Excerpt from “Through the Shadows” by Gloria Teague

A sensual, fictitious man has captured Victoria Stanfield’s imagination. She knows every inch of his heart, and body, because he is her own creation. Avery Norcross is the lustful hero in Victoria’s series of historical novels and she has made him into her ideal dream lover—on paper. Her husband begins to feel intimidated by a man that no mere mortal could compete with and, along with their inability to conceive; he grows angry and walks out of the marriage. As Victoria’s life begins to unravel she starts to sense there is a male presence still in her house. Not a ghost. Not a demon. She doesn’t find out the truth until her world crashes down around her.

Excerpt:

“It’d be easier to make money as a stripper in a smoke-filled, bug infested bar. Too bad I threw out all my fishnet hose. Too bad I don’t have the body for it. Too bad I can’t dance.” Tori sighed, glanced over the last sentence written and let her fingers fly across the keyboard.

He pulled Helene close, then closer still. Burying his nose in the luxuriant, flaxen curls clinging damply to her neck, Avery gently nibbled his way to the hollow of her throat and felt his lover’s pulse quicken against his lips.

Helene’s breathing grew rapid and shallow, her chest rose more with each breath as her passion grew. Her slender fingers drew his head closer to her. As he began to slowly, so slowly, kiss the hollow at her throat, she stroked the coarse, thick mat on his chest.

Helene enjoyed the way the moonlight had cast glints of silver within his jet black hair and ran her fingers through the soft tresses. She moved her hands across his back; the fingernails pressed just hard enough to leave a trail of tingles down his spine.

Avery pulled her to him, crushing her breasts against his hard chest, eliciting a moan through her parted lips. Her head fell back, and her eyes were glazed in wanton desire.

Avery’s own passion grew stronger by the second as he pulled the plunging neckline of her dress to her waist. Avery’s breath caught at her perfection and leaned down to…

“No, no, no! What’s wrong with you, you idiot? When did you start writing ‘bodice rippers’?” Talking to herself sometimes helped her to pull her thoughts into focus. “That’s too forceful for Avery! He would never rip a lady’s gown, even if she invited him to. C’mon Tori, you can write better than this crap!”

She shook her head at the character’s lack of finesse, and then realized it was her own lack of style. Tori was disappointed in herself for writing such a thing.

The corners of her lips were turned down in concentration, trying to correct this terrible wrong she had done her protagonist. She hated to go back and rewrite the whole chapter but she saw no way around it. She pulled her bottom lip between her teeth to chew on it thoughtfully. What to do, what to do?

She felt a soft kiss of frosty air drift across the back of her neck with a feather-like touch, and a chill skittered down her spine. Nerve-endings were screaming a warning to the brain and her throat became arid. Tori stared at the computer screen, straining her peripheral vision to see who stood behind her. Whoever it was stood close enough that she could feel the heaviness of the air being occupied by his mass.

Did I leave the door open? Oh man, I didn’t bother to set the alarm. Glancing over the surface of her deck, she saw she had nothing to use as a weapon. Quickly she envisioned the layout of the room, the house, trying to quell her pounding heart enough to allow her to plan a route of escape.

I can plant my feet on the floor and forcefully shove my chair straight back, right into whoever it is. The weight of my body should be enough to at least knock him down. Him. Why am I thinking it’s a HIM? Because, oh God, a murderer would be a big strong man! But, maybe, with the element of surprise… Oh God, oh God, oh God! Okay, now just stop it! Just take a deep breath and do it before it’s too late. DO IT NOW!

Feet firmly planted, Tori leaned forward in her chair, then slammed her body against the back of the chair while shoving off with her feet. She held her breath, waiting for the collision and the terror of what would happen next.

Her chair tipped over, her legs flung outward like a wishbone, her hands scrabbled at empty air, trying to find purchase, and she cracked her head on the doorknob of the closet where she kept her writing supplies. Even through the swirling, bright stars dancing in front of her eyes, she could see there was no one there.

Well Tori, you’ve finally lost it! Mom always said if you keep writing “this stuff” you’ll lose your mind. Mom’s gonna be so happy that she was right.

She pulled herself off the floor, righted her chair, and rubbed the back of her head to feel the small knot forming already. She sat down straighter in her chair, turning her head to work the kinks from her neck and shoulders. The joints creaked and groaned like protesting hinges of a long-locked door being opened. Getting lost in your writing was a sure bet for muscle soreness. And throwing yourself against a wooden door was another. Perhaps a healthy imagination isn’t so healthy, after all.

***

Gloria Teague is an award-winning author in both fiction and nonfiction, in magazines, newspapers and e-zines. She has five books and nearly 60 short stories and several articles published. She had a full page feature article in Woman’s World in 2009 just before she was chosen as Tulsa NightWriter of the Year. She has two fiction stories in the e-zine, The World of Myth. She’s a former secretary in OWFI and is newsletter editor for the Tulsa NightWriters, a position she previously held for a number of years.

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