I wanted to reward you blog readers with a longer extract than you get on Amazon: in fact, this extract isn’t available anywhere else. Settle back, grab something good to drink and enjoy.
Bear in mind that this is 30,000+ word erotic romance: this extract is only about 10% of the full story!
‘We’ll hang a bedsheet,’ he told her patiently. ‘Now, you should get out of your dress.’ Her eyes widened, but he cut in before she could protest. ‘You’re shaking. You need to get warm.’
And it was true, she was still shaking: the inn was warm, but the soaked, freezing fabric was draining the heat out of her. So she allowed Rafe to ask for buckets of hot water from the innkeeper, and when five of them had been hauled up the stairs by the innkeeper’s grumbling son, they pulled out the circular wooden bath that had been in the corner and filled it. Steam filled the room.
Rafe had hung a white bedsheet from one of the rafters. It didn’t go all the way to the edges of the room and stopped a few feet short of the floor, but it afforded her some privacy. After checking that Tonalee was still asleep, she prepared to undress, very aware of the man on the other side of the sheet.
She went to unlace her corset… then realized she couldn’t. The thing was hard enough to get into and out of even with Tonalee and – she screwed her eyes shut as she remembered – and Gwenian. Now, with the strings slickly wet, it was damn near impossible.
When she walked around the edge of the sheet, Rafe started in surprise.
‘I need your help,’ she said simply, and turned her back to him, showing him the complicated lacing. He hesitated, then stepped forward. Salranna swept her hair up out of the way, wet strands sticking to her neck.
She heard him move closer, the floorboards creaking. Then closer again, and his hands were lifting the wet strands of leather, examining them: he’d likely never had to deal with a corset before. He was close enough that she could feel the light touch of his breath on the back of her moist neck, and it sent a tremor down her legs, making her toes curl.
She had to say something or she’d go crazy.
‘Thank you – for what you did to save Tonalee.’
There was a pause, and she imagined him nodding behind her. ‘That’s alright, princess,’ he muttered at last. She couldn’t see him, of course, but she seemed to have no trouble imagining him there, his grey eyes narrowed in concentration, his stubble still wet from the pounding rain. His heavy jaw would be flexing as he inwardly swore at the knots, thinking them some elven conceit sent to try him. His hands, so big compared to hers, so warm, on the back of the corset, sliding down over the leather panels. He was close to her. Close enough that he could bend and kiss her neck, if he chose.
Silence again. Why was the room so gods-damn quiet? Then the rasp of wet leather: he was working at the knots. The corset tugged tight, causing her to catch her breath. She glanced down: her full breasts were barely concealed by the soaked fabric of her dress, the darker shade of her nipples clearly visible.
She glanced over to where Tonalee lay sleeping. She was as good as alone, being undressed by a human – a man.
The corset loosened a little and then he got his thumbs under it to pull the sides wider. His warm hands were against her lower back, inches from the curves of her ass. His heat soaked through the wet dress instantly: she may as well have been naked.
Did he hesitate? Did he stand there, his large, warm hands on her freezing body, for longer than was really necessary? Or did the moment just seem longer because she didn’t want it to end?
Gods, what was she doing? She should have slept in the dress and damn well shivered. She should have ordered Rafe into the stables. She was a princess, for pity’s sake.
The corset loosened, then dropped. She bent quickly to catch it before it hit the ground, and only realized her mistake when her ass bumped against Rafe’s body, the wet dress pulled tight over its firm curves. She stood quickly, blushing. ‘Sorry,’ she muttered. ‘Thank you.’ She stepped quickly back behind the sheet and just breathed for a moment, getting herself together. Then she started to undress.
The sheet was old and thin, but thick enough that she couldn’t see through it. She peeled off her wet dress and wrung it out as best she could. She cast a cautious glance at the sheet, but there was no sound or movement from the other side – nothing to indicate he could see anything. Satisfied, she unfastened her brassiere and let it fall to the floor, and pushed her panties down her wet legs and off. She was naked, her chill body goose-pimpled and shivering, her full breasts jiggling with the motion.
It was then that she noticed how much darker it was on the other side of the sheet. There were three candles lit on her side of the room, but there seemed to be none on Rafe’s. That meant that she was silhouetted, the sheet acting as a screen.
