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As Rowan explores the edge between pain and pleasure with her intense, commanding new lover, Misty's bashful but studly young beau helps her confidence grow, and she begins to recover from past trauma and shake off her need for Rowan's guidance.
Despite their polyamorous natures, adding two new lovers at once destabilizes their perfect world, and as they spiral out of control, the chaos threatens to unravel everything that the sensual, dynamic redhead and her shy stitch witch had built...
I saw this lovely notebook with the peacock cover at the Asian import store and thought of you. It has the sorts of colors I dream about you wearing�and me taking off you. Slowly. Intimately. Inch by luscious inch.
Excuse me, I need to go and “shower.”
Okay, picking this up a while after I wrote that last bit! ;)
Anyway, I had this idea that we could keep it by the bed and write to each other, so that whenever you need a moment of love, there it is. I love you, sweetheart. Happy twenty-seventh birthday�a little early!
P.S. This isn’t your whole present, of course!
Rowan pushed open the front door with some difficulty; the cold was making it stick. Shoving herself against it, she burst into the house and slammed the door behind her.
Her lover, Misty, looked up from a pile of pillows, knitting, afghans, and quilts as Rowan stomped through the front door into the great room of their converted barn, bringing a swirl of wind and snow and cold with her. Misty burrowed defensively deeper into the threadbare green Victorian couch, pulling up the hood of her deep purple fleece sweater.
“Why didn’t you come in through the mud room in the back?” Misty complained lightheartedly. “It’s freezing!”
“Neg 5 degrees,” Rowan agreed with a mischievous grin. Throwing off her dark duster and black, grey, and white patterned scarf, she stalked forward.
“Row, don’t you dare!” Misty laughed, lunging out of her nest to avoid her lover’s embrace. “Not until you thaw out! I�”
She tripped over her knitting basket, propped up on yet more quilts, and fell onto the braided rug, her long turquoise skirt twisting around her legs. With a crow of victory, Rowan pounced on her, mouthing Misty’s warm neck with her freezing lips and sliding ice cold hands in under Misty’s layered sweaters and soft fleece top. As Misty shrieked, partly in delight and partly in honest indignation at the cold, Rowan settled her weight down on Misty’s legs and bottom to pin her firmly, then pushed her hands slowly up to tease her lover’s nipples.
In response, Misty moaned, leaning her head back for a heated kiss. When they pulled back for air, she said, a little breathlessly, “I was going to make�some tea�but this is more interesting. I’m sure you are enjoying this more than my hot scones. I know I am.”
Rowan chuckled, pulling her right hand off Misty’s breast and moving it lower, lifting herself a bit, shifting her weight to her knees so that Misty could rise up and allow her access. “I know that the secret in both cases is�apply plenty of butter to grease your way�down�.” Misty purred in pleasure as Rowan’s clever fingers worked to spread the ‘grease,’ then mewed in protest as they withdrew.
“Hush, kitten. Patience is a virtue.” Rowan chuckled, then pulled the bottom of Misty’s tops over her head in one smooth motion, trapping her head and arms in layers of cloth and leaving her torso bare; Misty never wore a bra at home. Leaving her lover to work her way out of the tangle of fabrics on her own�or not�she kissed her way down Misty’s arched spine, pulling off the turquoise skirt when she got to it, then hissing in mock dismay at what she found underneath.
“Seriously, Mist? A wool blend skirt over two pairs of leggings? It’s not that cold!”
“It’s not now,” the younger woman giggled, her voice still muffled by fabric. “It was before you got home.”
Despite her words, Rowan enjoyed peeling the leggings off bit by bit with caressing hands, heightening her anticipation. She’d had a long, frustrating day dealing with idiotic students who couldn’t figure out a simple add-drop slip and professors coming in to yell about class list changes. She needed a catharsis.
Although that new English professor could yell at me all day and I wouldn’t mind�as long as he did it in that deep, sexy British accent.
Pushing the fleeting thought aside, she sat back on her heels, scooting in closer to the hearth of the blazing fireplace that covered the entire left half of the front wall. Getting a firm cross grip on Misty’s ankles, Rowan pulled her close and flipped her over at the same time. By now, Misty had freed herself from her voluminous sweaters, and Rowan took a moment to just admire the view.
