Welcome, my lovelies, to another First Kiss Friday with my friend Jude Knight. We’ll be turning up the heat with this excerpt and be sure to get your #FREE copy because everyone enjoys a freebie and Jude’s writing is exceptional! Take it away, Jude!
Thank you, Sherry. This excerpt is from The Prisoners of Wyvern Castle. My hero and heroine met for the first time a few hours earlier, at their wedding. They’ve been forced to marry, and threatened with dire consequences if they do not immediately consummate the marriage. (His sister and her brother want an infant they can control to be the holder of Rupert’s title.
Rupert and Madeline are both virgins, so they need to follow their instincts and whatever information they’ve picked up from breeding animals (he breeds farm horses, she breeds dogs). Plus Rupert’s vague memory of some naughty pictures he saw when he was eleven, before the accident that made him blind.
Madeline hardly noticed the chill of the night air bringing goosebumps to her arms as she gaped at her new husband. She had known, of course, that men were different than women. He was angular where she was curved, his shoulders broad and muscular, his chest tightly defined planes. Where her skin was smooth and bare, his bore dark hair in the shape of a rough cross, the horizontal reaching from side to side, the vertical arrowing down to…
Her mouth dried as her eyes followed to where the line pointed. More dark curls, and among them, thicker and longer than she expected, his… Her kennel master called it a pizzle, but no dog had one that size! Of course, dogs were smaller altogether, and puppies, too, much smaller than a human child, and some people clearly enjoyed what was about to occur if the scandalous behaviour at harvest time could be taken in evidence.
Lady Wyvern, too, undoubtedly allowed Graviton… So it wasn’t just the lower orders, and why would it be? A pedigree showed no more discretion than a mongrel when in heat, and the kennel hands needed to be alert to keep a determined bitch confined so she didn’t…
He was reaching for her again, and all the words chattering on in her head tumbled to silence when she dragged her fascinated gaze upward to his intent face.
“May I?” He was asking for permission to touch her, and his courtesy was reassuring. Suddenly bold, she moved forward so his hands encountered her left arm and her right breast, and she put her own hands deliberately on his chest. Husbands could touch wives, of course. But surely wives could also touch husbands?
Rupert froze. She had her hands on him, resting softly on his body, just above his nipples. Would she move them? Would she explore him as he did her? Oh, he hoped so! He set the example, stroking his hand down her arm to the elbow and then inward, to curve around her waist and draw her nearer, at the same time cupping whatever his other hand had fallen upon. Her breast, it must be. It filled his hand beautifully, and the skin was soft, like warm satin, like the nose of a new-born foal.
The scent of citrus teased his nostrils again, and he bent closer to inhale. Yes. It was her hair. “You smell of lemons and violets,” he murmured, hardly aware he was speaking, with so much of his mind absorbed in documenting the feel of her skin, of her curves, and revelling in the slow, halting movements of her hands as she shaped the muscles of his chest, his shoulders, his upper arms, then back to his chest.
Where would she touch next? His own hand traced the flare of her hips, then reached further to curve his long fingers around one buttock, as his other hand continued to stroke the breast, brushing over the… did they call it a teat in a woman? No. Nipple. It was a nipple. He took it between two fingers and rubbed gently, and Madeline squirmed, rubbing up against him.
She spoke, her voice sounding as distracted as he felt. “My hair.”
“Mmmm?” What about her hair? He reluctantly let go of her breast and felt his way up the side of her face to run his fingers into her hair. It was silky and fine, and stray tendrils clung to his skin, escaped from the tight plait.
“I perfume the soap with oil of violets and use lemon verbena in the rinse water,” Madeline explained. His question. She was answering the question he had forgotten asking.
He let his hand drift down to her breast again, and she shivered as it ran over her naked skin. He should tell her what he wanted, but if he asked her to take his shaft in her hands, she might be offended. He should be more subtle, perhaps. “Do you like that? I like the way you are touching me.”
“I like it,” she repeated.
Coaxing her to describe what she liked, asking her specific questions, telling her how her hands felt on his chest, his flanks, his arms—it excited him further but, paradoxically, helped him to keep from flinging himself on top of her. Mating had its own rhythm, just as music did, and his wife was not a mare to correct him with her teeth and hooves if he rushed her. He would need to repeat the same motifs in all their variant forms until the symphony reached its exposition, the fulfilment of the primary melody.
