Four astrology-based erotic romance novellas
Where Eagles Dare
Gambling On George
“I smell sex.” The silver-haired, sixty-something woman in khaki coveralls dumped the load of firewood from her arms into the country kitchen’s wood bin and pulled off her wool sock hat.
“You always smell sex, Anna—it’s one of the things that attracted me to you.” Linda Eagle gave her companion of forty years an affectionate smile. “Have some breakfast and sit with me.”
Anna stripped her insulated clothing down to the tee-shirt and jeans beneath, dropped a kiss on Linda’s upturned face, and pulled out one of the Windsor chairs at the oak dining room table. “Yes, but now your kitschy bitch qualities are rubbing off on me. My nose wasn’t concerned with a concentrated area. This time, I smell it all over the camp.”
Earth, Wind, and Fire On The Water had been their collective passion for two decades, an holistic medicine retreat set on the banks of the Illinois River in eastern Oklahoma amidst the Cherokee Hills, surrounded by various float-trip businesses, ensconced by wild deer, a variety of small woodland creatures, and the last free-flowing river in the United States. Anna was in her element no matter what the season, able to tend to the physical labor involved in running their business while Linda dealt with the people who worked there and their clients. Both of them, plus Linda’s nephew, Ethan, ran the small convenience store and bait shop across the road from their home.
Linda consulted the various astrology charts she’d drawn, selecting four of them and staring down the length of her nose through her bifocals to study their pages intently. “Looks like my niece is destined for that meeting with her Capricorn today.”
Anna grabbed a mug and poured a cup of blackberry tea from the ceramic pot Linda had covered with a hand-made tea cozy. “Lucinda believes in you, Babe. She just doesn’t think the stars are meant for her.”
“The stars are meant for everyone if they but pay attention. Even our new secretary, although she isn’t a believer, and Goddess help us—my irrepressible nephew.” Linda chuckled. “He’s ripe for adventure, but the girl?” Linda shook her head. “She’ll fight it, and he’ll have his work cut out for him.”
“Ethan’s gonna fall in love?” Anna whistled. “I adore your nephew, but Goddess help us is right. Anyone else?”
“Someone new—they’ll arrive within the week. Better make sure #13 has extra blankets and coffee … the hazelnut with chocolate stirring spoons, I think.”
The silver-haired woman’s eyebrows lifted. “My, my. City slickers.”
“Yep. He’ll be fine, but she’s a bit high maintenance, needs her comfort foods and warmth.”
“Why are they coming to the river in the middle of winter?” Anna blew on the steaming liquid in her cup to cool it then reached for the homemade bread and jar of strawberry jam.
Linda tapped the chart in question. “She’s a darling little Pisces with a Moon in Libra—whoo-boy. That’ll set the stage. Says here that she’s manipulating the situation, thinks this will bring them closer together.” Linda reached across the table and pulled the most recent reservations. “They’ve both requested the detoxification and stress relief package.”
“So why the extra blankets and coffee? Why not just give them an electric blanket?” Anna leaned forward to look at the glyphs on the chart where her lover pointed.
“Because there’s a third party involved, and that particular bed is not large enough for all three of them.” Linda grinned mischievously, this time staring over the top of her glasses. “Better order some lemon and orange pekoe tea for their third party, while you’re at it.”
“Ha!” Anna sipped her tea, stretching out her long legs. “Anyone else I should know about?”
“These two.” Linda showed her another new registration. “I’m just now doing their charts, and so far … whoo-ee.” She fanned herself. “A Bull and a Lion. These two will set their sheets on fire if they ever come together.”
“Uh-oh. No electric blanket for them.” Anna shook her head. “What supplies do they need?”
“Just make sure their hot tub works.”
“Will do.” Anna sighed. “God, I love winter on the river, especially since we put in the greenhouse—gives me a jump start on the spring vegetable garden.”
“Well, do what you can now, because I doubt Ethan will be here to help you with the planting this spring.” Linda frowned.
Anna was immediately concerned. “Why won’t Ethan be here?”
“I’m not sure.” Linda chewed her bottom lip thoughtfully. “At first I thought perhaps he’d be on his honeymoon, but this … no. Even though he and his new love will have the potential for happiness, I’m not so sure things will work out. I just see him leaving.”
“How about Lucinda?”
