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The Square (Shape of Love #2)
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The Square is book two in The Shape of Love series collaboratively written by New York Times Bestselling author, JA Huss and actor/screenwriter, Johnathan McClain.
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CHAPTER ONE – ALEC
There is nothing in life that cannot be conquered.
Not even Death.
I should be dead right now. Indeed, I should have been dead a dozen times over. Death has come for me again, and again, and again along my journey. But I have conquered the art of denying her. Each time Death has approached and asked for my life, I have shown her that there is no life here for her to take. Because I understand something that others do not. I understand what she actually wants.
It ain’t me.
It ain’t him, or her, or them, or you.
Fear is the nourishing lifeblood that Death thrives on. She grows fat and full on the fear of those she visits. And that makes her seem powerful. But all one must do to drain her of her power is to starve her of her serving of fear. Then she withers, weakens, and is forced to look elsewhere for her supper.
Those who are intimidated by the idea of dying are simply unpracticed in the art of denying her their fear. They hand it over freely. When Death arrives and demands their soul, they believe they have no choice but to offer it up. Eish, man, most okes invite her in, let her sit at their table, and then feed her and feed her until her gullet is bursting and she has consumed them whole.
And I have discovered that the most effective way of avoiding this presumed inevitability is to see to it that there is no soul left for her to consume.
If you murder your soul before she can claim it; if you rip from deep within you that gnawing parasite that eats at your conscience and causes you to question what is right and what is wrong before Death arrives; then you become Death. And in so becoming, you can look her in the eye when she makes herself known and she will see that you have nothing left that she wants. You and she are the same. She will not be sated by sitting at your table, for you have already eaten all that was there. And Death will bow, and sigh, and look away and move along.
As I have said before: The only thing that can kill Alec van den Berg is Alec van den Berg. I am in control. Because Alec van den Berg… is death itself.
As I pull on the spill of yellow hair washing across the shoulder blades in front of me—twisting tightly and clenching hard like I’m holding the reins on a horse’s bridle—my mind drifts, for just a moment, to a time, many years ago, when we were all in the Cook Islands. That yellow dress that Christine wore every single day. I bought her new dresses, crates of them, but she just wore that same yellow dress over and over again. Day in and day out until its tawny brightness began to fade and wash away.
I asked her why she was so attached to it. She said, “Because it makes me feel like I’m wearing the sun. And no matter what happens, as long as I have it on, it’ll always be a sunny day.”
She was such a precocious girl. A poem come to life and she didn’t even know it.
The sound of, “Fuck me harder. Please, please, harder, Alec. Fuck me,” in a posh British accent pulls me away from my brief reminiscence. To be sure, it is its own type of poetry.
I clench Eliza’s hair tighter, force myself into her deeper, harder, as she asks. I smile at the request, because whenever she asks me to fuck her harder, I can detect the hint of her upbringing in her accent. She’s worked hard over her life to cultivate the sophisticated, monied sound of upper-crust British society, but when she’s tired, or drunk, or being fucked in the ass, the Essex girl creeps back in. Proper Purfleet spilling out from her pretty lips.
You can take the girl out of Essex, I suppose, but you can’t take Alec van den Berg from out of her Es-sex-y ass. Not right now, anyway.
My forearm tenses as my fist balls tighter in her jumbled mane of blonde. I look at the veins bulging and throbbing and I grit my teeth. “Harder? Like that?” I ask.
“Yes,” she moans.
I take my free hand and slide it around her hip, letting it find the throbbing bundle of nerves between her legs. With two fingers, I press on her and she squeals.
“You’re going to make me come.” She laughs.
“I certainly fokken hope so,” I gasp in response. “Otherwise, I’m doing something terribly wrong.”
She widens her stance, spreading her long, muscled legs as far astride as they will allow her, and in an echo of that movement, reaches her arms out as far as she can as well. She takes hold of the two posts at the footboard of the four-poster bed, and the force of our thrusting back forth causes the canopy to shake and the headboard to slam into the wall. Bits of plaster from the sixteenth-century stately manor cascade down onto the floor. I imagine someone will likely ask me to pay for that. When I rented this pozzy to lie low for a bit, the elderly oke who manages the estate went to great pains to emphasize the irreplaceability of the various knickknacks lying about. So I feel certain I’ll be asked to reimburse for the centuries-old wash basin we just managed to knock off the bedside table and send crashing to the floor.