Thursday, October 19, 2017

MAGGIE WALSH - Part Two


The Ghost of Vernazza
                                             
~ Part 2 ~


  For seven days, Calix returned to their spot, always to find Aseel there waiting for him. Each day they would sit where they had that first day and share stories of their lives, and with each day, Calix found himself drawn to the other man more and more. He wanted so badly to touch Aseel’s smooth skin. To feel the slight shadow of hair on Aseel’s jaw scratch against his face, his thigh. Calix wanted to kiss those lips and taste the sweet man. The more Aseel spoke, the more captivating he became, and the more mesmerized Calix was. Most of the time as Aseel spoke, Calix’s eyes remained glued to those lips, watching every move, every lick of tongue, and every up turn as the beautiful man smiled. And every day as the village became alive with people, Aseel bit him goodbye, with promises of returning the following morning.

  As Calix walked back through town he became suddenly aware of stares and whispered words as he passed. At first, he didn’t think anything of it, but by the seventh or eighth person he started to pay more attention. He saw the strange looks some were giving him, and other’s eyes filled with sadness as if they pitied him. A few of the whispers confused him and Calix forced himself to listen closer, blocking out the sounds of the day. Most were in Italian and he had no clue what they were saying, but he could tell it wasn’t good just from their tone.

  “That’s the one. The American that sits up on the cliffside every morning talking to himself, and laughing as if having a conversation.”

  “Do you think he’s well, or should we call a medico?”

  Calix began to feel very self-conscience and decided instead of going exploring as he usually did, that today he would go back to his hotel room and write. He would jot down some of the stories that Aseel had told him and maybe one day they would come in useful.

  He remained writing through the afternoon and even called for food to be sent up to his room. Finally, because of Aseel, he had a spark of inspiration and a new story gripped him. Calix worked all through the night, until the first light of day shone through the window and hit him in the eye, blinding him. Calix held up his hand and moved his head back to block the light. “Shit! Aseel!” Calix quickly washed up and changed his clothes, before heading out. It was bad enough people were starting to talk. What would they say if they saw him in the same clothes he had worn the day before, covered in wrinkles?

  He walked quickly and begun to run as he hit the streets, then climbed the long narrow stone stairway up to the top and around the cliff, to their spot. His chest filled his happiness and a smile crossed his lips just thinking of seeing beautiful Aseel again. With his lungs burning from the climb, Calix hurried around the bend and stopped for a moment, then continued, looking around and walking along the path for a few more yards, searching for his man. His man? The thought made him freeze in his tracks as his breath caught. He expected his brain to protest and agree with the villagers that he had indeed gone mad, but it didn’t. The thought actually brought comfort and joy to him and filled his heart with hope.

  He turned around and went back to their spot and waited. Maybe Aseel was late getting up, or something had kept him? Calix sat and waited.

  After an hour, he stood and began pacing, stopping once in a while to look out over the Sea. By the time he heard the bustling of the town, Calix’s heart was clenched in his chest and he felt like throwing up.

  What if Aseel realized exactly how Calix was feeling toward him and got scared? Were the people here homophobic, making Aseel afraid to show who he was and what he wanted? Maybe...maybe Aseel had also heard the whispers in the village and he wasn’t coming back. Maybe he had heard worse, or thought that Calix was crazy as well?

  Calix spent the next four hours waiting for Aseel, but he never showed. As the sun rose high overhead, he resigned himself to the fact that Aseel wasn’t coming. Calix swallowed down the disappointment and hurt he felt and slowly made his way back down the stairs to the town bellow and went straight to his room.

  Once there, after closing himself in, Calix stripped and climbed into bed, pulling the covers to his chin. He didn’t understand why he felt so disappointed, so despondent. Yes he had loved spending time with the beautiful Syrian man, and had many fantasies of pulling the man close and kissing him, but he had never actually touched Aseel. Why then did the thought of never seeing Aseel again hurt so bad and fill him with despair?

  Tears burned the backs of his eyes and Calix closed them tight as he lay on his side and curled into a ball. Pain and loneliness like he had never experienced before engulfed him.

                                                           ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  It had been two weeks since he had gone to talk to Calix and each day Aseel grew more disheartened. The first week of watching while Calix shown upon the ridge where they had previously met had been so hard. Every day he fought with his inner demons to go to the gorgeous man and apologize for his absence, but Aseel knew he could not.

  Yes, he wanted to be with Calix, more than he ever wanted to be with anyone ever before. When he was in Calix’s presence he felt whole and happy for the first time in many years. He dreamed of going to Calix and being held in his arms, of feeling their lips come together, and of taking Calix’s manroot inside him. Just gazing upon the man made him feel a connection to another like never before.

  As the days passed and they talked more and had gotten to know one another, Aseel knew that he had fallen in love with the sweet man. And looking into Calix’s eyes, he knew he was not alone. He could see the love for him glowing from Calix’s gaze. He could see the want and desire, and he craved it more than breath.

