Disclaimer: It's fictional. Characters are made up and so are most of the cities, jobs, activities, etc. Any similarity to anyone living or dead is coincidental.

This is the sequel to "The One"

Sex: Consensual romantic relationship between f/f adults. If this is illegal where you live or you are underage, don't read it.

Bad Language: Some.

Violence: Some.

Hurt/Comfort: Some

Acknowledgment: for she of the tender soul, gentle ways, and warm Irish smile.

C 2005 sre bsoiree@comcast.net

Third Time's the Charm

by bsoiree

Chapter 1


Florida--land of sunshine, world-renowned entertainment spots, stellar endeavors, and large cities, brimming with cutting-edge night spots, big-name stars, daytime marinas and highly developed coastal and intercoastal properties. Home to retirees, millionaires, snow birds, jet setters and common folks. Also home to places off the beaten path, like a movie set, timeless in their historical garb of Colonial and Victorian-style cottages mixed with townhouse splendor, always seeming to fall under a slow Southern spell.


Yet for all its charms, she knew it was not the place for them and she had never intended it to be. But the Fates snatched an inconspicuous spot, an outland, a barely remembered area, and spun it into a thread, then wove it into their lives. Forever after it was foremost in their thoughts because of what happened there and what led to its happening.


"I know you don't believe in superstitions, Kendal..."

Kendal smiled encouragingly but said nothing as they headed to the elevator. She tried to adjust her long gait to the shorter stride of her companion.

Of course she doesn't believe, the blonde told herself as she glanced at the tall beauty walking beside her. Who does? No one in their right mind, that's who.Oh, sure, a goofy routine or certain clothes athletes wear or don't change so they'll "win" an event. Something people laugh about but nothing they take all that seriously. Nothing like this. Nothing that carries with it so much terror that I needed to send her packing with the expectation of never seeing her again.

The small blonde felt an unexpected flash of melancholy. Her life had been changed so radically by their family's superstitious "curse" brought home to her with crushing acuity nearly fifteen years earlier. This horrible superstition was not something she could discuss easily with anyone. It was more whispered about by others than spoken of aloud. Family legend had it that death came to them in threes. And so it had. But it had always been aged family members, mostly ones she knew of but didn't really know. And growing up she had treated the malediction like an interesting but certainly not serious "aside."

Then her Grandmama had foretold that the job of being a policeman would bring their family particularly great pain along with the curse. And it had. That was when Savannah's world all but fell apart. Her father and brother, both on the police force, were killed during the same drug bust. They weren't old and she knew them painfully well.

Since that time every family member knew they mustn't let any police officer join their family for fear they would be the third death. So when Savannah'd discovered Kendal, the woman she'd fallen deeply in love with, was a police Captain, she had sent her away.

She looked up and Kendal smiled again. And still she came back, ready to quit her job, ready to beat the.. horrible, terrifying Vollier curse. But what must she really think?

"I'm not nuts," Savannah said softly, then she snorted softly to herself. Maybe I am. Who's to say? This can't be a sane kind of thing.

Kendal's laugh was soft and velvety. "I sorta thought we both were...a little."

How I love this woman, Savannah thought. "Well, there is that," the blonde agreed with a quick smirk.

The smartly dressed young blonde ADA and the tall woman had made it to the elevator in the building that housed the DA's office. A "ding" from the down bell, the door opened and they stepped into the empty car along with the others who moved in behind them. The two women stepped to the back corner to give the others room.

She's still worried, Kendal thought. How can I convince her? "It doesn't matter," Kendal said softly, trying to keep their conversation as private as one could in an elevator. "Your family believes in it. So, we'll go from there. It'll work out."

The tall beauty was in street clothes and far out of her jurisdiction, but she hadn't forgotten that she was a trained officer of the Edgeway Police Department of Washington state and there had been a credible threat made against the Tagulla DA's office, Savannah's office. Kendal's training had taken over as her eyes suspiciously roamed over the other passengers. Unnoticed she edged out a little from the back rail to surreptitiously shield the smaller woman.

"There's nothing I'd like better than for the curse to be wrong," Savannah said, not noticing Kendal's protective stance. "No one else lives like this. But it never has been. Do you understand?"

The doors closed and the elevator headed for the lower floors.

They were both interrupted by the friendly smile of one of the men in front who was turning to look at the blonde. "Hey," he drawled with a courteous nod of his head. The elevator stopped to allow more travelers from the next floor down. Three more people pressed inside. Kendal's eyes scanned them all but she kept her eye on the smiling man who was working his way closer to Savannah.

"Good luck in court on Monday, Savannah." The young man thrust his hand in his pocket and that bothered Kendal. She stayed alert. "I've wanted to tell you that all week." He was turned halfway toward the small blonde. A good position to strike and push his way out as soon as the door opens, Kendal noted.

Kendal watched his eyes and prepared to react as the man's hand slowly lifted out of his pocket. Knowing the death threat was directed against Savannah in particular, Kendal expected the worst--a knife, a file, a pen, anything that might be used as a weapon against the blonde.

The tall brunette leaned a little forward toward him, ready to force her body between the two the minute his hand raised. She watched his hand now and suddenly caught the flash of metal as he flicked a glance her way. She began to move then paused as the hand opened part way and he fingered a small wad of keys, separating out his car key and wrapping his hand around it while he talked. "Sure looks like you've got them on the run." He directed his attention back to Savannah.

It's just his keys. Kendal shut her eyes, blew out a short breath and stepped back again against the rail.

"Thanks, Larry," Savannah smiled in return. She momentarily put her hand on his arm. "We can all use your good wishes. The team's worked really hard on this one."

"You looked great on t.v., by the way. Our celebrity in residence." Several people looked her way and murmurs of agreement were heard.

Savannah smiled and shrugged her shoulders. "Thanks. I appreciate that. I just hope I ended up making sense. I mean, there I was, thinking about how to tell the reporters what had happened inside and suddenly a large bunch came a'runnin' at me, all calling questions at once with their microphones pushed smack at me. For a minute there, they startled me so much..." she paused here for effect, working the crowd, "I almost forgot what I was going to tell them." A twinkle danced in her eyes and she winked, "almost."

The young man laughed. They hadn't seen this impish side of Savannah for quite a while. They assumed it was because of the seriousness of the cases. It was good to have her back.

"Now Savannah, after facing down drug runners in court all day, a few reporters surely aren't gonna keep you from havin' your say. Not our girl!"

