Happy Freebie Friday!
It’s time to pop back into Felicity and Damien’s twisted little world.
If you haven’t read the first chapter of Dark was the Night, you will be LOST.
If you’re new to Freebie Fridays, here’s the run down.
On select Fridays of every month, I release a FREE short story. A few of these stories are stand-alone pieces and a few of them are meant to be read as a series. Check out the titles of each story to find out where to start. When at a loss, click the short story section from the drop down menu on the home page. If you’re on a mobile device, it’s those three little lines on the left-hand side of your screen at the top of the page. 🙂
I think that covers it. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to leave a comment! I hope you enjoy the second chapter of Dark was the Night!
Dark was the Night
The night was mild, thankfully, and she found her way more easily than the last time. The vicious eyes of the cottage beast were not there to guide her, however, and Felicity found herself growing more and more uneasy as the night faded around her.
His home had been close. Somewhere around here. She was sure of it. Then she spotted it. Two hulking trees, twisting into a strangely unnatural shape that was both unusual and beautiful. The cottage had been in this spot! It had sat there, between the oaks, its windows glowing brightly in the darkness. How can it not be here?
Felicity took several deep, calming breaths. She had had the sense to bring a lantern this time, but suddenly it sputtered and began to fade.
“No, no, no. Don’t you dare,” she said to it, but the light went out with a quiet pop. And now the terror set in. She was lost this time, truly lost, and alone in the darkness. Calm down. Calm down. She stared all around her for a source of light in the pitch blackness, and, out of nowhere, there it was.
Two great, glowing, bestial eyes glared down at her from just over the way.
“Damien,” she whispered in relief, then louder, “Damien!” she began to make her way towards the windows of the cottage, but the closer she tried to get, the farther away they seemed to crawl.
“Damien!” she shouted out into the night. She turned, startled. The hem of her dress had caught on the branch of an elm, and she bent to untangle it.
There was a small pop, and the cottage’s predatory eyes vanished, plunging Felicity into darkness once more. She sighed in exasperation. “Please, Damien?”
“You called?” The light flared just behind her, and Felicity turned an irritable gaze onto the beautiful, bewitching man who lived deep in the heart of the woods. He was just as enticing as the last time she had seen him. His hair falling into his eyes in that carelessly handsome way, his sharp blue eyes dancing at the sight of her.
“Ahh, Felicity, my dear. How wonderful to see you again.” He bent to release her once more from the entangling elm branch, and she frowned at him.
“Why was it so difficult to find you this time?” she asked, and he smiled his capricious smile as he offered her his arm.
“Because you brought a light to frighten away the darkness,” he said cheerfully. “My shadows don’t approve of the light, you see.”
“Your shadows?” He cast a sly sidelong look at her and clicked his fingers. The lights in the cottage windows burst into life, illuminating the whole of the small building right beside them, although Felicity had been sure they’d only taken a handful of steps in the dark.
“You’ve come to take back your kiss?” he said, holding his front door open for her.
Felicity nodded curtly and stepped over the threshold. “Laurent has been much less than what I hoped he would be,” she said, affecting a neat little shudder of disgust. “I would be glad to be rid of him.”
“Indeed?” said Damien, setting his lantern down on the table and clicking his fingers once more. The lantern went out with another little pop and Felicity stared. “Would you like me to treat him as an enemy?”
“Certainly not,” said Felicity sharply, “I would simply like him to become less involved with me.”
Damien gave a small chuckle.
“Would you like me to draw up another contract?” he asked, his eyes danced, making it look as though he was enjoying some private joke.
“Yes, please,” said Felicity, and she hovered over his shoulder while he bent over the small table and unscrewed the ink pot. His white-blonde hair flopped forward, screening his words from her view.
“These are my terms, you may accept them, or walk away,” he said, finally straightening up.
“‘One pleasant kiss’,” she read icily, and Damien chuckled again. He took a step nearer to her and held out the contract for her to sign, the predatory gleam in his eye was unmistakable. There would be no trickery this time.
“Alright then,” Felicity grumbled, and for some unknown reason, she felt a thrill of excitement as she scribbled her name down on the piece of paper.
Damien’s smile could not have looked more satisfied. He beckoned Felicity over to him, and she came, reluctantly closing the distance between them in two short strides. She stood in front of Damien and closed her eyes tightly, so as to save herself the embarrassment of being able to look into the depths of his.
“Do you think a kiss from me will be so intolerable?” whispered Damien, the amusement in his husky tone was unmistakable. The spicy scent of his breath played over her skin.
Slowly, as though he were relishing the right to touch her, Damien drew the tips of his fingers down her bare arms. Felicity felt goose flesh rise in the wake of his touch and her lips parted in a perfect ‘O’.
