Love's Eternal Embrace (Vampire Tale of Ireland's legendary Dearg-du.)
Published By Twin Star Books
Category: Paranormal romance/ vampire / short story
Words: 20,303 (approximate)
SW ISBN 9781370836406
Print: $6.95 E-book: $0.99
Print Available at Amazon / Barnes and Noble
A knight... A lady...
And a deadly dark secret...
A fiend dwells in the forest and Sir Liam Cantwell sets out to slay it. Only the fiend is a fair maiden named Glamis Drui. Will Liam fall prey to her deadly embrace or will his knightly charms be her undoing?
“I am sorry, Sir Knight.” A soft musical voice soothed him. He forced his lids to obey and open. He was a knight and would not greet a lady like a heap of wood ready for burning.
He blinked in disbelief as he sat up, leaning his forearm on his raised knee. “Surely, I have died and gone to heaven.” A golden light haloed the woman’s beauty as if bestowing homage to her. His brows furrowed at the sight of this fair lady before him. She sat beneath the branches combing her fingers through her dark mahogany colored hair, the light glittering on the strands as if the sun shone upon it. Yet the forest remained dark. “Oh bright lady, what chance has left you alone in these woods? Say the word, I will make sure you find your way back to your dear kindred.”
Her lips curved into a lovely smile. “I have no friends or kin to go back to. I live here in the woods.” She tilted her head as she gazed at him. Her light eyes were as blue as the ocean of Malta.
He came to his feet, but kept his distance so not to frighten her. “I am Sir William Cantwell at your service, my lady.” He bowed deep and with flourish.
Her lips curved and her eyes glowed red. He blinked and her eyes were blue once more. It must have been a trick of the light, the unnatural light surrounding her and her only.
“You braved the forest at night. I’m impressed,” she said as she came to her feet in one fluid move.
He decided he wouldn’t reveal it was his drunken boast that led him here to slay a fiend. Surely, the villagers did not mean this lovely creature. “Do I have something to fear, fair maiden?”
She seemed to consider his question with the utmost care. “Not at the moment, I suppose.”
He glanced around, wondering where Loucetios had run off. In truth, this fair maiden’s sudden appearance made him question his safety. A beautiful woman could not live alone in the forest and if she did, there were others.
It would be best to leave the woods at once and live to tell the tale than to linger and mayhap fall prey to this fair maiden’s men. Perhaps they lay in wait as they spoke, buying their time before leaping from the shadows. He opened his mouth to tell her of his regrets for leaving her, but closed it again when in a blink of an eye she stood close enough to touch, the glow surrounding her blazing brighter. Her dress was of fine velvet befitting royalty, not of a peasant in need of robbing to survive. Her fine boned features were both delicate and strong. She possessed a straight petite nose, high cheekbones, and lips made for kissing. In truth, she was the most beautiful woman he ever laid eyes on and one he would feel honored to court. He frowned at where his thoughts had taken him, but somehow this woman befuddled his judgment. Aye, she was a comely lass, whose brazen stares spoke of desire, or so he believed.
As a Knight Templar, he took an oath to follow the religious rules, the Rule of Benedict. He wore the white vestment, the symbol of purity and the life of celibacy, but he was no longer required to follow the Order’s rules.
Her direct look set his blood coursing through his veins, hot with lust. Wed her or ravish her seemed to be one and the same as his thoughts pictured her in his bed and beneath him.
As if she could read his mind, her full red lips curved. “You look like a strong and able man.” Her gaze traveled the length of him in appreciation. It was too bold a gaze for a woman who was untried. Liam was pleased rather than not. Someone should know what they were doing in the marriage bed. The church may condemn such pleasures of the body, believing bedding a woman should be left for child bearing, but he didn’t believe it for a moment that the maker of man would not want his creations to enjoy each other. Why bestow the magic of touch if they were not meant to reap the rewards. Nay, his God gave man a special gift. The sin was only in the act of abusing it.
His gaze traveled over her, admiring her curves, the smooth porcelain color of her skin. This woman was meant for pleasure, giving and taking. He must convince her to be his.
