Originally released April 2006; re-released with new publisher/cover July 2015.
**Available as a standalone ebook or in the print anthology Rites of Passion including Choice of Masters**
Marisa is a modern day witch, living at the edge of the woods and at the edge of society, dispensing potions to help lonely souls find their true loves. Because of her inability to live among others, she doesn’t believe love is for her, let alone sexual fulfillment. She gets both when Conlon Maguire shows up at her cottage.
He wants a potion to win the heart of his true love, but the magic behind the potion sets its price. The price set on Conlon’s potion is that he must spend one night with Marisa, bringing her pleasure. As a servant of the Light, Marisa cannot refuse the price if Conlon agrees to it, but from the moment he touches her, she knows her heart and shields are in danger. How can she go through with it, knowing he will leave her at dawn to be with another?
© Copyright 2006 - All Rights Reserved
Quirking his brow to give her some warning, Conlon exerted a gradual but inexorable pressure on her hands, bringing her closer to him, until she leaned into his body. He guided one of her hands, folded her palm low on his waist, over his hip bone. She felt his warmth, the softness of the shirt, and the firmness of him under her touch.
"Your willingness is a precious gift to me," he said. His voice had dropped, gotten rougher, in a way she liked, though she didn't know why. "Every man hopes to be a woman's first time, to experience her innocence."
"To take it."
"To open and pleasure it, together." His face was drawing closer to her upturned one, and his arm slid around her waist, gathering her up against him.
He did not let her other hand go as he brought her to him. As his arm came behind her, he took her hand with it, turning her wrist so her elbow bent and her arm folded up behind her back. The position pushed her breasts up and forward, displaying them on the hard platform of his chest as he increased the pressure and pushed her up onto her toes, his fingers laced through hers at the small of her back. The ends of his fingers curled into the fabric of her skirt and dug into the elastic band beneath, so she felt a tug on her panties, against the sensitive cheeks of her bottom.
"I'm afraid," was all she managed. His lips touched hers at the moment she formed the words, so his tongue eased into her parted lips, and his mouth closed over hers, sealing in the heat.
She had been kissed once, years ago, by a boy who had been dared to kiss her. That swipe of clammy lips was so far from the very first second of Conlon's kiss that she forever discarded it as the memory of a kiss.
Surely the bones had melted in her body, because all of a sudden she couldn't stand on her own. She lifted her hand from his hip and gripped his shirt at his ribs for balance. He caught the back of her head in his large palm, his fingers in her hair, and deepened the thrust of his tongue. He ran it along the edges of her teeth, the inside of her cheek, learning her, and he stroked the quivering surface of her tongue with his when he was done with that.
His body was all new to her, muscle, heat, male. No doubt of the last, as the strength of his hold against the small of her back pressed her against a hard ridge growing larger under straining denim. It rubbed against her belly and her hips rocked in an instinctive reaction to it. The place between her legs contracted with a startling sensation, as if a key had been turned, tumbling open a lock.
It was as if she was a person who had been wandering in a desert for a very long time, who only became aware of how thirsty, how dehydrated she was, when someone offered her a glass of ice water. It was an abrupt, all consuming thirst, but she was staring at that glass, and lacked the knowledge of how to slake her thirst, how to reach out and take that glass, bring it to her lips.
She depended on herself, so it was disturbing to suddenly have this dependence on him, but she was helpless to do anything but let him lead. She knew academically the urges of the human body, but she had divorced herself from her own. With one kiss, he was reconciling the two.
His middle finger straightened, and pressed against the thin gauze fabric of her skirt, even as his other fingers remained intertwined with hers. He insinuated the fabric of the skirt, along with his finger, under the waistband of her panties and rubbed a small vertical stroke in the dip at the top of her buttocks. Marisa gasped into his mouth. She wiggled against the touch, against his strength, increasing the friction. He increased his grip and her feet left the floor. He settled the apex of her thighs directly over that hard ridge in his jeans. She moaned at the pressure and panic filtered in, as she floundered in the wash of unfamiliar sensations.
