Love Potion No. 3 - Secret Narrative - ebook

Love Potion No. 3: An Anthology of Provocative EroticaFeaturing a collection of exotica designed to turn you on.Kiss From A Ghost by Elizabeth WoodhamNo matter where it starts, a story must have a hero. A journey. A story of love lost and found again. People adore making comparisons or to invent an artificial existence. Does anyone really know what is going on in anyone else’s world? When Chloe Merrywell meets army medic, Dan Archer, her deepest nature is gradually transformed. Chloe embarks upon a journey of discovery and awakens to the delights of faithful sex. She unravels her past from her convent school education and the taste of girls to her seduction at the hands of charismatic Nicholas Kamarovsky. Chloe’s lifetime of learning isn’t easily undone; her former lovers taunt and tempt and she’s torn. The taste of her best friend Suzanne lingers and stimulates the memory of Sister Nuria as Chloe struggles to embrace convention and turn her back on the past for good.Savannah by Daniella CervenyDaniella Cerveny describes the metamorphosis of her marriage as she and her husband embark on their swinging, sexual awakening in a series of stunning truths straight from Daniella’s big heart. She’s unafraid and is willing to try anything at least once. Accompany Daniella and husband Todd as they swing their way through a string of hot, searing sessions.Generation Game by Secret NarrativeSixty-something university lecturer, Sylvia Kent explores age-gap sex, and her new-found desire for steamy encounters with strangers, students, and colleagues. Explosive exploratory sex with teenage men.

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Love Potion No. 3

An Anthology of Provocative Erotica

Provocative Erotica Anthology #3

Secret Narrative

Love Potion No. 3

Provocative Erotica Anthology #3

Copyright, Secret Narrative, 2015

All rights reserved including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events are the product of the authors’ imagination, and any similarity to any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. The opinions expressed are the authors’ own and are not representative of the opinions of the publisher or distributors.

Cover image: ©Brenda Carson|


This book contains strong language and sexually explicit content that some readers may find offensive and which is unsuitable for persons under the age of 18.

Love Potion No. 3: An Anthology of Provocative Erotica

Featuring a collection of exotica designed to turn you on.


Kiss From A Ghost by Elizabeth Woodham

No matter where it starts, a story must have a hero. A journey. A story of love lost and found again. People adore making comparisons or to invent an artificial existence. Does anyone really know what is going on in anyone else’s world? When Chloe Merrywell meets army medic, Dan Archer, her deepest nature is gradually transformed. Chloe embarks upon a journey of discovery and awakens to the delights of faithful sex. She unravels her past from her convent school education and the taste of girls to her seduction at the hands of charismatic Nicholas Kamarovsky. Chloe’s lifetime of learning isn’t easily undone; her former lovers taunt and tempt and she’s torn. The taste of her best friend Suzanne lingers and stimulates the memory of Sister Nuria as Chloe struggles to embrace convention and turn her back on the past for good.

Savannah by Daniella Cerveny

Daniella Cerveny describes the metamorphosis of her marriage as she and her husband embark on their swinging, sexual awakening in a series of stunning truths straight from Daniella’s big heart. She’s unafraid and is willing to try anything at least once. Accompany Daniella and husband Todd as they swing their way through a string of hot, searing sessions.

Generation Game by Secret Narrative

Sixty-something university lecturer, Sylvia Kent explores age-gap sex, and her new-found desire for steamy encounters with strangers, students, and colleagues. Explosive exploratory sex with teenage men.

About Secret Narrative

I adore predatory sex and enjoy all types of literature. My erotica is based on my own experiences and is explicit. I feature complicated characters and difficult themes, which some readers will find offensive. I like to explore age-gap sex and share my encounters in my stories. Contact me at the Secret Narrative website: Get a free story and stay up to date by signing up for the newsletter:

Happy reading x

Provocative erotica designed to turn you on.

A reader writes...

“Growing up in a conservative home, I was always taught that sex/erotica were things that men alone liked. We were not supposed to like them, but we did anyway. Everything was all about suppressing inhibitions and desires to have some naughty fun. Thankfully, it's good to see that these precepts have by and large been napalmed in the 21st century. For people who have a real zest for life, Secret Narrative's stories have something to offer almost everyone. To lust, to life and to erotica!”

“This author has a way with words that is absolutely brilliant. Stories for the helpless romantic who wants to read about falling in love with the impossible and realizing what they have is real and perfect.”

Excerpt from a review at Amazon.

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Kiss From A Ghost: Contents

One: The Little Red Kilt

Two: A Stranger in Capricorn

Three: Kamarovsky’s Girl

Four: Khloya

Five: A Visit

Six: A Feast

Seven: An Education

Eight: Synchronicity

Nine: A Mask

Ten: Further Education

Eleven: Second Skin

Twelve: Cells

Thirteen: Not Fade Away

Fourteen: Daddy’s Girl

Fifteen: Old Money, New Money

One: The Little Red Kilt

31.12.12—2300 hours

“My mother doesn’t talk to me.”

“Because you wear short plaid skirts which barely cover your arse, and tight little red leather jackets snugger than a condom?”

“No. I’ve always dressed this way. Will you take off the mask?”


New Year’s Eve. Pressing against me in the throng, he takes my hand, pulls me closer, and bending me backward in an emulation of an iconic image, plants a kiss onto my mouth. He keeps his tongue politely non-invasive; I part my lips anyway and hook him in. He tastes marvellous. He tastes of vodka and tonic, and of lemons, sharp, zinging. I fish for more, knowing my own breath echoes Southern Comfort, sweet and cloying at first, before the burning liquor sears epiglottis and oesophagus.


I deploy medical terms in homage of my new obsession. Benjamin O’Carroll, a surgeon, older than me. Much older actually, but vulnerable, I make him feel vulnerable, I can tell. He turns my broken hand this way and that, examining me, using microscopic eyes, beneath brows that seem to move independently, and wishes that my injury was at the core of me.

My nails are blood red, eight fingers, including the broken digit and two thumbs, thankfully uninjured. An icy fall. A lucky break.

Eyes, sharp and shrewd, a lilting voice. An accent. I struggle; my musical ear is out of tune, and I cannot properly hear his provenance. I lick my lips, slowly, no makeup. It’s my right hand, application is tricky, and best left undone. He watches the tip of my perfect pink tongue travel a circuit. I pause and repeat for effect and pause...

