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The Saint by Tiffany Reisz

Updated: Apr 11

The Saint

by Tiffany Reisz

Published by MIRA books

Book 5 in the Original Sinners Series,

In the beginning, there was him.

Gutsy, green-eyed Eleanor never met a rule she didn't want to break. She's sick of her mother's zealotry and the confines of Catholic school, and declares she'll never go to church again. But her first glimpse of beautiful, magnetic Father Marcus Stearns and his lust-worthy Italian motorcycle is an epiphany. Suddenly, daily Mass seems like a reward, and her punishment is the ache she feels when they're apart. He is intelligent and insightful and he seems to know her intimately at her very core. Eleanor is consumed—and even she knows that can't be right.

But when one desperate mistake nearly costs Eleanor everything, it is Søren who steps in to save her. She vows to repay him with complete obedience…and a whole world opens before her as he reveals to her his deepest secrets.

Danger can be managed—pain, welcomed. Everything is about to begin.



Descriptive sex with BDSM, grooming behavior, abuse by parent


Tell me right now you don't picture Søren in Alexander Skarsgard's likeness. Go on. I dare you.

The Saint by Tiffany Reisz is the fifth book in the Original Sinners series, and the first book in the White Years sub-series. We get a mix of timelines here, with Nora in the present telling the story of how she me met Søren, and the first few years of their relationship.

Tiffany Reisz does is again with The Saint. The Original Sinner's series as a whole is original, and truly easy to become fully immersed in. The Saint is the same, bringing us back to the beginning of Søren's and Eleanor's story. If after reading the first four books, you are still not loving Søren, I dare you to read this one and not love him. If not for yourself, for Nora.

The Saint doesn't just add context to the story as a whole, but to the characters we all know and love. It adds a whole lot more delicious layers to them, and helps us understand them, and why they are the way they are. Eleanor/Nora has always been a complicated character for me to love. Seeing where she comes from helps quite a lot. The Saint also further cements what she said he The Mistress, that she was like this before Søren and Kingsley entered her life. She was not exaggerating when she said her life would have been over if not for Søren. And how could you not fall in freaking love with Søren after reading The Saint? Sure, he is a sadist, but it's not as if he isn't clear about what he is to Eleanor. I got the sense from the last book that Søren has a bit of a romantic in him, and it shows SO much in The Saint. Hell, he is even ... playful. And Kingsley ... oh Kingsley. You know, I liked him in the past four books, but I didn't love him. His charm and unrepentant ways got to me this time, and I loved seeing his bond with Eleanor grow into a true friendship.

Notice I am being vague about the present Nora, who is telling the story? I'm doing that on purpose. If you haven't read the first four Original Sinners books, go do it. THEN read this one. While 80% of the book is set in the past, it is not a prequel. It's important to read these books in order. But I highly recommend you do.



Nico: "I know about saints. I am one, remember?"

Nora: "Saint Nicholas brought me Christmas early this year. Although sleeping with him will put me on the naughty list for eternity."

Nico: "It's my list. I'll be the judge of that."

It begins with a whimper but ends in a bang.

Sister Margaret: "Would you care to share with the class exactly what you find so funny?"

Eleanor: "Nothing. Except St. Teresa's having an orgasm."

Sister Margaret: "Excuse me?"

Eleanor: "Oh, come on. She's got her head back and her eyes are closed and her mouth's all open. And the angel is thrusting the arrow into her and she's all on fire. Seriously, penetrated to the entrails? Sign me up for that. I wanna be a saint if I can get some of that action."

Dad: "I lost my new puppy. Will you come help me find him?"

Eleanor: "Oh, hell, no. I saw that very special episode of Diff'rent Strokes."

Eleanor: "Mom said I'm not allowed to date. Ever, I think. She didn't give me an age."

Dad: "You know your mother. She doesn't want you getting in trouble like she did."

Eleanor: "You mean knocked up at seventeen? And whose fault is that?"

Dad: "Elle, shut up and drive."

Dad: "You look like your mother."

Eleanor: "You want me to let you out right here?"

Dad: "Your mother is a very beautiful woman."

Eleanor: "She is a very crazy woman who is driving me crazy. Did I mention crazy?"

Eleanor: "You're kind of an idiot. You know that, right?"

He raised an eyebrow at her.

Søren: "Am I?"

He sat astride his motorcycle and she stepped in front of it.

Eleanor: "Do you have any idea what it is you have between your legs?"

Søren: "I'm well aware of what is between my legs."

Eleanor: "Then you know that this is a Ducati. A 907 I.E."

Søren: "Is it?"

Eleanor: "It's in black. Never seen one in black before. Do you have any idea how much this Duck is worth?"

Søren: "A small fortune, I'd imagine."

Eleanor: "Yeah. A small one. So where's your lock?"

Søren: "Pardon?"

Eleanor: "Your disc lock. You can't leave a Ducati sitting in a parking lot without a lock on it unless you're criminal stupid or you want it to get stolen. Which one is it?"

Søren: "Criminally stupid."

Eleanor: "So you admit it?"

Søren: "No, I'm correcting your grammar. And I didn't realize suburban Connecticut was such a high-crime district. Should I be afraid?"

Eleanor: "If I had something that valuable, I'd lock it up."

He smiled at her.

Søren: "I plan to."

Eleanor: "My mom says you're too young to be a priest."

Søren: "I'm twenty-nine. But I'll try to age very quickly for her. I'm certain pastoring at a church you attend will age me considerably."

Eleanor: "I'll do my best."

