I am happy to announce the publication of my first book “The Dragon’s Lair”. This is a dream come true, something that I never imagined would ever happen.
I began writing in 1989, for many years my writing was done in secrecy and it is only recently becoming known to my family and friends.
Writing has been my escape from the reality of a busy, hectic and full life.
“The Dragon’s Lair” is my first published novel, however definitely not my last. I have at least seven more that I hope will also soon be available.
The back cover:
“He could feel the strength of his horse as he raced after the woman and bent low in the saddle to snatch her from the ground as her fears drove her from him.”
“Kissing her gently Shane held her close to his heart. He looked over at Meg, twisted and bent with age, tears covering her cheeks, his tiny son clasp to her breast. She shook her head slowly and laid him in the cradle pulling the soft coverlets over his lifeless form then walking disheartened from the room.”
Arianna always lived in the shadow of her older sister Allyse’s beauty, until Shane, a disowned member of the nobility was hired to eliminate the threat against Lord Bradford, her fathers overlord.
Shane changes her life forever.
A must read with a few twists that will delight.
Here’s a taste of what you will find in “The Dragon’s Lair”:
“Repairable.” The old man roared at the top of his lungs. “My granddaughter’s’ lie dead in their graves, only Bradford knows the abuse that was forced upon them before he allowed them the mercy of death. How will you set that right? Sire. How?”
A stunned silence fell over the crowd. Every one held their breath awaiting the answer. “I’m sorry for the girl’s death.” Henry cooed softly trying to calm the ruffled man. “Phillip did not, could not know of a circumstance such as this.”
Shane stopped in mid stride when the old man blew. “Don’t move.” He ordered Tam, turning briskly he strode determinedly towards the dais. He stepped boldly between the tables to bring himself face to face with Ramsey and his sons. “Lord Ramsey.” He boomed, drawing all attention to himself. “My name is Shane Blackwell.”
Ramsey had always been impressed with this man. He was definitely a warrior, a menacing one, yes. But the man held his honor high for all to witness. Why Bradford had thought to hire mercenaries of this caliber was beyond him. When he had seen ‘the Dragons’ banner he had thought his home to be lost. It had not taken him long to figure out that for some mysterious reason the man held his soldiers in reserve and had given only a token battle. He seriously doubted that this man’s men had hurt any of his wounded.
Ramsey had tried to think of another that fought under the dragon’s banner, here his old memory had failed him. Of this he was sure though, with the price a man like Blackwell would demand, Bradford would not even consider paying. There had to be another. But here he stood, ‘the Dragon’ in all his dark glory, Ramsey quivered with trepidation, the man was enormous, his very presence would send the enemy into retreat.
“I would like to explain to you what happened, sir, as best I can.” Shane’s powerful voice held all attention, silence accept for his deep resonate voice filled the air.
Arianna noticed that he went through a detailed description, a description that told them everything, but not one single mention was made of her. For a moment she was almost hurt. But Shane knew what he was doing.
Shane ended his tale, bowing low as he apologized for the death of the man’s beautiful granddaughter. “I am deeply sorry for the girl’s death Lord Ramsey, we marked her grave so that you could identify it and move her body to the family tombs if you wished.”
Milo had watched the man intently throughout his accounting and had noticed the tiny ring on the big man’s finger. Had he seen right? Did the man have the gall to brazenly flaunt his daughter’s treasure? Didn’t he realize the harm the theft would cause? And Why? Why would he make reference to only Allyse? They had tried to extricate both of his daughters. Slowly Milo raised his tired body to a trembling stand his eyes locked with the insolent man’s, tears brimming over to rush down his cheeks.
“Arianna’s ring. Lord Blackwell.” He held out his hand for the required article.
Shane bowed his head but stood motionless his thumbs remaining looped in his waistband as the man stared down at him, his tears bruising Shane’s heart. “I am truly sorry.” Shane reiterated, realizing he now answered to Arianna’s father. “If I could, sir I would gladly return your daughter Allyse to you.”
“There were two.” Milo stated quietly his eyes darting over the tiny figure that had been wedged so tightly between the two giants, a glimmer of hope fleeting through his heart. “Did you not bury my daughter’s together?” He implored weakly Blackwell’s strange smile sending his blood pounding from his heart.
“No sir, I did not.” Shane motioned for Tam to bring Arianna forward. “Why would we bury the second woman?” As Tam walked forward Shane reached his arms around her to undo the cloak. “I have made it a practice, sir, never to bury a beautiful woman unless she is quit dead.”
Silence filled the hall as the heavy cloak cascaded into a mountainous pile at Arianna’s feet. Placing a chaste kiss on top of her head Shane nodded graciously to the surprised Ramseys’. Holding Arianna’s hands in his he stepped aside for all to see.
“May I present you with my beautiful wife? The Lady Arianna Blackwell.”
