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The Ten Visions

About the book

Cover: The Ten Visions The moment she starts her doctorate in Oxford, Sarah is beset with mysteries. An old portrait in her rented house bears an uncanny resemblance to her. A new lover insists he's a ghost. Her attractive, sinister supervisor obstructs her research at every turn. An ordinary hill on the meadow fills her with fear - and not just her, but also the man with whom she falls in love. And every time she has sex, she hallucinates strange places and other times.

With her own life and soul at risk, Sarah uses sex-magic and a sequence of visions to travel between different times, worlds and places. On an epic journey, she battles an ancient evil to solve a mystery dating back centuries - a mystery that holds the truth of her origins and purpose.

About the scene

After a Halloween drinking party in St Mary's churchyard, Sarah's new friend Jo appears and demands she leave - instantly, at speed.

Now read on...

He kept her running all the way up Broad Street and St Giles', her legs flying in long strides beneath the ball gown. At the fork of Banbury and Woodstock, he dragged her headlong across the road, forcing a car to swerve and hoot, and finally he stopped, panting, in the graveyard.
'This will do for now,' he said. 'We can't stay here long, though.'
She stood in her ball gown, gasping for breath, her stockinged feet wet and the gravel of the path sharp beneath them. Wild shadows scissored across his face against white and gold, car light and lamplight, as he paced anxiously. In the sudden quiet of after the furious dash, with the cars swishing past on wet roads on either side, she felt a bitter sense of anticlimax.
'What's going on, Jo?' She meant the question to sound brave, or at least belligerent, but it came out in a feeble quaver; she hadn't yet caught her breath.
He stopped in front of her, caught her hands in his. 'Sarah, listen to me carefully. Can you get us to your house?'
She stared at him, her chin jutting forwards in bemusement. 'I can - shit, I mean, I can call a cab, what do you mean?'
'I don't mean a cab, a bus, anything like that; can you get us back?'
'What - you mean walking?'
His hands dropped to his sides, his shoulders slumped. 'No, not walking,' he muttered wearily. He rubbed his face with his hands, then thrust them through his hair in frustration. 'Damnation, Sarah,' he snapped suddenly, 'you do not have the least idea, do you!' As the words were spoken, he slapped his hand over his mouth to trap them in, and his bewildering anxiety redoubled. 'That's it, Jesus, that's it, that's done it. We can't hide here now. Are you ready to run, again?' He said it bitterly, but earnestly.
'Not until you tell me what we're running from.' This time she succeeded in sounding belligerent, but it was too late. He had grabbed her hand, and was already hastening towards the gate.
'I will explain everything, trust me, but for now, know only that whatever your worst and most hideous fear is, that is what you are running from.' The light was weird enough, his eyes were desperate enough, that her most chilling nightmares flickered through her mind - those nightmares that even as an adult, she could not dispel with good sense, and that lingered throughout the day. Those were the waking nightmares, her bedroom visible around her although blurred, in which she was conscious but paralysed, unable to defend herself and prey to… She flew again alongside him on her already-stinging feet, up the Banbury Road.

