I sensed the moment she approached the polished oak doors, a familiar warmth flooding my belly. I would have noticed her that same instant even if the entire town filled this great hall.

Her raven curls and olive skin, 
sea-green eyes and crimson lips…

Anyone would notice her. (Surely everyone did!)

Tones of vanilla and tobacco teased the air wherever she wandered. Irresistible.
As if beauty wasn't enough, Karina commanded a lullaby voice
that could entrance the devil himself.
If Helen launched a thousand ships, Karina launched at least nine-thousand more.  

But one thousand ships or ten, it wouldn’t matter,
because Karina was all mine.

No man's kiss would graze her sweet neck
or taste her graceful thighs,

much less claim her beating heart.

The breath held captive in my chest and the pounding
in my veins were nearly as terrifying as

the flood at the sight of her,
staring right back at me.


Just the corner of her bloodstained
smile raised goosebumps down

my arms, my hips.

One night she spun my name between her lips,
meeting my eyes with a knowing smile.

Little beauty, she cooed
Little beast, I moaned.

We both knew then
there was no part of me she did not own.