Authors: Patricia Rice
Tags: #psychic, #superhero, #international, #deities, #aristocrat, #beach, #paranormal
She swallowed hard and tried to quell her reaction.
“Why do you think I have your chalice?” she asked, simply
because her thoughts were too rattled to allow her to know what else to say.
She needed to render his stimulating voice into music that she understood.
Perhaps then she would be able to think clearly.
“I saw you with the cup,” the monk replied, not raising his
She wanted to explore his intonation, understand the highly
unusual harmonies she heard when he spoke. She relied on her ear for character
when she listened to people speak, but with this man, her physical excitement
hampered her understanding.
She turned her back on him and hit a note on the keyboard,
attempting to locate the key that resonated with his pitch. He was a baritone.
A deep reed instrument would more accurately represent it. “How could you have
seen me, if you just arrived?”
This was probably the most senseless conversation she’d ever
engaged in, but they seemed to be talking on different planes. They hadn’t even
She didn’t hear him move, yet he was suddenly standing so
close that she could feel his heat. Did she imagine it, or did she sense him
resisting a desire to force her to face him?
“All things are possible if looked upon from the right
angle,” he said.
His voice vibrated chords of desire that she’d thought long
lost. Rather than respond to his declaration or oddly compelling attraction,
she found the right key, then played a few notes to reproduce the rise and fall
of his voice. She often did this when someone puzzled her.
But what she felt wasn’t precisely puzzlement. Like a tuning
fork, the depths and honesty of his desire resonated with her own, and excited
her beyond measure. She simply didn’t understand why or how this was happening.
On some primitive level, they were connecting physically.
The notes of his voice whispered sweet secrets in her inner ear. He longed to
She didn’t know whether to be flattered or appalled. Mostly,
she was basely thrilled. It seemed she hadn’t entirely dried up from disuse as
Pauline had predicted.
“Do you have the chalice or not?” he asked patiently.
Do you want me or not?
is what she heard. He may as well have spoken inside her head, so certain was
she that he was a hairsbreadth from circling her waist like a lover. She could
almost feel his kiss upon her nape, and the fine hairs there rose in
Rather than act on her imagination, she responded with the piano
keys that said
I want you very much.
was a game she played, one no one else could participate in. Only musicians
could hear music speak, and few musicians listened.
Behind her, the monk stiffened. In the polished surface of
the piano she saw him lift his hand…. She held her breath, but he fisted his
fingers and dragged them back to his side. Surely he could not understand her
music! She closed her eyes and drank in his enthralling presence.
He did not smell like an unbathed monk. Despite his
insistence that he had just arrived, he radiated the fresh, clean scent of an
ocean breeze. She’d grown up near Le Havre. She missed the quiet lap of waves,
the cries of gulls. This man reminded her of happier times.
In response to her unusual joy, her fingers played an
arpeggio of notes of their own accord, flying up and down the scale,
communicating the passion she hid inside her, the raw emotion she never
displayed. One of her curls flew loose and slipped along her jaw.
Shockingly, the stranger reached out and caught it, sliding
the curl between exploratory fingers before tucking it behind her ear. “I have
never met anyone as soft as you,” he murmured with a puzzled awe that whispered
through her ear to her fingers, producing provocative chords. “I could never
She gasped as his fingertips grazed her nape. His touch was
flame, and she was tinder. She was suddenly aware of the stimulating fragrance
of her musky perfume blending with his masculine scent, and her breasts swelled
with a need long denied.
“I have many chalices,” she countered, playing faster to
hide her shiver of desire. “Most came from my mother, or as wedding gifts. They
He generated intense heat, though the salon was chilly. He
was wider and broader than she was, and she was alone with him. She had no fear
for her safety, however. Instead, she was imagining improbable scenes of rising
from the bench and turning into his arms…. No one would come unless she called —
“You are married?” he asked.
Was it her own disappointment she heard in his inflection?
