This month at Lethe sees the release of Heiresses of Russ 2015, edited by Jean Roberta and Steve Berman. Showcasing the finest lesbian speculative fiction stories of the previous year, this collection features authors such as Seanen McGuire, Nicola Griffith, Annabeth Leong, Ken Liu, and more.
Read an excerpt from 'Because I Prayed This Word' by Alex Dally MacFarlane:
The city appears between the pillars of the cloisters like a dream of an embroidered wall-hanging: more gold thread than is ever available for the Sisters, more precisely tidy stitches than Perrette will ever manage. For a moment she sees it on the edges of her vision, and though she thinks of telling her Sisters, she does not. She assumes it is the fast. She walks on.
She keeps seeing it.
Alongside her Sisters she bends over vellum, copying. Barbe, whose freckles are like the stars above the monastery, is at her left. Ragonde, who snores while Perrette and Barbe work, is at her right. They have each been chosen for their skills: Perrette for her precise letters, Barbe for her paintings that face Perrette’s copied words, and Ragonde, who sparingly applies the gold, trusted because of her seniority with that most precious adornment. They copy Lives of the Desert Fathers. Perrette admires the strength required to hold faith in the desert. Barbe paints the female saints.
When the city appears at the window, Perrette almost spills ink on her work.
“Are you well?” Barbe asks.
“Yes.” Perrette carefully moves the ink further from the vellum and glances up. The city is no longer there. “Did you see anything at the window?”
“No. But I was looking at her,” Barbe says, indicating the saint under her hands, with long dark hair flowing like a hymn. Though an ascetic, old and poor in the text, Barbe has painted her young, colourfully garbed, beautiful.
I saw a city, Perrette longs to say. The most incredible city. I want to step under its gleaming gold roofs and I want you to step alongside me--
Perrette silences her thoughts and returns to her work, glancing only occasionally at the window, at Barbe’s freckles, at the saints she paints. That night, she tries to imagine the city, but cannot put people in its streets. That dawn, hurrying late to prayer, she sees it again: a door opening in the courtyard beside the pear trees. Words curl around its hinges like vines.
Barely breathing, she steps closer. Latin, but no Latin words she has ever copied:
spectat et audit dulce ridentem, misero quod omnes ripit sensus mihi
She touches them. The door is real.
She steps through.
I first heard Sappho. A soft name. A sigh. I’d have forgotten it, except it wasn’t a name I’d ever heard, said by one of my da’s customers: come to check the quality of our vellum. Sappho, Sappho. I turned it over like a dandelion seed head. Would’ve discarded it, if he hadn’t then said she was the finest woman poet ever lived.
I never knew much of what went on our vellum. I knew it was words. I knew it was beautiful and mostly God and men.
I imagined Sappho slipping into a book, leaving gilt verses between the church songs. I worked—my hands reeked of vellum, I couldn’t ever scrub it off, dead cows stretched flat and clean and waiting for words I didn’t think I’d ever learn to read—I imagined the vellum going from my hands to hers, all perfumed and soft.
I imagined a lot of stupid things while I was working.
I didn’t ever do a good job of imagining what Sappho actually wrote.
Welcome to the first of Lethe's weekly Giveaway Mondays.
Firstly, we've got three ebooks of Ice On Fire by Dan Stone to give away. The sequel to the Lambda Award Finalist The Rest Of Our Lives returns to the enchanting romance between elemental witches Colm and Aidan. To win, just like our facebook page and share the competition image, or follow and RT us on twitter @lethepress.
Secondly, if you buy the paperback of Ice on Fire today, you'll also receive a copy of the first volume, The Rest Of Our Lives for free. If you haven't discovered the series yet, now's the time. Follow this link to buy on our website.
Every week, Lethe posts a list of ten books on a theme compiled from suggestions by our readers, editors and authors. The list is neither exhaustive, didactic, or ranked, and while there are undoubtedly countless books you've missed off, perhaps you'll find a few new ones here to discover for yourself.