Here’s another taste of what you will find in “The Dragon’s Lair”:
“Patience boy,” Logan crooned as he stroked the sleek neck, “this could be a very rewarding ride for me.”
Allyse listened to the man as he petted and comforted his high strung mount. He was a handsome man his dark hair gently waving as it fell past his shoulders and laid there shining in the sun. “Patience.” He wanted his horse to have patience. She knew with his words that he must know of her presence. Why else wasn’t he leaving? Well she had news for him. There was no way she was going to let Fitzhugh or one of his hence men kill or even capture her, and even if they did they weren’t going to take her without a fight.
As the horse began to prance nervously she jumped from between the rocks waving her arms and screaming. Lifting her skirts high she ran not even taking the time to see if her efforts had netted her anything. Allyse ducked under several low branches of a tree and ran straight for a thicket, one of the twigs snapping her on the cheek almost immediately, causing a small scratch and a tiny drop of blood to form.
Her heart pumped wildly in her ears making the sounds around her seem distorted. Falling to her knees she began to crawl deeper into the thicket, praying that Fitzhugh’s assassin would not be fast enough to catch her.
Logan had been ready for her attempted escape and never even lost control over his mount. He immediately reined him around and had the horse’s hooves thundering right behind the wench. He was almost upon her when she darted to the side and ran into a thicket, the low branches making it impossible for his horse to pass. He leapt from the saddle and sprinted after the runaway, falling to his knees he grabbed her tiny ankle and pulled as she tried to crawl into the deep thicket.
Allyse felt a warm hand as it grasp her foot and ankle. “Don’t kill me.” She screamed as he pulled her from beneath the bushes. She clutched at the nearest branch and was instantly sorry, crying out in pain she let go immediately. The ground slid beneath her and she was once again in the clearing. Rolling over she sat up and gasp. “Please don’t kill me; here I’ll give you this.” She quickly unclasp her broach from her hair and the dark fat braid fell all the way to the ground beside her.
Logan longed to undo it the rest of the way, to see it hang loose around her bare creamy skin to tunnel his fingers through its silken softness.
“Take this.” Allyse thrust the broach towards the handsome man. “It will be well worth letting me live for.” She held the broach to him on her opened upturned palm.
Logan grasp her outstretched hand and began to remove several of the thorns lodged in the heel of her delicate skin. “If I kill you sprite I could have the broach and these rings as well.” He took the broach and turned her hand over bringing it to his lips for a quick kiss, sliding the broach into his vest pocket. “What makes you think I would even want to kill you?” Logan asked as he made himself comfortable on the ground facing her. She was very beautiful but she was also younger than he had first thought her to be.
Allyse tried to pull her hands from his and watched mesmerized as he free hand formed its self into a claw and stretched out to strangle her. She jerked back violently and smacked her head against the tree beside her. “Don’t hurt me, please.” She begged as she began to struggle against him.
“You caused your own pain just now sprite. Not me. I mean you no harm.” Logan tightened his grip around her wrists and he pulled her close to his chest to stop her vain struggles. She smelled fresh, like a rose garden. He decided then that her youth was a big plus as he thought about it. He would have all winter to teach her how to please him and she was young enough to learn to enjoy him herself.
He would keep her at Eagle’s Reach and then he would be rid of his problem of boredom. She would bring excitement to the rest of his banishment. Her lovely presence would brighten the old castle immensely. His groin tightened at the thought of having her in his bed tonight and he reached out once again and gently wiped the blood from her cheek. “Tell me sprite, why you think I would want to rid myself of such a beautiful treasure.”
Allyse twisted her wrists from his grasp and tried to lunge to her feet.
But Logan had seen her obvious intentions and wrapped strong arms around her waist, carefully throwing himself backwards, pulling her small form so that she fell on top of him to break her impact with the ground. He quickly rolled her over successfully placing her beneath him. He knew that he was going to love sharing this position with her and made himself quite comfortable between her legs.
His laughter spilled over and he no longer resisted the urge to caress the tiny scar on her forehead. He ran his lips over it with a gentle possessiveness; then slid them down the side of her face to dally teasingly above her ruby colored ones. “Answer my question sprite.” He throbbed with the desire to fill her and rubbed that desire longingly into her delicious womanhood, trying to wish the layers of clothing from between them. “Why are you so sure I want to kill you?”
Allyse felt crushed beneath the man, his hips pressed heavily upon hers and moved in a stimulating, arousing manner. Strange new feelings assaulted her, his eyes were beautiful and he didn’t seem much like a hired assassin to her for some reason. She had expected Fitzhugh’s men to repulse her as he did but then what did a hired killer look like, she could not remember ever being introduced to one before. Not to her knowledge anyway.
His lips began to trail a line of caresses down her cheek and then cravenly covered her mouth with definite purpose.
