Title: Wicked Origins
Author: Paula Black
Genre: Reverse Harem Fantasy
Cover Designer: Logan Keys of Cover of Darkness
Publication Date: December 10th, 2018
There are days when I feel like the whole world is pressing down on me, keeping me pinned where I am. But right now, itâs a manâs weight that pins me to the bed of his pick-up truck while I search the night sky, looking for a way out of this emptiness in my chest. Heâs kissing my neck, and his hands are inching up my waist, pulling my shirt up, exposing my hot skin to the cool night air. Finally, his thumbs play along the bottom edge of my bra and he hesitates, wondering if Iâll stop him. I consider it. Iâm really not feeling anything for him. Iâve let him kiss me until my lips are sore and swollen. Weâve swapped saliva, and heâs trailed more of his own down my neck as his fingers explored my waist and lower back. Itâs been a great escape. Itâs made me feel somethingâ¦ but barely anything more than soreness and pressure and heat. At least his body is keeping me warm on this chilly night in April. And my mind wanders again.
âWill you go to prom with me?â Charlie lifts his brown eyes, and they meet mine in the pale light of the silvery moon.
I blink at him. Iâd almost forgotten he was there. Iâd hardly noticed that heâd stopped at my bra without me even telling him to. Slowly I push myself up to a sitting position and pull my shirt back down. I meet eyes with the boy Iâve been making out with for the past half-hour. Heâd asked me out and Iâd accepted, but when he said heâd wanted to go to a movie and get dinner, I suggested we come out to the cow fields and make out instead. Of course, heâd agreed. Boys always did. The cows have begun mooing in the distance. The wind picks up and brings with it the scent of the cattle from several hundred yards away. Unpleasant. But again. At least it gave me a feeling, even if it was a bit of revulsion.
Iâd played this dangerous game of inviting dates to the cow pasture to make out four times and hadnât been burned yet. I still managed to stop them from moving past second base. But this was the first time Iâd come alone. Usually it was a double date or a group thing. At least Charlie was gentlemanly enough to stop himself. I blink at him. I should reward him for being gentlemanly. âSure. We can do prom.â
A smile spreads across his lips, and he moves in for an awkward kiss. Our teeth clack together, and he stops, a blush filling his cheeks. I have geometry with Charlie. I donât even think I know his last name. Itâs my senior year, and Iâd had yet to go to a homecoming or any dance for that matter. I guess I should at least try to go to the prom.
âDo you want to continue what we started?â Charlie asked, gesturing toward the blanket.
I frown. âItâs getting late. I really ought to head home.â
His brow scrunches. âItâs only nine-thirty.â
âI forgot I have homework. I need to read Beowulf.â I stand and dust off the back of my black, slim-fit jeans. The cows have drawn closer, and the smell becomes more pungent. And the starry sky darkens in the west where storm clouds gather.
He nods and gathers up the blanket he had spread out in the bed of the truck. His shoulders are drooping a bit, and I know Iâve disappointed him.
I grab hold of the side of the truck and leap over, sticking the landing on my feet after the vault, like I used to do in gymnastics as a child. That was back when my adoptive father abused me. Back when I hadnât yet shut off my feelings toward men, school, even most of life in general. I step up to the passenger side door just as Charlie gets there and opens it for me. I lean in and kiss him on the cheek. His eyes light up in the glow from the interior of the car. At least Iâm able to boost his spirits somehow. He deserves it. Heâs super sweet