You can’t go home again…
I have used the phrase many times in the past. You have probably read it here before! Recently, as I have traveled quite a bit and it is always a difficult transition back the normalcy of life, and in the past, as I remembered times gone by. Although memories remain, things can’t ever be the same, but then it never really can be the same, only similar, if it is passed.
I am headed back ‘home’ to where I grew up, a friend called to say my childhood home is on the market and he was going to set us an appointment. I was excited, preparing for the flood of memories that was sure to remind me of the good ‘ole days. As I checked the real estate website, I noted it was already under contract, so barring a pleading “I used to live here” chances are good I won’t get in.
I checked the images available and was surprised that although many changes and updates had been made, I could still recognize the place through the eyes of memory. Yet, something seemed wrong. and I couldn’t put my finger on it… I counted again and realized that my bedroom was gone! Somewhere along the way a wall had been knocked down to enlarge the master and with it went my space, my sanctuary. The cocoon where I spent hours reading and dreaming and yakking about boys. I was despondent, how could they take that from me. I grew up in that room, became a woman, an adult and moved away from there- out on my own. I laughed, I cried, I loved, and lost, all while living in that room.
Well, at least I no longer had interest in going in to the old house. I couldn’t now.
Home is a word that means a lot of things. It is a place that lives inside us all. A place where we feel safe and comfortable. It is a feeling. And I know when I get back to this town, my best friend will be waiting. He has offered me sanctuary in his home and even though I’ve only been to this place a few times, he is the one that spent many hours in the room that no longer exists. The one that simply sat beside me as I cried about boys, the one that told me I had spinach in my teeth or I shouldn’t wear ‘that’. The one after 40 plus years is still sitting beside me listening to me and realizing things don’t change much after all.
I have lived in many houses and many places. I am a nomad of sorts, and the benefit of that is, I am comfortable in most places. I can always find home in the smallest of comforts. The familiarity of a warm hug or the whiff of a long-forgotten scent, but nothing is more comforting than the home of being with my son, the home of my beloved’s arms, the home of my friend’s laughter, the home of my memories. The home that resides deep inside of me.
Where I am residing in the States, is a place I live, but I do not refer to it as home. It is more of rest stop along the way to somewhere else. A place to refuel and stretch out the kinks before travelling down the road again. I can’t imagine that I will ever stay still for long, but if I do, it will be not because of the new house I have bought, but because I am finally home.
‘Music is my life,’ the image hanging on my son’s wall reads. A man after my own heart. I have always been a music lover. Starting with The Monkees and David Cassidy, when I was small, then moving on to show tunes and the incredible Barbra Streisand, my 40-year love affair with Rod Stewart, leading to the Rock of the 70’s and the hair bands and phenomena that was the 80’s. Throw in the blues, jazz, Broadway and some country and we are only just beginning.
I can’t recall much of the music of the 90’s. I married, my son was born, and although I sang to him constantly, I had little time to discover any music that wasn’t involved with a Disney movie. Throughout his youth, we had Music Monday. Each Monday night, a different type of music serenaded our dinner. I thought it would open up a new world for him and in many ways, it did. A musician and songwriter, he has taught himself to play several instruments and although I cannot take any credit really, I like to think somehow, I helped.
It was in his teen years that he had chosen his own style. We went through the classic rock phase together, but then he moved on to alternative, death metal, and screamo, leaving me behind in the dust. I tried to appreciate it, but it just wasn’t my thing. I often use lyrics to reply to difficult questions and nothing cheers me more than belting out a few show tunes when I am down, but I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. I felt like a Parent—and not the cool one: turn that crazy music down!
Then came Rock Band and Guitar Hero. A frustrated singer, who couldn’t carry a tune, I was thrilled when he handed me a mic and asked me to sing. In front of his friends…. I couldn’t believe my luck. Many of the songs were unfamiliar, but I found that I enjoyed them. That perhaps I had not given his taste a chance. To this day, I thank him repeatedly for giving me back the music.
Sometimes we get so caught up in life, we forget to live. Forget who we are. My son has reminded me on many occasions, and now that he is no longer a child, I am free to make my own choices. Yet, I still find new music every day from him
And I still play Rock Band from time to time.
Recently, he played Sounds of Silence, a remake of the original, by Disturbed. I was prepared to hate it, after all who could possibly do better than the haunting Simon and Garfunkel version? Remarkably, I was moved to tears by the rendition. The power and angst of the deep raspy voice of David Draiman, created a version that may or may not be better, but was certainly different. Instead of observing the loneliness, this version puts you right in the thick of it. Powerful.
