Going on about love after 5 minutes…

Beauty Skin Deep

Kate was pleased to be accompanied by others struggling to learn the steps. The lesson began with men lined up together and women lined up opposite. There was no touching. It was just a matter of following the steps to learn the pattern of movement. One two three, one two three. It was quite simple really, and Kate was soon walking through the eighteen step routine that zigzagged along the wall.

When it was time to take partners, that silly tingle in her belly returned. Her eye level was in line with that damned dimply chin, and Ben’s hand closed over hers as another big, warm paw pressed against her back. And she forgot the steps immediately.

“Are you ready?” he asked as the music started.

“Uh huh,” was all Kate could offer in reply, and the hand upon her back firmed, and she was drawn close to that powerful frame. She then completely surrendered as control of her body was taken from her. And she was rising and falling to the music and being swept along in a dizzy haze that took her breath away.

“Are you okay?” Ben asked softly. He seemed to be there in the cloud with her.

“Uh huh…” Kate uttered again.

“You’re doing very well.”

Kate wasn’t game to look at Ben’s face. She clung to one rippling shoulder and stared at the other one. The force of his body was against her hip, and his powerful thigh was driving between her legs and lifting her. The heat of his groin against her sex was something completely unexpected, and it was wonderful.

An hour passed in an instant, and Kate swayed against Ben’s chair while he changed his dance shoes for the boots he had worn earlier. His hand returned to her back as he guided her from the hall to his car. He opened the door for her, and she turned to him and placed her arms around his shoulders. He met her lips softly at first, but his passion was soon crushing her to his body, and she moaned into his mouth. He drew back and touched her cheek, caressing her face, and his hand moved to the back of her neck as he bent to her again.

Kate was on her toes, or perhaps her feet had left the ground. She wasn’t sure. The hand upon her back had slipped beneath her top, and she could feel its coarseness against her skin. The heat from his kiss was swirling in her head, and she clung to his hair as he mauled her neck. She was pinned against the car, his manhood rigid against her belly as he again lifted and kissed her open mouth.

“Is there a motel?” Kate asked, with her words ending as Ben’s lips again met hers, only that time he seemed a little restrained.

He smoothed hair from her face and delved into her eyes. He kissed her again, softly. “I’m a little out of practice.”

“Oh? I hadn’t noticed.” Kate held the man’s eyes. They wavered but quickly regained their intensity.

He kissed her again, deeply and with more tenderness and control that time. Kate responded, though she suddenly felt unsure, and her confusion was leading her beyond the heat of the moment. She wanted to know what he was thinking. He lifted and took to fiddling with her hair at her shoulder. He seemed to be struggling with something, and she waited.

After a long moment of silence, in which passion almost audibly faded, Ben looked up with a light, disarming smile. “I haven’t made love to a woman since Sylvia.”

Kate understood the significance of that statement immediately. She recoiled inwardly. “Love? Who said anything about making love, cowboy?”

His smile broadened with a hint of resignation. “Yeah, I know. Lame, huh?”

She had begun fiddling with the front of his shirt. The thought of the housewives of Goran Vale flashed to mind. “No, it’s actually quite sweet, but it’s not very realistic.”

He lifted her chin and smoothed hair from her face. He kissed her again, softly yet confidently. “Oh, it’s realistic. It’s just too soon for a word like that.”

He wasn’t reading her at all.

“We should go. It’s getting late, and I have jobs tomorrow before I leave.” Kate got in the car and closed the door. Ben stood for a moment then walked around and got in the other side. “Can we skip the restaurant and stop at that roadhouse again?” she asked.

He nodded and drove off. It was a good fifteen minutes before he spoke. “I’m sorry, Kate. I didn’t mean to spook you.”

“Well, you did spook me, cowboy—going on about love after five minutes.”

Ben smiled. “I know. I can usually go a good ten minutes before bringing that up too. It’s a form of premature ejaculation.”

Kate laughed. “Speaking of—that! You know what we could have been doing right now if you weren’t such a sap, don’t you?”

“I know. Damn it. I think there’s a motel just up ahead, though.”

