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Violet Visions -- voted "best anthology" - Preditors & Editors Readers' Choice Award, 2007.
In the Violet Visions anthology, Astrid has 3 short stories:
Violet of the Night
Violet is Queen of the Netherworld, but when a stranger invades her domain, succubus and vampire are captured by passion's darkest desires.
When Lorelei lures Reilly with her siren's song, he is more than willing to play her game. But when flesh meets flesh, songs are forgotten as passion burns brighter than a supernova.
Vylet rules by pleasure and when Gold is presented to her, she sees that he has a soul as dark as her own; but in their confrontation, who is captor and who is captive?
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The hands were soft as feathers as they stroked along her thigh, upwards, moving inexorably higher, then retreating, until an agony of waiting, the fingers reached her purple curls. The fingers transformed into coils of water, thin slivers of iridescence that shimmered in the mauve light. The water spread over her, dipped into her, washing her every cell with silver. The arousal spread through her, the ebb and flow, like the waters of home, slow and thick like blood. She ran a tongue over her parted lips and moaned.
The word barely penetrated her fevered mind as the feathers stole into her body.
"Please, Your Majesty!"
Violet snapped out of the illusion, angry: angry at the interruption, angry at the thwarted sex. She had taken so long to prepare this program, to bring her to a peak that would last for hours-or so she hoped.
She opened her eyes and glared at the minion.
"Curse your grey-scaled hide, Garit. I told you I wasn't to be disturbed."
Garit, the mud demon, bowed, his peaked forehead scraping the ground before him.
"Yes, Your Magnificence, but this is a matter of great importance."
"What can be so important that you would drag me from my pleasure?"
"A death, Oh, Exhaulted One."
"Death in the Netherworld is a common thing, mud-eater."
"Yes. Your Majesty, but you need to come to the throne room and see."
Pleasure was out of the question, Violet thought, as she tore off the red circlet from her head, severing her connection with the simulator. She stepped out of the shell-shaped dome and threw a diaphanous purple robe over her body.
Garit raced ahead of her, opening doors, and bowed her into the throne room.
Her ebony throne sat upon a raised pedestal and around it was another processor, the machine also shell-shaped-she craved all things nautical, to remind her of home, a world far away and long gone.
She strode into the chamber and halted, her gaze falling on the body lying on her purple and silver tiled floor.
"Who is responsible for this mess?"
Violet Night scanned the line of ghouls; cowards all, they shivered in their claws and refused to meet her gaze. The three demons stared back at her insolently, but as they saw the wavering conduits, like tentacles attached to her throne, they thought better of their defiance and bowed. When she was in a mood, the tentacles wavered and the demons made themselves scarce.
Violet studied the human corpse; she knew it for a human by its iron stink, but the body had been badly mauled. The head hung by a thread from a lacerated neck.
Doneto cleared his throat and her gaze narrowed upon him. "We think it was a human," he said.
"A human doesn't kill like this."
"This one does, Majesty!"
Violet smiled tightly. "Doneto might be only four feet tall," she said, "but he's got more guts than the rest of you put together." The diminutive demon beamed as the others turned jealous gazes upon him. "But don't let my compliment go to your heads, Doneto."
"No mistress." He bowed.
"And just why do you think a human did this?"
"I . er saw something," Doneto said. "I was patrolling the alleys and I heard a scream."
"You wanted a piece of the action?"
"The thought did occur. When I reached the scene, I saw this human on the ground, and another above him, using a scimitar to cut him."
"Yes, mistress. And when he'd finished, he drank the blood."
The silence in the chamber was profound. Deep. Still. Shock made Violet shiver. Not often that she shivered. "He drank you say?"
"Not prettily, like a vampire, but drank, yes. Then, when he saw me he ran off."
"That's not strictly true! The demon has delusions of grandeur!" A man stepped out of the shadows.no, not human, vampire. Violet caught the musky scent of the undead as he strode insolently up to her.
"Bow before Her Magnificence!" Doneto said, the bristles on his left head rising like the quills of a porcupine.
