I didn't have time in my review schedule to start this series (yet) but after reading this excerpt I plan on making some extra reading time as soon as humanly possible. If you've read Cold Iron (book 1) or Silver Skin (book 2), we'd love to hear what you thought! ~Anna
Book description: Helene Whitney has been losing time. Not losing track of time—but finding whole blank spaces, hours, in her day she can’t account for. A year ago she would have written it off as overwork and exhaustion, but that was before she found out about the Good Neighbors, the Fair Folk, the Beautiful People, the Fae. Ancient, immortal, tricksy, and cruel, these creatures out of myth and legend rule the Irish enclaves of South Boston and Charlestown, and one of them has been using magic to abduct and control Helene for hours every day. That’s because the collection at her museum contains ancient objects of Fae power, and the Fae want access to this magic for their own ends. Now, Helene’s only hope of escaping this unknown assailant lies with the Fae sorcerer Miach MacCecht, a man she knows she can never trust—and who may prove impossible to resist. Excerpt:
He made light of his condition, but he had risked his life to save her. For an immortal being, that was no small matter. As things stood, he’d taken great harm because of her, and she was relieved to know that he would recover. Too relieved. She should not feel this way about him. It was only because he was hurt, vulnerable.
When he was well again, he would return to being a predator, one she found more attractive than she would like. She needed to keep her guard up against him. It would be all too easy, after he’d saved her life, to succumb to him. But this was the best time to do what had to be done.
“I want you to look for the geis now,” she said.
He set the tea down and looked up at her, all playfulness forgotten. “We can wait for Nieve,” he repeated.
It was a rare show of sensitivity for a Fae and she appreciated it, but she shook her head. “No, I’d rather get it over with. I’m ready.” And she wasn’t sure her courage would last.
He hesitated. “If you become frightened, or uncomfortable, I want you to tell me to stop.”
“Thank you. How do we do this?”
“Draw the curtains.”
“Don’t you need the light?”
“The geis won’t be visible, but I’ll be able to feel it. And I presume you don’t want to disrobe in full sight of the Pleasure Bay beachgoers.”
It dawned on her that this meant he was going to touch her. Everywhere.
She drew the curtains. They were filmy lace, but they shut out prying eyes and softened the light in the room, burnished the mahogany and gilt empire chairs and sofas and the peach silk with a rosy glow. So much for the cover of darkness. . . .
Miach shed his blanket, rose slowly from his chair, and prowled after her to the center of the room. He suddenly didn’t look quite as helpless, and for a moment she worried that she’d made a mistake. He’d changed his clothes since the morning—the iron filings had probably dusted his shirt and pants. Now he wore a deceptively simple white button-down. Deceptive, because the cloth was a subtly striped cotton damask, and the collar was needle tailored. Off the rack shirts didn’t fit men like Miach MacCecht, with his broad shoulders and narrow, lean waist. He wore his sleeves rolled. His trousers were rich brown moleskin, flat in front, cut straight, with narrow cuffs.
She had time to notice all of this while he stood in front of her and lifted first her right hand and then her left, trailed his fingers up her arms, and felt every inch of exposed skin up to her shoulders.
It was impossible for the sensation to be anything but erotic. Impossible to deny how strongly attracted she was to him. Somewhere along the way she’d closed her eyes. She opened them now to find Miach’s golden irises staring into hers, heavy lidded with passion held barely in check.
“Turn around,” he said thickly.
She did. She kept her eyes open and tried to think of things that weren’t sexy. Like filing pledge cards and invoices. And updating databases.
Like Miach’s warm hands on her shoulders. Like his raspy voice saying, “Lift up your hair.” Like his cool breath on her neck as she did so. This wasn’t working. . . .
He started to lift the hem of her tank top, rolling the soft fabric slowly up, baring an inch of skin at a time. Self-preservation kicked in when the cotton caught momentarily beneath the shelf of her lifting breasts, and she covered herself with her hands.
He was being slow, she reasoned, because he was being thorough, making sure not to miss an inch of her skin. If he was careless, he’d probably only have to start again.
Finally Miach unclasped her bra and traced the lines it had left indented in her tanned flesh. Followed them from the center of her back, up over her shoulders, then back down and around, under her arms.
He stopped and hesitated. She lowered her hands. His replaced them with his own, cupped and lifted her breasts.
