Jewel of the Sun's BLOOD DESTINY - available at Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and a few other places. - sizzling romantic paranormal
“Elan, please. Can we
He looked through the
camera at her as he spoke, “It’s not personal. It’s a means.”
“A means to what? I
“Damn it, don’t talk in
riddles,” she said, realizing he was taking photos. Too bad, if they come out
crappy, if he’d be straight with her, she wouldn’t have to disrupt his play.
“No riddles. A means to
the end. We follow the path of the visions and they’re over.”
the path of the visions. Suddenly,
she felt as if she’d been knocked down and found herself sitting on the bench,
her hands gripping it for support. Her mind tried to wrap around his
No, he couldn’t mean it
the way she took it. They were strangers. Sure she wanted him, but it was her
mind’s game. Shudders swept through her. “I don’t understand,” she said.
“Cross your legs.”
His words barely
registered, but she crossed her legs and her hands shook so much she couldn’t
straighten the skirt. Before she knew he’d moved, he was there, kneeling. He
stopped her hands with his.
“Look at me!” he commanded
with a quietness she had to obey.
She had to look at him.
“You can’t mean…this can’t…I can’t…”
He brought her hands to
his lips, caressing them. “When the time’s right, there will be no fear.”
“I’m not scared.
Practical. I don’t go to bed with anyone, especially if we’re strangers.”
“You’ve been thinking of
“Yes, but it was the
dreams, being here…it’s like déjà vu. It’s natural I would.” She tried to free
her hands, but he wouldn’t let go.
“It’s not our will. We use
our will to break a binding.” He played with the ring. “Bound by the jewel of
“We must talk tomorrow.
Time is slipping away. We deviate long, it will not work.”
“You want me to sleep with
you without knowing why.”
He touched her trembling
lips. “For now. Trust me.”
Right, the first thing her
grandfather told her about boys was to never trust one who says ‘trust me’. He
let her other hand go and fixed the skirt around her legs. His warm fingers
straightened the anklet, and then he studied her with his infamous eye.
“Close your eyes. Breathe.
Cassandra closed her eyes
and breathed, but she didn’t relax. How could she? He wants to use her.
“Let it happen. Let it
consume as before.” He tipped her chin enough to tilt her head. “Want me like
“I do,” she whispered. “I
burn for completion.” She did and maybe that’s why she felt herself giving in
without much hesitance.
He returned to the camera
and her leg bounced as she relaxed with her hands on the bench. She stopped the
movement, because not only could it ruin his photos, but also the rocking of
flesh against flesh fueled the smoldering ache between her thighs.
When he’d done as many
shots with the still as he wanted, he picked up the digital and came in closer
with each click. Though he never deviated from his work, she sensed a change in
him. Who knows, it’s possible the discussion they’d had changed things between
them. Maybe her admission of wanting to get her hands on him excited him. For
herself, she found the instructions he gave easier to do and fun.
Some eight, ten shots
later, he told her, “Walk around the bench toward the wall of ivy and give me
an over the shoulder look.”
Cassandra took a few
steps, looked over her shoulder and saw he’d lowered the camera. “Did I do it
“No.” He brought the
camera up and shot. “Needed you to relax into in to it.”
“Oh.” She smiled and
turned looked over her other shoulder, while telling him, “You’re being easy on
me, I think.”
“For now.” His words, the
husky sound of his voice sent tingling sensations through her body. “I’m
changing the scene,” he said, setting the camera down a few minutes later.
now. What did he
mean? She watched him walk past her and raise the screens to reveal white-paned
French doors. There was darkness beyond the panes. She looked around for a
clock and wondered why she’d never noticed it before. It set over the doorway
and told her it was eight thirty. Had they been at it for almost two hours?
The butterflies returned
to her stomach, but not from worry. The way all this was playing out was
responsible. The trickle of information she had to pull from him like a
splinter under the skin raised many more questions.
Elan finished with the
screens and before he could tell her what she was to do next, she had to try to
get more answers. “You obviously know more than I do. Tell me what you know.
How did this happen? Who would do this to two strangers?”
He stood before her and
caressed her forehead with the pad of his thumb, smoothing a frown she
supposed. “It’s complicated.”
He scanned her face making
her feel as if he was memorizing her features, her bone structure, but then he
focused on her mouth. His eyes didn’t falter. He simply saw, caressed without
touching. Cassandra parted her lips in anticipation, he came closer his breath
fanning her face. She raised her chin wanting him to close the distance, her
eyes searching brown circles intent on her mouth. Her breasts rose and fell.
Her tongue ran over her lips and a groan slipped from him. His lips brushed
hers, left her, touched again and then covered them completely. She moaned as
she leaned in for a deeper connection, feeling like she was slipping down wet,
grassy hill. Unable to stop herself, she sank into him and when she started to
wind her arms round his neck, his mouth left hers.
“Answers will come,” he
said. “Now we follow through.”
As we gather with our family today, let's not forget to give those who fought and died for our country more than a 'oh yeah, it's memorial day, let's party'. Wouldn't it be great to discuss how this day became a day to honor the dead soldiers. After all, we wouldn't have the freedoms we have without their sacrifice. Pay tribute to a family who lost their loved one in war.
