Crawling Into Bed With Chris Quinton
And a Good Book
Important things first, are these sheets silk or cotton? - Silk, hon, every time *g* - preferable a rich burgundy in color.
What are you wearing? - perfume and a smile
What are we snacking on in bed while we read tonight? - Oh, the usual... strawberries dipped in chocolate, raspberries and cream, champagne on ice...
If I open this nightstand drawer, what will I find? - Heh. Nothing very kinky - flavored lube, some long silk scarves, a string of large beads, a feather or two, a velvet glove….
Do you roll up in the blankets like a burrito, or kick the covers off during the night? - That depends - covers tend to fly when I get excited.
Can I put my cold feet on your calves to warm them up? - Of course you can, hon. I'm good at warming things up.
What are we reading? Dark Waters. It's a re-release of my m/m paranormal fantasy set in an alternative medieval Scotland, featuring a Waterhorse *g*. Not at all your usual kind of shifter.
Blurb - Flein is a wanderer by instinct and need, roaming the known world as the fancy takes him. In the Highland village of Glenfinnan, women have been raped and brutally murdered. The killer is a waterhorse, a monstrous shapeshifter by all accounts. But when Flein meets Donnchadh, first in its equine form, then its man-shape, he knows the waterhorse is innocent. Flein is drawn to the shapeshifter, but he finds it difficult to acknowledge it's more than a monster.
Donnchadh, though wary, shares the same attraction. They join forces to hunt for the real murderer, but time is short. They must find the killer before more women die. Then suspicion is turned on them and the hunters become the hunted.
Excerpt - Flein's journey was uneventful and he made good time traveling west to east along Loch Shiel. A few days after leaving the Abbey, his gelding cast a shoe, so he decided on an early camp at the edge of the forest a stone's throw from the loch and not far from the place he'd used before.
He'd brought down a couple of grouse with his slingshot on the way and now they were roasting on a makeshift greenwood spit over the embers, their juices hissing where they dripped into the heat. The smell made his mouth water and for a while Flein forgot about a possible danger. Then his horse began to move restlessly on its tether and a deep-seated instinct told him the each-uisge approached. Then from behind him came the muted thud of unshod hooves on the dense mat of fallen pine needles, and the rustle of low-hanging branches brushing a large body. Seated on a pillow-shaped boulder, Flein smiled to himself and gave his meal another turn of the spit.
"Have you come to hear more of my travels?" he asked, not looking round. "I'm on my way to Invereil. Then I'll go on up the Great Glen to Inverness. From there I'll take ship to Rhodes. Now there's a splendid island." His visitor came no closer and for a while he talked of Rhodes, of its harbors and castles and the Knights of St. John. There was no other sound but that of his voice, the plash of waves from the shore and the sough of the light breeze. Then, because he was straining every sense, he felt rather than heard the movement. Just one step, that was all, and not of a hoof-fall but the silent pad of a bare foot.
Flein stopped speaking and held his breath. The silence stretched taught.
"The castle at Lindos?" prompted a voice that touched him with warm velvet.
Flein turned his head.
The creature was tall, matching his own height. But the shoulders were wider, the chest deeper, the muscles heavier on larger bones. Naked and like any beast, unconcerned by that nakedness, it was as uncompromisingly male as the stallion. Sable silk feathered over its upper chest and a thin line of darkness started just below its navel and widened down to the heavy genitals in their patch of thick curls. Long black hair drifted over the honey-brown shoulders in tangles, framing the face of a pagan demi-god. Its full lower lip hinted at sensuality and stubbornness in equal measure. Deep, dark eyes watched him, wary and curious. The firelight reflected back from those eyes with an animal's green chatoyancy, and nothing human looked out from them. There was an agelessness about it, and the deadly innocence of a drawn blade. Something was born in Flein's well-barricaded heart.
"Gods above and below, but you are truly magnificent," he said reverently. He had seen the work of the Greek sculptors at first hand, had himself stood for Praxiteles and Myron, and he knew this creature, this each-uisge, would have inspired masterpieces. "Will you tell me your name?" he asked.
The each-uisge didn't answer, just watched him, head a little to one side. The same way the stallion had watched. "Do you have a name?" Again, no answer. "Well, true-names can have power in them, so perhaps you're wise. Shall I give you a use-name, then?" A slight smile lifted the corners of that tempting mouth and he took it for assent.
Slowly, lest he startle it and with a casualness he was far from feeling, Flein got to his feet, studying the long muscular lines and fluid grace. It had strength and pride and an innate vitality that both appealed to him and challenged him. "Miles?" he suggested. "That means Soldier. No, let's stay away from Latin and stick with the Gaelic. Donnchadh. Brown Warrior. Donnchadh MacShiel, for the loch. It might be a little insensitive to give you a local clan name, since you killed and fed on the young heir. Among others."
"Why?" the creature asked.
"Because the clan wouldn't appreciate it, if they found out. They don't like being prey."
The wide shoulders lifted in a shrug. "Why? All things are prey to someone," it said, uncaring.
My website http://chrisquinton.com