Hello, my lovelies, and welcome to another First Kiss Friday. I would like to extend a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours and hope the coming year is filled with laughter, joy, and the company of family and good friends.
Today, I like to take you back to the beginning of my work with the first kiss scene from If My Heart Could See You. This story is especially dear to my heart because little did I know it at the time but this novel would spark my entire Knights of Berwyck series, including a couple of my Regency novels. In this scene, Dristan has discovered Amiria’s identity and she has been sick with a high fever. Read all the way through to be in the running for my giveaway and I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane. Happy reading!
For nigh unto a se’nnight, Dristan hovered over the weakening young woman, lying in his bed, who seemed dwarfed in his eyes. He had become a mere nursemaid to the lass for he would let no other tend her. Sleep had become something of a novelty to him and he could not remember when he had last been able to close his eyes with a good night’s slumber. At least for now, Amiria rested, although she had yet to open her eyes.
Kenna or Lynet saw his meals were brought to his chamber and he ate when he remembered that his body needed nourishment. Usually, ’twas the soft cry of his name coming from Amiria that would cause him to rush to her side, hoping her fever had at last abated. He still remembered how his body had flinched in reaction to hearing his name uttered from her lips for that first time in some desperate cry for help in her state of delirium. ’Twas a clear indication from her words, calling out to him, that whatever tormented her in her dreams, she at least felt he would save her from her fate. If only this would be true once she awoke. Her words, however, may not be of joy once she learned she had unknowingly shared his bed.
Sitting next to her, Dristan’s eyes raked his charge for even the slightest of changes. Fever continued to rage throughout her body. He had alternated between cool cloths upon her head to placing her in a tub of tepid water. The latter seemed to help more, although she put up quite a fight even in her weakened state. He awaited new water to be brought up to be placed in the tub in another attempt to remove the heat tormenting her. Given the last attempt, he would bolt the door and remove his own clothing this time since the last endeavor caused him to become as drenched as Amiria when she fought him from the icy cold.
A brief knock on the door had Dristan rising, thinking the task would be at hand. Opening the door, he saw Riorden, standing there with a grim look upon his face. He opened the portal wider and his captain entered, although he did so reluctantly.
“Is there any change with our lady?” Riorden inquired quietly in concern.
Dristan gave a negative shake of his head. “Your news must not be pleasant for you to disturb me. You have continued training the men?” he drawled wearily.
“Aye, my lord, although ’tis not why I have come.”
“Then tell me your news so I may continue to see to Amiria,” he commanded with a sharp edge to his voice.
“A messenger has returned from the men sent to patrol the outer boundaries of your lands, my liege,” Riorden uttered coolly. “The farthest hamlet to the north has been raided with the village burnt to the ground. All have been slain and the crops destroyed.”
Dristan looked at his captain with fury glazed eyes. “None survived?”
“Nay, my lord. Even the livestock were slaughtered.”
“Have another dozen men sent out to scour the country side. Instruct them to ride light in order to cover more ground. Include one or two of Amiria’s guard. Perchance if the villagers see one of their own with us they might loosen their tongues if they know of any wrong doing,” Dristan said meaningfully. “I will not let this go unpunished if we can capture those involved, nor stand for killing those who are under my care!”
“I will see to it Lord Dristan,” Riorden said with a brief glance towards the bed. “We continue to pray for Lady Amiria’s recovery.”
Dristan only nodded, not trusting himself to speak further regarding her welfare. He opened the door, allowing his captain to exit and bid enter the servants, who brought several pails of water to fill the tub. After they left, he put the bolt in place, locking out the world beyond his chamber. He tested the water and noted ’twas but lukewarm, although to Amiria’s skin ’twould feel like the coolest of springs found high in the mountains.
No sense in putting off the inevitable, he thought and gave a silent prayer that God would forgive him for his deed. He stripped off his clothing and left them neatly folded on a stool by the hearth. With a heavy sigh, he looked down upon his chest and saw the four strips of tender flesh where Amiria’s nails had raked him the last time he plunged her into the tub whilst she fought him like the very devil.
