May 14 2017

A Review of the anthology book Sexy to Go Halloween 2

Sexy to Go Halloween 2

Sexy to Go Halloween 2

A collection of stories for review this time on the Tale. Being that it is a collection, in this case there’s only one story that really interested me, and that will be the focus of this review. I will add an overall thought about the entire collection as well however.

The past hurts us all. Not just in what we remember, but what the marks left behind are. Our own needs conflict with our reality and we refuse them as best we can. But then comes a truth we can’t quite avoid. Sometimes the need can overcome us and in doing so, allow us to heal as best we can.

  • Title: Sexy to Go Halloween 2
  • Authors: Tara Quan, Louisa Bacio, Jocelyn Dex, Pamela Moran, Haley Whitehall, Virginnia DeParte, Chris McHart, Olivia Starke, Shiloh Saddler and Eva Lefoy
  • Length: 206 Pages
  • ASIN: B01LZQHV0A
  • Publishing Date: October 5, 2016
  • This work in Kindle Format at Amazon.com

The work tells the story of:

Sexy to Go Halloween is back for a howling good time! Join us for a holiday romp with 10 sex-hungry vampires, witches, shifters, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, demons and more.

  • Dio del Amor by Louisa Bacio: On a day known for honoring the souls of departed loved ones, this couple heats up the costuming before the fiesta. Explore when Dia De Los Muertos transforms into Dia Del Amor.
  • A Battle of Ice and Claws by Tara Quan: On Halloween, a stubborn frost witch will stop at nothing to postpone commitment, including distracting her sexy tiger shifter with the promise of public sex.
  • A Wicked Tryst by Olivia Starke: After taking a shortcut Kalie finds herself stranded on a desolate highway. When a horse and rider appear, she’s happy to be rescued. Is the sexy country boy her dream come true? Or has Kalie gotten in over her head?
  • The Portrait of Dorian Clements by Eva Lefoy: In Regency England, a rich widow has her portrait painted by a strange traveling artist, not knowing he’s the minion of the demon intent on seducing her. The painting at first seems perfectly normal, but then begins to change, depicting myriad graphic sexual scenes, displaying to her horror the widow’s innermost desires…
  • Trick-or-Zombie by Jocelyn Dex: When Trista takes her zombie trick-or-treating, will he make a snack of one of the kids? Or will he resist temptation and snack on something better when they get home?
  • Unlocking the Past by Pamela Moran: Davis’ past crashes into the world he’s built with Lena. As secrets unfold, will her Healer ability cost her the man she loves?
  • Vampire Consort by Haley Whitehall: Mary only has months to live. Her doctor gives her an option: prepare her funeral or agree to an arranged marriage with his vampire son.
  • Angelfire by Virginnia de Parte: Candles, garlic, rifle, bullets – will these be enough to save Emma’s life on Halloween?
  • It Started with an Old, Lame Joke by Chris McHart: The last thing Robin expects when he takes his niece and nephew trick-or-treating is to meet a handsome stranger doing the same thing. Their connection is instant and hot, even though everything started with an old, lame joke.
  • Shifting Sensations by Shiloh Saddler: The Halloween bash at the Shifting Sensations nightclub is the paranormal event of the year. Incubus nightclub owner Ruger is on the prowl for two playmates to liven his evening — dare he allow one to be his employee?

In Shifting Sensations, Ruger has a problem and on Halloween that problem not only doubles, but becomes three times what it was. His secret isn’t that he is an incubus, that others are attracted to him. The secret is that he wants something he cannot have, but they want him as well. One soul is hard to resist, but two of them with one need is the start of another story.

The work is a hot flash that offers tantalizing hints about the main character Ruger as well as Aubrey, the female lead character. The attraction is strong, has a lot of heat and it’s a delicious peek into each of their thoughts as they fight with themselves, trying to deal with one’s need and the other’s past. That slow simmer really works well, and it’s a delightful story in what’s told and what happened overall.

I did want, in a lot of ways, more told about both of their pasts, for one. There’s a secret about Ruger that pops tip at the last page and it’s a vitally important one. But while there are bare hints about it, when it comes out and explained that didn’t work well for me. My issue is that is it’s a hugely important thing to delve into, but isn’t. It’s vital to explain Ruger’s character, but it doesn’t. Beyond that, there’s also a point, just before the heat begins, where something is shown in his office, that effects Aubrey, but it’s glossed over somewhat.

