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This is still very much a wip. It’s unedited and still unfinished, with probably about another 20-25k to go. I’m playing with fantasy again. I’ve not done that for a long time. It’s fun.
Her Dark Soul
(c) 2009 Kim Knox
A tall man, as tall as the eunuch priests was a dark shadow in the high archway. Ash bit her lip. He stood straight, his outline against the brightness lean and strong. An old man the goddess had smiled on? Was that…
All thought wiped away as he strode towards them and Ash sucked in a quick breath. The first thought that burned back into her brain was that he wasn’t old. Far from it. She willed her mouth shut, because she wanted to let it gape and simply hang there. Marek the custodian was a man in his prime, with an angled, male face browned by the sun. His eyes and thick hair were the same colour, as dark as shadow, matching his heavy wool cloak and solid leather boots. Tavio’s memory paled beside Marek’s beauty and Ash’s face reddened as she felt the unexpected heavy pull of need low in her flesh.
“Marek.” Nelek hustled forward and gave him a short bow. Marek returned it with a fluid, physical grace that had Ash’s heart beating hard. “Everything is prepared.”
Marek’s dark gaze moved away from the First Priest to slide over her, impersonal, assessing and Ash couldn’t help herself, she held her breath. “Nothing was said about a ward.” His voice was as dark, as strong as the rest of him and undercut with a hint of anger. “This changes everything, Nelek.”
“The goddess has spoken.” Nelek’s light voice sounded pleasant, reasonable, but Ash knew him. He had risen to his high position for a reason. Very few got the best of the First Priest of the goddess Fausta. “And the emperor has placed his seal upon this action.”
A muscle jumped in Marek’s lean jaw and his gaze, which had never left her, narrowed. Her stomach turned over at the flare of bitter anger burning in him. “Show me.”
“Marek, you doubt—“
The words were a low growl that lifted the hairs on the back of Ash’s neck and tingled down her spine. Her birthmark burned and the unexpected reaction forced her to bit at her cheek to keep back her gasp.
Nelek clicked his fingers at one of the slaves. The man gave the priest a quick nod and ran back through the smaller door into the priests’ compound. Within moments, he returned with a scroll, around which curved the blood red and gold of the emperor’s seal. Marek took it, broke the seal and scanned the contents. He frowned.
He smacked the scroll back into the slave’s open palm and moved past Nelek. Ash’s heart hammered as he approached her. He stopped close enough for her to breathe in his scent, a mix of leather, unknown spices and male skin. He leaned in. She willed her spine straight, though her fingers crushed the leather strap of her satchel as his mouth hovered over hers.
Ash ignored Nelek’s shrill voice. Marek’s dark eyes speared her, and she almost lost herself in their endlessness. Her lips parted and she tasted his breath, sweet, hot and the temptation of his mouth flared Ash’s body with desire. The need to tease her tongue over his full bottom lip, to see if could possibly taste as good as he did in her wildly spinning imagination drove heat hard through her flesh, tightened her breasts. She ached to press herself against the lean hardness of his body, for him to—
“And this is the best ward you have?” His words spoken against her skin, his lips catching hers in a light caress, broke a gasp from her. “I could bend her over and fuck her right here.”
Ash’s cheeks flamed and she staggered back from him, her spine hitting the cool stone of the atrium wall.
Marek lifted an eyebrow and his eyes gleamed, his gaze roaming over her body as hot and sharp as any of the slaves who had watched her. “Yank up your robe.”
Two strides and he was almost pressed against her. His male scent, the strength of his body pulsed through her, bringing with it a raw panic and a mortifying need. They’d said he wouldn’t want this, that the custodian would protect her. His lips teased the shell of her ear and liquid fire flickered low in her belly.
“Want me to breach you, ward?”
Ash cried out as he cupped her, his fingers pressing against the hot, aching flesh between her thighs. “All right, let’s give the eunuch a show.”
Nelek tugged at his arm, but Ash knew it was as if the first priest tugged at iron and Marek shoved the priest away. His finger curled and the sudden sharp flare of almost overwhelming pleasure arched her into him. “Are you a ward?”
He growled the words against her lips and the ache for him to kiss her, the surge of unknown heat tearing up through her flesh made her heart pound. She didn’t want to talk, she wanted to taste him, thread her fingers through his thick hair and crush his mouth to hers.
“Are you?” His finger pressed a slow circle into her flesh and she had to grab at his shoulders, her breath little more than pants. “Show me. Show us all.”
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