Saturday, February 12, 2011

Emma and Garrick's First Kiss

Garrick of Hawkwood has been sent to Fairfield Castle by his sovereign, King Henry II. He is to marry the widow of Matthew d'Arcy and make his presence known in the northern regions of England. When he arrives at Fairfield, known as Castle Ladyslipper to the locals, the widow is nowhere to be found. Garrick must deal with Emma, Matthew's daughter. Emma's loyalty is to Queen Eleanor who is literally at war with her husband, the king. Despite their mutual attraction, Garrick and Emma are on opposing sides. To make matters worse, Emma is coping with a family curse. She wears a crystal around her neck that must be returned to its family of origin. Until that happens, all the women of her lineage can bear only daughters, a real downer in the 12th Century when only males could inherit. The following scene is in Garrick's point of view. He has just learned of the crystal, the curse and why so many females reside at Fairfield.

Bloody hell! How he hated dealing with crying women. They never failed to use tears in order to manipulate a man into some sort of capitulation. But, if this was the girl's intention, why did she hide herself away in the uppermost story of the south tower?

"Can-I-not-have-a-single-moment-to-myself?" Emma punctuated each word with a slam of her fist. She turned away and dashed at her tears.

Garrick was chagrined. He'd hunted her dwon like a wounded animal, invaded her privacy and caused her great embarrassment. He remembered only too well the need to seek out a place to hide from curious eyes and howl at the injustice of life. He'd beg her pardon and leave.

Aye, an excellent plan, a plan that might have worked if only she hadn't made that little sound. A murmuring sigh that swept into his heart and brushed against the wall he'd built there, stone by stone. If only he hadn't gone to her, turned her about and pulled her into his arms. If only she hadn't relaxed against him when his fingers smoothed a tangled lock of hair from her hot, wet cheek.

Stop now, he told himself, even as he pulled her closer, delighting in the fragrance that clung to her hair and skin. The heady mixture of summer honey and rose petals and its promise of long sultry nights blew away his pure intentions, that of offering comfort to a distraught woman.

Instead, the sensation of her long slim legs pressing against his, the soft curve of her hip beneath his hand quickened his breath and heated his loins. 'Twas simple. He would step away. Just one little step. He drew a ragged breath and prepared to do just that, when Emma's arms snaked around his neck and her head snuggled into his shoulder.

God's teeth, did she have any idea what she was doing to him? How his hands shook with the need to unlace her kirtle, to slide eager hands beneath her shift and discover all the hidden secrets of her lush body? To look into her eyes and watch them grow heavy-lidded with passion?

It seemed natural and right to slide a finger down her cheek and trace the fullness of her lower lip, to dip his head and touch the tip of his tongue to the tiny freckle that nestled in the hollow of her throat and brush his lips along the softness of her neck.

After her little moan of pleasure, he had to pull her closer still. cover her tempting lips with his. Savor the thunder of their shared heartbeats, as his tongue coaxed and probed until she opened her honeyed sweetness to him. When her knees buckled and she clutched at his arms to hold herself upright, Garrick lifted his mouth from hers and set her away, even though he ached with need for her.

Castle Ladyslipper by Marilee Brothers is available from Awe-Struck Press. Please visit her at


Jeanne M said...

I love the time period of this story and can't wait to read it! What an exciting time in history and I can't wait to find out more!

Being a daughter of a mother with only daughters I can't wait to read more about Emma and Garrick! PS - I had only boys so I'm routing for Emma!

Marilee Brothers said...

As the mother of three sons, I hear ya!

joder said...

Great snippet that has me excited to read more of! Great time period to place a book in, it always adds to the overall feel of the story.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Elie said...

Sounds exciting. Thanks for sharing.

Cindy L said...

Poor Garrick...he didn't stand a chance!