Thursday, April 03, 2014

An Excerpt from "The Once and Future Lover" in WICKED GAMES.

A pair of chairs had been set up for the royal couple under a bright red canvas awning draped over a wooden frame. Merlin and Nimue stood waiting beneath it, looking deceptively young, like children playing dress-up in tunics of embroidered silk. The pair bowed deeply to the king and queen.
Chattering courtiers fell silent and rose in acknowledgment as Gwen and Arthur entered the courtyard. Catching Merlin’s gaze, the king dipped his chin in a nod of acknowledgement.
To Gwen’s grim pleasure, most of the onlookers appeared worried as they watched him stride onto the field. Mordred’s followers wore expressions of anticipation, as did four lords Arthur had defeated in the battles that followed Uther’s assassination. Gwen made mental note of them, in case she needed revenge later.
She was not in the mood to turn the other cheek.
The kingdom’s elite Knights of the Round Table had gathered in a tense knot off to one side of the awning: Galahad, Bors, Gawain, Tristan, Percival, Marrok, Kay, Cador, Bedivere, and Baldulf. Like Arthur and Lancelot, they were dressed for war in helm and hauberk, shields on their arms and swords hanging at their belts. Mordred stood stonily at the head of his own eleven, though his followers included at least another twenty, most of them the sons of the wealthy. His resemblance to his sire was uncanny, save for his greater height—and the green eyes, as pale and feral as a cat’s.
“Is it my imagination, or does Mordred and his pack of dogs look entirely too confident?” Gwen murmured to Arthur.
“You’re not imagining anything,” he growled. “They expect me to lose. I won’t. Too much rides on this.” His gaze lingered on her face in a way that told her he was talking about her more than his throne.
Gwen stared up at him, struck by the savage determination in his eyes. Shed always known Arthur loved her, of course, but on some level she’d thought he loved his country and his knights at least as much. It was startling to realize he held her dearer than any of it.
His knights started toward them. Arthur and Lancelot advanced to meet them, with Gwen trailing. She broke step as her attention fell on one particular face among those seated around the courtyard.
Gwen and Morgana Le Fay had become unlikely friends soon after Arthur’s former lover appeared at court with her young son. At the time, Gwen hadn’t expected to like the woman, had only meant to pretend friendship as a way to quiet any rumors that Morgana and Arthur were still lovers.
And the ruse had worked. Gwen did not have a reputation as a pliant wife; the court reasoned that if she’d become friends with Morgana, there must be nothing to all those lewd whispers.
Yet if the friendship had started out as pretense, that soon changed when Gwen realized Morgana was as witty and bright as she was beautiful.
Best of all, she was loyal. Morgana had never tried to use their friendship to wheedle riches or favors as too many others did, and she never repeated anything the queen said to her. She quickly became the dearest friend Guinevere had ever had, the one person, other than Arthur himself, whom Gwen trusted without question.
Which was why Gwen worried for her friend now. Morgana’s lovely face wasn’t just pale, it was almost ghostly, and her green eyes looked huge with anxiety.
Gwen couldn’t blame her. No matter what her own feelings were, Morgana would soon have to watch her son either die or kill his father. Another woman might imagine all the riches that would come her way as the mother of the new High King. The healer wasn’t that woman. She was far too intelligent not to see the implications.
Her anguished gaze met Gwen’s. The queen glanced at Arthur, now deep in conversation with his knights, then gestured Morgana over. Her friend shot off the bench and started toward her.
Gwen was so intent on the healer, she ignored the soft ring of approaching chain mail. She realized her mistake when Morgana’s eyes widened in horror.
A male hand clamped over Gwen’s right upper arm hard enough to bruise. Hot breath gusted against her ear as Mordred whispered, “After I’ve killed him, my sweet stepmother, I’ll fuck you. In your cunt and your mouth. In your ar . . .”
She wheeled and slapped him with every ounce of her body weight behind her hand. As he released her in shock, she jerked the dagger from her jeweled belt sheath and plunged it toward the only unarmored part of him she could reach: the underside of his jaw.
Her knife wrist slapped into Mordred’s palm. For all that he looked like a bullock, he was fast.
“You ungrateful cur!” Gwen raged. “I will die before I ever let you touch me!” She lunged at him, her sandaled feet thumping harmlessly on his booted shins, her free hand curling into claws as she went for his eyes. He grabbed her wrist and jerked her off her feet. He didn’t even have to work at it. She was distantly aware of outraged male voices, drowned out by Arthur’s furious bellow.
