Authors: Jacquelyn Frank
His gaze dropped to the pretty bow of her lips; her top lip was sculpted perfectly and her bottom lip plump and inviting. She was close enough that he could smell the cleanness of her. She must have had a bath recently. He could say the same. Every night after he dragged himself out of the dirt the first thing he did was find somewhere to wash the grime off him, to wash away any traces of his curse. It was a small little rebellion. An empty one. But he wanted nothing to remind him of what would come again all too soon.
She saw where his attention had gone and she licked her lips, wetting them invitingly. She opened her mouth to say “Kiss me,” but he was already there. He pulled her forward onto his mouth, but savored the moment just before he really engaged her. It was a tease, a breathless pause before he covered her mouth in earnest. The taste of her spread over him like a balm. He engaged her tongue almost instantly, wanting her flavor. Her mouth was everything plush and decadent, sweet and headyâ¦like strong drink, warming and dizzying. For just those few seconds he no longer felt like a cursed man.
It was a gift she gave without realizing it, and he was humbly grateful for it.
His hand went to the back of her head and he found himself frustrated by the two tight braids her hair was bound into. Her hair should be free and flowing, easier to bury his hands into, easier to feel the silkiness of it. And from what he could feel, he knew it would be very smooth and soft indeed.
One kiss ended and another began. Then another. His breath came hard as her hands dove into his hair. He was keeping it long these days, so she got a good handful of his loose curls and didn't let go.
She finally broke from his mouth, but only long enough to throw her leg over him, straddling his lap and tucking the seat of her bottom tightly to his erection. He was confined by the suddenly tight material of his pantsâand the fact they were in a crowded room, but that didn't keep him from sliding his free hand up over her ribs beneath her vest and thenâ¦oh, there it was. The elusive breast.
She wore a simple linen shirt, but he could tell she had bound herself up with a snug wrapping beneath it, in an effort to look less like a woman no doubt. Still he could feel her just the same. He was pleasantly surprised to find she was quite well endowed for such a slight figured woman. He would have thought she'd run more to being built like a boy. But it was perhaps her mode of dress that had misled him. That and the damnable vest that had hid the true wealth of her feminine features.
With breasts like these it wasn't any wonder.
Her hands grew busy, drifting out of his hair and down his neck. She was running her hands in broad strokes over his chest a moment later and he growled from the fiery sensations the caresses sent through him. Their kisses grew more and more intense the lower her hands traveled, until she caressed his hips, pausingâ¦teasing him. She lifted her mouth from his and said in a throaty, purring voice, “I have a room upstairs. Normally I would camp out in the open, but I decided to splurge tonight. I'm glad I did.”
“I'm glad you did too,” he said, his voice rough with passion and need.
“It's at the top of the stairs. I'll meet you there in a minute. I have toâ¦take care of something.” She blushed a little and he realized she needed to relieve herself. He chuckled.
He patted her bottom and she dismounted his lap and headed for the front door of the inn. She shot him a shy little teasing smile and then slipped outside.
Maxum sat back a minute, grinning to himself. His fortunes really seemed to be changing for the better these days. First he had acquired the talismanâno mean feat thatâthen he had found something sweet to savor for the night. Yes, indeed, things were looking up for him. If the trend continued, he might actually one day succeed in what he was attempting to do.
It wasn't as though there weren't a precedent. There had once been other gods, but the current reigning gods had usurped their positions, killing off their competition. If a god could do it, then by the gods, so could he.
Feeling happy and magnanimous he got to his feet and said, “Boys! Next round's on me!”
He tossed a gold coin to the barmaid, who caught it expertly. Her eyes went wide when he said, “Keep the rest for yourself, honey.” It was no wonder. She was doubtless more used to seeing copper and silver than gold. It was possible she had never seen a gold coin in her life.
“Have a good time,” Kyno said. Clearly, despite their revelry, his men had been attentive enough to see what he'd been doing and they had figured out where he was going to be spending his night.
“Sleep fair, Maxum!” Dru said.
“Oy, there's not much sleeping going to be happening there, what?” Doisy said with a loud belch.
Maxum made his way up to the room at the top of the stairs with a grin on his face. He entered and found the standard for most inns. A bed just big enough to sleep twoâalthough not two of Maxum's size, that's to be certain. It would barely suit one with its short mattress that would no doubt leave his feet dangling off at the ankles. Maxum didn't waste any time stripping off his shirt. He debated whether or not to rid himself of his pants as well, but she hadn't struck him as too much of the shy sort so he went for it and shucked them off. He was folding them when he fished into his pocket for the talisman. He wanted to make sure it was safely secured.
That was when he realized it was no longer in his pocket. He immediately searched the floor, thinking it had fallen out. Coming up empty he quickly pulled his pants back on and hurried, bare-chested, back out into the inn.
“Oy, that was quick!” Kyno belted out, making the other men laugh uproariously. Maxum ignored them and went to search the seat he had been sitting inâ¦and that's when it hit him.
“Fuck me!” he cried out as he bolted for the door. He ran into the stable where he'd seen a fine stallion of dappled coloring tied up earlier. Something told him it was hers and sure enough it was missing.
He ran out into the darkness, but there was no hope for it.
The little thief had made off with his hard-earned talisman.