Five for Friday

Five for Friday is something that has been going on at the blogs of assorted International Heat authors.

I’m a little late to the party; something that I’m blaming on picking up bad habits from Farm Boy. He operates on what he calls Irish time; if an event is scheduled to start at say 8 pm, then it might, just might, get underway sometime between 9 and 10 pm.

Anyway now that I’m here, lets get this party started properly. In future weeks I’ll post excerpts from series whose next book will be published shortly. However today’s posting will be from Forbidden, my first published work and the start of a series of erotic high fantasy novels named Zinahs.

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The Land Between the Seas, a world in peril, is the responsibility of one woman. Cryessa, High Priestess of the land by birth and training, is strong and commanding, but locked in a life and death struggle to protect her people from the King, who bears a centuries old hate for the Temple.

Bound to her in slavery, prisoners of war and captives of fate, five men serve as her aides, her lovers, her slaves. One, however, is bound to her with something stronger, deeper, and utterly forbidden. Tamlohn, kidnapped and given to her in chains, chafes at his bindings, but continues to submit, in every way, because of his love and hers.

The political climate in the kingdom is steadily worsening. King Throlock, like his predecessors before him, rules the land only for his own pleasure. He has been continually thwarted by the efforts of the Priestess, while his multiple plots to overthrow or control the Temple have failed. Each failure has only made the King more petulant, vindictive, and determined to hurt those who hinder him, particularly the beloved and dedicated High Priestess.

Cryessa takes on the King and a centuries-old curse to protect her people, the temple, and the traditions she is entrusted to keep, no matter the cost to herself and her slaves. But, in a land steeped in ritual and magic, bound by rules that are indissoluble, can she protect herself from love —the highest form of treason?

Chapter One

The twin moons hung low in the lavender sky. The small moon, Akita, is forever being pursued and protected by her larger mate, Ishlay. So was the natural order, that the male protect and pursue the female. Only here, within these walls, was one of those natural laws reversed.

Her hands slid over the rough stone balustrade, rubbing back and forth, back and forth, the motion reminiscent of a soothing touch to a lover’s shoulders. The stone was abrasive against pampered hands; she craved the roughness of the touch, a small reminder of the dark pleasure of pain. She raised her hands, turning them to examine the reddened palms. In the light of the moons, the lines in her palms were deep, carving the surface of her hands into valleys and gorges. Stretching, she bent her fingers back until the light showed a smooth, white expanse of palm extending into five slim fingers. Slowly she turned her hands inward till the palms faced each other only a breath apart and raised them up, her head falling back in prayer. Her body made a taut line, stretched from the tips of her fingers to her heels. As she raised her voice in the secret words of invocation, the space between her palms began to glow. A ball of white mist began to grow, pushing her palms further apart until they were in line with her shoulders. With a few shouted words, she finished her prayer and the globe of mist burst, shattering into a thousand small points of light. As the light rained down onto her upturned face, shoulders, and breasts, the five watchers drew deep breaths.

From inside the darkened chamber, the figure on the balcony was so remote and comely that they could not imagine her to be anything but the Goddess herself. She was silhouetted by the moons, their light outlining the slim length of her legs and swell of hips and breasts through the thin gown she wore. The light motes had settled onto her upswept hair, haloing a face with almond eyes and smooth cheeks, arched eyebrows and a gently rounded chin.  Though it was turned away from them, it was as familiar as their own.

When she felt the last flicker of light settle onto the tip of her eyelashes, she lowered her arms. With one smooth motion, she turned, balanced on the balls of her feet. She advanced towards the opened doors which lead into their chamber. Her step was light, each foot placed gently before the other. Toe, then heel touched the stone of the balcony, worn smooth by centuries of feet. As she entered the dark chamber, her vision failed for a moment while her eyes adjusted to the change in light, but her steps never faltered. Everything was where it should be, where she willed it to be, nothing would dare to be out of the place she had prescribed for it. The five men who knelt in a semicircle before her, their heads bowed, were no exception.