“Nope. Too late. Moment’s passed, and all I want is a steak sandwich now……”

Read all about Ben and Kate: Kindle Countdown 99c sale this week.

 

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X Rated short story…

party girl & older man

Teresa wakes on a couch covered by a blanket. The room is dark and quiet. She gets up unsteadily and wanders toward a light in another room. It’s a kitchen, where the owner of the house Michael is cooking.

“Hello, sleepy, how do you feel?”

“Horrible,” Teresa says. Her head is clearing though. “What happened? Where is everyone?”

“All gone home. Party’s over!” Michael is all smiles and dressed in a white bath robe. “Are you hungry?”

“My stomach feels horrible.”

“Well, you threw up so I’m not surprised. I think they were spiking your drinks.”

Teresa looks down at herself. There’s dry vomit on her top and in her hair.

“The shower is through there,” Michael says. “When you get undressed, toss your clothes out the door and I’ll put them in the wash. There’s a robe in there for you and a new tooth brush…. Off you go!”

The guy is still smiling, and Teresa tries to smile back but she doesn’t really know what to think. She decides to do as she’s told and finds the bathroom. She keeps her bikini bottoms and puts the rest of her clothes outside the door. Then she showers and brushes her teeth, happy to clean the horrible taste from her mouth. The robe is the same kind as the one Michael is wearing – really soft and comfortable. He’s serving dinner outside on a balcony overlooking the beach when Teresa comes out.

“Are you hungry?” he asks, pulling her chair.

“I am actually. I haven’t eaten much today.”

“This will make you feel better,” he says, and he serves a lovely pasta and salad.

Michael is so attentive and nice. He just wants to chat about what they can see up and down the coast – the landmarks and buildings. There’s nothing of what had happened that day with the stupid boys fighting or with Teresa getting so drunk and passing out. The older man is polite and very interested in anything Teresa has to say, which makes her feel his equal in maturity. She thinks of his wife quite a few times throughout dinner but decides not to mention her, as he doesn’t.

After clearing away the meal and tidying the kitchen together, they stroll back to the balcony, and Michael stands just behind Teresa as she looks out at the moonlit waves rolling ashore. His body is lightly touching hers, and his deep mellow voice is right there at her ear. “You know, I should confess there’s a security camera in my office downstairs. I was actually watching the whole time you were in there with that young guy.”

Teresa blushes as she looks back over her shoulder. “Were you?”

“Yes, but to be totally honest I’ve been watching you all weekend. There are cameras everywhere, and whenever I was down there I was always looking for you.” The older man places his hand on Teresa’s hip and leans closer. “You’re very beautiful.”

Teresa’s heart is suddenly thumping. “But there were lots of girls at the party.”

“Really? I didn’t notice,” Michael goes on smoothly. And that time he touches Teresa’s hair, moving it back from her neck and leaning in to press his lips to her skin. “So, do you mind that I was watching you and Adrian in my office? What you were doing for him was rather exciting. I could almost feel it.”

“It was the first time I’ve done that,” Teresa utters. The soft kisses are giving her the nicest kind of goose bumps.

“Did you enjoy it?” the guy asks. The hand upon her hip moves to her belly, and he’s pressing against her from behind. She can feel his erection.

“Yes, I enjoyed it,” Teresa says. “It felt nice…. It tasted a bit yucky when he was finishing, but I didn’t mind that.”

Teresa is suddenly lifted and carried back inside. She places her arms around Michael’s neck and closes her eyes as he kisses her lips. She’s carried past the open door of the master bedroom and along a hallway to what must be a guest room, she imagines.

“You know – oral sex goes both ways,” Michael says as he stands by the bed still holding Teresa in his arms.

“I know,” Teresa answers, blushing. “Well, I sort of know.”

Teresa is placed down with her head resting on the pillows. The older man lies beside her. “Has a guy ever done it for you before?”

Teresa shakes her head. Michael kisses her again, and she isn’t sure what to do with her hands so she sort of clings to the bedspread. The tie around her waist is then pulled and her robe is opened, her breath catching as her breasts are bared.

“You should make it a rule with these boys…. They’re going to want it all the time, but you’ve got to learn to say – me first!”

