Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fly Me to the Moon by Linda Mooney

How I came to write this:

For the past few months I've been having physical problems.  As a result, I hadn't written anything for weeks.  On top of that, I was in the proverbial slump and needed to get a good idea going.  In pops CJ with a challenge.  Write a free read 5000 words or less.  Oh!  I love a challenge!  Then she says I have to base it on a song title.  Another challenge! Before I knew it, Buble's version of "Fly Me to the Moon" came over Pandora, and boom!  The muse was back and the entire story was born in my head.

And thus I present to you my offering.  Enjoy!

Where does a superhero go to find love?

After fruitless years of searching, Laurel finally went to an internet dating site to search for Mr. Right.  What she found was her own personal superhero.

Rated - PG-13
Genre - Urban Fantasy / Contemporary  
Heat Level - Sweet


Fly Me to the Moon
by Linda Mooney

              Laurel checked her watch as she sought shelter underneath the restaurant's awning.  The late evening sun was giving out one last burst of burning rays before it finally sank behind the city.  Although she hadn't been waiting long, sweat trickled down her back and between her breasts from the oppressive heat. 
          An elderly man exited the building behind her.  A blast of cold air followed in his wake as well as a few lyrics filtering through the restaurant's sound system.
            Fly me to the moon.
            Yeah, I'd like to take you up on that.  Bet it's a whole lot cooler up there, and nowhere near as hectic.
            She checked her watch again.  She was early, which was in itself a minor miracle.  There were few things Laurel could guarantee about herself.  Unfortunately, punctuality wasn't one of them.  Which was why she had made doubly sure to be early for this date.  No.  Delete that.  For this meeting.  The one that had every potential of becoming so much more than that.
            She dug the folded sheets of paper she'd printed off of all their chat room correspondence from out of her purse and re-read them.  She had never understood why in the hell she'd let herself be talked into putting her profile up on that dating service website, but now she was glad she did.  That is, if Trent Booker turned out to be The Man for her.
            OutdoorsyType:  Hello. 
            DayDreemer:  Hi.
            OutdoorsyType:  Well, this is awkward, isn't it?
            DayDreemer:  LOL!  Very.
            OutdoorsyType:  My name's Trent.
            DayDreemer:  Good to meet you.  I'm Laurel.
            OutdoorsyType:  I've never met anyone named Laurel.  It's very pretty.
            DayDreemer:  Thank you.
            Laurel shuffled the papers to some of the more recent conversations they'd had.  It hadn't taken them long to discover what all they had in common.  After the initial clumsiness had faded, it felt as if they'd known each other for ages.
            OutdoorsyType:  Hey!  It's good to see you back online again!
            DayDreemer:  Sorry.  Real life messes with my online one too often.
            OutdoorsyType:  LOL!  I know what that's like.  There's times I get involved in a project for days on end.  And by the time I can get back online, people act like I'd disappeared off the face of the earth.  LOL!
            DayDreemer:  I can relate.  :) 
            OutdoorsyType:  Everything okay?
            DayDreemer:  Yeah.  Just busy, busy, busy.
            OutdoorsyType:  Listen, since we both love slasher flicks, have you caught that new one that's out yet? 
            DayDreemer:  "Bleedatorium"?
            OutdoorsyType:  Yeah, that one.
            DayDreemer:  No.  Not yet.  I'm seriously considering waiting until it comes out on DVD.
            OutdoorsyType:  I have a suggestion.  Why don't we go see it?  Together.
            OutdoorsyType:  Laurel?  Hello?
            DayDreemer:  I'm here.  Sorry.  Are you asking me out on a date?
            OutdoorsyType:  I think that's the next step, lol.  I mean, only if you're ready for it.
            DayDreemer:  I'd love to, Trent.
            OutdoorsyType:  But what?
            DayDreemer:  Huh?
            OutdoorsyType:  There's a "but" in your "voice", lol!  Is it too soon?  Or are you afraid I'll try something inside a dark theatre?  ;)
            DayDreemer:  No, that's not it.  I mean.  Listen, Trent, we've only known each other for less than a month.  I'm comfortable with the arrangement we have now.
            OutdoorsyType:  So am I, Laurel, but we have to be willing to crawl out of our shell.  At some point we have to face the world.  And each other.  You make me feel comfortable talking, and that's a major accomplishment with me because I'm such a loner.  Plus I'd like to get to know you face-to-face.  So why don't we do this instead?  Let's meet for dinner after work for starters.  How does that sound?
            DayDreemer:  Yes.  I'd like that.
            OutdoorsyType:  Of course it would be at Signora Leona's.
            DayDreemer:  LOL!  Of course.
            OutdoorsyType:  Tomorrow?  7:30?
            DayDreemer:  Sounds perfect.
            OutdoorsyType:  Now, if some kind of emergency should pop up unexpectedly, I'll try to get word to you.  But if I'm not there by 8, don't be alarmed.  I promise to make it up to you.
            DayDreemer:  Same here.  You never know.  The cross-town bus might get hijacked, lol!
            OutdoorsyType:  LOL!  Okay.  See you tomorrow at 7:30.  I'm looking forward to it.
            And so was she, in more ways than she could count.  All day she had been praying she wouldn't be called out on some assignment that would put her at risk of  being late, or missing their date altogether.
            "Excuse me."
           "Sorry."  She automatically stepped aside to let the customer enter the restaurant, then realized the person didn't move once she'd retreated.  Laurel glanced up to see a warm smile and a pair of dancing green eyes watching her.  The face was instantly recognizable, as he looked exactly like his photo.
            He laughed as they hugged briefly.  Despite its brevity, she could tell the man was in prime physical condition.  Hugging him had been like hugging a brick wall, only better.
            "Have you been waiting long?" he asked as they entered the restaurant.
            "No.  Not long."
