Excerpt from Blood for Blood (Zytarri) – Exam and Recognize Your Mate

Blood for Blood (a tale of Zytarri)

#futuristic #fantasy #vampires #aliens #erotic romance #science fiction #MF

The Past…

bloodforblood_med1Leora Saguna has become what her kind fear most—a blood huntress. Fueled by a lust for revenge for the assassination of her Alpha, she has violated every Sangorrian law to track the murderers down. And one day return to her infant daughter, Katriel.

Each time Noah Chisca watches his mark take macabre delight in her task, he is one dead bandit closer to earning the highest bounty of his career. Yet he can’t deny the desire that twists his gut. He takes her captive; she takes him as her mate.

The Present…

Katriel knows bonding with the mate her mother has chosen will ensure her future as heir. But the memory of the forbidden warrior monk who stole her heart haunts her, and she rebels.

Valyn’s identity is hidden until he’s proven himself worthy of Katriel. But fighting a deadly dragon is only the beginning of their nightmare, as sinister forces conspire to shake the foundations of Sangorrian society and unleash a reign of blood that may destroy them all.

Amazon Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BWP7QHP

 

EXCERPT

Leora again studied him silently for a long time. Slowly she rose to her feet and walked around the side of the desk. “Disrobe, please. I wish to confirm the replica was not altered concerning your suitability and lack of abnormalities.”

He had known this was coming. A part of him rebelled at being ordered to disrobe before her, but he raised his hands and unbuttoned the brown robe, allowing it to drop to the floor at his feet. He then returned to the stance of respect and waited, focusing his attention on the window just past where Noah stood.

Leora walked toward him. He felt her assessing gaze as it roved over him and refused to let it shake him or respond to it.

She slowly circuited him, apparently studying him from every angle. She stopped to examine the long slashing wound on his arm, seemed to assess each bruise and cut, categorizing every nuance of his body.

Finally, she halted in front of him and nodded. “Your wounds are a reflection of your bravery. It is my opinion that you are well-suited as a mate for my daughter. Your conduct and bravery have already shown you will be a good protector. You may …”

The door to her office burst open, interrupting her words.

“Mother, please …” a frantic feminine voice spoke from behind him, then stopped abruptly.

Valyn, unashamed of his nakedness, turned his head to see who was there and was shocked to find himself staring into the startled gaze of his soon-to-be mate. She was everything he had remembered, and more so. Her long dark hair fell in dishevelment about her face, her breasts heaved with agitation, and her pale pink lips were rounded in apparent shock. But what surprised him most was the dilated dark smoky depths of her eyes. Darkened with what could only be lust.

She had eyes for no one else in the room once she saw him standing there. He saw tears pool within their depths, the startled recognition. “What is your name?” she whispered hoarsely.

He turned toward her, and her mouth gaped wider; her eyes dilated more intensely, and he saw her hands clench at her side.

“My name is Valyn, Lady. I have come for you as I vowed I would.”

“Valyn,” she repeated. Her small pink tongue licked at her succulent lips, tears trailing down her face. He felt his cock take on a life of its own. “You have come. It is truly you? How can this be?”

“I made you a promise, and it has led me to this path.”

“Katri, you should not be here,” her mother protested.

Katriel turned to look at her mother with panicked, glazed eyes. “I need him, Mother. How you found him, I do not know, but I need him desperately.” She glanced back at him.

He took a step toward her and stopped, not wanting to frighten her. Instead, she stepped to where he waited. Valyn could smell her arousal as she neared him. He cupped her face and lowered his head. She closed her eyes and sighed as he dropped forward to capture her lips. Nothing and no one else in this room mattered. Only the woman who offered herself to him — the woman he had yearned for all these years, and for whom he had prepared himself to take.

Had anything ever tasted as sweet, and had any woman felt like such absolute bliss? Deepening the kiss, she opened to him, and he felt her hands inch upward along his bare chest, felt a sharp prick as her nails dug into his flesh. Ah, sweet pain. Unlike the ache of battle, this intensity of feeling was far different. He wanted more, needed to feel her fangs piercing him as he sank his cock into her pussy.

Thrusting his tongue into her mouth, he tasted her, grazed against her petite incisor and tasted his own blood as it filled her mouth. As though galvanized, she sucked, then sucked harder, opened her eyes wide, staring at him as his lifeblood spilled into her. She curled closer to his body, her nails digging deeper into his chest.

