Authors: Genevieve Jack
Carpe Luna Publishing
Queen of The Hill: The Knight Games series, Book 3
Copyright © 2014 Carpe Luna Publishing
Published by Carpe Luna, Ltd., PO Box 5932, Bloomington, IL 61701
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the author or publisher.
FIRST EDITION: MAY 2014
Cover design by Steven Novak
Formatting by Polgarus Studio.
Knight Games Series
The Ghost and The Graveyard
Kick The Candle
Queen of the Hill
(and more to come!)
ex is different with someone you love. New sex extinguishes a fire; old love stokes the embers. In a way, sex is a lot like wine—drinkable as soon as it ferments. But if you allow it to age, the result is a visceral experience—a nirvana of the senses.
When it came to Rick and me, we’d aged together for multiple lifetimes. Every touch elicited an irresistible array of memories. Each caress ignited a new flavor on the emotional spectrum. Sweet and aromatic. Complex. Layered. Having a long finish. An enticing intoxication of hormonal chemistry and raw heat.
I loved Rick.
In bed beneath me, he dug his fingers into the hair at the nape of my neck and tugged. I lifted my cheek from his chest to meet his gaze. His hooded stare held nothing short of reverence, his pupils almost black with need. “You must know you bewitch me in a way that has nothing to do with magic. I have crossed oceans of time to be with you. Lifetimes. I would do it again, but I hope I never have to.”
“You won’t,” I promised. “We’re together now, and I plan to be careful with myself.”
I trailed my fingertips up the side of his chest and over the length of his arm. Iridescent purple magic followed my touch, markedly beautiful beside his dark hair and the silky red pillowcase under his head. The streak wasn’t something I was consciously producing. Power poured out of me with so much love. At journey’s end, my left hand linked with his, my engagement ring squeezed inside the web of his long fingers.
The blue and silver cushion of gems that marked our coming nuptials was both old and new. The ring itself was antique, commissioned in the 1700’s, but its place on my finger was a novelty. Rick had asked me to marry him only a few short weeks ago, and I had said yes. I was engaged. To be married. To Enrique Ordenez—Rick. My caretaker.
I pressed my lips against the side of his neck. The heat of my breath brought his blood to the surface. Liquid ambrosia. My personal recipe for the elixir of life. During my first lifetime as a witch, I’d made the decision to store an immortal part of my soul inside Rick when Reverend Monk burned me at the stake in 1698. Of course, I don’t remember all the details, having died and been reborn several times since. But I had pieced together this much: I didn’t have to give Rick my immortality. I chose to. By using magic to create a symbiotic relationship between the two of us, I’d ensured we would be together forever. A lovely side effect was his blood healed me, and my blood strengthened him.
“I need to be inside you,” he whispered into my ear. His hand found purchase between the dimples of my lower back. I obliged, shifting my hips to join with him. He groaned and rolled me over.
Nestled under his rock-hard body, his lips brushed my ear as he whispered a mellifluous string of Spanish syllables. The exotic adoration lulled me into a blissful state with each magnificent thrust. I had no idea what he said, but I knew exactly what he meant.
“Look down,” Rick whispered.
“Down?” I tipped my face to the side. My hair swung below me in my line of sight. We were levitating above the mattress, suspended in midair.
“Me?” I asked.
“You,” he whispered.
I sighed. The power from our connection flowed through me as Rick gently guided my chin back to center and his mouth crashed down on mine. His lovemaking became more fervent, and I was quick to respond in kind.
We both ignored the sound at the door and came together in a mind-blurring crescendo. I clung to him fervently through airborne aftershocks. The internal fireworks were still going off when the interruption came again.
“I have returned twice. I shall not return again,” came Soleil’s shrill voice.
We dropped like a two-ton weight. The bed groaned in protest.
“She sounds pissed,” I said.
Rick rolled off me, pulling the sheet over our spent bodies. “Enter,” he called.
The door swung open to reveal Soleil’s tight expression and ballerina-like physique. I was sure the lock had been engaged from the inside, but then, as the madam of Maison des Étoiles, Soleil had ultimate control. Each room was enchanted to bring to life the desires of the patrons. Soleil was celestial fae. In fact, her sunny disposition had saved my ass from death by vampire in the past—the winter solstice, to be exact. Fae magic played a big part in the lure of her bordello, too, and was why Rick and I were there. I’d had my first threesome in this room with Rick and … Rick.
“Grateful, may I remind you that you have a dress fitting today at noon?” Soleil asked. She tucked a stray honey-colored hair back into her chignon with a set of perfectly manicured fingers.
I yawned and stretched my arms above my head. “That’s tomorrow. Remember? On Saturday.”
With a flippant giggle, I said, “Very funny. That would mean Rick and I have been, uh, in this room for more than twenty-four hours.”
Soleil’s gracefully arched brows pinched together over her nose. “Exactly. Not only are we going to be late, I need the room.”