            She discovered that Trent had made reservations.  They were quickly seated and left with menus.  Without looking at the contents, they both set the menus aside, then realized what they'd done, bringing about more laughter.
            "I take it you come here frequently?" Trent asked.
            "As frequently as time and my bank account will allow," Laurel said.  In the soft glare of the candlelight on the table between them, she was amazed by how handsome the man was.  It brought a fresh wave of fear and self-doubt, and she wondered how the date would end.  The photo she'd sent him had been done at one of those makeup studios that glamorize the customer before taking pictures.  Tonight, she looked nothing like that photo.  If anything, after a hard day at work, she probably looked even less like her usual self.
            How did Trent feel about dating homely looking women?
            He brushed at something on his cheek.  There was just the right amount of early evening shadow covering his lower face.  It made him appear even more studly, if that was possible.  He flashed her an uncomfortable grin. "You were staring at my face like I had something on it."
            "Oh, I'm sorry.  I was..."  She gave an embarrassed giggle.  "I was marveling at how much you look just like your picture."
            "So do you."
            She instantly dismissed it. "No, I don't.  That photo was taken last year, and I had three people work on me for an hour in order to look like that.  Trust me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime photo shoot."
            To her surprise, he reached over and covered her hand that was nervously fingering the stem of her empty wine glass.  "Trust me, Laurel.  You look exactly like your photo, especially in this light.  Your face glows, and you have the most incredible blue eyes I've ever seen.  In fact, right this minute, I prefer the way you look now, with your dark hair disheveled and the bright spots of color on your cheek.  You look real and natural.  Makes me think this is the way you'd appear when you first get up in the morning."
            The shock of his statement washed through her, leaving her speechless.  His honesty was irrefutable. Before she could respond, they were interrupted by the waiter arriving to take their order.  Once he left, Laurel opened her napkin to give her time to think up a response.  Finally, the best one seemed to be the simplest one.
            "Thank you."
            Trent grinned.  Or rather, one corner of his mouth turned upward.  "I take it you're not accustomed to being complimented."
            "N-no.  Yelled at, yes.  Ordered about, yes.  But kind words?"  She gave a weak shrug.  She started to reach for her water glass when she stopped.  The water's surface was quivering.  Trent looked down to see what held her attention.
            "The water," she told him.  "Look.  It's moving."
            "It's just a small earthquake," he smiled.  "We get tremors like this all the time.  Are you new to California?"
            Laurel shook her head.  "No.  It's just that something like that is often a precursor to a bigger one."
            Trent's smile widened.  "Don't worry.  I'll make sure nothing happens to you."
            The sound of sirens overrode the restaurant's music, and several emergency vehicles sped by.  At the same time a beeping noise came from Trent's watch.  He glanced at it and frowned.
            "Oh, jeez.  They would call me in."
            "Uhh, my bosses.  They probably want me to follow that fire truck and see if I can lend a hand.  I told them this was my night off, but does that matter?  Excuse me for a moment."  He pulled his cell phone from out of his pants pocket and punched a number.  "Yes.  Uh-huh.  Over on the north side, near Blaylock.  Got it.  Look, I'm tied up at the moment, but I'll get over there as soon as I can.  Uh-huh.  Okay.  Okay.  'Bye."
            "Is it serious?" she finally ventured to ask.
            "Apparently a gas line ruptured during the tremor.  Came up through the street and caused a pile-up. Police are on the scene, and ambulance and fire department are on their way."
            "Think The Champion will show up?"
            Trent grinned again.  "You never know.  This is just the sort of thing a superhero like The Champion is good at.  Saving the world one person at a time."
            Realizing Trent was staying a while longer, Laurel reached over to the basket just delivered onto the table and grabbed a breadstick.  "Can you imagine what real life might be like for a person like The Champion?"
            "What?  You mean private life?"
            "Any sort of life outside of fighting crime and all."
            "Gee, I never of thought of it, but I'd guess it would be pretty bleak.  I mean, you'd have to be like Superman and have a secret identity just so you could have friends and go out on a date."  He winced.  "A love life would be very dangerous for your partner, which would mean your sex life would pretty much suck."
            "Wouldn't you think that after a while, though, the loneliness and emptiness would get to be too unbearable?" she wondered aloud.
            "Oh, yeah.  I've no doubt it would."  He laughed so softly she almost didn't hear it.  "Wouldn't it be funny if The Champion turned to a dating service like the one we did?"
            "Actually, I think it might be a perfect solution.  Using the dating service to find someone who is so much like you that when a call goes out for The Champion to help, the other person understands and waits for you without question or reservation."
            "It would be a dream come true, in a way."  He continued to stare out the front window.
            Laurel noticed how antsy he was quickly becoming.  "Trent, if you have to leave to go tend to that accident, I understand."
            "No.  No, I promised you a nice dinner at a restaurant, and I'm a man of my word.  The emergency crews can get along without me." He started to say more, when her own phone went off.  Rather than answer it, she took note of the number, then put the cell on vibrate and stuck it back in her purse.
            "Aren't you going to answer it?" he asked.
            "No.  I know who it is, and I can probably guess what he wants.  I'll call him back later."
            "What was that ring tone?  It sounded familiar."
