Title: Mask of the Swan (The Fearless, Book Two)
Author: Terry Maggert
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Thriller
Release: March 2014
Killing immortals is easy. Becoming one is hard.
When three lovers (Ring, Waleska, and Risa) take a vacation after losing a fight with an elegant monster named Elizabeth, their time for healing is cut short by a new threat, and this time, innocent blood will spill.
Reaching for the crown of Hell, Elizabeth gathers Archangels around her to fuel her power-mad ascent—but she has powerful enemies who will fight her every step of the way, including Delphine, the 2400 year old succubus hooker who knows that inside her beautiful body rests a very human soul. Joined by an honorable priest who finds himself in the middle of a war he never knew existed, and a demigod and his partner, the stage is set for another round in the battle to determine how much of Ring, Waleska, and Risa is still human, how tough their immortal side can be—and how far they are willing to go to protect the people they love from the reaches of a creature who would burn their world to ashes.
The Archangel Enoch
“Dr. Mpemba, this arrived for you.” A mousey student worker placed the heavy box on the professor’s desk as he dismissed her with a wave. He inspected the parcel and saw the description as air mail, originating in Ireland according to the label. Ahead of schedule, as always. I am an excellent customer, and it is good of her to show me proper respect. His eyes glittered with greed and something more primal as he closed his office door, locked it, and sat for a gravid moment, savoring the innocuous nature of the brown box. It was a Friday, which meant that he would not have to wait to use his newest acquisition as the club would be crowded with veterans and newcomers and the undecided who had not yet sampled his unique brand of experimentation and discovery.
Enoch Mpemba had arrived in South Florida two decades earlier, leaving the killing grounds and hierarchical bloodbaths of his native Liberia behind without a second thought. A naturally industrious student, he had quickly demonstrated superior math skills as well as an uncompromising need to explore the relationships between religion, economics, and all of internecine warfare that those forces could cause. Less than a decade later, he possessed degrees in all three fields, earning his doctorate in economics with surprising ease, a discipline that would prove a boon to someone who had a rare combination of intellect, will, and the depravity to use all of his gifts for purposes known only to him. A handsome man with the deep brown, even coloring of his ancestors, Enoch had striking cheekbones and eyes of impenetrable depth that women found compelling, and later commanding. He quickly realized upon becoming a professor that women were, for him, a wholly renewable resource, limited only by his finances, which were meager even for someone of his title. Enoch changed all of that in one single evening, when he discreetly taped a young student doing unspeakable acts in his living room, her flawless, youthful body on display as he defiled her in every possible way, even finishing his performance with a hard slap to her mouth, felling her, and laughing at her shock. He had not even disguised the act of turning off the camera that had filmed the entire sporting affair, and two weeks later, he had arranged to see her at a local coffee shop. He cheerfully informed her that he would be showing the footage of her enthusiastic participation to her xenophobic parents, who he had discovered, showered her with regular checks as their only, precious child finished what was, in his eyes, a meaningless degree in nursing. During the encounter, each salacious wiggle of her youthful hips were punctuated with animalistic groans that were at odds with her solidly demure exterior, a fact that he valued in the amount of $500 per month, until she left school. After that Enoch had serenely informed her she could be assured that he would destroy the digital film. He was, after all, an honorable man, he had asserted, watching the uncontrollable sobs jerk his victim’s shoulders up and down like a piston. The memory of her submission was as erotic as any of her orifices had been during their play, and he had pleasured himself often at the recollection of her tears. Until the next victim, and the next. Eventually, the professor who had lived in a small apartment had purchased a townhome on a lake in a gated community. Still, his appetite for the flesh had not dimmed, so he began to expand his search. Finally, emboldened by his exploits, Enoch forayed into the fringes of society, where he found that the sexual appetites of others could be safely expressed, even augmented within the subculture known simply as The Lifestyle.
What an inadequate word, he mused, thinking of the blossoming that he had witnessed within his own libido. Moving quickly within the accepted participants of the clubs and private parties, Enoch began to find simple promiscuity lacking, even with married women whose husbands watched, craven, impotent in the face of his sexuality, but still titillated by their very weakness. It was a feeling that grafted to his needs at once, and he began an immediate exploration of that new and welcome addition to his encounters. The final piece of his sexual puzzle arrived in the form of a dominatrix visiting from Ireland, or Denmark—he was never truly certain, but he did recognize the moment she began to unpack her beautifully constructed leather goods, all custom-made, purpose-built, and designed to inflict shame and heighten his orgasms in ways he had not dreamed possible. After an evening of enthusiastic debauchery with her, he confirmed two salient facts that would shape his actions from that moment forth. He had not one ounce of submission within his body and spirit, and the surest means to physical pleasure of the highest order, for Enoch, was to visit shame and degradation upon others until even their safe words could not grant them respite from his lust.