"Well,..." Savannah said modestly. She lapsed into a slight drawl, "Ah did have the chance to answer a few questions about the case. Ah most certainly believe in the public's right to know what's goin' on." She raised a brow, "Long as no one runs over me trying to git their questions asked."

The young man guffawed, "Well, you are mighty little, I'll give you that."

Instantly Savannah had both hands on her hips and a look of faux outrage on her face, "Larry Dandridge, Ahl have you know Ah am not that small!" The crowd in the elevator all chortled.

"Are you hasslin' her about bein' little again, Larry?" one of the men near the front drawled, a large grin on his face. "Is she stampin' her foot," he asked hopefully.

"Darn near," Larry turned his grin the crowd's way and everyone chortled. Then he turned back to Savannah, "You're our little dynamo, Savannah. You go git 'em, girl. We're countin' on ya."

"Here, here," one of the others called. "Keep up the good work, Savannah."

"Thank ya, Larry. Thanks, everybody. The team appreciates it." Again she gave Larry's arm a small squeeze and a wide smile was flashed at the rest of the crowd. Then her face changed, "Just don't call me little!" she indignantly gave Larry a soft swat on the arm and everybody laughed again.

Savannah had only been halfway kidding about the press. Dealing with them was a part of the business and every good attorney knew how to do courthouse stair posturing. She liked working the crowd in the court when she was dealing with revealing a truth, but she didn't really like being swamped or hounded by the press that much. She hated having her personal space violated. And she was glad her boss rarely had her do talk shows or give flamboyant interviews. She could do them if she had to, of course, she just didn't like it much.

That was not to say the most politically savvy ADAs in her office with the greatest ambitions didn't jump on the bandwagon every chance they got. People far less talented in court than she. But personally, she was happy to leave that kind of thing for the big-money defenders needing to draw clients. No, dealing with the press wasn't her favorite thing.

The elevator stopped again. More people got on, filling it completely. It made Kendal nervous for Savannah's safety, but the small blonde seemed unfazed. She glanced up at Kendal and saw the concern on her face.

"What's the matter?" Savannah leaned into the tall brunette.

Kendal bent down to her ear but her eyes remained on the others. "Stay...alert."

Savannah looked around in puzzlement then she pinched her lips tightly to prevent a smirk. Her hand went before her mouth to direct her soft words to Kendal. "It's okay. I know these people." She was working hard not to show amusement. "Sides, they all had to get past the guards and through the detectors."

"Can never be too careful," Kendal said. She looked aside, feeling a little foolish at the perceived melodrama of her protectiveness. But she still felt it was better to overdo than to risk Savannah's life by being careless.

"You're right." Savannah's humor disappeared and her gaze became serious. "You're sure about the police department? Leaving it, I mean?"

"Absolutely," Kendal whisked a first-class smile the blonde's way, "I'll do whatever it takes." 'For us to be together' was left unsaid but readily understood by both. The softest brown eyes Savannah had ever seen looked back at her and she knew from what she saw there that Kendal was more than serious about this. She sighed in silent relief.

Savannah could feel her heartbeat increase at the thought of it all. They would need to talk more once they got to her place, of course, to make very sure and to plan their future. Just the day before "future" had meant one plodding day following another ad finitum. Then Kendal had come back and now, what a thrill "future" gave her. She'd known from the start that Kendal was The One for her. But since the tall beauty was a police officer, she never thought they would be able to have a future together.

She took a breath and looked up at the tall, dark, considerably handsome woman with her long, dark hair, high cheek bones, tanned skin, and gorgeous bedroom eyes. So much to discuss but all she wanted to do was kiss this woman senseless, love her completely, fall into her arms and never ever ever let go.

At the ground floor most of the crowd got off the elevator. Several stayed on with them to head to the underground parking area. There would be a police guard there, Kendal was sure. And if not, they weren't getting into Savannah's car until she had checked it out thoroughly. She didn't care how paranoid it sounded.

The elevator reached the enclosed garage and the man with the keys called "bah" and headed for his nearby car. Kendal smiled at that. There was something so charmingly friendly about a Georgian drawl. Savannah fluttered her fingers at the Tagulla policeman on duty and headed Kendal away from the elevator to the far end of the lot where few cars were parked.

"Night, Lloyd," she called cheerfully back at the man. "Have a good weekend."

"Night, Savannah," the man called back. "You, too."

Kendal wondered why Savannah had parked so far from the elevator. Her gaze fell over the few cars where they were headed. Then it hit her. She doesn't want anyone opening their door on it! There was something so ridiculously normal about that idea she wanted to laugh out loud. A ruthless drug lord had threatened Savannah's life and she worried about someone opening their car door against her beautiful sports car and leaving a scratch. It was ludicrous and Kendal loved the small blonde all the more for it.

"What is this?" Kendal asked as Savannah put the key into the lock of the bright red car. "About an 89?" It wasn't new by styling, but the sleek candy apple red was vibrant, the chrome rims on the wheels were lustrous and the vehicle itself was bold and spotless enough to have been driven off a showroom floor that very morning. As old as it was, it looked so new, one could expect it to smell new. This car had been coddled.

Kendal bent and ran a quick look under the car then realized there was a policeman watching down here all day and maybe all night. This wouldn't be the place the drug gang would try anything. There were far better and easier places.

She stood and gave a soft breath of whistle, "Man, these babies are classics." She ran her finger tips affectionately over the black cloth roof then stepped back a step as she let her dark eyes travel over the sleek lines, the smoky windshield, the black leather upholstery, the customized look and feel of the racy, two seat convertible sports car.

Across the roof her eyes caught blue and a swift intake of breath befell her at the smoldering look sent her way. Months she'd dreamed of receiving such a look from the blonde, all those months that she'd been protectively banished without knowing why. Then she could only have dreamed of this. She felt her heart beat increase, her hands began to sweat and her tongue came out to lick her suddenly dry lips. Gods, the effect this woman had on her!

Then her eyes swept past to the police guard watching them from the door of the underground parking. Lloyd. She knew he was part of the security provided the DA's staff by the Tagulla Police Department. The drug lord, Quilabus, a smug, arrogant man whose expanding empire was falling daily to Savannah's relentless prosecutions of lessor players, would finally be going into court himself to face her on Monday morning.

Blue eyes continued to consume the brunette and for a moment there was no reply. Then blonde lashes fluttered and it was as though Savannah had come out of a trance, "Uh, yes, it's an '89 Porsche Carrera Speedster, 5 speed, 6 cylinder, 231 horsepower beauty" the blonde grinned. "It has air conditioning, Turbolook, Fuchs wheels..... It's my gift to myself. The one toy I've always wanted, but can only drive to and from work now that I have to slave away day and night to provide for it."

