Fair warning! This post is going to present a hot sex scene, sandwiched between several layers of political and historical angst.
I know this is supposed to be my turn for a promotional post, but I’ve been distracted the last few days by certain world events. My heart aches for the Kurds in the Mideast, being abandoned by their US allies for whom they’ve fought so hard and well in subduing the IS forces. Now Turkey is free to attack and destroy them, and they’ve already begun.
As it happens, my superheroine novel, Shadow Hand, deals in part with the Kurdish and Yazidi forces, specifically with the women’s units of their Peshmerga army. I’ve done a great deal of research on the history and landscape of the unofficial country of Kurdistan, presently carved up between Syria, Iraq, and Turkey. I almost feel that I’ve been there, with my characters, organizing a rescue operation to free hundreds of Kurdish and Yazidi women imprisoned by the IS to be sold as sex slaves.
The book isn’t erotica, but it does have some steamy intervals, and I’ll share one, but first I’ll try to explain the context as briefly as I can.
My two main characters, Cleo (Sergeant Brown) and Ash (Lieutenant Ashton), have been stationed in the Mideast and working together. They’ve also secretly become lovers, in spite of taboos relating both to rank and orientation. In the book’s first section (out of three) Ash and Cleo have nearly been captured by the enemies, and are saved by hiding in a shallow cave in the bank of a dry wadi, where an ancient hidden statuette of the goddess Ashtar injects Ash with a superpower, telekinesis. Cleo tries to help Ash adjust to her unasked for power, and learn to use it, but a series of events gets the attention of an Army PsyOps officer, and eventually Ash goes AWOL, and disappears eve from Cleo to keep from being weaponized by the military.
Onward to Part Two, where Cleo and Ash are reunited in Boston, where they gather some sidekicks and use Ash’s powers in several raids on major sex traffickers. They also, however, manage some close together time made more fun by Ash’s abilities. This scene comes just after their reunion.
Ash’s mouth hung open for a second or two before she pulled
herself together. “You’re telling me that Ishtar is your good pal now,
too? The one who wanted to kill you?”
“You might put it that way.” Cleo wriggled to get more comfy.
“I stopped by her lair on my way to be mustered out and get a flight
to the States. The mine-buster squad I traveled with went along that
same road, and they humored me when I said I’d lost something
with sentimental value over in that wadi and wanted to take a few
minutes to look for it. Good guys. We’d worked together for three
months, and they’d all heard the story about when we hid there.
“So we stopped for a lunch break, and I wandered alone over to
the wadi and down to where our cave had been, pretty much all just
rubble now. I could feel her anger right away, by the dust blowing
into my eyes and the pebbles bouncing off my head, but I stood
my ground, stripped naked, and yelled, more or less, ‘Look you,
whatever you are, I’m a woman, and Ash needs me. If you know
where she is, show me right now!’ After that we got along just fine.”
Cleo stood, stretched, ambled over to the sink, and drew a glass
of water. She drank it slowly, drew another, and nearly choked when
the glass moved out of her hand and landed over on the table.
“Sergeant Brown!” Ash snapped. “Finish your report! That’s an
“Yes, ma’am!” Cleo saluted and went back to the chair. “Since
you ask so nicely. I don’t really know precisely what happened, but I
had a vision right then, clear as anything, of an airplane window. It
was like I was right there with you. I could see the ground through
a space in the clouds. You were passing over the Connecticut River
and the Holyoke Range and the Quabbin Reservoir. I’ve been on
enough flights into Boston to recognize those landmarks. Could be
our goddess didn’t know where in the world that was, but it was
what she could see when she looked for you, so it was what she
Ash balanced at the very edge of the bed, leaning forward with
her hands on her thighs as though about to spring up. “So that’s
it? Without being high or anything? You expect me to believe you
challenged her, and she told you where I was?”
Cleo shifted uneasily, her bravado faltering. “I can’t swear it
wasn’t just my imagination. And a whole lot of wishful thinking.
But here I am, and here you are.”
The tense expression on Ash’s face was unreadable. Cleo had
always been able to sense her moods before, but not this time. She
forged on. “Look, if she didn’t tell me, nobody did. Not the major,
not anybody, if that’s what you’re thinking. As far as I know nobody
else knows where you—we—are. Maybe it was just a lucky guess.”
Ash’s tension visibly eased. “You were right about the plane.
