Join Julie Shelton in the 13th Century with DARK WARRIOR!
When Nicholas Herron, Duke of Berwick and his best friend, Rolf Torgesson, two of King Edward III’s most powerful and respected knights, discover a badly beaten young woman hiding in the forest, they swear to protect her. By the time they learn that she is Lady Kathryn Weston, and that her attacker is none other than her betrothed, Robert Walford, the powerful and ruthless Duke of Pemberton, it is too late. They have both fallen in love with her and she with them—a love so forbidden it could cost them everything, even their lives.
Set amidst the turmoil and pageantry of 14th-century England, Dark Warrior weaves a vivid tapestry of three lost souls bound to each other with a deep, abiding love. But will that love survive Walford’s evil plan to attack Berwick Castle, take it apart stone by stone and ultimately destroy everyone who lives there?
She closed her eyes, savoring the sensation of his arms hard around her beneath her breasts. His long legs, bent at the knees, held her in the protective V of his powerful thighs. They sat there in the cooling water, reluctant to leave, enjoying the feel of each other’s bodies, his hard and powerful, hers soft and yielding.
At one point William came and had the grooms empty some of the cool water, replacing it with hot. Neither Rolf nor Kathryn moved or opened their eyes.
After they had left, Rolf loosened his embrace, freeing his hands to caress the creamy satin of her skin up her arms, across her shoulders, down her arms. Back up. Down.
With an incoherent little murmur, she sighed and snuggled back against him.
He was so like Nicholas. And yet so different. There was an innate stillness about him that fascinated her. That beckoned to her. That quieted a corner of her soul that even Nicholas, as much as she loved him, had yet to reach. As much as she needed her dark warrior, she also needed this man. She needed not only his body, but also his…serenity. The quiet assurance of his love for her.
His hands moved from her arms to cup her breasts. She held her breath as he lifted them in his palms, stroking the velvet of her skin. His thumbs began to flick across the hard, achy points of her nipples, making her moan softly. His cock jerked to life along her spine. Taking her nipples between his thumbs and forefingers, he rolled them gently back and forth, twisting them, pulling them as they lengthened and hardened even more.
A sigh shuddered through her as he bent his head forward and began to rain kisses along the slender column of her neck. She shifted her head, angling it to give him better access. He closed his teeth over the tender place where her neck and shoulder joined. Giving her a loving little bite, he then laved it with his tongue.
“Thou art so soft,” he sighed, lifting his head reluctantly. “So smooth. I’ve never felt aught as soft as thee.”
“Not even all of your drooling women?” she teased.
He sighed again. “Kaereste…”he began slowly, softly. “I must explain some things to thee.”
“Nay, my love.” She shook her head. “You need explain naught. I accept you as you are. I accept everything about you.”
But he would not be deterred. He pressed the side of his face against her cheek. “After Inge and the baby died, I was in a rage at the unfairness of it. I hated God. I hated everything and everybody in the entire world. I’m afraid I took a lot of that anger and hatred out on women. I hated that they were alive while Inge was dead. They became naught more than holes for me to fuck.”
She winced at the harshness of his words.
“And I fucked a lot of them. I took from them. With no thought to their needs or their feelings. With no thought for aught except my own pleasure.” He paused. “Oh, I never forced any of them. I only took what was freely offered. But I had no respect for any of them, either—nor myself, for that matter.
“Until I met Nick.” He rubbed his cheek lovingly against hers. “He truly enjoyed women. He enjoyed giving them pleasure. The first woman he shared with me was older than us—a widow. Together the two of them cut through all my hatred and anger and taught me that taking the time to give a woman pleasure only added to my own. Thanks to them, I began to see women for the treasures they truly are.
“But I still didn’t love any of them. Oh, I gave them pleasure, but naught of myself. Because I was frozen inside.” He paused again, his hand absently stroking up and down her forearm. “And then I met thee.” She opened her mouth to speak, but thought better of it and remained silent. “Thou hast melted the ice around my heart. For the first time in seven years I am able to feel something.” He moved his head so that his mouth was just above her ear.
“And what I feel is love. Not the pallid, immature love that I felt for Inge. I have been over that for many years. Nay, what I feel for thee is the deepest love a man can possibly feel for a woman. A love that springs from the depths of the soul.” He sighed heavily. “But, until last night I despaired of ever having thee. Because Nick got to thee first. I knew I was too late. I knew I could never have thee.”
A tiny, strangled sound escaped from his throat, and he took a moment to steady his breathing. When he did finally resume speaking, anguish roughened his voice.
“And then, Nick…my best friend in the entire world…my heart’s brother…gave me the second greatest gift in the world.”
“What was that?”
“The opportunity to love thee. Freely. Openly. Without guilt.”
“And what is the first greatest gift in the world?” she asked curiously.
“Thee,” he said simply. “Loving me.”
Heart aching, she slid her shoulders across his chest, twisting at the waist and turning her head, lifting her face for his kiss. And he was kissing her, his lips impossibly soft against hers in a sipping, tasting, savoring kiss, drinking from her lips as if she were the sweetest wine. Tiny little mewling cries escaped from her lips as she arched her back, pushing her breasts more deeply into his clever hands.
“Open for me,” he whispered against her mouth, and as she did so, his tongue swept in and the kiss became a ravishing exploration, filled with hunger and need so intense, so desperate, it nearly consumed her. Jolts of electricity scorched a crackling, sizzling path through her, until her entire body was naught but a molten sea of flames.
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Julie has been writing her entire life, but it wasn’t until November of 2012 that she burst onto the erotic romance scene with her sizzling hot first novel, Loving Sarah, followed by its sequel, Owning Sarah, ten months later. Her third novel, Dark Warrior, set in 14th-century England, is her first historical romance.
Julie lives in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Now retired after a 25-year dream career, first as a children’s librarian then a professional storyteller and puppeteer, she once again has time to devote to her new love, writing erotic romance, the steamier the better, thus following the career path blazed by so many before her—from kiddie lit to erotica.
Thank you Julie for visiting!
As always readers: Live, Laugh, and Love like today is your only chance!~Lori