The moment she turned to enter the chamber, they dropped their eyes, none daring to look upon her in this state without her permission. In this moment she was the essence, the embodiment, of her power. She stood before them; they were her protectors, her guardians —her possessions. One man, he who knelt directly in front of her, raised his eyes. In a single glance, a wealth of feeling passed between them; she did not, could not, berate him for his disobedience. Had one of the others seen, she would have had no choice but to inflict torment upon the body which was laid bare before her gaze, but that glance was secret, private.

His heart, against the dictates of his head, demanded that he gaze upon her, that he steal this one moment that would belong to the both of them. It was enough to fortify his heart for what would come.

She held his eyes for only a moment, before breaking their gaze. Her lashes swept down, imprinting the moment in her mind, locking into her memory the feeling of the floor beneath her feet, the touch of the cloth against her body, the smell of the herbs in the air. Most importantly, she mentally imprinted the sight of him, the tilt of his head, the strength of his shoulders, the look in his eyes. She combined that with memories of the way he tasted, the lilt of his voice, the play of his muscles under his skin. And then, with her eyes still closed, she locked away the part of her that would have knelt before him, shedding the trappings of her power, her rank, for the simple pleasure of his touch.

When her eyes opened, they glowed with the power of whom and what she was. Her gaze was hot as it roved over the bodies of her men. Her whispered words were husky and low, her passion-rich voice so erotic that they each felt a small shiver caress their skin.

“Come to me.”

It was a command, one which none of them wished to disobey.

While the natural laws dictated that male be the protector and the pursuer, here the men were not the pursuers; they were the pursued, and they were owned, body and soul.

Chapter Two

A warm, wet touch on the sole of her foot woke the Priestess. With a disgruntled sigh she pushed against the annoying touch with her other foot. For a moment, there was blessed stillness once more under the mound of covers. Sinking back into an exhausted sleep, the Priestess rolled from her side onto her back, letting the silk sheet caress her arm, hip, belly, and breasts as she moved.

The next touch to her foot was more insistent—warm and wet, sensual and playful. Unwilling to give up sleep, she drew her feet up and away. The mattress depressed and shifted as the owner of the touch followed her feet. This time the contact was less gentle, teeth scraped against her sensitive arch before nipping at her ankle. A few halfhearted kicks did nothing to deter her tormentor; instead the heavy weight of male shoulders fell across her thighs and the warm lips and tongue which had been tormenting her feet started in on the sensitive skin of her belly. His teeth pinched the flesh just below her belly button, tugging the skin and sending quick shocks of pleasure-pain through the nerves of her belly to dart into her nipples and sex.

Resigned to the idea that her tormentor would not let up his torture until she dealt with him, the Priestess decided to make the best of what she considered to be a bad situation. Slipping one hand beneath the covers, she caught a hold of a thick hank of hair and used it to guide the talented lips to her left nipple.

“Suck.” The order lacked her usual tone of command, her voice husky and soft with sleep.

Anleeh’s soft reply of, “Yes, Priestess,” was muted against her breast. Then all there was in the world were supple lips, rough teeth, and a wet tongue upon her nipple. Her breasts were soft and loose from sleep, the skin sensitive from the continued rubbing against the sheets. First there were feather light kisses against the areole, these moved to longer, open mouth kisses which pressed his hot wet breath to her skin so that every time his lips lifted the skin was cooled. Before long her nipple had beaded up tight and hard, flushing a deep pink. Over this hard tissue he raked strong white teeth, letting the edge of his teeth bump over every distorted ridge of sensitive flesh. Finally he took the very tip between his lips, tugging gently. When she arched her breast into his face and pulled his hair, Anleeh obeyed her silent command and took the whole nipple into his mouth, drawing on it with hard, strong pulls which drew the blood into her nipple and pressed her flesh against the inflexible corners of his teeth.

