Per everything I do, here is the first chapter of His Grace, unedited like most of my excerpts because plot and description sometimes changes, such on and so forth.
The Angel series takes place in a world where the most effective way to exorcise a demon is sex. And poor Grace is the victim of targeted demonic attacks, no one can figure out why.
While this series is supposed to have a lot of sex in it, it’s also supposed to explore a romantic sort of relationship. Sam doesn’t just throw Grace down and has his way with her.
Comments, complaints, or hopes for the series? Leave a note.
This does not end in a cliffhanger, it ends in a happy-for-now style.
I’m not that girl.
I’m not the one who has sex with a strange man in a bathroom stall at a bar on a busy Saturday night. Hell, I’m not even the type of girl to go to a bar to party or drink. I would never consider sleeping with someone on a regular day, not a stranger or even a good friend. There has to be something there, a relationship that we’ve built over weeks of conversation, not a fleeting thought after making eye contact.
I’m not that girl.
Yet for the third time, I had visited Seraph and ended up in relations with someone.
The first man had been tall with dirty blond hair, bright blue eyes, and high cheekbones. He had a sleek sort of handsomeness to him. When I say tall, I mean real tall, taller than the other men in the bar by almost six inches. He didn’t have a great deal of muscle on him, was not a hulking sort of man. He was the sort who slipped through the crowds instead of parting them with his presence alone. He had been wearing slacks, a white shirt, and a black vest that had a pattern on the inside embroidered into it.
His accent had been different, not foreign really, more like he had spent time abroad as a child. That plus his intelligent conversation and the way he just seemed to slip my panties off before I realized what he had been planning. Completely consensual, of course, just…
I’m not that girl.
The second man, the month previous, was not quite as tall. He had black hair that must have been in a perpetual state of disarray. It was thick and seemed to have a life of its own as he ran his hands through it. His eyes had just enough green to them to be seen in the light of the bar, they were filled with mirth as his warm lips tugged upward in an easy smile.
He had been dressed almost casually for the bar, and spoke with either an Irish or a Scottish accent. I find it hard to distinguish between the two, as the moment the speaker lets out that first sound, all thought stops. He didn’t try to be intelligent, just quick witted and funny. And as he reached for me, I had only one thought in my head.
I’m not that girl.
The third man was tall, dark and handsome. His skin was a dark shade of brown that I hadn’t seen up close and personal before. I caught myself touching him first, placing my pale fingers on the back of his hand and being fascinated at the difference of pigmentation. I was fascinated like a child seeing snow for the first time. While I know that reaction was inappropriate of me, I just couldn’t help it. I pet him, running my hands over his flesh, eager to explore.
His voice was deep and low, slow even. He took his time speaking the words and did so in such a perfect enunciation. At least, to my ear it was perfect. I don’t recall what he said, only how he said it in that throbbing voice of his as I wondered what else about him might be described as ‘throbbing.’
I’m not that girl.
Moaning as he thrust, which pushed me against the cold metal of the bathroom stall, wasn’t the type of thing that I did. Biting my bottom lip as he reached between us, slipping his fingers between my folds… okay, maybe that was a little more like something that I would do.
Someone beat on the stall door, shouting at us even as he slammed his hand into the door, sending the protesting woman skittering back.
I was so very close, my hands on his chest as he held me up with his. Each movement was slow, but obvious at the same time. We did not rush at it.
Perhaps I should back up and explain a little better.
My name is Grace, I do have a legal last name, but it was one which was assigned to me sometime in my childhood by the state. I was abandoned at birth and grew up in the foster system. No, I was never abused, I attended school and was putting myself through college at the time. A little later than my peers, sure, but hey, whatever works.
I lived in a total of fourteen homes over the course of ten years, finally emancipating at sixteen and finding odd jobs while continuing to go to school. Between working to pay for rent and going to high school, I hadn’t had much of a life. I hadn’t partied, I hadn’t had sex, I hadn’t done silly teenager things.
I lived, I breathed.
No one could say where I came from. I was simply found on a hospital waiting room chair. No one could recall me being dropped off and none of the cameras caught anything. I was dropped off in an area where cameras didn’t see.
Hey, it was the eighties. I’m surprised they even had cameras.
