THE BURNING TREE by Karen Malevich

Warnings: Sexually explicit, includes woman-to-woman sex, bad language. Set in New Zealand http://.nz.com so some words and phrases may be unfamiliar.
Non-illustrated version go here. Return to Karen's Homepage.  Copyright Karen Malevich 1999.
Comments welcome: Email Karen
 


PART 1

Logan Kendrick ran as if her life depended on it.

If not her life, then perhaps her sanity.

Two kilometers of a gentle warm-up jog had got her to the point of serious effort without the risk of injury. The long, flat beach at Taratoa presented just enough of a challenge to keep her mentally alert. The driftwood, piles of shells and the odd barking dog determined to join her sprint, reminded her of a beginner's level on a video game.

The clean air filled her lungs as her intake increased to match her exertion. As Logan got comfortable at this speed, she kicked it up a gear, her long black hair floating out behind her. The trouble with a comfort zone was that it allowed you space to think. And thinking was not what she wanted. She wanted not thinking. Thinking and feeling had got her into this predicament.

Through the small stream that deterred most casual walkers, she dropped her pace to a jog again to let her breathing calm down. Concentrating on her breathing and the burn in her leg muscles, she slowed to a walk and then to a stop.


Taratoa Beach - looking south

As she started a full set of stretches, she looked out to sea, past the looming bulk of Kapiti Island. No ships, no boats, no swimmers. This western coastline always seemed deserted – the main shipping routes traveled up the east side of the long, narrow island, slightly sheltered from the dominant westerlies and the stormy southerlies. That other coast also had more people.

Looking north, Logan strained to see past the sparkle reflected off the water, to the volcanoes she knew were there. The pile that was Mt. Ruapehu and, further west, the perfect cone that was Mt. Taranaki. But the haze that had covered the North Island for the last year thwarted her again. For the three months she had been sprinting up and down the beach, she had not seen the mountains clearly once.

The stretches complete, the tall woman started north again, running at a steady pace. She would go about another two kilometers until the path that took her inland past the hydroponics glasshouses and back towards the main settlement and her car.

The inland path was not marked at all, and on her early runs she had missed it and just run back down the beach. But now she enjoyed the variety of the run, the resistance of the sand, the up and down of the sand dunes, the verdant green of the inland pathway back to the car. More to look at and concentrate on. Mindless running just freed up her brain to think.

As she turned off the beach on to the inland path, she noticed two things. The first was a new chain link fence. A really serious fence. This fence said ‘keep to your own damn side’. Well, well. Maybe someone was actually making money out of hydroponics and was looking to protect their investment.

The second thing was that she had company. For the first time in three months she was not the only person running on the path. A couple of runners were ahead of her, also running southwards. They were really sprinting. The woman was in front but her companion was catching up. Damn, he was chasing her! And catching her. As Logan rounded a corner underneath a macrocarpa tree, she saw the man leap forward and tackle the woman to the ground. She screamed and struggled, desperately trying to scrabble away. As he drew his fist back to strike her, Logan barreled into his kneeling form, knocking him off the prone figure.

The man flew forward, landing face down in the dirt. They scrambled to their feet at the same time. He charged her, his face red with exertion and fury. Logan’s defensive stance bore the brunt of his attack. Arms swinging wildly, the man forced her back down the path.

As she fended him off, Logan was puzzled. He wasn't saying anything. Not shouts or curses. He was clearly a professional something - perhaps a security guard? Finally an opening presented itself and she went on the offensive. Planting her foot, she caught him with a thrusting kick to the midriff that winded him and knocked him to the ground.

Having taken care of the thug for the time being, she caught her breath, panting from the unexpected effort. The adrenaline still racing through her, Logan turned to look for the woman. She was still lying where she had been pushed. She was crying and had her arms clasped across her chest, holding her left shoulder.

Logan knelt beside her. "Are you all right?" she asked. The woman looked up through long blondish hair.

"Where's that bastard?" she gasped. "I've got to get out of here!"

"Is it your shoulder? Can you get up?"

The woman climbed to her knees, then, levering herself on Logan’s shoulder, to her feet. She staggered off down the path.

"Hey! Wait up! What's hap--- oooof!"

The question was left unfinished as she was rushed from behind and sent sprawling. A swift kick in her side had her gasping.

She looked up at the triumphant man, stunned and waiting for the next blow.

But a man beaten by a woman sometimes feels the need to dispense a little extra punishment. The further the foot goes back, the more damaging the kick. Unfortunately it also leaves more time for recovery, evasion or counterattack.

As he drew his foot back, Logan swept her leg around his other ankle, dumping him to the ground again. This time she did not hesitate. She hauled herself up on one knee as he groggily shook his head and struck his forehead with the heel of her palm.

He was out for the count.

Logan checked his pulse quickly. He was still alive. She rolled him on to his back and surveyed his uniform. The badge sewn on said KCS. The military style pants and shirt and heavy army boots looked the business. But what business? KCS possibly stood for something like Kapiti Coast Security. It was not a firm she knew, and she had lived on the Kapiti Coast as a child and more recently, for the past few months. His pockets were empty except for a set of keys and a packet of cigarettes and a lighter. She pocketed the keys but left the cigarettes. One habit at a time was bad enough.

"They'll kill you if you let them, mate," she muttered. She rolled him on to his front and put him in the recovery position. "No point dying if you're going to puke."

Turning to look down the path, she could not see the blonde woman anywhere. Swearing under her breath, she started off at a jog.

After five hundred meters or so, she caught up with her. The woman was walking quickly, still clutching her shoulder. Logan drew up alongside her. As the blonde woman turned around in alarm and flinched away, Logan jerked back, her hands raised calmingly.

"Are you okay?" she repeated her question. The woman glanced apprehensively back up the path over Logan’s shoulder.

"Is he…?"

"Not conscious and will have a headache when he comes around," answered Logan.

"Thank god," the woman said. "That prick would have beaten me up. So much for public relations."

Despite her little voice saying ‘Don't get interested, Logan, that's real trouble’, Logan was interested.

"Whose public relations?" she asked.

The woman suddenly turned to her. "Look," she said, "my bike is back on the dunes, but I don't want to go and get it. I'm not sure if he was on a regular patrol. What if he has buddies who will be looking for him and me by now? Can you give me a lift into town, or to a phone at least?"

"No worries," said Logan. "My car is in the carpark."

As they walked towards the carpark, Logan found herself wondering whether she should introduce herself. She had been getting into the habit of being a recluse. No names, just cash at the supermarket and gas station. But after three months of near silence she felt the urge to talk and listen. To talk about something other than herself. She had talked so much to her counselor about herself that even she was tired of it.

