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by Bianca Swan
Published by Bianca Swan at Lot’s Cave
Legacy of The Stars, © 2018, Bianca Swan
Cover by Lot’s Cave
All Rights Reserved
All Characters In This Book Are Age 18 Or Older
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only and may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this ebook with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this ebook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to the Lot’s Cave website and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
A Lot’s Cave Novel
Swallows and regret
~ Alexander Theroux
It was one of those sunny, breezy days custom-made for beginnings and goodbyes, like September bids summer farewell.
I watched her walk down the aisle with another man. I’d always known it would happen someday, but I hadn’t expected tragedy to strike like lightning or, dear God, so soon. My Lily was an ice princess in her alabaster gown with its silver beads and pearls glittering in the mellow light of the church. Her groom, in his tuxedo, looked like the usurper he was.
Her smile glanced off me as she passed the family pew. Brief, oh so brief, that touch before she looked up at her future husband, waiting by the altar. She was radiant, but with each step she took, another piece broke off my heart. Graceful and elegant, she glided down her long walk to matrimony. Too soon, she reached the end of her journey.
The man marrying my sister spoke his part, the words echoing hollowly in the expanse of the church. Then…
“Do you, Lily Jane Spears…”
While she said her vows I held my breath, perhaps, unable to breathe at all.
Then the breathless moment was over. The scent of the expensive flowers decorating each aisle and the entire church was cloying. I felt as if I were suffocating on their fragrance. Peter’s family had soared no expense in making their wedding a fairytale.
He folded back the innocent veil and kissed my Lily. The poor fool knew she wasn’t a virgin, but few are. She should have been. She certainly looked virginal in her sacrificial robes. Head held high, she’d had taken that brave, fatal walk, and now swept down the same aisle a married woman.
She was beautiful. She was his wife. She wasn’t mine anymore.
With the arrival of this moment, our secret was secured, but I was the one left behind. Lily had always feared I’d go first. In truth, I thought I’d be the initial victim of our mother’s hopes. Everything had happened quite differently than expected. Lily had been a better return on investment. Peter Fellows had more than two pennies to rub together.
One couldn’t really blame Mom. After Father’s death, we’d been forced to move from the land of milk and honey. Thomas Furman Spears had provided well for his family while he lived, but at his death, he’d abandoned us to near poverty. A long-haul trucker cum potato farmer didn’t put us in the category of wealthy. He’d spoiled both his children, though, in fact, I’d known Lily was his favorite. She looked far more like Mother than I did—the changeling with his pale blue eyes and paler blond hair.
When Father passed, we moved to the Lone Star State, to Mother’s hometown. She returned to work as an admin for a scrooge of a boss. At nineteen, to help with expenses, I took a part-time job in the hardware store after school three days a week. At twenty, Lily was suddenly thrust into the role of homemaker, welcoming us both with a meal at six o’clock.
In the floral-scented church, I was isolated, cast away in an emotional storm. I grasped at my rigid control. Behind my smile, I knew the first hate I’d ever known for any man or beast. My thoughts wandered from the tragedy playing out before me to the not-so-distant past. To other young people, three years was an eternity. To us, it was a time of learning and togetherness—and of startling revelations for me.
I’d preferred to think Lily felt as I once did. That certain things were timeless. Today, this belief had betrayed me.
Mom, Lily and I had left the Gem State in cold a December bound for the Lone Star State and our new home, a modest house in a modest neighborhood. I don’t think Mom even glanced over her shoulder as we passed the Idaho state line. She did toot the car horn, but that was our way of marking the miles wherever we went. Texas welcomed us with a blast of heat and a blue sky that seemed to stretch forever.
Lily was ten. I was nine, but we are no longer children.
Our story—a sad tale of forbidden love—began ten years later.
