Knight in Shining Amour
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by Demi Alex
Description: An uncharacteristic storm catapults Effie Genes to the night medieval Rhodes fell into the Ottoman hands. Pulled onto Lord Kavin's stallion, the modern day Effie experiences the war and degrading occupation of her birthplace, as passion and danger dictate the fate of lovers born five hundred years apart. Lord Kavin risks his life to keep Effie out of a Sultanzada's bed and claim her as his own. But once he has her in his arms, will he need to release her in order to save her?
eBook Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC, 2008
eBookwise Release Date: August 2008
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [118 KB]
Reading time: 70-98 min.
Summer in Greece, my ass!
It may have been June tenth, but it was not a normal summer afternoon on the infamous Mediterranean Sea. There were no sunbathers on the deck, no tourists snapping photos of the picturesque harbor, and no line-up to disembark the ship. Instead, guests occupied every seat in the lower cabin, leaning against the bolted fixtures, trying desperately to keep their lunch down as the waves rocked the vessel with a vengeance.
It was the strangest of situations. Effie Genes might have been on a Greek boat, but the passengers were very quiet. Typically, Greeks wouldn't stop speaking and were ecstatic to return to their island and begin their summer vacation. Today, every one wore a somber, worried expression. There was a peculiar heavy, almost suffocating, attribute in the atmosphere. Even the air quality was strangely fresh, crisp and free of second-hand smoke in economy class. Passengers held on to armrests and dared not light a cigarette or order an iced coffee while the boat docked.
How unlike a Greek vacation.
Ironic it should storm on the very day she returned home to the island she had run from years ago. A sassy, spunky and pissed-off twenty-year-old at the time, she'd boarded this same ship out, in order to live her life as she dreamed. And she hadn't bothered to look back until two months ago.
Effie placed her forehead on the rain-streaked window and stared at the proud statues of Rhodesian deer framing either side of Mandraki harbor.
Lightning speared the heavens and the clouds released their fury on the earth. The ferry struggled against the rough seas to enter the port of Rhodes, taking longer than usual and running two hours behind schedule.
A rip crackled, and Effie jumped back from the electric image piercing the gray sky. Falling against a solid mass, she melted into large arms that wrapped around her waist and steadied her. An intoxicating, masculine scent filled her head as she fought to regain her balance.
"Excuse me." A deep English voice accompanied the chest and arms. The sound reverberated through her entire body.
She closed her eyes and sighed at her luck. Not only did he smell great, but his voice sent shivers down her spine. All she needed now was a gorgeous face to go with the rest of him, and she'd really be off keel for the remainder of the day.
Effie turned to meet a brawny chest adorned in a blue English soccer jersey. Raising her gaze, she was enraptured by the deep sapphire eyes and handsome grin of the stranger towering over her. Damn, those eyes reached into her soul and caressed every desire, ignited every fantasy, and erased all other men from existence. Her knees buckled, and he refastened a strong arm around her waist.
Get a grip, Eff.
Catching her breath, she shook her head and smiled. "Excuse me. I didn't realize you were behind me."
"It's not a problem," he replied, releasing her and pushing back wavy blonde hair that could have belonged to a model on a naked soccer player calendar. "This uncharacteristic storm has us all a bit on edge."
Uncharacteristic was putting it mildly. Effie could count on her fingers the number of times it had rained in June while she lived on the island. Nine times in eighteen years, to be exact.
"Yes, it's rare this time of the year for this type of weather." She pointed up and raised her brow. "Guess they didn't get the memo up there."
"Are you a local?" Mister Good-Looking English asked.
"No," not anymore. "I'm Canadian, but I spent a lot of time here when I was younger." Liar, it was all your time. Until you left and vowed not to come back.
"So you're visiting with family?"
"No." She hesitated and momentarily dropped her gaze. "Not really. I'm here for a week of rest and relaxation."
Well, at least that wasn't a complete lie. Her parents had practically disowned her when she'd refused to marry that idiot and sold the bulk of her inheritance to go overseas for university. She shrugged off the memory and looked closer, trying to place the familiar feeling surging in her body.
"I know this sounds like a typical, weirdo-type thing," she said, searching his face for a hint, anything that could explain the unearthly pull she was experiencing. "But, do I know you?"
Grinning, he sent a new shiver down her spine, and raised a crooked eyebrow. "Ts," he made the innately Greek sound and smiled brightly, confusing her. Why would an English man be acting like a Greek?
