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Lady Knight
Author: Marisa Chenery

Prologue

 

The sun shone brightly as Ariel walked through the meadow. The heat of the day made her regret wearing her wool homespun gown. When she worked in the fields with the villagers, she could not bring herself to wear ones of better quality.

As thane of Elmstead, her father had taken great pride in administering to the villagers and serfs under him. All that had changed. Since her mother’s death two years before, Swein had withdrawn from much in his life.

At ten and eight, Ariel tried to take her father’s place. He still held the moots when disputes could not be settled among the villagers, but all else, he let her handle.

Ariel did not mind, for she had found herself more than capable of performing the job. The only thing she regretted—her father had pushed her out of his life and had practically built a wall around himself.

She pushed the thoughts of her father out of her mind. Today was too beautiful to spoil with such depressing thoughts. There was not a cloud in the sky. The blueness of it almost took her breath away. She looked across the meadow at the myriad of brightly-colored flowers that were just as spectacular as the breathtaking sight above.

A flash of light caught her attention. A Norman knight slowly walked his horse out of the forest that bordered the meadow. She knew him to be a Norman by the distinctive nasal piece attached to his helmet. She had only seen one other, just before her mother had died, who had been passing through. Her parents had offered him their hospitality for the night.

Ariel had been fascinated by his broadsword and shield, so different from that of her father’s. He fought with a battle axe and a round shield that carried no emblem.

This Norman appeared to be very much like the other. He wore the same type of helmet and chain mail. His broadsword hung from a belt strapped around his waist. His shield was over his saddle within easy reach. It bore an emblem, but his was different. It had a completely white background with a gold unicorn on its hind legs in the center. It almost seemed to paw the air as its ruby-colored eye glared back at Ariel.

She looked at the knight’s face as he raised his arm and removed his helmet. Ariel’s jaw dropped. His apparel might be the same, but his looks did not compare.

His dark blond hair was long and caught back by a leather thong so it fell to his shoulders in a tail. The other Norman had shaved the back of his head. His eyes were what intrigued her most. At first glance, they appeared to be a pale green, but at closer inspection, she realized they were actually gold. The corners of them crinkled when he smiled.

“I hope you found what you are looking for.”

Ariel felt heat rise to her face. She normally could talk to any person she encountered, but this knight left her speechless.

“You probably only speak English, do you not?”

Ariel continued to look at him. He thought she was one of the villagers. The rough homespun gown did nothing to make him think otherwise. Far be it for her to change his opinion. She did not want to reveal herself. If she did, courtesy would dictate she offer him her hospitality. She did not want anyone outside the village to see what her father had become.

“Come. I would enjoy your company, even if you do not understand me. I am sure we will get our ideas across somehow.”

He reached for her. She should not take it, but for once she wanted to do something just for her. Knowing what he offered, and thinking she could reveal herself if needs be, she placed her hand in his so he could pull her up to sit in front of him.

He held her around her waist with one arm as he turned his horse and walked back into the forest. They did not go far, for just passed the tree line a small pond sat in the center of a clearing. Surrounded by thick trees, it made a perfectly secluded spot.

Ariel looked closer at the knight’s face and fought the urge to swallow. His perfectly sculptured square jaw had a slight cleft in the center. With his sharp cheekbones, they made him the picture of pure male essence. There was slightly darker stubble on his chin and cheeks. On some men it would have made them look shabby, but it only enhanced the male beauty of the knight. There was something about him that called to her, to the lonely part of her. She felt alone, even though her father was still there physically.

He chuckled at her close scrutiny and lowered Ariel to the ground. As she took a step back, he dismounted and then tied the reins around the nearest tree. Without turning, he unbuckled his chain mail, slipped it over his head, and hung it with his sword belt over his saddle.

Ariel briefly wondered how far she should let this go. He reached for her and slowly pulled her toward him. The first sensation that hit her was the all-engulfing warmth that radiated from him. She had had no idea men could be so warm. She had not been this close to her father since she was a very little girl.

As he lowered his mouth toward her, Ariel jerked her thoughts back to the knight. He lightly brushed her lips with his. She caught his scent, a combination of horse, sweat, and something that was all his own.

His lips were soft and warm, which surprised Ariel. She had expected she would not like kissing a man. She had been wrong. He increased the pressure as she tentatively slid her arms up and then locked them around the back of his neck.

He gently licked her bottom lip. Ariel could not stop the surprised gasp that left her. He took the opportunity to slip his tongue into her mouth and gently swept inside. It was all she could do to stay afloat.

Something unknown and totally new built in the pit of her stomach. Ariel should put a stop to this now, but the feelings sweeping through her took all her reasoning away. All that mattered was making the pressure grow.

The ground rose to meet her as the knight gently lowered her to it. The weight of him felt right. With hands like magic, he stroked them down her body. Ariel arched into him as he clamped down on her breast through her gown. The heat of his mouth grew more intense as he suckled her through the coarse wool.

Ariel clawed his back as she tried to pull him closer, seeking something she did not understand. She barely noticed her legs had been bared to the air. One of his fingers found her hot, slick opening and gently probed, checking her readiness.

She automatically tried to clamp her legs together. He once more took her mouth until she relaxed. He pushed against her inner thighs and opened them farther.

With his fingers, he searched once again until he found a spot that increased her pleasure. He rubbed it back and forth. Ariel could not stop the moan that escaped her. He rose and pulled at the fastenings of his trews. The hot, hard length of his shaft gently probed the entrance to her body.

The feel of him sent Ariel over the edge. She raised her hips to give him better access. He slowly pushed the head of his hard length into her slick opening. The feeling of being stretched soon gave way to pain.

At the piece of skin that barred him from sheathing himself fully, the knight pulled back and then surged through it with a single stroke. Ariel cried out, and he gently kissed her until the whole length of his shaft filled her. The pain faded as he suckled at her breast. The sensations she had felt before returned. She rocked her hips into his, and the sensation increased. It was unlike anything she had felt before. With their bodies joined, she felt closer to the knight. It was a closeness she realized had been missing from her life.

The knight moved within her, sliding his length in and out. His pace increased, and something steadily built inside her. Matching his strokes, she tightened around his member. She let herself go and moaned as a sensation of unbelievable pleasure swept through her as her body clamped down around his hard shaft, milking him. He pumped into her once, twice, then filled her with his seed.

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