Author – Nicole Hurley-Moore
Genre – Fantasy (medieval fairytale)
Publication Date – 20th November 2013
Length (Pages/# Words) - 169 pages
Publisher – Jupiter Gardens Press
Cover Artist – Tibbs Design
1216 ADOn the mountain, high above the village of Farran – Nuri is caught between heaven and hell. Two men fight for her love and her soul. The first is Maras, an elemental being who follows the storms. Nuri knows that he is not human, he’s something more. She believes he is her beautiful fallen angel. Yet he is transient and is bound to the elements and their love may be as fleeting as the storm itself. The second is Brother Erebus, a pious monk whose tortured soul is twisted by his desire for her. But Nuri may sacrifice more than her heart when the Church brands her angel a demon. As Brother Erebus will do anything to protect her soul from the silver haired devil, even if he has to crush her body to do it.
Nuri couldn’t sleep; the straw mattress was hard and lumpy. She had kept a candle burning, an extravagance, but she needed the dim light to stop the stark stone walls of the cell from crowding in on her. She turned and she tossed, but it was her mind that would not allow her to sleep.
Thoughts of Maras kept turning in her brain. She had seen his pale eyes warm when he looked at her, and her skin burned at his touch. He would leave her when the season changed and the storms blew over the mountain, but until then he was hers. With a sigh, she threw back the blankets and got off the narrow bed. She shivered as her feet touched the chilly stone floor of the cell. These small rooms were the guest accommodation for Farran Chapel, but they felt more like prison cells. There was one high window that was closed with a wooden shutter, the gray walls, and the floor – everything stark and hard, especially the bed.
Mayhap Erebus was right. Perhaps he could see her more clearly than she could see herself. For at that moment, she would have given nearly anything to have the courage to walk into Maras’s room. The more she thought about it, the more she came to believe she and Maras were destined to be together – not forever, but until the rain came.
She wanted him. She wanted him to hold, kiss, and touch her. She wanted him in every way, even if it put her on the path that Erebus feared so much. Maras made her feel alive. Galfridus wanted her to marry, but she knew she would not, as no other man could measure up to her angel.
She stood next to the wall that adjoined their rooms, and placed her flattened hand against it. Her courage had failed her. What if she went to him and he turned her away?
~* * *~
Maras stood by the gray stone wall and placed his hand on it. He could hear Nuri moving about the room, restless. It took all his determination to stop himself from going to her. He knew that he was leaving, and that he had no right to complicate her life, as he would never be able to share his own with her. But with each passing day, he was drawn more and more to her beauty and her quiet, gentle spirit. He treasured the moments when she would lift her head and smile at him, the way her hands would glide over his skin and make it tingle. From the moment he had seen her, he had tried to fight the overwhelming desire to feel her arms about him, to taste her lips, to take her.
Nuri made him feel wanted and needed. It was a feeling that he had long forgotten. She made him feel...human.
He stood in his dark cell and wondered what she would do if he went to her, even though he didn’t have the right. Would she welcome him to her embrace, to her bed, or would she turn him away?
If she did, wouldn’t that destroy him?
~* * *~
Erebus had waited until the lonely hours after midnight before he silently crept into the guesthouse. Without a sound, he let himself into the cell next to Nuri. He leaned his body flat against the adjoining wall, and listened to the girl toss and turn in her bed. Pressing his smooth cheek against the rough stone, he wished he had the ability to melt through the wall so he could watch her every movement. He told himself that he would endure this vigil to make sure that Maras would not take advantage...not take her purity. It was his duty to keep her safe from the devil with the silver hair and pale eyes. He knew in his soul that there was something different, something wrong about Maras – something not human. He was a demon among his fold, preying on the innocent, preying on Nuri.
He heard her get out of bed and cross the floor. He pictured in his head her slim form, dressed in a long white shift. Did the shift cover her shapely ankles? Did it slide innocently off her soft shoulder, exposing her creamy skin? The images tormented and fascinated him. He wondered what it would feel like to run his fingers across her shoulder, to kiss her perfect mouth.
He took a deep breath and shook the images from his head. The pictures in his mind were sent to torment him. The demon was at work.
He would be strong; he would not fail. It was his duty to protect Nuri from temptation. He would protect her soul, even if he had to crush her body to do it.
Nicole has always been a lover of fairy tales, history and romance. She grew up in Melbourne and has travelled extensively, whilst living her life through the romance of books. Her first passion in life has always been her family, but after studying and achieving a History degree and Honours in Medieval Literature, she devoted her time to writing historical romance. She is a full time writer who lives in the Central Highlands of Victoria with her family, where they live in the peaceful surrounds of a semi‐rural town.
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