This made me think about audio in general and how so much of what I do revolves around sound. How words can change so many things. Maybe a text message is misread without the intent or inflection involved. An email carries a tone, but what if it is misinterpreted? Even a voicemail can be a monotone response or rushed message. Just because we know what and how we are saying it, doesn’t mean anyone else does.
But an audio recording allows you to use your voice to create worlds, moments, pleasure. Audio Books that are well acted can carry you away to another place. Sound effects in a movie can make or break the box office. Audio Erotica can create a very real role play experience putting you in the moment with another and Directed Erotic Visualisation© can carry you right over the edge of ecstasy with words only.
When I need the quiet, I visit my aunt who lives out in the country. The sounds of silence always amaze me. The air buzzes with the high-pitched frequency of quiet only broken by an owl occasionally hooting in the trees or the clip clop of horse’s hooves on the road. So, is silence, silent at all?
We can use our voices to create or destroy. The power of words can be intensified or softened, by a simple change in tone. We can remain silent or speak up and be heard. And thankfully, we can sing. It doesn’t matter whether you can carry a tune or sound like a frog in a tin bucket, turn it up, roll down the windows and sing like no one’s listening.
It will help you embrace the silence when you find it. And when you do find it, take a moment, and listen: it is quite a beautiful song.
Now, I’m a romantic, I love candy and flowers as much as the next gal. I do believe that given a greeting card has surpassed the $5.00 mark that perhaps the commercialism has gotten a tad out of control. Besides, I like to be treated as though every day is Valentine’s Day. It is after all the sentiment behind the gift that counts.
That being said, I think it is a good day to remember our love in whatever form it takes. Men sometimes need a push to be romantic- sometimes not, so don’t get in a huff- but if they are not normally romantic perhaps after years of practicing, if only one day a year, they will eventually get the hint.
It is said, that along with being a Christian Martyr, St Valentine performed weddings for those couples that could not be married in the church. While he was in prison he healed his jailor’s daughter and before he died he sent a note signed, Your Valentine. Sweet, perhaps, but how did we get from there to here.
It wasn’t until the 14th century that courtly love became prevalent and Valentine’s Day was recognized as a time for romantic love. By the 18th century gifts were regularly exchanged. A popular custom was the giving of keys as a symbol of unlocking the heart of your beloved.
In Wales, they have created a similar day: St Dwynwen’s Day celebrates true love on January 25. Again, the legend is murky. Dwynwen falls in love with a handsome young man named, Maelon, but rejects his advances. Her father will not allow the marriage so she prays to forget he ever existed. An angel turns Maelon into a block of ice. Dwynwen is devastated and prays again asking for three things: that Maelon be thawed, that she, through God will be the patron saint of all true loves; and that she never marry. She then retreats to the west coast of Anglesey to set up a convent.
There are some remnants there today, along with a cross erected by Queen Victoria and a well that lovers visit every year. It is said that if the fish appear when you are standing there, it is true love. Traditionally Welsh love Spoons are given as a gift.
Whichever country I spend Valentine’s Day in you can be sure will be making a big deal out of the holidays. After all, romance writers and comedians come up with scores of great materials from one day out of the year, so, if nothing else, I can look at it as research.
Times are difficult for many right now and the world is in a spin, I propose another holiday: Love your Neighbor day or some facsimile thereof. Perhaps it sounds naïve, but it would make the world a much better place if we could just try to get along.
It started in school, the damn Valentine box attached to your desk, some got many others only a few. Prejudice based on the things that only a young child would understand. Gone are those days, so don’t be afraid to let someone know you care. Whether you receive few or many, my wishes are for you to enjoy the day with someone that you love, in whatever form it takes.
Although I haven't been here much, I have been busy. Here is an update on how I've been spending much of my time.
eSensual Books Celebrate 2017 with 7 Million Orgasms and counting!
Erotic Audio specialists eSensual Books have closed out 2016 with record success. With better than 50% growth, year on year, since their launch in 2013, they have consistently been ahead of the wave of the latest audio trends.
eSb Director Essemoh Teepee, says, “The erotic audio sector is continuing to grow at a steady pace and will soon be a real competitor in the “Sex Tech” and what we at eSensual term, the "Virtual Intimacy" market. We are pleased to be ahead of the curve again on this one and we are ready to fill the need for more quality erotic audio products.”
