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Winter Tales by Tiffany Reisz

Updated: Apr 10


Winter Tales

by Tiffany Reisz

Published by 8th Circle Press

An Original Sinners Christmas Anthology


In December Wine, the long-awaited story of Nora Sutherlin's first meeting with Nico can finally be told.

Nora enlists her editor (and sometimes lover) Zach Easton on a mission to track down Kingsley's long-lost son. Nicolas "Nico" Delacroix turns out to be young, strikingly handsome, and very French. He wants nothing to do with his father...but everything to do with Nora.


This special holiday-themed collection also includes the novellas Poinsettia,The Christmas Truce, and The Scent of Winter(previously available only as ebooks). A bonus short story starring Søren rounds out the Winter Tales anthology.



Genre


Triggers

Descriptive and intense sex with BDSM

 

I'm not going to review this one, as it's a compilation of a few novellas and short stories, but I wanted to let all of you Original Sinner fans know about it. It includes December Wine, which takes place between The Mistress and The Saint, and it about Nora meeting Kingsley's son Nico (and if you are a Zach fan, like me, has lots of him in it too.). Poinsettia, which takes place when Søren is twenty years old and in seminary. The Christmas Truce, which I reviewed before, as it's available as a free e-book, and The Scent of Winter, also available as a separate free e-book. It tells the short story of a short getaway for Søren and Kingsley in rural Maine, where Søren makes a confession to Kingsley.


I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I did!


December Wine


Zach and Nora are in France, searching for Kingsley's son.















Zach: "Søren has a confessor? That poor man. The confessor, I mean."


Nora: "Nobody knows but you and me."

Zach: "You and I."

Nora: "You're off-duty, Zach. Shove it."

Zach: "Consider it shoved."


Zach: "Don't be surprised if he wants to shoot the messenger."

Nora: "Why do you think I brought you with me?"

Zach: "Well, if explaining our own complicated family situation helps, I'm happy to do it."

Nora: "I meant you could stand in front of me and take the bullet if he does shoot."

Zach threw his napkin on the table, feigning a French hissy fit.

Zach: "C'est ca. I won't be treated like this."


Zach: "Now wait. How i s one night with him equivalent to a week with me? Are you and my wife implying I'm one-seventh of the lover that he is?"

Nora shook her head solemnly

Nora: "I drove a very hard bargain. One night with him was enough for her. One night with you wasn't nearly enough for me."


Nora: "You're the best anal I've ever had, you know."

The slouching immediately ceased

Zach: "I am?"

Nora: "Absolutely."

Zach: "Really?"

Nora: "You need this in writing?"

Zach: "I wouldn't mind it in writing."

She went to the desk, far too modern for her taste, found the pad of hotel stationary and wrote a quick note on it.

Zach: "Nora."

Nora: "Hush, I'm writing. You're my editor. You know how hard it is to get me to sit down and actually put words on paper."

Zach: "That's an unfortunate fact."

She finished her note, folded it, slipped it in an envelope and presented it to Zach. He unfolded it and read aloud

Dear Zach,

You gave me the best ass-fucking I've ever had in my life. And that is saying a lot.

Love, Nora (and her ass)

Zach returned the note to the envelope and tucked it into his jeans pocket

Zach: "Well. I'll be saving that for posterity."


Nora: "He's my everything. Still ... sometimes, when you and I are on the phone fighting about something, I have this wicked little thought ... well, just like I said. One night wasn't enough."

Zach collapsed back on the couch, groaned, laughed, then groaned again.

Zach: "I've said it before and I'll say it again - I can't believe I'm doing this."

Nora turned, straddled his lap and put her hands on his shoulders

Nora: "I've said it before and I'll say it again. I can."


With no warning, Zach grabbed her by the hips, rolled her onto her back, and rolled himself on top of her. He pointed down to her face

Zach: "Behave."

Nora: "Oh, goody. Zach's in a toppy mood tonight."

She rubbed her fingers together like a mad scientist brewing a potion.


Zach: "You know, I really was reconciled to us being friends, only friends. Least I thought so."

Nora: "We'll go back to being friends next week. Until then..."

She moved her hips up and into him, squeezing her inner muscles around him, making his eyes flutter.

Zach: "Nora..."

Nora: "Sorry. That's a lie, but still, sorry."


Nora: "Nice. We'll have very good sex in this room."

Zach: "Does the decor improve performance?"

Nora: "You get a room this nice, it makes you want to have good sex in it. Gorgeous old bed. Fancy wallpaper. Beautiful view. No television. They designed this room for fucking. Hate to late the decorators down, you know."

Zach: "Tomorrow. Tonight we sleep, and in the morning we find this kid."

Nora: "Or we could just stay inside tomorrow and fuck all day."

He took her face in his hands and kissed her on the lips.

Zach: "Not a chance, darling."

Then he slapped her on the ass - hard.

Zach: "Supper, then bed. You like following order. Those are my orders. Come on."

Nora stared in shock as Zach waltz out the door

Nora: "See if I ever let you ass-fuck me again."


Nora: "It really is a farm."

Zach: "What did you think it was?"

Nora: "You just don't think of vineyards as farms."

Zach: "They're grape farms."

Nora: "I'm trying to picture Kingsley on a tractor. Whatever happened to the apple not falling far from the tree?"

Zach: "Says the erotica-writing dominatrix whose mother is a nun."


Nora: "You're not old enough to read what I write."

His eyebrow shot straight up. He laughed and shook his finger at her.

Nico: "You're funny."


Nora: "You."

Nico: "Me? What about me?"

Nora: "You asked me earlier what brings me to Mozet. The answer is 'you.'"


Nora: "We're not a couple. We're too ... weird for that."

He laughed

Nico: "Too weird. You are weird, aren't you?"


Zach, for some reason, refused to drown her in the sea, and called her melodramatic for suggesting it. When they returned to the hotel, she said she was going to drown herself in the bathtub instead. He told her he would miss her when he was gone.