I like romance movies and long walks on the beach. On my days off, the few I have, I curl up on the couch with a good book. If I don’t have a good book, well… I have an ereader. What I mean to say is that, I’m an avid reader. Don’t ask me to quote Jane Austin, or talk about Dostoevsky. I can’t do it. I mean, sure, I’ve read their books but the only thing I remember is that last names were blurted out in Austin’s books and… didn’t Dostoevsky have temporal lobe epilepsy?
I suppose you could say that I don’t remember things like most people do. Other people my age can just let quotes off the top of their heads. I keep basic information and sometimes I remember peoples’ names. That’s when I’m really proud of myself.
My day job is as a waitress. Have you tried getting a better job without a degree? It’s worse than trying to get one with a degree. I could have gone to retail, but then I’d miss out on the tips I got when I told people that I was a lost, little, orphan. Those tips paid my way through all my courses. I barely had to decide between food and rent most months.
At night, around the schooling, I ran a couple of different jobs depending on timing. Weekends, I made good money working for a group that drove drunk people home. Again, I got tips from the work. Not just monetary tips either.
Working that weekend job was how I met Lilly, my first friend in over ten years. I picked her up at her request, and drove her home. At her door she chatted me up and finally admitted that she didn’t want to be alone. Being the bit of a pushover that I was, I went up to her apartment where she opened a bottle of wine and started going on and on about her ex.
Except it wasn’t about how he was an asshole or anything. It was how he caught her attention, how she still found her heart skipping a beat when she was in the same room as him. On and on… and on. There were the flashes of anger, then the self-hatred swinging back and forth.
And I just sat there and drank a seven hundred dollar bottle of wine, trying to figure out what made it so much more expensive than the vintages I bought for less than twenty dollars.
Lilly was about my age, about my height, and a great deal more giggly. She liked to party it up with her girls, though not her friends, and then find her way safely home where she drank another glass of wine, unwound as she pet her cat—who she’d almost always gigglingly refer to as her pussy—then chug back a bunch of water and tuck herself into her bed.
The first couple of times it happened, I let myself out awkwardly. The fourth time, or so, was when I apparently divulged my cellphone number after more than a bottle of wine.
I know, I know, being the designated driver by job title, that didn’t exactly go well with Lilly’s lifestyle, but I began booking nights off just to be her D.D. only to spend the rest of the evening with her, listening to her go on about her ex.
Anyhow, Lilly contacted me the day after such a pick up and demanded to know where I was, if I was all right, how I had gotten home, and what in the fuck I thought I was doing, just wandering around the city as a drunk woman. She didn’t relent until I told her where I lived, and she showed up with pills for a possible headache, a bag of groceries, and proceeded to make me comfort food.
At least, her version of comfort food.
Over the next several weeks, small changes appeared around my apartment. At first I thought it was just cleaning. But then I opened a cupboard and found it filled with food that I hadn’t bought. Under my sink? Were cleaners I definitely hadn’t bought, considering the fact that I didn’t have the time to clean my freaking apartment. When I confronted Lilly about it, she shrugged.
“My boo needs to eat. If I could replace your bedspread, I would. That isn’t comfortable for anyone. Also? Wash your sheets before you take a man home.”
“You can’t just buy me things!”
“I can, I did, and you’ve been eating my food for a week and didn’t notice it. So. Let’s take our complaints and put them off to the side, you know, where we put our abandonment issues and all the rest? I’m not expecting anything from this, and you’ve started look a lot more like a woman and less like a stray. You can’t afford a lot of food, I can. I just brought the extra here.”
She didn’t buy me clothing, didn’t throw things at me. Just bought me food and cleaning supplies.
And toilet paper that wasn’t from the discount store. Show me a woman who would argue that and I’d have to tell you that you’re friends with a masochist.
When I was working, Lilly would tell me where she was and then send the call with a request when she was ready to go. I would be the one to go and pick her up. She was more than happy to pay and would push the tip limit just a little higher each time I picked her up.
Except then one day I spotted man number one and she told me not to sleep with him. Let’s just stress that. Lilly, the party girl, told me not to sleep with him. And me, the person who could count her sexual partners on one hand, who could count how many times she even had sex on her fingers and toes, went on and had sex with him in his private booth.
It’s not sleeping with him, if you don’t sleep, right?
I am not that girl.
Over the course of a couple of months, I doubled the number of men I had slept with, and I didn’t regret it for a moment. Unattached sex with three very attractive men over the course of three months isn’t really something to regret. They were all so very, very attentive to my desires.
