To celebrate Forbidden February, we are doing so many giveaways it’s crazy! We’ve also discounted our short story subscription, A Gathering of Tales, by 25%! With this membership, you get exclusive access to our short stories delivered straight to your email. Membership starts at less than a buck a month, with first look at our work, exclusive giveaways and more. Throughout the month, we’ll be posting some of those stories here, to whet your appetite and give you a taste of what you’ll find. We’re also doing a giveaway. Comment below with your favorite story and you’ll be automatically entered for our weekly $5 Amazon GC giveaway! 

We often do prompts to get the creative juices flowing, and it’s fun to see how different (or similar) our stories end up being. We want to see if YOU can tell which of us wrote which story. So, after picking your favorite, try to guess who wrote what. Dmytry or Kimberly?

Last week we gave you Mirrors & Monsters. And the random winner of a $5 Amazon GC for that week is: Nicole Richardson! Please email us at Books@KarpovKinrade.com and we’ll send you your gift card.

Now, are you all dying to know which one of us wrote which story? Kimberly wrote story A and Dmytry wrote story B!

Story A won last week. Which story will you pick this week?  

Let the games begin! (And don’t forget to share with your friends and sign up, if you haven’t yet!)

This week’s prompt is Diamonds & Dragons! Enjoy!

Diamonds & Dragons: Story A

shutterstock_85803340Jared delved deeper into the cave. Sharp black stones encircled him and his friends, the air thick this deep below. He had joined the expedition months ago, hoping to make enough gold to buy Rosy a proper wedding ring. Working at the mill had paid less than coppers, and besides, Jared was meant for greater things than being a miller boy. Jared was meant for a big house and servants and farms of his own. He’d even build his own mill from the gold he made today, and he’d make sure to pay his workers proper wages.

If he made it back alive.

“Not much further,” said Dame, the leader of their party. Dame didn’t look much like a dame. He had a square jaw, big shoulders, the kind you have to be born with, the kind no matter of work can make. The only dame like thing about him, Jared supposed, was his jewelry. Long golden necklaces swung from his neck, and earrings the size of stones hung past his chin. All that gold had convinced Jared that Dame had been no trickster in the first place. “Look at the riches I have wrought,” Dame had said over three months ago, the whole town gathered around him in daylight. “Follow me, and I will take you to the cave of jewels and diamonds, the cave of riches and wonders.”

“If you know the way,” Jared had asked, “what do you need us for?”

“If I spent my whole life hauling diamonds from the Silver Cave, I’d die with but a fraction of the wealth that lies there.” The Dame smiled. “I’d die bloody rich. Do you want to die rich?”

The town cheered, and the expedition was formed.

Jared wiped sweat from his brow, the heat crushing his ribs. He’d rest if he could, but he couldn’t appear weak. Jared Barlow was no weak miller boy. “Where are these diamonds you spoke of?”

“Just ahead,” said Dame softly.

Jared tasted dirt on his tongue, and sweat, and the dry air. He spit it out. “I see nothing but stone and dust and—” He stepped on a sharp pebble and yelped, grabbing his foot. “We’ve walked for miles down this accursed cave. If I don’t see a diamond the size of your silly earrings, I’ll tear them from your head.”

“We’re here,” said the Dame as he turned a corner.

Jared followed and hit a wall of diamond.

They’d reached a dead end, a mirror of precious stone that rose high above them. Jared swung the pickaxe off his back and slammed it into the jewels. “Take what you can carry, boys” he said to the other men from his village, and they bit into the stone as well. Jared broke a chunk of diamond free, a chunk the size of a baby, and he cradled it in his arms, licking his lips over and over. He no longer tasted dirt or sweat or dry air, but the sweet taste of wealth and riches.

He shoved the giant diamond in his pack and swung at the wall again with is pickaxe.

And the whole wall shook.

And it roared.

“By all that is true,” cursed Jared, stumbling away from the wall, “what is this?”

Dame ignored him, turning to the wall of light and stone, and falling to one knee. “My lord Maphilon,” he said. “I have brought you an offering of flesh and bone. Take my gift my lord, and grant me once again your favor.”

The wall grumbled and moved. It turned and drew back, revealing scales of diamond, skin of blue. Claws dug into the earth, shaking it. Nostrils flared in to the air, heating it. The dragon drew back its long neck and smiled.

