by MFRW Author Rosalie Redd
The Betram ritual is a sexual rite for all unbonded Stiyaha of age. For Leonna, Betram offers a night free of her destiny to manage the family honey cart. Drawn to a formidable male whose tenderness burrows into her soul, she discovers his identity and loses her heart to a male she can never have.
Prince Nicholai must participate in the Betram ritual despite his fear of getting close to anyone. The intensity of his hunger for a certain honeyed female takes him by surprise, but as much as he longs to forget her, he can’t, for she’s unforgettable.
There she was. The female he’d commissioned to paint his portrait. She brushed a stroke of paint over her canvas, the movement sensual, beautiful. That she used her damaged hand was remarkable. Her thumb and index finger grasped the brush with ease. Mesmerized, he could gaze upon her face for not just hours, but days on end. As he walked past the other artists in the room, none caught his attention, not like this female.
Nicholai’s body responded as if he knew her, as if she was the one he’d been with during the Betram ritual. But she was not. As a qithan female, she wouldn’t have been allowed to participate. Then, why did he respond to her this way? He ground his teeth. The last time they’d talked, he’d failed to get her name. He would rectify that immediately.
Her back to him, she didn’t appear to notice his approach. He gazed upon her fine, blond hair. The stands fell down her back. The tips graced the top of her rounded behind. He had a sudden urge to get close, introduce himself by showing her what she did to him. That was inappropriate, but his beast liked the idea.
Not wanting to startle her, he stepped past her so that he’d be in her line of sight. She jumped anyway, and a drop of red paint from her brush landed on her cheek. The bright spot made her all the more delectable. She didn’t seem to notice.
Her eyes widened.
“Oh, you’re here.” She blushed a bright shade of pink that blended well with the dab of paint. He longed to wipe it away, but contained his desire.
“Yes, as promised.” He couldn’t help the smile that tugged at his lip. She brought that out in him. The smile overtook him and turned into a full grin.
If possible, her cheeks colored even darker shade of pink, and his chest expanded from the warmth she exuded.
“I have a fresh canvas.” She removed the painting she’d been working on and pulled a white board from her stack. “It’s brand new, and—”
“What’s your name?” A burning desire to know ate at him.
She bit her lip.
A warmth spread into his groin. He wanted to nibble her lip as well.
“Leonna.” The way her name rolled around on his tongue was like a gentle caress. So, he said her name again. “Leonna. What a beautiful name. I am Nicholai.”
“I know.” She stiffened. “I mean…I recognize you, Nicholai…you’re the prince. Everyone knows who you are.”
ABOUT Rosalie Redd
After finishing a rewarding career in finance and accounting, it was time for Rosalie to put away the spreadsheets and take out the word processor. She writes Fantasy/Science Fiction Romance inspired by classics from the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres layered with a good, hot dose of romance.
She lives in Oregon, where rain is just another excuse to keep writing. When not at her computer, you can find her at Jazzercise, waterfall collecting in the Pacific Northwest, or relaxing with her husband and their pesky cat, Snookums.
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