Nora: "You were going to let me drown?"

Zach: "No sex in the afterlife. I knew you'd rally."


His words hit her harder than Søren's whip ever had, but just like the last of a whip, she took it without complaint.

Nora: "Thank you, sir. May I have another?"

Zach laughed

Zach: "You asked my advice. You didn't ask me to cheer you up."


Nora: "Wait. Didn't you say you weren't going to fuck me again until I accomplished my mission?"

Zach: "I did, didn't I?"

Nora: "And didn't you just fuck me, with my mission still unaccomplished?"

Zach: "Yes, but I have a good excuse."

Nora: "And that is?"

Zach: "I wanted to."

Nora: "Very good excuse."

Zach: "But now I really won't fuck you again until your mission is accomplished."

Nora: "Unless you want to. Right?"

Zach: "Right."

She knew she and Zach were friends for a reason.


Nico: "I wish you weren't so beautiful."

Nora: "You and me both, buddy."

He laughed.

Nora: "Why do you wish I wasn't so beautiful?"

Nico: "I want to hate you. It's very hard to hate a beautiful woman, especially one who knows exactly how to scratch your head."


Nora: "Does that make me a terrible person?"

Zach: "No. Of all the things that make you a terrible person, that's not one of them."


Nora: "You're looking at me like you're thinking about fucking me. Or am I projecting?"

Zach: "I was thinking, 'If she's going to lay on the bed, she really should take her shoes off.' "

Nora: "If I take my shoes off, will you fuck me again?"

Zach: "Probably. Probably even if you don't."


Nora: "You're going to miss me, aren't you?"

Zach: "I already do."


Nora: "What? No. You can't leave me alone with him."

Zach: "Why not?"

Nora: "I don't know what I'm doing."

Zach: "No one does."

Nora: "What if he gets hungry? Has he been fed and ... I don't know, watered?"

Zach: "Watered? He's a baby, not a houseplant."

Nora: "What part of 'I don' know what I'm doing' did you not understand?"


Nico: "I thought you were loyal to him."

Nora: "He would want me to be loyal to you."

Silence. A long silence.

Nora: "You don't have to decide anything now. I just wanted to tell you that. So ... au revoir"

Nico: "Au revoir. For now."


Nora: "Nico, thank you for this. Thank you for not hating me."

Nico: "Nora, I don't hate anyone. But if I did, it would never be you."


 


Poinsettia

Takes place when Søren is 20 years old
















Søren: "Tease."

Magdalena: "Say 'please.'"

Søren: "Why are you so mean to me?"

Magdalena: "Someone has to be."


Søren: "You are the most evil woman I've ever had the pleasure of knowing."

Magdalena: "So far."

Søren: "Don't do that."

Magdalena: "You're going to love this girl. She's more vicious than I am."

Søren: "'She' does not exist."

Magdalena: "Oh, she exists. She's going to ruin you and you're going to thank her for it. I can't wait for you to meet her."


Magdalena: "Aww ... my little Bambi is growing up. I'll get my special books from my room. I think it's time you learned about the birds and the bees."

Søren: "You're ruining my appetite, Magda."

Magdalena: "Don't be embarrassed. Sex is a very beautiful act between a woman and a man's wallet."


Magdalena: "What was his assignment for you this week?"

Søren: "He told me to give someone a Christmas gift, someone Christ would give a gift to. He said if I act like a human being, I might eventually turn into one."

Magdalena: "Fake it until you make it? I believe that's what you Americans say."

Søren: "I told Father Ballard to keep his expectations low. He said they couldn't possible get any lower where I was concerned."


Magdalena: "You scare Bianca."

Søren: "Then Bianca is a coward."

Magdalena: "Bianca is a sadist and her father's a capo in the Sicilian mafia."


Magdalena: "My pussy loves you."

Søren: "Mus, are you old enough to be living in this den of iniquity?"

Magdalena: "Moussi is two years old, which is twenty-five in cat years, which is still older than you are, Bambi."

Søren looks down at the cat

Søren: "Do you hear what she calls me? Why do we put up with her?"

Magdalena: "Because I give you both exactly what you need to stay alive - food for him, willing victims for you."

Søren: "She makes a good point, Mus. I could argue with her, but she'd take my willing victims away."


Magdalena: "We had no money for gifts, no money for large holiday meals - only the Church."

Søren: "Your family had an excuse - poverty. Mine didn't. Except for a poverty of the soul, perhaps. I worry sometimes I inherited their poverty."

Magdalena: "Bambi, darling, I'm going to tell you something and you must believe that it's true."

Søren: "Yes?"

Magdalena: "You did."

He looked at her for a very long time before laughing.

Søren: "You are a magnificent bitch."


Søren: "I brought you a Christmas plant. Couldn't you pretend to be nice to me for one minute?"

Magdalena: "I can be nice to you for ... Fifteen seconds. Starting now. Bambi, I do find you very attractive despite the fact that you are cold and distance and self-absorbed, thoughtless, a snob, utterly entitled and -"

Søren: "Your fifteen seconds is almost up."

Magdalena: "There is a spark of something inside you that's as beautiful as the outside. Since I can see that spark, I feel it's my duty to blow on it and start a wildfire."


Søren: "You are perfect as you are. You are not demon seed."

Magdalena: "A priest said I was."

Søren: "Yes, a dried-up evil old priest who lusted for the little boy he thought you were and despised you for failing his sick pedophilic fantasies."

Magdalena: "Tell me how you really feel, Bambi."


Magdalena: "If I had psychoanalysis and started behaving myself, then would you want to sleep with me, Bambi?"

Søren: "Oh, God no. Sleeping with you would be enjoyable for an hour or two. Torturing you by not sleeping with you? That will never cease to be fun for me."


Magdalena: "You're terrified of falling in love again, aren't you?"

