Category Archives: Lady of Thorns

Mid Week Tease: Red Robin and the Huntsman #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This week I’m teasing you with a new snippet from my holiday novella Red Robin and the Huntsman. In it, we get a look at Duncan and Roberta: The Early Years, and see how things went sour between them. Man, I’m a mean author…

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!


Getting ready for bed was a matter of shucking out of the day’s clothes, giving himself a quick wash with the now-cold water left on the dresser, then climbing into bed. The sheets were as cold as the water, and Duncan wondered if perhaps his men in the camp weren’t better off after all. At least they would have a decent fire, unlike the pitiful pile of twigs burning in his fireplace.

Waiting for the bedclothes to warm up, he thought about the woman sleeping not a hundred yards from his own bed. I suppose I should consider myself lucky I have a room at all. Considering the way she was looking at me, she would’ve put me in the stables if Devines hadn’t spoken up.

He turned over in the chilly bedclothes and remembered a happier time…

****

“Hellas?” Roberta Duquesne’s eyes widened at the news. “For how long?”

“Six months, give or take,” Duncan said, pacing the length of her father’s sitting room. He’d come straight from the barracks with the news and was too excited to sit down. “Possibly longer if we’re held up by storms.”

Being chosen for the Ypresian military delegation that would be sent to the island nation was an incredible honor, especially for an ensign fresh out of the academy. The ambassadors of King Matthias and King Cresus of Hellas had been working for the past year on a massive trade treaty between their countries. After all the details were finally hammered out, it would be sealed by the marriage of the king’s son Crown Prince Lucas to the Hellene heir Princess Danaë, once both of them were old enough to wed.

Even better, the treaty would also involve co-training of the two countries’ military forces. This delegation was the test case to see how that could best be achieved. Duncan wasn’t all that enthusiastic about having to spend time on a boat, but the experience he would gain in Hellas would be invaluable for his career. Once he returned to Ypres, he would be one of the officers setting out the track for the entire army’s future. His father was already lieutenant commander of the Ypresian army; he might even surpass that someday and become Lord Commander himself.

So he was disappointed when Robin sank onto a chair at his news, confusion and dismay warring on her face. Her father, Colonel Gerard Duquesne, had served as the commandant of the military academy for the last ten years. Of all people, she should know that a soldier’s life wasn’t his own. “They only chose three ensigns to go,” he said now, trying to ignore his irritation. “If I do well in Hellas, I’m sure to be promoted within the year.”

She still looked miserable. “But you’ll be in Hellas for half a year, Duncan. That’s so far away.”

“Aye, but it’s the only way we can learn how to fight alongside sailors. They can come here for the land trials, but we have to go where the water is for the sea trials.” He paused in front of the fireplace, relishing the heat. It was only autumn, but Mons had already seen a light dusting of snow. Hellas is supposed to be warm year ’round. Perhaps I could bring her out there for a trip–with a chaperone, of course.

He glanced at her, wondering how to snap her out of this puzzling funk. Their fathers had been army comrades for years, their families mingling at holidays and other celebrations. For most of Duncan’s childhood Robin had been a thin, gawky, annoying girl who insisted on being included in his war games with Ewan and Hamish. After he had gone off to the military academy, determined to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a renowned cavalry officer, all thoughts of Robin Duquesne evaporated from his head until his last year of school when his class was required to attend the academy’s Harvest Ball.

The event was held in order to give the future officers a semblance of social polish, and was always well attended by pretty young women eager to find a military husband. Reluctantly, Duncan had accompanied the other officer candidates to the ball, lurking on the outskirts of the dance floor. His unusual height presented certain disadvantages when it came to dancing; either the girl got a crick in her neck from peering up at him, or he spent the dance staring at the crown of her head. Granted, it also meant he got a good look at her bosom, but that tended to cause a certain reaction below the belt. The offset alignment in heights made it hard to hide his interest and had earned him a slapped face more than once.

He’d been on the verge of leaving when a tall, gorgeous redhead broke free from the feminine throng and approached him. Her pale teal gown made her look like a seamaid rising from the foam and outlined sleek curves that made his palms sweat. “Thank the gods you’re here, Duncan,” she said with a delighted smile. “Will you please dance with me and save me from the lead boots of your brother officers?”

With a start, he recognized Robin Duquesne. The annoying little girl of his memory had grown up into a stunning young woman. It took a moment to find his tongue, but he finally managed, “If you like. I’m warning you, I’m not much better.”