'No lights,' he hissed, as he slammed the door behind them. 'Close the curtains - quick - all of them!' His panic infected her as she dashed around the lounge, yanking the heavy velvet over the cold glass. The black lawn outside, thickly fringed with bushes, suddenly seemed ominous, as if a ghostly face might appear on the other side before she had time to shut it out. As she hurried into the corridor, he yelled 'Be careful - don't run in the corridor,' from the dining room. She heard the hiss of the dining room curtain rails as she ran up the stairs, three at a time, to the upstairs rooms.
'What about the studio?' she called down. 'There's no curtains there.'
'Keep the door closed then.'
The dark rooms scared her as they hadn't since childhood; adrenaline was feeding her fear. She finished as quickly as she could, eager to return to the lounge, to company. Jo was leaning with his forearm on the mantelpiece, in the dark, one hand covering his brow. Sarah stood just inside the door, fumbling in the drawer for a candle. Her uncertain fingers found a nightlight, and a box of matches. 'What was all that about, then?' The house was suddenly still, as she struck the match and the wick flickered to life and sank down. 'You've frightened me,' she added nervously.
He turned around; to her surprise, his face relaxed in a smile. 'Don't be frightened - we're safe here. You're safe here. I didn't want anyone to see us.'
She clutched her elbows tightly, her cleavage deepening. His face softened in the low light as he glanced down, and stepping closer he put his cool hands on the curve of her waist, leaning back a little to admire her. She wrenched out of his grasp.
'What's going on, Jo? You've just yanked me all the way across town telling me my worst nightmare is somewhere out there, and now everything's fine?'
'It's fine for now, you're safe now.' He was in front of her again, one hand sliding against the back of her dress, the other tilting her chin up. 'Kiss me again…' His eyes, huge and black, barely visible, seemed once again that strange mixture of anxious need and liquid suavity. Her heart, still pounding from their wild flight, beat faster as his mouth closed on her lower lip. He sucked on it slowly, hungrily, his arm sliding further around her and imprisoning her against his chest. She felt his fingers reach the side of her breast and rub it softly through the fine material.
'Jo, don't,' she said half-heartedly; her lips brushed his as she spoke. 'I want to know what's going on…'
'I'll tell you,' said his lips on hers, 'but let me - ah,' he shuddered, 'kiss you… more…'
His hips pressed tighter against hers as he whispered 'more' , and the earlier desire she had felt in the graveyard of University Church came flaming back to life.
'This is madness, madness, why am I letting you do this - how do I want you so much, it's unholy -' I'll stop in a moment, she told herself, just a moment then I'll push him away and demand an explanation.
His narrow fingers were dancing nimbly down the complicated little fastenings that held her bodice closed over her breasts. The material strained against the remaining hooks as the generous mounds of soft flesh were revealed, heaving a little as her breath came faster. The sleeves' falling off her shoulders made her feel more erotically exposed than she'd ever felt simply naked. The hardening tips of her nipples were almost visible now; Jo's eyes were blurred with lust, sharp with fascination, as he watched them emerge. His mouth had parted involuntarily. As he accepted them into the sharp-edged heat of his mouth, she felt a rush of blind lust and her panties were suddenly damp against her tingling lips.
'You've bewitched me,' she gasped. He bit down harder on her nipple, making her yelp, and lifted his head.
'Au contraire,' he said, staring her straight in the eye. His eyes were dark hollows. 'You're the witch.' He licked his lips slowly. 'And a more tempting one than you never walked the earth… Seeing you like that,' - his eyes raked over her - 'I could almost forgive your choice of dress.'
'You don't like it?' she whispered, her hands running over the folds of material covering her thighs.
'I love it,' he said hoarsely. 'Especially with your bodice pulled open. But I'd like it even more like this…'
He pulled her by the hand to the sofa, and gently pushed her to her knees before it. She leant forward obediently, her sensitive tips brushing the velvet upholstery. In the dark, its pale green ground and cream flora had turned to silver, with streaks of gold where the tentative candlelight fell over it. She felt him lift up the full skirt, pushing it above her waist, so that the full orbs of her buttocks glowed pale and bare.
'No undergarments?' he murmured in a strangled voice.
'They didn't seem - appropriate - to the dress,' she said softly. His hand was clasping the taut flesh of her curved bottom.
'I wonder if you're familiar with the works of the Marquis de Sade?' he murmured, and as the words fell from his lips his hand smacked down in a stinging slap. She jerked forward, squealing. His finger ran swiftly through the slick valley between her lips. 'Are you?' he said in a firmer tone.
'I -' Her reply was cut short by another smack, sharper this time.
'Only a wanton wench,' he said, punctuating his words with expert slaps across her generous cheeks, 'would read that filth…'
It hurts, she thought. Each time she spasmed forward, away from the pain, her breasts rubbed harder against the sofa.
'Jo!' she stammered, 'what - are - you - doing?' She panted wildly.
Another spank caught the edges of her pussy and she shrieked. To her horror, she could feel her thighs tightening with pleasure, her bowels hot with glee. His fingers slid between her legs and the blood rushed to her face with shame. He would feel it, she could not hide how this humiliating treatment thrilled her.
'Apparently,' he said dryly, 'I'm making you very happy. Well? ' His tone changed abruptly to severity. 'Have you?' The flat of his hand fell hard again on her skin, rippling it, again and again. 'Tell me!'
'Yes!' she howled, 'Yes!' How could it sting so much, and yet, she knew from the clutching contracting glow of her body, bring her closer and closer to the gleaming edge, until she almost wanted it? His free hand took a handful of her breast, kneading it painfully as her voice wailed on, saying yes and yes. She was yearning now, pressing her bosom against his hand, the tip like a coal against his palm, lifting her bottom higher to meet the crisp blows he rained on her. She arched, spreading her thighs. Occasionally his fingers flicked smartly between her legs and her cries would fly up in pitch. The more it hurt, the closer her body surged to orgasm, so that at last she was begging him shamelessly to smack her harder. She felt the smooth, blunt tip of his penis between her open legs. With each shudder of pain, her hips jerked backwards, and he was lodged a little deeper inside her, thick and uncompromising against the straining narrow passageway.
'Yes,' he said throatily, 'I know you, I know you.' His nails dug into her breast, his hand grinding hard against it. 'I know you want this.' His palm hit her buttocks harder and harder, skirting the line where the pain became unbearable, and with renewed cries she felt herself falling into a wild spasming orgasm. He thrust hard as she came, forcing his way deep into her, prolonging her frenzy on and on as his hips slammed against her bum. Pinned down on the sofa, helpless under the waves of ecstasy, she yowled like a cat for him with every fierce stroke.

Sitting on the sofa, her hands still trembling around a glass of wine, Sarah watched Jo lacing and unlacing his fingers. The glow of passion still shone in his otherwise pale cheeks, but his brow was reluctantly furrowed.
'If I tell you,' he began; 'No - I will tell you, I must, for your own well-being, but I fear that - Sarah,' he clasped his hands and looked anxiously into her eyes. 'I cannot pretend I have much to offer you, but just to be with you - you can't imagine the joy - the warmth and life of you…' He trailed off, gazing at her longingly. The room sparkled now with dozens of small flames. The small, round white and silver sides of nightlights were clustered thickly on the coffee table and all over the mantelpieces, each with its flickering glow. Sarah had insisted that the heavy drapes would not let the least glimmer of light escape, and emptied her whole bag of candles. Flushed with brilliance, her bodice still hanging from her waist, her heavy breasts swaying, and her full skirt swishing, she took pleasure from moving around the room under Jo's eyes, perversely lighting candle after candle.
She stayed silent, waiting for him to speak again. Her wine shone ruby and black through the glass.
'I fear that I might lose you, that you might not understand.'
'I have nothing yet to try to understand,' she said. The mellow satedness that still persisted in her lent softness to her words.
'I know there cannot be - much - between us, less than you may want, but just to see you from time to time, to hold you in my arms!' His voice subsided, and he twisted the stem of his own glass unhappily. 'But who can say what may happen to you if I don't tell you; I haven't any idea what means they use, these days -'
'Jo, just tell me!' she exclaimed. 'What may happen to me, means for what?'

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intense, passionate, deeply erotic, spiritual, and devastating — Madame Butterfly


a heady tale of pagan revelry, sex magic and diabolical possession ... luciously vivid detail ... the sex rituals and centuries-old love story will have you spellbound.
— Forum