Honeysuckle and Wild Roses is a prequel novella to the Daughters of Trinity Series. The working title for book II is Thorn of Ebon which I'm currently writing.
"Honeysuckle" is high fantasy, based on some faerie lore that I
researched, and has graphic sex scenes. The excerpt below, however, is non-erotic.
Sold into marriage on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Honey wishes the lover in her erotic dreams would rescue her. The goddess Freya intercedes, giving her two choices, but at a price. Honey must choose between two men: the Green Man and become his queen or marry Kaedric and watch as war breaks out between Mortals and Faeries.
Who will she choose? And what will happen to her children if Freya proves to be wrong?
The first in the Goddess Freya Series and the prequel to The Daughters of Trinity Series.
They stopped at Didgi's Tavern which Nero was known to haunt regularly each night. Waiting outside, Honey watched the smoke twist from the tavern's soot-stained chimney. Heavy of heart, she wished that Zoirah had come with them. Sighing, she knew her sister had done the right thing by staying behind.
"Nero is not there," Roahre said as he shut the big oaken door and strode across the dirt yard.
"Now what do we do? Zoirah's reputation is at stake."
"The barmaid told me that Nero was here last night bragging about a stag seen at the edge of the woods and how he was going to kill it. Perhaps we will stumble upon him as we travel through the Great Wood." Putting his foot in the stirrup, Roahre swung himself up into the saddle. "If we don't find him soon, I will return and hunt him down."
They left the village, riding side by side into the wide, rippling verdant meadow. As they traversed through the tall grasses, the morning transformed into the brighter hours of early afternoon. Approaching the esoteric forest, Honey thought she saw a stag leap into its dark recesses. She squinted, hoping for another glimpse of it. Perhaps Nero was nearby after all.
Ahead, the snort of another horse reached them. A bay steed emerged, and looking closer, Honey saw Nero riding it, a longbow strapped to his back and a quiver of arrows fastened to the saddle.
Roahre nudged his steed forward and galloped it the remaining distance. Following more slowly, Honey heard their angry voices before she even reached them.
"Zoirah was not pure," Nero said, a sneer upon his rugged face. His dark eyes gleamed. "I shall not take an impure woman to wife."
"You were heard bragging at Didgi's Tavern about your plans to disgrace Zoirah and her family," said Roarhe.
"So what if I was?" Glancing at Honey, Nero returned his attention to Roahre. A smug smile parted his thick, black mustache.
"Your sisters are whores, Shandy. They are known for going into Widow Keera's home. Only women of ill repute go there."
"We go there to borrow books from the widow's library!" Honey said, anger ripping through her body.
"Regardless," Nero said, ignoring Honey, "I will not marry Zoirah. She no longer pleases me."
Stiffening in the saddle, Roarhe leaned towards Nero. "You will marry her, and you will be a good husband."
Seeing the odd light in her husband's eyes, Honey experienced a moment of unease. Movement at the edge of the woods drew her attention and she gasped.
Nero met Honey's startled gaze, and with a perplexed frown, he twisted in the saddle to look behind him. "By the gods!" he barked, struggling to pull his longbow over his shoulders.
A stag bounded from out of the forest. Its majestic head bore thick, sprawling antlers upon a sleek, muscled neck. The beast's size left Honey speechless, and as it closed the distance between them, its hoofbeats fell heavily upon the meadow floor. The stag leapt into the
air and smashed into Nero, knocking him out of the saddle. A whinny burst from his horse; it shied away, high stepping towards the edge of the forest. Nero hit the ground, the impact hollow and dull. He uttered a startled "oomph!" and the air whooshed out of his lungs. The creature
landed agilely and reared, its great, antlered head held proudly, sunshine gleaming on its tines. It thrashed its forelegs in the air, and snorting, it brought its cloven hooves down on the man's
chest—and stood still, pinning him firmly.
"Sh—Shandy, help me!" Nero whispered from his place in the tall grass. His eyes bulged in their sockets, the dark irises looking like black pebbles pinned upon boiled eggs.