With a moan of pleasure, the Priestess threw back the covers so she could watch his dark head hover over her breast. The sight of a man worshiping her body, savoring the taste of her flesh, was familiar but never failed to excite her.

Grabbing another hank of hair, the Priestess pulled his head away from her breast. Eyes submissively lowered, Anleeh waited, perfectly still, for her next command.

“Why have you woken me, slave?”

She caught a quick flash of green iris when he stole a glance before answering. “This morning it is my pleasure to wake you, Priestess.”

“But it is not my pleasure to be woken.”

“My most humble pardon, Priestess.”

“Is the purpose of your existence not to please me in all things?” She put steel into her words, reminding him that he had reason to fear displeasing her.

“As always, Priestess, it is my greatest desire to please you at all times, in all things.”

Smiling to herself, the Priestess untangled her fist from his hair.

“Out of my bed, present yourself to me for inspection.”

Slowly the naked male specimen emerged from beneath the covers, hopping lightly from the edge of the raised bed.

“Face the wall; I want to see your ass.”

Anleeh obediently turned his face to the far wall of her chamber. He positioned himself with legs spread wide, shoulders back, arms raised with fingers linked behind his head. The position displayed and flexed the muscles of his thighs and back.

The Priestess turned on her side, enjoying the view. He was a pale cream, the skin a darker bronze on his shoulders and arms where his armor left his flesh exposed. His legs were tightly muscled with nice, thick thighs leading up into a high, tight ass.

She could see the base of the anal plug she made him wear at night protruding from the cheeks of his ass. “Clench your ass. I don’t want to see the base of the plug.”

His ass flexed powerfully as he obeyed, a small groan escaping his lips as he forced the plug deeper inside himself, the edges of the base biting into the cheeks.

“Tighter, tighter. Good boy.”

With a satisfied smile at his obedience, the Priestess pulled the covers over her head and prepared to go back to sleep.

Less than a minute later, long bronze arms reached under the covers, hooking under her back and knees and unceremoniously dragging her out.

“Agh! Damn you, put me down.”

This time Anleeh did nothing to hide his smile or his laugh.

“I beg forgiveness, Priestess, but as much as I would love to please you in all things, you do need to get up.”

She halfheartedly smacked his shoulder as he began striding through the chamber with her held securely in his arms. Glaring into his smiling face, she resigned herself to being awake.

“How nice of you to have pretended obedience for a few moments.”

“Priestess, how you wound me; I am always your most obedient slave.”

“No, Moregon is my most obedient slave, you are the most irritating.”

His laugh vibrated through her body as he carried her, his step sure and quick. They had left the Priestess’s private quarters and were headed down the concealed hallway which led to the slave quarters.

“I’ll have you flogged for laughing at me.”

“Never at you, Priestess, and though it would be my pleasure to have you flay the skin from my bones, I hope that you do see the irony of the fact that the most powerful woman in the world’s greatest weakness is that she is so grumpy in the morning.”

Finally beginning to truly wake up, the Priestess laughed with him, the sound like bells.

“Put me down, I can walk from here.”

Reluctantly, Anleeh released her, letting her body slide down his as he lowered her to the floor. Bowing from the waist, he waited until she had started forward before he submissively fell in step behind her. From this angle he was able to watch the tight jiggle of her firm ass, her long hair kissing the tops of the cheeks.

She was grace personified, sensual and playful with an unbending core of power. Only twenty-one, the spiritual well being of their world rested on her shoulders; it was a heavy load for her to bear, and though he and the other Zinahs tried to take some of the burden from her, in the end, it was she alone who brought the grace of the Goddess into their world.

Anleeh followed her through the rune covered archway which led into the Zinah’s quarters. The slave quarters were sumptuous, floors and walls covered in the finest fabrics and furs, but there were clear signs everywhere that this was not simply a sleeping area; indeed, most bedchambers did not have a wall lined with cuffs, whips, floggers, and anal plugs, among other things

“Good morning, Zinahs.”