Gwen barely heard them. She was utterly focused on Mordred’s face, so disturbingly like Arthur’s—except for those cruel eyes. “If you kill my husband, by the womb of the Virgin, I’ll see you dead. Get out of the habit of sleeping, boy. My assassins will come at you from behind every tapestry and column, every rock and hedgerow. You’ll know every smiling friend could belong to me, just waiting to dig that viper’s heart out of your . . .”
“Shut up, Gwen!” Morgana screamed.
Blinking, the queen realized her friend had both arms wrapped around Mordred’s forearm as she desperately tried to keep him from hitting Gwen.
Then Lancelot was there, his fist slamming into Mordred’s jaw so hard, the prince dropped Guinevere and staggered back. She hit the packed dirt of the training field, her head striking hard enough to send stars shooting behind her eyes.
A pair of booted feet came down on either side of her hips. She looked up woozily to see Arthur standing astride her, his sword raised to protect her. “By the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I am still High King of Britain! Any man who lays hand on my queen dies now!”
“She’s gone barking mad!” Mordred spat. “I but spoke to her, and she tried to bury her dagger in my throat!”
“You threatened to rape me!” Gwen had just enough self-control not to screech the words loud enough for the entire court to hear. Above her, Arthur froze.
“Mordred!” Morgana cried in stricken betrayal. “Guinevere took us in, treated you like her own . . .”
“Because she knew she’d never give Arthur an heir,” Mordred sneered. “That blond bitch is as barren as a salted field. Which is to the good, or she’d have surely presented our king with his champion’s brat.”
“You lying lickspittle cur!” Arthur launched himself at his son, sword aimed at the prince’s throat. Mordred parried and retreated, his gaze icy with calculation.
Arthur’s knights lunged at Mordred’s followers with a chorused roar of outrage. The prince’s men bellowed and drew their weapons. The air filled with clangs and curses as the two groups began to fight.
“Get up, Gwen, before you get trampled!” Morgana swooped down and helped her to her feet.
“Get the queen off the field!” Arthur bellowed at Lancelot, stalking his son with murder in his eyes.
Lance planted his palm against the small of Gwen’s back, urging her toward the dubious shelter of the awning. “Move!” Galahad backed along behind them, keeping an eye out for would-be attackers as he brought up the rear.
“No!” Gwen set her feet, looking back at Arthur. “Protect your king! I’ll go . . .”
Arthur’s sword bounced off something invisible in a cascade of blue sparks.
“Enough!” Merlin’s roar could not possibly have come from the throat of the beardless boy he appeared to be.
Both men flew off their feet as if dragged into the air by an invisible giant. It dropped them again to land, staggering. Everyone else froze in astonishment as Merlin stalked between the two groups of warriors. “You will cease!” the wizard snapped, “Or I will leave this little world of yours to drown in blood, as your vicious nature apparently dictates!”
“He threatened to rape my queen.” Arthur glared at Mordred, who snarled back like a reflection in a demonic mirror. “I’ll see him dead!”
“Kill him, then!” Merlin spat, stepping right against the king’s chest with an expression so savage, the larger man retreated a step in sheer astonishment. “And then watch as humanity sinks into darkness because you lacked the strength of will to control your ugly temper.”
“Who do you think you . . . ?” Arthur began.
Merlin talked right over him. “You are supposed to be High King of Britain, Arthur Pendragon. If you can’t put the good of your people above your pricked ego, you are no good to me.”
“A threat to my wife is not an ego prick.” Arthur glared at Mordred. “Especially not when it’s my own son who threatens her!”
I do not care!” Merlin roared. “This is your test, Pendragon. And you are failing it!
The sound of his voice was like being plunged into a frozen lake. Every hair rose on Gwen’s body in atavistic terror. She wouldn’t have been more astonished if the stripling wizard had turned into a dragon.
She wasn’t alone, either. Every face she saw drained of blood in unison. Men as well as women cried out.
Gwen had never seen her husband retreat from anyone, including other kings, but he actually took a step back from Merlin. Even so, he didn’t let his gaze drop as he curled a lip. “You’ve made your point. I might as well slay my bastard in ten minutes as now.”
Catching Lance’s gaze, he jerked a thumb at the pavilion and the chairs standing there. Lance dipped his head and sheathed his sword. “My queen?” He offered his arm.
Gwen schooled her face, concealing just how shaken she was behind her best regal air, and placed her hand in the crook of his arm. “Morgana, attend me.”
Mordred’s mother blinked once. “Of course, your majesty.” She fell in behind them, all three of them ignoring the astounded stares of their audience in the stands.