The last thoughts Jared had were of Rosy, her kiss upon his cheek, and the ring he would have bought her.

Once Maphilon finished his meal, and the expedition was no more, he returned to his slumber. “You did well,” he told Dame as he became a stone of diamond once more, and Dame began to glow, blue running through his veins.

Wings sprouted from his back, and his eyes glowed silver. He’d been granted the power of dragons once again. Now he would feast on the dread of man.

A year from now, he would return to the village. “They all live like kings now,” he’d tell the people regarding the expedition. “Follow me, and I will make you kings as well. Don’t you want to die rich?”

 

Diamonds & Dragons: Story B

 

shutterstock_132070670Waves of heat rippled over the desert like living things, caressing the brown sand in a honey glow. We’d been hiking for so many hours my feet were blistered as much as my sunburned face.

She turned to me, smiling. “It’s not too long now. I can feel it.”

“Cara, you said that four hours ago. What exactly is your definition of ‘not too long’? Because I fear we might have different ideas of what that actually means.” I tried to keep my words playful, but I could tell by her expression that some whine had slipped in. Nothing is less sexy than a man who whines, she’d told me time and again.

She wiggled her heart shaped bottom, wrapped tight in khaki shorts so short I could slip a finger into her if she’d let me. But that wasn’t happening until we were married, and we couldn’t get married until we were engaged, and we couldn’t get engaged until I had the perfect ring made, and I couldn’t have the perfect ring made until we found the perfect diamond.

And so we were on a hunt for the perfect diamond.

In the middle of the Mexican desert.

“I have never heard of diamond mines out here. I’m starting to doubt your source.”

She flicked a red curl from her neck and tied it back into her bun. “My source is never wrong. Trust me.”

I resisted the urge to lick the trickle of sweat tracing a line down her collarbone. “I trust you. I’m just less trusting of the shady Johnny Depp wannabe who sold you a treasure map that allegedly leads to ‘the most beautiful fire diamond the world has ever seen.'” It said so right there on the map, so of course it must be true.

Her green eyes slanted in frustration and she cocked her hip. “Do you want to go back? Because we can go back right now. But I’m not getting married without this diamond.” She shrugged and waited. “It’s up to you. How important am I to you?”

God, if she wasn’t every single fucking thing I’d ever wanted in a woman, I’d have walked away right then. But she was the one. The perfect one that I had to spend my life with. I would suffocate without her. So I took a step forward. “Lead the way. Let’s find this lost treasure.”

She squealed and hugged me, her large breasts pressing against my chest as my arms wrapped around her slim waist and rested at the curve of her ass.

With a naughty gleam in her eye, she stepped back and lifted her tank top off to reveal two rose colored nipples, hard enough to cut glass. I stared in disbelief as my cock pushed against my jeans. “I thought this wasn’t allowed until, you know, man and wife stuff.”

She took my hand and placed it on her breast. “You deserve a little reward for putting up with this insanity. I love you, Kyle. I hope you know that.”

My thumb rubbed against her nipple as she slipped her hand down my pants and stroked my cock. “You like that? Yeah?”

I nodded.

“It’s going to be a thousand times better than that when this is done. I promise.”

She pulled her hand out, pulled down her tank top and walked away, leaving me, well, high and dry, as they say.

I groaned in frustration and followed her mile upon mile, the heat eating away at me while she seemed to stay fresh as a rose, until at last she stopped and dropped her backpack. “This is it.”

This? All I saw was the entrance to a cave that was blocked off by signs warning in multiple languages not to enter. Danger! Danger!

So of course, that’s where she headed, climbing over the gate and disregarding all the warnings.

“Um, honey, I think we’re not supposed to go down there.” I read one of the signs. “It says here the temperatures in this cave are so high people die. You can’t survive down there.”

She reached for my sweaty hand, hers cool to the touch. “Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.”

Compelled by the insanity of love, or lust, or some other primal urge, I followed her into the bowels of hell.

For awhile, I just felt like I was going to pass out from the heat. Nothing major, just some difficultly breathing as we went deeper.

Then it felt as if my internal organs were melting. Still, a lot of those I could probably live without.

Then it felt like I was in the Raider’s of the Lost Arc where their faces melt off. That was me.