"I'm Logan ---," she stopped, then made herself go on. "Logan Kendrick."

The woman shot her a sharp glance. Logan caught the look and regretted not having lied.

"I know."

"And you are?"

"Frith."

"Frith?"

It looked for a moment that she was only going to give a first name. But no.

"Frith Buchanan."

"Well, Frith Buchanan, you were getting yourself into a bit of trouble back there."

They came into the carpark and Logan led the way over to her car. As Logan fished in her pants for the key, Frith looked carefully inside the beat up yellow Mazda. She didn't see a car-phone, but that was no surprise considering the state of the twenty year-old rusty heap.

"Yes, it was a bit dicey," she replied. "Thanks for coming along and being my white knight. But I think I need to use a phone to continue my rescue in progress."

They climbed into the car. As they buckled up, Logan took a better look at Frith.

Long blonde hair with just a hint of red. Pert nose. Greeny-blue eyes. Smooth skin, a few soft freckles. ‘Definitely cute, but is she family? Maybe. Definitely a maybe.’

"Have you got a cellphone?" asked Frith.

"Not in this piece of fine automotive engineering," replied Logan. "But my house isn't far… unless you want me to drop you in the township?"

"Your house would be fine. There's something I’d like to talk to you about."
 



 
 
 

As the tall woman drove the little car along the road leading away from the beach, Frith took the opportunity to assess her new companion.

So this was the infamous Logan Kendrick. Close-up, she hadn't expected her to be quite so ... tall. The photos that had accompanied her articles in the New Business Age paper were in black and white and quite tiny. The television cameras had loved her in colour, but the few times she had featured, they had not shown more than her head and shoulders. She had seen her only once in person.

Tall, yes. And beautiful too. All New Zealand knew that, as did half the world. Logan Kendrick had achieved fame (or notoriety) across the Western World for her investigative series outlining corruption in an international chain of Christian charities. Money donated by little old ladies in Auckland, Manchester and Cleveland had ended up in a failed speculative share deal, not in the food bowls of poor villagers in unspecified third world countries. The suicide of the principal fraudster, a high profile televangelist, and his murder of his family had made the news all over the world.

It had been the pinnacle of a glistening career in exposing the tawdry side of public do-gooders. Her paper, the New Business Age, and its right-of-Genghis-Khan global owner, YJ Holdings, had sold a lot of copies and a lot of advertising space on the basis of Logan’s skill in ripping some poor bastard’s life apart.

And now she was being driven by this woman, of all people, along the back roads of a small North Island town.

Logan, meanwhile, was busy trying to mentally place Frith. Wellington, definitely. Greenpeace? The New Business Age had once targeted Greenpeace for accepting kickbacks. After coming out of a meeting with the Director, she had glanced around the Greenpeace office, memorising faces for future reference. Frith had perhaps been one of them. Darryl Booth, the weaselly Director, had been as white as a sheet by the time she left.

His subsequent resignation, nervous breakdown and committal to a psychiatric facility had stymied the Fraud Squad's prosecution attempt.

They had pulled up into the foothills near the beach, up a long driveway to a modest beach house, perched on a steep slope, surrounded by pine trees and some native bush. Logan parked the car under the overhanging deck. As the engine noise died away and the car doors were firmly shut, Frith breathed deeply. The silence was lovely. Only the sounds of magpies, calling out to dissuade potential competitors for nesting sites, were audible. The sea was too distant now to be heard.

She winced as she jarred her shoulder getting out of the car.

The taller woman slung a jersey over her shoulders. "So, the phone?" she asked.

"Right," said Frith. The only words exchanged since the beach carpark.

Logan led the way up the steps into the rear of the house. Inside the house Frith looked around in unabashed curiosity. She was sure Logan Kendrick would have been able to afford something more upmarket. This house seemed typical of beach houses built in the sixties. And not redecorated since then. A kitchen, which had patterned Formica benches and yellow wooden cupboards, went through to a livingroom that looked out over a view of the coastline and out to the island.

Logan handed her a phone. She took hold of it with her left hand, forgetting her injury. It reasserted itself with of flash of pain and she dropped the phone with a clang.

The dark haired woman knelt quickly to pick it up.

"Would you like…. a cup of tea?" she asked. Suddenly a cup of hot, sweet, milky tea was exactly what Frith craved.

"Yes, thank you."

"Sit down, then, before you fall down."

Frith suddenly felt rather unsteady and a bit stupid. God, who was she going to call? Whose phone number did she have? She found herself unexpectedly sitting down on the tatty sofa. Logan’s arm was around her waist, helping her down.

"Leave that – put your head between your legs for a minute, while I make some tea."

"Right," she mumbled, as she leaned forward, holding her throbbing head in her hands.

Shock. A delayed reaction to the chase and fight on the beach. She felt again the man's bulk crash into her and saw the grassy path rise up to strike her in the head. No wonder she had said barely more than two words to her rescuer.

As she sat remembering the assault, her stomach churned and she realised she was going to throw up. Frith staggered up and across the room to the glass doors that opened on to the deck. As she reached the railing, she vomited over the edge. Feeling like death, she hung on grimly to the top rail.

Logan heard the glass door open and came out of the kitchen just in time to see the small woman, Frith, throw up off the edge of her deck.

‘I hope the Mazda isn't right underneath,’ she thought.


Logan's 1978 Mazda 808
 
 


Some ten minutes later, Frith and Logan sat down at the battered wooden dining table. The tea was strong and hot. The familiar act of stirring and sipping tea calmed Frith’s head and stomach.

Logan looked at her curiously.

"So, Frith," she began, "What is a Greenpeace member doing getting beaten up on Taratoa Beach?"

Frith was impressed. Those famed journalistic talents weren't just a PR beat-up.

Where to start?

"I'm not exactly working for Greenpeace today," she said.

Logan’s eyebrow quirked, inviting more.

"That guy scared me today. I'm sorry I ran off and left you to him."

"Not half as sorry as he is," Logan smirked in reply.

Frith smiled back, uncertainly. With a deep breath, she continued.

"I think I need to consult you professionally. Are you… umm… available for a ... consultation today?"

The other eyebrow joined its mate under dark bangs. She composed her face as she thought about it. Curious – well she was always curious. Interested in the young woman? Oh yes. Maybe this would be a pleasant diversion from the exile to which she had sentenced herself.

"Okay," she said, cautiously. "Tell me some more."