Michael sucks on one of Teresa’s nipples and she squirms up against him, pressing her boob into his mouth. His hands are inside the robe, raking down her back and holding her up while he softly kisses and massages with his tongue. He does that with one nipple until she’s just about panting, then he moves to the other and sucks it hard, making Teresa moan and grab hold of his head. He then rolls over on top of her, and when he kisses his way down her belly she thinks about parting her legs but they’re already spread wide. He’s at the top of her bikini pants and kissing and sucking her skin while he pulls at the edges of them. He tugs them down, and Teresa closes her legs so he can get them off. He removes them from her ankles then presses against each of her inner thighs, and she braces as he spreads her and opens his mouth over her pussy.

“Oh my god!” she utters as a wave of warm tingly thrills swarm all over her body, and she lies there with her eyes wide and fixed upon the ceiling as the man nuzzles and licks inside of her.

*

Michael uses his thumbs to hold the young party girl’s pussy lips open, and he sucks on her pink flesh and works his tongue up over her clit. He can taste her sweet juices. He laps them up then sucks on her little clit while she squirms and grinds against his mouth.

He smiles to himself as he looks up and sees how she’s now clinging to the bed head and arching her body up off the bed. He can see her tits shuddering, and she’s moaning and panting away. He keeps sucking on her clit and massaging it with his tongue while he unties his robe and opens it. He’s fully erect of course. He wants to be inside her when she climaxes.

*

Teresa falls to the bed when the man kisses back up over her belly. She’s on the edge of one of her orgasms, and she’s in the middle of panting, “Don’t stop,” when suddenly she feels his penis slide right on in. Then she just clings to the guy as he starts thrusting.

Teresa is wide eyed and staring at the ceiling again, her chin resting upon a powerful shoulder. The shock of being penetrated has doused her little orgasm, but the feel of the man inside of her and the way he’s grinding lewdly when he’s all the way in soon ignites things again. And this time it isn’t just her pussy that’s tingling, the thrill is centred deeper where she can feel excitement building in her belly.

She starts grinding back against the guy. When she’s being split wide and can feel him pressing against her clit, she arches up and rubs herself over the base of his penis. It feels so nice like that, and it makes him go sort of crazy, pounding her hard and fast. She’s bracing up off the bed and holding herself spread for him when suddenly the feeling in her belly contracts into a ball of pure ecstasy and explodes, ripping through her entire body like nothing she has ever imagined.

The older man holds firm with his penis fully inserted. Teresa squirms on it while her orgasm thumps through her. She’s so wet and open, and as the convulsions gripping her belly ebb away she feels the guy begin to move again. He’s supporting himself above her with the muscles in his arms and shoulders pumped up and rippling. He’s moving his lower body, rolling his pelvis. “Just hold still for me now,” he breathes into her hair, and Teresa understands he’s about to ejaculate in her.

The guy’s in full control, and she just relaxes into the movement of his body. His action is different now. He’s all the way up her and fucking her with short thrusts, just grinding his dick inside of her – deep inside. He starts puffing and grunting, his body tense and virtually quivering. He jams in hard and expels a groan, and Teresa clings to him and bites down on her lip while his penis throbs. She then waits staring up at the gilded light fitting while the older man begins moving inside of her again. She isn’t sure what’s going to happen next or what she should do. His penis is still quite firm, but he suddenly lifts his upper body and kisses her. “Are you thirsty?”

“Yes – a bit.”

“Ice water okay?”

“That would be nice,” Teresa says.

Michael lifts from her with his dick slipping out, and she closes her legs and sits up.

“Come back out to the balcony,” he says as he leaves the room.

Teresa searches for her bikini pants and pulls them on. Her legs are a bit rubbery. She feels her pussy and finds it to be sopping and really slippery, and she blushes to herself at the thought that it’s from the older man’s semen as she ties the robe into place and walks back down the hall. She stops and pokes her head into the master bedroom. It’s huge and absolutely gorgeous, and the thought of becoming the guy’s new wife flashes through her mind for a second before she hurries on out to the balcony.

