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An Excerpt From: WILDER’S
Copyright © TITANIA LADLEY, 2012
All Rights Reserved,
Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Beams of silver moonlight speared down
through the overhead limbs, intermittently illuminating the
soggy forest floor. Now and then Dierck
could see the figure up ahead racing through the night, his
black cloak flapping behind him like the wings of a raven.
Fortunately, the soft carpet gave his steed the advantage of
muted hooves, while the crook had the hindrance of the
He cursed when he lost sight of his prey
for a moment, only to round a bend and spot the bandit
dismounting near a darkened cavern in the side of a bluff.
Dierck slid from his saddle,
secured the reins to a low tree branch and crept across the
distance. His pulse pounded in his ears, his mouth now dry
with the chase. As he approached the cave’s entrance, a musty
scent engulfed him. Far off in the forest behind him an owl
hooted and the wind swished through the overhead branches. He
caught the suspicious sound of a raspy murmur. The muted glow
of a lantern followed, igniting deep within the hollow.
Dierck slid along the cold inner
wall until he reached a jagged protrusion, perfectly
positioned between the lad and the cavern’s egress.
it’ll be fine now.” The figure stroked the skittish horse’s
nose. Dierck’s gaze became riveted
by the pale, long fingers as he listened to the voice. It
sounded higher, softer…perhaps a younger lad than he had first
thought? “We’ll be home soon, and this nightmare, it’ll be
nothin’ but a bad memory.”
The crook drew a gunnysack out of a
crevice in the cave’s wall. Dierck
tracked one hand as the lad set the sack down, dragged off the
hat and jerked down the black mask.
Dierck went still at that last revealing movement. His
eyes widened. He struggled to suppress a gasp and his heart
all but ceased rhythm within his chest…
He had been duped. The crook was a
His gaze traced the dark head, moving
down over the pert nose and silhouette of full lips. Against
the stone wall, her chin shone small and delicate, tapering to
a slim neck that disappeared into the cape. As if to appease
his curiosity, she unfastened the cloak and shrugged her
delicate shoulders until the wrap dropped to the dirt floor. A
deep-chestnut braid trailed down the dingy shirt to her waist,
but neither the garment nor the thick-bound plait could aptly
conceal the curves and slimness of her backside.
hands curled unconsciously into fists. The arrow of the braid
welcomed the eye’s journey, coaxing it to move lower and
inspect the gently swelling rump inside baggy trousers. She
had tied them at the waist and had stuffed the too-long ankles
into boots she now toed off. He licked his lips, stunned and a
trifle perturbed at himself that he had not seen through the
disguise. But that sentiment promptly vanished. His groin
quickened when she unfastened the breeches and bent to slide
them over her round derriere and down the length of toned
He sucked in a breath.
Mächtig. She wore no
undergarments, and the knowledge of that made his mouth water
and his blood simmer. Her pale buttocks were nicely curved and
firm with the shadow of a tempting crevice. He imagined what
it might feel like to nestle his cock within its warmth, to
hold her supple form against him and explore the gentle arc of
her lush hips with his hands. He stifled a moan as she stepped
out of the garment. His blood went hotter still, rushing
through his veins and pooling in his cock when she glanced
over her shoulder with her bottom lip clamped between her
teeth. It was then that he recognized her. He had only
recently arrived in Diamond Bluff, but he’d had occasion to
espy her in the village as she watched him from afar under
long-lidded eyes, gnawing nervously on her lip as she did now.
Urgency lit her beautiful face like coals
sparking to life within a hearth. She wrenched the shirt over
her head and tossed it in the pile with the discarded garments
and boots. A white gauzy fabric encircled her upper torso. She
turned and faced him, her front side now ensconced in shadows,
the lantern an enticing glow behind her as it haloed her
curvaceous form. She tugged on a section of the wrap and
unbound the cloth. Her naked bosom sprang free, shadowed here,
caressed by golden lantern light there as she twisted and
turned, unleashing the twin treasures.
Unable to remove his gaze from her, he
gripped the uneven wall. Heat pulsed through his body and
detonated in his loins like dynamite. It blazed
there, tenting his trousers with
the most painful, aching erection he had ever had the pleasure
of experiencing. Her mounds were sloped like the nearby
Missouri hills his newly inherited vineyard graced, and their
fullness shown as ripe as a sweet grape in September. She
angled away from him, presenting him with a half-profile,
He saw that the nipples perched dark-pink
and taut, the fleshy underside of her breasts two heavy
crescents of creamy-white, silken weight. How heavy would they
be in his cupped hands? Would they be firm
or pliable, the nipples satin discs or tight buttons dragging
over his wet tongue? Enough, you fool. But he
just could not look away. Beneath their ampleness tapered a
trim rib cage, narrow waist and well-developed hips, which
should never have been mistaken for a young man’s. His gaze
skimmed lower as if to reaffirm that thought. Yes, no lad
here. The flat, feminine abdomen merged into her woman’s jewel
graced by a small patch of dark curls.
Oh yes, she was all woman, and mother of
God what a stunning creature at that.
Ah, but she’s also the bandit who
robbed you and threatened to put a bullet through your head.
His conscience screamed the admonition, making him contend
with a wave of disappointment that had him groaning out loud.
She gasped at the unexpected sound.
flattened his spine against the cave wall, pulling in a breath
and holding it in as if he were the hunted and she the hunter.
“Who’s there?” she asked in a sweet,
husky drawl of panic.
He gradually released the air in his
lungs. After one long moment, Dierck
peeked out from behind the jagged protrusion.