At her greeting, a large mound of blankets moved, one by one the coverings thrown to the floor in a tangle of color and texture around the gigantic circular cushion which served as a bed for all five Zinahs.

A mesh of limbs, from the palest cream to gold to black separated out into four men. One by one they stood, stretching briefly before dipping into low bows before the Priestess.

“Present yourselves to me.”

At the familiar command, the four newly risen Zinahs moved obediently across the room, Anleeh leaving his position at her back to join them. They had been together for five years and every morning of those five years they performed the same ritual. They were the Zinahs, the chosen protectors of the Priestess. They alone were the most trusted men of the Temple and the only people to ever touch the sacred body of the Priestess, but they paid for that privilege with their freedom.

While in the old language, Zinah meant slave, it had come to be a title of respect equal to that of lord or general, for while they were slaves to the Priestess, outside these chambers they were the most feared warriors in the world.

The presentation bar was nestled in a large alcove on the far side of the chamber. Positioned waist high off the floor, the bar was nearly twenty feet long and as thick around as a young sapling. With practiced ease, each man positioned himself, bent over the bar at the waist, hands against the floor on one side, feet touching the floor, legs spread, on the other.

They lined up along the bar in order of rank, each one settling quietly into the submissive presentation position. Spread as they were, some of the softest parts of their bodies were open and vulnerable to the Priestess’s touch. From the mounds of their asses and soft inner thighs to their cocks and sacs pressed backwards between their legs by the curve of the bar, they were vulnerable to inspection and torment.

Moving to the south end of the bar, the Priestess began her morning ritual inspection. Moregon, her bull, was by far the largest of her Zinahs. He alone was of the same race as she. Tanned and blonde, standing erect he towered over her by a full head. In the beautiful irony that was life, he was the gentlest and the quietest. When it was his turn to sleep by her and then wake her, he always crawled beneath the covers and rubbed her feet, sometimes for an hour, without making a sound. Though she still woke up grumpy, it was usually markedly less so than when faced with the wicked wit of the others. He was a careful man, and an amazing farmer. It was for this reason that he had been chosen to serve as the Priest of agriculture, the fifth of the Zinahs. During his training he had spent hours poring over religious tomes relating to agriculture. He had set up several small gardens around the Temple where he patiently experimented with different types of seeds in different soils. He would ask, in his soft, deep voice, for her to please apply a certain spell to a bed of experimental crop, always taking notes in a simple, precise hand.

She rubbed his left ass cheek, squeezing the flesh between her fingers before firmly grasping the base of the plug which protruded from his ass. Moregon gasped as she tugged on it.

“What duties do you intend to perform today, Moregon?”

“If it pleases you, Priestess, I will continue to work on my experiments with a heartier strain of barley in the morn, while this afternoon I will head to the fields in the south land to aid the turning of soil for the fields which were burned.”

The Priestess sighed; the King had been angry with her and, as punishment, had burned the fields belonging to a small village beyond the Great City. “My thanks to you for the aid you give them.”

“There are no thanks needed, Priestess; it is my duty, honor, and pleasure to serve you in all things.” When he spoke those words, willingly reaffirming his slavery, the air shivered; it was old magic, the willing sacrifice of freedom for a greater cause. With his slavery reconfirmed by his own pledge, the Priestess began to slowly extract the plug which had filled him through the night, reminding him of his submission.

Slowly and surely she applied pressure, pulling back, bracing herself with a hand on his ass. She twisted the plug as she pulled, watching shivers race up and down Moregon’s spine. The utter helplessness to control their reaction to the plugs is what had steered the Priestess’s decision to force them to sleep with them in each night.

When the tight ring of muscle finally gave under the pressure and the plug slipped out with a small groan from Moregon, the Priestess slipped the plug into a box to be cleaned and, with a final pat to Moregon’s upturned ass, moved down the line.

