Cover art for Untamed, the next book in the MacKinnon's Rangers trilogy, slated for a November 2008 release.
Before I vanish back into Morgan and Amalie's world — I spent today having steroids injected into my spine at the hospital and, thanks, I'm doing fine — I wanted share some goodies with you! Here's a first glimpse of the unfinished cover for Untamed. My publisher is going for a new look for my books, and this is it. Today was the first I saw of it, and I really like it. Of course, you could put a sexy male torso on just about anything and I'd love it.
Right now, Untamed, which tells Morgan's story, is due out in November. But there's more at works with regard to my historicals than that...
In October, my entire historical backlist will be rereleased, and the books will have new material in them. So far I know for sure that Carnal Gift will have a guide to the Irish Gaelic in the story and that Ride the Fire will have its long-awaited sequel. What Sweet Release and Surrender end up with is beyond me at the moment.
But, the important thing here that I'm trying to say is that Ride the Fire, hands down my most popular book, and Surrender get new covers! The idea is to make them more like the new look, which is debuting with Untamed.
The new cover art for the rerelease of Ride the Fire, slated for October. Yeah, I'd ride his fire.
Iain MacKinnon gets a second chance at cover glory with this new art for the rerelease of Surrender. Note: No tipis!
So what do y'all think, my friends?
Also a favor: Anyone have time to help me get my book trailer up in other places. SueZAY and Ronlyn popped it up on YouTube, for which I was very grateful. There are other book-related places I'd love it to go, and not only am I techno idiot (this blog is my greatest EVER achievement), but I'm swamped trying to write. Let me know via email if you have time to help.
Now, for something more fun: Imagine those hard, sexy man bodies and enjoy this excerpt from my work-in-progress, Untamed... This is dedicated with love from me to radgie lass in every one of you.
Morgan stepped down from the sill and closed the windows lest someone see or hear her. “For the love of God, lass, what are you doin’ here?”
He took a step toward her, about to tell her to get back to her own room, when she stepped into the moonlight. His mouth went dry.
She wore only her nightgown, her dark hair hanging almost to her knees, her little toes peeking out from beneath her lacy hem. The thin cloth did little to conceal her form, the pale light revealing shadowed hints of her nipples, the curve of her hips, the dark triangle of her sex.
She walked slowly toward him. “It is hot tonight. I.. I cannot sleep.”
Some part of him that had not gone witless watched the play of emotions on her face—uncertainty, shyness, hopefulness. Then her gaze skimmed over his bare arms and chest and belly, and he saw something else—longing.
And who put that longin’ in her, laddie? ’Twas you wi’ your kisses, aye? She was utterly untouched afore you came along.
She stood before him now, her soft scent filling his head, heating his blood. “I am sorry about your friend, about what Lieutenant Rillieux did today. I worry for you, Morgan. I pray that Bourlamaque will not punish you too harshly.”
’Twas the absurdity of her words that brought him back to himself. She’d snuck into his room in the middle of the night to tell him she hoped he’d not be punished too harshly? “If Bourlamaque finds you here, lass, he’ll cut off my cods.”
For a moment, she looked confused, then her eyes went wide and her gaze flickered to his groin. She looked away. “Bourlamaque was upset and drank too much brandy. I could hear him snore through the wall. He will not wake before morning.”
Morgan fought the urge to touch her, crossed his arms over his chest. “You have no’ answered my question, lass. Why are you here? And dinnae tell me it’s summer’s heat that brings you, for ’tis hot in my bed, too.”
She looked away again, distress on her face. “I… I needed… ”
“Needed what?” He knew the answer, but he wanted to hear it from her.
When she spoke her words were but a whisper. “I needed to be… near you.”
So vulnerable, so innocent. She stood there brimming with unspent desire and didn’t know what to do about it—leastways not well enough to ask for it.
His hand betrayed him, reached out, and tucked a silky strand of hair behind her ear, the simple touch not nearly enough to satisfy him. “Och, Amalie, you are so bonnie! You tempt a man to his soul. But you dinnae ken what you’re wantin’, do you?”
Her head snapped up, uncertainty replaced with a look of feminine defiance. And then she did something he did not expect. She rested her palms against his bare chest, stood on her toes—and kissed him.
Both shocked and roused by her boldness, Morgan willed himself to remain passive, letting her shape the kiss, her lips hot against his, her tongue exploring his mouth with sweet strokes, the heat of it shooting straight to his groin. She was a fast learner, his Amalie, she was.
He knew he was a bloody fool to let this go on, and it had been on the tip of his tongue to tell her she must leave. But now his tongue had other ideas. Besides, how could he send her away when he wanted her so badly, when even his bones ached for her, when she was the only thing that felt right and true in the midst of the lies and deceptions that had become his life?
