Zinnia Hope, author of multi-genres and erotic romances; also writing as J. Emberglass
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Wednesday, June 21
Hello everyone! Remember, my contest is still open. It closes noon, June 30th. If you need more details, here's a direct link to THE CONTEST.
In a few days, Freya's Bower will release my new novel HONEYSUCKLE AND WILD ROSES. Below is an excerpt of the opening scene from Chapter One. I hope you enjoy it and that you will look forward to purchasing this novel.
Honeysuckle and Wild Roses
©2006 Zinnia Hope
Opening scene excerpt
His emerald green eyes mesmerized her, and the hunger within them both excited and frightened Honey. She knew she shouldn’t feel this way about a stranger, a man who couldn’t possibly exist.
He lowered his sinewy body onto hers. His scent, a curious blend of spices and sun-baked leaves, intoxicated Honey like the heady moonbeam wine her sister, Bella, made. His hands kneaded her breasts as his lips traveled from her neck to the valley between them. She gasped as he seized the sensitive peak of one, parting her legs with one of his knees…
Jerking awake, Honey glanced around. Between her legs, her undergarment felt hot and wet, and her pulse pounded in her ears. She could still feel her lover’s caresses, still smell the spicy aroma of his body. Blinking sleepily, she recalled lying down in the grass next to her mother’s goldfish pond, thinking of her upcoming birthday, the late afternoon sun warming her bones.
A shadow fell over her. Honey turned to find a pair of scuffed leather boots covered in green embers. More fell on the grass and the toes of the boots, winking out like dying fireflies. She swatted the boots, patting out the… Honey paused, frowning. Where had the fiery green sparks gone?
She rubbed her eyes and looked up, sighing nervously upon seeing her brother. “Oh, Shandy! You frightened me! I was…uh…dreaming.” Her face grew warm as the details of her vivid dream rushed in upon her. “I had no idea you had returned.”
He favored her with a roguish grin that made the townswomen helpless against his charms, and his sisters vie for his attention. “You were dreaming that you were mashing my toes?”
Honey giggled, feeling ridiculous. “I thought I saw green…” She shrugged. “Forgive me. It was silly and childish.”
“Mother sent me to look for you,” Shandy said, an amused note in his voice. “Our evening meal is ready.”
Honey couldn’t quite meet his eyes. She felt heat rising into her cheeks again.
“Is something wrong?”
She shook her head.
Shandy reached down and stroked the top of her head. “I heard you murmuring in your sleep, Li’l One. Was your dream a bad one?”
Next to her, several large goldfish disturbed the water’s surface. Honey twiddled her fingers in the water, contemplating her dream—or dreams. For the past year, a lover came to her while she slept. The same mysterious man kissed and touched her until she awoke gasping, and quivering. Sadly, she could never recall much about him except his riveting emerald eyes, his wondrous touch, and the exquisite sensation of his body upon hers.
When she’d awaken, the scent of spices and sunbaked leaves clung to her clothes and hair. Even the taste of him would cavort upon her tongue.
Looking up at her brother, Honey replied, “It wasn’t a bad dream, but it was certainly—unnerving.” What had Shandy actually heard? Shame washed over her so intensely that her heart thudded loudly in her ears.
Her brother offered his hand. “Come, Li’l One. Mother will be wroth with us if we let our food grow cold.”
She allowed him to help her to her feet, and reluctantly, she met his gaze. A knowing smile danced within Shandy’s eyes.
“When did you get back?” she asked in hopes that the change in discussion would distract her brother from the intense fire gracing her cheeks. “The family assumed you’d be gone for a few more days.”
“I returned about an hour ago,” Shandy replied and tucked her arm into his.
“Did you have any trouble in the Great Wood?”
He chuckled. “The Fae folk do not bother me, Li’l One. I’m Shandy the Brave! Shandy the Conqueror!”
Swatting his arm, Honey laughed softly. “I missed you, brother. It is boring here when you’re gone for several days.”
“I brought you material for a new dress,” he said, offering her a wide smile, his eyes dancing with mischief.
“A bright green like the fields outside the village.”
“Oh, how wonderful!” she squealed. “I hope it wasn’t too expensive.”
“For you, Li’l One, it was worth it.”
She smiled up at her brother as he led her through the garden. “But won’t giving me such a lovely gift make our sisters jealous?”
“I brought them each something so that no one would feel neglected or favored above another.” He patted her hand snuggled in the crook of his arm. “You are so selfless, Li’l One. Perhaps that’s why I do favor you so.”
The hoof beats of approaching horses drifted into the gardens. Following the sound, Honey spotted a dark red cap upon one of the riders. She squinted, trying to see better, but as the riders entered the farm’s gate, there was no doubt as to the identity of the visitors.
Halting, Honey groaned and stomped her foot. “Oh, how I hate it when Mother invites that bore!”
“Perhaps tonight we’ll get lucky and Kaedric will choke on a morsel of food.”
Surprise slithered over Honey. She looked up into her brother’s eyes and saw anger and…hate?
“Do you truly wish such an ill fate upon another?” she asked.
Growling in irritation, Shandy took a step forward with her. “I really do detest that man,” he said. “His father, Jorgus, isn’t quite as bad, but it’s obvious he desires you to wed Kaedric.”
“If Mother has her way, I’ll be Kaedric’s wife by the end of the year.”
“Possibly sooner if negotiations go well with Jorgus.” The anger in his voice carried on the evening breeze.
“Don’t say that!” Honey tried to keep the distraught tone out of her voice but failed miserably.
As they turned up the footpath leading to the house, Honey saw their sister, Callan, run out of the barn to greet their dinner guests.
“You will not marry that pompous ass,” Shandy said. A shiver raced through Honey at the menacing tone in her brother’s voice. “It is my right as the man of the house to choose whom you shall marry.”
“Our father may be dead, but you will still have to fight Mother, and you know how she is when her mind is made up. Kaedric and his father are the wealthiest of the villagers. Mother sees Kaedric as the perfect man for me—and an easy way to pay our debts.” Fighting a wave of despair, Honey added. “Their wealth aside, everyone believes both men are pleasing to the eyes and very charming.”
“So is a snake sunning itself upon a pretty rock.”