Fire Dance

Fire Dance

Delle Jacobs

Price: $4.99 $2.99

 
ADD TO BASKET
 

Alain de Crency is sent by his king to Cumbria to seize a castle and take a bride. He finds instead a magnificent purple cloak, a stronghold of terrible secrets, and the girl of his dreams trapped in a living nightmare.

Melisande has only one goal, to save her people. But that means marriage to the king's handsome knight and certain death for her- for if he doesn't kill her, his priests will.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Delle Jacobs
ISBN: 978-1-61658-496-2
PUBLICATION DATE: 2010
WORD COUNT: 100000
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 3 3 3
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Romantic Fiction, Historical, Paranormal
KEYWORDS: anglo saxon, historical romance, medieval england, medieval knight, medieval suspense, medieval warfare, norman, norman conquest, rufus, saxon, sorcerer, s
 

EBOOKS BY Delle Jacobs

EBOOKS BY Delle Jacobs

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Delle Jacobs/2010

The small bath house had been Fyren's pride. Built of yellow sandstone like the hall, amidst a group of grey stone and whitewashed buildings, the little one-room structure had a hearth built to one side and a deep wooden tub, like an oversized barrel. Kettles of water steeped over the fire, and one after another were poured into the great tub until the water was at last suitable for a lord's bath.
As she awaited the Norman lord's arrival, Melisande stood alone, unhappily in the company of nothing but her own fearful thoughts. She practiced a stillness of body, mimicking a statue of stone, but her hands gripped each other, fidgeting.
He entered the stone bath house, and his eyes searched over every corner, a habitual thing with him, for he seemed to miss nothing. Seeing her, his black brows arched to a high angle over even darker eyes.
Dread rose in her, forming a tight band about her chest as her heart pounded. Melisande gripped her hands. "Will there be anything else, lord?"
"I have not finished yet, Edyt. In fact I have not yet begun."
The sound of her mother's name startled her. It made a poor disguise, one that would not fool his clever mind for long. "Aye, lord. Does your squire not come to assist you?"
"Squire? Why should he come? It is not his duty."
Abruptly, the Norman crossed his arms before his chest, grasped his tunic and pulled it upward over his head, his powerful shoulders flexing as the garment peeled off. His black hair bunched stiffly after the tunic's passing, then settled down to skim his shoulders.
She was stunned to silence. He expected her to--
Melisande caught her breath, gulped. "Lord, it is not fitting--"
Again he cocked his head, his angular brows raised. "Have you never helped a man with his bath, Edyt?"
"I- It is not fitting."
"Not fitting? But there is no lady in the household. Surely the task should fall to you."
"Lady?" Melisande's voice sounded like a squealing mouse when the cat caught it.
"In the south, it is common practice. It is the duty of the lady and her daughters to assist her husband's guests in their baths." He loosened his braies.
Melisande rolled her eyes upward to scan the wooden roof. "Oh."
The Norman's mouth turned downward at its corners in a futile attempt to keep from laughing, then his low-pitched chuckle rumbled out like distant thunder.
His laughter drew her back to him like iron to a lodestone. She shouldn't have been looking, but her gaze riveted to his lean, hard body, to a broad back with massive shoulders above solid, thickset legs and hard, round buttocks. Beneath golden skin, corded muscles flexed and changed their shape with his movements. Melisande forced her gaze back to the planks above her, concentrating on those slits where the light showed through.
"Ah, yes, I see, Edyt. The roof has holes. We must see to that." The timbre of his voice danced like a lively air from a wood flute.
The water splashed loudly behind her. She studied the plank roof as if she had never seen it before.
The Norman let out a loud, contented sigh as he slid down into the steaming water to the wooden stool, all the way up to his neck. He leaned back, rested his head against the tub's rim, and closed his eyes.
She was watching again.
And the silence was intolerable. "Is it the custom of the people in the south to bathe often?"
"It is my custom. But it is all too uncommon, I fear. Ah, there is little that feels as good as a tub of hot water. This bath house. This is a fine idea. Edyt, tell me about Fyren."
She didn't want to talk about Fyren. But it seemed better than the embarrassing alternative. "What do you wish to know?"
"What killed him."
"He killed himself, so they say."
"I do not believe it. He had no reason."
