Maiden flight, p.1
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       Maiden Flight, p.1

           S. A. Barton
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Maiden Flight

  Dragon Knights 1

  Maiden Flight


  Bianca D’Arc

  This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  1st Edition

  Copyright © 2006 Bianca D’Arc

  Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

  2nd Edition

  Copyright © 2017 Bianca D’Arc

  Published by Hawk Publishing, LLC

  All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.


  This book is dedicated first and foremost to my mother, who helped me discover the dragon within myself. She was a fierce advocate of education and pursuing your dreams—whatever they may be. Thanks, Mom, for always believing in me and teaching me by example. I miss your loving friendship and wise counsel, but I know you’re still guiding my path from realms beyond mortal comprehension.

  I also want to thank my Dad for not giving up on me, or on himself, after losing the love of his life. It takes a strong man to love a strong woman and an even stronger man to survive losing her all too soon. They had fifty-four happy years together and their love is the touchstone from which our whole family learned what true love is really all about. Thanks, Dad, for sticking with me. Neither of us ever expected things to go this way, but I’m glad I’ve had a chance to get to know you better over the past few years.

  Table of Contents

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Excerpt from Border Lair

  About the Author

  Other Books by Bianca D’Arc

  Chapter One

  Belora tracked the stag through the forest. Carefully chosen for this hunt, the stag was older, past the prime of his life, and would feed her small family of two for more than a month if she and her mother used it wisely. On silent feet, she followed him down to the water, a small trickle of stream that fed into the huge lake beyond.

  Taking careful aim with her bow, Belora offered up a silent prayer of hope and thanks to the Mother of All and to the spirit of the stag that would give its life so that she and her mother could live. She loosed the arrow, watching it sail home to her target, embedding itself deep in the stag’s heart. Her aim was true.

  As expected, the stag ran off, pumping away the last of its life in a desperate attempt to escape. She followed, saddened by the poor creature’s flight but knowing it must be so. The old stag ran into a clearing, flailing wildly. He was nearing his end, she knew, and again she prayed to the Mother of All that it would be swift.

  The stag faltered in its running stride, a shadow seeming to pass over from above. A moment later, the stag was gone, clasped tightly in the talons of a magnificent dragon winging away toward the far end of the small clearing.

  Belora took off as fast as her tired feet would carry her, following the dragon who had stolen her prize.

  Coming out of his swooping dive, the dragon pinned the stag’s quivering body between the long talons of his right foreleg. He’d made a clean kill, stabbing the beast through the heart with his sharp-edged digit even before lifting it into the air. It struggled for a few moments more, then lay dead in his grasp. The dragon rejoiced in the skillful kill, chortling smoke into the air above him.

  He came to a neat landing at the far end of the small clearing and dropped the dead stag to the ground with satisfaction. That was when he noticed the little stick protruding from the other side of the beast. It was an arrow. Drat.

  “Oh no, you don’t!”

  The irate, high-pitched human voice made the dragon shift his gaze upward to look quizzically at the small female now facing him with her hands perched in tight fists on her hips. A longbow was slung over her shoulder.

  “I shot that stag well before you swooped down and picked him up. He’s my kill. What’s more, he will feed me and my mother for a month or more. For you, he’s just a snack! You leave him be. He’s mine.”

  She shook with indignant anger and it was truly a sight to behold. Luminous green eyes sparkled in her pretty, flushed face. She seemed to have no fear of him, mighty dragon that he was, with blood on his talons and fire in his belly. She clearly had courage, and it impressed him. Few humans, much less small females, dared to deal with dragons directly.

  He could feel her anger, and a rudimentary channel of thought opened between her mind and his. She was one of the rare humans then, who could communicate with his kind. This intrigued him even more, and one thought kept running through his mind—Gareth had to see this.

  “What’s your name, pretty one?” The dragon spoke directly into Belora’s mind, surprising her a bit, but her mother had told stories about the dragon she’d known as a child. Belora knew dragons communicated with humans mind to mind. It was part of their ancient magic.

  “I’m Belora.” She renewed her forceful stance. She could not let this dragon sense any fear. She needed that stag. “Will you yield the stag to me?”

  “Why are you not afraid of my kind? Do you know dragons?”

