Don’t Wanna Support Big Business on Black Friday? Give the Gift of Handmade Psychedelic Art, Instead!

via Seó Bóthair: An Original Watercolor Series FREAKY FRIDAY Blowout Sale!

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Seó Bóthair: An Original Watercolor Series FREAKY FRIDAY Blowout Sale!

Seó Bóthair is Gaelic for “Uncontrolled situation,” “circus,” and “roadshow,” as well as being the title of my watercolor/ink/dry pastel series. Hopefully you’ll find a mini-gallery at the end of this schpiel, assuming I did this WordPress thing right. As a Gen-X gal, blogging isn’t my forte. At some point, I’ll figure out how to put up a “gif” and all hell will break loose. It’s likely that I’ll be editing this post over the next few days. Like, a lot.

I’m offering limited edition, embellished, matted, framed prints for $100 a piece on Friday, November 24, with free shipping. Whatta bargain….and how original a holiday gift would that be? Plus, you have the joy of not only giving a one-of-a-kind gift, but supporting outsider arts.

After November 24, paintings will go back up to their usual price of $125.

So how about some other questions about this funky collection? Following is an interview between Vivacia K. Ahwen and Rachel Robbins:

VKA: What is this whimsy?

RR: So glad you asked! Seó Bóthair started as a freestyle watercolor series which I painted over a course of thirty days, when I was experiencing that “Stuck in a rut” feeling that so many of us deal with periodically. Somehow I stumbled across Barbara Diane Barry’s Painting Yourself Out of A Corner: The Art of Getting Unstuck. For 30 days I painted what were more or less liquid scribbles, trying to keep my time limited to short bursts. As with most self-help books I read, I deviated from The Rulez, but used it as a starting point and springboard to rebuild my engine.

VKA: You said watercolor, but I’m seeing a bunch of black ink here, as well. And the embellished prints have pastel dust on them.

RR: Right. I set aside the journal of paintings for a year, found it stashed on my writing porch, and when I was bored one night decided to trace the pictures I could find within the splashes/smears/streaks of color. The ink gave the pictures a stained glass quality which appealed to me, and I kept going with it. Part of the pleasure in looking back at that month was how quickly my mind worked to find the order in colorful confusion.

VKA: “In all chaos, there is cosmos.” That’s Jungian theory, right?

RR: Yep. Gold star, Vivacia. That psychology minor comes in handy sometimes, doesn’t it?

VKA: No snarkiness, please, Rachel. (Snark is my department.) Some of these paintings are freaking me out, TBH. Angels, demons, monsters, fantasy creatures, some Syd and Marty Kroftiness…But I like all the naked humanoids, gotta say. Can you speak to that?

RR: Thanks, I guess? People seem to enjoy them, and find the fun despite the occasional creepy moment. Playful is what I’m really going for. As you look closer, and spin the pictures around, you’ll find all kinds of critters. Hang them upside or down, there’s magic all around.

VKA: Hm. Okay, so how can I get one?

RR: I’ve got a PayPal set up. You’ll be using my “real” email, as opposed to Ms. VKA’s account. I’m rachelingridrobbins@gmail.com. Paintings will arrive within two weeks after I receive payment.

VKA: $100, you say?

RR: Yep. Obviously, if you live outside the U.S., it’ll be more…as it costs an arm and a leg to mail overseas.

VKA: Fair enough. Any closing comments?

RR: Yes. I’ve been asked to do book illustrations/cover design before, and that’s something I’m totally up for. However, indie companies seem to offer royalty-based only, and I need an ACTUAL payment to cover my materials, time, craftsmanship, et al. Seó Bóthair is different from my usual styles, I tend to do a lot of mixed media, sculpture, fabric art, and acrylic on canvas. That said, I’m flexible, and can adjust styles to what your needs are. I’m also interested in designing album covers and skateboard decks, so spread the word. Again, my email is rachelingridrobbins@gmail.com. Please write “ARTWORK” in the subject line, so I don’t mistake you for spam.

VKA: Perfect. Thanks for sharing your time, Rachel. I mean, it’s not every day you get to hang out with your alter-ego, right?

RR: Right, Vivacia. And happy Turkey (or Furkey) Day, one and all….Wishing you your very own seó bóthair. Adieu!

~~ RR and vka

P.S. Find me on Twitter: @SheRaPrincess is my handle. Mostly I just troll Donald Trump, but occasionally post something semi-noteworthy. Still sticking to that 140-character formula, though. Who needs over 250 [named] characters, besides Marcel Proust? Don’t answer that.

