Gareth’s Gambit

Book TWO of the series, Songs of the Mages

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Chapter One
Morgana threw back her head as Gareth regarded her in silence. She’d quite evidently thought she’d discouraged him and was not expecting him. Her hair, burnished in the sun, fell around her shoulders in disarray from her romping with the child. He longed to run those shining strands through his fingers, feeling their silken weight. She impatiently tossed the glossy locks back but her strategy didn’t work. She still looked delightfully disheveled.

garethsGambitM4Gareth closed his mind with a mental snap. He intended to have some answers from her before he dwelled on her beauty. The fleeting thought he could look at her and admire her forever was entirely inappropriate.

He took both her arms and stared down at her. Holding her loosely, still he kept her firmly in place.

“Why have you been avoiding me?”

The question was as blunt as his tone was stern.

She flung her head back. “Don’t be silly. Why would I avoid you? I’ve simply been too busy for entertaining visitors.”

He stared down at her, his expression unchanging.

“That’s nonsense, Morgana. Surely your duties are less now your household is smaller. Forgive me for being blunt my dear girl but I’ve seen to all the cremation details and know everything went smoothly. You have no new duties I’ve heard about. And I trust seeing me is not regarded as the mere obligation of a hostess. I hope I’m a bit more than just a casual visitor.

He watched her expressive features change from belligerence, to a brief flash of sorrow at his unnecessarily curt reminder of her sister and then to remorse. He wanted none of those emotions from her. Even as he watched, she changed again and he saw a rigid determination take over her features. The girl would certainly never make an actress. She was as transparent as a see-through mirror.

At least to him.

He moved quickly to wrap her in his embrace, her face pressed against his shoulder.

“Morgana, you must know I want to be of any help I possibly can to you. There’s something else very wrong here. I don’t know what it is but please tell me. This is not the you I’ve grown to admire.”

She tried to break from his arms but he was much too strong and he held her solidly in his encircling protection.

Still she drew back and reluctant to use more force to keep her where he wanted her to be, he dropped his arms and set her free.

He hated to let her go.

Shocked to his bones, he realized suddenly how important this girl was to him. Feisty, independent, sometimes decidedly irritating, still she stirred him as no woman had ever done before. He’d admired her for a long time for her dedication to her niece and her undeserving sister but this emotion was something quite different from mere admiration. The way his erection pressed so solidly into the front of his trousers told him he was in uncharted waters. The moment he held her in his arms he’d felt a fiery thrill run through his body, warning him this was more than he’d ever expected. This feeling of total delight filling his body amazed him.

From merely touching a woman who was now rejecting him once again?
What was he thinking? Or was he thinking at all?

All books in the Songs of the Mages series
can be read as a stand alone book.