Updated: Jan 23
by Tiffany Reisz
Published by 8th Circle Press
Companion Novella to the Original Sinners series
Three Sinners. Three confessions. And all the dirty little secrets you could possibly desire...
Father Stuart Ballard has been Marcus Stearns’ confessor since the young Jesuit was only eighteen years old. He thought he’d heard every sin the boy had to confess until Marcus uttered those three fateful words: “I met Eleanor.”
So begins the 40-page “The Confession of Marcus Stearns,” a moving coda to the RITA® Award-winning Original Sinners series. Originally published as a limited-edition paperback for the 2014 RT Book lovers' Convention, and available worldwide for the first time.
This collection also includes “The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber,” a companion 36-page story written exclusively for The Confessions.
And, finally, all secrets are revealed in “The Confession of Tiffany Reisz,” an exclusive, in-depth interview.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Suggestive #Erotica Feel Good
No reviews, as Søren's and Nora's confessions are short, but I will say, I LOVED this novella. It's rare we get to see Søren vulnerable. It's when he is at his best, and his whole confession is beautifully written. Nora's is also wonderful, and enlightening. I read this AFTER reading the newest release, The Priest, and I wish I read if beforehand. There were moments while reading The Priest that I was genuinely thinking I missed something, in regards to Nora, Søren, and Søren's son, Fionn, and Nora's confession was what I was missing. So I suggest reading this before The Priest.
Where to Buy
The Confession of Marcus Stearn
Marcus glanced at the sheet music in front of him and looked up at Ballard with unconcealed disgust.
Marcus: "Father Ballard, you must be joking."
Father Ballard: "Does it look like I'm joking?"
Marcus: "They print sheet music for this?"
Father Ballard: "Just play, you pretentious snow, or else you'll be cleaning bathrooms until Christmas."
Marcus: "I don't need armor. I intimidate people too much as it is."
Father Ballard: "And you like it. Also, if we were in street clothes I might be tempted to send you arse over elbow, young man. This cassock is the only thing coming between you and a bloody nose."
Marcus: "The cassock and eight inches of air."
Father Ballard: "I'm five-eight. That isn't short."
Marcus arched his eyebrow and looked down at him.
Father Ballard: "Fuck the cassock. Kneel down. I want to break your nose."
Marcus: "You'll be threatening to box my ears next."
Father Ballard: "Bastard. Remind me again why i like you so much."
Marcus: "If I knew, I would tell you."
Father Ballard: "Then confess. I'll be over here praying lightning strikes us both and puts us out of our misery."
Marcus: "I came to you for comfort and guidance. I can't quite remember why."
Marcus: "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been six months since my last confession."
Father Ballard: "What happened six months ago?"
Marcus: "I met Eleanor."
Father Ballard: "Lovely name. I hope she's beautiful enough to warrant ruining your life over."
Marcus: "She is."
Father Ballard: "I was afraid of this. You in a church in a small town. The women must fall all over themselves for you."
Marcus: "It hasn't been like that. No one has tried anything, flirted to excess, or attempted to seduce me. No one but Eleanor."
Father Ballard: "She's pursuing you?"
Marcus: "Like the proverbial hound of Hell."
Father Ballard: "Is this the worst of it? She's 16, she's tenacious, and you want to fuck her."
Marcus: "I'm in love with her."
Father Ballard: "That scares me more than anything."
Marcus: "Love scares you?"
Father Ballard: "No. You being in love scares me."
I never in my life dreamed I would want another boy. Then I saw him - his dark eyes, dark brown hair, and olive skin ... Father Ballard ... what if I never see him again?
Kingsley kissed me first. I punished him for it, because I was too scared to kiss him back. I thought if I started kissing him, I would never stop. What if I never kiss him again?
Kingsley used me as a pillow. I loved waking up to find his head on my chest or my stomach or my back. He has long dark hair and he laughs when I pull it. That's how I'd wake him up, tugging on his hair. The best days were the days his laugh was the first sound I heard. What if I never hear it again?
I was cruel to him because he liked it and because I loved it. When I told him he was beneath me, I only meant ... I wanted him beneath me. Always. He left me. And he never came back.
Marcus: "It's a sick, sadistic thing to order a father to kill his son, isn't it? I've played my share of mind games but I would never go so far. Even I have my limits."
Father Ballard: "Sadistic is the word for it. God in the Old Testament wasn't anyone's pal."
Marcus: "What if God's still like that? What is He's still playing games with us? What if the vows are a test? Will we give up wealth, freedom, marriage, and sex for His sake? What if we do and then along comes an angel with black hair and green eyes and green hair and black eyes and says, 'This was only a test. You passed. Put the knife down.'"
Father Ballard: "And come to bed?"
Marcus: "She would say that."
