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Love – is one ever really prepared for all it entails? Marten thinks so!
Heart – the pathway to true love was never meant to be easy. Davan knows all about that.
Soul – finding love is part of it, trust is another, and Cam is intent on his soul mate cresting that last hurdle.
“Don’t stop.” Davan stepped out from the shadows, and even though she couldn’t make out his features with the shadows cast from behind him, she could hear the anger in his voice.
Staying exactly where she was, Delias frowned. “What do you want?”
“I want you out of the water.”
“Really? I don’t think so.”
Coolly she looked him up and down. “Why don’t you go and harass someone else, Davan?”
Big hands settled on lean hips, making his giant frame seem even more menacing. “You don’t want me coming in after you, wench.”
“Oh, I’m so scared.” Scowling, she flicked her hand at him. “Go away. I’m not coming out until you’re gone.”
“’Tis too bad, wench. I’m not leaving until you’re out.”
“Oh, ’tis so?”
“Aye.” The bite in his tone was sharp.
Delias tossed her head. “If you’re hoping for a glimpse of flesh, Peacekeeper, I’m disappointed in you. You’re supposed to be protecting me, not asking me to come out naked in full view.”
Davan’s hissing inhale from between his clenched teeth was audible. “Are you telling me that you’re not just swimming alone, but you’re also naked?”
“My, aren’t you the quick-witted one.” Delias raised one brow haughtily.
Those long, strong legs took one step closer and the air was suddenly tangible with threat. “Get out of the water now, Delias.”
The shiver that went through her wasn’t exactly fear, but it wasn’t far from it. That and something else she wasn’t going to examine too closely. Just as she wasn’t going to take his orders. “Go away, Davan. I’m not interested in being bullied.”
“If you don’t get out right now, Delias, I’m coming in after you, and trust me, you don’t want that.”
She stared up at him, her thoughts starting to turn. It wasn’t the normal tone Davan used, and his approach wasn’t normal, either. Why was he in such a snit about her being naked in the water? “No Daamen man would touch me, so why the big performance?”
“The big performance, wench, is that there are visiting merchants here and any one of them could stumble across you. They wouldn’t look the other way.”
“’Tis no one here. They all left this afternoon.”
“Which just goes to prove you don’t know everything, doesn’t it? A small group of merchants arrived this evening. Now get out of the damned water, for I’ll not tell you again.”
Now she could understand his concern, but still... “I’m not coming out with you standing there.”
Without further hesitation, Davan strode to the edge of the bank.
He was coming in after her! A thrill of fear shot through her and Delias held up one dripping hand. “Stop! Wait! Davan, nay!”
The water was actually lapping at the toe of his boot when he halted. “’Tis your final chance, Delias.”
“But I can’t...you’re there...I won’t come out naked!” she finally burst out.
“I’m not leaving.” Anger still threaded his voice.
“You can’t possible expect me to come out of here naked? In front of you?”
There was silence for several seconds. “Why not? You put yourself on display for others who might pass.”
Oh, ’twas unfair! The unexpected lash of the words stung. Delias could only gape up at him, stunned. She couldn’t see his face, but she caught the glint of his eyes in the shadows. A slight breeze sprung up, stirring the loose tendrils of hair that escaped his ponytail. His very pose was almost a threat. Come out or I’m coming in. And she had no doubt that this time he meant it. For some strange reason, Davan was furious with her, and it wasn’t the normal disapproval she would have expected.
Swallowing, she muttered, “At least turn away.”
At first she didn’t think he was even going to allow her that right, and she bit her lip and glanced around. Everything was quiet, there was no sight or sound of anyone else. They were alone. She was alone with a furious Daamen male, and that made her inwardly quake.
For about five seconds. The unfairness of it all, and a growing anger, propelled her into recklessness.
“Fine!” With a toss of her head, she moved forward. “Stare all you want, Davan! Get a bloody good eyeful, because I swear ’tis all you’ll ever get! And I’ll tell you this now,” she continued to rage as she moved further up the bank, the water now lapping around her waist while she refused to contemplate how exposed she was, “When Red comes home, he’ll thrash the living hell out of you!”
But for all her bravado, she couldn’t look at him. The water fell to her hips, then to her knees, and finally she was standing on the bank before him. Totally humiliated, she looked up, almost ready to cry in furious embarrassment, only to find him looking the other way and holding up her delicate silk gown in his big hands.
“Get dressed,” he ordered.
Relief washed through her at the realisation that he hadn’t been watching her nakedness and snatching the gown from his hands, she yanked it over her head and tugged it into place.
It clung to her wet body and cursing under her breath, she knelt down and searched the shadows for her underwear.
“Looking for these?” A big hand was suddenly under her nose and the lacy scraps of her underwear looked ludicrously delicate in the big palm.
Cheeks burning, she snatched them out of his hand and jerked upright, narrowly missing hitting her head against his chin as he straightened quickly.
Balling the undergarments in her hand, she scowled up at him, her cheeks burning. “You’re a bastard, Davan!”