P.P.S. Also, I do the Book of Face: https://www.facebook.com/love.vivacia.k.ahwen/

 

Finding Lily Week One: A Few Words of Thanks From Vivacia

Hi, sweet readers! Meant to express my gratitude earlier, but –as we all know—life happens, and I’m not the most faithful blogger. When I have some appreciation to express, I try to be more on top of it; my apologies. Most recently, I’ve been gifted a trip to someplace warm, sunny, and beachy. How’s that for an unexpected plot twist? So now I’m sending you well wishes from the airplane. Seriously, I’m up in the sky, feeling oh-so-very-meta, right now. (Because, you know: Lily. . .blah blah blah. . . airplanes…). You get it. Anyway, Finding Lily seems to be selling quite well, and I’m psyched people are so into it. Or at least you are curious. Thanks to all who have purchased a copy, and double thanks to those who are passing the word onto friends, via reviews, blogs, word-of-mouth, and the rather addictive group pages on Facebook celebrating all things erotica. Get yours today:

http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Lily-Vivacia-K-Ahwen-ebook/dp/B00YGDJX3W/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1457104774&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=findling+lily+vivacia+k+ahwen

Hopefully, that link worked.

http://www.amazon.com/Reaching-Lily-Vivacia-K-Ahwen-ebook/dp/B00OFLDV3I/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1457104876&sr=1-2&keywords=reaching+lily+vivacia+k+ahwen

A reminder: if you haven’t yet read the first of the Lily Chronicles, Reaching Lily, you can grab it from Amazon right now for a mere $1.99. UK readers, I think it’s a pound and a half, now. Anyway, if you haven’t read it yet, you absolutely must, or Finding Lily will be a total headscratcher. Also, it’s a fun story. Cliffhanger warning.

Another reminder: if you’ve read and are reviewing Finding Lily, awesome! But please be sure to write “Spoilers” in the title of your review, if you are giving anything away. There are surprises, and most readers like to discover them on their own. Yep, some questions are answered. Some are not, and that’s a deliberate choice on the Vivacia end of things. While Finding Lily is not a cliffhanger, and is written as a whole, the tale remains open-ended. As I was first writing this story, FL was the second half of Reaching Lily, but since 600-700 pages would be too long for an e-book I split them up. Hopefully Finding Lily gives you, Dear Reader, some closure regarding the romance of Lily and Dorian.

We shall see.

Perhaps I will return to the Lily Stories, in which case we’ll discover the whereabouts of Lily’s dad, more about Dorian’s backstory/identity, what further lies may lurk beneath the surface, if Rocker Zane McBain is going to prove problematic, if one of the characters –who shall remain nameless– ever goes to jail, what Beezus is up to in Colorado, and more. Point is, there are more stories to tell. And I may or may not revisit, depending on circumstances I shan’t get into right now…lest I be a spoiler, myself!

Enjoy the book. Enjoy the romance. Embrace the spring.

Kisses,

vka

“Into The Woods”: A Dorian-and-Lily-October-Short Story-Freebie!

Enchanted Bedroom
Enchanted Bedroom

Hello, Readers. I like to keep my promises, so here’s a bonus “cutting room floor” bit from Reaching Lily! I wanted to post it as a downloadable word document, but as I mentioned yesterday, no idea how to do that on WordPress. So it’s a long bloody read, but, there you have it. Happy Halloween!

Kisses,

vka

INTO THE WOODS: THE LOST PAGES OF DORIAN AND LILY

“Try to act surprised,” Dorian said, when we arrived at my apartment. Well, Dorian’s apartment, technically. Bastard owned the building, now, remember? “Spin around.”

I turned my back to him, and he tied something around my eyes for a blindfold. Something that smelled like him. Necktie? “Okay,” I said. “Please tell me what you’re doing”

“Trust me,” he said. “Can you see anything?”

“Nothing at all.”

“Perfect. Hang on to my arm, Lilliputian.”

“Hey!” Clinging to Dorian, letting him lead my around in my very own habitat was somehow thrilling. It were as though, by not seeing, I was seeing the place for the first time.

“Kidding. Sort of.”

“What’s that sound? I hear birds. And wind, blowing through leaves. A river?”

“Lily, you believe you hear a forest in your apartment?”

“Are we in the bedroom?” I inhaled. “Do I smell lilacs?”

“Enough of your questions. Ready to open your eyes?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good girl.”

I nodded, and he untied the blindfold (which I hoped had not made its last appearance in my life). And, oh my!

