Hello everyone! Today I am so excited to welcome the fabulous S.J. Frost to the blog. S.J. is here to talk to us about her latest release, Knight of Fire, part of her great Terra fantasy series (that I am totally enjoying!). She has brought a sexy excerpt to share as well as a great giveaway. So please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Torran glanced at Karrick. The knight stood only a few short strides away, gazing at him, warmth in his eyes and smile. Torran looked away, glad for the dark night to hide his blush. “Sorry for rambling. I get a bit carried away.”
Karrick stepped closer. “Don’t apologize. What you were saying, it reminded me so much of things Cara would say. She taught me to believe the same way…once.” He sighed. “It seems even with our letters, I’ve forgotten much of what she taught me.”
“I don’t think you’ve forgotten. It’s all still there with you. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t frown upon how dragons are hunted and know that’s probably why the Ancient One won’t speak with the king.” Torran paused, his voice softening as he spoke again. “I’m sorry for your loss. Cara sounds as though she was a good and kind person and the best type of witch.”
“She was. All of that and more. To be honest, maybe because I haven’t seen her in so long, it’s hard for me to believe she’s gone. There’s a part of me that feels I’ll return to Dragon’s Landing and there she’ll be at the Gate, sitting outside it rocking in her old chair.”
Torran gave him a smile of sympathy. “It can be hard to accept, especially when it’s someone who’s meant so much to you.”
“You’re very right on that.” His gaze soft, Karrick smiled at Torran. “Now finally getting a chance to speak with you at length, I’m finding out you’re far wiser than your age. How old are you? Twenty or so?”
“A wee bit older. I’m twenty-three. As for wisdom, if you asked my mates, Zain especially, they’d say I’m lacking some, considering I let myself get run down by that damned nether beast. And what about you? You can’t be much older than me.”
“No, not much. I’ve got twenty-eight years behind me. Amazingly. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to not get myself killed. I know I owe Cara for reaching this age. She mended me more than once from nasty injuries and gave me sound advice on how to avoid more, not that I always listened.”
“She took good care of you.”
“She did.” Karrick looked over the dark garden. “She was the last person I considered family. My mother passed after giving birth to me. My grandparents who raised me each passed not long after I was knighted. I’m happy, though, they got to see me earn my spurs. With me being born common and not having a surname, when I was knighted I took my grandfather’s given name as my surname to honor him. I’d never seen him so proud.”
Torran hesitated, wanting to ask the question at the front of his mind, but uncertain if it was appropriate. But then, Karrick had already shared so much. Maybe it couldn’t hurt to ask. “What about your father? Did you ever know him?”
Karrick let out a grunt. “I know him, aye. And he knows me too and that I’m his son. But he’s never acknowledged me. It wouldn’t be fitting for his position.”
“Then, he’s noble born?”
Karrick brought his gaze back to him. “He is, but he was never in my life. My grandfather was more of a father to me and he was a serf to a baron, working a small bit of land not far from the capital. I was raised working the land with him and in every spare moment, swinging sticks as if they were swords, mimicking what I’d see the knights on the tourney field do. I actually made my first sword myself…when I was still a boy…out of wood. But to me, its edges were deadly sharp and it could most certainly guard against any attack from a steel one.”
Torran smiled. “You’ve come a long way since then.”
“I have, but it hasn’t been the easiest of ways. As I got older, I spent my time doing any work I could for coin, trying to earn enough for armor and true weapons.” Karrick laughed softly. “My first armor was horrible. Second-hand, ill-fitted, dented, and thin. Still, I was proud of it and the sword and shield I earned, even though both had rust spots on them.
“My plan was to enter the summer tournament and make my name known. In every tourney, there are a few commoners who try to live out their warrior dreams, but most are brought back to reality in their first bout. I wasn’t, though. I was determined to become a knight.
“But to enter the tournament, I needed one more thing; a horse. I only had a few coins left and there wasn’t a horse trader in the capital with a mount I could afford. Except one, where I found Storm, my current mount.”
“That stallion of yours is far from being a cheap mount.”
“Now he is. But not then. Ten years ago, he was wild with a mean disposition, quicker to kick and bite than to allow himself to be touched. But the horse trader beat him when trying to break him. The trader was ready to have him slaughtered for meat to feed hounds. He told me if I could go into the paddock and catch him, he was mine to take.
“It took all day, drawing closer and closer to Storm, working to earn his trust, but eventually I caught him and led him out of the paddock. I’m certain mine was the first kind hand to ever touch him.”
Torran let out a disgusted snort. “I’ve seen similar things too many times. Damned fools who believe harsh and cruel ways are how to train, when all they’re doing is hurting. It was good of you to have taken Storm on.”