She caught her breath. Had there been candles lit on his side, and he’d snuffed them out deliberately to see her? She couldn’t remember. However it had happened, he was now getting a full view of her naked form, every line and curve cast in dark shadow. She flushed at the thought, and prepared to step into the bath.
Then she stopped.
Side-on to the sheet, she slowly raised her hands to her breasts, cupping them as if warming them. She squeezed gently, listening for any response from the other side.
She was alone, yet not alone. She could do things for her own pleasure, yet know that he was watching. She let one hand slide down her wet flank, over her thigh, and softly up between her legs. And this time she thought she did hear something: a sharp little intake of air, a gasp of disbelief.
What was she doing?
She quickly stepped into the bath, a flush rising to the tips of her ears. What had got into her? She was acting like a hormone-crazed teenager, and a commoner at that.
The water made her gasp as she stepped in, the rest of her body immediately cold by comparison. She squatted quickly, immersing herself, the water rising up to her waist. She sat back, and it sloshed up to her breasts: she let out a groan as the hot water hit them, the sensitive flesh throbbing. Raising her knees, she was able to lie back, arms around the top of the circular bath, her breasts half-submerged. The heat soaked into her aching back and shoulders and she closed her eyes in pleasure.
She lay like that for a moment. There was no sound from Rafe’s side of the room. Then, an almost imperceptible creak of a floorboard. It could have just been him shifting his weight, or the old building cooling down.
Then another one, this one closer to the sheet.
Was he creeping closer to the edge of the sheet, to look at her? Guessing, or hoping, that she had her eyes closed? She imagined him watching from around the edge of the makeshift curtain.
She should open her eyes, and see if he was there. But instead, she bent her knees even more and lowered her upper body into the water, until only her face was above the surface, her long golden hair spread out like a fan. Underwater, not even her elven ears could hear if he was approaching.
She raised her head, water streaming from her hair, and lay back again, letting her head loll back over the edge of the tub. Keeping her eyes closed, she raised her hands to her neck and massaged the knots of muscle there, then let her palms slide down her slick, hot body until they touched her breasts. She traced their shape with her fingertips and then softly caressed each one.
She imagined him watching: standing clear of the curtain now, perhaps four feet from where she sat.
Her fingers found her nipples, circling slowly, the flesh stiffening, standing to attention under her touch. She wondered what it would be like, when a man finally touched them. She wondered how Rafe would touch them.
She was sure he wanted her, now, but the hatred he seemed to have towards her and her kind was far too strong to overcome. Even if she asked him. Gods, imagine asking him.
Her hands moved lower, one slipping between her legs, finding the soft skin of her inner thigh, then the gossamer curls of her sex and the delicate pink lips beneath. She drew a shuddering breath as she ran her fingers over herself, feeling her body respond, the lips swelling, readying. Would he take her, if she asked him? And once started, would he stop?
She rubbed at her silken lips with two fingers, just below the surface. Her head was thrown back, now, blonde hair trailing on the floor. Her thumb found her clit, and her hips rose up out of the water, her back straight, supported only by her shoulders and feet. Gods, was he watching her? Was he seeing all this, seeing her frig herself like a common whore? Her thumb circled faster, faster, and suddenly her fingers were inside her, thrusting: it was going further than she’d intended, out of control, speeding towards the edge of the cliff, one hand splashing upwards to caress her breasts, fingers urgent at her nipple and OH GODS—
She came, teeth biting her lip so hard she almost bled, body bow-taut and shuddering, water dripping from her firm breasts, nipples hard and pointing at the ceiling. Her hips bucked and shook around her pumping fingers, her ass just out of the water, shining wetly in the candlelight. The orgasm ripped through her, unlike anything she’d known before: so wrong, so forbidden, watched by a commoner and a human at that. All the dark fantasies she’d locked away, the ones she’d not even dared to entertain when she was alone in bed, came spilling out: the things she’d heard her maids giggling about, or the guards murmur when they thought she couldn’t hear, stories from drunken parties and brothels and seedy bars. Things a princess shouldn’t know about, nor ever do. It was a like a hot black wave tearing through her clean, unspoilt mind, leaving nothing untouched. And gods, it felt good.
And then she dropped, water splashing up out of the tub. She panted, her breasts heaving, and opened her eyes.
There was no-one there.
Had he been watching? Had he stepped through the curtain and stood there, only a few feet from her, watching her like her dream lover in the lake? Had he left just as she came, knowing she’d open her eyes?