Which was basically how I found myself in a bathroom stall, awkwardly trying to get my pants back on as the stranger did up his belt and straightened his clothing. I managed to put myself back together, then smiled lopsidedly at him and reached for the door of the stall.
He caught my hand in his and pulled me tight against him. He gave me one last, lingering kiss. His tongue slipped over my lips gently but probed no further before he slipped out of the bathroom stall.
I heard the small sound he made, then the dead silence in the bathroom.
“Ladies,” he said.
They giggled like a bunch of school girls as he left.
I tried to straighten my hair, then I slapped some steel on my backbone and left the stall. Only to have every woman in that bathroom stop and look me over in a way that could only be described as disgusted. They were all done up with makeup and their party clothing, a couple of them were Lilly’s girls from the club.
I, on the other hand, was wearing denim jeans and a button up shirt. Not even a blouse, nothing fancy, just an older shirt from my closet. Not a lick of makeup on me.
If you walked into a club with makeup on, drunk men saw you as a blow up doll. Normally speaking, I wanted to get in and get out and be done with it, that was all. I did not want someone grabbing my ass, my goal was not to have sex with anyone. I wanted to be as invisible as possible.
And yet I had ended up having sex yet again, and being noticed by the local population. I might as well have been a giant scratching post for them to sharpen their fake manicured nails on.
I left the bathroom quickly and pushed my way past the line that was crowding the door. The music was overwhelmingly loud. I didn’t mind the beat or the sound of it, what caught me was the fact that anyone could sneak up behind me as I tried to cross the dance floor. Between the loud music and flashing lights, it was hard to tell what was actually moving. Unlike my drunk peers, there was no way for me to simply slip into the herd mentality and know.
I was a sober person in crazy land. It just wasn’t going to happen.
Finding Lilly was simple, once one knew what to look for. She was in a private booth, a strapping young male on her lap as a couple of others looked on in disgust. The other men were talking to the party girls about how they would never do that, because a real man never climbs onto a woman’s lap, or dances for her, or any other combination thereof. For them it was a complete betrayal of all things masculine.
“Lilly,” I said, stopping on the other side of the table.
“Yes?” she asked, staring up at the man who was clearly in the middle of some kind of strip tease.
“Let’s go,” I shouted over the music.
Her bottom lip scrunched up. Lilly looked away from the young man, peering at me across the table. Then she sighed and rolled her eyes.
“I told you not to,” she said sternly, pushing the man off her lap.
I grumbled out a half-hearted response as Lilly slipped out from behind the table. She slipped an arm around my shoulders and pulled me away as she flipped off one overly enthusiastic man who was trying to sneer at her. Even as we walked away, I knew the guy was following us. Lilly have her head a shake and just kept walking.
At the door, she grabbed her coat from the coat room and then pulled me quickly onto the street. My car was parked further down the road, loaned by my job to me. We moved immediately towards the vehicle. The door behind us closed a moment too late for it to have just been us who left.
I glanced sideways at Lilly and she gave her head a little shake before she seemed to glare up at the sky. With an annoyed huff, she set her features, slipped her arm off of me and turned suddenly. As the man came up behind her, she all but stepped on his toes, reached down, and grabbed him by the balls.
Then her body shifted. I couldn’t tell because I was behind her, but it looked like she had just attempted to twist the man’s balls off. If the look on his face and the squeal of pain that came out of his mouth was any indication, she came pretty close to snapping those sacks right off.
There were people waiting to get into the club. They were witnesses to the man’s scream of pain. Several of them grimaced, making sounds as they reached down and covered themselves with their hands.
“You know what I’d like?” Lilly asked as the man began going down ever so slowly. As he went down, she shifted her hand up, grabbing him by the ear and twisting until he was on his knees. “I’d like for people to recognize that a man is a man no matter what he does. What makes a man manly isn’t whether he’d have someone crawl back in his lap, or if he crawls in my lap. Like all creatures of God, all that should matter is how honourably we live our lives. And you? You attacking women because, what? Because we disgrace your daddy’s ideal of what a man must be?
“I’m sorry, sweetheart, but… who’s on the ground crying like a little pussy? Oh, that’s right. It’s you. Except I wouldn’t say that this is a position a pussy would be in, because a pussy knows how to take a beating and keep on going. This is what I’d expect from an insecure man child. And if you do it again, I’ll twist your nuts so hard that you can’t reproduce, let alone use that thumb that you claim is a penis.”
She released him and the man fell to the sidewalk whining as no one at all cheered.
