by Tiffany Reisz
Published by 8th Circle Press
An Original Sinners Christmas Anthology
An Original Sinners Christmas Anthology
Return to USA Today bestseller Tiffany Reisz's Original Sinners series with Winter Tales, a collection of three fan-favorite Christmas novellas plus a brand-new novella exclusive to this 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.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Erotica Feel Good
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!
Where to Buy
Takes Place after The Mistress but before The Saint
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: "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.
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
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
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.
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."
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."
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: "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?"
She knew she and Zach were friends for a reason.
Nico: "I wish you weren't so beautiful."
Nora: "You and me both, buddy."
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."
Takes place when Søren is 20 years old
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."
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: "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."
Behind his back Marcus extended one finger.
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 Scent of Winter
Takes Place between The King and The Virgin
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."
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."
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."
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."
Søren: "Are you cold?"
Kingsley: "Cold as the ice in your veins, you bastard."
Kingsley: "Will you still love me when I'm fifty years old?"
He pressed his cool lips to Kingsley's neck.
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?"
Søren: "Time will tell."
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."
Søren: "I swear on all that is holy, if you ever get lost again..."
Kingsley: "You'll kill me?"
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."
Søren kissed him on his neck at the point his jawline met his throat.
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?"
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?"
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."