Excerpt for Contractual Obligations: Part 2: Performance Review by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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“Contractual Obligations: Performance Review” is copyright Zoe Miller.

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Arsa laces her fingers around Marie’s neck, pulling the brunette bodily into her lap. She rolls her hips against the slight woman’s, exulting in the feeling of their collapse against each other and way their paired movement draws a creak out of the cheap futon beneath them. Their bodies mold into one another as if they were meant for it, with only the thin barrier of Marie’s panties separating flesh from flesh. Arsa’s fangs skim against Marie’s shoulder, olive skin tasting of dry sweat against her lips. The peaking arousal smells to Arsa’s preternatural nose like lemons, freshly cut. What do lemons taste like? Arsa thinks. Marie’s cautious sigh of need rebounds off the white walls of the tight room, her heartbeat already thundering against Arsa’s chest.

Arsa’s foot curls around Marie’s leg. She groans against the frustration building in her gut as her rutting shaft vainly seeks entrance. Her hand clambers for one of Marie’s breasts, sinking nails into fulsome flesh hard enough to tear a gasp out of her.

Wickedness seizes the Skint’s bones. Arsa’s hips spike and stab at that cotton-clad bottom, her tapered tail thumps anxiously against the back of the futon, unable to maneuver in the tight space, but hungry to share in the licentious movement of their bodies. “I’m going to ruin you,” she says, throaty with lust and power. Almost overflowing, Arsa sinks her fangs deep into Marie’s arched shoulder; Marie screams.

The intercom’s buzz shrieks through the small room, the fluorescent lights kick on to full brightness, and Grace voices her disapproval over the crackling ceiling speaker like a director after a bad cut. “No, no, no! Stop!”

Arsa’s passion flits away, replaced by the all-consuming embarrassment of her third failure of the morning. Her body suddenly heavy, she can only stare down at the speckling blood. A potent sting fills her guts, the blush rises in her cheeks. Fuck. Again with the biting?

“Holy crap.” Despite her wincing, Marie gives a congenial laugh. “You really got me that time.”

Marie’s good at putting on a strong show, but Arsa’s potent instincts can still sense her human companion’s elevated heartbeat, the adrenaline of her fear response, and every individual drop of sweat trembling atop her pores. “I’m real sorry, Marie.” Arsa drags her short, violet hair behind her ears and fingers idly at the fetter around her upper arm, a silver bangle in the shape of an ouroboros, the snake’s eye inset with an iolite gemstone that not only converts and stores the passion she’s meant to collect into usable energy, but also restrains Arsa’s more dangerous abilities—though, as Marie has painfully learned, it does nothing to stop her fangs. “Once I start getting really into it…”

“I know, kiddo.” Marie extracts herself from Arsa’s limp embrace, pressing fingers against the new marks on the curve of her shoulder, thoughtlessly swabbing the pinpricks of blood against her sweat-shined skin. “At least this time you got me somewhere I won’t have to explain to my mom at dinner.”

Grace’s voice fills the room. “Don’t fucking humor her, Marie. It’s been a goddamn week, it’s not cute anymore.”

Arsa folds her hands in her lap, partially from the disappointment of her failure, partially from the embarrassment of her cock, which takes always forever to settle, even after the passion of the moment flits away.

Marie aims a pointed glare at the ceiling speaker. “Can you take the lights back down so we can give it another go, Grace?”

“Forget it. I’ve got a meeting in half an hour,” Grace says. “Marie, go ahead and take lunch. Arsa, I want you in my office.”

The brunette mouths the word ‘bitch’ towards Arsa as she removes the terrycloth bathrobe from its hook on the wall. “You gonna be okay?” She asks.

“Yeah. It’s just a little… embarrassing.”

“Hey, don’t sweat it. These things take time.” Marie pulls her modest body into the sumptuous robe one lingering arm at a time, and Arsa can’t help but watch every subtle flux of Marie’s breasts until the cinching of the belt removes them from her view. Ever the professional, Marie doesn’t seem to mind Arsa’s hungry gaze, she doesn’t even make note of it. “You haven’t come out with the group yet,” she says. “It’s Friday, wanna grab drinks?”

Arsa perks up for an instant, tail rapt in attention, but slowly her posture slouches back against the futon. She indicates her stubby horns with an overanxious sigh. “Can’t. Grace says I don’t get a glamour until I figure all this…” She indicates her fetter, its purple eye gem slowly dimming, unfulfilled, as the manufactured passion fades from the room. “…out.”

“Well, offer’s on the table.” Marie gives Arsa’s slumped shoulders a conciliatory squeeze as she uses the Skint’s body for balance while she steps into her slippers. This genuine proximity significantly more intimate than their mock seduction sessions, Arsa finds herself swept up in her own heart rate, which only seems to be increasing even as Marie’s cools. “The Duck’s not exactly a three star place, but…”

The intercom buzzes on, ensuring the two of them hear the full measure of Grace’s impatient grunt. “I’m not going to say it again, Arsa.”

Arsa certainly doesn’t rush her trek down the hall to Grace’s office—thankfully empty, with everyone out to lunch. Rick, Grace’s secretary, quickly sits up straight behind his desk and adjusts his tie when he hears Arsa padding down the hall, only to slump with relief when the Skint rounds the corner. “Oh, hey Arsa.” Rick runs his fingers through his short, blond hair and tabs back to his game of solitaire. “Give her a sec, she’s on the phone.”

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