This came out at Ellora’s on Friday. Yay! Release day is always like a birthday or Christmas morning. Very exciting. I hope readers will like the fantasy setting.
Here’s an excerpt:
“May I ask you something, my lord?” She forced herself not to avoid his gaze, which caused her insides to melt.
He reached up and pushed a strand of her hair off her cheek. “Of course you may, Lara.”
She took a deep breath, shocked at the boldness she was about to exercise with her teacher. “Ariana told me that it.love.can be beautiful.” She felt her face cloud suddenly. “I would have had to serve Dogon, one of the queen’s ministers. Ariana saved me from that fate. He used to do terrible things to her. He.hurt her.” Ariana refused to tell Lara the details of what Dogon used to do to her, but she already knew because the day Dogon had come into the haram quarters and ripped off her gown, leering at her, he’d described in detail his wicked plans for her body on the night of her initiation as a bed-slave.
Sha’ul brushed his thumb across her cheek. “Praise to Galen that you and Ariana are both safe now.”
Lara nodded. His touch comforted her as much as it thrilled her and she savored the potent sensuality simmering between them. “Aye, my lord. I would have thought she’d fear intimacy, but she’s madly in love with my father and seems to have healed.”
He smiled gently, capturing her gaze. “I see that she is contented now. So, sweetling, what is your question?”
She swallowed past the lump forming in her throat. “I wanted to know if you feel the same as Ariana does.”
Sha’ul’s eyes darkened with a warm glow and his lids lowered, the long lashes forming a sensuous line across them. “Aye, Lara,” he whispered. “I do.” He leaned in toward her, sliding his fingers into her hair.
“I thought maybe.with you.I could heal.the same way.”
He gazed on her a moment longer. “I’m honored that you feel that way, Lara. I certainly want you to heal.”
“Then you would try?”
He smiled. “You told me yesterday you love me and I told you the same. The healing has already begun.” Cradling her head with his large hand, he slanted his mouth over hers in a tender kiss.
Lara’s eyes fluttered closed as his lips pressed against hers. His warm, musky scent mingled with the herb from the oil in an intoxicating blend. Her lips parted as her body weakened. Sha’ul’s tongue mated with hers, tasting her, stoking the already white-hot blaze in her loins.
After several moments, he lifted his face from their kiss and gazed down at her. “You’re enchanting, Lara,” he whispered in a husky tone.
Heat infused her cheeks and she looked down. “Thank you, my lord.”
“Now, I want you to be able to move your arms again.”
She glanced back up. “So do I.”
Sha’ul took hold of the hem of her blouse. “Lean forward,” he told her.
She obeyed and he slipped the blouse over her head, down the length of her arms until it was completely off. Her blush deepened as Sha’ul’s gaze roved from her face, over her breasts and stomach, to the vee between her thighs with its light curls.
His face darkened visibly from appreciation and desire. “By the gods, Lara, you are absolutely exquisite,” he murmured.
“Thank you, my lord.”
Reaching out, Sha’ul brushed his fingertips along her jaw, down her throat and across her chest. As he had the day before, he cupped her breast tenderly, this time, directly on her bare skin, brushing his thumb across her almond colored nipple. The soft tip pebbled immediately under his touch and Lara moaned softly, her eyes fluttering closed.
In the next moment, she felt Sha’ul’s lips pressing against hers again and parted them to let his tongue plunder her mouth with mounting urgency. Her fingertips stole up to his cheek, brushing across the masculine skin. Though he was clean-shaven, she could feel the rugged whiskers of a heavy beard.
Emboldened, Lara reached around and pulled the leather tie from Sha’ul’s hair. The silky tresses spilled over his shoulders. She let it slip between her fingers, to the ends, which reached the middle of his broad back.
Sha’ul pulled away from their kiss and pulled off his jerkin and shirt. Lara’s gaze went immediately to his bare chest, perusing each hillock and sculpted line, to the small dark nipples and swirls of silky black hair, a line of which trailed down the center of his taught stomach and disappeared below the belt of his trousers. He chuckled softly. “It appears as if the appreciation is mutual.”
She nodded, looking down. “It is, my lord,” she murmured.
“Good,” he answered. “That’s the way it should be.” He turned and pulled off his boots and then undid the belt of his trousers.
Lara stared as he pulled them off, revealing his powerful legs, dusted with dark hair, and his buttocks, round orbs of hard muscle.
