Zelle and the Tower
A Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy Romance
Sweet and naïve Rapunzelle possesses a dangerous and powerful magick. Her entire life has been spent in a mage tower built by her father, to keep her safe. Or so she’s been told.
Flint Gwyn has spent the better part of a year wandering Fairelle, wanting nothing more than to wash away the pain of letting family down. Between drinking and womanizing he plummets in to despair, with only Dax the werebear to keep him from getting himself killed.
When Flint and Dax stumble into Zelle’s tower while running from a dragon, she finds herself drawn to him in a way that awakens startling memories she cannot place. And the longer he stays, the closer she comes to losing her heart.
Unable to control his feelings for the lonely maiden who brings him peace for the first time in his life, Flint fights to release her from her prison. But in doing so, he may very well bring down the wrath of an evil that’s plagued Fairelle for a hundred years.
She scanned the meadow and woods, her hope recklessly budding.
“What are you thinking?”
“About what it would be like living out of this tower. To wander as you do.”
Flint’s eyes softened and he raised his hand to touch her. Heat flushed her skin like a thousand tiny candles. She wanted nothing more than to feel his touch. His hand hung in the air, inches from her cheek. Tilting her head she closed the gap between them. His palm dragged rough against her skin. A warrior’s hand.
Goosebumps rose on her neck. “Kiss me,” she whispered.
He searched her face. “I can’t.”
“You did before.”
“And that was wrong.” He dropped his hand. “You’re a lady, and should be treated as such. Like you said before, you don’t invite strange men into your house to seduce them.”
“No. I don’t. But I’ve never had any man in my house before you and Dax.”
“Even more reason I shouldn’t. You don’t know the ways of the world.”
“I know the ways of my body. And right now my body is telling me that what I want more than anything in this world is the feel of your body.”
Flint blinked several times. “Do you always say what you think?”
“Should I not?”
“Most women don’t.”
“Why?” The idea confused her. “What else would I say?”
“Women are taught to be what their husbands expect them to be, I suppose.”
“But I have no husband.”
Flint rubbed his neck and shoulder with his hand.
“I’ve made you uncomfortable,” she said.
“You see people. Really see them. You see the things they are hiding.”
He took a step closer and she pressed into the wall, setting the metal bar on the window ledge. Their bodies were almost touching. She sucked in a shuddered breath, her body tightened at the nearness of him. His deep intense gaze searched her face.
“What do you see in me?” Emotions played all over his face.
“I’ve never been scared in my life,” he retorted.
“You are now. You’re scared of what I see. Of what I think. Of what I might say to you.” His eyes betrayed him and she pressed on. “You feel sadness and are burdened by the things you’ve done. You’re too prideful to go home, though you surely have people there who love you. And most of all you want to find someone. Someone who will see you for you and love you despite it.”
“And do you? Do you see me for who I am? Do you see the people I’ve murdered? The vampires I’ve killed with my bare hands?”
“I see that you have done what was required of you to do,” she said in a soft voice.
His body stiffened. “Then you don’t see me. Because I did more than was required. And I liked it. The rush of anger that comes right before a fight. The feel of a blade as it takes a life. I know those feelings, and I like them. I live for them. They are what I am.”
Zelle shook her head. “I don’t believe you. How many months have you gone without killing? Was it when your sister turned on you? Is that when you stopped?”
He stepped away from her.
“You want to believe you are a killer, Flint. You want to believe you enjoy those things because it makes it easier to deal with. Easier to push people away. Easier than dealing with the truth.”
“And what’s the truth?”
“That inwardly, you want to be loved despite what you’ve had to do. You want to be told that it’s okay. It’s not who you are. You want to forget and be what everyone else is.”
“No.” Zelle shook her head. “Normal.”
How could she know those things? He’d never told anyone his deepest desires, yet somehow when she looked at him, she read him perfectly. He swallowed. Normal was not in the cards for him. As long as his family lay divided, and the mantle he wore made him an enemy of his sister, he would never find true happiness.
“You know that normal is only a fairy tale, right?” he asked.
Zelle inched closer to him. Her willowy form barely reached his shoulder. Her hands were delicate, shoulders slim, her neck long and slender. Every part of her looked like a fragile doll. Except the presence that wafted off of her. The confidence she exuded combated that appearance. Every inch of her exuded sensuality.
Her hand snaked out and splayed against his chest. “You won’t hurt me.”
“No, I won’t.” From the glow of her purple eyes, he knew there was a reason she stayed in her tower. Power was the only word he could think of. Power and magick.
He ran a shaky hand through her long soft tresses and pushed the hair over her shoulder revealing more of her throat. Her perfectly full, peachy lips waited for him, just inches away. His erection stirred at the thought of kissing her again.
She stepped into him, pressing against his body. Her supple breasts smashed into his torso and her hips found purchase between his own. The contact was like a lantern switching on inside him. Every part of him woke up and paid attention.
“Kiss me again.”
He should be chivalrous and do the right thing. Leave the sweet creature be, and not poison her with his anger and pain. But the pounding in his ribcage, and the feelings she aroused in him, were like no other. Never before had he wanted to be with a woman so badly. And never before had one held so much sway over his person.
He wondered for a moment if she had bewitched him, before pressing his lips to hers and tasting her sweet fragrance. He lifted her from the ground, pinning her against the wall with his knees between her thighs. Her soft frame molded into his as she tangled her fingers in his hair. Their tongues swirled together in a soft dance of desire and he fought to keep from ripping her dress from her.
His body responded of its own accord, his need growing with each passing moment. She reached down to the hem of his tunic and lifted it, running her fingers underneath. He’d never let someone touch his scars before. Never even let people see them before besides his family. The women he’d been with, he’d forced to face the wall till he was done.
The desire to take Zelle down to her plush bed and make love to her flooded him. He slowed his kisses, his brain screaming that this was wrong. He didn’t deserve this. She pushed her hands higher, raising his tunic to his shoulder. She traced a scar with her mouth, kissing his skin.
Flint swallowed a lump in his throat and moaned. Her fingers twined in the dark curls of his chest hair. Moving over to his nipple, she flicked out her tongue and licked around it. He slammed his hands into the wall on either side of her, and pulled away, trying to control himself. She slid down a couple of inches and worked her way across his chest with her mouth and fingers, bringing him torturous pleasure.
He had no doubt she knew what she was doing, but the thought that she had done this before wasn’t something he could comprehend. She’d said he was the first who had ever gotten into her tower before. Had that been a lie? Pulling away from her was the hardest thing he’d ever done.