Centaur Heart by Lucinda Betts
In a sacred glade in ancient Greece stands Chiron, a godlike man who radiates sexual power. The Princess Akantha is spellboundand consumed with desire for him. Chiron is tall and muscular with otherworldly eyes and a mane of hair that gleams like polished bronze. But is he truly a man. . .or a centaur? Akantha is about to be swept away for the wildest ride of her life. . .
The Dream Well by Dawn Thompson
A knight lost within the mists of a Celtic wood finds a magical welland as he touches its stones, a goddess rises from its depths, beautiful, naked and unashamed. Gar Trivelyan is instantly aroused by the breathtaking sight of Analee's body, half veiled in the silken fall of her coppery hair, and her matchless eyes. When the Samhain moon is full, she whispers, I may choose a lover. And I have chosen you. . .
Thunderstruck by Devyn Quinn
Danicia Ryan works magic in marbleher sculpture of Herakles.is the epitome of nude male beauty and unbridled virility. When the sculpture turns to living flesh during a violent thunderstorm, Danicia is dazzled by the intensity of Herakles's sexual appetite. And she's ready, eager, and willing to take everything her dream god has to give. . .
WARNING! This is a REALLY HOT book. (Sexually Explicit.)
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.61(d)|
About the Author
Devyn Quinn resides in the scenic Southwest, though she has called several other states home. She lives with her cats (too many to be counted!), five ferrets (yes, five!), and single Shih Tzu, Tess.
Read an Excerpt
By Lucinda Betts Dawn Thompson Devyn Quinn
APHRODISIA BOOKSCopyright © 2008 Lucinda Betts
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe King of the Centaurs stood in my palace courtyard, thick equine legs stubbornly spread, muscular arms crossing the planes of his chest.
Despite the arrow I had aimed at his throat, Chiron did not look afraid.
"Take one more step toward me, Lord Centaur," I said, "and I'll loose this arrow." And I would, too, regardless of the wicked glint in his wide gray eyes.
"Akantha," he said, his voice melting over each syllable. "Do not allow Lycurgus to be your Champion."
"The Mother Rite is slated, centaur," I said, trying not to let his flicking tail distract me. Chiron looked dangerous. If I took my eyes from him for a moment, he could lunge. "And Lycurgus will triumph."
"Akantha," he said again, stepping toward me with a placating gesture. "He lies. He'll forgo the Mother Goddess in favor of Earth Shaker. You'll lose your rule. The island will become a patriarchy."
Coolly, I tensed my sinew bowstring, and he stopped. Which showed intelligence. I'd hit any target in my sight. "I've heard other tales, too," I said with heavy sarcasm. "The Tears of Eternity have been found, and your greatest wish is about to be granted."
"I tell you no child's fable," he said, his animal hooves clicking on the flagstone. "I can prove I'm right-allow centaurs in the Mother Rite tourney, and I'll best Lycurgus at any weapon of your choosing."
I didn't know whether to laugh or shoot the beast for his effrontery. Aside from the fact that centaurfolk and humans rarely mixed, how could a centaur be a Queen's Champion? He had the phallus of a horse.
"I'd be mad to let a centaur into the Mother Rite," I said calmly. "Your folk are more animal than people. They're drunkards and debauchers."
The muscle of his broad jaw tightened, and his wide eyes narrowed at my words.
And I had to admit-he looked like a man, not a beast. At least in that moment.
"You don't know what you're talking about," he said. "Have you ever befriended a centaur?"
"I don't have to befriend a leopard to know I don't want it on Crete," I said. "Or in my bed."
"There are no leopards on Crete," he said, walking around a bench sitting in the shade of an acacia tree. "There are, however, centaurs aplenty."
I pulled my bowstring back again. "There'll be one less if you don't leave."
"You'll not shoot me."
I let an arrow fly.
On target, the sharp blade on my arrowhead grazed his brawny arm. Blood beaded along the thick muscle of his bicep, but he didn't flinch.
"The next one strikes your heart," I said. "I'll not be the first Knossos Princess since the beginning of time to allow a centaur into the Mother Rite." I pulled another arrow from my quiver. "Especially since you've no evidence against Lycurgus-King Lycurgus."
Chiron stood as still as a rock. He looked about as solid as one, too. "Palace Phaistos fell, Princess."
Chiron maddened me. Did he think me ignorant of the facts? "From an earthquake," I said.