My bedroom had been transformed into an enchanted woods, and I’m not just talking about the “Sounds Of The Forest” app. Not only had Dorian had the walls painted with a mural of birches, maples, and pines, but he had brought in enough plants to make me feel as though I’d just walked into a magical world, my own personal Narnia. There was a small fountain on top of my bedside table (which he’d been respectful enough not to replace) next to a vase of white lilies. New lights had been installed in the ceiling, and he had them on dim enough that the room had it’s peaceful vibe, yet bright enough that it looked like we stood together under a starry sky. Then, of course, there was the bed, as he had promised. But I had no idea just how exquisite it would be, indeed beyond any woman’s wildest dreaMs Or at least, any woman who still believed in fairy tales.

For, you see, my princess bed was partway alive. The four posters and canopy were rustic looking, gnarled ironwood, that—though it had been sanded and finished to prevent splinters—maintained its natural beauty. Around the ironwood grew ivy, as well as roses, their vines climbing and rambling about the wood. How would I take care of it? Tell me Dorian hadn’t hired an indoor gardener. Hopefully, he’d read Lady Chatterley’s Lover and would be too suspicious and jealous to do so. Hope springs eternal.

“See, now. It wasn’t lilac you smelled,” Dorian said, wrapped his arms around me from behind, and held me tight. “Roses. Heirloom roses. No thorns.”

“Oh, Dorian.” I sighed and turned to face him, though my eyes were filling. “It’s so beautiful. I can’t possibly—”

“Stop.” Dorian put a finger to his lips. “We’ve been here before. Just say, ‘thank you, Mr Holder,’ and then we’ll move on.”

“Thank you, Mr Holder.”

Dorian touched my temple. “Are you crying, again?”

“I know.” I hung my head.

“Good thing that I am so fucked up I find you incredibly sexy when you turn weeping willow on me.” He gave me a shake. “Hey, chin up, Lily. Speaking of weeping willows, aren’t you going to try out your new bed?”

Gingerly, I pulled off my cowboy boots and sank down onto a mattress that put the Mandarin Orange Hotel and Spa to shame. “Oh, my word.”
“It pleases you?”

I lay back, and allowed myself to release every bit of tension in my body. “Dorian, it is the most amazing— well, just lie down. Come here. Hold me.”

He seemed almost shy as he lay beside me, cocooning me in a warm embrace.

“Aren’t you going to take your shoes off?” I asked. “Can we curl up for awhile?”

“You can’t fool me,” he grumbled, burying his face in my hair. “You just want to christen your new bed, don’t you?”

“Caught,” I confessed.

“I ought to tan your hide, young lady.”

“Yes, you probably should.”

It was going to be the best sex, ever, right? Dorian and me with our newly shaved naughty bits on the most awesome bed that ever existed, playing sexy scenes like we were nymphs in a forest. . .well, he might be less likely to go for that. But, oh, the possibilities! So when Dorian released me, and stood up to leave, I was beyond crushed. Needless to say.

“What do you mean you have to work?” I hated to whine, but come on. . . .

“Sorry, love. Our shenanigans over the past few days have cut into my office time, and between phone calls, paperwork, number-crunching, what have you I’ve got some serious catching up to do,.” He patted my head. “Don’t get up, Lily, I’ll let myself out.”

“You’re coming back tonight, though, right?” I asked, trying not to sound bratty. After all, the man had just given me something that delighted me far more than any of the designer clothes, or fancy facials, or top-notch blowouts ever could. Why was my secret garden the best gift of all?

Because the man knew me well enough to understand that this bedroom was just So Lily. He had unlocked something, decoded me, was breaking down barriers in a matter of days. Dorian Holder could reach into parts of my psyche, anticipate my wishes, and bring them to life.

Until he would decide not to.

I pushed the niggling thought from my mind, and allowed myself to revel in the beauty of my surroundings. Of the idea that in addition to all of Dorian’s other attributes, he was an artist, as well. This was an installation, an art piece. Of course I know someone else put it together. But it was Dorian’s design. It was his imagination. He did not see me as a princess in a tower, as I had accused him last night. He saw me as a goddess of the woods, and sought to be my consort.

So how could I complain that he had to work?

“How about this, Lily? I will try to get back here, tonight. But if it’s after midnight, I’m just going to crash on the bed in my office side room.” He crossed his arMs “Lily? You’re pouting.”

“I’m sorry, Mr Holder.”

“Stop apologizing. Also, make sure to open your ‘bedwarming gift.’” He gestured to a box wrapped in rough brown paper and tied up with string at the foot of my bed.

“What is it?” I shook the package. “More clothes?”

“Sweet dreams, Lily Dewitt.”