He continued to stare at her. His eyes had widened even further.

Eleanor: "Father Stearns? Søren? Whoever you are?"

Søren: "Forgive me. I was utterly riveted by your story. I might have entered a fugue state."

Eleanor: "Lucky for me, it all happened at the back of the bus and the driver didn't see it. Otherwise Vice Principal Wells would have my ass. He told me if I got sent to his office one more time I'd be publicly crucified as an example to the rest of the school. I think he was kidding?"

Søren: "Did you deserve such a threat?"

Eleanor: "Maybe. I said in class the St. Teresa didn't have a mystical experience but was, in fact, having an orgasm. It's not like I didn't prove it. She said the angel 'penetrated' her with his 'flaming arrow' right to her 'entrails' and that is gave her 'ecstasy.' That was not a mystical experience. That was a big O. V.P. Wells didn't appreciate my theology."

Eleanor: "You're not a normal priest, are you?"

He gave her a smile that hit her like a slap to the face and a kiss on the mouth all at once.

Søren: "My God, I hope not."

Eleanor: "Doesn't help that you're like the hottest priest on the planet."

Søren looked up sharply at her. Eleanor went pale.

Eleanor: "I said that out loud."

Søren: "Should I pretend I didn't hear it?"

Eleanor: "I said it. I'll go say some Hail Marys."

Søren: "Where does a young lady in Wakefield, Connecticut, purchase combat boots?"

Eleanor: "Goodwill."

Søren: "You're wearing Goodwill combat boots?"

Eleanor: "Yes."

Søren: "Congratulations, Eleanor. Your footwear has achieved irony."

Søren: "If I were to find a young woman stunningly attractive, intriguing and intelligent, then I will not have committed a sin. I could take that to my confessor, and he'd laugh and tell me not to come back and see him until I had something worth confessing. Now, if I acted on my attraction to this young woman, then we might have a problem."

Eleanor: "Or a really good evening."

She grinned at him. Søren cocked any eyebrow at her.

Eleanor: "I mean, a really sinful evening."

Søren: "Better."

Søren: "I'll do my best to explain my logic to them."

Eleanor: "Logic? You're going to use logic on Catholics?"

Søren closed his eyes and shook his head.

Eleanor: "What?"

He held up his hand, indicating his need for silence.

Eleanor: "What?"

Søren: "Do you hear that?"

Eleanor: "No. I don't hear anything. Do you hear something?"

Søren: "I do."

Eleanor: "What?"

Søren: "God laughing at me."

Eleanor: "You hear God laughing at you?"

Søren: "Loudly. I'm quite surprised you can't hear it."

Søren: "I think you're dangerous."

Eleanor: "Me? Dangerous?"

Søren: "You. Very."

Thrust? She'd already used the word thrust twice in this scene. She got out her thesaurus and flipped to the entry for thrust. 'Ram, jab, prod, push, poke, drill.' Drill? He drilled into her?

Eleanor: "He's fucking me, not installing new kitchen cabinets."

Whatever. Back to writing. She'd fix her thrust issue later.

Søren: "Do you value your worth as a child of God so little that you presume I would only help in exchange for sex?"

Eleanor: "Is that a no?"

Søren raised an eyebrow at her and Eleanor was overcome with a fit of laughter.

Søren: "That would be a no."

Eleanor: "Do you always talk like this?"

Søren: "You mean articulately?"

Eleanor: "Yes."

Søren: "Yes."

Eleanor: "Weird."

Søren: "Very well, then."

Eleanor: "Very well what?"

He held out his hand, waiting for her to shake it.

Eleanor: "You're kidding, right?"

Søren: "I want you to obey me forever. It is a high price, and I realize that. If we have to negotiate, then we have to negotiate I accept your terms. Can you accept mine?"

Eleanor slowly raised her hand off the desk and put her fingers into his.

Eleanor: "Okay. You got me. I'm yours. Forever."

Søren: "Everything."

Nora: "Had it been any other man it probably would have scared me. But with Søren, everything felt like destiny. When we met he said, 'It's a pleasure to finally meet you.' We'd both been waiting for each other, like it was meant to be that we would find and love each other."

Nico: "It's good he helped you. You're here with me and not in prison."

Nora: "I'd do okay in prison. Helps that I love having sex with women."

Nico: "This isn't helping my erection."

Nora: "I'd say I'm sorry, but you're too pretty to lie to."

Eleanor: "Hi, Søren. "

He arched an eyebrow at her.

Eleanor: "I mean, Father Stearns."

Søren: "This is going to be an issue for us, isn't it?"

Eleanor: "Probably."

Eleanor: "Your wish is my command."

Søren: "A good attitude to adopt."

Eleanor: "You're about to quote a Bible verse at me, aren't you?"

Søren: "I am. Matthew 25: 31-46."

Eleanor: "The sheep and the goats."

She almost yelled the words. Søren looked at her with his right eyebrow raised.

Eleanor: "Sorry. I remembered that one. I got excited."

Søren: "Wonderful to hear such enthusiasm about the Bible."

Søren: "Your first act of service is this ... Every day for the next six months come rain, shine, snow, sleet, hail or hurricane, you will water this stick."

Eleanor stared at the dead stick jutting up from the ground.

Eleanor: "It's a stick."

Søren: "I know it is."

Eleanor: "It's dead."

Søren: "I realize that."

Eleanor: "Watering it isn't going to bring it back to life."

Søren: "I realize that, as well."

Eleanor: "But I'm supposed to water it?"

Søren: "It's an order."