Yes, oh gods, yes. If only we were alone. It was not true pain he felt but an aching need to claim her, to burrow his cock deep inside her hot, tight channel. He wanted to feel her pulsing around him, clasping him, wanted —

He lifted his head to gaze down at her. She moaned, her claws retracted from his chest, and she collapsed in his arms, her eyelids fluttering closed. He caught her and lifted her into his arms, carrying her to the lounge chair he had seen upon entering the office.

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My Fate, My Destiny – an excerpt

My Fate My Destiny

#gay #erotic romance #contemporary #paranormal #gothic

Sequel to My Soul He Seeks…
myfatemydestiny_medAfter their first introduction in Ternekill, and through the sharing of an amazingly emotional paranormal experience, Byron Shepley and Ravol Nova have remained lovers for two years. Finally, Byron has come to terms with his relationship with the mysterious Terne House and his unusual ability to connect with spirits of the past.

But circumstances change when Byron is abducted by Ravol’s fierce enemy, who will use Bryon to bring Ravol to his knees. On a night lit by a full moon, Byron may finally get his wish to witness Ravol transform from human to beast—but it may be his last wish, as two beasts clash in a life-or-death struggle. Byron may be in for more than one surprise before the night is over.

Yet, revelations may not just be about Ravol, but about Byron, too, as he comes face-to-face with what may be not only his fate, but his destiny. Can love save them, or will his fate destroy them both?

Amazon Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CXLWS75

 

EXCERPT

My attention is all on Ravol now. He comes over me, his body presses me deeper into the bed. His kiss, deep and hungry, transports me, sends the familiar zing of recognition throughout my body. As he lifts my hand, the gold cuff with the strange markings on my wrist rattles because the chain is still attached. He kisses my palm, nips at the heel with sharp teeth. His lips are slippery against mine. Blood of his prey?

“You could make me like you,” I say, just as I’ve said a hundred times before. “I’m ready. It would be easier.”

“No,” he answered sharply. “You will never be like me. You know what you would be. Just like that pelt that’s spread before the fireplace in the music room. Is that what you want?”

“But I’d be with you. You’d teach me to control the instincts. I’ve read the stories. There were some who survived and who controlled the madness.”

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” He leaned down and kissed me fiercely, stifling my words, and at the same time drawing blood as his sharp tooth razed my lower lip. Ravol licked it clean and then he grabbed the tube of lube from the nightstand and squirted the gel into my ass. This was about urgency, as I knew his blood was still running high and hot. His lust was always so intense when he returned to me. Ravol used his fingers to stretch me, to get me ready to take his big prick. Firm, long fingers that reached deep inside me. And then he was over me, dragging my legs wider, lifting me as though I weighed nothing at all. My arms dragged against the chains binding me. The gold cuffs scraped my wrists, the familiar tendrils of pain clawing up and into each digit of my finger, each hand wrapped around the length of chain binding me to the headboard.

And then my attention was diverted as Ravol pressed his big prick into me, stretching me even more. Pain screwed up my arms, shoulder joint to wrist, as I twisted and writhed beneath him. He stretched my ass as the head popped past the ring, fitting so sweet and familiar inside my channel. Coming home, and I couldn’t help smiling at the stupid thought. But it was true. We fit together, heart, soul, and body, the way two lovers should. I just wished I could reach down to stroke my cock, which was hard and needy. Pre-come leaked down my dick as it slapped against my belly, the liquid crawled across the bulging veins, down to drip into the dark wiry nest covering my groin.

I arched up and Ravol pushed in deeper. He grabbed my hips, his fingers digging into flesh, bruising my hipbones. I’d have more bruises when we were finished. My arms stretched taut above my head were still fastened to the headboard.

Ravol rose to his knees above me. He levered my hips, then drove deeper into me, fusing us together, his cock inserted into my ass. He shimmied farther up the bed, closer to the headboard, pushing me back and then drawing me up and into his arms. His cock split me wide. His arms around me, soothed me. Then his mouth to my lips claimed me completely. I melted against him. He owned me body and soul.

The cold, frigid air swirled around us. I dropped my head back and looked up into his eyes. “Francesco is here,” I said.

He nodded. Then he claimed my lips again in a savage kiss, his tongue—his long tongue—thrust deeply into my mouth, stopping the words, cutting off all thoughts beyond being owned by this man. Even Francesco’s chilly presence couldn’t dampen the heat of my passion.