Prospector’s Rest, Texas In a bleak December…Nine Months Earlier
Bayton University was a stately structure resembling a classic English university, ivy crawling along the brick front and cement bay windows overlooking a parklike entryway. I often wondered how such a building had found its way to a small town in West Texas. The area wasn’t exactly known for its beauty and culture. Walking along one of the hedge-lined paths, not paying attention to anything around me but remembering something Lily had said the night before, I awoke when another student bumped into me, spilling her books to the grass.
“Sorry.” Jane Perkins grimaced. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
I’d seen Jane around campus. She was a pretty girl with long brown hair as straight as my own and eyes the color of a gray winter morning. She held my gaze for a long moment, then smiled before bending quickly to retrieve her books.
“Let me help.” I grabbed a volume from the ground, handing it to her when she straightened. “I wasn’t watching where I was going either.”
“Thanks. Sorry again.” She turned to go, turned back. “Say, Asher, are you going to the May Gala? I know it’s five months away, but everyone is already planning.”
“No plans yet.” I liked looking into Jane’s wintry eyes.
Peter Fellows, a Senior this year, had asked Lily to the Gala, a formal affair hosted by the university in May. She’d accepted. He was a year older and headed to med school. As a football player, he was popular around campus. He had cheerleaders aplenty. I didn’t like him, and I didn’t want him sniffing around my sister.
My coloring and stature made me somewhat popular, or at least remarkable. People our age are intrigued by the unusual. Different or not, I only had one friend I trusted—Trevor, a Brit transplanted from London to Prospector’s Rest. Talk about culture shock!
“If you don’t have a date—I don’t have one—I mean, would you like to go together?” The invitation came out on a rush, and Jane’s cheeks flushed. With a nervous gesture, she tucked her hair behind her ears, pierced with small diamond earrings.
“Sure.” I smiled, letting my hand come to rest on her elbow in an unassuming caress. I liked Jane, and I’d wanted to go to the Gala, but since the dance was partners-only couldn’t attend without a date.
Her blush deepened, as charming as her smile. “Great. I’m late for class.” She fished in her book bag for a piece of paper, scribbled on it and shoved the folded message into my hand. “Call me. I’ll call you back. We’ll plan for the Gala. Isn’t that your sister?”
Jane pointed to a cluster of students standing beneath one of the largest oak trees. These mammoth trees shaded the front lawn of the main building. Now, they rustled in a stormy breeze, the temperature dropping. Clouds skittered across the wintry sun. Tucked safely out of the elements, I liked storms, but this one came at the absolute worst time. I had to work this afternoon, would walk to the hardware store several blocks away.
Lily and a man I didn’t know stood on the edge of the group.
“That’s my sister Lily. I wonder who she’s talking to.” I smiled, and Jane hesitated a minute, simply looking at me.
She made an off-hand gesture. “Tom somebody. You and Lily don’t look alike.” She glanced at Lily again. “You’re younger, right?”
“A year, yes,” I said. “I skipped the last year of high school.”
“Awesome. Well, I’d better get going. Later.” She waved.
“I’ll call you.” I waved back and trotted down the first flight of stairs.
As I approached where my sister stood, her conversation with Tom Somebody reached me. My hearing was very acute. What her companion said sounded more like high school than a college man.
“Have you seen the new Star Wars movie yet?” The guy sifted car keys from palm-to-palm, regarding my sister with brown cow eyes.
She shook her head. Her hair captured the afternoon sun in a copper halo. In her long white dress—why were pretty dresses called Sunday clothes?—she looked like a fiery-haired angel. This morning as we’d dressed, she’d cursed that she hadn’t had time to do the laundry and was going to be overdressed. She’d been concerned about the other girl’s opinions.
I’d laughed and said, ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it.’ Now, that wisdom and witticism had come back to bite my butt.
The boy pointed at the thick novel she held, but his gaze never ventured from Lily. “Do you like fantasy novels?”
“Yes.” She turned the book, enabling him to see the cover. “I particularly like this writer. You might not. She puts a touch of romance in her fantasy novels.”
“Toni V. Sweeney,” he mused. “I’ve read some of her novels. They’re really good. Hey, Lily, want a lift home? Mom handed down her car to me. It’s not racy but it has wheels. We can stop by a burger joint.” He was a proud little peacock, fanning his tail feathers.
