On March 30th, 2007 something momentous happened, (well, momentous in my world) my first book, Overlord’s Vessel, was published! Well not my first
book – no one wants to read that. Seriously.
I was insanely nervous, and excited but mostly terrified. I was so worried people wouldn’t read it – or worse hate it. But I have the best friends in the world who kept me distracted until the reviews started coming in. For the record, they were pretty darn good!
To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of Overlord’s Vessel to one lucky commenter. So…all you people that read and never post, post something. Hopkins, Michigan – I know you’re out there. Finland, England, Germany, Pennsylvania, Australia, Brazil, Florida, Georgia – where ever you are – don’t be shy! Drop me a line and possibly win a free book. I’ll draw the winner on Friday.
Here’s an excerpt and the inspiration for the story.
Cold iron closed around Elizabeth’s skin. Distantly, she realized the guardian stretched her arm upward and secured the other manacle. Her wrists already ached where Micah had squeezed them when he pinned her against the tree this morning. Was it only this morning? It seemed a lifetime ago.
With her hands secured above her head, she panicked. Gripping the chain, she lifted herself into the air and kicked savagely at whichever man was closest. They were going to have to work harder than this to shackle her. Her foot caught the guardian in the temple, nearly toppling him. As she drew back to kick Micah, he wrapped his arm around both legs, immobilizing her.
“Enough!” he thundered.
Unforgiving metal clamped around each ankle and her legs were spread apart and bolted to the floor. Panic choked her throat. With her arms secured to a chain that hung from the ceiling and her feet to cuffs attached to the floor, she’d never felt so vulnerable. The fight drained from her. What was the point? She wasn’t going anywhere. The magic she had would be of no use in this situation. She had to rely on her wits. So far, they’d only gotten her chained up.
The guardian studied her intently but she looked away. His power coursed so strongly she felt it as soon as he’d approached her in the courtyard. Locked in this room with him the sensation was even more acute. He’d discover her secret soon and she’d be dead. She wished she’d had time to gather the herbs needed to render herself unconscious before they burned her.
He lifted her chin so she had to look into his deep-green eyes. She caught her breath as his gaze seemed to penetrate her. It was as if he could see into her soul but if he saw any of her closely guarded power he said nothing. Instead, a small smile curved his lips and he brushed his thumb over her mouth.
“Asher,” Micah said, his voice like a warning.
So, that was his name. He turned to Micah and grinned, his long chestnut hair shimmering like silk. His smile was dangerous, provocative. If not for Micah, she would have thought him the most handsome man she’d ever seen.
Both men were tall and broad across the shoulders but she couldn’t tell if Asher was as muscular as Micah. The shapeless, black robe hid most of him. His fair skin was sun-kissed but still pale next to Micah’s beautiful, brown body.
What was she doing thinking about their bodies? They had her trussed up and were going to do who-knew-what with her. She had a sinking feeling she knew exactly what they would do.
Her gaze darted between the hulking men who stared at her like they were starving. She closed her eyes, willing the ordeal to be over. “Just do it quickly.”
“We’re not going to hurt you,” Asher murmured, his voice soothing.
Her eyes flew open and her anger spilled out. “I’ve been taken from my home and imprisoned. Do you really think I’m going to believe you?”
Ignoring her outburst, they slowly circled her body. Every now and again, one of the men would reach out and caress her with teasing touches. She stiffened, vowing to fight them. But fear warred with desire as they gently stroked her skin, making her want more than a fleeting touch.
What was the matter with her? These men would likely be her death and she wanted more?
Someone stepped close to her back. Micah. She knew his scent already. Heady, enticing, arousing. The gods help her, she wanted him closer.
“We’re not going to hurt you,” he murmured. “But it won’t be over quickly.”
What did he mean it wouldn’t be over quickly? They planned to draw this out indefinitely? “Just finish it,” she said between gritted teeth.
Micah’s hot breath skated along her neck and a shiver worked through her body. The damp ache between her legs intensified. Why did she have to respond this way? Why had her body turned traitor?
“I’m going to take my time with you,” he whispered against her ear.
As if she’d forgotten to breathe, she sucked in a harsh breath, turning to face him. Lust burned bright in his eyes as he held her gaze.
The flutter of material falling to the floor drew her attention. Asher had stripped off his robe and stood clad in snug-fitting black braes and a green tunic. Micah nuzzled her ear and neck before moving to stand beside the guardian.
