Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Release: Erotic Ghost Romance

Yesterday Ellora’s Cave ( released my short erotic ghost romance “Heart Diamond” in their birthstone series of Quickies. I picked the diamond for April because this is my birth month. The premise of my story was inspired by an actual website,, of a company that purports to make artificial diamonds from cremated ashes. In my tale, the heroine inherits a ring made from her dead fiancé’s ashes. I received an e-mail pointing out a fact I hadn’t known, that the cremation process drives off all carbon atoms; therefore, any carbon incorporated into the diamond actually comes from the surrounding atmosphere. Nevertheless, for fictional purposes the ring with its artificially formed gem makes a close enough fit to my premise about earthbound spirits—that they need an anchor and that a portion of their mortal remains works best for that purpose. In effect, the hero (who on his deathbed asked his parents to have the ring constructed from his cremains) uploads his personality into the diamond, as in some SF stories people preserve their consciousness after death by uploading their essential selves into computers. As for the larger question of why ghosts exist at all, when our culture’s prevalent beliefs postulate moving on to an afterlife, I take the conventional position that a life ended violently, prematurely, or with an unfinished task may result in the spirit’s lingering on Earth (a form of purgatory, which I imagine to be the case with Marley in “A Christmas Carol,” expiating his sins by trying to redeem Scrooge). Of course, I also had to make other decisions about the nature of ghosts, such as whether and under what conditions they can affect their physical surroundings.

Since “Heart Diamond” is an erotic romance, I can’t post much of it on this blog, but here’s an excerpt from the opening scene:

