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Mercuria, Rising


she had called him, she'd made Sid beg her to come over,
just because she could.
THREE
The first time she'd managed the transformation outside
the context of the game, beyond Sid's watchful gaze, had
been at church. The Friday before, she'd been half-asleep
behind the gas station counter when the bells over the door
jangled, and the most beautiful man she had ever seen
appeared before her as if stepping from a dream. He was
tall, firmly built, with wavy brown hair and piercing green
eyes that seemed to be observing her a little warily, as if
from an intentionally safe distance. In his tweed jacket and
open-collared shirt he'd looked like a young college
professor - not as young as herself, probably in his late
thirties, but young for his profession. English, she'd
guessed, maybe philosophy.
"Michael Damron," he'd introduced himself. "Father
Mike. Am I anywhere near All Souls Parish?"
The most beautiful man she had ever seen was a priest.
She'd looked again and noticed a streak of gray amidst the
brown waves. A distinguished gray, she'd decided,
adjusting his likely age to early forties, mid-forties tops.
But he was still beautiful; his apparent inaccessibility made
him seem even more so. She'd felt the power rising, straight
up from her groin.
"The church or the whole parish?" She'd hooked his eyes
with her own, sent a little spark across the connection.
"The church will do," he'd said, smiling, sending back a
charge that caressed her spine like dancing raindrops.
She'd had to look away to maintain control. A bead of
sweat snaked coldly down one leg, underneath her jeans.
When she'd looked up again, a matching line had appeared
on Father Mike's face, tracing a curving path around his
 
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