REAL Man Monday…Captain America

If today’s REAL Man looks familiar there is a reason. I used Captain America a couple of weeks ago when I came back from visiting Him. But something happened that week, which I feel stole the show from Him. And if anyone deserves their moment in the spot light, it is Captain America…and not just because He is one half of the perfect poly Dom team. But because of all that He has done, battles still and simply is. Rather than boring you with the same old stuff from last time, I thought I would get REAL with you and share why I not only love this man but RESPECT Him.

Almost three years ago we met online (yes, that naughty fetish site…where else?). We became friends because His son and my daughter had both just been diagnosed with high-functioning autism (Asperger’s). He was in a pretty bad place then. His marriage had just ended…and His ex-wife had remarried almost immediately. He could not work because of the PTSD and the brain injury He had sustained in Iraq. He was living with His parents because of course it is not enough to fight for your country when you get back you have to fight it just to get the benefits that should be yours.

But through all of that I saw the courage, the warrior spirit that had led Him to become a Marine. Of course, I was attracted to Him. Just look (stole other pics He don’t know about…like I tell Him…’so spank me’).

Nothing like the USMC for turning boys into men…

I remember thinking…IF I could write a hero for me, he could not be as perfect as This guy. But the age difference and my body image issues loomed over me. I finally did though take a risk and asked…’would I stand a snow balls chance in hell with you?’

But the time was not right. Long distance relationships are tough. That time the distance was too much for us. We drifted apart. Occasionally, we would still message just to find out how He was doing. Those messages became rarer though and when I entered another ill-fated relationship, we stopped talking for a year.

His profile pic back then…

I could never forget Him. Then one morning I was on that site…something I had not been in months. I saw that He was online. I could not resist…just as a friend of course. It was instant…like no time had passed. We quickly caught up…and I was awed about the progress He had made, the battles He had fought.

Things of course progressed from there. We began messaging almost every day. Then we started talking (goddess bless Skype voice). Things were not easy. There were misunderstandings…miscommunications. Long distance still sucks. And honestly, if not for Thor’s friendship and constant reminders that guys think differently, we might have drifted apart again. That is the power of poly…even BEFORE we were REALly poly.

So WHY is Captain America worth a second time on REAL Man Monday? Why do I respect this man more even than I love Him?

Because through it ALL…

  • Undiagnosed Asperger’s that made His teen years a nightmare and horror story…
  • Finally finding His place in the U S Marine Corps…
  • Only to have it all blown away in Iraq, losing half his platoon, his mentor and good friends…
  • Battling Survivor’s Guilt, PTSD and a Traumatic Brain Injury…things that will NEVER go away…
  • Coming home to an ex-wife that was emotionally and at times physically abusive (because for Captain America…a man never hits a woman, not even in self-defence)…
  • Losing not just His marriage but daily contact with the children that were literally His only reason for existing then…
  • Having to fight the VA for the benefits that should have just been His by right…

Hell, just waking up every morning with ALL of that on His shoulders and finding the courage to battle on under what would break most of the rest of us. For all of that I RESPECT Him even more than I love Him…and that’s a hell of a lot, folks.

He has come so fucking far in the years we have been friends. And I admire that warrior spirit that sustains Him. Sometimes I think I dreamed Him into life…

I began writing Sergeant Mike’s Miracle Tour over a year before I met Him, but it is His story. He even helps me fact check it, though I won’t let Him read it lest it trigger the PTSD. Maybe one day though.

I mentioned in Sensual Saturday that there was a moment that would have made the perfect ending to our romance novel. It went something like this…(Had to fictionalize it because it is just too intense to share otherwise).

Tara inhaled deeply. Peace, completeness, home. How long had it been since she had felt those things? Her vision of tranquil forested country side that had her day-dreaming of log cabins and fires blurred as unshed tears filled her eyes. Was it being home…her country? Was it the new friends she had made?

Sean Chest
Miss my pillow…

No, it was Him. This man that had been her friend for so long. And now her lover. 

She looked across at Him. Was this even REAL? Or simply another of her stories? ‘If it is…please goddess never let this one end,’ she thought.