He turned back to her, giving her her first view of the intimate part of his anatomy, already fully erect. Her gaze was trapped by the thick shaft of purplish skin and veins, springing from a nest of dark hair. In spite of the fate she’d nearly met as a bed-slave in the palace, she’d not yet seen a naked man up close.
“Touch me, if you want to.” Sha’ul’s voice was a tight whisper. “Whatever you want, Lara. I’m yours.”
His invitation caused a trail of fire through her belly into her core. Gingerly, she reached out, splaying the fingertips of one hand on his chest. Her hand looked so small against the bulge of muscle, which quivered under her touch. His skin was warm and his breathing rose and fell raggedly under her palm. The pad of her index finger grazed his nipple. The skin was smoother and tightened when she rubbed across it.
Sha’ul moaned softly in his throat as she ventured back across his chest, feeling the etched definitions of the muscles, honed and strengthened from years of disciplined training and fighting with heavy broadswords.
Her fingertips grazed lightly down his abdominal muscles, savoring each warm inch of taut flesh. She heard Sha’ul’s breath catch softly as her hand drew closer to his erection, hard and pulsing.
“Don’t stop, Lara,” he whispered.
His obvious enjoyment of her touch encouraged her, in spite of the fluttering in her heart. She held her breath as she pressed her fingertips tentatively on the head of his cock. It made a small jerking motion at her touch and she pulled away, alarmed.
“It’s all right.” Sha’ul was breathing raggedly now as he reached for her hand and gently guided it back, helping her to close her fingers around the shaft. With his hand over hers, he moved her hand up and down in small motions, moaning as he brought them to a quicker tempo. “That’s right, Lara,” he whispered.
The skin was velvety soft against her fingertips and her hand slid over the veins and hard muscle. Sha’ul removed his hand from hers and began to feel her breasts, squeezing one gently then the other.
Lara moaned softly, finding it difficult to concentrate on pleasuring him while he touched her.
He chuckled. “It’s all right, Lara. Come here.” With his hand on her upper arms, he laid her back on the fur skins, her head on the pillow and half-covered her with his body. Lowering his mouth to hers, he sipped from her lips, mating his tongue with hers, moist and hot, coaxing the fire within her to the surface.
Her arms went around his broad back, exploring the ridges of muscle with growing eagerness, slipping strands of his silky hair between her fingers. Sha’ul kissed her deeply, his hand venturing tenderly over her breasts, caressing the swells of flesh and kneading her nipples into tingling peaks.
Lara arched her back into his hand as her fears dissolved under his loving touch. Slowly he made his way down her stomach, smoothing his hand over her hip while he nibbled on her lower lip and teased her jaw with tiny love bites.
Sha’ul raised his face and caressed her hair, his gaze simmering into hers. Lara thought he was about to speak, but instead, he lowered his face down to her breast, closing his warm lips over her nipple.
The pleasurable sensation made her gasp. She wove her fingers into his hair, closing her eyes as he tugged gently on the tiny peak between his lips and tongue while kneading the other one between his fingertips. Jolts of heat traveled down from her breasts through her belly into her sex, which pulsed wildly. Instinctively she parted her legs and Sha’ul nested his body between them, his erection pressing into her slit. The tiny rubbing motions touched off more waves of heat and before she realized what she was doing, she grasped his buttocks, trying to pull him inside her.
“Sha’ul,” she whispered, her mind and senses whirling from Sha’ul’s sensual assault, as if she’d ingested too much mead.
He raised his face from her breasts, his face darkly flushed, his eyes smoldering like fiery coals. “What is it, love?” he whispered.
“I’m.ready, my lord.please.”
A wickedly mischievous grin spread across Sha’ul’s handsome face. “Are you?” he breathed. “Let me see for myself.” He rolled slightly to the side and slipped one hand down to the juncture of her thighs, whispering his fingertips along the fleshy lips of her sex.
Lara caught her breath at the intimate contact that sent shivers of pleasure through her core.
Sha’ul bent his head down. “Open your legs,” he breathed close to her ear before gently nipping her earlobe.
She obeyed and Sha’ul spread her vaginal lips open gently, caressing her swollen pink flesh. Her juices had gathered and coated his fingertips.
“Yes, sweetling,” he crooned softly, his voice husky and tight. “You are ready. But I’ll wait just a bit longer.”