Hey everyone, I’m happy to introduce you to my new release today at Ellora’s Cave www.jasminejade.com, Daryk Craving! If you haven’t had the chance to read the blurb and excerpt, then here’s your chance. This story is novella size, unlike the other books in the series…just to give you a heads up! I’m so glad I had the opportunity to write this story. The hero and heroine screamed at me until I wrote it, and here we are.
Daryk World III: Daryk Craving
Her fever for him has always burned high…
Daryk One Aknada Tyrus helped destroy Admiral Aramus’s evil slave trading ship, but now she must resurrect her shattered life and discover if her love can repair three years of deceit.
Aknada always looks the warrior, her unique ability to fight men on equal footing a talent few women can boost. All her life she’s fought ridcule because she’s different. Three years ago she lost faith in herself after surviving a horrible attack. Now she cannot abide a man’s touch, even the tenderness of Marc Gampia, the man she’s craved all her life. She returns to Marc’s compound to restore her inner peace and, if she can, turn her fears away.
His craving for her has never died…
Marc Gampia hides his own mangled heart. When Marc learns Aknada is alive, the fire in him burns hotter and more fiercely than it did before. He will do anything to have her as his wife, including vowing never to touch her if she’ll say yes to marriage.
Desire forces her to reach for him, to discover his body one touch at a time. One touch ignites them and then there is no going back.
When he planted his hands on his hips, chest muscles flexed and bunched under a sprinkling of dark hair that trailed down to rippling stomach muscles. Hair arrowed toward his waistband and disappeared. Her lips parted, but she couldn’t think of a thing to say. Even the bandage that covered his ribs couldn’t detract from his impressive build. He was beautiful. No. He was so amazingly compelling that her entire body reacted. Something she never expected to feel again in her life stirred low in her belly. A hot yearning blossomed to life. With that sensation came a spark of hope. Perhaps… Just perhaps…
No. She was damaged. Ruined for all other men. None would want her. And she wanted none of them.
He walked toward her, and that’s when she saw more than concern in his eyes. Curiosity and perhaps even embarrassment filled his face.
“Your back.” She couldn’t hold back the words as he took a couple of steps toward her. “What happened?”
He stopped a fair distance from her. He shoved a hand through his hair and it tumbled across his shoulders. “I didn’t mean for you to see it.”
“Because I am…” He drew in a slow breath. “How do I explain this?” Pain flickered in his eyes. “Remember when I was fifteen and a madman held me for ransom?”
“Oh Draconus. Yes. I was… I feared for your life.”
He smiled gently, his eyes shimmering with memories. “Father paid the ransom and found me, but not before the madman had me for three days.”
Tears rose in her eyes. “How could I have forgotten? The man beat you, whipped you. That’s why you never take your shirt off.”
“Not in public.” He smiled but it vanished quickly.
“Not even for women?” Heat filled her face at her own impertinent question. “I mean—”
“No. Not for the last three years.”
Disbelief filled her. “You haven’t been with a woman in three years?”
Another question popped into her mind, but she didn’t ask it. It simmered inside her. Three years? As long as she’d been gone from his life?
He took another step forward and nodded toward the book she still clutched. “Your poetry.”
“I didn’t know you had a copy.”
Again he moved forward, each step measured. He held his hand out, and she handed him the book. His big hands smoothed over the cover, and a soft, quivery burn tingled in her stomach She caught her breath.
“I actually had two copies. I gave one to Xandra. Rayder had a copy and while Xandra was on Aramus’ ship she read your work and loved it. But I will not part with this one.” His gaze snapped up to hers, those eyes so warm and compelling. “I want to read more of your work. Did you write while you were with Pian’s caravan?”
She shook her head as those tears burned her eyes again. “No. I wanted to. I yearned to, but…” She shook her head.
“It’s as if I cannot manage to get the words past a barrier. Past pain.”
The understanding in his eyes urged her to say more, but instead she switched topics. “Your side. We need to tend to it.”
The spell hovering around them broke, and she returned the poetry to his table.
“Wait. I’ll clean up in the bathing room and then you can bandage the wound.”
He entered the room connected to the south wall and closed the door. Feeling almost weak, she settled on a chair near the bed. Emotions rioted through her. Fear. Apprehension. A strange excitement. Overwhelming tenderness. This man did so many things to her. She’d fought the feelings for so long it was second nature for her to deny them. Seeing him vulnerable with evidence of physical pain still marking his body—by Draconus, she could barely stand it. That craving, both indefinable and undeniable, made her yearn to touch him. At the same time, she feared his touch.
She sat for a long time before he left the bathing room. He wore clean buff-colored trousers, but he was bare-chested and barefoot. His freshly clean hair hung in wet tendrils around his shoulders. Only a man as masculine as Marc could have thick blond hair that long and still appear all man.
She stood and reached for the medical kit she’d found next to his bed. He sat on the bed, and she scooted the chair up to the bed. With quick efficiency she cleaned the long cut. The healer’s stitching and special salves had worked wonders on a wound that should be far worse. As she started to touch his wound with salve, she hesitated.
“It’s all right,” he said softly. “If you want me to do it—”
“No. I can do it.” And she could.
She’d thought touching him might frighten her. Instead, her concern for him brushed aside any worry. After all, she’d half-carried him off Aramus’ ship after they helped free the slaves. Still, she moved quickly. After she dabbed the salve, she realized she’d have to wrap a fresh bandage around him. She reached for the bandage roll.
Her breath froze. But not with fear. With an unbearable awareness of him as a man. Even though she was a Daryk One, nothing about him was weak or in need of her protection. He was tall, powerful, utterly masculine. He smelled clean and intoxicating. A heady combination of feelings bombarded her. Her hands shook as she wrapped the gauzy bandage around his middle. She tied off the bandage, making sure it was tight.
“Aknada.” His voice, so deep and husky, rasped close to her ear.
She stood and he followed.
They were only inches apart. Being this close to a man should have made her skin crawl. Her body shudder. Instead, for one brief moment, she forgot to experience fear. More than once he’d looked at her like this—and not just since they’d been reunited after three years apart. So long ago he’d gazed at her with heated longing and a suppressed need she knew could explode at any minute.
Or, the little critic in the back of her head said, it was all her imagination. Maybe he’d never acted as if he wanted her. Never insinuated more times than she could count that he’d like to be with her sexually. Maybe everything wonderful about their relationship all those years ago had been an illusion.
Those cool eyes, somewhere between silver and blue, warmed and caressed.
She ached with memories of their life before she was taken prisoner by Aramus. Marc had teased her frequently, but she’d given as much back. She’d always been his equal. He’d always shown her the utmost respect. Even the lively banter between them had energized her rather than diminished. Other than Rayder, she could not think of another person who had shown her such unwavering friendship.
“Do you remember?” he asked softly, his eyes intent. He didn’t move or try to touch her. “When we kissed?”