Friday, March 16, 2012

Frisky Friday - Deadly Enchantment Excerpt

I did some trolling on the Internet as I looked for a good Frisky Friday topic, but couldn't find anything that I wanted to share.  I spent a lot of time on Dear Author reading a very critical review on Fifty Shades of Grey and the hundred plus comments that followed it.  If you're interested, click the Dear Author link.  And if you like critical reviews of Fifty Shades check out the recent review from Derek Ant giving a Dom's perspective on the portion of the trilogy he's read.

However, I've already written one post on Fifty Shades of Grey, and even though E.L. James has earned a 7 figure advance from Random House for her trilogy, I think the web has enough opinion pieces about James's former fanfic sensation.

So instead, I decided to offer up an excerpt from Deadly Enchantment that is not available anyplace else for readers, unless they purchase the book.

Set in Victorian England, Deadly Enchantment concerns two wizard half-brothers who have the ability to shift into leopards.  Terrence, the elder, has cast a spell that prematurely ages his sister as punishment for aligning herself with their younger, illegitimate half-brother, Dominic.  Helpless against their brother's treachery, Dominic holds Regina close as she dies in his arms.  Enraged by Terrence's treachery, Dominic wants nothing more than to challenge his evil brother to a lethal match of magic, but his swiftly waning magic has left him, and those he wishes to protect, vulnerable.  When he was sixteen years old, his tutor had warned him that to complete his powers he would need to mate with a woman pure of spirit and body prior to his thirtieth birthday.  If he failed to do that, he would slip into a steady decline that would result in him not only losing his powers, but cause him to lose his mind as well.  In short, he would slowly go insane until he would eventually need to be locked up for his own welfare and that of others.. So, in order to be successful in his plan to take down his brother, Dominic will need to make love to the young woman he'd been so desperate to protect....  His dead wife's sister, Serena Cunningham.

Seeking shelter from the electrically charged storm Terrence had thrown at them, the couple find themselves in an empty, abandoned cottage, ready to take the final step necessary to restore and enhance Dominic's magic.

            Feeling a sense of urgency that did not allow for the time she’d need for a bath, Serena quickly used the commode, then gave herself a quick wash as a compromise.  Grabbing one of the thick, plush Turkish towels, she patted herself dry, noticing that the velvety material absorbed water from her skin with just the barest touch.  Unable to resist the temptation, she added just a touch of cologne and a dash of powder, then faced the difficult decision of either putting on Dominic’s shirt again or donning the white silk gown he’d created for her.  She suspected neither garment would remain on her for long, but the clothing he wore had more substance for her than the clothing he’d materialized.  Not that there was anything faulty in his magic.  There wasn’t.  The material itself was perfection.  But his shirt still held his scent and that offered her more comfort than the finest silk or satin he could conjure.
            When she opened the door and stepped back into their bedroom, the room behind her dematerialized.  As for saving his energy, the man himself lay waiting in the bed.  He’d undressed, but the sheets and blankets covered him below the waist.
            “I hope you do not think I’m rushing things,” he said, his deep voice nearly a purr.
            Serena shook her head, then raised her chin a notch.  “I have no illusions about what will happen here tonight,” she informed him, not really understanding why her comment brought a curious upward turn to his lips.
            “I am pleased to hear you say that,” he murmured, “though I want you to understand that this is your choice.  Do not mistake me, dear heart, for I do desire you, and a part of me longs to claim you in a most desperate way, but the choice is and always will be yours.  I do not say this to lay the responsibility for our actions at your feet, but rather to reassure you that my desire to claim you will always be subservient to your desire to have me.”
            His statement gave Serena the confidence she needed to approach the bed he had magically created for them.  “Though you say the choice is mine, I am of the opinion that to win this battle we find ourselves in, we will need to be in complete accord with each other.  I once believed you murdered my sister.  I know now that it would be impossible for you to commit such an act.  I believe you cared for her, even if you did not love her the same way she loved you.  Even so, you vowed to avenge her murder, and that is something that I too want most dearly.  Together, I believe we might accomplish both our goals and live to tell others about it.”
            “Not just others, Serena, our children.  This may not be the sort of wedding night most young women dream about, even so, I want you to know that I am no less committed to you than if we spoke our vows before God and a magistrate of the Queen.  Those formalities are merely a matter of time and circumstance, but, and I want you to pay close heed to my words since I do not offer them lightly, when I claim you, my sweet, it will not just be me who is with you.  The beast I shift into is as much a part of me as my head and heart.  Though my true form is human, the white leopard you’ve seen, is both a conscious and unconscious manifestation of my thoughts and emotions.
            “I do not say this to frighten you, but there is a very good chance I will shift tonight.  My tutor warned me that strong emotions can bring on the shift as easily as my conscious will.  Earlier today, with Regina, is an example of what can happen.”
            “Do you tell me this because you fear my reaction or yours?” she asked quietly.
            “Both,” he answered honestly.  “I do not want to hurt you, and ….”
            ”You won’t,” she interrupted.  “You may fear what you might do, but I do not.  You were angry with me earlier, when I stood before the door and blocked you, yet you did nothing more than growl.  You did not even bare your fangs at me.  I know you will not hurt me.”
            “In truth, I wanted to wring your neck, and had I hands then instead of paws, I might well have done so.  It was foolish of you to take such a risk, and I trust you will never do so again.”
            “You may think the act one of recklessness, sir, but I believe it to have been utterly necessary.  Had you gone off on your own, we would never have had tonight together.”
            That statement brought a smug masculine smile to his lips.  “For that reason alone, I forgive you.”  Then reaching out, he drew her into his arms and kissed her.
            Serena gave herself to his kiss completely.  His lips were warm and full and he tasted like wheat and honey.  Unsure where to put her hands, she moved them up the sinewy length of his arms and rested them at his neck.
            He moaned softly at her touch and rolled onto his back, pulling her down on top of him.  She expected him to remove his shirt from her back with the same magic he’d used to remove her clothing in the library, but for the moment he was content to use the thin fabric to his advantage as his lips sought out her breasts.  He suckled gently, dampening the fabric with his tongue, then opening his mouth he breathed out so that the warmth of his breath caused the fine material to flutter against her.  She could feel her flesh pucker with pleasure in reaction.
            His lips curved into a thoroughly satisfied grin.  “I’d say you liked that.”
            Before she could respond, he turned so that she lay on her back, and he lay on his side looking down at her.  His hand reached beneath the hem of his shirt and slid with slow purpose up her calf to her thighs.  She recalled the last time he’d touched her so intimately and felt herself grow moist once again.

Hope you enjoyed this Frisky Friday excerpt.  If you're interested in knowing more, please visit the Deadly Enchantment page on my web site

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