“I said one, pleasant kiss,” he said quietly, bending forward to nibble on her ear. She felt him circling her, his fingers dragging over the flat of her stomach as he embraced her from behind. His hands cupped her hips. “That means, I won’t be wanting to kiss a block of ice again.”
Felicity’s eyes snapped open.
“I don’t make a habit of kissing strangers, you know,” she said, spinning in his arms to face him, her hand caught back as if she were going to strike his cheek. His blue eyes smoldered at her, and he slipped his fingers into hers, holding both her hands firmly behind her back.
“But, my darling, I am not a stranger,” he said. “I am more familiar to you than the sunrise.” He brushed a strand of her copper hair back from her eyes.” I know the way you move and speak better than anyone alive.” He pulled her closer to him until their figures were silhouetted together in the firelight. “I am the darkness,” Damien whispered. “I move around you, I breathe with you. I am the shadow that thrives beneath your bed. I wrap myself around your body when the lights go out. Who could be more familiar to you than I?”
Damien bent his head until his mouth was only inches away from hers. Felicity was trembling, her eyes wide. He brushed his lips over her brow, smiling in a satisfied way. She had gone numb. She couldn’t move.
When he kissed her, fire seared through her veins. Felicity was captured by the sensation, for it was like nothing she had ever felt before. She couldn’t think, and she didn’t want to. She flew away into the stars, got lost in the succulent night. His hands roamed over her body and all she could feel was warmth and shadows. His fingers skimmed so lightly over her skin that she felt as though she were being wrapped in a fine, gossamer web of silk.
She was breathing heavily, and she heard Damien let loose an animalistic growl as he yanked her closer still. He seemed just as lost as she was, just as fascinated by their contact. His hand made its way up her back and twisted into her hair, angling her head so that he could deepen the kiss. Felicity was drowning in the searing heat of him.
Damien stepped back so suddenly that he bumped into the table behind them. He released Felicity quickly, as though he could no longer bear the feel of her beneath his hands, and almost pushed her away from him.
Felicity looked at him in shock, stumbling backward slightly. Damien reached out a hand to steady her and then released her once more. His hands were braced on the table and he faced her, his eyes full of an element of shock and wonder.
Felicity straightened her skirts, turning away from his crystalline gaze and feeling her cheeks reddening with embarrassment. What was that? She asked herself. What is this man?
“Your kiss has been returned,” he said, still eyeing her with confusion, as though he was just as unnerved by what had just passed between them. “Your man will seek you no more.”
Felicity wasn’t listening. She was staring at the man before her as though she were suddenly seeing him for the first time. “You bewitched me,” she said. She clutched at the neck of her silken dress and felt fear slide back into her throat like bile.
Damien was no longer smiling. His eyes were narrowed at her, he looked winded. His normally smooth, white-blonde hair was poking out at odd angles. He crossed his arms in front of his chest and peered at her with a frown on his beautiful face.
“I beg your pardon, Miss,” he said irritably. “I’ve done nothing of the sort.”
“You’re toying with me,” insisted Felicity, and she took a step away from him, widening the gap between them so that she was out of the reach of his incredibly masculine arms. She now stood in the center of his tiny kitchen. “You have cast a spell over me.”
Now Damien looked exasperated.
“I’ve done nothing to you, Felicity,” he said calmly, pushing off the table and taking a step towards her.
She backed away again, jumping with fright as she fell against the counter and made the pans rattle in their holders.
Damien looked seriously annoyed now. He took a measured step back from her, his frown deepening.
“Lost your nerve, have you?” he said, and he waved to the door. “You’ve done what you came here to do. I’ll not keep you from going.”
Felicity stared at him. Was this more deception? Why wasn’t she running for the door? Even as she feared him, she could still feel his lips on hers. She bit her lip nervously and could still taste his heat, like whiskey and spice. Like the October air had melded darkness and rich, sweet fall smells into a taste. Her hazel eyes found his blue ones and she straightened at the look of animosity on his face.
“What right do you have to look so put upon?” she asked scathingly.
“What right do you have to accuse me of bewitchment?” Damien responded with equal rancor. “If anything, I have removed a curse of your own making.”
“Of my making?!” screeched Felicity, forgetting her fear and coming right up to him. “It was you who gave me the means to entrap Laurent.” She poked him hard in the chest, and Damien flinched and glared at her. Seizing her hand, he brought his eyes down to her level.
“The drink you gave your greatest love would have had no effect on him without your aid,” he spat.
Felicity struggled to throw off his astoundingly tight grip. “Unhand me, you fiend.”
He let go of her wrist and Felicity tumbled into a pile of silk and ruffles at his feet. Damien stomped around the place where she sat on the floor, his black boots looking as though they might very well break through the floorboards at any moment.
