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Friday, July 11, 2008

It's out early!


I just learned NAUGHTY NIGHTS is shipping from Amazon already! Squee! I can't wait to read this book. I'm a huge Charlene Teglia fan.

About the book:

In these scintillating tales of sexual release, three headstrong women give themselves over to the passionate temptation of three strong-willed men who know exactly how to take control....

Charlene Teglia
Wolf in Shining Armor

When werewolf Rorik takes revenge on his rival by claiming the man's betrothed, he recognizes the small, soft-skinned beauty as his true mate -- the she-wolf who bit him years earlier -- and the only woman whose erotic touch can unleash the animal within him.

Tawny Taylor
Stolen Goddess

Kylie wakes up in a strange world, bound and stripped bare, with a large -- very hard, very naked -- man insisting she belongs to him. She should be scared, but instead she succumbs to his arousing demands...and the most electrifying pleasure of her life.

Dawn Ryder
Tempting a Lady

Widowed and running her father's home, Emma vows never to let any man take her the way her husband used to -- until an imposing, self-assured man shows up at her estate, determined to get exactly what he wants from her voluptuous body...and ignites her every lustful need.

Step inside Ellora's Cave, where passions run wild, and the sexiest fantasies come true....

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Prologue

The Border Lands, 1146

Rorik loved the woods. In the night the trees rose black and jagged, forming broken outlines against the starlit sky as they curved overhead in an ancient living canopy above the path he strode. They rustled and murmured with the sounds of hundreds of creatures going about their nocturnal business.

Eerie, to some. To him, it was the sound and sight of home. The Fell Wood outside of Wolf's Keep was rumored to harbor demon wolves who took human form, which served to keep poachers as well as the overly curious far away, and so he found good hunting. This night, aided by the light of the full moon, he followed a line of snares he'd set and baited the day before, checking for game.

His cousin, Simon of Northumberland, accompanied him as always. Somewhat unhappily, Rorik knew. Simon did not quite share either his love of adventure or his appreciation for the Fell Wood at night. As light in heart as he was light of hair, the dark woods held no fascination for him.

Rorik paused to smile at his companion. "Up ahead, I hear something," he said softly. He'd snared a deer, possibly, from the sounds he heard. Something large. Then he frowned as he listened more closely. That wild thrashing did not sound like a deer. He signaled Simon to be quiet and follow closely. At a soft run, he approached the snare and nocked an arrow at the ready.

Then he slowly lowered his bow and replaced the arrow at the sight that met his eyes.

"What are you doing?" Simon hissed, looking agonized. "It is a wolf. A demon wolf, come for our souls. Kill it, quickly."

Rorik waved impatiently at Simon, gesturing for quiet. There were no demons in his woods. This was but a she-wolf caught in a snare meant for other game. A small one, not fully grown. Moonlight touched the black fur, highlighting it with silver and glistening off the glowing eyes. Blood tinged the snow at the beast's feet and tipped the muzzle.

Memory flashed in Rorik's mind, tales of wolf traps found sprung, holding only a forepaw, as the creature fought so fiercely for freedom that it would pay any price. As this wolf would do.

He didn't see danger. Rorik saw only the wolf and felt the injustice, the unbearable horror of its captivity, the panic at running fleet across the snow one moment, inexplicably held prisoner the next.

Rorik slipped slowly up to the snare, holding the wolf's eyes as he did. "Easy," he whispered. "Hush, now." Making his motions careful and steady, he eased one hand to the snare then quickly sprung her loose and stepped back.

Not swiftly enough to evade slashing teeth that tore his chest before the young she-wolf fled into the night.

Simon ran to his aid and staunched the blood with shaking hands. "Rorik? Rorik, do you hear me? Speak," he pleaded.

Rorik stirred and smiled at his companion. "Did you see her, Simon? She was beautiful."

"See what? The wolf?" Simon asked. "I could scarcely miss that."

"No. The girl." Then Rorik fell back, unconscious.

Copyright © 2008 by Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Wolf in Shining Armor copyright © 2006 by Charlene Teglia

One

Fourteen years later...

Do you think to find it changed much?" Simon inquired, guiding his gray warhorse beside Rorik's black destrier. The two knights showed the signs of having survived many battles in myriad ways. The armor and equipment showed the lines and dents of hard use, in spite of flawless upkeep, as did the two faces. They were deeply changed, if Wolf's Keep was not, Simon acknowledged.

Rorik didn't answer. Perhaps he had changed most of all, Simon thought. Battle had hardened him. The youthful companion who had risked his life to free a wild wolf had seen too much killing. His moods had grown as dark as his hair and did not seem to be lightening as they neared home.

Known as the Fell Wolf for the bite he'd earned, the rumors that Rorik became a demon wolf had come in useful on many occasions. Absurd, but useful. In the tourneys many an opponent quailed before the black and gray banner, fear and superstition striking more blows than a lance.