At his gentle urging, she became bolder, and firmer in her strokes, her hands tending closer to what he hoped would be their goal.
As he caressed her, he formed an image in his mind. She was small, much smaller than he, and curved in interesting ways, from her soft arms to the globes of her breasts, bigger than he expected, but still small enough for him to cup with one hand. Below the breasts, her body narrowed to a tiny waist he could span with his long fingers, and then flared out again. He brushed his hand across the soft curls he found in the spot he yearned for. He had curls in the same place, but otherwise, she was completely different.
Kissing her behind the ear, which made her squirm with what he hoped was pleasure, he dipped a finger down from the curls into the one part of her body he had not explored. She was warm and wet, and he was fascinated by the folds of skin he found. Completely different.
She pushed herself against him when he found the place he would soon be filling. The part he would use was throbbing and twitching with eagerness. He would spend if he did not soon enter her, and his tutor had always assured him that spending, except as God commanded¾in marriage and in one’s wife¾was a wicked sin that would send him to hell. Well, now he had a wife, and she was ready, surely?
“Are you ready?” he asked, just to be certain.
“Rupert,” she answered, pushing herself still harder, and he took that as a yes, lifting himself over her. He guided his tip to her entrance and then could wait no longer. With a surge, he was fully seated, and it felt wonderful. Better than he had imagined.
He had plunged several times before he realised she was not moving. With a mighty effort, he froze in place. “Madeline? Are you all right?” She was rigid below him, and though the tightness felt wonderful, he did not think she was enjoying it.
“It hurts,” she said, voice trembling with tears.
“I’m sorry.” He made to pull out, cursing the ignorance that had caused him to hurt this little wife he had somehow acquired. But she held onto him, both hands gripping his hips.
“No. It is feeling better now. I am not… Stay. Please.”
And because he wanted to, he let himself be persuaded, but held as still as he could while he kissed her, horrified to find her cheeks wet under his searching lips.
“I hurt you,” he grieved, and again tried to pull away. Again, she held him in place. “I am better, Rupert. It feels good. Please stay.”
He rested his weight on his elbows, caged her face with his hands, and covered her with kisses, trying to focus on the meeting of their lips while his hips trembled with the need to surge and pump.
She met him with her own lips, pressing little kisses all over his face, and after a long moment, he could feel the tension in her ease. Slowly, cautiously, ready to clamp the iron control back over the animal within, he eased slightly away and then back. Again. And again.
When she began tentatively lifting her hips to meet his thrusts, he could hold himself in check no longer. His body took over as his mind, his sensations, his whole universe narrowed to the heaven of the elusive, approaching, present, completed release.
The Prisoners of Wyvern Castle is a novella in Jude’s free book of lunch-time reads, Hand-Turned Tales.
Hand-Turned Tales is designed so that readers can try Jude’s story-telling before they buy her other books. Or, if you already like her books, enter her fictional world again in four different situations
In The Raven’s Lady, Felix returns home in disguise after 13 years. He plans to catch a smuggler then take up his viscountcy. He does not expect the smuggler to be Joselyn, his childhood sweetheart. (Short story: 5,500 words)
In Kidnapped to Freedom, Phoebe is stolen away from her plantation by a handsome masked pirate. (Short story: 5,100 words)
All that Glisters is set in New Zealand in the 1860s, a time when gold miners poured into the fledgling settlement of Dunedin. Rose is unhappy in the household of her fanatical uncle. Thomas, a young merchant from Canada, offers a glimpse of another possible life. If she is brave enough to reach for it. (Short story: 13,000 words)
The Prisoners of Wyvern Castle is a gothic historical romance set in the world of my novels and novella. Rupert has been imprisoned by his wicked sister, and forced to wed. His new wife, Madeline, has likewise been threatened into saying her vows. Forced into marriage, they find love, but can they find freedom before it is too late? The Prisoners of Wyvern Castle is a prequel to Revealed in Mist. (Novella: 23,500 words)
Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.
She writes historical novels, novellas, and short stories, mostly set in the early 19th Century. She writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.