            "'Fly Me to the Moon'.  It was a Sinatra hit many years ago," she said. 
            "Ah, right.  Now I remember it.  Odd that it would be your choice."
            "My default ring is 'Come Fly With Me'."
            "Really?  Why that one?"
            "Because I have a love of flying, just like you do." 
            Laurel smiled as she took a sip of water.  She was comfortable with the guy even in person.  Their easy banter came so naturally, it was refreshing. 
            He could be the one.  My own personal superhero.  My lifesaver.  The possibility made her heart speed up, and she could feel the heat building between her legs.
            Another emergency vehicle rushed by, squealing in red and blue haste.  Laurel started to comment about it when the table gave a little jump.  People shrieked as the lights above them swayed back and forth.  Ceiling tiles began to crumple, and the floor was littered with silverware, broken glass, and dishes from the upset tables.  Laurel started to get to her feet when Trent suddenly reached out and grabbed her wrist.
            "Where are you going?  It'll be safer underneath the table."
            They both dove for cover as the floor buckled around them.  More people screamed, and Laurel peeked out to see that many of them had taken refuge under their tables as well.  However, several had tried to rush for the front doors and were scrambling to get outside.  Someone's fire escape came crashing down directly in front of the restaurant's front plate glass window.  Laurel shoved aside the table cloth and watched as the heavy iron structure bounced once, sending brick and concrete dust flying everywhere as it rolled away.  Some of the bits struck the glass, and the resulting cracks made beautifully abstract but very dangerous webbed formations.
            A blood-curdling scream of pain filled the room.  Without thinking, Laurel started to scramble out when Trent grabbed her arm this time and didn't let go.
            "Where do you think you're going?" he hissed.
            "Someone's hurt!"  The moment the words left her lips, the floor ceased heaving.  The rumbling and roaring sound faded away, leaving a vast silence ringing in their ears.  "I have to go find out if I can help," Laurel repeated.
            "It's too dangerous out there," Trent almost growled.  "Stay here.  I'll go investigate."
            She opened her mouth to protest when he disappeared from their tiny haven.  A moment later she caught a glimpse of him heading for the front waiting area where the injured person appeared to be.  At the same time, she felt her cell phone go off, angrily buzzing like a trapped mosquito.  "Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Hold your horses, buddy.  I can only handle one thing at a time," she mumbled.
            There was another scream of pain, and this time a cry for help.  Unable to hold back any longer, Laurel darted for the front of the restaurant.  Trent was exactly where she'd thought he'd be, bending over a trapped woman with a bloody arm.  Someone whimpered behind her and Laurel turned around.  In the next second the floor heaved again, sending patrons skidding or sliding across the floor.  There was the sound of a heavy crash in the back.  A moment later, the roof began caving in.  People screamed.
            "Trent!  Watch out!"  Laurel dashed forward as a heavy steel beam pierced the paper-thin ceiling tiles and banks of lights directly overhead.  Trent glanced up over his shoulder just as half a ton of metal aimed directly for him.  Instinctively, he brought his hands up to try and hold it back.
            Laurel caught the beam with ease and held it aloft inches above his head.
            For several seconds the two of them stared at each other in stunned silence as the aftershock faded.  It was Trent who finally spoke.
            "I take it you're not really a city building inspector."
            "Actually, I am.  This is, uhh, my second job."
            Trent snorted softly.  "A lot of what you wrote about yourself made sense to me when I read it because I felt the same way.  But makes a lot more sense."
            Nodding, Laurel moved the beam to the side and lowered it to the floor.  "How is she doing?" she asked, gesturing toward the woman lying unconscious beside him.
            "Shattered femur.  Some internal bleeding.  I need to stay here and make sure she doesn't go into shock before the ambulance arrives."
            "Such is the life of an EMS technician," she smiled softly.  "Look, I, uhh, I need to go check on what's going on outside.  Will you be all right?"
            Trent nodded.  "I'll be fine."  Looking pointedly at her clothes, he asked, "Don't you have to change or something?"
            She didn't need to glance down at her skirt and blouse to know what he was talking about.  "Yeah.  Time to don the costume."
            "Such is the life of a superhero," Trent teased.
            Laurel smiled.  "Listen, about dinner."
            "I'll be here when you get back," he reassured her.  "Afterwards, maybe we can find a nice hamburger joint that's still open.  If there isn't, I make a mean PB and J."
            Laurel stared at him as the full impact what he was implying hit home.  "I'd like that.  I mean...oh, hell.  You know what I mean."  She turned to go when she heard him call out to her again.  Glancing back, she noticed him holding out his hand to her.  It was covered in blood and grit, but his grip was strong when she gave him her hand, and he drew her over to him.  Tenderly, she lowered her face for his good luck kiss, and the warmth of his lips filled her heart with hope.
            Stepping out into the darkness, Laurel morphed into her other persona and lifted into the air to tend to those in need.  Sweet happiness sang in her veins at the knowledge that she had finally found the one person she could be happy with for the rest of her life.  A person who understood what it was like to work weird hours.  To always be on call.  To face constant danger, and to be at the mercy of those in need.
            More importantly, she knew she would never have to spend another minute of her life facing an empty future, or an empty bed. 
            Fly me to the moon.
            No, thanks.  I've decided the earth is a much better place for me right now.
            The Champion had met her match, and it was a perfect one.

