WELCOME to Frankie's 5th Annual No Kiss Blogfest!!
First, I hope you've kicked off your shoes and made yourself comfortable, because there is no point in rushing through the wonderfulness that is No-Kisses! You'll waste all the delicious UST and Angst! And why don't you go ahead and check out the other participants' entries now -- I'll wait!
You're back? Good! On to more No Kiss Pleasure!
Second, I hope you'll like my offering for this year's party. I searched through my Fate of the Gods books -- at least the ones which are published -- for a sample of some No-Kiss action, but I wasn't satisfied with any of my options for this magical day. Mia definitely has a no-kiss moment with Jean DeLeon in Tempting Fate, and Eve... well, let's just say I didn't want to spoiler anything for anyone, and all her no-kisses would have been just that: Spoilers!
So today, I'm going to give you a VERY special teaser for a VERY special project you've heard a little bit about before. It goes by a new name now, and there will be more details soon, including some unbelievably outstanding cover art coming your way once I escape the writer cave long enough to organize the reveal. But for now, let me just set the scene and whet your appetite.
Arianna is a princess who is taking her fate into her own hands. Bolthorn is the mysterious Orc who inspired her to do so, and they're currently sick, injured, and fleeing for their lives. (But there's always time for a no kiss along the way!)
He knew these woods, sparse as they had become, and when they broke, he knew the tundra of the foothills too. Just before dawn, he found the outcrop beneath which he had made a shelter his first night beyond the mountains, and though he did not dare to light a fire, the sedge made a soft bed.
After a meal of apples and cheese, the last of their food, Arianna curled against his side, sharing the fur, and rested her head on his shoulder. He tested her forehead for fever and breathed his relief when she did not burn against his palm.
She tugged his hand away, a small smile curving her lips. “You worry overmuch. There are still two days of warmth before I must fight your cruel winds. I will be well enough for your mountains by then.”
His fingers lingered against her skin and her smile faded. He traced the clan-markings on her cheek and her lips parted, her heart thrumming in his ears.
Up the bridge of her nose and over her eyebrow, the umber flaked from her skin, coloring his fingertip. Down along the line of her jaw, to the pulse point beneath. Her breathing hitched. He only wished the marks had reached her collarbone, to give him some excuse to trail his fingers across the smooth skin there.
“You make a beautiful orc.”
“Not a Vala?” she asked, her eyelashes sweeping across her cheek.
“The Vala cannot marry.” The sunlight caught in her hair, flashing reds within the rich brown and he smoothed the soft, wild strands from her face. “They cannot bear children, or know the touch of any kind of man after they have made their vows. They know only the ancestors and the mysteries they reveal.”
“Oh,” she breathed.
Oh. It was the first thing she had ever said to him, trembling against the stone. She trembled now, too. As she should, he thought, knowing herself within the arms of an orc. He closed his eyes and drew his hand back. This was a dangerous game to play with her so near, so vulnerable.
“Sleep well, princess,” he said, his jaw tight against his need. “You’ll want your strength.”
She made a noise in the back of her throat, but when he glanced at her, she had turned away.