"I bow to no woman."
Vylet Ultra sat upon her throne, but no ordinary throne, and no ordinary queen. The throne resembled a huge shell, the psychic enhancers disguised as anemone, waving slightly as if stirred by a breeze.
Vylet was Queen of all she surveyed and what she surveyed now brought a frisson
of pleasure up her spine, across her stomach and into her core, hidden by the artful placement of her legs.
Look, my minions, but do not touch. Not ever.
She ruled by pleasure, at least the anticipation of it; occasionally she granted one of them a release, a sample of a deeper delight that might be theirs, if they did her bidding, bowed to her soul and body.
She ran a tongue over her lips, her fangs jagging in the soft flesh of her mouth, as she admired the body before her.
This man, this captive, brought to her drugged, in chains. A human.
Humans were a remarkable species.resilient, tough and ruthless, but that ruthlessness hid a vulnerability and weakness that she could exploit. Ah! The contradictions and the possibilities that humans presented. It was with a man that she could evoke the most powerful essence.
Vylet tilted her chin and one of her servitors dragged the man to his feet.
For a moment his legs refused to hold his weight and he sagged between his captors. Then some spark of strength, a stubbornness that denied his weakness, forced him to stand. He raised his head, his jaw and eyes locked in defiance.
"Bitch!" he said, flinging off the servitors.
I am your dream, your desire, your passion; what is it you want of me? Name it. I can do it; be all things for you. What is your darkest desire?
The song whispered into his mind, teasing, curling, exploring places that he never knew existed. The voice.a woman's voice.gentle, lilting, tormenting.
Reilly groaned and thrashed on the bed, hitting his head against the metal frame. He saw stars and when he opened his eyes he still saw stars-through the porthole.
He ran a hand through his hair and flung himself back against the mattress, frustrated, tired and pissed off.
Planetfall in three days' time, after a mission lasting eighteen months. Some men might have gone space-happy, but not Reilly Estovan. He put that down to a mix of good luck and Spanish genes.
But he knew he was on the edge; knew it by the way he woke up every morning in a sweat, his cock rigid and pressing painfully against his gut.
He had been too long without a woman. God damn it! Eighteen months, too long. He'd used the holo-deck and his own trusty hands and fingers, but it was no compensation for the real thing, even if some of his spacer friends insisted that a holo-fuck was better than any woman. Yeah, right!
Reilly swung himself up from the bunk, his bare feet hitting the warmed metal floor.
The laser shower took away the last of his night-sweat, but his cock was thick, rampant, demanding attention.
He flung himself into his chair, facing the monitor and console and tapped in the codes with one hand while sipping a thick black coffee from the mug in his right hand.
A message shimmered over the screen, the purple letters, cursive script and gossamer-fine: I am your dream, your desire, your passion; what is it you want of me?
Reilly choked as the coffee went down the wrong way.
He put the mug on the desk and leaned forward, peering at the message that repeated itself over and over on the screen in all shades of purple.
He slipped the com-link onto his head and felt a moment of dizziness as he telepathically connected with the communications port.
Who are you?
I am anything you wish, all you desire. I can be your darkest desire.
Reilly smiled. The mind-voice was sultry, husky and female.
Where are you?
Do you have a name?
Choose a name for me.
Reilly frowned at the name repeated on the screen, again in purple script.
Carmen? Wheren'hell had that come from? He smiled ruefully. Carmen and all the connotations that the name conveyed. Carmen the whore, Carmen the betraying lover.
I am Carmen for you.
What do you want?
That is not important, it is what you want that is. You have dreamed about me. I am here; come to me.
I am no lady.
Reilly laughed at that. At least she/it was honest. He was intrigued.
How do I find you?
These are the co-ordinates. And this is what I will do to you when you and I meet in the flesh.
He stared at the vision, his mouth dry, his throat tight, every muscle in his body taut with expectation, desire. NO, she wasn't Carmen, but another name, a creature from legend.
"Lorelei," he whispered, as he stared at her image:
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