Summer Reading Trail ~ Her Dark Soul, first chapter

Her Dark Soul

A man trapped by magic, an enigmatic guardian, and a virgin who will bind them all…

Ordered to secure a precious box from the priests of Fausta, Marek isn’t told a virgin ward is part of the deal. Ash’s innocence and need drive him to touch her, taste her, to take the twisted power in her flesh and energize his own. But hidden players force Marek into doing something unthinkable.

Lucas’ soul has been trapped for four hundred years. His new master demands he invade Ash’s dreams and take her virginity. If he does, the treasure she guards will open. He’s happy to obey. However, he finds her guarded by a man unlike any he’s known in his long life.

Ash should deny the fire in her blood, remember who and what she is, but something inside her finds both men irresistible. As their lives intertwine, they’re driven to find pleasure, using their unique blend of sex and magic to fight an enemy who would consume them all.

Ellora’s Cave || AllRomancEbooks || Amazon || Amazon UK || B&N

Excerpt:
(c)2010 Kim Knox

Chapter One

They’d sold her.

When the sun broke the horizon, a stranger—a custodian—would come and take her from the temple. Ash stared at the quiet colonnades surrounding the small courtyard. The central fountain splashed water into the pre-dawn darkness and the light breeze swept cool air across the marble floor, bringing with it the familiar scents of chamomile and wild jasmine. She’d taken her first steps between the great ceramic pots lining the courtyard. The memory of the cool marble beneath her bare toes, bright sunlight, the laughter and joy as she toddled to Rani tightened her throat. This was her home.

Ash sank onto a cold stone bench, her thin shift little protection against the chill of the dawn air. She’d grown up in the Temple of Fausta, worshipped the goddess for the good fortune that had taken her from the Street of Cries. Without Rani plucking her from the clutch of abandoned newborns, she would have died like so many other unwanted and exposed babies. Chance had been with her that day.

She ran her hand over her tightly braided hair and the knot in her stomach twisted tight. She should’ve remembered that her goddess was a fickle creature. Continue reading “Summer Reading Trail ~ Her Dark Soul, first chapter”

More bang for your buck…literally!

Ellora’s Cave have slashed the prices on two of my books! The menage novel Her Dark Soul and the erotic SF novella, Flesh and Shadows.

Her Dark Soul

A man trapped by magic, an enigmatic guardian, and a virgin who will bind them all…

Ordered to secure a precious box from the priests of Fausta, Marek isn’t told a virgin ward is part of the deal. Ash’s innocence and need drive him to touch her, taste her, to take the twisted power in her flesh and energize his own. But hidden players force Marek into doing something unthinkable.

Lucas’ soul has been trapped for four hundred years. His new master demands he invade Ash’s dreams and take her virginity. If he does, the treasure she guards will open. He’s happy to obey. However, he finds her guarded by a man unlike any he’s known in his long life.

Ash should deny the fire in her blood, remember who and what she is, but something inside her finds both men irresistible. As their lives intertwine, they’re driven to find pleasure, using their unique blend of sex and magic to fight an enemy who would consume them all.

For sale at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and ARe for around £1.60/$2

Flesh and Shadows

Flesh-fruit—priceless delicacy, forbidden fruit…

Rand has a secret. Bitten by one of the deadly shadow-snakes, he’s changed and will go to any length to see that he remains in charge of his planet—and the flesh-fruit harvest—including using his alien abilities to convince Agent Niamh Sullivan to lie to her superiors. His plan is simple, but what he doesn’t realize is that his venom is an aphrodisiac. With it, Rand has become irresistible.

Now Niamh must deny their overwhelming mutual attraction. But as their need for each other spirals out of control, the danger becomes apparent. Rand will take her humanity, take who and what she is. Niamh has to make the choice. Turn him in. Or succumb to his potent, forbidden temptation.

For sale at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and ARe for around £1/$1

Monday Blast: Her Dark Soul

I thought I’d dig out an excerpt from an old book…so here’s a short excerpt from Her Dark Soul, my EC menage.

Excerpt

(c)2010 Kim Knox

They’d sold her.

When the sun broke the horizon, a stranger—a custodian—would come and take her from the temple. Ash stared at the quiet colonnades surrounding the small courtyard. The central fountain splashed water into the pre-dawn darkness and the light breeze swept cool air across the marble floor, bringing with it the familiar scents of chamomile and wild jasmine. She’d taken her first steps between the great ceramic pots lining the courtyard. The memory of the cool marble beneath her bare toes, bright sunlight, the laughter and joy as she toddled to Rani tightened her throat. This was her home.

Ash sank onto a cold stone bench, her thin shift little protection against the chill of the dawn air. She’d grown up in the Temple of Fausta, worshipped the goddess for the good fortune that had taken her from the Street of Cries. Without Rani plucking her from the clutch of abandoned newborns, she would have died like so many other unwanted and exposed babies. Chance had been with her that day.

