Disclaimer: these girls are mine, they may look familiar and act familiar but they are all mine. Cause we know the world is chock full o’ fine looking chicks like these, right? All characters and situations are my original works and any resemblance to persons living or deceased is purely coincidental. Fossil Fuel is Ó2004 Black Cherry aka M. Nichols all rights reserved.

Language: yes, I use the “F” word

Sex: Of course there is sex, the hot and nasty kind. Depictions of consenting adults participating in same sex unions and possibly light BDSM scenarios, so if you are vanilla, be warned that this is dark chocolate, both bitter and sweet.

Violence: some and shit gets blown up too!



By Black Cherry


Dr. Drelica Truman woke up to the blistering West Texas sun beating down onto her face as the flap to her pavilion went wild in the wind. She opened one eye then looked at her watch. She cursed under her breath for over sleeping, and rolled out of the cot onto her feet.  She put her hat and shades on and dunked her kerchief into the ice chest before tying it around her neck.  “Well“, she said aloud, “Another day, another dinosaur.”

She exited her pavilion and headed to the camp HQ tent, stopping at the craft services tent for a bottle of water and an apple along the way.

She and her team were four weeks into the digging season, and this year, she was determined to bring in a significant find to the museum.  She had hoped to find an intact specimen of the famed deinosuchus, a prehistoric gigantic crocodilian animal that would be similar to the modern alligator, but about eight times the size of it’s modern cousins.  West Texas held many specimens in its fossil plains, and they had already found pieces from the Utah Raptor as well as the migrating Casmasaur.  Dr. Truman knew that these specimens would bring in a lot of additional funding for her dig, so she expedited their retrieval to get the backers wet for more bones.

She nibbled at her apple and gazed at the vista of mountains, cacti and rock that was the barren part of west Texas, and wondered who and what had been here before her sharing in the same view.  She really loved being in the field, and the excitement of discovery; it made her feel alive and close to nature. Her thoughts turned to herself and her personal life and she realized that she was lonely for another soul to share all of this with. But who could love a dino nut like her? She laughed to herself.  Maybe one day I will find my own painted savage, she thought as she walked on to start her day.

She stepped inside out of the bright desert sun and adjusted her eyes. “Well Mark, what have you got for me today?” She asked her intern, Mark Stevens. “Looks like we might have found a nest of some kind, Doc—we got and image of what looks like eggs.” He said, turning the flat screen for her to view over his shoulder.

“Mmmmmm, yes, but—what kind, I wonder?” She said tracing her finger over the image on the screen.  “I guess we won’t know ‘til we start digging.”

A few hours later, Drelica was looking at a map of the region and making some notes. She had worked out a theory as to where her elusive creature might have left fossil evidence of its existence.

“Mark, I think we’re going to have to go further up the creek bed and start prelims if we’re going to expand the dig site. Maybe you and I can drive up there after lunch?” Dr. Truman said, taking a water break from the grueling heat.  The days were long and hot, and the nights were cold and lonely, but Drelica Truman loved her work. She loved getting to play dinosaur hunter, and get paid for it!

“Sure, Doc, we can leave as soon as you’re ready.” Said Mark, putting the last bit of plaster over the top of his portion of the dig. “Okay, this baby is all wrapped up.”

Drelica examined the protective cast and nodded. “You’re getting good at this, Mark” she complimented. “It’s a good thing too, cause I have a theory I am working on. We may have quite a few more dig sites to cover.”

Mark smiled. He was young and eager, a geology/paleontology major out of Rice University, and the best kind of help: free. Interns actually paid to go on digs with the Houston museum. In fact, anyone with the cash and the time could go. Usually it was some rich Texan wanting a father/son-bonding trip and there’s no deer season in summer. Drelica thanked her lucky stars, she hadn’t been saddled with green know it alls this season. 

After lunch, Mark drove the Jeep Wrangler around to Drelica’s office tent and loaded up the maps, charts and water jugs. He threw a few bags of ice in the cooler and grabbed some chips and fruit from the craft service tent as well.

“Okay Doc, “ He said as he entered her office, “I got us loaded up. So I’m ready when you are.”

“Great, Mark, “ she said absently as she continued to click out an email on her laptop.  She finished composing her last email and hit send.  She felt a sudden urge to type out an email to Torrid Duncan, but realized she did not have her email address; she frowned. “Okay—Did you pack us a tent and over night stuff?”

“Oh I didn’t realize it was going to be an overnight, Doc; I’ll have to go back and grab my stuff. Have I got time?” He asked.

“Sure, just come back by when you’re ready. My gear is out front…throw it in the jeep for me will you?”

Mark nodded and exited the tent. Drelica sat with her chin in her hand for long moment thinking. Well shit, I think I’ll just call her…maybe she’s back from her trip. She picked up her satellite phone and dialed Torrid’s home number. Crap…voicemail…. Thank God!

Torrid Duncan was never so glad to see home in her life. She stepped out of the taxi and walked up to the back steps of her flat. She dragged her luggage up and opened the door.  Stepping inside, the took off her jacket and checked the messages on her answering machine, while she fell back on the bed with a lazy moan, she listened to them play back. There was nothing special, save one:
*beep* “Torrid, uh…hi, it’s Dr. Truman—I mean, Drelica. Uh..Just wanted to wish you a safe flight back and to remind you that I asked you to call me sometime. I know this is corny, but …uh…yeah…okay, Bye now!”

Torrid raised and eyebrow and the corners of her mouth curled into a smile.  She lit a cigarette and thought about the good Doctor Truman. She was cute, no doubt, smart, and spirited. She was also; however, her ex’s sister. She frowned at the thought of Monica. Six weeks had been more than enough time to get her out of Torrid’s system, and she wasn’t in any hurry to revisit the land of fucked upedness.  But was that fair to Drelica? After all, she had been fucked over by Monica too, and she was not her sister. Torrid liked her, she had to admit to herself, but was she ready?  Would it even begin to work? If Monica had been vanilla, Drelica must be pure extract!

“Fuck it,” Torrid said, “Too much to think about now. I just want to chill out and go get my dog.” She dialed her cell and waited for Liz to answer. “I’ll think about that later.”

“Hey Liz, It’s me—I’m back.” She said. “Can I come get my big baby?” Torrid smiled, “Okay, I am on my way.”

Torrid hung up the phone and fished out the keys to her bike. She hadn’t ridden in weeks and was really looking forward to it. She’d have to put the sissy bar up for Lock Jaw and take the back streets home, but the big oaf loved riding. She thought of his drooling face and smiled.

Dr. Truman and Mark drove 30 miles up the creek bed to an isolated spot that dated back to the cretaceous period. Soil specimens revealed the right kind of layers in which to begin a wider search.  They spent the remainder of the day charting, mapping and gathering samples; photographing the area and scouting out a base camp location.

“Well, this is definitely our next stop, Mark, “ Drelica said as she threw her tools into the back of the jeep. “I think we can start here in two weeks and hopefully keep this dig site rolling for a few more seasons if it’s as fossil rich as I suspect.”

“Awesome!” Mark said in agreement as he munched on his cheetos.

“It’s getting dark, Let’s make camp and get some food cooking, eh?” She prodded.

“Sure Doc, sure!” he said, as he got up from his squat and began to unload the over night gear.

A half hour later they had erected a cozy camp with a pop up canopy and two dome tents. Drelica crawled into hers and spread out her bedroll, and shoved her duffle into the corner. Corner, she thought, it’s a round tent, how can it have a corner?  Then she scolded herself, good lord, Drelica, you need to get laid! She chuckled.

Mark heated the usual camping cuisine, beans and biscuits and put on a pot of coffee while Drelica groomed the dirt of the day off of herself the best she could without the solar shower. She sponged bathed on the far side of the jeep and put on a clean pair of cargo shorts, sandals and a tank top. She kept her hair braided and crowned her head with her campaign hat.  She was beginning to look like a desert dweller, having soaked up so much sun the past few weeks, her skin was turning a nice copper and she was losing the redness of her initial burns. The tan lines on her face revealed her constant squinting in the bright sun, but somehow made her honeyed eyes even more striking. 

After dinner, the pair sat chatting over coffee, and stargazing. The moon was nearly full and it shone a bright light on everything casting shadows across the landscape. Drelica felt suddenly tired and said good night to Mark, as she retired to her bedroll.

Inside her tent she snuggled into the fluff of her sleeping bag and let out a long sigh.

 It felt good to be here, but she was still lonely. She wished she had someone to cuddle with; to feel warm arms around her. Strong arms…her mind wandered, and so did her hands.  She absently fondled her own breasts with one hand, and softly slid the other downward between her thighs.  The strong arms that held her in her fantasy became clear and were ... painted.  Torrid!


Why Torrid? She wondered. What is it about her? She’s tall, dark, dangerous, strong and very primal looking sure, but…why can’t I get her out of my head? I mean she is my sister's ex-girlfriend! Her hands stilled but only for a few seconds as these rational thoughts raced through her mind.


She was lost in thoughts of Torrid, and instinctively she cupped her mound. Feeling the wetness slipping out of her, Drelica was amazed that just thinking about Torrid would do this to her.  All doubts fled her mind.  She imagined a hot wet mouth on hers, hands all over her, softly caressing her, gripping her, taking her, fucking her; all belonging to Torrid.  A soft moan escaped her as she entered herself with two fingers.  My God!!


Drelica bit her lip as she thrust her hips up and slid deeper inside herself, lost in her fantasy of her painted savage. She climaxed with Torrid’s name on her lips, and faded off to sleep.

In her loft, Torrid lay in bed listening to her mp3 player, relaxing. Lock Jaw as asleep in his basket near the bed, and the sounds of the neighborhood filtered in through the open window.  It was good to be in her own bed. It was not good to be in her bed alone.

She remembered Drelica’s call earlier.  She thought about the good Doctor. She smiled thinking of Drelica’s vocation as a bone hunter. What was it about her?  She had thought about Drelica many times while she was away at the trade show, and she considered actually calling her when she got back. The Doctor had beaten her to it and left a message for Torrid. Torrid chuckled as she replayed the message in her mind, She was nervous. That’s cute, she thought. 

Torrid turned off her light and laid back thinking of Drelica. She let her imagination take her places little girls shouldn’t go. She wondered if Drelica had a sweet mouth, wondered what she sounded like when she came, if she liked having her ass spanked while she was being fucked….mmmmmmmmmmmmm, well Drelica, tonight you do. Torrid thought to herself as her hand moved down her body to her wet center.  She felt her own wetness and smiled. It had been a long time since just thinking of a woman made Torrid wet.  Torrid licked her lips as her thoughts took her away, she kept one hand on her breast, teasing her hard nipple while the other hand worked overtime on her clit.  She imagined fucking Drelica in every way possible; from behind, female superior, pressed against the wall, on top of her desk, on the nearest floor! She bit her lip thinking of Drelica’s soft warm mouth between her legs devouring her wetness, and she let out a moan as she came hard.

“Holy fuck!” she said, breathless, “That was hot!”

Torrid relaxed into the afterglow fading off to sleep with thoughts of Drelica Truman dancing in her head.




The sun came up over the ridge gradually warming the valley where the old creek bed ran north into the mountains.  Drelica woke up to the smell of coffee wafting into her tent. Mark was up, and he was making breakfast.  She stretched, yawned and lay still for a second gathering her thoughts.  She wanted to get back to the base camp and get the packaged specimens loaded on the truck to Austin as soon as possible. She was going to accompany them back to the museum and do a presentation to the museum board and give a state of the dig address. Drelica was confident these fossils would make them wet for a bigger find since it was early enough in the season to really do some digging.

As she sat up and looked for her socks and boots, her thoughts turned to her masturbation session last night. She smiled to herself, well no wonder you slept good, Dre…that was fuckin’ hot!  She couldn’t believe she had a fantasy about her sister’s ex girlfriend. There was just something about Torrid Duncan that Drelica found compelling. She shook her head, I won’t figure it out today, and that’s for damn sure. I got too much to do. She stepped out of her tent to see Mark standing there with a steaming cup in his hand, smiling.

“Good morning, Doc—“ he said, handing her the cup. “How’d you sleep?”

“Mmmmmmmmmmmmm,” she said as she sipped the hot brew, “Deliciously.” She purred. 

Mark laughed to himself, I’ll bet.  He had a hard time sleeping himself, having overheard the Doc’s nocturnal activities.  He smiled to himself, thinking it was cool that she was human, and wondered who it was she was thinking about; he never saw her with anyone. And the doc was hot!

While Dr. Truman ate breakfast and went over notes, Mark dismantled the camp and packed the gear into the Jeep. A half hour later, they were packed and ready to head back to the base camp. 

“Okay Doc, we’re ready to roll, “ Mark said as he grabbed a bottle of water out of the cooler. “We can be back by lunch and then Jimmy and the boys can start loading the kids up for the truck to Austin.”

“Great! Well let me get the Polaroids and then we can hit the trail.”
Drelica used a few boxes of film documenting the site and the landmarks so they can find the campsite again when they return in a few weeks. She put the photos in her fanny pack and climbed into the Jeep.  Mark put the Jeep in gear and pulled away.  As the Jeep headed back toward the main road, it disappeared in the distance. Its passing was noticed by a pair of eyes that had watched them all night. 

The watcher reached into his vest pocket and pulled out a satellite phone. He dialed a number and waited.

“Yes sir, It’s me. They just left.” The watcher said. “No, I don’t know who they are, possibly geologists, or some of those dinosaur hunters from that museum down in Houston. They have a dig they are working up the creek.”

“Keep an eye on them. If they get too close, you know what to do.” Said the voice on the other end of the line.

“Yes sir, “ replied the watcher, “I know exactly what to do.”

Torrid stirred a sweetener into her latte and sipped it through the foaming cream. She turned the page of her biker magazine and crunched on her cinnamon biscotti.  It was her weekend morning routine; coffee and biscotti at Agora. Lock Jaw napped lazily under her chair and she sat back and listened to the Middle Eastern beat coming from the Jukebox.

She woke up in a good mood this morning and decided to take the big boy out for a walk. She didn’t really have anything pressing having decided to give herself a vacation, and closed the shop for a few days.  She entertained the idea of driving down to the coast and doing some fishing, but the thought of stinky fish didn’t thrill her. Maybe a day trip somewhere? Possibly, she answered herself.  But, where?

She turned the page of the magazine to an article on the best rides of Austin. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm…Austin. I could do a weekend in Austin. Hippie Hollow, naked chicks hanging from the trees, yeah.  Austin yeah! She smiled as she sipped her Latte.  A wicked grin crossed her face as she imagined the good Dino Doctor skinny-dipping in a quarry pond.  She remembered her wack off session the previous night, and grinned. Oh yeah…I’d love to see that. I got a bone for you to dig, Doc! she snickered to herself.

Torrid sighed, she wondered if thinking of Drelica was a weird subconscious way of thinking of Monica, but then the very mental mentioning of Monica’s name made her stomach turn. Nope.  Drelica does not make my stomach turn…her fucked up sister does.  Monica was a mystery to her, even now months after her break-up; she thanked the gods that it was over and done with.

Okay so it wasn’t that, but what was it about Drelica?  Maybe Torrid was just lonely and feeling the separation anxiety.  Yeah, that’s it, she thought. A weekend away will do me some good. She smiled and finished her coffee. 

Back at the base camp, Dr. Truman and Mark had unloaded the camp gear and began the grunting task of loading the fossil specimens onto the truck without the benefit of a forklift.

The fossils themselves were still embedded in hundreds of pounds of stone, which they would be extracted from at the museum lab.  The plaster covers placed over the exposed fossil would create a protective jacket during transit.  Digging the fossils out of the dirt was one thing; extracting and preserving them was something else; a job that would last months.

But these two Casmasaur specimens and the fragments of a predator would be enough to present to the board and get additional backing for this dig site. Drelica had a feeling that this area was once a hot spot for dinosaur activity in the cretaceous period.  The bones of the predators looked to be that of dromeasaurs.  Could be Raptors, could be Deinonicus, she wasn’t sure. 

Raptors. Drelica shuttered at the thought.  Down through global history, raptors are easily considered the 5th most dangerous species to ever walk the earth.  Her theory that they were partially responsible for the extinction process wasn’t too far fetched.  They were an advanced predator who hunted in pack formations and advanced ambush attacks.  They would not isolate their kill to the weak or old members of the herd. Shit, they were a lot like people. Now that’s scary!  She laughed to herself

When the last one was loaded and secured onto the truck, the drivers were assigned their route and given their two-way radios. The caravan would be leaving within the hour, and Drelica would be in her Austin office before nightfall.  She was looking forward to a real shower, and a real bed, and some Chinese takeout. Drelica would stay the weekend in Austin at the field office filing all the paperwork of the find and documentation with the state and on Monday she would fly to Houston to address the board and present the specimens. That would give the receiving team a chance to unpack, and clean up the kids before the meeting. 