Allyse mind was everywhere but with her and she opened instinctively for him when his tongue probed gently into her welcoming softness. Responding with unrestrained eagerness to the erotic senses his entrance provoked. She had fantasized many times how it would be to be kissed by a man but the real thing was better by far than any imagined vestige had ever been. She moaned audibly when he pulled his mouth from hers and instantly wanted more.
“Your answer sprite?” Logan whispered his hand filling itself with the tempting globes his chest had been crushed against and he heedlessly pumped his burning groin between her responding thighs.
With her mind caught in the middle of a tempestuous snowstorm and her body on fire Allyse continued on her false assumption that this man worked for Fitzhugh. “My father will pay you more money to keep me alive than Fitzhugh will to kill me.” Her words were breathless, her mind thinking only of the handsomeness of his face, the deep color of his aqua clear eyes and the bronzed tan of his skin.
Logan took a second look at the girls passion filled face and regretted the intensity with which he had pressed her. His excitement had been suddenly strangled by the mention of Fitzhugh’s name and he felt somehow disappointed in his loss. His attention was drawn to the mark at the corner of her left eye. Blackwell had told him that it was the only difference in her appearance from his deceased wife. The man had compared his wife to a goddess and now Logan knew why. He squelched back his raging desire and replied harshly as he rolled off her delicious body. “So your Blackwell’s lost little girl.”
“Yes.” Allyse cried relief at his knowledge of her flooding her entire being.
“First, I don’t work for Fitzhugh. My name is Logan Marshal.” Logan tried to brush the bitter disappointment from his voice as the girl sat up and grabbed his arm eagerly. “Second, your father has scoured this country looking for you.”
Allyse interrupted him breezily. “Will you take me home please? Father will reward you for protecting me. I’m certain of it.”
Logan untangled her fingers from his cloak as he gazed at the elated expression on her lovely face. He ran his eyes over her body ardently and questioned what he was giving up. Not much really she hadn’t even developed a good set of breasts yet. His mood was sullen as he considered in defeat, she really was just a kid. “Well kid protecting you isn’t exactly what I had in mind but I guess that is all I’ll get huh?”
“What?” Allyse countered innocently, she had been watching his sensuous lips and had caught only every other word he had spoken. Why did he need to get something to protect her with? What kind of weapon did he have in mind? ”What did you have in mind, My Lord Marshal?”
“Don’t call me, My Lord.” He snorted. “My name is Logan. My father still holds all titles in the Marshal family and it really doesn’t matter what I had in mind now, does it?” Logan raged with discontentment as he clamored to his feet and whistled sharply for his horse, totally ignoring the kid as he climbed back into the saddle when his horse came to a stop in front of him. “Well come on kid.” He ordered hotly when she just stood staring at him.
Allyse walked from beneath the tree and over to stand beside his stirrup. Bending low in the saddle he grasp her under her arms and jerked her up before him, he hadn’t placed his hands very wisely and the heel of his palm crushed her breast painfully. She knew she would have a bruise in the morning.
“Get comfortable kid.” He growled in her ear. “It’s a long ride home.”
Allyse wondered why he was being so rude to her after he had kissed her so ardently. What had she done to make him so angry with her?
For the first few moments Logan watched as she pulled several more thorns from her dainty, delicate hand. He could still feel the tingle of her gentle touch where she had grasp his upper arms when he had lifted her up before him, and his memory traced over and over the cheek she had stroked while his lips had fed upon hers.
She smelled of roses and her hair was soft against the open neck of his shirt, it brushed him freely with every movement of his horse. She was warm and secure in his arms as she snuggled closer to him for warmth. “What am I doing?” Logan berated himself, taking several deep breaths to stem the arousal her closeness was once again creating. She’s just a kid, Blackwell’s kid no less, and he was just as trapped in an unwanted betrothal as she was.
He tried to block from his mind any awareness of her as a woman snapping a tight hold on any emotion she might create inside him. He turned his anger and disappointment into a weapon to hide his desire.
She was the daughter of his favorite hero and was also betrothed to his worst enemy, both should work to stem his lusts, but both seemed to be failing miserably.
“How did you know that Shane Blackwell is my father?” Allyse questioned into his wanton thoughts. Turning so she could look up at the man’s handsome face. Logan was a handsome name and it fit him perfectly. She eyed his lips cravenly and wondered what he would do if she reached up and kissed him.
“Blackwell has been all over this area searching for you, asking questions everywhere, offering rewards. The man is frantic; he has been up and down the river from where you supposedly disappeared several times. My lands and castle were not missed during his search. I even searched with him for a couple of weeks.” Logan held his breath as she moved tranquilly in his arms and the urge to kiss that tiny scar across her hairline hit him with a vengeance when she brushed her forehead against his chin. He had to remind himself who she was for the third or fourth time in as many moments.
“You searched for me?” Allyse wondered out loud.
“Yes.” Logan growled irritably.
“Why?” Allyse gazed up at him her hands suddenly clutching at his torso as the horse joggled her precariously.