Michael hands her a glass of water then sits down. She sips it and remains standing by the rail. “Beautiful night, isn’t it?” he says, resting back and relaxing in the cool ocean breeze. He looks at his watch but doesn’t say anything. It’s after one in the morning. “Do you want to sit down?” he asks.

Teresa shakes her head. “No thanks. I’m fine.”

Michael stands and approaches behind her, smoothing hair from her neck. “Are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m okay. I probably should be going soon. They must be wondering where I am.”

“Yeah, I guess. Although you could stay here tonight,” he offers, kissing her softly.

His hand moves to her belly and he holds her close, his penis again firm against her.

“I probably should go. I have to be at the train station in the morning,” Teresa says.

“Well, okay, but you really are beautiful,” the older man whispers, and he lifts her chin and kisses her lips. “You were really beautiful just now,” he adds, making Teresa blush again.

“Thanks…. I didn’t know we were going to do that.”

Michael chuckles. “Yeah, but it was nice – right?”

“Uh huh.”

He kisses her more deeply, and she relaxes into him. His erection is prominent against her belly, and she thinks he’s going to want her again but he steps back and grins. “Yeah it is getting late, and I really should make a call before I get into trouble too.”

Teresa understands he’s talking about calling his wife, and that’s her signal to get out of there. She finds her clothes in the laundry downstairs, clean and dry. She dresses with the guy watching. He follows to his front door but doesn’t say anything more, and she walks down his driveway peering back over her shoulder until the door closes…..

*****

 

 

 

Lives up to the promise…

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BOOK REVIEW: She is going to die and she knows it. Genre aside, that right there is a powerful and intriguing story idea. No one has threatened her or anything. She has simply seen her own funeral. Brilliant. The big question to be answered here is laid out plainly in the title, and within a page or two of reading, we’re in. We’re going to need to know how and why she dies at the end…. So now we have a clear and simple yet powerfully intriguing question, but do we have a story journey to back it up? Definitely! The setting is a tangible paranormal world with interesting relationships between the different species and plenty of historic complexity. Certainly 3 dimensional. And the tale of who our heroine is and how and why she dies is rich and captivating storytelling…. For mine, this book is every bit as good as the title.

Available on Amazon

Meanwhile, in another corner of the universe…

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BOOK REVIEW: This sci-fi setting is like real. It’s actually quite brilliantly understated. When imagining the universe being depicted here, it’s as if there’s nothing to prove – as if it’s just a matter of fact that this place exists and we all know it. This is a powerful human drama and romance set elsewhere, not on Earth…. The depth in the story itself is also impressive. We can easily imagine the prequel, which would be potentially even more intense and dramatic. I quite enjoyed joining in at the tail end of a story, with lives already blown apart, and seeing everything come together…. An intelligent and nicely constructed read.

Available on Amazon

Ben scores his first date with Kate…

Beauty Skin Deep

Ben finished his beer and strolled back out onto the street. He thought for a moment about his washing but decided to walk down and pay Bobby a visit after all. He wouldn’t try to press for information about the missing girl. He would just call in to see how the home gym was going, and it occurred to him he might be fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with the lovely Kate again.

He could see Bobby was still in the garage as he approached the house. There was a silver Range Rover with the number plate ‘RISSMAN’, in addition to the car he had seen the day before. The front door was open, and he heard Kate squeal and laugh. There was a man’s voice too. Ben knocked and stepped back.

Kate approached the door giggling and looking back over her shoulder. She turned, and Ben greeted her with a smile.

“Afternoon, ma’am.”

“Oh… Officer?”

“Ben… Ben will be fine, ma’am. I was out and about and thought I’d call by and say hello to Bobby. Am I intruding?”

“No… God, no! Um… Ben this is, um, a friend of mine, Paul… Paul, Ben’s the local cop.”

A tall, weak-chinned man had appeared behind Kate. His hands were upon her shoulders. Ben nodded.

“May I go around the side? I can see Bobby’s there in the garage.”

Kate squirmed from between her friend and the screen door. She opened it and shuffled Paul back a bit. “Can you check on dinner for me, please? I’ll just be a few minutes.”

