Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday Words: Journeyman's Ride

One thing before I get to Wednesday Words, tomorrow I'll be over at Coffee Time helping to celebrate their Steampunk month. So come on over and check out the blog for a chance to win a copy of Journeyman's Ride, my steampunk novella. 

With that in mind, I thought I'd offer a peek at the book. Here's an excerpt from Journeyman's Ride.
 “Coin is fine. I take fifty up front, another forty once you’re there safe and sound.”
A rather steep trade. That didn’t fit with what she’d heard about Danner’s generosity. Of course, she hadn’t been warned to beware his natural magnetism either.
She quickly shook the awkward attraction from her mind. “Would you consider an even hundred? An extra ten for finding me a guide to survive the Spyder Haven?”
“Your hair sure is long. And soft.” He fingered a strand of it, his touch so light she wouldn’t have felt it if she hadn’t seen him do it. He let her go and his expression darkened even more.
“The Spyder Haven?” At his silence, she shook her head. “Never mind.” She didn’t want to push her luck. Every step closer to the Crystal Palace and saving Clarissa was one step closer to ending this farce of a life she was forced to lead. “Ninety coins it is, then. Shall we get started?”
Danner glanced down at the hand by her side. He looked back up at her face. His gaze slipped from her eyes to her lips.
Before she could blink, he closed the distance between them and covered her mouth with his. Her eyelids closed automatically, her heart raced in her breast and the feathery tickle in her belly traveled lower, to that place between her legs she could no longer ignore.
She couldn’t form the will to protest his liberties. Callused hands cupper her cheeks and trailed down her neck to her shoulders, holding her close with a gentle firmness she wouldn’t have credited a man of his size. Then his hands traveled lower on her arms and transferred to her sensitive rib cage. Heat sizzled across her skin. She could feel him through her shirt, as if she wore nothing at all.
His lips whispered over hers, exploring and tasting but not pushing for more than she wanted to give. The shock of Danner’s palm across her taut nipples increased the ache deep within her, and she gasped at her overwhelming sense of need. He took the opportunity to slide his tongue inside her mouth.
The wild taste of his kiss turned her body into a crazed mass of feeling. Good gods, she’d never been touched like this.
He groaned and slanted his mouth to better overtake hers. She stroked him back with her tongue when he demanded reciprocation, and he tightened his arms around her. To her acute frustration, her body throbbed, needing something just out of reach.
Danner slid his hands to her hips and tugged her closer into the hard ridge pressing against her traitorous belly. Before she could protest the loss of his hands on her breasts, he yanked his mouth away, his breath as uneven and shaky as hers.
All she could think was that gentlemen didn’t use that kind of language. Her body hummed and her mind buzzed. What to make of that?
“Forget the coin. I’ll take you all the way to the Crystal Palace. But you’re mine for the duration.”
“Yours?” She could still taste him on her lips. The rocking, sizzling sensation of magic in the air remained all around her. In front of her. Hard against her.
“All of you, sweet.” He ground against her pelvis, as if to remind her of his state of arousal.
As if she could forget.
“B-but—” Think, Miranda! You’ve encountered blackguards before. Push him away. Resist his advances. But her body craved more.
“No one else will get you there in one piece, you fool woman. You’ll be raped and robbed and left for dead. I know jaunts over the border are all the rage right now, but this ain’t a game.”
“No, it’s not a jaunt.”
He swore under his breath. “If you’re really set on going, then we trade. Your body for my protection.” He gave a dry laugh, obviously not believing she spoke the truth. “Just think, when you get home you can tell them all about your uncivilized adventures with a real man. A Western savage.”
For all his common talk and anger, his arousal had yet to abate.
She noticed a crafty gleam in his eyes and narrowed her own. Did he really think the threat of carnal liaison would scare her away? Fat lot he knew. Miranda didn’t have a future to ruin if she didn’t find and return her miserable cousin to the throne. Swallowing past the lump in her throat, she steeled her resolve. Miranda shifted her hips, deliberately grazing the bulge in his trousers, and kissed him back.
She knew she’d shocked him when he pushed her back, his eyes wide, his body hard. “Sealed with a kiss, Mr. Danner. When do we leave?”
An excerpt from Journeyman's Ride, by Marie Harte

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