Though my new forest nymph bed was the most comfortable thing I’d ever laid upon, wearing my “present” put a damper on the experience. It was what I’m guessing was a Victorian era nightie, yellowed with age, and smelling of cedar; the real deal. There was also a corset, surely a reproduction, way sexier than true nineteenth century undies and clearly meant to be seen. Rather than held together with bone and such, I would be wired in place, squeezed by satin covered plastic, scarcely able to take a full breath. A note, in Dorian’s now familiar hand read

Wear This

Since I learned to what my master bid me—for the most part– I pulled the rather staid looking nightgown, letting the wide, lacy collar drop low on my shoulders, to best reveal my clavicle. Then I laced up the satin ribbons of my bodice, tightening it until I couldn’t move without a considerable discomfort. Having just gotten out of the shower, my hair was already starting to do it’s thing, but rather than put sleep-in straightener I would just be Lily Au Natural. Because my wild waves belonged with this ethereal Days of Yore Moth Goddess costume.

Was Dorian going to come back, or was he just playing a game where I’d be miserable, itchy, and sore all night, whilst falling victim to my “mind virus?” He knew I was capable and willing to wait in awkward positions for hours, if only to prove something to myself. . .or to him. I’d begun to had a hard time distinguishing one from the other. Hmn. If I could fall asleep with my arms bound to bedposts, I could fall asleep mashed and tied into a immobilizing costume. Another Dorian Holder test? Of, course. More torture; the physical misery of itching where I could not scratch, and –possibly worse– the mental anguish of making me wait and wonder. Would he come? Or would he force me to spend a waking night of fear, insecurity, and being at the ultimate mercy of his powerful mind control?

He was feeding my virus.

Be that as it may, I did as I was told. Dorian Holder was my master. I wore the damn things, and lay stiff as a poker in my luxurious bed. I relaxed the best I could to the sound of the small fountain, focusing on the sweet scent of the roses surrounding me, and let my thoughts wander to the intensity of last night. The heat, the ecstasy that made all of his power plays worth everything.

Trying and failing to scratch my back by grinding my shoulders against the mattress, I felt no anger, only acceptance. Dorian warned me: he would break me and rebuild me. I said yes, of my own free will. Were I to ring him and say the magic word, he would be a merciful master, and come free me of the beautiful, horrible bindings which the two of us had built together. No, I would not call. I accepted his gift of suffering, while surrounded by the beauty he had created for me.

Beyond that? My heart was filled with gratitude.

Dorian did have compassion for me, I still believed that; I had to in order to suffer at his enormous hands, under his watchful wolf-like gaze. After all, these roses had no thorns within their glorious tangle of vines wrapped around the trees growing around me, soothing me with their sweet scent while I battled my tears of humiliation. The tears which would have pleased him, the weeping that gave him such release, such gratification. He wanted me to cry for him.

I was Dorian Holder’s princess of pain.

                                                            * * * * *

Didn’t I say I could sleep through anything?

Well apparently, I lied.

At least ten fists pounding at my door awoke me from the deepest slumber, which my body had blessed me with as a coping mechanism, apparently. Holy shit.

Do you answer the door or call 911? I wondered, but only for about five seconds.

As stiffed as a starched theater costume, I rolled out of my enchanted bed, and ran to the door, where five ragey pirates stood, just for a moment. I shrieked, and they burst into my apartment, shouting barely intelligible curses and threats. Several pairs of hands grabbed, lifted, and carried me –still mid scream—back to my room and tossed me on the garden bed.

Though they were rough, though their strength was undeniable, my fall was as gentle as though I were being laid down and tucked in for a lovely, albeit wakeful nap. Was this an erotic dream, a pleasing nightmare, or was it one of my girlish fantasies? After all, there be five gorgeous, muscular, aggressive pirates, ready to rip off my restrictive getup and take me. They would take me hard, and it would be no fault of mine, were this a real thing, rather than a magical fantasy Dorian Holder created for me.

Though, I might not have fought them off too hard.

True story.

After all, this could not be real, despite the visceral sense of being nabbed, grabbed, and hurled as though I weighed less than a feather. If I were to allow myself to be ravaged, even in a far-too-vivid dream, would I technically be cheating on Dorian?

Absolutely. I shoved at the scoundrel’s chest, and spit in his face.

“A feisty one,” cheered one of the pirates, and I swung my legs about, trying to free myself. Two of them held me captive by the wrists, and one by each ankle, until the bravest pirate –clearly the leader of the pack– leapt upon me like a madman. He ripped at the satin ribbons which bound my flesh, and growled in my ear.

“’Ello, poppet.”

“No!” I shrieked. “Get off me, you asshole.”

“Aye, lass. Every one us will ‘get off,’ while you beg us for mercy. And then. . .and then. . . .”

Then calm overtook me, and all my imaginings, anxiety, and questions fell by the wayside, like so many scattered rose petals.

Because, what colonial pirate worth half his weight in booty says get off? Wait.

