Cast the Cards

She hadn't fantasized about anything with Jo, not even kissing, had forced her mind away whenever it had drifted in that direction, and so the kiss didn't have anything to live up to. That didn't make it any less good - Jo's mouth was warm and soft, opening against Edith's, moving a little as Jo adjusted for a better angle. Edith let her eyes fall closed, tightening her grip on Jo's shoulder to keep her close, and kept kissing.

When they eventually drew apart, Jo had released Edith's wrist to slide her arms round Edith's waist, and they were very close together.

"Hmm," Jo said, warm and happy. She was smiling, none of the usual cocky edge, and Edith smiled back, ducking in for another kiss that became several kisses.

"Would it be -" Jo said, drawing away to speak, then cutting herself off for another kiss - "Presumptuous to ask if I get to see the bedroom?"

"You're the guest," Edith said. "It would be rude to say no."

"And you're very polite," Jo said solemnly, kissing Edith again.

It took them a very long time to actually make it that far.

-- from "Burn the Brightest" by Emily Moreton

"Silver and gold then, to kill a wizard. What do you think, Thorkell?"

The other nodded somberly. "I say we help her. How far away is he, girl?"

"Two days to walk here, down the river. His house is at the mountains' feet."

"Then we'd better get the horses." He turned away.

"As long," said his friend, with a little smile, "as you're not afraid to ride with two strange men." It was a weak attempt at levity but Sjofn, too exhausted to be discreet, answered at face value.

"You've eyes only for each other, don't you?"

For a moment both men froze. Sjofn bit the inside of her lip, wishing she could take the words back. Despite her isolated life she had an inkling just how dangerous the accusation was.

"She is a witch," said Thorkell through clenched teeth.

-- from "The Grief of the Bond-Maid" by Janine Ashbless

Caleb ran his fingers through the brown curls, moaning into his dream-lover's mouth. The body his hands moved over was no longer built, muscled, but slighter, lithe. Caleb pulled back and looked into the face of a much younger, much more appealing man. Warm, brown eyes gazed back at him, a faint, hungry smile on full, wet lips.


The voice wrapped around him, made his balls ache. Caleb leaned in and drew his tongue over the man's lower lip. "Who are you?"

A lyrical groan floated up to Caleb's ears. "Morpheus."

Caleb chuckled. "The god of dreams?"


"The god of dreams is making out with me?"

Morpheus grinned as his hands slid up Caleb's now-naked back. "Yes. More, if you want it."

"It's just a dream, right?" Caleb asked, arching his back against Morpheus' hands.

"Just a dream."

Caleb teased the curls at the back of Morpheus' neck while rocking his hips. "Is it my dream... or yours?"

-- from "Oneiros" by S.L. Armstrong

"Do you want to feel it?"

That made him snap out of his daze, and he looked up at Travis with a small frown. "No thanks. I don't bottom."

"Oh, come on!" Travis laughed, and Aaron did his best to ignore the way the sound wrapped around him, teasing his senses. "Just for experimentation. You don't have to be a bottom to want to feel it. It's great to try things out first hand before you use them on your own subs. That's why we try both sides of the equation to figure out what we're good at."

Aaron blinked. "I... never had to bottom to know I wanted to be a top." The thought seemed silly to him. Why experiment just to figure out what he already knew from the get-go? Travis must have read the question on his face because the amusement bled out of the handsome face.

"You've really never bottomed? Ever? It's pretty important. How are you supposed to relate to your partners and appreciate what they ask you for if you've never felt at least some of it yourself?"

"I've never had any complaints in the past," Aaron argued with a smug smile.

Travis humphed, a hint of the amusement back as his lips quirked upwards. "I bet you haven't, but that doesn't mean you can't learn."

-- from "Surrender" by K. Piet

When Hope and I first met, the sight of us being even so slightly intimate might have brought disapproval from my neighbors. Bad enough men visited me at random, black men and white men alike, but for a white woman ten years younger to so brazenly kiss me... well. Even back then, there was nothing they could do—I cast strong protection wards—but they wouldn't have been happy. I did subtler magic, too, and over time, the neighborhood changed. Those potentially dangerous to the hunters who came to me moved out; more sympathetic neighbors moved in. I didn't force anyone to do anything, but my methods of encouragement always worked.

I put ice in two glasses and filled one with tea and one with lemonade, leaving the glasses cold and slick against my fingers as I carried them upstairs. I took the lemonade into the bathroom and set my tea on the counter. Hope was deep in the claw-footed tub, thick bubbles up to her chin. Her dark, curly hair was bound up into a messy bun, and her eyes were closed.

"Here's your drink, sweetie."

She blinked at me sleepily. "Thanks." I held out the glass, and when she reached for it, water sluiced along her bare skin. I watched it drip from her fingertips. When she shifted her weight, her breasts peeked through the bubbles, pale skin and light pink nipples.

What have you seen? bubbled to my lips, but I bit back the words. There was time for that later, after she rested. Maybe she wasn't here because she'd told a fortune that frightened her. Maybe she wanted the sanctuary I provided, a safe house where tired, wounded supernatural hunters could rest and heal.

-- from "Blazing Star" by Marie Carlson

It took a little negotiating with schedules, but we finally agreed on the following Friday night for dinner. We talked a little more after that, mostly boring stuff that needs no reproduction and that my mind neglected to adequately record, being so giddy at having a date after a long dry spell. I didn't really check by into the conversation until Beth said, "Oh, so you're not surprised when you pick me up, I'm married."

I'd heard the phrase 'my heart dropped into my feet' before, but never understood the feeling until right at that moment. "You're looking for an affair," I said numbly.

"Oh, no, it's not like that!" she replied quickly. "We have an open marriage. He knows I'm here with you, and he knows why. He knew even before I left my phone. He was in the store with me, but he went to the car before I checked out so you wouldn't see us together."

This was too much weirdness for one conversation, and I clenched my eyes shut as I tried to digest it all. "So, you're... what? Polygamous or something?"

Beth made a non-committal sound. "Polygamy is a legal term that deals with marriage. We prefer 'polyamorous', which is more to do with relationships and love."

-- from "The Direction of Greatest Courage" by Erik Moore