“What do I do?” Paul asked.

“Oh, it doesn’t matter. Just… I’ll be there in a minute.” Kate slipped through the door and closed it. She was blushing and avoiding Ben’s eyes.

“Is everything okay? I really didn’t mean to intrude.”

“No, it doesn’t matter. He’s just… I don’t know… It’s fine. And I wanted to ask you a favour.”

Kate had stepped close. Her blush had faded, and her warm, brown eyes were enticing.

Ben wondered in that instant if any man had ever denied her anything.

“I was wondering if I could help with your investigation.”

“Help in what way?” Ben sat back on the porch rail. It gave him a little more room to breathe.

She smiled coyly and shrugged. “I don’t know. In any way I can. I might be able to check the newspapers from when the girl went missing. I saw there’s a library near your house. Maybe they have something there. Or you could let me see the police report.”

Ben met her smile and wondered how she knew where his house was. “Ma’am—”

“Kate! Not ma’am… Kate. You were saying?”

“Kate, I really don’t have the authority to invite civilians into the station to look into missing persons.”

“So, take that one little file home and invite me to dinner. I’ll sneak a look while you’re busy cooking.”

“I can’t cook.”

“Frozen pizza?”

Ben hadn’t stopped smiling. “You’re pushy!”

“Tomorrow night?”

“What about?” Ben motioned to the door.

“He’s nothing. He’s just my boss. I’m sending him home after dinner.”

“Okay. Around six, and it’ll be fresh pizza, not frozen. And white wine?”

Kate stepped to the door and smiled back over her shoulder. “Or beer.”

She stayed at the door while Ben walked back to the front gate. “What about Bobby?” she called after him.

“Next time… I got what I wanted,” he called back.

“Me too!”

………………….

Read all about Ben and Kate: Kindle Countdown 99c sale this week.

Sale price only available to US & UK customers.

I was shocked by how far this went…

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BOOK REVIEW: This is an intense, shadowy thriller, paced for a quick read. There’s plenty of angst in the awkward, fledgling, arranged romance between our main characters before the real challenge even begins…. The 1980s setting is authentic and well suited to stories about this kind of crime – it’s kind of what makes it so shadowy. It works well. The descent into the murky depths of perversion as the thriller aspect of the story builds is another highlight. The climax is grim and hard-hitting. The romance finds a way…. This stands alone as a terrific read, but there’s definite potential for a follow-up and study of some of the secondary characters.

Available on Amazon

Brilliantly told… an eye opener

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BOOK REVIEW: Is this a children’s story… a parent’s how-to perhaps? I was unsure what to expect with this book, but it captivated me immediately and held me spellbound throughout. I’m giving a full 5 stars because this is a brilliant story – could make it as a classic. It’s a wonderful read for children, and it shows us all the bullying experience through a child’s eyes. The tale itself is clever and highly impactful (had my lip quivering once or twice – the shoes). Expertly detailed and written.

View on Amazon

Zane Grey wrote great romance!

memoir

As a typical bloke, I love rugby league. For those unfamiliar with the game, it’s one of the football codes played by men running and tackling each other – trying to get a ball across a line. It’s huge here in Australia, and the showcase event is called State of Origin. This is a 3 game series played once a year, quite strangely on Wednesday nights.

So it’s a Wednesday morning in 1993 and I’m a single/divorced bloke looking forward to the end of the work day so I can grab a few beers and kick back at home watching game one of State of Origin. All good, right? Then the office cleaning lady comes up to me with this curious look, eyeballs me, nodding to herself… “You know, Guy, you should try this dance group I know of. It’s on tonight. Why don’t you go along?”

And I’m like… “Dancing? Are you serious? Tonight!” …or words to that effect.

“Yes. Ballroom dancing. You might like it.”

