Excerpt Amulet of Darkness
By Marianne Petit
Every aroused muscle screamed in protest as Gareth recalled the way Cyrenne had stood watching him, her eyes filled with curiosity. Despite the brisk chill of the water, a lustful heat stirred his blood, continued to course, despite his best efforts.
She’d demanded he stop; but he’d sensed her desire to see more. He’d heard the anticipation in her slumberous voice.
Gareth strapped the leather sandal around his ankle and shoved to his feet.
He knew women, knew them well, thanks to Anacone. He’d become a man in her arms that winter when he was thirteen. She had taught him the fine art of pleasuring a woman, how to caress the right spots with more than his hands, how to tease and take his time till a woman was right for the taking. Cyrenne had that look, sober or drunk. But, he’d kept his promise to her. After very little sleep, he had jumped into the river.
Gareth slipped his leather jerkin over his wet shoulders and glanced into the thicket where she had disappeared.
He did not intend to humiliate her. His jest was meant to quell her uneasiness. That she’d drawn a bow on him was charming. That she’d bolted away and misunderstood him was unsettling.
Hearing a commotion, he strapped his scabbard around his waist.
Entering the campsite Boreas, his trusted comrade, lumbered toward him. Wrapped in his big beefy arms Cyrenne struggled against him.
So she hadn’t gone far, hadn’t left for good like he’d thought. The idea pleased him.
"Lukie here, Lad, I’ve pooked a bonnie lass from the woods.” Boreas smiled a wide toothless smile.
Gareth stepped toward them then halted. If he remembered correctly, she insisted she could defend herself. “You’d best--“
“Ow!” Boreas received a swift kick to his shin, gave up his captive and rubbed his leg.
Cyrenne swirled around and landed a solid punch to Boreas’ chest. His body stiffened with shock. His ruddy face a shade redder than his hair, he pulled out a sharp edged blade.
“Boreas retreat,” Gareth ordered above the raucous laughter of his fellow companions. “She is with me.”
Boreas grunted, knew better than to challenge his authority in front of the men, and lumbered toward the campfire.
“Every time we meet you are in the arms of another man. I ask you, why?” Gareth grinned. The woman had spunk. He admired that.
She swept hair from her cheek and stomped toward him.
“That you jest on my account, knowing full well I am not myself, confirms my initial assessment of your character.”
“Ah yes, that of a dragonwort. I do recall. And I recall being told you did not summon my help. Forgive me for not coming to your rescue - again.”
Flushed, her braided hair coming undone, he held back the urge to brush a few loose tendrils away from her luscious mouth.
She stopped within a hand’s pace between them.
The passionate blaze in her dark, insolent, eyes…
Deities be damned, he cursed silently, sunlight paled against their brilliance.
“If your men weren’t such boors preying on innocent women—“
“Innocent? You, Sunshine, can handle yourself quite well. No, I fear my poor friend, Boreas, faced greater danger.”
“Do not call me by that ridiculous name.”
“Ah, but it suits you so well, does it not?”
She inhaled deep, tightened her stance, readying herself for battle.
He would enjoy wrapping his arms around that luscious body; enjoy grappling strength against strength, lusty heat against heat. Gareth backed up. “I thought you’d left.”
“If not for that disgusting attempt on my person I would be long gone. What kind of filthy animals do you call comrades?”
Though he understood her need to lash out at him, her words punched his gut.
“Those filthy animals are my friends,” he snapped. “I owe them my life, my respect and undying gratitude.”
“You should have better control over your friends.” Her lips thinned.
For a second, the desire to ravish her cruel mouth, with a punishing kiss flit, across his mind. “They are of their own free will.”
“Well, restrain them, or my blade shall leave them with no other employ apart from that of a eunuch.”
Gareth grinned despite himself.
“I am glad I amuse you. Do you fancy being mauled? She grabbed his loins.
He stiffened. This woman never ceased to amaze him. “Ah, Sunshine, I thought you an innocent, but if you could just squeeze a little hard—-“
She gasped. Her hand dropped as though burnt. “You are...” she stepped back, stumbling over her own feet, “the most intolerable oaf I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet.”
She was rather stunning flushed with anger and would be quite a feisty tumble in bed.
His gaze traveled over the leather ringed maille, under which her full molded breasts rose and fell with angered breath, traveled over her hips and powerful, bare, thighs colored golden by the sun. Ah, that he could slip his hands up beneath her short armor and feel the silken folds of her womanhood... Painfully erect beneath his own armor his gaze snapped around the clearing. How many of his men felt the same lusty heat? He noticed two men observing them. His scowl spurt their quick departure.
“You had best stay away from my men,” Gareth ordered forbidding further argument. “They have been without a woman for a long time.” A trip into town to be serviced by a few hetairais would do them all a bit of good.
“Then shackle them and let me leave in peace.”
“You wish to leave? Done!” Frustration coiled within him. “Go home. This is no place for a woman.” She’d be safer away from his men, away from him.
“And find a rope for yourself as well.” She spun on her heel.
Watching her walk away, Gareth realized no woman would grace his bed this night. Aggravating wench! He’d spend another restless night unable to get the thought of her, of her fingers curling around his shaft, out of his dreams.
Marianne Petit is a past President of the Long Island Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Her love of writing stems back to high school. She spent hours reading Nancy Drew, Alfred Hitchcock and historical romances. At the age of fifteen, she wrote a short story for children, as well as numerous works of poetry. Her love of history stems from her father, Roger, a Frenchman, whose love of American history greatly influenced her writing interests.
Newsday and several local newspapers have written articles on Ms. Petit and she was interviewed on TV for her first book, a time travel entitled: A Find Through Time.
She is a past President of the Melville Lions club, and currently 1st Vice District Governor for the Lions of Suffolk County, Long Island NY, a service organization that raises money for the less fortunate - especially the sight impaired.
She loves to ski, raft, horseback ride, and enjoys the theater.
Marianne lives on Long Island and is happily married for 40years. She has two sons, two wonderful daughters-in-laws and four adorable grandchildren.
You can visit her website at http://mariannepetitbooks.com for extensive research links and excerpts of Ms. Petit’s books.