"Which is Earth Shaker's tool," he said, as if I weren't too intelligent.
"A coincidence only."
A wicked smile lit his features. Which might have been ... attractive, if it'd been on a human. "Let me take part in the tourney," he challenged. "If I lose, you'll know you're correct."
"Not unless Earth Shaker himself walks into the courtyard."
His hooves clattered over the flagstone, and powerful haunches launched him through the air as he leaped toward me then. Thick arms snaked around me, disarming me, and my bow rattled to the ground.
"May Earth Shaker take you," I cursed, struggling in his arms. I tried to slam an elbow in his stomach, but it was no use. As easily as he might lift a newborn lamb, he swung me around until we faced each other.
Then he pulled me toward him.
"The Lapith King cannot become your Champion," he said, his face inches from mine. My nipples, crushed against his brawny chest, hardened. "Lycurgus is evil incarnate."
I looked into his face, unhindered by the sight of his equine back, his hooves and tail. With his high cheekbones and aquiline nose, his face was breathtaking. Thick hair the color of polished bronze hung in his eyes. His gaze was piercing, almost otherworldly, and his eyes reminded me of the summer sky just before a storm. If he had feet rather than hooves, I would have thought him from one of the noble lines.
But no one could do this to me-not and get away with it.
"You," I said. "Are evil incarnate." Then, with all my strength, I jerked up my knee, slamming right into his balls. Or that's what I would have done if he'd had human anatomy.
Chiron laughed, a surprisingly warm sound, and said, "See? For a moment you thought me human."
I growled something incoherent as his breath warmed my cheek.
"You progress," he said. And with that feral grin, he released me and stepped back. I stood a moment, staring at him. My knees felt as if the Mother Goddess had replaced bone with octopus tentacles. I-
A roaring filled the air, and the earth began to shake, making dust rise around us. The courtyard walls wobbled, and plaster chips from the fresco rained to the ground.
I stepped away from the walls into the open, but Chiron jerked an arrow from the quiver slung across his back. Nocking the arrow into his massive bow, he eyed the entryway.
Did he think to slay an earthquake? But Chiron didn't strike me as stupid, not at all. I retrieved and armed my bow, too.
"Lycurgus," I said with a smile.
The Lapith King sauntered into my courtyard exuding the sexual energy of a bull. His black hair hung in ringlets to his shoulders, and his lidded gaze examined Chiron, then me. "Is that any way to greet your future husband?" he asked, nodding at my bow, which I quickly relaxed.
"Husband?" I asked.
"Champion," he corrected himself. Apparently unconcerned, Lycurgus reached behind him and shook the dust from his cloak. As the dust cleared, I saw a beautiful fur of a type I didn't recognize. Jet-black circles swirled over a sea of honeys and ambers.
"You like it?" Lycurgus asked, seeing the focus of my attention.
"It's beautiful," I said.
"Like you," Lycurgus said. He unhooked the clasp around his neck and removed the lustrous thing. Shaking it out, he hooked it around my neck, enveloping me in his pungent scent.
"It's from the Egyptian pharaohs," Lycurgus said. "And I present it to you in honor of our betrothal."
But there was no betrothal-only the Mother Rite. Theoretically, any man could prevail, any man who could best Lycurgus.
"That is the pelt of a leopard," Chiron said, interrupting our private moment. "Like the kind you said you'd never want to meet."
"Then I'm glad it's dead," I said.
"This human should be dead," Chiron said, pointing his bow at Lycurgus. "He is no mortal."
"Chiron," I said. "Leave now. I've had enough of this discussion."
But the King of the Centaurs didn't move.
"Begone, centaur," Lycurgus said, coming to my aid. Menace laced his voice as he reached for the sword at his hip.
"He's not what he seems, Princess," Chiron said to me.
"You!" Lycurgus turned on Chiron with a shocking viciousness. His sword glittered beneath Chiron's chin, but the centaur didn't blink. "You abomination. The gods were drunk when they decided to mix hooves with brains."
"And yet, look at you," Chiron said. "You lack both-no hooves, no brains."
A warning sound escaped Lycurgus.
"I wonder what else you lack?" the centaur challenged.
But I didn't need schoolboys bickering in my courtyard. For the second time that morning, I let my arrow fly-this grazed Chiron's other bicep. The reverberating sound filled the air as the arrow buried itself in the wall, and for a moment none of us said anything.