Yeah, because that’s what happens in real life.
We all just stared in surprise as she huffed, wiped her hand on her hip, and then turned and marched towards me. Half the people in line had a phone almost to their ear, as if asking themselves if they should call the police because they just witnessed a hundred pound woman assault a hundred and ninety pound man. Some probably wondered if it would be sexist of them to call. Some perhaps wondered if it would be best not to draw the ire of someone who just physically and emotionally assaulted a man on the street.
A few may have had camera phones out, recording as much as they could as Lilly grabbed me and started pulling me away.
We got into the vehicle and I pulled away from the curb as she huffed and puffed and began to go on and on about the man. I made the required sounds in response, finding my way to her place easily enough.
“I’m still on the clock,” I said as she tried to get out of the vehicle.
“Oh, sure, I’ll text Danny and he’ll send someone to pick up the car,” she said with a dismissive wave.
“Lilly, I need the money.”
“You’d earn a whole twenty dollars in the next three hours,” she said sternly. “I will pay you back the twenty dollars. Come on, I’m agitated, you just had sex. We need wine.”
“Lilly, you can’t just pay my bills,” I protested.
“I know that. But last time you drove me, I tipped you fifty. This time I have seventy-five on me and you’ll take it and I wont accept any complaints. I’m texting Danny.”
“You’re the only person in the world that I can talk to without you blabbing to someone else, or backstabbing, or sicking your boyfriend on me. I need that relaxation time.”
“Fine,” I sighed out.
“I’ve got a nice bottle of white wine chilling.”
I glared at her, because she only ever had a bottle of white wine chilling when she wanted me to visit.
As if by magic, my phone beeped to life. I checked it and found a text from Danny, my boss, saying that he’d pay me for the remaining hours because Lilly was paying an exorbitant fee to have me escort her to her apartment and make sure that ‘bastard of an ex’ wasn’t there.
“I am not a body guard,” I protested.
“He could be up there,” Lilly said in response. “It’s our anniversary tonight and I … I may have drunk texted him. Because I’m weak and stupid and he’s just devilishly handsome. Why are those always the guys that I end up falling for?”
“We discussed this,” she said sternly.
“Yes, we discussed that you’ve never had friends before and don’t know the boundaries, but this is a boundary. You can’t buy me.”
“I’m not buying you, I’m buying your time from your job so that you can do something more enjoyable,” she said.
“Now I sound like a prostitute.”
“Prostitutes get paid better than drivers and waitresses, honey.”
“I’m being serious,” I said.
“Five hundred a go, I’m pretty certain you could manage that. That’s like three times a month to make all your bills? Okay, four if you want to eat. Six to eight if you want to upgrade from the cockroach infested closet you call your apartment. Ten and you’d basically be made for life.”
“I’m not that kind of girl!” I protested.
“Sell your eggs,” she said. “No sex involved.”
“There’s still a giant needle being shoved through my cervix. Donating eggs is not as simple as donating sperm, damn it.”
“They should make it that easy, but that’s also why it can be as much as, what’s the going rate now? Whereas sperm is … what, a hundred per? Donating eggs is the way to go.”
“They’re also a lot more selective about eggs and you need to know your genetic history,” I growled. Lilly turned to look at me and I groaned. “Okay, so I did look into it.”
“Write a book,” she said.
“Write a… you looked into writing a book, and what was it that you said, again?”
“For every book written, depending on my price, I’d receive between thirty cents and like two dollars.”
“And then I did the math for you, and what did we conclude?”
“In order for a book to make enough to live off of, I’d have to sell between fifty and two hundred copies a day and most authors are lucky to sell one,” she said in a resoundingly bored fashion.
“Right, so, not writing a book, not donating my eggs and definitely not whoring myself out. So I’ll just stick to my jobs, if you don’t mind. My paying jobs, which you are currently mucking about with, I should add.”
“Fine, last time I muck with your work schedule, since I’ve already done the mucking. Come up and drink a bottle of my wine, pass out on my couch, and try not to bite me in the morning when I serve you breakfast.”
“I wouldn’t try to bite you, if you weren’t so fucking perky at six in the morning, damn it.”
“It’s not that early.”
“It’s now one in the morning and we won’t go to bed until four. It’s early.”
“Fine,” she grumbled. “It’s early. I’ll wait until seven?”
“Nine, wait until at least nine before you try to wake me,” I demanded.
“Good!” she said loudly. “Now come drink my wine.”