  That wasn’t an answer, but she supposed she should at least be polite. Her mother had taught her the etiquette required when dealing with dragons.

  “Not I, sir. My mother knew a dragon once though. She told me about your kind.” Belora knew she had to convince him soon. The longer this dragged on, the more likely he was to haul her before some tribunal for poaching. “So what about the stag?”

  “From where I stand, it was my talon that made the kill. Not your puny arrow. But you have a good argument. I’ll give you that.”

  The dragon moved closer to her as she fumed in response, but she didn’t realize she was being set up until it was much too late. While she argued with him, the dragon moved closer still, until he had the stag wrapped in the talons on one huge foreleg and she was much too close to the other. As she realized her mistake, he swooped in and made his move.

  He reached out quicker than thought and snapped the padded digits of his left foreleg around her waist, trapping her arms inside the cage his wickedly sharp talons made around her. She screamed in frustration and more than a bit of fear. The dragon only chuckled.

  “Don’t worry, little one.” His voice was gentle in her mind, as if trying to calm her.

  The dragon beat his huge wings two or three times and then they were airborne. She couldn’t help the little yelp of fright that escaped as her feet left the ground. He could easily open his claw and drop her to the ground far below. That would solve his problem quite easily, she thought with growing horror.

  But dragons were supposed to be noble creatures! In all the tales she’d heard about them, she’d never heard of one going to such lengths to toy with a human before. They were mankind’s friends, not enemies, and they weren’t supposed to go around snatching up maidens only to hurtle them to their deaths.

  As they gained altitude and he did not release her t
o die a nasty and painful death, she began to calm. She was held in one front claw, the slain deer in the other. She looked around and realized she had never seen such a beautiful sight. The view from above was breathtaking. She could see the huge mountain lake as they approached it, and if she craned her neck to look behind, she could see the forest canopy, green and fertile, hiding the secrets of the creatures that lived within.

  She and her mother lived there, under the thick cover of trees, and had for many years. It was their haven, their home. Nothing as magical as this had ever happened to Belora, living isolated in the forest, and she decided to enjoy this moment out of time, flying high above the world. She would likely never have the chance again, for it was rare that a dragon transported a human that was not their knight partner. She knew that from the stories and legends the old ones told of knights and dragons. Even her mother—who had been friends with a dragon in her youth—had never flown with one. It was a rare and magical experience.

  “Do you like the view, little one?”

  “It’s beautiful!” Belora had to shout to be heard over the racing wind.

  The dragon chuckled, thoughtfully directing the stream of smoke out behind him and away from her. She realized from the gesture that he was well used to being around humans and carrying them as he flew, but she guessed he didn’t carry too many in his claws. The legends all said knights rode on the backs of their dragon partners.

  “Where are you taking me?” She pulled her attention from the gorgeous vista long enough to question her predicament. If he was taking her to a tribunal, she was in big trouble. She’d rather know now if she would be facing arrest when they landed.

  “Fear not, little one. I said you had a good case for the stag. We will let the knight decide.”

  They cruised over the edge of the large mountain lake. The water sparkled below as the dragon dropped lower. A moist breeze off the water teased her senses.

  “What knight?” That didn’t sound good.

  Rather than calming her fears, the news that there was a knight in the area only made things worse. She’d been poaching, plain and simple. Mere peasants weren’t allowed to kill the deer to feed their families, but the dragons were welcome to them as a snack at any time.

  “That knight,” the dragon thought back at her. It took her a moment to understand his meaning, but when she looked down and just ahead of their path, she saw a sleek male body cutting through the waters of the lake. He swam like a fish or like one of the great sea creatures she had heard stories about. She found herself distracted by the sun gleaming off the powerful muscles of his arms as he sliced through the water, heading for shore. Something about the man’s hard body pulled at her most feminine core, though she was inexperienced with men, in general.

  “I am Kelvan and that’s Gareth, my knight.”

  Her eyes followed the man cutting through the waters below. She’d never seen a dragon in person before, much less a knight. Surprisingly, the hard-muscled man intrigued her even more than the amazing blue-green dragon who spoke so effortlessly in her mind.

