He pulled his mount to a halt a few feet from the huddled form and glared down at it. He gasped when a small oval face lifted and big, emerald-green eyes peered back at him. She was covered in falling snow, shaking, and her lips were starting to turn blue, but she was beautiful.
Eonan jumped from his horse, despite Gowrie’s call of objection, and rushed to her side. The woman shrank back in fright and wrapped her arms tighter around her body.
“It is all right,” he said, speaking loud to be heard over the wind. “We mean you know harm.”
“Please,” the woman replied. She was not looking at him, but at the sword in his hand. Deciding the freezing woman was not a danger to him, Eonan sheathed his sword, before turning back to face her.
“What are you doing so far from the village?” he asked. “Where are your escorts?”
“I don’t have any escorts,” she answered. “If you could just tell me which way to go, I would much appreciate it.”
“No,” he told her. “You need to come with me. We are miles from anywhere and you will freeze to death in this cold.”
He did not wait for her answer and reached out to take her in his arms. She flinched away, but Eonan persisted and grabbed her up, scooping his arm under her legs and one behind her back. He stood in one fluid motion and lifted her small weight.
Eonan walked back to his horse and deposited her onto its back. She was wearing strange pants and boots, topped with a thick coat. Why was she dressed like a boy? She was definitely a lady, which begged the question, why was she so far from civilization, and where were her people?
He mounted his stead and pulled her back into his arms, wrapping his large, heavy cloak around her small, wet body.
“Is this a good idea?” Gowrie asked. “She could be the enemy.”
“She is small and unarmed,” Eonan replied. “She is little threat. We cannot leave her out here to die.”
Eonan gave the signal and kicked his horse into a gallop and back towards the castle. Whoever she was, she would need to get into dry clothes before she caught a chill and died from exposure. She was little and had no meat on her bones. He was surprised she had lasted this long alone and in the elements.
“What is your name?” he asked gruffly. “I am His Royal Highness, Lord Commander Eonan Sutharlainn, brother to the King and leader of the Archers of the King’s Guard.”
“Um…” She said her teeth chattering. “I’m Elise Stanford, sister to no one, and, um…a shop girl.”
“You are a commoner?” he asked. “That explains your lack of protection. Are you married?”
“No,” she replied. “I have no one. I am alone.”
“Do not worry, little sprite,” he told her. “I will look after you until we can get you back to your shop.”
Eonan pulled her little body closer to his larger one and used his free hand to push her head down onto his shoulder. He was not sure why he was so fascinated with the small, redheaded woman, but from the moment she had looked up at him with her big green eyes, something inside of him had shifted.
He wanted to hold her close and protect her from the evils of the world, wanted to learn everything he could about her. Where did she come from? Why hadn’t he seen her before? He would have remembered if he had. What shop did she work at? Where was her family? Why was she not married yet? She was of age and so beautiful, he was sure someone would have snapped her up by now.
The questions would have to wait until he got her back to the castle. It was hard to have a conversation on the back of a galloping horse with a storm gushing around you. She lay quietly in his arms and held onto his vest with her tiny fingers.
Her body felt so right in his arms and his cock was hard where it rested against her hip. Despite the fact that she was soaked and looking like something the cat dragged in, his body wanted her. He wanted to strip her of her wet clothes, lay her on his big bed and get to know every inch of her pale skin.
He needed to stop thinking about her naked and concentrate. It was a long ride back to the castle yet, and they still needed to be on the lookout for potential threats and enemies of the crown.
Eonan looked over at his second-in-command and gave the signal for him to take the lead. He wanted the woman protected in case something happened. It was unusual for enemies to breach the wall, but it did happen.
He sighed and pulled her in closer. His life had just taken a turn and he was not sure what that meant yet. For now, he needed to get the woman out of the cold and back to the castle where it was safe.
His brother was not going to be happy, but Eonan would deal with him. Fearghas had hated strangers ever since that horrible woman had betrayed him. Eonan did not know the whole story, but he knew the ending. His brother was scarred for life, in body and in mind, and Eonan could do nothing to help him.
He hoped his brother’s angry attitude and gruff personality did not scare Elise. She was already scared and Eonan would not let anyone, not even his brother, terrify her more.
