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Ariella was supposed to enter onto the stage to begin the scene. Her hands were trembling, but she took a deep breath and commenced walking towards the low stage. One small step brought her up to Demetrius’ level, and he pretended he had just sighted her.
“What do I see?” he exclaimed, his smooth voice carrying well to the back rows, but not so loud as to be overwhelming. “Are you a spirit? A ghost sent to torment me for my misdeeds? Why do you take on the shape of one so dearly loved, who has too soon departed from this sad earthly abode?”
He had spoken his lines with great conviction, but then, just for a split second, he dropped his act and winked at her with his right eye, unseen by the audience.
Ariella took another couple of steps towards him.
“I am no spirit,” she replied.
“But I received word that you were dead…”
“That is what I wanted everyone to believe. But I did not drown. When I fell in the river, I breathed through a reed and swam away, and then I waited for you to regain your kingdom.”
The audience laughed at this facile explanation for Aurilia still being alive.
“I did so,” Demetrius continued, unfazed, “and I avenged my father’s death. Now we can be together, my beloved.”
He embraced her, and suddenly his mouth was claiming hers, and she nearly forgot where she was. After this, the dialogue ended, and it was all up to them. Ariella was breathless, from the kiss and her nerves. But she buried her face in Demetrius’ long dark hair, determined to carry on.
“We can do this,” he whispered to her.
She squeezed his hand in thanks.
Still hiding her face from the audience, she trailed kisses down his neck. The scent of his skin, which still held whatever perfume it was he had used in the palace, now mingled with sweat and the pine smell of the forest. It enticed her to lick his skin, to lose herself in his kisses and his caresses.
The thought of being watched melted away as passion coursed through her body. She was much more aware of being slowly undressed, the laces of her tunic unwound, of Demetrius removing his silken robe and pressing her against his broad chest.
Title: Ariella’s Escape (Book One of the Stars at Zenith Trilogy)
Author: Carolee Croft
Genre: Epic Fantasy Romance
Ariella had always believed that the life of a warrior should include indulging in wine and men whenever they were on offer… And in Chaldea, the capital of the old empire, they certainly were.
Especially the man she finds in her bedchamber, a slave provided by her hosts to entertain her in any way she wishes.
But when betrayed and surrounded by enemies in a strange land, there is only one man she can trust—the slave who was meant only for her pleasure but is much more than he seems.
Demetrius had been captured in a battle at the age of fifteen, and slavery was all he had known in his adult life. When his chance for freedom comes along, his fate is bound to the noble warrior maiden whose voice and body he cannot resist. Duty calls him to return to his kingdom, but the journey will take him places that will change him forever.
Together, they make their way through a den of thieves and an enchanted elf forest, but the biggest danger of all may be their fiery attraction to each other and the secret that will draw a dividing line between them.
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~Author Bio ~
Enchanted by romance on page and screen, I have always tried to write my own versions of the perfect fairytale. As for real life, I believe I may have already found the man of my dreams, but I still haven’t found the dog of my dreams. Currently, I’m obsessed with Italian greyhounds. I can usually be found enjoying the outdoors or relaxing with a good book on the west coast of Canada.
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