He went to the bed and gazed down upon his beautiful lady. He could think of her as nothing else for she would in truth become his wife once she was well again. ’Twas whilst he stared at her that he began to notice the slight beginnings of a smile playing upon her lips, and he pondered what she dreamed of. She began to stir most alluringly and whispered his name as provocatively and sweetly as any lover could.
He pulled the coverings from Amiria and lifted her into his arms. She molded her body closer to his own and his heart began to beat a little faster. Dristan was caught off guard, feeling her silky limbs wrapping themselves around his neck. The warmth of her lips began to nuzzle his neck and she gave a sigh of contentment as his arms held her tighter.
“You came for me… I knew you would,” she purred into his ear in a soft confident whisper.
“Aye, so it appears,” he said as a tingle went through him with the feel of her breath in his ear. Carrying her to the tub placed by the fire, he slowly swung his legs over its rim to feel the water at his knees. “Brace yourself, Amiria.” She held him tighter as he began to sink down into their bath. Water sloshed over the sides onto the floor the lower he brought them.
“’Tis too cold,” she said groggily with a shiver, trying to get closer to the very heart of him.
“’Tis for the best, my lady, and will make you well again.”
“I do not like it,” she said with a pout and proceeded to turn in his arms.
Afore Dristan could cease her motion, Amiria lifted slightly away from him, moving both legs to either side of his own, and promptly sat down upon his upper thighs with a wiggle of her bare bottom. This certainly was not what he had intended whilst he watched in fascination her fixed glassy eyes take in his face. Her tongue moistened her lips. Smiling, she stole a quick fleeting kiss.
“Warm me,” she demanded, molding herself to his chest and lowering her lips to receive another of his kisses as if she had done so a dozen times afore.
A part of him sprang to life against his better judgment and yet he could not for the life of him cease the intoxicating kiss she gave him. He breathed life into her as their tongues intertwined in a dance known to lovers for centuries. For just a moment longer would he indulge in what she offered, for he knew she would not remember what she did once she was herself again.
He cupped her head, bringing her closer and deepened their kiss. His fingers tangled themselves in the length of her hair ’til he could stand no more. His hands lowered themselves down her back in a gentle caress. She sighed in pleasure and Dristan heard the throaty moan that escaped her. He would have smiled through their kiss if ’twere possible for he had the notion he had awakened a temptress that would forever belong only to him.
She pulled away from his lips with a shake of her glorious red mane and gave a satisfying laugh. Her eyes widened in bewilderment from the hardness of him against her naked flesh. “I have roused my dragon, I see,” she smirked knowingly.
“That you have my dear, but you must yield the day for I would not have you hate me come the morrow. I am, after all, just a man with a man’s desires.”
“You want me then as I want you?” she inquired shyly with a blush to her face.
Dristan gave a brief laugh and caressed her cheek as she leaned into the palm of his hand. “Aye, my lady, more than I should but we cannot continue this.”
“Who are you to say we cannot?”
“I am your liege lord, Amiria. When we come together I would have you more yourself that you remember our first time together as husband and wife.”
Her brows puckered into a frown as she pondered his words. “Are we not wed?” she whispered in puzzlement. Afore he could answer, she continued onward with a brazen look upon her features. “It matters not,” she declared possessively, “for you belong to me!”
Dristan watched his lady as she for the first time hesitantly reach out and began running her fingers over his wet furred chest. Making small circles, she watched him through lowered lids and he shivered at her touch. He sat back amused at her expression since he could tell she was enjoying the feel of his skin beneath her fingertips. Her hushed words confirmed his suspicions.
“I somehow thought a dragon such as you would be smooth to the touch and not covered with so much hair. I believe I like it better this way…” she declared, with a promise reaching her eyes.
Dristan took hold of her hand as she began to reach lower and tenderly placed a kiss to the inside of her wrist. She sighed again at his touch. “Nay, my lady, do not test my resolve further, I beg you. One of us must remember not to let this insanity overtake us, so behave, you vixen!” he said with a chuckle although he had to admit he enjoyed this playful side to Amiria. “Now sit back down that I may bathe you to bring down your fever,” he ordered.
“I am not a child to be treated so.”
“Then do not behave as one so I can do my best to heal your illness.”