That was probably true, Kendal thought. DA's, being government workers, did not make that much money, and Assistant DA's made even less. In a way, as a public servant, she was in the same kind of position herself.

Kendal couldn't keep the soft, seductive tone out of her reply. Her eyes were now solidly on the woman she loved, "Truly an amazing beauty!" she breathed, "You have good taste." She found it hard to draw her gaze away from the small blonde but she doubted that society would welcome their ravishing each other right here in the parking lot. And for all the world, that was what she wanted to do. From the look Savannah was returning, the feeling was completely mutual. Kendal forced her attention back to the car.

"Indeed I do have good taste," blue eyes ran over Kendal's six foot one frame. The brunette's dark, almost black hair hung casually loose just below the shoulders of her blue-grey lightweight cotton jacket and the white of the fabric of her linen nero blouse beneath it emphasized Kendal's gracefully long neck while the deep grey of her cotton trousers featured long, never-ending legs.

She was tall and muscular, with amazing eyes rimmed in long dark lashes, and an exquisite complexion of tanned gold. She bore herself with a natural elegance. Yes, Savannah agreed to herself, I have excellent taste. The small blonde DA slid her briefcase behind her seat and took off her coat.

"I swear, it was chilly this morning and now it's downright hot. That's early June for you." She folded her light coat and put it on top of her briefcase behind the seat. Kendal undid her jacket, slipped it off and folded it over her arm.

"Can we go by my hotel and get my bag?"

"Yes," blue eyes again locked with deep brown. "And you can check out. You'll be staying with me."

Kendal had not known earlier that day when she'd arrived in Tagulla whether Savannah would even see her or not. But this time she'd told herself she would stay till they got things worked out. And now they were headed to Savannah's place, together.

"I like that idea."

"Me, too." Savannah climbed in. "Wait till you see. This little baby runs like a dream." She patted the leather covered steering wheel affectionately and dipped forward to give it a small kiss.

Lucky steering wheel! A soft rumbling laugh touched Savannah's heart as Kendal attempted to fold herself into the passenger seat without much success. She climbed back out and they were forced to adjust the seat all the way back so that her legs had enough room.

Savannah chuckled. "It's not used to someone as tall as you." At about five four the small blonde never had trouble fitting into the black leather seats.

"It needs to get used to it." A rakish grin crossed the tall woman's face as she settled back, her legs still somewhat bent. She clicked the seat belt and threw a challenge toward the blonde DA, "So, show me what it's got."

"Oh, sweetheart," Savannah's face lit with an intensity the prior months had not seen. She hooked her seat belt and put the key into the ignition. She turned the key and a deep rumble rose from the vehicle and settled into a growling purr. She shifted into gear, "Be careful what you wish for."


Georgia, land of hot magnolia summers and heavily scented breezes. At birth it was considered her paradise. A young lifetime spent with a coterie of friends and family framed with naught but banal concerns. When did it change? When did it become a prison, or had it always been? Or was it just that Time and Death conspired? The whisper of discontent fanned over Time becomes a gust of fretful dissatisfaction. The alchemy of perspective reduces paradise to its separate parts held under the magnifying lens of age and experience. And the bird stretches its wings contemplating the desire to fly the fences of captivity.


"Yes, officer," Savannah said demurely. "I didn't realize how fast I was going." They were pulled over at the side of the road on the freeway headed to her home. They'd already stopped at the hotel. Kendal had checked out and her duffle bag and suit carrier were in the boot along with her jacket.

"Don't you 'officer' me, Savannah Vollier," the older, husky, uniformed man replied shaking his pen at her. "I must have stopped you a hundred times this last year. You cannot, CANNOT, drive that fast. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, officer," she replied meekly. "But I've never had an accident...not even a little fender bender. Never. And..." she saw his eyes narrow, his lips tighten and his square jaw shift. "Yes, officer," she repeated, sinking back in her seat and looking straight ahead, "You're right, officer."

"Cut it out. Now I warned you before. This time I'm gonna have to do it."

"Oh, come on Efrem," she whined. "I promise I'll be better. Honest."

Kendal watched. It would indeed be embarrassing to have the local ADA saddled with speeding tickets. What kind of message did that send? Savannah was an excellent driver but perhaps this had not been the best place to show off her prowess.

He lifted his eyes from the booklet where he'd been writing. "I've had enough. I told you that last time..."

"Effy?" she fluttered her eye lashes. "Please?"

"Don't try that nonsense on me, little girl."

"Please?" she said again, without fluttering her lashes.

He snorted his disgust. "I'm giving you a warning this time." He gave the tip of his pen a quick lick and continued writing.

"That's all right. You can even give me a ticket if you want. I probably deserve it. Just, please....?"

"You listen here. Your Daddy must be turning in his grave, God rest his soul. I won't say the same for your brother, because he drove too fast, too. But if I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times, if you don't stop this speeding, I'm gonna have to let your Momma know."

"Please, Effy," Savannah looked properly chastised, "Write me a ticket. Go ahead. Just don't tell Momma. I'll never hear the end of it. You know how she can be."

"You should have thought about that before you decided to speed on my section of highway again." He tore the warning off and handed it to her.

"All right, Effy. If you must, you must. But remember, I've been kind of busy taking all these drug cases to court. Sometimes I don't think about my driving when..."

"Uh huh. I've heard that before." He paused and leaned down to the window, his chiseled face sincere, "I know your office is under threat. I'll be real happy when that's all cleared up. I'm sure your Momma finds that hard to deal with."

"Yes, she does. Well, tell Edna and the boys hi for me."

"I will." He folded his book and stepped back. "Now you drive the limit, Savannah, and no more, ya hear?"

"Yes, officer."

"Get out of here," he swatted his book on the roof of her car and turned back to his own vehicle. Savannah started the car and pulled out into traffic, keeping it under the limit.

"He's going to tell your mother?" Kendal asked incredulously. "And that's a problem for you?" She wondered at the relationship Savannah had with her mother. This woman was thirty three, for heaven's sake, and ready to go head to head in court against a vicious drug lord. But Phyllis Ann, the blonde's friend from work, had told Kendal that Savannah and her mother barely got along.

"No," Savannah discounted the idea with a quick grin. "He's not going to tell her. I thought there for a minute he might, but he's not going to. He knows it would be too much on top of this threat we're all living under. He wouldn't want to push her over the edge."