What I saw out the window.” She leaned back, arms braced behind
her, and worked her modified cowboy boots off her feet. Then she
swung her long legs onto the bed and stretched them out. Those legs
in baggy camouflage fatigues had made Cleo’s pulse pound. In snug
blue jeans they made her crotch damp, too.
A smile flickered at the corner of Ash’s mouth. “I was
experimenting with moving the clouds apart so I could see below,
and wishing you could watch me doing it.”
“Wow!” Cleo was appropriately awestruck. “Do you think you
could make the clouds give rain?”
“Always one step ahead of me! But there are too many factors
involved in that besides movement. Besides, there’s the whole
unintended consequences thing. What if I couldn’t make it stop?”
“I dunno, you’ve always been so good at making things not stop.”
Cleo wriggled in the chair again, this time with clear erotic intent. “I
was kind of wondering, if it was a lucky guess that let me find you,
just how lucky can I get?”
“I’ll have to think about that.” Ash looked intently at the dusty
Army boots Cleo still wore. Slowly and sensuously, the laces untied
themselves. Cleo would never have believed bootlaces could be sexy,
but they sure were now. She kicked off the boots.
“You say you stripped for the goddess?” Ash was still five feet
“Just my shirt and—ah!” Buttons rapidly unbuttoned themselves.
Cleo felt, actually felt, Ash’s hand slide beneath her sports bra and
cup her breast. She was still trying to process that sensation when
her belt buckle unclasped and the zipper on her jeans slid down. She
gasped as the invisible hand pushed its way under her boxers. “Ah!
Uh, been getting a lot of practice, have you?”
“Not like this,” Ash said, “except in dreams.”
“Dreams? When? I had a dream…it was so real…”
But “when” didn’t matter. “Now” was everything. She stood,
shrugged off her shirt and bra, wriggled out of jeans and boxers, and
made it to the bed and onto Ash in one leap. They rolled together,
laughing and gasping, until Cleo paused on top. “I like to do things
the old-fashioned way.” Her fingers got Ash’s shirt unbuttoned
almost as fast as hers had been, made quick work of the rest, and
then her skin moved against every inch of Ash she could manage
while her mouth ranged from lips to throat to breast and back again.
“So nice to have a bed,” she murmured against Ash’s ear.
“Nicer than in Paris?” Ash flipped Cleo over and started nibbling
down from her breasts to her belly.
“Nothing could be nicer than Paris, but wherever we are now is
always the best,” Cleo said, then yipped at a nip in a tender place.
“Nothing could be better than now,” she went on between gasps,
“even twisting around like pretzels in the…in the jeep when that was
the only place we had… Oh!” She arched her hips into the pressure
of Ash’s tongue, infuriatingly fleeting. Ash lifted her head and swung
their bodies crossways on the mattress.
“And the bed is wide enough for this,” Ash panted, rolling them
together from its head to its foot and back again, over and over. The
frantic pressure of body on body, hollow on curve on skin slippery
with sweat and arousal, felt so good that it was hard to stop, until
the hunger for even more intensity where it was needed most grew,
and swelled, and couldn’t be denied.
“Let me…” Cleo managed to raise up enough to press her face
down into Ash’s belly, then moved up to her full breasts and went
back and forth from one to the other, worshipping them with lips,
tongue, even gentle teeth, feeding on the tantalizing swelling of their
tips, until Ash moaned and thrashed and tugged Cleo’s head down
between her thighs.
Hands, tongue, lips, Cleo burrowed her whole face into that
demanding heat, where every slick, sensitive inch pulsed with hunger
for more, harder, harder, more, please! No drawing the pleasure out,
as they used to do in the jeep, in the desert; it had been too long now
to wait. Ash arched her hips, moving them to a demanding rhythm,
and with Cleo’s fingers inside her and Cleo’s mouth impelling her
clit to a frantic hardness, she screamed out her wordless triumph.
Cleo stroked Ash with increasing gentleness as she floated down
from that peak, her kisses light on Ash’s skin, keeping the brakes on
her own need. But when Ash recovered enough for her breathing to
slow, she flipped over and devoted herself to Cleo’s pleasure.
