Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Heart of a Sorceress - excerpt

Thank you very much! Here's an excerpt from Heart of a Sorceress:

“Hello, Lara.” Sha’ul’s large frame filled the doorway. The torchlight glistened off his hair like sunlight off a raven’s wings. “May I come in?”

Lara blinked hard several times, not sure if this were a vision. She tried to sit up and found she couldn’t. Her body felt like a sack full of rocks and pain shot through her muscles with the slightest movement. “My lord.” Her voice squeaked out in a strained whisper as she realized she’d fallen asleep without her prescribed bath. To her mounting horror, she couldn’t even remember what she’d done with the pouch of crystals. “I…forgot…can’t move.” She felt the tears coming again and clenched her teeth in determination to fight them.

Sha’ul chuckled gently and approached the bed. He knelt down beside her and tenderly pushed her hair back off her face.

Lara caught sight of a small clay vial in his other hand.

“I thought as much,” he said. “It’s not everyday your stepmother gives birth. I realized after you left yesterday that this might happen.”

“Yesterday?” Her heart pounded even as relief swept through her. “I fell asleep soon after I got back here and visited Ariana. Oh, I promised her I’d see her again before bed. I only meant to rest for a minute.”

He nodded. The pad of his thumb brushed lovingly across her forehead. “Your first day of training must have been exciting and stressful both. Between the sword and Ariana and…” His voice trailed off.

Lara caught her breath at the reference to what had happened between them. His touch on her forehead began to stoke her desire in spite of the guilt churning within her. “I’ve already failed my vow, my lord. After only one day you had to come fetch me because I disobeyed you.” She avoided his gaze.

“That’s not how it is, Lara. I came here for several reasons of my own.”

She stole a glance at him, surprised to see the gentle smile curving his masculine lips. “You did?”

“Aye. The first was to pay my respects to the Lady Ariana. The second was that I couldn’t wait to see you.” The dark of his eyes smoldered a deeper shade of brown. “The third was to help you be able to move again.” He sighed. “So you see, sweetling you didn’t fail. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ve been through enough already.”

The endearment washed through her like a sensuous wave, as well as the reasons he’d enumerated for coming to Karan-ver. She cleared her throat, afraid her nervous voice would fail. “I’m sorry, my lord., but how will I be able to train today? I can’t even move.”

His smile widened, even though the color in his eyes continued to darken sensuously. “I can help you with that, Lara, that is, if I have your permission to touch you.”

She swallowed hard past the sudden lump in her throat. Her heart pumped madly. She nodded. “Aye, my lord,” she breathed, “you have my permission.”

He furrowed his brow. “I will need to touch you…familiarly.”

Lara stared up at him, wondering how much more familiarly he could touch her than he had yesterday.

“Not quite as familiarly as yesterday, but, well, you’ll need to undress.”

Her breath caught softly in her throat. Had he read her mind? Or were her thoughts so clearly readable on her face? She swallowed hard as he heart pumped fiercely. She nodded. “Aye, my lord.”

Sha’ul withdrew his hand from her forehead and set down the vial in his other hand. He moved to the foot of the bed and slipped off Lara’s boots, one by one. He looked at her. “Are you able to move enough to undo your trousers?”

She pulled her hands upward, but found them void of strength. “No, my lord.”

On his knees, Sha’ul maneuvered to the side of the bed. His large hands took hold of the corded belt and untied it. He stood and slipped his hands under the small of her back, pushing the trousers over her buttocks and hips before pulling them the rest of the way off by the legs.
Letting them drop to the floor, he kneeled by her once again. He undid the bow on her bodice, loosening the laces and with a hand on her back, gently lifted her and pulled the article off.
He let her back down carefully and looked at her, his eyes remaining fixed on hers. “I need to remove your garters and stockings,” he said quietly.

Lara swallowed hard. The garters and stockings were her only undergarment and the thought of his hands so close to her sex, his fingertips grazing her bare flesh sent up a throbbing in her core that both exhilarated and frightened her. “Alright,” she whispered.

Sha’ul pulled down the tails of her blouse, covering her to mid-thigh and reached underneath, his gaze fastened on hers.

Lara caught her breath as his warm fingertips grazed the flesh of her stomach, working open the ties of her garter belt. She heard the leather straps fall open and Sha’ul’s hands emerged. He pulled down her left stocking. The light material sliding down her skin along with his touch touched off waves of heat in her lower belly, down to her woman’s core, which ached for his caress. The same sensations and desires assaulted her when he removed her other stocking.
Now she lay nearly naked, except for the blouse. Sha’ul slipped his hands under her back again, helping her to ease over onto her stomach. Lara stared at the mud packed wall, which was all she could see. She couldn’t see Sha’ul, but she could feel his simmering energy close to her and hear his breathing, heavier, as if he were fighting for control.