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Don’t miss, My Soul He Seeks.

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Body Parts, an exerpt

BodyParts_smThe shake-up in the publishing work as small and epublishers have closed their doors over the last few years has had me in a rather a “flux” state, to put it mildly. I’m still doing a bit of scrambling to get my feet back under me, but I think I’m getting closer.

Unfortunately, with each step I think I’m making, over the last couple of years something else has happened to set me back on my heels.

Since I also have an interest in photograph and some measure of graphic design, I set myself on a learning curve to do my own cover design. Life is all about taking the side roads and curious paths in our journey.  What fun would it be without challenges to keep us energized? So, new releases are coming slowly as I travel along this creative learning curve, and adapt to this evolving technological age that changes with every breath. I hope you’ll bear with me.

Body Parts was originally released under my other writing pseudonym, Adrianna Dane, in 2008. When Loose Id closed its doors, sadly for me, I might add, I made the decision to re-release this story under Darcy because it’s really a bit darker erotic horror/gothic-themed and I felt it fit more in line with what I write as Darcy Abriel.

Body Parts is now re-released with a new cover and is currently available on Amazon and as a #kindleunlimited section. I hope to design it for paperback very soon.

Body Parts

An erotic twisted romance to Frankenstein mythology. “…The concept of this story is highly original and the Frankenstein element is very interesting…” one reviewer says. #erotic #gothic #dark fantasy #romance #bisexual

Athan is the embodiment of male virility unbounded: eternal lust designed by and for the pleasure of his makers and their thirst to discover the secret to eternal life. An incomparable Frankenstein creation without flaw, his parts melded by alchemy and science, infused and fed by sexual energies of lust and desire, Athan survives through the acts of pleasure, in all its varied and seductive forms.

Yet Athan is a tortured soul who walks eternally alone, always hungry, forever hunting for his one, true perfect mate, that one person who can accept who and what he is. Not a monster, not a collection of perfect parts, but a man.

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DN1YGCM

Excerpt

Korrie trembled with excitement, as well as fear, as she stumbled into the library the next afternoon. She was still stunned by her discovery. She had taken the morning to delve into some of the shadowy nooks and crannies these older structures seemed to hide, looking for someplace else where documents might have been hidden away. She had even gotten up the courage to go into the master bedroom. And that’s where something very odd had taken place and why she was ready to burst right now.

She wasn’t sure it was a room she wanted to return to any time soon. But it certainly did give her hope that there were more documents in this place to be uncovered — that maybe Paul hadn’t found. Documents that had been hidden by someone not so earthly bound as they were.

In that room, more so than any of the others she had entered that morning, it was as though there was still a presence in residence, hovering just out of sight as she scoured the room. Then the ice-cold breeze she had become accustomed to over the last few days descended, drifting over her like a misty cloud, drawing her deep into its lair. She’d never been one to believe in the supernatural, but after this recent experience, she held a healthy respect for things not seen.

Whatever energy that was in there had drawn her to a silken powder blue and gold chair near the window. Vibrations of sensual excitement spun around her like ribbons of oozing honey, overpowering in its sweet clinging texture, imprisoning her in the sexual atmosphere that now hovered within the room. She could smell the scent of lust that clung to the air. And to her.

Korrie turned to look at the canopied bed and it was as though she could see the imprint of bodies sliding seductively over the covers. Shadows of movement pressing against the bronzed satin comforter; the indentation of a head on the pillow, thrashing wildly.

Then she sensed that someone had once sat in that chair, watched the twining of bodies, the pressing and penetration, heard the moans and the slapping and sucking of heated, damp flesh, smelled the scent of musky bodies. She felt his presence, and it was definitely a man; unable to stop herself, she pressed a hand to her throbbing, feminine flesh. The room grew darker, the lighting subdued, as she concentrated on the bed.

It was no longer her own female flesh she felt beneath her hands, but a large prick at full mast, hot and throbbing, as whoever it was that was watching the display of passion stroked himself. Electrical impulses seemed to emanate from the thick stalk, shocking the palm of her hand, shooting down through the tips of her fingers.

As surely as she knew her own name, she knew the name of the man whose body she now seemed to be wrapped in.

Athan.