  The thought gave her pause. She’d met any number of men from the nearby village and never had such a reaction to the mere sight of one, but this man was different. Without even seeing his face clearly, she felt something deep down inside her stir to life. It was as if something in him called out to her—to the deep parts of her femininity that had never been awakened before. She wanted to know this man. She wanted to see him smile, and she wanted to know what those wetly gleaming muscles would feel like under her hands.

  The thought shocked her. Shocked, and excited, if she were being honest. The thought of his strong arms wrapped around her made her insides quiver. The thought of his lips trailing over her untried body caused moisture to blossom between her thighs. She felt desire for this unknown man, the likes of which she had never experienced, but oh, how she wanted to experience it now!

  The scandalous thought roused her from her contemplation of the handsome man. He was just a knight, she tried to tell herself. She didn’t even know him. He would probably be old and unattractive when she finally saw his face clearly. No matter what she tried to tell herself, though, she kept looking back at the man cutting through the water so effortlessly, as if drawn. She tried to shake off the almost magnetic pull he had on her, but it was surprisingly hard to gather her wits.

  “You’re a fighting dragon, then?”

  The dragon didn’t grace her obvious statement with an answer.

  “There are no dragon enclaves this far east. Where do you hail from?”

  “Not that it is any of your business, but the king has asked us to set up a new Lair just to the south of here. You will be seeing more of us patrolling the skies in the days to come.”

  “But why?” His startling news was enough to make her forget the knight for the moment. “The border with Skithdron has been peaceful for many years.”

  She knew it had not always been so. Wild skiths—snake-like creatures that were as large as dragons and spit deadly burning venom—were often found along the border, harrying herds and killing unsuspecting farmers who crossed their path.

  The native skiths gave the neighboring kingdom its name and heraldic symbol, much as the dragons were the symbol of her land, but that’s where all similarity ended. Dragons were reasoning creatures of high intelligence, where skiths were pack hunters intent only on killing and destruction.

  It was rumored they could be herded against an enemy, and in legends of older times, it was believed this border region had been deliberately decimated by herds of skiths. They’d been sent as a first wave by the neighboring army that had almost taken the region completely. The only thing that saved the land had been the native dragons, fighting the hated skiths back with flame. Dragons were the only thing a full-grown skith was afraid of.

  The blue-green dragon who held her prisoner directed a stream of rumbling smoke away from her as he scoffed at her words. Her mother had warned her that when dragons became angry they sometimes had a hard time controlling their fire.

  “Skithdron has a new king. One not worthy of the title. War is coming. It is only a question of when.” Again there was a belch of smoke that he thoughtfully directed out behind them as he flew.

  “I didn’t know.” She tried to quell the frightened quaver in her voice as she shouted to be heard over the rushing wind.

  She knew things had to be serious indeed if the king had sent a contingent of knights and fighting dragons to make their home on the border. Her chest tightened as she realized they all could be in serious danger. She and her mother might have to flee yet again, losing the snug little home in the forest that had sheltered them safely for so long.

  “Thank heaven the king sent you here. We’re all but unprotected here on the border.”

  “Not anymore.” The dragon seemed to chuckle and preen as he circled lower, searching for the perfect landing site.

  “Gareth, I’ve got a live one here.” The dragon communicated telepathically with his partner, who still swam through the waters below.

  “You found your deer, then? I’m almost through with my swim. We can get back underway as soon as you finish your snack.”

  “Not quite.” The dragon swooped lower as he prepared to land on the far shore. “There was a poacher there before me and we quarreled over the kill. I’ve brought her to you to decide who keeps the stag.”


  “Indeed,” the dragon replied dryly. “She has no fear of my kind and the ability to communicate with us, too. I thought you ought to see her before we departed.”

  “Intriguing.” The knight neared shore as the dragon landed lightly, setting both the deer and his wriggling human burden down on the ground, gentle as could be.

  “Hmm. Beautiful too. And feisty.”


  “In the way of humans. Quite beautiful, I believe. And quite upset with me. She did not come willingly.”

  The dragon released her, sat
back, and watched the little human fume at him. She raged and paced, shrieking about being taken away by force, against her will, but the dragon paid her words no mind. Gareth would sort her out soon enough. In the meantime, it was quite amusing to watch with her antics.