As soldiers of fortune, the two had done well. Well enough to permit them to return to Rorik's home, now his by coin as well as birthright, with the full coffers and riches supplied by grateful lords whose lands and holdings they had defended. The earnings would permit them to hold and defend their own land now.

Simon frowned, thinking of that injustice. That Rorik should have to buy back his ancestral home still rankled. But his father's untimely death had allowed an unscrupulous neighboring lord to claim Wolf's Keep, and Rorik had been unable to prevent it, having only fifteen years at the time.

That they were both away, fostered and in training for knighthood at the time, had also forced Rorik to bide his time in reclaiming his home. In his patient way, he'd earned his spurs and set out to make his fortune, first in the tourneys, then as a seasoned soldier for hire, always confident that he would return.

The Fell Wolf was returning now, some ten years later, and Simon nearly pitied Alain Devere. He'd lost the prize he thought to take, and the man could not rest easy of a night, knowing the lord's son was coming home to claim what was his.

Including his betrothed, the lady Elissa Montreade. The shy and lovely girl he recalled had also fostered in Wolf's Keep as Rorik's future bride, the marriage arranged by the old baron shortly after the birth of a daughter to dear friends. She, and no doubt her dowry, had been taken along with the fiefdom by Devere.

He frowned at that thought. They had been in no position to help her sooner, but he did not like to think of the child who had been his youthful shadow under the care of such a man.

Simon eyed his friend once more, thinking Rorik did not look in the least like an eager bridegroom, or a returning hero.

He looked battle-weary and in sore need of a diversion.

"So, Rorik, your hearth and home await, with the lovely lady Elissa soon to grace them both. Will you frighten her with that face of yours?"

Rorik roused himself from his dark thoughts and spared a glance for Simon the chatterer. In truth, it did not feel like a homecoming. Without his parents living, he did not expect to find much of a home waiting. Devere had doubtless let the place fall to ruin under his stewardship. With no lord in residence the able servants had fled, fearing tales of human wolves. Any retainers remaining did so out of blind loyalty or old age.

He did not expect to find much waiting for him. As for his betrothed...there he could find something to think on that pleased him. Marriage was a practical business. He did not love Elissa, nor did he expect to. However, enough nights in rough camps made the idea of home and a wife to see to his comfort seem more than adequate compensation for doing his duty.

A wife to make a home from a pile of cold stone. Children to fill his hall with laughter. To raise children and crops, that was a pleasant future. He'd seen enough of death and spilled enough blood.

By nightfall, Rorik had revised his opinion.

Wolf's Keep he expected to find in poor condition. What he failed to anticipate was Elissa -- whom he recalled as little more than a babe herself -- heavy with child, ravished and abandoned by Devere and stripped of her dowry and her pride both. She wept while she delivered news of Alain Devere's impending marriage to a neighboring heiress.

Simon was struck silent with fury by the news, although Rorik noted the concern in his manner as he helped Elissa find a chair and stood by her. So. Was that how matters stood? he wondered. Simon had always had a soft spot for the girl. Rorik had no objection to relinquishing his claim on her in favor of Simon. But Devere, that was another matter.

The baron had robbed him of home, and now Rorik was denied his wedding night as well while Devere anticipated his? Could the man be allowed to go his way and forget Elissa, robbed of her innocence and her wealth, left to survive however she could? Not that either he or Simon would allow her to suffer. But Devere could not have known that when he cast her off.

No. This outrage could not go unchallenged. It would serve the man well if his bride were stolen in return, Rorik thought.

By moonrise thought had grown to plan, and plan to action.

Rorik slipped through the window and slowly searched the chamber for his quarry with the patient, thorough eye of an experienced hunter and the guarded care of a veteran soldier. He spotted her easily in the bed once he lifted the draperies.

Moonlight touched her face with silver, and revealed the curve of an ivory cheek against a soft fall of midnight hair. The lady lay on her side, curled up like a sleeping child, her head pillowed on her hands. Her night rail lay twisted about her, and exposed a length of leg to the cool caress of the moon.

Rorik's breath caught as he gazed at her. He'd expected a woman, not a child. The consort of his enemy.

He hadn't expected her to look like an innocent in the arms of Morpheus.

Rorik hardened his heart and firmed his resolve. He'd have what he came for. He'd wreak his vengeance on Alain by stealing the man's bride, a fitting retribution. He'd have what was coming to him.

And he had a wedding night coming. Alain had robbed him of his. He would return the favor. Here, now, so there could be no question that he'd claimed the woman before taking her away. He wanted a wife. If he was denied the one he'd been promised, he would have this one. Ailiss, her name was. It suited her, he thought.

He did acknowledge that the woman he'd come to steal might not be pleased with his plan. Simon was forever telling him that his fearsome reputation and hard ways would not win a lady's love, but if she had been willing to marry Alain Devere, she could hardly consider him a worse husband. She might even view him as an improvement.

Rorik stripped and then set about securing his prize, his movements swift and sure in the darkened chamber. A length of silk...


posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:58 AM |

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