  He knew he had to come to reason. What they shared could not be. They were from two different worlds and could never be together. When he had walked along the town he had heard their whispers and could see their stares. So, with a heavy heart, Aseel knew what he must do. He had to let Calix go. The beautiful man had his life to live and Aseel could not be a part of it.

  But he had found that the more he tried to fight it, the more intense his need to be with Calix became. He tried to stay away, but the pull was too great. On that first morning, he had been determined to stay away, but after a few hours, Aseel lost the fight. He needed to see him. He needed to be near Calix.

  Aseel approached their spot to find that Calix was not there and his heart hurt. He knew it was his own fault. He stepped to the edge and looked out over the Sea, wishing he could just leave this place. Too much pain remained here, and now the loss of Calix would be added to it.

  Aseel turned, placing his back toward the Sea and closed his eyes against the agony that filled him. Suddenly a voice was heard and Aseel opened his eyes to see who it was. “I feel sorry for the man. He comes here every day talking to himself, laughing and looking like the happiest man in the world, but now he just looked so sad. Did you see him, Stanly?”

  “Yes, Gwen, I saw him. How could I not, he almost ran us off the steps just now.”

  Aseel’s heart clenched in his chest as he turned and looked down the long stairway, looking for a sign of Calix. Had he waited all this time for Aseel to show? What did he think happened to him? Would he come back?

 The streets were too clogged with people and he could not find Calix. Aseel ran along the buildings, close to the walls as he dodged around people. Stretching his neck he looked down each ally as he passed, stopping a few times to look in store windows, but still he could not find Calix. After taking one full pass throughout to village and not finding Calix anywhere, suddenly a thought hit him and Aseel’s heart clenched in his chest.

  “The train.” Besides by Sea, it was the only way in and out of Vernazza, and Calix would not have taken to the waters. He knew from their long conversations that Calix loved looking out over the Sea, but because he was so far from home and wasn’t familiar with these waters that he was a little afraid of them. Calix had told him he arrived by the train, so that is how he would leave. Had his love left the city? He didn’t think Calix would leave so soon, but where else could he be?

  Aseel ran to the train platform and his shoulders dropped as he sighed heavily. The platform was empty and there was no train to be found. Defeated he slowly walked back toward the village, his thoughts on Calix and how much he would miss him.

  Assel was so lost in his own thoughts that he hadn’t realized where he had walked to until he heard a familiar voice speaking from above. He stopped and looked up to find Calix standing on a balcony a few floors up, with something pressed to his ear, and he was talking as he paced from one end of the balcony to the other. The Hotel. He had been so dumb not to think of that. Of course, that is where Calix would have gone.

  “I will. Okay. Yes, but...I found something here and I will need more time. Perfect. Thanks,” Calxi said, then pulled the item from his head and tossed it on the table beside him. Aseel watched as Calix gripped the iron bars of the railing at his waist and dropped his chin to his chest and sighed heavily. He wanted to reach out and touch the beautiful man. He wanted to comfort him and feel Calix’s arms around him.

  Aseel opened his mouth to speak, but before he could, Calix spun around and walked back inside his room, closing the doors behind him. He knew he had to let Calix go, but he needed to see him one more time. Look into his amazing eyes again, and hear the tinkling of his laughter, so that he may take that with him after Calix was gone.

  As he had walked away on that first day, the longing so great Aseel didn’t know how he had managed to walk away and not just go to Calix’s room and declare his love. It was the thoughts of how they had no life together that kept his feet moving farther away from his love.

  That first week had been hell. Aseel went to the overlook where he could keep an eye on their spot, but Calix would not be able to see him, and every day he watched as Calix showed and spent hours waiting for him, before finally giving up and walking away. But it was the look in Calix’s eyes that broke him more than the need. The depth of the wonderful man’s heartache was visible in his eyes and facial expression, and on the way he carried himself. He hated that he was causing Calix so much pain, but it was how it had to be.

  As much as he wanted to be with Calix and he knew that Calix returned his feelings, Aseel knew down into the deepest depths of his soul that they could not be and he had to let Calix go.


~~@~~


THE COTERIE

Raven Stone is an almost 500 year old vampire who is next in line for the throne to become the king of not only the vampires, but of the paranormal race as a whole. But to claim the throne he must to complete his Coterie, a circle of five men of different breeds of paranormal who are his destined mates. And he must claim them all before his 500th birthday, or he will lose the throne forever, and for the first time in paranormal history the Stone family will not hold the honor.

Raven has already found and claimed four of his mate’s, but his birthday approaches and forces are against he and his mates from finding their last mate. When Raven smells the scent of their last mate on a greedy vampire who leads the Clearnight Haven coven, he and his mate’s, Lorcan, Ash, Ciro, and Jareth, travel to the small town in upper Washington State in America.

Joel is a human who works at the local newspaper as a junior reporter, but if he can get the story of the century, he hopes it will be enough to convince his boss that he should be promoted to one of the senior reporters.

The town bigwig and major asshole, Malcolm Dean has gone missing, and no one even blinks an eye from his loss, but when the mysterious billionaire Raven Stone comes to town and takes over all of Dean’s business holdings, Joel smells the story he’s been looking for.

