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Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Veil Ball by Mary Corrales

Felisa Ramone walked toward the nondescript warehouse, smoothing a hand down her skin-tight red dress and hoped the rumor of this event wasn't exaggerated. The Veil Ball was said to be a Holy Grail Halloween event. Rumor held that all who entered the Ball under a full moon on Hallows Eve would receive their most heartfelt desire.

Her heart pounded with excitement and trepidation as she approached the tuxedo decked out doorman. She didn't know how she'd ended up on the list to get an invitation but who cared.

No doubt she'd never get what she wanted most…a second chance at a decent life that didn't involve a man she didn't love. Craig offered financial security and friendship, but in exchange wanted her as a permanent sex partner to him and his wife. Something she never would have considered if not for a recent hospitalization due to a terrible infection that left her with five hundred thousand dollars in medical bills.

Being left infertile should be a blessing as at least she didn't have to worry about getting pregnant. She wished she could just start over somehow.

Determined to enjoy her last night of self-respect, Felisa presented her red invitation to the doorman who said and did nothing but open the metal door. She stared down the painted black walls of a long hallway. She hesitated, not seeing anything more. A slight breeze blew from the inside, the scent of apples in the air. Creepy.

"Like a haunted house, isn't it?" She commented to the doorman in an attempt to steady her nerves. He didn't react and his empty expression made chills race over her skin. She shivered, feeling foolishly afraid. Just go in already.

"Not so haunted."

Felisa glanced at the doorman before spotting another man beside him. The six foot two inch hunk of gorgeous watched her with bright blue eyes. His wavy brown hair and broad shoulders made him look like a sex addict's dream.

He smiled, a quirk of lips made for kissing. "Rodrik."

She blinked realizing he waited for her name. "Felisa." She glanced at his casual black clothes wondering if she was overdressed. The invitation specified classy, sexy…no costumes.

He gestured toward the open door with a well manicured hand. "After you, Felisa."

Clasping her hands together to still their trembling, she stepped inside the blackout passageway. She reminded herself that tonight was about freedom, as she wove her way to where faint light trickled through black streamers. So that was the illusion.

She drew the streamers off to either side and entered another hallway where a black light lit up sexual images painted white on the walls. Trepidation tickled the back of her neck.

More streamers appeared but this time after she pushed them to one side, a huge ballroom filled with elegantly dressed people became visible. Her ears popped and suddenly sights and sounds encompassed her. Tables surrounded a dance floor, decked out with ornate black and red flower centerpieces. In the center of the room, couples danced to gothic type music. Mild disappointment threatened as nothing stood out as particularly extraordinary to her.

"You don't seem impressed," Rodrik commented beside her.

She gazed at him, again caught by his gorgeous visage like a wild wolf masquerading as human. "I haven't seen everything yet."

He turned to her, his blue eyes twinkling with mischief. "No, you haven't." His flirtatious innuendo made her brave. She smiled and said, "Why don't you show me around? You seem to have been here before." She couldn't believe her own boldness.

"I'd love to but the Veil Ball must be discovered on one's own the first time." He smiled, flashing what she swore were a small set of fangs. "The more you see beyond the illusions, the more the veil will thin for you. After all, you came here to experience your heartfelt desire, didn't you?"

She blushed. True and she wanted that adventure to now include him. Somehow, she thought he knew that.

He smiled, "Enjoy your night, Felisa. I'm sure we'll encounter one another again." He leaned down, touching his lips against hers in a light brush of a kiss.

Just like that her belly contracted with little spasms of pleasure.

She watched him walk away. The doubts came fast and furious. What if she didn't see him again tonight? Could she just let him walk out of her life? Hell, no! He hadn't rejected her, so she'd just follow Rodrik and see where he went.

She kept him in sight as best she could, weaving through the crowd, and enjoying her little game of follow the mysterious man. She took a glass of red wine from a passing waiter, watched as Rodrik went up a spiral staircase to the second floor. Gulping the wine down, she left the glass on a nearby table and hurried to follow him.

A woman dressed in a glittery sheer harem outfit stood at the top of the stairs. She gave Felisa a blank stare and asked, "Mortal or immortal?"

"Um, did a gorgeous dark haired man come up this way?"

The woman blinked. "Which do you choose?" she asked in a soft voice.

She smiled ruefully. "I don't understand the question. I'm just looking for a man I saw come up here."

A hard arm wrapped around Felisa's waist from behind. "Maybe I can be that man."

She turned to see red demonic eyes in a face which had seen younger and kinder days if the deep scars were any indication. She pushed at his arm, but he didn't let go. Cold sweat broke out over the back of her neck as he leaned in closer. She looked to the attendant and found no one standing there any longer.

Fear gripped her hard, lodging a panicked cry in her throat. Feeling his hot breath on her neck, her stomach lurched. She cringed and dug her short fingernails into his arm.

"Let her go, Aleister, before you irritate me." Rodrik strode down the hall, his mouth set in a grim line.

The arm around her waist slithered off. Her heart pounded, and fear made her limbs quiver. She plastered her back against the nearest wall as Rodrik stepped in front of her. She barely knew Rodrik, but was beyond grateful for his intervention.

"Just having a little fun," Aleister sneered.

"You've had enough. Now, be elsewhere," Rodrik murmured.

She watched the demonic-looking Aleister leave, before closing her eyes in relief. So much for bravery and fearlessness. She wanted to cry. Why did she always manage to end making bad choices? That scary man could have dragged her off somewhere and done anything he wanted to her.

"You're as pale as a ghost, Felisa. Open your eyes and let me know you're okay."

His gentle coaxing made her smile even as she opened her eyes and a tear tracked down her cheek. "I'm good." She brushed the wetness away. "It's just been a crappy birthday. I should have stayed home."


She nodded. "Yeah, I was born on Halloween…birthday cake, presents and then off to trick or treating. That was my childhood—and I sound like an idiot."

He laughed. "So then, you can not only see the veil but walk through it as well" He ran his hands up and down her arms, warming her.

She shook her head, confused. "What veil are you talking about?"

He smiled, a mysterious blend of mischief and something else that looked like hope or maybe excitement. "Come." He took her hand in his.

His hand felt cool compared to her own clammy grip. "I hope I'm not making another mistake."

"Are you afraid?" He inquired, leading her down the hall. They paused at another set of stairs that led down. She wondered if this was another way down to the ballroom.

She shook her head. "Not at the moment." Somehow his presence comforted her, though she didn't know a thing about him.

He turned to her and cupped her cheek in his hand. "Tell me, Felisa, what is your most heartfelt desire?"

She bit her lip, her heart pounding. The words clamoring in her head again brought tears to her eyes. It wasn't a night of mindless sex and incredible orgasms. "I want a new beginning," her words barely above a whisper, "something special…someone special."

"My dearest one," he murmured, before his lips touched her, his tongue urging her lips to open to him. The kiss warmed her to tip of her toes, and tasted of magic and joy. All too soon he pulled back but held her close.

"I was born on Hallows Eve as well, but in a different realm. This one night the Veil thins and allows me to seek my mate." He turned toward the stairway. "May I have the honor of fulfilling your heart's desire?"

What more could she ask for? "Yes."

About the Author: I am a multi-published erotic romance author. I write in several genres including paranormal and contemporary suspense. I am published through Breathless Press, Eternal Press, and soon Siren Publishing. I love to hear from readers so check out my website or follow me on Twitter.

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