  Gareth got his first look at the woman—girl, really—as he walked out of the lake. The cool wetness of the water as it sluiced down his limbs barely registered in his mind as he strode toward the girl. She stomped around, ineffectively arguing in front of the impassive dragon.

  Gareth was struck by her lithe form, her soft hair waving in the warm summer wind and the passion in her stance. She showed absolutely no fear of Kelvan, his dragon partner, though the beast outsized her many times over. No, this little woman was fearless and rather focused in her anger.

  She was also too thin. It was more than obvious that she needed that stag to feed herself and her family. If they were all as thin as she was, they needed much more than just the one stag. Perhaps he and Kelvan could do something to help her the next time they came this way, he thought absently, not even realizing he was already looking forward to the next time he would see the girl.

  He knew almost immediately that he wanted to see her again. Something about her drew him. There was a light in her, a fire that called to him. He didn’t understand it, but it was beyond question. She pulled him in like a moth to a flame and he went willingly. The fire in her glittering green gaze mesmerized and the vulnerability in her bowed lips made him want to fall to his knees and give her everything he had, everything he was. The desire to please her, to protect her and cherish her, blindsided him. He didn’t even know her. Yet everything about her called to him. He watched as she berated the dragon—or tried to. Kelvan seemed just as in awe of her as he was.

  She had worked up a good head of steam as he neared, though she seemed completely unaware of his approach. Kelvan shifted his head, finally alerting her to Gareth’s presence. She turned to face him, gasped, and suddenly stopped talking.

  Maybe it was because he was naked, he realized belatedly, enjoying the way her eyes seemed glued to his groin. Of course, such attention caused his staff to grow rapidly, as did the enchanting stain of embarrassment on her cheeks. Slowly, he reached for his clothing. It lay in a pile only feet from where she stood, still watching him.

  “Keep looking at me like that, mistress, and you will reap the consequences.”

  The girl gasped as her gaze shot up to his. Finally. Her mouth closed with a snap as she seemed to gather her wits.

  “Your pardon, my lord, but I’m not used to meeting unclothed knights of the realm.”

  Sarcasm fairly dripped from her words. She wasn’t afraid of him. Quite the contrary. He grew even more intrigued. Gareth shrugged into his shirt, leaving it unlaced for the moment as he faced her, now clothed more decently in breeches and shirt.

  “My partner here tells me you claim this very large stag as your kill.”

  He thought his statement masterfully done, complimenting her hunting skill while making no mention of the fact that they all knew she had been poaching. That she was in the wrong, according to the law, bothered him much less than the thinness of her lithe little body. He would rather she take the deer and feed herself and her family. Kelvan could always hunt another or wait until they arrived back at the Lair to feed fully. He knew from long association with dragonkind that it would be no hardship for the huge creature who was his dearest friend in the world and closest companion.

  “I shot him fair and square before this great lug lumbered in from above.”

  “Lumbered! I’m insulted. I never lumber.”

  “Mistress—” Gareth shook his head theatrically. “You have insulted a dragon. That is never wise.”

  The petite beauty looked up over her shoulder at the dragon and rolled her eyes.

  “All right then, how about if I said you swooped in majestically?” She paused to see the dragon’s reaction and then went for the kill. “And stole my deer.”

  Kelvan snorted, careful to keep his flame away from the humans, though he choked the woman momentarily with his sooty wheeze. While she coughed, Gareth smiled up at his partner.

  “This is a strange one indeed. And just as beautiful as you said.”

  “She lights your fire, then?”

  Gareth had to fake a cough to hide his start of laughter. “Indeed.”

  “Good. You need a hard fuck. You’ve been much too tense lately. I’ll go hunt another deer while you settle things with Belora.”

  “Belora,” Gareth repeated. It fit her, rolling through his mind as prettily as she stood before him. It was a delicate name. An intriguing name.

  Kelvan winged away without responding, blowing the slight woman straight into his knight’s arms, belching dragon laughter as he headed back toward the forest. The girl looked up at the knight, clinging to him to hold her steady in the fierce wind created by the dragon’s massive wings.

  “Where’s he going?”