He still wore the black breeches but he’d removed his tunic. The wounds she’d inflicted were painfully apparent. Somehow, she knew he wouldn’t let her offenses go unpunished. Besides the scratches that marred his beautiful skin he had several jagged but healed scars. She couldn’t suppress the thought that she could have cured him with far less damage to his perfectly-sculpted body.
Asher arched a speculative brow at her. Had she spoken aloud? No, she knew she hadn’t but it was as if he heard her thought. He couldn’t do that could he? She’d heard rumors of men with that kind of power but that’s all they been. Rumors.
His curious expression vanished as if it had never been there. Side by side the pair studied her, their eyes hot and hungry. Micah pulled a wicked-looking knife from a sheath at his side and stepped toward her.
“Don’t move,” he warned.
The blade trailed along her collarbone and she gasped from the cold metal and colder fear. Her breath stalled in her throat as he brought the point to rest between her breasts.
This was it. She was going to die. Somehow, they must have figured out what she hid and decided not to bother with the stake. Surely stabbing would be better than burning to death.
Catching the thin fabric with the tip of the weapon, he tugged, slicing through the front of the gown. The cloth fell open, exposing the tops of her breasts.
His gaze dropped to her chest. When it rose again, she realized that he wasn’t going to kill her. Not yet, anyway. She glanced downward at the straining evidence of his arousal and her body clenched. How could she still want him?
Sheathing his knife, he slipped his hands inside her dress and cupped her aching breasts. She wanted to tell him to leave her be, to take his hands off her but she couldn’t find the words. Even if she could, she didn’t want to say them.
Her nipples hardened against his skin. It felt so good to finally have his hands on her. So much better than she’d imagined. And she had imagined it. Repeatedly.
Heated shame rushed to her cheeks but she couldn’t keep herself from arching into his touch. He swirled circles with his palms over her almost painfully tight flesh, drawing a cry from her parted lips.
She was pathetic. A simple touch had her crying out. Practically begging him for more. She was no better than her sister.
Micah slipped his hands free of the fabric and dropped to his knees in front of her. What now? She couldn’t tear her gaze from his. Even when Asher moved behind her, she remained trapped in Micah’s hot predatory stare. Shamed as she was to admit it, she missed the sensation of his hands on her body.
The guardian stroked down the sensitive skin of her arms, his fingertips coming to rest on either side of her breasts, pushing them gently forward, toward the man who would be her mate.
Without warning, Micah gripped the fabric of her dress and wrenched, splitting it from neck to hem. The tearing sound seemed to echo for endless moments as he gazed at her exposed body. His chest rapidly rose and fell as he surveyed her.
Unable to bear his scrutiny, she closed her eyes. She would never be beautiful like Maureen. She was just plain old Elizabeth. She didn’t belong here as Micah’s mate. If she could have she would have covered her nakedness with her hands. Instead, chilled air assaulted her skin and she jerked away from him. That only served to push her against Asher, his erection flush against her bottom.
“Open you eyes, little one,” Asher murmured into her ear. “See how much he wants you.”
As if hypnotized by his voice Elizabeth complied, nearly drowning in the blistering heat emanating from Micah’s gaze. For a moment, he glared at Asher.
“Don’t think this will be a regular occurrence,” he growled. “Once the ritual has been performed, her body is mine alone.”
“Until then, it’s both of you?” she squeaked.
Micah looked at her, his golden-brown eyes heavy-lidded and determined. “We’ve been known to share.”
Share? They shared women? Both of them together? With one woman? She reassessed her earlier insight. They were going to kill her. It just wouldn’t be the painful, bloody massacre she feared.
“But you’re mine, Elizabeth,” he breathed. With a half growl and half groan, he lunged for her, devouring first one nipple then the other. Suckling then biting, he drew her into the wet, scalding heat of his mouth.
She’d never felt anything like it. Sensation, centered at her breast, pulled a taut fiery line to her core. If he didn’t stop the moisture collecting at her center would begin dripping down the insides of her thighs.
“Please,” she whispered.
Asher plucked and twisted the opposite nipple, his hips rhythmically thrusting against her. “Please, what?”
A pounding at the door drew her from the sensual haze that had enveloped her.
“It’s time,” Asher said.
Fear streaked through her, pounding in time with the fist on the door. Time for what?