"He's a friend of your mother's, I assume."

There was a long silence as Savannah got a faraway look. "Everybody in Georgia is a friend of my mother's I think," Savannah said softly through clenched teeth. Then she flicked a look at her tall companion, "he was actually a friend of Daddy's. We knew their family growing up."

Kendal nodded. The tall beauty had to admit, her own mother was no picnic to get along with all the time either. Not because she sat on some emotional edge, however. Oh no, her mother was firmly in control of her emotions. Perhaps too firmly. She could be single minded in what she wanted and pushy about getting it. And it was usually Kendal that she pushed.

The car roared into a quiet, residential cul-de-sac. Savannah touched a button on the visor and the garage door of a new-looking, wide, partially brick fronted townhouse, exactly like all the others around it, began to rise. Savannah whipped the car into the garage and they got out. It surprised Kendal a little that the small blonde didn't live in a unique place totally unlike any around her. But she decided this one had probably been selected with safety in mind. It wasn't a bad idea not to stand out too much in her kind of job. Especially since she lived alone.

Kendal lifted her two bags and jacket out of the boot. The blonde pressed a button and they hustled outside to the front of the house as the door lowered behind them. There was no door entrance to the inside from the garage.

Savannah locked the garage door and the two women moved to the front door. The blond pulled out her key. Kendal's eyes tried to take in everything around her. So this was where Savannah lived. They both knew the police would be driving by often since the threat had been directed at Savannah, and particularly since both her brother and father had been on the force. They did like to take care of their own. The small blonde had no particular fear of any of it. "They always threaten," Savannah had said. "Don't worry about it. The boys are keepin' an eye on them."

Kendal ran her eyes over the furnishings as they stepped into the townhouse. She put her bags to the side and dropped her jacket on top. She slipped off her hip holster, gun and all, and slid it into her duffle bag. They had talked about furnishings during their numerous phone calls during the months after they'd met and before Savannah discovered what job Kendal held, so there was a certain familiarity to everything. But Kendal'd never actually been here before.

The stairway was by the entry. To the side of the entry was the living room. Looking deeper into the house Kendal could see the beginnings of a small dining room behind the stairs where the garage must have ended. Behind that was a kitchen with an eating area leading into what must be a family room. The rooms at the far end all had doors and windows leading to the back yard.


The family spoke of it with somber eyes, frightened voices and a shake of their heads, this intangible superstition that had lived in their line for years. And for those that joined, that married in but didn't believe, wouldn't believe, they recognized the deficiency and prayed it was not fatal. Others, outsiders, believers all, waited then took a hidden comfort in the malice when it touched the nonbelievers' lives. "They knew what would happen and they ignored it."


Savannah got the front door shut, punched in the alarm code and dropped her briefcase. "Cool today, nearly 90 tomorrow. That's Tagulla for you." Her fiery blue eyes snared Kendal's brown, she let her light summer coat fall to the floor and stepped into Kendal's open arms. She leaned into the enveloping hold of the tall woman. At last. They were free to embrace.

She reached her mouth up to Kendal's and a soft, lingering, kiss erupted into a firestorm of need as a tension too long denied began to build in each. Kendal's arms moved down around the blonde's waist and tightened, pulling her up, lifting her into the kiss. Savannah wrapped her arms around the tall brunette's neck, one hand braced on Kendal's shoulder, the other on the brunette's cheek, as her lips passionately claimed ownership of Kendal's mouth and her tongue demanded entrance.

As their passion accelerated, Kendal turned, pressing the smaller woman against the door, wedging her more tightly into place with her knee. She ran her hands under the blonde's lightweight suit jacket, then tried to reach under the blouse, needing to feel the warmth and flesh of the woman she had ached to touch for so long. Her breathing shortened as she worked at freeing the blonde of the confines of her clothes. Savannah helped by whisking the two buttons undone on her jacket and pulling the end of her blouse from inside her skirt. Then she grabbed at Kendal's nero-necked shirt to peel it off over her head, paying no heed to unbuttoning it.

"Dear heavens," Kendal breathed as their lips parted to take a breath.

"Upstairs. C'mon," Savannah was freed and started them up the stairs, kissing, stroking, desiring with such intensity their bodies moved together like magnets. She pulled Kendal's sports bra over her head then went back to the kiss as she fumbled to undo the tall woman's trousers. There was an almost painful urgency to their needs. Savannah's jacket, blouse and skirt were dropped before they hit the top of the stairs. Clothes were discarded as Savannah guided them toward the master bedroom.

At the door Kendal impatiently whipped the small blonde up into her arms and carried her to the bed, where the last of their clothing was discarded and they paused to admire each other lovingly before they gave in to the depth of cravings their absence over the long, hard months they'd been apart had inflamed.

It was primal, this first frantic pairing. Savanna turned out to be all the wild cat Kendal could handle. And as the evening wore on, the tall brunette had various nips and scratches to prove it! She wouldn't have traded them for her life as they repeatedly drove each other to raging distraction and ultimate satisfaction.

Afterward they lay cradled in each other's arms, gently stroking, softly kissing, tenderly caressing one another, till passion once again flamed. Around midnight another kind of hunger caught their attention.

"C'mon, let's go shower and I'll fix you something to eat." Savannah ran her hand tenderly across Kendal's cheek, gave her a quick kiss, then sat up and moved to the edge of the bed.

"Shower? I thought you liked the scent of sweat in sex," Kendal teased as she began to arise. Savannah had said just that to her the day they'd first met across the country in Edgeway. Of course, the small blonde had been completely under the influence at the time.

"What?" Savannah whirled around and stared at the tall beauty.

"That's what you told me," Kendal grinned, noting the incredulous look on the small blonde's face. "You said, 'I like the smell of sweat in sex, don't you?'"

"I did not!" Savannah's hand came to her face and her neck, ears and cheeks began to turn beet red.

Kendal chuckled, "Sure you did. But no big deal." She could see that Savannah was sincerely embarrassed. She leaned forward to kiss the bare shoulder of the small blond, who was modestly wrapping the corner of the bedspread around herself. "Surely you folks in Georgia sweat. It's a good, honest scent."

"Well, this is the south. Of course we do." Savannah ran a hand through her hair, "but we don't talk about it! Gracious sakes, a well brought up young lady would not be caught dead talking about such a thing!"

Kendal laughed outright. "Well, you were pretty far gone when you mentioned it in Edgeway. In fact, I believe you passed out directly afterward."