Her ears tensed, listening to his sounds. He uncorked the vial he’d brought with him and poured some in his hands. She heard the quiet swoosh of palms rubbing together and then his hands, warm and strong, were slipping under her blouse and splaying over her bare skin. In slow, even circles, he rubbed he muscles, his fingertips easing away the soreness. Her muscles tingled pleasantly, from his expert touch or from the oily substance he’d put on his hands, she couldn’t tell; but the sweet aroma of herbs wafted to her nose and her body loosened and her eyelids fluttered closed.

The hem of her blouse played along the back of her thighs and gradually over her buttocks. She knew her bottom was now exposed to his view and her heart fluttered in her chest.

“What is that oil you’re using, my lord?” She needed to speak to ease the crashing of her heart and gut.

“Oil of dewberries,” came the murmured answer as his hands slid upward on her back, releasing the pain and tension. “A liniment you’ll be learning how to make before long.” His voice had taken on a velvety tinge.

“It has a beautiful smell.”

“Aye.” His large hands paused, palms down behind her shoulder blades. “Lara, do I have your permission to work on your…lower extremities.”

Her heart scrambled upward to her throat; or at least that’s what it felt like on the heels of his question. Almost as disturbing was how very much she wanted his hands all over her, exploring every fold and curve. She nodded. “Aye, my lord.”

Slowly, Sha’ul’s hands slid downward, past the small of her back, over the swells of her buttocks. Her breath hitched softly as he gently pushed the heels of his hands in and kneaded the flesh in tight circles, releasing the knots of tension. Pleasant waves of warmth shimmered through her bottom and into the slit between her thighs. His hands were only inches away from the hidden center.

Sha’ul worked the tightness out of her buttocks. He paused and Lara heard him pour a bit more of the dewberry oil into his hands, rub them together before the warm touch resumed on the back portion of her right upper thigh. He worked his way down her thigh to her calf and foot and back up. She suppressed a soft moan when his fingertips dappled over her sensitive inner thigh, moving dangerously close to the lips of her sex.

“Are you feeling better?” he asked. The tenor of his voice had grown husky and Lara swallowed hard.

“Aye, my lord. I can move again.”

He cleared his throat softly. “Good. I’m nearly done.” He moved his hands to her right leg and repeated the sensuously arousing process he’d done on her left.

In spite of her nervousness, Lara caught herself grinning like a satisfied cat.

Sha’ul lifted his hands off her leg and remained quietly kneeling by the bed. “I just have to do your arms when you’re ready.”

Her heart fluttered again. To massage the oil into her arms, he’d need to remove her blouse. “I’m ready,” she answered in a near whisper.

Sha’ul rose up and helped her to a sitting position before sitting down next to her. He picked up her left hand and rubbed it gently, his fingers still slick from the oil. “I’m glad this has helped you.” He looked at her, his eyes smoldering with obvious desire. “Unfortunately, my hands are too large to fit into your sleeve.”

Lara’s bottom lip trembled. “Unfortunate, my lord?”

A small, sideways grin teased at his lips. “Well, perhaps unfortunate is the wrong word.”

“May I ask you something, my lord?” She forced herself not to avoid his gaze, which caused her insides to melt.

He reached up and pushed a strand of her hair off her cheek. “Of course you may, Lara.”

She took a deep breath, shocked at the boldness she was about to exercise with her teacher. “Ariana told me that it…love…can be beautiful.” She felt her face cloud suddenly. “I would have had to serve Dogon, one of the queen’s ministers. Ariana saved me from that fate. He used to do terrible things to her. He…hurt her.” Ariana refused to tell Lara the details of what Dogon used to do to her, but she already knew because the day Dogon had come into the haram quarters and ripped off her gown, leering at her, he’d described in detail his wicked plans for her body on the night of her initiation as a bed-slave.

Sha’ul brushed his thumb across her cheek. “Praise to Galen that you and Ariana are both safe now.”

Lara nodded. His touch comforted her as much as it thrilled her and she savored the potent sensuality simmering between them. “Aye, my lord. I would have thought she’d fear intimacy, but she’s madly in love with my father and seems to have healed.”

He smiled gently, capturing her gaze. “I see that she is contented now. So, sweetling, what is your question?”

She swallowed past the lump forming in her throat. “I wanted to know if you feel the same as Ariana does.”

Sha’ul’s eyes darkened with a warm glow and his lids lowered, the long lashes forming a sensuous line across them. “Aye, Lara,” he whispered. “I do.” He leaned in toward her, sliding his fingers into her hair.

“I thought maybe…with you…I could heal…the same way.”

He gazed on her a moment longer. “I’m honored that you feel that way, Lara. I certainly want you to heal.”