Despite the masks, scarves, sashes, garish hats, silly culottes, vests, and ridiculous poet shirts, and the intoxicating stench of cheap rum? I realized that the bawdy crew of pirates bore energy quite similar to the crew of sexy carpenters who had marched out of my flat only a couple days before.

These were costumes. They were—

After looking about at the motley crew of eighteenth century pirates, it was definite. A rush of familiarity relieved what was left of my fears, though doing little for my excitement.

Okay, possibly disappointed me.

Just saying.

I mean, if the story took the turn it was about to, and I was ravished by a gang of horny scoundrels, it wouldn’t be my fault, right?

This stank beautifully of Dorian Holder.

My pelvis heated, as the strongest one ground against me, awakening my clitoris, so far against my wishes.

Ahem.

A blast of the Pirates of the Caribbean score rang out of my incredible new speakers, and the sexiest of all stormed into my bedroom. His skin was darkened by days in the burning sun, and black kohl framed his wild eyes in a striking, androgynous manner. He wore a three cornered hat his long, bejeweled dreadlocks, which tossed about as he observed the roomful of angry sea wretches. His moustache and braided goatee framed a lascivious smile.

No gold tooth, I’m afraid.

He was clearly the captain.

“Tie her up, lads!” ordered the master and commander, “Return to the ship, and leave the wench to me.”

“Aye-aye, Captain Blackbird,” chorused four of the invaders.

But the fifth carpenter/deckhand still had me pinned. “Never!” he bellowed.

Oh, Dorian. I owed him one. Big time.

“Insolent fool.” Captain Blackbird tossed a rope to one of his minions, and grabbed the fifth by the scruff of the neck. “Then prepare ye to die, a slow, painful death.”

The pirate released me, shoved himself off my body, and drew a very realistic looking blade. Captain Blackbird matched him, with a greater, faster flourish.

And a bigger sword.

Me? I leaned back to watch the show, natch. And what a show it was! My pirates fought gracefully, leaping back and forth within the tiny reaches of my bedchambers, swords clashing, days of yore banter exchanged. Touché. But the villain (Little John Ripple) was no match for brave Captain Blackbird, who had “John” pinned against the muraled wall in no time, tip of the blade just touching his Adam’s apple.

Meanwhile, the other four “pirates” shoved me against a bark-covered bedpost, pulled my arms behind my back, and took turns winding me in the rope their Captain had supplied. I tried to free myself, but once I realized Captain John Blackbird wished otherwise (it was those wolfy eyes darting back and forth at the scene he created which told me all) I became still as stone, save for my heaving bosom. If I thought it was nearly impossible to breathe before in my bodice, being bound in coarse rope to a tree trunk gave me new perspective. Don’t let me hyperventilate, God.

“Leave us,” Captain Blackbird ordered, in some attempt at Continental accent which –of course– made him sound like the lead player in a high school production. “I’ll see to it justice be served to this plundering wench. Out with ye, lads. . .Back to the ship!”

So all the hot pirates grumbled a bit, but since doing Dorian Holder, Pirate CEO’s bidding was the way of the world, they left us to our own devices, while canned horns trumpeted in the background.

“So it’s down to you and me, Lass. Ye found, stole, and sold my treasure. I’ve been searching years for that trunk, wench.” Captain Blackbird tossed a yellowed map on the bed. “And what, prey tell, do you think happens to thieving peasants faced with the dread Pirate Blackbird?

“I don’t know.” I replied, trembling. “Maybe you take me prisoner and sail away with me on your mighty ship? We could be friends, comrades. . . ”

“Hmmn. . .Far too generous. Perhaps after I take you in five different ways, ye tell me who now holds my treasure, then come aboard the Alice May to be my personal slave-girl.” He held his sword high, while walking semi-circles around me. “That’s what to do with ye says I.”

“Are-are you going to. . .punish me, now, Sir?” My nether-regions had already warmed to the idea, no small thanks to the grinding rapey pirate whom my valiant Master had defeated with such courage and wit.

“Aye. Call me Captain.” He tossed his sword to the floor, loomed close, and ripped the muslin until he reached my knees. With deft fingers he untied the bottom knots, and tore further up my nightgown. While I was still bound from waist to the top of my breasts, my hairless vagina was exposed to him, wet and ready for plunder.

“And then?” I heaved. “Captain Blackbird, I’m running out of air.

“You tell me, lass. What, then?” He twirled his moustache.

Not entirely sure whether he was trying to figure out what to do with me, or asking my opinion, I piped, “Make me walk the plank? For I’d rather die than be taken by a stinking marauder such as yourself.”