The End

Linda loves to write romance with a fantasy or science fiction flair. Her technique is often described as being as visual as a motion picture or graphic novel. By day she is a Kindergarten teacher, wife, and mother of two who lives in a small south Texas town near the Gulf coast. But at night she delves into alternate worlds filled with daring exploits and sensuous, erotic romance.

Included in her accomplishments are ten consecutive Number One Bestsellers, and in March, 2010, Linda was named the Whiskey Creek Press Torrid Author of The Year.

Check out her website at  You can also friend her on Twitter and Facebook.


At the time of this posting, Contest #1, the Webpage Scavenger Hunt is now closed.  The entries will be tallied and the winner will be announced at the bottom of next week's FREE READ.  

Contest #2 is still ongoing, and there is still plenty of time to enter.  Become a follower and win some great prizes.  Get all the info HERE.  Contest ends next Saturday, so don't wait!!!

And keep on commenting to enter in our ongoing Contest #3. Some of the gifts you might win are pictured in the poster above!  The more times you comment, the more times you are entered!

Thanks for stopping by, and we'll see you again next week!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Truly Madly Deeply by CJ England

Welcome to the first installment of the Truly Madly Deeply Romance Authors FREE READ blog.  Every Saturday from this day forward we will be offering to you, our readers, a brand new short story for your reading pleasure.  We hope you enjoy these new, never before seen stories and get to know the wonderful authors who create them.

Remember to sign up for all our great contests.  Three different ways to win!!!!  See the information on how to enter, HERE.  Today is the start of Contest #3, so get those comments going!!!!

Come meet these wonderful authors at their first ever radio interview.  Get to know us all a little better when we visit Other Worlds of Romance Blogtalk Radio.  Mark your calendars for Valentine's Day evening at 11:00pm EST.  It will be a great time for all!!!  

And now, without further ado...the first Truly Madly Deeply Romance Authors FREE READ, with a quick forward by founding author, CJ England.


Hey everyone,

When I first came up with the idea for a FREE READ blog, I wanted to gather together a group of authors who truly understood what a great romance is supposed to be--a story that touches the heart and makes you believe LOVE is the most important thing in the universe.  

And once I'd accomplished that, I wanted to choose a name for our group that showed the same thing.  I remembered this wonderful song by the group Savage Garden and knew immediately it was exactly what I was looking for.  The lyrics of Truly Madly Deeply are so beautifully romantic they make you believe in true love again.  And after all...isn't that what a romance story is all about?

As for my came about as I was wandering around atop the highest mountain in Taipa, Macau, listening to the song I'd chosen--Truly, Madly, Deeply.   And as the lyrics played through my head, I gazed out over the sea and saw this beautiful fantasy tale unfold in my imagination.  It flowed so easily and fit so well with the song, I knew I'd discovered the perfect inaugural story for the blog.  Here's a quick blurb... 

Starlight, Starbright, First Star I See Tonight.

Wishing upon a star can make all your dreams come true. And when Ilona finds herself in a terrifying situation, she wishes the man of her dreams would come and save her. Imagine her shock when Sirius, the brightest star in the sky answers that wish. And what happens next makes her most delicious fantasies come true.

Rated - Adult - for 18 years and older only.  
Genre - Urban Fantasy / Contemporary  
Heat Level - Sensual 

I love writing stories that are fantastical and different.   Stories that  take you on a journey into the imagination--just like this one.  I usually write longer books, so 5k is a stretch for me, but I think it turned out pretty well.  I hope you enjoy my FREE READ as much as I did writing it!!!!


CJ England


Truly, Madly, Deeply
by CJ England

Ilona Tyler slammed her drink down on the bar and stared at the man next to her.  “Are you saying the only reason you’ve been dating me is because I have the codes to get you in the backdoor of BattleCraft?  You think because I’m a video game designer, I’m so hard up, I’ll be grateful and give you the information in exchange for a few dinner dates?”
“Look.  It’s fair all around.”  The man seated on the barstool next to her squirmed uncomfortably.  “I need the codes to make my own version of the game, and it’s obvious someone who looks like you can use a little fun—”
“Someone who looks like me?” Ilona interrupted.  She closed her blue eyes and counted to ten.  It didn’t help.  Mingled pain and fury speared through her.  So much for giving him one last chance to make a good impression.  No wonder she’d been hesitant in accepting this third date invitation.  Deep down she’d known he was a sleaze.  
She shook her auburn head.  “You’re crazy, Gerard, if you think I’d do such a horrible thing.”  She stood and fished twenty dollars out of her purse.  “This non-date is over.  Here.  We’ll go Dutch.  But just so there’s no confusion, I never want to see you again.”
“Wait a minute, damn it.”  Gerard stood as well.  His hand shot out and grabbed her wrist.  “I need you to do this for me.”
 “Tough.  You want the codes?  Find them another way.  I’m not giving them to you.”’
“But I took you to dinner and a play and—” Gerard whined.
“Screw the dates,” Ilona snarled furiously, “and screw you!”
Jerking her arm away, she stormed out of the bar.  She was so angry, she didn’t even see the taxies waiting out front.  Instead, she turned and blindly headed away from downtown. 
Hitching her purse over her shoulder, she stomped down the quiet sidewalks of Savannah, Georgia.  It wasn’t fair.  Just because she wasn’t Miss America didn’t give some cretin the right to treat her like that.
She knew she wasn’t a raving beauty, but still, how could that bastard think she’d do something so dishonest?  Was she so hideous he thought she’d pay to get a date? Pay by stealing from the company she worked for?
A single tear slid down her pale cheek.  She was tired of men turning away just because she didn’t look like other women.  Why couldn’t they look past the face and see what was in her heart.
 She touched the vicious scar that traced its way from the outer edge of her left eye down past her chin.  Why was this all anyone cared about?
Sighing, she turned the corner and headed towards home.  She hated to remember, but at times like this she had no choice.  A fast car, a drunk driver, and her world had been turned upside down.  Her parents killed and she’d been scarred for life.  A happy night at the movies had turned into tragedy.
That had been six years ago, just as she’d been set to start her new life at Georgia Tech.  The accident changed everything, and her dream of being a computer engineer had given way to more practical needs—like feeding herself.  And while designing video games might not have been her first choice, she enjoyed the work she did.
That is, until jerks like Gerard, who because they were dark, built and handsome, thought they could charm their way into her good graces and take whatever they wanted.  Pain was pushed away by anger.  Damn it all.  It just wasn’t fair.
Her thoughts were cut short as a hand came down heavily on her shoulder and spun her around.  To her shock, the man of her thoughts stood glaring down at her.
“You’re going to give me what I asked for,” he growled.  “Right now.  You owe me.”
She tried to pull away, but he held on tight.  “And just why do I owe you?”
“You think I’d go out with a woman as ugly as you without incentive?” he snapped, ripping at her already tender emotions.  “No way.  Now give me the fucking codes!”
As angry as she was frightened, she reacted.  Her knee connected solidly with Gerard’s groin, and when he doubled over, she gave him a hard shove.  As he sprawled on the ground, she turned and ran, darting into the darkness of the tangled trees across the street.