Well, this elderly cleaning lady is wise. She’s also a wonderful caring type who knows me well. And her ridiculous suggestion is a seed that sprouts during the day and has me questioning the merits of sitting at home alone watching men thump each other on TV versus dancing with a woman. In real life. Like – in my arms, where no woman has been in a couple of years…

read on

Smart YA fantasy action

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BOOK REVIEW: A terrific action adventure told by a natural storyteller. The artwork is excellent and wonderfully apt for the feel of the story. The graphic violence here is offhandedly dealt with, and it works. It’s just normal for these ninjas to fight, shed blood and kill. Incorporating that into a story about a bunch of kids was handled with just the right, low level of sensationalism. The individual characters were fun and interesting. Spending time in each of their heads makes for excellent reading and was definitely the best way to tell this tale. A handful of misfits trained, tested in battle and building into a tough little fighting force with an unknown mystic power on their side, their foes beaten but not defeated and planning their next move… Great stuff!

M

 

BOOK REVIEW: Good versus evil, but wait a minute – not so simple. Two victims of bullying suddenly being bestowed with awesome powers… What better test of character and inner strength than to see how they each respond? How these two youths are transformed (or not) by this ‘gift’ is handled in an intelligent and complex way. Understanding the origin and ultimate purpose of this force is shaping as an intriguing supernatural thriller. One aspect of this power I’m finding particularly interesting is the sensing/exposing/manipulating of people’s emotions, and how this sword is double edged, with the loss of control happening inwardly as well. This volume ends in a blaze of action – the scene set for who-knows-what next… The main characters here are young adults, but I’d recommend a youthful spirit of adventure is all that’s needed to enjoy this story.

TDoG

 

BOOK REVIEW: The princess of good trekking across the kingdom to battle the darkness of evil. This is a well tried concept and is handled wonderfully right here in a fast moving tale. If you don’t spend a lot of reading time in fantasy, you can need just the right balance of description and action to hold your interest. It’s a completely foreign world, so you need to be informed of the surroundings. The characters are often creatures, so you need plenty of detail about who and what they are. I find it easy to get bogged down in all this description in fantasy stories, but that didn’t happen with The Darkness Of Gold. Not at all. I found the characters to be intriguing and the scenery vivid, yet the story moved quickly and kept me very much interested and in anticipation of what would come next. I ended up with an impression of a richly three dimensional kingdom, with a lot to the story remaining mysterious and untold. The different kinds of communities briefly encountered were fascinating and offered adventures for the imagination well beyond the scope of this quest. You find yourself wondering what was going on there as you’re passing by. I liked that. The action scenes were quite powerful and, again, vivid. I think the romantic element was sweet and in just the right proportion with the rest of the plot. I didn’t pick the ending. That was a good twist… To an occasional fantasy reader, this was quite a good Sunday’s entertainment.

April 1985

9c

They called them the soccer field bones:

Her head bumped across the corrugations in the floor of the late sixties Valliant station wagon. The corrugations were two inches apart, with the aperture about a quarter of an inch deep. It was enough to make her head bounce over each ridge as she was being pulled from the open tail-gate of the rusty old vehicle, her body still warm from life and, as yet, soft and pliable.

Her long brown hair left streaks of blood on the cold metal surface. Her head clunked over the hinged gap where the tail-gate joined the corrugated floor. It slid more quickly as her body slumped, and her head then landed in the mud with a wet thud.

She was dragged along steadily. She was fairly light—a slight girl. She was only twenty-three, and would always be.

Her white uniform was stained with brown grime from a grubby kitchen floor and watered down blood. She had been left outside in the rain for a while before being dragged up into the back of the Valliant wagon. It was still raining, lightly yet steadily, the drops washing her young white skin. The skirt of her uniform was bunched up her back and above her waist, exposing her thighs and hips. Her underpants were around her waist with the crotch slashed. Two buttons from the front of her uniform were still lying in the grime on that kitchen floor. Her bra was cut in the middle in front. Her uniform covered her right breast, the light, steady rain washing saliva from her left.

Her hair slithered through the mud as she was dragged along by her bare ankles: Her shoes and stockings were back on that grubby kitchen floor, one shoe resting on its side against the stove, the other right-side-up in the doorway to the lounge. Her stockings were on a round cane mat in front of the sink, but one leg was protruding onto the polished wooden floor surface and was, right then, soaking up a trickle from a pool of her blood.

