Come As You Are
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by Melinda Barron
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica
Description: Tempest Gandy needs a change. After leaving her job as a television news producter, she purchased a house in the French Quarter and is now working to turn it into a B&B. Unfortunately, she's not sleeping well at night and she's pretty sure something paranormal is going on in her house. When her fatigue starts to interfere with her work during the day, she contacts her friend Quinn, who works with the New Orleans Ghost Seekers. Franco LeBeau can read minds. When the Ghost Seekers meet at his French Quarter establishment to discuss a new case, he meets Tempest and is thrilled to discover that her thoughts match his own: instant attraction. But after hearing Tempest's story, his attraction instantly turns to worry. He knows it's not a ghost disturbing Tempest's sleep, but an incubus. The Seekers agree to help Tempest battle the sex demon, and Franco offers to act as a bodyguard during the night. Of course, Tempest hopes Franco will do more with her body than guard it. Only one thing stands in their way: a demon that may be too powerful to kill, and who wants Tempest for himself.
eBook Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: November 2009
36 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [123 KB]
Reading time: 68-95 min.
* * * *
Oh so beautiful, this one
She warms my soul and gives me hope
Could she be the one?
Yes, I believe she is, in one form or another
Either she'll gift me with her life
Or she'll provide me with my heart's desire
* * * *
So hard to tell which one I would like best
It's always such a pleasure to watch them die
But the sweet morsel lying beneath me right now
Shouldn't die so quickly
It would be a waste of her warm and willing body
* * * *
Now, my little angel
Do not fret so, all will be well
Yes, that's it
Sleep now, my sweet
And rest well
You'll need your strength
* * * *
Tempest Gandy opened her eyes slowly, her spirit savoring the soft light caressing her face. It came in through a small crack in the translucent sheers hanging from the full-length windows that led to the balcony. And it marked another new day, another day where she woke up tired, despite the fact she'd slept the night through. Her body ached as if she'd been taking part in a sex marathon. What was wrong with her?
She closed her eyes, remembering the dream that had kept her wrapped up tightly; the warm male hands that caressed her breasts and stroked her thighs, leaving her body tingling for more.
But while her body craved the attention of her dream lover, her mind screamed at her that something was wrong. This was the seventh night in a row that she'd had this dream. They were always the same, featuring a man who didn't seem to have a face--or even a body, stroking her to orgasm, leaving her sated and very sore.
He didn't seem to care about his own pleasure, for when she'd tried to reach for him she'd realized he wasn't there. One minute he'd been touching her, the next he'd just vanished.
No, that wasn't really right. He hadn't been there in the first place. She'd never seen a form. That had been just fine with her. When was the last time a lover had cared about her enough to make her climax without worrying about his own pleasure?
Never, that's when. She shouldn't be concerned about it. After all, it was only a dream.
Or was it?
The last few mornings her clit had been sore, as if someone had actually toyed with it all night long. And today was no different.
She had climaxed again and again. And again. And again. The sensations had risen with each climax, so much so that she would be screaming at him to leave her alone, to stay away from her, to let her rest. Too much pleasure could bring pain. She'd tried to convince him of that but he wouldn't listen.
Until right at the end. She remembered his deep voice whispering for her to relax, to sleep. And she had. But not enough for her to forget the dream.
She pushed back the covers and swung her feet over the side of the bed, the hard wood chilly under her soles as she stood and padded over to the floor to ceiling windows, pulling back the sheers and lifted the sash all the way up. She stepped outside, not caring that she wore only the shorts and ripped T-shirt that she slept in.
It was early, the only people who would be out now were her neighbors and she trusted every one of them. Tourists didn't generally find their way to her neighborhood until later in the day. At this time of the morning, they would be exhausted from partying on Bourbon Street the night before to go exploring. She took a deep breath and sighed in pleasure as the smells of fried dough coated with sugar reached her nostrils. Beignets. Her mouth watered and she made plans to go to the corner and pick up some of the tasty concoctions, along with a large cafe au lait.
October in New Orleans: it didn't get much better than this. The weather would be middle of the road, there might be some rain but it wouldn't be too bad. Not at this time of the month. The heavier rains generally came earlier in the season, and this year the storms had been blessedly absent.
She'd worried a little about buying her house on Dauphine, five blocks from the Mississippi River. If another hurricane like Katrina hit, she might regret it. But she decided she'd cross that bridge when she came to it. Her house was located one street over from Bourbon, which would come in handy when she'd finished all the repairs and opened her B&B; it would be within walking distance for partiers.
The house had been in relatively good repair, despite the fact it had set empty for almost ten years. It had escaped the worst of Katrina's wrath, and the last owners had obviously planned to do what she was doing: running a B&B. Their work had been extensive, and she wondered once again why they'd given it up. The realtor practically salivated over Tempest's interest in the property, and when she'd named the asking price of a little more than $150,000 for the six bedroom, three-bath house, Tempest had been amazed. She'd also been very suspicious.
She'd once again questioned the former owner's motives, but the realtor would only tell her they'd moved back East.
The realtor assured Tempest that there was nothing structurally wrong with the building, and the inspection had confirmed that information. She'd decided the deficiency must be that there was a ghost attached to the building, but that idea had quickly vanished. Having a resident ghost would be a definite plus in a New Orleans hotel. People would run to book rooms if they thought there was a chance of meeting up with a spirit. She could probably double the price she would be asking for rooms.
