Genre(s): Fantasy, Wolves, Paranormal Romance
Published: October 15th 2014
Sibyl Blackthorne isn't afraid of anything--except maybe being sold into marriage to a man she doesn't love. A man she's never even met. A man who, by reputation, is one of Scotland's cruelest lairds in over a century.
But what choice does she have, with her father dead and her uncle now married to his brother's widow, putting him in charge of not only the Blackthorne fortune, but Sibyl's future as well?
Then her betrothed turns out to actually be far worse than his reputation, so headstrong Sibyl decides life as a peasant, or even death, would be preferable to a future with such a despicable man, and makes plans to run away.
On an organized hunt for wolves--or, as the Scots call them, wulvers--Sybil escapes her fiancé's clutches, only to find she's run into something far more untamed and dangerous in the middle of the woods.
When a big, brawny, long-haired man, who only speaks to her in Gaelic and calls himself Raife, simply picks her up and carries her off with him into the Scottish wild, Sibyl knows she's in trouble.
When he takes her to a place no human has ever been, she knows she's gone over the edge.
And when he, at last, marks her as his own, she discovers that only one wild heart can claim another.
Note To Readers: This is the extended version with over 10K words of new material and a BONUS epilogue and preview of the SEQUEL.
“What are you doing?” Sibyl protested, but barely had time to get the words out before the big man had divested her of her weapon and had thrown her over his shoulder and began carrying her downstream. “Stop! Let me go!”
Her words were lost in the rush of the water and he didn’t seem to hear her at all as he moved quickly—much faster and more nimbly than she expected of a man of his size—down the shoreline. She beat at his back with her fists, but he didn’t seem to notice that either, and before long, her hands ached. It was like hitting a slab of rock. When he stopped, she lifted her head to look around, noting their position, away from the protection of the tree line now.
And then she heard it. Could he really have detected the sound, so far away? The dogs were barking again. On the hunt. She imagined Alistair telling the story to his men, making up something so he, of course, looked like the wounded hero. Perhaps he would tell them she had been kidnapped by the massive brute who now had her thrown over his shoulder—and really, was that far from the truth? She knew he wouldn’t tell them she had put an arrow through him. That much he would leave out, she was sure. She hoped.
“They’re coming!” she hissed, beating at the human rock’s back again. She hit him in the side, eliciting a satisfying grunt from the man, and did it again, pleased when she heard his sharp intake of breath. “Let me go! They’re coming for me!”
“Bidh modhail!” he snapped, his hand coming down hard on her behind. Sibyl hadn’t been spanked since she was a child and, while it really didn’t hurt, given how much padding she had on under her skirts, the humiliation of it reddened her cheeks and made her instantly quiet.
And then they were flying.
It wasn’t really flying, but it felt that way. He was so agile, so quick and light on his feet, it felt as if he had simply taken flight as they crossed the stream. Behind them, the dogs grew closer. They were onto a scent—likely her own and she cursed herself for not grabbing her hat, which would allow the dogs to pick up her trail—and pursued it with fervor. Sibyl bounced on the big man’s shoulder, squealing at one point, thinking surely he would fall and she would go tumbling head-first to her death onto the slippery, moss-covered rocks, but then they were across, heading into the cover of the woods on the other side.
Once they were a sight distance from the tree line, the man upended her with a grunt, putting her back onto her feet. Sibyl pushed an already tangled mass of auburn hair away from her face and glared up at him. He didn’t smile, but his eyes danced, clearly amused at her stance—hands on her hips, face upturned—and the words that came tumbling out of her mouth.
“You bumbling idiot! You could have killed us both!” she snapped. “I didn’t ask for your help. Do you understand me? I don’t want your help! No! Go! Away with you!”
She shooed him away like an annoying fly but the man didn’t move. He just looked down at her with those devilish blue eyes.
“Goodbye! Mar sin leibh!” She didn’t know many phrases in Scottish Gaelic, but she had learned a few from Moira. Hello, goodbye, please and thank you. So she said the words, hoping he would understand, and from the look on his face, it was clear he got her meaning. “I’m going! Mar sin leibh! Goodbye!”
She turned and stalked off, getting as far as the nearest tree before he grabbed her again.
“Will you stop that?” she cried, pushing at his arms as they encircled her and turned her to him. “No! Chan eil! Chan eil!”
She repeated the Gaelic word for no, seeing the frown on his face at her protest.
“Shh.” He touched a finger to her lips, shaking his head.
“Chan eil,” she objected again, but this time, the word came out in a mere whisper. “No… please…”
“Tha.” His thumb traced her jawline as he looked down at her, the sunlight dappled across his face and chest. She knew the word—tha. Yes. It meant “yes.” Sibyl felt her breath quicken as the stranger traced her lips with one finger, his gaze falling to her mouth, then to her throat, then further down still, to the way her breasts nearly overflowed the top of her disheveled dress.
“Tha,” he said again, lifting his gaze to meet her eyes. So blue. His eyes were so blue. “Yes.”
“You… you speak English?” she whispered, cocking her head at him in wonder. “Who… who are you?”
When she's not pawing away at her keyboard, Selena runs an innovative publishing company (excessica.com). She does bellydancing and photography, and she loves four poster beds, tattoos, voyeurism, blindfolds, velvet, baby oil, the smell of leather, and playing kitty cat.
Her books EcoErotica (2009), The Real Mother Goose (2010) and Heidi and the Kaiser (2011) were all Epic Award Finalists. Her gay male romance, Second Chance, won the Epic Award in Erotica in 2011. Her FREE story, Connections, was one of the runners-up for the 2006 Rauxa Prize, given annually to an erotic short story of "exceptional literary quality," out of over 1,000 nominees, where awards are judged by a select jury and all entries are read "blind" (without author's name available.)
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