Reaching Out from a Mind as Dirty as All Outdoors

If you get lucky enough, I might post adult-only material from time to time, so be 18 or over, or please be elsewhere.

I'll be discussing erotica here, the writing of it and the people who write it, as well as what we've written. I find all these aspects stimulating, but if any of them bore you, feel free to skim. You never know what you might miss, though.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Free Lesbian Historical Romance Story: The Bridge

This historical story set in WWI England may be as close as I ever come to a non-erotic lesbian romance story, one I may someday expand into a novel. It was published in Through the Hourglass: Lesbian Historical Romance.

The Bridge
Sacchi Green

Upstream the river riffled over stony outcroppings, but under the bridge it ran deep and clear. Reggie leaned over the wooden railing and stared down into those amber-green depths, willing herself to see only a great speckled trout balanced in perfect stillness against the current. An ordinary Midlands English stream, all green shadow and shimmering sunlight and blue reflected sky. An ordinary fish. Yet she could not block out visions of bodies submerged in other streams throughout the ravaged countryside of France, flowing ever redder with blood until they reached the Somme. Even the songs of birds in flight, spilling over with rapture, warped in her mind into cries for help, help that could never be enough.
"Shell-shock," the doctors might say, but it scarcely mattered what one called it. Pure, searing grief, not war itself—though war would have been enough—had breached her defenses. Grief for Vic. For herself without Vic.
By what right did England bask in such a May morning, calm and lovely, while over there artillery’s thunder still shook the fields, and men rotted in muddy trenches? How could she bear to stand idle in the midst of such peace when her place was over there, even...even with Vic gone? All the more with Vic gone.
But she must adjust, must let the peace of home heal her—not that anywhere felt like home now. Or ever could again, without Vic. If Reggie could prove herself recovered, not only from her physical injuries but those of the spirit—capable once more, clear-minded—they just might send her back to the war. An experienced ambulance driver, strong as most men, skilled at repairing motorcars and field-dressing wounded men; here in pastoral England she was of no use, but over there she was desperately needed.
Reggie straightened abruptly, trying to focus on the tender green of new leaves, the glint of sunlight on the flitting gold and peacock blue of dragonflies. She shook herself like a retriever emerging from deep water.
“Don’t move!”
The low, terse command froze her in mid shake. “There’s a nest...” The voice came from below, less peremptory now, but Reggie’s mind raced. A machine gun nest? She fought the impulse to drop to the wooden planks of the bridge. Surely not gunners, not here! A nest of wasps?
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.” The speaker was almost whispering. “It’s just that swallows are nesting below you on the supports of the bridge, and I’ve been sketching them, but they get uneasy when you move so suddenly and might leave the eggs.”
A flush of fury heated Reggie’s face. Forced to the verge of panic by some silly schoolgirl! She bent over the wooden railing, an angry shout surging into her throat, and saw, first, a head of tousled light brown hair cut short about the ears. A schoolboy, then! All the worse! “WHAT do you bloody mean by—”
The artist looked up. The remainder of Reggie’s words, stifled, burned like mustard gas in her mouth.
Not a boy. Not a child at all, though she might have been taken for one if it weren’t for tiny lines at the corners of mouth and eyes, and a certain look in those eyes that spoke of a share of pain in her life; rather like what Reggie saw in her own when she was careless enough to look in a mirror. Her hair was really no shorter than Vic’s pale curls had been in France, and Reggie’s own dark thatch had been cropped a good deal shorter back then, a necessity in the filth and chaos of battlefields. She realized uneasily that it was about time she cut it again. Eight months in hospital had left it just long enough to tie back in a straggly knot, which she would have hated if she had cared in the least about appearance these days.
“I really am terribly sorry,” the woman said. “I shouldn’t have startled you like that. I get too engrossed in what I’m working on; it’s my besetting sin. One of them, at any rate.” A flashing smile turned her rather ordinary face into something quite different, almost enchanting, in the elven manner of an illustration from a fairy tale. “You must be Lady Margaret’s cousin, and this is her bridge, so really you’ve much more right here than I. We’d heard you were spending the summer with her. I’m Emma Greening from downstream at Foxbanks.”
She stood from her perch on a mossy rock and made as if to extend a hand, then realized that she couldn’t possibly reach up to where Reggie stood and withdrew it in some confusion. “Just a second and I’ll climb out of here with my gear.”