Directed Erotic Visualisation©: the mainstay of their business, was created in 2009 by Essemoh Teepee and has more than 3 million audios downloaded to date. eSensual Books is now the exclusive publisher of over 200 titles distributed internationally across multiple platforms, and that number is growing daily.
Genevieve Ash, Executive Director, attributes their success to their loyal customer base. “It is virtual reality without the goggles", she says. “Once you feel the power—and pleasure, of really experiencing any fantasy you desire, it is difficult to resist.”
“DEV is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’,’’ says Essemoh Teepee. “If there is a way to give people pleasure through the spoken word, we are going to find it. The thing that makes Directed Erotic Visualisation uniquely different from other audio products is the intimacy, the up close and personal connection, which is created between the narrator and the listener through quality scripts and expert narration.”
New for 2017 is their Intimacy Hub. The Hub will offer their current Sexual Health and Wellbeing lines, including ED and Sexual Surrogacy products along with a wealth of sex positive information. Under development is 'The Pink Pill Project', a Libido Enhancer for women without the risk of side effects associated with the alternative.
eSb are adding new voices and products to their line up and the response has been an enthusiastic, yes! With the recent addition of Gaelforce Audio they are offering pleasure to a whole new wave of satisfied listeners.
They state their goal is "To curate the ‘best of the best’ in erotic audio and make it accessible across the demographic".
You can find out more about Directed Erotic Visualisation© and all of eSensual Books products at their website: www.esensualbooks.co.uk.
I recently had some minor surgery that made it impossible for me to bear weight on one leg for a solid month. I have had a few occasions where friends and family have taken me out and offered to push me around in the wheelchair. Getting out of the house was a relief and spending 3 hours in a book store a real pleasure, but I hadn’t thought about the way people would look at me. I appear to be a healthy woman. There is no cast. I struggled a little pushing myself down the aisles, but people immediately gave way to let me pass. I imagined counting their own blessings as I slid by.
When checking out, I noted the cashier spoke to my son, rather than me. Offered to help fill out the form for a discount card. All very kind attention paid to someone who obviously might need assistance, so, I was grateful for the help. The thing that struck me though--beyond the furtive glances and outright stares, was the tone of voice being used. As if I were a young child with a teacher. Or an elderly patient that was confused. I suppose it was just out of consideration, in case, but while I understood it, I was offended too.
This made me wonder if I had not done the same thing before. If it was a natural reaction for most, certainly in my generation, and why we never considered how condescending it might seem. Politically Correct phrases and descriptions are changing every day. I just had a conversation where I chose a PC phrase and was told it was no longer PC. How do we keep up? What is best the best way to not offend someone?
Personally, I think it is a bit out of hand. Now before you attack me, let me make it perfectly clear: I believe that we are all human beings and should be kind to one another regardless of: INSERT SENSITVE ISSUE HERE. We try so hard to not say the wrong thing that we are not saying the right thing either. Why can’t we interact human to human? Why can’t we empathize with those around us whether there is an obvious ‘issue” or not. The current state of politics in the US has put everyone on guard and the progress we have strived for is at risk of being reversed, which is terrible, but even worse is the way people are turning against one another.
I have had friends say they wish they had my life—although, I can’t complain, I am not sure why—but as I have said before, we truly have no idea what others are going through. Even when we ask, we don’t always get the truth. I have had little interaction with family and friends since the surgery and am wondering if it is holiday busyness or just being uncomfortable with being out with a wheelchair or walker.
As the Holiday season draws closer, we are reminded that for a few weeks’ people make the effort to be a little kinder to friend and stranger alike. Mostly because it makes us feel good even if we must fake it, till we make it. It makes us feel better about ourselves because we want to care about others. So, let’s see if we can keep it going all through the year. It will be a win-win situation and most people would rather you make the effort at all than worry that you might say the wrong thing, the wrong way.
I happen to celebrate Christmas. The meanings have changed of over the years, but for me it is a time of love and peace and magic. You can wish me a “whatever you want’ and I won’t be offended, I’ll be pleased that you wished me anything. And I in turn will say thank you for another wonderful year. I wish you and your loved ones an incredible holiday season filled with love and peace and a New Year of happiness.