Coming out - whether smooth or traumatic - is a massive turning point in someone's life, and there's nothing like a good story (be it film, tv or literature) to help you through it. A surprisingly common question we're asked for recommendations is 'my teenage niece/nephew/friend/acquaintance has just come out - what would you recommend they read?', and with the holidays fast approaching, a gift idea might be just the thing. This week's list: the best gay YA books for someone who just came out.
This Book Is Gay by James Dawson
Pretty much 2015 - and any year's - essential reading for the recently out young adult, This Book Is Gay is frank, informative, funny, unpatronising and hopeful. Plus it's already in some hot water with right-wing parent groups, and that's practically a stamp of approval in our book...
And while you're at it, you could do worse than checking out the rest of Dawson's catalogue of work...
Boy Meets Boy / How They Met & Other Stories by David Levithan
You couldn't have a list aimed at QUILTBAG teen readers without having David Levithan on it. Boy Meets Boy is the gold standard of the genre, set in an ideal world where gay relationships are universally accepted and the star quarterback is also a drag queen. But for our money, How They Met - a diverse selection of short stories featuring LGBT protagonists, is our favourite.
FROM THE LETHE VAULTS:
Red Caps by Steve Berman
Steve Berman's Vintage frequents many a list of best gay books, and Red Caps continues his sterling storytelling of queer youth with a collection of fantastical short stories all of which feature gay protagonists. Talking about the collection, he says he set out to create stories in which the sexuality of the character is both front-and-centre but a non-issue in the story, and there are precious few other YA collections that treat the subject as such. Plus, the collection is beautifully illustrated throughout.
Buy Red Caps here.
The Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
Adult authors writing high school with any sense of authenticity is notoriously difficult (we're looking at you, Glee) but The Geography Club is an early cornerstone of of LGBT YA, telling the story of a school's first LGBT club led by Russel Middlebrook (the protagonist of a continuing series of novels.) We've got all the essential ingredients: the uniting of the outsiders for survival and acceptance, the strengthening and testing of friendships and the personal journey of self-discovery and sexuality. Plus, there was a 2014 movie featuring a whole host of familiar faces.
Speaking Out! edited by Steve Berman
Speaking Out came out at roughly the same time as Dan Savages It Gets Better campaign...and unfortunately did not receive a tenth of the attention it deserved. These are stories about LGBT and Q teens--inspiring stories of overcoming adversity (against intolerance and homophobia).
FROM THE LETHE VAULTS:
Cub by Jeff Mann
It's easy to imagine that the coming-out story of every young adult revolves around the usual high-school stories and settings, but there are many more stories in the world to be told. Just listen to Out In Print's review: "It's a book for those boys out there who have discovered that they are different from many of their friends, but who also feel the division within the subculture they thought they could identify with. Cub lets them feel there's room at the table for them." And, as OutSmart says, "Finally, a young-adult romance that features Bears and their friends."
Buy Cub here.
Hear Us Out! by Nancy Garden
At its best, coming out enters you into a community of LGBT people ready to give support and joy, and like any community, it has its stories -- stories about the long history of the community and the people that have gone before you. Hear Us Out! tells the story of each decade from the 1950s, describing exactly what it has meant to be young and gay in America in the last sixty years.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Saenz
A break-out YA novel of 2014, Saenz's novel tells the story of two unlikely friends, Aristotle - an angry teen with a brother in prison - and Dante - a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. The novel is lauded by critics who praise it for everything from it's "tender, honest exploration of identity and sexuality", to its "authentic teen and Latino dialogue" and its core friendship that "widens and twists like a river, revealing truths about how hard love is, how family supports us, and how painfully deep you have to go to uncover an authentic self."