He glanced from the road and smiled. Her heart skipped a beat. Tenderly He brought her hand that was resting, entwined with His, on the console between them to His lips.  He brushed a kiss across the back of her knuckles. His moustache and beard tickled just a bit, just as they did when He pressed His lips to hers. 

“You’ve done more for me in ten days than the doctors or even my friends could in five years.”

No, Captain America, it is all YOU. My Marine. My warrior. My friend. My lover. My Dom.

It is so easy for life to get any of us down. And goddess knows, this man has faced shit that would break most of us. But it did not Him. Like His Marine sword, those fires only tempered and strengthened His character.

And it is that strength, that character, that fighting spirit that makes Him worthy of a second look…not only in my life but as REAL Man Monday. Because there does not get anything more REAL than all that He has conquered. You are and always will be a REAL live Super Hero to me…

Serious Sunday…Autism: Deal Wif It!

One of the core values of Brand Tara is that Life sucks. My books are full of everyday problems like PTSD, body image and this one that is very personal to me…Autism. So this Serious Sunday, we look at what it means to REALly be the parent of a child with high-functioning autism (formerly called Asperger’s).

And please…pretty please…NEVER do this…


Yes, this girl does have a crop and no, she ain’t afraid to use it.

But seriously, raising an autistic child, especially as a single parent, is both the most important and difficult thing I have ever done. Yesterday is a perfect example of what our life is REALly about…

This whole week has been big for us, because of Thanksgiving. PanKwake has been so great. We had the adults’ celebration on Thursday evening and she slept right through the whole thing, even me straightening the kitchen and unwinding a bit. Then Friday, we had her friends over. Of course, that is utter and complete organized chaos, but we all loved it. I even allowed one of her friends to sleep over.

Yesterday then I had a friend that I first met through the BDSM lifestyle over. We have been close friends for close to three years now…and she had never met PanKwake. That’s right…never met my child, but not for the reason you think.

I am not ashamed of my kinky friends or afraid they will harm my child. That is ill-informed lies…in fact, if you look at the headlines…be more worried about Sunday school teachers/priests, Scout leaders and teachers than alternative lifestyle types. And this friend in particular is a kickass Mom herself.

But I have lost loads of friends, some really good ones, when they met my PanKwake. Some of them are dismayed at the way I parent her, perhaps thinking she is spoiled and needs more discipline. That I can handle better than the ones that feel sorry for me. I don’t want or need anyone’s pity for the gift of my Super Hero…and next step in human evolution (Homo autistica).

I had arranged it so that once more my friend would not meet PanKwake. Except that the friend, who stayed the night, her mother was running late and I could not leave PanKwake’s carer with TWO special needs gladiator princesses. So I sucked it up and took my friend back to the house…and everything was great. PanKwake even used her good manners when my friend gave her the book that she had bought for her.

But the piper must always be paid. At 3:30 last night, PanKwake had one of her REALly bad meltdowns. I mean kicking, screaming, trying to run away, cursing, ‘You lied to me,’ ‘I don’t want to live here anymore’ ones. Why? Because she wanted a pizza…delivery at that time was closed already. Yes, I had promised her one, but she fell asleep as my friend and I came back and by the time either of us remembered it was just too late. There was NOTHING I could do, but wait it out. Forty-five minutes… 45 long minutes… three-quarters of an hour.

Now to a single person, someone who has never had children or even the parent of a ‘normal’ child that sounds like my child is spoiled. But there is the difference between a temper tantrum and a meltdown. A temper tantrum is about getting what you want. A meltdown is a PANIC ATTACK. When I first read that, it changed how I saw my child and how I dealt with her.

As I have shared before, I had a major depressive episode, what they used to call a mental breakdown, after my miscarriage six years ago. I remember one day walking down the street crying my eyes out, my heart pounding so hard that I thought it would burst out of my chest, my hands were clammy and shaking. I could not breathe. I could not get on the bus to get home because I could not handle being that close to people. People were either staring at me…or worse yet, carefully avoiding even glancing in my direction.

I was forty-five years old. I had a fucking Masters degree. I had managed six million dollar charity campaigns, dealt with drunk Hollyweird divas, and planned parties in the country estate of a REAL live Duke. And I could NOT stop what was happening inside my body.