Giving thanks. A simple effort often made complicated by our seemingly never ending need for more. The way the negative tries to crush the positive. And what of being grateful for the negative? The things that make us stronger. Give us hope for the future and propel us to strive for more, for better. And so, the cycle begins again…
I know I have much to be thankful for. Even during the darkest moments, I have been aware that still, I am so very fortunate. A roof, a meal, a healthy child. Family and friends that love me and I love in return. Doing what I love. Travel. The list is endless if you think about it. And although there are things that I wish were different and times where I am a whinging, ungrateful and selfish brat, it is usually a passing glance that comes and goes. Yes, it creeps back, but if I use all the good to block it then it becomes more manageable.
It is in our nature to be dissatisfied, it is what keeps us moving forward. You cannot understand, the joy without the pain, the hunger without be satiated, the loss without having loved. Another birthday lining my face, but I am glad to celebrate another year when some I know did not get that privilege. The extra pounds that creep in from having an endless supply of food, that so many are denied. The aches and pains that remind me of all the wonderful adventures I have lived. Winnie the Pooh says it quite nicely, ‘how wonderful I have something that makes saying goodbye so difficult.’ So, we too, need to look on the bright side more often. Being grateful and acknowledging it, is a sure way to bring peace and joy to the dark times.
Growing up in the US, Thanksgiving was always a special time. While much of the joy came from football and parades and too much stuffing, it was the joy of family and friends that made it special. When you look back and see those that are now missing from that table, you realize the true importance of not only being grateful for those in your life, but, also, for never missing an opportunity to tell them how much their presence in it means.
People change, grow apart or simply fade away, but they all touch our lives in some way and I believe are put on our path for a reason. Maybe their time with us is just a moment or a season or a lifetime, but it is a sad regret to look back and think they might have been happier to know how much they truly meant to us. ‘I love you’ is carelessly tossed about today, but unlike the Eskimos who have many words for snow, we use one word to describe intensity of feeling in its many forms. Unless you are a wordsmith who enjoys crafting lyrical prose, I love you, you’re special to me, I value our friendship- are all good options. Although, today it will more than likely be an emoji, a photo or a 9 second video!
I have had the opportunity to spend a couple of my Thanksgivings in the UK sharing the feast with those who do not celebrate this holiday. While it seemed strange at first, given the reason for the holiday, I realized that being thankful is something we all can do. Even if a small can of pumpkin cost £6! But I had pumpkin pie as I have for many, many years, so I was grateful…see how easy it is!
And I have gained other holidays, too. Ones that were not familiar to me: Bonfire night, St David’s Day, Boxing Day, St Dwynwen’s and Miner’s fortnight. New experiences, new traditions. New memories. Different faces at a different table, but home and family nonetheless.
The year has flown by and soon it will be Christmas and the start of a New Year. I am not big on the whole resolution thing, but perhaps I will resolve to be more thankful next year. Ah, but why wait for January 1st, I think today is a fine day to give it a shot, don’t you?
Where has 2016 gone? Jack Frost will soon be blowing in and if the cool fall in the UK is any indication, it is going to be a cold winter! October and the heat is already on.
I survived the recent birthday and celebrated in style! A trip to Buckingham Palace was a dream come true--though meeting the Queen is still firmly on my bucket list as she was not there. The first thing I did while rounding the corner near St James Park was look to the sky. The Palace flies a standard Union Jack when the Queen is not in residence and the Royal Standard when she is. My heart sank a little when I saw the Union flag, but just walking the halls of history was more than enough for a first visit.
The immensity of this experience struck me the moment I stepped through the doors of the palace. Tears sprang to my eyes immediately as the history, pageantry and romance all combined to hit me head on.
I ascended the grand staircase to the ballroom imagining I was meeting the Queen for a Royal Ball. The fact that one of my favorite walking shoes had separated from the sole before I arrived and was now held together with some large rubber bands, did not deter me from exuding what I had hoped appeared as regal charm. How many had walked this very same path as I trod now? How many whispered conversations, important deals and horrible secrets had been spoken in these rooms? And how many had been born, died and lived between these royal walls.So many possibilities swirled through the air. Ghosts of the past floating on the glittering dust trails in the afternoon sun.
90 years of the Queen’s fashion was the special exhibit lining the ballrooms and was a feast for the eyes-even if a little claustrophobic-- as the many visitors all jostled for a closer look. The exquisite detail on both Her Majesty’s wedding and coronation gowns were a highlight, but it was fascinating to watch the way she not only kept up with the changing silhouettes through the decades, but also wore them all effortlessly with style and class. Many commented that now, at 90 years old, she looks better than ever and I have a tendency to agree!
