Here's an exclusive excerpt from A Ranger's Tale, along with the song that inspired the scene:
Caliphany, having fled home and a forced marriage, stowed away on Galadin's ship. She begged him to take her to the faerie city of Faewood and leave her there so she could be free. He did as she asked, but as he sailed away, he knew he just couldn't do it. Luckily, Galadin found Caliphany in one piece. The two of them managed to avoid being captured by the royal guard while hunting and exploring the Eastwood Mountains. After a dangerous, but thrilling experience fending off a horde of goblins (and their first kiss), Galadin decided to treat Caliphany to a relaxing evening for a change. The song above helped me envision this scene as the two of them danced, growing ever closer with their own rhythm of love:
Excerpt from Ch. 18:
Back in Faewood, we concealed ourselves and were relieved to see no evidence of the royal guard. Galadin led us to an inn off the main thoroughfare—a quaint, but busy place with a tavern on the first floor. I still wore my disguise of dark red hair, and my hunting leathers. We paid for our room, which was small, but thankfully had a screen in front of the bathing area.
I bathed first, and Galadin left the room. When he came back, he draped some clothes over the screen. I dried myself and examined the garments. He had found a long-sleeve white cotton blouse, a white silk chemise, and a pale blue, long, flowing skirt.
“Where did you get these?” I asked, pulling the skirt on.
“I borrowed them.”
My breath caught. He had taken off his boots and shirt. I gazed at his tanned chest, the muscles rippling underneath. He was eyeing the bite wound on his arm.
“It’s not so bad.” He noticed me looking at him, and pointed toward the bath. “I’ll just…be a minute.”
He hurried around the screen. I smiled and let down my hair to brush it out. With my dark red color, I felt like a different person. Or maybe it was Galadin. I was changing, coming to an understanding of who I really was inside. If only I knew the danger had subsided, and Galadin and I could truly be free. I set the brush down. But, if we were free, would he even want me?
Downstairs, in the tavern, we ate a delicious meal of roasted chicken, potatoes, and wild rice. We sat at a corner table, where the music and chatter all around us afforded a chaotic anonymity. Galadin wore a white shirt, with tight cuffs and generous sleeves, loosely laced at his collarbone. His tawny hair was clean, but unruly as ever.
He spoke above the tavern’s roar. “So, you’ve never seen Tilliya Island?”
I shook my head.
“I think it’s time I show you.”
“You don’t have a ship,” I shouted.
“I know where I can get one.”
Galadin drew an invisible “x” over his chest. “Cross my heart.”
When the waiter came by, I ordered Draeberry wine. Galadin raised an incredulous brow.
“Same for me,” he said, and the faery waiter flew back to the bar. He looked at me with a one-sided smile. “One glass of that, and I’ll be having my way with you.”
The waiter returned. I wrapped my fingers around the cold glass. “Oh? I doubt that.”
Five glasses later, we were dancing. A visiting gypsy band played. Their tambourines, bongo drums, and fiddles surrounded us with sultry melodies. The music animated our bodies, drifted around us in a seductive, rhythmic embrace. Galadin clasped my body against his. We shimmied and swayed—so different from the ballroom dancing to which I was accustomed. His hearty laughter was as intoxicating as the wine. I never wanted this night to end. In his arms, I was free to be me, to let down my guard and allow my heart to soar. Galadin had made me believe in myself, and if we never shared another night like this, I would always be grateful to him for that.
Among the crowd of strangers, no one cared that we danced like lovers. My breasts pressed into his chest. I gripped his back, and we swished as one being into the rising tempo. When my leg traveled up his thigh, he gripped my knee and I let my shoulders and head fall back away from him. He swung me in a half circle and then pulled me up again. Our faces were so close; his hot breath caressed my lips. I kissed him wildly, and he stumbled.
When I pulled back, he said, “Gawd, you’re beautiful. Jesh quit beatin’ around the bush and shtay with me tonight.”
I sighed and shook my head. “Sure. Let me help you to the room.”
With his arm around my shoulders, I led him upstairs. I helped him sit on the bed and took off his shirt. His eyes blinked one at a time, and he sank back on the bed. I pulled his legs onto the bed to make him comfortable.
He mumbled, “Cali, you’re so…I…” Then he closed his eyes and became oblivious to the world.
“I know,” I whispered. “I love you too.”
Wondering what happens next? Will Galadin finally sober up and admit his love for Cali? Or will something (or someone) else tear them apart before he has the chance? Pick up your copy of A Ranger’s Tale to find out. It’s just $0.99 until TOMORROW (2/28/14) on Amazon Kindle!!