Reggie found her voice, or at least some version of it just barely suitable for the occasion. The hoarseness couldn’t be helped. Vic had claimed to quite like what being a little too slow to get her gas mask on once had done to her tone. “No, you can go on sketching. I was about to move along at any rate.” Emma Greening...what had Margaret said about her? Something, in all that chatter about the local population, something about being an artist, but Reggie had paid no attention to any of it. No one in this dull, placid countryside mattered to her.
Now she wondered just how much Margaret had told the local population about her. Or how much Margaret herself understood.
“I should be going myself,” Emma said. “I can sketch swallows in my sleep—it was the bridge itself I wanted to catch in a certain light, and I think I have enough now to be going on with.” She packed her sketchbook and paint box into a satchel slung over her shoulder, and stepped from the rock onto the steep riverbank.
“Here, I can give you a hand with that.” Reggie heard the brusqueness in her own voice, and couldn’t quite erase the remnants of her angry frown, but found herself reaching down from the top of the riverbank without remembering how she’d got there. Emma’s sun-browned hand met hers in a firm grip, and she was up the slope so quickly and easily that it was clear she hadn’t needed any help at all.
“Thanks. I’ll be getting along now, and I do apologize for disturbing you.” Her smile now was merely polite.
This would be as good a time as ever to practice behaving normally, Reggie thought. Best to scotch any gossip about her being a bit odd. “Don’t leave on my account, Miss...Greening, is it? I’m Regina Lennox. Make that Reggie. Sketch here all you like. I’m the one who should apologize for being such a troll when you startled me.”
Emma’s smile flashed brilliantly again. “A troll? How funny that you’d say that! This is indeed a perfect troll bridge, which is why I was sketching it, for a book I’m illustrating. A children’s story, the one with the three goats.”
“Trip, trap, trip, trap over the bridge?”
“That’s the one,” Emma confirmed. “For now I wanted to get the bridge itself, rustic and charming, with the swallows, and that wren darting in and out of the bittersweet vines on the other side—she must have a nest there—and the clump of purple orchis just where the bridge meets the bank. All lovely and peaceful before the goats or troll appear. A lull before the storm sort of thing.”
“So the troll got here prematurely.” There was something comfortably familiar about this sort of conversation.
Emma tilted her head, surveying Reggie with mock seriousness. “No, I wouldn’t cast you as the troll, exactly. In any case, I was the one under the bridge, or nearly so. I’m a better candidate for trolldom.” She leaned her head the other way with a frown of concentration belied by a twitching at the corners of her mouth. “I see you more as the biggest Billy Goat Gruff—stern, shaggy, putting up with no nonsense from any troll.”
“Certainly shaggy...” Reggie stopped short. Memory hit her like an icy blast. Vic used to tease her, rumpling her hair when it got shaggy and needed cutting, calling her a troll—often followed by, ‘Well, get on with it, you slouch. Kiss me if you’re going to!’ She felt her face freeze into grim stillness, bracing against the familiar onslaught of grief.
Emma stepped back. “Sorry again,” she said, sounding embarrassed. “I have a bad habit of blurting outrageous things without thinking.”
“It’s not you,” Reggie got out, but no more words would come.
“I really should be going now, anyhow,” Emma said quickly. “I’ll just leave you in peace. I expect we’ll run across each other in the village from time to time.”
Reggie watched in frozen silence as Emma picked up the bicycle lying beside the lane, settled her art supplies in the canvas panniers at the back, mounted, and rode away. Her divided skirt revealed a brief glimpse of quite nice lisle-stockinged calves above sturdy boots—and a smudge of moss stain where she’d been sitting on the rock.
So much for behaving normally! Reggie’s spasm of grief was subsiding. She wished she could call Emma back, but the bicycle had disappeared around a bend edged with dense shrubbery. And what could she have said? “I froze up because you reminded me of someone.” Which wasn’t even true. Emma didn’t particularly resemble Vic. It was more the light, pleasant conversation, the brief exchange of banter...
Ah. That was it. Just as the rehabilitation counselor had said, but Reggie had resisted. Guilt. Survivor’s guilt, they called it. Why should she be the one to survive? How could she deserve, or accept, even the least pleasure?
Well, she had enjoyed herself, if only for a few minutes. Maybe that was a sign of healing. She rubbed her hands across her eyes, then turned back to the bridge. A swallow darted under the arch, and a second bird took flight from the nest on the wooden underpinnings while the first took over hatching duty. On the far side a wren darted in and out between clusters of tiny white flowers on a trailing tangle of vines—bittersweet, Emma had called it. A small butterfly speckled like polished tortoiseshell flitted between masses of ferns on the upper bank. Emma would probably know what it was called.
It occurred to Reggie that this side of the bridge was the farthest she’d been from Margaret’s house since she’d come here, and also that it must be close to time for lunch. A quick sound in the water and a spreading ring of ripples showed that the trout concurred and had snatched a mayfly from the surface.
She went back across the bridge, pausing to look down into the water. Only when she was well along the lane did she realize that her mind had played no tricks this time. She’d seen only the river, and the fish, and the reflection of a swallow in flight.
Margaret met Reggie at the edge of the garden, clearly relieved at her return.
“Elsie told me that you’d walked down toward the river, so I was just coming to tell you that lunch will be ready on the table in a very few minutes.”
Margaret was kind, but closer to a middle-aged aunt than a cousin, and she worried far too much. The river at the bridge was nothing like deep enough for anyone to drown herself in. Someone with Reggie’s height would need to lie prone in the water like a pre-Raphaelite vision of Ophelia in order to manage it, and she was certainly not the Ophelia sort. Nor the Hamlet sort, when it came to that. Back in their Somerville College days at Oxford, she had played Othello to Vic’s Desdemona in the all-women dramatic society, Vic teasing her into laughter so often during rehearsals that the actual performance startled them both with a fierce tension that went well beyond the dramatic. And well beyond the performance.
The thought brought a stab of pain, but also a wave of relief. She had not been sure that her mind still held such happy memories, that the tragic ones had not destroyed them. Margaret need not fear that she would destroy herself, with such memories to preserve.
She supposed she should make some effort to appear less submerged in despair, whether she were or not. “Very pleasant down by the bridge,” she said casually as they walked back to the house. “That artist woman you spoke of was there, sketching birds’ nests or something of the sort.”
“Oh, you’ve met Emma! How nice! We must have her over for tea one of these days.”
Tea. Over there, tea had been at best a brief pause, or no pause at all, to swig a bitter brew from a thermos bottle; tea or coffee, no milk or sugar. Still hot only if you were lucky. And when any of the lads you transported in the ambulance were in good enough shape to sit up and drink, you willingly gave your share to them.
“She didn’t strike me as a tea party sort.” Which was a plus in Reggie’s opinion, or would have been if she’d cared. She did care a bit, in fact. Emma seemed like someone she could enjoy chatting with, bantering, in a casual friendship uncomplicated by passion or drama.
“Well, she keeps quite busy with teaching drawing at the Midbury School for Girls, and does the most charming illustrations for children’s books, and is active in village affairs and war relief as well, so she might not have much time for tea. But she’s really quite nice, and from a good family.”
How genteel, Reggie thought. Although the split skirt and the slim strong calves that clambered up a steep riverbank as easily as they propelled a bicycle had not struck her as particularly ladylike.
It occurred to her that Margaret was sounding suspiciously like a matchmaker. Of course she couldn’t be blamed for wishing Reggie to make friends, or to at least do something besides mope about the house, but could there possibly be more to it? Surely not. Hard to be certain whether her cousin had guessed how much more Vic has been to her than a chum from student days, or a teammate in the grim work of bearing stretchers and driving ambulances on the battlefield, where an exceptionally long ranging shell could hit vehicles, patients, drivers...
Trying desperately to distract herself from that last image, she played along with the casual conversation. “Yes, she introduced herself. Said something about wanting to catch the bridge in a certain light.”
“Artists can be rather odd like that,” Margaret prattled on. “But they say she’s very good. I’ve only seen her sweet watercolors of birds and flowers and local scenes, but her work is shown in galleries in Birmingham, and even a few times in London at the Royal Academy of Arts, which is quite grand, I believe.”
Reggie was relieved to be stepping through the French doors from the garden into the morning room, where the housekeeper Elsie had lunch laid ready. For once she even had an appetite.
“Is there a competent seamstress in the village?” she asked Margaret when the meal was nearly over. For an instant her cousin’s mouth hung open in astonishment before she could answer.
“Oh! Well, yes, there’s that Miss Ogilvie who used to be a governess until she retired here to live in Bramble Cottage after her great-aunt died and bequeathed it to her. You know, that charming little thatch-roofed house just where the Mosely road branches off from the High Street? Thatched roofs are dreadfully susceptible to vermin, of course, but so picturesque, and Miss Ogilvie has had her roof rebuilt and sealed off from the interior, and then re-thatched, and—”
“An admirable woman, I’m sure,” Reggie broke in. “But can she do a decent job of altering clothing?”
“Oh yes. Of course no one is having new frocks made these days, with everything so scarce and so dear, so she does a great deal of mending and taking in and letting out and restructuring, until one would scarcely believe that the garments weren’t new. She even...well, I took her that immense paisley silk shawl my great grandfather brought from India, the one that used to be spread across the grand piano, and she sewed folds and tucks and fashioned it into a quite stylish evening wrap without making a single cut in the fabric! I’m so glad you’re thinking of having some clothing altered. You’ve lost so much weight during your illness!”
There was some truth to that, although Reggie knew quite well that Margaret also wished she would dress more conventionally. The tunic and trousers and trench coat that had been the accepted uniform for ambulance drivers in the war zone were fairly close to what the Women’s Land Army girls wore as they farmed here in England, and thus not exactly unconventional, but there were times and situations where they were out of place. Not that Reggie gave a damn for such times and situations.
The next morning Reggie packed up such clothing as she’d brought, mostly those tunics and trousers, but also two severely styled black gabardine dresses and a long skirt of brown twill. She drove an old cart pulled by grey Molly, a pony elderly enough not to have been requisitioned by the army with most of the other horses in the area. The Daimler that had been the pride and joy of Margaret’s late husband still stood forlornly in the stable, only saved from being requisitioned by being in poor repair, and likely to be taken soon for parts in spite of it. Margaret went along into the village to do some shopping.
“I do think you’ll like Miss Ogilvie,” Margaret said cheerily as she went off to browse the meager wares of the baker and greengrocer and have a look-in at the tearoom in case any close friends were there.
Reggie did like Miss Ogilvie. They recognized each other as two of a kind almost immediately. Reggie in her trousers was, of course, easier to spot, but Miss Ogilvie in her tailored suit had a way of moving, of holding her head, meeting Reggie’s eyes with a certain subtle smile in her own that was unmistakable if one spoke the unspoken language.
When Reggie held up the brown twill and asked whether it could be refashioned into a split skirt, the seamstress cast a professional eye over it, then over Reggie’s hips and thighs, and nodded with just a touch more than professional approval. “Quite enough fabric for that. Styles are shorter now, so I can take a good deal off at the bottom and use it for paneling to insert along the inseam.” She knelt to take the required measurements with no hint of impropriety, to Reggie’s slight regret and great relief. No complications, just an acknowledged fellowship.
Miss Ogilvie looked up. “Do you ride a bicycle? A split skirt is just the thing for riding.”
“I might take it up for the exercise. And the convenience, of course.”