WICKED GAMES is out now.  I hope you'll take a look at it; you'll find it here on Amazon, as well as at your local bookstore and B&N. 

Angela Knight

Bondage, Beauty and the Beast, an excerpt from WICKED GAMES

Please note: This post is for adults only. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere. Thanks!
WICKED GAMES is now officially in bookstores, so I decided to tell y'all a little bit about the book and how it got written. 
The original idea was to reprint three really early BDSM stories of mine that appeared in a 2001 e-book called BODICE RIPPERS.
I started reading romance back in the late 1970s and 1980s, when there were certain really popular romance plots that involved the heroine or her family pissing off the hero in some way. He then took erotic revenge on her that in retrospect had strong elements of bondage and submission. 
At some point, he'd rip her bodice open and seduce her, more or less by force. Thus, the nickname Bodice Rippers.(Which romance writers today absolutely hate, by the way.)
None of this was even remotely heroic behavior, and editors and readers soon turned away from what were in essence rape fantasies. 
But by in the early 1990s, I'd discovered bondage and submission really turned me on. 
When I decided to start writing romance, I used the basic ideas behind these stories and took them just as far as I possibly could. I wrote a whole slew of  searingly kinky stories inspired by the novles I'd read back in the 1980s. 
At the time, I had no expectation of ever publishing any of it. The stories were written strictly for me, and I did not hold back at all. Anything I'd ever fantasized about, I wrote.
In 2001, I decided that some of those early stories were good enough to publish, and I submitted them to one of the first e-pubs, Renaissance E-books. I called the book BODICE RIPPERS as an ironic nod to those early Eighties romances. 
Soon afterward, my editor at Renaissance told me a Berkley editor had bought a copy of the book. I thought that was pretty cool, but I knew better than to hope she was really interested. 
Turns out she was.
A few weeks later, Cindy Hwang e-mailed me and asked if I wanted to write for her. She told me she thought if I could take smutty concepts like those in BODICE RIPPERS and actually make them romantic, I had what it takes to be a romance novelist. That was a decade and 18 novels ago.
Not long after I started writing for Cindy, she told me she wanted to publish BODICE RIPPERS. I, frankly, thought she was nuts. Those stories were too freaking kinky for a mainstream romance readership. 
But we decided to put the book out under a pseudonym --Julie Day-- as one of the first books of the HEAT imprint. (We ended up doing it under the Angela Knight name anyway.)
At the time, though, I was busy writing the Mageverse series, so a few years went by. In the meantime, the mainstream romance audience developed a taste for kink, thanks to FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. 
Which was when we decided the time was finally ripe to put out WICKED GAMES and LOVE BITES. (Love Bites will be out in September, by the way.)
Each of the books include a Mageverse BDSM novel and two nasty shorts of mine. Here's an excerpt from one of the ones in WICKED GAMES:

"Bondage, Beauty and the Beast"