Similarly, Aubrey seems to have some secrets, ones that would develop her character a lot, but they are pushed to the side for some really hot moments of teasing Ruger. I did like the tease, and it’s told delightfully well. But still I wanted to know more about her, how her mind works. Talking about how smart she is, then reflecting a thought by Ruger and not doing anything with it seems like lost plot.

There are some lovely erotic scenes, the dancing one was perfect, the seduction towards the office more so. Once within the main erotic scene, the heat sort of paused, was derailed for a moment by a short little need of Ruger’s before he turned on his incubus powers fully. It felt wrong, but in the context of the character, it made sense when the secret was revealed.

That then brings me to what really gave me pause. The reveal of Ruger’s secret seemed so matter of fact that it was painful. One that came, the story rushed into the final climax, pushed by it, then came to an abrupt stop. It felt really rushed, it was missing the heat that came, then went, then came and went again. A bit of a roller coast and I’m not sure that was the best thing to do here.

While the heat was there, the story was too short, didn’t develop the characters as much as their histories suggested they could have been. I really think that this would make for a good start to a longer story. Drawing in the past, perhaps colliding with it, would be a very deeply told work. The impact of Ruger’s past is very important to so many that telling that story I think would bring with it the character development I was looking for but didn’t find.

I’ll give this story three and a half out of five pitchforks.

The shame is that there’s so much about Ruger, but really all of the characters in the story, that wasn’t explored. The heat is wonderful, the temptations are lovely, but there’s just something missing with regards to knowing the characters and what really drives them onwards. Adding to that how abrupt the story ends, that really there’s no closure of the plots dangled at the beginning left me wanting. I’d love this short work turned into a longer story, because it’s there to be told, the author need only do so.

For the collection overall, I’ll give three out of five pitchforks. The stories ran hot and cold for me, some of the heat was muted as well. Being the works are all so short, the character development I wanted was pushed aside for the heat. Like the incubus story, there’s a lot of good ideas here needing to be fleshed out. I’ll hope they are sometime.

Tera

May 13 2017

A rather neat Warcraft Succubus WIP YouTube…

There are very few pieces of art of the Warcraft succubus that I like. She’s not quite sexy or seductive enough much of the time. However, on occasion an artist does something that just takes the character in a direction that they have never really been in. A pose, a look, a little bit extra in the art that makes the Warcraft succubus something special…

 

If you cannot see this video here on the Tale, please try this link.

I’d normally share an image of this art here, but the artist would rather their art be linked to. So, you can find the completed artwork here on DeviantArt and this artist’s page can be found here as well.

There so much to like in this art, the smile, the expression she has. The softer overall look which still is very much the Warcraft succubus, but one that’s more lovely. That I think is a more powerful image overall and I like that very much.

The little floating heart she holds in one hand made me smile, and that her hooves aren’t shown makes this that much better as well. There’s just something about this interpretation that just looks right, seems right, and, at least for me, makes the Warcraft succubus just a bit more fun and beautiful…

 

Tera

May 12 2017

A Review of Succubus by Jenna Adams and Amanda Blaze

Succubus by Jenna Adams and Amanda Blaze

Succubus by Jenna Adams and Amanda Blaze

There are stories in which succubi and vampire characters mix. Sometimes that’s a question of how succubi are defined, usually meaning that the vampires are more sexually focused, those being called succubi or incubi. Occasionally, the idea of a succubus and a vampire having a child comes up and the daughter is, to some extent, partly what each of their parents are. It’s a theme that can work, though I have some issues with it, but I won’t go into those at the moment.

The thing about calling a book ‘Succubus’ is that I expect the succubus character to be very present in the work. To be developed, to have purpose, to tell a story through which there’s something interesting about her. She shouldn’t be a whisper, referred to and then when she actually appears, needs to be more than stereotypically evil. Still, in spite of that flaw, there can be a story, an interesting one, but if the main characters are missing something, like the succubus herself, then perhaps there’s something here.

The story is about:

Lucas has been searching for Adrianne, the one person able to destroy the succubus who forced immortality onto him. He quickly learns that the power she has over him… is also a force to be reckoned with.

Adrianne finds herself the focus of Lucas, a vampire that wants her, and Lucinda, a vampire that needs to kill her. Along the way she discovers that not all love is what it appears to be, not all things are as they are and most of all, sometimes what you have left to believe in is yourself. All else is negotiable, assuming to have the will to.