She dropped her head back and closed her eyes, feeling the male arousal fill her. She felt his hand stroke the heat of his sex, smearing the liquid across the glans. More and more pre-ejaculate coated her fingers as she gripped the massive tool. One hand moved downward as the testicles drew up close to the male body. The hum of arouspolaroid-1319193_journaling energy spiked through her body.

The groans and murmurs of pleasure coming from the bed were clearer now, and she was no longer alone. The past now seemed her present, and her body was no longer female, but male in full, frontal arousal. She gripped the cock between her legs, no longer aware of her own physical form, so deeply entrenched in the essence of this room.

Come join us. She heard the whispered words of a husky, feminine voice.

Haevyn and Emotional Cost

 

Haevyn_smIn Quentopolis women have been relegated to secondary status in many cases. Women of the working class society, lead very difficult lives. The Elite are treated more as pampered dolls, cosseted and spoiled, to be seen but not heard, with some similarity to that experienced in the 19th century. Yet, as with any society, there are some who do not tow the line, who break from this suffocating sort of bondage.

There are women–some surviving by their wits and intelligence, some by courage and an adventurous spirit–these are women who strive to break free. Some, like Silver from the first book in this series, end up paying a high price, including human and personal freedom. For some, such as the courtesan madam, Violette Goldswan, they wield their power through different, more shadowy avenues. And some, like Haevyn Breina, will attempt to rise through the more public ranks, clawing their way to a position where they have a chance of gaining societal acceptance as an equal, and gaining respect in the more demanding arena of this male-dominated society. None of this is accomplished without emotional cost. None of these women face and accept the challenges of this rather brutal society in quite the same way. For Haevyn, the rewards are worth the steep price. She does not back down from doing what must be done.

In Quentopolis, sexual relations and sexuality are very open and accepted parts of this society. For some it is about pleasure, for some it is a tool to rise through the ranks. Sex is used for negotiation; it is also a shared bond between friends. And it is also an art form, highly prized by a nobility class known as the Dominatae.

Haevyn Breina is of the Moondown Water District working class. Her parents were killed in a factory fire, leaving the care of her younger brother, Bhrett, in her hands. Responsibility came to her at a young age and she accepted it, along with every hardship and payment that security demanded. She gave up her virginity to a higher purpose and though it left her bruised and battered, she has never regretted her choices. When a brand new arm of the Regulate opens up to females, she jumps at the chance, even though strictly speaking the Compsociate Branch is considered by many to be simply a finely labeled government sanctioned army of courtesans in service to the upper Regulate officers. Haevyn accepts the challenge determined to rise within the ranks, but it is not without additional damage to her psyche.

Her lover and friend, Grisha, has served as her anchor, her “calm, safe haven” throughout her life. A simple fisherman, he is far distanced from the machinations of the political arena. But Grisha, more wise than Haevyn realizes, knows there is more that his lovely, wounded lover needs than the warmth and healing of his loving embrace. He knows very well how close to the edge she really is. But so is his other lover, an expatriate Orictan warrior by the name of Entreus.

In any world an emotional cost must attach, though all creatures deal with trauma differently. Some will splinter, some will rise to meet the challenge of adversity and fashion it into their strength. Some bear an anger or rage–they try to ignore or funnel through some other channel. Entreus funnels his rage and frustration through the illegal Cockrage events. Haevyn tries to bury her anger beneath a veneer of tightly-held control. Grisha knows this about each of them and has a sense of their needs.

How these three people adapt, grow, and hopefully heal is at the emotional core of this story. The journey is complicated by a very dangerous and deadly enemy to the city-state whom they must battle.

This is the world of Humanotica. Read an excerpt from “Haevyn,” the second book in the Humanotica series…

Read an excerpt from Silver, the first book in the Humanotica series.

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Haevyn buy links:

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078C51G5Z
Smashwords Buy Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/816536
Books2Read Universal Link (B&N, Kobo, etc.): https://www.books2read.com/u/4DowAQ

 

 

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Silver buy links:

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074PB91BV
Books2Read Universal Link (B&N, Kobo, etc.): https://www.books2read.com/u/mvjP6X
Smashwords Buy Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/772872

 

Tracking Backstory for My Soul He Seeks

Tracking Backstory for My Soul He Seeks

MySoulHeSeeks_smBrainstorming for this story started with word association. No, back up, it didn’t start there. It began with the image of a man. Hispanic, gypsy. What did he do? What’s in his soul? And so I dug deeper. Music is in his soul. What kind of music? There was no other answer. Flamenco. In researching, one line resonated with me, and with Ravol. Flamenco is at the very heart of the gitano culture with strong roots in Andalusia. And thus Ravol Nova was born.