His fiery eyes gleamed, and their black trim emphasized the odd combination of embarrassment and torment in his eyes. Dorian Holder was good at most anything, of that I knew. But maybe cosplay fell under the not everything category.

“You’ve vexed me for the last time, whore,” he declared, raising his sword.

There was another rapping at the door, but this time it sounded kind of official.

“Cambridge Police Department,” said an aggressive, female voice. “Open up.”

“Dor—Uhm, Captain Blackbird?”

He held up his pointer finger. “Shh.”

Another round of knocking.

Dorian looked from me to the living room, and back at me with a pained expression.
“This wasn’t part of the plan, was it?” I guessed/stated. “You might want to answer that.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake.” Dorian pulled off his pirate’s hat and dreadlock wig, and tossed them to the floor. “Just—Hold on, Lily.”

Like I can go anywhere, Dorian. I’m a little tied up, at the moment.

Captain my Captain strutted to the door, authoritative as he could be in his knee-high, folded boots. The music ceased.

“Cambridge Police Department.” A female voice. “I’m officer McNealy, and this is Officer Smith. We had complaints from the neighbors, who heard a possible break in, shouting, loud music, what sounded like a swordfight, and a woman screaming.”

“I’m sorry if we created a disturbance, Officer.”

“Could we take a look around?”

“Do you have a search warrant?” asked Dorian, all business. Picturing him in pirate’s garb, eyeliner, and that ridiculous hair while attempting to maintain his dignity made me giggle.

“No, sir, we do not. But if another party is in danger, we’re here to protect and serve her. Or him. I’ll ask you one time and one time only: is there someone here with you?”

“Yes.”

“And is this your apartment?”

“Absolutely.” Dorian coughed. “This is my building, in point of fact. I was just doing some maintenance work.”

“Very cute.” She was trying not to laugh. “Let’s see some ID.”

“Of course.” There was rustling, followed with, “I’d appreciate your discretion.”

“This is fake.” It was a man speaking, this time. “Are you—“”

“Yes, I’m Dorian Holder.”

“Who the hell is Dorian Holder?” asked the woman. “It’s not your name we’re wondering about, Fancypants. It’s your age. Do you expect us to believe you’re only twenty-nine?

“It’s an old picture. Uh. . .Let’s move on. Feel free to have a look around. Lily?” he barked. “I’m letting in the police.”

“Allow them, Captain.”

Needless to say, when two police officers walked into my bedroom and saw me tied to a tree trunk, I was taken aback. Part of me hoped this was just one more of Dorian’s antics, all for my entertainment. But Sergeant McNealy and Officer Smith? They were the real deal, and both had one hand on their holsters. Once they got the idea of what they’d walked in on, they took a more relaxed stance.

“Oh. Uhm, hello, officers. I’m Lily Dewitt.” I tried to take a deep breath. “I assure you that what you see here tonight is safe, sane, and consensual. My ID is in my purse somewhere. I’ll find it but, it’ll take a second. Dorian, could you untie me?”

Scowling, he effortlessly untied the larger knot, grabbed a dagger from his scarlet sash, and slashed the twine wrapped about my wrists.

“Mr Holder, drop the weapon.”

He looked over his shoulder and tossed it on my bureau.

“You handle this one, Officer Grey. Best thing to happen for your first night on the force, junior.” McNealy grinned. “Funniest damn thing I’ve seen all week.”

The junior officer looked from Dorian in his Captain Blackbird get-up to me. “Uh. . . so you won’t be need our assistance, Miss. . .?”

“Dewitt,” I finished for him. “My boy—my friend, I mean. We were just having a bit of slap and tickle. Guess things got noisy. I’m perfectly fine.”

“Of course. I see.” He stared at me, open mouthed.

“Any chance you two could keep your ‘fun’ a little quieter?” asked the policewoman, trying so hard not to crack up at our conundrum that it almost made me not embarrassed. “Or take it to a dungeon, somewhere, like most of you freaks do?”

“Okay, now this is harassment,” Dorian snapped, but for once he sounded unsure, which was kind of nice. He glanced for a moment in my direction, and I raised my eyebrows in agreement. “Can I have a moment with you in the hallway, officers?”

“Of course,” said Officer McNealy, winking at me. “I think our work is done. Ms Dewitt? I’m leaving my card on your kitchen table. In case your pirate, here, gets out of control? We’re here for your safety.”

“Thank you,” I sang, as they left my bedroom, and heard the door slam behind There was muffled muttering in the hall, then Dorian was back in front of me, brandishing his sword.

