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Do you love elves? Magic? Maybe a little romance?

I know you love FREE stuff.

Today you can download a short story from Roane Publishing that will give you a glimpse at one of the characters from “Duty or Desire.”

To whet your appetite for that, here’s a snipped to introduce you to the hero of ONE SAVORY SUMMER, Holt d’Wyrden.

An Excerpt from “Duty or Desire” part of Masked Hearts:

Masked_heartsA strip of trees and grass added charm to the brick and wood monstrosity. Alyona slithered up an elm on the north side of the walled-in estate, then a maple located east of the ten-foot mortared wall. As she scaled an oak tree on the western edge, the amulet throbbed between her breasts. A slow, hot pulse, reminiscent of an elven heartbeat.

Holt is here.

Late spring foliage offered cover to her dark-clad form. Not that she worried about being discovered. Although three guards paced the grounds in odd rotations, meant to keep intruders off balance, they looked bored. Handguns similar to the one pointed at her chest on her very first day on Earth rode their hips. A club and another black-handled, wide-barreled item fitted in slots at the other hip.

Twilight curtained her position. New guards with large, sleek-bodied dogs relieved those who traced the perimeter. Alyona studied the windows, hoping to catch a glance of her brother. She wasn’t close enough to attempt telepathy, which worked best within fifty paces. A niggle in her mind assured her Holt resided within this compound. As a guest or a prisoner, she didn’t know.

Light flickered in a third story window. A covering whisked back. Doors opened onto a narrow, iron-railed balcony. A woman with auburn hair pushed through them, her twittering laughter preceding her. Behind her glided the lithe form Alyona knew as well as her own.

Holt pinned the woman to the railing, pressing his body against her. His hands rested on her voluptuous hips. He bent his face toward her neck. His black hair flowed across his shoulders, shielding his actions from sight.

The woman flung her head back. Her laughter broke into a sigh of desire.

Of course he’d be with a human woman. Women should be sampled like fruits in an orchard. His words and a sentiment many elves shared. After all, who wanted to spend centuries bound to a single person?

No one from Alyona’s generation chose a mate. Even her parents had waited until they were nearly in their third century of life before entering into a matrimonial covenant, considered essential if reproduction was planned. Many such contracts were for a specified length of time, perhaps until offspring reached maturity at age forty. Her parents, their bonding stretching well beyond 150 years, were unique in the elven society.

Alyona narrowed her eyes. Holt seemed to be a willing occupant of the fortress. Or this earthen prison offered a brand of permissiveness she’d never witnessed. Once the couple disappeared inside, the door pulled shut behind them, Alyona scanned the wall, grounds and house.

****

I hope it makes you want to read more.

Check out the purchase links for MASKED HEARTS. Get your FREE reads here.

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