Although I planned to cap off the day with Tea in the garden, the lovely café I had been expecting was more of cafeteria line to feed and water the masses, so I passed. Ah, reality never seems to creep back in slowly…
Buckingham Palace is only open to the public for a couple months out of the year, so I am grateful the timing worked this trip. If you have an opportunity to visit, it is well worth the trip and the reasonable price of admission goes toward restoring and maintaining the stately residence.
The final room on the tour was the Throne Room. I stood there thinking of all the Kings and Queens that had sat in that same spot- some of the older thrones still visible on the outskirts of the room- and was reminded of the dreams of a little girl wishing to be a princess. I may be past my princess prime, but that hasn’t appealed in decades anyway, I still have time and now I am going for Empress. I think it suits me much better :-)
The turning leaves and crisp breezes usher in a time to reflect. The old fades away like the vibrant autumn colours of the Bittersweet vine and with it comes the hope, that someday soon, spring will poke its fragile head up through the barren ground again.
September, the month of my birth brings even more time for reflection. The melancholy moments of reliving the past. The people, places, and memories that have somehow collided to make me who I am today.
The youth so carelessly spent: omnipotent and fearless, grabbing the best of what I thought life should be, the middle years of anxious busyness, child rearing, and playing the role of adult-- and now that what some might call ‘the golden years’ loom large in the not too distant future, what will change?
What have I learned about life? Do I have regrets? Is it ever too late to start again- to move closer to my genuine self? And what of the physicality of it all? It seems that my ‘20 something’ year old self is still trapped inside this ‘50 something’ year old body. A body once taken for granted as I climbed and raced and gave in to all the pleasures life could offer. A body, that I now work so hard to try and make it come close to doing what it once had.
Don’t misunderstand, I am grateful for each passing year. The strands of silver and gold laced through my red hair are simply natures highlights, the lines that crinkle near my eyes a reminder of all the laughter I have shared, but in my soul I now know things that I could not have known in my youth. Important things. Things that only experience can teach us. As the clock moves forward, so does my ability to better understand the world around me. To understand what is worth focusing on and what is not worth fretting about.
People come and go, families break apart and come together once again, true friends remain over decades while the acquaintances ebb and flow, yet, each one creates a small place inside us where the memory remains. Each giving or taking a little bit of our past that shapes the future.
Sometimes I lament the crime of not knowing these things sooner. The wish that I had seized more of life…If I’d only known. But, then I again realize that none of it would be true because I would not be the same person I am now. I no longer covet the life that did not turn out as planned. The phrases “be careful what you wish for” and ‘aren’t you glad some things did not turn out as hoped for’ now remind me that it was perfect as it was. As it should have been.
No, my life is not perfect. Some would say, far from it, but I now choose the simple things, the important things to gauge my success. And while I have so much to be grateful for, I have always been a little greedy. Always reaching for just a little more. One more adventure. Stepping outside the norm. Not quite satisfied. Searching. As if the ever elusive brass ring is not meant to be caught, simply to be reached for. A leg up to the next level. The climb. Moving forward. Continuing to live, grow, love.
I look forward to the years ahead. Along with the gentle nudges that help me to understand what needs to be gracefully surrendered, I will continue to strive for what can be accomplished regardless of age, propriety or physicality. Transforming my reality once again to encompass the peace, the knowledge, the knowing.
What is it that I know? Probably not much, however, the one thing that has always been certain and will always be true in my soul, is that in the end, love is what truly matters. What always remains. It is eternal and I believe the only thing we take with us when we leave this life. So, love each other and yourself, laugh until you see wrinkles, make more memories and know that if your life is not exactly how you thought it would be, keep living anyway, you may just catch that brass ring after all.
Once again I am writing a blog to say, "I’m sorry for ignoring you." It is not intentional, I assure you. Life gets busy. Time passes or stands still and suddenly you realize another month has passed.
I have not been lazy though. My duties at eSensual Books are keeping me very busy. You can read all about it in our blog here. So many exciting new things happening, it is difficult to keep it all sorted!
And dont forget there is still time to submit your sexiest audio stories to a new Call for Submissions. Talk Dirty to Me is a unique audio only antholgy, edited by Essemoh Teepee and myself.. Please read more about the details here.
