Dark Moons Rising by Nia Farrell
Dark Moons Rising
by Nia Farrell
Deidra of Ravenhill is a daughter of light, a healer whose energy can be tapped by the one who marks her. Mordred, bastard son of Owain ap Coel, is determined to be that man. He’s captured the castle, killed her family, and forced her to train as a comforter, preparing her for his ultimate possession.
While Mordred is gone, having the brand made to claim her, Deidra manages to escape the castle. She nearly dies in the forest but is saved from falling into a poacher’s pit by Thorne, a dark lord, one of the race of giant shifters that she’s been taught to fear since childhood.
With dark moons due to rise on the most dangerous night of the year, Thorne must become a centaur for them to escape the monsters that roam with the god of chaos. He carries her to the safety of his brother’s hunting lodge, but is she truly out of danger? From Mordred, perhaps, but there are two dark lords who want her—if she’s willing to share…
Written for Terran readers Ages 18+.
Dark Moons Rising
She could only hide her nature for so long. If they wanted her, they would take her. If they took her, they would know.
It did not make her decision any easier, but revealing herself sooner rather than later might work to her advantage. Oddly, she could thank Mordred for the training that he had ordered her to undertake these past weeks while his custom mark was being made. The lessons were meant to prepare her for his possession. She never dreamed that she would use them to try to tempt a man, yet she now found herself preparing to seduce two. And not just men. They were another race altogether. Dark lords. Manbeasts. Centaurs who would split her asunder if they chose to take her in that form.
The thought made her tremble, but she had to risk it. She’d made her choice when she’d climbed on Thorne’s back and wrapped her arms around his waist, breathing in his heady male scent as he galloped through the forest at breakneck speed, carrying her to safety.
Casting a glance about the room, Deidra spied a ewer of water on a sideboard. Untying the length of linen from her hair, she unpinned her knot and loosened her locks, finger-combing them into some semblance of order. Thirstier than she’d been in her life, she could not resist stealing a few sips of water before wetting the cloth and scrubbing her face, neck, and hands. She moistened it again, as needed, cleaning her fingernails, one by one, as best she could. Helpless to do more without the proper tools, she turned her attention to her poor legs and was tending the worst of her scratches when the brothers came back.
Immediately she dropped to her knees, with head bowed and her hands locked behind her, presenting herself as she had been trained, except that she was still dressed. One of them—Thorne, she thought—whistled softly.
“Well, well,” he murmured. “What have we here? Speak, femina.”
“Sires, this girl was born Deidra of Ravenhill. Her father Fallyn is—was—lord there, until Mordred, bastard of Owain ap Coel, captured it. He plans to take what no man has had and mark this girl as his. Please, my lords, this girl would rather die than suffer his touch. No amount of training will change that.”
Expletives blistered the air as Ragan cursed her father’s murderer. “We have heard of this Mordred. I take it, you were being made ready for him?”
“Aye, milord. For him, and, he threatened, for his friends. Becoming a comforter requires much preparation. Advanced training allows one girl to satisfy multiple partners,” she added meaningfully. She’d only just begun that phase when she managed to escape, thanks to the floral bouquet she’d been allowed to pick for her room. The natural sedative from one plant had rendered her guard unconscious, long enough for her to access the hidden passage.
She had never seen such motion in stillness, yet both men remained exactly where they were.
“He will come,” Thorne grated, clenching his fists, his chest heaving with each hot breath. “He will want her.”
“Perhaps not,” she whispered. “Mordred wants what no man has had. If that changes…”
The words remained unspoken, hovering in the air between them, the silence thickening with each passing second. Now or never, she told herself. Inhaling, she drew her thoughts inward, tapped into her core, and focused on her heart center, drawing the energy there first, then feeling the luminescence spread throughout her body, until her skin glowed softly and her fingertips were limned in light. “Please.” Breaking protocol, rejecting the objectification of this girl and reclaiming the birthright of her true self, she boldly met their gazes and pleaded, “Help me, Thorne, Ragan! I beg you!”
When they did not punish or correct her, she exhaled softly. As the tension drained from her body, she glowed even brighter.
Thorne hooked a bent finger under her chin and lifted her radiant face, his gaze locking with hers, truly seeing her for the first time, from her amethyst eyes to the thick, shining waves of white-gold hair. With her head tilted back, it pooled in her clasped hands and spilled over to brush her hips.
His thumb traced her lower lip. She looked at his mouth. So very serious. And his blue eyes. Deep and mysterious, indeed. With his humor hidden for the moment, the look on his face was riveting.
Thorne blew out softly. “Deidra, do you know what you are asking? You know what we are.”
“Aye,” she said. “But I also know that Mordred would rob me of light. Eventually, he would drain me. He cares nothing for my needs. He lusts for power and covets mine. He was waiting to mark me, hoping that, with training, I would be more open to him. If I shielded myself when he set his seal upon me, he would never draw more, at any other time, than at that moment.”
Deidra looked from Thorne to Ragan. “I do not know what stories you have heard, but the words I speak are the truth, I swear by the goddess. I am a child of Sola, a daughter of light. It is our nature to help and to heal, but what we give must be renewed, by bathing in the rays of Sola or by drinking spring water charged with her light. Marking,” she said, “is best done over the heart center, when a willing woman, radiant with Sola’s lifeforce, is at the peak of power and of passion. My light has waned with the stress of the day, but I swear, I will give it freely, to you and your brother, if you will safekeep me from all others.”
Ragan studied her, considering. “You would share your light? And our bed?”
Deidra nodded. Better their slave than Mordred’s.
Nia Farrell is the author of one of The 50 Best Indie Books of 2016, a four-times Golden Flogger Finalist, and a founding member of the Wicked Pens. A multi-genre writer published in nonfiction, poetry, music, articles, and children’s books, with one documentary screenplay under her literary belt, she’s an old soul and a period reenactor who’s been into corsets for centuries. She started writing romance at her husband’s suggestion and has been published in erotic romance since 2015.
Nia Farrell, Erinn Ellender Quinn, and Ree L. Diehl’s webpage
Nia Farrell’s Amazon author page
Nia Farrell’s Facebook author page
Nia Farrell on Twitter
Nia Farrell on Pinterest
Nia Farrell on YouTube