An hour later, Drelica was leading the caravan eastward toward Austin.

It had been a long and tiring day, but she was glad to be back in civilization, and clean and bathed. The drive had been hot and sticky, and the first item on her do to list was a shower upon arrival.

In her office, Drelica leaned over her desk, looking for the paperwork that got shoved under the pile during her conversation with David Templeton, the curator of the Austin geological society’s fossil exhibit at the University of Texas.
Before she saw the shadow grow across the desk, she felt the heat,
then the grip of Torrid's hands around her waist. She started, but the force of Torrid's hands moving up to her shoulders kept her still. She instinctively stiffened as though to fight, but Torrid's purring whisper in her ear stayed her,
"Drelica..." Torrid said in a seductive tone that made Drelica instantly wet.

Gods, Drelica thought, as she felt Torrid's mouth against her earlobe. Torrid's hands on her body, claiming her after all this time. The tension that had been building between them was maddening. It was about to all break loose.

Torrid spun Drelica around to face her and pushed her back on top of her desk, leaning herself over her. Torrid covered her mouth with hard deep kisses, her hands now gripping Drelica's wrists. Torrid's thigh slid forcefully between Drelica's legs
A gasp escaped Drelica's mouth as Torrid pressed her thigh into Drelica's wetness, soaking her panties and skirt. Drelica instinctively spread her legs wider as Torrid released her grip on Drelica's wrist and moved it to press gently on her abdomen. Drelica moaned and squirmed under Torrid's arousing explorations. Torrid placed her mouth of Drelica's neck, sucking and biting with force, causing Drelica to whence at the pain and start. Torrid held her tight, and continued to bite her, sucking down hard on her sweet flesh. Drelica gasped at the sudden rush of arousal that came over her, and she gave in to this claiming, for she had secretly longed for it from the day she first laid eyes on Torrid Duncan. She wished for a second, that Torrid would draw blood... But Torrid released her, and guided Drelica's mouth to hers.
Torrid hungrily took her mouth,
She fought her dark nature, battled herself to be gentle, to be passionate, to stay the dark hunger for pain and conquering; to give as much as was taken, and to be softer.
This was uncharted territory for Torrid, but Drelica wasn't complaining!

Torrid broke the kiss and sat up...tracing her hand down Drelica's abdomen, lower to the button of her denim skirt. She took a beat, then unbuttoned it and pulled it off, tossing it over her shoulder. Drelica gasped as Torrid descended softly to her navel and began to kiss and lick her way downward. Drelica leaned up and placed her hands on Torrid's head, kneading her fingers through Torrid's raven locks.

Drelica moaned or gasped, she wasn't sure which, when Torrid's tongue entered her with force, and her mouth wrapped itself around Drelica's whole wet center. Her legs became boneless and splayed themselves to the sides as Torrid devoured her sex. Her strong hands gripping Drelica's thighs, marking them; Drelica's fingers twisted around Torrid's hair pulling her deeper into her wet passion. Lost in a haze for what seemed like hours, Drelica was floating on a dreamscape when the sound of something screeching in the distance made her wonder what that noise was?
Her mind snapped back as the rushes hit her over and over, the sound was the screams coming from her own throat as she came hard, crashing wave after wave of her throbbing clit in Torrid's mouth.
She quivered all over, and spots were forming in her peripheral vision, "Torrid!" she gasped, "TORRID!" she exclaimed.
Torrid stopped and looked up at Drelica who was literally about to pass out, smiling at her.
Torrid moved up, reclaiming her spot atop Drelica and as she did she gripped Drelica's legs and wrapped them around her waist. She reached out with one hand and touched Drelica's neck, and gently pulled her closer, kissing her fully sharing the flavor of her passion with it's owner.
Drelica returned the kiss,
her mouth was warm and soft and sweet.
Torrid lost herself in it, as though this was the first kiss she ever knew...

Tongues danced sensually as passion spurred anew,
and the kiss broke through walls that had held Torrid's soul in limbo for what seemed like a lifetime.
Her breath caught in her lungs and she began to tremble. It was a kiss like no other. Torrid was trembling in Drelica’s embrace. Drelica wrapped her self around Torrid and sighed with passion, affection and satisfaction.

Drelica was pulled from her daydream by the banging at her motel room door.
”Fuck!” she said as she turned off the shower massager and wrapped a towel around herself.  “This better be a goddamned emergency!” She muttered angrily opening the door.

“Hey Sis,” Monica said, “Long time no see.”

She froze. It was Monica.


Torrid hummed into the motel parking lot with her bike in neutral, rolling to a stop in front of the office. She loved staying at this little roadside retro hole in the wall whenever she rode to Austin.

The Last Chance motel was a local landmark.  She threw the kickstand on her bike and dismounted, stretching her legs as she did so. She stretched her arms up and yawned. The drive in had been awesome, but she was tired after three hours on the road.  She just wanted to check in and grab a cold beer from the ice house next door, then crash on the bed til morning.

She walked in and rang the bell for the manager.  No one there.
What’s this? She asked herself, when she saw the sign taped to the counter.

It read: Sign register. Take room key. Pay me tomorrow. -Management.

Torrid smiled, grabbed a room key and signed her name in the registry next to the room number column.  She went out and grabbed her duffle and headed over to her room.

Torrid opened the door to her room with a bit of a struggle; the place was older than god, the doors stuck a little. Turning to close the door she was stuck by the sight of two women talking in the doorway of a room across the parking lot. One of the women had pink hair.

“What the fuck?” Torrid said, “Nah....it couldn’t be. The universe doesn’t hate me that much!” She chuckled and closed the door behind her. 

She threw her bag into the chair and dove onto the bed landing face down. She grabbed a pillow and hugged it close, and let out a long slow breath.  She closed her eyes, and the room around her faded into clouds.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” Drelica asked her sister, “I thought you never wanted to see or hear from me again?”
She was irritated at her sister pulling her stalker tactics and following her. 

“Dre, please listen to me,” Monica pleaded, “ I need to talk to someone, and I have no one left in my life. I fucked up...bad.”

Drelica folded her arms over her chest, “So what else is new?”

“You always were a bitch, Sis,” Monica shot back.

“And you were always an asshole,” Drelica replied. “I know what you have been up to. I heard all about it.” She stated.

“Oh, you talked to Torrid, I see.” Monica sneered, “I am sure she told you what a cunt I am.”

“Actually, “ Drelica corrected; “it was me who told her what a cunt you are.”

“Well, You would know, Dre.” Monica shrugged, “I can’t argue with that.” She said, apathetic.

“You had a good thing going there, Monica,” Drelica said, “What the fuck happened?”

“I am not gay, Dre,” she said shrugging, “You know that.”

Drelica nodded. She knew that all too well. Her sister loved men, that’s for sure, unless she was tired of them, then she usually found a girl to fill the void. That’s why she had been surprised to hear that her sister was involved with Torrid. Monica loved to play games and pose as her sister to fuck with people. Once in a while it was fun at parties, but Monica crossed the line and the results were damaging.

“So why the hell even go there?”

“I had just broken it off with Tommy--she was hot, she was different, she had money. One thing led to another you know how it is, Dre.” Monica shrugged, emotionless.

Yeah, Mon,” Drelica said sadly, “I know it all too well.

“What’s your interest in Torrid?” Monica asked suspiciously.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Drelica shot back, defensively. She was really annoyed at her sister.

Monica had fucked Torrid over, she had fucked over everyone in her life, and Drelica felt she had no leg to stand on, and had no right to come here and question her on her personal business.

“Monica--why are you here?”

Torrid woke up from her unintentional nap with a lazy stretch. She looked at her watch and decided it was too early to eat dinner, but not too early for an ice-cold beer at the icehouse next door.

Torrid had an affinity for cold beer and salted in the shell peanuts.  She thought it might be a good idea to grab a shower to wash the road fatigue off before she went out, in case she wanted to go on to dinner from the ice house.  She was on R&R time now, no work, no stress, and no worries for the whole weekend. She smiled to herself thinking it had been too long since she took a ride and hid away from the world.

The only thing she wanted now, was a warm body in her bed. But not just any warm body. She had had enough of the fuck of the day action, and she had enough of the wrong kind of girlfriend bullshit too. She wanted a woman who was worthy of her time, her talent and her feelings. She sighed, thinking again of Dr. Drelica Truman.  What was it about her that was so hard to forget?  She had been on Torrid’s mind ever since the day she saw her in the park all those months ago.  Drelica’s call stuck in Torrid’s head too. 
I guess I could just call her, Torrid thought, maybe after I have a few drinks

Torrid put on a clean pair of jeans, a clean white t-shirt, and her boots and grabbed her keys and money clip. She stepped out into the Austin sunset admiring the color of the sky. Squinting as she fished out her shades from the utility pouch on her bike, she looked over where she saw the two women standing in the door of the room across the parking lot; it was quiet now, and there was no sign of the women. Strange coincidence, Torrid thought, as she turned away and headed toward the icehouse.

Inside it was quiet, and cool. Torrid picked a table in the far corner and motioned for the barmaid to set her up with a bucket of cold brews.  She put some dollars in the jukebox and picked all of her favorite rolling stones, Melissa Etheridge and Ani Difranco tunes. She always loved this icehouse, and came here whenever she rode this way. She missed her weekend rides, and realized that since she expanded the shop and hired Drew, she hadn’t been on a ride. She didn’t realize how much she had missed it.
Drew, she growled. What a mistake he had been. She couldn’t really blame Drew completely, but she sure as hell wasn’t about to forgive him and fully intended to kick the living shit out of him if she ever saw him again. So far, he had been smart enough to take her promise to do so seriously. Drew knew Torrid’s skills in fighting, self-defense, blades and firearms. She was super dyke, Modern Amazon, a living bad ass.

“Long time no see there, Blue eyes, “ the barkeep said as she sat down a galvanized bucket of beers that had been packed with ice. She smiled a sexy smile at Torrid, who smiled back and winked.

“I been a little busy, Bev,” she said with a sigh, opening a beer. “But I am taking some ‘me’ time now.”

Well enjoy the beer, and the peanuts, and if you want anything else--and I do mean anything, “ she winked, “I’ll be over there, behind the bar.”

“I’ll do that.” Torrid flirted back.

Drelica slammed the door and leaned against it, she was so mad she was shaking. She threw her fists in the air, “That bitch!” She hissed.

The surprise visit from her twin Sister Monica turned into a heated argument. Drelica was torn between love and pity for her sister, and abject hatred. It was possible to love someone and hate the things they do, but she realized now she did not like her sister at all.

Monica had posed as Drelica once again via phone to track her down here in Austin. It was obvious she had learned nothing from the previous rift that separated them for five years. Drelica shook with anger recalling the humiliation she suffered because of her sister’s pranks. She didn’t want to think about it anymore, she just wanted to scream...or get drunk!

She threw on her jeans, a button up navy cargo shirt and a pair of leather loafers. She braided her hair in one long braid and grabbed her room key and her credit card. She picked up her cell and called Mark.

“Mark, its Dr. Truman,” she said calmly, “Fine thanks, but I am taking the rest of the evening off--I need a drink.”

“Everything ok, Doc?” He asked concerned.

“Uh...yeah...” she answered uncertain, “Just some personal drama. I am going out for a drink. I’ll call you in the morning, and see how the kids are, ok?”

“Sure thing Doc, “ Mark said, “And I am sure it’ll be better tomorrow Doc--I mean, the dig is going great!”

“Yes,” she smiled. “There is that.”

She sighed and threw her cell phone onto the bed. She didn’t want to be bothered the rest of the night. She was going to the icehouse and she was going to get shit faced. Drelica stepped out shutting the door behind her, never noticing that she left her key on the bed next to her phone.

Torrid was working on her third beer by the time her songs had played through on the Jukebox. She got up to make some new selections, and motioned to Bev behind the bar to send over another bucket of suds.

She realized she was out of change and went up to the bar to get some quarters, when she overheard familiar voice near the bar,

“You’re kidding me!” Drelica said to the barkeep.

“No ma’am, sorry, we don’t take plastic. Cash only” Bev said apologetically.

“Well crap, I can’t even get drunk!” Drelica huffed.

A hand reached over Drelica’s shoulder and placed an ice cold Dos Equis on the bar in front of her. Drelica turned her body into the stranger to see her face and wound up nose to nose with Torrid Duncan.

“Wha--? Where‘d you come from??” She gasped with surprise.

“I think I owe you a beer, Dr. Truman.” Torrid smiled.  Drelica stared at her for a long moment. Torrid was so beautiful when she smiled. Her dark skin contrasted against her crystal blue eyes and her pearly whites, she was breathtaking. Goddamn, Monica is stupid! She thought to herself, but I sure as hell am not!

Torrid cocked her head to the side when Drelica remained silent. She raised her eyebrow and spoke, “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” She smirked.

“I was about to ask you the same thing, but something tells me you’re not very nice,” Drelica smirked, then added, ”I need to get drunk!”

“Oh that‘s easily taken care of, Doc.” Torrid said, “Bev, hook her up with whatever she wants. And make it two. I think I will be joining her.” Torrid turned back to Drelica and grinned. “So why do you need to get drunk?”

“You have to ask?” Drelica said, popping a shelled peanut into her mouth. “My sister--” she started, then stopped.

Torrid put up her hand to shush Drelica, “Please--I’m drinking!” She chuckled.  Drelica smirked.

Monica waited outside Drelica’s room for about ten minutes before she realized her sister wasn’t there. Crap. Where the hell did she go?  She paced back and forth and looked around the parking lot for any sign of Drelica’s Jeep. No luck.

“What the fuck?” Monica exclaimed as she spotted a familiar looking Honda Shadow in the parking lot. “No way! It couldn’t be!”

Meanwhile back at the icehouse, Drelica and Torrid are working on tequila shots.

“Okay, so what are you doing here?” Drelica asks Torrid as she wipes the pile of salt off the table she has been making over the last hour.

“Just getting away from it all.” Torrid said, plopping an empty shot glass upside down on the table. “I needed to get away from work for a while. You know, Drew--” her voice caught, then after a pause she continued, “I just needed a break. I love Austin.”

Drelica nodded. “Coincidence that you’re here then?” She asked as she tried to keep her head from spinning off her neck from the mondo buzz that just hit her like a ton of bricks.

“Yeah, why do you ask?” Torrid was curious.

“Er...well...My sister showed up at my room.” She replied soberly.

Torrid spewed her beer.


“’Fraid so.” 

“Well she isn’t here with me if that’s what you’re thinking.  I want nothing to do with her!” Torrid said sternly.

“Neither do I, frankly. We argued, she left, I came her to get shit-faced.” Drelica shrugged.

Torrid chuckled, “You’re doing a great job of it too!”

“Oh please, I am not even drunk yet!” Drelica protested.

Torrid laughed. Drelica was pretty drunk; she was in the denial stage of being drunk, and Torrid smiled to herself knowing that horny drunk was just around the corner.

“Well then, I need to get you a few more shots--” she purred in her sexy voice, “So I can have a shot myself.” She winked.

Oh you had that the day I saw you in the park, Torrid, Drelica thought to herself. 

“You’re too funny, you know that?” Drelica teased.

Torrid smiled, and looked at Drelica with her bedroom eyes. Blue pools of lust and wonder. She parted her lips to speak, and Drelica felt her stomach flip and her loins throb. Whoa! She scolded herself; you’re rounding the bend to drunk and horny, Dre! Easy girl!

“I think it’s cute that you think I am teasing you, Drelica.” Torrid said, sipping her beer. “But the truth is, if I could get you in my bed, I would!” 

Drelica’s mouth suddenly went dry, and she opened her mouth to speak, but found her voice had failed her.  Torrid leaned in to hear her more closely over the slight roar of the bar, now filled up with Friday night regulars. Eyes met, and Torrid leaned in closer still, a breath away from Drelica, lips close to hers.

Drelica felt Torrid’s hand on her hair, gently pulling her into a kiss. A soft questioning kiss; it was so sweet, Drelica was taken aback by the fact that this came from Torrid. She opened herself up to it, accepting the invitation, and offering a kiss of her own.  A kiss that ignited a fire within them both. Torrid pressed her mouth onto Drelica’s probing hungrily and groping her softly, never stopping the exploration of her hands. Drelica’s hands played with Torrid’s hair, twisting the raven locks around and around her fingers. They were lost in this moment, the world around them remained impossibly still; the heat rising from them was that of a supernova. Drelica felt her center throbbing and her own wetness soaking her jeans, and she froze. She pulled away suddenly, gripping the table as she tried to rise.

Torrid stood up quickly too, grabbing her arm to steady her.

