Monday, 20 July 2015

Guest blog: Summerita Rhayne - 'The Eligible Princess'

The Eligible Princess is Book 2 in the Kamboj Princesses Saga set in Early Medieval India. It is a sensual, historical romance. It’s a sort of prequel to Book 1 Hidden Passion, but you don’t need to read them together. Each is a separate story.

....After Hidden Passion, the Kamboj Princesses Saga continues with Rukmani’s sister Lakshaya... 

King Kartikeya must marry a princess. He's determined to do anything to keep the kingdom he has taken with strategy and sheer guts. If that involves charming a princess into marriage, then so be it.

Princess Lakshaya infinitely prefers the study of science to the art of impressing a suitor. In fact, she would rather have no more proposals at all. But refusing a king as opulent as Kartik is out of question. Drawn against her will by the force of his attraction, she begins to accept him, only to discover hidden secrets along the way.

Can she bring herself to go ahead with this marriage?

Set in Early Middle Ages in India, Book 2 in the Kamboj Princesses Saga follows Lakshaya in her journey to discover desire, passion, intrigue and love.


She crept up and along the corridor and positioned herself behind a pillar. The moon was full tonight and you could see right across the yard between the two wings. On the opposite side the accommodations of special guests were built. Now the entire wing had been placed at the Maharaja’s disposal. He would need it with the cavalcade he had brought, she thought. He was on the floor opposite and his samants and other ministers below.
She thought she could detect movement in one chamber and raised her vision enhancer to her eye.
The next instant, she gasped and nearly dropped the instrument. Recovering, she trained her eye to it again.
The king stood in the centre of the room, handing his gold chest plate to the servant who was next handed the strings of pearls from around his throat. His armlets and cuffs came off. Then his hand slid lower and he unwrapped the gold belt from his kayaband.
Lakshaya’s hands nearly slipped from the cylinder. She could make out a vast expanse of skin. Male skin. Toned skin covering powerful muscles. She had a close-up view of how dark hair smattered across his upper chest, not so dense above, rather pleasing to behold as they narrowed going downwards. The muscles of his chest bulged and moved as he – she gulped – as he now removed his kayaband. She trembled. Surely she should go now? A maiden shouldn’t observe a man undressing, should she? The servant was bid something. Maybe to prepare his bath. The uniformed man left. Lakshaya brought back the focus on the king. His hands went to the knot of his antariya. Just as her lower belly contracted, the moonlight came and flooded the courtyard as a cloud uncovered the lunar god’s visage. Light fell on the glass, momentarily blinding her.
 With a small gasp, Lakshaya moved back into the shadows. Regaining composure, she trained her instrument on the object of her fascination again. He had his back towards her now and was flexing his arms, the movement throwing into prominence corded muscles against satin smooth skin. Skin that tempted her to touch it. Something contracted in her stomach, a strange fluttering attacking her pulse. Shame, excitement and anticipation mingled like magic potions to produce butterflies in her stomach. He repeated the movement. For her, breathing became difficult. She lowered the cylinder, hands trembling, heart beating fast. Oh devi ma! She had to take control. Had to think...
After a breather, she raised it again, her mouth dry with the knowledge of the forbidden. What would she find now...?
He wasn’t immediately in her view. Frowning, she moved it from one wall to the other. Where had King Kartikeya gone?
A hand gripped her wrist and she gasped, dropping the cylinder. She had an impression of hair sprinkled skin shaping honed muscles and gasped anew as she realized who it was.
She had her answer as to where he had gone!
He had caught her instrument as it slipped from her fingers and now turned it this way and that. ‘A device for spying? Or was it peeking for your own benefit?’ Dark eyes snared her gaze. ‘Why strain your eyes, charuta? Have a look at the real thing up close.’
He was here. Right next to her. She saw the strong features, the dark locks falling to his nape, thick gold rings in his ears. ‘No...That is, I wasn’t –’
‘You weren’t looking at me?’ He took up the cylinder and put his eye to it. ‘Hmm…rather quaint. Very interesting. Bagalpur has a lot to offer, I guess. A princess who is known for her talents and is eligible enough to be sought for marriage. Maidens who carry spy glass. And are beautiful along with being inquisitive.’ His fingers flicked along her cloth covered cheek.
His contact was warm and electric, even through the thin, makeshift veil. Tingles spread along the small touch.
‘Who sent you to spy on me?’