High in the sky above her, the star called Sirius stared down at the scene below him.  His heart pounded in fury and dread.
For so long he’d watched this woman.  Seen her pain and admired her courage.  He’d been there the night she’d lost everything, and he’d become fascinated by the way she’d met each challenge she faced head on.  He’d mourned with her as she laid her parents to rest, and wished he could hold her when she wept copiously after realizing the cost of having the disfiguring scar removed was far beyond her financial means.  As time went by, he found himself more and more drawn to her.  So much so, he used the star magic at his disposal to visit her in her dreams.
It had started out innocently enough.  He’d slide into whatever dream she was having, just to get to know her.  They’d talk and laugh about her day, and when she became restless, he’d soothe her back into deeper sleep.  As he got more involved, so did her dreams.  He became the knight who saved the beautiful maiden from the dragon or the merman who wrapped his fins around her curvaceous body as she body-surfed over the waves.
   But then it had all changed.  During a nightmare, as she’d relived the terror of the accident, he’d held her close as she cried out her pain and fear.  One second he was holding her in his arms, the next he was kissing her desperately, tasting the salt of her tears on his lips.
And in that moment he knew, that he, the brightest star in the sky, had fallen in love.
After that, he longed to be closer to her.  Nightly, he became every hope, every wish, every fantasy she had.  He took her horseback riding on the beaches of Maui, dog sledding in Alaska, and together, they climbed Mount Everest.
They nibbled on fresh black pepper crab in Singapore, danced the tango in Buenos Ares, and he even took her hang gliding off Half Dome in Yosemite Park.
And after each adventure ended, he would take her somewhere quiet and secluded, lay her down and make sweet, delicious love to her.
It was the one way he could touch her…the only way to share himself.  And now, knowing she desperately needed him in real life, he paced in frustration.  It was galling that he couldn’t do anything but watch her terror.
She was quick, but the man who’d attacked her had not given up. He’d followed her into the maze of lush city park squares in downtown Savannah and was slowly gaining.  Sirius’ hands clenched impotently as he followed her progress.  To have to stand by while she was in danger was slowly destroying him.
  “Come on, love,” he whispered.  “Run.  Get away.”
He watched as she raced through an ornate wrought iron gate into Chippewa Square, and then hid behind a huge statue of General James Edward Oglethorpe.  Her chest heaved, and her eyes flashed with fear, and when Sirius saw the man appear in the square not more than a few feet from her, he couldn’t take anymore.
Using the same star magic that took him into Ilona’s dreams, he closed his eyes in concentration and prayed that the plan forming in his mind would actually work.

Trapped like a rat in a cage.  Ilona shook her head in self-disgust.  She’d been so stupid.  Running into the park instead of back into the bar or another crowded area.  Keeping silent instead of screaming her lungs out.  Now it was too late.  She was stuck in the darkness, surrounded by trees, and even if someone heard, they wouldn’t be able to help her in time.  It was like being caught in a nightmare.
She sighed.  Too bad it wasn’t a bad dream.  If she were having one of those, her dream lover would save her, just as he always did.
Although terrified, her mouth still softened at the thought of him.  Even after spending night after night with the man, she didn’t know his name.  But no matter what adventure they’d had, whether it be cave diving in the Yucatan or being saved from horrifying space aliens from the planet Xeothorpe, she knew he would be there to protect and keep her safe.  He was special and honest and true.  And somehow, in the midst of it all, she’d fallen in love with him.  Maybe that was why she was still single.  She judged all her dates against her wonderfully attentive dream lover.
“So where are you now?” she murmured under her breath.  “Where are you when I really need you?”
Make a wish on your star.
Going still in surprise, Ilona glanced surreptitiously around her.  Where had the voice come from?
Now, love.  Make a wish.
Her chest tightened in confusion, and quietly, she edged around the side of the statue.  She could still hear the panting breaths of her pursuer, but now she couldn’t see him.  It made no sense.  Why would he be telling her to make a wish?
She didn’t have long to wonder about it.  Out of the darkness a hand shot out, and she let out a strangled cry as Gerard hauled her against him. “You’re going to pay me one way or another, bitch,” he rasped.  He shook her violently.  “Either give me the codes or I’ll take my payment in trade.  All women look alike in the dark.”
You must trust me, Ilona.  Please, love.  Wish for help upon your star.
Still not understanding, she acted on instinct, obeying the somehow familiar voice.  Her gaze went to the velvet sky sparkling above her, and she found the brightest star…the one her dream lover had pointed out as her very own.  It pulsed wildly as if imploring her to hurry.  And as Gerard growled out a curse and ripped open her blouse, she sent her wish winging to the heavens.
I wish my dream lover were here with me. 
There was a moment of absolute silence.  It was so quiet, she could hear her own blood rushing through her veins.  Then, with a blinding flash that lit up the night, there was a shout of triumph so loud it numbed her senses.  Ilona’s attacker was ripped from her and hurled like a rag doll across the square.
She heard Gerard scream, a sound filled with such terror, it made her mouth go dry. Her world whirled around her as she staggered and almost fell.  Abruptly, she was pulled against the warmth of a man’s chest.  It was so hot, it burned, and with a cry of shock and disbelief, she gave up the fight and fell unconscious into the waiting light that enveloped her.