He was too clever. And she had not thought out her strategy well enough. Her mind raced for an answer, but she blurted out the first thought that came. "The priest cursed him, but he did not believe in God. I cannot say it was the curse. But it is said he took a poison every day, so that none could poison him."
"And he finally took too much?"
"Mayhap."
"He was an intelligent man."
"He was a madman."
The Norman eyed her as if she had just done something inexplicable. Then he leaned back, again closed his eyes, and his breathing became slow and easy. Melisande picked up the discarded garments littering the stone floor, folded them all neatly and set them on the low wooden bench. With the very tips of her fingers, she picked up the purple cloak, and even as she folded it, held it as far from her as she could.
"Edyt."
"Aye, lord."
"The soap, Edyt."
"Oh. Aye."
She laid the cloak aside and carried the soap pot back to the tub where the Norman lord soaked himself. Great streams of water ran down from his black hair, and in rivulets down his face. He must have dunked his head while she was not looking.
"The hair, Edyt."
"Hair?"
"Aye, the hair. Would you not wash my hair, or must I beg?"
The little room was dark, save for the small hearth fire, and Melisande said a small prayer of thanks for that. Still, standing behind his back, she could see every blessed part of his body beneath the water, from the bobbing black curls on his chest, all the way down to his toenails, and everything in between. Everything. Some parts of a man's body must be lighter than others, she thought, as they also bobbed...
She busied her hands with the lather of the oozing soap, which she worked into the stark black strands. His hair became soft, silky, between her fingers. He hummed quietly, a low rumble coming up from his chest, like that great monster cat, Rufus, when he purred.
For just that one moment, she would let herself savor that pleasure-- what was it? The pleasure of pleasing? She allowed her fingers to stray downward, crossing over the black points of hair at the nape of his neck, to skim over the firm rounds of muscle that filled out broad shoulders and strong arms. His resonant hum deepened, and a contented smile spread across his freshly shaven face, inviting her touch...
The soap would do it. The purpose, after all, was to get the man clean, was it not? She dipped a small cloth into the little vat and conscientiously applied the soap in ever-extending circles beyond his shoulders and over the rugged ripples of his chest. The rumbling purr smoothed to contented breathing.
He leaned forward. Melisande applied the soapy rag to his back and the fascinating curve of his spine, now a ridge, now indented, as he flexed his body beneath the water. Impulsively she let a finger trace downward along that enticing valley.
She flinched at his sharp breath. She was no fool. She knew what that meant. That she was asking for trouble.
With a sigh, she reached for the dipper, to ladle clean water over his scalp. He leaned back his head for the water to pour through his hair, and the black hair glistened in the amber firelight.
He stood abruptly, with water running downward in rivulets, capturing all the black curls on his chest into undulating waves. Melisande whirled away, her mind already brimming with what her eyes had seen. She forced her gaze to the fire. His chest again rumbled with his humor as her face flared into raging red.
"The soap, Edyt."
"Aye." Edyt swung her arm around behind her and felt the weight of the soap pot leave her hand.
Like a cat which had misjudged its leap and pretended it hadn't, she focused a fervent interest on the flames, stirred the coals, threw on another fagot, all the while listening warily to the splashing and swishing behind her. At least he chose to wash the rest of his body himself.
Yet, she might have liked that too. Aye, to run soapy hands over--
A noisy surge and splash distracted her once again from her attention to the fire's embers. She turned, and instantly regretted it, for his fiery gaze transfixed her.
There he stood before her, utterly naked. Holy Mother! Was this the man she was expected to marry, all lean and muscled, black hair and skin glowing pink from the steamy water? Hard muscles to sweep her into his arms, carry her away whether she willed to go or not. Strong hands to pull her close, caress places she didn't want touched. And the other--
Melisande swallowed hard and broke the charm, lowered her gaze. But not far enough. Instantly she recognized her mistake and returned to the somewhat safer view of his face.
In his black eyes, she saw blatant, pure lust, as naked as the man himself. A man caught suddenly and unexpectedly in the rush of desire. She wanted to flee. Dared not.
With sudden, overwhelming clarity, Melisande understood she had been terribly wrong. All Normans were not alike, after all.

 

 
  ADD TO BASKET


© All Rights Reserved 2009: 1ROMANCEEBOOKS.COM
About Us / Contact Us / Privacy Policy