A Chinese monk striding down the aisle was the first shock at countess-to-be Evelyn Stanton's wedding. To watch him dispatch three groomsmen, unarmed, and to learn that he was white and the long-lost heir to the Earldom of Warhaven, was the second. He would be her husband?***
After the slaughter of his family in far-off China, Jacob Cato found sanctuary. In a Xi Lin temple he learned to be strong, but now he had a grander goal: to reclaim his English heritage and the woman he'd left behind.
Revenge. It poisoned everything he'd learned, everything he'd done, and yet every fiber of Jacob burned for it--just as he burned for the beautiful but very English Evelyn. Long ago, the conspiracy to kill his family had stranded him, lost Jacob in the exotic East and made him unrecognizable to his countrymen...and women. He had not forgotten that past. It was to make peace that he had returned. The manner was yet to be decided.
Here's a steamy excerpt from very hot THE DRAGON EARL:
Jacob Cato--aka Jie Ke, monk of a Xi Lin temple--has returned to England to claim his heritage and his bride Evelyn. But she thought he was dead. In fact, she was saying her vows to his cousin when Jie Ke interrupted her wedding. Now her future is in shambles as Jacob's parentage is sorted out. Evelyn is furious, and yet her curiosity won't let her leave the man alone. Why is Jie Ke different? What do the monks of Xi Lin learn?
"You are too familiar, sir!"
"And yet you want it." His hand drew higher to the inside of her knee and began stroking circles higher on her thigh.
"Stop!" she gasped.
He stilled his hand, but his mouth came closer. It was the danger of the moment that excited her so. No one had ever dared boldly slip his hand up her skirt, his fingers dancing up her thigh. Christopher never did such to her. He wouldn't dare, even if she begged. And she would scream if any other man tried.
But Jie Ke was different. Whenever he was near, she felt the pulse of the storm, a fire in her belly, and the blustering whirlwind of power that obliterated all thought.
"Have you ever touched yourself, Evelyn?" he whispered against her lips. "In the secret of your bedchamber when the sameness of your days sets your mind to screaming, have you touched yourself then and lost your mind to the sensations?"
"Yes," she answered, her mind completely absorbed in the feel of his hand on her thigh. She shouldn't let him. But oh how her breasts ached and her belly quivered.
"Boys at the temple are no different. We touch ourselves, we stroke ourselves, we peer at the women doing laundry and stroke our organs until the rush overcomes us."
She swallowed. She knew about the rush, and she knew how short lived it was. Would it be different with a man? Would it be different with this man?
"Imagine if your breasts were bared to the moonlight. Imagine how it would feel if I flicked your nipple with my thumb."
Lightning would flash through her system. Bright sharp explosions of light and color would pulse behind her eyes. She knew because she had done it before.
"Spread your legs, Evelyn. I won't take your virginity, but I will let you know what it feels like to have a man's hand deep inside you."
She opened her eyes and met his gaze. Now was the time to decide. She could step away from him, she could obey the dictates of society and flee these sensations. Or she could trust him to do what she had desired for so many years now. Did she obey?
She widened her thighs. "Show me what a monk can do."
He pushed her folds open, he slid his thumb slow and deep all around her moisture. She felt each ridge of his fingertip, each callous as he pushed fingers and knuckles against her wet folds.
"The Chinese write poetry about the taste of a woman. They believe it will bring a man long life if he drinks daily."
She arched her brows. "That is ridiculous. There is no magic there. Only... Only..." Her thoughts splintered as his fingers began moving, slipping in and out through her folds, dipping deep inside her, only to draw out in exquisitely long strokes.
"I think I would like to know," he said as he shifted between her thighs. "I think I should like to taste a woman's essence."
She blinked, the sensual fog slowing her thoughts. "What?"
He shifted his hands, his movements abrupt. He slid his hands beneath her buttocks and lifted her up. She gasped in alarm, but retained enough sense not to cry out. She didn't dare risk someone hearing her.
She felt completely disconnected from the world. Her legs were high and open, her back flat on the ground. It was like the storm had upended her, as if the winds had tumbled her head over heals. How appropriate then that the rain began to kiss her inner thighs. How wonderful to feel the wetness of his mouth as he began to drink.