“Excellent exercise, especially when one has been in hospital for some time.”

Reggie stiffened. “Yes. I suppose Margaret has spoken of it.” How much else had she told her backward, countrified world about Reggie’s affairs?
Miss Oglivie rose, jotted down numbers in a journal on her desk, and turned with a companionable smile. “Just that you’d been injured driving an ambulance in the war, and in hospital for several months, and had come to recover in the fresh country air. Nothing more, I assure you. No gossip gets spread around town without making its way here, but no gossip originates here, or ever will.”
Reggie relaxed just a notch or two. “Well, that’s all true. I’m a bit scarred on the back and shoulders, but nothing to interfere with bicycling.” It occurred to her that a little innocent gossip about Emma Greening might not be out of line. “I thought of the split skirt when I chatted with a lady artist yesterday who wears one when she cycles.”
“Oh, I’m so glad you’ve met Emma!” Miss Ogilvie’s words spilled out in a manner quite startling after her professional coolness. “She could use the company of someone from beyond this rural backwater. It’s been stifling for the poor girl this last year, taking care of her elderly parents. They went quite to pieces after her brother was killed. Of course this is her home, and the basis for most of her art, and she keeps busy with her teaching and volunteering for war causes, but other than the art she has precious little joy in her life. She can’t even get away now and then to London as she used to, visiting artist friends in Bloomsbury and Chelsea and, you know, all that lot.”
Reggie did know “all that lot.” And she understood what Miss Ogilvie, despite her claim of initiating no gossip, wanted her to know.
After a few more measurements pertaining to taking in
the waists of the trousers and dresses, and advice as to a barber who might do a decent trim of her hair, she left Miss Ogilvie’s establishment with her mind in turmoil. So Emma Greening was indeed a country girl, but one with a decidedly worldly side and artistic tastes that went well beyond sketching birds and flowers. If both Margaret and Miss Ogilvie were bent on pushing them together...well, Reggie had clearly been underestimating Margaret’s powers of perception.
Perhaps it would be better not to think of friendship with Emma Greening after all if Reggie meant to avoid complications, and drama, and—and passion. She thought again of that slim, strong hand, those calves below the split skirt, that sudden, brilliant smile. Definitely some danger there.
Once she’d been out and about and visible in the village, Reggie thought it best to keep up the effort to avoid appearing any odder than she could help. There were some fittings with Miss Ogilvie—“Lydia” by then—and a single appearance at church wearing one of the altered gabardine dresses, which were then hung at the back of her closet and ignored. She found that passing the gravestones on the way through the churchyard was so disturbing that only the exquisite organ music got her through the service. So much death in war. So many denied a peaceful rest in a country churchyard.
Reggie also accompanied Margaret by bus to the nearest good-sized town. While her cousin shopped, she found a fix-it shop that sold repaired bicycles, chose one to be delivered once suitable adjustments had been made, and struck up a companionable conversation with the owner. He’d been invalided home early in the war, but swore that operating from a wheeled chair or on crutches just made him better at understanding the mechanics of vehicles in general. They swapped stories of jury-rigging repairs to ambulance lorries and the horse-drawn caissons that bore the great guns, using whatever unlikely bits of metal or binding could be scrounged, from bent metal stirrups to leather bootstraps.
What Reggie did not manage, in all this whirl of sociability, was to see any trace of Emma Greening. Could the artist be avoiding her? She could scarcely be blamed after Reggie had been such a...well, such a troll. Strange that the absence of someone she’d barely met could feel like a hollow place inside her. Just as well to leave it at that.
Still, she mentioned Emma’s absence to Lydia Ogilvie, who was not deceived by the attempt at an off-hand tone. “Yes, she’s away doing volunteer work at least one week out of each month. If you want to know more than that, you must ask her yourself.”
Three days later Reggie saw a bicycle with familiar canvas panniers leaning against the low wrought iron fence surrounding the churchyard. In a far corner of the enclosure, someone with unruly light brown hair sat in the grass by a gravestone, bent over what might be a sketchbook. Not a suitable time at all for a casual greeting. Still, Reggie leaned her own second-hand bicycle against the fence and stood watching against her better judgment.
The bent head lifted. Emma gazed at the stone for a long minute, then raised a hand to rub an eye. To rub a tear from an eye, Reggie was certain. Quite definitely not a time to invade someone’s privacy.
Yet there Reggie was, setting one hand on the top rail and vaulting easily over the fence, striding between the ancient and not-so-ancient headstones, and dropping to the grass beside Emma.
Emma looked up, face drawn, eyes bright with tears. She didn’t seem surprised at all to see Reggie. “Mother can’t bear to come here,” she said in a low voice. “But if I draw the stone, with flowers that bloom here or some I’ve picked, and leave my sketchbook open on the hall table, she’ll pick it up and look. That’s the closest she can come to acceptance.”
The open sketchbook showed a watercolor scene, still damp, portraying the grey stone with softly muted edges and an inscription that could just barely be read, although the one on the actual stone was sharp and all too recent: “Lieutenant Edward Greening.” In front of the pictured stone, small bright buttercups danced on delicate stems, minutely detailed mirror images of the actual flowers before them, just as an oak branch in full leaf at the top of the page matched the very one arching above them
“Your brother?” was all Reggie could think of to say. Something about sitting on the grass together made any formality absurd.
Emma looked back at the stone and went on as though they were longstanding friends, the sort with whom one could share deep thoughts when one desperately needed to speak them. “At least Eddie came home. So many others never will. Who knows—you might even have carried him in your ambulance. But he was too broken to live long, in too many ways. And he’d lost someone he loved over there. I think he would rather have been buried there too, in ‘some corner of a foreign field...’”
“‘...that is forever England.’” Reggie continued the quotation without conscious thought. “So you know Rupert Brooke’s poetry.” Vic had loved Brooke’s poetry. Reggie braced for the pain the thought must bring, her face tightening.
“Oh yes. Rupert was from this district, a distant cousin in fact, and Eddie knew him at Cambridge. He was given his book when it came out. Eddie thought him rather too sentimental, but his words were sadly prophetic and do stick with one in times like these.” Emma turned, saw Reggie’s expression, and reached out to touch her arm. “You lost someone there?”
The pain came, but now she could speak of it, which made all the difference. “Vic only went to the war because I did, and now she’s dead, when it should be me.” She drew a gulping breath. “I want to go back, I must do the work again, but with her gone...” She groped in a pocket for a handkerchief. She’d thought all her tears had been spent long ago, but one was making its way down her cheek.
Emma passed her a paint-stained square of cotton cloth. “Work is the only thing that helps, no matter how hard it is to do, but there’s more than enough of it on this side of the Channel. I go to Oxford once a month because I’m needed, but also because I need to do the work.”
Reggie stared at her blankly. “Oxford?”
“Somerville College has been converted to a hospital for the duration,” Emma explained. “I was in training there to go to France as a nurse, but then Eddie...then I had to care for my parents. Now I go one week a month as a nurse’s assistant, filling in when others need time off, helping with cleaning, changing dressings, lifting, sitting with cases who can’t be left alone. Sometimes the lads like me to make sketches of them to send home to their families and sweethearts, pictures showing them less...less harshly than a photograph would.” She snatched the cloth back and used it on her own cheek.
The flush on Reggie’s face this time was of shame, not anger. What a thick-headed jackass she’d been, assuming that folks in the peaceful countryside knew nothing of the horrors of war. And giving no thought to what became of the wounded she carried to the field hospitals, or from those to the ships, once they got back to England.
“I could be of help there,” she said slowly. “I could go with you.”
“Yes. You could.”
A long, considering silence. Then: “We were at Somerville together, Vic and I. Victoria and Regina. We got ragged about the names, of course, but eventually everyone just took it for granted that we did everything together.”
Emma smiled at that, not her brilliant, flashing smile, but one of understanding.
“I should go there,” Reggie went on. “There are people in Oxford I must see, a tutor who was a mentor to me, and to Vic, and wrote to us when we went to the war, as did some others as well. But I’ve been putting it off. To be there, when Vic never will be again—to tell them how it was, how she died. It’s a bridge I must cross, but I don’t know how I can bear it!”
Emma wrapped her fingers around Reggie’s as though they had a perfect right to be there. To Reggie it felt as though they did.
“I can give you a hand with that,” Emma said, echoing Reggie’s words by the wooden bridge where they’d met. “Over any number of bridges.”
Reggie tightened her grip, leaned forward, paused, and thought briefly of looking about to see whether any passerby could see them. But Emma had leaned forward as well, so that their faces all but touched, and a breeze through the oak leaves above them sounded uncannily like Vic’s voice saying, ‘Get on with it, you slouch!’
So Reggie did. And the salt of spent tears had never tasted so sweet.