How Beautiful The Ordinary edited by Michael Cart
The central question of our adolescence is always the defining of our own identities, and this collection tackles that question head on, with twelve stories from a range of well-known writers - including David Levithan, Gregory Maguire, Margo Lanagan, Emma Donoghue and Ariel Schrag - that spin a diverse set of stories taking in the LGBT experience with subtlety and vigour.
FROM THE LETHE VAULTS:
The Mariposa Club by Rigoberto Gonzalez
One of Lethe's missions is to ensure good gay books are revived; Rigoberto's wonderful YA novel about queer Latino friends at high school who band together to support one another as the Mariposa Club was published by Alyson (and featured all white boys on the cover). The largest growing ethnic population in the U.S. is Latino--thankfully this book is perfect for those embracing diversity.
Buy The Mariposa Club here.
The 'coming of age' story is an ever-popular genre, and if we're in the world of gay literature, what that usually translates to is a 'coming out' story. It's something that the overwhelming majority of us have had to do, and therefore the experiences ring true when we find them in literature. But there are those who argue that both gay rights and the gay experience has moved on, and that it's time we told different types of stories about gay characters. Some might even suggests that a coming out story is no longer interesting, or relevant, or even necessary.
What do you think? Do we still need 'coming out' stories? Comment here, or on our facebook page, or tweet us @lethepress and let us know.
It's nearly the weekend, so it's high time for a little fun, don't you think? Every Friday we're posting an excerpt from one of Lethe's erotica anthologies, and this week we're featuring our latest, Thunder of War, Lightning of Desire: Lesbian Historical Military Erotica from the multi-talented Sacchi Green.
Read an excerpt from the story 'Moment of Peace' by Jove Belle:
1945: WWII: South Pacific
Rose set the last of the dinner dishes in the industrial stainless steel sink as the opening strains of the show filtered through the canvas walls of the kitchen. The suds had long since given up and the water was tepid at best, and she wondered for the hundredth time why she thought joining the WACs was a good idea. She was doing the same exact thing she’d done all her life, cleaning up after messy men who never thought to say thank you. Only now, instead of her father and brothers, she did it for the hundreds of soldiers on an island she hadn’t known existed until she received her orders. So much for weapons maintenance, the job Uncle Sam promised her. Sure, she’d been shown where that job was done just before they told her there was no need and sent her to the kitchen.
“Oh, Rose, it’s starting. Hurry.” Alma was a petite woman, slight in stature, and easily overlooked. But her mind was sharp. Sharp enough to get her assigned to communications, but not sharp enough to keep from being reassigned to the kitchen along with Rose. Still, Rose admired the way she paid attention and caught details others missed. Like how they were constantly coming up short on forks. Alma was the one who discovered that a few of the soldiers were trading them with the locals for handmade trinkets to send home. Rose hadn’t even considered that. She was frustrated by the loss and annoyed that her ass kept getting chewed over it but never once did she think it was intentional. Who steals forks for God’s sake?
“We’re almost done.” Rose rinsed a plate and handed it to Alma. “Only a few more left.”
“I don’t want to miss anything important.” Alma’s dishtowel was more wet than dry at this point, and all she managed to do was push the moisture around on the plate without actually drying anything. Rose didn’t care. She’d signed up to serve her country during the war, but she hadn’t thought that would literally mean serve them breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
“They’ll start with the news reels.” Rose finished the last plate and drained the water in the sink. She knew everything she needed to know. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the United States of America jumped into the Second World War, and Rose watched her brothers march away while their neighbors cheered. Two years later, after the speedy victory they’d been promised hadn’t happened, the army changed their opinion about women serving during wartime. Nobody cheered when she signed up, but she figured that was fine. She still wanted to do her part, and the victory garden behind her house wasn’t enough.
“Oh, I love the news.” Alma sighed in a way that shouldn’t have made Rose’s stomach tighten, but it did. She gazed at Alma, finally done with the work and able to enjoy the reason she’d volunteered to stay late and let the others go back to the barracks early. Alma’s eyes took on a faraway look as though she were remembering a more romantic place and time. That’s what Alma did. She romanticized everything, saw things with little hearts drawn around the outside edges. Still, no matter how many times she saw Alma with that dreamy little smile, Rose’s breath caught in her throat and she couldn’t stop the grin from climbing up her face.
