PBW Stories

Paperback Writer's Fiction Blog

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

An excerpt from Evermore
A novel of the Darkyn
by Lynn Viehl

Jayr set Byrne's boots to one side and her gaze shifted to the window. "It is the last night of the full moon, my lord."

Was that resolve in her voice, or resignation?

"I forgot." How quickly he lied to her. Yet he could never tell his seneschal how impatiently he waited for this night each month, counting the weeks and days and sometimes, the hours. Knowing this was the night of renewal, his dents acérées had emerged fully from the moment she had entered his chamber.

Byrne took the hand Jayr offered, feeling the slight weight of the other she placed against his left thigh. Renewing the bond between a Kyn lord and his seneschal required a brief, largely ceremonial exchange of blood once during each moon cycle. Some lords had abandoned the archaic custom altogether, but Byrne would not.

This monthly concord, this communion, this one, selfish thing, he would have with her.

Byrne brought her hand to his mouth. As ever, the desire to drive his teeth into it pummeled him from the inside. He instead gently scored her palm with only the very tips of his fangs. Her skin, as cool and resilient as his own, parted for him. Only a few drops of her blood escaped before the scratches healed over, but they were enough.

As ever, the slightest taste of her blood made his head spin.

Jayr's voice stirred his hair as she repeated her oath of loyalty to him. "I willingly undergo everything for you, my lord, and will serve as your seneschal for all the days of my life."

Byrne took his mouth from her palm but didn't utter the usual reply or offer her his wrist. He didn't want it to end so quickly this time. This might well be their last exchange.

Until he left, she was his.

Jayr stared up at him. Expanding rings of violet lightened the sienna of her eyes, and the set of her mouth told him that her fangs had extended fully. Before he could see shame in her face, before he could think, he picked her up and set her on his thigh.

Jayr sat rigid in the circle of his arm. "My lord?"

"Stay." Byrne tore at the leather lacing below his collar, opening it. When she didn't accept his offering, he cupped the back of her head with his hand and brought her face to his throat. Her full lips pressed against his flesh, but she still did not use her teeth on him. "Open your mouth."

The soft heat of her breath scalded him as she obeyed, and as soon as he felt the sharp tips of her fangs he pressed her face against him, forcing her to bite into his throat.

"I accept you as my seneschal," he muttered as he held her there, his blood flowing into her mouth, "and give you service, honor, and the protection of my house."

Jayr made a low sound that moved over his skin before she reluctantly sucked at the wounds. The light, exquisite pressure of her feeding inched down his chest and belly, teasing and tightening everything in its path. In that moment, Byrne would have given her every drop of blood in his cursed veins, if only to hold her a little longer.

Fingertips touched his chest, a square palm settled against it. Her scent sharpened and darkened, dragging at him. His chest burned as he fought a swelling, roiling compulsion to claw away her garments and fill his hands with her flesh. As she lifted her mouth from the bite wounds they healed over, and his arms, dull and heavy, dropped away from her.

Jayr eased onto her feet and picked up his boots, carrying them over to the foot of his bed. She remained there, her back to him as she turned down the coverlet and linens. "Lord Locksley mentioned something about not competing in the archery contest this year." How normal she sounded. "So that others might have a chance at the prize."

"'Tis the only way they will." He saw her rearranging his pillows for his comfort and knew her touch would leave behind the scent of tansy. It had become the only thing that would lull him into the curious sleep of their kind. When she passed within his reach on her way to the woodbox, he almost pulled her back to him. His self-control would not last another minute. "Never mind the fire, I'm warm enough. Go to bed now, lass."

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