"You've provoked us enough, King Chiron," I said. "I'll not ask again. Leave."
But then I saw something I likely should have recognized when I'd first found Chiron in my courtyard-he was mad. As cold as a winter wind, he loosed an arrow of his own.
I gauged its flight. It flew true, aimed for Lycurgus's heart.
But the ground trembled, and the world lurched beneath my feet. "Consort's balls," I swore as I fell hard against the stone bench.
Chiron remained steady on his feet, and he let three more arrows fly, one after another. Thick dust roiled into the air as the tremors ceased. Each hit exactly where Lycurgus stood.
"Lycurgus!" I shouted, waving my hand in front of my face. "Lycurgus!"
But the dust was too thick and I couldn't see. I couldn't find him. Taking my dagger from my hip, I searched the dust for the body of the Lapith King. I'd kill Chiron if I found him first.
But what I saw as the dust settled hurt my brain. Four arrows, fletched in centaur reds, stood side by side in the ground where Lycurgus should have fallen.
But Lycurgus was gone.
Across the courtyard Chiron looked at me with an expression I couldn't read. Was it trepidation?
"What've you done with him?" I shouted, vaulting over the bench. I landed with my dagger extended, a handspan from his chest. "Arm yourself."
But my words were redundant; his blade glittered in the meager sunlight penetrating the churned dust.
"You won't win this, Princess," he said. "I'm the best there is."
"I'll win," I said, lunging toward him fast. I hit the hilt of his blade and heard him grunt in surprise. I knew I'd numbed his blade hand. "I always do."
Chiron stepped back quickly, trying to regain the offensive, but I feinted and parried so quickly he didn't have a chance.
"I didn't kill him," he said, fighting off a flurry of blades as I yanked my second dagger from my ankle strap.
"I suppose he evaporated into the ether, then." Metallic clanging bounced off the walls, mixing with the noise of Chiron's hooves on the flagstone.
"You needed to see he couldn't die," Chiron said. He was breathing heavily now as I leaped to his off side. The courtyard was too small for him to maneuver. As he checked his balance I nicked his horse coat and grinned as a trickle of blood laced his sorrel fur.
"I'll find his body in the entryway or hall," I said, parrying a blow that made up for in strength what it lacked in speed.
"If that's so," he said, stumbling away from me, "then why did you find four arrows?"
The truth of that shocked me, and I blinked. If Chiron had hit Lycurgus-killed him-then shouldn't an arrow be missing?
But none were.
Chiron took advantage of my inattention and struck, hitting the handle of my dagger and making it fly from my hand.
It landed right next to his crimson-fletched arrows.
"Perhaps you set five arrows free. Where is he?" I asked.
Chiron shrugged, making the sheen of sweat on his chest glimmer. "Look," he commanded. "Inspect the area."
And I did.
But I found no corpse in the adjacent garden, none in the cool entryway. I found nothing in the back hall. But I didn't believe Lycurgus was alive. I knew those arrows flew true. I'd seen it with my own eyes, and centaur arrows always hit their marks. Therefore, Lycurgus had to be dead. Chiron played some black jest on me for his own dark purpose.
Suddenly terrible anger swept over me. I turned toward the centaur with deliberate calm. "Do you know what you've done?" I asked. "My alliance with the Lapiths would've ended a generation of bickering between Palace Malia and Palace Knossos. We could've brought Kato Zakros to heel." I threw up my hands in exasperation. "And now we have nothing but warfare in our future."
"He'll be at the Mother Rite."
The way in which Chiron said those words chilled me. His tone exuded certainty and strength, and I decided the next course of action right then.
"If he is, King Centaur," I said. "You and you alone will fight him."
Chapter Two"Akantha!" my servant said, bursting into my chamber. I was selecting the formal dress for the tourney where I'd take my Champion before all the land's nobility.
"What?" I asked. "Have you found Lycurgus?" Or his body? That thought filled me with dread.
"The King of the Centaurs is in the hall-looking for you!"
"What?" Bronze bangles dangled from my fingertips. I'd permitted him to enter the melee. What more could he want?
"Hello, Princess." For a moment I saw fire burning in his gaze-but then I realized it was the sun shining over his shoulder.