As Joel sneaks around trying to uncover what Raven Stone looks like and who he is, an even juicier story, with a bigger fish, an evil man named, Mario Gallo, gets dropped in his lap.

When Joel goes to The Raven Club to do a story on Raven Stone he never expected to find five men that he feels an overwhelming attraction to. After a night of mind blowing pleasure with the five men, Joel is shocked to learn who these men truly are and who they say he is to them. Joel isn’t ready for what they offer him and he runs, concentrating on his story, when suddenly Joel disappears.

When Raven and the others learn that Joel has gone missing, they know he is in danger and they must find him before it’s too late. And if they find him, will they be able to convince Joel that he belongs with them?

 

Excerpt:

  “Why am I here again?” Joel asked himself. “Oh, yeah. Because I’m a stupid turd.” Joel sighed and looked down the alley at the back door to “The Raven” club. He just needed one damn picture to go with his story. If he could get this story, his boss promised him a promotion to reporter for the newspaper he worked for. He had been stuck as a research clerk for five years now and he was tired of getting passed over time and again. He knew Mr. Devlin didn’t think he could get the scoop on the new hotshot in town, but he was hungry for this promotion. So, he would do whatever he had to do to get it.

  The back door to the club opened and Joel held his breath. He raised his camera and got ready. Please let it be Raven Scott. Nobody had been able to get a good shot of the newest mega millionaire to the area since he arrived six months ago. The guy remained a mystery to most people around here. He stayed to himself and never did any interviews. Every paper and news station within a hundred-mile radius was scrambling to get the scoop on him.

  Not that having a rich businessman to the area was new, but the details of Raven Scott’s appearance raised suspicion. Previously the small city of Clearnight Haven, in one of the uppermost parts of Washington State, was basically owned by Malcolm Dean. The man owned about eighty percent of the businesses in and around the area. He was a powerful force around here and everyone feared him. Then one day he just disappeared. No one knows what happened to him and only the city officials seemed to care.

  He was a ruthless prick who thought he was better than everyone else and thought he was above the law. He did what he wanted, when he wanted, and spread his money around to make things disappear that could cause trouble for him and his associates. People got out of his way when he walked down the street, afraid he would zero in on them and bring trouble to their lives.

  So, when the man just dropped off the face of the planet, the residents of Clearnight breathed a sigh of relief. Life had been better here since the prick left. That was until a month later when all his properties were bought up by Scott enterprises.

  Very few people in Clearnight Haven even knew what Raven Scott looked like. He was never seen out in public during the day and very rarely at night. From what Joel had heard, the man was a recluse that stayed mostly to his mansion over near Slip Point. It was very secluded and surrounded by a brick wall about ten feet high. The only glimpse you could get of the place was passing the huge main gates. Even then you couldn't really see the house. One could also go out onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca and drive past with a boat, but Joel didn’t have a boat. So, he was stuck here trying to follow the guy.

  The door swung open and four men stepped out into the alley. Three of them were huge with bulging muscles. They all wore black suits, shiny black shoes, and black sunglasses. It reminded Joel of ‘The Men in Black’. They must be bodyguards. But why would they be wearing sunglasses at two in the morning? That wasn’t all that caught his attention. The big dudes looked around as if trying to make sure the coast was clear. They surrounded the fourth man and waited. What were they waiting for? As soon as the thought entered his mind, a long black limousine came toward the group from the far end of the alley.

  “Come on you big blockheads, move so I can get a shot,” Joel whispered under his breath as he aimed the camera at the group. Through the viewfinder of the camera it looked like the man in the middle turned his head in Joel’s direction as if he had heard Joel’s whispered words. But he didn’t turn his head completely, so no clear shot yet. The car pulled to a stop in front of them and one of the guards opened the back door and stepped aside, allowing the guy in the middle to step forward and enter the car. Just before the man entered, his head snapped in Joel’s direction and his eyes stared right at Joel through the camera lens.

  Joel was frozen when those eyes looked at him. His breath caught in his throat and his heart began to beat faster. He was the most stunningly beautiful man that Joel had ever seen. His shoulder length straight black hair was so dark it looked like he had blue highlights running through it. A strong, square jaw with just a slight stubble of dark hair, that surrounded full, pink, kissable lips. A sleek nose that went up to two amazingly beautiful deep cobalt blue eyes, and the longest, thickest, black lashes he had ever seen on a man.

  Joel’s eyes scanned down what he could see of the man's body and what he saw was wide shoulders and maybe a strong chest. He really couldn’t tell under the black dress shirt the man wore under his black suit. Movement through the camera drew his attention back to the man's face and the hottie was still looking at him. But now he wore a smirk on those delicious looking lips and his eyes shone with amusement. Joel’s cock went granite hard in zero point one seconds.