Or his? She used both hands to find the keys but couldn’t tell. Something was
happening to the notes. They were blending, harmonizing —
His notes were entwining with hers
“Widowed,” she answered curtly, becoming a little afraid of
her frenzy. She never acted on the turbulence in her heart.
She jerked her fingers from the piano before they smoldered,
and closed the lid. Attempting a less subordinate position, she stood and
turned her back on the keyboard to face the man who had her behaving like a
“Such magnificence,” he muttered in a dazed voice. Now that
he could see her face, he stroked her chin with a wonder she felt through his
touch. “Like a rare gem among the coals…”
Bracing her hands on the mahogany piano lid behind her,
Chantal tilted her head to study this startling stranger. Despite, or perhaps
because of, his concealing garb, his…masculinity …was overwhelming. The cowl
shadowed his face, but she knew when his gaze dropped to her bosom. Her nipples
sharpened to stiff points.
Impatiently, he shook back the hood. It fell to his wide
shoulders, and eyes the sapphire of the deep blue sea met hers. She nearly
evaporated with the power of them.
May the saints be praised, but he was the most striking man
she had ever met. Coal black hair rippled from the peak on his forehead, tied
back in a thick sheaf. She wanted to stroke it, to see whether the waves were
real or some artfully constructed wig.
Altogether, his features weren’t handsome, and a far cry
from pretty. They were — manly. Like the rest of him. Hard ridges for cheekbones,
deep-set eyes that burned like coal fires, a sharp nose, and full, sensual lips
that parted to reveal white, even teeth as his body slanted closer.
“I hear the music even when you do not play,” he said in
wonder, whispering a kiss along the line of her jaw.
She gasped and bent backward into the piano. Her breasts
strained at her thin bodice, and he noticed. Heaven help her, but his gaze
dipped deliberately to her cleavage, and her nether parts moistened.
“Widowed.” He repeated her earlier word with interest,
capturing one of her carefully constructed curls and wrapping it around his
finger. “The music you make” — he hesitated, as if looking for words — “it speaks
She gasped. He could hear her notes? Her words? He
what she’d played? Impossible.
“As your voice speaks to me,” she tried to say lightly. She
meant to skirt around him, but somehow she got lost in his eyes and forgot.
“We do not have” — he hesitated again — “music…where I come
from. I like this manner of speech.” His voice rumbled deeply, an erotic
massage of her overly sensitized nerve endings.
“You’re a man of the cloth,” she protested, but she knew it
was already too late. She heard the hunger in his voice, felt it in her bones,
and somehow her logical mind slipped away, leaving her prone to the desires
she’d denied for too long. Gravity drew them together.
“I am a man, yes,” he agreed, although puzzlement creased
his brow. He rested his hands against the piano on either side of her,
entrapping her and pressing closer. “But my clothes are meaningless. If your
music speaks truly, material things are no impediment to what we crave.”
Amazingly, she still did not fear his encroachment, so lost
was she in the wonder of his voice. Before she had the presence of mind to make
the leap from
man of the cloth
, he pressed her back against the
piano with his length and drove one hand into her chignon, sending pins flying
across the Aubusson carpet.
The weight of him heated her breasts and lower parts.
Releasing the safety of the piano, she rested her hands on the robe over his
chest, pushing at him in a futile effort to deny the physical sensation of this
man and her craving for what he offered. Chantal knew she should push harder,
but curiosity and the compelling view of his sensual lips held her captive.
Instead of shoving him away, her hands drifted upward, and
scandalously, she marveled aloud, “You have the broadest shoulders. I love
broad shoulders on a man.”
He cupped her head with a strong hand, forcing her to look
at him while his thumb traced an exploratory path across her cheek, paralyzing
her with his gentleness. “Not the broadest,” he murmured honestly, “but I know
more than most men.”
Before she could respond to this confusing statement — know
? — his other arm
captured her waist, crushing her fragile skirt and bringing her even closer.
