This story can only be found bundled with the Erotic Novella “Rekindling Desire”
Why on earth was she doing this?
Other women, when their husbands walked out on them, got drunk with their best friends or gorged on Swiss chocolate until they saw double. Dea Sullivant ran away from the US and fled to France.
It seemed a good idea at the time but, as she peered though the twilight and the driving rain, Dea began to realize why they offered cheap flights in March. Her decision to leave the auto route because of blinding rain had been a mistake. As the country road stretched through the night, the dark seemed filled with echoes of Rob muttering about her uselessness, her stupidity, her abysmal map-reading skills, and her general inadequacy.
“Fuck you, Rob Sullivant!” she yelled. “Your idea of a big trip is driving to Blackburgh for a ball game. I’m in Europe!” And lost. But what the hell. No one here knew she’d been declared obsolete, and replaced by a skinny speech therapist with acrylic fingernails.
No one cared. She wouldn’t either.
The road forked. Dea took the wider one into a deserted village square. A few chinks of light showed from shuttered windows, but the only other sign of life was a stray dog lurking by the darkened church. So much for her dream of a charming country inn with soft beds, quaint rooms and fabulous food.
As the windshield wipers dragged back and forth, the prospect of a soft bed grew from want to lust. Dea turned down a narrow lane between shuttered houses and a row of darkened shops. Surely, somewhere – yes! There was an inn, on the right, beyond the last cottage. Dea turned into the parking lot and almost crashed her rental car into an immense standing stone. After swerving around it, she parked and killed the engine. The rain had eased to a steady and miserable drizzle but the lights of the inn spread a welcoming warmth. On her way to the front door, Dea paused by the menhir. There was just enough light from the inn to see it was a rudely carved, female stone figure. She looked ancient and weather-worn, much the way Dea felt, but Dea had the advantage of not having to sit out in the rain. Hefting her bag on her shoulder, Dea glanced at the painted sign over the door and entered La Déesse Terre.
She stepped straight into a large room with a beamed ceiling and a wide stone fireplace with a crackling fire. Three men clustered round the warmth turned to stare. Across the room, a woman sorted knives and forks at a side table. She gave Dea a cautious nod.
Dea walked up to her. “I’m looking for a room for the night.”
“Of course.” The woman put down the pile of gleaming forks and gestured Dea to follow. She led her up the side oak stairs to a large room with an immense, carved bed. The air smelled of lavender and old dust but the sheets looked crisp and clean. There was no bathroom adjoining but Dea decided not to get picky. She had antique furniture, a stone fireplace and shutters painted with the moon and stars. The room overlooked the parking lot and the stone woman, which seemed larger than ever in the moonlight.
“What is that statue?” Dea asked.
The woman crossed herself. “La Déesse Terre. The Goddess Earth? No, Earth Goddess, the Earth Mother. Made sense, given the name of the inn. Dea reached to open the window.
The woman stopped her, and swept into a long torrent of French. Dea caught something about the evening and some sort of presence outside.
A sudden squall threw rain hard against the glass, slashing into the window panes and drumming on the roof overhead. Thank heavens she was out of the weather. All Dea wanted now was a hot shower and something to eat, preferably with a couple of glasses of good wine. The woman apologized, saying that the restaurant was closed but offered ham and cheese and the possibility of soup.
The bathroom was across the landing. Dea gathered up towels and soap and took herself off. The water was hot, the towels large, and the soap deliciously scented with herbs. She stood under the warm water and washed away the worries of the last few weeks. Relaxed by the warm spray, she lathered up her hands, spread the soft bubbles over her breasts and belly and turned full face to the shower jet. Her breasts tingled under the fine points of water. She shifted to let it flow over her belly and her pussy and turned to let the soap run off her back and flow down her thighs to pool at her feet. The vast towels smelled of sunshine and fresh air and Dea slathered her body with scented lotion. This might be the back of beyond but they understood comforts for travelers.
Pulling on jeans and a sweatshirt over her still-damp skin, Dea made a turban of one of the smaller towels and padded barefoot back to her room. From downstairs came the sound of singing – not exactly singing, more a melding of plainsong and humming. Male voices blended together in a strange, almost sensual cadence. The sound enticed and fascinated. Dea was halfway decided to descend and listen closer, when she realized she was barely dressed.
No way was she bopping into that bunch of yokels barefoot and wet-headed. Better get back to her room, dry her hair and wait for Madame to bring the promised sandwich.
Dea’s door was ajar and she’d darn well closed it. Squaring her shoulders, Dea pushed it open wide and stepped in. “Hello!”
“Madame.” The woman was on her knees, laying a fire in the grate. As Dea watched, she arranged the last couple of logs from a stack in the hearth and struck three or four matches, dropping each one in the bed of pine cones and crumpled paper. Satisfied the fire had caught, she stood up and launched into fast French.
Dea understood about a tenth of it.
She did catch her apologies, that they were honored to have her stop by, and her arrival had caught them by surprise. As she spoke, rain slashed against the panes. The woman looked over her shoulder at the open shutters and turned to cross the room and close them.
“No,” Dea said, “leave them open.”