[Siren Classic: Erotic Interracial Historical Fantasy Romance, shape-shifters, voyeurism, sex toys, HEA]
Love between a white woman and a Cherokee warrior is forbidden in Virginia in the 1820s. After killing her brother in self-defense, Lyrissa Murphy escapes to the shelter of Crazy Woman Cave. When Gray Horse Redhand tracks her there, he realizes their survival depends on joining forces and traveling to the west. Before they have the chance to leave, their encounter with a dangerous enemy leads to the discovery of an ancient burial and a beautiful spear.
Fleeing deadly pursuit from her unbalanced father, Lyrissa and Gray enter a new, unknown world. There they face threatening encounters with vicious warriors and strange animals, discover a magical future, and fall deeply in love. Their shared desire sustains and encourages them as the mysterious, enchanted spear points the way to the Dragon Fort of the Tuatha where they finally accept their new, unexpected home in the heart of Cabhán Geal.
A Siren Erotic Romance
Tracking down a white woman who murdered her brother was a fool’s errand. A warrior of the people had no business meddling in the whites’ affairs. Yet, here he was, crouched beneath a narrow, rocky shelf jutting from an ancient, granite cliff, patiently waiting out the storm’s fury. Gray Horse Redhand shook his head as he stared out at the deluge.
Wind whistled through the fall woods, snagging dying leaves and hurling them to the forest floor as rain poured from the dark, roiling clouds. Thunder rolled across the hills, punctuated by lightning zigzagging from the black sky to dance on the mountaintops. Crazy Woman Cave, a well-hidden shelter on the trails that crisscrossed the backside of the Smoky Mountains, wasn’t very far away. He calculated he could walk to the cave well before sunset if the rain stopped.
His own people, the ones the whites called Cherokee, usually shied away from using the cave. There were slyly whispered tales of encounters with the Nunnehi, the spirit people, and the Yunwi Tsundi, little people, who lived near the cave. Gray wasn’t worried about meeting the Nunnehi or the little people. If he should meet them there, he would ask for their help in finding Lyrissa.
Those who used the cave made sure they replenished the supply of dry firewood before they moved on. He decided he would stay overnight at the cave and continue his search for the missing preacher’s daughter from the settlement at Twin Brooks in the morning, though he was afraid he wouldn’t find her in time.
The men who stopped at his village looking for her had blurted out a wild tale of murder and insanity. Gray rejected the story, positive in his heart it was a pack of lies, but he kept his mouth shut. Once they were gone, he’d exchanged a long, silent look with his uncle before slipping off to the cramped willow hut he shared with his father. There he put together a small hunting pack, gathered his weapons, and set off to find the missing woman.
As he squatted on his heels with his back against the shallow shelter and watched the storm lash the trees, he wondered what circumstances would drive a woman out into the wild. Already frost was heavy on the ground in the morning. It was a foolish time of year to flee hearth and home. Only something extremely threatening would send her on the run.
Slow burning anger twisted in his belly when he recalled the last time he’d seen her. He was a young man then, filled with arrogance and pride and she—well, she was a fragile, beautiful, young girl poised on the brink of womanhood. Among his people she would already be considered ready for marriage, but the white men had a different measure of time.
Lyrissa Murphy. He remembered the day long ago—a steamy afternoon filled with summer sunshine and the first hot claws of desire. Their encounter was innocent enough. He smiled, recalling how he lurked in the cattails watching her, wondering what it would be like to lay with the girl gathering mint from the banks of a shallow stream that bordered the cleared land near her home. As she bent to break off another stem, the sharp scent filled the air. Her pert, young breasts pressed and shifted beneath the soft, faded fabric of her dress.
Then, without lifting her head or otherwise signaling her awareness, she asked, “What is your name, boy?”
Boy. His fists had curled at the insult.
“I am not a boy,” he sneered from his hiding place. “I am a man.”
“Oh. How old are you?” she inquired as she moved farther away from his hiding place.
“I have eighteen winters,” he declared proudly. “How old are you?”
“I’m fourteen.” She sighed softly. “If I’m seen talking to you, my father will lock me in my room again. He doesn’t allow me to talk to men.” She tucked her skirt beneath her backside and squatted on the bank. “Actually, he doesn’t allow me to talk to anyone.”
He slithered closer to the stream. He was ready to ask her why her father treated her so when a shout from the house startled her. She scrambled up, grasping the mint stems in trembling fingers as a young man raced across the small clearing. When he was close enough, he grabbed her shoulders and shook her. “What do you think you are doing out here, Lyrissa? You know you’re not allowed out of the house unless I’m with you.”
Gray silently urged her to protest when the other man touched her, but he wasn’t surprised when she ducked her head submissively and remained silent. He’d observed more than one white woman suffering far worse treatment.
“Who were you talking to?” the young man demanded.