Father Ballard: "Tell me what she's like. Convince me she's worth you risking your entire vocation over."
Marcus: "What do you want to know? Height? Short. Hair color? Black."
Father Ballard: "What do you see in her?"
Marcus: "She ... she makes me laugh. I feel human with her. I don't feel human very often, but I do with her."
Father Ballard: "You are human."
Marcus: "If I wasn't sure I was human before, I am now. She makes me weak."
Father Ballard: "That's why they call this sacrament 'reconciliation.' Yes, God and sinner are reconciled. But more than that, man is reconciled with himself. We are the most ourselves when giving our confession. 'God have mercy on me a sinner.'"
Marcus: "God have mercy on me a sinner. And God have mercy on me because I can not repent of loving her."
Marcus: "I dreamed of her. Years ago, Kingsley and I were -"
Father Ballard: "I don't want to hear the end of that sentence."
Father Ballard: "Just talking? Good."
Marcus: "I waited until we were done talking to beat him and fuck him."
Father Ballard: "Oh God, you do this to me on purpose."
Marcus: "Of course I do. I'm a sadist."
Father Ballard: "I'm the most open-minded priest I know but for God's sake, don't paint me a picture."
Father Ballard: "It's the liturgy. Not 'your lines.' This is the Catholic Church, not Shakespeare in the Park."
Marcus: "It's what Eleanor calls it. She asked me recently how I remember all my lines. I thought it was ..."
Father Ballard: "What?"
Marcus: "It was cute."
Father Ballard: "Cute?"
Marcus: "She also calls the narthex the 'lobby.'"
Father Ballard: "Jesus, Mary and Joseph..."
Marcus: "I'm twenty-nine years old, Stuart. I don't have daddy issues."
Father Ballard: "You're six-feet-four inches of daddy issues."
Father Ballard: "Twisted your arm, did she?"
Marcus: "Between letting her go to juvenile detention versus telling her I'd sleep with her someday? I'll admit it was hardly Sophie's choice."
Father Ballard: "When I first saw you eleven years ago, I thought the order had only let you in because you'd look good on the recruiting posters."
Marcus: "The Society of Jesus has posters? I should get one for Eleanor. I'll sign it for her."
Father Ballard: "You've seen into this girl's heart, haven't you?"
Marcus: "Of course I have."
Father Ballard: "What do you see when you look at her?"
Marcus: "I see ... There's a spirit in her, something with wings, something that keeps her aloft, high above everything that would bring her crashing to Earth. At the very heart of her is a well of joy. She has a fearlessness to her I've never encountered before. She's not afraid of me. She's not afraid of anything. She's smart, dangerous, manipulative, and utterly untamable. She is the freest person I've ever known. I couldn't get her to shut up with a ball gag and a muzzle."
Father Ballard: "What's a ball - Wait. Don't answer that. I forget who I'm talking to sometimes."
Marcus: "Apologies. My point is she has no filter. I could sit back and listen to her talk for hours. If I asked her to, I think she would."
He closed his eyes and released a deep breath.
Marcus: "I can't get enough of her."
Father Ballard: "You're terrified, aren't you?"
Marcus slowly nodded.
Marcus: I never thought I would see Kingsley again, not after that day in the hospital. When I met her, saw her the first time, I let myself love her. Completely. Unreservedly. I never meant to act on that love, only to enjoy it, rejoice in it ... I could be an astronomer and she every stay in the night sky. We'd never touch, of course. No astronomer ever touched a star. But I could live for her light ... Unfortunately, my resolve to love her chastely didn't last much longer than five minutes."
Father Ballard: "Chaste love is overrated."
Father Ballard: "I know you. I watched you eviscerate an entire room of novices during a theological debate."
Marcus: "It was a debate."
Father Ballard: "We were debating mercy."
Marcus: "If you told me to list a hundred things I love about her right now off the top of my head ..."
Father Ballard: "Well?"
Marcus: "I could."
Father Ballard: "What about the erotic fantasies? Are they troubling you?"
Father Ballard: "Why do they trouble you? Because she's young?"
Marcus: "Because they're violent."
Marcus glanced his way for only a shamed second and turned his gaze elsewhere. Anywhere elsewhere.
Marcus: "I want to tie her up, beat her black and blue, and fuck her until she bleeds. You know why that fantasy troubles me?"
Father Ballard: "Tell me."
Marcus: "Because it's the tamest one I have about her."
Marcus: "Eleanor makes it so easy to wake up in the morning. Knowing there's the merest chance I'll see her that day compels me to church knowing at some point that day she'll be standing in my doorway telling me off about one thing or another. I am lost in my love for her."
Marcus: "I'm sorry for hurting you. I'm sorry for scaring you. I'm sorry for any scandal I might cause the Church. But I'm not sorry for finding her and loving her. I will never repent of accepting the gifts God gives me. Even if they do come with strings attached."