“He’s repaid me many times over with saving my life and I know it was his fearlessness on the jousting field that helped to get me noticed. He was certainly the best looking thing I brought onto the field.”
“Now, I’m certain when you took your helm off, you got plenty of notice.”
A smirk lifted a corner of Karrick’s lips. “Are you saying you find me attractive?”
Torran’s mouth dropped open. He closed it, swallowing hard and glancing down. “I…I suppose I am.”
“That didn’t hold much conviction.”
Torran snapped his head up. “I didn’t mean it not to. But I…don’t say things like that much. Ever, really.”
Karrick took a step closer to him. “Haven’t you had many lovers?”
“I…uh…” Torran wet his lips. Karrick was so close, he could feel the heat radiating off him. “I’ve had a few. I don’t think I’d say many. And I don’t even know if I’d call them lovers. Not in the truest sense, at least.”
Karrick tipped his head slightly to the side as he regarded him. “And what do you consider the truest definition?”
Torran’s breathing quickened from nothing more than Karrick’s closeness and gaze on him. “There’s a lot that goes into being lovers. At its core, to be someone’s lover is to put them before yourself, to have your own happiness connected to theirs, to want to protect them, and even when you’re not with them in body you’re always together in mind and spirit.” He paused and chuckled softly, trying to lighten the weight of his words. “But I tend to take things too seriously about that. I think most would say it’s someone you share your bed with often and you don’t have to pay them.”
“I’ll admit, that’s always been my definition, but I do like yours.” Karrick took the final half-step toward Torran, bringing their bodies closer. His voice lowered to a rougher, huskier timbre. “Now that we have our definitions clarified, do you want to become my lover?”
Torran stared into Karrick’s eyes and knew his heart had never beaten so fast in his life. “By your definition or by mine?”
“At this point, a mix of both, I’d say. But I think there’s a good chance time will give us the opportunity to fulfill all aspects of yours.” A playful and sensual grin curved Karrick’s lips. “Starting with sharing our beds often.” He slipped a hand beneath Torran’s hair, cupping the back of Torran’s neck. Karrick brought his lips a breath away from touching Torran’s, his voice dropping to a whisper. “You can give me your answer in the morning, if you like. So that way you’ll know for certain if you’d want another night in my bed.”
Torran rested a hand on Karrick’s chest. “I’m positive I already know my answer, but…” He took his turn to give Karrick a teasing smirk. “I’ll wait to say it.”
Karrick lifted his other hand, brushing his thumb over Torran’s lips. “So you’re going to make me earn the answer? I think you’ve got a ruthless side to you that you don’t show.”
Torran closed his eyes, savoring Karrick’s thumb caressing over his lips. “When it comes to some things I do.”
“Knowing that makes me believe even more in Bryson’s words how we’re like and like.” Karrick closed the small distance between them, replacing the touch of his thumb with his lips.
Torran closed his fingers in a fist around Karrick’s leather tunic, needing to hold onto Karrick as heat rushed through him. He couldn’t think through his amazement at Karrick’s soft, warm lips on his own. All he could do was feel and react.
As Karrick started to part his lips, Torran did the same. Karrick’s tongue moved into Torran’s mouth, bringing the taste of spiced wine with it and making Torran more lightheaded than the actual drink.
Karrick tightened an arm around Torran’s lower back, pulling him tight to his body.
So solid. Torran’s mind spun at the strength and firmness in Karrick’s body. What would it be like to have Karrick on top of him, all that power and strength taking him? He could feel Karrick’s hard cock against his abdomen and didn’t need to see it to know the length and girth was more than ample.
He needed that cock inside him. He needed this man on top of him. Never had he felt so desperate for anyone as he did for Karrick.
As a Dragon Speaker, Torran is gifted with the rare ability to understand dragons. He knows dragons aren’t the vicious, mindless creatures many believe them to be and uses his gift to save them. It’s a lonely task. He’s never found a partner who understands him. He doesn’t believe he ever will.
Sir Karrick Brenton is a Knight of the Crown and a man with secrets…one in particular that draws him to Torran. They come from different positions in life, but never has he met anyone he feels more kindred to than Torran.
When Torran is requested to come to the capital city of Dragon’s Landing, both he and Karrick realize their passion for each other. As he seeks to help the king, soon the threats to the crown shift to becoming dangers to him, Karrick, and their friends.
S.J. has brought a copy of Knight of Fire to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Saturday May 3th at 11:59 pm EST. Updated: Due to some issues with site comments the contest entry date is extended to Sunday, May 4th at 11:59 pm EST.
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