“What the fuck? You okay?” Torrid asked.

“I’m sorry, Torrid-- I can’t do this!” Drelica said, breathless. “Torrid, You’re really hot, but--”

“Forget it.” Torrid said, coldly. “Let me get you back to your room.”

“You don’t have to, Torrid.” Drelica protested, but her legs disobeyed her and she fell forward into Torrid’s arms.

“Yeah, I do. You can hardly stand.” Torrid steadied her. 

Torrid walked Drelica over to the motel parking lot and up to her room. Drelica leaned against the door and began to search her pockets for her room key.  She raised her eyebrows and her jaw dropped as she realized she left it on the bed with her cell phone.

“Oh shit,” she said, “My key is in my room.”

“Great. Now what?” Torrid said, disgusted. “Fred’s not here tonight.”

“Crap!” Drelica said, as she started to slide down the door. Torrid caught her and picked her up slinging her over her shoulder.

“Hey! What’s the big idea?” Drelica shouted.

“Shut up, “ Torrid said popping her on the ass. “You’re sleeping in my bed tonight.”

Drelica tried to protest, but Torrid carried her across to her room; somehow managed to dig out her key, kick the door the sticks to itself open and flounce her down on the bed. Drelica landed with a squeal, and Torrid slammed the door with a boot from her foot. 

Torrid stepped toward Drelica, and leaned down over her to start undressing her for bed.

Drelica slapped her hands, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Torrid leaned in and grabbed Drelica’s wrists; she pulled her arms up over her head. She moved in close to Drelica, placing her lips to Drelica’s ear and speaking in a sultry timbre.

“Drelica--” Torrid said, “I want you to undress for me.”

A soft moan escaped Drelica’s lips, and a single tear ran down her cheek. Torrid caught it with the index finger of her free hand. She tasted it.

“You’re so beautiful--” Torrid whispered, wiping away the streak the tear left on Drelica’s cheek. “I just want to see you.”

Drelica began to tremble. Torrid released her wrists and moved on top of her. She claimed her mouth hard and fast, forcing her tongue into Drelica’s mouth. Drelica fought for a second, but then, surrendered to Torrid’s dark passion. She felt her arms wrapping themselves around Torrid pulling her closer onto her. Torrid let her explore, let her hands roam and pull on her body, let her grow familiar with her as she kissed her, and devoured her mouth. 

At some point, and neither Torrid nor Drelica could be sure when, Drelica begun to kiss Torrid back. And Torrid, lost in her own desire, and passion, found herself surrendering to Drelica’s kiss. Never before in her life, had she been submissive to a woman, and allowed herself to be taken, even by a kiss. Torrid was lost in this newfound sensation, and uncertain as to what to do next.  Torrid broke the kiss and looked down at Drelica, she looked deep into those period pools and became lost. Drelica’s eyes were heavy lidded with lust and desire, but they were as green fire. Jade, Torrid thought, pools of jade.  
“I don‘t know---” Torrid started.

“Torrid?” Drelica asked, “What don‘t you know?”

Torrid turned her face away, as though she were ashamed. Drelica froze with fear, what had she done? Fuck this, she thought, and put her fingers on Torrid’s chin forcing Torrid to turn back and meet her gaze.

“What is it babe?” She asked. “What don’t you know?”

Torrid opened her mouth and spoke, barely above a whisper, “How to make love.”

Drelica’s heart caught in her throat.


Drelica put her hands on Torrid’s shoulders and gently squeezed as she pushed her over and sat up next to her on the bed.  She leaned in and kissed Torrid’s cheek before getting up off of the bed.

“Torrid,” she said, buttoning her blouse back up. “I--didn‘t expect you too--”
“Stop.”  Torrid interrupted. “Don’t say anything. It’s cool.” 

Torrid got up and casually lit a cigarette.  She paced the floor, but said nothing.  Drelica was at a loss as to what to say or do. Her head was still spinning from all the drinking, and she was incredibly turned on, but she knew the time was not right for this. She knew that Torrid knew it too, and so she didn’t say anything that would upset her, because this was a vulnerable moment for Torrid. Her heart went out to her.  While she knew Torrid lusted after her, and she was fascinated by Torrid, she was puzzled as to why Torrid felt she would have to make love to her.

“I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Torrid said as she headed for the door.

“Where are you going?” Drelica asked.

“The office--to get you a room key.” She said, closing the door behind her.

Drelica sat on Torrid’s bed and slumped over putting her head in her hands. “Crap.” she muttered. “I sooooo could have handled that better.”

She sat there for a few seconds replaying her stupidity and realizing that Torrid was trying to be gentle with her, and she came off as rejecting when it was obvious she was turned on.  Drelica mentally kicked herself. She must think I think she’s just the fuck of the day now! Gods, I am such a wiener!  But she was jerked from her thoughts by the sudden sound of Torrid’s scream...


Drelica threw the door open to see Torrid standing in the spot where her bike was supposed to be. Her jaw dropped.

“Oh my God!” Drelica said, as Torrid turned to face her. She saw such primal anger in Torrid’s expression that she stepped back into the room not sure if it was from the glare or the heat of that incandescent rage.

Torrid took three steps toward Drelica, then reached for the door and closed it, putting it between them. She took a deep breath, then headed toward the office to get Drelica’s key. She walked into the office, but there was still no sign of Fred, the manager. Fuck. 

She walked back to the room and knocked before entering. Drelica was sitting in the chair by the small end table when Torrid entered the room. She just shook her head and sat on the bed defeated.

“He’s still not back. You’ll have to crash here.” she said with an edge to her voice.

Drelica approached her and sat next to her. She put her arm around Torrid’s shoulders and leaned in to offer a one armed hug. Torrid stiffened, but did not protest.  She put her fingers on Torrid’s chin and turned her head to face her.

“Torrid, listen to me, “ she whispered. “I am sorry about your bike. We’ll get it back, okay?”

Torrid shrugged, brooding.

“And I am sorry about the other thing. I feel like a bitch. I didn’t mean I don’t want you to make love to me---” She said, looking intently into Torrid’s blue eyes, “I just meant, I didn’t expect you to be in love with me.” She smiled shyly, “We just met.”

Torrid sighed. She didn’t know what to say; this was a shitty night. She didn’t know what had upset her more, Drelica’s rejection, which never happened with a chick, or losing her bike.  Torrid was furious. She would have to call the police and report it stolen, and hoped they caught the fucker before she did.

“It’s alright, Drelica. Really.” Torrid said, distantly. “Look, you sleep here and I’ll take the couch.” She said moving to get up.

“Oh no you don’t!” Drelica said holding Torrid’s shoulders in her embrace. “You’re sleeping with me and we’re cuddling. And that’s final!”

Torrid raised her eyebrow and cocked her head to the side.

“Now call the cops and report your bike stolen, I am going to take a shower. “ Drelica said, handing Torrid her cell phone from off of the night table.

Torrid took the phone suspiciously from Drelica. She was certain she had just been ordered around, and even more certain that she obeyed. This was unsettling to her, she was the top. She was a Domme. She gave the orders. Drelica was a little petite vanilla bean of a girl, but here she was bossing Torrid around!  Ah, fuck it, Torrid was tired and just wanted to get this night over and get her bike back.  She dialed 911 and stepped outside to report her bike stolen.

Inside Drelica went into the bathroom and looked for a bottle of aspirin, anything that would prevent her from suffering the worst of the hangover she was sure she had coming. Torrid’s grooming bag was on the basin, open. She innocently opened it to see if Torrid had some ibuprofen, aspirin, anything.  Drelica turned red as she spied amidst the lube, flavored condoms, dental dams, and motion lotion travel packs, a bottle of analgesics. Drelica opened the bottle and took out four pills, two of which she layed to the side for Torrid, and two she swallowed throwing her head back as she did. When she caught her reflection in the mirror she was startled by Torrid standing behind her with a raised eyebrow.

“See anything you like?” She said, reaching around Drelica so close her grooming bag back up.

“Oh--No! Torrid, I was thinking of our hangovers. Here--” She said, offering up the pain relievers to torrid. “It will help us sleep better.”

Torrid took the pills without breaking eye contact with Drelica. She didn’t like people snooping in her shit, but, she supposed it was innocent enough.  Torrid was on edge now, and she was easily irritated.  The moment of vulnerability followed by a seeming rejection had chipped away at her esteem; and now her bike was gone.  Torrid was, devastated by the loss of her shadow, but as always, she hid her pain. Torrid swallowed the pills and turned on the shower. She turned back toward Drelica.

“I need a shower.” She said, “And so do you if you’re sleeping in my bed.”

“Uh--” Drelica said, in weak protest, but before she could finish, Torrid interrupted.

“I have a t-shirt you can sleep in.” Indicating to her duffle bag.

“Oh, okay---Thanks.” Drelica said, both relieved and disappointed. She went to the sink to use the travel toothbrush provided by the motel without hesitation as she knew Torrid had brought one of her own.  She looked at herself in the mirror as she brushed her teeth, and nearly spit up her tooth paste when she saw Torrid’s naked reflection in the mirror.

Stripping without modesty for her shower, Torrid stood in all her naked glory, the painted Amazon of Drelica’s nightly fantasies. She was tall, muscular, but lean and covered in patches of ink work from her shoulders down. She had ink everywhere!  Tribal motifs of animals, symbols and geometric patterns wove a tapestry of this woman’s life.  Drelica’s jaw went agape as she watched the movements of Torrid’s body as she stepped into the glass walled shower stall and began to wash and groom herself.

Holy shit she’s beautiful. I’ve never seen anyone like her before! Drelica’s mouth went dry with sudden lust and longing.

Torrid closed her eyes as the hot water washed over her, she felt it absorb her and she invited the rushing feeling as it enveloped her. She needed this small relaxation. She was stressing big-time, but even so, she had already began to formulate plans in her head. Worst case scenario, she’d get a new bike.  She would mourn the loss of her shadow, she was so angry and felt violated over it’s theft, but she couldn’t let it fuck her head up right now.  She needed to focus and stay calm. There was more at stake than a piece of property, no matter how beautiful that property had been.

Allowing the sensation of the hot water to numb her mind for a few seconds she gave in to the cleansing feeling. It felt great! She could swear she felt the sensation of her back being scrubbed...what the fuck!?

Torrid was startled out of her bliss by Drelica’s hands washing her back with a scrubbie. Her heart was in her throat as she had been totally taken by surprise.

“Jesus fucking Christ! You scared the fuck outta me!” she said, winded.

“Sorry--you said I needed a shower too, remember?” Drelica said with a smirk.

Torrid just stood there breathing heavy, collecting herself; then her eyes began to wander and she took in Drelica’s beauty, and her nakedness. Wow she thought, studying her closer, feasting on her muscled form, her tanned skin and beautiful breasts. Yeah, she’s fucking hot.

After a few moments of coaxing Drelica convinced Torrid to allow her to wash her back, and her hair. An experience which totally made Torrid horny and miserable, since the only thing on the schedule tonight was the evil Cuddle, bleh! Torrid thought with a frown. Then it was Torrid’s turn. Oh yeah...she though wickedly. She began to wash Drelica’s back in slow deliberate massaging circles, she gripped her shoulder with one hand and slowly worked the sponge up and down Drelica’s back. She leaned in closer and pressed her wet body up against Drelica’s back and wrapped her arms around the petite blonde who was so gone in the bliss she leaned back into Torrid.  Torrid placed the slightest kiss on Drelica’s neck, and Drelica let out a long moan.

Torrid’s hand moved down Drelica’s back and slip onto her hip, where she gently squeezed Drelica’s ass while she kissed her neck. Next Torrid placed her lips to Drelica’s ear and whispered in a hot breathy buzz, “Want me to wash your hair, babe?”

Drelica became weak in the knees and aroused beyond reason. She Turned around to face Torrid and put her hands on either side of Torrid’s face, pulling her into a wet kiss.  Torrid pulled Drelica in tight and kissed back hard. Hands began to grope as bodies tried desperately to create one being of two in this duel of mouths and wet skin. Drelica finally broke for air, and she let out a gasp.

“Please?” she asked,

“What do you want?” Torrid asked with her mouth still atop Drelica’s, her fingers stroking Drelica’s hair.

“Please take me to the bed and fuck me?” Drelica said breathlessly.

Torrid leaned in and bit Drelica’s lower lip and gripped her body forcefully, and she pulled her up into her arms. She Kissed her hard and began to walk toward the bed, both of them still wet and dripping, as well as wet and dripping.  Torrid dropped Drelica onto the bed with a forceful bounce, causing a squeak to force its way out of her lips.

Torrid leaned in and straddled her , grabbing her wrists and holding them over her head. Drelica’s just closed her eyes and breathed heavy, she was almost panting she was so aroused.  Torrid leaned down and whispered into her ear, causing her to come over with goose flesh.

“Drelica,” she said, seductively.

“Yes?” Drelica replied, so aroused she was trembling.

“You’re a beautiful woman, and as much as I want to fuck you--” Torrid groaned with her own desire, “As much as I want to taste you, take you, bite you, rip you apart and rebuild you from the ashes,” she paused.  “As much as I want those things, babe...do you know what I want even more?”

“N-nooooo” Drelica said, in the agony of want and need.

“CUDDLES!” Torrid said, kissing her on the cheek and rolling over on her side. She grabbed Drelica’s wrist and pulled her into a spoon. “Night babe.” She said.

Drelica pulled away angry. “How--how---you! GAHHHHHHH!” she said, getting up and going to put on the t-shirt Torrid had indicated was for her. She stomped back to the bed and flounced herself down in a fetal position on the far side of the bed, swearing to herself. 

Torrid laid still, playing opossum, secretly thanking the gods for giving her the strength to resist Drelica’s wants. It’s too soon, she thought.  I don’t just want to fuck you babe. Not you.


The next morning Torrid stirred in her sleep; she opened one lazy eye seeing the sun sliced up into bars through the ancient blinds of the old motel room. She tried to move her head, but it was being held in place by Drelica’s head laying on her hair. Torrid did a quarter turn to see this sleeping angel...er...drooling mush face, and snickered to herself.

Torrid reached over and gently poked Drelica’s armpit, causing her to start and roll over onto her side. Torrid then wrapped herself around Drelica and spooned her. She sighed into Drelica’s hair, enjoying the clean smell of it and feeling the perfect fit of the petite blonde into the crooks of her body. She faded off to sleep reveling in this simple feeling.

Two Hours later...

Drelica had to pee. Damn. She was perfectly relaxed, had this warm and safe feeling. The bed was soft, the room was hazy and quiet, the strong arms that held her felt so good. Drelica’s eyes shot open...

She quickly replayed the events of last night in her head. Whew! Cuddles. Okay this is good.

Damn. I still have to pee.

She turned and looked over her shoulder at the sleeping figure who held her. Torrid in repose was a sight to behold. Wow. She thought. She’s actually cute! She suppressed a chuckle. She sighed as her bladder reminded her once more of a needed bathroom journey.

She slowly and silently unwrapped herself from her sleeping Amazon’s arms, and tip toed to the bathroom.

Torrid still sleeping pretty deeply, but aware of movement shifted in her sleep and flipped over onto her stomach, kicking the covers off her as she did. There she lay in all her naked tattooed glory. Drelica stood there agape as she entered the room again and saw Torrid had shifted. She felt her center throb.  Torrid was so beautiful in a very tribal way; she was well muscled, her skin was darkened by her Native blood, and her hair was as black as a raven’s wing.  Covering her back and shoulders, and her upper arms like sleeves, Torrid sported elaborate ink works. The colors of deep rich blues, reds, oranges and blacks created a fantastic realm of Goddesses, animals, tribal patterns and floral depictions which reached from the nape of her neck all the way down to the crack of her well muscled and firm ass. Drelica was both fascinated and turned on.

She is an Amazon. Drelica pondered. She wondered about Torrid, who was she? What was her life like?  How could a woman be so strong and fierce looking, and yet, lay there in gentle repose looking like a sleeping child?  Drelica wanted so much to touch all that painted skin, to feel it pressed against her, to feel Torrid’s heat and strength pulling her into that colored flesh; to feel herself being taken. She wanted to be kissed, to be bitten to be held tight and hard while she tasted Torrid’s mouth on hers, felt Torrid’s breasts against hers, felt Torrid’s thighs between hers, had Torrid’s scent all over her, consuming her and intoxicating her as Torrid entered her and took her hard. She closed her eyes thinking of this, seeing the writhing of bodies, hearing the sound of moans, deep breathing, gasping and cries of delightful pain. Drelica longed to feel Torrid’s teeth on her throat as she was fucked hard.
She lost herself in this fantasy as she stood there, her hands roaming over her own body, playing with her own breasts, teasing her own nipples. Sliding her own fingers into her wetness, filling herself and visualizing Torrid as she did. Moaning as she pushed herself harder and deeper into her center, whispering so softly for Torrid to fuck her, to take her. Her skin was all raised with gooseflesh, her body tensed as she neared release; standing there, in the middle of the room with her fingers inside herself, watching Torrid’s body rise and fall as she breathed deeply in her sleep, Drelica came hard and dropped to her knees.