“I’d better catch the bus.” She shrugged. “I need to get home.”
Quickly, he offered an alternative. “I can drive you straight there. Better take this opportunity. I’m usually grounded because of my grades. I guess you study a lot. You’re always at the top of the class.”
She turned as her best friend joined them. Julie was attractive. She looked as if she might have a touch of Native American in her family pedigree. A lot of people in the area had Native blood. Julie’s features, like her high cheekbones and long black hair, were classic. The boy stopped ogling Lily to glance at the new arrival. Only for a split-second.
Lily’s friend gave a little wriggle of her fingers. “Hi, peeps.”
Lily and Peacock Tom greeted the new arrival.
“I like that dress, Lily.” Presumably, before he lost his nerve, the boy rushed on, “You look very pretty.”
A strange feeling arrested me. My hands had tightened on the book I carried. The scent of fresh-mown grass, a fragrance I loved, sickened me. Gripping the stone balustrade, I paused on the stairs to watch the small drama taking place below. A couple of people spoke in passing. I returned their greetings without actually hearing. I was concentrating on Lily’s and Tom’s conversation.
“She does look spectacular, doesn’t she? White suits you.” Her best friend swung her designer book bag over her shoulder and adjusted the straps. “Not many people can wear white. It washes me out.”
“Thanks.” Lily opened her plain red book bag, stowing the novel she’d been reading.
“Look, I have to run to class,” Julie said, grimacing her displeasure. “Wanted to say hello. I’m not in honors like Asher. In fact, I’m failing algebra. Where is he anyway?”
“Don’t know.” Lily glanced around the courtyard—green with patches of trampled brown. “Maybe he’s already gone. He had to work today.”
The threatening storm sent a warning. A rumble of thunder getting closer. The breeze had picked up, tugging at my hair, a strand escaping my ponytail. A trident of lightning sparkled in the distance. Before I could reach the hardware store, it would rain. I didn’t relish getting wet and working in the AC. Mr. Dobbins kept the store as cold as a morgue.
Julie’s brows lifted. “Too bad. I wanted to see him.” She shook the cascade of her dark hair. “See you later, Lil. Tom, take care.”
“Later, Julie.” Tom nodded, his attention returning to Lily. “If you’re not studying tomorrow afternoon, maybe we could go to the movies.”
I glanced at my watch. I had fifteen minutes to get to work, but I was frozen, couldn’t leave my voyeur’s vantage point. I understood his reticence and shyness. Once or twice, I’d been in the same position. The fear of rejection halted many would-be suitors. I certainly didn’t like it, and usually waited for the girl to ask me or hint strongly that she was interested. Lily’s stammered reply snapped me out of these thoughts.
“I—I can’t.” Her expression flashed to sad, her smile tremulous.
“Ah, then you name the day,” he persisted.
This boy irritated me. I was tired of the Peacock’s courtship dance. My sister had enough distractions, one of them Peter Fellows, who called ever night. I’d have thought a popular football hero had better things to do than pester his younger date for an event five months in the future.
She didn’t need Peter, and she didn’t need the attentions of some horny frat man. Or maybe she did. Was she lonely? Every day, she was home alone from three to six when either Mom or I returned from work. Guilt slowed my footsteps. Poor Lily had inherited most of the household chores. I wished she were still a geeky teen sitting behind the storm door, eating dill pickles and devouring books.
Not by any means was she a geeky teen anymore. She was ‘wow’ worthy.
Their laughter floated to me. I hopped down the last two stairs. As I strode toward them, she looked up and saw me. Her smile returned but didn’t reach her eyes. Her gaze ran away from mine, returning slowly. What had the little devil said to turn her smile upside down? Lily might be a year older than I, but I always felt the need to protect her.