"You don't appear to be a dumb beast," I said, trying to irritate him. I suddenly felt very conscious of my tight bustier, which pushed my bared breasts up and forward. I hadn't donned my robe yet, and my nipples tingled. "And yet you're here-uninvited in my chamber-and that just might provoke me to change my mind."
"You won't change your mind." Chiron stood in my doorway, hip cocked against the frame. The amber light of the sun silhouetted him, lighting a blazing halo behind him. His red cloak magnified the effect.
"Your confidence astounds me." I straightened and took my asp from his soft woven basket. Unwinding Kleio, I let him coil around my neck and breasts.
"You need to come with me," Chiron said.
I laughed at that. "So I'm not in the palace when they find the corpse of Lycurgus?"
"There'll be no corpse found."
"Have you thrown it into the Aegean, then?" I swallowed. Lycurgus deserved better than that.
"I'm going to take you to the Mistress's Sacred Glade." I heard no question in his voice-only assurance.
"My ears must be deceiving me," I said, ignoring the audacious words. "After arresting you for murder, I must greet the folk traveling from Palace Malia and console the folk from Palace Phaistos." And have my men comb the palace ground for any sign of the dead man. "I've no time for a trip to the Glade."
"The summer solstice is upon us, and we must attend the Glade," he continued as if I'd said nothing. "We'll return to Palace Knossos for the Mother Rite-where I'll combat Lycurgus one-on-one."
"No," I said with exaggerated patience, trying not to admire his muscular arms. How could an army of mere humans stand a chance against him? Even Earth Shaker himself would pale in comparison. "I need to organize the tourney."
"I cannot conquer him-Lycurgus-without your help. We must go to the Sacred Glade."
I'd had enough. Chiron had lost his mind. "Get out," I said. "And leave me be." I shooed him with my hand, wishing I had another arrow with which to convince him-the man was as stubborn as an ass.
He stepped toward me, and I shouted, "Inis! Get the guard!"
"I apologize, Princess Akantha." He fully entered my chamber, but I heard the guards rushing over the flagstone. "Truly."
With that, he snatched me up in his powerful arms, spun on his massive haunches, and bolted down the hall-away from the palace guards.
"Chiron," I said as his hooves pounded rhythmically over the stone, "I'll kill you the first moment I get."
He simply grunted. In the convoluted passage system, he skidded around a corner, and I threw my hands around his neck so I wouldn't fall. Then he swept past a series of entryways that led nowhere only to slide left at the only corridor leading out of the palace. Aghast, I realized-he knew our labyrinth.
"How do you know our maze?" I demanded as my naked breast registered the heave of his brawny chest. Guards clattered behind us.
"Who do you think built it?" he said, not even panting as we left the palace proper and entered the grounds.
Despite my captive state, I scoffed. "King Centaur, this palace predates your birth by at least seven generations." The sound of the guards' feet fell farther behind us, but I felt no discouragement.
"You know nothing, Princess."
Chiron passed the bull-leaping arena and the barn when a figure appeared before us. Though Chiron's gait and grip jostled me, I saw the figure bore a mighty sword, and my heart leaped.
"Lycurgus!" I shouted. "He lives!"
"By the tits of the Mother," Chiron swore.
"Help!" I started kicking and pushing now, but Chiron's grip tightened around my waist. "Lycurgus, help!"
I heard the earth rumble and I groaned. Another tremor. But the ground shrieked this time, and Chiron's gallop lost its smooth rhythm. My body wrenched in his arms.
"Let me go!" I shouted, clawing at his eyes. Chiron simply tucked me under his arm like I was a hen bought at market.
The tremor escalated into an earthquake. Beneath us, the ground screeched and rattled, and a strange odor filled the air. It smelled like sulfur and burning hair.
Still Chiron ran straight toward Lycurgus. With me under one arm, he reached for his sword in his belt. The sound of metal on metal added to the noise of ripping earth.
Then I saw it. A huge chasm had opened in the ground between Chiron and Lycurgus. Other chasms opened all around us.
For the first time since I'd met Chiron, the iron taste of fear filled my mouth. "Oh please, Chiron," I pleaded. "Just stop. Don't jump."
But he did.
The power of his haunches collecting beneath him rippled through his body, and I closed my eyes. For a moment, we flew through the air like a pair of hawks-or more like a hawk with a mouse caught in its beak. And we landed with a thud so close to Lycurgus I could see the red veins in his eyes.