  When the man started to bend to get in the car, Joel quickly snapped off a picture. All heads then turned in his direction. He closed his eyes and cursed his stupidity. He forgot to shut off the damn flash. When he opened his eyes, he saw two of the large men turn and take a step in his direction. He swallowed hard as sweat broke out on his brow. Run, you stupid ass. But Mr. Hot-as-hell’s lips moved and the two guards stopped and turned back. The hottie flashed Joel one more sexy grin and then disappeared into the back of the limousine. The three brutes followed and the door closed. The car headed in his direction and Joel quickly jumped around the corner of the building and pressed his back to the bricks, hoping they wouldn’t see him.

  The car came out of the alley and stopped at the corner, but it didn’t move on. Joel stared at the rear blackout window and he could swear he felt the man’s eyes on him, boring into his soul. A heat started within his chest and his foot moved, taking a step forward. Joel felt like he was being pulled toward the car by an invisible force. Just as his foot was about to hit the pavement he pulled it back and shook the dizzying sensation from his head. Air rushed back into his lungs and he gulped the salty air. The car rolled forward and turned left. Joel stood motionless as he watched the taillights disappear.

~~@~~

Maggie has been married for twenty years and has four children. She is a Long Island girl who now lives in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Maggie has always loved anything that has to do with the arts. Music is one of her biggest passions. She was a photographer and artist in her earlier days and spends hours sketching anything that catches her eye. Maggie loves to write about big, strong, tough men who have a softer side. Most of the time you can find Maggie running around with her kids, sketching, or sitting with her laptop creating new characters, as music always plays in the background.
To find out more about Maggie, what she’s working on, and what’s coming next, please visit her Website at:
Maggiewalshauthor.weebly.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