  Gareth smiled down at her, holding her tightly in his arms. “To hunt another deer. You can have the stag, with our compliments.”

  Her whole face lit up with joy, and it was a sight to behold. This young woman possessed more than mere beauty. She had a light that radiated from within, the likes of which he had seldom seen before. A rare jewel, indeed, and he knew he must have her, if only for this moment.

  “Really?” Her wide eyes held hope for the first time since he’d encountered her, and happiness that made her glow.

  “Yes, really.” He tightened his arms around her, his gaze falling to her lips. He felt her breathing hitch as her body responded to his nearness. It was a good sign, as was the fact that she wasn’t trying to get free from his embrace. Rather, she seemed comfortable in his arms, clinging to him in a way that was most gratifying. “Kelvan and I will fly you back to your home and deliver the deer there for you. Later.”

  “Later?” Her voice was soft as her eyes spoke of the pleasure he was bringing her with the soft, circular motions of his hands on her back.

  “Much later.”

  His head dipped and his lips claimed hers in a sweet kiss that swiftly turned passionate. Gareth had only meant to give her a quick buss, then sit her down and discuss her family situation. As a knight of the realm, he couldn’t let people go hungry. He’d wanted to help her, if he could.

  But her kiss brought something to life inside him that would not be denied. She was sweet, but it was more than that. Her taste and innocent, passionate response brought out a possessiveness in him that he hadn’t expected.

  He wanted her. Despite the dragon’s parting words, he hadn’t meant to actually take her. But the feeling inside him was demanding more. Truth be told, it was demanding all. All he was. All he would ever be. All they could be together.

  There was an instant recognition. An instant wanting. Needing. It was something Gareth had heard about, but never thought he would actually experience. This woman tasted like his true mate. The one woman meant to share his life. Knights often knew on the first meeting the woman meant for them. It was a blessing and a curse all knights shared. The magic of their dragon partners helped them recognize the woman that would make their extended family whole.

  Gareth very much feared—and hoped—that Belora was that woman. His woman.

  He pushed her further than he’d intended, needing to find out for certain. He’d make sweet love to her, fulfilling the driving need in his soul and then he’d know for sure. And then…well, he’d have to deal with the next part as it happened.

  Convincing a woman to give up all she’d ever known to come live in a dragon’s Lair probably wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, but he’d faced bigger battles in his time. If Belora was the one, he’d move heaven and earth to keep her with him.

  Gareth deepened the kiss. Though willing, the hesitancy with which she followed his passion told him a great deal. She was quite obviously untried, but willing. He pulled back after a long satisfying time but didn’t
release her. He needed to convince her, gently. Gareth would have to use all his rusty charm to entice her into his bed.

  “You are very beautiful, Mistress Belora.” He caressed her hair with one rough hand. She blushed so prettily he had to bend down and kiss her again. Her shy response enchanted him and reminded him how inexperienced she truly was. A man of the world could always tell. He pulled back and smiled to soften his words. “You’re very young, sweetheart.”

  “Not too young, surely.” There was a teasing challenge in her tone. “I have eighteen winters.”

  Gareth clicked his tongue and shook his head. “Just a babe, you are.”

  “How old are you, then? You can’t be that much older than me. I won’t believe it. You’re in your prime.” Her gaze walked over him, heating his blood. She was definitely attracted to him. That would make his goal easier.

  “I take that as a compliment, mistress, that you think me prime. I feel like an old man compared to you.”

  “Not too old.” She chuckled as he squeezed her playfully. He liked her sense of humor and the sparkle in her gorgeous green eyes.

  “Never too old to appreciate a beauty such as yours. A man would have to be dead not to want you.” He gave her a little harsh truth as he pressed his suit.

  She gasped as his hands stroked intimately down her back and cupped the curve of her ass. He pulled her against his hard frame, letting her know how much he wanted her. The next move he would leave up to her. She was so young and obviously untried. He would have to give her some choice, but he prayed to the Mother of All that she would choose to make love with him. He needed her on a soul-deep level. He needed to know if she was the one. He thought he’d go mad if she turned him away now.

  “And do you want me, sir knight?” The coquettish smile in her eyes was promising.

  He actually growled as he ground his hips against hers. “I want you more than any woman I’ve ever known.”

