When Isabella wept out her heartbreak over her arranged marriage at her favorite place, she never expected to be swept into the Faerie Tree. She also never expected to meet the intensely sexual Darrin and his compassionate sister Elen within, or to find that her sex was the key to their release. (F/M, F/F)
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Strong arms encircled her from behind and Darrin’s warm breath on her neck returned the shivery, fluttering feeling to her stomach, stronger than before. Turning within his arms she opened her mouth to protest or ask him to help her out. Instead he pressed her back into the dirt wall. His tongue was in her mouth, then his teeth were tugging on her lip and Isabella felt herself melt.
“Isabella!” The sound came from directly above them and Isabella froze, not daring to look.
“Isabella, where are you?”
How could she not see the enormous hole, the lack of the great oak that had stood for generations? Darrin had stopped kissing her as her mother’s voice sounded from nearby, but he kept those strange eyes locked on her face. Now his fingertips trailed along one cheek and his gaze was questioning. Isabella’s heart was racing, her chest aching from holding her breath. Only the steady pulse from low in her belly anchored her to her body.
They could not find her. No one knew where she’d gone. Darrin wanted her. Needed her. She knew what he wanted, that was plain enough. Pupils dilated, she looked into golden eyes that were empty of human mercy and knew that he might not help her if she tried to get away. Instead of dousing the fire in her belly, her breath caught at the thought and her palms began to sweat. Fear and shame mixed with anticipation and the deep sense of inevitability that comes in dreams. He kissed her again as her mother’s voice faded into the distance. When his tongue pressed between her lips and invaded her mouth, Isabella could taste greenness like biting into a blade of grass.
Tentatively, she reached her hands up and allowed her fingers to explore the soft skin and distinct musculature of his back and shoulders. Fingertips tingling, Darrin staying perfectly still, she felt a raised pattern she couldn’t see.
When she frowned, perplexed, Darrin smiled. Stepping back, he turned so that the last gleam of light from the lip of the pit caught the painting etched into his back and turned the white tree to flame. Isabella gasped and put her hand on his shoulder as she looked closer. There was the great oak, the familiar tracery of branches, but the bark was white and it had no leaves. It looked real enough to touch. With her nose almost skimming his back, Isabella could have sworn she’d seen antlers—that moved; but then the light was gone. With skin so dark, Darrin almost disappeared into the shadows, but the Tree on his back seemed to catch the light and gleam all by itself. Isabella shivered.