She was panting. She was sweating. She opened her eyes. SHIT!

Torrid sat there in the bed masturbating as she watched Drelica. Drelica’s eyes widened and her face reddened, but she did not turn away. She watched as her Amazon pleasured herself. As she teased her own pierced nipples, and penetrated herself with her tattooed hands. Torrid’s head slowly dipped back as she neared her climax, and her body tensed and flexed like a statue of a goddess coming to life.  She let out the slightest of strained moans and then collapsed on the bed breathing heavily.  Her legs splayed themselves open and Drelica saw her wetness pouring out of her. Torrid, after a long moment, sat up in the bed, and looked at Drelica who was as white as a sheet and red as a beet stood there motionless.

The tension in the room was as thick as a block of flan. Drelica was frozen in place, paralyzed with humiliation. Torrid had seen her masturbate! Oh my God! I can’t ever talk to her again! 

Torrid decided to do something about the tension. She wasn’t embarrassed at all, she thought that was the hottest thing that she’d done in a long time. She smiled at Drelica, one of her charming smiles.

“You want some breakfast, Drelica?” She asked casually.

“Uh...suuure.” Drelica answered gingerly, waiting for Torrid to further her humiliation by commenting on what just happened.

“Okay, well...go shower. I am gonna call and see if there’s any word on my bike.” Torrid said, reaching for her cigarettes and her cell phone.

Drelica showered quickly so she could get dressed and go get a room key. She just wanted to get away from Torrid long enough to collect her thoughts. She was embarrassed by what had happened, but thankful Torrid didn’t speak of it. She had never in her life masturbated in front of another woman; not even a lover.

While Torrid was in the shower she crept out to the office and secured a key to get back into her room. She found her cell phone and noticed she had six messages in her voicemail box, so she checked the messages. All of them were from Mark, something had happened at the dig site, there was an altercation with some locals and the dig had been shut down. One of the diggers was injured and David Temple was screaming for her hide. She would have to report back to the Houston Office ASAP.


After Torrid dressed she noticed Drelica had gone. She assumed she had gone to her room and decided to go over. She would need a ride back to Houston, so she was going to have to ask Drelica, and hoped that the peep show this morning was an indication that she wasn’t angry at her for teasing her the night before.

As Torrid reached up to knock at Drelica’s door it swung wide open. Drelica let out a startled scream when she saw Torrid standing there.

“Jesus! You scared the crap out of me!” She said.

“Sorry--listen. I need a favor.” Torrid said, scratching her head.

“What is it? I am sorry but I have been called back to the home office and I have to leave within the hour.” Drelica said, obviously frazzled.

“Oh, shit, sorry--something wrong?” Torrid said, concerned.

“Yes, there’s a problem at the dig site, and my ass is in the grinder. What was I thinking?” She scolded herself.

“Well, I was going to ask if I could get a ride back to Houston with you...since my bike is gone, I got no way home.” Now she felt bad for asking. Crap.

“Uh--sure. Can you be ready to go in an hour?” Drelica said digging through her bag looking for something.

“I am ready to go now. Listen..can I help?” Torrid said, stilling Drelica’s fidgeting with a touch to her arm.

Drelica looked up and met Torrid’s gaze, she stilled her panic, and forced out a nervous smile.

“Come on, Torrid, let’s hit the road.” She said returning the touch.

Bastrop, TX in a ditch along state Highway 290...

a Honda shadow lay stripped, ripped and trashed in the ditch.  A carcass of a once proud machine.

The police cruiser rolls up along side the fallen shadow, and the deputy shakes his head at the waste and carnage.

“128 reporting in,” he says into his cruiser’s police radio. “I found that bike that was reported stolen last night out of the Last Chance Motel in Austin. There’s not much left.”

“Hey-hey--no...what are you doing?” Drelica asked slapping Torrid’s hand away from her cd player controls.

“I was going to find some decent music.” Torrid smirked.

“You’re a dyke, Torrid, and as a dyke, you, above all other people on the planet should know the code of the road.” Drelica said wryly.

“What fucking code?” Torrid said suspiciously.

“Don’t touch the radio!”

Torrid folded her arms across her chest and sat back pouting in the passenger seat of Drelica’s Jeep.  It was going to be a long drive back to Houston, even longer listening to...yuck...Britney.

Yeah, Torrid thought to herself, I guess the universe does hate me.

Drelica laughed, “Oh Torrid, go ahead, find something else if you want..I was teasing you.”

Torrid reached for the radio tuner with the speed of light, searching for a classic rock station, or anything! After finding a classic rock station, she settled in and started to relax into the hum of the engine and the sound of Credence when her cell phone rang.

“Yeah.” She answered.

“I see. Yes. No. I suppose. Okay. Thanks.” She clicked her phone closed and turned to stare out the window suddenly very subdued.

Drelica furrowed her brow as she looked over and noticed Torrid was shaking. What the hell? She decided to pull over to see if Torrid was okay.

“Why are we stopping?” Torrid asked.

“Because you look like you’re about to be sick,” Drelica said, “Are you okay?”

“They found my bike.” Torrid said, shaking her head, “Well--they found what was left of it.”

Drelica’s heart sank.  She felt so bad for Torrid. She felt like it was partially her fault for distracting Torrid last night.  She let out a long breath, then touched Torrid’s arm. Torrid did not respond.

“Torrid, I am so sorry.” She whispered. “If I--” she was cut off by the ringing of her cell phone.  “Crap! Excuse me, I have to take this...it’s work.”

Torrid motioned for her to go ahead, and sank back into her dead stare off into space.

“Hello?” Drelica answered, “David--Yes, he told me.  What?? No, I had no idea--Well, I’m on the road now, heading back to Houston.”

Torrid cocked her head with interest, as she listened to Drelica’s conversation. Drelica was sweating, her hands were shaking. It was obviously not good news.

“Now David, that’s no fair!” She said excitedly to David Temple, the curator of the Paleo wing of the Museum. “I am following procedure! Oh---well, we’ll just see about that now won’t we? I’ll see you in the morning.” She clicked her phone off and tossed it into the back seat.

She leaned forward and rested her head on the steering wheel. Crap.
“Drelica, what’s wrong?” Torrid asked, touching her shoulder.

Drelica looked up from the steering wheel where she was resting her head.
“Oh nothing--just my world is crumbling before my eyes.” She pouted.

“Yours too, eh?” Torrid chuckled.

“Yeah,” Drelica laughed, “I guess it’s one of those days. The dig site was ransacked by vandals, and the curator of the Paleo wing is out for my hide. There’s no way we could have prevented it with everyone enroute with the new specimens..at least we got them out safely, thank God!”

“Oh that sucks! Sorry babe--any idea who did it?” Torrid asked, concerned.

“Nope. Locals of some kind. Who the hell knows? There’s nothing of real dollar value in a dig site, save the equipment. The fossils are priceless only in information about earth history.”

“Well that makes no sense. There’s nothing of value there, no profit in it. Where exactly is this dig, Drelica?” Torrid asked, thinking.

“Big Bend.” Drelica shrugged. “Anyway, I gotta go put out a bunch of fucking fires now.” She huffed. “But--I am sorry about your bike, Torrid.”

“Thanks, babe. It’s cool--insurance.” Torrid said, shucking off her grief, “It’s time for a new baby anyway!” She added beaming  “I still have to press charges against whoever took it.”

“Yeah,” Drelica said, sadly, knowing she was talking about Monica.  They both assumed it was Monica; after all, she still had a key to Torrid’s bike. Torrid mentally kicked herself for not getting it back.

“Torrid, It’s okay. It’ll be okay.” Drelica said touching Torrid’s arm.

“I hope you’re right, babe.” Torrid said.

Drelica smiled softy. She leaned up and started the jeep again. She shook her head and turned up the radio as she put the jeep into gear and pulled back onto the highway to the sound of Born to be wild.

“See, Torrid?” Drelica chuckles, “They’re playing your song!”

The pair laughed.


Torrid woke up to the spotted sunlight on her face; she attempted a stretch but her body was a wreck of pain and bruises. She winced when she took in a deep breath, and her mind raced to remember what she had done the night before to feel this bad now.
Oh yeah, she smiled to herself, one hell of a night!

She slowly sat up and reached for her cigarettes, feeling the pain in her arms and groaning. She put a smoke in her mouth and raised her lighter up, pausing. Torrid put the smoke back into her cigarette case and tossed the case onto the nightstand. I need to quit anyway. Now’s as good a time as any, she thought to herself. She got up and went to the shower; she turned on the hot water to let it heat while she brushed her teeth and washed her face in the sink.  Torrid grabber her bath robe from the hook on the back of the bathroom door, and her favorite soft towel. 

Stepping into the shower felt so good! The warm water hitting her tired and sore muscles was like heaven. The pain was sweet, hard earned and appreciated by Torrid. From the first punch to the last kick, the feeling of tension when she filled her lungs to take a breath, the bruises forming on her arms and shins, all hard earned. Torrid smiled as the water hit her face, as she shampooed her hair and scrubbed her body with her loofah, cleansing away the tension and reveling in the feeling of her body being well used the night before.

It had been years since Torrid had set foot inside the dojang.  She  thought she would never go back, but a week after Drelica drove her back , she began to process the loss of her bike. Her bike had become part of her identity, and it was a painful experience losing it.  She had debated for some time, returning to her martial arts, and now was as good a time as any.

Torrid decided she needed something more personal, something intrinsic to remind her of who she was in the world. She wanted to reconnect with the peaceful time in her life before the turbulent years overtook her and the dark side consumed her. The dojang was that place of peace. The art of Chayon Do was something no one could ever take away from her, except her. And she had done that...

It had been ten years since she left the dojang, and walked away from her teacher. She could not uphold the last principle of the dojang Hun, or training hall oath, of the system. Refrain from violent behavior.

Torrid had a problem with that. Especially when she would see gay kids getting bashed on the streets outside the clubs, or women getting brutalized by their no good boyfriends or husbands. Torrid often took matters into her own hands, and this was something that the other masters of Chayon Do would not tolerate.

”You must learn humility, you must learn to protect others without anger or violent intent,” Her teachers and colleagues would warn her.  She was polite and respectful in the dojang, but at night, on the streets, alone, she did what she felt she had to do.  But it was a deception, and after a fashion she could not face her brothers and sisters of the natural way, knowing that nightly she would ignore the Hun, and do violence to the violators. So, one day she stopped going to training. Torrid disappeared from the world of Chayon Do, she stopped taking calls from her teachers, her friends, she faded into obscurity.

Her teachers were surprised when she had called them, and happy to have her come back. They had wondered what had happened to her all those years, and were pleased that she was alive and well, despite herself and her temper. When she walked into the dojang she was met by Master Jayce, an elderly woman who had been Torrid’s trainer from the time she was in her late teens. Torrid stepped in and removed her shades, allowing Master Jayce to take her in and evaluate her.

“Torrid, you are much changed from the girl I once knew. How far off the path you have strayed.” She said with a soft smile, stepping close to embrace torrid. Torrid returned the embrace and then offered a respectful bow, acknowledging Master Jayce’s wisdom and experience in the system.

“You always had such fine manners.” Jayce said, returning the bow. “It was never your manners that held you back, Torrid.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Torrid said in humble reply, “It was my temper.”

“It was more than that. But I can see the road map of your journey all over you. You come to me much humbled. “

“You have no idea, “ Torrid said with a shy smile, “It’s been a long and winding road, my teacher. But I am home, if home will have me.”

“Home is where your heart is, Torrid. Is your heart with us here? Our hearts have always been with you.” Jayce Said with compassion, placing a hand on Torrid’s shoulder and squeezing gently.

“My heart has come home, my teacher.” Torrid said, her voice breaking.

Jayce smiled. She went into the supply closet and returned with a white dobok and a white belt. Handing them to Torrid she said, “Go change, and come back to me.”

Torrid cocked her head at the sight of the white belt, but said nothing. She went into the changing room and put on the fresh dobok, rolling the sleeves up to reveal her wrists, the pant legs to show her ankles, and finally tying the white belt around her donjon. She emerged from the dressing room in the dobok of a white belt beginner and stepped out into the dojang. Bowing as she entered, she turned and faced the system banner, and bowed to show her respect for the principles and philosophy of the natural way, and her intent to come to the training hall to learn.

She turned and faced a room full of her colleagues, new faces and old, and stood there humbly before them all in her white belt. This was her lesson in humility. When she left, she had been a second degree black belt. Torrid understood Jayce’s reasoning behind giving her a white belt, and making her take her place among beginners. It was to show respect for the system, and to allow her to earn her place. She would have to test for her rank, just like everyone else.  She had been away from the system for five years, had not kept up with her disciplines.

After class, when the other students were dismissed, Torrid was called over to the group of brown and black belts by Jayce.

“Torrid you remember Sabom Nim Lisa Brown, and Kyo Sa Nim Stephen Kim.”

“Yes,” Torrid said, bowing to her former colleagues. “It’s been a long time.”

Lisa spoke first, “Torrid Duncan. Where the hell have you been?” Lisa was the last person Torrid spoke to before she left the dojang. She and Torrid had had an argument about Torrid’s night time vigilante tactics. Lisa was very upset at Torrid at the time and said some hurtful things to her, accusing her of having no honor or loyalty. What she didn’t know was what had set Torrid off, no one but Jayce ever would.

“I have been lost, but I found my way home.” Torrid said, trying not to let Lisa’s tone affect her. She knew this was a test too.

Stephen spoke next, “I see you come back as a white belt, did you forget your forms?” he chuckled.

“Torrid comes to test for her rank.  When she left us, you were a blue belt, and she was a Kyo Sa Nim, Stephen, so remember that, and respect that.” Jayce replied.

“Yes, Ma’am“, Stephen replied, chagrined.

“Well,” Lisa said, “Let’s see your most basic form, and your most advanced form, Torrid.”

Torrid bowed, and went to the center of the training hall. She was given the command to begin, and she started to do her forms for the three black belts who stood before her. The first hour was hard, but she pushed herself, remembering back through the years the proper ways to execute, to land her hands and feet at the same time, to breath, to kihop loudly, and to always remain in the last position until told to return to the on-guard position.

Her testing went on for several weeks, as she was given command after command and forced to recall, remember and retrain herself without relenting by the three black belts.

Last night’s sparring had been intense. The past few weeks she had spent retraining herself, remembering her forms, her practicals, the external fundamentals of the system, and preparing herself for the final test for her rank; she would have to spar Jayce herself.

Torrid toweled herself off and threw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. She grabbed her socks and boots and Lock Jaw’s leash as she headed downstairs to make herself some breakfast.

“Come on boy,” she called to Lock Jaw, who was still at the top of the steps yawning sleepily. “Come get your breakfast.”

Torrid’s cell phone rang. She put down Lock Jaw’s bowl and picked up her phone from the countertop,
“Yeah?” she said, pouring herself a glass of juice with her free hand.

“Miss Duncan, this is officer Whitman, a HPD, “ the voice on the phone said. “We have some news about your stolen motorcycle. Now it seems you pressed charges against a--Monica Truman for the theft?”

“That’s right, she had a key.” Torrid said.

“Well it seems she also has an alibi, and there’s no evidence that it was her, so she’s been released and the charges have been dropped due to lack of evidence. I am sorry to tell you this, but there’s nothing we can do.”

“Fuck.” She said under her breath. “Well okay, thanks anyway.” Torrid frowned as she hung up her cell.  She looked down at Lock Jaw and watched him devour his food like a back hoe devours dirt. She reached down and scratched his hear, thinking aloud, “Well, I know she did it. At least the insurance check will cover a down payment on a new one. Eat up boy, you get to go to the park today.” Lock Jaw wagged his tail in response.

South of Downtown

Drelica’s alarm went off, and her finger emerged from under the comforter, flipping off the offending noise. “Alright--Alright!” she grumbled as she crawled closer to the clock radio, finally reaching it and pushing the snooze button. Drelica flipped the covers down as she sat up in bed, and looked at the view out of her window to see the sunny day she had hoped for this weekend.

Drelica got up and made coffee. She went to her front door to get the paper, and paused to look at the view from her terrace. It was a lovely day and there was a lovely view of the park below. Drelica decided to have her coffee on the terrace and do some people watching before she went into her office at the museum. 