And then I jerked my body with all my strength. He fought my release hard, gripping me with bruising fingers. But I had the strength born of desperation.
I landed with a thud in the dust at Lycurgus's feet, and the quake stopped.
Excerpted from EROS ISLAND by Lucinda Betts Dawn Thompson Devyn Quinn Copyright © 2008 by Lucinda Betts. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsCENTAUR HEART Lucinda Betts....................1
THE DREAM WELL Dawn Thompson....................77
THUNDERSTRUCK Devyn Quinn....................159
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
BAD, BAD AND JUST PLAIN BAD. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS ONE. ALL THE 5 STAR RATINGS MUST BE FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS AND ANY CRITIC WHO GAVE THIS A 5 STAR RATING IS EITHER GETTING PAID UNDER THE TABLE OR HAS HORRIBLE TASTE. MY FOURTH REVIEW AND THIS ONE BECAUSE AGAIN THE BOOK WAS SO BAD, I WANT TO TRY MY BEST TO SAVE SOME OTHER POOR SOUL TIME AND MONEY...
Read res two =^ .^=
Good job pllllzzzzz keep going i luv tigers
"Seems like he's a male. No diseases. Perfectly healthy. Just take care of him, and once he is old enough, give him to the government. He'll go in a zoo or something like that." Another human was standing with the other humans. But this one was wearing this weird peice of white cloth. The other humans just kept on moving their heads; I think they were nodding. I fell asleep again, feeling bored. <br> <p> ~Yawn~ I sniffed. My eyes were still closed, but my nose was wide awake. Mmm, cow meat. I had only tried this only ONCE before. I finally woke up fully, and ran towards the smell. "Awww, so cute. He's awake," said the female human. "Guess the steak trailed him towards here," the male human said. He tossed me a piece of cow meat. Yes! I quickly gobbled it up, and licked my chops afterwards. "We should call him Steak. Cause he likes it so much." The female human looked excited. The male human lazily replied,"Sure, whatever. We're only keeping him for a couple more weeks. I'm gonna search up some zoos that are looking for tiger cubs." Uh, oh. I've heard of zoos before. My mother told me that they lock you up and feed you old meat. My mother and father were both in zoos. That's how they met up. As I fell asleep once more, with a happy meal in my stomach, I still felt uncomfortable.
I picked this one up because of the cover art and can actually say that the stories inside are every bit as terrific. Three talented authors come together to tell some spicy tales based on popular Greek and Celtic mythologies.
I wanted to read this book because it has a story by Dawn Thompson in it. But found all three stories strongly written. Very different styles, but each amazingly talented authors. Thompson was 'The Dream Well'. I really enjoyed this because it made me think of the Clootie Wells in Britain. The lore was strong, the story hot, yet with a wonderful plot, and Thompson's usual twist you don't see coming. Devyn Quinn's story was 'Thunderstruck'. She is a new author for me, but I will be buying more after reading this. A Sculpture comes to life -- boy does he! Okay, it's been done a time or two, but Quinn breathes new life into the tale. 'Centaur Hear' is Lucinda Betts' entry. I really enjoyed this story. Betts' has a smooth style. I will check out more of her books after this. Usually anthologies have one strong writer and two newer ones. These three ladies each deliver, giving a very strong anthology. Super sexy. Great cover. Great writing.
¿Centaur¿ Heart by Lucinda Betts. Princess Akantha loathes centaurs, but she especially hates Chiron. However, the goddess decides Chiron is good for Akantha and uses magic to enhance what the princess hides from even herself that she desires the centurion.----------- ¿The Dream Well¿ by Dawn Thompson. Lost in the Celtic woods, knight Gar Trivelyan reaches 'The Dream Well'. He touches its ancient stones, which leads to one of two sisters rising from seemingly nowhere and telling him she wants him. Gar desires her too, but if she is evil Analee he will regret his decision for eternity while if she is kindhearted Anya he will know love for eternity. ----------- ¿Thunderstruck¿ by Devyn Quinn. Sculptor Danicia Ryan is creating a naked marble statue of Herakles as she envisions the demi-god. When her statue comes to life, she finds his sexual desire for her incredible, as they share her ecstatic fantasies.---------- These three erotic romantic fantasies will thrill sub-genre fans as each author insures the magic including sexual enhances their respective well written tale.------- Harriet Klausner