Now she could see his face more clearly, the firm jaw-line, the dangerous handsomeness, and the fury in his eyes. At her words, a muscle ticked in his jaw.
“Nothing to say for yourself?” she goaded, pushed by her humiliation to rant at him. “No score for my body? Was it a ten or just a one? Maybe a five? Did you get a good look, Davan? ’Twas worth it?”
She swore she heard his teeth grind right before he answered, “I didn’t look, wench, and well you know it. Now why were you out here alone?”
“Because I’m not on a damned leash!”
His glittering gaze swept her from head to toe and back up again. She could swear she felt it like a lick of fire. “Mayhaps you need to be.”
“Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Incensed, she stood toe to toe with him and glared up, having to tilt her head back to do so. “How about a muzzle as well? A little electric shock every time I open my mouth and say something you don’t approve of? While you’re at it, you could make me sleep in a hound’s kennel!”
For a big man he moved fast. Davan gripped both her upper arms and jerked her up onto tip-toes so that she was flush against his body.
She could feel the heat of him, the hardness of his muscles against her softer curves, and his masculine, clean scent invaded her senses as she took in a deep breath. It was almost... disorientating. His nearness, his warmth, his—
“One day, wench, you’re going to push me too far,” he ground out between clenched teeth.
Her senses cleared in a flash. “Ooohhh, did I hit a nerve after all?” Delias tried to shrug out of his hold but the big hands clamped firmly around her upper arms didn’t release her. “Let go.”
Bending down, Davan was suddenly a lot closer than comfort dictated. Even in the dimness she could make out the hard set of his jaw and the glint of his eyes. The Head Peacekeeper was angry. Nay, furious. “One day, Delias...”
This was the first time she’d ever gotten a rise out of him and a smug feeling of satisfaction coursed through her. It went a long way to soothing her humiliated feelings.
“What? You intend to teach me some manners? Teach me to be all polite and nice to the big peacekeeper?”
The breath he sucked in was harsh. She could almost feel the danger in the air now. A zing of alarm speared through her. Oops, mayhaps I have finally gone a bit far. No sooner had the thought occurred to her than she scoffed it away. She opened her mouth only to find one big hand clamped suddenly over it.
“Don’t say one more word,” Davan grated warningly.
As though she had much choice with his hand over her mouth. Reaching up, she wrenched his hand away and spat out, “Or you’ll what? Throw me in the cells?”
“Keep this up, Delias, and I’ll put you across my knee and give you the spanking your parents never saw to.”
Delias’s mouth fell open in outrage and shock. “You wouldn’t dare!”
“Don’t ever dare me, wench. Not ever again.” He loomed over her and now he was almost nose to nose with her, his very breadth and height blocking out the night sky.
Time seemed to stand still. The air was fraught with threat and something else, something she didn’t quite understand but instinctively felt was a turning point to... something.
The night was hushed, as though every living creature waited for something to happen. The seconds ticked past as Delias and Davan glared furiously at each other. Delias had no idea what exactly would have happened if she hadn’t suddenly shivered as the breeze across the river turned chill.
With a muttered curse, Davan released her and stepped back. “Get your sandals on, Delias. I’m taking you home.”
Relieved to have some room between them, Delias shoved her feet into her sandals and stormed off.
Davan fell into step beside her.
“I can walk by myself!” She snapped.
“Don’t,” was all he replied grimly, but it was enough.
There was still something dark between them, something unchecked, untouched, and unknown. It lingered, and Delias was leery of facing whatever it was, because she knew she wasn’t ready. And after his threat, which she instinctively knew he’d keep, she wasn’t going to push anymore boundaries. At least not until her parents or brother were home to provide a buffer. She wasn’t stupid.
Born in Victoria, Australia, my childhood was spent in a variety of places, both in towns and the outback. Now settled in Western Australia, I work as a nurse. A love of animals has me involved in animal welfare, and certainly explains why the cats hog my bed and the hot water bottle!
Reading has always been my escape, writing my dream. Horror, myths, legends, fantasy and history – there are no limits to the wonders to be found. And romance? Well, that adds the spice, hope and happiness ever after.
ove Heart And Soul Moments: “…it is classic Angela Verdenius. You get suspense, love, and family. You don't want to put the stories down until you are done because of all the Love, Heart and Soulful Moments that are in these stories.” -- Lydia Funneman, Writers Unlimited
Love Heart And Soul Moments:“It is not often that we get to revisit our favorite couples in a series; few authors take the time to focus on what happens after the “Happily Ever After” ending of their books. You will enjoy this quick look into the ongoing lives and it whets your appetite for her next book. I have said it before and with this look back I have to say, write faster, I can’t wait!!!” -- Brenda Edde, Reviewer.
“I strongly encourage readers to rush out and buy their copy of this collection. Prepare to curl up on the sofa and immerse yourself in Love, Heart, and Soul Moments. I promise you, it will be worthy of your time and attention as you soar across the universes with three loveable couples.” -- Kelley Hartsell, Reviewer, CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 324
Paper Weight (lb): 13.6
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