Drelica decided to go in this weekend and avoid seeing David Temple again before she had to leave Sunday night to return to the dig site. She tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, and convince herself David was a good person, and he was a good curator. But he had a very narrow attitude when it came to fieldwork, and was more interested in kissing up to the corporate element of the museum trade, rather than focus on the science. There was something very oily about him. He gave her the creeps.

The science had been her passion since Drelica was a child. While Monica was riding ponies and having imaginary tea parties, Drelica had been playing with rubber dinosaurs and pretending to explore hidden caves and tombs. She was fascinated with history, earth history, and human history--didn’t matter, as long as it was history.  Drelica loved digging, because when you dig, that’s when you find the truth.  Drelica wanted truth in all things.

So she clashed with David on a regular basis. The recent vandalism and injury of the diggers out west was a ‘scandal’ in his eyes, but Drelica took it all in stride and handled the backers like a professional. Addressing their concerns, suggesting that additional security measures be taken to secure the dig site, and then she unveiled the specimens that Mark had been cleaning and prepping just for the purpose of shutting their mouths and opening their wallets. It worked. But it made David difficult to be around. He wasn’t happy with what he termed ‘grandstanding’.

She recalled a conversation earlier in the week: “Dr. Truman--who do you think you are?  These kinds of cowboy tactics are bad for the museum!” David said sternly.

“Well Dr. Temple, I suspect the museum will survive--and I don’t think a little ‘Roy Chapman Andrews’ can hurt anything. Necessity is the mother of invention, the dig was in jeopardy, and you didn’t seem to be doing anything to save it. Now we’re funded til the end of next year--”

“That’s no excuse!” He interrupted; “we don’t do things that way here. This isn’t Chicago, Drelica.”

“No, David,” she said, “It sure as hell isn’t.  But think of it this way-- If the dig is funded, I’ll be in the field, and we won’t have to see each other every day.  That’s worth a little grandstanding now, isn’t it?”

Drelica sighed as she sipped her coffee and watched people walking their dogs in the park below. Today she had to finish reports and inventory sheets and oversee the loading of new equipment for transport to the dig site, and tonight, she would be on the road again heading west. She couldn’t wait.

Torrid jogged through the park with Lock Jaw trailing behind her stopping to bark and tree the occasional squirrel.  It felt good to break a sweat, and to just work her body through the pain and bruising of the sparring the night before.  Torrid ran past the zoo entrance, around the duck pond and across hippie hill to cross the street to the rose garden, public golf courses and the museum parking lot. Herman Park was busy on the weekends; families having picnics and visitors to the city’s attractions.

She went to her pickup and popped down the tailgate; she motioned for Lock Jaw to hop up into the back of the truck. As he did so she opened her cooler and pulled out a bottle of water for herself and a collapsible water bowl for him which she filled from her bottle. “Here you go boy,” she said breathlessly as she patted him.

“Well, well,” a voice said from behind Torrid. “We keep bumping into each other here, Torrid.”

Torrid turned to see Drelica approaching from her Jeep, carrying a messenger bag and her cell phone, which she had a head set attached to. Torrid smiled and waved to Drelica.

“Hey Drelica,” Torrid said, grinning. “What’s up?”

Drelica stopped and put her weight on one hip; she folded her arms over her chest and cocked her head to one side and stared at Torrid with a wry grin.

“What?” Torrid asked shrugging.

“Why haven’t you returned my calls?” Drelica cornered.

Torrid froze. Ah fuck! she thought, I forgot to call her back!

“Well, it’s like this--see--” Torrid started. “I started training again and time got away from me, and --the whole mess with my bike, and I been really busy. Really!”

Drelica snorted, “I can’t believe you pulled that line with me! Forget it Torrid--you don’t have to call me back. I can take a hint.” She said walking away.

Torrid froze, what the fuck? I really was busy!

She reached out and grabbed Drelica’s wrist and pulled her close. She put her other arm around Drelica and looked deep into those emerald pools. As Torrid moved closer, Drelica felt her stomach flip over, as she knew what was coming next and she started to struggle free, but Torrid held her in place. Torrid covered her mouth and kissed her deeply--passionately. Time stood still as the kiss went on and on; silk and velvet mingling, power and passion tasting like honey and salt. Torrid claimed Drelica’s mouth, Drelica accepted Torrid’s assault, welcomed it. The tension that had driven them for weeks pushing them now to collide in this instant. This was a fucking hot kiss!

When the kiss was finally broken, Torrid held Drelica in her arms starring into her eyes for a long moment before either of them spoke. The applause of the crowd in the parking lot went unnoticed by the couple as they were caught up in each other as no other women were ever caught up before. They had fit together like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Torrid brushed Drelica’s cheek gently, smiling. “Come away with me..” Torrid said softly.

“Oh God...” Drelica said, breathlessly, “I would love too, I really would, but Torrid, I can’t.”

Torrid’s smile faded and she slowly pulled back. She took a step backwards away from Drelica allowing them both a moment to recover. Drelica took Torrid’s hand in hers and raised it to her lips; she placed a soft kiss on Torrid’s hand and lowered her face to Torrid’s palm, rubbing her cheek against it.
“Torrid--I have to go back in the field tonight.  Will you call me?” she asked softly.

Torrid nodded, enjoying the feel of Drelica’s baby soft cheek in the palm of her hand.

“Will you think about me while I’m away?” Drelica whispered, watching Torrid’s fascination with her gentle administrations.

“Baby,” Torrid said in a strained whisper, “I’m thinking about you now!”

Drelica’s eyes narrowed. “That’s not what I meant, and you know it!” She pulled herself away and dropped Torrid’s hand.

“Awe, come on--I was teasing!” Torrid pouted. “Of course I’ll think about you.” She added with a faint whisper, I always do.

“That’s better,” Drelica said, folding her arms over her chest, as Torrid raised an eyebrow. Drelica broke into a soft giggle, and she said, “I was teasing you!”

Torrid smiled and stepped over to put Lock Jaw’s water bowl back into the cooler. She closed the tailgate of her truck saying, “We’re even then.”

“Torrid--think about me?” Drelica said, stepping away and turning toward the museum, but watching Torrid as she did.

Torrid winked at her and smiled, “I’ll think about you, Drelica. If you think about me.”

“Sure thing,” Drelica said, then she thought to herself, As if I could think of anything else after that kiss--damn I am wet!  Great....busy, lonely and now...horny!


On her first day back, Drelica was ready to scream. The site had been vandalized, and many precious fossils had been destroyed. It was as if someone had used blasting caps to break apart the fossil record.  She was desperate to make it back up the creek bed and see if the site she and Mark had mapped out was hit as well.

“Doc, this is a nightmare.” Mark said, as he sifted through trays of broken specimens. “At least we got the big ones out of here.”

“God damn it!” she said, kicking the dirt. Drelica paced back and forth, rubbing her face with her hands as she thought. She had to figure this out. The local authorities were completely uncooperative, having had complaints against the digging team filed by a local church group who said they were doing the devil’s work by digging up dinosaur bones. Whatever!

“Sometimes I can’t believe the stupidity of human beings, Mark.” she said as she went into her office tent and started packing her overnight gear.  She gave in to a moment of frustration and kicked her bunk, sending it hurling over on it’s side. She slumped to the floor of the tent and put her face in her hands.

Gotta think!  her mind raced, who would do this --and why?

Drelica emerged with an overnight pack and her sleeping bag. She threw it in the back of her Jeep and called over to Mark, “get your gear, we’re going back up creek. There’s nothing else we can do here today.”

“Okay Doc, but what about the new equipment? It’s gotta be unloaded and set up.”

“I told Tony to do it, now let’s go!” she said irritated. She just wanted to get on with it. She had to know if her site was still intact.  She checked her side arm and holstered it, she got into the driver’s side of the jeep and stared ahead.

“On my way, Doc,” Mark said. Shit she is pissed! I sure hope it’s all okay up there!

Torrid parked her truck and grabbed her groceries out of the back. She was tired, it had been a long day.  She had to open the shop up again and working alone was more tiring than she had remembered.  There was something else that she realized too, and that was the sad fact that she was just tired of pushing ink, at least for now. She loved the art, she loved the timeless tradition of it, but, it all reminded her of too many sorrows from her life now.
Elektra, she thought, Monica...Drew.  There was a lot of bad blood behind her. She was glad to be going to the dojang tonight.  She climbed the back steps to her flat, and stopped at the top when she saw who was standing there at her door waiting for her.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” Torrid said.

“I want to talk to you,” Monica replied.

“I got nothing to say to you. Go away.” Torrid said, pushing past her and fishing out her keys.

“Torrid--I didn’t take your bike.” Monica said, grabbing Torrid’s groceries out of her hands to keep her from dropping them.

Torrid stopped. She opened the door--and motioned for Monica to step inside. “Something tells me, this is a very bad idea; but come in.”

Monica smiled softly and stepped past Torrid into her flat. Torrid followed, closing the screen door behind her.

“Just put that on the counter. Want a beer?” she asked, as she helped herself to a cold one.

“No. I just want to talk.”

“So talk.” Torrid said, sipping her beer.

“Like I said, it wasn’t me, I told the cops that.  And I know you fucked my sister.” She said, crossing her arms. “Was that to get back at me?”

Torrid spewed her beer laughing.

Monica furrowed her brows, “What’s so fucking funny?”

“You always think everything is about you!” Torrid said, still laughing. “Babe, it’s none of your fucking business, but I didn’t fuck your sister. But you would think that--because it’s what you would have done. As for my bike--I don’t know if you had anything to do with it’s being stolen or not, but I wouldn’t put it past you. You’ve shown me that you’re capable of damn near anything.”

“I didn’t fucking do it!” Monica shouted. “Why won’t you believe me?!”

“Well, never cry wolf, Monica.” Torrid said, sipping her beer. “You’ve proven yourself to be a liar. The shit you’ve done...Drelica told me what you did to her. Yeah I know all about that, so don’t sit here looking for vindication. You made your bed.”

“Fuck you Torrid.” Monica said, turning to go.

“Monica, wait--” Torrid said, catching up to her.

“Yes?” Monica said, turning to her.

“Let me get the door for you.” Torrid grinned wickedly. “So it doesn’t hit your ass on the way out.”

“Ooooooh!” Monica said as she stormed out of Torrid’s kitchen onto the balcony. She turned to say one last thing when


“Oh you bitch! Fucking cunt!” Monica shouted at the closed door. While Monica stood there shouting obscenities and cursing Torrid’s names to the four winds, on the other side of the door, Torrid fell to her knees laughing.

Drelica’s cell satellite phone rang taking her attention away from the brooding anger she was lost in waiting for Mark to move his ass.

“This better be important!” she said, pushing the talk button, “Dr. Truman.”

“Drelica, It’s me--”

“Monica? What the hell!?”

“I went to Torrid’s to tell her I had nothing to do with stealing her bike--she didn’t believe me.”

Drelica rolled her eyes, “I can’t say I blame her, sis. What do you want me to do about it?”

“Well she’s your girlfriend now, so talk to her!“

“Torrid is not my girlfriend, Monica! Where the hell is your mind? She’s a--” Drelica stopped, what was Torrid to her? A friend? A fantasy? Shit. “--She’s a friend!”

“Whatever, Dre--just talk to her for me?” Monica pleaded.

“No. This is your mess I am not getting into this!” Drelica said flatly.

“You think I did it too!” Monica pouted.

“Monica, I don’t know what to think! I don’t know what motivates you, or why you do the things you do!”

“It wasn’t me! I was there, but it wasn’t me!” she protested

“You were where?” Drelica asked.

“I was in the motel with these guys--we were--”

“Fucking, right?” Drelica finished for her.

“Yes, GODDAMMIT! Are you happy? Yes, I fucked them all! But I didn’t touch Torrid’s fucking bike!” Monica spat.

Drelica rubbed her forehead, absorbing this new bit of information about her sister.

“So these guys you fucked took Torrid’s bike?” Drelica asked soberly.

“I guess so. One of them took my keys.”

“You still had a key to Torrid’s bike?” Drelica said, “I guess, she suspected you because of it.”

“I came back to your room and you weren’t there, you were with Torrid. I met them when I was standing by her bike, they asked me if it was mine, and I said yes, because I thought they’d think I was hot, which they did--but they didn’t believe it was my bike, so I flashed the key.”

“I see...so where were you when they took your key?” Drelica asked, knowing she would regret the answer.

“I was on the bed with two of them, it must have been the third guy. He wasn’t there suddenly, but --the other two finished then left.  I guess they went after their buddy then.” Monica shrugged.

“Oh god, Monica--” Drelica said shaking her head, “Please--please get tested!” she clicked her phone off. She didn’t want to hear any more. She rested her head on the steering wheel but was jarred alert by Mark’s pack thudding in the back of the jeep. She sat up as he climbed in.

“Ready Doc?” he said, clicking his seatbelt on.

“Yeah, let’s go. I need to get away from here for a while--I really need a good stiff drink.” she said.

“Oh well it’s a good thing I brought this then, “ He smiled as he held up a brown paper bag with a bottle of Jose Cuervo in it. “Thought we could use a nightcap after we set up camp. There’s no telling what we’ll find when we get there doc.”

“Good thinking, “ she said, as she put the jeep in gear and drove into the setting sun.

“Hello?” Torrid said into her cell, as she tossed her gear bag into the back of her truck.

“Hey yo-mama!” Liz said on the other end of the phone

“Oh hey you! What’s up?” Torrid asked, climbing into the driver’s seat, feeling every bit of tonight’s work out at the dojang.

“Come out tonight--it’s karaoke night at the bar!” Liz chuckled.

“Oh baby, hold me back!” Torrid mocked. “Liz--you know I fucking hate that crap.”

“Get your ass over here!” Liz commanded.

Torrid groaned, “Oh alright! I gotta go home and shower first. See you later.”

Torrid hung up her phone and laughed to herself as she got into her truck. She put the key in the ignition and started the truck up but was suddenly startled by a hand reaching in the window and grabbing her shoulder.

“Jesus fucking Christ!” She said blocking the hand and grabbing it in a Jujitsu lock.

“Ow-- shit!” Lisa Brown exclaimed as Torrid twisted her wrist almost out of its joint.

“Fuck Lisa--don’t ever do that!” Torrid said, her heart in her throat. “I could have killed you!”

Lisa smirked, “Not bloody likely, Duncan.”

“What the fuck do you want?” Torrid said, ignoring her arrogance.

“I am going with you. I heard you on the phone....you’re going to karaoke night. I need a ride.”

Torrid raised an eyebrow, “You’re shitting me.”

“Nope, I have a lovely singing voice if you‘ll remember...let’s roll!” Lisa said, getting into Torrid’s truck. “Where’d you get this piece of shit?”

Torrid narrowed her eyes at Lisa’s rude comment, “My bike got stolen.”

“Oh, sorry, my bad. When was this?” Lisa asked.

“A month ago, when I went to Austin. Look--I don’t want to talk about it, okay?”

“Okay, Duncan--don’t be so testy, I was just asking!” Lisa Said, innocently.

“Why the fuck are you here?” Torrid asked.

“I told you..karioke.”
“Oh bullshit! You’ve been chipping after me since I came back. What’s your beef?” Torrid said bluntly.

“You. You don’t belong here. You walked out on us, you betrayed the Hun, and Jayce. You’re a bad seed Torrid.  And I am going to see you fall on your ass.” Lisa said smugly.

Torrid stopped the truck, turned to Lisa and cocked her eyebrow. “You know nothing about what happened between me and Jayce, Lisa. Now get out.”

“Awe, no karaoke?” Lisa said, mockingly, “Maybe some other time.”
She smiled superficially and got out. Torrid sped off, pissed. She needed a drink. Lisa had hit a nerve bringing up Jayce.  All those years she put it behind her, even Jayce had forgiven her, but she would never forget what happened. Neither would Lisa. Torrid scowled. She drove to her apartment and went upstairs.

Mark pitched the camp while Drelica did some surveying. It was getting dark and she would have to stop soon, but to her relief, things were pretty much as they left them in this secluded spot.

The marker flags were still in tact, and nothing had been disturbed.  She let out a long slow sigh of relief. I needed things here to be alright. I need this find. This is where the big ones are--I can feel it! The rock is right, the soil is right--this is where they are!

Drelica walked back to the camp and handed her survey kit to Mark, smiling. He took it as he watched her face, and he cocked his head in query.

“Everything alright, Doc?” he said.

“We’re okay!” she said with a light chuckle. “I am sooooo fucking relieved! Give me a shot of that tequila! We need to celebrate!”

“Yes ma’am,” Mark laughed, “the bar is now open!”

Liz poured Torrid another shot of Jack.
“Oh don’t piss and moan about it anymore,” Liz said, pouring a shot for herself. “Thanks for the drink, by the way, I am putting this on your tab.”