Father Ballard: "I absolve you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
Marcus: "Thank you."
Father Ballard: "Don't thank me. I'm only doing my job."
Father Ballard: "No penance. Something tells me that loving your Eleanor will be penance enough."
The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber
Father Ballard: "You here for me, Miss?"
Nora: "I think you're here for me."
Father Ballard: "Am I?"
Nora: "Saturday, four o'clock, the sacrament of reconciliation, yes?"
Father Ballard: "Yes, Ma'am. Pull up your sins and make yourself at home."
Nora: "If you're into six-foot-four blond men with perfect faces and asses you can bounce quarters off of."
Father Ballard: "I hope you're being literal."
He laughed at the image of this lovely lady flicking coins at Marcus's backside.
Nora: "It was half-dollar actually. I like a challenge."
Father Ballard: "I've been hearing his confessions since he was 18. I'm actually only 60 years old. I only look 80 because of him."
Nora: "You're fun. I like you."
Father Ballard: "No flirting, wicked girl. I know I'm your type."
Nora: "I can't help it. I spread for Roman collars."
Father Ballard: "Do you take the Lord's name in vain?"
Nora: "I'm Catholic. Of course I do, God dammit."
Father Ballard: "You'll have to do better than that for a mortal sin. Have you stolen anything?"
Nora: "Only hearts."
Father Ballard: "You're a tough nut to crack, young lady."
Nora: "Aww ... you called me 'young lady.' You made my day."
Nora: "Nico is the eye of any storm. Søren's the storm."
Nora: "So it isn't jealousy. We don't do jealousy like vanilla people. When I think about Søren with Kingsley, it's arousing. Two beautiful men together? There isn't anything not sexy about that. They love each other and I love them both. Same with Grace. Grace is a beautiful woman, inside and out, and one of my dearest friends. She's the wife of a man I love more than I'm comfortable admitting to anyone but you. And Grace ... She loves Søren the way he deserves to be loved - unreservedly and with full faith in him. I couldn't have picked a better woman to be the mother of his child. But even knowing that, believing that, and loving her and loving him and - on top of all that - loving Fionn more than I thought was possible to love a child who isn't your own ... here's still this thing, here."
She tapped her chest over her hidden heart
Nora: "And I don't know what it is other than it hurts. So I know there's a sin in there somewhere."
Father Ballard: "Did you just use the words 'normal' and 'boyfriend' when referring to Marcus?"
Nora: "I forgot myself. Sorry."
Father Ballard: "I am his confessor, lass. Even I don't know all his secrets. And I don't want to know them. You see all this grey hair? Each strand is one of his bloody secrets."
Nora: "Once upon a time I said something breathtakingly cruel to Søren."
Father Ballard: "What did you say?"
Nora: "We were standing in his church and we ... we'd been broken up for a few years by then. There were children everywhere, all around us. They were doing something - practicing for the Easter pageant, I think. Anyway, here we were, broken up and he wanted me back, a very vulnerable, horrible, hard place for anyone to be in. And while we were there surrounded by dozens of kids, I said, 'I wanted to have your children once.'"
Father Ballard: "That wasn't cruel, was it?"
Nora: "Unconscionably cruel and the worst part is that I knew it. I said it to hurt him, and I knew it would hurt. And he responded ... not very well."
Father Ballard: "I can imagine."
Nora: "When I was 17, I decided what sort of life I wanted and that life didn't include having children. But if that's what he wanted, if what's in that photograph was something he dreamed of, something he desired, he should have told me. He had a thousand chances to tell me, to ask me, to share his heart with me. You know what it is? It's not jealousy right here."
She tapped her breast again
Nora: "It's anger. I am angry at him for not telling me how much he wanted that. He should have told me. Even if it meant putting our relationship through another trial, he should have told me. I'm furious at him for not trusting that our love was strong enough to go through that together. That's what hurts. That's why it stings. Because I wanted to know that. Because that's a beautiful thing, isn't it? That there's this part of him that desires fatherhood and to sit in a chair in front of the mother of his child and watch while she nurses their son? That's nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be embarrassed about. That's something special, something beautiful. It's a diamond in his heart, and he kept that diamond hidden from me. And he shouldn't have kept it hidden. He didn't have to give me that diamond. He just had to show it to me. Because it's so ... fucking ... sweet. Isn't it?"
Father Ballard holds Nora while she cries
Father Ballard: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. It's very sweet. Maybe that's why he didn't tell you about it. He's not a very sweet man, is he? A real arsehole most of the time."
She shuddered in his arms with tears and laughter
Father Ballard: "Can't stand him myself. Big blond brute strutting around with all his height and his massive brain and his handsome face - and he's getting too old to still be that handsome. You better believe I resent the hell out of it."
