Thursday, June 26, 2008


Coming in 2 weeks:

In the seventh century B.C., Kalla must pretend to be one of the hated enemy--a Spartan--in order to save her family. Her gift of sight has brought her to the attention of her Spartan master, Praxiteles, who is determined to use her to overthrow one of the dual kings of the Spartan monarchy. She has no choice but to play along, or her father and brothers will die.

Nikolaos, an Aresian vampire, is a fierce proponent of one of the Spartan kings--in direct opposition to the man who threatens Kalla's family. When Praxiteles introduces Kalla as the Spartan's new oracle, Nikolaos is suspicious of her, both because her behavior is inconsistent with that of a Spartan woman but especially because of her association with Praxiteles. However, he can't resist her beauty and intelligence.

When she tells Nikolaos something that happened in a recent battle that no one but one of his men--in whose fealty he has absolute trust--could know, he begins to believe her. With his skepticism put to rest, he gives in to his desire for her.

Kalla and Nikolaos must now face a common enemy--one who threatens both Nikolaos' way of life and Kalla's family. But their happiness is not guaranteed. What will Nikolaos do when he discovers Kalla is involved in the plot to overthrow his king? Can their love overcome the bite of betrayal?

~ * ~

Nikolaos pushed back the flap of his war-tent and entered. Inside were accoutrements of life in battle—his bedroll and coarse woolen blankets, a small table and chair for planning strategies, a rock pit for a fire in the evening and a knapsack with extra clothing.

Scowling, he pulled off his helmet and placed it on the table. He removed his red cape, his scowl deepening at the tears in the fabric. Although that was the cloak’s function—to act as a barrier and to hide his wounds and any blood that otherwise might be bared for the enemy to see—for an adversary to get that close… He needed to increase the intensity of his practice sessions.

He sat down on the rickety chair that always surprised him with its ability to withstand his bulk. With a low grunt, he leaned over and unfastened his greaves, straightening to set the bronze shin guards on the table. Then he closed his eyes and rotated his shoulders to ease the tension riding him.

Ares preserve me. He needed a blood thrall, but the uncertain—and often brutal—life of a warrior on the battlefield didn’t lend itself to having a companion who would be left unguarded and vulnerable.

His eyes burned. He could wait until his captain brought him the Helot who’d murdered Deucalios. Then he would replenish the blood he’d lost from wounds sustained during the battle as well as discover whether others were involved in the despicable butchery. In the meantime, he had to get the stench of war cleansed from his body. There was no time or means for a true bath, but he had a bucket of water and cleansing rags. They would have to do.

He stood and shrugged out of his breastplate, hanging it from a nail in the center post. He traced one finger through the drying blood of his friend, then discarded his sandals and the rest of his clothing. He dipped one of the cloths into the water and stroked it over his torso and arms. The tepid temperature of the water helped cool his overheated body, yet there was one part of him that refused to be appeased.

Battle and blood always made him hard, ready for sex.

He wrapped the wet cleansing cloth around his erection and stroked, hard tugs of his hand, uncaring of technique. He had but one goal—relief from the lust that made his flesh ache.

He was just about to ejaculate when a clearing of a throat from outside his tent garnered his attention and stayed his release. He let go of his flagging erection. “Come,” he growled, not bothering to cover his nudity—or his still half-erect cock. He was not the only man in camp in this condition and so whoever entered would not be surprised to see him thus.

Castor ducked between the flaps of the tent, pulling along with him the Helot. The man’s hands were bound behind his back and his feet were fettered with manacles and a short chain. The captain gave the man a push, sending him tumbling to his knees.

“Perhaps this kunarion can provide you some relief, Lord General.” Castor’s gaze flicked down to Nikolaos’ erection, his dark eyes flaring with unmistakable interest. It wouldn’t be the first time the captain had satisfied Nikolaos’ lust-ridden body after a heated skirmish. Castor had dispensed with his helmet. His dark hair was wet, his face, hands and arms cleansed of the blood that had streaked his skin. Clearly, he’d taken the time to bathe some of the stench of battle from his body as well.

“Not in a thousand lifetimes,” Nikolaos muttered. He inhaled, taking in the scent of the defeated man’s fear, and the blood lust hammered at him. “But he can provide relief of another sort.”

“Do what you will to me. It cannot be worse than a life of slavery.” The Helot met Nikolaos’ gaze briefly, then his eyelids dropped and he stared at the ground.

“You think not?” Nikolaos took his time studying the man, allowing the fear to escalate. Soon the overriding energy from the strong emotion zinged through Nikolaos’ veins, heightening his arousal so that his rod rose toward his belly. He took the few steps necessary to stand directly in front of the enemy. “Accept your place in life. You are no longer a free man. You will never again be a free man.”

The man’s jaw flexed, but he remained silent.

Nikolaos could no longer ignore his need for blood. “Have you ever been the blood thrall of an Aresian? No, of course you haven’t.” He answered his own question. “Else you’d know there are worse things than death.”

Copyright 2008 Sherrill Quinn. All Rights Reserved.

Wicked Omen, book one in the Dark Pantheon series - available July 11th at Ellora's Cave!


Colleen Love said...

Wow, Sherrill! Really REALLY good excerpt! I think that cover is frame worthy, too! : )

Sherrill Quinn said...

Thanks, Colleen. I had a blast writing this--kept picturing Gerard Butler and those ripped abs and man-panties (from 300) in my mind while I was writing. I'm thinking maybe the artist did, too. LOL

Colleen Love said...

:D I love it when a good plan comes together and everyone is on the same page.

Sherrill Quinn said...

Me, too! *G*