Or had he been safely behind the sheet the entire time, not even looking in her direction?
As her breathing returned to normal, she stared at the blank, featureless sheet, as inscrutable as Rafe himself. How was it that she could be unsure she even liked the man, yet able to think of nothing else?
Salranna stood, water streaming down her flanks, dripping from her breasts. The innkeeper’s son had provided what passed for a towel amongst commoners: thin and scratchy, but she managed to dry herself. Then, having no nightclothes with her, she wrapped it around herself, managing to cover herself from chest to knee.
Steam had filled the room. Even stepping out of the hot bath, she wasn’t cold any more.
She eyed the sheet. Had Rafe fallen asleep? It was late, by now. But there was no way of knowing.
‘Rafe?’ she called softly.
There was silence. Then, ‘Princess?’
She had no idea what to say. She turned away from the sheet: it felt too strange, looking towards him without being able to see him.
‘Why do you hate us so?’ she managed at last.
‘I have no malice toward the elves.’
Anger rose in her: he knew very well what she meant. ‘The royals,’ she said softly. ‘Why do you hate the royals?’
For a long time she didn’t think he was going to answer. Then there was a sigh, like a knife being drawn from a wound.
‘Did your father tell you about the battles in Lloren?’ his voice wasn’t unkind. Just… pained.
‘No. I know of them, but—he never wanted to speak of them.’ She hesitated. ‘I know that the fighting was awful. I know that many men were lost.’
There was a laugh: a bitter, humorless laugh. ‘Men. Did he tell you about the women? The children?’
Her heart lurched. ‘No—‘
He continued, ‘The villages razed by horsemen, while the men were out fighting? Women forced? Children slain?’ His voice had turned sour. ‘Were those left out of the royal account of the war?’
Salranna shook her head violently. ‘Not my father’s armies. He would never allow it—‘
‘And yet my mother’s buried in a pit, so many bodies they couldn’t dig graves for each one.’
She felt nausea rising inside her. She’d known Lloren had been the worst part of the war, the subject everyone skirted around, but she’d always thought it had just been the sheer number of casualties that had made it notorious. And it had seemed so long ago, before she was born. She realized how stupid she’d been, now. The past was very close, when measured in generations. She felt her eyes pricking with tears.
‘I’m sorry,’ she tried, only to be met with cruel laughter.
‘You’re sorry?’ Rafe spat, ‘You’re sorry? Were you there, princess? Did you hold the torch that burned the schoolroom with the children inside? Did you round up the women and let your troops bid for them with copper coins?’
‘No,’ she sobbed, the tears flowing freely now.
‘No,’ he returned, ‘And yet you sit in your palace, your empire funded by lands like Lloren, paying tax to their masters and mistresses.’ And suddenly the sheet was ripped back and he was in her half of the room, his eyes fierce with anger. ‘And your father builds his armies and plans for the next time one of the provinces tries to rise up and be free, and you will sit at home and sew tapestries of the glorious victory while the blood is spilled!’ He’d stepped towards her: dangerously close, now.
‘What do you want me to say?!’ she sobbed, half-hysterical.
‘You asked why I hate the royals,’ he snarled. ‘And I am telling you of your father!’ He took another angry step towards her: they were a foot apart now.
‘I am not my father!’ she shouted, the words hot in her throat. The appalling level of her disrespect seemed to make them echo around the room like thunder, challenging her, ordering her to take them back. But she stood firm, determined, staring up at him with tearful eyes.
And suddenly he lunged forward and was kissing her, and her mouth was open and her tongue was joining his, the anger and lust mixing together into something far more potent than either. All the dark thoughts that had built while she bathed, all the desire that had wound up tight inside her since she met him, it all exploded at that second. They were both panting, half from hate, half from passion, and started laying kisses across each other’s mouths and cheeks. Salranna was out of control and she didn’t care. He, too, seemed lost in the fire, and that was much more frightening.
He pulled back, as if sensing her thoughts, and they stared at one another. His eyes were wild, but he gave her one last chance. ‘Do not start what you cannot finish, princess.’
Two beats of her racing heart, and she lunged for him as he had for her. She knew, she knew, that she was doing something that could never be undone, that would change her life forever, and she no longer cared. Her lips met his, firm and insistent, and it was done.
