Here is an excerpt of REYNARDINE. The complete novel is available now from Aspen Mountain Press.

Once every quarter or so, he allowed himself the privilege of running free. Natives stayed away from Slieve Callan, fearful the ancient stories of a bloodthirsty werewolf might be real. When he crested the rise and saw her at the bottom, he just had to howl his frustration. The woman who’d besieged his restless sleep for the past week was on his mountain.

Rey couldn’t stay away. The feel of her satin-soft skin under his fingertips at the pub was a vivid memory. The need to possess her, just once, tossed aside his better judgment. The soft perfume she wore was etched into his mind. The taste of her, when he licked her hand earlier, inflamed his senses. Even in his accursed form, the desire to kiss her, experience her pliable lips under his again, was nearly his undoing.

A game of hide and seek had developed on the hillside. If he could lure her to his home, he might have a chance to seduce her. She’d exhibited her intelligence several times at the pub. Could she be passionate in bed? If Agnis were to fall in love with him, perhaps she’d be the one to show compassion and accept the truth of his curse. His soul mate would need those qualities in abundance.

That had been his plan, until she fell. At first, he couldn’t decide how near her he should get. But her soft moans of pain emboldened him, and he’d walked right up to her – until she’d yelled, brandished the branch, and pulled the stungun on him. From a distance, he led her to the lodge, as far as he dared.

The change, returning him to human form, would have to come upon him before he could see to her needs. Seamus would substitute for him, in the meantime. He waited in the open office of the dog kennels until the subdued morning sun had climbed well past the horizon.

A loud knock set the two remaining dogs of the kennel into raucous barks. "Sir," Seamus announced as he entered, "the woman is asleep. She won’t deduce anything by the timing of your return."

"Great. I can clean up before I speak with her."

"I would have a private conversation with you before, sir."

Seamus and Rey had been together all of Rey’s life. "You have a concern?"

"Are you daft? Bringing her here could risk everything you’ve been able to keep secret. The woman studies wolves, for pity’s sake!"

The irony didn’t escape him as he rose to leave. "All the more reason she should be here, don’t you think?"

"You’re playing with fire."

"Aye, that I am, Seamus. This is the woman I told you about."

His servant voiced his startled opinion as they headed across the lawn. "From the pub?"

Rey nodded. "Isn’t she lovely?"

"Sir, this isn’t good. Trouble arrived when you brought her to our doorstep."

"Nonsense, Seamus." He strode purposefully into the house, stopping to run a wet cloth over his face, then headed down the paneled hallway toward the first-floor guestroom.

After knocking on the wooden door, Rey entered the room. Blue curtains covered the windows, and he pushed them aside to let in the muted morning light. The green of the hillside remained carpeted with a low layer of fog. He turned to the beauty that was almost in his bed and smiled. Half the battle was won. She was in his home where he had the advantage. "Good morning."

Her eyes fluttered open, then grew wide in apparent shock. Her hand fumbled for her glasses, resting on the nightstand. "You? Where am I? Why are you here?" she murmured as she tried to sit up. Her attempts ceased immediately. "Ow!"

"You seem to have twisted your ankle. Somehow you made it to my home, and now I have you right where I want you."

Her eyebrows arched. "Where would that be?"

"In my bed." He laughed.

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