She could no longer free herself if she wanted. His robe concealed no soft
priest but iron-solid muscle.
Despite the temptation of his caress, she opened her mouth
to protest. She meant to protest, really. But his lips finally reached hers,
and his tongue took possession of her breath, and all rational thought ceased.
Effortlessly, he lifted her limp form, crushing her in his
embrace. Her skirts and petticoats protected her from feeling much below her
waist, but she grasped his shoulders for balance and absorbed their magnificent
strength while drinking in his kisses. She drowned beneath his hungry command,
letting the nectar of his breath fill her starving soul.
A little voice far in the back of her head tried reasoning
with her, but she slammed the door on reason. She wanted. He wanted. It seemed
He lifted her onto the lid covering the piano keys, propping
her against the back while he made short work of the fastenings beneath the bow
at her gown’s gauzy neckline. No man had touched her in such a fashion in so
He caught her gasp with his mouth as his marauding fingers
slipped beneath the muslin and played a sinful tune on her aroused nipple.
Desire shot straight to her loins. She moaned her pleasure and arched into his
palm so he could touch more of her.
“What matter of wonder you are,” he murmured in foreign
accents that warmed her inner ear, “to both soothe and arouse. My pardon, but I
cannot resist — ”
He cupped her buttocks, lifting her from the piano lid to
press her shoulders against the wall so they could feel more of each other. She
needed no more encouragement to wrap her legs around his waist and return his
fervent kisses, drowning in the avid possession of his tongue. She no longer
thought at all, but responded to the prowess of pure male animal.
He growled against her mouth. His whiskers scraped her
cheek, but the fresh scent of his skin filled her with longing. Her petticoats
fell back until the heat of his sex pulsed where she needed to be filled. He
carried no sword on his hip as gentlemen did. He’d left his staff leaning
against the furniture. But he was not weaponless. Beneath his robe he was
equipped as all men were. His robe dropped to the floor with a couple of
shrugs, and supple leather breeches chafed her thighs.
He adjusted her higher, releasing her breast to tug her
skirts free and find her needy flesh. Chantal cried out when his thumb parted
her sex and caressed her there.
He nipped her lips, then lowered his head to suckle her
breast at the same time that he expertly stroked the pulsing bud between her
Chantal exploded in spasms of pure pleasure. Weeping,
clinging, she was barely able to hold on while she surrendered to an ecstasy
she’d seldom experienced. Had Jean been too young to know that they could enjoy
this even when the consumption had weakened him? Why had she not known that the
pleasure of simply touching could be so grand?
“You belong to me,” the monk rumbled gruffly, holding her
tight so she did not fall.
She did not know if she heard aright, for her assailant took
that moment to shove aside the flap of his breeches. Before she had fully
recovered her whirling senses, he thrust the head of his thick erection between
the folds of flesh moistened by her pleasure.
Frightened, Chantal stiffened and tried to pull away, but it
was far, far too late to protest. The stranger spread the strong trunks of his
legs, stretching her wider and opening her completely before bringing her down
on himself so swiftly and surely that she shattered.
She may even have blacked out, so overwhelming was the
impalement of her long unused body.
The pressure completely filled her emptiness. In moments,
she was weeping with pleasure, tears flowing down her cheeks as she clung to
his hair while he thrust higher, deeper. She feared he had surely penetrated to
her very soul. As she came apart in his arms a second time, he muffled a cry of
triumph and flooded her with the thick, hot essence that had the potential to
tie her to him for all time.
Clasping her tightly in his arms, her powerful lover moaned
his rapture against her mouth, then fell still against her while they gathered
their breaths. Gently, he tasted her tears. He seemed to hesitate, waiting, as
if she should say or do something in the aftermath of such glorious insanity.
But she was too spent. She leaned her head against his broad
shoulder and allowed him to carry her to the chaise longue.
“No child came of this,” he informed her courteously, almost
with disappointment. “But there will be other opportunities. It is good to
verify that we share equal enjoyment of this act.”