“At least another three weeks, Miss Merrywell.”

Hope diminishes, shrinks away, and shrivels my expectation of freedom.

“Three weeks!”

“I’m afraid so. A nasty break, as I said when we fixed you up. You may yet need an operation to straighten the finger.”

“Thank you.” Plummeting, I grope for reassurance, “I hope I won’t need an operation.” I fix wide eyes on his mouth, and raise them slowly, deliberately meeting his. Liquid, dissolving resolve, I make him water, watch him salivate; waver.

“Make a follow-up appointment, please. After Christmas, of course. Meanwhile, if you experience significant pain or the cast becomes uncomfortable, contact my secretary, she’ll fit you in.”

Rising, leaving his chair redundant, no revelation of occupation in his attire, plain trousers, and pristine shirt, teamed with plaid tie. His shoes polished, though they are out of sight, hidden, with his lower half behind the desk.

I stand too, and push my chair back. The nurse is behind me, helps with my coat. I grab my bag, unnaturally left-handed and check myself.

“Goodbye and happy holiday.”

“Yes, you too,” he says, re-seated, moving his next patient’s notes into position as I leave his office.

29.12.12—1400 hours

“I don’t really feel like it.”

“It’ll be fun. Take your mind off your missed deadlines, and other crap.”

“What will I wear?”

“Tartan. Don’t worry about anything else. Just wear something tartan and a mask.”

31.12.12—2000 hours

I’m tempted to wear only the skirt and the mask. I remember my mother telling me never to give in to temptation, so I don’t, not then anyway, before the party, before midnight.

Protected with Clingfilm, I shower.

Dressing is difficult wearing the cast, so I take it off, toss it onto the bed, and make a good fist of getting ready. Makeup as accurate as possible, my youthful skin needs little embellishment, my long, caramel hair shines a cascade to the middle of my back. Centre parting, no fringe, it needs little adornment but looks better washed. What the hell? It’s impossible one-handed. I leave it loose.

Plaid red velvet barely covers my bottom. Round, juicy, ripe full cheeks, I know it’s pert, and pretty, I’m blessed. Lucky. Long legs travel all the way up from feet, sized perfect for my height, my only blemish an accidental break.

The shape of almonds, I need not emphasise my eyes. The mask is exotic, Venetian. Awkward, I secure it. Anonymity achieved with luscious lips exposed. Zipping soft, buttery, red leather, skin so soft, a fingertip traces where it ends, and mine begins. Red skin, next to my skin; I run my forefinger along the zipper and halt just above the swell of my well-formed breasts, untouched by surgeon’s knife.

I decide on tights. Another struggle, sheer black lace provides a barely perceptible nod to modesty; no panties provide a nod to hedonism. My little black boots complete me and walk me to the kerbside.

31.12.12—2345 hours

I dance among the heaving throng with my arm aloft, keeping my hand away from further harm. Dancing behind my disguise, perspiring gently into snug, red leather, rivulets make their way from clavicle to clit. Seeping into crevices, pooling at my tights, the damp patches are hidden, but I feel them, smell them, mixed with my perfume and my scent they assail my senses. Turn me on, wetter and wetter, I am lush, and yet, untouched.

It’s New Year’s Eve, a man grabs the hand at my side, closes his long, slim fingers over mine, pulls me closer. I keep my injured limb in the air above us; an ache travels from fingertip to armpit, matching the acute agony glowing between my thighs.

01.01.13—0001 hours

The chimes have stopped, and the explosions started, spiralling rockets shoot into the air, a cacophony of surround sound. Someone opens the doors and windows, a whoosh of cold air accompanied by a whiff of cordite rushes towards us. The room empties, partygoers move to the outside space, eyes heavenward where my hand once resided.

“Take me home,” I say, against his lips, my wet flesh sparkles.

A charge of hesitation frizzles my nerves, everything has moved into the distance, except him and me in a bubble of expectancy.

01.01.13—0025 hours

Part of me remains on the seat of a black cab, seeping moisture settled there, the little red kilt too tiny, my leaking self, unchecked by fabric as the man moves against me, stealthily. I check the back of the driver’s head, knowing his eyes are on the rear-view mirror more often than the road ahead. No matter, I’m sybaritic.

We alight, giddy from alcohol and lust, my teetering legs in little black boots, their high heels planted on paving. Waiting while he pays, my boots, my little red kilt, my sheath jacket, and me. Cold air dries me, a scourge of winter scours my skin.

We ascend stone steps leading to my front door. Left-handed, I fish key from boot and push it home, my crippled hand cannot turn keys, but will curl a finger. He follows me in, and I move up the stairs leading to my flat. Staying close at my rear, his fingers trail my calf a degree at a time, the climb of a lifetime, his fingers probe my progress, and his hands cup rounded flesh. I’m wet again, moist, and hot, a mountain to climb before reaching the top of the flight. My door at the summit, an entry pad this time, I enter the code and push. A wall of warmth, a womb of red walls surround us, he closes the door and closes in.

01.01.13—0035 hours

He drops his jacket, and I am against the wall, between him and me, the leather of my sheath and the linen of his shirt. His Zorro disguise and my own mask in situ, feathers oily black, silky soft, their brilliance reflected in the faint red glow of the narrow passage. My soft, red, tight passage floods and moisture seeps. He is on his knees, lifts my skirt the inch required, grips the waistband of my tights, and pulls them down to meet my little black boots. I’m tied at the ankles; I have no desire for escape. I am bound, my tights imprison me, and my feet are less than hip width apart, my round bottom pressed against the wall. His hands move upward, a millimetre at a time. I can’t see them, but I know that they are capable, slender, long-fingered with elegant nails, and I want them inside me, his fingers, one at a time, until completion. Somatic sense alerts my core, the molten centre of me, volcanic, magma bubbling, hot, red, and fiery. I’m melting.

“Sweet, sweet girl.” He vibrates against me as his mouth reaches mine.

Tactual exploration, making way for his tongue and he probes, darts, licks, slurps, my jelly legs trembling again juxtapose my ankles in bondage. Osculation drives sensation to my brain as he nibbles my clit and introduces his fingers one at a time into my blazing red room, my passage, my vessel. His vessel. Filling slowly, my tight walls grip, gripping, I concentrate my energy on him, looking down at the top of his head, thick dark hair, threaded with far more grey than I’m partial to, already looks familiar as he eats, gobbles, guzzles, and devours.