As with everything, my life seems to be divided in half. I live in the States and I live in the UK. I have an identity as mother, daughter, sister, friend, and a separate identity in which I write, record, and manage a business that is mostly kept separate from my real life. I write about characters that exist only in a novel, but after spending sometimes months with them inside my head, it is difficult to admit they are not real. Sometimes after a while has passed since a new release, I actually even miss them!
Fantasy and reality have a way of crashing gears, sometimes when they merge it is fabulous, until the moment comes where you shake your head like a wet dog and remind yourself it is not real. Sometimes you just have to leave it in a little box and take it out for a visit. Ah, but, that is the price of a vivid imagination and as I have noted before, my family often says, “I don’t know what world you grew up in, but I don’t remember it like you do.”
As complicated as it might seem to operate in different worlds, I wouldn’t trade it. The imagination is an incredible tool to assist in your journey through life and the brain cannot tell the difference between a vividly imagined daydream and a real life experience. Try experiencing the intense pleasure that Directed Erotic Visualisation© gives and you will understand.
Today, I am missing Callista and her beloved Professor Anbu. The third in the Research Series, Academic Research is well underway and I look forward to see where their crazy adventures will lead this time. I have included an excerpt from Captivating Research to remind you and give us all something to look forward to in the New Year when Academic Research is released. Enjoy!
Callista gave the looking glass one last glance. She felt like a Princess. All of her life she’d dreamed of dancing at the ball with her Prince, and tonight, she would have the chance. The vivid scarlet dress threw extra colour into her subtly made up face and it appeared as though she had a continual blush. The long lean column of silk clung to her every curve, the flared bottom tickling her ankles as she moved. The scoop neck was on the demure side but the bra pushed her ample cleavage high – at least my shoulders and knees are covered—Callista wanted to make a good impression on the Consul General, Anbu had said he was a close relative of the Sultan. She wanted to show him her respect and that she was as much a professional as Anbu. She knew women in this region were often treated like second class citizens but she would not be just the assistant this time! Certainly Anbu had invited her as a colleague as well as a lover. He may be more experienced, but I am certainly as capable. STOP! Her brain was twisting again. Now was not the time to pick an imaginary fight with Anbu. They had a special evening ahead and she needed to be on her best behaviour.
Looking in the mirror one last time, she turned to check the timepiece on the nightstand.
* * *
Anbu glanced at his watch; six fifty-nine, where the hell is she? It was not like Callista to be late.
“Bruna, would you like to check on our friend and see what is keeping her?”
“She will be here Master, relax.” Anbu shot his shirt cuffs from his sleeves, straightening the gleaming gold cufflinks at his wrist. He ran a finger over the abstract design, remembering the day Halgan had given them to him. They had been her father’s, a gift from a Christian missionary travelling through their village in Somalia before the troubles. He had been lying alongside her slender body in his hotel bed, sated from hours of lovemaking, holding each other and talking. Halgan had told him her father had acted as an interpreter for the missionary, protecting him from falling foul of fundamentalist hotheads. The links had been the only item of value her family had preserved when they fled to the camps. The day after she had given them to him she was dead, his Halgan, killed because of her love for him… Not tonight Anbu, too much is riding on this evening. Stay focused.
“I guess I shall have to go get her…” Anbu snapped back to reality to find Piers, his jaw slack and mouth gaping, and Bruna with a secret smile on her lips, their attention drawn to the staircase.
Callista manoeuvred the wide, sweeping curve of stairs like a debutante at her coming out ball. The crimson silk moved with her, clinging to her voluptuous body as though it couldn’t bear to be parted from her soft skin. Her head was erect, her neck long, her body language open and relaxed. Anbu remembered the nervous young ingénue he met in a café a few short months ago and a strangled sob choked in his throat. My god she is stunning. No wonder that damn masseur couldn’t keep his hands off her.
Piers stepped to the bottom of the stair case and extended his hand. “Ms Makris, you are breath-taking.”
“Thank you, Piers and please, call me Callista.” Anbu watched her smile sweetly and take a deep breath, pushing her breasts practically into Piers’ face before stepping into the foyer.
“Like a goddess, Chica. You look so powerful.” Bruna gave her friend a clandestine wink.
“Thank you Bruna. You look absolutely stunning.”
