Excerpt: Once Upon an Enchantment
Chase shifted in his chair and she felt the full force of his regard. “Now that we have the idle chitchat out of the way, why don’t you tell my what you’re doing on my property.” He spoke softly, almost gently, yet there was a steely quality that warned he wouldn’t be put off by evasive responses. One way or another, he intended to have answers.
“I have explained myself already.” She pitched her voice to soothe, while spinning her tale. “I was out for a stroll—”
She forced more power into her voice, willing him to be seduced by the enchanting music woven through the words. “I cannot sleep during a full moon,” she insisted. “It makes me restless.”
“So you came to visit my garden?” He shook his head. “I don’t think so.”
For some reason, her words didn’t work on him. Could she have lost all magic due to the banishment? No, that couldn’t be it, else her pixie dust would not have made her human-sized. Fae seize him! Could the power he gained over her from learning her name and touching her thrice, dominate her power over him? If so, how to even the unbalanced scales? Use his name? Touch him thrice?
“Enough, Meriwyn.” His use of her name kept the scales unbalanced. “I want the truth.”
She fought a twinge of panic and searched for a more appropriate response, while struggling to think of a way to diffuse the unsettling power this man held over her. “I was worried about your children.”
“Nice. But still wrong.”
How could that be wrong? She thought it a rather clever claim, given the circumstances. “I wasn’t worried about your children?” she dared to question.
“If you were worried about them, you’d have knocked on the front door and asked how they were.”
“Oh.” She crossed her arms across her chest and hunched her shoulders. What did she know of human etiquette? This was most unfair. Once more she was at a disadvantage. And there wasn’t a thing she could do to alter that distressing fact.
“Care to try again?”
She wrinkled her nose at him. “I think not.”
“I think so.”
“If I wasn’t out for a stroll, nor restless thanks to a full moon—which is true, for your information. Nor in your garden to check on your children, then why am I here? ‘Tis a puzzle, I must confess.”
He trust back his chair and crossed to the lounger in two swift strides. He towered above her and she caught her breath, frozen in alarm. Fury marked his face, his eyes blacker than the purest obsidian. Before she could gather her wits sufficiently to escape up the oak, he grasped her shoulders and yanked her off the cushions. “Why are you here?”
“Because I wanted to see you again.” The words leapt unbidden from her tongue. Yet the moment she spoke them, she knew they were true. He obviously knew it as well. What new power did he now possess over her, that his touch now summoned the truth from her?
Chase’s anger lessened, yet the tension between them built anew. He eased his hold on her shoulders, his hands stroking where before they’d gripped. His thumbs slipped beneath her vest, lingering within the delicate hollows of her throat.
“Who are you?” he whispered. “What are you doing here?”
“I am Meriwyn. I am here because you call me.”
“This is insane.”
“Aye. But I find it a most pleasurable insanity.”
She pulled back slowly, instinct warning she must end this before it went any further. For a moment, she thought he’d release her without a struggle. Then he tugged her closer, his arms enfolding her in a tight embrace.
“You must not!” she cried.
He smiled, the tender warmth of that simple gesture subduing all resistance. “It’s only a kiss,” he said, and lowered his head.
His lips touched hers and she froze beneath the gentle caress. Not once in the four hundred and fifty-seven years of her existence had she experienced such a wondrous treat. She threw her arms about his neck, determined to learn everything possible about this strange, delicious “only a kiss.”
Look for Once Upon an Enchantment, available late 2015!