I fell to my knees, sweat pouring off of me. “I can’t, Cara. I can’t.”

She handed me her canteen, and I drank deeply, the water in hers somehow ice cold. I poured some over my head and nearly died from the pleasure of it.

“It’s just in this room. The Cave of Swords, they call it.”

She turned left and all at once prisms of crystals jutted from the walls and ceiling and floor until it became hard to walk. The light from her flashlight bounced through the crystals, casting rainbows everywhere. She spun around in the center of the cavern. “Can’t you feel it? It’s here. Right here!”

She closed her eyes and chanted something in a strange language, but the heat was suffocating me and I couldn’t listen or bring myself to care what she was doing. I sank to the ground, sipping at the cold water until the cavern lit up with red light like fire as smoke swirled around her.

My eyes stung from it, tears falling as I struggled to see what was happening. When the smoke cleared, she stood there holding a diamond that danced with fire. It was the size of a Robin’s egg and I had no idea how she intended to wear it on her finger, but I was just glad we’d found it and could go home.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I marveled that the map had been correct. We’d found buried treasure like fucking pirates.

She sauntered over to me, her hips moving in that way that made me crazy. I blinked away the sweat and tears and when I opened my eyes again she stood there naked.

Beautiful, perfect, every curve and begging to be touched. She straddled me, unzipping my jeans and pulling out my already hard cock.

“We marry now,” she said, an urgency in her eyes I’d never seen.

“Now? How? We don’t have a minister or a license.” It was a weak protest because honestly, she was naked and I was hard and whatever it took to get my cock in her, I’d do at this point. Even a fake wedding in the pits of hell.

“We marry with blood and sweat and tears. We marry with the Bones of Dragons as witness.” She took the fire diamond and sliced into her hand, then into mine.

“Ouch, fuck. What are you doing?”

“Binding us. Blood for blood.” She pushed our hands together like we were eight-year-old girls becoming blood sisters or some shit.

But then she sat on my cock and all my misgivings disappeared. She rode me hard and fast, her tits falling into my mouth as I sucked, squeezed and thrust myself into her as deeply as I could.

When I came, I screamed in primal ecstasy, confident that no one had ever experienced that level of pleasure before.

And as she lay in my arms, I realized I was no longer hot. My skin was as cool as hers and I could breathe normally again.

She raised herself on her elbow, twirling a strand of my dark hair in her hand. “I really did love you, you know. It had to be real for this to work. I’m sorry.”

A tear slid down her face as she stood, holding the diamond in her hand. She chanted again in that same language, then smashed the diamond into my skull.

Where once there was pleasure, now only pain lived. I screamed again, this time in agony as she continued to bash my brains in all the while chanting in her made up language of freakiness.

My eyes closed, bathed in blood, and then I stood behind her, no longer in pain, no longer feeling anything. I looked around and saw my dead body laying before her. She sobbed over me, her hands covered in bits of skull and flesh and brain. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. But it had to be.”

With the fire diamond covered in blood, she raised it over her head. “I have given you what you need to be reborn. Come to me, Oh Great One. Be reborn into this world, Oh Mighty One and let us bring the mortals to their knees once more.”

Red lights swirled and the diamond burst into flames, but Cara didn’t seem to mind. She stared up at it, watching it burn until it exploded, pushing out the ceiling of the cave, creating a crater to the surface of the earth again.

But something blocked the sun and light. Something bigger than cave, bigger than the hole left from the explosion.

A voice boomed out from above, as deep as an earthquake and mighty as thunder. “You have done well, Daughter of Dragons. I have returned.”

It breathed fire into the space, consuming us both, and when all had burned away, including my body we stood before a dragon with scales that glittered in the sun like fire diamonds.

The dragon looked at me and Cara turned, her eyes widened in surprise. “You have given much to aid in my birth, and for that you shall be rewarded. I cannot bring you back to the mortal world, but I can make you into something new. I can make you into something greater.

It was then that I realized I didn’t feel like myself. That I didn’t have hands or a face or legs. When I looked down at myself, I realized what I had become.

A dragon.

~THE END~

We hope you enjoyed these two short stories. Now it’s time to pick your favorite (and why!) and see if you guess which one of us wrote them! (Dmytry Karpov or Kimberly Kinrade) Leave a comment below with your vote and be automatically entered into our Amazon GC giveaway!

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