The stream of my ejaculate is a surprise. He reaches down to my boots, slick fingers struggle, I assist and step out one at a time, using the wall for balance he frees me and himself, discards my tights, returns to my crown and more. He lifts me, aloft, a few inches, I straddle his waist. His back feels strong, muscled, and capable, in common with his arms. He moves into me, impales me, works back and forth, lifting me up and down, his strength enthralling. I’m breathless.

“Which way?”

“End of the hall.”

“I won’t make it that far.”

He turns us away from the wall, lifts me down and drapes me on the floor of the passageway, drops between my parted thighs and enters again. I wrap him; imprison him via his waist, my broken hand redundant against his broad back. The rest of me, my sheath jacket and little red kilt surge against him, we soar upward, ever upward as if we’re packed within an exploding New Year rocket, a pyrotechnic of heady perfume, our intoxicating fragrance sticky in the air.

My cells speak. Articulate in all languages, they vibrate pleasure against his skin, and grasp him, tight and pulsing, urging his flood, a rush of essence, a tidal wave soaks my senses, hot release matches my waterfall, our sparkling droplets pool in an ecstasy of completion.

Fluttering fingers pull at the silken knot, he doesn’t resist. Zorro unmasked.

Later, we assess the damage. My arse, carpet burn pink, matches his knees. We laugh and I pop another cork.

11.01.13—1100 hours

Dressing carefully for my Harley Street appointment. A sawbones for my sore bones.

11.01.13—1400 hours

“Good afternoon, Miss Merrywell.” Chestnut meets cerulean. “You’ll be eager to be free.”

“Yes, I have deadlines, some already passed.”

“I see.” He turns my hand this way and that. Long, warm, skilled fingers, make gentle assessment.

“I’ll refer to you to physiotherapy.”

“Thank you.”

“Nurse Pringle, fetch the necessary paperwork for Miss Merrywell, please. Soft balls to squeeze periodically for a matter of months,” he continues after the nurse’s exit and my healing hand trembles.

“Thank you.” I smile.

“You look lovely today, Miss Merrywell. Galway plaid is my family tartan.”

He leans towards me.

“Oh,” I breathe, my lips against his, “it’s my lucky little red kilt.”

Two: A Stranger in Capricorn

Paging through to the section near the back of the newspaper, scanning until I reach my sign, I’m in denial but my week ahead, as predicted by the astrologer in the newspaper says, The full moon has a message for you, hear it, act on it and let your life change forever for the better.

Taking the horoscope as a good omen, on impulse, I booked an appointment with a fortune teller, a chiromancer, also specialising in numerology and Tarot. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a reading and now I’m about to find out.


A full week has passed since you left and I still do not know all the parts which comprise your name. My blasé self, went along with your request, ‘no names, no pack drill’, and your desire for mystery, my romantic self, happy for the twinkling display of your cells, dancing in the dust mites broadcast in the shafts of light splintering through gaps in hastily drawn curtains.

Later that first morning, I drew back the drapes, leaving only cream lace curtains between sun, pane, and nakedness, pale skin patterned in the shadows created by the fabric at the window. ‘Two worlds colliding…’ Paloma sings and I’m a crash-test dummy.

“It looks as if you are wearing a dress,” you said, fishing the phone from your pocket, you pointed and clicked.

The image now pinned to the mirror at my dressing table where I sit brushing my hair, the depths of my bed reflected—dishevelled, stark white juxtaposes black, and I remember how you disrupted it, dragging sheets and counterpane off, pushing pillows to one side, searching for the phone tossed there at some point after the shutter blinked.

“Leave it,” I said pushing you back, the crumpled bedding beneath you. I undressed you again, undid the work of your leaving, unbuttoning your shirt one tiny fastening at a time, exposing your torso, army fit, bathed my face in you. Breathing deep, as your fingers wreathed my hair assisting my downward path, from nipple to navel and beyond, the zip at your fly slowly unlocks a tooth at a time with an acoustic crackle, then silence, all silent, except for the swish swash of tyres in the Sunday snow, slush, squishing, rhythmic, round and round, setting my pace in synchronicity, matching motion, round and round, up and down, my luscious rediscovery of your hard self. Helpless now, you don’t resist, the mislaid phone forgotten as I take you in, moist tissues glide you down into my open throat for receipt, your sigh alerts me, tingles messages to my core.

I pull back; “wait there, don’t move,” I murmur and rise. The kitchen is only a few steps away. Returning, your lower half is naked for me, trousers and socks discarded alongside your shoes at the foot of my bed, shirt parted, contrasts the darker hue of your skin, emulates the look of my skin alongside yours, vanilla and mocha, oh such a deliciously decadent combination.

I cannot speak, so I don’t try. My mouth is full. Three cubes, unyielding against my teeth, glacier cold, I reach for you again and jostle you into position among the blocks, your sharp intake as fierce cold, so cold it’s hot, crushing your velvet coat, you’re momentarily winded as if you’ve jumped into a freezing lake, and you shrivel a little before my cupped hands weigh you and bring you back to attention. Imprisoned between my lips, among the ice, a carving of skin, chemistry triggers a reaction, alters mass and structure, solid to liquid, soaking the sheets, molecules pooling beneath you.

Growing harder as the cold flees in the thaw and temperature rises, your soft groans match the sound of the easterly wind, threatening blizzard, and I listen as it howls, competing with traffic and audible pleasure as I toil. Your hands are in my hair, caressing, cherishing, fingers moving, I’m speechless, gagged by you, until releasing you, I move upward, meet your mouth, and we kiss, French kiss, soul kiss, I prepare you, lowering myself slowly onto you, waiting for completion, speared like a fish on a harpoon, your potent shaft snug within, bespoke as if I’ve had no other inside me, as if we were mutually tailored, handmade, crafted a cell at a time, and joining creates a paradigm of excellence, a wordless mission statement, I move up and down slowly, our perfume rises between us, enters my senses, I drink it, it’s nectar, my coltish legs, strong and agile, give me rise from you, rise and fall, like riding at a trot, my essence thick and viscous in the saddle, coats you, like treacle, cloying, sliding slowly, thickly easing passage, stickily pushing home into my depths, you’re moving gently to join me on my descent, pushing away on the ascent and with each fall, I force you into the bedding, hard, so hard, we’re rocking, our reflected selves in the mirror of the dressing table where I now sit, preparing for my day, and I wonder when I’ll see you again.