I slowed, refusing to hurry and appear rattled. As I approached, she stopped listening to Tom and watched me. He glanced over his shoulder and frowned. I might be only twenty, but I was tall, slender and fit. I walked most places I needed to go. If the boy was six feet, I’d missed my guess. The bastard would be forced to look up to me.
“Who’s that long-haired dude zoning in on us?” I heard him ask.
“Only my brother. I’ll see if he can take over my chores—”
“Man, he doesn’t look like you,” the creep said.
Often, people commented that we didn’t look like brother and sister. Lily had inherited her red curls from Father, but her face was the image of Mother’s—heart-shaped with large, expressive eyes. Mom’s hair and eyes were as ‘dark as a gypsy’ she said. Late one night, I’d overheard Mom explaining me to Father, telling him the same gene that gave him his red hair was the one that determined my light hair and eyes.
Under different circumstances, I’d willingly take over Lily’s duties. She worked hard in the house and didn’t neglect her studies. She was simply intelligent. I knew why Tom was making cow eyes at her. I wasn’t blind to my sister’s beauty. Her eyes were a rare pale green. Her coppery hair, laying softly around her shoulders, personified her passion and thirst for life. He wanted to fuck her and be damned if that was happening. She deserved better than a mere mortal monkey. I smiled at the thought, but in a way, it was true. Did Lily have a dream man? A secret locked in a romantic chamber of her heart?
When I arrived at her side, I found myself staring into a darkened green gaze. Her eyes weren’t pale green but now emerald. I’d read that when people experienced intense emotion, the pupils expanded, making the eyes seem darker. Did Lily really want to go to the movies with that jerk?
“Hi there.” Gazing up at me, she began, “Tom asked me to go to the movies. Brother dear, would you take over my chores tomorrow afternoon?”
He extended his hand. “Hi, Asher, I’m Tom.”
“Tom.” I shook his hand, trying to look friendly.
I didn’t like the feeling boiling in me. It was dark, ugly. I knew what it was but didn’t want to admit it, even to myself. The green-eyed monster was nipping at my heels. Were my pupils dilated? My emotions were certainly intense.
“You’re a year younger than Lily, right?” He smiled, and my lips spread in a semblance of a smile. “Julie told me you’d skipped your senior year. That’s awesome, man.”
Why was everyone suddenly remarking on my age and abilities? In this instance, it was annoying. I’d taken an instant dislike to the boy, but Texas gentlemen tried to be polite, or so mother had assured a six-year-old boy when we were in Idaho. At the moment, I questioned that requirement.
“Thanks. I was happy about it,” I said.
“Being that smart, bet you got scholarships.” Tom stated the obvious. “What’s your major?”
“Robotics.” This twerp was like a gnat. “I’m intrigued by the new human-like androids.” My plan was to study robotics at the nation’s best university, but I saw no reason to confide in Tom.
“Asher…” thankfully Lily interrupted before Tom asked me about the new sex bots. “Can you help out tomorrow afternoon?”
Something like rebellion burned in my chest, but I managed to continue smiling.
“Sorry, Lily. I know it’s my day off, but I’ve loads of studying. A test in three subjects.” The tests part was true, but I was confident I could ace them. I’d read the material, could visualize the text on the page and was able to mentally ‘copy’ it verbatim if it wouldn’t get me caught.
Again, Lily’s green gaze darkened. She knew I’d lied about the studying. Intensity blazed in her eyes. She glared at me in a way she never had. I schooled my expression innocent. Finally, she gave a resigned shrug.
I stared down at the Peacock, wishing him out of existence. “Maybe some other time.” When the devil sells snow cones.
He bit his lower lip, nodding. Conversation came to an abrupt and uncomfortable halt.
I took Lily’s arm. “See you at home later.”
She gave me a killer look, shocking me speechless. “You might just have to get your own dinner. For once, Mom can make a sandwich. Tom, I’ll go to the movies today. Where’s your car?”
Polite be damned! I glared down at him, hatred streaming from my eyes. Tom’s expression changed as did his mind, his visions of light sabers and Jedi apparently put on hold. He retreated a step, crossing his arms, but gaping at me like some creature from outer space.