While the work is titled Succubus, really it doesn’t have much in the way of a succubus appearing within the pages. Lucinda is said to be partly succubus in nature, and there is some aspects of her character that are succubus-like, but they are very fleeting and aren’t really used very much. As the story is about two vampires and a human that gets pulled into their conflict, there’s a lot of blood, a lot of vampiric powers and themes. Lucinda does have a moment in which her succubus side is shown, there’s reference made to her mother, who is also a succubus, but then the seductive nature of the succubi is pushed aside.

What comes through the story is a vampiress who is very evil, almost stereotypical in that. But she’s not really core to the story, drifting around the edges until she’s needed to push things onwards for the main characters. As for the main characters themselves, Adrianne is interesting, she develops over the course of the story and by the end, she’s different from where she started from. Lucas on the other hard starts out as being something interesting, but after the climax of the work, there’s a massive change in his character that didn’t sit well with me. When the ending came, one event there really showed his nature and it completely shattered the romance earlier in the work and whatever trust I had in his character.

The erotica has some heat, in a vampire sort of way overall. The few fleeting moments of Lucinda being a succubus were a needed diversion, but they didn’t do much for the story overall. It’s somewhat convoluted, seeking direction and trying to find its way to the ending. Most of all, there’s something missing in the connection between Adrianne and Lucas, and it’s telling from start to finish. Romance, to me, means there’s heat, the characters mesh well and there’s a real attraction between them. I found it hard to locate those moments. But most of all, at least for someone looking for succubi stories, this doesn’t have a lot of succubus in it. It could have, really should have, but then the succubus wasn’t the point after all.

Two and a half out of five pitchforks.

The succubus aspects of this work are very few, it really being about vampires overall. Beyond that, Lucinda is very two-dimensional, she’s not explored as a character and she exists within the work, for the most part, as a etherial threat and little more. Lucas was a disappointment when the truth came out about him as well. There’s something good here however, and I wish the author had continued further, telling more about this universe, perhaps having Lilith, Lucinda’s mother, appear. Sadly, there’s no following work to be found.

The idea is good, the characters need more soul and the succubus needs to be more of a succubus than she is. Little things matter here, they would add so much as well. Perhaps, in the end, heat alone cannot overcome a lack of soul.

 

Tera

May 11 2017

Succubi Image of the Week 486

I found a work of Succubi art for this week’s image on the Tale that I think is very interesting in a lot of ways. It does make me ponder things a bit, wonder about a few things, but along the way comes an interesting story that I need to write sometime…

Pandora Moonlight by PencilTales

Pandora Moonlight by PencilTales

This work is called Pandora Moonlight and is by an artist on DeviantArt called PencilTales. You can find the original page with this art here and this artist’s page on DeviantArt can be found here.

Now the third about this art is that, overall, she does seem to be a vampire, all of the signs are there of course, but oddly she is also described as being a succubus as well. So, at least from my perspective, I’m going to think of her as a Succubus.

The horns and wings are there, there’s a certain sexiness about her. I like her outfit, her look, her style. I wonder about that orb she’s holding, if that’s a place for her to hold the souls she collects or something like that…

Which then brings a story to my thoughts that I need to poke at sometime. A succubus that collects souls and what that means… It could be an interesting thing…

 

Tera

May 10 2017

A delicious work of costume art…

Red Angel Burlesque Feather Costume by Fantasy Masquerades

Red Angel Burlesque Feather Costume by Fantasy Masquerades

Every s often I discover a costume that just has a particular look. It tells me that the designer cared, the creator wanted to do the best they could, and they succeeded in that goal. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does I am so delightfully thrilled to find these wonders…

This costume is called the Red Angel Burlesque Feather Costume and is designed and sold by Fantasy Masquerades.

It sells for $165 US, it is a custom design, and you can find out more about this costume here.

This is simply one of the most wonderful works of costume art, especially with a corset, that I have been in quite some time. I’ve always loved Burlesque, and the idea of wearing this wonder, and dancing with my Eternal is such a thrilling idea.

I have a particular pair of horns in mind, as well as the heels and… other accessories that shall remain untold here… I just feel there’s class, style, a presence in this work and that just captivates me…

I think the only thing that gives me pause, and it is a very minor thing really, is the corset closes in the front… I personally like the zips and fasteners in the rear, so the front is seamless, but that’s my own personal taste of course…

Four and a half out of five pitchforks.

