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Ladies of the Lair
By Bianca D'Arc
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.Copyright © 2006 Bianca D'Arc
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMaiden Flight
She and her mother lived there, under the thick cover of trees, and had for many years. It was their haven, their home. Nothing as magical as this had ever happened to Belora, living isolated in the forest, and she decided to enjoy this moment out of time, flying high above the world. She would likely never have the chance again, for it was rare that a dragon transport a human that was not his knight partner. She knew that from the stories and legends the old ones told of knights and dragons. Even her mother, who had been friends with a dragon in her youth, had never flown with one. It was a rare and magical experience
Do you like the view, little one?
"It's beautiful!" Belora had to shout to be heard over the racing wind.
The dragon chuckled smokily, thoughtfully directing the stream of smoke out behind him and away from her. She realized from the gesture that he was well used to being around humans and carrying them as he flew, but she guessed he didn't carry too many in his claws. The legends all said knights rode on the backs of their dragon partners.
"Where are you taking me?" She pulled her eyes from the gorgeous vista long enough to question her predicament. If he was taking her to a tribunal, she was in big trouble. She'd rather know now if she would be facing arrest when they landed.
Fear not, little one. I said you had a good case for the stag. We will let the knight decide.
They cruised over the edge of the large mountain lake. The water sparkled below as the dragon dropped a bit lower. A moist breeze off the water teased her senses.
Rather than calming her fears, the news that there was a knight in the area only made things worse. She'd been poaching, plain and simple. Mere peasants weren't allowed to kill the deer to feed their families, but the dragons were welcome to them as a snack at any time.
That knight, the dragon thought back at her. It took her a moment to understand his meaning, but when she looked down and just ahead of them, she saw a sleek male body cutting through the waters of the lake. He swam like a fish or like one of the great sea creatures she had heard stories about. She found herself distracted by the sun gleaming off the powerful muscles of his arms as he sliced through the water, heading for shore. Something about the man's hard body pulled at her most feminine core though she had never felt the like before.
I am Kelvan and that's Gareth, my knight.
Her eyes followed the man cutting through the waters below. She'd never seen a dragon in person before, much less a knight. Surprisingly, the hard-muscled man intrigued her even more than the amazing blue-green dragon who spoke so effortlessly in her mind.
The thought gave her pause. She'd met any number of men from the nearby village and never had such a reaction to the mere sight of one, but there was something about this man. Without even seeing his face clearly, she felt something deep down inside her stir to life. It was as if something in him called out to her - to the deep parts of her femininity that had never been awakened before. She wanted to know this man. She wanted to see him smile, and she wanted to know what those shining muscles would feel like under her hands.
The thought shocked her. Shocked, and excited her, if she were being honest. The thought of his strong arms wrapped around her made her insides quiver. The thought of his lips trailing over her untried body caused moisture to blossom between her thighs. She felt desire for this unknown man, the likes of which she had never experienced, but oh, how she wanted to experience it now!
The scandalous thought roused her from her contemplation of the handsome man. He was just a knight, she tried to tell herself. She didn't even know him. He would probably be old and unattractive when she finally saw his face clearly. No matter what she tried to tell herself, though, she kept looking back at the man cutting through the water so effortlessly, as if drawn. She tried to shake off the almost magnetic pull the man had on her, but it was surprisingly hard.
"I didn't mean to wake you, Adora." He tried to keep his voice low. "You were restless and I came in to make sure you were all right."
"I was dreaming. It was a nightmare." Her sleepy eyes grew frightened and huge as she remembered the vision that had disturbed her slumber. "You were falling. Jared, you were falling off Kelzy's back and you had an arrow through your chest. There was a lot of blood and you were so high." Her voice broke as real fear shivered through her small body.
He had no choice then but to pull her into his arms and comfort the trembling woman. She was so petite and beautiful, he couldn't bear to see her so afraid. Especially on his behalf. Especially when it wasn't even real.
"Ssh, Adora. It was only a dream. I'm here and I'm fine. Kelzy would never drop me. You know that." He rocked her in his strong arms as she clung to him, his voice crooning to her as if she were a babe.
"It seemed so real. Jared, what if it's an omen? What if-?" She broke off on a sob and clung to him.
He rubbed her back with one strong hand, his frozen heart cracking open at her distress. Without thought, he brought his head down to rest against her, cuddling into her warm neck, inhaling her womanly scent. He kissed her, placing soft little nibbles on her neck, just under her jaw and near the delicate shell of her ear. The shivers of fright changed to something more enticing. Nibbling on her earlobe, Jared felt her soft sexy sigh as she relaxed into his embrace.
"Don't be afraid, Adora." His whisper sent warm, moist air into her ear and she gasped. "It's only a dream."
Her gasping moan brought him closer to her lips, his arms shifting, drawing her nearer to his hard body. He wanted her desperately. Giving in to desire, he brought his mouth to hers, sipping at her sweetness, drowning in her soft womanly flavor. This was what he wanted. This! He wanted her.
Excerpted from Ladies of the Lair by Bianca D'Arc Copyright © 2006 by Bianca D'Arc. Excerpted by permission.
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