When she slowly came back to herself, she sighed in contentment.  She was so delightfully warm, so wonderfully comfortable, she didn’t want to wake up.  Then she heard the unexpected sound of a heartbeat beneath her cheek, and surprised, her eyes flew open.
The figure above her was familiar.  Golden eyes, hair burnished by the sun and a strong tanned body that made her ache with desire just looking at him.  The simple white shirt and pants he wore only added to his masculine beauty.  As he gently touched her face, his sensuous mouth curved into a smile. 
And she knew him.
“You,” she whispered.  “I must still be asleep.”
Bringing her fingers to his lips, he chuckled.  “No, love.  You are very much awake.”
She shook her head.  “I can’t be.  You’re my dream lover.  I only see you in my dreams.”
“Your dream lover?”  His eyes darkened.  “I like that.  Very much.”
“Am I unconscious?” She stared up at him.  “Did Gerard…”
“No,” the man holding her said quickly.  “He did not.  I spirited you away before he could hurt you.  Don’t you remember wishing on a star?”
Ilona went still.  “Yes.  But—”
“I was that star.”
Her mouth opened and closed.  “Th-That’s impossible.”
“You wished for me and I came,” he whispered, brushing a soft kiss over her lips.  “For the first time I was able to come to you in real life, not just in your dreams.”
Shock made her voice tremble.  “You…you’re saying you’re real?”
The look on her face made Sirius want to laugh, but he knew if they were to have any chance at a future, he had to make her understand.
“I am as real as you are, but different.  I am your dream lover, but I’m also the star you wished upon.  My name is Sirius, and I’ve been watching you for a long time, Ilona Tyler.”
Her eyes went wide, and she pushed away from him.  He didn’t stop her when she staggered to her feet.  “You’re crazy.  This is crazy.”  She stared around her in confusion.  “W-Where are we?”
Sirius stood as well.  “Don’t you recognize it?  This is the top of Half Dome in Yosemite Park.”
   “We went hang gliding here.  In my dreams.”
He nodded.  “Yes.  I wanted to bring you somewhere familiar…and safe.”
She eased to the edge and looked over the side of the spectacular carved mountain.  “I can’t believe this.  I must have hit my head.”
“No, Ilona.”  Carefully, he reached out and took her hand, pulling her back from the dangerous cliff.  “It is the truth.  I’ve longed to be with you on this plane of reality, but until you wished upon my star, I was unable to come.  Except in your dreams.”
Her eyes showed a dawning awareness of belief.  “You…you’re a star?”
“The brightest one in the heavens.  And one very close to your Earth.”
“Sirius,” she whispered slowly.  “The dog star?”
He grimaced.  “Not my favorite moniker.  I much prefer the one given to me by your ancient astronomers.  Seirios.
Ilona looked up into the night sky.  “But I can see the star I wished on.  If you’re it, why is it still there?”
He glanced up at the glowing light.  “What you see there are the elements that make up the body of the star.  But those components are dimmed…at rest.  I give the star its energy.  Its spirit, you might say.  When I am with you, here now or in a dream, it still can be seen, yet it has no life.”
“So that’s why it doesn’t dance any more.”
Sirius smiled.  “Yes.”
She stepped closer.  “You saved me.”
“I couldn’t let him hurt you.”  Sirius gently pulled her into his arms.  “Yet, I’m not allowed to leave the heavens without an invitation.  Usually, I’m not strong enough to make contact with you to ask for one.  At least not when you are awake.  When you sleep you are more receptive, and I could get through to you easier.  But tonight…seeing you in such danger gave me the strength of ten stars, and I was finally able to make you hear my voice.”
“I still don’t understand,” she whispered.  “You spoke in my mind?  You came to me in my dreams?  How?”
“A little star magic.”  He ran a soothing hand down her stiff back.  “All stars have it, yet very few use it.  But the first moment I saw you, I knew you were important to me.  The magic helped me get closer.”
“Just how long have you been watching me?”
He saw the apprehension on her face, and his heart sank.  “Please, love.  Don’t be frightened.  I have watched you for many years.  Since the night of your accident.”
To his surprise, her eyes filled with tears, and she tried to cover her face.  “This isn’t a dream, so you see the real me.  That means…”
Understanding raced through him, and he groaned aloud.  “Don’t.  Ilona.”  He held her tightly, pressing a kiss to the disfiguring scar.  “This may be what brought you to my attention, but I stayed because of what I saw in you.  Intelligence, courage, understanding and kindness, all wrapped up in a sexy, beautiful package.  Believe me when I say, the more we were together, the more interesting I found you.”
“I’m…not beautiful.”
“You are,” he disagreed.  “Both inside and out.  A scar doesn’t change that.  And it was that beauty that made me visit you in your dreams.  I wanted to get to know you in every way I could.”
She relaxed a little, and her eyes searched his.  “So the dreams were real…you were real.”
“I used your dreams to give us a place to share our thoughts and hopes.  So while the adventures weren’t real, everything else we shared was.”
Pink touched her cheeks.  “E-Everything?”
He didn’t have to be in her mind to know she was thinking of the intimacies they’d shared.  Pulling her even closer, he kissed her again, this time more deeply.  “Everything.  I wanted to be everything you needed, everything you wanted.  And as we spent more time together, something extraordinary happened.”  He brushed back her hair and kissed her trembling lips.
“I fell in love with you.” 
Ilona could only blink at him.  Words were beyond her.  A gorgeous, wonderful man loved her?  With all her imperfections?  Then she shook her head.  Scratch that.  Not a man…but a star.  That was even more astonishing.
  “You must believe me,” he insisted, his gaze turning fierce and determined.  “I’ve stood with you on this mountain.”  He waved his hand and to her shock, Ilona found herself drifting along underwater on the back of a sleek dolphin.  “We’ve bathed together in the sea.”  Before she could comprehend she was breathing water with no problems, a moment later, they were lying in a pillowy bower of clouds, Sirius’ arms wrapped tightly around her.  “I want to lay here with you forever.  Until the very sky where I live falls down on us both.”