The air was cold on my breasts, and my nipples tingled, drawn into tight, hard points. Staring into the darkness of the velvet hood, I tried not to shiver. I could hear the man pacing around me, inches away, moving so quietly, and yet there was an impression of size, of danger about him despite his silence. I was acutely aware of my nakedness.
“What do you think?” asked the precise tenor of my stepson. The whoreson bastard.
“Lovely,” the man said. His voice was odd, a deep, rich rumble that vibrated pleasantly in my ears. He was behind me now. Suddenly hands engulfed my breasts, big hands, hard and callused, lifting the soft globes to pluck delicately at my nipples. I stifled a moan and would have tried to push him away, but my wrists were bound in front of me. “She has very responsive breasts,” he said.
“Brianne’s tits are her best feature,” agreed Cedric. “God knows my lord father thought so. May he rot in hell. He must have been addled, marrying her as he did with one foot in the grave. My God, look at her. She’s younger than I am.”
“Yes,” answered the rumble. The big hands moved, drifting down the bare, sensitive ripples of my ribs, testing the plane of my belly. I fought not to squirm. I would not give either man that satisfaction.
The hand drifted between my thighs, long fingers burrowing skillfully into the curls there, parting the lips that had gone so shamefully damp under the man’s skillful caresses. I stiffened in outrage, but I knew a protest would only earn me a slap from Cedric.
He stroked slowly between the plump lips, taking his time, teasing shameful pleasure from my body. It seemed I felt a brush of fur against my inner thighs as he touched me, and I wondered if he wore gloves.
“Well,” Cedric demanded. “Do you agree? Will you keep her here, in your castle . . . ?”
A very long finger found the opening of my cunt and slowly eased its way inside. “That depends,” the man said. “I still don’t understand why you want to sell her to me.”
“Because otherwise I’ll have to pay Brianne the share of the inheritance the old man left her,” Cedric said with exaggerated patience. “And I don’t care to do that.”
A low, rumbling growl vibrated in my ear. I stirred nervously. It sounded far more like a wolf than a man.
When Cedric spoke again, he, too, sounded nervous. “I was going to kill her, but I remembered you and Edrea and all the games you used to play here before . . .” His voice trailed off.
“Before she cursed me.” The voice was so cold with frigid anger that I flinched. He slipped an arm around me to hold me still. I felt fur and linen brush my naked flesh, and shivered.
“Ah, yes. Don’t you see, milord? It’s poetic justice. She seduced my father with her charms, she would have inherited a third of everything rightfully mine . . . but instead, she becomes your slave. Yours to torment, as you are tormented.”
The finger probing me was joined by a second. The sensation was liquid, hot. Shameful. “Yessssss.”
“She is, after all, nobly born,” Cedric said, cajoling. “You won’t often have a chance at such a beauty, thanks to Edrea . . .”
The growl was so loud I jumped. “True, curse you. But this one . . . this one won’t refuse me. I won’t allow it.” He released my waist and cunt, and suddenly hands were prying my bottom cheeks apart. A finger stabbed up, forcing its way into my anus. I arched my back and gasped in pain.
“I’ll take her whenever I want, however I want,” the voice growled.
“So,” said Cedric, voice vibrating with triumph. “It’s agreed?”
“Not so fast. First I want to see her face.”
Before I could even pull at the ropes binding my wrists, he whirled me to face him and snatched the hood off my head. Blinking in the light of the torches, I looked into the face of the one who would be my master. And felt my heart skip in shock.
The top of my head barely came to his breastbone, and his shoulders were wide as a sword over a chest roped in muscle. He wore a rich wine doublet, a fine linen shirt, and black britches that hugged his long, brawny legs. His boots were made of soft dark leather that clung to his strong calves.
In all, he had the sort of strong male form to make a maiden’s heart beat faster—had it not been covered entirely in silky black fur.
His pelt—there was no other word for it—was as shiny and black as a panther’s everywhere except on his head, where it lengthened into a magnificent mane that extended down his back. Great horns thrust through that silken hair, curving like a ram’s on either side of his arrogant head.
Yet despite those animal features, his face was human. Indeed, there was raw masculine beauty in his high, broad cheekbones and square chin that not even fur could disguise. His lips were full and sensuous, though as dark as his pelt, and his teeth gleamed white as he smiled down at me, hungry and possessive.
“I’ll take her,” he told Cedric, his voice rumbling with lust. I fainted dead away.

