I'm late posting because I was home sick all weekend. I don't have the H1N1 symptoms though so I think it's just flu-lite. At least I hope so.
Even though I was sick, I got some good news over the weekend. Seeking Truth, my medieval erotic romance with some paranormal elements finaled in the 2010 Epic Awards in the historical erotic romance category. I'm really thrilled about this.
The EPIC Awards have been given annually since the year 2000 to recognize outstanding achievement in e-publishing and they have a good reputation in the industry. If you visit the EPIC site, you can the lists of past winners. This year, the historical erotic romance category has only two finalists, so I'm over the moon to be one of the two. The other cool thing is that both finalists are Ellora's Cave authors.
So wish me luck. The winner is announced at EPICon which will be held in New Orleans. If I can go, I want to. I'm just not sure the funds and my vacation time will allow for it. Even if I can't go, I'll find out the results in early March!
Here's my moment of shameless self promotion...
Baron Eaduin Kempe, a man of intense passions, seeks a healer at a nearby abbey. When the abbess introduces convent-raised Lady Vérité de Sauigni, he knows he’s hellbound for desiring her. He wants to tie her to his bed until she sobs with the pleasure of his touch.
Eaduin offers Vérité marriage in exchange for easing the pain of his dying foster mother. Years ago, Vérité secretly watched Baron Eaduin arouse a lover and has dreamed of his touch ever since. She desires him enough to risk exchanging the imprisonment of convent life for that of marriage. On their wedding night, Eaduin craves dominance and Vérité submits with enthusiasm. Each heated encounter thereafter binds them closer together.
When Vérité’s father accuses her of witchcraft because she won’t use her psychic gift of seeing truth to aid him, she begs Eaduin to kill her so she doesn’t suffer. Instead, Eaduin challenges her father to trial by combat, determined to save the woman who owns both his passion and his heart.
By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
An Excerpt From: SEEKING TRUTH
Copyright © FRANCESCA HAWLEY, 2009
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
She moaned when he dropped featherlight kisses over her face. His mouth covered hers softly, growing more forceful and intimate with each successive kiss. He teased her mouth open, dipping his tongue inside her parted lips. Vérité jumped, her eyes opening as his tongue explored her mouth. As he lifted his head, his dark eyes seemed lit with an inner fire.
“Do I frighten you?”
“Nay, I’ve just never been kissed this way.” Vérité’s eyes unfocused as desire filled her.
“Have you been kissed in other ways?” His expression darkened, and she saw the glow around him change slightly.
Vérité blinked as she realized she could read his soul, though she hadn’t concentrated on her gift to do so. His spirit reddened with passion, but as he asked his question, parts of the spirit halo surrounding him darkened. She didn’t know whether to feel pleasure or dismay at seeing the jealousy flash through him.
“Only chastely by my brother.” The glow of his aura lightened to a brighter red again, indicating the strong desire he felt for her.
“And your father?”
“Nay, my father never showed me affection.”
“I’m very sorry, Vérité. I understand. Truly. My father never showed me any affection either, but I’m heartily sorry for the lack in your life.” He kissed her and again his spirit lightened, reflecting a glow of gold and white at his genuine concern.
She didn’t understand how she saw his glow without consciously focusing on it. She saw very few people’s spirits without effort. Only her mother’s and her brother Falc’s. Ah, but there had been two others—she’d forgotten. The spirits of Lord Osweald and Lady Annys had all but assaulted her, which is why she sickened in their presence. Perhaps it was the Kempe bloodline that spoke to her, though Eaduin did not make her sick, quite the opposite.
When Eaduin kissed her neck, her thoughts stilled in favor of the sensations surging through her. His mouth teased her skin while his rough cheek sensitized her. The contrary textures increased her need for Eaduin’s warmth. His touch. His possession. She wanted more but didn’t know how to ask him for it, so she clung to him reveling in the exploration of his mouth, her gasps quickening with excitement.
She drew back to look up into his face. “I don’t know. I just know I don’t want you to stop.”
He smiled. “Good, for I don’t want to stop any more than you want me to. Come, let us remove your garments.”
Eaduin unbuckled her girdle, letting it fall to the floor, then he released the lacing at her sides to loosen her kirtle. Vérité swallowed hard as he gathered the voluminous fabric of her overdress into his hands, lifting it upward over her head. He tossed it onto a nearby chair as he stared at her then he groaned, shifting his hips.
Though she still wore her underdress and shift, she felt naked and vulnerable before his desire. Heat rushed into her face. Eaduin licked his lips, his hands clenching and his muscles tight while his gaze made a leisurely tour of her from head to foot. If she questioned his hunger before, seeing him thus erased all doubt. Fire filled his eyes as he fought to control his need for her. All those years ago, he’d looked at Mistress Emma similarly, but never had she hoped he might look upon her with such need. Vérité exulted in it.
She walked over to him with more confidence than she felt. “And you, my lord? We should make you more comfortable as well.” He caught her hands as she reached for his belt, her gaze flew to his.
“My lady, I stand on the edge of a knife. Push even slightly and I’ll tumble, taking my feeble control with me. I have no wish to frighten or hurt you.”
“Has it been so long since you’ve had a lover, then?”
“I have been alone far longer than I care to admit.”
“I wouldn’t think a man like you would spend his nights alone.”
“A man like me?”
“A handsome, powerful and wealthy baron. Any one of those traits might incite lust in a woman.”
“Do you think so? Is it my power and wealth that attract you?”
“My pleasing features, then?”
“Nay.” Vérité blushed at the lie, her body always betrayed her in some way when she told a total falsehood and this was one of those times.
“Truly, my lady? Your blush belies your denial.” She shivered as his finger brushed her cheek.
“Well, I must admit your handsomeness appeals to me but neither power nor wealth can sway me. Wealth and power can be a blessing or a curse. It depends on the use made of them and position is the same.”
“True enough. I accept you enjoy the way I look, for I must admit I feel the same for you. Your beautiful hair is but a fitting crown for your luscious form.” He pulled his red velvet bliaut over his head, tossing it to where her gown rested, leaving behind a fine white linen undertunic. “There. Now we are equally bare.”
“Ah, but I have on one more layer than you, my lord.”
“So you do. Your underdress is a lovely golden color but let us remove it.” Eaduin helped her ease it off so she stood before him in only her shift. She trembled under his gaze. “The linen of your shift is so fine I can see your tight, pink nipples and your red nether hairs.” She shivered with excitement listening to his soft murmur.
His fingers traced her skin along the neckline of her shift, dipping between her breasts so her nipples strained toward him. Vérité whimpered, waiting for him to finally cup her breasts, but he didn’t. Instead, he drew close to her, dipping his head so his lips could follow the tingling path his fingers had left in their wake. His arms encircled her to pull her against his hard body while he pressed his hips into the curve of her thighs. His erect manhood thrust against her lower belly, so she spread her limbs to allow him nearer.
Vérité moaned. Her eyes closed and her head fell back as she wrapped her arms around him. She lifted her leg to hook around his, groaning when he ground his pelvis into hers. He cradled her bottom to hold her in place and hissed with pleasure, his breath tickling her sensitive skin. When his tongue snaked out to taste her, she nearly collapsed in his arms. He kissed the curve of each of her breasts as their hips undulated together, her breath harsh with need. Vérité clenched her fingers in his undertunic, dragging him against her. She wanted his lips pressed to her breasts, his mouth open as he sucked her nipples. More. She wanted everything.