"Oh, Kendal," Savannah buried her face in her hands. "I can't believe all the things that happened there." She peeked through her spread fingers, "Is there no end to the embarrassment I caused myself at that stupid convention?" She unburied her face and stated with conviction, "I do not talk like that and I do not normally drink much either. And certainly never to intoxication! Stars! I don't even like alcohol all that well. Then I go to a convention clean across the country and act like I'm a demented fool or something!"

"I thought you were cute," Kendal scooted close and wrapped her arms around the small woman from behind. "And besides, I wouldn't have met you if you hadn't gone to that convention." She kissed the top of the blonde's head. "You know, if I weren't so hungry, I'd say skip the food." She nibbled the blonde's neck. Savannah leaned her head back to give more access to her neck. "But you do need to put back some of the weight you've lost and I've worked up quite an appetite myself." Kendal's stomach growled to prove her point. "On the other hand, I have such an appetite for you..."

"C'mon, my love. Let's shower and I'll cook." Savannah pulled away from the embrace. "I can't let my lover go without sustenance, you know," she patted Kendal's flat, muscled stomach. "I have had some upbringing," then she added under her breath, "though you'd never know it from the way I acted at that stupid convention."

Kendal laughed, jumped from the bed and pulled her into a passionate kiss before they moved into the shower.

In the kitchen Kendal's torrid gaze followed the small blonde as she fixed them omelets topped with sour cream and diced tomatoes. The blonde was wearing Kendal's blouse with the mascara smudges on the front and nothing more. It was far too big for her. Kendal wore a clean tee shirt and boxers she'd grabbed from her duffle bag.

Savanna put the food before the tall brunette and Kendal began to eat once Savannah picked up her own fork. "Umm, this is wonderful. You are a good cook."

"I like to cook. Thank you."

"Mmm," Kendal answered for emphasis. "Okay, I've been thinking. How about this? When I'm done testifying, I'll quit and..," Kendal had her own drug trials to deal with in various cities along the west coast and that was going to take several months. Her multi jurisdictional task force had unearthed a large drug running ring with connections to the Orient. Arrests had been made and they were now getting ready to take them all to court.

"You've put so much into your career," Savannah's shoulders sunk as she sent a deeply apologetic look, "here you're one of the youngest Captain's in your department."

"I've been very lucky, honey. I always have been. Right place, right time. That kind of thing."

"You put in a lot of hard work, Kendal. That wasn't luck. How many Captains does Edgeway have?"

"Three," Kendal replied, continuing to eat. "Counting me. Lots of others have put in hard work, too, and haven't been as lucky. But I'm ready to do something else. So whatever it is I end up doing, it won't trigger your thing about the Threes. You won't have to worry."

"You believe in luck?" Savannah asked.

"Uh, yeah, I guess."

"Then you understand about the curse."

"Uh, well sortta, uh, maybe, I guess. It doesn't matter, cause like I said, I'm ready to leave the force, so it doesn't apply to me."

"But you are an officer right now," Savannah said slowly. Worry stalked her features. "Hopefully nothing will be triggered cause we're together now." She took a bite of her toast and waited for Kendal to meet her gaze.

Kendal's face became pensive. She wanted to make this point without offending Savannah, "Did you know that there's a tribe in Africa that believes that a man has the power to turn his beliefs into truth? And more often than not, they do." She looked at Savannah with a soft smile, "We call such things self-fulfilling prophecies. So you say 'rule of three' and I say 'third time's the charm'."


Kendal saw the alarmed look on Savannah's face.

"I'm not making light of your family's beliefs, honey. I just think we should be careful what we give weight to." She stopped Savannah's ready reply by raising her hand, "Besides, we don't have to debate this because it won't apply. See, I won't give you a ring and we won't set the date till after the trials are over and I'm no longer with the police force. Then we'll go to Vermont or Canada and have a ceremony. Then...THEN...I'll be a part of your family. Right now, I'm not, so this curse or whatever your family calls it does not apply to me."

"The Threes," Savannah said warningly. "You can't toy with this, Kendal."

"No. I don't intend to." Kendal did not believe in any of it, really. But Savannah's family believed it absolutely, so it was up to Kendal to be willing to change her life if she wanted to spend the rest of what she hoped would be a very long and happy, productive lifetime with Savannah. And she knew beyond any doubt that she was more than willing to change her life for that chance at happiness.

"I feel so badly about asking you to quit, sweetheart." Savannah looked up from her plate, "I wouldn't, if it weren't so frightening. Please understand."

"I do. But it seems to me that these threats your office and you in particular have had from this Quilabus character are every bit as threatening. You need to be more cautious." Kendal's mind slipped to other drug lords that she had known. They were never people to be taken lightly, these traffickers. Violent, ego ridden, power hungry, vicious men with no regard whatsoever for human life. Although, one was not to quake in the shadows at such men's words, either. Due vigilance was the proper course, in her mind.

Savannah smiled. "The force is on top of this, honey. We're all on alert."

"Well, you've got the big tamale. He's not someone to take casually."

"I don't. The boys in blue will protect me, uh, folks in blue I mean. We do have women on the force. They've been doing a careful job."

Kendal nodded. She was one of the folks in blue in her own home town and she guessed that Savannah would be all right since Tagulla's police force seemed to be extremely cautious in this case. Still, there were instances...

"Sometimes police can be bought..."

Savannah's jaw lifted and her eyes flashed with something that showed she was on the edge of being offended, "This was my Daddy's and Bud's force. Believe me, none of these people are going to sell me out."

Kendal nodded. Yes, that was probably true. Even though she knew some of the women officers called Savannah the Ice Bitch, not understanding why she wouldn't date women officers, loyalty still ran very high in the ranks of the blue. Her family was their own. That had to add even greater incentive. Savannah was undoubtedly right. "Okay, just be careful."

"I will be." A sexy wink came Kendal's way.

They finished eating and their eyes danced again with need, their conversation quickly forgotten. They'd had so little opportunity to be together that neither wanted to spend what little time they had discussing anything that might keep them apart. Kendal got up and moved behind the small blonde as she put their dishes in the sink. The tall brunette swept blonde hair back and ran soft kisses along the blonde's neck, feeling Savannah shiver at the touch of her lips on just the right place.

The tempest of desire that was tempered for a time, was never far off. Their ardent glances drew them back together and as they embraced, Kendal again swept the blonde up the stairs to the bedroom. The terror that had forced Savannah to push the tall beauty away for all those months in the first place was once again held at bay, though Kendal had seen some haunted glimpses of it in Savannah's eyes when they talked. But there was no doubt in her mind. She would quit the police force and they would have their chance to live happily ever after.

