Please help me give a warm welcome to my guest, Ashley York, for this week’s First Kiss Friday excerpt from Eyes of the Seer. Be sure to read to the end to learn about Ashley’s giveaway. Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!
The wooden tub sat in the middle of the small space. Baskets and new oaken barrels were stacked alongside the walls, making it an even tighter fit for the two of them. Marcán turned toward Astrid, and she lifted his léine over his head with no hesitation. His tired imagination heard a gasp of pleasure from her.
With nerves of iron, he willed himself to remain unmoved by the gesture. His tight braies might go unnoticed if he quickly submerged himself. But the water was hotter than he’d anticipated, and he had to wait to sit all the way in the tub.
Astrid had turned away to drape the blood and mud caked garment over the barrels. When she turned back to him, he took a deep breath and sank into the water.
“Is it not overly hot?” she asked, a cloth in one hand and soap in the other.
“I am fine.” Marcán gritted his teeth, the steam rising around him, lapping against his chest. He felt like he was cooking, being prepared for a meal. With his knees bent up in front of him, he leaned forward to offer his back to her. Better to get this done quickly.
She hesitated but a moment before dipping the cloth into the water and lathering it. Surrounded by her scent, he closed his eyes in agony. “Yer own soap, Astrid?”
More sweet torture—and it would be clinging to him for many days.
“It is the best we have.”
Her hand against his skin was gentle, the swiping motion precise as she traced from shoulder to shoulder, working her way lower. He leaned his forehead against his knees.
God, don’t let her be gentle.
“Ye needn’t be too gentle. I am a warrior after all.” His laugh sounded stilted, but Astrid showed no sign of noticing.
She increased the pressure, her hand moving more quickly as she made her way down his back.
“I have helped Diarmuid with his bath, Marcán.”
Her matter-of-fact tone helped settle him—it sounded more like what he would expect from her.
“I do not know why I never offered ye the same.”
Because he usually made sure to stay clear of her after a battle, just as he had tried to do this night. Her insistence, however, had pushed him too far. The need to ease her guilt was the only reason he had agreed to the arrangement.
When she reached his bottom, he pushed back against the wood. She had no choice but to remove her hand from the water.
“That is fine. I can do the rest myself.”
She frowned at him, the single torch casting strange shadows on her face before he turned away.
“Ye need help. I will help ye.”
He tightened his jaw, watching with horror as she soaped the cloth again. He was going to burst into flames at any moment. When she slapped the cloth against his chest, her eyes met his, an intimacy that pleased him for a moment—until he remembered that this was not to be. He looked away.
With a slower motion, she swiped the cloth across his chest. Her scent rising to him, he resisted the need to close his eyes in pleasure.
“I can do this myself.” He struggled to hide the arousal from his voice, trying for a firm tone. He refused to look at her, even when her hand slowed to a crawl. Even when her hand moved across his chest for the third time. Rubbing. Caressing.
He fought the need to look at her—and lost. Her eyes were fixed on the movement of the cloth across his chest. She appeared mesmerized at the sight of him. The soap made the motion a gentle slide. A thousand sensations prickled across his skin. And then, without planning it, he took his arm out of the water and wrapped his fingers around her neck, bringing her lips to his.
He was ready for her to slap him, but he couldn’t stop himself. Overcome with exhaustion and need, he hardly knew what he was doing. As if moving in a dream, the kiss he’d waited so long for happened with such slowness, every detail burned into his memory. Her eyes meeting his. Widening, but with pleasure rather than surprise. He definitely saw pleasure, just before they fluttered shut.
Eyes of the Seer
By Ashley York
He wishes to prove himself…
Marcán of Clonascra bears the bloodline of Brian Boru and his prowess as a warrior has earned him great respect from everyone but Astrid, the woman who holds his heart. Between her mother’s condemning him as a pagan Seer and Astrid’s total disinterest, he finds solace as the king’s protector and confidant.
She is desperate to escape…
Astrid is more than ready to wed but her brother, the king, is in no hurry to see her married, so she decides to see to her own match-making. The man she approaches quickly reveals his lack of honor, but her overbearing mother pushes her to wed him anyway. When Astrid discovers Marcán’s love for her, will it be too late to have the happiness she’d always dreamed of?
Always an avid romance reader herself, Ashley York enjoys writing historical romance novels full of passion and intrigue set in the 11th and 12th century British Isles. Whether it’s in the mysterious ring forts of Ireland, the romantic Scottish Highlands, or the battle fields of Hastings, her characters fight hard and play hard. Good or evil, primary or secondary, they’ll yank at your emotions and make it hard to put her books down.
When she is not writing, talking about writing, or thinking about writing, Ashley relaxes with visits to the local pubs (when allowed) listening to live Celtic tunes, participating with guitar, voice, and whistle. In the words of one of her favorite songs, she enjoys “…singing songs to pass the night away…”
She lives in southern New England with her husband and 2 very spoiled animals.
GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY: Be sure to leave Ashley a comment to be in the running for an eBook of Eyes of the Seer. A random comment will be chosen as the winner. Good luck!