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Here’s something a little different from me. Witch’s Choice released in September 2006. I’ve done very few books set in medieval times, Jacq’s Warlord and Her Lance-Alot are the only ones that come to mind, but I find them a lot of fun to write. I got the chance to play again with my upcoming release. On April 28th, a prequel to the My Immortal Knight stories set in medieval England releases. I can’t wait to see what you think! Until then, here’s a little taste.
Two men…a wolf…and a witch.
Gisele, “The Witch of Grimoult”, has ended a long vow of celibacy taken to ensure her independence from any man. However, her new lover, Tibor the sheriff, isn’t any real threat. His reputation among the ladies assures her he won’t be a possessive man. After a wolf threatens her livelihood, she seeks aid from the new Lord Grim, never anticipating his price will be a night in his bed! What’s a maiden to do? Lord Grim’s possessive stare and fierce loving make her crave her captor and his mastery of her body. When the sheriff is bitten by the wolf, only her cure will save him from becoming a monster. Loving both men can’t be so wrong.
“What was that?”
The sheriff lifted his head from her breast, his eyes and lips blurred and glistening with passion. “If you have to ask, then you must find me sadly lacking.”
Gisele swatted his shoulder. “Idiot! Outside. I thought I heard something.”
His lips twisted in an impatient frown. “A horse’s whinny. Likely Tiberion. He’s a greedy bastard and simply wants more oats.”
She pressed her fingers to his lips and listened.
Perhaps her stretched nerves had made her overly aware. “Shouldn’t we keep watch?” she suggested, although her heart wasn’t really in it. Her body screamed for the release his cajoling and ready cock had promised.
“The traps are set. There’s nothing more to do—but this!” he said, lowering his face once more and trapping her nipple between his lips.
“Who’s greedy now?” she moaned as he suckled, tugging the tip of her breast until it grew engorged and painfully sensitive.
His dark laughter made her shiver as he scooted down her narrow bed, pressing kisses to her naked belly, his fingers sliding between her legs to trace her slit. Wicked laughter, wicked fingers—wicked, wicked man!
How had he managed to be here? In her bed? She’d lived alone, taken no lovers, preferring her solitude and independence. Lust had been tamped down inside her, submerged beneath her need to live as she chose. Letting a man this close always added complication. Desire clouded clear thinking. Hadn’t she learned that lesson long ago?
His breath gusted against her sex, and she realized he could see everything. Pale moonlight, gleaming through her open window, shone directly at the end of her bed. She shoved her pillow under her head to watch as he parted her folds with his thick fingers and stared.
What could possibly hold his interest? He’d whored his way through most of the castle staff—at least all the unattached women—or so she’d been told. Did he spend his time abed simply gazing at their sexes? “Am I so ill-formed that all you can do is stare?” she asked, feeling testy with his delay.
His gaze lifted to hers, and though his eyes were shadowed, his teeth gleamed white in the darkness. “You’re lovely. And clean. I find I like that in a woman.”
“Is there anything you don’t like in your many women?” she replied tartly.
“I think I’m quickly becoming more discerning. Your sweet flower’s scent is the rarest perfume.”
She rolled her eyes. “You’ve already got me on my back. You don’t have to woo me with pretty words.”
“Are you impatient?” he drawled.
Surprised, she realized that indeed she was. She thought she’d relented after being driven nearly mad with his endless flirting—certain he’d slake his lust and curiosity and move onto the next “flower” of womanhood that caught his roving eye. “Will you just get on with it before I change my mind?”
“Think I’ll allow that?”
The hint of steel in his question flooded her sex with moisture. Lord, had he noticed how her interest spiked with his mastery?
His fingers thrust into her channel. “Witch! Have I been wooing you when I should have been more forceful?”
Yes! But she bit her lip to halt the admission, shocked to discover this truth about herself—and in such an embarrassing way. There would be no end to his teasing now.
