I’ve been blessed to meet some amazing, wonderful supportive people in this industry. One of those people is Casey Carter, the author of provocative, sexy stories such as The Encounter, John, Open House, Tribeca and Murder. Casey has begun a Periscope feature where she reads excerpts of stories from participating authors. I am now one of them. Casey was kind enough to read an excerpt from Levi, the first book in my series, The Garguiem.
You can watch her live reading on replay here.
The Garguiem are descendants of Fallen angels, those who were cast out for not choosing a side in the Heavenly War. As penance, they now fight evil and corruption, but a group of them led by Gargouille was recruited to protect the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages by the Archbisshop of Rouen. Churches under their protection were marked with gargoyles and grotesques to keep the lurking evil at bay.
Jump to modern times… Levi is asked to investigate demon activity in the St. Ambrose parish, where he meets Marcella. He knows she’s Garguiem like him, but she’s determined to be a nun. Levi leads her down the path of temptation, which makes her a target of the very creature Levi is searching for…
This is excerpt Casey Carter read:
In the space of seventeen days, Marcella had gone from being an almost-nun with peace in her heart, to a woman tempted beyond all reason by a sexy, tattooed stranger.
Which is why she sat in the last pew of St. Ambrose, listening to Father Tom practice his homily instead of using her free time to finish some of the blankets she’d promised to knit for the homeless shelter. She felt Tom might have been speaking directly to her, for all the relevance his words held. He spoke of temptations of the flesh and how too many met their downfall through the frivolous pursuit of pleasure.
But his words went in one ear and out the other. Marcella’s thoughts were too full of other things, like gargoyles and angels, tattooed hands that held her close and kisses that set her on fire. A future far different from the one she’d imagined, filled with danger, fear and potential loss. Levi claimed she didn’t belong with the Sisters of Clemency of the Divine, but rather with him. Because she was Garguiem.
Marcella felt she was an ordinary woman, trying to live a peaceful, contemplative life in service to God through obedience and chastity. She was not a horny fighter of the demonic, no matter that she’d been pressed into service as Levi’s secretary. And no matter that Levi set her nerves tingling in a way she wasn’t sure she could handle.
What she felt wasn’t just lust for his body, which she was certain she could have ignored. It went so much deeper. The more time she spent with him, the more Marcella came to respect Levi. He was intelligent and honorable in his own way. He was a man of faith, though his faith didn’t resemble anything she was used to and he was generous—not just with her or those positioned in the church hierarchy, but with strangers, the homeless, people passing by on the street. He shook every hand offered to him no matter who it belonged to.
Levi trapped her in a confused world where her struggle to remain virtuous left her ashamed of her body’s interest in his. But needy of it. Desirous and curious, as her heart urged her on.
Soft footfalls sounded behind her. The church was closed and locked until evening Mass—unfortunate, but there were simply too many villains in the world to leave the church open as they’d done in years gone by. Still, she didn’t turn to look at who was approaching because Father Tom never paused in his speech. He gave a little wave and smiled, and that was enough to tell Marcella that Levi was about to intrude on her peace.
He sat next to her, but she knew he would. And when he sat entirely too close, the length of his leg pressed to hers and their shoulders overlapping, she wasn’t surprised. She’d been avoiding him since they’d kissed at the soup kitchen, but she knew she’d eventually have to face him again.
Just not in church. She tried to shuffle away, but his big hand caught her knee and held her still.
She lost her breath. Memories from the last time she’d felt the heat of his hand on her legs swamped her. Levi’s palm burned through her skirt and radiated all the way into Marcella’s calf. Tingles worked their way north, and though they stopped at her upper thighs, the sensation echoed far higher and made her heart pound. She gripped the crucifix around her neck and prayed for strength.
“Shh,” Levi whispered. “Easy.”
It was all well and good for him to give her the order, but he didn’t take his own advice. His fingers rubbed Marcella’s knee in slow circles, pressing hard enough that the fabric of her skirt didn’t mute his touch, but enhanced it. The texture of the material sliding against her skin as Levi massaged her knee seemed to feed into the heat of his hand and sent the fire in her nerves blazing higher.
Then his heat was on her directly, scorching her leg and singeing her lungs. Marcella choked on her gasp, wondering when he’d managed to gather her skirt until his fingers slipped under the hem and touched the space just above her knee cap. Skin-to-skin, electrifying. Dangerous.