MAGGIE WALSH - Part One

 
“The Ghost of Vernazza”
                                                                    ~ PART 1 ~
 No matter what he did or how hard he tried, he just couldn’t put word to paper. Calix, sat staring at his laptop for the fifth straight day. Every day he slept till ten, woke, took a shower, made a fresh pot of coffee, grabbed a muffin and a piece of fruit and headed into his office. After settling at his desk and opening his laptop, it was still the same. Nothing. Maybe he needed to change his routine? But this had worked so well for him over the years.
  Ever since leaving college seven years ago when he was twenty, he had done the same thing. Even against all the naysayers and people telling him he needed to get a real job, something to fall back on if this author thing didn’t work out, Calix had believed in himself.
  His mother was his biggest fan and even supported him for those first two years as he tried to write his first novel and get it published. After getting fifty-two decline letters, he had finally gotten an acceptance letter from Darkside Publishing. At the time, they were a pretty new publishing house, but now stood among one of the top in publishing books pertaining to the darker side of life. Not that he was writing How to Torture or anything. He was more of a horror buff, who loved the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Dan Simmons.
  Calix loved the macabre and the supernatural, and he loved to write about it even more. His first book, “Run” had been a big hit for him and his publisher. It had been such a success that Calix had paid off all the student loans he had taken out for his failed college attempt, as well as pay off his mother's mortgage, and buy himself a nice house. His publisher immediately offered him a large sum for a second book. Not to sound conceited or anything, but the success of “Run” had put his publisher on the map and because of it they had some big names coming to them these days.
  Now he sat staring at the blank screen, except for the damn little cursor that blinked incessantly at him as if mocking him, as he tried to come up with an idea for his sixth book. The publisher wasn’t breathing down his neck yet, but they would soon. His last book had only just released a month ago and already it was in the top five on the New York Times Bestseller List. And it was making him and the publisher very rich.
  At this point they were very happy and he really wouldn’t need to worry about them for a few months, but Calix didn’t like to work like that. He liked to list ideas and jot down small notes everywhere, then spend months sometimes doing research, but right now none of the ideas had had sounded good to him. Nothing interested him. So he sat here day after day for the past five days, just staring at that cursed cursor.
  Maybe he needed a break? Maybe a vacation? He hadn’t taken one of those in three years. The last time when he went to L.A. to visit a cousin, and that had only been for an extended weekend. Maybe that is exactly what he needed. Get out there and see the world instead of just writing about it. That should spark some new ideas. But where? Where would he go? And alone.
  He could always call Ken and ask him to come along, but...no. Ken would take it as him wanting them to get back together and he really didn’t want to go there. Ken was what they called high maintenance, and Calix just didn’t have the time Ken demanded of him. Sure Ken loved the money and being spoiled, but he didn’t like that Calix spent so much time in his office working to get that money. He thought Calix just went in, typed for a few hours, came out, and after a week there should be a new masterpiece. Wasn’t that far from the life of an author?
  Nobody realized the time and energy that went into what he did. The long hours by himself, researching, studying, developing, and then writing, and sometimes rewriting. His first book had taken him nearly two years. After that, with a little more confidence and some money in his pocket, his second book had only taken him nine months. Then each after were all in the realm of six to eight months and he was comfortable there.
  Nobody, Ken included, understood and he was tired of trying to explain it to them. Many times, he wanted to challenge people and say, “If you think it’s so easy, you do it. Just write a few thousand word story in one day, and see how it is.”
  “Argh!!” Calix growled in frustration as he sat back in his chair and ran his fingers through his hair. Damn, now he realized he also needed a haircut. He really didn’t care one way or the other, but Ken always said he liked it short. That it made Calix look like a young Tom Cruise. He didn’t see it, but whatever.
  Opening a new tab on his computer, Calix began searching places in Europe where he could go on a vacation. After several hours of searching, he had it narrowed down to Athens, Dublin, and Venice. Three completely different countries, but all sounding incredible.
  As he scanned a castle near Dublin his cell rang. Looking at the screen he smiled when he saw it was his assistant and friend, Shelly.
  “Hey, Shell, what’s up?” He said answering the phone and putting it on speaker.
  “Just checking in. I know you were looking into starting a new book but I haven’t heard anything yet. Usually you’re calling me ten times a day asking me to research something or other.”
  Calix sighed heavily and sat back in his chair. “I have been sitting staring at the damn screen for days and don’t have a clue what to work on. It’s driving me fucking crazy.
  “Ouch. Writer's block. That sucks. What about your ideas book you keep jotting in? Nothing in there grabbing you?”
  “No. I’ve gone through it at least thirty times,” he replied in frustration.
  “Maybe you need a different scenery? Go for a walk, or drive up the coast. Maybe take a few days off and not think about it?”
  Calix laughed, then explained his thinking on the matter and the two got into a long conversation about where he should go. Shelly was all for him taking a vacation, but suggested maybe he should go away longer. Maybe make it a working vacation. Take a few days to look around wherever he chose to go, see about any local folklore or ghost stories, and start there. He actually loved the idea and he and shelly started researching hauntings around Europe. They two spent the next few hours on the phone as they both types away telling each other about things they found.
