Light Remains by Molly Church
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: f/f, magical realism/portal fantasy
Link to purchase: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=68&products_id=4490
LIGHT REMAINS is a portal fantasy featuring Alora Ayoade, a thirty-something English librarian transported to a new world via a curious book she encounters the day after her mother's funeral. There, Alora must discovers she is a legend, her coming long foretold, fabled to rescue a kidnapped queen. A green-eyed, titan-maned queen with whom Alora had been dreaming about, back in London… Join Alora on her journey to do just that, as she races against time and treachery save the world.
Elden led her up the sweeping staircase and down a long hallway, and then he left her at her door; inside she found a suite larger than her entire flat in London, each room more beautiful than the last. The sitting room was stately, but not overstated, and that was the last room touched by subtlety. Everything else positively glittered; even the marble floors and ceilings were shot through with gold.
From the sitting room, there was a corridor roughly the length of the Thames which led to the rest of the suite. The bathroom was of disturbingly large proportions and Alora wasn’t entirely clear if the bathtub had originally been meant for swimming or holding orgies. The dressing room was approximately the size of a large kitchen and already stocked with a few items of clothing by someone with a good eye. Alora suspected that if she slipped anything on, it would fit like a glove.
She almost gave into the temptation to try but she was in desperate need of a wash and did not wish to soil any of the sumptuous finery that hung before her. Belatedly, she remembered that she needed assistance donning and doffing her armor: she debated whether to go for help or attempt to undress herself, but decided that Celyn needed her rest, too. She laid the worry aside for the moment, and opened the door to the bedroom.
Inside, Celyn waited for her, wearing only the thinnest of robes and a smile. Celyn’s hair was loose and poured over her breasts provocatively. Alora dragged her attention to her friend’s face and was rewarded by sea-foaming eyes twinkling at her. “You cannot have forgotten you need my assistance to disrobe,” Celyn said, her voice so suggestive it contained not even the pretense of innocence.
“No,” Alora agreed, though she could hardly recall anything at all with Celyn before her in all her glory. “I need that. Definitely need that.” She took off her sword and laid it atop the trunk at the end of her happily-sleep-five bed.
Celyn’s smile went wider still and teeth appeared but she went agonizingly slowly as she carefully unbuckled each silver-and-gilt armor piece. “Do you know how often I wished I could disrobe you just a little more? Sometimes it was all that got me to sleep, telling myself that it would be over soon, and all would be well and we would celebrate our victory and pleasure together.” Alora could hear the pieces clinked down on the top of the trunk and Celyn planted a sly kiss to the back of Alora’s neck.
“I’m filthy,” Alora squeaked, surprised at herself. She was not usually such a shy lover but then, she had never before been undressed by a queen, or in a castle, or in a bedroom covered in enough gold to finance a small war, let alone all three at once. Then again, that had its advantages. “But my bath will fit two,” she managed in a more normal voice. Two Olympic swim teams, she thought and took a deep breath to keep the resulting panic at bay.
“Mmh,” Celyn hummed, pressing another kiss, heavier this time, to the small of Alora’s back, revealed when her shirt, by accident or design, came away with the breastplate. “What a good idea.”
Alora’s armor finally dispensed with, they made their way to the bathroom. Celyn set the bath running. While they waited for it to fill, Celyn set about removing the rest of Alora’s clothing, kissing in odd places as she went.
When Celyn finished, Alora turned and kissed her on the mouth, a firm but closed-mouth kiss. When Celyn’s lips parted, Alora drew the bottom lip between her teeth, gently nibbling it. She drew away and met Celyn’s eyes again. “Your turn.”
Celyn wasn’t wearing much, just that wisp of cloth masquerading as a robe, and it only one clasp, undone in a moment with just one finger. Alora slipped it from Celyn’s body as slowly as she could, a tiny tease in the face of the torment that had gone before.
Celyn slid into the bath as Alora climbed in gingerly and did some sort of underwater circle-twirl before surfacing, hair seeming twice as long now that it was wet. Alora kissed her again.
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