And it gets kinkier from there. I came up with all kinds of magical clamps and BDSM toys for the Beast, and he used every one of them.
Tonight, April 3, at 9 p.m. Eastern, I will be doing another Launch Party for Wicked Games. I had originally planned to do it Tuesday, but I ended up holding it at the wrong Facebook page. (That's what happens when you break your leg and try to do promo while taking pain medication.)
So I'm holding ANOTHER party at the main AK page here  . I will be giving away five signed copies of WICKED GAMES and two $25 Amazon Gift Certificates. I hope you'll join me. Thanks!

Angela Knight

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Smutkeers, Inc!

Today I'm doing a threesome with Eden Bradley and Lauren Jameson!  All three of us have books out today, and so we're teaming up to make as many people as possible aware of them.

And of course, don't forget my WICKED GAMES, out today!

First we have...


She wasn’t as innocent as he remembered. He’s twice as wicked as she ever imagined.

“For those who are born to New Orleans, it’s in your blood. It lingers there no matter where

you go. BDSM is the same sort of thing. If you’re born to it—the way you were, the way I was,

whether or not you want to accept that—you can never shake it. It shapes the way you think, the

way you respond to…everything. And those who were a part of unleashing those desires…you

never forget them, either. That’s what you did for me, Mick. For me, not to me.”

~Alessandra ‘Allie’ LeClair

She can whip up something sweet…

Allie LeClair has finally returned to the sultry city of New Orleans. After ten years of studying

and working as a pastry chef in San Francisco and all over Europe—and feeding her submissive

side at BDSM clubs—Allie is home, and she has something to prove to the man who once fueled

her desires. She’s not a child anymore.

But with two in the kitchen…

When security specialist Mick Reid hears that Allie is back in town, he knows he won’t be able

to stay away for long. Ever since he discovered his darker side, Mick has tried to protect Allie

from the aggressive beast within him—but that power and wildness is exactly what she wants.

Can they take the heat?

Allie has made the first move, but now it’s up to Mick. The game has begun, and playing has











Smuteketeers blog:


Next is Lauren Jameson’s SURRENDER TO TEMPTATION

In this stunning romance, Lauren Jameson presents a story of unexpected desire in which two

strangers play a dangerous game in the quest for incredible pleasure. But winning comes with

 After walking in on her boyfriend with another woman, Devon Reid decides to seek solace in

the small California town she’s often visited on vacation. Instead, she finds herself consumed by

a mysterious man who sets her ablaze with one simple look.

 Devon has always been the good girl, but Zach’s touch turns her into something primal,

especially when he persuades her to give up control to him. But while Zach can make her burn,

he seduces Devon one moment and turns her away the next.

 When Devon starts her new job at Phyrefly Aviation, she learns that Zach is actually founder

and CEO of the massive corporation. And while Devon knows she should keep things between

them strictly professional, his overwhelming magnetism makes it impossible to stay away….






Lauren Jameson website

Lauren Hawkeye website

Monday, March 31, 2014

Facebook launch party, and a taste of THE ONCE AND FUTURE LOVER in WICKED GAMES

“The Once and Future Lover”