Free Lesbian Erotic Romance Story: Healing

Healing has been free on my blog site for years, and still gets more clicks than any other entry. First published in 2005 in Ultimate Lesbian Erotica from the long-gone Alyson Books.

Sacchi Green

Late afternoon sunlight filtered through the hemlock branches. An hour ago it had blazed over the water-sculpted granite, and radiant heat still penetrated into places I had thought would never be warm again. My body adjusted to the stone's smooth contours and felt, for a while at least, at peace.
Something moved among the trees on the bank above. I kept my eyes closed, trying to block out everything but the ripple of water and the scent of spruce and balsam. Far below, where the stream leapt downward in the series of falls and slides known as Diana's Baths, there were swarms of vacationers, but they seldom climbed up as far as this gentler sweep of stone and pool. I'd hoped, foolishly, for solitude.
Someone stood there, watching. Move on, damnit, I thought, hating the unfamiliar sense of vulnerability, the suppressed jerk of my hand toward a gun that wasn't there. Maybe the Lieutenant was right. Maybe I really wasn't ready to get back into uniform.
Maybe I was hallucinating being watched.
I sat up abruptly. A hemlock branch twitched, and through its feathery needles a pair of bright eyes met my challenge. A child, I thought, glimpsing tousled russet curls and a face like a mischievous kitten. Then she moved into clearer view, and I got a good look at a body that could have held its own on one of those TV beach shows. So, for that matter, could her bikini.
She looked me over just as frankly. "Hi there," she said throatily. "I think I've got myself lost."
Eye candy or not, I resented the intrusion. "Well, there's upstream, and there's downstream. Take your pick."
"They both sound so good, I can't decide!" Her glance moved deliberately from my face over my body down to the long, semi-healed scar running from mid-thigh up under my cut-off jeans. The scar didn't seem to startle her a bit. I began to suspect a plot.
It's not that unusual for women to come on to me when I'm in uniform, and I've taken advantage of their fantasies a time or two, but I was in civvies, and this was way over the top. She was so blatantly acting out a scene that I was more amused than anything else. Well, maybe not anything else. It had been a long time. A definite tingle was building where it counted most, and my nipples threatened to assert themselves through my gray tank top. I pulled on the sweatshirt I'd been using as a pillow. The New Hampshire State Police logo on the front didn't seem to surprise her, either.
I looked downhill. "Hey, Dunbar," I called to the head poking around a mossy boulder, "who's your little friend?"
"How's it going, Josie?" Jimmy Dunbar emerged from concealment. "I'd've introduced you, but you cruised right on by without so much as a nod for an old friend."
"Sorry," I said. "Been a bit preoccupied lately."
"So I heard. You okay?" He looked toward my injured leg and then met my eyes with genuine concern. Aside from his taste in practical jokes, Jimmy's not a bad sort, and we've been friends since summers in our teens when we cleared trails and packed supplies up to the Appalachian Mountain Club huts.
"Can't complain," I said shortly. "A couple of weeks of enforced R&R and then I'll be back on the job. What are you up to these days?" I should have known better than to come where I'd be recognized. The newspapers had made the hostage case into a big deal.
"He's building sets at the playhouse," the sex kitten chimed in, clearly tired of being ignored by everything but the mosquitoes. In that outfit, she was damned lucky black fly season was over. "We open with 'Oklahoma' tomorrow night. I could get you a ticket if you'd like." She picked her way carefully down the bank, gripping bushes and gnarled, exposed tree roots. Any bits of previously covered anatomy revealed themselves as she bent and stretched. I was willing to bet her breasts owed nothing to silicone.
It might not have been entirely gallantry that prompted me to help her down the last, steepest bit, but when she tried to cling I spun her around and set her on her feet at a safe distance.
"This is Katzi Burns. She plays 'just a girl who can't say no.'" Jimmy sang the last part. Instead of grabbing the line and running with it, as I expected, she shot him a fierce look.
"I should've had the lead! But at least I can have a little fun with this role. I'm so sick of doing 'wholesome' I could puke!"
"That's what you get," Jimmy said unfeelingly, "for starting your career playing Daddy Warbuck's little 'Annie'."
She yowled and took a swipe at him, and, while I figured he deserved a good clawing, my peace-keeper instincts kicked in. "So Katzi," I said, with a hand on her elbow, "what kind of parts would you rather play?" Then it hit me. "Holy shit! 'Annie'? How long ago?"
She turned that feral kitten snarl on me. The flare of anger in her amber eyes attracted me a lot more than the bimbo act. "Long enough! I'm legal! You wanna see my driver's license?"
I grinned and looked her scanty outfit over appreciatively. "You bet, if you've got it on you somewhere."
Her scowl cleared. "You could search me," she teased.
I just patted her cute round butt and turned to Jimmy. "I hope you two have some clothes stashed somewhere. As soon as the sun gets a little lower the mosquitoes will be fierce. I don't much care what they do to your scaly hide, but it would be a shame to let Katzi get sucked dry just before opening night. The bites would be kind of a challenge for the make-up department, too."
"What time is it, anyway?" Katzi asked, with a stricken look.
"Close to five," I told her.
"Oh damn! I'm screwed!" She slid and lurched down the hill toward where they'd left their clothes and towels. Jimmy and I followed, ready to
pick up the pieces if her fashionable sandals skidded on the loose layers of leaves and needles.
"So what the hell is that all about?" I asked Jimmy. "I may be on the injured list, but I can still manage to do my own hunting."
"Hey, little Katzi takes hunting to a whole new level. She's only been hanging out with me because she wants to meet you, and I said I'd heard you were back in the Valley. She clipped your picture out of the paper. Lord only knows what she does with it!"
I swatted him, on general principles, and wondered why I didn't just go back to communing with nature. Then I watched Katzi's sleek legs do a good job of keeping up with our longer ones on the trail out to the road, and reflected that nature's blessings are many and wondrous, and definitely not limited to rocks and trees. Being alone in the mountains had always healed my spirit, but surging hormones might well spur the healing process of the flesh.
At the road, without saying a word, I held open the passenger door on my truck. Katzi scrambled right in. Amazingly, she had the sense to keep quiet during the short drive into North Conway, while I considered my next move. If I was going to make one.
She darted a glance or two at me, almost shyly, then looked off toward Cathedral and White Horse Ledges looming to the west. It occurred to me that her vamp act might require an audience, even if it was only Jimmy. An encouraging thought.
We crossed the Saco River, easing our way through the sun-burned kayakers and rafters reclaiming their cars at the bridge. I let the tension build until we were waiting at the traffic light just before the turnoff into the Mount Washington Valley Playhouse.
"Do they give you any time off for dinner?" I asked casually.
"Just an hour," she said hopefully. "Seven to eight, and then we do the final run-through."
"Want me to bring a picnic?"
Her face lit with genuine pleasure. "That would be great! I can't eat much just before two straight hours of dancing and singing, but if I don't eat anything I'll keel over by the second act."