"Silence!" the stag said, its brown eyes gleaming. The creature lowered its head, its nose a sword's width from Nero's face. The stag snorted, the sound reeking of anger and irritation.
Honey gaped, and next to her, she heard her husband's delighted laughter.
The stag shook its head, antlers tipping left and right. Light shimmered along the tines, racing over the animal's head, along its muscled body and slim, powerful legs. In a bright flash, the stag disappeared and Freya stood with her massive boot holding Nero to the ground.
"You worthless dog," the goddess hissed. "How dare you insult the queen's people!" She shifted her weight forward, and Nero groaned in pain. "You are not worthy of such a woman as Zoirah, and because you have uttered false words against her, causing such unwarranted heartache, you shall not speak again until you are able to force your mouth free." Kneeling, Freya leaned over and placed a kiss upon Nero's mouth. He screamed in agony, his limbs thrashing as smoke billowed from around their faces. The odor of seared flesh drifted through the thick meadow grass, and gagging, Honey placed her sleeve over her nose.
The goddess sat back on her heels, regarding Nero for a moment in satisfaction. Standing, she turned and looked at Honey. "Welcome to the world of the Faerie, young queen. All will be well. You shall see. Zoirah will meet someone special, someone who will love her for the valiant heart that beats beneath her ample bosom." She looked at Roarhe.
"Your kingship, I bid you farewell for now. Love your wife and treat her wisely." White lights swirled around the goddess's body, and with a rush of wild wind and a rumble of thunder, she disappeared.
Slowly, whimpering in pain and fear, Nero rose to his feet. He staggered, his hands flying to the place his mouth had once resided.
Honey clapped one hand over her own mouth, stifling her cry of horror and pity.
Staring up at them, his dark eyes full of fear and bewilderment, Nero said, "Mmmph!" He clawed at the angry red slash sealing his lips together in a mass of melted scar tissue. "Mmmph!" he cried from deep within his throat.
"Oh, Roahre!" Honey said, her gaze riveted on the mass of burned flesh.
"Look away, Honey," her husband said. "Freya has judged, and we must let
it be so, or we shall face the consequences."
"Zoirah has been avenged, and my promise has been fulfilled."
They rode on, leaving Nero behind them, but Honey couldn't look away. She turned in the saddle, watching as Nero clawed at his face, blood dripping. He ran in circles, hysteria claiming him, his muffled cries growing more distraught with each passing moment. The man tripped, falling hard on the ground disappearing for a moment in the tall grass and wildflowers before struggling to his feet again. He stumbled towards his horse and fell against its sides, weeping harshly.
Facing forward, Honey wiped angrily at the saltiness trailing her cheeks.
"My queen has sympathy regardless of Nero's sin," Roahre stated as her horse caught up with his. "Shall you have sympathy for Kaedric as well?"
"No, husband," she said sullenly. "I care not for Kaedric or Nero, but I do have compassion for my fellow man."
"You must guard your heart, my love. If you do not, evil will notice your compassion and use it against you."
"How is compassion a weakness?" she asked, her lower lip trembling.
"It makes you vulnerable," he replied. "And I won't always be able to protect you."
They rode in silence, and the gloom of the forest deepened. Noticing the honeysuckle bower where they had cut her namesake, she glanced around, watching familiar landmarks fade and hearing unusual sounds the deeper they rode into the ancient wood.
"Where are we?" she asked, realizing she'd whispered her words.
"In the magic realm," her husband said. "The Fae rarely go beyond the honeysuckle bower."
"Because mortals frequent the perimeters of the forest."
"I'm a mortal."
She looked over at Roahre and found him watching her closely. "What do you mean?"
"You're a direct descendent of the Green People. That means you'll live much longer than most mortals."
"How much longer?"
He smiled fondly. "I have no clue, but I'm going to enjoy every moment of our lives together."
Available at Freya's Bower
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