Book One in The SnowRose Series
Rose Red will stop at nothing to protect her sister, Snow White, from suffering the same fate as their mother. She vows to kill Hestor, the evil dwarf sorcerer responsible for her death. But a twist of fate lands her on the bottom of a riverbed, and her life in the hands of a mysterious stranger.
Marcus is a beast of a man. He is a bear by day, man by night thanks to a curse from the evil Hestor. But when he meets Rose, he unleashes the real animal. Falling for her is dangerous enough as he must protect the secret of his curse, but she may just be the key to getting his kingdom back.
“Do you have a habit of going around saving damsels in distress, Marcus?” The coy tone in her sexy voice hardens my cock even more, evidence that I've not been in female company for quite some time, and it's taking its toll.
“I don't have many women that wander into the haunted woods in need of my rescuing. Which leads to the question, what were you doing there?” I fold my arms and stare down into her eyes.
“I don't think that's any of your business now, is it?” The icy aftertaste of her tone sting my ears. “While I appreciate the rescue, I should get home. My sister is waiting for me and will send out a search party if I don't return.”
“It'll be a mighty cold walk with no clothes,” I say, holding back the smirk climbing across my lips.
The green in her eyes darkens. “Kindly give me back my clothing and effects, sir.”
“Absolutely. Once they're dry.” I fan my arms to the fire where I've laid out her soaking clothes. “It'll take hours for them to be dry enough to wear. Besides, there's a nasty storm brewin' outside. A bit treacherous for you to be wandering out in, alone and at night. It would be in your best interest to stay here and let it pass. You can venture home in the morning.” My eyes lock onto hers and I pour sincerity into them in hopes she'll reconsider my offer. “I promise, come sunrise I will leave you, and you are free to go.”
She darts her gaze between me and the fireplace. I half expect her to make a mad dash for her clothes. But she doesn't.
“And what am I to do the rest of this eve then?” Her arms fold across her chest, pinching her breasts together.
I force my eyes away from the glorious cleavage and swallow over the lump in my throat. “Well, I assume you'll want to sleep. After all, I would imagine killing a man would take a lot out of you physically and emotionally. Not to mention the whole falling into the river and me rescuing you.”
Her eyes widen as big as saucers. “Were you stalking me?”
“Perhaps I came upon you once or twice before.” I give an aloof shrug.
Fury blazes in her dark green eyes and it lights my cock on fire even more. Damn, she's gorgeous when she's feisty. It takes everything in me not to devour her plump lips with my own.
“How much do you know?” She leans in, forgetting she's naked as her protective covering falls away from her breasts.
They stare up at me from the corner of my eye, but I'm careful not to look at them for fear she'll cover them back up. Stunning pink nipples harden at the chill in the room. My fingers ache to rub them.
“How much should I know? I've never met you before, Rose. You've come into my woods for the past month, and each time a man is with you. But you always leave alone. And I'm left to dispose of bloodied bodies before morning. So, do I need to worry that you'll add me to your collection?” Jutting my hands to the blanket on either side of her body, I press in closer to her on the bed, hovering just above her lips.
Quick breaths puff from her lips as she processes my words. Her eyes stay glued to mine in a glorious rage, and it stirs me inside to think of burying myself in that fury between her legs.
“Not unless you're in league with Hestor. If you are, I suggest you run.” Her body inches closer to mine, the blankets falling even further down her body. The delicate soft skin of her stomach catches my eyes and I'm unable to look away.
“Hestor?” I repeat, as it's the only word that sticks in my ears under the distraction of her curves.
“Are you not familiar with the dwarf sorcerer?” she asks.
“Oh. On the contrary, I'm quite familiar with Hestor. The question is, why do you seek him out?” My gaze turns back to her.
“Like what you see?” She tilts her head and swipes her lips with her tongue. “It's yours if you lead me to him.”
I shake my head. “You truly must think me a fool if you proposition me so, dear Rose. I know that's what you offer the targets in your game. You tease them with the reward of your body, yet you get them alone in the woods and take their lives. You cannot seduce me in this way.”
“Am I repulsive to you?” her voice notches up an octave.
“You, Rose Red are the most beautiful woman I've ever had the pleasure to lay my eyes upon. But I think you should know our interest in Hestor may be of a similar nature and perhaps we could strike a deal.” I ease off her and fold my arms.
“What do you want with him? His magicks are dark and bring only evil.” Her blazing eyes darken, studying me with intent.
I lean in, pressing my chest against hers as I hover above her face. “I have my reasons, as I know you do yours. They are not of your concern. What we both agree on is that he must be eliminated. No?”
“Your towel seems to have come lose,” she whispers.
My brow quirks. “How would you know?” I think she's trying to distract me, but I won't fall for her games. “Your eyes haven't left mine.”
“Because I'm the one who loosened it.” Her warm hand wraps around my cock, forcing a gasp from my lungs. My head yells at me to jump back, but the sensation of her fingers gripping tight to my flesh wipe all logical thought from my mind. I make the mistake of glancing down, aching to watch her hand stroke my length. It's the last thing I see before she knocks me cold.