Eleanor: "I'll take that as a yes."

Søren: "It is."

Eleanor: "Are you going to tell me why I'm watering this stick?"

Søren: "I told you why. It's an order."

Eleanor: "No other reason?"

Søren: "That list of questions you wish to ask me that I can't answer yet..."

Eleanor: "Yeah, what about them?"

Søren: "If you water this stick every single day without fail for six months, I'll answer your questions."

Eleanor: "You will? All of them?"

Søren: "Any question you have for me, no matter how personal or intrusive, I will answer it in six months if you water the stick every single day."

Eleanor: "So six months is ..."

Søren: "The day after Thanksgiving. Rather fitting. I'm sure you'll be thankful to have finished your task."

Eleanor: "Forget the stick, I want answers."

Søren: "You'll have them if you earn them."

Eleanor: "How will you know if I watered it or not?"

Søren: "I'll know."

Eleanor: "When do you think you'll, you know, want to hold up your end of the bargain?"

Søren: "We shall discuss that part of our agreement when you're finished watering the stick."

Eleanor: "Great. I'll water it right now."

Søren: "I meant when you're finished watering it ... in sit months."

Søren left her standing there staring at the stick as he walked back to the church.

Eleanor: "Hey! Six months?"

Søren: "Do as you're told and we'll discuss it in six months."

Eleanor stared down at the stick and looked back up at Søren's retreating form."

Eleanor: "I hate you!"

Søren: "That stick won't water itself."

Eleanor: "You know, no offense, but I'm not sure I believe in God."

Søren: "Least of our worries. His existence does not depend on your belief."

Eleanor: "Good news for Him, then."

Søren: "When I was fourteen I decided to become a priest. Once I made that decision, I felt peace in my heart for the first time in my life. And I didn't know why or from where that peace came. It should have scared me - a life of poverty, a life of celibacy and chastity, a life of obedience to a community that could and would send me all over the world. But I knew there was a reason I needed to be a priest. I was certain of it. And that certainty carried me all the way through seminary and all the way here. And now I know why I needed to become a priest. Because God knew long before I did that I would need to be a priest to find you and help you and keep you on the right path. And I will keep you safe even if it kills me."

Eleanor: "Are you sure you can't tell me where you're going?"

Søren: "Quite sure. I will say this - I wish I could take you with me."

Eleanor: "Me, too. I'd go anywhere with you."

Søren met her eyes for the first time that night and gave her the faintest of smiles.

Søren: "Don't worry. Someday you will."

Eleanor: "Are you trapped inside your office? Some kind of force field and only your arm can escape it."

Søren: "Yes. It's called a dissertation."

Eleanor: "A who a what?"

Søren: "A dissertation. I'm finishing my Ph.D. work. I have ordered myself not to leave my office until I have made significant progress on it this evening."

Eleanor: "What's a dissertation?"

Søren: "If Satan gave you instructions for writing the book report from Hell, it would closely resemble those of a Ph.D. dissertation."

She scrunched up her face in sympathetic disgust.

Eleanor: "I wrote a book report from Hell last year on Jane Eyre and the wife in the attic. I called it 'Jane Verses One Crazy Bitch.'"

Søren rested his chin on top of the nearest pile of books and narrowed his eyes at her.

Søren: "Your mind must be the most marvelous playground."

Eleanor: "I think my mental swing sets are rusty."

Eleanor: "Are you going to make me meditate on Jesus again?"

Søren: "You don't want to? Meditating on the life of Christ is a vital part of the Spiritual Exercises."

Eleanor: "I know. But Jesus looked like Eddie Vedder in my meditations, and I don't like finding Jesus sexy. It's uncomfortable, like seeing a picture of your grandfather when he was eighteen and thinking he was a babe."

Eleanor: "Why are you so damn tall? You're what? Six foot something?"

Søren: "Six foot four."

Eleanor: "That's ridiculous. Is it necessary you're this tall or are you doing it for attention?"

Søren: "This is your theological inquiry?"

Eleanor: "God created you. He created you tall. This is my theological inquiry."

Søren: "Very well, then. Tall people are closer to God. Since I'm tall I can hear him better, which is why you should always listen to me when I tell you something."

She glared at him.

Eleanor: "That is the biggest pile of bullshit anyone has ever dumped on me.""

Eleanor: "I'm speechless."

Søren: "Then why are you still talking?"

Eleanor: "Because I found a biblical heroine who is a biblical heroine because she spread for a king. It's seriously sexy but seems like a piss-poor way to choose a world leader. Or not. Maybe that's how we got President Clinton."

Søren: "In all fairness to Esther, she was a prisoner and didn't have much choice in the matter - the sex or becoming queen."

Eleanor: "She was amazing in bed and that helped her save her people."

Søren: "I knew you'd like her."

Eleanor: "I want to be her. I wonder if Xerxes was hot."

Søren: "Perhaps he looked like Eddie Vedder."

Eleanor: "Do you even know who that is?"

Søren: "No."

Eleanor: "Oh, sorry. We're not supposed to be talking about S-E-X, are we?"

Søren: "We can talk about sex in a biblical context."

Eleanor: "Does it embarrass you, talking about sex?"

Søren: "Embarrass wouldn't be the word. I'm disconcerted, perhaps."

Eleanor: "Disconcerted? Talking about sex disconcerts you."

Søren: "No, talking about sex with you disconcerts me."

Eleanor: "So you don't like it?"

Søren: "I like it far too much. And I think you know that."

Eleanor: "Whatever this game is we're playing, I'm going to win it."