Søren: "You would be too if you were me."

Magdalena: "Eventually you will have to let go of your fears for Kingsley. He's an adult."

Søren: "He is if he's still alive. Both his parents are dead, his sister is dead. And he has a bad habit of engaging in incredibly reckless behavior even under the best of circumstances."

Magdalena: "He did sleep with you."

Søren: "My point exactly."


Magdalena: "Love is a curse. Love is a burden. A beautiful curse. A beautiful burden."

Søren: "I'd cut out my own heart if I could."

Magdalena: "I'd cut out your own heart if I could, too."

Søren: "Oh, you're too kind."


Magdalena: "Are you worried I'm going to hurt you?"

Søren: "I would be a hypocrite if I were. I hurt Caterina frequently."

Magdalena: "Caterina is a masochist. You are not a masochist."

Søren: "I'm here, aren't I?"

Magdalena: "Cheeky."


Magdalena: "You like being kissed?"

Søren: "You caught me off-guard."

Magdalena: "You're never off-guard. You like being kissed? Yes? No? Answer me, Bambi."

Søren: "Who doesn't?"

Magdalena: "You never kiss Caterina."

Søren: "Kissing is for lovers. We're friends only."

Magdalena: "You flog her, cane her, cut her, burn her, and ejaculate on her back when you're finished."

Søren: "This is why I have so few friends."


Søren: "I can count on three fingers the people I would enjoy touching me."

Magdalena: "Me."

Behind his back Marcus extended one finger.

Magdalena: "Kingsley."

Marcus extended a second finger

Magdalena: "Who's number three?"

Søren: "I don't know. According to you, I haven't met her yet."

Magdalena: "I'm honored to be in such exalted company. Your two soul mates ... and me."


Magdalena: "The more you protest, the more I want to read it. And of course you'd choose to play the part of one of the three Wise Men, wouldn't you?"

Søren: "Yes, well, considering I'm tied up in your bedroom, I'm now questioning that decision. Wise man I am clearly not."


Magdalena: "He's more handsome than you are. You have good taste in boys, Bambi."

Søren: "He's not handsome. He's beautiful."


Magdalena: "The love is in the waiting."


Magdalena: "Do you have any idea how much the Catholic Church has hurt me?"

Søren: "Yes, sorry about that."

Father Ballard: "Yes, so sorry."

Magdalena: "Sorry? I was called 'demon seed' by my priest when I was a thirteen-yer-old child for doing nothing more than being a girl. My priest told my mother I needed an exorcism to save my soul I had to run away from home to save myself and you know who took me in? A pimp. And he was kinder to me than the fucking priest was, and you say 'Sorry'?"

Søren: "We're very sorry?"


Father Ballard: "In your priest's eyes you were the last and lowly. In God's eyes you will be first and honored."

Magdalena: "I like the sound of that."

Father Ballard: "Also, Marcus tells me you've taken him in nd helped him come to terms with his many, many varied and sundry perversions -"

Søren: "I only have the one."

Father Ballard: "Any woman who could put up with that-"

He pointed at Marcus

Father Ballard: "and treat him with even the smallest modicum of compassion -"

Søren: "Actually, she's very mean to me."

Father Ballard: "Shut up, Marcus. Your betters are speaking"

Magdalena: "I like you. I wish I didn't."

Father Ballard: "You aren't the first to say that to me. As I was saying, any woman who treats that piece of word over there with a modicum of compassion is already a saint in my eyes. God knows he'd try the patience of Job - and the patience of Stuart."


Magdalena: "You're much like a poinsettia, Bambi. You really are."

Søren: "How so?"

Magdalena: "Because everyone has this erroneous idea that you're poisonous. And you're not. You're not at all."


 

The Christmas Truce


After months of fighting a cold war with Søren, Kingsley and Mistress Nora sneak over to Sacred Heart in hopes of declaring a Christmas truce for one night with their infuriating priest.

When the offer is accepted, the UnHoly Trinity celebrates the holiday together as only they can.


You can read this for free on wattpad here



Nora: "King, I need your finger."

Kingsley: "Only one? I thought three was your finger preference?"

Nora: "This is my finger preference."

She gave her middle finger.

He raised his hands, surrendering the battle of innuendo.


Kingsley:  "You're frowning."

Nora: "Am not."

Kingsley: "Green is a Christmas color."

Nora: "I'm not jealous."

Kingsley: "I am."

Nora: "Slut."


Kingsley: "I am an unrepentant whore. You got the better deal, Maitresse. Any man can be romantic. Only an elite few of us have mastered the art of true whoredom."


Kingsley: "You even have one of those stupid Christmas villages set up in your kitchen."

Nora: "They're cookie jars. I like cookies. Everyone likes cookies."

Kingsley: "Is that eggnog in the refrigerator or did Santa come -"

Nora: "Stop it, asshole. We do not talk about Santa's semen on Christmas Eve."


Nora: "I'm never letting Juliette leave you alone again at Christmas. Babysitting your cock while she's visiting her mother is exhausting. I better get a good present."


Nora: "Did you get Søren anything for Christmas?"

Kingsley: "Socks."

Nora: "You got a sadist ... socks?"

Kingsley: "When you spend forty grand on your lover at Christmas, someone else is going to get socks. I bought you some, too."


Nora: "He beat me and it was lovely. He fucked me and it was lovely. We were in his bed and it was lovely. I said something about how sometimes - not often, for the record - I miss being the one on the receiving end of the flogging. Søren said he was surprised I didn't let you top me anymore. I said I was your domme now, we didn't switch very often. He asked me if I fucked you."

Kingsley: "Which you do."

Nora: "Which he knows. But I said that was between your asshole and my strap-on. And he said something like, 'You know, he's only using you to hurt me.'"

Kingsley: "Not at all true. I'm using you for pain and sex. And to hurt him."

