Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mary Winter Excerpts

Revealing Photos by Mary Winter
copyright 2006 by Mary Winter, all rights reserved.

The lie rolled off her lips with ease. She hoped. She hated herself for it, didn’t want to lie. But she could hardly whip out the photographs and expect him to explain them to a woman he hadn’t seen in years. Especially when she suspected the very reason his family had moved so abruptly was to keep Clint’s secret safe.

Clint studied her for a moment. “I have no doubt your sister’s ranch would benefit from one of my paintings, Nerissa, but we both know you can’t lie. You forget, I taught you how to play poker.”

Oh, she hadn’t forgotten the hot nights when the cards were tossed aside in exchange for the pleasure of exploring their budding sexuality and each other.

“Besides, you could have called and asked for a painting. I get several similar calls a week, though usually they ask for a print or something smaller than an original. And you’re a well-known photographer. I’m sure your pictures would fetch just as much money, if not more, for your sister’s ranch. So tell me, why are you really here?” Clint reached over, placed his hand on her knee and smiled. “A man can hope it’s for a reunion.”

She latched on to the excuse like a life preserver. “Yeah. I just returned from South America and caught a glimpse of your painting at the Albuquerque airport. When I realized you were so close, well…I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by.” She glanced blatantly down to the fly of his jeans before turning her attention back to his face. “So, are you happy to see me?” If what she’d seen below the waist was any indication, he was very happy to see her.

“Yeah,” he said. “I am.” Leaning forward, Clint brushed his lips across hers. The gentle contact immediately rekindled the torch she’d once carried for him, if it ever went out. She swayed against him, her hand splayed against his bare chest. Her lips parted and she kissed him back, her eyelids fluttering closed.

His hand slid to the back of her neck, holding her there while he slid his tongue into her mouth. Stroke and retreat. Stroke and retreat. He sucked on her lower lip, drawing it into his mouth.

Nerissa moaned. Her fingers moved against his chest, kneading, feeling the taut muscles beneath his skin.

Clint pressed her back against the arm of the couch, his strong body stretched out above hers. His denim-covered erection pressed exactly where she needed it, against her hot pussy. Nerissa lifted her hips and rubbed against him, causing a moan to rumble from deep within his chest. A moment to breathe, and then he claimed her lips once more.

Clint plundered her mouth. His tongue swept inside, teasing hers, stroking, mimicking a deeper, more fulfilling penetration. Her pussy clenched, the thick ridge pressing against it not nearly enough. Caressing his back, she tangled the fingers of one hand into his hair, her other hand following his spine to his tight ass. She grabbed it, her fingers kneading and releasing like a cat’s paws.

Rearing up enough to slide his hands between them, he deftly pulled her shirt from her jeans and shoved it up. The front clasp of her bra gave way, and immediately he cupped her breasts in his large, calloused hands. Fingers flicked over her nipples, bringing them to painful peaks. His lips pulled away from hers to press open-mouthed kisses against her jaw, her neck.

“God, Nerissa. Do you know how long I’ve wanted this?” Clint’s husky admission sent shivers down her spine.

Priestess of Desire by Mary Winter (Dreams of the Oasis III anthology)
copyright 2006 All rights reserved