Søren: "If you trust me and obey me, we might both win."

Søren: "I told you it had sex in it if you used your imagination."

Eleanor: "Oh, I'm using it. I'm using it hard."

Søren: "Did you do your other homework I gave you?"

Eleanor: "Oh, yeah. You're totally full of shit. Psalm 116. And I quote, 'The Lord is the keep of the little ones, I was little and he delivered me.' God loves little people, He keeps them and He delivers them. I'm short so God is going to keep me and deliver me because I am a little one. Considering He sent you to keep me out of prison, I think I have all the proof I need."

Søren: "Very good, Little One."

Eleanor: "Don't call me Little One."

Søren: "Do you hate it?"

Eleanor: "Totally."

Søren: "Good. Now go find something to do, Little One. I'm working on my dissertation an you are detrimental to my powers of concentration."

A hymen walks into a bar. Well, that took care of that.

Eleanor waited in the hallway outside of Søren's office. He'd told her that if she figured out what happened between Xerxes and Esther on her audition night, she should tell him. So she rewrote her story by hand as neatly as she could, put it in a nice new folder and gave it to him. It seemed like such a great idea right up until the moment he opened the folder, started reading and shut his office door in her face.

Why had she given it to him? That whole story was ridiculous. She has Esther talking like she lived in 1993 instead of in ancient Persia, and she put the king in jeans and made him kind of funny and goofy instead of kingly. Regal. Kings were supposed to be regal And the story ... Oh, God, she had a whole sex thing going on in the story with Esther being tied to a bed while the king fucked her.

And now her priest was reading it.

Eleanor: "What the holy fuck is this bullshit?"

Søren's office door swung open.

Søren: "Eleanor. Inside voice."

Eleanor: "Sorry. Math."

Søren: "Forgiven."

She looked up at him. He held her story in his hand.

Eleanor: "You're excommunicating me, aren't you?"

Søren: "If you're not careful, I'll put you to work on my dissertation."

Eleanor: "Don't you think I'd give those old priests who read your dissertation heart attacks?"

Søren: "You nearly gave me one.

Søren: "Before I take full possession of this fine piece of erotic satire, might I ask you one question?"

Eleanor: "I really wish you wouldn't."

Søren: "Why does the king tie Esther to the bed?"

Eleanor: "I don't know. I've been reading these books by Anne Rice and there's a lot of stuff like that in them."

Søren: "I think you do know why he did it, and it isn't because you read about it in a book. Tell me the truth."

Eleanor: "I think he tied her to the bed for the same reason a smart man who is not an idiot would put a lock on his Ducati."

Søren: "Because he doesn't want it stolen?"

Eleanor: "No."

Søren: "Then why?"

Eleanor: "Because he loves it."

Eleanor: "Did you just say fuck? You never swear."

Søren: "I needed your attention. I'm pleased to see I have it now."

Søren: "Eleanor."

She looked at him and saw the faintest look of anguish in his eyes.

Eleanor: "What?"

Søren: "This will hurt me more than it hurts you."

Eleanor: "Good."

Nora: "Now, Nicholas Delacroix, tell me your fear."

Nico: My fear is that this will be our only night together, and I will live the rest of my life never meeting another woman like you."

Nora: "I can't promise we'll have another night together, but I can guarantee this - you'll never meet another woman like me."

Søren: "It's not a stupid dress. You looked lovely in it."

Eleanor: "Lovely? That bustier top pushed my tits up to my neck."

Søren: "But in such a lovely way."

Eleanor: "You're staring at me, Father Stearns."

Søren: "I am."

Eleanor: "Why?"

Søren: "I'm staring at you because entirely without intending to you've become a very kind and generous person."

Eleanor: "You can shove kind and generous up your ass."

Søren: "And I'm staring at you because you are stunningly beautiful."

Eleanor: "Søren. Seriously."

Søren: "When you aren't trying to look beautiful, you look beautiful. When you are trying to look beautiful, you are stunning."

Eleanor: "So we're back to this now?"

Søren: "Back to what?"

Eleanor: "Back to us being honest with each other? You snap your fingers and the past year goes away just like that?"

Søren held out his hand and snapped his fingers by her ear. She flinched at the sound.

Søren: "Just like that."

Eleanor: "you're drunk?"

Søren raised his hand. An inch separated his thumb from his index finger.

Eleanor: "That much?"

Søren slightly widened the gap.

Søren: "That would be slightly more accurate."

Eleanor: "Great. It'll be easier to seduce you, then."

Søren: "Later. We should talk first."

Eleanor: "God, you're a snob."

Søren: "Guilty. Now stop cleaning."

Eleanor: "Why?"

Søren: "Because I said so, and I never once said you were freed from your vow to obey me. So obey me."

Eleanor: "Can you please order me to punch your face? I'll obey that order."

Søren: "Later, perhaps. I have nothing but respect for your sadistic side."

Eleanor: "I'm almost eighteen, Søren. You got married at eighteen. Stop acting like I'm too young for you."

Søren: "My reticence has little to do with your age and everything to do with me being a priest who has no desire to drag you into a relationship that will dangerously complicate your life."

Eleanor: "I want you so much."

Søren: "Eleanor, I could barely breathe watching you walk down the aisle today. Do you know how much it hurt knowing you will never walk down that aisle to me?"

Tears burned her eyes.

Eleanor: "It hurt me, too."

Søren: "Little One, to be with me is to hurt."

Eleanor: "To be without you would hurt more. It did hurt more. You won't scare me off. I'm not afraid of you."