Nora: "Which we all know. But instead of saying that to him, I said .... something not nice."

Kingsley: "What did you say...?"

Nora: "I said "At least I know how to fuck King without putting him in the hospital for three days after I'm done with him."

Kingsley blinked, slowly, twice.

Nora:  "I know. That w as bad."

Kingsley: "Do you have a death wish? You really said that to him?"

Nora: "Yeah. And it's true. I do know hoe to fuck your ass really well."

Kingsley: "You're the goddess of sodomy, but that is not the issue. You threw my past with him in his face. That's my job."

Nora: "He pissed me off. First of all, it's none of his business what you and I do in private together. Second, it's none of his business why I top you and you let me. And third ..."

Kingsley: "Yes...?"

Nora: "He pissed me off!"


Memory:

Søren:  "I'm glad you came to church."

Eleanor: "I'm here."

Søren: "I was worried you wouldn't come. Whatever happens with us ... our difficulties should never come between you and God."

Eleanor: "God's not really talking to me either these days so don't worry about that."


Memory:

Søren:  "I'm so sorry, Little One. I wish I could make that better for you."

Eleanor: "You make everything better for me. Except when you make it worse."

Søren: "It's Christmas. You aren't allowed to tell me you hate me today. Truce, remember?"

Eleanor: "Right. Truce."


Memory:

Søren:  "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee ..."

Eleanor: "Was that a Psalm?"

Søren: "Psalm 42, verse one."

Eleanor: "So, there it is. I give you my heart."

Slowly Søren closed his fingers around the tiny hart and pressed his fisted hand to his chest.

Søren:  "Thank you, Little One."

Eleanor: "Merry Christmas, Søren"

She heard him take another deep breath through his nose as if he was preparing to say something important, maybe even forgive her and end their separation. But no.

Søren:  "Merry Christmas, Eleanor."

...

Present Time:

Kingsley:  "Strawberries."

Nora: "What? You want strawberries or is that your new safe word?"

Kingsley: "Your hair. It smelled like strawberries that night. When Søren breathed in right before he wished you Merry Christmas, he was smelling your hair. He told me the next day he was ashamed of himself for how weak he was at that moment, that he sniffed your hair while you weren't looking. I remember him telling me your hair smelled like strawberries."

Nora: "That was my shampoo. Suave, strawberry-scented. Only ninety-nine cents a bottle. He told you about that night?"

Kingsley: "He told me he saw you after Mass and talked to you and that he was having a very hard time with the separation from you. He said you looked so beautiful he couldn't stop himself from smelling your hair."

Nora laughed. Better to laugh than to cry.

Nora:  "That whole year we were 'separated' or whatever ... I thought he hated me. Or worse, that he'd forgotten about me. I'd rather him hate me than forget me."

Kingsley: "Forget you? Sometimes he'd show up at my house at two or three in the morning, and I wouldn't even have to ask why he was there. I'd hear his Ducati in the alley. I'd get up, let him in, and find him whatever pretty masochist was lying around the house for him to 'vent' his frustrations on. All because of you."

Nora: "Are you serious? He never told me that."

Kingsley: "He wouldn't want you to know how weak you made him feel."


Kingsley: "I could tell you many stories about that year. The time I chained his ankle to my bed is a very good one. It was either that or he was going to murder a boy t your church he overheard talking about your tits in glowing terms."

Nora: "I feel like I should tell you I'm sorry."

Kingsley: "Don't. It was a terrible year for him. For me? I was having the time of my life."

Nora: "I had no idea he was feeling so much during that year. He always acting like he had it all under control, meanwhile I was the one falling apart."

Kingsley: "pfft."

Nora: "pfft?"

Kingsley: "pfft. Grown men who have their shit together don't go around sniffing the hair of teenaged girls. He'd probably sniff your hair again if he got near you."

Nora: "Fuck, I'd sniff his hair right now if I could. I love the way he smells."

Kingsley: "Frost on pine trees."

Nora: "Fireplace smoke in the distance."

Kingsley: "New-fallen snow."

Nora: "The way peppermint hits your nose. We're insane."

Kingsley: "All his fault. We were normal until him."

Nora: "Damn straight we were. Both of us, little angels."


Kingsley: "You know, we could be fucking right now. Church verses fucking and we picked church?"

Nora: "Well, too late. We're here."


 Søren: "The more I think about the Christmas Truce of 1914, the more baffled I am by it. How did it happen? I've counseled people who haven't seen close blood relatives in years because of a fight over politics or religion - a war merely of words - at some long-ago Thanksgiving dinner. But these men in the trenches had been killing each other - literally shooting at each other for months - when the truce broke out. How did it happen? Why? I may have a theory. Winter is cold and it is nowhere colder than in a trench in Europe in winter. The soldiers were as cold as they'd ever been and ever would be. But Christmas is warm. It's hot cider and candles and the Yule log burning and too many people packed into a church."

More soft laughter

Søren:  "The soldiers were blocks of ice by the time Christmas came around. And we know what happens when you drop ice into a hot drink? The ice cracks. This phenomenon is known as the 'differential expansion.' The inner core of the ice cube stays cold and solid, but the outside of it that comes in contact with the heat, expands. And just like that, it cracks apart. Christmas came to those ice-cold soldiers, poured over them, and they cracked wide open. Maybe that's why Christmas hurts so many of us. We feel that fissure, that broken place where Christmas has cracked us apart. I think that's why at Christmas we feel so much of the cold, dark things inside us coming out - the anger at another year gone already, so much time wasted with so little to show for it, the loneliness of wanting to spend Christmas with someone who doesn't want to spend Christmas with you. Or worse, the feeling we've simply been forgotten."

Out of the corner of his eye, Kingsley saw Nora surreptitiously wipe a tear away.