Their next rounds of lovemaking were far more tender and in many ways much more beloved. They savored each touch, each kiss, each moan, each whimper and ultimately each release. So far as two people could become one, this was it. Their hearts were overflowing and their bodies moved in concert beyond the realm of the merely physical, the merely pleasurable. They whispered their words of love and shared prolonged instances of pure joy and contentment. Just before dawn they fell asleep in each other's arms.

At seven thirty the phone rang. Savannah barely moved but Kendal began to sit up. Savannah pulled her back down. "Let it go," she whispered. "It'll be mother. The machine will pick up."

The ringing stopped and they heard the sound of an older woman's voice, "Savannah, I know you're there. I can't understand why a daughter would not want to speak to her mother. What have I done that would make you behave that way? No one else's daughter treats them this way."

Savannah sighed, sat up, closed her eyes and blew out a breath of exasperation as she reached for the phone. Kendal reached out a hand and rubbed the blonde's back.

"Have I not done enough for you?" her mother was asking.

"Hello, Mother."

"You were there the whole time, just like I thought. I will never understand what prompts you to treat your mother so horribly."

"I was asleep," Savannah said calmly. "It's my day off."

"Well, you can't spend your life in bed. It's time to be up and about."

"Was there something special you needed, Mother?" she asked, trying to hide the peevishness in her voice. She could almost hear her mother rankle at the question and added quickly, "I don't mean to sound curt. I've got a large case coming up next week..."

"Hmpf." Her mother's voice sounded only slightly ameliorated. "I, of all people know that. Surely you know what a constant worry and what an ordeal your job is for me. After all we've already been through. I've called all your father's old buddies and they assure me that they are watching out for us. They know how difficult this is for our family. They know how I worry."

"Yes, I understand. So, uh, was there something in particular that you called about, or did you just call to chat?"

"No, I dare say you would hardly do me the honor of chatting with me, as busy as you seem to be these days."

Savannah clenched a fistful of sheet in her hand. She shifted the phone to the other ear. "Uh, yes, we are very busy at the office right now. You're right. We're taking a drug lord to court and I'm the lead prosecutor. But then, you know that." She could hear the raucous sounds of small dogs barking furiously in the background. "What's wrong with Brewster and Brister? Is someone there?" Her mother's two small poodles were noted for their yapping.

"No. They're just barking at the squirrels in the backyard. They're so cute. They're just like your father those two, up with the dawn. Fluffy, Raymond and Miss Purrfect are, too."

Her menagerie. Only ones not mentioned are her birds. "Yes," Savannah yawned and leaned down to place a quick kiss on Kendal's ear. Kendal's eyes were shut but she was listening. She nuzzled Savannah back and draped an arm over the blonde's bare leg, slowly moving her fingertips up the inside of the blonde's toned thigh. Savannah instantly captured the hand and brought it to her lips for a tender kiss.

"What I'm calling about is the Georgia Ladies of the Magnolia Memorial coming up." That was her mother's garden club, a group of local ladies who met to discuss their gardens and any gossip they could accumulate.


"Yes. Now you be sure and get your hair done. It looked a little on the messy side when you were on t.v. the other day. I had several of the neighbors mention it to me and I was so embarrassed. And don't forget to get your nails done. Wear that sweet blue polka dot dress you have. It looks very good on you. Your sister will be wearing her pink flowered dress. You know the one. And she's getting new clothes for the children so they can look presentable. And don't forget your gloves. I don't want the girls to think my daughters don't know how to dress properly for a memorial event."

"What memorial event?"

"Just everyone is going to be there. The Mayor, all those folks at City Hall. And Bitty said her son might be back in town and will be bringing some of the fellows..."


"He's your age, Savannah."


There was a long pause and then a heavy sigh. "I don't know why you keep up that nonsense, when you could find a good husband and settle down. Young men ask me about you all the time. But, all right, maybe there'll be some nice young....uh,....whatever there. It's time you had children, Savannah. The clock is ticking. You're not getting any younger, you know. Before you know it, your chance will be passed by."

"What memorial, Mother?"

"That's what I've been talking about. This year the Georgia Ladies of the Magnolia decided to donate three beautiful rose bushes to City Hall. They're being donated in your father and brother's memory. So, of course, you'll need to be there for the ceremony."

After her brother and father's untimely deaths, there had been several large and small memorials held in their honor, most provided by the city itself or organizations in the city and all of which were greatly appreciated by their family. But this was the first that she'd heard about this one. "When is this ceremony?"

"Thursday afternoon at two o'clock. Don't forget to schedule a hair appointment before then."

"Thursday? We'll be in court. Couldn't your club have this on Saturday? You always do something like this. This is a very important trial, mother. We've waited a long time to put this guy before a jury."

"Your little trial is more important than your father and brother? Is that what you're saying?"

"Of course not. But it's been about fifteen years and there've been other memorials, so it's not like there needs to be a big rush. Can't you see how both elements could be served if you changed it to Saturday?"

"The people in City Hall would not be there on Saturday. Nor would the gardener. Of course we'll have it during the week when they can all attend."

Savannah frowned. "The gardener?"

"Of course. He has to plant the roses. He doesn't work on Saturday."

Savannah shut her eyes and sighed heavily. "Couldn't your garden club plant the roses? Isn't that what they do? It makes sense to me. This creates a big problem for me. This trial is..."

"Well, just tell the judge. Surely he'll let you go to attend a ceremony in your own father's and brother's memories."

"I want to honor Bud and Daddy, Mother, but don't you see how difficult this makes it? The Mayor could still come on the weekend. I'm sure he'd be pleased to come back for this. And so would his staff. I'll even pay the gardener myself, if he'll come Saturday afternoon to plant the roses."

"You don't want to attend?"

"I didn't say that."


Savannah sighed. "You know how important Daddy and Bud are to me. And I think roses are a beautiful memorial for them. But the taxpayers are heavily invested in this trial. So, just changing the ceremony to Saturday would make it a worry free event all around."


"I know it's not what you want, Mother. But it makes sense, and you know it does."

"I can't believe my own daughter would not want to attend a ceremony honoring her father and brother. I know you wouldn't do it for me, but I thought that at the very least you'd do it for them."


Oh gods, pour it on, why don't you? Savannah thought. "Saturday would be better for Carrie Lynn, too. Think about it. Then Goodson can be there with her and the children. He's not taking off work for Thursday, is he?"