She ground her teeth and lifted her hips, trying to encourage him to take advantage of the lust he’d stirred inside her body. Her hands crept to her neglected breasts and she covered them, squeezing as he stroked inside her cunt again and again.
“You’re very small,” he said, his voice tight. “Should I be flattered you’ve admitted me?”
Her eyes narrowed. “You will be disappointed if I kick you to the floor before you’ve even untied your braies.”
He must have taken her threat seriously. His fingers withdrew and his hands made quick work of his clothing, pulling it away and tossing it near the hearth. When at last he covered her, his lean thickly muscled frame pressing her deep into her bedding, she opened her legs wide and sighed, thankful for the touch of his skin to hers.
It had been so long she’d forgotten how much comfort and the poignant emotions the contact of musky warm skin and a heavy body could bring. Perhaps she should rethink and make a place in her life for the occasional lover. Not this one, of course, however attractive he was. She’d want someone less sure of himself and who’d respect the boundaries she set upon their relationship.
But she’d think about that later. For now, his cock rooted between her legs until it found her moist entrance and thrust hard inside her.
Gisele’s back arched. The thickness pressing against her inner walls wasn’t exactly painful, but it burned and stretched. His guess hadn’t been far off. It had been years since she’d allowed a man this intimacy.
As his hips withdrew, dragging his cock against her inner walls then stroking back inside, she planted her feet in the mattress, determined to match his strokes—give him as good as he gave. She might be a woman and her sex intended to accept a man’s invasive ravaging, but she didn’t want him thinking she didn’t wield her own power or possess her own strengths.
To press her point, she smoothed her hands down his back, over his hips and cupped his flexing buttocks, pausing there to knead the muscle and revel in the manly power of his body.
When she slipped her fingers between the twin halves, tracing the crease to the tiny puckered hole, he growled and his strokes grew harder, sharper, lifting her bottom from the mattress with each deep thrust.
Her lips curved, and she knew he must have seen it, because his growl deepened in unspoken warning, but it was too late. She pushed a finger into his ass, all the way, then twirled her wrist to increase the sensations and the pressure.
“Witch!” he shouted and his thrusts grew harsher, driving the breath from her body, creating a burning friction in her channel that melted all around him, easing his movements, filling the air with moist, slurping sounds that only increased Gisele’s excitement. The lewd, raw nature of their joining and the strength of the muscles clamping hard around her finger only stoked the flame higher.
She wanted him deeper, harder, so she brought up her legs and tucked her knees beneath his armpits, allowing him the greatest penetration.
Then it happened. The tension and heat he’d built with his thrusting cock burst in a fiery wave of heat that licked at her sex, tightened the nipples scraping his furry chest and forced a whimper from her clenched lips—a small kittenish sound that surprised her almost as much as the excitement rippling up and down her channel.
“Yes, witch!” he shouted, bracing his hands on the mattress and powering his hips harder.
When the next wave roared over her, her back arched, pulling her finger from his ass and casting her over the edge into darkness.
His hips slowed and low groan broke from his throat as his seed spurted inside her, drenching her sex to overspill and slip between her buttocks to the bed. Her arms and legs clung to him as she quivered and her cunt pulsed around him.
At last, he collapsed onto her and his mouth met hers. His kiss was sweet—and his first to her lips. He dragged them slowly over hers as they breathed noisily through their noses.
She was loath to let him go. Covered, subdued by the strength of his body and his strong cock, she felt a contentment she hadn’t known in a long time. And if it lacked anything, she wasn’t willing to look any deeper.
Another sound ripped through the night air. This time no soft nicker, but a shrill, frightened whinny.
“There’s something outside,” she whispered.
“Aye, I think you’re right. Stay here,” he commanded.
She unwound her arms and legs, letting him withdraw from her bed. Quickly, he donned his braies and boots and grabbed his sword.
As he let himself out the door of her hut, she scrambled from the bed to peer out the window. The crisp clang of metal came from beyond her sheep pen. A trap snapping shut?
Then a dark shape arose from behind the fence, at first appearing to stand, then crouching to the ground and circling to confront the sheriff who held his sword at the ready.