She ran her hand over her tightly braided hair and the knot in her stomach twisted tight. She should’ve remembered that her goddess was a fickle creature. The priests had read the signs and she was no longer needed to serve Fausta. She bit her lip, denying the tears that burned in her eyes.

“Ash.” Rani’s soft voice carried on the dark air. A wry smile lifted her mouth. Yes, he could never sleep. He lifted an oil lamp, its yellow light washing over the stone steps leading down from Ash’s room. “You have to come inside.” He tugged the wool cloak tight around his narrow shoulders and shivered. “It’s too cold to be sitting out here on all this stone.”

He swung the lamp around the courtyard, stretching its light to the shadow-heavy corners. “And it’s not safe. Those thieves…” His soft voice took on a hard edge, one she’d never heard him use before. Rani was the essence of calm, but the desecration a few days before had all the priests rattled.

“Breaking into the sanctuary. Almost killing a ward.” He pulled in a shaking breath. “May the dark half of the goddess’s heart find them.” Rani’s curse hung on the chill air. He pressed a long hand to his smooth jaw and closed his eyes. His lips moved, silent, quick and she knew he whispered a counter-prayer over his own fortune.

He was the one who found little Kia in the sanctuary, her veins cut. Why she’d been out of her room, no one knew, but she was new to sleeping alone in her cell. She had wandered in the night, looking for the safety of her old shared room, and discovered the thieves instead. Only Rani’s inability to sleep had saved her, the goddess’s whim taking him to the sanctuary on his night walks.

The goddess had added a further kindness. Kia had no memory of the night. Still, anger tightened Ash’s body. Why would the thieves attack a child? The Temple of Fausta didn’t hold anything precious enough to warrant it.

Ash pushed herself to her feet and her leather sandals slapped against the marble as she crossed the courtyard. She curled her fingers into her palms, the pain of her nails in her flesh denying the twisting emotions gripping her. Anger, fear had her thoughts spinning.

Her gaze darted over Rani’s wrinkled face, the lamplight casting heavy shadows over his beardless jaw. He was the only parent she had ever had. And when the sun rose, she would never see him again. Her chest hurt and she wanted nothing more than to bury her face against his shoulder, but she couldn’t. She had to accept the whim of her goddess. They all did. “I couldn’t sleep.”

Rani took her curled fist, his long, smooth fingers easing hers free. “I was there for the reading, Ash. The fall of the pattern…” He squeezed her hand. “I would not see you go from here. Never.” He pulled in a heavy breath and his lips pressed together. “But the thieves—and what they did—forced us to consult the goddess.”

“And I have to go.”

“The marked ward, yes.” He twitched her a smile, but a heavy shadow darkened his blue eyes. “Kia…” He let out a long sigh. “She’s recovering…but the nurse doesn’t know whether she’ll remember. It will be a blessing if she doesn’t. And then tomorrow I must go to the Street of Cries and bring another to the temple.”

The duty of choosing always hung heavy on him, Ash knew that and she wanted to ease his pain. She’d been the first baby he’d saved. The marked ward, as she was known in the temple. The ward with the strange birthmark chasing down her spine. Others had stains marring their flesh, but they were nothing compared to the swirl of pattern covering her skin. “Then something good comes from this, from my leaving.” She turned back to the wide steps and Rani’s lamp lit the way. The dark archway led into a short corridor and the door to her cell.

The first prayer bell rang in the still air and her stomach turned over. Her need to follow the other wards into the great hall, to prostrate herself and begin the first prayer itched under her skin. Since she was four years old, it had been the start of her day. Doors creaked and Yeva and Tamina stepped out of their cells, tying back their hair and stifling yawns.

Yeva blinked, her dark gaze darting from Ash to Rani. “Ash…?”

Rani hushed her and stepped aside. “Find your way to the great hall.” He waved them past him.

Both women gave a brief nod and trotted down the steps to disappear into the shadows. The chatter of younger girls, their quickly hushed giggles and the soft murmurs of the priests filled the quiet air. Ash ached to follow, to find renewed comfort in the long days of prayer, of chanting and singing to ensure the good fortune of the emperor and the city of Bukhara. And not to think about the stranger, the man who would take her away from her safe world.

Available from Amazon and Ellora’s Cave

EM: New Release Monday

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Welcome to the New Release Monday. This month, in addition to our typical excerpt week, we’re showcasing new releases by several fabulous EM writers. Excerpt Monday site! or click on the banner above.