“There is no one here, Neal.”
“I heard your voice.” Angry accusation was thick in Neal’s voice.
“I was talking to myself,” she replied quietly. “I do that when I am alone.”
Though Gray burned to burst from his hiding place and knock Neal away, he lay still, barely breathing, listening to Neal berate her as he dragged her back to the house. Why would anyone treat her like a dog? When the door slammed shut, he slithered from his hiding place into the dark woods, returning to his village, angry and shamed as he recalled the rough treatment of the gentle Lyrissa. And yet, he knew his interference would have made things worse. Reality was harsh. She was white. He was Cherokee.
“You will rest. I will hunt. Later this afternoon, if you wish, I will teach you some of the ways we can have pleasure together.” He bent her back over his arm. “If it was warm enough, I would strip your clothing and taste your soft breasts.”
“I’m not cold,” she assured him.
“In a little while, we will test that. Your soft breasts have been making me crazy.” He set her back on her feet. “First I will set up our shelter and care for the horses.”
“What shall I do to help?”
He indicated the stones strewn around the clearing. “Gather those so I can line our fire pit.”
Lyrissa collected the stones and the small bits of tinder and kindling from the clearing floor while Gray bent three saplings together and lashed them to form a frame for a small lean-to. He took his hatchet into the woods and returned in a while with several long, skinny branches that he wove together and tied to the saplings to make a warm windbreak. Fascinated, she watched as he draped animal skins over the small shelter, arranging them so they would have a snug place to sleep and protection for their supplies. When he finished, he went into the woods again, returning with an armful of pine boughs that he arranged over the floor of the shelter before spreading their bedroll on top.
A few feet in front of the open side of the shelter, he finished the fire pit and started a small fire. “Go in the shelter and lie down while I take care of the horses.”
Lyrissa didn’t question his priorities. Horses always came first. She lay on her side, in the sunlit shelter, contentedly watching the play of muscles and flesh as he dealt with the animals.
“What?” he asked.
“I like watching you move. You are graceful and powerful. It excites me,” she admitted. “I wish to see you without your pants and breech clout.”
“If I take them off, I will not finish taking care of the horses.”
She noticed he didn’t mention the cold. “Then make haste to finish.”
“You are a demanding woman,” he teased as he removed the saddles and tack. After a quick brush with a dry rag, he picketed them where they could reach the shallow water in the creek and the grass along the bank.
He leaped down the creek bank when a fat fish splashed and wriggled, trying to free itself from one of his fish traps. Moving quickly, he secured the fish, knocked it out with a nearby rock, and promptly field gutted and cleaned it before spearing it with a pointed stick and setting it near the fire. Astonished, she watched as he caught another, alerted by the splash when the fish tried to escape one of his traps. In a remarkably short time he trapped four fish and prepared them for cooking.
“That was fast,” Lyrissa remarked.
“I don’t believe this stream is fished very often. There are many fish and no hunters. We will eat well today.” Gray unpacked a net bag of dried sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Adding them to a heavy iron pot with a small amount of water, he hung them over the fire on a tripod he fashioned from three long, sturdy sticks. He showed her how to coat the fish with thick mud and set them to bake in the coals from the fire.
After washing his hands in the stream, he returned to Lyrissa with a wicked smile on his face and stripped off his clothes in the opening of their shelter. Then he stood under her heated gaze, stroking his cock for her pleasure. She wet her dry lips with her tongue as she sat up on the blanket. “Come here.”
“I want to taste you.”
He cocked his head, clearly searching her face for something. Evidently, he found whatever he sought because he moved to stand with his toes touching the blanket while she shifted until she was on her knees. “Are you sure you wish to do this?” he asked.
Lyrissa took his heavy erection in her hands, weighing it before squeezing it lightly in her fist while she cupped the soft sack below experimentally. Without even looking up, she nodded. “Oh, yes. I wish to do this. Until Neal forced me do this, it never occurred to me that a woman would perform such an act on a man.”
“You hated that. It angered you. I heard it in your voice when you spoke of it.”
“Choice makes a difference,” she said quietly. “And desire.” She tilted her head back so she could see his face in the dappled shade beneath the trees. No one would mistake him for anything other than a warrior. She marveled at how precious he was to her after such a short time. With his shaved head and fascinating feathery topknot above the powerful black tattooed swirls on his face he should terrify her. “I do not know how this thing between us came to be so quickly, but I know I will never want another man as I want you.”
“Then take what you wish and do what you will.” After spreading his feet a little wider apart, he smoothed the soft, dark tendrils of hair back from her face. “I have dreamed of having your lips and tongue on my cock.”
“Have you, Gray? Let us see if reality matches your dreams.” Holding him in her hand, she bent her head, inhaling his distinctive scent—part passion, part warrior, all man. Already he was imprinted on her soul. Her tongue flicked out to test his flavor.