When she'd disappeared into the theater I considered my options, then drove north to Jackson Village, where the men are golfers, the women are skiers, and every view is above average. "Fine dining" isn't something I think much about, but I have contacts at a four-star inn there. When I was a kid I used to forage wild mushrooms for the chef, who built a good part of his reputation on his creative use of them, especially the golden, earthy chanterelles. My half-French, half-Abenaki grandmother had taught me where to find them along trails and stream banks back when I could barely walk.
My welcome at the inn was so warm as to be embarrassing. They even had one of the damned newspaper clippings posted in the kitchen. I was a few minutes late getting back to the theater, and Katzi was outside, in costume, managing to be outrageously provocative in a demure calico dress for the benefit of the photographer taking publicity shots.
Publicity! I nearly turned the truck around. Then Katzi saw me, and came running, a look of unstaged happiness replacing the vamping she'd been doing for the camera. I got out to open her door.
The photographer followed, of course. I vaguely recognized him from high school. "Hey, Jo Benoit!" he called. "How about a shot with Katzi?"
"Hey, Ted. Sorry, no time." I gave Katzi a brief hug to let her know that being seen with her wasn't the problem. She'd already resumed her knock-em-dead stage smile, but she was perceptive enough to feel the tension in my body.
"That's right," she said. "I'm starving. We'd better get going." She waved to the photographer, who got a shot of the truck anyway as we pulled away.
"I'd planned to drive up the Cathedral Ledge road," I told her. "Great views, but I'm not sure there's time."
"Up there?" She looked uneasily at the domed cliff looming above the valley and the Moat Range rising beyond. "Well...I think I'd rather look at it from down here anyway."
"Does that mean I can't talk you into going rock climbing?" I teased. It was probably just as well that we didn't have much in common. I wasn't looking for a soul mate.
"There isn't much you couldn't talk me into, but that would be a hard sell." Her little grin managed just the right amount of seductive charm. I hadn't noticed before quite how deliciously shaped her mouth was. "They mentioned in the paper that you were a rock climber."
"Can't we just give all that a rest?" I said, maybe a little harshly. If she was going to press for juicy details, it was all over, right now.
"Sure," she said quickly. "But if there's any other way I could dangle from ropes, completely at your mercy...."
"Not and still have time for dinner," I said, relaxing. The usual tell-me-about-yourself-before-I-explore-your-underwear routine seemed refreshingly unnecessary. Although I was, in fact, beginning to feel some real interest in getting to know her.
We parked in the pine woods at the foot of the cliff, where we ate duck salad with mango, asparagus-chanterelle tarts, and French rolls still warm from the oven.
"Wow!" she said, when the food was gone. "That was incredible!" She glanced at me sidelong with a mischievous quirk of her lips. "But I'll bet you hear that from girls all the time." That impish mouth demanded a kiss, which I provided, in full view of the last climbers of the day trudging past to their cars with their cables and hardware.
There'd have been more to see than kissing if I hadn't guaranteed to get her back by eight. It was hard to pull away from the insistent sweetness of her mouth. Her arms around my neck and her breasts pressed against me didn't make it any easier. I peeled her off and started the engine. "Better save some adrenaline for the play," I admonished as I pulled onto the road.
"You'd be amazed how fast I can get recharged," she said hopefully.
"Behave yourself now, and I might let you amaze me later," I told her sternly.
"Yes, Sir!" She subsided against the backrest, letting one hand rest not-quite-accidentally on my thigh, carefully avoiding the dull red scar. When a pleasant tingle spread to the injured flesh it became a throb that under other circumstances might have been pain. She felt me tense.
"Does it still hurt?" She took her hand away. I reached out and pulled it back.
"Once in a while." There was far deeper pain I needed to confront, but at the moment I couldn't imagine any finer medicine than Katzi's exuberant sensuality.
"I could kiss it and make it feel better," she suggested wickedly.
Oh, yeah. Much, much better. "Right, and I could get pulled over by the local guys for erratic driving. Tabloid heaven."
"What made you decide to be a cop, anyway?"
"Well, I got as far as a semester into law school and realized I belonged on the front lines instead of in an office. Plus I couldn't afford any more. I'm still paying off student loans."
"I don't suppose all that many girls fantasize about lawyers, anyway," she teased.
It had never bothered me before to be the subject of fantasy, but this time, oddly enough, it stung. "Look, I'd better warn you that I don't have my uniform with me, and even if I did, it doesn't get used as a prop for a scene." I may not keep my gear as trim as I should, but I have respect for what it represents. "And besides..." something I hadn't realized myself until just then, but had better get out in the open... "there are some kinds of games I'm just not going to feel like playing for a while yet." A stab of pain shot through my leg into my guts. I could see my best uniform pants, sliced open from knee to crotch, soaked with more blood than could ever be washed out.
"That's okay," she said quickly. "It's what's underneath that turns me on." She slid a finger under the edge of my cutoffs, revealing a more dramatic section of my wound. "Oh, Jeez! Did you ever think about getting hurt?"
"You don't let yourself think about it," I said brusquely, and changed the subject. "Look, there's a full moon rising. I'll take you for a moonlight ride when rehearsal's over, if you'd like." We pulled up in front of the playhouse.
"Will you throw in sunrise, too?"
I leaned in for a quick taste. "Can't stop the earth from turning," I said against her soft cheek, and nibbled from her earlobe down to her tender throat. It was just as well that her calico costume had such a high, modest neckline.
When she'd gone I sat there for a minute, hardly noticing the people strolling along the village sidewalk. Then I headed north, up Pinkham Notch, needing to center myself in the mountains.
The peaks loomed dark against a backdrop of moon-gilded clouds; Madison, Adams, Jefferson, and, crowning the range, Mount Washington. I'd never needed more to be up there, on the slopes above treeline, looking down on a world made tranquil by distance. Or, even better, looking down when clouds filled the valleys with a sea of billowing silver and the stars above seem closer and more real than the shrouded earth. Best of all would be to watch the dawn, when the still air is cold, and clear, and nothing exists except stone, and space, and the coming of light over the edge of the world.
My eyes followed the contours of the mountains, my hands almost feeling their harsh ridges and swooping ravines. Then the thought of Katzi's softer curves and sweet valleys beckoned me with increasing urgency. I didn't want solitude, after all, at least not right now. I drove back down the winding highway feeling as though I had wings. Just a quick fling, I warned myself, a little summer diversion with someone who'll head back to New York or wherever soon enough. That's all you want. That's all she wants. Nobody gets hurt.
Katzi smelled of sweat, excitement, and greasepaint, although she'd scrubbed most of that off her face. She was close to exhaustion, too, but tried to hide it. I got out and helped her into the truck, patting her tight jeans where they were molded to her heart-shaped ass. I've never understood how some girls wear them so tight, especially in the crotch--you'd think they'd get sore if they had any pussy lips worth mentioning. I said so as I drove, and Katzi laughed and perked up.
"You wanna check 'em out?"
"A fine idea." I swung into the official "scenic overlook" just north of town. The moon and mountains would have been breathtaking if I hadn't had more intimate scenery on my mind.
Katzi raised her hips while I unzipped her pants and worked them just far enough down to get my hand where it wanted to go. Her pussy lips were full and moist and clinging. "Just fine," I said against her mouth, working my thumb toward her clit. That was just fine, too, and getting finer. "Nice preview."