“I think Lucy will stay, but even that is iffy at this point. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.” Linda closed the registration folder. “No matter what happens, even with snow and ice on the ground, looks like winter on the river will be a sizzler.”
Bob MacIntyre hadn’t expected the enema. Now if the brunette bombshell he’d encountered when he’d checked into the place had been the one offering … maybe. One look into her deep, azure eyes, and he’d nearly drowned in an emotional abyss, as she pierced his soul with just one gaze that seemed to undress him, fondle him, suck him, and light the afterglow cigarette.
His father, who was also his boss, had told him that he was sending Mac on a relaxing, cleansing, spiritual R and R at one of Northeastern Oklahoma’s most restful, healthful resorts, Earth, Wind, and Fire On The Water. The Illinois River, to be precise, which was pretty much frozen this time of year. And while the name of the place was reminiscent of an eighties rock band, nothing had been mentioned about what type of cleansing, so when the attractive Native American nurse at the clinic told him to drop his pants and climb onto the metal table, Mac flatly refused.
“Nobody probes my ass!” Mac was outraged. How dare the old man schedule him for such a thing without telling him? What was he—six, instead of thirty-six?
“You read the brochure, right?” Nurse Catherine Chalakee thumped the nozzle into one of her latex-gloved palms.
Mac sighed. The woman seemed impatient with him, although he didn’t comprehend why. It was his ass, and he and the snippy but likeable nurse had only argued over the matter five minutes. “I didn’t have time to read anything—I just hopped in the damn car, and here I am.”
“Sir, colonic hydrotherapy kills parasites that live in the colon. You’ll feel much better once you start treatments.”
“You’re shitting me, right?”
“I believe that’s my line, sir.” She looked at him coolly.
“Treatments? As in several?” Mac knew his jaw was still slack from shock.
“Once every other day, depending.”
Mac reached for his black leather jacket and shook his head. “No. I’ll call my father and get this straightened out. I don’t mind the herbal wraps, the saunas, the special diet, but I draw the line at somebody sticking something where the sun doesn’t shine.”
“Wait here for a minute. I need to phone the office.” The nurse reached into her pocket for her cell phone.
“You do that.” Shooting the nurse a dark glare, Mac slumped into a papasan chair outside the octagon-shaped room in which he’d nearly been ravished by a machine. What he wanted, if she’d been so kind as to ask, was to find the brunette he’d seen in the reception area when he’d checked in. He’d gone rock hard at first sight of her. He hoped she was another guest at the retreat, although why anyone with any sense would willingly isolate themselves in the middle of an Oklahoma January like this was beyond his comprehension.
“Luce? That Cappy we checked in late last night? He’s refusing his treatment. What do you want me to do?”
Mac sat upright. “Cappy? What does that mean?”
The nurse shushed him with a wave of an index finger. “O-o-okay. I’ll tell him.” She clicked a button on the phone, shoved it back into her lab coat pocket, and addressed him. “She said for you to wait here—she’ll only be a few minutes.”
Mac nodded. “What did you mean by ‘cappy’?”
“You’re a Capricorn,” the nurse told him. “That physical you took at your own family physician’s before you came here? We filed his report, and the director of the camp made a chart on you … an astrological chart … based on your doctor’s findings and the time of your birth. That’s how we determined the course of action for your treatments—a mix of modern medicine plus astrology.”
Mac smirked. Great. So his father was into the signs, as his paternal Native American grandmother used to call them. “This person from the office you’re sending over, is she a Cappy as well?”
This time it was the nurse who smirked, as well as snorted. “Lucinda? Don’t you wish! No, my fine, earthy patient, the director of our on-site medical team is a Scorpio, a female doctor with an M.D., a PhD, a DFWM, and a specialty license for this sort of thing.”
She wrinkled her nose and squinted her eyes. “Prepare to have that crusty nature of yours softened a bit!”
With that she left him sitting alone in the Medical Cabin, twiddling his thumbs and wondering just what in hell his parent had done to him. Business was great at MacIntyre Pipe Fitting, where he assisted his father by taking over the sales department. Sure, he’d had headaches, fatigue, and even irritable bowel syndrome, but did that warrant a week of flushing him out when he could be fishing or canoeing?