“You know what, Lily?” He sighed, taking in the vision of me, all antique-y undergarments, flushed cheeks, and a nightie ripped up to my groin. His eyes fogged, and he licked his full lips. “First off, you look most fuckable, though that goes without saying. You always look fuckable, though at the moment. . .you are a sight to behold. Seeing as I coerced you to stay bound in what must have been unbelievably uncomfortable clothing for several hours, praise is due.”

“Compliment accepted, Captain Blackbird.”

“Never call me that, again.”

“I shan’t. I’d salute you while saying this, but my arms are sore from being tied up for the last twenty minutes.”

He ignored my insolence. “Somehow you, Ms Zenlike Dewitt, somehow you slept. Up until the pirates invaded.”

I nodded, as though hypnotized, watching him pace back and forth. His sword was high, and he gripped it tightly.

Had I pissed him off, yet again?

“My mind games are having less of an effect. Let’s up the stakes, shall we?”

“Your mindfucks are working quite well, Dorian. This sleep thing is my coping mechanism. Either that or I’m narcoleptic.”

“Indeed. Ms Dewitt, were I not in the picture, would you have allowed the ‘pirates’ to have their way with you?”

“I don’t know.” If I could have moved without soreness, I’d have shrugged, but instead just answered him. “I hope not.”

“My hopes, exactly.” He stopped in his tracks.

“Kidding. Of course I wouldn’t.”

Dorian let out a breath. “That’s a relief.”

“Thing is, Dorian. . .without you in my life, there would not be a herd of Chippendales Pirates crashing my living bedroom around midnight. That doesn’t happen.” One can only be so articulate when breathing is such a hassle. “You make impossible things happen. You make my fantasies real.”

“Hmn.” Dorian flashed his occasional dimple, then rubbed his eyes, exhausted. For a second, as the black eyeliner smeared, I could see how he would have been a total glitter rock star were he born in a different place, a different era. “Thank you for that, Ms Dewitt. After I have been thoroughly humiliated tonight trying to accommodate your whimsy, indulge your ‘fantasies’ with shenanigans I now regret, are you willing to repay me in whatever manner I see fit?”

“Mr Holder.” My skin burned, as the heat of desire quickened in my body. “You know I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

We looked at each other evenly, and his mouth curved into a sneaky semi-smile.

“Excellent response. Now lean your head to the left. Then stay very, very still.”

I froze.

Dorian Holder grabbed his rapier from the floor, and while I let out a final –genuine– scream, slashed it downwards, his face entirely void of expression. In one swift motion, the confining laces of my corset split, and I took a deep gulp of air. Freedom.

“Thank you.” I shook my body loose, felt my muscles release in gratitude, though my head was spinning.

“T’was nothing, milady.”

We eyed each other, as though having just met. God, I was dizzy.

“So. . .that whole thing with the CPD. Did it completely wreck the mood for you, or is that just me?”

“Come upstairs to with me, Lily. I have to show you one more thing.”

“Uhm. . .” I took a huge gulp of air, trying to stay balanced.

“Lily, you’re wobbling.” He stepped toward me, offering his hand. A wave of nausea overtook me, and I felt myself beginning to fall.

Then there was only darkness.

“Chapter Twenty: Reflections”

“Lily? Lily.”

A familiar touch. He was rubbing my scalp, and I moaned in response.

There you are. Look at me, Lily.” A very blurry Dorian Holder was peering into my eyes, but I couldn’t get him into focus. “Can you hear me?”

He gave me a light slap on the cheek.

“Stop,” I mumbled. “Not. . .in. . .the mood.”

“Hey. Oh, thank God.”

“What happened?”

“You fainted, sweetheart. Can you sit up? Nice and slow.” He caught my shoulders, as I tried to lift myself, and our strange surroundings came into focus. I was on a soft mat, surrounded by exercise equipment. The lights were dim, and flickered like candles. Three of the walls and the ceiling were a masterpiece of mirrors, beveled and placed at angles which made me feel as though we were in the center of a fire opal, or swimming in a “glasz” ocean. For the multitudes of looking mirrors reflected not only the two of us, but another painting. A fuzzy-looking mural; a duplicate of Monet’s Water Lilies.

I slumped against Dorian’s lap, and asked where we were.

“I had my crew of pirate carpenters build a studio for you. The painting is the same artist who designed your bedroom. Lily, you don’t have to talk.” He held a glass of icy water to my lips. “This is my fault, you know. You told me no breathplay, and I hadn’t thought of it until you fell into my arms, lightheaded and trying to inhale.”

“So I didn’t hit my head, I take it?” My mind was de-fogging. “Then you carried me up here?”

“I wanted you surrounded by more beauty when you awoke,” he explained. “Because this room? I see you, Lily. Look.”