Stunned to the bottom of her soul, Ilona touched his strong jaw.  “That’s…that’s just like my favorite song.”
“I know,” Sirius murmured, “just as I know I do love you.  Truly, madly, deeply do.”
“But—” her heart was pounding, her head spinning in a mixture of joy and fear, “you’re a star…I’m only a human.  How can you—”
“Love knows no boundaries, Ilona,” he interrupted.  “And if you want your wish to be forever all you have to do is ask.”
Hope surged up inside her so hard it hurt.  “My wish?  You mean…you could stay with me?  Be with me?”
Sirius smiled slowly.    “I can stay with you or you can come be with me in my home among the stars.  But…there is a catch to this.”
Her heart sank.  “A catch?”
He nodded.  “Yes, love.  For your wish to become a reality forever, you have to do one thing.”  His face darkened, and for the first time she could see nerves in his eyes. 
“You have to love me back.”
Sweet, soothing relief flowed through her, and she laughed shakily.  “Oh, is that all?”
His arms tightened as he frowned down at her.  “It is everything.  Please, Ilona.  Do not mock me.  Give me…us a chance.  You can love me.  I swear I will do everything to give you a reason to.”
She couldn’t bear the vulnerability and worry in his voice.  Quickly, she cradled his strong face in her hands.  “You don’t understand, my dream lover.  I can’t try and love you.”  Leaning up, she brushed her lips over his.
“I already do.”
The flare of joy that went through Sirius lit the clouds up like summer lightning.  Satisfaction, desire and longing.  A potent brew that raced through him with the force of a starstorm.  He searched her eyes, and love exploded when he saw that same emotion staring up at him.
“You do love me.”  His voice shook with surprised wonder.  “I had wished, but I couldn’t…wouldn’t expect…”
She put her fingers to his lips, stopping the rambling explanation.  “Then your wish came true, too.”
He touched his forehead to hers, fighting against the feelings welling up inside him.  “I thought it would take you more time…to love.”
“We’ve known each other for how long now?”  Ilona smiled gently.  “You’ve been with me in my dreams for as long as I can remember.  Since the night of my parent’s funeral.”
“You remember that?” he marveled.  “The first time I slid into your dreams?”
“How could I not remember?”  She kissed his chin.  “I was sitting on the porch, so tired of having to talk to everyone.  I must have fallen asleep because next thing I knew, you walked up the steps.  You didn’t say anything.  Just sat next to me and held my hand.  And even when I cried, all you did was hold me.  You knew exactly what I needed.”  Her eyes darkened.  “Then I woke up and you were gone.  That’s when I realized none of it was real.”
“Yet now you know it was real, just as this is.”  Sirius held her tighter, answering her kiss with one of his own.  “And I will never leave you again.  I’m sorry it took pain to bring us together, but I swear on every star in the sky I will do everything I can to bring you pleasure.  If it is within my power, the only tears you cry will be those of joy.”
“If we can be truly together—” she wriggled beneath him, “—then my joy is already complete.”
Desire beckoned, love demanded.  And when his lips captured hers, Sirius knew that his reason for living…the deeper meaning in his life had finally been revealed.
Unable to help himself, he used his star magic, and in the blink of an eye, their clothes disappeared.  His kiss turned voracious as he tasted what before he’d only known in his most hopeful dreams.
He touched her, his hands moving over the body he already knew so well.  But this time it was different.  This time it was special.
This time it was real.
“Sirius,” she gasped as he moved his lips down to capture a peaked nipple.  “Oh, God.  Please don’t stop.  I love you.”
His answer was a growl as he sucked the tip of her breast into his mouth.  When she arched toward him, he put his hands behind her, holding her in place.  And he feasted.
She was delicious.  Sweet and sultry and oh, so soft.  The knowledge she now belonged to him almost made his head explode with passion.  He moved, keeping his mouth on her breast while his hand traced down to the sultry warmth between her legs.  One touch and he groaned again.  She was already wet, her inner folds and clitoris slick with her juices.  He wanted to taste her, breathe in the spice of her passion, but he wasn’t sure he had the control for that.
Instead, he slid two fingers inside her warm channel then used his thumb to gently press against her already swollen clit.  Closing his eyes, he concentrated and sent star warmth racing into his fingers.  As soon as she felt it, Ilona’s eyes flew open and she cried out his name.
It was so erotic.  Sirius’ hand was hotter than the rest of him and the feeling of him stroking in and out of her was beyond pleasurable.  Not one to lay passive, Ilona ran her hand down his body, taking his thick cock in her hand.  He was just as beautiful in real life as he was in her dreams, and her mouth watered at how he would taste.
Yet as much as she wanted to do more, the climax burning deep within her belly was spinning tighter, and all she could do was squeeze and caress him the same way he was touching her.
His muttered groans filled her ears and his penis throbbed, pre-come slicking the head and making him even easier to stroke.  Only a few moments passed before his hips were moving in the same rhythm as her own. 
The touch of his mouth on her breast…the feel of his hand, finally was more than she could take.  Her hand squeezed him one last time before she imploded, and for the first time, Sirius truly showed her the stars.
She saw all the color and light of the heavens.  Flaring comets and flaming meteors.  Spinning planets and dusty moons.  Her body burned with the ecstasy of loving and being loved, and it was at that moment she understood the true joy of being with the man you needed above all others.
Even if he wasn’t a man at all.
She was still reeling from her orgasm when he slid between her thighs and plunged deep inside her.  She screamed, her cry almost breathless as she went sailing into the sky a second time.  He thrust deeply, his hands holding her hips, his lips at her ear as he whispered his love and need for her.  She felt him swell even bigger as he shouted out her name.  And all the warmth and beauty of the glittering sky raced through her as they went over the edge together and rode the wind up into the very sun itself.