She ignored his words and rose, slightly kneeling with him between her legs. She took her hands and smoothed his tresses back from his face in a gentle caress. He gave a sharp intake of breath as she began to touch him at her leisure. ’Twas apparent she approved of feeling a power that she could affect him so.
“You are mine,” she declared knowingly, “and mine alone.”
Dristan stared back at the seriousness in her eyes. “Aye, as you are and will be mine.”
“Then take me now, Sir Dragon.”
“Not today and not like this Amiria.”
“Please Dristan… I want you and only you.”
“You know not what you say, mon amour,” he said, trying to calm his racing heart. God help him but his need to be inside her was beyond anything he had ever felt afore.
If Dristan had known her better, he would have realized from the stubborn tilt of her chin that Amiria would not have him gainsay her as she was wont to have her way. She leaned forward ’til her breasts caressed his chest. Enjoying the sensation it created, she captured his lips again in another searing kiss even whilst she began to lower her body to meet his own.
Dristan was so distracted by the enchantment she had woven around him that he did not realize what Amiria was about in her determination to carry out her desires had been met. ’Twas not ’til he felt himself entering her and breaking through her maidenhead, making them one, that the comprehension came to him full force. He heard her cry of pain and cursed his foolishness at what he allowed to happen. It came crashing down upon him like the fiercest of storms.
Too late, she wrapped her arms around his neck. She held on tightly almost in some attempt to protect him from the pain she felt. Her breathing slowed whilst she became accustomed to the sheer size of him. Dristan feared to move since he did not wish to cause her any further pain, so instead he held her close and whispered words in French to sooth her.
She at last raised her head and loosened her grip about his neck to look into the depths of his eyes. The smile she gave him melted the ice surrounding his heart. He only hoped and prayed she would one day forgive him.
“Now you are in truth mine, Dristan of Berwyck, and we are mated for all time and eternity like the dragons of lore, who but take one true mate for their lifetime,” she said with conviction. “Now make me burn for you, my dragon, as I know only you can and claim me as your own!”
His resolve broken since the damage was done, he told Amiria to hold tight as he rose with her still in his arms. Her legs fasten themselves securely around his hips. They never once broke contact whilst he carried her to his bed with her words to make her burn seared into his heart and, more importantly, into his very soul. Seeing the woman beneath him that had consumed his own dreams for days, he lowered his head and sealed his fate with a hungry kiss. She returned it just as greedily and clasped him tightly to her as if she would never let him go.
Dristan took the remainder of the day and far into the evening to do just as she had asked somehow feeling that he, too, had been burnt into her very soul. ’Twas not ’til the moon was high in the midnight sky that they at last were both completely sated and at long last slept peacefully still entwined in each other’s fierce embrace.
If My Heart Could See You – The MacLaren’s
A Medieval Romance
When you’re enemies, does love have a fighting chance?
For Amiria of Berwyck, defeat does not come easily as she watches her home and clan being ripped asunder. When the very enemy who has laid siege to her home demands her fealty, she will do whatever it takes to protect her people including a hastily concocted ruse that quickly begins to unravel. All too soon, she starts to question whether she can forgive herself for betraying those she has sworn to protect.
Dristan of Blackmore, champion knight of King Henry II, has a reputation to uphold as the Devil’s Dragon. After his invading army conquers Berwyck castle, he sets out to manage the newly claimed estate by training its knight in the art of proper defense. At first, everything appears as it should be, or is it? Betrayed by those he believed he could trust, he must first set aside his anger before he can make room in his heart for love.
Together they are tied by an unspoken bond. As they begin to rebuild the land and unite their people, forces beyond their control attempt to tear apart their fragile truce and only time will tell if love will forever bring them together.
If My Heart Could See You is also now available as an Audiobook. Come listen to how Marian Hussey has made my novel come to life!
Everyone like’s a giveaway, right? So how about an extra gift for Christmas from me to you? I’ll give away a audiobook & eBook of If My Heart Could See You to two lucky winners that will be chosen sometime on Christmas day. To be in the running leaving me a comment and tell me what you love most about the holiday season. Best of luck and thanks again for stopping by my First Kiss Friday blog!