Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I'm continuing on with my het fantasy. Klea offered to pay Garen for his tutelage, enough to be able to buy his freedom. Garen, however, did not say yes. She waits for him the first night to see if he will accept her terms.


The shadows coagulated into something more solid, and the outline of broad shoulders etched in the open window.

Her cheeks burned. Garen.

She was afraid to exhale in case she was dreaming, afraid to blink for the very same reason. She couldn’t see his face. He had yet to cross the threshold from terrace to room, and stood as part of the velvety darkness, but she knew his form better than she knew her own.

“Where is your handmaiden?”

His low voice rippled through her. “At the servants’ celebration.”

“Are you alone?”

“Yes.”Slowly, she released her stranglehold on her bed coverings and stood. “I wasn’t sure you would come.”

“Neither was I.”

“But you’re here now.”

When she took a tentative step forward, Garen finally moved. He held up a hand. “Stop.”

She obeyed without hesitation, though the violent thundering of her heart made it feel like she was still moving.

“I haven't fully decided the wisdom of this,” he said. “I’m not convinced you're aware of what you ask of me.”

Klea felt like laughing. “No, I’m fully aware.”

“Really? Your father trusts me with his life, trusts me with your life, and yet, you’d ask me to deceive him on a daily basis should I agree.”

“He won’t know.”

“I will.”

And there it was. That honor that drew her to him would be the wall she wouldn’t be able to surmount. “Why did you come then?” It perplexed her. He could have let the entire matter drop by simply ignoring her request. “If you don’t want to do this, don’t. I already told you. I don’t wish to compel you into anything you won’t enter freely.”

“Ah, but I never said I didn’t want this.” Though his face remained in shadows, he prowled closer, stepping over the threshold without ever disturbing the gauzy curtains. He wore the loose trousers of sleepwear, and the waistband rode low on his hips, low enough for the rough border of dark hair disappearing below the tie to be visible. “Do not put words into my mouth.”

They were the most commanding words she had ever heard from a servant, let alone a slave. She was so struck by the raw honesty, it took several moments to realize what exactly he had said.

He wanted her. Or at the very least, he wanted what she had to offer.

“So answer my question, then.” Emboldened by his admission, Klea lifted her chin and braved his response. “I cannot put words into your mouth if it is already filled with your own.”

The corner of his wide mouth twitched. “Would a woman who wishes to learn the ways of the flesh prefer to hear poetic lies that feed her ego, or truth that will likely prick it?”

As dismayed as she was by her options, there was only one way to answer. “The truth. Always. I cannot expect you to put your faith in me if you believe me to desire falsehoods.”

His chest rose. Fell. The muscle in his cheek smoothed, and the mask returned. “I couldn't sleep.”

Neither could she. “Why?”

“I think you know why. You offer the one thing I don't know how to refuse. Was it deliberate?”

“Yes.” The confession slashed at her hope. Now he would see her as manipulative, when in truth, all she wished was to guarantee an agreement. “Does this mean you’re going now?”

“No. But this is a dangerous game you play. You have no notion what kind of lover I might be…Klea.”

He uttered her name like a test, weighing it upon his tongue in deliberation as if to see how she would react. She was certain it wasn’t how he anticipated. Just the sound of his voice had been enough to make her nipples tighten, but now, hearing him address her as a woman and not as his Mistress, her body hummed to have more.