How the fuck can I expect a child to? From that moment, I never try to discipline or punish her for something she cannot control. All I can do is keep her safe, avoid eye contact as much as possible, keep talking/noise to a minimum and wait it out.

I compare these meltdowns to a volcanic eruption. Like I write about in Rings of Fire (Book 2 of the Apocalypse series after The Arrangement), when enough molten magma collects in the reservoir beneath the volcano, it is going to erupt. There is nothing the best scientists in the world can do to stop it. All they can do is move people out of the way and wait it out…sound familiar?

That is what it is REALly like being the Strong Loving Autism Parent (my Facebook group where I stole that meem). Living in the beautiful, tranquil nature of Mount St. Helens, knowing that an active volcano roars just beneath it and that one day it is going to blow, nothing you can do about it. If you spend your life fearing that eruption, then you miss the beauty all around you.

And that title? It is one of those beauties. When people are mean to her, PanKwake will tell them ‘I’m autistic. Deal wif it.’

You may ask what is it that I/we do want if not your ‘advice,’ judgemental attitude or pity? The same thing that I want and fight for as someone who is polyamorous and into the REAL BDSM…ACCEPTANCE. That simple…just to smile and accept that my child’s brain is different. Not disabled. Not weak. Not less than your ‘normal’ child’s. Just fucking DIFFERENT. And that those differences make this world a richer and better place.

Because besides this meem, my other favorite one from that group says:

I could no more spank the autism out of my child than I could slap the stupid out of you. 

As I tell everyone…I can handle my child. Actually, I love her autism. I honestly do believe in my heart that autistic/Asperger’s individuals are as Magneto calls them…’the next step in human evolution.’ And I am blessed to have not just PanKwake, but Captain America and two of his children as A-wo/men in my life. No, I can manage my child. What I cannot handle is OTHER PEOPLE.

Don’t pity us…just accept us as different and beautiful and the special gift we are to this fucked up world.

Sensual Saturday…What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Every Thanksgiving, I always pause between the main course and pumpkin/pecan pie and ask my guests, ‘What are you thankful for?’ I did that again this year, but I added a second question too. Blame Thor, but more about that later. This year I also asked, ‘What is love?’ That’s right, the romance writer wants to know what is love.

The answers were as varied as my guests of course, but I got some really good ones. Love is…

  • Being accepted.
  • Feeling safe.
  • Belonging.
  • Looking in their eyes and feeling at home.
  • Comfort.

My daughter-in-law had a good one though. From Brandon Sanderson’s Firefight:

“You’re like a potato!” I shouted after her. “In a minefield.”

She froze in place. Then she spun on me, her face lit by a half-grown fruit. “A potato,” she said flatly. “That’s the best you can do? Seriously?”

“It makes sense,” I said. “Listen. You’re strolling through a minefield, worried about getting blown up. And then you step on something, and you think, ‘I’m dead.’ But it’s just a potato. And you’re so relieved to find something so wonderful when you expected something so awful. That’s what you are. To me.”

My son, Mr. Stability, had actually purchased an autographed copy of the book for her, since Sanderson is among her favorite authors. Not just signed, but it actually says…To Gretta, You are a potato in a minefield. Brandon.

Damn, sometimes my son can do so good. I actually kind of like the potato one. In some ways, I think that is close to how I feel about Captain America and Thor. I spent almost thirty-five years looking for ‘true’ love. Two marriages, a couple of long term relationships and a couple of Doms until I just gave up. Then not one but two perfect men find me!?!

Back to the beginning though. How did all of this get started? Thor and I were discussing love. He said that he was not sure He had ever actually been in love. Sure, he had those brain chemical attractions that lasted anywhere from five minutes to a year. But if that was love… He was disappointed.

When He gave me His definition of love though, I shook my head. Love was not being to live without someone. And all I could think was…then I hope you never love me either.

This is not the first time I have tackled this topic on Sensual Saturday. Two months ago, I wrote this piece. That friend, Leo, was there and answered too. His answer was very close to Thor’s…’needing to be together.’ And years later, he still needs a dead woman.