Perhaps a fantasy to be made real? We’ll see…

 

Tera

 

May 09 2017

A Review of Hungry Touch by Shona Husk

Hungry Touch by Shona Husk

Hungry Touch by Shona Husk

Occasionally incubi appear in science fiction, and for me the thing I look for is, how that works, exactly, with who they are and what they can be. Beyond that, comes the question of their society, how that functions, and, hopefully, that the conflict is one with purpose, not something that is a flash in the pan, to be forgotten.

A review of the first work in a series where supernatural beings and humans are thrown together in an attempt to overcome their own prejudices against each other, with the hope for something more.

The past haunts each of us. Some live with it, some are controlled by it and then there are those that see more than the past. They see the future.

The story is about:

The small population of Incubi in the Complex is clinging to old traditions and shunning contact with other species. Each year, the Incubi fight for the privilege to lead and mate. Only one can win. Kearn Layk never planned on winning, only doing better than last year’s previous dismal result that left him at the bottom of the pack. A year’s worth of secretly training more than paid off. He shocks everyone and wins. In the process, he makes an enemy of the man who was leader. Now filled with the burning desire to find a mate, he goes in search of a woman.

Phoebe Evans came to the Complex to reinvent herself. Being surrounded by the Metas is as strange as it is fascinating, but she hasn’t had the courage to date one yet. Then she meets Kearn. He’s smart and interesting and most definitely not Human.

Incubi traditions and Humans desires clash, and as new ideas are tested, old enemies rise up and threaten lives. Not everyone wants to see the Complex succeed.

Kearn has done the impossible. The weakest of his kind once, now the leader of them all. The incubi have been held alone, apart within a world in which there are possibilities, never explored before. With but one moment to find a mate, to secure a future, he encounters Phoebe, a human that captures his thoughts and his needs. An unexpected twist brings for them both a new life, but as well, there is the past of the incubi that does not wish to let them both be.

The work is a very complex tale set in a future where supernatural beings exist throughout the galaxy along with humans, neither having the best of relationships or history. The Complex is a chance for things to change, for those willing to at least try. This then is where this story is set, a place where incubi are thought of as parasites and humans it seems have little contact with them. Until things change.

There’s quite a lot of time spent in telling of the incubi, their society and how things work, which I rather enjoyed as its something that needs to be told. In doing so, the author avoids an information dump and all things considered with all that had to be explained, that was amazingly well done. There is conflict, both around Kearn and within the incubi themselves. It’s not silly, it makes sense and the devolving, and evolving, of them all is quite telling. The relationships within Kearn’s society are unique, as are the incubi themselves. They aren’t the classical sort of beings, they are unique to themselves and the painting of that picture left a strong impression.

The most telling of all comes from how they see themselves and how others relate to them. The references of “parasite” are very strong, emotional and they suggest something about the incubi, their society, but most of all, it leaves some real questions about their past which aren’t explored as much as I’d have liked.

Kearn is confronted by racial undertones, internal struggles within himself and the past leadership of his community. That strife has a telling impact on all of the characters, there’s no singular overriding choice made by them all. Each has a thought, a position and while that comes to blows here and there, it isn’t cast aside for a simple solution. Because there isn’t one for anyone.

Phoebe, the female lead, is wonderful in her strength of character, what she is looking for. She’s not helpless by any means, but there is one certainty within her that causes friction between Kearn and herself. It’s very real, very apt and there is a lot of miscommunication between them. Again, it makes sense, it’s not simply overcome. It is a battle between them and within them that, mixed with the society of the Complex and the upheaval in the incubi, leads to the character development that I really wanted to see.

There are, of course, a lot of things left unexplored and unanswered. Much of that is the past of the incubi, which was a bit skimmed over, needing I think a return to their leader off of The Complex, to see why things happened as they did. The future of Phoebe and Kearn is hinted at, strongly, but left for the reader to wonder about, which is fine as how the work ends isn’t sudden or off putting. It’s satisfying for the most part, save for a little nitpick here and there. Then comes the question about succubi, none appear, or are mentioned in this work. That’s a rather large story left to the side.

Well written, I loved the characters, the storytelling, the work as a whole. Nothing took me out of the story, the plot and dialogue making sense and sounding right. Most of all, the main characters are true to themselves, not being written one way and then turning on themselves. A strong start to the series and I enjoyed the work very much. I just wish there’d been more about why the situation was and some of the hidden intrigue being brought to the fore and explained more.

Four out of five pitchforks.

I’ve have liked to know more about the home world of the incubi, I’d like to know if there are succubi in this universe as well. More so, what happens if they meet? The universe is interesting, there’s a lot to be explored here. Perhaps that will come in time, there is an entire series after all. A teasing start with lots of questions unanswered and an uncertain future. That’s a good basis for a series and what is to come.