Sesah, the next in line, and the Priest of conduct, would be working all day in the outer courts of the Temple initiating new men and women into the Temple life, teaching everything from proper dress to table manners. In addition to educating the general populace about Temple customs, he was also a skilled warrior who helped with the training of the new soldiers. He had a lethal grace, unique to him; not as heavily muscled as the others, he was poised in the extreme. Black hair was folded into the ritual knot of his people on the top of his head. His eyes, equally dark, were intense, glittering with fierce intelligence. He had been known to break men with merely his presence and a glance from those disquieting eyes.

“Sesah, what duties do you intend to perform?”

While he detailed a day of training and instruction to a new group of people who had come seeking sanctuary, the Priestess reached beneath him and stroked his flaccid cock, pressing it between her hand and the wood, working it roughly until it hardened. The strain became apparent in his voice, his words now coming in short, stilted sentences. When he finally finished his list of duties, she moved her hand from his cock to his balls, cupping them while gripping the base of his plug with her other hand; that was all the signal he needed. With a deep breath, he repeated the ritual words, “It is my duty, honor, and pleasure to serve you in all things.”

One sharp, hard tug removed the plug, a cry escaping his lips, his cock twitching against the beam, nearly coming. With a squeeze to his balls, she left him to regain his breath.

Anleeh, that morning’s alarm clock, would be hearing cases all morning. As the Priest of law, he spent most of the day sitting and listening to people from every walk of life air their grievances. In the past year, his job had been especially trying as complaints poured in over the injustices and violations perpetrated on the people by the King. Once he had stated his schedule and repeated the ritual pledge of service, she tormented him by using the plug to fuck him once she pulled the widest part from behind his tight ring of muscle. It was a sweet punishment for waking her up. Within a minute his cock was hard, his hips moving against the beam helplessly as she manipulated him nearly to orgasm with the anal plug. When he was near climax, she removed the plug and moved on, leaving him gasping.

Rohaj, the Priest of military training for beginning and intermediary soldiers was a statuesque man with ebony skin. He was completely hairless from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. The beautiful contrast of his dark skin against her pale flesh was enough to send shivers through her. Today he would be working with a group of brand new soldiers, teaching them ‘which side of the sword to hold’ as he jokingly put it. Ruby studs glittered in his ears and nose, while a small gold ring graced each nipple. He was the only one with any piercings, and she loved to torment him with the small bits of jewelry. His voice was deep and as dark as his skin. When he was angry, it deepened to the growl of a hell-bound beast It was enough to make her shiver and possibly run and hide if she wasn’t so sure that he would die before hurting her.

His plug was larger than the others’, deliberately so. When he first came to the Temple, he had hated her, hated this life, and hated his slavery. It had been a hard fight, an uphill battle to make him understand what it truly meant to be a Zinah. For that reason, she continually used more tools, more symbols of bondage and slavery on him than on the others. Though she now trusted him implicitly, it was a reminder of what they had gone through to bring him understanding. The larger plug and the piercings were her symbols upon his body. When his ass was also free of its nightly invader, she moved to the last and highest ranked of her Zinahs.

Tamlohn.

The first to come to her, he knew her better than any other living being. They had met when they were only sixteen, bound by fate at that tender age. He was tall, not as tall as Moregon, but a half head higher than her, his body long and lean with sleek muscles barely concealed by his golden skin. Fiery and passionate, his red hair matched his personality, while his quick and clever mind was hidden behind a pair of lavender eyes. Those eyes were his most captivating feature, so unique that it had taken months for her to get used to the feel of the violet gaze on her.

With a deep breath she pressed her fingers to his hip, her eyes fluttering closed for a moment before she spoke.

“Good morning, Ahgarah.”

Read more about Forbidden and other books from the Zinahs series here.

Other International Heat authors with Five for Friday posts include:
Bianca D’Arc,
Jambrea Jo Jones,
Mari Carr and
Rhian Cahill.

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