A soft purr, I check my phone and smile.

“Lunch? Tomorrow? Battersea Park? Lunch in a bag. I’ll meet you at the Hepworth sculpture next to the lake. Two o’clock.”

Unusually, my deft fingers will not work to order and all fingers and thumbs, I reply.


I’m swaddled in unwashed sheets, willing away the hours, until at last, I rise, wash and dress, my heart doesn’t fail though it seems it may, my blood rising and falling in a pattern of waves, a tsunami rushing in my head, a thrilling tinnitus, which clears my passages and thrills me.

Little white panties, no bra, I thank my genes and compact breasts, shirt, white; my trusty little black boots must stay at home, snow underfoot. I’m sensible, I’m still healing, and I must not piss off the divine doctor Benjamin O’Carroll.

A cosy, black oversize sweater completes me, but I take my parka, the fur-lined hood is too tempting. At the gate I pause, look up, delve for my iPhone and photograph the single red geranium gamely standing proud in the window box, a vivid splash of pizzazz amid white weather, like blood on bandages, and I shiver.

On my journey I freeze-frame images of snow covered paths and scenery, it’s unusual to see such a settling in the city, passers-by look grim, thin lines for lips, pinched faces, buried hands, hunched shoulders, with the exception of children, who skip and gambol like lambs in spring. If only they knew. Their effervescent excitement matches my mood, the expectation of meeting rises from depths to surface like bubbles in champagne, a steady stream, tiny pockets of air pop at the top and I imagine them filling my nostrils from flute.

He is seated in the middle of a bench, among a long row of benches. His endless legs stretched in front of him as if it were a day in summer, hands in pockets, he’s waiting, but looks as if he is not waiting, and I wonder if he’s seen me, I don’t call out, but keep walking, steadily, a straight line, a beeline to his side. He’s on his feet and strides toward me as if in a scene from a movie, and I’m poleaxed, a quiver of arrows scatters my nonchalance, serenity takes flight.

“A pair of swans,” he points. I halt a foot short, and my eyes follow the direction of his index finger, “they mate for life.” Grabbing my good hand, he tugs me gently along with him to the stone surround, sidestepping others, they fade into my distance, and we’re alone as we were on the first night that he took my hand, everyone else vanished as if they’d been put into a stage illusion and puffed away in a pall of smoke. A curve of protection from my ribs while my heart hammers, I wonder at the music in my ears, birdsong, splashing water, a background city symphony, although familiar, now strangely alien. Looking into the depths, we laugh at our rippling reflection, and I reflect on the mirrors in my bedroom, marvelling at my form dwarfed by his.

His long, curative fingers stroke.

“Your place? I have lunch, in the bag, over there...” A brown paper sack lonesome on the bench.


I breathe again; air hits my lungs and is expelled with torridity. I match his stride, retrace my steps. His height dominates but my legs are long, we are liken to a lifetime of dancing pairs, displaying a perfect Argentine tango, mutual footfalls make two/four time away from the park as lunchtime approaches and despite the bleak white, bracing cold, London’s workers in need of escape make their way in, ablaze in a riot of colour, woolly hats, mitts, scarves and coats. He pulls my hood up, shrouding me and draws my hand alongside his into the intimate haven of his pocket.


Two at a time, I race him up, no procrastination in our ascent, eager greed banishes courtly games, and my boneless fingers miss-press the access code and I have to try again. Distracted. Third time lucky, we enter. Through the red passage, and into the living room, flooded with winter light, bathed in subtle, hazy rays, it’s a pretty flat, I’m lucky, that’s why geraniums bloom in winter here.

We shrug off our coats and kick them away. He gathers up the screen of my hair and places a row of tiny kisses along the nape of my neck, following a tattooed line, pausing at the little knob.

“Your odontoid process,” he breathes, giving it the medical term. A giggle lurks but instead, heat trickles a sigh of reply.

He is oak, and I’m mistletoe, winding his trunk, I travel his limbs, curling the extent of him, I am the spur joined to his heel, we are a worthy pair, well matched in a renewal of magic. I creep along his frame in advance of his vanishing act, a final parting, blinding white, parting white, a last shirt shrugged and fastened, the fleeting whiff of pressed clothes, wafting his leaving, trailing to me on the vibrating, exposed atmosphere of departure, and I am at the window clothed in a veil of lace, wrapped in creamy white, parting white. Partially frozen raindrops sleet a drop at a time like blinding tears on a face and drip downward, melting on the sill. A single red geranium, upright, unbent by the onslaught, a lone soldier, a head of petals above the parapet, remains unbeaten, a vibrant beacon of hope warms me.


I cross his palm and fingers close before uncurling one by one as if with individual life, bidden by some external power beyond his understanding, vanishing coin with sleight of hand in a purple room. All is purple or subdued shades of lilac; a man, a monk-like man, with bald pate and dark clothing of indeterminate hue. We sit on conventional chairs amid sumptuous purple, incongruous, too feminine. A black cloth covers the table, the room shrouded, yet dancing in soft, candlelight, and the edification of his gaze. Not a single streak of weak, wintery sunlight from the world outside penetrates; a mausoleum in contrast to my bright, lace-lit room, all is twilight here. Charts of planets and celestial drawings decorate the wall and my mind hops and skips. A nervous giggle effervesces, silently naming ‘Uranus’ repeatedly, until it sounds like a prayer in my ear and I fear I may utter it aloud, the childlike delight in silly words often comes unbidden at inappropriate times. I’ve become adept at concealing my thoughts, and reach for my mask of indifference.

“I conduct a reading in three parts, using three spreads.” I detect the faint burr of an accent and am reminded of Doctor O’Carroll. Am I ever to be surrounded by the Celt?

“A ten card pyramid for the first spread, the second, a Celtic cross, also comprising ten cards, and finally, your horoscope spread, the Wheel of Fortune using twelve chosen cards, providing your forecast for the coming year, starting from the month of the reading, and in this case, auspiciously January, the month of your birth. I am correct?” The last delivered as a statement and question on an upward note.