“Don’t mention it, “ Torrid grumbled, flicking peanut husks across the bar at Liz.

“Lisa Brown is a bitter little bitch.” Liz said, downing her shot. “She always was jealous of you, even when we were in school.”

Torrid laughed, “Yeah, she fuckin’ hated me!”

“Remember that time when you Lisa, Elektra and me all went down to the beach--” Liz started, but stopped herself. “Oh, fuck Torrid, sorry.”

“Nah it’s cool. Elektra is gone. I am okay with it.” Torrid shrugged.

“How can you be okay with having to kill your best friend?” Liz asked. “Torrid--no one gets over something like that.”

“I do.” Torrid said, downing her shot. “I gotta go, Liz--have a good night.”

“Oh no you don’t! Sit your ass back down on that stool!” Liz ordered.

“Liz--really, I gotta go.” Torrid said, picking her lighter up off the bar.

Liz folded her arms in front of her and leered at Torrid. Torrid frowned and sat back down. Fuck.

Liz smiled and poured Torrid another drink, “Torrid, this is your lucky night. I decided to get you shit faced on the house.”

“Oh that’s cool of you Liz, since you know it’s the only way to keep me here.” Torrid smirked.

Drelica leaned back in her chair laughing, she was almost out of breath from laughing so hard. Mark’s had was wobbling as he tried to pour another drink for each of them. He was laughing too, tears streaking his face.

“Well, here’s to---er, what letter are we on Doc?” Mark said, scratching his head. They had been playing this drinking game for over an hour.

“Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...I think we’re on S, Mark.” Drelica offered up, reaching for her glass.

“Okay..here’s tooooooooooooooooooo.....Silver Nitrate!” Mark said, clinking his glass to Drelica’s.

“Oh Mark,” Drelica slurred with a smile, “Spoken like a true nerd!” She downed her shot.

“Okay, your turn Doc--T!”

“T...is for Torrid...Tattoos and...tournament golf!” Drelica said.

“Torrid?” Mark asked, “I think someone named Torrid called for you.”

“What? Why didn’t you tell me? Oh my god!” Drelica said, “When was this?”
Drelica was almost in a panic over missing Torrid’s call. If Mark’s head were clearer he would think Torrid was the Doc’s--girlfriend? Ooooooooooh, wow.

“Uh--this afternoon. She just asked if you were available, I said no.” He shrugged.
“You said, ‘NO!?’”

“You were rampaging around the camp, Doc!” Mark said defensively. “Who is she anyway?”

“She’s--really hot!” Drelica said.

“So are you.” Mark said, “you know that right?”

Drelica burst into laughter. “You’re drunk!”

“So are you!” He replied, “But you’re still hot.”

Drelica’s smile faded. “Aha...that’s enough tequila for you, Mark. Off to bed with you.” she ordered.

“Awe, this was just getting interesting--I finally told you I think you’re hot, and you’re sending me off to bed alone.” He stood up, then tripped and stumbled and fell on his ass. Drelica stood there with her hands on her hips looking down at him. She shook her head.

“If there’s a God, Mark,” She laughed, ”Neither one of us will remember this in the morning.”

Drelica walked to her tent and crawled in. She dug out her satellite phone and dialed Torrid’s cell. Please be voice mail! she pleaded with the universe.

Torrid stumbled into the bathroom and into the nearest stall. She really had to piss. She had been drinking so much jack straight and it was going through her like a sive. She sat there letting out a long breath, enjoying the feeling of release when her phone rang. Fuck. She looked at the caller ID. Drelica!

Torrid flipped her phone open, ”Hey, Drelica.” She said, trying to sound sober.

“Torrid, my assistant said you called, are you ok?” Drelica asked.

“Yeah, I am okay--your sister came by to see me. She wanted to tell me she didn’t have anything to do with my bike being stolen.” Torrid said.

“Yeah, she called me after you threw her out, she told me the same thing. I believe her.”

“You do?” Torrid asked, surprised.

“Only because she told me where she was when it happened.”

“And that would be?” Torrid asked, curious.

“Believe me you don’t want to know!” Drelica said, laying down before she fell down from the head rush.

“Well I guess it doesn’t much matter now. I am getting a new bike next week. How is work going?”

“Like hell. The site was a mess--we came upstream of the creek bed 30 miles to check out the site we surveyed a month ago, that’s where I am now. Near Big Bend and La Jitas, but off in the hills.” Drelica said.

“Oh yeah, I been out that way..I got some land there.”

“You do? You have?” Drelica asked, surprised.

“Yeah, I got some acreage up there was left to me by my dad. Always wanted to look for Indian burial grounds--uh listen, can you hang on a sec?” Torrid asked sheepishly.

“Uh..sure...this call is only costing me a fortune.” Drelica smirked.

The next sound Drelica heard was that of a toilet flushing. Her eyes widened, and she burst into incontrollable laughter.

“Hey I was in the head when you called!” Torrid said, laughing. “But I was thinking of you!” She teased.

“Oh Ha-Ha! You are such a charmer.” Drelica rolled her eyes. “Where are you?”

“At Chances. It’s Karaoke night.” Torrid joked.

“Aha, I didn’t know you could sing, Torrid,” She said, “You’re a woman of many talents”

“Oh baby, you have no idea.” Torrid flirted.

“I can imagine.” Drelica said, visualizing.

“Can you imagine for me right now?” Torrid coaxed.

“Torrid, are you drunk?”

“Yeah, and horny too!” Torrid smirked.

“So am I!” Drelica laughed.

“In that case, tell me what you’re wearing,” Torrid said seductively, not really joking this time.

“I could be wearing absolutely nothing, if you play your cards right,” Drelica flirted, surprised at herself for being so bold. Tequila = horny and stupid. Yep.

“I sooooo want to play my cards right with you Drelica, “Torrid confessed, then slapped her forehead for saying it out loud. Damn it! Out loud voice! She covered the phone speaker as she walked back through the bar and out onto the patio. Torrid picked a table in the back, secluded by palm trees and gigantic terra cotta pots, she leaned back in the chair and put one leg up on the table, listening to Drelica’s sexy voice on the other end of the phone.

“Torrid, I am out in the desert, in a tent, alone, drunk and horny.” Drelica whined.

“Awe, I am so sorry baby, can I help you out with that?” Torrid asked sweetly.

Drelica felt a sudden throbbing in her loins; Torrid’s voice was sooooooo sexy. So persuasive, so seductive. She wanted to hear it telling her all kinds of things. She let out a small moan, barely audible, but Torrid heard it.

Torrid smiled.

“Drelica, “ Torrid said, “I can help you out baby, if you just do what I tell you to. You know that right?”

“What do you mean?” Drelica asked, innocently.

“I need you to reach down between your hot thighs and check something for me,” Torrid softly ordered.

Drelica found herself obeying, feeling her hand roam down into her cargo pants, touching the soft skin of her inner thighs, and finally cupping herself.

“Drelica, are you wet for me baby?” Torrid asked.

“Oh god...” Drelica’s voice trailed off...she was soaking.

“Good. That’s very good baby, it means I can help you. I can make you feel sooooooo good. You want that right?” Torrid pushed.

Drelica felt herself sliding, into a mental space that she had never known. A place where, like slipping into a warm bath, she felt safe, secure and really horny. Torrid’s low seductive voice was her lifeline, she felt she could trust it, she felt she must obey it. Behind it were all of Torrid’s passion, her presence, and her power. Drelica wanted to surrender to it.

Yes, she whispered breathlessly.

“I’m going to talk to you now, baby. You don’t have to talk back unless I ask you a direct question. I just want to make you feel good. I want to help. I want to release you from all that stress. Okay?”

“God yes!” Drelica squeaked.

“Drelica, I know you work hard, I know you have so much stress and responsibility on you. I know you have stress from your sister, from the things going on around you, but tonight--you’re free from all of that. Tonight you don’t have to make decisions, you don’t have to give orders, and you don’t have to do anything, except--what I tell you.” Torrid shifted in her chair, and shoved her hand down her jeans cupping herself.

“I want you to touch yourself for me,” Torrid continued. “I want you to feel all that wetness on your fingers. The softness of it, the warmth, the silkiness of it, and know what it is. It’s want. Its need. It’s lust. And tonight....” Torrid finished with a more dominant tone, “It’s mine.”

Drelica gasped, she felt herself exploring her body, her one hand between her legs cupping and fingering her center, her other teasing her nipples under her khaki shirt, while her neck cradled the phone. She was writhing under the gentle but dominant rhythm of Torrid’s commands. Torrid was not forceful, she was gentle, but firm, telling Drelica to feel herself, to get to know herself, inside and out, to feel the softness of her skin, the hardness of her nipples. To set herself free from all the stress and to stop thinking.

“Don’t think, baby. Just do.” Torrid said, “Feel those fingers sliding into your wetness, go deep for me...fill yourself up. I want to hear you moaning when you do it. Do it for me baby.”

The more Torrid asked Drelica to do, the more she wanted to do. Torrid told her to fill herself, to feel the tightness of her own hand deep inside her center. To feel the soft wetness of her walls against the skin of her fingers, to feel herself with herself. To focus on the sensation of touch from all sides of touching. Drelica had never before known herself or how to feel like this before. She felt a knew kind of knowledge awaken within, a new kind of power arising from her center. She learned that through submission she had control. This was for her, not Torrid. Torrid was her vehicle, but this was all for her. She knew instinctively, even as she did what she was commanded by Torrid, that she was obeying herself.

Torrid sat on the patio of chances dominating Drelica with her voice, touching herself leaned back in her chair with her eyes closed. She too was in another place. She hadn’t been in her top space in so long; she had almost forgotten what it felt like to fly free.  She took Drelica on the journey with her, out of nowhere; they had leaped into this set of wings and were now flying free though separated by miles, they were one in spirit.

“Okay baby, you know you have such a sexy voice, “ Torrid complimented, “and It reeks with power and desire. It tells me all about you. I like what I hear.”

Drelica moaned in response.

“Now I want to do something for me, one last thing, can you do it?” Torrid asked knowing Drelica was about ready to explode. Then she gave the command, “Cum for me.”

Drelica’s existence exploded into a tempest of sensations. At the simple request, demand, whatever the fuck it was, Drelica shot off like a rocket Cumming hard, letting out a series of loud moans, which in turn made Torrid stroke herself harder til she too came.

“God!” Torrid said with a grunt as she climaxed sitting there on the patio. She realized she had been sweating bullets, and her body was shaking.

Drelica lay there in her tent sweat soaked and quivering; unable to speak or move. Her breathing finally slowing to a steady pace, she was weak and spent. She listened, as Torrid’s own moans filled her head from the receiver of the phone. She smiled, and reached up to pick it up from where it had rolled off as she came.

“Torrid?” She asked in a weak whisper, the lazy hazy afterglow setting in.

“One sec, please, “ Torrid said, barely able to speak. She put the phone aside and took a deep breath, and another, and another. Finally, she was able to find her voice. “I’m here.”

“Torrid, that was---indescribable! I have never had an experience like that in my life!” Drelica said.

“You can blame it on the tequila tomorrow, “ Torrid said, shyly. “Or pretend you were too drunk to remember it.”

“Are you fucking kidding me? I never want to forget that as long as I live!” Drelica said, hoarsely.

Torrid smiled, “Really?”

“Really.” Drelica smiled back.

“Cool. Well it’s late. Sleep well.” Torrid said, suddenly shy.

Drelica smiled inside sensing Torrid’s shyness, which she took as a good sign. This meant something to Torrid too.

“Good night Torrid.”

“Call me.” Torrid said, as she hung up, smiling to herself.

Drelica clicked her phone off and laid it to the side. She sunk back into her bedding and let out a deep breath. She felt the Squish between her legs soaking her cargos. Jesus I am wet. She thought. But she asked me to call her!

Drelica rolled over and awaited sleep, a smile on her lips.

Torrid sat there for a long moment, lost in thought. She was suddenly thrust out of her thoughts by a towel hitting her in the face and a bottle of water being put in front of her. She pulled the towel off her face sharply and looked up to glare at Liz. But Liz stood there smiling, and it was infectious.

“So---how about them Astros?” Liz said, grinning.

Torrid smiled, and sipped the water, but said nothing. Liz wrapped her arm around Torrid’s head and leaned over to kiss it, then left her alone again.

One thought was on Torrid’s mind, I hope she calls me.


Mark Stephens got up with the sun, he hadn’t slept too well. He was sore, tired and hung over. He can’t remember the last time he had been that drunk, and he still had the taste of sour tequila in his mouth, yuck.

As he brushed his teeth vigorously he heard a peculiar sound, and stopped all movement to perk his ears and listen. Nothing. Just the wind coming across the desert, a bird crying off in the distance, then suddenly, an awful snort.

What the fuck is that?

Where was it coming from?  He looked around, faintly hearing this growling, grinding snort. He had seen javelina running around on the drive up, and worried there might be a rogue running around. Though small, they were dangerous animals.

There it is again!  He thought, getting a bearing on the noise.

His eyes followed the trail of the sound back to Drelica’s tent. Mark’s eyes widened as he realized it wasn’t a wild pig at all, but rather Drelica snoring! He burst into laughter.

Torrid woke up lying on the floor of Liz’s apartment in a puddle of her own drool, with a quarter stuck to her face. She was dead to the world until Lock Jaw appeared and licked her with his enormous tongue.

Torrid scrambled to the bathroom to look in the mirror and jump back at the reflection that awaited her. Holy shit. I need a shower.  She brushed her teeth with Liz’s toothbrush, laughing to herself as she did so. She got me drunk, so she can deal.  She turned on the shower and undressed, catching a whiff of her own ripeness and getting grossed out. Jesus, did I puke too? She laughed to herself. The soothing flow of water soon covered her and she clean lather of soap washed away her sins. Torrid already felt better.

Drelica woke up face down on her sleeping bag with her hand in her pants and her phone in her hand. She lifted her head, which began to immediately throb. Crap.  She rolled over and sat up, fighting off the dizziness and the overwhelming urge to hurl. Bleh! Tequila.

She emerged from her tent with a slight stagger, and the sun blinded her as she stepped out into its full ray.  Hangover city population: me.
“how late did I sleep?” She asked, tuning her head to scan for Mark. “Mark?”

He was gone.

Torrid entered Liz’s Kitchen in nothing but a towel, and reached for the cup of coffee that awaited her.

“Oh god, thank you.” Torrid said in a gravely voice.

“Here--” Liz handed a bottle of analgesics to Torrid as well. “You’ll need this too. Some night, huh?”

“No shit.” Torrid said popping three of the pills. “How did I get here?”

“I’m stronger than I look,” Liz smiled.

“You went and got Lockjaw?” Torrid asked.

“Yep. I knew he’d go nuts if you didn’t come home and piss all over everything. So. That's how much I love you, you goon.” Liz said.

“I owe you one.” Torrid said, flopping down on the sofa. “You didn’t happen to grab any of my clothes did you?” Torrid asked wishfully.

“Yep, jeans, t-shirt, boots are all in the bedroom. I couldn’t find any underwear, so--”

“never wear it.” Torrid said wickedly.

“Ew. Too much information.” Liz smirked. “Okay, I gotta run in a few, let yourself out, okay? I got a Yoga class at one.”

“Yoga?” Torrid said turning her head and cocking her eyebrow. “You?”

“Shut up. There’s a hot girl that teaches the class. I might get lucky.” Liz winked, drinking her juice.

Liz was a long, lean woman with raven black hair and hazel eyes. She sported a Hindu style nose piercing and a gold tooth.  She was a character in every sense of the word, but had a heart of gold and she had been Torrid’s friend since junior high school. Torrid loved Liz. Even when they weren’t speaking. But, that was a long time ago, and here they were now, the best of friends.

“Thanks Liz.” Torrid said, getting up to go dress. “For everything.”

“Hey no problem, I’ll just add it to my bill.”

Drelica searched one side of the gorge and then the other, she could find no sign of mark. The Jeep was still there, the camp was intact, there was no sign of a struggle....or was there?

Drelica splashed water from her dasani bottle on her face to clear her vision. Faint tracks were in the sand and gravel.  And tire tracks that did not belong to her jeep. Fuck. She didn’t know the first thing about reading tracks. Who was she kidding? 
Drelica went to her duffle and pulled out her holster & sidearm. Her heart started pounding. What if she actually had to use it?

She was kicking herself for drinking.
“Wait!” she said, slapping herself, “I got my phone!” She ran to her tent and picked up her satellite phone to call the base camp. Nothing. Shit!

“Alright, Dre,” she said to herself climbing into the jeep, “There’s nothing more we can do here, let’s get the fuck out of here and head back to base.”
She turned the key. Nothing. Crap!!