"God, Jo, don't stop there!" She hauled her shirt up, and then her satin bra; I held my breath, until, at the magic moment when her breasts surged free of confinement, something lurched hot and low inside me . Her nipples were hard, and rosy even in the white moonlight.
"You guarantee you're rechargeable?"
"Yes, dammit!" She wriggled and thrust against my hand.
"You sure?" My other hand stroked across her breasts, flicking one nipple and then the other. "The night is young yet."
"So...ah! am I!" she gasped, and stuck her tongue out at me. I wanted to grab that impudent bit of flesh in my teeth, wanted to yank her jeans the rest of the way off and chew every part of her impudent, tender body, but my leg wasn't up to the calisthenics necessary to accomplish all that in the cramped space of the truck cab. I rolled one of her nipples in the angle between my index and middle fingers, and worked her pussy in hard circles, meeting her accelerating thrusts, until the truck rocked and she yelled so loud it would have echoed from the cliffs across the valley if the windows hadn't been closed. Which, of course, meant steamed-up windows to clear before I could drive on.
By the time we reached my cabin Katzi seemed to be asleep, head nestled against my shoulder. It was far up a dirt road along a branch of the Saco River, entirely surrounded by National Forest. There must have been a story behind how my grandmother managed to keep title to the land, but I'd never thought to ask until it was too late. I have a place farther south, too, where I'm stationed, but the cabin has always been the center of my world. I grinned inwardly, thinking that I'd come back here to lick my wounds, but found something much more worth licking.
When the truck stopped, Katzi raised her head. "Just a minute, Kitten," I said , and got out to open the padlock on the chain across the driveway. The building was still hidden in the trees.
"Rowr," she said in a distinctly feline tone when I climbed back in. Sleep was fading from her eyes. "Can't you see my fur sparking?" She ran her fingers through her short curls.
"Does that mean you're recharging?" I asked.
"Stick a finger in my socket and see!"
So, of course, I did, once I'd lit an oil lamp in the cabin so I could see her delectable skin as I tasted it.
And that was only the beginning. Katzi wanted to go places she'd never been, feel places she'd never felt. "I don't need lube!" she said when I grabbed the tube. "Just feel how incredibly wet I am!"
"You're gushing like a river at spring thaw," I agreed, flexing my gloved fist, "but we do it my way this time."
"Yes, Sir!" She spread her legs. I stroked her gently for a moment, and she arched her hips, showing me glimpses of pink as tender and lovely as the lady-slippers that bloom along the river trail in spring. I bent and touched my tongue to her glistening sweetness. But tenderness wasn't what Katzi wanted just then.
"Fuck me hard, Jo, please!" she said. "I want it all!"
"You'll get as much as I want you to have ," I said. "You'll just have to trust me."
Two fingers into her tight, clinging cunt, I knew it was going to be a gradual process, and it was, compounded by her amazing capacity for multiple orgasms. "I'm sorry," she panted, after the first spasms gripped my hand. "But I just a minute...I really do want more!"
"Don't apologize," I murmured against the luscious flesh of her belly. "Take everything you can get." My own cunt was throbbing; I wanted desperately to grind against her thigh, but my wound was threatening to flare into serious pain, and I didn't want any distraction from the joys of fucking Katzi.
Twelve minutes and three orgasms later her moans were fierce and low and my whole fist was moving gently in her depths. Hard pumping could wait for another session. Half an hour later, as she slept in exhaustion, I watched the rise and fall of her breasts for a long time before drifting off with my face pressed against her warmth.
We didn't manage to see sunrise, but the morning light was still fresh and clear when I went down to the river and waded into the deepest part. The cold water tumbling down from the mountains could always sweep away sweat, doubt, confusion. Then I sat in the sun on my favorite high boulder and tried to clear my mind of everything but the intense blue of the sky.
"You look like one of those paintings," Katzi said, coming to stand below me. "You know, the ones with girls sitting on rocks with mountains and waterfalls and stuff."
"Maxfield Parrish?" I asked, without turning.
"That's the guy. You look like what I wish he would have painted, instead of all those cute fluffy girls."
"You'd have fit right in," I said, "but I always wondered how they were supposed to have got up onto those jagged mountains with bare feet." I wriggled my own river sandals, the only clothing I was wearing.
She looked at my feet, then my legs; I steeled myself not to clamp my naked thighs together, and let her look.
"Oh, Jo," she cried, aghast at the full extent of my wound. "Did he cut you that way on purpose?"
I couldn't bottle up the anger, the guilt, forever. "Yeah. Probably. His wife had been going to leave him for a woman, but luckily the papers didn't get hold of that tidbit. We could've charged him with a hate crime, I suppose, from the names he called me, but there wasn't any point. Even if he'd lived."
Her hand was on my thigh, and she could feel me shaking. "You had to do it, Jo, it was self defense, and who knows what else he'd have done to them?"
I remembered the woman's screams, and the child's terrified cries. I remembered climbing the back of the building, finding foot and finger holds on ledges and chinks in the bricks, while my partner watched the front; remembered the shatter of glass as I dove through the window, and the flash of the knife as I wrestled with him. I hadn't been able to climb with my gun drawn, and then it was too late. Most of all I remembered the crumpling of his larynx under my hand.
"There had to be another way," I muttered. "If...maybe if I had been different, gentler, softer somehow, I could've talked him around. That poor little kid had been through enough, without having to see all that."
"But the mother lived, didn't she? My God, Jo, how can you kick yourself? I know it must have been awful, but..." She stood on tiptoe and lay her head against my side, and I bent to hide my face in her soft curls. Then she worked her lips gently downward toward the scar. "Let me, please..."
I began to tremble in a different way. I wasn't sure I could bear to be touched. She looked up at me with such tenderness in her eyes that suddenly I couldn't bear not to be touched, not just by her hands and mouth but by some indefinable flame of life in her that warmed something in me deeper than the flesh.
I leaned back with my arms braced against the rock and let my thighs spread farther apart, let Katzi's mouth move up, and up, toward where I needed it most. She reached her arms around my waist and pressed her lips and tongue against me so softly, gently, that I felt no pain, only a tantalizing stimulation I thought would drive me crazy. I tried to pull her head closer, harder--maybe I was healed enough!-- but she resisted. "Trust me," she murmured, and I had to, even had to let her hear me whimper and moan. She kept on and on, driving me closer and closer to the brink of a great void, like hurtling on skis toward the headwall of Tuckerman's Ravine--and then I plunged over in an avalanche of fierce joy.
Much later in the day I kissed her, told her when I'd pick her up, and watched her hurry into the playhouse. I really was healed enough, I realized, to go back on duty. Why rush it, though? I could still taste her, still feel her body against mine. Her scent still clung to me; I hoped that something of her would always cling to me. I couldn't quite handle wondering about the future, but for now, I was going to savor every moment of the present with the healing force of nature that was Katzi.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Charity Sunday: Feed Me