Aye, he knew he could not claim her, knew he could not take her. He was still a prisoner of the French, still an involuntary
guest in Bourlamaque’s home, still caught up in a dangerous game of spying and survival. He might not live another fortnight, let alone survive this accursed war. She deserved more than a man who would love her and then forsake her. But here she was, in his room, an angel come to him in the dark of night, kissing him with all the fire in her soul.
Yet weren’t there many ways for a man to pleasure a woman? Aye, there were. He could make love to her with his hands, with his lips, with his tongue. He could ease her longing, show her the fullness of her own response—and leave her maidenhead intact. He could be the first man to give her pleasure.
On a surge of pure lust, he drew her hard against him, wrested control of the kiss from her, answering the caress of her tongue with the bold thrust of his own, the rightness of it singing through him. Aye, she could not be his, but for tonight—just for tonight—he could be hers.
Amalie felt something inside Morgan snap, strong arms drawing her against the hard wall of his chest as he gave in to her kiss and began to kiss her back. But this was not a sweet kiss, not the sort of gentle kiss they’d shared in the garden. It was fierce, wild, almost violent, making her knees go weak and her heart trip.
She knew it had been wrong of her to come here. Chaste women did not sneak into men’s sleeping chambers in the middle of the night. But she’d lain awake tonight as she had so many nights of late, consumed by thoughts of him, wanting the gnawing hunger inside her to go away, and she’d known only that she had to be with him. She’d feared he might send her away, feared he might see her as wanton and her actions as shameful. And at first he had seemed angry with her, but now…
O, mon dieu, this is what she’d needed!
“Amalie, mo luaidh!” He whispered her name, whispered words she didn’t know, his voice gruff, then he lifted her into his arms, carried her a few short steps to his bed, and followed her down onto the sheets, settling his weight beside her. “Tell me, lass, what is it you want from me?”
She shivered, looked up at him, knowing he awaited some kind of answer from her but uncertain what it was. “Kiss me.”
He ducked down, nipped her lower lip, soothed it with his tongue, then sucked it. “Is it just a kiss you’re wantin’, or is it more? What do you ken of men and women, lassie? What did they teach you at the abbey?”
Unsettled by his question and yet hungry for the feel of him, she slid her hands over the hard curves of his shoulders. “I… I know that it is a wife’s duty to lie near her husband and to bear his children in pain.”
“Duty? Pain?” He brushed his lips over hers, kissed the corners of her mouth, making her lips tingle. “Did they teach you nothin’ else? Did they say nothin’ of pleasure?”
Pleasure? None of the Sisters had ever spoken of pleasure.
Feeling strangely exposed, she looked away, unable to bear his gaze. “Sister Marie Louise told me that men… that men… ”
She could not talk of this! It was too private, and he was too much, surrounding her with his strength, his heat, his scent, his little kisses making it so hard to think.
He nipped her lips. “Tell me, lass.”
She squeezed her eyes shut, heat rushing into her cheeks. “That men mount their wives… as a ram mounts a ewe—o, mon dieu!—and that they find this pleasurable, while women do not.”
“She told you that?” He chuckled, nuzzled the sensitive skin beneath her ear, nipped her earlobe.
A cascade of shivers spread through her. “Oui.”
He swirled his tongue against the whorl of her ear. “And what if I told you that the poor Sister was wrong? What if I told you that a woman can feel every bit as much pleasure from love play as a man?”
She gaped at him, astonished. “Can that be true?”
“Aye, ’tis the truth. Haven’t you enjoyed my kisses, lass?” Not giving her time to answer, he kissed her, slow and deep, kissed her until they were both breathless, until she couldn’t help but arch against him, naught between their naked skin but the thin cotton of her shift and his drawers. Then he raised his head and looked down at her through dark eyes. “I ken why you cannae sleep. I ken what your feelin’, for I feel it, too. If you let me, I can ease the longin’ inside you, Amalie. I can give you pleasure and leave you still a virgin.”
A bolt of heat shot through her, made her belly tighten, a thousand questions darting through her mind, distilling into one. “Will you get me with child?”
He shook his head, gave a little nudge with his hips, and she felt a hard ridge press against her thigh. “For me to get you wi’ child, I would have to join my body—this part of me—with yours and spend my seed. And that I willna do upon my word.”
Every thing he said was new to Amalie, and she hesitated, feeling as though she stood upon a precipice. Could it be as he said it was? She wanted to know, wanted to go with him wherever he could take her, wanted to let the joy she felt with him carry her where it would. And yet never in her life had anyone bid her to seek her own pleasure in anything. At the convent, and even with her father, her life had been about duty—a Catholic girl’s duty, a daughter’s duty, a Frenchwoman’s duty.
Even as she let his suggestion tempt her, Morgan nudged his nose into her hair, his breath hot on her ear, one callused hand sliding up her bare arm, his touch making her skin tingle. “Let me free you from this need, Amalie.”
But she had one last question. “Is this… a sin?”
“Aye, I’m certain there are many who would say that it is. And yet holdin’ you in my arms like this—all I ken is how right it feels.”