She could see the blond woman struggle for where to start. To make the conversation easier, she asked, "Tell me something about yourself first. I only know your face from that day in Greenpeace. That was at least a year ago. How did you end up there and what have you been doing since?"

The tale that emerged was one familiar to many her age. After finishing University, Frith had looked around for something useful, interesting and hopefully fun to do. Greenpeace had seemed like a worthwhile place that didn't hire only experienced people. The culture was one of politics, youth and striving. People sacrificed personal lives for the greater good. Petty courtesies were less important than the environment.

Her double major in English and Politics was put to immediate use – writing pamphlets and notices for local papers and their web-site. But as with many not-for-profit organisations, the culture also involved exploiting the emotional and physical energies of the young, inexperienced, highly motivated kids attracted to the cause. Burn out happened quickly. Frith found herself tired and depressed. An unhappy and frustrating affair had only exacerbated matters.

Thanks to a timely chat with her sister, she had jumped ship with her self-esteem bruised but largely intact. Ignoring the pressure from her parents to take up a socially-acceptable career, she found a job with a web-publishing firm, designing and building web-sites for local businesses and smaller government agencies. Wellington was a government town and even companies that primarily targeted private business found themselves doing work for one government agency or another.

As with so many breakdowns in security, it was a fortuitous coincidence that led to her discovery.

"I was working on an Intranet security protocol for…" she hesitated, then plunged on, "Tall Trees, when I saw they had some pages for a hydroponics place out here on the Coast."

Logan was immediately intrigued. Tall Trees Limited was a large international company which would seem to have little connection with a small horticultural concern north of Wellington.

"Did the pages indicate the nature of the relationship?"

"Not exactly. But some of the dummy pages sent over by TTL had some URL links to a laboratory in Texas."

Logan sat back and poured herself another cup of tea. It tasted very strong, so she added a couple of teaspoons of sugar. She really wanted a cigarette about now.

"Could have been some TTL employee mucking around with a personal interest on the company's time," she observed.

"That's what I thought. An employee who also had an incomplete, maybe partially deleted phrase on that same page which read Department of Sec. As in Security," she added.

"Oh, you're kidding!" Logan burst out, with a grin.

Frith’s eyes sparked.

"No, I am not kidding. Why would I kid? I figured that it was easiest to check out the hydroponics farm before tackling the other players. But then that idiot jumped me while I was climbing over the fence." Frith stopped talking. Should she lay it all out? Or was this enough to intrigue the journalist?

Logan kept her smile, despite the impassioned outburst.

"C’mon. The Department of Security involved with TTL? Those butt-scratchers couldn't organise a conspiracy in an X-files convention! And  I've had some dealings with Tall Trees, enough ---" she broke off.  'Enough to last me quite a while,' she thought.

"Well, no doubt you'd know," Frith said sarcastically. "But I know what was on those pages and I know that arsehole at the farm tried to knock me into next week."

"So why are you interested? You still got a connection at Greenpeace?" Logan asked.

"My ... um ... sister ... volunteers at Greenpeace in Auckland. She says that TTL is still on Greenpeace’s list for animal testing in cosmetics."

Logan got up and wandered out on to the deck. She pondered the young woman's story as she gazed out over the bush and paddocks leading down from the house towards the road. The sunny day had given way to overcast skies making the green bush somber and dull. The island drew her eye as it always did.


Logan's view - Kapiti Island

The tale was barely more than snippets. Small fragments that did not, as yet, go anywhere. But some of her best stories had started as tiny co-incidental facts which had landed right in front of her under some very odd circumstances.

What was certain was the unidentified violent, aggressive guard she had knocked unconscious.

Logan knew that Tall Trees had recently considered involvement in genetic engineering. It had not been relevant to her work at the time.

Had they branched out into bio-engineering? How did that fit in with New Zealand's firm resistance to the importing of genetically modified foods and experimental organisms? And what was the New Zealand Department of Security doing? Were they involved or was that just a coincidence?

Logan hated coincidences.

Frith was… interesting, attractive, but was she telling the truth? She was definitely holding something back. Why was Frith so interested on the basis of rather tenuous information? Should she press her?

Frith joined her against the railing.

"So, Frith," she turned and looked down at the woman standing next to her. "What do you want from me?"

Frith was not entirely sure. Logan was known for her work for large corporate news media companies. She had caused the breakup of several not-for-profit organisations and rumour was she was responsible for the suicide of her last exposed do-gooder and his slaughter of his family. But standing next to this woman who had saved her, this tall, strong, lovely woman, she was still not thinking clearly. ‘Good grief Frith, get a grip. If you want a date, just ask her out.’

She looked up into blue eyes and swallowed.

Logan smiled gently. She knew she often had an effect on people, but something about this woman made her want to earn her regard, not rely on hormones.

"Do you want my advice? Or my help?"

"Your help. Your contacts. Your judgment. All of that. I don't know exactly what this is all about. But I know something is screwy. Meeting you today is too good an opportunity, a coincidence, a something that I need to take advantage of," Frith got it out at last.

Logan laughed.

"The last time I was taken advantage of, all hell broke loose on the Tokyo stock market for at least 24 hours. But for you I could make another exception."

Frith blushed and turned away.

Logan moved close behind her, nearly touching. She leaned down and spoke softly in Frith’s ear.

"Leave it with me for a couple of days. I’ll see what I can find out without stirring up too much muck."
 


Logan had driven Frith down to the station to catch a local train into Wellington. They had swapped numbers and email addresses and arranged to meet at Logan’s house again in two days time.

Instead of driving home, Logan detoured past the front entrance of the hydroponics farm. Other than a shiny new gate, all looked pretty much as it always did. Half a dozen cars outside the largest glasshouse, a truck near the gate, a security guard's car coming around the corner… oops! Time to leave.

Well, THAT was new. Since when did this farm need security patrols, a new fence and gung-ho guards beating up women at said fence? Out here, well off the beaten track?

Maybe something was rotten in the state of Denmark. Something worth sniffing at.

On the way back to her house, the inevitable argument started up in her head.

‘This is not what you decided.'
'Oh yeah remind me what was that again?'
'Turning my back on someone who asks for my help?'
'If she knew what kind of bastard you were, she would... '
'Go on I'm interested now, she would what?'
'Run a mile, not fall gratefully into your bed.'
'You think this is about sex? Loneliness? Remorse?'
'You ARE lonely.'
'I AM sorry.'
'Shit, you are full of shit.'
'But she doesn't know that.'
'Oh yes she does, you saw that look she gave you. And that scene at Greenpeace....'
'He deserved it.'
'He deserved worse.'
'No he didn't. Not like ....'
'Oh he deserved it and he got it.'
'Yeah but he took his wife and kids with him and that's down to you.’
'Face it, you just fancy her.'
'Got a problem with that?'
'There's a puzzle here anyway.'
'Riiiiight.'

