Always and Forever (MF)
[BookStrand Fantasy Romance]
Born on the world of Garrearth yet of complete human origin, Rowan faces prejudice and betrayal. After leaving his village at the age of eighteen, can he trust a woman who says she loves him, or will she betray him as did Fern?
Can the woman he has captured and taken from her homeland truly love him? Willingly, Catalena faces his doubt of her emotion as they strive to find the Ring of Kings, which is foretold only she can locate for the People of the Land.
Fighting his love for Catalena, Rowan returns her to the people of Garrearth from which he stole her. Once again, he faces their prejudice against his human origin when Catalena declares her love for him, and her wish to return with him to the country of the People of the Land. Does he dare to believe in the impossible?
"Dear reader, Always and Forever is a spin-off of my first book written, Loving Anna. When Rowan was born to the characters of Charlee and Andrew in Loving Anna, I couldn't help but wonder how this child conceived from a human mother and an unknown human father would be received when he reached manhood. Could a people who were fighting extinction accept within their midst a person of complete human origin to be paired with one of their offspring? With this question, the idea for a story about Rowan and his life began to spin within." ~ Zequeatta ~
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
4 BOOKS: "This is adventure of the highest order. Political intrigue, impending war, and personal agendas. Zequeatta Jacques has drawn a world as real and recognizable as our own, peopled with fully developed characters with all the strengths and weaknesses of their readers. Misunderstandings and tensions abound, until you really want to reach into the story and throttle someone for being particularly dense...I loved the characters in this story and really wanted a HEA. It was a great good-over-evil romp. Watching people having to confront and conquer their personal biases was enlightening. The story satisfied completely. The author left herself wide open to create other tales in this wonderful world, which I definitely hope will be forthcoming. I'll be watching!" -- Heather, Long & Short Reviews
With her thoughts firmly centered on Adil, Catalena dozed off. Abruptly wakened several hours later by a clap of thunder, she slammed into the wall of the ship. Catalena's first terrified thought, when she realized that the ship was tilted, was that it was sinking.
Her heart jumping into the base of her throat, Catalena quickly crawled over the edge of her bed with the express intent of getting to the door of her cabin.
On hands and knees, she worked her way across the darkened room to where she believed the door should be. Disoriented, she wasn't sure which way she actually crawled.
The ship righted itself.
Catalena felt the bile rise in her throat at the sudden motion. Hugging the deck under her, she fought her sick sensation. Her cabin door suddenly swung inward and hit her exposed side. A grunt of pain escaped at the hard contact.
“Cat, where are you? Are you hurt?”
“Down here, human!” Intense relief flooded through Catalena at the sound of Rowan's familiar and rough voice. “I'm right here in front of you on the floor. You knocked the breath out of me when you slammed my door open.”
Rising to her knees, Catalena reached out a hand in the dark and attempted to locate Rowan. “Get me out of here, Rowan!” she cried when she failed to encounter him.
Rowan's hand suddenly latched onto hers. “Are you alright?” he exclaimed as he pulled her to him. “Why are you lying on the deck?”
Catalena swiftly turned into the comfort of Rowan's arms and clutched at his waist as she burrowed into him. “I was trying to get out of this death trap! Are we sinking?”
“The captain has everything under control, Cat. What you felt was the ship listing before it righted itself.”
“Please, don't leave me!” Catalena cried when the ship lurched as another wave hit its side and Rowan began to pull from her. “Stay with me,” she begged. Catalena heard a deep sigh before Rowan pulled her close again. He began to work them both across the room back to the bed she had just crawled from. He then urged her onto the bed when they reached it.
“You'll be fine,” he stated before he stepped back ready to leave her again. Catalena refused to release her tight hold of his shirt. A frightened cry escaped when the ship heaved with another wave. With a sigh of resignation, Rowan kicked off his boots and then crawled onto the bed beside her. Pulling her toward him, he wrapped his arms tightly around her when she quickly curled against him.
“Are we going to die?” Fearfully, Catalena pressed herself against the hard body alongside hers.
“No, we're not going to die,” Rowan responded with no trace of guile in his voice that Catalena could detect. He began to rub a hand back and forth across her back in a soothing, calming manner.
As he calmly continued to talk to her, explaining matter-of-factly what was happening with the storm to the west of them, and how competent the ship's Captain and crew was, Catalena felt her tight muscles begin to loosen, her fear lessening.
She didn't know why it happened or even when, but one moment she was listening to Rowan's rough voice as he spoke in the dark to her, and in the next, she was acutely aware of him and their bodies pressed so close together. Her breasts began to tingle beneath the shirt she used as a nightshirt. Catalena shifted, uncomfortable with what was occurring to her body. The pitch dark of the room suddenly seemed too intimate.
“What are you wearing, Cat?”
Rowan's voice was husky, sexy in the dark. Shifting restlessly, Catalena felt the juncture at her thighs begin to throb. With horror she realized that she wanted Rowan's touch, and wanted it there!
Not answering Rowan’s question, Catalena desperately fought her rising desire. Embarrassed by her body's betrayal, she stiffly pulled back.
* * * *
The husky hoarseness of Cat's voice and her sudden shift away alerted Rowan's senses. Unable to stop his actions, he reached out. As Rowan felt the material under his hands, he realized that the cloth he held felt suspiciously like one of his shirts and that Cat was naked except for the slight panties she wore. The thought of Cat in one of his shirts hit Rowan with such an intense feeling of intimacy with her that he stiffened in surprise. He gripped Cat's shoulder and fought his desire to run his hands under what she had on, feel her naked skin, stroke her until she cried out for him. His battle lost, Rowan jerkily worked his hand into the shirt to mold one of Catalena's breasts. He encountered a rock-hard, pebbled nipple. “Sweet Jesus,” he moaned.