“At least you’re light on your feet. I’m willing to risk it.”

The sparkle in her eyes had been impossible to resist. He led her onto the dance floor, surprised at the way she fit so well in his arms, and found himself gliding around the ballroom with her as if they’d been dancing together for years. Without quite intending to, he found himself courting her. The sniping of their childhood slowly transmuted into easy bantering and a genuine rapport, spiced with sweet kisses and stolen caresses. Best of all, Robin had a knack for anticipating his thoughts, which was why her current dismay at his posting was so surprising.

“Six months isn’t that long, if you think about it,” he offered.

She scoffed at that. “Easy for you to say. What am I supposed to do while you’re off learning naval warfare?”

“I assumed you’d keep doing what you’ve been doing. Helping your ma, studying with your da, volunteering at the widows and orphans’ home, that sort of thing.”

Her eyes narrowed. “I see. So you go off to learn naval battle tactics, while I stay home with my parents and do charity work.”

Her chilly tone was as clear as a trumpet call to battle. “If there’s something else you want to do while I’m gone, you don’t need my permission,” he said, trying to sound conciliatory. “Go off and do it.”

“How kind of you. Unfortunately for me, the one thing I want to do requires the assistance of a husband.”

Duncan smothered a sigh. He knew she didn’t mean bedding, much as he longed to get her naked and under him. She wanted to marry him. “Robin, we’ve talked about this.”

“Yes, we have. You didn’t want to get married until you graduated. I could see your point, so I waited. Then, you had to find your footing in the army. Once again, I saw your point, so I waited. Now I learn that you’re heading off to Hellas for six months, give or take.” An elegant hand rose, opening in a sharp gesture. “Were you ever planning on marrying me, or was this all some elaborate ploy to stay in my father’s good graces?”

Duncan bristled. “That’s not fair, and you know it.”

“Isn’t it? I know Father was the one who drew up the list of officers to be sent to Hellas.”

“Which my da approved,” he shot back.

“Your father would’ve never put you on that list, and you know it. He’s bent over backwards to stay away from your military career.”

He tried to tamp down his rising anger. For the gods’ sake, why was she being so irrational? “I didn’t need my da’s help to get this posting, or yours,” he snapped. “I earned my way onto that list. I had the highest grades of my graduating class, and I’ve excelled at every training opportunity I’ve been given. I’m a damned good officer, Robin, and I deserve to go to Hellas.”

In prior years, she would have shouted at him, giving as good as she’d gotten. Now, her expression closed off, leaving him with a marble effigy of the woman he loved. Damn it, Robin, why can’t you see how this will help both of us? Sighing, he knelt down in front of her chair, taking her cold hands in his own. “Don’t you understand what this can mean for me, love? Quicker promotions, better postings, more money for a household.” He rubbed his thumbs over her delicate skin, trying to warm it. “And I need that money if I’m to marry you. Do you want to live in some run-down boarding house while I’m deployed? Because that’s all I can afford for you at the moment.”

She looked away, profile limned by the firelight. “I suppose not.”

“No, I didn’t think you would.” He lowered his tone, making it persuasive. “So I go to Hellas, do the best job I can do, and line things up for a promotion when I get back. And after that, we’ll get married, if that’s what you want.”

Now she turned back, storm-blue eyes focusing on him. “Is that what you want, Duncan?”

He paused, aware that he was treading on dangerous ground. He had always assumed that they would marry at some point. He had no issue with the idea, especially if it got Robin into his bed, but he wanted it to happen at the right time with regards to his career. Taking on a dependent (or more, if she got pregnant early) wasn’t on the schedule just yet.

But saying that out loud would just anger her even more. “Of course I want to marry you. And we’ll talk about it in more detail when I get back from Hellas, I promise.” He leaned closer, gazing into the storm-blue eyes he loved. “Trust me, Robin. Please.”

She hesitated for a moment, then nodded. “All right. Go to Hellas and make your mark. But I’ll expect regular letters, understood?”

“Of course, love.” He kissed her, breathing in her honeysuckle perfume as he memorized the softness of her lips. Gods, he truly would miss her. “I’ll write you every day, I promise.”

