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Excerpt for OUTLAW (reissue)

Pocket Books
November 2005, ISBN: 1416517235

Genre: Medieval
(Part of the Medieval Trilogy series - Book 3)

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            “Come inside,” the man known as Wolf demanded.

            “Nay.”

            “You would deny me?”  There was a hard edge to his voice.

            “I will not be ordered about like a slave!” Megan said with spirit.

            “Mother of God,” he growled under his breath and one hand reached forward to clasp her upper arm.  “If you haven’t yet noticed, I’m not a patient man.”

            “Nor I a patient woman.”

            “Get back to the chapel and be thankful I don’t put you in chains—“

            She gasped and tried to draw her arm away.  “What kind of beast are you?” she said, fury spurting through her veins.  “You drag me away from the castle against my will—“

            “Liar.”  The word was spoken so softly she barely heard it, and yet it echoed through her heart over and over again, repeating itself and mocking her.  He dragged her closer to him, so close that even in the night she saw the breeze move through his hair and the reflection of the moon in his eyes.  Her traitorous heart beat faster.  “You wanted to be free of the castle,” he guessed, his breath caressing her face as he stopped in front of her.  “There was a part of you that longed to soar from all the thick walls and responsibilities.”

            “Nay.”  But the lie tripped on her tongue.

            “And freedom isn’t all that you want,” he said, fingers nearly punishing in their grip, moonlight splashing over the ruthless planes of his face.  “There is more, much more.”

Cold sweat beaded beneath her hair at the suggestion in his words.  “More?”

            “’Tis the reason you flee now.”  His fingers became more gentle and she saw his throat work.

            “Which is?”

            “Me.  You’re afraid of me and what your heart is telling you.”

            “I know not what you say—“

            “Liar.”  Again that damning word.  “You feel it, too, Megan,” he said.

            “What?”

            He was so close she smelled the lingering scents of smoke, leather, and the earth all mingling together and causing her pulse to race.  “The wanting.”

            “Wanting?” she repeated, feeling faintly silly.

            “The wanting between a man and a woman.”  His breath fanned her face and she felt his heat through his fingers—hot, hungry, pounding.

             Her skin prickled in anticipation, though she could not give in to the wanton thoughts that heated her blood.  True, she’d thought fleetingly of seducing him, of finding a way, any way, to have her marriage annulled, but she couldn’t so callously cast away her virtue to this. . .criminal.  “I want you not,” she lied, trying to deny that which had caused her so much pain.  “I’m married—“

            “Aye, to mine enemy.”  His eyes were a dark blue, the color of the sea at midnight, and his face, handsome though it had once been, showed the ravages of battle: a scar that cleaved one eyebrow; a nick on his ear that was visible when the wind tossed the hair from his face.  The Wolf they called him, and so like that frightening beast he was.

            “I—I cannot.”

            “But you will,” he said, as if the knowledge had been with him since her capture, as if he’d planned to bed her before she could even lie with her husband.  She swallowed hard and his gaze drifted to the circle of bones at the base of her throat.  “You’re a sweet liar, Megan of Dwyrain, but your eyes give you away.  You love not your husband and married him but for duty.”  One callused hand reached forward, twining in the thick strands of her hair to brush her nape.  “You need the wind in your hair, the song of the falcon in your ears, the power of a steed beneath you.”  His hand slid lower to surround her throat in a grip that was as powerful as it was gentle.  “You need a man who can tame your wild spirit, a man whose black heart is a match for your own.”

            “Nay,” she whispered, but her lips trembled and her skin, where he touched her, throbbed.  “Please,” she said, then cleared her throat.  “Unhand me.”

            “Oh, I will, little one, but not before you admit it.  Say the words.”
            “I cannot.”

            “You want me.”

            “Nay,” she cried again as he drew her near.  His lips were close enough to hers that she could fairly taste him.

            His smile was that of a devil.  “Then prove me a liar,” he ordered before drawing her body to his and claiming her mouth with a hard, savage kiss that seared through her blood and pierced her very soul. . . .