Hello, beautiful readers! Today’s Tuesday Teaser post comes from the first book in the Realm of Honor series, One Knight Only. This is the book that started it all. This is how Maggie met Finn.
Maggie didn’t want to wake up but she had a splitting headache. Probably because she’d used a pair of rolled-up jeans and a sweater as a pillow. She strained her ears to listen but all she heard was silence. The rain had finally stopped and she could still feel the warm glow of the fire, which had to be embers by now.
Yet she couldn’t quite bring herself to open her eyes. She did a quick mental survey and thought it odd she wasn’t freezing to death on the cold stone floor. In fact, she felt positively warm and snuggly.
She rolled over with a groan, the mattress sighing with her weight and the linen covering swishing with her movement. Wait a second. I didn’t fall asleep on a bed. Her eyes blinked open to the pale morning light and focused directly on the fire blazing in the hearth, sending a warm golden glow across the room.
Maggie sat bolt upright, her head objecting to the sudden movement.
“What the hell?” she blurted.
She hadn’t fallen asleep on a bed. Nor had there been fine linen sheets to cover her. Her heart sputtered a fast cadence and her breathing increased to a rapid rasp, loud in her ears. She put a hand to her head, rubbing the taut skin at the hairline. She squeezed her eyes shut, hoping she was in some weird dream. Yet when she opened them again, she was still faced with the blazing fire in the hearth.
She hiccupped, her breath catching in her throat as she realized she was not in the abandoned castle or the dining hall with the blazing fire. This hearth, it seemed, was nestled into a stone wall surrounded by tapestries. The stone floor was covered in a thick rug.
No, this wasn’t where she had fallen asleep last night at all.
“This is a dream,” she said aloud.
It had to be, right? It wasn’t real. Because it was the only explanation her tired mind would accept. Maggie slid to the edge of the bed, her bare feet hitting the cold floor and sending a shiver up her spine. Glancing down, she wore the underwear she had changed into last night—her lacy black bra and matching panties. But where were the rest of her clothes? Her suitcase? How in the hell did she get in this bed?
Staring into the fire, she mentally retraced her steps. The car breaking down, walking in the rain, getting soaked to the bone. And then the castle on the hilltop that was there and then wasn’t there. Yes, the castle. She glanced around. Was she still in that castle now? This one was fully furnished, it seemed. Whereas the one she ended up at last night was empty. And cold. And dark.
Maybe someone found her sleeping on the floor? She’d been so tired she didn’t notice when that someone had lifted her and brought her back to a warm bed. And any minute now that someone would bring her a steaming mug of coffee.
A groan behind her made her spin around, grabbing the linen and holding it to her bosom. On the bed, a dark-haired man she had never seen before rolled onto his back. He was shirtless, showing off every ripple of muscle and fantastic pectorals, the likes of which she had never seen in her life. Smooth, hairless skin with tremendous biceps and a narrow waist disappearing into the bedding that made her imagination run away with hot fantasies.
“Ooohhhh,” she breathed.
Who was this man? More importantly, where the bloody hell was she?
A soft snore escaped him and Maggie couldn’t stop staring at that beautiful chest rising and falling with every breath. His long dark hair spilled around him. And his face…
The word slipped out before she could stop it. His chiseled face hosted a strong square chin with a tiny indention in the center covered with a day’s growth of beard, a perfect nose, pronounced cheekbones, dark eyebrows. She propped a knee on the mattress, scooting closer to lean over him for a better look, amazed at how powerful his face appeared. Fierce. A man not to be trifled with. A man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to get it.
Maggie cocked her head to the side, enjoying her view, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. For a moment, she had forgotten the fact she was in a strange place. Her long, auburn locks cascaded over her shoulder and brushed against him. The baby-fine strands must have tickled his skin, for his eyes popped open and stared back at her.
Gorgeous silvery eyes met hers and she blinked and pulled back.
But he was faster than she. He grasped her by her upper arms and dragged her to him, placing her on his lap as his large, powerful hands gripped her hips. Maggie was completely aware of all of him now. A hot fantasy splashed through her mind as she shifted on top of him. What was under the linen was apparent between her legs. Every last inch of him. Her hands landed on his chest, her senses delighting in the warm, soft skin beneath her palms.
His gaze lingered on her face a moment before gliding down, pausing on her lace-covered breasts and then continuing his downward jaunt. He fingered the waistband of her panties, running the pad of his forefinger over first one hipbone then her abdomen and back again.
The small movement sent white-hot heat shooting through her, awaking parts of her that weren’t used to being on alert so early in the morning. Especially without a cup of coffee.
His hands moved up her sides then, desire evident in those depthless silver eyes…and the appendage on which she happened to be sitting.
“Now, lass, you best be telling me who you are and why you’re in my bed. Not that I mind, but I canna recall tupping you last eve and I always remember bonnie lasses I tup.”