Plus, she'd been in the house for more than two months now and had not seen an inkling of a ghost. All that had happened was her recurring sexual dreams that left her more depleted of energy as the days passed.
She needed coffee. Now. She took one last, lingering look at the street, waving to Mrs. Baker, who had lived in this neighborhood since the 1940s. When she'd first moved in, Tempest had tried to guess the woman's age, but there was no one around to tell her whether she was right or not. Her neighbor, Dex, had only said, "She's been here forever." Going up to the woman and saying, "So, did you enjoy the 1920s?" didn't seem like the proper thing to do, so Tempest had just let it slide.
The older woman, a to-go cup of coffee in one hand and a white pastry bag in the other, wiggled the sack to return the greeting. Then she hurried down the block and darted inside her gate. Mrs. Baker would stop to talk to Tempest when Tempest was on the street, but she would never come near the front door, and when Tempest greeted her from the balcony as she'd just done, the woman never kept her gaze fastened on the house for long.
As Tempest studied the spot where Mrs. Baker had just been, she wondered why she avoided the house. All the other neighbors had come by to welcome her to the area two months ago when she'd moved in. All of them except for the one who had lived here the longest. Strange.
She shook her head to clear her thoughts, then centered on her to-do list for the day. The plumber would be here at one, to change out the fittings in one of the downstairs bathrooms. Before that, though, the gardener was going to finish putting in the fountain she'd selected--a large, wonderfully carved block of stone with a marble sphere on top of it. The water would move the sphere, giving it, she hoped, a sort of otherworldly feel.
The garden behind the house was huge; another thing she hoped would be a great draw to potential customers. One of the previous owners had torn down the slave quarters that once sat behind the house, extending the area for plantings. The gardener had already set up three stone benches at various places, two of them tucked behind bushes that would give young newlyweds a place to go and neck when they booked a room.
"Don't get ahead of yourself," she whispered. "You have to get things done first. One day at a time, and it's just the two things today."
She stretched her arms above her head and yawned. "Well, that and the painting. I need to finish the kitchen."
She'd selected bright yellow for the kitchen, accenting it with light green to give it a cheery look that made people feel at home. It was a large space, with a table for come and go breakfast offerings.
Thinking about breakfast made her stomach rumble. Time to shower, eat and get the day going. She moved back inside the window, stopping to stare at the doorway. Her two large black cats, Trinculo and Prospero, stood just beyond the entry to the bedroom, staring at her.
"Come on in, you two." When they didn't move, she put her hands on her hips. "Listen, your strike about avoiding this room needs to end. There's nothing here. Get in here or no tuna for you tonight."
When neither cat moved, she frowned. This really was getting to be too much. They'd had one strange experience and the cats would no longer come in here. At first, they'd been thrilled with their new surroundings. They'd run from room to room, examining each place and checking out new furniture as it had arrived.
She knew they'd picked out their favorite places to sleep, and hoped that, when guests started arriving, the closed doors would not upset her felines. And she hoped whatever dogs the customers brought were okay with cats. Her four-legged companions were laid-back enough to be ambivalent about having new animals around. They never had. This was why it concerned her that they'd banished themselves from her bedroom.
"Weirdos." She stepped toward them, stopping just inside the doorway. She bent down and extended her hand. "Come on, Culo, Pero, come here." If she didn't know better, she would almost bet that they both shook their heads. Either way, neither of them moved, their stony stares remaining fixed on her face.
"You know I miss you two at night. Do you miss me?" They gave her no indication of an answer and Tempest stood. "Fine, be that way. Maybe I should trade you in for newer models."
The moment she stepped outside the room, both cats started to meow furiously.
"Okay, I'll feed you. Give me a second."
She hurried to the bathroom, wondering how much money it would cost to outfit her own room with a private bath. When she'd first moved in, the idea there wasn't one hadn't bothered her. But the more she thought about it, the more she'd decided she wanted one. She made a mental note to ask the plumber today. She went about her business, then traveled down the stairs, both cats running around her to race toward the kitchen.
She put down food, watching as they bent their heads toward the bowls. "At least your fear of my bedroom didn't put you off your eating schedule." After a few minutes of watching them scarf down food, she decided it was time for her to do the same.
After taking a quick shower, she donned some jeans and a loose T-shirt. A trip to the corner store provided her with coffee and beignets, which she enjoyed in the garden as she watched Culo and Pero chase after insects. Watching their exuberance reminded her of the listless way they would stare into her bedroom, and their refusal to cross the entranceway.
Something was up. Maybe she needed to have a priest come over and bless the house, or she should burn some sage around each room. Or both. That would cover all her bases. Before she did that, though, she needed to finish the renovations.
"I'm going inside, you two. Are you coming with me?" Both of them stopped chasing a butterfly and turned to her. The looks on their faces said, "We're having fun, leave us alone."
Tempest laughed. "Lazy butts. You need to grow opposable thumbs so you can pick up a paint brush."
She turned toward the house, her energy picking up just a little with the influx of caffeine. She'd paint, then take a break for another trip to the store for another jolt of coffee. It would be a perfect morning.