He perused the coffee table brochures and magazines while he was waiting, looking for something that would clue him as to what he’d just refused. There it was … holistic medicine, performed by licensed doctors and nurses, everything from acupuncture to herbal teas to colonic irrigation.
Mac groaned. His father should have told him, or at least have joked with him that he was full of shit. Anything but to have him show up thinking he was simply going to catch some Z’s, go fishing, do a bit of canoeing, and relax. Of course, Mac would have refused, but he still should have been given advance notice before that nurse came at him with her metal wand like she was the Good Witch Glenda and his ass the biggest pimple on the rear end of Oz.
His attention was immediately directed to the brochure on the staff. The woman he’d admired from a distance when he first arrived was a doctor. He’d tried flirting with her when he’d checked in back at the Victorian two-story up on the hill. She’d been wearing a cherry red sweater with a V-neck that showcased her figure, and a pair of tight black jeans. Dear Lord, she was a doctor, and the Scorpio in question.
A light rap on the door alerted him that Dr. Lucinda had arrived. He turned, preparing to launch into his “I-really-shouldn’t-be-here” spiel and crank up the MacIntyre charm, when the most incredible, deep blue eyes he’d ever seen rooted him once again. She was even lovelier up close than she’d been at a distance.
She shrugged out of her floor-length duster, which looked as if it had at one time been an Indian blanket tossed over a bed. Then she swung long, dark hair over one shoulder, gave him an appraising glance, and buried herself in the folder she’d carried in with her. “Says here you’ve been suffering discomfort, constipation, irritable…”
“Yeah, yeah.” He abruptly cut off her speech.
“I’m a physician.” Her blue eyes leveled him once again. “Do you have a problem admitting and discussing your medical problems with a woman?”
“Are you my doctor?” He stepped closer to see what she was reading.
“It’s your personal profile, if you must know.” She turned the open folder where he could see the two pages she’d been observing. “This one is your natal chart, and the other is your physician’s report.”
“Are you my doctor?” he repeated, edging even closer, thinking that this was precisely the type of distraction he needed during the coming week. There was a fire in her eyes that sizzled, scorching parts of him he’d forgotten he had.
The tall, willowy brunette cocked her head, almost as if she was defying him. “No. I’m just the one on call today. Dr. Chartier is your physician—she’ll be here tomorrow.”
Mac chewed his bottom lip thoughtfully, his cock springing to life. “Is she as pretty as you?”
“She thinks she’s prettier.” Lucinda snapped the folder shut. “So does her husband of forty-five years.”
“I see. What’s a DFWM?” He hated to admit he didn’t know, but the nurse had said Lucinda had one, so he had to find out.
Lucinda frowned. “Where did you hear that term?”
“The nurse … she said…”
Lucinda’s face pinked, and her eyes misted with what he was sure were tears of laughter. “It means Don’t Fuck With Me. I’m sure Catherine was referring to my attitude. I apologize for that, Mr. MacIntyre—she shouldn’t have been so flip with you.”
He was mesmerized by her eyes, as he tried figuring out if she was making fun of him or truly apologizing for a member of the staff’s rudeness.
“I gave her a bad time over the … you know…” He waved his hands toward the table in the oddly shaped room.
Lucinda nodded, the corners of her lips lifting in a slow, seductive smile. “That would have done it. She’s a true Sagittarian and a Creek Indian to boot. Both camps pretty much speak their minds.”
“Oh.” Mac was nonplussed and had no idea what she meant, but her eyes and lips intrigued him no end. He wanted to know more about her.
Okay, so he’d done some nutty things to make time with a woman, but this was a first. He couldn’t believe he was even contemplating letting her talk him into this, but if that’s what it would take to bring him closer to her, he’d do it, physical discomfort and psychological aversion be damned.
Lucinda Eagle folded her arms, papers still in her hands. “I can reassign you to someone else for today, if you like.”
He waved his hands. “No. That’s not it.”
“So what is your problem that you can’t discuss your medical condition with me? If I was a psychiatrist or psychologist, we’d be discussing your mental health, but that isn’t my field of expertise.” She reached into her lab coat and pulled out a pair of delicate framed eyewear and put them into place. “Joe Sequichie is your counselor—he’s a trained psychologist, and he’s scheduled you for tomorrow morning.”
“I have a shrink?” Mac blinked in surprise. His father thought he had mental problems?
