Seductress of Caralon
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by Lacey Alexander
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: When Jalal's father sends her to seduce a powerful warrior set on invading his domain, she's nervous but committed. Only when she sees Enrick the Attacker does she realize her work might not be all that unpleasant. Enrick recognizes the young beauty for what she is--a seductress set on foiling his plans. His response? Tease her, arouse her, make her want him more than she's ever wanted anything before--and then withdraw his affections until she admits the truth. A battle is about to ensue in Enrick's tent tonight...
eBook Publisher: Ellora's Cave, 2005
eBookwise Release Date: August 2005
7 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [64 KB]
Reading time: 34-48 min.
3565 A.D.* * * *Chapter One
Jalal concentrated on the wooden tiles arranged in a pyramid before her. She would turn nineteen tomorrow, so word of her bridegroom might come at any time--she must be in practice with the Maran tiles that would determine her wedding night rituals.
She looked up as her maid entered the room, the woman's tunic of thin fur brushing her plump thighs. "Won't you please tell me now, Relah? Just a hint." Some said it was actually better not to do well at the game, that skill with the Maran tiles was overrated, but that hardly made sense to Jalal.
The stern maid planted her hands at her hips. "You know very well you'll not find out until after your vows."
"Did they use the Maran tiles back in the Before Times?"
Relah rolled her eyes. "How would I know?" Then she turned more thoughtful. "But I suspect not. They were very different times, likely very different people."
Indeed, Jalal couldn't imagine the lives of the people who had inhabited the colossal crumbled cities to the north like Yorkland, Delphia, and Washton, where new, smaller cities now grew from ancient debris. "But surely the people of those times had the same thoughts, feelings, desires we have. So perhaps they did have their own version of--"
Relah's tired but venomous look stopped Jalal cold. Relah often claimed she talked too much. "Don't vex me, girl."
Jalal sighed, wishing she'd been born a man. If she were a man, she would know the secret of the tiles. If she were a man, she'd have some choice in her future. By Ares, if she were a man, she'd build a great army and overthrow her father--she'd march into all the domains rising throughout Caralon and soon rule each and every one.
"Your father summons you," Relah said.
Jalal dropped the tile she'd just lifted from the second tier, her eyes going wide as she looked up. Her stomach churned, her breasts turned heavy beneath her silken chemise, and the slit between her thighs tingled with anticipation. This was it--he'd called her before him to announce her bridegroom!
Ten minutes later, Jalal entered the grand hall, which looked more run-down than ever before. And to her surprise, no crowd of people had gathered, as she'd expected. Still, her limbs went weak with anxiety as she pulled her best fur wrap about her shoulders and walked up the uneven floor toward her father's small throne, which he nonetheless had elevated so high that it was necessary to lean her head back to meet his eyes. "You summoned me, Father?"
Osren's hair was the warm gray of an alpha wolf's winter coat, falling about his shoulders, but the crags in his face revealed his years. She was the last of his daughters to reach bride's age. "Scouts tell me Enrick treks this way, that even now his forces are weaving through the western mountains."
Jalal drew in her breath, tensing. "Enrick the Attacker?" What was he saying? That Enrick the Attacker was to be her bridegroom? Please, Ares, no! The region between her legs seemed to shiver with fear.
"Yes, Enrick the Attacker. It is predicted he will reach the borders of Myrtell in only two to three days' time. As you know, most of my armies are not here, daughter. They are split, guarding my borders to the north and south. We never expected an attack from the mountains. I'm calling on you to detain Enrick while my armies are assembled."
Jalal blinked. What? This had nothing to do with her nuptials? Her birthday? "Me? How?"
"You must seduce him."
The words hit her like a physical blow, leaving her breathless for a long, painful moment. She'd known her father was a vulnerable and often desperate ruler, but ... "What of my virginity, Father? You're willing to give up my bride value?" While most women of Caralon were free to indulge their sexual urges at will, daughters of the upper classes were kept virgins until they were traded in marriage to whomever their fathers chose. It was a practice Jalal despised, but it at least held the likelihood of a life of comfort, a marriage to someone of means.
Her father's stalwart expression never wavered. "What good is your bride value if Myrtell is toppled by Enrick?"
Jalal swallowed nervously. Her father truly expected her to seduce Enrick the Attacker? "What could I possibly know about seduction, Father?"
"You need know very little given the ripeness of your breasts, the lushness of your curves, the satin of your skin."
She sighed. She'd been told of her rare beauty her whole life. Her father had always been fond of saying she'd fetch quite a price. She'd always imagined going to a wealthy young ruler, someone strong and handsome who might even pamper her if she were lucky. But this changed everything.
"I still haven't the first idea how to pleasure a man. What of my Orientation?" The stirrings in her body these last years had actually made her look forward to the week prior to marriage, which she would spend with a handpicked Orienter--a woman who would teach her the ways of sex.
"We haven't time for a proper Orientation. But Gilda will come to you tonight and try to prepare you for your task. You'll be taken into the mountains at sunup." He leaned slightly forward, the lines in his face deepening as he added, "Do not fail me, Jalal. Distract Enrick with your body long enough for my forces to gather--or you shall answer to me when this is over."
Maybe you'll be dead when this is over, she thought, her eyes narrowing on him. She'd always doubted the man held any love for her in his heart, and this proved it. She wanted to spit on him. She wanted to trample his bravado under her feet.
But a woman's place in Caralon was not such that she could ever rule over any man. She had no choice but to do what her father demanded. She had to attempt to learn the ways of seduction, then give herself to the feared Enrick, a beast of a man who inhabited children's nightmares--had even once inhabited her nightmares. Like it or not, it seemed, he would soon enter her bed in a whole new manner.