"Probably not in a conventional way." His large fingers stroked down her arm, electrifying her skin.
Her gaze fixed on his eyes as he spoke. He wasn't flirting or hitting on her like the other tourists did, and he appeared very sincere. So what the hell was up with this guy? Good looks, charm, and a body to die for? Well, whatever it was, it was so ... nice.
Clearing her throat, she waved her hand and gathered every ounce of strength to look away. "Maybe in a previous life then."
"Maybe." His answer was short and curt, but not rude. "Since we're almost on land, would you join me for a drink or some coffee?"
Oooh, how tempting. You could say yes and add some pleasure to this trip. But, no, not why you're here. Get the deal done and get off the island. Then play somewhere else. Maybe Mykonos or Paros--those are the islands to let loose and have some fun without worrying about bumping into people you've known for ten or twenty years--nah, forever.
"No funny business, I promise." His deep voice snapped her out of her internal conversation. "A nice chat and a sweet coffee."
No matter how much she wanted to know him more, she couldn't let her guard down and risk being recognized. "Thank you for the offer, but I can't."
The ship bumped against the dock and she steadied herself by grabbing at his shirt. He settled his hand over hers and crushed it to his chest. The contact relayed the heat from his body to her heart, and she was unable to breathe again. She could hear his pulse keeping in rhythm with the sparkle of his eyes. This man was more than delicious. He was almost sinful.
There was something different about this guy: his energy, his attitude, and the entrancing quality of his gaze. The storm created alluring static around the English man, and she had no logical way to understand the sensation building in her belly and clouding her mind.
As soon as her legs were secure beneath her, she yanked her hand out of his, and reluctantly stepped away. She needed to put some distance between her and the captivating stranger.
"Thank you for the rescue. I need to get going. Nice meeting you."
Waving her fingers goodbye, she quickly turned and sauntered down the walkway. Effie glanced over her shoulder into those damn hypnotic blues.
"The pleasure was all mine. 'Till we meet again, Effie." He grinned and tilted his head toward her.
She ducked into the restroom, gulping at the air as if she'd just come up from a long dive. She'd never felt such a magnetic pull from another person. His whole being had beckoned to her. He had tugged on the secret longing she held deep inside, in a hidden place where she had locked away childish dreams of love and romance as a rebellious teenager, and a place where all her desires resided as a confident woman.
Her skin still burned where he had touched her.
She should've said yes to his invitation. Just because she was back on the island didn't mean she was stuck in the Dark Ages as her father would have her believe.
After all, it wasn't like he'd asked her to sleep with him--yet. He was just a good-looking guy passing the time and looking for someone to hang with.
She needed to get the pheromones under control, because her mind was straying into avenues it shouldn't. She just wanted to cozy up with the Brit and purr under his caresses.
What was wrong with her? She never let a man affect her like that before, and she couldn't allow it now. She had to see what condition her family was in, and then discuss the offer she'd received on the remaining land deeded to her. She knew her parents wouldn't like any decision she'd reach on the land, but she was done living to please others.
Concentrate! Just do what you came here for and don't think about the handsome English man, regardless of how yummy he is.
Effie had bigger issues to deal with; like her parents. It had been years since she'd seen them, and she'd barely had any contact with them during that time. A monthly phone call to her mom when she was sure her dad wasn't around was the typical manner to let them know she was still alive. Last year, she'd gone as far as daring a Christmas card to the family. Thankfully, it wasn't returned. So, considering the relationship with her father was tentative at best, she had no clue what compelled her to return to this place and not sell the acreages from abroad. She only knew that she had to come home.
Leaning on the metal wall in the cramped restroom, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath to steady herself. Sighing, she fluffed her hair with the red extensions, attempting to conceal the raven-haired girl who'd fled from the island with her hands crossed over her chest and tears hidden behind her eyes. Not caring how silly she'd appear on a rainy afternoon, she put on dark Gucci sunglasses and tugged the floppy white sunhat down around her face.
She opened the door and peeked out. There was no one in the hallway. Effie had taken longer than she'd thought to compose herself and the passengers had disembarked. Standing straight, she took a deep breath and left the safe heaven of the ladies' room, heading for the gangway and willing herself to accept the consequence of her actions.
Or at least, that was what she told herself.