The mental maelstrom continued all the way home.

Logan parked the car under the deck and sighed. Thinking. It was highly over-rated. Some action was required. She ran up the stairs to the back door and blew through the kitchen into the livingroom.

Right. Laptop. Modem. Where's the damn phone jack? Cell phone. It was around here somewhere. It took ten minutes before Logan had assembled the tools of her trade. The tea mugs were shoved to the side of the old dining table, all the single plugs in the room now occupied by power leads and the guitar shoved back in its case.

As the laptop powered up, she mentally reviewed her options. Alan? Well, that would be a trip into the lion's den. Maybe as a last resort. Sarah? Way too dangerous. Jack was a good bet. He still fancied her, she was sure. And who was he working for now? Three months ago he had implied that he had been seconded from the Fraud Squad into something more secret-squirrel.

Jack McKechnie it was.

She opened her contacts database. Home phone or mobile? Home first probably.

"Jack? It's Logan. Call me on 021-623-6512. Urgent." She left the same message on Jack's mobile.

Time for some heavy-duty net browsing, maybe even a spot of hacking. It is a capital offence to theorise in advance of the facts and she needed facts. And maybe a few wild hunches to try out while she was at it. She had loved Sherlock Holmes but theory and observation drove each other in her experience. This approach had its share of deadends but some of them paid off in quite surprising areas.

To work. At last!
 



 
 
 

Frith found herself back at work the next day, staring blankly at her screen. Her shoulder and head were still tender, but her thoughts were not on her physical state. Not entirely. She turned the few pieces of the puzzle over in her mind, but as Logan had pointed out, it wasn't much to go on.

Logan. As often as she thought about the events of the previous day, she thought about Logan Kendrick. Nothing coherent, that was the trouble. Just images of her face, her hair, her long legs, her smile. Frith sighed. Anyway she looked at it, trouble. Getting involved with Logan Kendrick, in any capacity, was trouble. But that smile, when it had arrived, was dazzling. Those blue, blue eyes in combination with the black hair..... her strong arm around me ..... Frith was caught in a powerful daydream.

"Hey! Ms. Buchanan? You going to be finished with that prototype any time this century?" Wiremu Kale's face peered around the doorframe.

Wiremu was the co-owner of Solaris Consulting, a small web-design company making a living on the edges of the corporate internet/intranet market in the nation's capital. Maori owners of such companies were rare. In his late thirties, he was slight and not much taller than Frith, dressed in the ubiquitous dark gray, almost black, suit that was the current corporate uniform in Wellington. Thankfully his funk quotient was saved by groovy glasses and more jewelry than most New Zealand men would own in entire lifetimes.

He came further into Frith’s workroom, his attention drawn by the purpling bruise on her face. "Babe! What caused that?"

Frith turned her face away, towards the window. She slid off her chair.

"You know, Willy," she said thoughtfully, "mountain biking is a dangerous sport for the uninitiated. I took my bike up to beach yesterday and suffice to say the sand dunes proved treacherous."

"As long as your hands are okay and you can you still use a mouse? No worries then," Wiremu grinned. "Come and keep me company for five minutes while I have a fag."

"But the prototype…," protested Firth, half-heartedly.

"The TTL project manager just rang. Another delay at their end. Some kind of security problem."

"Jesus, if they don't get their butts into gear, we're not going to meet the deadline."

"Well, it's time for the old drill," said Wiremu. "I document everything and move higher up the food chain."

Frith considered for a moment. "I have another project I can spend some time on, if you want to play tough guy," she said. "You're the boss, you know. Gotta earn that inflated salary."

"What project's that, babe?" Wiremu asked as they climbed the fire stairs to the rooftop garden.

"Personal stuff," Frith replied.

The pair walked to the balcony and looked across the harbour, north towards the Hutt Valley. Wiremu turned his back to the breezy northerly and lit his cigarette.

"You've just about used up all your contracted hours for this month already, and it's only the 21st. If TTL is going to be on the backburner for at least two days – how much left to go on that prototype once you get the final stuff? Maybe fifteen hours?"

"Fifteen is about right," she replied. "But I need a beta-tester right now for the current build and Joan is off with the school holidays."

"Bugger. I'm already using all the hours Simon and Elise can spare for the Ministry of Commerce gig. Do you know anyone likely?"

Frith thought immediately of Logan.

"Yes," she said cautiously. "This ex-journo I met yesterday might be available."

Wiremu calculated the remaining hours for TTL.

"Okay. Line them up for 6 hours. Usual rate. Allow at least two hours for going over the testing regime with them. And get Joan to process the paperwork when she gets back."

"Right, then. I’ll pack it in here for today then and get her started. It's too nice a day to be stuck inside slaving over a hot processor."

"Sure. That's right. You toddle off and have fun while I figure out how to afford you full-time." As Frith protested half-heartedly, Wiremu interrupted her.

"No, seriously Frith, I appreciate the quality of your work, you know. If this TTL job goes okay, we might get some work on their US web-site. And who is this ex-journo?" Wiremu’s partner was a staff writer for the Dominion newspaper.

"Um… Lo- … Lois ... um… Kennedy. She's Australian, I think."

"Well, let's do it then. There's money out there just waiting for us!"

They halfheartedly chorused the punchline together. "Let's go get it!"
 


Logan had woken that morning feeling ... feeling good. Feeling something other than tired and stupid. Maybe her therapist's suggestion of taking a break after the events of April had not been the best option. Or maybe it had done the trick. Certainly Frith Buchanan was making her feel good, without even being here.

She spent the rest of the afternoon of the previous day browsing the Web and sneaking into the few sites where the access details she had accumulated still worked. Some organisations really needed to update their system security more than once a year. She also made a few bogus calls, posing as anything from an old friend to a photocopy service bureau updating client contacts to a radio-station giving away free lessons at the local judo school.

The local security company had been slightly useful - the electrician was away up north for a week. No major new alarm systems had been installed then. The others had drawn blanks.

Waiting for Jack to call back was irritating, and to be honest, rather unusual. It was out of character for him to have his cell phone off anyway, but she had never known him to go more than a couple of hours without clearing his messages. Maybe it was the possibility he was now undercover.