  “Oh, Cal, I found something that might interest you. There’s a place here in northern Italy, named Vernazza. It’s located in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, in the famous Cinque Terre area. And get this, there are no cars there,” Shelly said.
  “Sounds like one of those really small villages that have like ten people, but five thousand goats or something. I really don’t feel like staying in some barn that the locals call a hotel, Shell.”
  “Oh shut your yap and look it up while I’m talking,” Shelly admonished.
  As he brought up Vernazza in Google, she went on to tell him about a local ghost story that has gone on for hundreds of years.
  “For as far back as the towns recorded history, people have been claiming to see this young boy just appear out of nowhere, then vanish right before their eyes. Some say that because of the markings he carries, that they think he is the ghost of a slave.”
  “A slave?” Calix asked.
  “Yes, remember the days of the Gladiator and the Roman Empire? They had slaves there for thousands of years, from all over the surrounding region.”
  “Now that sounds like something that may pan out into a horror story.”
  “Exactly. So what do you think?” Shelly asked.
  “I say book me a room. Can you make all the travel plans for me while I start researching this? If nothing comes of it, Venice isn’t too far away and I can always go there.”
  “That’s the spirit. I’ll call you back with all the arrangements. Happy hunting,” Shelly said cheerfully before she hung up.
  Calix went back to his search for the slave ghost. That might make for an interesting horror story. Slaves that torment and torture their evil masters.
                                                                 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
  He had spent the last three weeks roaming around Vernazza and found that he really liked it here. It wasn’t one of those small villages populated more by livestock than people, but it also wasn’t the big cities of Venice or Milan. It was a quaint seaside village that remained one of the truest fishing villages on the Italian Riviera. The Belforte bastion sat below the medieval defense structure of the Doria Castle, the Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church with its bell tower at the top of its cupola, and the colorful houses that surrounded the small marina, and no cars, gave him the sense of stepping back in time.
  Through his many walks exploring the village since his arrival, Calix had found a nice, quiet little spot overlooking the Ligurian Sea. It was a viewing station that was cut into the cliffside where tourist could rest and take pictures. At times, it was bustling with people, but Calix had found that if he ventured out at the break of day, he could make it to the spot early, just as the sun rose, and have a few hours before the tourist began to arrive.
  Sitting with his back to the cold rock of the cliff with a notebook and pen in hand, Calix reviewed some of the notes he had taken the previous day while visiting the marina. Walking along the concrete dock he watched as the fishermen brought in their days catch. As he sat on rocks at the marina observing the hard-working men, an elderly man sat beside him to rest a bit, and Calix was pleasantly surprised that the man spoke English. He has a thick Italian accent, but Calix could still understand him.
  The man introduced himself as Piero Francesco. He was ninety-three years old and was born and raised in Vernazza. Piero went on to tell him many stories that day of the village he loved and its history. Once Calix had explained to him that he was an author and had come to Vernazza for inspiration and to write his latest novel, Piero sat with him for many hours sharing his life with Calix. He had been so taken by the man and appreciated his companionship and stories, that Calix had invited him for lunch, but Peiro had other ideas. He brought Calix to his home where his daughter and her family were gathering for mid-day meal and they opened their home to him. Piero continued his stories and his daughter Marie and her husband, Agnolo had joined in. Calix had had a wonderful day with the family and thanked them for their hospitality when he had to leave. He really wanted to stay longer, but didn’t want to wear out his welcome, and hoped he would be able to spend time with them again.
  He was afraid to let them know that one of the things he was researching was the Spirito di Vernazza, or Spirit of Vernazza, which he had learned the locals had called him. Calix never had to say a word, eventually Piero came around to stories of the young man that many in the village had seen since its founding in 1080. Some of the natives, like Piero, said that even before Vernazza was built and the first settlers were here, that they too had passed down stories of a young slave boy.
  In all the stories, the young man was described as being handsome and of darker skin, possibly Mediterranean, or maybe Syrian. Many had seen him all over the region, but he mainly stayed near the village. No one knows his true story, but many surmise he was a slave to one of the first settlers and believe he was killed by his master. Sometimes he is spotted with a spear and other times with a sword, and each time he is found with a weapon in hand, the young man is covered in blood. But the one thing that all the stories agree on, is that the young man’s eyes hold great sadness and pain.
  Was he really a slave and cut down by a vicious master? Did he die trying to defend himself, or maybe his master? Was he fighting for his freedom? With the rich history surrounding Rome and the Roman Empire with their slaves it wouldn’t surprise Calix if that were the case.
  Pulling from his notes, Calix looked up to stare out over the Sea, and was surprised to find a young man standing at the edge of the cliff, looking out over the water. He must have been so lost in his own thoughts that he hadn’t even heard the man approach.
  Calix’s gaze roamed over the man’s back from head to toe. He wore a pair of soft moccasin boots, with cords wrapped around them to hold them on. Calix’s brows rose when he noticed the man wore no pants, but instead what looked like a short kilt, with w leather belt wrapped around his waist and crisscrossed down over his hips. A vest that looked like it was made of wool and dyed red, with tattered strings hanging from the ham and around the shoulders. He had olive skin, and his bare arms were graced with nice muscles. Not too big, but definitely sexy. Long black hair cascaded down his back and Calix could see two braids, one on each side, pulling the hair from his face, Calix thought.