"It's not his father and brother."

"It's his father-in-law. Their whole family could be in attendance if you had it on Saturday. You're always saying how impressed your neighbors are when you're out with them and the children in public. Everyone mentions it. Remember, you told me that when you emphasized that I had no husband and family to show off and it embarrassed you. Here's a chance for them to stand right beside you as a happy family. You know you want that, Mother."


"It can't be all that hard to change the day to Saturday. You had to have just scheduled it, since I'm only hearing about it now."

"Are you trying to break my heart?" Her mother's accusatory words came over the line then the line went dead.

"Ahhhhhhhhhh!" Savannah yelled through gritted teeth. "No, Mother, I'm not trying to break your heart!" She slammed the phone back down on the cradle. "I'm trying to save my sanity!" She sat for a few minutes, scowling and breathing through her nose. "Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn."

"Should you call her back?" Kendal asked, sitting up.

"No," Savannah glanced over at the woman in bed with her. "She's on a 'you're breaking my heart' jag now. She'll have to work her way through that before I can talk to her again. She'll call a million people and get them all to agree that Thursday's the perfect day. She won't mention me or the trial at all. Others might, but she'll gently persuade them. Sometimes, I swear, I'm getting out of this place before I smother to death."

Kendal nodded. "When we're joined, we can live in Edgeway. That should be far enough away."

"I can hardly wait!"

"Me, too. Come back to sleep, honey. It will be all right."

The blonde looked at Kendal for a minute then she softly smiled. "Yes," she agreed, snuggling against Kendal as they both settled under the sheet. She whispered, "I love you, you know that? Where you go, I follow."

"Mmm, love you, too, darlin'," Kendal replied. "More than anything." She wrapped her arms around the small blonde, rubbed her back, and they settled back to sleep. Though she was restless for a bit, Savannah did fall back to sleep. Three hours later the phone rang again.

"That's Carrie Lynn," Savannah said wearily. She didn't even open her eyes. "She's calling to warn me about this memorial thing."

As the machine clicked on, the voice of a younger woman was heard telling Savannah about the memorial and warning her that their mother was pitching a conniption fit about the whole thing. "She's called the Mayor," Carrie Lynn said, "and the judge's wife....the judge that's heading your trial. I don't know, Sis, don't be surprised if they adjourn the trial that afternoon to allow for this great honor being bestowed on our family. Better get your hair done. Hey, I have to buy new clothes for the kids because nothing we have is "suitable". Honest to Pete, I think these're just some five dollar roses Mom and the old biddies got at some local nursery. But I guess if it's in Daddy and Bud's memories..."

"Yes," Savannah scowled at the machine, making no effort to pick up the receiver, "but she could schedule it on Saturday." She whipped the sheet off Kendal and ran a string of kisses down the flat stomach of the tall brunette making Kendal's insides flutter. The blonde's head lifted and her blue eyes met Kendal's.

"Hey, you all right?" Small lines gathered around Kendal's eyes as she looked with concern at the rigidness now in Savannah. She reached out a hand and began to gently stroke the nearby arm of the smaller woman.

"She's not moving in with us, no matter what."

"No," Kendal agreed. "Neither's my mother."

Savanna turned over, lay back and folded her hands on her stomach. "What is it, Kendal? Why do I find my Mother so difficult to deal with? We've always gotten along like Gang Busters. The neighbors support her in everything she does, her garden club adores her, the police force thinks of her as their own mother in residence. They fuss over her like you wouldn't believe. Why do I have so much trouble?"

Kendal smiled. "I can see your side of this. I don't understand hers. But then sometimes one looks and the more they look, the less they see. Why don't you try shutting your eyes and tell me what your heart sees."

Savanna lay quietly with her eyes shut for a while. Then she sighed. "I see a somewhat lonely old lady who wants to run her children's lives so things go just her way in every instance. And I see a woman who drives me totally bonkers. But she's my Mother and for all her little quirks and large annoyances, I love her. Sometimes I wish she'd remarry, though." Her eyes opened and she shot a glance at the ceiling, "I'm sorry, Daddy, but I do. It's been fifteen years. She needs to have someone to fuss over."

"Would your father have objected to her remarrying?"

"No, I don't think he would. I think he'd want her happy, whatever it took. And if the situation were reversed, I'm certain he'd have remarried long since. I thought for a while that she was interested in Bobby Lee Gordling. He's an older neighbor down the street that was widowed quite a while back. They get along well. She always gets him to do odd jobs for her around the house. She fixes dinner for him sometimes."

"Mmm," Kendal replied.

"How she talked to me, that big guilt trip she tried to lay, she's not necessarily like that with others. She has a whole different public persona. She can be absolutely delightful. Course, for as long as I can remember, she's gotten along with Carrie Lynn, too, and fought tooth and nail with me. But then Carry Lynn complains to me but does positively everything Mother asks of her without saying a word of protest to her. Daddy used to say, 'Your mother has her peculiarities like all of us. It's just best to do like she asks.' But I could never seem to do that, graciously or otherwise. It always took an argument and even then I didn't usually give in."

"Bet your Mom didn't give in that much, either."

"No, she didn't. We'd lock horns and then it was always a standoff. She still doesn't give in. Daddy was always the one that smoothed things over." Savannah's eyes flashed open and she looked with worry at Kendal. "Do you think I'm turning into my Mother? I've heard that happens, you know."

"No," Kendal chuckled, "I don't think you're anything like your Mother. I think you're uniquely yourself." A quick kiss on Savannah's nose brought a return smile followed by a scowl.

"Good. And she's still not moving in with us." Her jaw thrust out and there was a definite stubbornness to her voice.

"Well, now, see, now you do sortta sound like your mother," Kendal laughed. "No, no, I'm just kidding. It's okay with me. Really. I don't think she should move in with us either. Nor should my mother. Unless they become disabled or something and need to have the help."

"Oh, heavens. Don't say that. My mother would be disabled the very next day."

Kendal chuckled. "Why would she want to move in with the child she gets along with the least?"

"Challenge?" Savannah suggested. "And because Goodson's not about to have her move in with them."

"Let's consider those bridges when we come to them," Kendal reached a hand to Savannah's face. Slowly her lips moved till they touched Savannah's softly as though the experience were new to them both. Her tongue brushed the blonde's lower lip and Savannah's mouth opened instinctively, welcoming the heated rush the meeting of their tongues brought. The blonde's hands worked their way around Kendal's waist and their bodies settled comfortably together.

