Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It's Here!

Beltaine Bargain is being released today from the wonderful people at The Wild Rose Press. It is a Faery Miniature Rose, which means it is a paranormal short story. It is also my first ever historical piece, so I'm doubly excited about this one. Get your copy today at

Rhodri of Llyan has returned from the Crusades a cursed man. On the way home to Wales, a young friend is sorely injured, and Rhodri seeks the aid of village healer, Selene, whose gift for healing is as uncanny as her beauty. Can Selene’s magic find a way to break the curse, and heal the wounds on his heart? And what price will she demand for her help? Can he meet her Beltaine Bargain?

Inexorably, the new moon approached, no more than four or five days away by his estimation. The power and hunger coiled and rolled in his belly, throbbed in his manhood when he thought of Selene. He wanted her more than he ever had any woman. Even Zara. His wife.

He stripped off his tunic as he approached the stream, folding it and laying it on a mossy patch of ground. He hadn’t bothered with tabard or surcoat while staying with Selene, the formal trappings seemed to have no business in this tiny pocket of paradise. He tugged off his boots and sat them alongside his sword belt and bow. He’d never seen another soul by the gentle river, but he’d grown too wary in his years to allow his weapons to be far out of reach. With one last look around, he pulled off his braes and waded into the chilly current.

The splashing sound took him by surprise, as did the startled, “oh!” that followed it. The noise came from just around the bend in the stream, so Rhodri waded over to see who it was, peeking cautiously around the tall weeds that hid the next section of river.

He stood frozen at the sight that met his gaze, his jaw hanging, and eyes unblinking. Holy Mother of God, it was Selene. She was bending over with her back to him, but he’d know that delicious rump anywhere. Only now it was hidden by naught but a thin layer of wet linen, which molded to every curve and dip of her flesh.

“There you are!” She stood, clutching the cake of soap that she must have dropped moments earlier. She hummed in her endearingly off-key voice as she began to soap one tiny white foot that she lifted in front of her. He must have made a sound, because she shrieked, and whirled to look at him. But she must have forgotten she stood on one foot, because with another cry, she toppled into the water.

Rhodri wasn’t sure he’d ever moved faster, even in the midst of a battle. He practically flew to her side, drew her sputtering face above the surface, then held her close as she coughed.

“Rhodri!” Her pearly skin reddened as she realized who held her. “You startled me!”

“I’m sorry, sweeting. Can you breathe yet?” He watched her anxiously for signs of harm.

“I’m fine.” She brushed her wet hair back from her face with one hand, still clinging to his chest with the other. To his immense relief, her breathing began to return to normal.

But his own lungs were still heaving, his heart pumping furiously. It had finally occurred to him that they were standing in each other’s arms, with only a thin scrap of cloth between their wet, naked bodies. He nearly staggered as every last drop of blood left his head for places south.

“Oh my!” Selene’s soft, gentle hand began tracing the lines of his chest, the planes of his ribs. She gripped one shoulder as though testing its strength before sliding in a slow, sensuous stroke down the muscles of his arm. Her tiny pink tongue darted out to moisten her rosebud lips, and her breath had speeded up again, almost matching the ragged pace of his own.

“Selene!” Her name was all he could groan before he gave into the need, and allowed his hungry lips to crush down on hers. She must not have minded, because she tightened her grip on his waist and shoulder, then rose to her tiptoes to meet his kiss. Rhodri was lost then, and he wrapped his arms round her slender waist, pulling her body even tighter against his.

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