She was totally alone with no way out in the Big Bend wilderness. She had water and food for a day more, maybe two. She pulled out the phone and debated calling the museum. If David Temple found out about this, she’d be fired.

She couldn’t afford to start over yet again. Monica’s betrayal had cost her so much, and she was lucky to get the position she had.

She laid her forehead down on the steering wheel and sobbed. After a long moment she looked up, she heard something in the distance. An ATV. Shit!  She ran to her pack and pulled out her field glasses, extra clips for her 45, and as much water and protein bars as she could shove into her cargo pockets.

She grabbed her phone and the spare battery and took off down the creek bed, her heart racing.

Hiding in a small dug out in the side of the hill, she pulled tumble weeds around the opening to camouflage the opening. She tried to calm her breathing, and held back frightened tears. Holding her phone in her hands...she dialed.

Torrid got home and fell into her bed. At least she was clean. She could sleep off the hangover now. She thought about what a wonderful experience it had been the night before, listening to Drelica pleasure herself on the phone while she guided her. Fucking hot. I hope she calls me, Torrid thought, I’d love some more of that.


“Fuck!” Torrid said, reaching for her phone. “This better be good.” she said as she clicked it open.

“Torrid! It’s Drelica,” She said whispering into the phone.

“What? Babe, I can barely hear you--did you miss me?” Torrid smiled.

“I need your help! Something awful has happened!” Drelica said, obviously panicked

Torrid sat up and covered her other ear with her hand, “What is it?”

Drelica relayed the story to Torrid about Mark’s disappearance and the motor tracks and the ATVs coming toward their camp.

“Where are you?” Torrid asked, reaching for a paper and pen. “Tell me exactly where you are, Drelica. I am coming for you.”

“Torrid you can’t come out here, it’s the desert, how will you find your--”

“Drelica, listen. I can find you. I can help you. I have skills, okay. Trust me.”

“Oh Torrid I am scared!” Drelica said, weeping.

“I know babe--but I’ll be there soon. Can you stay out of site for a few hours?”

“Yes, I think so--a few hours? Torrid I am 23 hours away by car!”

“Trust me.”

“Okay--I do trust you. I do! Here’s my map coordinates--” Drelica said, offering her location to Torrid.

Torrid hung up her phone and sat for a long moment, thinking.  She dialed her phone again, and waited for an answer.

“It’s me, Torrid Duncan, “ she said into the phone, “I am calling in a favor. I’ll be there in an hour.”

Torrid tucked her phone into her jeans, then went to her closet and pulled out a steel box. Inside were her guns, clips, ammo. She loaded the contents into a gear bag, along with various knives, and stabbing weapons; throwing stars, smoke bombs and a dart gun with a case of tranquilizer darts. Night vision goggles, tender box, snake bite kit, boots, cargo fatigues in desert cammo pattern. Anything else she needed she’d get at the rendezvous. She changed into her fatigues, and called Liz.

“Torrid, I’m in class!” Liz complained.

“There’s an emergency, I’ll be gone for a few days, and I need you to take Lock Jaw.”

“What is it?” Liz asked, concerned.

“It’s the return of the tiger.” Torrid said.

“I’m on my way to get him, you be careful!” Liz said.

“Always.” Torrid said, closing her phone.  She raced out the door to her truck, which Liz was kind enough to return, and threw her gear into the passenger seat. Backing out she slammed on the breaks, nearly hitting Lisa Brown.

“Fuck!” Torrid screamed.
“I wanna talk to you, Duncan.” Lisa said.

“Get the fuck out of my way, Brown. I don’t have time for this!” Torrid said, loudly.

“Where are you off to dressed like that? Or have you forgotten your rank test today?”

“Fuck!” Yep, she had forgotten.

“Lisa--a friend is in trouble. I have to go.” Torrid said, getting out of the truck. “My friend she’s stuck out in the desert, alone. She’s scared. I am going after her. She‘s in danger. Her coworker has already disappeared.”

“What are you talking about? Is this some made up crap?” Lisa asked suspiciously.

“Look I know you hate me, but for once in your life, fucking listen--I called the tiger.” Torrid said soberly.

Lisa’s face went white. Jesus Christ, she thought to herself.

“Go.” she said stepping out of Torrid‘s way, “I’ll talk to Jayce and reschedule your test.”

“Thanks.” Torrid said, getting into the truck. 

Lisa leaned over to the window looking at Torrid. She saw Torrid’s gear in the seat next to her. She pulled out a card from her pocket.

“Here--” she said handing the card to Torrid. “If you need backup. Call me.”

Meanwhile back in the west Texas desert, Drelica had huddled in fear til she was bored with it. Now she was just really pissed off. She wanted to know what the fuck was going on, so she crawled quietly to the edge of the creek ridge and peeked up through the brush to see if the mysterious ATV riders were still there.

Yep. They were ransacking her camp, destroying everything. Fuckers! She tried to listen in on their conversations, to see who they were and what they wanted. Suddenly she lost her footing when the rock she was standing on decided to dislodge itself from the soft gravel and she slid down into the gully landing with a thud. Crap. Her head was throbbing and the wind had been thoroughly knocked out of her.

Suddenly the sun was blocked from her eyes by the silhouette of a figure standing on top of the ridge looking down at her. Her heart lept to her throat and she froze, remembering her tools, weapons and phone still in the fox hole. Damn.

“I found her!” said the voice of the man who wore a mask to obscure his features.

Suddenly three armed men were standing at the top of the gully. The trained their weapons on her.

“Dr. Truman, I wouldn’t make any sudden moves if I were you.” said a familiar voice.

Drelica’s jaw dropped. She recognized the voice! But she decided to play dumb, and see what would happen next.

“Who are you? What do you want?” She shouted, playing dumb.

“That’s not important Dr. Truman,” the man said, “Are you injured?”

Drelica had to think, fuck. Yep. Her ankle was hurt. Twisted it in the fall. She couldn’t get away now if she wanted to. She’d have to bide her time til Torrid arrived and pray she could warn her and send her for help. I hope she isn’t coming out here alone! Drelica fretted. She gritted her teeth.

“My ankle is hurt!” She said begrudgingly to the masked man. “Get me out of here!” she demanded.

The masked leader motioned for two of the armed men to retrieve her. They skidded their way down the gully and approached her with caution.

“It’s my ankle,” She said, motioning to her right foot. “I think I broke it in the fall.”
“Hang onto me, “ the one man said, putting his arm around her waist and pulling her arm around his shoulders. He carefully lifted her up, then put his other arm under her legs and scooped her up, carrying her to the edge of the gully. The other man had sent down a litter on a wench cable.

“We gotta hoist you up from here, hang on to the litter, okay?”

“Sure--” she said, “Thanks, your bedside manner is pretty good for a terrorist.” She mocked, as he laid her down in the litter.  The other men at the top of the gully hoisted her up, and carried her to an awaiting camp chair.

The masked man stood waiting with a first aid kit.

“Service with a smile?” she asked as he removed her boot. “Okay what the hell’s going on, who are you thugs, and where is Mark Stephens?” She demanded.

“All in good time, Dr. Truman. Your assistant is unharmed. Whether he remains that way for very much longer is up to you.” the masked man said as he bandaged her ankle and put a cold pack on it. “Hold this pack”.

“What do you want?” She asked as she let out a sigh of defeat.

“We are looking for something. We think you found it, we want it, or to know where it is.”

“What is it?” She asked, innocently.

“An artifact.” The man answered. “Stop playing games with me, Dr. Truman. Where is it?”

“What the fuck are you talking about? The only thing we took out of here are fossils!” She exclaimed.

“It’s a pity that you are so stubborn.” said the man, “You are a very beautiful woman.”

“Good grief!” Drelica groaned, “You sound like some film noir villain! Look pal, I don’t know who you are, or what it is you think I took, but I didn’t take jack shit from here!” she was pissed now.

“I am sorry that you are choosing to be so uncooperative. You force me to behave in an uncivilized manner.” He said, motioning for other armed thugs to bring Mark from the bushes, his hands tied behind his back. “Now Doctor, I will ask you one last time...Where is it?”

“Where’s what?” She shouted.

The man motioned for the beating to begin. Mark took one to the gut, then the face, and fell to the ground where the men began to kick him repeatedly. Drelica screamed, “STOP!!” but the men did not stop. Mark rolled over unconscious, blood running from his face and mouth. Drelica sobbed uncontrollably.

On the hilltop, Torrid watched the scene play out in the camp below. She gritted her teeth, as she watched the bound man get beaten by the three armed thugs. She turned and rolled up her chute and shoved it back into its pouch. She stashed it in the brush. Soon it would be dark, then she could make her move.

“Hang in there babe,” Torrid muttered, watching Drelica through her field glasses. “I’ll be there soon.”


Drelica sat in the camp chair sobbing. The sun was going down and the henchmen started putting the campsite back together. She was relieved that her satellite phone and side arm were safely stowed away in the fox hole, otherwise they would know she spoke to Torrid. Torrid, where are you? she thought.  She wondered if her Amazon would truly be able to save her, or if she would be left alone as she always had been before when she counted on others.

Torrid said she had skills, she could help me, Drelica thought, as she tried to distract herself from the goings on around her. What skills? What did she mean? 

Drelica had heard about what happened with Elektra Knossoss and she had seen the news footage. She knew Torrid had fended her off and had actually shot her. But what special skills could help her out here in the desert?  What did she really know about Torrid? Not a fucking thing! She frowned.

The masked man approached once more. She hated this fuck head, but she had to play dumb in order to stall for time in case Torrid actually was able to get to her.  And if she was, what then? How would she warn her? She furrowed her brow again, then turned to the masked fuck head.

“So are you all gross under that hood? Like the phantom of the Opera or some shit?” she asked, being belligerent.

“What?” the masked man replied, “Dr. Truman, slinging insults is beneath you. And if you would just cooperate, none of this would be necessary.”

“I am cooperating, you asshole! I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about! I didn’t take anything out of here except two sets of dinosaur fossils!” she spat.

“Alright, let’s say for one moment I believe you,” Fuck head said, “What then? Do I let you go? If I do, you will have the police all over this acreage looking for us and that will get in the way of our search.”

“Well then, what are you going to do?” she asked, carefully.

“I don’t know. That’s up to you. People have been known to die horribly out here. Accidents, wild animals.  You and your assistant will most likely meet your doom by tangling with a wild cat--” he said, smirking. “Perhaps even a puma.”

“What about a tiger?”

“There are no tigers in Texas-” the masked man started, but realized it was not Drelica who had spoken, the voice came from behind him. He turned suddenly to run into Torrid’s fist.

“There’s one here now--fuck head.” Torrid said as she stood over the unconscious body of the masked asshole.

Torrid turned to Drelica and crouched beside her chair, “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...” she said.

Drelica nodded, trying to silence a squeal of relief.

Torrid sat the masked man up in his chair and tied him in place so the three henchmen would not notice anything amiss.

“I am going to get your buddy.” Torrid whispered. “Then I have to get us all out of here. You sit tight, and be quiet.”

“Torrid--” Drelica whispered, “How did you--?”

Torrid just winked and in a blink was gone.

Inside Mark’s tent he lay on the floor bleeding. He was unconscious. Fuck. Torrid would have to carry him out of here. She would have to disarm and disable the masked man’s three henchmen to do it. She wanted to just snag Drelica and send help back for the boy, but he was beaten pretty badly.

She turned him over, and he groaned.

He opened his eyes, and started to speak, but he was gagged. Thank God, cause she sure as hell didn’t need him making noise right now.

“Mark, right?” Torrid whispered.

He nodded, weakly.

“Torrid. I am here to get you. You need to keep quiet. Understood?” She asked as she pulled a survival knife from her boot and began cutting his bonds.

He sat up holding his side. “Doc--they got the doc.” He groaned.

“I know. What are they after?” Torrid asked.

“I don’t know--some artifact. They think the Doc took it. “ He strained to talk.

“Alright, Mark--where is it?” She asked bluntly.

Mark’s eyes widened. He shook his head to protest her accusation.  Torrid cocked her head to the side and narrowed her eyes. She grabbed his collar and pulled him close suddenly.

“Where’d you put it?” she growled.

Mark moaned in pain, “Ahhhhhhhhh, you’re hurting me!” he strained.

“If you don’t want to hurt a lot more, you’ll fucking tell me where the cross of Coronado is, you little fuck!” Torrid hissed.

Mark’s eyes widened. She knew! How the fuck did she know?

“That’s right, piss ant. I know ...” Torrid released him and he fell back to the floor of the tent. “This--” she motioned all around them, “Is my land. Don’t you know how to read a fucking map? Private property. The cross of Coronado is mine.”

Torrid suddenly poked Mark really hard in the chest, shoulder and neck. He flinched but didn’t utter a sound.

“You should be able to walk now.” She said, checking to see if the coast is clear. “We are getting out of here, and you are taking me to the cross, or I‘ll nail you to one! Do we understand each other?”

Mark nodded, wiping the dried blood from the corner of his mouth. No amount of money was worth nearly losing his life.

Outside Drelica sat hoping Torrid could get Mark out unnoticed. She saw some movement near the tent where he was being kept, and panicked. The three armed men were heading that way. She knew she had to distract them somehow.

She waved at them, “Hey! There’s something wrong with him! Help!” she shouted, motioning to their masked boss, who was slumped over in the chair next to them. The turned and came toward her.

Behind the men she saw Mark and Torrid scurrying off over the gully’s edge. But now she had to explain how their boss was unconscious and tied up. Crap.

“What’s wrong with him?” asked the first Thug, who they called Tom.

“I dunno he sat down and slumped over.” Drelica said, innocently.

“Hey! He’s tied up!” The second henchman, Daryl, said, then trained his weapon on Drelica and clicked it chambering a round. “Don’t move, bitch!”

Tom untied the masked man and tried to revive him, but he was out cold.

“What the hell? Go check on the kid--NOW!” Daryl ordered.

The third man, Jake, ran off to the tent where Mark had been deposited after his work over, and opened the tent flap with the muzzle of his rifle. Empty.
He turned to warn his comrades only to find a tall woman with dark hair and dazzling ice blue eyes standing there holding a map.

“Hey, I am lost, can you help me?” She smirked.

Jake fumbled to train his weapon on her, but before he could raise it, Torrid closed the distance and landed a front kick to the center of his chest. The impact shoved him backward into the tent where he crashed into the cot and rolled over tangling himself in the wreckage of bedding and gear.  He struggled to stand up before she again closed the distance, but he was too late. Torrid hit him hard with an outside neck strike, and he went down like a sack of potatoes. Torrid collected his weapon and emptied it of ammunition, and removed the firing pin.

“Loser,” she spat.

She tossed the useless weapon back on top of his unconscious form and crept back out of the tent.

Meanwhile, Daryl grew impatient, he ordered Tom to get cold water to revive their boss.

“And check on Jake! He should be back by now! Find out what the fuck is going on!” He barked.

Drelica prayed that Torrid could get Mark out. She assumed that was what Torrid was doing, and that her covering their escape allowed them to get well clear of the camp. Now Drelica had to continue to stall the others.

Just then, the masked man began to moan and roll his head from side to side as he slowly crept back to consciousness. Daryl dropped to one knee and patted his wounded boss, but he made the mistake of taking his eyes off of Drelica for an instant.

She stood up and grabbed the muzzle of his rifle pushing it up and back into him causing him to lose his balance and fall backwards landing on his ass. Before he could sit himself up and train his weapon again, he felt the crash of a camp chair against his skull. Drelica stood there over his limp body, searching him for a side arm, which she found and quickly chambered a round.

Turning quickly she pressed the sidearm up to the masked man’s neck. “Move and you’re dead.”

“Drelica--”, he groaned, “Don’t be stupid. You have no idea who you are dealing with.”

“Shut up, moron!” Drelica growled. “I know exactly who I am dealing with!” She said as she reached over and pulled his hood off. “Hello, David.” she smirked.

“You’re gonna pay for that.” David threatened.

“David, I don’t know if you noticed this or not, but I don’t like you very much. You’re just...creepy.  What are you some kind of serial killer, or terrorist? What is it you are looking for?” She asked, as she stood over him one foot resting on his chest, her gun pointed at his head.

“The cross of Coronado! It’s going to be mine!” He said, rebelliously.

“You’re kidding! That’s just a myth. You really are a moron!” She mocked.

“You’re a stupid bitch!” He spat. He sat up suddenly and grabbed her gun hand, she struggled against him, but he wrestled the gun away from her and put it to her temple.

“Don’t you fucking move!” he shouted enraged. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her as he limped over to her stalled out jeep. Drelica struggled against the shooting pain in her head and her ankle. He pushed her hard against the door of the Jeep, causing her to bend over at the waist and land in a seated position next to her front tire.