Nora: "Tell me about it. He's prettier now than he was twenty years ago. I hate him."
Father Ballard: "Oh, and there's that look he gives you. You know the look. The magnifying glass in the sunlight look, and you're there on the sidewalk like an ant burnt to a crisp."
Nora: "I know that look. I've been that toasted ant more than once."
Father Ballard: "He gets off on it, you know. Gets off on seeming scary and tough. And all this time he had a gooey secret marshmallow in his heart."
Father Ballard: "Even when he's sweet he still manages to be a bastard somehow. You ought to cane him. I hear you're good at it."
Nora: "The best in the business."
Nora: "Thank you."
Father Ballard: "You're welcome. We all need a good cry every now and then. I had one myself just this morning."
Nora: "Did you stub your soul too?"
Father Ballard: "I looked in the mirror without bracing myself."
Nora: "Hush, you're very handsome."
Father Ballard: "What did I say about flirting with me?"
Nora: "Sorry, sorry."
Father Ballard: "Good luck with that. He still scares the shite out of me."
Nora: "Oh, no, he doesn't."
Father Ballard: "He doesn't, but don't tell him that. It'll hurt his little feelings."
Nora: "I have committed no mortal sins."
Father Ballard: "Make something up then!"
Nora: "Um ...Come on, Nora, you make up stuff for a living. Wait. I got it. Daniel Craig."
Father Ballard: "The actor?"
Nora: "Yes, him. James Bond. He's married."
Father Ballard: "He is."
Nora: "I want to fuck him."
Father Ballard: "Well, who doesn't? He shows up in half the confessions I hear."
Nora: "Doesn't Jesus say that if you look upon someone and lust after them in your heart, you've committed adultery?"
Father Ballard: "He does, yes. But we're fairly certain lust means you'd do it if given the opportunity. Simple sexual attraction doesn't count as lust."
Nora: "It's not simple sexual attraction. I'd steal him from his wife, and we'd run away to Italy and live together in a crumbling Tuscan palazzo, and we'd leave the world behind, and it would be nothing but wine and food and sex until we ate ourselves, drank ourselves, and fucked ourselves to death. Now that's lust. But more importantly, it's adultery."
Father Ballard: "That is adultery. Excellent. Well done."
Nora: "SO you can absolve me?"
Father Ballard: "I will the second you tell me who we're really talking about."
Nora: "You're good. Very good."
Father Ballard: "I've had a lot of practice seeing through masks. Take off yours."
Nora: "Zach. Grace's husband. My editor. I still have feelings for him. Very strong feelings that make me tempted to do things I shouldn't do."
Father Ballard: "You and Marcus have a complicated relationship with this couple, don't you?"
Nora: "Understatement of the century. And it doesn't help that I traded Grace a night with Søren for a week with Zach. She ended up with a child. I ended up with a ... I don't know, a dream of what could have been. And the man is ridiculously so good at anal."
Father Ballard: "Eleanor."
Nora: "An ass-master. I swear. He's better than Nico and Søren and they're both fantastic. Every night for a week. I couldn't walk, but I was happy."
Father Ballard: "You're trying to give me a heart attack. That's not nice."
Nora: "Sorry. Sorry."
Father Ballard: "Steal him then. Your Zach. If you tried, could you steal him?"
Nora: "I'm Nora fucking Sutherlin. You bet your ass I could."
Nora: "What are you going to do?"
Father Ballard: "I'm going to absolve you, dear girl. That's what I'm going to do."
Nora: "Finally. Absolve me good and hard, Father Ballard. this adulterous harlot needs it."
Father Ballard: "You promise you feel contrite about your sinful urges?"
Nora: "I do. I really do. I'm trying to be a good girl these days. My only two lovers are Søren and Nico. No more married guys, especially not ones raising small children. No more drama. I fuck a priest and I fuck my priest's lover's son and that's as drama-free as this bitch gets."
Father Ballard: "This is the strangest confession I've ever heard in my life, and that includes all of Marcus's various and sundry perversions."
She winked at him
Nora: "You're welcome."
Nora: "I like the prayer of absolution better in Latin."
Father Ballard: "Out of my confessional, you bewitching temptress. And give me my Jolly Rancher back. Cherry is my favorite."
She popped it in her mouth
Father Ballard: "Jezebel."
Nora: "Thank you, Father."
Father Ballard: "You're good for him, and I'm glad he has you. But don't ever tell anyone I said that."
Nora: "Our little secret. Wait. Penance. Are you giving me any penance?"
Father Ballard: "Penance? You? His lover? My dear Eleanor - you love a priest. The sin itself carries its own penance."
Nora: "Shouldn't you at least tell me to go forth and sin no more?"
Father Ballard: "Why on Earth would I do that? This is the most fun I've had in years."