  “Pretty words, sir,” she replied slowly, her gaze measuring his response suspiciously. “I bet you’ve said the same to many a maid.” She laughed as he stroked his hands upward to frame her face.

  “I’ve never said anything of the kind before. For that matter, I’ve never felt this way before. You have my word as a knight of the realm. You are special, Belora. I know we’ve only just met, but I feel as if I’ve known you all my life. As if I’ve been waiting for you.” He felt his heart lodge somewhere in his throat as he gazed down into her mesmerizing green eyes. “Tell me you feel the same.”

  Her expression sobered and her breath caught. A dazzling light came from her beautiful eyes that humbled him.

  “I thought I was being fanciful.” Her whispered words made something fragile inside him tremble. “You truly feel it too?”

  He kissed her lips sweetly. “I do.”

  “What does it mean?”

  “It could mean everything, sweet Belora. Everything.”

  Nearly overcome by the thought, he lowered his mouth to hers again. His kiss was filled with savage intent as she clutched at his arms. His hands roamed over her lithe body, stroking her curves and supporting her when she sagged against him. At length, he broke away from the drugging ecstasy of her kiss.

  “Will you lie with me, beautiful Belora?” His words were impassioned whispers against the soft, warm column of her neck. “Will you give me the gift of your body?”

  She pulled back and it nearly killed him to let her draw even slightly away.

  “I’ve never been with a man, Gareth.” His heart stopped beating as he waited for her hesitant words. “But my mother’s a healer. I know what to expect.” She looked adorably hesitant at first, but she seemed to grow more certain with every word she spoke. A bit of the steadfast huntress Kelvan had encountered came to the fore, attracting him even more. “I want to be with you, Gareth. Will you teach me what I need to know to please you?”

  He hugged her close. Uncustomary tears formed behind his eyes as he realized the import of this moment. This small woman’s trust meant more to him than anything in the world—except perhaps for his bond with Kelvan.

  But this encounter with Belora was nearly on the same level. That alone told him this was a special moment. And a special woman. He’d be damned if he hadn’t just found his mate.

  It was a heady thought. A frightening thought. A thought for later consideration. Much later. For now, he had to concentrate on the beautiful woman in his arms.

  “You need do nothing but be yourself to please me, sweet Belora.”

  Words failed him at that point, so he turned his attentions to showing her how beautiful she was. He lifted her rough tunic slowly over her head, enjoying her maidenly blushes. He’d never had a maiden before, but he had bedded many experienced women and knew how to please them. He would make certain this first time for Belora was as good as he could possibly make it. He wanted her to remember this encounter with joy.

  When she was bare, he laid her down on the soft pile of their discarded clothing. She was noticeably shy, but willing. Her expression told him how much she wanted this, even if she’d never done it before.

  He stroked her breast with one large hand. He was a big man, but he could be gentle when he needed to be and this was one of those times. At least for now, he would give her gentleness. If it turned out she could handle more, he would give it to her later, by all means. With pleasure.

  She shivered as he stroked down to the point of her breast, pinching her pert nipple with just enough force to make her squeal with pleasure. He leaned lower and replaced his hands with his lips. Sucking her deep into his warmth, he watched as her gaze followed his movements. She looked both shocked and eager for more. The lovely flush in her cheeks indicated her rising desire.

  “Gareth!” she keened as he sucked gently on her nipple, releasing her with a pop to pay the same homage to her other breast.

  His hands were busy learning the curves of her waist, her hips, her thighs and what lay between. One hand parted the neat curls above her mound and found its way into her slick folds while she squirmed. He lifted his head and watched her carefully as he drew her nipple between his teeth with a little edge of roughness. From the way her fingers ran through his hair and drew him closer, she definitely liked what he was doing to her. No, she loved what he was doing to her. She shivered with delight each time he touched her.

  “You’ll never regret giving yourself to me, Belora. I swear it on my honor.”

  “The only way I’ll regret this is if you stop now, Gareth.” Her voice was deliciously breathy.

  He almost laughed at her honest, soul-baring answer. This was a woman who wasn’t afraid to take life by the horns. He was half in love with her already and they’d only really just met.