“Here.” Rose reached for the last dish and the towel. Her fingers brushed against Alma’s and the charged thrill made her pause in motion. She stopped, hand on the plate, barely touching Alma, and completely unable to remember how to breathe. They stared at each other for several long moments and the dreamy look in Alma’s eyes was replaced by something darker, something needier. Instead of a tingle, this time Rose’s stomach clenched.
Alma broke contact first. “Yes…um…right.” She drew her hands away and held them behind her back. She looked anywhere but at Rose.
Rose finished with the plate, tossed the towel into the laundry bag, and picked up the stack of plates. It was just heavy enough to make her biceps flex and the small intake of breath told her that Alma noticed, too. Rose wore her uniform with the shirt sleeves rolled up. She’d started that as soon as she’d connected Alma’s soft sighs to the movement of her arms. Rose tightened her grip to accentuate her muscles, and lifted the plates onto the shelf. When she finished, she dusted her hands together, then turned to Alma. “All done. You ready to go?”
Alma sucked in her bottom lip and held it between her teeth for a moment. It was such a subconsciously sexy thing that Rose gripped the edge of the sink to hold herself in place. If Alma knew she was doing it, she’d stop out of embarrassment and Rose didn’t want that to happen. Their relationship was in a weird, strained place, stuck between friends and something more. They shared heated looks, and even a few kisses that could have been more, but Alma still went on dates with a skinny private who was so young he had acne and his face turned red when he tried to hold Alma’s hand. Rose hated him on principle alone.
Rose smiled, lopsided and cocky because Alma liked it when she smiled like that. Alma still hadn’t responded to Rose’s question; she simply stood there, biting her lip as her eyes grew darker and her face flushed with heat. Rose took a small step toward her, just enough to let Alma see her interest, but not enough to push. “You wanna go clean up first? Or is Phillip waiting for you?”
Alma shook her head, a confused almost smile on her lips. “No date tonight. I…”
A thrill bloomed inside her and Rose took another careful step forward. “You…what?”
Alma took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and looked Rose right in the eyes. “I want to spend the evening with you.” Her bluster faded a bit and she hastily added, “If that’s what you want, I mean.”
Rose nodded, and even though she could feel her head bobbling like a doll at a carnival, she couldn’t stop herself. “Yes, I definitely want.”
All Lethe Press books, including Thunder of War, Lightning of Desire, are available through the major online retailers and booksellers. You can also support the press and authors by buying directly from our website.
Every Thursday, Lethe takes a look through its vaults for its proudest releases. This week it's Minions of the Moon by Richard Bowes, a gay-classic-in-waiting described as "a terrific piece of storytelling" by Neil Gaiman and "powerful fiction" by Charles De Lint. Even better, Minions of the Moon is just $9 for the paperback all week at the Lethe website.
Read an excerpt from Minions of the Moon or listen to a preview of the audiobook:
My name is Kevin Grierson. If this were a twelve-step program for mortals haunted by doppelgängers, I would stand up now and say, “Hi. My name is Kevin. I’m fifty-four and I’ve been stalked by my own Shadow for as long as I can remember.” Then you’d say hello and we’d exchange stories.
In fact, I long ago learned to see my Shadow as the embodiment of my addiction, my will to self-destruction. The wise man who taught me to do that also showed me how to stay aware of the one he called my Silent Partner without dwelling on him.
After long mastery of that high-wire act, I grew confident, even, God help me, proud. Then the other night, I saw a kid get on a streetcar in Boston over forty years ago. The sight gave me pause, made me wonder if my time of grace was running out. And in that moment of uncertainty, I felt my Shadow close in.