Søren:  "But ... perhaps there's some good that comes out of that crack Christmas knocks in our hearts. It makes a place where the good things can slip inside, the bright, warm things. The candlelight. The music. Old friends dropping by unannounced. And more ... love? Hope? Forgiveness? It makes sense that Christmas makes us want to forgive each other, if only for a day. For Christmas, you see, is ultimately an act of forgiveness. In the beginning, God gave us all a gift - the world. And the world was pristine and beautiful and pure, and we broke it five minutes after he gave it to us. We were children in a China shop, and we broke the world without realizing we were breaking ourselves along with it. And yet instead of striking us all off His Christmas shopping list for eternity - as I would have done - God gave us another gift. In fact, God gave us the most precious thing in the universe to Him - his newborn infant son. And that gift, the gift of His child, couldn't be broken. Although we tried, didn't we? We did try."

Søren glanced meaningfully at the large crucifix on the wall.

Søren:  "However ... There is good news. God gave us His Son in an act of extravagant forgiveness. And we did try to break Him, and it looked like we had succeeded for a few days. Oh, but we didn't break Him. Because Jesus is love and love, real love, can be dropped and kicked and knocked around, whipped and beaten and nailed to a cross. And yet, it lives. True love lives and it lives forever. So as I wish you all a Merry Christmas, I also wish our Lord a Happy Birthday, for He is reborn every year in our hearts. And that is the meaning of Emmanuel - God is with us. Christmas is with us as it the forgiveness it carries in its open hands."


Nora: "Oh my God, Claire. I love that girls. She always sends Søren two-dozen of the best frosted sugar cookies every Christmas."

Kingsley: "You're eating his cookies? He didn't say you could have any."

Nora: "If you've sucked a man's cock, you get to eat his cookies. In perpetuity. That's the law."

Kingsley: "Is it?"

Nora: "It is."

Kingsley: "In that case, give me one."


Nora: "Look, it's us."

Holding up a Peanuts-themed Christmas Card. On the front was the blond pianist Schroeder, the black-haired muckraker Lucy, and Snoopy.

Kingsley:  "I'm the fucking dog?"

Nora: "You've humped your hair share of legs."


Søren: "The only way you could ruin my Christmas is by leaving now. Burn the tree down, burn the house down, I don't care. But don't leave."

Kingsley: "I won't. I might eat all your cookies though."

Søren: "Get out."


Nora: "Ah ... insults and threats of arson. Now it really feels like Christmas."

Søren: "Dare I ask what brings you two to my humble abode tonight?"

Nora: "It's Christmas. We though we'd stop by, see if you wanted to hang out? Drink wine? Watch Rudolph?"

Kingsley: "Fuck?"

Nora glared at him.

Nora:  "You'll have to excuse my man-whore. He's gone thirty-six whole hours without getting laid. Hugh, Kingsley, or Momma will take all your Christmas presents back to the store."


Kingsley: "You certain you want me there?"

Søren: "Eleanor's quite fond of you for reasons that escape me."


Kingsley: "You know, if someone just like you ... if you from the past, age nineteen, age twenty, came to me tomorrow in need, I would say to you, 'I know who can help you - Mistress Nora.'"

Søren: "You're trying to make a point. Don't."


Søren: "For a man so easy, you are being incredibly difficult. You've never required an engraved invitation to come to bed with us before."

Kingsley: "C'est vrai. Mais ... it is Christmas. You want me at your threesome? Ask nicely. Gift-wrap it a little for me. Decorate it."

Søren plucked an ornament off the tree and hung it on Kingsley's shirt collar, pressing the silver hook into his skin.

Kingsley:  "Son of a bitch! Why did you do that?"

Pulling the ornament - a tiny snowflake with a nasty hook - off his shirt. He touched his collarbone and a smear of blood remained on his fingers.

Søren:  "Because that is how I decorate."

Kingsley: "Stop flirting when I'm playing hard to get."


Kingsley: "Our lady probably fell asleep waiting on us to make up our cocks."

Søren: "Our lady is probably at the top of the stairs eavesdropping on us."

Nora: "Am not!"

Søren: "She is in so much trouble."


Kingsley: "If Mrs. Claus looks anything like her, it would explain why there are so many songs about Santa coming at Christmas."

Søren: "It really is the most wonderful time of the year."


Nora: "Hello, Mr. King. Do you like my socks?"

Kingsley: "They'll look very good on my back."


Søren: "She's not very well behaved. We'll have to do something about that."


Nora: "You two are going to kill me."

Søren: "And that, is why the French call 'orgasm' the little death."

Kingsley: "Fuck the little death. That was almost a big death. Warn a man next time before you're going to force him to come his brains out of his cock."

Søren: "My name is all the warning you should need."

Nora: "He has a point there, Mr. King."

Søren: "Eleanor?"

Nora: "Yes, sir?"

He touched his finger to her lips to quiet her.

Søren:  "Hush. Men are speaking."

Nora's mouth fell open in shock. She obeyed and remained silent, but her eyes spoke volumes and all those volumes had MURDER written on the front cover.

Kingsley:  "She's going to kill you for that later, mon ami."

Søren: "Perhaps, but there is nothing she can do about it now."


Nora: "Either kill me or let me come. Please, sir?"

Søren: "Which shall it be?"

Kingsley: "Better let her come. It is Christmas."


Søren: "Shhh ... Sleep, Little One."

Kingsley: "Is it all right if we stay?"

Søren: "I wouldn't have turned out the lights if it wasn't. And even if it wasn't, she's out already."

Kingsley: "Are we sure she's asleep this time?"

Søren took a strand of her hair in his fingers and tickled her nose with it. She slept on. As Nora was on Søren's chest, Kingsley took his usual place on Søren's stomach. That lasted all of about one minute before Søren sighed heavily.

Søren:  "This is profoundly uncomfortable."

Nora: "For you, maybe. I'm nice and toasty."

Søren: "I am a person, not a heating pad. Eleanor, get off of me, please. You too, Kingsley."