The door buzzer cut through the bleakness of yet another Saturday evening. Too late for a door-to-door solicitor. Who would visit at this hour without calling first? Roseanne switched off the black-and-white movie she’d been half watching and trudged to the door. Pausing with her hand on the chain, she said, “Who is it?”
“Just me.”
Ted, her late fiancé’s brother. She sighed. I should have guessed. He was her only friend who never bothered to phone before dropping in. As little as she wanted to deal with him on a weekend night, she didn’t have the heart to tell him to get lost. “Yeah, what’s up?” she asked, unfastening the chain. Through the door, she heard the patter of a steady rain.
“I’ve got something important to tell you. Okay if I come in?” His voice sounded enough like his brother’s to give her a fresh twinge of sorrow, though they weren’t completely alike. Ted’s was pitched a little higher.
“You might as well, just for a minute. I was thinking about getting ready for bed.” Lucky she hadn’t changed into her nightgown yet. The way Ted’s eyes roamed over her even in a ratty T-shirt made her vaguely uncomfortable, though he’d never overtly hit on her.
His face always gave her an unwelcome shock. She hoped he didn’t notice the wince of pain she tried to suppress. It wasn’t his fault that he’d been in the car when his brother died or that the two of them looked so much alike. Strangers had often mistaken them for twins, despite the seventeen-month difference in their ages. They had the same honey-gold hair, which Tim had worn a bit longer and shaggier than Ted’s. The same height—six feet two—and they shared a trim, broad-shouldered but not muscle-bound build. Their eyes were different shades of blue—Tim’s closer to gray and Ted’s profile was a little sharper. Still, any unexpected glimpse of him pierced her breast with a pang of longing and sometimes ignited a flare of need between her thighs, chased by a shadow of guilt. She never considered pursuing that illusion. She knew the inner differences between the brothers too well. Friends with them since high school, she’d dated Ted only a few times before she’d discovered reasons to prefer Tim.
“Mom and Dad asked me to bring you this.” He strolled into the living room, lounged on the couch and took a small box out of his pocket. His hair and shirt were damp from the rain.
Roseanne sat down, careful to keep space between them. “What is it?”
“Something Tim left for you.” Ted opened the box. It held a silver ring with a blue-tinted, oval-cut diamond flanked by a pair of diamond chips.
She took it from him, her hand trembling and tears misting her eyes. “How—?”
“While the folks were visiting Tim in the ICU, he was conscious for a little while. He asked them to have this ring made for you if he didn’t survive. He said you’d talked about it once. Sounded kind of creepy to me.”
“Why?” Roseanne’s tears made a sparkling halo around the gems. During Tim’s lifetime, they hadn’t gotten around to buying an engagement ring. “What’s creepy about it?”
Ted visibly swallowed, as if working up the nerve to answer. “Because it’s made from his ashes. I tried to talk Mom and Dad out of it but they said that was his last wish and he’d been in his right mind when he made it. Personally, I wasn’t so sure.”
“He did show me the website when he happened to stumble on it. We thought it was cute and sentimental in a weird way., it’s called.” After touching a fingernail to the central stone, she set the box on the coffee table.
“Morbid, if you ask me. Frankly, if I hadn’t known our parents would follow up on it with you, I wouldn’t have given you this thing. I’d have returned it for a refund and snuck the money back into their account.”
*After redirecting how much into your own account?* She squelched the thought. No matter how tactless he was, he didn’t deserve to be accused of greed. Making a profit off his brother’s remains, now that would be morbid. “You wouldn’t have any right to do that. Tim wanted me to have this ring and it’s none of your business.”
“How are you ever going to get over his death, staring at this every day?”
Anger flared in her. “Get over it? How can you say a terrible thing like that when it’s been less than six months?”
“Come on, Rosie, Tim would’ve wanted you to move on.”
“How do you know what he would’ve wanted?” She didn’t try to hide the irritation in her voice. How many times had she asked Ted not to call her Rosie?
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.” He scooted over and draped an arm around her shoulders. “I just want to see you start living again. How about going to dinner with me tomorrow night?”
She shook her head and edged away from him. The arm of the couch didn’t leave her much space to retreat. “I don’t feel up to that. Thanks anyway.”
Inching over, he snaked his arm around her again and squeezed her shoulder. “Come on, hon, give me a chance. You must know how I feel about you.”
She stared at him in shock. “No, I don’t, and I don’t want to hear it.” She’d had no idea his repeated invitations, which she’d repeatedly turned down, meant anything other than brotherly concern. Had her passion for Tim and then her grief blinded her so completely that she hadn’t noticed Ted still had a thing for her? Had he felt this way the whole time she’d been dating his brother? She sprang to her feet before he could paw her anymore. “Thanks for delivering the ring. You’d better go now.”
He frowned, anger clouding his eyes. “You can’t leave your heart buried in his grave forever.”
“Well, if I ever dig it up, it won’t be for you.” She stalked to the front door and held it open. “We’re friends and that’s all. Please don’t bring this up again.”
He clutched her arm. “You don’t mean that. You can’t just throw me out.”
Roseanne shook him off. “I’m not throwing you out. I’m asking nicely.” She chilled her tone enough to hint that “nice” wouldn’t necessarily last.
His frown darkened to a scowl. “You’re a healthy woman. You need a man. You can’t go the rest of your life without getting laid.” He grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her against him. His mouth covered hers with suffocating force.
When she felt the hard muscles of his chest against her breasts and his erect cock pressing on her, a rush of heat dampened her underwear. Both ashamed and furious, she shoved him away. “That does it. Get out of here right now.”
Shaking his head, he stomped out. She bolted and chained the door, her stomach churning. She didn’t want to fight with any member of Tim’s family. Why was Ted suddenly acting like such a jerk?
*It must’ve been some crazy impulse of the moment. If I don’t encourage him, he’ll forget about it soon enough.*
Her cheeks burned with humiliation at the way she’d responded to him for that split second. The reaction was pure animal lust, she assured herself. She didn’t even like him that much. She collapsed on the couch and plucked the ring out of the box. The diamond shimmered through the fresh tears that welled up. Though she hadn’t come close to “getting over” her loss, she’d started to grow a protective shell. Now this unexpected gift had cracked the shell to let in the pain all over again.
When she slipped the ring onto her left hand, it fit perfectly. Not long before the accident, she and Tim had gotten measured at a jewelry shop and of course he’d remembered her size. She kept it on during her shower, unwilling to lose contact with it for even a few minutes.
With her eyes closed, she relaxed under the hot water spray and imagined Tim standing behind her and massaging her breasts with soapy hands. Yes, she needed to get laid but not by just any man. Definitely not by her dead lover’s brother. She’d never have the lovemaking she yearned for again.
As if that hopeless thought had conjured it, a shock like static electricity zapped through her. Had the bathroom wiring shorted out? If so, she couldn’t stay under the shower. Just as she reached for the faucet, something looped around her wrist.
-end of excerpt-

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