TIES THAT BIND is a reunion story. Tess and Aedan first meet when he and his elder brother come to The Knight’s End, an alehouse run by Tess’ mother. Aedan’s feelings for Tess are genuine, but he’s 17. He doesn’t think about consequences, and his inability to use his druidic gifts with any moral restraint dooms the relationship before it begins in ANAM CARA.
Lifting her chin, Tess invited him to kiss her again, and he fell into the warmth of her mouth and the exhilarating slide of her desire against his. He shifted her, pulling her against his erection, nearly shattering with the effort not to explode then and there. She was all soft heat and sharp curves, not lush, not yet, but he could feel what she would become, could sense the passion that would sieve from her very skin once she overcame her uncertainty and awkwardness.
They fell. He groped for a handhold, found air, then her waist. She sank onto him, slanting her mouth over his, tasting him, claiming him. The weight of her stretched along his body. She hesitated, her uncertainty a sudden chasm between them. Without thought, he reached out with his mind, bridged her doubts and pulled her across.
Rolling her in his need, he poured what little knowledge he had into her. He shifted, pinned her beneath him and drew up her gown. She tilted her chin upward and arched her back, sending him to the edge of sensation where pain and pleasure blended. With clumsy and awkward movements, he loosened his breeches, feeling the air, then her skin with painful keenness.
When he confesses that he “bridged her doubts” and what that means, Tess leaves, furious and no longer able to trust him. But emotions linger—for both of them. When they meet again in TIES THAT BIND:
She dizzied him.
Tension raced over his skin, and Aedan tightened his grip on the reins. For a wild moment, he thought her a vision born of road weariness and regret. Then her energy skimmed his skin and everything else—the castle, the guards, even Daz’s excited observations—fell into nothingness. Tess was almost close enough to touch, as vibrant and fresh as winter air.
And just as cold.
Five years were dramatic on him, yet she could find no obvious place to point and say, this is new. Instead, the differences lay in what he was not. He no longer looked like a beggar boy, forever needing to fill the hollows and sharp angles of his body with food. A fine dusting of dark hair edged his jaw, obscuring the smooth, sharp chin that served counterpoint to the wild curls escaping the leather tie at his nape.
His clothes were no cleaner than his companions’ garments, but the costly Bruges cloth and tailoring left the impression he rode with peasantry. The simplicity of cut and lack of adornments only emphasized the lean muscles beneath the softened wool.
As if sensing her scrutiny, he looked down. Dark gray-blue eyes widened. They, too, looked different than she remembered.
His voice startled her. Even it had changed, slightly deeper and heavier, stronger. A man’s voice. Tension sparked, charging the air with the feel of a summer storm. At Bridswell, she’d seen the frantic rush of seabirds trying to escape the charging waves of a sudden squall, and like one of those doomed birds, her heart beat in frantic panic, outmatched.
If her uncle complicated her life, Aedan could destroy it.
Tomorrow: Tess’ Challenge, Aedan’s Choice
Keena Kincaid, the author of three historical romance novels with The Wild Rose Press, is blogging all week to celebrate the release of TIES THAT BIND, the second of her Druids of Duncarnoch series. On Friday, she’ll answer your questions about her characters, her books and herself. Everyone who submits a comment or a question will be entered into a drawing for one of five prizes: a 25 percent off coupon to The Wild Rose Press bookstore (2); a copy of TIES THAT BIND (2) and a set ANAM CARA and TIES THAT BIND (1).