Monday, December 28, 2009

At Her Service - Cerise Deland's latest cherry

Today erotic romance author Cerise Deland joins us to share her latest cherry, a steamy medieval romance. I love the cover -- hot, bare man and rough, stone castle. What more could a history-loving reader want? This is definitely one to check out.
Need a succulent taste of my newest cherry? AT HER SERVICE is a medieval from !

This new romantica poses the question: What would you do if your life depended on producing an heir to keep your land and your wealth? Would you take to your bed the one man you have always desired—and would you do it at the behest of your dying husband?
A taste of Countess Elise Dumond’s temptation in AT HER SERVICE:

With a sigh, Elise’s husband rolled to his side, cupped her head, turned her face and kissed the tip of her nose. Then with a licentious look no dying man should muster, he ran his hand from her earlobe to her throat, one breast, her waist and down to her hairy little bush. “Let me feel your juices flow, my pet.”

She relaxed her thighs and allowed his fingers to move in and out of her slit. And she could not resist rocking her hips to his rhythm as she detected Simon moved towards her side of the bed.

“Inside her here,” he said to Simon as he thrust two fingers far up into her wet core and made her arch, “is a fiery furnace Elise made most nights I came to her. I was always grateful, even if I had to pump her and myself to get inside her. But I was still thankful to be so complimented by a lovely woman half my age.” He removed his fingers, inserted one in his mouth, licked it delicately and turned his face up to Simon. “She is a succulent beauty.” He smacked his lips. “She always did taste like sugar, de la Poer. I want to see you eat her. She always loved my mouth on her though I must admit that way, I could never make her pulse. I want to see you kiss her cunt until she quakes.”

Elise swallowed at a wave of excitement that Simon might lick her cunny, suck her pulsing nether lips and let her taste herself on his mouth.

“Do you hear me, de la Poer?” her husband insisted.

“Aye, Atherton,” Simon ground out.

“I want her to be so well bedded she never craves another.”

Oh, Christ. Elise’s eyes closed. Another reason to recall Simon until I die.

(copyright 2009, Cerise DeLand)

Come to my blog for more:

Cerise DeLand~tasted all my cherries?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Candelabra by Afton Locke releases today!

Feeling COLD this winter?
Heat up with a fire elemental fairy and some HOT WAX.

Candelabra by Afton Locke - paranormal/light BDSM erotic romance quickie
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing
eBook ISBN #: 978-14199-26525

Buy Link:

Tandy travels to Scotland’s Loch Enya castle to attend a BDSM convention she hopes will overcome her control-freak tendencies. When Bryne pulls her into his room of fire, she fears she’s stepped into the lair of a crazy man. But as he mesmerizes her and sears her with his hot passions, she consents to a BDSM session of hot wax play that turns out to be the most intense journey of her life. Entrusting her body and mind to him might heal her, but the elemental fire fairy has an agenda of his own that threatens to consume them both in flames.

Adult excerpt:
An Excerpt From: CANDELABRA Copyright © AFTON LOCKE, 2009
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

“Are you ready, Tandy?” Bryne asked.

“Yes, Milord” she replied in a small, hesitant voice unlike her own. “I think so.”

“I will test you first to make sure you can handle the wax the entire time I fuck you.”

The first drop of wax, a molten raindrop, landed on her lower back. Her breath hissed as her skin adjusted to the heat. After he smeared the hot puddle with his finger, a long pause followed.
The smell of hot wax filled the room. She felt so helpless with the hood on. She needed to see the tipped candle and falling wax. Every muscle in her body tensed with expectation of the next hot drop since she had no idea where it would hit next.

Another drop fell several inches to the right of the first. Since it was hotter, he must have held the candle closer. Without vision, her skin became her primary sensory organ and it was completely at Bryne’s mercy.

“You handled the test drops very well,” he told her. “Are you ready to proceed?”

Let’s get this show on the road. “Yes, Milord. It feels good and I want more.” Wax me. Wax me and fuck me already.