Charity Sunday Blog Hop

So many people in need of so much help! How to choose for Charity Sunday this time? But the terrible plague of locusts destroying the crops in large areas of Africa right now stirs my sympathy in a personal way, as I order and sort through the seeds for my own modest garden. Oxfam is one of the charities trying to address this emerging famine, and I know they do good work, so I’ll be donating at least two dollars to them for every view of this blog, whether anyone comments or not, and three dollars for comments.

I’ve had to give up trying to find a story actually related to this cause. The closest my “Seafood Cocktail” comes to any connection with hunger is that the characters, marooned on an island, have a very limited access to food, but they’re so far from being desperate that they find very interesting ways to play with what food they have.

Okay, I admit it, I chose this story to share because it’s reasonably short enough to be all here, and a change from my usual themes in that the narrator is bisexual, not a gold-star lesbian. It was first published long ago in Wet: More Aqua Erotica, edited by Mary Ann Mohanraj,
 and reprinted in Coming Together: at Last (V.2) edited by Alessia Brio.

No relationship to this charity at all, but here goes, anyway.
Seafood Cocktail

Sacchi Green

     He emerged from the sea like the incarnation of some primal god, wet, powerful, gleaming like dark polished rosewood. When he spoke his voice was deep as thunder, smooth as rain.

     "Hey, Lexie, where do you think they've hidden the cameras?"

     I rolled out from under the boat's inverted hull. "Come on, Max, you think they could fake a storm like that? Even if the technology existed, they wouldn't pay for it. The beauty of reality shows is the low overhead."

     "You're probably right," he admitted, turning away to block a full frontal view, oddly shy for someone who'd signed away all rights to privacy for a chance at fame and fortune.

     I still got the benefit of his muscular butt. Droplets of sea water trickled over its curves, forming jaunty question marks. Several intriguing answers occurred to me.

     "You'd think they'd still cover all the bases," he said over his shoulder. "Including any island we might get ourselves shipwrecked on. Otherwise, why let us have a boat, even a chicken-shit one like that?"

     He might have a point there. Besides the one he was keeping out of view. "I just hope they know this sand spit exists," I said, peeling off my sodden T-shirt and shorts and spreading them next to his on the hull to dry. "You can search for cameras all you like--I'll even help after I wash this sand off. But our first priority should be figuring out how to survive until they come to get us."

     I walked into the whispering wavelets of the lagoon, feeling his eyes on me, and feeling my body move in ways subtly different from the strides I would have taken under the gaze of another woman.  A tingle spread across my ass and around to my belly and upward to my breasts; it had been a long time since a masculine presence had had that effect.

     I swam out until the water was smooth enough for me to float on my back. Images of last night's chaotic storm coiled into and out of each other, like oil on the surface of a whirlpool. The one clear memory was a sexual current intensified by fear. Max and I had huddled through the night under our meager shelter, bodies pressed so tightly together that our clothes, saturated with rain and sweat and sea water, were no barrier to the pounding of each other's heart. But Max, in spite of the arousal his wet jeans did little to conceal, had done nothing to take it any farther.

     I had a pretty good idea why. He had witnessed my girlfriend Tonya's explicitly steamy farewell at the plane and drawn the obvious conclusion. But Tonya had known perfectly well that potential sex was written between the lines of the show's contract, and she'd still pressured me to sign it.  I'd only agreed to do the "Marooned" show for my indie-producer girlfriend's sake. If I could get a bit of notoriety, she figured, she'd have a better chance of getting backers for our films.

     But last night, while the pounding rain made our shelter into an impenetrable cave, Max's arms around me and mine around him had seemed absolutely right. The lightning flashes outside had built an electric tension deep inside me until I'd been at the point of jumping him myself--when he'd started snoring.

     Men! But he'd saved my life more than once in the last few hours, maybe even a time or two more than I'd saved his. Instead of interrupting his exhausted sleep, I'd amused myself with working my hand gently, gently between jeans and skin and teasing his heavy balls and straining cock just lightly enough to make him writhe and groan in his dreams, until, ultimately, his pants were soaked with something thicker and sweeter than sea water. And all without waking up.

     I drifted onward in the lagoon, savoring a gentler tension. Unless Max had more reason for resistance than figuring me for a hard-core dyke, being marooned was going to get very interesting, very soon. I swung upright, my toes just touching the sandy bottom. I looked around and saw I'd drifted close to a tiny islet near the center of the lagoon.