HER DARK SOUL

Is my first full length erotic romance fantasy.  You never know, it may even get into print.  I have everything crossed. 🙂

A man trapped by magic, an enigmatic guardian, and a virgin who will bind them all…

Ordered to secure a precious box from the priests of Fausta, Marek isn’t told a virgin ward is part of the deal. Ash’s innocence and need drive him to touch her, taste her, to take the twisted power in her flesh and energize his own. But hidden players force Marek into doing something unthinkable.

Lucas’ soul has been trapped for four hundred years. His new master demands he invade Ash’s dreams and take her virginity. If he does, the treasure she guards will open. He’s happy to obey. However, he finds her guarded by a man unlike any he’s known in his long life.

Ash should deny the fire in her blood, remember who and what she is, but something inside her finds both men irresistible. As their lives intertwine, they’re driven to find pleasure, using their unique blend of sex and magic to fight an enemy who would consume them all.

And here’s a short excerpt.  You can read another, longer excerpt here.  You can buy it here

Her Dark Soul
(c)2010 Kim Knox

Marek stopped. He released her hand and white, stinking light shrouded his fist. He pressed his knuckles against a set of heavy, blue-painted doors. There was a dull thunk and the doors swung inwards. The light died around his fingers and he took her arm. “Inside.”

Her stomach knotted and not from the harsh bite of hunger. She stared along the corridor into the dimly lit atrium. This was her life now, in this house, with this stranger.

“Don’t worry, Ashsara.”

She had to ask. “Was my name on the scroll? Does the emperor know who I am?”

“Yes.”

Marek pushed her up onto the wide doorstep and then into the shadowy coolness of the hall. He pushed the door closed behind him. The heavy thud made her heart jump. Marek stood behind her, almost pressing his body into hers, and eased back the heavy hood of her cloak.

Ash sucked in a sharp breath and all the memory of him, of his taste, of the curl of his fingers against her most intimate flesh, rushed her. His lips found her ear. Ash shivered and she fought down the quick, hot rise of need in her veins. She closed her eyes. Her wild attraction made no sense. Was it simply her time in the temple making her susceptible to the first hard male body she met? Her fingers curled into fists, her nails digging into her palm. Dwelling on Marek’s beauty? No, not a wise thought.

“Sweet as you taste, I think I can resist you.” He paused and his breath heated her skin, the pulse low in her belly seeming to fill all her senses. “Well, almost.” He smiled against the shell of her ear and her heart squeezed. “I have need of you now.”

Marek skimmed down her shoulder until he took her hand again, his warm, callused fingers pressing into her palm. He tugged her forward and she stumbled after him, her heart beating too hard.

The walls of the corridor were a blur and Marek skirted the atrium pool, leading her into a small room. He pushed her back until her calves hit a low bunk. “Sit.”

She obeyed him. The warm darkness pressed against her and she tried to stare through it, listen for movement, her body expecting Marek’s touch, fearing it, craving it. She gasped at the sudden arc of burning white light. It illuminated him as he stood beside an oil lamp hanging low on the smooth wall. Darkness swept around them again before another spark dipped into the glass bowl. Soft light filled the room, casting brown shadow into the corners.

The first pull and stretch of the leather strap and buckle on his tunic knotted her hands in her lap. Another followed and another. It was the loudest sound in the room, rising above her pounding heart, short breaths and the crack and hiss of the wick in the lamp. Marek shrugged off the tunic and dropped it over a wooden chair tucked against the wall. He tugged at his loose, linen undershirt and pulled it over his head.

Ash pressed her thighs together, but it did nothing to ease the hard pulse of her flesh. The golden light caressed his hard-muscled torso and her mouth dried. The need to run her mouth over him in quick kisses, to trace and tease her tongue along the silver scars criss-crossing his skin filled her, and her awakened imagination ran wild.

Marek tilted his head and ran his fingers down his chest. “I can feel your need building.” His eyes narrowed. “It’s powerful, wild. Yes, I can see why the priests made you a ward for this box.”

She wanted to look away from him, see where he’d placed the box he’d hugged to his body—and hers—since leaving the temple, but she couldn’t. She could only stare at his mouth, her own lips burning, eager to find him. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Is that a part of your power? This ignorance?” He took a step closer and the need to snap at him for his insult died on her tongue. Marek stroked her jaw, his thumb pressing against her bottom lip. He traced its edge. He was a dark shadow looming over her and it quickened her pulse. “Then I must be careful with you.”

“Marek…”

She almost groaned his name and Ash didn’t know whether she was asking him to stop or for him to…what? Her imagination failed her. She knew nothing of men, had only caught brief glimpses of slaves, as the eunuchs kept a careful eye on all of their wards.

Marek tilted her chin up and he bent, dipping his mouth down to hers. His lips hovered, the tiny distance he kept between them driving need and frustration in a wild rush through her body.

“What would you like me to do, Ashsara?” His voice soft, deep and so very…male…fluttered her eyes shut. His hot breath teased her parched lips. “Kiss you? Or would you like my mouth on your body? On your breasts? Between your thighs?”