This time, several drops fell in succession from her back to her ass cheeks, making her gasp. The multiple drops were hotter than just one. While her skin smarted, she breathed through it. It almost hurt but not quite. Heat built in her abdomen, swelling her pussy even more than before. A rivulet of fresh, hot cream inched down her thigh.

“Your skin is so beautiful and pink,” he said, fondling the curve of her ass.

Her hips jerked when a large, hot drop landed just above the crease between her cheeks. She wanted more. She wanted to feel that hot wax drip down the groove all the way to her pussy to mingle with the hot juices there. Tiny spasms of pleasure kept her hips continually dancing as more hot wax dripped on her ass.

“You like that, don’t you?” he asked.

The sound of a condom packet being torn open tightened her pussy. Just when she expected another drop, the wet, heated head of Bryne’s cock nudged against her cunt.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sexual Energy releases 11/20/09

Sexual Energy, my futuristic m/m/f menage releases this Friday at Ellora's Cave!
I'm also having a chat that evening 11/20/09 7 - 9 pm EST on

Welcome to Planet Chromefield!
MALE energy is BLUE
FEMALE energy is PINK
There are only 2 ways to discharge it:
1) Exercise
2) Orgasm
Which would you rather do?

Planet Chromefield has always run on sexual energy, but due to a troubling affliction, all the men have lost their erections and all the women are insanely horny.
When virile astronaut Logan crash lands on the planet, he must agree to perform an impossible test to get home again—a test which puts him in the bed of sexy Alysa, who wants more independence and creative sex, despite the planet’s chauvinistic mores, and her fiancĂ© Dean—whose secret desire could cost him everything.
Dazzled by his lust for them both, Logan only agrees to give them his body, but the resulting three-way bond surpasses each of their sexual fantasies and thaws his solitary heart, which just might contain the key to saving the planet…if only they can convince him to stay.

Adult Excerpt (contains m/m sex):
An Excerpt From: SEXUAL ENERGY
Copyright © AFTON LOCKE, 2009
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

“Well, I want you to do it now,” she said, tempting him by sliding her finger around her slick folds. “We need to recreate everything.”

Her pussy did resemble a delectable candy treat but he just couldn’t do it. He’d gone against Chromefield’s mores enough already by rubbing syrup on a man’s cock. If anyone every saw that, his career would be history. Thank goodness they always turned the surveillance cameras off before having sex.
“I’m sorry, I can’t,” he finally said. “What else did you two do?
“I sucked syrup off Logan’s cock,” she said.
Dean hated how disappointed she sounded from his refusal to lick her. It flattered him she’d wanted him to do it, even though Logan already had. Maybe the other man really couldn’t satisfy her completely. There was hope for their marriage yet.
“Now that I’d like to see,” Dean said. “Suck his cock, sweetheart.”
She bent over to reach it. As the head of Logan’s penis slid into her mouth, Dean felt it all the way down to his balls. He imagined each flick of her tongue on him instead.
“Back your ass over here,” Dean told her, “so I can rub your cunt while you do that.”

He worked his finger into her pussy from behind, watching her beautiful ass squirm in pleasure while Dean fucked her mouth. Logan’s cock made a loud, wet popping sound as she took it out of her mouth.
“I’m going to come soon,” she said, breathless.
“Me too,” Logan said, even more breathless. “Dean, I want you to finish it.”
“I’m not going to suck your cock either,” Dean said, even though he was dying to. Applying syrup with his hand was one thing. Oral sex was quite another.
“Use your hand then,” Logan suggested.
Dean used one hand to rub Alysa’s cunt and the other, with syrup, to stroke Logan’s shaft, which was harder and hotter than it had been before.
Both Alysa and Logan came at the same time. Dean almost felt as if he were coming himself as he watched Logan shoot cum on her beautiful face and open mouth while her pussy clamped around his hand. She extended her tongue, catching almost every drop.
“You look so beautiful that way,” Dean whispered, “with Logan’s semen all over you. Come here.”
Cum and syrup clung to her bottom lip, which was dark and slightly swollen from being pounded by Logan’s vigorous thrusting. He pulled her close for a kiss, tasting sweet syrup and salty ejaculate. Something powerful took over him then as he kissed her lips and her face—a wild, starving man, licking and sucking the enticing flavors. The more cum and syrup he swallowed, the more he wanted.
He surrendered. Yes, he wanted men. Particularly this man and woman. He wanted to be fucked by both of them, over and over again. He could no longer deny it. But wanting and being able to have were two different things. This couldn’t be.
Afton Locke (Thursdays)
Sexual Energy - 11/20/09 at EC - futuristic m/m/f menage
Cicada - available at EC - paranormal/BDSM ghost erotic romance
Candelabra - coming soon at EC - paranormal/BDSM fire elemental quickie

