This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Tea Leaves and Silver Rings
Match One: Martial Bliss, Bargain, and World Panic:
It’s been six months since Yao and I got married. When we got back from our honeymoon, life was quick to resume. Fei and Hen-to did a great job of keeping the clan from burning to the ground while we were out. I am really happy lately. There’s been no nightmares, anxiety, or strange visions to date. My clan is still financially stable and together. Junjie is in jail where he belongs. Szu is recovering and Qian won’t be charged with assault. (It’s great to hear her singing again and him being happy. Children shouldn’t have to go through what they did last year.) Everything is quiet so far. As for Yao and I, we have been acting all lovey-dovey around my house like a newlywed couple should.
I was in the kitchen attempting, yes attempting, to cook lunch for my sweetie and me on a hot summer afternoon. I had just started on frying little cut up pieces of chicken when a pair of strong arms seized my waist. I froze as those hands started caressing my hips.
“Hey, come on,” I said. “I have to get this done for lunch, Yao. Stop!” It didn’t help that I am giggling as he kisses me on my neck. He looked at my hands as I turned around a piece of chicken in the pan with chopsticks.
“What are you making?” he asked. His hands moved up to my chest. I tried in vain to push him off as he fondled my breasts.
“Sesame chicken in chili oil with vegetables,” I said. Yao spotted my phone near the stove.
“You’re using a recipe on the internet?” he asked.
“Yes. You know I suck at cooking, dear.”
“Yes, yes. Why couldn’t you let me do the cooking?” His hands moved back down to my hips. Not just in a normal way neither, he rubbed his hands in small, flirtatious circles. My lower lip trembled as I tried to keep my poker face.
“You cooked last night.”
“I should at least be able to learn how to cook from time to time.” I managed to get out of his grasp only for him to pull my back in.
“But a recipe?”
“I had to start somewhere.”
“Why not come to me? I can show you some of my best cooking secrets.” Yao’s hands slid underneath the bottom of my shirt.
“Really good ancient secrets.” His hands moved down to panties. My spine freezes as his thumbs massage the sides of my pussy as he nibbles on my neck. I threw back my head and moaned.
“Okay,” I spoke up. “Yao, what are you up now?” The pressure from his thumbs increased as he came across sensitive nerves.
“Why would you think that?”
“You are—ah! Rather over-affectionate, honey. What did you do?” My feet came off the ground and before I knew it, I was pushed back onto the couch in the living room.
“Yao, what about the chicken?” I asked. “I want to burn it!” He kissed me on the lips.
“It will be fine,” my husband insisted.
“But…” He silenced me with kiss. Yao rolled my shirt past my breasts before he sat up over me.
“Actually,” he admitted at last. “I have to tell you something.” I lifted my head with a confused look on my face.
“What?” I asked. He put his hands on his lap.
“Do you remember Junjie’s DNA test results I had to get in order to get his father to turn against him?”
“Well…” Yao lowered his eyes as he pressed his lips together. “I had a little help from Ivan.” I sat up as panic set in my eyes.
“What did you do, Yao?” I asked.
“I only pleaded with Ivan to help us,” he explained. “He agreed, of course. But I have to give him something in return.” I didn’t enjoy the calmness reflecting in his tone.
“Don’t tell me…”
My husband was quick to shake his head. “Oh, no, no, no. I didn’t give him any part of the clan. I told Ivan that anything involved with the clan is off-limits.”
“Then… what are you getting Ivan in return for the test results?” I noticed the darkening look in my husband’s eyes as he lowered his head. “Yao? Baby?”
“I gave him Jia Long and Lin Yi,” Yao admitted in a quiet voice.
“What?!” I asked with my jaw dropping.
“I had no choice.”
“So you gave your younger brother and sister over to Russia?”
“I did what I had to do for Szu!”
“But they are your family. Why would you do this to them?”
“It was either going to be me or them!” Yao clenched his fists in his lap. “Ivan has been obsessed with me for years. I never like making deals with him, but we were all getting desperate here. If I hadn’t…” Yao stopped himself before he could say anything else. “I had no choice but to turn to him, but I didn’t want to betray you by giving myself to him.”
I sat up, covering my breasts. “You could’ve picked a different option.”
“Like what?” he asked. “We had our backs against the wall. I made a choice to save this clan and have to pay the bill now!”
“But they are your siblings!”
“And I’m sorry that I had to, but if I hadn’t turned to Ivan when I did…” I lowered my shirt and shoved Yao aside.
“Ju?” he asked.
“I have to go and see if my chicken didn’t burn yet,” I said as I walked back to the kitchen. I didn’t even want to see his face for the rest of the day.
Ludwig and Feliciano stopped by Gilbert’s house on the same day. Ever since the German man and Italian man left the hospital, they had agreed to never speak of what Kiku had told them.
“He’s probably under stress,” Ludwig tried to reason with the younger man as they walked up to his brother’s house. “We’re not even sure that he even knew what he was talking about.”
“But it didn’t feel right,” Feliciano complained. “I don’t like seeing Kiku like this.”
“I don’t either,” the German man said. “Which is why we can’t tell anyone about this until we figure out what’s going on.”
“Right, I won’t say a word!” the Italian man said. Ludwig had his doubts as he knocked on the door. Gilbert opened up and poked his head outside.
“Hello, West, Feliciano,” he said. “So glad you decided to stop by and see how awesome I am.”
“Not really,” Ludwig said. Gilbert’s head dropped as the two men walked passed him. He sighed before closing the door behind them.
“How is he doing?” Gilbert asked as he handed the men beer from the fridge.
“Good,” Ludwig said. “Kiku’s a little stressed, but he’s doing better.” Gilbert sat down on the recliner next to the sofa.
“I don’t blame him,” he said. “I would be stressed if I had to live with that woman.”
“I don’t think that’s the case,” Ludwig said under his breath.
“Is he back home now?” Gilbert asked.
“Yes,” his brother said. He took a sip of his beer. “Though, Sena’s not been so bitchy lately.”
“Well that’s a surprise.”
“Yeah, especially since Kiku keeps talking about some bella in red. I don’t think Sena would-” Feliciano spoke up. Ludwig cut him off with a quick jab to the elbow.
“Ow!” the Italian man whimpered. Gilbert froze with the beer bottle in his hand.
“What did you say?” he asked in a trembling voice.
“When we went to see him,” Feliciano said. “Kiku kept going on and on about woman dressed in red and how she told him he would the centerpiece of something glorious.” Ludwig pressed his hand against his forehead. Gilbert rose to his feet and walked down the hall to his bedroom as if in a daze.
“Gilbert?” Feliciano asked he the Prussian man disappeared down the hall. Once he reached his room, Gilbert drew out his phone and dialed the first number that he could think of.
“Antonio,” he said. “We’re in deep shit. We’ve got a serious problem. She’s coming back.”
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MavisMcQueen: "To Live Again" is a well crafted, highly engaging, heart vibrating tale surrounding our favorite Elven King. The author will keep you engrossed until the very end and by that time you will feel so strongly for Clara and the other characters that you will never want it to end...like ever. Thrandu...
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sunshinebennybear: First, I would like to address the elephant in the room. The author forgets her own character's names. She mixed up Liam for Jace, Harri for Maiya, and Freya for Clary. I love The Mortal Instruments as much as the next fangirl, but I find myself unforgiving about this. Throughout the story there ...
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ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...
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