She couldn’t move. Scandal, temptation and confusion waged war in her body. Marcella’s cheeks grew hot and she wondered if Father Tom could see how she stiffened, if he could judge Levi’s actions, hidden by the top of the pew in front of them, by the shade of red crawling down her neck. She held her eyes too wide as she stared at the priest and tried to pretend that nothing blasphemous was taking place inside her body.
But she didn’t stop Levi’s fingers from drifting higher. She didn’t know how to and didn’t know if she wanted to—she couldn’t seem to force her hand to cover his and make it be still because shockwaves were ripping through her. She was confused and disoriented, her thoughts sluggish in comparison to the physical sensations Levi heaped on her. They sat in church, listening to a sermon on the sins of sex outside the bonds of marriage, and Levi was bold enough to smooth his fingertips over her naked thigh.
Small circles grew bigger. Hard presses grew softer. The sensation of his skin sliding against Marcella’s became elusive, drawing her closer as her curiosity swelled. A moth to the flame, Marcella’s nerves strained to feel more. She wanted to know what came next and, as the minutes ticked by, she relaxed the set of her thighs. They parted slightly—enough to let Levi slip higher.
Oxygen grew scarce. She felt as if her breathing had become too loud, maybe even echoing all the way through St. Ambrose’s nave, though that could have just been the impression given by the dull throb in her ears. The flames of the candles wavered and Father Tom’s voice faltered, but Marcella knew it was all in her head because, from the corner of her eye, she could see that Levi paid a great deal of attention to the priest.
Marcella lost her fear and relaxed, letting Levi do what he would and trusting that he would protect her from Father Tom’s discovery. She felt safe enough to let her legs fall open. Secure enough to start appreciating the slow slide of fingers on the interior of her thighs, working higher, smoothing over the curves of her muscles. Reaching for her.
She realized then, in that instant, that she trusted the Garguiem completely.
Levi slipped her skirt up until it pooled over her lap. His fingers dipped under the fabric, just out of sight but so close to her heat that Marcella flinched and held her breath. Electricity snapped between her legs and she softened—deep inside she grew liquid and heavy. He ran a fingertip down the center of her underwear in a stroke so gentle, so delicious, that Marcella released the breath she’d held in a shaky rush, tensing so she didn’t give herself away with a violent shiver.
When Levi’s finger stroked down, the fabric of her underwear shifted and Marcella learned that she’d wet them through. Her body had flooded and Levi took advantage, pressing the rough cotton between her folds, adding a textured layer she couldn’t have predicted to his fondling. He made a wide circle and caught her clit in the stroke. Lust set off a flare in her lower belly and Marcella gritted her teeth, desperate to hold back her groan.
Levi’s breath left him on a quiet chuckle that drilled down into her stomach to mingle with the desire squeezing inside her. Marcella felt the sound might as well have penetrated her pussy. Interior muscles clenched and heat surged. It was all she could do not to arch up into his caress as he rubbed her clit.
What they were doing was sacrilegious, dirty and filthy, desecrating the church. She knew she should have been ashamed, but that emotion had been burned out under the heat of Levi’s hand and her own curious lust. In her past, Marcella had been kissed and even touched, but never with such results. She’d never gotten warm and soft and wet, had never wanted a man to go back to the spot where his finger could trace designs directly over the peak that seemed to swell and pulse inside her underwear. She would have stopped anyone else long ago, but Levi was different.
What should have been wrong felt so right. A dark little devil inside her head whispered that pleasure was a gift she should accept. It told her the experience would make her decision to join the Sisters easier, a comparison between what her faith demanded for her future and what her body could feel in the moment. She would finally know what she’d be giving up. Her rational self struggled to shut that voice up, but her body and heart rebelled. What Levi did felt too good to stop.
He pushed his finger under the elastic edge of Marcella’s underwear. Her muscles tensed just in time to keep her from arching off the pew, her thighs jerked and her fingers caught Levi’s wrist. He made a low, rough noise that told her he knew exactly what he was doing and how it made her feel. He knew the temptation battering her better than she did and understood that her body wouldn’t let her stop until it achieved the goal he’d set before it.
Marcella loosened her hold on his wrist and let him continue.