Xanthe Persimmon needs a man, but none of her lovers ever comes back for a return engagement. When Percy Brioche leaves her bed in silence, Xanthe forces him to tell her why. Chilled and disappointed, Xanthe goes to the cliffs and dares herself to walk along the rocky path at midsummer tide. She finds herself in the lair of a seaman—the least understood and the most feared of the fay. Sparks fly in the hot lair and Xanthe makes some exciting discoveries about herself and her desires. There’s just one problem. The seaman won’t let her leave. Hot sex aside, Xanthe knows fulfilment is an illusion if she has no choices.
Xanthe needed a lover.
Her brothers and sisters had all found someone with apparent ease, but Xanthe had problems with every man she bedded. They also had problems with her.
Courtfolk ladies were expected to find a lover of their own order. Xanthe had danced with any number of handsome courtfolk lads and men at court balls and taken the willing ones to her chamber. They were all handsome, and most of them were fair-haired with blue or grey eyes. The bedding had been all right, she supposed. The men had thanked her politely, but they’d left in a hurry, and none came back for a second go-round. This evening she’d had Parsifal Brioche in her bed. The chances of a second engagement boded no better than usual, and she was determined to find out why.
“Why don’t you want to do it again?” she asked Parsifal when he climbed out of her bed without a word.
Percy was a lively young summerman who loved life, food, women and wine. He smelled good, like new-baked bread. Xanthe had known him since they were children, though this was the first time she’d had his company in her chamber. Because of their long acquaintance, she didn’t feel awkward asking him for an explanation.
Percy had already conjured on his britches when she asked. He paused, bare-chested, looking down at her with blank blue eyes, but he said nothing.
Xanthe sat up, spilling bedcoverings around her hips. Her breasts bounced, peeping through her long, curling strawberry-blonde hair. They were large and well-formed. Percy thought so. He’d mentioned them more than once before they got into her bed. “Percy? Why don’t you want to stay and do it again?”
He turned to pick up his discarded shirt. Since he could have conjured it on in a second, she knew he was playing for time.
“Percy!” She got out of bed and took him by the arm, turning him to face her. “Tell me.”
“I have to go, Zan. Thank you for the bedding. I might see you at the Midsummer Ball next week.” His tone implied he wouldn’t if he could help it.
“That’s not an answer. Tell me.” She snapped her fingers and clapped a compulsion on him. That was terribly bad manners, but how else was she to get an answer?
He frowned down at her from his superior height. She knew he was fighting the urge to spill his thoughts. He might even win. He’d trained himself in courtesy and court manners.
So, he wanted to be difficult?
Two could play at that.
Xanthe followed up the compulsion with a powerful willy-tingler. These charms were used occasionally by the bawdier colleens to tease uppity young men. They pricked the young men’s consequence and caused tingling consequences to the young men’s pricks.
The one Xanthe used was the strongest she could contrive. More of a shock than a tingle, she surmised.
Percy’s face went a dull crimson, and he doubled up, clutching at the front of his britches. “Great bogle, Zan! Get it off me!”
“Tell me, then.”
Percy moaned, turned as if to flee, and fell to his knees, fumbling with his britches. His shoulders jerked, and his arms tensed and moved purposefully. He was—
Xanthe stepped around and watched with growing outrage as he hauled and squeezed at his cock. His breath grew short and his eyes closed suddenly as his mouth opened in a soundless gasp.
Thick white fluid gushed over his hands. He froze, breathing hard, opened his eyes, and bundled himself back into his britches.
Xanthe dropped to her knees in front of him. “Tell me,” she said implacably.