She was dragged through leaves and twigs, and her body slumped into a hole in the ground. The hole was about three feet in depth, the bottom a few inches deep with rain water. She was on her right side with her left leg crossed forward and her left arm slung back. A leather boot pressed against her hip, rolling her onto her back. Her head remained to the right with her mouth and eyes open. Raindrops went into her mouth, and they splashed off her glazed eyeballs. A shovel full of mud, gritty with tiny pebbles, landed on her belly—on her white uniform. The next shovel full of mud and twigs and leaves landed on her upper chest and neck.

Her torso was covered first, then her mouth and eyes. Her long brown hair was still strewn above her head as it was slopped with mud. Her left leg was still bent up slightly as her thighs were buried. Her right arm was wedged beneath her body. Her left arm was above her head, and her left hand was the last part of her young body to be covered, the leather boot pressing down, forcing it into the mud less than two feet from the ground surface.

Over the next half hour the hole was steadily filled, then patted down and covered with wet leaves, an arrangement of eight small rocks and a dead tree branch. The leather boots then trudged off through the mud toward the Valliant wagon. Then the engine roared and the rusty old vehicle rolled away into the night.

It was well into the night, close to dawn of the 17th of April 1985. The air was cool, yet the rain clouds had kept the temperature mild for a southern autumn. As the sun lightened the clouds, the rain eased and left a mist hanging in the air above the grave site. The ground was soaked, and with the clouds dissipating that afternoon a short burst of sunlight made the air steamy.

The day was short, though, and it rained again that night, but on into the winter months the soggy earth covering the young woman’s body gradually compacted and leached of water. The dead tree branch remained in place, although it was essentially out of place. There were no trees nearby, and it had been dragged there purposefully.

There were shrubs and vines. There was a thicket of prickles that kept children well away as they walked from the back of the school, across the creek to the local swimming pool. The dead branch was from a gum tree a hundred yards distant. It took several years to lose its leaves and for those leaves to blow away or disintegrate into the mat of undergrowth that had covered the grave.

In September 1990 an eleven year old boy picked up the stick that was the remains of the gum tree branch and took it with him. He snapped twigs off it to fashion a spear and chased after his little sister, trying to poke her with it before tossing it at a magpie that swooped from the tree line along the creek. In July of 1992 a man stood by the gravesite and urinated into the thicket of prickles. He then walked off, kicking one of the small stones and treading on the ground directly above the pelvis of the young woman buried there. Her flesh had blended into the earth by then, and the fabric of her uniform was rotten and brittle. It had all but dissolved. Her hair was fossilised into the leached clay. Her bones were intact. The remaining three plastic buttons from her uniform were inside her abdominal cavity where the clay had caved in. There was a gold friendship ring on the bone of her right ring finger.

In April 1994, the thicket and the remaining seven small rocks were swept away by the blade of a bulldozer, clearing the area for the development of a sporting field. The following summer the ground was cultivated and fertilized, a healthy coverage of grass nurtured along. It was a local council project that struggled for funding, though, and another two years passed before a three foot high mesh fence was erected about ten yards away from the gravesite. Beyond the fence was a soccer field with children training weekday afternoons and games on weekends.

The gravesite was close to the corner of the field, away from the seating area. A tin amenities building had been constructed where the thicket used to be, which protected the ground above the young woman’s remains to some extent. Occasionally someone would walk around behind the building but not often. In the summer of 2004 a new brick amenities building was constructed, though. It was to upgrade and replace the tin structure, and a machine was brought in one Monday morning to dig a trench to run a water line to the new building.

The water line was to run directly through the grave site. The PVC pipe was to be buried at a depth of two feet. The small machine roared into place. The trenching blade sunk into the earth, digging its way down to the required depth. The young operator flicked his smoke away and guided the machine forward. He dug from the wall of the old amenities building straight toward the corner of the new one. The blade of the machine churned the damp clay, spewing it aside as it crawled directly through the length of the gravesite. It missed bone completely. It unearthed it, though. It exposed a part of Grace McKenna’s skull, her ribs and pelvis, and her right leg……

From the Mystery loves Romance novel Ever Since April