“Then you would try?”

He smiled. “You told me yesterday you love me and I told you the same. The healing has already begun.” Cradling her head with his large hand, he slanted his mouth over hers in a tender kiss.

Lara’s eyes fluttered closed as his lips pressed against hers. His warm, musky scent mingled with the herb from the oil in an intoxicating blend. Her lips parted as her body weakened. Sha’ul’s tongue mated with hers, tasting her, stoking the already white-hot blaze in her loins.
After several moments, he lifted his face from their kiss and gazed down at her. “You’re enchanting, Lara,” he whispered in a husky tone.

Heat infused her cheeks and she looked down. “Thank you, my lord.”

“Now, I want you to be able to move your arms again.”

She glanced back up. “So do I.”

Sha’ul took hold of the hem of her blouse. “Lean forward,” he told her.

She obeyed and he slipped the blouse over her head, down the length of her arms until it was completely off. Her blush deepened as Sha’ul’s gaze roved from her face, over her breasts and stomach, to the vee between her thighs with its light curls.

His face darkened visibly from appreciation and desire. “By the gods, Lara, you are absolutely exquisite,” he murmured.

“Thank you, my lord.”

Reaching out, Sha’ul brushed his fingertips along her jaw, down her throat and across her chest. As he had the day before, he cupped her breast tenderly, this time, directly on her bare skin, brushing his thumb across her almond colored nipple. The soft tip pebbled immediately under his touch and Lara moaned softly, her eyes fluttering closed.

In the next moment, she felt Sha’ul’s lips pressing against hers again and parted them to let his tongue plunder her mouth with mounting urgency. Her fingertips stole up to his cheek, brushing across the masculine skin. Though he was clean-shaven, she could feel the rugged whiskers of a heavy beard.

Emboldened, Lara reached around and pulled the leather tie from Sha’ul’s hair. The silky tresses spilled over his shoulders. She let it slip between her fingers, to the ends, which reached the middle of his broad back.

Sha’ul pulled away from their kiss and pulled off his jerkin and shirt. Lara’s gaze went immediately to his bare chest, perusing each hillock and sculpted line, to the small dark nipples and swirls of silky black hair, a line of which trailed down the center of his taught stomach and disappeared below the belt of his trousers. He chuckled softly. “It appears as if the appreciation is mutual.”

She nodded, looking down. “It is, my lord,” she murmured.

“Good,” he answered. “That’s the way it should be.” He turned and pulled off his boots and then undid the belt of his trousers.

Lara stared as he pulled them off, revealing his powerful legs, dusted with dark hair, and his buttocks, round orbs of hard muscle.

He turned back to her, giving her her first view of the intimate part of his anatomy, already fully erect. Her gaze was trapped by the thick shaft of purplish skin and veins, springing from a nest of dark hair. In spite of the fate she’d nearly met as a bed-slave in the palace, she’d not yet seen a naked man up close.

“Touch me, if you want to.” Sha’ul’s voice was a tight whisper. “Whatever you want, Lara. I’m yours.”

His invitation caused a trail of fire through her belly into her core. Gingerly, she reached out, splaying the fingertips of one hand on his chest. Her hand looked so small against the bulge of muscle, which quivered under her touch. His skin was warm and his breathing rose and fell raggedly under her palm. The pad of her index finger grazed his nipple. The skin was smoother and tightened when she rubbed across it.

Sha’ul moaned softly in his throat as she ventured back across his chest, feeling the etched definitions of the muscles, honed and strengthened from years of disciplined training and fighting with heavy broadswords.

Her fingertips grazed lightly down his abdominal muscles, savoring each warm inch of taut flesh. She heard Sha’ul’s breath catch softly as her hand drew closer to his erection, hard and pulsing.
“Don’t stop, Lara,” he whispered.


Anonymous Rae Morgan said...

Okay, leave us hanging, Vivian. Very hot excerpt.

Rae Morgan

4:14 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Y. said...

Enjoyed it (again)!

-Jennifer Y.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Vivian Hart said...

Thank, Ladies. Sorry I haven't posted more. I'm blog challenged and didn't know what was going on.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Vanessa Hart said...

Thank, Ladies. Sorry I haven't posted more. I'm blog challenged and didn't know what was going on.

Runs in the family, sis!

Love the excerpt, but of course I've read the entire--fabulous--book.

Big sis Vanessa

5:17 PM  
Blogger Pamk said...

Love the excerpt

7:13 PM  
Blogger Sasha White said...

Very Hot!!

7:31 PM  
Anonymous annalisa said...

What a way to end a great excerpt! Whew! Loved it!

7:55 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Vivian, that was INtense! (No, that isn't a typo. It's Southern for WOW!)

Can't wait to read the whole thing!


9:53 PM  

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