After all of the families had departed, she caught Gareth’s attention by tossing a pebble a little harder than necessary at his head, evident by the hollow “donk” that resounded all the way back to her hiding place.

Gareth spun, rubbing the back of his head, but fortunately his father was on his way inside and so didn’t see. The instant Gareth spotted her he called to his father, “I think I left the garden gate open.”

Overcome with melancholy, his father simply waved indifferently and closed the door behind him.

“My father knows,” she said as he rounded the tree.

He looked surprised, but not upset. “Are you sure?”

She nodded. “Only about my leaving, though. Nothing else.” She followed him along the church and around caretaker Appleby’s cottage. “What’s going on? What was all that about?”

“He’s worried.” Behind the church, on the side facing the cemetery, he found the wrought-iron gate to the garden latched. “What are you going to do then?”

The surrounding fence, shoulder-high and thick with shrubbery and honeysuckle, supplied ample seclusion in the foggy night. The orphan’s shelter sat just beyond the east fence, in front of the coach house, but Gareth had personally confirmed their bedtime before the meeting. He opened the gate and she entered without looking back. “Two things for sure.” Accepting the seat on a flat, bronze, Roman bench embedded in a plot of stones, she straddled it in a distinctively unladylike fashion and pressed herself close to Gareth, draping her knees over his. “First, we have to be more careful.”


“And, I need to increase my proceeds.” She leaned forward to kiss him, but he began talking.

“Haven’t you learned anything?”


“Didn’t you even listen?” Though he didn’t deny her, he wasn’t groping her as usual. “He’s worried. I’m worried. People are dead.”

“Oh when is everyone going to stop talking about death?”

“Doesn’t it bother you?”

Undaunted, she rested her wrists on his shoulders and dragged her fingers across his neck. “It’s just one more reason to get out of here as soon as I can.”

“Wilona, the Thirsks were leaving too.”

“One day too late, if you ask me.”

“You could be next.”

The tingle of danger nibbled the insides of her thighs and she scooted closer. “Why would anyone want to kill me? I mean, besides Mrs. Hindle.”

“It’s not funny, Wilona.” He allowed her to scrunch her skirt high between them, exposing her knees to the moonlight. “I heard them talking. The constable and Father. Someone doesn’t want anyone leaving Waineswick.”

“So it wasn’t the dreadful demon bears?” She licked the corner of his mouth with the tip of her tongue. “I’m disappointed.”

Gareth looked around nervously, but the roses and honeysuckle and poplars were the only audience. “He didn’t even examine my clothes. The other night.”

“Maybe he’s getting forgetful in his old age.” Tracing his crotch with her finger, she came to the mound in his trousers, surging in spite of his concern. “So I guess he won’t examine them tonight.”

He welcomed her lips on his own, tasted the bitter residue of tea on her tongue, and struggled to hold the thought about his father. At last, she broke the kiss and he spoke without thinking about what he was saying. “Even before the constable came.” The words forced the world into focus and he recovered. “I mean, he was concerned about something even before he was told about the Thirsks. I could see it.”

“He’s a pastor.” Wilona thumbed the welt expanding along his thigh and couldn’t prevent the smile. “He’s worried about being lonely when we’ve all gone to Hell.”

Gareth was about to protest when she covered his mouth with hers again, this time working the laces and buttons at his crotch, her calves entwining with his. Any lingering trepidation vanished completely when he drove his hands under her loose blouse, cupping her bare breasts, and her nipples hardened into pliant pebbles fraught with all the pent-up craving of the past three days.

A branch rustled in a far corner and Wilona glared into the dark, but shadows crisscrossed through the haze, mixing phantoms with substance. Was it possible the bears had tracked her down again? Fingers still busy with his pants, she leaned close to his ear, still watching the ghostly sheet of fog pouring over the fence. “I need to increase my holdings.”

Maybe if he didn’t respond she would stop. Maybe if he pushed her blouse to her neck and cupped her breasts up to his mouth she would forget everything else.

“MacFarlane has enough.” Her voice was as delicate as the fog, but the impact struck like a lightning bolt.

“MacFarlane?” He sat up, hands still full of breasts. “Don’t be daft.”

At last she freed his shaft, expanding despite his amazement, and the eyes, like rubies in the fog, loomed closer, blazing wanton and wild. “I can get all I need.”

“You’ll get caught for sure.” Why couldn’t he just go soft so she would give up altogether? Why did her touch inflame him so?

Sliding her legs off his, she pushed his chest until he flattened on his back, bent at the knees, feet on the ground, her blouse hanging loose directly over his rising tine, tenting around him to conceal his exposure. “They won’t even know it’s gone.”

He needed to argue, needed to convince her to abort this absurd attempt . . . but, oh . . . she lowered her chest, enveloping his stubborn cock in her cleavage and the angels never sang in prayer as they did at this moment.

“You’ll help me won’t you?” She looked for the eyes, the ruby slits seething in the mist, while her faerie honeycomb teemed with a restless fury too volatile to restrain much longer.

“Uhh . . .” Whatever they’d been talking about had faded as he grew between her breasts, his hips rocking impulsively, sliding his aching beam back and forth, and what had she said? “I . . . yes . . .”

Leaning forward, head over his chest, her blond hair splashed around her face as she searched the gloomy moiré of cloud and shadow for the bears, daring them now, defying them to come and take her. Her shoulders swayed, her hands squeezed her breasts around Gareth’s raging moonbeam, sliding him deep and smooth and bright, growing brighter stroke after stroke after stroke.

