Dark Lord of Kismera (cont’d)


Drace leaned back in the tub, letting Estelle daub her foul-smelling concoction on his bruised check and clawed shoulders. His broken nose had healed, but he kept receiving a steady supply of marks and bruises for her to fuss over. He closed his eyes and sighed.

Estelle ruffled his dark hair affectionately and stood up from the stool behind him. “I’ll be back in a few moments with your towel, my Lord. Relax in your bath. It will take the soreness away.”

Drowsy from the heat of the water, Drace yawned, not bothering to cover his mouth. “Thanks Estelle.” He took a deep breath and sank even deeper in the tub, knees bent to accommodate his height. His mind drifted from the week’s events with Lady Ki, to thoughts of nothing, as he dozed off.

Sometime later, the door opened, waking him. His eyes remained closed; he barely heard Estelle move the stool to sit beside him as fingers gently touched his cheek.

“I see I have not damaged you too greatly, my Lord,” came a soft voice. Drace’s eyes flew open to gaze into amber ones. “I believe I’ll live,” he returned slowly, his deep voice also soft.

Ki eyed his physique appreciatively and touched the tattoo of a Scottish lion that started below his left collarbone and extended almost to his nipple. She leaned in for a better look.

Drace had not thought of her as soft before, but he studied her closer while she was distracted. Her golden eyes were cat-like and surrounded by long, dark lashes. Her hair was loose and still damp from her own bath. She wore a lightweight dress of a gauzy-looking emerald green material that was long and flowing. He caught a whiff of a light citrus scent that became her. At that moment, he saw her as an exotically beautiful woman; he flushed slightly, but said nothing, as he, nonchalantly as possible, moved to cover his groin with his washcloth. His body had reacted rather strongly to the picture she presented sitting beside him.

She looked up to see him watching her intently. Ki caught her breath at his hungry gaze, his eyes more blue than gray. He reached up and gently touched her soft hair. “I wanted to do that the first time I saw you,” he whispered, his voice husky with the beginnings of arousal. “You really have incredible hair.”

She cleared her throat, suddenly strangely nervous. “My Lord…,” she started.

“Drace,” he said simply, his intent look not wavering.

She raised her eyebrows, her gaze questioning, “My Lord?”

Read more from Tamara Hartl!

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