11227888_1013308788726266_1746212417406037491_oWhat is love, you ask me? I don’t know. I have used this before…Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous quote on pornography, “I know it when I see it.” Honestly, that may sound strange coming from a romance writer. But romance and erotica follow a formula that ends the whole book where it really should begin.

My trip back home to see Captain America for the first time face-to-face after almost three years as friends and months as much more online/phone would have been a classic romance novel ending. When he raised my hand to His lips and kissed the back of it telling me how much I meant to Him, that would have been the perfect ending for one of my books. But the REAL truth is that is just the beginning of our story. The moment where our journey in love starts…not ends.

And here is another thought to challenge you, maybe it is not love that really makes for strong relationships. Maybe we should spend less time worried about it than respect and trust. Just like our friendships trumps the D/s. I think too that the trust and respect that I share with Them is more important than if Thor ever ‘loves’ me. Yeah, His trust, respect and friendship is MORE than enough for this REAL Woman.

What is love…to you?

Freaky Friday – How REAL D/s Works…

Today, I go back to the very roots of this blog. When I started it back in April, it was as a supplement to my erotic writing. A place to answer everyone’s questions about the stories I write.

And, boy, is this latest chapter of Ægir’s Wife stirring up a hornet’s nest. I love when my writing does that…because it means I got you thinking. Of course, this is not about addressing every single ‘complaint’ about the story, no writer should ever justify their works. But it is about giving you a peak inside their heads and a broader view of where the story comes from.

This one in particular is precious to me because it deals with two facets of my life that are as REAL as they come…BDSM and polyamory. And that may be part of the issue…the dissonance between fantasy and REALity. Because until you live them, it is challenging to accurately portray them. But I am setting poly aside today to focus upon my three Doms in the Ægir’s trilogies…and the very REAL types/people that they represent in the BDSM community.

But before I tackle our Doms, let’s look at our sub…Kirsty. For all of Ægir’s  Captive and most of Bride, I kept hearing how weak she was, how she needed to set limits, and grow a set. Now, someone accused her of ‘domming’ her guys? Well, folks, the truth is…she has grown as a submissive. She is more confident, thanks to the love shown her by Bjorn and Mikael. So, now, she is not awed by these men…she is capable of kneeling as their full partner. More on this later…

Mikael, our beloved sadist, has really come out of his shell. He has become the anchor that holds them all together in fact…and Kirsty’s biggest source of strength. But he remains more sadist than Dom…but with a healthy dose of best friend and lover…a lethal combination, let me tell you personally.

Bjorn, oh sweet, loving Bjorn, reminds me of the saying ‘be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.’ He is discovering the thorns on this rose bush of poly…but in life we cannot never appreciate the good without the bad.

Sven, the one you all love to hate, is an archetype of Dom called an über. From experience, let me tell you…this type is prevalent in the clubs. They are the stars and they shine. That is what he has been for two decades, folks. They live by rules. They know them all, even when they break them. But that is the extent of it…they carefully avoid any connection, emotion or feeling. It threatens them in a way that is not pretty. I have always avoided übers…though I have counted one as a mentor and others among my friends. I know that as an empathe I cannot handle their Mister Cool number as Kirsty calls it.

So now, we get to meat of the matter, ya’ll. How do these types interact in REAL BDSM? Let me begin with two caveats…1) There are no absolutes in BDSM or Poly or life…it is as varied as the individuals. This is based upon personal experience (something that I proudly say separates me from some other writers in this genre) and upon generalities. 2) This is about RELATIONSHIP based BDSM, not about in the bedroom only or scenes in the clubs. This is about how things work day-to-day in 24/7 power exchange.

887383_1048368801886931_2682407686765614424_oThat relationship is about more than rules. In fact, often times those rules and safe words simply do not apply at all. It is about the most important thing of all…TRUST. When you have that, then you don’t need the other.

I shared the other week about the young couple that we tried to help. This was one of the things that he could not grasp…that the relationship trumps the BDSM. When I said that the friendship I shared with Thor and Captain America was not only the basis for our D/s but also TRUMPED it, his mind almost exploded.