He threaded his fingers through her hair and she rested her head against his stomach.

Søren: "I missed you, too. Every day. But I can't stay, Little One. I have company."

Eleanor: "Hot date waiting for you?"

Søren: "He wishes."

Eleanor: "Don't we all."

Søren: "We'll talk again soon. Once I've sobered up and recovered enough self-control to be alone in a room with you without thinking the things I'm thinking."

Eleanor: "Do they involve us breaking the gift table?"

Søren: "It never stood a chance."

Søren: "Eleanor, are you trying to use logic on Catholics?"

Eleanor: "I think someone smart once said it was a pointless strategy."

Kingsley: "So this is elle?"

Søren: "This is she. Eleanor, this is Kingsley. Kingsley, Eleanor. Now please go back to the rectory, Kingsley, before Eleanor starts liking you."

Kingsley: "How old are you?"

Eleanor: "Seventeen. How old are you?"

Kingsley: "Thirty. Is your hymen intact?"

Eleanor stood up straighter.

Eleanor: "Is your brain intact?"

Kingsley: "I ask for a reason. I fucked a virgin last week. I didn't mean to."

Eleanor: "What happened? You trip and fall into her hymen?"

Kingsley: "You are asking for so much trouble with this one, mon ami."

Eleanor: "He didn't ask for trouble. I offered."

Kingsley nodded his approval.

Kingsley: "You weren't exaggerating."

Søren put his mouth near Kingsley's ear.

Søren: "I told you so."

Kingsley: "Can I have her?"

Søren replied something in French, something that made Kingsley grin even more broadly.

Eleanor: "What did he say?"

Kingsley: "He said, 'wait your turn.'"

Kingsley: "She's spirited, this one."

Søren: "Unholy spirited."

Kingsley: "I could lose my watch inside you."

Søren: "And good night."

Søren grabbed the Frenchman by the back of the neck.

Søren: "I can't take you anywhere. Go back to the rectory. I will be there soon."

Kingsley: "I have to go?"

Eleanor: "He really doesn't."

Søren: "He really does."

Eleanor: "Nice to meet you."

Kingsley: "And a pleasure to meet you at last. I look forward to you making the acquaintance of my ceiling."

Eleanor: "I want to be his best friend."

Eleanor: "The wolf eats the sheep. Should we, the sheep of Sacred Heart, be scared of you?"

Søren: "No."

Eleanor: "No?"

Søren: "I only eat other wolves."

Eleanor: "That's a comfort, I guess."

Søren: "It shouldn't be."

Eleanor: "Why not?"

Søren gave her a look so dangerously hungry she'd almost describe it as wolfish.

Søren: "Because my Little One, you aren't a sheep."

Eleanor: "Are you some kind of sadist?"

Søren: "Yes."

Eleanor: "You turned the heat up in the sanctuary?"

Søren: "I didn't want you getting chilly."

Eleanor: "You turned it up to ninety."

Søren looked up from his notes.

Søren: "Did I? My apologies."

Eleanor: "That was the least sincere apology in the history of the universe."

Søren: "Possibly."

Eleanor: "I'm working my ass off in the sanctuary scrubbing two hundred years of farts off the pews and you're sitting in your seventy-degree office drinking tea and writing homilies. It's hot as Satan's balls in there, and I'm sweating like a whore in church. Do you have anything to say to that?"

Søren looked her up and down before turning his attention back to his Bible.

Søren: "I like the knee pads."

Eleanor: "I hate you."

Søren: "Forty-two."

Eleanor: "Forty-two what?"

Søren: "I've been keeping track of how many times you've declared your hatred of me. That was forty-two."

He opened the file folder and scanned something inside.

Søren: "No, forty-three."

He made a tick mark on the page.

Eleanor: "Forty-four. I hate you."

Søren: "I have suffered. My suffering has ended."

Eleanor: "Did you find Jesus?"

Søren: "No, I found you."

Eleanor: "Now that I've suffered, can I turn the heat back down to a low boil? More first circle of hell than eighth circle?"

Søren: "If you insist. But while cleaning the pews, I want you to think about your sins."

Eleanor: "I will. Especially the ones I plan on committing with you someday."

Søren: "Good girl."

Søren: "You're staring at me."

Eleanor: "You're gorgeous. Of course I'm staring. How's the dissertation going?"

Søren: "Can't we discuss more pleasant topics? Like my summers spent in leper colonies?"

Søren: "Go back to work."

Eleanor: "Yes, Father Stearns."

Søren: "I'd prefer you didn't call me that."

Eleanor: "How about Mother Stearns?"

Søren: "How about sir?"

Eleanor: "Yes, sir."

Søren gave her a look that set her fingers to tingling.

Søren: "Good girl. Now shoo. I don't have time for distractions today - even pleasant ones."

Eleanor: "Can I do anything for you? Help with anything?"

Søren: "You help me by existing."

She started the car and closed her eyes as the engine purred to life.

Søren: "Eleanor? Do you and the car need a moment alone together?"

Eleanor: "I came already. Let's go."

Eleanor: "I give up."

Søren: "Don't give up, Little One."

Eleanor: "Fine. So ... hobbies?"

Søren: "Piano playing."

Eleanor: "Phobias?"

Søren: "All my fears are rational."

Eleanor: "Pet peeves?"

Søren: "Calvinism."

Eleanor glowered at him.

Søren: "What?"

Eleanor: "Calvinism? Your pet peeve is Calvinism?"

Søren: "Yes."