Misty was short-waisted, so her legs were longer than one would expect from her diminutive stature. Currently, those long, muscular legs were folded around her lover’s body, loosening and tightening in rhythm with her breathing. Her soft and slightly rounded belly gave way quickly to small but well-formed breasts, now crinkled up in arousal. In the two years that they’d been together, she had put on some much-needed weight, going from bony to supple. Gleaming whiskey-brown hair fell in waves to land like sunbeams on the creamy, freckled skin of her shoulders and collarbone. Misty’s facial features were aquiline and chiseled, giving her a pert, elfish air, emphasized by her dreamy amber-colored eyes. Without someone to cook for, Misty tended to forget to eat, a tendency that Rowan found baffling. She suspected Misty’s mother and older sisters, always harping about how any extra fat would keep her from ‘catching a man,’ were to blame as well.
Well it’s true, after all; she didn’t catch a man, Rowan giggled to herself. And the glory spread out in front of her would be wasted on a mere man. Misty propped herself up on her elbows, throwing her hair back, obviously well aware of how the posture made her breasts stand up and say howdy.
Rowan grinned, then leaned down and kissed her lover’s ‘witch-mark’�three small moles marking the left side of her left breast�then moved in closer, catching Misty’s lips again with her own. The two women stretched out next to each other on the warm fleece rug. It was Misty’s turn now, to pull off Rowan’s sensible gray slacks with blue pinstripes, matching button-up suit vest, and cream silk dress shirt with gray accents.
“Still with the shades of gray, hon? You know you look stunning in bright colors: blues, greens, yellows�.”
“I think my hair is enough color for me.” Rowan responded laughingly, tossing her dark red curls�natural, but intensified with periodic henna treatments. “You, on the other hand, make a beautiful bouquet all decked out. But yes�” she leaned in and nipped at the other’s shoulder, then dug her teeth in just a little, eliciting a gasp “�shades of gray are very much my m�tier.”
A few seconds later, they were both naked, drawing matching purrs and gasps as they stroked, caressed, and kissed their way up each other’s bodies. Rowan was the first to head south, as she preferred to come second. For her, the triumph at causing her lover’s orgasm was the biggest possible turn on.
So sue me, I love to win!
Intertwining Misty’s hands with her own and holding them firmly behind the other’s back, she tongued her way into the soft, welcoming dampness. Spiraling in with her tongue, she freed a hand and splayed it on Misty’s lower buttocks, middle finger reaching in, probing�. Misty gasped, lifting her legs wider, crossing her knees behind Rowan’s head. The slight claustrophobic sensation of being wedged in spurred Rowan to amp up her speed and pressure. Misty cried out, arching her back, and Rowan chuckled smugly as her lover’s thighs bucked helplessly and the skin beneath her broke out in shivers and goosebumps.
As Misty shuddered with aftershocks, Rowan lay down next to her, pulling a knee over the other’s torso and worked her hands up and down her lady’s body, caresses soothing now instead of arousing. Reaching her mate’s adorable, always slightly pouty-looking rosebud mouth, she gently teased her tongue between the firm lips, and then bit lightly into the bottom, just as another quiver ran through Misty’s body, to send her off again.
“Stop that; it’s your turn,” her lover scolded as soon as she could speak again.
“This isn’t tag,” Rowan laughed. “The more times I get you before you can get me, the more glorious my final victory.”
“Oh, glorious victory�should I fetch you all the muffins and bagels in the land?”
“Well, muffins definitely!”
Laughing, Misty bucked her hips, bouncing Rowan over onto the floor. In one swift motion, Misty rose over her lover, her thighs now locked around Rowan’s hips. With an evil grin, she ground her hips slowly in a circle, evoking a long groan. She lowered her upper body slowly, first stomachs touching, then ribs, then breasts, and finally settled down for a long, carnal, tongue-wrestling kiss, her hands locked in Rowan’s curls.
