Copyright J.M. Powers June 2012
Do not copy or re-post this excerpt without written permission from the author
Ruby's point of view
“Why did you leave?”
“The same reason I am asking you to do the same.” She pricked her finger on a dead stem and placed it in her mouth.
“I am not fond of riddles. Why did you leave Ramstone?”
“To remain…” She swung around. “Far from you.”
He closed the distance between them. Standing a breath away, she looked into his eyes. “I do not need you or anyone else to think for me. Fight your own battles, and leave me to mine.”
Galeron took Ruby by the arms. “Fair one, it takes all I have not to shake you. Bring the boy and his family along if you must, but return to Ramstone!”
Ruby shrugged from his grasp and shoved him. She was shouting now. “I am not one of your duties anymore. You are free of me. You have your betrothed and I belong to another.”
“I am not so easily convinced. I know there is naught between you and Palmer.”
“Not him, but someone. What other reason would I feel I have a child of my own? I must belong to another.”
He strode to her, pulling her into his arms. “If you have a child, we shall find the young one. As far as belonging to another, he is less than a man. If you were missing, I would not rest until I found you.”
Ruby clenched her jaw. “You say this as you set out to find your betrothed?” She leaned back as his gruff whisper brushed her cheek.
“If I have to carry you over my shoulder to do so, I shall bring you back to Ramstone.”
Ruby slapped him on the cheek. His head turned with the force of her blow. For a moment they faced each other, their breaths intermingling while they stared each other down.
She blew at the wayward lock falling in her eyes and jerked her head to the side when he reached to push it from her face. “I am not free and neither are you.” She shuddered when he cradled her chin in his hand and placed the tendril behind her ear. Her eyes met his when he wiped the tears on her cheek. “Damn you. You are about to be wed. I refuse to be your wench.”
“I would never ask you to be my wench. I simply wish to assure your safety while I am gone. However, I find...” He brushed his lips against hers. “I have missed you, Ruby.”
The torture of doubt ripped at her. Anger collided with warmth, sinful cravings with confusion and she spent all of her emotions on him.
The stubble of his beard scraped her chin. She grabbed his neck as he kissed her and hoisted herself, wrapping her legs around his waist. Galeron’s moan twisted around her heart while their tongues intertwined in a frantic dance. His broad hands roamed down her back and cradled her bottom. She pressed against him and reached into his tunic, feeling the warmth of his body. His chest rose and fell beneath her fingertips while she reeled in the darkness he brightened. She cried out at the sensation of his lips following the low neckline of her bodice. She felt him tremble when she pressed hard against him.
“Woman, refrain from doing that.”
“This?” She grinned and wrapped her legs tighter around his waist.
“You know not what you do, milady.” He slowly lowered her feet to the ground. Stilted breath flowed from his lips while he kissed her temple. “God in heaven,” he whispered. “I did not intend to…”
“Neither did I. Shhh.” Ruby closed her eyes and listened to his heartbeat pounding as hard as her own. Let this be. Allow the haunting reminders of her past to release its grasp. Would fate deem she belonged to another? Ruby wanted to believe fate would be kind for once.
Her eyes flew open at the nearby gasp and she shoved out of Galeron’s embrace.
Just a couple more days until Jewel of Ramstone is released!