Gervald returned to his assigned apartment in Castle Emerald, and stopped before the door, puzzled. The family may not be great sorcerers, but they could afford to hire the best, and no one should have been able to bypass the wards around his quarters, but it was obvious that someone had done just that. At least, no one in the castle that was not still at the banquet: Fiona was still holding an uneasy court with his elders. She had graciously and somewhat casually dismissed him as she toyed with his father and mother under the guise of a caring friend sympathetically counseling aggrieved parents.
Drawing the long dagger which the only defense he was permitted to carry, Gervald silently opened the door. The sparse apartment was softly lit by the golden light of a dozen or more scented candles that wafted a subtle perfume throughout the room.
Gervald stepped inside carefully and then closed the door and locked it, never pausing from looking around the room. In the soft light, the shadows of the room danced and wavered, but nowhere did he see an enemy within the room.
And then a figure moved in the shadows on his bed. “Most men who come to see me have their weapons drawn, but rarely literally,” said a soft, musical voice amusedly.
The figure moved into the candlelight. Lying provocatively on the bed was Fiona’s vacuous daughter Brigid, who had spent the whole dinner, in fact, the last three days, mindlessly agreeing with everything her mother had said, while eyeing Gervald with half-hidden, predatory speculation. Fiona had dismissed her from dinner at same time she had dismissed Gervald, and it must have been her familiarity with the castle that enabled her to reach his quarters before him.
Brigid rose and raised her arms to him in unmistakable invitation. An erotic scent drifted across the room, redolent of the allure of exotic flowers and spices. Gervald breathed in the heady aroma, and found his senses spiraling and swirling. He closed his eyes in an effort to clear his head. When he opened his eyes moments later, he found that he had crossed the several paces of the floor to stand next to the bed, looking down at Brigid. She playfully ran her fingers down the front of his robe.
“I take my pleasure as I can find it, whenever and wherever I find it,” said Brigid. “Mother doesn’t care one way or another.”
Her brilliant green eyes seemed to glow in the candlelight: Gervald could see primal urges swirling deep within those eyes, urges that he found himself quite willing to surrender to. He responded with a low growl as the dagger dropped from his hand to clatter upon the bare stone floor. He climbed onto the bed, his long legs straddling Brigid. She laid back, her coppery‑red hair glowing like a shower of fire against her pale shoulders in the golden candlelight.
The sash about Brigid’s waist became conveniently untied, and he unfolded her robes to reveal her pale and slender form, which took on a golden glow from the light of the candles. He cupped her breasts, relishing the feel of their softness and fullness under his calloused hands. She closed her brilliant eyes and smiled as he stroked her breasts, then continued to run his hands down her sides and back up to spread apart her fiery hair.
At a word from Brigid, Gervald’s robes parted, and they fell open to reveal his well‑muscled chest. Brigid stroked the thick curly hair across his chest, the candlelight sparkling from the rainbow of colors of the jewels of her many rings, all the while sounding a low hum of pleasure deep in her throat. She looked up, meeting his eyes again, eying him now not with speculation but firm, certain knowledge.
At her unspoken invitation, Gervald leaned down and greedily fastened his lips upon Brigid’s, and was rewarded with an immediate and passionate response. She threw her arms around him, as she lowered him down upon her, uniting them in passion.