 

Tera

May 08 2017

Chances Are By TeraS

There are moments in which a call comes; a message arrives; there’s a note which tells of someone you know, perhaps all too fleetingly, who faces some uncertainties. You find yourself on the other side of the world, only able to worry about this person, hold this friend in your thoughts, and hope that …

 

Chances Are
By TeraS

 

There was something wrong, but there wasn’t any answer as to what it was, at least not yet. He hadn’t felt right in a while, and there came a time when there was no other choice but to confront what was lurking inside: to go through the tests, see what the results were and, whatever happened next, at least he’d have an answer.

It is in those moments that one’s mortality is inescapable. There’s someone on the other side of the desk, peering at some papers, sometimes shuffling them. Other times they look at a computer screen, mulling over the possibilities and then giving out what the results might be at the end of it all.

“Sam?”

“Yes?”

“Chances are …”

“Right.”

There was nothing else to do now but wait for the verdict to be pronounced. They’d explained what they expected to find, that if it was so there’d be little to do but enjoy the time that was left, whatever that might be.

That didn’t mean, however, that he had to remain in that depressing place to discover what that truth was. It wasn’t that he wanted to run away, to never know the answer. It was just so very hard to stare at the off-colour cream walls and just wait.

Waiting was, after all, never his strongest point.

He left a message for them to call him when they knew.

The train station wasn’t that far off; the fare wasn’t that expensive, either. The choice made, the trip from the city he called home to the countryside passed pleasantly enough. Staring off through the window, he barely noticed the passing landscape. From time to time he looked at his phone, wondering if he should send her a note about what was happening.

It was a surprise when the text came through: “Are you okay?”

He could lie—she’d never know the difference, after all. They’d never met, but she’d always been nice, always had a good word to say. He’d joked once that she must glow in the dark for how positive she was. What harm would it do to hide the truth? She was on the other side of the world, there was no possible way she’d ever know.

“I’m fine. How are you doing?”

Most of the time, it took her a while to write back. But that wasn’t shocking, really. She had her own problems; a lot of them, if he was honest about it. The past year had been hell for her, after all.

But this reply came back almost immediately: “Somehow, I don’t believe that.”

The small smile that crossed his lips wasn’t a surprise. She’d proven herself to be almost emphatic when it came to how he was feeling. She never outright pushed into his life, never asked him to reveal anything at all. But she did just have this way of offering herself, if he wanted.

His answer took a little longer: “Might have a problem. Doctor says it could be really bad. Don’t know yet.”

If her last reply was fast, this one came even faster still: “How bad? Truth.”

Blowing a breath out, he looked over the train car. He’d picked an early morning one. There were very few passengers this early on this line and, if he was lucky, he might even have the compartment to himself. The idea of striking up a conversation with someone didn’t appeal right now.

She was insistent: “Truth, please?”

However, talking to her was: “Truth is … it might be terminal.”

She’d had to digest that, he supposed. Two stations had passed in the time it took for her to reply: “But you don’t know. Might not be …”

His answer reflected how he felt: “Chances are …”

Hers did as well: “Chances are it might not be, either.”

The train came to a halt, a few of his fellow passengers filing out before the doors closed and he continued onwards. The takeout cup of tea was still warm as he took a sip.

“What are you doing right now?”

He could almost see the bemused smile in her words: “Having some tea.”

“Interesting. Me, too.” He felt the train lean over to the right as they rounded a curve. Off in the distance were some hills dusted in what looked like snow, but was more likely morning frost not yet burned away by the morning sun. Glancing over the rows of seats in front of him, he realized that all but one of them were empty, besides his own. “Besides the tea, what are you doing?”

He was sure that she was humouring him: “Sitting here.”

“Sounds boring.”

She seemed bemused: “Oh … I think not.”

That was her. She always was mysterious in how she put things. That was a lot of her charm, really, as he thought about it. She had a persona that he’d come to appreciate. He’d expected that was just a front for the real woman herself, but over time that turned out to be false. Whether or not she had red horns and a tail, she was a sweetheart that cared about those she called her friends.

He found himself jostled about a little as the train dripped in and out of a series of depressions and rises that, as he thought about it, reflected his moods of late.

She was to the point: “So, what are you planning to do?”

He actually shrugged as he texted back: “Decided waiting for them to call was a waste. On a train right now.”