She looked down. He was cradling her mounds, one in each palm. Her nipples were hard, visibly engorged. He could not possibly miss that. His breath was hot and quick against her neck. They stood frozen, uncertainty gripping them both, until his thumbs brushed her nipples and circled them, then covered the tips.
She moaned. It felt too good. She wanted it again and again and again.
“Please,” she cried out.
“Lean back,” he said.
She did. Her bare skin met the cool cotton of his shirt and where it was open at the collar, a flash of heat, flesh to flesh. Her head fell back against his shoulder. She didn’t dare open her eyes in case she saw triumph in his.
A tentative brush of his lips against hers startled her. So unexpected, such intimacy. She opened her eyes. His were intensely focused on her. He was as caught up in the moment as she was.
“Tell me to stop,” he said.
He groaned, and his fingers joined his thumbs, circling her nipples, raising them into hard distended nubs. Her back arched, her hips rose, silently but eloquently imploring him to touch her down there.
Miach didn’t. He nuzzled her neck and licked her ear and went on exploring her breasts. She groaned, her body climbing toward a peak. His lips covered her open mouth, and his tongue darted inside.
Miach tasted like tea and honey and sex. She whimpered into his mouth.
He broke away and whispered in her ear. “I was resolved not to touch you like this. To search you chastely—or at least as chastely as someone like me could manage—for this bastard’s mark. But it’s impossible for me to touch you and not want you.”
“It’s all right,” she said. “It’s okay. I want this, too.” Deserved it, in fact, after what they’d been through this morning.
She wanted to feel alive with him. And there was no disguising how he affected her. How much she wanted him. But she had already known that for quite some time. What shocked her was how much Miach wanted her. She had always seen him as cold, calculating, reasoning, but he was none of those things right now.
“After,” he whispered in her ear. “After we find the mark.” He stepped away from her.
She felt cold and bereft, and she wanted his hands back on her, had to bite her tongue to hold the words in. She looked over her shoulder to find him standing back, reining in his desire with visible effort.
“Here,” he said thickly, holding out her tank top. “We’re halfway done.”
The easy half, she thought, pulling the tank top over her shoulders and turning toward him. “What now?”
He swallowed. “Sit on the sofa,” he said.
She sank back into the down-filled upholstery. Miach knelt in front of her and lifted one foot. He ran his hands over her arch, cupped her heel in his palm, traced the instep and bones in her ankle with his long fingers.
“You have gorgeous legs,” he said. “I thought that the first time I saw you, when you were trying to assault Conn of the Hundred Battles. Long, tanned legs and the silliest fur boots. I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to feel them dig into my back.”
“You’re doing it again,” she said, trying to control her rising passion.
“Using your voice to put pictures in my head.” She again saw the two of them conjoined, in her mind’s eye, her body beneath his, her bare heels digging into his muscular buttocks. She murmured a poignant curse.
His hand moved up her calf. “Do you like what you see?” he asked.
“Yes, but how do I know that’s what I really feel? How do I know it’s not Fae compulsion?”
“Because all my power is fighting the blight of the iron now. My voice has no resonance, no suggestive force, no compulsion at all in it. At this moment I’m as human as I will ever be.”
She wanted him, but she feared his voice, his Fae ability to influence her thoughts and emotions. This might be her one chance to act on her desires free of fear, free of the risk of falling under his spell. And considering the danger she was in from her unknown Fae attacker, the chance that this unseen enemy might summon her to her doom at any time, falling for Miach MacCecht seemed like a trifling sort of peril.
She made her decision then, to take the pleasure he could give her.
He parted her knees with both hands, slid his palms up her inner thighs.
Then he stopped. He closed his eyes, and his hands moved back down. He traced a circle just above her left knee, over the head of her quadriceps. Once, twice, a third time.
His body language changed subtly, but she had spent enough time with him now to see it, to note the tensing of the muscles in his sculpted arms, his broad shoulders.
“What is it?” she asked, trying to keep the fear out of her voice.
He looked away a moment, and that’s when she knew it was bad. Then he looked straight into her eyes and said, “I have found the geis.”
About the Author:
D.L. McDermott is an author and screenwriter whose credits include episodes of the animated series Tron: Uprising. Her short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Albedo One. The director of several award-winning short films, her most recent project, The Night Caller, aired on WNET Channel 13 and was featured on Ain’t It Cool News. She is married with one cat and divides her time between Los Angeles and Salem.