Tucking the basket under her arm, Daphine hurried through the crowded market. The potter promised the temple some new oil urns, and the High Priestess asked Daphine to check with him as she ran her errands. The aromas of fresh baked goods, roasting meat and animals filled the air. She passed a perfume seller, the cloying aromas nearly making her gag. Half a dozen lower noble ladies gathered around the booth, all chattering or bartering over some trinket or another.
A flash of jealousy darted through her. These were the kind of ladies Sethe would wed. Not the lowly daughter of a blacksmith turned priestess. She shook her head. Thoughts of marriage were futile. After all, she devoted her body and her life to the Goddess.
As if thoughts of Sethe conjured him up, he stood two booths down from her. He held a leather scabbard in his hands and turned it over, looking at the craftsmanship. Daphine slipped into an empty spot next to the candlemaker’s tent.
"Priestess. So good to see you." The old woman reached beneath the cloth covering the table and pulled out four sweet beeswax candles. "For the temple. Please, take them with my blessing."
Trying to keep an eye on Sethe, she slipped the candles into her basket. "Thank you," she said with a bow of her head. "The High Priestess will be pleased with your generosity."
Sethe handed the scabbard back to the seller, then turned to leave.
"If you’ll excuse me," Daphine said, ducking away as a woman stepped into her place at the candlemaker’s booth.
Daphine started down the street, her gaze fixed on Sethe’s broad back. Today he wore a forest green tunic belted at the waist, and fine, black trews tucked into knee-length boots. He paused at the silversmith’s booth and started to look. Daphine followed, thinking she could use the pretense of getting a new ritual chalice to cover her unnatural interest in the young prince.
She paused one seller down, looking at the leather goods with a disinterested eye. The seller watched her from back in his booth, certain a priestess had no use for scabbards and belts. A small pouch designed with a horse caught her eye, and she picked it up. Her father would love it for his belt, and she could send it home as a reminder of her existence. "How much is this?" she asked.
"Five crowns."
Daphine’s face fell. She set the piece back with a small shake of her head. Her monthly allowance granted her less than a crown, certainly far less than the leatherworker would haggle. "Thank you," she said and turned toward the silversmith.
Sethe appeared in deep discussion with the man over a pair of tankards set before him.
Daphine started toward the seller.
A cart barreled down the road. The crowd parted. Someone jostled Daphine, sending her stumbling forward. She tried to catch herself. Her slipper caught. Stumbling, she tried to right herself. Around her, the crowd milled and shoved one another as the cart loomed near. The clatter of wheels against cobblestones and the pounding of hooves filled the air. Someone shoved her. Her basket tipped, the candles spilling over the ground and breaking.
Sethe’s green coat wavered in her vision. He turned, and she feared stumbling into him. Oh no, don’t let me see him. Not after the ritual. Then one arm snaked around her and she found herself pulled against a hard, muscular chest.
"Easy, I’ve got you." The deep voice filled her head and turned her knees to jelly.
Daphine grabbed the arm of his coat, looking around to try and step away. Only the arm holding her tightened. She blinked, suddenly realizing Sethe held her. Oh Goddess!
The cart rushed past, so close wind of its passage ruffled her hair.
Daphine started to back way.
The arm around her waist tightened, and her breasts flattened against his chest. Even through her cloak and gown her nipples hardened with the contact. She swore she felt the ridge of his cock pressing against her stomach. "Sir," she said. "My Lord. Please unhand me."
Her eyes widened when she realized the shopkeeper leered at her, as did several of the villagers nearby.
Sethe’s hand moved from her back to her buttocks, squeezing gently. "If you wish." The playful grin on his face said he knew she wished no such thing.
Heat rushed to her cheeks. She wanted to reprimand him, not only as a priestess, but as a woman for his brazen behavior. Instead she pushed against his chest with her free hand. Hard muscles met her hand, and she longed to curl her fingers into his shirt. Instead, she shoved against him. "My Lord. Let go of me this instant! I am a Priestess of Zudiat."
In the crowd, people gasped.
"My Lord Prince, you best be letting her go," the shopkeeper said.
Slowly, Sethe released the arm around her waist. "I wish I could do more than hold you, Priestess," he whispered in her ear.
The words shook her. If the crowd hadn’t pressed around them, she feared she might have fallen. As it was, she turned and looked at the silversmith’s wares, hoping to find distraction from the handsome man. Her gaze fell on an elaborately decorated knife. The tiger-shaped hilt boasted real tiger’s-eye stones for eyes. Each intricately carved paw rested on a pearl. The weapon came with its own matching silver scabbard.
"Thinking of killing me?" Sethe asked in her ear.
"I wouldn’t dream of it, My Lord," she replied with a saccharine smile on her face. Daphine leaned in closer, and whispered into his ear, "But if you make another public display like the last one, I could use it to turn you into a temple eunuch."
Sethe blanched.
She turned her attention to the silversmith. "Your work is beautiful. I shall recommend it to my High Priestess." Without waiting for a reply from the prince, she turned and strolled back through the market, happy to have gotten the best of the infuriating prince.

Dangerous Spirits Book 2: Ghost Redeemed by Mary Winter
copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved

Shay fought to sort out her jumble of emotions. The man standing behind her had hurt Marcy, hurt her best friend deeply. Marcy’s suspicions most likely were why she was killed. If Marcy hadn’t known Kyle, she wouldn’t have died.

Sorrow radiated from him. Even across the room she sensed his grief, his pain. Most likely he never knew how much he’d hurt her. Kyle walked away. She couldn’t bear for him to leave. Without her, he had no one.

“Wait.” Her soft whisper stopped him in his tracks. Turning, Shay watched Kyle hover in place, then turn to face her. She licked her lips, a nervous habit, but Kyle’s gaze followed the sweep of her tongue across her bottom lip. A tingle of awareness shot through her. Even knowing everything she did about him, she wanted Kyle. Ghost be damned, his cock felt heavenly sliding into her body.

Uncertainty flashed across his gaze.

Shay shifted her position on the couch, sliding her foot from the pillow cradling it. “Don’t leave.” She closed the journal and laid it on the coffee table. “I don’t—” Her lips tripped over the words. “I don’t want you to go.” She spoke in a rush, afraid she might not be able to say the words he so desperately wanted to hear.