“Mr. MacIntyre. Nobody thinks you’re crazy. Your treatment simply includes once a day meetings with a psychologist, and yours is also a Medicine Man, whose techniques have been proven quite effective, if you’ll but give him a chance to work with you.”
Mac looked longingly at her lips. “Maybe I just need to think about it some more, so why don’t you convince me? If you’re not my doctor, then that means we can have dinner tonight. Right?”
“Doubtful.” The brunette smiled engagingly. “It means I can still put you through your paces here, but I’m afraid that after-hours fraternization with clients goes against house rules.” She put a hand to her chest and cleared her throat.
Mac shifted his weight from one foot to the other, feeling like a schoolboy with a crush on his teacher, only his teacher was about the same age as he was. “I’m trying to understand how things work here, but this wasn’t my idea.”
“I know. Your father insisted you come, which brings us back to your case. You’ve been having a lot of anxiety, discomfort, general unease, for some time, according to what’s in this report. We’re here to help you, but you have to cooperate before we can do you any good. The medical treatment you’re protesting was suggested by your own doctor.”
Mac eyed her suspiciously. “So I’ve been told, but you want to shove foreign objects where they don’t belong, lady. I hardly see how my cooperating by bending over is going to get us anywhere. That’s not how it works in the outside world, anyway.”
“Isn’t it?” She didn’t seem phased by his bluntness. “The outside influences are what brought you here. So, if you wish to receive the full benefits of our services, Mr. MacIntyre, I suggest you drop your pants and let your nurse give you your first colonic cleansing.”
Lucinda let her gaze sweep his entire frame. “Once you’re done, Catherine will call me, and I’ll take you to your next treatment. It involves a hot tub, herbal tea, and an all-over body massage.”
“And if I don’t?”
“Then you can sit in your cabin, call your father and explain to him why his money isn’t being used wisely today, then pack your bags and go back to the lifestyle that landed you here in the first place.” She gave him a stern but steady stare that rocked him to his foundation.
Mac thought back to what his nurse had said, that Lucinda was a Scorpio. Had he just experienced a sting of the Scorpion’s tail? “Explain to me why this is necessary.”
“Didn’t you read the brochure?” she asked.
He repeated what he’d told the nurse, adding, “I agree that I’ve felt bad, that I’m stressed, that I need some time off from work. I just fail to see why this particular procedure is necessary.”
“Why?” Her speech was blunt. “Do you have an aversion to or a phobia about your anus?”
“Pardon me?” He jumped inwardly, surprised that she’d nailed the very word he’d thought earlier. Aversion. What was she, psychic?
“Some people are embarrassed by their bodies.” Her blue gaze grazed him once again. “You look to be in good health, no obvious physical defects, so this must be a psychological problem, and as I said, that is not my calling. I’m here to see to it that your physical needs are met.”
He couldn’t help but grin, at which time the lady doctor blushed before she recovered and her full lips became a grim line.
Mac sputtered. “I’m not going to defend my refusal to have this done. All I’m asking is why it’s necessary.”
“Because you could have parasites or bacteria growing that are causing the physical discomfort you’ve been feeling. These could lead to colon polyps, even cancer, if not treated, and men seem to have an affinity for this particular dis-ease.”
He noted her twist on the word disease. “I see.”
“We won’t know anything until we run more lab tests on you and irrigate your system.” She folded her arms, her gaze still mesmerizing him. “The entire procedure lasts about forty to forty-five minutes. I give you my word that we’re gentle and that you’ll feel one-hundred percent better once it’s over.”
“Why didn’t my primary care physician tell me these things?”
Lucinda gave him another of her direct stares. “Cheer up, maybe in time he’ll refer you to someone else if you remain reluctant to accept our help when it’s needed.”
“You mean a specialist?”
“No, Mr. MacIntyre, I was referring to a mortician.”
He nodded slowly, beginning to understand a few things. For one, his physician back in Tulsa had truly recommended this. For another, he wasn’t going to score any points with the bombshell before him if he acted like a wimp and refused treatment. Last, and certainly not least, he did want to feel better, so if this was the doorway to releasing some of the tension that had built over the past few months, so be it. He was stubborn, not stupid.
“You won’t be sorry,” she said, taking his nod as an assent to go forward. “I’ll get Catherine back, and you’ll be out in plenty of time for your herbs and massage.” She winked. “Those, I will be giving you.”