Mouth dry, I nod, angular fingers pass the cards.

“Please shuffle and cut the pack into three piles.”

Trembling hands obey and return the restored pack. He spreads them in a wide arc on the black cloth.

“Please select ten cards using your left hand.”

Bug-eyed, I choose a random ten.

He deals the cards face up in a triangular shape, slowly, heavy, hypnotic, one card at the top, two cards, three and a set of four make the final line, he unlocks his interpretation one card at a time as if turning the dial on a combination lock, first to one card, and then to the next, I see an abstract of brilliance laid on dark cloth.

“The Queen of Pentangles, the most nurturing card of the pack represents someone in your life who has a key role in your present development or in your future, a woman, and immovable, solid, as if carved from stone…” Visions of my mother’s face float somewhere in my periphery. The man is still speaking. “The Tower. The image worries you. It should not. Do not be afraid. Appearing here, it represents obstacles and difficulties to be overcome, confirmed in the next card, Temperance, which signifies that you have a tendency to excess, occasionally alcohol, but currently I suspect that your overindulgence is in sex. No, please do not be embarrassed, perhaps you merely need to apply a little more restraint.”

I squirm. Unbidden a picture of your nakedness assails my senses, I see you working back and forth rhythmically along the length of me, the imagery drives moisture to my panties, and I writhe, trying to disguise my hot discomfort, make myself impenetrable to the detective of the soul, evoke the opposite to my penetrable self, where all orifices are agape for your pleasure. I slide to the edge of my seat, the prophetic voice hums, and I’ve lost the thread of his words, which seem to fade in and out of my conscious as if I am suspended in the moment before waking from a deep sleep.

“The Six of Cups, giving and compassionate, I see that in you, Ms Merrywell, I see it in your hands and your wide eyes, you embrace giving, of yourself especially. Yes, I see that in you.” My anxiety intensifies. I think of the ways in which I give of myself as his bony digit travels to the next card. “The Ten of Coins represents financial stability and bodes well for your future endeavours, but you worry too much. The Moon card placed here relates to your concerns with the past or the future, I suggest that you leave the past and future to their own devices and look only to the present, live for today and enjoy your life, one day at a time. The next card, the Three of Cups indicates that there will be much to celebrate in the coming months, probably within the next twelve months, I do not know what it is, but you are going to be part of the celebration, and followed by the Five of Wands tells us that the future is promising. Are you following thus far, Ms Merrywell?”

“Yes,” I reply, mesmerised by the kaleidoscope of cards.

“The Eight of Swords suggests that there is a woman in your life that worries about you, she may be in the distance or part of your present, but she worries all the time, it is someone close to you, either physically, as in a friend who is with you every day, or by blood, a relative, or a guardian. Interestingly, as the card is followed by the King of Swords, it is clear that you don’t like being told what to do by others, you like to go your own way. You must channel your thoughts and feelings into positive energy. Think positive. The coming year will be better for you than last year. The past year has been devilishly difficult for you, but the best is yet to come.”

He pauses and draws a small selection of cards from the pack. I remain silent and wait.

“Here are the four Queens. Pick one. This will represent the thing you most want to know about… Ah you have chosen the Queen of Swords. The positive energy created in having picked this card is overwhelming. The only negative implication is that you may be feeling a little jaded at the moment, tired, or in some way out of sorts. This Queen represents self-assurance, kindness and engagement with the world, looking forward. Please shuffle the pack once more and using your left hand, select ten cards and pass them to me.”

A little more confident and straightening my back, I follow his instructions and watch as he lays out a Celtic cross.

“This card represents you, this covers you, this crowns you…” I barely catch his tumbling words. His hands take flight in a blur. “Card ten is the final outcome…”

I’m overwhelmed, and the thrust of his reading escapes me, my mind flutters and falters.

“The final card is the Ace of Cups, and this tells us that a new relationship beckons. There are better things ahead.” My scattered thoughts settle and I float back to my chair.

“Do you have any questions, Ms Merrywell?”

“No…er… thank you.” There’s a frog and I croak a crack, voice breaking, tension tingles in spite of the tranquil aura around him.

“I shall interpret your horoscope spread for the future. Please shuffle the cards, mix them, using your left hand. Cut and cut again. Select twelve cards. These will represent the coming twelve months, and as we are now in the month of January, I shall deal into the Wheel of Fortune spread starting with January.

“Here is The Sun, a repeat appearance. It is marvellous that this card has featured twice during this reading. It is an extraordinarily positive card, propitious for the beginning of your new year. You are revitalised, you are the centre of attention, and everything is starting to move in the right direction for you.

“The Hanged Man.” Rapid eye movement blinks dismay, trepidation vibrates the space between us. “Do not be alarmed, Ms Merrywell, this card represents sacrifice, something that you must relinquish, perhaps just temporarily in order to achieve a goal or ambition of some kind. You are caught in the middle of a situation as shown by the appearance of the Three of Swords. Many people advise, but you wish they’d mind their own business, and in spite of their good intentions, you feel alone, or perhaps betrayed in some way. There is also the possibility that you are, in some way, hurting another person. But I see salvation represented by one of the other cards later in the spread, which I shall reveal in due course.

“The Tower is a somewhat negative card and is another which has appeared twice, this is quite unusual. For you, it represents an unexpected event that has utterly changed your life, your world has turned upside down, and there are circumstances which are, or were beyond your control.

“The Four of Swords is the card for retreat and re-energising and following The Tower suggests that things will get easier, and the situation, whatever it is, will be resolved.” I grasp at the interpretation and lock my prize away with my wishes.

“A change of activities is represented by The Ace of Pentangles. You will take part in something fun within the next twelve months, something fulfilling, something that you have never done before. This is a card of abundance and bodes well for you.

“The Lovers placed at this point in your horoscope denotes the struggle of temptation. A physical attraction that is becoming an obsession and you are palpitating with passion over a new love.

“The Magician is the card of making things happen, the card of being in control and placed here in your Wheel of Fortune, represents a professional person who will be crucial in your life, a doctor or perhaps a lawyer.

“Ah, the High Priestess, appearing around the middle of your year is terrifically strong, it is a protection card and signifies that someone is watching over you and assures you to trust your intuition and take the less obvious path.