“You don’t?” He walked around the coffee table to kneel by her side. He slid his fingers over her bare foot, his touch lingering on the hurt ankle. The delicate caress aroused her. His body, so male, so close to her, only made her more aware of herself as a woman, a fragile one at that. “You’re hurt, and it’s because of me.” Kyle closed his eyes. “Marcy died because of me.”

“I know.” Her simple declaration hung in the air between them. Reaching out, she cupped Kyle’s chin in her hands. “Look at me. I’m not a shrinking violet. I loved Marcy like a sister, but she was delicate. Damn, you loved her. I shouldn’t probably even be telling you this, but you loved your work. I know it from Marcy’s words, from the way you spoke. It wouldn’t have worked between you and Marcy, no matter how much you both may have wanted it to.” She stopped, afraid her words might be driving him away. Instead, resignation filled Kyle’s gaze.

She brushed her thumb over his lips. “I’m so sorry. You don’t know how sorry I am.” She blinked away sudden tears.

Kyle pulled away. “That’s why I should go.”

Shay bolted to her feet. Pain lanced through her ankle. She didn’t care. She grabbed Kyle’s wrist in a fierce grip, keeping him from backing away. “No, that’s why you should stay.” Gritting her teeth, she stepped forward. “They might come after me again.” She refused to fight the fear rising inside her. After reading Marcy’s journal, she knew the secrets Marcy knew. If they attacked her before, undoubtedly they wouldn’t give up. Kyle had saved her once. She might need his help again.

“I’m a danger to you. You don’t know what you’re getting into.” He stared at her for a moment then looked away. “If I stay there’s nothing to stop me from touching you again, fucking you again. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had sex?”

Shay chuckled. She couldn’t help it. “Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had sex? Don’t play that game with me, Kyle. I’m going to win.” She slipped her fingers between two buttons on his shirt, sliding her fingers between his pectorals. “Besides, maybe I want you to touch me again, to fuck me again.” She threw his words back. He needed comfort, affirmation. She could talk to him until she went blue in the face, and she knew he wouldn’t listen. No, she’d speak with Kyle in a different language.

“But I’m a ghost.” A muscle ticced in his jaw.

Shay knew he searched for reasons to leave. She wouldn’t give him any. “I’m a freak.”

He blinked at her. “What?”

“I’m a freak,” Shay repeated. “I’m a psychic. I see and talk to spirits. If you’re saying you can’t stay because you’re a ghost, then I’m telling you that you can stay because being a freak trumps being a ghost any day.” She grinned and worked on a button of his shirt. “I asked you to stay once. If you don’t believe me, I’ll just have to show you.”

She rubbed the back of her knuckles against the exposed skin at his throat, swiping down until she caressed him from sternum to navel. Leaning forward, she kissed his collarbone. The tiny pecks quickly turned into laving kisses as she swirled her tongue around his male nipples. She pulled his shirt from his jeans. Her arousal pushed aside all thoughts of her pained ankle as she tugged on one of his flat, hardened nipples.

Shay pressed an open-mouthed kiss against a scar along his ribs, spending extra attention on the white, puckered skin. The scarred bullet holes in his chest she kissed and suckled, letting him know she wanted all of him—wounds and all. Everyone had wounds. Some were more deadly than others.

She didn’t know how he came to be standing in her living room, or even in the cemetery, but she relished his presence. His pain called to hers, something she could understand. Only she’d buried her own so deeply, she thought it long healed. With Kyle she had a chance. If he was a ghost, then surely he didn’t see her as a freak, or if he did, he had to take what he could get.

Shay kept her hands above his waist. With his shirt freed from his jeans, she allowed her hands to roam his back. She traced the indent of his spine, pausing to lavish attention on the puckered scars on his back. The physical reminder of his death shocked her to the core. She paused.

Kyle suppressed a groan as Shay’s hands and lips roamed his torso. Closing his eyes, he fought to keep from leaning into her. With her hurt ankle, he should be supporting her, not the other way around. Her lips, so warm and moist against his skin, reminded him of the things he’d lost. His cock throbbed.

He should go. Regardless of what Shay said, he should leave. It would be best for both of them.

Her tongue dipped into his navel. Shay grabbed his hips as she knelt before him. In his jeans, his cock jumped. “Oh, Shay,” he whispered. He sank his fingers into her hair as she unfastened his jeans.

His husky words shot arousal straight to her core. Moisture flooded her pussy. She ached for him. His pain surrounded her, and she wanted to soothe it away with tiny licks of her tongue. As she lowered the zipper on his jeans, he cupped her hair, running the silken strands through his fingers. Shay closed her eyes and swallowed hard.


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