For a decade now, I’ve been writing about King Arthur and his immortal vampire Knights of the Round Table. I love Arthur. He’s a great character, and he’s deeply in love with his wife, Guinevere, who loves him right back.
Yet I had never written the story of how he and his knights became vampires to begin with, or how the ladies became witches. When I realized I needed to do a longer story to round out WICKED GAMES, an anthology of my BDSM erotica, I decided what I really wanted was to do Gwen and Arthur’s story.
Yeah, I did say MASTER OF DARKNESS was the last Mageverse story, but I have always loved writing about Arthur and the gang. I couldn’t resist doing it again.
But there was a problem. I had already established, waaaaay back in “Seduction’s Gift,” the very first Mageverse story, that Lancelot and Gwen had once had a one-night-stand that infuriated Arthur so much, it took him 1500 years to forgive Lance.
Having an affair was completely out of character for Lancelot and Gwen. Why had it happened? And why did Arthur, a medieval king at the time, not execute them for treason? 
It took me a long while of thinking and working to figure out the answer to that one, but I did eventually find a way that made sense.
I also discovered a couple of other things I didn’t know. 
First, Arthur is one scary bastard. Yes, he loves Elvis and will recite the Dead Parrot Sketch at the drop of a long sword, but underneath all that, You Do Not Screw with Arthur.
He’s also a dominant. I’m not talking one of those “Tie you Up and Tickle you with a Feather” doms either. He practiced BDSM loooooong before there was a BDSM. And he makes sure Gwen, perv that she is, loves every minute of it. 
I hope you’ll pick up Wicked Games April 1. And I hope you’ll attend my Facebook Launch Party Tuesday evening, when I plan to give away copies of the book, along with a couple of $25 Amazon Gift Cards.  Thanks! You'll find the party at:

And here's the promised excerpt:

Gwen dreamed of death, of blood and terror and grief. She jolted awake. In her panic, she almost shot from the bed, but her husband’s brawny arm was wrapped around her waist. She stilled, his breath warming her nape.
Arthur Pendragon slept as he so often did, curled around her, surrounding her in his swordsman’s hard strength.
He’s not dead. It was only a nightmare. Going limp as a soaked rag in her relief, Gwen turned her head to press her cheek against his broad bare chest. His heart thudded in her ear, steady and strong and comforting. Like Arthur himself.
As her dream panic drained away, she heard the deep voices of the guards out on the balustrade murmur something to each other. They sounded unusually tense.
Reality hit Gwen like an armored fist. Today was the day Arthur would fight to the death.
Against Mordred. His son, heir, and enemy.
Her stomach curled into a sour knot. She had to pace, do something, or she was going to start screaming. What if this morning’s dream had been more than a nightmare? What if it had been a vision?
Slowly, carefully, she eased Arthur’s warm, muscled forearm from around her waist, swung her feet to the stone floor, and rose, trying not to wake him. They’d been up late last night, making love out of desperation as much as desire. Arthur needed to sleep every minute he could.
A cooling breeze poured through the open shutters of the chamber’s sole window, which overlooked the courtyard where he and Mordred would do battle in a few hours’ time. A shaft of blue dawn light spilled in, illuminating her husband as he sprawled in tanned, brawny nudity across their bed.
Arthur was not a tall man, though Gwen suspected he was actually more muscular at thirty-seven than the nineteen-year-old she’d married, back when they’d called him the Princeling King. He still drilled with his knights every morning, going full out with sword and shield. Whenever she pointed out the likelihood of being hurt in such practice, he’d snort. I’ll not grow too soft to sit a horse.
Her beautiful man. Her handsome king.
Responsibility more than age had salted Arthur’s hair with gray. More pewter threaded the beard that framed his lushly sensual mouth, and sprinkled the soft, dark thatch that covered his powerful chest. Still, the hair on his groin was as dark as ever, a sable ruff surrounding the long cock she’d always adored, the heavy balls she loved to cradle in her palm.
If he dies, I might as well crawl into the grave with him.
Gwen had seen too many battles over seventeen years as Arthur’s queen. She knew what happened when an older man fought a big brute nineteen years younger, and it wasn’t pretty.
The wizard Merlin had promised power to the winner of today’s battle. Arthur wanted that power to better protect his people from the invading Saxons, not to mention a Celtic warlord named Varn who had been a thorn in his side for the past two years. Then there was the collection of former rulers whose kingdoms Arthur had conquered more than a decade before, any one of whom would love to topple the High King.
As for Mordred . . . Well, he just wanted an acceptable excuse to kill his father. Anything more was just gravy on the goose as far he was concerned.
Arthur deserved better than a bastard son who hated him. Unfortunately, Gwen had been unable to give her king that successor—and God knew she’d tried.
Three pregnancies. Three miscarriages.
A familiar bitter sting gathered behind her eyelids, and she clenched her jaw, blinking hard, forcing her twisted features to smooth. You will not cry. You will show only smiling confidence. You will not make Arthur doubt himself.
Doubt can kill a man in a fight like this.
Mordred had enough advantages as it was. Gwen wasn’t going to hand him another arrow for his assassin’s quiver.
Wheeling, she paced naked across the chamber. All too soon, they’d have to walk out into the courtyard below to face the prince’s challenge. Gwen only hoped Mordred didn’t win. Not only would his victory be a catastrophe for her and Arthur, it would be a disaster for Britain.
Her mind flashed back to a night months before, when Mordred had tried to convince Arthur to declare war on the Saxons. The king had refused.
“War always sounds like a good idea to those who’ve never fought,” Arthur said. The knights, ladies, and courtiers seated at the Round Table fell silent over their trenchers, watching the interplay between their liege and his son. “Believe me, the enthusiasm dims when you’re knee-deep in mud, blood, and someone else’s intestines.”
“But isn’t conquest the right of the strong, Father,” Mordred argued, “Proof of God’s favor?”
“Unless you lose, in which case it’s proof God doesn’t favor you as much as you thought.” Arthur cut a slice of venison and fed it to Gwen, giving her one of his wickedly sensual smiles. “Then it’s too damned late, and those you love are getting butchered for your arrogance.”
The prince started to retort, but Arthur cut him off. “I’m not declaring war on Hengrid and his Saxons, Mordred. Their raids may eventually push me into it, but I’d rather wait until our people get in the harvest and survive the winter. This is the longest stretch of peace we’ve had in thirty years. Let the peasants savor it a little longer.”
“Peasants.” The prince speared a bite of mutton on the tip of his dagger and ate it with a wolfish snap. His green eyes glinted with growing temper over the curl of his lip. “What do we care for the opinion of peasants?”
Arthur studied him. Everyone else held their collective breath, Gwen included, wondering if they were about to witness another explosive row. Mordred was a bit too much like his father, right down to the infamous Pendragon temper. Unfortunately, he lacked Arthur’s iron self-control. “Peasants, my son, are the ones who do the worst of the dying in war. Marching armies too often murder peasant children, rape peasant wives, and burn peasant crops, leaving the survivors to starve. Never forget, a good king doesn’t declare war unless he has no choice.”
Mordred dipped his head in grudging acquiescence. “Aye, Father.”
Arthur turned away as Lord Kay said something Gwen didn’t catch. She was immobilized by the sight of rage and malice flashing across Mordred’s face, there and gone so quickly she wasn’t even sure she’d seen it. Maybe I didn’t. Maybe it was naught but too much imagination and too many bad memories. Dear God, let that be all.