  Suddenly the man turned and Calix was met with the most stunning light brown eyes he had ever seen, surrounded by long thick black lashes. The man was beautiful and looked to be about twenty-five years old. Smooth olive skin, not too thick black eyebrows over those amazing eyes, as sleek nose, high cheekbones, and full, plump lips. His right ear was pierced with what looked like a small bone sticking through it, and he had five or six chains of different lengths of gold and leather hanging around his neck, lying against a bare, hairless chest, where Calix could see more delicious muscles were. His gaze raked down to flat, tight abs, and narrow hips.
  “Apologies, it was not my intent to disturb you,” the man said in a sexy voice, in perfect English, but with a hint of some kind of accent Calix didn’t know.
  Calix gave him a bright smile. “You weren’t. I mean didn’t.”
  The stunning man gave him a sad smile and nodded, then turned back to look out over the Sea. Calix looked back down at his notes, but couldn’t concentrate, his mind kept going to the man standing not ten feet from him. Every once in a while he would peek up through his lashes and see if the gorgeous man was still there. After about fifteen minutes of silence, with only the sound of the waves crashing against the cliff’s below, and the faint sounds of people milling around the town a half mile away, that sweet voice caught his attention again.
  “Apologies, but I find myself needing rest. Would it be…” he stopped and motioned toward the spot on the ground beside Calix.
  Calix smiled as he sat up a bit straighter. “Of course. Please, join me.”
  The beauty walked to him and sat, leaning his back against the wall as well and placing his arms on his bent knees. He looked to Calix with a smile that was not as sad as before. “Gratitude.”
  “You’re welcome. So...um, are you from around here, or just visiting?”
  “I am from a land far from these shores, yet I have been here for many years.”
  Calix held out his right hand. “I’m Calix Hennessy from Los Angeles, California. United States.”
  The man reached out, but instead of grasping his hand, his arm went further and he grasped Calix’s forearm. “I am Aseel. I do not know of this place in which you speak, but I am Syrian.”
  “It’s nice to meet you, Aseel.”
  “You as well. May I inquire of what you are doing here? I have never seen you before, until recently.”
  “I’m a writer. I write stories, books, and I am here on a working vacation,” Calix replied.
  “A scholar,” Aseel exclaimed. “What types of things do you write, Calix?”
  “Mostly stories about the supernatural. Vampires, ghost’s, alien’s things like that.”
  “Stories? Does that mean you have met these beings you speak of and tell of their lives?”
  Calix didn’t know what to make of that question seeing as none of the things he said were real. Was Aseel one of those crazies that thought bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster were real as well? He didn’t look crazy, but you could never tell just by looking at someone, and he really liked looking at Aseel, so Calix just shrugged off his strange question. “They are just stories I make up in my head. For entertainment for others to read.”
  “Do you believe in such things, Calix? Like ghost’s and such?” Aseel asked, looking very interested.
  “Not entirely, but only because I haven’t seen any. I think it’s quite possible when you think about life, and what comes after.”
  “Vernazza has many ghost’s, as does Rome itself.”
  “That’s the other reason I am here. I heard about this area’s history and wanted to check it out for myself, see if there was a story here, or at least something that would inspire me to write one.”
  “I know of many stories of Vernazza and the Romans. Many tales of horror,” Aseel declared softly, his eyes taking on that sadness and loss again. Calix caught the look before Aseel turned to look at the Sea again.
  “I would love to hear about some of them, if that’s alright with you? I don’t want to bring back bad memories for you.”
  Aseel smiled, looking back to him, and his whole face lit up, making him even more gorgeous than he already was. Then he began to talk, and told Calix many stories about war and battles, of heartbreak and suffering, of friends and family. At times, he would smile bright and laugh at a memory, or talk softly as his voice strained with emotion.
  Time seemed to stand still around them as Calix sat listening to Aseel. He liked hearing Aseel’s voice and also what he said. Calix found it fascinating to listen to the man talk about the history of Italy and about the great slave uprising led by Spartacus, who was a slave that was trained to be a gladiator in the arena in Capua, until one day he and the other gladiators and house slaves turned on their masters, killing them all, and escaped.
  As the sun began to raise high in the sky and more voices could be heard coming from the town. Aseel stopped his stories. “Jupiter’s cock, the day grows long and I must go. Apologies, but I must take myself from sight.”
  Calix was stunned by Aseel’s words, as well as confused, and wanted to laugh, but brushed them off as a difference in their slang. “Of course. I’m sorry I kept you so long. It was very nice meeting you, Aseel. I would love to visit with you again while I am here, and hear of more stories,” Calix said as he and Aseel stood.
  The beautiful man turned to him, giving Calix a bright, friendly smile and Calix just wanted to kiss him. Those lips and that smile, just pulled him in.
  Aseel stepped closer and Calix could see interest in his brown eyes. “I would enjoy returning to have words. A chance to hear tales of your world perhaps?”
  “I would like that,” Calix said softly and took a step closer, now bringing then within a foot of each other.
  Aseel’s gaze flicked down to his lips, then he licked his own. It was just a small thing, but it swarmed his body with desire. “What do you seek from me? Give desired words and see it satisfied,” Aseel whispered.
  “If I tell you what I would like, I’m afraid you’ll hit me,” Caliz replied with a chuckle.
  “Speak them and we shall see if they are welcome.”
  “A kiss.”
  Aseel smiled again and leaned in. Just as their lips were about to touch Aseel whispered softly. “Your words are most welcome...Calix, but it pains me to say I must set foot to path. I will be here again by suns greeting. Will you return?”
  “Yes. I’ll be here.”
  “Then I shall see you as the sun kisses the sky once more,” Aseel replied, then turned and walked away, disappearing around the bend, behind a cropping of boulders on the side of the path.
To be continued...
~~@~~
 