He had meant to keep that promise, even bringing paper, sealing wax, and ink with him to the island of Rhodope where the training would commence. But there had been so much to do, what with the working on the integration of Ypresian and Hellene fighting styles, teaching sailors how to ride horses and learning how to handle sail lines and tillers. And then there were the multitudinous tasks delegated to him and the other ensigns by their superior officers. By the time he reached his cot every night, he barely had enough energy to crawl under the thin cotton blanket and fall into dreamless slumber. He kept meaning to write to Robin, would remind himself to do just that the next day before drifting off. And then the next day would dawn and he would be back in the grind.

It wasn’t until his delegation was preparing to leave that he found himself with enough time to compose a letter. He had sat there, staring at the blank paper, a drop of ink hanging off the nib of his quill. Why even bother? It’ll take a week to reach her, and I’ll be there less than a week afterward. Better to save all the news for when I can tell her in person.

Cheered at the thought, he wiped off the quill and put it away. Two more weeks, and he would be back in Mons with his beautiful Robin. Everything would be wonderful then.


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SO much cleaning to do…

One of the side effects of NaNoWriMo is that housekeeping in the Cameron manse usually falls by the wayside while I try to make word count. This year, however, I’m 1) well ahead of schedule (more on that below), and 2) still have to do the cleaning that fell by the wayside while I was editing Lady of Thorns. So I’ve instituted a plan of writing for a half hour, then cleaning for a half hour, then writing, then cleaning. Or in the last couple of days’ case, writing/raking. Sweet mother of Cthulhu, but we have a lot of leaves in the front yard. I’ve already raked up 8 bags’ worth and there will be at least another eight bags to go.

But it’s got to be done because otherwise they blow all over the street and I feel like a slacker (plus it’s not good for the lawn to be covered with leaves). That being said, after the last two days of raking I kinda feel like I’ve been beaten by Mob enforcers so I may well take today off from raking (the leaves aren’t going anywhere, after all) and focus on vacuuming the downstairs. Because 5 cats + 2 humans = one hell of a lot of hair/fur/dander. Thank Zoroaster for Dyson vacuums, that’s all I have to say.

In other news, my NaNoWriMo projects are a skosh over 30,000 words, one of them will be out on December 5th as a holiday novella (Red Robin and the Huntsman, set in the Two Thrones universe), and I just found a memory on Facebook from 2011 stating that I’d be happy if I could write a book a year, plus assorted short stories. Ha. Ha. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, I was a sweet summer child back i 2011, wasn’t I?

Oh, finally, if you’ve read Lady of Thorns could I ask you to leave a review on your preferred site? Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, it’s all good. I just need more reviews. Thanks!

Mid Week Tease: Red Robin and the Huntsman #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This week I’m teasing you with another snippet from my holiday novella set in the Two Thrones universe, Red Robin and the Huntsman. This is the scene where a captured Duncan first finds out who’s behind the banditry plaguing the province of Wellen. Heh, heh, heh…

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!


The first thing Duncan became aware of was a sullen, painful pounding in his head. Groaning, he tried to straighten up, and couldn’t.

Opening his eyes didn’t improve matters much. His smeary vision slowly came into focus, revealing a room in what appeared to be a small cottage. Its once-whitewashed walls were stained yellow with age and in dire need of repair. Glancing down, he saw that someone had tied him to a wooden chair.

The leader of the thieves came into view, peering down at him. “Good, you’re awake,” he said. The brazen tone from the raid was gone. Now he sounded conciliatory. “I was hoping we wouldn’t have to toss a bucket of water over you. Bit too nippy for that sort of thing, you see.”

“Thanks.” Duncan winced as the words set off echoes of pain in his skull. “Where am I?”

“Somewhere safe. The Redbird wants a word with you.”

“He does, does he?” That caused the painful fog to dissipate. “You do know how much trouble all of you are in, yes?”

The thief’s shoulders twitched. “I’m not the one tied to a chair, captain. Best mind your manners with the Redbird. None of us will tolerate lip.” He hefted his pike meaningfully.

Duncan tried to swallow, but his mouth was desert-dry. “Let’s get this over with. Send the bastard in.”

The thief shook his head, snorting. “You’ve got bollocks like boulders, my friend. On your own head be it.” He nodded to someone out of sight.

A figure in a long, dark red cloak with a hood strode into view. It was the stride more than the dramatic cloak that caught Duncan’s attention. Clearly this was the infamous Redbird, leader of the Wellen brigands.