Anbu looked at the two women side by side, Bruna’s risqué gold dress had been altered to include a sheer drape of chiffon that covered her arms and shoulders and brought the hemline just below her knees. The added modesty did not detract from the pure sex that Bruna exuded from every pore. Callista was elegant and demure, the cut of the costly designer gown emphasising her delicious shape to full advantage without being overtly sexy. But Anbu knew beneath that demure look lay a boiling tempest of sexual energy. Pretty on the outside, dirty on the inside…
“Professor, if I may say so, none of the girls in the richest sheik’s harem will compare to the beauty of these fine ladies. I do believe you will be the most envied man at the reception.”
“Thank you Piers, I am a very lucky man indeed.” Anbu realised the truth of his words as he spoke. Maybe he had taken his fortuitous circumstances for granted lately. The last few weeks he had been busy preparing for this trip and contemplating his future. The attention and willingness of these women had made him feel the world was at his feet. He understood now that instead of paying attention to their needs, he had been pondering how much more there was for him to discover. His emotions and libido had been locked away by guilt and memories for so long. Now that he was free, he wanted to explore those possibilities. Well, tonight will be all about them.
Anbu stepped between the two women taking the arm of each and escorted them to the waiting helicopter. The breeze was still warm from the blazing day as the trio strolled to aircraft waiting for them. Callista wanted to pinch herself and glanced over at Bruna, who had her head up, looking every inch as though this was her birth right. Damn, she is gorgeous…
Anbu checked to see that they were both belted into the rear seats securely and gave them each a kiss on the cheek as he settled headphones onto their heads before clambering in beside the pilot. She saw his eyes darting about, taking in the controls and glowing instruments as the pilot started the engine and wound the rotor up for take-off. Callista would have preferred to sit beside Anbu and snuggle. Boys will play with toys…
The short flight swept them over Dubai and across the nearby border into Oman. Anbu’s crackling voice in their ears recited the rules as the aircraft circled above the Consul General’s private palace.
“No drugs, no intoxication, no overt sexuality. Do not wander off…”
“Yes, Master.” Callista snapped into her microphone, trying to curtail his laundry list of rules. “Shall we check in with you before we visit the loo as well?
“Don’t be crass, it doesn’t become you. It would be unwise to display such impudence with our host and his guests. I don’t plan on straying far from either of you tonight.”
“Oh and what’s the special occasion?” Callista hated to be snide but she didn’t need Anbu treating her like a child. Anbu twisted in his seat and looked over his shoulder at the two women. Callista thought he looked contrite.
“I suppose I deserve that. I know I have been somewhat preoccupied lately, but tonight we will all enjoy the evening together.”
“Master, will you dance with me?” Bruna’s big dark eyes pleaded with him like a child asking for candy before supper.
“Bruna, it is not that kind of a party, more of a reception, partly in our honour. Play the game, nod and smile. Speak when you are spoken to.”
“Oh great, so it will be boring!”
“Bruna, things are rarely boring when you are around, you seem to have fun wherever you go. Just try to stay out of jail okay?”
The pilot expertly wound the helicopter down to land close beside a sparkling white limousine that was waiting to take them the short distance to their host’s gleaming palace bathed in golden light from powerful spotlights hidden in the lush landscaped grounds.
Anbu helped them both from the aircraft and into the car. He raised Bruna’s hand to his lips and kissed it soundly. “Be good little girl for me, just this once?”
The Brazilian smiled and batted her eyelashes. Callista looked at Anbu; his white dinner jacket highlighted his coffee coloured skin, the crisp bowtie, the intricate cufflinks, his perfectly pressed black trousers and polished shoes made for a delicious package of Anbu. She thought he looked like someone out of a James Bond movie, maybe even the legendary man himself and she giggled at her fanciful thoughts.
“What is so amusing, Callista?” Anbu turned his attention on Callista, his grey eyes almost black as he searched her gaze. “Please share with the class?”
“Nothing, I was just thinking you look as though you should be in a Bond movie. Helicopters, fancy cars, and a white dinner jacket—of course, you are much more handsome than any of the Bond’s—thus far.” Callista tried fluttering her eyelashes, but was sure it came off as more of twitch. Damn, I wish I hadn’t worn the falsies.
“Thank you, I think.” Anbu laughed as he got into the car and the rich joyous sound made Callista’s heart flip-flop in her chest. “I don’t think this research project will require anything as exciting as espionage. No car chases, high tech gadgets, disguises or explosions and certainly not gunplay, but should you get a paper cut, I can probably assist.”
