My Soul to Keep
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Dianna Hunter
Word Count :66570
Publication Date :2010-08-19
Series : Soulkeeper#1
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-55487-283-1
Kayla is trapped on an alternate world and the only things she can trust are her own intuition and the friendship of her horse, Hawk.
WARNING: This book contains graphic and violent material that may offend some readers.
Forced into what she perceives as a life or death situation, Kayla rides her stallion, Shadow Hawk, through the wilds of the Florida forest near her home—and escapes into another dimension. The giant grey stallion, a gift on her eighteenth birthday from her mysterious grandmother, proves to be much more than an ordinary horse for he is able to aid his rider in finding the pathways through the Chain of Worlds. Especially if that rider is a sorceress in her own right. Imprisoned on the closed world of Docrain, the sorcerer, Garth, has determined that the one sure way to break the bonds holding him and his emperor, the wizard, Caleis, is to set a trap for the child of the sorcerer that imprisoned him. His bid to seduce this child into aiding him becomes much easier for him when he discovers that the child is an innocent young temptress with absolutely no idea of who or what she really is. He has quickly determined that the beautiful and untrained witch is in fact a succubus just as her father had been—a sorceress able to draw huge amounts of power from the life-forces of those surrounding her and able to open a gateway into any part of the Chain that she chooses. Intent of gaining her willing assistance—and loving devotion—Garth begins training her in the use of her power. But Kayla is young—not foolish and his plan might just backfire. When shown what her true love is really about, will the truth cost her heart, her soul or both?
As they continued to climb higher, the air began to thin and the trail narrowed, forcing the heaving horses to walk single file. When they finally reached the level plateau at the top, Garth stopped and waited for Kayla to draw abreast of him.
“We’ll turn off here,” he told her. “There’s a good place to camp for the night on the other side of this ridge.”
Out of breath from the climb, Kayla could only nod as she used her legs to urge Hawk onto the new trail behind the mare.
The red sun was just beginning to slip below the tree-lined horizon when the path suddenly opened into a clearing.
Hawk’s steps slowed and he would’ve stopped, but Kayla urged him on. Keeping her eyes on the high cliffs that surrounded the meadow, she cautiously scanned the rough walls for any sign that something might be lurking in their shadows.
“Don’t worry, water dragons prefer the deep, quiet waters of a lake,” Garth assured her, indicating with a nod of his head the small waterfall cascading from the rocky heights of the cliffs into a sparkling pool at its base. “The mountain streams and pools are too cold and shallow for them.”
Drawing the mare to a halt, he dismounted and waited for Kayla to drop to the ground beside her mount. “I’m going to make camp under those fir trees. Why don’t you go for a swim and get cleaned up before it gets too dark,” he told her with a meaningful look at her mud-caked form.
“That sounds like a great idea.” With more bravado than she felt, for she was very conscious of the way she must look covered in grime and wearing such scanty clothes, Kayla threw her saddlebags over one shoulder and quickly unsaddled Hawk so that he could graze with the black mare.
Finding a large, flat rock to sit on beside the pool, Kayla rummaged through her bags. She was relieved, and still puzzled, that most of her things had survived the rough trip from the orange grove. Unfortunately, one of the items that had not survived had been her spare jeans. Made partly of man-made material, they had disintegrated into mere scraps of rotted material.
Shrugging her shoulders in resignation, Kayla leaned back against a large slab of stone and removed her muddy boots and, hesitating for only a moment, she peeled off all of her filthy clothes and tossed them into a nearby water-filled stone hollow to soak.
“Well, here’s hoping that lake monsters really don’t live in the mountains,” she mumbled to herself nervously as she grabbed her bar of soap. Climbing to the top of a large boulder at the edge of the pool, she dove into the clear, green water.
Swimming under the surface, she emerged in the shallows to stand waist deep in the sun-warmed water where she vigorously and thoroughly soaped her hair and body, determined to remove the stench of dried blood and muck clinging to her.
Feeling much too tired and sluggish to dwell on the day’s strange events, Kayla rolled over and floated on her back, basking in the simple pleasure of having clean skin again. As her mind cleared and she was able to think back on the day, she was only mildly surprised that, in spite of the danger she’d encountered, she felt no particular desire to return to what was already beginning to feel like someone else’s life, or perhaps a faraway dream.
Diving to rinse the rest of the soap from her hair, Kayla chased a school of small fish along the bottom until she needed to surface to breathe. Rising, she stood and shook her long, pale mass of hair back and wiped the water from her eyes. She was studying the odd pattern of colors in the walls of stone enclosing the meadow when her gaze fell on Garth, standing naked on the same boulder she had used, preparing to enter the water.
Entranced, she stared at the beauty of his heavily muscled body, the skin dark with an all-over suntan as he prepared to dive into the water. He broke the spell when he leapt from the rock, arching into the water where he cleaved the surface so cleanly that he barely made a splash.
Suddenly remembering her own nakedness, Kayla splashed into the deeper water uttering a small shriek at its coldness.
Garth erupted from the water in front of her, his deep brown eyes brimming with laughter. “Hey, where are you going? You don’t have to leave on my account.”
“I thought you were making camp!” Uneasily, she back-paddled away from him, her arms folded protectively to hide her breasts from his gaze.
“Now, how can you swim with your arms up like that?” he laughed. His hand darted under the water and snagged one of her feet, jerking her under.
Kayla broke the surface sputtering, modesty completely forgotten as her temper flared hotly at being dunked. Taking a deep breath, she dove to the sandy bottom and used it to propel herself back to the surface. She emerged only inches from Garth’s body, bringing a tidal wave of water with her to surge over his smiling face.
Bobbing about, laughing hysterically at her prank, Kayla managed to swallow a mouthful of water and began to choke.
Wiping the water from his face with a rueful grin, Garth reached for her and slapped none too gently on her back to clear the water from her lungs.
Still hiccupping with laughter, Kayla allowed herself to remain in his arms as he held her close against his bare chest, still patting her back.
“Were you planning to drink all of the water, or are you finished now?” he laughed at her. Bending his head, he gently nuzzled her neck and kissed her small ear.
Full awareness of her compromising position striking her, Kayla stiffened in his embrace and tried to push away from him. In spite of her innocence, she knew that she had let things go too far already.
“No! We cannot do this!” She struggled desperately to escape his powerful grip. “You don’t understand,” she moaned. “Stop!”
“Don’t be afraid, little one. I won’t hurt you.” Garth held onto her firmly, continuing to cover her neck and face with kisses as he moved them into shallower water. Feeling her struggles easing, he held her more gently and claimed her mouth with his to silence her weak protests.
Kayla allowed her fears to be appeased and gave into the feelings that had assailed her from their first meeting. She could feel the firm muscles of his body as he crushed her against him. His kisses were so unlike what she expected, she thought irreverently as his probing tongue ignited a fire deep within her.
Moving her body against his, she could feel the fully aroused maleness of him pressed to her soft belly. She returned his kisses with a fevered passion that was new to her and brought her small hands to caress lightly the bulging muscles of his biceps.
Garth lavished her firm breasts with kisses and took her nipple in his mouth, sucking gently until it felt so hard. She thought that surely the skin would burst. He closed his teeth on the swollen tenderness of the nipple and felt her body go rigid.
Kayla threw her head back, moaning in pain and pleasure. “Oh please, I don’t think I can bear it any longer,” she gasped as he brought an expert hand between her legs and touched the center of her being, tormenting her until she begged some more, “Please, Garth, please.”