In the evening she had strung up a heavy punching bag and had a good time beating the living daylights out of it. After a session of kenpo drills she had lit a fire and bemoaned the lack of a television. Well, she had wanted to be left alone and not have the world bother her and it had worked. But now, with an puzzle which may involve the government, she regretted not knowing what was going on in New Zealand and the outside world. It reduced her effectiveness. Much of her success as an investigative journalist had come from putting together disparate facts that were seemingly unrelated.

At least the web-sites for newspapers and news organisations still had the last three months worth of information. She spent the evening catching up with the living.

Her early morning run along the beach had been much less eventful than the previous day. As she ran along the path beside the farm and its new fence, a remote CCTV camera turned to follow her as she jogged along nonchalantly. Suspecting they would have beefed up security, she had worn a baseball cap and tied her long hair up. She usually enjoyed the feeling of it whipping around her face as she ran. It made running fast seem even faster. Until that moment where it stopped being fun and started being irritating.

As she passed the spot where the tussle had taken place, she slowed slightly but nothing out of the ordinary presented itself to her. She suddenly remembered the set of keys she had taken off the creep yesterday. 'Dammit,' she thought, 'I should have tried them last night. Before he reported them missing, if his brain is working yet.' Even if he had not thought of it, whoever had picked him up and gotten him medical attention would have. 'Maybe it's still worth a shot.'

After lunch, when it seemed no more progress could be made unless she talked to Jack, and while she wasn't prepared to make contact with Alan or Sarah yet and tip her hand, Logan moped around the house. The downside of a high energy level was that she was frustrated with nothing to do. Although she enjoyed the research, it was the thrill of the chase which really energised her. In a battle of wits and sometimes fists the adrenaline, flooded her system and made her feel truly alive. Other forms of stimulation had never come close. She enjoyed sex but it paled with the thrill of the hunt.

It had been a while since her last sexual relationship. It had ended badly. Not surprisingly, as it hadn't started in auspicious circumstances. The plump woman had eyed her up at a Tall Trees corporate affair. Logan had been undercover and in disguise, waiting table at an annual stockholders meeting, trying to get a line on one of the executives she suspected was insider trading ... well, it had been complicated. Sarah had slipped her business card into Logan's breast pocket. Logan had torn it in two and handed it back. Sarah had just laughed and caught Logan in the woman's loo later. They nearly consummated the relationship then and there, only the arrival of the catering supervisor stopping them.

Perhaps it was because the sex had been an integral part of the hunt. She has used Sarah's position as the Communications Manager at the company to dig out the facts she needed. When the hunt was over and the article published, Sarah had been bitter, furious and hurt. She had also thrown Logan's clothes out of her 10th floor apartment's window. She took revenge by screwing Logan's lover, the Chief Executive, Alan Gadsby. That, too, was complicated.

Logan sighed. Was she better off staying well away from Tall Trees? Her recent messy entanglements with Alan and Sarah clouded the picture and a journalist sought clarity above all.

She was also better off out of the romantic arena. Frith was, no doubt, a gentle soul who would run a mile rather than get involved with a self-hating, violent, manipulative.... and whatever else Sarah had screamed after her that night. All characteristics she agreed with. Her therapist had nodded quietly and written them down.

A noise outside caught her attention. She wandered out on the deck and looked down the driveway. A green Suzuki 4-wheel drive emerged from under the trees. Logan glimpsed a flash of golden hair. Frith? She wasn't due until tomorrow.

A small frisson of anticipation ran through her.


Frith's 1988 Suzuki Samurai
 


"Here. Take my hand."

"Where?"

"Here. No, that's my ...."

"Oh. Sorry."

With a grunt of effort, Logan pulled Frith up to the top of the brick wall. She had spotted this possible way to bypass the new fence when she had driven past yesterday. Now, under the cover of darkness, the two women were going to break into the hydroponics farm and see what they could see.

Frith and Logan had argued over which target to attack first. Frith had pushed for the TTL offices in central Wellington. Logan had countered with the jingle of the set of keys. In truth, she was too apprehensive to tackle that company first. A warm-up in the provinces would get her back in the saddle. Maybe she'd even stop mixing her metaphors.

It was a calculated risk whether the locks had been changed. With the worst scenario of tripping an alarm or being discovered by a patrol, the pair could easily escape into the surrounding countryside. They had parked the old Mazda, not in the carpark near the beach, but hidden under a macrocarpa hedge in an adjoining property. The street it was on ran at right angles to the beach road, and any pursuer was likely to concentrate on that road.

But now it was the doorway to the farm's office that had her attention. Logan was betting that the new additions to the farm's security had started with the fence and had not infiltrated into the office yet. Earlier in the day she walked into the open office, posing as a courier delivering flowers, briefly checked for cameras and pressure pads. Her hunch that there was not much internal security seemed to be correct, otherwise she would not have suggested this approach.

Carefully she pulled the keys from her pocket. Frith switched on her small pen-light and trained the beam on the lock. Her pale face reflected in the light underneath the black woolen hat Logan had lent her. Logan tried each of the keys - success on the fourth one.

The door opened slowly outwards. The two woman squeezed together to let it open. Inside the reception area was dimly lit by the light from a tall fish tank.

Logan motioned with her head and walked quietly towards an inner office. Once they were inside, she quickly shut the curtains at the window which appeared to overlook an enclosed courtyard, and switched on the desk lamp.

Moving close to Frith, she murmured, " Keep an eye out. Close the front door nearly all the way. Use your eyes and ears. Whistle if you see something."

Frith looked resentful at being excluded from search of the office.

"Go!" Logan whispered harshly.

As she left the room, Logan got to work. Starting with the manager's desk, she rifled through the intray. What was she looking for? At this stage she didn't always know. Anything odd, anything linking the farm to the Texas laboratory or to Tall Trees or to the Department of Security.

This guy was organised, and stupid enough to print out some of his emails. At least she wouldn't have to attempt to hack into anything tonight. Her skills in that area were adequate but no more.  Interpersonal extraction of information was more her style.

She turned to the filing cabinet. Working up from the bottom drawers, which held a set of trainers and a half bottle of whiskey and a spare power cord - she flicked through the top drawer. After 5 minutes she had a small stash of papers which looked promising.

At the front door Frith crouched, hidden in the shadows, peering out the tiny crack she had left. She shifted to ease her protesting muscles. The slight sounds of the search in the office reached her. As she turned her head to look at the inner office door, her peripheral vision caught..... something.... What was that? Her straining ears caught the sound of footsteps crunching along the path leading up from the beach. She turned her head and whistled softly. Had she been heard? There was no response from the inner office. As she pursed her lips to whistle again, she saw the flash of car headlights turn off the road and into the car-park.