The soft swish of the overhead fan sent rivulets of moving air across their heated bodies, and a long arm pulled the sheet back over them.

When the kiss ended Savannah's soft voice asked, "Do you have any idea how much I love you?"

"Did you want to convince me?" Kendal tempted, "Actions speak louder than words."

"Shhh," Savannah said and proceeded to move into action.

Later sleep again claimed them. When they awoke and showered to go down to eat again, Kendal rustled through her duffle bag. "I have something for you."

Savannah poked her head out of the bathroom, "For me?"

"Uh, yes, but I'm not sure how you'll react to it. It means a whole lot to me." Kendal took out a small buff colored vest.

"A bulletproof vest?" Savannah asked, standing in the doorway wrinkling her nose. "It's not exactly the kind of thing that turns a girl's head."

"Yes. Uh, I know, but just listen, okay? It's better to be safe than sorry. You've had a credible threat against you and you would be wise to wear this. You've lost a lot of weight and it would fit under your clothes and not really show that much depending on what you wore. These're made especially to not show." She looked at Savannah's doubtful face. "Please, baby?"

"I can't wear that," Savannah said seriously. "Don't you see? I can't give the message in court that we're running scared. Quilabus would love it. No, I can't do it. Honey, I'm sorry."

"Uh, well, all right. Not in court then. But how about going and coming? You could wear it under that summer coat you had on yesterday. It wouldn't show. I promise. See, they're designed to not show." She turned the vest around so Savannah could see all sides. "You could slip it on under your coat and button your coat to the top. It would mean the world to me. Please? For me?"

"Do you have one?"

"Yes, of course." She lifted another larger one from her bag.

"You wear yours to and fro from the various courts you're going to and I'll do my best to wear that one when I can."

"I always do," Kendal said seriously.

"Well, I'm not promising every day, Kendal. I'm not a police officer, I'm an attorney. But I'll do my best." She stepped back inside to throw on some clothes.

"The DA's office is as close to being police as an attorney gets. But okay, sweetheart. I know you'll wear it when you can, cause you promised. So I'll hold you to it."

Savannah came out of the bathroom in Kendal's tee shirt. She kissed the tall brunette quickly then pulled on her hand. "My promise is sacred to me. Just understand, if something special comes up and I have to wear something that won't allow it, or if the weather's too hot, and I have to wear something light, then I can't wear the vest or Quilabus' people will know and it will be a big psychological loss for us. We can't afford any of those. We're already fighting against millions of dollars of defense lawyers. But I'll do my best to wear it every chance I can...for...you. Come on. I'll fix you a meal like you've never had before in your life. I'm starving."

Kendal pulled her hand away. "Hold on, I have to dig out a clean tee shirt. Someone I know is wearing the one I had on earlier."

Savannah laughed. "Yes, and I'm keeping it." She moved to the stairs, "So don't plan on getting it back. Hurry up. Food'll be ready a'fore ya know it."

"I'm hurrying."

Kendal was pleased to see Savannah eat heartily. She was very thin from the weight she'd lost when she thought she'd never see Kendal again. Now her spectacular appetite seemed to be back in force.

The bruschetta was delicious, served warm with melted cheese, banana pepper and crunchy dried tomato crumble. Followed by seared tuna steaks covered with Savannah's special secret sauce, done to perfection and served with professionally presented side dishes. Kendal was amazed. Savannah could get a job as a top-class chef, if she wanted.

After their gourmet meal they moved to the family room and sat on the bay window bench overlooking the fenced backyard. Kendal leaned against the wall and Savannah sat between her legs. Kendal wove her arms around the blonde and they snuggled together, carefully making their plans for the future.

They spoke of the job that Kendal was most interested in taking once she quit. It would be serving as Commander of a multi-organizational group working against crime, particularly drug crimes. It was not a police job though it dealt with international crime, nor was it an FBI job, nor a DEA job, although both would be involved. This time it seemed to be a job inspired by the armed services. It would be more on the line of a modified Special Forces job. One that Kendal, unfortunately to her mind, would be conducting mostly from behind a desk.

Savannah leaned back feeling very protected in Kendal's arms. She stroked the beauty's strong, muscled arms, nuzzled back against her chest and tried not to get too distracted by the scent and feel of the beauty she was leaning against. As an attorney, questioning came easily to her and she had many questions to ask about this job. In the end she was satisfied that it would not trigger her family's "Threes" curse.

They talked about Savannah getting a new job, first in the Houston area where Kendal's new job would be located and then in the Northwest where Kendal hoped they might spend the rest of their lives. The tall beauty was sure the DA's office from Edgeway or any of five nearby metropolitan areas would be interested in her services.

Savannah wondered how hard it would be for Kendal to have her special job working out of Houston and still start a family. The blonde wanted to get pregnant as soon as they possibly could do it. Would Kendal's job keep her away too much? Kendal was delighted with the idea of starting a family and was sure they could work around anything. Financially they both had good savings and would be able to have just one person work, and Kendal vowed to be home as much as possible.

Finally Savannah could stand it no longer and she turned in Kendal's arms. Desires arose and before they knew it they were making passionate love on the family room floor. Afterward they groaned and decided they were too old for that kind of nonsense. It left their bodies feeling bruised from the hard surface they'd rolled around on. So they held hands and, laughing, carried snacks with them upstairs to the bedroom.

Much of their time that day and the next was spent whispering sweet nothings to one another and making love. Savannah cooked and they ate well. There were calls from people in Savannah's office that she took but kept short. Everyone was worried about the big week ahead. This was the trial of the decade for them all. But the bulk of Saturday and Sunday was spent in bed exploring each other's greatest desires and sharing a love they both felt to the deepest level of their being.

And while there was a great deal that had to do with sex, much of it was not about sex at all. They had both had sex with others before. This was something worlds apart. This was a love that knew it was loving. This was inspirational, magnetic, unifying, a depth of feeling so deep that it touched the essential quality of their existence. They had come home to each other. They had found where their hearts belonged. They knew what they'd known from the beginning, they belonged together and they were thoroughly in love.


Beware the Sirens' song, that most bewitching, luring melody promising footholds for the future. Such optimism can be both a mecca and a mirage. How many have heeded not the warning and found themselves upon the rocks? Is it only devilish impudence that dares tweak the chains of superstition without risking turning the fury loose? The scribes can assert. The errant winds of fortune allow nothing to escape their baptism.


Continued in Chapter 2


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