Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Excerpt - Fae's Gargoyle - available today


Maria Jennings opened her eyes and was startled to find a naked man lying beside her. Her erratic heartbeat pounded in her ears. She jerked up in bed but the painful throbbing in her temple forced her back down onto the pillow. The room spun around her. Swallowing the dryness in her throat, she tried to remember what had happened. How had she ended up here? Naked?

The sound of the ocean pounding outside the open patio door matched the hammering in her head. The last thing she remembered was standing in Danu’s castle saying goodbye after months of training. It was time to begin her mission, so why was she naked and in bed with—just who was this man?

Gingerly, she lifted up onto one arm and blinked against the diffused light. The room illuminated brighter each time the silk draperies billowed out and a breeze rushed across the room, carrying the scent of ocean and tropical flowers. Her spirit soared with the smell of home, only something was missing within the familiar scents. Something was very wrong.

Moonlight rushed across the room and fell over the muscular man lying beside her. Shadows swayed and the light moved across indented buttocks, then rose past broad shoulders to stretch toward dark wavy hair. Before she could glimpse his face, the light flittered away with the retreating breeze.

She held her breath and waited until the next gust of wind shoved the draperies aside in a fluttering mass and once more bathed the naked man in soft light. It moved over him like an ocean’s tide and this time touched his face.

Her pulse spiked. She sat straight up in bed and smothered a gasp with trembling hands. This had to be a dream!

She was in bed with Denton Prescott!

It couldn’t be. She closed her eyes, but when she opened them he was still there. Denton Prescott? In bed with her? Naked? He shifted onto his stomach, turning his back to her. Maria dropped her gaze. Heat rushed to her cheeks. His buttocks were just as fine as she remembered. Well, she’d never seen them in the flesh, only in stone when he’d stood to take flight but had been caught in the rays of sunrise.

The moment rushed back to her as though it happened only yesterday instead of ten years ago. They’d been chatting on the campus steps late into the night. Time had seemed endless until the first rays of daylight struck his face. She’d been in awe as she watched his magnificent gargoyle form emerge and his clothes singe to ash. The hardening had spread over him until he was completely cast in stone.

She released her breath. It seemed an eternity since that night. A painful eternity when he was called to war, never once contacting her. And when he returned home a hero, he was quickly caught up in the life of a celebrity. She stared down at his hard, muscled body, her fingers itching to stroke the fine planes. Instead, she closed her hands into fists. How cruel this was. Her fondest fantasy come true and she was unable to touch him.

Unable to tell him how much she loved him. Not that he cared.

The air stirred cooler and she shivered. What had Danu been thinking, plopping her down into his bed? She had long since tamped down her feelings for him, but at that moment realized when she’d been captured forever. Ever since he’d flashed that first devastating smile.

Oh, Danu, what have you done? Maria shook her head. The ancient guru wasn’t a cruel creature so this had to be a mistake. She tried to recall arriving there but met a thick fog where memories should reside.

Regardless how she’d ended up in Denton’s bed, she must fly away before he woke up and discovered her. Scooting out of the bed, she bent down and groped at the discarded clothes littering the floor. Her fingers closed around a dark-colored dress but she froze when he stirred again. She scooped up the dress and tiptoed toward the open bedroom door.

Her heartbeat pounded in her ears as she hurried down the hall, all her attention focused on the arched doorway ahead. She emerged into what appeared to be a large den lit by a corner floor lamp. Her bare feet slapped against the terra-cotta tiled floor while she struggled to pull the silk dress over her head. She hurried toward the glass doors, determined to exit through the portico and fly into the night. The ocean sang to her and her pulse pounded like the waves beating against the sand. Just where the hell was she? Nothing seemed familiar. The gardens surrounding the pool were not the rich vibrant colors she was accustomed to seeing. There was no magical vibration in them. In anything.

She’d worry about that later. Right now she needed to escape. She stretched forward, but the familiar pop didn’t come. She checked the dress to make sure none of the material was covering her shoulder blades. The strapless garment fit fine. Nothing to block her wings. Again she flexed her muscles and mentally summoned her faerie wings to release.


Okay, maybe she was sick. That might account for her inability to recall how she’d ended up in Denton’s bed. Pain seared her temple and she gripped the back of a nearby chair. Oh, that was not normal. She massaged the throbbing ache with trembling fingers. She’d just leave by her own two feet and try flying once she was away from the house.

The image of Denton lying beside her flashed across her mind. Oh dear butterfly wings! She’d been in bed with Denton Prescott. Her breath came in hard, short pants. And she was running away from him because? She mentally shook herself. Because she had no explanation for being there. Because he didn’t love her.

But Denton…naked… She wrung her hands together, longing to return to his bed and at long last live out her greatest fantasy. Enough of this. She had to leave before he found her there. She took a deep breath and reached for the door knob.

“Where are you going?” came a groggy baritone voice behind her.

Caught! Her heart skipped a beat. What should she do? She pretended she hadn’t heard him and closed her fingers around the knob.

Ellora's Cave


Regina Carlysle said...

Congrats and happy release day! My EC title is out today too so we're sharing the occasion. Currently in promo-hell. LOL.

Nicole Austin said...

Congrats, Sally! Hussy power. :D

Sally Painter said...

Congrats Regina! TY!

Sally Painter said...

TY, Nic! RAH Hussy power! (vbg)