“You shouldn’t have come here, captain,” the cloaked figure whispered, a harsh sound in the silence of the cottage. “Now we have to kill you.”

Duncan bit his lip to restrain a laugh. The dim illumination from the room’s fireplace couldn’t penetrate the shadows of the hood, presumably on purpose. He focused instead on the boots. Good quality, excellent even, unlike the footwear he’d noticed on the rest of the thieves. And on the small side.

He took in a deep breath. What he smelled on the cold, dusty air confirmed his suspicions. “You can always ransom me,” he offered. “My father’s lord commander of the royal army. He’ll pay for my safe return.”

The Redbird’s hood shifted, turning to the thief for a moment. “How much?”

“Oh, I’d say enough to pay for a decent breakfast with meat. Maybe even some bread as well.” He allowed himself a brief smile. “Your dining hall could do with some variety, Robin. A man can only eat oatmeal so many times.”

The cloaked figure let out a hissed curse before yanking back its hood. Lady Roberta Busse’s now-irritated face appeared, glaring at him. “How did you know?”

“Your walk. Men and women walk differently. Something about the difference in our hips, I suspect. Then I noticed your boots. They’re smaller than a man’s.” He shrugged as best as he could in the ropes. “Finally, I recognized your perfume. You still wear honeysuckle essence.”

“Damn it.” She planted fists on her hips, looking like a furious fire sprite with her flaming hair. Duncan’s treacherous heart ached at the sight. “So what now? Are you going to threaten me with prison? Haul me back to the capital in chains for theft against the crown?”

He had to be careful. He was still tied to a chair, and the thief behind his lost lady love was armed. “I could. But somehow I don’t think you’d risk capture and imprisonment, not to mention the ruin of your son’s reputation, just for gold.” He held up his bound hands. “Plus there’s the fact that I’m somewhat tied up at the moment. What say you cut me loose, then take a seat and tell me what in blazes is going on here.”


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Mid Week Tease: Red Robin and the Huntsman #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This week I’m teasing you with a snippet from my holiday novella set in the Two Thrones universe. Titled Red Robin and the Huntsman, it introduces a few new characters to the series such as Duncan Bardahlson, the eldest son of Matthias’s lord commander Ferdal Bardahlson. And if you follow my FB or Twitter, you know who I cast as Duncan in my head, heh, heh.

When Duncan is sent (along with his annoying brothers Ewan and Hamish) to investigate bandits attacking tax collectors in a small province, he comes face to face with a lost love, the now-widowed Lady Roberta Busse. Will Duncan get a second chance at happiness with Roberta, or is he doomed to spend Frost Fair alone? You’ll find out in December!

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!


They sat on the bed, Robin’s head on his shoulder. “I missed you.”

“I missed you, too. I’m sorry.”

“So am I. We were both fools.”

“No, just young and hotheaded.” Without thinking, Duncan kissed her hair. To his relief she didn’t push him away. “And stubborn as blazes.”

“That’s an understatement.” She chuckled. “Poor Charles. He thought he was getting a demure, gently raised flower as his wife. And he got me instead.”

“Aye. But from the sounds of things, that’s what he needed. Someone strong enough to hold things together when he couldn’t.”

She looked up at him. “And you didn’t need that.”

This time he kissed her forehead. “Says who?”

“Duncan.”

“No, I mean it. I needed you, Robin. I was too arrogant and foolish to tell you, aye. But I needed you.”

Praying he wasn’t doing the wrong thing, he kissed her lips. They were cool against his own, and his heart sank. I’m a fool, I never should have done this…

Then her mouth softened. He heard a small, hungry noise. He wasn’t sure which one of them had made it, and didn’t care. Raising his hand to cup the tangled silk of her hair, he kissed her harder. She responded, opening her mouth and meeting his tongue with her own.

It felt like coming home. She tasted the same as she had twelve years ago, when she was still Roberta Duquesne and he thought he had all the time in the world to woo her. He lost himself in the sensual, swirling dance and the sweet taste of her, the only woman he had ever loved.

And then they were stretched out over the heavy coverlet, Robin in his arms. Her breasts and belly pressed against him like he’d always dreamed, filling him with a hot craving to take her. He had enough presence of mind to pull away from her mouth, sucking in a breath. “If you want to stop, say so now. Please.”