Elise paused by the window and felt Eonan move in close behind her. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he pulled her back against his large chest. Elise shivered as Eonan placed nipping kisses on the neck.
“I’m not sure that I want to be discovered by the King making love in his chambers to his brother,” she said. “It would not be a good look.”
“He will not mind,” he told her. “If what I heard before is true, I think he would join us.”
“Um, what?” Elise tilted her neck to give Eonan better access. He was driving her to distraction nibbling on her neck, and she was having a hard time concentrating.
“Fearghas called you his bride,” he said. He moved his arms up and cupped her breasts through the thin material of her gown. Her nipples hardened beneath his palms and Elise shivered as his mouth touched a sensitive spot where her neck met her shoulder.
“Bride, yeah,” she replied. “I don’t…don’t think he meant it.”
Elise was sick of being teased. She turned in his arms and reached her arms up to capture his neck, and dragged his mouth down to hers. Mashing their lips together, Elise slanted her mouth over his and drank in his unique taste.
Eonan growled and pulled her closer, before taking control of the kiss. He parted her lips, thrust his tongue into her mouth and tangled it with his own. It was deep and passionate and raw, and Elise lost herself in the moment.
When she felt cool air hit her legs, she realized that Eonan had pulled her dress up to bunch at her waist. He kicked her legs wider apart and held her open with his knee. Elise moaned as his hands left her waist and cupped her heated pussy.
His fingers slipped through her slippery folds and his thumb rubbed against her clit. Elise broke the kiss, panting, she thrust her hips towards Eonan, silently demanding more.
“Is this what you want, sweetness?” he said, slowly entering her with one long finger. “Do you want me fill you up and make you come?”
“Yes, Goddess, yes,” she cried. “More, please.”
Eonan pumped his finger in and out of her channel and Elise struggled to breathe. It felt so good and so naughty to be standing in the King’s chamber while Eonan fucked her with his fingers.
“No more,” he said. “I have to be inside you.”
Backing her towards the wall, Eonan removed his hand from under her skirts and started to pull at the ties holding together her dress. He pulled them loose with a speed that surprised and delighted her, and ripped the dress down her body. Her breasts popped free and the cool air hit her nipples.
Eonan slipped her dress down her legs to pool at her feet and then hoisted her into his arms. She wrapped her legs around his waist, the material of his breeches rough against the sensitive skin of her inner thighs. Elise arched her back as Eonan cupped her butt checks in his large hands and grinded his cloth-covered length against her pussy.
“Please,” she said. “I want you in me. Hurry.”
Eonan gripped her around the waist and used his other hand to tug open his breeches. Elise leant forward and captured his lips again, desperate for his touch and taste. She loved how hard he was compared to her softness, and ran her hands over his shoulders and back as she kissed him frantically.
“Well now, this I wasn’t expecting.” King Sutharlainn’s voice broke through her passionate haze and she lifted her head to look at him over Eonan’s shoulder.
“You have horrible timing, brother,” Eonan said.
King Sutharlainn strutted closer and Elise pressed herself against Eonan to hide her nakedness.
“Oh, I think I have perfect timing,” he said.
Eonan swiveled to look at his brother and Elise squealed and ducked her body further, which was difficult to do since she still had her legs wrapped around Eonan’s waist.
“Don’t you dare move,” Elise demanded. “He will get an eyeful.”
Eonan swept his hand through her hair and chuckled.
“I think that is what he wants, sweetness,” he replied.
“Most definitely,” the King added.
“No,” she told them. “Please, you need to turn around so I can get dressed.”
“Why?” King Sutharlainn said. “I just plan to get you naked again.”
Elise sucked in a surprised breath, which soon turned to anger.
“You will not be seeing me naked,” she told him. “You don’t even like me.”
King Sutharlainn sigh could be heard across the room.
“We have been through this,” he said. “I like you just fine. Did you not listen to me at all in the great hall?”
Elise had been listening, she just hadn’t believed what she heard.
“I thought you were saying it for Beistean and Lady Caitlin’s benefit,” she told him. “You know, to scare them or something.”
“Why would I say something that was not true?” he asked. “You know my thoughts on falsehoods. I have every intention of making you my Queen. You will be married to me and my brother, as is tradition in Tarak and has been for hundreds of years.”