“And now, The Hermit. It is not always a positive card, but I feel, in this case represents study, or tuition of some kind, maybe learning, this could be you directly or someone close to you and indicates a complex situation. As this card appears in your horoscope spread, we can interpret The Hermit as representing solitude. You are alone in many ways and could be physically separated from someone or something either by design or necessity.

“The Knight of Wands —fire is the metaphor for speed and is represented here, suggesting something or someone that you want in your life, you are about to make a bold move. Your creativity is aflame, and your future is bright and inspirational.

“Finally and full circle, the King of Pentangles symbolises the death of the old and the beginning of the new and is particularly strong appearing as it does at this point in your Wheel of Fortune spread. It communicates the first stages of a new commitment, you mean many things to the important people in your life, and you signify the constant friend the dedicated worker, the calm leader. Your material needs will be met, and this card is proof that you are prepared to do battle to defend your kingdom.

“Today is a gift. The best of your life is yet to come.”

“Thank you, Malachy.” I shake his hand with my left, the finger on my right is still fragile, and I can’t afford to damage it. I wonder if he noticed the injury, he made no reference to it during the reading.

“Your coat, Ms Merrywell, fasten it tightly, snow is falling.” He holds my coat and hands me the recording; I slip it into my pocket and shoulder into his offering, pondering how he knows about the snowfall, there is nothing to be seen of the world outside his windows, the house broods around us. I shiver and do as he says.

Stepping over the threshold and onto the Victorian path; red tiles already partially hidden beneath a fine dusting. A street cleaner stands idle, high visibility blinding in the white, his stationary handcart loaded with jaunty brushes bespoke, but redundant, while he lights a tiny, tightly rolled hand-made and sucks a deep drag.

Imprisoned by my coat, atop numerous wrappings of light layers, each giving protection from the elements, I fight the urge to shed my outer skins a garment at a time, leave them in dark traces on white, like so many forlorn markers on a journey without a compass, snaking into the distance, disappearing into the unknown.

The future sparkles in each perfect acellular flake, a sparkling, dancing snapshot prior to meltdown, like the ice that dwelled in servitude alongside you in the smooth shelter of my mouth. Somnambulistic, I scrunch to the Tube, the recording burning a hole in my pocket; I reach for my phone, switch it on and check for messages.

“I’m coming home, for a month at the end of February. Check your email.”

I blow kisses into the frozen air, I see them linger as if stirring your shadow. I log in and read, I’m walking and reading, faster, faster, still faster, the Underground looms ahead. Before I dive headlong into the bowels, I’m already buried in a tumble of words. The King of Pentangles speaks, and Capricorn listens.

Three: Kamarovsky’s Girl

She is Kamarovsky’s Girl. In the last days of Soviet Russia, two groups of people slipped through the crumbling walls: the former apparatchiks turned oligarchs, who had obtained like card-sharps the deeds to the nation’s oil, gas and natural resources, and the wise and worldly paper shufflers at the defunct ministries, who were going to help them spend it. Kamarovsky was one of the latter.


I remember things at the beginning and at the end; psychologists call it ‘primacy and recency’. I have to fish for the parts in between, delve into the pool of memory and sift everything that is irrelevant, store everything that is not. He has a name: Daniel, Danny, Dan, Daniel Archer. I roll it on my tongue, take it out and look at it, write it down, study the dark lines, match his surname to my forename and laugh at the memory of my school exercise book, doodled with the names of rock stars together with mine. And yet, I know that I’ll never slaughter my Merryname at the altar of conventionality. I’m obsessed with him but residing in the chambers of my heart is the certainty that I prefer the taste and scent of girls.

He’s coming home. Apart from leave, he has spent long periods of time deployed in Afghanistan, an army medic; he says little, small talk trained out of him by the military.

I read his email repeatedly until every single syllable is branded into my brain, I take each word out, dissect the letters, shuffle them as if they were a pack of cards, riffle, Hindu, false shuffle and reorder them, hold them up to the light and view them through a lens, photograph them, create a perma-image. When I close my eyes, I see them dancing, swirling, flying as if they are flakes of snow pirouetting on the wind, and I’m thankful that the recent snowfall has abated. By the time Dan gets back it will be a little warmer, I’ll be a little warmer, the small shivering me, nestled into my clothes, will grow to her full height again. I’ll walk tall and stride along the pavement, avoiding the cracks.

“I want to take you to meet my sister, she lives in Brighton, we can stay there overnight, don’t panic, not at her place, I’ll book us a hotel, just the two of us. I know you don’t do families, I know your relationship with your mother is fraught, and I know your father is away, but I want to show you off., I haven’t taken a girl home for a very long time, not since I took my last commission, don’t answer by email, I want to see your face when you tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I won’t understand if you tell me ‘no’, I hope you realise that. I can’t wait to get back. Work used to be all I cared about, but things have changed since I met you.”

I slot his email into the back of my mind and fast-forward to practicalities.

I’m going to have to buy something to wear. Nothing I own is suitable for a family visit, the clothes I select when tortuously visiting with my mother are too staid, and the clothes I choose day-to-day are too ‘little red kilt’. I’m certain that Dan’s sister won’t like the kilt. I could lay a bet at the roulette table where I work. Well, actually, no, because it’s against the rules, but if staff betting were allowed I’d bet all my chips that Sister Dan will not like the kilt.

“I need to buy something for a day out with Dan,” I tell Susie.

“Oh? Won’t the mask and the kilt do?” Raucous laughter pierces my eardrum and I remove the earpiece, put my iPhone on speaker.

“Very funny. Will you come with me? I haven’t a clue. We’ll do lunch afterwards over at Wapping. I’ve got Friday off, can you do Friday?”

“No, but I can meet you after work, I’ll get off early, you’ll get everything you need at Stratford or St Paul’s, it’s up to you, but Stratford is easier for me.”


“Yeah, but your usual haunts won’t do, will they?”

“No, okay, I’ll meet you on platform ten at four.”