But in REAL life D/s, there is no conflict. They build upon one another. I respect these men as my Doms, because of the way they proved themselves as my friends first. And I am better friends with them because of the intimacy we share in D/s. It is that snow ball that just keeps getting bigger and bigger. But at its core was that tiny truth of…friends, first, last and always as Thor and I promised one another when we began this journey. Which leads me to…

The roles/boundaries are not as distinct as you think. Someone mentioned that Mikael should not have mentioned the tawse in ‘vanilla’ lovemaking. The truth is that in REAL life 24/7 power exchange you slip into and out of roles seamlessly. Because you cannot walk three paces behind him with your head down all the time (and he would get bored damned quickly if you did).

The perfect example is shopping in Wal-Mart with Captain America. Now this girl HATES shopping, but it had been seven years since I had been inside a Wally World (as our family calls them). So every time (about a half a dozen) we went to one, it was like a trip to Disney Land for me.

So one time we were walking around, laughing and joking, holding hands…about as ‘vanilla’ boyfriend/girlfriend as you get. I wanted to go off looking for something (probably ANOTHER toy for PanKwake) and he said ‘We did not come here for that.’ How many times you think that same conversation happened between couples there…in a single day even? Dozens? Hundreds?  Maybe even a thousand.

What was different though was the reaction…my head bowed, my eyes dropped and the only words out of my mouth were…’Yes, Sir.’ No resentment. No argument. Because as His, He is the one that makes such choices. That is what power exchange and 24/7 REALly means.

That does not mean I have to be a mindless zombie though. This is where that other complaint about Kirsty being too ‘bratty’ comes in. Even in TPE, total power exchange (which I do not yet share with either of them only because this cannot truly work without living together), a sub still needs to maintain some of her identity…for her mental health and because like I said He would get bored so damned quickly.

Mind you, it was Captain America that first taught me the word shieldmaiden. When we first explored taking our friendship to another level two years ago and began negotiating, He told me that He was not sure that He would ever be a traditional Master type, that what He really sought was a shieldmaiden…someone capable of being her own person, but ultimately His. So, hell yeah, when I have something important to say, He listens. It is just knowing when something is important…and one more toy was not worth it.

The other night when things fell apart and my young sub friend was so upset I did something I rarely do…I Topped her. Now this is in conference with both my Doms. At one point as I was calming and soothing her, Thor texted: ‘You keeping tabs on all the tips our little subbie is giving us, Captain America?’

You see, They respect me just as much as I do them. They would not want anything less than a warrior woman, capable of standing shoulder and shoulder with Them on this fucking battle field of life, but one who kneels and offers her shield and sword willing to her Commanding Officers out of respect, loyalty and trust.

Right now, I am taking a kickass blogging course by Jeff Goins called the Intentional Blog. As part of that, one of the assignments in terms of finding/honing your voice (I know…sometimes ya’ll wish I would lose mine…lol) was to ask five people you know to describe you in three words. Of course, two of mine HAD to be Them. Here are their answers:

Thor: dedicated, honest, loyal, sensual (in that order…he put the other three even before sensual)

Captain America: sweet, wonderful, cerebral

See why I love my guys? They see the REAL me and not just what They want me to be. Pretty sweet, though when those two line up.

Those are just some of the REALities of relationship based D/s that no fiction book or even in the bedroom or club only scenes can ever give you. And that is the unique perspective of a REAL sub, who REALly loves and respects her Doms, brings to this story. Because in the end…D/s is about that TRUST and bond between two…or more…people. It is not perfect…it is always a work in progress…but it is very much REAL…in a way no other relationship ever can be.

And that is what Sven, the über, is so fucking frightened of…no rules, no protocol, a very different type of control. Pretty frightening stuff for a man that spent forty years in perfect control of his subs, his ship, his family and most especially his emotions. In REAL life, the übers that I have known would run so far and so fast from the intensity (OH…perfect word for it…INTENSE!) of this kind of relationship.

But this is fiction, this is Tara Neale’s world where everyone can have their ‘happily ever afters’ so don’t give up on him either, folks. Though the road may get even rockier than it has so far…I hope you will hang in there with me. For this journey into How REAL D/s Works.

Thankful Thursday…

No, folks, that is not a typo. Thoughtful Thursday has been transformed this week into a Thankful one in honor of my American Thanksgiving. And what could be more thoughtful than to take a few moments to count your blessings.

