Thursday, September 3, 2009
Hussy Alert! Highlander Christmas Excerpt~Day Three
Hey Hussies. Here's a little tease for you! Happy reading!
In an ancient grove of oaks, the moonlight shimmered through the naked tree branches. The air was warm and soft, much too warm for a winter’s night. It should have been cold and biting, yet as it passed through the thin material of Isobel’s lace nightgown and wrapper the faint breeze was a welcome caress.
Surrounding the grove were megaliths, tall standing stones that formed a circle around the wood, lending it a pagan air that suited the eve of the winter solstice. This was not where she had first seen her stag, yet there was something familiar about it too that pulled at her memory. It was as if she had been here before, a long, long time ago.
She walked in silence, the pearls sewn into her white gown glinting in the moonlight. It was pure magic, this grove, like something out of a fairytale. At the end of the path was a stone slab that had been made into some sort of altar. Covering it was a beautiful blue velvet cloth embroidered with a gold triscale like the one embossed on the pouch Daegan had worn. There was also a tall pewter cup that resembled a chalice, and a dirk that was curved and imprinted with strange markings. Mindlessly she traced her fingers over the scrolling etched on the blade. Everything felt mystical and otherworldly. So strange yet so enticing, she thought as she walked around the altar, her fingers brushing the velvet of the cloth.
Why was she here? Was she dreaming?
Her heart beat faster with every step. Suddenly the stag appeared in the circle, his hide glistening in a shaft of moonlight. He made not a sound, but turned and walked away. She followed it into a darker part of the wood, where it disappeared between two oaks. When she stepped between the trees, she found herself back in the grove, only this time Daegan was leaning against the altar, his legs crossed at the ankle, his arms crossed over his chest. He was watching her intently, his gaze straying over her body as the thin gown and wrapper molded against her breasts and thighs.
“Good eve, Isobel,” he said, his voice husky and enthralling. She felt herself go liquid at the sound of his deep voice. “I have been waiting for the moon to rise so that you could come to me. And now, you are here, looking lovely by the silver light.”
“You were not here a moment ago,” she said, looking around the grove for a glimpse of the stag.
“Aye, I was here, watching you.”
She shivered, not liking the feeling of being studied unaware. “Am I sleeping? I must be, for there is snow on the ground, and the branches creak and move as though the wind is blowing between them, but I feel none of it.”
He came toward her and reached for her hand, pulling her deeper into the circle. He stood close to her, his fingers tracing the outline of her cheek. “Do you believe in the Otherworld, Isobel? That alongside your world, another exists?”
She looked around wonderingly. There was no denying that it was different from her world. But this was a dream. In sleep, magic could prevail. In reality, it didn’t exist.
“You are in Annwyn, the Celtic Otherworld. It is separated from the mortal realm by the thinnest of veils. This sacred grove is the gate to our world. It is called the Cave of Cruachan, or the entrance to the Otherworld.”
She stared at him in disbelief. “None of this can be real. It must be some fantastical dream.” She smiled as she thought of her father reading to them. “Perhaps, like Scrooge, I’ve gone to bed and now I’m having dreams caused by indigestion. The clock has struck midnight and the ghosts will descend. I suppose that would make you the spirit of Christmas Past, wouldn’t it?”
“I’m not a spirit, Isobel. Nor is this a dream,” he murmured, lowering his mouth to hers.
His lips, soft and warm, brushed against hers. She gasped as she felt her own mouth tremble in response. Another brush, then another that was deeper, more hypnotic. Her body responded to his kiss, the way his arms wrapped around her, gathering her close to his chest, which was hard against her soft breasts. The contact of their bodies made her skin tingle with little vibrations that seemed to hum along her nerves.
When Daegan tilted his head and deepened the kiss, Isobel clutched at the edges of his black cloak, her legs weak. When his tongue touched hers, her knees threatened to buckle, but Daegan caught her in his arms, bringing her even closer to his body as he ravaged her mouth with his.
No, Daegan’s kiss was not like the earl’s. The way her body seemed to come alive in his arms was nothing short of magical.
“Isobel,” Daegan murmured as he nuzzled the space beneath her ear. “How can I make you see that this is not a dream? That I am really here with you?”
“Kiss me again,” she whispered. Her body ached for more, more than a kiss, she knew. She might be a virgin, but at one and twenty , she knew of matters between men and women. She knew what she wanted from Daegan. “Please,” she begged, clutching at his shoulders. “I know what I want, and that is you.”
His violet eyes seemed to darken as he once more lowered his head and captured her mouth. This time, though, the carefulness was gone, replaced by a thrilling hunger that fueled her blood.
