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If you’ve pre-ordered your print copy of Crescent Moon, it will ship today! I hope you enjoy it! I’m sharing a sexy scene from the book with you. There’s so much packed into this story, I wish I could snippet every little thing. There’s magic and monsters, gods and possessions, cop drama and sexiness… The kind of story I love to read. That’s exactly what I wrote. Oh, and there are mummies!
From ancient Egypt to present-day New Orleans, a woman of exceptional strength is called to protect against an unspeakable evil…and to experience an unforgettable seduction…
Justin Henry Boucher stayed in the shower so long Khepri knew he was avoiding her. The thought was disappointing. With so little experience deciphering sensual clues, she’d obviously read him wrong. He considered her a responsibility. Someone to keep safe. Perhaps someone he wanted to keep close because he didn’t trust her. That was all.
So when the water ceased trickling behind the closed bathroom door, she turned on her side, giving him her back to make the situation easier, and to keep her disappointment hidden should he glimpse her before extinguishing the light. She held her breath as he entered the room.
Not looking fed her imagination and made her heart race. Would he be naked? Or would he be wearing sleeping clothes, like the pajamas Denise had given her? Although sleeveless and short and made of an airy, stretchy cotton, the garment was still restrictive. She preferred sleeping in the nude. Something she didn’t think her grumpy protector would approve.
The bathroom light went out. Footsteps padded nearer…and then paused beside the bed.
She breathed deeply, letting the sound fill the silence and hoped he was fooled. Would he choose the bed as he had reluctantly promised? Or would he leave her for the uncomfortable couch too short to accommodate his tall frame?
The bed dipped and she smiled, relief making her feel lighter. Even if he was here under duress, she needed him close by. Someone solid and real, warm and breathing. Someone who tethered her to this place and this time. As he settled, shifting this way and that, she almost resented the wide, soft mattress because they could both sleep comfortably and never touch, which was his apparent goal since he never scooted nearer.
Truth be told, she should be grateful he didn’t want to press his attentions. Her willpower was at low ebb. However, she craved contact—just the warmth of his chest beneath her cheek would do. That would be enough to make her feel safe, enough to let her relax and rest, if not sleep. No, she wasn’t ready to close her eyes. Her heartbeat trembled and raced again at the thought of the last time she’d lost herself to darkness.
After a drawn-out moment, she turned, carefully rolling to her back and then her other side, her gaze finding the outline of his large torso in the darkness.
“Go to sleep,” he growled.
At his testiness, a smile tugged at her mouth. The texture of his voice was rasping, almost physical in the way it caused goose bumps to rise on her arms. “I can’t.” She bit her bottom lip, then gave into the impulse. She edged closer.
He drew a breath. “What are you doin’?”
“I’ve decided I want to be held.”
“Not a good idea.”
She scooted again until the tips of her breasts touched his chest and his sweet breath gusted against her face. Heat warmed the narrow space between them.
Khepri slipped a hand beneath her cheek and whispered, “I’m afraid to close my eyes.”
He swallowed then cleared his throat. “Why’s that? Afraid of nightmares, cher?”
Nightmares would be welcome. She shook her head, the sound rustling on her pillow. “I’m afraid of falling into darkness again. Afraid that when I waken, I’ll be somewhere else. Not here…with you.”
“Now, where else would you be if not here?”
She heard the note of doubt in his voice. Knew he hadn’t believed her the first time she’d told him, but she persevered. “When I was smothered to death, I was in a cave, far away and long ago.”
The mattress jerked and his breath hitched again. “Smothered?”
“Yes, the vizier took pity on me after he had wrapped me. He placed his hand over my nose and mouth to take my breath.” She shuddered at the memory.
Juste spat a soft curse then moved, his arm slipping over her hip, his hand cupping her lower back to draw her body closer. He pressed a kiss against her forehead. “You don’t have to be scared of fallin’ asleep. I’m right here, Khepri. I’ll keep you safe.”