I’d had a warning a week or two ago when Gina Raille, an old friend, said she had seen a guy around who looked like he might be my evil twin. But I had other things on my mind and things like this happened every once in a while. Not until last Saturday night and Sunday afternoon was I shown signs I could not ignore.
A toy merry-go-round on Ozzie Klackman’s work table was the first of those. Other business had brought me to his blowsy old apartment slightly above the riot that is Avenue A in August. Ceiling fans rotated. Decades worth of East Sixth Street curry hung in the air. Sirens wailed in the East Village. A boombox car bounced sound off the buildings. “LOCK UP THE FUCKING BANJA BOYS!” yelled a hoarse voice, a woman, or maybe a drag.
Ozzie, red faced and unshaven in paint-stained shorts and T-shirt, said, “You tell ’em, honey,” and drained a tumbler of fruit juice and vodka. Then he went back to demonstrating a Chatty Cathy. “I reworked it for this rich fetishist down in Pennsylvania.” Cathy still had her dippy smile. But now instead of inane talking-doll phrases, she uttered a string of obscenities in her dippy little voice. “It’s costing him plenty,” said Ozzie self-righteously, like overcharging the guy made him an agent of justice.
Every trade has its skullduggers, resurrectionists, procurers. Old toys is no exception. Ozzie Klackman is all those things and more. It’s why I had business with him.
Years of cruising and of buying antiques have taught me to nod, smile, and look with bland indifference at what interests me. The carousel was worn, wooden, American-made by my guess. The condition was better than I would have expected in a toy that old. The detail work too, with each horse a firebreathing stallion, and the decorative motif of smiling suns and frowning moons was suspiciously bright. Not one of Klackman’s master forgeries.
But it was its accuracy that made the hair on my neck stand up. To paint this, Klackman must have seen the real one as I had. He stopped talking. When I looked up, his small clever eyes were on me, measuring my reaction.
“You saw the original?” he asked. “I did. Years ago out in East Asshole, New Jersey. I was working for Augie Dolbier and he heard about this merry-go-round for sale. So he took me along and we barged right in. Real creepy scene. Like it was some kind of con game or rip-off. The carousel was the lure. The ones who had it weren’t interested in selling. Not to us. Recently I got reminded. I took this old beat-up toy and did it from memory.”
He waited like he expected me to ask questions. But I cultivate an attitude of professional disinterest and right then I was preoccupied with the present. “I’ve had a long day,” I told him and turned to go.
“Sorry I haven’t been to see George,” Ozzie said. My partner, George Halle, was at Cabrini Hospice in a terminal coma. I indicated the visit wasn’t necessary.
At the door, I handed him fifty dollars in tens and said, “Here’s your retainer. You’ll be at Masby’s Monday at eleven sharp, right? And you know what I want you to do?”
“Don’t worry, Kevin me lad,” he said in a Long John Silver voice. “Nighty night.”
Downstairs, yuppie couples scuttled home with Sunday papers and Kim’s videos. Over on Second Avenue, old guys with hats and cigars hung around newsstands eternally waiting for that final Brooklyn Dodgers score and a few hookers still operated in the shadow of the St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery baptistery.
But mainly it was kids. From New Jersey and the Bronx, by car and subway, they were outfitted like 1950s nerds, like cybersluts and MTV stars, in shorts and baseball caps, miniskirts and high heels, striped boxers and sneakers, souvenir T-shirts and envelope-shaped bell jeans, sporting crew cuts, beaded pigtails, wisps of Day-Glo green and blue hair that caught the streetlight like glaucoma auras.
I walked through them, middle age making me as invisible as a ghost at a tropical carnival. It amazed me that with everyone out of town for the weekend, the city could still be so crowded.
A bus rolled downtown. That summer they displayed Calvin Klein ads on their sides. Each was a row of photos of the same well-defined young man clad only in various undershorts. His expression varied from defiant, to dazed, to blank. It looked like the draft physical for the clone wars.
