A completely new start brings horrors that Lee could well do without. Who is killing the townsfolk? And who is sending those macabre gifts?
Lee has moved to town to start again. His last relationship turned sour, so he opens a bar and throws all his energy into it, though two men he has befriended cause him to wonder if he’s ready to take the plunge again. However, a murderer is out there, sending gifts to Lee—body parts—as a token of his love. Rumours say it’s a wild dog roaming the forest, but if that’s the case, who is sending the presents to Lee?
Ryan is on his way to see his first love, Lee, who moved to a village in the middle of nowhere to escape his mother and her cruel ways. At Lee’s cabin, Ryan faces emotions that upset him and realises he loves Lee more than he thought.
He drops a bombshell on Lee, who needs time alone to digest the news. Ryan is left wondering if he did the right thing, but what else could he have done? He’s always been blinded by Lee’s love, and he can’t imagine that light ever going out…
We all cope with life in the best way we know how with the circumstances we’ve been given. There are horrendous things occurring for others, yet, because we are not in that situation, we can’t comprehend what those others are going through. What is a big problem to one person may not be to another. If you take personalities into consideration too, one person may be able to cope with things better than another in one respect, but in another, if the situations are reversed, those people may crumble or, conversely, find strength that wasn’t present before.
I’m the kind of person that copes and copes and copes, until one day, a small event will happen, and I crumble. Can’t take anymore. Everything else that has happened, where I’ve coped and kept a level head, then comes crashing into my mind, making that one small thing that tipped me over the edge insignificant. There are pros and cons to holding it all inside, and one of the cons is the aforementioned, where meltdown occurs and you no longer want to grip the baton or jump over the hurdles a second longer.
With parenthood, there isn’t really the option of saying, “D’you know what? This parenting lark is actually too hard for me, and I don’t want to run that race anymore.” You have to keep going, find new ways to cope with whatever stressful situation the fruit of your loins has thrown at you. So, what happens when, whatever you do, that piece of fruit keeps pushing the boundaries?
Obviously, parenthood doesn’t come with a manual, and if it did, and I’d read it, I’d have seriously wondered why mankind still reproduces. We’re all aware that our wonderful children morph into some alien in their teens and do things we wouldn’t have thought they would. We’ve done it ourselves, thought things about the household rules and wished we lived somewhere else, railed that life isn’t fair, blah-blah-blah, so we have some insight into our children’s minds when we get to this point in theirs. However, we’re on the other side of the coin now, classed as the enemy, and we can’t possibly understand how they feel. Oh, we do understand, but we also understand that as responsible parents, some decisions made or rules laid down are for the good of everyone in the home.
My situation revolves around the Xbox. Marvellous invention as inventions go, but I wonder if Microsoft are aware of the hassles their product causes for many households. If they do, I doubt they even care. And it isn’t just Xboxes. We can lump Play Station and all the others in with it too. With the latest technology of interactive games, headsets, making friends with people across the world, these games console creators have unleashed a demon into the lives of every parent whose child owns one of the damn things.
Let’s list the chaos they can cause:
Children staying up late into the night, hooked not only on the game they’re playing, but speaking with friends in different time zones. When your child is meant to be sleeping, someone else’s child has just woken up and logged on…
Noise levels. With the headsets firmly glued to young ears, they don’t realise how loud they’re speaking. When other family members are trying valiantly to sleep, others are keeping them awake with one-sided conversations that, I’m sure, my next door neighbour doesn’t want to be kept awake hearing either.
Language. Your sweet-mouthed child turns into a foul-mouthed brat, swearing, picking up strange words that don’t even exist, and they use them then in everyday life, which is highly annoying at best and makes them look total dickheads at worst.
Character change. Your child becomes more alien than they would have if they didn’t own an interactive games console. They’re tired from staying up late. Their school work suffers. The rest of the family suffers from bad moods, fatigue, and generally not feeling their usual self.
All because of one child doing what THEY want, regardless of other people’s feelings.
Well, I have three boys, each with an Xbox. The two oldest bought their own with birthday/Christmas money. I’m well aware that, if I said they could no longer play their games until God-knows-when o’clock, they’d tell me I can’t take their Xboxes away because I didn’t buy them. That, in itself, is rude behaviour, but we won’t even go there. What I CAN do is remove the TV they need to play it on. What I CAN do is remove internet access.
After a year, yes, a year of asking them nicely to be quiet at night, we’d had enough. I made the decision to remove internet access to their consoles on work/school nights and kept it on all of Friday and Saturday nights. My three boys share a bedroom. It isn’t fair for the oldest two to stay awake on their consoles when the youngest lad, who is 12, needs his sleep. I also didn’t feel the middle lad, who is 14, needed to be staying up all night either. His behaviour deteriorated at school. He was being rude, acting up etc. What the nearly eighteen year old does is largely his own business, but NOT when it affects the other children or us. I most certainly do NOT feel it is right that the noise level in their room at night affects my youngest, who is 7, and whose room is beside theirs. I don’t feel my husband should be kept awake all night when he has to get up for work at 5:30. I don’t feel my neighbour, whose bedroom is beside the boys’, should be kept awake either.
With that said, the two oldest boys somehow feel that my turning off the internet access is cruel. They don’t seem to ‘get’ that their game-playing affects so many people. All they care about is playing it. Typical for their age, I know, but when our parental decisions are questioned periodically, when the children had a year of being asked not to be loud, I rather thought even the dumbest of people wouldn’t have to ask, yet again, why they can’t have internet access. It’s simple: YOU’RE TOO DAMN NOISY AND SELFISH TO HAVE THE INTERNET ACCESS BACK! If kids can’t respect others in the house by doing as they’re asked, then parents won’t respect their wishes of wanting the access back. If they then go downstairs and switch the router back on when they THINK everyone is asleep, then really, do they think that is going to make their parents let them have it back, or will the parents go the other way and prevent the kids using the access AT ALL?
Now, most people know what I’m going to say next. Yes, their wireless connection has now been blocked overnight, regardless of whether the router is switched on or off. I will no longer tolerate my parental rules being flouted, or have children continually telling me how things are going to be. And, much as I hate to say this, I am the parent, they are the children, and those are the rules. If they don’t like those rules, tough. That is how it is going to be, and if they’d done as we’d asked over a year ago and just been QUIET and RESPECTFUL, none of this would have happened.
I’m usually soft-hearted. Too soft-hearted, I know that. My children don’t have to do any chores. They basically have a life where they can do what they want without having to help out around the home or do anything at all except behave in a nice manner. It seems that is too difficult. It seems I’m asking too much. Years ago, I never thought I would be a parent that said: If you don’t like the rules—stupidly lax as they are— then you’ll have to find somewhere to live where you DO like them. Now, though, this is slowly becoming something I am more and more likely to say once the kids hit eighteen. I’m sick to death of pandering, walking on egg shells, having children be outright rude and grunting responses, or, even uglier, ignoring us. I’m well aware of going through the phase of not wanting to speak to your parents, but outright rudeness isn’t on. Plus, when this behaviour is going on amid the other things in life that your children aren’t privy to, when you’re trying to keep everything running smoothly when inside you want to cry or scream or whatever, it really does piss me off. But of course, I forgot. It doesn’t matter what is going on. Nothing matters except what the child wants. News for you, kids… On your bloody bike if you think that’s how it is. I have far more important issues to deal with than your whinging.
I read somewhere that the reason children go through their teens and act as they do is so it’s easier for a parent to let them go when they decide to leave home. I can see the logic in that.
I’m tired of repeating myself. Tired of explaining the same thing time and again.
I’ve now been pushed, and pushing me isn’t cool. Okay, I’m soft-hearted, but you’d better be ready when I blow, because when I do, it isn’t pretty.