He pulled her to him, his hands tangling in her long golden hair, twisting the wet locks around them. He was over a head taller than her: her head was bent back to kiss him, and that made her breasts press against him through the thin towel. She could feel the heat of her body soaking through the damp fabric, her flesh hot against his shirt.
He dropped one hand to the side of the towel, and with a low grunt pulled it from her. It fell to the floor, and suddenly she was naked before him, the first time she’d ever been naked in front of a man. He took a step back to look at her, and the feeling of being viewed so intently, of someone drinking in every detail of her, made her whole body seem to throb. Her mind screamed at her to hide herself, to put her arms across her breasts, to cover her groin, yet she stood there, arms by her sides, and let him look.
Her long, golden hair was plastered wetly down her back, emphasizing her high cheekbones and graceful neck. Her light tan skin was soft and unblemished, muscles honed by playful exercise, not labor in the fields. The finest foods, the purest spring water meant she glowed with good health and youthful energy, heightened now by her arousal. Her face was flushed, her full, soft lips parted, showing perfect teeth.
Her body was slender, as was typical for her kind, but the full ripe breasts and flared hips were more akin to a human woman. Already her nipples were hardening as Rafe stared at them, his gaze like a physical touch on her. A softly concave stomach led down to her smoothly toned thighs and the delicate curls of golden hair between them, barely concealing her soft, pink lips.
They stood there for a moment, him gazing down at her, her watching him back, her whole body almost trembling in anticipation. Then he picked her up, one arm under her legs, one under her back, and carried her over to the bed.
She landed on her back, her legs unintentionally sprawling apart. She went to close them, but Rafe was already between them, still fully dressed. The bed was ancient, as hard as stone, the covers scratchy and threadbare, but she didn’t care. All that mattered was his touch on her. His hands had found her breasts, and he squeezed, soft orbs filling his palms, hardening nipples rasping against his fingers. She caught her breath, and arched her back up off the bed: she wanted to cry out at how good it felt, but Tonalee was asleep not six feet away.
This is insane, went through Salranna’s head. But she was long past reason.
His hands slid down her body, every inch he touched alive with sensation. She wanted him to surround her, wanted him all over her, on all sides of her, wanted his hands everywhere at once. His palms were on her hips, then the inside of her thighs, and then she suddenly sat bolt upright, because they were parting her outer lips, fingers ready to enter her.
He paused as she sat up, staring into her huge, scared eyes. Her mouth moved, but she didn’t know what to whisper. Stop? But she wanted him to continue. Yes? But gods, a man’s hands, a commoner’s hands inside her—
He slowly slid a finger into her, feeling her wetness, and her eyes fluttered closed, all objections forgotten. Gods… how many times she’d touched herself there, late at night, but it had never felt like this… His finger slipped deeper, then a second joined it, and she grabbed suddenly at his arm with both hands as if to stop him. But as he began to move inside her, as his thumb found her clit, her head went back and she started to pull him in, urge him on, her breath coming in pants, then high little squeals, and at last, as he circled and thrust and stroked, she captured his arm between her thighs and shuddered, gasping, climaxing on his fingers. She fell back against the pillows, thighs wantonly spread, and before she’d fully recovered he was lowering himself on top of her, pushing his trousers down his thighs.
His cock sprang out, angry and erect, and she gasped: it was so different to how she’d imagined it, so much bigger than an elf man’s, bigger than the ones in her daydreams. She imagined it entering her and swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry. Gods, could she take him?
He moved up between her thighs, and she thought, It’s going to happen: gods, my first time will be with a human! Every girlish dream of her wedding night, of a long white bridal gown and a four poster bed, a dashing elf prince on a white horse, was evaporating. Her first time was going to be with a commoner, a human, a man she barely knew. He was rough and unshaven and had no respect for her or her family, and she still wanted it. Somehow it made her want it even more.
Lust was coursing through her and its intensity scared her: she could feel it, like the strong current of a river, carrying her. Before it happened she had to tell him: he had to know. She started to say something but it felt like she’d have to shout to make herself heard over the sound of their breathing, would have to fight just to raise her head: the air had gone thick like honey. She managed to move her lips, and he leant close to hear.
‘It’s my first time,’ she said in a rush. ‘Please be gentle.’ And with that, she felt the bed drop away beneath her, like she was plunging down into an abyss. She’d said the words, had made it real somehow: she’d admitted it was happening, really happening, and now nothing could stop it.
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