‘I – no one.’
‘In truth? No one knows you’re here?’
‘No one. In truth.’ She could say that with confidence at least.
A part of her brain that was still functioning made her realize he hadn’t seen her. How could he when she had covered her face? Just her eyes were visible. Her hand went to touch her mask.
He noticed the gesture. ‘Yes, unveil yourself, my dear. I’m curious to see you too. From close by.’
‘No!’ She dodged his attempt as he reached out for the cloth and took a step back.
‘No? Ah, my mystery woman... You want to play games?’
There it was again. A slight lilt to his tone that somehow conveyed and hinted at an enjoyment to come. Lakshaya shivered involuntarily. That sexual tone made her feel she was the target of all his intent. She swallowed.
‘Games are fun, aren’t they?’ she said carefully. Could she pull this off? Hope began to hammer in her heart. Maybe she could escape from being found out. Alarm feathered along her nerves. Hey devi ma, he shouldn’t know that the princess was the one who had waved so brazenly from the window. And had been watching him undress as well.
‘They could be. That is, if you like them, my beauty.’
‘You don’t know what I look like,’ she said somewhat unwisely. ‘How would you know if I’m beautiful?’
‘From your eyes,’ he said. ‘They are beautiful. They are naughty too. They speak out what they want.’ He stepped close.
So close. She was almost touching him. Her gaze dragged up on him. He was naked except for the antariya, the upper edge of it resting low on his hips. Without the kayaband it was located disturbingly low on his body. She could make out a hint of his hipbone and the flat plane of his lower belly. The unnerving realization cramped her stomach.
‘Look all you want. When you’re ready to touch, just let me know, or better yet, just go ahead.’ Laughter laced his voice. That and the customary sensual edge. His knowing gaze entrapped hers. Color flared along her cheeks. He tilted her chin up.   
‘Come with me. Let me satisfy your curiosity,’ he said.
The suddenly urgent tone sent blood rushing through her body at double the speed. Forbidden images waved through her brain before reason poured water on them.  
‘You don’t even know who I am.’
‘You are a woman and you want me. I can see it in your eyes as they flick over me. Even if I hadn’t seen it in the way you have been watching me since I entered the premises. I could feel your interest from a kos away, when I was riding into the palace. What does it matter who you are? The stations, the statures, positions and titles are false, my dear. This is real. Feeling. Sensation...’ He came even closer and now she was touching him, supposedly to stop him, feeling the restrained strength in his body as she flattened her palms against his chest, her own muscles quivering involuntarily in response.
Maharaj,’ she protested because he had moved in slowly but surely and now she was backed up against the pillar. Oh God, she couldn’t call anyone for help. And he was trapping her! ‘Please...let me go.’
‘You smell of chameli and...and woman,’ he groaned and bent his head to the curve of her throat. His lips touched her skin and her knees almost melted. His mouth brushed lightly along her neck and her eyes closed. What was he doing? A simple touch was sending a whirlpool of sensations cascading inside her.
‘Please!’ She had to stop him.
‘Please, my maiden? What is this ‘please’ for? Please take me in your embrace? Is that what you want?’ He made as if to do that and although the recalcitrant need snaking through her wanted just that, she evaded his arms. He let her move out of their circle but not far, his hand manacling her wrist as she went past him. 
‘Let me go or – or –’ her princessly threat didn’t have an appropriate ending and she stumbled to a halt.
‘Or what?’ He didn’t get any answer to that and cocked an eyebrow, ‘I’m up for any challenge.’ When she didn’t respond, very slowly he began to pull her to him. ‘I’ll let you go if you wish. But first I have to see your face.’
‘No! No!’ She made a desperate grab to clutch her improvised mask. He caught her to him, easily trapping both her arms, curving her backwards a little as he stared into her eyes. His hand reached out to the knot.
‘No! No, please!’ she whispered. ‘Don’t touch it.’
His hand hovered then touched the cloth at its edge. ‘You don’t want me to pull it away?’
She shook her head. ‘Please no!’
‘Then I won’t.’
The breath whooshed out of her. She felt like she had been dragged back from the edge of a precipice. But she had to confirm it. She looked at him with some suspicion. ‘You won’t?’
‘On one condition.’
‘What’s that?’
‘Give me a kiss.’ He dropped the words that were like hot coals into her lap. He smiled lazily. ‘One kiss and you’re free to go. I won’t touch your mask.’
‘A kiss, my mystery maiden!’ His gaze dark and bold with intent, he stared into her eyes. 

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