Lord of Chaos
Con didn’t know what to think of the woman he’d rescued beyond the fact that she was beautiful, desirable, and extremely hard to resist—particularly when he didn’t especially want to resist.
The question was, had she truly lost her memory? Or was she hiding deadly secrets behind that façade of innocence that would get him killed?
Length: Full Novel
Word Count: 98,207
Genre: Historical Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Alex DeShanks, June 2010
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Somewhere behind her, moving steadily in her direction, someone, or something, stalked her. It paused little more than a yard behind her, waiting. Galvanized by terror, Mary Catherine leapt to her feet and darted across the field of palmettos.
The shrill whinny of a frightened horse sliced across the clearing, followed in quick succession by the explosion of a gun and a startled oath from the man who fought to control his mount.
Neither sound checked Mary Catherine's flight. Indeed they sent such a surge through her that she fairly flew, bounding over palmetto shrubs, completely disregarding the possibility of landing square upon one of the rattlesnakes so fond of nestling beneath them.
It cost her. Her breath came in ragged, painful gasps, knifing through her lungs. As horse and rider bore down upon her, she swerved, making instinctively for a tangle of heavier underbrush. The horse blocked her way. She dodged and twisted, rushing upon first one side then the other in an effort to dart around it. No matter how she tried, however, the horse blocked every avenue of escape.
She stopped abruptly, panting for breath, blinking to dispel the swirling, gray mist that clouded her vision. Nothing met her gaze but the huge brute's barrel chest as he sidled and danced before her. After a moment, the horse turned sideways across her path and a boot came into view, a very large boot.
She closed her eyes, wondering if her wits were addled. Horse and rider seemed veritable giants. Perhaps her fear had magnified them? When she opened her eyes again, though, she saw that neither horse nor rider had shrunk to a more believable size. She was tempted to touch the quivering hide of the animal to see if it was real and not some nightmare creature.
Instead, she curled her fingers in the folds of her skirt and forced her gaze upward, knowing the man astride the horse watched her, waiting for her next move. She would have to look at him to see if she could judge what he would do next. She had to know if he meant to slay her now.
The man's muscular calf was encased in black leather, his thigh clad in clinging, damp buckskins. His belly was flat, and looked as hard as the muscles in his thighs and calves. His chest, she saw, when finally her gaze reached that high, was massive, deep and broad and topped by shoulders broader still. A white shirt of some fine fabric clung damply, almost transparently, to his skin, showing patches of the flesh beneath. The fabric clung to his arms as well, faithfully conforming to arms massive enough they might have belonged to a Blacksmith. The hair that brushed his shoulders, curling in damp ringlets, was black with moisture.
She paused, willing herself to look up, to examine the face that might mean her doom. When finally she lifted her eyes, she was so stunned for several moments that all thought fled and the air rushed from her lungs as if she'd been punched in the chest.
The angles and plains of his face were sharply etched, boldly arrogant and beautifully molded. A sculptor might have created those finely drawn cheekbones, the decisive jaw and the chin with its faint cleft; that distinctly aquiline, noble blade of a nose; the sharply-etched lips. His eyes...
They were narrowed...With anger? Or merely against the fine mist? Perhaps both? Regardless, they sent a shudder through her when finally she nerved herself to meet his gaze. They were like the white hot blue flame of a smithy's forge.
His apparent indifference to the raging elements around him, the uncanny paleness of his gaze, made him seem almost otherworldly, like some pagan god of ancient times. Perhaps Loki, the lord of mischief and chaos?
Something touched her. She jumped, her head snapping around as she sought the source. A spaniel, paw lifted daintily, sniffed cautiously at her skirts. Having apparently assured herself that the prey she'd produced was legitimate, the dog sat back on her haunches and looked up at her master in search of approval for the new quarry she'd flushed.
Mary Catherine looked from dog to master, her mind darting desperately about, searching for possibilities of escape.
"You little fool! What possessed you to dart out like that? These are not times for idiotic games! I mistook you for a renegade and damn near blew your fool head off! Who are you? What are you doing here?"
Mary Catherine swayed slightly. She made no attempt to answer the questions she'd hardly understood. She kept her mind focused upon her search for escape.