     A maze of underwater rocks suggested mysterious, lurking creatures, maybe octopi. I could see, too close to pass up, clusters of what I was pretty sure were oysters. I wished I had pockets; my built-in ones winced at the thought of rough oyster shells, but I dived and grasped a large one in each hand.

     Back on the beach I loped up the slope to where Max knelt. He was piling palm fronds under a lean-to built with the boat and some pieces of driftwood.

     "Hey, Max," I called as I ran; he turned and got the maximum effect of my jiggling breasts. It wasn't wasted on him.

     "What's up?" he said, and turned quickly back. I resisted commenting on the obvious.

     "I found an oyster bed out there. Might be a little hard to get them down raw without lemon or Tabasco, but better than starving. And better than the rats they're eating back at the base." I tossed my prizes on the sand.

     "I guess," he said, clearly not really focused on eating of that kind.

     I pressed my thigh against his shoulder. "I don't suppose we'll be here long enough to starve, anyway. But there are things I'd really, really like to fit in while we're still here. Alone."

     He'd pulled his shorts back on, but not his shirt. I leaned on his broad back and nuzzled his neck. He knelt, unmoving, supporting my weight, until I began chewing lightly on his muscular shoulders. "Did you know that oysters can switch their sex?" I murmured against his rigid jaw.

     "Lexie," he said, his deep voice getting even deeper, "What do you think you're doing?"

     "If you can't tell, I must not be doing it right." I brushed my hardening nipples across his back.

     "But I thought...."

     "I know what you thought. And I know what you're thinking now. Drives you crazy, doesn't it, envisioning what women do with each other." I reached around his chest to flick his nipples; they sprang to attention. An interesting effect on hard muscle instead of soft curves.

     "If it didn't before, it does now," he muttered. I worked one hand down inside his jeans, over the bunched muscles of his buttocks and then in between; suddenly he twisted under me and ended up on his back with me astride. "Damn it, Lexie, you'd better be going somewhere with this!"

     There's something about a deep, deep masculine voice. A woman's voice can stroke like a warm, wet tongue, but Max's voice set up reverberations that seemed to liquefy my bones.

     "Trust me," I said. "I never met an erogenous zone I couldn't appreciate." I rode the huge bulge in his pants, appreciating the hell out of it. "Check me out, if you need proof." I lifted myself just enough for his hand to test my natural lube. His digital enthusiasm was touching, if a bit clumsy, but I pursued other interests, sliding backward until I had his zipper far enough open to insert two fingers, then slowly, slowly widening the gap until my whole hand curved around his hot, hard cock, still trapped by the pressure of his belt.

     His hips rose, his hands scrabbled at the belt buckle, and I caught the tip of his cock in my mouth as it jerked free.

     I savored it with just enough in-out action to keep him breathing hard without rushing things. Then I hitched my body along his until my knees clutched his hips. My own hips moved as my cunt lips slid back and forth over his swollen, eager cock. Too bad, I thought, that our sense of taste is limited to the mouths we eat with. And a taste was all I was going to get.

     "Max," I said, "you wouldn't happen to know what the Swiss Family Robinson used for condoms, would you?"

     "No, damnit," he said. "They must have cut that part from the movie to get a 'G' rating."

     "Don't worry." I played him with my hand, stroking from the root of his balls all the way up his shaft. "Just lie back and let me run this fuck."

     "You're the boss," he said, his voice rising into a gasp. I had pressed my knuckle firmly below his scrotum and was working my thumb back toward his asshole.

     "I'll bet you'd like something really kinky," I teased, "to tell your grandchildren."

     "I'll bet you have inside information," he said, not too steadily, "about what Robinson Crusoe used for sex toys!"

     "Is that a challenge?" I watched a gleaming pearl of pre-cum form at the slit in his cock. "If so, I accept."

     I yanked the belt from his shorts; he lifted his head in alarm. His expression went from apprehension to horrified awe as I leaned over to grab an oyster.

     The belt buckle was just the tool for prying open the tough shell. "No pearl in this one," I said, bringing the opened bivalve close to his erection. "Maybe you could share." I tapped his cock; it jerked. I just managed to catch his dew drop on the oyster, while some of the liquid cupped in the shell dripped onto his balls. I bent to lick it off, then touched my tongue to the glistening shellfish.

     "Hmm, needs more sauce." I slid the oyster into my mouth and held it there, excitement balancing revulsion, while I worked Max hard, inexorably, with both hands. At the penultimate moment, when his deep moans rose in pitch and nearly flowed together, I worked my full mouth down over his cock. I barely managed to keep the slippery oyster from being rammed down my throat until Max's storm of cries rattled my bones and the hot flood of his coming burst over my tongue.

     Swallowing had never been quite like that before.

     Finally Max regained enough breath to speak. "Lexie," he said, "it's your turn..." He was trying not to look at the remaining oyster. It was a very large, very juicy oyster. I plucked it from its shell. Liquid dripped between my fingers into my lap and seeped downward to mingle with my own juices.

     I leaned back and spread my legs. The oyster was cold against my tender heat, but I kept pushing. Between its slippery coating and my own wetness it slid in easily. My cunt tried to grip the slick, yielding pressure, and the teasing subtlety of the stimulation began to drive me crazy. "No, it's your turn," I said, gasping, "so eat!"

     "Well, considering the gourmet dipping sauce...." And he ate, his willingness to learn exceeded only by the length of his truly phenomenal tongue. It was a long time before I realized that the throbbing sounds filling the air weren't all coming from me.

     "A search helicopter," Max said, and wiped his mouth.

     "Damn!" I groped for the belt buckle and rolled over until I could reach inside the prow of the boat. I started gouging the splintered wood around what seemed to be a bolt; then Max's large, dark hand took the buckle and finished the job.

     "How long have you known it was there?" he asked, when the tiny camera lay at last cupped in my hand.

     "I noticed it when I woke up," I said. "Want me to send you a copy of the video?"

     "You'd better," he said. "Not that I'm likely to forget any of it."

     "Not as long as there are oyster bars in the world," I agreed.

     "I don't think I'll be eating any more oysters," Max shouted over the increasing noise, "unless that special sauce comes with them."

     "Sauce for the goose as well as the gander," I called, but my voice was swallowed by the roar of the rotors. The chopper was so close now we could feel the wind. I scrabbled for my clothes.

     From high above the little crescent of sand and rock seemed to smile in the liquid embrace of the ocean. I shifted in my seat in the helicopter, new waves of tingling overlapping the residual glow between my legs.

     The camera was in my pocket. I knew where I could hide the chip later, if I had to, to get it home; I might even manage the whole miniature camera, if only briefly. I grinned to myself. Max probably thought I was thinking of him, but I was really filled with images of how Tonya would get the most out of a cuntcam.

     It was a damned shame, though, that she was allergic to seafood.

Did you make it this far? Here are the links to the other Charity Sunday blogs this month, organized by Lisabet Sarai. (Never mind the stuff below the list of links. I screwed up somehow and can't seem to fix it.)