"Stop," she managed against his mouth. "Please, let go…let me down." She turned her head so her cheek was pressed hard against his jaw, hiding her face. His fingers stilled and she heard the rasp of his breath against her. Slowly the grasp of his fingers in her scalp eased off and became a caressing stroke. His chest expanded beneath her breasts, a slow, deep breath, and he let her down, one inch at a time. She had to bite her lip as that hard part of him dragged along her sensitive tissues.
He did not let her feet touch the ground, though. As she slid down those many excruciating and hard inches, his thigh came forward, parting her legs. She came to a halt seated on that column of muscle that shifted against her throbbing center.
"Holy Mother, you could make a man lose his mind with one kiss, Marisa. No wonder they call you a witch."
"I suspect that's not the reason," she whispered. His eyes were now pure gold, because heat had melted the green, like the summer sun burnishing everything in a meadow. His lips were moist from her mouth.
He held her fast as she made to slide free. "No, Marisa. If we're going to do this, I want you to be thinking about having me there, and keeping your mind on it. Do you know what this is?" he lifted his ankle, so he increased the pressure of his thigh between her legs.
"Of course," she tried to be casual, but knew her flushed wild expression and trembling body betrayed her. "I'm a virgin, Conlon, not ignorant."
"Tell me, then."
"It is…" she blew out a breath, managed a glare that seemed to amuse him, "it's my vagina."
He smiled, passed a thumb over her lip, his other finger playing along the side of her face. "You said that so primly, like my sex ed teacher, Mrs. Patterson."
"You never needed a sexual education teacher," she retorted. "Etiquette class wouldn't have been amiss, however."
"You talk like you've spent more time reading than talking," he observed. "All formal. 'Amiss'. I haven't heard that word used in years.” He increased his hold on the hand he still held at the small of her back and began to rock his foot, heel to toe, counterbalancing it with the strength of his arm so he was rocking her back and forth on his long leg.
"How about this, Teacher?" His teeth nipped at her ear. "Pussy. Cunt. I like both of those. Cunt reminds me of a cave, deep in the earth, with a hot spring. The steam condensing and glistening on the slick inner walls, creating a smell of heat and earth, the way your cunt would smell if I buried my nose in it. Or pussy, like a pussy willow, soft under my fingertips, but round and firm too, the size of a finger pad, like your clit is."
"You sound as if you read quite a bit yourself." Erotic Poetry. Lush romantic classics she had avoided to keep from weeping. "I said I needed to go slow," she said desperately, clutching at his shoulder for balance as he worked his leg against her pussy.
"I plan to, Marisa. I won't try to claim your maidenhead until nightfall, and it's barely lunchtime now. I want you wet and aroused, so you won't be afraid."
"It's…you're making it hard for me to think," she said.
He smiled, though there was a tension around his mouth, and his eyes were a fire of desire that was almost as effective on her senses as his leg's movement. He began to bounce his leg gently. Since he kept her seated hard against him with that one relentless hand, each impact sent a ripple to her womb. Her breasts moved freely beneath the loose smock and his eyes followed their quivering movement.
"I…I need to know more about you," she managed, trying to fight off the spiral of sensations that screamed from that jarring focal point between her legs.
He let her go abruptly, and caught both hands in her hair. She fell against him, but froze at the ferocious need in his face. "No man has ever had you, truly?"
"You know I speak the truth," she said, her body trembling against his.
"Yes," he said. "But I can also see your body's response without the Sight, and you respond like a woman born for sensual pleasure."
She pushed away, shaking her head, and he took her hand, holding it in a secure grip. She moved as far back as that link would allow and tried to keep her attention on his face, rather than the heat and need vibrating off that powerful body.
"Please, Conlon, I can’t. This feels too fast. My body understands your desires and appears all too willing to capitulate, but I have to face myself in the mirror when you are gone. Whether it be the Lord and Lady's Will or no, I need to get my balance."
"All right." In a gesture that surprised her, he leaned forward, kissed her lightly on the lips. "So how do you want to do this?"