ThanksThat is actually a tradition at my Thanksgiving celebrations. Whether we write them down or go around the room and share them, amid the turkey and pumpkin pie is always a moment to pause and give thanks to Fate, my goddess, aliens, whatever you believe in or whatever-the-fuck-is-out-there. So let me begin early…

  • My children – always top the list. Jeff, Mere-Mere, Chris, James, Gabriel and PanKwake, even if I do become the next E L James, you will always be the very best thing that I ever did with my life. I am soproud of you all. No mother could ask for more perfect people than you in her life. I treasure a lifetime of memories with each of you…the good and the not-so-good. Oh, and I almost forgot the latest addition, Greta…thank you for Jeff, for giving me another daughter. Maybe one day us girls will outnumber you guys.
  • The basics – like having a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food on the table. Too many of us take those things for granted or spend way too much time complaining because what we do have is not what we want. But the most important thing is having what you NEED.
  • My friends – to Livnah and Karaline the two new writing friends that I have met face-to-face…thank you for being part of my tribe. To my other writing friends…hope we can meet one day too. To my new tribe back home in the USA…thank you for adopting me even if only for His sake. I miss you so much, today especially, and hope to be back soon. And to my UK friends that I am spending this day and tomorrow with…thank you for making this exile in the desert bearable. Oh, and thank you to my online friends too…whether we ever meet face-to-face or not, many of you have touched me deeply with the right words at the wrong time…meems are like greeting cards from total strangers.
  • Them – Captain America and Thor. Words escape me. The past two Thanksgiving in particular, there has not been anyone special to mention. And this year, I am doubly blessed with not one perfect man but two. What each of you brings to my life and gives me is so unique, I am so grateful that I do not have to choose…thank you for being poly with me, even in the rough moments, especially then.  I love you both the same and differently. Yeah, Thor, I used those words again…deal with it, I do it so rarely with you that on days like this suck it up…and say ‘thank you, pet.’ That is more than enough. And Captain America, thank you for every single one of the times you so generously share those words with me…and the cuddles that I miss so much right now.
  • Being a writer – there is no other job that I can imagine loving as much as I do this one except being a mother…and goddess knows I have had some interesting ones along this road called life, but not even chef/cook comes close to this in terms of fulfilling me.
  • Which bring me to…YOU – my readers. Without you none of this would be possible. No, I am not famous yet. Heck, that is not the point…my message of 1) life sucks 2) love is the only thing that makes it worth living and 3) great sex is the best way to show that/those special someone/s that you love them…is what is important, not this silly messenger. Because this year and always as much as it is about giving thanks for what we do have…it is also about the HOPE that tomorrow will be better and brighter. That is what I am wishing for all of you.

So goddess bless, protect and heal you all this special Thankful Thursday and always!



REAL Woman Wednesday – Get REAL HollyWeird!

As I said on Monday, I have run out of friends to hassle for REAL Man Monday and REAL Woman Wednesday, but I remain committed to highlighting the unrealistic views of love and beauty portrayed not only in the movies and television but on the covers of most books in my genre.

Today I stumbled upon a Facebook blog of X celebrities who are ageing poorly. When I looked through them, my jaw drop. People like Brad Pitt and Jonny Depp? Britney Spears and Renee Zellweger? But this one really took the cake…

Meg Now     Meg Then

Come on, people, get REAL!?!

This is a fifty-four year old woman…54. And she is still damned beautiful.

Why is it that we are not allowed to age?

Why is it assumed by my industry in particular that the only characters capable of finding REAL love are those in their 20s? Let me tell you a secret, folks…twenty somethings usually screw up their first loves/marriages, because they don’t have the maturity to appreciate how good they gots it.

I was really excited when a friend of mine released a novella about a couple, who were in their mid-40 and had been married for over 20 years. I thought…not there is a story I can truly appreciate. Then I saw the cover…20 or at best 30-something couple and he was definitely not sporting the slight paunch that she had so lovingly described in her book. I almost cried.