The sheriff charged, shouting loudly and waving his arms to scare away the beast toward the other traps he’d laid. The noisy attack should have forced the creature to turn tail and run because wolves rarely confronted men, but this one didn’t give ground. A deep shiver racked her body as she watched, transfixed by the apparition revealed in the moonlight.
Pale slivers of light pierced the darkness, glistening on the wolf’s yellow eyes and brightening his long, bared fangs.
Still the sheriff approached, his body taut, muscle rippling in his arms and shoulders as he bent low, readying for the wolf to spring. Moonlight glinted on his raised sword and the wolf’s gaze followed it. Seeming almost sentient, it looked at the sword and the large, angry man then backed away, not letting its gaze leave the man, until it reached the edge of the darkness beyond her clearing and was gone.
She sat back down on the edge of the bed and drew a deep breath, shaken by the temerity of the beast. Then she glanced down her naked body and stiffened. No doubt the sheriff would expect a reward for his courage. But he hadn’t trapped the beast, had he?
* * * * *
Gisele had heard the new Lord Grimoult was a mountain of a man, strong and courageous in battle and wise as Solomon in his judgments. Which was exactly why she’d come—for protection and justice.
What she hadn’t heard was that he could leave a woman trembling and damp with one searing glance.
The moment his gaze lifted from the scroll spread over the table in front of him, she forgot how to breathe. When the room began to teeter, she drew a deep breath to steady herself and stepped over the threshold into his chamber, all the while scolding herself sternly for the lapse.
What was one devilishly handsome man?
He was flanked at the oak table by another sinfully attractive specimen—one she’d easily resisted a second time after their late-night tryst. She’d sent the sheriff on his way after the wolf had already done its damage.
Almost as dark, but just as well made, the sheriff had never sent her belly into quivers or caused her nipples to sprout against her gown just from a look.
Perhaps it was the power Lord “Grim” embodied—his will ruled everyone within this demesne, including her. Certainly, her arousal had nothing to do with the thick, black hair that fell in heavy coils to his muscled shoulders. Her interest couldn’t be piqued by the moustache and beard framing a lush mouth any woman would envy.
The dark brows casting deep shadows over eyes black as a moonless sky at midnight weren’t the cause of her fluttering heartbeat or the sinking feeling that quickly swamped her with unwanted reminders she’d remained celibate for far too long.
She was nervous—that was all. And perhaps primed for arousal by her wicked romp the previous night.
Hopefully, it was just the lure of the unknown. When she learned his true nature he would be as easily dismissed from her thoughts as every man she’d ever encountered, including the sheriff.
But she must find his faults and quickly. If she could happen upon the one that would render his appeal null, she’d fare better in the long run. The sheriff had drawn her eye when he’d first taken up his duty—he was handsome and dark like she preferred. Yet she’d catalogued his physical and character flaws to firm her resistance against his beauty. His hair wasn’t a deep, dark chestnut—it was closer to the color of the mud beneath her sheep trough. His eyes weren’t as green as spring grass—they were more like the sludgy moss that grew at the bottom of her well bucket. And she’d cleaned it thoroughly to remove the ugly sludge—just as she had her attraction to the sheriff—after she’d satisfied her carnal curiosity.
Ballocks! The sheriff had caught her staring, and no doubt scowling. His sly smile deepened and he sat back in his chair as though waiting for the entertainment to begin.
Gisele stepped deeper into the lord’s chamber just as his steward bent to whisper in his ear.
Again, his glance sliced through her and the room began to spin, or were her knees wobbling? Whichever was true, she drew another deep breath and cursed the fact this was the man she’d come to beg a boon. He was too large, too imposing—and far too handsome for her not to stare and stutter in his presence. Even seated, with only his upper body visible, she knew his height and breadth would dwarf her slender frame. And she preferred large men.
“The witch, sire,” the steward said, his lip curling in distaste. “She insisted on speaking with you. Egbert was afraid to deny her entrance lest she curse him with pox. I tried to dissuade her, but she was quite insistent.”
