Excerpt from Wild Kingdom

Tarn stood on the battlements of the castle oblivious to the chill breeze that stirred his long blond hair. He narrowed his blue eyes – the sun’s rays were bright, yet its heat was barely discernible on this cold winter morning. The forest looked far less threatening in daylight now that the wind had blown away the last vestiges of the heavy mist.

Sunlight pierced the leafless branches of the trees, bathing the roots where the first flowers of the approaching spring were stirring into life. Soon Kabra would be reborn also, stronger and more prosperous than it was before the invasion. Life was full of hope at last Tarn thought as he leant against the icy moss-covered stone of the battlements.

He had woken just before dawn and lay by Rianna’s side watching her sleeping, her glorious hair splayed across the pillow. She looked so innocent, her beautiful features so pale almost as if they were carved out of the finest alabaster. She had the face of a goddess, yet when she was awake her beauty was even more moving, more profound, because it was enhanced by the fire in her green eyes and the warmth of her smile.

Tarn blessed the day he had found her – that fateful moment when, as a helpless captive of Lord Sarin, he had opened his eyes to find this glorious creature bending over him. In his fevered confusion he had thought her a faerie or some forest wraith come to lead him to Paradise. Then he had discovered she was Sarin’s betrothed. He soon realised that in many ways she was as much a prisoner as he was himself. It had been both the best and worse time of Tarn’s life. He had found Rianna then she had been torn from his grasp, and he had almost lost himself in the dark carnal excesses he was forced to indulge in as Sarin’s personal body slave.

You seem troubled,’ a gentle voice commented.

Tarn turned to look at Rianna as she stepped onto the exposed walkway. ‘I was wondering what the future now holds for us,’ Tarn replied, pulling her close.

Rianna’s hair was loose around her shoulders, and she wore his thick, fur-lined cloak over her nightgown. The garment was far too long for her and fell in heavy folds around her slippered feet. ‘Nothing but good,’ she said confidently.

In the distance an eagle appeared swirling majestically across the clear blue sky. It flew towards a narrow plume of smoke, which came from the village barely a league from the castle, then turned and rose high into the heavens aiming for a distant mountain peak.

Soon spring will be here and with it the promise of new life.’ Tarn smiled lovingly at her. ‘A life filled with nothing but happiness.’

Tell me,’ Rianna prompted. She knew Tarn well enough to sense that something still troubled him.

My father’s condition worsens,’ he admitted. ‘A messenger arrived just before dawn. His doctors fear he will only last a day or so longer.’

You must go to him,’ Rianna said. ‘Be with him at the end.’

When I am declared king, I want you beside me,’ Tarn hugged her even closer, unhappy at being forced to leave her again so soon. ’But I will not allow my future queen to be placed at risk. I have ordered Leon to despatch most of his men into the forest to flush out any bandits remaining in the area. Once he deems it safe to proceed, you can follow me.’ Rianna was stubborn and self- willed at times, but Tarn was certain she would not disagree with this decision.

I wish I were a warrior like my mother,’ Rianna said frustratedly. ‘Then I could bear arms and always remain by your side, even in battle.’

Kitara was raised to be a warrior, you were not my love,’ Tarn pointed out. He had great respect for the women of Freygard and even more respect for the beautiful Kitara. ‘Once matters are settled I can arrange for my swordmaster to tutor you – teach you to fight.’ He gave a soft laugh. ‘You already have the heart of a warrior, Rianna.’

But not the constitution.’ She shivered. ‘It grows colder. Come inside.’

If you wish it.’ Tarn guided her through the arched opening and shut the sturdy wooden door. The narrow stone flagged corridor was far from warm, but at least they were protected from the chill breeze. ‘Come,’ he said, pulling her closer. ‘Break your fast with me. Then I must ready myself for the journey, ‘tis getting late.’

Not yet,’ Rianna stared thoughtfully up at him.

What ails you, my love?’

Nothing.’ She smiled. ‘I was just thinking how blessed I am to have you, Tarn.

Now kiss me, then tell me how long we have before you plan to depart?’

Long enough,’ he growled, his mouth covering hers. Tarn kissed her hungrily, his lips locked fiercely on hers, his tongue probing and plundering her mouth.

He slid one hand inside her cloak and cupped her breast. The heat of her flesh seared its way through the fine fabric of her nightgown, warming his icy palm. Kissing her with unrestrained passion, he stroked and kneaded her breast, feeling her nipple stiffen with excitement as she became more and more aroused.

Rianna moaned, her breathing becoming ragged as she pressed herself against Tarn, twining her arms around his neck. He pulled roughly at the thin fabric of her nightgown, ripping it apart in his haste to expose her body to his hungry gaze. He felt her tremble as the cold air of the passageway hit her bare skin, yet she seemed too aroused to bother with such minor discomforts as she whispered sweet words of encouragement in his ear. Tarn tore the fragile garment further and thrust his hands between her thighs. His cold fingers invading the slit of her sex, burrowing into her warm depths. Her flesh felt hot and moist as he thrust his digits deeper until she gave a breathy moan of bliss.

Tarn,’ she gasped, straining urgently against his invading hand as her juices began to flow in abundance.

Hot tremors ran though his body as Rianna pulled at the laces fastening his breeches together. They were only loosely tied and she easily jerked them apart to free his cock, which reared majestically out of the opening. Clutching hold of the rigid shaft, she wanked it until he gave a faint, almost despairing groan.

I want you now,’ he whispered, still continuing to stimulate her with rhythmic thrusts of his fingers, while she milked his cock with long smooth strokes until he felt as though it would soon be ready to explode.

Then take me,’ she pleaded, trembling with passion. ‘Right here – right now.’

Tarn cupped her buttocks with his hands and lifted her until her belly was level with his. Rianna clutched onto his broad shoulders, uttering a small animal sound of pleasure as he jerked his hips, forcing the entire length of his swollen shaft deep inside her soft flesh. Pulling her hips closer he paused for a second to savour the

delightful sensations of her body tightly embracing his.

Rianna’s head meanwhile was pulled back by the heavy weight of her fur-lined cloak, the metal clasp digging cruelly into the skin of her neck. Supporting her with one strong hand, Tarn unfastened the clasp. She gave a faint gasp of relief as the heavy fabric fell onto the stone floor at their feet. Rianna didn’t seem to care that she was left almost naked, the remnants of her nightgown hanging in useless tatters away from her shapely form.

Now,’ she demanded, digging her nails into the skin of his shoulders.