****

Robin wasn’t sure if she wanted to laugh or cry at Duncan’s agonized question. If he moved away now and left her aching and unfulfilled, she’d go mad. “I don’t want to stop,” she breathed, stroking the soft prickly stubble on his cheek. “I need you. Please, Duncan.”

“Gods.” It was curse and prayer at the same time. His lips came down on hers again, a welcome invader claiming new territory. She surrendered happily, kissing him with all the passion that had lain dormant since Charles’s death.

One large hand with those long, clever fingers stroked her cheek, her throat, tracing lines of fire along her skin. They dropped down to the top of her chest, toying with the neckline of her nightgown but going no further. That was Duncan, a gentleman to the end.

Impatient, she grabbed his hand and placed it on her left breast. The lovely sensation of it made her groan, and the warmth of his palm caused her nipple to stiffen.

He chuckled against her lips. “Forward lass.”

“When was I not?”

“True.” He cupped her breast, squeezing gently before letting it go. Unlacing the ties of her neckline, he tugged it open and exposed her to the air. He gazed down at her breasts like a devout man might look at an effigy of the god Rebben. “So beautiful. Gods, Robin, you’re all cream and pink, like two cherry blossoms.”

The unexpected poetical description made her blush. “Baby-chewed, I would think.”

“No. Perfect.” His head lowered until the wet heat of his mouth surrounded her nipple. She whimpered when the velvet of his tongue licked across it deliberately, the sweet friction setting her on fire.

Duncan continued to make love to her breast with his lips and tongue, hand cradling the other one as if in reassurance. When he switched between then, she keened for a moment in complaint before his mouth worked new magic on her other nipple. Between her thighs a familiar, hungry ache began to grow.

“Wait,” she begged.

He let go of her breast with a soft pop. “What?”

“Take off your shirt. I want to see you.”

He hesitated, grimacing. “I don’t know why. I’m not nearly as lovely as you.”

“Please, Duncan. Let me look at you.”

Letting out a soft sigh, he leaned back and pulled off his shirt. It exposed an impressively muscled chest covered with dark, curling hair. “Ewan says I look like a bear,” he muttered.

“Ewan’s an idiot.” She wound her fingers into the crisp curls, lowering her face and taking in a deep breath. The scent of leather, salt, clean sweat, and a rich, dark musk tantalized her nose. “You have no idea how much I loved seeing you with your shirt off. I kept wandering past the exercise yard when you were sparring, hoping you’d get too warm and strip down.”

He blinked at her. “Truly?”

“Truly. I only wish I’d had the nerve to spy on you when you went swimming with your brothers.” She grinned up at him. “I always wanted to see you naked.”

And now he blushed. “You never.”

“I did. I used to daydream about that lovely band of muscle that disappeared into your breeches like a V. I always wanted to see how far down it went.”


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Lady of Thorns is LIVE!

And the third book in the series that was never supposed to be a series is LIVE, people! A huge thanks goes out to my awesome beta readers L.D. Blakeley, J. Kathleen Cheney (both of whom are awesome writers, so go check them out), Theresa Eastridge, and Peter White, and to everyone who pre-ordered the book. I hope you all LOVE it, and remember, reviews on your preferred site put you in the will!


Love was never supposed to be part of the deal…

Lady Amelie de Clerq’s prickly demeanor has earned her the nickname “Lady of Thorns,” keeping potential suitors at bay and making her the butt of the nobility’s jokes. Determined to attract a husband who will love her for herself rather than her fortune, she decides to embark on a journey of sensual self-discovery.

Alain LaPorte, wily lawyer and toast of the capital’s social set, has been summoned to Lierdhe to oversee business negotiations with a neighboring earl. When Amelie asks Alain to tutor her in the bedroom arts, he agrees to introduce the highborn virgin to pleasure. But lessons in lovemaking soon turn into a matter of the heart, forcing both Amelie and Alain to confront their fears about intimacy, loyalty, and love.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | iTunes

Pour me an absinthe, Gert

As of this afternoon the final line edits for Lady of Thorns were finished and it is officially ready for release next week on Halloween. Not only am I bloody well delighted about that, but I am really, really happy with the way this book turned out. It has a thoroughly solid emotional basis, both characters and plot are fully fleshed out, and it feels like one of the best books I’ve written to date. Also, as my beta Peter said, “Yay for fun books where antagonists are inner demons!”