Actually getting force-stripped is disturbing, not sexy, a subspecies of rape, as I could testify. Fantasy, though, is something else. Klein’s genius is the exploitation of hustler poses, and August in New York gives everyone a horny itch. Normally I satisfied that itch through safe, clean call services.
Ozzie and his carousel had me thinking about the past when I stopped to pick up The Times. Just then, I noticed what looked like any club boy in his early twenties. His slightly glazed eyes met mine and held. The kid was for rent. Then his face lighted slightly. “Fred?” he asked. And I understood the kid had dealt with my Shadow.
Chilled but curious, I replied, “I have been. You and Fred are friends?” He indicated they were. I took the bait. Negotiations were fast. We were both pros. I said what I wanted and made an offer. He agreed and gave his name as Matt. I stuck with Fred, which had served my Shadow and me well enough in the past.
When we got to my place on Seventeenth Street, Stuyvesant Park across the way was still unlocked. Beneath the new moon, dogs and people moved under the lamp-lit trees, sat on benches waiting for love.
My building was quiet. Everyone else in the co-op is middle-aged too. My apartment is on the third floor and comfortable. On the living-room mantel I have assembled an antique toy zoo, animals behind bars, visitors pointing their articulated metal arms, an expensive whimsy. “The Heineken’s is cold.” I opened one for my guest and was not tempted. Once or twice in my past I have been touched by a grace so rare that it carries me through sordid passages and empty years.
I sat on the couch. Matt was cute in a dark buzz, shorts, and sneakers. I could remember when having to wear that particular outfit was a sentence to dorkhood. Of course, way back then we didn’t have the option of silver earrings and leg tattoos.
Matt swallowed some beer, stood in the center of my living room, and stripped when I asked him to. Ralph Lauren, Gap, Old Navy, Tommy Hilfiger—the layers fell away and revealed how skinny he was.
He glanced at my front windows and noticed they were uncurtained. He made an involuntary gesture as if he wanted to cover his crotch and eyes, then thought he shouldn’t. I felt a key turn in my heart even as I knew it was all part of the act.
Because of age and scars and a sense of aesthetics, I kept my shirt on. In the bedroom, the air conditioner played on our skin. I stroked his hair, which was as short and smooth as I imagine an otter’s to be. He smelled of smoke and booze, Obsession and sweat, the scent of nightlife. Wings were tattooed over his left nipple, a snake wound up his right calf.
Then we got down to business and for a time, with my cock being licked and tickled, my hand on another’s head, my mind sailed free with not a thought of who he was or who I was or what were the circumstances of this happening. It was like being a kid again.
To work completely, commodity sex should be emotionally self-contained and anonymous. Too much involvement makes that impossible. Matt had aroused my curiosity. And my empathy. Never underestimate a doppelgänger’s subtlety. This kid evoked my past.
When he got up and went in the bathroom, I looked through his clothes. Except for the sneakers, they had all been bought or boosted that day. Tomorrow if all went well for him, these clothes would be in the trash and he’d have a new outfit. He carried no wallet, seven dollars in change, a couple of pills I couldn’t identify, and slips of paper, most with names and numbers, one with just a Hell’s Kitchen address.
In a small shoulder bag he had underwear and socks, Vaseline, polyurethane and latex condoms, plastic gloves, dental and tongue dams, skin salve, and nonoxynol-9. My guess was that these were all his possessions.
When he was ready to leave, I gave him a card. The name and number of my shop were on the front and my name and home phone number were on the back. “Call me soon.” He nodded as I would once have done. “Since you used the name Fred, you must have met my imaginary friend,” I remarked.
He gave me a look that said my Shadow was at least as real as I was. Then the kid was gone. And since nothing of any consequence was on my answering machine, I lay down on the bed and started leafing through The Times.