Just as Rowan began to relax, Misty jerked her hands back sharply, pulling Rowan’s head back to expose her throat. Rowan gasped in pleasure as Misty sucked greedily at her neck, then mouthed down to a nipple, toothing it lightly before landing light kisses all around the edge. Keeping her lips there, she began rubbing her left hand over Rowan’s clit; first keeping her whole hand cupped and moving constantly, then pinching her index and middle finger together with her thumb, and using that as a lever to open her lover to new heights. With her right hand, she grasped Rowan’s left buttock firmly, kneading and massaging, matching the rhythm and direction of her left. She gradually increased the pressure, until Rowan’s cries reached a new urgency. Only then did she leave the now pencil-sharp nipples to drive her tongue in repeated thrusts into Rowan’s slick and throbbing sheath, while finally allowing her thumb to press firmly down on Rowan’s clit.
Rowan screamed as the world went white.
When she came back to consciousness, Misty was cuddled against her, head on her lover’s bosom, hands carefully motionless against Rowan’s hypersensitive skin. After a few pleasant minutes snuggling, Rowan raised her head. “Did someone mention scones? I’m starving�.”
“Oh, yes! I hope they are still warm. I’ll have to reheat the water for tea since you like it boiling.”
Wiggling free, Misty pulled on her skirt, fleece, and a cream-and-brown striped sweater in the dusk-dimmed room and switched on a vintage accent lamp�brass-plated with a floral pattern�that stood on a cherry wood end table next to the couch she’d been ensconced on before Rowan’s dramatic entrance. She then padded over to the antique wood-burning stove that stood in the opposite corner from the fireplace and lifted off a twined willow basket with a bundled towel of yumminess sheltered within. Although they had a modern gas oven and stove in the kitchen, the antique stove assisted the fireplace in warming the huge, two-storied open space that consisted of the front two-thirds of the building�and provided ambience!
Rowan stretched hedonistically in front of the fireplace, then grabbed one of the pashmina scarves she had draped all over the furniture, wrapped it around her torso like a sarong, and tied the ends around her neck to form a halter. Unlike her lover, she was always warm. Kneeling back down, she built up the fire and pulled the matching cherry wood coffee table closer to the couch�the set had been a housewarming gift from Misty’s mother, rather than an antique or yard sale find like most of the rest of their furniture�stacking enough of the books scattered across its surface to make room for the tea tray. Walking to the huge window that filled the right-side wall from the front door to the foot of the stairs, she pulled open the rich red drapes, letting the light from the streetlamp spill into the room, creating sharp shadows and brilliant swaths of golden light. She picked up the pieces of outerwear that she had discarded in a heap and hung them from the coat stand between the door and the fireplace to dry, and grinning, righted Misty’s knitting basket before settling down on the couch with a happy sigh.
She loved this great room, lined with overflowing bookshelves, the grand piano she played in the right front corner under the stairs, an old green, gold-fringed piano shawl she’d found in an antique shop the day she’d met Misty, draped over the top. Rowan’s violin stood in its case nearby, next to a stand holding several music books and sheets. On the mantle over the fireplace stood an assortment of hand-dipped candles made by her lover, in an eccentric yet harmonious collection of holders, ranging from a hand-turned wooden one made by Misty’s grandfather to one of turquoise and silver picked up on a vacation to the Shiprock Reservation with her parents years ago. On either side, glass French doors, opening onto the porch that looped around three sides of the building, let in light, colored by various prisms, light and wind catchers, and colored-glass window ornaments.
While Rowan leaned back and enjoyed the room’s atmosphere, Misty came back from the kitchen juggling the basket of scones and a simple scallop-edged tea tray made of hammered copper.
“How was your day?” Misty asked, setting the tray down on the coffee table and pouring tea from the matching copper teapot into two mugs: one of porcelain shaped like a cabbage rose for herself, all pinks and greens, and one covered with a pattern of black-and-white harlequin cats that was Rowan’s favorite.
“Same old, add-drop week. I am glad it’s almost Friday,” Rowan answered, not wanting to go into just how horribly mundane it had been. “What have you started knitting?”
“This!” Misty held up a long row of ribbing, several inches deep, on a circular needle. The wool was a thick creamy-white Aran.
“Mmm, soft�” was Rowan’s original contribution, mumbled from around a full mouth of sconey goodness. “What’ll it be?”