Eleanor: "This is gonna be a long drive."

Eleanor: "What's wrong?"

Søren: "Nothing, Little One. Only bad memories from that house."

She reached over and covered his hand with hers.

Eleanor: "I'm here. I don't know if that helps any."

Søren: "It helps more than you can imagine."

Eleanor: "Hi. Call me Elle. He only calls me Eleanor because he has a stick up his ass."

Claire: "You noticed that, too?"

Eleanor turned to Søren.

Eleanor: "Oh, yeah, she and I are gonna get along fine."

Søren: "If I had a white flag, I'd wave it first to surrender and hang myself with it after."

Eleanor: "I'd sell my soul to get laid."

Claire: "You're gorgeous, Elle. You can get any guy you want. Why are you still a virgin?"

Eleanor: "Ask your brother that question."

Claire: "When he was in seminary, I'd cut out pictures of sexy women in magazines and send them to him in my letters. I wrote on the pictures 'see what you're missing?'"

Eleanor: "And you say I'm evil?"

Claire: "I know. He thought it was hilarious. He said mine were the most popular letters at his seminary."

Søren: "It's in C."

Claire: "I don't like C. Everything's in C."

Søren: "It doesn't matter if you like C or not, the piece is in C."

Claire: "Can we do it in A?"

Søren: "Is your first name Ludwig? Is your last name Beethoven?"

Claire: "My first name is Claire, and my last name is Awesome-at-piano."

Søren: "Then it's in C."

Eleanor: "You can say it now."

Søren: "I love you, Little One."

Søren: "You asked me questions. I'll answer them now."

Eleanor: "About goddamn time."

Søren: "Eleanor."

Eleanor: "Sorry."

Søren: "Am I in love with you? I already answered that question tonight. If you need to hear it again, then yes, I am in love with you, Little One, and have been since the day we met."

Søren: "When will I keep my end of the deal? The deal that I'll give you everything, including but not limited to sex, I assume."

Eleanor: "Sex specifically, but I'll take what you've got."

Søren: "Not tonight. I know it seems parochial to you, but I would prefer we wait as long as possible. There's so much you still need to experience, so many decisions you need to make. I'll try to make the waiting as easy as possible. But you're not even out of high school yet. You should focus on graduating, getting into college. Once you're on that path, we'll talk about this again."

Eleanor: "Fair enough. I can't say I want to wait. I've been wanting to be with you from the beginning. But I'm not surprised, either. I know that it's not easy - you're a priest and I'm a -"

Søren: "Constant temptation."

Søren: "I enjoy your obedience to me much the same way you feel certain you would enjoy being tied up during sex."

Eleanor: "It turns you on?"

Søren met her eyes and in them she saw the world set itself alight and burn to ashes.

Søren: "More than you can possibly imagine."

Eleanor: "I wish you'd let go and be with me. You wouldn't have to worry about self-control then."

Søren: "Eleanor, the first night we make love will be the greatest test of my self-control."

Eleanor: "I'm sitting in a bedroom at your feet. This is the most comfortable I've ever been in my life. I never want to leave."

Søren: "I never want you to."

Eleanor: "I trust you."

Søren: "You're in love with me. Of course you trust me. I hope I never betray that trust. I cannot promise you I never will."

Søren: "Have you ever had a dream feel so real that upon waking you thought you were still asleep?"

Eleanor: "Once or twice."

Søren: "I felt like that the moment I saw you, Little One. I dreamed you once. I think I'm still dreaming."

Søren: "Do you like the pain?"

Søren gripped her thighs.

Eleanor: "Yes, sir."

Søren: "Even now? Tell me to stop."

Eleanor: "Is that an order?"

Søren: "No."

Eleanor: "Then don't stop, sir."

Eleanor: "You're gonna kill me with that, aren't you?"

Søren: "Very likely."

Eleanor: "I can think of worse ways to die."

Eleanor: "This feels sacred to me. It didn't feel like a sin. Was it?"

Søren: "Did it feel like a sin?"

Eleanor: "No. It felt like love."

Søren: "I won't lie to you, Eleanor. It's been several weeks since I've hurt anyone. When you're starving nearly any food will do. When you're sated it takes much more to tempt you."

Eleanor: "Is that a fancy way of saying I got off easy tonight?"

Søren: "I'm saying I got off easy tonight."

Søren: "I was with someone once a long time ago who would have died at my command. It terrified me to be loved that much. I'll need you to help me stay in control."

Eleanor: "I can do that. Order me to die for you."

Søren: "Eleanor."

Eleanor: "try me.

Søren: "Die for me."

Eleanor: "Go fuck yourself."

She kissed the tip of his nose. He laughed and pulled her close to him.

Eleanor: "Was that the right answer?"

Søren: "It was."

Søren: "If you choose, Little One, I can own you. You would be my property, mine alone."

Eleanor: "Of course you can own me. You always have. You always will. But not yet."

Eleanor: "Will you say it again? Please?"

Søren: "In Danish or English?"

Eleanor: "You already said it in English. Let's go for Danish."

Søren: "Jeg elsker dig, min lille en."

Kingsley: "Intelligence is dangerous in a woman. Next thing we know you'll say that marriage is a trap that tricks women into becoming unpaid cooks and housekeepers."

Eleanor: "Even if I were stupid I'd be smart enough to know that."

Kingsley: "Have you ever had sex in the back of a Rolls-Royce?"

Eleanor: "I've never had sex, you know, ever."

Kingsley: "Poor girl. Would you like me to take care of that little problem for you?"