Mordred’s rage and impulsiveness had grown throughout his childhood, reaching a bitter pitch in his teens that had made all their lives unbearable. Yet in the past year, that storminess had seemed to abate. Gwen, Arthur and Mordred’s mother, Morgana, had begun to hope the worst was over, that he’d finally learned to control his anger.
But staring at his expressionless profile, she wondered uneasily if he’d just gotten better at hiding his darkness . . .
Now Gwen squeezed her eyes closed. With a queen’s ruthless discipline, she concentrated on making her mind as smooth as a frozen lake, feeling no fear. No doubt. No pain. Feeling nothing.
“You know,” a deep voice purred in her ear, “you do have the most beautiful rump I’ve ever seen.” Arthur’s big hands cupped both her bare cheeks. “I made you queen for this arse.”
But there are better things to feel than nothing. She turned her head to smile up into her husband’s wicked grin. If he was working just a little too hard at it, she’d do them both the favor of refusing to notice. He’s not dead yet. And neither am I. “At the time,” she drawled, “you told me it was my eyes that won you. Or perhaps my mouth.”
“And so they were. You’re a woman of many parts.” He slid his arms around her and leaned down to take her lips in a kiss so passionate, it made a fine distraction. She opened her mouth with a sigh and leaned into his warm strength. His tongue slipped inside her lips, explored sensitive flesh, teased with gentle strokes. Heat gathered between them everywhere they touched, dancing along the surface of her skin, coiling in the tips of her breasts and between her thighs.
Arthur’s arms curled around her, tracing the naked rise of her hip before sliding down to cup her between her thighs. One finger stroked her sex with an exquisitely gentle touch that brought heat rushing to her core.
As delicious as that felt, though, she knew they would be interrupted. “My maid and the servants are due . . .”
“We’ll send them away.”
“. . . and you did order Lancelot to attend you for new orders.”
“He can damned well wait with the servants. None of them will begrudge us whatever moments we can steal.”
She considered arguing, but Arthur’s free hand distracted her as it traced a leisurely path up her torso, his swordsman’s callused palm a little rough. The erotic scrape of his skin along hers made Gwen squirm.
The thought of the duel tried to surface again, but she thrust it down hard. Arthur was right. If this is to be the last time, let’s make a memory to keep me warm through all the lonely winters. Everyone else can wait.
Especially Mordred.
Arthur found her nipple, twisted it with the perfect pressure. He knew just how hard she liked his touch, when she liked it, and where.
Throwing her head back on his shoulder, Gwen rolled her rump against his erection. “Mmm,” she purred. “You’re very, very . . . tempting.”
“I could say the same to you.” The hand teasing her sex parted her innermost lips to stroke the delicate flesh. “Sweet as cream, and just as wet.”
Guinevere turned her head and smiled up into his dark, hot gaze. “As I said, tempting.” She let her body relax, let all her fear and tension go. It was a trick she’d learned years ago, before other battles, other wars.
Arthur gave her nipple a harder tug, drawing it out to the edge where pain and pleasure met, simultaneously letting her feel the bite of his nails. The sharp sting made her moan. He chuckled at the sound, switching his attention to the other nipple and tormenting it just as skillfully. The fingers in her sex found her clit, pinched hard, making her writhe.
Gwen groaned in delight. It had taken her years to convince him to be even slightly rough with her. His instinct was to treat her as if she had no more heft than a cobweb, easily shredded by careless hands. She loved her husband’s bone-deep, instinctive chivalry, yet she’d always found his rare moments of passionate violence unbearably arousing, Perhaps it was because they were so out of character for him. Or perhaps they simply served some need of her own she couldn’t explain. He gave her clit another scissoring pinch, then let go to delve deeper into her pussy, two fingers pumping until she shuddered as her knees grew weak. “Oh, you do like that, don’t you, wife?”
When she could do nothing but moan, he tightened his grip on her nipple, ripping a yelp of aroused protest from her lips. “Your king asked you a question, girl.”
“Yes!” she whispered. “Saints, Arthur, oh, God, it feels so . . .” She twisted in his arms, rolling her hips back against his blade-hard cock until it slid deliciously along the valley between her cheeks.
He groaned in arousal and gave her a hard, involuntary thrust before he stilled with an obvious effort. “Watch it, woman. You’ll make me spill.”
“I’ll take that chance,” she panted.
“I won’t.” He pulled his fingers from her delightfully stinging flesh, caught her by the shoulders, and spun her to face him. She went into his arms with an eager moan. His mouth covered hers, hot and wet and fierce. She kissed him back, starving, loving the feel of his hands cupping her arse, the hard length of his erection. His fingers dug in with a bruising grip, skillfully adding tinder to her already blazing arousal.
His tongue slipped into her mouth, and she chased it with her own, suckling and circling it as if it were his cock. He growled against her mouth and lifted her off her feet, cradling her arse in broad, strong hands. With a groan, Gwen wrapped her legs around his waist and hooked one heel over the opposite ankle. She started to lift herself with her horsewoman’s strong thighs, meaning to impale her sex on Arthur’s shaft.
“No, I don’t think so.” Turning to the bed, he spilled her onto her back across the mattress. Before she knew what he intended, he dropped to his knees beside the bed, spread her thighs wide, and buried his face between them. The first long lick tugged at her inner labia, but didn’t touch her clit. Not quite.
“Arthurrrr,” Gwen moaned. “God, Arthur, let me suck you. I need to . . .”
He lifted his head long enough to growl. “I think not. I’ve other plans.”