Sons of Destiny

Excerpt from The Mage

Jean Johnson - Sons of Destiny: The Mage

So...how many books do you have?" Hope asked him, tilting her head.

The coquettish tilt made her curls brush against her cheek, making Morg wish he could do the same with his fingers. Wait...why can't I? Just because she's supposed to seduce me to make up for lying to me, that doesn't mean I can't court her right back...

He shrugged, strolling closer to her. "Probably close to ten thousand books, if not more. I read six or seven a day, on average." Lifting his hand, Morg gently tucked her locks behind her ear. "Possibly around two thousand scrolls, too, maybe a little less. It's harder to get my hands on enough good leather for scroll parchment than it is wood pulp for book paper. I've had to adapt quite a few copying spells to be able to transfer text from scroll sheets to bound pages."

Hope chuckled. "You sound even worse than me. I would have brought more books across if I could have, but I didn't want to steal away all of your wheat. Or send across too much living matter versus non-living."

"If you want more books, we can always send across bags of sand," Morg offered, shrugging. "That's innocuous enough."

"Maybe we can do that, sometime." Her hand lifted to his own hair, brushing back the lighter brown strands. The feel of her fingers against his skin, gentle and warm, made him shiver. She smiled, her brown eyes gleaming. "I kept wondering what you looked like. I knew you'd be something like your eldest brother, and you did describe your hair and your eyes...but what I see now is even better than what I'd imagined."

Morg blushed. He wasn't strong and confident-looking like Saber, nor muscular like Wolfer; he didn't have the commanding presence of Dominor, nor the smooth, eloquent voice of Evanor. He lacked Trevan's red hair and charm, certainly didn't have the brooding air of mystery that Rydan projected, and even his own twin had a cheerful, youthful appeal that was hard to duplicate. Hearing that she found him attractive made Morg blush with pleasure.

The fingers caressing his jaw slid below his ear, delving into the hair at the nape of his neck. Hope tugged him close, tilting her face up to his. Willing, Morganen obliged her by tipping his own head. But she stopped before their lips came within a finger-width, withdrawing slightly.

"…This isn't too forward of me, is it?" she hesitantly asked him.

"No, not at—" Before he could finish "all," she captured his mouth with a warm, slow kiss.

This was what he missed. With the arrival of Kelly and the others, he had finally been able to enjoy the delights of female companionship again—the way a woman thought in intricate little twists and turns, the way they cared for others with gentle strength, their attention to details, and their little comforts and touches that made a home out of a mere shelter. But this, the physical side of courtship, he hadn't had in a very long time.

Arms slipping around her back, Morganen cradled her curves against his body. Soft and scented, warm and womanly. A hint of the honey-cinnin pastry they'd eaten at dessert. Her faint moan as she opened her mouth, tongue flicking and gliding against his as she tasted him in return. Even the way she pressed her hips and thighs against his, unafraid to touch him as fully as possible, all of it thrilled and pleased him.

Losing himself in the kiss, Morganen slid his hands down her back, pulling their loins closer together. His fingers slipped over the rough waistband of her trousers, then bumped into the pockets stitched in back. For a moment, he was disconcerted, unable to move them any lower, until he realized his hands were perfectly placed to keep her against him. It proved useful when she ended the kiss, pulling back slightly.

Feeling his hands in her jeans pockets, Hope quirked one of her brows in amusement. "I take it you've found my pockets?"

He wriggled his fingers, adopting a thoughtful look. "Yes, I think I have. They're much nicer than a belt-pouch, for certain things."

© 2009 G. Jean Johnson