The train approaching platform ten does not stop here, please stand well back from the edge of the platform, the train approaching platform ten does not stop here…

My mother looks like Audrey Hepburn, but there the similarity ends, the resemblance is only in Audrey’s physicality. Obviously, I don’t know Audrey Hepburn, but based on her film roles, maybe my mother is most like Holly Golightly sans redemption. Who knows? Thankfully, I don’t take after my mother, or her mother, who was even worse, and is probably the reason why my mother is such a dreadful snob. I’m more like Daddy. We’re close, me and Daddy, but he works in the Far East. Sometimes, I think he took the job just to get away from Mother....and now I’m waiting for Dan to come home on leave; a few short weeks ago, I didn’t know him, in another few weeks he’ll be gone again, tending to the fallen in temperatures that during daylight hours at least, are reasonable, the hot season hasn’t started yet.

My hot season is permanent. I’m given to promiscuity. It’s been difficult trying to remain pure since New Year’s Eve. Nothing was said, not as such, but I just know that I should be on my best behaviour, which doesn’t mean the same to me as it does to others.

Mother’s Day has just passed, incredibly, without disastrous events. Last year Mother’s Day was an unmitigated disaster in spite of my best efforts.

I spend the weeks leading up to the actual day in a lather of trepidation, my birthday follows swiftly after Christmas, so I’m still acclimatised for Mother at that point, although, unlike Mother’s Day, I don’t have to spend my birthday in Mother’s company.

Mother hates my work; she thinks I am wasting my education. She’s green with envy, but I earned my education, worked bloody hard and graduated with a double first in spite of my tutor raiding my panties on a regular basis from the off.

“Ms Merrywell,” he said. “Please be seated, close to me, you too, Ms Fox, and, Mr Lewis. I do so hate empty spaces at the front.”

Classes were spent dutifully opening and closing my mouth like a hothouse flower. A Venus Fly Trap, I could smell his desperation permeating the air, wings of lust, beating eleven thousand times a second, like a social animal in a colony. I cultivated his ardour. I was born for mating flight, sexually developed, made for mating, and he could see my colours as if I were a flower with pollen in the ultra-violet range, my landing strip a coloured map indicating touchdown. He would have liked to flit from flower to flower, but once he had tasted my sweet, sticky pollen, all the other flowers seemed to wither and I used my power for the rest of the time at college, enjoying developing sexual skill.

Yes, I had Kamarovsky and boys and girls, I was no virgin, but Mr Woolfe took me to new heights of learning, combined with literature and longing, I bloomed and blossomed and now, here I am, awaiting a sprinkling in order to flower again.

My mother doesn’t know that I’m promiscuous, she’d care, not about me per se, but about what people may think if they find out about me, how she would look, in her immaculate clothes, not a speck or a smudge anywhere. My mother rises from her pristine bed, pure clean, untouched, virginal, sheets unstirred by sleep, everything is soft and smooth but is as if starched and unmoving, and is unmoved as my mother is unmoved. She detests displays of emotion, although she could give a master class in drama. What she lacks in carnality, I compensate, like a winning punter, a massive pile of chips in a tower in front of me, teetering on the edge of collapse while my mother’s solitary chip is raked away in the spin of the wheel, the little ball bouncing and tripping round and round before it settles on seven, my lucky number.

I often wonder if I was born for erotic love, created by Kamarovsky, my school days, my college Woolfe, or maybe an eclectic combination. Perhaps I dived into their melting pot from the springboard of my curiosity, toes curling around the edges, entering the fray head first, grabbed by the threshing orgy of limbs until filled to bursting with licentious lusciousness, they disgorged me, reborn, my face illuminated as if a light had been switched on behind my eyes.


Double, verging on triple-dip customers are outnumbered by staff in ranks at rails lined in military rows, and I think of Dan on parade in his unforgiving, desert camouflage combat gear, stiff, somewhat akin to the member it protects and I rummage for my own garment of cunning disguise. Shall I go sensible or silly or somewhere in between? I think about the word ‘silly’, making sentences of alliterations, and forage in my brain for the word that means alliteration with a string of words starting with the ‘ssss’ sound, and I think of snakes and I’m back to phallic again. A perfect circle, phallus to phallic.

“Can I help you?”

I realise I’m dawdling, out of place, Susie is late, she’s always late, and when she’s not late, I am, my mother calls us ‘unreliable’. I shrug inwardly and attend to my answer while the girl waits and tries not to look pissed off.

“No, not really, I don’t know what I need. I’m waiting for a friend. I don’t usually shop here.”

The girl’s lips narrow and she saunters off. I wonder if she dislikes her work as much as I hate mine. Probably, I decide. My mind spreads on the wings of a Garden Tiger, the colourful moth flies up to the light, chocolate brown forewings netted with a cream pattern, and orange-red hind wings with dark blue spots, fry to ashes. I glance at the long mirrors between each of the regimented rails and pray that I’ll never see my mother’s visage reflected.

Muted, muted colours, greys, browns, dun, like the feathers of a sparrow, no gaudy squawking parrot, simple monastic colours, robes fit for a Carmelite nun, brown, brown, brown, a dun nun, careful Chloe, skirt around schooldays or you’ll falter at the first hurdle, clip your colt-like forelegs on the high fences of steeplechase hedges, the ditch on the other side a death-trap for a gelding, ‘gelding’ another word for investigation, a male without balls, a monk-like man, and I flitter to Malachy and wonder at his revelations. Is Dan’s sister a nurturing card in my Wheel of Fortune spread or my nemesis? Is my fate truly sealed in a roundel of images, interpreted for desperate measures?

I think about the dull, muted colours of the landscape surrounding Dan’s encampment and scold myself for lamenting leafless trees, none have IEDs lurking like Stingrays, flat and undetected, covered by a light dusting of sand below still waters, and I shudder when I consider what lies beneath the terrain that Dan travels every day, as I idly flick from hanger to hanger and imagine myself twirling this way and that for his approval. Imagine wearing a frilled apron and nothing else, poaching eggs and asparagus for breakfast, the first thing cooked on a pristine stove, never used, one careful owner, only unwrapped and fitted, never actually turned on, no heat made it through the elements until I introduced a stranger into my red rooms.

Many strangers have trodden the same path; passages first traversed by my stepfather, dubbed for ever after as my Kamarovsky, the pallbearer of my innocence. My Kamarovsky spoiled soul craves pleasure, the touch of finger pads, two fingers, in and out, in and out, gleaming with liquid as my anus is plundered, fingers and cock, double-filling, a layer cake, my squirming, wanton inner girl will always be Kamarovsky’s girl.