Ravol possesses a dark and mysterious history. Rumors about his relationship, and the murder of his lover, Francesco, haunt him unceasingly. For me, this past came to life through a video on Youtube. Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=Y6slgaVCSxM. A duel of guitars in a sense. But for my story the duel started between a young Flamenco guitarist and a Flamenco dancer. What better inspiration could I find for the dancer than this Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXBctPuGIfU. Joaquim Cortes. Wow. Perfect. I had the passion and the pain of my backstory.

The foundation of Ravol’s dark haunting, is the murder of his passionate lover, Francesco, that has colored his life so deeply. But there was more, a lot more, because as I got into writing the story, I realized Ravol actually was a descendant of a lost gypsy tribe, the Zhalazti, which has its roots in Babylonian origins. (My story, “Run to Ground”, provides the foundation for the Zhalazti in more detail.)  And thus there is magic– a special magic he must harness and use in an effort to bring peace to his life. And he will use any means to find that peace. To that end, he acquires a special musical instrument. Enter, the young, auction house researcher, Byron Shepley, who has a very dark and somewhat disturbing history with the mansion Ravol now lives in. And it is on a dark and stormy night these two men will finally meet.

These fictional facts represent the foundation of “My Soul He Seeks,” as both Ravol and Byron, in seeking resolution to their past histories, may discover a light of love shining through the darkness shading each of their souls, even though there is nothing remotely simple about the attraction they soon share.

“My Soul He Seeks” is a story of redemption and resolution in many ways. It is also about sacrifice and revenge.

One last little tidbit about this story. I needed to name my town…something special. Ternekill wasn’t just something I pulled from my black hat and pasted into the story. I starting researching names. I thought about the town and the story and the people.  The word “terne” I discovered is a Delaware Native American word for…wolf. What better name could I choose? Especially with Ravol’s history as descending from the werewolf clan, the Zhalazti? Having grown up in central New York near the Catskills, I finished off the name of the town with the word, “kill.” Two meanings, one the obvious–to murder, or kill. The other goes back to the roots of the area, and the early settlers of New York – the Dutch. Kill refers to a river or a creek. Kille, meaning riverbed or channel. Thus, the town’s name of Ternekill. There is reference in the story to a dark spot in Ternekill history regarding the Ternekill Creek.

Did I mention I love creating backstory?

Read the excerpt I posted last month for “My Soul He Seeks.”  Discover where this all leads in the sequel, “My Fate, My Destiny,” releasing June 26, and currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

 

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Gulietta – an excerpt

Blurb:

guliettasmallThe lovely and seductive Gulietta requires sex on an inhumanly frequent basis. It isn’t until the Roman immortal, Quintus, barrels into her life, revealing the identity of her father, that suddenly she’s dropped into a magical world populated with atyrs, fairies, and shapeshifters. It seems her “problem” is not rooted in human sexual dysfunction after all. Gulietta finally discovers who and what her father is–as well as what she is. And Quintus has made it clear he is the man who can provide exactly what she needs. That is, if her father’s game plan doesn’t get in the way…

 

EXCERPT:

Satyr’s Court, Reate, Italy

The wide braided red leather collars were a striking improvement over the boring black of her father’s court. The father of whom she’d only recently learned the identity.

Red marked the members of her newly-appointed attendants. Gulietta rose from the green vine-entangled cedar throne. She pulled a succulent purple grape from the wooden tray and popped it into her mouth. As she bit down, sweet juice flooded her mouth. Gulietta’s gaze drifted around the courtyard as she stepped off the dais. Dancing stopped. Flute music and drums ceased as all eyes turned to her. Who would have thought this was where she would end up? Who could have known that her curiosity about the big black door in the photograph would lead to her destiny? This was certainly not what she had envisioned for herself.

She brushed a hand down the curve of her naked hip. She pushed her long black hair over her shoulder. In this land, behind the black door, clothing was optional. An afterthought.

“Continue with the music,” she said as she strode across the garden, elves and fairies and lesser satyrs of the court making a path. Immediately the sound of music filled the courtyard once again. The fauns and nymphs began to dance, twirling and swaying to the light, cheerful music.