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How Dreams Are Like Books

When I woke up from a very strange dream this morning I realized dreams are a lot like books. There was a protagonist. Me. (But there was no hero, love, or sex, so it must be a women’s fiction book and not a romance.) I was trying to drive as many miles as I could to make headway on a very long trip (goal). But it was getting late and dark. I also had to stop and get dinner but couldn’t find anything to eat (obstacle).

My first stop was a convenience store where the proprietess tried to tempt me with a sandwich made from their “special” bread. To me it just looked moldy, so I passed (refusal to take the easy way out). As I drove around the labyrinth of a parking lot, I ended up on a dirt road while it got darker and I got hopelessly lost (raising the stakes). Like a stubborn heroine, I forged ahead in pursuit of my goal.

Then I ended up in a town and, using intuition, turned left (scene and sequel - I realized being lost really sucked so I decided to buy a good GPS very soon). I parked at some big building and went inside, which was full of people. There was some sit-down buffet in there that wouldn’t be served for hours and looked pretty paltry anyway -- lots of lettuce and gelatin stuff. I finally left but since I made no note of where I parked, I also lost my vehicle (raising the stakes even more).

Like all good writers, I was really torturing my heroine, making her consider if she still wanted to pursue this stupid goal. (But at least I had the decency to give her comfortable shoes.)Unfortunately, I woke up before it was resolved. But like all good books, it left me with questions. Where the heck was I going that was so all-fired important? Why was I alone? Why did I leave so late? Why didn’t I think ahead and research where I was going or at least pack a sandwich using fresh non-moldy bread?

Maybe I have dreams like books because I’m a writer. (Or maybe I just eat too much chocolate before I go to bed.) But I did have a dream once that inspired a whole novel. The muse works in mysterious ways. Until next month…

Afton Locke
Unlock your darkest fantasies and brightest dreams… (check out my Thursday Ask Afton column for relationship advice)
*where I am blogging today about long-distance relationships* (9th of every month) (newsletter)
Cicada - available from Ellora’s Cave - paranormal/BDSM erotic romance

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

so many genres, so little time

First off, I'm having a chat Thursday, March 26th, from 2 - 5 p.m. EST on Love Romances Cafe

Second, I got a great review (5 tombstones) from Bitten by Books

I absolutely loved it and cannot wait to look for more by Ms. Locke. Marian has been hurt by a man that does not deserve to breathe. He has pretty much verbally abused her by saying she did not satisfy him and was not sexy enough. In comes Jon who knows how to make a woman smile and shows her that she is indeed sexy. The pages sizzle during these loves scenes. They are intense but it works well with the story line and does not seem like just sex. All I know is that I wish my house was haunted.

Since this, my first book, is paranormal, I planned to write nothing but paranormal from now on. Plans change. You see, I have a hard time sticking to one of anything in life. One pair of shoes, one favorite color, one man (just kidding)!

As soon as Cicada was published, I got an idea for a futuristic menage, of all things. (Energy is under contract!) While I was researching space for that book, I got another idea for a futuristic and am currently polishing that manuscript up.

But now I have a reviewer who is eagerly awaiting my next paranormal. Guess I'd better get busy writing the one I have planned. After that, I want to try Fantasy, Older Woman/Younger Man, and I have one idea so weird I don't know what genre it is!

I don't think I'll ever be able to stick to one genre. Variety is the spice of my life. But luckily I love those genres so much I plan to write several of each. That should keep everyone happy, including me.