And that, my friends, is why Tara Neale books do NOT have naked people on the cover. I have toyed, of course, with the idea of putting REAL people on them…but look at the problem I am having getting them just to volunteer for REAL Man Monday and REAL Woman Wednesday. So until I can find brave souls, I will stick to my inanimate objects that are crucial to my storylines.

Oh and Meg, darlin’, DON’T listen to them! I would pay to see a re-make of ‘You’ve Got Mail.’ In fact, I think that storyline would make loads more sense for a couple in their 50s than their 20s/30s. I can so see that kind of angst between two strong, mature characters butting heads. Damn, you HollyWeird, you shot that wad too soon for sure.



Tease Tuesday…Where’s my dress?

Today, I am sharing with you an excerpt from one of my friends from Literotica, my writing group, and someone I love doing coffee with…Karaline. In the last month,, we have shared laughter, tears and raunchy stories over coffee almost every week…well, except when I was back home. I hope you enjoy…The Yellow Dress.

At the sound of a door banging her eyes flew open.

For a moment she was disorientated, but it didn’t take her long to locate the change. It wasn’t pitch black any more, there was light spilling in from across the room. And He was back, she could see him now, looming over her.

She had no idea how much time he’d been gone or whether she had even been conscious for all of it but as he slid his hands underneath her and hoisted her into his arms, lifting her exhausted body and carrying her out of the cellar she noticed her limbs had grown stiff and achey from her time on the damp floor. She was surprised at his strength but she could smell the alcohol on him, stronger than before and she clung to his shoulders as he carried her up a flight of steep narrow steps, worrying he might fall or drop her. The staircase seemed to shake/tremble with every footfall. As they emerged into the hallway the sudden increase in light blinded her and she squeezed her eyes closed. She should be looking, memorising her surroundings, planning her escape but she couldn’t keep them open, it was too much.

He put her down prostrate on the bed and somehow without needing to see it, she just knew she was back in the same room. She lay absolutely still with her eyes squeezed closed, fists clenched by her sides. She didn’t think for a moment he actually believed she was asleep. Anyone with half a brain would know she was wide awake, she was trembling uncontrollably for starters. But she was too frightened to open her eyes and meet his gaze, too terrified to move. So instead she lay there.

He began undoing the buttons down the front of her dress.

Yellow DressAlthough she couldn’t see, all of her other senses were in overdrive, wherever his fingers brushed, goosebumps erupted across her skin. And she could hear him through her self imposed darkness, his breathing heavy and laboured still, after the exertion of carrying her. As he leant over her, reaching his hands behind her neck to untie the knotted fabric holding the halter neck in place and she could feel his breath against her throat, smell the bitter aroma of the unfamiliar spirit. Finally when he’d finished undoing it, he dragged the dress roughly out from underneath her and she was left only in her underwear.

Then there was silence.

She waited for something more to happen and when it didn’t she wondered if he’d gone. She hadn’t heard him leave. Unaware that she was clenching her fists tighter, she opened her eyes.

He sitting on the edge of the bed watching her. He didn’t look angry exactly but his gaze was hard and uncompromising as it travelled across her face. As she met his stare her instinct was telling her to move away, to stop lying here, vulnerable, close enough for him to touch. But her mind was telling her something else. ‘Keep still,’ it whispered. He reminded her of a predator and she knew that sometimes it was better not to run from predators, the chase excited them.

He stood and walked around the bed, she followed him with her eyes, her heart beat accelerating with every step he took. She realised with a jolt that he was he was also, wearing very little now. She had been so wrapped up with her own state on undress she hadn’t noticed at first. She couldn’t make out much in the dim light but he was big, he had the kind of physique that made it hard to see were his neck began and his head ended. He lay down next to her and leaning across her and switched the lamp off plunging the room into darkness.

He pulled a sheet over them both and pulled her into his embrace, pressing his chest against her back wrapping both his arms around her, draping one of his legs over hers, he was heavy and he was holding her so tightly she couldn’t move an inch.

“Sleep” he grunted against her hair. It was the only word he’d spoken since his most recent arrival in the basement.

She lay, listening to him breath and looking around her as her eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness, she could make out the silhouette of the furniture in the room. She tried to calm her own breathing without much success. But at least the trembling was starting to recede.

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