Someone had asked a while ago if I would post another excerpt of LORD’S FALL, but I’m afraid I’ve only just gotten around to doing it. Here it is.
Don’t forget, there are two giveaways of LORD’S FALL at the moment.
One is on Goodreads at: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/34357-lord-s-fall
*Ends October 23rd*
The other is an international giveaway here on my blog: http://theaharrison.com/blog-post-international-giveaway-of-three-arcs-of-lords-fall/
*My international giveaway ends next week, on Wednesday October 17th*
Good luck, and I hope you enjoy!
Supper was a southern-style red beans and rice dish, with slices of spicy tofu sausage, a spinach and tangerine salad and a peach cobbler. Pia’s nausea vaporized. She fell on the feast and didn’t stop until it was all gone.
A full stomach and a hot shower later, she opened up one of her suitcases. She had stolen one of Dragos’s T-shirts out of the hamper and wrapped it in a plastic bag. Shaking out the voluminous black material, she slipped it on. It gaped at the neck and fell nearly to her knees, but she didn’t care what she looked like. The T-shirt carried his masculine scent, and almost immediately after she put it on, the knot of anxious tension eased at the base of her skull.
It would be all right. He had promised.
She closed most of the windows but left one cracked open, slid in between clean sheets and . . .
She lay there in the strange bed, listening to the quiet, distant sounds of strange people moving about in the strange house. A crazed, frustrated despair lurked around the edges of her mind, looking for an opening to sink its hooks into her and really wake her up.
That was the absolute worst thing, when she needed to go to sleep, she really needed it so badly that it interfered with her actually going to sleep. Then thoughts rabbited around in her mind like rabid bunnies on crack, and oh my gods, this trip was going to be one long-drawn-out hell if she didn’t sleep, except she had to sleep some time, didn’t she?
Even if it took days. . . .
A warm breeze caressed her skin as she relaxed on her lounge chair on the terrace. She wore one of Dragos’s T-shirts and was wrapped in her favorite silk throw as she looked out at the magnificent spray of lights that was the New York City skyline at night. The French doors to their room were propped open and gauze curtains rippled. Despite all the issues and her continued discomfort at living in Cuelebre Tower, the good things were crazy, out-of-this-world fantastic.
Wait, was she supposed to be in New York? She strained to remember the last events of her day. Man, it had been a long one. A car ride.
“You’re thinking too hard,” Dragos said from within their room.
It never changed and never lessened, that fierce leap of joy she felt whenever she heard his voice in greeting or whenever she saw him again. She sprang to her feet and ran into their room.
Their bedside lamps were turned on low, and a fire had been lit in the freestanding fireplace, making soft light and shadows dance along the walls. Pia had made a few changes to warm up the austere room. The white carpet was gone, replaced with honey-colored oak floors and woven rugs, and she had added deep gold and jewel-toned pillows to their bed and to the couches. She could tell whenever Dragos’s gaze lingered on the rich textiles that he enjoyed the changes.
Magic and Power filled the room, rich like champagne and so imbued with his presence she basked in the feeling.
Dragos stretched out on the top of their bed, hands laced behind his head. He was dressed in one of his casual outfits, simple jeans, boots and a T-shirt. One long leg draped over the side of the bed, his foot planted on the floor as if he had just lain down. His bronze skin looked dark against the white bedspread, and his gold eyes glowed, brilliant and witchy.
She smiled at him, and he smiled back, his hard-edged face softening. He said, “It took you long enough.”
“I’m in Charleston,” she said. “I couldn’t get to sleep.”
“You managed it in the end.” He held a massive, long-fingered hand out to her.
She went to the bed, and he pulled her down to him. As he wrapped his arms around her, she settled into place. Her body knew him so intimately. It recognized the longer, much stronger shape of his body, every muscle and bone, bulge and hollow. Her cheek knew to rest just there, in the dip on his shoulder, and her arm understood the most comfortable way to lie crooked across his wide chest. She nestled the curve of her pelvis against the jut of his hip with his heavy, muscled thigh slightly between her legs, and they both sighed and relaxed.