So before him sat a package, unopened for the moment, with a new device of his own design, crafted by the Irish or Danish scrivener who was virtually enslaved to the woman who had taught him that pain and pleasure are fruit of the same tree. A careful knife cut along the edge of the parcel, feeling the contents shift ever so slightly, and he spilled the paper-wrapped item onto his desk. He then discarded the box onto the floor with the same disdain that he showed his special students, and swallowing once in anticipation, feathered the heavy paper apart.
Flawless. It was art of a largely unseen quality in this discipline, and he turned the codpiece over gently, almost as if handling a new lamb, admiring the sullen gleam of the wine-colored leather, the metal thread holding everything perfectly with nary a scratch on the heavy hide. But it was the ring of custom-crafted studs surrounding the open crotch that shone like nightshade, each dense, bronze stud forged separately and then freed from burrs with hand tooling. There were twenty-nine in all, a symbolic number mocking the amount of years he waited until he began to feed his true, inner passion. He had no doubt that with each thrust, the metallic punishment of the codpiece would result in a unique calling card, cicatrices of the initials GM branding the recipient as just another conquest in the memory of a man who was slowly but surely, edging ever closer to the abandonment of what little conscience he had left. He felt an awakening in his groin, and the pressure against his linen pants quickly grew nearly intolerable as his hand moved to his lap to reassure his cock that soon, they would begin their night’s work. “Oh, they will have to wait their turn when I wield this. Yes, all of the soft ones will give me a turn.” He spoke quietly, his words clotted with arrogance and lust.
“I see your newest addition has arrived. Mind if I give you my professional opinion?” She asked him this with the familiarity of an old friend, and he was startled, but only for an instant. Enoch leapt back in his chair, drawing himself up with operatic intent as he began to open his mouth and berate the woman who dared interrupt him in his office. That speech was truncated as one of her gloved hands snatched the codpiece from his desk and the other struck him on the temple, a deafening blow that made his vision flash white as he sagged to the floor, slipping from his chair without resistance.
“Now, Enoch. I asked you nicely, and yet you’ve proven to be quite boorish. Those are hardly the manners one would expect from a doctor, are they?” The invasive woman somehow made the honorific an insult, leaving him awash with anger, disgust, and an inability to act. I’ve been cuckolded in my own space. Who is this creature? Looking up from the floor, he saw a stunning woman in her thirties, dripping with confidence and wealth. Her brown eyes were flecked with gold, and she had her dark hair pulled away from a face that Enoch was certain could make men capitulate to her every wish. She extended a regal hand to him, waving for him to accept it and rise, but as he reached for her, she kicked him once, hard, in the testicles, crushing the wind from him in a shocked gasp. He doubled sideways, white hot pain gripping him from balls to brain, and through it all, he heard her calmly speak to him as one would address a naughty dog.
“Gather your things, Doctor. Your erstwhile careers are henceforth concluded, and I have need of you. If, that is, you prove your worth to me. Have you been to New Orleans?” Her voice was conversational, friendly, and utterly without haste. For the first time, Enoch knew true fear, and he also intuited that this was an emotion wielded easily by this woman. Struggling to a sitting position, she knelt daintily, looking at the leatherwork that had dominated his thoughts so soundly she had slipped into his office unseen. Or had she?
“May I arise, Miss—?” he began in his most diplomatic tone given his excruciating discomfort.
“Elizabeth. You may address me as Elizabeth, if we’re being familiar. I will inform you when we are not being familiar. You would do well to pay attention to my tone. So much can be gleaned from inflection, don’t you think?” She smiled wickedly at him.
“Yes, Elizabeth.” He recovered some shred of confidence quickly and made as if to stand. Her hand lashed down and out, striking him soundly in the mouth, and he fell again, but this time he had the sense to remain still.
Seeing his intentions to stay on the floor, she turned to the door and tossed the codpiece at him, striking him in the face. “Bring that. I will have need of it later, on the plane. You training will begin immediately.” She paused for a thoughtful moment. “You may want to consider some stretching exercises, Enoch. I intend to shed light on your innermost secrets.” She laughed a musical, repugnant noise from a beast that is in complete control of an underling. It was a sound that Enoch knew very well indeed, but from the other side.
Enoch stood, shivering. He did not think that she was referring to his past, and his body began to anticipate a most unwelcome night.
Book 1 in the Fearless Series
Born in 1968, I discovered fishing shortly after walking, a boon considering I lived in South Florida. I had the good fortune to attend high school in idyllic Upstate New York, where I learned the meaning of winter-- and how to seize the whole of summer.
After two or three failed attempts at college, I bought a pub. That was fun, because I love beer. However, I eventually met someone smarter than me (a common event), but in this case, she married me and convinced me to go back to school -- which I did, with great enthusiasm. I hold a Master’s Degree in History, and live near Nashville, Tennessee with the aforementioned wife, son, and a herd of various critters. When I’m not writing, I teach history, grow wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restore my 1967 Mustang.
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