“Look at me,” she whispered to the crawling void, and when she realize she’d spoken out loud she looked at Gareth, his eyes spinning skyward. “Look at me.” Behind her, the world reeled with specters, advancing inch by inch, and the bronze bench under her open skirt puddled with crazed faerie nectar. “Look at me.”

Though accustomed to such commands, he came up on his elbows struggling not to complain. He couldn’t see down her blouse, couldn’t see his own cock embraced by billowing flesh, but her eyes, those sapphire stars, guaranteed his satisfaction would endure beyond a simple discharge.

Wilona joggled her hair out of her face but kept her eyes locked on his, and her expression changed from domination to desperation. She bit her lip to mute the groan, lest the whole village hear them, but allowed a tortured whimper from her bosom. He’d never seen her so charged, so excited with distress, and it was more than he could stand. Still, he refused to give up the silky fondling so soon and he answered her pleading stare with a sneer of false power.

Her brow furrowed as though she’d taken a whip, and the sight infuriated every inch of his raw beam, slipping slick and smooth and faster now. She squeezed tighter, took longer strokes, churned wickedly until at last she cried, “Fuck my tits, Gareth.”

His defiance deserted him in a rush, releasing a blizzard of daggers to cascade from brain to knees, stripping nerves to the bone, shredding any grain of self-control he thought he possessed. He lurched under her blouse, spouting snowy flames up her neck, and fog wrapped around them as though molded by an unseen hand. Conquered, he clamped his hands over hers and dropped his head back to the bench. Guiding her, he added pressure and pumped violently, blessing her breasts with scalding spurts, begging God for one more tremor, one more slippery tremor to paint her skin, her shirt, his stomach, and it seemed endless, draining him of every drop, and even then he didn’t stop. Even then she mushed her breasts around him, capturing him in the slush of his own rapture, and kneading mercilessly, anxiously, mocking the ruby eyes in the corner.

Keep watching.

Depleted, Gareth gradually wilted in her cleavage and he assumed she would depart as she had before when her only objective had been to manipulate him into doing something he would eventually regret.

But she didn’t.

A brisk breeze aerated his trousers, meaning she had pulled away, yet when he reached blindly to close them Wilona deflected his hand as though annoyed. He lifted his head and caught her stealing a glimpse into the far corner of the garden, though it was too dark and foggy to see anything. He wanted to ask her what she was looking for but she lowered her face to his drenched bramble and kissed its weary head.

Lips parted, she smeared her mouth with spent seed, lifting silver strands from his weary snake and licking them clean with one swipe of her tongue. She wasn’t looking Gareth in the eyes now, and though he no longer felt the need to goad her on, he feared what might happen if he withdrew. When he noticed her dress hitched up over her knees and her arm buried between her thighs, he prayed he would survive the night.

With one hand she pushed her blond mane back, exposing the side of her face and the milky mire clinging to her lips, but for whose benefit he couldn’t guess. The muscles in her dress-covered forearm heaved and her thighs gripped on the bench, shaking Gareth sideways so suddenly he reached out for support, grabbing her upper arms. And though he was still flaccid she construed his response as encouragement, so she sucked him into her mouth with a slurp, mashing her face into his soggy red nest.

Cheeks gorged, she suckled deliriously, rubbing her nose deeper into his rusty pubes, and the fingers under her skirt teased and prodded and riled her faerie king in preparation for the bears. Surely they watched from the murky pall within the garden, just beyond the tree, eyes scarlet wedges coming closer and closer.

Gareth winced as she drew in even more of his withered serpent, and when the twig snapped in the distance he would have fled were he not pinned under her. “Someone’s out there,” he whispered, but his fright only intensified her appetite and she moaned so loudly the sound echoed off the back of the church.

Through the blond fringe draping her vision she saw the shape, a real shape and not a figment of bough and leaf, but of a man, half hidden in the haze. His half-face a fuzzy blot, he stood fixed near a hedge of roses, arm at his side, his other arm erased by the fog. Perhaps he could see them, and perhaps he couldn’t, though why else would he be in the garden at all? The haze shifted and for a moment she saw all of him, standing there in his black riding coat, completely at ease. But his newly revealed hand, still gloved, clenched below his waist, flaunting an extension of flesh from the breach in his trousers, so large and straight it seemed to penetrate the gauzy mist like a lazy, inflated bayonet.

The cloud swept by and he disappeared, though of course he was still there, if not watching, then listening, but she couldn’t stop now. Even if she had wanted to.

Afraid Gareth would try to leave before she finished, she released her hair and captured his thigh under her palm, sinking her face in his sultry sludge and sucking harder and louder to keep him from pulling out. Rolling him around on her tongue made him thicken wondrously, and her fingertips scoured her oozing honeycomb, delighting in his reaction. When two hands seized her by the hair she knew they’d caught her at last.

“Stop,” Gareth implored, yanking her head though it was far too late, not only for her but for him as well. He couldn’t reject the swell of prickling heat ascending like a rigid phoenix famished for affection, and her cheeks squeezing around him, humping vigorously, her fingers burrowing so fast and rough between her legs the bench jangled in the loose gravel. “Please . . . please . . .” Jerking her by the hair, down and down and down and “Please . . . Wilona . . . Oh . . .”

The bears lunged as Gareth erupted again and her fingers jabbed deeper, harder. Then the first jolt and quickly another, and she closed her fist around her pubic bone, palm seated square on her faerie barb. She tried to swallow, though only the dregs of his passion spewed forth, and again she locked in spasm, teeth etching marks in his cock, and he impaled himself down her throat, pleading God for more, more, more, and he didn’t care who watched or heard or who would know, and one, final, everlasting twinge of transgression and he would dive into Hell willingly, just don’t let it end yet, not yet, not yet, and, oh yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . .