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An Erotic Ghost Story by the Author of Hell House and A Stir of Echoes
David and Ellen Cooper came to the lonely beachside cottage in hopes of rekindling their troubled marriage. Yet they are not alone on their second honeymoon. Marianna, a beautiful and enigmatic stranger, comes to visit David whenever Ellen is away.
Who is Marianna, and where has she come from?
Even as he succumbs to her seductive charms, David realizes that Marianna is far more than a threat to his marriage, for her secrets lie deep in the past and beyond the grave. And her unholy desires endanger the life and soul of everyone she touches.
gave him the strength to fill the glass five times and drink; gratefully, he felt the moisture penetrating his system, laving parched tissue. Ellen was lying on the unmade bed, the comforter over her. Her back was turned to the door and she seemed to be asleep. She must be exhausted too, David thought as he shuffled across the floor. He sank down on the bed, trying not to groan but unable to restrain it. God in Heaven; he felt as if his flesh and bones were melting, oozing down into the
gasped. “You’re good,” he said. “So good.” She clucked as though in disappointment “And here I thought I looked so wicked.” “You do.” He kissed the tip of her nose. “You look as wicked as hell. You are Thais, Jezebel, and Messalina rolled into one.” “Don’t forget Clara Bow.” “Noted.” David smiled at her. “And now it’s time I made myself bewitching. Or, as we phrased it in the last campaign—excluding one word for the sake of delicacy—shave, shower, shampoo and shoe-shine. If you’ll excuse me—”
her tightly. This is right, he thought; the rightness of it seemed to bathe his mind and body with a healing warmth. This is my love, my heart. How could he have doubted it? It was so clear. The passion he felt for her was so entirely different from that which he had felt for Julia, certainly for Marianna. This, too, was physical; yet, somehow, it transcended flesh, adding to it, the dimension of his mind; perhaps, his soul. That’s it! he thought. The realization struck him with awe. That was
company, was proud to be her husband. On the other hand, their physical relationship had begun to drift, separating from the basic substance of their marriage until it was virtually a relationship in itself. An unregenerative relationship, however, not viable enough to grow or ripen. A relationship in which—to keep it artificially alive—he had created constant, re-kindling stimulations. In time, that relationship had become, for him, rather than an overall fulfillment, a search for erotic
as he moved to her and took her in his arms. “I’m sure,” he said. He kissed her on the mouth, rubbing harsh caresses over her body. Suddenly a new fear pressed at him. What if his own mind became vulnerable? He struggled to check the responses of his flesh. Pressing his cheek to hers, he held her tightly, pretending, for a moment, that it was really Ellen, that he held her in his arms with love. “You’re hurting me,” she snapped. He let go, stared at her. God, I can’t, he thought. “I don’t