HANGING ON BY A THREAD
Clearnight Haven II
Fabian Valentine knew that when his best friend, king of the paranormals, Raven Stone, sent him to Clearnight Haven that he would have a big mess to clean up to get this coven back on track, but he never would have guessed what was really going on. Fabian along with his four brothers arrive in Clearnight ready to take on the task, but are at a complete loss when they start uncovering the true depth of evil that has gripped this town.
  Atticus Lovering has always been quiet and shy. Being the smallest vampire in his coven and having an abusive mother had him feeling inadiquit most of his life. But when Atty decides to take a chance on love, it turns out to be the biggest mistake of his life, and he finds himself trapped in the clutches of human traffickers.
  Now it is up to Fabian to track down Atticus and others who have fallen victim. But Fabian's urgency to save Atticus soon takes on a whole new meaning when he discovers the cute little vampire may be more important to him than he originally realized.
 
Adult excerpt:
  “I don’t think I can go slow, baby. I want you so bad,” Fabian said and was surprised to hear the need in his voice.
  “Then don’t. Take me. Make me yours. We can go slow later,” Atticus replied giving him a saucy smile that grabbed ahold of his heart. God, he really did already love this wonderful man.
  Fabian reached over and grabbed the lube that he had left on the nightstand earlier and squeezed a generous amount onto his fingers. He was not small, but Atticus was and he didn’t want to hurt him. He knew he would fit because Atticus was made just for him, and he wanted to claim him fast, but he still refused to cause his man pain.
  “That was handy,” Atticus said and Fabian looked up, meeting his eyes and saw that his cute mate was trying to hold in a smile.
  “I was...um…”
  “Taking matters into your own hands before I interrupted,” Atticus said as a statement as he smirked at him.
  Fabian chuckled as he pushed up onto his knees between Atticus’ spread thighs and wrapped his hand around his cock, giving it a few tugs as he made sure he was properly covered. “Such a smart mate I have.”
  “I thought I tasted a hint of lube when I swallowed that gorgeous cock of yours. That’s so hot thinking you were in here pleasuring yourself before I came.”
  “I’ll be pleasuring you now before you come,” Fabian replied huskily as he leaned forward and took Atticus’ cock down his throat in one move. At the same time, he pressed the tip of one finger against Atticus’ tight hole and began to loosen him. Atticus hissed as his body arched off the mattress.
  “Fuck, that’s so good. Put your finger inside me, Fabian. I want to feel you open me for that fat cock of yours.”
  Shit, who knew his shy little man was so demanding and open in the bedroom? And that dirty mouth on him was sinful. Fabian loved it, and he was going to love getting to know Atticus in every way.
  Fabian licked and sucked Atticus’ pretty cock, distracting his mate as he slid one, then two fingers inside his tight heat, slowly stretching him. Atticus squirmed and writhed beneath him, making the most erotic fucking sounds Fabian had ever heard. With each moan that escaped Atticus’ lips, Fabian’s cock pulsed and twitched. Just the sight, sound, and smells filling the room were threatening to unman him and cause him to come on the sheets below.
  Fabian added a third and fourth finger and worked them hurriedly. Atticus hissed and Fabian froze. “No! Shit, don’t stop! Just a little burn with the last finger, but it’s going away. I’m okay, Fabian. It’s good, mate, don’t stop, fuck me.”
  Fabian reached for the lube and poured a little more on his fingers before thrusting them back into Atticus. He searched for his mate’s prostate, then smiled around the cock in his mouth when Atticus went wild when he found it.
  “Holy fucking hell, yes! Oh, Fabian, please. Do that again, but with your cock. Please. I want you inside me, filling me, stretching me wide. Fuck me, mate.”
  Fabian gave a few more thrusts then pulled his fingers free as he released Atticus’ cock with a pop and straightened up onto his knees. He grabbed the base of his cock and pointed the tip at Atticus’ pretty pink star. Atticus pulled his legs back against his chest and Fabian growled deep. His first look at his mate’s most intimate spot had him losing control as it was, but his mate showing him that Atticus trusted him to make him feel good, sent Fabian into a need too raw and animalistic.
  Pushing forward, he broke through the outer ring of muscles and clenched his jaw from the incredible feeling that washed over him as Atticus’ body accepted him and wrapped around him in a tight hug. Gods, it was so good. There was no way he was going to last.
  “Fuck! Shit! Don’t leave me hanging, mate, fill me with you,” Atticus begged.
  Fabian dropped down over Atticus, placing his forearms on either side of Atticus’ head, holding most of his weight off his mate and at the same time he thrust in, filling Atticus completely. Atticus arch against him as he cried out his name and it was the best feeling Fabian had ever experienced in his long life. Filling his mate, giving him pleasure, his mate wrapped around him, and screaming out his name. Damn, it was heaven.
  Fabian ran his fingers through Atticus’ silky hair and their gazes met. “Just look at me, Diletto. Don’t take your eyes from mine. I want to see you, inside your soul, as I take you and claim you as mine forever,” Fabian whispered against his lips, giving Atticus a small kiss. He pulled back an inch, but kept his gaze locked with Atticus as he slid from Atticus’ body, then thrust back in.
  Atticus began to make those sinfully erotic noises again as he writhed against Fabian and thrust his ass down, meeting Fabian’s thrusts. Atticus raised his hands and wrapped his arms around Fabian’s shoulders, holding on tight, the blunt tips of his fingernails digging into Fabian’s flesh, but not painfully.
  They moved together as one, never breaking their gaze. Fabian watched as so many emotions flashed through Atticus’ eyes, and he was sure the same was true of his own. He felt a connection to his mate like he had never felt before and it had little to do with their bodies joining and more to do with the look. It seemed to be connecting their hearts even without the claiming bite.
  Fabian’s need grew inside him. With each thrust inward he was consumed by the same heavenly feeling as the first. His cock was throbbing, begging for release, and his balls pulled up close, almost painfully. Then suddenly his orgasm shot through him like a bullet and Fabian felt it in every atom of his body. At the same time, Atticus screamed out and Fabian felt a rush of warm liquid between them. It was so fucking sexy that his mate had found his release without either of them touching his cock with their hands. As they both continued to spill, Atticus lifted his chin and turned his head, breaking their eye connection. But the sight of his mate submitting to him shattered Fabian’s last ounce of will and he struck. His fangs dropped from his gums and he lowered his head, biting on supple flesh, teeth piercing skin. The wonderful ambrosia of Atticus’ essence washed over his tongue, filling his mouth and all his senses went on overdrive. His whole body came alive like he never knew it could and he fell completely in love with his mate.
~~@~~
Maggie has been married for twenty years and has four children. She is a Long Island girl who now lives in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Maggie has always loved anything that has to do with the arts. Music is one of her biggest passions. She was a photographer and artist in her earlier days and spends hours sketching anything that catches her eye. Maggie loves to write about big, strong, tough men who have a softer side. Most of the time you can find Maggie running around with her kids, sketching, or sitting with her laptop creating new characters, as music always plays in the background.
To find out more about Maggie, what she’s working on, and what’s coming next, please visit her Website at:
Maggiewalshauthor.weebly.com

MAGGIE WALSH - Part Two

The Ghost of Vernazza                                                ~ Part 2 ~   For seven days, Calix returned to the...