Sheets clutched to my bosom, I sat up and grabbed my cell off the nightstand to check the time. “Shit!” I repeated the curse as I dispensed with modesty and leapt from the bed in search of my clothes. It was like an Easter egg hunt. My panties were hanging from the corner of the wardrobe. My jeans were in a heap under the legs of a Louis XVI chair. With my bare bum in the air, I bent over to pick them up, then glanced back to see if Soleil was staring.
She giggled, light and clear as silver bells, and averted her eyes.
“Sorry,” I said sheepishly.
“This wouldn’t be a problem if you allowed enough time for proper wedding preparations,” she said between laughs. “A March date is too aggressive. It is already mid-January.”
I sighed. “It has to be the afternoon of the spring equinox—Ostara,” I said. “On March twentieth, the magic surrounding new beginnings will be at its apex. It is the perfect day to renew our life together and begin a new marriage. A metaphysical phoenix from the flames.”
“Sounds superstitious,” Soleil said.
Arms filled with clothes, I ducked into the bathroom to freshen up. Although I closed the door behind me, I could still hear Rick’s reply.
“The wedding will come and go; the marriage is what’s important. If Grateful wants to start our marriage on the day of new beginnings, so be it. I don’t care if she walks down the aisle in jeans and a T-shirt and we eat her blessed Pop-Tarts for dinner.”
I grinned. Good man.
“I doubt she would be pleased with such circumstances,” Soleil said.
She was right.
“If something is not to her liking, she can change it,” Rick said.
“You mean, use magic.”
“She’s getting stronger. Her power has blossomed and her magic is as good or better than mine,” Rick said.
“I thought she was still learning her spells,” Soleil said.
“Natural magic. She levitated just a moment ago, and you saw how she called the storm during the solstice. Learning the spells will come with time, but natural magic is more powerful than any potion or incantation.” Rick sounded so proud. My heart swelled thinking about how he stuck up for me.
“Well, considering she might have a few things to think about on her wedding day other than magic, let’s hope we can make it to the dress shop on time,” Soleil quipped.
I bound from the bathroom, fully dressed and face washed. My hair was a wild mess, but I yanked the blonde waves into a bun at the crown of my head. “I’m ready.”
“Great. We can still make it.” Soleil opened the door for me. “Is Michelle meeting us at the dress shop?”
“Oh no, Michelle!”
* * * * *
“So, you forgot about me. No big deal. I’m just your matron of honor. There’s no legal
that you invite your matron of honor to help pick out your wedding dress.” Michelle crossed her arms over her chest and tapped her index finger on her bicep.
“Again, I am so sorry I didn’t call you earlier. I’m just stoked you could make it on short notice,” I said.
She gave me a tight smile. “Well, I’m here.” She circled her hands in the air as if her presence was evidence enough of my forgiveness.
I sensed she wasn’t over it.
“Schall I pull zee selection of dresses for you, Miss Knight?” Gertrude Evenrose, owner and proprietor of Carlton City’s premier bridal emporium, Evenrose Bridal, stared at me over her bifocals, clearly perturbed that it was fifteen minutes past our appointment time, and I still hadn’t tried on a dress.
“Of course, Gertrude. I apologize for the delay,” I said.
“Vell, I haf a feelink you vill decite quickly,” she said, a note of insistence in her voice. She took off like a whirlwind, sweeping through the store and selecting various styles from the racks. Her slight four-foot-nine frame was swiftly buried under yards and yards of white fabric.
“Do you need to know my size?” I asked.
“Nein. Zee dresses vill be ehltered to shpecifications post purchase. As you ehr khleerly a size eight, you shoult haf no problem vith zee samples.”
“I’m a size six,” I corrected.
She finished hanging the dresses on a trio of hooks in the dressing room and then turned to scan me from head to toe. “You ehr not,” she said through her teeth. “Now, tryen sie das garment!”
I jumped like a dog at her command and raced into the spacious changing room. Geesh. I’d faced vampires, demons, shifters, and more in my role as Hecate, but Gertrude Evenrose scared the bejeebers out of me. I thumbed through the stack on the wall. Too poofy, too sparkly, too yellow (who wears a yellow wedding dress, anyway?). And then,
Slipping the dress off the hanger, I pulled the pearlescent-beaded bodice on and zippered. I didn’t need help. The plunging back ended just above my backside. A set of sparkling silver spaghetti straps slithered over my shoulders and crisscrossed just under my shoulder blades. Despite not having a proper back, the stiff boning across my ribs provided ample support for the girls. From the waist down, satin gazar draped to the floor in two layers, like the petals of an opening flower. More pearls were sewn in swirls along the hem and slit.
With a beaming smile, I paraded out of the stall and stepped up on the box in front of a three-way mirror to the
of my besties. Gertrude took one look at me and grabbed a pearl choker from her jewelry chest. In moments she had the necklace clipped around my neck, its drop pearl resting naturally in the groove between my collarbones.