Afton Locke
Unlock your darkest fantasies and brightest dreams… (check out my Thursday Ask Afton column for relationship advice)
Cicada - available from EC - paranormal/BDSM erotic romance

Friday, March 13, 2009

I'm on Romance Examiner

Today I was interviewed by Fran Lee for Utah’s Romance Examiner column! Learn all my dark secrets here, heh! heh!:

Afton Locke
Unlock your darkest fantasies and brightest dreams… (check out my Thursday Ask Afton column for relationship advice)
Cicada - available from EC - paranormal/BDSM erotic romance

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Daylight Savings Time

Is anyone else having problems with Daylight Savings Time this week? I liked it better when they did it in April and October. Green grass, dandelions, and robins go hand in hand with long evenings and spring fever energy.

But it's only March. It's hot one day and cold the next. I get up in the morning and stumble around in the dark feeling like something the cat coughed up because it's so early and the days aren't long enough to give me lots of energy yet.

I feel like a refugee between 2 seasons who have deserted me. It's not winter anymore with long, hot baths and snuggling in bed with a book. But there's no green grass to run barefoot out there yet either.

But then, I'm always at the computer anyway, so it doesn't matter. I'll probably wake up one day and ask, oh, did the seasons change?

Afton Locke

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bond - is something missing?

My husband is a big fan of James Bond movies, so I figured it was about time I watched one. I'm writing a lot of sci/fi stuff so I decided to give Moonraker a try. While I was impressed with the fast pace and acrobatics during a freefall in the sky, I just couldn't get into the movie.

So I asked myself why. I'm not a huge fan of "guy" movies in general, but I've gotten into some of them. I've probably seen most of the Steven Segal movies, for instance.

I figured out what was missing in the Bond movie was emotion. Even in the wildest, most smash-em-up guy movie, there has to be emotion. The viewer has to identify with the protagonist and care about what happens to him.

I didn't care about Bond so even the most elaborate stunts left me yawning. I didn't care about him because he never showed any emotion. Sure, there's a lot at stake, but you'd never know it. He's almost like a robot, going through the motions. Just another day at the office.

I was working on my latest novel involving sex in space and I found myself yawning too (not good!). I was putting my characters through all sorts of microgravity-based sexual gymnastics. Then I realized it. There wasn't enough emotion there. When I started putting the feelings in, all of a sudden I get really interested and involved.

So thanks, James. You taught me a good lesson!

Afton Locke

Sunday, February 22, 2009


The moment has arrived that all writers anticipate with both joy and dread -- the reviews. Knowing someone else has read your baby and analyzed it is a very vulnerable feeling. Good reviews send you into nirvana. Bad ones make you want to crawl under a rock and never come out.

I wrote a book many years ago that was very controversial and intense. Reviewers either loved it or hated it. It was so intense one reviewer refused to finish reading it. Not good. Another tore it to shreds with criticism. That hurt for a really long time. But most had good things to say.

Today I'm pleased to say reviews of my first book, Cicada, are pretty good. Not perfect. Not every sentence was perfect, but that's okay. I learn from the criticism. I'm thrilled that reviewers had so many good things to say and overall enjoyed reading my book. I hope the next book is even better. Someday I want 5 stars.

Just Erotic Romance Reviews - appeared in January's magazine - 4 stars:

Cicada is a very enjoyable ghost story with an imaginative kinky ghost who thinks that the way to a woman's heart lies in creatively entertaining her in the bedroom and has no problem showing her his dominant side. ... I definitely enjoyed all of the sex scenes in this book which included spanking, light bondage, and oral play. Cicada is a well-written story that will appeal to fans of paranormal romances.

Night Owl Romance - 3 stars:

Cicada was an interesting and entertaining read. ... Afton Locke writes rich details and descriptions that add to the story. ... Cicada was a story which will hold your attention.

Afton Locke

Saturday, February 14, 2009

climbing the walls? hang upside down

The days are getting longer but it's still winter. That cozy hibernation feeling of late fall/early winter has given way to restlessness and climbing the walls. (If I had sticky shoes, I'd probably even try it.)