Amalie drew in a breath at his words—words that spoke fully her own feelings—and knew her own mind. “Oui, Morgan. Show me.”
She closed her eyes, waited, uncertain what he would do next, her body beginning to tremble. But all he did was slide his hand to her cheek and kiss her, a deep, open-mouthed kiss, his lips hot, so hot, his tongue teasing out her secrets, making her forget her uncertainty and fear.
Without taking his mouth from hers, he slid his hand slowly down her throat, his fingers pausing to caress the indentation between her collarbones before tracing a line of heat between her breasts.
‘“Easy, Amalie.” The words brushed over her lips, a flutter of breath.
His hand flared across her ribcage, smoothed circles over her belly, stroked the curve of her hip, a strange awareness spreading wherever he touched her, as if his hands had the power to call her body to wakefulness. But that was nothing compared to the scorching trail his lips left on her skin, as he kissed his way down her throat, following the path his fingers had just taken. By the time his lips reached the valley between her breasts, she could scarcely breath, her heart leaping against her breastbone as if to greet him. And then his hand skimmed over her breast, his fingers catching her nipple through the cloth of her gown, and she heard herself moan.
He moaned, too, as if touching her like this gave him just as much pleasure as it gave her. Then his hand slid beneath the straps of her nightgown, pushing the cloth down to her belly, leaving her breasts bare to his perusal. She watched his eyes darken and felt a shiver of excitement, her nipples drawing tight.
No man had ever seen this part of her.
“Och, Amalie, you’re far lovelier than I e’er could have imagined.” He cupped the full weight of one breast in his hand, his thumb drawing circles over its bare crest, sending hot shards skittering through her belly.
“Oh!” She reacted on instinct, arching, pressing more of herself into his callused palm, wanting more, needing more.
And he obliged her, molding her breasts, caressing her nipples, stretching them, plucking them, until she whimpered with frustration, her breasts swollen and heavy, the heat in her belly spreading between her thighs. But he wasn’t finished.
With a groan, he lowered his head, drew one aching nipple into the heat of his mouth and suckled her, the shock of it making her gasp. Each tug of his lips, each flick of his tongue was a sweet torment, her breath coming in pants, the heat between her thighs now a throbbing ache. Then one hand reached down and drew up the cloth of her nightgown, his fingers caressing the skin of one thigh, urging her legs apart.
Amalie gasped, caught his wrist and squeezed her thighs together. She hadn’t imagined he would try to touch her there. “Non!”
“Shhh, mo luaidh.” He nuzzled her ear. “Let me touch you where you burn the hottest. Let me bring you release.”
She stared into his eyes, saw an intensity there that almost frightened her, and yet her body was on fire, her nipples still wet from his kisses, her belly tight, the ache between her thighs both precious and unbearable. Slowly, she relaxed her legs, surrendering her will to his.
His gaze still locked with hers, he slid his hand down to the bend in her knee and lifted her leg, resting it over his hip, parting her, leaving her exposed. Then his hand closed over her sex, the heel of it grinding in deep, slow circles against her.
She drew in a shuddering breath, astonished at the staggering pleasure, his touch somehow appeasing that aching need—appeasing it or provoking it. Oh, what was he doing to her? “Morgan!”
“So beautiful,” he said in a husky whisper. Then his mouth returned to her breast, his tongue teasing her nipples, sucking, licking, tasting, each motion of lips, tongue and teeth sending spirals of pleasure through her belly.
Amalie was lost, her skin damp with perspiration, her body trembling. Something was happening inside her—something miraculous and primal and more than a little alarming. She clenched her fingers in his long hair, her breathing reduced to ragged whimpers, her body taking on a rhythm of its own.
“Amalie, my angel!” He sounded breathless, his voice strained.
But if she thought he’d run out of new ways to tempt and torment her, she was mistaken, for in the next instant she felt his finger slide between her slick folds, parting her, stroking some secret part of her. The delight of it stunned her, frightened her, and she couldn’t help but cry out. “O, mon dieu!”
He chuckled, a deep warm sound, his mouth shifting to the side of her throat. “There’s naugh’ to fear, lass.”
With her next breath, she found herself hovering on some sharp and shimmering edge. She bit her lip, held her breath, fought not to fall, but he was relentless. His finger slid over her again and again, slick and wet, forcing her closer to that unfamiliar brink. And for a moment, the fire inside her blazed bright white and blinding—then it exploded.
Ecstasy seared through her, molten and exquisite, almost terrifying in its intensity. She arched in his arms and cried out, her cries captured by his deep, thrusting kiss, as bliss lifted her up into the night, carrying her beyond the moon and the stars to a glittering place near heaven and leaving her to drift. Slowly, the night took shape around her—the beating of two hearts, sheets soaked with sweat, the sounds of mingled breathing—and she found herself lying, astonished and trembling, in Morgan’s arms.