Yeah, I do a lot of work with inner demons in this one. Amelie and I share a couple of problems about body image and growing up feeling unattractive and insecure about our looks. It was interesting to do a deep dive into the mindset created by that and, in effect, psychoanalyze my own issues by projecting them onto Amelie. Granted, I didn’t have a sexy Alain to walk me through that particular psychological minefield, and I’m still working on said issues and probably will be for the rest of my life. But I think I’m getting a better handle on loving myself and my wacky body the way it is, instead of pining for some impossible ideal.

It also helps that Ramón thinks I’m gorgeous and says so every day. He’s so sweet.

So, yeah, Lady is done, and Cross Current is back on the Scrivener screen and will be my NaNo novel this year. I’m currently at 13K on it, and hope to get it done before I have to report for jury duty on November 29th. And if not, I’ll just bring my iPad and write while I’m waiting in the jurist holding room. I’m hoping to get the last two Shifter Woods novellas knocked out as well so that I can release all four novellas as a boxed set before 2018.

Assuming the cats allow me to work. Seriously, how can a small creature one fifth my size be that annoying? I ask you.

Mid Week Tease: Lady of Thorns #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This is the last snippet from the third book in my Two Thrones series Lady of Thorns that I’ll be teasing you with. And I mean that this time!

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!


Amelie held up the missive. “I received a letter from Marcus, of all people.”

“Oh? What does he have to say?”

Clearing her throat, she read:

My dear Amelie:

I’ve just received word of your upcoming wedding to Counselor LaPorte. Allow me to pass along my best wishes, as well as an explanation for my hasty departure in the spring. As you know, I left Illium due to my dear brother Antonious’s clumsy efforts to frame me for his attempted assassination. I had hoped that my grandmother would temper matters at the palace, but it seems that Antonious is still determined to see me dead, and had sent assassins to Lierdhe to achieve this. I was able to dispatch them with Roylus’s help, but I couldn’t bear the thought of putting yourself or your good lady mother in danger so I decided to leave and take any further threat with me. Please know that I will always have the greatest affection for you, and if LaPorte puts a foot out of line I will be pleased to sweep you away and make you the happiest woman on the continent, as well as the richest.

All my love,
Marcus

She laid the letter aside and slid down into Alain’s waiting arms. “So he didn’t leave because of me. Well, not because of my looks, in any case. I feel a bit guilty now for being so angry at him when all he was doing was protecting me.”

Alain kissed her temple. “Don’t feel bad. I’m afraid our friend will always have an adventurous life, what with his family and all. If he truly does care about you, the best thing he could do for you is take the target off your back.”

“Which he has.” She slid her leg up his. “As long as you keep me happy, of course. Who knows, I might enjoy being the kept woman of a robber baron or whatever scheme Marcus is pursuing these days.”

“Oh, really.” Alain clambered over her, giving her a firm kiss. “Is that a challenge, my lady?”

She grinned up at him. “I do believe it is, counselor. What are you going to do about it?”

“Well, clearly I need to stop my wayward bride-to-be from looking elsewhere for her pleasure.” He slid a hand underneath her pillow and pulled out pieces of soft cotton rope. “Perhaps if I tied you to the bed and drove you insane with pleasure, that might keep you from straying?”

A delightfully wicked heat flared to life inside her. “Perhaps,” she drawled. “But you’ll have to be very forceful to hold my attention. I’m quite strong-willed, you know.”

“Yes, I’m quite aware of that,” he drawled back. Plucking up one of her hands, he tied one end of a rope around it, then bound it to the headboard. “Luckily for me I’m equally as strong-willed. Quite a match for you, don’t you think?” Repeating the process on her other hand, he tugged the bedcovers from her body before sliding down the mattress with more ropes. He secured her ankles to the footboard, siting back to admire his work. “There. You’ll be hard-pressed to chase after Marcus like that, sweetheart.”

She squirmed in her bonds, enjoying the soft but firm grip on her limbs. Pretending to yawn, she arched her back, letting her nipples rub against the thin fabric of her nightgown. “Oh dear. It seems that I’ve been captured by the most dangerous, vicious street rat ever to stalk the streets of Mons. Whatever shall a poor, innocent noblewoman do?”

“Surrender to her captor, of course.” Running his fingertips along her calf in a ticklish caress, he stroked the underside of her knee. “Especially as he plans on ravishing your helpless body.” His fingers trailed upwards, dragging the hem of her gown up and exposing her spread thighs and the fluff of dark curls between them. “Look what we have here. Could this be where her ladyship hides her secret treasure?”