It was one of her best-loved places, a necessary place, like when she curled on her side and he spooned her from behind, wrapping her tightly in his arms. He kissed her forehead, and she was home.
“I missed you,” she said.
He whispered against her forehead, “I missed you.”
Unlike the beguilement he had sent after her when she had run from him last May, this was a simple dream sending. Then, he had set a trap for a thief only to trap himself as well, and the desire they had discovered together had ratcheted into a desperately miserable fever pitch. This time the magic was gentler, as Dragos had explained it would be, and their dream would be whatever they chose to make of it.
“What I want to know,” Pia said, “is why you didn’t put us in some silk-draped tent in a desert, so we could act out a sheikh fantasy.”
His wide chest moved in a low chuckle. He told her, “I’ll keep that under advisement. You maintained control of your dampening spell this time.”
She stirred, murmuring, “I’ll take—”
He clenched her tight and said sharply, “No, don’t!”
She froze, looking at him with eyebrows raised.
“Two reasons,” he said to her unspoken question. “The shift of your magic might break the dream. And even if it didn’t, if you take the dampening spell off here, you might actually remove it from your physical body too. You never know if one of the guards might have to wake you up for any reason. Remember—you told me when you woke up in the motel room the first time, the spell had slipped and you had to recast it.”
She scowled, intensely disliking the idea of anyone walking into her bedroom when she was asleep, or possibly breaking the dream without warning. “Okay. Makes sense.”
Now that he mentioned it, the whole thing did feel a little dreamy. His arms were around her, and yes, they felt strong and sure, but somehow they did not seem quite as solid as they should. Deep down her bones knew the difference because she had experienced the real thing. She buried her face in him and held on tightly.
He tapped her forehead with a finger. “You’re thinking too hard again.”
“What, are you afraid I might wake myself up?” she said, muffled against his T-shirt.
“You might. Mostly I don’t want you to get so tangled up in details that you mull and stew the night away. The time we have is limited. We need to make the most of it.”
“Whose genius idea was this again?” Her mutter was truculent. “Oh yeah, it was mine.”
He laughed quietly, took hold of her hand and played with her fingers. “Tell me, how was your day?”
Freaking miserable. “We drove a lot. Then we got here.”
She debated whether she would tell him about her sort-of confrontation with Eva then decided against it for now. She had no idea if he would be calmly pragmatic, or if he would go all evil alpha and threaten to ruin Eva’s army career, or something else equally over the top and disastrous.
And there would be no point to any of that, especially when she suspected the issue had been resolved enough as it was. Eva was no Aryal—thank God. Pia and Aryal might have reached a balance so that they could spar together, but Pia knew Aryal had never forgiven her for the mistakes she had made last spring, and it was likely Aryal never would.
Argh, harpies. Look them up under the definition of trouble.
She glanced at Dragos. He had tilted his head and was watching her closely. “What are you glossing over?”
She sighed. “Anything else I might have to say would be a complaint.”
“Tell me,” he said.
She could tell by his expression that he meant it. “I got carsick and couldn’t eat all day. It was awful. The house is magnificent, but you’re not here. That’s awful too. I’m trying to spare you a long, boring litany of whine.”
He frowned. “Were you able to eat supper?”
“Yes, I stuffed myself.” She paused. “Actually there’s nothing to whine about that supper. It was just damn good.” She peeked at him. “Except you weren’t here to eat with me.”
“And there it is,” he said. “I knew you could get there if you really wanted to.”
She pulled her hand from his and touched his lips. He had such a severe mouth. Like the rest of his hard, rough-edged features, it was stamped with temper and the force of his personality.
Only she knew how tender and gentle that hard-looking mouth could be. It wasn’t fair, to love someone this much and to have it returned in such a fierce, undying tidal wave of passion and devotion. It was completely unfair, that fortune should lavish upon her such an extravagant, rare gift.