Nora: "I'd rather get off for you."

Søren rewarded that cheek with a hard slap to her ass.


Kingsley: "What? You've never had your cock sucked by a man in a red suit with a white beard?"

Søren: "As a matter of fact, I have not."

Kingsley: "You and I lived very different lives in the late eighties, mon ami."

Søren: "Thank God."


Søren: "It's still there, I promise."

Kingsley: "I thought she might have sucked it off."

Nora: "I tried."

Søren: "Eleanor, sleep or death? You decide."

She quickly feigned snoring.


She started to stand but Søren grabbed her and dragged her into his lap.

Søren:  "Merry Christmas, Little One."

Nora: "Merry Christmas."

They kissed, a quick gentle kiss, all tenderness, no passion.

Nora:  "See you soon?"

Søren: "Soon."

He kissed her forehead. Kingsley held out his hand for Søren to shake. When Søren took it, Kingsley leaned in and kissed Søren right on the lips.

Kingsley:  "Mistletoe drill."


Nora: "My Christmas present."

Kingsley: "A private family photo. A very sadistic Christmas gift."

Nora: "A punch in the stomach would have hurt less. What did he give you?"

Kingsley: "Very fitting. I gave him socks. He gave me insoles."

Nora: "You don't get it? It's a pun. Like when I gave him the little hart, the deer toy? I gave him my heart for Christmas. Søren gave you his soul."

Kingsley: "You're overthinking it."

Nora: "Søren wouldn't give you insoles just to give you insoles. You hate jogging."

Kingsley: "He wouldn't give me his 'soul' either. That belongs to God."

Nora: "Supposedly so does his body."

Kingsley: "Touche."


 


The Scent of Winter


Kingsley Edge thought he was being driven to the airport.

He never expected he'd be kidnapped and relocated to a cabin in the Middle of Nowhere, Maine to help Søren celebrate his birthday. But it's not quite the sexy party Kingsley hoped for. Søren has been keeping a secret from Kingsley for several years and it's finally time to confess. But will Kingsley absolve his priestly lover of his sins or will this winter be the coldest one yet?






Kingsley: "I'm not quite ready to explain fetish-wear to my daughter. That's what her Tante Elle is for."


Griffin: "Tonight's Bisexual Appreciation Night at the club."

Kingsley: "Isn't every night Bisexual Appreciation Night?"

Griffin: "Yes, but tonight we're having punch and pie."


Kingsley looked at Griffin and blinked pointedly at him.

Kingsley: "Exquisite welts."

Griffin: "He woke up about eight o'clock last night for a couple hours and said he was finally rested up. I must have fuckered him out again."

Kingsley: "The phrase is 'tuckered out,' non?"

Griffin: "Pretty sure it's fuckered out. And if it's not, it is now."


Griffin: "I am very scary and dangerous. Can't you tell?"

Kingsley: "That would be more believable if you weren't wearing Queen Elsa fuzzy slippers."

Griffin: "They're very warm."

Kingsley glared at him.

Griffin: "Okay, so they're no as intimidating as Hessian boots. But how did you know what they were anyway? Secret Disney fetish?"

Kingsley: "I have a two-year-old daughter. What's your excuse?"

Griffin: "Killer fashion sense."


Memory:

Kingsley: "Do other lovers say the sort of things you say to me?"

Søren: "Why wouldn't they?"

Kingsley: "Fear of being sent to prison?"

Søren stared at him

Kingsley: "Just thinking out loud, Sir."


Memory:

Kingsley: "We could be shot, you know."

Søren: "They only tell us that to keep us from breaking into their fishing shack."

Kingsley: "Then what are we doing here?"

Søren: "Breaking into their fishing shack."

Kingsley: "You really are going to kill me tonight, aren't you?"

Søren: "I'm not ruling anything out."


Memory

Kingsley: "I have never hated anyone like I hate you."

Søren: "I could have left you to die in the woods tonight."

Kingsley: "I wish you had."

Søren: "You're so hard I can see it through your trousers."

Kingsley: "That's my gun, not my cock. And it's going to be very happy to see you."

Søren: "I like the lies you tell yourself to keep from admitting how much you want this."

Kingsley: "It's not a lie. I don't want this. I want you. There's a difference. Big difference. Une grande difference. Vive la difference."

Søren: "Are you finished? I can wait out any temper tantrum you throw."

Kingsley: "Temper tantrum. I don't want fucking hypothermia, and he calls it a temper tantrum. If he shot me in the leg and I screamed, he'd tell me to stop pouting. If he cut my head off and I bled on him, he'd punish me for making a mess."

Søren: "I can hear everything you're saying."

Kingsley: "Good. That was the point of me saying it."


Memory

Søren: "Are you cold?"

Kingsley: "Cold as the ice in your veins, you bastard."


Memory

Kingsley: "Will you still love me when I'm fifty years old?"

Søren: "No."

He pressed his cool lips to Kingsley's neck.

Kingsley: "No?"

Søren: "I don't even love you now. Why would I love you in thirty-three years?"

Kingsley: "Ah, good point. Well ... will you still want me when I'm fifty? Like this?"

He pushed his hips against Søren's.

Søren: "You mean naked and pathetic and willing to do whatever I tell you to do?"

Kingsley: "Yes."

Søren: "Time will tell."


Memory:

Kingsley: "You like me, don't you?"

Søren rolled his eyes

Søren: "Come along, Whore. Back to school with you before you wander off again and end up in Canada."

Kingsley: "I might like Canada."

Søren: "Canada might not like you. The people there tend to be decent and polite."

Kingsley: "So nothing like you then."


Memory

Søren: "I swear on all that is holy, if you ever get lost again..."

Kingsley: "You'll kill me?"

Søren smiled

Søren: "Probably."


Kingsley: "So you had me kidnapped?"

Søren: "I did nothing of the sort. I had you shipped to me."