The bottom line is, and I hate to say this because isn’t this what most parents say? My house. My rules. Like it or lump it, makes no odds to me. But the rules remain, and they will get tighter if this behaviour continues. As in, the TVs will be the next thing to go.
Any other parents out there going through this crap?
An Excerpt From: SOUL KEEPER
Copyright © NATALIE DAE, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
Pressing her lips to his, she searched for his tongue. Rob’s arms encircled her waist, his fingers massaging her ass through her coat. The fabric an annoying barrier, she brought her hands between them and undid the top two buttons. His hands left her ass, came up to grip her wrists, and he broke the kiss.
“You’re taking your coat off?”
His widened eyes and the surprise in his voice pushed laughter from her, and she moved her hands down to the third button. His grip loosened, then he glanced back up the path before returning his gaze to her face. With shaking hands, he undid the fourth button and opened her coat. Rob sucked in a breath.
“You only have underwear on? Jesus Christ, woman!”
She laughed again, head thrown back, and his lips met her exposed neck. Shivers of delight wended up and down her spine, the heat of his breath and the cold winter air inciting a rash of goose flesh to pepper her skin. His hands snaked inside her coat, palms trailing up and down her waist, thumbs smoothing over her rib cage. Carrie lowered her head, watched him taking in the sight of her body, and fuck, she wanted him inside her now.
Shirking off her coat, she handed it to him. He draped it over one arm and, mouth agape, stared at her as she walked backward to the gate.
“Come on,” she said, the thrill of being so wanton, so daring, spiking her need.
Carrie turned her back to him and raised one foot, placing it on a gate rung. His sharp intake of breath made her want to laugh with the power she had over this shy, beautiful man. With one foot on the rung above the other, she hoisted her leg over and sat on the top rail, hands gripping it so she didn’t fall. She turned her head to face him, the cold metal heaven on her hot cunt.
“Are you game?” she asked, eyebrows rising.
“Aren’t you cold?” He stepped toward her, the coat held out so she could put it on.
Carrie swung one leg over and lowered herself into the field. Hand on hips, she sucked in her tummy and pushed out her chest. “You coming in?”
Rob hung the coat over his arm again, his mouth working to speak but no sound coming out. The streetlight at the far end of the narrow path enveloped him, lent his flushed cheeks a peach tinge. He blinked, eyes wide, and lifted one foot to the gate.
He shook his head. “You are crazy. What have I got myself into?” He smiled and climbed over the gate, dropping to the other side. Coat held out once more, he coaxed, “Come on, sweetheart. Put this back on. Please. I don’t want you getting cold.”
Carrie bent down to remove her shoes and sidestepped away from the gate.
“Love,” he said, “There’s probably cow’s shit in here. And you’ve got bare feet!”
An unstoppable giggle burst from her mouth, and she turned from him and ran along the tree line. His sigh of defeat chased her on the breeze, and soon his footsteps followed. She swung around and ran in reverse, toes digging into the wet, mulch-ridden ground. Out of breath from the exhilaration flying through her, she slowed to a stop beside a huge oak. Its branches stretched over them, the leafless limbs useless in protecting them should it rain. Backing up, she rested her ass and shoulders against it, the bark damp on her skin, its mossy aroma sharp in her nose. She dropped her shoes.
Rob caught up and stood a few feet before her, coat clutched in his fists. Carrie widened her legs, nestling her feet against roots that jutted from the ground. The cold air a balm on her hot skin, she brought one hand to rest on her stomach, the other to her lips. She sucked her index finger, then pulled it out, licking its length with deliberate slowness.
“God, Carrie. Stop!” Rob peered through the trees to the main road. A car whooshed by. “Someone will see us!”
“No they won’t.” She stared at him, lowering her finger to one breast, circling the nipple through the satin bra. Her other hand slid toward her crotch, and she cupped it, pressing the heel against her clit. “Come here.”
He looked from her to the coat and held it up, glancing around for a place to put it.
“Sling it on the ground and come and fuck me.”