answer him.
“Muddled melon, huh? Well, never mind, we’ll call you Angel for now. You kinda look like one in that getup, or a bride. There’s not a hot-headed groom on the warpath behind you, is there?”
Her fae ability with languages apparently wasn’t working at full throttle after all. Although she didn’t fully comprehend what he meant, she responded to his questioning look with a fervent shake of her head.
“Good. You either need to dry off or dry out. Which is it?”
Slipping out the side door a few minutes later, Epona removed her shoes and plodded through the fine grained sand, away from the business lights and into one of the gazebos. She didn’t see Eshigel anywhere. Leaning over the railing, she stared out at the night. A crescent moon hung low in the sky, a silver slipper, and stars sparkled red, blue, and silver on the horizon. If she could just reach far enough, she could pluck one right out of the inky darkness.
A footfall sounded on the wooden steps behind her. Gasping, she turned around toward the large, dark form, ready to scratch out the eyes of a stalker if it turned out to be necessary. Moonlight glinted on the long dark hair of the Guardian of the Between.
With a sigh of relief, she reached out to him.
Without a word, Eshigel closed the distance between them, enclosing her within his arms and pulling her up against his warm, comforting body. They stood like that for a long moment.
His breath tantalized her temple, evoking lightheadedness, and a shuddering moan slipped from between her lips. Her hands slid in slow motion up his chest, reveling in their hard contours.
A finger lifted her chin, and his mouth claimed hers, seeking, probing, and then plundering.
She opened to him, and with fervor, returned his kiss. Her electric response was proof positive of the hold he had over her and the wild, insatiable flame that burned between them. His hair cascaded over her cheek, and she entwined her fingers in its silky luxury. She melted against him, needing to have this man, be one with him, and blot out the rest of the thirteen worlds.
The effect of his touch made her heart race and her breath come short. Eshigel’s mere presence took the oxygen from any room, and even at the seaside, with its abundant moist, salty air, there seemed not enough to go around.
He cupped her breast, and through her clothing, caressed it with a tenderness that caused her to tremble. His hand shook a little, and she became aware of the effect she had on him. A ripple of pleasure trickled up her spine.
“Eppie, I feared I had lost you.” His low, husky voice was velvety rough against her skin.
She kissed the apex of his throat, swirling her tongue and catching the hot flesh between her teeth.
He groaned. “I want you, Goddess.”
At his words, she took a shuddering breath and gazed up at him. “Let’s slip down to the beach before someone comes looking for me.”
She hurried him toward a secluded copse of palm trees and seagrass she’d found on her first day of exploration. “Let’s sit here on this sand bar.”
He kissed her fingers, and then turned her hand over and pressed his mouth against her palm. His lips brushed feather kisses up her forearm.
As tingles rippled over her skin, she shivered in delight. Caressing the rough stubble on his chin with gentle fingers, she leaned back against his shoulder and lifted her face to his.
He captured her mouth, and she responded with fervent heat, seeking his tongue and fingering locks of his silky hair. It was impossible to be close enough to him, and she burned for him to possess her. Everything else receded until only Eshigel was real. Inflamed, she worked to unbutton his shirt, impatient for more of him to touch.
The night air caressed her skin as he removed her clothing, and then his. He took her in his arms once more, his aura spiraling around her, cocooning the two of them in tendrils of delicious heat. His low voice and words drugged her senses. “You are my Goddess, and you always will be.”
He kissed the soft area of her navel, and it was clear he paid loving care to the possibility of tenderness there as he continued to bring her body to life in the exquisite tropical night.
She reveled in his solicitous attention but needed more from him and urged him on with inflamed movements and urgent strokes of her tongue.
“I must have you, Eppie.” His voice sounded as hoarse as if no words had ever passed his lips before.
“Oh, yes, Eshigel. Please.”
“Fly with me, Goddess.”
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