So I grabbed the hubby and headed off to ride a flight simulator. Since I'm writing sci/fi, I need to take to the skies, so to speak, for inspiration. The rides were short and there was a big red panic button on the roof of the compartment thingy we sat in. So while you couldn't get me to ride a terrifying looking amusement park ride that there was no escape from, this looked like a safe enough bet.

The first ride was just okay. Piece of cake. The thing just jiggled and moved around a little. The next was an interactive fighter plane with bombing. We got some training. I flew. My husband did the bombing. Or, rather, he would have if I'd actually been able to get something in target.

The trainer guy showed me how to align the plane to the target. He never told us you had to turn the plane upside down to do it. (Or maybe I was doing something wrong?) That had to be it. How in the world do pilots hit anything, much less see where they're going, upside down?

Common sense says I should've forgotten the bombing stuff and just had fun flying the plane. One 360 would've been more than enough. Instead, we did several. Hanging upside down must have short-circuited my brain because common sense was beyond me. Luckily, I was wearing a sturdy, full-coverage bra. Finally desperate, I hung there frantically reaching for the panic button on the ceiling, which was now the floor.

What an experience! If I'd known how wild it would be, I never would've attempted it, but I'm glad I did because when I got home, I wasn't climbing the walls anymore. (Being right side up was just fine with me.)

Now I want to get a pilot's license. Wanna fly with me? Heh heh.

So what's the wildest thing you've ever done to beat boredom?

Afton Locke

Thursday, February 5, 2009

post-partum book blues

Does anyone ever feel blue after finishing the writing of a book?

I do. At first, there's that feeling of exultation and accomplishment. It's done! That long-awaited moment that I yearn for all through polishing and revisions when I often mutter: I'll be so glad when this *!#@ book is done!.

But when it's over I realize:
-It's time to say goodbye to the vibrant characters who have lived inside my head for a while.
-It's time to do all the odious chores I've been putting off with the excuse of "have to finish the book and drop everythinge else."
-It's time to (gasp) start a completely new book and face that formidable blank page.

I just don't feel right when I'm not writing. There's nothing like the exhilirating thrill of riding the unexpected twists and turns of the first draft.

Since I don't have children, except the 4-legged, furry kind, I guess my books are my children. I create them, nurture them, and make them the best they can be until it's time to send them out into the world. (And hope I'll earn enough off of them to finance my old age. Ha!)

Anyone else feel like this or am I just weird?

Afton Locke

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to survive Mercury retrograde

If you follow astrology -- and even if you don’t -- we’re in a period of Mercury retrograde. This means the planet Mercury appears to be moving “backwards.” It usually happens about three times a year. This one runs 01/11/09 - 01/31/09.

Mercury rules communication and commerce. These retros are often associated with mechanical and electronic failures, travel snafus, and miscommunications (like accidentally sending a confidential email to the wrong person or having the computer eat the email so it never arrives at all.)

Mine got off to a roaring start this time. The washing machine died and my vehicle started making strange noises. (I can only hope the bookmarks I sent to Australia for an upcoming reader/writer conference are actually on their way there instead of someplace else like, say, Timbuktu.)

What to do? Check these DOs and DON’Ts so you can sail right through retro without having a stress meltdown and even take advantage of its benefits.

-Buy any electronic or expensive item unless you’re replacing a broken one. You’ll probably end up returning it because it’s a lemon or some other reason.
-Sign any important contracts. There might be trouble or information that changes everything later.
-Fire off correspondence in the heat of the moment.
-Assume everything will “work out.”

Be aware that the “bookend dates”, beginning and ending of retro, are when Merc is at its craziest, so especially don’t do the DON’Ts on those days. In fact, if you want to be really technical about it, wait until Mercury makes up its degrees (gets back to where it was in the sky when it turned retrograde). If you’re really into this, buy yourself a handy-dandy ephemeris to see what all the planets are doing.

-Check and double check the details, especially if you’re traveling.
-Schedule extra time to deal with unexpected messes.
-Communicate clearly to avoid misinterpretations.
-Computer backups and preventive maintenance for everything else.