“Let’s go another day.” He touched her elbow warily. Was he afraid of me—this big, important frat man? “I remembered I have a test tomorrow, too. I’d better hit the books tonight or the car will evaporate.”
“Cinderella’s pumpkin.” Sarcasm rang in Lily’s voice.
Tom looked at her in surprise and chuckled nervously. “Something like that.”
Her expression was a mixture of disappointment and anger. I wanted to hug her, soothe the distress, but students milled about the campus. They, not even one of them, would understand our bond. Father’s unexpected death had thrust us into uncharted waters.
“Never mind. See you later.” She turned on her heel and marched away. Apparently, her anger had won and was directed at both Tom and me.
“That was abrupt.” Tom frowned, watching Lily stride down the sidewalk. “Where’s she going? I’d give her a ride home.”
“She’s going for a bus or to snag a ride with Julie.” Like it or not, I was bound for the hardware store.
He shot me another look saying I belonged in Area 51. “I want to take your sister to the movies.”
“Be my guest.”
Sarcasm crept into his tone. “Does she have chores every day?”
“Excuse me, fellows.” A female voice belonging to my English professor rescued me from another lie. “Asher, may I speak with you a moment?”
“Certainly, Mrs. Walker.” I looked at the unlucky fool, tossed him a grin and said, “Excuse me.”
Tom and I had enjoyed enough of each other’s company.
Mrs. Walker was my favorite prof. I was her favorite student. She appreciated my writing efforts, and that endeared her to me. She’d marked one story with ‘I like your otherworldly approach,” which I took as a compliment. The otherworldly touch came from being stuck in a rut, lost in a West Texas dot on the state map.
“Would you mind coming back to the classroom?” Her hazel gaze shifted to Tom. “Sorry, Tom, I need your companion.”
“No prob, Mrs. Walker. We’re done chatting.” Tom ogled good-looking Mrs. Walker as he had Lily and Julie.
The professor was sultry as well as petite and curvy, but I wasn’t going to insult her by studying her like a nude painting. Though sometimes when she was lecturing, I imagined her naked. Not a bad daydream. That she was probably in her late forties intrigued me. Her saucy dark curls, worn short, were attractive. Those green-gold eyes were sexy as hell. Sometimes, I fantasized about popping it to her.
She gestured, and I followed her up the brick stairs, down the hallowed gray corridor to the classroom. Here the resemblance to an Ivy League university ended. Rows of plain old wooden desks faced a clunky oak teacher’s refuge, reminiscent of a high school class room.
Sexy Mrs. Walker ushered me in, closed the door…and locked it with a click. “This is important, and I don’t want anyone interrupting us,” she explained.
Mrs. Walker undulated—the only word for the slow, sensual walk—back to her desk. She halted at my side, leaned over the desk, giving me a fine view of a firm ass and slid a stapled paper toward us. “You did a wonderful job on this story,” she said, her voice alluringly soft. “I’ve given you the grade you deserve. You’re top of the class again.” Her lips parted on an inviting smile.
“Thank you.” I was scarcely able to breathe for the spell she and her perfume wove.
She reached up, slid the band off my ponytail. “You’re the most beautiful young man I’ve ever seen. Your hair is such an unusual blond and your eyes…Asher, I’ve no idea how to seduce a student. I’ve never done it before, but I’ve wanted you since you walked through that door.” My English Lit professor flung a gesture at the locked door.
My eyes widened in surprise. I was reticent, worried about my own lack of knowledge, but flipping hell how I wanted her. “I don’t know how to be seduced by a teacher. I’ve never…I’ve never—”
“It’s okay.” Her gaze lingered on the bulge to the left of my zipper, growing each second, traveled down my legs, returned to the erection trapped in my tight jeans.