Amelie tossed her head, fully into her imaginary role now. “You’ll never make me give in, villain. Never!”

“We’ll see about that.” His fingers dipped between her legs, stroking and teasing. “It seems you like this, you naughty girl. You’re wet as a spring shower.”

She held in a giggle, relishing the way he played with her slick outer lips and clitoris. “Nonsense. I hate everything about it.”

Smirking, Alain leaned down and kissed her mound before shifting his oral attentions to her damp, aching flesh. Amelie wished he’d gagged her because the way his tongue was dancing on her clitoris promised to bring her to climax quickly and very strongly. Dammit, and Sibeal and Tomas are in the next room, and Maman and Stefan are down the corridor. It’s not fair!

Just as she was about to tumble over the edge, he stopped, blowing a cool breath over her. “Not yet. Not until I say, my lady.”

She whined, raising her hips in a silent plea, but he ignored it in favor of scattering kisses and nibbles on her inner thighs. Once her passion had ebbed sufficiently, he returned to his efforts, sliding two fingers inside her and adding a wonderful massaging tease to the sensual work being performed by his lips and tongue.

He backed off twice more, leaving her more and more wound up until she was straining against the ropes and biting her lip deep enough to taste blood. “Alain, please,” she finally begged in a ragged voice. “I can’t stand this anymore!”

He lifted his head, licking her wetness off his lips. “You don’t climax until I say so,” he murmured. “And quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll be letting you do it anytime soon. If I do, you’ll just get up and run after Marcus.”

“I won’t, I swear it,” she gasped. “I’m yours, now and forever.”

He kissed her clitoris and she shuddered at the sensation, so powerful now that it was just this side of pain. “Mm, still not convinced. You’ll have to do better than that.”

“How?” It came out as an embarrassing wail.

“Tell me how beautiful you are.”

She stared down at him, momentarily drawn out of her erotic haze. “What?”

He rested his chin on her mound. “Tell me that you’re beautiful. Make me believe that you believe it. You do that, and I’ll let you climax.”


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My brain hurts

This is my word count for the day, and that’s on top of getting a half hour in on the treadmill and making dinner. I figure the target is a lie and I have at least another 7.5K to go. My brain hurts, but I’m so close to the end I can taste it.

Mid Week Tease: Lady of Thorns #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This week I’m teasing you with yet another snippet from the third book in my Two Thrones series, Lady of Thorns. By this point Alain’s sensual education of Amelie has progressed admirably — perhaps too admirably. I believe a certain lawyer’s heart may be thawing just a bit towards his fractious, sexy student, muwahahaha…

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!


Alain had set Colombe onto the task of procuring some soft cotton rope. His clerk had performed admirably as usual, and a hank of the stuff, neatly cut into useful lengths, now resided under the pillows.

But erotic restraint required a certain mindset for both parties to enjoy it, and he’d nettled Amelie with his questions about young Vandenberghe. His concern was honest; the earl’s heir was certainly handsome enough, and his blood made him an appropriate candidate for the Lady’s Consort, but there were neither shared interests nor frisson between Amelie and Vandenberghe the Younger. A pretty face would pall if there was nothing interesting behind it; with that lack of connection, Alain feared that Amelie would wind up turning to a lover for comfort within the first year.

And it won’t be me. By that point he would be back in Mons, pursuing his legal career and his next bed partner. There was nothing more than physical attraction between the two of them, he was aware of that, but he was surprised to find that he wanted her … happy.

He tugged her into his arms, brushing a soft kiss across her lips. She responded, molding against him with that mind-melting ease that made him re-consider the hidden ropes. No, another time. I know what I want to do with my spirited little minx tonight.

He eased the nightgown from her shoulders, kissing them as each one was bared. “Have you ever heard of soixante-neuf?”

She blinked up at him. “I have not. I wasn’t aware there were that many positions.”

“It’s not a number so much as a description of what the participants look like.” He smiled at her confused expression. “Let me remove my clothes and I’ll demonstrate.”

He stripped quickly, laying his breeches and shirt across the footboard of the bed while Amelie crawled onto the golden velvet bedspread. The color lent a glow to her pale skin and dark hair, making her look like an otherworldly goddess waiting to receive her due devotion. He felt himself thicken in anticipation, but didn’t try to encourage his erection more than that.

