...Padraig stopped to listen. “Another storm’s brewin'."

Instantly, there was the drum of rain against the roof. Lightning flashed outside the window, followed by was a second crash as the lights went out.

“Damn!” He stood up. “The power lines must have been hit.”

Holding onto the banister, he went down the stairs and threaded his way around the dark shapes of the furniture to the worktable. There was the sound of a drawer being pulled open, rummaging inside.

“I’ve a torch here somewhere. Ah, here it is.” There was a click, and the flashlight’s beam was directed at the door. He made his way to the light switch and flipped it a couple of times. “Definitely dead. Don’t worry. I’ve an auxiliary generator in the garage for times like this. Be right back.”

Jerking open the door, he took a quick look at the sheet of water, inhale sharply, and disappeared outside, slamming it behind him. Sliding her foot from under the sleeping puppy, Tammy made her way down the stairs to the fireplace and stood there waiting. The logs had been laid, but were unlit. When it wasn’t raining, it would be too warm for a fire.

A gust of wind whistled down the chimney, stirring ashes left over from the earlier burning. Outside, the clouds parted to allow the moon to shine dimly through the windows. The wind was growing stronger. It began to howl, making a roaring swirl inside the chimney.

The door burst open, slamming against the wall, and Padraig stood silhouetted against the moonlight.

“Couldn’t you get the generator working? The lights are still off.” It was a stupid thing to say. It was obvious the lights weren't working. Behind him, the wind shrieked. “Well, don’t just stand there letting in the rain! Come on in.”

He obeyed, touching the door gently. It shut with a resounding slam.

“That rain's coming down pretty hard. I’ll bet you’re soaked.” Tammy shivered as a breath of frigid air swept over her. She heard his footsteps coming closer. “Br-r-r. Honestly, this place has the weirdest weather. I think we’re going to need a fire.“

He was standing behind her now, still not speaking. She felt that something was wrong.


Tammy turned to look at him. The light from the window shone on his face. In the near-blackness he looked darker, his face thinner, nose hawk-like. His eyes glowed, reflecting the silver light.

She placed a hand on his sleeve. Her fingers brushed damp cloth, thick-napped, wide-waled, and fear knifed through her. Padraig had been wearing a cotton shirt. His arms had been bare.

Desea.“ His hand touched her throat, trailing down her shoulder.

Tammy shivered as she caught the hand, pressing it against her cheek. She closed her eyes, a wave of longing settling around her so acute she nearly cried with the pain of it.

Este,” she breathed, into the darkness. “My darling, you’ve come back to me.”

He opened his arms and she went into them eagerly, was engulfed in his embrace. Tipping her head back, one hand under her chin, he kissed her with lips that were ice-cold but with a passion that burned, that bespoke long-withheld desire. Through the darkness came an animal’s terror-filled howl.

Tammy sank against him, feeling his lips travel across her cheek. Then he was kissing her again, frantically, roughly, mouth seeking and demanding, lips grazing down her throat. They stopped at the rapidly-beating pulse, throbbing so heatedly. She felt their pressure, so gentle, so soft. His tongue flicked out, licked along the vein. That cold mouth touched her skin.

There was a sudden sting. A flame of yearning seared itself down her throat, rushing through her heart, stopping at her thighs.

The door came open.


She jerked her head around to look at the man who stood there. Padraig reached for the switch by the door and light flooded on overhead.

She stood alone by the fireplace....


  1. Beth Trissel // November 4, 2007 at 8:28 AM  

    Great excerpt, Toni! Very exciting. You have such a flair for weaving tales.

  2. Mary Marvella // November 24, 2007 at 11:22 PM  

    Hmmmm, a ghostly lover? Hot scene.