CoverHimwithDarkness_hiresI leapt at the chance to have Janine Ashbless on my blog page again to promote her new book ‘Cover Him With Darkness’ as she is my favourite erotica author. And the excerpt here contains bondage and Norse mythology, two of my favourite subjects…so that can’t be bad! Enjoy.

If You Loved an Angel… How Far Would You Fall with Him?

What happens when the daughter of the village priest falls in love with an archangel banished from heaven? Milja’s heart is struck when she catches a glimpse of the preternaturally beautiful prisoner her father keeps captive beneath his church’s altar. Torn between tradition, loyalty and her growing obsession with the fallen angel, will Milja risk losing her family, and her eternal soul, for the love of this divine being? Janine Ashbless will transport you to a world where good and evil battle for true love.

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Story excerpt

I went to Boston, Massachusetts, as my father arranged. He sold several of the icons and statues from within the tunnel to pay for me; there’s never any shortage of black-market buyers for that sort of thing. Wheels were greased—some of them, I know, less than legally. I went to college. I graduated as a structural engineer and got a promising job.

I was even engaged to be married, briefly. Father was delighted, although Vera and her husband Josif thought I could do better—by which they meant some Orthodox boy who’d been born in America but whose parents remembered the Black Mountain or at the very least spoke our language—and they only redoubled their efforts to set me up with some ethnic relative.

I never warmed to those young men my cousin steered to me. It wasn’t that I wanted to be on my own…but they weren’t what I dreamed of. Nor was I what they wanted: I wasn’t ugly, I guess, but tallish and skinny, with breasts too small for American tastes, my wavy dark hair tied back and my nose buried in a book.

And anyway, I was no use at talking to men the way they wanted to be talked to. Growing up without a mother or sisters or girlfriends, I’d never learned how. There are ways of conversing, and laughing, and moving, and appearing; signals girls give off that say I’m fun: I’m interested in guys: You want me. I’d never learned how to do any of that. I was too earnest, and when men did hit on me I’d either respond to their flirtations with serious conversation, or curl my lip at their silliness. Aggressive teasing just made me recoil, offended and scared. I did once try dying my hair blonde, which I dimly realized was one of the Right Signals, but the sight of my big dark eyes staring out from among long yellow locks just freaked me out and I hennaed it dark again even before it grew out.

Ben Dearing was, to my cousin’s consternation, as WASP as they come. I met him at college, where he was in a student metal band called Loki Unbound. That was the reason we started seeing each other. I was standing in front of the flyer pinned to the gigs board in the hall, staring, when he first came up to me.

“You going to come see us play, then?”

“What does it mean?” I demanded, pointing at the poster, not even looking up at him. The picture, clearly drawn by someone with crude talent but in need of a lot of training, showed a muscular man in a loincloth bound hand and foot in a cave—the jagged stalactites made the location clear. Over his rage-twisted face dangled a serpent, poison dripping from its fangs. “Who’s that?”

“That’s Loki. The Norse god.”

I felt cold, like all the blood was running out of my body and pooling in my leaden limbs. “Norse?” I made myself look up at the guy, taking in his long fawn hair and happy smile. “Scandinavian, you mean?”

“That’s right. Vikings. You heard of them, yeah? Loki was a trickster and a troublemaker: sometimes on the side of the gods, and sometimes on the side of their enemies the giants.”

Giants?” I repeated stupidly, like I believed every word.

“Uh, yeah. Eventually the gods got so mad they tied him up under the earth, using the sinews of his own murdered son, and placed a venomous snake over him. When the poison drips in his eyes he thrashes about, causing earthquakes.”

“But he escapes?”

“He will, just before Ragnarok.”

“And what’s that?”

“The End of the World. Are you going to come and watch us? I’m the drummer. And…that’s my picture. D’you like it? You can have a copy if you want one. I’m Ben.”

“I’m Milja,” I said, still not thinking straight.

“Cool!”

Loki. Prometheus. Azazel. Amirani in Georgia, as I found out later when I started searching on the Internet. All demiurges involved in the creation and nurture of mankind. All rebels fettered for eternity by a God or gods who would not tolerate insurrection.

I went to the gig. I didn’t have to dance, which was a relief. I could just stand at the back with my plastic cup of cola and watch. I liked the guys’ long unfashionable hair.

Despite his metal aspirations, Ben was really quite sweet. And I was a good girl from the old country, so we didn’t actually sleep together until we were engaged. We fooled around, of course. I was an expert with my mouth and my hands long before I gave up my virginity. And he did a good job unknotting the insecurities and the ignorance tangled in my psyche. When we did finally go all the way, it was not such a big step as I’d feared.

But it didn’t work out well in the end: on our third night of actually having sex together I begged leave to tie him up, spread-eagled on the bed. Then I straddled him, slipping him into my hungry embrace. Below me, in the warm, dim light of the candles we’d lit, his body lay stretched out like a sacrifice: narrow hips, long pale hair, elbows raised as he braced against the scarves knotted at his wrists.

A stray thought grazed my mind: a wish that he had darker hair, and more of it on his torso. But it was only momentary, a twist in the rising surge of my appetite. I clenched my muscles and moved to make him gasp. Every time I ground against him a wave of heat seemed to billow up from the point where we were joined, filling me to bursting. My vision grew blurred. I tugged at my nipples, grinding them between my fingers. Ben bucked beneath me, thrusting upward, trying to fill the need he saw in me—but without the slightest idea of how great and hollow and ancient was that void in my soul.

For a moment, I didn’t see Ben or the bed. I saw a great slab of rock, and a man without a name, and my wails seemed to echo back from stone walls as I slammed down upon him, burning with the ferocity of my orgasm, my face distorted with pain.

“Whoa,” he said. “Jesus, Milja.”

I burst into tears and struck at him, howling, over and over again. He couldn’t even shield his face.

Poor Ben freaked out then. He told me that I had serious fucking issues, you crazy bitch. And that was it, for that relationship.

Vera was pleased when I told her the engagement was off, though she tried to show sympathy.

Oh, how I tried my best not to think about the prisoner after that, as I studied and made new friends and, after graduation, buried myself in my new job. What would be the point, when Father would not let me go home—not until I was safely married? And to be honest it wasn’t too hard to forget, most days, because in Boston it all seemed entirely unreal: not just the cavern and the bound man isolated in darkness, but the silent little church and the mountain village. It seemed like a story, something from a movie I’d watched as a child. America was loud and roaring with life, and its steel and glass and crowds and wide horizons filled me to the brim, leaving no room for memories. I loved my new world and I tried my hardest to fit in—as much as any shy, bookish foreigner can fit in.

But I dreamed about him at night. I dreamed about him stretched out, shifting hopelessly the few inches permitted by his bonds in a desperate attempt to relieve his locked muscles. I dreamed he stared into the darkness and stretched back his head and called my name, and that he told me everything about himself: secrets always forgotten when I woke. I dreamed him shivering under the snow of our brutal winters, and choking in the flash floods of spring. I dreamed his body under my hands. And every morning for five years I woke with my pillow wet with the tears I’d cried in my sleep.

 

JA-color

Author Bio:

Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure – and that’s “fantasy” in the sense of swords ‘n’ sandals, contemporary paranormal, fairytale, and stories based on mythology and folklore.  She likes to write about magic and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.

Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000, and her novels and single-author collections now run into double figures. She’s also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora’s Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology Geek Love.

Her work has been described as: “hardcore and literate” (Madeline Moore) and “vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love.”   (Portia Da Costa)

 

www.janineashbless.blogspot.com

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