He joined her on the bed, stretching out in such a way that they were roughly top to tail. It gave him a wonderful view of the dark moss that crowned her mound, with a hint of the feminine cleft at the bottom. “This position allows the participants to enjoy each other orally at the same time.”

“I see.” She reached out and stroked his shaft, running a fingertip around the edge of the head. “Oh, I see. Sixty-nine. Yes, we would look like the numbers, wouldn’t we?”

“Indeed.” He leaned forward and rubbed his nose against her crispy curls, following it up with a kiss. He could already smell her desire, warm and humid, and looked forward to dipping his tongue in her honey. “Granted, it’s not as straightforward as lying back and receiving your lover’s attentions and then returning the favor, but I find the distraction rather useful in extending the festivities.”


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Mid Week Tease: Lady of Thorns #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15Hello, lovelies! This week I’m back to Lady of Thorns for my teasing snippet (mainly because I’m on deadline to finish it by Friday and yeah, WHEE). Amelie is back in Alain’s bedroom for more one-on-one instruction when he mentions an, um, advanced course of study. Ahem.

Oh, and yes, that is a Star Wars in-joke there. I do love my meta pop culture references…

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!


Alain got to his feet when he heard the scratching on the door. It opened and Amelie peered around the oak panel. “May I come in?”

He couldn’t stop the curl of anticipation that went through him. “Yes, please.”

Tonight she wore the same plain wrapper she had the night before, but when she undid the belt and let it slide off her shoulders he almost swallowed his tongue. Underneath she wore a short, silky gown of pale yellow with a low décolletage that framed her collarbones and the subtle curves of he breasts. Lower down it clung to her hips, and he imagined he could see the pink dots of her nipples and the dark fluff at the tops of her thighs through the delicate material.

“I’d forgotten I had this,” she admitted, draping the wrapper over a chair and walking into his arms. “It’s one of my ceremonial gowns from when I was younger. Do you like it?”

The way he was rapidly swelling in his breeches was physical proof of that, and he pressed his groin against her. “You are absolutely luscious. Although I have to wonder why a girl was wearing something so revealing.”

“It was an overgown. I wore a white chemise underneath.” She draped her arms around his neck and sighed happily. “Although I have to say, I much prefer wearing it this way. It’s extremely soft, don’t you think?”

He groaned as she executed a little shimmy against his throbbing cock. “You’re a minx, woman. It’s soft and very lovely, but I’d much rather be touching your skin.”

“I see.” Another wiggle. “The nice thing about this gown, counselor, is that it’s short. Quite easy to lift.”

He was never one to overlook a hint. Sliding his hands down, he gathered the hem of the gown and pulled it up until he’d bared her firm, silky rump. “If you continue to be this naughty, I may have to spank this beautiful bottom of yours.”

The glint in her eye turned challenging. “You might find that something of a challenge.”

He stroked the lovely curves, gently pinching one. “Not if I tied you to my bed first.”

A soft inhalation and a widening of her eyes was his answer. Interesting. She likes a bit of spice with her lovemaking. “Would you enjoy that?” he purred.

“I … I don’t know.” But her sped-up breathing and the color in her face indicated otherwise.

Tying a beautiful woman up and turning her into a writhing bundle of sexual need was one of his favorite activities. “I’d be very careful and use the softest ropes so that your skin wouldn’t carry a mark. But you wouldn’t be able to move when I was done. You would be completely at my mercy, your body turned into my own personal playground. And believe me, Amelie, I would play with you for hours until you begged me for release.”

She shivered deliciously at his words. “I don’t know if I could stay quiet if you did that.”

“Oh, a soft cotton gag would mute any noise you made.”

“Then how could I beg you?”

He brushed his lips over her ear. “You would whimper, of course. Widen your eyes and plead with me silently. Strain against your bonds towards my hands, my mouth, my cock. There are all kinds of ways you can beg without words.”

That lovely scent of fruit and cream from her skin deepened, taking on a hot note of mulled cider, and she squirmed. “You’re a wicked man, counselor.”

“Mm, I know.” He pushed his thigh between hers, gently rubbing against her heated flesh. “It’s why you like me, my lady. You need more wicked men in your life.”

She groaned as his hands cupped her ass, squeezing. “I like nice men, too.”

“I can be nice. Allow me to demonstrate.”


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