Thursday, December 31, 2009

Savage Lessons by Moira Rogers

Savage Lessons
by Moira Rogers
cover art by Sahara Kelly

ISBN: 978-1-60521-355-2

Genre(s): Futuristic, Paranormal, BDSM

Theme(s): Werewolves

Series: Temple of Luna

Length: Novella
Born into poverty and obscurity, Lexa worked harder than most to earn a place as a novice at the Savage Temple, where women trained in the art of pleasure heal the souls of battle-weary warriors. While others might be content to enjoy the luxury and prestige due a priestess of Luna, Lexa aspires to something greater -- the honor of wearing the silver robes and the security that comes with being one of their world's most powerful women. But first she must prove herself worthy by testing her strength against the Temple's most infamous trainer, a near-feral wolf whose job it is to educate women in the art of controlling a warrior through submission.
Dejan doesn't deal with novices. Time spent as a prisoner of the humans left his soul fractured and his beast far too close to the surface, making him dangerous but useful. When he accepts Lexa as his pupil he has no way of knowing the novice has the power to bring him to his knees. Their passion doesn't fade when she's promoted to the Temple's elite circle, but the rules allow no involvement between a trainer and priestess. Caught between ambition and need, it's only a matter of time before their forbidden affair threatens the lives they've fought to build.

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Lexa kept her stance relaxed and tried not to let her excitement and nerves show as she faced the Temple's high priestess. "I'm ready, Celine. Now. Today."

"So you say." Celine's fingers tapped an absent rhythm against the arm of her chair. "So your teachers say. You've worked hard."

She'd busted her ass. Most of the other acolytes came from privileged families, and had been guided since birth toward the service of Luna. Were it not for the patronage of the queen mother, Lexa wouldn't have made it through the door of the Temple. "I've tried my best because I wish, more than anything, to serve."

"As did I, when I was your age. But I also knew where I wanted to be in ten years, and twenty. Do you?"

Most priestesses were gone by thirty, advantageously married off to soldiers returning from the war. Lexa didn't plan on being one of them, but she also wasn't ready to bare her soul to Celine. "I haven't decided, but I am giving the matter no small amount of consideration."

Celine nodded. "You're strong, and so is your magic. Strong enough to give you a chance at silver robes someday."

The words soothed the desperate longing inside her. "Kweku said he has nothing more to teach me. I checked the files, and there's only one high-level trainer unoccupied at the moment." The one she'd wanted all along. The best.

"Dejan." The high priestess's expression was unreadable. "If you've been checking files, my dear, you know that Dejan rarely works with novices. In fact, I believe that's common knowledge throughout the Temple."

"I could convince him to make an exception."

"You're assuming he's the one you'd have to convince."

Of course he was. Celine's expression was skeptical, but... "We wouldn't be having this conversation if you weren't considering it, and you wouldn't be considering it if it wasn't the best step for me."

Silence stretched out between them, broken only by the soft click of Celine's nails against the arm of her chair as she resumed her slow tapping. After several tense seconds, she smiled. "Looking at you is like looking into the past. In the ten years since I became high priestess, Lexa, not one other girl with your fire has passed through these halls." "I would say you flatter me, Celine, but that didn't sound like a compliment." Curious, she smiled and tilted her head. "I remind you of yourself?"

"Very much so." Celine gestured to her opulent surroundings. "There are worse lives to live. I serve my Goddess and my King. I receive the respect and deference of men and women born to privilege I couldn't have imagined as a child. Is this what you aspire to?"

It was tempting, seductive, and beyond comprehension. "Even the life of an acolyte has been more luxurious than anything I'd experienced before coming to the Temple, Celine. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't want respect and security."

"I didn't rise this far by being born into wealth or gently reared. But think hard about where you want to be before you take this step. Respect is already yours as a novice of the Temple. And security can be found as easily in the arms of a man who loves you. Dejan teaches only the best of the best, the women who aren't interested in a comfortable life as a warrior's mate."

Lexa had seen the sort of fleeting security one found in a man's arms. She'd watched her mother flit from warrior to warrior, with no thought of tomorrow, much less forever. "I want him for my teacher. I wouldn't let you down."

The high priestess nodded, but Lexa couldn't tell if the look in the older woman's dark eyes was regret or satisfaction. "Then you'll have him tonight. And in the morning we'll discuss your future at the Temple."

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