“Oh, I took a nap this afternoon; the advantage of working from home.” She grinned at her partner. “And I had one of my dreams. Someone is going to enter our lives, and I need to make him�I’m almost certain it’s a him�something. A sweater. It wasn’t one of my baby quilt dreams.” Misty claimed to be a stitch witch�to have psychic powers related to her knitting�and it was true she often started baby quilts and clothes before the parents had made an announcement. “And when I went through my stash I found this wonderful wool I had forgotten all about! I had been going to make a sweater for myself but could never find a pattern I liked, and it just got shoved to the back of the closet. Then after my dream, I remembered it. It knits like silk flowing through my fingers.”
Rowan smiled contentedly. It was true that Misty’s projects inevitably found the home she’d predicted for them, but Rowan didn’t know how much of that was true prognostication and how much prophecies vague enough that they were bound to be fulfilled by someone in their large circle of acquaintances.
“Of course, the last time one of your dreams predicted a ‘him’ entering our lives, it turned out to be the dog Mrs. Gordon ran over,” she teased.
“It fit him exactly with a few minor adjustments! And we found Algernon a perfect home with that adorable little boy on the farm down the road.”
Rowan winced. “Ummm�right. Sweetie, about that�”
“What? Something happened to Algernon?”
“No, no�” Rowan sighed and took another scone. “Apparently Mrs. Rutherford, the kid’s mother, wasn’t best pleased when her husband and son brought home a dog from the ‘Dike-Sex-Witches of Goldensides’” She lilted her voice at the end of her sentence to lighten the sarcasm, but saw it was a wasted effort. Unlike Rowan, raised by hippie parents to not give a damn, Misty had been raised by upper-class parents solidly among the social elite of Boston, and taught to care what society thought of her. “She caught me on my way in and gave me an earful.”
Misty pouted. While she didn’t appreciate being looked down on by their neighbors, there wasn’t much she could contest in Rowan’s sardonic moniker�they were, after all, practicing Wiccans, and they’d named their converted barn Goldensides after they’d painted over the faded, peeling paint with a cheerful yellow. Last summer, Misty had gone over the house and put in Celtic accents all along the trim in green, blue, and red and designed images of the Lord and the Lady in silver and gold on the right and left flanks, respectively. Her final touch had been a new sign to stand in the front garden that proclaimed the name of the house in ornate black and gold letters, with a neatly trained Etoile Violette Clematis growing over it. “Did you tell her that we are actually bi, and that Algernon only has three legs now, and we can’t keep him because of the cats? The Master is afraid of dogs, and the Doctor just bullies them.”
“Actually, I believe she’s aware that we’re bi, and that’s a large part of her problem. Lesbians wouldn’t be a threat to her husband’s fidelity, after all. Particularly combined with the paganism. The house doesn’t help with that, of course; I was informed that we’re now an eyesore for all the neighborhood. Thank the gods we’re not part of an HOA, or she’d been crusading for us to be booted.”
“Oh. One of those.” Misty made a face. “As if we’d ever go for Mr. Rutherford. Blech.”
“Yep. But fortunately, she’s not making them give Algie back�we’re just forbidden to talk to her son ever again.”
Misty gave a sad little sigh, and Rowan petted her hair a bit in sympathy as they cuddled together for comfort. She knew Misty loved children�and more relevantly at the moment, her lover hated being disliked, especially on such grounds. However, being more used to the way small towns worked, the only thing that surprised Rowan was that the percentage of Harmonia’s population that assumed that bisexual witches must be willing and ready to sleep with any man in a hundred mile radius�regardless of marital status, level of attractivity, or presence of personality�was so small.
“Speaking of the Master, the Doctor and Ace, I need to feed the cats,” Misty said finally, changing the subject. “And I made beef stew and an apple crumble for our supper. Would you set the table? Or the island, rather�we might as well eat in the kitchen where it’s warm.”
Rowan redid the halter knot of the scarf a bit tighter as it began to come loose. At home she tended to wear very little, or, in the summer, nothing at all, the result of an upbringing by hippie parents who, while they weren’t full-on nudists, had certainly embraced occasional nudity. She did tuck her feet into the pair of fuzzy Tardis slippers Misty had made for her, as the tiled floor in the kitchen was chillier than the hardwood, liberally covered in throw rugs, that covered the great room.
Following Misty into the kitchen, she crossed to the cupboards and drawers lining the back wall and took out pairs of plates, cups, placemats, napkins, and silverware and laid them out on the island in the middle of the room. Dragging over two stools from under the bar separating the kitchen from the great room, she hopped up on one and waited impatiently for Misty to serve dinner.
