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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Out now! Don't Dare the Reaper by Leigh Ellwood

Don't Dare the Reaper - Buy Now!
Phaze Books, $2, Paranormal, Menage MMF

Something spooky is going on in Dareville. En route to a sexy Halloween soiree, Cal and Sue Briscoe are involved in a car accident and die...or do they? Stranded between layers of the veil, they cling to each other with the hope that whatever happens, they will stay together. As the Grim Reaper - a handsome fellow introducing himself as Gil - tries to discern their fate, the Briscoes take advantage of the moment out of time to celebrate what could be their last chance for love...or the beginning of a new life.



She knew that voice—though it sounded distant and full of static. Probably a faraway temptation to rejoin the waking world, but she wanted none of it. Just a few more minutes of sleep, she decided. She had no pressing appointments at her photography studio. The people of Dareville could wait for their portraiture.

“Sue, baby, come on.”

No. Behind her eyelids came into focus a clear image of ice, stretching for miles before her. Her skates laced and tied, she took to the endless rink with all the poise of an Olympic champion, twirling and gliding with ease. Figure eights, figure sixty-nines—no number proved too difficult to etch on the hardened surface. She contemplated starting pi as well, right after a double axel.

The landing she flubbed, and Sue landed face down on the ice. The dry cool of the surface numbed her skin and left a lasting impression as that insistent voice guided her back to consciousness.

“Sue!” Cal shook her now, and she finally opened her eyes to discover they weren’t in their bed at home, but lying on a dark floor.

The entire room was pitch black, in fact. Yet, there had to be some light source since she could clearly see her worried husband.

She looked down at herself, then at Cal. Neither wore a stitch of clothing, yet it seemed natural in this situation. She experienced neither a chill nor embarrassment.

“Thank God,” he said, and drew her close.

“Where are we?”

“Hell if I know, are you okay?”

“I-I think so.” Nothing hurt. She tried her legs and stood without any problems, as did Cal. She studied their surroundings, or rather lack thereof. “Nice place.”

“Could use a window or two, but sure,” Cal said.

Sue smiled, happy to know her husband’s sense of sarcasm hadn’t suffered whatever had befallen them.

What had happened, exactly? She closed her eyes to recap the events of the day, but recalled nothing unusual. They’d made love that morning, then an early run and breakfast. Grocery shopping at Jake’s and lunch with their friend Kate at the Dareville Inn. Tiny Jack O’ Lanterns lined the lattice work of the small hotel—there was to be a Halloween party for the kids there…

Halloween party. Brady and Ellie. They were on the way to the Garristons’ house when they were hit.

“We crashed,” she said out loud. “The car.”

“Yeah, but where is it?” Cal loosened his hold and stepped away. Each footfall echoed an odd sound, as though they stood in a large, empty soundstage.

“We couldn’t have been thrown, we’d be all bloody and cut,” he added. He looked about to say more, but his face paled. Sue realized he shared her very thoughts.

Perhaps, they hadn’t been ejected from the car because they were still in it—their corporeal selves, anyway.

“We’re dead, Cal?”

He shook his head, bewildered. “I don’t know, babe. I don’t know. Come here.”

She gladly eased into his embrace and pressed against him, then gasped when she confirmed her worst fear. “I can’t hear your heart beating.” She trembled in his arms, trying to sob but tears didn’t come. Cal kissed the top of her head, but beyond that she detected no other movement. His breath didn’t caress her skin. His pulse didn’t race. He, like her, just was.

At least her sense of touch remained intact, and she assumed the same for Cal. That provided some comfort in this uncertainty. She savored the scratch of a light tuft of chest hair against her cheek, and how his hand smoothed over the swell of her backside. Any other time, this would arouse her, and she felt sad. Had they lost the ability to truly enjoy intimacy in this place?

“This is too weird. Cal, you don’t think this is Hell, do you?” Despite seeming to have no major working organs, Sue managed to sense a chill shiver down her spine after all. She thought of everything she and Cal had done, the earthly pleasures enjoyed since they fell in love, and wondered how much of it counted against them in their final judgment.

He didn’t answer right away, and part of her hoped for a joke to lift her spirits. Finally, he looked up and said, “This can’t be Hell.”

“How are you so sure?”

“If it were, I’d be the only one here.”

He looked down at her. In this state—death, near-death, whatever—his eyes maintained their lively hazel color, and she saw the desire flickering within them. Cuffing the back of his neck, she pulled him down for a long, slow kiss, relieved to know not everything ended in death.

Copyright Leigh Ellwood 2009

1 comment:

Jenna Byrnes said...

This one looks really good, Leigh. Can't wait to find out if you really kill off Cal and Sue!

~ Jenna