-Anything starting with RE:
-REvive an unfinished manuscript

Writers, this means you. It just so happens I’m polishing up a rough draft. Perfect timing! A bonus of retrograde is it’s a great time to catch up with an old friend, REflect on your goals, or just RElax. Do you have big plans? Use retro to plan your strategy and gather information. It’ll pay off later.

I hope by the time this retro is done my manuscript will be too and all the better for the RE- work I put into it.

Afton Locke

Friday, January 9, 2009

LUST -- path to love or one of the 7 deadly sins?

The History Channel has started the new year off with a lot of gloom and doom. Blogs are hopping with discussions of the Armageddon series, which says life as we know it will end in 2012. The other series it ran was 7 Deadly Sins week. At times, I’ve lusted, envied others, been stingy, pigged out, procrastinated, lost my temper, and even been proud. Does this mean I’m doomed? (According to the prophecies, I have less than 4 years to figure it out.) Since I write erotic romance, I need to explore Sin #1 -- Lust.

Physical attraction is a natural human instinct. So are most of the other sins. We all eat and get angry occasionally. These things are hard-wired into us to help us survive. Lust obviously ensures procreation. So maybe it’s just the excess that’s bad. (Such as, anger is okay if it motivates us to right a wrong but not if we kill somebody.) If lust causes a married person to cheat and ruin their children’s lives through divorce, that’s bad. So does obsessing over sex to the exclusion of everything else.

Yet lust makes us feel alive, healthy, and happy. It also helps us connect and form deep relationships. In fact, scientists say it’s hard to draw the line between lust (caused by testosterone in both sexes) and bonding (caused by dopamine) because they usually occur together. This means there’s no such thing as “casual sex.”

Some ancient cultures celebrated lust but the recent past has been full of suppression. I’ve never understood while some people think it’s perfectly okay to watch gruesome, hateful violence (complete with splattered blood) on T.V. -- and even let young kids watch it -- yet cringe in horror at a little exposed skin.

I say as long as it’s in moderation and between two consenting adults (or three), lust is good. In fact, initial attraction is about a lot more than physical lust. A whole person is much more arousing than a picture of an isolated body part. Why? Because a person’s physical appearance already signals a ton of information about their background, personality, and values. We all have a “type” that pushes our hot buttons while others -- even people considered extremely attractive by others -- leave us cold.

For me, cowboys or other rugged men, preferably with facial hair, push my buttons whereas a neatly-groomed CEO doesn’t. This is probably because I like down-to-earth men who work and play hard and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Also, the West symbolizes freedom, open spaces, solitude, and the outdoors -- all stuff I love. You get the idea. (When I went to Wyoming a few years ago, I had a serious attack of lust when I saw all those gorgeous cowboys. If I go again, I’ll need a drool bib for sure.)

Lust is pretty sophisticated after all, don’t you think? So do you think lust is evil?

Afton Locke

Friday, January 2, 2009

latest Druid book from Jean Hart Stewart

I love anything Celtic and magic, so Jean Hart Stewart’s books definitely caught my attention. Her latest book, Druid in Flight, will be released January 22. It's the eighth in the series, Garland of Druids, available at Cerridwen Press. From reading the blurb and excerpt below, you can see it promises to be a very intense and spell-binding read.

Although this is probably the last druid book for the series, she has started a new series about mages. (You'll probably have to look that word up as nobody seems to know what it means. But as a hint, Merlin was a mage.) Book one in the series, Damien's Destiny, is accepted but not edited yet. She just finished book two, as yet unnamed... she’s considering the title Something Delicious. Any comments on that title will be appreciated.

Oh, and did I mention Druid Triumphant is a nominee for best all round book of 2008 from Love Romances Café? All the more reason to put this series in your TBR pile.

Visit her web site,, to see excerpts and reviews of all books in the series. Book one and two of the Druid series, Druid Desires, can be bought at Amazon.