Eleanor: "I'm Catholic, so I'm waiting."

Kingsley: "Until marriage?"

Eleanor: "No. I'm waiting for my priest to fuck me."

Kingsley: "Are you tired of waiting?"

Eleanor: "Yes. There's no reason to wait. He's being overprotective."

Kingsley: "He cares about you."

Eleanor: "Wish he cared less and fucked more."

Kingsley laughed

Kingsley: "He said you and I would be friends. I didn't believe him at first. I think he might be right."

Eleanor: "You mind-fucked me."

Kingsley: "Does your brain hurt? I tried to be gentle since it was your first time."

Eleanor: "He said you were the devil."

Kingsley: "He only says that because he knows how horny I am."

Eleanor burst out laughing.

Eleanor: "I like you Kingsley. I don't want to, but I do."

Kingsley: "The feeling, ma petite, is entirely mutual."

Søren: "I have to say it amuses me that a young woman with your notoriously foul mouth is struggling so much to say words like breasts."

Eleanor: "You're laughing at me."

Søren: "I am. And you're blushing and beautiful, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the show. Continue."

Eleanor: "Am I allowed to use slang terms, sir?"

Søren: "Not tonight. You have to be clinical and precise. You called Kingsley a cocksucker to his face the night he beat you at blackjack. But tonight I have to wonder if you can use the word penis in a sentence without fainting."

Eleanor: "Next time I play blackjack with King I'm calling him a penis. There. Happy, sir?"

Eleanor: "Do you think you should only have sex with someone you're in love with?"

Søren: "Complicated question. Sex between women and men is especially complicated. There's always the risk of conceiving. I would never ell anyone else who they should or should not be intimate with. For my own part, I choose not to do it except with someone I can imagine having a connection with for the rest of my life."

Eleanor: "I want that with you, forever."

Søren: "I don't need to make love to you to want to be bonded to you forever. I have felt that connection since the day we met."

Eleanor: "I'll wait for you. Always.

Eleanor: "I'll always pick the biggest number even if I don't know what I'm picking." Søren: "And that, Little One, is why I love you."

Eleanor: "I love you, too. Even if you do torture me and make me wait and beg for you, sir." Søren: "But will you always?"

Eleanor: "I will love you forever. I'll wait as long as I have to for you, sir."

Søren: "What if I make you wait one more year?"

Eleanor: "I'll wait."

Søren: "Two more years?"

Eleanor: "I'll wait."

Søren: "What if you find someone else?"

Eleanor: "Not interested. If you can't have sex without pain, I don't want it, either. And I don't want anybody but you."

Søren: "Are you sure of that?"

Eleanor: "Completely. You really think some other guy is going to try to steal me from you?"

Søren: "Eleanor. I'm absolutely certain of it."

Eleanor: "I'm going to open the note now."

Wyatt: "I wish you'd reconsider."

Eleanor: "I might need it for evidence in my criminal case against you."

She unfolded the paper.

Eleanor: "This is a shark, Wyatt. This is a drawing of a shark."

Wyatt: "What? You don't like sharks? What kind of person doesn't like sharks?"

Eleanor: "I'm not saying I don't like sharks. I'm saying I don't know why you gave me a picture of a shark."

Wyatt: "The shark asked me to."

Eleanor: "Why did the shark ask you to give me a picture of it?"

Wyatt: "Because he thinks you're beautiful, brilliant and he wants your phone number."

Eleanor: "Please tell the shark I'm sorry. I'm not available."

Wyatt: "Can you and the shark maybe be friends?"

Eleanor: "I've never been friends with a shark before. Will he bite me?"

Wyatt: "If you ask nicely."

Wyatt: "Writing's like masturbating. Everyone does it but no one likes to admit to it."

Eleanor: "I admit to it."

Wyatt: "Writing or masturbating?"

Eleanor: "Both."

Wyatt: "Damn. I was wrong."

Eleanor: "About what?"

Wyatt: "You don't taste like poetry. Poetry tastes like you."

Eleanor: "Kingsley, I'm in trouble."

Kingsley: "Pregnant?"

Eleanor: "Worse."

Kingsley: "What's worse than pregnant?"

Eleanor: "I think I'm in love."

Eleanor: "I wanted to tie Wyatt down and make him beg for it ... Shit, did I say that out loud?"

Kingsley only grinned.

Kingsley: "You did."

Eleanor: "Sorry."

Kingsley: "Don't be sorry. No one in this room can judge you. I've fucked two different people today. And likely a third before the night is over."

Eleanor: "That should help me feel less horrible, but it doesn't. A little jealous, though."

Eleanor: "I'm fucked, King."

Kingsley: "Not yet. But the night is still young."

Kingsley: "Elle ... I wish you could have known him back when he was a teenager."

Eleanor: "What was he like?"

Kingsley: "Old. He was older then than he is now. An old soul, as they say. Mon Dieu, you'd never met anyone more arrogant, haunty, pompous and condescending. Everyone at the school hated that blond shit. Everyone but the priests."

Eleanor burst into laughter.

Eleanor: "I can totally picture that. Why was he such a prick back then?"

Kingsley: "We're all shits when we're teenagers. God knows I was, but for him, I think it was this fear of his. He thought he'd been tainted by his father, his past. Better to be hated than loved. Love lets people in. He wanted no one near him. He's better now. Being a priest ... he's more open with his affections. Being with you ... Being with you makes him better. Happy. Less troubled. My God, he's almost ... Almost fun."

Eleanor: "You're back early."