Kingsley: "Is it time for bed yet?"

Søren: "It's not even seven o'clock."

Kingsley: "Feels later. Probably because you dragged me into the fucking Artic Circle for some unknown reason."

Søren: "I want to brutally beat you and mercilessly fuck you in peace and quiet. How's that for a reason?"

Kingsley may or may not have whimpered

Kingsley: "that's a good reason."

Søren: "I thought as much."


Kingsley: "I forgive you."

Søren: "For what?"

Kingsley: "For dragging me to a cabin with no electricity."

Søren: "Our hermitage didn't have electricity."

Kingsley: "When you're seventeen, that's romantic. When you're fifty, it's annoying."


Søren ended the kiss but didn't pull away.

Søren: "I need you, too."

Kingsley: "Now?"

Søren kissed him on his neck at the point his jawline met his throat.

Søren: "Always."


Søren: "I felt mad that night, like I would lose my mind if I couldn't see you both, tell you both. I couldn't wait for it to all be settled. That's why I didn't wait for you to come back from the theater. I couldn't have sat still if someone had chained me to the floor. I'd never needed you both more than I needed you that night. It happens to me sometimes. Something comes over me that's more animal than human. I wish there was a word for it. The only word that comes close is 'bloodlust.' I'd felt it that night in the woods, the first time with you."

Kingsley: "When you chased me and ran me down."

Søren: "I wasn't chasing you, Kingsley. I was hunting you."

Kingsley: "Ah. There are wolves in Maine after all. What happened? You went to see her."

Søren: "If you asked me ho I trust in the world more than anyone, I would have said you. All those letters you sent me in Syria. But not one of them mentioned that Nora had fallen in love with a college freshman named Wesley."

And at once, Kingsley understood.

Kingsley: "He was there. Wesley was there when you went to see her."

Søren: "She was helping him move his things into her house. And I don't know if I had ever seen her looking so happy in her life. She looked like a woman in love. Because she was a woman in love. All those letters you'd sent me, and you hadn't told me about him. I stood there in the shadow of the tree in her yard, hiding like a common thief, watching the woman I loved being carried across the threshold of her home, giddy as a virgin bride on her wedding night. My heartache in that moment was as great as my anger was volcanic. In an instant, I turned on you both. Her for replacing me with a younger model. You for not warning me what I was coming home to. And that is my confession."


Søren: "You accused me a thousand times of picking her over you. You chose her over me that time. And now I know how much it hurts. I am sorry, Kingsley."


Søren: "From where I stand, my loss was far greater than yours. You lost me. I lost you. And you're worth much more than a billion dollars to me."


Kingsley: "Would you have come back if you'd known about him?"

Søren: "Yes. For you."

Kingsley: "Ah, now you tell me."


Søren: "We have as many secrets from each other as there are trees in that forest. No wonder we all keep getting lost."


Søren: "Last week I was at your house. And Celeste needed help tying her shoes. She came to you and stuck her feet in your face."

Kingsley: "She does that. Often."

Søren: "I watched you tie her shoes and it was such a simple thing. The child who needed help running to her father. Her father helping her without giving it a second though. It's how it should be, isn't it? Since then, I can't stop thinking, What if Fionn needs my help someday? When he's ten or eleven or fifteen or sixteen ... What if he wants to talk to me but is afraid to because he believes he's my dirty little secret? I need him to know he can come to me. I need him to know he's not something that has to stay hidden."


Søren: "There were four times in my life I felt utterly certain God was real and He was pointing His finger into my life, telling me what path to take. The day I met you. The day I joined the Jesuits. The day I met Eleanor. The night I fathered Fionn. All four of those moments fill me with the deepest peace and the most incredible joy when I think of them. Fionn especially, since I know what joy he's given Grace and Zachary."

Kingsley: "And the joy he's given me and Nora."

Søren: "And me."


Kingsley: "I thought I knew how much fathers loved their children. Then I had Celeste and Nora found Nico. I thought when you loved your child, you'd tear out your own heart to save their life if you had to, if that was the only way. I didn't know until I held my baby girl in my arms, five minutes old, that I'd tear out my own heart so she could play soccer with it in the backyard. I didn't know until that moment I laid eyes on Nico that I'd kill anyone who harmed a hair on his head. I'll tell your Jesuit superiors myself if you want me to. I'll tell them you're a better priest because you have a son. You brought a child into the world and that makes you more like God, not less, because God fathered a child with a girl who was married to another man, and those priests have been worshiping that girl's scandal of a son for the last two thousand years. And if that child wasn't a sin, no child ever could be. Especially not yours. Never yours. Never Fionn. You've never held him, but I have. That boy is perfect. Absolutely ... But of course he's perfect - he's your son."


Kingsley: "You think our girls are out there wondering what we're doing?"

Søren: "I'm sure it's crossed their minds."

Kingsley: "When we tell them what we did on this trip, let's skip over the part where we stood in the forest crying like babies while talking about our children."

Søren: "It's not a very commanding portrait of dominant manhood, is it?"


Søren: "That was a goshawk and a hungry one at that if she's hunting at night. We do not pet the hungry ill-tempered goshawks in the forest."


Søren: "This is insane, you know."

Kingsley: "What? You hadn't planned on saving a bird's life tonight?"

Søren: "This is not a bird. A canary is a bird. A swallow is a bird. This is a full-grown goshawk. We're saving a serial killer."

Kingsley: "But such a lovely serial killer, aren't you?"


Kingsley: "Happy Birthday."

Søren: "It is indeed."

Kingsley: "What would you like for your birthday?"

Søren: "One big French whore. Preferably male. Ideally a masochist of the extreme variety."

Kingsley: "In a pear tree?"

Søren: "Optional."

Kingsley: "Good news. I happen to have a masochistic French whore on me. And he's all yours."

Søren sighed contentedly

Søren: "What to do with him..."

Kingsley: "Keep him. Keep him and never lose him."