The next thing I remember was a kid getting on a Boston streetcar. An ordinary enough child, blond and small, a very young twelve, he walked like he was wary of being hit. He sat at the back of the car and turned his face toward the window. Someone once said that when the Irish get hurt they stay hurt. He might have had in mind something like the way that kid moved and avoided eye contact.
The last streetcars in New York ran long before I arrived here. But deep in the night, I started awake. The Week in Review and Arts and Entertainment sections fell on the floor and it seemed as if I’d just heard a trolley bell clang at the end of my block.
This week we put our five questions to Ice On Fire author Dan Stone.
Ice On Fire is out now from Lethe Press. Check it out. (Plus, buy it in paperback today and you'll receive a copy of The Rest Of Our Lives at no extra cost.)
This month at Lethe sees the release of Ice On Fire by Dan Stone. The sequel to the Lambda Award Finalist The Rest Of Our Lives, Ice On Fire returns to the enchanting romance between Colm McKenna and Aidan Gallagher. You can buy the book here, and as a bonus this month, if you buy Ice On Fire in paperback now, you also receive The Rest Of Our Lives completely free.
Read an excerpt:
We both must have dozed off again. I opened my eyes to find the room still dark, and I felt the initial confusion of waking up in unfamiliar surroundings, unable at first to make out any of the shapes in the shadows. Aidan was unusually still beside me. I held my breath for a few seconds until I could hear his soft, reassuring inhale and exhale. We had burrowed back under the covers, and I felt the weight of the comforter on my legs and the warmth of his back even though we weren’t touching.
My eyes were still adjusting to the darkness when I saw a faint glow in the far corner of the room, near the large window overlooking Lakeshore Drive and the inland ocean that is Lake Michigan. I thought at first it must be the sunrise pushing through the heavy curtains, but as I blinked a few times and sat up slightly, I could tell that this glow—still just the faintest illumination—was not coming from outside. It was something in the corner of the room and it was moving. Approaching. Even more unsettling, I realized as it drew closer and the light shifted that something was in the room with us, and it was coming toward the bed.
I reached toward Aidan to wake him but stopped short of actually touching him. I started to speak but something gentle yet persuasive held me still. The figure was now at the side of the bed, and the dim light around it brightened enough for me to see a woman standing beside me, looking into my eyes.
The light radiated from her as well as surrounded her, soft but bright enough for me to see her fair complexion, the waves of dark red hair around her shoulders set on fire by the light, and her dark, shining eyes. Her presence was striking. Forceful but still, it was somehow familiar. She smiled slightly as she put a slim finger to her lips, urging me to remain silent.
I realized she was holding something in her arms. She stood motionless beside the bed for a few moments, smiling a familiar, enigmatic smile, the light making a fiery halo of her hair, her dark eyes mysterious with incredible warmth and power but, again, familiar.
She slowly leaned over me, again putting a finger to her lips, and I thought I saw her glance briefly at Aidan beside me. I started to sit up, but she shook her head as she gently placed the bundle in her arms in the space between Aidan and me on the bed. I couldn’t tell what it was, only that it was warm and wrapped in soft layers of cloth.
I looked up at her and she smiled and nodded. I felt again this distinct impression that I knew her. Suddenly soft currents of air rose in the room, warm and cool breezes that I immediately recognized as the gentler versions of the North and South winds that were Aidan’s and my companions and part of our magick. The breezes stirred and the halo of light around the woman’s face grew brighter until I could no longer clearly see her eyes or her features. I looked down at the soft bundle in the bed between my sleeping boyfriend and me, and an infant’s wide-open eyes stared up at me.
I jumped out of the dream and up in our bed with a gasp that should have awakened the notoriously light sleeper beside me. But Aidan’s eyes were closed, his lips in their usual slightly parted nighttime position. Whatever movement or sounds I’d made, my oblivious boyfriend was still sleeping. Like a baby.
All Lethe Press books, including Ice On Fire, are available through the major online retailers and booksellers. You can also support the press and authors by buying directly from our website.
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