Panicked, she stood up abruptly, only to find her face sandwiched into Logan's chest. Her squawk of surprise was muffled by a large hand over her mouth. Logan's eyes gleamed as she mouthed, "Out the door, go left, behind the pot plants and wait."

She gave Frith a gentle shove and mostly closed the door behind her. She saw the shadow of Frith scrambling along in front of the reception window towards the planters.

The sound of bootsteps on gravel grew louder but were drowned out by the approaching car. The vehicle drew to a stop less than 50 feet from the door. The man in the boots was at the car window, talking to the driver. Her eyes narrowed as she tried to hear what they were saying. Suddenly the man turned to follow the pointing arm of the driver, towards the office. Damn! What has he seen? She glanced around - shit! she had left the light on in the office. The door was slightly ajar and the beam of light was a beacon to watchful eyes.

The driver got out of the car and the two men walked briskly towards the office door. One pulled out a powerful torch, the other pulled out his gun. As they closed in on the door, the man with the gun went first. He pulled out his keys and inserted one in the lock. Turning it gently, he was smashed in the face as the door exploded outwards.

He went tumbling backwards, knocking over the second man. They fell in a heap, swearing profusely. Logan rocketed out of the doorway, leaping over the two men and running for the car. Her aim was to disable the car so they couldn't pursue her, but she had not noticed a second person sitting in the passenger seat. He... no she, was reaching over to the driver's door to hit the central-locking button. Logan wrenched the door open before she could push it and thumped her in the temple with her fist. The woman slumped in her seat as Logan ripped out the two-way radio microphone and then removed the keys. With a grunt she threw them into the neighbouring field.

As she turned back to the buildings she was tackled by a shadowy figure. They rolled together on the gravel, scuffling for advantage. The second man staggered over, still winded from the first knock down. Pointing the gun at the struggling pair he screamed, "Stop! Stop or I'll shoot!" But he hesitated to fire as the dark clothing of both people merged into the darkness. One of the pair was thrown off with a mighty shout of effort. As he lay motionless on the driveway, the other staggered up and towards the guard, now holding the pistol rather unsteadily. Fuckfuckfuckfuck! This wasn't what he signed up for! Backing away, he fumbled with the safety on the gun. "Stop!" he cried again, uncertainly. "Hands up! Get down on the ground or I'll....." What he was proposing never passed his lips, as he was struck from behind by a wooden planter.

Frith stood revealed as the guard slumped lifelessly to the ground. Her hat had come off and her long pale hair shone like a torch in the dim light. Logan thought she had never seen a lovelier sight.

Frith grabbed Logan by the arm. "Did you get it?" she hissed.

Logan nodded.

"What?"

"What what?"

"What did you get?"

"Let's get out of here first."

No longer needing the helpful wall, they jogged towards the main gate. As they reached the road, the sound of sirens floated towards them, disturbing the quiet night air.

"Crap!" Logan muttered. "She must have got a message out."

"Who's she?" asked Frith.

"Never mind. Just run for that set of trees!" Logan broke into a dead run, with Frith right on her heels. As they reached the safety of the trees, two police cars turned off the main road and neared the gates of the farm. They screeched to a halt, men pouring out and shouting for the shapes lying on the ground to stay down! stay down!

Logan smirked at Frith. "I hope they enjoy explaining this tomorrow. Should stir up the nest a bit."

As they turned to walk through the cypresses towards the car, they heard the rapid thud-thud-thud of a helicopter approaching, a spotlight searching out the figures in the carpark. Fortunately the groggy guards had not seen which direction the women had run off, so all they could do was gesture helplessly.

Not wanting to be caught in a search pattern, Logan pulled Frith into a run again, over a fence, through a field filled with sleepy cows and along the road towards the Mazda.

They jumped into the car and Logan gently eased it out on to the street, leaving the headlights off and driving slowly towards the main road.

"Can you still see the 'copter?" she asked.

Frith was peering anxiously out the side window.

"Yes. It's heading out towards the beach."

"Spotlight on?"

"Yes."

"Great," said Logan. "Hold on!"

She flipped on the lights and floored it. Frith grabbed on to the safety belt as the ancient car careened around a corner.

"Jesus, Logan," she shouted, "I thought we were trying for discreet!"

Logan just laughed. She felt alive at last!
 


As the car pulled up at the end of the long drive way to Logan's house, Frith was buzzed. Logan had turned on the decrepit car stereo full blast and driven like a rally sprint maniac, almost side-swiping the gate-post at the entrance to the lane.

Logan's laugh, the sound deep and sexy, had an electrifying effect on Frith.  Her body, in a sexual hibernation for the past year, was waking up in the presence of the enigmatic journalist. The proximity of the beautiful woman, combined with the adrenaline still coursing through her body was extremely arousing.

She briefly debated clamping down on her feelings and getting the hell out of this messy situation. But with a single sideways glance at the near perfect profile of tall, dark and dangerous, her natural inclination to go for what she wanted reasserted itself.  Turning in her seat she braced herself with a hand on the other woman's shoulder. She closed the small space between them, tracing the curve of Logan’s ear with her tongue and finishing with a none too gentle bite of an ear-lobe.

The look of surprise on Logan’s face turned to one of sheer lust as Frith made her intentions perfectly clear.

"I want to take you inside and fuck you senseless," she whispered.

In the uncomfortable space between the seats and over the park-brake the two women fused their mouths together.  There was nothing gentle about their first kiss.  Tongues, lips and teeth fiercely, quickly, aquainted themselves.  Logan threaded her hand through the smaller woman's blonde hair, her hand cupping the shape of her head, adding pressure to the kiss.  Finally she pulled back, her chest rising and falling as she tried in vain to get her breathing under control.

"For Christ's sake, let's go inside...."

The blonde woman, her face flushed, nodded fervently.

Having successfully extricated themselves from the car, the two women met again, their bodies pressed into each other.  Standing, the contrast in their height became an erotic point of difference, as again the enthusiasm for each other's body was signaled. Logan bending her head down even as Frith stretched upwards.

Frith reveled in the feel of Logan’s body against her, her hands becoming relentless in their exploration, cupping firm buttocks, then running up a long back, coming around to knead shapely breasts, thumbs dragging over hard nipples.  All the while a searing hot kiss continued, tongues exploring the intimate space of the other's mouth.

Frith considered pushing the taller woman up against the hood of the car and taking her then and there, but even in her state of intense arousal, the bite of the cool night air was a sufficient deterrent.  She grabbed Logan's hand and, breaking the kiss, issued a short two word command.

"Inside - now."