My masks, chosen for disguise and pleasure, essential to nocturnal activity, shielding my festering, bubbling cauldron of promiscuity, stirred and seasoned with a pinch of tongue, his ever wriggling tongue, fingers and cock, the peeled ginger of intensity when he figged me, spoiling me forever, no vanilla sex could take me to the heights achieved that spanking day, glorious Technicolor popping in my head as he showed me the error of my ways while draped over his lap, in a small letter ‘n’ of submission, his erection pressing urgently against me as he introduced the skinned root to my rectum before bringing his palm down time and again onto my bare arse, my little white knickers forlornly neither up nor down, like the Grand Old Duke of York’s men. I ache when I think of that day, not with shame or remembered pain but with the deep, carnal, moist ache of longing, and I yearn for consummation of my need, fulfilment that I have not found since.

My Kamarovsky came to school one day, took me out in his long, sleek car. We cruised out of the sweeping driveway, his chauffeur dismissed for the day, my head teacher charmed into providing an exeat, the multilocked doors of my education swinging open on the oiled hinges of my stepfather’s dripping unctuous words, picking at the locks of my prison with a bloated cheque, fat with zeros.

Tumbling me into the back seat as soon as we were out of sight of the windows eyeing us from the upper floors through pristine glazing, glaring reflections in the low sunlight, which dappled through the trees as he pushed me into the leather recesses and joined me, unleashing his demons, like a kestrel, holding still and steady above me as if he were hovering over his prey, eyes fixed, unblinking at spied treasure, ready to swoop and devour.

The creature within me freezes and tries to make herself invisible, but my scent betrays me. He swoops, and weighing down on me, hungrily takes my mouth as my long fingers snake around his neck and into his greying hair, pulling him down, fixing my pouting lips, and eager darting tongue. Even now, cigars have the power to bring me to my knees, if I smell a Havana, my first instinct is to send my tongue on a rotation of my lips and imagine a pink tip darting and probing into the velvet underground.

I became accustomed to my stepfather’s fingers and tongue, and eventually when I had him fully entrapped, his cock buried deep inside my tight folds, I was Alice in Wonderland, sometimes he grew and grew and was everso big, and it seemed as if his cock must have had a label attached saying ‘eat me’.

The tangible structure of his actions, like a conjurer, removing each layer of me, revealing a new inner core with every exploration, taking the top from the bottom, separating two halves so that a new Chloe appears, freshly painted and ready to play, and with each visit he unlocks another casing, all the time showing each incarnation new secrets, discarding the outer girls until they no longer fit together and cannot be fixed. I see myself as a Russian doll, a matryoshka doll, with an indeterminate number in the set as he plunders each anew.

“Run your tongue in one long sweep from the tip to the bottom, aahh, yes, that’s right my dear, you are a quick learner, aahh, ohh, yes, yes, keep doing it like that.”

His hands are tangled in my hair, a ninety second effect, scattering energy, a sharp smell pricks my nasal tissues, mingling with the aroma of leather emanating from the upholstery of the top-of-the-range vehicle, and I apply my lessons. He gives instructions thrice, in three different ways, using the rule of three, as if he thinks me stupid, the first two times to set a pattern and the third to reinforce and amaze.

Working diligently as ordered, as instructed, as encouraged by his moans, gasps and sighs, all the while thinking about what I shall demand in return. And in that moment, in that fizzing millisecond, between the rush of blood to his head and the shot into my mouth, I pull away.


His undivided attention is on his cock and my mouth. “Yes,” he gasps, in a double-take of incredulity, the choked sound hanging in the air as if it has developed a life of its own. “Yes! Yes, For Christ’s sake, Chloe, yes!”

He pushes my head down, foaming oral ecstasy. I go for a second steal as if a pickpocket with a mark, before cutting up the touches, and swallow in triumph and add another point to my mental scoreboard. Kamarovsky tucks himself away and smiles conspiratorially.

“I like visiting with you. You do an old man good.”

“I know. I’ve learned so much lately.”

“Your mother doesn’t understand how important all this is.”

“I know,” I repeat, “she never did, it’s why my father left. Can we go now?”

I’m ready for a trip into town and the inevitable assault on his credit cards. I love spending his money almost as much as he relishes fellatio; I have gained unique insight into the cumulative effect of minor effects. I breathe new life into his lust with every visit, allowing it to thrive in perfect growing conditions, a tender production ultimately destined for the charnel house.


Sadly, I know that Mother would approve of Dan, his status, his work, his car, his family; perversely and importantly, I keep him secret from her as I keep all my secrets from her as I have always kept everything from her, my blossoming womanhood rolled a baying mob through our relationship, totally revolutionised on the day that she remarried, and chose separate rooms allowing her husband free rein with me, whenever I was home from boarding school, which at first was too often, and eventually wasn’t often enough.

I craved him. Lara to his Kamarovsky, and wondered what is it about men who want to fuck mothers and their daughters, grateful that he didn’t have the appetite for gobbling us together. My mother never sees anything unpleasant, she turns her face away, my mother could freeze the sun’s rays at twenty paces, and I know my Kamarovsky was pleased with his Lara, teaching me things I later practised on my school friends, a delightful education.

“Is it okay to try these?” I hold up an array of items, hastily dragged from the rails, the hanger hooks digging into my palm.


The girl gives me a plastic entry disc and waves me through.

I choose the communal area, it appeals to my latent, or perhaps not so latent exhibitionism but finding myself alone, I drift back to the time that Kamarovsky took me shopping and had me measured by the tight-lipped disapproving assistant. “34B, 22, 32,” she hissed a whisper of stale coffee.

I shed my clothes into an untidy heap and step into the skirt. Too big, far too large at the waist, I wonder when and how I lost weight, my waist has shrunk, and even the size eight is a misfit. It’s a fluid, gauzy fabric, soft, button-through, removal would take little effort, I check the waistband, a couple of adjustments will do, I’ll cover the top with a t-shirt and an oversize cardigan, cashmere, slouchy, casual and expensive, I am suddenly expert on the look I need, they don’t sell smaller than a size eight, and I can’t be bothered to try anywhere else. I twirl again, check myself from the rear, I’m naked apart from the skirt, it’s faintly opaque, a suggestion of thigh revealed when lit from behind, I try the rest of the stuff, discarding everything except the skirt, tee and cardigan.