Søren: "I wanted to surprise you."

Eleanor: "Any reason?"

Søren: "I never need a reason to come back to you."

Eleanor: "Are you making me wait so long for you so this would happen? I mean, so I would find someone else and fall for him?"

Søren exhaled heavily before answering.

Søren: "Yes."

Eleanor: "Why?"

Søren: "Because, Little One, our choices mean nothing until we're given more than one of them."

Eleanor: "You knew I would pick you."

Søren: "I did."

Eleanor: "You're an arrogant bastard, aren't you?"

Søren: "I know my strengths. You ... You are one of my strengths, my greatest strength."

Søren: "Don't move."

Eleanor: "What -

She yelped as his hand made loud and brutal contact with her barely covered bottom.

Søren: "That was for drinking too much last night."

He smacked her bottom again, this time twice as hard.

Søren: "And that was for Wyatt."

The next smack hurt worse than the previous two combined. She gasped from the pain.

Søren: "And that was simply for the fun of it. Now you may get into bed."

Eleanor: "Ow."

She looked up at Søren, who seemed to be fighting off a smile.

Eleanor: "I can't believe you spanked me."

Søren grinned at her.

Søren: "I can."

Eleanor: "You're killing me."

He gave her a smile so wicked she almost came from that alone.

Søren: "I asked you if you wanted to come. I didn't say I would let you."

Eleanor: "Fucking sadist."

Søren: "I'm glad you're starting to realize this. Want your bedtime story now?"

Eleanor: "No, I want an orgasm."

Søren: "Good, I'll find the book."

Søren: "Now stay there."

Eleanor: "Stay here? I'm tied to the damn bed. Where would I go?"

Søren didn't answer

Eleanor: "I hate you!"

Søren: "One hundred twenty-seven."

Eleanor: "You are the most evil man on earth."

Søren: "I am, yes. Would you like to hear your bedtime story now?"

Eleanor: "I would like to punch you in the face."

Søren: " It's Lewis Carroll. I found this in an antique bookstore in Rome."

Eleanor: "I hate it. I want to set it on fire."

Søren: " It's Through the Looking-Glass. I know how partial you are to the Jabberwocky."

Eleanor: "You are the Jabberwocky, you monster."

Søren: "It's a long book. Get comfortable. I'll read."

Eleanor: "And I'll murder you in my mind."

Eleanor: "I love that book."

Søren: "I know you do. It's one of my favorites, too."

Eleanor: "I love you, too, sir. Even when I want to kill you with a pickax."

Søren: "That is all I can ask."

Eleanor: "You really are the weirdest priest on earth."

Eleanor: "Will you tell me another bedtime story?"

Søren: "I can. What story would you like?"

Eleanor: "A love story."

Søren: "I think I can provide that. Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl named Eleanor who had secrets she wanted to keep. Eleanor had pulled her sleeves down over her hands. She was ashamed of the burns on her wrist and feared someone would see them and judge her for them. Then the time came for this girl to take communion. As she reached for the cup, her sleeve slipped back, and her priest saw what she was."

Eleanor: "What was she?"

Søren kissed her on the top of her head and whispered.

Søren: "She was mine."

Eleanor: "King, you're like the big brother I never had. And never wanted."

Søren: "I never appreciated the Ninth Symphony until I met you, Eleanor. When I saw you I heard it for the first time coming from inside my own heart. I was seventeen when I first dreamed of you. Kingsley and I were talking, fantasizing about the perfect woman. Green eyes and black hair or black eyes and green hair, we didn't care, as long as she was wilder than the both of us together. Only a dream ... and then you."

Eleanor: "Mom asked me once what it would take for me to believe in God. I told her if I could meet one person who seemed like he was created in God's imagine, I would start believing. And then you."

Eleanor: "I think life is a book. God writes it. We're His characters. He knows what happens on the next page, but we don't. Heaven is where we get to read the book cover to cover and see how it all makes sense."

Søren: "You are my most precious possession. I will guard you with my life."

Søren: "You'll beg for mercy when I'm inside you the first time."

Eleanor: "I don't want mercy. I want you."

Søren: "Eleanor?"

She dropped the glass and it shattered on the floor at her feet ... her bare feet.

Søren: "Eleanor -"

Before he could order her to do otherwise, she took a step forward onto the broken glass.

Eleanor: "You said nothing pleases you more than someone who will bleed for you."

She took another step. The glass cut into her heel, into her toes. Søren inhaled sharply as she walked to him - bare feet on shattered glass. She hardly felt a thing. The only sign that glass had cut her were the bloody footprints she left behind her. She looked into Søren's eyes. His pupils had widened hugely and his bare chest moved in shallow pants. She crossed the four feet to the bed.

Eleanor: "If it had been fire, I would have walked through fire."

Søren: "If it had been fire, I would have carried you through it."

He lifted her and laid her in the center of the bed.

Eleanor: "Please, sir ..."

Søren: "Please what?"

Eleanor: "I want you."

Søren: "You have me."

Eleanor: "I want you inside me."

Søren: "I'm always inside you, Little One. "

He moved his lips to her mouth again.

Søren: "Patience. I have waited years for this night. I won't rush it."

Eleanor: "Did you really want me from the day we met?"

Søren: "So much it scared me."

Eleanor: "So now what?"

Søren smiled and something in the smile told her she was in the biggest trouble of her life.

Søren: "Everything."

Eleanor: "We're all orphans now - you, me, Kingsley. I wonder what that means."

Søren: "It means we must love each other even more because all we have is each other."


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