The comfort was just that—offered selflessly and without motive, she knew, despite the firm column trapped between their bodies.
“Ignore it,” he whispered.
She’d never felt an erection before, and to have it pressed against her intimately was so tempting she couldn’t pretend the hard shaft wasn’t there. The tips of her breasts hardened, poking at his bare chest. Her breaths shortened. The urge to nuzzle, to rub against him, was overpowering.
Husband, give me strength or give me a sign.
She moved closer, at last nuzzling the side of his neck.
Sweat sprouted on his skin, and her lips brushed it. A tingle vibrated against her lips, and she drew back slightly before again pressing her mouth against his skin. Another tingle, one that shivered through her body, surprised her. She rubbed her mouth against him, opening to lick his skin, and light exploded behind her closed lids, rocketing her beyond herself.
Images flashed. Of her…and him. Locked together. His lips against her neck, his hand cuddling her breast. His length thrusting deep inside her body. Her own expression, wracked with exquisite, painful joy, caused tears to prick her eyes. She gasped, raised her eyelids, and tipped back her head. “Did you feel that?”
He didn’t answer, but his hand was tight on her arm, nearly bruising her; his body was tense, head to toe. “You shouldn’t have done that.”
“Did you feel that?” she repeated. “The spark. Like heat lightning. Did you see?”
Another swallow, and his hand eased its hold. “Dammit, Khepri. This isn’t good.” He glided his hand up her arm to her face. He cupped her cheek; his thumb rubbed her lower lip. “You make me want…”
The desperation in his voice matched the feelings whirling inside her. Oh, she wanted too. And this time, Khepri didn’t resist the new urge. She licked the hard pad and drew his thumb into her mouth. She wasn’t sure where she’d found the courage, but heat was curling in her belly, tightening. Her legs shifted restlessly, her knees bumped his thighs, and then her uppermost thigh glided over his to bring her body closer still.
Closer, but still a gaping chasm loomed between what she needed of him and what he seemed willing to give.
He grasped her shoulder and gently held her away. “This can’t happen.”
“It must. I burn, Justin Henry—”
“Stop. You’re afraid. You want comfort, but tomorrow, we’ll both be sorry.”
“I won’t.” Her heart pounded at his words.
“You don’t believe he exists.”
“But you do.”
“He gave us his blessing. You felt it too. I can’t turn aside from his gift.”
“You. You are my gift.”
A groan sounded, followed by a hoarse laugh. “I’m nobody’s gift, but if you don’t stop movin’ like that…”
She hadn’t realized she was undulating her hips until he spoke the words. The movement seemed to ease the restlessness. No, not ease—it strengthened her desire, stoked the fire in her belly. Flexing her hips, she pushed against his clothed erection and groaned at the sweet pressure.
His hand clamped a hip. “Woman, don’t move.”
He said it between clenched teeth, which told her his desire was just as strong. Triumph swelled. So did her confidence. “Mate with me, Juste. I’ve waited for so long.”
“You’re not in your right mind.” He pushed away her hips and retreated, putting space between them.
Her whole body clenched at his rejection. “Please.”
“I can’t do this. I shouldn’t be here. You’re in my custody.”
“I am a woman in your care. You have seen to my needs—washed me, fed me, clothed me. How can you not love me? Men are driven by their desires. Am I so unattractive—”
“Fuck no. But you said yourself. You’re married.”
“To a god. Who has given his blessing.”
His head rustled on his pillow. A gusted sigh blew hot.
“Has he ever done that before?” he asked, his words slowing. “Given you his blessing to sleep with a man?”
“No.” She held her breath at the thought he relented.
Another soft curse gusted. “Are you a virgin?”
She drew a swift breath. Was that his objection? “You will not hurt me. I have used fingers and a sacred phallus to appease my lust.”
“What the hell are you talkin’ about?”
“My maidenhead isn’t an issue. It is gone. You won’t hurt me.”
“A sacred phallus?”