* * * *
Lucinda leaned against the door to the clinic once she’d closed it behind her, leaving Mac to undress and slide beneath his paper gown on the table. She pulled her coat firmly about her ears, shielding her face from the winds. Dear God, don’t let him be the one Aunt Linda was talking about! The murky depths of those dark eyes of his were enough to entice her on their own merit, but then there were other things like that strong column of masculine neck where his pulse beat gently in the hollow of his throat, and that shy grin that made her stomach do somersaults.
She reached into her lab coat for her ringing cell phone, not at all surprised to see her psychic aunt’s name appear in the identification bar. “You could have warned me.”
Linda giggled. “So you’ve met him.”
“I’ve met him. Aunt Linda, he’s a patient!”
“Not your patient, my dear. You’re supposed to be on vacation starting tomorrow, so technically, you won’t be breaking any form of conduct code. You’ll simply be a guest at the resort.”
Lucinda pushed away from the door and headed for her red Jeep Liberty. “That’s walking a mighty fine line. Think the AMA would go for it? Besides, how can I be a guest? I live here!”
She’d lived at the resort for three years, ever since graduating medical school and agreeing to work on staff at her paternal aunt’s establishment. The pay was good, the hours were casual, and she had all the water sports and free time for writing she’d ever wanted. The perfect job in the perfect location, smack in the middle of the Cherokee Hills, also the perfect place for what her aunt called the family hermit, to reside.
“Nevertheless, as of six o’clock tonight, you’ll be off duty, so by the time you give our newest guest his massage, you’ll simply be a patron.”
“Then why do I have to give him his massage?”
“Because Sherry is stranded in Tahlequah, what with the ice that’s forming on the streets. We can’t expect her to make it back here in time for one massage when she can come tomorrow once it starts snowing and she can get better traction on the roads.”
Lucinda sighed. “I suppose.”
“You can’t hide from life forever,” Linda had cautioned her only recently.
“But I love it here!” Lucinda had been sincere. She couldn’t imagine leaving the resort to live or work anywhere else.
“You’re lonely, child.” Linda’s voice had been sad but comforting. “Ever since your parents split up, you’ve become such a recluse, with just your writing and your patients. Your parents are adults, as are you, and you all have your own paths to walk. You need love.” Then she’d winked. “Be patient—it’s on its way.”
Then her eccentric aunt had drawn up a new chart on her and ticked off the days fastidiously, waiting for Lucinda’s soul mate to appear. Luce had scoffed.
Patient? She could wait until hell froze over. She had no time for romance, much less love. Love like that drained people, it ripped them up and left nothing but tattered dreams and shattered egos, according to her parents, who were both living in Oklahoma City and still, by last account, not speaking to one another.
“I do apologize for him being a Capricorn, although this sextile between his sun and yours is quite interesting, not to mention the position of his Saturn in your third house.” Linda had frowned when she’d pored over Lucinda’s chart. “Don’t shoot the messenger, though; the stars only impel and give us maps, they don’t compel others to cooperate.”
Lucinda had wanted to ask how she and the mysterious Capricorn would get along, whether the sex would be great, should she deign to give in to this nonsense. She wondered if he had character, values, and a sense of humor, but she’d thought better of it and pretended nonchalance.
Now she wished she’d asked more questions instead of silently scoffing at her favorite aunt’s proclivity for using astrological data in order to ascertain relationship predictions.
“Give me ten minutes, and I’ll be back up at The House.” Everyone on the complex referred to Linda and Anna’s residence that doubled as reception quarters as The House.
Her father’s sister had met Anna back in the late sixties, when they were both in their twenties, and the two women had bonded, despite the mores of the times that frowned on same sex relationships.
Anna was the muscle and Linda the mind behind Earth, Wind, and Fire … and the two of them had quite literally cleared the land, set up cabins, and turned what might have been another fishing camp or float trip rental into the small but thriving business it was today.
Lucinda glanced behind her at the door separating her from the Capricorn Linda had predicted would enter their lives. Surely, this city dude in black leather wasn’t the man Linda had said would enrapture her mind and thrill her body. This guy was too uptight.
She smiled to herself. Although he did have a great pair of buns and a nice set of abs.
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