She chafed at the idiot’s derision. Like so many in the demesne, she was welcomed only when her cures were needed. At all other times, she was reviled—even feared. Yet the new lord’s expression held only curiosity as his gaze slipped from her face to her breasts and lower.
Gisele unclenched her hands, which were buried in the folds of her gown, and forced them to rest relaxed at her sides. She did her best to ignore the heat that singed every place his gaze touched and tried to remember the chill autumn wind that had cut through her gown on the trek here.
Growing more nervous by the moment, she wanted to say her piece and be gone. His lordship would grant her request or not. The sooner she quit this place the better. She’d never felt so unlike herself as she did standing here, waiting on this man’s indulgence.
“Come forward, mistress,” Lord Grim said, with an impatient wave. His voice was a smooth, deep rumble that seduced the hairs on her arms and neck to lift, as easily as he must seduce the servant girls to raise their skirts.
She approached him, pride keeping her steps purposeful and her back straight as a post. Thank goodness the state of her stomach wasn’t as visible. The closer she drew to his dark, intense stare, the deeper the shivers that crept down her spine. She tightened her thighs to stem the moisture gathering between her legs.
She curled her hands tighter to prevent reaching to smooth back her wild hair. So he’d see what a mess it always was—it was but one flaw among many. The preeminent one being her station in this small keep. She was already deemed a hag due to her talent with herbs and the gift that flowed from her hands.
His gaze rose to her face, unwavering, discomposing. Her steps faltered as she drew to a halt, but luckily her long skirts hid the misstep. At the last moment, she curtsied, bowing her head in deference.
“You’ve come with a petition?”
“I have, milord,” she said, cursing the breathless quality of her voice, but she really couldn’t help it. He must be accustomed to women swooning so her slight betrayal of composure should be unnoticeable.
Except the corners of his perfect mouth crimped upward. “Would you like to take a seat?”
Her eyes widened. Sit in his presence? At his table? Even the steward looked askance at his overlord. Did he think her clumsy due to infirmity? She drew a deep breath drawing her affront around her like a cloak. Damnation, but he wasn’t going to make a fool of her.
“Thank you, no, sire. I prefer to stand.”
“Your petition,” he reminded her.
Caught for a moment staring into his black eyes, she blurted, “Yes. Um, I’ve come on a grave matter, milord.” Then she frantically searched her mind for her purpose. Good Lord, he’d addled her brain.
He sighed. “Take your time.”
“Wolves,” she sputtered, blushing. “A wolf damaged my sheep pen and frightened them into injuring themselves in their enclosure. One is dead. No doubt the sheriff has already told you about the attack.”
The sheriff and his lordship shared a glance then turned back to her, no hint of their thoughts in their shuttered expressions.
“You said wolves?” Lord Grim asked, his voice so calm it piqued her interest.
“I saw only one wolf, sire.” Never would she admit she’d misspoken due to her unease.
His head canted as thought the answer to her question held his entire focus. “And you’re certain there’s only one?”
“I saw only one. I don’t know whether there are others.”
“A lone rogue,” the sheriff murmured.
Lord Grim shrugged, giving away nothing of his thoughts. “Perhaps.”
Gisele grew impatient with the questioning. They didn’t appear ready to act quickly. “I demand you do something about it,” she said, more forcefully than she’d intended. “And recompense me for the loss.”
Her chin came up, and despite the fact she knew she must seem anything but deferent to his rank, she stared him straight in the eye. “As you serve your overlord and expect his protection and support in return, so do I serve you and expect the same. And your man was on the job last night when the sheep was killed.”
“Yes, Tibor lay in wait, didn’t he?” the lord said, his fingers drumming the table.
“She refuses to move inside the bailey until we’ve taken care of the problem, milord,” the steward said, sniffing. “I say, she takes her own chances.”
“I’d like to get back to this matter of service,” came the sheriff’s sly comment.