“Take care, Gulietta. You push me too far.”

The smile was wiped from her lush lips. Her horns tingled. A rack of antlers, feminine, yet deadly. She whirled around to face the tall Roman who shadowed her every move.

“Your duty is finished, Quintus. You have returned me to my supposedly rightful place. You have done your duty to my father. Why are you still here?”

Without warning he fastened his hand to her slender hips and yanked her toward him. Too close for her to drop forward and use her horns. She beat her hands against his iron-hard chest.

“Let me go. I’ve let you bully me as much as I’m going to.”

He shoved her backward until her back was against a stone wall. Only then did he remove one hand from her waist and fist it into her hair, effectively stilling her movements.

“Bullied you? I’ve protected you. I’ve guided you.” He leaned closer until his hot breath brushed across her ear. “I’ve claimed you. And now you belong to me, Sabine woman. Your father promised you to me if I brought you back safely.”
She struggled against him to no avail. That was the whole problem. Gulietta was a duty and nothing more. A means to an end for Quintus. More than a thousand years had passed since Sabine women had first been the coin of prosperity for Romulus, nothing but a way to populate Rome.

Gulietta beat her fists against Quintus’s chest, he arched her head to the side, exposing her neck, taut and bare. His mouth fastened onto her flesh, fangs scraping across and then piercing her skin. She felt the rush of hot connection as he quelled her anger, forcing her to submit.

His tongue licked across the aching wounds as she felt her resistance ebb away. And yet the blood rushed hotly through her veins. When he finally raised his head and forced her to look at him, his eyes burned like molten steel newly forged in fire. His expression dark and lusty. This man–no, this immortal Roman guardian–a servant to her father–dug deep into her heart. And she hated that she could not find the strength to resist him. She would give anything to not want him–to not need him–as badly as she did.

She felt the familiar pain, a tug of lust that shot straight down to her vulva. She throbbed with desire, a need that thus far she had been unable to deny. And that only Quintus could ease.

“Quintus.” His name, an ache of longing. The smell of him. She leaned forward and licked at a nipple, tasting him, then suddenly drove her teeth into his flesh.

 

Now available at these ebook retail outlets:

Universal link for other bookstores (B&N, KOBO, etc.) : http://books2read.com/gulietta

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E0U0DIY

Smashwords Buy Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/678748

My Soul He Seeks – EXCERPT

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Blurb:

#gay #erotic romance #contemporary #paranormal #gothic

Tonight two men are fated to meet, Ravol Nova, a Spanish flamenco guitarist, and Byron Shepley, an auction house researcher. On a dark and stormy night, at Terne House, one man may trade his soul for passion and surrender; and another man, with a dark and secretive past, may find the redemption he’s been seeking for so very long. What dangers may they greet when these two men finally come together, as they both come face to face with destiny?

EXCERPT:

There are always times when a choice can be made, and then there comes a time when the window is closed and the choice is taken out of your hands. At this moment as I sat there across from Ravol, I knew I had an opportunity to leave and instead I chose to let circumstances carry me along. As I watched he placed a hand on the curved top of the guitar case.
“You’re not interested in checking to be certain the guitar is what you expected? That it’s undamaged?” I asked. I found it hard to believe that a man would pay $50,000 for a guitar and yet be so uneager to look at it.
He stroked the top of the case with his long, elegant fingers. So pale, almost white. Nails manicured perfectly. I remembered his grip as he held my hand for longer than necessary. I found myself wanting to feel his hand upon mine once again. Perhaps I had moved to free myself a little too quickly. Or maybe not quickly enough.
“Heinrich and I have known each other a long time. He is an honest man. I assume he’s a fair employer as well.”
I nodded. Sometimes a little ruthless, he wasn’t a man to accept less than perfection, but I couldn’t say he wasn’t fair. “Yes, he’s a fair man.”
Heinrich was Heinrich Morgan, the owner of the auction house where I worked. At some level I was surprised that the two men would be on a first name basis. Is that what had brought Ravol to Ternekill?
Ravol stroked the dark case’s stitching with a rhythmic motion. Hypnotic for me. I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off his hand. The look of it almost drew me up and across the room, a magnetic force I’d never encountered before. I have to admit it left me breathless. Breathless and horny.
“How long have you worked for Heinrich? I understand from my conversation with him on the phone, you’re fairly new at the auction house.”
I nodded again, finding it difficult to focus on the question. His hand curled around the curve of the case and he stroked it with his fingertips. Slow, so riveting. I began to sweat. It was getting damned hot in here all of a sudden. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair. Was he taunting me to see how far he could push me? The fire in the fireplace seemed to roar and crackle, burning brighter and hotter than before.
I knew, without being told, that I was out of my depth with this man. He was no crony, no college friend, that I could flirt with playfully, and walk away unscathed from a night of steamy down-and-dirty sex. I was way out of my league.
Finally, I tore my attention away from his hand, from the way he flexed his fingers, the smooth look of his skin. Of the thought of him stroking my cock, gripping my balls. Away from the thought of those long, long fingers sliding into my ass. I couldn’t help wonder exactly how far his fingers could reach inside me.
I brushed a palm across my forehead. So damned hot in here I could barely stand it. I wiped my hand on my pant leg, rubbing back and forth.
“I think I should be going. That rain, you know.”
“Soon. Ramon will be bringing you something to eat. And some coffee to warm you before you leave.”
“I think I’m warm enough. By the way, thanks for the use of the dry clothes.”
He nodded rather regally. “It is nothing. Ramon is very resourceful. He leaves no detail unattended.”
“He seems very…thorough.”
“He is that.”
“Has he been with you a long time?” I asked, wondering if they were lovers.
“Yes. A long time.” Had he been with Ramon before his lover had been killed?
I turned to look at the stained glass walls. They glowed as brightly from this side of the glass as they did from the hallway. On this side of the panels the red glass seemed to shine far more intensely than the other colors. And those lofty, powerful angels with their black eyes, appeared to glare down at me.
“Ramon says these panels came from your home in Spain.”
“Yes, they did. I had them shipped here. Heinrich put me in touch with someone who could restore them to their former beauty. He did an excellent job. I was very pleased.”
I couldn’t help myself, perhaps it was the historian in me, or just that I needed to distance myself from Ravol. The man’s personality was strong enough to make anyone’s head spin. I stood and walked over to one of the panels, staring up at the black-winged angel with the glowing sword. I reached out to trace the silvered lead, zigzagging my index finger along the channel. “Beautiful work,” I murmured. “Sixteenth century?”
“Fourteenth,” he said from right behind me. I never heard him cross the room. “I understand you were a history major in college.”
“Yes,” was about all I could manage. I wanted to turn around, but I didn’t dare. I knew if I did, I’d do something I shouldn’t.
“And you were on soccer scholarship.”
“Yes. Until I busted up my knee.” Just then said knee began to throb. “I-I—”
“Tell me,” he said softly. “It must have been a great disappointment to you to lose the scholarship. Things like that change us. We set a path for our life and then suddenly everything alters. Just that quickly.”
Then slowly I did turn to face him. He was a tall man. And he was a beautifully dangerous man with a strange, sad and bloody history.
“You’ve faced loss,” I said. “A lot worse than my knee injury. But we recover, don’t we?”
His expression told me little. I stared at his mouth, his sculpted lips. They looked too perfect. His eyes kept me mesmerized. Kept me from moving away. I saw the flash of pain come into his expression. It flitted quickly and then the look of anguish was gone as fast as it had appeared.
“Yes, I have known loss.”
“I’m sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything,” I said.
“It was a long time ago,” he murmured, even as he lifted a hand to cup my jaw. His thumb, long and shapely, caressed my bottom lip. I caught my breath and tried to steady myself. The man was intoxicating. Was he really making love to me? We’d only just met and yet—and yet, his touch seemed familiar to me. I welcomed it. And I didn’t want to leave.
Someone cleared his throat. The realization that someone else had entered the room broke the trance. Ravol dropped his hand away and stepped back. The shock of sudden disconnection had me reeling just for a moment. The ghostly sensation of his touch still warmed my jaw as I watched him turn to Ramon.
He didn’t seem embarrassed by being caught flirting with me. Maybe they weren’t lovers after all. Maybe they were just a man and his servant. I found myself hoping that was the case.
“What is it, Ramon?”
“The river has taken the bridge out. I just heard it on the news. And they say the power has gone out in town. There’s some concern about flooding and they’ve put the town on alert to evacuate. Mr. Shepley won’t be able to leave tonight.”