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The Hollow Curse

by Stephen B. Pearl

The Hollow Curse - Stephen B. Pearl
Editions:Kindle - 1: $ 4.43
ISBN: 978-1-897532-53-9
Pages: 417

Ben and Alysia, sole mates, cursed to be separated by age and social norms until they live a life and raise a child together in love, struggle to defeat the curse.

Meanwhile, the originator of the curse, Dorry, hounds them from life to life in a selfish and self- destructive vendetta.

Follow these souls through Albert, Bernidine and Darius, nobles in fifteen hundreds France when the curse begins. To Abigail and Bernia Sapphic lovers in the year 1774 who are hounded by Donald, a false pretender to Abigail’s Estates.

Later still in the Colorado Territories of the American west shortly after the civil war Ada and Bailey, a young emancipated slave and a radical Doctor from the North, struggle to love against the bias of their time and the plots of Deigo.

Then in our current times, the lovers strive to break the curse and let love triumph. But is love enough when the world is against you?


Hours later, Bernia lay in bed tossing and turning. The evening had been amazing. Abigail had told them stories of the famous people she’d met during her trips to London. Then there had been the other. The way her eyes would linger on her, the gentleness of her touch when she would reach out a hand to make some point. Bernia had felt a warmth build in her like nothing she’d ever known. After going to bed she’d relieved herself, her mind flooded with thoughts of the older woman, but it hadn’t been enough. She’d thought of going to Nora’s room, but that was past. Nora had found Samuel and had no desire for schoolgirl antics anymore.

Bernia tossed again and decided sleep was impossible. Abigail was no schoolgirl for a lark. She was a woman and had been married and born a son. It was all impossible.


Standing, she ensured that her night-shift reached passed her ankles, then donned a pair of slippers and stepped from the room. Silently, she made her way along the hall to the conservatoire, opened the door and slipped in. The walls were lined with leather-bound books and two stories high. It was the largest private library she’d ever seen. At one side of the room were a desk and chair while a small sofa occupied the middle of the floor. A fireplace partially filled the wall by the entry door. Curtains hid the leaded-glass windows that made up the outside wall. A piano sat in the corner by the windows. Taking a taper from the tin pot by the fireplace, she lit it from the coals and used it to ignite the oil lamp on the table at the end of the sofa. Golden light flickered through the room, and she moved to scan the titles of the books. There was a creek. Bernia spun to see the door opening.

“Hello. I’d wondered if the servants had forgotten to extinguish the lamps.” Abigail stepped into the conservatory.

“I’m sorry. I could not sleep and thought to find something to read.” Bernia scanned her hostess who wore nothing save a white night-shift that revealed every curve of her body.

“One’s first night in a strange place can be difficult. Would you care to talk?”

“I do not wish to impose.” Bernia felt her nervousness peek.

“It is no imposition.” Abigail took a seat on the couch and patted the space beside her. Bernia obediently settled herself.

“I suppose I should have placed you and Nora in the same room. That might have been easier on you, since you shared a room at school.” Abigail’s eyes glinted in the lamplight.

“No! No, I think you were wise to give us each our own room. School is not, how is it you say, the way of the adult world.”

Abigail nodded, then stood. “I think I have a book you would be interested in. You did mention that you enjoy poetry, did you not?”

“Oui... Yes.” Bernia let her eyes devour the lines of her hostess’s body noting the dents her nipples made in the shift and imagining what those sweet buds would taste like.

“Here it is.” Abigail pulled a volume from the shelf. The cover was embossed with silver.

Sappho’s Sisters.” Bernia read the title aloud. “Who?”

“Sappho was a Greek lyricist. She was contemporary with Plato. Little of her work survives, but she was very popular in her day. These are works by others who wrote in a similar vein. Here.” Abigail opened the book to a marked page and passed it to Bernia. “Would you mind reading aloud. I so love this piece.”

Bernia cleared her throat and began.

To the Fair Clarinda by Aphra Behn


Fair lovely Maid, or if that Title be Too weak, too Feminine for Nobler thee, Permit a Name that more Approaches Truth: And let me call thee, Lovely Charming Youth. This last will justify my soft complaint, While that may serve to lessen my constraint; And without Blushes I the Youth pursue, When so much beauteous Woman is in view. Against thy Charms we struggle but in vain With thy deluding Form thou giv'st us pain, While the bright Nymph betrays us to the Swain. In pity to our Sex sure thou wer't sent, That we might Love, and yet be Innocent: For sure no Crime with thee we can commit; Or if we shou'd - thy Form excuses it. For who, that gathers fairest Flowers believes A Snake lies hid beneath the Fragrant Leaves.