His mouth was large as it pressed to her center. His lips were wet, his tongue broad as he began long sweeps across her body. Each stroke built the thunder in her blood, each probe of his tongue shot lightning through her mind. She was adrift in the storm, unable to resist and completely consumed. And this was exactly what she wanted.
Suction and stroke, thrust and caress, his mouth did it all to her. Nothing was left untouched, and all of her was spread before him. The tension built within her belly. She was familiar with this, but with him, it was so much more. And this too he controlled, slipping lower on her body to drink her essence while the higher spot throbbed and cooled. Then switching; a quick circle or sudden thrust high and her legs would tremble, her mind blanked white in a lightning flash.
Yes! Oh yes!
He pulled back just a bit just enough to murmur against her thigh. "I will drink all of you now. Be careful not to scream."
She pressed the back of one hand to her mouth as she sometimes did in her bed. A whimper of hunger escaped anyway, but that only added to storm. His tongue was so perfect as it stroked her. Again and again--thick and hard--while her blood roared and her back arched. Again. One last...
The storm claimed her. The buffeting contortions of body and breath combined into ecstasy. Oh yes... Oh! Too much! He continued to drink her, his tongue stroking and pulling and exciting whenever the contractions began to fade. On and on he went, while her mind grappled with reality and lost. Her body convulsed while he drank. She wasn't a storm anymore; she was lightning--bright, electric, and wholly white.
Then he stopped.
Thank God, she thought. Then, oh no. It is ending.
"I am sorry," he said in a hushed and reverent tone. "I could not continue without you screaming."
He would have continued? The very thought of remaining longer in that blindingly bright place was both terrifying and so wonderful that she smiled. Her breath was returning to normal, her body lay boneless and sated on the ground. He adjusted her skirt, stretching the fabric out to cover her demurely. Or as demure as she could be stretched out on the ground like a wanton.
"How do you feel?" he asked gently.
Wonderful. Expansive. Cold. The air was cold.
"The joy...it is fading, isn't it?"
She nodded, trying to hold onto the experience as long as she could.
"Search inside yourself, Evelyn, deep inside. Your body is content, but what of your mind? What of your heart?"
She frowned, irritated that he was pulling her away from that glorious blank place she had become.
"Does the bliss extend inside that deep? Or do you still know restlessness? A vague discontent that even the best experience of body cannot erase?"
She swallowed, slowly pushing up onto her elbows as she stared at him. "How can you know that?" she whispered. Everything he said was absolutely true. Deep in her heart, she was still unhappy. And she hadn't even known it until this very moment.
"That is what it means to be a monk, Evie. To know deep inside that there is an emptiness and to search eternally for the way to fill it."
She shook her head, denying everything he said. "It's not true," she whispered. "Monks are at peace. They are filled with...with holy God or something like that."
He shrugged. "Perhaps that is so. I believe it is so for the masters. But for me..." His voice trailed away, and she saw a bleakness in his expression. "I am still searching."
"But..." She didn't know what she wanted to ask. She looked at him, at the bulge beneath his robes, and the sprawled openness of her own body. "But I was satisfied. For a moment..." For many incredible moments. "I felt wonderful."
He nodded and his hand trembled on her thigh. "And I would feel it too, if I listened to the demands of my flesh. I could bury my organ within you and find the same mindlessness. But in the morning..."
She shook her head, not wanting to think of the consequences she would face in the morning.
"The dictates of society would be difficult enough, but there would be something much worse: the emptiness in my heart. Physical bliss is all consuming until it fades. And then I am left with a discontent all the more stark because the sex did not fill it. The body cannot ever fill the heart and mind."
The picture he painted was so bleak she almost cried out. "How can you stand it? To live in such emptiness?"
"We all live in it. We simply deny it, suppress it, throw ourselves into the body to hide from it. To be a monk..."
"Is to see the truth with clarity," she whispered, startled to realize that she understood him.
"And to search for a better answer." Then he pushed to his feet, adjusting his robes with a rueful grimace. She pulled her knees tight to her chest, making sure her skirt covered all of her. He bowed before her, deep and reverently. "Good night, Evelyn."
She grabbed his hand, unwilling to let him leave just yet. "Can we speak more of this tomorrow?"
His smile was strange—mysterious and so alien—but it was a smile nonetheless. "Of course," he answered. Then he was gone.
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