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Knights of the Round Table: Geraint

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Romantic Times Magazine K.I.S.S. award for 
Sir Geraint as the "Knight in Shining Silver"

Nominated for RT's  Reviewers' Choice Award
for Best Historical KISS Hero 
(Knight in Shining Silver)




 



Knights of the Round Table: Geraint
by Gwen Rowley (aka Gayle Callen)

Sir Geraint is one of King Arthur's ablest knights but is considered impulsive by his father, the king of Cornwall. When he rashly marries Enid, a beautiful and mysterious swordswoman, Geraint's decision sparks questions about whether the love that's captured his heart so suddenly is a blessing-or a curse...

Used to the gentle ladies of Camelot, Geraint is at once infatuated with and suspicious of his bride, a strong and independent warrior woman, gifted with magic powers by the Lady of the Lake. Enid has come to Camelot to secretly learn the fighting techniques that may help her small, peaceful tribe resist a rumored invasion. When she realizes that Geraint may not trust her, Enid is torn between fierce loyalty to her people and a powerful love for her husband that no magic can cure.

Fearing that Enid has been deceiving him, Geraint takes her on a dangerous journey that will not only test her true feelings but determine whether the differences that attracted them will fuse into a real, long-lasting love-or tear them apart and ignite a senseless war between their two kingdoms...

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Excerpt

(Story Setup:  Enid of the Donella tribe has been granted magical gifts by the Lady of the Lake, to go out in the world and learn the defenses of King Arthur's mounted knights. She's attacked by ruffians in the woods, and is seen by Geraint, Prince of Cornwall, who is struck by her beauty and sword-fighting talent. He takes care of her wounds, and she agrees to return to Camelot with him, not telling him she'll be spying on behalf of her people.. )

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          In the morning, Albern left them, and Geraint watched Enid wish him a farewell with the respect she'd obviously been taught for her elders.  Someone had molded compassion and kindness into a woman with the body of a warrior, making her intriguing. 

          More than intriguing—her very differentness jolted him once again.  As he filled his water skins in the stream, she began to disrobe a little way down the bank.  Her beautiful face was serene, unperturbed that he watched.  Was she giving herself to him?  Did she think his offer of escort came with a price?  From his knees, he gaped up at her, but he couldn't speak, couldn't protest—and felt like the very worst sort of man because of it.  Just like the men who'd abused her.

          She pulled the jerkin over her head, leaving only a thin shirt without sleeves.  It hung low to her thighs, rippled in smooth folds across her hips.  And then she pulled it off, and she wore braies about her hips, a man's low-slung undergarment.  And above it—

          He dropped the horn he'd been filling into the shallows.

          Her breasts were full and rounded, glowing in the early morning sunlight, with pink tips that hardened with the dawn chill.  When she lifted her arms to release her hair, he barely held back a groan.  The fall of yellow curls swept along her shoulders and obscured her breasts from his hungry view.

          She waded into the water, splashing herself and shivering.  He realized she was taking a morning bath, and he didn't like himself for the disappointment that swept through him.  But his cock certainly didn't care, for it pulsed with a hard, continuous ache.

          But how could he remain disappointed when he had such a glorious sight to behold?  And in what tribe was it permitted for men and women to bathe so openly?

          When the water reached her thighs, she bent over to reach below the surface.  He choked trying to swallow.  She came up with a handful of sand and began to rub it into her skin, shivering all the while.  He openly watched while she cleaned her body, felt his mouth fall open when she submerged herself to clean more intimate places. 

          At last she turned toward the shallows, her wet hair streaming down her shoulders.  Geraint looked away, fumbling for the horn he'd forgotten just as it had begun to float away.  Out of the corner of his eye, he watched her don a clean shirt over her wet skin.  It clung to her.  He turned away, trying to control a shudder as he used every bit of willpower not to take what seemed offered to him.

          But she was not of his people; she didn't know what she did to him.

          Or did she?

          "Sir Geraint?"

          He glanced over his shoulder at her; she had not donned her leather jerkin yet.  She was tying back her hair, arms upraised, her shirt riding just high enough that he could see the edge of her wet braies peeking out. 

          "You seem…shocked by my bathing," she said hesitantly, letting her arms fall to her sides.  "Do your people bathe infrequently?"

          He gave a shaky laugh.  "Nay, it is not that.  In my kingdom, men and women do not usually bathe so freely before each other."

          Her lips parted in dismay.  "I have…embarrassed myself before you?"  She reached for her jerkin and couldn't seem to find the opening in her haste.

          Geraint rose to his feet and went to her, taking her hands to still them.  She looked up at him in distress, drops of water falling from her hairline to merge with her wet shirt. 

          "You could never embarrass yourself before me," he murmured, reaching to cup her face. 

          He knew he shouldn't have touched her, but once he did, he was lost.  Her skin was soft as the finest silk.  He let his thumb brush her lips; they were moist and full and trembling.  Her eyelids fluttered, and she swayed.  He wanted to gather her into his arms, to hold her close, to protect and keep her safe.

          Instead he bent down and kissed her lightly on the lips.  Her eyes went wide, and they stared at each other, mouths separated by but a breath. 

          "Stop me, Enid," he whispered.  "I should not—"

          But she put her hand behind his head and pulled her to him.  She did not kiss like a shy maiden; her mouth was open to him, and her tongue darted between his lips with a boldness that shocked and aroused him.  With her body she caressed him, fitting herself against him until he desperately wished he were without garments.  They kissed and licked and clung to each other.  It took every inch of his control not to thrust himself against her for relief.

          He broke the kiss, gasping.  "Ah, Enid, you are wondrous.  You should marry me."

          She laughed at him, and he gave a shaky laugh in return as they parted.  But what had him so confused was that in that moment, he meant it.  He wanted to spend his life learning everything about her, because she would be the adventure of a lifetime.

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