A gasp escaped her at the thought of Marek’s hot mouth kissing her in such an intimate place.

“Ah yes, that’s what you want.” His smiling words brushed his lips against hers. “I’d kiss you, let my tongue tease over your flesh, curl and bury itself deep inside you. Oh and then I’d fuck you so slowly. So thoroughly.”

His words burned through her, stirring the hot beat of her blood. Already the powerful surge that he had brought to her in the atrium of the temple rode fast through her body. Her breathing came hard and she fought the wild wave that would burst out against him and leave her boneless and still aching.

“Imagine me there.”

She bit out a silent curse against him, because she could see him between her bare, parted thighs, the slow movement of his dark head, his callused hands gripping her pale skin.

“Feel me there.” And both of his hands lifted the heavy material of her cloak. He skimmed his fingertips along her thin shift and then his palms rested hot against her legs. His thumbs pressed into soft skin and with a hard grin, he parted her thighs.

For links to other New Releases – click on the image below
Note: I have not personally screened these releases. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.
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Her Dark Soul ~ Available Now!

A man trapped by magic, an enigmatic guardian, and a virgin who will bind them all…

Ordered to secure a precious box from the priests of Fausta. Marek isn’t told a virgin ward is part of the deal. Ash’s innocence and need drive him to touch her, taste her, to take the twisted power in her flesh and energize his own. But hidden players force Marek into doing something unthinkable.

Lucas has been caught in gold for four hundred years. His new master commands him to invade Ash’s dreams and take her virginity. If he does, she’s breached and the treasure she guards will open. He’s happy to obey. However, he finds her guarded by a man unlike any other in his long life.

Ash should deny the fire in her blood, remember who and what she is, but something inside her finds them irresistible. As their lives intertwine, they’re driven to find pleasure, using their unique blend of sex and magic to fight an enemy that would consume them all.

There’s a long excerpt, here.

And you can buy Her Dark Soul, here.

Ellora’s Cave Free Read: Hunting Evander is out!

Narda is on a hunt.

Her target, Doran Van Evander has holed up on a mining planet. But her hunt won’t be simple or easy. Planet Lisala-7 is in the grip of a festival, one they’ve made compulsory. Five days of licensed debauchery and now with her body on fire from the touch of strangers, she must find her target before her time runs out. Failing is not an option. But in this game, who is the hunter and who is the prey?

The link is here

And Her Dark Soul has a cover!

A man trapped by magic, an enigmatic guardian, and a virgin who will bind them all…

Ordered to secure a precious box from the priests of Fausta. Marek isn’t told a virgin ward is part of the deal. Ash’s innocence and need drive him to touch her, taste her, to take the twisted power in her flesh and energize his own. But hidden players force Marek into doing something unthinkable.

Lucas has been caught in gold for four hundred years. His new master commands him to invade Ash’s dreams and take her virginity. If he does, she’s breached and the treasure she guards will open. He’s happy to obey. However, he finds her guarded by a man unlike any other in his long life.

Ash should deny the fire in her blood, remember who and what she is, but something inside her finds them irresistible. As their lives intertwine, they’re driven to find pleasure, using their unique blend of sex and magic to fight an enemy that would consume them all.

Sales and other happy things

Sunday was a bit of a mad day.

I got an email saying that TOUCH OF A DRAGON had reached the next round of the Loose Id Hot Hooks contest.  I now have to finish and polish that story to within an inch of its life by 1 Feb 2010.

I got another email from my EC editor, saying yes, she’d love to contract my fantasy menage novel HER DARK SOUL 😀  The contract is winging its way across the pond as I type.  You can get a sneak peek of the story further down in my blog.  Here’s the link.

Then I sold SHAPES IN THE BLOOD to Loose Id.  Yep.  On the same day!  The contract is keeping the other one company, lol Here’s the unofficial blurb for Shapes.  I’m still working on the Her Dark Soul’s blurb.

Aila Parry is a disaster waiting to happen.

Bad luck dogs her, has followed her all her life, ever since her grandmother’s heated warning when she was only three years old. Food spoils, metal stresses and breaks, equipment fails…and people are wary of her, forming strange hatreds, or worse shunning her completely. Men run scared. Which is why her colleague, Nathan Ahern’s, interest stuns—and delights—her. But Nathan is not all that he appears to be. And the only need he has for Aila is the desire to spill her blood. Matt Kinnon, a tempting stranger, a man compelled to guard the human race from creatures like Nathan, offers her protection.

But can she trust a man who is as much a demon as the one who wants her dead?

And the fourth piece of good news I got was from Samhain.  Weaving Words will be offered as a Kindle freebie from 15-28 December.  So a nice little Christmas present for all new Kindle owners 😀