Though beauteous Wonder of a different kind, Soft Cloris with the dear Alexis join'd; When e'er the Manly part of thee, wou'd plead Though tempts us with the Image of the Maid, While we the noblest Passions do extend The Love to Hermes, Aphrodite the Friend.


“It... it’s a love poem. From a woman, to a woman!” Bernia lay the book on her lap and looked shocked.

“That amazes you? I would think that after sporting with Nora.” Abigail sat back and stared at the girl who looked scared and confused.

“I... How? Samuel has nought to fear from me! Nora does not look to me for her passions! She desires only him!” Bernia stared at the book in her lap.

Abigail stroked the young woman’s cheek with two fingers, then placing them under her chin, raised Bernia’s eyes to meet her own. “It is no comment on thee, you are lovely and as charming as a day in spring. Many taste of Sappho’s pleasures in youth. Some, likely most, leave them behind for husband and children. Some embrace both Venous and Mars, taking their pleasures where they may. Still, others find the comfort of their own sex most fulfilling and do not choose to shift from it. Do not let Nora’s choice cause you grief. I speak from the wisdom of years when I tell you there will be others that you will come to know with those most intimate pleasures.”

“I... I.” Bernia gazed into Abigail’s blue eyes and saw nothing but compassion and understanding. For the first time in her life, the young woman let her fears flow from her lips. “I have never known a man that touched my ardour. I look at them and feel as if I gaze upon a brother. I look at yo... women, and I wish to touch them. All I have been taught tells me this is evil, and I am diseased because of it. I feel such shame!”

Abigail smiled gently. “There is no evil in you. Fear and self-loathing are potent tools for those who would control others. Rome left the path of any true faith long ago. Look to an older truth. In ancient times Goddesses were as plentiful as Gods. Men have twisted truth to their own self-serving ends. That which is most high is neither and both man and woman. And if we are fashioned after the most high’s image, need we be so extreme in our nature as to deny ourselves that which we desire. In all things ask yourself; does your action cause harm? Think now, does the form your passions take harm another?”

Bernia considered. “I... I do not believe so. One must be willing. Nora is no worse for our time, and for a while, it was a comfort and warmth to both of us.”

“You see, my dear. Men who would rule the world call much sin and those who would be free must consider and decide for themselves between good and evil.”

“You do not see it evil, that I look on women with lust in my heart?”

Abigail smiled and gently caressed Bernia’s cheek allowing her hand to play along the length of her swan-like neck and down her side. “What could be evil in seeing beauty in the gentle curves of a woman’s body?”

Bernia closed her eyes. Her lips parted as her slight breasts heaved under her shift.

“Of loving the softness of the breasts that rise just a little.” Abigail cupped Bernia’s breasts through her shift and lightly traced her nipples through the thin fabric with her thumbs.

Bernia moaned.

“Of tasting the softness of a woman’s sweet lips.” Abigail gently brushed her lips against the younger woman’s.

Bernia kissed back feeling the warm fullness of Abigail’s lips against her own. Abigail’s arms enfolded the young woman as her hands traced lines up and down her spine.

After a long moment, Bernia pulled away. Her face was flushed and breathing rapid. “What if someone should come?”

“The servants know not to disturb me in my conservatoire, and Samuel knows full well of my predilections. I hold no secrets from my son, and he loves me well despite myself. Now come my sweet and press your lips to mine. Let the love of womankind enfold us, my beautiful nymph.”


About the Author

Stephen B. Pearl is a multiple published author whose works range across the speculative fiction field. His writings often incorporate real places and focus heavily on the logical consequences of the worlds he crafts. He follows advancements in science because good science fiction is based on good science. His life-long association with cats has given him insights into the species.

Stephen’s Inspirations encompass H.G. Wells, J.R. Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Jim Butcher, Anne McCaffrey, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Homer among others. He strongly believes that good fiction is based on good fact, so he can often be found researching elements of his next book. He also holds that to write one must read and that there is greatness in all forms of literature. One could say he pursues the great-- then to the best of his abilities tries to distil it down and express it as his own original work.
Stephen currently resides in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and can be reached through his website: or e-mail: