Friday, November 12, 2010

Phoenix Burning by Cynthia Sax

Phoenix Burning

by Cynthia Sax

Cover art: Bryan Keller

ISBN: 978-1-59596-942-2
Genre(s): Dark Fantasy
Theme(s): Shapeshifters, Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures

Length: Novella

Twelve years ago, Phoenix wed a child bride. Leaving her before consummating the marriage, he joined the royal court. He fought. He bedded exotic women. He dreamed every night of the child woman he left behind.

Twelve years ago, Lucinda was deserted by her perfect knight. She honed her skills as a fire sorceress. She charmed sorcerers and kings. She waited for her wandering husband to return to her. She is now done waiting.

A marriage will be tested. A warrior will burn. A love will be reborn.

Phoenix Burning

Cynthia Sax

All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2010 Cynthia Sax

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

"And who is the next petitioner?" Prince Reiter sounded as bored as Phoenix felt. Hearing grievances was the most tedious part of court life. Reiter forced his lords to attend, citing it as training for when they took an active role in their own estates.

Whenever that would be. Phoenix examined his buffed nails and scowled at their perfection. Every day, it grew more difficult to justify his role as one of the prince's top warriors. Every evening, it took more women to satisfy his carnal urges. Every night, he was haunted by a vision of pale green eyes.

"A lady, my lord prince, is wishing an annulment from her absentee husband," Lord Griffin announced, his lips pressed into a grim white line.

This unusual request garnered the attention of all those in attendance. "Her name?" Prince Reiter asked.

"She did not grant it. The lady is embarrassed, my lord prince." Phoenix heard the sympathy in the big warrior's voice. "The marriage is long left unconsummated, and she is a great heiress. She wishes her independence."

"Likely so does her husband." Prince Reiter snorted. "If her dowry cannot bring her reluctant groom to bed, she must be uncommonly hideous." The other warriors laughed. "Mayhap I will suggest she wear a mask to bed." The laughter increased in volume. Even Phoenix, foul mood though he was in, smiled. "Or mayhap a full length sheet with one hole cut in it for entry." The tent rolled with mirth.

"My lord husband," the kindhearted Princess Lizbeth rebuked him.

"Ahhh... you are correct, Princess. I should not be so unfeeling. Not all women are as blessed as you are." Phoenix felt a tinge of envy at the look of devotion passing from prince to princess. With all the women he bedded, he had never been the recipient of such a look. "This lady is deserving of our pity, my lords. Show her in, Lord Griffin." Prince Reiter waved his ringed hand. "Let us be charitable and hear her petition."

Guards pulled back the tent flaps. Music drifted in on the breeze, the tune sensuous and haunting. Two comely wenches entered, each skillfully playing an ancient instrument. Phoenix smelled their sweet perfume. They were scantily dressed in silks and scarves, their feet bare, their long hair flowing upon their slight shoulders. Their hips swayed as they wound between the warriors.

"This is how one should approach their prince," Prince Reiter murmured. What the lady lacked in physical charms, she compensated with intelligence. His lord was clearly captivated, leaning forward with interest. Her strategy impressed Phoenix. Her petition would be granted.

"Our lady, my lord prince," the shorter minstrel announced.

The tent flap folds revealed a leg, long and lean and a flawless ivory. A slim ankle, bejeweled with a golden chain of tiny bells, moved in a circle. Lust surged through Phoenix. He wished to suck on those bare toes. He longed to caress the curve of that calf.

Then the whole of her shimmied into the tent and her feet were forgotten. Red hair the color of an autumn sunset cascaded down a proud, straight spine. Her breasts were small and firm, concealed only by spirals of gold. Her flat stomach was bare. Her hips were covered by more gold. Her harem pants were made of the sheerest green fabric.

She was too far away for Phoenix to see her eyes, but he knew their color. They were the most fragile green like the leaves in the spring. Her face was no longer round with youth. Her cheekbones were high and regal. Her mouth glistened with moisture. Flames danced from her fingers as she moved, undulating to the rhythm.

"A fire sorceress," a nearby warrior murmured, his voice thick with lust. Phoenix balled his hands into fists. The urge to strike his friend was great.

This fire sorceress was his. He stepped forward, attracting the seductress's attention. She continued to dance but not for the crowd. She danced for him -- her hands stretching out to him, her hips rocking toward him. Her pants burned into nothing. The gold covering her breasts and hips glowed with the heat. The flames around her built until she was surrounded by fire.

The fire called to his beast, as her hypnotic, winding movements called to the man. All the passion he had felt for her on their aborted wedding night returned, pumping fiercely through his veins. It was now without the taint of guilt. His child bride was no longer a child. She was all woman, and she had come for him.

He would gladly go to her. He placed his hands on the wall of flames, feeling the burn upon his palms. She smiled at him slowly, her head tilting back, her pale neck exposed, her breasts thrust up. Phoenix wished to bury his face in those curves and to never again emerge. The smell of burning cloth filled the tent. The pain intensified.

"Leave her be, Lord Phoenix," Prince Reiter commanded, breaking her magic.

"I will not." Phoenix had never before refused his prince anything but in this, he would not obey. "She is mine." He had waited long enough to claim her.

"Nay, warrior," Prince Reiter barked. "Not this one. This lady is not for you."

The flames dissipated and the music stopped. She turned to the prince. "You are very wise, my lord prince." She dropped into a curtsy, displaying her fine cleavage. "It took me twelve years to determine what you saw in one minute. Lord Phoenix is not for me." She raised one fine red eyebrow, her green eyes sparkling with mischief. "Are you, husband?"

Did she deny their union? His sexual frustration roared to anger. "You dare to embarrass me in public, wife?"

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