“I am most curious, Sir Knight, how would you please me?” she asked him.
“How…” His brows furrowed. “You can read my mind.” He didn’t ask, but stated the obvious.
“Among other talents, I assure you.” Her hand touched his and he shivered. Her touch was like ice, but it also increased his desire to have her.
“You are cold, milady.” He drew off his mantle and draped it around her. Her eyes widened in surprise at the gesture.
“You are too kind, Sir Knight.”
“Liam, please. My friends call me Liam.”
Her smile curved wider, revealing straight white teeth. On his journeys many women over the age of ten and nine had begun to lose their teeth, but not this woman who lived among the trees. His gaze focused on two of her teeth that appeared pointier than the others. The villagers claimed a female fiend lived in the forest, but surely this woman with thick dark hair could not be such a creature. He didn’t fear her, but longed to hold her. As her gaze slid over him, appreciation gleamed in her eyes. The wind still blew about them in a fury. A storm threatened the night, not ghosts or fiends. “And what may I call you, fair maiden?”
“I was once called Glamis Drui.”
“Lady Glamis Drui.” He raised her hand to his lips. Her flesh was still cool, but she didn’t shiver. The wind seemed not to bother her in the least. “Do you have shelter, milady? We must wait out the storm.” His gaze swept over her comely figure with appreciation.
She stepped closer as if to inhale his essence. “Will you break your vows of celibacy and warm me this night then?”
She knew he was untried, but he failed to wonder how and question her further. He wanted nothing more than to be with her. “Aye, I am yours.”
Nutt pens a haunting romance filled with yearning and heartbreak in "Love's Eternal Embrace." Liam is returning home to Ireland after a stint in the Knight's Templar. He's not looking for love, but when he encounters a Dearg-due, (vampire) he just may have to make a decision about what kind of life he wants to live.
An Irish medieval town is haunted by a vampire who requires a human sacrifice every 6 months. When the town's elders find that Liam, a former Knight's Templar, has survived his encounter, they plan on having the vampire feed off him so as to spare their townsfolk. Will Liam embrace this task or spurn it?
Nutt fashions an intriguing tale that taps into Irish paranormal/vampire myths. Her style of writing is easy to read. She's done her research and it shows. The pacing doesn't let up.
Glamis and Liam are interesting characters and each is faced with uncomfortable choices. The love story is gripping, tapping into darker, more sensual emotions.
"Love's Eternal Embrace" will leave you gasping for breath and turning the pages to discover Glamis and Laim's final fate.
~Stephanie Burkhart, author of the Budapest Moon Series and Victorian Scoundrel~
Sir Liam Cantwell and his squire take respite from their long journey in a small, remote hamlet. While supping in the common room of an inn, the knight is warned to beware the nearby forest, because a demon resides there.
Glamis Drui is cursed. Keeping to herself in the dark forest, she longs for companionship, but it seems she is doomed to her solitary life. Men foolish enough to trespass on her domain rarely escape her ravenous clutches.
When Sir Liam encounters the beautiful enchantress, he is overcome with desire for her and a need to protect the lovely maiden. Even though her eyes glow strangely red at times, he never fears her, for he has faced death many times before. She, in turn, is drawn to his purity and fearlessness. The story artfully weaves the tale of their sensuous attraction, while each of their pasts is slowly revealed. Happiness seems assured until Liam’s brother arrives with unexpected and unwelcome tidings.
I love the dark, gothic tone that complements the overall story so well. There is a mystical feel to the sensual encounters between Liam and Glamis that is poetic and inspiring. Occasionally, while reading, I encountered a few awkwardly constructed sentences, but I think that was, most likely, the author’s intent, given the medieval setting. More unsettling, for me, was the overuse of the word “strands.” Many appropriate synonyms could have been substituted to describe Glamis’s rich, lustrous hair, without sacrificing any of the tale’s tender beauty. I enjoyed this story; the gothic elements combined with the sweetly sensual, forbidden romance make this an engaging read.