Other Druid books include:

Druid's Daughter
My Darling Druid
Song of a Druid Princess
Kiss of a Druid Bard
Druid Redeemed
Druid Triumphant
Druid Disdained

Druid in Flight - Blurb:

Triona is forced to go into hiding, along with her younger brother. She’s going to need more than her Druid powers to save them both if the villain finds them. Especially when her lecherous brother-in-law wants to find and ravish her, and then kill her. Can Aidan, the man she grows to love, finally admit to himself his love is too strong to ignore? He has his own problems which convince him he’s not worthy to pursue her. Will he come to her rescue and help her overcome the evil stalking her? And then will they find the happiness they both think impossible? Triona knows being a Druid is a big advantage, but will it be enough?


Run. Run now.

The words pounding in her head were unmistakable.

She must run. She had to flee this house of pain and danger, and soon. She laid aside her book and sat as quietly as she could force herself. If Conor weren’t asleep she’d be tempted to leave immediately. Fear of Fergus ate at her mind and her body, and being his sister-in-law offered no protection. None at all. The menace loomed so dark as to be almost tangible to her Druid sensitivities.

She’d heard of the dark scent of fear. She could not only smell it, she could feel the dread trying to invade her and immobilize her.

She’d warned Ellen against marrying Fergus the very day the two met. He’d stopped them with some specious excuse as they walked together in Hyde Park. His aura, a muddy brown streaked with grey, betrayed his viciousness to her. She had no doubt of his evil character although Ellen refused to listen to her sister’s warnings. They married almost immediately, and he’d taken her to Scotland. He discouraged any visits until three weeks ago when Ellen’s illness made him relent and invite Catriona and Conor to help take care of her.

Conor at almost thirteen had held up manfully through the funeral services. He’d cried a little this evening and Triona stayed with him until he fell asleep.

She’d responded to people at the service today automatically.

No, she couldn’t stay long. She’d only come to help Ellen.

Yes, Ellen had been a beautiful girl.

Yes, it was a terrible shame.

Thank you so much for coming.

She picked up the book again, but images of Ellen, emaciated, bruised over her entire body and weakened from her last miscarriage, were hard to suppress. Fergus proved even worse than she’d suspected. The first week of their stay he’d entered her sister’s room every night, dismissing Triona with a flick of the hand. Even in her room Triona couldn’t blot out the sound of her sister’s moans as Fergus exerted his conjugal rights on Ellen’s emaciated body. Thank the goddess he’d left her alone the last two weeks. Evidently even monsters no longer desired dying women.

Merciful Merlin but she could hardly wait to leave. Perhaps she’d go to her room and start packing.

She started to rise. The door flung open, and Fergus stood blocking her exit. He slammed the door shut behind him.

“Going someplace, little sister? Or dare I hope you were waiting for my company?”

She swallowed her revulsion and answered.

“I intend to go to bed, Fergus. Right now.”

“Not alone, I hope, little sister? Not when I’m anxious to join you. Ellen was always a pitiful wife for a virile man like me. I’ve been unsatisfied for some time. I think we both need a loving bedmate. Only to console ourselves, of course.”

This time she couldn’t repress her shudder as she cast him a glance of complete disgust.

“Let me pass,” she said quietly.

He put out his arms to further block the doorway. His lewd sneer gave her little hope he’d move.
“I think not. I’ve wanted you since the day you were bridesmaid to your sister. Your shining hair and those huge pansy eyes. Now I’ll have you, Catriona. I let the housekeeper have the night off, and we’re delightfully alone. You can do nothing but hope you please me. I might even keep you here in Dublin for a while, if you satisfy me enough.”

She tried to think what to do. Her Druid mind could easily shrink the erection already pushing at his trousers, but she didn’t want him to become violent. She must concentrate on Conor.

He might as well be reading her mind.

“Don’t make me force you, Catriona. If you reject me with any success I’ll turn to Conor. You can’t always guard him. Boys don’t usually interest me, but Conor’s a handsome child and I intend to be satisfied tonight, one way or another.”

As she stared at him in horror, the door crashed open again and Conor stood there, his face white and his eyes wild and flashing. She had little doubt her young brother had heard everything. Whether he understood it all she didn’t know, but she thought so. Conor brandished a poker.

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Afton Locke