Tuesday, June 24, 2008

She by Lucinda Betts

She by Lucinda Betts (In Print Today)

The Canticles Al Farasakh, an ancient book of spells that hold danger and desire, is missing—and Blaze Williams must find it. Then Ivy appears, mesmerizing him. She has the form of a woman, a very beautiful woman. Green eyes. Full lips that curve sensually when she smiles. A wild golden mane of hair…feminine and wild. But who is she and where does come from? She beckons and he must obey…
Able to draw on the source of all magic at the Heart of the World to change her shape at will, Ivy is in search of an ally to protect those she holds dear. She needs a warrior with powers to match her own. And she needs a man with a taste for supernatural sex that goes beyond sensation to the ultimate fulfillment, body and soul…
No one hurt unicorns. Not on her watch. She was the Guardian of the Forest, and she had never let any magical creature come to harm--not since she'd reached her full powers.

But someone had harmed. Someone hunted a creature in her care. Ivy burst into the clearing where the Chacchoben pyramid stood, following the odor of blood--unicorn blood.

Then the wind shifted, bringing the scent of something more sinister. Needing to concentrate, Ivy slid to a stop, her hooves skidding in the sand. She sniffed, inhaling deeply, and she knew--the hunter was still here, a vague odor of... something... swirling around him.

She madly galloped up the steep narrow steps, her hooves clattering. The power pulsing from Chacchoben had a dark, brooding taste, different from the cool clear flavor exuding from the Heart of the World. Did the unicorn blood cause this, or the hunter?

But the answer lay at her feet.

For a heartbeat, horror paralyzed Ivy.

In unicorn shape, Ivy's cousin lay at her feet, tortured and dying. She'd been skinned alive, her snow-colored coat stripped from her to reveal the muscle and flesh beneath. Her dark eyes looked at her, not through her white face but through a crimson one. Blood puddled in her dilated nostrils and along the line of her lips. Blood puddled in her ears.

You...can't...help me, Tchili said. My horn...it's gone.

I can help. But Ivy knew she didn't have much time. Tchili's lifeforce was draining away with the trickling blood.

Ivy stepped toward her cousin, preparing to heal her, but a figure caught her eye. It raced in the shadow of the pyramid, hugging the stone sides. She caught an impression of a masculine shoulders, dark hair, but the figure moved so quickly, Ivy barely saw it, barely smelled its odd scent. Still she knew--he was her foe.

The need to hunt down the hunter warred with the need to heal her cousin--but only for a heartbeat. Hunting could wait. Her cousin could not.

Standing as still as the massive structure beneath them, Ivy concentrated on her root chakra, imagining its sexual power. When she was open to the flow of energy swirling around her, she focused, drawing from the distant Heart of the World. The nerves in her horn and chakras were so attuned to the Heart she could feel the energy leave Pennsylvania and flow toward the Yucatan.

The first taste of the power made her weak with desire, filling her root chakra, then spreading throughout her being. Her thighs ached; her nipples hardened. The length of her neck craved a lover's hot kisses. Her knees actually shook with the lust rushing her veins. If a man--any man--had been standing there, she'd have wanted to curl around him, fill herself with him.

But she wouldn't have. She was the Guardian. She protected and healed. She put the need to chase the hunter firmly from her mind, and she took the overwhelming sexual energy, neatly twisting it into healing energy. The moment she began working the power, the lust subsided, freeing her mind and allowing her to work.

Finally, her horn radiated healing power.

Glinting with healing green highlights, golden loops spun around the base of her sharp-edged horn, slowly gathering speed and texture as they swirled wider and wider.

She dipped her head toward her cousin, letting the radiant rings drip down. She embraced the flavor of Tchili's soul, the texture of what made her unique. Emeralds and rubies glinted through Ivy's mind; the flavor of ferns and Mexican green chilies danced over Ivy's tongue as she gently rested her horn on her cousin's skinless shoulder.

Tchili's recovery didn't take long. Skin erupted over the raw muscle, covering sinew and tendon. Milky white fuzz spread over the skin, then grew in full and thick. The bloody stump of Tchili's tail regained a lawn of emerald hair, then the hair grew long and flowing, like pampas grass. Her mane grew back too, as green as the moss beneath them. Streaks of sumac red shot through her mane and tail, giving her almost the appearance of normality. Almost.

Tchili's forehead remained stubbornly shorn, the bloody stump the only indication of Tchili's true nature.

My horn, Tchili moaned in faint mindspeak.

Oh, honey. I haven't even tried to heal that yet, but don't worry--you won't die. Not from this.

As she prepared to heal Tchili's horn, the wind shifted, bringing the smell of the hunter. He was running, slinking into the surrounding jungle. Ivy would leave him until she was finished here. He couldn't go far. She pulled power from the Heart.

But she as she started to weave its energy, the wind shifted again. It brought his true odor--raw and unmasked now. And his smell scared her.

He bore the irresistible fragrance of a virgin.


Cherie J said...

Ooh! That sounds great!

Amy S. said...

She sounds great!

Lucinda Betts said...

Hope you all enjoy the book! I had a blast writing it. It's one of my favorite stories...

CrystalGB said...

Sounds like an awesome book.