  “I’d never leave you wanting, sweet Belora. I need you every bit as much as you probably need me by now.”

  “No one could need you more than I. It’s not possible. What have you done to me, Gareth? What kind of magic is this?”

  She gasped as he moved the hand he’d kept between her legs, teasing her clit. Holding her gaze, he slid one large, thoroughly wet finger into her core and watched carefully as he stretched tissues that had never known the touch of a man. The thought excited him beyond reason, but he held tightly to his control. This woman was special. He would make sure she enjoyed every moment they had together.

  “It’s the purest form of magic, sweet. The magic of man and woman.”

  He leaned in close and kissed her deeply, catching her cries of excitement in his mouth as he added a second finger inside her tight channel. He knew it might hurt her, but she was so deep in her pleasure, she was beyond pain now. This first time it would be a blessing to her to break through her barrier fast before she had time to worry and tense up. She was in the perfect place now, if he could just keep her there until he was buried deep inside her.

  He slid over her, placing himself between her spread thighs, holding her gaze and doing his best to overwhelm her senses with deep, passio
nate kisses that kept her off balance. His fingers began pumping in and out of her channel, preparing her.

  He brought his wet fingers to his cock and coated himself with her essence, hoping to make his passage easier on her this first time. Before she had time to think, he pressed forward, the cap of his raging erection sinking in with little trouble. He straightened over her, bracing his arms on either side of her face as he moved steadily forward.

  “Do it now, Gareth. Come into me now!”

  “Your wish,” he surged forward, breaking through the barrier, “is my command.” She jerked beneath him momentarily and he held still, watching the tightness around her sweet mouth ease as she got used to his presence in her body. “Better now?”

  She tilted her head as if considering exactly how she felt. He loved that thoughtfulness about her. He loved her adventurous spirit. And he feared given half a chance, he would love her. Period.

  “It feels odd, but very nice. Is there more?”

  Gareth grinned down at her. “Much more. We’ve only just begun.”

  “Oh, good.”

  With a chuckle, Gareth began to move in her, watching her eyes light up as she discovered what came next. She was delightful to him. Fresh, eager and open to new experiences. She was a treasure. He’d never felt so lighthearted while making love, never knew it could feel this right, this pure, this perfect.

  She clamped her legs around him and he could feel her excitement rising fast. She was so responsive to him, it made it all that much better. He moved his hand between them and teased her clit until she tensed and cried out, experiencing her first orgasm while he remained hard within her. He watched her through it all, entranced by the look in her luminous eyes, the sheer pleasure on her pretty face.

  He rode her throughout, helping her milk it for all it was worth. When she came back to earth, he was there, looking down into her beautiful eyes.

  “Ready for more?” His smile teased her and she blushed so prettily he had to lean down and kiss her luscious lips. Rolling, he reversed their positions, keeping himself tight within her, watching the surprise enter her expression. “Do you ride?”

  “We can no longer afford to keep a horse.”

  “Who needs a horse when you can ride me?” His teasing tone brought a spark of excitement to her eyes and she straightened, letting her beautiful breasts swing as she positioned herself atop him.

  “Am I doing it right?” She began a slow up and down motion on him that made him groan in appreciation.

  “Any righter and I’d be a dead man.” His head flopped back to the ground as she increased her pace. “You’re a natural, sweet. Keep on as you’re going and we’ll soon touch the stars together.”

  “Oh, Gareth!”

  She was close. He could see it in the tensing of her sweet mouth. He moved his fingers up to cup her bouncing breasts, enjoying the look and feel of them in his hands as she rode him. He pinched her nipples and teased them with his thumbs, flicking them as she moved faster and faster in search of her goal.

  “Come for me now, sweet. Let go and come now!”

  She convulsed over him, straining as he pumped hard upward. He came with her, spilling a torrent of his seed within her tight depths.

  “Oh!” She convulsed again as he watched, close to awe at the pleasure this small, untried woman had given him. He had never come so hard in his life. He emptied into her as if she had been made for him.

  He stroked her hair, her back, her soft skin, even as his cock relaxed within her. Not seeing any reason to move further, he dragged a dry towel over her back and settled in for a short rest. He would have her again before this day was through, but for now she was wiped out.

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