She nodded. “Made of smooth marble. I used it to assuage my desires.”
“Jesus Christ.” A soft chuckle, one that didn’t sound amused, shook the bed.
He held her back, so she reached out, tentatively touching the part of him that proclaimed him proudly male. With her fingertips, she stroked him through thin cotton pants.
His phallus was much larger and warmer than her stone instrument, but nearly as rigid, and it jerked as her fingers skimmed up the shaft.
His breath hissed between his teeth, but that was the extent of his protest. He held still, not breathing as her fingertip traced the edge of the broad, soft cap poking insistently against his garment. A shudder shook the bed.
A choked growl emanated from his throat.
At the sounds, she knew she had won.
Insistence no longer necessary, she settled beside him, staring into the darkness and wishing she could see his expression as she explored with languid caresses the thick, hard length of him. “I have dreamed of loving a man.”
“You should wait for someone special, cher. I’m too rough around the edges. Too old for you.”
“How old are you?”
Her mouth curved. Age was not an issue. She’d been born millennia ago. “I will defer to greater wisdom, and let you choose how we do this, Justin Henry Boucher.”
His hand curved around hers, which lightly gripped him. For a second, she thought he would push her away again, but the hesitation was followed by his fingers squeezing around hers, firming her grip to ride the long column up and down. The soft cotton separating her fingers from the evidence of his desire was no barrier at all.
As they glided together, their breaths deepened. “I want to see you,” he said, his gravely tone deepening.
“A light,” she said. “Something soft.”
He withdrew and she sat up on the mattress as he strode away. The bathroom light ignited. He disappeared inside for a long moment, the sound of a drawer opening then sliding closed. Silence followed, and then he pulled the door partway closed after he reentered the bedroom. Just enough light remained to see the grim set of his jaw, the wildness in his eyes.
Khepri liked the hint of violence restrained in his flexing, bare chest. Her gaze trailed downward to his undergarment—shorts, the word echoed inside her head.
“Remove them, please,” she said, her voice thin, high…nearly breathless.
His mouth curved up at the corners. His fingers tucked into the waistband and he shoved the shorts down his thighs until they fell to the floor. Then he stood still while she stared.
“Turn,” she said, sliding her legs over the side of the mattress.
When he turned sideways, light gleamed on the taut skin stretched by his burgeoning erection.
“I never thought a man’s part could be beautiful. Of course, I’ve seen men naked…” Something thin was stretched over him. She fingered the edge.
“It’s a condom,” he said.
Condom. Sheath. Birth control. Something inside her cringed. Still she touched him, noting the thin sheath did little to prevent her enjoyment of the silky feel of his skin, the heat emanating from his core. Her fingers encircled him, but her thumb didn’t meet her longest fingertip. “Are all men made like you?”
“You aimin’ to find out?”
She liked the hard edge of his voice. It hinted at possessiveness.
But she didn’t want to anger him. “I’m thinking that if it’s true, then I needn’t worry we’ll…fit.” She glanced up and caught a flare of heat in his dark blue gaze.
And because she wanted to see that flare again, she stood, pulled the top of her pajamas over her head, and then pushed the bottoms off her hips. He’d already seen her nude, no surprises there, but she wanted nothing between them. Not fabric. Not space.
She stepped closer. Moisture glazed her belly, but she didn’t look down as her gaze locked with his. She’d seen wetness glinting on the tip of his sex. Her gaze greedily followed his as he glanced down, attention narrowing on the mound of her sex and sweeping upward to snag on her breasts.
Cupping them, she lifted both, offering herself. “My body burns for you, deep inside.” With quick flicks, she thumbed her nipples. “These ache for your kiss. Please, Juste. Take me.”
His jaw tightened, his nostrils flared. When he moved, his hands cupped the notches of her hips and drew her closer. “Last chance. Tell me to go, sweetheart.”
She smiled, moisture filling her eyes. “I have no desire to send you away. Take me. Teach me. I am yours.”