They made it up the path to the back door, Logan fumbling in the pocket of her leather jacket for the house key. The simple task was made complex by the distracting hands pulling her T shirt out of the waistband of her jeans and the groan of pleasure from the blonde woman as she ran her hands over Logan's smooth skin for the first time.

"God, you feel good."

After a short eternity they made it inside.  Frith pushed Logan against the wall next to the kitchen table, her compact strength surprising the woman, who took pride in her own physical prowess.

"I want you right now, I want to taste you, I'm going to run my tongue over your wet cunt until you scream."  The words whispered into the dark woman's ear were clearly statements of fact, not a hypothesis up for debate.

With one last lingering look into pale eyes rendered colourless in the in the half light of the kitchen, Frith sank to her knees.  Her hands deftly made short work of the buttons of the well worn 501s and, grasping them by the waistband, she pulled Logan’s jeans and underwear down over her hips to her knees in one abrupt movement.

"Oh sweet jesus," Frith moaned at the sight of the flat plane of stomach, which segued into a trimmed covering of black pubic hair, framed between thighs that would have had Anita Bryant deciding to bat for the home team.

'Got to get rid of these jeans,' Frith mumbled to herself, as she bent to unlace Logan's sturdy boots.  Boots and socks out of the way, the jeans were unceremoniously lowered to her ankles.

"Lift your foot for me, sweetheart."  Logan, a little dazed, did as she was told, the slight movement having the double benefit for Frith as not only were the constricting clothes finally out of the way, but it also offered the first glimpses of a beautiful cunt between slightly parted legs.

Frith leaned forward and with both hands stroking muscled hips and thighs, she kissed Logan’s mons, dragging in a deep breath and absorbing the fragrance of her arousal.  Her tongue swirled through pubic hair, saliva and salty moistness mingling in an erotic cocktail.

Logan moaned, leaning back against the kitchen wall as she parted her thighs and tilted her hips forward, an unsubtle and insistent invitation to the woman kneeling at her feet.  Frith was no reluctant party goer.  Using her thumbs she parted the lips of Logan's vulva and, moving closer, she ran her tongue along the length of dark woman's cunt.

"Oh god!" Logan’s exclamation was strangled and unusually high pitched for the woman with the deep chocolate-timbred voice.

The blonde woman began consuming her, the tendons in her neck taut as she used her tongue to sweetly torture Logan.  Lips, tongue and occasionally gentle teeth, were at turns deployed in the pursuit of the journalist's pleasure.  Using the point of her tongue she circled the base of Logan’s clitoris then sucked it gently into her mouth.

"Got … to … lie … down … legs … won't … work ... "  Logan’s body was trembling, her left hand tangled in Frith’s hair, her right flat against the wall, trying unsuccessfully to get some purchase to bolster her failing legs.

Frith came to the rescue. Standing, she guided Logan to the kitchen table and laid her down on it.  The cruel shock of the cold formica against her ass was instantly forgotten as two strong fingers unceremoniously and easily penetrated her.

Frith, looking down, savoured the sight of Logan naked from the waist down, laid out on the kitchen table, slick cunt filled with two fingers of her right hand.  Logan’s hips were moving rhythmically, intensifying the sweet friction of Frith’s hand as it moved in and out of her.

Frith again lowered herself to her knees, careful to maintain the contact of her fingers inside of Logan.  Lifting Logan’s left leg over her shoulder, she bent her head and again tongued her clitoris, quickly finding a complementary rhythm to her fingers.

The tension deep inside of Logan was reaching crisis point, the sensations sourced from the blonde woman's fingers and tongue at once too much but not quite enough.

"Fuck me harder Frith … please … hard ...."

Frith instantly obliged and adding a third finger she flexed her right arm, short rapid movements counterpointed by her tongue.

Logan raised her hips off the table, her thighs tensed as a crashing orgasm overtook her body.  The knuckles of her hands were white as she grabbed the table's edge, the chrome trim cutting into her palm.  Delicious spasms continued for some time around Frith’s fingers as Logan slowly returned to earth.

Frith raised her head, but began hopefully to move her fingers again.

"Oh Jesus ... stop … please."  Logan shot up to a sitting position and grabbed the smaller woman's hand.  Her chest heaved as she tried to suck in enough air to restore some semblance of calm.  It was a futile effort as another spasm convulsed in her cunt.

Frith took pity on Logan and rising to her feet she slowly and gently withdrew her fingers.  She pressed her body into the space between Logan's legs and enfolded the woman in her arms.  Frith tilted her head and placed the softest of kisses on the journalist's lips.

"Come on, let's go to bed."

Logan nodded her agreement.  Her wits were returning to her slowly.  She got off the table and flipping on a light, walked across the kitchen to the refrigerator, grabbed some water, taking several large gulps from the bottle.

Frith, who had enjoyed the sight of the woman's tight buttocks peeking out from beneath the leather jacket, declined the offer of a drink, a cheeky grin on  her face.

"You look pleased with yourself,"  Logan said as she returned to stand inches from Frith, staring down into shining green eyes.

"Well, why wouldn't I? You were fucking amazing.  Come on, where's the bedroom? I want you again."  Frith moved her hand forward sliding it under Logan’s rumpled T shirt and luckily happening upon a smooth round breast that just needed a firm squeeze.

"We'll see about that ..."  Logan grabbed Frith's hand and led her through the living room to the bedroom door, which she kicked open impatiently.

"You, my little blonde-haired friend, have way too many clothes on. I want to see you."  Logan shrugged off her jacket and set about divesting Frith of her clothes.

A dark sweater was pulled up and over Frith's head and flung on the floor. Two pairs of hands dealt to the buttons of her shirt, surprisingly only one uncooperative button on the cuff sacrificed in the process.

"Fuck ..."  Logan breathed.  Not the most romantic of compliments but fully expressive as she eyed Frith’s body,  breasts exquisitely captured by the red lace bra.  Soon Frith's shoes and pants were also history.

Logan sat on the edge of the bed and gazed at the woman in front of her.  Broad planes of flesh shaped by muscle, colours subtle and complex.  It was as if the most captured subject in the history of painting was presented to her, simultaneously representative and abstracted.

"Take your underwear off."

Frith wasn't quite sure how she had lost the initiative in this encounter, but for her following had as many merits as leading.  She reached around and undid her bra, slowly sliding the straps down her arms until she held the item in her hand.  She dropped it gently to the floor.

Frith took two steps towards Logan. "You can deal with the panties."

Logan leaned forward and kissed the skin between Frith’s breasts.