“Stay there, or I’ll shoot out your fucking knee caps!” He threatened, “Then you’ll have more than a broken ankle to worry about. You should stick to digging up animal bones, Drelica. Relics are too grown up a game for you, little girl.”

Drelica sat silently, breathing heavily; tears streamed down her face, but they were not tears of despair. They were tears of anger. Torrid, I hope you got away safely, she thought to herself. She found the thought of Torrid’s escape the one source of comfort for her plight.  She sank back against the Jeep’s tire and watched as David Temple tried to find his missing men. Daryl lay sprawled out on the ground where Drelica had laid him out with the camp chair, While Tom hadn’t been seen since he’d been dispatched to check on Jake.  Where was Tom? Drelica puzzled as she faded from exhaustion.

Mark huddled inside the foxhole where Drelica had stashed her firearm and satellite phone and water. He opened a bottle of water and drank deep. He went to take another sip when the bottle was jerked out of his hand by a dirty, angry Torrid.

She stared him down, then drank her share of the water.

“This shit is all your fault.” she said, “So you’re gonna help me fix it.”

Mark hung his head in shame. “I never meant for the doc to get hurt. I wanted to sell the cross to fund the dig.”

Torrid narrowed her eyes. “Bullshit.”

“No! Not bullshit! This dig is as important to me as it is to Drelica!” Mark defended. “If we find Deinosuchus here, it opens a whole new world of exploration in our field--but I guess you don’t get that.” He said, waving his hand at Torrid in a dismissing manner.

“Well, you’re right. I don’t know shit about proctology.” Torrid smirked, “But I am in the business of kicking ass and taking names; and right now, you’re at the top of my fucking list.

I don’t give a shit how noble your intentions were, boy--you endangered lives. Doesn’t that register in your thick bashed in skull?” Torrid scolded. “Now you fucking stay here. I’ll be back.”

“Torrid--wait.” Mark grabbed her wrist to stop her. “Here--” He offered her Drelica’s firearm.

Torrid dismissed him. “No. I don’t need it.” She said, and was gone.

Drelica awoke to the sound of David Temple screaming orders at Daryl. He had found Tom in the tent injured with a shattered collar bone and broken ribs. He was now useless. Jake was laying at the bottom of the gully with a shattered leg and hip bone, and David was furious. It was just him and Daryl.

“We’re being picked off one by one, sir.” Daryl said.

“No shit, Daryl!” David barked, “What are you gonna do about it?”

David Temple was furious. It had been the perfect plan, to get into the region and use the funding of the dinosaur dig to seed his black market industry. He would smuggle relics into the country from Mexico and Central America, up through the hill country and sell them to the highest bidder. But now his plans were being foiled by a dyke and her fucked up tattooed freak girlfriend.

David looked at Drelica. It was time to take the gloves off.  He walked over to her and grabbed a fist full of her hair and pulled her up from her seated position.
“Wakey-wakey, Dre!” he taunted. “We need some bait to catch your freak!”

“Drop dead you asshole!” Drelica said, struggling to pull away from David’s grip.

Suddenly she was on the ground again, reeling from the stinging pain in her jaw from the smack Daryl gave her; blood filling her mouth. This time it was Daryl who reached down and pulled her up by the hair. He twisted her arm behind her back and pressed hard against it causing her to scream in pain.

“Now that I have your attention, Missy--you will do as you are told, or I’ll bust your fucking arm out of it’s socket!”

Drelica had no choice. She allowed herself to be walked over to a rock where they had rigged some sort of restraint system to hold her and use her as bait to capture Torrid.

Torrid--I hope to God you left. She thought sadly to herself; tears streaking her face.

Torrid’s fist tightened until her nails dug into her palms and ran red with her own blood. She stayed still, hidden in the brush watching as David Temple and his henchman abused Drelica. Her heart pounded in her chest, and she was afraid. She was not afraid of violence, nor of confronting them. She did not fear being injured or wounded, or even killed. She did not fear pain, or any of the things associated with survival situations. What was she afraid of? She thought about it. Drelica. If anything happened to her, if she were to be hurt or--worse--Torrid couldn’t bear it. Strange as it was to find this realization now at this time, in this place, she knew. She loved this girl.

“Fuck--” she muttered to herself, “I gotta think!”

Torrid sat silent for a long moment, then opened her duffle bag. She chose her weapons. She would make her move.


The tiger circled its prey. Silently stalking out of sight of the predator. Unwitting, unknowing, the two hyenas were tormenting their catch, but the Tiger was coming for them.

The sun got low in the sky, and shadows on the hills grew long. Daryl and David sat nervously waiting.

“You think she’s even here?” David asked.

“How the hell should I know? Are you sure you saw someone at all?” Daryl asked, spitting tobacco juice onto the ground to keep a scorpion at bay that had been stalking his boot.

“I saw her, dammit! I know what I saw!” David scolded. “I didn’t tie myself up, you idiot!”

“Mr. Temple, we should just go.” Daryl said. “This ain’t worth it.”

“You’re a coward! It’s just a woman!”

“A woman who took out two other men, and you--” Daryl started. He shook his head. “No, this isn’t worth it. This was just supposed to be some easy money for me. I am not risking my life anymore.”

“What are you going to do? Just walk out of here? Do you think after you roughed up her girlfriend, she’s just going to allow you to go strolling out of here?” David asked bluntly.

“No. I wouldn’t.” Daryl said. “Guess that little lady is our best bet.” He said indicating Drelica. So far no one had gotten killed; but he had a feeling that was about to change.

Mark sat in the foxhole listening for any sound of movement from up above. He sat with Drelica’s side arm in his lap, sweating from the pain where Torrid poked him, beating himself up for his own stupidity. It was time to swing into action and help is comrades. He tucked the firearm in his belt and crept out of the dugout up the creek bed to the rope ladder that Torrid had left in place. 

Meanwhile Torrid sat concealed mere feet from her quarry, awaiting the right moment to strike. She had to be cautious and deliberate, there was no margin for error. She knew the men were scared, and desperate now. This was a bad situation all around. The smell of greed, and fear were thick on the wind. Even now, with the odds stacked against them, they were driven by their hunger for gold. They would kill for it. And most likely die for it. Gold fever was deadly.

Torrid loaded a dart into her blow gun. She would hit Daryl in the leg. He was the better marksman of the two she wagered. David Temple was a city boy with no real survival or marksmanship experience. He was just a greedy blood sucker.

She took her aim, and prepared to project the dart when suddenly a shape moved across the rear of the camp. Fuck. It was Mark.
“GODDAMMIT!” she muttered under her breath. “What is that idiot doing?”

Mark approached Drelica silently. He held his finger to his lips indicating for her to be quiet.

She nodded. He began to undo her restraints.

Torrid watched as she put her knife between her teeth and removed her throwing stars from her ankle pouch. She would have to disarm the men so they could not shoot Mark. She admired the boy’s courage, but hated the sudden change of plan. She moved into position just as Mark freed Drelica and helped her down off the rock.

Daryl turned at the sound of the shuffling and as he raised his rifle toward Mark and Drelica, he was startled by the sound of metal clashing against metal and sparks exploding in his hands. He dropped his gun and looked around panicked.

“What the fuck?!”

Torrid moved lightening fast, she closed the distance between her and Daryl like a predator stalking an antelope. His eyes widened as he saw her closing in, too late to move before she stuck him. Jumping spinning back kick to his jaw, layed him out cold on the desert floor.

Torrid landed in cat stance, poised to take on David Temple. David panicked and pointed his gun at Torrid.

“Stop or I’ll shoot!” he said, afraid.

“If you think you can hit me be before I kill you--” Torrid said coldly, “Pull the trigger.”

David trembled, and squeezed on the trigger. The hammer pulled back, and Torrid poised herself in attack position. The tension was as thick as tar. Drelica was voiceless to scream, but Mark was not...

“STOP!” Mark said, breaking the stand off, and both parties relaxing.

“David, don’t you move!” Mark ordered, showing his sidearm.
Torrid took a step toward David, when Mark suddenly pointed the pistol at her and cocked it, “You either, Torrid.”

Torrid stopped. Her eyes narrowed. “Why not me, Mark?” She purred dangerously.

“I don’t want anyone else to get hurt!” He said.

“Mark, what are you doing?” Drelica said. Torrid took a step toward Mark.

Mark suddenly grabbed her in an arm lock and pointed the gun at her head. “Torrid--stop!”

Torrid stopped again.

“I don’t want to hurt her, but if you don’t stop moving, I will!” Mark said, fear in his voice. “David, come over here and take Dr. Truman.”

David rushed over to Mark and grabbed Drelica by the arm, and covered her with his own pistol. “About fucking time you showed up!” He hissed at Mark. “Now where’s my fucking cross?”

“I knew it!” Torrid said.

Mark shrugged. Drelica’s jaw dropped at the realization that she had been played not only by David Temple but by Mark Stephens too.

“You fuckers!” She spat. “You won‘t get away with this!”

“Hate to break it to ya Doc, but we already have. While you were wacking off in your tent, I was out with the boys digging up the old Indian burial ground where the cross of Coronado was hidden.” Mark gloated.

“You won’t get out of here with that cross, boy.” Torrid said, menacingly. “I won’t allow that.”

“No offense to your butchness or whatever, Torrid, but..I don’t see how you’re gonna stop me.” Mark mocked as he and David chuckled.

Before Mark’s smile could fade, Torrid had him by the throat. She grabbed the pressure points on either side of his airway, forcing his head back, and him to his knees in a kneeling position.  David loosened his grip on Drelica who stomped his foot and punched him in the groin as hard as she could, slipping free of his grip.  He spun and fired his gun at her, chasing her footsteps with bullets.

Torrid shoved Mark down and dove at David, who turned toward her and fired the last few rounds into her. She collided with him and the two crashed to the ground. Bloody, she struggled with him, and they wrestled for domination of the gun. David ripped it out of Torrid’s grip, her hands slick with her own blood, and as he crashed it into her head, she went limp.

Drelica screamed, but kept running til she made it to her jeep and found her first aide kit.

David and Mark were heading for her. She dodged them like a quarterback, weaving between them and around the wreckage of the campsite. She jumped over a pile of camping gear and gained a few feet heading back to Torrid, who lay unmoving on the ground. Her heart pounding.

Oh God don’t let me be too late! She prayed as she slid home to Torrid’s side. She ripped open Torrid’s shirt and packed her wounds with gauze and patched them with medical tape to stop the bleeding. She moved fast, but not fast enough to escape Daryl and David. She felt them pulling at her as she worked, felt them hitting and slapping her, but the pain or sound did not register, only Torrid’s wounds registered. She couldn’t bear to lose Torrid, she just found her, she just loved her. They won’t take you away from me! She screamed in her mind, before the blackness overcame her, and she collapsed next to Torrid.

Mark stood over Drelica’s limp form, wiping her blood off of the butt of his gun. He was out of breath, he was bleeding from scratches she had delivered to his face in the struggle. He was scared to death he had killed her. He bent down and pressed his fingers to her neck. Thank God. A pulse.

“She’s alive.” He said, relieved.

“Not for long.” David Temple said coldly. “Dig a hole.”

“No way, man.” Mark said, backing away from David. “I ain’t no killer.”

“Mark, if she gets out of here alive, we’ll both go to prison. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s not on my to do list. Dig a fucking hole!” He shouted.

Mark hung his head. He picked up the shovel and scanned the area for an unlikely grave for his former boss and her heroic lover. Reluctantly he chose a place surrounded by large rock formations, and began to dig. When he finished he walked slowly back to the camp where David Temple sat in his camp chair looking at charts and research materials that belonged to Drelica; resting his feet on her unconscious body.

“Jesus Mark, did you lose yourself in the part?” David teased.

“I don’t follow.” Mark said coldly.

“Well...you actually did some work here. There’s a major find not far from here. Did you know?”

“Yeah--” Mark said, ashamed. “I knew. I kind of hoped everyone could get what they were looking for here.”

“We could have.” David said, “If she’d been more reasonable. If my buyers weren’t so impatient. If the moon were indeed made of cheese--but, Mark, it isn’t.”

Just then Torrid began to move and moan, she coughed and rolled over.  David stood up and approached her slowly, and cautiously. He looked down at her as she lay there slowly dying.

“I put three bullets in her, and she’s still kicking.” He mused pulling out a sidearm. “Maybe she needs a few more.”

“David,” Mark said, hoping to distract him from Torrid and the temptation to shoot her. “It’s time--you want your cross?”

David looked up, and holstered his weapon. “Good boy, Mark! Let’s have it!”

Mark turned to walk toward the gully where he had hidden the cross in the back of the dugout. But he stopped in his tracks when he heard David let out a blood curdling scream, and turned to see Torrid’s knife sticking out of David’s leg. Torrid gripped the handle of her survival knife, and pulled herself up, causing more screams to wretch themselves from David Temple.

She stood up and pulled the knife out, as she did, he went limp and white and fell to the ground writhing in agony. 

David’s screams tore Drelica from her blackness and she shot awake at the horrid sound. She was fuzzy around the edges but she could make out the form of Torrid, standing up with a blade in her hand walking toward Mark who stood trembling in his tracks. She slapped herself to regain her wits and stumbled upright on her feet. She raced to Torrid’s side.

“Torrid! Torrid, don’t kill him--please!” She pleaded.

Mark stepped backwards away from Torrid, and as he did he fell over his own shovel. He scrambled backwards crawling like a crab, muttering whines for mercy and meaningless apologies.

Torrid stopped when she stood over him. In her hand she gripped her blade, red with David’s blood, and her own. Her wounds were still bleeding. She reached down and gripped his hair with the other hand, pulling him up onto his knees by his golden locks. His green eyes teared up, and he was in this instant a scared little boy.

“Where is it?” Torrid growled.

“I-in the foxhole, “ Mark stammered.

“Give me a reason not to kill you.”

“I-I--saved you! I distracted David! I knew he’d kill you. Please! I’m not a killer! I don’t want to die!” Mark broke down.

“You are a fool.” Torrid said, releasing his hair.  She turned to Drelica, as she fished a card out of her pocket.

“Dre-” She said, with a failing voice. “Call this number--get us --help.” Her speech was breaking up. She was getting weak. But before she could rest, she had one thing left to do.

She tied David and Mark up. Daryl’s head injury prevented him from being a threat, and Drelica had administered first aid to all wounded parties, beginning with Torrid. She called the number and when the woman answered she gave their map coordinates to her, and was told to sit tight.

Torrid emerged from the gully’s edge with an object wrapped in burlap.

David Temple’s eyes widened as he saw what Torrid had.

“Let me see it!” He ordered. “After all of this, I want to see it!”

Torrid scowled at him. She thought on it for a moment, then shook her head. No. She walked passed him, ignoring his insults and slurs. She sat in his camp chair and grabbed a bottle of water out of his cooler. She took a long slow sip of it, and then let out a gasp of refreshment.

“God, Torrid,” what are we going to do about all of this? What are we going to do with them?” Drelica asked, sitting next to her on the cooler.

“We’ll take them to the authorities. I am pressing charges: assault, extortion, attempted murder, theft, and ...oh yeah...trespassing.”

“Trespassing?” Drelica queried.

“Yeah--this is my land. Remember when I said I had some acreage up here?” She asked.

Drelica nodded, her jaw dropping open with the realization.

“Yeah, this is my land.” Torrid said.

Drelica shook her head. Absorbing all of this was going to take some effort. Her life had been strange, but this was graduating to down right bizarre! 

The silence of the desert was interrupted by the sound of a chopper approaching from the southeast. Drelica squinted to see the aircraft coming over the ridge.

“That’d be our taxi,” Torrid said.

Drelica watched the chopper land, and she helped Torrid stand up and walked her over to the cargo hatch which was open. She handed Torrid the parcel containing the cross of Coronado. And she climbed in beside her.

The pilot went to shut the cargo door, but Drelica held up her hand, “What about them?” she asked, indicating David, Mark and Daryl.

“Their ride is on it’s way.” She said, closing the door. Drelica sat back and strapped Torrid into the seat, and herself. As the chopper lifted off, Drelica got a bird’s eye view of her perfect dig site. She could see a cloud of dust in the distance, and counted two police vehicles and on EMT suv. She stopped worrying about Mark and company, and wasn’t looking forward to sorting that mess out.

Drelica turned to Torrid. She was worried for her painted Amazon, but ever greatful that Torrid came to her rescue. She smiled at Torrid, her eyes glazing over with tears of relief.

“Drelica,” Torrid said weakly.

“What is it? Are you okay, babe?” Drelica asked concerned. Torrid was pale and weak from her blood loss.

“I need a vacation.” Torrid answered.

Drelica laughed, and squeezed Torrid’s hand.  As the chopper flew them into the sunset, Drelica replied, “You and me both babe.”

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