Coming November 9th from XOXO Publishing:
FAVOLA: Re-telling a fairytale for an adult audience:
Late in the night, Francesco rose from the pallet of straw that was his bed at the inn, and he stared out the window at the tower a short distance away. A dim, golden light filtered from a window high in the tower, and he knew she was there. Drawn, he took his traveling cloak and began to make his through the inn to the tower.
Long minutes later, Francesco stepped into the cool night air and walked toward the tower, sheltered by the darkness, unseen even by the glowing moon. There was a door hidden at the very back of the tower, and he tested it. Locked, naturally. He knocked softly, and was surprised to hear a soft voice from the other side moments later.
“Who is there?”
“I am a guest at the
lace w:st="on">Innlace>, I would like to speak with you, lovely Capricia.”
“You would be wiser to leave me alone, signore.”
“Wisdom and passion are seldom in agreement, cara mia,” Francesco all but purred, trying to lure her trust with only his voice as enticement.
“I have no key to permit you to enter here,” she told him.
“Where will I find the key?”
“I don’t know, my mother keeps it close to her.”
“I will find it.”
Francesco sat, and leaned against the door. “Let us talk, tesoro, I wish to know you.”
And so his quest began. Each day he tried to charm the hard-hearted Bella, but she no longer trusted his motive. Each night he would slip from the
lace w:st="on">Innlace> and go to the tower’s door where he would woo Capricia with his words.
Almost a week passed before he found his prize and slipped into the night, the key to the tower clutched in his hand. When he opened the door and raced up the stairs, he found Capricia sitting in front of a fire. Her hands rose to cover her mouth as she stared in shock at his sudden appearance. When she was able to speak, her voice was little more than a hoarse whisper.
“Do you know what you risk by coming to me this way?”
It was hardly the welcome he wanted after a week of sleepless nights. She turned away and he went to sit in the chair that faced the fire.
“You should not have come.”
Francesco glared at her. She was seated before him, and the light of the fire caressed her face, softened the already delicate features to angelic sweetness. She was dressed as she had been in the market, a light cotton skirt and peasant blouse. As she prodded the fire, he could clearly see the enticing roundness of her breasts outlined beneath the white shirt. The ache in his loins, an increasingly familiar discomfort, grew to become real pain.
“I risk nothing! Your mother’s greed is nothing to me,” he finally answered her first question. As he watched her, he did become convinced that his presence was a mistake, but not for the reasons she feared. He had recognized her innocence, and was now fighting with himself, hoped his tone would stop what he himself had started, before he tossed aside his control and simply took what he wanted so badly.
For a moment the challenge hung between them. To his shock, Capricia thought seriously on the casual words. He saw the change in her expression, but was not prepared when she looked up into his eyes and nodded solemnly, her dark eyes bright with yearning.
“She will never allow me to leave here, Francesco,” she whispered in a voice husky with tears. “If she does, it will be to sell me to the highest bidder. If I am ruined by your hands, I will be left alone. I would prefer that to being owned by anyone of her choosing.”
“You would sell yourself to me instead?” He was angry, but couldn’t begin to decipher why. He was further disconcerted when she shook her head and gathered his hands in hers.
“I would give myself to you, Francesco,” she promised.
“Because you make me want you as I’ve never wanted any man,” she confessed. “You have made me love you.”
“You’re a fool, girl!”
“Do you not want me?”
Francesco’s vivid blue eyes glittered ominously in the flickering light of the fire’s bright blaze.
“Do not toy with me, Capricia.” Faced with her, and the power of his own emotions, he was angry, not pleased, trapped in his own seduction.
His surprise turned to astonishment when she rose and he watched in stunned silence as she slowly removed every item of clothing she wore. When she stood before him, naked in the glow of the firelight, he thought he’d go quietly mad if he didn’t possess her. She was as stunning as he’d known she would be, long legs smoothly curved and shaped, the enticing triangle of dark hair dipping between her thighs a promise of heaven. Her hips flared delicately and sloped into a dainty waist. His eyes continued their trek upward, his gaze feasting on the enticing swell of her breasts, and the hard buds at their peaks.
Weariness forgotten, Francesco beckoned her forward and she moved into his arms, cradled his head against the cushion of her breasts. He lifted her off her feet, settled her across his thighs, and drew her mouth to his. Their kiss was tentative at first, but quickly became urgent and demanding. He’d wanted to touch her like this since the first moment he’d caught sight of her, and had fallen under the spell of her innocent beauty. Her tongue entwined with his, and his hands cupped her rounded buttocks, pulled her into more intimate contact with him.
Capricia tossed her gleaming mane of auburn-tinted brown hair to one side, arched her back as his mouth covered one achingly hard nipple. He sucked gently, and each stroke of his tongue sent a new bolt of flame coursing through her veins. She moaned, twisted restlessly as his lips brushed over her flushed skin in leisurely, tormenting kisses. His tongue trailed over the swell of her breast and began caressing the sensitive underside of the responsive globe of flesh. While he suckled and licked her silken skin, his hand moved to the heated folds between her legs. She was slick and swollen when his fingers probed carefully, and her gasp of surprise encouraged him, he plunged a finger deep into her, the sound of moist fire loud between them. His thumb found the nub of her clit and began to caress leisurely, making her moan against his shoulder while her hips pushed into the taunting touch. Finally, she tugged his head away from her, and captured his lips again as she began to pull his shirt free of his breeches.
“Eager, aren’t you, amore mio?” he teased long minutes later. He carefully set her aside, and stood. Her eyes watched every movement he made as he quickly rid himself of his own restricting garments.