     It was a long time later when Sirius stirred and kissed her smiling lips.  “I love you, Ilona.  You are everything I could want in a woman.”
She snuggled closer.  “I love you.  I’ve loved you for a long time.”
     “Will you come with me?” he asked.  “Live with me in the sky?  I swear you will not regret it.”
Her heart leapt with even more joy, but still she hesitated.  “You really want me?  The real me?  I’m not perfect.  I’m no beautiful star.”
“By the Sun!”  His eyes narrowed.  “I don’t care about your scar.  Don’t you understand that?  You may have hidden it in your dreams, but I always knew it was there.  And it mattered not.”
A single tear traced down her face, highlighting the blemish with its silver brush.  “I’m sorry,” she whispered.  “But no one has been able to see past it before.”
“You want to see how little I care?” 
A heartbeat later, they were lying beside a beautiful lake.  It was so still, the water so clear, it was as if it were a living mirror, and Ilona cringed as she saw her reflection in it.  She touched the scar, the familiar numbness making her shudder.
“Watch,” was all Sirius said.
Then with a flick of his finger along her cheek, he traced the knotted flesh.  Just once.  And to her complete astonishment, the scar disappeared.  She touched her face in shocked bewilderment.  “W-What did you do?”
He shrugged.  “I made it go away.”
“Go away,” she echoed.  “You can do that?”
“Ilona.”  He took her into his arms and then touched her cheek again.
Immediately, the familiar numbness came back, and one look in the mirrored lake told her the scar had returned as well.  She gazed up at Sirius in confusion.  “Why?  I don’t understand.”
“To show you it doesn’t matter.  Yes, without the scar your human body is even more beautiful, but to me it’s unimportant.  With the scar or without, I love you.  And I will love you long after we shed these human bodies and become pure energy.  Then flesh and blood…and scars won’t matter.  It will only be us.  Our essence and the love we still have together.
She hadn’t thought about what form he…they would use in the heavens.  Finally, she understood.  The scar didn’t matter to him because he really did see inside her.  Not as a human male might, but as a being of energy and light, one who could see what was really important.  Sirius had literally seen the birth of the universe and all in it, and he knew the saying, “beauty is only skin deep”, was a truth worth believing.
Wrapping her arms around him, she lifted her lips to his.  “Thank you.  For seeing me.  For loving me.  I want to be with you.  Wherever you choose.  In any form you choose.”
He held her tightly.  “In my star home we can still have these human bodies.  I find I enjoy making love with you this way.”
She giggled.  “But you’ll show me other ways as well?”
Sirius groaned as his human flesh stirred again.  “I will.  Loving you in all forms possible will be the greatest adventure we have yet to try.”
“And we’ll live amongst the stars?”
He touched her face again, smiling at the joy in her eyes when she felt the scar melt away…this time forever.  If it made her happy, he would give her this gift, though in his eyes nothing important had changed.  “This is a new beginning, my love.  Now Sirius will be a binary star again.”
“Not a star,” she corrected with a gasp as he slid inside her one more time. “There are two of us.  Ilona and Sirius.  Th-This time we will be a c-constellation.”
“As long as I hold you in my arms, we can be whatever you like.”  A growl escaped Sirius as he moved within her warmth.  The need welled up inside him so fast he could hardly breathe.  He called upon his magic, and a moment later they were covered in bright light as they slowly rose into the dark night sky to take their place in the heavens.

A week later astronomers around the world shook their heads in collective shock when a new star was suddenly discovered.  Later it was reported in Astronomy Magazine...

     The smaller star appeared in the sky without warning.  It hugs close to the larger star, Sirius, giving the impression the two stars are somehow intertwined.  Data shows the smaller star has many of the characteristics of the former binary star, yet is it’s own entity.  Because of this it has been given it’s own star status.  Due to the closeness of the two stars, amateur stargazers have given this new constellation a romantic and perhaps fitting name.
The Lovers.

The End 


CJ England credits her passion for writing to her second grade sweetheart, Steven, a blond haired cutie with dimples, who dumped her for a girl who could swing on the monkey bars. She wrote her first story about love and loss after that tragic episode.

She is known on the internet as a bestselling, award winning, author who can bring sensuality and romance together in ways that require you keep a fire extinguisher and a box of Kleenex handy. 

Described as having 'innovative story lines', 'a whiz at character development' and 'quite simply a genius!', CJ wants her books to spark the imaginations of her readers. So they will begin to believe anything can happen if you…Follow Your Dreams.

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