Guardian to the royals of Dormiraa, for seven years Bharia has protected Princess Thalia on her royal tour…and for seven years, duty has compelled she ignore her craving for fellow Guardian, Stahg. Finally returning home, an ambush separates guardian from charge, Bharia and Stahg finding themselves for the first time alone.
Without the princess between them, long suppressed passion erupts, and Bharia discovers Stahg has hidden his own craving. But when they find the princess, when they reach home, can duty and desire coexist?
~ Excerpt ~
They should never have been so long away from Queenstor and the throne. Thalia’s royal Tour should have lasted a year, maybe two, not the seven it had taken for the tailor to find and retrieve her. Bharia had no notion why it had lasted so long, but it was not her place to question. She was but to serve and protect, and she had done so. That she liked Thalia, respected her, was due to knowing the princess and counting her a friend.
She couldn’t leave her friend unprotected. “We can’t let her get too far,” she said, raising her hand to her throbbing head. Her fingers shook. Perhaps she was more affected than she thought.
“I know.” Stahg’s hand twitched. She wondered at that. He often looked at her with the same expression and his hand would twitch or clench. Before she could wonder further, he continued, “Now you have woken, I will secure us passage to Queenstor, but you will need one more day.”
She threw back the covers and ignored how her head swam. “I am ready.”
Stahg said nothing, his light blue eyes watching her.
She met his gaze. “I know myself, Stahg.”
A long, thoughtful silence. Finally, he nodded. “Then we shall leave.”
Swinging her legs around, she stood. A wave of nausea overtook her, and her knees buckled. Strong hands circled her waist. Gripping Stahg’s shoulders, she swallowed the ill feeling rising within her.
As the nausea faded, awareness grew. Gentle fingers brushed her hair, traced the shell of her ear. A shiver reverberated through her skin, along her neck, down her arm, and she wanted to sink into him, to let him take her burdens. She wanted his lips against her temple, and then against her mouth. She wanted his tongue and his taste. She wanted these things, and she wanted him.
Closing her eyes, she allowed this one moment, this brief vulnerability. She knew he meant comfort only, but this one time she would pretend….
But pretence was for fools, and those who didn’t guard. Thalia needed them.
Pushing herself from him, she thumped his shoulder. He winced, but he said naught.
“Come, Stahg, let us away. We have a princess to find.”