Haunts & Hellions: an Excerpt from the Gothic Romance Anthology

Harkening back to the glory days of gothic romance that had us up reading all night, HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents: 

Haunts & Hellions edited by Emerian Rich

Haunts & Hellions from HorrorAddicts.net Press

13 stories of horror, romance, and that perfect moment when the two worlds collide. Vengeful spirits attacking the living, undead lovers revealing their true nature, and supernatural monsters seeking love, await you. Pull the blinds closed, light your candle, and cuddle up in your reading nook for some chilling—and romantic—tales.

With stories by: Emily Blue, Lucy Blue, Kevin Ground, Rowan Hill, Naching T. Kassa, Emmy Z. Madrigal, R.L. Merrill, N.C. Northcott, Emerian Rich, Daniel R. Robichaud, Daphne Strasert, Tara Vanflower, and B.F. Vega.

**********

An excerpt from Haunts & Hellions

The Siren and Bowery Jack

N.C. Northcott

1890

Coney Island, New York

Céleste hooked her finger through the last tight loop of lacing on Angelque’s satin embroidered corset and pulled, slowly, teasingly. Then she firmly grasped the bottom hem on the sides of the garment and worked it down, inch by inch, over Angelique’s naked hips.

Angelique moaned and wiggled. “Mmm…you do know that most people remove the corset first, don’t you, Love?”

“As well you know, I am not most people. Leaving the corset until near the end allows me to do this.” She went to her knees as she slid the corset to the wooden floor of the gypsy vardo wagon, then leaned in and planted a soft kiss on the flower-shaped birthmark on Angelique’s left hip. A glow like a burning ember rose from where their skin touched. “Or this…” She dragged both sets of fingernails down the naked leg before her, one hand in front and one in back, all the way from Angelique’s hipbone to her ankle. She used just enough pressure to waver over the line between pain and pleasure but not so much to break her pale skin. Brief tracks of shared energy were left in the wake of the touches.

“Oh good Lord! Are you trying to vex me into madness, Love?” Her feet still surrounded by the corset, Angelique shuffled a quarter turn to face her sensual tormentor. She laced her fingers into Céleste’s thick, raven-black tresses, locking into the single loose braid draped over her lover’s shoulder.

Céleste smiled. Everywhere the skin of the two touched, energy flowed visibly between them, growing as their passion grew.

“This vexes you? My ministrations plague you? Annoy you?” Céleste tilted her head further back and winked. “If that is the case, then this is going to rile you up and aggravate you into an asylum.” Angelique’s heady personal perfume so filled Céleste’s senses she barely noticed the heavy pounding on the wagon’s door.

“Oi! We got a show t’do! Céleste the Siren is on in ten minutes!” a deep male voice boomed in accompaniment to the hammering fist. “We got a packed ‘ouse and we’re not goin’ ta’ disappoint the Sons o’ St. Tammany! Git yer ass dressed, Céleste, an’ on stage! The Dog Face Man is halfway done, an’ yer next!”

“I didn’t realize it was so late,” Céleste whispered to flush, panting Angelique. “I’m so sorry, Love.” She turned to face the door. “On my way, Sam!” She placed a gentle, lingering kiss on Angelique’s lips. “Save my spot, dearest. We’ll finish this later.”

“Oh, you are a cruel one, Céleste diGenova.” Angelique pulled a shabby quilt over her cooling body. “I’ll be here as you wish, but in great part because I lack the will to go anywhere else.”

“And don’t you dare finish without me.” Céleste stepped in front of the full-length mirror, straightened her own ox-blood-red leather corset, and plumped up her breasts to maximize her cleavage.

“I make no promises, but the truth is that nothing I can do for myself could ever match what you do for me.”

“And you for me, Love. And you for me.”

***

“Ladies and Gentlemen!” Samuel Gumpertz, Master of Ceremonies, boomed through his tin megaphone from his place to the right of the stage’s proscenium arch. “Special guests, the Sons of St. Tammany! Straight from the rocky Isle of Serifos, in the deadly Aegean Sea—she’s the sinker of fleets, the destroyer of men’s souls, the singer of the songs of the deep! She’s the one, the only, Céleste, Siren of the Seven Seas!!”

On cue, Céleste stepped from the wings and sashayed onto Dreamland’s main stage, her sea-foam-green skirts swaying, her hands beckoning and her sparkling smile accompanied by the arcing bolts of electricity snapping and cracking between two yard-wide steel spheres ten feet above her head. Designed by Céleste during a conversation with a local New Jersey inventor, Tommy’s Bollocks charged the air and made the stray hairs dance on her head. The long, sea green ribbon securing the end of her single thick braid came to life, shimmying and writhing. Thin metal wafers hidden in the hem of her skirt also attracted current and tiny sparks periodically shot out from them. Before she’d even said a word or sung a note, Céleste had bought and paid for the rapt attention of every man and woman in Dreamland.

To read more, read Haunts and Hellions at: Amazon.com

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