"My pleasure," she hummed slightly as she slid her hands between the lacy fabric and the blonde woman's hips, lowering them over thighs, until gravity took over and they too landed on the carpet.

Frith leaned down and grasping the bottom of Logan’s T shirt, dragged it up and over her dark  head.  Finally the two women were naked.  Obviously the only way to do justice to this new state was to achieve as much skin on skin contact as possible.

Logan stood and drew Frith into her arms, breasts, bellies and thighs melded together.  With strong hands she massaged her way down the smaller woman's back until she reached a very pert bottom, which she captured, the fit in her large hands perfect.

Her hands descended even lower and without further hesitation she grasped Frith’s thighs and lifted, the inevitable result was the smaller woman's legs wrapping around her waist, her cunt quietly slick against her stomach.

Frith, surprised to find herself no longer directly connected to the earth, felt nonetheless safe in Logan’s strong arms.  Her own arms had wended their way around Logan’s neck.  A kiss was definitely in order and again their lips met.  Their bodies were entwined in such a way that the kiss went on for some moments. Frith’s arousal was evident, her hips began undulating as she stroked her cunt against Logan’s stomach.

"Hang on lover, not yet."  Logan turned towards the bed, knelt and deposited Frith on to it.  Logan was on all fours above her, her hair falling forward, breasts swinging enticingly.

"Come down here, I want to feel you on top of me," Frith instructed.

Logan lowered herself, her long length settling on the smaller woman's body and between her parted legs. Frith spread her legs wider and bent them, both her feet flat on the bed.  The women rocked together, Frith’s cunt sliding smoothly against Logan's groin, their position one that only the most progressive of missionaries would have approved.

Logan raised herself on her forearms to begin tasting whatever flesh she could find.  Frith’s lips, face, neck, shoulders, breasts were bestowed with fluttering kisses, small bites and swipes of her tongue. As the blonde woman groaned underneath her, Logan thrust her pelvis forward hard into Frith's cunt and latched her mouth hotly around a breast sucking intently, knowing that she was leaving marks on the flawless skin that would still be there tomorrow.

Logan reached down between their bodies to introduce her fingers to the hot slippery flesh between Frith’s legs.  She shifted her body slightly to create room and began exploring.  Planting her thumb on Frith's clitoris she began to insert her index and second finger.  The blonde woman stiffened and gave a strangled cry of no.

Logan stopped moving and looked down concern on her face.

Frith gave a small smile. "Just not in me… please not now … anything else is fine ..."

"You sure you want to carry on?"

"God yes."

Logan's fingers gently retreated a little but took up position on the blonde's clit.  Slowly and surely they began moving, building a rhythm gently.  Frith moaned and matched the rhythm with her hips, grasping the tall woman's shoulders ferociously.

Logan kissed Frith gently on the lips and whispered "I need to see your body."

Raising herself gently off Frith’s body, she propped several pillows under the blonde woman's shoulders so her head and torso were slightly raised off the bed.  Logan then repositioned herself at the end of the bed on her stomach, lying between Frith’s legs, her shoulders even with Frith’s knees.  Logan's hand moved forward and resumed its task of pleasuring.

"You're so beautiful Frith, I needed to see all of you."  Logan's eyes roamed over the woman's face, hair, breasts, skin, cunt all displayed before her, completely open to her gaze.

If Frith felt at all vulnerable, it did not show, her eyes closing as Logan's hand kept up its relentless stroking, the intensity of feeling growing all the time.

Logan bent her head and began suckling the tender skin where thigh met torso, her tongue wetly exploring, nose occasionally nuzzling soft pubic hair.

The added sensations were more that Frith could bear, her legs tensing against the resistance of Logan's shoulders.  Her hips rose completely off the bed, Logan having the wherewithal to maintain her contact with the quivering woman.

It was all Logan could do not to laugh when the finale of Frith’s orgasm was a stream of four letter words not usually heard in polite society, nor, for that matter, making much in the way of grammatical sense.

Frith, however, was reveling in the intense sensation of her orgasm, exploring that internal space in her brain - an infinite fourth dimension - where all that counted was delicious feeling, sourced from the elimination of tension.  This was no petit mort. In this space, Frith lived.

Slowly calm was close to being restored and Logan withdrew her hand from between Frith's legs.  She climbed up the bed and drew Frith into her arms, kissing her on the top of her head.  She soon became aware that the shoulders she was holding were shuddering as Frith quietly wept.

"Hey, what's the matter? I didn't hurt you, did I?"

Frith shook her head, uncertainly looking up at Logan and making eye contact.

"No, it was great.  It's just ... I don't usually orgasm with other people. I mostly get myself off."

"Oh."  Logan wasn't sure if she was up for this conversation just yet.

Frith caught her uncertainty and sighed a little.

"It's okay Logan, I'm not looking for therapy.  It's just a fact of life for me.  It's not that I don't like sex, it's just I generally get other things out of it.  Tonight's been a bit of a surprise.  Actually, a fucking great surprise."  Even as there were tears on her face, she grinned.  "Sorry, I'm a bit all over the place."

Logan, thankful that she wasn't in for a 'deep and meaningful', grinned back and decided to lighten things up even further.

"Well, some sort of celebration is in order then, isn't it?"  Logan kissed Frith briefly on the lips, then left the bedroom.  She returned moments later, a plastic container and two spoons in her hand.

"Ice-cream.  Come on ... under the blankets."

The two women resettled themselves in the bed and, taking a spoon, they began feeding each other.

For Logan, the sight of Frith’s tongue cleaning her spoon brought to mind other possible activities for the body part in question.  She leaned over, confiscated the spoon and the tub of ice-cream and put them on the floor beside the bed.  Sliding down the bed, dragging Frith with her, she began kissing the small woman again, her hand cupping a breast.

Sexual tension, that for a few minutes had been at a simmer, was soon at a rolling boil again.
 


Logan awoke to the sun sneaking in between the curtains. She stretched, cat-like, the movements those of a woman whose body has been well loved.  Eyes still closed she did a quick inventory of her body. The odd twinge in her muscles, a dull but pleasant ache between her legs. Her head felt a little fuzzy, no doubt the result of an endorphin overload combined with a lack of sleep.  Her mind began surveying the previous night's activities, quickly discarding the action at Tall Trees in favor of the marathon of sex that had kept both women awake until just before dawn.

Her pleasant reverie was interrupted by the sound of a gentle thud of a car door being quietly shut. She clambered out of the disheveled bed and went over to the window. Drawing the rest of the curtain aside, she saw Frith's car disappearing under the trees. Not a good sign.
 

The Burning Tree Part 2
 

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