Release Date: 03/2009
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-460-0 (Electronic)
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher Link: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/YearCat.html
Blurb: Sweet-natured Etienne LeFevre must give up his birthright and flee into the snow-covered forest to save himself from the murderous greed of his brutish elder brothers. When Etienne ends up alone and hungry, with a ramshackle cottage his only shelter and a feral cat his only friend, he believes himself doomed to a sad, cold death. But out of the shadows of the night arrives a visitor who brings comfort. He presents himself as a servant, but the man called “Jacques” spends the long hours instructing Etienne in the cruel delights of a disciplined passion. Jacques is gone with the morning light, but Etienne thinks he knows the stranger’s secret. Will Etienne tame the beast that lurks within his lover? Or will he find himself a victim of the bitter rage that rules Jacques’ heart? Based on the classic French fairy tale, “Puss In Boots,” this story explores what happens when the servant becomes the master, and the master lives to serve...
Etienne struggled to find his voice. "I know nothing of passion. I am...untouched."
Jacques' lips quirked in a sinister smile. "So sweet, like spun sugar. I fear you'll rot my very teeth."
The kiss Jacques pressed upon Etienne's mouth tasted of salt and iron, and awakened in Etienne a delirious kind of hunger. He found himself clutching at Jacques' shoulders, tearing at the sleeves of his coat with his sore fingers. When Jacques pulled aside the collar of Etienne's shirt and licked at the line of flesh he'd revealed, Etienne stifled a moan.
"No, mon petit, let me hear your cries," Jacques murmured, his words setting a heated buzz against Etienne's skin. "Let me lap them from the hollow of your throat."
Etienne fought, at war with his traitorous body. "Monsieur, please, I do not-"
"Hush," Jacques whispered and caught Etienne's chin in his hand. The blacks of his eyes had taken on a strange, slitted appearance as he gazed into Etienne's face. "You'll only tire yourself, and gain nothing for the effort."
"But you said you wished to be my servant in all things, monsieur. Yet you would take me without my consent?"
"I would coax your consent from its hiding-place and make it sing out like the bells of Notre Dame on Christmas morning."
His words sounded like nothing less than the simple truth. Etienne stilled himself against the hard cottage floor, his body not entirely limp with submission.
"Speak to me." Jacques pulled at the fastenings of Etienne's clothing, nimble fingers working knots and clasps till Etienne's skin was laid bare to the heat of his breath. "Tell me of the finest meal you've taken at your father's table."
The strange demand made Etienne start with confusion, but the involuntary instinct for obedience forced him to reach for the memory. "'Twas the night of my twenty-first birthday, monsieur."
"Oui? And when was that?"
"Four months ago."
"Ah, a child of the harvest. Pray, what did your father's cook prepare to celebrate your coming-of-age?" Jacques punctuated his question with a soft, clinging kiss, then leaned back and appeared to consider the white expanse of Etienne's skin as a butcher might contemplate the proper spot to place his first cut.
Etienne squeezed his eyes shut and swallowed thickly. "Pheasant, roasted with figs, and dressed in a sauce made of sweet red wine."
"Delightful," Jacques said and stroked his fingertips down Etienne's sides till they caught on the knobs of his hips. "And for dessert?"
Etienne shivered and twisted beneath Jacques' touch, but it did not occur to him to refuse to answer. "A cherry tart."
"But, of course. And this is the finest meal you can recall in all your life?"
"And does your belly clench at the memory? Does your mouth run wet and your soul cry out with longing?"
Indeed, Etienne's belly clenched, his mouth ran wet and his soul cried out, but it had naught to do with the recollection of pheasant, figs or tart. He sank his teeth into his bottom lip and stared up at Jacques in pained bewilderment.
Smiling, Jacques rubbed the pad of his thumb over Etienne's mouth. "Such a picture you make, mon petit. One could nail you to a wall beneath the title Innocence Debauched."
Etienne blinked at his companion, his uncertainty growing.
"Fortunately for you, I have no interest in art." Jacques grasped Etienne at his hip and shoulder, and rolled him onto his belly in one deft move. "Unless 'tis of the culinary variety, of course. If only there were a table handy, I would spread you across it like that esteemed pheasant and lauded cherry tart. I would consume you, and make you love the feasting."
Alarmed at the implication, Etienne twisted his head around to gaze at his companion. "Monsieur?"
Jacques laughed, the sound deepening to a feral sort of snarl. "Table or no, I will make a meal of you."
Selah March is giving away an ebook to the first person to email her at selahmarch (at) mac (dot) com