“I got an email from Auntie Mercy’s publisher today,” Misty said as they tucked into the beef stew and crusty home-baked bread. “There is a new edition of The Fundamentals of Rocks coming out in two years. More lovely money!”
Rowan grinned. Misty’s great-aunt had been the only previous rebel in the family�as far as they knew, at least�a self-made female academic born in 1914. Although she’d died when Mercy was only eight, she’d left an indelible impression on her young descendant. “I wish I could have met her her. I’m sure she and the devoted secretary�what has her name?�were lovers.”
“Eugenia Peters. And not according to the family. She was just married to her career.”
�Misty laughed in response. “Yeah, I know, right? They were furious when the will was read: Miss Peters got the house and the bank accounts, I got all the copyrights, and my sisters just got a little jewelry. I wish I could remember her better,” she sighed.
“If they didn’t want you inheriting, they shouldn’t have named you after her.” Rowan said lightly.
“It’s funny how it all worked out�without the money from her, I wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage. If your ex hadn’t agreed to you keeping the old townhouse, you couldn't have sold it to make the down payment on this lovely place for me to pay the mortgage on. It reminds me of that old children’s book�you know, the dog on the cat on the rat, or something like that, on the house that Jack built? Nothing in our lives would have turned out the way they did if a Boston-bred girl in the middle of the Great Depression hadn’t fallen in love with rocks and run away from home, out to Arizona, putting herself through college collecting specimens for rock hounds. They should make a movie of it�.”
“Here’s to Auntie Mercy!” Rowan announced, holding up her wine glass. Misty clinked it with hers solemnly. “And to my husband’s guilt spurring him into being so generous in the settlement. He felt so ashamed for going monogamous after all those years maintaining that sexual jealousy was the mark of small minds. Plus, you know, for how the whole running off to Belize with his grad student made me look.”
“Oh please, as if it mattered to you. About your reputation, I mean; I’m sure that the break up was something you cared about. But you delight in being the talk of the town and shocking the prudes,” she added, generously buttering her bread before taking a giant bite.
“True,” Rowan admitted. “Not just the prudes, for that matter. You followed in Aunt Mercedes’ footsteps and shocked your family by moving in with me; well, I shocked mine by getting”�she mock gasped in outrage�“married, right out of college! Never you mind that our relationship was open, we were still engaging in a patriarchal, oppressive institution that is used as a tool of materialism by the evil diamond and flower industries�according to my parents, at least. We never really cared one way or the other, but marriage made everything easier for us. It was the only way Steven could have me on his insurance and benefits with the University�not to mention it actually made it easier for him to get a tenure-track position. Hiring boards think a married professor is more stable and settled.”
“And probably less likely to harass the coeds,” Misty pointed out.
“Good point�even if the opposite is true,” Rowan agreed, laughing. Then she sobered and put an arm around Misty’s shoulders. “And also�yes, Steven and I had some great years and times together. That relationship will always be a part of me. But I’m glad we ended it; otherwise, I wouldn’t have what I have now with you. I can’t really imagine us meeting and falling in love the way we did if I’d still had a primary at the time. That’s one of the joys of being poly; you don’t have to think that just because a relationship changed, that means it failed.” She leaned in for a loving, comforting kiss.
“I’ve never been anyone’s primary before. It’s a very special feeling,” Misty said as the kiss ended. “Let’s leave the dishes; I was going to knit, but I’d rather cuddle with you. I can’t believe you feel so warm just wrapped in that scarf.”
“It’s a very warm scarf�” Rowan grinned, flirting with the bottom hem of the scarf in question. Misty rolled her eyes. “Besides, I have these beautiful slippers you made me keeping my toes warm. You know what they say: as long as your toes are warm, you can’t be cold�.”
Misty laughed, and pulled her lover close for a heated kiss. “Come on up to the bedroom with me,” she whispered. “I need some of that excess heat of yours�.”
Rowan sighed happily as she followed Misty up the stairs. Her lover was like a warm cup of hot chocolate on a wintry day�and sometimes a surfeit of sugar was just what the doctor ordered. Life is�almost�perfect, she thought. And as the old saying goes�may you achieve all your dreams but one. I guess I’m lucky I still have a few desires left unfulfilled�.