Søren: "I don't have to. He's quite good at losing himself."

Kingsley: "Yes. Sorry about that."

Søren: "I swear on all that is holy, if you ever get lost in the woods again..."

Kingsley: "You'll kill me?"

Søren: "No. I'll find you."


 

Blood & Snow

Occurs in the same time frame as December Wine

















Søren: "You could consider retiring."

Magdalena: "You could consider shoving your lovely head up your lovely arse."

Søren: "Not to state the obvious, but you aren't getting any younger."

Magdalena: "And you aren't getting any better-mannered. Good. I hate when people change for the better."


Magdalena: "Although the Benedictines are long gone, I try to keep up their practice of hospitality."

Søren: "Yes, well, Delphina offered to let me give her a pelvic exam if I so desired."

Magdalena: "We have our own definition of hospitality here."

Søren: "I've noticed."


Søren: "It wasn't a betrayal. Eleanor would tell you that herself. She sent Grace to me."

Magdalena: "Grace. That's her name?"

Søren: "Yes. She was instrumental in saving my life and Eleanor's during a very difficult ordeal."

Magdalena: "A feat that is usually rewarded with flowers, or perhaps a medal of valor, not a child."

He leaned back and gave her the most arrogant smile she'd ever seen a man wear.

Søren: "She didn't want a medal."

Magdalena: "I forget you're a man sometimes. Then you remind me."

Søren: "That didn't sound like a compliment."

Magdalena: "It wasn't."


Søren: "I truly don't know why I come to you for anything. Except that you're so incredibly sadistic you make me feel almost vanilla in comparison."


Søren: "When my mother died, Eleanor was the first person I called. Even though she'd left me. I called her and she came right to me. She even went with me to Denmark, to my mother's home, to the funeral."

Magdalena: "Playing wife."

Søren: "She played it too well. Sometimes I forgot we weren't married. My nieces latched onto her and wouldn't let her go the entire time we were there. She helped Gitte put on her pajamas, talked to her, read her bedtime stories, went for long walks with Laila, had heart-to-hearts with her. And at night, she slept with me, stayed with me, took care of me. It was the week my mother died, and it's one of my most cherished memories of Eleanor. What does that say about me? About her?"

Magdalena: "It says that if the Catholic Church ever allowed priests to marry, and your Eleanor said yes, you'd marry her that day."

Søren: "That hour. That minute, if we could say the vows quickly enough."


Søren: "If she leaves me, I don't know how I'll survive it."

Magdalena: "BY coming and moaning to me, as usual. So let's hope she doesn't leave you. I'd rather not have a lovelorn priest moping around the house. Bad for business."


Magdalena: "She should leave you. I don't think you can fathom how much you've complicated her life. Isn't it enough she has to share your heart with Kingsley? Now she has to share you with your son?"

Søren: "Wives have always shared their hearts of their husbands with their children. And husbands have shared the hearts of their wives with their children. This is nothing new."

Magdalena: "She's not your wife. She's the mistress of a Jesuit priest. She's been your dirty little secret since she was fifteen years old. She can't even walk down the street with you without being terrified she'll ruin your life. That woman has given you her entire adult life, and when you're in public you have to pretend you only know her from church. A slap in the face to any woman with pride. That bad sort of slap in the face."

Søren: "It intrigues me how you always take Eleanor's side, though you've known me thirty years and never met her once."

Magdalena: "I have met you. That's why I take her side. Al I'll always take the side of a dominant woman."


Magdalena: "Was it revenge? Sleeping with this woman? Having a child with her?"

Søren: "Revenge? For what?"

Magdalena: "You know perfectly well. You're a Catholic priest. She had an abortion. You can't look me in the eye and tell me that didn't both you at all."

Søren: "You really think so little of me? That I would have a child with another woman in order to punish Eleanor?"

Magdalena: "Yes, I think that little of you."

Now he did laugh, a real laugh. He sat up again, shook his head.

Magdalena: "You can laugh all you want, but don't pretend that it didn't hurt."

Søren: "It hurt. It did. That she didn't discuss it with me first. I know why she did. She didn't want to make me complicit in the decision. But still ... yes, of course it hurt."

Magdalena: "You would have talked her out of it. Wouldn't you?"

Søren: "I don't know what I would have done or said. I didn't get a chance."

Magdalena: "So it did bother you."

Søren: "It was her decision. And it wasn't even mine."

Magdalena: "No, but she was yours. Wasn't she? And yet she made the choice to not have a child, entirely without you. And then a few years later you made a choice to have a child, entirely without her.

Søren: "My son is not an act of revenge against Eleanor. Perhaps you would do something like that, but not me. Not to her. And if you think that about my son, that he is the product of something as vile as petty revenge against Eleanor, then this is the last conversation we should ever have. You can think as little of me as you like, but you will not say a word against him."


Magdalena reading Søren's palm

Magdalena: "No, she won't leave you. Although she probably should."

Søren: "You're certain?"

Magdalena: "I would bet what little of my life it left on it. There. The line of love, it's unbroken to the end. She will not leave you, even when future events tempt her. She will love that little boy as foolishly as she loves you. Because he is a part of you and you are a part of him. Relieved?"

Søren: "Profoundly."

Magdalena: "I wouldn't be if I were you."

He looked up at her.

Magdalena: "You might be above petty revenge, but she isn't."

Søren: "Oh God, what is she doing now?"

Magdalena grinned. Had she seen something in his hand, in his fate? A dark, handsome, very young man with thick, waving hair and kissable lips pressed to the arch of Eleanor's foot? Had she seen it in his palm, or was she simply imagining what she herself would do in Eleanor's position? It didn't matter, really. What was coming was coming, sure as winter comes after autumn, sure as night comes after day.

Magdalena: "You'll see. If it's any comfort at all, when she gets her revenge on you ... you will deserve it."


 




 
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