Morcar the Earl is a pagan, hated by the Norman Bishop Cyril. Cyril and his bastard son Gaspar plot to unseat Morcar and kidnap his son Thorfinn to raise as a puppet manipulated by Cyril. Morcar is overcome and flung into a cave chained to a young woman, the witch Hemlock. Hemlock has herself been betrayed by Gaspar, who had forced her to be his mistress and then abandoned her once she became pregnant. Hemlock has just lost her unborn baby and is highly distrustful of men. As a pagan, Morcar believes in many gods and worships the ancient stag god, whose horned tattoo he bears on his arm. It is partly for fear of the god that Cyril’s men dared not murder him, instead manacling him to Hemlock and leaving them both to starve. Can they work together to escape? Can they recover Thorfinn? In the end, what future can there be between an earl and a witch?
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance.
Fall of the Year, 1133, Northern England
Someone petted his hair. At least he still had a head, although it felt like a splintered log, which Morcar decided was better than the alternative. But what had happened?
Without opening his eyes, he flexed his fingers and toes, a rush of gratitude sweeping through him as he realized his limbs were also still attached.
And they may not have been.
A memory fell into him like a striking hammer on an anvil. Sudden fist and knife blows from behind, from unseen unanticipated enemies, wild fighting, his son—
Morcar reared up with a shout. The slim fingers petting his hair pushed him back down.
“Your lad is alive,” a voice breathed by his ear. “Alive and whole. The church-men took him. Sleep.”
“Do not order…”
The hand resumed carding through his hair and Morcar wallowed back into unconsciousness.
* * * *
Later he blinked again into wakefulness. His brains no longer felt to be seeping from his skull and his shoulders burned, which he assumed was an improvement on the hollow ringing that had throbbed through his body earlier. Shifting slightly, he forced his eyes open wider, seeing an orange, flickering glare against a black backdrop. Is it night or am I underground?
“Sage tea. Want some?”
Jerking aside, Morcar rolled onto his back and yelped, his vision blurring afresh for an instant.
“You have grazes and knife cuts and deep bruises down your spine but you can move so you will heal up tight. Tisane?”
He smelled the fresh, head-clearing sage tea, then, and watched a cup wobble in out of the gloom in front of him. Squirming onto his side, Morcar tried to clasp the cup and failed, tried again and succeeded.
He groaned as the hot drink almost scalded the back of his throat and then thirstily drained the rest of the cup.
“More?” the voice suggested.
His clearing vision showed a pair of startled hazel eyes and a heart-shaped, delicate face, framed by a melee of tangled tresses. The spiky brown hair looked surprisingly pretty on this urchin, though he had only seen short hair for women on female prisoners before. But what was he rambling about? Focus.A girl. My nurse is a girl. Her brilliant eyes reminded him sharply of Maud, his wife. My wife! Mother of our son. Thank the Gods she died in her sleep three winters past, at peace and ready to join the old ones. He could not have borne her suffering, else, or her knowing that their child had been stolen away.
Thorfinn, their son. Small and dark-haired like his mother, with a gap-toothed grin and a low, chortling laugh. Thorfinn, with his secret bedtime toy of a raggedy cloth robin and his favorite bright red boots. Named for the God Thor and Maud’s father, Finn. Five years old and already a fearless horseman and a merry, good-natured soul who would share his supper with any who looked hungry. Thorfinn would be a generous lord, leading his people with a high heart. Unless the church-men corrupt him. That is why they kidnapped him, to act as regents in my—his—lands and to raise him as they see fit.
Remembering Thorfinn’s wild sobbing as the bishops’ men took the boy away was the worst sound he had ever heard. Grief bit into his lungs, harsh as a Viking blood-eagle, and Morcar choked.
“Sit up, please,” the girl beside him coaxed. “You will breathe the easier.”
“Thor’s hammer! Do not order me—” Morcar’s rasped complaint subsided into a new bout of coughing. The wretched girl seized the advantage. Hauling him up under his arms like a bag of tools, she dragged him into a sitting position, bracing his back with a knobbly knee. Another cup of sage tea appeared and Morcar drank it, scowling at his rescuer. She was small and prickly, like a hedgehog, if such a creature ever dressed in a faded, ruby-colored gown and with grubby bare feet.
“My name is Hemlock.”
At his stifled snort, the girl flicked her bangs back from her forehead like an irritated mare shaking its mane and went on, “I am a hedge-witch, though by no means as powerful as Elfrida, Magnus’s wife.”
Morcar nodded his understanding, feeling a little ashamed now of smirking at her unusual name. The church-men disliked witches nearly as much as they disapproved of pagans.
“You follow the old ways?” he asked, wondering where they were.
Hemlock’s answer had him twisting round to stare at her. “Always. After my parents died, my greedy brother sold me to Gaspar, the bishop’s son. He baptized me by force and re-named me Mary. He cut off my long hair and sold it. I worked in his household for two years. Despite my protests and distaste, he kept me as a mistress until I got with child because I no longer possessed the herbs to make a pregnancy-stopping tisane. Then the pious bishop’s son called me a whore and cast me out.”
Hemlock stopped speaking, the sound of her quickened breathing very loud and echoing faintly. We are in an enclosed space, then, possibly close to the sea from the faint tang of salt Ican smell and taste in the air.
“Why should Gaspar do that?” he asked, feeling still very slow and stupid as he caught up with Gaspar’s casual cruelty. To shear off a woman’s glory, her hair and then sell it, and worse, to throw her from his household when she was pregnant—Morcar shuddered, strongly, once. Children were a gift from the gods. “Why?” he asked a second time.
“He wants no bastards,” snapped Hemlock. She had gone pale, white to the lips. In the dark of the cave her face hung beside his like a death mask on a pole.