A Succubus for Freedom is already out as you might have seen. I don't have exact details on when the print version will appear - hoping to have more information on that soon. In the meantime here's another excerpt from one of the new stories, "Come on the Candle". (Sorry about the repetition for the people who've already picked up a copy - I'll make it up with a new Jackson in HRPG World mini-serial starting here after I'm done with the ASfF promotion season.)
* * * *
“She looks like a devil,” Vince said.
The candle looked like the kind of prop you’d expect to see in an old Hammer film about Satan worshippers.
“That’s because she is,” Annette said. “She is Arpella, spirit of lust and temptation. The ritual is a rite of cleansing. By spraying his seed onto the candle, a man is—in essence—telling her: ‘Take this. It has no hold on me.’ It’s a way of demonstrating he has transcended the pleasures and desires of the flesh.”
“Arpella?” Vince queried. “Not Lilith?”
The sculpture looked like a Lilith, or one of those succubus demons from a computer fantasy role-playing game.
Annette laughed. “That’s a Christian invention,” she said. “They took their stories from the Romans and modified them, just as the Romans took theirs from the Greeks, and the Greeks took theirs from sources long forgotten in the dust of history.”
Vince looked at the candle. “This ritual. All I have to do is light the candle and masturbate over it?”
As genuine as Annette sounded, he couldn’t quite shake the fear the attractive shopkeeper was having a joke at his expense.
“That’s right,” she said.
“Sorry. I’m picturing this in my head and it looks . . . well . . . a little ridiculous to be honest.”
“Smell the wax,” Annette said.
Vince put the sculpture to his nose and took a cautious sniff. Oh. That smelt kind of nice. Exotic. Like perfume or incense, but with a hint of something else. His previous mental image of him jerking away in front of the candle was swished off screen and replaced by a picture of a dusky desert maiden belly-dancing in a cloud of scented smoke.
“That’s the real magic,” Annette explained. “The wax is impregnated with a special blend of aromatic compounds and essential oils. As the wax melts they’re released into the air and inhaled by the user.”
“Oh. It’s a kind of aromatherapy,” Vince said, understanding.
“Yes,” Annette said. “The smoke will help you relax and achieve the perfect state of mind for flushing all the tensions from your body.”
That was good to hear. Vince was a little apprehensive about the ‘flushing’ part.
“Actually,” Annette lowered her voice, “one of those compounds is quite a potent aphrodisiac. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the force and strength of your release.”
The shop owner might have the voice of a prim and proper schoolmarm, but right there and then she gave him a look as filthy as any of the nymphs from the naughty films Carolyn had forbade Vince from seeing.
* * * *
It's Annette Brite up to more mischief. This one is best described as like "Bubble Bath", but with smoke. I haven't forgotten about that foam succubus minion either. I'll be catching up with her in the next collection.
And yeah, I know, Vince is a bit of a strawman. . .