Mrs. Walker was mistaken that I’d never had sex. I had but not much experience. She leaned into me, her breasts grazing my chest. I watched her mouth coming to claim mine in a hot, hungry kiss. The fear of being caught sizzled to ash. When she stood back, we were both excited, breathless. Hands at her small waist, I lifted her, positioning her on the edge of the desk. She spread her legs for me to insert my hips between her tanned thighs.
“Kiss me,” she breathed, closing her eyes. When her head went back, I brushed my lips to her velvety throat, winning a sigh from her. With that subtle sound, every thought except what we were about to do turned to ash. I planted suckling kisses along her neck, whispering sweet nothings against her skin.
“Touch me.” She held a breast in each hand.
I started unbuttoning her blouse, but she caught my hands.
“We can’t risk that. It would take me too long to button it,” she said, stroking my hair back from my face.
I was glad to oblige, first stroking the nipples with my palms, through the silky material. Thrills chased over me. Her deep-throated sighs fired lust until I thought I was ablaze. My hands drifted to the breasts, caressing each in long, languid strokes. The globes were still pert, soft and delicious to the touch. I wished I could kiss them. I would have, but neither could we risk wet spots on her blouse. My partner sighed and pulled me down into another lip-bruising kiss.
My cock was hot, hard, throbbing. I had no experience in controlling my need to come. I was ready to explode, my balls tight and full. I drew back, my mouth closing over hers, staking my claim, thrusting my tongue between her lips. Deep, dark pleasure blanked my mind. Pure, unadulterated lust consumed my body. My hands went instinctively to her breasts again, palming them, teasing her nipples taut. Breathing hard, she unzipped my pants and eased my erection free, sliding her fists up and down the shaft, her long red nails stroking the crown. My cock jerked, precum pearly on the tip. She worked my slick cock in expert strokes.
Waves of desire washed me closer to rapture. The thought of getting caught excited the imagination and the libido. I pulled her panties out of the way, and she guided me into her wet pussy. Her muscles clenched and released, sucking at my dick. Damn, I was going to come right now. I pulled almost out, the swollen head caressing her clit. When she moaned, I shoved into her. She gasped, scooting her hips to the edge of the desk, driving my cock deep.
I delved faster, massaging her depths, retreating, plunging hard. She groaned in tempo. Lifting her hips, I positioned her clit on the hilt of my dick, caressing her sensitized nub. She fell back in the support of my arms. I tensed as my cock swelled, trembling on the verge of release.
“Slow and deep,” she groaned, locking her hands in my hair and her legs around my hips.
I slowed my strokes, delving until she writhed, impaled on my cock. She rode me, battling for satisfaction. When she gasped, “Faster now, baby,” I pumped her hard, thrusting into her, grinding her clit on my hilt.
“I’m coming,” she cried against my neck.
Her muscles clamped, working my cock, then released as she came on a long, drawn out groan. I fucked her harder, needing to come.
“Yes, yes, yes,” she hiccupped in tempo to my thrusts.
Her inner muscles grabbed me, my cock trapped in the tight, wet embrace of her pussy. I came on a cry muffled against her neck. She grabbed my softening cock and fucked herself through another orgasm. My knees were so weak I could barely stand, both of us breathing hard.
“I’m going to be late. I missed the bus and have to walk. I’ve got to go,” I panted. “Can we do it again?”
“Yes, my darling, we can do it again and again. I’ll drive you to work.” She slid off the desk, smoothing her skirt down, and at that moment, the door rattled.
“Mrs. Walker?” A minute earlier, and the history professor would have found me fucking my teacher.
“Come in,” she said, batting her eyes at me. “The door isn’t locked.”
“Yes, it is.” He rattled the lock.
She winked. I winked back, sharing our secret. Mrs. Walker had introduced me to sex unlike my earlier experience, and I was now addicted. She hurried across the room, blew me a kiss and opened the door. “I can’t imagine how that happened. I was commending my star student on another job well done.”
I liked that kind of recognition!
He looked from her to me. Damn, I hoped he didn’t notice that we were both flushed. The afterglow looked good on Mrs. Walker. It came to me as I walked past them that I didn’t even know her first name.