Well, I'm in shock. I just got word last night that Iron is a finalist for the EPIC 2011 Award for Paranormal Erotic Romance. Must be the luck of the Irish or something, because I've never been a finalist for anything before!
A blacksmith with a tragic past, a faery princess with an uncertain future and a love that burns like iron.
When an immortal, shape-shifting fae arrives on his doorstep seeking shelter, Gavin O’Malley knows he’s in luck. For Aislinn can give him everything his life’s been missing. Now, all he has to do is find a way to keep her—without losing his soul in the process.
Something was different.
As the soft, gray light of a winter’s morning crept through his bedroom window Gavin stirred; but even before he’d come completely awake, he felt it. He could not tell whether the ‘it’ in question was something within the room itself, in the wide world outside it, or even an indefinable change that had occurred only within the recesses of his own heart and mind, but something, this morning, was definitely different.
But, whatever the cause, the result was a lightening in his mood such as he’d not felt in many a year and, remembering that today was Christmas Eve, why, it was almost enough to make him believe, once again, in the magic of the season. Perhaps it was an aftereffect of the strange dreams he’d had? Though they’d already begun to fade away, as dreams will do, enough stray wisps still clung to his mind to bring a smile to his face. Such sweet, sweet dreams. He stretched, and felt the pleasant ache of muscles that had no earthly reason for being sore. Odd, that. Then something shifted beside him in the bed. And he knew.
No, surely such things are not possible? His heart pounded fiercely as the thought that he’d not been dreaming, that his wife might actually have returned to him—in the flesh, so to speak—took hold. It was...well, he didn’t quite know what it was. Disturbing, he supposed, to say the very least.
Not knowing what to expect, how he should feel, nor even what he might say to her, he steeled himself, sent up a silent prayer for guidance, then turned round to face her. The reality was far worse than anything he’d imagined.
“Oh, bloody hell.” Bolting upright, Gavin stared in horror at the woman lying asleep in his bed, at riotous gold curls fanned out across his pillow and a sweet flower-like face that was not his wife’s. “What’s this now?”
Gold-tipped lashes fluttered and slumberous gray eyes opened. “And a very pleasant good morning to ye as well,” the fae replied, lips curling up in a sensuous smile as she reached a hand toward his face. “But, tell me, must ye always scowl so?” Cool fingers stroked his cheek. “Methinks ye’d be much more attractive an ye smiled.”
“Explain yourself, Fae,” Gavin snarled, jerking his head back, away from her touch. “What is it you think you’re doing here?”
Her eyebrows rose. “Well, I thought I was sleeping...’til some fool woke me with his blathering. What is it that ails ye this time?”
“You’re what ails me!” Gavin fisted his hands in his hair to keep them from her throat. “You’re a bloody, fekkin’ pox upon my life.”
“Nonsense. From what I’ve seen of your life so far, I’m sure I could only bring improvement to it.” Yawning, she sat up in bed, and pouted at him. “Can ye really not think of anything nicer to say to me than that of a morning?” But Gavin barely heard her for as she came erect the bedcovers slipped to her waist and his mouth went dry at the sight of all that lush, naked, female flesh so close at hand.
He scrambled off the bed, hoping to put some distance between them before the temptation to touch her became too much to deny. “For the love of God, woman, clothe yourself.”
That brought a lazy smile back to her lips. “Well, and I would, to be sure, had my gown not met with such a tragic mishap last night. But ’twas quite torn from my trembling flesh, as I recall it, and so roughly, too. And, even if I knew, now, where the remnants of it had been flung, I’m sure ’tis un-wearable and altogether beyond repair.”
Gavin groaned, remembering all too vividly the event to which she referred. “I’d thought ’twas but a dream.”
She shook her head. “Nay. Though I’ll warrant it was as pleasant for you as any dream might be, ‘twas all quite real. But, speaking of such, will you not come back to bed? For, as I look upon you standing there it occurs to me that we might yet have some business we could attend to, you and I.”
“I will not,” he replied scowling at her. “And there is no business we have with one another. I want nothing whatsoever to do with ye.”
“A lovely speech, but I think there be some parts of you as would disagree.” Her eyes grew dark as her gaze traveled the length of him. “One part, for a certainty. And a very substantial part it is, too, I must say.”
Looking down at himself, Gavin was appalled to discover that all his buttons were undone and his cock, hard as a post, was jutting outward; head bobbing as it strained toward her, as eager as a dog for a stroke. “’Tis of no matter what some parts of me may appear to want,” he replied stiffly. “For ‘tis not those parts as rules my actions.” And, so saying, he stuffed his turgid flesh back where it belonged and buttoned his underclothes back up. “And I’ll thank ye to be putting your eyes back in your head now,” he told her, blushing as her sigh of regret caused his cock to give another eager leap; a movement she could not miss seeing with her eyes still fastened on his bulging member. “And leave off looking at me as though I’m a Christmas goose and you’re behind for dinner. Have ye no shame at all?”
“Shame?” She repeated the word doubtfully, glancing up at him with thoughtful eyes. “Oh, a very little I’m sure, from time to time, an the situation warrants it. But none that pertains to matters of the flesh. And...” she purred, smiling again as she tossed off the covers and stood, pirouetting before him in all her naked glory, “As pertains to my own flesh, certainly not. For I canna see anything there for to give me shame. Can you?”
“Nay, that I cannot,” he admitted grudgingly, quite unable to tear his eyes away from her, and quite unable to move as she advanced upon him.
She slid her arms around his neck. “Very well then. But, if you truly will not be persuaded to come back to bed and fuck me once again, would you not at least satisfy another of my hungers? Will ye not make breakfast for me? For I find that I’m feeling quite famished this morning, having eaten only a very light supper, and all this talk of geese and dinner is not helping matters at all.”
Gavin closed his eyes but, even so, he had to swallow hard before he could speak. “Why are you here? You were supposed to be gone ere daybreak. We had a bargain.”
“Aye,” she whispered softly. “That we did. And are ye sure ye will not let me show you how very grateful I am to you for your kind reprieve?”
Gavin caught his breath in a ragged sigh when she ran her tongue along the rim of his ear. “Stop your teasing, woman. To what reprieve would you be referring? I never did any such thing.”
“Sure and you did. For did ye not give me your promise, last night, that I might stay the winter? And right glad am I that you did for, otherwise, I’d have been forced to leave your pleasant company and make my own way in the cold, cruel world.”
“’Twas not to you that promise was given,” he growled. “And well you know it.”
“Not to me?” Aislinn leaned in closer, chuckling softly as she trailed kisses all along his jaw. “Oh, aye, mo chroí, it was indeed.”
Mo chroí. My heart. He ground his teeth, seething at her use of any such endearment for him. Taking her by the shoulders, he held her away from him. “You tricked me with your foul, faery magic. I thought you were my wife.”
Aislinn nodded. “I may have used a wee bit of glamour to alter your perception and my own appearance, but I only did what was necessary and I’d hardly call it foul. Certainly you didn’t seem to find it so last night?”
“I care not for what you think about it, witch. You should not have done it. And you cannot hold me to promises I did not intend to make.”“Oh, but indeed, I can.” She gazed at him with deadly calm. “And indeed I will.”
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