They all laughed as the car sped off towards the party. The sleek Mercedes ground to a halt just a few moments later and the back door to the car opened held by a liveried servant. Callista elegantly swung her legs from the car, ankles together, and stepped on to the walk. Bruna joined her and they both stared at the building in front of them; white walls bathed in pastel floodlights, Lapis and gilt cupolas atop tall minarets. Verdant palms and formal planted flower beds softened the abundance of marble. Anbu’s whisper floated from behind them.
“My friends, I don’t believe we are in Kansas anymore…”
If the hotel was over the top in Callista’s view, then the Consul’s Palace was positively obscene. If this was the home of a government official what on earth must the Sultan’s Palace be like? Anbu did not seem at all phased by the ostentatious luxury surrounding him. He absorbed any environment like a sponge, effortlessly fitting in to his surroundings. Callista supposed it was the very essence of his academic success as an anthropologist and ethnographer. He had a chameleon like ability which enabled him to adapt so completely to his circumstances. She was envious of his laid back approach to extreme cultural shifts and more determined than ever to learn how he achieved it. That was why I took his job offer to begin with, after all!
The palace was humming with excitement. Elegantly clad people whispered secret gossip into each other’s ears while watching the subtle dance of the Sultanate court. The tinkling music of fine crystal glasses and gold bracelets mingled with boisterous conversations of congregated self-important men watching the exquisitely desirable women parading past them.
The formal reception had been short and as Bruna had guessed, somewhat boring. The elderly Sultan had only appeared briefly, escorted by the Consul General who had introduced him to Anbu. After a few quiet words and a laugh shared by the three men, the Omani ruler moved to the next group. Except for a glance lingering on Callista’s cleavage and a measured look at Bruna, he essentially ignored the two women. Callista remained calm, following protocol, and Bruna just laughed. The Brazilian whispered in Callista’s ear, “Do you think he might like one of your blow jobs, Chica?” Callista nearly dropped her champagne.
Once the Sultan had circulated, he was spirited away by his minders and the real party began. The techno beat of music pounded in time with the flashing lights and their host’s harem re-appeared in dance clothes, shaking it for all they were worth in hopes of attracting the attention of a Prince or Sheik. Callista guessed that most of them were on the usual three year contracts and were constantly looking for fresh opportunities to extend their tenure.
Bruna took one look at the harem girls and pouted. “Master, look at them. I don’t stand a chance of snagging a Sheik wrapped up like this. What about the Generalissimo, I could make him happy?”
“I don’t believe even your considerable charms would work on our host, Bruna. If the rumours are correct, the Consul General is gay. He has no children of his own and though many have tried to snag him from bachelorhood, none have succeeded.” He laughed at Bruna, as she made pretence of stamping her foot in disappointment.
“He studied at Oxford for a while, before my time, but the more cosmopolitan lure of London, and particularly Soho, was too strong. I don’t think he got a very good degree, a Desmond at best.” Anbu saw Bruna’s confusion and added, “A two, two degree; second class honours? Archbishop Desmond Tutu? No?” he sighed and said, “Callista will explain it later.”
Callista noticed the Consul General over Anbu’s shoulder, approaching rapidly and wearing a frown. “Anbu, pissed off host at six o’clock. We haven’t done anything, honest.” Bruna nodded vigorously in agreement. Anbu sighed and turned.
“A word, Professor?”
“Of course, Excellency.”
“Will you excuse us, ladies? I shan’t keep Professor Dahl very long. Enjoy the party.”
“Behave, and stay here!” Anbu hissed over his shoulder as he made to leave.
“Master, may I use the restroom?” Bruna put on her baby voice as she called after him and smiled sweetly.
“Yes, but take Callista with you.”
“Don’t you trust me to pee?” Bruna didn’t think Anbu had heard her and Callista thought it was probably for the best.
Anbu paused mid stride and half turned. “Callista, why don’t you take Bruna to the powder room? Now!” His tone was curt but Callista couldn’t resist pushing him.
“Take her? Yes, Daddy.”
“Master, this was supposed to be a fun night out for us, remember? I hope your mood improves before we get back.” Bruna turned on her heel and wiggled her delicious bottom across the dance floor. Callista looked at Anbu hoping he would say something to make her feel better about everything, but he did not. Instead, he turned on his heel and hurried after the retreating diplomat. To make matters worse, she had lost sight of Bruna and had to hurry to search for her.