Daegan was ravenous in his kiss, his lips commanding hers, his tongue dueling with her own. And his hands . . . Good lord, he left no place on her untouched. The edges of her breasts, her hips, her buttocks. She moaned into his mouth when he cupped her bottom in his hands and deepened his kiss, plunging his tongue into her mouth.
She mewled against him, accepting whatever he would give her. When he broke the kiss and pressed his lips against her bounding pulse, she sighed and closed her eyes, allowing herself to indulge in the forbidden pleasure.
“You know not how long I have waited for you,” he groaned as his lips brushed her throat. “In Annwyn time moves much slower than in your world. An hour spent here is but a minute in your world. Imagine the torture I have endured waiting.”
She heard what he was saying, but could not focus on the words or make sense of them. She only wanted more, more kisses, more touches. And she wanted those caresses to be on her bare skin.
“Please,” she whispered into his silky hair. “You know what I want, Daegan.”
“Yes. I know what you want, muirnín. And I will give it to you.”
Daegan’s lips and tongue tasted the sweet skin of Isobel’s throat and the swells of her breasts. Her hands were fisted in his hair, clutching and tugging, begging him without words for more.
The way she said his name did strange things to his brain, making him think of nothing other than hearing her shout it as he slid inside her. She whimpered when he pulled at the satin tie of her wrapper. He pulled the garment from her and let it fall to the ground. Then he reached for the sleeve of her night rail, tugging until he revealed one perfect, coral-tipped breast.
“You are so beautiful, Isobel,” he said with reverence ringing in his voice. “You were made to be savored in the moonlight.”
Her passion-glazed eyes met his and she smiled. “Will you savor me, then, Daegan?”
He circled her erect nipple with his tongue, making her moan. Her body was warm, flaring to life beneath his hands. In the circle of the grove, his magic spell hovered, keeping out the winter chill and wind. She would be warm in this grove. Protected. She would be his.
Pulling away, he met her gaze. “I must have you, Isobel.” He didn’t wait for her reply, but took her lips hungrily, kissing her with all the need and desire that was swimming in his veins. She felt so soft against him, so right. Her breasts were full and high, and made for his mouth and hands. And her thighs hugged and molded his erection as if she had been designed for him. Everything about her was perfect.
Isobel felt her legs weaken as Daegan started to slide her nightgown down over her hips. His mouth followed the trail of the silk, his lips grazing her skin as he slowly exposed her. With shaking hands she clasped his head in her hands while he kneaded her belly with his mouth, the masculine scent of him wafting up to heighten her senses. Instinctively her fingers curled in his hair, clenching tightly as he nuzzled her curls through her chemise.
His mouth made her crazed. The lust she felt made her dizzy. She wanted him, whatever he would do to her. Even though she was betrothed to St. Clair, she wanted this night with Daegan.
On his knees, he kissed her sex. Hungrily, she clutched at his shoulders. When he lifted her leg and placed it over his shoulder, exposing her, she moaned and raked her fingers through his silky hair. His tongue was hot, wet, scorching her. She should be ashamed of what she was doing, but the pleasure was so great that she shoved the guilt away and enjoyed Daegan’s tongue.
Soon she was scratching her nails down his shoulders, biting her lip to keep from crying out as she began to shake. When the trembling was over, he looked up at her, his eyes dark and unreadable.
“Be with me, muirnín.” He lifted her into his arms as if she weighed nothing more than a feather. “Let me show you what it can be like for us.”
Their gazes met and held, and Isobel saw the hope and hesitation in his eyes before he set her down on a bed that was cushioned with furs. How had it suddenly appeared in the middle of the grove?
A dream, she reminded herself. A lovely, passionate, vivid dream.
“Say that tonight you’ll give yourself to me, Isobel.”
“Yes.” And she would savor the memories of this dream for many, many nights. She wanted this, and she wanted to experience it with Daegan. No man had ever made her feel this way, so conscious of her femininity, of her own desires and needs. She felt beautiful and sensual, and tonight she was going to give in to temptation.
Kneeling, Daegan placed her legs over each of his muscled thighs. His hands, a stark contrast against her pale flesh continued to slide up her sides to cup and squeeze her breasts. “You won’t ever regret this, Isobel,” he vowed, trailing his tongue up her belly. His silky hair tickled the undersides of her breasts, making her skin erupt in gooseflesh.
“I could never regret anything I do with you.” She sighed deeply. How could she regret something that felt this wonderful? Good lord, if she didn’t know better, she would say she loved him. But he was only a dream, no matter how handsome, how powerful. A dream of a lover who was as ensnared by her as she was by him.
His head was atop her breasts, his eyes searching hers through the pale shaft of moonlight. He looked boyish and vulnerable, and infinitely lovable. “Tonight, I will show you why you were made for me.”