Her answer made him pause in the midst of taking another sip of tea: “So am I … actually.”

That answer made him smile again: “What are the chances of that?”

“Chances are …”

“Are what?”

A flash of light caught his attention and he looked towards the front of the carriage again. He hadn’t been really paying attention to the others travelling with him, but now he realized that there was a woman sitting several rows ahead …

… a woman with ebony hair …

… holding a red iPhone in the air.

It wasn’t possible!

She lowered the phone.

His phone pinged: “Come to me or me to you?”

He swallowed, then called out: “Would you mind?”

He’d always wondered if she looked anything like the art she’d shared … if that ebony hair was as wild as it seemed to be … if her smile was as bemused as it seemed. When she turned around and her so-green eyes met his own brown, he realized that she looked exactly like he expected her to.

Pouring herself from her place, he couldn’t help the smile. Of course she’d be dressed casually: fuzzy red sweater that hugged her curves, faded-out blue jeans, low heels. The red purse slung over her right shoulder bounced against her hip as she tucked her phone into it before picking up her tea and walking towards him.

He put his phone to the side with his tea as she closed the distance between them: “Where are your horns?”

She pointed at her temple with one finger as they shimmered into view: “Didn’t think you needed them to be sure it was me.”

He laughed, it had been a long time: “Oh, it’s you, Tera.”

A wink and they vanished once more before she settled into the opposite chair from him, her tea put beside his own.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

Crossing her arms over her cleavage wasn’t as much of a distraction as it might have been: “Oh … Chances are that I was in the neighbourhood.”

“Bullshit.”

Tilting her head to the left she pondered: “Well, my idea of ‘neighbourhood’ is a pretty big one.”

He was happy enough to just look at her as the train continued onwards, soon passing into a tunnel, plunging them into the darkness for a time.

There was no escaping it: “Talk to me, Samuel.”

The tunnel seemed to last a very long time. He explained, as best he could. He wanted to comfort her, trying to put a brave face on things. But it was clear as he delved deeper and deeper that he couldn’t hold any of it back from her. The last thing he’d learned from the doctors came as they passed out of the tunnel, the morning light reappearing once more.

She’d pursed her lips in the midst of the tale being told. Not interrupting until he’d finished, not expressing her thoughts until it was clear that there wasn’t anything more to say.

It actually hurt to see her hands cupped over her lips, the pain in her eyes: “Chances are …”

“… that it’ll not be anything good, Tera. I know that.”

She shook her head: “No, chances are that it will be something, but you are going to get through this.”

He was going to refute that, but she lowered her hands and smirked: “After all, you are a stubborn, horny bugger, aren’t you?”

He laughed—there was no avoiding it, and, after all, not laughing when a Queen made a joke would be bad form: “Damn right.”

She leaned forward, placing a hand on his thigh: “Samuel, don’t give up. Be as stubborn as I know you are.”

He looked at her hand—red nails, of course: “I know. Can’t, because it’s not just me.”

A light pat of fingers and her hand withdrew: “I’m glad you know that.”

The sound of wheels screeching around a bend was accompanied by the train conductor calling out the next stop on the journey.

“So, why’d you come out this way?”

His eyes turned away from the beauty in front of him: “I wanted to see this place. Seemed to sound a lot like your Realm.”

She looked out the window: “The green hills are lovely and deep. How does that poem go again?”

The train came to a stop, the doors opening with a hiss.

“Something about ‘Miles to go before …”

His phone rang. They both remained seated for the moment, considering.

On the third ring, he answered: “Yes?”

She’d closed her eyes, he noticed.

“I see.”

It looked as if she was praying to whatever Goddess she believed in.

“Chances are I’ll be back in time.” He put the phone back down.

He found himself looking at a woman that was the Queen of her kind, but never acted as such. He saw a woman that cared more about others than herself. He saw something he’d always known: a friend.

He didn’t like the pain in his friend’s eyes when she opened them again: “What did they say?”

“Seems like it’s not as bad as it could be.”

There was a hitch in her voice and he didn’t like that either: “Is it?”

“It’s … not. But it’ll take a while to recover from what it is.”

She picked up both their teas, handing the one with his name on it over to him: “But, you’re going to recover?”

He raised his cup to her: “Chances are …”

She tilted her own to him: “Then we’ll take that chance, won’t we?”

From outside of the train, passersby saw a couple talking, both seeming a bit worn, but both seeming to have mirrored smiles as they chatted.

Chances are that they had a lot to talk about, and would for a long time to come.

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