“I would like you to leave,” he said waspishly, striding over to the door and pulling it open.
“With pleasure, sir!” shot Felicity as she struggled to her feet.
“I should have known this would come back to bite me. A spoiled child turns up on my doorstep, begging for me to help her. I comply and-“
“Only after seeking out the best possible way to take advantage of her!” snapped Felicity, striding past Damien and heading out into the night.
“Who took advantage of whom?” asked Damien, reaching out to pull Felicity to a stop on the front stoop.
Felicity felt the bite of flame in his touch and was instantly distracted. Looking up into Damien’s darkly handsome face, she knew he had felt it too. She froze. Neither of them pulled away.
“Please stop,” whispered Felicity. She couldn’t control herself. She suddenly wanted to feel his lips on hers again. She wanted…
Damien let her go, looking as though it was costing him everything he had not to take hold of her once more and pull her back into his arms.
“What are you?” he asked in wonder.
Felicity pursed her lips, unsure of how to respond to such a question. Her fury had fled the moment his skin had come into contact with hers. She felt as though she were being pulled towards him by some invisible cord.
“I think I have more grounds to be asking that question than you,” said Felicity finally. She took a step nearer to him and looked up into his incredible face. “What are you?”
Damien shrugged. “I’ve already told you what I am.” He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his vest and leaned casually back against the frame of the open door, looking preoccupied.
“You haven’t,” whispered Felicity. She ran her hand over the soft, black velvet of his vest. “You haven’t explai-“
“Would you like me to show you?” he asked suddenly. He looked violent, frightening. His handsome features had pulled together in a sneer, and he pushed away from the door frame so that he towered above her. The shadows outside the cabin seemed to grow deeper, creeping toward them like so many starving beasts.
Felicity cocked her head to the side at his show of ferocity, unperturbed. “Yes, alright then,” she said, and she reached forward and took hold of his hand. Damien seemed to deflate before her eyes. The shadows resumed their usual form.
It was as though they’d kindled a small spark between their joined palms. It was living between them, the heat causing Felicity’s hand to tingle in a strange, but not unpleasant, way.
“Where is your fear?” asked Damien, idly. He reached forward and brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes.
Felicity laughed. “It should be here,” she said, touching her throat with her free fingers. Damien’s eyes followed her hand. “But I’ve never had much sense,” she giggled.
Damien cracked a smile and shook his head. “I can see that,” he said, giving her a small dig in the ribs with their joined fingers.
A cool autumn breeze blew then, twirling Felicity’s skirts around her ankles. Orange and brown leaves leapt and danced in the firelight that poured from the open doorway and Damien looked up at the horizon. His gaze darkened significantly.
“Dawn,” he said, nodding towards the pink tinge above the wide expanse of trees in the distance.”You must go.”
“Why?” asked Felicity, her grip tightening on his hand. “Let me stay. You were going to show me-“
“You can’t stay,” he said hurriedly, his eyes flicking around the trees behind him as his fellow shadows began running for cover. “You have to leave before the dawn.”
He silenced her with a second kiss. The heat grew between them, sparking and leaping to even greater heights, and Felicity wanted to stand there and kiss him until she died. Her heart pounded in her ears. His lips were insistent.
“Go,” he said as he pulled away, and he glanced again to the rising sun. “I will find you.”
“I will find you,” he said again. He gave her a light shove, starting to look strangely fearful as the pink tinge turned to orange and the deep blacks of the sky began fading to purple.
His fear was infectious. Felicity turned and stumbled off the porch.
“But how will you-“ she looked back over her shoulder and felt panic erupt in her chest at the sight that greeted her.
Damien’s beast of a cottage had disappeared.
Felicity spun on the spot, looking into every shadow, into every dark corner of the small clearing, but there was no cottage. No creature with glowing eyes to guide her to the mystical man of the wood, whose delightfully wicked lips tasted of spice and heat. No Damien. No anything.
Her knees felt weak. The last of the shadows were fleeing. The darkness had abated. Felicity spotted a large stump a few feet away and sank down onto it as the morning sun climbed the treetops. She was trembling with shock and confusion, and she abruptly became of aware of a throbbing pain developing in her temples.
This is it, Felicity, she thought. You’ve gone and done it now. She sighed, smoothing a crease in her skirt. You’ve gone and lost your blasted mind.
Chapter Three of Dark was the Night will be available on October 28th
In the mean time, feel free to indulge in the first Frills and Chills installment
Subscribe to The Rumor Mill Newsletter
to receive immediate updates on all New Releases
and Free short stories by Josephine Blake
For a sneak peek of Josephine Blake’s newest release click HERE