The small breasts, so easily concealed, could tighten and swell
and fill a lover’s mouth as enticingly as any other woman’s. Her taut
buttocks were a perfect fit for Ash’s hands. She raised Cleo’s hips, ran
her own still-rigid breasts one by one along Cleo’s glistening folds,
teasing as long as she dared, then responded to her lover’s desperate
pleas with firm strokes of tongue and fingers and an even tighter
hold on her buttocks. Cleo erupted in cries increasingly shrill, all
control abandoned in ways she would never have allowed anyone
but Ash to hear.
“Shall I stop now, or not?” Ash said when Cleo could focus again.
“Just…just hold me now.”
So they held each other, breathing each other’s essence, until
sweat and the lubrication of their pleasure cooled and they burrowed
under the blankets. Cleo could feel the bond they’d had renewed,
and strengthened. She could even sense what Ash was thinking while
they were this close together, but some things still needed to be
spoken out loud.
“Cleo,” Ash murmured, “nothing is worth giving you up.
Nothing. I was a fool. You, being with you, is the only thing that
feels like home. Like being me.”
“I know,” Cleo said sleepily. In a few minutes she roused, though,
and said, “So what have you been up to? Saved any of the world yet?”
So where do the Kurds come in, you may ask, if you’ve managed to slog through this far? Part Three, that’s where.
It’s complicated, to say the least. Ash and Cleo are recruited by a Kurdish Colonel, Razhan, for a secret mission to rescue several hundred captive women held inside the reinforced walls of the ruins of an ancient fortress in the desert, surrounded by fields of land mines. Any romantic interludes in this section are muted, and they’re seldom alone together, at first planning and training with a few others in a secluded valley high in the Zagros Mountains, and then with Ash on a crag overlooking the fortress using her powers to wreak destruction on its walls while Cleo, having deliberately let herself be captured along with allies, using her tactical and martial arts on the inside.
But enough of that. What I want to do here is give some idea of the history of the Kurds and Kurdistan. These next two excerpts are attempts to do that without lengthy descriptions.
“Nice! Recommended by former travelers, I see.” Cleo looked along
the stretch of rock wall where words, probably names, had been
chipped with tools or scrawled with charred sticks in the time honored
tradition of “Kilroy was here.”
Mac, also surveying the marks, spoke Cleo’s thought aloud in her
own inimitable style. “Ah yes, ‘I write my name, therefore I am.’”
The sun was so low now that its rays slanted deep into the cave.
“I am happy to see that there are no very recent names here,” Razhan
said. Her stern look at Ariya, who had been there two years ago, said
clearly that there had better not be. Ariya’s response was a smile of
“Kurdish…Turkish…Armenian…hmm, could be Italian.”
Razhan turned back to them. “There are caves in the more travelled
parts of these mountains, passes that were trade routes for thousands
of years, where Romans trapping our bears and lions for their
gladiator arenas left their marks in Latin.”
“Bears and lions?” Cleo managed to sound merely curious, which,
on the whole, she was. Bears were familiar from her New Hampshire
home; you just had to keep your food where they couldn’t possibly
reach it, hang it in bags on high ropes between trees when you were
camping. But lions? The fire pit in front of the cave might have more
significance than she’d thought.
“All gone, long ago. They say a few bears are left, in the farthest
reaches, and we have leopards that may not be quite extinct, but no
lions. Gone. Just as the great cedar forests were ravaged to build the
palaces of sultans and caesars.”
Ariya nodded agreement as Razhan spoke. This was the history
taught in Kurdish universities, Cleo guessed. How strange it must
be to belong to a land where mankind had lived and died, come
and gone, and ravaged more often than not, for so many millennia.
Not that her own country’s history had been all that different, but
the ravaging by Europeans of the indigenous cultures there had
happened a few hundred years ago instead of thousands.
And one more, the last (at last!) when Cleo wonders whether she should dye her red hair to pass as a Kurdish woman when she gets captured.
Razhan’s face was just perceptible in the faint glow from the
dashboard. “We’ll darken it a bit with nut juice, to keep you from
attracting too much attention, but red hair is not unknown here.
Those Roman and Greek and even Nordic travelers who took so
much from these mountains left traces behind them as well. A girl in
town has red tints to her hair, as have her mother and grandmothers
through many generations. We also have fair-haired people. Prick a
Kurd and you see the blood of the world.”
So there it is, my long-distance affair with the Kurds. But even without that, even if I had never researched and written about them, my heart would still ache for them now.