He pulled me up, so I was pressed up against his chest. He had taken off his poet shirt, and his bare skin was comforting, even against my muslin and lace nightie, which was soaked in sweat. Our sweat. Like a good girl, I followed his directives and cast my eyes around the room. Infinite Lilies and Dorians. But it wasn’t enough.

“Help me take this thing off,” I said. “If you would.”

Dorian tore what was left of my shift, tossed it aside, and lifted me to my feet.

“Steady,” he said.

“Always.”

“Look.” He stood behind me, and we faced our reflections in the mirror. “See, just for a moment, what I do whenever I look at you, Lily.”

He traced his fingers over my breasts, my belly, and at last reached my pussy. He opened me, easily, and we watched ourselves. My flower was open wide, red and engorged with want.

“Dorian—”

“What’s up, Tiger Lily?” he slid his fingers inside me, and something broke. I spurted girl juice all over his hand, but as my eyes began to close, he said. “Don’t stop watching. See how beautiful you are when you come? See what I see. Even for a moment.”

A strange woman looked back at me. She had hair like a mermaid, eyes like the sea, and her voluptuous curves shivered in the cool room. Her cheeks were flushed, and her lips pouty.

How could this be me?

I even looked stronger, somehow. Could just a few days of stretching and acrobatics with Dorian Holder already be toning my muscles? My breasts were swollen from the bloodflow of my arousal, their nipples pink and peaked with desire. Dorian’s stiffening cock pushing it’s way against his breeches and against my bottom were not helping matters. Dorian pushed aside my hair, so my shoulders and neck were bared to him. He kissed just below my ear, trailed his lips lower, and stopped at my shoulder. There was a tenderness about him which seemed out of character, even more so than the pirate costume.

“See?” Dorian licked his wet fingers, sighed, then circled my clit. And stopped.

“Keep going,” I said, staring at the two of us. “Please.”

“Wait for it,” he ordered, releasing me. “So much better when you wait. But you know that, now. Breathe slowly. Deep breaths. I’m going to walk you to the barre, and you’re going to hang on to it. Then, with your permission, I’m going to hold you captive, here, and have my way with you as originally intended.”

“Permission granted.”

“Lovely. I’m going to go lose these Penzance pants, shower up, and ravish you like a good pirate captain would. But—for the record—I am never dressing up like this again.” He winked, and I regretted that this was the last time I’d see his eyes trimmed in makeup. “For once, I’m calling mercy.”

“Understood.”

It was then that I saw the shattered panel. One of the mirrors was smashed, and looked like a giant spiderweb. Dorian followed my gaze, and frowned. “Oh, that.”

“What happened?”

He let go of me, walked over to the mirror and looked at his shattered reflection in disgust. “I got angry the other night.”

“At me? When I sent you away?”

“There was far more to it than that.” He looked askance. “Sometimes I have a very bad temper.”

When I was silent, he prompted, “Go ahead, say something.”

Instead, I walked over to the barre, grabbed it tightly, and peeked over my shoulder. “Make me,” I taunted.

“As you wish.” He turned from the mosaic of himself, reached into a large velvet bag on the floor, pulled out my handcuffs from the other night, two bungee cords, and two carabiners.

“Where’d you get all this stuff?”

“Sample mock-ups from companies who heard about troubles at Apollyn. They send accessories with everything. Please note the automatic rock climbing machine, per your request.” He pointed toward the vertical racetrack of faux rocks against the wall. “Know that you’ll be hanging up on it within the next forty-eight hours. How does that make you feel?”

“I can’t—”

“Also, that yoga swing? Your idea, and a good one. Expect to be fucked fifty different ways, in suspension. You’ll be mine.”

“Yes, Mr Holder.”

Without further ado, Dorian shackled me to the bar. “Kneel, bitch.”

I dropped to my knees, and he grabbed two fifty pound dumbbells as though they weighed nothing. With a few deft moves strapped them to my ankles, using the bungee cords as bindings, and the metal clips to keep me from escape.

“Can you move, Lily?”

I shook my head.

“Didn’t hear that. Can you move, Lily?”

“No, sir.”

“Perfect.” Dorian Holder stepped back, taking in the vision of me, weighted and frozen in place. “Stay. Don’t move a muscle.”

“I can’t. I mean, I won’t.”

“Excellent. Promise to wait for me.”

“Do I have a choice, Mr Holder?”

“No,” he replied, and stepped back, admiring the spectacle he had created. “At this point in our relationship, Lily, I’d say you have no choice about anything, whatsoever. But if it makes you feel any better, neither do I.”

When he turned to leave, I cried out, “Are you leaving me, Dorian?”

“Oh, Lily.” He stopped in his tracks, and looked over his shoulder, stone-faced yet again. “You should know by now that our games have only just begun.”